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Old June 1st, 2015 (4:43 PM). Edited September 20th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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    THE TRIAL OF JUNO SAGA




    Foreword

    I believe I might have posted the start of this story a long time ago under the name "Neo Pikachu" (before Emolga won my heart over!), but I lost the login and email for that account and truthfully, this story has undergone MASSIVE amounts of changes since then. But for those of you who don't remember or never saw this story before, no worries, this is the perfect time to read it.

    The Trial of Juno Saga is in four parts, detailing the trials and tribulations of a human schoolyard bully named Jake Kossak entering a world of Pokémon as a Pikachu named Juno, a gifted Pikachu made possible only through the dreams and desires of one of Jake's bullied victims. What starts off as a squabble between classmates and bullies plunges into a dark, twisting rabbit hole where Juno, foreseen as the savior of the tormented Pokémon world of Kivistal, must fight not only through the dark wastelands of this new, ravaged world, but also through the agonizing depths of the Abyss (the Pokémon rendition of Hell) and journey through the high heavens of Utopia (Pokémon rendition of Heaven). Throughout his dark journeys, not only must Juno fight his corrupted fellow Pokémon, but also the sickening horrors of the Abyss, and one of the most intimidating and menacing enemies of all: himself, the selfish, heartless human that he used to be. The question is can Jake/Juno overcome all of these dark obstacles, and what really lies at the final end of it all?

    The Trial of Juno Saga is rated PG-13. While there is some harsh language, most of the rating comes from the violence and graphic themes (especially with the Abyss). Also, I plan on posting roughly one chapter per day, so hopefully that's a manageable amount for people to keep up with it.

    So sit back and enjoy the story.
    Chapter Directory


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      #2    
    Old June 1st, 2015 (4:44 PM). Edited June 7th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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    Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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      THE TRIAL OF JUNO I
      THE DAWN OF HOPE



      PART I – THE GRAY BATTLEGROUNDS

      Chapter 1
      Enemy of the School

      Randy was a loser. And besides being an epic failure at everything including Pokémon battling, he was the only reason why I found interest at school while keeping my mind off the garbage that happened at home. Whenever I got angry or frustrated because of stupid teachers or homework, all I had to do was find Randy Ferguson and release my stress upon him.

      Randy’s Pokémon were also losers, and they’d always be that way since they always got beat up badly every time he battled. I must have made Randy’s Pidove and Nidoran kiss dirt at least twenty times. Randy also had a Growlithe and a Sewaddle, and I had beaten the stuffing out of them more times than I could remember. Obviously, Randy was too stupid to know how to really battle, but the way he kept on trying rather than giving up kept renewing the fun.

      Alex and David, two of my best friends, also hated Randy’s guts. Alex was a taller kid with long, black hair, a love for black t-shirts and worn-in blue jeans, metal music, and intimidating Pokémon. He was often loud, aggressive, shouted at people he couldn't stand, and wasn't the kind of kid you wanted to mess with or get on his bad side. While I liked to slowly torture Randy’s Pokémon in a battle, Alex wiped out Randy’s Pokémon so fast it was hilarious.

      David, on the other hand, was a smart aleck with a blonde crew-cut, blue eyes, a devious smile, and liked to wear polo shirts and cargo pants. He was also a schemer and a sly kid who wouldn't think twice about framing someone innocent just for fun. Alex and I were probably the only people he trusted. As for Pokémon, David loved his giants. If it was huge, heavy, and liked to squash smaller Pokémon flat, chances were good David loved it.

      When the three of us took turns battling Randy, the amount of overkill was just so funny that it was almost obscene. Randy said he’s been a trainer for nearly two years. To me, he was practically on the same level as a beginner who only just started yesterday. If that’s not pathetic, then I don’t know what is.

      In the meantime, life at home was crappy enough to the point where I'd actually rather be in school pestering Randy. My parents were going through yet another divorce custody and alimony battle and I was sick of having lawyers always coming our house to see what we were doing. Meanwhile, Vicky, my idiotic younger sister with her stupid and fake blonde-dyed hair, was always a materialistic and condescending snot who liked to break and steal my stuff. And I hated doing stupid chores like taking out the trash, cleaning filthy dishes that I swore Vicky made filthier on purpose, and cleaning my bedroom that I really didn't feel like spending precious hours organizing again.

      But when it came to Randy, most of the time getting caught picking on him only resulted in nothing more than a slap on the wrist by a teacher that was too busy to care. And pummeling Randy's Pokémon was nothing any teacher could give a student over. Besides that, Alex, David, and myself had plenty of episodes where we set off stink bombs in Randy's desk, stole his homework, and snuck a laxative in Randy's lunch, winning him the title of "Poopy Pants" following a series of hilarious events.

      Randy's lunch money was a helpful source of income given my crappy allowance. I never felt guilty about taking it either given the fatty, toxic waste the cafeteria served. Heck, I figured I was doing Randy a favor by encouraging him to fast by not having enough to buy anything. If I did nothing, he’d become just as fat as Frank Meyers, who we’d always call “Shirt-Buster” on a regular basis. I considered his lunch money was income for my services. It wasn’t much, but a dollar a day added up nicely over time.

      This had been going on for almost two years on an almost daily basis, but we got a big surprise on May 14th. It wasn’t during school like most of our pranks took place, it was after. And it didn’t start with Randy this time.

      Alex, David and I had been walking down the stairs out of the back entrance of Scottville Middle School when we saw it. There he was, Frank Meyers lying down in the mud by the stairs in that little ditch that accumulated water from the rain last night. His short, blonde hair and his pudgy face were soiled with wet filth and his shirt, or what was left of it, was completely soaked with mud. We didn’t even need to do anything to begin laughing hysterically. I had no clue how it happened, but with his level of clumsiness, I was disappointed I missed out on seeing the events that lead up to it.

      “Hey, Frank!” David shouted out over a hard laugh. “What happened to ya!?”

      “Chill, man,” I told David casually. “The pig just wanted to cool himself down.”

      Frank was in a cross between crying and becoming furious. We laughed even further. Someone who’s in the seventh grade really should have learned to stop crying like an infant long ago.

      Alex then made the situation more hilarious. He found the backpack that Frank had dropped and opened it up right over the mud puddle. Frank’s folders and his books and each of them landed in the mud, effectively soaking the pages full of sludge. Frank was getting even worse.

      "Just... stop!" Frank cried. "Why did you have to do that!?"

      Then I saw something that made me laugh even further. Frank had Poké Balls in his backpack that also landed in the mud after Alex threw them out. I never realized Frank was a Pokémon trainer. I really just couldn’t picture a fat, worthless piece of flesh like Frank actually training Pokémon when he couldn't even train himself.

      Then, as if it couldn’t even get better, out of nowhere came Randy Ferguson in the flesh. He was standing before us like he was all high and mighty, with his frizzy. orange hair blowing in the wind, probably because he still hadn't figured out what a comb was or how to get a haircut. He was also wearing that dumb t-shirt with the Cobalt Crew logo, which was a puke-inducing pop music band most sane people couldn't tolerate. Meanwhile, his orange cargo shorts had to be the stupidest-looking pair of pants on the planet while his dirty, white sneakers had those annoying lights that flickered everywhere he walked.

      He was just watching everything in disgust, furrowing his brow and squinting those beady brown eyes of his. Alex had dumped everything that was in Frank’s backpack before turning around and seeing our special victim.

      “Poopy-pants!” Alex shouted at Randy, giving him that special, evil smile. “I was wondering where the hell you were. If you’re looking for the bathroom, it’s inside, stupid.”

      “What did Frank ever do to you?” Randy asked us, stupidly feeling remorse for this dirty, pile of flesh. "Leave him alone, he doesn't want any trouble."

      The three of us laughed even further. Here was Randy, acting like a big hero for Shirt-Buster. That idiot had no clue what he was getting into. Exactly how was this day going to be any different from all the others?

      “Randy,” David told him honestly, “even you should be aware that Frank isn’t worth the mud he’s lying in. How do you think a chump like him ended up in there in the first place?”

      “It was an accident!” Randy wailed, again trying to play the hero here. “Leave him alone, I know it's me you want!”

      Then, Randy reached for his belt and pulled out one of his Poké Balls. I could see where this was going. Teachers didn't want students battling Pokémon near the school building, and Randy was willing to risk getting in trouble for it. Not like I cared about stupid school rules anyway.

      Still, did that idiot really expect to win a battle against us? I couldn’t believe it. All this time, Frank seemed to become more hopeful now that Randy was here to defend him. Frank was just about to learn that his guardian angel was just as much of a dimwit as he was.

      “Go, Nidoran!” Randy shouted, tossing his Poké Ball forward.

      The Poké Ball landed on the asphalt of the parking lot, and a moment later, Randy’s worthless purple, spiky bunny Nidoran emerged from its Poké Ball in a flash of white light. The three of us looked at each other to decide how we wanted to beat the stuffing out of Randy’s Pokémon.

      "Not it," David quickly chimed in. "I battled this twit last time."

      "Kind of busy with fatty here," Alex replied, leaving it up to me. "Besides, I like the way Jake usually sacks that dumb Nidoran."

      Some of the other kids that were around the parking lot were beginning to watch, curious to know who was gutsy enough to start a Pokémon battle on school grounds where it wasn't allowed. A few of the wiser kids already knew it was Randy and weren't expecting much of an exciting battle, while a few of the other ones that hadn't seen this before thought this would actually be exciting.

      "Hey, you know you can get in trouble for this, right?" One black kid with a gray Scottsville Staraptors sweatshirt and blue denim shorts asked Randy.

      "I'm not going to let them get away with picking on Frank!" Randy shouted back at him.

      Please. But when it came to me taking on Randy, I nodded, and decided why not, I was in the mood for easy Pokémon pummeling. I then removed one of my own Poké Balls, pressed the central button to prep it for release, and threw it on to the asphalt as well, not caring if we were having a battle in the parking lot where it wasn't allowed.

      When the Poké Ball struck the ground, it burst open with a flash of light and released my fantastic Raichu. The burly, orange and white-bellied mouse Pokémon emerged, looking ready for action as he lashed his whip-like tail around, striking the asphalt with the thunderbolt tip at the end. However, when he looked ahead to see who his opponent was, he sighed and realized it was the same worthless Nidoran he had crushed so many times before. Even Raichu looked like he was tired of Randy’s brainless attempts to beat us.

      "Oh, no contest!" A blonde-haired, blue-eyed female student with a black tank top laughed when she saw what Pokémon Randy's Nidoran would be up against.

      I just laughed. As some people gathered to watch, others passed a glance and walked away, figuring they already knew how this one was going to end.

      “Raichu!” I shouted. “Use your Thunder Wave against Nidoran!”

      It was getting to the point where Raichu didn’t even need commands to kick the stuffing out of Nidoran. It had become so systematic and routine that Raichu could fight almost completely on his own like we actually rehearsed for this on an everyday basis.

      Raichu then sent out his Thunder Wave attack, charging up bright pulses of electricity from the yellow cheeks on his face and directed them right at Randy’s Nidoran. The small, purple poison rabbit Pokémon was rendered helpless, completely paralyzed from the shock and left there, twitching and curled up in a fetal position. All that Nidoran could do now was quiver on his back as sparks of electricity surrounded his body. Paralyzing Nidoran wasn't even really necessary because it was a guarantee Raichu could finish him off in one swing, but hey, why not prolong the misery?

      “Slam that Nidoran with a Brick Break attack, Raichu,” I told him, knowing this would finish the job with no problem at all.

      While everyone was watching the battle play out, Raichu then charged at Randy’s Nidoran, and all Nidoran could do was just watch in stricken horror as Raichu rushed up to punish it for existing. When Raichu reached his target, he threw a bone-cracking punch right into his side, sending Nidoran tumbling out of control before lying on his back, wincing with his tongue hanging out. Alex and David were snickering again as Randy was effectively slapping yet another epic failure on his already comical losing streak.

      “Nidoran, return,” Randy moaned in frustration as red recall beam shot out from his Poké Ball and landed on the sacked Nidoran, turning him into a red, dematerialized silhouette of energy before pulling him back into the ball.

      Raichu was then tapping his foot impatiently as Randy put Nidoran's Poké Ball back on his belt before deciding on his next victim. Some of the onlookers weren't sure if Randy was going to call it quits.

      "Give it up, he's out of your league!" One of the students in the crowd shouted to Randy.

      "I can handle him!" Randy shouted back to the crowd. "He wasn't my best, I'll admit!"

      Please, trying to watch Randy save himself from his own self-created public humiliation was just comical. But, as escalation of commitment goes, he then pulled out a second Poké Ball, prepped it for battle, and threw it forward. Just as the crowd was expecting something bigger and better when the Poké Ball hit the parking lot, all that came out was Randy's Pidove. Yep, nothing more than a common gray and black pigeon Pokémon that most people didn't bother with. Randy didn’t even need to lose yet and we already began cracking up hysterically.

      “Randy,” David told him, trying to fight the hard laughter for a moment, “don’t you know anything about type-alignments? Flying types don’t do very well against electric types like Raichu.”

      “I don’t care,” Randy responded. “My Pidove is faster than Jake’s Raichu.”

      You wish. Raichu’s signature attribute was his speed, and it was ten times faster than Pidove’s. This time I showed no mercy. Idiocy like that had to be punished. And some of the people in the crowd just left, knowing exactly where this was going.

      “Raichu, use your Thunderbolt,” I smiled to Raichu, knowing it would be more than enough to send Randy’s little Pidove screaming into the oblivion.

      As if to help Raichu even further, Pidove took flight, thinking he could get an advantage that way. Raichu’s cheeks flared up with electricity and just as Pidove realized what was happening, a massive fork of lightning emerged from the shining Raichu and struck Pidove dead-on in the air, blasting him with a bright flash. Pidove was thoroughly cooked for five whole seconds as electricity coursed through him before Raichu released his power, and let the hopeless Pidove fall from the sky just before the nice, hard asphalt broke his fall. The only smart move Randy made after that was giving up.

      “Fine, Jake,” Randy spat with frustration as he returned the pulverized Pidove to his Poké Ball. “I give up. But some day, I’ll become so strong that the three of you combined won’t even beat me!”

      “Randy…” Alex said and he shook his head in disbelief as he was nearly laughing, “…in your dreams. There’s no way you’ll ever become strong enough to beat us. You can try all you like, but you’ll never do it.”

      As the crowd just shook their heads and left after a Pokémon battle that really wasn't worth spending the time to watch, we were ready to just head on home and get out of here. That normally would have been a very typical day that the three of us tortured Randy. But something else happened that day that we won’t long forget…
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      Old June 2nd, 2015 (10:34 AM).
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      Delirious Absol Delirious Absol is offline
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        Hi there =)
        This seems really interesting so far. It's not often you come across stories written from an antagonists point of view. I like the way you portrayed the characters in this first chapter, and your writing style really pulls you in.

        Going off your introduction post, it sounds like the character changes over time. I look forward to seeing how you write this =) I'm excited to read more!
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        Old June 2nd, 2015 (1:32 PM).
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        Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
          Hi there =)
          This seems really interesting so far. It's not often you come across stories written from an antagonists point of view. I like the way you portrayed the characters in this first chapter, and your writing style really pulls you in.

          Going off your introduction post, it sounds like the character changes over time. I look forward to seeing how you write this =) I'm excited to read more!
          Hey there!

          Yeah, when I started this story a while back, I thought doing it from the antagonist's point of view would be an interesting take, and over time, it evolved into something much, much bigger and deeper. Also, I decided to put in that synopsis and decided spoiling a bit of the overall story was necessary as some people quickly became disinterested early on because of the main character's starting attitude, despite the fact goes through many changes over time and later deeply regrets his decisions. Problem was, they didn't stick with it long enough to find this out, so I figured that synopsis would really help with saying "hey, this guy starts off as a total jerk, but he changes! Stick with it!"

          Thanks for your feedback and hope you continue to enjoy it! :)
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          Old June 2nd, 2015 (1:34 PM). Edited June 9th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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          Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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            Chapter 2
            Out of Nowhere

            When the crowd dispersed, I caught sight of Jeff Huntington, a Scottsville Staraptors lacrosse player who was dressed in his uniform and look like he had been waiting to head to practice before noticing the whole battle. Unlike everyone else, he remained behind.

            “The three of you are quite the jackasses,” Jeff told us, giving us an annoyed glare. “Congratulations, you've beaten him for the millionth time. How about leaving the kid alone for once and why not try finding someone more in your own league?”

            Alex, David, and I just couldn't believe it. Why would a guy like him care? I just looked at him, really hating that annoying brown, combed-back haircut, and overly serious face. I barely knew who he was, other than the fact he was a sports jock. Really, that punk should have just minded his own business rather than trying to poke his nose at us.

            “Jeff,” David said to him, surprised he was willing to even start with us, “why don’t you mind your own business? If you hung around Randy for even just five minutes, you’d realize just how worthless he really is.”

            “Right, I've heard all that before from you guys,” Jeff replied to him, looking irritated at the same time. “You pick on the same kid every day for no good reason. You know, since I'm tired of seeing and hearing it all the time, try battling me for once."

            Really? Well, now this was interesting. None of us have ever battled him before, but whatever, I didn't give it any second though.

            "Make this a two on two battle," Jeff told us. "If I beat you, then you have to promise to leave Randy alone, because I'm tired of seeing you guys harassing him every minute of the day.”

            “But if we win…?” David asked Jeff, expecting a response.

            “Then you won’t hear from me again,” Jeff told David, feeling confident that wouldn’t happen.

            Yeah, what a raw deal. The only reward we would be getting out of beating Jeff’s Pokémon is Jeff’s humiliation, which usually came free with every successful battle anyway. But, even if we did lose, we had no intention of backing down. To me, there was no issue with breaking a promise with a guy I couldn't possibly care less about.

            “Jake,” Alex said to me, looking at me from the corner of his eye with a smirk on his mouth, “let me take care of this idiot.”

            “Sure thing,” I said to him with a smile and shrug, returning my Raichu to his Poké Ball.

            Alex was quick as lightning when it came to beating Randy’s Pokémon up. Fighting Jeff was going to be even more interesting. Jeff had pulled out two of his Poké Balls, prepped them for yet another forbidden battle on school property and threw them forward.

            “Go, Ampharos and Espeon!” Jeff shouted as he threw forward the two Poké Balls.

            Just like Jeff said, out of their Poké Balls came an Ampharos and an Espeon. I got a good look at them and saw they weren't too shabby, but it still was pretty much a naked yellow electric sheep and a psychic purple cat up against whatever ferocious onslaught Alex was about to bring out. Jeff actually made a fairly decent attempt to keep them nicely trained, groomed, and fit.

            For once, we were going to see what a real battle looked like rather than the shameful excuses that Randy kept handing to us. At least Jeff actually had evolved Pokémon, unlike Randy who couldn't even get his Pokémon trained enough to get to that point. Still, despite all of Jeff's efforts, he was about to see what his adversary was capable of.

            “Go, Houndoom and Mightyena!” Alex shouted as he let loose two of his Poké Balls.

            Obviously, Alex had picked his nastiest Pokémon for the job. Leave it to Alex to show off two vicious, blacker-than-death hellhounds with glaring eyes and teeth that look like they could kill people they hadn't even met yet. Mightynea was a ferocious, black and gray wolf Pokémon while Houndoom was like a savage doberman from hell with white horns, bone ribs on his back, and bone bracers on his ankles. When they appeared in the wake of the flash, I rubbed my hands in sneering anticipation. I couldn’t wait to see Jeff get wasted.

            When people got to seeing what Pokémon were fighting, this was easily getting a lot more attention than Randy's lame excuse for a battle.

            “Ampharos, use your Thunder Wave attack on Mightyena!” Jeff commanded, acting like some hotshot military commando, “Espeon, Light Screen.”

            Unlike Randy, he actually had a strategy going and seemed to act like he knew what he was doing. But Alex wasn’t through yet. This party was just getting started and I was looking forward to seeing Alex's Pokémon wipe the floor with these clowns.

            As the onlookers were gathering, Ampharos let loose a pulsing Thunder Wave that unfortunately Mightyena had no way of avoiding. Meanwhile, Jeff's Espeon coated himself and Ampharos with a bubble shield of violet, reflective light. He could try all he'd like to shield himself from the wrath Alex was about to unleash upon them. When it failed, it would make it that much more comical.

            “Houndoom, use your Crunch attack on Espeon!” Alex commanded pointing his index finger at his intended targets, “Mightyena, use your Howl!”

            For now, it looked like Mightyena could fight off the paralyzing effects of Ampharos’s attack. He had let loose a loud howl that echoed throughout the entire parking lot, filling his body with ripe energy and anger and even got some applause from the audience. In his fury, he gnashed his sharp teeth, and I knew Jeff’s Pokémon were in for a world of pain.

            In the meantime, Houndoom charged right after Espeon, and rendered his sharp teeth to bite down on Espeon. Jeff's Espeon winced in pain as the hellhound’s sharp teeth tore and lacerated his side, sinking his teeth down hard before throwing the Espeon away like a wad of gum down the trashcan. A bunch of students in the crowd winced while others grew excited.

            While the Espeon wasn’t looking so hot in the aftermath of the Crunch attack, Mightyena looked like the Thunder Wave’s paralysis was starting to get to him and slow him down. After growling and struggling to fight back the agony, he found it hard to even move under the strain. I figured it had probably been a while since Alex's Mightyena had to deal with a worthy opponent. Still, Alex had to give Mightyena a moment to recover.

            "Come on, Jeff, you can waste this punk!" Obviously one of Jeff's friends called out to him from the crowd.

            "Ha," David laughed back at him. "Looks more like he's losing!"

            While some of the students watching tired to warn Alex and Jeff about battling on school property, others just didn't care and wanted to see the battle unfold. And still the battle went on, gathering more attention by the minute.

            Jeff commanded his Ampharos to attack Mightyena with a Thunder attack, trying to show no hesitation after what happened to his Espeon. I was crossing my fingers hoping it wouldn’t hit, but Jeff got lucky this time. Mightyena was barraged with another harsh amount of electricity that slammed right on him like a sledgehammer from above. The hit was pretty brutal, but thankfully, he wasn’t down and out yet. Still, it did look like he was sincerely getting sick of it. Mightyena snarled at Ampharos, likely thinking Ampharos must have been really stupid to anger him.

            Meanwhile, Jeff ordered Espeon to use his Morning Sun. To our dismay, Espeon was coated with light for a brief second, and every bit of pain Houndoom had dealt to Espeon had been recovered as the cuts and tears had been sealed. But Alex knew that Espeon wasn’t too much of a threat because both Houndoom and Mightyena were dark types. While Mightyena needed a brief moment to recover, Alex decided on a new target for Houndoom.

            “Houndoom, use your Flamethrower on Ampharos!” Alex shouted.

            Houndoom threw his front paws forward, arched back his head and then let loose a red-hot stream of flames upon the unsuspecting Ampharos. Jeff’s Ampharos twitched painfully as he was slowly barbecued under the consuming fire. Then, to our surprise, when the flames cleared, Ampharos had been inflicted with a harsh burn on his side, all while he was wincing and trying to soothe the pain with his floppy, yellow hands.

            "Don't let him get away with that!" Another kid shouted to Jeff.

            "Wouldn't dream of it!" Jeff shouted back with a smile, trying to impress the crowd.

            He still had a plan, turning back to his Ampharos and telling the yellow, fleeceless sheep to attack the black wolf with a Thunderpunch. Ampharos jumped around Mightyena to bewilder him, and when Mightyena least suspected it, Ampharos charged in and struck the dark wolf in the jaw with an electrified fist that Ampharos made by folding one of his hand flaps over. Mightyena snarled angrily at the pain, wanting payback in blood for that.

            “Mightyena, use your Headbutt attack on Ampharos!” Alex commanded. "Beat the stuffing out of that stupid sheep!"

            Mightyena then charged toward Ampharos, thirsty for revenge. The dark wolf then put his head down, and then slammed forcefully into Ampharos, completely ignoring the effects of the Light Screen shield. Ampharos was knocked into a back flip before landing face first on the hard asphalt. It was too bad for Jeff, because at that moment, Ampharos didn’t look like it could handle any more.

            “Ampharos, return,” Jeff commanded as he summoned Ampharos back to his Poké Ball.

            Some members of the crowd booed, and Alex just smiled, knowing that even though Jeff was the fan favorite here, he was still winning. In fact, knowing Alex, having the opportunity to beat Jeff in front of his friends was definitely not a bad deal.

            Meanwhile, taking down Espeon was Alex’s next objective. Mightyena needed another moment to rest, so Houndoom was up for the fight. Still, Jeff’s Espeon was going to get the first strike.

            “Espeon, use your Quick Attack!” Jeff shouted to Espeon.

            Espeon then burst into a blur, and slammed right into Houndoom in a flash of fury. However, it was more of a surprise than a really painful attack. Houndoom growled off the pain, and then focused on his target.

            “Headbutt attack,” Alex commanded, knowing that too would cut right through the Light Screen.

            Houndoom lowered his head, and then charged right into Espeon, slamming the purple psychic cat with a forceful blow that had to hurt. Espeon was hit hard, having very little protection against it. And best of all, Espeon flinched from the attack, hopelessly trying to shield himself with his front paws while wincing from the fury of the assault. Alex was more than ready to attack again while Espeon was in a hopeless trance of trying to fight off the terror. The crowd was disliking where the battle was going, but it didn't matter to the three of us.

            “One more time, Houndoom!” Alex shouted with a devilish smile on his face.

            Espeon was slammed again after Alex's Houndoom rammed right into him, and after rolling over a few times and lying still on his side, he didn’t get back up from the asphalt. Jeff had been defeated, and he looked far more miserable as he returned Espeon to his Poké Ball. After that, Alex returned Houndoom and Mightyena to their respective Poké Balls.

            The crowd left disappointed, but Jeff didn't seem to care he lost, as if he meant to do it.

            "You got lucky, Harper, don't let it go to your head!" One of Jeff's lacrosse friends shouted to Alex.

            And that was when one of the teachers showed up. Yeah, I knew where this was going. It was none other than Mr. Dennis Browning, an old, balding, annoying math teacher who would have done the school a big favor retiring years ago. And man, did I hate that vest and those stupid khakis of his.

            "Boys, school property is not the place for a Pokémon battle!" He shouted before adjusting those dorky glasses on his nose. "You know it's against the rules, and if I see it again, it's going to get both of you suspended!"

            "Won't happen again, sir," Jeff assured him with a nonchalant smile that was just asking to meet a fist.

            "Yeah, okay," Alex nodded, not really caring an ounce about getting yet another suspension on his record.

            It was then that Balding... I mean Browning, headed back toward his ugly, green sedan and it was just us now. The three of us were just done for the day with this moron while stupid Frank and Randy looked at Jeff like he was some kind of superhero to them.

            “As long as you bother Frank and Randy every day, you’ll have to deal with me,” Jeff warned us. “Mark my words. I'm sick of seeing you guys pull this crap every day, so I hope you enjoy getting sick of me as well.”

            “I thought you said you’d stay out of our way if you lost!” Alex shouted back, annoyed that even puny little Jeff Huntington couldn’t even keep his own deal. "I just beat the stuffing out of your pathetic Pokémon!”

            “Man, you're slow,” Jeff remarked, crossing his arms, “Did you really think I was serious? Because really, even if we had that deal and I won, I knew you guys wouldn't stop harassing Randy.”

            I was getting sick of this. Why on earth would Jeff want to defend Randy so much anyway? No one seemed to really care except him. We had been doing this for quite a while and the most we ever got from someone else was either a laugh or "that wasn't very nice" but beyond that, nobody wanted to step into the middle of it until now.

            “Fine, Jeff,” I told him, staring right back at him in the face. “If you really want to lose to us each and every day of the school year, you can go ahead and be my guest.”

            “We'll see,” Jeff warned us. “I wouldn't get too comfortable with this setup, Jake."

            Pathetic moron. He had no idea what he was dealing with. And to even further our amusement, Jeff, Randy, and worthless Shirt-Buster became friends after that. If that doesn’t make you laugh, I don’t know what will. Those two dimwits suddenly admired Jeff probably because he had more guts than they could ever hope to have. And I figured Jeff liked being the stupid chivalrous type by protecting the weak. It just made me sick.

            While we never really bothered Frank and Jeff as much as we did Randy, everything had changed that next day. Worthless Frank and Jeff were going to suffer just as much as Randy was. I really didn't mind adding more morons to the list of clowns I liked to punish for getting into my face.

            Now that those three maggots were watching each others' back, it was going to be harder for us to get them one by one. I figured that was the reason pests and insects liked to work in swarms.

            After taking the bus home and walking through the front door, Mom always asked how school was going, but I just gave her brief and vague answers. She was usually pissed about the divorce issues going on and it usually led to a nasty discussion anyway. Meanwhile, dad didn't care to reply to voicemails, and I'd rather stab myself in the thigh with a fork than talk to my stupid sister, Vicky.

            I got home, headed up to my room, and went to drop off my backpack and school junk only to find that both my headphones and my gift cards to Video Castle were missing and not on my dresser where I knew I left them. I hadn't made the bed, my desk was a mess, and I had clothes, board games, movie and CD cases, and papers all over the floor, but I knew I left those headphones and gift cards on the dresser. She had to be the one to take them because my headphones were so much better than her dinky earbuds and she could use the gift cards on anything at the store. I swore, if she used those cards on a stupid chick flick movie or girly cartoon DVD that I wouldn't be able to return to the store, I'd make her pay like hell for it. That was my birthday present and I had been saving them for a good movie to come out.

            I headed into her room, and it made me want to puke at how pink, organized, and cute she tried to make it with her pink bed nicely made, her desk chair in the back corner had the chair pushed in, and there wasn't a single thing on the floor. I tore my way through there, knocked over a tiny table she used for nothing more than to put her stupid, oversized Slurpuff plush doll on, and attacked her dresser first, starting with the upper drawers. What a neat freak for junk. What did she need five different combs for? And why so many tacky plastic hair clips? I rummaged through almost every drawer, not caring if I made a mess of it to find my stuff. However, she came in only a minute later and started screaming at me. I swore, every time I saw her with that fake, blonde hair and that stupid baby blue dress of hers with the asinine Marill on it, I just wanted to rip it all apart.

            "What are you doing to my stuff!?" Vicky screamed. "You stupid punk, get your filthy hands out of there!"

            "Where did you hide my headphones and my gift cards!?" I shouted back at her. "Stop stealing my stuff, I know you have them!"

            "Why don't you first try looking through the crap heap you have for a bedroom before you accuse me!?" She snapped back. "They're probably buried somewhere in all that junk you have! And why would I want your headphones!? I wouldn't want something that's been on your filthy ears!"

            I swore, I couldn't stand her guts, and I figured I'd just have to come back later when she wasn't around. I just grabbed the closest pink box of crap I could get my hands on, and threw it at her as I stormed out the door, sending the box and all of the stupid and tacky earrings that were inside of it flying in all directions before scattering on the pink, carpeted floor. The box just barely missed her, but I headed out of there before she was able to retaliate. When she tried to chase me, I quickly headed into my room, slammed the door on her before she could enter, and locked it, leaving her pounding at it, screaming for half a minute before giving up. You'd think she'd learn.

            The next day wasn't really too eventful. In the morning, classes were the usual bore and I spent most of the time staring at the clock, which I could have sworn had suddenly frozen. I hated math and the books we were forced to read. At least in science class, we occasionally got to burn something or dissect a dead Rattata or Patrat. That sure beats working with stupid numbers or reading about fictional characters I couldn't possibly care less about. That day we learned about viruses and diseases in science class, which caught my interest more than whatever the heck pi was and whatever stupid thing Tom Joad was doing.

            Ten minutes before the last class was supposed to end, Alex, David and I headed out the back like we usually do to avoid running into any teachers or nosy faculty members that kept lecturing us about our grades. By this time, everyone else was still in the last ten minutes of class and it was a great opportunity to avoid running into anyone. After stepping out the door, there they were, Frank, Randy and Jeff just waiting for us. Funny, for a brief moment, I had actually forgotten about them and what happened yesterday during my classes, but it suddenly all came back to me.

            Randy was looking confident for once, which was odd even for him. It really made me wonder how they arranged this and how long they've been waiting out here. Usually we snuck out of class early before everyone else, so it was surprising to see they did the same. There was no one else out here yet, but I knew soon enough, the back parking lot would be mobbed with people like it was yesterday.

            “Here we go, there they are!” Frank giggled like a hog.

            Uh huh. This was different, but I didn't feel like battling these losers again and risk getting grounded for getting suspended from school. I'd way rather be here than be stuck at home. Still, the three of them looked oddly confident, and while it was a different look for Frank, it was still idiotic.

            “Hilarious,” I replied with some surprise. “You guys jumped out of class early just to find us? Exactly what the hell for?"

            Jeff seemed to grow impatient and excited, looking like he had been waiting a while for something. He looked at the three of us, especially Alex, and seemed to wear a very dark smile.

            "If this works, it's going to be awesome," Jeff told Randy, but loud enough for us to hear.

            "Just what the hell are you talking about?" Alex asked him, thinking Jeff had his head up his anus.

            I was beginning to think Jeff had been hanging around Randy’s brain cell-killing aura for just too long. I just didn't think twenty-four hours was enough time to do so much damage. If Randy really wanted to lose again, I would gladly make his wish come true, but definitely not here. I seriously didn't want to run into Balding again.

            Then, out of the blue, Randy pulled out of his pocket what appeared to be a blue, red, and black-beaded necklace with a large, red crystal as its pendant.

            “Ah, so Randy’s into jewelry,” David snickered. “When did you come up with the idea that raiding mommy's jewelry box was a good way to barter your way out of this?”

            “This is no ordinary piece of jewelry, David,” Jeff told him with a smug grin. “You want to know what that is? It's a necklace that was worn by Quista, an ancient and powerful sorcerer who imbued it with many powers.”

            For a minute, I was seriously beginning to question if my ears were working correctly. Or, if Jeff's brain just suddenly passed through his colon.

            “Jeff, I don't know what you're smoking, but man, it must be bad!” Alex laughed.

            It was really sad to see Jeff go this far into threatening us, and he looked like he didn't even mean this as a joke either. To me, that necklace looked like any ordinary piece of junk jewelry he could have gotten from some random pawn shop or as David mentioned, probably his mom's jewelry box, which would have been even more pathetic.

            “Jeff,” I told him straight to his face, “get a life. You don’t really expect us to believe that, do you? Just where did Randy even get that piece of garbage?”

            "He got it from me," Jeff told him. "My dad is a lead archeologist, and he and his team found this in an Kavaskian tomb in the Desert Resort just a week ago. He had it locked up in one of his lockboxes but... ha, I know where he keeps his keys to them."

            Seriously? Jeff was willing to break into his dad's precious stuff for a stupid necklace, and then just give it to Randy? Some chump he only just met yesterday?

            "How hilarious," David shook his head. "Why would you ever give it to Randy?"

            "We want to see if it really does have powers," Randy smiled.

            "Newsflash, moron," Alex told him, totally disbelieving it. "It doesn't. And Jeff, your dad's probably going to kill you when he finds out you broke into his stuff."

            Jeff really didn't seem to care, however. Obviously he knew about this necklace way more than we did, but give me a break. I was just waiting for Randy to jingle it, shake it, spit on it, and throw it up in the air only to find out it really didn't do anything special after all. As if their idiocy couldn't get any worse, they were resorting to stupid trinkets now. It actually would have made more sense if Jeff, Randy, and Frank decided to ambush us with silly string instead.

            "Randy and I had a nice chat yesterday," Jeff told us with a smirk, going into a story we really didn't care about. "We talked for quite a while about all the stuff you've done to him over all this time. Now, usually I don't do this kind of favor for people, but you three pricks have been on his case for what feels like forever. If this Quista necklace really does what my dad and his team of diggers all say it does, then I really would love to see Randy hit you with it in full force."

            "Ha!" David laughed. "Why give it to him and not use it yourself if it's so powerful and special? Oh, I know. It's so you don't look like the idiot when you find out it doesn't work!"

            "Hey, it's not me who finally deserves a shot to turn the tables," Jeff casually smiled. "I've got to see if this thing really can do what they all say it does..."

            I swore, the three of them could have broken out into musical song and dance, and it wouldn't have seemed any less idiotic, stupid, and unpredictable. At that moment, Randy strung it around his neck over the stupid, blue graphic t-shirt he decided to wear today. He then held the red jewel in his hand while the necklace was around his neck. After he started rubbing the red gem with his thumb, the red jewel began to pulse with crimson light.

            “Seriously, are we finished here?” Alex asked with impatience. “I've got some shopping to do at Video Castle, so go buzz off and be someone else's problem.”

            Suddenly, we were instantly blinded by a harsh, irritating, ruby light. I shut my eyes tight, thinking the whole thing must have been some stupid electronic device or something like that. There was no way Jeff could have been telling the truth about that stupid thing...

            Then, with my eyes shut, I felt a harsh wind blow around us, whipping the fabric of my t-shirt and jeans like I was standing in the middle of a windstorm. That was then that I felt like I was being pulled right off the ground and then thrown into a sinkhole.

            When I reopened my eyes, everything had already gone dark.
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              #6    
            Old June 3rd, 2015 (4:47 AM).
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            Delirious Absol Delirious Absol is offline
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              Ah yes I like characters that go through change, so that's what dragged me into reading this :) I have a couple in my current story as well that go through some major changes as it progresses.

              This is another nice chapter :) I like how this story isn't progressing too quickly. You've set up the characters well and the end of this chapter leaves us on a bit of a cliffhanger, which is always a great strategy to keep readers wanting more!

              One part did stand out as a little awkward to me however:

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
              Well, at least he acted like he knew what he was doing. Unlike Randy, he actually had a strategy going and seemed to act like he knew what he was doing.
              You've repeated that he acted like he knew what he was doing twice, which isn't necessary. You could probably drop the first sentence and it would still carry the same situation across :) I hope this helps a little.

              Keep up the good work =D
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                #7    
              Old June 3rd, 2015 (5:36 PM).
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              Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                You've repeated that he acted like he knew what he was doing twice, which isn't necessary. You could probably drop the first sentence and it would still carry the same situation across :) I hope this helps a little.

                Keep up the good work =D
                Yeah, that's definitely a goof on my part and does seem silly and redundant. I clipped it out, thanks for highlighting that.

                And yeah, overall, I didn't try to rush things with this story. Again, thanks for your feedback!
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                  #8    
                Old June 3rd, 2015 (5:37 PM). Edited June 7th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                  Chapter 3
                  The Unexpected Challenge

                  After a sick feeling of what seemed to be falling without actually being able to see anything, we woke up in what seemed to be a dark forest. After getting up off my back, I saw nothing but gnarled, dead trees in every direction, along with a hazy, dark fog surrounding them the more I looked into the distance. I thought that little creep might have caused me to break something, but for his own sake, I was fine. First thing I noticed upon getting off my butt was the sky. It was a freakish mix of light and dark gray clouds, making it pretty much impossible to tell what time of day it was. When I looked around, Jeff, Frank and Randy were completely gone, just like that. The school, the parking lot, everything was just wiped off the face of the planet and replaced by whatever the heck this was supposed to be. Alex and David got up off the ground and looked around, and the end result was all three of us didn’t have a clue as to where we were. Okay, so there was something more to that necklace than we thought, but I was still in major denial that most of what Jeff said was true. Whatever, I figured we could work around it.

                  Maybe Jeff was right. Maybe Randy felt he could become a better Pokémon trainer by running away from us or by playing some stupid trick. I would have laughed at that thought, but reality told me I still had absolutely no idea where we were, and that certainly wasn’t anything to laugh about. For now, I figured I would prepare myself for this to be some kind of prank. That way, in the end, it would backfire on Randy when it didn't work out the way he wanted it to.

                  “What the hell is this place?” David asked, looking around and not recognizing anything.

                  I took a closer look around, and it seemed somewhat familiar, but not completely. I then guessed it was most likely the same place. I was willing to chance it.

                  “Has to be some part of Viridian Forest,” I told the two of them, though I felt that might be a pretty wild assumption. “Jeff probably got a bunch of his idiot friends to drag us here after we passed out.”

                  “Think again,” Alex told me, looking up at the sky. “Why does it look like it’s about to rain?”

                  Alex was right. It didn’t really look like Viridian Forest at all, and the sunny weather we were experiencing just three minutes ago seemed to have quickly vanished for some weird reason.

                  “Look,” I told Alex and David, knowing hanging around here was a waste of our time, “let’s just try to get the hell out of here. Even if we’re all the way in Celadon or something, there has to be some way of getting back.”

                  “How would Randy’s stupid necklace bring us all the way to Celadon?” David asked realistically. “We could be anywhere right now. I have no idea what the hell it just did, but this is seriously screwed up.”

                  “Just forget about it, David,” Alex told him, putting it past him. “Let’s just try to find some way out of here. Screw the details. Randy would be laughing if he saw we were about to panic.”

                  Definitely a good point. Things always get ugly when you give a freak like Randy any kind of leverage. Again, it was probably best to play along with the idea that this was just a prank of his.

                  We then began walking through that dark forest for some time, and the more I looked at it, the more reality kept telling me this sure wasn’t anything even close to Viridian Forest. I was sure we had walked at least two miles and nothing had changed. After nearly an hour of walking through dense trees and dark fog, the weird and twisted forest had suddenly ended and we came across a large valley along with a wooden cabin down a long beaten path snaking its way through the valley. I knew for a fact I had never been around here before.

                  We decided to check out the cabin and hopefully get some directions back to Scottville Middle School, or at least back to our home town of Viridian City. Right now, I was guessing we were someplace out east near Indigo Plateau, but my guess was with a whole lot of doubt. I was in denial I was lost.

                  When we arrived at the cabin, we saw there wasn’t a single window. It was made of wooden logs and only had one door. We just shrugged it off and opened the door, not really caring what was inside or about being polite by knocking first. We had been walking for over an hour and I didn’t feel like passing up the chance to actually talk to someone. Once we swung the creaky door inward, we saw it was dimly lit inside, and just as the three of us entered, the door slammed closed completely by itself, and suddenly, the room was filled with light. Out of shock, I quickly looked around and saw the room was completely empty. Like a walk-in closet, it was simply composed of wooden log walls. And oddly enough, I found no reasonable light source anywhere. None of us were even casting shadows. I then quickly turned around and tried to open the door but it was stuck. We then heard what seemed to be a female giggling, and already I was cursing under my breath, wondering what kind of crap was going on.

                  “If you think it’s going to be that easy, you’d better think again…”

                  “What the hell!?” David shouted, looking around.

                  Suddenly, out of nowhere, we saw a cloud of pink dust and smoke appear in the corner of the room. After some time, the dust and smoke began to form into a smiling human-sized fairy with long, blonde hair, a bright pink dress, and large insect wings. Meanwhile, she held a wand in her right hand. Man, it was so stereotypically cheesy it was almost physically painful to see.

                  I swore, this had to be part of some stupid game that those three idiots must have spent all night trying to arrange, and maybe this was actually Jeff's stupid mom or whatever. But if this really was still a big prank, those three rats definitely went all out. Definitely a lot of time and thought well-wasted.

                  “Just who the hell are you!?” David asked the fairy, wondering if it was even real for sanity’s sake.

                  “My name is Caska,” She replied smiling and staring right at David. “And I know who you three are. You’re none other than David Miller, Jake Kossak, and Alex Davidson. You are the three villains who oppose the king!”

                  “What?” Alex asked in surprise. “Who the hell is this king you’re talking about!?”

                  “Why it's none other than his royal highness, Randy Ferguson.” She told us in one quick statement.

                  We immediately burst out laughing in sheer, utter disbelief. This definitely had to be something Jeff's mom arranged, or something idiotic just like that. There was no freaking way on earth Randy would ever be respected by anyone besides some idiot like Jeff or Frank. Nothing was making sense. King? The only things Randy could be a king of were things that even the stupidest freaking people on the planet wouldn’t respect.

                  “Randy created this dimension world out of his desperation,” Caska told us, losing that weird smile she had been flashing earlier. “This is his world superimposed upon your own, created by everything he loves and hates from his happiness to his anger. He is the supreme ruler here, and the three of you are his worst enemies.”

                  “You have got to be kidding me,” Alex snickered at the stupidity. “We’re living in Randy’s mind? If that’s the case, then we’re all about to become brain-dead really soon. Please, for once, wretch, tell me something that makes sense.”

                  “He created you?” I asked Caska, nearly laughing. “Since when was Randy into fairies and fantasy tales?”

                  She seemed somewhat insulted by that comment. I was glad at that moment, since if my sanity was really failing me and she was really telling the truth, then everything I would come across was part of Randy's mind and was subject to harassment and destruction. Still, as weird as everything seemed right now, I refused to believe any of this rot.

                  “I represent a part of Randy’s childhood,” She told us, glaring into our eyes. “Unfortunately for you, I am one of the happier moments of his life. And right now, the two of us are enemies. There is only one way to settle this.”

                  “You want to fight me?” David asked, turning his hands into fists. “Let’s go. I’ll tear you apart so badly that they’ll have to bury you in a lunch box.”

                  “No, Miller,” She said to David, growing in confidence. “I want to battle your Pokémon. Your loyal, trusted companions. The same ones you use against the king.”

                  “Even better,” David grinned wickedly.

                  I couldn’t wait to see David lay waste to a happy moment in Randy’s childhood, if that’s what this fairy thing even was. Still, the thought of us defeating her and then Randy feeling even more miserable in ways that we would never dream possible was just too damn good to ignore. David had this match in the bag.

                  “We’ll both use two Pokémon,” Caska told him in a firm tone. “If you win, then you get to make Randy feel even worse and more depressed, which I know is what you want the most.”

                  “You’d better believe it.” David said with a confident grin.

                  “But if you lose…” Caska replied, giving him that dark evil fairy stare again. “Then you’ll be the one feeling the depression and humiliation.”

                  Whatever. As far as I knew, there was nothing that could stop David or make him feel depressed, and it definitely wouldn't come from her. Caska then pulled out a pink and white Poké Ball, and threw it towards the center of the cabin.

                  “Go Blissey!” Caska shouted just before her Poké Ball hit the floor.

                  And out of her Poké Ball emerged a Blissey, and the three of us slightly cringed just staring at it. We couldn’t stand such a fat, pink, moronic, and cutesy-looking Pokémon. Her stupid face made me feel like smashing it with my fist while screaming obscenities. I really hated Pokémon like these and the morons who trained them.

                  “Go Tyranitar!” David shouted as he threw his Poké Ball, ready to release raw carnage.

                  And just a second later after the Poké Ball struck the cabin floor, out came David’s beastly and nasty Tyranitar with a tremendous roar. The giant, pale-green, spiky colossus glared at the Caska's fat, piece of trash and looked more than ready to torment her. With claws and teeth like this, he looked ready to crush Caska’s worthless Blissey into an unrecognizable pulp.

                  “Blissey, use your Minimize!” Caska commanded, beginning that annoying smiling spree again.

                  Blissey suddenly then began to decrease in size, scaling down to try and make it harder for Tyranitar to even hit her. However, David certainly wasn’t going to give up that early.

                  “Tyranitar, Earthquake attack,” David said coldly, ready to terrorize the smaller Blissey.

                  Tyranitar gladly accepted, and slammed his heavy foot into the floor which sent a violent tremor through the ground that shook the entire cabin. Rocks and jagged stones tore up through the ground, ripping apart the wooden floorboards. However, it completely missed Caska’s Blissey. Somehow the stupid thing managed to squeeze herself between the jutting rocks and fissures. There was nothing to explain it but just a case of really crappy luck. To make it worse, Caska’s damned Blissey even giggled.

                  “Minimize again!” Caska shouted with glee, making things even worse.

                  “This is getting cheap as hell,” David growled, truly despising this type of strategy.

                  Blissey grew even smaller, still wearing that stupid smile of hers. Our expressions began to grow grim as Blissey was just laughing at the frustration of David and his Tyranitar.

                  “Rock Slide!” David commanded Tyranitar.

                  The hulking green juggernaut tore up heavy stones from the ground and hurled them savagely at the shrinking pink fatso, but that missed as well, as Blissey was so small that the rocks Tyranitar threw simply bounced around her and instead buried themselves in the walls. David was becoming quickly frustrated. Again, Caska told Blissey to Minimize again and again, and David missed each and every time. But then, it got even worse by the time Blissey was nearly smaller than a Caterpie...

                  “Use your Sing attack Blissey!” Caska shouted with glee.

                  Blissey then began to sing peacefully, and Tyranitar was beginning doze off.

                  "Come on!" David shouted. "Don't fall for that crap, stay in there!"

                  After stumbling around to try and stay awake, Tyranitar crashed to the ground fast asleep, making this one of the lamest battles I've had the misfortune of watching.

                  “Blissey, use your Metronome,” Caska commanded, happy that she had one hell of an advantage.

                  Blissey then seemed to dance for a short while, and then all of a sudden, it lunged toward the sleeping Tyranitar, and performed a wicked Cross-chop attack, one of the worst attacks that Tyranitar could’ve been hit by. Somehow, an itty Blissey struck Tyranitar furiously and made him take a serious beating in an extremely short amount of time, despite the fact she was now only a hundredth of his size. Then, to David’s dismay, he realized Tyranitar was no longer asleep. He had fainted and was passed out cold…

                  “What!?” David protested. “What the hell are the chances of that!? That's bullcrap!”

                  “Bring out your next Pokémon, Miller,” Caska told David with a sarcastic, smug grin.

                  For once, I was somewhat glad not to be in David’s shoes. I seriously didn’t like where this was going and something was seriously shady about this. David returned Tyranitar to his respective Poké Ball, and chose his next best Pokémon.

                  “Go Rhydon!” David shouted, getting angry this time. “Make mincemeat of that damn Blissey!”

                  Rhydon had emerged from the Poké Ball’s brilliant flash, ready for onslaught. With his gray rock armor and powerful drill mounted on his nose, Rhydon was a vicious, armored beast of death to be reckoned with. We were crossing our fingers in hope that David's Rhydon would be able to handle an already grim looking situation and make up for Tyranitar's screw up.

                  “Rhydon, Stomp attack!” David shouted.

                  Genius. Rhydon charged forward and used his heavy, rocky foot to squash the already shrunken Blissey like a tiny, withering maggot. Blissey took a strong hit, but after rolling around a few times, she simply sprang back up into action like nothing really happened.

                  “Sing attack,” Caska commanded.

                  Again, Blissey sang a peaceful song and Rhydon stumbled around just like Tyranitar, and he hit the ground fast asleep. David just clenched his fist, gritted his teeth, and looked like he could have murdered someone with the face he had on.

                  “Metronome, Blissey,” Caska said coldly to her Blissey.

                  Blissey danced for a moment, and then we watched in horror as Blissey coated herself with a Reflect shield, which was going to be a pain in the crotch to get past for Rhydon. Fortunately, Rhydon got up from his slumber quickly this time, but he was going to have a lot more hell to deal with…
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                    #9    
                  Old June 4th, 2015 (2:30 PM). Edited June 7th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                  Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                    Chapter 4
                    The Scare

                    As I was standing there doubtfully watching this whole retarded thing go from bad to worse, I knew Rhydon was going to have to take down Blissey, right here, right now to move onto beating the stuffing out of Caska’s next annoying Pokémon. Still, I couldn’t help but think this was going to hell real fast. This whole thing looked like it was being rigged.

                    “Stomp attack, Rhydon,” David declared with a sick feeling in his throat.

                    Normally, that attack would have and should have punished Blissey like last time, but ever after slamming on the micro-sized Blissy like a sledgehammer smashing an egg, the Reflect shield fended off most of the damage and it simply just caused the tiny Blissey to roll around gleefully like this was some sort of unholy ballet. Then, as if things couldn't get any worse...

                    “Softboiled, Blissey,” Caska commanded, once again flashing that damnable smug grin.

                    Blissey then surrounded herself with three glowing eggs that had suddenly become a pulse of white energy and healing light. Suddenly, Blissey had absorbed the energy, and began to heal the little amount of damage that David's Rhydon had inflicted on it, with David himself looking like he was ready to vomit. Caska’s ungodly Blissey had nearly become immortal.

                    “Focus Energy, Rhydon,” David said nervously.

                    That was the best move David could have decided on. Rhydon bowed his head down and growled furiously, steaming with anger and rage, ready to tear Blissey to ribbons. He had this one chance to stop Blissey, and he had to get it just right. If David didn't make this a one-hit kill, we already knew how this was going to go down.

                    “Metronome, Blissey,” Caska told her Blissey with a smile.

                    Blissey began to dance again, and suddenly, a tremendous jet of water had fired from Blissey’s mouth and slammed into Rhydon, dealing a terrible amount of damage as the massive hulking Pokémon was blown back from the fierce, aquatic force. Rhydon collapsed to the floor, completely worn out in ways that shouldn’t have been possible. When Rhydon refused to budge off the floor, we couldn’t believe it. David had just lost to a worthless little Blissey…

                    “Damn it…!” David snapped. “I don’t believe it!”

                    Caska then began clapping sarcastically for David’s miserable performance, smirking sarcastically the entire time. Right at that moment, I had no idea what Caska was about to do to David next, and I really didn’t want to know. Still, the whole time, something about the whole thing really didn't feel right.

                    “Ready to receive your punishment for losing, Miller?” Caska asked sweetly, looking like she was already enjoying David’s misery.

                    “You damn cheater!” David shouted in red-faced fury. “How the hell could you get so lucky with Metronome!? That battle had to be rigged!”

                    Something about the whole thing seemed extremely shady, but there was no proof. And it seemed like Caska knew you just can't prove bad luck. Or in this case, cheating.

                    “That’s just the way things go, Miller,” Caska smiled to David. “Now it's time for you to feel some misery and justice for what you’ve done to King Randy. And I know just how to make it hurt.”

                    “You better not, you stupid...!” David shouted, but never finished.

                    At that sick moment, Caska had looked toward the shouting David, and she snapped her fingers. She became a cloud of pink dust, and seemed to have disappeared, leaving David wondering what just happened. We were hoping by some miraculous chance that she just left us alone, but then, Alex and I looked at David, and David had swallowed hard.

                    Alex and I watched in freakish horror as David slowly began to change into a shiny and ridiculous-looking fairy just like Caska. His blue jeans suddenly became a sparking bright pink dress, and two fairy wings had emerged right out his back. It was a pretty sick thing to do to a guy in the seventh grade. He looked totally idiotic.

                    “Oh god, what the hell is this!?” David screamed as he looked at himself, softly fluttering his wings, “What did she just do to me!?”

                    We couldn’t help but turn away at that moment. David tried to yank off the dress and the wings, only they seemed to be super-glued to his body. Of course, only then did we hear the door unlock. Still, I didn’t care about anything else. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. As I threw the door open, Alex and David just followed, and again we were outside…

                    “DAMN IT, that does it!” David shouted as we walked out of that nightmare cabin. “If this really is Randy’s world, then I want to get the hell out of here! How the hell do we break out of this damn place!?”

                    I didn't have a clue as to how we were going to do that. Right now, if Randy could see David, he would be laughing hysterically, probably setting this whole charade up intentionally. The last thing I wanted was for the three of us to fight Randy while David ended up looking like a giant Tinkerbell. That would only make matters fifty times worse. I didn’t want to see Jeff acting all high and mighty again and Frank snorting while he had his finger way up his nose. It was enough to make me go ballistic and wish I had taken a rocket launcher before coming here.

                    “How the hell do we get out of stupid, moronic world for crying out loud!?” Alex demanded. "I'm sick of this place, nothing is making any sense!"

                    “We probably need to take down Randy and strike hard at the source, but first we need to find him,” I told Alex, knowing he had to be the dead center of all this idiocy. "Once we find him, we'll make him pay in blood for this, I swear."

                    "Yeah, how are you going to do that when he cheats?" David asked me, still sickened over his new fairy features.

                    "I'll... try to think of something..." I replied awkwardly, having no real answer to that.

                    Frustrated, we just continued our way down the path, and day quickly turned to night, and everything went pitch black incredibly quickly. We had nothing to sleep on except the grass. All I could hope for was that maybe this whole thing was a dream, but it seemed far too real for that to be true. Still, I wasn’t going to dwell on it. We then quickly went to sleep, hoping we would be getting out of here soon.

                    When morning came, we headed down the path through the valley again. Then, for some strange reason, the grass slowly turned brighter in color, but it was simply another sign that this was a totally warped reality. And just like that, ahead of us was another forest, except this one seemed to be more of a tropical one instead. This couldn’t be real. The more I saw it, the more insane I knew it all was. How the hell did we end up with this idiocy to deal with?

                    “We don’t have much of a choice except to continue,” David said grimly. “Hopefully this forest isn’t too big.”

                    We then continued our way through the dense foliage without a single path to go by, as if this couldn’t possibly get any worse. This was just making me sick. All we could do was push forward into nowhere, and then suddenly, we came to a clearing. When we emerged from the forest, we saw what seemed to be some sort of gathering. There were several shady figures moving about, dressed in hooded, violet cloaks with bizarre symbols and insignias on the sleeves, hoods, and around the bottom. I really had no idea what these bunch of creepy cultists were about, but I wasn't going to walk up to them to ask.

                    Then, in the distance, we saw a large, brown, sac-like object hanging from a post, something these psychos were obviously interested in. If this really was Randy's dimension, I had no clue what this was supposed to resemble. It looked like it was supposed to be some kind of dark ritual or something.

                    “Yeah...” Alex muttered, watching them closely. “Now where is Randy's mind going with this one?”

                    “You!” One of them quickly turned around and shouted, pointing at Alex. “You must be the one!”

                    Him? What exactly did these guys want with Alex? I tried to get a good look at their faces, but I couldn't see much. Their hoods covered most of their faces except for their chins and mouths.

                    “I bet you want to battle, don’t you?” Alex asked as his fingers were ready to clutch one of his Poké Balls, looking a bit like he was honestly hoping the answer was no after what had happened to David.

                    But they didn’t say anything. Instead, the group of them jumped us, and pinned us to the ground. I tried to fight back with my fists but holy crap, the guy on top of me was way stronger than I was. I could see a slight outline of his face from under the shade of his hood, and I could almost swear it wasn't completely human and had a bizarre, gaunt, and dull bluish hue. Still, even though I struggled, I realized it wasn’t me they wanted, it was Alex. But what the hell for?

                    “Let me go, you stupid maggots!” Alex shouted as he was being pulled away from us.

                    I struggled with the cultist that was on top of me, hoping to get up and help Alex escape, but for some reason, he seemed so much stronger than me, easily keeping me pinned down with seemingly superhuman strength.

                    I then saw Alex being dragged closer and closer to the hanging brown sac by three other cultists. From the looks of it, he didn't have a chance of bailing out of this one without help. I was crossing my fingers hoping that sac thing wasn’t actually some living creature ready to devour Alex, but I could only barely just get my head off the ground to see what was happening.

                    “Get your hands off of me you deranged psychos!” Alex shouted as he struggled to break free before reaching the sac. “I don’t have anything you freaks want!”

                    "Resistance is futile," One of them spoke eerily. "Accept what must be done."

                    They had inevitably arrived at the sac, the last thing Alex wanted to find out what it was. Seconds later, they lifted the screaming Alex upward, and dumped him right in like a piece of trash being thrown into a dumpster. Suddenly, the open sac closed up with Alex still inside, and immediately trapped him. After they started chanting, I saw the sac shifting and swaying about as Alex was likely struggling to get out, but there was no escape. And then, after some time and being left to just watch the whole damn thing for a few seconds, my fear began to escalate.

                    Alex had completely stopped moving…

                    David and I both thought that Alex could have suddenly died at that moment, devoured by whatever the hell that thing was. But then again, I thought better. I then realized that Randy didn’t necessarily want us to croak while we were here, he wanted us to suffer in humiliation. He made David suffer, and now he was going to make Alex suffer. And then to make matters worse, he was probably going to make me suffer somewhere along the line.

                    “What the hell are you doing to him!?” David demanded. “Let him out of there!”

                    “Shouldn't be long now...” One of the cloaked figures muttered.

                    I stopped struggling after some time, since I was getting exhausted and wasn’t getting anywhere. I was still pinned down and this guy had no intention of letting go. I only wished I had a handgun to blast open the heads of all these maniacs, but there wasn’t crap I could do about it. I continued to look at the sac, and then I suddenly realized what the hell it was. It was some sort of weird cocoon. I needed to get Alex out of there as soon as possible.

                    I had only one choice. I struggled to reach for one of my Poké Balls while the freak was still on top of me. Then, I managed to grab one, prime it, and toss it just enough so it would open. When it landed, I saw I had released my Ariados, a huge red and black poison spider capable of fixing this asinine mess. Now was my chance.

                    “Ariados, use your Poison Sting to get this bastard off of me!” I shouted.

                    The cultist turned around in shock just to be greeted with a barrage of sharp, poison spikes making a dartboard out of his body. He immediately let go of me, and I got up off the ground. I then looked at the cocoon and saw the group of cultists that had dragged Alex guarding it.

                    “Ariados, Sludge Bomb attack on those freaks!” I commanded Ariados.

                    Ariados then blasted the fleeing cultists with a hearty helping of thick, dark-purple sludge, sending them scattering in all directions. They ran right for the forest and quickly vanished in the dense foliage. Still, I didn't care about pursuing them as much as I wanted Alex to get out of there. I quickly ran to the cocoon and tried to open it up with my hands, but it seemed impossible. The thing seemed to be glued shut and was way too tough for my bare hands to try and pry it open. And Alex didn’t seem to be moving at all.

                    “See if you can use your pincers to rip that thing open, Ariados.” I quickly commanded the spider Pokémon, hoping he’d be able to tear it open before something stupid happened.

                    Ariados approached the sac, and tried to tear away at the cocoon, but it seemed like invincible rubber. After several minutes of trying to tear it open, it seemed hopeless. I then had only one tool left that could possibly help Alex.

                    I had a small Swiss Army knife that I usually kept in my pocket. I pulled it out, flipped out its sharpest blade, and tried to cut the sac open. I couldn’t believe it. It was like trying to cut through thick rubber with a wooden stick. If that knife couldn’t rip that thing open, then what could? I was beginning to grow frantic and didn't think even a chainsaw could rip this thing open.

                    And then, another horrifying moment arose. Suddenly, I saw the cocoon begin to crack open from the middle, but it wasn’t from anything we did. All I could do was back away and just look away. I didn’t even want to watch what was to come out of the second round of idiocy we had to deal with, and it was a good thing I didn’t. However, David had been watching in horror while I grimaced and looked away.

                    “Oh... oh, god no…” David moaned with utter depression.

                    “Don’t tell me…” I warned David. “I don’t want to hear it.”

                    And then, David slapped his right hand against his eyes. I bet at that moment he had regretted watching the whole thing.

                    “Jake, don’t look,” David warned me. “Don’t look, whatever you do.”

                    I knew I had to eventually. I figured might as well get the worst part over with.

                    “I guess you might as well tell me, David,” I told him honestly, knowing there was no point in delaying this any further. “Just tell me in words what happened. Then... maybe I'll look.”

                    I could tell there was some hesitation in David’s speech. And then, he let it loose.

                    “Those sick maniacs just turned Alex into a human butterfly…” David said softly in dismay.
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                      #10    
                    Old June 5th, 2015 (12:52 AM).
                    Delirious Absol's Avatar
                    Delirious Absol Delirious Absol is offline
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                      Wow, that's a weird world they've ended up in! You've described this new world really well, and world building is no easy task!

                      One thing I wanted to point out -
                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                      Suddenly, Blissey has absorbed the energy, and began to heal the little amount of damage that David's Rhydon had inflicted on it, with David himself looking like he was ready to vomit.
                      You've accidentally put 'had' in the present tense.

                      You're really good at describing Pokemon battles without them becoming tedious. They flow well and are enjoyable to read :) I could just picture that tiny Blissey running around and annoying that Tyranitar!

                      Good work on this story so far :) keep it up!
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                        #11    
                      Old June 5th, 2015 (2:15 PM).
                      Psychic's Avatar
                      Psychic Psychic is offline
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                      Hi there! I started reading this when you posted it on Serebii a couple of years ago, and you had seemed really receptive to my review, so I was looking forward to seeing what improvements you've made in the past two years.

                      I'm glad to see that you did fix most of the grammatical errors/wording I had pointed out, but I was disappointed to realize that most of my other points seemed to have been largely ignored. I tried to give you really concrete advice on improving the battle, making the language less clunky, and making the world feel more populated, and I looked forward to seeing those changes. I don't want to reiterate those points, but since the issues still remain, I would encourage you to please reread my original review in order to improve your story.

                      I notice that you also added a link to a song in the middle of your chapter (and continue doing this in later chapters). It's generally considered to be a somewhat amateur move to do this in the middle of the narration, because new writers often don't realize that the author alone is responsible for creating the mood in their story, and providing songs can look like a cop-out. I'm sure you didn't realize this, but it's something to consider if you want your writing to seem like it can stand on its own. Adding links to songs also interrupts the flow of the story, and can be distracting to readers. If you really want readers to listen to something while reading your story, include the link in the author's notes at the beginning of the chapter and let readers know that if interested, to play the song at X point in the chapter.

                      If you're set on having music for your fic, I can offer some advice on that. I tried listening to the song while reading, and didn't feel this particular song was an ideal choice for a few reasons:
                      1) The tone is way off considering where we are in the story. This is an epic song, yes, but it's way too intense to have it in the very first chapter. Save the epic songs for the climax of the story, not the introduction.
                      2) Having such an epic song during a Pokemon battle between middle-schoolers feels wildly over-the-top. It made the scene kind of ridiculous.
                      3) The song was way too long. I finished the chapter in under three minutes, and the song just wouldn't stop.

                      I won't point out the general awkward phrasing issues, but some minor points Chapter 1:
                      Quote:
                      It wasn’t much, but a dollar a day ended up being thirty bucks a month.
                      Schools only run five days a week, so that would only be $20-25 a month. That said, Jake should be taking way more than a dollar from Randy every day.

                      Quote:
                      “shirt-burster”
                      poopy-pants
                      Nicknames are still proper nouns, and should be capitalized.


                      I decided to read Chapter 2, and I have two main issues. The first was with this battle and how clunky it was. You spend a bit too much time on narration, and have a tendency of over-explaining things. All of this has a tendency to slow the battle down. Battles should be fast-paced, so try not to include too much narration that isn't specifically describing what is happening. Trust that your readers will understand what's going on - you don't need to explain that Espeon is in trouble because the other Pokemon are dark-types or that Light Screen doesn't defend against physical attacks. I'm also not sure why you just summarized some of the dialogue instead of actually telling us what the characters say, especially Jeff - showing is better than telling, especially during action scenes. Also, Light Screen affects the entire team, so it didn't have to be used twice.

                      The battle is still interesting, and it seems that you have an eye for battles! You just need to spend less time in Jake's head and instead focus more specifically on what's literally happening. You show the Pokemon acting and reacting, which is something a lot of fic writers struggle with, so kudos for that.

                      Quote:
                      “I gave it to him, saving it for a rainy day,” Jeff told us. “My father is an archeologist, and he found this in an Kavaskian tomb three years ago. He was supposed to sell it to a museum, but he decided not to. You’re not going to believe what kind of power it has.”
                      This was my other main issue. I realize that this is the basis for your entire story, but this really doesn't seem like a strong plot device. Let's look at the situation you have presented: Jeff's dad and his entire archeological team spent a painstaking amount of time to find and preserve this incredibly precious, irreplaceable, ancient artifact that might have powerful magic powers, and he just...leaves it lying around the house so his teenage son can snag it and give it to his friends? And Jeff, knowing how precious this artifact is, how much it means to his dad and his co-workers, and knowing that it has some magical property, thinks it's a good idea to just take it and use it against some stupid schoolyard bully? Does anyone even know what this artifact can do before they start playing with it? Both Jeff and his father would have to be incredibly irresponsible to let this whole thing happen, which makes this really hard to believe. I know you need to find a way to transport your characters to another world, but I don't think this is a great way of doing it. Instead, they could find it at an antique store, where the clerk convinces them it has magical powers just so they'll buy it, only for it to turn out that it actually does have magical powers. It might be overdone, but it makes a lot more sense than the situation you've laid out here.

                      Some of the smaller mistakes:
                      Spoiler:
                      Quote:
                      Right after school, Alex, David and I headed out the back like we usually do to avoid running into any teachers or noisy faculty members.
                      I think you mean "nosy."

                      Quote:
                      Randy was looking incredibly confident of himself, as if he was packing a pistol and ready to just gun down the three of us.
                      It should just be "Randy was looking incredibly confident." Also, I'm not really sure how to say this, but that simile is both unnecessary and can come across as really insensitive to readers, considering the number of school shootings. It really doesn't add anything to the story.

                      Quote:
                      Then, out of the blue, Randy pulled out of his pocket what appeared to be a blue, red, and black beaded necklace with a large, red crystal as its pendant. He held it with confidence like it was a detonator to blow up the whole planet.
                      You say later that "Randy took the necklace from Jeff," so this needs to be fixed. Also, you don't hold something confidently if you think it has that kind of destructive power, especially if you have a personality like Randy. More likely, you would hold it nervously at arm's length.



                      At the moment, I'm not sure if I want to continue reading and reviewing. I know it can seem intimidating to be told that you have to go through your entire story and edit not only grammar and specific scenes and plot points, but also your general writing style. You seem to care about this fic a lot, though, so I think it would be worthwhile for you to put in that extra time and do so. If you feel otherwise, then it might be best to mention that you're not looking for feedback, so users like myself and Bardothren know not to review your fic.

                      I hope this helps. Good luck,

                      ~Psychic
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                        #12    
                      Old June 5th, 2015 (7:53 PM).
                      Neo Emolga's Avatar
                      Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                        You've accidentally put 'had' in the present tense.
                        Yep, that looks like one weed I forgot to pull out in the rewrite of this.

                        Thanks for pointing that out, and hey, glad you're enjoying this. :)

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Bardothren View Post
                        Hello Neo Emolga. Name's Bardothren, I'm sure you've seen me in the fan-fic category. Anyways, since I see you've received reviews assessing the minutae, I'll share my thoughts regarding the broader, larger choices you've made building your story.
                        Hey, thanks, however you decide to do it, I appreciate all forms of feedback.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Bardothren View Post
                        Characterization:

                        I will say this right here: this is your biggest problem. Every character in this story is one-dimensional, from the cookie-cutter trio of cliche schoolyard bullies to poor, defenseless, unintelligent Randy. Frank and Jeff don't have enough characterization at this point to make a verdict for them.

                        I anticipate that, later on, you'll give the bullying trio plenty of character development; however, at this point, it is completely impossible to have any sympathy for these three. All they have are dark and despicable qualities, something that very few people in real life have. They can be bullies, but there should be some quirk of theirs that makes it easier for the reader to relate to these characters. An example I might choose to employ would be shyness around girls, or the one shrimp they don't pick on, or the teacher they're really scared of. A character that readers simply can't root for or sympathize with isn't one that readers will care about. I would suggest a minor overhaul of the first two chapters to fix these issues.
                        Hmm, I wouldn't say every character.

                        I can see where you're going with this in terms of Jake, Alex, and David. Looking back, it probably would be better to keep it with Jake sticking to be the sadistic one, Alex the aggressive one, and David the narcissistic one.

                        I think I did an okay job with defining Jeff as the chivalrous but slightly egotistical sports jock. Frank is the the squeamish and clumsy type. And last but not least, Randy is the meek and timid type of character that easily loses his cool and gets aggravated easily.

                        But yeah, given this story is pretty old and editing though it has been kind of like remodeling an old house, there are still a few faults that creep up here and there.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Bardothren View Post
                        Plot:

                        Okay - they're in Randy's mind. Pretty good plot twist. My problem with your plot so far is it's unpredictable. You do telegraph this a bit with how Jeff acts towards the bullies before zapping them with the amulet, but it's still too sudden for any real tension build-up. Have that confrontation first, draw it out a little more, then zap the bullies some time later.

                        Another good way to build tension is a ticking clock - a deadline of sorts. It's why every movie doomsday device has a timer, why countdowns are given in every movie. There's always a way to incorporate this into the plot, whether it's the clock ticking down to the end of the class (this could really work for your story) or a time limit they have to escape Randy's dream.
                        I'll be honest, I find it critical for a story to be unpredictable. The minute clichés start popping up and too much can start getting pointed to TVTropes, things tend to go south and some readers are able to guess storyline outcomes too easily, making it feel like reading it wasn't worth the time or experience.

                        As for tension, keep with me on this one, plenty of tension comes later on with the way this story goes in different directions later. Maybe hold up on this and we'll come back to it later down the line.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Bardothren View Post
                        Dialogue:

                        I would argue that this is your strong point. Your characters may be one-dimensional, but they stick to their scripts very well. Even though his personality is one-sided, your narrator has an excellent command of that personality. However, the dialogue will have to change and become more nuanced when you change your characters; writing dialogue tends to be more challenging with more complex characters.
                        Good point, and that is something I would love to reserve discussion for later when the real center of the story gets revealed. I'll be honest, most of this is a precursor to much bigger things.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Bardothren View Post
                        Setting:

                        There's some, and it works, but I think you could stand to use a little more. My recommendation is to give places a brief, yet vivid description, then make references to pieces of that description when in the area. It's important to always describe every area your characters enter with enough clarity for the readers to picture the location.
                        Gotcha, I'll keep that in mind. Thanks.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Bardothren View Post
                        Word choice:

                        I added this category because your word choice is irritating me a little. The word choice is part of the dialogue, and this is where using your main character as the narrator fails you. Here are the following phrases you that never fail to irritate me:

                        at least
                        probably
                        fairly
                        completely
                        absolutely

                        I'm sure there's more; that's just a quick list. Notice that they're all adverbs - adverbs are evil. Great care needs to be taken with adverbs, and you tend to abuse them in your work. Adverbs are meant to lend specificity to actions, however, many of your adverbs don't do anything at all for the level of description your story has. Narrators in particular should never use adverbs conveying doubt, such as probably, at least, etc. It's okay for adverbs to pop up in dialogue, as many people use adverbs, but narrators should be able to give a clean assessment of the facts, not muddle up the details.

                        My advice is, as you write, to go through and highlight every single adverb (-ly words) you can find and ask yourself if they're really necessary. If not, scrap them. Your word count's valuable real estate, and you don't want to waste it on do-nothing words.

                        So, there's my two cents regarding your first four chapters. I look forward to seeing more.
                        Interesting, not too many people have pointed this out before.

                        I'm on the fence with this one, because I see what you're saying, but there's plenty of areas where the use of one of these demonstrates doubt, biased certainty, and personal reflection, which is something you're bound to run into with a story written in first person perspective. Such as:

                        "It was at least an honest shot" compared to "It was an honest shot." The one with "at least" demonstrates that there's more emphasis on the effort as opposed to the result.

                        As another example:

                        "He was fairly certain it was a good idea" compared to "He was certain it was a good idea." Here's where a big problem lies, because the word "fairly" makes it clear he's pretty sure it's a good idea, but there's still a slight doubt about it. The later makes it sound like he's 100% confident, which has a difference.

                        So, I have to respectfully disagree about the whole "adverbs are evil" kind of thing. If you want to go through a few specific examples from the story, feel free to point a few out, I could go into a more in-depth analysis of why I picked the words I did for the kind of effect I wanted to create.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        Hi there! I started reading this when you posted it on Serebii a couple of years ago, and you had seemed really receptive to my review, so I was looking forward to seeing what improvements you've made in the past two years.

                        I'm glad to see that you did fix most of the grammatical errors/wording I had pointed out, but I was disappointed to realize that most of my other points seemed to have been largely ignored. I tried to give you really concrete advice on improving the battle, making the language less clunky, and making the world feel more populated, and I looked forward to seeing those changes. I don't want to reiterate those points, but since the issues still remain, I would encourage you to please reread my original review in order to improve your story.
                        Hey there.

                        It might be because the story is in first person. Jake's not paying attention to the passersby, he's focused on the battle, Randy's reactions, and his reflecting more on his own personal thoughts. The other thing is, as mentioned in the story, the bullying has been going on for quite some time. I mean heck, I was bullied as a kid and no one cared either.

                        I did reread your review on Serebii, and I think the core difference here is the varying direction we would take the same story in. It kind of sounds like you would rather see deeper in Jake's family and more about why and how he became a bully as opposed to what's to become of it.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        I notice that you also added a link to a song in the middle of your chapter (and continue doing this in later chapters). It's generally considered to be a somewhat amateur move to do this in the middle of the narration, because new writers often don't realize that the author alone is responsible for creating the mood in their story, and providing songs can look like a cop-out. I'm sure you didn't realize this, but it's something to consider if you want your writing to seem like it can stand on its own. Adding links to songs also interrupts the flow of the story, and can be distracting to readers. If you really want readers to listen to something while reading your story, include the link in the author's notes at the beginning of the chapter and let readers know that if interested, to play the song at X point in the chapter.
                        I think you got it wrong, that's not the reason why the songs were embedded in there. And there's a reason why they're optional. If, like in your case, if you find the songs are bothersome, distracting, or annoying, definitely, by all means, skip by them and pretend they never existed. I understand this kind of thing is not everyone's cup of tea and there are some people who would rather just read the story in silence.

                        I work and chat with a few people who just do this kind of thing for fun and actually enjoy it. "Hey, this fast-paced, action-packed track would be perfect to set the mood, as if the story was a movie!" Others just see them as a fun, casual extra. You could make the same reasoning and say movies shouldn't have a soundtrack either and say "the director is responsible for creating the mood in their movie." You could also say video games shouldn't have music either and that "the developer is responsible for creating the mood in their game."

                        Again, I just felt like it would be a fun, harmless, optional extra if people wanted it. Definitely didn't mean to cause trouble with it.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        If you're set on having music for your fic, I can offer some advice on that. I tried listening to the song while reading, and didn't feel this particular song was an ideal choice for a few reasons:
                        1) The tone is way off considering where we are in the story. This is an epic song, yes, but it's way too intense to have it in the very first chapter. Save the epic songs for the climax of the story, not the introduction.
                        2) Having such an epic song during a Pokemon battle between middle-schoolers feels wildly over-the-top. It made the scene kind of ridiculous.
                        3) The song was way too long. I finished the chapter in under three minutes, and the song just wouldn't stop.
                        Again, I honestly didn't think anyone would go that deeply into this.

                        The songs and stuff was just meant to be a fun extra. But, if you had a recommendation for an alternative track that you thought would fit better, I'm interested to know.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        Schools only run five days a week, so that would only be $20-25 a month. That said, Jake should be taking way more than a dollar from Randy every day.
                        I'm actually going to take this part out and work in something different.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        Nicknames are still proper nouns, and should be capitalized.
                        Gotcha, that can be easily fixed.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        I decided to read Chapter 2, and I have two main issues. The first was with this battle and how clunky it was. You spend a bit too much time on narration, and have a tendency of over-explaining things. All of this has a tendency to slow the battle down. Battles should be fast-paced, so try not to include too much narration that isn't specifically describing what is happening. Trust that your readers will understand what's going on - you don't need to explain that Espeon is in trouble because the other Pokemon are dark-types or that Light Screen doesn't defend against physical attacks. I'm also not sure why you just summarized some of the dialogue instead of actually telling us what the characters say, especially Jeff - showing is better than telling, especially during action scenes. Also, Light Screen affects the entire team, so it didn't have to be used twice.
                        It's funny, this is the exact opposite thing of what some other reviewers wanted. Before, other people were demanding that the battle was difficult to visualize because the descriptors weren't as prevalent. I decided to add in more details that would make it easier to visualize the battle, although this slowed down the pacing of the story a bit.

                        I think the issue here is the story is in a bit of a tug of war between the people that think the story is moving too slow with the description while the other party thinks it needs to be made faster, while in the middle, it's really more about how Jake sees things, how he reacts to them, and is more focused on what he knows, sees, and how he interprets them.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        The battle is still interesting, and it seems that you have an eye for battles! You just need to spend less time in Jake's head and instead focus more specifically on what's literally happening. You show the Pokemon acting and reacting, which is something a lot of fic writers struggle with, so kudos for that.
                        This is true, but to Jake, obviously his own reflections on what's going on are important to him and how his story is told. To him, he's often thinking about how much "Randy is an idiot" and how laughable he thinks Randy's attempts are. If those were to be chopped out, he seems less like a jerk.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        This was my other main issue. I realize that this is the basis for your entire story, but this really doesn't seem like a strong plot device. Let's look at the situation you have presented: Jeff's dad and his entire archeological team spent a painstaking amount of time to find and preserve this incredibly precious, irreplaceable, ancient artifact that might have powerful magic powers, and he just...leaves it lying around the house so his teenage son can snag it and give it to his friends? And Jeff, knowing how precious this artifact is, how much it means to his dad and his co-workers, and knowing that it has some magical property, thinks it's a good idea to just take it and use it against some stupid schoolyard bully? Does anyone even know what this artifact can do before they start playing with it? Both Jeff and his father would have to be incredibly irresponsible to let this whole thing happen, which makes this really hard to believe. I know you need to find a way to transport your characters to another world, but I don't think this is a great way of doing it. Instead, they could find it at an antique store, where the clerk convinces them it has magical powers just so they'll buy it, only for it to turn out that it actually does have magical powers. It might be overdone, but it makes a lot more sense than the situation you've laid out here.
                        First off, I think you're critiquing on the necklace's role in the story too early. The story is told through Jake's viewpoint, so he's only just discovering details about this necklace. It's impossible for him to have known anything more about it prior to this point. If this was done in a third person perspective, going into how exactly Jeff got his hands on it would make sense. Since I decided to do it from Jake's to reflect more on his personal character, thoughts, and beliefs, he couldn't have known.

                        Your points are really good, though, but I don't think they're possible to delve into in a first-person environment. Maybe Jeff's father was irresponsible (heck, even Indiana Jones wasn't flawless when it came to handling similar obscenely powerful artifacts) or trusted his son not to meddle with it and was wrong to do so. And Jeff just sees it as a quick fix to Randy's problems and ends up breaking open a "Pandora's Box" that even he wasn't expecting. These six characters are young teens, so it's definitely not outlandish that they might be careless and reckless.

                        Moreover, how it got into Jeff's hands is not really the focus of the story. If Jake tried to find out, it would just distract from the direction I want to take the story in. For all Jake knows, Jeff snatched it from his father, or Jeff could even be lying about the whole thing. Second point being, neither Jeff nor Randy even know all the extents of necklace's power.

                        I could go into more detail about the nature of the necklace to shed light on its role in the story, but there would be major plot spoilers involved.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        I think you mean "nosy."
                        Yep, I did. I'll correct that.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        It should just be "Randy was looking incredibly confident." Also, I'm not really sure how to say this, but that simile is both unnecessary and can come across as really insensitive to readers, considering the number of school shootings. It really doesn't add anything to the story.
                        This one was mainly to shed some more light on Jake's political incorrectness. I didn't think it would be that much of a problem, but eh, if you think the better route is to play it safe than sorry, I can see where you're going with that.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        You say later that "Randy took the necklace from Jeff," so this needs to be fixed. Also, you don't hold something confidently if you think it has that kind of destructive power, especially if you have a personality like Randy. More likely, you would hold it nervously at arm's length.
                        Yeah, I just noticed this one on a second glance. I'll fix that up.

                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                        At the moment, I'm not sure if I want to continue reading and reviewing. I know it can seem intimidating to be told that you have to go through your entire story and edit not only grammar and specific scenes and plot points, but also your general writing style. You seem to care about this fic a lot, though, so I think it would be worthwhile for you to put in that extra time and do so. If you feel otherwise, then it might be best to mention that you're not looking for feedback, so users like myself and Bardothren know not to review your fic.

                        I hope this helps. Good luck,

                        ~Psychic
                        I think the central issue is you have a politically correct way of handling things, but you're trying to apply it to a story written in the perspective of a very politically incorrect character, so there's a bit of a clash there. I think the advice you've given would be definitely more applicable if the story was written in third-person and certain things, like what's going on around the six characters, how Jeff got the necklace, and things like that would need to be delved more into. Also, I think you and I probably have very different writing styles.

                        Also, I'm not trying to say "hey Psychic and Bardothren, buzz off!" Definitely not, and please don't. However, I would like to say... please stand down and be at ease for now and wait until things develop further and you see how and where I'm going with this story. I think the chances are extremely good it's definitely not going to go in the direction you think it's going to go in. In fact, I would much rather love to hear your opinion after everything's been posted, and to let me know where the major faults and successes of the story were on a large-scale, overall basis. Otherwise, if you just decide to abandon this only at this stage of the game, it's very much like dismissing Harry Potter before he even gets to Hogwarts. You wouldn't be giving this story the true chance it deserves. Plus, I know you picked it up and reviewed it this much in depth for a reason.

                        There's been times when I've felt like ripping out the first part of this overall story and redoing it in a different way, but then again, there are major elements to these beginning parts and they have major roles and importance later on. Since most of the story is totally finished by now, I can't say major storyline changes will be made to reflect what you were expecting in your reviews when I'm mainly posting it here to be shared and preserved. The site and forum where the original was posted (Pokémon Elite 2000) has been shut down, and quite a few people have begged me to repost it, hence why I've been posting it on Pokémon Crossroads, PokéCommunity, and Bulbagarden.

                        I'll take the recommendations you guys have in mind for sure in terms of making major adjustments to writing style, storytelling direction, and stuff like that, but... for future endeavors, please.

                        In terms of feedback, I would like the reviewers to focus more on:

                        • What they think will happen next. It gives me a better idea of where the reader's expectations are and how they're formulating the story in their heads. Am I keeping them on the edge of their seats, or am I making things too predictable and they're easily able to guess the next steps in the story? I'd like to avoid the later for obvious reasons.
                        • Reflections on how the story changes. Did they agree with the change in direction? What plot mechanics did they like? Was there some element or something that caught their interest? If I ever write a future story, I'll have a better idea of what excites and interests readers.
                        • What themes and characters do they find most appealing? And which ones do they dislike? It gives me a better idea of what things to focus on if I were to write another story. It also helps when determining what kinds of things should be avoided.
                        • Is the story fun to read and does it keep things suspenseful and thrilling? Or is it just more of what's been done already? What was something the reader would have done instead if they were the ones who were writing it?


                        I don't mind the occasional point out the grammar mistake and such either. But again, the whole reason I'm posting this here is to share, preserve, and learn from it. I'm NOT looking to completely rewrite the whole thing (or even make major edits that nullify or may drastically alter already written material that is to come in the future).

                        TL:DR

                        Again, to sum it all up in one TL:DR, I would love to see reviews that take what I've written here and guide me toward making a better and more enjoyable story in the future, but in terms of making major changes to this one or expecting drastic alterations to the writing style and storytelling format I used for this story, I can't say such things will be done.

                        And to quote Orson Scott Card:

                        Quote:
                        You grow a whole lot more as a writer by getting old stories out of the house and letting new ones come in and live with you until they grow up and are ready to go. Don't let the old ones stay there and grow fat and cranky and eat all the food in the refrigerator. You have dozens of generations of stories inside you, but the only way to make room for the new ones is to write the old ones and mail them off.
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                          #13    
                        Old June 5th, 2015 (8:35 PM). Edited June 12th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                        Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                          Chapter 5
                          Foreign Encounters

                          Only then did I look at Alex, and then I really wished I hadn’t been so fast in doing so. His body from head to toe had been completely black like he landed in an oil slick. On his head were two long antennae with bulbs on the ends. And to make matters even worse, on his back were two enormous butterfly wings splashed with a rainbow of colors. Damn, if I had been in Alex’s place at that moment, I swear I would have gone postal. As sad and pathetic as David’s humiliating fate had been, it wasn’t nearly as bad as this.

                          “THAT LITTLE FREAK RANDY FERGUSON IS GOING TO DIE!!!!!!,” Alex shouted loudly, sending his screaming echo throughout the clearing.

                          “You said it, man,” I supported Alex, trying to calm his rage by letting him vent and just support everything he said. “All three of us are going to slaughter those little freaks. I’ll even let you be the one who whacks Randy’s head as I pin him down.”

                          “Jake…” Alex said softly, trying to calm down all of a sudden.

                          “What?” I asked him, looking up into his eyes.

                          There was silence for a dark moment.

                          “Just shut up,” Alex told me with a bit of frustration in his eyes.

                          Fine. I shrugged and figured I would just let Alex have his way for now, just like David. If it had been me thrown into his current hellhole mess, I would have been infuriated to the extreme myself, so I could understand why both of them would be moody all of a sudden. He needed to rant and I could get that. Still, one way or another, Randy was going to make sure we were humiliated and depressed even before we battled his Pokémon. And since this was his freakish world, we had to expect anything. I swore, he was not going to do to me what he did to Alex and David.

                          Before we had the chance to do anything, we saw what seemed to be a dark figure emerge from behind us. As we turned around, he got closer, and we realized he was wearing a black fedora and trench coat, looking like a mobster pulled right out of some gangster movie. We were more than ready to retaliate after what we've been through, but when he approached us, he shook his head in disgust.

                          “Damn, just got here too late,” The mobster told us with frustration. "You three didn’t deserve this kind of misery. Believe me, I know."

                          “And who the hell are you?” I asked him, still with justified paranoia creeping all over me.

                          “Name’s Black,” He told us. “You may not believe me, but I’m Randy’s frustration. And heh, I owe you three a favor.”

                          We were surprised for a moment to think that this guy actually existed. But then again, could we really even trust this guy? I figured I’d at least hear him out.

                          “You three made me strong by making Randy feel weak,” Black told us with a bit of a sinister smile. “I’ll let you in on some of Randy’s darkest secrets. He can't just flush me out because I'm just as much a part of him as everything else around here, good or bad.”

                          “Go on,” David told Black, still on his guard.

                          “Believe it or not, Randy’s world really was created from that necklace,” Black told us, “I know, I know, you thought it was a lie, but it's not. It's about time you face what you're really dealing with here. He created this whole new world and dimension just because of his inability to train Pokémon and deal with his problems. Like you three. Talk about frustration. There was nothing more he wanted than to beat the three of you.”

                          I couldn’t understand why worthless little Randy would go through so much trouble to beat us. Couldn’t he just accept the fact he was a natural loser at Pokémon battling and there was no hope for him in the world? He'd probably be better off doing something else.

                          “But, if you try to battle him now, you’ll most surely lose,” Black warned us. “That necklace gives him enough power to give him any Pokémon he wants, as well as use any move or attack. Even ones that don’t even exist.”

                          “Are you kidding!?” David shouted in shock.

                          “In Randy’s world, if he can think it, it becomes real,” Black informed us, still trying to keep a low profile. “His new, super-powered Pokémon are nearly invincible. Trust me, you were right when you said the game was rigged, and it definitely is. It’s a good thing I found you three, because if I didn’t, I don't want to imagine what would have happened...”

                          I had a feeling this might just be one person in all of Randy’s world that we could at least somewhat trust. What he said was certainly making sense. The last time we saw Randy, he seemed ready to do anything, even something like this. We pushed him too far, that was for sure.

                          “How do we stop Randy and get out of here?” Alex asked Black. "Seriously, look at the two of us. We've got to get this crap off."

                          “You need to defeat Randy, as well as Jeff and Frank,” Black said to the three of us. “You have to make Randy feel defeated enough to the point where even in his own dream world, he still can’t beat you. Only then will that little schmuck give up this pointless act of his. And thankfully, when it's over, this place of his is out the window like a cigarette. All gone.”

                          Heh, that was worth chuckling for. Randy would NEVER be able to say he was better than us, because it would be a cold-blooded lie. It then became clear what we had to do.

                          In order to get out of this place, we had to find Randy as well as those little morons Jeff and Frank and kick their butts. I certainly didn’t want to stay here any longer, after seeing what had happened to Alex and David. I had to be extra careful to make sure I didn’t end up like them, which was exactly what Randy wanted to happen…

                          “There’s only one way to at least put yourself on the same level as Randy,” Black told us, “You'll need these. Put them around your neck, and it'll at least suppress some of the control Randy has over reality.”

                          Then, out of his coat, he pulled out three golden chain necklaces. He handed one to each of us, and we wore them around our necks.

                          “While those are nothing compared to the necklace Randy has, they have an opposing canceling power while you use them here,” Black said to us. “Heck, I should know. I know everything that just presses that little boy’s buttons."

                          And then, he reached back into his trench coat. It seemed he had one more thing to give to us.

                          “Here,” Black said, also handing a Poké Ball to each of us. “Take these also. These Pokémon will at least put you on the same level as Randy, since they’re also made from that little boy’s dreams. Once he throws his Poké Balls and his desired Pokémon comes out, he hasn't learned how to change it quite yet. But be careful. Make sure he’s the one to send out his Pokémon first, or he’ll always have a type advantage over you, usually in the worst kind of way.”

                          “Thanks, Black,” I said to him.

                          “It’s the least I can do for the three of you,” Black responded. “See you around, and good luck.”

                          And then he turned around and left. I looked over the Poké Ball that Black had handed me, just wondering what was inside. Still, now wasn’t the time to play guessing games. I was going to save this for a moment I really needed it. Last thing I wanted was for Randy to find out we acquired secret weapons against him.

                          "Is he serious about this thing?" Alex asked, looking at the necklace with doubt. "Also, I really don't like the idea of using a Pokémon created from Randy's dreams."

                          "Yeah, me neither," David replied, brushing it off. "For that reason alone, it probably sucks, whatever it is."

                          Probably. I shrugged but decided to keep the stuff anyway. Alex and David, however, simply cast their given Poké Balls aside, not wanting to have anything to do with Randy's dream world. As for me, I shrugged and simply just held onto mine. Maybe there was some silver lining in using a Pokémon of Randy's dreams against him, even if Alex and David didn't think so.

                          After that, we headed back into the tropical forest, hoping we would find Randy soon and get out of his retarded dream world as soon as possible. I didn't know where the hell he was in this place, but something had to lead up to him.

                          Again, we made our way through the dense foliage, this time I was in the front. I constantly had to lift my feet and swing them over the dense shrubs on the ground, and it was wet everywhere. My jeans were soaked and my t-shirt was damp from the dew and the humidity everywhere. I wasn't thinking about Randy all that much and it was really just the heat and getting somewhere that I was focusing on, but I wasn't making much headway there.

                          I picked up the pace, just wanting to get out of this miserable forest as soon as possible. I could put up with the heat and the sweat as long as it got me out of here faster. After some time, I turned around to see how Alex and David were doing and if they needed a moment to catch up.

                          And then I realized they weren’t there…

                          I looked back frantically, but I didn’t see them anywhere. Where the hell did they go? I shouted out several times, calling their names and hoping they were nearby, but there was no sight of them at all and no response. I was just pissed. I really didn't need this right now and felt it should have been easy for those two to keep up. And I top of that, I felt like I was starving. I hadn’t eaten in nearly a day and a half. But like hell I was going to trust eating or drinking anything while I was here.

                          All I could do was keep moving, but after some time, it became night again and I couldn’t even see the path ahead. I had no choice but to wait until dark. Stupid Randy and his imaginary world. Just who the hell did he think he was anyway? By now, I had no idea where Alex and David were, and this was just making everything fifty times worse. Again, I had to make a bunch of wet plants and leaves my bed for the night. That whole night, I kept thinking how much I really wanted to make Randy's face a gnarled mess with my fists.

                          Surprisingly, I fell asleep and when I awoke, I could see again. I got up and kept moving, hoping to leave this stupid forest, but it seemed to keep going on forever. After just a few hours, I heard a noise to my right. I thought by some miraculous chance it might have been Alex or David, so I decided to track it down. And then I came across an interesting sight. I came across a small fountain spring, and there were tiny little pixies surrounding it. They all seemed to look at me in shock for one moment, and then they calmed down, almost as if they already knew me and didn't think this was the alarming surprise they thought it was at first.

                          “Oh, it’s only you,” One of them said in relief, speaking with a calm and quiet voice. “For a minute I thought you were some kind of stalker.”

                          “Who are you?” I asked them, wondering who they were.

                          “Oh, we’re just Randy’s mischievous side,” A different pixie told me casually. “But, unfortunately, Randy doesn’t get into mischief very often, so we’re always put on the back burner. He's just not a naughty guy... unfortunately.”

                          Sure as heck wasn't. He didn't have the guts to stand up to anyone or get even. That's what his problem was. He just didn't see it. What was the point of creativity if it wasn’t put to good use? Randy was just loaded with disappointments.

                          “Well, I plan on taking Randy down,” I told them. “Just like I always have.”

                          “Heh, yeah, go figure,” One of them replied casually. “We knew you would. I don’t know how you’re able to tolerate it being in the mind of the one person you despise.”

                          I didn’t know either, and my patience was growing short because of that. Hell, she was right about that one. After some of them got up and flew away, only about three of them remained. After they flew to a nearby branch, I suddenly felt my hunger arise again. I couldn’t help but ask if they had anything to eat. It became the only thing I was really thinking about.

                          “I’m starving,” I told the three of them. “You… wouldn’t have anything around here to eat, would you?

                          They suddenly became surprised, and looked at me like I was crazy. One of them giggled a bit, whispered something to the others, and then they looked at me.

                          “You… still need to eat?” One of them asked. “That’s just stupid. Obviously you’ve never heard of Sun Water before, have you?”

                          “Not a chance,” I told them.

                          “It comes from that spring,” The pixie told me, pointing to the fountain. “If you drink a few cups of Sun Water, you’ll never need to eat again. Drink, once in a while yes, but eat, never again.”

                          That sounded ridiculous. But then again, after I stole Randy’s lunch money a countless number of times, maybe this was an element of him that had put up with never having lunch again. Who knows, because in Randy’s world, it seemed like anything was fair game. I wasn’t about to give a damn where that came from though. I took her word for it and didn't see much in terms of other options.

                          I walked over to the fountain and bent down. Honestly, the water didn’t appear to be any different than normal water, so I just shrugged it off. And since these pixies seemed to be another part of Randy’s naughty side, maybe I could trust them. Black already helped us out, so I figured they could be the same. They already looked like they trusted me. Hell, it was like we had already knew each other for crying out loud.

                          And as my hunger grew stronger, I wasn’t about to argue or start asking stupid questions. I found a pewter cup nearby, and I dipped it into the fountain. I then gathered some water in the cup, held it to my lips, and then decided to drink it. While it looked like water, it tasted super-sweet like sugar. It tasted great, and after I drank down the first cup, I decided to go for seconds.

                          My hunger melted away immediately, but the Sun Water was so tasty I couldn’t help but keep drinking it. It was addicting as hell. I must have had twelve cups of the stuff before I felt like I had enough of it. There was no soda on Earth that had a better taste than Sun Water. I swore, I would have bottled the stuff up if I could have.

                          And then, I heard a slight giggling in the distance. I turned around and saw it had come from one of the pixies. I looked up at one of them and she looked at me.

                          “Boy, you’re going to look awfully cute…” She said before flying away with the other two.
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                            #14    
                          Old June 6th, 2015 (1:23 AM).
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                          Delirious Absol Delirious Absol is offline
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                            Oh dear. I wonder what that water's done? D=

                            Another little typo I noticed:
                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            “You need to defeat Randy, and well as Jeff and Frank,” Black said to the three of us.
                            Did you mean 'as well as'?
                            I hope it helps that I point these out when I notice them. It sometimes takes an extra pair of eyes to pull out little typos as we can get so used to reading over our own work, it's easy to miss the odd one or two.

                            One part I really liked was this:

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            Again, we made our way through the dense foliage, this time I was in the front. I constantly had to lift my feet and swing them over the dense shrubs on the ground, and it was wet everywhere. My jeans were soaked and my t-shirt was damp from the dew and the humidity everywhere. I wasn't thinking about Randy all that much and it was really just the heat and getting somewhere that I was focusing on, but I wasn't making much headway there.
                            This is a great way of adding extra scenery without describing it in its own paragraph. Describing the characters moving through thick, humid forests, dodging stiff, tangles of plants... it really sets the scene. I personally love writing descriptions like this myself and do it quite a lot.

                            Those little pixies were obviously up to something. I wonder if he's going to change shape himself now?
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                              #15    
                            Old June 6th, 2015 (11:59 AM). Edited June 7th, 2015 by Psychic.
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                            Psychic Psychic is offline
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                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            It might be because the story is in first person. Jake's not paying attention to the passersby, he's focused on the battle, Randy's reactions, and his reflecting more on his own personal thoughts. The other thing is, as mentioned in the story, the bullying has been going on for quite some time. I mean heck, I was bullied as a kid and no one cared either.
                            It is perfectly normal for a first-person narrative to simultaneously be focused on the main character’s thoughts as well as what's happening all around them. Not only does it make sense, but it’s also important for helping the reader visualize the scene. Jake would certainly notice them at the very least. I realize that you don’t want anyone in the story to step in aside from Jeff, however that’s exactly part of the bystander effect - kids will stop and watch without necessarily stepping in to help. This is why I advised you to add lines such as “by now, a small crowd had started to form around us, pausing to watch the spectacle.” Not only does it make it feel as if there are more than six people at this school, but it’s also realistic.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            I did reread your review on Serebii, and I think the core difference here is the varying direction we would take the same story in. It kind of sounds like you would rather see deeper in Jake's family and more about why and how he became a bully as opposed to what's to become of it.
                            I haven’t actually brought that up in this review, but yes, I still think it’s worth investing in. If you want your main character to be interesting and likeable (which you say has been a recurring problem), then giving readers insight into Jake’s life makes a huge difference. It makes him more human and sympathetic. This is also character building 101 - you get a better idea of why a character is the way they are if you know more about their background. People aren't generally bad for no reason, after all. You need to know how a character got to where they are to understand and appreciate who they are and where they’re going.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            I think you got it wrong, that's not the reason why the songs were embedded in there. And there's a reason why they're optional. If, like in your case, if you find the songs are bothersome, distracting, or annoying, definitely, by all means, skip by them and pretend they never existed. I understand this kind of thing is not everyone's cup of tea and there are some people who would rather just read the story in silence.

                            I work and chat with a few people who just do this kind of thing for fun and actually enjoy it. "Hey, this fast-paced, action-packed track would be perfect to set the mood, as if the story was a movie!" Others just see them as a fun, casual extra. You could make the same reasoning and say movies shouldn't have a soundtrack either and say "the director is responsible for creating the mood in their movie." You could also say video games shouldn't have music either and that "the developer is responsible for creating the mood in their game."
                            Film and video games are entirely different mediums, however. They are visual mediums that have traditionally had soundtracks essentially since their inception, and they pretty much go part and parcel. Music is not a traditional part of literature, and the two have never really been blended seamlessly.

                            If you are set on including video links in your fic, then as I said, it would be better to put them in the author’s notes at the beginning of the chapter. The reason it’s distracting right now is because it’s in the middle of the narration, and seeing a random link ruins the flow of the story and takes the reader out of the moment you’ve so carefully crafted. If you put the video at the very beginning, then readers will know in advance they have the option of playing it if they want to without worrying about it ruining the reading experience.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            Again, I honestly didn't think anyone would go that deeply into this.

                            The songs and stuff was just meant to be a fun extra. But, if you had a recommendation for an alternative track that you thought would fit better, I'm interested to know.
                            The task of a reviewer is to give each aspect of a fic thought and consideration.

                            If you want to add music to your fic, you must find something that fits properly.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            It's funny, this is the exact opposite thing of what some other reviewers wanted. Before, other people were demanding that the battle was difficult to visualize because the descriptors weren't as prevalent. I decided to add in more details that would make it easier to visualize the battle, although this slowed down the pacing of the story a bit.

                            I think the issue here is the story is in a bit of a tug of war between the people that think the story is moving too slow with the description while the other party thinks it needs to be made faster, while in the middle, it's really more about how Jake sees things, how he reacts to them, and is more focused on what he knows, sees, and how he interprets them.
                            I believe I’m in agreement with your other reviewers, from the sound of it. I’m not saying to remove the descriptions of the battle - I’m saying to remove some of the narration of Jake’s thoughts during the battle. That is what’s slowing it down. For example:
                            Spoiler:
                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            Obviously, Alex had picked his nastiest Pokémon for the job. Leave it to Alex to show off two vicious, blacker-than-death hellhounds with glaring eyes and teeth that look like they could kill people they hadn't even met yet. When they appeared in the wake of the flash, I rubbed my hands in sneering anticipation. I couldn’t wait to see Jeff get wasted.

                            Unlike Randy, he actually had a strategy going and seemed to act like he knew what he was doing. But Alex wasn’t through yet. This party was just getting started and I was looking forward to seeing Alex's Pokémon wipe the floor with these clowns.
                            We know Jake can’t wait to see Alex beat Jeff, so you don’t need the last line in either paragraph.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            Ampharos let loose a pulsing Thunder Wave that unfortunately Mightyena had no way of avoiding. Meanwhile, Jeff's Espeon coated himself with a bubble shield of violet, reflective light. He could try all he'd like to shield himself from the wrath Alex was about to unleash upon them. When it failed, it would make it that much more comical.
                            The last two sentences don’t add a lot to the story or give us any new insights.

                            Lines like these become repetitive and tell the readers things we already know, which makes the scene feel slow. For an action scene, that's not ideal.


                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            This is true, but to Jake, obviously his own reflections on what's going on are important to him and how his story is told. To him, he's often thinking about how much "Randy is an idiot" and how laughable he thinks Randy's attempts are. If those were to be chopped out, he seems less like a jerk.
                            Trust me, the readers still understand that Jake is a jerk without him expressing his distaste in every paragraph. We realize Jake is a jerk from the beginning, so you don’t have to constantly reinforce it to your readers. In fact, it becomes boring and repetitive if you’re doing it constantly, and it slows down the pace of the story. You can take a lot of these quips out, and Jake's character will still be very clear.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            First off, I think you're critiquing on the necklace's role in the story too early. The story is told through Jake's viewpoint, so he's only just discovering details about this necklace. It's impossible for him to have known anything more about it prior to this point. If this was done in a third person perspective, going into how exactly Jeff got his hands on it would make sense. Since I decided to do it from Jake's to reflect more on his personal character, thoughts, and beliefs, he couldn't have known.
                            It sounds like you’ve already told us most of what there is to tell about how they got the necklace, actually. My suggestion is to merely change the characters’ dialogue so they instead talk about how they got it at an antique shop. It would be a very simple fix to a rather glaring plot-hole.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            Your points are really good, though, but I don't think they're possible to delve into in a first-person environment. Maybe Jeff's father was irresponsible (heck, even Indiana Jones wasn't flawless when it came to handling similar obscenely powerful artifacts) or trusted his son not to meddle with it and was wrong to do so. And Jeff just sees it as a quick fix to Randy's problems and ends up breaking open a "Pandora's Box" that even he wasn't expecting. These six characters are young teens, so it's definitely not outlandish that they might be careless and reckless.
                            It is hard to believe that so many characters are just that irresponsible, however. You are asking the reader to suspend their disbelief to a huge degree, because normal human beings usually aren’t that flippant about ancient, invaluable, magical artifacts. If Jeff and his dad are both supposed to be idiots like you claim, then it makes them both unbelievable and unlikeable. This plot-point really weakens the story.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            Moreover, how it got into Jeff's hands is not really the focus of the story. If Jake tried to find out, it would just distract from the direction I want to take the story in. For all Jake knows, Jeff snatched it from his father, or Jeff could even be lying about the whole thing. Second point being, neither Jeff nor Randy even know all the extents of necklace's power.

                            I could go into more detail about the nature of the necklace to shed light on its role in the story, but there would be major plot spoilers involved.
                            I wasn’t saying you need to devote a huge amount of time to showing how they got the pendant. (Though considering that it’s a vital aspect of the plot, that would actually be a really good thing to do, since a lot of your readers will be wondering about this. You set it up as a big part of the story, so it’s natural for readers to want more information.)

                            Also, even though we’ve only just met Jeff, it’s pretty clear that he is an earnest guy. He has no reason to lie to Jake, and you give the reader no reason to think he’s being insincere. If your intention is for Jeff to not seem like he’s telling the truth, you need to make this clearer.

                            It does not sound as though the exact circumstances as to how Jeff/his dad got the pendant could contain spoilers, since you are making it sound as if this has no further relevance to the story.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            This one was mainly to shed some more light on Jake's political incorrectness. I didn't think it would be that much of a problem, but eh, if you think the better route is to play it safe than sorry, I can see where you're going with that.
                            Unless being politically incorrect is a vital aspect of Jake’s character, then you should really avoid things that many readers are sensitive to, or at least find a better way to do it. It can be a huge turn-off to some readers.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            I think the central issue is you have a politically correct way of handling things, but you're trying to apply it to a story written in the perspective of a very politically incorrect character, so there's a bit of a clash there. I think the advice you've given would be definitely more applicable if the story was written in third-person and certain things, like what's going on around the six characters, how Jeff got the necklace, and things like that would need to be delved more into. Also, I think you and I probably have very different writing styles.
                            I only pointed out one political correctness issue, so I’m not sure where you’re getting this impression from. You can write a story from the perspective of an anti-PC character, but you should try to do so in a way that doesn’t piss your readers off.

                            All of my advice was written with the fact that this is first-person limited in mind. Everything I have mentioned can still be done while in this PoV. I have done my best to provide examples for how to do so, and if some of them are unclear, please let me know.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            Also, I'm not trying to say "hey Psychic and Bardothren, buzz off!" Definitely not, and please don't. However, I would like to say... please stand down and be at ease for now and wait until things develop further and you see how and where I'm going with this story. I think the chances are extremely good it's definitely not going to go in the direction you think it's going to go in. In fact, I would much rather love to hear your opinion after everything's been posted, and to let me know where the major faults and successes of the story were on a large-scale, overall basis. Otherwise, if you just decide to abandon this only at this stage of the game, it's very much like dismissing Harry Potter before he even gets to Hogwarts. You wouldn't be giving this story the true chance it deserves. Plus, I know you picked it up and reviewed it this much in depth for a reason.
                            Unfortunately, like many readers, I do not continue reading stories if they do not interest me from the beginning. The task of every writer is to hook the reader’s interest immediately - people will stop reading if they’re not interested in the story, find a lot of errors, or dislike the writing. If a reader isn’t interested, then instead of trying to convince them to stay, you should create a stronger opening for your story. If I pick up a book and like it immediately then it usually turns out to be an enjoyable experience, but too many times I have read a book I disliked from the get-go, and wound up regretting my decision to continue and read the whole thing.

                            In addition, as a reviewer, if I do not feel that a writer is receptive to my reviews, I no longer feel motivated to continue reading. I spend a lot of time on each of my reviews, and if a writer does not value what I have to say, it is difficult to justify continuing.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            There's been times when I've felt like ripping out the first part of this overall story and redoing it in a different way, but then again, there are major elements to these beginning parts and they have major roles and importance later on. Since most of the story is totally finished by now, I can't say major storyline changes will be made to reflect what you were expecting in your reviews when I'm mainly posting it here to be shared and preserved. The site and forum where the original was posted (Pokémon Elite 2000) has been shut down, and quite a few people have begged me to repost it, hence why I've been posting it on Pokémon Crossroads, PokéCommunity, and Bulbagarden.
                            Didn’t you say you were posting your fic on Serebii for that exact reason? If you are merely interest in posting your story somewhere to serve as an archive for those who want to read it, you could have just finished posting your story there, and then started a rewrite. Alternatively, as I suggested previously, you can look into making your own website where you can host your fic. Dragonfree's website even includes her many rewrites of her fic.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            I'll take the recommendations you guys have in mind for sure in terms of making major adjustments to writing style, storytelling direction, and stuff like that, but... for future endeavors, please.

                            In terms of feedback, I would like the reviewers to focus more on:
                            […]

                            I don't mind the occasional point out the grammar mistake and such either. But again, the whole reason I'm posting this here is to share, preserve, and learn from it. I'm NOT looking to completely rewrite the whole thing (or even make major edits that nullify or may drastically alter already written material that is to come in the future).
                            Thank you for keeping our recommendations in mind. It seems that there are very specific things you want out of your reviews, in which case I would advise putting these things in your first post so reviewers will know whether their critiques will be welcome. Unfortunately, I cannot write reviews that ignore other vital aspects of your writing, and I can’t read a fic that will have recurring issues the writer won’t fix.

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                            Again, to sum it all up in one TL:DR, I would love to see reviews that take what I've written here and guide me toward making a better and more enjoyable story in the future, but in terms of making major changes to this one or expecting drastic alterations to the writing style and storytelling format I used for this story, I can't say such things will be done.
                            The thing is, I am trying to guide you towards making this a more enjoyable story, but on every level, from grammar to style to characters to plot points. I am also trying to help you hone skills that can then be used for writing your future stories. I genuinely want to help you, but I can't do so if I don't feel my efforts are appreciated. If you would like me to continue reading, then please reconsider your stance.

                            ~Psychic
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                              #16    
                            Old June 6th, 2015 (3:02 PM).
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                            Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                              Quote:
                              Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                              Oh dear. I wonder what that water's done? D=

                              Another little typo I noticed:

                              Did you mean 'as well as'?
                              I hope it helps that I point these out when I notice them. It sometimes takes an extra pair of eyes to pull out little typos as we can get so used to reading over our own work, it's easy to miss the odd one or two.

                              One part I really liked was this:
                              First off, thank you, these are the kinds of reviews I'm looking for and man, do they help.

                              I did fix that little typo, and I appreciate you pointing it out. And yeah, fixing this old story up has been a lot like remodeling an old house. There will always be some slight imperfections and it may not be as good as something I can write up from scratch today, but I'd still like to share it and learn from it.

                              Quote:
                              Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                              This is a great way of adding extra scenery without describing it in its own paragraph. Describing the characters moving through thick, humid forests, dodging stiff, tangles of plants... it really sets the scene. I personally love writing descriptions like this myself and do it quite a lot.

                              Those little pixies were obviously up to something. I wonder if he's going to change shape himself now?
                              Thanks, yeah, this is one of the modifications I've started adding in.

                              As for the what pixies did... yeah, it's not very nice. XD

                              Quote:
                              Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
                              ~Psychic
                              I'm a bit short on time at the moment, so I kind of need to make this quick. That, and I don't think I could really say much in addition to what I've said already. So, I have to be honest here.

                              Maybe this just isn't your kind of story after all.

                              I see what your expectations are, and honestly, I don't think I could ever live up to them or rearrange this story in every possible combination of ways to meet each and every one of them to your satisfaction even if I tried rewriting, rearranging, and editing this story over and over again, nor is that a goal I'm trying to shoot for (I'd rather write something completely new than to start this totally over from scratch again). Call me a bad writer, someone who's disorganized, or someone that doesn't know what they're doing, and that's fine. You're entitled to your opinion and I'm not going to question it. I appreciate your opinions, I value your advice, and I thank you for it, but I don't think it's fair for you to insist on it rather than leaving it at the author's discretion.

                              I think the other point is it's hard to understand why it's being done this way until you've read the whole thing in its entirety. Some of the things you mentioned wouldn't have very much significance at all in the later reaches of the story, which is why I didn't focus on them. In fact, I dare say it as yet another spoiler (because I think it's necessary to say it), major components of Jake's role in the story actually become obsolete in time, but you'll only see how if you read all the way to the end.

                              It's up to you if you want to continue reading, but if you don't, I understand. Also, if you don't mind, I'd rather take this to PMs rather than posting it here.
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                                #17    
                              Old June 6th, 2015 (3:02 PM). Edited June 7th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                                Chapter 6
                                Grim Reunion

                                No, damn... it! I couldn’t believe what I just did! Randy had me just where he wanted. I was right, damn, was I right. I couldn’t understand why the hell I had just done that. He was going to screw all three of us, and I just walked into one of his sick traps. He just turned David into a fairy and Alex into a butterfly. Now what the hell was going to happen to me?

                                Those blasted little pixies were gone. Right now I wanted to wring their little necks and twist their little heads off, but they already flew off and were a hell of a lot faster than I was. I even said to myself we couldn’t trust anyone while we were here. What the hell was I just doing!? All because of hunger? I could have sucked it up and kept on going.

                                I dropped the pewter cup and it tumbled on the grass. I then felt a weird tingling sensation in my hand, and I was hoping I was only imagining it. After I looked at the palm of my hand, it had turned a soft light green color, along with the rest of my arm. All of my skin turned a soft green color and became this weird, smooth texture. Then my fingernails vanished. I swore under my breath. To hell with Randy and his stupid dream world.

                                "Come on... don't do this...!" I grimaced, hopelessly trying to fight whatever the hell this was.

                                And then, in less than a single second, my jeans were torn to shreds as a gigantic skirt of rainbow-colored flower petals surrounded my waist and reached down to ground, all in the shape of a giant bell. And then a belt of bright and colorful lily flowers blossomed around my waist. I shook my head and must have cursed a dozen times…

                                “Randy Ferguson, I swear I’m going to make you cry blood…” I growled angrily.

                                But screw me, it didn’t end there. I felt the back of my t-shirt tear open as another giant lily suddenly emerged from my back, and when it bloomed, it became a giant, rainbow eighteen-petal lily that covered my entire back. My t-shirt was instantly reduced to ribbons, which fell to the ground like a rag. Out of feral instinct I tried to put my hands on my back, only to feel the massive lily flower itself. The thing was a freaking monster…

                                And then to further my misery, a headband of colorful lily flowers circled around my head. Only seconds later, it felt like someone had just opened up an umbrella over my head, only instead it was another sickening giant lily flower. I swore, I've never screamed like the way I did when that happened.

                                And then to finish it all off, large bracelets of lily flowers blossomed on my arms, right near my wrists. After that had happened, I fell on my knees and just stayed there for nearly five minutes just hoping it was all over with. I wanted to wake up from this traumatizing nightmare so, so badly but I knew it wasn't going to happen.

                                But it was hopeless. My jeans lay completely ruined on the ground, and I was wearing nothing except this stupid flower petal skirt. Like David, trying to rip any of this off resulted in utter failure, so when it failed at first, I wasn’t going to try it again.

                                After I finally mustered the motivation to get back up on my feet and get going again, all that I could do was take the belt with my Poké Balls on it, attach the wallet that was in my pocket to it, and put it on. Now all I had to do was find David and Alex to show and tell them what happened.

                                I was freaking furious in ways I never thought were possible. Now Jeff, Frank and that little freak Randy were going to have a laugh and a half just looking at us. I was certain as hell that it couldn’t possibly get even worse than this.

                                I only needed to walk for fifteen minutes through shrubs, bushes, and around trees before leaving that tropical forest of nightmares. Then, I saw them, as if I was meant to just happen to run into them at that moment. I didn’t expect to encounter them so soon, but I figured this had been planned from the start. They had already left the forest, and were waiting for me.

                                “That…” Alex turned to me with a bit of shock, “That... holy crap, that isn’t you, Jake, is it?”

                                “Randy Ferguson’s going to have a hard time laughing once I punch his face so hard that his brain ends up in his throat,” I told them both with my feral rage.

                                They knew it was me. Alex looked shocked at first, and David had even more of a grimace.

                                “Oh, man, Jake,” Alex remarked with dismay. “Damn it to hell, you look like an overgrown Bellossom. What the hell happened, man?”

                                I certainly didn’t need to hear that "overgrown Bellossom" comment. I felt like a complete idiot, and the thought I was going to have to show myself to Randy like this was an inevitable horror I was not looking forward to. I felt ready to crush Randy’s skull in with my own hands, that’s how angry I was.

                                “I’ve never hated Randy as much as I do now,” I told Alex and David. “Look, I don't want to talk about what happened back there, let's just nail this freak and go home. Seriously.”

                                “And then we never, ever talk about this crap again," Alex replied.

                                I nodded to that, knowing this was one horrific experience I was hoping I could forget forever.

                                There was still a part of me that felt like staying away from Randy and his two stupid, moronic friends as much as possible because of what happened to the three of us. However, I kept telling myself that was just idiocy. We had to fight him because if we didn't, we were only going to be stuck here longer.

                                And on top of it all, I didn’t know who to believe anymore. Black seemed like he was trustworthy, and he seemed to have helped us big time. And then again, I thought I could trust those blasted little pixies, and they completely screwed me over. I certainly didn’t want to walk into a trap like that again, but I didn’t want to turn down someone who was only trying to bring us one step closer to defeating Randy. In the end, I didn't know how to play this stupid game besides trial and error. I figured at this point, what difference did it make, we didn't have much more to lose than what we got swiped away from us in the first place.

                                As we kept walking through that valley, hoping we’d find Randy or at least someone capable of bringing us to him, I could only think of one thing. Exactly how were we going to stop Randy? And even if we really did beat him, would we wake up in the real world again? I was certainly hoping this hideous and humiliating transformation wasn’t permanent, because I was quickly getting sick of it.

                                The three of us didn't say much as we walked away from that tropical forest, heading more into the rolling valleys along a barely visible dirt path. I didn't really feel like talking, and I was getting sick of this wandering around and hoping to find something. Randy's stupid world sure didn't have much to look at. Even the number of wild Pokémon was very few and far between, and as I suspected, they were obviously only the kind Randy liked and had trained. It almost seemed like the only kinds of Pokémon that existed now were mostly harmless, unevolved ones that just minded their own business.

                                And after nearly an hour, we encountered another shady figure. When he drew closer, we saw he was wearing a gray cloak with a hood over his head, and I was beginning to think this might have been another one of the jackass cultist that threw Alex into the cocoon. He moved toward us very quickly, almost running.

                                "Who's this psycho!?" David exclaimed, reaching for his Poké Balls.

                                I had my hand on Raichu's Poké Ball, but didn't even have the chance to prime it before he reached us, then stopped, and then stood completely still. I couldn’t even see his face from the shadow of his hood, despite how bright and how close we were to him. He kind of looked and sounded like the Grim Reaper, just not as dark as usual.

                                "Who the hell are you!?" Alex shouted, ready for a fight.

                                “He… didn’t….” The figure groaned.

                                I said who are you!?" Alex demanded. "Don't even think of trying anything!"

                                He stopped, and then slowly turned toward Alex. This guy was really freaking me out.

                                “Depression,” He mumbled. “That’s right, I’m King Randy’s depression. His worst nightmare. He fears me.”

                                “That's just great,” I told him sarcastically, still unsure about this guy considering the last episode I had. “What do you want with us!?"

                                Depression then started laughing hysterically, which was a heck of a complete turn-around from his previously dour composure. He quickly threw off his hood to reveal a gaunt, scarred face with frizzy, gray hair. We were instantly shocked.

                                “Oh, yes!” Depression smiled, still snickering. “Now I know who you three are. I didn’t recognize you at first. Obviously King Randy's traps have gotten to you first, but there’s still time. Yes... time to do lots and lots of damage to King Randy…”

                                “Where do we find him?” I asked again, hoping he could help us get out of this hideous mess.

                                He mumbled a bit, and then looked up again.

                                “He… likes to spend his time in Victory City Stadium,” Depression told us, happy to reveal that fact to us. “It almost seems like… he’s waiting for you…”

                                “Can you take us there?” David asked, hoping to speed up the process. “We want to make him lose.”

                                Depression stopped moving, and then he looked at David.

                                "Oh, you're not too far off," Depression smiled with a creepy grin. "Follow this road and then turn right at the next crossing. Victory City should only be a few hours on foot to there."

                                Might as well trust him. If he led us in the wrong direction, well, we sure as hell weren't heading in the right direction before anyway. And then again, it wouldn't make sense for Randy to keep himself away from us forever. I figured that little punk would try to have us be naturally led to him in time anyway.

                                "However," Depression warned us. "Be warned. He’s knows more about Pokémon and battling than anyone else now. No one has ever beaten him. If you really plan on battling him, you should take these, for the protection of you and your Pokémon. They'll make sure Randy's powers can't be used to weaken or misdirect the attacks your Pokémon use. It's very important you keep it on when you fight him. The odds may still be against you, but at least there will be some chance.”

                                He then took his shriveled hand and reached into the pocket of his cloak. Then, he handed us three ordinary-looking silver rings. We slipped them on, and then looked back to Depression.

                                “Remember what I told you,” He grinned. “Make him lose miserably. Make me happy…”

                                And like that, he laughed, and ran off again. I watched him run away, floating over the grass like a specter before he suddenly sprouted two black, Honchkrow-like wings and just take flight seconds before vanishing into thin air. It was freaky beyond hell.

                                "Not sure I trust that freak," David muttered, having watched him fly off as well.

                                "Whatever," I shrugged. "Not like we've got much to lose at this point."

                                We decided to follow Depression's directions, heading down the road until it seemed to grow wider and was easier to make out. Eventually, we finally came across a paved highway, which was much easier to follow than that dirt road we had been on for the last few hours.

                                The highway to Victory City was extremely easy to follow, and it was nice to not have to be wandering around in the damn wilderness. A few cars and trucks passed by us every now and then, and I felt even more embarrassed to be seen in public as a freaking walking flower bouquet. Meanwhile, Alex and David tried to walk further away from the road to avoid being seen.

                                Up ahead, this Victory City was easy to make out. It was just as big as Saffron, but it looked like it was futuristic and high tech. From the distance, I could make out many neon lights, huge skyscrapers, and it definitely seemed like a busy place.

                                "Do we really have to go walking in there like this!?" Alex complained as he walked along. "I swear, just give me some kind of blanket or tarp to cover this crap up."

                                Even then, I didn't think he'd get too far with that considering his giant pair of rainbow-colored butterfly wings. David had the same issue with his ridiculous fairy wings and there wasn't a chance in hell I'd be able to wrap a cloth over the fatass-sized flower on my back and the one on my head either.

                                "Just keep going," David told him. "This stupid place will be gone, so don't care what anyone here thinks of what you look like."

                                He had a point there. I nodded as we walked along the road, knowing it would be at least another few hours before we got to the city itself. As we got closer, I took a better look at the stadium itself, and I knew that would have cost billions to build if it was actually real. If Randy really was in there, man, he sure liked to overcompensate.

                                Victory City was pretty much Randy's paradise. The whole city was high-tech and neo-futuristic. Meanwhile, everything he liked to his favorite colors, sports teams, video games, and whatnot was the focus of attention all over the place. Everywhere from the hologram television screens, billboards, on massive neon signs, and anywhere else you could stuff an advertisement. Either you had to like what he liked, or you'd never find it. I swore, not even the biggest celebrities got anything even close to this kind of fame.

                                As we stepped further into the city, the kind of people that inhabited this place were pretty much whatever Randy could dream up. Most people were dressed in the exact same kinds of clothes Randy liked to wear, and they were the kind of people Randy would think were "cool" and "awesome." There were people with blue jeans, graphic t-shirts with all of Randy's favorite things, and black sneakers. Others seemed to wear more of the fashions Randy would probably like as well from sweatshirts, hoodies, cargo pants, and a few had leather jackets also. Meanwhile, though most of them were human, some of them were completely different races, like half dragon half human hybrids, werewolves, vampires, and other races yanked out of fantasy stories, now totally made as if they were real.

                                When we walked into town, I wasn't surprised about the kind of reaction we got.

                                "Hey!" One of the taller, more roughneck werewolves shouted at us. "Well if it isn't Loser Lily, Failure Fairy, and Bumbling Butterfly themselves!"

                                "Listen here, jackass!" Alex snapped, giving the werewolf a deadly stare, not even the least bit intimidated by the tough lycanthrope. "I'm not in the mood for that crap. And by the way, when Randy gets his carcass beaten to a pulp and this stupid creation of his falls apart, you're going down with it!"

                                "Ha, ha, ha!" A rather tough-looking human woman laughed at the sound of it, tossing her raven-black hair as she put one hand on the hip of her blue jean shorts while pointing at us with the other. "Like that's ever going to happen!"

                                I didn't feel like saying a word to this idiotic fan club of imaginary friends Randy decided to create for himself. As we passed through the city and pushed our way through the crowds, I just focused on the stadium, treating this place and these people like it was nothing more than a sinking ship. But all along the way, almost every senile dimwit on the street had some stupid, annoying, and harassing insult to vomit out at us while some of the others threw their garbage at us.

                                Behind the stadium, the sun had begun to set, and by the time we had arrived at the stadium, it was night and the stars were out. Before we had finally made it there, we had been subjected to three annoying hours of harassment from Randy's imaginary friends, and my god was it aggravating. I had plenty of trash and garbage thrown at me also, but the worst had to be the brick that some stupid harpy bastard wearing blue jeans and a ragged t-shirt hurled at me.

                                The silver stadium was huge and it would have easily been the most famous of stadiums ever created in reality... if it actually was created. When we entered the interior arena field, there were probably enough chairs to seat a million people. The place was empty at the moment, but it was easily ready for the biggest and most ferocious Pokémon battles that could ever be held.

                                In the center of it all was a gray battle area for Pokémon with the white outline of a Poké Ball as the playing field. That definitely wasn't out of the ordinary when it came to standard Pokémon stadiums. And then, we saw him. We had suddenly laid eyes on Randy, who was seated on a metal throne on a platform at the far end of the seating area, reaching at least fifteen feet high.

                                The three of us aggressively walked toward him, ready to slug him in the face with our bare hands if it was necessary. However, it was hard to feel like a tough guy when I knew the three of us looked so completely ridiculous. When we finally arrived before that overly high-tech and futuristic throne of Randy's, I caught sight of the stupid necklace he was wearing and wished for anything I could use to rip it off his neck and smash it into a million pieces.

                                Besides him were Jeff and Frank, seated on similar thrones on platforms ten feet in the air. And to even further our anger, they were all dressed in black leather and wearing black sunglasses, as if they thought they were actually cool and badass. When we approached them in the big, empty stadium, I could hear the snickering. I could feel that feral rage coming right back out again.

                                “Well, hello there, ladies,” Randy smiled. "Welcome to Victory City! Hope you had a nice warm welcome upon your arrival!"

                                “Listen up, you stupid freak!” Alex shouted to Randy. “I don’t know what your problem is, but if you don’t unplug this stupid dreamland of yours right now and get us the hell out of here, I'm going to make you pay in blood for it!”

                                Then, Randy took off his shades, and looked at us cynically. After that, he crossed his arms. Now he was starting to act pompous and arrogant, and I swear I was ready to pummel the stuffing out of him.

                                “Well, how does it feel?” Randy asked with a sick smile. “Doesn't feel great, does it? Well, guys, that's just desserts for you. You harassed me every day of the school year and then some, and you picked on poor Frank here when he did nothing to any of you. And look at where we are now!"

                                "This isn't anything like what we did to you!" Alex shouted at him again.

                                "He's got a point there, Randy," David chimed in. "This is way overboard and you sure picked a horrible way to solve your problems."

                                Randy didn't seem to care, and I could tell he thought this was justice for what we did to him. The problem was he seemed far too cozy to ever consider giving it up.

                                "I think it's a perfect way to solve problems," Randy smiled. "Hey, why don't we have a few Pokémon battles? I think you'll be interested to know I've got a whole new team and strategy. Which one of you three wants to be first to lose to it?"

                                “That’s what you think,” I told Randy. “You really think we didn't come ready for this?”

                                “Oh really?” He asked, almost laughing.

                                Suddenly, I heard a snap, followed by what sounded like metal links hitting the ground. When I looked down, I saw the gold necklace Black had given us, only it was in pieces scattered and twisted all over the ground. Alongside it was Depression’s ring, reduced to a twisted and misshapen lump. When I looked to my left, I saw Alex and David were without protection either. Somehow, whatever those things were supposed to do, it sure didn't look like they were going to do much now.

                                "Damn it, how... how the hell did he know!?" Alex growled under his breath.

                                “I knew it...” David muttered coldly as he looked down at the shattered necklace and the twisted ring. “I didn't trust that junk anyway…”

                                “You might as well get used to living here, ladies,” Randy smiled, leaning back in relaxation, “You can spend the rest of eternity in my world, and you’ll always be under my power, under my rules, and don’t forget, you’ll always be weaker than me.”

                                “Rest of eternity, Randy?” Alex asked, nearly laughing.“I don’t think so. No one lives forever, remember? One of these days, you'll be an ugly, old man wondering why the hell you wasted your life on a stupid parade like this.”

                                “Well, my little butterfly friend, everything is different here,” Randy said with another smile. “In my world, time doesn’t weaken the body, so everyone lives forever. It’s the perfect place… for me anyway.”

                                I didn't even want to think about being stuck as a giant flower forever.

                                I was getting more and more sick of this by the moment. Was this seriously the only way Randy could come out on top? Then I saw Frank, who just kept giggling constantly by looking at us. I was ready to slaughter him like the swine he was. And there was Jeff, just sitting there like he was a freaking celebrity. It was making me sick.

                                “Frank,” Randy said, looking to his right to face Frank. “I would like to give you first honors to battle Jake and his Pokémon. He's been pretty heartless to both of us and obviously thinks his Pokémon will win again, so let's show him how we've prepared a response. Could you do that for me?”

                                "Oh, with pleasure," Frank smiled smugly, making a cheeky face that was asking to be punched.

                                And then, Frank’s metal platform was lowered, and when it reached the bottom, he approached me. I couldn’t stand his fat face with his stupid shades on. I didn't care what he wore, you just can't fix ugly. Even as bad as it was, I'd rather be stuck as a ridiculous flower than look like Frank.

                                “Hell-oooo, Jake Kossak,” Frank giggled. “Ready to lose right now, or would you like to do a little curtsy first before we begin?”

                                “Suck it down, Frank,” I told him, pulling out one of my Poké Balls. "When I'm through with you, you'll finally learn to keep your pie-hole shut."

                                I couldn't help but feel this was not going to be as easy as touch and go this time. Hopefully Frank was so bad at battling that even when he cheated, he still couldn't pull it off.
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                                  #18    
                                Old June 7th, 2015 (12:10 AM).
                                Delirious Absol's Avatar
                                Delirious Absol Delirious Absol is offline
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                                  I didn't see that giant Bellossom transformation coming, I'll give you that!

                                  Just some typos I came across
                                  Quote:
                                  Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                                  ...when it bloomed, it become a giant, rainbow eighteen-petal lily...
                                  I think you meant 'became' here?

                                  Quote:
                                  Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                                  Even then, I didn't think he'd get too far with that considering his giant pair of rainbow-colored butterfly wings. Hell, none of us could even making use of something like that.
                                  'none of us could even make use of...'?

                                  I couple of things I wanted to share with you while reading through your other reviews. Reviews are helpful, and you seem to know exactly what you're looking for from them, but they do point out the drastic differences in the way people write. One thing to remember is there is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to writing styles, otherwise every novel would be identical (and that would be dull). So do take on board what people are saying if you find them personally helpful, but I don't think anyone is expecting you to chop and change every aspect of your novel. This is one of the ways people evolve and grow as a writer. Ten years ago, my writing style was incredibly different to what it is now, and I've been writing for fun for over twenty years XD

                                  So, when I'm feeling a little disheartened with my writing, I remember a little quote from my favourite author Neil Gaiman - "A novel can best be defined as a long piece of prose with something wrong with it."

                                  You and I actually have very different writing styles. I hope you don't mind, but just for fun I'm going to show you how I would have written this part of your story, which I actually liked, just to solidify my point:

                                  Quote:
                                  Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                                  I dropped the pewter cup and it tumbled on the grass. I then felt a weird tingling sensation in my hand, and I was hoping I was only imagining it. After I looked at the palm of my hand, it had turned a soft light green color, along with the rest of my arm. All of my skin turned a soft green color and became this weird, smooth texture. Then my fingernails vanished. I swore under my breath. To hell with Randy and his stupid dream world.
                                  "I let go of the pewter cup and it landed with a thud in the soft grass. A weird tingling spread across my hand. Oh, how I hoped I was imagining that. I looked down at the palm of my hand and it had turned a soft, light green colour which to my horror I saw extended my entire arm. In fact, all of my skin had turned that same soft green and had become a weird, smooth texture. Then... my fingernails vanished! I cursed under my breath. That Randy... I wanted to see him and his world burn for this!"

                                  I do like your writing style. It's a challenge to write in the first person, which I rarely ever do as I like to jump from one character's mind to the next, so I admire the fact that you can do that and keep it going for a long piece of writing. (Getting into the head of different characters is shockingly easy for me) I don't expect you to adopt my own writing style, I just wanted to show you what I meant while re-writing a small part of your novel, just for interest :)

                                  I do agree with Psychic though - copy and paste that little review request into your opening post so people know what you're looking for :)

                                  Regards your story, I'm excited to see where you go with it, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming battle and the inevitable transformation into a Pikachu. I sure hope Jake changes his ways. Personally I think Randy is going about this all the wrong way. I actually agree with Jake and his friends here - this is no way to solve his problems. It sounds like they've been plunged into his fantasy daydreams where he imagines getting his own back, all solidified into this strange, elaborate world. It's actually pretty scary!
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                                    #19    
                                  Old June 7th, 2015 (12:25 PM). Edited June 7th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                                  Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                    I didn't see that giant Bellossom transformation coming, I'll give you that!
                                    Ha, ha! I wasn't expecting the kind of weird and crazy dream I had that inspired that whole thing either.

                                    In the dream, I was sitting outside at a picnic table with another studious younger guy and this weird, old lady that was probably a witch of some sort. The studious guy eats one of these weird, pink mushrooms and... well, that starts to happen.

                                    It's weird, it's funny, and it's nothing anyone ever expects. I figured hey, why not use it for something?

                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                    Just some typos I came across

                                    I think you meant 'became' here?

                                    'none of us could even make use of...'?
                                    And... double kill. Took care of both of those, thanks for painting the targets! XD

                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                    I couple of things I wanted to share with you while reading through your other reviews. Reviews are helpful, and you seem to know exactly what you're looking for from them, but they do point out the drastic differences in the way people write. One thing to remember is there is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to writing styles, otherwise every novel would be identical (and that would be dull). So do take on board what people are saying if you find them personally helpful, but I don't think anyone is expecting you to chop and change every aspect of your novel. This is one of the ways people evolve and grow as a writer. Ten years ago, my writing style was incredibly different to what it is now, and I've been writing for fun for over twenty years XD
                                    I might go back go totally redo chapters 1 and 2 because of what's been said and open it up in a slightly similar but much more developed way. Also, and feel free to give a recommendation on this, but this is probably where I'd go with it:

                                    • It's pretty obvious Jake's bullying Randy, the reader doesn't need to know all two-dozen instances of how he's picked on him. I figure I'd use the best three examples and all the other instances that are mentioned could be chopped out or be placed later on. The rest of the intro to chapter 1 could definitely be more geared toward getting into the other dynamics of Jake's life and where he's coming from.
                                    • I'd like to dive more into Jake's family. Maybe give him a sister he fights a lot with, have his mother and father in a bitter divorce and custody battle, and focus on other dimensions of his character that gives the reader a better idea of where he's coming from. These kinds of things won't be too relevant later on in the story, but it helps the foundation starting point and I think that's a better way to leverage more out of the intro. I think that's also more of what readers would like to see.
                                    • Give Jake, David, and Alex very distinctive personality traits (I've been trying to fix this in the later chapters, but I figure even if people have read chapter 1 and 2 already, I might just make them worth revisiting them by doing it this way). I'll admit, when I first wrote this story, I dropped the ball on this one. Jake, Alex, and David were too alike in character (and this wasn't the only instance). As of now, I'm going with:
                                      • Jake - Cynical, sarcastic, and loves to mock and taunt his enemies. He's also politically incorrect and is quick to give his opinion about things. If he finds a weakness in someone, he makes them suffer for it in a sadistic kind of way.
                                      • Alex - Aggressive, loud, tends to shout, swear, and insult others a lot. He has obvious attitude and temper issues and does not have a lot of patience for anything at all.
                                      • David - Cold, calculating, manipulative, and quick to throw others under the bus for his own selfish benefit. Likes to play favorites, tease people about their failures, and lets his own personal bias get in the way of decisions and how he treats others. As an added bonus, he's greedy and possessive.
                                    • And while we're at it...
                                      • Randy - Timid and meek, but tries to prove himself and hope for the best. He tends to rely on faith and luck alone as opposed to preparation. He also has difficulty improvising solutions and needs help. He also has a very vivid imagination. XD
                                      • Frank - Clumsy, passive, easily-insulted, and tries to avoid confrontation, but has difficulty defending himself and standing his ground. He can be supportive, but putting him into any kind of leadership position makes him uncomfortable.
                                      • Jeff - A sports jock that shows chivalrous traits and tends to behave in a nonchalant, cool, and collected manner. He has his own idea of justice, but shows signs of going overboard and doesn't know when enough is enough.
                                    • Have a few passersby interact with the characters during the first few battles. Some might stay and watch, others might be indifferent, and others might throw their dislike at Jake and his friends for what they're doing.
                                    • Come up with a better way for Jeff to swipe the necklace from his father. Something along the lines of Jeff nonchalantly bragging about how he stole the key to the lockbox his father put it in probably makes a lot more sense. That, and how he wanted to see the necklace in action to see if the legends were really true as opposed to just letting it end up in a museum.

                                    That's what I'm thinking of doing with those two opening chapters, but if you have any suggestions to add onto that, I'm all ears. :)

                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                    So, when I'm feeling a little disheartened with my writing, I remember a little quote from my favourite author Neil Gaiman - "A novel can best be defined as a long piece of prose with something wrong with it."
                                    Ha, ha, yep, that's a good one to remember. I'd rather aim to make it enjoyable and memorable than to go for perfection.


                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                    I do like your writing style. It's a challenge to write in the first person, which I rarely ever do as I like to jump from one character's mind to the next, so I admire the fact that you can do that and keep it going for a long piece of writing. (Getting into the head of different characters is shockingly easy for me) I don't expect you to adopt my own writing style, I just wanted to show you what I meant while re-writing a small part of your novel, just for interest
                                    Thanks! I like writing in first person for the surprise and the discovery aspects, plus it allows you to have the viewpoint character reflect on everything that happens before them with their own insight. Things catch both them and the reader off guard and sometimes the viewpoint character's ignorance of things that are happening outside of their knowledge can be used as a useful tool. The Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are two books I really enjoyed reading for this very reason. Also, I'm a junkie for first-person shooter games and things of that nature. I like to feel like I'm really there.

                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                    I do agree with Psychic though - copy and paste that little review request into your opening post so people know what you're looking for
                                    Easy money, I can do that.

                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                    Regards your story, I'm excited to see where you go with it, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming battle and the inevitable transformation into a Pikachu. I sure hope Jake changes his ways. Personally I think Randy is going about this all the wrong way. I actually agree with Jake and his friends here - this is no way to solve his problems. It sounds like they've been plunged into his fantasy daydreams where he imagines getting his own back, all solidified into this strange, elaborate world. It's actually pretty scary!
                                    If you like a stories with a lot of winding turns, dark secrets, action, and a few horror/thriller elements dashed in, I think you'll love where this goes.

                                    Also, Randy and Jeff have no idea what they just awakened by doing all this, and... well, you'll see. ;)

                                    EDIT:

                                    Hey... quick question.

                                    Is it normal for advertisement links from "SkimWords" to start popping up all over the story? It kind of irks me, but I'm not sure if I'm the only one seeing these appear.

                                    Also, I did heavy revisions to Chapters 1 and 2 based on the advice people have been giving. Honestly, looking at them again, I have to agree, it does seem better now, but let me know if any of you think there's still work that needs to be done there.
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                                      #20    
                                    Old June 7th, 2015 (12:58 PM). Edited June 12th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                                    Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                                      Chapter 7
                                      Against Odds

                                      Frank was a fat, pig freak, and there was no way I was going to let myself lose to him. I never battled Frank's Pokémon before, but considering the kind of person he was, I didn't expect much out of him. Randy could brag all he wanted to, it wasn’t going to help Frank’s situation. Losing everywhere else in life was habitual for Frank, so this should have been a walk in the park.

                                      “I want this to be a two-on-two match,” Randy told us both. “It should be rather interesting…”

                                      “It most certainly shall!” Frank agreed with a giggle.

                                      I knew exactly who to send out. I already had my fingers on the Poké Balls I was going to use. There would be no chance little Franky would stand a chance against my Weavile and Jolteon. They might not have fought Frank’s Pokémon before, but they’ve annihilated Randy’s time and time again and I figured with Frank, the situation wouldn’t change a bit. I grasped both of their Poké Balls firmly, primed them for action, and tossed them into the field.

                                      And when their Poké Balls hit the ground and opened up, I already got an extremely sickening taste of what Randy could do with his stupid necklace. He made two completely different Pokémon come out. Instead of the yellow, spiky-furred wolf I had been training for years, something stupid make a god-forsaken, flower hula-dancer Bellossom come out instead. And instead of Weavile, the gray and red-feathered weasel Pokémon I usually used to torture people in battle, the Poké Ball opened to reveal a bulb-dressed, green and white Lilligant instead. Not only was he putting me at a disadvantage, but he was mocking me in a nasty way with more flower bullcrap.

                                      What... the... hell!?” I shouted in disbelief. “What happened to my Jolteon and Weavile!?”

                                      Frank began snorting in humor uncontrollably. Meanwhile, I realized what just happened. I could tell what used to be my Jolteon and Weavile were suddenly shocked and alarmed they weren't their usual selves and were not adjusting very well to it. Suddenly Jolteon didn't have four paws, he had to freaking walk upright on a green and yellow leaf skirt and Weavile now had four tiny yellow feet attached to four bulb-like legs and had freaking leaves for hands instead of claws. And he seriously wasn't thrilled his black and red feather crown was replaced by a massive red flower instead.

                                      “Aww, what cute Pokémon you have, Jake!” Randy smiled casually and mockingly. "They look just like you!"

                                      "That's bullcrap!" Alex shouted in rage. "Give him back his Pokémon, you pathetic cheater!"

                                      I swore, Randy was a freaking maggot. I had never raised a grass-type Pokémon in my life, and now I was going to have to handle two of them while fighting one of my worst enemies. Frank just sat there and laughed.

                                      “Prepare to suffer, flower boy,” Frank giggled as he threw his two Poké Balls. “Go, Moltres and Articuno!”

                                      He had to be kidding...

                                      After Frank proudly launched both of his Poké Balls into the arena and they both struck the ground and opened with a flash of light, there they were. I lay eyes on the legendary birds of fire and ice, just barely able to grasp I was actually seeing this. Moltres was literally a giant fiery-colored bird that was half an inferno while Articuno was a light blue colored bird that glimmered like frozen ice. Its spiked crest looked like ice shards while it had a long, ribbon-like tail following it. I never thought I would ever even see these legendary birds in my lifetime and now Frank was just totting them around like it was nobody's business!

                                      I was ready to just shoot myself, knowing I was probably at the greatest disadvantage of all time and all this would just lead to more humiliation when Frank would just make a massacre of my Pokémon. Frank could slaughter me in no time with this kind of power. All he had to do now was decide how he was going to do it.

                                      I had no idea how I was going to handle this. I already knew grass-type attacks were going to do nothing, so if I didn't try to improvise something decent and quick, this was just going to be a joke.

                                      “Hey, nice choices, Frank!” Randy smiled. “Let the battle begin!”

                                      I knew at the moment the only way I was going to win was to take out them out one by one. I was starting to get a slight idea of one small, yet possible way to at least get my foot in the door on this battle. Still, this was going to be incredibly hard.

                                      “Moltres, protect yourself and Articuno with Light Screen,” Frank commanded. “Articuno, attack that stupid Lilligant with your Ice Beam!”

                                      Just perfect. Moltres took flight, spreading embers and flicks of fire in all directions just moments before focusing his energy to cover both himself and Articuno with a glowing and ethereal bubble shield surrounding them. As if grass attacks against these two couldn't be even more useless, he had to rub in the pain even further.

                                      Articuno soon took flight as well, circling overhead the transformed and disoriented Jolteon and Weavile. I kept eyes on Articuno flying around, but with Weavile barely able to even get used to his new feet to make some kind of evasive action, Articuno opened his beak and launched a wickedly-cold Ice Beam right at him, causing the now helpless Lilligant to fall over like he had already been pulverized with a sledgehammer. I could feel the chill from the freezing blast myself, and I was more than twenty feet away.

                                      “Man, this is going to be a piece of cake!” Frank cheered, thinking he had it in the bag.

                                      “This isn’t over yet, you idiot,” I shouted back at Frank.

                                      And then, an incredibly brilliant idea came to my mind. I had to do it now, or there was no way I was going to win…

                                      Lilligant, or what should have been Weavile, had been badly hit, but he wasn’t about to call it quits right now. And now that Moltres and Articuno were protected by Light Screen, I was going to need to work something around that. At that moment, I had come up with an idea, and I was going to need to take out Moltres first if I wanted it to work right. That, and I was going to need to take both of these blasted birds out of the air, or neither Bellossom or Lilligant would be able to hit them.

                                      “Bellossom, use your Sleep Powder attack!” I declared. "Shoot it up into the air!"

                                      Bellossom then immediately sprayed the air above with a cloud of pink-colored Sleep Powder so both of Frank’s flying Pokémon would get a nice whiff of it. I could at least thank the last shred of luck I had that Jolteon managed to figure out how to use a Bellossom's attacks. The cloud just barely managed to reach the circling Moltres and Articuno, but it seemed to be enough. Moments later, both of them were sent spiraling down toward the ground.

                                      Frank’s face changed from excited to panicky the moment both Moltres and Articuno landed on the gray battlefield fast asleep, taking a bit of a blow upon hitting the ground after tumbling out of the sky. I knew it wasn’t going to last forever, so I had to act quickly and make decent use of this while they were on the floor and weren't flying.

                                      “Lilligant, Giga Impact attack on Moltres, now!” I shouted.

                                      And a moment later, Lilligant looked to Moltres and then furiously charged and rammed right into him with a blazing slam that definitely looked painful. Thankfully, Weavile seemed to be getting the hang of this moronic transformation. This time, Moltres’s type-alignments and Light Screen weren’t going to help him, and he was sent flying head over talons twice before falling over again, still comatose from the powder. Compared to David's battle with Caska, maybe I was making some actual progress here and had a chance to pull this off.

                                      “Come on you fools, wake up!” Frank shouted. “We don’t have time for this!”

                                      I needed to have Moltres taken out, and now. Articuno alone would still be a problem, but at least I'd take one bird out of the equation. I wasn’t going to wait any longer. Lilligant needed a moment to take a breath after running a Giga Impact like that, but once he was back in action, I wasn't going to show this swine any mercy.

                                      “Bellossom, use your Hyper Beam on Moltres, Lilligant, use Sunny Day,” I commanded the both of them.

                                      Suddenly, the night sky that was above us quickly faded, and almost a second later, it looked like it was in the middle of the afternoon. The bright sun had returned, and its light poured into the stadium brighter than ever. Meanwhile, Bellossom focused his attention on Moltres, and with a dark smile that looked even a little badass for a little flower dancer, he began to prep a devastating torrent of blazing energy. Seconds later, a massive blast beam was fired straight from Bellossom's tiny hands, and it hit Moltres like a freaking semi truck. When the massive, glowing beam had made contact, it exploded violently sending bolts and flicks of blazing energy in all directions. Moltres was sent flying out of control once again, rolling over a few times like he had been hit by a rocket.

                                      But to my dismay, he still hadn't fainted even after all that. I couldn't believe it! After all that and a Giga Impact, that blasted bird was still in action?

                                      “Sunny Day?” Frank laughed. “Boy, aren't you an idiot! What, do you want Moltres to roast your precious flower Pokémon even faster now!?”

                                      True, Sunny Day was going to make Moltres’s fire attacks even more powerful, but that wasn’t going to help Frank with Moltres still snoozing. There was still a chance and there was seriously no room to make a single mistake. However, despite the fact Moltres was still sleeping, Articuno had woken up. Frank wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to screw up with this opportunity at his fingertips.

                                      “Articuno, Aerial Ace attack on Lilligant!” Frank commanded and pointed at his target with a smile on his face. "Heh, heh, try to peck the flower off!"

                                      And Articuno didn’t even need to blink before taking flight again at ludicrous mach speeds before blasting at Lilligant like a tank shell. I heard a very nasty slashing sound, and only a second later, Articuno had returned to the skies, preparing to strike from above again.

                                      I winced when I saw Lilligant fall over and slam on the ground, completely out cold. Just when I thought I might pull something off here...

                                      "Oh, oh, isn't that too bad!" Frank laughed and snorted as I reluctantly used the Poké Ball to fire the return beam to recall the Lilligant back to the Poké Ball. "Poor bouquet boy lost one of his battle flowers!"

                                      As much as I wanted to ram a live hand grenade down his throat, I decided at least not to give him the satisfaction he was hoping for by screaming at him again. Just like David's battle with Caska, this was obviously rigged and I felt like I was just wasting time here proving absolutely nothing.

                                      Meanwhile, my poor Jolteon was still horrified at being stuck in a Bellossom's body. He was seriously doing a good job considering the transformation he had to deal with, but at that moment, I realized he was helpless, trying to recover from the exhausting Hyper Beam attack he launched at Frank's Moltres. Meanwhile, Articuno was above, hunting him down like a freaking predator drone.

                                      Moltres soon woke up again, and I could tell it seemed like despite however many hits Articuno and Moltres took, they just seemed to shake off the pain and damage like they were only acting that it hurt them before. Moltres got up like pain was nothing to him and only just made him more energized to retaliate.

                                      "Ha, ha!" Frank giggled. "Totally helpless! Articuno, blast him with Hurricane, and Moltres, make a pot roast out of him with Overheat!"

                                      Holy... crap.

                                      It was a massacre. Articuno nearly shredded the poor Bellossom to ribbons with the ripping winds of the Hurricane attack that blasted through almost the entire stadium, and even that alone probably would have been more than enough to finish him off. Heck, even I had to stand back while the winds ripped their way through every damn flower petal on my own body. And then came the fiery, destructive force of Moltres's Overheat, made even worse because of the Sunny Day effect. Moltres surrounded himself with savage flames and turned into a living fireball, which then rocketed toward the already exhausted and disoriented Bellossom like a tank shell. When the brutal impact happened and more flames were thrown in all directions, I could feel the heat and fire from where I was standing. I couldn't even imagine how badly that must have hurt.

                                      The very last bit of energy Bellossom had was incinerated in a heartbeat with the serious overkill of the Overheat attack. I was seriously concerned Jolteon would die as a Bellossom, which was a fate no Pokémon deserved, but thankfully, even after being cooked alive, at least he didn't croak because of it.

                                      As I had easily suspected, there wasn't a single bit of will to fight left in him. He fell helplessly to the ground as a burnt, ravaged wreck in a body he barely had control over, and I had no choice but to return him and admit defeat to Frank, of all gloating idiots to lose to.

                                      But then again, the game was clearly rigged. I at least had that excuse...
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                                        #21    
                                      Old June 8th, 2015 (3:43 PM). Edited June 12th, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                                      Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                                        Chapter 8
                                        Turning Back

                                        "WHA HA HA!" Frank screamed and jumped with cheer and laughter, suddenly pointing at me mockingly. "You FAILED Jake! Look who's the loser now!"

                                        "Please," I shrugged as I brushed it off, thinking his behavior was just stupid beyond all means. "Randy totally rigged the battle for you. I don't train grass-type Pokémon, and certainly not those two. I swear, the way you freaks have to cheat at this thing to have a chance is far more pathetic than this flower bullcrap you set aside for me."

                                        "Oh, just pile on the lame excuses, Jake!" Frank giggled. "You totally lost, and boy is it hilarious!"

                                        What an idiot. I turned away and just decided to let the moron gloat it out to no one interested in listening. I could tell him a million times cheating like this was pointless and proved absolutely nothing, but whatever, it wasn't sinking into that big, fat skull of his.

                                        “Moving on...” Randy spoke casually. “Right now, I want to see our best friend Alex have a shot. Jeff, you're up. Make this something fun we'll be talking about for years!”

                                        “Man, I've been itching for this payback!” Jeff grinned with confidence. “Ampharos and Espeon, this is for you!"

                                        “Try me, you jackass,” Alex spat back at him. "I'll make you shut that pissing mouth of yours just like I did last time!"

                                        And then, on that gray field, the two of them stood ready for the battle that was about to unfold. I was hoping Alex was prepared to deal with Randy’s nasty and unexpected cheating, but I was honestly thinking this wasn't going to be any more successful than before.

                                        It was on those gray battlegrounds that Alex and Jeff had exchanged stares. Alex had beaten Jeff before, and now the only thing Jeff wanted was to win and seek revenge. Alex could be a menace when he got pissed off, and Jeff would be stupid for pushing him that far. But, as easy as it was to see, he was already too late and was going to deserve every bit of rage Alex was going to throw at him.

                                        “Ha, you think you're ready, don't you!?" Jeff laughed at Alex. "You've never seen Pokémon battling like this before!"

                                        “That doesn’t matter to me, Jeff,” Alex growled at him. “This is between you and me, and you and me only." Alex then gave Randy a dark stare from the corner of his eye, looking vicious even for a guy that got transformed into a rainbow-winged human butterfly, "Hear that Randy? Don't go pulling crap this time!”

                                        But Randy looked away like he didn’t hear anything. I could just smell another trick in the air, and it was making me sick.

                                        “Get ready for your worst nightmare, Alex,” Jeff smiled, pulling out two of his Poké Balls, “Go, Ho-oh and Entei!”

                                        My jaw nearly dropped when I Jeff declare he was using even more legendary Pokémon. This was just getting ridiculous. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Ho-oh, the gigantic rainbow bird of complete fiery destruction and Entei, the lion-like legendary Pokémon of fire. There were people that would kill to have Pokémon like that!

                                        Both Ho-oh and Entei glared menacingly at Alex, pressuring him to respond with something. But then again, when Alex pulled out two of his Poké Balls, I could already see the hesitation. Alex’s Pokémon were going to have no defense under the power Randy’s Quista necklace and there wasn't anything he could do about it. Now, it was up to Randy to decide what Pokémon were going to come out of Alex’s Poké Balls and Alex would be forced to have to work with it. And as stupid as it sounded, I could already guess which two Randy was going to choose for him…

                                        "He'd better not..." I heard Alex mutter angrily under his breath.

                                        Alex threw his two Poké Balls anyway, not even declaring who he had selected, not like it would have even mattered. And then to his disgust and Jeff’s delight, once the two Poké Balls struck the ground and opened with a flash of light, the two Pokémon Alex was going to be stuck using were a purple-bodied, white-winged Butterfree and a gray Beautifly with red, yellow, and blue butterfly wings and bright, blue eyes. Big, fat surprise, I could have seen that coming from a million miles away.

                                        I wasn't sure which two of Alex's Pokémon had been transformed, but again, neither of them were ready for the body swap that left them totally bewildered and confused in front of two slaughterhouse legendary Pokémon of hellfire. As if the situation I had just experienced couldn’t get any worse, Alex’s example clearly showed things could go from bad to worse to complete, utter hell.

                                        DAMN IT, what the hell is the matter with you, Randy!?” Alex shouted back to him, knowing he was the one responsible for that swap. “Can’t you keep out of this for once!?”

                                        “Keep going, Alex!” Randy laughed. “I see nothing wrong, seems to me like a perfect fit! And by the way, watching a cute butterfly like you get angry is really, really funny!”

                                        The three of us were furious. How could Jeff even see this as a true Pokémon battle? Randy and Frank were naive, little morons, but I could have sworn Jeff would know better than to stoop to their level. Butterfree and Beautifly were NOT Alex’s Pokémon, and I knew for sure he wouldn’t use either of them in a million years. But now he had no choice. It was either going to be a severe struggle to win fighting with the two of them, or just plain losing altogether. This truly was Pokémon battling at its worst.

                                        “Ladies and gentlemen…” Randy smiled, nearly laughing, “let the battle begin!”

                                        “Thank you, your highness,” Jeff remarked with a smile. “This is for Ampharos and Espeon. Ho-oh, Sacred Fire attack on Butterfree. Entei, burn Beautifly to a crisp with your Flamethrower attack!”

                                        Merciless little freak. He was going to go as far as seeing that Alex wouldn’t even get a chance before it was all over with. The massive Ho-oh flew into the air, targeted Butterfree like he was sentencing him to death, and all Butterfree could do was helplessly and hopelessly try to dodge an enormous rush of flames. Butterfree's effort to escape by fluttering frantically was totally in vain as Ho-oh's Sacred Fire nearly consumed it alive with searing flames, leaving it on the verge of death.

                                        Entei stormed his way through the arena, gathering hellfire flames in his mouth before belching a menacing torrent of blazing fire at the disoriented, brightly-colored Beautifly. Again, Beautifuly tried to avoid it, but he was quickly enraptured by the jet of flames and had nowhere to fly away when the stream of fire struck him. Now, Alex was reduced to all or nothing attacks even on his first round.

                                        “The two of you are cowards!” Alex shouted at them both. “You can’t even battle for real, that’s how pathetic you are!”

                                        “Alex,” Randy shrugged, snickering again, “why do I need to keep reminding you? This IS for real. My world is real now, and you have to accept it. There is no other way around.”

                                        There was nothing Alex could do but continue. If he really was going to lose, at least he freaking tried. To the three of us, none of this was real. This was Randy's stupid world superimposed upon reality, something that seriously shouldn't have been possible. And the only thing that needed to be done to return Randy to the worthless little punk he was before was to swipe that necklace right off his neck. Unfortunately, we couldn’t even get near it. If Randy could just effortlessly transform Pokémon, hand out legendary Pokémon as freebies, and create entire worlds now, I didn't want to see where else it could go if we tried to go after him ourselves. It had to be undone some other way than physical force.

                                        Alex’s two butterfly Pokémon were badly roasted, but they didn’t give up yet, and neither did Alex. The last thing Alex wanted to do was give Jeff the satisfaction of winning when he clearly didn’t deserve it. However, he was going to need more than a miracle to pull this off.

                                        “Butterfree, use your Stun Spore attack,” Alex said firmly. “Beautifly, use Sleep Powder. Come on, let's try to make the best out of this crap!”

                                        Alex left no holes in the system. Both of them were going to be inflicted with at least something to slow them down and I could tell getting Ho-oh back on the ground was crucial. Once both of Alex's butterfly Pokémon sprayed all sorts of powder and spores around, Ho-oh barely got a chance to land before he had fallen asleep and Entei was paralyzed, stricken and trying to fight off the numbing pain as he roared in anger and frustration. Now was Alex’s chance. Entei had gotten sluggish and Ho-oh was left snoozing.

                                        Alex ordered both of his Pokémon to use Morning Sun to recover the burn damage that had been done. Up above, both butterfly Pokémon called upon the glaring sun and somehow, like magic, the savage and nearly life-threatening burns were healed as the rays of white light reversed the damage to their bodies and allowed them to fight on with less pain holding them down.

                                        Ho-oh was still asleep, but Entei was going to get another chance to try and strike.

                                        “Flamethrower on Butterfree!” Jeff shouted loudly. "Burn, baby, burn!"

                                        Yet again, Entei let loose a savage, lion-like roar before launching yet another violent rush of flames from his mouth to smothered Butterfree with agonizing fire. The paralyzing effects of the Stun Spore were still struck him with pain and agony, but he ferociously fought it off with his adrenaline. The fire damage on Butterfree had gotten worse than before, but Butterfree was dead-set on at least trying to see this one through. I would have hated to say it, but Alex was going to have to go kamikaze if he wanted a chance to win. He was just going to have to forget about the damage that had been done and fight back or face a losing proposition.

                                        “Butterfree, Psychic attack on Entei!” Alex shouted.

                                        Butterfree flew swiftly toward the lion-Pokémon, flapping his white wings furiously and frantically as the aura around him turned a swirling mix of dark blue and violet-colored psychic energy. Entei was hit dead-on as a blue and white flash had covered his body. The psychic strike had attempted to crush and warp Entei's body from all directions, causing the legendary fire lion to roar in anger. However, it certainly wasn’t enough to slow him down very much. Butterfree wasn’t even a psychic Pokémon, so that could only go so far.

                                        And then, Ho-oh had woken up sooner than expected, and Jeff couldn’t have been happier.

                                        “Ho-oh, Sacred Fire on Butterfree,” Jeff ordered casually. “Entei, use Fire Blast on Beautifly. Let's get this nonsense over with.”

                                        And then, the unimaginable happened. As if the battle wasn't badly one-sized enough, Ho-oh took flight and stormed furiously toward Butterfree, unleashing another ferocious, swirling cyclone of Sacred Fire flames, sucking Butterfree helplessly into the tornado of fire.

                                        I just couldn’t watch. He had been further burned to oblivion, and it couldn’t handle anymore, dropping helplessly to the ground nearly half-dead and totally fried.

                                        Meanwhile, Entei roared and unleashed his nastiest Fire Blast attack at Beautifly. The asterisk-like gush of flames flew at Beautifly like a death rocket, and upon the menacing impact, embers and tongues of fire were thrown in all directions. When the fire and shrouding smoke had cleared, both of Alex’s Pokémon had been eliminated, falling to the ground, laying limply with the stuffing beaten out of them.

                                        He didn’t have a chance…

                                        As bad as it was, I wasn’t surprised. Alex had an even worse disadvantage than I did. Butterfree and Beautifly just didn’t compare to the power of Ho-oh and Entei, however Jeff got a hold of those two ridiculous legendaries. I don’t think he could have possibly won that disgusting and shameful match no matter how many times he could have tried.

                                        “Well, that certainly was fun,” Jeff smiled. “Nice try, guys. Good game all the way. You both need to improve on your training for next time!”

                                        “There’s no way anyone could have won that!” Alex shouted at Jeff. “That wasn’t a real match! Those weren't my Pokémon and I'm sure as hell you didn't actually legitimately catch a freaking Ho-oh and Entei either!”

                                        But, then a wave of silence had kept them both quiet. Randy had stood up and looked at the three of us. I was really getting tired of these antics.

                                        “How many silly times to I have to remind you three ladies that certainly was a real match?” Randy told Alex, acting like he knew everything on the planet. “And well, you lost. If you're still not used to this by now, I just don't know what to say. Maybe in a few years you'll understand how things work around here.”

                                        “Randy, I’m tired as hell of this stupid world of yours!” Alex shouted angrily. “I’m tired of you and your pathetic cheating. Is this the only possible way you can win a Pokémon match!? How incredibly pitiful is that!?”

                                        Randy found that rather insulting. He looked at Alex, and couldn’t even feel pity for him.

                                        “Jeff, thank you for your time,” Randy told him. “But now I’d like you to move aside. It's my turn!”

                                        “Wait a minute,” Jeff looked to Randy. “Don't the rules say if they don’t win against Frank and I, they have to leave? This is Victory City Stadium, and if you don't get victory, you don't belong here.”

                                        “I just want to battle the three of them myself,” Randy told Jeff. “I made the rules up, so I can change them for this special occasion. Besides, I’ve been waiting to beat them for a long time…”

                                        I was getting sick of this crap and knew exactly where this was going. How could Randy feel like he was a hero when the only thing that was keeping us bound here and keeping Randy in power was a single, stupid necklace? Plus on top of everything else, I hated being tossed around like a piece of dirt when it was really us who were more powerful than Randy. My Pokémon and I were nobody's punching bag.

                                        “Let's do a three on three!” Randy said with a smile. “One from each of you against three of mine! You guys are in for one epic fight you don't stand a chance against!"

                                        Despite the fact that all it would have taken to end this whole stupid parade was to beat Randy, it was still millions of miles away. We could argue all night long these weren't real battles, but these three morons never saw it that way and they were in total control. Nope, in order to win, they had to go all out and freaking warp reality because heck, doing it the way everyone else had to just wouldn't work. Seriously pathetic.

                                        I shrugged, decided to face the music when it came to this new and stupid fabricated reality Randy created, but if I was going to do that, I was going to make sure it left a burn.

                                        “You know what Randy?” I called back to him. “You’re probably right. We don’t stand a chance against your necklace.”

                                        “It’s me who you’re going to lose against, my flower dancer friend!” Randy flashed a smile.

                                        “No, idiot,” I told Randy firmly. “It’s your damn necklace. If we fail to beat your Pokémon, then we lose to your necklace, but not to you. After all, it's that necklace that created all this.”

                                        He didn't like that, but it left exactly the kind of message I was hoping to walk out of here with. Randy was getting furious and the truth was getting to him. I didn’t want him to start a battle thinking it was through his own hard work, effort, and commitment that was going to get him the win.

                                        “You're wasting time!” Randy shouted. "Battle me already!"

                                        “No, Randy, I don’t feel like losing to Quista's little trinket,” I told him, really getting under his skin. “Can’t you see you’re just a hopeless case without your stupid necklace!? Take it off and you're worthless and this place is gone. Now that's reality for you!”

                                        He looked at me with a dark stare and suddenly Jeff and Frank's parade of cheer got rained on as well. He knew the truth, he just didn’t want to accept it. But one thing was for sure, he wasn’t going to take it off. That was the last thing he was going to do.

                                        “If you’re not going to battle me, then I want you out of here,” Randy told us, quickly growing angry he was going to miss the opportunity he had been waiting for this entire time and the whole reason he created this nuthouse in the first place. "Come back when you're ready to show a little bravery!"

                                        Bravery... please. There was a big difference between being brave and being a suicidal idiot.

                                        Even though we had come here with a strong urge to defeat Randy and get out of here, I was getting a feeling that unless we found some way to block Randy’s power, or swipe his necklace while he wasn't looking, there was no way we were going to win. He already screwed up my Weavile and my Jolteon among a whole truckload of other miserable things. I didn’t feel like making the damage any worse.

                                        “Fine, Randy,” I said to him, turned away. “Then we’re leaving.”

                                        Immediately, Alex and David looked at me like I had lost it. They didn’t see that we didn’t stand a chance against Randy at the moment.

                                        “Jake, are you nuts!?” Alex asked me in shock. “We just have to find a way through his crap antics and we can get out of here! There's got to be something that moron is overlooking!”

                                        “Remember what Black and Depression told us?” I whispered to him. “There’s no way we can beat the power of that stupid necklace with nothing to work with. And it’s better if we turn down his offer than lose to him. If we lose to him, then he’ll want to stay here forever.”

                                        “Damn it, what the hell are we supposed to do?” David growled with disgust.

                                        Alex was annoyed, thinking we would only need to stay here for a few more minutes. In truth, I was really aggravated by this whole thing, also, but I didn’t want to risk losing to Randy, and that risk was way too high to gamble on. Giving him any kind of satisfaction out of this was a bad idea. We had to dig deeper and find someone or something that would give us what we really needed to step up to Randy. But doing it like this was just dumb suicide. Besides, Jolteon and Weavile had already been through enough hell and I didn't even know how to undo that kind of transformation. I didn't want to throw in yet another Pokémon to get train-wrecked like that.

                                        And as much as it pained us, we then turned around and began to walk out of that giant stadium to at least discuss it away from those three idiots. Randy was truly furious, but we couldn’t afford for him to be in absolute glee with a phony victory he would think was the best thing that ever happened to him. We would lose everything and I didn’t want to blow the only chance we had.
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                                          #22    
                                        Old June 9th, 2015 (2:46 AM).
                                        Delirious Absol's Avatar
                                        Delirious Absol Delirious Absol is offline
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                                          I've read through the first couple of chapters and they are definitely an improvement. They give a little more insight into the characters and the battles do seem more realistic now that there's an audience and interaction from background characters. I especially liked when the teacher showed up to scold them as well, as something like that wouldn't have gone overlooked on school property.

                                          I found a couple of things I wanted to bring up in this review:
                                          Quote:
                                          Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                                          "Don't let him get away with that!" Another kid shouted to Jeff.

                                          "Wouldn't dream of it!" Alex shouted back with a smile, trying to impress the crowd.
                                          Was it actually Jeff who shouted back? It sounds like it should have been, so I wanted to point that out.

                                          Quote:
                                          Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                                          Butterfree's effort to escape frantically by fluttering frantically...
                                          This seemed a little bit of an awkward description and I'm not entirely sure how to structure this one myself.
                                          Maybe 'Butterfree's desperate effort to escape by fluttering frantically...' would work? Try a few things with this and see what works best for you?

                                          Quote:
                                          Originally Posted by Neo Emolga View Post
                                          And then, Ho-oh had woken up sooner than expected, and Jeff couldn’t have been happier. After rubbing his hands and snickering, he prepared to strike.
                                          Previously, Jeff had come across as calm and collected, so this seemed a little jarringly out of character to me. Maybe the effects of Randy's world have corrupted him? I'm not sure, but it was a little sudden I think.

                                          I recall seeing some other small typos but I can't pull them out with a second glance over. If I see them again, I'll add them to this review :)

                                          All in all, the progress you've made is really good, and the tables seem to have turned on Jake and his friends, and not in a good 'evil is thwarted' way either. That necklace is evil, imo, and has corrupted Randy and his friends turning them into copies of Jake. It's definitely not good for Randy, and what I am hoping will happen later is that Jake will actually save him from that wicked necklace's powers! (And maybe even destroy it!)

                                          You asked about the edits to the first two chapters and character progression - maybe don't reveal too much too soon about Jake and have it unfold slowly as a bit of a build up to show him as a tragic character? For example, you mentioned his home situation and sister in the first chapter as a reason for him being annoyed, maybe allude instead to his sister having annoyed him or witnessing another argument at home rather than diving too much into detail?

                                          This is probably harder from a first person perspective because this kind of stuff will be on his mind all the time, so the way you've done it does actually work. But what I can suggest is later have him really confide in someone - a friend, a new friend he makes on the way or maybe even Randy or Jeff about why he's behaving the way he is. It can be surprising and moving and show his tragic side.

                                          Just some suggestions :) this story is great so far, and the edits work so keep it up!
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                                            #23    
                                          Old June 9th, 2015 (3:03 PM).
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                                          Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                            I've read through the first couple of chapters and they are definitely an improvement. They give a little more insight into the characters and the battles do seem more realistic now that there's an audience and interaction from background characters. I especially liked when the teacher showed up to scold them as well, as something like that wouldn't have gone overlooked on school property.
                                            Awesome, okay, glad I'm doing this right then.

                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                            I found a couple of things I wanted to bring up in this review:

                                            Was it actually Jeff who shouted back? It sounds like it should have been, so I wanted to point that out.
                                            And... yep, I overlooked that one. Thanks for catching that, it's been fixed.

                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                            This seemed a little bit of an awkward description and I'm not entirely sure how to structure this one myself.
                                            Maybe 'Butterfree's desperate effort to escape by fluttering frantically...' would work? Try a few things with this and see what works best for you?
                                            Yeah, I messed around with that description to make it easier to visualize, and I didn't clean up afterword. That's been fixed, and again, thanks for pointing that out.

                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                            Previously, Jeff had come across as calm and collected, so this seemed a little jarringly out of character to me. Maybe the effects of Randy's world have corrupted him? I'm not sure, but it was a little sudden I think.
                                            Ah... you're probably right about that. Could go either way, I'm sure the sudden, raw excitement of commanding two legendary Pokémon could cause plenty of trainers to go nuts, but I decided to play it safe.

                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                            I recall seeing some other small typos but I can't pull them out with a second glance over. If I see them again, I'll add them to this review
                                            Gotcha, I appreciate people being on the lookout for those. Sometimes I just don't see what other people see until they point them out, and then I'm like... "dang, how did I miss that one?"

                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                            All in all, the progress you've made is really good, and the tables seem to have turned on Jake and his friends, and not in a good 'evil is thwarted' way either. That necklace is evil, imo, and has corrupted Randy and his friends turning them into copies of Jake. It's definitely not good for Randy, and what I am hoping will happen later is that Jake will actually save him from that wicked necklace's powers! (And maybe even destroy it!)
                                            I don't want to give anything away, but yeah, by now if all that Randy wanted to do was teach Jake and his friends a lesson, he should have ended it by now, but... he still hasn't gotten in that one, defining battle he wants with them.

                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                            You asked about the edits to the first two chapters and character progression - maybe don't reveal too much too soon about Jake and have it unfold slowly as a bit of a build up to show him as a tragic character? For example, you mentioned his home situation and sister in the first chapter as a reason for him being annoyed, maybe allude instead to his sister having annoyed him or witnessing another argument at home rather than diving too much into detail?
                                            The last batch of improvements seems to have worked and this might help build it to the next level. I'm adding a small conflict between Jake and Vicky right after this part in Chapter 2.

                                            Basically, I changed this:

                                            "Meanwhile, dad didn't care to reply to voicemails, and I'd rather stab myself in the thigh with a fork than talk to my stupid sister Vicky. I got home and found both my headphones and my gift cards to Video Castle were missing. It was an easy guess she was the one that stole them, and I really didn't feel like sifting through her jewelry and cosmetics junk to look for them."

                                            Into this:

                                            Quote:
                                            After taking the bus home and walking through the front door, Mom always asked how school was going, but I just gave her brief and vague answers. She was usually pissed about the divorce issues going on and it usually led to a nasty discussion anyway. Meanwhile, dad didn't care to reply to voicemails, and I'd rather stab myself in the thigh with a fork than talk to my stupid sister, Vicky.

                                            I got home, headed up to my room, and went to drop off my backpack and school junk only to find that both my headphones and my gift cards to Video Castle were missing and not on my dresser where I knew I left them. I hadn't made the bed, my desk was a mess, and I had clothes, board games, movie and CD cases, and papers all over the floor, but I knew I left those headphones and gift cards on the dresser. She had to be the one to take them because my headphones were so much better than her dinky earbuds and she could use the gift cards on anything at the store. I swore, if she used those cards on a stupid chick flick movie or girly cartoon DVD that I wouldn't be able to return to the store, I'd make her pay like hell for it. That was my birthday present and I had been saving them for a good movie to come out.

                                            I headed into her room, and it made me want to puke at how pink, organized, and cute she tried to make it with her pink bed nicely made, her desk chair in the back corner had the chair pushed in, and there wasn't a single thing on the floor. I tore my way through there, knocked over a tiny table she used for nothing more than to put her stupid, oversized Slurpuff plush doll on, and attacked her dresser first, starting with the upper drawers. What a neat freak for junk. What did she need five different combs for? And why so many tacky, plastic hair clips? I rummaged through almost every drawer, not caring if I made a mess of it to find my stuff. However, she came in only a minute later and started screaming at me. I swore, every time I saw her with that fake, blonde hair and that stupid baby blue dress of hers with the asinine Marill on it, I just wanted to rip it all apart.

                                            "What are you doing to my stuff!?" Vicky screamed. "You stupid punk, get your filthy hands out of there!"

                                            "Where did you hide my headphones and my gift cards!?" I shouted back at her. "Stop stealing my stuff, I know you have them!"

                                            "Why don't you first try looking through the crap heap you have for a bedroom before you accuse me!?" She snapped back. "They're probably buried somewhere in all that junk you have! And why would I want your headphones!? I wouldn't want something that's been on your filthy ears!"

                                            I swore, I couldn't stand her guts, and I figured I'd just have to come back later when she wasn't around. I just grabbed the closest pink box of crap I could get my hands on, and threw it at her as I stormed out the door, sending the box and all of the stupid and tacky earrings that were inside of it flying in all directions before scattering on the pink, carpeted floor. The box just barely missed her, but I headed out of there before she was able to retaliate. When she tried to chase me, I quickly headed into my room, slammed the door on her before she could enter, and locked it, leaving her pounding at it, screaming for half a minute before giving up. You'd think she'd learn.
                                            I think that might do the trick, but I'm open to your thoughts about it and if it was a move in the right direction.

                                            Quote:
                                            Originally Posted by Delirious Absol View Post
                                            This is probably harder from a first person perspective because this kind of stuff will be on his mind all the time, so the way you've done it does actually work. But what I can suggest is later have him really confide in someone - a friend, a new friend he makes on the way or maybe even Randy or Jeff about why he's behaving the way he is. It can be surprising and moving and show his tragic side.

                                            Just some suggestions this story is great so far, and the edits work so keep it up!
                                            I'm... not going to comment. No spoilers on that, just wait and see...

                                            And thanks, your reviews and typo-spotting have been really helpful as well. Glad you're enjoying it, but please, if at any point you think it's falling short or needs something else, let me know, I'll look into it.
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                                              #24    
                                            Old June 9th, 2015 (3:20 PM). Edited June 23rd, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                                            Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                                              Chapter 9
                                              The Separation

                                              It was a long walk to get out of that giant stadium. Longer than it should have been and the thought of going backwards was making me sick. I had no idea how long we were going to have to wait now until we could fight him on his level, but it already began to feel like ages. We were all losing our patience. Some of us more than others…

                                              We were back on the streets of Victory City, where everyone in town hated our guts more than alarm clocks from hell on a Monday morning. I swore, if one of these imaginary bastards called me "Lily Loser" one more time, I was going to make them eat their own arms and legs with an ice pick. We were just about to use a vacant alleyway for shelter from the idiocy before some punk hit me in the side of the head with a glass bottle, which stung like hell for a while.

                                              “Well, that went swell,” David snapped sarcastically, looking at me with annoyance. “Just what do you expect to do now, Jake? I swear, he's bound to make a stupid mistake like always that we can take advantage of. It's a much better shot than wandering around this cesspool for longer than we need to!”

                                              I was silent. I really didn’t know. I wanted a fast solution as much as David did, but there wasn’t one to be found. Still, David was looking at me like I made the worst choice possible.

                                              “Look, maybe we’ll come across a solution,” I told him. “Randy can’t be invincible, not even in his own world. What Black and Depression gave us didn’t work, but there has to be something out there that can.”

                                              “Well, hotshot,” David snapped at me, looking at me with a cold stare, “why didn’t we battle him? At least we could have given a try, you know. He's on a power trip, he might let his guard down at some point or another.”

                                              “David,” I said honestly to him, “if we lose to Randy, we might just be suffering a blow we may never recover from, understand? This is exactly what he wants us to do! It could mean being stuck here forever. You saw what he did to our Pokémon! How the hell are we supposed to deal with that!? I don't even think those legendaries that Jeff and Frank were using took any real damage!”

                                              David still looked at me like I was crazy, but I was guessing his rage was just clouding his judgment and ability to grasp what we were dealing with here. He was letting his hunger to get out of here blind him, and I knew for sure that was going to ruin us.

                                              “Maybe not,” David said in a hopeful tone. “Look, it’s not for certain Randy would want to stay here even if we do lose to him. Sooner or later he’s going to get sick of his own world. It'll get just as dumb and boring as kicking rocks around.”

                                              “Yeah, David,” Alex said to him, “not soon enough for me. Randy won’t ever want to leave this place. If he gets bored with it, all he has to do is change anything and everything to fit his desires and we're stuck having to live with it! Who the hell wants to live in a place where he's in control all the time!?”

                                              David still didn’t care. Obviously he wasn’t heeding the warnings that Black and Depression had given to him. Still, he felt there was some hope. I wanted to believe there was something I could do about it myself, but the odds kept telling me otherwise. He just couldn’t see the reality of the situation…

                                              “I’m not going to sit here hoping we just happen to bump into a solution,” David said with annoyance. “We've been walking out there for days and the only things we got out of it were useless trinkets that did nothing to help! I’ll battle Randy right now, and I don’t care if it’s all or nothing. And if I win, then you two owe me big time.

                                              “Go ahead then, David,” I told him, giving up on trying to convince him otherwise. “We’ll see you around.”

                                              And not even a second later, David turned right back around and headed back into the stadium. I knew there was no way he could win. If he couldn’t beat Caska, he sure wasn’t going to beat Randy. I didn’t want to stick around to find out how he lost.

                                              “Come on,” I told Alex. “Let’s get out of here.”

                                              “Where?” Alex asked me, getting annoyed himself. “Back into the middle of nowhere again!? Come on, man, we've been out there! There's nothing!"

                                              “One more shot,” I told Alex seriously. "This town hates our guts, and maybe Black and Depression didn't have exactly what we needed. There might be someone else.”

                                              Alex really didn’t seem to agree. He just looked away and turned back at the stadium.

                                              “Damn, I hate this place,” Alex told me, “I know you could be right, but damn, I really, really don't want to go back out there. Come on, Jake, look at what they did to us out there! Maybe we can find something here instead. We can just…”

                                              “Look, Randy would be rolling over in laughter if he saw us arguing like this,” I told him. “If you really don't want to go back out there, I'll head out by myself to see what I can find on the outside, and if you want to see what's around this place, go for it. This city seems big enough and maybe it has a dark side to it also.”

                                              "Heh, sure hope it does," Alex flashed a dark smile. "Good luck, man, just don't get lost out there."

                                              And that was where we split up. I didn’t feel right by leaving Alex and David behind, but I didn’t want to stay in this blasted city either. After I said goodbye to Alex, I left them all behind and headed back outside into the wilderness.

                                              I had hoped to find a way out of this forsaken world, even while I was walking away from the very source that could bring me back home. But even then, maybe Alex and David were right. How was I supposed to find the key to our escape by aimless walking? Where would I be going after all?

                                              I felt like I was slowing going insane. After heading out of Victory City and walking down the highway, I was left alone with my thoughts as I tried to think all of options and alternatives over. I would be shocked and surprised if there was a single person in all of Victory City that was willing to help us. The chances of them being in there was next to none.

                                              I started on the highway for the first few hours and just got bored of it, so I decided to just say screw it and not care if I got lost. I really didn't have much to lose at this point anyway. Day one was being alone again and traveling through valleys, swamps, rivers, and forests, day two was all about me nearly losing my mind in anger. I almost felt like I was beginning to just accept all this and admit I was just going to have to suck it up and deal with being a god-forsaken flower in Randy's world like I had no power over anything anymore.

                                              When I reminded myself this would be for forever if I gave up, I got off my butt and decided to shut up and still keep up the effort. I had been walking for nearly three days, which seemed so much longer when I was constantly burdened by these same, endless thoughts and having to deal with Randy's bizarre and unpredictable landscapes and biomes. Not only that, but the only thing I could consume was water. What a nightmare. I wasn’t even human anymore and even my Pokémon had been warped because of all this.

                                              I was really getting sick of the strange landscapes that weren't even making sense anymore. Snow on palm trees? A lake that was hot springs on the outside and frozen in the middle? It was easy to lose sanity here.. By now I was too far away to turn back and take my next to hopeless chances, and even if I could, what was the point? Could I possibly hope to accomplish the impossible? Nothing would have changed from before, only my morale would be diminished. At the moment, it seemed like nothing could be done about it, and this is how it was all supposed to end…

                                              But on the evening of the third day, everything had changed.

                                              During my searches that night, I had come across a strange, white, twenty-story office building with large, mirror-like rectangular windows that looked like it belonged in the middle of a big city, not in the middle of a valley with blue grass and trees. Despite the strange landscape, the building seemed pretty normal. I decided why the hell not, I'd take sitting in a cubicle farm for a few minutes to rejuvinate my sanity over the loony landscapes Randy's mind vomited out.

                                              Honestly, I didn’t care if death itself was inside, I was ready to cope with anything right now. I approached the opposing double glass doors, grabbed the handle, and walked into what seemed like a totally normal office building lobby. At this point, I had nothing to lose, so I figured even if there was nothing in here, well, at least I freaking tried.

                                              Inside, it seemed empty, except for one large, side office that had an open door. I started looking around, and while it was quiet and motionless among the chairs, desks, and other office furniture, I felt compelled to go toward the one side office that had the only open door. I decided to walk on in to see why this one was different from all the others.

                                              Inside, it was furbished pretty much the same way any senior manager would arrange it with a large desk with a cherry wood finish, shelves with books and a carpeted floor, and seemingly ordinary pictures of landscapes on the wall. Seated at the desk was a busy, middle-aged man with a bald head, a black goatee, and wearing a black business suit sitting in the leather, wheeled chair behind the desk. It looked like he had been busy writing notes in a black, leather journal before he looked up at me and crossed his arms. He had a serious look on his face and seemed to size me up. It made me feel like it was a job interview with an executive from one of the biggest corporations in the world. And here I was standing before this badass guy as a damn "overgrown Bellossom," as Alex put it.

                                              “I have been expecting you, Jake Kossak,” He told me, looking at me like this was an FBI interrogation.

                                              “How do you know me?” I asked him, wondering who this guy really was.

                                              He furrowed his brow and his serious, soul-piercing eyes just looked right into mine. I could definitely tell what he was about to tell me next was something he definitely didn't want me to forget.

                                              “I am Randy’s hatred, Jake,” He had told me. “The name is Coldblood. Look at this place and look at me. Stern. Serious. Formal. This is the future adult life that will inevitably come for him when he will have to earn a living working eight to seven on spreadsheets, forms, metrics, and analytical data after spending half the day in meetings and on the phone. It is everything Randy's childish and imaginative demeanor will loathe."

                                              Wow, that was deep. I really didn't even know what to say to that.

                                              "Think of it as you will, but I am one of the strongest forces of Randy’s mind," Coldblood continued, folding his hands together on his desk. "Because of me, his anger, sorrow, and depression exist in their fullest form, and they blind him and force him into making crucial mistakes. And you, Jake Kossak, are my most valuable ally right now.”

                                              I was silent. I sure didn’t feel like it at the time while looking like this. I felt more like a loser that was a waste of space.

                                              “Do not feel that way,” He told me, reading my expression. “I know how you feel. For the last few days, you have been feeling nothing but misery. I can easily take that away.”

                                              “Yeah, how?” I asked him, seeing that had to be impossible.

                                              But, he never answered my question, and I never figured it out on my own. He waved his hand in a strange way, and then I felt amazing relief spread all over me like comforting water. When I looked down, the flowers were gone and were rapidly vaporized within seconds. Everything was gone, and I was back in my normal clothing again as a human, something I suddenly appreciated more than I had ever before. But before I could even thank him, he spoke again.

                                              “Jake, someone needs to take Randy out of business, and that someone is you,” Coldblood stated to me firmly. "This nonsense needed to be ended days ago."

                                              “Not while he still has his stupid necklace,” I told him, hoping I didn’t sound like a whiner.

                                              “I understand, but we can work around it,” He said to me. "Trust me. I may be all you have left."

                                              Black and Depression had attempted to help us before, and it still didn’t work. What could Coldblood do that they couldn’t?

                                              “Coldblood, Randy destroyed our protection, and he changed my Jolteon and my Weavile into a freaking Bellossom and a Lilligant,” I informed him. “What the hell am I supposed to do against power like that!?”

                                              Coldblood was silent. It almost seemed like… he had been waiting for me to bring this up.

                                              “Give me your Pokémon,” He told me, not giving me a clue as to what he was going to do with them.

                                              What could I have done? I had nothing to lose anymore, and if he just blew them up for fun, I'd just shrug and ask him to do the same to me. I had no choice now but to trust him, even if it was dealing with a very dark side of Randy.

                                              He laid out my Poké Balls on the desk, one by one. He placed his hand on one of them, and the whole Poké Ball began to glow white. When the white glow died down, he moved it aside and went onto the next. He had done it to all of them, one after another, and I just stood there just wondering what pray tell he was doing to my Pokémon. All of them, even the mysterious, unknown Pokémon that Black have given to me, had been blessed with something…

                                              “What did you just do to them?” I asked Coldblood when he was finished.

                                              “There,” he told me. “Now they are just as strong as Randy's. Your Jolteon and Weavile are completely back to normal as well.”

                                              Well, that certainly made things a bit easier if he was telling the truth about all this. I had remembered Black telling me Randy’s Quista necklace would allow him to use any attack Randy’s whacked imagination could come up with. And I remembered the necklace Black gave us was supposed to protect against Randy's crap, and what a big waste of time that was.

                                              "How are you even able to do this?" I asked Coldblood, wondering where and how he got these kinds of powers.

                                              "Just like hatred can manipulate someone's mind," Coldbood told me, "I can manipulate some components of Randy's created world with the reality he dislikes. However, I cannot confront him myself and must keep my work secret, because to know one's enemy is dangerous knowledge to expose to him. I need you to be my emissary."

                                              Man, this guy was really something else. Definitely not the kind of guy I'd ever think of double-crossing. He made Black and Depression look like a joke.

                                              "I can do that," I told him, letting him know I was up for the job.

                                              “Good,” Coldblood told me quickly. "However, this is not going to be your traditional approach. In order to stop Randy, you have to take your artifice to a whole new level."

                                              I wasn't exactly sure what he meant by that, but I figured digging in deeper would help me do the job we both wanted done.

                                              “What did you have in mind?” I asked him.

                                              “Randy cannot destroy something he cannot see,” He said to me. “Necklaces, rings, any perceivable and materialistic object like that is subject to whatever Randy wants to do with them. You need to have an innate power that Randy cannot touch. I am just the person who can give you that. It will allow you to attack Randy’s Pokémon with whatever you can think of and this time, it will hurt them the way it is supposed to. Only then will you be put on the same level as him and even the odds.”

                                              I was sure hoping this wasn’t anything like intensive surgery. But even if it was, I had no other choice. What Coldblood said seemed to be making a lot of sense.

                                              “It only takes about a day,” Coldblood told me in a firm voice. “You go to sleep, and a day later, you will have the power you need to fight Randy. But be warned, it is not half as powerful as Randy’s necklace, which can do much more than make Randy’s imagined attacks a reality. There are some powers that the necklace has that Randy doesn’t even know of yet.”

                                              And so, after standing up, he took me to a conference room where there was a modern conference table surrounded by sturdy black chairs and a black leather couch in the other corner. He told me to lie down on the leather couch, simply go to sleep, and everything would be done as soon as I woke up.

                                              I didn't know what to expect, but after sleeping out there in the middle of nowhere in dreamland, it was quick and easy to doze off on something normal and believable for once.
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                                                #25    
                                              Old June 10th, 2015 (5:33 PM). Edited June 23rd, 2015 by Neo Emolga.
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                                              Neo Emolga Neo Emolga is offline
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                                                Chapter 10
                                                The New Dawn

                                                Contrary to my first belief, I woke up feeling absolutely no different from before. At that moment, I had already begun to believe that perhaps Coldblood had decided not to go through with this. It was possible. Or maybe he had decided he liked his new physical form and if I ended Randy's world, he would disappear along with everything else.

                                                “How do you feel?” He asked me as he was the only one seated at the conference table. "I trust it was painless."

                                                “I don’t even feel anything,” I told him.

                                                “That is good,” Coldblood told me. “If you did, then something would have been wrong.”

                                                Outstanding. Now all he needed to do was tell me how I needed to get it to work. At first, I could visualize just thinking up an attack, ordering which Pokémon to attack with, and that would be it. But, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I still felt like Randy would still have some advantage over me.

                                                “First off,” Coldblood told me, “Randy makes it look easy. He comes up with an attack in his head, sends it to one of his Pokémon in a psychic decoded message from his imagination, and because he wants to, the Pokémon he sends it to understands it, and immediately attacks with Randy’s desired move in its full form.”

                                                “It can’t be that easy…” I remarked in disbelief.

                                                “But it is,” Coldblood said firmly with a confident smile. “Or to him it is, at least. You will definitely need to focus more on what your Pokémon are thinking. You need to make them realize that in Randy’s world, your imagination is probably the most powerful weapon you can wield, and as long as they can listen to you, you and them can make it possible. You need to believe you can break the rules, Jake.”

                                                This was crazy. I couldn’t believe Randy had even come up with such a thing. Making up your own Pokémon attacks seemed like a pretty difficult task, and I didn’t even know where to get started. It seemed like the biggest cheating tool of all time in the history of Pokémon battling, as if what he was doing wasn’t bad enough already. And yet, despite all this, everyone acted like it was perfectly okay. Another reason why I hated this place.

                                                And I was already certain that Randy had done this numerous times. Right now, his simple imagination had become a god-like power. No wonder he was so eager to want to battle us. He would wipe the floor with us in no time and get giddy in ways that would just make me sick. It was probably what he was itching to do all this time. All he had to do was see my face, and he would let out his absolute worst. He must have slaughtered David's team if he really battled him…

                                                Obviously, he was expecting me to show up again for a battle. He would probably be enraged that I was no longer the flower princess precious that he expected me to be, but that was just tough for him. I was thinking it would probably be a far better idea to go in some kind of disguise than show my face to his. He wanted to crush the three of us more than anything, but I had to try and fight him looking like someone else…

                                                “You're absolutely right,” Coldblood told me, reading my mind again. “Randy cannot be allowed to recognize you as you are. And I already have something in mind.”

                                                Coldblood had already helped me out immensely and I felt like I was deep in his debt. Right now, I was all ears for another good idea of his. Unlike the others, this guy was trustworthy. He could have screwed me over if he really wanted to, but he didn't. Not like I had much more to lose anyway.

                                                “I have seen what Randy has done to you,” Coldblood said. “He wants you to feel demoralized and pathetic the moment you step up to battle him. And he would easily do it again given another opportunity.”

                                                "Yeah, no kidding," I replied, looking away and thinking about how much I hated Randy for that.

                                                It all definitely sounded familiar. I felt embarrassed as hell when I was in that stadium, and I’m sure that wouldn’t have changed one bit if I were to do it again. I really was hoping Coldblood knew exactly how to fix this stupid mess.

                                                “I know of a way you can make Randy feel demoralized, effectively disguise yourself, and encode your commands to your Pokémon, leaving Randy without any idea of what you just said to them,” Coldblood smiled with a hint of sadistic delight in his tone.

                                                PERFECT!!! I loved that idea! As if Randy didn’t have enough to worry about now, he was just about to see something that was going to make him piss his pants even more. If Randy couldn’t understand the commands I was giving to my Pokémon, and they were going to be made-up attacks just like his, he was going to be in deep trouble. Now this was a much better chance and was exactly what I was hoping for, although I could tell it was going to be quite a lot of insanity. Two battlers that could make up their own attacks? What the hell was Pokémon battling coming to?

                                                “So what is it already!?” I shouted, eagerly waiting for Coldblood to reveal his outstanding plan.

                                                “I want you to assimilate yourself as the one Pokémon Randy has hungrily desired for all the years of his life, but has been unable to capture and train," Coldblood smiled with a nefarious grin. "Seeing this Pokémon will surely bring back some rather bitter memories that Randy will not want to be reminded of. On top of that, Randy will not know it is really you, Jake. Not even with his powers will he be able to deduce your true identity once this assimilation is complete. And third, your Pokémon will understand your commands as you talk to them in their own language, but Randy will have no clue as to what you have told them.”

                                                Well, that certainly fit the criteria, but it wasn’t what I expected. I had never once remembered Randy so desperately wanting a single Pokémon that he couldn’t get. I tried to imagine what Pokémon it would be, but I had no clue. My guess was he kept it a pretty hard secret. Good thing for him too, because I'm sure Alex, David and I would have taunted him to death over it.

                                                And then, I knew that Coldblood had figured out what I was thinking. He was just about to tell me everything…

                                                It was then that Coldblood had told me about Randy’s childhood, and how even as a little kid there was nothing more he wanted than this one Pokémon. Coldblood told me he asked for it every single damn birthday and Christmas of his entire life but was left disappointed every time. He also told me how he had failed to capture it on three separate occasions, as if luck itself just hated his guts. At that point, I think I would have been pretty frustrated myself.

                                                “For the longest time, Randy had desperately desired a Pikachu above all other Pokémon," Coldblood had finally revealed. "Even at this time, deep inside, Randy still wants a Pikachu, but after focusing only on being the best rather than following his heart, his mind is possessed by power and his own idea of what his personal image should be. Therefore, he only has the best Pokémon possible rather than having the one Pokémon he used to long for.”

                                                Fantastic. Now Coldblood wanted me to square off against Randy as a Pikachu? Things were really starting to get loony now. I had only been normal for a few hours. Couldn’t I at least have a few moments to spend as myself? Why was Randy so enticed by an electric mouse anyway? I had one for a short while before I turned him into a Raichu and I had no regrets. Was it because he thought they were cute or because one just happened to smile at him the right way?

                                                “Randy always loved giving his Pokémon nicknames before this whole incident,” Coldblood recalled. “He called his Growlithe ‘Striker,’ his Nidoran ‘Spike,’ his Pidove ‘Storm Wind’ and his Sewaddle ‘Enigma’. He never called his Pokémon by their nicknames while you three were around because he was afraid you would make fun of them.”

                                                Yeah, we probably would, even though for once I personally didn’t feel they were that bad, though his Pokémon were terrible and sure didn't live up to those kinds of names.

                                                “If he had caught a Pikachu, he would have named him ‘Juno,’ and he would have been overjoyed,” Coldblood told me, informing me of this mysterious Pikachu. “Of course in Randy’s world, there is such a Pikachu already in existence, but he lives too far underground and too far away in the caverns of what is forgotten and neglected to make any use of. Instead, you will inherit Juno’s place and confront Randy. You will become the one Pokémon in this world that Randy craved so desperately, born from Randy’s most passionate imagination and fondest dreams before being the winner and the ultimate champion was all that ever mattered to him. I do not need to tell you how much power that can hold in this place.”

                                                It was a bold and sneaky move to fight Randy as something he truly once wanted and desired but abandoned after he made this zoo. Randy would surely hold back some of his power, but I certainly wouldn’t. It would certainly make my day if Randy lost to me just because he didn’t want to hurt the feelings of a Pikachu he once really wanted. I loved Coldblood’s whole plan. It was cleverly delicious and sinister, just the way I liked things. It was totally worth the cost of becoming a cute, yellow, electric mouse. You'd never suspect something like that of being up to dirty deeds, and it made it that much more satisfying.

                                                “Alright, Coldblood, I'm ready for this,” I told him, really wondering what it was going to be like living as a Pikachu for a while. “If it makes Randy sweat, I can work with it.”

                                                “It is not that easy,” Coldblood warned me. “Once you become Juno, the real Juno will become a part of you, and you will be remain as him until you find a way to break Randy's dream world dimension. You will have to take his role from here on in, and that means Jake Kossak the bully will have to be gone. You will be Juno the Pikachu, and you will have to remember that you are Randy's most coveted Pokémon and must act that way and not make him believe otherwise. Defeat him as if you want to remind him of what he has forgotten, not because you just want to end his world.”

                                                Good point, but it really didn't seem that hard. The plan was way too good to let go, and I had to act upon it. It was definitely worth the risk, even if it meant staying as a Pikachu for the rest of my life. I wanted to be free of Randy’s mind, and I wanted that chance at any cost.

                                                “Let’s go already,” I told Coldblood firmly. “I’ve made up my mind.”

                                                “Very well,” Coldblood said to me as he focused his concentration and energy.

                                                At first, nothing seemed to happen. I waited, wondering just how this was even going to work. But then a few seconds later, I felt something was being drawn to me from dark within the forgotten centers of Randy's world. It tingled me deep inside, feeling like nothing I had ever felt before.

                                                When I shut my eyes to get a better sense of what this force was, I caught a glimpse of this Pikachu named Juno, and I swore I had never seen anything like him. He was still a Pikachu, but he seemed so much more... angelic, charismatic, and genuine. I could tell this Pikachu was created from some serious, very fond imagination and even though a Pikachu like this would never, ever be possible in reality, it was interesting to see how it would have been if it could be...

                                                Slowly, I was enveloped with a white and golden glow, and I suddenly began to change. Gradually, I felt like my human body was dematerialized into pure light, and then I felt like I was shrinking little by little. I felt myself coated with the yellow fur of a Pikachu, followed by having two, long, black-tipped ears emerge from my head before a Pikachu's signature thunderbolt-shaped tail materialized on my rear. My hands were shrunken down to paws while cherry-red patches formed on my cheeks as the place where every Pikachu held their electric power. I almost trembled from the sensation, and before I opened my new, shiny black Pikachu eyes, it was like I could hear a faint whisper...

                                                ...Starchaser...

                                                And that was when it hit me in full force.

                                                Suddenly a massive, roaring pulsation of brilliant, white light was unleashed from all directions as I realized my soul had been connected with a Pikachu made from dreams, and now that dream had what no other did. Everything in the room was hit with force and wind, and even Coldblood himself had to steel himself against the celestial wind as the whole building trembled from what was something more profound and intense then I could have ever imagined.

                                                Everything in the room became huge, as if I was lying on the floor. Meanwhile, the energy around me was affecting me in ways that I never thought it would. I looked down with my new eyes and looked at my paws, almost seemingly glowing white for a few seconds before it settled. It actually took me a moment to start breathing again.

                                                There was something far more powerful behind this than becoming a simple Pikachu. Juno… without a doubt… was definitely born from dreams, and there was something about him that was even affecting me deep inside. I didn't know what it was, but suddenly, by becoming him, I felt strangely purified, empowered, and ended up stepping into something so much deeper than I thought I could ever imagine...

                                                Even after I had totally become this Pikachu named Juno that Coldblood had described, I clenched my chest with my now tiny, yellow paws, feeling some kind of light and warmth that was so strong that connected with my soul. I even began to tremble as the connection was completed, and then suddenly, what was a simple unity at first was turned into a full assimilation, made just as a bright, blinding white light came over me. When it finally settled down, I was left with a feeling of being overwhelmed for a moment… suddenly as if I became more of Juno than I was expecting to...

                                                When the dust began to settle and Coldblood regained his bearings, even he seemed surprised.

                                                "I wasn't expecting that kind of reaction, but..." Coldblood muttered, taken back at what he had just seen, "...it seems to have worked."

                                                And yet, to me, it was okay. I suddenly felt like I could actually enjoy this.

                                                "How do you feel?" Coldblood asked.

                                                "Now this is... incredible," I told him, a bit surprised at my new slightly lighter-pitched Pikachu voice. "Juno..."

                                                I made it pretty clear that even though something definitely unanticipated happened, I felt alright with it. In fact, I could easily see why Randy used to like this Pikachu. Heck, if he didn't want him, I'd take him!

                                                "We need to continue with the plan," Coldblood reminded me.

                                                For a minute, I had almost forgotten about what the plan was. While I knew ending Randy's world was the goal, the idea of reminding him about Juno, this awesome Pikachu he had imagined, just seemed like something that needed to be done.

                                                Coldblood handed me the belt with my Poké Balls, only now they felt huge due to my smaller size. It was like tying basketballs around my waist. And I couldn’t help but think that when I pressed the button the prep the Poké Ball for use, it would grow to the size of a giant beach ball. I quickly realized why there weren't any Pokémon trainers that were Pokémon themselves…

                                                “You must be careful,” Coldblood warned me. “Anyone that loses to Randy immediately becomes his servant. That is exactly why happened to Alex and David. David had lost badly against Randy, and after Alex heard the news, he immediately challenged Randy only to fail. If you lose as well, there will be nothing to help bring the three of you back to the real world. Most likely, if you lose to Randy, you’ll be stuck as his favorite Pokémon to train and care for. I’m sure that’s not what you want.”

                                                It was true, I wasn't all too crazy about that idea. It was hard to think that now, David and Alex were Randy’s slaves, the one thing in the world they didn’t want. Heck, it made me shudder thinking what else Randy probably did to them. As if turning them into a fairy princess and giant butterfly wasn't humiliating enough...

                                                “Normally, you cannot fight Randy whenever you want to,” Coldblood told me. “There will be a tournament held in only a few days, and the winner of the final round will challenge Randy for the ultimate prize. To anyone who beats Randy in a Pokémon battle, they will be allowed one wish. Anything they can think of, and Randy has the power to grant it to them."

                                                Well, that kind of prize would definitely reap in quite a bracket of trainers to work with.

                                                "If you were still were Jake Kossak," Coldblood continued, "you could challenge Randy whenever you wanted to because there’s nothing he wants more than to beat you, but now is different. You don’t want to give Randy any hint that you’re Jake in disguise. Therefore, you must enter into the tournament and rise through the rounds to face him.”

                                                As if this didn't even need to get more challenging. I figured if I got wiped out of the tournament, that was a really good sign I wasn't ready yet and needed to work on something else.

                                                “Obviously, no one has ever won this tournament other than Randy,” Coldblood told me the obvious. “Anyone that loses to him becomes his slave, and already several challengers have fallen victim to it. You have to be the one to fight Randy in the final round, and you have to be the one who wins. I can only wish you the best of luck from here on in.”

                                                As I walked out that door and bid him farewell, I had no idea what I would have done without him. But in the meantime, I was still feeling that strange and pure feeling from being Juno deep inside…
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