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Old October 18th, 2017 (12:17 PM).
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Cavespider_17 Cavespider_17 is offline
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    "I may have water inside me, but food and rest are vital all the same."
    As a sentence it doesn't sound right. As Ernest isn't actually saying "I may have water inside me" to someone else it reads as if he is drowning. A better way of saying it could be I may have drank plenty, also "but food and rest are vital all the same" also comes across as strange. A little rewording of this section would make it flow better.

    "But this "
    Seldom use but as the start of a sentence because it is a conjunction.

    Speech marks are required here, as you have stated he is hearing them, also try using italics rather than capitals as it does give off the same impression. On a positive note it is clear as a stand alone line that there is a sense of urgency and somewhat eeriness. :)

    "I dare not question their judgment, so I dash toward their location without a second thought, despite barely getting any rest. "

    Minor spelling mistake judgment -> judgement, also if this was intended as a clause it doesn't quite work. Easy way to test is to take out the middle section. "I dare not question their judgement, despite barely getting any rest. "
    The current effect is okay, but to really hammer it home reword this a little it would have a better effect. :)

    "Little do they know that my destination is the ruins: the only place where they agree to reveal themselves." : -> ; or : -> ,

    "But they". But is a conjunction and should be used rarely at the start of sentences.

    "Rather, they have manifested in my dreams, which I no longer remember. " Slightly contradictory, I understand what you mean. However, it may be wise to clear it up a little.

    "RUN FASTER." Great effect as a one liner. Capitals again would be better replaced as italics, but you could also argue for it to be in capitals this time. However, if again this is the voices I would recommend using speech marks. First time reading, I thought it was Ernest thinking it.

    "And yet" And is a conjunctive like but. It should also be used seldom at the start of sentences. Using conjunctives consistently at the start of sentences actually damages their effect. If you were to only do it occasionally the reader would get the impression that something abrupt just happened and it would have a positive effect.

    "ENTER THE PORTAL." Speech marks are required here. Especially as it is in direct response to Ernest's question. Also italics would be far more effective than capitals.

    "And where does it lead? " -> "Where does it lead?" Or "And where does it lead? " ->"Where is it and where does it lead?" .Simple fix. Remove the conjunctive it will help the flow of the text.

    All of these need speech marks. Ernest is being spoken to.

    • Overall the story did seem to keep me interested on the lead character
    • One liners are used brilliantly for effect. This is a very hard stunt to pull off in text. So well done :)
    • The vagueness in places can be a little overwhelming, however, for the genre style it does seem to work well.
    • Grammar is a major issue. Particularly the misuse of conjunctives and missing speech marks. If the author was to resolve these issues the text would flow fantastically. :)
    • From the prologue Ernest has no description. He is just a guy running. It distances the reader from the character a little.

    :) Good job.
    "Even the sturdiest ship can sink if it is built with ignorance" - Aaron Piscar (Fictional Character)
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    Old October 18th, 2017 (1:58 PM). Edited November 20th, 2017 by Unown Seer.
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    Unown Seer Unown Seer is offline
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      Chapter 2

      "Wake up, dear."

      I see an old lady right in front of me. A tad on the large side, but her radiant face stands out despite her age. I slowly open my eyes and straighten my back.

      "You don't want to miss your stop, do you?"

      A rhetorical question if I ever heard one. I'm a little embarrassed now.

      "Oh, of course not. Thanks for waking me up, lady."

      She smiles and immediately cuddles her Snubbull that I only now notice. I take a moment to look at the scenery across the window. If we're close to New Bark Town, then this must be Route 29. There is a grassy patch not far from our position, and if my eyes aren't deceiving me, I detect a family of Sentret feeding a lone Hoppip. It's a heartwarming sight of the kind that always lifts my spirits up.

      I hear the lady's voice again.

      "You aren't a Pokémon trainer, are you?"

      Is it that obvious?

      "No, but I am on my way to meet Prof. Elm. I hope that he agrees to give me a starter Pokémon today."

      "Oh? But only New Bark trainers are supposed to get a starter from Elm. You're from Violet City, aren't you?"

      "That's true, but…"

      I figure that it would be easier to show her the e-mail than to explain it myself. She looks confused when I take out my Pokégear.

      "What's this, dear?"

      "Please read it. It explains everything."

      Confused, she takes out her glasses and holds the device up close. Of course, I remember the words by heart.

      "Dear Kris,

      Thanks for your interest in my research. I will be happy to meet you at my lab whenever you can visit.

      Best regards,

      Elliot Elm"

      The old lady takes her time, even though there isn't much to read. Her Snubbull looks bored, eyeing me closely.

      "I see. It seems that you managed to get Elm to take an interest in you. Whatever did you say to him?"

      "Nothing much. Just that his ideas about the effects of Pokémon walking alongside their trainers fascinate me, and I would love to help him prove that he's right."

      "Pokémon walking alongside their trainers? Why, my Snubbull is always around me. What's so special about that?"

      "Are you a trainer?"

      "Don't be silly, dear. My Snubbull needs to stay clean at all times."

      "And you aren't on a journey, correct?"

      She laughed a little too loudly.

      "Of course not."

      "So I don't think that the two situations are comparable."

      "Whatever you say, dear. So I take it that your parents approve of your going on a journey as a new trainer?"

      That… isn't really something I'd like to answer truthfully, and her calling me "dear" is getting a little annoying.

      "Oh, yes. All of my neighbors have already left home, and my parents want the best for me."

      I wish that were true.

      "How wonderful. Well, if you're on your way to Elm's lab, I believe that the next stop is your destination."

      "Yes, I know. Thanks so much for making sure that I don't miss it."

      I reach out my arm to pet her Snubbull, who bites my finger.


      "Oh, Nelly. That is no way to say goodbye. Apologize at once."

      Nelly looks somewhat scared. Eventually, she comes closer and licks my wound that she inflicted. I wish I could say it wasn't a forced gesture. It's pretty cute, though.

      Before I know it, the bus comes to a stop.

      "Farewell, dear. Don't begrudge Nelly, now."

      "I won't. Bye!"

      As I descend from the bus, the windmills around the houses immediately get my attention. Kids are running around happily with a pair of adorable Teddiursa cubs following suit… The pastoral atmosphere is amazing. I guess it's true: The wind here truly is a pleasant sign of a fresh new start. And boy, do I need it. That lie I told that lady… It's a big one. Well, I am sure that Dad wants me gone, but he didn't seem too pleased when I told him about going to meet Elm. He called it a ridiculous idea.

      "You stupid girl. You flunked all of your exams at Earl's academy… If your own teacher doesn't think that you have what it takes to be a trainer, why would a stranger waste his time on you? You're a failure."

      I couldn't tell if Dad was drunk when he said that, but does it matter? I've learned that he is most honest when he can barely walk his way to the bedroom. I can never forget what he said when I was about seven years old…

      "It is your own bloody fault that I lost her. It was you that should have died, but your mom paid the price for your worthless self. She died knowing that there was no point to your life."

      No, no… I could never believe something so crazy. I did not ask to be born; mom wanted me to live. I… will let her exist through me, and believe that I can make her proud.

      Suddenly, I hear someone call out my name.

      "Kris? Are you Kris?"

      A brown-haired girl stands before me. She looks to be around my age, but taller. Her outfit is a bit unorthodox, especially that bulbous hat. I wouldn't want to wear that, but then again, kids at school would often mock my kippah. I appreciate the bold style.

      "Yes. How do you know my name?"

      "I am Prof. Elm's assistant. He told me that you were coming."

      "Oh, nice to meet you! I didn't know he had such a young assistant."

      "Well, now you do. How was your ride?"

      "It wasn't too long, and I managed to get some rest. Hey, what's your name?"

      "Lyra. And right behind me is Snout, my Marill."

      The blue mouse emerges to give me a smile. I instantly approach him.

      "Nice to meet you, Snout."

      Lyra picks him up before I can touch him.

      "Snout doesn't like it when strangers get so close. Sorry!"

      But Snout seems pretty comfortable to me. I give him a kiss on the cheek, making him blush.

      "Oh, that's okay. I already got one Pokémon upset in the last 10 minutes, so I figure that Snout here wants me to feel more welcome."

      Lyra doesn't seem too pleased about that. Hmm, maybe she's overly maternal?

      "We should really get going. Prof. Elm has other things to do today."

      "Oh? Could I ask what he is busy with?"

      "The new champion is coming back home. We are preparing a huge party to honor his victory. Exciting!"

      "A new champion? I think I heard one of my neighbors talk about Lance losing to someone recently. Who is he?"

      "Ethan. He's a childhood friend of mine, and I really do need to get going so I can arrange the party. And you must be eager to meet Prof. Elm, right?"

      Ethan? I remember that name from the reports about Team Rocket being stopped. First they mentioned the incident in Mahogany Town, where Lance and a young boy helped foil Team Rocket's plan to force the Magikarp in Lake of Rage to evolve. At that time, the boy's identity was not disclosed. But a few days afterwards, it was revealed that his name was Ethan, and that he had singlehandedly defeated the entire organization at Goldenrod's Radio Tower. Apparently, they were attempting to contact their ex-leader as well as send out the evolution-inducing radio waves all over Johto. The latter would have been excruciating! Evolution is a gradual process, and according to experts such as Prof. Elm, forced evolution could result in a disease.

      "Kris, are you with me?"

      "What? Oh, yes. Let's go."

      Ignoring Lyra's somewhat condescending tone, I start following her and Snout along the pavement. There are hardly any cars around and I am guessing that it won't take too long to get to the lab. But my mind is elsewhere: I hope I get to meet this Ethan. He is about my age, I assume. How amazing that someone so young could be so accomplished… I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous.

      "Don't worry. We're very close." Lyra shouted from ahead of me.

      "Great. Say, how long have you worked for Prof. Elm?"

      "For about two years. He asked me to be his assistant for the Pokéwalker project. You know about that, right?"

      "Oh, yes. They told us about it at the academy. It's a project conducted all over the region, which was meant to determine if walking with Pokémon without battling could increase their potential. And you proved that it could!"

      "Yep. You know your stuff, but it isn't that simple. We proved that growth is very slow when done this way, as in slow compared to regular training."

      "Maybe you've missed something?"

      "I think I know about this more than you do."

      "Just thinking aloud, sorry."

      As someone who doesn't share Ethan's lofty goals, I am not sure I want to even battle on a casual basis. As Dad said, I have shown absolutely no affinity for battling. Something about battles simply gets me agitated. The journey I want to take… is one I need for a happier life. I just want to get away from Dad, and maybe, just maybe, understand Pokémon a little better.

      And that means never letting Poké Balls separate us.
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      Old October 19th, 2017 (6:19 PM).
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      Astinus Astinus is offline
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        Kris's first chapter is a much stronger one than the one about Ernest. There's more action between the dialogue, and Kris has more of her backstory and why she's heading out on this journey shared here.

        I like that you're taking parts of the game and fitting them into the story. It's also interesting that you have the main plot of the games already taken care of. There won't be any fighting Team Rocket for Kris (I'd assume so), which leaves her open to a different goal on her journey.
        "Now the trumpet summons us again--
        not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
        not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
        but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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        Old October 19th, 2017 (7:09 PM). Edited November 20th, 2017 by Unown Seer.
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        Unown Seer Unown Seer is offline
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          Another chapter before I go on (a hopefully short) hiatus as a result of my stupid laptop needing a repair.

          Chapter 3

          We're on our way to Saffron Academy. I'm fairly nervous and for whatever reason, Mom is too busy driving to say anything. So I'll do the talking.

          "Mom, is it true that the Saffron gym and dojo were demolished to make room for the academy?"

          She pauses before answering, her eyes still on the road.

          "Yes, but that has nothing to do with the purpose of the academy, which is teaching students about the world of today."

          I don't want to leave it at that.

          "Why were the gym and dojo shut down?"

          "You know why. Don't act dumb."

          "You used to tell me things about the past. Now you get annoyed every time I ask."

          She looks at me, no longer annoyed. She might even be sad.

          "You're right. It's complicated, and right now I just want you to adjust to the academy. That should be our priority."

          Wait, what?

          "I thought we were were just going to look around. Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?"

          "I said that we were going to look for a school, but really, this is the best choice. I want you to have the best academic experience."

          "I was happy with the life and education you gave me. This isn't fair."

          "What isn't fair is that I didn't make this decision years ago. I was young and naïve."

          She is young for a mom, having turned 29 just recently.

          "I think that you did make the right call and we should just go back home."

          "That isn't how it works. Now stop this guilt trip."

          A long silence follows. Having nothing more to say, I just look at the heavy traffic and the herd of people running around with suitcases along the sidewalks. I hate this; I can deal with our more homely neighborhood, but even then, I only wander the streets when there is no one around. Mom says that she made a mistake in telling me stories about her life as a young kid in Azalea Town with her grandpa and Dopey, the family pet Slowpoke. They were so happy until one day, when she was just 10, it all stopped. Dopey had a brief yet painful death, the other Slowpoke followed and eventually, Mom came to learn that every single Pokémon was gone. Just like that, her life was turned upside down.

          What exactly was I supposed to do with this information? The world I know is a shadow of its former self and people are just pretending that it's all okay. All I can think about is what if I had lived before this ugly change.

          "There is a lot on your mind, isn't there, Ernie?"

          Mom snaps me out of my usual daydreaming.

          "Yeah, I guess so."

          "That isn't good for someone your age. Trust me, the academy will do you good."

          I have no witty comeback, which doesn't matter since we're about a minute away from the entrance gate. Yay.

          "We're going to meet your homeroom teacher first. She'll get to know you a bit and tell us what to expect from your classes this year."

          "They're going to be easy. You've taught me well, Mom."

          She smiles. Soon enough, she pulls over and steps out of the car. I reluctantly follow suit.

          "The teachers' lounge should be near the entrance. We're going to see Mrs. Leroy soon; she's a lovely person from what I gathered over the phone."

          I have nothing to say again. As soon as we enter the building I see students running down the stairs or gathering around each other. Like a Combee hive, so to speak. Mom and I get past them and make our way to the lounge, where several teachers are chatting over a cup of tea - except for one.

          "You must be Mayson and Ernest Orn. Welcome!" a blonde lady shouts.

          "Hello, Mrs. Leroy. Excuse us for the lateness; traffic was awful," Mom replies.

          "No problem. I'm just glad to meet you two."

          Mom's eyes tell me to say something, but I can't even think of what to say to a complete stranger I want nothing to do with.

          "Excuse my son; he's the shy type."

          Mrs. Leroy smiles. She looks nice, but it's too soon for me to come out of my shell. I sit down at the table to get this over with already. Mom and Mrs. Leroy laugh about my hastiness, but then they join me.

          "Well, let's get to business. I will be Ernest's homeroom teacher, which also means that I will be teaching him geography. The other subjects are math, language, science, computer science, social studies and physical education," the blonde teacher says.

          "Social studies and physical education are not his strong suit, if to be honest," Mom laughs. Really now?

          "What about geography? We're covering South America now," the blonde asks.

          "Does that include Guyana?" I ask almost instinctually. Mrs. Leroy looks surprised and Mom sighs. I guess I need to explain.

          "I learned a bit about Guyana while I was reading about the mythical Pokémon Mew."

          Mrs. Leroy stops smiling. I must have said too much.

          "What Ernest means is that Guyana is one of the countries we covered at home, but there is probably a lot more to learn about it."

          Way to put words into my mouth, Mom.

          "I know from your Mom that you really like to study about Pokémon. Right, Ernest?"

          I nod.

          "I understand that, but you see, most of our students aren't like you. They know very little about Pokémon."


          "It's complicated. Let's just say that not everyone is as accepting as your mom is."

          Mom's eyes no longer say anything. She just stays silent, but I have to say something.

          "I think everyone deserves to know about our history, and Pokémon were a huge part of it."

          "Ernest, that's enough," Mom interjects predictably.

          "That's okay; I can answer his question. You're absolutely right that history is important, as far as the past is relevant to the present. Sadly, Pokémon are gone and have nothing to do with the world anymore. So the kids of today are better off learning other things and not worrying about the past."

          Mom gives me piercing eyes. She knows that I want to have a debate, but warns me to drop the subject.

          "Now then, I'm sure you want to meet your classmates. Shall we go?" Mrs. Leroy adds as if to assert her victory.

          Suddenly, another woman comes out of nowhere.

          "Excuse me, I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. My name is Giselle, and I will be Earnest's computer science teacher. Nice to meet you two."

          Giselle? A fitting name for a brunette, but shouldn't I call her by her last name?

          "Hi," I answer weakly.

          "Earnest really likes computers. I bet that he is going to love your class," Mom says a little too eagerly.

          Giselle looks intrigued.

          "I can spot a bright kid from miles away. We have a special club for advanced students, and my gut is telling me that Earnest here will fit right in."

          This is embarrassing. I don't know programming or anything special, so I doubt that I can live up to her expectations. I prefer math by a long shot.

          "That sounds cool," I say lamely before Mrs. Leroy interferes.

          "Thank you, Ms. Bernard. Earnest will see you tomorrow, and now there is a certain social studies class we don't want him to be late for."

          I wave goodbye at Mom and Giselle, but the latter insists on shaking my hand.

          "See you tomorrow, kid."

          She leaves something in my hand, and it is the last thing I would expect: a Cubone earring.
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          Old October 24th, 2017 (4:55 PM).
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          Astinus Astinus is offline
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            Sorry about the late response! Had a fic recommended to me on another site and have been devouring that. But I'll always make sure to pop in when prompted!

            At first, this chapter doesn't seem like much in the grand scheme for the plot. It's just Ernest going to his new school. But I picked up on the brief mention of Ernest's mother's age and how that connects to Kris's side of the story. Still can't wait to learn what happened to make all the Pokemon suddenly drop dead like that.

            I also liked the appearance of Giselle in the story. I thought that it was her at first, then figured that maybe you just picked a random name. Especially since Giselle wasn't much of an important character in the anime. When she handed Ernest the earring, my suspicions were confirmed! I wonder what she's been up to all these years.

            My one bit of advice is to make sure to capitalize "mom" when using it in place of her name.

            It took some time for me to get used to how little narration there is between the lines of dialogue. Conversations happen so fast without much happening between them. I personally like having some narration of what the characters are doing/thinking/reacting to while talking, but on the other hand, the quick pace of the dialogue does work for this.
            "Now the trumpet summons us again--
            not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
            not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
            but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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            Old October 24th, 2017 (6:28 PM). Edited October 24th, 2017 by Unown Seer.
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            Unown Seer Unown Seer is offline
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              Giselle is arguably the best choice for a Kanto teacher. Fun fact: She's an NPC in Yellow who references the "school isn't everything" line from the end of the anime episode.

              Mayson is a mature version of Maizie, which is Kurt's granddaughter's name in the anime. There is an in-game reason why I gave her such a big role, but most people are unlikely to know about it.

              And yeah, I need to work on more narration between dialogue lines, but I'm used to visual novels where there is often a stream of dialogue and the narration happens when the protagonist isn't in the middle of a conversation. It seems natural to me, at least when the setting is a house or a school.
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              Old November 23rd, 2017 (12:52 AM). Edited November 26th, 2017 by Unown Seer.
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              Unown Seer Unown Seer is offline
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                Chapter 6

                Prof. Elm, Chica and I are heading to the celebration party in Gold's honor. Chica is walking right next to me, occasionally looking up to see what I'm doing. I wonder if she knows where we're going and why. Apparently, a chunk of the locals have already gathered at Rebecca's yard for the great feast. The walk shouldn't be too long, which is good since December evenings are pretty cold and my sweater and jacket just don't cut it.

                "Professor, how well does everyone in town know each other?" I ask.

                "Oh, this is a quaint small town and we're all fairly close. As my wife tends to say, anyone who lives here doesn't get to have privacy for too long," he laughs.

                "Cool. People in Violet City are also very hospitable, but it's a much bigger community than yours. So I'm only familiar with the people in my neighborhood."

                "Violet is an interesting city, to be sure. It is only second to Ecruteak in terms of honoring past traditions. Have you been to Sprout Tower?" he asks.

                "Just once as part of a school tour. It's beautiful, and I love the idea behind learning to live with Pokémon in harmony. I sort of doubt there was ever a 100-foot-tall Bellsprout, though!"

                "Ha ha. That sort of thinking is probably best left for local legends, but who knows. There hasn't been a lot of research on how Pokémon have changed over centuries. It is conceivable that Bellsprout used to be taller, or that at least some of them were. 100 feet tall sounds farfetched, but maybe over 5 feet? More than twice their current height."

                His words leave me dreamy-eyed, as if this day weren't already the best ever. Chica can tell that I'm happy, so she is, too. And that makes me even happier.

                "Pokémon changing over centuries… That sounds so exciting! Is that something you've worked on at all?"

                "Not really. I used to study regular evolution patterns, but my interests shifted to Pokémon breeding and the Pokéwalker project, as you know."

                I nod. I can't help but admire this guy, who is smart, curious, kind and even rather handsome. I wish Dad were even a bit like him. I'm sure that Mom was, but that is small comfort given that I never got to know her.

                "We're almost there. I think I see Roger waving at us," he points out. Sure enough, that is Roger. I wonder if he's waiting for his dad or me. He's a good kid; maybe we'll get to talk some more.

                "Kris and Chica, over here!" he yells, ignoring his dad.

                I wave back and give him a smile. It's time to join the festivities, Chica.


                There are about 50 people in Rebecca's yard, all busy eating delicacies while talking with those around them. There is an assortment of tables organized as one big rectangle, but Roger is taking Chica and me to a separate table where Gold and Lyra are sitting, with Snout in Lyra's arms and Cinder resting comfortably on the grass.

                "I've found them!" Roger tells the other two excitedly. Gold smiles, while Lyra waves.

                "There sure are a lot of people here, huh?" I ask rhetorically.

                "Yep. Rebecca has been working really hard to make this night one to remember," Lyra notes. "But Ethan here is too shy to give a speech."

                "Hey, I'm just a kid still. Don't put pressure on me," he says with a note of frustration.

                "Kris, what can I get you and Chica to eat?" Roger asks.

                "What's the best plate on the menu?"

                "Cinnabar volcano burgers!"

                "Volcano, huh? What vegetables are they made of?"

                "All of them! There's lots of chili, hence the volcano," he answers eagerly.

                "Sounds good, especially for Chica," I laugh. He rushes toward a long table with all the food and drinks, leaving me with Lyra and Gold while Chica is trying to wake Cinder up. No success there.

                "So you two have known each other for years, right?" I ask, catching Lyra's attention.

                "Yep. We've been good friends since I moved here when I was about five," Lyra says happily. Gold just nods; there seems to be something on his mind. Before long, Roger returns with a plate of two burgers for me and Chica.

                "Thanks, Roger. Have you eaten yet?"

                "I couldn't help myself while I was hanging the decorations," he laughs.

                "But you haven't had cake at least. I hope you aren't full," Lyra adds in a motherly fashion.

                I signal Chica to stop jumping up and down on Cinder's back and have something to eat. She eagerly runs toward me while I'm cutting the burger into chewable pieces.

                "Here, bon appetit!" I tell her. Gold eyes us.

                "You two have really hit it off after just a few hours, huh?" he says. I smile.

                "I've been waiting to get a Pokémon for a long time, but I've been around them at Earl's academy," I explain.

                "Earl? Oh right, I ran into him right before my first gym battle. What is the big guy like?"

                "Very jolly, but also serious about teaching kids to be strategic trainers," I answer. Lyra raises an eyebrow.

                "From what I've heard, none of his students made it to the Hall of Fame," she notes.

                "Hey, the Hall of Fame isn't everything. The Battle Tower is a great place for battles, too," Gold corrects her.

                "Oh, I didn't mean to say that the academy was the best way to learn about battling," I clarify awkwardly.

                "So have you finished your studies?" she asks. Chica finishes eating and plays with Snout, having given up on Cinder.

                "Kind of. I've passed all the regular tests, but the battles… were too hard," I reply.

                "Hard how?" she keeps asking. I don't know how to answer that without embarrassing myself. Is she doing this on purpose?

                "I don't know. Battles make me nervous and I really didn't want to command Pokémon that weren't even mine," I say after pondering. Lyra looks surprised.

                "I get what you mean. It doesn't seem right to use a Pokémon that isn't yours," Gold chips in.

                "Like that thief who stole Toto!" Roger stands up and exclaims. This is clearly a touchy subject.

                "Yeah, like him. I'm sorry that I couldn't get Toto back, but…" Gold stops mid-sentence.

                "But what?" Roger asks. Lyra looks annoyed.

                "Come on, Roger. Cut Ethan some slack on his big night," she says. I can't help but agree.

                "That's okay. That thief… I call him Silver, and he isn't that bad a guy," Gold explains. "He never introduced himself. I came up with Silver because of his belt; I would have called him Red because of his hair color, but that name is already occupied."

                "Wait, so how well do you know him?" Roger asks.

                "I've battled him several times to get Toto back. I lost the first few times, but I did win when he challenged me in Goldenrod City while I was trying to stop the broadcast."

                "So what happened?" Lyra asks. It seems that she only knows so much about Gold's journey. How close are they?

                "Well, he helped me save the Radio Tower's director and find Team Rocket's interim leader, Archer. I doubt that I could have done it without him." So Gold wasn't the only one responsible for stopping Team Rocket. The media didn't mention Silver at all.

                "He stole Toto, but he fought against much bigger thieves. I wonder what that is about," I note.

                "That doesn't change a thing! He is just as bad as they are," Roger counters.

                "Let's just drop the subject, okay?" Lyra says agitated. Rebecca comes close to our table.

                "Kris, right? I'm glad you could join us. I see that Chica is enjoying my cooking," she says with a smile. She's an attractive woman who certainly knows how to host a party. The guests seem to adore her, probably for being a single mom that raised such an exceptional son.

                "Thank you so much, Rebecca. It's great to be here," I reply. She keeps smiling.

                "Now then, Ethan, you haven't said so much as a word to the other guests. At least send out the rest of your Pokémon so that everyone can admire them," she tells her son.

                "Okay, but they don't like people staring at them. The minute they don't feel comfortable, I'm returning them to their balls," he tells her off. Then he stands up and takes out four Poké Balls, clicking on their buttons in quick succession. Four creatures emerge next to Cinder: Scizor, Smeargle, Umbreon and a white, avian Pokémon I don't recognize. They all look so cool!

                "Go on, send out the last one," Roger says in mild amusement.

                "Yeah, as if. A red Gyarados is not a good fit for a party," Gold laughs. Meanwhile, people have noticed the new guests and are excited. Smeargle and Umbreon hide behind Scizor, while the mysterious egg-shaped critter is flying happily.

                "I saw them on TV! That Togekiss was a real star against Lance's Dragonite," a tall man yells. I guess that a lot of people watched the championship battle, but I didn't. The man sits down when Gold doesn't answer him; he clearly doesn't enjoy the attention.

                "Togekiss? Is that a newly discovered species?" I ask.

                "Kind of. I got a Togepi egg from Mr. Pokémon, who got it from the Kimono Girls in Ecruteak City. It's a very rare Pokémon, and it was by coincidence that Prof. Elm figured out how it evolves. Long story short, it evolved into Togetic after the Radio Tower incident, and then again right before I entered Indigo Plateau," Gold says.

                "Amazing. So how did it defeat Dragonite?"

                "It's a Fairy type. They're pretty good dragon slayers in general, but even so, Lance's team were a real hurdle," he says.

                "Don't be so modest, Ethan! You showed that Lance guy who's boss!" the tall man from before yells again. Gold sighs, while Cinder finally wakes up to join his friends. Chica and Snout greet them, too. It's funny how Cinder and Scizor tower over all the others.

                "Your Pokémon are so cool," I tell him.

                "They're my loyal partners. We'll always be together," he says smiling. An elderly woman approaches us. She's eating a piece of cake.

                "Ethan, my boy, what do you want to do now? You've already achieved so much in just a year," she tells him. Gold pauses.

                "Have you considered replacing Lance as the champion?" she asks after he stays silent.

                "No, I could never do that. I want to keep traveling with my friends," he answers.

                "Oh? Travel where?"

                "I'm thinking of Kanto. There are some great places to visit there, and the gym leaders are tough," he says.

                "Kanto is an interesting region. Very different from rural Johto," she notes. "I can't imagine that the gym leaders will be much of a challenge for you, though."

                "Battles aren't just about the challenge, and besides, there is a very strong trainer I want to meet."

                "You mean Red, right?" Lyra asks, while the woman looks curious.

                "Yes. Red has been my role model ever since I heard about him bringing down Giovanni. I realized then that age means nothing," he says while petting his Umbreon.

                "Of course age doesn't matter. Why, I'm in my 70s, but I feel as vibrant as ever. Anyway, I hope that you don't rush off to Kanto first thing in the morning, eh?"

                "Don't worry about it. I've promised Mom to stick around for at least a week."

                "Wonderful. I'll see you later, then," she says and turns back. She almost stumbles over Chica, who is too preoccupied with her playtime to notice where she's going. Awkward.

                "I don't know about you guys, but I could use a slice of cake right about now," Lyra says. "Shall I get you plates?" We all nod excitedly. She comes back after a few minutes and we enjoy the delicious flavor of a black forest chocolate cake. We let the Pokémon have some, too. Before long, the guests start leaving, as it's already past 10 pm. Prof. Elm approaches, looking ready to leave.

                "Okay, Roger. It's bedtime for you."

                "Geez, why should I go to sleep while everyone else is still up?" Roger mopes.

                "They're older than you are, and in case you hadn't noticed, they're going home," the professor retorts. "Now Kris, it's way too late for you to start your journey today. How about I let you sleep on the sofa in my lab?"

                "That sounds great. Thank you!" That is a load off my mind, but I was afraid to ask him.

                "Thanks for coming, everyone. It's been fun," Gold tells us. His Pokémon other than Cinder are back in their balls by now. "And thank you, Lyra and Roger, for making this happen."

                "I did all the work, really," Roger laughs. Lyra is giving him the evil eye.

                "Like hell you did. Even I can't take the credit for Rebecca's hard work," she says. "Anyway, it was worth every second! Even if you were pretty quiet, Ethan."

                "I don't like being in the spotlight, that's all. And I told you to call me Gold."

                "Hey, if you don't want to feel important, don't change your name just because people all over the region know you now," she says. He doesn't have a good comeback.

                "Fine, call me Ethan. But not you, Kris." I nod, while Lyra stares. This is so awkward.

                "Okay, you kids. Let's get going, and Ethan, don't forget to bring your Pokéwalker device tomorrow. I want to see all the juicy details about your journey," the professor says and Gold nods. I signal to Chica that we need to get going, and she follows me reluctantly. She could probably keep playing all night if we humans weren't in the way…

                "Goodnight, everyone," I tell Gold, Lyra and Rebecca. It's time to go to sleep.


                It's morning now. Chica is resting comfortably on my blanket, and I'm thinking ahead about our journey. I haven't planned nearly enough, not least because I didn't even know that I would receive a starter. The only thing I know is that I am not going back home. I did have enough sense to bring a supply of potions and repels just in case; there is no way that Chica will get hurt on my watch. After thinking back and forth, I realize that I have to be spontaneous. What's the worst thing that could happen?

                Roger and his dad enter the lab. The former is his usual perky self.

                "Rise and shine, ladies!" Roger shouts.

                "For heaven's sake, Roger. They're free to sleep for as long as they'd like."

                Chica looks pretty pissed. She did not want a wake up call.

                "Sorry. I just thought that Kris was already up," Roger says.

                "That's okay, I was. And we should get going now," I reply.

                "Hey, Kris… I want to keep in touch with you. After all, you're going to do important work for us and it's my job to monitor your progress!" Roger says seriously. I can tell that he just wants to talk.

                "That's a great idea! Here, let me write down my Pokégear number," I say and take out a pencil. "You can call me whenever about anything," I smile.

                "Sure, when I am not too busy with other projects," he smiles back. Prof. Elm looks amused.

                "Kris, two things: First, I've prepared you some food for your trek to Cherrygrove City. Second, your Pokéwalker device is ready," the professor says.

                "Awesome. Professor, you've been really great to me, and I'm just some girl from another city. I could never thank you enough."

                "Now, now, don't make me feel emotional. You are not just some girl and you deserve a great start as a new trainer," he smiles. "Just promise me that you won't do anything reckless. Use those Poké Balls when needed, and train that Chica of yours."

                "I won't do anything reckless, don't worry," but those balls... Let's not rehash that debate. It's best to just smile.


                Well, it's time to head off. "Are you ready, Chica?" Her eyes tell me that she certainly is. The Pokégear map should help me navigate my way out of town. We start walking along the pavement Lyra and I used to get to the lab yesterday. After we get to the bus station, we'll get on the first bus and stop mid-way to see the wild Pokémon from up close. We just need to be careful not to attract attention; the last thing I want is to get into an unnecessary battle.

                Suddenly, I see Gold running toward us. "Kris, wait up!" I stop, while Chica looks confused.

                "I didn't get a chance to wish you good luck on your journey," he says.

                "No worries, and thanks. I hope that you find what you're looking for in Kanto."

                "What I'm looking for? I don't really know what that is."

                "You said that you wanted to meet Red, right?

                "Yes, but he isn't the only one. I'm also looking for Silver, to thank him for his help against Team Rocket. I didn't mention this to Roger, but I believe that Toto is pretty happy where he is."

                "You should tell that to Roger. I've only known him for a day, but it's obvious that he's very worried about Toto."

                "You're right. Hey, what are you looking for?"

                I pause. I don't like being asked this question because I don't have a good answer that satisfies people.

                "I just want to get to know Pokémon better. To do that, Chica will always be on my side, and so will any other partner that comes along."

                "That's a great answer. Lyra told me that you don't like Poké Balls, so I guess this is the reason for that. Just be careful, okay?"

                "Funny, the professor said the same thing just an hour ago. What should I be careful of?"

                "Trust me, even Johto has its share of dangerous wild Pokémon and criminals. You need your Pokémon to keep you safe, and that means training them."

                Criminals I understand, but why would wild Pokémon be dangerous? He's exaggerating, but he has good intentions.

                "Don't worry, I'll be fine. Hey, do you want to share Pokégear numbers? That way we can keep tabs on each other's journeys."

                "Sure, give me your Pokégear and I'll ring mine so that both numbers are saved." I take the device out and he dials his number. Done.

                "Great. Well, we should get going. Enjoy the break before you leave, okay?" I say.

                "Will do. I'll be bored out of my mind, but I'll be a good son for now," he laughs.

                "Your mom is pretty great. I hope you know that," but then, he couldn't know what it's like not to have a mom at all.

                "Sure do. Anyway, feel free to call me about anything – especially training. I want to see Chica as a Meganium next time we meet." As he says that, Chica tackles him. She must want another hug from Cinder. Gold knows this all too well, so he summons his trusted starter, who lifts Chica up to say goodbye. Heartwarming, really.

                "Get a room, you two. Kris needs to get going," he says.

                "Yeah, we shouldn't miss our bus. Bye Gold, and let's remember to stay in touch!"

                He nods and signals Cinder to put Chica down. We move in different directions, but I know that we'll meet again. What sort of person will I be by then?
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                Old November 26th, 2017 (11:51 PM).
                Bay's Avatar
                Bay Bay is offline
                Darkinium Z
                Join Date: May 2006
                Location: Dani California
                Gender: Female
                Nature: Sassy
                Posts: 5,380
                Okay, catch up time!

                So, the computer club is doing something akin to Pokemon Showdown, huh? Knowing the path the story is likely going to take, this might not end well. Also would be cool to see more appearances of Ernest's grandfather.

                Next chapter Kris's side of the plot seems still to not take off, but there are some neat conversations going on, like the news not mentioning Silver helping with the radio tower incident. Nice reference on Togekiss's fairy typing too. The part where Kris thought Gold is exaggerating when he mentions dangerous wild Pokemon, um well Gold did get to explore all of Johto sooooo...

                "Meowth are all right. They don't care who you are or anything."
                Foul Play [Chapter Four up!]
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                Old November 27th, 2017 (6:05 AM).
                Unown Seer's Avatar
                Unown Seer Unown Seer is offline
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                  Posts: 169
                  PBS was a real thing well before Showdown existed. Here's what I believe is its last version.

                  Kris is very stubborn when it comes to her beliefs about Pokemon.
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                  Old November 30th, 2017 (6:15 PM).
                  Astinus's Avatar
                  Astinus Astinus is offline
                    Join Date: May 2006
                    Age: 31
                    Gender: Male
                    Posts: 10,107
                    I still like the little details that you include in your chapters. Like the volcano burgers and the mention of how Violet and Ecruteak carry on in their traditional ways. You even manage to adjust for Togekiss's Fairy-typing, which wasn't around for both generations that had Johto games.

                    This chapter seemed to have those little sorts of details all throughout it. Wondering if more will be made of how Silver and Toto are doing, and if Kris can get over her nervousness while battling now that she has her own Pokemon.
                    "Now the trumpet summons us again--
                    not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
                    not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
                    but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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                    Old December 1st, 2017 (6:52 AM). Edited December 1st, 2017 by Unown Seer.
                    Unown Seer's Avatar
                    Unown Seer Unown Seer is offline
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                      Posts: 169
                      Generally speaking, if you a have a question about a character, chances are that it will be addressed.

                      The Fairy type is the kind of mechanic that should have existed to begin with, as are abilities and most moves out there. Don't expect to see Mega Evolution or Z-moves, though.
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                      Old December 31st, 2017 (2:13 AM). Edited January 7th, 2018 by Unown Seer.
                      Unown Seer's Avatar
                      Unown Seer Unown Seer is offline
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                        Posts: 169
                        I had to take a break and find my voice again, as it were. Hopefully I can make gaps smaller again.

                        Chapter 7

                        "Ernie, wake up," Mom says sweetly. "You have your club today, right?"

                        I open my eyes. I must have had quite the dream, since I find it hard to get up. My mind is still reeling, but I don't know what the reason is. It's frustrating not to be able to recall your own dream; knowing me, I guess that Pokémon were involved somehow.

                        "Yeah, it's Saturday. I need to be there by 10 – what time is it?" I ask after collecting my thoughts.

                        "A quarter to 9, just about. Grandpa's been waiting for you to join us for breakfast, so hurry up," she says and leaves my room. Grandpa? I'm surprised that they aren't at work by now; I had to take the bus last week around this time because they were too busy. Mom didn't like that at all, but Grandpa told her that she should give me some credit. I didn't combust into flames or anything, and on the way back, I was so busy thinking about the club that I missed my stop and had to correct my mistake by foot. Even that didn't sour my mood, as I had already been delighted to see how many people were still talking about Pokémon online. Old folks, probably, but on the Internet age isn't a factor. Still, the excitement started to wear off after a few days, since there were so many posts and most were just about PBS strategies and tournament organization. There was something else, though…

                        "Ernie, I'm leaving unless you get down here within a minute," Grandpa says, reminding me that I haven't moved a finger yet. Better get out of my pajamas, then. I get dressed hastily and go downstairs before Grandpa leaves… only to find that he hasn't even finished eating yet, his eyes fixed on the newspaper. That is so like him.

                        "Good morning," I say to get his attention.

                        "It may not be morning anymore," he jokes without even raising his eyes. "You're lucky that your mom cooked enough for three, or you'd be out of breakfast." He seems to have made Mom laugh. She's reading a newspaper, too. I sit down and grab a piece of lightly colored marble cake, which is Grandpa's favorite. I look through the window to gauge the weather; it seems like a cloudy November day, but my guess is that there won't be any rain. Suddenly, I spot that.

                        "Why are the bee drones out today?" I ask.

                        "Why not? Even in winter, some flowers flourish and it would be a waste if the bee drones weren't around to collect their pollen," Grandpa answers.

                        "Okay, that makes sense. That reminds me that I've been trying to figure out which Pokémon acted as pollinators back in the day. And more specifically, what are the bee drones based on?" As I say this, Mom stops reading and eyes me.

                        "The drones are based on a species called Cutiefly – the smallest pollinator to have existed. They were not native to Kanto or Johto, though. Because bigger pollinators were less effective, some folks at Silph came up with the idea of creating the bee drones… around 1998, maybe? There was no real incentive to develop more than a handful of those things before they were truly necessary," Grandpa explains. "We were lucky to have the designs ready when we really needed them, and after a year of cooperation with other companies, the models were made cheap enough to produce in bulk all over the world."

                        "Yeah, they told us about that in science class a few days ago. The teacher didn't mention anything about natural pollination, though…"

                        Mom sighs and quickly fills in the blanks for me.

                        "The pollinators that I know from growing up in Azalea are Butterfree, Beedril and Ledyba. They were much bigger than the flowers, but they could suck out the pollen gently. Zubat and Golbat, on the other hand, would devour the flowers."

                        "Interesting. What about Grass-type Pokémon? Wouldn't some of them have wanted to create more flowers?" I make Mom ponder. Grandpa seems rather clueless at this point.

                        "Jumpluff is one example. The Pokédex says that it would scatter its cotton spores all over the world," I answer my own question. "But I haven't come across another example."

                        "I can give you a different example… Vileplume. Those little buggers would scatter poisonous pollen every time they took a step. They probably didn't mean to cause harm most of the time, but they did anyway! And your Mom should know."

                        "Oh? What happened, Mom?"

                        She seems to be forcing herself to recall an unpleasant memory.

                        "I touched a Vileplume in Ilex Forest, that's all. The pollen was the paralyzing kind, so I couldn't move for a few hours. Luckily, Grandpa Kurt found me and took me home, while all I could do was move my eyes. Let me tell you… That was the last time I touched a Vileplume!"

                        "That must have been awful, but they're so cute… This news is really disappointing," I reply. I read about this behavior pattern but wanted to believe that the Pokédex was exaggerating. Now I can't argue with facts anymore. Why, Vileplume?

                        "Looks can be deceiving. And well, it doesn't matter now," Grandpa is saddened.

                        "Let's change the subject, shall we? How do you feel about going to your club again, Ernie?" Mom asks.

                        "Eh? Ah, it's a better experience than regular classes, that's for sure," I say while pretending it's just a computer programming club. Grandpa knows a little better than Mom does because I only told him about the earring incident. Still, he doesn't know that Pokémon are involved and I should keep it that way. I get to have my own secrets.

                        "Your teacher… Giselle, I believe? You said that she wanted you to work on a computer game. What is it about?" Grandpa inquires, with Mom nodding. They don't like being left in the dark, but who does? My club activities are absolutely tame compared to whatever they're doing, but it wouldn't be a good idea to tell them that.

                        "It's a platformer game about a dream traveler that enters other worlds in order to correct some wrongdoing. I'm writing the script, Alan is in charge of all the programming and Giselle handles the graphics," I lie through my teeth. Obviously, I've had time to think about this.

                        "Really? You should have said so earlier; it sounds wonderful," Mom says with a beam on her face. "I can see why you would associate dreams with exploring other worlds."

                        "It sounds like a lot of work for just three people. Maybe you'll be done when you graduate in nearly 6 years," Grandpa says skeptically, ignoring Mom's daydreaming.

                        "What's the rush?" Mom scolds him. "It's a neat side project that should be fun more than anything else."

                        "I just wonder that Giselle has in mind. She's a teacher, yeah?" he asks me directly.

                        "Of course. I guess that it's a passion project of hers and she's been looking for the right students for a while. My role is relatively simple." I wish he'd give it a rest, but it's my fault for showing him that earring.

                        "I hate to cut the conversation short, but both of you need to get going. I'll drive you to school, Ernie," Mom says. Grandpa gets up reluctantly and says goodbye. I can't help but wonder what he thinks I'm really up to. I don't hold a candle to him when it comes to holding secrets.


                        I'm outside the computer lab again, waiting for Giselle. I wish I had my own set of keys, but no such luck. The gray corridors aren't as empty today as they were a week ago; maybe I was just too fixated on my thoughts to notice anyone around. I'd been worried about that bully and had no idea what to expect from Giselle. Now that I know what the deal is, and I haven't seen him for 8 days, I feel much more relaxed. It doesn't bother me that the other students, who are mostly older, are enjoying themselves with club activities I haven't the faintest of. I don't envy that kind of happiness, but it's still a precious thing. So who am I to judge?

                        "Ernie? Why aren't you getting inside?" Alan startles me as he opens the lab door from inside. His dirty blond hair and overbite stand out more than they did a week ago. "You know that Giselle and I have been here for a while, right?"

                        "Can't say that I did," I say and get embarrassed. "I hadn't realized how late I was."

                        "What is this, the third degree? Get inside, you two," Giselle interferes. "Good morning, Ernie." It's odd to hear her use my nickname, but I don't mind.

                        "Good morning. What are you working on?"

                        "Animations. Let me tell you, I think we've gone too far with the number of available Pokémon. I'm struggling with the unique animations," she laments while proceeding to the hidden room.

                        "There was no choice. PBS fans are greedy and brutal when they don't get their way," Alan explains. Unlike Giselle, he's only been doing this job for a year, but both of them work on the project on a daily basis. The club is just their way to catch up.

                        "You created the models a long time ago, right?" I ask her.

                        "I created a handful for the first PBS version, but thanks to my friends we covered most of the Pokémon that were native to Kanto. Ever since you know what, I've been gradually completing the work on my own."

                        "That's amazing," I say. "I think that I didn't give you guys enough credit last week. You're making a lot of people happy out there." Giselle smiles, while Alan looks unconvinced.

                        "But not you, right? You don't care for simulated battles – your cup of tea is history and crying over the past. You don't belong here," he says while avoiding my eyes. Clearly, I touched a nerve last week.

                        "You don't get to make that call. I invited him to do exactly what he's doing, and he deserves no less respect than you do," she lectures him.

                        "I'm sorry that I've offended you, Alan. For what it's worth, I'd like to try the PBS soon. The double battle feature sounds cool," I say to pacify him. It's the truth.

                        "You will? When?" he asks.

                        "Maybe today. There is something I need to tell Giselle first."

                        "Fine. I'll go ahead and review the daily bug reports," he says and leaves the hidden room, somewhat agitated. He is definitely a bit impatient.

                        "What's up, kiddo?" Giselle asks. "Last we met you didn't seem to find the bulletin board too interesting. Any change?"

                        "Yeah. A few days ago I found a thread on some weird rumor regarding the Celadon sewers. People were chatting about a colony of Grimer living there!"

                        "What? That can't be right. They may be weird, but Grimer and Muk died along with all the other species."

                        "No doubt. But Grimer were originally born when sludge in a dirty stream was exposed to the moon's X-rays. Couldn't that happen again?" I make Giselle pause.

                        "I wouldn't know. Show me that thread and I'll whip out my BS detector."

                        Fair enough. I approach one of the computers, enter my details and look for the "Grimer still out there?" thread. Giselle is looking intently at the screen.

                        Celadon Gambler: Grimer. I saw at least three of them when I looked for my daughter's doll in the sewers.

                        Drill Pecker: Sure you did, old man. Take your pills.

                        Celadon Gambler: They were so peaceful. They only wanted to be left alone, so I gave up on the doll.

                        Murkrow's Wrath: Are you for real? Only a sick man would joke about something like this. Die.

                        Celestic Mage: If you wanted to leave them alone, you wouldn't be telling other people about them! For shame!

                        There are more posts, but none give the original poster the benefit of the doubt. Giselle looks annoyed.

                        "It's a rumor with nothing to back it up, I know," I say before she does.

                        "I think you've given it more thought than anyone else has," she replies.

                        "At the very least, it's made me think of species with unusual origins. In Kanto alone, you have the three fossil families, Grimer, Voltorb and Poyrgon. Could they be revived?" I ask, only to make Giselle's upper lip quiver.

                        "You don't know, do you?" She leaves me perplexed. "Obviously, scientists are way ahead of you. Even before you were born, scientists in Pewter Museum tried to resurrect an Aerodactyl. The process had been done several times before, but this was the first time they'd tried it after the wipeout. They failed." The grave meaning of her words takes some time to register.

                        "What do you mean? They couldn't revive the fossil?"

                        "They could, but the newborn Aerodactyl died after an hour. They've never tried to reproduce the results since."

                        I need to think about this. All this time I thought that the plague had worn out after a while, even if it left no survivors. But this is worse! It might be something bigger.

                        "Basically, there can be no new life for Pokémon even after all this time?" I ask weakly.

                        "That's what scientists believe, kid. So stories about Grimer coming to life again are considered ridiculous. That's the harsh truth." She eyes me closely, looking worried. "I had no idea what I was getting you into. People on the Internet can be bastards, completely uncaring about the impact of their words. I didn't want to expose you to wacky theories."

                        "Then what did you want?" I ask honestly.

                        "There's a void inside you. I could tell the minute I heard you talk with Mrs. Leroy that you were more like me than kids your age. You remind me of myself 19 years ago, and I was older than you then." Her lip quivers again. "When I lost my Pokémon, the world seemed to have rejected me. I was upset, confused and eventually just bored. But life carried on. It had to."

                        "My family had to move on, too," I explain hesitantly. "My great grandfather had died of a broken heart, as my mom puts it. Every now and then, she cries looking at photos of her life in Azalea with her grandpa and Slowpoke. She never had the chance to become a trainer."

                        "That's tough. I wonder if maybe she imprinted her unfulfilled dreams onto you. Is that why you feel that you don't quite belong?"

                        "I guess. It doesn't help that Mom is doing her own thing these days in Silph Co. along with her dad. They have something to do which keeps them going, and I think it involves Pokémon."

                        "Why do you think that? Silph is alive and well by providing technological alternatives to Pokémon. They've been busy since the beginning."

                        "I know that!" I exclaim too eagerly, to make a point that she's looking down on me a little too much. "But Mom wouldn't tell me what she's working on, and that is so unlike her. Until recently, she'd only been working at home and had nothing to do with Silph."

                        "Calm down, kid. You should lighten up a bit," she says with a sigh. "I think you've played detective enough this week, so why don't you play with Alan as you promised?"

                        "Okay. Sorry for raising my voice, but you've given me a lot to think about and it's a bit.."

                        "Overwhelming? I know what you mean, kid," she says and pets my head. "Just take your mind off of it… for a bit. I know better than to think you're going to let it go."

                        I laugh. How come she understands me so well after barely a week?

                        "Okay. I'll go use the PBS for the first time. I'm sure that your work will blow me away." She smiles and so I leave the hidden room and wave to Alan, who is deep in thought. I don't think he's a heard word of the conversation, which is a good thing.

                        "Come check this out," he says. "I'm watching two of my beta testers duke it out."

                        I look at the big computer screen, where the scenery is an ancient-looking colosseum. On the arena are four creatures participating in a double battle: Vaporeon and Heracross, versus Houndoom and… Vileplume! A funny coincidence.

                        "Which side is going to win?" he asks me.

                        "Well, based on types alone, Vileplume is the only one not at a disadvantage. It should be able to take Vaporeon down and keep Houndoom prepared for Heracross."

                        "Aren't you forgetting something? The game changes entirely depending on the speed of the combatants. Vileplume is the slowest and least likely to dodge moves." As he says this, Houndoom summons harsh sunlight.

                        "Well, I have no idea how those aspects even work here, but you shouldn't underestimate Vileplume," I smirk. It almost feels as if we are the ones battling; I'm rooting for Team Vileplume despite what Mom told me today. Sure enough, the moving flower basks in the sunlight and manages to bounce and rotate around its center, throwing off its virtual foes. It then unleashes a solar beam right toward poor Vaporeon, who doesn't seem to enjoy the heat. Meanwhile, Heracross is dodging Houndoom's flamethrower, but isn't fast enough to land one of its punches on the fiery canine. Vaporeon survives one solar beam and aims a hydro pump at Houndoom, who holds on only to fall to Heracross.

                        "Brutal ambush. You had the right idea, but it barely made a difference," Alan laughs.

                        "So? Vileplume is still a speed demon on the loose." It quickly takes its revenge on Vaporeon, leaving Heracross without an obvious strategy. The herculean beetle attempts to slow Vileplume down with its massive horn, but the petals are too sturdy and the naughty flower is practically running in circles. Once it sends Heracross to sleep, a few sludge bombs finish the job.

                        "It's over. I told you that Vileplume would win, so pay up," I say calmly. We both laugh when we stop pretending to take any of this seriously.

                        "Lucky guess, newbie. Now help me find the bug because that Vileplume shouldn't be going that fast even under the sun."

                        "Yeah, I guess so. I'm sure that it would have won, anyway."

                        If Pokémon had been data to begin with, fixing them would have been easy. But they died for unknown reasons, and there is no proof that they can be brought back. Still, what can I do to find out what Mom and Grandpa are onto?
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                        Old January 6th, 2018 (10:32 PM).
                        Bay's Avatar
                        Bay Bay is offline
                        Darkinium Z
                        Join Date: May 2006
                        Location: Dani California
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                        I too think cutiefly drones are cute haha. And also like everyone else, oh dear over the baby Aerodactyl and Grimer/Muk mentions. During Giselle and Ernest's conversation, I feel there are occasions you can put describe the reactions through body language.

                        "There's a void inside you. I could tell the minute I heard you talk with Mrs. Leroy that you were more like me than kids your age. You remind me of myself 19 years ago, and I was older than you then. When I lost my Pokémon, the world seemed to have rejected me. I was upset, confused and eventually just bored. But life carried on. It had to."

                        "My family had to move on, too. My great grandfather had died of a broken heart, as my mom puts it. Every now and then, she cries looking at photos of her life in Azalea with her grandpa and Slowpoke. She never had the chance to become a trainer."

                        "That's tough. I wonder if maybe she imprinted her unfulfilled dreams onto you. Is that why you feel that you don't quite belong?"

                        "I guess. It doesn't help that Mom is doing her own thing these days in Silph Co. along with her dad. They have something to do which keeps them going, and I think it involves Pokémon."

                        "Why do you think that? Silph is alive and well by providing technological alternatives to Pokémon. They've been busy since the beginning."
                        For instance, I think you can have Ernest bit his lip/being hesitant before mentioning his family having to move on, and him sighing while he talks about his family's work in Silph Co. Maybe have Giselle react too when she asked Ernest why he thinks that.

                        "Meowth are all right. They don't care who you are or anything."
                        Foul Play [Chapter Four up!]
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                        Old January 7th, 2018 (1:27 AM).
                        Unown Seer's Avatar
                        Unown Seer Unown Seer is offline
                          Join Date: Aug 2009
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                          That's true. I am not very observant when it comes to body language, but I can make it work.
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                          Old January 27th, 2018 (2:30 PM).
                          Astinus's Avatar
                          Astinus Astinus is offline
                            Join Date: May 2006
                            Age: 31
                            Gender: Male
                            Posts: 10,107
                            Interesting about that baby Aerodactyl. It being killed that quickly after being born shows that whatever killed Pokemon is still about, even twenty years later.

                            I liked the conversation Ernest had with Grandpa and his mother about Vileplume. It showed who they are as characters, and gave Ernest's mother some more background. And I like that it was tied to the end of the chapter, since it gave Ernest something to be excited about with the PBS. Especially after the disappointing find on the BBS, with the crazy Grimer rumor. Nice job writing that and catching the negative side of forums.
                            "Now the trumpet summons us again--
                            not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
                            not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
                            but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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