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The story takes place in Johto, about two years after the events of the Generation two games. Shall we begin now?
In times gone by, the town of Firbridge in North West Johto was a small community- supported by a self-sufficient hunting and farming trade. Nestled on a small plateau that cuts into the mountains on North-West fringe of the region, Firbridge is surrounded from its eastern side to its southern side by an evergreen pine forest. Due to its higher altitude and the abundance of wood to use as a building resource, the architecture of the town has taken on a somewhat Bavarian style (sloping roofs for the snow) but with Japanese accents and flairs.
Stretching from the north north-west to the north east of the town are terraces that were cut into the mountain for farming purposes – all but the bottom two have been abandoned in modern times, due to better trade access with more southern areas of Johto (this access comes from the main road branching out from the eastern side of town and curving southwards). The upper terraces have been more recently converted, within that past fifty years or so, into wildlife reserves for the rarer mountain-adapted pokemon of the region.
The lowest of these reserves was home to a small, manmade lake and a young plantation of pine trees, interspersed with small, hardy Yache berry trees to provide sustenance for the herbivorous denizens of the surrounding habitat. The ground, where not carpeted by pine needles, was covered by a glade of soft, yet resilient, grass.
And standing out from the rest of the trees was one pine. It was significantly closer to the lake and taller than the other trees were. And in the gathering dusk, resting underneath this tree, was a girl of 16 years of age.
The girl was busy readjusting a woollen beanie hat, which had horizontal stripes of purple and green in varying shades, and from which her waist-length blue-grey hair fell – the tips just off the ground on which she sat. She pulled closed the navy-blue wool cardigan, which was worn atop a plain purple T-shirt, as the cold began to draw in and tucked her baggy jeans into the pair of dirt-flecked beige hiking boots that adorned her feet. Function over finesse, was what she said to others – though personally she was just fond the ‘earthy’ style.
She knew she would have to leave soon, before it got totally dark, but she dared not disturb the small herd of stantler that drank from the lake in front of where she sat. The stantler of these particular mountains were quite suitably adapted to the harsher climes and environment – they were smaller with more compact antlers, to easier navigate through the thick forests and with thicker coats all year round to compensate for the low temperatures of the high altitudes. Their coats had also taken on a greenish cast for camouflage in the evergreen woods.
One stantler, the girl noticed, had wandered away from the group to casually inspect a growth of moss on a rock lodged in the lake’s banks. It was fairly young, an adolescent the girl presumed, being smaller with antlers that were only grown roughly two and half inches from its head. The girl also presumed that it was orphaned, as none the rest of the herd were taking any especial notice of its whereabouts.
The girl continued to observe the cervine pokemon until they were suddenly startled and bolted off through the trees and onto the mountainside. The young female was confused until she heard a low, feral growl.
Now, most people assume mightyena to be a native species of the Hoenn region – but this is not necessarily true. A rare and large all-grey variety can be found in the mountains of Johto. And this is exactly the pokemon that had just leapt from the trees and held a fear-paralysed young stantler in its power.
An overwhelming instinct of protection reacted before the girl knew what she was doing. She fished for the pokeball in her pocket and tossed it into the air. The gleam of red light faded and the area was lit with crackling embers of a fire.
Only the most strong and sturdy rapidash and ponyta have been bred in Firbridge Town for the past generations. Not only are they useful for transporting produce and material up and down the mountainside, but their fire can act as a beacon for hunters or tradesmen that have found themselves lost. And they of course serve as powerful protectors – when well trained.
“Attack! The mightyena!” Came the girl’s commanding shout.
The rapidash charged around the edge of the lake – showing no fear of the water – the mightyena turned to the fiery equine with another low pitched growl. But it was abruptly cut off with a torrent of flame, and the growl became a whine. The wolfen creature retorted with an angry Roar that caused the other two pokemon at the lakeside to flinch. But the beast was an intelligent one – and ran off into the trees, presumably in search of easier prey.
The girl was bemused at first as to why the young stantler hadn’t run off when its predator had been distracted – but then she noticed the odd angle at which it held its left foreleg and the now unmistakeable drip of blood from it’s right side. She moved cautiously towards the creature, it made a feeble attempt to move but then stopped and bleated in a distressed manner.
It was clearly injured. If she left it, it would no doubt become easy prey again. But isn’t that the way of nature? Haven’t I interfered enough already? She reasoned these thoughts with herself but then the young stantler bleated again, this time in a forlorn manner. And then it looked at her with watery eyes.
That decided it.
The girl sat bolt upright in her bed. I’ve overslept! That was her first thought. She began to frantically get dressed, pulling on the first clothes that were available to her – a pair of combats, an oversized white t-shirt… Wait.
She stopped herself, It’s a Sunday. I don’t work on a Sunday. Confused, she made her way downstairs. The house was full of the usual Sunday sounds; cartoons blaring on the television, Anna (Clara’s younger sister) laughing and causing Mara to yap and bark from teasing and play and –
Father… And he sounds angry. Clara made her way into the kitchen. Everything in here looked ordinary; clean and organised, the pinewood table in the centre set for breakfast, pans set on the stove ready for cooking… Her angry-looking father standing in his work clothes at the back door.
He directed his piercing glare straight at her eyes forcing Clara to avert her gaze to the floor. “Two things. Explanations. Number one, why is there a stantler in my stables? And number two, why is there blood matted into Maya’s coat?”
“H-he was attacked. He would have died,” She met her father’s gaze. “I couldn’t leave him Dad. And it’s not like I would even carry a pokeball unless it was Maya’s. So I used her to… Carry him down the mountain.”
Her father was silent and simply kept his gaze directed at her. Clara sensed this wasn’t enough of an explanation and so continued, “And I thought… I mean, decided that I could maybe… Nurse him back to health and then,” she said the rest in a very small voice and with her gaze directed at the floor once more, “start a pokemon journey.”
Her father raised an eyebrow and began to say something, then sighed. “We’ll talk about this over breakfast. Go and clean up Maya. And… That stantler’s gonna need some water. You’ll have to see if it’ll eat some of the hay too.”
Peter sighed. His daughter wasn’t seeing sense. “Clara. You’re sixteen. Most trainers start their journey at ten or eleven. Even twelve or thirteen I could understand. But I’d thought you’d settled. I thought you were happy now. Most have chosen their path at sixteen. From around here at least.”
“He started at fifteen, and-” Clara was abruptly cut off.
“He. He was some ‘puppy-love’ crush that you still haven’t gotten over!”
Clara blushed profusely at this. “You don’t understand what it’s like… To love someone. And then be told it’s not love because you’re too young! And that’s beside the point. I could’ve gone with him... But I didn’t! Because of…” Clara looked at the table, and stabbed a fork at her eggs, feeling suddenly guilty.
Because you were looking after your ill sister, Peter finished, I know, Clara, more than I think you realise.
“Ooh! I got a free pokeball seal with my cereal!”
Both father and daughter shot their glances towards the youngest member of the family.
She raised an eyebrow. “Sorry, I’ll just sit here silently like a good little nine year old, while you two trade daggers over the ketchup bottle.”
The three all exchanged glances before simultaneous laughter broke out.
Peter recovered first, “Sorry Anna, me and your sister will be civil… For now, at least. Say, did you tell Clara that you got full marks…”
Critique is not only welcome, it's actively encouraged.Though if it's just a quick post to tell my why you did/didn't like it that's cool too. Thanks for reading!
I'm glad to see you writing again, so I decided to stop by and give you a quick review.
The first thing that I noticed is that there are a few issues with grammar. In a lot of cases, you have the wrong form of "its/it's". "Its" is the possessive form, while "it's" is the contraction for "it is". Easy way to remember is to see if "it is" will fit in the sentence and have it make sense.
On a second read-through, I also see that you're unsure as to how to punctuate dialogue. I'll give a quick explanation:
"Hello," she said.
"Hello." She waved.
"Hello!" she exclaimed.
In the first example, you're explaining how the dialogue was spoken, so the speech and the tag become one sentence, separated by a comma. In the second, you're not explaining the dialogue, so the speech and the action around it become two separate sentences. With the third example, it's the same as the first, but the comma is the exclamation point, and the speech and tag are one sentence.
So like here
I'm keeping this review basic, since it's only the first chapter so I can't comment on much else. I'm interested in learning more about Clara and her family life, and about this other trainer that left to be a trainer that Clara had her eye on.
Looking forward to more!
Just a quick post to say that i enjoyed the first chapter; It painted a quaint picture of the area around Firbridge and made for a nice read. I have to say I like the idea that the story is based upon, as the talk of 'other gyms' has always interested me and i'm looking forward to seeing where you take it.
Also there's a good use of mystery and intrigue with 'Him' and the illness that Anna has. Hopefully this could lead to some good character development and interesting personalities.
All in all, I am very much looking forward to more!
Catch 'em, catch 'em, gotta catch 'em all; gotta catch 'em all - Pokemon!
Instagram & Tumblr: makoheart
Oooh, yay, readers.
Thanks Astinus for the tips and grammar advice, I've addressed the things you brought up. Much appreciated. (:
And the family are going to be expanded upon... In some aspects.~
Chapter two is in development and I've had a lot of great (or what I think are, at least) ideas for future chapters.
This really wasn't meant to be so long in coming. I've just been bogged down with a lot of personal stuff lately and I haven't had all that much time for writing. But the update is here now, sorry to any of you who've been kept waiting.
A fire crackled warmly in the hearth, the television quietly played out some kind of old late night film and the soft breaths of sleeping beings echoed softly through the living room of the Brown’ s household. Anna Brown lay stretched out on the leather sofa that was positioned opposite the fireplace, with Mara the houndour laying across her feet – twitching and grunting every so often, as if lost in a dream. Peter and Clara sat in the plush armchairs – Peter in one that was adjacent to the fire and Clara in another placed adjacent to the sofa and at a right angle from Peter’s chair, about two feet away.
Peter gazed idly at the young stantler that rested at his oldest daughter’s feet. After a trip to the town’s Pokemon Centre, its damaged leg was now bandaged and the gashes in its side had been stitched up. Peter’s eyes met his daughter’s and she smiled at him. He spoke gently, “If you’re still set on it… I have some money put aside… You know, for a rainy day. It’s not much but-“
Clara interrupted, “Dad. I appreciate it, I really do, but I have money saved up from work - at the shop. I rarely need to use it, so there’s a decent amount to start me off.”
“I have to give you a little something, I‘m your father,” Peter insisted.
Clara smiled and shook her head, she wasn’t going to win this one. Instead she decided to steer the conversation in a different direction. “Don’t you miss battling, Dad? It must take up so much of your life and then… Just to stop. I don’t understand how you could.”
Peter smiled and replied to his daughter, “I do miss it, from time to time. But your mother and I, we were ready to settle down. It seemed like the time.” Peter paused before saying, “Battling was how I met her you know, your mother. Have I told you the story?”
He had, but Clara had always enjoyed the story, and there seemed to be a new detail added every time it was told. So she said, “I don’t think so, Dad.”
Anna stirred, lifting her head and yawning. “I know I’ve not heard it.”
“Okay then, Anna, but you’re going to bed after this,” Peter stopped as he thought of a good place to begin. “I was about 17. I was battling in a tournament that’d been arranged in Goldenrod City to mark the start of summer…”
Peter sat in the lobby of the main arena. He had made it to the final; he who was the rank outsider, the dark horse; he, the nobody from a town no one had ever heard of and he who couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.
The people going past gave him hearty congratulations, and he’d even been stopped for an interview. Peter had given credit to the fantastic fighting spirit which his pokemon had fought with and the interviewer had replied saying he was modest and at least some of it had to be down to good training. Peter has smiled and blushed at that. He’d then been asked what he thought of his next opponent, and in truth Peter had had to say that he didn’t know much about this ‘Rose Leigh’.
Which lead him to what he was doing know. Idly browsing through the data and videos collected on her during the course of the tournament. From what Peter could tell she was a very intelligent battler – her strategy seemed to adapt from opponent to opponent. Peter smiled, this could be to his advantage, he didn’t like to apply rigid battle strategies and this girl’s strength seemed to play off being able to counter the strategies of others. Peter glanced at his watch, only an hour left. Let’s show them what a nobody can really do.
The battle theme started. The announcer spoke their names, their home towns, the terms of the battle. All as customary. Neither battler could hear over the pounding of blood in their ears. Peter looked out across the field. Rose did the same. Peter found himself staring at a tall young woman, with blue-grey hair cut to a pixie length and piercing blue eyes. She was wearing denim shorts and a red vest-top that was hemmed in yellow; her pokeballs were clipped to a studded belt.
Equally, Rose found herself looking at a boy that was roughly her age – with short, spiky brown hair and adorned simply in a white t-shirt and jeans, with black fingerless gloves and, like her, his pokeballs were clipped to his belt. He gave her a slight smile as their gazes met and she returned it.
They shared a similar (albeit sarcastic) thought, Good luck.
The crowd roared and the referee raised a flag. Two pokeballs were tossed into the air. The red light receded, revealing two hulking forms.
Peter shouted the first command, “Quickly Rhydon, surf!”
“Mirror it, Nidoking!” The girl cried.
The two walls of water collided with one another and then washed over the battlefield – leaving both Pokemon looking slightly dazed. Rose realised that this match-up would inevitably end up in a stalemate. She called back her nidoking and tossed another pokeball into the air, a sly smirk on her face. A sunflora stood at her feet, ready to fight.
And then, confusion, her opponent was smiling too. “Megahorn!”
The rhydon charged towards the smaller flower pokemon with its horn glowing a bright white, pounding up a trail of dust, as it growled ferally.
“Sunflora, defend with Leaf Storm!” The sunflora raised its arms defensively, which then began to glow a neon- green. Leaves surrounded the pokemon, circling it in a cyclonic manner. Rhydon drew closer, its momentum too great to stop the charge now. The horn made contact with its target, the glowing leaves converged over the rhydon, and the sunflora was sent hurtling back towards the direction of its trainer. Rhydon shuddered violently before crashing to the ground with a loud thud.
Peter cursed as the referee raised his red flag. “Rhydon is unable to battle!”
Peter wasted no time, a red and white blur rotated briefly above his head before a red flash revealed a screeching skarmory. “Air Slash!”
Air began to be sucked towards skarmory into a glowing blue sphere of air, whipping up dust and debris from the battlefield, it brought its wings together with piercing metallic clash and the ball went hurtling towards the recovering flower pokemon. The pokemon attempted to dodge out of the way but it had been reasonably injured by Rhyhorn’s megahorn and its current opponent’s attack was rushing toward it far too quickly for it to manage. The grass type took near to the full force of the attack and was knocked to the ground.
Several seconds passed. The sunflora hadn’t moved.
“Sunflora is unable to battle!”
The crowd gave a raucous cheer, far louder than they cheered for her, or so Peter thought, at least. Skarmory turned its head towards him and Peter smiled his approval. Both turned their gaze towards their opponent, Peter was irritated to notice that she didn’t seem particularly phased.
When the red glow drew back and her pokemon was revealed, Peter couldn’t help but be confused. Standing on the field was a hulking (reaching just under the height of its trainer) graveler. Surely someone like her knows that rock moves aren’t as effective because of a skarmory’s steel typing? Lapse of judgement, maybe? Peter smiled, All the more in my favour then.
“Rubble,” Rose’s face had remained impassive, “Dig.”
The pokemon dug into the ground, but the earth wasn’t deep in the arena, and the graveler was large, so there was a clear bulge in the terrain where it was positioned. Peter ordered his skarmory to hover above and be ready to attack with Steel Wing when it appeared. The action on the battlefield was frozen for a while. The crowd seemed to be simultaneously holding their breath. And then, a torrent of fire erupted forth from the ground, with the rock type shortly afterward.
Rose chuckled quietly, with Rubble making a similar noise. “Quickly, Flamethrower again!”
“Skarmory!” Peter barked with urgency. “Dodge it!”
But the steel-bird was too dazed from the first attack to move with enough speed to avoid the torrent of flame that spewed forth from the graveler’s mouth. It crashed down to the ground with a loud clanging thump.
“Skarmory is unable to battle!” as the referee raised his red flag, those of the crowd supporting Rose, gave a hearty cheer. She smiled confidently, she had two pokemon left. Her opponent had one.
Peter surprised her by smiling too, oh it ain’t over yet. He kissed his last pokeball before throwing it into the air, its just me and you again…
“Amalia!” The rapidash tossed its fiery mane proudly as it was released onto the field. It shared a confident look with its partner.
Rose’s face flickered to an unnerved state for a second. Then back to a self-assured mask. Nidoking could take it out easily. But I’ll play it careful, Rubble can wear it out some first.
“Hypnosis!” Peter ordered.
Rose’s eyes widened as her graveler started to sway and then thudded to the ground. A soft rumbling snore emanated from it. A small wave of laughter rippled through the audience. Rose cursed and returned the pokemon, calling out her nidoking once more. I’ll have to be careful, she warded herself, its weakened from that surf earlier.
Peter had already ordered an attack of Giga Impact however, and the rapidash was charging in her direction – the characteristic aura of shining purple and fiery orange spirals making it look wild and menacing.
“Protect!” There was a hint of anxiousness in her shout, but the green shielding orb did its job and the fire type rebounded off it as if had charged solid metal. It slid backwards and lay panting in the dust.
Rose hastily ordered the attack of Surf whilst the equine was immobile, an untamed roar escaping the nidoking’s jaws. It road the towering wave until it crashed into its opponent, causing Amalia to loose a pain-filled whinny. The waters dissipated into the ground. The poison type was panting heavily. Amalia shuddered and winced before standing. She shook her head; her flames grew a little in intensity. The fire type took a fighting stance.
The command had barely left Peter’s lips and the flames were engulfing their bulky opponent’s form. The nidoking blinked. It put an arm forward as if to retaliate. It then toppled forward and collided with the ground, causing a loud crash.
“Nidoking is unable to battle!” The red flag was raised. The crowd gave a cacophonous roar.
Rose tried to keep her expression blank but it kept flickering into an arrangement of frustration. She called the graveler onto the field, and of course it was still under the effects of the rapidash’s previous hypnosis. Her opponent had a grin on his face.
“Poison Jab!” He exclaimed, and once again the fiery steed charged forward, its small horn emanating that toxic purple aura that identified a poison type attack. As the other pokemon’s charge neared however, Rubble woke up and made a motion with its hands as if to stop Amalia’s attack. It had little effect however, the attack collided and the rock type winced. Not only had the attack caused pain, but its recipient was now also poisoned.
One sure strike, that’s all I need. Then he’s done.
One sure strike, that’s all she needs. Then I’d be done.
The adrenalin pounding through her system caused Rose’s shout to be at a pitch higher than it should, “Rubble, Earthquake!”
“Amalia,” Peter made his fast command, “Bounce!”
The ground trembled and shook, cracks began to appear and widen. Amalia tensed her legs and sprang into the air. Poison racked through the graveler and it flinched sharply. The tremors stopped and the horse pokemon plunged back towards earth, driving its diamond-hard front hooves into its opponent’s head. Pieces of rock splintered and chipped away causing the pokemon to yowl in pain, as the force of its adversary’s attack drove it into the ground.
The rapidash fell back and stood before its master. Both waited. The graveler didn’t so much as twitch.
“Graveler is unable to battle! Peter Brown of Firbridge town is the victor!”
The crowd went wild with cheering and applause. Peter rushed forward and put his arms around his partner’s neck. “We did it, Amalia. We did it!”
Rose sat in a nearly empty Pokemon Centre, one that was a part of the Goldenrod Battle Complex, quietly sipping coffee. The lobby-waiting room in which she sat was big and airy. She sat on a chair, which was part of a line, facing the large floor-to-ceiling windows that made up the front of the centre. The tournament was winding down and she watched as merchants packed up their stalls and as cleaners walked past collecting litter into large black rubbish bags. In front of her and to the left, a television set suspended from the ceiling was showing a news broadcast.
A news broadcast that was prominently featuring an interview segment with Peter Brown. She’d like to curse him, insult in every way she could think of, but she was unable to. She had learned something from battling with him. Rose relied mainly on strategies when she battled, taking advantage of a pokemon’s abilities and typings. Whilst it was true that this Peter had to do that to some extent, Rose also saw that he put a heavy amount of importance on mere determination and courage. Especially with his rapidash.
I wonder if that was his first-
“Rose…” The girl turned around sharply, she felt a hand tap her shoulder. The face of her defeat stared back.
“Can I help you?” The question wasn’t brusque or impolite, as Peter had expected, but courteous and inquisitive.
“ I – Er – That is…” He stuttered and blushed. Rose raised an eyebrow but smiled. “I wanted to say thank you. That was… Like… One of the best battles I’ve had. In a long time,” He finished and scratched the back of his head, blushing slightly once more.
Rose hesitated, unsure at first how to reply. “I think I should return the sentiment. Your battling style is so fresh and bold. Inspiring, you could say. God… I sound like an art critic or something. ”
They both found themselves laughing at this and then Peter spoke again, this time more confidently, “Do you wanna grab something to eat maybe? It’s just, your strategies seem amazing, I’d love to talk to you about battling s’more. The Flamethrower–Dig combination your graveler pulled off was just… Really cool and stuff.”
Rose laughed again then nodded. Standing up she said, “I’d love to, Peter.”
“… And afterwards we decided to travel together. Somewhere along the way we fell in love. You could almost say that you two are the products of pokemon battling,” Peter finished.
During the course of the story Anna and Clara had moved to sit next to one another, cuddling close together as they listened to the tale.
A question came to the front of Clara’s mind, “Amalia… That’s name of Maya’s mother isn’t it?”
Peter nodded and there was a tinge of sadness to his voice as he spoke, “She contracted a deadly strain of Pokerus when you were young, Clara. The name Maya is actually derived from the Spanish Amalia… Amalia... “He sighed.
“I miss our mother…” Anna said very quietly, staring at the floor.
The room was silent at this. Clara too gazed at the floor and Peter’s eyes glazed over.
He then shook himself and spoke as if he hadn’t heard, “Come on now, both of you need some sleep!” His daughters made no argument.
Peter waited until the sound of footsteps and shuffling about upstairs had faded away. He let out a long, drawn out sigh. “Oh Rose… What could have happened to you?”
So this chapter got dominated by the flashback, that wasn't my original intention, but it kind of seems to fit, don't you think? Critique is gratefully accepted because I'm unsure of how well I managed to pull the whole big battle scene. Was it too boring or anything?
Thanks for reading thus far, and I'll try my best to keep on top of things from now.~
First off, apologies to anyone who does follow this fic(you are out there, I know it) I seem to have been finding it hard to motivate myself to write. But I do have lots of ideas for this story and I will stick with it.
And secondly, this chapter may seem a little short. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't feel like it needed any more. I'm not just lazy.~
Directly north of the town of Firbridge is a mountain, less steep that the others surrounding it, covered sparsely by grass and scattered with rocky precipices and ledges formed by the weathering the mountain was exposed to. On one particular precipice, that jutted outwards about six metres and that was roughly eight metres in length, stood a girl of sixteen years of age.
Clara looked at the sun setting over her town. Long shadows sprawled outwards from all the buildings, causing some of the streets to look dark and foreboding, others glowing peacefully in the orange light. Her world was captured in that one vista. She rarely left Firbridge. And now she was leaving for what was, possibly, forever.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of rocks and pebbles being dislodged as cloven feet clambered upwards. Clara turned her head. Climbing, a little unsteadily, up the rough cut incline and towards her was a young stantler. He had healed fairly well, she noted, he still stumbled occasionally on the leg that had been wounded – but that could have been just getting used to walking again – and the gash in his side was almost completely healed, with the stitches now removed. Clara smiled and sat down, gazing outwards once more. The deer pokemon lay next to her, its head also pointing toward Firbridge.
“I used to come here with him, you know, Donner…” That was what she had named the normal type. She turned her gaze onto the town but kept speaking, making aimless hand gestures as she did so, “It’s out of the way enough that we could be alone, but close enough that we could get back to town without getting lost.” Clara sighed and leaned forward, resting her head in her hands.
“Stant.” Donner nuzzled into Clara’s side. She began to giggle.
“Stop it! That tickles. Your antlers will hur-“ She was cut off by another burst of laughter escaping her mouth. The young pokemon had achieved its purpose and seemed pleased. Clara smiled at him, they were becoming closer already. “I’m sorry for the wistfulness. But I remembered something. I think this ledge… Or near it anyway. It’s when he told me. Told me he was leaving… Maybe I should explain who he is. Maybe it’s time to talk about Hayden Smith.”
Excited laughter danced through the air, “Haaaaydennnn,” came a merry voice, “Where are you taking meeee?”
The boy simply smiled and led her up the mountainside, his hand in hers.
Hayden Smith; Tall, with spiky light-brown hair, bright blue eyes and with a surprisingly well-muscled body. He was athletic and intelligent, yet daring and adventurous. At just fifteen, he was a teen heartthrob. And he belonged to Clara Brown.
Or at least she saw it that way. The two had both volunteered to be part of a conservation project, which had involved them spending a lot of time together, and with one common interest established a budding friendship began. Several long weekends spent together planting trees and creating pokemon habitats began a blossoming romance. From then on there had been picnics, walks in the reserves, shopping trips into Meanderville and awkward dinners with family. The two found themselves very much in love and wanting to spend as much time as possible with the other.
Hayden had lead Clara to a small ledge that overlooked Firbridge. The rays of the sunset glowed orange over the mountain town. He sat down crosslegged and motioned for Clara to sit opposite. She did so and they clasped hands together.
Hayden released one hand from hers and made a sweeping motion that gestured the town. “Tell me Clara, what do you see here?”
Clara was puzzled and her eyebrows knitted together. “Firbridge?” She queried.
Hayden smiled and, chuckling lightly, replied, “Look a little deeper. What is this town? What is it for us and the people living here?”
Clara turned to look at the town and sat for a short time, just thinking. Then she spoke, “I guess. That it’s our world. We come and go occasionally to other places. But our lives are centred here.”
“I thought you might say something like that.” Hayden smiled. “It’s the same sort of thing I think,” he paused and sighed before continuing, “But do you ever think… Or feel like we’re hidden away up here? We’re making this our world without really seeing what’s actually out there. You know that’s – No, wait! I meant to show you something before I said that.”
Clara’s face was curious as her boyfriend reached into his pocket. A small, red and white, spherical object lay in his hand. He pressed something and the object expanded. Clara realised that it was a pokeball. Hayden threw the ball lightly into the air; the area was briefly lit red.
“Oddish!” The creature that now rested in Hayden’s lap exclaimed.
“Hayden, I don’t-“ Clara began.
“A present from my Aunt. She works at the Gym in Celadon city, Kanto. This pokemon is the offspring of a vileplume that belonged to Erika. One of the best oddish around, I’ll wager.”
The penny dropped in Clara’s mind and her face dropped, “Hayden... You’re leaving?”
“I want you to come with me!” He beamed brightly, but Clara’s expression didn’t lighten, “I’ll train little Bloom, that’s her name by the way, and we can-“
Clara cut him off and her voice contained strains of anger, “You know I can’t leave! Anna is ill and you also know that I’m there to look after her because Dad has to work so we have enough money to live by! I can’t understand why you’d even suggest something like that!” Her voice had become a shout and she was standing.
Hayden was unable to look her in the face. His face was turned to the ground when he spoke, “I just don’t want… Want to end up trapped here. And we’re getting older you know. Most kids have started their pokemon journey or have settled into something else by our age. This could be my last chance.”
The anger in Clara’s voice was replaced by sadness, “Hayden… I would love to go with you. But I have responsibilities here. We don’t know when Anna will get better or even if she will.” Clara’s eyes were wet.
Hayden looked back at her. His eyes were sympathetic, “My family… When I decided not to be a trainer… I’m the only son of a long line of no-hope trainers.” He paused, and returned the grass-type to its pokeball. “They long to see me do well, to see a champion in their family. But this isn’t just for them. I have to experience what’s out there. What life is like beyond Firbridge.”
Clara was crying. Hayden stood up and put a hand on her arm. She pushed him aside and ran past, tears streaming from her face and hitting the ground like raindrops. Her sobs choked the air, her melancholy voice spitting out garbled words that were woven with accusations.
Hayden’s breath caught and a knot formed itself in his throat. He began to cry.
Clara sniffed and wiped a sleeve across her eyes. She didn’t speak again for several minutes. She quite suddenly stood up. Donner got to his feet too, startled.
“C’mon! Time to go! We need to get you fed. Keep your strength up. Race you home!”
The human girl began to run off down the rocky trail they’d followed to get here. Young Donner peered quizzically after her as if pondering something. He shrugged off whatever it was and raced after her happily.
Clara’s eyes fluttered open. The alarm was ringing. She lay in bed for several moments. The thump of her heart gradually quickened.
Clara practically jumped from her bed, prancing around her room chanting the word today excitedly. Her arms flailed and her feet moved in a haphazard fashion. A cough from her door caused her to turn around. Anna stood leaning against the doorframe with her eyebrow arched.
“You’re so weird, Clara,” She commented. “Dad’s made a big breakfast. And he wants to have a talk.” She gestured speech marks with the last word and then turned to leave.
“Anna?” The younger sister turned her head to see Clara rush over. The oldest girl embraced her sister tightly. “I’m going to miss you… Dad’s bought me a pokégear. You call me if you need me, understand? Or even if you just want to talk. I’m still your big sister and I might not be far away but I-l’ll look after y-“ Clara’s voice was cut off and she began to shed tears into her sister’s hair.
“Clarry…” Tears began to roll from Anna’s face too. She wrapped her arms tightly around Clara and sobbed into her chest.
Clara gently stroked her sister’s hair. They stood there for several minutes, neither saying a word. It was a goodbye conveyed with more than words.
A voice from downstairs broke the silence. “Girls? Breakfast will get cold, come on!”
Anna sniffed and pulled away. Both girls wiped their eyes with a sleeve. Clara cocked her head spoke, “ You’ve not called me Clarry… In a long time. In fact, I think the last time was when-“
Anna cut her off, “C’mon! I’m hungry! I’ve been waiting for ages.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to take you in the truck? The road will probably be sa-“
Clara interrupted her father mid-word, “I’ll be fine, Dad! We’ve been taking the forest route to Meanderville since I was twelve; I think I can manage, now.
Three people and one pokemon stood on the outskirts of Firbridge, where the edges of the town met the fringe of the forest. It was early morning, the sun just beginning to peer over the horizon, giving only just enough light to see by. The buildings here were few, some old cottages and a lumber mill. The Brown family were gathered on a path that lead further into town and that trailed off into the relative dark of the forest in the other direction. Donner was at Clara’s side, his antlers meeting the height of her waist.
Clara gazed at her family. Her father looked like he was trying his hardest not to cry. Anna was smiling, but there was still that glimmer of sadness in her eyes. Clara tried to start speaking, but the words that formed couldn’t get past the knot in her throat. She began to choke up.
She suddenly felt two pairs of arms encircling her. There was no need for words; except, maybe one.
“Goodbye.” She looked into her father’s eyes and then Anna’s.
“We’ll talk soon, Clarry.” Anna grinned reassuringly.
“You can come home whenever you need to. But… Never feel like you have to. You’re going to have some of the best times of your life.” Her father then crouched down so he was on eye level with the young stantler that stood beside his daughter. “You! You look after her for me, right?” He patted the pokémon’s head and it, as if in response, nuzzled him gently.
Clara walked away slowly. Each step could have been a lifetime. She turned and waved until she could no longer see her family. She took one long deep breath.
And then she looked forward.
Again, thanks if you've taken the time to read this because I really appreciate it. (:
Well, this caught my interest. Okay, breaking this review into sections like as if I'm reviewing a chapter (which I am XD ).
Anyways, an interesting start so far with Clara nursing back the Stantler to health. Also, I thought it’s reasonable for her to not start her journey until much later because of her sick sister. I also love that the father acknowledges when trainers leave for their Pokemon journey. Half the time the stories with trainers started later have “no so good” reasons like parents won’t let them journey or the age when children can go has been raised.
I have to say, the battle is nicely done. Fast pace and some nice stuff there, like the Dig and Flamethrower combo I gushed about earlier, haha.
Hm, I noticed you still have it’s/its confused. Like Astinus said, “its” is the possessive form, while "it's" is the contraction for "it is". I’ll give a couple examples of what she means by that.
“Jack, it’s not for you.” –here, “it’s” is being used as a contraction, so you’ll read it as this—“Jack, it is not for you.”
“The toy hit its head.”—here, “its” is possessive, like “his” or “hers”, so you can replace “its” with another possessive like this—“The toy hits his head.”
I hope this explains it! I’m not great explaining grammar as that’s my weak point, but I think Astinus will explain this better than me.
Even though I like the flashback a lot, I’m left wondering if it’ll serve a purpose later on in the story. It seems to me this isn’t needed if you’re going to have this be a journey fic about Clare. Sorry. D: If the flashback serves a purpose though, then can't wait to see that.
The interaction between Donner and Clare is very cute. :3
The bit with Clare and Hayden is nice and shows a bit more as to why she had feelings for him when she mentions him in the first chapter.
I want to mention though I was slightly disappointed with the ending of this chapter. I thought the plot will start already and that we get to see a bit more how Clare starts. XD
Okay, overall this is a good read, but off to a slow start. Maybe it’s me know wanting to see a journey fic where the plot starts early and the readers aren’t dealing with journey exposition stuff. Not all stories have to start with action, but something major has to happen sooner or later. I’m still looking forward reading more of this, though!
Thanks for the review!
Thanks again for the review, I'm going to go and edit the bits and pieces that you picked up on, it's really appreciated.~
Oh-ho~! Caught up!
I'm like you in that I enjoy seeing the characters' pasts more before the action starts. That way, for instance, when Clare leaves home, it's more emotional because we know what she's leaving behind. We also know where she came from and how that's going to affect who she is as a person and as a trainer.
Your battle was also fine. Don't worry if you seem unsure about writing battles. They're a difficult part of writing Pokemon fanfics for a lot of people, so you're not alone. Just keep practicing and you'll get your style for writing them. But what you wrote in chapter two was fine. I could picture the Pokemon performing the attacks, and there was constant action.
Grammar's still a bit weak. As Bay pointed out, you still using the wrong it's/its form in cases. There were a few instances where the sentences weren't quite clear, like
Also, you're not quite consistent with capitalizing Pokemon names. I see that you don't capitalize when used as the species name, but sometimes you don't capitalize when used as the Pokemon's name. Like in the battle between Peter and Rose, I noticed this a lot.
But really, with just a bit more careful proof-reading, your grammar problems will get better. And they don't distract from the story, because I'm liking the way you build characters and their world.
I don't toss this kind of praise about lightly, but it's been a while since I enjoyed reading a fanfic this much.
The first thing I want to say is that the flashbacks are used to very good effect, and they support instead of distract from what's going on in the present. A lot of other writers would have the trainer leave home in the first chapter, but since the flashbacks let the reader learn about the people and the town that she's leaving behind, the departure was more powerful.
That said, I think my favorite elements were the town/landscape and Clara's family. Though the list-like description at the beginning of chapter one could have been a little better integrated with the rest of the narration, I got a good sense of what the town is like, and of the feel of the surroundings. When Clara departed, it felt like a real place that she left behind, not a cookie-cutter, obligatory hometown.
The same goes for Clara's family. They felt like a real family, and they all had distinct personalities. Anna's cheekiness is especially appealing, and Peter strikes me as being more rounded than most OT-parents. He has a bit of a temper, but is sympathetic when it counts. As soon as he told Clara that she should make sure that the stantler has water and hay, I had a feeling that I would like him as a character, and I was absolutely right.
That said, and as with any other story, there are some things that could be improved. As Bay and Asti have mentioned, there are some grammar issues here and there, but what stuck out to me more were some misused words, especially in chapter one:
There might have been other mistakes similar to those, but finding them yourself would build character. :D I find that it helps to re-read my work aloud. Sometimes you miss things when you read in your head because you know what you mean.
Now, I know I said that Clara's family was handled really well, but this one bit felt a little strange to me:
One more thing, I disagree with Bay 100% about the ending of the latest chapter. I think the relative slowness of the beginning is part of what makes your work kind of special, and that last sentence is just excellent. Gold star for that.
Don't feel the need to rush with the next chapter, take it at whatever pace works best for you. I'm looking forward to it!
My chapter fics:
Kanto: The Disputed Frontier - 14 chapters, indefinite hiatus. Gary Stu's Unpredictable Adventure - 8 chapters, completed. Digimon Campaign - 7 chapters, ongoing
There's Always Tomorrow (SWC 2009), A Matter of Stubbornness (SWC 2010), Left by the Roadside (SWC 2011 1st place),
Giovanni Destroys the World and Everything in It (2012), By What Right? (SWC 2013 1st place), Back in the Day (SWC 2014 1st place)
Family (kind of?): Strange person who calls me strange names
If the pen is mightier than the sword, the keyboard is mightier than the ICBM.
Would you believe me if I said, I've had the next chapter ongoing since about March? Yeah. Well, it's finally done! A few things before that however:
The path through the trees was a clear cut and well-used dirt trail, but it didn’t detract from the atmosphere of the forest. It wasn’t cold and human, as if it had been forced to be there, it felt natural; the way that the pine needles had been tread into the ground by many sets of feet; the way a patch of wildflowers or growth of fungi occasionally emerged, and the way that the tree branches formed a crooked natural archway.
Clara took a deep breath in, the smell of the forest was refreshing and earthy, and there was something new in the air too. She’d walked this path many times before, so the setting was familiar, but this time she was walking it as a trainer. Almost every trainer from Firbridge walked this path at the start of their journey. She was walking in the footsteps of so many adventures; large and small. It made her heart flutter a little.
The stantler that walked behind her seemed to feel it too. He walked confidently, head forward, with no stumbles or trips. And she was right, Donner may not have understood it, but the pokemon felt a great welling up in its breast – like a tidal wave swelling and rising.
Clara didn’t speak much; the only sounds that could be heard were the crunch of boots and hooves on pine needles and the deep rumblings of a river in the distance. After half an hour or so of walking the trees to the pair’s right began to thin out, becoming more and more sparse, until eventually the scenery on that side was replaced by the river itself.
Pokémon and trainer continued walking until they reached a junction in the path they walked on – in which it split left into the forest and continued onward, following the river. The river here had a small spring feeding into it that poured from a rock formation on its right bank. The natural beauty had been recognised and a fallen log had been carved into a kind of seat to face it on this bank.
On this rough cut bench sat a young boy, or what Clara supposed was one. He sat with his back to her; the only thing visible was close cropped blonde hair. At the approach of crunching needles, the head turned and a young face grinned eagerly at her. The boy jumped and stood across the path from Clara. He was much smaller than her; Clara supposed he was only about ten or eleven. The bulky rucksack slung over one shoulder suggested that he was travelling but Clara noted that he wasn’t dressed sensibly. A baggy white t-shirt and some green combat shorts were all he was adorned in.
He pointed at her melodramatically. “You a trainer?”
“Yes.” The boy stared at her blankly as if he expected her to say more. “I’m from Firbridge-”
“Clara from Firbridge!” He pulled his hand back into a fist. “Get ready to battle!”
“I don’t…” The boy was already choosing a pokeball. She sighed, she hadn’t brought any revives with her. She didn’t want to walk on to Meanderville unprotected. And she definitely didn’t want to go back towards home. The boy, however, was already over-dramatically tossing a premier ball into the air. She sighed. “One-on-one then, this is the only pokemon I have with me. “
The boy nodded vigorously. A poliwag stood at his feet, ready to take orders. Clara made a motion with her hand and Donner stepped forward, setting itself in a determined stance.
Her opponent was eager, the poliwag darted forward spraying jets of water at its opponent. Donner nimbly jumped out of the way, causing the water type to become agitated. It began erratically spouting off Water Guns in different directions, Donner danced out of the way easily.
The young boy stamped his foot and pouted. “Wiggle! Use Hypnosis!” The poliwag stopped, closing its eyes as if concentrating. Its belly began to undulate – the spiral upon it glowing purple. Donner swayed slightly and his eyelids began to flicker.
Clara knew she had to react. She gave her command a little uncertainly, “Donner… Uhmm… Stomp!”
Donner took off at a wobbling charge and its opponent, unnerved, lost concentration. The sleep-inducing attack was interrupted and the deer-pokemon galloped forward with purpose. Rearing up on its hind-legs the stantler gave a confident whinny and brought the hooves of its forelegs into contact with its opponent’s forehead.
The poliwag squealed loudly and quickly bolted into the nearby river - making loud shrieks all the way. Its trainer darted after it making placatory gestures and comforting noises. It sprayed a jet of water into his face.
Clara stifled a giggle. “I guess this means our battle’s over?” The boy mumbled an answer that Clara took to be a ‘Yes.’
She stared for moment, at the now dripping and sulking boy, before shrugging and continuing on her way, noting that the pokemon trotting after her seemed to have a very smug look upon its face.
Meanderville, named so because the original settlement nestled into the bend of the Ursaring River (though now it extended across either side and far beyond), was far busier than usual. Not that the city wasn’t normally a busy place – there were often people bustling to and fro – but today the streets were literally lined with people. Market stalls lined the wider avenues and bunting stretched across the narrower streets.
Clara was dumbstruck. She’d never quite seen the city as busy as this. She literally had to push herself through the throng of people. The crowds were especially close packed in the narrow streets this close to the river; being so because they were some of the earliest built – their architecture reflective of the resources readily available from the surrounding forest (featuring many wooden beams, similar to the Elizabethan style but retaining the characteristic Japanese pagoda roof). Clara placed a hand on Donner’s head and used the pokemon to guide her through the crowd.
Isn’t there anywhere – A loud cry from the mob behind her interrupted the thought.
A humanoid blur darted past Clara and she reacted on instinct. “Donner, after them!” The normal type darted after the pickpocket and sped away, parting the crowds and allowing its owner to make her dash behind. The blur veered off sharply into a dark alleyway, Donner becoming a brown haze as he cantered after it. Clara turned the corner and found herself in a dead-end – her pokemon having pinned a small form against the wall.
Panting and the sound of running feet alerted Clara to a presence behind her. A short boy with spiked black hair had entered the alley behind her. “My… Wallet?” He gasped the question. Clara pointed to where Donner still had their thief cornered.
The pair walked forwards. At once they noticed that the small form quivering between antlers was a young boy. The boy was too thin. His clothes hung off him loosely. He clutched the black leather wallet tightly – his face contorted with a look of desperation. Donner eased back. The black, spiked-haired boy that stood beside Clara pulled the wallet gently from the boys grasp. He opened it and emptied out the money within; two notes and various pieces of change. He handed them to the shaking youth, and the boy’s eyes shone as he smiled at the spiked haired boy.
The boy ran off with the money he’d received and Clara and the other boy walked back into the streets. Clara returned Donner to his pokeball so he didn’t trip anyone in the pressing throng. They walked for a little together, exchanging small conversation and the boy introduced himself as Lucah. He told her that he was seventeen and Clara noted that he was very small for his age, a fair amount smaller than her.
They took a left at the end of the street they’d been walking on and ended up in small park that Clara recognised, except the grass was littered with far more people and the various bits of debris that came with such a crowd. They sat upon a bench that was shaded under a widely branching cherry blossom tree.
“That was a really nice thing you did, with the boy in the alley,” she said to him.
He smiled, “We could all do with a little extra compassion. Especially now, everything is so expensive these days.” His expression glazed over for a moment becoming oddly unreadable. He snapped his head up rather abruptly, his face rearranged with a cheery smile. “Are you here for the contest too, then?”
“Uhm, no. I’m here to battle the gym leader. What contest?” She questioned.
Lucah blinked rapidly and stared at her as if dumbstruck for a moment or so. He began talking very fast and gesturing excitedly with his hands, “How can you not know? What did you think all of these people were here for? The first to-be-annual Meanderville Contest is for the next three days! They’re not only giving away the usual ribbon, but huge cash prizes! Of course, I’m not entering for the money, I’m a coordinator and it’ll be great for my status as one. Especially considering this is only my third contest.”
“So I won’t get my battle?” Clara replied.
“Nope, they’ve taken over the Gym building to host it. I’m already in the second round. I qualified this morning.” He grinned and showed her the Second-round pass he’d received. “They’re televising the Finals. Just shows how you big contests are getting in Johto.”
He proceeded to explain to her the rules of contests and how a contest battle differed from a regular one. He’d barely taken a breath, it was easy to see his enthusiasm, and now it was Clara’s turn to feel a bit dumbstruck.
“You know, you should really see one in action. You could come and cheer for me tomorrow! Stay the night with us, we have a three bed room, all the hotels were so overbooked and it was the best room we could find. Vance won’t mind. And don’t worry, I won’t charge you! I owe you, anyway. And it’s not likely you’ll find a decent lace to stay, otherwise.”
Clara supposed she could stay in town and wait for the gym to reopen. It would save her having to trek back here later on, and she could get in some extra training time. She also had a feeling Lucah would contest an answer of “no.”
“Who’s Vance?” She asked, “Your brother?”
Lucah gave a small laugh. “Oh no, Vance is my boyfriend.”
It wasn’t that Clara was uncomfortable with people being gay, it’s just that she wasn’t exposed to homosexuality often in Firbridge. This attributed to Clara’s initial flustered reaction; which Lucah luckily took to be amusing rather than rude. They walked back through the streets to Lucah’s hotel, which was a large central one, opposite the city’s main pokemon centre. The building was rather plain and square on the outside, being one of the newer buildings, and had a very modern minimalistic décor inside.
Lucah had been talking (Clara was beginning to notice this was something he was rather fond of doing) throughout their walk to the hotel, telling her about Vance, and as they stood in the lift he said this, “Vance can be quiet when you first get to meet him. He only really talks to the people, and pokemon come to think of it, he’s closest to.”
Clara nodded. “Are you sure he’ll be comfortable with me staying with you? If he doesn’t like new people, that is.”
“Ohhh, it’s not that.” Lucah said, “He’s just very… Introverted. And introspective. He likes to keep to himself most of the time and he’s always quietly calculating things. He’ll only share his thoughts if he’s comfortable with you.” Lucah smiled to himself, it was clear this was a trait he found endearing in his partner.
The elevator pinged. They were on the fifth floor of a six-storey building. They walked to and entered the room at the end of the corridor. The door opened into a rectangular living space. The room was dark orange in colour with a deep scarlet carpet covering the floor. To Clara’s left there were a table and chairs crafted from a dark wood and the wall opposite had three similarly dark wooded doors set into it. Light poured in through a large window to the right and adjacent to this window was a black leather loveseat and armchair upon which there was a boy whom Clara guessed to be about eighteen to nineteen years old.
Vance had straight black hair (fairly long for a boy) and a gruff stubbly beard. He had a wide, muscular build and seemed to be quite tall – he was almost the opposite of Lucah. A book sat in his lap and he was raising a questioning eyebrow whilst flicking his vision from Clara to his boyfriend.
Lucah seemed to ignore this and said to Clara, pointing, “That door on the right will be your room, feel free to dump your things in there. The middle door is the bathroom, so obviously the left is where Vance and I have been sharing.”
Almost immediately upon Clara closing the door of said room a muffled conversation began to take place. Lucah’s higher pitched and fast speech and then the lower pitch of Vance. Clara only heard fragments of the conversation. A stranger… She isn’t… She’s nice! She blotted it out and sat down on the single bed that was pushed into the right corner of the room. She wondered whether it was mad to accept the hospitality of someone she’d just met.Trainers do mad things though, right? He’d been so insistent. And I suppose it’s better than spending a night camping…
She removed her hat and placed it on the adjacent nightstand. She let out a deep breath. From her pocket she removed her purse. Opening it up, she looked at the picture inside. It was of herself, her father and Anna standing by the stables with Maya. It hit her then, what she was leaving behind. She returned the picture to its place and lay down, blinking hard as she stared at the ceiling.
I've decided not to make any promises on how quickly the next chapter will be up this time. It will be up at some point, and that is all I shall say.