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[Pokémon] The Stairway to Heaven

  • Take it Easy
    Eloy layed back on the grass not far from the lake, his eyes shut as he listened to the peaceful sounds around him. Growing up in Citri, he'd been constantly surrounded by the sounds of nature. Techniti had been jarringly different and now it was nice to have that sense of familiarity return.

    He could hear the distant chirps of bird Pokemon, the sound of rustling grass and leaves in the wind and the gentle shifting of the lake water. Nearby, he could hear Maestro and Ronin eating a lunch of pellets. Naturally, Deacon had already devoured his and was joyfully splashing around in the shallows, running in and out of the water and cheering loudly.

    Eloy smiled to himself, thoughts of missing his human companions not even a memory. This was where he was meant to be. He was at peace in that moment and could easily have drifted off to sleep… if he wasn't startled by a sudden yelp of surprise from Deacon.

    Suddenly alert, Eloy shot upright into a sitting position and was greeted with a bizarre sight. Next to him, Maestro and Ronin had stopped eating and turned to face the commotion, freezing at what was before them.

    A head was poking out of the shallows, pink in colour with large eyes and a wide, gaping mouth. The Pokemon's body was hidden beneath the water, but its tail was also raised on the other side… and hanging from Deacon's mouth. Apparently, the Nidoran had been surprised when its owner had moved.

    Eloy nearly laughed. He knew exactly what Pokemon this was and he could guess why Deacon had been surprised. Undoubtedly, he'd bitten down a long time before he'd actually received a reaction. Now the Slowpoke's tail was just hanging from Deacon's mouth as the Nidoran was unsure how to respond. The other Pokemon had yet to even acknowledge Deacon's presence.

    "Uh… Deacon," Eloy called out, stifling laughter, "Maybe let go of its tail."

    Deacon immediately dropped the tail from his mouth and sprang backwards, adopting a ready stance, apparently anticipating a battle.

    Now, the Slowpoke slowly twisted around to see what was hanging from its tail. Confused to find that there was no longer anything attached to it, the Slowpoke tilted its head quizzically.

    Eloy surveyed the scene and found he wasn't quite as ready to run into a battle as Deacon was.

    The Jaspern Gym is a fire gym… and it's pink… but… a Slowpoke? How do you even train something with that kind of reaction time?

    Eloy looked down at Ronin and Maestro. While Maestro was still anxiously keeping an eye on the situation, Ronin had apparently lost interest and returned to his lunch. Eloy wondered if he should take the unsaid opinion of his Farfetch'd as the decider.

    But the Slowpoke was adorable and pink… and also a Water type. It had also now, finally, noticed Deacon before it, hackles raised. It tilted its head further to the side, questioning.

    "Screw it," Eloy said, "Deacon, Horn Attack!"

    Eloy was vaguely aware of Ronin turning back around with surprise as he focused his attention on Deacon.

    The Nidoran cried out excitedly as his horn started to shimmer with white light. He charged the Slowpoke.

    The Slowpoke didn't so much as blink as Deacon slammed into it, knocking rolling through the water and sending a spray up into the air. Then, it laid still.

    "Wait… is that it?" Eloy asked as several moments went by. Then, his mouth dropped open as the Slowpoke gradually got to his feet and turned to face Deacon.

    The Water type barely had a scratch on it, and was continuing to just look blankly at Deacon as though its attacker was a passing interest at most.

    "Okay, good, it can take a hit. Deacon, Poison Sting!"

    The tip of Deacon's horn lit up with the familiar purple glow of the attack as he made a second run for the Slowpoke. He leap up and dove for his target only to suddenly get blasted back the opposite direction, crashing into the shallows.

    It took Eloy a moment to parse what had just happened. The Slowpoke hadn't moved. It hadn't even blinked. It had not indicated at all that it was even aware it was in a battle. However, the only explanation for what had just happened was that it had defended itself. Probably with something like Confusion, as far as Eloy could tell. It made sense, Slowpoke was also a Psychic type.

    Well, okay then. I better not let Deacon take too many of those since Psychic moves are really effective against him.

    In truth, Eloy knew that the strategic move would be to switch to Maestro or Ronin. Neither of them were susceptible to Psychic attacks like Deacon was and both had moves that were particularly effective against the Slowpoke in turn with Maestro's Bug moves and Ronin's Leaf Blade. He felt confident Deacon could win though, and he knew his partner wouldn't like being made to tag out.

    "Deacon, try Poison Sting again."

    Deacon immediately sprung to his feet and ran down the Slowpoke again… only to once again be blasted with Confusion and sent skipping over the shallow water like a stone.

    That seemed strange to Eloy. If the Slowpoke was that keen on defending itself and could react that quickly, then it would have done so from the beginning.

    Which means it had time to process what was happening just now. I get it.

    "Deacon, don't attack. Just walk towards it."

    Deacon seemed confused by this instruction, but begrudgingly got back to his feet and started cautiously approaching the Slowpoke. This time, there was no attack.

    "Ni?" Deacon exclaimed, now standing directly in front of the strange Pokemon. The Slowpoke just stared absently at him.

    "I think… it's first attack was actually a reaction to your first attack. It just didn't go through until you were already making your second run. I'm starting to have second thoughts, but we're committed now. This pinky here is coming with us."

    Deacon just looked back at Eloy with no idea what to make of his current situation.

    "Furry Attack, then pull back!" Eloy suddenly commanded.

    Deacon leapt into action, repeatedly shooting forward with his horn, making several quick jabs with the natural weapon. The Slowpoke didn't react, not even making a sound to indicate it had taken a hint.

    Deacon leapt back, retreating a safe distance as suddenly the Slowpoke's eyes took on a faint blue glow and a ripple shot out across the water, indicating the presence of an unseen Psychic push. It was similar to Anubis' Psychic, but not so powerful as to manifest visually. This confirmed to Eloy that the Slowpoke was attacking with Confusion.

    Moments went by until, much to the surprise of Deacon and Eloy, the Slowpoke attacked again. This time, a ball of lightly glowing water formed in front of the Slowpoke's gaping mouth before firing off across the water.

    The projectile reached the area near Deacon before exploding into a surging wave in all directions. Deacon leapt up into the air out the way, landing back several feet and narrowly avoiding any damage.

    They waited again. No third attack came. Eloy supposed this was the Slowpoke's version of pressing the attack.

    "Okay, Poison Sting!"

    Deacon sprinted for the Slowpoke again, dashing at it like a spear with his horn's tip shimmering purple. Deacon reached the Slowpoke, his horn making contact when, suddenly, a Confusion attack lashed out and once again blasted Deacon away. This time, both Pokemon were knocked reeling by the attack of the other.

    "What?!" Eloy grimaced. This was the first time the Slowpoke seemed to have actively opposed an attack. For a second, Eloy actually considered that it had just been playing with him the whole time.

    Calm down. That's not it. Deacon was further away so it had more time to react. You can use that.

    "Deacon, again!" Deacon was on his feet in a flash, splashing through the lake as he closed in on the Slowpoke. The Water type was just back on its feet when Deacon rammed into it and sent it sprawling once more with his Poison Sting. "Again!"

    They repeated this strategy several times, Deacon smashing into the slower Pokemon as it returned to its feet, before it could get a bearing on the situation and retaliate. Over and over, Deacon's purple-glowing horn struck the Slowpoke until at last Deacon was blasted back by a full force Confusion.

    Deacon didn't even touch the water as he flew through the air and crashed into the dirt on the lake's shore. Apparently, the Slowpoke didn't appreciate it's slowness being taken advantage of. Slowly, Deacon climbed back to his feet. He didn't look like he was up to taking too many more Confusions either.

    Eloy looked over at the Slowpoke, although it was much less expressive than his partner, it was also clearly feeling the battle now.

    "Okay, that's enough." Eloy placed himself between the two combatants, wincing as his shoes and socks took on water. "We don't need you knocking each other out."

    Eloy turned and walked toward the Slowpoke, squatting down in front of it, its face still staring blankly.
    "You're pretty tough, and if we train you to be a bit quicker on the uptake, you'll turn into a really valuable team member. Want to come with?"

    There was silence as trainer and Pokemon looked at each other. Eventually, the Slowpoke tilted its head to the side again.

    "I'm taking that as a yes then." Eloy went back to his bag and retrieved a pokeball before making his way back to the Slowpoke. He reached down and tapped the ball to the Water type, drawing it inside in a beam of red.

    The ball wiggled in Eloy's hand several times before coming to a halt, still in his hand.

    "Well, welcome to the team. Let's hope for both of us this was worth the wet shoes."

    Team Eloy
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven
    The Stairway to Heaven


  • "Well," the man said, "My name is Clancy and my coworker here is named Bronwyn. We're representatives from Mythic Labs and doing just that is our speciality."

    We already talked about this on Discord, but I'm still very amused by this hahaha. So in your story Zinc and Protein are like drug-enhancements for Pokemon. Wonder how that will affect stuff like gym battles and other tournaments and the public's reaction to it.

    Oh gosh, that battle with Slowpoke lol. Yeah, probably not a bad idea to help it out with reaction time lol.

    Venia Silente

    Inspectious. Good for napping.
  • It has been a long time but I could not let this forsaken year go without Deacon, ya know.

    For this I manage basically to catch up from Ch. 9 to Ch. 14, first part of which was done actually about four months prior but never posted.

    Anyway, that's it on commentary so far. I know there's still quite a road to go but over time I *WILL* be catching up.

    Moving around towns always means the chance of going off the trodden path, walking into who knows what. Mind, it's not always adventure -- sometimes, it's just Ghibli comfy that makes your characters want to flop on the grass and take a nap.

    But not Deacon, no! Our furball is as full of energy as ever. I like how he runs circles around Eloy's feet (mind, it's feet not feat, though it *is* a feat that Eloy can even catch up with Deacon). And good for them, it's lunch time.

    He withdrew a sandwich that was oozing something pink and sticky out the sides and unwrapped it. Truth be told, he had no idea what the pink goo was exactly but he'd seen it on the shelves at the store and there was no way he could go wrong with pink.
    Please no, please not Soylent Pink. Soylent Pink is Nidoran!!!!

    "Come on, he's a friend," Eloy sighed,

    Deacon had to learn to share

    Here we got to another of the kind of things that I like and that I have mentioned in other reviews - showing how life is for the newbie, inexperienced Trainer first time in the open. I really liked also that Maestro slowly learns to trust, but not too much.

    Also because life for the newbie Trainer sucks, they already get harassed by a wild mon pack. Good job!

    Several of the aggressive Pokemon had started to foam at the mouth, even the cute Lillipup now looked like vicious nightmare monsters. Then the first one attacked.
    Foam at the mouth? I retract my statement, get ouTTA THERE DEACON!!!! Oh and save the rest!

    Overall the battle against these "Dogs of War" did well, it was a moment of decent suspense and also of slight, meandering wonder about the nature of the event so close to the trodden road, like "what gives?" but also "what if?". Maestro fared well for a Pokémon in their very first stafges of training and also you did a good (almost too good) work evoking a comparison against "normal" (Trainer?) battles even as Eloy still does not have that much comprehension about them -- except the *very* basics that distinguish them from a situation like this. Stuff like "Going for the kill" and "Attacking the human" included.

    Afterwards there's a sort of rescue, it's good to see Zubat screentime. Seeing Lauren around, all beaten up, comes as a surprise but a welcome one.. I mean, at this point any newcomer to assist is welcome. But anyway. I don't really like it that Lauren takes the time to exposit on the why certain potential plans of action are unadvisable when the narration itself and the characters stress that this is no time to blabber, but I can live with the initial explanations. Besides, people need to be informed at least of which directions to run to, it's called disaster planning.

    They do end up taking the in general correct choice, "fighting retreat", which is described well and I liked how you do mention how the spacing between the attacks affects the various characters, such as knocked over canines having to take the time to get up and rush to catch up with the retreating team.

    "Good," Eloy replied "if I don't get off my feet soon they might actually fall off."

    "I'd be more worried about your arm. Besides we've only been on the run for about eleven hours." Lauren smiled warmly.

    What what little but specific I know about people who get lost in the wilds, rural search and rescue and that kind of thing, I'm not sure if I am finding this either very realistic, or very unrealistic. It's an interestint extreme that they all have managed to stay on the run this long without the pack catching up (which IMO would best have happened at dusk), witout any severe infection taking hold, and in particular without them, on a road, meeting other travellers or a vehicle that could be of help.

    If anything, it says something about how you designed this part of the the region for "rural" that these events can take place but that there is still lots of margin for more response, simply had it been more people around.

    "Ni!" Deacon cried out at the top of his lungs.

    Best Nido, period. Always helpful. And good thing he did not have to be recalled to his Ball.

    Good work on showing off some good Noctowl muscle. People oft forget that Noctowl are inspired by owls and that owls themselves are rated rather high in terms of fitness and capacity in the avian world (in particular at night), and here it shows with a well made dive, landing on and using a specific spot for a specific purpose.

    Since I also happen to have a Noctowl character, this is also extra entertaining for me.

    After all this the team is more or less safe and sound and we cutscene skip to next day with this curious opener:

    Mortimer floated by her side, silent but quizzically prodding the pancakes.
    Establishing a new facet of personality and hinting at a number of usual worldbuilding questions all in one go.

    The story takes an interesting angle with some social work / community service and the introduction of an Elite Four early into the story, Nora (boy are we going to get along well). We get instantly some attention to the fact that she's 1.- dressing rather plain and 2.- carrying a full team. Nice detail. And boy does it seem Eloy is a fan.

    "I'll just take these two since they seem to know each other, Rhys," she said,
    Oh this can go places.

    I'll have to keep catching up to figure out more of how the E4 functions in your world, but I liked it that even though she shows up as more or less a happenstance, she' just sitting (well, walking) here doing the same job any normal experienced Trainer would likely be doing, it's just the stakes are somewhat higher this time.

    Eloy released Deacon from his ball, the Nidoran appearing in a flash. Noticing the sounds of the approaching Lillipup and Herdier, he immediately bristled with his ears perked up, ready for a fight.

    "A Nidoran! How cute," Nora beamed.
    Yes we shall get along well.

    Also good to know that Deacon is already ready for the action. Hopefully it goes better this time, he does have a few more EXP points under his belt.

    "Excellent!" Nora chimed "For the uninitiated though, [...]

    While I don't usually like that kind of exposition thrown in a situation like this, it gets a pass because Nora keeps it concise but a the same time can't help but slipping into her Teacher persona of previous experience, and those things feel realistic because when in a situation od danger, once you've gotten past the flight-or-fight part, the instinct *does* is to fall back on what you know well. And this maps to Eloy's reactions as well.

    Also, I have to snicker at watching random Pokémon get yeeted by a Kangaskhan. Even if it happens three or four times in sequence, here it doesn't get old. The way you write it, it's like watching someone getting yeeted (yote?) in Smash, what with the sparks and trails.

    Eloy took the chance to survey the battlefield once more. Looking around just in time to see a Lillipup attempt to Tackle Mortimer. The Normal type ran straight through Mortimer as if he wasn't there, the Ghost type being immune to that kind of attack.
    I LITERALLY FORGOT MORTIMER IS GHOST TYPE!!! Why does this always happen to me!

    Three Lillipup, three Herdier and one Stoutland.
    I have the understanding in the wild canine packs are actually family units? I wonder if this is also the case here. Oh well, more to read.

    Also, that part with Stoutland went down real bad real fast. You manage to pose a good reminder that, even in the wild, Pokémon are capable of attacks and techniques of various types, so the more straightforward strategies that manage to serve IRL predation don't really map well in a Pokémon world and more inventive is needed. The oncoming mayhem with the change of strategies and targets was a nice addition and we got to see an E4 to struggle just a bit, all for Deacon's welfare. Yes!

    And in the end, Stoutland is beaten and the pack captured. All in a good day's work though I have my suspicions for the chapters ahead. What's more, Deacon gets a heal and he's as good as new.

    "You could be forgiven for not knowing he'd just been in a life-or-death situation," Eloy said to her, shaking his head.
    To be fair, rabbits have to live day to day, so long as they stay energetic, quick, and full of tricks, and they will never be destroyed. It's also a good thing that the matter of keeping such kinds of Pokémon out of their Ball is given some consideration as well, besides it does mean more Nidoran screentime.

    Eloy's gonna have so much fun once Deacon evolves (and when he does again...).

    "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."
    Finally some f*ing delicious worldbuilding, some hints as to where Sigia is in the world and an acknowledgement that Lauren has at least more of a sort of second-hand experience as well as her first-hand experience as a Trainer.

    After this, this new sort of team formed out of despair in times of attacks in the wilderness, splits and goes their own ways and we can return to our routine Gym Challenging programme for next review.