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Good luck on your journeys!
MissMarquise
Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Joined: June 17th, 2016, 12:09 am

October 9th, 2017, 11:27 pm #21

amelia middlename westwood, did you name your pokemon after a goshdang swimming anime???

(also nice job minding that character limit, jimmy :P, the extra screenshots you had to go digging up were definitely worth it anyways)

❀❧❀{ ^^^ I write that! } ❀❧❀
(summer hiatus while i corral children on a remote island for $$$! brb)
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Natsu
Conqueror of the Mahogany Gym
Conqueror of the Mahogany Gym
Joined: June 6th, 2016, 7:48 am

October 10th, 2017, 4:57 am #22

Oh my god Jimcloud, now I'm confused entirely about the state of the Nuzlocke.

poor amelia - what is wrong with her mum sending a kid who doesn't know anything into the wild this is too memey for this. one right heartless bastard aye she is.

I've become even more crazy.

I've Been Kaizoed:A Kaizo Trilogy.
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler

What.The.Fuck
This Storm Silver file is the Poketuber Supra's.Look what I found!

Now this is pretty cool.Taken on 18/03/2017 15:38 IST
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler

Fragile Lives:A Nuzlympics Challenge

Error 1984:Eastasia Not Found
April fools 2017.
Communism turns into Socialism.


I'm Bored! A No Healing Nuzlocke of Emerald.

Psyched! The Ultimate Psychic Monotype Sololockes. - COMPLETE

SK17 Speedrun - FTL
Light That Burns The Sky! Event run - Return of the Rift
[+] Spoiler
1.Crystal Standard Nuzlocke.[SET]

2.Leaf Green Randomizer Nuzlocke.[SET]

3:Supra's Storm Sliver Egglocke.[SHIFT,Upto E4 only]

Natsu the Charizard
Algow the Lanturn
Reiki the Lucario
Sleepy the Snorlax
Azura the Froslass
Capone the Honchcrow

This file is not mine;it is the Youtuber Supra's, who put a link to his ROM and SAV file for anyone to download and play.


White Nuzlocke.Underleved as fuck.


Platinum Nuzlocke.My Bloodiest one yet.24 deaths, and these were my last 6 Pokemon.[SET]
Aang the Gyarados - MVP for Dragon Dancing Flint,Lucian and Cynthia
Zep the Chimecho - Surpisingly Strong even with Adamant.
Brobat the Crobat
Cedaric the Abomasnow
Gaia the Rhyperior - DEAD
Anoxia the Tentacruel - DEAD


Blind Pearl Extreme Notepad (Notepad+Can only use the next mon in the box) [SET]
Jack the Infernape x Joy the Toxicroak
Whiskey the Girafarig x Lyra the Kricketune
Stormer the Quagsire x Pepper the Gastrodon
[+] Spoiler

Banner created by the God Jackinev.ALL HAIL HIM!
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Heather
Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Joined: April 7th, 2014, 4:34 am

October 15th, 2017, 7:07 pm #24

Pardon me I'm just going to go slap some sense into Amelia's mom because NO YOU DO NOT DO THAT TO YOUR KID

All that aside, fantastic content so far. Keep it up!

In Soviet NatPark, I'm a fish!
[+] Spoiler
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Shiny Dustox
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Joined: August 29th, 2014, 12:34 pm

October 18th, 2017, 4:57 am #25

Hey, everyone! First of, thank you all again for the comments! I really do apologize for the delay in posting parts 3 and 4. There were some real life snafus that needed to be addressed before this could go live. However, that's all dealt with, so you can enjoy two updates today. We’ll also be moving the next update to Saturday, so y’all have enough time to read these two. But don’t worry, next week, we’ll resume our normal schedule.

Just to address something in the comments, no one fainted or died in the Jackson fight in game. But the decision for the story was for Amelia to lose to Jackson to highlight her rookie experience against Jackson's battling skills. Don't worry, Amelia and her team are all alive and kicking! For now...

Anyway, enjoy!
[+] Part 3 (Revenant)





Sorry for causing a delay—I definitely was hoping to recover from a deadly clip studio crash faster than I did.
It was fun to draw a gym battle with such a wacky team, and since we all know how it went in game with Leslie, I figured it would be more in character to have it be a complete train wreck for Amelia. Hope you enjoy.
Thanks <3
[+] Part 4 (Vent)
The sun hung in the sky above Mt. Moon. Amelia and her motley band of Pokemon stood outside. The trainer felt sweat hang on her skin and her heart pounding.

"Too much running," she murmured, shaking her head. If she wasn't in a hurry to get through Mt. Moon, she would've stopped at the Poke Center for more than healing. Still, she wanted to get through as soon as possible.

"Didn't one of the men say something about Team Rocket in there?" Leslie said.

"Eh, they aren't a big deal!" Free said. "'sides, I'm close to evolving! I can feel it! They don't stand a chance against me!"

"When you're actually ready to go..." Kareem murmured. He drew in the sand, a simple pattern of a sun and vague stick figures that looked like the group. Sure, they got into arguments and a couple of them did their best to try and make him angry, but... it was still nice.

"Harumph," Klay muttered, crossing his arms. He waddled up to the entrance. Red eyes glowered at the darkness of the cave. Light enough to go in without Flash, anyway, but he still didn't like it. Caves were never fun and whatever this Team Rocket gang was up to was probably no good. "We should get going. Caves and night time strike me as a bad combination."

"Oh! Oh! It's the Zubats, right?" Leslie asked. Klay turned to look at the slobber from the Bulbasaur's tongue, her little pit bull tail waggling.

For once, he smiled.

"Yep," he said, scratching his chin. Everyone knew about Zubats, the blood sucking little buggers. You could ask any ol' Rattata about that. "So we sho-ARGH!"

The group watched as a fluffy pink blob crashed down from the sky. In an instant, Klay found his lower half buried in dirt, his tail twitching. The alien-like creature kicked her legs, her large black eyes only inches from the half buried Klay.

"Wooooooow!" she said. "It's so different here!"

"Er," Christina said, raising a wing. "I'm pretty sure you're upside down?"

"Not the only thing upside down about her," Free snapped.

Kareem placed a finger on his lips and hushed the two. "She's probably just--"

"Oh!" The fluffy alien rolled off. A small bit of dust kicked up as she plopped down. She hummed and tilted her head, right hand under her mouth. "... mmmm, nope! Still different! It's incredible how different this is from the moon!"

"The MOON!?" Amelia recoiled backwards. She grabbed her PokeDex, the red device scanning the pink blob. Clefairy... and huh. Rumor had it she was from outer space according to this thing. Maybe it wasn't so off. "W-well, the Pokedex mentions it."

"Yeah but she'd probably have been on fire if she fell from there." The group looked to Christina.

"Have you ever seen someone fall from the moon before?" Leslie said, crossing her vines in front of her.

"Well, no, but--" As Christina attempted to object, Klay grunted and pushed himself out from the ground, clumps of dirt rolling off of him.

"See! There's a chance!" Leslie exclaimed. She bounded up to the Clefairy. "So what's the moon like?"

Klay rolled his eyes and quietly dusted himself off.

"Well... it's cold! And tall!" She threw both of her arms up. "It's like I can see the entire Earth from there!"

"Uh," Klay started, then coughed.

Leslie tilted her head away and grimaced for a moment. "Well... anything else?"

"Let it be said for the record that I told you so," Christina said and chuckled.

"Everything down here on Earth seems so much bigger!" Clefairy said, pointing to the Poke Center nearby. "Like that building! It seems so gigantic!"

"Oh fer--" Klay threw his arms up. "This is stupid."

Kareem held up a finger. "Uh, Klay." Clefairy blinked.

"This is beyond the dumbest thing we've dealt with."

"Klay..." Kareem's voice grew sharper.

"If this were put on a top ten, this would be one." Klay shook his head, dismissing the prior thought with a waving finger. "Actually, no. This would be the literal entire top ten."

The rest of the group exchanged glances, then looked to Clefairy. She gave Klay a blank look.

"Well I'm not entirely sure how that's possible but Klay please--" Kareem's voice turned to have begging and half on the verge of a breakdown. Sweet dripped down his skin.

"The entire world thinks this is dumb! No, universe!" Klay slammed his hands down as fists on his side. "Actually, even entirely different universes, with no knowledge of us in the slightest, would nod their heads and say." His voice turned into a mocking, almost feminine, tone. ""You're right, Klay. This is the dumbest thing ever, even counting Leslie suggesting that we drink"--"

"KLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!" Kareem howled. After a few monkey screeches, the Mankey lunged for Klay. Veins popped out of his forehead. Leslie grunted as she wrapped her vines around Kareem, hauling him back

"Urgh! So tough, I feel my body--" Leslie started. Her body suddenly erupted with a brief shimmer of light.

"Look, see! It's the magic of the moon, it's flowing through her!" Clefairy exclaimed, pointing at Leslie.

"No it's not!" the others exclaimed in unison. Suddenly the light came back in force. A beautiful pink flower bloomed from the bulb, the old green peeling off and flopping downwards. Leslie grew in size, almost twice the size she was before, with more prominent spots on her teal skin.

Finally, the evolution stopped. And to boot, Kareem settled down. He stared back at Leslie after being dropped to the ground, kicking up a bit of dust.

"Huh." Amelia said. "I'm not sure if it's moon magic, but you evolved Leslie!" She clasped her hands together in front of her and grinned. Looks like things were looking up for once! Even if they still had to trudge through Mt. Moon.

"I feel so strong!" Leslie exclaimed. She flexed her vines and grinned.

Amelia blinked. She turned to Clefairy, holding a Poke Ball in her right hand.

"Hey, uh..." Magic? Magic. She did kinda call her shot with the whole Leslie evolving deal and all. "Magic! That sound good?"

"Oooooo!" Magic said, nodding up and down.

"Good. Welcome to the team, Magic."

-

"Ugh, it feels so damp and..." Christina shuddered. "Moist."

Amelia furrowed her brow and stuck her tongue out. "Ugh. That word just--"

The group had been travelling through Mt. Moon for an hour or so now. Leslie had taken point, with Magic in almost perpetual awe. "It's nothing like the moon!" she'd exclaim every so often. "You earthlings are so different!"

"It's--" Kareem held up a finger, then sighed. "Never mind." Explaining this to Magic was an exercise destined to end in madness.

"Hey, Amelia!" Jackson said. He rounded a corner in front of the group, hands in pockets and Jenny by his side, the Charmeleon's tail swishing back and forth. "I didn't think you'd come through here with the Rockets around..."

"Yeah, well." Amelia tossed her hands up. "Here I am. What do you want?"

"A quick break from beating them up," Jackson said. He yawned and stretched his arms over his head. "Pretty boring if you ask me."

"Good for you," Amelia said. She walked past Jackson. "Now if you're excuse me I'd like to get out of here before nightfall." And also ignore him. That just happened to be a nice side effect of moving on quickly. And also it likely meant not meeting up with some of those Rockets which would be really, really great.

Leslie waved hi and goodbye to Jenny, and the rest of the gang slowly followed after her.

Jackson shrugged and grinned. "Sure you don't want me to come along? I can protect you from those big bad Rockets!" He yelled in a mocking tone.

"Screw off!" Amelia said.

Deep down, she just hoped she wouldn't regret turning it down.

-

"We're not lost, are we?" Leslie said, looking around. A couple of hours had passed. Amelia knew they had made some progress into Mt. Moon, and while it wasn't the most complicated cave in the world- Rock Tunnel and Victory Road both sprung to mind- it was still quite a hike.

"Nah," Klay said. His nose twitched. The faint wafting of fresh air filled his nostrils. "We're close, I think."

"The rat's right, I smell a bit of fresh air," Christina said, guffawing. "Hah! The Rockets were probably too scared."

"Yeah!" Free chimed in.

"Space rockets?" Magic asked.

Amelia sighed, but her frown turned into a smile and a light chuckle. "If only they were like that, Magic. If only they were."

"They're pokemon thieves and gangsters!" Kareem said, then coughed. "If uh, what that old guy said was true."

"Well Jackson said he fought some of em, right?" Klay said. His ears twitched. The sounds of wind outside hit his ears. His head on a swivel, he looked around the open cave area as he continued. "Maybe he scared him off."

"Hah! We don't need his he--" Free started.

"Hey!" A man clad in a black uniform, black hat sitting on his short hair and a red R prominent on the chest of his uniform. A whip was coiled up on his belt, his hand strained against a black leash. It lead to a spiked collar on a ferocious Raticate, foam practically boiling at the bottom of his mouth. "You're that red-headed asshole's associate, arentcha?"

Klay crossed his arms and let out a "hmph" as he took a few steps ahead of everyone else. Amelia's eyes slowly went down to the rabid Raticate, heart starting to pound and palms glistening with sweat.

"What's your business with that?" Klay said, then spit on the ground. "Jackson's not exactly a friend of ours, if that's what you're asking."

"I saw you chatting with him earlier! Like hell you aren't!" At this, the grunt's grip loosened on the leash just a bit. The Raticate began to chatter in a frenzy, unable to speak coherently. If it didn't look like it was ready to kill, Amelia would feel bad for it. "Tell me where he is!"

"He's probably out of here by now," Klay said, tensing up. The others watched apprehensively; even Magic seemed aware of her surroundings. Big alien eyes observed the creature with worry. The Clefairy muttered under her breath about how scary some things were down here on earth.

"So why don't you catch up with him before we take you down?" Christina sniped, flying around the Raticate and his grunt. "It'll buy you an hour or so, if nothing else."

"Yeah!" Free chimed in. Amelia hardly noticed the shaking Metapod, cracks forming in it. "Why I feel ready to burst out of this shell and--"

"Yeah? And do what?" The grunt's grasp loosened on the leash entirely. "This?"

In a flash, the Raticate was on top of Klay, its weight pinning the Rattata down. Klay felt the foam drip down, his reflection in the fangs. His muscles struggled against the pin for moments, Christina swooped down, Free's shell began to crack and glow and-

Klay looked back at Amelia, still shaking, paralyzed by fear. Acceptance passed through his head moments before the world went dark, fangs crushing his neck with an unceremonious crack

"KLAY!" Kareem shouted. The Raticate flinched as Christina's wing slashed into his face. The Raticate stumbled on the cave floor, blood dripping from the cut on his left cheek.

"Hmph. He should've known better." Leslie would've glared at the Pidgey, had she not been worried about Amelia.

"I-" Amelia choked out, tears intermingling with sweat and her nerves ratcheting up, heartbeat racing and mind pounding and oh no she- she.

The Metapod's shell burst open brilliantly as Kareem screamed, a Karate Chop crashing through Raticate's fangs and shattering them, the fragments scattering across the floor. Blood dripped from the remnants of the Raticate's fangs, the faintest bit of terror crossing his eyes as he stared down the vein popping from Kareem's forehead.

Terror enough to prevent him from looking up above. Green powder danced down from above, Free's butterfly wings dumping the stuff on him. His eyes grew drowsy, adrenaline and rabid intensity only able to keep him going so far.

His eyelids grew heavy, only able to catch the faintest glimpse of Kareem's fist and Christina's left wing smashing into his face. The Raticate's body tumbled to the floor, calcium and dust intermingling with his fur before he came to a total stop.

Amelia felt Leslie's vine wrap around her hand as the Grunt took a cautious step back from the angry Mankey stomping towards him. The trainer's teary gaze was met with a similar one from the Ivysaur.

"Stay back!" The Grunt shouted, grabbing for his whip only to find air. Christina flew through the skies, holding the coiled weapon.

"Or?" Christina mocked. A grin crossed her face as Kareem let out another frenzied screech. The Rocket stared down the fighting type, milk brown fur now red hot.

He whimpered and quivered as Kareem's fists trembled. With a cry, he ran screaming out of the cave, swearing up a storm and cursing "those stupid brats and their pokemon."

Of course, Amelia didn't know why he cursed her. She sniffed. She didn't do anything, she didn't hand out any orders. She felt her mind and body seize up entirely and- and-

Leslie pulled at Amelia's left hand, guiding her trainer up to Klay's motionless body, head at an unnatural angle. Christina unceremoniously dumped the whip in some dark corner of Mt. Moon, and landed on a particularly distant-looking rock. Free hovered around, her mind wanting to take credit for that, to prove to everyone that she was truly that great, but her heart said otherwise.

Magic quivered at the sight, slowly walking up to the body. Kareem breathed heavily, his fur returning to his normal tan color. He dropped to his knees, kicking up a small puff of dust. He didn't want to turn around and look. Why would he?

Magic carefully walked around Amelia and Leslie, eyes conveying about as much worry as they could. She walked up to Klay's body and poked it, a knot in her gut at the sight of his head at an unnatural angle.

She looked to Leslie and Amelia, pushing her fingers together. "Is... is he ok?" she asked tentatively. The liquid under her eyes betrayed her gut instincts.

"No," Amelia said, gasping as she choked down tears. Leslie's vines wrapped around her trainer, mimicking a tight sympathetic hug. "No, no he isn't Magic."

Silence took over the cavern, only the occasional sniffle or cry interrupting.


art by AgentNein
[+] Current Team
Liam Tierra Virgil Bree Aurora Helena
To view my Completed Runs, feel free to visit The Insectarium.
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SeaMaid
Conqueror of the Olivine Gym
Conqueror of the Olivine Gym
Joined: April 7th, 2014, 1:33 pm

October 18th, 2017, 4:12 pm #26

Brock looks like a cleanshaven Bob Ross I l ov e hi m

Living on a prayer is a classic yes, it fits here too

... hm, we're already going on to Mt. Moon? no more talk with that fine man?

And that's how we're depicting the catch oh my god :DDD

moist is one of the few words I want to write in a funky accent, but there are literally no ways to make it look sillier in text. help.
edit: WAIT WAIT WAIT

I GOT IT

MÖÏST

as for the ending...
... ;_;
CURRENT AVATAR: a drawing of Zizou from Legend of Dark Witch, as drawn by Famimatsu

Music Thread | SoundCloud | Music tumblr

Want a storylocke of a "soul-crushing" hake along with that hobbyist music? This one's gonna come back someday I swear:


I'm also responsible for the one and only HarvestCraft run on these forums if you want a chill experience.
(that one's on semi-official hiatus though, sorry;;)
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CarrotChipper
Conqueror of the Ecruteak Gym
Conqueror of the Ecruteak Gym
Joined: May 17th, 2015, 4:15 pm

October 18th, 2017, 6:47 pm #27

participants can comment too right?

but yeah this is my first time reading either update and aaaaaaaaaa theyre both so perfect <3

first of all thank christ rev did a musical update, westward would not have been complete without one of revs famous musical updates. the fight was so dynamic-looking and klay and kareem were so fluffy-looking and brock was so hot-looking...the whole thing was really great.

as for vents update I kinda forgot what was suppose to go down in this section and I am SHOOK. magic's introduction was so much funnier than I could imagine (top ten stupidest things: #10-1, this) and that goddamn raticate was so much scarier than I could imagine! theres so much body horror in that fight, what with the teeth and the neck...yeesh ;^;

whats gonna happen next?!
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Greener223224
Conqueror of the Cerulean Gym
Conqueror of the Cerulean Gym
Joined: September 20th, 2013, 12:12 am

October 20th, 2017, 4:06 am #28

Nice update. Loving the story so far.

Hey, I just realized something. Since the story is freely taking a bunch of liberties with FRLG’s scenario, does that mean there could be OCs added into the story? That could be worth a try.
This post doesn't actually exist. You're really just dreaming.
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Vent
Conqueror of the Cianwood Gym
Conqueror of the Cianwood Gym
Joined: February 29th, 2012, 3:49 am

October 21st, 2017, 1:20 am #29

Greener223224 wrote:Nice update. Loving the story so far.

Hey, I just realized something. Since the story is freely taking a bunch of liberties with FRLG’s scenario, does that mean there could be OCs added into the story? That could be worth a try.
thanks for reading so far! it took a lot of time and effort to put all of this together

to answer the question; there aren't any OCs added to this story and this is essentially completed already behind the scenes and whatnot.

Updated 8/31/18! Q/A open until Chapter 30! Banner by Rainey!


NBL S10 record; 7-3 (+14) MVP: Hydreigon

and a coupla other story things, nuzlocke and not nuzlocke;
[+] Spoiler

A Black storylocke! Updated 6/10/18! Banner by Dusty!

The Multiverse Theory, a series of short stories set in a crossover universe! Updated 3/25/2018
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Shiny Dustox
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Joined: August 29th, 2014, 12:34 pm

October 22nd, 2017, 4:42 am #30

CarrotChipper wrote:whats gonna happen next?!
Read on to find out! :D

Anyway, thanks for waiting! Here's the next update!
[+] Part 5 (Emilianite)

This was fun! I did my best to include all the needed elements on a single update, which was quite a bit from death aftermath to introducing a new friend and a gym battle. It’s definitely compact and has some things happening off-screen (like a proper mourning bit after the last update; hopefully the conversation in the beginning gives a little break before our Abra friend!) In any case, hope you had fun reading!

art by AgentNein
[+] Current Team
Liam Tierra Virgil Bree Aurora Helena
To view my Completed Runs, feel free to visit The Insectarium.
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Natsu
Conqueror of the Mahogany Gym
Conqueror of the Mahogany Gym
Joined: June 6th, 2016, 7:48 am

October 22nd, 2017, 7:45 am #31

Crap, I missed the previous update - so heres one for everybody!

@Update 3 - Revenant, your style of drawing is incredibly realistic and the song was really appropriate! stupid player no vine whip spam here or what

@Update 4 - Crash landing Clefairy - Magic's introduction is the best character intro I have seen so far - Magic has literally fallen out of the sky - Aasmaan Se Gira Khajoor Mein Atka, this proverb in hindi is rather appropriate, as Magic is now a part of rookie and unstable team lol - and the run ending raticate took another life.

@Update 5 - WOAH BULLET CAUGHT AN ABRA CONGRATS and that was a very condensed update though - captures and gym battle, but Amelia is getting confident and I liek that.
I've become even more crazy.

I've Been Kaizoed:A Kaizo Trilogy.
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler

What.The.Fuck
This Storm Silver file is the Poketuber Supra's.Look what I found!

Now this is pretty cool.Taken on 18/03/2017 15:38 IST
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler

Fragile Lives:A Nuzlympics Challenge

Error 1984:Eastasia Not Found
April fools 2017.
Communism turns into Socialism.


I'm Bored! A No Healing Nuzlocke of Emerald.

Psyched! The Ultimate Psychic Monotype Sololockes. - COMPLETE

SK17 Speedrun - FTL
Light That Burns The Sky! Event run - Return of the Rift
[+] Spoiler
1.Crystal Standard Nuzlocke.[SET]

2.Leaf Green Randomizer Nuzlocke.[SET]

3:Supra's Storm Sliver Egglocke.[SHIFT,Upto E4 only]

Natsu the Charizard
Algow the Lanturn
Reiki the Lucario
Sleepy the Snorlax
Azura the Froslass
Capone the Honchcrow

This file is not mine;it is the Youtuber Supra's, who put a link to his ROM and SAV file for anyone to download and play.


White Nuzlocke.Underleved as fuck.


Platinum Nuzlocke.My Bloodiest one yet.24 deaths, and these were my last 6 Pokemon.[SET]
Aang the Gyarados - MVP for Dragon Dancing Flint,Lucian and Cynthia
Zep the Chimecho - Surpisingly Strong even with Adamant.
Brobat the Crobat
Cedaric the Abomasnow
Gaia the Rhyperior - DEAD
Anoxia the Tentacruel - DEAD


Blind Pearl Extreme Notepad (Notepad+Can only use the next mon in the box) [SET]
Jack the Infernape x Joy the Toxicroak
Whiskey the Girafarig x Lyra the Kricketune
Stormer the Quagsire x Pepper the Gastrodon
[+] Spoiler

Banner created by the God Jackinev.ALL HAIL HIM!
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Sir Cottonee
Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Joined: September 18th, 2011, 6:01 pm

October 23rd, 2017, 4:29 am #32

AAAAAAAAA I'm loving this! Collaborative nuzlockes are always a ton of fun and WESTWARD ramps it up to the extreme. I kinda sorta wished I knew about this earlier so I could've signed up but I'm pretty awful with schedules/deadlines as is. Based on how this reads I'm assuming everybody follows a rubric (e.g. Amelia = anxious newb, Leslie = enthusiastic nerd) and are prompted with "sections" of the story, like how 1.2's about getting Bulbasaur and 1.3's the first rival battle. It's a little weird when things go from silly to serious out of nowhere between different authors - like when a goofy Moltres going "SCRAAAH!" and dropping fireballs becomes a traumatic event it's a little hard to take it seriously - this type of run is gonna be a little more lighthearted by nature. Sometimes it feels like I'm jumping between parallel universes and that's kind of amazing.

Also, I really like Magic. Clefairy is a special angel and with all the hardships/arguing the team's been going through it's refreshing to see a happy-go-lucky character. :fairytype: I guess she'll have to do now that my formerly favourite character's been disposed of.

I'll try to keep up with this. Great work, everyone! :krn:

EDIT: Oh, they have an Abra now. And I guess he'll be my new new favourite. Damn, this is going by fast.


recent updates: (06/07/2018) Turn 5 of Make it Rain, Man! is out! It's whatever.
______________(06/03/2017) Chapter 1.6 of STATIC is out! Fighting for the right to fight (and not fight)!
______________(04/15/2018) part iv. of It's the End of the Universe, Baby! is out. Not as many aesthetics as I might've wanted, but there's some cool stuff.
[+] Spoiler
;-;
[+] Spoiler
;_;
[+] Spoiler
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MissMarquise
Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Joined: June 17th, 2016, 12:09 am

October 23rd, 2017, 5:42 am #33

a round of applause all around!

Steven's such a cutie, like lookit at his fluffy face!

(i dont really have a lot of insightful stuff to say about all this other than the collaboration is fun to watch happen all blend together)

❀❧❀{ ^^^ I write that! } ❀❧❀
(summer hiatus while i corral children on a remote island for $$$! brb)
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Shiny Dustox
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Joined: August 29th, 2014, 12:34 pm

October 23rd, 2017, 12:46 pm #34

There's definitely a different approach between authors per part. We did have most of the essential character qualities hammered out before we started working, and the in-game notes for us to incorporate as well. But yeah, each author has their distinct style, and I think that's what makes Westward a very dynamic -and fun- project to read. And we're very happy you all think so as well!

Anyway, I know it's just been a day-ish since the last update but we're going back to the regular update, which means another update coming at you!
[+] Part 6 (Plain Yogurt)
"...and before they knew it, I had every single one of 'em standing on their heads!"

The only sound that echoed through the brisk early morning air was Magic's light giggling as Amelia's team walked along the Nugget Bridge. The famous five-trainer gauntlet wasn't set up this early, leaving the group's only challenge to be how many of them could stomach another one of their new Abra teammate's many, many prank stories.

Steven feigned a look of disappointment at the silence as he looked to the Clefairy. "Man this team's a tough crowd, eh Magic?"

Christina scoffed as she walked along one of bridge's arm railings, not even looking back to face Steven. "Ah, yes. Tricking a bunch of Pokemon into standing on their heads. Hysterical."

Steven smirked as he shrugged. "Eh. Guess you had to be there."

Further on ahead in the group, Free let out an exhausted buzz, her antennae drooping as she hovered just along the other arm railing.

"Ugh. How much longer does this bridge go on, anyways? I'm bored."

"Oh I dunno," Kareem piped up. "If you block out the chatter, it's kind of a relaxing stroll. Walking on wooden planks makes such a distinct sound, and would you just look at that lake?" He sighed as he looked across the water. Amelia walked up beside him, reaching down to scratch around his ears.

"It is really nice out this morning, isn’t it?" Amelia said with a smile. She took a deep breath of the cool, crisp air as she stretched her arms over her head. "Besides, it's not every day you get to run an errand for a world-famous inventor."

Free huffed as she eyed the package that lay on Leslie's back, securely fastened by the Ivysaur's thick vines as they walked. The team had been preparing for an early morning training session on Route 25 when the Pokemon Center nurse had called them over asking for a favor. Late last night, A package had been dropped by for a man who lived in a small home on the route and the Nurse had been unable to get a hold of him all morning. Leslie had taken one look at the name on the package and immediately agreed to help deliver it to him.

"Well I’m just saying that we better get paid back big for this," Free said. "Especially if this guy is really that famous."

Leslie tromped ahead of the team, visibly forcing herself to not charge as fast she could to the end of the bridge in excitement. She talked to herself in hushed mutterings, oblivious to the banter of her team.

"...and I am such a huge fan of yours...no no. Too strong. It's just an errand. Just running an errand. Yep, just an errand for freaking William Rivers oh my goodness."

The group soon finally made their way to the end of the bridge and followed the directions the nurse had given them leading to the winding woods of Route 25. Leslie continued to murmur to herself, and soon she began pulling away a bit from the group.

"Leslie, slow down!" Amelia cried, and Leslie snapped up straight as she and her thoughts came to an immediate halt. Amelia smiled at her as she the rest of the team quickly rejoined her with a quick jog. "I know this is super exciting, but his house isn't going anywhere. Let's all stick together, okay? I don't want to lose you in all of this green!"

"Sorry, I'm sorry!" The Ivysaur exclaimed with a sheepish grin. "I just can't believe we're actually going to meet the Bill Rivers! And to deliver a part for his next no-doubt brilliant invention, to boot!"

Christina glided over to perch just on top of the vine-wrapped package as the group continued on their way through the trees. "What's so great about this Bill guy?" she chirped.

Leslie stared up at her incredulously. "Um, hello? Bill Rivers? Inventor of the PC box?"

"You mean that thing that doesn't exist in the wild? Never heard of it, funnily enough."

Free floated by the two of them while rolling her eyes. "Would you two hush up?” she buzzed. “It looks like we're finally here!"

The grass gradually turned to stone paving leading up to a small house that had the bright color of a new home, with a rich, leafy green roof and clean white walls. The more she looked at it, however, the more Amelia wondered just what sort of inventions Bill got involved with. A chunk at the edge of the roof appeared to have been blown off, and each visible window featured at least one crack poorly patched with tape.

Amelia carefully took the package from her starter and tucked it under her arm as she approached the house. As she began to pull open the vinyl screen door, she could feel the top of it lean towards her as the hinge just barely kept the door attached to the wall. She looked between the door and her team with a grimace, receiving only an encouraging nod from Leslie as she finished carefully pulling it open. Amelia reached her hand slowly towards the door, letting it hover right in front of the painted wood for a tentative moment before lightly rapping her knuckles against it. The team waited, but even when Amelia knocked a second time there was no response beyond the chirps and chatters of the surrounding area.

Amelia let out a sigh and scratched her head. "Guess he's not home."

"Ohhhh no," Free buzzed as she shook her head. "I did not cross that whole entire bridge listening to the psychic troublemaker over here's seven different prank stories just to have to head back over and listen to seven more. We're delivering this thing if we've gotta camp here!"

"Well you'll have to get used to those prank stories, buzzy," Steven chuckled, "because there's plenty more where those came from!"

Leslie tromped up next to Amelia, . "Well we were told that he was gonna be here right now. Maybe he's in the bathroom?" A vine uncurled from the Ivysaur's bulb and lashed at the door. "Hey Mr. Rivers! We've got your package! Anybody home!?"

After another pause, a sly grin flashed across Steven's face. "Hold on guys. Gimme a sec." And the Abra vanished with a spark of purple light.

Christina rolled her eyes as the group looked around them. "Oh great. Where'd he go now?"

"Right behind ya, feathers."

Christina squawked as Steven returned to her side in another purple flash.

"Haha! That never gets old!" He exclaimed. The faces of his teammates said otherwise, however, and his smile faltered. "Anywho...Amelia, I didn't see anybody in there, but I think I might've heard somebody shouting! Maybe we oughta go in and take a look around?"

Amelia sighed. "Well you already kinda did, huh? You have a point though. He might be in trouble or something."

Cracking open the front door, Amelia poked her head inside and her eyes were immediately drawn to the back of the house, where a massive machine stood. On the one end stood a Pokemon PC, while on the other was a large, round metal casing with a sort of hatch in the front. She took a tentative step inside and-

"Hello!? Hey, is somebody at the door?!"

The sudden muffled cries caused Amelia to recoil back a little before she pinpointed the source as the metal casing. She slowly entered the house and approached the machine in wonder as her team followed her inside.

"Um, hello?" She squeaked. She could just hear a sigh of relief in response from inside the casing.

"Oh fantastic. Ya ain't robbed me yet. Look, I was tinkerin’ on the inside of this thing when I accidentally got myself locked in here. Could you help a guy out and go to that panel at the otha' end of the room and push the button to open the casing?"

Amelia glanced back towards the entrance where a shiny metal panel stood, its wires crossing along the floor of the room and connecting into the machine. "Uh, okay!"

She rushed over to the panel and stared at the rows of buttons on its surface. Some of them were accompanied by blinking lights while others were labeled with words she hadn't heard before.

"Um, sorry, which button is the one you want me to push?"

"Just hit that red door button! Ya can't miss it!"

Amelia searched, but she only grew more confused. Which red button? The one that blinked? The red orange one or the orange red one?

“Uh, sorry, there's a few red ones. Which one is-?”

“Don’t worry Amelia I found it!”

Steven had been floating behind her as she searched, and with a pointed claw he jabbed at a big green button on the panel with a tiny picture etched on it. Amelia snapped her head in front of the button as the Abra floated away, snickering. Her eyes went wide in recognition that that was almost certainly not the door button as she whirled around to face him.

"Steven-!"

Before she could even start chastising him a muffled screech sounded from inside the metal casing as it hummed and whirred. The lights in the small cottage flickered from the power consumed and the entire room shook from the floor to the ceiling, with books tumbling from their shelves and furniture falling over. Amelia almost fell forward herself, but she felt her starter's strong, rough vines wrap around her arms and she was pulled back upright just in time for the shaking to stop.

As Amelia's team picked themselves up from the floor, a hissing sound came from the metal casing as its doors opened and a familiar squat pink figure stumbled out. Just like Magic it had pointed ears and a curled tail to match its hair. Its eyes were a bit...different however. Where Magic had eyes that were nearly pitch black, this Clefairy's were oddly human-like, with brown irides.

Amelia tugged at her ponytail with her free hand as she looked down at it. "Uhhhh hello there. Sorry that we just kind of let ourselves in, umm..."

The Clefairy said nothing, brown eyes wide with shock as it looked up at Amelia then down at its body. Then the eyes refocused with realization and it held its head in its claws. "Ugggh...Seriously, kid?" The same male voice from before sighed. "I didn't think that finding the button for the door would be so hard. It's not exactly hiding, ya know, being the only big red button with a door on it an' all."

"I-I'm sorry." Amelia stammered as she glared at Steven. "Someone got a little sneaky."

The Clefairy just waved her off. "Eh, what's done is done," he muttered. "I can fix all this. Uh, I think. Look, what're you folks doin' here, anyhow?"

"We were hoping to meet with Bill Rivers," Leslie said. "This...IS his house, right?"

The Clefairy raised an eyebrow for a moment before hanging his head in his claw, taking a deep breath before looking to Leslie.

"Well, Greenie, hard as it is to believe, you're looking at-"

"You have a spaceship!"

Every eye turned to Magic, whose own eyes were shining like stars as she approached the other Clefairy and clasped his claws in her own. "I knew it would only be a matter of time before we found one, but I never thought that it would be so soon!"

"Uh, what?" the other Clefairy said as he tried to pull his claws away, but Magic held firm, ignoring his confusion.

"Oh, please would you let me take this spaceship to the moon sir?" She implored him. "I have wished to return home for some time now, and I will be able to show my new friends around up there as well!"

The Clefairy looked to Amelia's group, who collectively shrugged, before looking back into Magic's dark, otherworldly eyes. "Look, look, Pinky. This ain't a rocket ship er nothin’. Just a little project I'm workin' on that might help folks get to know their Pokemon a little better. And this..." He glanced down to himself again. "Hoo boy. Not quite the effect I was goin' for. Charlie is not gonna be happy."

As Magic deflated, Amelia cringed at the implication. "Oh my goodness I am so sorry Mr. Rivers. Uhhhhh...Is there anything we can do to help you at all?"

Bill thought for a moment, twirling the fur at the top of his head. His face went through a range of expressions from concentration to a short bout of giggling and back to deep thinking before he finally nodded and walked over to Amelia. He grabbed her by the arm and dragged her over to the control panel.

"Alright. I'm gonna go back in there. When I give the word, hit this, this, and this. In that order. Ya got all that?" He pointed to the buttons again for emphasis before Amelia gave a slow nod.

After following his instructions and some additional shaking, bright lights, and loud noises, the metal casing opened again and a lanky young man lumbered out wearing a lilac polo and khaki pants and carrying a disgruntled Clefairy in his arms. Leslie's tail started wagging like crazy as he walked over to the group.

"Alright how about we start over, eh? My name's Bill Rivers." He looked down to the Clefairy in his arms. "And this little guy here..."

"Put me down," the Clefairy huffed.

"Now Charlie ya know I didn't mean to do that-"

"I do not care. I am going back in my ball. I will not be coming out for the rest of the day."

Shrugging, Bill pulled a Pokeball from his pocket and recalled Charlie. Looking back to Amelia, he asked. "Moody little runt...that's not even the weirdest thing that's ever happened around here...Alright lady. Now that that little adventure's over with, what can I do for ya?"

"Well, first things first. I'm Amelia. It's very nice to meet you Mr. Rivers!" Amelia bowed her head before presenting him with the package. "And we're here because this got delivered to the Pokemon Center and they couldn't get a hold of you, so we brought it up here with us since we were heading this way anyway. Some part for...this thing you're making I guess?"

Bill's eyes lit up when he saw the words on the box. "Ah thanks, Amelia! Been waitin' on this one! Should hopefully ease up those tremors a little when I'm runnin' this thing." He took the package and cleared a place for it on his desk, sending papers drifting to the floor. He paused, eyeing a slip of paper on his desk before picking it up and bringing it to Amelia.

"You folks deserve a little something for making your way out here and dealing with me ‘n my shenanigans so...here."

Amelia jaw dropped as she read the slip he handed her.

"A guest pass for a party on the SS Anne In Vermillion City?! Oh no, I can't accept this Mr. Rivers!"

Free's expression became murderous towards her trainer as Bill shook his head and laughed.

"Pshh...take it kiddo, I can't stand fancy do's. I just like tinkerin' with tech. Just my luck it ended up makin' me famous. Folks always trying to get me to go to this or that function. It's why I like to just stay up here on Cerulean Cape. Oh, and please. Mr. Rivers is my father. Just call me Bill."

Amelia gaped at him. "I-I...thank you so much, M-Bill," she managed to stammer out. Bill simply smiled back.

"Just have a good time, okay?"

***

The return trek through the forest was uneventful, save for a few prank attempts by Steven involving berries and a long vine. The sun had long since risen, its light pouring through the trees as Amelia and her team wound their way back through Route 25.

"I still can't believe we forgot to ask for an autograph." Leslie whined, batting a pebble out of her way as she made her way down the path.

Kareem took a moment from swinging between the forest's trees to look down at her and respond. "I mean, it was kinda hectic in there. I almost forgot about the package when I saw Bill walk out of that machine as a Clefairy."

"Besides, he already gave us the pass for that boat party in Vermillion." Amelia said as she walked ahead of the two of them. "No need to impose on him."

"Yeah, we kinda got something way better than a little autograph." Steven snickered as he teleported next to Leslie and nudged her with his elbow. "We get to be famous for a day, Leslie! Buuuuuut if you really need an autograph, I can scribble on something for ya." He poked at his fur, still stained with berry juice from his foiled prank, and attempted to scribble on a leaf of Leslie's bulb. "From the trickmaster himself-"

"Freakin' kids always getting in the way...move brat!"

A black figure bolted in front of the group, pushing Amelia to the ground, shoving his way past her Pokemon, and dashing into the thicker part of the forest. Before the group had the chance to collect themselves, a hearty laugh echoed from the edge of the forest, and Amelia could just make out a red streak of hair among the green of the trees.

"Yeah, go back to whatever hole you losers crawled out from!"

Jackson stood tall at the edge of the bridge, with four Pokemon crowding around him that were much larger than the ones he had previously. Two of the group were unfamiliar to Amelia. To Jackson's right stood a large bipedal creature with a similar coloration to Steven. He scritched his ear while twirling a spoon in his claw as the Pokedex identified him as a Kadabra. Just in front of him was a Raticate, who caused Amelia to seize up a little on sight as memories of Mt. Moon began trickling back in. Just like the raticate there, this one had shaggy brown fur and a large worm-like tail. His eyes were much brighter and more inviting than the one from before, however, and he wore the friendliest grin his large fangs would allow.

Romeo fluttered near Jackson's shoulder, now a Pidgeotto. His mostly brown feathers now featured red and yellow plumage and he also now had an impressive red-orange crest spiking over the top of his head. And the first to notice Amelia's group was Jenny, now a Charmeleon. Her orange scales had turned a deep crimson and a horn protruded from the back of her head. She lifted a white claw and pointed out Amelia to her trainer.

Jackson smirked and raised an eyebrow as Amelia's group broke through the trees. "Geez, Amelia. You're still straggling along back here?"

"Jackson! What the heck was with that guy that ran away? What happened?"

"That punk was a Team Rocket recruiter, taking advantage of the Nugget Challenge to try to bring in trainers who managed to finish it and he attacked me when I refused." Jackson crossed his arms and snorted as he looked towards the forest trail. "Not that he had a chance against us."

"Well I'm glad you're okay. Those awful people..." Amelia tugged at her ponytail as the memory floodgates fully opened. The red R. The cracking of Klay's neck. The Raticate's foaming mouth. Amelia realized her gaze had drifted to Jackson's own Raticate, who still held his smile but she noticed a twinge of confusion in his eyes before she looked away. "We...we had a bad run-in with them back at Mount Moon. Erm...W-what brings you here anyways?"

Jackson turned the inside of his jacket to her and a bright orange and yellow badge winked in the sun alongside Pewter and Cerulean gym badges. "I was headed back this way after picking up my third badge so I could make my way to the Rock Tunnel en route to Lavender Town. Figured I'd make myself some extra cash while I'm at it. These nuggets are worth a pretty penny you know."

Amelia bit at her lip. He had his third badge already?!

Realizing that she had no response, Jackson stuck his hands in his pockets and shuffled his feet for a moment before looking back to Amelia. "Sooo...you said those Rockets gave you trouble back at Mount Moon?" His cocky smirk returned. "Guess you needed my help after all, huh?" He didn't notice Kareem's glare as he continued. "How about a sparring match to toughen up your Pokemon a bit? My team ran through the Nugget Bridge challenge without breaking a sweat so we're still ready for more." He scoffed and shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows? Maybe the few hits they took will be a nice handicap for you?"

Amelia hesitated as she looked over Jackson's team. Their larger forms were intimidating in comparison to her mostly unevolved team. And they were a full badge ahead of them as well! Looking to her own team, however, she saw nothing but nods and determined faces. Christina in particular was already zeroed in on Jackson's team, eyeing each one of his Pokemon with narrowed eyes. A small smile crept onto Amelia's face as she looked back to Jackson. "Y-You know what? You're on. We were hoping to do some training here. We'll ride our post-gym victory out to a good match!"

They made their way to a small clearing just some ways off from the edge of the Nugget Bridge. Nothing fancy; just a grassy field with hard dirt beneath the trainers' feet. A flower or two---Gloom perhaps?---poked their heads out to watch as Amelia, Jackson, and their teams faced off across from each other.

"So this guy's a rival, huh?" Steven stroked his chin with his claw and grinned. "I'll take the sidelines for now and check out who we'll be up against." He teleported a small distance away and looked to each of Jackson's Pokemon in turn, a hazy purple aura visible around his head. When he got to Jackson's Kadabra his brow furrowed as his grin stretched even wider. "Hold on...I think I sense a familiar brainwave from around here!"

Jackson's Kadabra's eyes widened for a moment before narrowing with disdain. "Oh great. It's you. Just when I thought I'd never have to deal with your antics again. Is this your latest prank? Fooling a trainer into thinking a trickster like you is worth taking into battle?"

"Aww I'm touched that you've missed me so much." Steven said as he mockingly clutched at his chest. "From the looks of things though it looks like somebody's been pranking you in my stead. That new shovel they sold you is just smidgen too small, don't you think? You trying to be a ground type?"

A much more distinct purple aura flared around the Kadabra's spoon. "Do you wish to see what I can do with this 'shovel'?"

Jackson put a hand on his Pokemon's shoulder. "Save it for the match, Scrat."

"He calls you Scrat?! Oh man you got pranked hard."

"Can we please get on with fighting already?" Christina cawed as she beat her wings. "Are we out here to train or not?"

Jackson looked to the Pidgeotto standing at his side and nodded. "Okay let's start off with you again, Romeo!"

Romeo was in the air before Jackson had even finished speaking. "Gladly!"

Amelia looked to her team, remembering the last time they had battled Romeo. Leslie, Kareem, and Free wouldn't be able to fight a flying type, Steven wasn't able to fight with just Teleport...Her eyes finally settled on her Pidgey hovering beside her. "Well Christina? You seem ready to go. Can you take him on?"

"Not a problem." Christina said as she took her position above the field.

The two flying type Pokemon hovered across from each other, one of them holding a steely gaze. The other, a dumbstruck smile.

"Oh I am blessed!" Romeo squawked. "Aren't you just the absolute vision of loveliness? A shame that my trainer commands me to ruffle such pretty feathers but-"

“Christina, Quick Attack!”

Christina was a blur, diving towards Romeo before swerving around his front and crashing into his side. He staggered in the air, feathers flying, but he managed to stay aloft as Christina steadied herself from the blow. Amelia's sideline cheered, with Free in particular buzzing this way and that in excitement.

"Woo! Go get 'em Christina!"

Romeo's eyes pleaded with Christina as he righted himself in the air. he was dazed, but the only injury he seemed to have suffered was his pride. "H-hey! That was-"

Christina clicked her tongue before he could finish. "We're in a trainer battle. You're in the wrong place if you're looking to flirt." She stole a quick glance back at Amelia. "Let's keep this up trainer! Come on, what's next?!"

Jackson clenched his fist, but his usual smirk remained on his face as he called to his Pokemon. "Remember she's still just a Pidgey, Romeo! You're a lot stronger than her. Go for a Quick Attack of your own!"

Amelia cringed as Romeo reared back. No time to think. "Uhhh...Quick Attack again!" she called out.

Christina swooped to meet Romeo in the air, but Jackson's words rang true. The much larger Pidgeotto deflected Christina into the ground, dirt flying from the force.

“Oh no...” Amelia thought as she watched Christina pull herself to her feet. “Jackson’s right; how’s Christina ever going to overpower something bigger than her?” Amelia looked at the ground where Christina stood and her eyes brightened. "Um...Christina, let's try to throw him off a bit! Sand attack!"

Christina grunted as she began pumping her wings furiously, blowing chunks of dirt towards Romeo. His eyes narrowed a little, but he seemed mostly unfazed by the assault.

"Cute thought," Jackson said with a sneer, "but you gotta study up on Pokemon abilities a bit more, Amelia! Romeo can see right through that! Tackle attack!"

Amelia felt her stomach drop as Christina barely dodged out of Romeo’s way. “Abilities? What does Pidgeotto have...wait, what does Christina have? See right through...oh, Keen Eye duh! Stupid stupid stupid.”

Christina glared at Amelia as she took to the air again. "Haven't you fought this guy before? Ugh, whatever. What's next?"

“Quick attack won't work forever either oh no oh no.”

"Trainer?"

Jackson shook his head. "Gotta keep your head in the game Amelia. Gust, Romeo!"

Christina struggled against the strong winds summoned from Romeo’s wings. "Are you going to command me or not?!" she cawed.

Amelia’s face was frozen, her hands in a death grip on her ponytail. "I-I...um."

"Oh look! Christina has moon magic too!" Magic suddenly cried, prompting a laughing fit from Steven as a burst of light enveloped Christina.

The light faded to reveal a much larger figure. Christina had grown in size all around, from her wings to her body to her talons. Her tail feathers had also grown out, brightening from the dark brown they were before into a mixture of golden reds and yellows. The most distinctive change was at her head; her crest had grown out in a pinkish-red that flowed over her head and dangled behind her.

She looked to her trainer with a newly sharpened stare. "Well?"

Amelia took a moment to recollect herself, nodded, then looked back towards their opponents.

"Christina! Use Quick Attack!"

Jackson's brow furrowed as he gnawed at his lip. "That's some nice timing but evolution isn't gonna save you! Romeo, Quick Attack!"

As Christina reared herself back, wings outstretched further than ever, and propelled herself towards him, Romeo stayed right where he was. The flapping of his wings had become so erratic that he began to lose altitude as his foe charged through the air. His trainer looked to him and frowned.

"Uh, Romeo?"

Romeo continued to hover as Christina careened towards him, his eyes wide and beak agape.

"She is just gorgeo-"

Christina's blow spent him spiralling to the dirt. She circled around and flapped hard as she landed next to his sprawled form. He giggled feebly for a moment before passing out, his wings flopping to the ground.

Amelia blinked. "We won?” she wondered. Romeo was in the dirt, Christina was standing tall. The first match was theirs! “We won!” Amelia cried as her mouth broke into a wide smile. “Good job Christina!"

"Well of course.” Christina scoffed, doing her best to disguise her panting. “Even with your complete lack of strategy it would take a lot to lose to this lovesick clown."

A red flash returned Romeo to his Pokeball, with Jackson giving it a hard stare. "I'll have to give you a talking when you're conscious," he muttered as he returned the ball to his belt. He crossed his arms and his smirk returned once again. "Okay Amelia that wasn't too bad. It'll take a bit more than a few Quick Attacks to take Jenny down, though!"

Jenny dashed onto the field to take her teammate's place, brandishing her claws and spewing a small ember into the air. Amelia eyed Christina and could tell that, despite her posturing, she was much more tired than she tried to look.

"Um, okay...Christina you take a rest.” Amelia said as her eyes searched her team. No water types, and Leslie and Free were both weak to fire. So how about...”Kareem! Are you up for this?"

Kareem looked down to his hand as it curled into a fist. "Yes!" He walked over to where Christina stood. Her eyes narrowed as she looked him over, but she soon glided over to the sidelines.

"Karate Chop!" Amelia cried.

Jackson just rolled his eyes as Kareem began charging Jenny with his hand raised. "Don't even give him a chance, Jenny."

Kareem leapt toward Jenny and brought his karate chop crashing down toward her head, but Jenny calmly kept her stance low, and at the last moment she brought her claws up to catch Kareem's arm. Ducking her head out of the way, she threw him into the ground onto his back. Kareem attempted to scramble back to his feet, but before he had the chance Jenny firmly planted a clawed foot on his stomach, smoke curling from her nostrils as embers started crackling in the back of her throat.

"Ouch..." Kareem groaned.

It had all happened so quickly, so fluidly, that Amelia hadn't fully processed what had happened. One moment her Pokemon was charging her opponent and the next he was laid out in the dirt. "K-Kareem?" she stammered. "Uh...try to-"

"Amelia, come on now." Jackson interrupted. "He's finished. The only reason Jenny hasn't roasted his face already is because this is just a little sparring match. You can't keep just charging in throwing attacks everywhere, especially against someone way stronger than you."

"Sparring match?!" Leslie cried, stamping her foot. "You didn't even give him more than one move! How are we gonna learn any-"

"Come ooooooooonnnn, guys!" Free screeched, drowning out her companion as she thrashed in the air. "You can't go down that easily!"

Amelia gulped as her mind raced. It was just a sparring match, wasn't it? No need to get Kareem hurt trying to fight a much stronger Pokemon. "C-come back Kareem."

Jackson nodded as Kareem sulked his way back to the sideline. "Good work Jenny. Not that you need it but take a quick breather.” He patted his Kadabra on the shoulder. “I'm sure Scrat wants a little action."

With a twirl of his spoon, Scrat teleported to his position on the field as Jenny made her way back to her team. "Watch and learn, troublemaker," he growled as he eyed Steven.

"Sure, Scrat. Pft..." Steven said, trying not to laugh.

Amelia, meanwhile, was not in the laughing mood. She looked at her remaining team as she muttered to herself. "I-umm...Kadabra, Kadabra...Uh..."

"C'mon Amelia we don't have all day." Jackson taunted.

"ErmmmmmmmmLESLIE!" Amelia squeaked. Christina raised a tired eyebrow as Leslie stood and shook herself to loosen up.

"Um. You aren't serious, are you?" Christina huffed. "That's an awful-"

"No, it's okay. I got this." Leslie said before Amelia could change her mind, bounding across the field to face Scrat. Christina simply sighed and looked away.

Amelia tried to draw on some confidence. Her starter had evolved too! She could do this! "Okay, let's start off with Leech Seed!"

Leslie brandished her vines and a small barrage of seeds launched from the tips towards Scrat. With a lazy flick of his spoon, the seeds froze in midair, and with his psychic power the Kadabra shoved them in a different trajectory away from him.

“You’re just way too focused on hitting what’s in front of you, Amelia,” Jackson chastised. “Leech Seed is a great trap to set up, but if you throw it right at your opponent it’s not that hard to dodge it.”

Amelia felt the cold grip of guilt once again. Jackson was definitely back in control, explaining everything that she was doing wrong. If Christina’s victory had shaken him at all he certainly didn’t show it now.

"And really, Amelia?” Jackson continued. “You've got two badges and you're still not studied up on type advantages? Scrat, use Confusion!"

With a purple flash Scrat teleported right beside Leslie, and with another flick of his spoon he launched a purple energy that enveloped her. Leslie gritted her teeth and squeezed her eyes shut. With a shudder, she fell as she clamped her front legs beside her head. She gasped when the purple energy faded away, and her tongue lolled out of her mouth as she rocked back and forth on the ground.

"But daaaAaAd I dOn'T wAAna rida PonYta," she mumbled.

"Ah...Leslie no!" Amelia’s Pokemon were getting hurt. The guilt continued its chilly stranglehold. The battle seemed to start off so well. Christina beat Romeo! They won the first match! "No," the guilt hissed from inside her head. "It was a fluke. A lucky shot caught them off guard. All I did was yell Quick Attack."

"Well as you can see, Amelia,” Jackson said with a shrug. “as a poison type your Ivysaur is weak to Scrat's Psychic type moves."

"We never had a chance..."

Leslie pulled herself to her feet, but her steps were labored, and she struggled to stay standing. "Sssrry 'melia." she slurred as she stumbled her way to the sideline. "I just gotta...NOT fer a sec, y'know?"

"It's fine. I'm so sorry Leslie," Amelia sniffed, as tears began to form.

“Geez what the heck is wrong with you guys?” Free buzzed as she flitted around to each of Amelia’s battlers in turn. “Between the three of you we’ve only managed to take down one of these chumps!? That’s so pathetic! How did I end up on a team full of a bunch of wimps?!”

Jackson’s team simply looked on, incredulous at the Butterfree’s outburst, with only a scoff escaping their trainer’s lips.

Free stopped to float in front of her trainer and continued humming along. “I just don’t know why you’ve bothered wasting your time with these guys, Amelia! All this time training and most of them are still just struggling! I mean, I could mop the floor with all of those guys without breaking a sweat! Why can’t the rest of-”

“Well by all means, be our guest, Free!”

The Butterfree’s incessant humming stopped in an instant. She turned in the air to stare at who had shouted; the Ivysaur, as she finally dragged herself to the sideline and curled up on the ground. "W-what?" Free squeaked.

Leslie looked up at Free with tired eyes and haggard breaths, but the venom in her voice had all the strength she needed. “You heard me. Be our guest, Free. Mop the floor with them.”

The Butterfree had no response. She continued to hover in place, looked around to her teammates once again. Each of them stared back as the Ivysaur continued.

“You say you can win this for us”, she huffed. “You’re always saying you can win this for us. But you haven’t done it yet, Free. So do it. I wanna see it. If there were any time to do it, now would be fantastic.”

Free looked to Amelia, her eyes pleading and her voice the quietest it's ever been. "Are you...were you thinking of sending me out next, Amelia?"

Amelia shifted her feet and ran her fingers down her ponytail, finding it difficult to meet the Butterfree's gaze as she spoke. "Um...I mean...Leslie does have a point, Free.” She sniffled again as she wiped a tear away. “Y-You're fully evolved, and I think that would make you be the best choice for my next Pokemon."

Free's eyes bulged as she looked at the ground for a moment before looked back to her trainer with the closest her mandibles could get to a lopsided smile. "Um, er...yeah! Yeah...yeah I can totally do it. I'll do it! I'll-yeah! Wipe the floor...Ha..."

Jackson looked back to the battlefield after congratulating Scrat. "Well I guess we better get started then. How about I give you a chance to tie things up Amelia? I'll send in my weakest Pokemon here for you." He patted his Raticate on the head, who in turn gave Jackson a dejected look.

"Aww come on boss! I've been training so hard!"

"Of course, Holmes. You're more than a match for this butterfree. But we gotta give them some confidence, right?"

Amelia’s guilt loosened its grip to make way for the angry hand of frustration. Why was he so rude? They’re trying so hard and he’s just making fun of them! "I'll show you c-confidence!" Amelia squeaked, cursing herself for stuttering. "Let's do this Free!"

Magic clapped her hands and bounced from one foot to another. "Yes! Go Free! You can do this!"

Steven pumped his arm weakly. "Yeah! Uh..." He looked to Kareem and Leslie out of Magic’s earshot. "Tell me honestly, guys. Is she gonna be alright?"

Kareem and Leslie looked each other and back to Steven before they both shrugged. "Here's your honesty:” Kareem murmured. “We have no idea."

To their side, Christina said nothing, watching intently as the battle began.

"Use Confusion, Free!" Amelia called.

Free’s antennae glowed a bright pink and a small psychic shockwave fired out, colliding with Holmes before he could dodge. Unlike the dramatic effect Scrat’s Confusion had had on Leslie, however, Holmes merely flinched a little before shaking off the psychic power.

Jackson nodded. "You're okay Holmes! Tackle!"

Holmes took a running start and leaped toward Free, who reflexively put up her tiny hands and hovered backwards, causing Holmes to miss by inches. He tumbled into the dirt beneath her while she just shook her head, chattering hysterically.

"Okay okay okay oh my gosh oh my gosh hold on."

Amelia winced. They weren’t going to get far if Confusion had such little effect. They needed more time. "Let's try a Sleep Powder to slow him down!"

Free started nodding rapidly. "Right, right. Sleep Powder." She flapped her wings and a fine, purple powder began shimmering down on top of the Raticate.

Holmes regained his footing, clutching at his head. "Ugh...this...isn't sleep powder, boss," he hissed, “it feels a whole lot worse.”

Free started, darting her gaze between Holmes and Amelia. "I...what? I mean, all according to plan! Heh..." She continued backing away from Holmes as the Raticate started coughing.

"Well then let's finish this quickly!” Jackson cried. “Focus Energy!"

Having backed a decent distance from her foe as he took a fierce attacking stance, Free finally gave Amelia her attention. “S-see Amelia now I know you said Sleep Powder, but I thought it would trip them up if I used a completely different-”

"It's fine, Free,” Amelia called, cutting her off. Sleep or Poison, they were doing damage! “Now I need you to use Confusion!"

Jackson jabbed a finger towards the Butterfree as her antennae began glowing once again. “C’mon Holmes you can take that! Push through and snag her out of the sky with a bite attack!”

Holmes once again began charging towards Free, running headlong into the pink energy. Although it caused him to slow down and he cringed a little harder than before, he still managed to gather enough speed to reach Free.

“No wait wait wait. P-p-please I’m not-I can’t...!”

Her pleas were far too late for Holmes to even begin processing as he sprung from the ground and barreled into her with his fangs open wide, knocking her out of the sky and sending the both of them crashing to the ground.

Amelia’s face fell. "Oh no, Free! A-are you alright?!"

"Nice hit Holmes!” Jackson sneered at Amelia again. “Hey Amelia! She's not gonna be able to beat my whole team from the ground!"

Neither Pokemon moved from the ground for a moment. Then slowly, Holmes shuddered to his feet and turned to face the trainers, his eyes pinpoints as something dripped from his teeth and each of his hairs stood on end. Free remained eerily still, a purple mound in the dirt. Too still.

Amelia's mouth fell open.

"F-Free?” she called. No response. Not even a twitch.“Ohhhh no...nononono...Free! Not again please no Free!"

As Amelia staggered over to her fallen Pokemon, Jackson’s smug grin had long since vanished. "Geez, all it took was one hit?” he muttered. “From Holmes?” His jaw set as he started scratching the back of his head. “Amelia...I'm sorry but...have you been training your Pokemon at all? How did you get your second badge like this?"

Amelia just stared at him, her sight growing blurry through her tears. "I-how could you..." she choked. "W-what kind of..."

"Amelia forget them!” Leslie yelled. “Get Free to the center! There might still be time!"

Jackson continued in the same lecturing tone. "If you didn't have any other Pokemon that could fight, you could've just forfeited, you know!" He hesitated a moment, considering his next words. "Learning when to quit is a worthwhile skill to learn too." He clamped his jaw shut, as if the words had accidently spilled out without his say so.

Jenny stared at him in horror. "Jackson please. We need to help them!"

"I think you've done quite enough!" Leslie roared. "Amelia, put us in our balls and run!"

Amelia's thoughts swam with her vision, but she managed to heed her starter's words and return all her Pokemon to their Pokeballs, save for Free. The Nugget Bridge had seemed so long that morning, but it went by in a blur as she cradled her Butterfree in her arms. All the while she expected some cocky chuckle, some sign of bravado, but the only sound she could hear was the patter of her shoes hitting the wood of the bridge as she ran.

***

After dropping her Pokemon off with the nurse, Amelia stumbled to her guest room at the Pokemon Center. Christina’s treatment had been quick, and she joined Amelia, Steven, and Magic in their guest room. Leslie needed treatment to ensure that Scrat’s Confusion had not caused lasting damage to her brain, while Kareem needed his back checked out from Jenny’s slam.

Free, meanwhile, needed a different sort of treatment. Her body needed to be cleaned up.

Steven was doing his best to console Magic as they sat on the floor on one end of the room. On the other, Amelia sat on her bed, her back against the wall as she stared at the ceiling with glassy eyes, while Christina preened herself at the foot of the bed.

Christina eventually looked up, staring at Steven and Magic before quietly speaking. "Well, I agree with Free. This IS a weak team. And how could it not be, with a trainer this pathetic?”

Amelia glanced at her, but her morose expression mostly remained the same.

"Did Free look even remotely ready to take on that Raticate, Amelia?” Christina said, turning to face her trainer. “As soon as Leslie suggested putting her in she was a mess.” She looked back to the wall, clicking her tongue. “And then you ignored that and let her fight anyway. You may as well have killed her yourself."

Amelia continued to say nothing. How could she? What possible defense was there for putting Free out there after seeing her reaction to Leslie’s proposal?

Christina stood and paced the bed for a moment before returning her gaze to Amelia. "You need to step it up, 'trainer,'” she spat. “because some of us actually have a bit of battling talent and would rather not see it thrown away because of a weakling who doesn't even know the ability of a Pokemon she owns." She paused and, getting no response once again, her expression darkened. "Hello?! Is this getting through at all?! she suddenly shrieked, causing everyone in the room to start.

Amelia’s eyes darted around, trying to avoid her Pokemon’s gaze. Christina held her glare for another moment before jerking away. "We should trade me over to that Jackson person." she muttered. "I think that lovesick loser is a better fit for this circus."

As Amelia watched her settle back at the edge of the bed, her vision started swimming once again.

***

After seeing Leslie’s trainer dash towards the bridge with her Butterfree in her arms, Jenny the Charmeleon whirled to face her own trainer.

"Jackson Estevaz what sort of training was that supposed to even be?!"

Jackson’s eyes widened at her outburst. "Holmes was a good, even choice for that Butterfree!” he yelled. “It's not my fault she doesn't train her Pokemon to the point where they're scared stiff to even be out there!" He looked away and crossed his arms with a frown. "Besides, it's not like I didn't give her any advice!"

Jenny rolled her eyes. "Oh yeah you give great advice,” she mocked. “I'm particularly fond of 'learn when to quit.' seriously?!"

Jackson continued to look away. "I...I was just...I dunno..."

"Jackson." Jenny put a claw on her trainer’s back as she followed his gaze across the battlefield. Holmes was still a statue, save for some occasional heaving coughs, as Scrat tried to pull him towards Jackson so he could get first aid for his poisoning. Jenny sighed and looked back up to Jackson. "Amelia's just clearly not you, okay? We're a full badge up on her. We should be encouraging her, not trying to push her down."

Jackson looked to his starter, a rare softness in his eyes. “I-I know, Jenny, but...” He wrestled with himself, searching for words. “But I...I didn’t think that this would happen, okay?”

Jenny gave a sad smile. “I know you didn’t Jackson. We just have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Phew! Hiya folks! Happy to contribute to this project! I had the trifecta of the Nugget Bridge, Rival Battle, and Bill’s house, though for the sake of length I had Jackson take care of the Bridge challenge itself.

With Leslie’s bookish tendencies and living at the lab I figured she’d probably be pretty fond of the idea of meeting Bill. Who was an absolute BLAST to write, with his eccentric interactions with the group! I also really enjoyed giving you guys more Steven after his introduction last update. Ain’t he a stinker?

But alas, the shenanigans come to an end with the third battle against Jackson. In-game the group was a bit underleveled, so we’ve got Jackson’s ‘mons evolved here to emphasize that. Christina manages to evolve and, like the previous bout, Kareem and Leslie are just fine, but in return we must set Free, er, free. I hope I managed to give her a satisfying send-off.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

art by AgentNein
[+] Current Team
Liam Tierra Virgil Bree Aurora Helena
To view my Completed Runs, feel free to visit The Insectarium.
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Shiny Dustox
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Joined: August 29th, 2014, 12:34 pm

October 26th, 2017, 9:14 am #35

Before we get on with the update, I actually wanted to talk about something concerning the project. If you're going to orchestrate a huge community project like this, there's definitely going to be some issues. One of the issues that we encountered, which was a big reason for the delay, was a lot of people who had to leave the project for one reason or another. So I'd just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the people who boldly stepped in to help fill the holes. Without you, this project may not have been completed. <3

With that, here's another individual update from the screenshot czar, GoGoGogoat!
[+] Part 7 (GoGoGogoat)


Crime?! What happened here?
Active robbery. I have to ask you to stay away from here, it's dangerous right now.
O-of course, sir, sorry. Come on, guys, we don't want to get caught up in this. Not after...
Agreed. The police can handle it.
I don't get it, though, what are the moon baddies doing here anyway? Can't they just leave us alone?
...I swear, all of you are completely hopeless.
What?
Actually, sit tight. I'll be right back. *fwoosh!*
Hey! W-where are you going?!
Christina, come back here!






Go away, you blasted bird!
Not until you give up all the stuff you stole!
I didn't steal anything! I'm an innocent bystander! Don't you believe me?
Not for a second. I've met some of your pals, and if you're anything like them, you're a problem. Last chance to flee before I waste you!
Oh, you want a fight? Fine, you can have one! Machop, get her!
Really? Wow, you're even dumber than Amelia. Here comes Gust!






Damn it! Drowzee, go!
Hey, I see her! She's fighting the Rocket guy!
She's what?!
Oh, hello. Finally decided to come help?
Are you out of your mind?!
Actually, Kareem, I'm in total control here--
Use Hypnosis!
... *zzzzzzzzz*
Perfect! Now Pound until she stops breathing!
Ahhhh! Christina, wake up!
Get her an Awakening! Or a Chesto Berry, whatever, just hurry up!
I know they're in here! They're buried somewhere in the Potions!
You could also just heal her, that's not the worst idea.
Oh, good idea, Steven! *Amelia used a Super Potion!*
Oh, now your trainer shows up? Just my luck. Keep attacking, she doesn't look tough at all!
*cough* Huh? What'd you say about me?!*Christina used Gust!*






Are you kidding me?!
So do I need to repeat myself, or...?
Ugh, fine, I give up! I'll leave quietly.
Not yet. Drop the stuff first.
I can't believe I'm being ordered around by a Pidgeotto... the boss is not gonna like this...






Never do that again, Christina.
If I did anyway, would you even have the guts to stop me?
We're still reeling from losing Free, so you decide to pick a fight with the criminals who killed Klay. Do you not see the flaws in that logic?
As I just demonstrated, I can handle them. I'm trying to set an example that all of you should follow. Maybe then we'd stop having "accidents."
That is so--
Guys, come on, can we not have another shouting match?
...
Leslie's right. Christina, how about you fly a little ahead of us, and we'll all cool off? Not too far, though.
Whatever.






Ooh, what's this? Some kind of Earth plant? What does it taste like?
Uh, that's a live Pokemon. I wouldn't eat that.
Oh. Sorry, haha!
*sigh*
What's wrong? You wanted to catch it?
No. You can do anything a Bellsprout can do.
Right, duh, of course.
I'm just... not over Free.
Listen, I shouldn't have pushed her to fight like I did. I'm partially to blame for this.
What? No, you're not! I'm the trainer. I should have known Jackson would be too much for her. She was unproven, and Jackson... doesn't play around.
He really doesn't.
Leslie, did any of your books ever mention... how to handle a team loss?
I think so.
What did they say?
...I don't remember.
Sorry to pull a Klay here, but what's a book gonna teach you about handling grief? Things don't work like that.
...Well, it'd be nice if it worked that way.
There's nothing more to do but try to move on. Right?
Yeah. You're right.






What's this place?
Oh, if we're on Route 5, this must be the Day Care Man! Basically he can train us up in ways other than battles.
Maybe we should try to make use of that.
Eh, it's mostly so trainers can raise more than six 'mons at a time. Besides, it'd probably be smarter if we all stuck together.
That's a fair point.
Hmph.
Hey, uh.. has anyone seen Steven?
Is he gone? I thought he was next to Magic.
Nope, don't see him!
Then where did he--
HEY!! Give me back my belt!
Gotcha, dude! Hey, really diggin' the Pikachu boxers!
...Okay, I know where he is.
Would you hold still?!
Whoa there, easy on the tail!






I am so sorry--
Please, just take your Abra and leave.
Oh, dear... could my life get any more ridiculous...
Hmm? Oh, hey, I'm glowing!
You're what?
Yay, more moon magic!






My apologies. Please take your Kadabra and leave.
Oh! Well done, Steven... sort of!
Hijinks aside, you look good!
I like your mustache!
Thank you! I like my spoon. I am the master of all cereal!
What's cereal?
It's good stuff, you should try it sometime!






So why can't we go to Saffron again?
I'm not sure. They just said the gates are closed.
I mean, it's not a huge deal. We're going to Vermilion for the boat, right?
Y-yeah. That.
Still, it means taking the tunnels, which aren't the nicest.
That's an understatement. It's filthy down here.
...so then I knocked the chair over, and I swear the guy literally did a backflip!
No way, really?
All true! Then they all ran out of the house, and didn't even come back until the next day! I checked! And that's the story of how I once made a family think their house was haunted.
That might be your best one yet!
Heh, it might be. Gonna have to up my game... but hey, I'm glad you're enjoying these. I do love performing for an audience!
Sure! I think you're a funny guy.
Aw, shucks, you're a real sweetheart yourself!
I bet you're super strong in battles now, too! I hope I can get that tough.
Hmm... I know something that might help.
You do?
Remember I mentioned cereal? It kinda looks like moon rocks, actually.
Really?
Yup! And it's nutritious, so eating it will make you stronger. I was messing around in Amelia's bag earlier, when she wasn't looking, and she's hiding a big hunk of cereal in it! I'll grab it, and you take a big bite out of it, how's that sound?
Sounds like a plan!






STEVEN I SWEAR I WILL LEAVE YOUR BALL IN A TRASH CAN.
Nah, you'd miss me too much!
How come cereal is so hard to chew?
Magic, you... aren't supposed to eat the Moon Stone.






Oh yeah, I recognize these. Heh, I guess Steven got me!
You were gonna evolve her anyway, right, Amelia? So what's the problem?
Yes, but... not right now, and not like this.
Get over yourself. She's stronger now. We badly need all the strength we can get. Two evolutions at once is a step in the right direction.
Congrats on the evolution, Magic. You look really nice!
Yeah, I agree.
Thank you!






...Shouldn't you be training, Kareem?
I'm taking a break. Wanted to talk to you, actually.
Since I have a pretty good idea what you're going to say, let me preemptively tell you to shove it.
You're not getting rid of me that easy. I want to build bridges here, but you're really not helping with that attitude.
You are not the boss of my "attitude." Amelia thinks she is, but she is very wrong about that. If she can't see I'm helping, it's her fault.
Look... I get it, okay?
Get what?
Losing friends is tough. I'm still not really over Klay, and losing Free must be hard on you. But that doesn't--
Hold on, where did you get the idea that Free and I were even that close?
What? I mean, you two hovered around each other all the time.
Not really? The only thing I recall having in common with her was our shared agreement that this team was weak. Free's downfall was that she was weak, and surrounded by a weak team. If nothing else, I'm at least making myself strong.
You're unbelievable.
I'm surviving. You should try it.
Alright, I think I'm done here. Have fun doing things "your way" at the cost of everyone hating your guts forever. Let me know how that works out for you. See ya.
...Bye.






Hey, Amelia? Let's stop for today. We're all getting really tired.
Uh... yeah. Okay. I'm pretty tired myself.
I'll bet. I don't think we've ever trained this much at once.
I guess we needed it. I think I'm getting a little better, at least...
We'll have more time to get better in the coming days. But let's rest now.
Alright. Vermilion is right over there.


(Time passes...)






So, uh... are we actually gonna get on the boat, at some point?
We are! I just, uh... wanted to take the scenic route?
We've been here for days. We know this city already. I think you're wasting time.
It's not a waste! We got that bike voucher, and the fishing rod. Those are useful.
I might give you the bike, but I bet I'm better at catching fish than you.
The point is, we're gonna miss the party if we don't get over there!
Yeah, come on, let's go to the dock. We can't pass this up after Bill gave us the ticket, right?
It'd be a nice breather from training on the wilds endlessly.
Those are good points...
Hey, it's not like you're going alone. We'll be with you the whole time!
Yeah, that's true. Alright, let's head for the docks.
You got it!






Perfect! Welcome to the S.S. Anne! Enjoy the party!
Woo hoo!
Thank you, sir.






Whoa... this thing looks even bigger on the inside!
The S.S. Anne sails continuously around the world. Some people live on this boat and get to be world travelers full time!
The whole world, huh? That's crazy.
I've always wondered what it'd be like to be on a cruise ship. Lucky us! Come on, let's explore!






Uh, what?
Oh! Please excusez-moi, madame.
Er... sorry?
That guy has a really thick Kalosian accent.
So if this is a party, how come you're not dressed up?
I don't even think I have any fancy clothes.
Besides, it doesn't look like that kind of party, anyway. It looks really casual, people just hanging out, and occasionally battling. I like it.
Yeah, it's nice. I wouldn't mind taking a break from battles today, honestly.
Whatever. If you change your mind, I'd be more than happy to beat up some of the sailors.






...Where'd my Stardust go? I was literally just holding on to it!
Steven, give it back.
Why are you blaming me? You're not even looking at me!
I can see it levitating behind this man's head.
It's what? ...Oh.
Can you not prank all the guests, please? I'd rather not get thrown off the ship.
Fiiiine...






If you haven't yet, go pay the captain a visit! It's customary for all our guests to say hi to him.
Sure. Where is he?
All the way on the other side of the ship.
Oh...
It's fine, we walk long distances all the time!
Let's stay on the deck a little longer, first. It's a beautiful day today.
The breeze is so nice! Reminds me of home It's always so windy there.
I guess it would be, outside the caves.
Hey, if this boat goes all over the place... do you think it goes to the moon?
I'm... not sure that's how boats work.
That's too bad. I'm having fun on Earth, but I think I miss the moon a little.
Well, in a sense, you're sort of "home" when you're with all your friends. Right?
Maybe. It's not quite the same thing, though. Do you miss your home?
A little. But truth be told, I'm thankful for the chance to get out and see things. We've had some tough times, but it's still really cool.
It is a lot of fun. It does help that I get to be with all of you guys!
That's the spirit!






Thanks for coming to visit! Please take this with you, it's my prized technique! I bet your Ivysaur could make good use of it.
Thank you very much!
It's not the best move, and it's kinda hard to get rid of, but it'll do for now...
What'd you say, Leslie?
Oh, nothing. Just mumbling.
So you're taking on Gyms, I take it? Have you fought the one in Vermilion yet?
Uh, not yet...
But we're gonna sign up for it right after we get off the boat, right?
Huh?
Is that right? Well, don't let me keep you all here! We're about to set sail soon, anyway. If you hurry, you might be able to register today before the Gym closes!
Maybe...
Well, it was great to meet you, Amelia! Good luck on your journey!
Good luck on yours as well. Come on, team.






Jackson?! What are you doing here?
I'm the grandson of the famous Professor Oak, and he gave me his ticket. How did you get one? I don't recall you having famous relatives.
I got mine from Bill Rivers!
You... met the inventor of the storage system? And he just gave you a ticket to the S.S. Anne party?
Yes! Ask any of my Pokemon, they were all there!
Alright, alright. I'll take your word for it. So, having fun? Getting stronger from all the battles?
We're not really battling today. Just wanted to check out the boat, see the sights.
Not battling... are you kidding me?
W-what?
Battling is, like, the entire point of the S.S. Anne parties! And you're just skipping it? Have you been training at all since we last met?
Yes, actually, I have! And we decided to come to a party because we wanted a break from the literal days of nonstop training!
Speak for yourself, I could've kept going.
I'm gonna have to fix this. I challenge you, Amelia. Let's go!










I really don't want to battle you, Jackson.
You can't refuse a challenge, Amelia! You know that--
Maybe she's hesitating since we killed her Butterfree last time? Remember that?
...
We talked about this.
I know, Jenny! Look, we'll take it easy this time, okay, Amelia? I really just want you to have an authentic S.S. Anne experience.
Forgive me if I'm skeptical.
I'll show you I mean it. Holmes, you're up first!
Won't let you down, boss!
Great... Christina, you've been begging for a battle, wanna go first?
With pleasure.






I've practiced with Romeo a bunch. You won't beat me that easy!
Last time, I kicked his ass. This time, I'll start with yours!
Start with Quick Attack!
Wait until she gets close, then Hyper Fang!
Take this! *chomp!*
OW!!
Gust! Try to push him away!
Come on, fall over already!
You can fight through it, Holmes! Hyper Fang again!
Rrgh... winds.. too strong...
Quick Attack, hurry!






Thanks for playing!
*sigh* That's disappointing... Scrat, you go next.
Got it.
Christina, you come back.
What? No way, I'm taking a second one--
Not in that condition, you're not! Get back here!
...Fine, but I'd better not be the only one to pull off a win here.
Hey, mind if I do this one?
Sure, I guess.






Oh, boy. I've been waiting for this.
Pffffft...
What's so funny?
Sorry, I just still can't get over how dumb your name is!
That's it. I'm gonna wipe the floor with you.
I was hoping for this precise matchup, actually.
Why? For the novelty of a Kadabra faceoff?
Partially. But mostly so I could do this! Scrat, use Thief!
Wait, isn't that - AAAAAGH!!
That's a Dark type move! How'd he even learn that?!
Got a TM for it a while back. Useful against other Psychic types!
Use Confusion, hurry!
Not good enough! Thief again!
OW... hehe... ya got me, bro...
Let's call this round here before Steven gets hurt any worse, okay?
Yes, fine, you have this one!
In your face, you jerk.
Jenny, how about you go next?
Sure, I'm game.
Uh, let's see... definitely not Leslie, so that leaves Magic or...






I'll do it. I'd like a rematch.
Challenge accepted. Bring it!
Start with Leer! Get her defenses down!
So you did learn from last time.
Yes. This time, I'll try not to rush in blindly.
Noted. Jenny, Ember!
*FWOOM!* *A critical hit!*
...ngh...
Kareem, no!
Of course, sometimes the power difference really is all it takes!
Here, heal up! *Amelia used a Super Potion!*
Don't let up on the pressure! Ember again!
Try a Fury Swipes!
Duck it, then Metal Claw!
OOF... *cough*
Hey, I think it's over. I don't want to hurt you more. Okay?
*nod!*
This is embarrassing.
Shush. It was a good try, Kareem.
I've just got Romeo left. Want to see if you can even it up?
Magic should go in here. I won't fare well against Romeo.






You can do it, Magic!
You have grown since we last met, my love! Ah, but those pink curls do make you look so charming!
Hee hee, you talk funny!
Ahem... I prefer to regard my speech as eloquent, sophisticated in character--
Please use Quick Attack already.
Yes, of course!
Water Pulse! See if you can confuse him!
Wheeeee, pretty bubbles!
Oh? That's a new trick. And did it work?
...Fret not, for I feel as clear-minded as ever!
Fabulous. Gust!
Water Pulse again!
I see what you're going for, but she must know Doubleslap, right? You'd probably want to go for the higher damage output here.
Fine! Magic, switch to Doubleslap--
Well I'm not letting you do it now! Use Gust and knock her on her back!
Ahhhhh! *whump!*
Magic, are you okay?!
Shall I attempt the knockout blow?
No. Probably smart to stop here, actually.
*snff*
...

You did a lot better this time, Amelia. You're getting better. Not as good as me, but I mean, that's a pretty high bar.
...
Listen, I actually need to take care of some stuff. So I'll see you around, okay? I hope you enjoyed your authentic S.S. Anne experience!
Hmph.
Okay, I get it, you need to heal. I'll let you off. Come on, guys.
...Why doesn't it feel like I'm improving?
Don't say that! You said yourself, we've been training really hard, and even Jackson thinks we've learned from last time. And more importantly, we didn't lose anyone!
That's right, we didn't! That is an--
Oh, give me a break.
Huh?
That's the best thing we can say for ourselves? "No one died this time?" What the hell is that worth?!
A lot, actually! What's wrong with you?!
If we've been training as much as all of you seem to think we have, we should have beaten him outright! And yet I'm still the only one who can get a knockout on him!
Whoa there, I'm not happy about this, but maybe we could not blow this out of proportion?
Alternatively, how about the rest of you lot stop being completely useless weaklings?! Then we might actually get somewhere!
...
Got something to say? Or do you plan to just stare at me until--
Where's Magic?
She's right over... there?
Where did she go?!
She was lying on the floor just a minute ago!
How... everyone split up! She must still be on the ship somewhere!
I'll go check outside the ship! She might have climbed off the edge! If you don't find her in here, go regroup at the Center! Or better yet, go sign up for the Gym match while there's still time!
Wait, I didn't say yes to that! Christina, don't leave!
She already flew out the window.
I... did I just lose two Pokemon...?
Maybe she's right and Magic did sneak off the ship. Either way, let her go search. If she's genuine, I might forgive the terrible things she just said.
Let's hurry up and start looking! She can't have gone far!

(Meanwhile...)




So it's a deal, then?
Yup. Here's Holmes' ball.
And here's Blithley's ball. All yours, kiddo!
You're sure about this, boss?
I'm sure. You weren't keeping up with the others, and I can tell you're not super happy with being on our team. You'll be happier this way.
Well... thanks for givin' me a shot, I guess. Good luck to all of you.
Hi everyone I have six heads and they can all jump around like this and it's really handy because I can eat six times as much food and I'm so excited to meet all of you and talk to you all the time oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!!!
You're... talkative.
Could you repeat that at perhaps one-tenth speed?
If I ever catch you snooping in my head, you're gonna regret it, got it?




Finally... just have to keep flying and not look back. I'm rid of those idiots for good now.
...
Wait a second... is that...?
*sob* *sob*
It is. She's faster than I give her credit for.
*sob* *sob* *sob*
Just ignore her... you're done with this team, remember? Pretend she isn't here and just...
...
...
...
...Damn it.









...
Magic?
...
What are you doing out here?
...
Listen, Amelia and the others are worried about you. We really need you for that Gym match, so--
Why are you talking to me?
Huh?
I'm trying to get back to the moon. Not that you care!
Magic, come on--
No, shut up! You think I'm weak and useless! That's what you think of all of us! So why should I care about anything you think?!
...
Go away. I don't know how I'm getting back to the moon, but I will find a way, and it certainly won't be with your help!
...
I... I don't know which way to go... maybe if I ask some people around here, they might know--
Magic, I'm sorry.
Huh?
I said some really horrible things, and I regret them, and I'm sorry.
I don't accept your apology, now leave me alone!
I...
...
Magic, please, Amelia's counting on us to get back to her!
Why are you still here?
Look, I know I messed up, but I can't begin to make up for it if I don't--
*fwpwpwpwpwp!!*
What was that?






Poison Sting...?
Christina?
I never healed after... oh... shit...
Ahhhh! You, get out of here! *Magic used Water Pulse! It's super effective! Wild Sandshrew fainted!*
*cough* *cough*
Hang on! I'll get help! I'll carry you back!
... *cough* ...
For this part, I opted to focus on characters over events. So a few things (the robbery and the S.S. Anne) got screentime over some other less important details (the Saffron guards, the fan club, etc), though I did want to mention Amelia having the bike voucher because she does eventually need the bike! Character interactions, and especially conflict, are my favorites, so I invested a lot of time into fleshing out some of the most prevalent party dynamics (Amelia/Leslie trying to steer the ship, Steven/Magic and their shenanigans, Christina pissing off just about everyone, etc).

Also in this part: we chose to have Jackson trade away Holmes the Raticate, as opposed to having him get boxed or somehow die. We thought it was fitting for Jackson’s character to trade his way towards improving his team, even in spite of Holmes genuinely trying to make Jackson proud however possible. It’s also a bit less morbid than the alternatives. Oh, and Blithley the Exeggcute is a thing now: have fun with him!

I’d apologize for leaving you on that cliffhanger, but this is a Nuzlocke, y’all knew what you were getting into. =P

art by AgentNein
[+] Current Team
Liam Tierra Virgil Bree Aurora Helena
To view my Completed Runs, feel free to visit The Insectarium.
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SeaMaid
Conqueror of the Olivine Gym
Conqueror of the Olivine Gym
Joined: April 7th, 2014, 1:33 pm

October 26th, 2017, 11:58 am #36

thanks for trading holmes away guys, I always liked that option the best!

jesus though, Christina. Don't except to be instantly forgiven even if you do survive (I 90% believe she will simply because it does seem like she's about to die, y'know, the good old reverse psychology)...

Poor Magic though ;_;

On a more positive note, Steven! Mischievous psychics are the best and I still like him lots.
CURRENT AVATAR: a drawing of Zizou from Legend of Dark Witch, as drawn by Famimatsu

Music Thread | SoundCloud | Music tumblr

Want a storylocke of a "soul-crushing" hake along with that hobbyist music? This one's gonna come back someday I swear:


I'm also responsible for the one and only HarvestCraft run on these forums if you want a chill experience.
(that one's on semi-official hiatus though, sorry;;)
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deeforty-five
Conqueror of the Ecruteak Gym
Conqueror of the Ecruteak Gym
Joined: October 26th, 2014, 5:24 am

October 28th, 2017, 6:04 am #37

People who participate in this project are allowed to comment, right

So I mostly kept away from the screenshot and comic updates so many of the last few have been such pleasant surprises! I really like the effort everyone's been putting in so far~
Check out my ongoing runs, Search for Yesterday and The Dark We Carry! Banners made by Rainey and Agent Nein, thank you so much!


My completed runs are in the folder below! Check them out!
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A Newbie's SoulSilver Nuzlocke *COMPLETE*
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A complete Written Log run of Pokemon Soulsilver, with entirely too much sass. Check it out here.

An Event LG Speedun! *COMPLETE*
[+] Spoiler
Prepare for some janky camera and uninspired commentary as I blitz through Leafgreen!

"Dear Diary," Awarded Best Overall Written Run of 2016 *COMPLETE*
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WINNER OF 2016 FAN RUN EXTRAVAGANZA BEST OVERALL WRITTEN RUN
Credit to the amazing tsolei for the banner! Check her out here!
A Platinum Event Run *COMPLETE*
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Shiny Dustox
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Joined: August 29th, 2014, 12:34 pm

October 30th, 2017, 5:32 pm #38

Thanks again for all the comments! Here's the next part!
[+] Part 8 (Rainey)
There was no moon in the sky, only the heat of the sun beating down on her back. Magic clung to the feathery body in her arms, her silent prayers matching the rhythm of her feet as they pounded against the grass.

There was no time for daydreams, or moondreams, or any kind of dream. Reality was all that mattered now, and the reality was that her friend needed her… Friend? Christina may not have considered her a friend in turn, but why would she have flown all this way out here just to ask her to return and help Amelia and the others? Maybe it wasn’t out of friendship that she did it, but it did show she cared.

“It’ll be okay, we’ll make it,” Magic whispered to the Pidgeotto.

A cough and a quiet groan was the only acknowledgement she received.

Wild Pokemon scattered out of the way as the Clefable continued to charge through the undergrowth. Rattata leapt off the path and Butterfree fluttered into the sky, all yelling insults and obscenities back at her for disrupting the peace. Magic heed them no mind – her mind focused on getting Christina back to Amelia.

Despite the noise she was making, the world felt still and frozen – uncaring. The air was stifling, not even a single breeze to grant a moment of relief. Although Christina was light in her arms, as time and stamina wore on she became heavier and heavier.

Burden was the last word Magic would use to describe the weight though.

She paused for a moment, shifting Christina so she was now cradled in her arms instead of simply clung to. The Pidgeotto tiredly lifted her head, eyelids cracking open ever-so-slightly.

“Magic…”

“Shh, just rest. We’re almost to the city.”

The height of the grass began to withdraw, growing shorter and shorter until the only thing beneath Magic’s feet was bare dirt – a well-worn track. The Clefable followed it south towards the scent of the ocean. The land began to slope downwards, a cool breeze finally kicking in and entering her lungs. The feathers on Christina’s back lifted and settled as the wind pushed against them.

Before long, dirt and grass were replaced by tarmac and concrete. Buildings took over trees and Pokemon were suddenly tame and under the supervision of their trainers.

Magic glanced down, trying to check on Christina but only able to tell that her condition was simply ‘bad’. She frowned to herself out of frustration – snake bites didn’t happen on the moon, so she had never thought to learn about them or what to do.

She wished Leslie were with her, she would know what to do. And if Kareem were here he would know how to calm her down. If Steven was here he could teleport them straight away… right to Amelia.

Amelia. She had to find her.

A nearby sign and a familiar Pokeball-shaped symbol gave her an idea – the Pokemon Centre. If Amelia was anywhere, it’d be there. If not, at least there’d be a nurse to help, right?

“Hang on, Christina. We're almost there.”

*****

Amelia stared down at her hands, wrapping one around the other to stop them from quivering. She looked up, watching trainers walk past her in the centre lobby – cheerful, chatting with their Pokemon, together and trusting.

She wanted to ask where she had gone wrong, but, it was probably better to ask if she had ever done anything right. She doubted most trainers had lost as many Pokemon as her.

Jackson certainly hadn't.

Now Magic had run away and Christina had gone after her; and instead of going along to help, Amelia had stayed behind to book a gym match. Christina had insisted on it, promised she would come back with Magic, but… but what if Christina had run as well? What if telling her to go to the gym was just a distraction?

Amelia shook her head. No, she couldn't even begin to consider the thought. Christina wouldn't do that…

Or would she? If Magic could, then…

Her eyes flickered to each of her Pokemon. Would they leave eventually as well?

Her gaze lingered on Kareem for a moment – he hadn’t said a word since Christina left. Amelia could see the gears turning in his head, he was always thinking about something even if he didn’t voice those thoughts. What was he thinking about now? His fight with Christina? Leaving?

Please don’t let it be the latter.

Something nudged against her legs causing her to glance down. Leslie butted her forehead into her calf, trying to gain her attention. Amelia leant down, instinctively going to place her hand on the Ivysaur’s head. She instead hesitated, suddenly worried.

“They’ll be back,” Leslie assured her, as if it was only a matter of time.

The tenseness Amelia felt in her shoulders subsided suddenly. She wasn’t able to smile at the response, but at least it helped. Hopefully Leslie was right.

Minutes continued to pass – as did the people in the lobby. When one set of trainers came in, another lot left. The nurses at the front desk seemed to dance in a circles: back and forth as they went from desk to machine accepting, placing, and returning Pokeballs. Amelia followed their dizzying display for a while, at least until something occurred to her – there was a surprising lack of pranking going on.

In a show of normalcy, Steven was watching the people pass as well. No tricks, no sly smirk indicating his plans… When a group left the building his gaze lingered on the front door.

A wrinkle of worry appeared between Amelia’s eyebrows. Should she say something?

She took a small breath, hoping the words would come, but nothing. She didn’t have Leslie’s stalwart belief. Anything she could say would just sound hollow.

“Magic!”

The words left Steven’s mouth in a single breath before he vanished, teleporting towards the doors. Amelia jumped to her feet as she spotted the Clefable stumble into the lobby and bump into Steven. A feathered bundle in Magic’s arms caught her attention as she ran over, her gait slowing when she realised what it was.

Large tears dripped from the Clefable’s eyes as she held Christina up. “Amelia, what do we do? It was a Sandshrew, it stung her and…”

She trailed off, too distraught to continue.

Trembling, Amelia knelt down and accepted Christina from Magic’s arms. Was she? No, she couldn’t – she had been fine just a few hours ago. Besides, Christina was tough – a single Sandshrew couldn’t…

No longer supported, the Pidgeotto’s head flopped backwards and hung limply from her neck.

Amelia’s thoughts went blank.

A chill ran down her spine as she walked towards the front counter. People were watching her now, hands over their mouths or whispering to each other. Pokemon stepped back, hiding behind their trainers. They knew.

Amelia’s feet felt like they were made of lead. Her throat was dry. The distance between her and the counter seemed to grow and time slowed down. It took her a few minutes until she noticed she had already delivered Christina to the nurse and had been left staring at the wall.

She blinked, finally aware of her own breathing and beating heart.

The nurse entered her field of vision again, lips grim, eyes downcast.

“I’m sorry…”

*****

The gym match was tomorrow – eleven AM. Sharp.

Amelia had five… four Pokemon now.

She had retired to a room at the centre, ungracefully letting her bag slide onto the floor before flopping onto the bed herself. She was grateful to the nurse that had moved her into a single room – as small as it was. Anyone sharing would have asked by now why she had been staring at the ceiling for the past hour.

The answer wasn’t simple. It was full of questions like ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ and ‘I don’t know how to deal with this’. Unpacking everything she was feeling was an impossible task.

She went back to staring at the ceiling.

“Leslie… can I talk to you?”

A whispered voice reached Amelia’s ears – Kareem’s. She went to twist her head to look, but decided against it, not wanting to disrupt. Instead she observed from the corner of her eyes.

Leslie had taken up position in front of the window. The sun poured in and over her, allowing her to soak it up. She turned towards the Mankey shuffling over slightly as a sign he could join her.

“Is it about Christina?” the Ivysaur asked quietly.

Kareem’s shoulders slumped at the name, the energy seemingly running out of him. “Yeah… it’s just… I kind of understand how you felt about Klay’s death now.”

A long pause passed between the two Pokemon. Leslie gazed up at the sky through the window, either taking her time to mull over the question or remembering back to that day. “I’m still not over it,” she finally replied, tilting her head thoughtfully. “And I don’t think I’ll ever be.”

Another pause. The Mankey picked at the carpet, as though he was desperately trying to distract himself from his own feelings.

Leslie frowned to herself, leaning over and settling a paw on his leg. “You know… when Klay died, I wasn’t sure what to think, but I decided something – and that was to cherish every memory of him and what I learnt from being around him. If I can teach others what he taught me as well, then, when I think of it that way, it’s a little easier to accept.”

Kareem stared at her for a moment, thinking over her words, but the expression on his face only grew more disheartened.

“I…”

He sighed.

“I don’t have anything to cherish though… Christina and I fought the entire time. It wasn’t like we simply disagreed about things but still learnt from each other. We fought and never resolved our differences – although I would have liked to. Maybe we were close to it happening, but… her dying like that. We’ll never get that chance now.”

Leslie’s paw slid from Karem’s leg and onto the floor. Her advice, although helpful, was useless here. There was no way she could ignore what he said and tell him to cherish what memories he had anyway. That would be too cruel.

Amelia blinked back tears, raising the back of her arm to her face so she could wipe them away. She couldn’t find anything to say to Kareem either.

What a great trainer she was.

Hiding her face, she hauled herself off the bed and walked behind her Pokemon silently. She wasn’t sure if they knew she had been listening, or were watching her as she left the room, but she couldn’t bring herself to look. She avoided going to the lobby, instead choosing to follow a hallway that led her to the back of the centre and outside. Sunshine immediately hit her in the face, reminding her she had left her hat in the room. It was an annoyance, but not a big enough one to warrant her going back to retrieve it.

The grounds outside were a mixture of things – battlefields for practice matches, flat areas to train, small gardens and ponds to relax in or next to, a vegetable patch, and… Amelia walked up to the short picket fence and gently placed her hand on it. There was a memorial.

‘For all the friends we have lost, we will never forget’.

The cast iron statue of a Pikachu stared unblinkingly up at her, flower in its mouth.

A tired sigh escaped Amelia’s lips. She was exhausted – emotionally, mentally, physically, all those things. Her eyes felt like someone had taken a piece of sandpaper to them they hurt so much. Just what was she doing anyway? How did other trainers cope with this? After losing three Pokemon, what would any other person do?

Quit?

Was that the solution she was seeking? Just quit? Her needs surely didn’t outweigh the life of her Pokemon. And tomorrow’s match would put them all at risk.

Legs feeling weak, Amelia retreated to a nearby bench and sat down. Speckled light rained down through the tree branches above her and danced on her skin and clothes. In the distance, she could hear a pair of trainers yell out commands to their Pokemon.

“Maybe I should quit,” she muttered to herself.

“No, you can’t!”

Amelia jumped at the sudden voice, looking up to see Magic standing in front of her. Steven kept close behind her, a worried frown on his face that seemed unlike him.

“Please, don’t…” the Clefable whimpered. “I’m sorry for running away… I’m sorry I didn’t run faster or know how to treat snake bites… I’m sorry that Christina…”

She went quiet, her lips contorting into a hard, thin line that trembled and refused to let her say anything more. Large tears dripped from her eyes, staining into her pink fur. Amelia had no idea how long her Pokemon had been crying, but she felt as though it had been for far longer than she had. Guilt flooded her. She hadn’t even noticed that Magic and Steven weren’t with her when the nurse showed her to her room. They must have come out to the garden to grieve – for Magic to deal with the idea that she was responsible.

Amelia fell onto her knees from off the bench and scooped the Clefable into her arms. “No, no, it’s not your fault. You couldn’t have known that would happen – and you did everything you could when it did.” Amelia squeezed Magic tight. “You did nothing wrong, and I forgive you anyway. I’m sure Christina would too.”

She knew her words were jumbled and confusing, but she had to say something – anything – to make up for her earlier failures.

“See, Amelia doesn’t blame you. She thinks you did the best you could too,” said a soft voice. Steven leant down, placing a hand on Magic’s back. He gave a passing glance at Amelia, as though he knew what she was thinking and knew she was desperate for help.

The Clefable gave a hiccup of acknowledgement before rubbing her face against her trainer’s shoulder, smearing it with tears. She came up for air not long after, pulling away slightly from Amelia’s grip.

“You said you wanted to quit…” Magic stared up at her, expression somewhere between confusion and sadness.

Amelia knew it wasn’t meant to be an accusation, but it felt like one. Although she had been able to console Magic in making sure she knew it wasn’t her fault, there was no way she could do so for herself – a trainer was always responsible.

She couldn’t let Magic know that.

A moment of silence passed, growing more awkward as time wore on. Questions began to wander through Amelia’s head. Should she admit it? Run away? Make up an excuse and deal with it later?

It’d be one step forward, two back if she did.

“I meant the gym battle,” she lied. “I was thinking about cancelling the gym match and doing it later.”

A shaky smile of reassurance quickly turned into a cringe when Steven’s ears pricked up.

“You know… if you run away now because you think you can’t do it, then you’ll probably never do it at all,” the Kadabra said, tapping a claw on his chin in a thoughtful manner.

Amelia pursed her lips together. He was being subtle for Magic’s sake, but the pressure behind his words made her want to curl up into a ball. Quitting seemed like the easier answer before – now it seemed like the worst. Her Pokemon wanted to continue. Steven and Magic did and Leslie would probably want to as well. Kareem was a hard one to judge at this time, though even with his support on her side she would be outnumbered.

Would Christina have encouraged her to keep going too? Perhaps. She was the one that encouraged her to go book the gym match in the first place.

Magic placed her paws on Amelia’s shoulders, a steeled look of determination on her face that contrasted with her tear-stained fur. “I’ll fight at the tomorrow. Harder than anyone else, I promise.”

Amelia let go of the Clefable, pushing herself back up onto the bench to sit. There was no way out of this.

She shoved her trembling hands into the pockets of her jacket. Neither of her Pokemon needed to see her fear.

*****

The Vermillion Gym was an imposing piece of architecture – brutalist in nature, a giant concrete box resembling a bunker. The small windows revealed very little about its contents, though the occasional flash of light from within created an uninviting aura. Having been in there earlier to register her match, Amelia knew the light was the result of crackling electrical attacks.

She held her breath as she pushed the door open and entered. The lobby was the same as outside – concrete features, uncomfortable, utilitarian lights. There was no theatre and awe here, just a stark reminder that this was a place where your skill would be tested.

With nothing else to do, Amelia waited. The benches were hard, placed up against the walls so when you would try to lean back your head would bump them. None of the other waiting trainers said a word, leaving only the large clock above the reception desk to fill the void with its constant ticking. Amelia stared up at it, counting the seconds.

For some reason she expected something when it finally hit eleven AM, but there was nothing. No chimes or beeps. Just another small tick and suddenly it was eleven AM and a few seconds past.

“Amelia Westwood.” The receptionist’s dry tone echoed within the lobby. Amelia stood in response and walked to the desk to answer the call. The woman glanced up at her, looking about as expressive as the building itself. “Release your Pokemon as soon as you’re inside. Your aim is to disable the gates that lead to the gym leader’s room. Then you may proceed.”

Amelia’s brow furrowed at the instructions. They were vague enough to cause worry.

The receptionist pressed a button, causing a loud buzzing noise to sound from the fortified metal door next to the desk. Amelia took it as her cue to go, struggling momentarily with the heavy door before entering.

Darkness. A low, mechanical hum. Crackling.

A spark of light lit up at the far end of the hall. More crackling. The mechanical hum grew louder, like a generator kicking into motion. Bolts of electricity appeared suddenly at the far end, jumping between a gap to create fence-like structure.

Lights began to turn on, one set after another with a metallic clack until the hall was sparsely lit by harsh, orange-tinted spotlights. She could spot objects scattered around the place – a derelict couch, the shell of a burnt out vehicle, garbage cans… Amelia couldn’t help but feel as though she was standing in the middle of a movie set designed to look like a city. It seemed so much more different and atmospheric compared to the lobby.

Remembering the instructions, she drew out her Pokeballs and tossed them. Her group appeared, quickly surveying the location as they gathered around their trainer.

“We’re not battling straight away?” Kareem asked, drawing, his hands up nervously to his chest and sniffing the air.

“I think we have to disable those gates,” Amelia answered with an unsure tone. “I’m not sure how to, though.”

“We’ll have to search,” Leslie suggested. “There’s gotta be a solution…”

She trailed off, stubby ears pricking up. The rest of her Pokemon followed suit, turning their heads towards the shadows.

“Watch out!”

Leslie crashed into Amelia as a bolt of electricity flashed and hit the floor nearby. The smell of burning and ozone filled Amelia’s nostrils. She stared down with wide eyes at the black streak left behind on the concrete.

“Run!” Leslie shouted at her, leading the way. Amelia chased after her, quickly glancing over her shoulder as they ran. A lone Pikachu was standing under one of the spotlights, nose and ears twitching innocently.

No, wait… She could see a pair of legs at the edge of the light behind the Pokemon – its trainer.

Amelia looked back, following Leslie as she rounded a pylon and diving behind a couch to hide. Kareem and Magic joined them, although Steven had already gone missing.

“What happened?” Magic demanded in a hushed cry. “Such manners – nobody would be this rude on the moon.”

“It looks as though we’ll be taking on trainers at the same time we solve this puzzle,” Kareem whispered.

Feeling instant regret, Amelia chewed on her bottom lip. What should she do? She should have asked the receptionist earlier what to do if she wanted to quit. Having trainers randomly attack you in the dark was too much!

She drew her knees up to her chin and wrapped her arms around her legs. What should she do?

“Let’s stay calm,” Kareem said to the others. “Maybe we should split up and look for the solution? Maybe it’s hidden?”

Leslie frowned at him. “But the trainers…”

“I’ll fight them.” Magic got to her feet, a stern look on her face.

Amelia stared up at the Clefable. She knew… she knew Magic was trying to make up for her failure with saving Christina. It wasn’t her fault, and yet…

“We should stick together,” Amelia spoke up at last. Splitting up seemed like a bad idea – at least according to every horror movie she had ever seen (which admittedly wasn’t many). “Then if Magic wants to cover everyone she doesn’t have to run around to.”

The others nodded in agreement, earning a worried smile from Amelia. She was no strategist, but at least it was something.

“Let’s go then,” Leslie urged them.

They followed, rushing out from behind the couch and checking for any trainers. It seemed the trainer with the Pikachu hadn’t found them yet.

Amelia went around to the front of the couch and pulled the cushions up. Maybe there was a key? She frowned to herself, wondering if she was on the right track.

“Found anything?” she whispered as loudly as she dared to.

“Nothing yet,” replied Leslie, flipping a tire upright and checking the inner rim.

Kareem shook his head at her and shrugged.

Amelia picked up a piece of crumpled paper and opened it. What if there were instructions written down somewhere?

“Pikachu! Thundershock!”

They’d been found.

Another bolt of electricity arched through the air – this time aimed at Kareem. Magic leapt in, grabbing the Mankey and rolling with him in her arms along the floor. The attack hit a rusty bicycle behind them, causing it to fall over with a crash that echoed through the hall. Letting Kareem go, Magic ran for the Pikachu.

“I’ll keep it busy! Keep searching!” she yelled.

Placing her trust in the Clefable, Amelia searched through more crumpled balls of paper. Nothing, nothing, nothing… They were all blank. Wrong answer?

A small screech came from where Magic was fighting. She had slapped the Pikachu, sending it flying through the air. It landed outside the spotlight, barely visible in the darkness beyond.

Leslie and Kareem approached Amelia, obviously done with their areas.

“Let’s move to the next spot,” she said, standing up. “Magic!”

The Pikachu hadn’t returned – either defeated or biding its time. Its trainer was nowhere to be seen, once more hidden from sight. Magic took a few tentative steps back before turning and running to join the others.

Amelia watched her shadow flicker as she ran through the line of spotlights to the next area littered with junk. She pulled on the handle of a burnt-out car, finding it stuck. The glass had long been destroyed, allowing her to crawl inside through a window to the back seat. She checked the interior, opening the glove compartment, seeing if any keys remained in the ignition, sticking her hand under the seats and cringing when she emerged holding a mouldy lollipop in her fingers.

The car suddenly shook, causing Amelia to slide along the back seat and crash into the side. A Magnemite pulled itself free from the wreck, buzzing indignantly to itself. Magic walked into the spotlight in front of the car, a singe mark on her arm.

“That was very rude!” she exclaimed, wagging her finger at the Pokemon in disapproval.

Amelia crawled free of the car as a fireball erupted around Magic’s fist. She leapt at the Magnemite, the flame creating a streak of light as she pulled her hand back and delivered an almighty slapdown. The Magnemite smacked into the concrete floor, bouncing with a metallic thwack before rolling away on fire. Amelia watched as it went, the flame surrounding it making it easy to follow in the dark. After a moment there was a flash of red and nothing. Recalled by its trainer, perhaps?

Hopefully whoever it was wouldn’t bother them again.

“Are you alright?” Amelia asked, crouching down to check Magic’s burn.

“I’m okay,” she replied, tight-lipped. Amelia suspected she was a little upset about her appearance. “Have you found anything?”

Amelia sighed wearily. “Not yet. I’m not sure what I’m looking for… I wish I knew where Steven had gotten off to, I think we got separated earlie–”

A whooshing sensation overwhelmed her and she suddenly found herself tangled up in garbage. She was inside of a trash can, trapped upside down with a banana peel on her head. She kicked the lid off and struggled for a minute, trying to knock the can over for her to get out. For some reason, however, it was stuck.

She yelled for help, hoping she was still close to the others.

The banana peel on her head floated upwards, allowing her to see. Steven stared down at her, a smug grin on his face.

“Steven!” Amelia exclaimed. “Why you–!”

The Kadabra snickered, ears twitching happily. “Check the bottom,” he said.

Pausing, Amelia frowned and maneuvered her arm so she could feel around the bottom of the can. Her fingers brushed against something – a button. She pushed it.

The mechanical humming that had filled her ears since the start lessened. Something had stopped working?

Steven reached in to lend a hand, helping Amelia to untangle herself and climb up. She looked towards the gate at the far end, a hopeful smile on her face once she noticed part of the gate had been shut down.

So it was buttons she was after! She turned back to the can, pushing against it and finding it was still stuck. The button must have meant it was bolted to the floor.

“Let’s get back to the others,” she said to Steven.

Another whoosh and suddenly she was facing down a thunderbolt coming her way. She ducked as it roared over her head and struck a pylon behind her.

“Amelia, watch out!” Leslie grabbed her around the waist with her vines, reeling her in away from the battle. “Where’d you go? You were there one second and then–”

“The trash cans!” Amelia gasped. “There’s buttons in them!”

The Ivysaur blinked at her, taking a moment to comprehend what she meant. A look of realisation dawned on her face. “Gotcha!”

She ran off, Steven floating after her, to yell to Kareem about their new goal. Amelia turned towards where she had almost been struck by lightning moments earlier.

A Pikachu was lying on the floor, cheeks looking redder than usual (if that was even possible). Magic stood over it, panting heavily and covered in dirt and electrical burns. A red beam shot out from the darkness beyond the spotlights, recalling the Pikachu. Amelia could see a faint outline of a man wearing a suit step back into the shadows. It felt creepy – knowing there were trainers watching her out there.

She went to Magic, kneeling down and checking her over.

“I’m okay,” the Clefable insisted, brushing her trainer’s hand away.

“You don’t have to push yourself,” Amelia told her. “Have someone else step in for a while.”

Another mechanical hum went silent. The fence in the distance was beginning to look sparse.

“I’ll defeat all of them,” Magic said determinedly, staring down the fence with a frown. “I have to make up for Christina not being here.”

Amelia chewed on her bottom lip in worry. She glanced up just in time to catch a glimpse of something that looked like a ball roll past her. What was that? An oversized Pokeball?

“Voltorb! Sonic Boom!”

Crap.

Amelia scrambled to her feet. “Magic! Metronome!”

Something barely visible – like heatwaves on a hot day – streaked through the air. Magic went flying, landing on her back. She rolled over, pushing herself up onto her feet. She raised her finger into the air, waggling it until three coloured orbs appeared connected by lines of energy. Amelia recognised the move: Tri Attack.

Magic let them hang in the air for a moment before pointing at the Voltorb. The attack shot forth and hit its mark, exploding with a series of coloured lights and noise. Amelia shielded her eyes, wincing at the cacophony the attack made.

When a moment of silence passed, Amelia peeked through her fingers. A jagged block of ice remained where the attack had hit. The spotlight reflected offs its surface, revealing the silhouette of a Voltorb.

Once again, a red beam emerged from the shadows and took the Pokemon away – ice block and all.

Amelia listened as she heard the echo of a pair of hard-heeled shoes clack against the concrete floor. They eventually faded, leaving silence.

Silence?

She looked towards the electrified fence. There was nothing there – nothing between her and the final battle.

“We did it!”

Leslie crashed into her legs, wagging her stumpy tail and salivating proudly. Amelia crouched down, patting the Ivysaur.

“Good work!” She glanced up at the others, sharing a brief smile. “All of…”

She trailed off.

Someone was missing.

She turned, just in time to see a flash of pink enter through the gates.

Magic didn’t know. Amelia hadn’t told her what was behind there. Maybe she thought it was a continuation of the puzzle and there were more trainers… Maybe she thought she’d take care of them before the others got there…

“Magic! Don’t! Come back!”

Snapping herself out of her thoughts, Amelia leapt to her feet and took off – she had to stop her.

“Amelia! Wait!” Kareem’s voice echoed as he called to her.

She couldn’t answer – she was too worried.

The rest of her Pokemon ran after her. They caught up at the gates, overtaking her before screeching to a halt before the white lines of a battlefield border.

Amelia stumbled, panting, into the trainer box. She placed her hands on her knees, catching her breath before looking up. Magic glanced back at her, unrepentant about the chaos she had caused. Instead she turned back to the man standing in at the other end of the field. Amelia’s breath hitched in her throat at the sight of him – tall, commanding, wearing a singlet top that showed off his biceps. A pair of dog tags on a chain around his neck clinked as he moved.

“It’s rare for a Pokemon to get here so early before their own trainer,” the man commented with an emotionless tone. He pushed his sunglasses up momentarily, revealing a set of eyes that had seen far too much. He was different from the gym leaders she had faced before – older, more experienced.

Amelia clenched her hands to stop them from trembling.

“Let’s get this over with,” the man said, letting his sunglasses fall back over his eyes. It felt as though he was mocking her, or not taking her seriously.

He had no expectations from her, even though she passed his puzzle.

The man raised his arm, a Pokeball bouncing onto the flat field. A flash of light and a Voltorb emerged. It looked different from the others Amelia had seen so far – chipped and scratched all over like it had seen a number of bad battles.

“I am Lieutenant Surge, leader of the Vermillion Gym,” the man exclaimed in a booming tone. “I accept your challenge. I will be using three Pokemon, but you may use as many as you need. Now, come!”

The sudden call made Amelia hesitate. It was starting already? She didn’t get to choose which Pokemon to send out… because Magic was already on the field…

Her mouth went dry. What should she do?

“M-Magic, Sing!” she yelled, clamping her hands over her ears.

The Clefable swayed from side to side, her voice filtering through Amelia’s ears as muffled notes. Surge raised an eyebrow at her from across the field, seemingly unaffected by the move. Amelia saw his mouth move, unable to pick up what he was saying. Was he trying to say something to her?

Magic leapt out of the way, Surge’s Voltorb clipping her arm as it tried to tackle her.

Surprised, Amelia let her hands fall from her ears. What happened? Did Magic’s Sing fail? She looked up at the gym leader, but he wasn't about to give her any answers.

It was her turn.

“Metronome!” she called. Luck was her only hope.

Magic wiggled her finger.

Nothing.

“Voltorb, Tackle again!” Surge ordered.

The Voltorb spun in one spot, building up power before letting itself race forward like a bullet. Stuck in the same spot waiting for whatever her Metronome had summoned, Magic was a sitting Psyduck.

Amelia froze, expecting the worst.

Magic stretched her arms out in front of her, palms facing out. The Voltorb continued to charge at her, bouncing up into the air to strike from above.

A bright light suddenly surrounded Magic. The Clefable went skidding back, fighting for grip against the massive beam of energy that roared forth from her hands and collided into Surge’s Voltorb. It was engulfed. The beam kept going, slamming into the roof. The building groaned in response, dust raining down from the ceiling.

Amelia stared in awe, dazzled by the sight. She glanced down at her Pokemon, suddenly noticing Magic had been forced down onto one knee.

“Magic, stop!” she yelled.

The beam thinned. Something fell from the ceiling, slamming into the ground. Surge held out a Pokeball, recalling it before Amelia could get a better look. Her gaze flickered back to Magic. The Clefable was coughing, a pained expression on her face.

“Amelia, you have to call her back,” a voice reminded her. She looked down. Kareem stood outside the trainer box, staring up at her desperately. “Magic can't keep going like this, she's done too much.”

Amelia rushed to pull out Magic’s Pokeball. Her hand trembled as she held it up. “Return!” she called out.

The beam shot across the field. Magic looked up last second at it… and stepped out of the way.

At the opposite end, Lieutenant Surge prepared a new Pokeball. He threw it into the air, light revealing a Pikachu with a ripped ear. It landed on all fours, teeth bared and ready to go.

The gym leader was happy to indulge. “Double Team!”

In a split second the Pikachu was gone, replaced by a fuzzy after-vision. It continued to flash in and out of sight around the field, leaving more clones as it went. Magic spun around, trying to keep up despite her exhaustion.

Amelia felt a wave of panic rise up from her feet and overwhelm her body. She raised Magic’s Pokeball again but her hands failed her – she fumbled, the device slipping from her grip.

She was trapped.

On the field, the Pikachu had become lost in a crowd of clones. Magic glanced back at her trainer, seeking orders.

Amelia felt her heart beating up in her throat. She couldn't… She dove for Magic’s Pokeball.

Wrong move.

“Pikachu, Shock Wave!” Surge yelled.

The clones began to move simultaneously, electricity sparking from their cheeks.

Magic swung around to stare at Amelia, a look of desperation on her face once she realised she was alone.

Still on her hands and knees, Amelia grabbed the Pokeball and went to raise it. Instead she was faced by Magic, her form silhouetted by the wall of lightning bolts bearing down on her.
It was as though time stood still for Amelia. She could only watch.

No… she couldn't even do that.

She squeezed her eyes shut.

An explosive zap rang through her ears and rattled her core. It was followed by a scream.

“Kareem!”

Amelia’s eyelids snapped open. She expected to see Magic… but the Clefable was outside the lines getting up off the floor and sobbing wildly.

Kareem had pushed her out of the way.

Amelia stared at the charred and still-smoking ball of fur on the ground before her.

“K-Kareem?” she whispered.

Please… no.

The Mankey let out a muffled cough.

Amelia put her hands to her mouth. He was still alive!

A pair of vines snaked out onto the field, wrapping around Kareem and lifting him into the air. Leslie reeled him in, gently placing him down outside the trainer box.

“Look after him – I'll swap in,” the Ivysaur told Steven.

The Kadabra nodded, rolling Kareem onto his side to make sure he was able to get air. Magic stumbled as she ran to join them, falling into her knees when she got there.

Amelia felt like a spectator. Again, she was torn on what to do. But Kareem needed her…

She took a step towards the edge of the box.

“Don't do it,” a choked voice coughed out.

Kareem looked up at her: one eye shut, the other opened by barely a crack. Smoke continued to rise from his fur. His chest rattled with every laboured breath.

“Keep going… I'll be fine, I promise,” he said in a quiet voice. He struggled to smile. “Win this and then we'll go celebrate.”

He closed his eyes, concentrating on breathing instead. Amelia felt like crying. This was her fault. She had failed Kareem earlier by not saying anything, and now she had failed him by not making the right decisions as a trainer.

It would have been easy to give up right here and now, but it would have been failing Kareem a third time.

A tiny flame of determination flickered to life in Amelia’s heart. She turned back, hands clenched. Leslie followed her lead, taking her place on the field.

Lieutenant Surge crossed his arms impatiently. Amelia had the feeling he wasn’t going to go any easier on her despite what had just happened.

She was right.

“Double Team!” the man roared.

Once more, the Pikachu vanished. Clones appeared, tightly encircling Leslie to stop her movements.

“Vine Whip!” Amelia called. “Sweep them all over!”

The Ivysaur planted her feet firmly on the ground, vines emerging from her back. She flailed them, like a pair of skipping ropes along the ground. They passed through the clones – one and then another, taking them out.

One of the vines snagged. The rest of the clones disappeared as a single Pikachu fell from the lineup and landed on its back. It scrambled to get back up, but it was too late – the second of Leslie’s vines whipped around and caught it by the arm.

“Pikachu, Thunder Wave!” ordered Surge.

Amelia frowned to herself – touching electric types came at a risk. “Quick! Throw it outside the lines!” she yelled.

Sparks began crackling from the Pikachu’s cheeks. Leslie didn’t give it the chance, however. Her opponent let out a surprised squeal as it was flung up into the air. Around and around it went, building up momentum until Leslie finally let go.

The Pikachu did its best impersonation of a flying type before crashing onto the floor, tumbling roughly along until it bumped against a wall.

It didn’t get back up.

Lieutenant Surge recalled it, pulling a new Pokeball out.

One Pokemon left – a Raichu.

Amelia chewed on her bottom lip when it appeared. Of all the gym leader’s Pokemon, this one looked the worst for wear. A large scar ran down the middle of its face, from right ear to left cheek. Amelia felt both sorry for it and intimidated at the same time.

“Raichu, Double Team!”

Once more, Surge took the lead. The Raichu was gone before Amelia could even register it.

“Vine Whip!” Amelia yelled.

The clones were scattered this time – a different strategy from the one before. Leslie’s vines passed through a number of them, making them vanish, but more would appear in their places. Amelia glanced up at the gym leader, wondering if he knew which was the real one.

If he did, he wasn’t showing it.

“Quick Attack!”

The clones turned towards Leslie, running towards her en masse. The Ivysaur flailed her vines once more, but it was useless – the clones struck her together, sending her skidding across the floor. It was impossible to know which one had done it.

Amelia felt anxious. The gym leader was too smart for her to keep up with; he had tricked her into using the same strategy thinking it would work twice.

She scanned the field again, noting that the Raichu had gone back to using Double Team. After the previous failure, Amelia was sure trying again would lead to the same results. What other options did she have? Leslie couldn’t match her opponent in speed, so… Razor Leaf? Maybe? No, that felt like something the Raichu could dodge quite easily.

Amelia pushed her glasses back up her nose. She hadn’t realised how much time had passed.

“Quick Attack, again!” yelled Surge.

“L-Leech Seed!” Amelia blurted out carelessly. She instantly cringed at her decision, sure that it was a mistake.

However, a look of inspiration spread across Leslie’s face.

The Raichu clones began to swarm in, closer and closer. As they did, Amelia noticed a seed emerge from the bud on Leslie’s back. She expected it to spit out onto the ground like a normal one would – except it didn’t. It stayed where it was and began to sprout, tendrils climbing over Leslie’s back to form a kind of cape.

Once more, the swarm of Raichu rushed into her, knocking the Ivysaur across the floor.

Amelia blinked as the dust settled. Leslie was back on her feet immediately, but her living cape was gone.

The clones had also disappeared, leaving one poor Raichu tangled up in tendrils on the floor. Amelia found herself speechless – Leslie’s initiative had saved them both.

The Raichu fought back, struggling against the net and gnawing away wherever it could. It didn’t seem as though it was tiring at all, though. Amelia began to worry – was the Leech Seed working? What if it broke out?

The man across the field from her seemed to shake his head ever so slightly. “Raichu, Shock Wave!”

Sparks jumped from the Raichu’s cheeks and danced across the floor. Leslie stepped back, not wanting to get shocked. She braced herself.

But the attack never came. The sparks waned from the Raichu’s cheeks until they were little more than brief, sad flickers. The Leech Seed had done its work.

Leslie glanced back at her trainer, seeking approval for the final blow.

Amelia granted it. “Vine Whip!”

The Raichu went, net and all, flying off the battlefield and out of bounds. A distant buzzer sounded in response – Amelia’s victory call.

She didn’t stay to celebrate. When the gym leader arrived at her box with badge in hand, she was already gone – running over to Kareem’s side so she could kneel down next to him.

“I won, Kareem! I… won…”

Her joyful voice cracked and trailed off.

Steven put a hand on her shoulder.

Kareem had broken his promise.

art by AgentNein
[+] Current Team
Liam Tierra Virgil Bree Aurora Helena
To view my Completed Runs, feel free to visit The Insectarium.
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Shiny Dustox
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Joined: August 29th, 2014, 12:34 pm

November 2nd, 2017, 12:39 pm #39

Westward continues with another screenshot update, this time from QuietGuardian!
[+] Part 9 (QuietGuardian)
SEVERAL DAYS LATER


It’s time to keep going, Amelia.
…
I…I know what you’re feeling. I really miss Kareem, too. But…I think we both know that he wouldn’t want us to stop here. He…he always wanted us to keep going.
Y-yeah.
*sniff*



…So, we have to go north now?
Right! The next thing for us to do is go through Rock Tunnel, which is almost due west of Cerulean City, which is north of here! You’ve got the right idea, Amelia!



See, we’re already here! I just have to cut down this tree and—
Hey, Magic.
Huh?
Heh, watch this.



*woop*
*thwack* Agh! Ow!
Heh, what are you doing trying to cut down the fence? I think it’ll be a little harder to do…
You teleported me!
Me? Why, I don’t know what you’re talking about. You must have just not been looking where you were aiming.
Hee, hee! You’re funny, Steven.
It’s what I do, Magic.
Rrgh, that’s it. Hey, Amelia, you still got the TM that Lt. Surge gave you?
Yeah.



I think it’s time we put it to use.
What do you mean?
Give it to Steven. He never uses Teleport outside of pranking us, and besides, we could use an Electric move on the team right now.
Because…there’s so few of us?
What? Oh, wait, no, that’s not what I—
Real smooth.
Shut up and take the TM.



Wow! Steven, you can do more stuff now!
More importantly, he can’t teleport us around anymore.
But even more importantly…this could be used to give someone a little shock if I’d like to…heh, heh…
So…you’re okay with this, Steven?
Eh, sure. I’ve had my fun with Teleport. And now I can’t wait to try this out…



Pitch-black?
Flash?
We have the disk for it, right?



Yeah, but…



And you all can learn it?
I mean, we can…
What…what does that mean?
It’s…how do I put this nicely…a terrible move.
Oh…it is?
I can take it! It might be fun to light things up!
Er, no, Magic, you shouldn’t—I mean, let’s maybe just wait and see how things look a little later.
Real smooth.
Watch it, or I’ll shock you.
Oh, yeah? I resist Electric; you think—



Hey, another trainer!
A Bug Catcher? Steven, you—where’d he go?
Oh, wow! He disappeared!
He didn’t disappear! This is probably just one of his illusions. But he’s ducking out when we need his help!
Leslie? I need someone to fight.
Against a Bug Catcher? I wouldn’t—
You can do it, Leslie! Didn’t Klay use to say that types aren’t everything?
…You’re right. He did. Okay, bugs, bring it on!



Ha; looks like you were right, Klay. You were right about a lot of things…
Good job, Leslie!
Go, Leslie!
Eh, it was all right.
Oh, finally showing up now, are you?
You managed fine without me.



You don’t even have any bugs on your team! What’s up with that?
……Free…
I got this. I’ll give him the old “tie the shoelaces together.”
No; he…he didn’t know. Let’s just…keep moving.
Oh, all right. But, uh, one more thing.
What?
Welp, better get my team healed up at—WAUGH! *thud*
I may have already done it. And we might want to get going before he gets up and gets mad at us. Last one over to that grass is a rotten egg!
Oh, wait for me! I don’t want to be a rotten egg!



Yay! I made it here first!
Good job, Magic! Anyway, we gave that guy the slip.
And while we’re here, should we try to catch another Pokémon?
I don’t know…
It could help us out a lot.
But…I’m not sure if it feels right.
Well, it’s your ca—huh? *sniff* *sniff* Hey, guys, I think I found something interesting. This way!



Here it is! A Chesto Berry!
Wow, it’s so colorful! We didn’t have anything like that on the moon!
Heh; I guess not, Magic.
Amelia’s smiling? I’ve gotta find more of these! There might be some more around. Let’s keep looking!
Yay! It’ll be like a treasure hunt!



Wow, Leslie! You have such a good nose!
I could have found those, too…
Oh, ease up; I’m not gonna compete with you for her.
C-compete? I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Good work, Leslie! Let’s head into that Pokémon Center; it’s getting late, and you guys could use a rest.
Good call; my feet are getting tired.



Excuse me…is this seat taken?
No; I’m just resting up for—oh!



I’m sorry; I didn’t recognize you at first! I’m one of Professor Oak’s aides. He sent me to find you!
Really? Why?



We just got word from Jackson that he passed the sixty-Pokémon mark, but don’t worry; we’re not holding you to his standards! Just twenty could be a real help to us!
…Twenty?
Uh-huh! So, if I can just see your Pokédex, we’ll…



You haven’t caught twenty Pokémon yet…
Is that…bad?
Hm? Oh—well, I mean, we did set certain expectations…but everyone takes things at their own pace, right? So, uh…Shoot, I didn’t prepare for this…this was supposed to be a sure thing! No one thought she wouldn’t have twenty by now!
…
Um, well, don’t worry about it! I’ll just, er, call the professor and let him know. See you around!
……*sob*
Nurse: Miss, your Pokémon are rea—miss? Where are you going?



……
Here she is.
Amelia! What happened? You just ran out of the Pokémon Center!
She’s distressed.
Guys…am I a bad trainer?
What?
Just tell me.
You’re not bad, Amelia!
Why do you ask?
I…just met with someone from Professor Oak’s lab. He…he said he expected me to have twenty Pokémon by now…
Twenty? You can have twenty Pokémon with you?
Not at once, Magic. Amelia would have to store them digitally.
Oh. Digi-what?
They’d be somewhere else.
But you wouldn’t know about that, because I’ve never had enough Pokémon! Either I can’t catch enough or…or they k-keep dying…
Oh, don’t cry, Amelia! *hug*
*sniff* Thanks, Magic.
It’s like we always said on the moon—there’s no problem so bad that a hug can’t make it go away!
Maybe…
…Amelia, this all doesn’t mean you’re a bad trainer. You’re catching and raising Pokémon at your own pace. Yes, Oak gave you that Pokédex, but he just wants you to do your best, and maybe your best is…just different from others’. If you don’t feel like catching another Pokémon, don’t. We’ll keep going as we are, and we’ll meet the challenges that are there.
Okay…yeah. Thank you, Leslie.
Hey…Pokémon like Klay and Kareem may be gone, but we can still call upon them if we need to. Now let’s head back for a good night’s rest.


Okay—Rock Tunnel, here we come! I’ve always wanted to see it!
Really? Well, you may have some trouble with that.
Huh? Why?



We still haven’t taught anyone Flash.
Oh…I forgot…
We all did. Shoot, but now someone does have to learn it…
I can do it, if you need me to!
Magic? Are you sure?
Well…I don’t like not being able to protect everyone as much, but you need someone, right?
Magic, you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.
But she did volunteer. Unless one of you wants it?
Pass.
…Oh, all right, give it here.
Huh?
Magic’s moves are versatile enough that she shouldn’t have Flash. I can lose Confusion; I’ll still be able to exert psychic powers.
Aw! Thanks, Steven!
N-no problem!



I really appreciate this, Steven.
Sure, sure. Now, let’s give this a whirl.



Hey, not bad! If I may say so myself.
Great work, Steven!
I could even make…other use of this, heh, heh.
Must every move in your arsenal be used for another prank?
I have an active mind. It must be exercised! And speaking of which…



What, that Geodude?
Yep. It hasn’t noticed we’re here yet, so…oh! Oho!
I really don’t like the sound of that.
Oh, come on, this is gonna be a great one. Magic, can you help me?
Okay!
Great! Can you walk right over there, then, when I tell you to, give your scariest yell?
Scariest yell? I haven’t tried that before…but it’ll be fun!
All right! Now, get in position…and…



Now!
RAAARRGHH!
Gah! A Machamp?! How’d it get here?
Pfffahahaha! That expression—perfect!
Hee, hee! Your face is funny! And you jumped so high!
C’mon, guys, it’s not nice to—
Ohhhhh, ha, ha! A psychic illusion! You two got me, all right. I really thought I’d have to fight a Machamp for a second there!
You’re…not upset?
Me? Nah. Sure, it was a bit of a shock, but there’s no harm done, right? Besides, if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re in for a rough ride through life.
Good point… Psst, hey, Amelia?
Huh?
I know you weren’t feeling up to catching a new Pokémon yesterday, but…this kind of fortitude could be good to have on board.
You think so?
I mean, it’s up to you.
Well…I like her.
What are you two muttering about over there?
Oh, well, we were, uh…
Go on.
Do you, um, want to join our team?
Me? Absolutely! I’d love to see what’s outside of this dark place! Plus, you all seem like a good bunch.
O-okay! Thank you! Now, um, you need a name…



…how about Janine?
Suits me just fine.
Great! Welcome, then!
Many thanks, trainer! Though could I get your names, too?
Oh, right! I’m Amelia.
I’m Leslie. Pleased to meet you.
I’m Magic! I hope we get to have lots of fun!
Steven. And you say you can laugh at yourself…
You’ll want to watch out for that one.



Oh, another trainer!
I got him!



Hm. Pretty impressive, there.
Heh, thanks.
Not just your Psychic moves, though—where’d you pick up that Electric move?
Shock Wave? Amelia taught it to me with a TM.
A what now?
Special disks that can teach Pokémon new moves.
Interesting…
Yeah, pretty unexpected, huh? You might even call it…shocking! *bzzt*
Steven! Don’t attack her!
It was just a small jolt.
Yeah, but I’m a Ground Pokémon. You’ll have to do more than that if you want to pull another one over me!
…Oh, yeah…
But, back to these TM things. I’d be interested in trying one or two myself, if that’s not a problem.
Oh, uh, sure! Let me just see what I can give you…



Well, this is certainly new!
Do you like them?
You bet! I was never able to do this before! Think we can find a way to test ‘em out?
It feels like there are more trainers further in. Let’s check them out!



I have to admit, this is pretty exciting! Never really thought I’d become a trainer’s Pokémon one day!
There’s a trainer just ahead.



All right, time for me to show you what I—



Ah. Amelia, I think I might not be best suited for this fight, here.
R-right. Steven?



No problem.



Fair enough; everyone’s got their own strengths, and not everyone is suited to battling.
………
Huh? Did I say something wrong?
N-no; it’s okay! Let’s just…keep going.



All right, maybe I can stretch my legs here!
But…you don’t have any legs!
It’s a figure of speech, hon.



Then again, maybe not.
Oh, no, not again. I’m sorry, Janine!
Don’t worry about it. My chance will come when it comes.



At least I’ve got good teammates backing me up!
Yeah, we definitely made the right choice bringing you on.



Hey, maybe third time’s the charm!



Oh, yeah! I can take this guy!
You sure?
Fire type? Yeah, I’m pretty sure.



Whew…okay, he put up more of a fight than I was expecting. Can someone else take the next Pokémon?
I can!



That was fun!
Whoa, Water Pulse? That from another TM?
Sure is!
Neat. Just, uh, make sure I’m not in that thing’s line of fire.
Fire? But it’s a Water move!
…We really need to work on your knowledge of idioms.



Mind if I take this one, Amelia?
No; go ahead.



Guh! That thing got in a good shot!
Are you all right, Leslie?
Nothing a Super Potion wouldn’t cure…
Oh, sure, just hang on a second while I get one.



……oh, no.
What’s the matter?
…I only have one Super Potion.
What? Only one left? We didn’t stock up on more before coming in?
No…I f-forgot…
Okay, okay, calm down…Janine, how much farther does the tunnel go? Maybe we’ll only need one Super Potion!
Er…I’m actually not sure.
What? I thought you’d lived your whole life in here!
I have, but that doesn’t mean I’ve explored the entire place.
Why not? Scared of the dark?
Not scared, just…wary of what it contains.
Steven, can you tell how many more trainers are ahead of us?
Let’s see…uh, a good amount.
How many is “a good amount”?
Enough that they go further than what I can sense.
Oh, no…and we’re too far in to turn back! I…I can’t lose anyone else!
“Anyone else”?
We’ve…lost a few teammates before reaching Rock Tunnel.
I see. All right, Amelia?
Y-yes?
This may be hard to hear, but you can’t break down on us because of this. I’m sorry to hear about your deceased Pokémon, but right now, the best way to honor them is to keep a cool head and keep going. You’ve got a capable team with you, and even without many Potions, you can make it through. Most of the wild Pokémon in here are Geodude, which Leslie and Magic can handle, or else Zubat or a Fighting type, which Steven has covered. But I would recommend giving that Super Potion to Leslie now; she could use it the most.
…Okay…



That does feel better. And don’t worry, Amelia; I won’t let that happen again.
That’s the spirit. You three should be able to burn through the rest of this tunnel if you put all your focus into it.
W-what about you?
I’ll sit out the rest of the tunnel. I know I’m not the strongest member of your team right now, and I don’t want you to feel like you’re risking a lot by having me battle.
So…you’re staying with us?
Huh? Yeah, of course I am. What, you thought I’d ditch you at the first sign of trouble? I’ve been around a lot of trouble in my time, and a little setback like this isn’t gonna scare me.
Oh, okay…good.
Aw, but you won’t get to try out your new moves!
I’ve waited a long time for something like this; I can wait a little longer. Besides, you all are going to more places once you leave here, right?
Of course.
Then I’ll get my chance to let loose later. Right now, what’s important is making it to the other side.



See, there you go! Good work!



Excuse me!
Oh…yes?
I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but notice that you have a Clefable with you.
That’s me!
Well, my Jigglypuff has been going on about wanting to fight a Clefable for a long time. Would you mind if…?
Um, sure, okay. Magic?
I get to meet someone new! Yay!
All right! Go, Venus!



Ah! Finally found me one, huh?
Hiya!
Don’t “hiya” me, you stuck up piece of $#%§ Clefable! You all think you’re so great because you’re from that £@*∫%¬º cave! Well, you’re just a bunch of «¶&≠`£˜€$!
Cave? I’m from the moon!
Oh, the moon? Well, la-dee-da! Why don’t you take your %*◊¶∫≠&$@ and shove it up ∫¢•%#¬•$« with a ¥#*◊‰ and @$§#&¡^%ˆ; on top of °‡€∫≈%@¥`{¶ for a year and then §¨£#&*¢¶¡}≈£ with *$#º¬˜%¥®§^# so that $^¬{•§@#*^∞%•&, you little ¶≠º®‰^$&∫@}¬ˇ¥◊&$$!
Wow, so many new words! Steven, what do they all mean?
Um…
Just knock her out, hon.
Oh, okay!



I’m so sorry about that! I had no idea that Venus would be so aggressive!
Oh, it’s…it’s okay, I guess.
Let’s just, uh, keep moving along.



Um…I guess.
Oh, he’s right. You want to be careful of loud noises in places like this. Actually, avoiding making loud noises has been shown to decrease rates of rock slides by up to forty percent!
Take it from someone who’s familiar with the area, Leslie—you don’t need to worry about making loud noises around here.
Huh! You’re taking this pretty calmly!



What? But…I thought you said it was dangerous?



Huh? Wait…
Let me handle this one, Amelia. She’s not scared, you dolt! She’s just confused at how you’re contradicting yourself!
So…you do want to learn Rock Slide?
Yeah, I’ll take it!



You don’t want Rock Throw?
Rock Throw’s fine, but Rock Slide is better. Trust me, this is a smart move.



Hon, that’s a given. I’ve lived my whole life in here; I know a thing or two about being careful with rock slides.
O…okay.
But I thought you said we didn’t need to worry about them!
About loud noises. They’re not gonna cause a rock slide; intense activity or erosion will do that. At least around here, avoiding loud noises is more a tactic that people use to try to look smart about it.
Sounds like Leslie, all right.



Phew…how much farther is it? This floor seems brighter than the others, so maybe we’re close?
Seems like good thinking to me.



Yeah, I’m getting a sense from these girls that the exit isn’t far!
All right! Let’s all keep an eye out, then!



A sign?
That probably means we’re close! They wouldn’t put the sign for Rock Tunnel in the middle of it!
There’s some light coming from over there! Is that what we’re looking for?
Yeah! That’s gotta be the exit! Come on, everyone!



We made it!
We did…we really did!
Ah, it’s bright out here!
Oh, sorry, Janine! Are you okay?
I’ll be fine. I just need to get used to it.
Now, we’re just a short distance away from Lavender Town! It feels like so long since we’ve seen civilization!
Lavender Town? Isn’t that where…
Dead Pokémon are buried? Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard.
We can make it, Amelia. We’ll be fine; trust me.
…All right. Let’s go.

I really had a good time writing this update. Macabre as it may sound, having fewer party members meant I could focus more heavily on each one, and I enjoyed giving them their moments.

Speaking of which, let’s welcome Janine! Hopefully she can represent a positive comeback for Amelia and co.? There’s plenty more of this story to follow, so stay tuned to find out!

art by AgentNein
[+] Current Team
Liam Tierra Virgil Bree Aurora Helena
To view my Completed Runs, feel free to visit The Insectarium.
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Shiny Dustox
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Conqueror of the Lavaridge Gym
Joined: August 29th, 2014, 12:34 pm

November 6th, 2017, 5:41 pm #40

Another Westward comic update, from Degree this time!
[+] Part 10 (Degree)


art by AgentNein
[+] Current Team
Liam Tierra Virgil Bree Aurora Helena
To view my Completed Runs, feel free to visit The Insectarium.
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