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[Pokémon] The Stairway to Heaven


  • The moon was now high in the sky and the warm daytime air had gone cold. A dark mass rose up on either side of the road unpierced by the light from above. The sky above was clear, unblemished by light pollution. A breathtaking veil of glittering stars covered the sky.

    This paragraph you have "sky" repeated a few times.

    Wow, Eloy and Lauren have been getting away from the pack for 12 hours? I thought the closest town/settlement might be a bit closer than that, but I guess a mountainous region like Sigia can have towns that far apart. Luckily at least that Noctowl saved them there.

    I appreciate Mortimer getting more personality this time, though I feel the adverb "curiously" has been overused. Mortimer's expressions and actions should be good enough to let readers know he's the curious type.

    Nora looks like to be a fun character already. Cute she's every excited to giving out that Kangaskhan trivia there. And oh boy that Stoutland. Good thing Eloy and Lauren are with an Elite Four now.
  • This paragraph you have "sky" repeated a few times.

    Wow, Eloy and Lauren have been getting away from the pack for 12 hours? I thought the closest town/settlement might be a bit closer than that, but I guess a mountainous region like Sigia can have towns that far apart. Luckily at least that Noctowl saved them there.

    I appreciate Mortimer getting more personality this time, though I feel the adverb "curiously" has been overused. Mortimer's expressions and actions should be good enough to let readers know he's the curious type.

    Nora looks like to be a fun character already. Cute she's every excited to giving out that Kangaskhan trivia there. And oh boy that Stoutland. Good thing Eloy and Lauren are with an Elite Four now.

    Sigia is a large region with a comparatively small population so it has a lot of forest and open country side with most of the population being found in a pretty small space which is something you'll get a better picture of as the story progresses.

    Will probably go back a bit later to make things less repetitive.
  • Made some small edits. I haven't fixed the thing with Mortimer's descriptions yet because I couldn't find a way of doing so I was happy with. I'll probably focus on writing him better in future chapters instead.
  • Interlude Three
    "Would you move your ass, Clancy?" Bronwyn said, her voice a low and vicious hiss. The pair of them were deep in the forest between Rosaste Town and Topa Town. They were sweaty and dirty and their limbs ached, but they had a job to do. A Dragonite was trudging along behind them with a hefty bag of equipment hefted over its back, covering the orange dragon's stumpy wings.

    "I'm moving as fast as I can," Clancy replied with a sigh "Some of us don't have a Dragonite for a valet. The Dragonite snorted loudly, apparently taking offense at being labelled as such. Clancy ignored it. He was more concerned with his own hefty load.

    "Toughen up. We still need a blood sample from the Magby, Elekid and Lillipup lines to finish this shitty expedition off and that's easier said than done when for some reason Strain Seven is sending everything we jabbed it with fucking mental."

    Bronwyn's long black hair had come loose of its ponytail and was now sticking to her face and both of them were covered in scrapes and bruises. She was never the nicest woman alive, strictly business at all times, bossy and not great at pleasantries but she was always at her worst out in the field. Especially when being out in the field meant several days in a forest with a rampaging pack of Lillipup, Herdier and Stoutland trying to eat you.

    "That and Magby and Elekid are extremely rare to begin with. Don't forget that!" Clancy replied with mock enthusiasm. Bronwyn glared at him and for a moment he found himself wondering if she'd have her Dragonite kill him. Thankfully for him, she turned around and continued walking with the large Pokemon placidly following behind her.

    The pair continued walking in silence for some time from there on. Clancy had no desire to make his coworker any more angry than she already was and Bronwyn just wasn't sociable at the best of times. That was fine though. Clancy hadn't gotten involved with the program to make friends. He was in it for the sizeable paycheck. He figured Bronwyn was doing it for similar reasons.

    Eventually though, it was Bronwyn who broke the silence.

    "Fine, we can rest for a bit." She made it sound like she was doing him a favour, but Clancy knew her well enough to know that she wouldn't stop for his sake. There was work to be done. More likely she was looking to rest her own aching limbs. Still, he wasn't going to complain about a break.

    Clancy gladly shrugged off the heavy load on his back and sagged to the ground, slumping against the worn trunk of a tree.

    "Be careful, Idiot!" Bronwyn snarled.

    "Right, sorry." Clancy sighed, raising his hands apologetically and rested his head against the wood. His bag contained the samples they had collected so far and while they were held securely in a case it was better safe than sorry.

    He reached into the bag and pulled out a plastic wrapper, peeling it aside to reveal the crispy, dry jerky within. He pulled out a strip of the Tauros jerky and with a degree of reluctance bit into the salty meat. It was tough and chewy in his mouth and he couldn't help but feel uneasy. Clancy supposed it was ironic given his line of work that he still preferred not to eat meat, but in the grand scheme of things he didn't really like the idea of pokemon suffering when they didn't have to. Still, when out on lengthy field assignments, the protein rich beef was a smart choice of supply.

    "Want some?" he wearily asked.

    Bronwyn gave a sharp nod and Clancy tossed her the plastic wrapped jerky. She took a strip and hungrily bit down without reservation. No shock there. Clancy had long since learned that Bronwyn did not share his reservations about meat. He'd made the mistake of mentioning his reluctance once and she'd laughed in his face and spent the next hour or so brutally deriding him and reminding him what he did for a living.

    A heavy fluttering of wings distracted Clancy from his reminiscing. A large red bird Pokemon with a grey underside had landed nearby. It was staring at the pair of scientists intently. A look that was becoming progressively more unnerving.

    "Am I the only one bothered by our new friend here," Clacy said, eyeing the Talonflame suspiciously.

    "Stop being such a priss, it probably just smells the jerky or something," Bronwyn replied dismissively "Flying types aren't able to contract any of or strains right now, we engineered them that way to avoid over-spreading."

    Clancy already knew this, but something wasn't boding well with this situation. There was something about the look in the bird's eyes that wasn't right. If the Normal types were anything to go by, the safeguard in the strain was holding up. If the Talonflame was infected, it would have already tried to fry them. But something was off. The way it looked at them, it was like it was sizing them up. Clancy wasn't sure how, but he knew that the only reason it hadn't attacked already was because it was weighing up its chances with Bronwyn's Dragonite being present.

    Apparently, it made up its mind quickly enough. The Talonflame screeched furiously and opened its wings wide. A torrent of fire erupted from its mouth before exploding out in a five-pronged cross.

    "Shit!" Clancy swore, scrambling to take cover behind the tree he had been leaning against, reaching out to drag his bag to cover. He saw Bronwyn dive behind her Dragonite, the powerful creature taking the hit for her with a grimace.

    That settled it for Clacy, somehow the Talonflame had contracted the Pokerus strain. The safeguard wasn't working. Talonflame had a reputation for explosive tempers sure, but they wouldn't risk starting a forest fire that would destroy their habitat. They generally reserved most of their Fire type moves for more open environments.

    "This shouldn't be happening!" Bronwyn yelled as the flame spread across to the trees. In an instant, the woodlands around them were ablaze. The situation was already dire for any humans in the area and the blaze would only continue to expand if left unchecked.

    Clancy opened his bag to collect one of his pokeballs, he didn't get a chance to use it though. A second Fire Blast streaked past him, forcing him to dive away from the bag. The ball slipped from his grip and dropped back into the bag as he did so. The bird didn't stop there either, it was airborne again now and it unleashed another searing Fire Blast in Bronwyn's direction. Once more her Dragonite stood strong, taking the attack in place of its master.

    "Maybe instead of hiding behind that monster Dragonite of yours, you could stop this thing turning us into piles of ash!" Clancy called out from where he had taken cover behind another tree. Heat was radiating up all around him now. He made a dash for his bag but was diverted by a streaming Flamethrower attack from the Talonflame, once again being forced to dive for cover.

    "Would it kill you to fend for yourself?" Bronwyn sneered, well aware that it probably would "Dragonite, Dragon Rush!" A bright blue, dragon-shaped aura exploded to life around the Dragonite as it suddenly soared for the Talonflame. The Talonflame was faster than the Dragonite, but the attack came as a surprise to it and the Dragon Rush aura around Bronwyn's pokemon was far larger than normal.

    The Talonflame shot up, able to avoid the worst of the attack but being struck by the violent aura of the attack. That was enough to do the job, the bird was instantly knocked out and dropped to the ground. Bronwyn's Dragonite snorted, apparently rather put out by this turn of events.

    Clancy scampered back to his bag and reached inside, quickly finding the Pokeball he was looking for. He released his Pokemon from its ball, the familiar white light soon forming into a small dark yellow rodent with a long tail adorned with a lightning bolt.

    "Storm, Rain Dance," Clancy instructed.

    "Rai!" The Raichu responded the affirmative, twirling on the spot as its tail billowed behind like a ribbon. Directly above the blaze rain clouds formed in a dark disk and a torrential downpour began to fall on the area, dampening the flames and fighting their spread. Being drenched would only worsen Bronwyn's mood and Clancy knew he'd cop it, but it was better than being burned alive. Probably.

    Clancy looked over to where the fallen Talonflame layed, Bronwyn was trudging through the rapidly muddying ground over to the defeated bird with a pokeball in hand.

    "Now we have to take this stupid fucking bird back with us so it can't incinerate the forest and draw too much attention to us. It's bad enough that we have a Stoutland and its pack running around savaging people. We have to find out how it got the virus too. Brilliant."

    Ignoring that the fire wasn't properly dealt with yet and that a heavy rain was pouring down on them, Clancy sunk back into mud and leaned back against the charred tree he had first used for the same purpose. Bronwyn was continuing to complain and snark and he was longing for the assignment to be over.

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    Say it with me (Vray-gun)
  • 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.

    In all honesty, I'd like to see this exchange in action. Showing them being well-rehearsed and professional sending a little awkwardness to Eloy. I say this because we don't get very much diologue or other really main interaction for five more paragraphs, so it could help with reading pacing for the reader.

    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.

    So for this, I'd switch the two paragraphs and adjust the first sentence of the new one, because the next paragraph talks about him going through the town so the first paragraph of these two would be a better bridge than the other one.

    Noticed a few things,
    "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."
    Have a comma after "chuckle". Same for this one,

    "I can believe that," Eloy replied with a chuckle "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.""
    Capitalize "the" after the "that." And comma after "chair". Also I'd advise following up a "" area that's later in the sentence with a , or . depending on linkage.

    It took several minutes before Eloy could relaxe, it wasn't Layla.
    Use a semicolon instead of a comma.

    Also, naming the hoppip dandy is good in too many ways.

    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
    Dunno Eloy, not everyone that's upbeat and friendly is like that. I've talked about this trait in your character before and I'm pleased you are sticking to it, considering how well it seems to go naturally to him. Heh, I do think this trait will deal in the next chapter since I'm behind of everyone else heh.

    As for the battle, it was good. I liked the descriptions powers you put into it, and while it was simplistic and rather short you made it exciting, though a little predictable which actually fits a sorta one-sided fight that was. However, I await the interesting fight that I presume will be close, but having Eloy either lose do to presumption or him winning or for his presumption to catch up to him again, if none we can all laugh about this later over a HTML page of Mudkip line picks being cute.
  • Victorious
    Three Lillipup, three Herdier and one Stoutland. While the enemy numbers were down, Eloy wasn't technically sure that this was an improvement on the situation. Still, he knew he had little to fear with Nora and Khutulun on their side and it wasn't like he and Lauren were slouches.

    The canine Pokemon rushed forward, the Herdier and Lillipup in the lead with the Stoutland pacing himself behind them. The vanguard split off, moving either direction towards Deacon and Eloy or Lauren and Mortimer. The way was clear for the furious Stoutland to charge Khutulun. The Kangaskhan didn't waver, staring down the opposing Normal type with supreme confidence. Eloy felt for sure they had things covered. Then everything went wrong.

    "Watch out!" Nora yelled suddenly. The Herdier and Lillipup had at the last moment closed in on Khutulun instead of attacking the smaller Pokemon. Caught by surprise, the powerful Kangaskhan suddenly found herself with six sets of sharp teeth sinking into her body. The Kangaskhan cried out in pain and thrashed about, trying to shake them loose, and that was the lesser of two concerns.

    The Stoutland turned, changing targets. The leader of the pack was now bearing down upon Mortimer and Lauren, his teeth crackling with electricity as he prepared to launch a powerful Thunder Fang.

    "Protect, Mortimer!" Lauren instructed. Immediately, Mortimer was engulfed by the green glowing barrier that Eloy had come to be familiar with. The Stoutland collided with the Protect and stumbled back, growling viciously.

    The Protect disappeared and the Stoutland made to dive for Mortimer again, but Lauren was as on the ball as always and was already commanding a counter-attack. An eerie blue flame appeared before the Duskull and was fired at the Stoutland, forcing the larger Pokemon to abandon his attack and jump to the side to avoid a crippling burn.

    Eloy had watched the unfolding events in shock, but his mind finally caught up. Khutulun had thrown the Lillipup loose and had succeeded in knocking two of them out already. Nora was an Elite Four member and her Pokemon were monstrously strong. Lauren was good, but she was in more need of help.

    "Deacon, Poison Sting on the Stoutland!" Eloy instructed. Deacon shot past where Khutulun was still trying to shake off her attackers and ran at the Stoutland from behind as the tip of his horn began to glow purple. He caught the rampaging Stoutland by surprise as it prepared to lunge for Mortimer again.

    The Stoutland cried out but it did not falter or fall like its pre-evolved stages may have. Instead, it abandoned its attack on Mortimer and whirled on Deacon, lunging for the Nidoran with razor blade teeth. This time, Lauren and Mortimer came to Deacon's rescue instead.

    "Dark Pulse!" Lauren commanded and an instant later, the swirling Dark Pulse struck the Stoutland and knocked it off balance, causing it to miss the attack and stumble.

    "Peck!" Eloy called, capitalising on the advantage. Deacon lunged forwards and struck the unbalanced Stoutland with his horn, succeeding in knocking the larger creature over.

    The Stoutland rolled back to its feet and ran for Mortimer only for the green light of the Ghost type's Protect to explode into being around him again. The Stoutland skidded to a halt before he could collide with the shield again, giving Deacon an opening.

    "Deacon, Poison Sting!" Deacon shot forward and jabbed the glimmering tip of his horn into the Stoutland's undefended side.

    The Stoutland growled savagely as the attack hit, taking it and then lashing out with his head. Deacon scurried back but wasn't quick enough to avoid the strike and was sent rocketing along the ground with a squeal.

    "Will-o-Wisp!" Lauren gave the order before the Stoutland could follow up on the attack. Mortimer's ominous blue fireball struck the Stoutland from behind and for a brief moment its whole body was engulfed in blue fire. Then, the blaze faded, revealing a singed and very angry Stoutland, wincing in pain.

    The Stoutland rounded on Mortimer again, running hard for it, seemingly unaware of Deacon returning to his feet and giving chase. It opened its mouth wide, Thunder Fang crackling with dangerous voltage.

    "Protect!" For a third time, the shield sprang up around Mortimer, the Ghost type not even flinching as the murderous Stoutland rushed him. This time though, the Stoutland was ready. It skidded around and wheeled suddenly even as Eloy called for another Poison Sting. Eloy cried out for Deacon to retreat but it was too late, the electrified teeth closed down on the Nidoran.

    Deacon screamed out as the crushing force of the bite and the shock of the electricity hit him in unison. Eloy had learned that as far as the general power levels of attacks went, Thunder Fang was on the lower-middle part of the spectrum. Seeing it coming from such a powerhouse Pokemon made him inclined to disagree with such a generalisation.

    "Deacon!" he shouted, helpless to intervene.

    Thankfully, he didn't need to. Khutulun had succeeded in dislodging all of her attackers now and one of them was hurled into the Stoutland's side. The larger canine, was knocked sprawling, dropping Deacon to the ground so he could scamper away.

    The Herdier that had been used as a projectile shakily got back to its feet, ready to rush Nora's Kangaskhan again. Out of nowhere though, the Stoutland lunged up off the ground with a savage Take Down and knocked its subordinate flying across the battlefield where it struck the ground and didn't get back up. The Stoutland howled angrily, wincing from a combination of recoil from the attack and Mortimer's burn slowly sapping its stamina.

    "Dark Pulse!" Lauren took that as her queue. Mortimer attacked again, the churning black and purple blast striking the Stoutland hard. It skidded back several feet before breaking through the attack.

    "Fury Attack, Deacon!" Eloy called out and instantly regretted the choice to choose a move that would require his Nidoran to stay within range. That was why he'd been avoiding Double Kick even though the move was much more effective on a Normal type like Stoutland.

    It was too late to take it back though, Deacon had given a war cry and rushed in with a battle fervor. Deacon jabbed in with his horn twice in quick succession, each strike eliciting and angered response from the Stoutland. The Stoutland dived for Deacon as he went in for his next strike, but Deacon narrowly managed to dodge under the Stoutland before it could land and then struck again into its side.

    The Stoutland whirled around to attack Deacon again but suddenly pulled back, rearing up on its hind legs as a Dark Pulse from Mortimer struck the ground where the front half of his body had just been, spraying debris into the air.

    Deacon took this as his chance and shot forwards to strike with his horn again. He drove his head up to stab at the Stoutland's underbelly even as gravity began to bring the bigger creature back down. White light engulfed Deacon's horn, the natural weapon glowing brightly and seeming bigger for it was the attack landed and the Stoutland was smashed backward, hitting the ground on his back before tumbling onto his side.

    "That was new!" Eloy shouted, surprised by the development.

    "Horn Attack, very good!" Nora chimed. Despite the situation, her tone was warm and congratulatory. She seemed legitimately excited for Deacon's new move, like a teacher celebrating the success of a struggling student. Eloy noted that she was even still wearing the same pleasant smile, even as Khutlun dispatched the one of the Herdier with a Drain Punch during her outburst. Only one Herdier and the Stoutland remained now.

    The Stoutland was back on his feet now, and a look of absolute bloodlust distorted his features. It growled savagely, then ran for Deacon.

    "Dark Pulse!" Lauren instructed and Mortimer intercepted the attack with his own. The Stoutland whipped around, foaming at the mouth with his malice as bit down on the blast. The attack shatter and exploded in a cloud of dark smoke. The Stoutland didn't even flinch.

    "Horn Attack!" Eloy ordered. Deacon's horn glowed bright again and he ran at the Stoutland with newfound confidence, injuries forgotten in the thrill of developing this new skill. The Stoutland rounded on Deacon and swatted him aside with ease, sending him skidding along the ground. Then, it turned its attention back on Mortimer, rushing the Duskull again with single-minded rage.

    "Protect!" Lauren ordered as the Stoutland leapt for Mortimer, foamy mouth mouth wide open. The Stoutland collided hard with the shining defensive shield. The Protect halted the attempted Crunch but the sheer ferocity of the assault caused the barrier to explode into a shower of green glitter.

    The Stoutland's fangs glowed a vibrant pink and it struck again. This time, his attack was a success and Mortimer was caught in the vice of his mouth before being tossed aside like a ragdoll.

    "Mort!" Lauren gasped, shocked. The Stoutland paid her no mind, turning back to Deacon.

    The Stoutland barked loud and then started its run forward. As it did so, a blazing aura of purple exploded up around it, streaked with a vibrant orange emanating from the focal point in front of the Stoutlands head.

    "Out the way!" Eloy yelled, instantly recognising the attack as Giga Impact, one of the most destructive moves a Pokemon could learn. Deacon was just barely managing to stand back up, his beating finally catching up with him. The Stoutland closed in fast.

    In an instant, the Stoutland lunged to close the distance as a huge shadow fell across Deacon. Khutulun leapt forward, the struggling Herdier tucked unceremoniously under one arm and thrust her free hand forward, palm open wide. The Stoutland collided with the Kangaskhan's palm with an explosive force that Eloy not only saw and heard but felt as a shockwave radiated out from the impact.

    Khutulun skidded back several feet, stopping just before she'd have crushed Deacon underfoot. Her confident look was replaced by a strained grimace as her knees flexed against the force of the blow. Then, the onslaught was over and the Kangaskhan's confidence quickly returned.

    "Nicely done, Khutulun," Nora chirped, still donning her school teacher smile, "You can finish it up now. Dizzy Punch!" Khutulun pulled her hand back from the Stoutland, the canine seemingly frozen with shock at its most devastating attack being halted with such ease and not even trying to escape. The Kangaskhan's hand closed into a fist as several flickering orbs of yellow light appeared around it.

    Khutulun drove her fist down hard onto the Stoutland, smashing it into the ground beneath its feet and knocking it out instantly. Then, she grabbed the remaining Herdier out from under her other arm, and with casual ease, tossed into the trunk of a tree where it too felt to the ground and fainted.

    Eloy's mouth dropped like an anvil. Sure, the Stoutland had taken a fair few hits from Deacon and Mortimer, but it had demonstrated pretty easily how easily it could shake them off. He knew that the Pokemon of an Elite Four member were at an entirely different level, but seeing one in action up close was very different than watching from a distance. Khutulun's raw power was at an almost incomprehensible scale compared to the likes of Deacon or Mortimer.

    "Everyone okay?" Nora asked cheerfully, "You both did very well."

    "Mort and I are fine," Lauren responded. Mortimer was in her arms happily nuzzled against her chest. He was definitely hurt, but seemed content and not seriously injured.

    "You doing okay, Deacon?" Eloy asked his Nidoran.

    "Ni!" Deacon replied enthusiastically before promptly fainting on the spot, beaten up and exhausted.

    "Deacon!" Eloy started, alarmed, bending down to check his Pokemon over. From what he could tell, the Nidoran hadn't sustained any truly serious damage although there were small gashes on his back where the Stoutland had bitten down, spikes be damned. "Well, he did take quite a walloping."

    "I'm sure he'll be fine with some treatment and a bit of a rest. For now though, you can both have one of these." Nora produced a potion each for Deacon and Mortimer. Eloy and Lauren accepted them gratefully and proceeded to spray their partners and return them to the safety of their Pokeballs.

    "We should capture them all before any of them wake up," Lauren said, looking around at the defeated pack. None of them were stirring yet, and it was unlikely that any of them would be after taking hits from a powerhouse like Khutulun, but Nora nodded her agreement.

    "It's better to be safe than sorry, let's get to work." She still sounded every bit more like a teacher on a field trip than a fearsome member of the Elite Four. Eloy and Lauren set to work alongside her and soon the pack had been rounded up and the three of them were making their way back to Topa Town.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • Okay so for Interlude Three looks like another chapter showcasing the Pokerus going on, which makes me wonder that virus's role even more. Clancy and Bronwyn seemed to be typical co-workers who don't get along, wonder if they'll make more appearances soon.

    Now onto Victorious. That Stoutland sure did put up a fight there. It felt to me Lauren was relying a bit too much on Protect there, so it was a matter of time until Protect's effectiveness gets lowered. Cute how Nora was excited Deacon learned a new attack, seems like she's probably one of the nicer Elite Four members Eloy will meet.
  • A Fork in the Road
    Eloy and Lauren walked down the tree-lined route at a casual pace. By an unspoken agreement, it had been decided that there would be neither rushing nor battling on the way to their destination. Or rather, where they would part ways on route to their own separate destinations. They had both had enough rushing about and fighting tooth and nail for a while and were giving themselves and their Pokemon a reprieve.

    Not that you'd think Deacon was in much need of one. As per usual, he was cheerfully bounding ahead as far as he could get away with before stopping and calling after Eloy impatiently. This had prompted sighs and grin's from the trainer in equal measure. At the least, Lauren seemed to find it amusing.

    "Ni!" the Nidoran called out, thumping his foot against the dirt path, causing Lauren to chuckle quietly.

    "You could be forgiven for not knowing he'd just been in a life-or-death situation," Eloy said to her, shaking his head.

    "I have to admit, he could even give Marion a run for her money in the energy department. It's good you keep him out of his ball mostly, since he likes running around so much," Lauren replied.

    "Yeah, well, wouldn't be right to try and squash his personality. It's not that unusual to keep your Pokemon out and about though is it?" Eloy was surprised to hear her talking like it wasn't particular common. Then again, her partners were all in their own balls at that time.

    "It's not exactly uncommon," Lauren said, "Although, it's not as common as I'd like to be. I understand that sometimes it's a Pokemon preference thing. All three of my Pokemon are more nocturnally oriented by nature so I don't over-expose them to the sun, especially on warmer days like today. Then there's matters of practicality; you can't easily have your Onix or Wailord roaming freely most of the time. If you have a lot of Pokemon it can be hard to manage having them all out too. A lot of trainers though are just kind of slack or don't pay enough attention to their team's needs."

    Eloy hadn't really thought that much about it, to him it seemed pretty natural to have Deacon out of his ball and travelling alongside him. Afterall, Deacon spent most of his time outside of his ball back home so it would have been weird to confine him all the time while travelling. It was true that he didn't have Maestro out of his ball quite as much, but that was largely due to Maestro's shyness. He didn't want to overwhelm the little Bug.

    "I'd never really thought that much into it," admitted Eloy, "I suppose I probably should have though. You're sound really knowledgeable about all of this though. Have you been travelling long?"

    "I'm far from being an expert or anything." Lauren scratched at her arm and looked awkwardly off to the side. It was becoming steadily apparent that being bathed in praise wasn't exactly her comfort zone. "I've not been travelling that long either, really. I'm from Kanto originally and started my journey there but some unfortunate stuff happened early on and I had to call it off. So, I resumed my journey here when my family moved soon after."

    "Sorry to hear you had a rough start. I thought my first day was a tough one but nothing that would make me have to postpone starting my journey."

    "It happens, I guess." Lauren shrugged uncomfortably. Eloy decided it was a good time to change the subject.

    "Kanto though? That's miles away and I'd never have picked it. Until you mentioned it, I didn't even realise you had even a hint of an accent." Lauren seemed to relax somewhat at that.

    "My parents are from Unova originally, which is much closer to here. They moved to Kanto when they were younger because the company my dad works for opened a branch over there and needed to move some people across. I wasn't even born yet so it wasn't much of a problem for them. Being around them is probably why I never developed much of a Kantonese accent."

    "Makes sense to me," Eloy said, the pair of them slipping into a comfortable silence again as they finally caught up to Deacon, who happily hopped about at their feet for a while before bounding of ahead again.

    The sun was starting to hang lower in the sky now, and Eloy realised that they'd soon enough be reaching the point where they'd have to split off. He was heading to Erythie City as planned, but it had turned out that Lauren had already obtained her badge there and was heading straight past to go to Techniti City instead.

    It was strange, given the short time they'd been in each others' company, but he'd grown used to having Lauren as a travelling companion. It was kind of melancholic to realise that he wasn't going to have her to talk to once they parted. It wasn't like he was going to be lonely since he'd have Deacon and Maestro with him, but he was going to miss having someone around who spoke his language.

    He turned his head and was surprised to see that she was looking at him with an expression of concern. At least, he was pretty confident that was what it was. She hadn't said anything about it though. He supposed that she wasn't the type to go prodding into other people's affairs anymore than she was comfortable with people poking their noses into hers. After all, she'd been visibly uncomfortable when he'd started talking about her journey prior to arriving in Sigia.

    "I'm all good," Eloy ventured "Just lost in thought, pondering how I'll battle Hansel. Don't go giving me any tips though, it doesn't count for anything if I don't win on my own."
    "Don't worry, wouldn't dream of it," Lauren grinned "Try not to think too hard though, you'll end up missing a curve in the road and walking into the forest and apparently that can get you in trouble in this neck of the woods. Nora's not around to save our skin this time."

    Eloy had to laugh at that one. It really was an absurd turn of events. Just days into his first ever journey as a trainer and he'd caught a new Pokemon, obtained his first badge, nearly got murdered by a pack of Pokemon known for being friendly, met a member of the Elite Four and then battled that same pack alongside her. If anyone had told him they'd had the same experience he might not have believed them.

    "That's a fair call," Eloy said, stifling his laughter, "It's still crazy to think we met a member of the Elite Four."

    "Is it really?" Lauren asked, and again Eloy was struck by a bolt of bemusement at the fact she was being completely serious.

    "How is that a trainer, such as yourself, could not even be a tiny little bit starstruck after meeting one of the five best trainers in Sigia? It boggles the mind."

    "I suppose I've just never been one for celebrity culture," Lauren said, her tone almost questioning.

    "You're certainly unique, I have to give you that one," Eloy said, his exasperation sending the pair of them into another bout of laughter.

    "Ni!" Deacon called from ahead, as though suggesting they stop giggling and put that energy into moving faster.

    "Alright, alright. Calm down before your ears fall off," Eloy said, still chuckling.

    Their walk continued on much the same, alternating between peaceful silence and bouts of laughter while Deacon trotted along well ahead of them, not content to walk at their snails pace - which was in fact a pretty normal walking speed to most.

    By the time they reached the split in the road, the sky was painted in shades of vivid pinks and oranges by the sun beginning to set. Towards the east, Eloy could just barely make out Erythie and the sparkling ocean beyond, the coastal city at a slightly lower vantage point than where they were. To the north, a series of hills popped up around the Great Sigia River that the River Avent flowed into. Eloy knew from talking to Lauren that you could pass over the river and hills or below depending on if you wanted to explore Tunnel Pass or not. She would be taking the Tunnel Pass route since it was an environment she knew Echo would like being in.

    "I suppose this is it then," Eloy said at last, after they had come to a halt.
    "Yeah, I guess so," Lauren answered.

    "Well, it's been nice travelling with you for this short time," Eloy said "Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed we have to split up. It's been fun."

    "Ni ni!" Deacon agreed enthusiastically from where he was seated at Eloy's feet.

    "Yeah, all things considered, it was good to have someone to have a person to travel with again for a while." Lauren smiled at him.

    "All things considered," Eloy echoed "I supposed almost dying is something we could have done without." The pair found themselves laughing again at that one.

    "You heard Nora though, she's heading to Techniti to help host a tournament," Lauren said through her laughter, making herself stop, "So if I decide to stick around to watch or participate and you get there in time to join it, we can probably meet up again there."

    "I'll be looking forward to it then."

    The two said their goodbyes and split off in their separate directions, Lauren releasing Mortimer for company as they did so.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • I don't have too much thoughts about this chapter since it's mostly just Eloy and Lauren talking but that's not a bad thing really. The first part of the conversation over tr the pros and cons of Pokemon in their pokeball is a nice one. Makes me wonder if Eloy gets more Pokemon how he'll be able to manage to take care of them fairly. Lauren's backstory is also interesting. Curious what happened in Kanto, maybe it'll be an interlude? = P
  • I don't have too much thoughts about this chapter since it's mostly just Eloy and Lauren talking but that's not a bad thing really. The first part of the conversation over tr the pros and cons of Pokemon in their pokeball is a nice one. Makes me wonder if Eloy gets more Pokemon how he'll be able to manage to take care of them fairly. Lauren's backstory is also interesting. Curious what happened in Kanto, maybe it'll be an interlude? = P

    Maybe xD
  • O Fortuna


    Maestro dived out of the way as the hulking blue bug's powerful forelimb drove into the ground were he had just been standing, leaving a crater in its place. The Heracross immediately whirled around to face Eloy's Kricketot once more, the smaller Bug swiftly running out of stamina.

    "You've got this, Hercules," the Heracross' trainer, a young man a few years older than Eloy donning a blue cap over unkempt hair, encouraged, "The little squirt can't run forever."

    Eloy grimaced at that, his opponent was not wrong. They'd been battling for quite a while as it was, although battling didn't seem the best descriptor at that time. Poor Maestro had spent the entire conflict on the defensive, completely overwhelmed by Hercules' raw power.

    This was becoming a running trend in Eloy's day. He'd arrived in Erythie City late the night before and had spent the night in the Pokemon Centre's lobby unable to secure a room before heading out into the city in search of battles and seemed soon to be Maestro's third defeat.

    "Hercules, Brick Break!" The big blue Bug's clawed arm glowed white as it lunged after Maestro, delivering a powerhouse punch to its smaller foe.

    "Tot, tot!" Maestro repeated frantically, a look of horror etched into his face.

    "Struggle Bug!" Eloy instructed, hoping his frantic Kricketot could respond in time.

    A pillar of bright red light exploded up around Maestro and rushed outward, pushing Hercules back. The Heracross buzzed its wings to effortlessly stick the landing, in stark contrast to Maestro who had discovered quickly that the lush park grass did little to absorb a hard impact with the ground.

    "Follow up with Bug Bite," Eloy gave the order.

    Maestro wheeled around, giving Eloy a questioning look before throwing himself forward into a charge at Hercules. The Pokemon's trainer didn't even give a command and the Heracross didn't so much as flinch as Maestro's mouth closed down on the larger Pokemon's shiny cobalt carapace.

    Eloy stared flatley at Hercules' trainer, his opponent smirking at him smugly from where he stood opposite. Eloy had gotten the first impression of a cocky rich kid - not unlike another Erythie native he had met on his journey thus far - and the attitude that had been displayed through the battle thus far had done little to change that. Eloy could tell something unpleasant was coming.
    "Brutal Swing, Hercules!" There it was. The Bug/Fighting Pokemon flailed the arm Maestro was attached to about, slamming Maestro into the ground with each motion.

    "Bide!" Eloy called out hurriedly, he hoped he didn't do too much damage to the park.

    The onslaught continued for a few more moments as Maestro soaked up the damage, then Hercules gave one strong heave upwards and launched Maestro skywards.

    "Mega Horn!" The Erythie trainer instructed. Hercules' wings shot open as he launched up after Maestro, a blazing white aura exploding into existence around his formidable horn.

    "Tot!" Maestro cried out, suddenly releasing the energy he had collected during his beating. The blinding light of the destructive blast caused Eloy and his foe both to wince as the catastrophic attack engulfed Hercules.

    Hercule's kept going, his own powerful attack cutting through Maestro's. The Kricketot's assault ceased as Hercules slammed him towards the ground with the savage Mega Horn. Maestro hit the ground hard and it was instantly clear that Eloy had lost that round.

    Eloy failed to stifle a sigh as he walked over to where his Pokemon lay prone and began to administer a potion. He'd have to get both of his team members a proper check up at the Pokemon Centre before exploring the city more.

    "It was a good effort, Maestro, you're getting there."

    "Yo, pay up," the victor said, gesturing towards Eloy. Eloy sighed and reached for his now dwindling funds.

    Eloy have the other trainer his winnings, returned Maestro to his ball and headed back towards the Pokemon Centre.

    The salty sea air was refreshing as Eloy made his way back towards the Pokemon Centre, and combined with the warm sun it was helping ease the tension after Eloy's string of losses. It was plain to see why Erythie was a tourism hot spot in Sigia. He'd learned in school, although had forgotten the specifics, how weather patterns kept it somewhat warmer than other places in the region, it was right by the beach, close to the capital and it was beautiful to look at.

    The city was far larger than anywhere Eloy had ever been before, but was somehow also very clean. The skyscrapers were all designed in a way so as to not look strange next to one another and the height of the types of buildings present in an area grew smoothly as you went north with the southernmost part of the city being residential and the northernmost having the hotels and business district. Dotted all throughout were open squares, recreational battlefields and serene parks. There must have been some pretty strict building codes to result in such a picturesque cityscape.

    It wasn't long before Eloy reached the Pokemon Centre, one of multiple in the city. This one was smaller than the others and saw less activity, so Eloy had been directed here from the first one he'd attempted to stay at when it turned out they were full. It was tucked away in a shopping area where there wasn't much battling going on, it also lacked the trademark red roof most Centres had, instead opting for a large sign out the front instead.

    The building itself was interesting to look at. The front of the building was distinctly rounded, and comprised of triangular glass panels held together like triominoes in a metal framework. They gave a clear view of the interior which was much more familiar at this point. A combined lobby and lounge area and a small cafe sharing peach tiles and cream-coloured.

    Eloy entered the building and found he didn't have to wait in line to approach the desk at the back. A male nurse with overly perfect teeth and meticulously styled blonde hair stood waiting there in the standard white and pink of the uniform.

    "Good afternoon to you, sir!" The nurse said over-exuberant, flashing his near-glowing smile, "How can I be of assistance to you today? I believe you're currently occupying one of our rooms?

    "Uh, yeah," Eloy said, scratching his arm awkwardly and trying to avoid the nurse's penetrating, wide-eyed stare, "I booked it earlier this morning. Anyway, could you give my Pokemon a once over? They've been battling all morning and aren't majorly hurt or anything, since I gave treatment with potions, but better to be safe and all."

    "Of course, sir!" The nurse beamed, "I'll take them off your hands then and have them read for you to collect within half an hour most likely. Feel free to make use of our wonderful cafe or to explore the city while you wait."

    "Sure, thanks." Eloy handed over his Pokeballs and got away from the desk as quickly as he could while the nurse passed them on to one of his coworkers. He had quickly decided that out of all the inhumanly enthusiastic nurses he'd now come across, that was by far the worst encounter. He was close to thinking he'd rather take on the murderous Stoutland again that have to talk to the man a second time. Not to mention, his suggestions had tweaked a nerve.

    Or, since I don't have any money after that losing streak, I won't spend any on overpriced coffee or explore the city since there's nothing nearby except shops. I'll go to the beach with my Pokemon when you're done fixing them up though.

    Sill, that left Eloy with up to thirty minutes to consider what he was going to do about Maestro. The little Pokemon had good instincts for how to move in battle, but he was timid and not very powerful. His stamina needed work too.

    "There's got to be someway I can focus on your strengths and still help you improve on your weaknesses," Eloy sighed.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • Waves
    Changed into beachwear, dark pink board shorts and a lighter pink tank top (of course), Eloy collected his Pokemon from the uncomfortably perfect nurse and escaped the Pokemon centre as quickly as possible. From there it was only a short walk through a sprawl of boutiques and restaurants to reach the beach.

    The beach itself was stunning and Eloy stopped just short of actually moving onto it to appreciate it. This was his first time actually visiting a place of the sort, and it left an impression. The sky was clear, it's reflection glistening over the top of the vibrantly blue sea, the sand was white and fine, a salty breeze kept the heat comfortably at bay and the sound of small waves breaking lightly against the shore was a constant, refusing to be overpowered by the chorus of joyous shout and laughter from the numerous people populating the area. It was as if Eloy had just stepped into a magazine cover.

    Reaching into his bag, Eloy quickly retrieved his occupied Pokeballs and released Deacon and Maestro by his feet. They materialised in a flash and immediately fell into old habits. Deacon was instantly hopping around excitedly, taking in the new scenery. Maestro, on the other hand, was looking around cautiously as if awaiting an attack any moment.

    "You two can both relax," Eloy said, "We're just at the beach for some fun, rest and relaxation since this is a first for all of us. Really, Maestro, no battling for you. Come on."

    Eloy headed down a small set of concrete steps onto the soft sand with his team following behind him… well until Deacon, naturally, dashed off ahead towards the sea. He then immediately turned and rushed back as a wave came in, avoiding the breaking water as it lapped the coast.

    "Ni!" he cheered gleefully, turning around for another race with the waves. Maestro for his part continued to huddle close to Eloy's leg.

    "Well, I don't think he gets the rest and relaxation part but you can't deny Deacon's an expert on having fun," Eloy said with a laugh, looking down at his timid Kricketot. The Bug type didn't give much sign that he agreed. This made Eloy laugh again.

    "Well, look who it is!"

    Suddenly, all the mirth drained from Eloy's body. He recognised the voice instantly, and sure enough, when he turned to the left, Layla was striding up to him, flaunting herself in an obnoxiously yellow bikini under the familiar white jakcetand radiating the same self-confidence as when he'd first met her.

    Seriously? What are the odds? I know she's from here, but come on!

    Maestro huddled closer to Eloy as the blonde girl approached, and for once Eloy couldn't say he blamed the little Bug.

    "Is it too late to go back to the Stoutland?" he muttered to Maestro as the Kricketot looked at him horrorstuck.

    "You say something?" Layla asked, finally reaching him.

    "Uh, yeah, hi, uh, Layla," Eloy fumbled, still a little too in shock to formulate a good cover story, "I just said, it's a surprise to see. What are you doing here?"

    Layla tilted her head, putting her hands on her hips and looking at Eloy like he was a moron. He couldn't really fault her that one either.

    Nicely done, Eloy. Nothing suspicious there.

    "What?" Layla said flatly, still giving him the same expression, "This is my hometown, remember? Of course I'm going to spend more time here catching up with family and friends than I'll spend somewhere dingy like Avent Town. Duh."

    "Ah, right," Eloy said, wondering if his discomfort was visible or not.

    "Anyway, come on!" Layla said suddenly, grabbing him by the wrist and pulling him after her.

    "What?!" Eloy spluttered, stumbling after her with his arm stuck in her surprisingly vice-like grip.

    "Tot?!" Maestro yelped, apparently echoing Eloy's sentiments as he hurriedly scrambled after his captive trainer. Deacon's ears pricked up from where he was still playing with the waves, the Nidoran soon taking off after them as if they were forming a strange parade.

    Eventually, Layla dropped Eloy from her grasp as his Pokemon caught up with them, and he became aware of his surroundings again. They hadn't actually gone very far from where he'd been standing really and were now before a large blue rug under an even larger blue and white umbrella.

    A girl in a brown top and dark shorts, quickly recognisable as Gwen, was sitting under the umbrella engrossed in a rather hefty looking book adorned with an image of a Teddiursa on the cover. Around her was a large grouping of Pokemon.

    Eloy's eyes quickly spotted Florence, Layla's Buneary but aside from the brown Normal type, there were five others present. A gloriously pink Snubbull and spiky, yellow Jolteon were playing around with Florence while nearby a bepetalled Roselia was standing in the sun soaking up its rays. A Munchlax was sleeping lazily on its back near the centre of their rug and nearby Gwen a tough-looking Lucario sat in quiet meditation, the black appendages that dangled from its head were all standing out to the sides. It was quite the eclectic mix of Pokemon, leaving Eloy to wonder if they all belonged to Layla or if some were Gwen's.

    "Hey, Gwen!" Layla said far too loudly for their proximity, "Look who I found!"

    Gwen looked up from her book at Layla, as though she barely registered Eloy was there. Then, she shifted her gaze to him and gave a small wave.

    "It's Pinky!" Layla said enthusiastically, "From Avent!"

    "I remember," Gwen replied calmly, glancing wantingly back at her book.

    "My name's Eloy."

    "I know that, but what's with all the pink?"

    Eloy wasn't entirely sure if she actually did even half-remember his name. That was not important though. There was a much more important issue at hand.

    "Pink is the greatest colour in the world, that's what's with all the pink. The world needs more pink in it. What's with all the yellow?"

    "Obviously, it's the actual greatest colour!"

    "I severely beg to differ," Eloy responded.

    "Ni!" Deacon affirmed adamantly.

    At that, the debate was interrupted by the sound of Gwen laughing. A sound that surprised Eloy so much he had to force his jaw not to fall open in shock. Granted, this was only his second encounter ever with the girl, but such a blatant display was not something Eloy had seen coming at all. He was dumbfounded.

    "And what's so funny, huh?" Layla jabbed playfully, sticking out her tongue at her companion.

    "That was c-" Suddenly, Gwen's mouth slammed shut and her eyes went wide. It was as though she'd suddenly realised she'd stepped out of her secretive, introverted shell for a moment and had dived for cover.

    "It was what, huh?" Layla prodded teasingly.

    "I just realised you're colour coded. He's always pink and you're always yellow. It's funny," Gwen said, returning her attention to her book with almost an intensity. It looked like she was trying to burn a hole through the page with her eyes. The Lucario nearby her opened one of his eyes quizzically, eventually shutting it and returning to his meditation.

    "She says that like she's not perpetually in brown," Layla jabbed, poking her tongue out at Gwen again. Gwen, grinned and rolled her eyes but didn't look away from the book.

    Eloy took this chance to begin slowly backing away, but backed straight into another person, stumbling back forward.

    "Careful man, don't wanna hurt yourself," the new arrival, a shirtless man that dwarfed Eloy said with a light-hearted grin.

    "Right, sorry," Eloy apologised.

    "Nah, don't worry bro," the man replied, "I just came by to say we're holding an even up the beach. For a small fee, two people enter and have a double battle against our two trainers. If you win, you get your cash back and a case of Protein. Interested?"

    "Sounds fun, let's team up, Gwen!" Layla beamed, but her friend was already shaking her head.

    "I'll pass. Doubly on the Protein."

    With that, Layla turned to look at Eloy.

    "Then I guess you'll have to do."

    "Wait, what?" Eloy responded, feeling a distinct sense of impending doom.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • Interlude Four
    A howling roar echoed through the darkness of the cave, the group of trainers freezing in place. It was a lamenting, angry sound and it was exactly the sort of indicator they had warned about. They had figured that there was strength in numbers, especially with both of their groups travelling through the mountain caves together. That horrible, haunting sound however made every single one of them doubt that logic.

    "It didn't sound too close right? Let's keep moving," the de facto leader of the group, the chief scientist of the more official half of the expedition said. Scientists and trainers alike followed suit as the balding man began walking along the dimly lit path once more.

    A light tremor shook and the far or roar reverberated through the caverns again. The tremors were deeply concerning to all those present, but to those who realised it meant that the source of the roaring was moving closer to them, that concern was at a whole other level. Another, stronger tremor shook them.

    "Is it just me, or are those tremors getting closer?" Someone whispered in the darkness.

    "I think you mean closer," A second voice mumbled bitterly from further across.

    They made it only a few more steps before the strongest tremor yet hit, several of the assembled group stumbling and the cavern caravan coming to a halt, frozen with fear and anticipation as they waited, hoping the tremors would begin to shrink.

    For a long time, there was no sound at all. No tremors, nobody spoke and all seemed to hold their breath. Then the ground beneath their feet exploded with a roar. The metallic leviathan burst up from beneath them, leaving a gaping hole in the ground as it rose up, slamming into the cave and sending boulders and stalagmites raining down over the group.

    Lauren was thrown flying by the force of the Steelix emerging from below. For a split second she saw the scientists and her friends scrambling, those that hadn't already plummeted through the chasm left by the massive Steel type. Then, she hit the ground and was sent tumbling, her eyes slamming shut.

    Lauren's hand's flew to her ears as she landed, and she curled into a ball as she tried to block out the thunderous sound of falling stone and the screams of her travelling companions. Then, there was only silence and blackness. It was over as quickly as it had happened.

    Lauren's eyes shot open and she jolted upright in her sleeping bag. Her hair was plastered to her face and she was dripping with icy sweat. She breathed heavily, gripping the edges of the sleeping bag until she came to her senses. She wasn't in Mount Moon, she wasn't even in Kanto. She was in the Sigia region en route to Techniti City.
    "Skull?" Mortimer enquired after her. Lauren turned to see the red glow of his eyes in the darkness, not far from where she lay. A small distance away from him, she could see the dimmer yellow she knew to be Marion's own eyes. Just as the pair of Ghost types lurked nearby, Lauren knew that Echo was fluttering around overhead. The trio of Pokemon were of species that thrived in the night so Lauren often let them out to roam nearby when she slept - partl for their benefit and partly for her protection.

    She reached for herbag and retrieved her Pokegear, the light from its screen illuminating the space around her a little more and revealing Mortimer's form, hovering by her side with his head tilted. She looked at the screen, the wallpaper depicted her and three others, a boy and two girls close to her age. This was the only photo of their group all together, taken outside the Pewter City Pokemon Centre before they all set off.

    "A cave in occured in the caves within Mount Moon," Lauren whispered to herself, citing a news story on the incident, "A Steelix that had contracted a severe strain of Pokerus attacked a group travelling to Cerulean City. There were only four survivors, one in critical condition."

    The four survivors in question had been herself, her two female friends and the lead scientist. Everyone else had either died falling through the hole in the floor or been crushed by the rocks falling from above.

    "I don't even know if Tabby ever woke up, you know that?" Lauren said, looking to Mortimer, "What am I doing here, Mort?"

    "Skull." Mortimer floated over to her, nestling against his trainer.

    "All that and now here I'm attacked by rabid Stoutland? It's like I have a target on my back. Maybe someone out there is just punishing me because my heart's not in it."

    "Shup!" Marion suddenly said, and with a mischievous giggle glided over to rest in Lauren's lap. The Ghost type closed her eyes and the next moment, Lauren felt her negative feelings begin to ease as her Pokemon fed on them.

    Lauren reached out and patted the Shuppet, slipping back down into the bag and closing her eyes again.

    "I wish you hadn't found that. Now I have to get rid of you."

    Lauren looked at the man with horror, she was the last one conscious and now the scientist she had trekked through the caves with was turning on her? Was she seriously going to be another body on the pile of corpses this man had left in his wake?
    The scientist lazily tossed a Pokeball, in a flash of light a large Pokemon appeared. It was a huge Muk, bigger than normal, and where Kantonian Muk were usually purple, the slimey Pokemon before her was green, yellow and pink like the variant found in Alola.

    Lauren held on tightly to the injured zubat she cradled in her arms as Mortimer calmly placed himself between her and the Muk.

    "Sludge Bomb!' The man ordered.

    "Protect!" Lauren didn't have time to contemplate, she just reacted. A barrier of glowing green exploded into being around Mortimer, the Sludge Bomb striking it and falling to the ground as it faded. "Will-o-Wisp, Mortimer!"

    Mortimer retaliated, hurling a ghostly blue fireball at the Muk. The Poison type tried to doge but was far too slow and briefly, it was ablaze, the fading flames leaving it burned.

    "You dare to fight back against me!?" The Scientist raged.

    "Night Shade, Mort!" Lauren ignored him and attacked again.

    As the battle continued, the scene began to fade. Each exchange of attacks, more of the dream disappeared into a serene fog. Lauren thought she could here a ghostly giggle as she drifted deeper into her sleep.

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  • Poor Maestro, still not getting used to battles. He'll need to break out of his shell sooner or later. I liked that you have a very enthuastic male nurse since I don't see those very often in Pokemon fanfics. The nurse is only trying to give great customer service, Eloy.

    Oh, hey Layla and Gwen again. It does seemed like everyone has that one favorite color, huh? Layla and Eloy battle partners, that's going to be fun.

    Onto the interlude, yup thought we'll get to Lauren's backstory sooner or later. Oof the mention of the Pokerus again, seems to be a worldwide thing. Hm, I think for Lauren's nightmare it could end on a more intense note. You have her battling the scientist and then the dream just fades. Maybe more Pokemon with Pokerus appeared, for instance Have fun with the nightmares!
  • Poor Maestro, still not getting used to battles. He'll need to break out of his shell sooner or later. I liked that you have a very enthuastic male nurse since I don't see those very often in Pokemon fanfics. The nurse is only trying to give great customer service, Eloy.

    Oh, hey Layla and Gwen again. It does seemed like everyone has that one favorite color, huh? Layla and Eloy battle partners, that's going to be fun.

    Onto the interlude, yup thought we'll get to Lauren's backstory sooner or later. Oof the mention of the Pokerus again, seems to be a worldwide thing. Hm, I think for Lauren's nightmare it could end on a more intense note. You have her battling the scientist and then the dream just fades. Maybe more Pokemon with Pokerus appeared, for instance Have fun with the nightmares!

    Downside to having her travel with a Pokemon that literally eats negative emotions is that it's hard to justify doing that when she's out and about. I think in general though, that's solid advise that I'll keep in mind.
  • Knuck if You Buck
    Eloy found himself standing alongside Layla a short way up the beach from where they had previously been. A sizeable space had been cordoned off to serve as a battlefield and a crowd had gathered to watch the spectacle. Near the front of the crowd, looking slightly uncomfortable in the throng of people, Gwen watched on with her gaze fixed in Layla and Eloy's direction.

    Their opponent's stood across from them, a pair of deeply tanned trainers in their mid-twenties dressed in brightly-coloured beachwear. In front of the first of the trainers, a woman with a brown bob cut, a Machoke stood proudly. In front of her companion, a tall man with a shaved head, a relaxed Golduck was standing with its webbed hands on its hips. Eloy and Layla had chosen Deacon and Florence.

    "Don't go slowing us down now," Layla jibed, winking at Eloy. Florence snickered at her trainer's feet, prompting Deacon to bristle, his spiny ears pricking up defensively.

    "Wasn't exactly high on my priority list," Eloy replied with a sigh. He knew already that the two of them weren't going to have the best team cohesiveness, but Deacon and Florence were already doing well to drive that point home.

    "Good your little rodent's get along," the woman with the Machoke tittered, "We good to go, ref?"

    "Whenever you're ready," the referee, the huge man Eloy had backed into before, gave the go ahead.

    "Kai, Karate Chop!" She wasted no time in giving her first command and her Machoke wasted no time in following it. The musclebound Pokemon ran forward like a charging gladiator with a faintly glowing hand ready to chop down on Florence.

    "Baby-Doll Eyes!" Layla instructed. Florence's eyes flashed pink, but the Machoke's eyes never met with the Buneary's.

    "Duke, Aqua Jet!" The Golduck rocketed in between Kai and Florence, engulfed in a torrent of water. From within the rushing water, there was a flash of pink indicating that the Baby-Doll eyes had hit the Golduck instead. The Water type's attack ceased and it landed in the sand by the edge of the battlefield. Kai was almost upon Florence.

    "Poison Sting on the Machoke!" Eloy called. The tip of Deacon's horn shone purple as he dashed forward the short distance to meet his hulking opponent. He leapt up, his horn striking Kai's side and throwing him off balance.

    The Machoke was spun, plating his hand into the hot sand and lashing out with a kick that hooked Deacon and shot him straight into Florence. The pair of small Pokemon tumbled over each other, coming to a halt in a spray of sand.

    Florence pushed Deacon off of her and climbed back to her feet, rolling her eyes at the Nidoran.

    "Ni!" Deacon snarled at his teammate, also getting back to his feet.

    "Oh dear, that's not a good sign!" The obnoxious woman laughed. Eloy winced, it seemed like she wasn't the only one to think so. He was pretty sure he'd just caught sight of Gwen shaking her head at him on the sidelines.

    Great, looks like if we lose I'm going to get blamed for it.

    "Poison Sting the Machoke again!" Eloy instructed, Deacon angrily rushed Kai, eliciting another laugh from the woman on the other side of the battlefield.

    "Duke, Confusion!"

    "No!" Layla exclaimed next to Eloy, but it was too late. Deacon shimmered with a faint blue light and was then blasted away from the Machoke, skipping over the surface of the sand like a pebble on a lake.

    "Florence, Charge Beam!" Florence comprised, shooting the yellow beam, crackling with electricity, from in front of her mouth to strike the Machoke. The bulky Fighting type was far too slow and far too close to avoid the attack, taking it head on and being shot back several metres, rolling back to his feet and looking annoyed.

    "Water Pulse!" A glowing, glimmering sphere of water suddenly struck Florence, exploding on impact and sending her careening across the battlefield to land next to where Deacon had just gotten back up again.

    "Ni," Deacon taunted the Buneary. Eloy nearly face-palmed.

    "You two should really stop forgettin' I'm here," The Golduck's trainer said with a smug grin.

    "Couldn't agree more," Eloy muttered.

    "Then stop doing it," Layla chided from beside him, chuckling as though she hadn't made the exact same mistake, "Run the Machoke again."

    "Because that worked out so well the last time."

    "Just do it," Layla snipped.

    "Poison Sting the Machoke again!" Eloy instructed, relenting. Deacon instantly rushed forward again.
    "Confusion, Duke!"

    "Charge Beam the Golduck!" Layla suddenly yelled, Eloy realising at that moment exactly what Layla had just done.

    Deacon was blasted back by the Psychic attack again, taking a hard hit on account of his type disadvantage and hitting the dirt hard, sending a spray of it up like sea foam. At the same time though, Florence's sparking beam attack shot past Deacon and Kai and hit its mark. Duke cried out with surprise and pain as the electrical charge raced over his body. Much like Deacon was to Psychic, Duke was weak to electric attacks and dropped to his hands and knees.

    "Really? Your using Deacon as bait now?" Eloy asked, Layla.

    "It worked didn't it?"

    "It won't keep working, Deacon can't tank too many Psychic attacks."

    "Well I guess that can't be helped with him," Layla replied. Eloy tried not to be too annoyed by the way she made it sound like Deacon was somehow at fault for being a Poison type. He wasn't doing a great job. He glanced towards Gwen again and was shocked to see she was shaking her head again, slightly more frantically this time. Again, he got the distinct impression it was aimed at him.

    What did I do this time? It was a rude tactic, but Layla was right about it working.

    He didn't get much more time to think. Their female opponent gave another command and suddenly the massive form of Kai was hurtling at Deacon and Florence like a sprinter.

    "I'll get its legs, you get its head!" Eloy said frantically, hoping Layla got the idea, "Peck one of its legs Deacon!"

    Deacon ran to meet Kai, Florence following behind at a command from Layla. A blaze engulfed the Machoke's fist as he struck down towards Deacon like a jackhammer, but the Nidoran was much more nimble. He hopped to the side, avoiding the Fire Punch and lunged forward, jabbing his horn into the side of the Machoke's knee.

    Kai shouted as the Flying attack hit, his leg instantly buckling under him and sending him to his hands and knees, lining him up perfectly.

    "Charge Beam!" Layla ordered again.

    Florence skidded to a halt, right in front of the Machoke's face, tilting back before rocking her weight forward and blasting Kai head on with the Electric attack. Kai was immersed in the crackling electric charge and crumpled to the ground as a second charge ran over Florence's body, indicating Charge Beam's secondary power enhancing effect had activated.

    Eloy stole another glance Gwen's way. Apparently this time she approved of their tactic because she wasn't shaking her head but smiling faintly. Eloy turned back just in time to once again be reminded they were in a double battle.

    "Mud bomb!"

    Duke was back on his feet now, and launched a sphere of compressed mud in Florence's direction.

    "Pound!" Florence struck the ball of mud, her ear shooting forward like a piston and exploding it in an icky brown spray that splattered all four of the assembled Pokemon.

    "Kai, Low Sweep!"

    Eloy's head whipped across to look at the Machoke, who had taken the moment of distraction to find purchase on the ground with his hands. With a malevolent smirk, the Fighting type whipped its leg around to strike Florence and sent her skidding along the sand.

    "Peck!" Eloy called. Deacon lunged for Kai, the Machoke not yet back on two feet. However he never got the chance to make contact as Duke intervened. At a snappy instruction from his trainer, the Golduck once more hammered Deacon with Confusion and set him flying across the battleground. Both Deacon and Florence lay prone for several moments, slowly climbing back to their feet as Duke casually strolled up to his teammate, Kai also now standing tall again.

    "That went well," Eloy stated flatly.

    "Definitely not a shining moment," Layla agreed.

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
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  • I expected that double battle to have some hippcups there. Their poor communication at one another in the beginning hurts them quite a bit. Near the end they're able to almost get in sync, but a little too late there.

    I would've liked more reactions and body language from Duke and Kai's trainers. You had them call out commands and talked to Eloy and Layla a couple times, but other than that I don't get a sense of their personality an I feel they're just there.
  • I expected that double battle to have some hippcups there. Their poor communication at one another in the beginning hurts them quite a bit. Near the end they're able to almost get in sync, but a little too late there.

    I would've liked more reactions and body language from Duke and Kai's trainers. You had them call out commands and talked to Eloy and Layla a couple times, but other than that I don't get a sense of their personality an I feel they're just there.

    Will try to capture personalities a bit better in the follow-up chapter.

    Venia Silente

    Inspectious. Good for napping.
  • Well, I'm back giving more commentary and apologizing for being slow on the updates. Work is a killjoy. But hey! Good to know that Eloy continues his adventure with a Nido by his side. One thing I wanted to mention a lot after the beginning episodes is how Eloy dares have a bad time when he's accompanied by two girls. Like, really. :p

    Now... I resume reading with Ch. 4 and Interlude one, and go up to right before Welcome to the Jungle; I was taken a bit aback by the change in perspective since I was getting admittedly used to the open spaces and how you work your detail with them, but that's a minor detail. Another minor detail is with "It's yellowed, peeling walls".

    As for the whole Melanie and Blake sideline thing, while I do recall it was mentioned early on about the Pokerus case, it didn't register me as a plot strand worth following when we had Eloy and Deacon around. I think the interlude would have benefited from putting it one episode later, right before (or after) the Gym Battle even, when the novelty of Deacon gives way to a more established and normal Trainer who, like, catches Pokémon, but that's just me.

    "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.
    #relatable, why does the week hurt so much.

    As for the whole Pokérus thing? We have a deal, kid. Or, rather, apparently not. He ain't saying anything and I see this is the classic "these guys can get you anywhere" ploy we see in 2000s TV shows, from which I'll call it right now: either very high League Officers or the Champion are directly involved in the distribution. That or the whole thing is just a misdirection to annoy and sucker punch the *real* dealers. It's interesting to wonder what guns is this Blake guy sticking to if it is true what Melanie says that he would have access to tons of Pokémoney.

    "This could all be over and you could be shipped off to Alola in witness protection by now!"
    Last I heard, mainline adventure games are not very good for hiding. Each random grunt, and or Legendary there is found and beaten by a 10-year old!

    Still, Eloy was loathe to disturb the Nidoran. Deacon was a surprisingly heavy sleeper given his energy when awake and he looked so peaceful.
    He [Eloy] 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.
    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.
    Best Nido. Very energy. Such crepuscular!

    But really, that off-on switch and how Deacon just up and starts running laps around the place and going all FEED ME was a prize little scene to read. He seems to be very pet-like in that behaviour, though I hope he grows out to become more independent about that.

    I just hope he doesn't get nommed by a bird also looking for breakfast in those escapades distance ahead of Eloy. Would certainly suck.

    "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.
    Of course! Who in their right mind would be DISPLEASED about having a Nidoran barrel onto them? I certainly wouldn't. Come on. These wild mons need to be more forthcoming. (Besides, we also have cookies here in the Trainer Pokémon side of the fence~)

    Ooooh and good thing about the battle woosh, many stories tend tot ry and skip the first few wild battles out of finding them boring, but these are formative experiences that tell a lot about how the characters start. One little concern about the battle that forced me to switch tabs, hence temporarily leaving the story, is that I could have sworn Bide is a physical category move, so I was a bit weirded out by having it be a concussive or "massful" beam of energy. But I'm sure Deacon is a good boy and would have been able to take it.

    "Welcome to the team,"

    Also that marks the opening for now featuring a more proper town with Rosaste. A good work on quickly establishing the more hospital-ness experience including the immaculate white, building off the contrast with the depiction of the previous Center which I had also commented upon. I do find it weird that he's this early in his adventure and already going to tackle the first Gym, hinting that he didn't really learn his lesson from the first battle we watched him tackle. Not that I wish him any wrong but he has a long road to learn. It was nice to see the little surprise waiting him at the Gym and how he almost froze at the thought that Gwen and Layla were there tho!

    After watching one battle though it is going to be Eloy's turn and I'm off for the popcorns to come back and review that one another time, because it feels like a grander event and the usual corresponding "opening of the world". Nice story so far and always good to see Nidos having screentime!

    Also a good work on giving a Lombre both a good strategy to play and a decent run in your show so far.