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Old June 12th, 2008 (9:34 AM). Edited June 18th, 2008 by Banov.
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Banov Banov is offline
Master of Kecleon
    Join Date: Jul 2005
    Location: PA
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    This is a short miniseries (5 chapters) following the impulsive quest of Riley Brennen. Something of an action-adventure following the "Hero's Journey" structure.

    Burning Spirit!

    Table of Contents
    Chapter 1: Call to Adventure
    Chapter 2: Crossing the First Threshold
    Chapter 3: Road of Trials

    PM List:

    Chapter 1- The Call to Adventure
    "Byron wins! Wow! What a magnificent victory!”

    The TV buzzed with enthusiasm as Byron, pokemon trainer and gym leader of the Sinnoh region won yet another battle against an enthusiastic challenger in a televised battle.

    In this world, pokemon were creatures who fought alongside trainers. Some were friends and pets, others battle-worn weapons. Children and adults from around the world trained pokemon; some in search of glory, some for fame and fortune, others because it was all they had. But Byron was a gym leader—one of the recognized masters of pokemon battling. He stood tall and proud, a scruffy beard and messy head of hair atop a lean, yet muscular body.

    Riley and Trisha watched as Byron stepped out of the arena and the channel cut to commercial. “Trisha, don't you get tired of watching this?” inquired Riley, scratching his face rather unabashedly.

    Riley Brennen was a young man; hopelessly messy blonde hair and blue eyes, athletic and good-looking. He, too, was a trainer of pokemon, though he'd never traveled past the neighboring towns and cities.

    “I told you already, stop calling me `Trisha.' I'm not some cutesy little girl who needs a cutesy little `a' at the end of my name.”

    Trish, don't you get tired of this?”

    “The answer,” Trish said, matter-of-factly, “is no. No, watching Byron win battle after battle doesn't get boring. He's an accomplished trainer, a damn good one, and I like watching him fight.”

    “You probably just think he's hot.” Riley sighed as she stood, getting off the couch briefly.

    “He is hot. Look at him, he's gorgeous!” she said and bent over for the remote.

    “Oh yeah… gorgeous.” Riley said, admiring Trish's behind. “Very gorgeous,” he mumbled to himself as he surveyed her long brown hair, her stunning figure and pretty face.

    Trish fell back onto the couch, with the proud knowledge that her ass still was a lethal weapon. “If Byron battled you, who do you think would win?”

    “Me!” Riley said automatically. “Me and mankey would burn that chump to the ground!”

    “I thought you'd say that, but that's where you're wrong. You think you're so tough, Riley, but Byron's been around the world and is way more experienced than you. But… I guess you'll never realize that because you'll never bother fighting him.”

    Unknowingly, Trish had just added some fuel to Riley's fire. And before she knew it, he was ablaze. “You know what, Trish? I think I'll take you up on that. I'm going to fight Byron, and I'm gonna win.” He stood up, determined.

    Trish laughed. “No you aren't! You'll never make it that far, and you'll never, ever actually win!”

    Riley was out of the room before she finished her sentence.

    * * *

    The region of Sinnoh was vast. It's most prominent feature were the massive mountains that split it in half, East from West. Byron resided in Canalave City, the westernmost city in all of Sinnoh; Riley lived in Solaceon, a hick town on the eastern half of Sinnoh. He knew from the start this was not going to be easy.

    But Riley relished in the challenge. He'd been cooped up in town for too long now; his last venture hadn't been for weeks. As soon as he stepped outside the town boundaries, into the inviting, open field, he felt truly alive. This was it! This was why he was a trainer!

    The impulsiveness of the whole thing only made him feel more liberated. He was going to take charge of his destiny right here, right now, and rush into battle because that's just what he'd been challenged to do. It was beautiful! Glorious! Romantic!

    He took a deep breath of air and then rushed downhill, leaping past the rocky ridges that lay just south of town. Nothing could stop him! He laughed ferociously before suddenly tripping on a rock and falling flat on his face.

    There was a pause.

    Slowly, he rose back up, turning to inspect the rock which he tripped on. He shuffled a little closer, and before his very eyes, the rock came to life! It leaped back, unfolding and revealing a set of legs and eyes and small green growths.

    “Bonsly!” it gurgled.

    Riley instinctively reached for his belt, pulling off a red-and-white ball object. This was a device known as the pokeball; a necessary tool for those who called themselves pokemon trainers. These were used to capture and store pokemon; each ball could hold one pokemon. Riley had with him only one pokeball, containing his only captured pokemon.

    “Mankey! Time to fight!”

    Wit an eruption of light, a creature burst out from the ball. It was called `mankey'—a pokemon with a small, round fluffy body and monkey-like limbs as well as a tail. It had a pig snout and ears, and was renowned for its red-hot temper. It was these confrontations that Riley lived for; his pokemon against other pokemon, a battle to the end! Nothing made him burn hotter than this!

    Before Riley could even utter a command, the pig-monkey pokemon had launched forward, striking the rock-type bonsly with a sharp karate chop, an ominous CRACK resounding from the strike, knocking the sturdy brown pokemon to the ground.

    It leapt to its feet, grimacing with rage. With an enraged bellow it charged at mankey, but mankey swung a heavy kick at bonsly's tiny feet while it ran. The rock pokemon toppled forward and fell to the ground, and before it could stand mankey grabbed it, wrapping both arms around the heavy rock pokemon and lifting it over his head with a ferocious roar, displaying his power.

    A final CRACK marked the defeat of bonsly as it was slammed back down to the ground. Mankey stood over it with an angry stare, breathing heavily, his chest heaving.

    “AWRIGHT, MANKEY!” Riley cheered, launching his fist into the air. “Nice one! I knew I could count on you!”

    Mankey turned back to look at him, a ferocious glare in its eyes. The rage of mankey was unparalleled. Riley decided this was his cue to get mankey back into its pokeball; with a bright flash of light mankey was reduced to a glowing mass of energy that was quickly absorbed back into the pokeball, which Riley safely attached onto his belt.

    Riley and mankey were something of an interesting pair. Riley reveled in mankey's power and rage, but the two had never bonded at all as a trainer and pokemon should; Riley didn't have time for it and mankey wasn't the friendly type. Their relationship was all business, and that had worked just fine in the years they'd been together.

    As Riley charged forward again, his mind drifted to the past; how, as a young boy, his parents had been boring and apathetic. He'd drifted from sport to sport, looking for a competition through which he could really vent himself. Eventually he found pokemon.

    Using a mankey he'd caught out of the wild, he'd fight against other students behind the schoolyard in bloodthirsty battles that earned him a lot of money and a lot of respect. Finally, when he was 12 he decided to take a permanent trainer's leave from school; he'd never been a great student, anyway, so his parents had no problem with the move.

    And at first he'd been enthusiastic as ever; he left town, fought some trainers, but the world was a bigger place than he thought. Professional pokemon trainers were a step up from the kids he'd fight in the schoolyard and untrained wild pokemon; he'd won some, he'd lost some, but he quickly came to realize he was no longer the one on top. Riley lost his confidence. Slowly his trips away from town became less frequent, shorter, until he was reduced to being effectively unemployed, living mostly off his parents but refusing to return to school at the age of 17.

    Now, things were different, his flame was rekindled, and burning hotter than ever. He felt bold, manly, mighty! He was going to go fight Byron, and win! But he wasn't really looking where he was running again, and ended up colliding into somebody else.

    This somebody was quite an imposing somebody. Riley looked up to find himself staring into the tough eyes of a fighter; muscle-bound, wearing a tight sleeveless shirt and gym shorts. He glared down at Riley, in turn.

    “The hell is wrong with you?” he mumbled, inciting Riley to take a quick step back.

    “Sorry! I wasn't paying attention where I was- “

    “Shut up, dumbass!” The burly man glanced over riley quickly, noticing the pokeball on his belt. “You a trainer?” he said, reaching for the pokeball on his own belt.

    Riley felt a smirk bubble up from within as he reached for his pokeball. “Hell yeah I am!” he said, “Is that a challenge?”

    “I've been dying to fight somebody for a while,” the man said back. “I'll kick your ass.”

    Riley took another step back as he released mankey onto the field of battle again. Across from it appeared another fighting type pokemon; this one was short, fat, but full of power, resembling a sumo wrestler; the yellow-tan pokemon makuhita made his entrance!

    The place where they fought was a natural arena; the two trainers stood at the edges of a small landmass surrounded by shallow water, with small wooden bridges to cross it. The two pokemon stared at each other, eye to eye.

    Finally mankey couldn't hold off anymore, charging straight at makuhita.

    “FURY swipes, mankey!”

    With an enraged yell mankey scratched at makuhita incessantly, arms whipping around at high speed. The small sumo pokemon, on the other hand, was patient, holding its arms up and steadily guarding against the attacks.

    “Makuhita! Use counter!”

    “Dammit, mankey, get back!”

    Mankey, too caught up in its attacking, did nothing to step out of the way of makuhita's counter attack; with a mighty straight jab it sent mankey screaming back, toppling and rolling back but still full of energy. “Mankey, use your speed against it! Circle around it and use low kick!”

    Mankey hopped forward, quickly strafing around his slower opponent with fists raised. “Makuhita, blow him back with a whirlwind!”

    Mankey, hearing the call, leapt forward and swung a leg into makuhita's feet. The heavy pokemon stumbled, but kept his balance, then with a wave of his arm blasted mankey away with a mighty gust of wind. Mankey slid across the grass, holding its claws into the ground and just barely preventing itself from sliding into the water.

    “Makuhita, keep it back! More whirlwinds!” his trainer called out.

    With a devious grin makuhita blasted two more whirlwinds in mankey's direction, but the pig-monkey had gotten to its feet and was able to narrowly avoid the winds at that distance, deftly leaping left and right past them. It charged in again, this time with a sliding low kick, but makuhita still would not fall; it grabbed the monkey, easily lifting it off the ground and threw it back with the attack known as `vital throw.'

    Mankey bounced off the ground, and came to a stop next to Riley. Its wounds were starting to catch up with it—it got to its feet, but not as quickly as before. Riley frowned at the sight; makuhita still seemed to be teeming with power. Mankey charged in again, raising its arms for a karate chop, but this time makuhita didn't wait for a hit. The yellow sumo pokemon intercepted the attack with its own, slamming mankey back with an arm thrust, then pursuing with more hits until mankey fell onto its back.

    “Mankey!” Riley called out, shocked, but was relieved when the rage-filled pokemon jumped to its feet yet again, breathing heavily but still able to fight. Makuhita glared at it, raising its arms to guard again and waiting for a strike.

    Riley recognized that makuhita was tough, but didn't think for a second that he was about to lose. “MANKEY!” he called out, fiery and passionate, “Focus your energy! Attack with everything!”

    Mankey glared right back at the makuhita, snarling with anger. This thing just wouldn't fall! Every second it spent conscious was a nuisance. With an animalistic howl at the sky, mankey focused its energy, a fiery hot aura erupting from it. Makuhita dropped its guard, realizing it was in for one hell of a hit.

    Makuhita swung a heavy arm at mankey, intending it knock it off its feet. Mankey jumped right into the attack, and it connected square in the gut; mankey kept on charging, however, briefly ignoring the pain and unleashing a devastating a flurry of attacks in a technique known as `close combat.' There was no defense, no hesitation, just all-out attack until very suddenly mankey's energy withered away, and with a final sigh it dropped to its knees, and then to the ground.

    Makuhita stood silently, its arm still outstretched from attacking. Heavy, dark bruises began to appear all over its front. It suddenly and silently dropped forward, unconscious.

    The battle had ended in a tie.
    End Chapter 1

    Comments and criticism, please. Look forward to chapter 2!

    PC Brother- ProtrainerEon
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    Old June 12th, 2008 (10:35 AM).
    [Technya]'s Avatar
    [Technya] [Technya] is offline
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      Sweet! Looking forward to chapter two!
      By the way, I love that Mankey, its attitude rocks lol
      This was nicely written and I love how detailed the battle was.
      .~Proud Ashaholic~.
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      Old June 12th, 2008 (8:05 PM).
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      ProtrainerEon ProtrainerEon is offline
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        I see you've posted a fanfic, here, Banov. How interesting. I'll be sticking around to see where this goes...

        As I said before, it's sad to see we're pitted against each other. I wonder how this will progress. Didn't I already say that? O_o

        Anyway, I noticed you're careful to include literal aspects of life in the story. For example, the not-the-best-but-still-pretty good trainer thing. I was afraid he'd just start catching Pokemon like crazy.

        Hopefully, the "Burning Spirit" of this fic will help it to survive. Good luck.

        P.S. 5 Chapters? What a tight squeeze. I'm hoping you'll fit great content into those five chapters. Disappointment is not good at all, I turn into The Incredible Hulk just like Riley's Mankey. Wow...amazing power.

        [PM me for my e-mail!]

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        Old June 14th, 2008 (8:18 AM).
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        BigfootTheUnbeatable BigfootTheUnbeatable is offline
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          Alright, I have to say, this story was VERY well written.

          The only mistakes I could find was at some points you didn't captialize 'Mankey' or 'Pokemon'.

          What immediately drew me into the story was the way you portrayed Riley, and his 'Burning Spirit'. He seems to have this thing for Trisha and his passion for battle is great. The overall character is phenomenal.

          The whole chapter was intesting the whole way through and the end was great! The battle was one of the better ones I have seen in a long time. (LOLZ when Mankey jumped and gets hit in the gut! I don't know why but I laughed.) Now that the battle ended in a tie, what will happen next? Tha leaves your readers in a simple, but nice cliff hanger. I want to read the next chapter, basically.

          What I like about this story is yeah, it's a journey fic, but it's way different from others in the fact that:

          A) Mankey is the starter. Major props for not being cliched at all.
          B) Not being cliched.
          C) The goal is to defeat Byron. That's awesome. Not everyone has to be the League Champion, some like to set their goals on a reasonable level.

          Overall, this was great and I'm exicited for Chapter 2. I give Chap 1 an 8.5/10.
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          Old June 15th, 2008 (8:31 AM).
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          Banov Banov is offline
          Master of Kecleon
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            Yeah... mankey is pretty badass. You gotta love him.

            @ Protrainer:
            Hehe, you won't be disappointed.

            Wow! Thanks for the kind words. I wouldn't really call this a "Journey" fic, though. It's more just a plain "Action/Adventure" deal.

            So, three days later, here's chapter 2. I'm now in the process of writing chapter 4, but I'll only be posting these up every 3 days s people have at least SOME time to read...

            Chapter 2- Crossing the First Threshold
            It was called Mt. Coronet.

            It was the highest peak in the entire region, the center piece in a long line of mountains that divided Sinnoh’s east from west. And now it loomed high in the sky over Riley Brennen, who stared up at its distant peak with determination.

            Riley was a man on a mission. Far to the west was Canalave City, which housed Byron, the steel-type wielding gym leader. And right now, Riley’s ambition was to defeat Byron in a man-to-man pokemon battle. After a brief stop in Hearthrome City to supply himself with food, items and heal his pokemon, he had set off again.

            But now Riley stood still, unable to move forward. His only pokemon, a mankey, had recently fallen in a tie battle against another fighting pokemon. Riley wasn’t comfortable with having come so close to losing. If he had only been able to tie then, how could he expect to face Byron, an accomplished gym leader? He could see it now; his own stunning loss and embarrassing return home to Trish, the lovely girl who had put him up to this.

            His thoughts turned to Trish. He could picture her with that beautiful figure, silky hair, and those sexy eyes that drove him crazy. She was the one who said that he couldn’t beat Byron, the one he’d set off to prove wrong. No, he couldn’t return now halfway, and he definitely couldn’t return without victory!

            He charged forward, prepared for any challenge he could face. This mountain was nothing! How could he have let himself lose confidence? There was no such thing as defeat for Riley Brennen! He would charge ahead with fiery hot strength, and show his might!

            * * *

            Riley, who was inspired and ablaze, was a total mismatch for the scene around him; a gray sky loomed above, casting a dull light over the harsh, rocky surface of the mountain. But Riley pressed on, undeterred. The path upward grew more and more steep, but Riley was still a natural athlete; he climbed, jumped and ran higher and higher, hardly stopping to rest.

            It was then that Riley spotted a pokemon up ahead. Riley stopped to observe it as it jumped up and down, swinging its arms into the air in a frenzy while screeching and yelling for no apparent reason. It was white, with a body shaped like a sloth but on its hind legs. A small red tuft of hair grew from the top of its head.

            “VIGOROTH! VIGOROTH!” it screeched, pounding its chest.

            Riley blinked, then crept forward. He knew that Byron used 3 pokemon, so in order to battle him in a fair fight Riley was already aware that he would need to capture 2 more pokemon before he reached Canalave City. He had only recently purchased empty pokeballs in Hearthrome city. If all went well, he could make use of one here.

            Vigoroth continued to up and down, stomping on a large boulder it had perched itself on. It was restless by nature; studies had shown its heartbeat went at ten times the pace of a normal human’s. Unless it stayed in constant motion, it could not sleep at night.

            “Mankey, attack!” Riley called, tossing the pig-monkey’s pokeball up at vigoroth. With a shower of light the raging brawler appeared, hands raised in defense and feet hopping back and forth.

            Vigoroth eyed it briefly then leapt high into the air, screaming loudly as it dropped down onto its opponent. Mankey watched it with an angry glare, then launched into the air after it, striking with a sharp karate chop. Vigoroth yelped, but quickly retaliated with a downward slash that sent mankey straight down into a boulder.

            Vigoroth landed in front of it, swinging its arms at random and with no apparent reason. Mankey pushed itself to its feet; its arms hung loose at its side, but its breathing was harsh and heavy while it shook with rage. With a crazed screech it leapt forward very suddenly, pummeling the vigoroth with punch after punch. Taken completely by surprise, vigoroth flew backward and slid along the ground, full of momentum.

            Mankey was far from finished. Its ‘thrash’ attack lasted for some time and involved a long pursuit of attacks; with more rage-induced yells it launched after vigoroth, scratching and kicking its downed opponent, curled feebly into a ball.

            Finally the attacks ceased; mankey’s limbs drooped and it began to lose balance, its energy temporarily used up. It was then that vigoroth stood, towering over his shorter. With an energized howl it began to glow; a yellow aura burst from it, filling it with energy. The attack ‘endure’ had helped it survive mankey’s thrashing. Now, ‘reversal’ would let it release power relative to how much damage it had taken.

            Mankey had no defense prepared. Vigoroth swung its arm wildly, the long limb striking mankey like a whip. Yellow energy exploded from the blow and mankey was sent twirling into the air, screeching with reawakened rage.

            Vigoroth grinned, watching it fly into the air, limbs flying helplessly. Riley’s gaze turned to the vigoroth, briefly, then back to mankey, who was falling back down. As vigoroth pulled back, preparing to use the attack ‘focus punch,’ Riley realized now was the time to attack!

            “MANKEY! Retaliate now! Use ‘revenge’!”

            Slowly its enraged yells grew louder and louder as it fell closer and closer to the earth. Vigoroth watched it intently, a powerful energy building in its fist. But mankey came flying straight down like a missile, filled with rage and striking head-on with a mighty punch that threw vigoroth down onto the ground, limbs sprawled out.

            Riley saw his opportunity! He leapt up the mountain, reaching into his recently purchased backpack and pulled out from it an empty pokeball which he threw at the fallen pokemon. It hit dead on, and the vigoroth was quickly sucked in as a mass of energy. It had no energy left to fight; with a successful ‘ding!’ the lock mechanism closed, and vigoroth was Riley’s to keep.

            * * *

            Riley woke up the next morning feeling very cold.

            He had continued his ascent until nightfall and had decided to sleep in a shallow cavern he found along the side of the mountain. He wasn’t sure how close he was to the summit, but he felt like it couldn’t be much farther off. It was getting chilly.

            He ate very, very briefly and then pressed forward, awkwardly climbing from rock to rock. The ascent was growing steadily steeper; eventually it became practically vertical. Donning a parka and gloves he had bought in Hearthrome, Riley clambered on and pulled himself up, bit by bit.

            The cold winds grew stronger and stronger. Snow and ice began to appear in the crevices between rocks, making each step higher a little harder then the last. Riley almost lost his grip once or twice to the harsh gusts, nearly falling to his death. With a shiver he pushed on, his eyes never leaving the mountain peak.

            Finally, finally, he reached the peak. With a groan he was barely able to lift himself up. Finally, some flat ground to rest on. The highest point was still ahead, but clearly visible now.

            Riley tried to sit and rest but the cold was unbearable; with another shiver he stumbled forward, limbs aching. The path ahead became almost invisible, engulfed in harsh snowfall and bitter cold. In the corner of his eye Riley saw something move in the blizzard; its head was well camouflaged, but its green limbs gave it away. It was still unrecognizable through the storm.

            Riley stood, frozen, as he faced this pokemon. Slowly, his hand moved to his belt, as if it had a will of its own, and he released his new vigoroth in a shower of light. This was his first time releasing it since its capture.

            “Vigoroth!” Riley yelled over the winds, while pointing at his target, “Slash it!”

            Vigoroth looked back at Riley, confused. It was fresh from the wild, not used to a commanding voice.

            Riley glared at it. “Come on, go! Slash it! I haven’t got all day!”

            It shrugged, then began speeding forward, limbs flying about hysterically. The cold didn’t seem to impede on vigoroth at all. Riley edged closer, trying to get a look at the situation through the blizzard, when suddenly vigoroth came screaming back, hitting Riley in the face and both of them toppling backward into the deep snow.

            Riley quickly raised himself, glancing over his wounded vigoroth. It seemed a bit shaken by that last attack… whatever it was. Riley was able to get onto his feet as a figure emerged from the blizzard; it was massive, in a vaguely human shape but far more round. Its body had thick, white fur and deep green limbs. It bellowed at Riley and stomped a foot into the ground ferociously.

            This was the legendary “ice monster,” the “abominable snowman,” the pokemon known by specie as abomasnow.

            Hail and snow blew about in thick, cascading layers, circling around Riley and his opponent as if alive. Riley was too stunned to utter a command, and before he knew it abomasnow raised an arm, slamming it into Riley and sending the teenaged trainer soaring back across the mountain with a shocked gasp.

            Riley landed in a soft pillow of snow, clutching his stomach in pain. He might have broken a rib. Abomasnow trudged forward, apparently having not seen vigoroth tucked neatly into the deep snow. Riley saw the energetic sloth pokemon rise out of the snow from behind abomasnow, jumping up and down anxiously.

            “VIGOROTH!” Riley yelled, cupping his hands around his mouth to direct the sound, “Jump on it! Use ‘hammer arm’!”

            Abomasnow stopped, confused as to Riley’s yelling, when suddenly it felt vigoroth leap onto its back. With an enraged yell it spun around, but the sloth clung tight, howling loudly and raising an arm, then smashing it down onto the ice monster’s skull.

            Abomasnow stumbled forward but did not fall. Its feet had roots it grew into the ground to stay stationary in strong winds. It grabbed vigoroth with both arms and threw it forward over its head, sending vigoroth into the snow.

            It raised its arms into the air, and with an ear-piercing howl the winds suddenly grew even faster. Vigoroth leaned forward, running against the airstream but was unable to approach. Suddenly the wind’s speed increased dramatically, briefly, throwing vigoroth back in a blast of snow and hail-filled air. This was the mighty technique known as ‘blizzard’.

            Riley was able to catch his pokemon as it soared in the air, but found that vigoroth was shivering so much he bounced right out of Riley’s arms and into the snow. For a moment the idea of escaping flashed through Riley’s mind; but immediately he cast this thought away. He was Riley Brennen! He was no coward! He would face down this foe with everything and win! This was no more than a test on his path to the gym leader Byron!

            Riley stared forward, determined, and released mankey with another burst of light. Abomasnow seemed unfazed by this new addition; it trudged forward, groaning in anger.

            At Riley’s command, vigoroth and mankey bounded forward, but were quickly thrown back along with Riley by another massive blizzard attack. Riley hit the ground a few feet back and groaned in pain, clutching his still tender stomach. He then realized his head was hanging off the edge of the mountain’s summit.

            A glance down gave revealed a long, long fall.

            Vigoroth slowly got to its feet again, breathing heavily. It looked back at Riley, its new trainer, feeling ill-prepared to continue fighting. Riley ignored it.

            “Vigoroth, use focus punch! Mankey, charge in with revenge!”

            Mankey, filled with anger, leapt forward while vigoroth hung back, energy building in its fist. Abomasnow was still tired from sending out blizzards so often, so it was unable to defend it self as mankey took a jump into the air, swinging all its weight into a massive punch that hit the abominable snowman’s face. It stumbled back, but before mankey had even landed from the air it abomasnow smashed it back, swinging its arm with wild power using the ‘wood hammer’ technique.

            As mankey went flying back, vigoroth charged forward below it. Wood hammer was a move that sapped a great deal of strength to use; abomasnow had taken the bait. Focus punch connected with an explosion of energy!

            Abomasnow stumbled, teetered, and then fell onto its back. It remained motionless. With a sneer Riley pulled out an empty pokeball, throwing it at the unconscious abominable snowman.

            It suddenly changed momentum in midair, just before hitting abomasnow. A powerful, chilling blast of wind sent it flying back at Riley’s feet, encased in ice.

            Riley gasped. Another abomasnow appeared from the storm, even bigger than the last, standing behind his fallen comrade. And at his feet were a dozen small snover; smaller round pokemon whose bottoms were brown like earth and would ultimately evolve into the larger abomasnow.

            Vigoroth tried to leap back, but to no avail; a massive, collective ‘icy wind’ attack swept it high off its feet, engulfing it in snow and ice and throwing it far back, almost toppling off the side of the mountain if Riley wasn’t able to quickly pull it back into its pokeball as it flew past the edge. Mankey and Riley took a step back as the winds atop the summit grew more and more mighty.
            End Chapter 2

            Comments and criticism, please.

            PC Brother- ProtrainerEon
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            Old June 17th, 2008 (8:15 PM).
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            ProtrainerEon ProtrainerEon is offline
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              Banov, I'll admit you were right. This is quite the fic. The collective icy wind part was funny, and I'm enjoying the good use of revenge against foes. The only thing I noticed is the title: he never crossed a threshold, he was held back by the battle. -_-

              Riley's developing a distinct trainer identity, good job showing us how brave he is. Everything is coming along great. Now, if you want a real deep review, now that'll have to wait. Just ask and I'll get it to you.

              As a fan, congrats on a job well done.

              As a reviewer, your writing style is all its own, and that will help you in the land of "So-and-so's Journey (title)" fics out here at PC. Don't tell me mine's OT too, I realize that. :P I'm just not going to call it "Patrick's Pokemon Quest".

              Enough about me.

              About you: As a writer, I say you've got what it takes. Just proofread every chapter and even let others do it again to be safe. Since I do my own writing without proofreading much, it tends to have typos.

              Anyway, I should shut up now. Hooray Chapter 2!!! 3, we're waiting for you...

              [PM me for my e-mail!]

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              Old June 18th, 2008 (11:09 AM).
              Banov's Avatar
              Banov Banov is offline
              Master of Kecleon
                Join Date: Jul 2005
                Location: PA
                Nature: Brave
                Posts: 117
                Thanks, Eon. About the titles; they're all named after stages in the archetypal "Hero's Journey." Google it.

                Right on time, here's chapter 3. This one took a lot of editing and rewriting to come out right! It's put me a bit behind schedule, but with inspiration and luck the last 2 chapters will come on time.

                Chapter 3: Road of Trials
                On the peak of Mt. Coronet, a teenager named Riley Brennen faced a veritable army of snover and an abomasnow; ice pokemon who summoned hailstorms with their very presence. With a collective swing of their arms, a massive blast of icy wind erupted across the peak, engulfing Riley and sending him into the air along with his pig-monkey partner, mankey.

                Riley felt the eerie sensation of his feet leaving the ground; then felt the frightening awareness of falling. He hit the ground hard; he had landed right at the icy edge of the mountain. Mankey slammed into the ground right beside him soon afterward.

                Riley fought to get on his feet but his abdomen was again struck with pain from his earlier hit, thanks to abomasnow. Mankey glanced at its pain-stricken trainer, then at the army of snow monsters that loomed ahead. It wanted to pummel them something fierce, except Riley would be left in serious danger. But at the same time, it didn’t want to show that it cared. After one more look at Riley, it made up its mind; against its natural instinct, it began sniffing the air, hoping to find something that might save them.

                As a specie, mankey had a stronger sense of smell than the average human and even the average pokemon; it smelled something musty, dank and wet. A cavern? As the gang of snow monsters began to advance forward on the fallen pair, it whipped its head around, sniffing for the cavern’s location. It peeked over the mountain’s edge and found it; it was an opening along the side of the mountain, inviting, with a small snow-covered ledge at its entrance.

                Riley looked at it angrily. “Mankey, what are you doing? Aren’t you gonna attack them yet?!”

                Mankey looked at Riley silently, then stepped right off the mountain’s edge. Riley gave a sudden cry of surprise, diving at it and watching it fall to the cavern’s ledge, landing softly in the pillow of snow and then screaming up at Riley to follow. “Holy ****,” he gasped, heart pounding. “Scared me… you… uh…”

                He heard a loud moaning behind him and glanced over his shoulder to find the snover and abomasnow standing over him, arms raised. Without thinking Riley crawled forward, launching himself off the edge and yelling all the way down. He hit the snow pile with a lot of momentum, almost sliding right over the edge if not for mankey rushing to his rescue, yanking him safely onto flat ground. It stood over him and snarled for making it look dumb.

                Riley retrieved mankey into its pokeball without a word, then got to his feet and shuffled quickly into the cavern, clutching his abdomen.

                * * *

                It quickly grew very, very dark inside the cavern. But it wasn’t quite as cold, and Riley finally felt safe enough to sit for a bit and rest. He did have a flashlight packed with him, which he promptly got out and switched on, waving it around curiously, inspecting the gray, rocky cave walls around him. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any more healing items; his mankey and vigoroth would have to contend with their wounds for now. He couldn’t help but turn his thoughts back to Trish again; she was still probably back at home, with her beautiful body and face and pretty hair. And ahead of Riley was still Byron, the steel-type gym leader. Riley knew Trish had a small infatuation with Byron, but he was determined to make it to Canalave City, far to the west, and finally face Byron in a pokemon battle. He knew he could win!

                He was beginning to feel heavy-eyed, but he didn’t want to fall asleep inside the mountain, where wild pokemon could get him. He got to his feet and walked forward, using his flashlight to try and see what lay ahead. The pain in his abdomen, thankfully, was subsiding.

                The ground was cold and rough, the air chilly and hollow. A rumbling could be heard from deep inside the mountain.

                Riley had been focusing too much on what was ahead and not at his feet; with a gasp he walked right into something on the ground, tumbling forward and hitting the cool cave floor hard.

                “Grav…” it croaked.

                Riley rolled away quickly. A series of four-letter words ran through his mind in quick succession. He felt his heart beating through his chest as he switched off his flashlight.

                With rocky sounds the pokemon graveler rolled around cautiously. It was round and made of rock, two stubby arms and legs coming out the sides of its large, rough body. It was searching for what had tripped on its foot while it slept.

                It bumped into Riley’s face.

                Riley clutched mankey’s pokeball and held his breath. Now was not a good time to fight.

                “Graveler!” it bellowed, swinging an arm at Riley, who jumped out of the way quickly. He threw mankey’s pokeball into the fray hardly without thought as he leaped back, switching his flashlight back on and keeping his sight on graveler. Mankey’s rough snorts could be heard as graveler cautiously took a step back, shielding its eyes from the light. Riley breathed in, breathed out, clenched his fists, stared ahead with determination.

                “MANKEY! Hit it with low kick!”

                Graveler let out a harsh yell, and was soon met with a sweeping kick to its footing; it tumbled and fell back off its tiny feet, shaking the cavern with its weight. It moaned in pain.

                “Now, mankey! Karate chop!”

                Mankey screeched and dashed forward after its opponent, but graveler curled into a tight ball and rolled away quickly, initializing its ‘rollout’ attack. It escaped the flashlight’s gaze, its deafening crashes against the cave walls echoing around endlessly. Riley covered his ears before he suddenly felt graveler pass by him with a rush of air. Mankey quickly lost track of both graveler and Riley in the cacophony around them, its annoyed screeches swallowed up.

                Graveler finally came to a stop, and with another bellow stomped its foot and shook the cavern again. Riley pointed his flashlight at it but quickly dropped it as he fell to his knees amid the quakes. The shaking didn’t stop. Small rocks began dropping down from the ceiling. And with a sudden, enormous roar the ground below them collapsed under graveler’s ‘magnitude’ attack, and Riley found himself lost in a falling mass of rocks and boulders.

                * * *

                Riley awoke with a groan, lying face-down on the cool cave floor. He blinked and raised himself up as the cave came into view. It was noticeably warmer; Riley felt that he was much deeper in the cavern now. His parka was starting to feel a bit stuffy, but it had at least managed to cushion his fall. Riley reached for his flashlight, which had fallen nearby; luckily, it still worked. Riley got to his feet and shined the light around; fallen rocks and boulders were strewn around him haphazardly. Mankey lay motionless, close by.

                The fallen rocks seems to make a solid wall around them. With a sinking feeling, Riley realized that he and mankey were, in fact, trapped by the rock fall somewhere in the mountain’s tunnel system. The wild-haired trainer cursed as he smashed a fist against one of the fallen rocks, uselessly. Both vigoroth and mankey were out cold; he had no way to get out.

                Suddenly a deafening, metallic screeching noise erupted from nearby. Riley stumbled back, utterly taken by surprise, as a loud drilling noise echoed around them. “What is that?!” he yelled, over the metallic roar.

                He took another step back and suddenly felt his shoe sink into something soft and moist. He bent down and sniffed it. It was some kind of fecal matter.

                He tried to think but the metallic drilling was making it difficult. He covered his ears and closed his eyes, straining to keep his head. And then it came to him, much to his dismay. He and mankey had gotten themselves trapped in some wild pokemon’s territory, and it was going to attack as soon as it got to them through the fallen rocks!

                Riley sat with his back against a boulder while he stripped off his parka, placing it in a heap at his side. He watched the opposite wall intently and listened to the loud metallic noises coming from behind it. Minutes crawled by like hours. The drilling only got louder and louder; Riley pictured some hulking brute of a pokemon bursting through the rock, then grabbing his legs in one hand and his head in the other, ripping the teen apart in a catastrophic, bloody mess.

                As Riley closed his eyes and buried his head in his legs, he again pictured Trish, with her pretty eyes and sexy body. As Riley began to lose hope, he realized he might never see her again.

                Mankey stirred. It pushed itself onto its knees, its breathing harsh and slow.

                “Mankey!” Riley exclaimed, quickly turning to face it. “Mankey, you’ve got to help get us out of here. Break the rocks!”

                Mankey shivered, then fell back to the ground. Something was wrong. There was a pause, then Riley crept toward it, placing a hand on its back.

                It was cold as ice; Riley quickly recoiled his hand. He realized mankey was still affected by the snovers’ and abomasnows’ ice attacks at the summit. It must have been fighting with that condition against graveler, and Riley hadn’t even noticed.

                “I’ve been so stupid…” Riley muttered, accidentally voicing his thoughts. “Muk, you’re in awful condition and I never bothered to check. And to think we might die here…”

                There was a pause.

                “We’ve been together for years now, but I never even tried to talk to you. And you’ve been looking out for me this whole time… even when you saved our skin when those snover were about to get us earlier. I don’t want it to end like this!”

                Mankey shuddered on the ground, is breathing becoming rapid. Riley shuffled closer, heaving it up off the ground and clutching it to his chest. He hoped that his body warmth might help it.

                “I’m so sorry,” he said, his grip on the pig-monkey tightening. “I’ve been an awful trainer.”

                He could have sworn he felt tears coming on, but he quickly pushed those away. Riley Brennen was not the kind of man to cry. He grit his teeth. “There has to be a way out,” he declared, “I’m not going to die here!”

                He began to consider his options, still holding mankey. He couldn’t think of any. As the drilling got louder his focus became less and less clear. “Come on!” he muttered, “Think!”

                Suddenly mankey, still in his arms, began to glow; a blinding white light shot out in all directions, illuminating the pig-monkey in Riley’s arms. Riley let out a shallow gasp.

                It flashed brilliantly, then faded, revealing something a little different. It was bigger; its limbs were more muscular, its glare even fiercer, and its cute little tail gone. This was primate, mankey’s evolved form. Riley’s draw dropped and eyes widened. This thing looked even fiercer than its pre-evolution!

                It shoved its way out of Riley’s arms with an annoyed snort. It seemed to have gained some vitality with the evolution, and had enough energy now to stand on its own feet. The loud, metallic drilling still echoed through the caverns.

                “Hurry!” Riley cried, “Use ‘rock smash!’ Break through this rockfall!”

                Primeape didn’t waste a moment. Its fist began glowing, and then it punched its way through boulder after boulder, each one shattering into tiny bits upon impact while Riley observed using his light. The metallic drilling continued, maddening, slowly getting louder and louder.

                Cool air began to rush into the room as the gap ahead opened up more and more. “Yes!” Riley cried, “We’re going to make it!”

                The caverns shook with more drilling, the loudest it had been yet. With an explosion of sound, rocks and boulders went flying from behind Riley and primeape. A huge, steel beast stepped from the wreckage, shining in the rays from Riley’s flashlight; its sharp blue eyes and three horns as intimidating as its massive, armored tail. This was aggron, the pokemon so powerful it could claim an entire mountain its territory.

                It eyed Riley and primeape, then let loose another massive roar that shook the caverns around them.

                Riley remembered that primeape wasn’t very fit to fight, and he couldn’t afford to put it at risk again. After taking an instant to retrieve primeape into his pokeball, Riley turned around and ran, leaping through the smallish opening left by primeape’s rock smashing.

                He heard the remaining rocks blast apart as aggron stomped though behind him, but he didn’t turn back to see, even when he dropped his flashlight. He just kept on running, staring straight ahead. He wasn’t going to let himself get caught here, not after he’d come so far!

                A faint glimmer of light could be seen ahead; a beacon of hope through what seemed like an endless tunnel of darkness. Riley poured all the energy he had left into running for the light, breaking out into a crazed, animalistic yell.

                Boom! The caverns began shaking horribly beneath Riley’s feet. He stumbled and fell onto his knees. He glanced back and saw aggron had struck the ground with his iron tail. Riley recognized the rumbling and realized aggron was going to cause another rock fall, trapping Riley inside with it!

                Riley fought to get to his feet, but another strike by aggron meant more stumbling as the ground shook beneath him. Loud cracks could be heard above; a massive rock crashed to the ground just behind Riley.

                He groaned, stumbling forward, wobbling all over the place and bumping into the walls with each tremor. He wasn’t going to give up yet! He couldn’t! The cave’s exit was unbearably close; but with one last quake rocks began crashing down all around Riley, spelling doom for the trainer.

                Riley abandoned all hesitation he had in him, diving forward through the air. A falling rock missed him by a paper’s width. Riley passed through the cave’s exit, crossing the threshold into the midday sun and then hitting the ground as rocks crashed behind him, quickly filling up the tunnel from which he leapt. The earth was warm and grassy beneath him.

                He was alive, and he made it.
                End Chapter 3

                PC Brother- ProtrainerEon
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