• 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, Parts One & Two

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Hey all, Canis here! Some months earlier, I posted a three-part story named Attack of the 50-Foot Brent and mentioned it was a spinoff to a story named Dragony. Well, this is that Dragony! And if you liked 50-Foot Brent, chances are you'll like this one as well.

Dragony was the second PMD "few-shot" I wrote, first being Pletora's Story, and its worldbuilding is rather similar considering the two share a universe. There's nothing explicitly tying the two together outside this fact, though, so in no way is one required reading for the other.

Now, before we continue to the fic itself, I want to let everyone know that I know this story has pacing issues and tone drift - the first parts read almost like crackfic, while the rest (while still comedic in tone) do not. This was due to poor planning on my part, and it remains unfixed to this day because I burnt out writing the end and I still don't feel like revisiting the issues I had with the fic. However, despite these problems, Dragony turned out to be somewhat of a reader favorite, and I decided I should upload it here as well for ease of access.

So, for the point I'm trying to make: I will likely not implement critique to this story, at least not for the foreseeable future. I am, however, always interested in hearing critique, so it will still be appreciated! It may be helpful with future writing, after all. I just don't want people to feel like their commentary is "going to waste", so I'm warning about this in advance.

Alright, enough babbling. This is Dragony, the story of an eevee that really wanted to be a dragon. Rated teen for dark humor and mild language. The story is comprised of six Parts, which I will be uploading two at a time to make things a little faster. Enjoy!

---



DRAGONY

Synopsis:
Eevee Keith loves dragons more than anything and wishes to evolve into one himself. But eevee don't have a dragon evolution. Or do they? Keith believes so, and will travel to the heart of the Dragon Kingdom to prove it.

Genre:
Adventure, Comedy

Started:
12 January 2019

Status:
Finished 2 June 2019

Length:
32 000 words, 6 Parts

---

Part One

---​

“Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a beautiful kingdom of castles and towers galore. This kingdom had an equally beautiful princess. She was a lopunny with the finest and purest golden fur of all the kingdom, but even purer was her heart.”

Boring...

Keith sighed, studying his soft, pink eevee paw pads while the teacher told her dreary story. He glanced around the classroom, noting that his boredom was shared by most others in the predominantly eevee-occupied classroom.

The teacher, a glaceon whose icy crest was already beginning to turn cloudy with age, ignored the disinterest of her students and continued on. “The king, a graying diggersby, loved his daughter above all else, buying her the prettiest and sparkliest of dresses, even if the princess was humble and always said she didn't deserve them…”

Keith rolled his eyes. Ugh, so boring! How long until the break?

“But one day, the peace in the kingdom was disturbed greatly, when a terrifying dragon appeared --”

Keith’s ears, formerly flopped to his sides, perked up high. Wait. Dragon? There’s a dragon?

“-- and flew to the tower where the princess lived. With its big, scaly hand, it reached into the window and grabbed the maiden, then flew away with a sharp-toothed grin on its fearsome face!”

The eevee sat up straight in his seat, like a model student. His bushy tail began to wag. Yes! Awesome! Go dragon!

“Distraught, the king ordered his best knights to attack the dragon’s cave and bring back his daughter, but none succeeded. The dragon was simply too strong with its armor-like scales and fiery breath.”

Yes! So cool!

Keith’s frantic tail-flailing and shining grin had now gotten the attention of a few students, who exchanged looks ranging from discomforted to anticipating. At the back of the class, an aipom quietly snickered.

“But one day, a prince from another kingdom came to see the diggersby king. He claimed that he could defeat the dragon and rescue the princess. The king’s knights laughed at the claim, as the prince was only a togetic, but the king was desperate enough to put hope in this stranger. He promised that should the togetic succeed, he would have the princess’s hand in marriage.”

Aw, boring! Go back to the dragon!

“So the prince set out to rescue the damsel, riding on the back of his trusty stoutland steed, and finally came face to face with the monster!

Yess!

“As the dragon raised its giant hand to swipe at the prince with its sickle-like talons...”

Yes! Let him have it! Show him just how cool you are!

“...the prince drew his mighty sword glowing with fairy energy...”

Wait, oh no!

“...and with one precise swing…”

Keith nibbled on his tiny claws. No, no no no...

“...he pierced the dragon’s scales like hot butter and slayed the fearsome beast!”

“Noooooo!”

The entire class quieted, turning to Keith. The eevee realized his mistake and crouched, as if weighed down by the dirty looks he was receiving.

The teacher sighed. “Is there a problem, Keith?”

Keith could feel his face heat up. “U-uhh…”

“There's no problem,” interjected Mila, the eevee sat next to Keith. “Please continue,” she added in her monotone voice.

“Very well, then…” The teacher cleared her throat and resumed telling her story. Not much was left of it, but enough to draw the other students’ attention away from Keith.

“...And so the prince and princess married and lived happily ever after.” The teacher closed the book on her desk, picked up a piece of chalk and moved over to the blackboard. With the help of a light, wooden plank, she drew four columns, then labeled each after a character in the story. Princess, Prince, King, Dragon.

“Alright, everyone,” she spoke up, pointing to the board. “In these columns, we're going to be adding words that describe the characters. Remember that words that describe things are called ‘adjectives’.” For emphasis, she wrote the word above the columns. “Now, please name a character and a word that describes them.”

Keith's paw shot up.

The teacher suppressed a sigh. “What do you have, Keith?”

“I have a word for the dragon,” he blurted. “M-misunderstood!”

Mila covered her face with a paw. The aipom at the back of the class had trouble concealing his giggles.

“Keith, how was the dragon misunderstood?” the teacher asked tiredly.

“Well, like…” Keith hesitated, but gulped down his fear. If I don't defend the dragons, who will? “I-if the dragon took the princess, he must have been lonely or something! He didn't deserve to die. They should've talked it out.”

“Keith, I'm glad that you're showing interest in literary analysis,” she said, though her tone much implied otherwise, “but you seem to be seeing things that aren't there. While I didn't explicitly specify it, this dragon is just like the dragons in our world - a bloodthirsty beast or at best a barbarian. Even if it was lonely, which I doubt dragons can be, it should have gone back to its own kind. All this considered, the dragon is well understood... although, to be fair, he is currently misunderstood by you. Which creates an interesting paradox, but I would much rather move on. Does anyone else have a suggestion?”

“B-but --” Keith tried, but the teacher wasn’t having it.

“Do not interrupt me again, Keith,” she said sternly, “unless you want to spend the rest of class in the corner.”

Keith humphed and leaned onto his forelegs.

“If you want to argue about dragons,” the teacher continued, “you should do that in your history class instead. You can hear all about dragons and their uncivil ways over there. Now, who can give me an adjective?”

The teacher continued to take answers, all of them rather obvious, and write them on the blackboard. From behind him, Keith’s ears could catch a quiet conversation.

“I have a word for Keith,” the aipom whispered to a classmate. “Crazy...”

Snorts arose from the area. Keith shrunk in his fur, scowling. He stayed silent for the remainder of the lesson.

---​

Some years passed. Keith’s cublike traits faded as his ears and tail lengthened and limbs grew a bit lankier, but unlike most of his peers, he still remained an eevee.

Keith paced onward along the cobblestone road leading away from his school. He tried his best to place his paws on the stones and avoid the wet crevices, but every few moments he dipped a toe or four in the cold, dirty water and grimaced. He hoped a proper winter day would soon come again and freeze the puddles over. It might be slippery, but it wouldn’t get his paws all wet and gross.

Well, at least it’s not raining, he thought and circled a larger patch of water.

“Hey, Keith!”

Keith missed a step and only barely avoided sliding into the puddle. He took a deep breath and tried to walk faster, but the one who called him was more determined and caught up, blocking his path.

It was Oliver, the aipom who’d unfortunately stayed in Keith’s class despite many threats of expulsion. A mischievous grin shone on the monkey's face, practically his trademark.

Keith could hear further footsteps behind him, so he turned to see what else he was up against. Minccino, jolteon, linoone… Oliver's usual sidekicks, it seemed, but some watchog was also among them. He looked somewhat older, and the others kept glancing at him to monitor his reactions.

“Seen any dragons lately, Keith?” Oliver asked mockingly, his gang and guest of honor as audience now.

Keith wrinkled his nose and humphed. “Of course not. It's winter and they usually don't go outside.”

“So kinda like you, ‘cause you have no life?”

The fur on Keith's back bristled. Oliver’s sidekicks snorted, but the watchog stayed unimpressed.

“Oh, are you angry?” Oliver continued. “Whatcha gonna do, breathe your dragon breath at us? Poke us with your horns?” He dangled his tail hand in front of Keith’s face. “Gonna bite my fingers off?”

“A dragon would eat you whole,” retorted Keith, but then remembered he wanted to avoid perpetuating the image of the savage dragon. “Or they could, but they wouldn't, because they are civilized,” he added.

Oliver turned to the watchog. “You hear that, Benny? He thinks dragons are civilized!”

“You think so, huh?” the watchog said to Keith, crossing his arms, though he still sounded rather uninterested. “You know about their war crimes, right?”

Keith raised a paw with a fire in his eyes. “Hey, I’ve looked into those, and they are greatly exaggerated!”

“Oooh, really?” Oliver pressed on, jumping from one foot to another. “You know, you should fight to settle who’s right! Come on, Benny, kick his ass!”

“Can you guys just stop?” a new voice spoke.

The group of mon flinched, spotting the vaporeon who’d seemingly appeared from nowhere. The puddle under her feet explained her sudden appearance, however. Keith had always wondered what it was like to melt into water and travel across it.

“Come on, Mila,” Oliver said, “you really gonna side with the wyrb?”

Benny raised an eyebrow. “Wyrb?”

“You know, wyrmaboo.”

“Uh-huh.”

Mila glared at Oliver. “If you don’t leave now, you’re gonna regret it.”

“Tch, yeah, like you could do anyth-”

Mila crouched, and something cold clasped around Oliver’s tail. The aipom turned and saw a fish-tail rising out of the puddle right behind him, its fins keeping his tail in a clammy hold.

“Whuh-”

The fins yanked back, and Oliver lost his balance, falling into the dirty water. The splash struck the mon standing next to the aipom, and that was Benny.

“Eugh!” The watchog shook his soaked feet in disgust. “Screw this, I’m out!” he shouted, marching away.

“Benny, wait!” Oliver clambered up and ran after Benny. His friends followed with worried looks on their faces. The mon disappeared behind a turn in the road, unlikely to return in a while.

Mila stepped closer to Keith, sighing. “They didn’t do anything, did they?”

“They insulted dragons,” Keith muttered.

“You have to tone down this whole dragon thing. It’s basically social suicide.”

“But I have to defend the dragons! If I don’t --”

“Who will, yeah, I know.” Mila sighed again, then shook her head. “You know what, that can wait. I actually had something else I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Is it about dragons?”

“No,” Mila growled. “I wanted to let you know that this one group is arranging another pilgrimage to the Cascade Rock for the ones who missed the main season. You could evolve into a vaporeon like me, and get the real pilgrimage experience too, instead of just using a boring old souvenir.”

Keith pouted.

Mila’s frills drooped. “Oh, Keith… don’t tell me you still want to --”

“Yes I do! I wanna be a dragon!”

“Sweetie, I don’t know how many times I have to tell you. There is no dragon evolution for eevee.”

Keith threw his paws in the air. “Why wouldn’t there be? Eevee’s whole thing is turning into different types! And-and we have sylveon, that’s like the anti-dragon, they need to have a dragon for balance!”

“Like they need a ground type for jolteon?”

“...Yes.”

“Keith, you do know that story of the eevee who wanted to be flying and jumped off a mountain, right? It didn’t end well for him.”

“I’m not like that! It’s not like I’m gonna climb into a dragon’s mouth to evolve or something!”

Keith paused.

“Oh my Gods, you’re thinking of it now, aren’t you?” Mila shouted.

“N-no I’m not.”

Mila sighed, now losing count of how many times she’d done so since the beginning of the conversation. “Just go on the pilgrimage. Become a vaporeon. It’s the closest thing you’re gonna get to a dragon. And it’s not that far! Look!” She extended her foreleg, showing off the glimmering scales. “Scales and frills and a big ol’ meaty tail. You’d love it!”

“No wings, no horns, no fiery breath.”

“Gods, you’re impossible to please. I’m leaving.” Mila turned away, but gave Keith one last look. “At least think about it, won’t you?”

“Fine,” Keith groaned, and Mila was on her way.

Keith, too, continued on his path towards home. Familiar sights of stone and brick buildings went by, a few leafless trees, some passersby. An espeon, a leafeon - poor thing all wrapped up in scarves to manage in the plant-hostile temperatures - then a pair of frolicking eevee cubs. Lots of members of the eevee family, a signature attribute for the small but well defended guild of Pelton. The eevee family’s wide range of elements gave the guild advantage over almost all types.

But lots of other mon took residence in Pelton as well, though they were predominantly of the normal type. Keith walked by many such examples - a persian, an ursaring family, a munchlax and then a mon he didn’t recognize, but one that looked somewhat draconic --

Wait a second!

Keith took another look at the feathered green-and-white mon in front of the hut marked with the symbol of an apple. Long serpentine neck. Scaly snout. Could it be?

Keith galloped to the stranger, who barely noticed him before the eevee’s final strides, too preoccupied before with talking to the spectacled flareon on the other side of the counter.

“Uhh, so, yeah,” the stranger quickly said to the salesman, his voice hoarse. “Ten apples, that’s my order.” The salesman nodded and turned away to pack his wares, missing the eevee zooming towards his store.

Close enough to the stranger, Keith stumbled to an ungraceful halt, then stared straight into the unknown mon’s eyes.

“Sir! Madam! Other!” Keith spoke, unblinking. “Are you a dragon?”

The stranger raised his wing-hands covered in fluffy white feathers and shushed. “Keep it down! You wanna start a mob?” He tucked his hands back in the rest of his fluff. “But yes, yes I am,” he added quietly. “A drampa. Half normal, half dragon.”

Keith trembled with excitement. The stranger gave a worried look.

After making a noise that resembled a boiling kettle’s wheeze, Keith finally returned to using his words. “I love, love, love, love dragons,” he gushed.

“Uhh… okay.”

“I’ve only ever seen real dragons from afar and my mom and dad won’t let me get close because they say dragons are dangerous but I think that’s a lie unless they’re feral in which case I understand but they really looked civilized and that’s why I’m mad at them and really want them to let me talk to them!” Keith drew in a massive breath to replenish his oxygen supply.

“That’s… good for you,” the drampa said, glancing at the salesman still packing the ordered apples.

“What’s it like to be a dragon?”

“...What kind of question is th-”

“No, no wait, limited time, need to prioritize questions,” Keith interrupted. “So, like, uhh, uhh, do you think that, uhh, you know how eevee, uhh, uhh...”

“Just… take your time, kid.” the drampa said. “You don’t wanna pass out from hyperventilation.”

“Yes, yes, wise dragon, dragon advice...” Keith closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. Still keeping his eyes closed, he carefully presented his question. “Do you think. That there could be a dragon type evolution for eevee. And if so. How would that evolution happen.” He opened his eyes one at a time, seeming surprised he didn’t explode or something similar.

The drampa brought a claw to his chin. “Uhh, well, lemme think… a dragon evolution for eevee. Possible? I mean, maybe, I’m not an eevee expert. How it would happen? Hmm… maybe a dragon scale or something? I mean, I’ve heard that a lot of your evolutions happen with some special objects related to the evolution’s type.”

“Cool! Yes! But I’ve-I’ve tried it with some scales, though. Ones I found on the ground or bought from souvenir shops.”

“Well, maybe they weren’t fresh enough or something. I’ve had this loose one for a while, you can have --” The drampa picked a scale off his skin, visibly flinching while doing so, and offered it to the eevee. “This one.”

The eevee nabbed the scale instantly with his paw, popped it into his mouth and swallowed.

“...What in the Gods’ names --”

“I don’t think it worked...” Keith said, his ears drooping. “Y-you have to have some other suggestion, though!”

“Uhh… I don’t really know...”

“Please!” Keith threw himself on the ground and pulled at the hem of the drampa’s feather coat. “There must be something!” he cried, drawing odd and disapproving glances from a few passersby.

“I, uhh, w-well there is the Draco Plate,” the stranger stuttered, yanking back his feathers and hoping that the mon on the street weren’t making any ill judgements about him.

Keith brought his paws together. “Go on.”

“I-I don’t really know if it would work, but I’ve heard that these Plates can affect the environment and mon around them according to its type,” the stranger said. “I don’t know if it’s an evolutionary way, but that’s the closest thing I can think of.”

“Great! Where is it?”

“Um, well, that’s really the bad news here… it belongs to the King. So it would probably be in his castle.”

“So in Farindon, right?”

“The capital, yes.”

“Awesome!” Keith jumped upright, his tail wagging rapidly. “Thank you so much!”

“Hey, hey, hold on a minute here,” the stranger said. “You can’t just waltz right into the heart of the Dragon Kingdom --”

“Why not?”

The intense stare from the eevee’s eyes lowered the drampa’s interest in continuing the conversation drastically. This eevee was clearly doomed regardless of any answer given.

“Ten apples,” announced the shopkeeper, lowering a bag onto the counter and snapping the stranger out of his thoughts.

“Right, yes.” The stranger dug his wallet out of his bag and gave the salesman what he owed.

“Have a nice day,” the flareon chimed as the drampa claimed the bag and turned away from the stand.

“A-anyway, thank you so much!” Keith said, tailing the leaving drampa. “Your long life has truly made you wise beyond comparison!”

“I’m twenty-three!” the drampa growled.

“Centuries? Wow… the things you must have seen!”

The drampa shook his head and finally turned away for good.

“Thank you! Bye!” Keith shouted after the mon, waving his paw, then returned to his path home with starry eyes and a wide smile.

---​

Keith patted his saddlebags. Full and ready. Two weeks’ gathering of supplies had finally reached its completion, and now he was ready for the trip.

Keith opened his window, unfazed by the cold, moonlit night thanks to his warm scarf and fur. He heaved his bags through onto the snow outside and climbed on the sill, but a conversation in the other room caught his ear.

“Honey, I'm worried about Keith.”

It was his father's voice, followed by a sigh from his mother.

“Not this again,” she grunted. “I keep telling you, it's just a phase. It'll go away with time.”

“I-it's not showing any signs of fading, though. If anything, he’s become more determined lately!”

“I haven't noticed any difference. It’s just the full moon messing with your head.”

“It's been longer than that! And you really should stop playing that moon card.”

Keith's mother groaned. “What exactly are you afraid of in his dragon obsession, anyway? Even if he by some black magic manages to gain dragon traits, you're a sylveon.”

“Exactly! He'll have all the reason to hate me! Fairies are the anti-dragon!”

“And I'm a glaceon. Big deal.”

“He doesn't need dragon powers to s-slit my throat when I'm sleeping!”

“Honey, come on. Does that sound like Keith to you?”

“Maybe not now, but if he radicalizes, turns into one of those draconationalists…”

“Honey, that will not happen. This is definitely the moon, no matter what you say.”

“Stop playing the card!”

Keith had no real interest in staying behind to listen to his parents argue, so he jumped down onto the snow and closed the window behind him.

Keith’s heart became heavy for a brief moment upon realizing that he never had said goodbye, but he knew that telling his parents about his plans would only make them stop him. And as an eevee against two adult ‘eons, he'd really stand no chance.

Don't worry, Mom and Dad, he thought with a self-encouraging smile, I'll be back before you know it, as a brand new evolution!

With that echoing in his mind, he picked up his saddlebags and set off on his way to the piers.

---​

“Halt!”

“Ahh!” Keith stopped in his tracks. Wh-who said that?

“Who goes there?” the stern voice continued.

“J-just me, Eevee Keith!”

“Oh, no worries, then!” The voice now came from right beside Keith, causing the eevee to flinch.

The full moon and the flickering torches on the guild wall lit a large, quadrupedal figure with glowing yellow ring-shaped markings. It was definitely the bulkiest umbreon Keith had ever seen. Oh, he must be a guard.

“Thought you were a thief, you see,” the guard continued.

“Where did you come from?”

“My mother's womb, of course,” the umbreon replied, then laughed. “No, I traveled through shadow. Which is rather everywhere during the nighttime.”

“Whoa, you can do that?”

“Yes, we Pelton umbreon can… did they not teach you this in school?”

“Uhh… probably, but I just didn’t listen…”

“You should really pay more attention at school, boy. But either way, where might you be headed?”

“I'm… taking a lapras ride to the continent to…” Keith spoke slowly to buy himself time to think of a lie. “...get my parents a surprise gift!”

“Ooh, a gift! You're a good son, you are. But beware of those dragons! It might be winter, but they still need to hunt from time to time.”

“I… I will, thanks,” Keith said and began walking again. He was relieved to see the umbreon not follow.

“Best of luck to you!” the umbreon said with a wave, then melted back into the shadows.

Keith picked up his pace, not wanting to push his luck.

Some minutes of walking later, Keith reached the piers. The rim of the beach was mostly covered in ice, but near the horizon, the waves were too big and strong to freeze over. Some floes could be seen floating closer to the beach, however.

Keith set his course for the building by one of the larger piers. Warm, golden light shined from its windows, alluring to Keith even with his cold-resistant coat. He trotted the last few meters, then entered through the door, causing a bell to ring.

“Oh, hello,” spoke a bibarel behind the counter directly ahead. Some parts of his fur appeared shining and clumped, which Keith guessed was due to a recent swim and a sloppy drying with a towel. “How can I help you?”

“Yea, I reserved a lapras ride a few days ago? Name was Eevee Keith.”

“Alright, lemme check...” The bibarel opened and went through a book on the counter. “Ah, there you are. Nancy’s your ride. Looks like you paid in advance, too, so you’re all set. Just gotta get the raft hooked up.

The bibarel waddled around the counter and advanced to the right side of the building. Its ceiling much was higher, and its floor was replaced by the sea’s water save for a few walkways and the right end of the room, which was dedicated to a passageway lined by numerous harnesses on the wall. A few rafts floated in the water, bearing rather modest shelters atop them.

The bibarel walked to the end of one walkway and pulled a lever on the wall, causing the gate to the water next to him to open up with a rattle.

The bibarel leaned out towards the open sea and startled Keith with a shockingly loud yell. “Ay! Nancy! Get your tail over here! You got a customer!”

“Whaaat?” sounded a voice from somewhere far away.

Keith knew now to cover his ears before the bibarel responded.

“Naaancyyyy! Heeereee!”

“Fiiiine!” the voice responded, though Keith barely heard it through his paws. Luckily, it seemed like the bibarel was done shouting for now, allowing him to uncover his poor ears.

Eventually, a sea-green lapras swam into the room. It spun around to face the sea, then gave the bibarel an expecting stare.

The bibarel sighed. “Yeah, yeah, I just got done drying off is all...”

He passed Keith to grab one of the harnesses. He took a minute to untangle it, then dove in the water. Keith dodged a few splashes.

As the bibarel was fastening the harness onto the lapras, she turned to Keith. “Ye're heided tae the continent, huh?”

Keith nodded. “M-hm.”

“Weel, A'm sure ye've been hearing it a lot, but watch oot fer drugans. A'm telt eevee are their favourite food.”

Keith pouted. “Mm-hmmm…”

“Alright, harness on...” said the bibarel, now thoroughly wet, then attached the leash of the harness to the front of the raft. “And raft hooked up. You're all set!”

He leaped from the water with a powerful flick of his flat tail and waddled to Keith. “Safe travels!” he said, opening the door to the shelter atop the raft and gesturing the eevee to go in.

Keith thanked the bibarel and entered. Inside the shelter was a flimsy desk, a bed of somewhat higher quality and an oil lantern, but not much else - only a couple of pots Keith wondered the purpose of, then guessed were reserved for different kinds of wastes. One might have been drinking water. He would have to ask Nancy to be sure if he needed either.

Keith climbed up on the bed, leaving his saddlebags on the floor, and so they were ready to depart. Nancy paddled out of the building, the gate closing behind her, and set out to the open sea.

“Be sure tae enjoy the view while it lasts,” said Nancy as the torch-lit beach grew more and more distant. “Affer we lose secht ae the island, it's only the black sea and the dim stars in the sky.”

Keith nodded, though afterwards realized Nancy couldn't see him through the shack.

“So… on clear nights like this, you have the stars, but how do you not get lost on cloudy nights?” he asked.

“Inbuilt compass,” Nancy replied. “Tis how the feral eens migrate. We jist ken fit way is fit.”

“Huh.”

Keith remembered Nancy's encouragement to look outside and peered out of the little window above the bed. He'd looked before, but he didn't mind looking again.

He watched the icy shore and the floes get smaller and smaller and eventually reduce to a mere line of light in the darkness around. He wondered what the coast of their destination would look like. Would the light of the capital reach all the way there? Farindon wasn’t that far from the edge of the continent. And it was said to be the greatest city ever built! Keith was excited to see it with his own eyes even outside of the dragon inhabitants.

He yawned and realized he didn’t really have any reason to stay awake. It was nighttime, and he would need to walk a considerable amount the following day. I should go to sleep, he thought, and lay down on the bed beneath him.

Keith sighed contently, closing his eyes. To think that by this time tomorrow, I may already be a real, honest-to-Gods dragon…

He stretched his paws and curled up. He tucked his snout in his fluffy tail. I guess I probably won’t have all this fur anymore then, but it’s a small price to pay. And that drampa did have feathers. Maybe my dragon evolution will have feathers too? I hope it doesn’t take away from the dragonness if that ends up happening. Though I know I’ll still be happy with anything I get, since I’ll be a dragon and that’s what really matters…

Wondering what his new form would look like, Keith slowly slipped to sleep. Outside the shelter, Nancy continued sliding through the blackness, unflinching at the cold waves crashing onto her skin.

---

Part Two

---
“Hey, A said wake yersel!”

“Gahh!” Keith snapped out of his sleep with a jolt as a loud thumping came from outside. He looked around, disorientated as the furniture of his own room was nowhere to be seen until he remembered where he was.

“I’ve aither clients tae be seeing tae, ye ken,” Nancy groaned and slapped the shelter’s outer wall with her fin once more, creating another thump.

“C-coming!” Keith called and jumped off the bed. He dove underneath the strap connecting his saddlebags, stood up supporting it on his back and opened the door.

“Mind the g-” Nancy tried, but Keith had already taken his step on nonexistent ground. With a wail, the eevee tumbled down onto the fresh snow on the pier’s planks, face naturally first.

“Aff tae a braw start,” the lapras mumbled and jerked her body so that the shelter’s door swung to a close. “Weel, be seeing ye, love. Try nae tae be catching a caul. Or drugan teeth.”

Keith got up, shaking the snow out of his fur. After making sure his saddlebags were intact and still full, he thanked Nancy for the ride and bid her farewell. Nancy responded with a wave of her forefin and returned to the sea.

Finally! Keith thought with a grin as his paws met solid ground at the root of the pier. The continent! The same mass of land that the Dragon King and all his subjects tread! And so many wild dragons, too!

Keith looked around, but the area was void of mon, civilized or feral. Hm. I guess it’s a slow day for this harbor. I should really talk to someone to find out where the nearest transportation service is, though…

As he finished that thought, he saw the door of a nearby shack open and a poliwhirl step out.

“Hey! You!” Keith shouted, leaping into a run towards the mon. The poliwhirl flinched, startled, and seemed to briefly consider going back in.

“Uh, yes, what is it?” he asked as the oddly enthusiastic eevee arrived before him.

“Do you know what the best way to get to Farindon from here is?”

The mon eyed Keith with worry. “...You sure you wanna go there?”

Ugh, not another wet blanket. “Yes,” Keith groaned. “I know what I’m doing.”

“Well, if you say so… you should consider Thunderhoof Ride Rents. Just follow that road and it should take you there.” He gestured to one of the paths leading into the forest of leafless birch trees that surrounded the harbor. All paths bore only a few sets of footprints.

“Thanks!” said Keith, then studied the pattern on the poliwhirl’s belly. “I like your spiral.”

“Thanks! It’s my small intestine.”

“Aaaand now I hate it,” Keith whispered as he turned around and headed for the path shown.

The path continued for quite a while. The road stayed relatively straight and the striped, snow-topped trees flanked it all the way. The sky above was covered with a white blanket of clouds and the wind appeared still.

To pass the time, Keith hummed to himself and imagined all the things he could do as a dragon. He could melt the road clean of snow with his fiery breath. He might not have the need for roads at all if he could fly! It was an entertaining thought, but Keith had to admit it was probably unlikely. No other evolution for eevee known to date had wings or could fly.

Something slowly wormed into his mind, so subtly that it took him several seconds to notice it. A droning noise had appeared, disturbing the previously silent soundscape. What is that? I don't think any mon sounds like that.

The noise gradually strengthened, unnerving Keith. What if it's some kind of attack? Why would someone attack me? What did I do?

It only continued getting louder. His fear getting the best of him, Keith skittered off the path into the shelter of the trees and lay down, eyes flicking around the sky where the noise appeared to come from.

“I'm sorry!” he squeaked. “Whatever I did, I'm sorry! Please don't attack me!”

It was then that he saw it - a red figure, blurred by its incredible speed, zooming straight through the sky. As Keith understood the figure had gone past and left him utterly ignored, he exhaled practically all the air in his lungs.

What was that about? he thought as he returned to the path, the droning still in the background, now fading. Was that a dragon? Are they really that fast? Or… was that only an odd type of bird?

Keith continued to ponder this until a change of scenery gave him something else to think about. He'd arrived at a clearing with a large wooden building in the middle. The snow on the paths that left it was stamped flat with arc-shaped feet. Twittering of feral bird mon split the silence that had returned after the droning. Keith instantly sensed a livelier air. Also a faint smell of manure.

As he came close enough to the building, he could read the sign above what he assumed was the front door. ‘Thunderhoof Ride Rents’, just as the poliwhirl had given it, but the ‘Th’ was scratched over with the letters ‘Bl’ written above it. Keith held his head tilted for a brief while, but then entered.

He pushed at the door, the heavy wood providing greater resistance than he'd expected. As it swung shut behind him, the stable's stench assaulted his nostrils. At least it’s warmer in here, Keith thought and walked through the first room, craning his neck to spot any employees in the adjacent rooms. He couldn’t spot any yet, though, only feral zebstrika standing in their stalls, their eyes vacant, small and far apart on their faces. Oddly enough, there was one zebstrika not in any stall, but in the middle of the passageway --

“Oh, hey there.”

“Ngah!” Keith hopped back, staring at the zebstrika who’d turned around to greet him. “Oh, you aren’t feral.”

“Nope,” the mon replied, his speech and alert eyes confirming his claim. “They all are, though.”

“Uhh… alright. Well, do you know where the owner of this place is?”

“Yep. That’s me, Jack.”

Keith’s eyes narrowed. “You're a civilized zebstrika running a stable of feral zebstrika?”

“Yep. Something wrong with that?”

“No, no, no… I mean, if you're okay with it, then so am I.”

Jack snorted. “Did you have some business here?”

“Oh, yes. I need a ride to the capital.”

“You su-”

“Yes!”

“Alright, then,” Jack said and ambled to the back wall covered in reins hung by hooks. He grabbed one with his teeth and returned to Keith. “Hold dish, pleashe.”

Keith grabbed the reins, avoiding the spot Jack had touched with his mouth. Jack walked to one of the stalls and opened the gate. A feral zebstrika with a drooping forelock traipsed out, eyeing the small brown creature before it.

“This is Nimbus,” Jack said. “You’ll be riding her, as she’s the set-path type and strong enough to fend off feral dragons. Since, well, you don’t really look like you can do that on your own.”

Even if Jack was completely correct, Keith felt a little insulted.

“Don’t worry about any steering,” Jack added. “Once I tell her where to go, she knows my word weighs more than any traveller’s. She’ll follow the shortest path to Farindon --”

A whinny came from the back of the stable, followed by restless thumping of hooves.

“Oh, get over it!” Jack growled in the noises’ direction. He turned back to Keith and lowered his voice. “Sorry about Taima. On her first and last trip to the capital, she got bitten by a feral gabite. Or should I say gabitten. Haha.”

Jack cleared his throat and stepped back. “Anyway, as I was saying, she’ll follow the shortest path to the capital regardless of any accidental or deliberate rein-pulling that doesn’t simply mean ‘stop’. Then when you’ve reached your destination, she’ll wait until you mount her again and then bring you right back here. Simple, but effective. And makes thievery harder.”

Jack lowered his head with a glare, startling Keith. The electric type’s mane and stripes glowed, and a crackling arc of electricity formed between his two-pronged forelock. “You are planning on returning her, aren’t you?”

“Y-yes, sir!”

Jack leaned back, his glow fading. “Good. Just making sure. Now let me just get the saddle...”

The sapient zebstrika left the room for a moment, then returned with a saddle hanging by its straps from his teeth. He swung it onto the feral’s back and somehow - Keith couldn’t see with Jack’s body in the way - fastened it.

“Whoa, how’d you do that?” Keith gasped. “With just your mouth?”

“Well, being an electric-type helps. When metal parts are involved, that is.”

“Oh, that magnesium thing.”

“Magnetism. Stay in school.”

Jack then took Keith to the counter in the first room and named his price. Keith dug his wallet out of his saddlebag and gave the necessary coins, which Jack gathered in a specific bag and locked away.

They returned to the stable, and with some help from Jack, Keith lowered his bags onto Nimbus’s saddle and then climbed atop it himself. Utilizing some kind of equine body language, Jack led Nimbus out of the building and to the root of one of the paths.

“Anything else?” Jack asked.

“Right, yeah,” Keith said and pointed at the front door. “The sign --”

“I'm aware. I don’t mind it too much. It’s not like there’s any other stable close by that customers would be scared off to.”

“Oh, alright. If you say so.”

After Jack had given Nimbus her destination in very clear words, Keith and his new steed were off. The stable soon disappeared behind the grayscale trees. Back to the monotone zone…

Keith sighed. He was making good progress and getting ever closer to the capital, yes, but he’d hoped he would have seen at least one dragon by now - one that wasn't a big, blurry, hyper-speed question mark. The Dragon Kingdom should be full of dragons, shouldn’t it? I get that it’s winter, but… it’s not that cold out here!

Nimbus let out a faint whine and flicked her ears.

“Hm?” Keith leaned forwards, trying to get a view of his steed's face. He noticed her eye was glancing around. “What is it, Nimbus?”

Unprompted, the feral sped up to a trot. Keith grabbed onto the saddle for dear life, unprepared for the rougher ride. “Whoa, seriously, what is it?”

The sequence of events that followed were so fast that Keith had trouble processing them. Without warning, something small flew in from out of sight and crashed into the zebstrika’s left cheek with a crack and flash. The feral whinnied, and Keith was promptly thrown off his ride's back, tumbling down on the snowy ground.

“Hey! Wh-what the...” Keith yelled, twisting himself upwards. Though his vision shook with disorientation, he relocated the zebstrika, seeing her buck and discharge electricity like she'd lost her mind. His saddlebags were on the ground, flung off just like him.

Keith ran towards the mon gone wild, but froze as something moved at the edge of his vision. Thumping of two heavy feet arose as the figure approached. Keith leapt to face the stranger, his teeth bared by some primal instinct, though his fear and confusion morphed the snarl to more of a grimace.

Unsurprisingly, the stranger was not intimidated, but rather dug his claws into Keith's scruff and lifted him up with little protest. That lack of struggle prompted a puzzled waver in the stranger's fierce expression. A waver that only strengthened as the eevee appeared to have stopped moving and emoting entirely.

This was not due to fear. Such feelings had fled Keith's mind entirely, for he had recognized the stranger's species - haxorus.

Dragon! Dragon! Dragon!

It indeed was a haxorus, though unlike the illustrations Keith had seen, this one wore clothes. It did make sense for a cold-blooded mon to bundle up for the winter, but Keith had to admit it looked a little silly. Or a fraction of Keith, the one that still retained a regular train of thought, as everything else was overwhelmed by the vicinity and touch of a real, breathing full-blooded dragon type.

The haxorus lightly shook the eevee around. “Uhh… you there?”

No vocalizations, no changes in expression. Only a permanent, frozen face of shock.

The haxorus tilted his head. “Did you… die?”

No response. The zebstrika was still whinnying in the background, however.

“...Okay, then,” the haxorus said, shrugging, and placed the eevee underneath his arm. He briskly walked to the saddlebags on the ground and set them on his shoulder, keeping a close eye on the still thrashing feral in case of a deliberate attack. As she still seemed to be in her own little chaotic world, the dragon sighed in relief and ran back the way he came.

He continued treading through the forest, retracing the tracks he’d previously left, tracks that seemed to take some odd turns and loops every now and then. Every now and then, he glanced back at the eevee, each time finding the creature to still be immobile and stiff. He’d never even caught it blinking.

Eventually, the dragon reached a low and wide snow-covered building. From afar, it appeared simply like a normal hill, but the dark planks peeking out underneath the mass of snow broke the illusion.

The snow around the building, for whatever reason, was much higher than elsewhere, reaching up to the haxorus's waist as he waded through it to reach the front door. Had Keith been the one walking, he would probably have found himself completely submerged.

The dragon knocked on the door five times, then skipped a beat, then gave the final knock. Quiet stomps approached from the other side, followed by the peep slot sliding open. Stern eyes glared out.

“It’s just me,” the haxorus said. The mon on the other side gave an acknowledging grunt, then unlocked and opened the door.

D-d-d-d-d-double dragons!

A large dragonite, eyebrows especially short and thick, stepped aside to let the haxorus in. As the green dragon entered, the orange one pointed to the eevee with an intrigued grunt. It seemed that the dragonite was a mon of few words.

“Yep,” the haxorus responded, smiling. “We’ll be eating well tonight. But for now, I need you to cover those tracks.”

The dragonite nodded and tramped outside, shutting the door. As the haxorus locked it, Keith could hear a strong, howling wind pick up outside.

The haxorus knocked his feet on the wooden floor a few times, getting rid of the excess snow. He let out a shuddering sigh of relief as his toes began warming up.

“Someone there?” called a female voice from the next room.

“Me, Ared,” the haxorus responded. “Rog went out to cover my tracks.”

“Oh, find anything good?”

Ared grinned. “Sure did.”

He took Keith from under his arm, again grabbing the mon by the scruff, and proceeded to the other room of the rather shabby-looking house.

Four chairs of varying sizes and shapes, all appearing homemade and somewhat sloppily so, surrounded a low table of similar quality in the center of the room. An oil lamp lay on the table, providing the room's illumination as there were no windows to let the day's light in - none that weren't boarded shut, at least.

Next to the lamp lay a few worn books, some odd, pinkish grime on them. The grime’s source wasn’t hard to guess, however, as a fifth chair, pulled away from the table, was occupied by a goodra with a book in her slimy hands. Her spots and eyes were pink, just like her slime.

The goodra looked up, and her eyes widened. “An eevee?”

Ared nodded proudly.

The goodra got up and rushed to the haxorus, but then stopped with suspicion. “How come it doesn’t have its winter coat?”

“Uhh… I dunno, maybe it’s a mutant?” Ared shrugged. “Does it really matter?”

The goodra glared, crossing her arms. “Ared, that’s not a feral, is it?”

“What?” Ared feigned surprise. “It sure acted like one, sniffing stuff and yelping...”

“Where’d those bags come from then?” the goodra asked accusingly, pointing at the saddlebags on Ared’s shoulder.

“I found a civilized mon too and mugged him! It’s his!”

“And he just happened to have saddlebags that perfectly fit an eevee?” The goodra turned around. “I’m getting Bella.”

Ared threw his head back and groaned. “Oh, come on --”

“Bella!” the goodra called to the door frame at the back of the room. “We need your expertise!”

“Hold on, coming!” a bright voice replied beyond the frame. Soon after, an altaria hopped into view, her falling speed just a bit slower than it was for most. As she spotted the little brown mammal hanging from Ared’s talons, her lower beak dropped.

“Eevee!” she squealed with glee, but only half a second later, her face was twisted with rage. “Let go of him right now!”

“...How can you tell it’s a ‘he’?” mumbled Ared. “I didn’t see any --”

Bella slid through the air with one powerful flap of her wings and snatched Keith from Ared's hold. She turned around, sheltering the mon with her body. “What did you do to him?” she shouted.

“So he’s not a feral?” Doris asked.

“No! Ferals don't have the whites of their eyes be this visible, their snouts are a different shape… and the ones around here would definitely have a winter coat right now!”

“So I was right!” Doris exclaimed, looking back at the haxorus. “Tell me, Ared, why are you bringing home a dead person?”

Ared raised his palms defensively. “H-he was already dead, okay? Or, well, he wasn't, and I tried to talk to him, but when he saw me, he just froze up! I figured he got a heart attack or something, and that's unfortunate, but, like…” He brought his claws together, mareepish. “...if he's already dead, there's nothing really wrong about eating him, right?”

Doris opened her mouth, disgusted expression forewarning a scolding, but Bella raised her wing.

“Wait,” the altaria said, much calmer than before. “I don't think he's dead.”

“What?” asked the other two in unison.

“He's breathing and he has a pulse.”

“How's that possible?” asked Ared. “He was totally immobile for the whole way here!”

“Well, are you sure you didn't use a stun seed?” said Doris.

“I'm certain. I only used a totter seed on his zebstrika. It went crazy just like it was supposed to, and the seed never hit the eevee!”

“Hmm...” Bella waved her wing in front of Keith's eyes. “Maybe it's some kind of instinct? Playing dead around predators? Would be odd for a non-feral to still have that, but it's possible…”

She scooped Keith up in her wings. “I think I'm gonna take him to my room for a bit. I'm likely the least predator-looking one of us all. Well, there's also you, Doris, but I’ve read that eevee like to keep themselves clean. Your attribute might just stress him out further.”

“Just say slime,” Doris grumbled. “I'm a goodra. No point in using fancy words.”

“Fair enough,” Bella replied and carried the eevee through the doorframe from which she'd arrived.

A brief silence arose in the room.

“So…” began Ared. “I take it that we’re not eating him?”

“We are not eating him!” Doris snapped.

“Ugh, fine...” Ared lifted the saddlebags off his shoulder. “I guess we’ll just settle on whatever he packed for lunch.”

Five knocks came from the front door, followed by a delayed sixth.

“Must be Rog,” said Ared, lowering the bags onto the floor. He went to check the peep slot, then let the bulky dragonite in.

Rog shuddered as the door closed behind him, but he smiled warmly as he uttered a gargled yet hopeful word to Ared. “Eevee?”

Ared's glum expression slowly spread to Rog.

“Sorry, it looks we won't be eating the eevee after all,” the haxorus muttered.

“Graooghhh!” Rog groaned and hung his head.

“I know, buddy,” Ared sighed and placed a hand on his friend's shoulder. “I'm hungry too.”

---​

Bella closed the door to her room. She placed Keith on her bed, sat down herself and smiled softly.

“It’s okay, sweetie,” she started. “The dragons are gone. It’s just you and me now. There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.”

The dumbfounded look stayed on Keith’s face, and his body remained stiff.

Bella opened her wings - though not fully, to avoid scaring the eevee with her size - and lightly flapped them. “Look! Just a nice, happy bird. Friendly bird. No scary dragons!”

No change.

“Hmm, am I still too intimidating?” She hopped off the bed and to the corner of the room. “Alright, sweetie, the big birdie is going to sleep now,” she said, curling up into a ball and tucking her head in her feathers. “Goodnight,” her muffled voice spoke, then fell silent.

Keith blinked. Then he blinked again. Then he quietly, very quietly, shifted his position to a more comfortable one.

He rubbed his forehead. Gods, this is awkward… but if I don’t put a stop to this now, I’ll have to be a statue forever.

After a few seconds of building up courage, he cleared his throat.

Bella’s crest feathers twitched, but she retained her posture.

“U-uhh...” Keith began. “Aren’t altaria dragons too, though…?”

“...Oh, no, no they're not,” Bella assured. “We're nice, friendly birds, nothing to be afraid of.”

“No, I'm not scared of dragons,” Keith said. “In fact, I like them. A lot! I'm a huge fan. It's just that I…” He twiddled his paws, quieting.

Bella peeked from within her plumage. “Your instincts got the better of you?”

“No, it’s not that either. What happened was that, um… the haxorus came, and I was kinda overwhelmed that a real dragon was touching me, so I froze up. And then I kept being frozen ‘cause I didn't really know what I should say, and then I’d already been frozen for such a long time that it would've been awkward to just start talking, so I was trying to wait for a time I was alone or something… and here we are.”

The altaria straightened her neck. “So you were… afraid you'd make a poor impression?”

Keith scratched the back of his head. “Yeah, I think that's the best way to describe it. P-please don’t tell them, okay?”

Bella waddled to the bed and smiled. “My lips are sealed. I mean, if I had any.”

Keith sighed. “Okay, thanks.”

The altaria jumped back on the bed, barely shaking it. She kept staring at Keith, smile unwavering - only growing wide, if anything.

“...Why are you giving me that look?” Keith slowly asked.

“I'm sorry, it's just… I really like eevee,” she replied. “And all other little mammals, like minccino and skitty and pachirisu. You're just so fluffy and cute!”

Keith snorted and smirked. “Well, don't get too used to it. I'm gonna be a dragon too!”

“Dragon? There's a dragon evolution for eevee?”

“I know there must be! It’s why I came here. I came here so I could find something that could --”

“Oh crap! Bella!” shouted Doris from the living room. “Lati alert!”

Bella scrambled off the bed. “Oh, sorry, I have to go do something quick. You can stay here while I take care of...”

“Quickly!” Doris added. “It’s already close! I-I couldn’t hear it sooner because I was tuning out to give you guys some privacy!”

“Coming!” Bella responded, visibly in more of a hurry now. She rushed out of the room, through the halls and finally out of the front door. After Bella had left their vision, Ared and Rog focused again on Doris, her eyes closed and antennae extended in concentration.

As for Keith, he stayed on the bed, puzzled.

Lati alert?

---​
 
Parts Three & Four

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
oops may have forgotten about this completely??? well here are parts 3 and 4

rated teen as usual - light language, light violence, questionable ethics. enjoy.

---

Part Three

---​

What’s a lati alert?

Keith hopped off the bed. He stared at the door, which had been left ajar in Bella’s wake.

Should I go out to see? he pondered. I don’t want to get in anyone’s way. Although, this could be a good time to finally properly introduce myself... if they’re mostly preoccupied with something else, I won’t have to worry so much about messing up myself.

Then Keith noticed something. The droning noise had started up again. It was still quiet, but just like before, it was gradually strengthening.

Is that what the lati alert is about? He tilted his head. Well, if last time is anything to go by, it shouldn’t be that serious. I don’t think I can mess it up just by appearing.

Keith slipped through the door. It really was much larger than the ones he was used to, just as the ceiling was much higher. I feel like I’ve been turned back into a cub!

He navigated his way back to the living room, though stopped before entering through the frame. He analyzed the scene. The goodra, haxorus and dragonite were there, but Bella was absent, probably outside. The droning was still in the air, but it seemed to have reached its peak and was now decreasing in volume. Judging by that and its lower pitch, the source of the noise was moving away.

“Seems like it's leaving normally,” said Ared, looking at the still-focused Doris. “You can stop listening.”

The goodra's antennae twitched. “Not far enough away yet. I don’t wanna mess up this half.”

Ared shrugged and took a seat in one of the chairs. “Alright, then.”

“Rugh,” Rog agreed and joined Ared at the table.

The haxorus dug his claws into his bag, then pulled out a pack of playing cards. Keith noticed his own saddlebags in the corner of the room. Maybe that'd be a good thing to start talking about? It'd make sense for me to ask for my stuff back…

Doris sighed. “You can just come in, eevee dude, no need to be shy.”

Keith flinched. How did Doris know he was there? Her eyes were closed, and he was barely in the frame! Was her hearing really that good?

Ared raised his eyebrows. “The eevee's awake?” He craned his neck at the door frame, but Keith had hidden behind the wall.

Crap! I wanted more time to prepare!

“M-hm,” the goodra replied, eyes still shut. “He came out of Bella's room a bit ago.”

“Well, come on out,” Ared called to the frame. “We won't eat you.” He crossed his arms. “We're not eating much of anything these days…”

Keith gulped. I guess I’ll just have to do it. So much for avoiding awkwardness…

He stepped a paw into view, flinching, but also feeling relief as he knew the hardest part was over. Or maybe it would be showing his face. He trembled.

With strain and time, however, he finally managed to lean in his muzzle, then eyes, then ears. He looked into Ared's eyes, relieved to find them focused on the pack of cards the dragon shuffled instead of him. Rog was the same, and Doris's eyes were still closed.

Keith pushed himself into full view with a kick of his back paws. The motion captured the green and orange dragons’ attention. Keith’s heart pounded.

“Hi,” Ared said, disinterested. “Sorry about mugging you and putting you into shock or whatever.”

“You are always so rude,” muttered Doris under her breath. She then finally retracted her antennae, opened her eyes and set her sight on the eevee. “You feelin’ better now, dude?”

“Ahh… I…” Words came slowly to the eevee, his brain clouded again by the presence of the large lizards. Look at those scales! That armor! So beautiful, yet so cool! “I-I'm good now, yes.”

“Okay, so,” Doris continued, “as Ared was trying to say, we're sorry about causing you all this trouble. It's just that the way things are now, we can't work in any honest job. The King's to blame for that.”

They're outlaws or something? Keith pondered. Do I want to associate with dragons that don't get along with the dragon nation? He shook the idea. Nah, all dragons are good.

“So… you're hiding?” Keith asked, piecing together information old and new. The dragonite was asked to cover the haxorus's tracks, and the building was barely visible in the snow. “Is that what Bella went out to do?”

“Yup. Should let her know she can take the cloud away now, actually.” Doris headed for the door, leaving behind a trail of pink goo at which Rog wrinkled his snout.

“What exactly is that droning noise about?” Keith asked, daring to take a few steps closer.

“You really aren't from around here,” commented Ared. “Why would a civilized eevee willingly come here, anyway?” he asked. His red eyes lit up. “Do you have a death wish? Because we'd be glad to --”

A slimy slap from Doris silenced the haxorus. “Let it go already,” she grumbled and returned to the door.

Ared sighed, scooping away the muck. “Anyway, that droning noise is the border control. Latias and latios zooming around, keeping an eye on mon entering and leaving. And searching for undesirables like us.”

“Latias and latios?”

“Some bird-lookin’ half-psychics.” Ared grumbled, bit then his eyes widened. “Not that being bird-like is a bad thing. Don't tell Bella I said that.”

“Don't tell me what?” the altaria asked, having appeared at the door just now. A smug smile crept on her beak. “Aww, you think Keith is cute, too?”

“Wh- no,” Ared spat.

“Oh, is Rog more up your alley?” Bella teased, hopping to the living room as Doris closed the door behind her.

“N-no!”

Rog blew a kiss at Ared, then chuckled along with Bella.

Bella noticed Keith. “Oh, you came out to see the others already. Have they introduced themselves yet?”

“I don’t know why we should,” Ared interjected. “He’s not going to stay. And the more he knows, the more he might possibly tell the King’s people!”

“He’s not gonna tell!” Bella ran to Keith and scooped him up in her wings defensively. “Right, Keith?”

“U-uhh...” Keith wriggled upright in Bella’s cradling hold. “I won’t, but… why does the King not like you? What did you do?”

“Dared to suggest that maybe hogging all the food and money in the kingdom isn’t fair,” Ared snarled.

“Yeah, he’s not a good king,” Bella added. “We tried to get others to riot and join the cause, but the guards put an end to that. They’re not fans of criticism.”

The dragon king is bad? Keith thought. I don’t like the idea of bad dragons, but… if a dragon is being bad to other dragons, I guess it’s really no different from a non-dragon being a jerk to non-dragons.

“The old king, though - now that was a good king,” Ared continued. “Odd considering his species literally has ‘tyrant’ in the name, but he was way better than the current one. This one, Hydreigon Zmey - well, I guess it’s not surprising a mon with three ravenous heads turns out to be that greedy...”

Rog growled disapprovingly.

“Yeah, I know you had nice hydreigon friends and all back home. I’m just saying they’re probably in the minority.”

“Ared, stop it,” Doris interjected. “If we want to be the ones to fix this kingdom, we need to treat every dragon with respect. You can hate Zmey, we all do that, but make sure that’s because of his choices and not his species.”

Ared humphed, though Keith could sense a bit of regret from him.

“Uh, that’s enough about us for now,” Bella hesitantly started. “Why don’t you tell us why you’re here in the Dragon Kingdom, Keith? Tourists aren’t all that common, smaller mon even less so.”

“Oh! I came here to become a dragon!”

The room fell silent.

“No, really, what did you come here for?” Ared asked.

“It's true!” Keith insisted. “You know how eevee evolve into lots of different types? Well, I figured there was a dragon type evolution, and this one drampa told me that my best bet would be the Draco Plate in Farin-”

Ared snorted, interrupting Keith. The others gave the haxorus disapproving looks, but weren't free of doubtful expressions themselves.

“Uh, Keith,” Bella started in a sensitive tone. “The Draco Plate is the Kingdom's most guarded possession. And Farindon… is a dragon-only city.”

“O-oh. Well…” Keith paused to think. He couldn't stop now, could he? He'd come all the way here. “I guess I just have to sneak in.”

The dragons’ eyes widened. They exchanged glances, silently asking each other if they'd really heard him correctly.

“I mean, if the King is mean and all, I clearly can't just ask him,” Keith continued. “And I'm great at sneaking around! Heck, I snuck out of my house without my parents noticing to come here.”

“Your parents are kind of a different thing from a legion of deadly dragons!” Ared exclaimed.

“I don't know, I think I'd have a better chance in some ways. Like, I know dragons can't hear as well as mammals. And my paws…” Keith extended his forelegs, showing the smooth fur and pads of his feet. “They’re super soft! Nothing like a dragon's claws. They make basically no noise when I walk.”

“Well, I did hear you earlier on,” Doris commented, “but I guess I'm kind of a special case with my antennae… and I doubt they'd have my kind patrolling the castle, for… obvious reasons.” She lifted her foot, and more slime dripped onto the floor. “But that's still pretty ridiculous, eevee dude. How would you get into the Plate's chamber? It can only be entered from the throne room, and the chamber key is kept around the King's neck. Dragons aren't blind.”

“Well, I'll need some time to think about that,” Keith mumbled, paw to his chin.

“Guys, hold on,” Bella said. “I have a crazy idea. What if we worked together?”

“What?” exclaimed all three dragons in unison - although Rog's part was barely a word.

“I mean, think about it,” the altaria continued. “How destabilizing would it be to steal the Draco Plate? How much faith in the King would be lost? This is the best way to get a movement going!”

“That’s absolutely ridiculous!” shouted Ared, then looked at the others. “...Right?”

“...She does have a point,” Doris said.

“What?” Ared stood up, agitated. “Is this fuzzball using some kind of mind control on you all?”

“Well,” Doris began, her hand extended, “the eevee dude is right about him being silent. And no one's expecting to see a civilized eevee in Farindon, let alone be working with dragons. There's a bunch of possibilities here. The payoff is massive, so we should at least consider it.”

Ared looked to Rog, who nodded in agreement with Doris.

“I can't believe you people,” Ared muttered and walked off to another room.

Bella seized the chance to sit down on her own chair and lower Keith onto the table. The eevee shuffled a bit further away from the slime-covered books. However, he took interest in the stack of cards Ared had left behind. Each card was as tall as his forelegs.

Doris moved her own slime-encrusted chair by the table and sat down. “Sorry about Ared,” she said. “He's been through a lot, and it's made him somewhat of a pessimist.”

“It's okay,” Keith said. “I'm used to being doubted. People at home do it all the time.”

“Where are you from, anyway?” asked Bella.

“Oh, I’m from the Guild of Pelton. It's on an island in the cluster some way off your coast. Mostly normal types and members of the eevee family.”

“Have you ever been attacked by dragons?” asked Doris.

“Nah.” Keith pouted. “Doesn't stop the prejudice, though.”

“Well, it really only makes sense for you little guys to be afraid. I mean, you certainly got a shock.”

“I… yeah,” Keith replied, caught off guard as he’d already forgotten about his lie.

Doris frowned. “Are you sure that won't happen if you're sneaking around?”

“I-I'm sure! It was just the initial punch. And my zebstrika was going crazy, I was startled in a lot of ways.”

“Well, if you're willing to bet your life on it, I guess I can trust you.”

“You know,” Bella began, “if we're gonna be working together, we should get to know each other better. Do a little bonding! And we should get some brain exercise before we get to planning, too. So, given those cards on the table, should we play?”

“Well, does he know how to?” asked Doris.

Keith shook his head. “Don't think so…”

“Well, he can watch us and learn,” Bella said. “I’ll gladly explain anything that puzzles him,” she added, patting Keith's head.

“Please don't, you're messing up my frill,” Keith whispered, pushing Bella's wing off politely, then began to reshape the fur on his head.

Doris looked to Rog, who nodded. “Alright, then,” she said, “I'll get my gloves.”

The goodra fetched a pair of leather gloves from another room and pushed her hands inside them, splitting the stub-like ends of her arms into four functioning fingers. She shuffled the deck and dealt five cards to each dragon. As she lowered the deck on the table, Bella slid it over to Keith.

“Feel free to look through them to get a better idea,” the altaria said. “Just don't show us what's in there. Or rip them. Not that you would, but these are Ared's, so be extra careful.”

Keith nodded, then pulled a card off the top. A drawing of a hoppip stared back. Sixty health. Grass type. No flying type? I guess these cards can only fit one. It had two ‘moves’ - Absorb and Bounce.

He slid the card under the deck and took another. Growlithe, fire, Flamethrower, Odor Sleuth. Another. Meowth, normal, Pay Day. Another. Stealth Rock? Trap card? Huh, I guess it’s not just mon.

Keith continued to go through the cards while keeping an eye on the others. They each chose a mon, then attacked one of their opponents per turn. A water move by Bella’s Surskit did double damage to Rog’s Slugma, mirroring real-life effectiveness. Keith believed he was getting the hang of it - thought there was one thing that puzzled him.

“Are there no dragon cards?” he asked. No card he had pulled contained a dragon, and he'd gone through quite a bunch.

“Oh, yeah,” Doris replied, “we left those out. You see, they were kinda overpowered after the King banned fairies.”

“Banned fairies?” Keith recalled then that he hadn’t spotted any fairies in the deck, either.

“Yeah,” the goodra sighed. “Didn’t want the idea of little pink creatures beating up us proud dragons circling around, so now fairy types and their depictions in any stories or games are outlawed. Well, that’s the reason he gave, but I think it’s probably personal to some extent, given he’s half dark and all.”

“There are probably real people in the Kingdom that don’t even believe in fairies,” added Bella. “Which I guess makes sense to an extent, as pure fairies like to hide in forests and mountains and all that and half-fairies like to keep their fairyness a secret.”

“Oh, that’s weird,” Keith said. “Meanwhile, you dragons aren’t allowed in Pelton. And my own dad is a fairy.”

Doris snorted, though shortly apologized. “Sorry, it’s just that what you said just now is usually an insult.”

“Would you like to see the dragon cards, Keith?” Bella asked, re-railing the conversation.

“Yeah!”

“Let me get them for you,” she said, standing up and waddling to one of the cupboards.

Doris reached a hand towards Bella’s cards.

“Hey!” shouted the altaria, spotting the motion.

“I’m just messing with ya,” Doris snorted and withdrew her arm.

Bella opened the cupboard and produced a much thinner stack of cards. “Here they are,” she said, handing them to the awaiting Keith. “You can practice playing with them while we finish this first game.”

“Eh, I don’t know,” the eevee said, skimming through the cards. “I kind of just like looking at the pictures.”

Bella giggled. “You’re adorable… alright, I guess we’ll just get through our game and then move on to the planning. It’s been enough of a warm-up.”

The altaria returned to the table, leaving Keith to admire the drawings, his tail wiggling with excitement.

---​

As the dragons finished their game, the discussion and planning of their heist began. Many ideas were shared, some more ridiculous than others, until one eventually rose above the rest. Development began. By some miracle, even Ared - who had been called in after the game - grew to see the charm of the plan. By the end of the discussion, the sun outside had dived below the horizon, and it was then that the group chose to call it a night.

“So… where’s the fuzzball gonna sleep?” asked Ared, eyeing Keith, who was now seated in Bella’s lap.

The altaria raised her cloudy wing immediately. “Ooh, my room, my room!”

“Well, I guess it’s either Bella’s room or Molly’s,” Doris said. “So, eevee dude, you wanna spend the night in a real bed or on a pile of hay?”

“Real bed, please,” Keith replied. “Who’s Molly?”

“Our mudsdale,” Bella explained. “Draws our carriage the rare times we all need to go out in town. Usually I just go get supplies alone, because I’m the newest and the King’s mon don’t know me.” She gasped. “They don’t know you either! You can come along with me tomorrow! I can show you around!”

“I mean, don’t parade him around, though,” Ared commented. “We don’t want everyone to know about our secret weapon, do we?”

“We can take the opportunity to rehearse for the plan,” Bella said. “Have you be an exotic feral and all that.”

“Sounds okay to me,” Doris said. “It’s not like you’ll be there for that long, and you can always hide him whenever a lati goes by.”

“So it’s settled!” the altaria chirped, getting up. “Goodnight, all! We have a big day tomorrow.”

The dragons nodded, and Bella took Keith to her room. The room was dark, only lit by what little still shone in all the way back from the living room lantern. Even then, it seemed to bother neither the altaria or the eevee, the former knowing the room's layout by heart and the latter utilizing the natural night vision of his species.

“You can sleep at the foot of the bed,” Bella said, climbing onto the mattress and making even less of a dent than Keith expected. “And don't worry, I don't kick.”

“I might, if I dream of running,” Keith mumbled, hopped onto the bed and lay down. “Sorry in advance.”

“Oh, I doubt it’ll hurt with your cute little paws, heh...”

Bella swiped her wing at the door, creating a gale that pushed it to a close. The final light in the room dimmed away.

“Well, goodnight,” Keith said and curled up, but Bella interrupted him before he could close his eyes.

“Wait,” she whispered, “can I ask you something?”

“Uh, sure?”

“Okay, so…” she quietly cleared her throat. “You said dragons were like, banned and feared in your town, right?”

“Yeah?”

“How come you’re still so into them?”

“Well, I just always thought dragons were really cool. And they are!”

Bella tilted her head, her crest feathers swinging for one side to another. “Is that all? Like, how come you didn’t believe the people in your town when they told you dragons were evil and stuff?”

Keith paused to think. “Well… I guess there’s kind of a story behind it,” he finally said. “Back when I was a cub, there was this one really windy day. The wind picked up really fast, during my school day, and the teachers actually made us go home early before it got even worse. Except…” He lowered his voice, embarrassed. “I was in the bathroom during that time, so I missed the meeting. When I got out, I wondered where everyone was, and then decided to leave for home after a bit.

“By this time, it was super windy, and I basically had to hook my claws to the ground to keep myself on the path. In hindsight, I probably should’ve just stayed at school to wait it out, but cub me wasn’t very bright, you know. Anyway, I did make some good progress and was about halfway home until this massive gust came and actually swept me up in the air! It was really scary. I saw all the houses get smaller beneath me and feared that I’d eventually fall or be slammed against one. All I could do was flail and cry for help, but no one was outside, not that they could’ve done much anyway.

“Then I saw something in the distance. It was like a fiery meteor with a long green tail, and it was coming towards me! I was terrified, but then this stray sheet flying around hit me and I couldn’t see anything! Then, after a few moments, the sheet got caught in something and stopped with me still inside. I felt it getting pulled while the wind was still howling outside, and then I was thrown out right onto the ground. I dug my claws in the dirt again immediately, and I actually stayed down. I looked behind me, and I saw this huge, long, green dragon stare back with its yellow eyes. It then slithered upwards into the sky, as if there was no wind at all, and with a glowing tail, struck the air. It instantly became still. Then it flew away into the crevice it’d made in the cloud layer and disappeared.”

“Whoa...” Bella sighed. “You met Rayquaza?”

Keith nodded, though it was lost on the altaria in the dark. “I didn’t know what it was yet, but when I got home, I immediately told my parents. They didn’t really seem like they believed me, though, they were just glad I was okay.”

A brief spike of guilt stung Keith’s heart, remembering how worried his parents had been and realizing they were probably just as worried right now back at home.

“Anyway,” he continued, “my parents didn’t really know anything about Rayquaza, but they told people who did. And those people instantly said that it must have been Rayquaza that caused the storm to begin with and I just got really lucky.” He humphed. “It was then that I realized that people really weren’t sensible when it came to dragons. They always assumed the worst. They even said Rayquaza in specific was a horrible monster with six prehensile tongues that it used to catch little mon swept up by the tempests it caused. But that was nothing like what I saw. Rayquaza saved me and even made sure I was fine, then ended the storm!”

“Wow, your town is messed up...” Bella mumbled. “I hate it when people are so ignorant.”

“Well, that was my story,” Keith said. “Do you have one? I mean, you really like little mammals like me, right?”

“Oh, I just think you’re sweet fluffy babies!”

Keith pouted. “Not quite as grandiose.”

Bella giggled. “Not everyone gets to meet a living legend.”

Three knocks - or wet slaps - rung out from another room. “Hey, can you guys keep it down?” asked Doris’s voice. “We need a good night’s sleep for tomorrow night’s operation.”

“Sorry,” Bella responded. “She’s right, you know. We can just talk more tomorrow.”

“Alright. Goodnight,” said Keith and lay back down.

“Goodnight,” Bella said back, and the two stayed silent for the rest of the night.

---​

The morning after, Keith got to experience a bit of the dragons’ hunger for himself. He’d generously offered the apples he’d packed with him to be shared and, as the division was made proportionally to body size, he only got a measly few slices to eat.

The remedy for this was fortunately coming, however, as Bella took Keith to the town as promised. Food prices were much lower in the Dragon Kingdom, and therefore the slightly above modest amount of gold Keith had packed was relatively a fortune.

The cart that Bella used to carry their shopping filled up with bread and frozen meat slowly but promisingly. Keith eyed his new surroundings with great curiosity, though tried his best not to emote too strongly, lest his true intelligence be revealed.

The marketplace was similar to what Keith was used to in Pelton in many ways, but the differences there were certainly were visible. The buildings were taller and seemed more sturdy, especially at their lower borders, perhaps to better account for accidental swings of large, powerful tails. The building materials were the usual brick, stone and wood, but a notable amount of bone was used for decoration. The skulls hanging above door frames or from supportive beams served an additional purpose in the case of meat selling, as they informed the onlooker of what was available.

While Keith was no stranger to seeing little feral creatures like rattata and farfetch'd dead, plucked and preserved, he couldn't help but feel a shiver at the eevee pelts hanging in some stands. Bella reassured him that they were all just ferals and anyone caught doing it to a civil one would surely be outcast from society. It didn’t help much that he was pretending to be a feral, and many folk made comments asking whether he was being fattened up for a feast. He tried his best to hide his reactions. Fortunately Bella was there to correct them that he was a dear pet used to hunt little rodents and there would be no eating him.

During each purchase of emboar, stantler and tauros meat he felt more at ease. It was easier to think of eating something when it didn't have a face.

“Thank you!” chimed Bella as she pushed the cart away from the butcher's house. The lucario with a red-stained apron waved back, a wide smile on his face from the large profit he'd made moments prior. The fading oinks of the pignite in his pen gave Bella an idea.

“Hey, Keith,” she began, looking to the eevee on his shoulder. “You spent this trip being pretty silent in front of everyone, but I think you should work on your vocalizations. Like, eevee noises. Don’t you agree?”

“Uhh, alright. M-meow?”

“Pfft, what? Eevee don’t meow,” Bella snickered. “Don’t you know how feral eevee sound?”

“Well… I guess not, now that I think about it,” Keith replied. “There aren’t that many of them in Pelton - they say that’s ‘cause the civil ones already fill the… what’s the word, nish?”

“Niche?”

“That. They fill that in the ecosystem, hunting a lot of the little rodents so there aren’t many left for the wild eevee. Anyway, the ones I’ve seen didn’t really make any noises. I guess they don’t want to bring attention to themselves or something.”

“Well, considering you’re ‘tamed’, you could be more brave,” Bella said. “Either way, the sounds they make are like… eh-vuii! Vu-vuii! Vui-uh-vui! Prrrr! Uh-vee!”

Bella quieted as she noticed a fraxure passing by giving her a very discomforted look.

“So… I just keep saying ‘eevee’ in a really cutesy way?” Keith asked after the dragon had left.

“Pretty much,” Bella said. “Now, you try it!”

Keith grimaced. “Ughh, do I have to?”

“Yes. It's part of your character.”

Keith sighed. Then he drew in a deep breath. “Ee-”

Just as he'd gotten a peep out of himself, he slapped a paw on his muzzle. At first Bella humphed in disappointment, but took it back as she heard a familiar droning in the distance.

“Yeah, I guess that'll have to wait,” she said, grabbed the eevee and buried him deep in her fluffy plumage. “Can you breathe in there?”

“S-sorta,” Keith's muffled voice responded.

“Well, kick me if you need air, and I'll think of something, okay?”

“M-hm…”

Bella kept pushing the cart ahead with her body as best as she could. Eventually, the lati zoomed past - latios, judging by the color - and the two could continue their travel normally.

Many minutes of embarrassing rehearsals later, the mon arrived back at the base. Most of the meat was stored in a chilled cabinet, powered by the winter's cold and Rog and Bella where the weather wasn't enough. The remaining portion was given to Ared to cook into a stew.

As dinner was had and plans recapped, the time to put the operation into motion came. The dragons packed their belongings and took the last tour around their house they'd have in a while, as the plan involved fleeing the kingdom for some time after the theft. Ared retrieved the stash of gold the group had been saving up for possible travel expenses like this. Before setting the leathery bag down on their shabby carriage’s floor, he hugged it tight and sighed, knowing most if not all of it could be blown on the trip. Keith could overhear him mutter something about a ‘hoard’.

With all food, gold and luggage accounted for, Molly the mudsdale was harnessed to the dragons’ carriage, and the mon set course for Farindon. Bella drove the carriage as usual, while the other dragons and Keith sat inside.

The carriage may have been modest in the dragons’ eyes, and Keith could agree on the materials’ part, but to him, it was also massive. Every few minutes, he took a peek outside to make sure Molly was really fine, but the mare simply kept on walking as if it was towing nothing more than a box of litten. Each peek was also met with a grumbling shove back down by the haxorus next to him.

Eventually, as the sun had begun its dive beneath the horizon, great towers appeared in the distance. No shoving could keep Keith down this time as he gawked at the structures straight out of fairy tales.

“There's a little patch of woodland over there,“ Bella said. “Should we get off there?”

Doris looked out the window. “Looks good to me. We'll drop you off there and head to the meet-up spot.”

Bella led the carriage to the trees and stopped it some way into a path leading through the woods. She opened the door, and Keith hopped down onto her wings, ready to see the legendary city up close.

“Good luck,” Doris said, and the two nodded. As the door closed, they set course for the city on foot.

Bella exhaled tensely. “Wow, we're really doing this...” She looked to Keith. “Everything alright with you?”

Keith smiled. “Yup! You?”

“Heh, w-well, I can't deny I'm a little nervous… you're not?”

“Hmm… dunno,” Keith said. “I think I got all of my stage fever sorted out when I met you guys. Now I’m just stoked to see more dragons, not really afraid of how I'll come across anymore. I mean… other than being a convincing feral. Which I think will go pretty well! We rehearsed a lot.”

“I sure hope so…”

“Hey, if you feel nervous, just pet me! It helps the story too, right?”

“Right, yeah.” Bella smiled shyly. “Thanks.”

The two kept walking, the towers rising ever higher in their vision.

Tonight it'll happen, thought Keith. Tonight I'll become a real dragon. And even if I somehow don't…

He watched the altaria beside him waddle on, her feathers ruffled by the wind. At least I made friends with some!

He focused ahead again. Well, no use worrying about that yet. I've got a mission to accomplish.

Farindon, City of Dragons… here I come!


---

Part Four

---
Once Bella and Keith were sufficiently close to the city of Farindon, Bella picked Keith up once more. She explained that a prime feral specimen like the one he supposedly was should not be getting its paws dirty. Keith didn’t protest.

As near as they were, one could see more detail of the city. For one, tall but sturdy walls encircled all of it, presumably to make sure no non-dragons snuck in. Keith was quick to put this together, but what he couldn't wrap his mind around were the palm trees peeking out from behind the walls and in some cases, even out of the towers. Something at the base of their leaves shone brightly.

“Hey, Bella,” Keith started, though kept his voice down in case it might carry all the way to the gates. “How are those palm trees growing there? Isn't it way too cold for those kinds of plants here?”

Bella stopped and squinted. “Oh, those? Those aren't trees. Or, I guess they sorta are… but my point is that they're mon. Exeggutor, to be exact.”

“Wait… but weren’t only dragons allowed in Farindon?”

“Yeah, they're dragons. You… didn't know that?”

Keith stared at his paws, mouth ajar, immobile.

“I mean…” Bella continued. “It's not that shocking, is it? I mean, I’m a bird but I'm still a dragon.”

“Well, you… fly,” Keith mumbled.

Bella cleared her throat. “Uh, anyway… the gates are pretty close, so let's get ready for our --”

A streak of golden light dashed past them, cutting Bella off and snapping Keith out of his stupor.

“What was that?” the altaria whispered, then ran onwards. “It headed for the gates…”

She followed the golden glow as it slowed down and halted right before the massive metal gates flanked by two short watchtowers, both inhabited by a guard. The source of the light was revealed to be a flame, one that burned on the tip of an orange winged reptile. Its stance was less than graceful, hunched over and wobbling.

“Hey! Bigwigs!” the charizard called out, its words slurred. “Lemme in!”

One of the guards, a druddigon, muttered something to himself while clutching his metal helmet. The other, a hakamo-o, pointed his spear down at the fiery stranger with a scowl.

“Only dragons may enter the city,” he said with a hint of a foreign accent. “Everybody knows this.”

“Then lemme in!” the charizard groaned, slashing at the gate. Keith winced at the harsh clang produced.

“For the last time,” the druddigon guard said, leaning over the edge, “you’re not a dragon! Just deal with it!”

“I've got scales and wings and a fiery breath!” the charizard yelled. “I'm a dragon!”

“Go home, Brent! You've had too much to drink and you don't know what you're doing!”

“Dragon!” roared Brent and clawed at the gate once more.

“Brent, I'm gonna have to use the rocks soon, and you don't want that!” The druddigon crouched to pick up a rock the size of his hand. It began glowing faintly with an orange aura. “Look, there's a line forming here and everything,” he added, gesturing to Bella. “Just go home.”

Brent only got louder. “Oh, and I suppose you're gonna let this bird in without any trouble? This guy doesn't even have teeth!”

The hakamo-o sneered. “You are obviously out of it, charizard, as that is no guy, but a lady! And quite a pretty one at that.” He looked to the altaria and tipped his helmet, smiling. Bella laughed nervously, her feathers puffed.

“Draagooon!” Brent bellowed, flapping his wings and taking flight, nearing the edge of the wall.

“Igor!” shouted the hakamo-o to his partner, as he was closer to the drunken non-dragon.

“Don't worry, I got him…” Igor took aim at the ascending charizard. The stone in his claws strengthened in its glow. Right as Brent had passed the edge of the wall and changed his course for the city, the druddigon flung the rock with breathtaking speed. It smacked into Brent's ribs, drawing a yelp from the mon and derailing his course. He veered to the right, ending up outside the city again and crashing somewhere in the snow by the sound that came.

“If he tries flying over again, he's the air guards’ problem,” Igor said, turning to Bella. “Sorry for the trouble, miss. What business may you have here?”

Bella cleared his throat, preparing for her speech. “Good evening, guards of Farindon!” she spoke, loudly and clearly. “I am Altaria Amedee from the new Guild of Windedge. Our small guild lies in the cluster of islands northeast of the continent. We recognize the Dragon Kingdom's might and power, and seek to establish good relations with your land. It is due to this that I have brought with me a gift, the one I bear in my wings.”

She held Keith forward. “Behold! The product of centuries of careful breeding, an authentic Windedge eevee! Gaze upon its shining fur, alert eyes and noble posture. And hear its majestic cry!”

Bella squeezed Keith lightly in case he'd forgotten his cue. He hadn't, but appreciated the thought.

“Eh-vuii!” Keith squeaked, his voice bright and intonation impeccable.

“Wow, it's got a big head,” replied Igor, causing his partner to hiss and flail his arms. The motion in turn created a clattering sound due to the species’ signature scales.

“That is no way to talk to an ambassador!” the hakamo-o whisper-yelled.

“You're only talking pretty because she's pretty,” Igor retorted.

“Forgive my partner,” the hakamo-o said to Bella. “I will notify the castle guards of your arrival. They will meet you on the other side of the gate soon enough.”

Bella curtsied. “Well, thank you kindly, sir...”

“Valentino! My name is Valentino.” Valentino grabbed a lever next to him and pulled it, then looked to Igor, who sighed and pulled the one on his own side. Loudly creaking, the gate opened.

“We hope you enjoy your stay in Farindon, fellow dragon,” Valentino added.

Bella nodded, and so she and Keith finally entered the city. With the levers pulled back again, the gate slammed shut behind them.

The air immediately felt warmer. Keith deduced that this was due to the walls blocking the wind outside and the many torches attached to the walls of the white-bricked buildings and tops of the black lamp posts flanking the cobblestone roads.

The shapes and locations of all structures seemed meticulously pre-planned, as if the whole city was one big blueprint come to life. It certainly was different from Pelton, as the most planning a building would see there was making sure its door faced the road.

Yet in Farindon, even the roads were different, despite sharing the material with Peltonese ones - these stones had been specifically chosen and positioned to make the surface second to only still water in evenness. In Pelton, the roads seemed more… thrown together.

The windows of the buildings had no wooden shutters looming above them - instead, an elegant metallic frame of sorts spanned the opening in the wall, a clear material filling in the empty spaces. It couldn’t have been ice given the temperature, so it must have been… Glass! They even have glass!

“Oh, it’s so pretty...” Bella sighed, but then shook her head. “But it’s all money that could have been used for the people.”

Eventually, the pair spotted a group of armored dragons approaching from behind a corner. Leading them was a turtonator with much lighter gear - as his body was already so well protected, his need for artificial protection was restricted to only a chestplate that covered his natural weak point. Unlike his subordinates, he held no narrow-tipped spear designed to drive its way between an opponent's scales - instead, his arms were entirely free.

The group arrived before the altaria, then stopped at a simple wordless signal by their commander.

The turtonator puffed a small cloud of smog from his snout. “I am Commander Kilbey,” he announced, voice nasal yet hoarse. ”You are the ambassador, correct?”

Keith didn't like thinking bad things about dragons, but he had to admit this voice was as ugly as its bearer.

“Yes! I am Altaria Amedee,” Bella answered. “I have come from the new Guild of Windedge --”

Kilbey raised his mitten-like hand. “We're aware. And either way, you oughtta save your speeches for the king - we’re only here to escort you. We guards don't especially care about the details.”

Man, not the warmest of welcomes… thought Keith. This guy makes those guards from before seem like butlers.

The turtonator leaned in without warning, startling Keith. The smoke from the dragon's nozzle made him want to cough, but he wasn't sure if ferals could do that.

“And this would be your gift?” remarked the commander. Bella nodded with the nicest smile she could produce - at the moment, anyway. “It doesn't look like the eevee I've seen…” he continued.

“Oh, that would be thanks to our meticulous breeding, sir,” Bella explained. “The extraordinary features you see are all specialty of our lovely guild!”

Kilbey squinted. “How come its noggin's so big? Why'd you wanna go and breed that?”

“More brain!” chimed Bella. “It's fatty and delicious. You should try it some time!”

Even if Keith knew this excuse might have to be used, he suppressed a shudder.

“Hmh, whatever,” muttered Kilbey and turned to his subordinates. “Formation.”

The guards were quick to respond, forming a rectangle around the altaria and turtonator.

“Let’s go,” said the commander, and a clank-filled march began.

They headed deeper into the city, passing by buildings that only seemed to get more and more elegant as they approached the tallest tower in the distance. On the trip, Keith got a closer, more detailed look at the allegedly-draconic exeggutor. It seemed that, thanks to their height, they were in charge of scouting the skies and faraway areas. The lamps attached to their foreheads made them like living, flexible beacons. The additional head at the tip of their tails always faced a stand that held a cup with a wire attached, presumably a way to communicate with other guards.

After a few minutes of walking, they finally arrived at the gates of the castle. The guards broke their formation to give their guests more breathing room.

“Alright,” said the commander, turning to the two. “Before you can go in, you'll need to be patted down. Hope that's not a problem.” He clapped his mitts. “Someone with good fingers! Come give this guest a search, will ya?”

The guards exchanged glances, then shoved forward a flygon among them. Bella lowered Keith onto the ground. She knew this was a possibility and had nothing to hide, but still felt less than comfortable.

The green dragon waddled to the altaria nervously. “S-sorry, miss,” he stuttered, “it's protocol…”

“Get on with it!” grunted Kilbey, and the flygon reluctantly shoved his claws into the altaria's fluff.

Some silent seconds passed as the guard combed through Bella’s feathers, finding nothing of note. He then withdrew his hands. Bella sighed from relief as she no longer had to suppress any tickling-induced convulsions.

“The furball, too,” added Kilbey. Keith’s scruff bristled.

The flygon sighed inaudibly and moved on to the eevee. Keith jolted at his touch, though soon calmed after realizing the claws going through his coat gave him some nice scratches. A quiet purr left his throat.

Something heavy crashed nearby. Keith’s ears perked.

“Oh, Kyu!”

Keith flicked his gaze to the source of the sudden noises. On the road to the left of the castle, a noivern with a worn apron stood next to a salamence with stacks of crates on the platform strapped to its back. A few similar crates lay beside it on the road, apparently toppled over. One was broken with its contents - meat pies - pouring out onto the dirty ground. The noivern stared at the ruined goods, claws covering her mouth.

“Hey!” shouted Kilbey, startling the noivern. The distress in her expression surged as she saw who’d yelled at her.

“What’s going on over here?” the turtonator barked, marching to the set of the accident.

“O-oh my goodness, I am so sorry, sir,” the noivern stuttered, then remembered through her panic to curtsy. “It was an a-accident, I swear!”

The turtonator pointed a scolding flipper. “Not only do you soil the King’s goods, you go and invoke the Frostblight’s name, too?”

“Sorry! Sorry!” the noivern continued, her voice breaking. “I won’t ever do it again, sir!”

“You don’t think it’s cold enough as is, huh?”

“No, it’s not like that, sir!”

“Yeah, it better not be,” Kilbey grumbled. “Alright, here’s my verdict - one night in the dungeon!”

The noivern’s teary eyes widened. “No, please! It was an accident!”

“Exactly, that’s why it’s one and not three.” The commander turned to his troops. “Two of you, come here! One escorts her to a cell, the other find someone to finish whatever she was doing!”

A new shoving competition began among the armored dragons, and losers determined soon after headed for the noivern. Keith briefly wondered why she merely shivered in her spot, but then realized fleeing would likely only cause her more trouble.

“Alright,” said the commander as he returned to the castle’s gates. “Are we done with the body check?”

“Sh-should be, yes,” the flygon replied and moved aside as Kilbey gave an approving nod.

“Good. Let’s move in, then.”

Bella extended her wings to Keith, and the eevee leapt back into her hold.

After a protocol knocking and introduction, the gates were unlocked opened from within. As they headed within, Keith gave the defeated-looking noivern one last glance.

I guess the dungeon is where they put the lawbreakers… and judging by her reaction, it’s not a nice place at all.

He winced. We really need to avoid getting caught for what we’re doing, then...

---​

At the same time, a report from the Eastern Marine Guard was taking place in the castle’s throne room. The leaders of the Northeastern and Southeastern halves, a kingdra and a dragalge respectively, sat before the throne in their own wheeled chairs, backed each by a guard who would move their chair when needed.

On the throne sat the king, Hydreigon Zmey. A jeweled golden crown rested atop his shaggy-maned head, and a golden chain looped around his neck, a peculiar key hanging from it. Beside the king stood the Head of Guard, Garchomp Kaora, in her deep blue and red uniform.

These mon, a couple of servants and a few additional guards lining the edges were the only living beings in the room, but in a way, there were some subtler presences beyond them as well. These were the ones brought forth by the patterns on the back wall, elegant illustrations of three draconic forms lined with gold and silver.

On the left, feathers rendered in milky white tiles, stood the blazing dragon of truth, Reshiram. On the right, with scales of obsidian, was the thunderous dragon of the ideal, Zekrom. Between these two, towering over the throne, the Original Dragon spread its perfect wings behind the two halves it had been split into by the icy shard of sin - not pictured.

These three dragons were not alone in their two-dimensional world, however. A crowd of mortal dragons in all shapes and sizes was gathered on the side walls of the room to bow down to their divine creator. Occasionally, though, the crowd left holes in their midst to accommodate for the tall windows of the room. It broke the illusion, yes, but the designer had decided it'd still be better to let the sun shine in.

Aside from the conversation taking place, it was quiet, and even the conversation seemed to be nearing its end.

“And that would be all?” asked Kaora, voice echoing from the tall walls.

“Yes, ma'am,” responded the kingdra. The dragalge at his side nodded agreeingly.

“I see. Then you are dismissed,” continued the garchomp. “Keep up the good work.”

“Thank you, ma'am,” both aquatic dragons responded, then signalled the guards steering their wheeled chairs. The throne room's doors opened, and the two legless mon were promptly pushed out.

As the doors shut once more, Kaora turned to the window.

“Just one more report to hear today,” she said, polishing her right claw on her uniform. She frowned. “And it's from her…”

She heard a growl and turned around. The hydreigon king stared at the ground, all mouths in a slight grimace.

“Are you, too, finding that latias irritating, your highness?” Kaora asked. “You are not obligated to accept her services, you know. I'm sure one lati can't be that irreplaceable…”

“Hungry…” grumbled the king.

“Oh.” The hopeful smirk that had crept on the garchomp's face drooped. “Well, your highness, I'm sure her report won't be too long. You'll get to eat soon enough.”

“Hmrh...”

Kaora turned back to the window. Her brow lifted in recognition at the red silhouette in the distance.

“Speak of the spritzee...” she mumbled.

The cross-shaped form of the latias slowly grew larger, though seemingly got faster as it advanced. So fast that a ripple of apprehension spread through Kaora’s body.

“Would you, uh, open the window,” she said to the guards. As they hesitantly headed for the window, she raised her claws. “Faster!”

Her word quickened their actions, but Kaora grew more and more worried about the rapidly approaching latias.

“Faster, you dolts!” she snapped, eyes glued to the mon only a dozen meters away now. “Or she’s going to --”

The garchomp covered her face and jumped in front of the king, prepared for shards of glass launched their way.

A blue light enveloped the latias dashing towards the throne room. In less than a second, her momentum diminished to a halt. She craned her neck through the half-opened window.

“Hi, y’all!” she chimed. “How’s it going?”

Kaora lowered her fins. Seeing the window still intact, she sighed and returned to her usual spot.

“You could be more careful with how you approach the throne room, Cheri,” she growled.

“Ugh, I didn’t break anything, so what’s the problem?” Cheri groaned, wiggling through the crevice into the room proper. The guards at the window exchanged glances and lowered the glass back down.

“It’s a hazard,” Kaora replied, “and the role of the guard is specifically to keep the kingdom protected from danger, not cause it.”

Cheri lazily floated before the garchomp. “Shouldn’t you be outside playing in some mud, groundie?”

Kaora clenched her teeth. “I’m exactly where I’m meant to be,” she proudly stated. “And I actually worked for my position, as a person should. Wasn't just born into it, untalented, wasting everyone’s time!”

Cheri opened her mouth to retort, but a grunt from the king stopped her. She crossed her arms and stayed silent.

“Yes, let’s get to the actual point of our meeting…” Kaora said, straightening her back. “Anything out of the ordinary at the Eastern border?”

“Nope,” Cheri said nonchalantly, causing Kaora to suppress a scowl. “Dragons and non-dragons coming in and out as usual. No one looked suspicious, not even the hairies and dusters. Wish they'd keep out, but what can you do. Will just have to hope the ferals gobble ‘em up.”

“We get it, you don’t like foreigners...” muttered Kaora to herself. Before Cheri could comment, the garchomp moved on. “Anything else to report?”

“Nothing, nope. So am I dismissed?”

While relieved to hear the answer, Kaora sighed at the latias’s discourtesy. “Yes, you are dismissed.”

“Cool. See ya!” The latias hovered back to the window. “Oh, and check out what I learned to do!”

A blue glow covered Cheri once again. A second later, her form wavered and disappeared, then reappeared at the other side of the glass.

“Wh- you could teleport this whole time?” snapped Kaora, running to the window with the smug latias waiting on the other side.

Cheri giggled. “Jealous, groundie?”

Kaora’s eyes narrowed. “Did your mother perhaps name you after the size of your brain?”

“Whatever...” the latias snorted and finally flew off into the twilight of the sky.

Kaora barely had time to sigh when a knock came from the door.

“Who is it?” the garchomp asked.

“Steward,” a voice responded. “He has a message.”

Kaora nodded at the guards standing beside the door. One unlocked and opened it. A dragonair slithered in and bowed to the king.

“Your majesty,” the serpentine dragon said, “an ambassador waits in the entrance hall. She claims she comes from a newfound Guild of Windedge and wishes to meet you to establish good relations with our kingdom. Shall we bring her here, or turn her away?”

Kaora rolled her eyes.

“Hrmh,” rasped the king. “What is her gift?”

“A purebred eevee,” the steward responded. “A rather good-looking one, in my eyes.”

“Hrmh. Appetizer first, then we meet,” Zmey grunted.

“Then we shall wait to hear you are finished, your highness.” The dragonair bowed again and slithered out.

The steward gone, Kaora sighed. “One of these again… their guild will just fall apart in a year, why do they even bother?”

She shook her head. “Well, my presence is no longer required either way. I suppose it's none of my concern.”

She stepped away from the king, bowed and left the room herself. As the doors closed, she could hear a servant beginning to enquire the king on what he would like to eat.

---​

“The king will see you now,” announced the dragonair that had returned to the entrance hall seconds prior.

Took him long enough, thought Keith and shook his body to shed its lethargy. He leapt into Bella's lap, and the altaria got up from her bench.

The two mon and a few guards followed the steward across the grand halls and many stairs of the castle, little by little getting closer to the throne room. Keith often found himself nearly hypnotized by the motions of the dragonair, especially in the stairs where his gait transformed dramatically to manage the unusual surface.

Finally, they made it to the large, highly decorated doors that stood before them and the throne room. The guards standing before it made way and opened each their own half, allowing the altaria, eevee and dragonair in.

As Bella caught sight of the hydreigon king's face, the faintest of scowls flashed on hers. Luckily, he missed it.

The steward bowed, and Bella followed form. Keith nearly joined her, but remembered his act just in time. It was necessary, too, as he realized the king's gaze had been pinned onto him since he'd arrived in the hydreigon's sight. Discomforted, Keith chose to have his eyes wander around the room - a choice he didn’t regret, as the patterns on the walls proved very captivating.

“Your majesty,” began the steward, gesturing to the guests with the tip of his tail. “Before you stands Altaria Amedee, the ambassador of the Guild of Windedge. Shall you hear her message?”

The king's pupilless crimson eyes stayed on Keith, but he nodded with a grunt.

Bella cleared her throat and stood up straight - well, straighter.

“Your majesty,” she began. “It is my honor and joy to be here, face to face with the leader of the great, eternal Dragon Kingdom. I have brought with me a gift in hopes of forming a lasting bond of friendship.” She presented Keith, holding him beneath the armpits. “This is my offering! A purebred Windedge eevee male of great health and vigor.”

Keith dangled like that for a few silent seconds. He could feel all eyes in the room drilling into his skin. Most so of the king’s. Does… does he like me? Hate me?

A droplet of saliva dripped from the hydreigon’s main mouth.

O-oh. That answers that.

“So… is that all?” asked the steward.

“Oh, no, I have much to tell!” said Bella. “You’ll be delighted to hear all the wonderful qualities my lovely home has and why a friendship with such a guild is beneficial for both! And what better way to start than let your majesty hear our very own beautiful anthem!”

Keith’s ear twitched. This is it, the critical part! Gosh, I just hope it all goes smoothly...

Bella set Keith down and cleared her throat once more. Wings on her heart, she began to sing.

“Windedge, Windedge
The place I call my home
Where the birds sing
And bouffalant do roam…”

Keith hid a smile as he listened to the altaria’s song. He’d overheard her sing before, but it was always so lovely to him. Judging by the pleasantly surprised expressions of the other mon in the room, the feeling was shared. Even the king seemed somewhat content.

Bella continued her song, increasing her volume a little now that she’d gotten better into her flow.

“Proud as a pyroar
But sweet as a mareep
And now you all will
Go the heck to sleep!”

“Wait… what’d she just...” mumbled a haxorus guard next to the king. Her eyes then widened. “Hey, she’s trying to --”

Bella spread her wings, and the room was cloaked in thick fog one could barely see their toes in. “Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep!” she rapidly continued.

“Quick… get… her...” tried the guard, but lethargy began to weigh down more and more heavily upon her. The same went for the other guards, who’d barely taken three steps before the melody’s magic overpowered them. Metal clanked to the floor all around the altaria. The echoes would surely have been much louder if it wasn’t for the fog.

“Oh my Gods, oh my Gods,” whispered Bella, hopping from one foot to another. “I did it! I totally did it!”

She crouched before her eevee companion, who was already deep in a peaceful sleep. “Aww…” she sighed as she watched the bundle of fluff gently rise and shrink, but knew time was short and so grasped the eevee by its scruff and covered its mouth.

“Keith! Wake up!” she whispered, thoroughly shaking the little mammal.

“Whuh! Whuhm?” Keith tried, but was muffled by Bella’s feathers. He blinked rapidly, then recalled the situation he was in. He looked at Bella and nodded. “Mhm.”

Bella let the eevee go, then spread her wings again to remove the mist around them. The room was cleared, revealing all mon within asleep. “Alright… let’s do it.”

The two creeped to the slumbering hydreigon. Bella looked to Keith, putting wings on the sides of her head. Keith understood, covering his own ears and stepping aside.

“Sleep, sleep, sleep,” Bella melodically chanted as she carefully placed her wings under the hydreigon’s arms. He let out a chuckle, causing Bella to flinch, but still stayed asleep.

“Sleep, sleep, sleep,” she continued, grasping the dragon and dragging him away from the throne.

The king’s main head suddenly drooped to the side, dropping the crown. Bella gasped and braced her bones for the clang to come, but it never did - Keith had dived in just in the nick of time, catching the crown with his soft paws.

Both let out a sigh of relief. Keith placed the crown beside himself and returned his paws to his ears, allowing Bella to continue her quiet song. She gently lowered the dark dragon on the floor, picked up the key on his chest and pulled the necklace upwards until it passed the king’s head and came free.

Having stopped her chanting, she handed the key to Keith and lifted him onto the throne, face-to-face with the keyhole embedded in its back. Thank goodness the rumors were true, thought Keith as he inserted the golden key and twisted it. Something clicked, and the hatch could be opened.

A small tunnel continued roughly two meters into the wall. At its end waited a faintly glowing blue orb.

Keith and Bella exchanged a glance and a nod. Keith crawled into the tunnel, while Bella stayed back to make sure all the mon stayed asleep. Not that she could’ve joined him - it was far too small for an altaria, or any other full-grown dragon for that matter. It was designed to only fit the mon entrusted with the task of checking on the plate, the one with the title of Everbagon.

However, that design was built on the assumption that no non-feral non-dragon could ever enter the city of Farindon. And the fact that a goomy would never be allowed anywhere near the priceless, pristine architecture of the castle. And the hope that a noibat wouldn’t show up. It wasn’t a perfect design.

It was perfect for Keith, however, and so he crawled ever deeper into the tunnel. Finally, he reached the orb and hesitantly placed his paw on it, hoping dearly that there was no secret dragon-only mechanism set in place.

There wasn’t, and in a flash, he was transported to the other half of the teleport system. The tunnel continued for perhaps a meter with a large, open space on the other side, and a mystical gleam further on. That must be the Plate… Keith shuffled through the last of the tunnel and dropped down onto the floor.

A hall grander than he would have ever expected opened up before him. Giant arches curved over him, creating a colossal dome lit by nothing else than the glow in the very center of the hall.

Its light was wavering, dancing, sparkling. In places, it was green, and in others blue or violet, and these places changed constantly. It felt alive.

“Wow...” sighed Keith. The sound echoed for a full three seconds.

Heart pounding, Keith approached the pedestal the light shined on top of. As he came closer, he could distinguish a solid shape within. It was a flat, tall hexagon, wider at the top than at the bottom. Its surface glimmered as if it was covered in hundreds of tiny iridescent scales. That sight and the energy that radiating from the plate… they found the little spark inside Keith that made him travel all this way for possible dragonhood, and they made it a roaring bonfire.

This… this is it, thought Keith, reaching the foot of the pedestal. I can feel it, both in front of me and inside my own heart… the energy of change…!

He raised a paw. It trembled. All of him trembled.

Once I touch it… I'm sure of it. I'm gonna evolve. I'm finally gonna be a dragon. An awesome, fantastic dragon!

He extended a toe. He brought it closer to the plate. Closer. Centimeters away…

They all told me it couldn't be done, they all told me dragons were horrible… and now I'm gonna prove them wrong.

Millimeters…

I'm gonna evolve… now!

Contact.

---​
 
Parts Five & Six

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
yep, enough time has definitely passed by now. was totally waiting and didn't just forget again nope. anyway here's the conclusion to our gripping story. rated teen yet again. enjoy.

---

Part Five

---​

Blazing white energy surfaced on Keith's skin. It tingled, even seared, but Keith didn't mind - in fact, he loved it.

The energy clung to the eevee's body, molding and reshaping in like wet clay. His limbs and neck lengthened. His tail and ears became thinner. His collar of fluff was shed. Something in his eyes changed - though, naturally, he couldn't see what.

He felt stronger. His teeth felt tougher, sharper. He knew he was a beast, no longer a puny, helpless cub.

The energy finally subsided. Keith could see his surroundings again - and much better now. The darkness was thinner and all details sharper.

So this is how dragons see! I knew it, their sight is so much superior! And now I'll use it to take a good look at my awesome new dragon body!

Keith tore his gaze away from the Dragon Plate and looked down.

...Wait. This is…

He looked over his shoulder. His suspicion was confirmed.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

---​

Bella tapped her foot on the throne room's floor, anxiously glancing at the slumbering dragons around her. She fidgeted with the brown leather bag around her neck, a bag she'd snatched from one of the sleeping servants with the help of more sleep-chanting. The emptied contents, tidily organized, still lay beside the servant. To Bella, it was the least she could do.

“Come on, Keith, what's taking you so long…” Bella whispered to herself, rubbing her wings together. “Is he maybe so impressed by the Plate that he’s forgotten the time limit?”

She plunged her head into the throne's tunnel as far as she could. While her neck was long, it didn't even reach the halfway point.

“Keith! Hurry it up!” she hissed at the orb at the tunnel's end, though considered it somewhat likely that sound would not carry over the teleportational medium.

However, as if it’d heard after all, the orb began to glow. Bella withdrew her neck, dashed to the window and begun to heave it open. She grunted at its considerable weight, but her determination kept her strength unwavering.

As she kept her eyes on the entrance of the tunnel, a doubt crept into her mind. What if Keith really had evolved, and his new form was too big for the tunnel? He’d be stuck in there, probably in pain! What would they do then?

The entrance began to glow. A draconic aura emanated from it, growing stronger by the second. Bella sighed, her mind now at ease. She gave the window one last push to open it fully. A click came from the frame, signalling that the window was now fixed with the help of some locking mechanism. Bella rushed for the throne, ready to take her partner-in-crime onto her back and fly off.

Right as she made it there, a mon gruntingly squeezed its way out onto the seat of the throne, the Draco Plate between his jaws. Bella smiled for a split second, happy for her friend to have gained a new form - until she recognized what she saw.

The umbreon gazed at the ground, slit-pupilled eyes bitter and teary.

“Oh, Keith…”

Stomps arose behind the door, cutting their moment short.

“Sleeping on the job?” shouted a female voice. “You disgust me! Utter failures as guards, that's what you are!”

“Quick! We need to get out of here!” Bella whispered, opened the bag and held it out to Keith. After he'd dropped the glowing Plate within, she turned around. “Get on my back, and hold tight!”

Keith nodded and did as asked. He wrapped his forelegs around Bella’s neck, and the two flew out of the window.

“Phew,” sighed Bella, “crisis averted. Looks like we’ll still be able to make it to the meetup spot without much trou-”

Keith’s ears perked. “Wait, do you hear that?”

“Hear wh-what?”

Then Bella heard it as well. A familiar drone. “A lati… oh Gods, this is not good. H-how close do you reckon they are?”

Keith squinted. “I can see them. Her. A latias, right to the front, between those two bright stars, can you spot her?”

“Oh Gods,” Bella breathed as she, too, spotted the red cross-like silhouette. “It’s way too late to dive down and make a fog cloak - she’ll see it and know it’s suspicious. W-we just need to go right past her and play it cool. Though I don't know if that's gonna work with a non-dragon on my back as I'm leaving a dragon-only city…”

Keith grimaced in distress. Of course I have to not only evolve into the wrong form, but it has to be what makes the plan fail, too… He grit his teeth. This wouldn't even be a problem if I'd turned into a dragon like I was supposed to! Instead I'm just… an umbreon! What can an umbreon even do?

He paused at that thought. Hold on… that guard I met right before leaving Pelton… could I do that too?

He sighed. It's worth a try, at least…

“Bella!” he said, neck extended to get as close as he could to her head. “I'm gonna try to melt into the shadows!”

“You're gonna what?”

“K-key word is try! Just don't be alarmed if it looks like I disappeared - that's what I'll be trying to do!”

Bella didn't feel like she quite understood, but nodded nonetheless. “Okay. But be careful!”

“I will, thanks…”

Keith closed his eyes. He concentrated on his surroundings. He looked for the shadow, the cold to the moonlight's warmth. He could sense it, blurrily, much like the normal energies he could as an eevee.

There was much of that darkness beneath him, but he knew he couldn't use his own shadow - it'd disappear once he did. Back in Pelton, Mila told me once that if the water a vaporeon was merged in evaporated, it meant death, or loss of body parts if some didn't make it out in time… Keith gulped. It could just have been a myth, but I'm not taking my chances.

He opened his eyes and studied Bella's back. But what about the space underneath her feathers? They've got to add up to enough surface together, and the light can't make it all the way to her skin. That won't change no matter what turns she takes. But I don't know if I'll be able to enter that straight from here… He frowned. W-well, I still don't know if I can enter shadows at all…

“A-are you doing it, Keith?” asked Bella. “The latias is coming right at us…!”

“I'm gonna try now! Just keep it cool!”

Keith took a deep breath, then focused on the forepaw he had on Bella's shadow side. Uhh, how do I do this… please, new instincts or something, give me an idea…!

A thought passed his mind and he took it. Still keeping Bella's shadow in mind, he concentrated now on the shadow underneath his paw. On his paw. Inside his paw. Light couldn't get inside him, that was true. Which means almost all of him, in reality, was in shadow. He was shadow. And that shadow on Bella's neck, that was just like him…

“Whoa!” he cried. The matter beneath his paw had given way. It had submerged in it like a puddle… but also not. Puddles had depth, this felt all surface, yet still, the paw was in it…

Seizing the chance, he pushed his foreleg deeper. He shuffled his body closer and sunk his side in. Yes! I'm doing it!

The background drone that had gradually gotten louder before now abruptly faded. “Oh, hi!” greeted a female voice from afar.

No, I still need time!

“H-hi!” replied Bella to the slowed down latias - barely. The terror of getting caught mixed with the strange sensations and disappearing weight on her back were not gentle on her nerves.

“Whatcha got there on your back?” asked the latias, decelerating with the help of her psychic powers. She craned her neck to take a better look, but Bella turned fully to the latias, flapping her wings far faster to make up for the lost uplift in slowing down.

Keith flinched at the shadows shifting at first, but realized Bella's neck cast one right on her back. Perfect!

He breathed in sharply and dove the rest of himself in.

Entirely submerged in the shadow, his vision and hearing were gone. There were no longer any sounds or sights - only shadows of different sizes, locations and angles. Even strengths. One area had lots of little shadows arising from a large, smooth one. Keith realized this was Bella's plumage, and moved within.

Thank goodness… now I'm safe. I can breathe easy…

...no, wait. I can't breathe. I'm a shadow. B-but I need to breathe. It's starting to feel bad… I’ll need to come out again soon.

Wait… how do I come out?


In the material world, the two avian mons’ conversation continued.

“Wh-what do you mean?” replied Bella, feigning confusion.

“There was something on your back,” said the latias. “It looked weird, but also cool! What is it?”

“No, there's nothing --”

The latias glowed blue, then disappeared, then reappeared behind the altaria's back. Bella peeped in distress.

“Huh…” The latias tilted her head, puzzled by the empty back. “I could’ve sworn there was something…”

Bella sighed in relief as stealthily as she could.

“Sorry, that's my bad, then!” chimed the red mon and circled back to Bella's front. “Must've just been seeing things. Well, be seeing you. Fly on!”

She waved with her arm, then retracted it and zoomed towards the castle tower.

“Thank the Gods,” Bella sighed again and resumed her previous course. “Okay, Keith, I think you can come out now.”

Having received no response, she looked over her shoulder. “...Keith?”

---​

Cheri’s wings continued to cleave the air as she got closer and closer to the castle's tower.

Altaria have such pretty feathers, she thought to herself, and that one was no exception. I wish I could have a crest like that.

As she reached the tower, she dove straight for the open window. Weird that it's open like that… but maybe they wanted to ventilate the place a bit. It could use that, honestly. The king's got a kind of musk…

She peered in, studying the throne room to see if she was interrupting anything. Inside was the king along with some guards and servants… and Garchomp Kaora.

Cheri wrinkled her snout. Ugh, miss Big Shot’s here… and she looks pissed. Is she gonna whine at me, too?

Kaora's eyes widened as she noticed the latias. “Cheri! What are you doing here?”

“Wow, nice to see you, too,” Cheri scoffed. “I came ‘cause I forgot to bring something up during my report. My weather goggles broke the other day and I could really use --”

“To hell with your goggles!” shouted Kaora, drawing an indignant humph from Cheri. “We've got a far more important issue at hand! The Draco Plate has been stolen!”

“The Draco Plate…? Oh, that thingy.”

“Cheri, this is important. Did you catch sight of an altaria on the way here?”

“Oh, her? Yeah, I talked to her. She was pretty.”

Kaora threw her fins in the air. “You idiot, that was the thief! Did the massive energy radiating from the Plate not tip you off?”

“There wasn’t that much energy… and I thought she just had a strong aura!”

“Altaria are the most docile dragons the Original put on this earth! Shouldn’t you of all people know that, miss Mon Profiler?”

Now Cheri was the one to throw her forelimbs in the air. “Well excuse me, Head of Guard! How was I supposed to know a thief was on the loose before I even heard anything was stolen?”

Kaora nearly shouted something back, but restrained herself with a deep breath. She brought her claws together and reminded herself what was important.

“Cheri,” she began patiently but sternly, “as Head of Guard, I order you to go after this thief and retrieve the Draco Plate. The pride and fate of the Dragon Kingdom depends on it.”

“Why should I be the one?” Cheri groaned. “It’s not my fault it got swiped. And what’s so important about this stupid little plate, anyw-”

“Latias Cheri!” shouted Kaora. “I have given you an order! If you fail to comply, I will have all the reason in the world to discharge - no, not just discharge you from the Guard, exile you for treason!”

Cheri gasped. “No, what the hell? That’s so unfair! R-right, guys? Guys?”

She glanced at every face in the room, searching for support, but each one only gave a serious stare back.

“As the overwhelmingly fastest dragon available, Cheri, this is your duty,” pressed Kaora. “Now go, and do not return without the Plate!”

“Wh… I...” Cheri searched again for backup, but found none. “Fine!” she snapped. Little arms crossed, she took to the starry sky, and zoomed back towards the way she came.

---​

O-okay, don’t panic! Panicking’s just gonna make it worse! Just calm down and think… you got here by realizing everything beneath your fur and skin was shadow. Now what’s light about you? The surface? But that’s only light if it’s lit. And there’s no light in this shadow world, only the absence of darkness, so what could I possibly even come out of?

Keith began to feel pressure around him. Little by little, it grew stronger, squeezing his consciousness...

Oh Gods, is that the lack of air getting to me? Is this death? Is this dying? If I’m dying, this is the worst day ever! W-well, it already was, because I evolved into the wrong form, but it’s… worster! The worstest!

The pressure surged.

O-oh Gods, here it comes --

With one shove came an explosion of sensory stimuli. Whooshing of air, sensation of said air pouring into Keith’s airways, darkness one could actually see, pinpricks of light.

I’m… I’m back in the material world! Yes! I-I don’t know how I did that, but that’s gre-

Gravity. Acceleration downwards.

Wait, oh Gods, I’m falling!

“Gaaaah!” he screamed, limbs flailing but finding nothing to cling onto. The dots of the sky became streaks as he plummeted faster and faster.

“Keith!” Bella shouted. She closed her wings and dove down beak first like a spear. She sank through the air a little faster than Keith, eventually catching up.

“Hold on, I’ve got you!” she said - though her voice was largely drowned out by another scream from Keith as he'd managed to catch a glimpse of the dim snow rapidly approaching beneath him. The altaria ignored it and swooped beneath Keith. She angled her body horizontally to catch more resistance, slowing down her fall enough for the umbreon above to lower onto her back.

Keith flinched as he felt something press onto his back, but thanked his luck it wasn’t the ground. He stopped his scream and flipped around, wrapping his forelegs around Bella’s neck. His eyes widened again at the ground only meters away.

“Are you holding on tight?” asked Bella, hesitantly beginning to unfold her wings.

“I’m on, fly up, fly up, fly up!” Keith screamed in terror.

The altaria braced for impact and spread her wings wide. The air crashed against them, but slid off the back ends, sending Bella gliding in a forward slope less steep by the moment. The snow still approached, but slower and slower, until the altaria’s feet gently grazed the flakes on its surface.

Bella swerved to the left and kept her angle, catching herself in a shrinking spiral on the empty field. Eventually, her momentum fell to a manageable level, and she let herself lower onto the snow. She came to a stop.

“...Ow,” she sighed. “Keith, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I am,” Keith replied, hopping off. “Are you?”

“Well, I’m not dead, but...” She unfolded her wings, wincing. “That air hit my wings pretty hard… I don’t think I can take off for a while.”

“Oh no...” Keith looked to the sky with a frown. “This is all my fault...”

“No, no, that’s not true,” Bella rushed to say and shuffled through the snow to the umbreon. “Your shadow thing worked! The latias was totally fooled! You just couldn’t get out right because you were in such a difficult spot. And I hurt my wings only because I didn’t have enough time to ease myself into the glide. It was just an accident. And, well, we’re not that far away from the meetup spot!” She pointed to the woods to their right, recoiling slightly from the pain in her arm. “We can walk.”

Keith sighed. “Okay...”

They began trudging through the snow in the direction Bella had shown. Keith took the lead, even if it didn’t help much with his smaller size. He felt that he should repay Bella’s efforts somehow.

I guess she’s right about it being an accident, he thought. I can’t blame myself for the bad exit when I didn’t know how it was even supposed to be done. But I can blame myself for trying something so reckless in the first place. While it seems like you’re just ejected automatically after too long in the shadow, I didn’t know that. It was cocky of me to think I could perfectly figure out something I saw once just like that… it was crazy that I even managed to get in. I should’ve thought of a better, much safer idea...

As they entered the cluster of birches, their trek became easier thanks to the thinner blanket of snow. Both of the mon kept glancing back at the sky above, alert for any motion.

“So, Keith,” began Bella carefully.

“Hm?”

“...Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I already said I was, and you got way more hurt --”

“No, I mean like...” Bella sighed. “The evolution thing.”

Keith realized his new form again. “...Oh.” His throat tightened.

Bella caught up a bit closer. “If you don’t wanna tell me, it’s fine, but… what happened in the chamber?”

“I guess I should talk about it… get it out of my system, start processing it right…”

Keith stared at his paws. “So I got in the chamber just like I should, and the Plate was there. I could feel its massive energy, its power, and I thought it just had to be what I needed. I was so stoked when I touched it that, apparently, the happiness was enough to trigger a different path of evolution. And since it was nighttime…” He exhaled heavily. “Here we are.”

“Oh, Keith… I'm so sorry. That's really unfair.”

“I know, right?” He sniffled. “I was totally prepared to not evolve after all, I mean, I’ve been doing that since I was born, but I never thought I was gonna permanently ruin my… chances...” The sentence stuck to his throat.

“Keith, Keith, come here...” Bella wrapped her cloudy wings around the umbreon and leaned onto him.

Keith leaned back, eyes squinted and wet. Their embrace was warm but short-lived as Keith soon pried himself away.

“We should keep going,” he said. “Some troops are probably scouring the area already.

Bella nodded, and the two continued on their way in silence.

Eventually, after hundreds of trees passed by, they spotted the silhouette of familiar carriage in the distant dark. Its windows gave a faint glow through their curtains. The pair rushed their final stride, still glancing at the sky every now and then, and finally arrived at the meetup spot.

Molly, standing still in her harness, gave a gentle, pleased snort upon recognizing Bella, but seemed a bit wary of her black-furred companion.

“Yeah, it's me, good girl,” Bella whispered. “Sorry you had to be out here in the cold for so long…”

She faced the carriage door and gave the secret knock with her beak. The curtains on the window parted slightly with a sliver of Ared's face visible. His eyes widened, and the door was promptly opened.

“Bella, great,” said Ared, but froze only a second after. He pointed at Keith. “Who's that? Was he following you?”

“Calm down, it's just Keith,” Bella said, clapped her wings free of snow and entered the carriage. “There was just… an accident. Come on in, Keith.”

Keith climbed in mareepishly, shaking the snow off his paws outside as well before shuffling further in past the dragons’ legs and luggage. Doris, still contained in her bag-garment, greeted both mon with words while Rog gave a happy grunt.

Ared closed the door. “So how about the Plate? Did you get it?”

Bella nodded and took off her bag. Ared noticed her wince at something in her wings’ motions.

“Are you hurt?” he asked, then glared at Keith, who shrank in his seat.

“It's not his fault,” Bella interjected. “We both had our own accidents, okay?” She dug her wings in the bag. “Let's not dwell on that. Look at this!”

She produced the shimmering Plate. The other dragons gasped in unison.

“That’s so cool!” whispered Doris. “I can, like, feel how powerful it is, dude!”

Rog nodded, grinning. “Ruh!”

“It's neat, for sure,” remarked Ared, “but we better get going. I'll drive first. Doris, keep your antennae perked for any latis.”

“Will do,” the goodra replied, and Ared slipped out of the carriage. A few seconds later, the vehicle jerked into motion.

Keith hopped up onto the seat next to Bella, who began to tell the others all that had happened. The umbreon nodded along and smiled when Bella smiled, but his mind dwelled on different matters.

Now that he'd realized his shadow-sense, he couldn't ignore it. He could feel the presence of each shade from each object, every area void of the carriage lantern's light.

Each spot of black could give way beneath his paws and trap his body in the shadow world once again, forcing his breath to cease until he'd suffered enough and spit him back out. And what if there had been no safety mechanism after all, and the previous time had only been a lucky break?

Keith shook his head. No, I should be honest with myself… I’m not that scared of the shadows in the end. It took me a lot of concentration to slip in the previous time, I doubt it can happen so easily by accident. I should admit what's really bothering me.

Bella said the bad landing was an accident, and maybe it was, but what about evolving in the first place? I'm an eevee, I know how umbreon evolve, but I didn't think about it, I didn't make sure it was actually the Plate making me evolve. If I'd taken a step back, I would've realized it wasn't dragon-related. Then I could've suppressed it like I've already done a few times before and stayed an eevee… which in turn could have passed off as feral, and Bella wouldn’t have ended up getting hurt, and we wouldn't have wasted so much time walking and probably letting the guards get closer on our tracks…


He placed a paw on his forehead. Maybe I even cost these dragons their future with this stupid plan? I shouldn’t have egged them on… I should’ve stayed at home… oh Gods, how worried must my parents be…!

“You okay, Keith?” Bella asked, nudging him with a wing.

“O-oh, yeah, I’m fine,” Keith said. “Just... tired.” After all I’ve done… I don’t want to cause undeserved worry, too.

Bella smiled slightly. “Well, you’re free to sleep if you want to. You don’t have a driving shift.”

“Thanks...” I guess I might as well… I don’t feel like I deserve a rest, but I might be able to help later on and I’d like to give the best I can.

He lay down and curled up. His sleek black tail and its pale ring marking stared back at him. He sighed at the loss of his cub-form’s fluff, though did admit there’d be even less with a scaly tail.

The carriage’s journey continued for an hour or two. The dragons took turn driving, except for Doris, who was deemed busy enough with her listening. Each time she heard a lati’s drone, she warned the driver, who parked the carriage and returned inside for the duration of the psychic dragon’s flight. This constant scouting did mean Doris was the only one who wasn’t allowed to rest, but from what Keith could tell, she seemed to be handling it just fine.

But Doris wasn’t the only one who didn’t rest - the thoughts that bothered Keith made sure of that. They stayed in Keith’s mind, circling like mandibuzz, nipping at his heart with each regrettable memory that surfaced. The siege did not end before a call came from the current driver - Ared again - announcing the arrival to the seashore. Not that they entirely left after it.

This port was much larger than the one Keith had arrived on. The increase in size and amount of piers allowed for the operation of not only more lapras, but even wailord liners. These forms of transportation involved a wailord wearing a harness attached to both a saddle above it and a ferry behind it. This saddle-platform was naturally remarkably heavy and required a dozen strong flyers to take on and off.

After scouting the area to make sure none of the king's guard were present, Ared bought wailord liner tickets for the crew, and the carriage was driven onto the ferry. Molly was released from her harness and brought to the stable at the front. Several minutes later, the horn was sounded to announce the departure, and the wailord slowly began to paddle.

The group decided then to call it a night. They lay down in the carriage as comfortably as they could, which wasn't very, but was bearable and helped a little by the clothes they'd spread out for cushioning.

The greatest of cushions, however, was Doris enveloped in her bag. She didn't mind letting someone rest their head on her, so Rog and Ared played grass-water-fire for the spot. Ared won with fire, which Rog claimed was only because he'd expected Ared to take him for a rookie that uses fire. Ared would then choose water, and that's why Rog used grass. Ared claimed that he knew exactly what Rog had speculated and thought ahead, but Rog claimed that Ared had only picked fire because he himself was a rookie and just got lucky. Doris then said that if the argument went on, she'd make both sleep outside and let Bella sleep on her instead. The boys begrudgingly quieted. Given Rog's unique manner of speaking, Keith could barely tell what had just happened.

Shortly after, the mon of the carriage lay down to sleep - with the exception of Bella, who said she still wanted to take a short walk on the saddle, or as any passenger would call it, the deck. Promising to bring the least disturbance she could upon returning, she closed the door and left.

Bella ascended to the deck via one of the rope bridges attached to the leashes connecting the harness to the ferry. Only a few other mon seemed to be present, out to clear their heads or simply their lungs. The sky was mostly covered by the saddle's shelter, but by the edge, more could be seen. That's where Bella headed.

She sighed as she grasped the wooden railing. It was as cold out as before, but her plumage protected her from the chill quite well. She looked down at the sea crashing against the wailord's side, then up at the sky filled with stars. The moon, gibbous and waning, stared back as well, casting its pale veil upon the liner and the sea.

Bella closed her eyes and listened to the sounds around her. The sea, the whirling air.

Finally, we're safe…

“You!”

Bella gasped, eyes opened in an instant. Wh-who? Wait, oh Gods, I know that voice --

“I finally caught you!” snapped the latias hovering in midair, keeping the same speed as the wailord. “I knew you were always hiding when you heard my high-speed hum!” She crossed her arms and held her head high. “Well, I don't always make noise! I just had fly slower, and while that took forever, here we finally are!”

Bella didn't reply, only leapt into a run for the ferry.

---

Part Six

---​

“Hey! Stay where you are!” shouted Cheri. “Just give me the Draco Plate, and no one has to get hurt!”

The altaria continued her silent run. She reached the rope bridge and stumblingly began to make her way down. The other passengers on deck began whispering to each other, wondering what was going on.

Cheri clenched her hands into fists. “You wanna do this the hard way, then? Fine!”

Her head craned back, and indigo-glowing energy gathered before her open mouth. Gold and magenta sparks flew as she fired the blast.

Bella, having noticed the attack just in time, knew to jump and take flight - flapping her wings was still painful, but she knew being caught in the blow would be far worse.

The blast made contact with the rope bridge, ripping it in half and splitting a few planks. The leash connecting the deck and ferry luckily withstood the blow, being made of sturdier materials.

Bella glided down to the ferry and continued to run, now for the group's carriage.

“Guys! Guys!” she shouted, panting. “They found us! Wake up!”

“Ngghhh… what's that yelling about?” mumbled Doris inside, body stirring underneath Ared's head.

Keith perked his ears. “Isn't that… Bella?”

A nearby boom shook the carriage. Everyone within jerked upright.

“Guys! Help! It's a latias!” Bella screamed from outside.

“Bella!” Ared exclaimed, grabbed his bag and burst out the door. He nearly collided with Bella, but she swerved just in time and hid herself against the carriage.

A few meters ahead was a small crater in the ferry, and some meters above that hovered a furious-looking latias. Around the scene, some mon had stepped out of their own carriages to see what was happening and now stared in shock.

“What happened?” Doris asked Bella, standing in the doorway at first but backing up to let through Rog, who took to the skies barely a second after his exit.

“I-I was out,” Bella began in panic, “and the latias just appeared out of nowhere! She saw me and recognized me and --”

“She didn't make any noise?”

“No, she said she flew slowly!”

Doris grabbed her head. “Ah, crap…”

Keith jumped off the bench. “Wh-what do we do now?”

A snap rang out.

“Ow! Hey, that's cheating!” shouted Cheri.

“I think the boys have the right idea,” Doris said. “We need to fight. We have four dragons, we should be able to take a lati on!”

“Three dragons,” corrected Bella. “I don't think I can fight in this state…”

“Right. Still, three should fare just fine.”

“Should I stay here to look after the Draco Plate?”

Doris paused, then grabbed the bag that held the Plate. “No. This is what she's after. I can't have you caught in any wreckage she'd bring with her. You stay here, but we'll keep the Draco Plate away!”

The dragons nodded. Bella stepped in and Doris hopped out.

“Wait!” shouted Keith. “What do I do?”

“Uhh…” Doris looked out of frame. “Rog!” she called, and soon the dragonite swiped by to take the bag off her hands.

She turned back to Keith. “Can you fight?”

Keith flinched. “Not r-really…”

“Then, uhmm…” She glanced around, then shook her head and ran out of view. “Just stay there!”

“...Right,” Keith sighed. “I'd just get in the way.”

He stared at the floor. And mess up everything, just like I always do…

Bella shuffled closer and softly leaned onto Keith. “You still feel bad about before, don’t you?”

Keith nodded. “I wish I could make up for everything by helping out, but… I have nothing to offer.”

“You’re doing the best you can,” the altaria comforted. “That’s all that matters. Sometimes the best you can do is doing nothing.”

“But I...” He groaned quietly. “I’m a dark type now. It should be great against a psychic type!”

“But you don’t know how to attack yet, do you?”

“I don’t… but I learned to do that shadow thing! Even if I don’t know how to get out right yet, I learned it really fast, so why shouldn’t I --”

“You can’t make those assumptions, Keith. And even if you did figure out how to do an attack, you’d need to test it out first so you wouldn’t accidentally hurt someone on your team. I know it must feel wrong to you, but staying here is the responsible thing to do. If you want to help, this is the best way to do it.”

“Hrmmh...” Keith lay down. He tried to release his tension, but couldn’t - instead, it recoiled and caused him to jolt right back up.

“I’m only going to watch,” he said before Bella could interject. “I should at least be there in spirit.”

“Well… alright,” Bella mumbled, watching Keith step out. “But be careful!”

Keith nodded with a slight smile and shut the door.

---​

“What the hell?” growled Ared as he watched the latias zoom after Rog, no longer disorientated at all. “I hit her with the totter seed, you saw that! How come she recovered so fast?”

“Maybe it was a dud?” suggested Doris.

“Grhh…” Ared snatched another spherical seed from his bag and set it on the band of his trusted slingshot. “I guess. But if this next one fails, we'll know they all will.”

Doris nodded and began gathering up her own violet energy before her muzzle.

“What in blazes be all this ruckus about?” shouted an unfamiliar voice from afar. All mon outside turned in its direction, finding a lone clauncher on the edge of the deck.

“Buzz off, shrimpy!” snapped Cheri, halting her chase of Rog, who took the opportunity to catch his breath. “This is none of your business!”

“It be me business when when it have me ferry be torn apart, ye crook!” the clauncher screeched.

“Crook? I'm the one trying to stop these thieves! They took the Draco Plate, and I'm not stopping until I get it ba- ow!”

“Got her!” exclaimed Ared, pleased with another totter seed hitting its mark. “Doris!”

Doris fired her charged-up beam straight at Cheri. Unfortunately, the latias dodged just in time. The motion had a bit of a wobble, but soon stabilized, and the mon gave the ground-bound dragons a nasty glare.

“Damn it,” grunted Ared. “Looks like totter seeds are a no-go.”

Meanwhile, murmurs had arisen from the crowd that had gathered.

“The Draco Plate?”

Those guys stole the Plate?”

“But they don't even look that strong!”

“Or rich - look at that crappy carriage!”

“Some guard must have screwed up big time…”

“No, they have lots of guards watching over the throne room… they must all suck!”

“Where are those taxes going?”

“The King's breakfast buffet, I bet…”

Further in the background, the clauncher kept fuming, but none seemed to pay him any mind - possibly just from his speech getting so hectic it was barely comprehensible.

“Quit throwing those seeds!” snapped Cheri at Ared, but then sighed. “Ugh, forget it… I’m here for the Plate, nothing else matters! So give it!”

A strong telekinetic force took hold of the bag Rog carried over his shoulder. Before he could secure it in his hands, the bag yanked away, its strap snapping in half. The dragonite growled in distress and took flight after the bag, but he couldn't catch up. Cheri pulled it away too fast.

Finally, she caught it in her hands. Her smug expression signaled some triumphant remark to come, but it never came, as a pebble shot into her shoulder momentarily tore her claws off the bag - but long enough for the bag to fall and for Rog to catch it again.

“THAT'S IT!” screeched Cheri. “I'm gonna break you, haxorus boy!”

Instead of throwing her head back like Ared expected, she bowed it. Her eyes began to glow cyan. The space right before her forehead appeared to twist and waver, then a shimmering, pink light formed in the middle.

“Damn, she’s going psychic this time,” Ared grumbled. “Wh-what kind of attack will it be?”

He looked to Doris, but she was already running away. He grimaced, even if he knew that was probably the smart thing to do.

With a flicker of the light and a bone-shaking boom, Cheri’s distortion shot forwards, but its path was odd, twisting, unpredictable. Ared’s legs begged him to bolt, but his brain insisted exactly that would make the attack meet its target - which it became less and less certain of as the attack’s path stabilized, seeming to aim for his current spot instead, but the poor dragon’s joints had already been locked.

“Oh crap!” was all he could yell as he realized his fate had been sealed. Throwing his arms before him, even if it felt too late for that, he braced himself for the coming pain.

But it didn’t come. A shadow had leapt in from the left and intercepted the blast, which vanished upon their contact. The distortion rectified, and the light died like the flame of a candle blown out.

The shadow stood up straight, barely fazed by the blow, and shook its coat. Its markings glowed bright yellow.

“Keith?” Ared breathed.

Keith looked to him and Doris. He smirked. “Sorry for getting in the way.”

“Eaugh!” Cheri twisted her face to a degree even she must have known was excessive. “Of course you’ve gotta have a murkie with you too!”

Keith ignored her. “Guys, give me the bag!” he yelled to the dragons on his side. “If I’m holding it, she can’t yank it away with her psychic powers.” And I can finally help out in the fight, he thought, smiling.

“Gruh!” Rog swooped over Keith, dropping the bag. Keith caught it and peeked inside to confirm the Plate's presence. Still there, yes.

Cheri glared at the umbreon and the other dragons arriving by his side, ready to protect him. “Well, fine, no psychic attacks then!” she spat. “I have plenty of power in my dragon attacks alone.” Her eyes stuck to Keith. “And that'll serve as a lesson to you, non-dragon, that mammals shouldn't get that cocky!”

“Okay, guys!” Doris called. “Avoid her attacks, don't let any hit Keith, and any time you see an opening, blast her!”

Ared nodded determinedly and began to gather heat in his maw, but Rog barked in uncertainty.

Doris sighed. “Oh, right, your blizzard isn't fast enough and you have no other ranged attacks… um, fly up try to herd her into one spot. If she gets close, just scratch.”

“Ruh-huh.” Rog took flight.

Doris looked back at Cheri, who'd begun charging another blast of draconic energy. She stretched her legs to ready them for any necessary sprint, and prepared her own attack.

The first to finish was Ared. He leapt forward and a pillar of flame erupted from his mouth, directed at the latias. He almost smirked as it seemed the fire had engulfed the mon whole, but the corners of his lips drooped as he noticed her reappear right next to it, unharmed.

“Oh, great. She can teleport, too?” he grumbled, but began readying his next batch of flames nonetheless.

As Doris had hoped, Cheri's teleportation had reset her progress, meaning the goodra was the next to strike. Instead of simply launching her attack at the latias, though, she exchanged glances with Rog in the air. The dragonite understood - well enough, anyway, and fluttered his way behind Cheri.

Cheri, on the other hand, had her eyes on Keith, or more specifically, the bag held in his maw. She swerved rhythmically from side to side like an arbok flaunting its false face to a predator, all while the sparks leaking from her mouth grew brighter and more frequent.

Keith returned the stare, light on his paws. His heart pounded and thoughts raced. I do wonder what getting hit by a dragon blast would feel like… but if I test that out, it'll be with a dragon I like. Right now, I have a Plate to protect.

His eyes strayed, torn away by motion behind Cheri - Rog had dashed at the latias, paw ready to swipe. Keith realized his mistake and quickly looked away, wishing dearly that Cheri wouldn't have noticed.

The latias flipped around and released her attack.

A plume of indigo fire enveloped Rog. The entire ferry flashed blue, brightened even further by the reflecting sea around. A reflex drew Keith’s eyes shut. For several seconds, all he saw was an orange afterimage. But the ache in his eyes barely registered compared to the freezing fear that he’d been the one responsible for this.

Two more whooshes came with flashes of their own. Keith guessed they were Doris’ and Ared’s attacks, and he guessed right, as his opened eyes told him. Unfortunately, Cheri still seemed unscathed - even with the distraction of Rog, she’d spotted and dodged the attacks in time. Her glassy down still retained its sheen.

Rog had dropped like a fly after Cheri’s flames had subsided. Now, his plummet reached its end with a powerful splash in the sea.

“Rog!” cried out Doris and Ared, their mouths now free.

“Ah, whiskers!” exclaimed the captain. “Lifeguard! Mon overboard!”

From a shack at the back of the deck, a floatzel with a red band around his arm bust out. “Where?”

The captain, along with a few in the crowd, pointed towards where Rog had fallen. The floatzel nodded, ran to the edge and dove into the sea. He flinched as he locked eyes with an angry Cheri, but proceeded as usual when the latias seemed to decide he wasn’t a threat.

“And now...” Cheri whispered to herself. A blue glow covered her.

Keith grunted to get the others’ attention, but by the time they’d turned their heads, the latias had reappeared right before him. He leapt backwards, rendering a swipe at the bag a miss. He leapt again, but this time his hop was cut short by a collision with a shelgon in the crowd. “Howwy,” he apologized, and slipped past the spherical dragon into the mass of mon and carriages.

“Outta the way!” snapped Cheri as she shoved onlookers to her sides. Each push drew more whispers and tutting.

A splash and a thump came from the other edge, momentarily drawing everyone's attention, but releasing it as they recognized it as the floatzel. He had returned with Rog and was now analyzing his condition.

Doris’ antennae perked. “Ared, keep an eye on the latias,” she said to the haxorus and rushed to Rog's side. She sighed, relieved, as he saw him still breathing.

“Is he gonna be fine?” she asked the floatzel.

“He's unconscious and cold,” the mon responded. “Help me carry him to the sickbay. It's warm and dry there.”

“R-right!”

Doris gripped Rog's slippery body as well as she could, and the two began carrying him towards the deck.

In the middle of the ferry, Cheri had finally lost her patience. She rose above the crowd with a growl.

“Alright, all of you!” she shouted. “As mon of the Dragon Kingdom, it’s your duty to cooperate! Where among you is the umbreon?”

“Don’t answer her!” roared Ared, drawing the mon’s looks to him. “She can’t do anything to you if you all just stay quiet!”

“Shut up, axe-face!” Cheri glared at a few randomly picked mon, making sure they all winced at her. When one didn’t, however, she spoke up.

“You!” She pointed at the mon in question, a weavile who stood with a slouch and an unintimidated face. “You know where he is, don’t you? Spit it out!”

“Why should I?” the weavile replied. “It’s not like you’d actually believe me, since I am just a lyin’ murkie.”

The mon around him exchanged nervous glances and shuffled a bit away. “He’s in trouble...” mumbled someone.

“Fine, have it your way,” groaned Cheri and picked another mon, this time a dragon. “You there --”

“Excuse me, latias, but I’m not done,” continued the weavile, drawing a scowl from Cheri. “You see, I heard you use that word - the m-word, as we civil mon call it - for that umbreon as well, so I’m assumin’ you’re no stranger to it.”

“So, what, are your feelings are hurt?” Cheri sneered. “Tough! It doesn’t matter what some non-dragon thinks. Now, I have a job to do, so just shut up and --”

“Non-dragon this, mammal that… call me crazy, but it's soundin’ an awful lot like you’re one of those dragons who don't think the folks of other types deserve any respect!”

He turned to the crowd. “Hey, everybody! This miss here thinks non-dragons are worthless! Barely above ferals, if even that! Do you all agree?”

The mon around looked away, fidgeting with their clothing, manes and scales.

“Come on now,” the weavile continued. “Don’t tell me y’all are just a bunch of mareep!”

A brief silence reigned, but then motion came from his right.

“H-hey, don’t say things like that!” bleated a young mareep that stepped into view. “We m-mareep aren’t any more cowardly than other types of mon!”

“That’s the spirit!” said the weavile and patted the mareep on the back, much to her surprise. “Now, how do you feel about that latias here that no doubt thinks your kind is nothing but dull-faced, subservient walkin’ pillows?”

The mareep stared at the weavile’s claws, then at the latias they pointed to, then over her shoulder at her ampharos parents inaudibly screaming and flailing at her to stop whatever she was doing.

She stomped a hoof on the ferry’s wooden planks, eyes fiery and locked onto Cheri. “I think that’s a load of crap, and that no one like that should be in charge of anything!”

Cheri clasped her cheeks in exaggerated shock. “Ooh, and what are you gonna do about it? What are any of you gonna do about it? The only non-dragon thing that stands a chance against a dragon is ice, and all of those are way too slow and frail! It’s just a fact dragons have the best type! No real weaknesses!”

The mareep puffed her chest. “What about fairies then, huh?”

“Fairies?” Cheri burst into laughter. “Yeah, okay! I suppose they’re just gonna hop off the storybook pages, huh? Grow up, kid! Fairies are just a myth non-dragons keep alive to tell themselves dragons aren’t that powerful! You’ve been lied to!”

“You’re kiddin’ me, right?” mumbled the weavile. “I know they’ve gotten rarer, but sheesh...”

“Fairies, the things they’ll believe...” Cheri chuckled to herself, but then shook her head. “Okay, this has gone on long enough!” she shouted. “The next one to bother me better tell me where the umbreon is, or I’ll blast them right off the ferry!”

“O-oh yeah?” This time, a pale ninetales stepped forth. She trembled a little, but kept her face fierce. “Try me, then!”

“Wha…” Cheri blinked. ”Uh, I mean... fine by me! Let this be an example of what happens when you don’t cooperate with a guard!”

The latias drew a deep breath, gathered a heap of draconic energy before her jaws and let it fly right at the ice type.

The crowd gasped and retreated, but the ninetales stood still to the very end when the blast made contact with her face - and after it, completely unharmed, no trace of the attack.

“Wh-h… how?” Cheri bumbled, eyes wide.

“Because I...” The ninetales stood tall. “I’m a fairy! And I’m not afraid to admit it to a bully like you!”

“Wh-WHAT?” the latias screamed. She cowered back, as if she’d seen Kyurem himself. “N-no, fairies don’t exist! They only exist in… f-fairytales!”

“You’re wrong! We do exist! A-and that means… you dragons aren’t as invincible as you think!”

“M-me too!” A granbull shouted, raising his paw. “I’m not a normal type! I’m a fairy! Full-blooded!”

A suitcase of a druddigon nearby began to rumble, then it opened, a tiny green-and-white creature with a red flower peeking out. “Same here!” it peeped. “I’m a fairy, and I should have the right to live like any citizen! I shouldn’t have to be smuggled by someone else to get around!”

“Dude, shut up!” the druddigon hissed through his teeth, eyeing the clauncher standing on the edge of the deck. “The captain’s right there!”

The weavile stroked his chin, then spoke up again. “So, let’s sum it all up! This latias here is supposed to be in one of the highest positions in the Guard, and the things she’s done include…” He pointed to the broken bridge. “Property damage!” He gestured to the pale ninetales. “Attackin’ a civilian!” He spun his paw around. “And insultin’ all non-dragon citizens of her kingdom! Does that seem like someone you want to enforce the law?”

“No!” shouted all the ones that had spoken before. “N-no!” shouted a few more.

“Ask the one next to you!” the weavile yelled. Another wave of whispers came. He turned to a hydreigon on his right. “Dragon! Do you side with the latias? Or do you side with these honest, hard-workin’ mon?”

The hydreigon trembled, cowering under Cheri’s glare. His secondary heads grit their teeth. “I-I...”

“Don’t let her bully you into silence!” the weavile pressed. “Answer as your heart truly believes!”

“Um, I d-don’t really know what’s going on...”

“Well, do you think non-dragons are worse than dragons?”

“N-no!”

“Do you think the mon who think so should be runnin’ a kingdom?”

The hydreigon looked away from the latias. “They p-probably shouldn’t, to be honest!”

The weavile stood on his toes. “How about the rest of you dragons on board? Do you agree with the latias’ form of policing?”

Scales rattled loudly as an elderly kommo-o shook her fist in the air. “I don’t! A dragon is supposed to act with honor and respect! Not like this little brat!”

“Brat?” Cheri snapped.

“You are a shame to all dragons, young lady! I demand you apologize to all of these fine mon!”

“Never!”

The kommo-o punched her fists together, creating a clang that echoed across the ship. “Then we will make you sorry!”

The weavile grinned. “What a great idea! Let’s bring her down!”

“Yeah!” yelled the crowd - or, sufficiently many in it did, creating that illusion.

Cheri raised her hands. “Hey, you’re not actually thinking of --”

A beam of freezing light shooting past her, barely missing, answered her question.

---​

The door to the sickbay opened. Doris turned around, her face brightening as she recognized the one to enter.

“Keith!” She rushed to the umbreon with the bag between his jaws and closed the door behind him. “Are you okay?”

Keith set down the bag and licked his lips a few times to get rid of the leather’s taste. “Yeah, I’m okay. Is Rog?”

“The patient is making a fine recovery,” announced the floatzel, sitting in a chair by the desk with a book in his paws. “I recommend that he stays indoors for the rest of the night, however.”

Just then, the dragonite coughed.

“Oh, he’s coming to,” the floatzel remarked.

“Rog!” Doris went to sit beside the waking blanket-wrapped dragonite on the bed he lay on. “How do you feel?”

“Gruhh… o-kay.”

A low boom came from outside, accompanied by a purple flash.

Rog gave the window a stressed a stressed stare. “Hrmm…”

Doris’ eyes widened. “Keith, the latias didn't see you come in, did she?”

Keith shook his head, and the goodra sighed in relief.

“Even if she did,” Keith added, “she seems pretty preoccupied with what's going on out there.”

“I heard some of it,” Doris said. “The mon, are they really…?”

Keith nodded, smiling. Doris smiled back, as widely as a goodra can.

“Hm?” Rog tilted his head.

“Oh, Rog…” Doris brought her paws together. Tears of slime gathered up in her eyes. “They’re finally doing it… they're rising up!”

“R-ruh!”

“Yeah! We did it!” she laughed, lunging into Rog for a hug. The floatzel wrinkled his muzzle, unsure if exposure to goodra slime was good for a recovering patient.

Keith’s ears picked up the slightest of sighs from Doris.

“Doris, you should be out there,” he said. “I can keep Rog company while I watch the Plate.”

Doris looked at Keith, then at Rog. Rog nodded.

The goodra squeezed him again. “Thank you!” she chimed and hurried out.

Keith moved the bag to the edge of the bed and cautiously climbed on top of Rog’s lower body. As the dragonite seemed only pleased to have a leg warmer, the umbreon lay down and made himself comfortable.

---​

“Hey, cut that out! That’s not fair!” yelled the mareep, twisting her head around to keep up with the repeatedly disappearing and reappearing latias.

“Oh - yeah? Well - make - me!” taunted Cheri inbetween warps, dodging several attacks bounding from the crowd.

“Guess we gotta find some way,” muttered the weavile, rubbing his chin.

“Hey, weavile?”

The weavile turned his head to see a haxorus in a winter coat approaching.

“I’m Ared. One of the Plate thieves.” The haxorus offered his hand. “Big fan of what you’ve done here. What’s your name?”

The weavile took Ared’s hand and shook it. The chill of his claws made Ared shiver.

“Not a fan of givin’ out my name,” the weavile said, “but for the time bein’, you can call me Vic. Not my real one, but still more personal than just ‘weavile’.”

He lowered his claws and followed Cheri with his eyes. “Got any ideas for takin’ her down?”

Ared scratched his jaw. “Could some psychics hold her in place?”

“We’re already trying,” interjected a gardevoir next to them, “but she won’t hold still long enough for us to focus!”

“You? Plural?” asked Vic.

The gardevoir nodded. “We’re talking telepathically.”

“How long do you need her to stay in place?” asked Ared.

“Uhh… two seconds, maybe? Three at worst.”

“I see...” Ared flicked his tail. “So we need something that can hit her and throw her off her teleportation streak for a couple of seconds.”

“Yup,” said Vic. He looked at the gardevoir, apprehensive. “Hey, I’m not... botherin’ your telepathy too much with my presence, am I?”

“No, not at that distance. But thanks for asking.”

“Ared!” shouted someone.

Ared turned to the voice and saw a familiar goodra coming his way. “Doris! Is Rog okay?”

“Recovering, yeah. Keith’s looking after him. And the Plate.” Doris looked around and rubbed her paws together. “So, we rising up?”

“Trying to, but the damn latias won’t stay in place,” replied Vic. “You one of the Plate thieves?”

“Yep! You one of the riser-uppers?”

“Please, he basically started it,” remarked Ared. “His name’s Vic.”

Doris clapped her paws. “Oh, thank you so much for your work --”

Vic raised his claws. “We can get to know each other later. For now, we’re tryin’ to think of a way to get the latias to stay in place for a couple of seconds so the psychics can trap her. Then we can basically do whatever we want. Current plan is turning her into an iceberg and leave her floating in the sea.”

“Haha, nice,” Doris snorted.

“So I’m guessing we can’t use any wide coverage attack,” said Ared, “since that would just hit our own people, too… but precision attacks aren’t fast enough.”

“Well… how about a homing attack?” suggested Doris.

“Where are you gonna find one of those that’s fast enough?”

“Right there.”

The mareep stared at the Doris' leather covered paw pointing at her, dumbfounded.

“Me?” she bleated.

The two ampharos behind the mareep hugged her protectively. “No way!” said one of them, the father. “You're not getting our daughter into any more trouble!”

“Well, does either one of you want to help instead?” asked Doris. “We need lightning. It's faster than almost everything and it homes in on its target.”

“Find someone else!” spat the mother.

Vic scanned the crowd. “It doesn't seem like we have any other electric types on board.”

“Someone could still know how to harness electricity,” said Ared, “even if they don't have the type. Should we ask around?”

“Wait! I'll do it!”

The mareep squirmed out of her parents’ hold and hopped closer. “I wanna help!”

“Bridget, no!” cried her mother, but the mareep raised a hoof.

“Mom, this is how we can show how brave we are!” Bridget said. “Grandpa's always saying how sick he is of everyone thinking of the mareep family as cowardly and meek!”

“Honey, it's a sweet thought, but your grandfather is completely nuts. He once put on a mightyena pelt and tried to infiltrate a feral pack. You shouldn't listen to what he says!”

“But Mom, they only need me for one little shock! That's all it takes to save the day! Don't you want the day to be saved?”

Doris stepped closer. “Sir, ma’am, you have my word that your daughter will be safe. We’ll have everyone we’ve got covering her back. The latias won’t know what hit her.”

“Absolutely not,” hissed the mother and pulled Bridget back into her embrace. “Hank, let them hear --”

“I’ll do it,” the father said.

“What? No!”

“If it’ll defuse the situation and keep my daughter safe, I’ll do it!” he proclaimed, fists clenched and eyes determined. “Just tell me what to do.”

“Yay, Dad!” Bridget nuzzled his father’s side. “You’re so cool!”

“You just want her to like you better, don’t you!” grumbled the mother.

Hank did not react. “Just tell me what to do,” he said, looking to the dragons and weavile.

“Well, I do have a plan,” said Doris, glancing above to make sure the latias was far enough away. “Here’s what we could do...”

---​

What are they up to…? No one’s tried to attack me in a while...

Cheri's view of the ferry changed angles repeatedly as she continued to warp here and there.

I'm getting sick of this. But it's not like I can stop. If I stay still for longer than a second, someone in the crowd might blast me. She grimaced. Dammit! I can't keep track of this many mon. I should have backup for stuff like this! And I still haven't spotted the umbreon anywhere! Where is it hiding?

She noticed motion in the crowd, more than there was before. Oh, they're definitely doing something… I need to be careful. But as long as I've got my awesome psychic powers and speed, I should be just --

“Hup!” shouted someone. A yellow mass flung upwards from the crowd, considerably high - higher than even Cheri.

What the hell is that? Cheri squinted, but her rapidly changing vision made it too difficult to identify. I better quicken up my pa-

Arcs of electricity danced around the mass.

Oh crap! Quick, warp aw-

But in the blink of an eye, a bolt reached her. She screeched as it drenched her in flesh-frying currents --

Wait, this isn't… strong at all?

Her screech cut as quickly as it started. And it's over already? That was like the zap from a metal door handle! What a joke!

“Aaaghh!” screamed the yellow mass as it began its downward descent, having reached the peak of its trajectory. The panicking didn't quite stop even after the creature was safely caught by a passing staraptor and brought back to the ferry.

Cheri snorted. Okay, that was weird… but I guess I'll just go back to teleporting. Here we --

But the view didn't change.

Uhh…

She tried again, but the blue flash she’d see with each warp brought nothing new.

Her heart thumped faster. D-did it… break… somehow? Did I fill a quota for the day? Why can't I teleport?

You know what, doesn't matter, I need to get moving! I'll just fly like usual!


She withdrew the psychic energy coating her and tried to move - but she stayed in place, and her blue glow didn't leave. What?

“We've got her!” shouted a mon in the crowd - a gardevoir. Cheri gawked at her blue aura, then glanced around and saw a few others with the same coating of light.

“Hey, what the hell?” the latias snapped, flailing helplessly in place. “Let me go!”

A jynx chucked. “Oh, honey… you really didn't learn any dark type techniques to bust you out of that hold?”

“I'm not gonna learn any murk-type moves!” Cheri growled. “You wanna keep me in place? Fine! Let's see how you like my attacks!”

“Defenders! In position!” called the weavile, and more crowd-shuffling commenced.

Cheri charged up a draconic blast and let it fly right at the weavile, but an azumarill slid in front of the attack before it could connect. The attack dissipated, no harm done to the water type.

Cheri gasped. N-no! Those pudgy blue ones have fairy blood as well? J-just how many here are fairies? Fairies aren’t even supposed to exist! This has to be some kind of trick!

Her teeth chattered. What can I do? If I use a dragon attack, a fairy will block it, and if I use a psychic attack, a murkie will block it! A-and I don't know any other types of moves! This is bad!

Wait!
she gasped. There's no way they can block an attack if it’s wide enough to cover the whole crowd!

She closed her eyes to focus. Come on… I need to make this strong so it’ll still pack a punch despite being so spread out…

The space before her twisted slightly, then more and more strongly. It began to glow with rosy light, and its shape started to flatten.

A smile crept on the latias’ face. Yeah, this is strong alright! This'll show them nicely what you get for messing with a lati! Just a little bit more…

---​

“Hey, she's trying something!” whispered Ared, eyeing the strange blanket of warped light and air taking form before the latias.

“Doesn't matter!” said Vic, a ball of freezing cyan light between his claws. “Our ice will go right through!”

“Will it, though?” Ared asked. “She is a lati, and we don't know what kind of move she's pulling. Worst case scenario, it'll reflect!”

Vic snarled. “Well, it's not like anyone can try a dark type attack, that would break our own hold of her!”

“Not if you fire right as it hits!”

Ared, Doris and Vic all glanced behind them.

“Keith? What are you doing here?” hissed Doris at the umbreon. “You’re supposed to be guarding Rog and the Plate!”

But Keith didn’t appear to be listening - he swiveled his head side to side, looking for something. “Where’s the mon that threw that ampharos from before?”

Vic kept glancing between the umbreon behind him and the latias in the sky. “What are you --”

“There! That’s the one, right?” Keith ran up to a machoke a little away from them. “Hey, you need to throw me at that latias!”

Doris’ eyes widened, and she rushed to the umbreon. “Keith, no! What are you talking about?”

Keith looked deep into Doris’ eyes. The determination in his red irises caught her by surprise.

“If you throw me at her and then fire right as I hit her, she won’t have time to move away!”

“But the blast will hit you, too! You’ll be frozen solid!”

“I’ll be fine! I’m a mammal! I’m… I’m not a dragon!” Keith prodded at the machoke with his snout. “Come on!”

Confused but sufficiently pressured, the mon picked him up in her burly arms. “A-at the latias?”

The umbreon nodded. The machoke changed her hold to one more suitable for throwing.

“Keith, this is cra-” tried Doris, but a shout from Vic cut her off.

“She’s craning back! We have no choice!”

“Throw me now!” yelled Keith.

The machoke leaped back. She ran forwards. With a powerful thrust, she hurled the umbreon at the latias. “Hup!”

“Keith!” shouted Doris. And Ared. And Rog from the window of sickbay.

Vic and Keith yelled a different word.

“Fire!”

---​

It’s finished! It’s finished! thought Cheri, a mad grin splitting her snout. And so are they, once I let this baby fly!

She craned back her head, ready to fire, but stopped at the sight of a strange, cyan glow from the crowd. ...What’s that?

She shook the thought. Nah, doesn’t matter! This attack will disrupt all of them, anyw-

“Hup!”

“Keith!”

“Fire!”

What the --

She didn’t have much room for thought. Between the surge of the crowd’s glow and the grimacing umbreon rapidly approaching her, her brain was fully occupied.

The umbreon crashed right through her pane-like attack, shattering it, and collided with the latias’ chest next. The impact squeezed the air out of her lungs - but it also pushed her body back, causing her to realize her telekinetic prison had now been broken.

Hah, idiots! she thought. Now I can move ag-

The air around her plummeted in temperature. A tempest of icy light had broken free of the crowd, headed right for her and the pesky furball.

With the few cells in her brain still capable of sapient thought, she produced an exclamation.

“OH, KYUREM’S CLOA-”

---​

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Crack!


A wave of gasps passed over the crowd. The thumping of their hearts was nearly audible.

But Vic sighed in relief. His claws had cracked the giant chunk of ice right where they needed to - exactly between the latias and umbreon trapped within.

“Okay, everyone, stand back!” ordered Ared. “Save for the ice types - you stay. And why not the dark types and fairies, actually. You may be needed in neutralizing attacks.”

The crowd shuffled, mons of the three mentioned types staying in or coming to the front and the rest receding.

Vic exchanged glances with the two fighting types positioned at both ends of the ice - the elderly kommo-o and the machoke - and hopped off the chunk onto the ferry’s wooden floor.

“Alright, now slowly pull them apart on my command,” Vic said, preparing a sphere of icy air between his claws. “And stop right away if I say so. We don’t wanna accidentally break off a paw if it’s stuck to the other half. Okay, ready?”

The two fighters nodded.

“Pull,” said Vic.

The air was filled with a loud scraping as the two halves of the ice slowly separated along the ferry’s floor. The clauncher captain was not happy about the noise, having witnessed enough damage done to his liner for the day.

The fighters remained vigilant for any call to stop, but none came. Instead, the first words to break the silence were a polite ‘thank you’ from Vic. The halves had been pulled far enough apart for him to fire his attack at Cheri’s half, covering her exposed side with more ice to safely seal her in.

“Alright, that’s good,” he said, swiping his paws clean of excess frost. “Everyone, the latias is in the iceberg!”

“Yeah!” cheered the crowd, some mon even clapping.

The psychic mon at the side of the ice had received their cue, and so a pale blue coating covered the latias’ chunk. Slowly, the mass began to rise, then slide away from the ferry. It lowered onto the sea’s waves and finally, it came free, bobbing up and down with powerful ripples around it.

“Good riddance,” snorted Ared, eyes on the frozen latias, but a tap at his shoulder shifted his attention.

“Don’t celebrate yet,” said Doris and gestured to the ice still on board. “We gotta get Keith out of that.”

“Right!” He hurried to the icy umbreon and the few fire types and dragons gathered around it, already blowing hot air on the chunk.

As Ared joined the effort, Bella watched nervously. She’d been fetched from the carriage a little prior, as the dragons assumed she’d want to see how Keith was doing.

“M-make sure not to make the air too hot,” the altaria said. “You don’t wanna burn him.”

Eventually, Keith was wedged free of the ice. He’d started breathing, but his eyes still remained closed from when he’d squeezed them shut for the impact. A charizard volunteered to carry the cold umbreon, and he headed for the sickbay along with Bella and Ared.

“So,” started Vic after the mon had left, “Doris, was it?”

Snapped out of her thoughts, Doris turned to the weavile. “Hm? Yeah, I’m Doris. Thanks so much for what you did, by the way.”

Vic waved a paw. “No biggie, I’m always down for some disrespectin’ of authority. But I gotta ask… what exactly are you folks plannin’ to do with the Plate? Why’d you steal it?”

“I’d like to know, too,” said the old kommo-o, stepping forth. “I don’t wanna help any bad-intentioned mon, you know.”

Mumbles came from the crowd, suggesting curiosity there as well.

"Well…" started Doris, "I guess we're not really planning to do anything with the Plate itself. The point was just to steal it, to make people lose respect for the King. I mean… does the Plate actually even do anything?"

The crowd muttered. Shrugs could be seen.

"I guessin' it's just a status symbol," said Vic. "Like crown jewels or so."

"Yeah… what would we even do with it…?" Doris pondered.

She noticed a haxorus descending from the deck via the rope bridge that was still intact. It was Ared, and he carried the bag with the Plate.

"Hey y'all," he said, arriving by Doris' side. "Keith seems to be recovering just fine, says the floatzel. Thought he was just a lifeguard, but I guess he doubles as a medic."

"That's good," replied Doris. "Hey, did we have any plans for what to do with the Plate?"

"I… don't think so," said Ared. "Bella said stealing it would destabilize the Kingdom and make people lose faith in the current ruler. But she didn't say anything about what we should do after that."

"I guess Keith's the one that actually wanted the Plate itself, so that he could evolve into a dragon. But that ship kind of sailed…"

Ared scratched his chin. "We can't exactly sell it. Way too trackable."

Doris nodded. "But I don't think we can, like, keep defending it forever, either. We're just four dragons."

Ared dug into the bag and produced the Plate. It glimmered in beautiful colors, emitting a draconic aura… but aside from that, it seemed just like any ordinary plate.

Doris turned to the crowd. "What we wanted was an uprising," she declared. "What we didn't expect was for the non-dragons to be the key. Thank you all for proving we don't need to put up with bad mon in power!"

She raised her fist, and the crowd cheered. Her lips formed a smile impossible to suppress.

"We did it…" she sighed.

Ared smiled, too. In a few seconds, however, his expression changed to a contemplative one.

"Hey…" he began, "there was that one thing we talked about doing with the Plate…"

"Hm?" Doris raised her brow. "Wait, you mean…"

"The thing I said as a joke, yeah," Ared said. "Only… could it really be…"

Doris held her chin. Then, she laughed.

"Yeah. Let's do it!"

---​

The umbreon's eyes shot open, wide as plates.

"You threw it away?" he screamed.

"Y-yeah," said Doris. "I mean, it seemed like the smartest thing to do. Mon can be threatened and tracked, but the ocean is unrelenting and vast. Plus, it's gonna be a real pain in the neck for the Guard to try and get it back."

"B-but… we worked so hard to get it…" Keith whimpered, shrinking on the bed of the sickbay.

Bella put a wing around Keith's body, which had warmed up to a healthy temperature during his rest. "You should've consulted us first," she grumbled. "We'd probably have agreed anyway, just with less heartbreak."

Rog merely chuckled.

Ared crossed his arms. "Well, someone on board could've snagged the Plate while Keith was out and we were sleeping."

He felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned his head to face Doris.

The goodra pouted, staring into the haxorus' eyes. "Don't you have something to say?"

Ared wrinkled his snout and snorted.

"Come on, he deserves to hear it," Doris continued.

"Mrrh… fine," Ared growled. He looked away, avoiding Keith's eyes especially.

"I'm sorry for being hard on you, Keith," he muttered. "What you did back there was really cool and respectable."

“Oh. Umm… thanks,” replied Keith. “Are we… friends now?”

Ared squeezed his eyes shut and scowled.

Rog snorted.

“Anyway,” started Bella, “what’s important that we all made it out okay. Right now, I think it’s high time we get some breakfast, huh?”

That caught Ared’s attention fully. “I’ll go get the meat!” he said, rushing out. “We’ll meet at the cooking spot!”

“I hope he doesn’t get the mareep,” mumbled Doris. “That’s gonna get us weird looks from the ampharos family...”

---​

Ared did get the mareep meat, and the group did receive weird looks from the ampharos. The electric types were sitting two tables away in the deck’s dining area, hay and vegetables on their plates.

“It’s feral!” Ared exclaimed in response to one glance. Their glowers still didn’t relent.

“Just ignore them,” said Doris. “It’s only culture shock.”

Rog chuckled quietly. “Shock...”

Keith was too engaged with eating to react. Soon the others fell into a silence of culinary appreciation as well. Once breakfast was over, the dragons retreated to the carriage - except for Bella, who wished to stay a bit longer on deck. Keith decided to keep her company, and the two walked to the edge to watch the sea and the early sun.

“You sure you’re not cold?” asked Bella.

“I’m sure,” Keith replied, free of worry. “I’ve got my coat of fur.”

"Alright, then…"

They spent a moment only studying the white-fringed waves. Wild wingull cawed above. It seemed that they were close to shore.

"Hey, Keith?" asked Bella.

"What is it?"

"This is weird, but can I pet you?"

"Oh, yeah, go ahead!"

"Because I feel like this is gonna be the last time we'll see each other in a while…"

Keith's smiled faded at Bella's pensive expression.

He soon managed to return it, however. "Don't worry, you can always come see me! Especially you, you know. Pelton has kind of a… dragon-phobia thing like I told you, but you can totally pass as just normal and flying. Maybe even fairy and flying, or maybe even pure flying! You're very cloud-y, you know."

Bella smiled. "Thanks, Keith. I'll definitely visit."

Keith pushed his head underneath Bella's wing. "Now, pet me!"

“Heh, alright...”

She scratched his head as best as she could with a wing covered in fluffy feathers. He purred in response. The pitch was now lower in his umbreon form - and so was his voice, now that Keith thought about it.

"Hey, hold on," said Bella. "There's something here."

"Huh? What do you mean?"

She kept rubbing one spot on his head in particular. Then another, on the other side. That does feel kinda weird, thought Keith. He winced. Gods, I hope they're not some kind of mites!

"They're, like, hard…?" She craned in for a closer look, then gently pecked at the spots. "Yeah, they're small, yellow and hard. Do umbreon usually have these?"

Keith tried his head with his own paws, feeling the hard bumps himself. "I… don't think so? These weren't here before, either."

"Really weird…" mumbled Bella. "They're kinda like… horns."

Horns…?

Keith's eyes widened.

"They're… dragon horns," he breathed.

"What? How so?"

"B-back at Pelton, the drampa who told me about the Plate… he said the Plate was able to give dragon-like qualities to the mon around it. I thought it was evolution, but, but… i-it's gradual, instead!"

Bella gasped. "R-really?"

"Yeah!" Keith laughed, barely believing what was happening. "This must've happened during the time I was guarding the Plate! I mean, I slept right next to it! You all were already dragons, so nothing changed, but I…"

He turned around, glancing frantically in each direction. "Mirror! I need a mirror!"

His gaze finally set on the pocket mirror in the hand of a jynx applying her lipstick.

“Ma’am! I need that!” he cried, rushing for the jynx. Startled, she dropped the mirror - but Keith dove for it in time, catching it in his paws.

Immediately, he checked the crown of his head. Indeed, there were two small, bony bumps, symmetrically placed. He dropped the mirror - which was caught this time by Bella - and began leaping all over the deck, vigorously wagging tail almost throwing him off balance every now and then.

“I’m a dragon, I’m a dragon!” he yelled, laughing near hysterically. “The Plate made me a dragon!”

He froze in place.

“The Plate!” he screeched, and ran for the edge of the deck.

Bella flinched and dashed after him. “Keith, no! It’s long gone!”

Keith ignored her, clambering over the fence.

“Keith!” Bella screamed, attempting to seize the umbreon in her wings, but she was too late. He’d already jumped.

“Lifeguard! Mon overboard!” she yelled, rushing for the sickbay.

Keith broke the sea’s surface with a splash. Despite the cold water, he wasn’t discouraged one bit. He kept paddling and paddling, a dopey grin on his face and certain words repeatedly leaving his mouth.

“I’m gonna be a dragon!”

---

END
 

Tanuki

Friend of All Chu
Location
Rhyme City
Pronouns
He/him/his
That’s right, I’m here. Fashionably months late. I’ll start off reviewing part one because, while I loved reading it, I want to make sure I don’t miss any finer points in reviewing. Also I’m too broke to pay attention for that long.

That brings us neatly into my first critique (if you could really call it that). More of a nitpick, but all the parts in one post is a bit of a bother. It’ll be hard to pick this back up when I come back, and the story’s pretty long for a single sitting. Separate posts and threadmarks would go a long way.

As for the exposition, I liked how smoothly you managed it. Learning about the world in the mon equivalent of grade school makes sense, and then Keith’s rebuttals carry a bit more weight.

At first, I thought the real-world like faerie tale seemed out of place in a pokémon world, but as the story went on, it felt like a terrifyingly real bit of indoctrinatory propaganda. It makes sense that a culture that had gone to war with dragons before would demonize the type like that. I love how you went a step further with the drampa fearing Keith’s eagerness to scream dragon might get him into trouble. It’s a surprisingly deep look into how a culture fights to perpetuate discrimination and xenophobia at the expense of its own people.

And as you can probably tell from that, I’m bad at making points. I quoted some bits and pieces I wanted to comment on to try and be at least a little bit cohesive. Multi-quote likes to toss my stuff in a random order, though, so let’s spin the wheel and see how it goes.
Snorts arose from the area. Keith shrunk in his fur, scowling. He stayed silent for the remainder of the lesson.
Oof. This felt pungent. It seems small stuff, but to a grade schooler, snickers in the back are a worst nightmare. This does a great job of garnering sympathy for Keith. An underdog (fox? Cat? What the fuck are eevee?) is always fun to root for.
war crimes
I had to stop and laugh at the idea of Pokémon War Crimes. It makes perfect sense, but those two things are so far apart in my head, it took a good few giggles to squish them together.
“Is it about dragons?”
I love him.
But lots of other mon took residence in Pelton as well,
Speaking of critique to help with future writing, here’s an old bit of advice that everyone rightfully ignores: Don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. Really, it doesn’t matter for a sentence, and it can help keep a more conversational text.

But. When you start a paragraph with “but,” there’s a sense of pause and gravitas to what you’re about to say. It’s no ordinary but, but a but after some air. It brings in potent conflict that just farts away when it was only to say there are other species in the village.

While conjunctions at the start of a sentence are fine, if perhaps not always ideal, it’s best to avoid starting a paragraph with them unless you’re doing it for a reason.
Its ceiling much was higher,
I know you said you don’t intend to edit this, but maybe you could suffer through fixing this typo?
Affer we lose secht ae the island, it's only the black sea and the dim stars in the sky.”
Oh boy an accent. The fun thing about accents in prose is they’re always terrible, weird, and hard to parse. With this in mind, many authors go down the route of “fuck you, I’ll make it even more annoying to spite you,” like I with Desper, or Namo with Gahi. We lay it on thick with these accents, but it’s really not necessary.

Accents are much better done subtly. Toss in a strangely spelled or outright foreign word here and there, and that’s enough to get a voice in readers’ minds. Having full sentences of mispelled or made up words is just a pain to parse. I’m not an expert, but Jackie does accents really well. Try her out if’n y’ever need some advice.
I should go to sleep,
Italics?
Bit of a nitpick, but you don’t need to capitalize gods. You only even need to capitalize god if you’re talking about the Christian God because Their other names are too hard to spell that everyone just called Them God because well They’re the only one anyway so there. God or gods, however, aren’t themselves proper nouns, and so don’t need capitalization (except, of course, at the beginning of sentences).

Well I’m out of quotes so I hope I said something somewhere. I really love this story’s start! It’s fun, funny, and the comedy doesn’t feel like it’s taking away from the stakes at all. It’s a really fun read, and I’m glad you posted it here. Thanks!
 

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. crobat
So I decided to review this delightful little fic for blitz! Man am I glad I did. I really scratches that itch for something nice and lighthearted and not so heavy. Just a simple, goofy sort of adventure.

I really fell in love with Keith. He's such a dopey, loveable little Eevee, dead set on his crazy dreams. Of being a dragon. And honestly, how can I not relate to that, as a self proclaimed dragon lover myself?

You also managed to add a whole cast of quirky, interesting dragon characters. Ared, Doris, Bella, and the whole group. They managed to all have very distinct personalities.

The plot and pacing were all pretty good, imo. I know you said there were some tone issues, but in all honesty, I think it felt fine. Sure things got a little serious later, but the way it was written still felt like it kept things lighthearted, in a crack kind of way.

The humor in this story really shines, from the clever lines, to the little self-aware jokes. A lot of the stuff really resonated with me in that regard.

Its a oneshot crack/humor sort of story, so I don't have a lot to offer in the way of heavy criticism. I will say the battle scene near the end got just a bit confusing. There were some really good parts, but other times it was hard to properly grasp who was where and what the positions of everything looked like. I think balancing a few more extra bits of exposition to slow certain parts down would help.

Otherwise, I think the fight scene went very well for one so many characters.

I can't exactly criticize the end either, since Keith seemingly not learning anything seems to be the point of the story. Never give up, little dude. Never give up.

Overall, a really thoroughly enjoyable little jaunt.

I will now move on to line by lines, to gush over everything I loved.

Wait. Dragon? There’s a dragon?
Literally me, all the time honestly.

prince was only a togetic
lol for not knowing about fairy types.

Aw, boring! Go back to the dragon!
Also me. Is Keith based off me? Idk everything he says is just how I feel all the time

“...he pierced the dragon’s scales like hot butter and slayed the fearsome beast!”

“Noooooo!”
Not but fr I really feel for Keith like wth. It's always, kill the dragon, blah blah. DUMB!!! It's so trite!!

“I have a word for the dragon,” he blurted. “M-misunderstood!”
YOU TELL EM KEITH!!!!

“Well, like…” Keith hesitated, but gulped down his fear. If I don't defend the dragons, who will? “I-if the dragon took the princess, he must have been lonely or something! He didn't deserve to die. They should've talked it out.”
Keith is my new spirit animal. I've been railing against the boring dragon villain narrative for yeeeaarrs. He gets it. Someone's gotta stand up for the dragons

While I didn't explicitly specify it, this dragon is just like the dragons in our world - a bloodthirsty beast or at best a barbarian.
Well, you stupid teacher, have you ever considered that your story is dumb, your shortsighted half brained bum??? Also major sads for poor dragons.

“I have a word for Keith,” the aipom whispered to a classmate. “Crazy...”

Snorts arose from the area. Keith shrunk in his fur, scowling. He stayed silent for the remainder of the lesson.
:( Poor Keith.

Keith’s cublike traits faded as his ears and tail lengthened and limbs grew a bit lankier, but unlike most of his peers, he still remained an eevee.
This transition was rather quick, and I feel like giving some idea of a proper time frame could help. Was it two years? Five? Thats just a tiny gripe though.

It was Oliver, the aipom who’d unfortunately stayed in Keith’s class despite many threats of expulsion. A mischievous grin shone on the monkey's face, practically his trademark.
boo for Oliver.

Keith wrinkled his nose and humphed. “Of course not. It's winter and they usually don't go outside.”

“So kinda like you, ‘cause you have no life?”
I wanna smack this dumb monkey.

The group of mon flinched, spotting the vaporeon who’d seemingly appeared from nowhere. The puddle under her feet explained her sudden appearance, however. Keith had always wondered what it was like to melt into water and travel across it.
Thats actually pretty cool that you're sticking to the idea that Vaporeon can legit melt into water.

Benny raised an eyebrow. “Wyrb?”

“You know, wyrmaboo.”
HAH!!! This made me laugh out loud, for real.

“Yes I do! I wanna be a dragon!”

“Sweetie, I don’t know how many times I have to tell you. There is no dragon evolution for eevee.”
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS KEITH!!! BECOME A DRAGON!

“No wings, no horns, no fiery breath.”
Relatable. I too want wings, horns, and fiery breath.

Keith, too, continued on his path towards home. Familiar sights of stone and brick buildings went by, a few leafless trees, some passersby. An espeon, a leafeon - poor thing all wrapped up in scarves to manage in the plant-hostile temperatures - then a pair of frolicking eevee cubs.
poor things. needs an s. But that's a tiny nitpick.

After making a noise that resembled a boiling kettle’s wheeze, Keith finally returned to using his words. “I love, love, love, love dragons,” he gushed.
ahhh, this prose was really great. I feel like you have a few moments of really, really great prose. Also. Love Keith. He has such a simple, admirable, humorous goal. Have I mentioned I love dragons?

Keith drew in a massive breath to replenish his oxygen supply.
lol. Love these little things.

The eevee nabbed the scale instantly with his paw, popped it into his mouth and swallowed.
AHAHHHAA!!! this was genuinely hilarious. The way you just, jump to these moments is genuinely hilarious.

Dragon Kingdom
Can't be that barbaric if they run a kingdom, right?

“Your long life has truly made you wise beyond comparison!”

“I’m twenty-three!” the drampa growled.
Another big lol moment for me. Your humor really connects with me. I felt like I could hear this particular one in my head.

“He doesn't need dragon powers to s-slit my throat when I'm sleeping!”

“Honey, come on. Does that sound like Keith to you?”

“Maybe not now, but if he radicalizes, turns into one of those draconationalists…”
Man Keith's parents sound kinda crazy. Either this statement is played up for drama effect or his dad is nuts like... you think your son is gonna kill you? really? I'm surprised Keith didn't run away sooner!

“Halt!”

“Ahh!” Keith stopped in his tracks. Wh-who said that?

“Who goes there?” the stern voice continued.

“J-just me, Eevee Keith!”

“Oh, no worries, then!” The voice now came from right beside Keith, causing the eevee to flinch.
This scene skip confused me greatly. I wasn't sure where Keith was, or what was going on. I would have preferred maybe a quick scene setting woven in much earlier. Small gripe though.

“Where did you come from?”

“My mother's womb, of course,” the umbreon replied, then laughed.
HAH!!!!! the sarcasm/humor is intense.

“Tis how the feral eens migrate. We jist ken fit way is fit.”
I feel like writing out her accent so drastically doesn't necessarily mesh well. There were times I genuinely couldn't understand what Lapras was saying, and it kinda slowed down the story to decipher her. Unless you were going to have Keith also be confused by her speech and make a funny, but otherwise I think you could tone down about 25% on the written accents.

With a wail, the eevee tumbled down onto the fresh snow on the pier’s planks, face naturally first
I feel like 'face first, naturally', might read smoother.

“Thanks!” said Keith, then studied the pattern on the poliwhirl’s belly. “I like your spiral.”

“Thanks! It’s my small intestine.”

“Aaaand now I hate it,” Keith whispered as he turned around and headed for the path shown.
HAAHAAA! this joke was great to me. I just love all these funny self-aware moments woven into the story.

The path continued for quite a while. The road stayed relatively straight and the striped, snow-topped trees flanked it all the way. The sky above was covered with a white blanket of clouds and the wind appeared still.
So this sentence feels very repetitive to me. One big rule I abide by myself is to never start two sentences in a row with the same word. Doing so has really helped me keep my sentences feeling varied. Once or twice I might find its not possible, but 99% of the time I find a way to rephrase that makes it sound smoother.
"The path seemed to drone on forever, flanked by neverending rows of snow-topped trees. White clouds blanketed the sky above, while the wind below remained still."

No other evolution for eevee known to date had wings or could fly.
Until gamefreak released Skyeon lol

“Oh, hey there.”

“Ngah!” Keith hopped back, staring at the zebstrika who’d turned around to greet him. “Oh, you aren’t feral.”

“Nope,” the mon replied, his speech and alert eyes confirming his claim. “They all are, though.”

“Uhh… alright. Well, do you know where the owner of this place is?”

“Yep. That’s me, Jack.”

Keith’s eyes narrowed. “You're a civilized zebstrika running a stable of feral zebstrika?”

“Yep. Something wrong with that?”

“No, no, no… I mean, if you're okay with it, then so am I.”
This is a pretty amusing exchange. I appreciate seeing Keith briefly questioning 'is it weird for a civilized mon to keep others of the same species if they are feral.'

Given that the readers might ask the same exact questions.

Or should I say gabitten. Haha.”
HAHHAA I laughed at that way harder than I should have.

Then when you’ve reached your destination, she’ll wait until you mount her again and then bring you right back here. Simple, but effective. And makes thievery harder.”
Sounds like the perfect videogame npc horse, lol

He swung it onto the feral’s back and somehow - Keith couldn’t see with Jack’s body in the way - fastened it.
Keith couldn't see it, or the author didn't want to write it?
Because I woulda done the same thing lol

“Oh, that magnesium thing.”

“Magnetism. Stay in school.”
LAUGH. Jeez your humor is really like, killing it for me. I think its one of the main reasons I like this story so much.

Dragon! Dragon! Dragon!
DRAGON!!! Honestly that's my reaction too

“We’ll be eating well tonight. But for now, I need you to cover those tracks.”
*side eyes*

“No! Ferals don't have the whites of their eyes be this visible, their snouts are a different shape… and the ones around here would definitely have a winter coat right now!”
This was a nice bit of worldbuilding slid in, about ferals vs civils.

“So…” began Ared. “I take it that we’re not eating him?”

“We are not eating him!” Doris snapped.

“Ugh, fine...” Ared lifted the saddlebags off his shoulder. “I guess we’ll just settle on whatever he packed for lunch.”
Was a little surprised Keith didn't run

“No, it’s not that either. What happened was that, um… the haxorus came, and I was kinda overwhelmed that a real dragon was touching me, so I froze up. And then I kept being frozen ‘cause I didn't really know what I should say, and then I’d already been frozen for such a long time that it would've been awkward to just start talking, so I was trying to wait for a time I was alone or something… and here we are.”
Ahhh, I see. This mostly makes sense. Poor Keith.

“My lips are sealed. I mean, if I had any.”
heh

Lati alert?
Bug uh oh.

Nah, all dragons are good.
All dragons Keith? Are you sure about that?

“Whoa...” Bella sighed. “You met Rayquaza?”
OOOOOO cool! I rather like that you didn't reveal this detail until later. Also that's HUGE like whoa. I'm rather curious how things ended up like that.

They even said Rayquaza in specific was a horrible monster with six prehensile tongues that it used to catch little mon swept up by the tempests it caused. But that was nothing like what I saw. Rayquaza saved me and even made sure I was fine, then ended the storm!”
I really like when Legendaries are Nice.

“Well… I guess not, now that I think about it,” Keith replied. “There aren’t that many of them in Pelton - they say that’s ‘cause the civil ones already fill the… what’s the word, nish?”

“Niche?”
Shoulda stayed in school Keith :v

Bella stopped and squinted. “Oh, those? Those aren't trees. Or, I guess they sorta are… but my point is that they're mon. Exeggutor, to be exact.”

“Wait… but weren’t only dragons allowed in Farindon?”

“Yeah, they're dragons. You… didn't know that?”

Keith stared at his paws, mouth ajar, immobile.
Moments like this are just the best. Still can't believe those darn things are dragons, lol.

“Only dragons may enter the city,” he said with a hint of a foreign accent. “Everybody knows this.”

“Then lemme in!” the charizard groaned, slashing at the gate. Keith winced at the harsh clang produced.

“For the last time,” the druddigon guard said, leaning over the edge, “you’re not a dragon! Just deal with it!”

“I've got scales and wings and a fiery breath!” the charizard yelled. “I'm a dragon!”

“Go home, Brent! You've had too much to drink and you don't know what you're doing!”
THIS!! THIS!!!! This was by an far the FUNNIEST thing I've ever read in a pokemon fanfic. GO HOME BRENT!! YOU'RE DRUNK!!! E EHHEEEHEEE

A blue light enveloped the latias dashing towards the throne room. In less than a second, her momentum diminished to a halt. She craned her neck through the half-opened window.

“Hi, y’all!” she chimed. “How’s it going?”
I honestly can say I was not expecting this greeting and it made me chuckle

Go the heck to sleep!”
Ahh, I knew it! Never shoulda let an Altaria sing, lol. This was also funny to me.

However, that design was built on the assumption that no non-feral non-dragon could ever enter the city of Farindon. And the fact that a goomy would never be allowed anywhere near the priceless, pristine architecture of the castle. And the hope that a noibat wouldn’t show up. It wasn’t a perfect design.
Yet another of many lines that elicited a chuckle from me. These little 'poke fun' things are so on brand for me.

!!!! apprehension. I really really wanted Keith to achieve his goal here. I wanted to much for him to get what he wanted. I really was rooting for him, maybe because I have such a personal bias.

Keith tore his gaze away from the Dragon Plate and looked down.

...Wait. This is…

He looked over his shoulder. His suspicion was confirmed.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!”
NOOOOOOOOOO *hugs Keith* nooooo

The umbreon gazed at the ground, slit-pupilled eyes bitter and teary.
:(

Entirely submerged in the shadow, his vision and hearing were gone. There were no longer any sounds or sights - only shadows of different sizes, locations and angles. Even strengths. One area had lots of little shadows arising from a large, smooth one. Keith realized this was Bella's plumage, and moved within.
This was a really twisty and surreal bit of text, in a good way. Plus, linking back to Vaporeon being able to become water made this a really intriguing moment.

Maybe I even cost these dragons their future with this stupid plan? I shouldn’t have egged them on… I should’ve stayed at home… oh Gods, how worried must my parents be…!


They stayed in Keith’s mind, circling like mandibuzz, nipping at his heart with each regrettable memory that surfaced.
This was some choice bit of prose. Comparing his negative thoughts to circling mandibuzz was really great, very vivid.

Ared won with fire, which Rog claimed was only because he'd expected Ared to take him for a rookie that uses fire. Ared would then choose water, and that's why Rog used grass. Ared claimed that he knew exactly what Rog had speculated and thought ahead, but Rog claimed that Ared had only picked fire because he himself was a rookie and just got lucky.
hehehe. Can't imagine how hard this must have been to follow for Keith lol

Keith ignored her. “Guys, give me the bag!” he yelled to the dragons on his side. “If I’m holding it, she can’t yank it away with her psychic powers.” And I can finally help out in the fight, he thought, smiling.
HOORAY FOR YOU KEITH!! I felt quite proud to see Keith taking a bit of charge and and doing something to help.

The floatzel nodded, ran to the edge and dove into the sea. He flinched as he locked eyes with an angry Cheri, but proceeded as usual when the latias seemed to decide he wasn’t a threat.
This sentence was pretty confusing for me. The layout made me think Floatzel locked eyes with an angry Cheri, but the previous sentence makes it sound like Floatzel had already dived into the sea?

“Non-dragon this, mammal that… call me crazy, but it's soundin’ an awful lot like you’re one of those dragons who don't think the folks of other types deserve any respect!”
I'm liking this guy.

“H-hey, don’t say things like that!” bleated a young mareep that stepped into view. “We m-mareep aren’t any more cowardly than other types of mon!”

“That’s the spirit!” said the weavile and patted the mareep on the back, much to her surprise. “Now, how do you feel about that latias here that no doubt thinks your kind is nothing but dull-faced, subservient walkin’ pillows?”
This whole moment, and Vic as a character, is absolutely fantastic. Also, You tell 'em little Mareep!!

It’s just a fact dragons have the best type! No real weaknesses!”
X to doubt

The latias drew a deep breath, gathered a heap of draconic energy before her jaws and let it fly right at the ice type.

The crowd gasped and retreated, but the ninetales stood still to the very end when the blast made contact with her face - and after it, completely unharmed, no trace of the attack.
Hah ha, Cheri. You forgot your type matchups didn't you. FOOL!

“M-me too!” A granbull shouted, raising his paw. “I’m not a normal type! I’m a fairy! Full-blooded!”
“I’m a fairy, and I should have the right to live like any citizen! I shouldn’t have to be smuggled by someone else to get around!”
This is funny as heck to me cause these guys didn't become fairy types until gen 7 lol.

The weavile stroked his chin, then spoke up again. “So, let’s sum it all up! This latias here is supposed to be in one of the highest positions in the Guard, and the things she’s done include…” He pointed to the broken bridge. “Property damage!” He gestured to the pale ninetales. “Attackin’ a civilian!” He spun his paw around. “And insultin’ all non-dragon citizens of her kingdom! Does that seem like someone you want to enforce the law?”
INSURRECTION!!! Seriously though, who would have thought that one little Eevee's quest for becoming a dragon would lead to this?

“I don’t! A dragon is supposed to act with honor and respect! Not like this little brat!”
You tell 'em! Also she channels strong grandma energy, I love it.

“Not a fan of givin’ out my name,” the weavile said, “but for the time bein’, you can call me Vic. Not my real one, but still more personal than just ‘weavile’.”
Vic is probably my most favorite character yet, aside from Keith. Great guy. Very mysterious too. A shame we don't get to see him more :(

He once put on a mightyena pelt and tried to infiltrate a feral pack. You shouldn't listen to what he says!”
So... a sheep in wolfs clothing? HAH. Thats fantastic.

“You just want her to like you better, don’t you!” grumbled the mother.
Well, dummy lady, maybe she would like you if you weren't a coward. Get a back bone, Ampharos Mom!

“I'm not gonna learn any murk-type moves!” Cheri growled.
jerk. Thats what you get.

Cheri gasped. N-no! Those pudgy blue ones have fairy blood as well? J-just how many here are fairies? Fairies aren’t even supposed to exist! This has to be some kind of trick!
I loved the switch to Cheri's viewpoint here, its done very well for dramatic effect and really enhances the story.

The clauncher captain was not happy about the noise, having witnessed enough damage done to his liner for the day.
So the only other question I was asking for this whole fight is, what does the poor Wailord think about what's going on??? Is he ok??

"You threw it away?" he screamed.
AHHHHHH WHY!!!! WHY!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Ared did get the mareep meat, and the group did receive weird looks from the ampharos.
lol heh.

Keith broke the sea’s surface with a splash. Despite the cold water, he wasn’t discouraged one bit. He kept paddling and paddling, a dopey grin on his face and certain words repeatedly leaving his mouth.

“I’m gonna be a dragon!”
Oh my jeepers, what an ending lol. A fitting one too, I guess.

There's so much wrapped up in this humorous, crack like package. Despite how wacky and silly this story was, it also has some truly stellar moments, like Vic leading the other pokemon to insurrection.

There's so much charm as well. I think you do a really good job with humor and taking these wacky, silly little concepts and expanding them into something delightfully heartwarming. I think you're missing your calling. (Granted, I haven't read any of your other stories, but still)

I don't have any real criticisms for you, except for maybe trying to weave in a little more descriptions of things throughout, like when navigating places. There were also a few descriptions that felt kind of hard to grasp, like the wailord ship?

Otherwise, genuinely think this story is rather good.
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Thank you both for the reviews! Very glad you enjoyed it and found it funny. I love writing comedy, and I love even more when I hear it lands.

Oh boy an accent. The fun thing about accents in prose is they’re always terrible, weird, and hard to parse. With this in mind, many authors go down the route of “fuck you, I’ll make it even more annoying to spite you,” like I with Desper, or Namo with Gahi. We lay it on thick with these accents, but it’s really not necessary.

Accents are much better done subtly. Toss in a strangely spelled or outright foreign word here and there, and that’s enough to get a voice in readers’ minds. Having full sentences of mispelled or made up words is just a pain to parse. I’m not an expert, but Jackie does accents really well. Try her out if’n y’ever need some advice.
I feel like writing out her accent so drastically doesn't necessarily mesh well. There were times I genuinely couldn't understand what Lapras was saying, and it kinda slowed down the story to decipher her. Unless you were going to have Keith also be confused by her speech and make a funny, but otherwise I think you could tone down about 25% on the written accents.

Well, this is a bit awkward. You see, I happen to have a Scottish friend who already writes all his chat messages in Scots, and I got him to write out Nancy's lines for authenticity. And boy is he mad any time people say he's misspelling things. So... eh, maybe it's my fault for going so hard on what's just a silly stealth joke, that being the Nessie-looking monster speaking in Scots.

Also me. Is Keith based off me? Idk everything he says is just how I feel all the time

Haha, well, Namo is convinced Keith is based on him, so you have some competition.

Actually, to be honest, Keith's dragon whiteknighting is based on my child self that used to do this with wolves ("wyrmaboo" was influenced by "wolfaboo", not just "weeaboo"). I'd missed the memo that no one really actually thinks of wolves as boogeymen anymore and instead find them cool like I did. Cue classroom cringe.

THIS!! THIS!!!! This was by an far the FUNNIEST thing I've ever read in a pokemon fanfic. GO HOME BRENT!! YOU'RE DRUNK!!! E EHHEEEHEEE

Like Brent, huh? Then might I interest you... in the spinoff about him, Attack of the 50-Foot Brent?

So the only other question I was asking for this whole fight is, what does the poor Wailord think about what's going on??? Is he ok??

whale thoughts. whale thoughts are happy thoughts. worry not about the whale.
 

cynsh

full-time quilava
Location
Deepden
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. quilava
As I said in TR, I love the premise of this. The cover art is adorable also. Let's goooo

Part 1

She was a lopunny with the finest and purest golden fur of all the kingdom, but even purer was her heart.”
What an opening. I suppose the whole 'over-excited kid shouts out something in class' is a bit of a trope, but I don't care if it's done to perfection like this. I was endeared to Keith immediately with his reactions here. Here's a few extracts I particularly loved:
The eevee sat up straight in his seat, like a model student. His bushy tail began to wag. Yes! Awesome! Go dragon!
“Noooooo!”

The entire class quieted, turning to Keith. The eevee realized his mistake and crouched, as if weighed down by the dirty looks he was receiving.
“I have a word for the dragon,” he blurted. “M-misunderstood!”

Benny raised an eyebrow. “Wyrb?”

“You know, wyrmaboo.”
Noting what you said about the early parts of Dragony almost being a crackfic - this seemed like the clearest example of that. Funny, but exceedingly silly and raises questions about whether 'weeaboo' also exists as a term in this world, and if so... how.
Eugh!” The watchog shook his soaked feet in disgust. “Screw this, I’m out!” he shouted, marching away.

“Benny, wait!” Oliver clambered up and ran after Benny.
This seemed a bit melodramatic.
After making a noise that resembled a boiling kettle’s wheeze, Keith finally returned to using his words. “I love, love, love, love dragons,” he gushed.
Just. What an analogy. I can hear it perfectly.
Well, maybe they weren’t fresh enough or something. I’ve had this loose one for a while, you can have --” The drampa picked a scale off his skin, visibly flinching while doing so, and offered it to the eevee. “This one.”

The eevee nabbed the scale instantly with his paw, popped it into his mouth and swallowed.
Huh. Do your eevee evolve by swallowing the required stones? Pretty strange behaviour from Keith in any case. Another 'possibly crackfic' moment.
“A-anyway, thank you so much!” Keith said, tailing the leaving drampa. “Your long life has truly made you wise beyond comparison!”

“I’m twenty-three!” the drampa growled.

“Centuries? Wow… the things you must have seen!”
I love him I love him I love him
“Where did you come from?”

“My mother's womb, of course,”
Damn, even the guards in this story are awesome :quag:
Keith thanked the bibarel and entered. Inside the shelter was a flimsy desk, a bed of somewhat higher quality and an oil lantern, but not much else - only a couple of pots Keith wondered the purpose of, then guessed were reserved for different kinds of wastes. One might have been drinking water. He would have to ask Nancy to be sure if he needed either.
This shelter/raft... not too sure what it is. What it's made of. The fact it even has a bed and a desk suggests that it's reasonably big, which raises the question of how a lapras can manage to pull it all along? And do so while keeping the shelter balanced - do they just travel very slowly? Loooots of questions it raised to me ^^;
“Tis how the feral eens migrate. We jist ken fit way is fit.”
Not sure what Lapras is saying here. Accent (Scottish?) possibly taken too far?
Maybe my dragon evolution will have feathers too? I hope it doesn’t take away from the dragonness if that ends up happening.
Not sure what Keith means here either.

Part 2

“Aff tae a braw start,”
Another bit of Scot I couldn't decipher ^^;
Or drugan teeth.”
Love this one though. DRUGAN
“Thanks!” said Keith, then studied the pattern on the poliwhirl’s belly. “I like your spiral.”

“Thanks! It’s my small intestine.”
Goddammit. More great humour.
‘Thunderhoof Ride Rents’, just as the poliwhirl had given it, but the ‘Th’ was scratched over with the letters ‘Bl’ written above it.
And again.
On her first and last trip to the capital, she got bitten by a feral gabite. Or should I say gabitten. Haha.”
There's not a whole lot I can say for some of these highlighted portions other than 'another good funny haha'. So, yes.
“Right, yeah,” Keith said and pointed at the front door. “The sign --”

“I'm aware. I don’t mind it too much. It’s not like there’s any other stable close by that customers would be scared off to.”
It's nice that Keith wanted to point out the sign to him. He's a good bean.
A large dragonite, eyebrows especially short and thick,
Eyebrows? He has them?
Your attribute might just stress him out further.”

“Just say slime,” Doris grumbled. “I'm a goodra. No point in using fancy words.”
Nice
“No, it’s not that either. What happened was that, um… the haxorus came, and I was kinda overwhelmed that a real dragon was touching me, so I froze up. And then I kept being frozen ‘cause I didn't really know what I should say, and then I’d already been frozen for such a long time that it would've been awkward to just start talking, so I was trying to wait for a time I was alone or something… and here we are.”
This is my main point of contention with the chapter. I'm glad that Keith explained himself eventually, and it does give a bit more justification to his utter stillness in the preceding scenes. However, I feel like there should have been at least some reaction from Keith when the dragons were discussing whether or not they should eat him! Come on Keith, you're never going to be a dragon if the sight of one turns you into an actual statue.

Part 3

“Well, I did hear you earlier on,” Doris commented, “but I guess I'm kind of a special case with my antennae… and I doubt they'd have my kind patrolling the castle, for… obvious reasons.” She lifted her foot, and more slime dripped onto the floor.
Hmm. Does Doris just drip slime everywhere she goes? And if that's the case, wouldn't the whole house just be covered in slime? Or does she have some way to keep it all contained?
The eevee shuffled a bit further away from the slime-covered books. However, he took interest in the stack of cards Ared had left behind. Each card was as tall as his forelegs.
Ha. This suggests that all the dragons have been evolved for some time, and maybe evolve quite early in life, if there's cards made specially for their size. Would make sense I suppose, given goodra and dragonite's previous forms are pretty useless practically.
Doris looked to Rog, who nodded. “Alright, then,” she said, “I'll get my gloves.”

The goodra fetched a pair of leather gloves from another room and pushed her hands inside them, splitting the stub-like ends of her arms into four functioning fingers.
Huh. I've never had to wear gloves to compensate for my two-fingered hands, but I wonder if this would really work. Unless her arms are made of some weird texture that can mould into the shape of the glove fingers? 🤔
Keith nodded, then pulled a card off the top. A drawing of a hoppip stared back. Sixty health. Grass type. No flying type? I guess these cards can only fit one. It had two ‘moves’ - Absorb and Bounce.

He slid the card under the deck and took another. Growlithe, fire, Flamethrower, Odor Sleuth. Another. Meowth, normal, Pay Day. Another. Stealth Rock? Trap card? Huh, I guess it’s not just mon.
I do love how pokemon play pokemon cards. Maybe a bit strange to think about, but I don't mind.
“And don't worry, I don't kick.”

“I might, if I dream of running,” Keith mumbled, hopped onto the bed and lay down. “Sorry in advance.”
I LOVE HIM SO MUCH
They even said Rayquaza in specific was a horrible monster with six prehensile tongues that it used to catch little mon swept up by the tempests it caused.
Oof, nightmare fuel indeed
Food prices were much lower in the Dragon Kingdom, and therefore the slightly above modest amount of gold Keith had packed was relatively a fortune.
I wonder why prices are lower? Is prey much more abundant? I guess so, if it's on the mainland and there's all these fearsome pokemon around to catch them.
While Keith was no stranger to seeing little feral creatures like rattata and farfetch'd dead, plucked and preserved, he couldn't help but feel a shiver at the eevee pelts hanging in some stands. Bella reassured him that they were all just ferals and anyone caught doing it to a civil one would surely be outcast from society. It didn’t help much that he was pretending to be a feral, and many folk made comments asking whether he was being fattened up for a feast. He tried his best to hide his reactions. Fortunately Bella was there to correct them that he was a dear pet used to hunt little rodents and there would be no eating him.
I'm curious as to your take on the civilised/feral divide. What determines which group pokemon end up as? There doesn't seem to be mystery dungeons in your world, which is the usual explanation.
Also, I don't see any hand-like appendages on altaria. How does Bella pick up and carry things? Are her wings just very dexterous?
“Hey, if you feel nervous, just pet me! It helps the story too, right?”
For a moment I thought this was a fourth-wall breaking moment about petting always being cute ^^;
Tonight it'll happen, thought Keith. Tonight I'll become a real dragon. And even if I somehow don't…

He watched the altaria beside him waddle on, her feathers ruffled by the wind. At least I made friends with some!
Keith must succeed. The bean must win. I will riot if he does not.

----

Well, I think I got most of my thoughts out already. Keith is such a wonderful character, and he really ties everything together. Outstanding work on bringing him to life.

I like the way the plot's developed in part 3 especially, moving from Keith's childish dream to a possibly significant political battle against the bad king. Still, I have very little idea how the second half of the story will turn out, so I'm excited to find out.

The worldbuilding has been solid. I like how you've stayed true to pokemon designs for the most part and had them adapt to them - the zebstrika keeper carrying ropes in his mouth, the goodra gloves, and so on. It's refreshing to have a PMD-like story not centred around mystery dungeons, amnesiac humans, guilds and what-have-you.

Not sure what else I can say, really. The prose is pretty faultless, so no criticisms there. In short, I really, really like this, and I don't say that about many fanfics. I hope the second half can be just as wonderful. See you around!
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Huh. Do your eevee evolve by swallowing the required stones? Pretty strange behaviour from Keith in any case. Another 'possibly crackfic' moment.

I forget how much it was established in the story, but eevee evolve by interacting with stones, and I think Mila mentions a "pilgrimage" to a known location with a large Water Stone.

This shelter/raft... not too sure what it is. What it's made of. The fact it even has a bed and a desk suggests that it's reasonably big, which raises the question of how a lapras can manage to pull it all along? And do so while keeping the shelter balanced - do they just travel very slowly? Loooots of questions it raised to me ^^;

I would say it's at least 2m x 2m x 2m and that lapras are just beeg and strong. I thought of it as basically a shack on floaties, or like a smaller version of a floating sauna with less stuff on the outside.

Not sure what Keith means here either.

I think the idea was that he would most like to become a traditional Western-looking dragon rather than something like an altaria, whose dragon status is questionable to begin with.

Another bit of Scot I couldn't decipher ^^;

"Off to a great start," basically.

Eyebrows? He has them?

It's the best word I could think of for those noodles attached to dragonite's heads.

Huh. I've never had to wear gloves to compensate for my two-fingered hands, but I wonder if this would really work. Unless her arms are made of some weird texture that can mould into the shape of the glove fingers?
I'm curious as to your take on the civilised/feral divide. What determines which group pokemon end up as? There doesn't seem to be mystery dungeons in your world, which is the usual explanation.
Also, I don't see any hand-like appendages on altaria. How does Bella pick up and carry things? Are her wings just very dexterous?

The answer is simply genetics. Feral and civilized mon are different species, with both versions of basically each pokémon.

Bella I'd imagine would use her beak like a lot of birds do to manipulate objects, but actual carrying can be done with bags and purses and whatnot.

Not sure what else I can say, really. The prose is pretty faultless, so no criticisms there. In short, I really, really like this, and I don't say that about many fanfics. I hope the second half can be just as wonderful. See you around!

Great to hear! I do have to warn that it has kind of a tone and pacing shift, but I hope it's still enjoyable.
 

Flaze

Don't stop, keep walking
Location
Chile
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. infernape
This first review of Dragony will cover Parts 1 and 2, I'll make sure to review the other parts later as well.

I first read these first two parts about two or so years ago when you first wrote them. Admittedly I didn't remember too much of it since I think I only got as far as these two parts, but it was a nice throwback and the catch up was really great. Immediately you set this story apart from your other ones by embracing a more lighthearted tone, your stories tend to be lighthearted but ones like Seiren or Hunter Haunted have a darker edge to them. This one just feels a lot more fun and I think a big part of it comes from the dialogue.

You have a way of writing witty, snappy dialogue that's...kind of like a natural gift to be honest. It's a pretty good balance between silly and realistic. What I mean by that is that it embodies the feel of an animated movie or, indeed, a PMD game, in which the dialogue's purpose is to highlight a certain character's quirk and mine comedy out of it. However there's also a sense of reality in the some of the reactions are laid out, particularly in the case of Bella or Keith's vaporeon friend. This makes it so that the characters and their interactions are what really sells the story and every character has a distinct, easily identifiable voice and personality.

Of course, the characters benefit from taking part in a story that's equals part simple and creative. While at its core the story is about Keith setting out on his journey to discover the dragon evolution he's always wanted, and is essentially his coming of age journey, the concept of an eevee obsessed with dragons and hopeful that there's a way he could be a dragon as well is really interesting and plays with some of the established pokemon lore in fun ways. I also like the way you've painted the world these characters inhabit and little details such as eevee that want to become vaporeons taking part in an excursion were welcomed ones.

All that being said, part 1 is fun for set up and it certainly helps us get to know Keith better and understand him, but part 2 is where the story really begins. I particularly loved the scene where he first met the haxorus and how he just froze up from excitement. It was very cute.

I also like the potential growth that Keith could have. Obviously I don't think he'll actually be able to find a dragon evolution (you're free to prove me wrong) but I also feel like these first few parts are setting up for Keith to realize that he doesn't have to. He seems to be surprised about the kinds of things that other pokemon species can do and maybe he hadn't considered other possible types of evolution because no one had truly shown him what he could do with them, such as stepping into the shadows as an umbreon for example.

And now for some highlights that really made my day in these two parts.

Keith’s ears, formerly flopped to his sides, perked up high. Wait. Dragon? There’s a dragon?

Literally me when a dragon appears in a story.


The entire class quieted, turning to Keith. The eevee realized his mistake and crouched, as if weighed down by the dirty looks he was receiving.

Don't worry, Keith. We've all been there.

“I have a word for the dragon,” he blurted. “M-misunderstood!”

Everyone is misunderstood these days, Keith. What's your point?

Keith, I'm glad that you're showing interest in literary analysis,” she said, though her tone much implied otherwise, “but you seem to be seeing things that aren't there. While I didn't explicitly specify it, this dragon is just like the dragons in our world - a bloodthirsty beast or at best a barbarian. Even if it was lonely, which I doubt dragons can be, it should have gone back to its own kind. All this considered, the dragon is well understood... although, to be fair, he is currently misunderstood by you. Which creates an interesting paradox, but I would much rather move on. Does anyone else have a suggestion?”

No disrespect but I think this glaceon is just racist.

Some years passed. Keith’s cublike traits faded as his ears and tail lengthened and limbs grew a bit lankier, but unlike most of his peers, he still remained an eevee.

Don't worry, Keith. You're just a late bloomer.

Benny raised an eyebrow. “Wyrb?”

“You know, wyrmaboo.”

I see what you did here.

“I’m not like that! It’s not like I’m gonna climb into a dragon’s mouth to evolve or something!”

Keith paused.

“Oh my Gods, you’re thinking of it now, aren’t you?” Mila shouted.

Hey, it's not a bad idea with all the crazy evolution methods that already exist.

Keith, too, continued on his path towards home. Familiar sights of stone and brick buildings went by, a few leafless trees, some passersby. An espeon, a leafeon - poor thing all wrapped up in scarves to manage in the plant-hostile temperatures - then a pair of frolicking eevee cubs. Lots of members of the eevee family, a signature attribute for the small but well defended guild of Pelton. The eevee family’s wide range of elements gave the guild advantage over almost all types.

So Keith and all the other eevees are part of a guild or something like that? That's an interesting concept, a guild entirely made out of eevees and their evolutions.

The eevee nabbed the scale instantly with his paw, popped it into his mouth and swallowed.

“...What in the Gods’ names --”

“I don’t think it worked...” Keith said, his ears drooping. “Y-you have to have some other suggestion, though!”

Holy shit, Keith. At least no one can knock him for not trying.

“Be sure tae enjoy the view while it lasts,” said Nancy as the torch-lit beach grew more and more distant. “Affer we lose secht ae the island, it's only the black sea and the dim stars in the sky.”

I love Nancy's weird scottish accent, it's hard to understand but I like little details like different pokemon talking in different ways.

“Thanks!” said Keith, then studied the pattern on the poliwhirl’s belly. “I like your spiral.”

“Thanks! It’s my small intestine.”

“Aaaand now I hate it,” Keith whispered as he turned around and headed for the path shown.

I don't have any comment to this one, it just legit made me burst out laughing.


Keith’s eyes narrowed. “You're a civilized zebstrika running a stable of feral zebstrika?”

“Yep. Something wrong with that?”

“No, no, no… I mean, if you're okay with it, then so am I.”

Yes, there is something wrong with that. What the hell? How does this dude sleep at night.

No vocalizations, no changes in expression. Only a permanent, frozen face of shock.

The haxorus tilted his head. “Did you… die?”

Again, this was my favorite moment out of these two chapters, if only because I could fully imagine Keith's face and his body just being frozen in place as he was carried away.

“I found a civilized mon too and mugged him! It’s his!”

“And he just happened to have saddlebags that perfectly fit an eevee?” The goodra turned around. “I’m getting Bella.”

I mean even if he wasn't a civilized eevee it's kind of a dick move to eat pokemon, Idon't know if it makes it worse that they only go after ferals.

“So…” began Ared. “I take it that we’re not eating him?”

“We are not eating him!” Doris snapped.

Gee Ared, go eat some veggies or something.

“No, it’s not that either. What happened was that, um… the haxorus came, and I was kinda overwhelmed that a real dragon was touching me, so I froze up. And then I kept being frozen ‘cause I didn't really know what I should say, and then I’d already been frozen for such a long time that it would've been awkward to just start talking, so I was trying to wait for a time I was alone or something… and here we are.”

Keith is precious and must be protected.

Anyways, those are my thoughts for now. I'll be hitting you up with more later as I get through the other parts, but I really love what I'm seeing so far.
 

cynsh

full-time quilava
Location
Deepden
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. quilava
Part 4

The hakamo-o sneered. “You are obviously out of it, charizard, as that is no guy, but a lady! And quite a pretty one at that.” He looked to the altaria and tipped his helmet, smiling.
This just conjured such a ridiculous, funny image to me
On the trip, Keith got a closer, more detailed look at the allegedly-draconic exeggutor. It seemed that, thanks to their height, they were in charge of scouting the skies and faraway areas. The lamps attached to their foreheads made them like living, flexible beacons. The additional head at the tip of their tails always faced a stand that held a cup with a wire attached, presumably a way to communicate with other guards.
It does baffle me that Alohan exeggutor are dragon-type - I'm with Keith on this one. Still, if you're gonna stick to it at least you made them useful. In fact, your creative use of all different shapes and sizes of pokemon has really stood out in this story.
“Yeah, it better not be,” Kilbey grumbled. “Alright, here’s my verdict - one night in the dungeon!”

The noivern’s teary eyes widened. “No, please! It was an accident!”

“Exactly, that’s why it’s one and not three.” The commander turned to his troops. “Two of you, come here! One escorts her to a cell, the other find someone to finish whatever she was doing!”
Jeez, that seems ridiculously harsh. Guess the dragon kingdom does need some reform.
“Thank you, ma'am,” both aquatic dragons responded, then signalled the guards steering their wheeled chairs. The throne room's doors opened, and the two legless mon were promptly pushed out.
Hmm, while I stand by what I said... this conjures a very strange image. Like why don't these two just live underwater somewhere if they can't move at all on land? I dunno.
No one looked suspicious, not even the hairies and dusters.
Curious as to what these terms mean? I don't think it was explained.
Kaora’s eyes narrowed. “Did your mother perhaps name you after the size of your brain?”
hahahaha
Bella set Keith down and cleared her throat once more. Wings on her heart, she began to sing.
Ooh, I really like the image of Bella with wings on heart.
Bella using Sing like that was pretty ingenious (though I initially thought it was perish song lmao). Also I think it's the first time I've ever seen Sing in a fanfic!

Realising now that I didn't leave any kind of summary for this chapter... I enjoyed it though.

Part 5

Keith climbed in mareepishly
Hmm... obviously I know why you'd use this instead of sheepishly, but it kinda just stands out from the prose in a way that it probably shouldn't.
He placed a paw on his forehead. Maybe I even cost these dragons their future with this stupid plan? I shouldn’t have egged them on… I should’ve stayed at home… oh Gods, how worried must my parents be…!
It took Keith this long to realise how silly his entire plans had been from the start? Hm, maybe the evolution matured his mind in some way? Or, probably more likely, the crushing disappointment of umbreon life just completely destroyed the dreams he'd been clinging to.
Ared won with fire, which Rog claimed was only because he'd expected Ared to take him for a rookie that uses fire. Ared would then choose water, and that's why Rog used grass. Ared claimed that he knew exactly what Rog had speculated and thought ahead, but Rog claimed that Ared had only picked fire because he himself was a rookie and just got lucky.
Love. It.
Well, I don't always make noise! I just had fly slower
Agh I've not pointed out little grammar hiccups because they're so minor, but this one at the end of the chapter, at a climactic time, was not well-timed >_<

Overall, really enjoyed part 5 though. Keith's troubles with blending into shadow were really cool, and his anxiety afterwards also understandable. I wonder how it'll all end?

Part 6

“Three dragons,” corrected Bella. “I don't think I can fight in this state…”
Hm? What happened to Bella that makes her unable to fight?
“Grhh…” Ared snatched another spherical seed from his bag and set it on the band of his trusted slingshot.
Ooh, a slingshot, nice. Makes sense actually. All those seeds are useless if you're not a good thrower.
“No, they have lots of guards watching over the throne room… they must all suck!”

“Where are those taxes going?”

“The King's breakfast buffet, I bet…”
“Come on now,” the weavile continued. “Don’t tell me y’all are just a bunch of mareep!”

A brief silence reigned, but then motion came from his right.

“H-hey, don’t say things like that!” bleated a young mareep that stepped into view. “We m-mareep aren’t any more cowardly than other types of mon!
“I’m a fairy, and I should have the right to live like any citizen! I shouldn’t have to be smuggled by someone else to get around!”

“Dude, shut up!” the druddigon hissed through his teeth, eyeing the clauncher standing on the edge of the deck. “The captain’s right there!”
I really appreciate that, even though this story got much more serious in the later parts, there's still bits of humour like these sprinkled throughout to lighten the mood.
Her glassy down still retained its sheen.
Her what?
“Rog!” Doris went to sit beside the waking blanket-wrapped dragonite on the bed he lay on. “How do you feel?”

“Gruhh… o-kay.”
I LOVE that this is the first actual word I can recall Rog saying in the entire story. :quag:
Honey, it's a sweet thought, but your grandfather is completely nuts. He once put on a mightyena pelt and tried to infiltrate a feral pack.
It's little attention to details like this that I really admire in your writing. There was no need to put this line in. You could have just said 'your grandfather is nuts'. But you went the extra mile, and it's hilarious.
The electric types were sitting two tables away in the deck’s dining area, hay and vegetables on their plates.
Hahahaha, love it! The sheep diet!

Well. I know you feel that Dragony has issues with its pacing and tone. I think I can see why in this final part especially. The initial focus of the story was very much on Keith and his dragon dreams, but over time that slid away, concluding in this final battle against a latias who... just seemed a bit of a random antagonist to suddenly take centre stage. Though I liked Vic, he also just kinda appeared from nowhere and became a hero.
Having said that, everything was very well thought out, with Keith coming up trumps with his dark powers, and all the hidden fairy-types 'rising up' to take down Cheri.

The ending was wonderful, particularly the last few paragraphs. Keith and Bella's relationship is very sweet. I'm happy that Keith has at least got a bit of dragon in him, and I love how crazy he went at the end. I wonder if he ever recovered the plate...? Also, Ared apologising for being such a grump was a nice touch.

So... yeah, that's everything I think. Sorry that my reviews ended up being more of a jumble of quotes than a more structured critique - I just find this the easiest way to do it. Dragony was great. I didn't enjoy the second half quite as much as the first, but it retained the same whimsical, light-heartedness that's at the heart of why I loved it. Great job!
 
Last edited:

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Hmm, while I stand by what I said... this conjures a very strange image. Like why don't these two just live underwater somewhere if they can't move at all on land? I dunno.

They do! This wheelchair setup is only there to make them able to move on land when they need to report to the land-based king or something else of the like.

Curious as to what these terms mean? I don't think it was explained.

They're pejoratives used by dragons to refer to mammals ("hairies") and birds ("dusters", from "feather dusters").

Agh I've not pointed out little grammar hiccups because they're so minor, but this one at the end of the chapter, at a climactic time, was not well-timed >_<

I guess you're talking about the "fly slower" part - I had that incorrect on purpose as it was the line of Cheri, who's somewhat of an airhead and wouldn't be one to speak correctly rather than fast.

Hm? What happened to Bella that makes her unable to fight?

In chapter 5 (I think?) she swerved down to catch a falling Keith and rose up too abruptly, hurting her wings. Having injured wings reduces her mobility quite a lot, so she considered herself to be in too poor a condition to fight.

Her what?

"Down" is a type of soft feather or plumage usually as an insulating layer on birds. In Latias' dex entries, "glassy down" is mentioned.

Dragony was great. I didn't enjoy the second half quite as much as the first, but it retained the same whimsical, light-heartedness that's at the heart of why I loved it. Great job!

Thank you very much for reading and reviewing!
 

Flaze

Don't stop, keep walking
Location
Chile
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. infernape
It was finally nice to get to see chapter 3 and 4 for the first time and boy do things get interesting from here.

What stood out to me the most about these two chapters is the way you develop Keith's relationships with the dragons, especially Bella. She's really sweet and I love how she tries to genuinely support and help Keith along the way. The chapter also stands out for me in regards to worldbuilding and how it expands on the dragon country, especially with the way they exclude any non-dragons (especially Charizard) from the capital.

This reflected on how they see pokemon from outside the capital, the fact that there are a lot of dragons who'd still just bat an eye to eating an eevee just because it's feral or the subtle ways in which we're told how they discriminate amongst themselves help the world feel more alive than it would otherwise.

Comedy also continues to be a great aspect of the story, even as these chapters go into more serious territory as Keith explores the country more and becomes a part of the group. It really helps their interactions stand out and imbues your prose with a lot more life.

Anyways, before I move on to the highlights, I do wonder what'll happen and what Keith will end up evolving into. It seems like he reached the plate a little too easy so...I'm gonna assume Keith isn't going to get what he wants. I also wonder how the rest of the plan will go as we head into the last two chapters.

They're outlaws or something? Keith pondered. Do I want to associate with dragons that don't get along with the dragon nation? He shook the idea. Nah, all dragons are good.

I mean...I'm sure that opinion you have of dragons is gonna change a bit, Keith. But I do like how you set it up. Keith really loves dragons and hates the idea of thinking that they're as bad as people think, but he ends up falling in a different kind of problem, being idealization. Dragons are complicated, just like he or the rest of the members of his species and type are.

Rog blew a kiss at Ared, then chuckled along with Bella.

Again, I really like the tight-knit family vibe this group leaves off, it really highlights all of their characters.

The old king, though - now that was a good king,” Ared continued. “Odd considering his species literally has ‘tyrant’ in the name, but he was way better than the current one. This one, Hydreigon Zmey - well, I guess it’s not surprising a mon with three ravenous heads turns out to be that greedy...”

A really interesting and casual piece of worldbuilding, I do kind of wish you'd do like a proper long fic taking place in one of your pokemon worlds because they're always really creative.

Please don't, you're messing up my frill,” Keith whispered, pushing Bella's wing off politely, then began to reshape the fur on his head.

Pretty nice character detail, as "freakish" as Keith might come off to those of his species he's actually very proud of his mane and appearance as an eevee, it's an interesting contradiction with how he just wants to evolve.

h nodded, then pulled a card off the top. A drawing of a hoppip stared back. Sixty health. Grass type. No flying type? I guess these cards can only fit one. It had two ‘moves’ - Absorb and Bounce.

So wait, this world has its own version of the pokemon card game? I mean, I kind of get it but it's still a little off. What are support cards like in this world?

“So… where’s the fuzzball gonna sleep?” asked Ared, eyeing Keith, who was now seated in Bella’s lap.

Do Altaria have laps?

“I might, if I dream of running,” Keith mumbled, hopped onto the bed and lay down. “Sorry in advance.”

Pretty cute detail, considering eevee are canines and my dog also did that a lot.

During each purchase of emboar, stantler and tauros meat he felt more at ease. It was easier to think of eating something when it didn't have a face.

I mean, that's kind of how I feel when it comes to eating meat myself.

“Then lemme in!” the charizard groaned, slashing at the gate. Keith winced at the harsh clang produced.

Poor charizard. I mean the joke is pretty old at this point but I still think you did a good job of nodding towards the whole contradiction of charizard essentially being dragons but not actually being included as dragons.

Anyways, I'll be moving on to the last third of this story next, which I guess will also constitute act three all things considered. I'm excited to see how it concludes.
 
Top Bottom