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[Pokémon] The Stairway to Heaven

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    The Stairway to Heaven
    Follow the journey of seventeen-year-old rookie trainer Eloy Chance and his partner Deacon as he explores the Sigia region on a quest to become a professional trainer in the Champion's League of his region. It's a long way to the top though, and Eloy is but a farm boy who is naive about the struggles of a trainer and the darker underbelly of the battling scene. The trials he will face and the people he meets along the way are bound to challenge Eloy in ways he never expected.​

    Chapter One: New Morning
    Chapter Two: The Mountains Win Again
    Chapter Three: Tubthumping
    Chapter Four: Having a Blast
    Interlude One
    Chapter Five: Surprise Surprise
    Chapter Six: Impressed
    Chapter Seven: Welcome to the Jungle
    Chapter Eight: Money, Money, Money
    Interlude Two
    Chapter Nine: Brush With the Wild
    [URL="https://www.pokecommunity.com/showpost.php?p=9937799&postcount=32"]Chapter Ten: Dogs of War
    Chapter Eleven: Night Run
    Chapter Twelve: Catch a Bad One
    Interlude Three
    Chapter Thirteen: Victorious
    Chapter Fourteen: A Fork in the Road
    Chapter Fifteen: O Fortuna
    Chapter Sixteen: Waves
    Interlude Four
    Chapter Seventeen: Knuck if You Buck
    Chapter Eighteen: Hazard
    Chapter Nineteen: Fancy
    Chapter Twenty: Smile
    Interlude Five
    Chapter Twenty-One: Don't You Just Hate Those People?
    Chapter Twenty-Two: Stronger
    Chapter Twenty-Three: Swordsman
    Chapter Twenty-Four: Mother Like Mine
    Interlude Six
    Chapter Twenty-Five: Inner City Blues
    Chapter Twenty-Six: We Shall Assemble
    Chapter Twenty-Seven: Straight Out the Gate
    Chapter Twenty-Eight: Go To War
    Chapter Twenty-Nine: Athena
    Chapter Thirty: Bomber
    Chapter Thirty-One: So What?
    Chapter Thirty-Two: Bounce Back
    Chapter Thirty-Three: Swords
    Chapter Thirty-Four: Four Score and Seven
    Chapter Thirty-Five: Revelations
    Chapter Thirty-Six: Stand Up and Fight
    Chapter Thirty-Seven: Day Dream
    Chapter Thirty-Eight: Stop This Train
    Chapter Thirty-Nine: Dazed and Confused
    Chapter Forty: Highs and Lows
    Chapter Forty-One: The Clash of the Titans
    Chapter Forty-Two: Decompression
    Chapter Forty-Three: Closing Ceremony
    Chapter Forty-Four: Leave the City
    Interlude Seven
    Chapter Forty-Five: Take It Easy

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    New Morning
    "In Scholery Town, a new gym leader has been appointed by the Sigia League administration. New leader, Melanie, comes from impressive stock being the granddaughter of veteran leader Maggie, who some suggest could have reached the Elite Four had she entered the Champion's League," a well dressed reporter on the dusty television screen reported from out the front of a stone building, that Eloy took to be the Scholery Gym.

    He bent down to tie the laces on his sneaker, pastel pink just like the dye job on his hair that his mother disapproved of. The face of the reporter disappeared from his view, but the sound of her voice continued on in the background.

    "This of course comes only a month after former gym leader, Blake, was involved in a scandal that rocked the entire Sigia region when it was discovered that he had been injecting several of his Pokemon with a strain of Pokerus. The Pokerus virus is known to enhance the abilities of its hosts but the majority of its strains are known to also cause health defects. At this stage it is still unknown where Blake obtained the vials containing the virus he had in his possession, but his Pokemon have been confiscated and he is now awaiting a formal trial. This after several other trainers throughout the region als-"

    Eloy switched off the TV. The whole business with Blake had left a bad taste in his mouth since he had first heard it and as interested as he was in hearing about this new gym leader, he had no intention of letting Blake's wrongdoings sour the first day of his journey from halfway across the region. He'd spent the last five years doing remote study with the nearest trainer school to get his trainer's license, nothing was ruining this moment for him.

    He got up and pulled his coat on, the fur collar of the garment soft in his hands as he adjusted it. He grinned, catching sight of himself in the old mirror standing in the corner of the living room. Almost entirely pink with only the blue of his jeans, black of his shoes and the red bandanna around his neck breaking up the otherwise monochrome colour scheme. There was rarely a reason to use the mirror but seeing himself decked out in his favourite colour ready to set off on his journey at last filled him with a sense of pride, he found himself oddly glad to have it there.

    "Alright Deacon, let's go!" he said loudly, walking over to where the mirror was and nudging the small Pokemon bed that was sitting there with his toe. Deacon immediately bolted upright, the Nidoran as pink all over as Eloy was and full with twice the energy as his enormous ears perked up. The small Pokemon cried out happily as he leapt from the bed and started running around and between Eloy's feet. Eloy looked back at the mirror and saw his smile widen as he saw them there, a matching pair.

    Truth be told, his parents had been trying to get him to choose a different starter for a while in the lead up to his graduation. Up in the mountains it was tradition for a village elder to bestow upon new trainers a Ground, Steel or Ice type to be their first official pokemon but Eloy wasn't having a word of that. Deacon had been with him since he started his study, he wasn't going to leave him behind and run off with some Pokemon he'd just met. Eloy grabbed his trainer's license and pokegear off the dining room table with Deacon bounding happily around him and stuffed them in his bag, slinging it over his shoulder.

    "Eloy Chance, Pokemon trainer," he said to his Nidoran "has a nice ring to it I think, let's head off." It was a short walk to the front door of their tiny house and as he stepped out he was greeted with a rush of icy mountain air. Citri Town wasn't high enough up in the mountains to be perpetually covered in snow like some places but it was the opposite of warm because of the icy winds that carried down from above.

    By the time Eloy had shut the door and turned away from the tiny red brick house he shared with his parents, Deacon had already bounded some distance away and was waiting for his trainer to catch up, ears still standing at attention. He jogged forward to catch up with the little Poison type before slowing to a more reasonable pace as they trudged down the dirt path towards their front gate. It was a long walk compared to leaving your home in the city to say the least.

    When he reached the gate, he looked back behind him. In the distance, he could make out the figures of his parents herding their flock of Skiddo and Gogoat. They'd eaten as much of the grass in one area as could be allowed and were now being moved on to greener pastures. He'd been a bit concerned about leaving all the farm work to his mother and father at first, but he could see they were managing just fine. They weren't that old after all.

    Turning around and walking out the gate, he was treated to a different view. Sprawled out below the hill they lived on was the majority of Citri Town. It was a small community composed of a few farms, a handful of other residences and the old town hall and that was about that. But it had a pretty location looking down on the mountainous landscape alone. You could call it picturesque and not be exaggerating. Still, aside from a handful of treks to the neighbouring Avent Town, it was pretty much all Eloy had ever known and he had bigger ambitions than spending his whole life in a tiny town wrangling Gogoat. He wanted to explore the rest of Sigia, experience the big cities and to one day find himself on the big stage in the Sigia Champion's League. Of course, first he had to get through the base level of the Sigia League: collecting eight badges and winning in the Diamante Conference. These were simply the first steps of many.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
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    The Mountains Win Again
    Unlike some of the longer roads Eloy knew were on the horizon, the route from Citri Town to Avent Town wasn't a long one, so there was still plenty of time left in the day when Eloy could finally get a clear view of the first stop on his list. Stopping up the road, Eloy reached into his bag to take a swig from his water bottle. The liquid was still cold against his throat, kept chilled by the frigid mountain climate. The land around him was growing steadily greener however, and unlike Citri Town which was a landscape of touch yellow grass and rocky outcrops, Avent Town sat on a rocky plateau surrounded by trees and with lush green grass peppered throughout the town.

    "Ni!" Deacon called out, the rodent having bounded a solid twenty feet ahead of Eloy before realising his trainer had stopped "Ni!" he called again, running around in a few tight circles as if to tell Eloy he should get a move on. Eloy smiled and relented, returning his water bottle to his backpack and moving to catch up with the Nidoran. It wasn't much longer before he found himself walking past the first few outlying buildings.

    Avent Town was small, places up in the mountains needed to be as a matter of necessity with a lack of settleable space. It was several times the size of Citri Town however, serving as the gateway between the rest of the Sigia region and the mountains it acted as a trading post for people from smaller villagers and a rest stop for travellers looking to explore higher up. It was an old town, but few of the wooden buildings that once made up the town still stood there having long since given way to rot in the damp air. Instead small brick cottages like the one Eloy himself lived in made up most of the residencies there. The heart of Avent Town however was, naturally, in the centre where most of the local businesses stood. In recent years a fancy new PokeMart had opened in the town, although far smaller than its counterparts in the bigger locales in the region. Next door was an even smaller Pokemon Centre. Pokemon Centres were something of a hub for most trainers, offering free medical care for Pokemon, cheap lodgings, meals and in several instances training facilities. The Centre in Avent Town could only be given the title as a stretch. It was a small brick building that blended in with houses nearby and, Eloy new, it contained only the most essential medical equipment and had only three rooms to sleep in - one of which was occupied by the nurse on a permanent basis. This wasn't a bad thing though, it meant that a pair of local inns were able to remain open.

    Eloy made his way towards the Pokemon centre, taking note of Avent Town's pride and joy in the near background. A few minutes outside the town stood a large metal building from which a thick, taut metal cord emanated. Several enormous pylons helped further support the cable as it moved down the mountain, carrying large rectangular cable cars. The Avent Town Gondola served a dual purpose. It usually remained active to transport people up and down the mountain, but at certain times served instead as a more efficient means of moving goods from the route at the base of the mountain to Avent Town for sale. Eloy planned on catching the cable car down to the base of the mountain but had been advised by his father to have Deacon given a quick once over at the Pokemon centre first to ensure he was ready for battle. Eloy wasn't concerned. One look at the happily bounding along Nidoran made it apparent he was in peak condition. Still, he figured he might as well do it to keep his folks happy.

    Eloy entered the small building to find himself in a simple reception area with pale pink walls. He'd always liked the colour of the walls. Unlike the more sterile looking Pokemon Centres Eloy had seen on TV, this one had a homey feel. The wooden floor was covered by a soft rug, old dusty painting hung on the walls and mismatched, worn armchairs rested empty against the front wall. At the back of the room stood the counter, in front of a doorway that lead to the medical area and in the back corner of the room a staircase lead to the accommodation upstairs.

    "Hello?" Eloy called out, noticing that there wasn't a bell anywhere to get attention. He was pretty sure there had been one on the door the last time he'd been there.

    "Ni!" Deacon chimed in, apparently attempting to lend a hand. A thump and a clattering of metallic objects could be heard upstairs, followed by a door closing loudly and hurried footsteps. It wasn't much longer before a short woman in her late twenties or early thirties sporting a black pixie cut rushed down the stairs.

    "Sorry!" she exclaimed, rubbing sleep out her eyes "I only just got back this morning from a house call and I must have dozed off at my table. How can I help you?" Much like how the Pokemon Centre itself didn't look like big city ones seen on TV, neither did the nurse. Where city nurses sported pristine pink and white uniforms, she was dressed in wrinkled old ripped overalls and a checked shirt, dirty work boots still on her feet from the housecall.

    "It's nothing major," Eloy backpedaled, feeling guilty for waking her up for something he was pretty sure didn't need doing. "I can come back later if you want."

    "Not at all!" the woman insisted "You're here now, so let's see what we've got." Eloy ran his hand through his hair sheepishly, the guilt still holding strong.

    "Are you sure, you look a mess."

    "It's fine, really," the tired nurse continued, forcing Eloy to relent and explain why he'd woken the exhausted woman up.

    "I'm just looking to get Deacon here a check-up," he explained apologetically "I just got my license and I'm going to be taking the gym challenge but he's never really battled before. So my parents want me to get him checked over first."

    "Responsible parents," the nurse smiled "If you wait here I'll take a look at him." Without even waiting for Eloy's go ahead, Deacon happily hopped off after the nurse, leaving his trainer to sink into one of the ancient chairs. He was pretty sure that comment had been a subtle jab that he shouldn't have needed telling.

    Fifteen minutes passed and Eloy was soon reunited with Deacon, the Nidoran cheerily running laps around his legs once more as the nurse reported on the Pokemon's condition. Unsurprisingly, Deacon was given a clean bill of health and was noted to be in exceptionally healthy condition. Eloy parted ways with the tired nurse as she trudged back upstairs.

    Unsure whether he should feel vindicated he had been right or ashamed for making the assumption he was, Eloy exited the little Pokemon Centre back into the town. He considered wandering around Avent Town for a while, but only a few minutes of aimless wandering made it pretty clear that there was little point in doing so. He was well stocked on supplies, having bought them well in advance of getting his license and Avent Town wasn't exactly a hub for sightseeing. It didn't even have the best views of the mountain towns. Besides, Eloy felt a bizarre desire to get as far away from the nurse as he possibly could.

    "Onwards then, yeah?" he said to Deacon, his Nidoran immediately taking off in the direction they had been walking. Thankfully, it was the correct one and Eloy wasn't forced to chase the little Pokemon through the town. "We aren't exactly in a rush, you know!" he called after Deacon.

    "Ni Ni!" came the reply. Some people might have said he was imagining it, but Eloy was positive he heard a cheeky tone in the cry. Shaking his head, Eloy walked briskly after him. It wasn't like he had to conserve energy to descend the mountain, he could afford to walk a bit quicker. As it was, that meant a few minutes later he was reaching the cable car station.

    The area around the facility was largely devoid of people. Only three were visible. The slightly pudgy, balding proprietor sat on a rickety stool just outside the entry to the station itself, smoking a cigarette and stroking an ageing Growlithe as it slept with his spare hand. Closer to Eloy was a pair of girls closer in age to him. One was slightly taller and dressed in stylish skinny jeans and a bright yellow midriff top that was in no way appropriate for the weather below a simple white jacket that she hadn't bothered to do up. Her blonder hair was worn in long pigtails. Eloy wondered how it was she didn't seem to be cold at all. Her companion, a shorter girl with shoulder-length mousy brown hair hanging in a curtain around her head seemed to have more sense. She donned a heftier brown coat and black leggings. A red and red and white tunic hung out below the base of the coat. Eloy managed to hear a snippet of their conversation as he past them.

    "You're the one that wanted to come here," the more sensibly dressed of the two was saying to the other. "I did warn you there was nothing here."

    "I know, I know. I didn't realise nothing meant, like, this nothing!" the other responded "I just wanted to see where you were born, okay?" The first girl sighed in response, her tone exasperated. Eloy noted though that her expression didn't look displeased at all. He didn't hear the rest of the conversation however, as he had reached a large sign bearing the prices for making use of the cable car. If he'd been drinking, he may well have done a spit-take.

    "Six hundred Poke!" he couldn't help but exclaim out loud, looking down at Deacon with shock and disbelief. Deacon in turn, cocked his head to the side and looked back at Eloy with a blank, confused stare. Eloy had never ridden the cable car and had not realised how expensive it was going to be to use. The cost was half the money he had with him, which was to say, half of all the money he had.

    Apparently he was going to have to do some battling and soon. Being a travelling trainer was essentially being a professional gambler. While gym leaders and professionals in the Champion's League, like the Elite Four, were paid a sizeable wage by the Pokemon League Administration, most trainers had to win their lunch. That meant earning cash rewards from beating gyms or winning competitions, or more often, by putting money up for grabs in street battles and winning to make a profit. Needless to say, this was a rocky start.

    "Hey, you," Eloy was shaken from his lamentations by the sound of a female voice. He turned around to see the blonde from before striding confidently towards him while the shorter girl hurried after her friend wearing an expression not unlike the one Eloy had just seen on Deacon. "You were pretty loud with your money woes there, you know? So we had an idea."

    "We?" the other girl asked incredulously, clearly not having the faintest idea what was going on.

    "Okay, me," the first said, her voice a touch louder than it needed to be "My brilliant idea. Since I'm bored and this place needs some livening up, desperately, and you're poor and need to get down the mountain, let's have a battle. If you win, I'll pay for your ride down. If I win, no worries. You don't have anything I need. As an added bonus, us lovely ladies will keep you company on the ride down."

    Eloy wasn't exactly thrilled about having his lack of wealth rubbed in his nose, and the girl's exuberant personality was rather off-putting, but he had just said to himself he needed to get into some battles sooner rather than later.

    "Okay," he said "You're on."

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
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    Say it with me (Vray-gun)
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    So it appears our little duo are getting into a bigger little world. I wonder how they'll fare this being their first time.

    First off, I'd like to compliment your descriptive capabilities as I think it really helps visualize the mountainous area (an area I love by the way) and really does well in sorta sinking the reader into the atmosphere.

    Since right now this is the start, it makes sense that not too much character of Eloy has been shown save for his, seeming confident in his reads, a little bit independent, close to Deacon, ahead of the game in some areas while still able to be surprised, and assumptions galore.

    Plenty of room for his character to go through and all (though you've already hinted at some little things and all, which would be interesting if allowed to get some time).

    Now...while I did find a few typos, there seems to be certain phrases where it feels like a word is missing.

    "Are you sure, you look a mess."
    this being one of them. Normally it'd sound something like "you look like a mess" but I'm unsure about if this is intentional or not. Just thought I'd bring it up for incase dialect is a thing in this story.

    Elsewise some other things I've noticed in the typo range.
    A well dressed reporter on the screen dusty television screen reported from out the front of a stone building, Eloy took it to be the Scholery Gym

    I would add a "that" in there. "building, that Eloy" so it reads better.

    Eloy partnered ways with the tired nurse as she trudged back upstairs.
    this one I think you mean the word "parted"

    Other than that, not much thoughts on the starting story, though I'll soon get to see your battle style writing which is a thing I happen to enjoy reading. Keep it going.
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  • 25,559

    Thanks for the compliments and critiques. I'm really glad you picked up on some of the smaller things I tried to slip in and very pleased you like the descriptive stuff since that's always been a strength in my writing.

    You're right that the first one was intentional but I'll get on fixing the ones that were typos soon. I tend to suck at editing so the catches are appreciated.

    I hope the battle in the next chapter lives up to your expectations.
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    Eloy and the two girls moved a short way away from the cable car station to a small clear space, just big enough for two Pokemon to do battle. This coming after the shorter of the two girls suggested that starting a battle directly in the way of the cable car was probably not excellent etiquette.

    The spot they had moved to was just barely out the way, a grassy patch surrounded by hardy mountain trees that protruded from craggy ground. The taller of the two girls stopped at the edge of the clearing, affording Eloy the pleasure of traversing the extra distance. Turning to face his opponent he could see the cable car operator was still lazily stroking his Growlithe, but had now turned his attention to the battle that was about to take place.

    Eloy felt the pre-battle tension building, excitement bubbling up in his veins. This is what he'd set off on his journey for. He was about to undertake his first official trainer battle. This wasn't one of the rare occasions he'd had to come to Avent Town for a trainer school exercise: this was the real deal.

    "Hope you're ready!" the blonde taunted from the other side of the field as her companion sat on the grass behind her, pulling her knees up to her chest. There was no backing now, Eloy wasn't about to let his first real battle end in failure.

    "Of course," Eloy said, grinning back at his smug foe "Deacon, you're up buddy." The Nidoran immediately ceased his typical bounding around. He halted in front of Eloy, facing down the girl across from him with his ears pricked up, making himself look as big as he could.

    "Alright then, I'll go with this one then," the girl smiled, pulling out a white Pokeball that had been stuck to her belt below her jacket. Eloy wasn't particularly surprised to see she kept her Pokemon in fancy Premier Balls at this point. She tossed the ball forward casually, and a flash of light exploded for the sphere. From within the light emerged a small brown Pokemon with a fluffy lower body and large ears. A Buneary. "This is my Florence."

    "Nice to meet her," Eloy smiled. Thankfully, it seemed like his opponent most likely wasn't a veteran. He knew full well that Buneary were neither evolved Pokemon nor known for being particularly powerful. He felt confident that he could win. "This is my first time seeing a Buneary in person."

    "It's your lucky day then," the reply came "This isn't just any Buneary. Mine's special." Eloy wasn't sure how to take that one, she looked much the same as any other he'd seen. He couldn't help but think that this was just her obvious ego shining through again. "Now let's get the show on the road! Florence, Quick Attack!"

    Eloy was taken aback by the sudden order. Florence was a blur of motion. One second she was in front of her trainer, the next she was right in front of Deacon, delivering a sharp kick to the side of his head. Deacon was knocked sprawling, rolling back to his feet a short distance away.

    "Ni!" Deacon snipped, posturing aggressively. Eloy was of the same mind.

    "Deacon, Double Kick!" The Nidoran literally leapt into action, crossing the distance between Florence and himself with a bound. As his front legs hit the ground, he threw his weight over them, rotating to back Florence and deliver the first kick with one of his powerful hind legs.

    Florence leapt over the top of the kick deftly, landing face-to-face with Deacon. Deacon planted his back legs as they hit the ground and flung his front legs up for the second kick.

    "Baby-Doll Eyes!" Florence's trainer ordered suddenly. Her Buneary's eyes flashed blue, a flash reflected in Deacon's eyes as his attack connected and sent Florence tumbling. Florence stood back up and brushed the dirt from her fur. Eloy saw his opponent smirking at him from across their makeshift battlefield. She'd just effectively neutered Deacon's physical offensive abilities. Had she predicted that was all he had, or was it dumb luck? Eloy's pulse quickened.

    "There's more where that came from. Poison Sting!" Deacon rushed Florence at close range, the tip of his horn glowing purple. The attack never connected.

    "Charge Beam!" At point blank range, a yellow beam that crackled with electricity burst out from the Buneary's mouth. Deacon was too committed to the frontal charge to avoid the attack, taking the Charge Beam head-on.

    Deacon yelped as he was launched back, a residual charge still crackling over his skin. His Buneary foe looked back at him, her face almost as smug as her trainer's as she looked down at Deacon. The Nidoran climbed back to his feet.

    "Is that the best you've got?" the girl said from across the clearing. The remark grated with Eloy, his fist clenching reflexively. He could feel his confidence plummeting but he refused to give in.

    "Not even close," he defiantly replied. Her smirk didn't falter.

    "Well in that case then, we better step it up a notch. Work Up, Florence!" the girl commanded. The Buneary bounced lightly on her feet, a faint red aura surrounding her body. Her expression shifted slightly as she felt her offensive power grow. Eloy didn't like the look of that.

    "Ni!" Deacon cried out, alarmed.

    "Charge Beam!" Florence once again let loose with the sparking blast of electricity. Eloy shouted for Deacon to dodge and the Nidoran dived to the side, landing on coiled legs. He then rocketed forward towards his opponent.

    "Peck!" Eloy called. Without hesitation, Deacon lashed out with a quick jab of his horn. The incoming attack was obvious though, Florence pivoted deftly on her feet to avoid the attack. Eloy doubled down on the attack. "Fury Attack!"

    Deacon pressed his assault lashing out with several more rapid jabs in quick succession. Nimble on her feet, Florence avoid jab after jab, lightly bouncing from side to side. Determined and desperate, Deacon kept trying. His and Eloy's frustration growing in synchronisation with each narrow miss until finally, deacon managed to clip the Buneary with an attack and send her stumbling. Eloy pressed the advantage.

    "Poison Sting!" The tip of Deacon's horn lit up again as he dived for the Buneary, capitalising on her fumble. The attack connected and this time the Buneary let out a cry of her own and she knocked sprawling, tumbling back several feet.

    Eloy felt his confident grin return as a wave of elation ran through him. He still had this. One more attack was all he needed.

    "Once more!" he instructed. Deacon let loose with a battle cry as he rushed in, making his charge for victory at the downed Buneary. In moments, he was about to connect and finish the battle.

    "Pound!" the girl shouted. Florence rolled onto her back suddenly as Deacon reached her. Then, her ear shot up like a boxer's fist, connecting hard with the underside of Deacon's jaw. The Nidoran was lifted several feet into the air as he flew across the clearing. He landed heavily and the onslaught continued. "Charge Beam!"

    There was no chance of avoiding the attack. Deacon had barely returned to his feet when he was engulfed in the intense light of destructive electrical attack. Deacon flew back into a nearby tree like a missile and tumbled to the ground. The battle was over.

    "That went about as expected," Eloy looked on stunned, not realising at first that the remark had actually come from the quieter girl, not his vocal opponent. The surprise of finding another person in the clearing shook him from his place as he hurried over to Deacon.

    The little Poison type looked worse for ware, in stark contrast to his energetic self only a short while ago. The Nidoran lay in a heap at the foot of the tree, emitting a low groan. Eloy picked him up, cradling him in his arms protectively like an infant.

    "Here," again the second girl's voice jolted Eloy from his thoughts a second time. She had crossed the clearing and was offering Eloy a small purple spray bottle. "It looks worse than it is. Spray this on him and give him some rest and he'll be fine by the time we get to the bottom."

    "Thanks," Eloy said, gratefully taking the bottle from the short girl. "I'm Eloy by the way, your friend got us started before we ever introduced ourselves. She's uh… enthusiastic." A smile crept onto the brunette's face at that comment.

    "Yeah, she's like that," she replied, her tone communicating something more akin to admiration than the exasperation Eloy was expecting. He wondered if it was because she seemed more reserved than her boisterous blonde companion. "I'm Guinevere, for the record, and she's Layla. Don't feel too bad for losing. Layla's getting really good."

    Without saying anything else, Guinevere turned around and walked back to where Layla had finished up with her Buneary and returned her to her ball. The two girls said a few words to each other that Eloy missed and started making their way back towards the cable car.

    "Yeah, you put up a good fight," Eloy said to his fallen Nidoran, spraying him with the potion, taking care to apply extra to the areas that had taken the biggest beating. Once he was done tending to Deacon, Eloy returned him to his Pokeball to rest.

    Post-battle treatment done, Eloy began to trudge back towards the cable car himself. Soon coming to a halt with a look of surprise on his face when he found the pair of girls waiting for him out the front of the Avent Town Gondola.

    "Well hurry up!" Layla said, as loud as ever "I did say I'd reward you with our company whether you won or not. Get a move on!" Eloy couldn't help the sinking sensation he felt in his stomach. Despite Guinevere's earlier kindness, he didn't get the impression this was going to the pleasant ride down he had initially imagined. "Don't worry about a ticket, I bought you one already anyway since I'm such a nice person." Layla added, waving a ticket in his general direction.

    He definitely wasn't going to enjoy this cable car ride.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
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    Having a Blast
    The cable car moved down over the mountains at a comfortable pace. Too slow and there was a greater risk of it being scary for passengers, but the same was true of it being too fast. Eloy remembered learning that when it was being built a lot of careful thought was put into just how fast it would travel. It didn't look like much, but the Avent Town Gondola was actually a technological marvel that had been meticulously designed over a long period of time. It wasn't the biggest in the world, that title went to the cable car along Hoenn's Mt. Chimney, but it was still a long way down and every effort had been made to make it safe and comfortable. It even adjusted itself to suit the incline as it went, dangling from two robotic arms instead of a single tether like most of its kind.

    At that moment though, that trivia was at the back of Eloy's mind. He sat across from Layla and Guinevere in a comfortable velvet chair while the former of the two girls talked to the latter endlessly. It was peculiar to watch. Guinevere, or "Gwen" as Layla referred to her, remained silent for the most part, offering an answer only every now and then. Despite this, Layla spoke at her incessantly about any topic that crossed her mind. It was almost like watching his "conversations" with Deacon more than dialogue between two people. Somehow though, Gwen seemed to enjoy the other girl's company and be quite content with the dynamic. It was utterly bizarre.

    Every moment he spent in Layla's presence made him progressively more uncomfortable, building on top of the hollow feeling still remaining from his defeat. He'd tried to put it out of his mind and be positive about how he and Deacon had performed, but Layla's overbearing aura was filling the cable car and making it impossible to forget. Suppressing a sigh, he looked out the window at the scenery below.

    Eloy had to admit, sour mood or not, it was a beautiful sight. A sea of different shades of deep green rising up out of the craggy brown of the mountains, parting to allow a crystal clear river of melted mountain ice and snow to flow down the mountainside. Much like the cable car, the river was named after the town they descended from: the River Avent. It branched off as it flowed along beneath them, splitting into a series of breathtaking waterfalls that sent up a spray of mist, light refracting through them to produce faint rainbows. Every so often, a flock of bird Pokemon would rise up from the trees in numbers Eloy could scarcely fathom. It was Natu and Xatu predominately, they were the most common birds to the area, but it wasn't unusual to see something rarer like a small group of Chatot. It was picturesque, but Eloy found himself struggling to appreciate nature's splendour.

    What happened? The thought had come up in Eloy's mind more times than he could count at that point. He'd felt so confident, Deacon had been in peak condition and for a moment he'd felt victory seconds from their grasp. Looking back though, he obviously hadn't been anywhere near as close as he'd thought. He'd gotten a few good hits in, but every one of them had been weakened by Florence's Baby-Doll Eyes. If he'd been more observant, he'd have noticed that the Buneary hadn't been that badly damaged after she'd taken those Poison Stings. On top of that, between Charge Beam's boosting effect and Work Up, Florence had only grown more powerful as the match progressed. He'd been thoroughly trounced in reality, but he'd let himself believe it'd been a close battle.

    "Hey, Space Case, I asked you something," Eloy looked back around from the window. The demanding tone had obviously come from Layla, he'd established pretty early on that he wasn't going to hear anything of the sort from Gwen. She'd been blunt, but always polite.

    "Sorry," Eloy said, more embarrassed than apologetic "Was lost in thought. What was it?"

    "Geez, I know I destroyed you but you don't need to mope about it," Layla teased. Eloy had to force himself not to wince at what felt like a gut punch. He knew she had no idea what was going on in his head, but in the extremely short time he'd known her, Eloy had come to realise that Layla had an uncanny ability to take a stab in the dark and manage to hit exactly the right nerve. "I said, where are you from anyway?"

    "Oh, I'm from Citri Town," Eloy responded, surprised that the girl had asked a question about him. She didn't seem the type to be that interested in other people. "It's a little farming village a few hours out of Avent."

    "I guess that makes sense," Layla replied, sounding weirdly matter-of-fact. It almost seemed like she was still jibing him about the battle. He tried to push that idea back, it wasn't like him to think so badly of a person he'd just met. It did make sense. "Gwen was born in Avent Town, you might even have met when you were younger if you ever went through there," Layla added.

    "I guess it's possible, I never really got to know the local kids in Avent that well," Eloy replied, not bothering to mention that he'd overheard the bit about Gwen's origins already.

    "We both live in Techniti City now though," Layla continued as though he had never responded to her earlier point. "Well, more accurately, Gwen does. My family actually live in Erythie City, but I boarded in Techniti for trainer school."

    That made an almost excruciating amount of sense to Eloy. Erythie City was a coastal resort city, only the very rich and tourists were really found there. Although, gym challengers would often pass through as Erythie was where the Sigia Region's Fairy type gym could be found. Not only did the location suit her personality, but if she was wealthy enough to have grown up there and boarded in Techniti City for her trainer school, she'd probably attended one of the elite academies there.

    "Actually, how'd you get your trainer license living up in the mountainous middle of nowhere?" Layla asked. Eloy hoped he hadn't missed any more of the, for want of a better word, conversation while he'd been pondering Layla's place of origin.

    "I did most of my study over the internet from home," Eloy replied "Every now and then though I'd have to go into Avent for exercises or tests." Students from all the smaller villages congregated there for things like that and would fill up the inns for the duration if they weren't going to be able to make it back home before dark, which pretty much nobody ever could. Eloy had always enjoyed those times because there wasn't really anyone in his age bracket in Citri. It was hard to think back on his education fondly though with Layla sitting across from him. His answer sounded like an excuse.

    Am I really already thinking like this at the very beginning of my journey? Eloy thought to himself. This girl has an awful effect on me.

    "Maybe that's why I'm so much stronger than you," Layla chimed, obnoxiously happily "Well, that and Florence." Eloy was about to question what she meant about that, she'd mentioned that the Buneary was "special" at the start of their battle too, but was cut off by Layla again. "If you think I'm good though, you should see Gwen in action. She probably taught me more than the school did."

    That was something Eloy hadn't been expecting on two counts, and he couldn't decide what was more surprising, that the quiet and reserved Gwen, who had not said a word to him yet through the trip, was apparently the best battler in the cable car, or that the cocky and pompous Layla had just given someone what sounded like a genuine compliment.

    "You're better than me," Gwen said suddenly, not quite succeeding at hiding that she was pleased by the compliment. She didn't elaborate any further, that part of the proceedings didn't have quite the same shock value. Still, the discrepancy was interesting. If his limited experience was anything to go by, Gwen's account of things was probably the more accurate. Her version certainly made more sense to Eloy. He recalled a few moments prior where he'd thought Layla and Gwen's dynamic wasn't unlike a pet and its owner. Maybe Layla was the sort who liked to brag about her pets.

    After that exchange, Layla went back to chatting away at Gwen and Eloy went back to trying to tune out the sound of her voice. Thankfully, it wasn't too much longer before they reached the ground-level cable car station and, after turning in their tickets, exited down a flight of aluminium stairs onto the route beyond.

    The environment beyond the station was already quite different to what Eloy was used to. A wide dirt path extended out from the base of the mountain. On either side of the path, trees sprouted up, the bases of their trunks obscured by tall grasses. He couldn't make it out through he progressively thickening woods, but off to one side he could faintly hear the sound of the River Avent flowing off to where it would eventually merge with a larger river and flow out to the ocean beyond.

    "Well, we're going to head off towards Rosaste Town now," Layla declared, apparently not needing to consult with Gwen before hand. "What about you?" Eloy was also going to be headed in that direction. Rosaste Town was not only the nearest large town, but it was also the location of the closest gym. That being said, he didn't want to open himself up to a situation where he'd be travelling alongside the girls. He was perfectly comfortable with Gwen, but according to the maps he'd read, Rosaste was at least a day away on foot if not more. Eloy was of the opinion that if he spent even half of that time in the company of Layla, he'd lose his mind. He quickly settled on his response.

    "Yeah, I'm heading to Rosaste too. Don't wait for me or anything though, I feel like exploring around here a bit first. Maybe I'll see you there."

    "I didn't invite you," Layla joked, poking her tongue out. "I guess we'll see you around then." She gave a wave and very suddenly turned and walked off along the path.

    "Bye," Gwen said, much less exuberantly, before quickly heading off in pursuit of Layla.

    Eloy headed into the woodlands a way until he couldn't see either of the girls anymore, then dropped to the ground, slumped against a tree. He let out an exasperated sigh. This hadn't exactly been a good start to things, much of it had been downright annoying really. That being said, he was in uncharted territory now, he needed to keep a clear head going forward with his journey. After taking a brief moment to bask in the sudden quiet, Eloy climbed back to his feet and set off through the woodlands in the general direction the path had followed at a leisurely pace. He wasn't in any hurry to catch up with Layla and Gwen, so he figured he'd go a short way before setting up camp for the night. The sun was starting to hang lower in the sky at that point and despite having spent the past while sitting down, he felt like he'd ran a marathon.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • 6,390
    Hey, so I'm reviewing the first 4 chapters here!

    I do like some of the world building so far here. One mention I like is the difference between town Pokemon centers and nurses compare to the city ones. There's then the mention of how the richer trainers get their education versus the less privilege ones. I wonder if there's going to be a class privilege theme going around.

    One big pitfall I feel for Chapter One is a bit too much exposition. Take the mention of his parents wanting to give him a starter. At the end you have Eloy check his parents doing fine at the farm and leave. You could've taken the opportunity to have him speak with them and have that bit of information that way in their dialogue instead. Same thing with him mentioning to the nurse his parents wanted his Pokemon to have a check up. That would also give a chance to show off his parents' personalities more.

    The battle in Chapter 3 was good. I did thought Eloy might have the upper hand there, but nope. Does seem Layla is more a prideful one than Gwen, look forward to see Gwen's battle style if that were to occur.

    Hm, so far I feel like this is a bit more slice of life trainer story, and that's fine! Not all trainer stories have to have a grand adventure with legendaries and such. You mention in your summary/blurb that there's a darker side to Pokemon training and I'm curious how you'll showcase that. Part of me believe Layla's comment on her Buneary is one instance of that, but I'm still left wondering what she meant by that.

    Throughout reading, I noticed several mistakes in the dialogue puncutation, usually when you have a dialogue follow up with a dialogue tag (he said, she said), and missing periods. A couple examples.


    Overall not a bad start, looking forward to more!
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    Interlude One
    "Ah!" Melanie yelped, tripping over the leg leg of a coat rack jammed into the corner of the tiny entryway. A faded black fedora and coat falling to the ground as she stumbled over the inconveniently located furnishing. Feeling her cheeks flush with embarrassment she hurriedly scooped the articles of clothing from the ground and returned them to the stand.

    She failed to suppress a sigh as she looked at sight in front of her, hastily covering her mouth as though she could force the disappointed sound back into her jaw. A grand manor this was not. It was startling to see how far someone could fall in such a short period time. The cabin, located on the outskirts of the forest by Scholery Town, was too small for all the clutter within. It's yellowed, peeling walls were scarcely visible behind all the ancient wooden furniture crammed into the structure.

    Melanie walked forward from the entryway into a tiny living and dining space, the equally small kitchen just beyond. To her left the door to the only bedroom in the home hung ajar and she could see the mess beyond. The owner of the home was slumped across a couch, asleep. On the coffee table in front of him, one too big for the little room, sat a bottle of gin now nearly gone. The denizen of the couch still clutched the glass in his hand. Unsurprisingly, he was a mess.

    Blake had always been a thin man, tall with prominent cheekbones and spindly limbs. He had always been healthy though, handsome even. His long black hair had always been carefully styled, slicked back over his head and held in a ponytail, his face clean shaven and his skin just barely dark enough to not be too pale. He'd dressed himself well in expensive clothes like his trademark coat and hat. Melanie could barely recognise him now.

    He'd lost a lot of weight, now looking more like a skeleton than a person and his cheekbones seemed like razors more than an attractive feature. His hair had fallen partially loose and was knotty and damaged, lacking its former lustre. Messy stubble now adorned his face and his skin was so pale it was nearing transparent. He still wore his old expensive clothes, but they were torn and stained. The scandal had taken its toll on him and now he seemed like a zombie, not even a ghostly memory of his former glory. He was in his early forties but looked so much older.

    "Mr Blake," Melanie gently shook the man, her voice soft, "Mr Blake, it's Melanie. Wake up, please." After much coaxing, Melanie's predecessor slowly roused himself from his alcohol induced slumber.

    "Melanie?" Blake groaned "I thought you were coming on Monday."

    "It is Monday." Melanie said, struggling to keep the pity and disappointment out of her tone. She'd grown up idolising this man. He was the reason she chose to focus her training on Dark types.

    "Oh." Blake forced himself into a sitting position with great difficulty, groaning loudly through the long process. Melanie had difficulty even imagining the kind of headache he had to have terrorising him. She made her way into his kitchen, trying not to look at the growing collection of empty bottles on the bench. Opening the fridge, she quickly found a pitcher of water and brought it over to the former gym-leader. She deftly grabbed the glass that was still in Blake's hand and pressed his fingers firmly around it, filling it.

    She stepped back, forgetting the too-large coffee table behind her. Losing her balance once again, she only barely managed to avoid shattering the glass pitched on the wooden floor. She was less successful at keeping its contents inside it. Water flew across the room, splashing the walls and furniture and forming a puddle on the floor.

    "Oh no! I'm so sorry. I just can't seem to help myself today," Melanie lamented, however Blake merely waved her off.

    "You haven't been able to help your klutziness since the day you were born," Blake corrected her "Don't worry about is so much though. It's not like a little water's going to make a shithole like this any worse." Melanie tried to protest, but was merely waved off again. She took a seat next to him, finally giving in.

    "How did you end up here anyway?" Melanie questioned, trying to hide how sad she found her former idol's new abode. "When mum and I visited you just before this mess started, you were still living in your old house. This is uh... quite a change." Blake laughed, a dead sound devoid of humour.

    "What happened was I fucked up and I got caught, kiddo," he explained "I was running low on cash beforehand anyway. Then when they found out the League Administration fined me and suspended me. So I had to pay them and I had no income coming in. Then the criminal charges hit and I paid for one hell of a lawyer - fat lot of good he's done - and they fired me so I wasn't making that back. I still owed money to my supplier too, so I sold the house to cover it."

    Melanie, officially confirmed as Blake's successor was well aware of how much money a registered gym leader earned from the Administration. She couldn't help but let her mouth fall open in shock at the revelation that despite his ample earnings, Blake had managed to get himself in debt. She felt the Butterfree in her stomach start going double time. They were getting to the crux of why she'd come faster than expected.

    "Who is it that you owed money to?" Melanie asked, a faint tremble in her hushed voice. Blake ran a hand through his hair and gave an exhausted sigh. He drained the glass of water before answering, it was obvious to Melanie he knew she wouldn't like the answer. He was procrastinating. She couldn't remember him ever being such a coward. It was like he was a totally different person.

    "You know I can't tell you that. Or anyone else." There it was. They had reached the first of the important points that Melanie had come to broach.

    "Why not?!" Melanie said, her voice quivering more as it rose in volume. "They offered you a plea deal, Mr Blake. It's all over the news, someone leaked it to a reporter. All you have to do is reveal how you got the Pokerus and there's no jail time. They gave you the offer a couple of days after the charges were laid. This could all be over and you could be shipped off to Alola in witness protection by now!" Blake just shook his head sadly.

    "These people? I could get rocketed to the moon and they could still get to me, and if they couldn't they'd be after you or your mum. Even Maggie might not be safe. We are all safer if it is made very public that I didn't give anyone any names and live out the rest of my life is a little cell."

    "Why did you even do it? You were already so good." Melanie couldn't help the tears now, her dark makeup smearing as the drops fell down her face. "You were already so good, but you injected a dangerous virus into your Pokemon. You had some of them with you for over twenty years and now who knows where they are?!"

    "Because I wasn't good enough," Blake said, refusing to look at his successor in the eye "I was starting to lose more and more. Trainers these days are stronger than ever before and it's a rare trainer like Maggie or Dragomir that can actually hold onto their positions. Every time we lose, the Administration has to pay out so the challenger can afford to eat on the way to the next gym. Then on top of that, they have to pay for new batches of badges more and more frequently. I was haemorrhaging money because I couldn't keep up. Why do you think you got brought in so quickly? They had already decided on having you replace me."

    Melanie could hardly believe what she was hearing. She felt herself shaking. It wasn't just from the crying now either, she realised. She was afraid. Was this how she'd end up too? She wasn't half the trainer that Blake had been. What was worse, she could tell there was an unspoken bit of information floating in the air between them. Why was it that such a skilled trainer had suddenly found himself unable to keep up a satisfactory win record?

    "H-how bad is it?" Melanie stammered.

    "You have no idea."
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    Say it with me (Vray-gun)
  • 420
    Dawww, that was a neat little scuffle.
    This was good, though there are some things I noticed (and some clarification I'd like)
    Eloy felt the pre-battle tension building, excitement bubbling up in his veins. This is what he'd set off on his journey for. He was about to undertake his first official trainer battle. This wasn't one of the rare occasions he'd had to come to Avent Town for a trainer school exercise: this was the real deal.

    "Hope you're ready!" the blonde taunted from the other side of the field as her companion sat on the grass behind her, pulling her knees up to her chest. There was no backing now, Eloy wasn't about to let his first real battle end in failure.

    "Of course." Eloy said, grinning back at his smug foe "Deacon, you're up buddy." The Nidoran immediately ceased his typical bounding around. He halted in front of Eloy, facing down the girl across from him with his ears pricked up, making himself look as big as he could.
    Something I want to bring up and something I'm still working on too heh is Point of View by paragraph. Now, notice that in the middle the girl is talking as if the camera is looking for her from Eloy's view. Now, this is a good scene set up, but it's sorta out of place with the sentence afterwards about Eloy's determination that I think either first in the paragraph before or the one after.

    "Nice to meet her." Eloy smiled. Thankfully, it seemed like his opponent most likely wasn't a veteran. He knew full well that Buneary were neither evolved Pokemon nor known for being particularly powerful. He felt confident that he could win. "This is my first time seeing a Buneary in person."
    ah yes, some more of that "overconfident calling the shots early" I noticed before. This is going to be an interesting hurdle for the guy if he's thinking Buneary just being a Buneary means it's like the others.

    Now regarding the battle I wanna ask if your world mechanics well...isn't limited to 4 moves.
    Deacon had, Peck, Double Kick, Poison Sting (as a horn, nice touch) and Fury Attack
    Florence had Work Up, Baby Doll eyes (also liked the wording regarding the attack lower), Charge Beam, Quick Attack and Pound.
    Something that is a little bothersome to me in regards to unlimited moves is that it doesn't really level strategy as well as peeps would think. Having limited resources really in my opinion adds to the preparing aspects more than just not forgetting.

    So I just wanted to ask if this was intended.
    Other than that, this was a good fight scene. Simple, yes, but they are little and just starting. (Also, I can already tell Guiniverre is the quiet, but calculative and reading type. I hope we get more of her personality so these characters have more to go off of, heh.)

    Well done, for a concise fight.
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    Noted about the PoV issue in that bit. Will work on that in future chapters.

    I didn't give unlimited moves, but you're correct that I expanded from four moves. Pokemon in Stairway will be able to have up to six moves at a time. Four is perfect for the games but I find it leads to a lack of variety that makes combat a bit stagnant in writing. Six gives a bit more variety but still keeps a limit that requires strategy.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter!
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    Surprise Surprise
    Eloy found himself suddenly awake, curled up in his sleeping bag with a slumbering Deacon. He begrudgingly opened his eyes, peering down at his partner, whose head was poking out of the top of the bag, horn pointed in the opposite direction to Eloy's throat thankfully. Eloy had released him from his ball after setting up camp for company and a little extra warmth. The nights weren't nearly as cold as they were up in the mountains, but he wasn't afforded the same protection from the elements as he was tucked up in his bed.

    All signs of the beating that Deacon had taken in his previous battle were long gone, potions tended to work quick on more superficial injuries like those sustained in the average battle. That was good news for Eloy. His companion was not only healthy but would be ready to jump back into any other battles that came up. Still, Eloy was loathe to disturb the Nidoran. Deacon was a surprisingly heavy sleeper given his energy when awake and he looked so peaceful.

    Eventually though, as the sun rose to a more prominent position in the sky and rays of warm light began to filter in through the canopy above him, Eloy decided that it was time to get a move on. He began to climb out of the sleeping bag and, as though he'd flipped a switch, Deacon's eyes shot open and he immediately perked up, practically humming with energy. The sight brought a grin to Eloy's face.

    "Ni!" Deacon cried out, flying out the sleeping bag and dashing over to where Eloy's bag rested nearby. Moments later, the Pokemon was running tight laps around the bag. Eloy had seen similar enough behaviour around breakfast time to know what that meant.

    "Alright, alright. Breakfast first, then we get moving." Eloy chuckled as he pulled on his coat. He bent down and pulled out supplies for breakfast from the bag. It wasn't the most impressive meal, sandwiches with a nut spread for him and a travel bowl of pellet food for Deacon, but it was enough.

    Eloy hurriedly at his morning meal, watching Deacon devour his own with gusto as he did so, and soon enough, he was finished eating and packing anything he'd removed from his bag away.

    "Okay," Eloy said, pulling the straps of his back over his shoulders, "There's not really any more reason for us to dawdle around in the woods now. Let's head back toward the road and then follow it the rest of the way to Rosaste."

    "Ni!" Deacon replied enthusiastically, dashing past his trainer once he knew which direction they were heading in, only to halt before he got too far away and let Eloy catch up before dashing off again.

    Like that, the pair made their way towards the road that would lead them straight on to Rosaste Town. Rather than backtracking however, Eloy set them off in a route that moved diagonally forward through the woods. That way they would eventually meet back up with the beaten track without wasting time doubling back. As an added bonus, it also meant Eloy got to enjoy the walk through nature.

    He hadn't been in a good enough mood to properly appreciate his surroundings the previous day, but now that he'd slept on it and woken up feeling rejuvenated, Eloy was able to bask in the pleasant atmosphere of the woodlands. Unlike further in, a thick forested area, the trees here weren't too close together and plenty of light got in, causing the morning dew that clung to the area's flora to sparkle. Occasionally, Eloy would catch a glimpse of a wild Pokemon that called the area home, but for the most part the only indication that Deacon wasn't the only Pokemon present was a choir composed of the calls of a multitude of species.

    He wasn't able to identify every call he heard, but amongst those he did recognise were the musical intonation of Kricketot and Kricketune, Pokemon famed for the beautiful melodies they could create. It wasn't surprising to hear them in an area like the one they were moving through, but nonetheless, Eloy found himself enjoying the sounds. More surprising, was when one of said Kricketot wandered out from within a patch of shrubbery, directly into the path of Deacon who was hurtling forward in one of his periodical dashes ahead.

    The tiny bug screeched as the impact sent it tumbling, covering its orange and yellow carapace in dirt and wrinkling the collar around its neck. The Kricketot, struggling a little because of its stubby arms and legs, climbed back to its feet, looking to Deacon with a mix of fury and terror.

    "Toooooooooooooot!" the creature intoned frantically, glancing around it rapidly and waggling its arms. Strangely enough, it didn't seem pleased about having a Nidoran barrelling into it.

    "Ni!" Deacon replied enthusiastically, coking his head to the side and wiggling his ears playfully. The two Pokemon were apparently on very different pages about the turn of events. Deacon took a step forward as the Kricketot waddled backward.

    Eloy found himself struck with inspiration. Deacon wanted to play and let off some steam, and he needed to catch another Pokemon at some point. He'd start things off with the Kricketot. Going by how it was trying to back away from Deacon, this wasn't going to be anywhere near as difficult as battling Layla had been.

    "We're going to catch your friend there, Deacon," Eloy announced, then immediately giving the instruction to attack "Peck!"

    Deacon immediately switched from tentative steps towards the bug to a flat out charge, quickly catching up to the Kricketot as it tried to waddle out the way of the super-effective attack. Deacon was faster though, and with a sharp jab of his horn, his attack connected and sent the wild Pokemon tumbling across the ground again.

    The Kricketot apparently wasn't quite as devoid of battling know-how as it appeared, though. Using the momentum of its roll across the woodland floor to its advantage, the Kricketot deftly returned to its feet. It looked around madly, its eyes eventually settling back on Deacon.

    "Tot!" it cried out, sounding almost accusatory, followed by a second cry. The second sound was different though, the sound had direction and Eloy could practically feel the change in the air as the vocalisation washed over Deacon.

    "Looks like I misjudged you a bit, didn't I little guy?" Eloy realised that what he had just felt had been a Growl attack. He hadn't expected it to come from a Pokemon that obviously wasn't capable of producing an actual growl, but the move still carried the same attack lowering effect. Apparently impeding Deacon's offensive capabilities was going to be a running theme. "Deacon, Peck again!"

    Deacon lunged for the Kricketot, striking it once more as it failed to get away. Yet again the small Bug type let out a cry and was sent sprawling as it took the extremely effective attack yet again. Once more, the Kricketot made use of the momentum inflicted upon it to roll its body back onto its feet. The wild Pokemon panted.

    Eloy grinned, he'd been right. The Kricketot had some good moves, but it wasn't a fierce battler at all yet. With training though, those natural instincts that let it keep getting to its feet could be a big part of turning it into a powerful foe. Eloy was excited about the prospect of raising the Bug type.

    "One last time, Deacon. Peck!" Eloy instructed.

    Deacon rounded on the struggling Kricketot and shot forward like a bullet. He struck the Kricketot with his horn and set it hurtling backwards, churning up the ground as it landed hard and rolled back onto its feet.

    Once more, the Kricketot rolled back to its feet, swaying as the brief but severe beating it had taken began to take its toll. Then a brilliant, ferocious blast of white light erupted forward from the Kricketot in the direction of Deacon and Eloy. The blazing, vivid beam of energy a shot of destruction incarnate that sent both Deacon and Eloy's eyes wide.

    The Kricketot swayed on it feet, the attack swinging up at an angle and shooting just past Eloy's head. The attack collided with a tree and ripped a chunk out of its side.

    "Ni!?" Deacon shouted, confused and surprised by the sudden and vicious counter attack.

    Eloy felt similarly, his heart still located in the vicinity of his throat. Bide. An attack that turned all the damage a Pokemon sustained back on the enemy as a single concentrated blast of energy. That was why the Kricketot hadn't been fighting back. Eloy fell onto his backside, shaking with adrenaline. The tree could have been his head.

    "Woah," Eloy breathed, the only thing he could managed to say for several minutes. He watched as the Kricketot continued to sway in place for several minutes before it fell over, inured and exhausted. Suffice to say, Eloy was impressed. "You're full of surprises aren't you? I can't believe I didn't think of Bide."

    "Ni?!" Deacon cried out again, apparently still in shock from the sudden counterattack.

    Eloy reached into his bag and retrieved an empty Pokeball. He couldn't say what would have happened if Deacon had took a hit from the Bide, that was even more reason to capture it. He lobbed the capsule at the Kricketot and the bug was drawn inside by a beam of red light. The ball hit the ground and wobble lightly for several moments. Then it was still.

    "Welcome to the team," Eloy beamed, pushing himself back to his feet and retrieving the ball. "I think I'll call you Maestro."

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • 6,390
    All right the first interlude gives a better idea of where you'll take one direction of the story. I remember the news of the pokerus mentioned but Eloy bushed it off and it wasn't mentioned again. I do think the description of Blake was a bit long and repetitive, like the mention of him wearing expensive clothes twice. But yeah curious how pokerus will play a role here now.

    Next up Eloy catching a new Pokemon! Like the mention of Bide there, look forward to see what kind of personality it has!
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    All right the first interlude gives a better idea of where you'll take one direction of the story. I remember the news of the pokerus mentioned but Eloy bushed it off and it wasn't mentioned again. I do think the description of Blake was a bit long and repetitive, like the mention of him wearing expensive clothes twice. But yeah curious how pokerus will play a role here now.

    Next up Eloy catching a new Pokemon! Like the mention of Bide there, look forward to see what kind of personality it has!

    Glad you liked it.
    Did I say that twice? Whoops. That's what I get for writing at like 4am sometimes lol. Might go back and tweak the description a bit later.
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    Eloy collected his pokeballs from the nurse, noting that the staff in Rosaste Town's Pokemon Centre were all dressed in immaculate white and pink uniforms, just like the big city nurses that he would see on the television from time to time. Compared to the worn out woman with the lively personality he'd talked to back in Avent Town, the people in this Centre were all well-rehearsed and professional, almost too pleasant and a little robotic.

    The facility itself also stood in stark contrast to the previous Pokemon Centre Eloy had visited. Where Avent Town's had been a small, old building with ancient mismatched furnishings and little space for overnighters, the Rosaste Town equivalent was the definition of a modern day Pokemon Centre. It was a large building rendered in white with a bright red roof, the front covered with tall glass windows and an automated door. The interior was dominated primarily by a large lobby with peach coloured tiles on the floor and white on the walls. A desk blocked entry way into the back which housed the medical facilities. The remainder of the building was dedicated to housing trainers; a small cafe and the upstairs accommodations. There was also a training field behind the building itself.

    Eloy exited through the automated doors and out into Rosaste Town itself, the air outside noticeably warmer than the carefully maintained cool of the Pokemon Centre, although Eloy had experienced first hand that it was made pleasantly warm at night.

    Now Eloy made his way through Rosaste in the direction of the gym. He had arrived far too late into the night to challenge it the previous day, but he'd come past it on the way to find somewhere to stay. It wasn't a particularly long way away, but it was far enough that Eloy had some time to take the town in.

    Rosaste Town was far bigger than either of the towns Eloy had been in before, the smallness of where he'd come from making it seem all the larger. It wasn't quite sizeable enough to be called a city, but it was obvious that the population there was measured in the thousands, not in the hundreds like the mountain towns. In fact, it probably had several times the population of Citri and Avent combined.

    As he walked across the town, Eloy could see that Rosaste was more or less divided into districts. Where was seemed to be more of a community district and housed various businesses like a handful of restaurants and taverns, boutiques and a PokeMart. Several streets lead to the residential parts of Rosaste, Eloy didn't venture down those though. His destination had come into view: a large park that seemed to be central in the town to Eloy. A brightly coloured playground and a large pond with a fountain could be made out, but they weren't what drew Eloy's attention. At the centre of the park stood a round building with a roof of panelled glass. Above the building's automated door was a sign designating it the Rosaste Gym.

    "Alright," Eloy said to himself, feeling his excitement building "Today's the day. We had a rocky start, but I know we've got this." Feeling his heart thudding in his chest, Eloy sped his pace up as he approached the gym and soon found himself stepping inside.

    Eloy found himself standing in a small lobby. At the back of the room a young man sat behind a stone desk, idly flipping through something on his PokeGear. To either side of the desk, two double-doors were closed to what was beyond, although Eloy could faintly hear something going on beyond. That was all pretty standard, what wasn't standard was everything else. The floor of the lobby was covered entirely in very real grass, creeping vines covered the walls and to round everything off the room was surrounded by a ring of potted berry plants of different kinds.

    "Not what you were expecting?" the concierge at the desk asked, looking up from the device in his hand with a chuckle, "Don't worry, everyone always reacts like that their first time here."

    "I can believe that," Eloy replied with a chuckle of his own, "I'm here to challenge the gym." Eloy showed the man his trainer license.

    "Yeah, no problems with that." The concierge replied casually, leaning back in his chair, "You'll have to wait a bit for your shot though since Vinnie's taking a challenge right now. Feel free to head through and watch while you wait."

    Eloy thanked the man and decided to take him up on his offer. This was a great chance to see just what it was he'd be up against. He knew well-enough that Vinnie was a Grass type user, a fact made even more evident by his building's decor, but that was about it. While gym leaders frequently appeared on TV or in internet interviews, Vinnie tended to be a bit more reclusive when it came to the press.

    Eloy passed through the doors on the left, finding himself standing on a metal platform overlooking what seemed to be a clearing in a forest. Tiered seating made of steel rose up in an amphitheatre style around a grassy battlefield that was dotted by small trees. At the centre of it all stood two trainers and their warring Pokemon. Eloy froze.

    The trainer furthest from Eloy was a man who looked to be in his thirties. His brown hair was long and messy, decorated with small green, pink and yellow beads and his face was covered in stubble. He was dressed casually in a white tank top with a green paint splotch pattern and hems and brown jeans. Eloy recognised the man from a handful of things he'd seen as Vinnie, the gym leader. He looked even scruffier in person, but that wasn't why Eloy's stomach lurched.

    Vinnie's opponent was a girl about his own age, with long, straight blonde hair. She was dressed in dark cargo pants and a red T-shirt worn over a black and grey striped top with long sleeves. It took several minutes before Eloy could relaxe; it wasn't Layla. As he rounded the arena and took a seat it became quickly apparent that although she was of a similar height and build, she looked quite different overall and her style was completely unlike Layla's. Besides, Gwen was nowhere to be seen.

    Crisis averted, Eloy looked back over the battlefield. On Vinnie's side of the battlefield a singed Hoppip was bouncing expectantly. On the other side of the field, the spectral form of a skull-faced Duskull floated serenely. A faint smile adorned Vinnie's face while his opponent was all business. A glance at a large monitor on the wall behind Vinnie showed Eloy that both were on their first Pokemon. Vinnie seemed to be pondering his next move.

    "Alright," he began "Dandy, give 'em an Aerial Ace."

    The Hoppip, Dandy's, leafy propellor began to spin on the top of its head as it rose into the air. The small pink Pokemon performed a loop in the air, gravity increasing its momentum as a result, and flew towards the Duskull like a living projectile.

    "Mortimer, use Protect." A glowing green barrier exploded into existence, encasing the Duskull at the girl's confident command. The timing was perfect and it was too late for Dandy to abort, the Grass type crashed into Mortimer's defense hard and floated back with a ringing head. "Follow that up with Dark Pulse."

    Mortimer raised his small arms forward and a black and purple energy formed there, then the attack shot out, the colours swirling around each other in a helix as the blast raced forward and collided with the Hoppip. Dandy was launched across the room, hitting the ground and skidding to a halt near Vinnie. It climbed to its feet, seemingly ready for the counter attack when suddenly it dropped back to the ground.

    "Hoppip is unable to battle," a third voice said, the sound coming from a referee Eloy had failed to notice leaning against one of the trees "The first round goes to Lauren."

    "Good try, Dandy, my dude," Vinnie said, his casual tone sounding more like he was out bowling than taking part in a legitimate gym battle. He returned his Hoppip to its ball before releasing his next combatant, a green Pokemon with long, gangly arms, a red bill and a large leaf on its head resembling a sombrero. He'd selected a Lombre. "Paco, you're turn man, Rain Dance." Vinnie punctuated his instruction with a thumbs up.

    "He's kind of a weird one, this guy," Eloy muttered to himself as Paco started swaying with his long arms above his head. Dark clouds formed above the battlefield, blocking out the sun from the glass ceiling. Rain began to fall across the battlefield.

    This was more like what Eloy expected from a gym leader. The rain would activate one of Lombre's abilities and help it heal or make it twice as fast. He leaned forward expectantly to see what would happen next.

    "Bubblebeam, right up close, Paco." The Lobre moved instantly, blitzing across the field with a kind of speed that an awkward frame like his shouldn't have been able to possess. In an instant it was right up in the Duskull's face.
    "Shadow Sneak." Mortimer sunk into the ground, merging with his shadow as Paco unleashed its attack. A high-pressure spray of bubbles rushed past Lauren like a cannon and explode in a spray of water against the wall behind her, missing Mortimer entirely. Then, Mortimer shot up out of the ground behind Paco and collided with his back, knocking him into the ground. The Lombre immediately rolled onto its back, ready to let loose with another attack.

    "Disable," Lauren instructed. Blue light shone from the eye sockets of Mortimer's skull-like face, a similar glow briefly encompassing Paco's body. The light faded and Paco found himself unable to create the attack he'd prepared.

    "Ah man, not that again," Vinnie said, scratching the back of his head. He didn't look nearly as perturbed as the sentence implied though.

    Eloy didn't know what to make of the gym leader, he seemed far too lax, like he didn't take his job seriously. Maybe that was why the battle didn't seem to be going in his favour. Lauren on the other hand, was stoic and business like in her demeanour. Her eyes scanned the field intently, analysing every detail. If he had walked into this situation without already knowing who Vinnie was, Eloy might have thought she was the actual gym leader.

    "Will-o-Wisp, Mortimer," Lauren replied to her opponent with another attack, taking advantage of the opportunity. Even with his increased speed, Paco couldn't dodge the attack at such close range. Mortimer shot a small blue fireball at the Lombre, the attack steaming slightly in the rain. The Will-o-Wisp collided and for a moment, Paco was engulfed in blue flames before they suddenly disappeared, leaving the Grass and Water type charred. Apparently, that was what had happened to the Hoppip previously.

    "That too then," Vinnie said with a shake of his head "You're one serious opponent, huh?"

    "Thank you," Lauren replied somberly "I wouldn't be doing this right if I wasn't."

    "Well said!" Vinne commended "Don't count us out yet though. Try an Energy Ball, Paco." The Lombre leapt up, a glowing ball of different shades of green pulsing between his hands. Paco launched the sphere at Mortimer.

    "Protect," Lauren said, the barrier once again erupting into existence. Green exploded against green, rain droplets blasting out in all directions from the force of the attack. The Protect shattered but Mortimer remained unharmed. That was, until Paco launched another Energy Ball immediately after. The second attack hit the Duskull hard, there was another explosion of green light and Mortimer careened across the battlefield. The Ghost type was hovering in front of Vinnie when he managed to right himself, his expressionless face giving little indication of how much damage he'd taken.

    "Come on now," Vinnie said "I'm pretty chill but even I'm not gonna let you keep pulling the exact same stunts. Good going Paco, my man."

    "Lom!" Paco replied cheerily.

    Eloy couldn't help but get the impression that "pretty chill" was an understatement of Vinnie's character. He looked and sounded like he didn't have a care in the world.

    "Time to do something different then," Lauren replied calmly "Mortimer, use Haze." The Duskull complied, blowing a cloud of grey over the battlefield that billowed up from the ground. Soon a deep fog encompassed the battlefield, obscuring the onlookers visions.

    Eloy could just make out the trainers on the edges of the Haze where it wasn't as thick, the pair looking like silhouettes as the heavy grey fog distorted their colour. Haze was a move that reset boosts or drops to a Pokemon power, but with the rain still falling it wouldn't counteract Paco's increased speed.

    "Now you're just fighting dirty," Vinnie joked, once again sounding far too relaxed for the words that had come out of his mouth.

    Tonal dissonance or not though, the statement clued Eloy in to what Lauren was doing. A side effect of the move Haze was, well, a haze. Neither Lauren, Vinnie or their Pokemon could see in the thick gas. Lauren and Mortimer didn't need to fight though, with Paco having sustained a burn from Will-o-Wisp that would continue to sap his health, they just had to wait it out until the Lombre couldn't keep going. Eloy had to admit, it wasn't the nicest of strategies, but it was clever.

    It wasn't exciting to watch either.

    "Energy Ball, Paco. Let's try an indiscriminate attack and see if we can hit this little dude," Vinnie said.

    "Use Shadow Sneak to keep out the way, Mortimer," Lauren instructed in turn.

    Eloy couldn't see any of it, only the faint flashes of green as Paco tried to hit a target he couldn't see. Even without the Shadow Sneaking it would have been hard given Mortimer's coloration. Eloy was forced to rely on sound, listening to explosion after explosion as the Energy Balls hit the ground. There was no indication of any of them meeting their mark.

    The onslaught continued as the thick haze slowly began to fade, the attacks continuing on so long that by the time the gas had mostly cleared, the rain had stopped falling and the clouds had parted to let the sun shine through the roof once more. The now clear field revealed a panting Paco and a serene Mortimer, the Ghost type behind the Lombre, where it couldn't see it.

    "Ah, there you are." Vinnie said, sounding like he'd just found a missing sock more than an enemy. That was all the reaction he was allowed.

    "Dark Pulse." Mortimer once again fired off the blast of swirling, nefarious energies. The attack struck Paco in the back and launched him into the wall behind Vinnie, just below the monitor.

    "That means the winner is Lauren," the referee announced.

    Mortimer sunk into the ground and emerged by Lauren, nuzzling against her happily.

    "You were great, Mortimer." Lauren said, her demeanour suddenly relaxing as she hugged the Duskull.

    Eloy got up and made his way towards the battlefield so he could have his turn, tuning off to conversation as the two trainers met in the middle of the battlefield so Lauren could be presented with her badge. He had been excited before, now he was raring to go. If Lauren could so easily trounce Vinnie, there was no reason that he couldn't. Besides, Vinnie didn't exactly seem to be putting in a world of effort that day.

    "You can sort out your winnings with Rick at the counter." Eloy heard Vinnie saying as he reached the edge of the battlefield. "Since none of your Pokemon fainted, you'll receive a nice bonus."

    Lauren turned from Vinnie and walked in Eloy's direction to leave.

    "That was a really good battle, nice work," Eloy said, grinning at her "You too, Mortimer."

    "Oh, thank you," Lauren replied "I didn't realise I had an audience. That's a bit embarrassing."

    "Nah, no reason to be embarrassed about destroying a gym leader like that." Eloy found the contrast between her cold and calculated demeanor in battle and how she carried herself now surprising. She didn't seem meek like Gwen, but she gave the impression that she wasn't the type to seek out a conversation from strangers either.

    "I wouldn't say I destroyed him. He really knows what he's doing," Lauren said again, brushing off the compliment.

    "Trust me, you were great," Eloy insisted "But it's my turn now so I'll let you get going. Maybe we'll run into each other again." To Eloy, it seemed almost as though she was uncomfortable being praised. He didn't really get it, but he wasn't going to let that drag on for her when he had his own victory to achieve.

    "Yo," Vinnie interjected as Lauren and Eloy parted ways "Are you here to challenge me too or are you a friend of hers?"

    "I'm here to challenge you, yeah," Eloy responded.

    "Here I was thinking I'd get to go back to gardening. That's all good though, my man, let's get this show on the road."

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • 25,559
    Welcome to the Jungle
    Eloy stood on the same side of the field that Lauren had, looking across at Vinnie on the opposite side. He could just barely make out the patches where the grass had been damaged by Vinnie's own indiscriminate energy ball attacks. The damage seemed surprisingly little though, as if the Grass attack struggled to destroy its namesake. It left Eloy with a surprisingly whole battlefield to work with.

    "Alright, Eloy, my dude," Vinnie said, shaking Eloy from his ponderings and causing his blood to pump through his veins in double time. "I'm going to start with this girl, Chanterelle." The gym leader released his Pokemon with a flash, revealing an orange insectoid whose body was dominated by a large mushroom. The Parasect clacked its pincers as though it was trying to remember how to use them, then fell as still as a statue. It was a little unnerving.

    "Now's as good a time as any then." Eloy tossed his own pokeball, the light fading away to reveal his own Bug type.

    Maestro looked around, rapidly shifting his whole body from side to side as he took in his new surroundings. Then his eyes fell on the somewhat disturbing Parasect, causing the little Kricketot to quite literally jump with surprise and begin looking around even more frantically, as if looking for an escape route.

    "Tot!" Maestro cried out, the alarm evident.

    "Relax, Maestro, you've got this," Eloy said, just barely managing to hide his embarrassment. He could see Vinnie cock an eyebrow on the other side of the field. Eloy forced back the sigh that nearly escaped his lips, his Kricketot turning to him and looking at him a little accusingly.

    "We all good?" Vinnie queried.

    Eloy nodded. Maestro was a bit of a wimp, but he knew that there was some natural battling chops in there… deep down. Eloy just had to capitalise on Vinnie's surprise when they finally showed. It was time to get started.

    "Maestro, use Bug Bite!" Eloy gave the instruction.

    Maestro jumped with a start again, but followed the command. He dashed forward, surprisingly quick for the waddling way he ran, and jumped for the Parasect.

    "Let's give them a Substitute," Vinnie said, sounding like he was suggesting showing off something he bought at the supermarket more than anything.

    Chanterelle's expression didn't shift, and the Parasect didn't move, but she responded immediately. A blur rippled across her body as a clone stepped forward from the stationary Parasect, indistinguishable from the real one if not for a fuzziness to its composition.
    Maestro bit down on the clone Parasect, the substitute not showing any signs that it had even experienced an attack.

    "Next, try a Leech Life." Came the next instruction. The substitute suddenly vanished and the real Chanterelle lunged forward, her face still a blank slate but her pincer cloaked in a faint red energy. The attack struck Maestro and as he tumbled back, streaks of light seemed to be pulled from him and into the claw.

    Maestro rolled back onto his feet, halting his backward trajectory, flinching slightly when he found himself staring right into the lifeless eyes of the Parasect.

    "Struggle Bug!" Eloy didn't have time to worry about Maestro's jitters, besides he could help with that by defeating the creepy Pokemon and having it returned to its ball.

    "Tot!" Maestro squeaked nervously, but the attack continued. Crimson light erupted up around Maestro in a daunting pillar, then rushed outwards in all directions. As the attack approached Chanterelle however, the clone Parasect appeared again and took the attack, the substitute had yet to break and faded away again.

    "Alright, Cross Poison," Vinnie said casually. Chanterelle leapt forward, her pincers forming an "X" as a purple glow bubble around them. Her victim yelped as she slashed, separating the crossed claws and once again sending Maestro tumbling.

    "Bide, Maestro!" Eloy ordered. This was bad, he couldn't seem to break through the Parasect's defences and even if he did, it always had the ability to simply recover the health it lost with Leech Life. Even with Maestro being a Bug type and resisting the move, he had taken a decent amount of damage on account of his poor defences. A big devastating attack like from Bide was his best bet.

    "Uh oh, man, you didn't think that through," Vinnie said, almost sounding like a gym leader for a moment. Before Eloy could question what he meant, he gave the instruction, "Chanterelle, give 'em a Spore."

    Eloy winced as Vinnie's meaning became clear. He hadn't thought that through. Parasect was a Pokemon known for its liberal use of the dangerous status move and he'd just instructed Maestro to use a move that prevented him moving out the way.

    Powdery spores burst up from the mushroom on Chanterelle's back and billowed in Maestro's direction, engulfing the Kricketot in a glittering yellow-gold cloud and immediately sending him into a deep slumber. Not only did this cancel his Bide, but it rendered Maestro completely unable to defend himself.

    "Sorry about this," Vinnie said, scratching his head sheepishly "Chanterelle, let's wrap this round up with Fury Cutter."

    The Parasect slowly walked towards Maestro as scimitar-like blades of violent red light grew over her pincers. Then, when she reached Maestro, the attack began. She slashed, knocking the Kricketot to the ground. Then she slashed again and again and again. Each attack seemed to grow in power and ferocity until with one final cut, Maestro was launched clear across the room and collided with the back wall where the main gym joined the lobby. There was no question he wasn't getting back up to fight back.

    "That's a win for Chanterelle, round one goes to Vinnie," the referee announced.

    Eloy returned Maestro, congratulating him for a valiant effort and reached for Deacon's ball. This wasn't how the battle was supposed to go. Eloy couldn't help but question if Vinnie had really been that formidable the whole time. He didn't really seem to be putting any more effort in than he had with Lauren. Was she just that much better than him? It was Layla all over again.

    I can still turn this around though.

    "Deacon, your turn," Eloy said, releasing his partner from his containment. Deacon appeared, ears pricked up, raring to go. He dug his feet into the ground in preparation of the charge. Eloy grinned, if any Pokemon was suited to the strategy he was going to try, it was Deacon. "Double Kick!"

    Deacon leapt into action, sprinting full pelt at Chanterelle, eager for the battle and with energy to burn. The clone Parasect blurred into being again, barring his way and Deacon went right for it. He pivoted on his front foot, rotating and delivering a kick with his powerful back legs. The clone Parasect exploded on impact, finally breaking after taking multiple attacks. The attack didn't stop there though, Deacon landed on his back feet and pushed off hard, flipping backwards to bring his rear legs down hard on Chanterelle's head, driving it into the grow. Then he darted forward to avoid a counter attack.

    The Parasect, climbed to its feet, her expressionless gaze not changing a bit.

    "Try Seed Bomb, Chanterelle," Vinnie instructed. A yellow glow formed in front of the Parasects mouth before shooting forward in the form of an ovoid projectile. Eloy commanded Deacon to dodge, but the attack exploded on impact, catching the fleeing Nidoran on the edge of the blast and sending him skidding.

    "Fury Attack!" Eloy called as Deacon defiantly rose to his feet "Hit her from every angle you can." Deacon wouldn't be able to win a battle of attrition with Chanterelle, but Eloy had realised what he had to do from how Vinnie had defeated Maestro. Chanterelle was slow moving, he just had to bombard her with strong attacks faster than she could recover.

    "Chanterelle, use Substitute," Vinnie gave the instruction as Deacon neared. Once again a blur seemed to envelop the Parasect as her clone stepped out from her.

    Deacon jabbed the Substitute with his horn, ramming the protrusion into it over and over, preventing it from dispersing so the real Chanterelle could make a counteract. Then, as the clone exploded once more he rushed in towards the Parasect.

    Vinnie had Chanterelle try and respond with a Leech Life counterattack, but Deacon was nimble. He ducked under the ominously glowing pincer and struck out with his horn to complete the Fury Attack. Chanterelle stumbled back silently.

    "Now Deacon, Peck!" Eloy pressed the attack. Deacon slashed upward with his horn, striking the underside of the Parasect and knocking it sprawling. Eloy smirked, being both Grass and Bug typed, Chanterelle was extremely weak to a Flying attack like Peck. "One more!"

    Deacon closed the distance fast, not giving Chanterelle the time to get back on her feet and defend herself. He lunged forward and rammed his horn against her carapace. Chanterelle was yet to make a sound, but as she skidded to a stop behind Vinnie, she didn't try to stand back up. Now the match was tied up again.

    "That was smart of you," Vinnie commended Eloy before returning Chanterelle "Let's see what you think of Venus then." Vinnie released his next combatant, and from the flash of the Pokeball a plant-like Pokemon with leafy arms, a tangle of vines in place of legs and an enormous dish-shaped head emerged. It looked like a venus fly-trap, hence the name, and was easily identified as a Carnivine on account of its distinctive appearance.

    "Interesting," Eloy said "I didn't expect that."

    "Well, I suppose I'll take the first move then," Vinnie said with a shrug "Venus, use Bite." The Carnivine, floating just above the ground, lunged forward, crossing a surprising amount of distance, with its enormous mouth opened wide.

    Deacon skittered out the way just in time to avoid being caught in the Grass types jaws, this time it was Vinnie's turn to press the offensive though. At a command from its trainer, Venus lashed out with one of her leafy arms in a Vine Whip. The attack caught Deacon's side and sent him to the ground. It wasn't a particularly effective hit, but it was enough to give Venus a second shot at her Bite.

    "Go for another Bite," the gym leader instructed.

    Venus whirled on Deacon as he got to his feet, slamming her jaws shut over the smaller Pokemon. Deacon cried out and Venus tossed him aside, skipping him across the grassy battlefield like a pebble over a lake.

    Eloy had gone from a surge of confidence back to concern. Deacon wasn't built to sponge attacks and Venus was really powerful. He could see that his partner had already sustained heavy damage just from the two attacks he'd taken.

    "Poison Sting!" Eloy ordered, Deacon springing back into action, the tip of his horn aglow with a toxic purple. Faster than his opponent, Deacon got past the Carnivine's defenses and jammed his horn into the Grass type, the super-effective hit causing her to recoil and crash into the ground. "Again!"

    The second attack failed to connect however, one of Venus' vines shot out and wrapped around Deacon as she righted herself once more. She pulled the struggling Nidoran in, hungry for revenge.

    "Okay, how about Throat Chop?" Vinnie said, almost seeming like he was asking permission instead of giving a command. Whatever the case, Venus seemed to agree with her trainer. She slammed one of her leafy arms into Deacon's neck and dropped the spluttering Poison type to the ground. "Let's knock it away too." Venus didn't have a problem with that either, swatting Deacon back across the room with a Vine Whip. The Carnivine barely seemed to have sustained any real damage from the Poison Sting.

    Eloy thought back to Lauren's battle with the gym leader, she'd won effortlessly by inflicting a Burn onto Dandy and Paco and then just having Mortimer stay out the way for the most part until the status condition finished them off. He didn't have quite the same luxury, but if he took a page out of yet another trainer's books, maybe he could make something happen.

    "Deacon, Leer!" Eloy ordered. Deacon's eyes locked onto Venus', glowing a bright red. The glow was reflected in the eyes of the Carnivine, before fading from both. Eloy grimaced, what he was going to try for was risky. At least this way though, he'd been able to put a dent in Venus' defensive abilities so he could maximise his damage output. "Okay, Poison Sting!"

    Deacon rushed the Carnivine, dodging a vine that shot out to intercept him and continuing his mad dash forwards. He leapt for the plant-like Pokemon and once more the glowing tip of his horn collided with her and knocked her back onto the ground.

    "Poison Sting again, Deacon!" Eloy called, Deacon rushed in again. Much like before, a vine shot out to grab Deacon and halt his attack, but the Nidoran was getting used to this maneuver now. He ducked below the vine and then rammed up with his head, striking the vine itself with the Poison Sting. Venus hissed in pain and Deacon resumed his charge. This time no vines got in his way and he collided with the Carnivine just as she returned to her upright position, smacking her back along the ground once more. "Again!"

    "Go up and over, Venus," Vinnie instructed. The Carnivine rolled over the top of Deacon, avoiding the attack and returning to her previous stance. She snared Deacon from behind with one of her vines and squeezing tightly, dragged him into her face. "Let's give 'em another Bite, now."

    Venus clamped down hard on Deacon again with her monstrous jaws, causing the Nidoran to cry out in pain and alarm. She'd bitten harder this time it seemed.

    Eloy could almost feel the pain of the Bite himself hearing the sound, he was sure the Carnivine had clamped down harder this time. He'd have time to worry about Deacon later though, right now he had to use the opportunity he had.

    "Deacon, Poison Sting again!" Deacon lashed out, thrusting his horn up and back violently to stab at the side of Venus' head with the glowing tip of his horn. The Carnivine screeched and dropped him, affording him the chance to strike her midsection as well before backing up out of the way.

    Venus floated back up again, but this time she was definitely feeling the effects of her attack. Where the second Poison Sting had hit her midsection, a discoloured patch had spread across her body and she seemed to sag slightly where she floated.

    Eloy breathed a sigh of relief. It had worked and he'd gotten lucky, Venus' had finally been poisoned by the attack's additional effect. Now between the damage the attack had done with her weakened defenses and the gradually worsening effect of the poison sapping her health, Deacon just had to avoid taking any more hits.

    "Looks like you were watching pretty closely, huh?" Vinnie asked rhetorically.

    Eloy nodded. It wasn't the clean win he was hoping for, but he wasn't above learning from his betters. He'd put his strategy together by piecing together what he'd learned from seeing both Lauren and Layla in action. He didn't particularly like that he'd had to rely on inspiration from others to win, but right now victory was what was important. Here was no way he was losing that gym battle.

    "They want to keep out your reach now, Venus. We should Bind them." Venus lashed out with not just one but several of her vines this time, intend on trapping and constricting Deacon to prevent Eloy from putting his plan into action properly.

    "Run, Deacon!" Eloy called. He knew Deacon couldn't afford to be caught, one more hit from Bite or Throat Chop and the battle would be over for him. It was touch and go though, Deacon had taken a beating and he was exhausted. Eloy just had to hope for the best, that Deacon wasn't too roughed up to avoid getting caught.

    Deacon dodged under several vines, then hopped back to avoid more. Next he had to roll sidewards to avoid getting caught by the vines he'd just avoided the first time. He picked up the pace, keeping to the edges of the battlefield as Venus floated after him, trying to keep herself in range.

    Over and over the entangling vines rocketed out, but Deacon just barely managed to slip away from them every time. He jumped over one vine only to suddenly duck below the next, or swatted one away with his horn only to immediately retreat to avoid the next one. It was tiring on Deacon though, he was battling his way through his second opponent and he'd taken some nasty hits. He just had to last long enough for the poison to do its job though.

    Suddenly a vine wrapped around Deacon's leg, having swung to the side as he'd dodged. The Nidoran hadn't quite been able to get away. The grip was just strong enough to prevent Deacon's escape, the poisoning having taken a hefty toll on the Carnivine. Now though, she had managed to get Deacon in her grip. She pulled him in towards her, hard.

    "Poison Sting!" Eloy yelled in desperation. Deacon let himself be pulled in, using the momentum he'd been given to his advantage. Venus had pulled back hard enough that he was able to swing his head in and connect the attack.

    The Carnivine immediately let go of Deacon and was knocked rolling across the ground, coming to a stop at Vinnie's feet. There were several tense seconds, Eloy's heart pounding so hard it sounded like a Tyranitar was stomping across the inside of the trainer's skull. She didn't get up.

    Eloy let out a sigh of relief as Deacon hobbled back to him, looking triumphant. He'd managed to win. Just barely, but he'd done it.

    "That was great, Deacon. I don't know how you did it, but it was great."

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • 6,390
    Okay, commenting on the last two chapters!

    So I noticed you often would describe what the characters are wearing, and I'm mixed on that. Sometimes what they wear shows off their personality and/or status, like Blake and Vinnie here. Others, like Lauren, not so much. So yeah, when it comes to describing clothing it's okay to not mention unless very important.

    Since you dedicated a chapter to Vinnie and Lauren's battle, I'm curious if Lauren will make another appearance.

    From Vinnie's battles with both Lauren and Eloy, he seems chill and calm there. Vinnie and Eloy's battle was a little more exciting mostly due to Eloy fumbling at some parts there but managed to pull through in the end. I feel Laruen and Vinnie's Pokemon should be given a bit more personality like you did with Eloy's Pokemon, like for instance I can see Paco dancing while it was raining in the gym.

    Now with Eloy having his first badge, wonder if he'll go to his second badge straight away (more or less), or something else that will happen.
  • 25,559
    Okay, commenting on the last two chapters!

    So I noticed you often would describe what the characters are wearing, and I'm mixed on that. Sometimes what they wear shows off their personality and/or status, like Blake and Vinnie here. Others, like Lauren, not so much. So yeah, when it comes to describing clothing it's okay to not mention unless very important.

    I always feel like there's a lot to be gleaned from how characters dress. In the case of Lauren though, a big part of why I described her appearance here was to differentiate her from Layla since they're both blonde girls of a similar age, height and build. I'll keep your advice in mind though, I don't need to do a wardrobe review on every random bit character.

    Since you dedicated a chapter to Vinnie and Lauren's battle, I'm curious if Lauren will make another appearance.

    I don't think it's to spoilerific to say that she will. Lauren was actually the character I played in the RP this story is largely derived from. I felt that she was ill-suited to be the central protagonist of a fic like this though, that's why I created the character of Eloy instead of using Lauren as the protagonist. She will reappear throughout the story.

    From Vinnie's battles with both Lauren and Eloy, he seems chill and calm there. Vinnie and Eloy's battle was a little more exciting mostly due to Eloy fumbling at some parts there but managed to pull through in the end. I feel Laruen and Vinnie's Pokemon should be given a bit more personality like you did with Eloy's Pokemon, like for instance I can see Paco dancing while it was raining in the gym.

    Honestly, I am with you here. Mortimer's character is close to how I want to portray him but even his RP counterpart was really hard for me to write because he has kind of a strange personality. I really felt like I could have done better with Dandy and Paco though. There was a lot of potential there and they ended up just being fodder for Mortimer. I think I did better with Chanterelle and Venus but there's still work to be done.

    Now with Eloy having his first badge, wonder if he'll go to his second badge straight away (more or less), or something else that will happen.

    You'll see ;)

    Thank you for continuing to review this!

    Venia Silente

    Inspectious. Good for napping.
  • 1,235
    So, I started reading this this week since it came up in a search for fics. Title was inviting and since it was suggested very relevant to the search I decided to take a look. Admittedly have read only three posts so far, I hope that's enough a start.

    There was rarely a reason to use the mirror but seeing himself decked out in his favourite colour ready to set off on his journey at last filled him with a sense of pride, he found himself oddly glad to have it there.
    For the record, pink is a manly colour, and the idea of seeing a character entirely decked in pink (does this include socks, perchanc?) gives this a mental imagery -supported by later paragraphs- that this would feel like watching an episode of a late 90s anime serial. You know, like Pokémon! :p
    Also: Male Nidoran wear pink all year and their evolutions are going to stab you if you suggest they should do otherwise.

    Deacon immediately bolted upright, the Nidoran as pink all over as Eloy was and full with twice the energy as his enormous ears perked up.
    Yup, was not disappointed - search for Nidos brought me right here! And as a Starter even! I think your story and I are going to get along.

    (Also, emphasis mine~)

    Truth be told, his parents had been trying to get him to choose a different starter
    The Stairway to Heaven

    Good to see young people starting their journey with a top tier selection of Pokémon. Scratch off those Legendaries, Eevees and Eeveelutions and classical type triangle Starters. We need some novelty and it checks in in style. I'm gonna be very interested in reading sometime how exactly do you get a Nidoran starter. And I'm already interested in hearing some names and locations because this sounds like an original region and I'm interested in reading more of those.

    (Also, Pokerus. Nice to see it gets a mention and you already have a bit of a take on what it is and what it does)

    Eloy entered the small building to find himself in a simple reception area with pale pink walls. He'd always liked the colour of the walls. Unlike the more sterile looking Pokemon Centres Eloy had seen on TV, this one had a homey feel. The wooden floor was covered by a soft rug, old dusty painting hung on the walls and mismatched, worn armchairs rested empty against the front wall. At the back of the room stood the counter, in front of a doorway that lead to the medical area and in the back corner of the room a staircase lead to the accomodation upstairs.
    1.- Pink, of course lol.
    2.- I'm going to say I like it how you hint here, via a very specific selection of words I've chosen to emphasize, at a style of construction and organization that is not only more "rural" but also that describes a building geared more towards multidisciplinary functions than merely a medical station. You see, there are practical reasons and studies behind why medical buildings like hospitals (and presumably Pokémon Centers) are themed in what I'll call "maternity white" or "maternity lime" for lack of a better description: not only it is a color of calmness and projects an illusion that the inside of the building is more roomy, but it also serves the practical function of highlighting clearly what areas are clean or dirty, or what parts of the walls are suffering potential damage from eg.: water leaks. Whereas a pinkish or in general more yellowish than greenish colour hints towards a permanent but not heightened state of activity: something like a lounge rather than a medical station (and conversely, red is for hazards and Danger™), fitting well with the idea that Pokécenters are also a place where Trainers come to seek rest and socialization. But I digress. Let's focus on the Nidos.
    3.- It should be "accommodation" not "accomodation" (double m). Only glaring mistake I could find in this entire section but then again I'm not specifically looking for them. Grammar betareaders/reviewers are better for that.

    Anyway, the tangent from before serves to highlight a thing that I like so far: while this is an original region and the characters and locations are all brand new, I feel you choose wisely in these first chapters to describe things with terms that rely on evocation of emotion and association than terms that rely on categorization. Three examples that come to mind:

    "He jogged forward to catch up with the little Poison type before slowing to a more reasonable pace as they trudged down the dirt path towards their front gate."

    (Already gets you into "Heidi" or "Little House on the Prairie" flashback mode)

    "[...], and unlike Citri Town which was a landscape of touch yellow grass and rocky outcrops, Avent Town sat on a rocky plateau surrounded by trees and with lush green grass peppered throughout the town."

    (emphasizes a rough vs flat, fall vs spring comparison that already paints a mental image of a larger change in geography)

    "His [Deacon's] and Eloy's frustration growing in synchronisation with each narrow miss until finally, deacon managed to clip the Buneary with an attack and send her stumbling."

    (focusing on the graduation of progress, or lack thereof, and succintly describe the climax, rather than trying to bore to the reader what they already know it's failing)

    (also note here you didn't capitalize Deacon's name, but I'm not complaining because a smol mon befits a smol name)

    "Six hundred, Poke!" he couldn't help but exclaim out loud, looking down at Deacon with shock and disbelief. Deacon in turn, cocked his head to the side and looked back at Eloy with a blank, confused stare.
    It'll be fun to read later, I hope, of the adventures of how Eloy tries to teach Math and Economics 101 to his trusty Nidoran.

    "Okay." he said "You're on."

    Battle went as I expected to go as well, actually. Not many people really win their first fights when there can be Trainers from all over the country around. Considering the opponent though, Eloy did not did bad in the commanding part and it was nice to see mention of how both Pokémon tried to avoid each other attacks or made just enough motion to blunt or fend off a move that is already coming. This coupled with the shortness of descriptions overall gave the battle more a natural and consistent flow, if at the cost of making the climatic parts not really standing out in the narration compared to the beginning or the flatter parts of the encounter.

    He definitely wasn't going to enjoy this cable car ride.
    Accompanied by two nice girls with contrasting attitudes and a Nidoran? Come on what is he complaining about XD

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    This in general makes a nice addition to the story as reminders in general, I'll want to see it progress with time. Good use of the title/tooltip feature as well, my browser did catch up on that.

    Well, reading so far has been interesting and there's the battle that comes up (yay! first battle!). I could say and will have to say more with time, in particular as more worldbuilding is shown and we get to see the Nidoran (best character all the way I swear) in action, but down the line I find this is a story where as a reader I'm here to stay. In good part, to be fair, for the promise of Nidoran screentime.

    Keep going on!
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  • 25,559

    Will go back and fix those couple of small typos you pointed out after sleep. I'm glad you're enjoying the story and I'm pleased that you pick up on all the little atmospheric and worldbuilding things. I look forward to continuing to satisfy your Nidoran cravings and hope the remainder of The Stairway to Heaven lives up to expectations.

    Edit: Checked Eloy's artwork and unfortunately the socks appear to be white. Feel free to imagine them pink of you'd prefer :')
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