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Pokémon Delivery Deferred

Delivery Deferred

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
  5. custom/meowth-laura
  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Delivery Deferred

A half-feral luxio finds the body of a clay pokémon buried under a tree. It's wearing an ancient mail satchel.

A cute story about an expedited same-century delivery.

This oneshot was originally written in 2018, and was the first piece of writing to ever feature Brisa Escarpa. It has since been revised to better reflect lore and characterisation developed in the Blacklight Eternal rp campaign of 2020/21, and I'm very proud of it.

Many thanks to @Dragonfree for her excellent beta reading.

Partial art credit to @Chibi Pika for Brisa's lineart, and credit to my dear friend Hap for the stinger pic at the end.

Delivery Deferred.jpg


Brisa, Luxio

Mud clung to her paws, wet grass dampened her belly, and petrichor assaulted her nose with every breath. Morning patrols were an essential routine but at times like these, Brisa envied bipeds. Being a mountain luxio was a fine thing, but she seemed to spend half her life wishing she had her forepaws free and not stepping in muck. It had always bugged her that Ma never could relate.

Brisa intended her post-storm patrol to scout the ravine near her home, checking for changes in the terrain, opportunistic intruders or hapless wanderers, anything at all of note. There was always something to know, even just that all remained well. It paid to be vigilant. The skies had cleared and the winds subsided from their recent gale-force to their usual petty boisterousness, but the storm had left its mark on Brisa’s territory. Parts of her house needed repair, her scent-marks would need renewing, and her water filter had finally given out.

She’d contend with all that later, though. The ravine came first because the ravine held the most danger for passers-through, and her duty was to them. Now that she could see the fissure in the earth, though, she noticed that the peculiar, solitary berry tree on the ravine’s edge had finally begun tipping over. No other trees could be found for a couple miles out – something about the local soil permitted only scrub, grass and bushes to grow upon it. Brisa often used it for shade when on patrol. This had been coming for a while; each storm eroded just a little bit more of the ground beneath it. At last, its fate drew near. Sooner than later, it would topple down the sheer slope, knock a few sun-burnished stones down with it, and crash in the clear river-water at the bottom. As she approached for a closer look, Brisa noticed something glinting between the exposed roots.

She leaned close to the tangle and, yes, there was definitely an object stuck inside. It was difficult to make out exactly what, under so much damp earth, but the exposed part gently reflected the morning sunlight. Brisa put her paw to it and pressed; it didn’t budge. Most of its mass was presumably still buried. She tapped it experimentally with a claw, and it gave a dull clink, much like a ceramic pot. It could easily be artificial. Maybe even a dungeon relic.

There was no time like the present, and Brisa had precisely zero interest in letting someone beat her to the dig. She shook off her satchel bag and found her protective gear, rope, and other tools. Trowel. Brush. Handsaw. She laid everything out and selected fresh cloth wraps for her paws, not that she needed the protection. Townsfolk could whisper their comments to one another about Brisa being ‘half-feral’ all they liked, but her tools, expertise, and dexterous paws proved she was like them in every way that counted. She was civilised, damn it, no matter how many nights she spent alone under the stars.

She began to clear away rocks and earth, and soon found an efficient rhythm. It was soggy, dirty work, but nobody had ever died from getting their forepaws muddy. Ugh, she sounded like her goddamn pa. Aphorisms aside, she could tolerate the discomfort for the sake of her prize. Her next task was to cut away obtrusive tree roots. Then came lifting up the larger rocks. A few sore muscles and some red cuts to her paws later, and she’d uncovered the upper surface. She wiped off the muck with a small towel to inspect her handiwork.

The early light fell upon a blocky slab etched with some kind of symbol – the thing that had glinted in the sun. Ancient leather straps fastened it to a central bulk of some kind. A solid, uneven spheroid, slate-grey in colour. Careful prodding of the surrounding earth with a spiked metal peg revealed five connected masses, still buried. After clearing the ground a little further, one of those masses turned out to be a stubby arm ending in a clenched fist. Brisa levered it up, concern growing in her chest. The fist’s jointed digits were fully articulated. Not a statue, then. Not exactly a relic. More likely: a pokémon. Maybe a rock-type?

A dead rock-type.

She stared, the seed of concern blooming into a forest of dread. Dead bodies were an unusual discovery for Brisa, but they usually had the decency to be made of real flesh and bone, and her heart reminded her of this by drumming in her skull as she resumed clearing debris from the – crust? shell? – of the... the thing. How long had it been here? Surely what she’d found had lain buried for at least the age of the tree. The roots formed a kind of cocoon – or cage – for the body. That would have taken decades. If it was a pokémon, it was almost certainly a corpse, and she was digging up a grave.

The thought made her stomach clench, but what was done was done, and she hadn't realised the possibility until it had already been well-disturbed by the storm. Besides, if she didn't retrieve it now, it would soon inevitably tumble into the ravine along with the tree, come the next strong wind. So she kept working. Another arm emerged, then an equally stubby leg.

What was that symbol, anyway? That could be a clue. Brisa scoured the ancient filth that lay beneath with a rough cloth. A long crack ran across the surface of the ‘body’, long-since filled with soil. She couldn’t help but growl as she worked. Despite the trappings of archaeological excavation, she felt more like a mortician. She tried to flatten her hackles. Ridiculous. It wasn’t even flesh and bone!

Flakes of ancient paint clung to the grooves, barely detectable beneath the grime. The fully uncovered symbol consisted of undulating curves. Nothing like paw runes, trail scratch, or even unown glyphs. Did it represent waves? Wind? A question for later, perhaps.

Eventually, her shoulders aching and her paws cold and bloodied, she unearthed the final limb and the squat, lumpy head. Two empty, irregularly carved eye sockets. A faceplate with not so much as a mouth, let alone anything else. Its construction looked slap-dash, made in haste or by an amateur. At least now it could be taken out of its pit. Right. Ropes, spiked pegs, the principles of leverage, and some physical effort: there was little you couldn’t achieve with that. Brisa heaved the lifeless creature up and out of its grave without too much trouble. With the absent ceramic weight no longer keeping it anchored, the tree lost yet more grip and lurched again, dangling into the ravine with only the bravest, deepest roots holding it up. There would be no more shade on hot days for Brisa.

She placed an inquisitive paw on the inert body.

"What kind of being were you?" she asked aloud, half-expecting a reaction.

None came.

Brisa ended up making a trip home to fetch a harness and trolley. It didn't take long for a luxio in excellent health with a loping gait. With new equipment, she was able to pull her discovery away with little difficulty. Sure, she could have bought a favour from a larger pokémon in town, and it was unlikely that anyone would steal her hundred-kilo ‘treasure’ in the meantime, but she took pride in doing a job wholly by herself. Even if her hunter's body wasn’t made for hauling.

She avoided the shortest route, since that would risk meeting early risers heading across the outskirts. Instead, she took a circuitous route that would put her in town right near the junkshop. After all, if anyone could tell her what this thing really was, it would be the sketchy old spider who ran it. She passed the western ridge, eyeing with distaste the rooftops of those absurdly characterful buildings which urban pokémon liked to construct. Such vanity. What sane person built a shop that looked like their own head? It was bad enough to build cities in the first place.

Soon enough, she was at the south side of Frontier Town, where the ‘specialist’ merchants made their living. The noise of the town centre irritated her even from here. She turned a corner and found her way to Al's Odds 'n' Ends, a certifiable shack with blue and yellow awnings over the shopfront threaded to resemble galvantula legs. She could make out the workshop behind the front counter, filled with tools, scrap, gadgets and other nonsense befitting an ‘inventor’.

"Alejandro," she called out, "you in today?"

Al’s arachnoid head and forelegs poked out of the shopfront, upside-down from the shop’s ceiling. "What'd'ya need, youngster?" he rasped back, pedipalps quivering. He enjoyed remaining upside-down to ‘increase blood-flow to the brain’, an off-putting habit to most ‘mon. Brisa wasn’t bothered. She made sure she didn’t look bothered by licking down her raised hackles.

"I might’ve got somethin’ for ya," she said, unfastening her discovery and rolling it over with her muzzle.

Al dropped to the ground and climbed over his counter to examine the thing. He prodded at it carefully with his pedipalps and gently brushed dirt from its surface. Brisa watched wordlessly as he worked, trying to glean a hint of recognition in the galvantula’s several eyes.

"Looks like a golett t’me," he said at last, in his breathy, ear-scraping spider-voice. "’S’a living being like you or me, though this one looks like it passed on long ago. Who’s t’say? I’ve never seen a pokémon like this up close, after all."

Brisa rolled her head to one side and regarded the golett again, this time as an expertly-confirmed corpse. ‘Golett’. Not a word she knew. It sounded earthy. Diminutive. Maybe this was a pokémon meant to evolve into something much larger. Maybe it was rare.

"So... d’you want it?" she asked.

"Whaddaya mean?"

"Alejandro, I'm tryin’ t’sell you this thing."

"A trade? Hrrm."

Al always took a great deal more time than necessary to consider trades. Brisa had always wondered if this was just for show, but interrupting him invariably led to a refusal to deal, so she waited, shifting her weight impatiently from paw to paw.

"I guess so," he concluded, tapping the golett's body. "I kinda want to see if I can get the darned thing up ‘n’ at it again. Golett are ghost-types, you never know when scoundrels like that are gonna spring to life ‘n’ surprise you. But it's as likely as anything to wander off afterwards, so I can’t be certain it’ll be of any value. Still, it’ll be interesting! Say, Brisa, I'll give you a doohickey for it."

"I'll take a new water filter, if’n y’please. Mine broke in the damn storm."

Al consented to this trade; Brisa left his shop with the part in her satchel. Only once she got home and thumped it into place did she wonder if she'd see the golett again, and what it might think of her for selling it, should it wake.



Alejandro, Galvantula

Brisa paced off like the town’s air itself was out to get her. She always did.

Al took no offence; anyone who paid him proper for his goods and services was worth forgiving a few quirks, even a clan ‘mon like her. He had quirks of his own, after all. He absentmindedly put a thin roll-up between his palps and lit it with a spark of electricity from his foot-tip fur. Then he put it to his left breathing slit, near the front of his abdomen, and let his lungs work. A terrible habit, but good for soothing the nerves. Mammals gave him funny looks if he did it in their company, so he was always ready to shove his smokes in his mouth if a customer walked by, even though he couldn’t mouth-breathe. Somehow, it just bothered ‘em less. That was mammals for you.

He looked at the golett from every angle. Sure wasn’t showing any signs of life now, but that could change. Certain pokémon could live thousands of years, so who knew? But if a critter wanted waking up, a critter needed the right stimulus. What did a golett need to come back from a slumber like this, if there was still a spark left in there? Maybe some bookish feller in the Guild would have some old tome with the answers. Or maybe Al’s ol’ reliable electrical shock was worth a try. It couldn’t hurt! He rolled the golett indoors, wheezing through his abdominal slits. He was getting old. Now to see if a boost would revive the little guy.

Al rubbed his legs together until they sparked.

Well, maybe it could hurt, actually. The golett for one – he wasn’t sure if they were ground-types or not – but also himself if it had some fancy energy redirection ability. Probably not. But maybe. To hell with it, it was worth a shot all the same! Zap!



Gil, Golett

This new environment was unexpected for Gil. They had lost consciousness near the river, far from any settlement, yet this was an indoor location. A pokémon was tending to them, though not a species they recognised. Possibly a medic? Gil peered at their caretaker. Squat body, bristly fur, arthropod limbs, multiple eyes: an arachnid. His energy signature was type seven – ‘bug’ – which would seem to match up well. There was something else in the signature, too, maybe type five, ‘electr—

The spider's ‘fur’ lit up and jolted Gil with a powerful surge of electrical energy. They sat straight up as their vision spun out of focus and their head crackled. When the shock ended, they could detect smoke caused by light singing on their straps. Oh dear, yes. An electric type for certain, and apparently defending itself from them.

"Do not be alarmed!" recited Gil. "I am a courier golett and I mean you no harm!"

The standard greeting rarely failed.

"Oh, begging your pardon!" replied the spider. It was an odd sound, like a sharp whisper. "I'm Alejandro, but you can call me ‘Al’. I was just testing a theory o’ mine that you'd wake up with the right... stimulus. My apologies if I hurt you at all, feller!"

Al made a pacifying gesture with his pedipalps. He seemed sincere.

“I am Gil! It is a pleasure to meet you, Mister Al. Do not worry, I am hurt very little by electric type attacks, especially when inactive. You have done me no harm.”

There was a silence lasting several seconds before Al replied.

“Well, you’re an odd critter, ain’t’cha?”

“Yes, sir,” said Gil. They patted around for their satchel. Gone. “Excuse me, sir, but are you the one who brought me here?”

“Huh, no. That’d be Luxio Brisa. She dug you up from a hole in the ground a ways nor’east o’ here. She didn’t find any belongings with you if that’s what you’re fussin’ about. ”

“Thank you, sir. Still, I would like to thank Ms Brisa for her role in reviving me.”

“Ah, you can find her west o’ town, not far from the ravine. Don’t worry, she’ll find you soon enough if you hang out around there!”

Gil considered this.

“I shall do this once my task is complete, Mister Al. My purpose is to make deliveries, and I wish very much to make no further delay of my priority package. I must take it to the residence of someone in a nearby village, Desert Knot. The intended recipient is one Turtwig Esther. Could you give me directions, sir?"

Al’s expression was unreadable, and Gil didn’t have any training in reading arachnid faces, but something gave them the impression that they’d said something wrong.

“Turtwig Esther, was it?” Al said, eventually.

Gil nodded effusively. “Yes, sir.”

“Not a Torterra Esther?”

Gil shook their head. “No sir.”

“You sure?”

Nod. “Yes, sir.”

Al rubbed his pedipalps over his face. Maybe that was like scratching your head thoughtfully for a spider.

“Say, kid… do you remember how you came to be inactive in the first place?”



Tamuk, Chesnaught

Wind howled over the hills. Thin scrubland stretched around for miles, the little village of Desert Knot barely visible in the distance. If a storm picked up, it would lift enough sand and dirt to throw a person off any trail. There were no landmarks, not even so much as a tree, save for a ravine ready to swallow lost wanderers with weak vision. This was truly a wretched country. Tamuk wanted to be rid of it, and he would be as soon as he’d collected the funds he needed.

Looking up at him was the courier he’d been expecting. It barely reached his knees.

“Don’t run, messenger,” he growled. “I’ll take your money either way.”

He drew himself up to his full height, letting the shadow of his armour’s spiked pauldrons fall over his pint-sized target. This would be easy however it shook out. Easier if intimidation saved him the trouble of a fight.

“Sir, I am a sworn courier and can make no surrender of any package entrusted to my care,” said the little golem, looking up at Tamuk without a hint of fear. Clearly a fool, the variety of which mattered not.

“Don’t misunderstand me. I want your valuables, and if you won’t give them to me, I’ll beat you senseless without hesitation.”

“You are at liberty to do as much,” came the reply.

“I’m a chesnaught,” tried Tamuk. “Don’t you have any sense of self-preservation?”

“I have a duty, sir.”

Tamuk sighed, raised a gauntlet-clad paw and bludgeoned the golett into the ground with a hammer blow. Grass-type energy collided with a ground-type body. It crumpled to the ground with a wince-inducing crunch, and sunk into the earth several inches, a fresh crack visible on its torso like a wound. It was over before Tamuk had taken a breath.

He plucked the golett’s satchel between two massive digits and pulled, breaking the straps and eliciting some feeble utterances of protest from the owner. Tamuk upended it and shook out the contents. Nothing. Nothing valuable, rather, which was equally disappointing. Just some seeds held in a tiny pouch, a one-page newsletter from the only town for miles, and a few envelopes. None bore a wax seal marking them as significant. He searched them anyway, and found only correspondence between friends and family. Worthless. He hawked and spat on the ground.

“You should have saved me the trouble of wasting my energy,” he growled. “If you had just shown me you weren’t carrying anything valuable, I might have let you be.”

“All messages are valuable,” squeaked the golett, who was even now pushing itself to its feet and charging a tiny, pulsing spark of energy in its fist to fight back. How insulting.

“Not to me,” said Tamuk. Then he hit the golett again.

This time, it didn’t get back up.



Alejandro, Galvantula

“A century ago?”

Gil sounded as if they might cry.

“Aye, lad. Tamuk was a notorious bandit ‘round these parts, extracting a toll from any and all travellers ‘n’ traders. He’s the only chesnaught I ever heard of, he fits your description, and he died before my time. Besides, Desert Knot is what this place was called before the Guild was founded, and that was a generation back.”

“But how can you be sure? Perhaps there’s been some confusion?” pleaded Gil, their voice breaking on half the words they choked out. Their eyes flashed blue and their little hands clenched and unclenched on loop.

Al sighed, shook his palps, and reached for another smoke. He offered Gil one, but they just gravely shook their head. Of course a clay automaton wouldn’t breathe. Darn.

“No, lad. You were found buried under a tree next to a ravine like the one you described, widened by a hundred years o’ weatherin’. You’ll find your Esther alright, but she’s a wizened old torterra now. She placed that order for delivery generations ago, and tha’s a fact. It’s too late now. But look, if there’s anythin’ at all I can do for ya…”

Gil lowered their head and closed their eyes.

“I appreciate your kindness, Mister Al, but I really must be going. I have to make my delivery all the same. I will simply be unforgivably late, and there’s nothing to be done about it. My thanks to you, sir.”

“If that’s the way it is,” said Al, gently. He reached to place a reassuring pat on Gil’s shoulder, but they turned and walked straight out of his shop without a backward glance. What a strange pokémon.

Well, the story was worth the price of a water purifier, he supposed.



Brisa, Luxio

She felt her hackles rise before she even spotted the golett jogging along the hillside, little clay feet carrying them at surprising speed. She didn’t bother flattening them. She had, after all, seen a ghost.

She took her time intercepting them, studying them all the while. It was comical, the way they looked around, stopping and posing with one hand shading their eyes and the other outstretched behind them, like a child actor in a stage play. How to approach this resurrected being? She drew closer from behind, and settled on a greeting.

“Good day,” she tried.

“Good day!” The golett’s head spun around to face her, their body following a moment later. Brisa very nearly jumped in fright, but dug her claws into the damp soil instead. Damn the thing.

"Do not be alarmed!" they said. "I am a courier golett and I mean you no harm!"

“I know,” said Brisa, a little more coldly than she’d meant to.

“Ah, you must be Ms Brisa! I am Gil, and it is a pleasure to meet you.”

She nodded. Feeling something more was expected of her, she added “Yeah. I s’pose Alejandro sent you my way?”

“That’s right. I’m here to thank you, and to ask for your help finding my missing package for delivery!”

They couldn’t possibly be serious. Yet, their eager, bright-eyed expression of hope was evident even without a mouth. She tried to tell Gil to get lost, but what came out of her mouth was “Of course, that’d be no trouble at all.”

As Gil thanked her effusively, she padded off in the direction of their onetime grave. With any luck, this was the only favour they’d ask of her.

It wasn’t far, but with Gil’s miniature stride, it took half a lifetime. All the while, they asked her how the town had been renamed, what the Guild was and so on, and she did her best to answer in as few words as possible. It wasn’t like Gil knew many people who could answer their questions about the century they’d missed out on, and they clearly didn’t get the hint that she didn’t care for conversation. Besides, she didn’t have the heart to tell them to keep their mouth shut, if they even had one.

Eventually, it clicked for her what was bothering her about Gil’s spirited interrogation.

“Wouldn’t you rather ask a townie about all this?”

“What’s a townie, Ms Brisa?”

“Just ‘Brisa’ is fine. A townie is someone who lives in, y’know. The town? Like a civilised pokémon.”

Gil shook their head. “Where I came from, nobody lived packed that closely together. It’s too noisy in such places for me to think. It’s much better to be around one person at a time, then I don’t have to concentrate so hard.”

Brisa considered this.

“No towns?”

“No, miss. I mean no, sir! I see no reason why civilisation should mean living in a town. The clan nomads certainly don’t need towns, after all.”

Huh.

They continued. “I myself have a modest home in Little Scriven, many days’ travel from here. It is only small, but it serves my needs well.” Gil put a finger to their faceplate, and narrowed their eyes thoughtfully. “Of course, it might no longer be there, when I return.” Their shoulders sagged as soon as they uttered the words.

Oh. Brisa wasn’t any good at this. Nothing she thought of to comfort them seemed appropriate. Instead, she said “Can y’see up on that crest? That’s the spot.”

She described her discovery of their body and her recovery efforts, which seemed to distract Gil from thinking about what their home would look like after a century of abandonment. They were an attentive listener. Brisa couldn’t remember being listened to like this before by another ‘mon. It wasn’t unpleasant.

When they got to the dig site, Gil pottered around, examining it from every angle, even clambering into it and patting around as if they would find something Brisa hadn’t. She waited soundlessly from the rim of the grave. It was disturbing, seeing Gil where they had been a corpse only earlier that day, but now animate and purposeful.

“There’s nothing here!” they cried.

“Guess not.”

They climbed out, and gazed around at the landscape. “Brisa, sir, how can I know without a doubt that this is the same spot where Tamuk the chesnaught physically assaulted me?”



“Ravine,” she said, flatly. “Erodes with every year. That long ago, it would’ve been much narrower, and further in that direction.”

She gestured with a paw towards the drop in the earth.

“Oh,” said Gil.

Recognition dawned in their ghostly green eyes.

“Oh, and Desert Knot… was that way. It’s Frontier Town now.”

“Yeah. Didn’t Alejandro tell you?”

“Mister Al told me, I just… preferred to believe otherwise.”

Gil sat down on the edge of their grave, and looked as if they might fall backwards into it at any moment. Brisa positioned herself to catch them. They tore up a handful of grass and rubbed it between their fingers.

“It was very nearly barren here, when I first arrived,” they said. “Which means it really has been a lifetime. My letters must all have decomposed, of course. I’ll never be able to deliver those. And the seeds…”

They turned and looked at the tree.

“That’s my package,” said Gil, firmly. “Please help me dig it up.”

Gil began before Brisa could reply, trying desperately to uproot a tree much larger than themself. They grunted and strained, their fists glowing as they summoned paltry elemental energy to lift their ‘package’. Brisa hesitated, but joined in anyway. She had a strength that Gil did not. She ought to help. The final roots snapped or tore loose, and they hefted the tree overhead. They were triumphant for only a moment. Then they lost their footing, wobbled, and fell heavily onto the far side of the crater. The tree slipped from their grasp, and tumbled over the edge.

There were sounds of crashing branches and whooshing leaves from the ravine.

“Gods, what a fuck-up,” said Brisa. She instantly regretted it.

“It was an accident,” said Gil, very quietly.

Brisa looked away from them, down towards the township.

“It don’t matter. It’s just a tree. The ‘mon those seeds were meant fer is either dead or ain’t expectin’ their package anyway. It’s fine.”

Gil shook their head mutely.

“It’s fine,” repeated Brisa. “Don’t get upset about it, this ain’t important no more. It all happened a century ago!”

Gil thumped the ground, not getting up from their knees.

“It is important!” they said, barely raising their voice even now. “It’s my life! That was the only thing left from it! My home, my friends, even my colleagues will all be gone now. I don’t know what happened to them, or if they looked for me when I went missing… I don’t even know if Little Scriven exists any more. The whole country is different now, from every patch of soil to every person in it. This was…”

They paused to wring their ceramic hands.

“This was going to be the one delivery I could make. If I could only deliver my priority package, it would have been the smallest bit worth it. Now I’ve messed it up, and even the tree is gone. I can’t get it back alone. I have nothing left, and I may as well still be buried in the ground!”

Brisa bit her tongue. Why did she always say the wrong thing?

Gil wasn’t moving. Say something, Brisa.

“Uh, you’re sure there’s someone to deliver it to? ‘Cause it might’ve survived the fall, y’know.”

“Yes, Mister Al says Esther still lives here,” said Gil. “It would go to next-of-kin should she have passed away, or to the local government if there was no will to execute. I do not know how I might recover it, especially if the river has carried it away, but I must try to make the delivery all the same. There is nobody else who would carry out my duty.”

Duty, huh? Brisa frowned, looking down at her forepaws, still bandaged from her excavation. It was duty that kept her patrolling the county borders, looking out for travellers in need of aid, or outlaws in need of an electrified blow to the jaw. Frontier Town hadn’t had a sworn sheriff in years, only Brisa. There was nobody else.

“You really ain’t gonna let this one go, huh?” she asked, distantly.

“No, miss. Not when someone could be depending on me. No matter how difficult the task ahead may seem.”

Brisa swore under her breath. She could still walk away.

“I reckon it could still be salvageable, with the right tools,” she mused. “And if’n ya know a safe way down.”

Gil looked up, hopeful.

Brisa sighed, and said those words she never could hold back.

“I’ll help you.”

Gil’s turquoise eyes widened in surprise and silent gratitude, and Brisa had to look away. She’d accept thanks when the job was done.

Brisa had the agility to bound from the precipice to water level. Gil needed her to sink some pegs into the ground and run a rope down from above to cling to. Gil descended the sheer slope according to Brisa’s guidance, gripping the rope hand over hand, avoiding loose scree and listening to Brisa call out firm footholds. As it turned out, the fall had been merciful to the tree. It had merely rolled for most of the descent before it hit the river, then been carried downstream until it came to rest against a jutting rock. Besides some snapped branches and a coating of silt, it remained intact.

Once they’d located the ‘package’, Brisa directed Gil in assembling a raft from riverside trees and the last of her rope, and they carried out the task with brisk efficiency. The river passed through Frontier Town further downstream, Brisa explained, and after strapping the tree down they could transport it straight into town, with her walking along one riverbank and Gil on the other, each clutching a rope to guide it along. Brisa couldn’t talk with rope between her teeth, so she listened to Gil’s recollections of a century ago with weary patience. By the time they exited the ravine and were heading along the eastern bends – from which the view of the area’s golden plains and the distant mountains beyond was truly peerless – Gil’s babbling had become somehow soothing, and she was almost sorry to hear it stop when they finally reached town.

Frontier Town. Brisa’s unofficial jurisdiction. Not that she spent any appreciable amount of time there, amongst its fully-clothed artisans and bureaucrats and business ‘mon. She eyed the multi-storey stone-and-timber buildings with distrust.

They found Esther’s house by means of Brisa interrogating passers-by, keen to avoid anyone taking too great an interest in Gil, who would surely be only too happy to tell their life story to anyone who asked. They soon learnt that the torterra kept a riverfront property near the edge of town, barely any distance at all from them. It was a bungalow with well-kept flower baskets and a broad garden patio along the riverside. To Brisa’s great relief, they’d be able to get the tree directly from the river onto Esther’s property. Brisa hadn’t come up with a real plan for transporting a fully-grown tree through the main thoroughfare. She might have even had to ask someone for help.

Gil stood at the doorstep, their fist raised to knock on the (frankly enormous) double doors. They were motionless, a miniature figure against the height and breadth of an entrance meant for a torterra.

“Somethin’ wrong, partner?” called Brisa from the riverbank, the raft’s ropes secured beneath her paws.

“What if she’s mad at me?” replied Gil, turning to look over their shoulder. “What if she doesn’t want the package?”

Brisa closed her eyes to avoid visibly rolling them. “What if she ain’t mad, what if she does want it?”

“But-!”

“Fuckin’ knock, already!”

“…okay!”

Gil knocked once, very quietly. Then they rapped the door a few times, much harder. They waited.

“Maybe she’s not home?”

Brisa growled under her breath. “She’s older’n the town itself and the size of a building. Have some patience.”

Gil nodded and stood demurely in stoic silence.

At length, the left-hand door creaked open and a craggy, beaked head poked out.

“Who’s there?” asked Esther, in a voice with enough bass that Brisa felt it in her bones.

"Do not be alarmed," said Gil, haltingly. "I am Gil the courier, and I have a package for you!"

“Oh? I’m not expecting any deliveries,” murmured Esther, nudging the other door open with her massive flank. Someone could build a house on that back. Presently, there was only an unassuming rock garden and some small shrubs atop her shell.

“I’m terribly sorry for the delay,” said Gil, their voice starting to quake, “but this package comes… ninety-seven years late. It used to be a pouch containing several seeds but as you can see…”

They stepped to one side and gestured to Brisa, the raft, and the tree.

“I’m afraid it’s been… altered in transit. It’s a tree now. That tree. Um.”

They clasped their hands together in a silent plea for forgiveness.

Esther’s brow furrowed for several seconds. Then her beak widened in a grin. Then she laughed.

“Oh my!” she cried. “It’s a perrin berry tree! How marvellous. I sent for a perrin seed delivery when I was just a little one! Oh my.”

She plodded down from her house to the riverbank, still grinning, murmuring “simply marvellous,” and “bless the day.”

Brisa offered Esther the ropes, somewhat awkwardly. After a minute’s subdued inquiry from the torterra, she agreed to cut the tree free from the raft. Esther herself lowered her considerable mass into the river. With a bit of creative shoving from the luxio and golett pair, the tree was levered onto Esther’s back, whereupon the tree’s roots and the shell beneath Esther’s mobile shrubbery began first to glow, then fuse together. Soon enough, the tree joined firmly to her body, growing quite happily on one flank of the shell-top garden.

Gil clasped their hands together again. “Is everything suitable?” they asked.

Esther turned to give an indulgent smile. “This is ever such a lovely tree,” she said, in a soft rumble. “My great aunt used to grow one when I was just a hatchling. The berries were a real treat; I’ve wanted to cultivate one ever since.”

“You don’t seem disappointed by the wait, Ma’am,” ventured Gil.

“Certainly not!” she boomed, climbing steadily out of the river. “I’m very grateful to you. They take ever such a long time to mature, you know, and they’re dashedly prone to withering when young. It must have found the perfect spot to grow. Remarkable. Thank you so much, little one. I’ll be able to have the grandchildren round and share some with them in the spring…”

As Esther headed back up to her house, water pouring off her shell, Gil slowly sat down on the paved part of riverbank. A moment passed in which they seemed fixated on nothing whatsoever. For the first time since their stint in a coma, they were still.

“You doin’ okay there, pal?” asked Brisa.

“Yes, sir. I’m glad the delivery turned out alright. Only, I’m not sure what to do next.”

Brisa put out a paw and patted their shoulder. Her claws clinked gently on their clay.

“You can do what you like, Gil. But if y’don’t care fer the noise of the town, and you wanna stick around awhile…”

“Yes, Brisa?”

“I got a spare room fer emergencies. It’s yours. If you need it.”

“Oh! Thank you, many many thanks! I’ll do chores, I’ll take messages, I’ll—!”

“Woah, there. It’s okay. I jus’ reckon you deserve a second chance at… livin’ a life.”

Brisa shook herself dry, spattering the patio with river drops, and loped off towards home. She looked back at Gil, who still had a hand to their faceplate in apparent embarrassment.

“You comin’?” she called.

“Yes, Brisa!” Gil nodded fervently and jogged after her.

Brisa huffed, but allowed herself the slightest grin.

“Let’s go home.”
gil_transparent_small.png
 
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windskull

Bidoof Fan
Staff
Partners
  1. custom/sneasel-nip
  2. bidoof
  3. absol
  4. kirlia
  5. custom/windskull-bidoof
This was actually the first thing of yours I read. I read the original version of this back around March of 202 to discuss it with a couple people in a PMD server, but I never got around to giving it an actual review. So I’m excited to see it touched up. It’s also just great to see some good Brisa content.

The worldbuilding for the story was spot on, showing just enough for us to understand the world, but without overstaying its welcome. There’s just enough information for the world to feel alive and lived in. The little bits of information that aren’t directly relevant don’t feel superfluous.

Every character stands out and feels unique, and as developed as they need to be for the story. The premise is short and sweet, but what really shines is the character interactions.

When I went back to look at some of the original thoughts I had, one of the critiques I’d mentioned was that I felt like the perspective jumped around a bit much and that it felt a bit jarring. I don’t know if there were tweaks to the transitions or if my tastes have changed, but I didn’t feel that as much on this readthrough. The only part that maybe felt a little bit off was the transition from Al to Gil, and I think that’s only because of how short Al’s first section is. It’s just as long as it needs to be, but it makes the cut feel a tiny jarring.

I generally liked the prose, but I do want to point out a line that struck me as a bit stilted.

Eventually, it clicked for her what was bothering her about Gil’s spirited interrogation.
I’m not sure if it’s the use of “her” twice in short succession or the cadence of several one-sylable words in short succession, or something else entirely, but the line strikes me as off compared to the prose around it.

I really like that the plot comes back to the tree. It’s given a fair amount of focus in the opening, so it makes logical sense that the plot would come back around to it. It just feels narratively sound and good.

And I think that sums up my feelings on the fic as a whole. It’s a narratively sound story with a lot of sweet interactions. Despite the implications - and it outright being shown - that there are bad parts of the world, pokemon that would hurt others for personal gain, there are also those that are insistent on doing good.And that’s a big part of what makes this such a heartwarming story. I’m glad I read it.
 

Dragonfree

Moderator
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
  2. mightyena
  3. charizard
  4. custom/scyther-mia
Already betaed this, so this'll be a more compact review with more overall thoughts rather than line-by-lines, apart from:

They climbed out, and gazed around at the landscape. “Brisa, sir, how can I know without a doubt that this is the same spot where Tamuk the chesnaught physically assaulted me?”



“Ravine,” she said, flatly. “Erodes with every year. That long ago, it would’ve been much narrower, and further in that direction.”
Got some extra line breaks in there for whatever reason.

I think this story does a nice job with understated worldbuilding that doesn't get in the way. It's a PMD world with Western themes and technology, little glimpses of the wider world beyond while staying focused on just the story going on here. Al and his workshop were a lot of fun for this kind of flavor and feel, even if I didn't feel we really needed to see his POV. You tell enough to tell this particular story and stick with that.

It's also just strongly characterized. Brisa's fiercely independent and avoids most people like the plague, with the small understated mention that people call her names when they think she can't hear serving as a suggestion of why without making a big deal of it. And Gil is precious. What a good courier bean. "All messages are valuable", my heart.

Probably my favorite thing is just how you build up the tree, though. It feels very natural during the opening how Brisa remarks on this tree and how it's slowly starting to tip over into the ravine, and that's why the roots are slightly exposed now, and that's where she finds Gil, and initially it just feels like that's the point of the tree and you don't really think anything more of it. Then she digs Gil up, and the tree's beginning to tip all the way over, and then you do this tiny little mention of how there'll be no more shade for Brisa, calling back to her off-hand remark about how she uses it for shade on patrol. Giving it just that tiniest bit of emotional significance, making us feel just a liiittle bit sad for the fate of the tree and making sure we remember it. And then Gil's package turns out to have been seeds, and instantly oh! That's the TREE!! noooo save the tree! and then they do and it makes its way to Esther who replants it on her back and it's just the most satisfying cathartic thing to tie the story together. Making us feel investment in the tree and Gil's delivery is probably the most important thing you had to do to make this work, and I think you pulled it off really well, between this setup and just how much Gil cares about it (and how much we care about Gil).

In the middle of it all, of course, Gil and Brisa bond a little, Brisa realizes here's a person she could probably tolerate without the prejudices of the townsfolk, and she extends a paw to them to help Gil get back on their feet after losing everything. In some ways it might have been fun to explore more about their predicament, having lost everyone and everything while in stasis for a hundred years, but on the other hand this little story of the tree and the two of them bonding is satisfying enough it might just be a distraction.

All in all you made me feel a lot of feelings about a tree and mail delivery, good job
 
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Panoramic_Vacuum

Hoenn around
Partners
  1. aggron
  2. lairon
My goodness, I didn't think I'd be getting emotional over a tree, but here we are.

What a positively charming little fic. I fully admit, the star of the show for me was Gil. What a precious bean, err, rock. There's something amazing about their earnest character combined with the right amount of duty mixed with naivete and a splash of loneliness that hits just right. They are honestly one of the best characters I've come across in a fic, and one that I've warmed up to instantly and fallen for completely. I would protect Gil with my life. (the art of him at the end I would happily purchase a sticker of if at all possible)

That certainly doesn't diminish the presence of the other characters either. Our main protagonist, Brisa, while a bit less at the forefront for me in terms of getting a read on her and what makes her tick, really shines when she's able to bounce off of another character, like Al or Gil. It highlights how different she is and how unique both her and the other 'mons of this world are. I especially love that for as much as I love sweet Gil, Brisa is doing her best to tolerate them, and it takes a good long while for them to worm their way into her heart, and only just a little. It shows how guarded Brisa is, and how much of a loner she has become. The ending where she realizes that Gil is lonely too, and they can be lonely together, is really heartwarming. I definitely got a chuckle at the rough and tumble language Brisa uses, and the overly polite dialogue from Gil. They certainly make quite the duo here! I think those are my favorite kinds of teams, the mismatched, opposite, unlikely ones.

The other denizens of the world are just as unique and interesting as Brisa and Gil, and it makes the world feel balanced, lived in, and fleshed out. Al is that one weird guy who also happens to be a spider, Esther is just the sweetest thing and I cannot get enough of old wizened characters who are cheery and have such an overwhelmingly positive outlook on life (also Torterra <3), and even the Chesnaught bandit Tamuk stands out in his brief appearance (RIP Gil). Your characters are strong here, and they all interact well with each other. It's a joy to read. Perhaps the only thing that caught me a bit off-guard was the very specific focus on poke-anatomy. I would not have batted an eye if Al smoked via his mouth, I just simply have not given any thought to spider anatomy. And Brisa's insistence on wanting to walk on two legs vs four. But I think that's my relative lack of experience with PMD settings more than anything else.

Of course, I haven't even gotten into the plot of the fic yet, and again, more magic awaits. I will admit, the beginning is a bit slow and doesn't grab my attention as much as when Brisa unearths the mystery corpse. I'm not really sure what she's doing when she makes her rounds to the ravine (is she some kind of patrol? she seems to have a sense of duty to help or protect people but it seems she's also not affiliated with the town?)

Either way, once she discovers Gil's resting place, the plot picks up and has me enthralled the rest of the way. My favorite part is probably the reveal of the significance of the tree. At first it's simply a landmark, some scenery, a spot you recognize on daily walks. And then... It becomes so much more. The reveal that Gil had been buried for so long that his delivery sprouted into said tree, and it grew stubbornly on a cliffside barren of almost all other plant life?? My god. I want to believe the seeds survived on Gil's sheer determination alone, his will to never give up on his delivery was imbued in the soil and gave birth to the tree that was destined to arrive to its rightful place. I actually gasped when they uprooted the tree to deliver it (what if it DIED????) but then Esther planted it on her back and gave it new life in a new home where it would be loved and cherished???? I'm getting misty-eyed again just typing this up (and what an amazing allegory to Gil's situation as well, uprooted from his home, carried far away, existing on stubbornness and determination alone, only to find a place where they can live and be loved, mmmyes)

There's so much more to gush about, lots of witty dialogue (Gil's introductory tagline is the most adorable thing ever) and vivid scenery. Being able to picture the ravine as its former self back in Gil's time as a small river now having become this massive gorge. Beautiful. Gosh, I just love it. What a fantastic story.
 

ShiniGojira

Multiversal Extraordinaire
Location
Stranded In The Gaps between Multiverses
Pronouns
He/him/they/her?
Partners
  1. custom/zorua-gojira
Hello there! I'm here to wish you a happy day and to review this lovely piece of literature! (also a bit of an apology for getting your pronouns wrong before)

Now on with the review:

Starting off with a fresh start and excellent scene-building. We get a pretty good amount of world building that fits well into Brisa's thoughts, makes it all the more interesting to read and learn about her perspective of the world.

her scent-marks would need renewing
At first, I'd thought this was supposed to be something similar to irl animals leaving their marks. But then I remembered that Brisa was 'half-feral' and I was like "Oh... OH"

What makes something half-feral anyway?
Brisa being ‘half-feral’ all they liked, but her tools, expertise, and dexterous paws proved she was like them in every way that counted. She was civilised, damn it, no matter how
Some in-universe discrimination, cool to see that this world isn't all 'rainbows and sunshine'.
It was soggy, dirty work, but nobody had ever died from getting their forepaws muddy.
Infected wounds would like to speak with you.
A dead rock-type.
That turned dark rather fast, didn't it?
"So... d’you want it?" she asked.

"Whaddaya mean?"

"Alejandro, I'm tryin’ t’sell you this thing."

"A trade? Hrrm."
Trading a dead body, that seems a bit... cursed. Then again, it is a Golett (which I thinks makes the situation even worse since you're trading in a living thing but what the heck)
She tried to tell Gil to get lost, but what came out of her mouth was “Of course, that’d be no trouble at all.”
Cute to see that she's trying hard not to be swayed by Gil's charm.

I got a spare room fer emergencies. It’s yours. If you need it.”

“Oh! Thank you, many many thanks! I’ll do chores, I’ll take messages, I’ll—!”

“Woah, there. It’s okay. I jus’ reckon you deserve a second chance at… livin’ a life.”

Brisa shook herself dry, spattering the patio with river drops, and loped off towards home. She looked back at Gil, who still had a hand to their faceplate in apparent embarrassment.

“You comin’?” she called.

“Yes, Brisa!” Gil nodded fervently and jogged after her.

Brisa huffed, but allowed herself the slightest grin.

“Let’s go home.”
The ending was a wholesome scene and I'm glad it was like this.
“What if she’s mad at me?” replied Gil, turning to look over their shoulder. “What if she doesn’t want the package?”
Gil has some insecurities, eh? Interesting to see that his mind is still thinking about satisfying someone rather than himself, I think that says a lot about his character.
“Oh my!” she cried. “It’s a perrin berry tree! How marvellous. I sent for a perrin seed delivery when I was just a little one! Oh my.”
This is cute.

The characters in this story were all wonderful and well-characterised. Brisa is an interesting specimen with an attitude that suits her personality. Al was a cool sort, like how nonchalant he was about Gil still being alive. Gil was a cute and lovely character, everything he did was so precious.

Take care and hope you have a happier life!
 

Just a Torchic

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
she/they/he?
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
Oh. My. goodness. This was adorable.

You know how some things will do, like, a series of shorts of self contained stories that give us looks into the world of the thing, little snippets of daily life or one off adventures That's the energy I get from this. The little details of this world are so charming, and I get the feeling there's so much to this world, and we've only scratched the surface. Brisa, Al, Gil, and Esther are all wonderful characters, and they all seem to have rich stories. Shoot, I want to read more about these characters and the world they live in.
And the story itself was wonderful. A wonderful look into a Pokémon devoted to their duty, no matter how much time has passed.

Some line by line stuff:
petrichor assaulted her nose with every breath.
Yay! I'm learning so many wonderful words from Review Blitz, and now I've learned "petrichor".
A dead rock-type.
Oh shit.
She stared, the seed of concern blooming into a forest of dread.
This is such a good fricking line.
Al’s arachnoid head and forelegs poked out of the shopfront, upside-down from the shop’s ceiling.
This. This is such good stuff.
this time as an expertly-confirmed corpse.
An exquisite corpse.
Say, Brisa, I'll give you a doohickey for it."

"I'll take a new water filter, if’n y’please. Mine broke in the damn storm."
Brisa... Brita........ holy shit I've got a fic theory
Al rubbed his legs together until they sparked.

Well, maybe it could hurt, actually. The golett for one – he wasn’t sure if they were ground-types or not – but also himself if it had some fancy energy redirection ability. Probably not. But maybe. To hell with it, it was worth a shot all the same! Zap!
Lol this is good stuff.
"Yeah here's this dead body. Gonna ZAP THEM TO LIFE!"
Is this the plot of LAA
His energy signature was type seven – ‘bug’ – which would seem to match up well. There was something else in the signature, too, maybe type five, ‘electr—
This is so cute.
This new environment was unexpected for Gil. They had lost consciousness near the river, far from any settlement, yet this was an indoor location.
I STAN GIL.
Gil didn’t have any training in reading arachnid faces
Same
“All messages are valuable,”
GIL I LOVE YOU
“A century ago?”

Gil sounded as if they might cry.

“Aye, lad. Tamuk was a notorious bandit ‘round these parts, extracting a toll from any and all travellers ‘n’ traders. He’s the only chesnaught I ever heard of, he fits your description, and he died before my time. Besides, Desert Knot is what this place was called before the Guild was founded, and that was a generation back.”
Got a bit confused with who was talking here, but I figured it out
Al sighed, shook his palps, and reached for another smoke. He offered Gil one, but they just gravely shook their head. Of course a clay automaton wouldn’t breathe. Darn.
"God damn it, rocks can't smoke weed."
Ms Brisa!
Missing period after "Ms".
she added “Yeah.
Missing comma after "added".
It’s too noisy in such places for me to think. It’s much better to be around one person at a time, then I don’t have to concentrate so hard.
SAME
They climbed out, and gazed around at the landscape. “Brisa, sir, how can I know without a doubt that this is the same spot where Tamuk the chesnaught physically assaulted me?”



“Ravine,” she said, flatly. “Erodes with every year. That long ago, it would’ve been much narrower, and further in that direction.”
Double line break
“It don’t matter. It’s just a tree. The ‘mon those seeds were meant fer is either dead or ain’t expectin’ their package anyway. It’s fine.”
Oh! The tree! The tree Gil was trapped under! It grew from the seeds they were carrying!!!
perrin berry tree!
Perrin Berry?

Final thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this fic, and I really, really enjoy your writing. I want more. I will seek out Different Eyes.
 

Shiny Phantump

Born of Smol and Void
Location
Hallownest
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. sylveon
  2. absol-mega
  3. silvally-psychic
  4. custom/ninetales-phantump
  5. cosmog
she seemed to spend half her life wishing she had her forepaws free and not stepping in muck. It had always bugged her that Ma never could relate.
Interesting, the contrast to her ma right as she thinks this makes me wonder if she gets it from Jesse. And if so, does she get it from Human Jesse or Delphox Jesse? Given her half-human strength, she must've gotten something from the former, so...
her scent-marks would need renewing
I know it's a small thing, but I like when PMD works have details like this. Helps the characters feel like more than fluffy humans.
her protective gear, rope, and other tools. Trowel. Brush. Handsaw.
Wonder how she uses them... I'm picturing Brisa, brush in mouth, nodding her head vigorously at what she needs to clean off.
Dead bodies were an unusual discovery for Brisa, but they usually had the decency to be made of real flesh and bone
Maybe there's a part of my brain that's gone back into beta reader mode because it's your work and I did that with DE or something, because this is nitpickier than I normally am in review mode, but I think the word "but" is awkward here because both halves of the sentence 'agree'. I think something roughly along the lines of "Dead bodies were an unusual discovery, and those she did find usually..."
"So... d’you want it?" she asked.

"Whaddaya mean?"

"Alejandro, I'm tryin’ t’sell you this thing."

"A trade? Hrrm."
I find this little back and forth interesting. When Brisa says "sell," Al assumes that means "trade." Given she's in for a new water purifier I suppose she knows that, and also thought that could've all been implied in "d'you want it?" So... Interesting. I wonder if going on a trading basis is just a Gil thing, or if they're still on a barter system in this world. I'm slightly inclined towards assuming the former over the latter, Al's a bit eclectic and this world doesn't seem any less developed than benchmark PMD.
Then he put it to his left breathing slit, near the front of his abdomen, and let his lungs work. A terrible habit, but good for soothing the nerves. Mammals gave him funny looks if he did it in their company, so he was always ready to shove his smokes in his mouth if a customer walked by, even though he couldn’t mouth-breathe. Somehow, it just bothered ‘em less. That was mammals for you.
Huh, I leared a cool fact about spiders today!

It's also an interesting cultural note. I suppose the venn diagram of species who don't mouth-breathe and species who live above water and so can smoke has a pretty small intersection, so smoking in book lung slits would be an unusual sight.
This new environment was unexpected for Gil. They had lost consciousness near the river, far from any settlement, yet this was an indoor location. A pokémon was tending to them, though not a species they recognised. Possibly a medic? Gil peered at their caretaker. Squat body, bristly fur, arthropod limbs, multiple eyes: an arachnid. His energy signature was type seven – ‘bug’ – which would seem to match up well. There was something else in the signature, too, maybe type five, ‘electr—

The spider's ‘fur’ lit up and jolted Gil with a powerful surge of electrical energy.
Hmm... So Gil had awoken before being shocked. Curious.
Al’s expression was unreadable, and Gil didn’t have any training in reading arachnid faces
So, to be clear here: It was unreadable regardless? I feel like that fits Al pretty well..
“You should have saved me the trouble of wasting my energy,” he growled. “If you had just shown me you weren’t carrying anything valuable, I might have let you be.”

“All messages are valuable,” squeaked the golett, who was even now pushing itself to its feet and charging a tiny, pulsing spark of energy in its fist to fight back. How insulting.

“Not to me,” said Tamuk. Then he hit the golett again.
Y'know, Tamuk, if you didn't want to waste energy you could've just left after realizing there was nothing in there, you ass.

My heart is sore for Gil. I love them so much.
Well, the story was worth the price of a water purifier, he supposed.
I like Al. Seems like a cool guy, and I like what that says about his values. If not for Blacklight he might've been my favourite character here.
She tried to tell Gil to get lost, but what came out of her mouth was “Of course, that’d be no trouble at all.”
Gil rolled a natural 20 in being precious at character creation, Brisa. You are being befriended. Resistance is futile.
Eventually, it clicked for her what was bothering her about Gil’s spirited interrogation.

“Wouldn’t you rather ask a townie about all this?”

“What’s a townie, Ms Brisa?”

“Just ‘Brisa’ is fine. A townie is someone who lives in, y’know. The town? Like a civilised pokémon.”

Gil shook their head. “Where I came from, nobody lived packed that closely together. It’s too noisy in such places for me to think. It’s much better to be around one person at a time, then I don’t have to concentrate so hard.”

Brisa considered this.

“No towns?”

“No, miss. I mean no, sir! I see no reason why civilisation should mean living in a town. The clan nomads certainly don’t need towns, after all.”

Huh.

They continued. “I myself have a modest home in Little Scriven, many days’ travel from here. It is only small, but it serves my needs well.” Gil put a finger to their faceplate, and narrowed their eyes thoughtfully. “Of course, it might no longer be there, when I return.” Their shoulders sagged as soon as they uttered the words.
Brisa just scumclaimed, she said she's not town, everyone vote her

I love this entire exchange so much! It's so packed with wb and characterization that I couldn't even pick out a smaller best piece to quote. Gil really helping to drill in that Brisa's situation is an artificial construct, and a recent one, too. Probably has more impact with the BLC context.

Also curious about the swap from miss to sir without any direction from Brisa. I know from outside context that is what she'd prefer, if I recall correctly, but I wonder how Gil intuited that. My first guess might be that it's a nomad clan cultural thing?
Gil began before Brisa could reply, trying desperately to uproot a tree much larger than themself. They grunted and strained, their fists glowing as they summoned paltry elemental energy to lift their ‘package’. Brisa hesitated, but joined in anyway. She had a strength that Gil did not. She ought to help. The final roots snapped or tore loose, and they hefted the tree overhead. They were triumphant for only a moment. Then they lost their footing, wobbled, and fell heavily onto the far side of the crater. The tree slipped from their grasp, and tumbled over the edge.
Oh, Gil...
“No, miss. Not when someone could be depending on me. No matter how difficult the task ahead may seem.”

Brisa swore under her breath. She could still walk away.
Brisa, don't lie to yourself, you know you can't walk away.
the tree was levered onto Esther’s back, whereupon the tree’s roots and the shell beneath Esther’s mobile shrubbery began first to glow, then fuse together. Soon enough, the tree joined firmly to her body, growing quite happily on one flank of the shell-top garden.
Phew, I was worried about how that was going to go for the tree, what with having roots torn, hacked off, and whatnot.
“Yes, sir. I’m glad the delivery turned out alright. Only, I’m not sure what to do next.”

Brisa put out a paw and patted their shoulder. Her claws clinked gently on their clay.

“You can do what you like, Gil. But if y’don’t care fer the noise of the town, and you wanna stick around awhile…”

“Yes, Brisa?”

“I got a spare room fer emergencies. It’s yours. If you need it.”
Friend acquired. I like how Brisa's relationship arc with Gil really develops over the course of the oneshot.
 
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love

Memento mori
Pronouns
he/him/it
Partners
  1. leafeon
Duty, huh? Brisa frowned, looking down at her forepaws, still bandaged from her excavation. It was duty that kept her patrolling the county borders, looking out for travellers in need of aid, or outlaws in need of an electrified blow to the jaw. Frontier Town hadn’t had a sworn sheriff in years, only Brisa. There was nobody else.

Duty is a major theme in this story. It's not too hard to imagine where Gil's sense of duty came from—it's probably inherent to him somehow, as a golett. It's a bit hazier for Brisa. Wanting to help travelers could be chalked up to general "human" decency (though calling that "duty" still seems a little unusual), but it's curious—I daresay even unexpected—that she should play the role of sheriff.

Townsfolk could whisper their comments to one another about Brisa being ‘half-feral’ all they liked[...]

It was bad enough to build cities in the first place.

Brisa paced off like the town’s air itself was out to get her. She always did.

She eyed the multi-storey stone-and-timber buildings with distrust.

Her sentiment toward the town is one of distrust, and the reverse seems true as well. Given that, she still respects the town's laws enough to enforce them? Actually, maybe I should take a step back and ask how she identifies outlaws in the first place. It may sound silly, but at least on my second read through, I found myself more invested in the answers to these questions than the fate of Gil or his package. There's a dissonance that's never resolved.

A lot of people would probably find Gil endearing; he makes me want to roll my eyes. When Tamuk confronts him, we see that he values whatever rules he's bound to over his own life. So he dies. I don't get the sense he ever learned from that experience. Even after that, I felt like the story overwhelmingly portrayed adherence to duty as good. Esther wants the tree after all—if anything, it's better this way, since it found a good spot to grow—Brisa warms up to Gil, it all works out. Gil makes the wrong choice, foreseeably failing to protect the package and himself, but it lucks out into being correct. Even if Gil feels lonely and out of place in the new century, there's never a sense that he regrets his choices or that he should have. I end up feeling like he missed an important lesson.

A couple more notes:

The ravine came first because the ravine held the most danger for passers-through, and her duty was to them.

This made me worry that someone might have been hurt in the storm. Given this, and the emphasis on duty in the story, it felt a little funny that she abandons the patrol when she sees something she wants to dig up.

Al probably wasn't strictly necessary—Brisa could have shocked Gil to life herself.

I thought the prose was good overall and appreciated how Brisa uses tools but never doesn't feel like a luxio. Also, the fact that her hackles raise when she's uncomfortable—I tend to forget that furry creatures can do that. Would probably help me in my own stories. I think I got a good sense of who she is as a person—proud, self-sufficient, uncomfortable around others but compelled to help them. Maybe a little exploitable—folks may not realize it, but the town is apparently relying on her volunteer(?) labor, and when she agrees to help Gil, there's a paragraph that says

Brisa sighed, and said those words she never could hold back.

which is all well and good in this story, but the language leaves open the possibility that she might not have it in her to say no in a situation where it's warranted.

I think you portrayed Brisa's gradual acceptance of Gil well. He might annoy her a little bit, but they find common ground in duty and distaste for busy places. And Gil doesn't look down on her, which means something.

It was comical, the way they looked around, stopping and posing with one hand shading their eyes and the other outstretched behind them, like a child actor in a stage play.

This was a good simile.

Brisa very nearly jumped in fright, but dug her claws into the damp soil instead.

No comma here.

Anyway, I think this is a cute story overall, but there were a couple things that gave me pause that I wanted to try to articulate.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Partners
  1. custom/pikachu-chibi
  2. lugia
  3. palkia
  4. custom/lucario-shiny
  5. custom/incineroar-starr
Mud clung to her paws, wet grass dampened her belly, and petrichor assaulted her nose with every breath. Morning patrols were an essential routine but at times like these, Brisa envied bipeds. Being a mountain luxio was a fine thing, but she seemed to spend half her life wishing she had her forepaws free and not stepping in muck. It had always bugged her that Ma never could relate.
Brisa! :D :D :D I finally get to see where it all began for Brisa after more than a year of interacting with her in Blacklight. It's pretty amazing how much of her was here, right from the very start! She may have gotten two cubic tons of development in BLC, but the core of who she was hasn't changed.

Flakes of ancient paint clung to the grooves, barely detectable beneath the grime. The fully uncovered symbol consisted of undulating curves. Nothing like paw runes, trail scratch, or even unown glyphs. Did it represent waves? Wind? A question for later, perhaps.
I like the idea of Golett having different glyphs on the front! Could be a reference to the maker, or the method of creation. In general, I really enjoyed all the worldbuilding through implication that you have in this. You hint at the workings of a wider world without having to slow down the narration to do it.

Mammals gave him funny looks if he did it in their company, so he was always ready to shove his smokes in his mouth if a customer walked by, even though he couldn’t mouth-breathe. Somehow, it just bothered ‘em less. That was mammals for you.
Love this detail. The image of an old spider holding a cig to his abdomen is just delightful.

“Turtwig Esther, was it?” Al said, eventually.

Gil nodded effusively. “Yes, sir.”

“Not a Torterra Esther?”
This was such a great way to instantly convey the depth of time involved here, even before the flashback.

“You should have saved me the trouble of wasting my energy,” he growled. “If you had just shown me you weren’t carrying anything valuable, I might have let you be.”

“All messages are valuable,”
aaaaaaa :sadcat: It really would have been better for Al to show him the seeds. But this says a lot about Gil.

He hawked and spat on the ground.
I was going to say that I thought this should be "hocked" but apparently both are correct. Merriam-Webster had this delightful takeaway: "Now that the usage questions are out of the way, we are free to remind you that regardless of whether you choose to hawk or hock your loogie, please do so in a sanitary fashion, and don’t just spit on a crowded street."

They couldn’t possibly be serious. Yet, their eager, bright-eyed expression of hope was evident even without a mouth. She tried to tell Gil to get lost, but what came out of her mouth was “Of course, that’d be no trouble at all.”
This is such a quintessentially Brisa line it's killing me. But at the same time, while I'm usually like "brisa no" at her taking on too much responsibility, here I'm like "brisa help them aaaa ;-;"

Duty, huh? Brisa frowned, looking down at her forepaws, still bandaged from her excavation. It was duty that kept her patrolling the county borders, looking out for travellers in need of aid, or outlaws in need of an electrified blow to the jaw. Frontier Town hadn’t had a sworn sheriff in years, only Brisa. There was nobody else.
Brisa 🤝 Gil, bonding over duty. But also :screm: at Brisa for protecting such an ungrateful town >:[

“Certainly not!” she boomed, climbing steadily out of the river. “I’m very grateful to you. They take ever such a long time to mature, you know, and they’re dashedly prone to withering when young. It must have found the perfect spot to grow. Remarkable. Thank you so much, little one. I’ll be able to have the grandchildren round and share some with them in the spring…”
:veelove: :veelove: :veelove:

Everything lines up so perfectly. Seeds as the delivery--something easily perceived as worthless but far more valuable after 100 years. Turtwig as a recipient that could be reliably expected to still be kicking around after 100 years (hell, even mundane tortoises can live to 150, and that's without Pokemon life energy!) Not to mention the way the tree acts as a grounding presence throughout the whole story, which primes the reader for its importance. Gil gets to make their delivery just in time for it to be loved. :veelove: But now they have nowhere to go, and Brisa doesn't have anyone by her side, and they both really need a friend.

Glad I finally got to ready this. Can't wait to see more of Brisa (and get her the heck outta Frontier Town.)
 

HelloYellow17

Artsy Whimsical Nerd
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. suicune
  2. umbreon
I’M JUST IN TIME HAHA

Okay so. This story? Absolutely delightful. Not that I expected anything less, of course! Such a wholesome little tale about the world’s most precious Mail-ronk and their prickly new friend. Love love love.
Mud clung to her paws, wet grass dampened her belly, and petrichor assaulted her nose with every breath. Morning patrols were an essential routine but at times like these, Brisa envied bipeds
Morning patrol? Eheheh. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was a warriors fic
It had always bugged her that Ma never could relate.
Hmm? Isn’t Ma a Luxray, though?
She shook off her satchel bag and found her protective gear, rope, and other tools. Trowel. Brush. Handsaw. She laid everything out and selected fresh cloth wraps for her paws, not that she needed the protection. Townsfolk could whisper their comments to one another about Brisa being ‘half-feral’ all they liked, but her tools, expertise, and dexterous paws proved she was like them in every way that counted. She was civilised, damn it, no matter how many nights she spent alone under the stars.
A very nice, natural bit of worldbuilding here. Just enough info for us to get a feel for Brisa’s relationship with those around her without feeling too exposition-y.
Despite the trappings of archaeological excavation, she felt more like a mortician. She tried to flatten her hackles. Ridiculous. It wasn’t even flesh and bone!
I mean, a dead body is a dead body. I’d have ran away screaming by this point, so props to Brisa!
She passed the western ridge, eyeing with distaste the rooftops of those absurdly characterful buildings which urban pokémon liked to construct. Such vanity. What sane person built a shop that looked like their own head?
Love the meta humor here. Head-shaped buildings do be kinda weird.
Brisa wasn’t bothered. She made sure she didn’t look bothered by licking down her raised hackles.
Lol. “I’m not bothered. Look! Look how not bothered I am!”
"I guess so," he concluded, tapping the golett's body. "I kinda want to see if I can get the darned thing up ‘n’ at it again. Golett are ghost-types, you never know when scoundrels like that are gonna spring to life ‘n’ surprise you. But it's as likely as anything to wander off afterwards, so I can’t be certain it’ll be of any value. Still, it’ll be interesting! Say, Brisa, I'll give you a doohickey for it."
Huh, this is…interesting. I mean, this is basically Brisa selling a dead body, no? Wouldn’t this be seen as hugely disrespectful? Or maybe to them, it’s nothing more than a fossil at this point?
A terrible habit, but good for soothing the nerves. Mammals gave him funny looks if he did it in their company, so he was always ready to shove his smokes in his mouth if a customer walked by, even though he couldn’t mouth-breathe. Somehow, it just bothered ‘em less. That was mammals for you.
Ahaha what a great detail. Nice attention to anatomy!
“Huh, no. That’d be Luxio Brisa. She dug you up from a hole in the ground a ways nor’east o’ here. She didn’t find any belongings with you if that’s what you’re fussin’ about. ”
One of my favorite things about your writing is how distinct each character’s voice is from the next. It gives so much life to each individual, and, by extension, the story as a whole. Really great, I enjoy it a lot.
Wind howled over the hills. Thin scrubland stretched around for miles, the little village of Desert Knot barely visible in the distance. If a storm picked up, it would lift enough sand and dirt to throw a person off any trail. There were no landmarks, not even so much as a tree, save for a ravine ready to swallow lost wanderers with weak vision. This was truly a wretched country. Tamuk wanted to be rid of it, and he would be as soon as he’d collected the funds he needed.
Wes? How did you end up in Jackie’s fic?
“You should have saved me the trouble of wasting my energy,” he growled. “If you had just shown me you weren’t carrying anything valuable, I might have let you be.”
Ok I take it back this is not a Wes *unquag*
“A century ago?”

Gil sounded as if they might cry.
Noooo baby please don’t cry 😢
Well, the story was worth the price of a water purifier, he supposed.
Haha I was wondering what he planned to get out of it if Gil just wandered off. Good thing he’s chill, I guess!
She felt her hackles rise before she even spotted the golett jogging along the hillside, little clay feet carrying them at surprising speed. She didn’t bother flattening them. She had, after all, seen a ghost.
This was phrased just a little awkwardly here. “She didn’t bother flattening them” could have also referred to Gil or their “little clay feet.” It wasn’t immediately clear that it was referring to her hackles.
She tried to tell Gil to get lost, but what came out of her mouth was “Of course, that’d be no trouble at all.”
Lololol we stan the aloof loners with a secret heart of gold and a yearning for companionship! 💛
They were an attentive listener. Brisa couldn’t remember being listened to like this before by another ‘mon. It wasn’t unpleasant.
Aw, so precious. I really enjoy the subtle cues that say Brisa actually doesn’t hate Gil’s company and maybe totally deep down she actually loves it
When they got to the dig site, Gil pottered around,
Did you mean “puttered” here?
There is nobody else who would carry out my duty.”

Duty, huh? Brisa frowned, looking down at her forepaws, still bandaged from her excavation.
Oop that there is Brisa’s trigger word, isn’t it?
“No, miss. Not when someone could be depending on me. No matter how difficult the task ahead may seem.”

Brisa swore under her breath. She could still walk away.
Lolol I am loving this so much. I’ve seen some scenes of Blacklight Brisa, but I enjoy seeing her character here before the blacklight development. She has so many similarities to Wes, so naturally I adore her. Me and my soft spots for grumps, yo. I’m nothing if not predictable. 🤣
By the time they exited the ravine and were heading along the eastern bends – from which the view of the area’s golden plains and the distant mountains beyond was truly peerless – Gil’s babbling had become somehow soothing, and she was almost sorry to hear it stop when they finally reached town.
Almost sorry? Come on, Brisa, just admit it. You’re delighted to have a new friend, you prickly little tsundere.

Brisa hadn’t come up with a real plan for transporting a fully-grown tree through the main thoroughfare. She might have even had to ask someone for help.
Oh noooo not the dreaded h-word
They stepped to one side and gestured to Brisa, the raft, and the tree.

“I’m afraid it’s been… altered in transit. It’s a tree now. That tree. Um.”

They clasped their hands together in a silent plea for forgiveness.
Gil really is such a precious, polite, earnest little bean. I love them so much, you did a fantastic job with their character.

Fantastic job and very well done! I was very happy for both of them in the end, as they both got something they needed, whether Brisa realized it or not. My only criticism is that the whole selling Gil to Al was an odd situation, since it would be kinda like selling a dead body off to someone? And what were Al’s plans, anyway? He wasn’t sure Gil would be revived, and after they were, Al just lets them go.

Other than that, though, I have no criticisms. I really enjoyed this, and that Gil illustration at the end absolutely slayed me. SO CUTE.
 

slamdunkrai

^ wants to be the leader of the Starry Skies
Pronouns
they/them
Partners
  1. darkrai
I'd been meaning to get to this in an earlier week of Blitz, but what the heck, it still counts for this one's bonus. And I'm very happy I got round to it, because as has been commented on by everyone else, it's a delightful little read. You do a good job of evoking the sort of world this one takes place in, where things are a little bit lawless and on the nomadic side beyond the towns but it's all held together by good, kind folks who keep an eye out for one another. It's not all perfect all the time, as is reflected by Tamuk just sorta getting away with senseless murder so long as nobody saw it, (though he's long dead by now); there's good folks like Al and Brisa to help people like Gil, though, and that's alright. It works out in this case, our little protagonist's job is complete against all odds, and after 100 years, they get to move on. It's short and sweet, and it's helped as ever by your knack for writing charming characters with distinct, clear dialogue. Really great stuff! I've left little line-by-line comments under the cut, but needless to say, I really enjoyed this. Thank you for writing it! :)

Mud clung to her paws, wet grass dampened her belly, and petrichor assaulted her nose with every breath.
Petrichor is a certified Good Word™️.
"I'll take a new water filter, if’n y’please. Mine broke in the damn storm."
Had to look up what "if'n" was a contraction of; it's a neat addition to the country twang that the townsfolk seem to speak with.
“Well, you’re an odd critter, ain’t’cha?”

“Yes, sir,” said Gil. They patted around for their satchel. Gone. “Excuse me, sir, but are you the one who brought me here?”
Haha, love that their immediate thought is completing their delivery.
“All messages are valuable,” squeaked the golett, who was even now pushing itself to its feet and charging a tiny, pulsing spark of energy in its fist to fight back.
What a brave trooper! Truly, neither snow nor rain will stay this courier from swift completion of their appointed rounds.
Well, the story was worth the price of a water purifier, he supposed.
Lmao
They continued. “I myself have a modest home in Little Scriven, many days’ travel from here. It is only small, but it serves my needs well.” Gil put a finger to their faceplate, and narrowed their eyes thoughtfully. “Of course, it might no longer be there, when I return.” Their shoulders sagged as soon as they uttered the words.
Aw :(
They climbed out, and gazed around at the landscape. “Brisa, sir, how can I know without a doubt that this is the same spot where Tamuk the chesnaught physically assaulted me?”



“Ravine,” she said, flatly. “Erodes with every year. That long ago, it would’ve been much narrower, and further in that direction.”
I think there's a stray extra line break here.
Frontier Town hadn’t had a sworn sheriff in years, only Brisa. There was nobody else.
Ooh, fascinating! Very curious as to how this came to be. What happened to the old sheriff? When did Brisa decide to take up the mantle? Where is everyone else? A lot of good questions posed by this little snippet.
Brisa closed her eyes to avoid visibly rolling them. “What if she ain’t mad, what if she does want it?”

“But-!”

“Fuckin’ knock, already!”

“…okay!”
This was slightly jarring to me, I think, but I can't really place why. Feels like her mood just escalates very suddenly from "eye-rolling" to "yelling" (though maybe I just put her voice in my head there), which... I mean, it's on-brand for her. :V
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
  3. custom/roserade-adam
Okay so this review is really long overdue and I apologize for taking this long. I'd originally intended to make this a live blog style review, but things didn't pan out. I hope my condensed thoughts on the story will suffice instead.


To start off, I have to commend how well written your prose is. It is sufficiently vivid while being concise and easy to understand, barring a few words I had to check in the dictionary to know the meanings of. I still have no idea what a pauldron is, and my search on Merriam Webster came up short. That aside, yeah this story is written pretty well done and solid.


Onto the actual story contents, I liked the first scene and how the opening paragraph introduces us into the narrative. Describing Brisa's legs as having grown stained with mud from her patrols immediately tells the reader that she doesn't do what she does for the leisure of it. I feel this is even a subtle nod to the fact that she pushes herself to fulfill her self imposed duties. Alternatively, I could be reading way too much into this and in reality the curtains are simply just blue.


I enjoyed the golett excavation sequence. Brisa is depicted as being resourceful and pragmatic, focusing on the task at hand without being overly curious about the golett corpse. It was kinda funny seeing her not realize she'd dug up a grave until after it was done, also nicer that she didn't dwell too much on it and went "it is what it is".


In the subsequent scene, one particular thing I enjoyed a lot is having Al smoking from his butt lmao. I'm not used to seeing bug types play active roles in fics, and fewer I've seen that actually do anything clever with the fact that the mon is bug type. I was reading this when I remembered irl insects and their relatives breathe through spiracles in the abdomen, and it makes perfect sense for a bug type to use that for smoking since obviously they won't breathe through their mouth. You have no idea how much I like this, and this makes me appreciate bug types more because there's a lot of arthropod quirks one could play around with. Compound eyes are one for instance :3.


Moving onto Gil, I found him endearing by quite a lot. It is fun how mechanical and yet not entirely robotic he speaks. Though this makes me wonder if Golett in this setting are artificial or naturally occurring. Either way, I can't help but feel bad for this poor little mail man and his dedication to not leave his delivery unfulfilled. Also, I thought his almost nonsensical dedication would be played for laughs to contrast with Brisa's somewhat similar over dedication to her duty. So, you surprised me a lot when the reality turned out to be a lot deeper than it seemed on the surface when it came to Gil. I did feel sad for him when he started talking about how everything he knew from a century prior is now gone or changed beyond recognition, and the pending delivery is his last remaining connection to it. Makes him feel really alone and isolated. Good on Brisa for agreeing to help him. For better or worse, she sucks at saying no to helping others :p


Also, I hope you don't mind me once again gushing over another aspect of this story, but I really liked the depiction of Torterra Esther here. Like damn I was expecting just a kinda big tortoise, but then you pulled out your giant fucking house sized tortoise out of nowhere. And even more, it's really cool how she can like revive a tree on the path to the afterlife by attaching it to her back and making it part of her. You really went all in on the dex description about Torterra backs being mini forests lol, and that's the kinda stuff I love to see.


I still have a few things I'd have liked to comment on, but it all boils down to more gushing about how much I liked this oneshot so I think I'll stop this review here. As far as closing thoughts go, this is a very good read and a joy for anyone that enjoys depictions of pokemon that take advantage of their strange quirks and biology. I look forward to reading more from you *insert quag here*
 

SilverPhoenix

Pokémon Trainer
Pronouns
He/him
For smeargle swap! Have some fanart!
 

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