• 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!

Pokémon Drowning

OldschoolJohto

Never not editing
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
solrock
Here for Chapter 11!

He held out his hand and a smile split Maressa’s face when she saw her Pokeballs.
It’s been 300 years! 👵🏻🙌🏻

Maressa felt a slight twinge of guilt; she forgot to pay her superior respect, but she pushed the feeling aside and walked over to her commander.
The way these ideas are broken up is a little odd.

Suggestion: Maressa felt a slight twinge of guilt at forgetting to pay respect to her superior. But she pushed the feeling aside and stepped forward.

whom she had saved from people who saw him as only an object.
!
This deserves more attention, I’d say.

singing lullabies to him at night when he was too nervous to sleep,
Haha, just this morning my roommate and I were talking about people projecting onto their pets.

Tears came hot and fast. Maressa’s chest constricted. She knew people were staring at her, but it didn’t matter.

Shelly put a hand on her shoulder, gazing at her subordinate with more pity than Maressa had ever seen.
Both nice moments here.

if we send them too far out into the sea, it’s possible that even they could lose their way and not return.”
Seems to me like the bigger problem is that it would be a lot of resources for finding one seaking—and that’s not Aqua’s priority. Though maybe Shelly is trying to be nice?

Soon, she wore a full-length wetsuit emblazoned with the Team Aqua logo and sat atop Lanturn out in the ocean.
I wanted an indication of how much time had passed and how far away from the base they were.

Sharpedo’s eyes angled in anger,
Strange verb choice. Having trouble picturing this.

Seaking had been stuck alone in the ocean for the past week—he could be starving or hurt, and was surely lost and confused.
Starving feels like a stretch. I feel like there are lots of things for a seaking to eat in the ocean,

Though he still looked unhappy, he swam closer to Lanturn and Golduck, the latter of whom eyed him warily.
Suggestion: the latter eyeing him warily.

One that would most likely die if Team Aqua’s goals came to fruition?
This feels like thinking too far ahead. Like, it felt like a jump, especially considering that later in the conversation it sounds like they don’t fully know what Aqua is planning until M tells them.

the last member of our family…”
Aww, family.

And I’ll go to my parents and sister and explain what I’ve really been doing these past few months and make everything up to them.”
For the love of god, please do, Maressa.

she wondered if she should have asked more questions,
Protagonist syndrome.

It never occurred to her that Derek might have left her for dead.

“Do you really think he’ll care about knowing whether I’m okay or not?”
I don’t think “left her for dead” is what you want here. Maybe assumed her dead?

Moonlight shone on the tall pearlescent rock. People crowded around it, trying to touch the historic, mystical stone. They attached small tags to it on which were written the contents of their hearts, from their trivial desires to fervent prayers.
Ooh this is interesting! I like this glimpse into the local culture. Good details.

this rock had been nothing more than a shrine for people to come and put their wishes or respects to.
“Nothing more than” feels too trivializing for a an object of such importance.

It was completely unfamiliar to anything he had ever felt—nothing like the mind of a human, and much different from those of Pokemon such as Solrock or Xatu. And every time the consciousness contacted his own, he sensed a deep longing and loneliness emanating from it.
!!!
I do hope we’ll get some explanation for why he’s the chosen one though.

Mildred furrowed her brow as she toyed with the Skitty icon in her keychain.
I think “skitty charm on her keychain” would read more naturally.

Soon, people of Hoenn, she thought as she traced the jagged black ‘M’ on her coin, you’ll wish these were the only problems you had.
Hm interesting! Though I have to wonder what the significance of the coin is beyond signaling that she’s with Magma.

I really liked the interlude on Mossdeep! It had a lot of juicy, concrete detail.
 
Last edited:

SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
~Review of Chapters 1 - 7~

Hi, I’m here for Catnip! …And got way too ambitious with the amount of chapters I wanted to cover, so this is a bit late, sorry.

Drowning is something I probably never would have checked out on my own due to lack of interest – Team Aqua and Magma were always my least favorite of the Canon Evil Teams. They seemed so dumb in conception, without even a unifying ideology beyond common idiocy to hold them together. Here, though, you manage to make both sides of the Aqua/Magma conflict seem realistic and somewhat reasonable, even if both teams are still hellbent on a severely misguided attempt to “””save the world”””. I got sucked in almost immediately and had read seven chapters before I knew it.

True enough to its name, this fic does give me the impression of drowning. Maressa is a Team Aqua grunt who blindly believes obedience is the best virtue. There are tiny little hints of how deep she’s getting herself in, like when she’s made to use brass knuckles to knock a civilian out, but she doesn’t really realize what she’s gotten herself into until she becomes a prisoner of Team Magma. By the time the reality of her situation finally hits her, she realizes she’s caught in a trap with no easy way out – and there’s no walking away from a conflict that could easily end with the world in flames, underwater, or possibly both.

One thing I enjoyed about this fic is the pokemon battles. Maressa is a master battler, and it shows here – she easily outbattles a team aqua commander (even if she loses that one in the end), and conducts the battle between the two submarines almost flawlessly. However, it’s also clear that the people she works with do not have the same regard for pokemon that she does – every battle Maressa has fought onscreen ends badly for either her or her pokemon, and it seems utterly clear that she and the pokemon she battles with are seen as completely disposable in the eyes of Maressa’s superiors. It almost makes the reader want Maressa to betray them and switch over to Team Magma instead… until you realize that Team Magma is just as bad as Team Aqua, if not worse.

It surprises me how grey the situation is after Tabitha’s interrogation. It’s clear that both teams are indisputably evil, but the different priorities they value make them evil in different ways. Team Aqua is more secretive and prefers to dupe their members into thinking they’re working for a great cause while they do their dirty business in secret, while Team Magma openly spreads information around its members, and is more openly ruthless as a result. I don’t think either team is good, though, and it seems that they have gotten many of their members from people who are in debt or too young to think twice about what they’re doing.

Either way, I guess this is just a roundabout way of saying I think both teams are despicable. It’s too bad they’re the only choices around…

All of this makes me wonder about Maxie and Archie’s ideologies, though. They’ve both been namedropped a few times, but it’s clear that they’re pulling the strings, and whatever their cause is must be believable/strong enough for them to have won at least a few high-ranking team officials to their side. IF we finally reach them and it’s something like they were researchers who disagreed, then broke up their friendship, then started a rivalry that blew up into this, you will have my everlasting rage.

I will admit that even though you said this fic uses the original Aqua/Magma designs, it’s hard for me to imagine Tabitha as anything outside of his ORAS design lol

I think one thing that broke my suspension of disbelief a bit is when people in this fic seem to understand their pokemon even without a proper way to talk to them. Good examples of this are Maressa and Seaking right before and during the submarine battle, and Derek with both Breloom and Golbat when discussing how best to free Maressa. While it’s not preposterous to think that people living with pokemon develop ways to know what their pokemon are saying after living with them for a bit, being able to make out details like ‘red submarine’ or breloom’s many over-the-top escape plans implies a more sophisticated form of communication that I don’t think was ever hinted at past ‘we have a bond’.

Overall, I think what I’ve read so far of Drowning is a very rich, in-depth, and realistic depiction of what are (in my opinion) the least realistic groups of villains in the pokemon franchise. It doesn’t hold back when depicting brutal, difficult or immoral situations, but also doesn’t stoop to using blood and gore alone as a horror factor. And above all, it’s gotten me invested in a conflict that by all rights is too ridiculous to exist, and worried for both Maressa and Derek, who, in acting by their moral compass, are about to get themselves in so deep that they may as well be drowning.

~SparklingEspeon

Listening to: Trucks in Place – Ludwig Goransson
 

OldschoolJohto

Never not editing
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
solrock
Chapter 12!
Slowly catching up on my backlog!

he gave them instructions for getting ready tomorrow;
This feels redundant. If they’re getting directions for tomorrow, I think that = getting ready for tomorrow.

Have you forgotten about my leg?!” She pointed to her left leg, and though the cut was hidden beneath the fabric of her pants, it throbbed horribly. “Walking is a pain, not to mention trying to run.
I don’t have a good sense how bad her injury is. It does seem like she’s doing a lot on an injured leg, which is probably preventing it from healing. That feels to me like it should be serious, but the tone here is kinda light.

Even if we did manage to take any hostages, I doubt it would really matter.
This is a weird statement coming from someone who was kidnapped by Magma and knows how unpleasant that can be!

His vermillion eyes glanced curiously at her.
This makes his eyes feel weirdly disembodied. If anything I’d do a “he glanced at her, curiosity in his vermillion eyes.”

I just want to say goodbye before I leave them for good.”

That was the point! If she was going to make some tearful farewell, then they would know something was up and their plan for escape would be ruined.
Ironic that a golduck seems to understand human behavior here better than she does.

she was duty-bound to her Pokemon—her family—first.
But not her literal flesh-and-blood family. What on earth happened between them?

She could have sworn that he hadn’t smelled this bad before. Maybe the stench he gave off had something to do with his mood? But he seemed just the same as before. Perhaps it was due to a difference in stress levels? She had no idea, though it at least seemed possible that a constantly-changing environment was making him stressed out.
I liked this. Makes sense.

Yep. The boss honestly doesn’t care that much which grunt goes where—you’re all pretty much the same to him.
Yay. Comforting.

By the way,” he mentioned as he leaned on the door frame and surveyed Maressa with his pale eyes, “do you want to hang out this evening? A couple of the grunts and I are having drinks. You’re more than welcome to come!”
Um, excuse me, sir. This feels unprofessional and I need an adult.

pockets were empty—she knew Golduck didn’t like Matt, so she decided to leave him behind.
I expected this to end so badly.

surrounded by grunts playing a variety of games: poker, crazy eights, bridge, and several others.
This really makes me miss playing card games! :c And this makes a lot of sense to me, the grunts hanging out in a bar playing card games.

Maressa glared at him when she felt a nudge from Matt.

“Do you wanna step outside?”
Flirt alert.

Maressa smiled at him. “Thanks—and I’ll see you soon!” As she strode down the hallway, her heart was light and fluttery—part of her wanted to gush to her Pokemon about how much fun she had. But she knew how Golduck felt about Matt. Maybe it was best to wait until he warmed up to him a bit more.
Homegirl is not good at abandoning ship.

“I like Shelly,” Mark admitted.
Omg Aqua Mark is back. And wow, what a strange sentence to read out of context lololol. Something tells me it will not be appearing in my fic.

Yeah, well,” Maressa muttered, “that seems to be the kind of people teams like this one want the most.”

“Maressa,” Mark said sharply, and she glanced up at him, slightly worried. His dark eyes were narrowed as he asked, “where is your Peanuts pile?”

Maressa looked down at the table and suddenly realized that her deck was completely depleted. “I win! PEANUTS!”
LOL

“Why do you look this upset?” Cloe asked.
This felt a tad too suspicious without reason from her perspective—look implies deceit to me.

Suggestion: Cloe laughed. “What’s got you so down? Lighten up!”

But what’s going on in Mossdeep???
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Pronouns
He/Him
Partner
mew
Chapter 5 was quite uncomfortable to read, and also a bit scary to be honest. I was pretty surprised when it was revealed that she'd ended up being caught by Team Magma. Here I thought she'd wake up washed up on an island somehow lol.

You did well in selling how scary and manipulative Tabitha actually is in this chapter, and I'm glad you didn't make him feel too much like a creep when he was tormenting Maressa towards the end of their conversation.

I do wonder how she's going to feel working for Team Aqua beyond this point as even though she knows what they're all about now, will she change her mind if they come back to rescue her? Or will she have mixed feelings up until she decides to abandon the group? It does make me wonder if they'll really just keep her as a grunt forever for being caught by the enemy team. Time will tell.
 
Chapter 15 New

Starlight Aurate

Verso L'Alto
Location
Route 123
Partner
mightyena
Wow thanks for all the replies everyone! :D
It’s been 300 years! 👵🏻🙌🏻
Gotta throw my characters a bone at some point!


!
This deserves more attention, I’d say.
Backstory will come in time :P

Haha, just this morning my roommate and I were talking about people projecting onto their pets.
lol she definitely projects on to her Pokemon.

Seems to me like the bigger problem is that it would be a lot of resources for finding one seaking—and that’s not Aqua’s priority. Though maybe Shelly is trying to be nice?
Totally fair--but yes, Shelly was trying to be nice. Succeeding? Who knows!

I wanted an indication of how much time had passed and how far away from the base they were.
Ah. I was thinking of only an hour or so and easily within sight, but I guess those would've been good things to put in, heh.


This feels like thinking too far ahead. Like, it felt like a jump, especially considering that later in the conversation it sounds like they don’t fully know what Aqua is planning until M tells them.
Ooooh good point. I have a hard time remembering which character knows how much information at different times 😅

Protagonist syndrome.
What is that? I haven't head of it before.

I don’t think “left her for dead” is what you want here. Maybe assumed her dead?
Much better word choice! Thank ye.

Ooh this is interesting! I like this glimpse into the local culture. Good details.
Showing local cultures is one of my favorite things to do with writing!

“Nothing more than” feels too trivializing for a an object of such importance.
Hmmm on reading back on it, I agree with you here.

Hm interesting! Though I have to wonder what the significance of the coin is beyond signaling that she’s with Magma.
Oh lol I just got it frrom the "Magma Emblem" item in Pokemon Emerald that allows the player access to Team Magma's base. It isn't really anything more than that ^_^;

I really liked the interlude on Mossdeep! It had a lot of juicy, concrete detail.
[/QUOTE]
Thanks! Writing about things like that are some of my favs ^_^
Chapter 12!
Slowly catching up on my backlog!
Woo! You can do et!

I don’t have a good sense how bad her injury is. It does seem like she’s doing a lot on an injured leg, which is probably preventing it from healing. That feels to me like it should be serious, but the tone here is kinda light.
Ah, this is criticism I got from the last time I posted this--that her leg injury kept reappearing and disappearing. I'm... not doing too well at remembering and handling it, admittedly.

This is a weird statement coming from someone who was kidnapped by Magma and knows how unpleasant that can be!
Yeeeaaaah I probably shouldn't have had her say that.

Ironic that a golduck seems to understand human behavior here better than she does.
Lol Golduck totally turns into the voice of reason for the next few chapters. He is not interested in doing what's heroic or right; he just wants Maressa and the rest of the team to be safe.

But not her literal flesh-and-blood family. What on earth happened between them?
I didn't have them in mind when I wrote this fic, so I didn't include much about them--I didn't intend to include them at all when I first wrote this.

Yay. Comforting.

Um, excuse me, sir. This feels unprofessional and I need an adult.

I expected this to end so badly.
As you can see, Team Aqua leadership is full of great professionalism and leadership. Sign up today!

This really makes me miss playing card games! :c And this makes a lot of sense to me, the grunts hanging out in a bar playing card games.
Hah, it kinda gave the traditional image of thugs/bad guys hanging out in a bar with drinks and card games, though here they're meant to be neither bad guys nor thugs.

Flirt alert.
Good thing you've got more of a flirt radar than she does.

Homegirl is not good at abandoning ship.
She gets very attached to people.

Omg Aqua Mark is back. And wow, what a strange sentence to read out of context lololol. Something tells me it will not be appearing in my fic.
Hahaha I forget that we both have Marks XD And on opposite teams! I would be very, very surprised if your Mark said this, lol

Also about the Peanuts scene--that happened to me and friends in real life. I had won a round and didn't even realize it for a few minutes XD

But what’s going on in Mossdeep???
SOON
Thanks so much for stopping by! I love reading reviews and comments from you ^_^
~Review of Chapters 1 - 7~

Hi, I’m here for Catnip! …And got way too ambitious with the amount of chapters I wanted to cover, so this is a bit late, sorry.
No worries at all! You certainly went way above and beyond what I was expecting and read more of my fic than I read of yours, so don't worry :)

is something I probably never would have checked out on my own due to lack of interest – Team Aqua and Magma were always my least favorite of the Canon Evil Teams. They seemed so dumb in conception, without even a unifying ideology beyond common idiocy to hold them together. Here, though, you manage to make both sides of the Aqua/Magma conflict seem realistic and somewhat reasonable, even if both teams are still hellbent on a severely misguided attempt to “””save the world”””. I got sucked in almost immediately and had read seven chapters before I knew it.

True enough to its name, this fic does give me the impression of drowning. Maressa is a Team Aqua grunt who blindly believes obedience is the best virtue. There are tiny little hints of how deep she’s getting herself in, like when she’s made to use brass knuckles to knock a civilian out, but she doesn’t really realize what she’s gotten herself into until she becomes a prisoner of Team Magma. By the time the reality of her situation finally hits her, she realizes she’s caught in a trap with no easy way out – and there’s no walking away from a conflict that could easily end with the world in flames, underwater, or possibly both.
Ha, yeah, the Hoenn teams definitely are considered the most idiotic for a good reason, and I understand why you have a natural lack of interest in them! I'm glad I was able to make their goals into a story that's worthwhile. And thanks for expanding on the title! I feel like it's pretty obvious to most people, but I feel really affirmed when people point out what it means and how it plays in ^_^

One thing I enjoyed about this fic is the pokemon battles. Maressa is a master battler, and it shows here – she easily outbattles a team aqua commander (even if she loses that one in the end), and conducts the battle between the two submarines almost flawlessly. However, it’s also clear that the people she works with do not have the same regard for pokemon that she does – every battle Maressa has fought onscreen ends badly for either her or her pokemon, and it seems utterly clear that she and the pokemon she battles with are seen as completely disposable in the eyes of Maressa’s superiors. It almost makes the reader want Maressa to betray them and switch over to Team Magma instead… until you realize that Team Magma is just as bad as Team Aqua, if not worse.
This is helpful for me to know; I was told in the first version of this fic that writing battles was something I struggled with a lot, and it's never come naturally for me. But given that you enjoy them and can see that Maressa is considered a good battler makes me feel like I've come a long way in writing action scenes, so thank you so much!

It surprises me how grey the situation is after Tabitha’s interrogation. It’s clear that both teams are indisputably evil, but the different priorities they value make them evil in different ways. Team Aqua is more secretive and prefers to dupe their members into thinking they’re working for a great cause while they do their dirty business in secret, while Team Magma openly spreads information around its members, and is more openly ruthless as a result. I don’t think either team is good, though, and it seems that they have gotten many of their members from people who are in debt or too young to think twice about what they’re doing.
Yep, for my fic, Team Aqua is the one that values obedience and deceives their members while Team Magma is one that seeks open communication and encourages relationships between each other--which is the opposite of what a couple other fics have, and something I hadn't even intentionally written in at first! Everyone except the leaders are fairly young, and it's easier for them to get people who are desperate/looking for purpose to join them.

All of this makes me wonder about Maxie and Archie’s ideologies, though. They’ve both been namedropped a few times, but it’s clear that they’re pulling the strings, and whatever their cause is must be believable/strong enough for them to have won at least a few high-ranking team officials to their side. IF we finally reach them and it’s something like they were researchers who disagreed, then broke up their friendship, then started a rivalry that blew up into this, you will have my everlasting rage.
Oh they appear, all right :P And what is the reason for the everlasting rage, I wonder? That the whole "we used to be friends" is a bit cliched, perhaps? :P

I will admit that even though you said this fic uses the original Aqua/Magma designs, it’s hard for me to imagine Tabitha as anything outside of his ORAS design lol
HAHAHAHAHAHA. I get that from quite a couple people, that they keep thinking of the ORAS designs, but I can assure you that Tabitha does not look like that XD

I think one thing that broke my suspension of disbelief a bit is when people in this fic seem to understand their pokemon even without a proper way to talk to them. Good examples of this are Maressa and Seaking right before and during the submarine battle, and Derek with both Breloom and Golbat when discussing how best to free Maressa. While it’s not preposterous to think that people living with pokemon develop ways to know what their pokemon are saying after living with them for a bit, being able to make out details like ‘red submarine’ or breloom’s many over-the-top escape plans implies a more sophisticated form of communication that I don’t think was ever hinted at past ‘we have a bond’.
I kinda took this idea from the Pokemon anime; Ash was able to understand Pikachu and in one of the Indigo League episodes a researcher asked how he can talk to Pokemon and Ash said something along the lines of, "Well, it's my Pokemon, of course I can understand him!" I just took that logic and ran with it. Pokemon-human dialogue has been something I've gotten mixed reviews on; a number of people say it's clunky and awkwardr and could be rethought, whereas other people think it's an elegant solution. So idk :V

Overall, I think what I’ve read so far of Drowning is a very rich, in-depth, and realistic depiction of what are (in my opinion) the least realistic groups of villains in the pokemon franchise. It doesn’t hold back when depicting brutal, difficult or immoral situations, but also doesn’t stoop to using blood and gore alone as a horror factor. And above all, it’s gotten me invested in a conflict that by all rights is too ridiculous to exist, and worried for both Maressa and Derek, who, in acting by their moral compass, are about to get themselves in so deep that they may as well be drowning.
Aww, thanks so much for this and for leaving such a kind review! I thought your review was very well-written and nicely structured, and I really appreciate the feedback on Pokemon-human dialogue! :)
Chapter 5 was quite uncomfortable to read, and also a bit scary to be honest. I was pretty surprised when it was revealed that she'd ended up being caught by Team Magma. Here I thought she'd wake up washed up on an island somehow lol.

You did well in selling how scary and manipulative Tabitha actually is in this chapter, and I'm glad you didn't make him feel too much like a creep when he was tormenting Maressa towards the end of their conversation.
Thanks! Chapter 5 was one of my favorites to write, so I'm glad to hear that I did a good job in selling Tabitha this time around. He was much more melodramatic laughable in the previous version ^_^;

I do wonder how she's going to feel working for Team Aqua beyond this point as even though she knows what they're all about now, will she change her mind if they come back to rescue her? Or will she have mixed feelings up until she decides to abandon the group? It does make me wonder if they'll really just keep her as a grunt forever for being caught by the enemy team. Time will tell.
Time will indeed tell! Thanks so much for stopping by--it's always great to see you and I love hearing your thoughts about each chapter! Hope everything is going well on your end :)


Hey everyone! This chapter is a bit on the long side (for me, anyway) and is a hodge-podge of different scenes that I had a hard time pulling together in an orderly fashion. Thoughts or comments are appreciated!

Chapter 15



Sunlight streamed in through the windows of the treetop house as Phoebe finished packing her bags. Fortree was a beautiful city, but with her home at Mt. Pyre so close, she’d rather stay there. She was never one for throngs of foot traffic and crowds. She glanced up as a shadow passed overhead and saw an Altaria perch on the windowsill, holding a note in its beak. Phoebe removed the note and scanned it:

Please come meet me at the Conference Room as soon as you can.

- Steven


Phoebe’s heart twisted into knots—she hadn’t told anyone about her encounter with Team Aqua. Did Steven know? Was she going to pay for it?

As she descended the treetop house and made her way through the streets towards the Pokemon League Conference Center, her mind went through different scenarios and what she should say.

Worst case scenario: Steven knew she was making a deal with Team Aqua and he would punish her for it. What would that look like? But if that situation arose, she could defend herself—she didn’t mean to make a deal with them so soon, and she and Liza were forced to act on the spot.

And maybe that scenario wouldn’t happen. Maybe Steven didn’t know about the deal and wanted Phoebe for something else entirely.

But what?

She thought about bringing her Pokemon out of their Pokeballs and asking them their thoughts, but before she knew it, she arrived at the Conference Center. Perhaps, if Steven was okay with it, she could let them in on their meeting…

As Phoebe ascended the wooden steps to the center—which, like everything else in Fortree, was in the trees—her heart pounded with anxiety. She walked in to the Conference Room to see Steven with several bags next to him. His Skarmory stood perched on the sill of an enormous window; the sunlight shining on his silver wings made him glow. Steven patted Skarmory’s beak and gave Phoebe a tired smile when she walked in.

“Thank you for coming here on such short notice. I’m sorry to have done this to you, but with current events, I’m sure you understand why we need to act quickly and urgently.”

Phoebe dipped her head. “Yes, sir.”

“How is Liza doing?”

“She’s… restless,” was the only word Phoebe could think of. “She’s really upset about Tate being gone—she wants to take action.”

“I’m sure. That poor girl… Anyway, the real reason I brought you here is because I’m worried that, if the teams are kidnapping mythical Pokemon like Jirachi, they may soon target other such Pokemon as well.” He gestured to his bags. “I’m heading to Route 134 to search the underwater caves there. There’s writing and it looks like it was cut out deliberately a long time ago. Those rocks are hard, and they wouldn’t be easy to cut into. But they’re not like the volcanic rock that makes up the Sootopolis crater—interesting, isn’t it? That seems to be its own sort of rock entirely. Any places on this planet with the same type of rock as Sootopolis are yet to be discovered. But I digress.” He shook his head. “Before I go, I want to ask you what you know about Hoenn’s legendary Pokemon.

“I know you come from one of the oldest families in Hoenn and that your family guards the Red and Blue Orbs. Most people don’t know about them, but if the teams find out the connection of those items to ancient Pokemon, I fear they may be in danger—that we will all be in much greater danger.”

Phoebe’s stomach dropped. This was it—she had to say something. But before she could formulate words, Steven was already speaking again.

“We know they want to expand the land and the sea, but I didn’t know they would try to use mythical Pokemon to do it. If it’s okay with your family, I think we ought to keep the Orbs at the Pokemon League Center in Ever Grande City.”

“That won’t work—they need to stay at Mt. Pyre for their power to be neutralized.”

Steven raised his silver eyebrows. “Really? Why is that?”

“We believe it has to do with the creation of the Orbs themselves. All life comes from the Cave of Origin—it’s where the Weather Trio, Latios and Latias, and other Pokemon like them came from. But the Orbs aren’t part of Hoenn creation mythos; they only appear in later stories. According to the record passed down by my family, a hundred people willingly gave up their lives to tame Kyogre and Groudon, and that’s how the Orbs were made.”

Steven nodded. “The Orbs were made by people… And they lose their power if they’re kept at Mt. Pyre?”

“There’s a part of The Scorched Slab Codex that says, ‘Those who are truly dead stop those stuck in time.’ We know the Orbs are harmless when kept together at Mt. Pyre.”

“Why haven’t they been destroyed?”

Phoebe sighed. “We aren’t sure how… My family has records of people trying many things—horrible things—to destroy them, but nothing has worked. We don’t know if it would involve more sacrifice or dangerous magic, and since so few people know about them and their power is nullified at Mt. Pyre, we don’t want to try too hard.”

As Phoebe looked into Steven’s grey eyes, she desperately wanted to tell him that Team Aqua did know about the Orbs and wanted them. Then Steven could warn the rest of the Elite Four and they could all take down Team Aqua together—what did Phoebe have to lose?

Banette.

She had Banette to lose—Matt still had her Pokemon, and if Phoebe slipped up, then he could do the worst to Banette. There was no guarantee that Steven and the Pokemon League could find and take down Team Aqua. After all, their boss wasn’t at the police station when Phoebe and Liza were cornered. And if he was still up and running, then Team Aqua was still a threat.

There was a guarantee that if Matt got upset, Banette would be the one to pay for it. And as Phoebe watched Steven mount his Skarmory, she couldn’t bring herself to tell him the truth.

Steven gave her a grateful smile from atop his Skarmory. “Thank you for your time, Phoebe.” In the sunlight, Skarmory blazed as if he was made of harnessed sunlight. As the magnificent Steel-type spread its wings and took off into the pale blue sky and became nothing more than a glowing speck, Phoebe’s heart sank lower.

What had she gotten herself into?

+++++++++++++++++++

Derek descended the stairway, carrying a container of spaghetti along with some fruit juice. Ever since his interactions with Maressa, he had grown more sympathetic towards prisoners, and so he had taken some of his personal juice to give them to keep their spirits up. He paused as he was about to take another step—he didn’t really know what kind of person this prisoner was, and maybe they didn’t really deserve the juice. It was possible that they were really a thug, and not someone he could empathize with like Maressa was. He checked the flavor of the juice: orange. His favorite. Grimacing, he put it into one of his overly-large pockets. Maybe if he liked this person, he would give it to them. Otherwise, they could live with water.

Descending into the deep darkness of the base, he grew more and more anxious. Breloom told him everything he had seen—and felt. Derek could hardly believe that they had actually captured Jirachi—a Pokemon he had only heard of in classes and mythology books. Hardly anyone had actually believed it was real, but if he believed Breloom (who wasn’t always totally reliable), then they actually had the Wish Maker living with them.

Apparently, Jirachi had left the base for an indefinite amount of time. When Derek pressed Breloom for reasons, the Grass-type couldn’t answer—he had missed most of what Maxie said, being so overwhelmed by Jirachi’s feelings and energy.

Derek reached the basement. In the darkness of the dimly-lit room, it was hard to believe that it was actually mid-morning. Derek made his way around crates and to the door Tabitha had told him. Opening the door and flicking on the light, Derek nearly dropped the spaghetti in shock.

On the floor, up against the wall, sat a child. His messy hair was falling out of his bun, and in spite of his youth, his facial countenance was ghastly. His eyes were closed, mouth slightly agape, cheeks and lips twitching uneasily in his sleep. On his lap, a Mightyena lay. The Dark-type woke up at the sound of Derek opening the door, and he raised his head and squealed happily when he saw Derek. His tail wagged back-and-forth ecstatically but he remained lying where he was.

The sound of Mightyena squealing woke the boy and he shifted uneasily as he eyed the Pokemon. Mightyena noticed the movement, shot the boy a dark look and a low growl, then returned his attention and happy wagging to Derek.

Derek squatted down next to the kid, setting down the spaghetti. “You’re the person Team Magma took prisoner?” he asked incredulously.

The boy glanced at him, then paused. Perhaps the word “prisoner” hadn’t occurred to him, but after a moment, he nodded.

“Why?”

“I—I think it’s because you want Jirachi, and Jirachi wants me.”

Derek studied the boy and Mightyena, and things began clicking in place. He shook his head.

“No…” Standing up, he was about to exit but remembered to take the orange juice out of his pocket and hand it to the kid. “Here. It’s not much, but I hope you’ll like it.” Turning to Mightyena, he jabbed a finger at the Dark-type. “You don’t touch his food, or take that juice, or do anything to hurt him. I’m going to talk to your trainer.”

Derek sprinted upstairs two at a time, his mind going a mile a minute. Where could Tabitha be? It was roughly ten-thirty a.m. He decided to check the training area—perhaps he was drilling some of the newer recruits.

His guess turned out to be correct. In a large room, Tabitha stood before a bunch of uniformed men and women, each with their Pokemon out.

Derek walked over to his commander. “Tabitha, I need to talk to you.”

His black eyes shot Derek an impatient look. “Wait until we’re done.”

“It can’t wait.”

“What is it about?”

“The kid—”

Tabitha silenced the medic with a glare and a glance at the grunts. “Not here. I told you, you need to wait until I’m done with them. Now get out.”

Derek stormed out of the room and back to the clinic, thinking of perhaps trying to stitch the laceration in that Cacnea’s arm back up while waiting. But he soon dismissed the idea—he knew that it was never a good idea to try and work while he was angry, so he just opted to watch Claydol do it. In a minute, he was sitting on a stool, watching Claydol floating before the Grass-type, telekinetically levitating a bunch of tools. The Psychic-type’s telekinesis proved to be just as precise as Derek’s handiwork, perhaps even more so.

An hour-and-a-half later, Tabitha entered, looking disgruntled. “What is so important that you had to interrupt my training regimen for?”

Derek stood up. “We’re holding a child hostage? What the hell, Tabitha?!”

What was previously mild annoyance turned into exasperation and anger as Tabitha shot a dark glare at Derek. “We need the kid because it’s the only way to get Jirachi to listen to us. If we didn’t take him, we couldn’t have Jirachi, and the Pokemon League or the police could use that Pokemon to find us and destroy our organization. And the kid is a Gym Leader. He’s been working against us the entire time—he’s our enemy as much as Team Aqua is.”

“He’s a kid! He’s barely done anything in his entire life! And you’re fine with stationing a Dark-type right next to him, ready to kill him if he doesn’t do what you want? And he’s a Psychic-type trainer! Imprisoning him with a Dark-type is torturing him!”

“It’s not torture—”

“Yes it is! Psychics are used to projecting their minds and feeling the thoughts and feelings of those around them, but they can’t do it on Dark-type Pokemon. It’s like they’re voids or drains on their consciousness.”

Tabitha looked slightly surprised at this information, but just said, “So we’re preventing the kid from knowing what we think or feel. All the better, then.”

“ ‘All the bett—’ how can you say that?” Derek stared open-mouthed at his commander. “And have you even considered the consequences of what’s going to happen? We’re going to have the entire legal force of Hoenn hunting us down!”

“This was Leader Maxie’s idea. If you want to take it up with him, fine, but don’t you dare tell anyone else about this. This has to be our most important secret, and we can’t have any of others knowing about it. You’ve been entrusted to take care of the kid, so we trust you well enough to know about this at all. There’s nothing else about this that I have control over, and at this point I’m just carrying out orders.”

Derek stood there, staring at Tabitha but at a complete loss for words. His commander turned around and exited, shutting the door behind him. Claydol and Cacnea were looking up at Derek, curious and slightly frightened. Derek sighed and sat back down next to Claydol.

His mind mulled over the issue, trying to look at it from every angle, and his thoughts kept on turning back to Maressa. When she couldn’t agree with what her team was doing anymore, she had quit. She was brave—she had done what Derek couldn’t do. Derek shook the thought from his head. His situation was entirely different than hers, wasn’t it?

“Claydol,” he said as one of the Ground-type’s large red eyes met his own, “I don’t know what to do.”

+++++++++++++++++++

The bright moon shone in the black sky overhead. Maressa leaned back on her hands as she stared up into the nighttime void. Next to her, Matt sat in the same position while he chattered away.

The two of them spent the past few nights just hanging outside and talking until late into the night. Maressa’s heart always swelled with warmth whenever Matt said he wanted to hang out with her. He—the cool commander—the one the grunts liked—actually enjoyed spending time with her!

Maressa grew into a habit of leaving her Pokeballs in her room when Matt asked her to hang out. Throughout high school and college, whenever Maressa became interested in a boy, Golduck noticed and hounded her constantly.

He claimed he didn’t want Maressa to get hurt and had to screen the boys before they got too close to Maressa—though she didn’t think that following them and watching them closely on dates was the most effective way to do it.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never gotten past a first date… she mused.

But it was different now. Golduck knew Matt—he didn’t like him, but he knew him—and didn’t need to know Maressa was spending so much time with him just yet. Maressa knew Golduck wouldn’t take it well.

She glanced over at Matt and saw him gesture to a large patch of knotted skin encircling his bicep.

“… And this is where Huntail chomped down on me when he got upset,” Matt explained. “But I showed him who’s boss—you’ve got to show these Pokemon that you know their weaknesses and then they’ll come to respect you. Archie had to do it with his Sharpedo, too. That man is a tank—he didn’t let up when his Sharpedo and its school of Carvanha all started biting him!” His pale blue eyes glanced at Maressa and he smiled. “You understand this, of course, what with your Sharpedo.”

Maressa smiled bashfully. “Well, yeah, I do. I had to fight my Sharpedo for him to listen to me—and now we’re great friends!”

“Yeah. Funny how that happens, eh? Well,” Matt said as he checked his watch, “we should probably turn in for the night.”

Maressa nodded. “Probably.”

Matt gazed at her; her face grew red.

“What?” she asked him with a smile on her face.

“Do you want to come back tonight with me?”

At Matt’s words, the temperature around Maressa might have dropped ten degrees. The warmth faded, the smile fell from her face and her heart sank a little.

“Oh... No, I—I’m just going back to my bed.”

The smile vanished from Matt’s face and his brows furrowed.

“What? Why?”

“I’m—I’m just not comfortable with that.”

He stared at her with his mouth partly open.

“Then what were these past few nights about? Why did you always come out and spend hours talking to me?”

Maressa’s eyes opened wide as a feeling of icy water spread from her heart through her veins. “I—I don’t know! You always just asked me to hang out with you—I thought—I thought we were just getting along!”

Matt rolled his eyes. “Maressa… We spent hours together. You really just wanted to talk?”

Maressa’s heart dropped but her fists quickly balled up in anger. The iciness gave way to heat which soon boiled into simmering anger.

“Do you realize how much we’ve done for you—how much I’ve don’t for you?” Matt continued. “Maressa, I’ve been thinking about promoting you!”

She felt he face turn red as blood coursed though her veins. She stood up.

“So you’ll promote me if I just do what you want? Is that how this works?”

Matt stood up, his eyes narrowing over his small frown. “This isn’t anything to get worked up about. My line of thought was perfectly reasonable.”

“Well, what about now? Are you still going to promote me when I don’t do what you want?”

“You shouldn’t talk to me like that. Remember, I’m still in charge of you—I can do whatever I want, you know.”

Maressa’s heart skipped a beat but she regained her composure. “Are you threatening me?” she spat.

“Just reminding you of your position—I’m a commander, and you’re a grunt.”

“I’m not interested,” she immediately said. Turning tail, she walked back to the base at the bottom of the hill as quickly as she could. She didn’t hear Matt’s footsteps behind her and didn’t bother looking back to see whether he also came back or whether he stayed—but she didn’t care. She didn’t care about what he said, or what he wanted—she didn’t care about him!

How could he say that to her? Would he really decide to promote her based on whether she caved to his every whim?

As she walked, Matt’s words made their full impact and hot tears came to her eyes. Her nose sniffled. In a few moments, she was full-on crying, just barely able to suppress audible sobs.

Once she reached her room, she slammed the door shut and opened Golduck’s Pokeball. Maressa leaned against the door of her room and slid to the ground while she cried.

Golduck—who initially blinked in annoyance at being woken up—immediately ran over to Maressa and put an arm around her. What happened to her?

Choking out words, Maressa told Golduck that she had been seeing and speaking with Matt for the past several nights—and what he said to Maressa. Her chest heaved with each breath and she could barely get words out.

“And—and I’m sorry I never told you—or Sharpedo, or Lanturn, or anybody—I just—just felt like—like he wanted to be with me—until—until he said he was never interested in—in me—just—just what he wanted—from me…”

Golduck quacked, but Maressa could hardly hear anything other than the thoughts running through her head.

Did none of the guys she ever spent time talking to—time being friends with—actually care about her? Those times that Mark came in when she was new—did he not really care about how she felt? And all that time Derek spoke to her when she was captured by Team Magma—all the effort he put in to protecting her, to helping her escape, to ensure she’d still have a spot with Team Aqua after she escaped—was it all for nothing?

No. Maressa knew that couldn’t be true—she refused to believe it.

Even still, a shard of doubt remained lodged in her heart.

Maressa put her head on Golduck’s shoulder and listened to his quacks.

She should have escaped earlier, he said. She had been avoiding it for so long, and now there was no more escaping reality. Staying grew more dangerous by the day, and if she stayed with Team Aqua any longer then she would only face more trouble.

Maressa’s exhaled deeply. “I know,” she said steadily. “You were right… And back then, if Phoebe hadn’t demanded one of Matt’s Pokemon, I would have lost another one of you.” As though she was living through it again, she saw the event play out, and her hands balled into fists. “But I can’t just take this! I can’t just let him get away after talking like that to me!”

Golduck jumped up and quacked angrily. How could Maressa be so stubborn? How could she stay behind to try and get even with someone when there were four other Pokemon who relied on her and when they needed to be looking for Seaking

Maressa glared through tears at Golduck. “Do you think I’ve forgotten about all of you? Did you think I forgot about Seaking? I think about him all the time! I think about you—I worry about you all. But I’m with Matt now, and he won’t leave me alone. We stay up late at night talking and then during the day he always wants me with him and he keeps telling me how I good I am at being a Team Aqua member and how if—if I just do what he says then he’ll promote me…” Her face twisted into a grimace, and she shook her head and turned away. She pounded a fist on the floor again. “I won’t do it anymore, Golduck.”

Golduck quacked. Then they should all escape!

“I feel like it’s wrong at this point, though. Team Aqua doesn’t want us to leave because we know so much about them. And now we know that Team Magma has Jirachi and if those Pokemon League people keep their promise—which I kinda doubt—then Team Aqua will have the Orbs. Can we really just do nothing and leave?”

Golduck stared blankly at her. Team Aqua and Team Magma were large organizations with hundreds of members and countless Pokemon trained for battle and spying. She was one Team Aqua grunt with three Pokemon. What were they supposed to do?

Maressa stared ahead, deep in thought. “Well, Derek was one grunt with only three Pokemon, and he managed to sneak a captive out.”

Shaking his head, Golduck paced back and forth. Her situation and Derek’s were completely different—they couldn’t be compared.

Flinging her hands in the air, Maressa cried, “I don’t know, then! But I feel like I have to—if Team Aqua does get this powerful, how can I live with myself with just running away and doing absolutely nothing after helping them get this far?”

That didn’t matter! What did matter was that she and the others would still be alive—as long as they were alive, things could get better! They could keep fighting and keep hoping! As it was, they were powerless to do anything else.

Maressa scowled. She didn’t want to argue anymore, so she took out a Pokeball and released Gloom. He popped out, looking as apathetic as usual. Smiling through her tears, Maressa said with forced cheerfulness, “How are you doing, Gloom?”

The Pokemon tilted his head as he gazed at her. At least, Maressa assumed he was gazing—his eyes were so nearly closed that it was hard to tell if he could see anything at all. Maressa wiped tears away as she smiled at him. He looked more doleful than she had ever seen him. Maybe he was surprised to see her crying?

“Oh, it’s no big deal,” she said nonchalantly as she sniffed. Golduck shot her a glare, but she ignored him. “This just happens sometimes.”

Gloom looked completely unassured. It wasn’t just his usual, un-changing expression that made Maressa notice; it was something in him—though Maressa couldn’t entirely tell what—that emanated worry. Maressa continued to gaze at him, showcasing her false smile. It wasn’t entirely false, as she was happy to see Gloom and genuinely wanted him to be happy. But with the rawness of her throat and stinging of her salty eyes, it was hard to forget the events that recently transpired.

After staring at her for a minute, Gloom did something Maressa had never seen him do.

He reached his little arms out towards her.

Her heart soaring, Maressa took him in her hands, set him on her lap, and cradled him. As he leaned back into her, she couldn’t help smiling. She glanced over at Golduck, who looked a bit surprised but pleased. Maressa wanted to snuggle her face into Gloom like she used to do to Psyduck and Seaking, but she held back because she knew she would only breathe in toxic substances from Gloom’s flower—which didn’t smell nearly as horrible as before.

As Maressa sat there, holding Gloom in her arms, rocking him and singing softly to him, she felt a deeper resentment for Team Aqua growing in her heart. She knew Team Aqua would have no interest in protecting Grass-types and that Gloom would have little chance of surviving in whatever new world Kyogre was to create.

When Maressa stopped singing, she leaned back against the wall and merely looked at Golduck. She couldn’t let Team Aqua go through with their plan. She at least had to try something, and if it meant stealing the Orbs from right under Team Aqua’s noses, she would do it.

Golduck gazed back at her evenly. Perhaps he disapproved or disagreed with her, but they both knew that he and the other Pokemon would stick with her through anything. Sharpedo was always willing to fight, and Lanturn would always stick by the rest of them.

The two held their gaze, and after a moment, Golduck closed his eyes and nodded.

Relieved, Maressa gave Gloom a gentle squeeze. “Don’t worry, Gloom,” she said. “We’ll keep you stay safe. And we’ll make sure the world stays the way it is.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Maressa blinked as the sun peeked through her blinds and shone on her face, sending bright spots dancing behind her eyes. She inhaled deeply as she watched dust motes float in the rays of the morning sun. Matt’s words came back to her from the previous night and fury bubbled up in her. She clenched her bed sheets as she remembered—but the anger quickly died away and morphed into sadness and fear.

Am I really not worth it?

Rolling on to her side, she saw Golduck curled up on the metal floor—he was so good to her, choosing to sleep in uncomfortable conditions if it meant that she didn’t have to be alone. Next to him, Gloom was slumped in the corner, snoring softly.

Maressa gazed at Gloom; the sight of him sleeping so peacefully was oddly heartwarming. She glanced back at the sunlight shining on the bright green leaves outside—

Where no one else was.

Bolting out of bed, Maressa scrutinized the forest through her window. There were no Team Aqua members or Pokemon in sight. Quickly getting changed, she returned Gloom to his Pokeball and made her way through the hallway and out of the base.

As she strode through the trees, stepping through tall grasses and pushing aside ferns, her shoes and pant legs quickly became soaked from the dew covering the foliage. Tendrils of misty vapor rose through the forest canopy as it soaked in the morning sun. A few Taillow twittered to each other, but aside from that, the forest was quiet.

Stopping at a patch of grass, Maressa took out Gloom’s Pokeball. Through the translucent red cap, she saw him still sleeping peacefully. For just a moment, she thought of putting the Pokeball back into her pocket and keeping him with her—but she quickly dismissed the thought. Gloom was never meant to stay with her long-term. And she didn’t know how to properly care for a Grass-type, anyway.

Opening the ball, Maressa released him in a flash of white light. Gloom stretched his stubby little hands and legs before looking up at Maressa. He rubbed his eyes and yawned, a line of white drool falling from his mouth as he did so. The woman smiled at him as she bent down to where she was almost eye-level.

“Here you are, Gloom. There are lots of other Gloom and Grass-types in this forest. I’m sure it’ll be perfect for you to live in! You’re free now.”

Gloom cocked his head and stared at Maressa as drool dribbled down his chin and into the grass. Maressa’s heart panged—she didn’t have anything else to say, but she didn’t want to leave. Why was it so hard to leave him? She barely knew him. She had just met him a few days ago. Was she really that attached to him? Or was she just projecting her attachment for Seaking onto another Pokemon?

She didn’t know. But either way, it wasn’t fair to subject Gloom to anything dangerous. Getting up, she turned and strode back the way she came. She suddenly stopped as she heard the grass rustle behind her. Heartbeat racing, she turned around, grabbing Sharpedo’s Pokeball. He might not be able to move on land, but he could at least shoot water or bite whatever Pokemon got close.

Looking around, Maressa’s heart melted when she saw Gloom walk through the grass, following close behind her.

“You can’t stay with me!” she said, though she wished he could. Gloom looked up at her. “I don’t know how to take care of you—you won’t get sunlight from being inside all day, and everyone will wonder where I got a Gloom, and things will be dangerous, and—and you belong here.

She stopped talking as Gloom reached his short arms out to her. Tears came to her eyes—why did tears come to her eyes? This shouldn’t be hard, not after everything she’d already been through, and not with everything she was about to go through.

All the same, she bent down, took Gloom in her arms and hugged him. Her body shook slightly as she softly cried. The floral scent of sweet azaleas and magnolias reached Maressa’s nose. When she opened her eyes and realized how close her nose was to Gloom’s flower, she realized with a jolt that it was his flower that smelled so sweet.

She didn’t know how long they held each other—it might have been five minutes, it might have been twenty. But she eventually put Gloom back down and smiled at him through her tears.

“I love you, Gloom. And I’ll still be around. But things are going to get dangerous soon, and I don’t want you caught up in it. I’ll come back here—I promise! When the fighting is all over, Golduck, Lanturn, Sharpedo, Seaking and I will come back here and we can all play together. We can go to the river, and you can meet Seaking and talk to him. Won’t that be nice?”

Gloom made no sound but just looked up at Maressa sadly. She was surprised to see that his eyes were wet, too.

“When everything is safe again, I promise I’ll come back!”

With that, she turned around again and walked through the forest, wiping away tears and snot. She half-hoped to hear the rustle of Gloom’s footsteps again, but the forest was as silent as the grave.
 
Last edited:

OldschoolJohto

Never not editing
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
solrock
Chapter 13 flows well overall! I appreciate the moments of guilt vs duty from Tabitha for obvious reasons haha. Nice to get a glimpse at what’s going on with the other side here.

This is the first night of the Millennium Comet, and Mom and Dad took me shopping and say they want to take you too!
Long sentence! I think this one would benefit from being split up.

I heard Mom and Dad talking and saying that you need to get away from that rock soon!”
There’s an implicit “or else” here, and I kinda wanted to know what it was. How much are gym leaders beholden to their parents??

he added his voice to the song.
I wish these lyrics were in a language I speak! Without knowing the meaning, they’re decorative more than symbolic.

and giving cries of joy.
Giving hits my ear weird. Maybe crying out with joy?

The light the comet threw on it made it look as if the rock was glowing a bright, pearly white.
Is the comet so close that it’s this bright? I think image/word order is also a little off. We’re focusing on the light being reflected onto “it” before we know what we’re looking at.

Standing under a tree on a ledge a few hundred feet away, Tabitha watched the scene, petting Mightyena.
Niiice. Lezgo.

Both were small slip-ups—but both happened so quickly, and both were his fault.
Oof. Tabitha, I have a friend for you in a parallel Hoenn.

who gazed down at the boy before it with dark, benevolent eyes.
I like the juxtaposition of dark and benevolent.

Tabitha had but a moment to inspect the Pokemon before jets of flame covered it from each side.
”Covered” feels like perhaps too gentle a word here. Maybe struck? I also wish we had an indication of where the flame is coming from. Even if the Houndoom are not in sight, T-money over here knows what the plan is and could give us a moment of elation at everyone being in their proper places.

In the distance, the glass of building windows shattered as small explosions erupted in the air.
Word order again. I think it wants to be explosions then effect.

Tabitha leapt off the ledge and made his way through the crowd of people to the white rock.
Is the rock still there? I thought it had become Jirachi.

The Mossdeep Gym Leaders were the only people still at the rock.
I wish there had been an indication earlier of how they’d reacted.

a Lunatone floated, its eyes glowing blue as it formed a barrier of solidified light between the trainers and the flames. A Solrock was doing likewise, hovering protectively before the trainers as it tried to shepherd them away from the fire.
Yessss good babies!!! “Solrock doing likewise” kinda strips out the momentum though. Is there a way the solrock could get some individuality in its action here to make it feel more alive and dynamic?

Mightyena responded with a hyper beam, and the two attacks collided, forcing both Pokemon to stand their ground in an attempt to gain the advantage. Lunatone’s ice beam caused crystals of frost to coat the grass, whereas the blades near Mightyena’s feet were singed from the sheer intensity of the energy.
The sentences here are a little long and languid. It would help to get a little more into Tabitha’s head, less impersonal.

Although the Pokemon were occupied, the humans weren’t. While Mightyena was trying to gain advantage over Lunatone, Tabitha continued running right past the Pokemon towards the twins.
But this is them being occupied with something! For gym leaders, the twins are so easily dispensed with! I wanted them to put up more of a fight and/or to feel the presence of Magma closing in on them more.

now a column of roaring, twisting fire—in which his friend lay.
Friend feels like a strong word considering they’ve never exchanged actual words! Or have they been and I’m forgetting?

It would be so much easier to take her with them. He knew that she wasn’t the one Jirachi appeared for, but it was dangerous to leave her behind. She had seen him, and though she was about ten years old, she was still a Hoenn Gym Leader. And if she was anything like the siblings Tabitha had known, she would hunt her brother to the ends of the earth.
This was an effective moment! Also whaaaat is this other sibling thing about?

The large eyelid on its belly was mostly closed, but through the half-open lid Tabitha could see the eye roving back and forth in delirium.
Oooh a little creepy. Nice.

Nothing. Instead, he had orchestrated its kidnapping, and he knew nothing good would come of it.
Oof. These lines work well.

The Pokemon let out a large huff of breath through his nose, and lay down on the ground, resting his head on Tate’s stomach. He looked up accusingly at his trainer, and though he was being obedient, Tabitha could tell that he was still unhappy.
FATHER Y U ABANDON ME

Feeling a little guilty, he exited the room, still carrying Jirachi in his arms.
We get a good sense of guilt from prior lines. Here I wanted some kind of physicality/action instead.

But that stupid Azumarill shot water on me and knocked me down about thirty feet—
Thirty feet feels mechanical and too specific.
Also *at me?

This is the kid Jirachi woke up for.”

“And where is the Pokemon?”

At the mention of Jirachi’s name, the boy’s eyes flickered up to them, filled with concern. The fear wasn’t totally gone, but now there was a great deal of anger.
Paragraphs 2 & 3 want to switch places here.

and Tabitha felt a mystic energy radiate from it, filling the room and impressing on his mind.
I don’t know what mystic energy means or what it feels like for it to impress on his mind.

The sleeves of his shirt and legs of his pants fluttered from the pure energy Jirachi radiated.
Suggestion: The sleeves of his shirt and legs of his pants fluttered as if caught in the wind.

I can’t! the voice screamed desperately. The Orbs belong to Pokemon who were here when the earth was made—I don’t have power over them. Humans made the Orbs were made with some sort of magic that I can’t do anything about.
Huh!

Whose Breloom is that?”

“Derek’s. He’s trustworthy.”
I wasn’t sure why he asked. The unsolicited assurance of his trustworthiness felt like compensating for something. And why would they keep a member who wasn’t?

We can’t it directly return the damaged and polluted parts of nature to their original states and get rid of people?
Well when you put it like that! 🙃 Healing the land sounds v smart, but what does Tabitha think will happen to him, a people?

Groudon is the only Pokemon we will be using to do that.
Can’t cheat on bae ...? Wasn’t sure what this was about.

Tabitha tried to walk away, but the Grass-type wouldn’t stop following him. He didn’t want to be left alone!
I like the parallel with gloom. Grass-types are oddly caught in the middle here.

until Breloom had hopped on his lap.

“Wha—oh hey, you’re back! No, stop that, you’re too big to do that anymore!”
Ahaha cute.

I didn’t get a lot out of the quick return to Derek POV. I would end instead on Tabitha’s evaluation of him and their conversation.

Hmmmm Tabitha’s trust and loyalty seem to be straining! 👀
 
Last edited:

OldschoolJohto

Never not editing
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
solrock
Responding to the bonus chapter!

There were quite a few beats here that I thought worked well. I think overall the writing has been stronger in the more recent chapters.

Here we see Tabitha being surprisingly kind. Tea! I kinda wanted to know what kind of tea he pulled together. Is this, like, welp this Lipton teabag has been in this drawer forever, sorry, but hope it helps? Or does he have a tea stash and is thinking over carefully which teas are best for anxiety—before reminding himself it’s not his job? These glimpses at his internal life make me think he won’t last much longer in Magma—his duties are pushing him up against his values.

Poor Sarah. She was so self-assured at the outset. I do wish we got to know whether this experience has made her doubt her role in Aqua. Sure, she has Matt’s esteem, but has he ever been that kind to her? And maybe Shelly isn’t looking out for her as much as she thought. Or! Maybe she’s more determined than ever. I did like the switch to Tabitha, but it does mean we don’t get to know how her position has changed.

The last thing I wondered about was why it never crossed her mind that someone might recognize her. Their faces are out there for the world to see, after all. Has she not run many other missions for Aqua?

I did think the first section with Sarah ended in a stronger place than the second one with Chloe. Maybe consider swapping them? Or expanding the Chloe scene.

Sarah’s blue eyes focused on the Team Magma member ahead of her as he gave out orders.
I feel like her eye color is incidental to this scene, and framing it like this is taking away from putting us in her shoes. Until the end of this paragraph or so, she’s anxious, right? I want to see her anxiety in action, maybe see her reassure herself.

but the Ice-type had no place in a Team Magma base.
I still can’t tell if this is because of something about the base itself or if a water-type would somehow be too suspicious.

As she listened to the Magma member’s comments and commands for them to group off in pairs, the anxiety that had been pounding in her heart started to die down.

She could do this. Shelly wouldn’t have sent her off on her own if she thought it was too dangerous for her.
The first sentence is rather condensed, and I think it might flow better as two or more shorter sentences. I do like the way we transition from nervous to feeling confident and righteous in her purpose. I couldn’t resist taking a stab at rewriting this passage, painting the scene a little more and plugging in a visual cue that Sarah is more confident than the others and also separate.

Suggestion: The drill instructor sent them off in pairs. All around, the new grunts exchanger nervous glances. A few of the other girls latched onto each other arm-in-arm, not wanting to be alone. But Sarah began to smile,
the anxiety that had been pounding in her heart started to die down.

She could do this. Shelly wouldn’t have sent her off on her own if she thought it was too dangerous for her.

Avoid talking to Team Magma members as much as you can.
It does seem like this would be a good way to gather intel though!

Matt had referred her,
*deferred to?

“Sarah,” she said quickly and turned around.

“That’s a beautiful name!
Omg, this guy. It does make him sound romantically interested, because Sarah is a very common name. He’s reaching.

Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble. I saw that other Team Magma member talking to you. Is there anything there that I should be aware of?”
Aww, good boss. This was nice to see.

Shelly told her the Magneton steel in there would block any interference, so whatever defense a small base like that would have against transmission, the device should be able to stall it so her report to Shelly could get through.
Hm interesting! I appreciated seeing all her preparations here. Though it does strike me as foolish to leave anything that important in her room—she doesn’t know how this base works!

A really, really short mini-skirt. How was it practical at all?
Yeah, how is she doing sprints in a mini skirt?

Or what? You don’t have any authority here.”

“I’ll scream,” she threatened.

He scoffed. “See my Loudred there? His soundproof ability stops all sound we make from going through these halls. Go ahead and scream, kick—anything you want. But no one will be able to hear you.”
Eeeeeek.

Tabitha grimaced as he glanced—he would have to scold the secretary for letting the room get in such disarray.
Unclear what he’s glancing at here.

He lightly squeezed both in his hand; Greg’s ID stayed rigid, but Sarah’s bent fairly easily.

He looked at her ID. A fake? But why?
This is interesting! I liked seeing his thought process. I wonder why they have their actual IDs and not photocopies though.

Can you go in there and check? Please?”
This doesn’t seem much better than bursting in himself, honestly.

A few names were listed: “Boss,” “Shelly,” “Mattimeo,” and “Oscar.”
Girl, gotta use code names!

Tabitha kneed him in the navel.
Navel doesn’t really evoke getting hit in the stomach for me. Navel is surface-level, and what we’re really talking about is driving the breath out of him. Maybe in the gut?

The poor girl had just been harassed, and Tabitha had saved her only to tell her that she would now be their prisoner. His heart twisted—he couldn’t bring himself to do it yet.
Tabs, you might not be cut out for this job, my guy.

“I need you to tell me everything you know. Please make this easy—I don’t want to use force.”
This is interesting. IIRC, he was pretty forceful and up in Maressa’s face. Part of me is like, “Hasn’t he done this enough times that he would be more numb to this? Capitalize on her bad experience, even if only to make threats he doesn’t intend to back up?” But another part of me thinks that, yeah, being kind is possibly a better way to get information anyway. Good cop, bad cop.

The tea was very sweet. ._.

if anyone saw a Corsola in a river, they’d know there was a trainer about.
Oh, a good observation!

just like everywhere else she kept watch at
Cut the at.

collecting data on rainfall, soil temperatures, and running simulations on soil absorbancy. But it was the scientists who got to do cool stuff like that.
Haha, I bet if she got a chance to play scientist, she’d find that recording data can be pretty dull, too.

I wish we knew why this research was being labeled illicit, at least ostensibly.

ever since Maressa had returned from being Team Magma’s captive, she was crying about losing Seaking or else looking extremely nervous.
I wished we had more specific images here, especially on “looking nervous.”

but she could be there for her and hear her out whenever she needed someone to talk to or just a shoulder to cry on.
Mmm but it’s sounds like the conflict is that Maressa isn’t letting her? You could expand this, I think.

Cloe didn’t feel like it.

Sitting down, she leaned against a tree trunk, her eyelids slowly closing in the warmth radiating from the noonday sun. Guess this was just the life of a Team Aqua grunt.
This landed kinda flat for me. She’s clearly dissatisfied, so I wanted something more from her than just “oh well then.”
 

Starlight Aurate

Verso L'Alto
Location
Route 123
Partner
mightyena
Short announcement: I won't be posting a new chapter today :( It still needs a lot of editing and life this past week/this upcoming week is very hectic. I'm not sure when it'll be posted, though I don't think it'll be for at least another week.
Responding to the bonus chapter!

There were quite a few beats here that I thought worked well. I think overall the writing has been stronger in the more recent chapters.
Thanks! That's definitely due to me getting better over time and the recent chapters having more thorough rewrites. Glad to know I've been improving! :)

Here we see Tabitha being surprisingly kind. Tea! I kinda wanted to know what kind of tea he pulled together. Is this, like, welp this Lipton teabag has been in this drawer forever, sorry, but hope it helps? Or does he have a tea stash and is thinking over carefully which teas are best for anxiety—before reminding himself it’s not his job? These glimpses at his internal life make me think he won’t last much longer in Magma—his duties are pushing him up against his values.
Hahaha I know answered your tea question a bit in the discord but I'll elaborate here. It would all be plain loose-leaf green tea from him :P I have a headcanon that this Tabitha is very traditional and based his background off some traditional eastern/oriental values. His kindness wasn't supposed to be entirely against his duty as a Team Magma commander--he's a high-ranking member on an evil team, but still views himself as a good person and cares about people and Pokemon around him. This Tabitha has an instinct to protect those more vulnerable than he is, which often does go against his duties as a commander, as seen with Tate and Jirachi. This chapter was partly to show that, even though he's part of an evil organization, Tabitha has moral values (albeit some very very misguided ones). How that will affect his loyalty will be shown over the course of the story! I did model some of his personality after his Mightyena and the Pokedex flavor text for it :P

Poor Sarah. She was so self-assured at the outset. I do wish we got to know whether this experience has made her doubt her role in Aqua. Sure, she has Matt’s esteem, but has he ever been that kind to her? And maybe Shelly isn’t looking out for her as much as she thought. Or! Maybe she’s more determined than ever. I did like the switch to Tabitha, but it does mean we don’t get to know how her position has changed.
I've been thinking of writing another bonus chapter showing her point-of-view as a Team Magma prisoner! But yes, I do see that this would have been good to show. Thanks for the input!

The last thing I wondered about was why it never crossed her mind that someone might recognize her. Their faces are out there for the world to see, after all. Has she not run many other missions for Aqua?
(I thought this was mentioned in the chapter but maybe not) This was Sarah's first mission and she was sent to a base of new recruits. Since she was relatively new to Team Aqua, her commanders hoped there would be less chance of her being found out and it would be easier to blend in with new Team Magma recruits.

I did think the first section with Sarah ended in a stronger place than the second one with Chloe. Maybe consider swapping them? Or expanding the Chloe scene.
A swap might be good! I wanted to contrast her high-energy misadventure with the mundane life of most Team Aqua members and end the chapter on a quieter note.

I still can’t tell if this is because of something about the base itself or if a water-type would somehow be too suspicious.
Bit of both--Sealeo in particular are pretty large and Water/Ice type. They would be conspicuous and I have in my mind that the Team Magma members would find it strange that a Pokemon so commonly used on Team Aqua would belong to one of their new trainers.

It does seem like this would be a good way to gather intel though!
Fair point! This was a combo "You're new so take extra precaution" and "they're almost all new recruits and won't have too much info to give."

Omg, this guy. It does make him sound romantically interested, because Sarah is a very common name. He’s reaching.
Hahah well, it was never confirmed that he WASN'T flirting :P

Hm interesting! I appreciated seeing all her preparations here. Though it does strike me as foolish to leave anything that important in her room—she doesn’t know how this base works!
And her foolishness was rewarded as deserved.

Yeah, how is she doing sprints in a mini skirt?
It's possible. HARD, but possible.

I was uncomfortable writing this scene >_<

Unclear what he’s glancing at here.
Woops--forgot a word!

This doesn’t seem much better than bursting in himself, honestly.
I feel more at ease to a dog/dog-like creature busting in on me than a dude.

Girl, gotta use code names!
I started with that but then went ahead and used real names for the audience sake if nothing else lol tbh I really wanted to use the name "Mattimeo" and thought this might be my only chance to

Navel doesn’t really evoke getting hit in the stomach for me. Navel is surface-level, and what we’re really talking about is driving the breath out of him. Maybe in the gut?
:O I didn't realize that! The more you know.

Tabs, you might not be cut out for this job, my guy.
I think the last sentence I wrote might have been misplaced. It was to show a bit more of who Tabitha is (that he's gentler with women and really, really despises men who assault women and abuse their own strength) but I do think I worded the second part too strongly.

This is interesting. IIRC, he was pretty forceful and up in Maressa’s face. Part of me is like, “Hasn’t he done this enough times that he would be more numb to this? Capitalize on her bad experience, even if only to make threats he doesn’t intend to back up?” But another part of me thinks that, yeah, being kind is possibly a better way to get information anyway. Good cop, bad cop.
A bit of both; heh, I actually rewrote his actions here to make him less compassionate :P If he can get info out without having to cause excessive harm, he prefers it.

The tea was very sweet. ._.
Now I know how to get info out of you if you're ever my prisoner

Oh, a good observation!
Ngl whether Water-types naturally live in salt water or fresh water is constantly on my mind. And it drives me insane when I can't put them in a category.

Haha, I bet if she got a chance to play scientist, she’d find that recording data can be pretty dull, too.

I wish we knew why this research was being labeled illicit, at least ostensibly.
Girl tell me about it ._.


I wished we had more specific images here, especially on “looking nervous.”

Mmm but it’s sounds like the conflict is that Maressa isn’t letting her? You could expand this, I think.
Fair on both points! I also had bonus chapters in mind to elaborate on this ^_^; As it was, I felt like this chapter was long enough. Maybe it should be expanded on and made its own?
Thanks so much for stopping by! Always a treat to see something from you <3
 
Top