• Welcome to Thousand Roads! You're welcome to view discussions or read our stories without registering, but you'll need an account to join in our events, interact with other members, or post one of your own fics. Why not become a member of our community? We'd love to have you!

    Join now!

Author's Notes & Part One

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
hello all! it's time for a new pokécentric story from yours truly. i've been working on it for a while, not helped by the abnormally bad mental stuff i've been going through lately, but finally the first part is written and ready to be posted. i don't know how many parts there will be, but current estimate is either two or three. originally i planned it to be a oneshot, but it's gotten long enough now to be split now, and i'm a review addict anyway.

what's it about? well, you know the legendary birds? there's three of them: articuno, zapdos and moltres, right? wrong. meet bouquatro.

rated PG (between everyone and teen). later parts may include mild language.

2020 Review Blitz art prize from OldSchoolJohto:
osj_gift_art_bou_SMALL.png

---

bouquatro_coverCROPPED.png

BOUQUATRO

Synopsis:
During the annual storm-season migration, Dwebble Carrie is swept away by a violent gust - summoned by the great and terrifying Stormbringer, no doubt. Through a series of events, she finds herself on an unfamiliar island of lush vegetation and meets a strange, large bird who claims to be the Stormbringer's brother. But this bird doesn't act like a god at all! And what kind of name is Bouquatro?

Genre:
Adventure

Started:
23 Sep 2020

Status:
Finished 4 Jan 2021

Length:
Three Parts, ~15 000 words

---

Part One

---​



"Come on, everyone! We have to keep moving!"

Carrie could barely make out the crustle's words over the howling wind. Ceaseless gusts clawed at her shell, threatening to rip her off the ground. The only thing keeping her in place was the careful placement of her legs in the cracks of the cliff - though perhaps her peers marching beside her also brought some minuscule shelter.

At least it wasn't raining. Yet, anyway. The darkened sky and rolling thunder above made it clear that a torrent of rain could start at any time.

What horrible weather for a migration. Couldn’t they have left any earlier? Sure, they’d go hungry for longer, but what was that compared to drowning in the floods?

The electabuzz, on the other hand, seemed to fare just fine in the storm. One passed by them along a ridge higher up on the cliffs, hooded cloak rapidly flapping. Must have been nice to live higher up on the island, never having to worry about the flat beaches flooding. And the food never ran out with all the tamed mareep and orchards of fruit - fruit that dwebble or crustle scarcely ever got to nibble on and live to tell the tale.

A brightness in the sky interrupted Carrie’s thoughts. It slid back into the clouds as quickly as it had slid out, but she’d had just enough time to realize its shape - birdlike. Had that been him? The Stormbringer? Had he heard her complaints? Had she angered him? Oh dear, oh dear --

"Brace yourselves!" shouted someone ahead - but the words reached Carrie too late. A gust of wind swept over her like a tidal wave, shoving her legs off the rock and flipping her over onto her shell.

She knew right away what this meant, and cursed her past self for choosing such a round rock for a shell.

The world spun. Carrie flailed her legs frantically, desperate to grasp solid ground again, but none of her attempts met anything but swirling air. She kept spinning. Earth and sky blended together into a nauseating mush...

But wait! Now something had changed. The grinding of her shell against the stone of the cliffs had quieted. Instead, there was a strong sense of acceleration --

She was falling.

"Help!" she screamed. But she knew no one could help. No one would come. This was it. This was the pitiful end of the little crab. Couldn't even survive the first migration. Had to go and anger the Stormbringer...

With nothing more she could do, she withdrew and closed her eyes. She prayed, not sure to whom, that her death would be a swift one. That the sharp crags of the oceanside would shatter her to pieces before she could know it.

And then, she stopped.

But… she still felt alive.

She opened her eyes. It was dark. She listened. The wind had become muffled. She felt around. The rain had stopped bombarding her, and the ground was… soft.

What was this? Was this the afterlife?

A horizontal streak of light tore through her surroundings, and she was thrown back. Everything darkened again. Wait.

She listened more closely. Beside the muffled sounds of the storm, there was a shuffling. Shuffling like… wings.

She flicked her antenna for a sniff. It smelled terrible. She tried the ground again. Elastic. Warm. Just a little light shone through it. It had patterns like veins.

Oh dear.

A bird's bill.

Alright, she was inside a bird's bill. The bird must have swooped in while she was falling and caught her with its mouth. By the amount of room, this bird must have been either a cramorant or a young pelipper. In any case, it surely wanted to eat her.

But it hadn't, yet. Something was stopping it. It had to have been her shell - too big to swallow, not that a bird would likely want a heavy stone in their belly anyway. That shell was keeping her alive for now. Well, it always had.

So what would she do? She couldn't just crawl her way out of the bill. She likely lacked the strength as just a little crustacean, and nothing was beneath her but stormy sea either way. She could only wait, wait for the moment the bird would land and let her out of its beak to try and snatch her out of her shell. Then she would escape, or at least try.

She waited. She waited some more. Minutes passed. The sun shifted in her mind's eye. How much longer would it be until --

A sharp nudge forwards answered her. The bird was landing, craning back its neck, this was it. Then, jolts to the left, right, left, it was turning its head! Looking for a place to eat her, surely!

Carrie could feel the bird walk and flit about. Was it really that hard to find a snacking spot? Wait -- it wasn't looking for a place to drop her off and shatter her shell, was it?

The world then jolted again, harder than ever before, and golden light doused her eyes. The air was fresh, the ground was grainy - wherever she was now, it was out of the bill. She glanced around. A sandy beach? At sunset? Where had the storm gone?

No, that didn't matter, she needed to --

She pulled back on reflex. Only moments after, she realized the bird had pecked at her. She gripped the back of the shell harder with her tail and shielded her face with her pincers.

Peck. Peck. This bird - a cramorant with one eye, as that sudden glimpse had shown Carrie - was determined. Carrie trusted her armor, but knew she couldn’t simply stay put. This bird could figure out her weakness to heights at any time, and then she’d be a goner.

Thankfully, her armor shielded her legs as well, allowing her to walk without much additional danger. Seeing was more difficult. The majority of her field of view blocked by her pincers, she had to piece the world together from crevices and slivers.

A large rock seemed to lie at the edge of the sands, and at its base was a hole. Maybe she could hide there?

Slowly, painfully slowly, she made her way to the rock. The hole led to a larger crevice underground, but the entrance was too small for the cramorant to fit through. Yes, this would work, this would work.

Triumph rushing through her body, she plunged in.

But she couldn't fit.

There was safety, right in front of her pincers, and she could not reach it.

Her shell. Her shell was too big. Her body could fit, but her shell would not. There was an obvious solution - but she didn't know if she dared to take it.

That shell was what kept her soft hindbody from frying in the sun or getting pierced by a hungry predator’s beak or teeth. It was practically part of her body - the only time she left it was to swiftly exchange it for a new one. Or to mate, but that hadn't happened yet --

And it wouldn't ever happen if she became cramorant chow! The bird showed no signs of quitting its pursuit, pecking her armor again and again. There was simply no other option...

She waited for the right moment - precisely after a peck - and leapt free.

She curled up mid-fall to protect her soft hindbody as well as she could. She wanted to close her eyes to spare herself the sight of any nightmarish scenario that could unfold, but instinct kept them open - and so she saw walls of sand and rock rush by her until her fall came to an abrupt end.

"Ow," she whispered to herself, but the pain she felt was soon thoroughly overpowered by the realization of her triumph.

Yes, she was safe! Out of the cramorant's reach! The bird was shoving its ugly mug at the cavern's entrance in vain, snapping its beak shut repeatedly without catching a thing. It had thrown away Carrie's shell, it seemed - which made her briefly worry, but she knew her shell was likely still close by, and she could snatch it back once the cramorant had left.

That moment seemed to come soon, too, as the bird finally drew back its head. It still tried to get a few more pecks in, but upon realizing nothing was going to change, the bird's head left the entrance. Steps came from outside, and then… a loud, sharp shuffling that quickly faded away.

Yes, it was over. She was finally safe...

Carrie let her body slump. While her shell was still outside, it likely wouldn't go anywhere. She could get a little rest - should, even.

As she lay down on her side, tension in her muscles gradually melted away. Her armor became heavier and heavier, pinning her to the soft sand beneath. The world began to blur and darken, her thoughts melded together…

---

"Gooooood morning!"

Carrie screamed. She saw the giant beak in front of her and screamed again.

How did it fit through? No, did it break the entrance entirely? There was way more light pouring in than before.

Nevermind that, she was doomed! Without her shell, she had no protection against the huge bird with this massive beak! It was stocky and colorful, like nothing she'd seen before…

"Oh, sorry, sorry!" The beak drew back, and more light poured in, almost blinding the dwebble. In the middle, she saw a silhouette of the creature's bust. Its beak was large even compared to the rest of its body, but far longer was its neck…

Wait, had it spoken to her?

"I didn't mean to scare you," it continued. "I just got very excited! It's been a long, long time since I've gotten a guest…"

It waved a wing. "But there's no reason to be shy, come on out! It's a beautiful day! Or are your folks nocturnal where you come from? Oh, I'm so sorry if you are. I let my excitement overtake my manners again… just lemme know if I'm bothering you!"

Well… whatever this thing was, it seemed friendly. And something big and friendly could be very helpful keeping away danger. And she did need to find out where exactly she was and how to get back home…

"M-maybe your silence means you just want me to buzz off, actually…" continued the creature, voice wavering. "I'll just be going, then…"

"Wait!" Carrie shouted, and the silhouette froze. "Y-you're not bothering me, I was just taken by surprise…"

"Oh! Great! So, w-wanna come out?"

"Well, um, I'd love to, but I had to abandon my shell to fit here, and I can't go out in the sun without it… do you see it nearby? It was stuck at the entrance of this hole when I left it…"

"Lemme see! Hmm, shell, shell…"

"It's more like a rock, actually, since I'm a dwebble and all. Round, light gray, has a big hole in it…"

"Gotcha," the stranger replied and left.

Carrie waited, tapping her pincer against the ground. She truly wished that no predator would come and try to take her now. The entrance was far bigger now…

"Sorry, nope, no shell," said the voice. "Must have been taken by some wildlife. But I got you something to shield you for the moment!"

Carrie's antennae drooped. That shell had been hers for quite a while… but at least this friendly giant had something else to protect her. "What is it?"

A hollow thunk rang above her as a large, round object obscured most of the entrance.

“It’s a coconut shell! I hope it’ll do for now,” said the stranger.

A coconut? What was that? Carrie squinted her eyes to see past the sunlight and analyzed the object. Its surface was strange - hairy and brown like some kind of mammal, but solid and hard like an exoskeleton. On its side was a round hole, and through the hole she could see something white coat the insides.

As this strange hollow object was still better than no shell at all, Carrie crept up to the hole and inserted her hindbody within. The interior was clammy and had a strange mild smell she didn’t recognize - was this some kind of fruit? Nonetheless, the exterior felt tough, and that was all that mattered at the moment. She dug her tail into the white flesh inside and backed out of the crevice fully, shell and all.

“This will do, yeah,” she said, looking up at her helper. “Thank y-”

She froze in place, stupefied by the sight.

She’d already known the stranger was a bird, and a big one at that, but she hadn’t anticipated just how huge it would be. Huge and… strange.

It was unlike any other bird she'd seen. Its wings and tail were formed by massive leaves, and its chest was covered in flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors. This majesty, though, clashed horribly with the creature's face - specifically its giant, cumbersome beak as colorful as the flowers on its neck.

"So, hi there!" said the bird with glee, and Carrie realized then that its voice was also quite silly, at least for a creature so magnificent… for most of its body. "Name's Bouquatro! But you can call me Bou for short. What's your name?"

"Carrie," the dwebble said, still puzzled by Bouquatro's odd appearance. "I've never seen a mon like you before. What's your species?"

"Bouquatro!" chuckled the bird. "I'm one of a kind! As far as I know, anyway."

"Huh. I've never met a one-of-a-kinder before, either."

Bouquatro smiled, but then flinched. "Oh! Where are my manners? I should offer you refreshments! Heaven knows you must be tired from your journey… did you swim all the way here?"

"Um, well, actually, I didn't mean to come here. I fell off a cliff during a storm back home, and a cramorant caught me before I hit the waves. It carried me here, but I managed to escape and hide before it could eat me…"

Bouquatro stroked his chin with one of his wing-leaves. "Did this cramorant have only one working eye?"

"I think it did. How so?"

Bouquatro frowned. "I'm gonna need to have a talk with her, clearly…" His expression brightened again. "Ah, but that can be taken care of later. For now, would you like something to eat? I know a great place."

"S-sure. I am pretty hungry…"

"Great! I'll carry you over. Try not to wriggle too much."

"What do you m-"

Carrie's instincts drew her deep into the coconut shell as numerous tendrils, like arms of a tentacruel, shot at and coiled around her. The tendrils were a lively green, and little leaves grew along them - oh, they were vines.

She closed her eyes for the duration of the flight, even if the motions churned her stomach with visuals missing. Fortunately, the trip was quick, and soon she felt her shell touch something soft but firm - a bed of grass.

"Alright, we're here!" announced Bouquatro, and the tendrils withdrew, disappearing behind the bird's back. Still hesitant, Carrie poked her head out of the shell and looked around to see… beauty.

A calm pond, crystal clear, opened up before her. On the opposite side stood a large tree - or perhaps many trees combined - whose roots, trunks and branches weaved together to create a large hut. Around the area grew more trees. These trees were notably smaller than that of the hut, but still robust and densely packed enough to obscure the horizon in all directions. Never had Carrie seen so many trees in one place. Their leaves were broad, vivid green, plentiful, and between those leaves were… fruit… sweet, sweet fruit...

Maybe this was the afterlife. It was too good to exist in the world of mortals.

"Oh, looking at those magosts? They are very nice," said Bouquatro and waddled over to the tree. He gently plucked one of the magenta fruit with his beak and placed it down in front of Carrie. "Enjoy your meal! And feel free to take a sip from the pond. I assure the water is very pure."

Carrie nodded and scuttled over to the water's edge, dragging the fruit with her. She dipped in her head to drink and wet her smaller antennae. As soon as the fluid encased her feelers, an explosion of aromas overtook her mind. So many fragrances! The magost next to her, the other fruit in the trees, the flowers on Bouquatro's chest… it was near overwhelming! She wiped some of the moisture off her antennae, and the sensations mellowed. Much better.

She opened up the magost's rind with patience, sampling the fruit's sweet flavor in small taps, but soon gave into her hunger and crammed the white flesh into her mouth as fast she could.

"I can see you're a fan," chuckled Bouquatro.

Carrie nodded. "There are no fruit like this back home! Not even in the electabuzz's orchards…"

"Electabuzz, huh? Had a hunch you were from Zapdos' island."

Carrie froze, staring at Bouquatro with terrified eyes.

Bouquatro tilted his head. "Hm? What's wrong?"

Carrie swallowed her bite, though it barely went down. "Y-you're not supposed to utter the name of the Stormbringer."

“The Storm...” Bouquatro blinked. “What, Zapdos?”

“Don’t s-say it! He might hear and get angry...”

Bouquatro frowned. “Why do you think that?”

“He already got angry at me today, and I was only thinking sour thoughts! He made the gust that blew me away!”

“Are you sure? What makes you think he can read people’s minds?”

“Well, he’s very powerful… and if he can tell when people are talking about him…”

“And what makes you think he can do that?”

“Well, the electabuzz say so. They actually speak with the Stormbringer, so they’re probably right…”

Bouquatro huffed. “Well, I sure hope the electabuzz came to that conclusion on their own, because otherwise my brother’s been spouting a load of garbage!” He sighed. “Of course, that probably is what happened...”

“Your… brother? Y-you’re the brother of the Stormbringer?”

“Well, I suppose, but he’ll always just be Zappy to me --”

Carrie shoved her face in the dirt and made herself as flat as possible. “I’m so sorry!” she cried. “I didn’t know I was in the presence of a --”

Bouquatro flailed his wings. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! There’s no need for that! Get back up!”

Carrie uprighted herself in an instant. Grains of sand stuck to her face, but she kept still.

“I don’t want any kind of worship from anyone,” continued Bouquatro. “I just want to be a mon among mon, because that’s what I am! Sure, maybe I am powerful, but I’m not a god. And neither are my siblings!” He sighed again and slumped onto the ground. “Oh, I knew they were full of themselves, but this is a new low...”

He raised his brow to look at Carrie. "Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to make a scene… I'm just very much not a fan of my siblings' attitudes." He made himself smile again and began waddling towards the tree-house. "Please, let's talk more inside! I have a guest room with bedding that’s much more comfortable to sit on than just grass or sand."

Carrie cautiously wiped her face free of sand and followed Bouquatro through the entrance of the tree. As he led her through the abode to a smaller room at the back, Carrie took in the decor. In a way, it was like what the electabuzz’s huts looked like on the inside - but all the items and structures they would contain… were made of wood. Living wood. The trunk-wall itself twisted and molded into platforms and niches, even the floor. How would a tree grow like that? Had this Bouquatro placed some rocks or other obstacles in such a way that this tree would grow around them in this shape?

No, no, that was nonsense - Bouquatro was a god. Surely he’d just made this tree grow like this, according to his will! Though he’d just said that he wasn’t a god. But he’d also said that the Stormbringer wasn’t a god. But how could that be? How could something be that powerful but not a god? Maybe this bird was simply a liar, a lunatic or both?

"Here we are!" said Bouquatro, standing at the entrance to the guest room. He laid his eyes on a patch of soil in the corner and frowned. "Hold on, let me get the bed ready…"

He raised his wings, and the flowers on his chest lit up. Red, orange, yellow and green lights dotted the interior. Something moved in the soil, many of something - sprouts. At the end of each was a bud, and those buds swelled and swelled until they popped open, revealing… white fluff.

The fuzz covered the whole patch, concealing not only the dirt but the stalks as well. It was as if someone had sheared a mareep on the spot.

"Try it!" encouraged Bouquatro. "It's very soft."

It looked alluring, Carrie had to admit, but the miracle she had just witnessed outweighed any worldly desires in importance.

"You can…" she breathed, "make plants grow? Just… like that?"

"Hm?" Bouquatro cocked his head. "Ah, oh, yeah. Yes, I can. I am the grass type in my family. Making plants grow is kind of my thing."

A seed of an idea appeared to Carrie. As she pondered more upon it, giving it water and fertile soil, it sprouted - and that sprout grew and grew and grew until it hardened into the sturdy trunk of a mighty oak whose countless leaves and branches practically blacked out the sky!

"Are you alright?" asked a Bouquatro, frowning at his new friend's sudden freezing.

Finally, Carrie found the words for her thoughts and let them fly.

"Divine Guardian of Life!" she boomed, the bird flinching from the volume. "I implore you, great one, to aid my starving people! E-every year, we must migrate to the cliffs to escape the floods, but these cliffs are nigh barren, providing my people little to eat! But if you, great one, could turn those cliffs lush and rich in fruit --"

"U-uhh, hold on," interrupted Bouquatro, shuffling together his wing-leaves. "I think… I should… I have some plants to tend to, just remembered!" He backed away, the corners of his mouth drawn into an odd smile. "Terribly sorry to leave you, but it'll only be for a bit. I-I'll bring you back another fruit! Please make yourself comfortable. Feel free to have a look around, too! Alright, I'm off!"

Before Carrie could object, Bouquatro had rushed out of the house.

She considered following him - but he'd wanted her to stay behind, right? Going against a god's will was not a good idea… and besides, this island was still the home of that hungry cramorant, and likely more. She shouldn't try to venture out without company.

Instead, she should honor the god's wishes and make herself comfortable. Perhaps look around. She did want to look around. On the opposite wall was a shelf - formed by branches as well, naturally - on which lay some objects of interest. Seashells, colorful rocks, a dwebble's abandoned shell… shell!

She scuttled closer, thanking her luck this item happened to be at the lowest shelf where she could reach it. She examined the shell - it was gray granite, beautifully speckled, shined with care, and… too small for her.

Carrie sighed. She'd have to do with the coconut for a while longer.

Her gaze veered to the right and stopped on a strange wooden object. It was cylindrical with a wider platform at the bottom to help it stand up and carvings that made it vaguely resemble a bird. An idol of Bouquatro, gifted by a worshipper? No, there were details that simply didn't match - the wings were like those of flesh and feather, not leaves, and the tail was far too full. The markings and crest didn't match, either. But maybe the idol-maker just didn't know what Bouquatro really looked like. Carrie had only seen glimpses of the real Stormbringer…

Curious, she stepped closer, right onto the platform -- click.

"Aagh!"

Searing light assaulted her vision. On instinct, she withdrew to the refuge of her coconut shell, covered the front with her pincers and lay motionless in wait.

Hurried steps came from outside and found their way in, claws clacking against the wood of the floor. “Oh, no, no, no, no!” said Bouquatro’s voice. Then came another click, and the brightness vanished.

“Oh dear...” lamented Bouquatro. “Are you okay?”

Only after some seconds did Carrie realize he’d spoken to her. “Um, I think so...” She finally dared to peek out of her shell. The light really was gone - the idol looked just like it was before.

“Alright, good...” said Bouquatro, picked up the idol with his beak and placed it on a higher shelf. “Sorry, I forgot to warn about that. Please don’t touch it.”

“What… what is it?”

Bouquatro sighed. “It’s something our mother gave each one of us. If you press that button on the platform, a beacon of light shoots up into the sky, and she’ll know she’s needed.” He looked around. “Luckily, we’re indoors, so I don’t think she saw it…”

Carrie got back onto her feet. “Do you not want your mother to come here?”

“W-well, it’s not that, it’s...” He scratched a leg with his foot. “I just don’t wanna bother her outside emergencies, you know.”

He stopped to stare at his foot. “Oh. Sorry. I forgot the fruit. I’ll go back and get --”

“No, no, there’s no need,” interrupted Carrie. “I-I’d really rather have your answer to my question, please.”

“Your question...” He sighed again. “Right.”

Bouquatro sat down. He tried to keep his eyes on Carrie’s, but they always fell. On the fourth attempt, he simply sighed yet again and closed his eyes. “I… can’t help you. I’m sorry.”

Carrie knew it wouldn’t work - and yet, it did nothing to stop her heart from ripping in half.

Her anguish reflected in Bouquatro’s eyes. He raised his wings defensively. “I-It’s not that I don’t want to, I swear! I just… well, the circumstances won’t allow for it.”

“Alright...” peeped Carrie. “But… could you consider telling me what those circumstances are?”

Bouquatro gave a glum nod. “It’s not something I like talking about, but you deserve a proper answer.”

He inhaled, then exhaled. “The thing is, Zapdos doesn’t want me on his island. None of my siblings want me to visit, actually. They don’t… well, they don’t like me. And not just me, but what I stand for. Trees, vines, flowers, all little critters that depend on them - my siblings never seemed to like them like I did. Heck, I might even be to blame. Back when we were only chicks, I was practicing my grass powers, and I made some flowers I’d seen before grow right next to our nest. Little did I know, that species was an absolute treat to certain insects, and soon our nest was overrun by all sorts of creepy-crawlies…”

He shook his head. “I got over it, but I suppose my siblings never did. And now I’m guessing Zapdos wants to keep his island as barren as possible while still having enough vegetation to keep his electabuzz and their livestock alive.”

"So... you’re afraid of your brother?”

“Basically, yeah. Maybe he wouldn’t attack me… but he could attack my island, and all the creatures here, and I wouldn’t be able to fight him off...”

“Oh,” said Carrie. She really had nothing else to say.

It seemed that Bouquatro had nothing, either. A silence filled the air as the two stayed as they were, moving only their eyes, sliding their gazes across the room… until Carrie’s happened to fall on the wooden idol once more.

“What about your mother?” she asked.

Bouquatro flinched. “Hm? What about our mother?”

“What does she think of the situation?”

“Uhhh...” He scratched the floor with his talons, avoiding Carrie’s gaze now harder than ever. “Sh-she doesn’t know, I suppose.”

“What if she knew?”

Bouquatro puffed his feathers, realizing Carrie’s intentions. “She wouldn’t approve. B-but I can’t call her here!”

“Why not?”

Carrie’s eyes widened at her own remark, and she quickly covered her mouthparts. She shouldn’t yell like that at a god! He might smite her! Mortals should know their place, that’s how they get to survive…

...but looking at this god, she saw no wrath.

Bouquatro’s eyes had finally met hers, and she could only see fear. Fear… and shame.

Their contact broke as the bird squeezed his eyelids shut, forehead wrinkled in anguish.

“I’m… I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m being selfish. I-I shouldn’t leave your people suffering just because of my own problems.”

He sighed and opened his eyes. “Listen. I’ll help, but… I’d really rather not call my mother about it. Instead, I’ll do it… in secret. I’ll fly under cover of night so Zapdos won’t see me. I’ll bring some seeds and mold with me in advance so it’ll go faster. Is that okay?”

Is that okay? was what a god had just asked a mortal. About saving her people with a miracle.

What a strange god.

“Wh- yes! That’s more than okay! That’s wonderful!” she shouted. “Thank you, Great One!”

Bouquatro grimaced. “Please, cut that out. I already said I don’t want any worship.” He smiled. “Just call me Bou! It’s what all my friends...” His smile melted off. “Would say. If I had any that could talk.”

He shook his head. “Either way! I’d better start gathering supplies now if I am to make it there tonight. In the meantime, you can rest here. Do you want anything before I leave?”

“Well...” Carrie rubbed her face with a pincer. “Maybe just one magost? Those were pretty good.”

Bouquatro smiled back. “One magost coming right up.”

---​
 
Last edited:

cynsh

full-time quilava
Location
Deepden
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. quilava
Hi Canis! I've wanted to review something of yours ever since you stopped by on Fighting Nature. Unfortunately your main story seems a little... dark for my tastes, but I was really pleased to see you post this! Ever since you posted the art, I've been intrigued.

On that topic: I LOVE THE ART. Seriously, it is perfect. Not only because it helps visualising Bouquatro when he shows up, but the vibrant colours reflect the quite whimsical nature of the story, there's the little adorable Carrie, it's got a nice tagline- ugh. Good. Very good.

It felt like it took quite a while for Bouquatro to actually appear in the story. Looking back, it's actually not very far into the chapter. Still, I'm not sure Carrie's near-death struggles needed to be covered in so much detail when it doesn't seem very important to what follows.

The cramorant seemed strangely useless. I appreciate that if its prey is hiding in a rock-like shell, it's going to be difficult to get out. But all it could do was peck? No water attacks, no flying attacks?
The only thing I can guess is that wild pokemon in this setting are not very strong and can't do many moves. After all, Carrie wasn't doing anything unusual either.

You have a really good grasp of English; there's some great descriptions in here. I noted the inside of the coconut as an example, which on reflection is only, uh, a sentence, but the similies just work really well.

A bit confused as to where a dwebble's antennae would be? You make reference to it several times, but I can't see any in its official art nor bulbapedia description.

Been thinking about Bouquatro as a name. Is the 'bou' from bouquet of flowers? That's all I can think of. I appreciate that the spanish four probably made things a bit difficult in finding a prefix that didn't sound bad (graquatro, anyone? 🥴) and I do think it's a good name, fitting for Bouquatro's chaotic energy.

On the opposite side stood a large tree - or perhaps many trees combined - whose roots, trunks and branches weaved together to create a large hut. Around the area grew more trees. These trees were notably smaller than that of the hut, but still robust and densely packed enough to obscure the horizon in all directions. Never had Carrie seen so many trees in one place.
Nothing seriously wrong with this description, but that is quite a lot of 'tree' in one paragraph 😅
As he led her through the abode to a smaller room at the back, Carrie took in the decor. In a way, it was like what the electabuzz’s huts looked like on the inside - but all the items and structures they would contain… were made of wood. Living wood. The trunk-wall itself twisted and molded into platforms and niches, even the floor.
This, though. Hell yeah. I stan the plant god now
Maybe this bird was simply a liar, a lunatic or both?
Feel like there should be a comma after lunatic here, to separate that idea from 'both'.
cylinder-shaped
I think you mean 'cylindrical'.
Back when we were only chicks, I was practicing my grass powers, and I made some flowers I’d seen before grow right next to our nest. Little did I know, that species was an absolute treat to certain insects, and soon our nest was overrun by all sorts of creepy-crawlies…”

He shook his head. “I got over it, but I suppose my siblings never did.
damn, Zapdos is pretty petty if he's holding grudges from an accidental bug infestation that happened when they were kids. Is that really all there is to Bouquatro's exile? :thonk:

All in all, I think it's a great start! I am all for more quirky, low-stakes pokecentric stories, and this fits that perfectly. Keep it up! :quag:
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
On that topic: I LOVE THE ART. Seriously, it is perfect. Not only because it helps visualising Bouquatro when he shows up, but the vibrant colours reflect the quite whimsical nature of the story, there's the little adorable Carrie, it's got a nice tagline- ugh. Good. Very good.

Thank you! I've been proud of it myself, unusually so for a long-time perfectionist.

It felt like it took quite a while for Bouquatro to actually appear in the story. Looking back, it's actually not very far into the chapter. Still, I'm not sure Carrie's near-death struggles needed to be covered in so much detail when it doesn't seem very important to what follows.

This is a valid point, and one I did notice myself. I think I may have been too afraid to "gloss over" some things after writing intimate first-person prose for so long. I want the peril to seem real, but not draw it out when the focus should be elsewhere. Hm.

The cramorant seemed strangely useless. I appreciate that if its prey is hiding in a rock-like shell, it's going to be difficult to get out. But all it could do was peck? No water attacks, no flying attacks?
The only thing I can guess is that wild pokemon in this setting are not very strong and can't do many moves. After all, Carrie wasn't doing anything unusual either.

Ah, true! Yeah, now that I think about it, all my stories seem to power mon down somewhat. I guess part of it is me not wanting to wonder where all the water comes from for Hydro Pump and such when I, stubbornly and blind to the irony, want to write about magical monsters in a realistic tone.

But as the author, I can also tell you that this specific cramorant is kind of dumb, even for a wild mon.

Been thinking about Bouquatro as a name. Is the 'bou' from bouquet of flowers?

Yep! It's why I wanted to give him a chest full of different kinds of flowers which definitely weren't a chore to draw.

A bit confused as to where a dwebble's antennae would be? You make reference to it several times, but I can't see any in its official art nor bulbapedia description.

That's a bit of artistic license on my part. She needed to smell and taste in some way, and real crabs do that with small antennae roughly between their eyes. I think I unfortunately only got to that part after having drawn the cover, so I couldn't reflect it in Carrie's illustration there. So just... pretend they're there lol.

All in all, I think it's a great start! I am all for more quirky, low-stakes pokecentric stories, and this fits that perfectly. Keep it up!

Great to hear! I'm glad to be writing something lighter again myself after spending a while with edgelord project only. And thanks for the read and review!
 

Flaze

Don't stop, keep walking
Location
Chile
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. infernape
I think what I've always liked about your writing, and what I missed while I was away, is how you're able to capture a certain sense of whimsy, like, even in your darker works there's a lot of overflowing creativity and joy in what the story's telling that it's hard not to feel invested and while your more serious stories definitely pack their desire punch, I think your lighter ones are where this sense shines a lot more.

All that to say that while reading this it felt kind of like watching an animated movie, but in a good way. You're able to properly introduce Carrie pretty quickly and put us in her headspace while also giving us some nice worldbuilding tips, showcasing the ways in which her and her species (and presumably other species living in that area) live and are treated in comparison with those in higher standing and how hard it is for them to find food and continue to live. It tells us how she lives, what she considers important, her clan and her shell (life). Simply put, you make us know her place in the food chain which in turn informs our opinions once she gets taken away.

Bouquatro is another interesting addition. I quite like the idea of a fourth legendary bird and one that focuses on grass type, it always felt weird that grass, which was technically the first type we saw depending on which starter you picked, didn't get to have a legendary representing it for quite a while (no seriously, it's crazy when you think about it) so Bouquatro as a concept works great as does the fact that his powers allow him to give life. That appreciation for life in turn influences his decisions. He doesn't want to be seen as a god because he respects all living things and nature.

He's also a pretty swell dude, and it's both sad and adorable how quick he is to accommodate others, you can tell it comes from the fact he's had to live mostly by himself for such a long time. The relationship he forms with Carrie is also endearing in how she reminds him of the things he can do to help others.

Outside of that, I still don't have too much to say, but considering that there's still a few more parts to go, I expect thing to get interesting, especially once Bouquatro and Zapdos (or maybe other birds) meet.
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
CHAPTER 1 REVIEW

It's been quite a bit of a while since I last read a fic from you, and I'd been looking forward to Bouquagtro for quite some time now. I must say, this fic really didn't disappoint. The biggest appeal of pokecentric fics to me is seeing how the technology, cultures and lifestyles of pokemon differ from ours when they're intelligent and stuff.

Carrie makes for a fun protagonist to follow as she feels very relatable and easy enough to understand. It is not often you see a bug type protagonist, let alone a dwebble. It isn't something never seen before, but I really appreciate the choices made here.

I liked the description of Bouquatro's home in this chapter, as well as the world building tidbit about him and his siblings. The idea of the Kanto birds having a fourth unpopular sibling is fascinating to say the least, and I really like how humble Bou is, though it appears he's also really lonely. I feel bad for the grass birb. I hope he makes new friends along the way, and hopefully his siblings will start respecting him a bit more too.
 

NebulaDreams

Ace Trainer
Partners
  1. luxray
Oh dear.

A bird's bill.

Alright, she was inside a bird's bill.

Hmmmmmm.

Bouquatro tilted his head. "Hm? What's wrong?"

Carrie swallowed her bite, though it barely went down. "Y-you're not supposed to utter the name of the Stormbringer."

“The Storm...” Bouquatro blinked. “What, Zapdos?”

“Don’t s-say it! He might hear and get angry...”

"You mean don't say Candlejack-- I mean, Zapdos?"

“I just don’t wanna bother her outside emergencies, you know.”

Do you mean 'bother her with outside emergencies'?

“Wh- yes! That’s more than okay! That’s wonderful!” she shouted. “Thank you, Great One!”

Bouquatro grimaced. “Please, cut that out. I already said I don’t want any worship.” He smiled. “Just call me Bou! It’s what all my friends...” His smile melted off. “Would say. If I had any that could talk.”

His line at the end struck me as surprisingly sad. I wonder how much he really gets from being a friend to all living things, including one-eyed Cramorants.

---

So... I don't have too much to say about this fic this time since it's mostly an introductory section, and what I've read it promising so far, so I don't really have anything to criticise.

What I like about this so far is Carrie's conflict and how she bounces off of Bouquatro. This fic really makes you feel like a Dwebble. Jokes aside, this is a unique perspective to explore in a fic where the protag is in such a vulnerable position due to, y'know, being a hermit crab, so right from the start, it pits her in a world where Dwebble get the short end of the straw in terms of living conditions. If it wasn't for the dialogue later on, I would've called this full-on xenofiction. But after that episode with the Cramorant, it was nice for her to meet a legendary (allegedly) who doesn't talk down to her, and it's interesting to explore the relationship a legendary would have with common Pokemon where there's such a big power imbalance. Her reactions (and overreactions about potentially blaspheming a legendary) throughout were cute, and I'm curious to see how she'll react to more of the weirdness that goes on with the legendaries later on.

You know what, for some reason, I was expecting Bouquatro to be a more flamboyant and outlandish character (mainly because of the cover art), and I also imagined him as a con artist masquerading as a legendary with the tagline. So it was quite a surprise for him to turn out to be such a down-to-earth fella, and to see the fakemon angle played straight here, at least for now.

I don't really know what to expect from the rest of the story, but I'm excited for when it comes out, as always.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. mawile
Here for Catnip!

This was a treat! I love the idea of a fourth member of the Legendary Bird trio! Carrie was a cute character, and her coconut shell is an adorable image.

I do enjoy it when pokemon are portrayed behaving like animals. The cramorant pecking at her shell, probably wondering why it couldn't eat her, seemed very natural. And her fears about being dropped so her shell would crack echoed what a hard-shelled bug might possibly think. The primal fear mixed with anthropomorphic thoughts was brilliant.

As for Bouquatro, he is certainly an eccentric character! I thought he would be from the image in the opening. He's quite endearing, actually.

The wooden statue going off like a Bat Signal was hilarious XD when he mentioned it 'calling his mother' made me perceive it as some unusual, almost primitive, telephone! It would be interesting to see what would happen if the Legendary Birds' mother got involved in their sibling squabble.

A calm pond, crystal clear, opened up before her. On the opposite side stood a large tree - or perhaps many trees combined - whose roots, trunks and branches weaved together to create a large hut.

This was fantastic imagery!

“I don’t want any kind of worship from anyone,” continued Bouquatro. “I just want to be a mon among mon, because that’s what I am! Sure, maybe I am powerful, but I’m not a god. And neither are my siblings!”

This! The idea of legends just being powerful pokemon is exactly how I like to think of them! The native inhabitants having blown-up ideas of them, that the birds themselves seem to have taken advantage of, is a great concept! Now... will Carrie eventually accept this?

I look forward to future chapters! This is already a pretty solid concept, and I don't think I've read much fanfiction with a fakemon character before! =D
 

Navarchu

Exploration Team leader
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
Heya! Here for the review I gotta do for the catnip, and probably Review Blitz as well... Anyway! I was going to review your other story, but it felt... Too dark for me, so I decided to review this one instead! There's probably a lot for me to unpack, but I enjoyed it! Without further ado, here I go!

At least it wasn't raining. Yet, anyway. The darkened sky and rolling thunder above made it clear that a torrent of rain could start at any time.

What horrible weather for a migration. They should have left early this year. What was a little hunger compared to drowning in a flood?

This piece of prose caught my attention, it shows worldbuilding skills and makes the scenario feel "alive". Kudos to you for this.

A brightness in the sky interrupted Carrie’s thoughts. It slid back into the clouds as quickly as it had slid out, but she’d had just enough time to realize its shape - birdlike. Had that been him? The Stormbringer? Had he heard her complaints? Had she angered him? Oh dear, oh dear --

Accelerated thoughts. Fitting for someone who's panicking due to the situation they're in. This shows me about the character and what her personality is without being told in a sentence made by her, therefore, I liked this part.


So what would she do? She couldn't just crawl her way out of the bill. She likely lacked the strength as just a little crustacean, and nothing was beneath her but stormy sea either way. She could only wait, wait for the moment the bird would land and let her out of its beak to try and snatch her out of her shell. Then she would escape, or at least try.

She waited. She waited some more. Minutes passed. The sun shifted in her mind's eye. How much longer would it be until --
Poor Carrie, her mind must be racing with anxiety, other predators would have eaten her by now, and yet this one seems... gentle.

It waved a wing. "But there's no reason to be shy, come on out! It's a beautiful day! Or are your folks nocturnal where you come from? Oh, I'm so sorry if you are. I let my excitement overtake my manners again… just lemme know if I'm bothering you!"

I LOVE HIM OH MY GOD. Apologies for that, anyway, I like Bouquatro, a very humble and kind bird, who decided to save that little bug instead of eating her. Nice character, and good personality for a protagonist, I hope he doesn't get hurt... Much. You hooked me in with him and I really, really liked how he was portrayed.

Bouquatro smiled, but then flinched. "Oh! Where are my manners? I should offer you refreshments! Heaven knows you must be tired from your journey… did you swim all the way here?"

Again, what a humble bird. Would love to be his guest if he's so nice. Good work on him!

A calm pond, crystal clear, opened up before her. On the opposite side stood a large tree - or perhaps many trees combined - whose roots, trunks and branches weaved together to create a large hut. Around the area grew more trees. These trees were notably smaller than that of the hut, but still robust and densely packed enough to obscure the horizon in all directions. Never had Carrie seen so many trees in one place. Their leaves were broad, vivid green, plentiful, and between those leaves were… fruit… sweet, sweet fruit...

This. This is the type of description that I love, holy hell. Not too much, but not too little of it. Basically, it's at the right amount of description, and it was well-written to have Carrie react to this strange place. Good job.


“I don’t want any kind of worship from anyone,” continued Bouquatro. “I just want to be a mon among mon, because that’s what I am! Sure, maybe I am powerful, but I’m not a god. And neither are my siblings!” He sighed again and slumped onto the ground. “Oh, I knew they were full of themselves, but this is a new low...”
This is something that stood out for me. A Legendary that isn't a deity? It''s a concept I wished I saw more of in sotries, so this was distinct enough to get my attention.

He inhaled, then exhaled. “The thing is, Zapdos doesn’t want me on his island. None of my siblings want me to visit, actually. They don’t… well, they don’t like me. And not just me, but what I stand for. Trees, vines, flowers, all little critters that depend on them - my siblings never seemed to like them like I did. Heck, I might even be to blame. Back when we were only chicks, I was practicing my grass powers, and I made some flowers I’d seen before grow right next to our nest. Little did I know, that species was an absolute treat to certain insects, and soon our nest was overrun by all sorts of creepy-crawlies…”

Awww, he's really adorable. Also, I hate his siblings for hurting him, but it's understandable, since it was a mistake he made, with consequences, of course. Regardless, a fun little information about Bouquatro's past(And as I type this I finally realize he's named like the other birds, I'm just that dumb)

I guess this is it. My thoughts on this chapter: Well done, the description was good enough for me, the characters got my attention because of their distinct personalities, and the plot is simple, yet charming. A new take on the Kanto legendaries that I never saw before. Overall, a nicely done chapter! Keep up the good work.
 
Part Two

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Well, I'm sufficiently far enough in the story now that I can decide to split the rest into two for a total of three parts. The final may be shorter than the others, but I'd rather have it that way than have the second part be much longer than the first.

Anyway, rated PG still. This part includes mild language, bloodless violence and sibling abuse.

---

Part Two

---​

The day passed much more quickly than Carrie had anticipated. Time flew when there were so many wonders to behold on Bouquatro's island. The flowers on the bird's chest, resplendent as they were, paled in comparison to what the island's jungle held within. Any kind of flower one could imagine - at least Carrie, with her limited experience - had a match in this paradise. The same went for fruits, trees, bushes, grasses, mosses… and it all added up once Carrie asked a question on her mind and received the answer: yes, many of these Bouquatro had created himself.

The mon, however, Bouquatro had no part in designing. "Modifying flesh doesn't fall under my powers," he had said, "and changing any plant parts without permission would be rather rude." Nevertheless, the diversity of species was still far greater than back at Carrie's home. With the help of Bouquatro’s life-sense - his ability to locate living beings, fitting for a god of life - they found many new mon: oddish, shroomish, budew, vivillon, sunflora… and then all the ones whose names she forgot seconds after introduction.

Cramorant, though, was more than familiar. She withdrew in her shell the moment she saw one fly by, but curiously enough, Bouquatro called it down and… made it apologize to her. Carrie could scarcely believe it - the one-eyed cramorant that had tried to eat her before now bowed its head with a defeated crow. She didn’t even know ferals could feel guilt. Or maybe it had just learned to feign it. Either way, Carrie decided to accept the apology when asked by Bouquatro. Anything to get the predator to leave faster.

While touring the island, Bouquatro gathered seeds from plants he thought would make for the best food sources for the dwebble. He carried them in a pouch hanging from his neck, along with another pouch for good, fertile mulch. He’d said that both would help quicken the process - no need to gather plant material on the cliffs to modify or make the seeds sprout and grow with life energy alone. And the quicker they got it done, the sooner he could leave, and the smaller the risk of getting caught would be.

Finally, as the golden sun dove into the sea, the time came for them to depart. Bouquatro made sure the strings of his pouches were sturdy, then picked up Carrie with his vines and strapped her onto his back.

"Does it feel like it'll hold?" asked Bouquatro.

"Yep," replied Carrie with a nod. Her coconut was securely fastened, and her tail was anchored to the coconut. She felt as safe as she could imagine feeling while on the back of a giant bird.

"Then we're off!" Bouquatro announced. With a powerful beat of his wings, he heaved himself into the air, kicking up a cloud of dust and sand in his wake. As he continued to flap, the beach beneath them retreated, replaced soon by the churning sea.

The sky, vibrant with dusk, darkened quickly - but not from the coming night alone. The few tufts of cloud lazily floating above Bouquatro’s island grew larger and denser as the duo approached Carrie’s home. By the time their destination was clearly visible, the sky had been covered entirely by a thick, black blanket of storm clouds circling the island. Thunder rolled high above, and every now and then, lightning flashed.

Despite the strengthening winds, Bouquatro’s flight stayed surprisingly stable. This gave Carrie the courage to peek past Bouquatro’s neck. From this distance, the difference in height between the two sides of the island was obvious. There was the low beach - all flooded and muddy right now, of course - and then there were the steep cliffs. In the middle were the highlands that the electabuzz lived on, and on a tall hill right at the edge of the cliffs stood a clean, white building - the Stormbringer’s temple. It seemed to be the very point the stormclouds pivoted around.

“My colony should be somewhere in the cliffside caverns,” shouted Carrie over the wind. “I’ve never been there myself, so I can’t be any more specific. I’m sorry… I-I hope we can still find them fast enough.”

“Have no worries!” said Bouquatro. “I’m sure I’ll find it quickly with my life-sense.”

“Does your life-sense also tell you where the Storm- I mean, your brother is?”

Bouquatro nodded. “Indeed it does. Right now, he’s on the other side of the island, and he doesn’t seem to be moving. We should be safe for now.”

To Carrie’s relief, Bouquatro’s theory seemed to hold water as they approached her colony’s habitat. The bird reported no motions from his brother despite Carrie even specifically asking, just to stay in the know of the current situation. And it did distract from the bombardment of the occasional downpour, even a shower of hail. She had her coconut for shelter, sure, but it wasn’t nice knowing Bouquatro had to bear it all with only soft feathers for protection. At least it didn’t seem to bother him - the droplets and hailstones bounced off his plumage lightly, failing to draw even a flinch in response. Another feature to befit a god, despite all the ones that didn’t.

Finally, right in the middle of the heaviest torrent yet, they reached the dwelling they were looking for. It was a large, wide notch in the overhanging cliffside, barren save for a few measly patches of grass or moss. At the very back of the crevice, Carrie spotted several holes - tunnel entrances, she supposed based on stories she’d heard prior.

The cleft itself was too narrow for Bouquatro to comfortably stand inside, but luckily a section of the bottom protruded far enough to provide him with a functioning perch. He decided to make his landing there, gently lowered Carrie onto the ground in front of him and finally shook himself with vigor, flinging droplets all around like a qwilfish discharging its quills.

"So," he started. "They appear to be hiding in the tunnels. Should I do this with them looking, or…"

"Looking, yes," Carrie quickly replied. "I want them to see this miracle. I'll go get everyone."

"I'll start spreading the mold in advance," Bou said. "The less time I spend here, the better."

Carrie nodded and scuttled into the tunnels. The wind and rainfall outside muffled, giving way to the clacks of her claws.

"Hello?" she called into the caverns. The word echoed back, unanswered.

The others were being careful, it seemed. Hiding from any electabuzz possibly trying to lure them out for a whacking to avenge stolen fruit from the orchards. It had happened before, or so she'd heard.

"It's me, Carrie!" she called. "Carnelian in full! Daughter of Bismuth and Pearlkeeper!"

For a while, there was no reply. But right as she considered calling yet another time --

“Carrie!” shouted a familiar voice, accompanied by frantic clacks on the bedrock. “Is that really you?”

From the darkness emerged a crustle, gleaming white pearls embedded in the clay coating her shell. This was the final sign Carrie needed. She darted over without hesitation and embraced her mother tightly.

“Oh, Carrie, I thought you were a goner!” said Pearl, then stepped back and squinted. “What happened to your shell?”

Carrie glanced back at her coconut. “Uh… I had to leave it behind. This is a temporary one.” She shook her head. “But that’s not important! I need the colony to come outside. I need them to see something.”

“The whole colony?” asked Pearl, hesitant. “You know it’s not very safe our there during the storm - by the ocean’s depths, you should know that better than anyone!”

“I know, I know, but this is really important. It’s a miracle! A-and, well, I guess not everyone has to be there… just a dozen or so, so they can tell everyone what they saw with their own eyes.”

Pearl rubbed her pincers together, avoiding Carrie’s gaze.

“There’s food!” said Carrie. “Lots of it. And to spare.”

That got Pearl’s attention. “Food? Where would that come from?”

Carrie sighed. She supposed she would have to explain it all well enough for her mother to believe her and convince the others to come outside, even if it would take valuable time...

“Well,” she started, “it’s kind of a long story, but bear with me...”

---​

Ten or twelve was the count of dwebble or crustle that Carrie and her mother could convince to come out. Carrie had hoped for more, but thought it sufficient nevertheless.

Reserved whispers and clacks of armor against stone or more armor filled the air. It seemed that Bouquatro flinging a cheerful "Hello!" at each new mon that had emerged had done little to calm their worries.

Carrie headed for Bouquatro, and the bird noticed her as well, giving her the same friendly greeting.

“The mold and seeds are in place,” he said, gesturing to the dirt stuffed in the crevices of the bedrock. “Is this everyone?”

“Uh… close enough to it,” replied Carrie. “Listen, could you pick me up and put me on your back or so? I need everyone to believe you’re nice before you start the miracle. They might get some dumb idea that it’s a trick otherwise.”

“Sure!” Bouquatro said, and right away two vines arose from his back. The crowd of crabs recoiled, but gradually relaxed as the giant bird did nothing to harm the one of their kin, only gently grasping and lifting her onto his back.

“See, everyone?” Carrie called out. “He’s nice!”

The dwebble and crustle resumed their whispering, but the tone seemed more positive this time.

Bouquatro smiled. “Aw, thanks.” Then his smile fell off. “So could I start now? I do need to leave soon...”

Carrie eyed her colonymates. “Yeah, I think you’re good to go.”

Bouquatro nodded and spread his wings. The flowers on his chest began to glow, just like the first time Carrie had seen him exert his powers, but this time they seemed much brighter.

Must be since he's growing many more plants this time, thought Carrie - but soon she found herself incapable of coherent thought, attention fully consumed by the captivating display unraveling before her and her kin.

Little sprouts wormed their way out of the mold, glowing a healthy green. They grew height, forked, spread out leaves. Some stopped quite low, only as tall as an average dwebble, but some reached up to Bouquatro's chest, their stalks hardening with brown bark covering them.

Finally came the most important part - the fruit, or berries in this case. There were five different kinds in total. One was light blue and conical with its seeds strangely embedded in its skin instead of being hidden inside. The second was round and dark purple. The third and fourth grew in the taller bushes, resembling each other with their lumpy shape, but differing by color - red and dark blue. The final berry was like them as well, but grew much lower and had a pearly white color instead.

The dwebble and crustle watched in wordless awe. Their eyes sparkled and jaws hung low, drool escaping the mouths of some. Gradually, they found their words again, and whispers overtook the crowd with newfound vigor.

“How did he make them grow so fast?”

“Am I dreaming?”

“It really is a miracle...”

Carrie looked back at her mother and saw her trembling.

“Mom, are you --” Carrie tried, but Pearl shook her head, and she saw the joy in her eyes.

She began to sob. “I-I’m just… so happy,” she said. “You’re back… and… now this...”

Carrie felt her own throat tighten. “It’s alright, mom,” she said with a smile in her voice. ”Everything’s okay now.”

The plants slowed down in their growth, and Bouquatro’s glow began to fade. He took a moment to catch his breath, then lowered his head to the audience and spoke.

"Alright, so what you've got here now are rawst, belu, razz, bluk and cumulo," he said, pointing to the respective plants. "Razz and bluk have thorns in them, and I considered taking them away, but figured that it'd be better not to since deviating from the original can cause some unexpected side effects, and I didn't really have time to test out a thornless version properly so --"

A sharp crack split the air.

The audience and showmon alike stood still, dead silent. Only rainfall and the wailing wind were heard.

"...So, anyway," Bouquatro continued, "I also thought that since you folks have such hard shells, thorns won't be that much of a prob-"

Another crack rang out, louder than the first, and on its tail came a rumbling even louder. The cliff beneath Bouquatro's feet, the source of the terrible noise, sank with small, quick nudges - and just as the bird realized the situation and leapt into flight, the section came fully loose and plummeted towards the sea.

As the cliffside wasn't wholly vertical or sloping inward, the debris did not fall smoothly. It crashed against the crag time and time again, adding further to the total amount of noise produced, before finally plunging into the sea with a great big splash.

A large piece of the cliff now missing, the culprit behind the collapse was clear to be seen - roots that had split the rock as they'd grown.

"Oh, no, no, no, no!" babbled Bouquatro, already flying away at his top speed, raindrops bombarding his back. "There's no way my brother didn't hear that!"

"Wait -- hey!" shouted Carrie, her pincers tightly clasped onto the flowers on the nape of Bouquatro's neck. "Leave me behind first! That's my home!"

"No! No time!" Bouquatro snapped back - and Carrie recoiled. He'd never used that tone.

"I'll bring you back some other time!" he added more softly. "Right now, we have to get away before my brother --"

A blinding flash overtook the sky. Thunder roared, fiercer than Carrie'd ever heard before.

"Stop right there!" screeched a voice.

Bouquatro flapped his wings frantically to slow down his speed. "Too late…" he squeaked.

Carrie looked up. A bird-shaped figure coated in crackling white electricity loomed above… far above. And far away - on the other side of the island, in fact.

"Why are you stopping?" she whisper-yelled, watching the figure slowly approach. "He's not even close! You can still get away!"

"No, I-I need to stop…" stammered Bouquatro, then flinched and bent his neck to look Carrie in the eye. "Carrie! H-he hates bugs! You have to hide!"

Carrie glanced back at her unwieldy shell. "Hide where?"

Bouquatro paused. "You need to drop that."

"What? But --"

"It won't protect you against him anyway! Drop it, so you can hide in my flowers!"

Carrie wanted to argue, but the terror in Bouquatro's eye yelled louder than she ever could.

As much as her instincts fought against her, she unhooked her tail from the coconut's flesh and pushed the shell off Bouquatro's back. It plummeted down towards the sea - but she had no time to watch it go. As the rain tapped on her exposed back, she lay down as flat as she could… but it wasn't enough, she could tell. The panic she'd been suppressing began to overflow --

The tendrils holding her steady moved. They yanked her off Bouquatro’s back and shoved her against his chest instead. The flowers around her gave off a faint glow as their stems lengthened and thickened and their petals spread out further. They obscured her view of the black sea below, darkening her vision even further - but if she couldn’t see the world outside, that meant the world couldn’t see her, either.

“Please, stay there and don’t move too much,” said Bouquatro’s voice. “My brother hates bugs, a-and I don’t want anything to happen to you...”

“So it is you!” shouted the voice from before, now much closer.

“J-just stay hidden, okay?” whispered Bouquatro, shifting his tendrils for a better, more maintainable grip.

“Alright,” said Carrie. It wasn’t as if she would’ve liked to face the Stormbringer’s wrath herself…

But as Bouquatro swerved in the air to face his brother, one thing became clear to her - this drastic motion without the visual to accompany it was poison to her innards. The magost from before threatened to make a comeback, but right before, she poked her eyestalks through the canopy of petals. Even if she saw mostly darkness, the nausea lifted and she could breathe normally again.

“Get your tail over here,” spat the Stormbringer, voice like venom. “We’re going to my temple for a talk.”

Bouquatro sighed and did as told. “Alright...”

No words were spoken on the flight to the temple. To keep her racing thoughts at bay, Carrie decided to take in the sights - the steep cliffs they crossed, the electabuzz’s settlements, their houses and orchards…

Many of the yellow mon flinched and bowed deep as they noticed their lord, even if it meant stopping in the middle of a dash from one shelter to another. Some, instead of bowing, traced the lightning bolt shaped marking on their chests. Regardless, their fur certainly got wetter than it needed. Carrie briefly wondered why there were no civilized mon like these on Bouquatro’s island, and if there were, how they would act towards him. His words about not wanting worship echoed in her mind, especially loud as the birds arrived at the temple, talons clacking against the fine marble of its terrace.

The two birds walked under the wide shelter before the doorway, and without warning, the Stormbringer shook his body vigorously, flinging droplets all around. Bouquatro squinted as he was sprayed as well, but simply absorbed all the moisture in his feathers after, drying in seconds.

The Stormbringer lifted a foot and pushed open one of the two heavy-looking wooden doors. As light flooded out and illuminated the two birds, Carrie realized this made her more visible, too. She backed deeper into the flowers, but kept them parted just enough to see what was happening from the gaps between the petals. Safety came first, but curiosity was a close second.

The Stormbringer entered first. "Come in," he said, "but don't you dare shed any plant matter in here. There's enough on the roof. I gotta yell at the templekeeper one of these days - he's clearly been slacking on the job. Maybe zap him and get a new one. He's kind of old, anyway."

Bouquatro followed in silence. The strong light was a striking change from the rainy night outside, but his and Carrie's eyes adjusted quickly. Carrie had first thought that the light came from torches, but a longer look revealed that it instead radiated from strange, glowing orbs placed in metal sconces on the walls. Inside each buzzed and sparked something like a small cluster of lightning, and the light they emitted has a cold hue to it. The sort of curiosity that one would expect to witness only in a god's dwelling, thought Carrie.

The rest of the hall was more familiar in material with all its marble. In fact, there was scarcely anything that wasn't marble. The floor, the walls, the ceiling and the pillars were all made of that same smooth white stone, amplifying the orbs' light even further. The only exceptions Carrie could spot were some furniture, like the shelves against the far back wall or the metallic perch decorated with gold and silver that stood between them.

Behind the perch, the wall opened up for a window large enough for someone as big as the Stormbringer to climb through. It wasn’t just a hole, it seemed, by the reflection of the room on it… it must have had glass. The electabuzz must have worked hard to make that, and to make it so smooth, too! Or the Stormbringer made it himself... but somehow, Carrie doubted it.

Finally, the thunderbird reached the end of the hall and flitted onto his perch. He puffed out his chest, facing Bouquatro and his hidden companion. Lightning flashed behind him, and Carrie wondered if it was on purpose.

“Alright!” he shouted, glaring at Bouquatro. “Now, care to explain why you're here despite my clear orders to stick to your own island?”

Bouquatro ruffled his wing-leaves. “Well, I… I was just flying around, looking at the island… it’s been a long time since I last saw it, you know… one hundred, two hundred years? I-I’ve lost count...”

”Oh, is that so?” The Stormbringer raised a talon and pointed it at Bouquatro’s neck. ”Then what do you have in those bags?”

Bouquatro winced, and so winced Carrie. The bird’s heart raced even faster than it already had, thumping against Carrie's armor. Had she had a heartbeat of her own, she was sure it'd be deafening right now.

Then, after what Carrie could tell was far too long a pause, he responded. “Snacks.”

“Snacks, you say?” the Stormbringer said, unconvinced. “Give them to me.”

“Um… th-they’re empty now. I ate them all.”

The Stormbringer narrowed his eyes. “Give them to me,” he repeated, impatient.

“Alright then,” said Bouquatro slowly. Another pair of tendrils extended from his neck to take off the bags and offer them forth.

The Stormbringer took them into his talons and examined them. "Seeds," he said after peeking into the first.

"Yeah, seeds!" echoed Bouquatro. "We're birds, we eat seeds…"

"And what about this?" said the Stormbringer, beak in the bag that had held the mold. "Do you eat dirt, too?"

"...It's got minerals."

The Stormbringer tossed away the bags like common trash. "Cut the crap, late-hatcher, these are clearly planting supplies! You were trying to spread more of your weeds here, weren't you?"

"N-no! It's like I said, it's snacks! I made sure not to drop any on the ground, I swear…"

Bouquatro's voice trailed off as the Stormbringer held his fierce, unrelenting gaze.

"Alright!" he finally cried, startling Carrie. "I was planting berry bushes! But it was because the dwebble colony is starving! They have scarcely anything to eat on the --"

"Oh! Oh!" The Stormbringer's plumage was sparking as he screeched. "The audacity! You come to my island, scatter your accursed seeds, and you do it to feed the lowly bugs that crawl in the dirt and mud?"

Bouquatro recoiled - and Carrie doubly so.

Lowly...?

"Do you realize how long I've been trying to get rid of those? How many years I've brought up this flood to drown them? But they always find some hidey-hole to procreate in! And here you are, encouraging them to spawn?"

Had she heard him right? Had he really just said that? Were the storms… the floods…

Carrie clenched her claws. The Stormbringer… no, Zapdos had been doing it all on purpose? Drowning them, starving them, blowing them off cliffs… just because he didn't like the kind of creatures they were?

Bouquatro sighed. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again."

What? Carrie's heart sank. Did Bouquatro just… apologize? To this murderer?

No, no, it must have been a ruse! He wasn't actually sorry, he was just getting Zapdos off his back! A clever ploy…

"It damn better not," said Zapdos, hopping off his perch and marching to Bouquatro. "This is my island, with my rules. You can have however many vermin skitter around on your sad little lump of mud, but I like to keep my island clean! Is that clear?"

"Y-yes," Bouquatro stuttered and nodded so deeply his beak nearly touched his flowers. "I'll just… get out of your plumage now."

Having said that, voice near to breaking, he turned around and headed for the door.

It… doesn't seem like he's…

"Yeah, and keep that in mind," spat Zapdos and waddled back towards his perch. Bouquatro didn't respond. He didn't respond. He really didn't...

No! shouted something within Carrie - some fighting spirit - and set her body ablaze with fury and determination. He will confront that demon about his evil deeds! He has to! He just… needs some encouragement!

She poked her pincer at Bouquatro's neck, and a flinch confirmed he'd felt it… but he didn't stop.

I just need to do it harder! she thought, poking the bird repeatedly. There was no way he couldn't feel it.

The vines were shifting now, yes --

They caught her pincer and gently pulled it down as Bouquatro continued walking.

No…

Carrie's stomach tied itself to a knot. She didn't want to believe it… but with every slow, heavy step the bird took, it became more and more apparent.

He never cared about my people after all.

She released the tension in her pincer, and the vine coiled around it withdrew. Wanting to escape her heartbreak for just a moment, she emptied her mind and only listened to the noises around her. The tapping of the rain on the roof, less and less muffled by the second. The distant thunderclaps. And lastly, the clack of talons on the floor carrying her out of the temple.

They stopped.

Bouquatro had stopped.

"What now?" called Zapdos' voice. "I told you, I don't want your leaves scattered about, so pick up the pace --"

"N-no."

Carrie's breath halted. It had been quiet, it had been weak, but that was Bouquatro's voice.

For a second or two, it was silent. Then something swooshed close behind them, setting foot on the ground only a few pincer-lengths away.

"What did you say?" asked Zapdos slowly, as if baring teeth he did not have.

Carrie could feel the uncertainty in Bouquatro's steps as he turned around, and her heart quivered.

"I can't just sit idly by when you're doing this," he said. His voice was wavering just like his body, but Carrie could tell these words were genuine.

Zapdos craned his neck forward. "Doing what?"

"You…" Bouquatro's talons screeched against the floor as he flexed them. "You know what I mean!" he shouted, causing Zapdos to step back in surprise. "The dwebble colony! You're killing them, even though they're living, talking, feeling mon! They're people, and yet you're drowning and starving them! How… how can you do that? How can you be so evil?"

Zapdos stared back in silence, stupefied. His plate-wide eyes looked as if they’d just witnessed the impossible.

Then --

A sharp wind broke the world. Light poured in, air rushed past, the flowers and vines around Carrie disappeared. A hard surface struck her side - the floor.

“How dare you!” screeched Zapdos’ voice. “How dare you talk back to me!”

Carrie blinked rapidly to unblur her vision. She saw Zapdos tower over a fallen Bouquatro. A clear gash ran across Bouquatro’s collar of flowers, shorn clear of all plant matter. Stray leaves and petals dotted the floor around them.

She realized she was no longer hidden.

"What authority do you think you have to question me?" continued Zapdos as Carrie slowly nudged herself further away, hoping his voice would cover the taps of her claws. "Did you hatch before me? Do you wield greater power over the sky? Are you worthy of godhood and worship? No! You hatched last, you can only wrangle weeds, and you are so ill-fitting for a god that the mon Mother specifically assigned to serve you up and left!"

Bouquatro winced with each word his brother spoke. Physically, he looked well enough to rise to his feet, but he stayed down, as if the insults themselves weighed too much to bear.

He was like a poor little larva left out in a drought - he made no motions, resigned to his fate. And before him was a wingull, tossing him around for its own, selfish amusement. Unfair. Unjust. Unacceptable.

But what could Carrie do? She was just a dwebble, something so insignificant that electabuzz would kick them off their land whenever spotted. Literally. Smooth shells made this practice unfortunately easy. Not that she even had a shell anymore. Realizing this, she quickly tucked her tail under her body.

Was there anyone that could help? This was a fight between two gods -- er, god-likes. What creature could match their power, save for another god-like being?

She gasped. Their mother!

She glanced around, and her eyes stuck to the shelves at the back of the hall. If their mother had given each of them an idol as Bouquatro had said --

A shriek split the air. Carrie looked back at the two birds... and they were looking at her.

Zapdos' feathers stood on end, turning his plumage even spikier than usual. His face was distorted with disgust - and then, rage. Burning brighter than ever before.

“You brought one of them to my temple?” he snapped at Bouquatro. “You dare sully this sacred space?”

His feathers sparked and crackled. White-hot arcs of lightning crawled across his body. As he turned his head back to Carrie, she was sure she saw death itself.

“Die!” he screamed, and his glow surged. The arcs combined to one, and they pounced.

Crrrack!

A flash overtook the temple as the lightning exploded in mid-air, scattering to stray directions and then disappearing. Carrie exhaled, to her great surprise. She didn’t think she’d live to let out the breath she’d taken, but there she was, unharmed.

Before her lay charred scraps of something. She glanced to Bouquatro, who stood up straight, wings extended forth.

Zapdos jerked his head to his brother, but said nothing. It seemed that he couldn’t, brain too clouded by fury.

But Bouquatro could speak, and speak he did.

“Leave her alone.”

---​
 
Last edited:

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
This was a cute, enjoyable opener! I like stories with small character stakes that feel big, and I think you've really hit that with Carrie. You do a good job building a closed world--there's the beach and the cliffs and the unreachable orchards above; there's dwebble, and electbuzz, and The Stormbringer. Anything outside that framework doesn't make sense. But Carrie is so determined! One thing I appreciate in your writing is your focus on the character's mental processes--how they come to the conclusions they come to.

Bou is a vivid, larger-than-life character. He's clearly torn between the desire to live a normal life and the obligation that comes with power. I'll be curious to see what's really gone wrong between him and his siblings. His interactions with Carrie plunge right into the question of, what is a god? Is power alone enough, or should that power come with obligation? That's very much my jam.

I'll circle back around for part two!

Carrie could barely make out the crustle's words over the wind. It clawed at her shell each moment, threatening to rip her off her footing.
I wonder if you might want something like, "ceaselessly" or "continuously" over "each moment" here.

The only thing keeping her grounded was her careful placement of her legs in the cracks of the cliff
Super minor, but this would read more naturally as "the careful placement of her legs."

At least it wasn't raining. Yet, anyway. The darkened sky and rolling thunder above made it clear that a torrent of rain could start at any time.
Nice flow here.

They should have left early this year. What was a little hunger compared to drowning in a flood?
This is her first migration, right? I guess that's an easy thing to say when you've never experienced life on the cliffs! I'm curious what food the dwebble eat on the beach. The rest of the story makes it sounds like they eat fruit, but there's not much of that on a beach. Kelp, or something?

The electabuzz, on the other hand, seemed to fare the storm just fine.
You fare well on something or in something. So, "The electabuzz, on the other hand, seemed to fare just fine in the storm."

A brightness in the sky interrupted Carrie’s thoughts. It slid back into the clouds as quickly as it had slid out, but she’d had just enough time to realize its shape - birdlike. Had that been him? The Stormbringer? Had he heard her complaints? Had she angered him? Oh dear, oh dear --
This was a nice way to introduce the role The Stormbringer plays in Carrie's culture and thoughts.

Carrie flailed her legs frantically, desperate to grasp solid ground again, but all her tries either met nothing or slipped right back off.
Think you want "attempts" over tries here. I was a bit confused by "slipped right back off"--she's on her back, so her legs are meeting nothing but air, right? What is it that they're slipping off of?

She kept rolling. Earth and sky blended together into a nauseating mush.
Nauseating mush is a distinctive turn of phrase!

She was still spinning, but no there was no vengeful ground pushing back her feet.
I didn't follow this. When was the ground ever pushing back on her feet? I thought she was spinning shell-side up this whole time?

She flicked her antenna for a sniff. It smelled terrible. She tried the ground again. Elastic. Warm. Just a little light shone through it. It had patterns like veins.

Oh dear.

A bird's bill.
Oh nooo!

But she couldn't fit.

There was safety, right in front of her pincers, and she could not reach it.

Her shell. Her shell was too big. Her body could fit, but her shell would not. There was an obvious solution - but she didn't know if she dared to take it.
I'm enjoying how these dilemnas feel both small and massive--it's a big deal to leave you shell behind when someone is trying to eat you, and you've just been carried away from your home!

That shell was what kept her soft hindbody from frying in the sun or getting pierced by sharpedo teeth. It was practically part of her body - the only time she left it was to swiftly exchange it for a new one. Or to mate, but that hadn't happened yet --
You do a good job conveying the importance of shells in Carrie's culture.

The thing about sharpedo teeth makes me wonder how much they swim? If they're swimming far out enough to be prey to sharpedo, how big a deal are floods to them?

As she lay down on her side, tension in her muscles gradually melted away. Her armor became heavier and heavier, pinning her to the soft sand beneath. The world began to blur and darken, her thoughts melded together…
The reference to armor here confused me. I thought her shell was her armor, and that's gone now?

Gooooood morning!"

Carrie screamed. She saw the giant beak in front of her and screamed again.
Hah, I like the double scream.

Well… whatever this thing was, it seemed friendly.
Carrie's pretty trusting here! No dark thoughts that this is a ploy to lure her out for easy munching?

A hollow thunk rang above her as a large ellipsoid obscured most of the entrance.
Don't think "as" works here in tying these two together. And "ellipsoid" seems like an unecessarily clunky word--why not a large, round object?

The interior was clammy, but the exterior felt tough, and that was all that mattered at the moment. She dug her tail into the white flesh inside and backed out of the crevice fully, shell and all.
Aw, this is cute! I like the mental image of her exploring the new shell. I wonder if she'd notice the smell? Coconuts have this particular mild and clean scent.

"So, hi there!" said the bird with glee, and Carrie realized then that its voice was also quite silly, at least for a creature so magnificent… for most of its body. "Name's Bouquatro! But you can call me Bou for short. What's your name?"
Bou definitely bursts off the page here in only a few lines.

"Dwebble Carrie," the dwebble said,
I think this is a PMD convention, but it doesn't make much sense to me in this context. Normally PMD is set in multi-species villages, but Carrie's life pretty much only seems to include her fellow dwebble, the electabuzz, and assorted things that want to eat her. From where would the custom of putting your species in front of your name develop?

She dipped in her head to drink and wet her smaller antennae. As soon as the fluid encased her feelers, an explosion of aromas overtook her mind. So many fragrances! The magost next to her, the other fruit in the trees, the flowers on Bouquatro's chest… it was near overwhelming!
Mm, this was a lovely sensory moment!

“Are you sure? What makes you think he can read people’s minds?”

“Well, he’s very powerful… and if he can tell when people are talking about him…”

“And what makes you think he can do that?”

“Well, the electabuzz say so. They actually speak with the Stormbringer, so they’re probably right…”

Bouquatro huffed. “Well, I sure hope the electabuzz came to that conclusion on their own, because otherwise my brother’s been spouting a load of garbage!” He sighed. “Of course, that probably is what happened...”

“Your… brother? Y-you’re the brother of the Stormbringer?”

“Well, I suppose, but he’ll always just be Zappy to me --”
Hah, so much dissonance here between their viewpoints and expectations.

How could something be that powerful but not a god? Maybe this bird was simply a liar, a lunatic or both?
Ah, the question of what makes a god a god is a favorite of mine, as you probably remember from Starfall. Excited to see it explored here.

I like that Carrie's not accepting all this at face value--it's not easy to overturn a truth your life is built around.

Red, orange, yellow and green lights dotted the interior and sparkled in Carrie's eyes.
The lights sparkling in Carrie's eyes reads oddly to me. I feel like that's the kind of thing a POV character could see on someone else's face, but wouldn't note on their own face, which they can't see.

The fuzz covered the whole patch, concealing not only the dirt but the stalks as well. It was as if someone had sheared a mareep on the spot.
Vivid image, and I like the mareep metaphor--Carrie relating this to things she knows.

"Divine Guardian of Life!" she boomed, the bird flinching from the volume.
Aw, poor thing. I feel bad for both of them here.

"I implore you, great one, to aid my starving people! E-every year, we must migrate to the cliffs to escape the floods, but these cliffs are nigh barren, providing my people little to eat! But if you, great one, could turn those cliffs lush and rich in fruit --"

"U-uhh, hold on," interrupted Bouquatro, shuffling together his wing-leaves. "I think… I should… I have some plants to tend to, just remembered!" He backed away, an odd smile on his lips. "Terribly sorry to leave you, but it'll only be for a bit. I-I'll bring you back another fruit! Please make yourself comfortable. Feel free to have a look around, too! Alright, I'm off!"
* flees the awkward *

Curious, she stepped closer, right onto the platform -- click.

"Aagh!"

Searing light assaulted her vision.
“It’s something our mother gave each one of us. If you press that button on the platform, a beacon of light shoots up into the sky,
I found this kind of strange and incongruous with the setting. The use of "click" and "button" make it sound like technology, in a setting that doesn't seem to involve technology?

Carrie got back onto her feet. “Do you not want your mother to come here?”

“W-well, it’s not that, it’s...” He scratched a leg with his foot. “I just don’t wanna bother her outside emergencies, you know.”
Is there mother Mew? Or, hm, I could see Lugia, I suppose.

And the food never ran out with all the tamed mareep and orchards of fruit - fruit that dwebble or crustle scarcely ever got to nibble on and live to tell the tale.
Trees, vines, flowers, all little critters that depend on them - my siblings never seemed to like them like I did. Heck, I might even be to blame. Back when we were only chicks, I was practicing my grass powers, and I made some flowers I’d seen before grow right next to our nest. Little did I know, that species was an absolute treat to certain insects, and soon our nest was overrun by all sorts of creepy-crawlies…”

He shook his head. “I got over it, but I suppose my siblings never did. And now I’m guessing Zapdos wants to keep his island as barren as possible.”
Bou's explanation struck me as off, considering that if there are orchards and mareep, the island is pretty domsticized and not barren at all. Would it be more accurate to say Zapdos only tolerates electric-type pokemon?

The thing about insects seems downright unbelievable for a reason for a feud, but I'm assuming Bou's either glossing over the full story or doesn't really understand what went wrong.

Mortals should know their place, that’s how they get to survive…

...but looking at this god, she saw no wrath.

Bouquatro’s eyes had finally met hers, and she could only see fear. Fear… and shame.
Mm, this was a poignant moment.

Is that okay? was what a god had just asked a mortal. About saving her people with a miracle.

What a strange god.
Indeed!

“Just call me Bou! It’s what all my friends...” His smile melted off. “Would say. If I had any that could talk.”
Can the other pokemon on this island not talk? Seems really weird that he'd have no friends on his own island.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
There is so much to like here! I ended up having quite a few sentence-level quibbles, so I want to take a moment to make it explicitly clear that this was a really fun read! Another disclaimer: writing this on my phone! Autocorrect might get the better of me, so feel free to DM if something gets muddled and confusing. With that, let’s dig in!

well, you know the legendary birds? there's three of them: articuno, zapdos and moltres, right? wrong. meet bouquatro.
Good hook, fun concept! (It’s easy to want to imagine what a full set of 18 would be like when there’s such a clear pattern to their naming convention.)

Everyone here is so cute. Carrie is nervous and vulnerable, yet very matter-of-fact. Her peril is so palpable! Seems like hanging out with the most personable of the legendary birds could be good for her self-esteem though! She’s already a little he’s se with her words by the end of the chapter alone.

Bouquatro presents as affable and also a little desperate: he’s lonely. :c

I like how this is basically a big family drama for Bouquatro, while for Carrie it’s a matter of life and death. That scale let’s us see both the chatty, human-like aspects of these characters and the hungry, animal aspects. It works well and feels cohesive.

Also, oof: baby Bou is at a type disadvantage against all of them! No wonder he doesn’t want to fight with his siblings.

Carrie could barely make out the crustle's words over the wind. It clawed at her shell each moment,
Unclear whether “it” refers to the crustle or the wind because of the choice of “claw.”

At least it wasn't raining. Yet, anyway.
*Not yet, anyway.

What was a little hunger compared to drowning in a flood?
fruit that dwebble or crustle scarcely ever got to nibble on and live to tell the tale.
A little bit of a dichotomy here. The first passage is a little flippant and implied to me that she’s never experienced hunger. The second one reveals that, actually, hunger is a real and constant problem for them.

but she’d had just enough time to realize its shape - birdlike. Had that been him? The Stormbringer? Had he heard her complaints? Had she angered him? Oh dear, oh dear --
I like the theatric partial Zapdos reveal here. This paragraph flows nicely from a) seeing the silhouette to b) reaction.

tearing her legs off the rock and flipping her over onto her shell.
“Tearing her legs off” made me think ... off her body on the first read. D: Maybe “sweeping” for better clarity. And, OH NO, baby is stuck on her back!

but all her tries either met nothing or slipped right back off.
A little muddy in the wording here. It’s not her tries meeting/slipping, right? It’s her feet.

Now something had changed. She was still spinning, but no there was no vengeful ground pushing back her feet.
But her feet were failing to touch the ground, right? Also, seems like it’s less the ground that’s vengeful than it is the storm.

Had to go and anger the Stormbringer...
I wanted this to be a little more explicit earlier! Maybe amp up her negative thoughts, let her catch herself—no, she couldn’t think like that!!

And then, she stopped.

But… she still felt alive.
The first line here feels a little bare, the second a little clunky to my ear. Instead maybe: And suddenly she wasn’t falling anymore. Yet she was still alive.

The rain had stopped bombarding her,
I hadn’t realized the rain had actually stopped falling.

Well, it always had.
Oh she’s had it for a long time? Poor baby.

The sun shifted in her mind's eye.
This was odd, jarring.

She couldn't just crawl her way out of the bill. She likely lacked the strength as just a little crustacean,
“The bill” felt a little stilted. I think these sentences would read more smoothly with a few words removed:
She couldn't just crawl out. She lacked the strength [to push the beak open],

The bird was landing, craning back its neck, this was it.
I loved how physical this was. Though I’d swap the comma after “neck” for a colon.

The air was fresh, the ground was grainy - wherever she was now, it was out of the bill.
Again, “the bill” reads weirdly to me. Maybe instead: wherever she was now, she was out in the open.

The majority of her field of view blocked by her pincers,
*was blocked
Though it would be even stronger to reword as “her pincers blocked most of her field of vision.”

she had to piece the world together from crevices and slivers.
Loved this.

getting pierced by sharpedo teeth.
How often is she in water that deep?

That moment seemed to come soon, too, as the bird finally drew back its head.
Something about this doesn’t quite work for me. Some of it is the proximity of soon/too, which I kept misreading as “too soon.” Some of it is “seemed”: either it happened or it didn’t. If you want a moment of cautious doubt—the bird has withdrawn its head, but is it really gone?—I think it would be better to make that a separate sentence.

her thoughts melded together…
This reads oddly to me. Makes me picture a hard lump, which isn’t how I think of dreams or my thoughts as I’m falling asleep. Maybe instead “ran together”?

It waved a wing. "But there's no reason to be shy, come on out! It's a beautiful day! Or are your folks nocturnal where you come from? Oh, I'm so sorry if you are. I let my excitement overtake my manners again… just lemme know if I'm bothering you!"
Great characterization here.

As this strange hollow fruit
Feels like a jump for her to suddenly recognize it as a fruit. Maybe once she’s inside and smells the sweetness, though. Oh, fruit! Also cute idea to have her in the coconut shell.

and between those leaves were… fruit… sweet, sweet fruit...
The ellipses here made it feel slow and dreamy when I think excitement and exclamation points are warranted. It also would’ve been nice to reference her hunger as she’s trying to fall asleep after the encounter with the cramorant.

As soon as the fluid encased her feelers, an explosion of aromas overtook her mind.
“Fluid encased” feels oddly formal and doesn’t match the tone. Also unclear why the water had this effect?

She wiped her antennae to be drier,
*wiped her antennae dry

"Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to make a scene… I'm just very much not a fan of my siblings' attitudes."
This would be more genuine and natural to me without the second sentence; it’s already clear that’s his feeling.

Maybe this bird was simply a liar, a lunatic or both?
Lol!

He backed away, an odd smile on his lips.
Lips? Is bird.

“Alright...” peeped Carrie. “But… could you consider telling me what those circumstances are?”
This was surprisingly forward for someone thinking of him as a god.

“Your question...” He sighed again. “Right.”
I’d gotten the impression her left earlier to avoid dealing with this. Might be nice to drag it out a sentence or two more, have him be coy about it. “Question? Whaaat? Here, have a pinap berry!!!!”

Maybe he wouldn’t attack me… but he could attack my island, and all the creatures here, and I wouldn’t be able to fight him off...”
:c This feels like a real older brother move: Zapdos is a bully. And it’s nice that Bouquatro isn’t so petty as to let everyone else get wrecked n this family feud.

but looking at this god, she saw no wrath.
*she saw nothing wrathful about him.

I’ll bring some seeds and mold with me in advance so it’ll go faster.
Mold was a weird addition.

His smile melted off. “Would say. If I had any that could talk.”
But the Pokémon here talk, so does that mean his only friends are plants? Oh no!

One last criticism I wasn’t sure where to place: I thought at first that the cramorant would turn out to be Bou, just misinterpreted, so it’s initial unwillingness to try to eat her was weird. If cramorant can swallow whole pikachu, I’m not sure a rock would stop it. Maybe it tries to swallow her but gags?

This is a fun exploration of what it means to have gods that provably exist! Sounds like everyone is in for a shakeup: the gods will learn humility, and little Carrie will learn to be a little bolder. (A bolder boulder!)

Looking forward to drawing this big lug.
 
Last edited:

kyeugh

onion witch
Location
florida
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
part one

such a cute fic you’ve got here! sorry for not getting around to it sooner.

bouquatro is hands down the star of the show for me—i’m absolutely here for big goofy birds. i really like his dynamic here, with the other three birds being more notable not because they’re more powerful but simply because their egos are far larger. i’m a fan of the way his relationship with his brothers does a lot of the heavy lifting for bou’s characterization—very efficient! the comparison really highlights how down to earth and humble he is, and carrie does a lot to draw out that contrast.

speaking of carrie, the very superstitious/religious perspective was an interesting one, and you do a good job at communicating that perspective without it permeating the narrative to the point that it becomes overbearing. for the most part, carrie lives very much in the moment, which keeps the narrative efficient and evocative. it’s a very different perspective than what i’m used to, having only read your red stories before, but pulled off very well nonetheless.

i’m curious see where this plot goes. it’ll be interesting seeing carrie’s worldview shaken as she‘s put in the middle of a conflict between bouquatro and his brother(s?), due in no small part to her own requests. already her demeanor has changed quite a lot from the beginning of this chapter to the end, and i expect it’ll change quite a lot more before the story is true. i’m also deeply hoping that bouquatro’s mother is indeed lugia, because i need more lugia in my life goddamn it. you can never have enough.

my only source of confusion so far is that i initially thought the cramorant was actually carrie misjudging what kind of pokémon bou was, and didn’t realize that wasn’t the case until bou asks carrie about the cramorant later on. overall though this was a cute, breezy read, and as always your prose is inventive, engaging, and never trite. the action sequence toward the beginning was very engaging to—seems like you excel at scenes like those, and they’re not easy! there are a few nitpicks in the line comments, but please don’t let them discourage you—my overall impression of your prose and of this story are very positive and i’m looking forward to coming back to review chapter 2!

It clawed at her shell each moment, threatening to rip her off her footing.
i don’t really think of one’s footing as something one can be ripped off of. maybe “threatening to rip her off the ground”?

i’m really enjoying carrie’s superstition about the stormbringer and you build up the world very efficiently here. dwebble, beaches, seasonal floods, migration, electabuzz, orchards. got it. no time wasted. it’s nice.


She flicked her antenna for a sniff. It smelled terrible. She tried the ground again. Elastic. Warm. Just a little light shone through it. It had patterns like veins.

Oh dear.
ooh, it’s that kinda fic, eh?

By the amount of room, this bird must have been either a pelipper or cramorant.
i don’t imagine a cramorant’s bill as particularly spacious—the comparison to pelipper doesn’t seem quite right. wingull might be more fitting, even.

The majority of her field of view blocked by her pincers, she had to piece the world together from crevices and slivers.
i think you need a conjunction after the comma here.

"Gooooood morning!"

Carrie screamed. She saw the giant beak in front of her and screamed again.
hahaha, i love bouquatro’s introduction here. so animated. his cartoonish personality complements carrie’s tightly-wound one very nicely.


It was unlike any other bird she'd seen. Its wings and tail were formed by massive leaves, and its chest was covered in flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors. This majesty, though, clashed horribly with the creature's face - specifically its giant, cumbersome beak as colorful as the flowers on its neck.
i find it a little odd that carrie would refer to bouquatro as “it” given they’re both pokémon. that said, this is a really nice description. i think the cover art is really helpful for visualizing the character, too. never thought about cover art having utility like that but it’s neat.

"Dwebble Carrie," the dwebble said, still eyeing Bouquatro's odd appearance.
not sure about the wording of eyeing something’s appearance. maybe something like “still baffled by Bouquatro’s odd appearance” or something instead.

Bouquatro rubbed his chin with one of his wing-leaves. "Did this cramorant have only one working eye?"

Carrie paused to think. "Yeah… I think it did. How so?"
seems odd that she had to think and was uncertain about her answer when the narration referred to it fairly unambiguously as a one-eyed cramorant before.

Carrie's instincts drew her deep into the coconut shell as numerous tendrils, like arms of a tentacruel, shot at and coiled around her. The tendrils were a lively green, and little leaves grew along them - oh, they were vines.
haha, neat. fire, ice and lightning are all elements where you can kind of just blast appropriately-typed beams; grass doesn’t fit quite as well in there, so i was curious what bouquatro’s deal is. this is cute, i’m curious to see what other powers hes got.

She closed her eyes for the duration of the flight, even if the motions churned her stomach with visuals missing.
i think “although” would work a bit better here than “even if.”

i love the description of bouquatro’s nest. it feels very exotic and verdant.

She wiped her antennae to be drier
i found this phrasing a bit awkward. maybe “She wiped some moisture of her antennae”? that said it is very cute the way she takes in the world through her antennae. i loved the part where she’s tapping at the fruit with them to get a taste.

Bouquatro huffed. “Well, I sure hope the electabuzz came to that conclusion on their own, because otherwise my brother’s been spouting a load of garbage!” He sighed. “Of course, that probably is what happened...”
hahaha, omg. this is an excellent take on legendaries. i love that carrie and presumably the rest of her kind are paralyzed with fear by zapdos just because of a bunch of made up flexes that got passed down.

"Divine Guardian of Life!" she boomed, the bird flinching from the volume.
lol, the visual of this tiny little crab shouting so loud it took the gigantic bird aback is really funny.

"U-uhh, hold on," interrupted Bouquatro, shuffling together his wing-leaves. "I think… I should… I have some plants to tend to, just remembered!" He backed away, an odd smile on his lips. "Terribly sorry to leave you, but it'll only be for a bit. I-I'll bring you back another fruit! Please make yourself comfortable. Feel free to have a look around, too! Alright, I'm off!"
mm, birds smiling even though it doesn’t quite make sense is something i can look past (esp since i have lauchs smile all the time lol) but referring to a bird’s lips doesn’t seem right to me. that aside, bouquatro getting weirded out and excusing himself is hilarious, i love him

Bouquatro sighed. “It’s something our mother gave each one of us. If you press that button on the platform, a beacon of light shoots up into the sky, and she’ll know she’s needed.” He looked around. “Luckily, we’re indoors, so I don’t think she saw it…”

Carrie got back onto her feet. “Do you not want your mother to come here?”

“W-well, it’s not that, it’s...” He scratched a leg with his foot. “I just don’t wanna bother her outside emergencies, you know.”
hmmm, mother... i wonder if that’s lugia.
Is that okay? was what a god had just asked a mortal. About saving her people with a miracle.

What a strange god.
haha, aw. strange gods are the best part of pokémon!
 

cynsh

full-time quilava
Location
Deepden
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. quilava
FUNNY BIRD FUNNY BIRD

Cramorant, though, was more than familiar. She withdrew in her shell the moment she saw one fly by, but curiously enough, Bouquatro called it down and… made it apologize to her. Carrie could scarcely believe it - the one-eyed cramorant that had tried to eat her before now bowed its head with a defeated crow. She didn’t even know ferals could feel guilt. Or maybe it had just learned to feign it.
Aw, that's nice. Though I wonder how a 'feral' can apologise at all. Do they understand pokemon speech? What's the line here between feral and civilised?
and on the edge the shared with the cliffs stood a tall, white tower
Think there's a spelling error here.
Bouquatro nodded.
I wonder how he would nod while in mid-flight. Seems a bit dangerous?
flinging droplets all around like a qwilfish discharging its quills.
There is little I appreciate more than a good pokemon simile. Even though I wasn't aware qwilfish could do this, looking it up led me to this picture, which you could call a win in itself.
It seemed that Bouquatro flinging a cheerful "Hello!" at each new mon that had emerged had done little to calm their worries.
God Bouquatro is adorable
But as Bouquatro swerved in the air to face his brother, one thing became clear to her - this drastic motion without the visual to accompany it was poison to her innards.
The sort of curiosity that one would expect to witness only in a god's dwelling, thought Carrie.
I must stress that your prose, for the most part, is excellent. Great word choices, immersive descriptions - I can't fault it. There were a couple of sentences though that were a bit wordy. I'm not your beta reader so I won't go into lots of depth over it, but hopefully you can see what I mean.

----

Ah, it all seemed to be going so well at the start of the chapter. It was nice to see Bouquatro's powers finally given an appreciative audience from the colony, even if it was short-lived.

I'm interested in the electabuzz's relationship to Zapdos on his island. They seem almost like slaves to Zapdos, since it's implied that they do all the hard work for him. Maybe that's more acceptable when it's a god-like being who (presumably) helps provide the natural resources they need to live.

Carrie is a great character to have as the story's focal point. It really gets across the vast power of the two birds when Carrie is just a helpless bug at the mercy of them. And wow, Zapdos is a really nasty piece of work. I was hoping that Carrie herself would jump down from Bouquatro and yell at Zapdos that what he was doing was evil, but it's understandable why she wanted Bouquatro to do it himself.

My guess is that part 3 will be the finale! I expect more legendaries will be involved in resolving this feud.
It's hard to see where Moltres and Articuno could come from, unless their islands are also close-by. But the birds' mother, perhaps? Could it be Mew, or even Arceus? :quag:Excited to find out. Thanks again for the read.
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Oh my goodness I am being spoiled with all these reviews. :O Mass reply time!

This is her first migration, right? I guess that's an easy thing to say when you've never experienced life on the cliffs! I'm curious what food the dwebble eat on the beach. The rest of the story makes it sounds like they eat fruit, but there's not much of that on a beach. Kelp, or something?

Plant matter in general I think was my idea. I hear crabs are pretty much nature's garbage disposals, but to make the famine more sensible, I'm restricting it to flora.

I was a bit confused by "slipped right back off"--she's on her back, so her legs are meeting nothing but air, right? What is it that they're slipping off of?
I didn't follow this. When was the ground ever pushing back on her feet? I thought she was spinning shell-side up this whole time?
But her feet were failing to touch the ground, right?

Ah, it appears that I wrote this section poorly to have both of you get the wrong picture from it - I meant for Carrie to be rolling over instead of spinning on her back. Upon further consideration, though, spinning on her back would probably be less complicated to begin with.

The thing about sharpedo teeth makes me wonder how much they swim? If they're swimming far out enough to be prey to sharpedo, how big a deal are floods to them?
How often is she in water that deep?

Haha, I definitely didn't think this line through. You both make a great point - she wouldn't know much about sharpedo if she can't swim.

The reference to armor here confused me. I thought her shell was her armor, and that's gone now?

"Armor" is what I decided to refer to her exoskeleton as, as "exoskeleton" sounds kind of... too fancy.

I think this is a PMD convention, but it doesn't make much sense to me in this context. Normally PMD is set in multi-species villages, but Carrie's life pretty much only seems to include her fellow dwebble, the electabuzz, and assorted things that want to eat her. From where would the custom of putting your species in front of your name develop?

You make a great point. I must have been too used to that convention from my other fics to think it through here.

I found this kind of strange and incongruous with the setting. The use of "click" and "button" make it sound like technology, in a setting that doesn't seem to involve technology?

Great question - these islands and their inhabitants don't have technology, but the world outside and their mother can. But it's not really proper tech so as much as magitech, and the button is only there to give an easy toggle for on/off.

Fun fact: the idols were originally meant to be flutes, but that fell apart when I realized birds can't really play flutes.

Is there mother Mew? Or, hm, I could see Lugia, I suppose.

Oh, I thought it people would've called it in a second, but I guess this just means an extra dramatic reveal :D

Bou's explanation struck me as off, considering that if there are orchards and mareep, the island is pretty domsticized and not barren at all. Would it be more accurate to say Zapdos only tolerates electric-type pokemon?

I think by "as barren as possible" I was thinking of "as barren as possible to still sustain his electabuzz servants and their mareep", but am realizing now that's not so clear. That electric-only suggestion, though, is pretty good - might go for that!

Can the other pokemon on this island not talk? Seems really weird that he'd have no friends on his own island.
Do they understand pokemon speech? What's the line here between feral and civilised?

Alright, so, my idea was that there are only two sapient kinds of mon between Zapdos' and Bouquatro's islands (excluding the legends themselves): the electabuzz family and the dwebble family. Other kinds of mon are feral i.e. non-sapient and can't talk, although Bouquatro can somewhat communicate with them thanks to his biology expertise.

There was another sapient mon family some hundreds of years ago - Bouquatro's servants, as electabuzz are servants to Zapdos - but that's an idea I can't really fit into this story, but might into a possible sequel.

One last criticism I wasn’t sure where to place: I thought at first that the cramorant would turn out to be Bou, just misinterpreted, so it’s initial unwillingness to try to eat her was weird. If cramorant can swallow whole pikachu, I’m not sure a rock would stop it. Maybe it tries to swallow her but gags?

Ah, I thought before that cramorant couldn't actually swallow pikachu, only tried to, but a quick Bulbapedia read proved me wrong. Well, I guess I'll have to deviate from canon somewhat in that case, or else I wouldn't have a story. Or I would, but a very different one.

Looking forward to drawing this big lug.
:quag:
Also unclear why the water had this effect?

My low-effort googling told me that crabs require their antennae to have humidity to be able to taste or smell things, so I went ahead and put that in.

Lips? Is bird.

I like to think of the corners of their mouths as being movable (e.g. cover image), but otherwise they do have beak.

---

Alright, I think that's everything. Thank you all for the line comments - they have been taken into consideration and I will address them in an edit-wave once I've finished the story and hopefully am not burnt out. As for some other questions and speculations... I intend for the final part to answer those. I hope you'll like it. And thanks again to everyone for reading and such kind words. See you again in hopefully fewer than three months (holy crap it really was that long)!
 

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
This continues to be charming. Seeing Carrie find her anger and Bou find his spine was a satisfying read. I've been getting Small Gods vibes from this story (it's a book by Terry Pratchett about a god who finds himself in the shape of a helpless turtle, and has to re-discover what it means to be god--and that godhood is a two-way street.) It seems like there's a pretty obvious solution to 'Zapdos wants all the dwebble gone and Bou wants more friends'--I assume that's the direction we're heading in? Probably with a guest appearance by Mom, thanks to Chekov's magitech flashlight. (The mental image of Bou trying to play a flute is kind of hilarious, though.)

"Modifying flesh doesn't fall under my powers," he had said, "and changing any plant parts without permission would be rather rude." Nevertheless, the diversity of species was still far greater than back at Carrie's home. She learned of many new mon: oddish, grookey, budew, vivillon, sunflora…
Ah, so grass-types are plant/animal hybrids in your world?

It seems like the pokemon here have personhood as well as life, if Bou considers non-consensual changes to them an issue in a way it's not for plants.

Alright, so, my idea was that there are only two sapient kinds of mon between Zapdos' and Bouquatro's islands (excluding the legends themselves): the electabuzz family and the dwebble family. Other kinds of mon are feral i.e. non-sapient and can't talk, although Bouquatro can somewhat communicate with them thanks to his biology expertise.

There was another sapient mon family some hundreds of years ago - Bouquatro's servants, as electabuzz are servants to Zapdos - but that's an idea I can't really fit into this story, but might into a possible sequel.
She didn’t even know ferals could feel guilt. Or maybe it had just learned to feign it.
Some, instead of bowing, traced the lightning bolt shaped marking on their chests. Regardless, their fur certainly got wetter than it needed. Carrie briefly wondered why there were no civilized mon like these on Bouquatro’s island, and if there were, how they would act towards him. His words about not wanting worship echoed in her mind, especially loud as the birds arrived at the temple, talons clacking against the fine marble of its terrace.
I'm finding this sapient/non-sapient (civilized/non-civilized?) distinction kind of distracting in this fic, especially since it's a sidenote to the actual story. Why are some pokemon able to communicate and some aren't, and how do the gods play into that? (Zapdos mentions servants being created for them? Were the dwebble created to serve Zapdos?--that seems unlikely.) If Bou can communicate with the noncivilized/nonsapient(?)/feral pokemon anyway, is there really a distinction for him? I assume this is partly for the plot purpose of needing Bou to be lonely and isolated, but having him be shunned by the pokemon on the island would work just as well, I think, and give him even more reason to be so twitchy and eager to do things for Carrie.

Also, like, if not all pokemon are sapient, maybe Zapdos doesn't even know the dwebble are? It makes this line between people and pests muddied in a kind of weird way. The dwebble aren't exactly building temples, if that's how we're measuring civilization.

I kind of thought from Zapdos' comment about Bou alienating his servants that what happened there would be an important reveal in part 3, but you say here that you weren't able to fit it in the story? I am really curious what went down there--his island seems like a pretty nice place with not much reason to leave.

She had her coconut for shelter, sure, but it wasn’t nice knowing Bouquatro had to bear it all with only soft feathers for protection.
Aw, love Carrie's concern for him, and also the limited perspective her concern reveals--no protective shell? Must be very vulnerable.

Another feature to befit a god, among all the ones that didn’t.
"Another" is a little odd, since this the second clause contrasts this with all the features that don't suit a god.

He decided to make his landing there, gently lowered Carrie onto the ground in front of him and finally shook himself with fury, flinging droplets all around like a qwilfish discharging its quills.
Nice simile! I think you want "furiously" rather than "with fury." The latter invokes the emotion of anger in a way the former doesn't.

Have no worries!” said Bouquatro. “I’m sure I’ll find it quickly with my life-sense.”

Carrie blinked. “Your… what?”

“Oh, did that never come up? I can sense creatures’ life energies. That’s how I found you under that stone, you know. Unfamiliar spot of energy.”

“Oh. Hm. Well, good.”

Bouquatro nodded. “It also lets me know roughly where my brother is. Right now, he’s on the other side of the island, and he doesn’t seem to be moving. We should be safe for now.”
This bit felt a little, 'let me talk about my special ability.' Especially since it doesn't end up mattering re sensing Zapdos, I wasn't sure how necessary this was.

"It's me, Carrie!" she called. "Carnelian in full! Daughter of Bismuth and Pearlkeeper!"
Yay for family names. Makes sense that this would be the long-form version.

“I know, I know, but this is really important. It’s a miracle! A-and, well, I guess not everyone has to be there… just a dozen or so, so they can tell everyone what they saw with their own eyes.”
Carrie's fixation that they all witness this is so interesting to me. They will benefit whether they see it or not--Carrie's putting herself in the shoes of a profit, somewhat. She wants Bou to be recognized as a god. (guessing this will be important later in convincing the dwebble to go to Bou's island?)

A large piece of the cliff now missing, the culprit behind the collapse was clear to be seen - roots that had split the rock as they'd grown.
I like how even trying to bring a little life into this part of the island immediately clashes with the landscape and causes problems.

"Wait -- hey!" shouted Carrie, her pincers tightly clasped onto the flowers on the nape of Bouquatro's neck. "Leave me behind first! That's my home!"

"No! No time!" Bouquatro snapped back - and Carrie recoiled. He'd never used that tone.
Mm, this worked well to show how truly freaked out Bou is.

"Why are you stopping?" she whisper-yelled, watching the figure slowly approach. "He's not even close! You can still get away!"

"No, I-I need to stop…" stammered Bouquatro, then flinched and bent his neck to look Carrie in the eye. "Carrie! H-he hates bugs! You have to hide!"

Carrie glanced back at her unwieldy shell. "Hide where?"

Bouquatro paused. "You need to drop that."

"What? But --"

"It won't protect you against him anyway! Drop it, so you can hide in my flowers!"
Oof, a hard thing for Carrie to do.

Carrie wanted to argue, but the terror in Bouquatro's eye yelled louder than she ever could.
This threw me a little--louder than she could? As in, if she yelled at him, the look in his eyes yells back even louder?

Maybe zap him and get a new one. He's kind of old, anyway.
Well, I see Zapdos is an all-round great guy.

"Do you eat dirt, too?"

"...It's got minerals."

The Stormbringer tossed away the bags like common trash. "Cut the crap, late-hatcher, these are clearly planting supplies! You were trying to spread more of your weeds here, weren't you?"

"N-no! It's like I said, it's snacks! I made sure not to drop any on the ground, I swear…"
I can really feel in this scene how bad a liar Bou is, but he's trying sooo hard.

"Do you realize how long I've been trying to get rid of those? How many years I've brought up this flood to drown them? But they always find some hidey-hole to procreate in! And here you are, encouraging them to spawn?"

Had she heard him right? Had he really just said that? Were the storms… the floods…

Carrie clenched her claws. The Stormbringer… no, Zapdos had been doing it all on purpose? Drowning them, starving them, blowing them off cliffs… just because he didn't like the kind of creatures they were?
Carrie getting ready to punch her god in his face.

What? Carrie's heart sank. Did Bouquatro just… apologize? To this murderer?

No, no, it must have been a ruse! He wasn't actually sorry, he was just getting Zapdos off his back! A clever play…
Think you want "ploy"?

They stopped.

Bouquatro had stopped.

"What now?" called Zapdos' voice. "I told you, I don't want your leaves scattered about, so pick up the pace --"

"N-no."
Tension building nicely here.

"Did you hatch before me? Do you wield greater power over the sky? Are you worthy of godhood and worship? No! You hatched last, you can only wrangle weeds, and you are so ill-fitting for a god that the mon made specifically to serve you up and left!"
This was a nice encapsulation of what Zapdos thinks a god should be. I expect Bou and Carrie will forge a different vision.

He was like a poor little larva left out in a drought - he made no motions, resigned to his fate. And before him was a wingull, tossing him around for its own, selfish amusement. Unfair. Unjust. Unacceptable.
Really enjoy this simile.

Before her lie charred scraps of something. She glanced to Bouquatro, who stood up straight, wings extended forth.
*lay

Is this Bou's vines? Can they disconnect from him?

But Bouquatro could speak, and that he did.

“Leave her alone.”
I think you picked the perfect place to end this part. Bou decides to stand up to his brother--oh god, what happens now?

(you probably want to drop the "that")
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Location
florida
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
part two

wow. i'll be honest, this chapter really exceeded my expectations. there's definitely some melancholy sprinkled throughout the first chapter, but overall the fic maintained a very bouncy, whimsical vibe. the last leg of this chapter really raises the stakes, though. it's so easy to hate zapdos, but his thoroughly villainous and disturbing characterization doesn't come at the cost of your prose's lightness—despite the atrocity he's committing, the narration still has a storybook quality that would feel right at home in a pokémon game.

you do a great job at making us root for carrie every step of the way, too. i had doubts that i'd be able to relate to her too much when starting this fic out—her superstition and reverent personality made it difficult for me to relate to her—but the emotions you put on display in the scene with her family really made her sympathetic to me, and i found myself nodding along with her thoughts during each stage of bouquatro's confrontation with zapdos: why isn't he saying more, why is he being so pathetic, etc. (i really love the rollercoaster that scene puts us on, by the way; the twists and turns as bouquatro goes back and forth between cowering and putting his foot down were super engaging!!) overall i'm really enjoying her narration; her perspective doesn't feel pervasive, and the narrative is largely unfiltered, but her personal thoughts do appear in flashes that i feel add something to the story without exception.

i assume moltres, articuno, and perhaps lugia will be thrown into the mix soon; i'm curious how that'll go! both moltres and articuno have type advantages against bouquatro, articuno doubly. i wonder what's in store for bou... will his brothers totally change their minds about him? i'm unsure what a satisfying ending would look like for this fic, but i have faith you'll deliver. :D

The mon, however, Bouquatro had no part in designing.
i initially read "the mon" as an epithet for bouquatro himself and was kind of confused by this sentence. might be more clear if you specified them as "the mon that inhabited the island" or something.

Cramorant, though, was more than familiar. She withdrew in her shell the moment she saw one fly by, but curiously enough, Bouquatro called it down and… made it apologize to her. Carrie could scarcely believe it - the one-eyed cramorant that had tried to eat her before now bowed its head with a defeated crow.
sounds like the denizens of the island still respect bouquatro's authority despite his humility. i wonder if all pokémon have inherent respect for legendaries like carrie does, even if they're not indoctrinated quite like she is?

Either way, Carrie decided to accept the apology when asked by Bouquatro.
does this mean bouquatro had to urge her to accept it? did she deny it initially?

Both he said would help quicken the process
i think "He said both would help" would read more smoothly to me.

The sky, vibrant with dusk, darkened quickly
i don't think of dusk being particularly vibrant on its own. maybe "The sky, painted with the vibrant colors of dusk" or something similar?

By the time their destination was well visible
not sure about "well visible." clearly visible, perhaps?

He decided to make his landing there, gently lowered Carrie onto the ground in front of him and finally shook himself with fury, flinging droplets all around like a qwilfish discharging its quills.
huh, fury makes it sound like he's angry. if he's not, maybe "vigor" would work better here?

"It's me, Carrie!" she called. "Carnelian in full! Daughter of Bismuth and Pearlkeeper!"
omg, i love these names. so formal.

The dwebble and crustle watched in wordless awe. Their eyes sparkled and jaws hung low, drool escaping the mouths of some.
haha, aw. this is a very cartoonish visual and i'm here for it.

Carrie looked back at her mother and saw her trembling.

“Mom, are you --” Carrie tried, but Pearl shook her head, and she saw the joy in her eyes.

She began to sob. “I-I’m just… so happy,” she said. “You’re back… and… now this...”

Carrie felt her own throat tighten. “It’s alright, mom,” she said with a smile in her voice. ”Everything’s okay now.”
this is so sweet. we don't get a ton of detail about the hardships of the dwebble/crustle, but this reaction tells a story of its own.

The audience and showmon alike stood still, dead silent.
took me a minute to realize what this was supposed to mean. not sure it worked for me.

Another crack rang out, louder than the first, and on its tail came a rumbling even louder. The cliff beneath Bouquatro's feet, the source of the terrible noise, sank with small, quick nudges - and just as the bird realized the situation and leapt into flight, the section came fully loose and plummeted towards the sea.

As the cliffside wasn't wholly vertical or sloping inward, the debris did not fall smoothly. It crashed against the crag time and time again, adding further to the total amount of noise produced, before finally plunging into the sea with a great big splash.
oof. couldn't hold the added weight of the plants, i'm guessing?

"Oh, no, no, no, no!" babbled Bouquatro, already flying away at his top speed, raindrops bombarding his back. "There's no way my brother didn't hear that!"

"Wait -- hey!" shouted Carrie, her pincers tightly clasped onto the flowers on the nape of Bouquatro's neck. "Leave me behind first! That's my home!"

"No! No time!" Bouquatro snapped back - and Carrie recoiled. He'd never used that tone.

"I'll bring you back some other time!" he added more softly. "Right now, we have to get away before my brother --"

A blinding flash overtook the sky. Thunder roared, fiercer than Carrie'd ever heard before.
ohhh shit. you done goofed.

"It won't protect you against him anyway! Drop it, so you can hide in my flowers!"
hmmm. i would certainly be scared as shit in her place. looks like zapdos is gearing up to zap the hell out of bouquatro—stuffing myself in his flowers is the LAST thing i'd want to do.

“Alright,” said Carrie. It wasn’t as if she would’ve liked to face the Stormbringer’s wrath herself…
oof, yeah. i guess this whole affair with bouquatro must feel like dancing with the devil to a group that reveres zapdos. and now they're receiving their penance...

“Get your tail over here,” spat the Stormbringer, voice like venom. “We’re going to my temple for a talk.”

Bouquatro sighed and did as told. “Alright...”
lol, well all right. i was expecting some zappage but this is welcome. also imagine just casually referring to your own temple like that. power move

The electabuzz must have worked hard to make that, and to make it so smooth, too! Or the Stormbringer made it himself... but somehow, Carrie doubted it.
lol. big difference between zapdos and bouquatro there, huh.

“Alright!” he shouted, glaring at Bouquatro. “Now, care to explain why you were here despite my clear orders to stick to your own island?”
* are here, right?

Bouquatro winced, and with it winced Carrie.
what is "it" referring to here?

Had she had a heartbeat of her own, she was sure it'd be deafening right now.
wow, TIL crabs have open circulatory systems.

"Oh! Oh!" The Stormbringer's plumage was sparking as he screeched.
1608680826254.png

"Do you realize how long I've been trying to get rid of those? How many years I've brought up this flood to drown them? But they always find some hidey-hole to procreate in! And here you are, encouraging them to spawn?"

Had she heard him right? Had he really just said that? Were the storms… the floods…
wow, jesus, that's fucked. this has been a fairly whimsical story—was absolutely not expecting something like that. yeesh, poor carrie...

The Stormbringer… no, Zapdos
you love to see it. 👌

"You…" Bouquatro's talons screeched against the floor as he flexed them. "You know what I mean!" he shouted, causing Zapdos to step back in surprise. "The dwebble colony! You're killing them, even though they're living, talking, feeling mon! They're people, and yet you're drowning and starving them! How… how can you do that? How can you be so evil?"
🙌
i do find the notion of flexing talons a bit odd though. i tend to think of the talons as just the claw, not the whole digit.

Before her lie charred scraps of something. She glanced to Bouquatro, who stood up straight, wings extended forth.

Zapdos jerked his head to his brother, but said nothing. It seemed that he couldn’t, brain too clouded by fury.

But Bouquatro could speak, and that he did.

“Leave her alone.”
damn. legit got chills from this. nice work.
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
It seems like the pokemon here have personhood as well as life, if Bou considers non-consensual changes to them an issue in a way it's not for plants.
I'm finding this sapient/non-sapient (civilized/non-civilized?) distinction kind of distracting in this fic, especially since it's a sidenote to the actual story. Why are some pokemon able to communicate and some aren't, and how do the gods play into that? (Zapdos mentions servants being created for them? Were the dwebble created to serve Zapdos?--that seems unlikely.) If Bou can communicate with the noncivilized/nonsapient(?)/feral pokemon anyway, is there really a distinction for him? I assume this is partly for the plot purpose of needing Bou to be lonely and isolated, but having him be shunned by the pokemon on the island would work just as well, I think, and give him even more reason to be so twitchy and eager to do things for Carrie.

Well, it follows the same logic as my other PMDesque fics, in which ferals and civilized pokémon are different species altogether, with a feral and civilized variants for every pokémon species we know. Feral pokémon are non-sapient or, as the exact threshold for sapience is debatable, much less intelligent than their civilized counterparts. Typically their intellect follows the one that their species is based on, so for example, a feral dwebble (which don't live there due to either civilized ones outperforming them, or them never ending up on the island in the first place) would have the intelligence level of a real life hermit crab, which... I don't think is very high. Some others, though, can have up to dog-level intelligence, which is what I went with for the cramorant somewhat (probably not actually sorry, but knows to look guilty when being scolded). So, to sum up, Bouquatro's island is basically only populated by animals, meaning no one to really have proper conversations with.

As for Bouquatro's treatment of these "animals", he's a very kind zookeeper in a sense. What he says is "rude" is not really "rude" as in that it would be bad manners in the animals' minds, but it would cause them stress over suddenly looking very different and possibly even eviction from their pack or flock or what have you.

Also: the mareep mentioned as being kept by the electabuzz are also feral, but domesticated. This makes writing easier when I don't have to worry about how screwed up it would be for a sapient species to keep another as farm animals.

I kind of thought from Zapdos' comment about Bou alienating his servants that what happened there would be an important reveal in part 3, but you say here that you weren't able to fit it in the story? I am really curious what went down there--his island seems like a pretty nice place with not much reason to leave.

*dies in "can't say on the off chance i ever write a sequel"*

This bit felt a little, 'let me talk about my special ability.' Especially since it doesn't end up mattering re sensing Zapdos, I wasn't sure how necessary this was.

I knew I felt that when writing, but my own pedanticism got the better of me. Can't let those imaginary CinemaSins commenters point out how it's weird that Bouquatro could find Carrie under a random rock.

This threw me a little--louder than she could? As in, if she yelled at him, the look in his eyes yells back even louder?

This was my idea, yeah.

Is this Bou's vines? Can they disconnect from him?

Just some run-of-the-mill razor leaves.

wow. i'll be honest, this chapter really exceeded my expectations.

:quag:at this and everything else nice you said

this is so sweet. we don't get a ton of detail about the hardships of the dwebble/crustle, but this reaction tells a story of its own.

Big thanks to @NebulaDreams then for being my beta and getting me to put that in there!

oof. couldn't hold the added weight of the plants, i'm guessing?

Idea was that the roots grew in the cracks and made the rock split all the way. Like that thing that ice does, but... plants.

wow, jesus, that's fucked. this has been a fairly whimsical story—was absolutely not expecting something like that. yeesh, poor carrie...

the canisaries writing experience: "hmm i want to write something light" *puts in genocide*

Thank you both for the reviews! What I said about line edits in the previous review still stands - I will get to them eventually. In the meantime, I'm continuing work on the final part, which may take a bit longer to do than expected, but probably still not three straight months like last time.
 

Flaze

Don't stop, keep walking
Location
Chile
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. infernape
Part 2 Baby This one was pretty eventful all things considered and after that cliffhanger I can definitely say that I'm curious in seeing where all this is leading up. I really like the way you're expanding on the mythology behind the legendary birds as well as Bouquatro and I like how you have this subtle theme of segregation and the dark side of worship and religion that helps give the story a little bit more depth. I also like the direction you're taking Carrie in, she's now learned that the "god" they've been worshiping is really just a racist, temperamental bird who doesn't give a hoot about his people and would rather starve them to death than let them go to a new island. Like seriously dude, if you hate them so much just pass them onto your brother.

Bouquatro continues to be a really interesting character and I like the way your establishing his relationship with his elder siblings as well as himself. He seems like a genuinly nice bird who cares so much about other pokemon but is so afraid to rock the boat that he ends up letting his siblings walk all over him, or at least Zapdos. The reveal that he used to have his own followers also sheds an interesting light on him. Did they leave because he wasn't the kind of ruler they expected? Or was it something else?

Either way it's clear that whatever happened influenced the way in which Bouquatro behaves around others, wanting to be cordial and helpful but not wanting to overstep on any boundaries. That's completely understandable.

I also continue to like the dialogue, in particular the scene with Carrie and her mom and later between Bouquatro and Zapdos. It's really engaging and whimsical but not too much that it ends up coming off as hammy, and you can clearly tell and understand how the characters feel from them.

Anyways, I'm really intrigued in knowing where this is all leading up, and I hope Bouquatro has a way to actually fend off Zapdos, otherwise I feel like he's going to end up suffering a lot more :c
 

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
I swear I reviewed part 1, but apparently not. So I'll review 1&2.

Anyways! First time review! I really enjoyed this tale. Very lighthearted and kind of 'silly', but not actually silly. A Dwebble as an MC is unusual, and interesting. Using a bug-like pokemon to strike this balance between vulnerability and feeling helpless works very well.

Carrie is a nice MC. It was easy enough to follow her and get a gist for her desires. She's still vaguely afraid of Bouquatro, yet still stood up and begged for help. In the context of her situation, it was a brave move.

Bouquatro really is the start of the show though. Everything about him is just loveable. The name is equal parts funny but good. He's comical looking but also kinda cool. He's sweet and caring but I feel sympathy for him too, as it seems he is the runt of the family and the outcast.

I can already see a couple themes seemingly rearing their heads. There seems to be some of power/godhood and how its used. I also picked up on some vibes of helplessness in the face of overwhelming odds, bravery, and standing up for oneself. I really can't wait to see what else is in store for this little tale.

Zapdos as our 'antagonist' for this bit is great. He really seems like a jerk, and I wonder why he's being like this. He also seems to strike quite a bit of fear into Bouquatro, and I get the impression growing up with him was a real terror. He makes for an excellent obstacle to further character growth from our MC's, and elicit some guts from Bouquatro.

There's a few choice descriptions too. The coconut stands out as one.

I don't have any hard criticisms yet. Everything seems pretty good. The real test of a story like this, with nice MC's, intriguing setup and the beginning of a great plot is usually in seeing how it plays out.

So far, solid story, at least 7/10!

I'll go into some line by lines of stuff that stood out to me.

what's it about? well, you know the legendary birds? there's three of them: articuno, zapdos and moltres, right? wrong. meet bouquatro.
What a great tagline. There's just so much I love about this.

One passed by them along a ridge higher up on the cliffs, hooded cloak rapidly flapping.
OOo interesting. So the electabuzz on the island wear cloaks?

"M-maybe your silence means you just want me to buzz off, actually…" continued the creature, voice wavering. "I'll just be going, then…"
Aww poor Bouquatro

Bouquatro rubbed his chin with one of his wing-leaves
This is such a funny image to me, I love it.

She closed her eyes for the duration of the flight, even if the motions churned her stomach with visuals missing. Fortunately, the trip was quick, and soon she felt her shell touch something soft but firm - a bed of grass.
This was one teensy part that was slightly jarring. One moment he was picking her up and the next we are in the air. I was expecting something like one quick line, maybe like 'Carrie's stomach churned as Bouquatro rose into the air', then slip into the paragraph.

She dipped in her head to drink and wet her smaller antennae. As soon as the fluid encased her feelers, an explosion of aromas overtook her mind. So many fragrances! The magost next to her, the other fruit in the trees, the flowers on Bouquatro's chest… it was near overwhelming! She wiped her antennae to be drier, and the sensations mellowed. Much better.
This was really cool! Incorporating the way Dwebble in here use their antennae to sense things and coupling that with her dipping them into the water is very unique. It really makes the prose shine, and perspective deepen.

How could something be that powerful but not a god?
And these are just the kids. It's always a big shocker to imagine what Lugia is like compared to these squabbling brats. (Bouquatro not included).

As she pondered more upon it, giving it water and fertile soil, it sprouted - and that sprout grew and grew and grew until it hardened into the sturdy trunk of a mighty oak whose countless leaves and branches practically blacked out the sky!
I really like the comparison of her thoughts coming together like the growing of a tree. Nifty prose!

"Divine Guardian of Life!" she boomed, the bird flinching from the volume. "I implore you, great one, to aid my starving people! E-every year, we must migrate to the cliffs to escape the floods, but these cliffs are nigh barren, providing my people little to eat! But if you, great one, could turn those cliffs lush and rich in fruit --"
Aww, so formal. This was cute, seeing her try to be so formal.

“I got over it, but I suppose my siblings never did
This seems extreme, but I also wonder if there's more to the story. Perhaps his siblings were jealous that he has power over living things like plants?

“Would say. If I had any that could talk.”
Hmm. So it seems not all pokemon talk in your universe? I guess some must be feral like Cramorant, and others sentient?

Finally, as the golden sun dove into the sea, the time came for them to depart.
Loved this line!

“Oh, did that never come up?
*side eyes*
this reads funny to me, like funny amusing. Like maybe you forgot to mention it in chap 1 and slipped it in here?
Anyways maybe this was always planned bu I just thought the conversation was amusing either way. C:

As the cliffside wasn't wholly vertical or sloping inward, the debris did not fall smoothly. It crashed against the crag time and time again, adding further to the total amount of noise produced, before finally plunging into the sea with a great big splash.
This reminds me of the time the skull fell down the well LOTR, heh

Safety came first, but curiosity was a close second.
Words to live by, tbh.

Maybe zap him and get a new one. He's kind of old, anyway."
Well that's messed up, Zapdos. -100 likeability points. Bum.

"Do you realize how long I've been trying to get rid of those? How many years I've brought up this flood to drown them? But they always find some hidey-hole to procreate in! And here you are, encouraging them to spawn?"
whelp, -1000 likeability points. Murder is p rude.

but I like to keep my island clean! I
Very concerning verbiage there, Zapdos.

He was like a poor little larva left out in a drought - he made no motions, resigned to his fate. And before him was a wingull, tossing him around for its own, selfish amusement. Unfair. Unjust. Unacceptable.
Another piece of good prose, using the word larva here, coupled with mentioning wingull.

“Leave her alone.”
YEAH!! What a great way to end. I love stuff like this. You get 'im, Bouquatro!!

So altogether, I think this story is good. You've set the pieces in play for a compelling yet simple conflict. Simple good, of course. The characters are solid, and I really hope Lugia shows up, because it seems like the story is teasing that? Either way, I'll be following this to see how you bring these pieces together to a good conclusion!
 
Top Bottom