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Pokémon Heroes After All

Umbramatic

The Ghost Lord
Location
The Yangverse
Pronouns
Any
It is time. For the MONSTER REVIEW REPLY

I have returned! With chapters 4-6 this time~

Chapter 4:
Given that we get to see what kind of damage all the other kids are doing, It's be neat to mention exactly what kind of damage he did.
Will keep in mind later.

Ahh, makes sense that telepathy would be really useful for folks who can't speak, for whatever reason.
Yep! It's how Carol gets by.

Ooh, I like this, more worldbuilding about the tree is always welcome.
I will be doing that a Lot

I approve of this. :P
He has his reasons!

Oho I see where this is going.
;)

Oh hey, I was worried that the killer being fire-type would cause them to be even more terrible to him, so this is a nice surprise.
Nah they aren't that dickish. Well, at least because they know it's a zard.

Okay this is a playful bit of narration, I'd like to see more instance of this. ;)
Will do.

Chapter 5:
Well then~ This is an unexpected treat. (Also nice touch bringing in Kalos legendaries since the kingdom is from Kalos.)
Yeah I'll bring in Pokemon from all over if I can find an excuse.

Hoo boy. Multiple killers and one of them is an aura user?
:)

Is Metagross the Mom Friend.
To quote someone on his RPing appearances he's basically a father-brother-uncle-friend.

Oh! I wasn't expecting that we'd get to see the Poipole from the MMM extra in the main body of the fic.
It was an impromptu decision but it'll matter in the long run!

Chapter 6:
You talk to the dummy. It doesn't seem much for conversation. :V
I am pleased pretty much everyone has made an Undertale joke in response to that scene

Wholesome bug is wholesome.
Fun fact, Rook's name came from a fic my friend Tangent128 wrote about another friend's Shadow Scyther character! But yes other than that he is wholesome.

...I. Really shouldn't be surprised.
You don't want to know what the contents of Callie's stomach are like on a regular basis.

You get the brick.
OW THAT WAS A SPONGEBOB REFERENCE

Ahaha, it's funny, I was just thinking to myself "okay the past like four scenes have all ended in Aaron getting shot down and just saying "okay" and leaving, so this is perfect timing.
I couldn't keep it up forever. :P

Oh boy, he's terrible at this. xD
YEP

ahahah he basically came right out and said he's not human and Aaron didn't notice. xD
Aaron failed the perception check.


I know you've struggled with description and scene setting so I just wanted to call this out for being a really good passage. Chilling and atmospheric without being too gratuitous.
Thanks! You pointing out that scene has helped with future chapters.

So, I know that Chapter 5 was the one that had to get edited, and overall I think it works well. Riolu struggling with feeling like he doesn't fit in the pack without his father, and his mother encouraging him to find his own path--it's believable given that we've seen Riolu being a more active character in his parts, in contrast to Aaron (though I can tell Aaron's trying to change that!).
Alright! Glad the adjusted scene worked.

Hopefully shouldn't take as long before I get to the next few chapters!
I'll be waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiting~

okay, coasters aside, let's do this!

A few things -- this seems to be older work that you're cross-posting, so I really don't like going *ham* on it because a) it's older work and you've probably changed a lot since writing this chapter the first time and b) a lot of structural issues, character interactions, plot ideas, etc can't and won't be fixed because the rest of the story is already written. I tend to go for broad strokes for these kinds of things, but if you want me to elaborate on anything, please please ask!
A lot of the older chapters are indeed like over a year old, so thanks

lil' smol boi here

I'm a sucker for these casual prologues; it reminds me of The Princess Bride, and it sort of shows that this isn't the kind of fic that takes itself *too* seriously. And in general terms you do lay down the basics of the plot/setting while establishing what kind of fic you're aiming to write, and that's all well and good!

A note on semantics: I wouldn't really say this is a prologue; it's more of a forward. Prologues are usually similar in length to chapters and in some way establish the setting/main characters/premise of the work, and while this sort of does those things, it doesn't really do any one of them in any greater detail than just telling you what the setting/main characters/premise is going to be.
Glad you liked it! Though noted on the semantics, I might go back and change it to "forward" later.

chapter one
lil' bullied boi here

And we jump right in!


Are timeframes going to be important? Skybreak sounds ominous, but I'm not sure if being 2005 years after it means that it'll have much impact on the plot. Fantasy settings tend to hammer in that things that are Capitalized are Important, but you should only pull that out if you really want to Emphasize it and it'll be Useful. Otherwise, it ends up being an unhelpful descriptor -- for all of the words you have here, this basically tells me that this takes place during a Time and somewhere in a specific continent -- both things that you demonstrate in the chapter itself.
That was done more as a way to give a sense of what to expect compared to the present-day Pokemon universe and to set up some worldbuilding but I'll keep that in mind.


Dropped a closing quotation mark here, and also... no capes!!! [/edna]
Edna definitely did not give the Aura Guardians any tips on fashion.


Yup, it's a Pokemon fanfic alright.

haha which breeding move is this foreshadowing I'm not sure
See, Aura, or more specifically Fighting-type Aura, fuels all Fighting-type moves! Riolu does get an egg move that shows up later.

Aight so this is a sentence I didn't think I'd type, but... I don't think being against inter-species breeding is nepotism, more like specism/racism. Nepotism is showing favor to relatives/friends, and in this case Ginji is a relative who isn't receiving favor, so this is actually the opposite of nepotism?
...Might go back and fix that

also, weird flip between dogshit and taurosshit in this paragraph.
...Ditto

The general layout of this is a lot of fun. It's aura fic that gives backstory to Aaron, and there's a lot of room in that movie to flesh out that entire world, so I'm hooked on your premise so far. As far as plots and first chapters go I really can't say much more than that; I'm definitely looking forward to how things are going to unfold but it's a little difficult to dig into anything deeper than that right now, haha.
That's fine, it's just the first chapter. :P

One thing that stood out to me was your description. You keep a very terse, minimalist description at any given time. Dialogue is usually ["Thing," said person. "More thing."], and the bulk of this chapter is conversational exchanges. This does help make certain events stand out, like Aaron's Auric Scream in his house, because they get description when not much else does, but I think there are more effective ways to emphasize certain parts of a scene. And when you do describe, it's a lot of the same -- lotta blinking (nine times, I think), lotta pausing. Characters don't feel particularly grounded in the action because they don't seem to be doing anything. When the kids run away because Aaron exhibits strange powers, when Aaron's mom learns from a stranger that her son is a wizard, when Genji has to tell his terrible in-laws to fuck off with their racist shit for just one second because he wants to watch his son be born -- these are all events that would elicit different reactions of different intensities, and yet the narration treats them all as the same. The kids stagger/run, Aaron's mom blinks, Genji looms/scowls. These things seem like they'd be important, but they aren't -- so the counter-argument is that they aren't very important to the characters, and by extension the story.

Which I don't think is what you were going for here! (And if it was, disregard this whole chunk). One thing that helps is to take a step back and imagine all the aspects of how your character would react, including talking. What would a small child do if the kid they're beating up exhibits spooky magic powers? You've got the run away and shout insults part, but what else? Do they all go in the same direction? Do some of them think that their older siblings/parents could beat up Aaron instead? How does this intersect with their existing beliefs (i.e. if someone did telepathic screams in front of *you*, knowing what you know now, would you even think it was real?)? And the same goes for the other events I pointed out/the other events in this narration in general. Complex characters are really hard to develop fully, especially in the first chapter, but one thing that'll help a ton with that is giving them actions outside of what is used directly in/around dialogue.
Description is a weakness of mine so I will keep all of this in mind.

And and a lottttt of this is probably older work so I don't want to rag too hard. I was planning on reading the entire fic so I could give more conclusive feedback on plot/not just rag on your old descriptive style here, but it's getting late and I wanted to leave you a halfway review rather than none. So far the style elements leave me wanting some, but the premise/plot is really strong and I do think you'll take this to interesting places, so I'll keep reading! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for reading!


Hoi, I’m reader. My secret power is dissecting a single sentence for multiple paragraphs then blanking on entire chapters. I’m no good at anything, but that’s ok because I try anyway!
Valid.

I have owned two pokemon movies in my life. One was the Jirachi movie. The other, as one might have guessed from the nature of anecdotal experiences, was of course, ‘Lucario and the mystery of the Tubby Custard machine’. That was several years ago and at this point, I only remember the broad strokes. But I mean, you explicitly state that knowledge of the film isn’t necessary, so I’m on the ball for once. And like, Aaron was kind of the python classic sir not appearing in this film. Yet I digress.
Yeah this is meant to be pretty accessible to people who haven't seen the thing.

Two thousand and five years after skynet was defeated, the world has settled back into the routine of medieval times. Of course, humans hating on each other is a transcendental aspect of the world, so our protagonist is getting the short end of the stick. This is the catalyst to the first view of the aura power, although one would have to wonder, the children’s bullying doesn’t seem like a first time thing, so did they only push him this far for the first time? Not that it particularly matters, people don’t learn in these instances. He can knock you all down, but you’re still vowing to take him down? Way to save face guys, why don’t you read a book instead or something?
yeah c'mon why don't they

Telepathy is great! It don’t do anything in real life so you can just make up all the rules for how it works. Not to imply that there’s something off kilter about this version, it’s the classic and that works just fine. Wizard powers away - as it were. Polly cutting herself off to press more important issues is a small thing, but it’s sublimely natural and humanistic (I suppose this means in the sense of flow of conversation, pokemon can do it too!)
telepathy comes up a fucking lot yep

Aaron is extremely potent, but extremely untrained. Not surprising, this is a coming of age story anyway. I wonder if calling the place a seminary would be more fitting than a monastery, albeit, they both work.
It's not too much of a spoiler to say Aaron gets less incompetent as he goes along yeah. My whole plan is "have him start at Magikarp tier then have him gradually tick off Mary Sue test boxes as he goes along, but like, in a way that makes narrative sense, until he's the legendary hero canon props him up to be"

For the second half of this chapter, we get the pokemon half of the hero equation, who perhaps fits the ‘coming of age’ description even more because this chapter kind of details his birth. About as early as you can get in most senses.
galaxy brain play

Aaron is but a youth, but surely possesses the qualities of a hero. The part of the title ‘after all’ implies we doubt this quality. Aaron is not worthy, he is but a fool. Are we wrong?

Yes.
:)


Second Chapter (I love double chapter increments, I feel like I’m a paid professional!)
Chapter... TWO!



On rainy days, I often find myself watching videos of people enrolling into West Point. I have no real interest in the military at large, but the pomp and circumstance is interesting to watch. The introduction to the monastery is kind of like that. Militant sort of, I can dig it. I can’t say much about aura, as a force it does what it needs to do while maintaining a sense of mystique in what it can accomplish. Score one for violence though, this feels like one of those self defense seminars. For future guardians, these children are really getting the crash course.
It's... kinda military but also kinda not. They're basically Jedi. :P

Back to riolu. Pokemon grow up fast, and this dude’s gonna have to grow up even faster, because hunting in the woods in a pack is shameful. Ginji is different though, and not just because he’s a bird. Very worldly, his trainer must have been on point. The scene with drawing in the dirt is obviously reminiscent of the sort of stuff you’d see in anime or cartoons, but not in a bad way, it is a meaningful explanation that narratively follows.
That was a fun bit to do yeah.

Welfare check -- mine that is. Aaron is on the eternal chopping block for now, the brunt of the ills of the universe. A long way to go for an aura guardian, but one step at a time you know? Riolu on the other hand is just growing up. Can a pokemon’s progress be measured in quite the same way? If this dog is the Sancho to Aaron’s Quixote, what standard is he living up to? Beats me, if he can have his aura sphere and eat it too, then that’s proof enough.
...These are Important Questions I'm not sure I can answer yet.

Hungry times now, so I finish. I’ll come back later and do more (which is funny because it means less). If brevity is the soul of wit, then I’ve been visited by the reaper. Oh well, maybe I’ll get it right next time. This story gets a 57,000 rating on the scoville scale so far. That's really good, but it'll get even better!
I'll be waiting! Thanks for reading!

Okay. Thoughts. Some of which are more coherent than others. As mentioned in the previous review/Discord, I find it a little easier to collect thoughts on a bunch of chapters at once rather than one or two, so here are general thoughts for chapters 2-8. Do note that I didn't really get much from the bonus chapters -- they feel like they'd be fun with more context, but I have little background with either Serebii or FE, so I'm unfortunately quite useless there, lol.
This is fair!

Plot/Premise/General
See it's funny because this is going to be a fic about Riolu breaking out of that mentality and befriending Aaron, and then all of this will be a prequel to Lucario believing that friendship is a lie and that Koba was right all along.
Mabye. ;)


I like premises like this. Since the movies don't really explain much, there's lots of room to build off of the existing pokemon universe, and you do a great job of introducing creative new concepts while still working within the original source material. The movie doesn't really give us a good look into how the mechanics of the aura guardians even worked to begin with, and that's an awesome platform to develop an action-packed, intense fic.
Hehe, glad you like what I've set up.

I had a bunch of lil' snippets that were mostly just rapidfire jokes/questions -- your fic is a lot of fun to engage with and there are a ton of entertaining moments here -- but this review got reaaalllly long and I ended up cutting them out. Lmk if you'd like them back.
Feel free to DM them to me!

Characters/Description
A lot of characters end up being a little one-note, even this far in. Polly is stern and says "kid" a lot, Atta is animalistic and never snarls more than three words at a time, Eve is Hermionie. I think the easiest example to point to with this is Callie -- I'm pretty sure every line of dialogue she has contains the words "for Necrozma". And this works for fun throwaway lines, but it doesn't really work when addressing deeper/more dramatic problems in your world such as race parallels and borderline ethnic cleansing. There's a lotta stuff to unpack in each character, but when you boil them down to a few archetypes, it becomes really hard to get a read on them/keep track of who they are and what they're feeling, which makes the story feel a little flat as a result.

This ties in with the description stuff I mentioned earlier. Critical events like Ginji dying or Riolu self-exiling seem like they should be really important given how momentous these events would be, but the narration doesn't really seem to lean into them much. We don't really know if it's a big deal that Ginji dies because Riolu doesn't really treat it as a big deal either; he's pretty much over it by the next chapter.

Characters aren't interesting because of what happens to them. What makes them interesting, and above all realistic, is how they react to the things that happen to them. What does Aaron think about this strange transforming child who can heal wounds? How does Riolu feel when his beloved father dies a violent death?
I understand and will note expanding the characters will be my first priority post-Chapter 9, which was pretty much the first arc of the fic.

Writing usually looks like the easiest way to convey a narrative/story because of how low the bar of entry appears to be. You don't need to pay a famous actor six figures to deliver lines, like a movie would. You don't need to coordinate dynamic camera angles and tightly-composed shots like a TV show would. You don't need to have an orchestra and compose awe-inspiring music like a videogame would.

But the rough thing is that you do need to convey all of the moods that those things convey, and that you don't get the shorthand that non-written media gets. Your characters can't have their faces directly broadcasted to the audience, so you have to describe how they look and feel instead. You can't control where the camera is looking, so instead you have to pick and choose what to describe to provide context for important bits of background information in order to make the scene feel like it's got a real world behind it, or to make the world feel like it's whizzing by in a tight action sequence. You can't make us cry with sound design, but there's still emotion and meaning to be had.

There isn't one definitive way to achieve this and I don't want to tell you that there is. Style is really intimate to an author so I feel bad trying to directly critique or correct your own on a deep level, but if you'd like me to, I can go at it with even moar examples.

To me, a lot of the pacing and structure of the story so far feels more in line with a videogame than a book -- the way that your scenes cut together in chapter 8, with a bunch of dialogue that explains the backstory but cuts away before we can really dig into the meaningful bits -- feels especially JRPG. And there's definitely room for a writing style to grow around that, and I think you're well on your way to that! But I'd highly recommend reading if you want to start applying stronger description to your stories. Doesn't have to be fanfic (honestly it'd probably be better to start with professional authors), doesn't have to be non-fic; it just needs to be written down (and like, not a visual novel or a transcription). See how other authors describe action, and dialogue, and character introductions. And then apply this to your own work. At the end of a scene -- what sounds were made? How did characters react bodily? How did their faces change? Are some characters more active/make their emotions more visible than others?
I acknowledge all this is an issue, and I'm trying to work on it, though remembering to do so can be hard.



For example, I thought this was really good description on your part. We get a good feel for what Aaron's going through here -- the rock feels warm; Aaron is relieved; Aaron is still nervous in case bad things happen; bad things happen! The scene springs to life along with Andalas; it's clear that Andalas has the raw strength to overpower Aaron and he does so quickly! The pacing and the execution here is really well done. You set up Aaron's thoughts in the first paragraph via what he's feeling, where he's looking, and how he's planning to get out; and then you use the second/third paragraphs to pivot into a really tense action sequence that's just back-to-back bits of rough, physical action.

And because your description is strong, we get a good feel for Aaron's character as well. He got goaded into things but he's cautious. He thinks on his feet but recognizes when he's outclassed. These are all awesome things to know about him, and I think this is close to the most description we've gotten on him in the entire fic -- I'd love to see more descriptions like this throughout the rest of the story!
Thank you for pointing that out! You pointing that out helped with future descriptions.


Worldbuilding/Background
No wonder he likes chocolate so much; it doesn't scream in agony and leave him with crippling empathetic over-feedback because his species is designed around sensing and protecting life.
But the real question is, is it poisonous?

Overall this fic ends up being one half medieval drama and one half academy/high school fic, and it's a blend that doesn't sound like it'll work until it does. I like what you've done with the world, with the characters. The lessons are a great venue for explaining how your magic system works, and I really like the broad strokes that you've outlined so far: the four aura types, the human/pokemon partnership pacts, the pokemon robinhood pirate ship crew, the time flowers being similar to zoroark illusions -- these are all really fun and interesting concepts and it's great to see you bringing them to life here. What hooked me here was how you went about creating these big picture interesting concepts, like how the lucario squad might hate other lucario or how all of these characters are from these new and interesting parts of the map.
CAN YOU TELL I LIKE WORLDBUILDING

One area that I think your worldbuilding struggles with is, paradoxically, the samller details, specifically around how you approach morality when the details start playing against one another. A lot of things run on what I guess is "standard" morality -- there's a big dragon in the woods that's acquired a taste for our main character's flesh and eating people is bad; there's a kid who gets picked on for having aura, and bullying is bad.

But in the rest of the context of the world you've created, these things don't actually seem to be as bad as your story makes them out to be, simply becacuse your story makes similar things out to be not bad at all. Yes, Charizard eats pokemon and murders Ginji, but a few chapters before, Riolu is murdering pokemon and eating them as well. Yes, kids yelling at and bullying Aaron is bad, but when it's re-framed in chapter 7, it's almost as if the takeaway is supposed to be that's it's just just a little less bad then Callie and Atta being hunted/executed/slaughtered. Both with the Charizard hunting Riolu and the kids bullying Aaron, the narrative stops to focus on how bad this is for our protagonists in particular -- when in reality the problems that are going on around them are usually several magnitudes worse (and in Riolu's case, perpetuated by Riolu).
I have explanations:

1. Wild Pokemon have very animalistic morality when it comes to eating other Pokemon, it's just kind of a thing. The Charizard wasn't so much morally wrong so much as just a threat.

A. Atta was very much just being a jerk in downplaying the discrimination Aaron faced in comparison to her own.

Sorry if both those things weren't clear enough!


And this is definitely something that could be addressed later in the story that I'm not seeing! This is a story called "heroes after all", so framing it so that our protagonists have a really self-centric worldview and are unaware of how their un-heroic acts intersect with the world around them would make a really good start -- if that's what you were going for, I can try to offer some specifics for how you could frame this to make it more clear that your narrator is self-centric but your narration is not; otherwise, I don't want to take up too much more of your time.
Hmmmm... Mabye. I'll think about it.

Closing Thoughts
This fic is definitely really ambitious. There's a lot of neat concepts flying around and I like the general direction you've taken with things. There's definitely hints of something epic on the horizon -- Yveltal is talking big ominous words, Riolu's got the foreshadowing gloves on in full force, there's probably a reason we don't see an Obscuirics in canon and it's probably not because they live long and happy lives. I'm really curious to see how you flesh these ideas out! Hope these poor kiddos don't end up in too much trouble when all's said and done, but somehow I don't think it'll work out that way.

This ended up a lot longer than I anticipated -- I mentioned this on Discord earlier, but if you have any questions and/or want me to be quieter, please absolutely let me know!
Thank you! I know I mentioned wanting to see the jokes and such.

i've been caught up with this for a little while, but it's only now that i'm getting around to posting a review for it, so i apologize for all the thoughts i've had about it that will never see the light of day because i've forgotten about them now. :p

this feels kind of like The Chapter that you've been building up to for some time. at last, their arcs collide! i haven't seen the movie that this fic provides background for, but i know at least that aaron and his lucario form a close partner-team, so their meeting here seems like it should probably be fairly momentous. despite that, the scene actually feels somewhat casual. at this point in time, aaron and riolu don't have any bond at all. i guess you have to start somewhere, though, right? :p i'm not sure what riolu's plan is in offering himself up to aaron like this (doesn't this seem like a pretty permanent solution to a temporary problem?), but i guess we'll see what he's got up his sleeve in the next chapter. overall i felt this chapter had more weight to it than the previous ones for sure, and that's a good thing.
Yeah this chapter is pretty much the end of the first arc of the fic. I'm not sure what to call said arc but it's there. So good you feel like it had the impact it was meant to.

i can tell you've got a wider plot planned out here, and you're pretty good at dropping hooks early on and moving along the plot at a good pace. the plot is easy enough to follow, too, and this is a fic that doesn't take itself too seriously even despite the inclusion of some fairly serious elements, which keeps it breezy. most of the characters are fairly memorable too, as they each have strong defining characteristics. your dialogue is evocative and cheeky, and gives us a pretty solid idea of the social dynamic and character personalities.
Hehe, thanks.


on the flip sign of that same coin, i think a lot of the characters are still pretty shallow for how far we are into the plot— nine chapters is a lot! i can remember their names and the attributes that set them apart— callie's cult alignment, atta's wildness and severity, polly's experience and bluntness— but i can't speak much to their personalities or motivations on a more nuanced level.
Once again, I understand and expanding on the characters better is my first priority now the first arc is over.

even aaron seems to be kind of just going through the motions. that's not to say he's without his moments; i really enjoyed the bit with andalas in chapter seven! but a lot of his actions seem mostly driven by outside influences, and i'm often left unsure exactly how he feels about it personally. we do get a look into his thoughts and feelings sometimes, but it's mostly through dialogue. this is true for a lot of characters; the prose is almost script-like. it'd be great to get into aaron's head a little more! how are the characters interacting with each other physically? what is their body language like? to give a minor example:
this bit gets the point across, but i think we can go further. aaron's speech suggests that he's embarrassed or flustered, but what is he thinking, exactly? maybe he could ruminate a bit about how seeing all his friends with pokémon makes him feel, or how his inability to find one himself makes him feel like he's somehow inferior to the others. is he mad at atta and louis for calling him out? does he want to shrivel up, or be somewhere else? or is it just a mild embarrassment, in the way that friends sometimes tease each other? i think you can draw a lot more out of this scene! this is just a minor example, and there are probably better instances of it elsewhere in your writing, but this same level of questioning can be applied to a lot of the relatively short bits in this story.

i know people have been saying stuff to you about description already, so i'm not going to beat the horse on that one. but a lot of these suggestions kind of fall under that umbrella. for what it's worth, it shows that you've been taking others' suggestions to heart! your dialogue and sense of plot are fairly strong, so if you can hone this aspect of it (which is no mean feat, to be fair) i think your writing will be really stand-out.

this is a pretty good bit, for example! this paints a pretty clear picture of the monastery in my head. you've got a handful of nice little descriptions like this, and they really add so much. try to throw them in where you can!
I am aware of all these issues and am trying to work on them, it can just be hard to remember/implement. I do appreciate you pointing that bit out - it was an active attempt to avoid my usual issues and I'm glad it worked.

that's about all for now. i promise i'll have thoughts more specific thoughts in my next review, but i wanted to get my general thoughts out before that. keep it up, i'll be following along for sure!
Thank you!
I don't wanna beat dead horses, so obligatory comment that Callie would be even more fun if she didn't just talk about Necrozma all the time, but also, heh. I understood that reference!
Callie's cult is basically a mishmash of different Chaos cults because reasons.


Ha! This is a pretty funny gag.

Victrebel's dumb spelling is rubbing off here, I think. You flop Hanna/Hannah and Abby/Abbey a few times, too.


"here" instead of "her"
...whoops

Okay! Things heat up here, and it's fun to see things taking off. In general, I think a lot of my comments from the previous review apply here as far as characters/worldbuilding/description -- I won't repeat them unless you'd like further clarification or updates for current chapters, since the poor horse is beat and this chapter is in a similar mold to previous ones.
Those - especially the character expansion - are big priorities for this next arc.

Anyway, this is a fun chapter. I think there's definitely a lot more going on here than there is in previous chapters. It's not bad to set the stage early, but given how much new ground gets covered here (pokemon containment crystals, attempted heist with Riolu/friends, big ol' timeskip, Aaron trying to catch a pokemon badly), it feels like *this* is where things really get started, while the rest was more of a tutorial/intro arc. The beginning chapters are usually reserved for really important content, so I'm looking forward to seeing how all of the older lore/setup becomes relevant again in light of these new additions!
This indeed was the end of the first arc that was setting up a lot, so things are gonna get pretty hectic from here!

...Wait. Is that it? Is that all the reviews? Oh.

 

Dragonfree

Pokémon Trainer
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Chapter 1

I'd be kind of curious to learn what led up to the kids assaulting Aaron at the beginning - had he already shown powers, or was he being bullied for something else?

I like a lot how Aaron's first thought at the sight of Polly is to be afraid of her too; it really shows how he's been treated by strangers up until now.

The boy grinned, and bounced up and down excitedly. "You have powers like I do! And you're big and strong and that means I'm not a freak! Like, I can do the talaplethy thing too!"

He closed his eyes and scrunched his face in. ~Se... wh... mea...~

He stopped, opened his eyes, panted profusely, then looked up at the woman with a nervous chuckle and grin. "I-I'm still working on it, miss..."
Tiny Aaron is so cute. Learning there are other people like him, and not just other people but cool, strong people is just so exciting. Also, "talaplethy".

His eyes lit up. "You're a wizard!"

The woman blinked. "I'm a what?"
Bwahaha.

"Kid, no no no, not really, I'm an Aura Guardian. A group of people with powers like us. This outfit - the hat, the coat, the boots the staff the cape - that's our uniform.
Missing the closing quote there.

"Poly Pteryx of the Genesis Mountain Aura Guardians. I'm here about your son's... condition."
Presumably that's meant to say Polly.

"If they're gonna accept my powers... Make me stronger... I want them to help me.
Another missing quote here.

Amid it all, however, in a small clearing, one avian Pokemon stayed groundbound and vigilant - A Blaziken with an X-shaped scar on his forehead watching over a small, blue-and-black egg nestled in a shallow burrow.
Since a dash doesn't start a new sentence, "a Blaziken" should not be capitalized there.

This chapter's a good introduction to the story, I think. We get to meet our main characters and introduce the general premise - there's a wider spectrum of Aura than just the kind Lucario uses, the Aura Guardians find and train kids with these powers, we'll be focusing on both Aaron and Riolu's stories. We also learn both Riolu and Aaron are dealing with prejudice/ostracization of one sort or another, which'll obviously go on to be a theme.


Chapter 2

The cart rattled and shook, and Aaron braced himself. He took a deep breath, and looked around at the other children, about as nervous and confused as he was. He was about to ask where exactly they were going, but got the feeling from more than just his Aura senses that most of the others didn't know either. What he could tell was that many came from far from his home, and far from theirs as well.


And then the Rapidash pulling the cart finally stopped. The kids quickly but nervously filed out. Aaron was last, and gazed up at where they had arrived.


Before them was a huge stone monastery, built into the mountain. Its spires and columns loomed over Aaron and made him feel small - not that that was a foreign feeling. He cowered slightly as they were led inside, through winding hallways, and finally into a courtyard, where the woman who had recruited him stood. Once all the children had gathered there she paced stoically before them.
I like this intro a lot.

It seems awfully mean-spirited of Polly to single Aaron out for a physical demonstration simply of the fact that they're kids and not yet skilled in one-on-one combat. Of course they aren't; would anyone have disbelieved her if she'd just said it? Coming straight off being physically bullied by kids in his hometown, I'm kind of surprised it's not more upsetting for Aaron to have Polly treat him basically the same way the moment they arrive at the monastery. I know Aaron comments on it to Metagross, and Metagross says Polly's just like that. But... I feel like I know what Metagross means by this - Polly's very blunt and no-nonsense and doesn't sugarcoat anything or try to shelter them - and that doesn't actually explain what she just did. It'd make sense to me if one of the kids were loudly claiming they don't need a Pokémon and can take care of themselves, and Polly gave them a physical demonstration of why they're out of their depth - that's kind of mean, but it lines up with the kind of person Polly seems to be, and it makes sense that kind of person would think they deserve to be taught a lesson and made an example of. But just picking out Aaron, who didn't say anything at all, when nobody said anything at all? That's not teaching a lesson; it's just bullying.

I don't know, maybe this is just me. There's a pretty common trope of mentor figures in fiction who act pointlessly abusive in the name of training their students. But that trope has always really bothered me, and I don't feel like Polly's actually meant to be the kind of person you'd have to be to do this. Of course, if I misread that and she is meant to be pointlessly picking on Aaron for the sake of it, you can ignore this - though then I'd really want to see a stronger reaction from Aaron, because again, after being physically bullied by the kids in his hometown, this should probably hit pretty close to home.

In the forest, the trees swayed, the branches shook. On a clearing the Riolu stood with his father.
Wouldn't it normally be "In a clearing", or am I just confused?

This is one of those places, I think, where your description is quite bare - it's there, but doesn't convey much and feels very disconnected from everything else (is it the weather shaking the trees, or something else? What does this mean for the characters in the scene?).

Ginji shrugged. "On the immediately visible end, not much. Weird two-legged apes that aren't even Pokemon and only rarely even know any attacks of like... Four types. Some more cynical Pokemon say Arceus messed up some perfectly good monkey mons."
Pffft.

"A... Promise?"
You don't want to capitalize "promise" there, since without the hesitation Riolu is just saying "A promise?"

He then noticed the top half of the bigger circle was somehow red.


"...Dad? How did you get color with a stick?"


Ginji winked. "I learned it from my old Trainer."
I see what you did there with the Pokéball symbol.

I'm just a bit confused by this, though. Exactly what human tricks did Ginji use to make it red? (And is it that the line is red or that it's colored in?) I'm a human and I sure don't know how he can color something in dirt with just a stick. Is the stick meant to actually be some kind of human object that Ginji has? Because the way that Riolu describes him just "grabbing a stick", and later reiterates that it's a stick without apparently noticing anything different about it even as he's wondering where the color came from, gives the impression that it literally is just a random fallen tree branch that Ginji picked up off the ground.

The concept of this scene explaining the Vow is nice, but I think on the whole it's one place where more description could flesh it out to make it significantly more effective - right now it's all dialogue and the most minimal possible description of what's going on, and it leaves the scene a little hard to picture and get immersed in properly (as shown by my confusion over the drawing). If you ever make further revisions, I think this scene would be a good contender for being spiced up a bit.

I'm a little confused by why people think Aaron and the others in M8 are "freaks", though. Well, Callie I can understand; she genuinely acts kind of weird and creepy and it makes sense kids would decide they don't want to be near her, and later you establish that obscurists are especially discriminated against. But what's so freakish about the others? How is Aaron or Louis or Eve different from anyone else on the Auric spectrum, at least in a way that anyone's been able to see? I don't think that's very clear here.


Chapter 3

I see what you did there. :P

Inside he found a pale. black-haired boy staring off into space and grumbling, a Scyther observing him.
That period should be a comma.

The Scyther took notice and chittered, pacing the flat a scythe on his knee.
I think you've got an extra word or two in here (or are missing some).

He started charging a ball of Aura between his palms. He focused on it, containing it.


Then the power suddenly swelled. The sphere swelled. Aaron couldn't contain it any longer.


BAM!


Aaron was knocked to the ground. His food was sent flying. Everyone stared.


Everyone then laughed.
This is another scene that I think would really benefit from stronger description! What does it feel like to try to contain the Aura like this, and to then lose control of it? What's Aaron doing to try to reel it back in? It sounds like Aaron's powers being a bit too much to handle is going to be a recurring theme, so I think you'd do well to really try to get across Aaron's struggle with this.

Lewis muttered obscenities in his sleep.
Previously you were spelling his name Louis.

That's when Riolu lunged with a Force Palm.


The Buneary gave a yell and tried to dodge, but the Force Palm managed to connect, causing them to fall over. Riolu recoiled from the empathic feedback, but pounced on the Buneary as they screamed, attempting to bite their throat. The Buneary suddenly gave a kick with their powerful legs and flipped the grappling Pokemon over so the Buneary was on top.


Instinctively, Riolu tried to kick the Buneary's side. Suddenly, Riolu's leg erupted into flame as he kicked the Buneary's torso with a sickening crack. The Buneary was sent flying with a pained scream before crashing, and trying to crawl and limp away. Riolu recovered from the empathetic shock and wondering what it was he'd even done before dashing over and giving a Force Palm straight to the Buneary's neck. He recoiled. The Buneary fell limp.


Riolu gasped and panted, clutching his body from the amount of feedback aches he felt. It was a while before he had recovered enough to slowly drag the Buneary out of the bushes.
I think you did a nice job on the action description here! However, I was a little disappointed that ultimately Riolu doesn't seem to be having any real difficulties killing his prey, despite the whole empathic feedback thing that should make it even more difficult than one would expect. He doesn't appear to be feeling much emotion at all here - just physically struggling against the Buneary, with the slight added inconvenience of some extra pain from the empathic feedback. Afterwards, he seems to feel mildly weird about eating it for a moment, but then he just does and loves it, and doesn't seem to spare another thought for the fact he just killed a sapient being just like him; he just moves on and gets excited about knowing Blaze Kick. The way it plays out kind of gives the impression Riolu's just kind of low on empathy and indifferent to other people generally (his mother, after all, implies that doing it on your first try is unusual, while Riolu seems to have had no real trouble doing so); I'm not sure that's what you're actually going for. (But if it is, that's pretty cool! In that case, I'd be expecting his development from here to involve developing a stronger sense of empathy.)

I like the way he happily thinks he'll try using Blaze Kick again sometime and then the next time he uses it it's in blind anger when his mother's being excoriated by the older Lucario, though.


Chapter 4

It was time for the first day of training.


Aaron kept staring at the training dummy. It seemed to stare back. He looked around at the other kids and their Pokemon preparing. He was alone. He looked back at the training dummy and his hands glowed with Auric power. He yelled, rushed at the training dummy... and tripped, falling flat on his back.
I enjoy this, with him staring down the dummy and clearly being nervous, then finally going for it, only to make a mistake.

Gabriel feels a little over-the-top and stereotypical, I think - the schoolyard bully who freely announces how great he thinks he is and his intentions to make sure other people don't have a good time. It doesn't entirely feel like he's a real person who's the hero of his own story. You make it clear later that there's more to him, but I think it'd be nice to get a real sense of that from the start!

I love Patricia, though - that he's got a Pokémon who obviously doesn't really agree with what he's doing but goes along with it out of loyalty to him. I hope you do more with her!

Carol's lesson on types is really short. It's clearly just starting at the beginning of that scene, and then she talks for maybe a couple of minutes, has Salamence demonstrate types for a couple more minutes, and then the lesson is over. She doesn't even explain that Cleffa was immune because he's a Fairy-type and immune to Dragon-type attacks - she just closes with a vague "Cleverness is what makes a battle". It's easy to inadvertently write timings that don't make any sense, since it's not a real-time medium, but it's a good thing to try to watch out for!

I love how you give lore to the Tree of Beginning and Rota. It makes a lot of sense this medieval Europe-themed kingdom would have its roots in Kalos.

Polly suddenly got in Aaron's face with a wicked grin. "They eat them!"


Aaron screamed. And screamed, and screamed, and screamed for an unusually long time until Polly said "Kid, relax, relax, they're not going to get you."


"...Okay," said Aaron. The other kids giggled.
This seems a little weird or over the top. Aaron's obviously not in danger right now, so screaming continuously for a long time about just hearing about it seems pretty extreme.

~Legendaries in general aren't to be trusted.~


Dunsparce gave a hissy, irritated "sparce".


~For your information I do not mention that every time Legendaries come up, thank you very much.~
It's not quite obvious who's speaking here. Metagross, I assume? Could use a dialogue tag. (I'm intrigued, though. Metagross probably has some backstory with legendaries.)

She and her Pokemon headed down the mountain, the children and their Pokemon heading after. Aaron followed along quietly for a while, then noticed another kid didn't have a Pokemon partner either. Aaron moved closer to him and noticed he not only had pink hair but pink clothes as well.

"Excuse me-"


The other child turned his head toward Aaron, holding a finger to his lips and winking. Aaron blinked. A Pokemon made a noise in the forest, causing Aaron's attention to turn to it briefly; when he turned back the other child was gone.
totally not Mew

I enjoy this little hint of intrigue a lot!

I also like Grandfather Alpha, who really does place his loyalty to the pack as a whole above the others' prejudices against Ginji. It might have been fun to introduce him earlier! He's a nice contrast to the rest of the pack and makes the jerks stand out more. The little conversation between Riolu and Ginji before the Charizard appears is very sweet, too.

Before them was a large reptilian Pokemon, orange scales, large wings, and flaming tail illuminated by the moonlight.
Surely the major light source in this scene would be the tail flame itself, rather than the moonlight! I think you could probably make the description sound even more intimidating by emphasizing that.


Chapter 5

Aaron waited for the ball. And waited, and waited. The other kids and their Pokemon seemed intent to keep it away from him, the "freak" kids, and their Pokemon, but he certainly tried to get it. Finally, it sailed his way, and he reached, stretched, grabbed -


And it sailed down the mountain, bouncing down a gentle slope until it was out of sight amid the trees.
Nice description in the opening once again!

It was then he noticed the ball had landed next to the disfigured corpses of an Aura Guardian and his Sawsbuck. The corpses had suffered various forms of abuse - fire, crushing, acid - and seemed relatively fresh. A Murkrow was in the process of plucking an eye from the Aura Guardian's skull and promptly swallowed it before eyeing Aaron warily.


Aaron stared in horror before vomiting the contents of his lunch earlier that day, forming a puddle next to the bodies, and after regaining his bearings slightly grabbing the ball and racing back to the monastery.
I think this bit could convey Aaron's shock better, though. When you say "It was then he noticed the ball had landed next to the disfigured corpses of an Aura Guardian and his Sawsbuck", you're telling us he found disfigured corpses in a pretty off-hand manner before you begin to describe them, like disfigured corpses are just normal things that you might find lying around - but of course, they aren't! Probably Aaron notices individual sensory details here - a funny smell, a bit of burnt clothing that almost looks like an Aura Guardian's uniform - before it hits him that this is a corpse. Try to let us experience this the way Aaron experiences it - call it a corpse only after you've told us the things Aaron sees and senses that make him realize it's a corpse. Does that make sense?

More emotional description of this and when he goes to get Polly would be lovely, too - Aaron must be feeling an awful lot of things at the moment.

"Not at all," said Polly. "Kid just stumbled upon them playing ball."
Polly might want to make that "while playing ball", since as it is this sentence could mean Aaron stumbled upon the corpses playing ball. (Of course, people don't always speak with perfect grammatical correctness, so it's fine if you feel she'd rather phrase it like this! But I misread it initially, in a pretty comedic way.)

I like the Aura Guardians' conversation, though; I think you get across the ominousness of this.

Aaron had spent all day thinking about the bodies and being pestered by the other about the interruption of the ball game
Minor typo: should be either "the others" or "the other kids".

He woke up in a cold sweat, not bolting upright but panting, feeling paralyzed. Eventually the numbness wore off and he sat up, staring off into space, before collapsing again and waiting for dawn to come.
This emotional description is very good! Also, the whole Yveltal encounter is nicely creepy. I love how the plot's kicking into gear now.

The next morning, Aaron was sitting by himself, exhausted, despite the insistence rom the other members of his group to join them.
Another typo: "from".

I really, really love the little moment with Aaron and Polly's Metagross! Metagross is just kind and caring, and it's sweet Aaron admits to him that he's not doing well, and Metagross telling him to eat because it's bad for anxiety and that he knows this because of Polly but she wouldn't want him to spread that around - so much characterization getting across just with this little bit! It's so good.

The small purple creature watched the small biped and large quadruped head off from their hiding place. It couldn't understand the words of the creatures of this dimension, though was starting to pick up a few. What they did know was that the place the two were going had food.


Stealthily, the purple creature floated after them. It floated through a gap in a window and looked around a small room. Suddenly, a noise. The purple creature hid as a biped entered the room, looked around, picked something up, and left. In its wake the creature noticed it had dislodged a small, green and red sphere from a nearby box. They inspected it, then tasted it. It was edible, success. The purple creature nibbled happily on their newfound prize.
You seem to flip-flop randomly between calling Poipole "it" and "them" here.

Ginji wasn't so phased
You want "fazed".

Tears fell down Lucario's mother's face. "Ginji, no..."
Presumably this should either be "the Lucario" or "Riolu's mother".

Riolu's goodbye with his mom is a good scene, I think. It would've been nice, though, to see a bit more of why Riolu feels so alienated right now - has he been seeing the Lucario giving him the evil eye since Ginji died? Outright threats or attacks?

Setting up how both Aaron and Riolu traumatically lost their fathers, and then left their mothers in search of something better, will probably be something to bring them together, won't it? I look forward to where you're going with their connection!


Chapter 6

Aaron was staring down the dummy. It seemed to stare back. Desperate, he sized it up, looking for a weak point. The dummy did not yield.


Finally Aaron's fist charged with Aura, and he yelled, barreled toward the dummy. The dummy broke... But the recoil sent Aaron flat on his back.
I enjoy this callback to the opening of chapter four. Aaron's gotten a bit better at this!

This first scene is fun in general! Aaron feeling as if he's responsible for everything going wrong after the whole traumatic body discovery, getting some hints at backstory for Louis, Rook is very cute. Loving the emotional consequences going on here.

Those he did find, however, either did not acknowledge him or said "sorry"or the like before moving on.
Missing a space there.

"Okay, take care!" said Callie!
Extra exclamation mark in the narration.

In general Aaron's conversations with the other M8 kids are cute. I love that Aaron's genuinely childlike and just super-sincere about everything.

"Hey loser!"


Gabriel stood up, glowering, then turned to the source of the voice. There, standing proudly, was Aaron. With a pile of pebbles.


"You... You smell! You're the smelliest! Yeah!"
That's adorable and Aaron is precious.

Patricia, on the other hand, seemed to slither off in a completely diffrent direction.
Should be "different".

Long pink hair framed blue eyes and a yourhful face.
"youthful"

Love Mithos' boredom and thing for collecting toys.

"Well well well!" said Mithos. "If it isn't Mr. No Fun Allowed!"
Yup, that's M8 Mew all right.

And with that, he turned back to Metagross, stuck out his tounge at him, and teleported away.
"tongue"

"Ha ha.We'll get there."
Missing space.

I enjoy Polly getting defensive about getting more people to help with the search for the culprit.

Riolu darted along the corridors and stalactites, eventually hiding behind one of the former to catch his breath.
He hid behind a corridor?

"Oh, though," said the Mountain Keeper. "I do have a favor to ask of you."


"What is it?"


"I have a daughter that lives with the humans... Do try to find her for me."
Just find her? No message for her or asking him to report back? That doesn't quite sound like asking him for a favor, just advice. (But... is the Mountain Keeper's daughter Patricia? :O The Mountain Keeper sounds like a Steelix!)

I like how Riolu sees humans, as just these weird bizarre creatures that he has a hard time believing are really who his dad was describing.

This may be the best chapter thus far, with some emotional consequences for Aaron, hinting at more depth for the minor characters, and a bunch of added intrigue with Mithos and the Mountain Keeper. There's fascinating stuff going on here and I can't wait to see more.


Bonus chapter 2

Aaron was idly scratching doodles in the dirt with a stick when he noticed the older Aura Guardians scrambling around in a panic. For a second he considered heading inside, where he'd be safe.


But then he thought a bit. If he couldn't really help with the dead and missing Aura Guardians back then, he could stand to benefit from helping now...


He quietly placed his stick down and started following the senior Aura Guardians.
I like this; Aaron's still feeling this sense of responsibility.

"N-no I'm not!" said Aaron,sitting up.
Missing space.

Aaron wanting to join the Order of Heroes is really cute. He's just all-out desperate to help people; of course that's the sort of personality who ends up making the sort of selfless, quiet sacrifice that he does in the movie while taking desperate measures to make sure Lucario lives and doesn't follow him.

"Imbecles! I'll be back for this world! And I'll have backup!"
"Imbeciles"

Riolu, making his way through the human town he'd encountered, felt like he'd missed something.


He decided it was probably nothing.
Pfft.

The Fire Emblem characters' dialogue was amusing, but I'm afraid I didn't get too much out of it without familiarity with the characters - it's just kind of a barrage of names and descriptions with no time to truly get to know the characters. Loved how you integrated Aaron into things, though, with his helping complex.


Chapter 7

Rook blinked and then shrunk back from Aaron sheepishly, clacking his scythes together.
Rook is so cute.

You do a nice job with description in the Andalas scene. I particularly liked how touching Andalas feels like rock, but warm and alive - that just feels right, and kind of magical. Also, Metagross being good, again.

"Alright. Today's lesson... well, let me get something out real quick.
Missing a closing quote here.

I'm surprised Callie and Atta (and other Obscurists) haven't been facing more particular discrimination at the abbey - surely if most of the kids have been raised in a culture that broadly condemns Obscurists, wouldn't there still be prejudiced attitudes against them in particular among the other students? So far I think I've mostly gotten the impression everyone picks on Aaron more than anyone else.

It also seems kind of funny, though, that Aaron hasn't heard of any of this, if there is a broad societal prejudice against Obscurists. How did Aaron never know they even existed, or even any other people who can use Aura at all? Is his village that isolated? If Aura powers were just really obscure in general so few people know they even exist that'd be one thing, but that can't really be the case if Obscurists are being actively persecuted and hunted down.

I like how Riolu successfully communicates with the shopkeeper, learns how paying works, and then just runs for it anyway, because to a wild Pokémon that just sounds weird.

All in all this was an intriguing chapter - more information about the world and characters, Polly getting attacked, Riolu falling in with the Fighting Thieves. I think your description has improved here in general!


Chapter 8

Polly herself was fine. Fine. She'd dealt with worse.
Love that repetition of "fine" a lot.

Carol gave a telepathic sigh and sat down next to Polly.


~Look, I know you're frustrated about the lack of leads. But don't beat yourself up. We've been through worse. Way worse. Remember how I lost my voice?~


"...Yes. You were born to a noble house. A rival lord's Pangoro beat you. You survived, but lost your voice and much of your hearing and your family disowned you for it. You've had a hatred for the rich since."


~Well I hate them for a lot of reasons! That was just the catalyst. Point is, I've been through shit, you've been through shit... together some murder mystery is no big deal.~
I think this is a bit awkward, though. Repeating Carol's own story back to her is a weird thing to do - Carol knows what happened, and apparently so does Polly, so if Carol asks "Remember how I lost my voice?" all Polly would naturally say is just something like "Yeah, the Pangoro, what's your point?" Characters explaining things they both know to each other always makes for a strange conversation!

Clearly what you actually want to do here is just to tell the reader about Carol's backstory. To do this more naturally, you'd want Polly to not already know, so that Carol can tell her about it - or, if that wouldn't be reasonable, you could have her only know parts, but in the process of filling in the blanks for her, what Polly already knows incidentally gets mentioned in the process as well. For example, supposing Polly already knows Carol was born to a noble house and that losing her voice was a result of a Pangoro attack but that's about it, Carol could now explain the part where the Pangoro belonged to a rival lord and her parents disowned her for her disability, and that explanation could easily also indicate that it was a Pangoro and her parents are nobles, without implying that she's explaining to Polly what she already knows.

Vince's backstory is smoother in delivery - there Polly does seem to not know the details - but him just sort of appearing and almost immediately starting to dump his heavy backstory on them in response to what's obviously a joke about him being too good for them feels a little weird, too - if that's all it takes for him to start to talk about his backstory, how hasn't he told them this before?

A redheaded woman with a red, white and pink uniform approached the three. "Whatcha guys talking about?"


~Our lives, Hannah,~ said Carol. ~It involves lots of suffering. Join us.~


"Ooh, uh, well, I stubbed my toe earlier if you're talking about suffering!"
This was fun lampshading, though.

Two Aura Guardians walked into a completely different bar.


"Why are we doing a different bar?" said Polly.
As was this! Cracked me up.

"The good news," said Grog, perking up. "Was that I wasn't very good at it. I was too polite. I would always yell "Sneak Attack!" before I struck my foe."
Aww. (I wonder if the humans who trained him are going to come up again.)

I like the final conversation with Koba a lot. It felt a little arbitrary to have Riolu dutifully walk between everyone to hear their backstories, but the Koba scene really brings it all together, when he points out all the stories have the cruelty or dismissal of humans in common and teaching Riolu a lesson that we who have watched the movie know he'll go on to internalize pretty strongly. I don't know if someone who hasn't seen the movie would realize how important this is going to be for him, but it's a really pivotal moment and I'm thrilled you showed it.

Meanwhile, plot! My money's on Beo as secret antagonist; Terrence seems like the obvious red herring. I am interested to hear what's up with him and why he's hiding his thoughts, though!


Chapter 9

"What do you mean you still don't have a Pokemon partner?" said Louis incredulously at the lunch table.


"I... I..." said Aaron.


"At this point, everyone but you has one..." said Atta.
This just opens up the question: how is everyone but him getting Pokémon partners? Are they all just wandering around befriending passing Pokémon and Aaron hasn't managed it when everyone else could? It felt more like everyone else just happened to already have a Pokémon when they came to the monastery, but here you're indicating other people who didn't have any have some now - has Aaron not made any attempts yet, or have you just not shown them?

The Wynaut scene is really cute; I loved the Encore.

He exited, pursued by Beedril.
Bwahaha, is that a Shakespeare reference?

Terrence leaned down to inspect Aaron, looking him up, down, left, and sideways, before standing back up and nodding.


"Yep, he got fucked up pretty bad."
Pfft.

The Fighting Thieves were all gathered together in their, Koba standing on a platform a bit taller than all of them.
In their what?

Eventually, after traversing a forested mountain outside the village, the group came to Time Flower Abbey. It was huge, built into the mountain, forested and grassy plateaus extending from the parts that weren't, its spires stretching up into the sky, its structures laid out like a miniature city, decorated with stone sculptures of time flowers. The group looked on in awe.
I think this is a nice description!

The Musharna threw another at Koba, but he threw up a Protect, shielding himself, Riolu, and Polly.
I'm a little confused - is Polly there? Is that Koba protecting Polly? Or is this a typo?

Thrilled to see Aaron and Riolu finally meet! I like how Riolu has issues about everything good in his life disappearing. I do agree with qva that this seems a very permanent thing to offer just to free his friends! But I can't wait to see where you take it from here and develop their relationship.


Overall

I think you've established a strong basis for the plot and I'm excited to see where things go from here. Lots of little mysteries about the characters and so on to keep you curious, as well as the overarching mystery of the killings. I wasn't expecting that to be where the plot goes at all, but I'm intrigued and can't wait to find out more and how Aaron and Riolu get more directly entangled in this. I enjoy the worldbuilding about Aura and how you flesh out the world of the movie - the Tree of Beginning, Rota, etc. - a lot as well. You integrate the whole idea of Aura more firmly into the Pokémon world and flesh out its history, and I'm intrigued to see where you go with it as you take it further.

As I've told you before, you have a knack for making likeable, endearing characters, and here, with a longer fic where you have more time to get into depth, I'm really enjoying how you're setting up all these things about the characters that have yet to be fully revealed, even characters who haven't had that much screentime yet. Polly and Metagross are some of my favorite characters here, and I really can't wait to hear more about Polly's backstory - she's such a guarded hardass with difficulty with emotions and that's a character type I admit to being very very fond of, and Metagross is just so good and caring - but also, Aaron is just so adorable and doesn't really know what he's doing but tries so hard. He's precious and I want to protect him (and find out more about how he lost his dad).

I'm also excited to see where you're headed with Gabriel and Patricia (totally the daughter of the Mountain Keeper), and really I'm more invested than I should be in Louis and Rook because I need more cute Scyther in my life.

As things to improve on go, I think there are four main things I'd point to as where the story suffers a bit at the moment:

- Proofreading. I haven't pointed out every typo I saw because it'd just take up a lot of space, but there are at least several in every chapter so far, and it's really worth applying that extra bit of polish to weed them out - it breaks immersion and sometimes makes it harder to grasp what you're getting at when there are a lot of them. One technique I've heard of to catch more errors in proofreading is to read the chapter backwards - start with the final line and proceed up. That way, you don't get lost in the narrative flow of the chapter and your brain can more easily focus on the exact content of the sentences you've written. I don't know if that particular trick'll work well for you, but either way I'd encourage you to look for a technique that'll help you catch those pesky little mistakes! Your fic is worth spending the extra effort on.

One particular thing I've noticed over the course of the story is that you're not always consistent with how you spell characters' names, as with Louis sometimes being Lewis. Since it's something your brain likes to mix up, that might be something in particular to watch out for - try to pause when you get to a name and double-check in your head that it's definitely the name you want.

- Too many characters. Not necessarily in an absolute sense - but you tend to introduce a lot of characters at the same time in a way that makes it a little hard to keep them all straight, and I think this may make the fic harder to get into than it has to be. For instance, Polly has gotten enough individual screentime to be reasonably distinct, but with Hannah, Vince, Ryan, Carol and Nightjar, I have a really hard time keeping straight which is which - much less which Pokémon is whose, or which species they are. I'm slightly better at it now, reading this for the second time over a short period, but originally, following it a chapter at a time, it was just very hard to remember who all the Aura Guardians were at all. The other M8 kids and half of the Fighting Thieves also largely eluded me on a first reading, though I had an easier time with them on the second reading.

I think this is mainly rooted in three things:

- First, you introduce a lot of characters at once - one chapter might introduce four or five new characters, maybe more. This by itself makes it a bit easy to mix them up because we don't have a lot of time to get familiar with each one before the next is introduced.

- Second, most of the characters don't get a distinct enough introduction to really help us anchor who they are - it tends to mostly be maybe a name, a brief description of their appearance, a couple of lines, and then we move on to the next thing that happens. This makes it harder to start linking the scant information we have together and form a distinct idea of the character... which in turn makes it easy to get confused, or not remember who a character is from one appearance to the next. I think it'd help a lot if, for instance, the first time we meet Vince, we got to know not just that he has dark skin and blond hair, but also, say, his role within the monastery (do they have particular classes that they teach, or particular duties that they handle?), to give us something more concrete to connect to the name 'Vince' and the character that you're presenting. To help us internalize which Pokémon partner someone has, you could establish particular ways that this Pokémon helps them perform their assigned duties within the monastery, say. And so on! Give us clusters of concrete things to associate with the name so we have something to really get our teeth around - not just details like their appearance, but something more memorable that gives a clearer idea of their character.

- Third, once a character is introduced, you tend to assume we're going to remember the character from there - later chapters will just refer to them by name like we're going to know who that is, when that isn't necessarily the case. This is always a tough thing to judge as an author - after all, you probably don't have any trouble keeping your characters straight! But for the reader, when you just write "He and Shifty had just commandeered a pile of bananas", in the chapter after Shifty was briefly introduced as one of a pile of new characters, it's easy to just be kind of lost - who was Shifty again? What species was he? When he goes on to refer to himself as a "street Rattata", does that mean that literally or figuratively? (All genuine questions that I asked myself reading this for the first time.) It really helps when you've got a lot of characters to try to ensure that at least the first few times their name comes up, either a) you expressly remind the reader who this is, b) the context makes it clear who they are, or c) this particular instance is just a side mention and it's okay if the reader doesn't remember who they are. For that bit with Shifty, for instance, it'd be pretty smooth to just write "He and Shifty the Scrafty..." and we'd immediately remember which of the Fighting Thieves we're dealing with - or at least his species - instead of having to scroll back or try to remember what all of them were called.

I think taking more care with the character introductions so that we don't get lost in all the names would help a lot to keep the fic accessible to newcomers - as it is, it's a bit much to keep track of, and although it does untangle itself a fair bit on a second reading, it's better if that's not necessary.

- Description of scenes. You've been getting several great comments talking about how to flesh out your descriptions, so I won't repeat them too much, but I definitely agree that you've already got good passages in here describing things or what's going on in a pretty vivid way, and are perfectly capable of doing that - you just use it very sparingly at the moment! Which is something of an element of your style, but I think as it is it'd only enrich the story to do a bit more of it - more in-the-moment descriptions of environments and atmosphere, of characters' reactions and body language, of the things that are happening - in addition to the dialogue, which is already fun and colorful. As has been mentioned, your style tends to be pretty script-like - you usually focus on the dialogue and just stating what happens in a pretty minimal, straightforward manner. But scripts are made to be acted out, and without the benefit of having actors and set designers to bring it to life, you need to one way or another convey the emotion and mood and intensity of scenes using words in the narration.

- A bit of a slow start. Aaron and Riolu have finally met now, so I assume this is where things really get going, and I'm looking forward to that! But it took nine chapters for this to happen, and I do think this buildup feels a little slow as it is. It's not that things aren't happening, of course - but there isn't a super-clear sense of progression to every chapter.

It probably could have been possible to condense things a bit, but that's not necessarily the right way to go here. Mostly, I think the story could have used a bit more focus in the lead-up to here. I think contrasting Aaron and Riolu's scenes is probably useful here. Most of Riolu's sections have a clear sense of ongoing plot to them, particularly starting towards the end of chapter three: there's a Charizard hunting down the Lucario, his parents go to try to bring it down, his dad dies, Riolu feels unsafe and outcast and heads off on his own to find somewhere else, he has an encounter with that same Charizard but narrowly escapes, the Mountain Keeper points him towards the human settlement, he gets there and steals an apple and gets in with the Fighting Thieves, he gets to know them, then they go to steal from the monastery. I think this all works quite well as a story that keeps one's interest in Riolu's storyline even though he's yet to meet Aaron!

By contrast, Aaron's sections are a lot less focused, even though his are the ones that seem more relevant to the main plot - because Aaron doesn't really have a clear ongoing storyline in these chapters. One could describe in a general sense what sorts of things are happening - he's there at the monastery learning about the auric spectrum, he's bullied including by this guy called Gabriel, he's a bit of an outcast even among the outcast group - but largely Aaron's scenes feel like a series of disconnected incidents or episodes rather than a continuous storyline, and I think that makes them feel a little meandering. There isn't a clear sense of progression to these scenes. I think by having more of a running plotline to Aaron's parts would probably improve the flow of the fic. One possibility would be if the body discovery happened a bit earlier, and subsequently Aaron's scenes were focused around a progression of events resulting from that - but you could also just go with something lower-stakes that isn't necessarily connected to the main plot, like having a clear running thread of Aaron being bullied by Gabriel, reacting specifically to something Gabriel has said or done, talking to the other M8 kids about it, and having some kind of continuously unfolding sequence of events there. (You have this to an extent, but right now Gabriel only appears in two scenes and most of Aaron's parts don't have to do with that in particular - there's definitely a running thread about bullying and ostracism, but it's more of a theme than a progression of events.) We could learn about the worldbuilding and get to know the M8 kids while there's a bit more of a storyline going on, and I think that'd help the story keep the reader hooked through the early bits.

Of course, you've already gotten this far, and I certainly don't expect you to turn around and rewrite the beginning now! This is more something to keep in mind as you plot things out for the future, and then maybe if you ever feel like revisiting the opening sometime you could work it into that as well. For now, I definitely think you should be heading onward rather than making any extensive revisions - after all, we've just gotten to the good bit!

All in all, I've been having a lot of fun following this fic, and I'm pumped to see how you build up Aaron and Riolu's relationship (after all, that's what we came here for). Keep up the good work, and I hope this has made sense/given you some stuff to think about!

(and I will tryyyy to keep up with reviews from now on)
 

canisaries

everyday is halloween
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Hey, I'm back for Chapter 4, picking up where I left off. I also read the first Bonus Chapter, but I don't remember much of MMM and in general figured that critique of it probably isn't useful.

"...Good grief," he said.
throw some dice to determine whether i make a jojo reference or a charlie brown reference

An explosion of Ghostly Obscura happened at Aaron's feet,
I strongly advise against using "happened" in any scenario that doesn't have the action committed be uncertain (e.g. "what happened", "something happened"), as it's possible the most vague and nondescript verb there is. Then again, nothing else really goes in there due to how this sentence is structured, given "explosion" already tells you the action that happened. "Ghostly Obscura exploded at Aaron's feet" would be better, though "Ghostly Obscura" as a subject sounds kind of off. "Flares of Ghostly Obscura" might work, or the original subject could be kept in by chaining in another action, such as "an explosion of Ghostly Obscura singed Aaron's feet".

A strange construct that seemed to resemble a Shadow Ball but spear-shaped
This is... a very odd way of describing this. A Shadow Ball doesn't exactly have a unique, universal look to it, so all the comparison does is tell us it's somehow shadow-y and then make us wonder how a ball can be spear-shaped. Remember that simple is better - "a spear of shadow" accomplishes the same in a less compact and more sensible way.

I was also going to wonder why no one's doing anything about this situation, but it seems pretty in line for the staff to not give any fucks.

upon which he picked up Aaron by the scruff of his neck
After trying like ten times with the back of my own neck which now hurts because I'm an idiot that doesn't know when to stop, I can say that humans have very little loose skin there and supporting one's entire weight on it would damage it a lot. I really suggest the easy way out which is changing this to the front of his collar and not having Aaron be actually lifted, as I doubt even an older teen could pick up a 8-9-year old without considerable effort. Combining all of these gripes, this scene becomes really too cartoonish to keep the tone.

He dropped Aaron and stormed off, Patricia looking at Aaron oddly for a few moments before following after. Aaron was hyperventilating on the ground until he saw Callie and Munchkin peering down at him.
Hyperventilating caught me off guard here, and then I realized why - Aaron has pretty little description during this confrontation, which makes it seem like he doesn't care that much. His inner state should be shown more, be it body language or narration, especially since he's the main character and we're supposed to sympathize with him.

"I'd like to each him the might of Necrozma!"
*teach

"Why does she only talk like that?"



"She's mute," Louis said, whispering. "Can't speak with her mouth. Can't hear that well either. Something about an incident with a Pangoro. Don't know the rest, don't really care."
So I've already mentioned the double line breaks before, and I get it if you don't have the time to fix it, but there are three blank lines here. In some places, there were only one. I really recommend skimming through the text before posting to catch inconsistencies like this because they can get distracting.

Becky the Salamence roared as her entire body glowed green with dragonfire and she charged the Cleffa. The Cleffa covered his eyes and braced himself for impact. The dragon pummeled the Cleffa with claws and bites and headbutts. When the dragonfire died down and the dust cleared... nothing. The Cleffa was totally unscathed. He uncovered its eyes, looked up, gave a "clef!" of surprise at Becky still being there, and ran back to his Trainer, who hugged him.
this cleffa is either traumatized for life now or has a god complex. there is no inbetween

The gaggle of Trainees and their Pokemon started a bit before nodding.
Stared?

In the distance stood a mountain unlike anything Aaron had ever seen. It was massive, and shaped like a tree, clouds swirling around it. Aaron could barely make out glittering green crystals decorating the mountain's rocks.
That's very cool imagery. Though there shouldn't be a comma after "massive" here.

~Told you you shouldn't have done that~ said Metagross.
Missing comma before the ending tilde?

"Right. By the time anyone sees or Aura Senses it it's too late, but scorch marks on the remains it leaves behind indicate it's a Fire type. Therefore..."


He pointed toward Ginji. "You're probably our best bet for taking it down."
oh that could have gone in a worse direction, i'm glad it turned out this way

Rilou's mother beamed.The
Missing space.

---

You've probably noticed most of my comments are pretty critical, and I have to be direct and say that it's because this story isn't really my thing. That's why I won't be continuing with it at least for the time being. It's probably better from your perspective, too, as I'd likely just keep criticizing with not much good to say due to this not being my cup of tea. I hope I've been helpful in some way, though, that's what I try to be. I wish you good luck with this story - I can tell you're passionate about it.
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
Partner
sneasel-nip
This is going to be a little bit on the shorter side of my reviews because I didn't have time to do my notes the usual way but I hope it's helpful none-the-less. This is going to cover the prologue through chapter 3

So conceptually, I think this is a really neat fic! I love that you've taken the concept of aura and built upon it, both with different types of aura and other supplemental, similar abilities. And I like that they manifest similar to pokemon moves. The prologue was really neat, too. And although the plot hasn't gotten very far as of where I'm dropping this review, I think I'm going to like it.

I know there are some things that are on the critical side that other people have brought up before, so I'm not going to say too much about it. Description could use some fleshing out, but for the most part it's okay. The thing that I had the most issue with though is pacing, particularly in the Aaron part of chapter 1.

Particularly, what rubs me the wrong way is that it felt like things happened too fast. The kids are teasing him and then he blasts them away, and then Polly is there, and then they're at his house and he's learning about his abilities. I don't think it's bad that it all happens in the first chapter, and I don't think it's bad that the chapter is short, but because of how fast things happen, Aaron ends up feeling kind of... passive, I guess I'd say? It feels like all these things happen to him, but we don't get a lot of introspection from him. I don't expect too much since he's a kid, but still, I feel like this section could have been better fleshed out. That aside, I do think it improves a bit over the next couple of chapters.

I don't really have any issue with the pacing of Riolu's sections though, and overall I think they're the stronger of the two.

Couple typos:

murmuring among each oter as the Metagross looked them over.
*other

"You'd be dead the moment you cross any human or Pokemon enough, powers or no."
I think you're missing a word between "Pokemon" and "enough", probably "powerful" or "strong."

The Scyther took notice and chittered, pacing the flat a scythe on his knee.
I'm guessing you meant "placing the flat side of a scythe"

Anyways, critiques aside, I'm still interested in the story, and I'll definitely be checking back to see where it goes.
 

canisaries

everyday is halloween
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Hey there! I figured I may as well check out another chapter in the spirit of the review game.

Chapter 5

Do note this chapter is... kind of dark, and deals with subjects like vomiting, eye mutilation, and general blood and death.
aww hell yea

Aaron started.
stared*

It was then he noticed the ball had landed next to the disfigured corpses of an Aura Guardian and his Sawsbuck. The corpses had suffered various forms of abuse - fire, crushing, acid - and seemed relatively fresh. A Murkrow was in the process of plucking an eye from the Aura Guardian's skull and promptly swallowed it before eyeing Aaron warily.
There's potential for getting much more out of this scenario here that I feel like is missed - the corpse is identified right away, when a more gripping approach would be to follow this through Aaron's eyes. Perhaps he would see a human lying down from further off, wondering why someone would take a nap at a place like this, especially an Aura Guardian (which he would deduce by the outfit), and go study further and then see the horrifying injuries. Wonder whether the man could still possibly be alive, but be too shocked to go check, simply staring

tossed the ball back to the other children - much to their confusion- before going to find Polly. Polly was reading on a bench in the monastery when Aaron found her. "Kid, what's up?" she said. "Why are you out of breath?"
Space missing right after "confusion". I feel like Polly's actions should really be in a separate paragraph, too.

Polly now had two other Aura Guardians gathered with her around the corpses with their Pokemon: Vince, a Dark Obscuric, with his Honchkrow Henry, and Ryan, leader of the Genesis Mountain Aura Guardians, with his Swampert. Polly's Metagross was there too, analytically scanning the bodies. Henry tried to peck at Dale's Sawsbuck's remains when Vince gave him a stern look and he backed off with a disappointed coo.
based henry

There are pretty many characters and names here to learn here in a short time, so I have to warn against introducing too many characters too quickly. To ease the reader in, the Honchkrow could remain nameless until further in the conversation, or for the entire duration, even. It worked for the Swampert. I'm also not sure how mentioning Vince being a Dark Obscuric is relevant to the scene. Removing it would lighten the load of proper nouns this paragraphs has, as it's pretty considerable at the moment.

Henry snickered. So did Ryan's Swampert. Even Metagross joined in. Vince gave them all harsh looks.
guys there is a dead colleague right there this maybe isn't the time

~One of the murderers had powers like your own.~
This feels like it should come as a shock, but it felt somewhat implied by the setting. Aura Guardians seem to have very impressive powers, so I couldn't see just any average Joe taking one down, and in such a brutal way as well. I guess it could've been an average Joe with a group of mon, but it doesn't seem common here for people to have many of them? It doesn't seem like there should be much reason for the Aura Guardians to assume all Aura users are friendly, either, as they seem to be born kind of all over the place.

He immediately froze when he saw what was perched at the end of the cavern.
"Immediately" is a little like "suddenly" in that it will actually hurt the impression of suddenness for the reader if it's redundant. For example, readers know people freeze pretty much instantaneously unless otherwise specified.

He tried to push the memories out of his mind and as always they came back stronger and stronger until exhaustion claimed him.


---------


Aaron woke up in a place that was definitely not his room.
She suddenly lunged, talons bared. Aaron screamed and tried to shield himself with his arms.


-----


He woke up in a cold sweat, not bolting upright but panting, feeling paralyzed. Eventually the numbness wore off and he sat up, staring off into space, before collapsing again and waiting for dawn to come.
I don't think these scene breaks are needed, as the change of setting is already well signalled through the action of waking up.

despite the insistence rom the other members
*from

Aaron had spent all day thinking about the bodies and being pestered by the other about the interruption of the ball game and subsequent involvement of Polly and further subsequent security lockdown of the monastery for several hours.
by the others*?

This is also a pretty hefty sentence that may be better pieced down or with punctuation and restructuring.

Was he gonna be okay? His mother said Dialga would always protect him, and he believed that with all his heart.
I searched, and it seems that this is actually the first mention of Dialga in the whole story so far, so it's hard to believe all of a sudden that Aaron is religious and thinks a divine being is looking out for him when it has not come up at all so far. A very fitting place to establish their religion would be in the first chapter when Aaron is leaving home by having the mother bring it up. That still only establishes the background, though, and won't be enough to convince the reader that Aaron is a full Dialga believer if it's never brought up elsewhere. Maybe Aaron could think about his beliefs when first meeting the Necrozma worshipper?

He tried to push the memories out of his mind and as always they came back stronger and stronger until exhaustion claimed him.
There were a couple of spots in the prose that I felt would really benefit from some more punctuation. Mid-sentence additions such as "as always" not having commas to separate them from the main clause can make the sentence harder to parse.

Aaron just kind of stared
trample off for real this time.
"Just kind of" and "for real" both feel too colloquial for narration. "Only/merely stared" and "for good" would be more fitting.

The small purple creature watched the small biped and large quadruped head off from their hiding place. It couldn't understand the words of the creatures of this dimension, though was starting to pick up a few. What they did know was that the place the two were going had food.


Stealthily, the purple creature floated after them. It floated through a gap in a window and looked around a small room. Suddenly, a noise. The purple creature hid as a biped entered the room, looked around, picked something up, and left. In its wake the creature noticed it had dislodged a small, green and red sphere from a nearby box. They inspected it, then tasted it. It was edible, success. The purple creature nibbled happily on their newfound prize.
The pronoun of this creature seems to switch between it and they?

Riolu eyed his dad oddly.
I'm not sure what "oddly" really means. Something more specific would help visualization and consequently immersion.

Ginji turned to Riolu. "Yes son?"
I think I've said this before already, but I really think vocative commas are important. They help pace the speech properly and sometimes, they're even necessary for the sentence to have a correct meaning. There have already been plenty of them in the prose, too, which makes these spots inconsistencies as well.

And I may have said this before as well - I can't remember right now - but parents addressing their children as "son" or "daughter" does not feel natural in speech. I've only seen it happen in 50s media or parodies.

"We're going to corner the thing in its den," said Ginji, "and I'll be at the center holding it off while we all take it down."
It feels like they find the Charizard's den pretty easily, which feels anticlimactic after it was shrouded in such mystery before.

"What if it goes after us?" said another Lucario. "With those fire attacks we're toast! Literally!"
but how do you know what toast is... if you don't have bread...

Charizard was further annoyed by being pelted with Aura Spheres from the assorted Lucario, before flying upward
Comma doesn't fit here.

Ginji wasn't so phased
*fazed, phased means something else.

As he fell over, bleeding out, the Charizard lunged at the Lucario group, as they attempted to dart out of the way.
Having two as-structures makes this sentence clunky and chronologically confusing.

One took advantage of the chaos to hurl another rock at the Charizard's wing with a sickening crack,
Technically this is saying that the Lucario hurled something with a crack, which sounds like they broke their arm while throwing.

I just know it....
Four periods instead of three.

---

A lot sure happened this time around. Murder mystery begins, Aaron gets a visit from Miss Death Bacon, unknown purple creature arises, Ginji hecking dies and Riolu leaves the pack. It's good that the ball is rolling, but I think there may be a plot thread or two too many to follow right now. The main one hasn't properly begun - I'm not even sure which the main one is - and the current threads seem almost unrelated to it. It gives the story a pretty unclear direction, which is not a good thing to have so early in.

Yveltal seems to be a bastard bird that likes scaring kids with existential dread, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't respect that hustle. A death god being evil does feel a little done, but tropes are tropes for a reason, so no harm done. I like that she's feminine, as a lot of legendaries do get cast as male, and it nicely contrasts the masculine antlers of Xerneas.

As for the ending of the chapter... I hate to still be negative after a review of mostly gripes, but Ginji's death missed its mark for me. It was telegraphed rather explicitly by Riolu asking/pondering multiple times if Ginji would be okay, and the death scene itself came across rather cliché with the father being able to say a few last profound words to his son before dying right after. I understand Riolu's motive for wanting to leave afterwards (though I think that discrimination towards him specifically could have come across more strongly before) but I was expecting the mother to cling to her child rather than letting him walk freely. Ginji and Riolu were her closest family, after all, and losing one would be hard enough, right? Well, you know your character better in the end, but it may be something to address.

I regret that I don't have much positive to say, but I hope I've managed to be constructive. I wish you good luck with this story going onwards.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partner
charizard
(Prologue, chapter 1)

Iiinteresting. So, I had no idea which movie you were referring to at first, so I ended up checking that out... Mystery of Mew--alright, so Lucario and aura powers, sweet! I'm a fan of those things, mostly because it can get pretty haywire, but it's so loosely bound that it seems like fanfiction can go anywhere with it. Curious to see where you go with this.

--

So, starting off, what catches me a little unguarded is the prologue. I'm not really sure who's talking to me here--the narrator? The author? Is this just a glorified author's note, or is this some kind of being that's talking about the past, or a divine entity speaking about the present? I'm not really sure this is the sort of mystery that I want to be presented right off, especially since, due to the conventions of fanfiction, this feels more like an author's note than a proper prologue or prelude. I'm also a bit leery about the narration telling me that it's going to be different; I'd much rather have it demonstrate to me later what it's going to be like, rather than tell me not to worry.

The actual chapter that followed was much nicer, albeit fast paced. There are certain parts of the passages that I felt could have really been delved deeper into to really get a sense for how a character was feeling, what the scenery was like, or so on to really show the impact of what was happening. As it stood, however, I didn't really get an opportunity to really feel the impact of the bullying or the terror or the desperation that would have led to the Scream that saved him from further bullying. As of now, it more or less felt like a set of tropes lined up to get the plot rolling, without any of the meat or seasonings or flavorings to bulk out the story and give it its personality.

Still, it's still setting up the scenes. I'm hoping that it can get past the setup quickly so the real meat of the plot can follow up right after, if that's the case! But before I get to that, let's get to some quotes that stood out to me...

Love is a spectrum, one that kind of thing is a bastardization of an itty-bitty bit of!
I had to read this sentence about three times to parse it correctly; I think it's because I was having trouble differentiating the "that" in it. "One that" is a common phrase, but "that kind of thing" is another--and I believe the latter is the intended usage, but since the former comes first, that's what I automatically assumed it meant.

Since the version you've likely seen before told you pretty quick how those kids and their Pikachu got into their world's version of this story, I'll be straight up telling how I got roped into mine's...
This is another strange sentence leading into the actual story, and I don't really know if this prologue is actually necessary. Couldn't a lot of this have been implied with just the opening line about how it's 1000 years in the past, and then following the main character from there? The prologue is so small, too, that I wonder if it could just have a key line or two merged into the beginning of chapter 1 and start it that way.

They all ran off, leaving the blue-haired, blue-eyed boy dressed in rags panting in exhaustion until he collapsed on his back.
This is one example of a scene that could have been drawn out or described more thoroughly, before and then up to this point.

I'm talking to you with my head, it's called telepathy.
I think this should be a semicolon and not a comma.

"Wha-"

The woman shook her head. "When we need to yes,
So, if I'm reading this right, this is the same person speaking? If so, why are they on different paragraph breaks, which would make the reader expect different speakers?

The boy blinked, then shuffled a bit. "Me and my mom live further in the village. I used to have a dad but..."

He shook his head. "You can still see my mom, though! Follow me!"
Same deal here.

--

Anyway, interesting first chapter, very clearly telegraphing what's going to come next, I imagine, but I'm curious how it'll pan out.
 

Tanuki

Pikachu Enthusiast
Location
Rhyme City
Pronouns
He/him/his
Chapter 1 Review

Interesting premise, that's for sure. I think I've seen deeper looks into aura powered humans before, but this is the first one I've actually read.

To start with, your prologue. A prologue is supposed to set the tone/purpose of a story, or at least set up the premise. While yours did the last one, it felt mostly like a lampshaded attempt to justify your story's existence. The prologue's self-aware and humorous, but the story's tone is completely different. It feels out of place in context of the rest of the chapter.

I, personally, found the rest of the chapter more interesting as well, though there were a few things that marred the experience somewhat.

For one, your paragraphing. You do it way too much, and it gives your prose this sort of rushed, jumpy feel. Paragraphs are supposed to change when you transition from one thought or idea to another, but you insert a paragraph almost every sentence. One set of three paragraphs, you have a character's dialogue, their action, and then more dialogue from them split into three for no reason that I can gather. Try to combine paragraphs more and only split them when there's a change in idea or character talking.

Your description in many places is really lacking, but you show that you have the ability to describe really well. The first paragraph of the second half, for example, is excellently described. Yet, other scenes have next to no description whatsoever. You tend to say what happens rather than describe. The very beginning, for example, you say he's being chased, mocked, rocks are being thrown, but there's nothing pulling me into his experience. Yeah, I can parse how he's feeling, but it's a bit dull as it is.

This lack of description mixed with haphazard paragraphing makes the pacing overall feel super jumpy and all over the place. For everything that happens in this chapter, it feels way too short. The story feels like it's trying to be more on the gritty side, but this pacing is more in line with the comedic fourth wall breaking of the prologue. Slow it down. Make me really feel the atmosphere, what's going through the characters' heads, bring me into the story. It'll take some practice, but it'll also really help your story as a whole.
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
Partner
sneasel-nip
Let’s jump right back in where I left off, starting with the first bonus chapter!

I actually don’t have much to say about it, though the fact that Ultra Beasts showed up is interesting. I wonder if that’ll have any bearing on the main story later, or if it was just a one-off thing for this bonus chapter. Hm…

That said, I do want to quickly note a couple typos before I move on.

Dragon Pulse"Let me guess, need something?"
I’m guessing “Dragon Pulse” just accidentally got stuck here.

the A Dragon Pulse was shot in Ryan's direction.
Same thing with the “the” here.

I have some… mixed feelings on how the fight in this chapter was handled, but since it seems like it was a more lighthearted, silly chapter compared to the main story (at least it felt like that) I’m going to hold off and just look at future fights within the main chapters.

4
Who’s this brat. Love seeing a character with an onix though. Can’t remember the last time I saw one in a fic outside of being mentioned briefly in mine.

Not any kid on the Auric Spectrum can be an Aura Guardian, and I'm gonna weed out the ones who can't.
Though I don’t think this is technically wrong, I think the point you’re trying to make would be more clear if you used either “not just any kid” or “not every kid.”

Okay, I really love the concept of a mute character that uses telepathy to talk.

~Thanks!~ said Carol, and she, Becky, and her Gothitelle Lovegood exited.
I’m pretty sure there should be a comma between “Gothitelle” and “Lovegood.”

Hm… I wonder if the legendary that created the tree will be relevant later. My thought is that it was either arceus or xerneas.

Who’s this mysterious child?

By the time anyone sees or Aura Senses it it's too late,
Again, I think there should be a comma between “it” and “it’s”

I was going to question whether Lucario would have any predators but. Yeah. Yeah a charizard would do it.

So far the plot has been felt fairly meandering, taking it’s time to get to much of anything beyond introducing characters. But it feels like it’s starting to pick up now. For one thing, we have the mystery with the disappeared kid. On the other side, we have the charizard. I kind of get the feeling that either one (or both) of Riolu’s parents are not going to survive the fight, or else something’s going to happen that gets him permanently separated. Maybe both of these things.

This chapter definitely felt like an improvement. Even though the plot progression has felt fairly slow up to this point, events still felt like they were happening super fast and being rushed through. This chapter gave things a bit more time and, as a result I think it felt stronger.

Anyways, you’ve planted a nice hook into the next few chapters, so hopefully I’ll be able to pick this back up soon.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Partner
pikachu-chibi
Chapter 7:

"See him? That's Andalas. Legendarily grouchy Rhyperior. If you're not afraid of a Scyther surely giving him a poke isn't too scary."
Some really great, believable kid behavior here. :P
He touched it. It felt like rock yet somehow... warm, and alive. He quickly drew the finger back. Andalas was still asleep. He looked backward. Louis and Rook were gone. He looked back to Andalas. Still asleep. Aaron almost sighed in relief, but held his breath to avoid waking the Rhyperior up.

Then Andalas' eyes snapped open anyway.
I really like the tension you got out of slowly ruminating over this moment. A good instance where slowing things down really added something.
Aaron raised his hand. "This place has a name?"

Polly gave him a look. "Yes. This place is called the Time Flower Abbey. You didn't pick that up?"
This is a really great way to mask the fact that you hadn't come up with the name until now. xD
"Time Flowers are crystalline life forms that bud from a bigger crystalline life form, the Tree of Beginning. They grow through this whole area and are a major export - precisely because they can generate Obscuric illusions that record sound and images. At least, if you have a human on the Auric spectrum or Pokemon to activate them."
Ooh, I like that you're going into detail on these things because as cool as they are, it was pretty obvious that the movie only had them because it was the only way to reveal what happened in the past. So like... actually developing how they work and how that would impact the world, having something like that around... that's gonna be really nice to see.
"You see, the people of Kalos and Galar and nearby nations had their own Tree, not too far away. They made pilgrimages to that instead. Then the Demon King AZ came into power and fired his Ultimate Weapon. The weapon devastated that tree to the point most thought it was dead, and so refugees headed off across land and sea to this Tree, as I mentioned before eventually forming Rota. Eventually a band of heroes found the old Tree still clung to life and saved it, but the Rotans remained, and the Genesis Mountain Aura Guardians made this monastery to aid them, as well as..."
As is getting some actual backstory on why the heck there's a medieval faux-european kingdom in the middle of Kanjoh!
"Right," said Polly, "I'm not gonna ask you all to share your stories just yet. But you all know about discrimination. Aurics, Psychics, it depends on the place but most of us can at least survive. Obscuirics... They're hunted. Executed. Slaughtered. And that's why we're here. To protect all people on the spectrum."
Ah, this is another interesting detail. It makes sense that there'd be varying biases and prejudices when it comes to people being different like this, but it hadn't occurred to me that some Aurics would have it worse than others.
Riolu paused, looked at the human, then at the apples, then at the human, then at the apples again. Then he grabbed one and ran.
Lotta great bits of narration in this one. :P

Chapter 8:
"What are you all yammering about?" This time Nightjar approached the growing gaggle of gossiping Guardians.
A+ alliteration.
Polly looked around. There were various humans and Pokemon in the bar, in varying states of drunkenness. A man was passed out in his chair. A Gardevoir was drunkenly floating around hiccuping. A Spinda was actually walking straight for once.
This is. The best mental image.
He turned to the bartender. "Give me a mixed berry drink for me and my Corviknight please!"
Just so long as he doesn’t plan to drink and fly ;P

So we’ve got some progression on the murder plot! Along with two new characters brought on to investigate the case. The scenes with the Guardians were fun, and a good way to give some character to the ones that hadn't had much spotlight until now.
"The good news," said Grog, perking up. "Was that I wasn't very good at it. I was too polite. I would always yell "Sneak Attack!" before I struck my foe."
We must protect Grog.

It was nice to get a look into the other Pokémon’s lives and learn how they wound up in their position. In particular Koba, since his words are no doubt where Riolu got his views on master and servant, ones which I expect will persist for a very long time, even after he meets Aaron.

Chapter 9:
"Do you want to be my friend?" said Aaron.

"Wynaut!"
asgdhfsjaf

I think it's really cute that Aaron never actually was taught how to go about finding a Pokémon partner. :P
The Fighting Thieves were all gathered together in their, Koba standing on a platform a bit taller than all of them.
Word missing after their?
"Easy, easy," said Koba. "As for what it is... I have located a monastery to the north of here, up the mountain, known as Time Flower Abbey. There is a stash of strange crystals there that the Aura Guardians there use to transport their Pokemon servants. Those crystals are worth quite a lot of human money."
Ahh, I really like that their plot is to steal pokecrystals. Of course those'd be valuable. Plus I feel like the fact that crystals were used before Pokeballs is an oft-overlooked part of canon. And this is a fun way to connect the fighting thieves to what's going on in the abbey.
Finally, they emerged in an empty room, filled with boxes of food, including a bag of apples that had been recently ripped into, a sticky glue-like substance left behind.
uh oh, not you again.

I wasn’t expecting the band of thieves to be apprehended via being captured! But then, of course that'd be the fastest way to neutralize troublesome Pokemon. Throughout the story thus far, I've been trying to guess how you were going to have Aaron and Riolu meet, and I totally wouldn't have guessed that they'd meet though Riolu wanting to rescue his friends! But of course, it's the perfect followup to the the things that Koba told him.

But yeah. The main duo have finally met! Looking forward to seeing what comes next~
 

Equitia

Junior Trainer
Pronouns
he/him
Partner
espurr
So, your story has a lot of things that I like – namely a school setting, dumb kids, dumb kids with superpowers, and the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP. I originally read the first few chapters of your fic a couple months ago but stopped for some reason. Eventually I came back and binged the entire fic (except for the Fire Emblem crossover – not familiar with those characters) and so I am reviewing the fic as a whole.
My favorite part of this fic are the characters. You’re very good at writing endearing characters and establishing them very quickly. Aaron is an adorable precious child and I love him. Riolu is a precious traumatized child and I love him. I also love the side cast of the other kids at Aaron’s school. You’ve got a whole truckload of characters, but I’ve never had any issues telling them apart. Definitely a strength.

Speaking of the school, again, sucker for school stories because of the ones I read as a kid. A big part of why I love school settings is because of that nostalgia, but I also like the way an author can make you feel like you’re learning and growing with the POV characters. Normally I don’t like info-dumps, but I can actually enjoy them if the author just portrays them as a lesson, lol. I like the worldbuilding in your fic and my only nitpick would be that I’d prefer more, especially about the Aura abilties.

My favorite moment during a lesson is probably the first one introducing the Aura abilities (because poor Aaron), but I’d like to draw attention to the one where Carol taught about type match-ups. Of course, relevant because a good chunk of it is Aaron learning about Carol, but I like how you introduced type match-ups. Unlike Aaron I know about types, but still this lesson is one of my favorite moments in the fic, not only because of Carol but because you had her demonstrate the subject. That Cleffa… xD.

Also, appreciate how Pokémon are portrayed in human POVs. Since the fic’s eventual emphasis will be on a human/Pokemon relationship, I was expecting some focus on that aspect, but how casual and everywhere Pokemon/human partners are is absolutely great. My favorite relationship is Metagross, Dunsparce, and Polly, especially Polly and Metagross, being so different in personality and details about they came to be together. Also, I like Pokémon just generally being around, among the humans. My favorite instance of that is the drunk Pokémon mentioned in the bars. (Love those scenes in general, the joke openings are hilarious. Actually, your fic is consistently funny. regularly chuckled while reading.)

As for the worldbuilding about humans and Pokémon in Pokémon POVs… I guess this is where I segue into talking more in-depth about Riolu.

I like the structure of Riolu’s beginning arc. It’s predestined that he’ll end up with Aaron, and I appreciate the set-up. Riolu’s father had a positive view of humans, but I like how chapters after that gave Riolu reasons to question that. Riolu trying to get food is my favorite POV moment from him, but I like the fall-out after that, getting exposed to the Fighting Thieves. I’m interested to see how this all will play out now that he’s finally about to be partnered with Aaron.

However, I can’t help but feel that comparatively Aaron’s arc isn’t nearly as strong. For example – Chapter 5. Chapter 5 on its own was well done. Upon the first reading, it has a bunch of narrative gut punches and is structured as the first turning point of the fic. Which it is kind of but not for Aaron.

After Aaron finds the bodies, he spends a bit of time thinking about it, but it serves as a catalyst for Polly and Carol, not him. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes it stick out that Aaron hasn’t had a real turning point in his own plot. He has low self-esteem and is bullied, but that’s the same as in the start of the fic. He’s developed in his relationship with the other kids (his standing up to your Gabriel is my favorite) but nothing like Riolu’s father dying. To keep his POV as engaging, Aaron could have used his own “darkest moment” (or a strong instance of positive character development possibly) before meeting Riolu.

That said, if not for Riolu’s and the adults’ plots coming along more quickly, I probably wouldn’t care that Aaron hasn’t had super dramatic moments yet. It’s only in comparison that it sticks out. Overall I have been absolutely loving that dork. As mentioned, I loved his absolutely innocent approach to standing up to Gabriel (ooh I like his and Patricia’s dynamic too have I mentioned that?). That chapter is actually my favorite. In general his interactions with the other characters have been joyous, and I am super excited to see how he responds to Riolu whenever you’re ready to post the next chapter.
 

Adamhuarts

Junior Trainer
Pronouns
He/Him
Partner
mew
Decided to check out this story since I'd been meaning to do so for a while now. I've read the first chapter and I like the story so far. Quite frankly, I don't know much about Aaron in canon, so I'm hoping this story will do well enough of a job to paint a full picture of him for me even if you plan on taking some liberties and making deviations from his canon self.

I liked that the first chapter begins as a backstory showing us his fledgling beginnings, as well as the baby yo-I mean riolu in the second half who I assume is going to be his Lucario later on. The thing about auras having varieties like pokemon types is also interesting to me.

I look forward to seeing where this story goes.
 

OldschoolJohto

Never not editing
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
solrock
This is based heavily on the lore introduced in the eighth Pokemon movie, but said movie is very much not required viewing for this fic, as I'm basically rebuilding everything from the ground up.
I've got zero knowledge of the 8th movie, so let's see how this goes!

Big Picture:

This chapter launches us right into things. Normally I’d be all for it – it’s the worst when a story starts with five pages of waking up, brushing teeth, and eating breakfast before anything important happens – but I wish there were more of the ordinary world/status quo to anchor us before we start getting auras and psychics. For example:
the bullies put my ball in a tree
This would’ve been nicer to explore more fully with internal monologue while he’s reaching for the ball. Is he angry? Resigned? Cheerfully choosing to believe they didn’t really mean to put it so far out of reach? Any of those would give me a stronger sense of what Aaron is like as a person, what kinds of choices he makes and how he responds to others. And that would give his powers more emotional impact.

I also wish we’d gotten his name a little earlier! (Unless this is a reference to a canon character I’m not familiar with and the reveal is meant to be an aha moment?) The chapter seems to be following his perspective, so things like his name seem like something we should know pretty quickly.

Similarly, I would like to see expanded interactions between Aaron and his mom and between Aaron and Polly.

Aaron’s mom seems to have almost no reaction to or awareness of Aaron’s powers, which feels hard to believe. I would love to see more insight into… the stress of caring for a kid who’s different (and accidentally destructive, it sounds like), the loss and relief of letting her weird kid leave to go to a weird school… etc.

Right now, Polly feels mostly like a vehicle for getting Aaron to this school, but I feel like she could’ve instead been either a nurturing force (a contrast to the bullying) or a firm “get your shit together and get control of your powers, kid,” kind of figure. She’s kinda hovering between the two right now. Seems to have an interest in his education… but is terribly aloof. If she’s meant to be more of a friend, she should ask his name way sooner, maybe crouch to his level while he’s recovering from the fall, ask if he’s okay, maybe even make a joke or tell a story about a time she got into a tricky situation with her powers. If she’s meant to be more of a mentor to aspire to be like, maybe she’d tell him to walk it off, talk about Aura Guardian regulations, etc. It also felt weird and intrusive to me how she inserted herself into the mom’s head – and then wants mom to trust her and let her take her kid away to a weird school!

I’m also wondering how secret the Aura Guardians are meant to be, because she talks about it so openly – flippantly. Again, I feel like she needs to either be more professional (maybe even military) or flying in the face of the Aura Guardian rules of conduct. Right now she’s in the middle.

Aaron definitely feels like a young child – well done there. “Talapathic” was cute, and so was his eagerness to please. I, an adult, would be wary of Polly. But as a kid? Hell yeah, let’s going on an adventure!

It’ll be interesting to see how battles (and crime?!) are affected by the presence of humans that can basically use pokemon moves.

Interesting that, in the scene at the end, pokemon society seems to have prejudices that mirror human society. I’ll be curious to see whether we’re getting a “translation” or if they’re straight-up speaking in a language humans can understand. I do wish the two parents’ attitudes about the egg felt a little… less human. The fretting over when it would hatch, especially. I would’ve liked to see them handled in a way that favored intuition and trusting the natural way of things – though that’s probably more personal taste than an actual “problem.” Again, though, this is an opportunity for more reflection: how does blaziken-dad imagine the future of their family? What does he look forward to doing with his child? Or you could swing the other way and show us the bond between him and his mate. Either way, there’s an opportunity for more insight into these characters’ emotional lives.

Little Details:

Dunsparce is an unusual choice. Nice to see it getting some use in a fic! Curious to see what kind of use it’ll get. The structure of the introduction of the two of them, Polly and dunsparce, felt a little odd. Because our protagonist turned and noticed each of them, it made the dunsparce feel like a false start instead of a herald of the approaching woman. Maybe instead: turn to see dunsparce. It burrows away. Behind him he hears, “I see you’ve met my dunsparce.”

"...Well on my end, I had to convince them to make the cape an extension of my coat since it suited my fighting style better..."
This is interesting world-building, but feels like a non-sequitur here – too info-dumpy for dialogue. I’d save this detail for a moment when she’s actually fighting and we can see how the change in her outfit fits her movement.

A different woman with blue hair and blue eyes like the boy's
Just say “the boy’s mother.” Or even just “his mother.”

Curious to see how these dynamics will shift when we get into the school setting.
 
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OldschoolJohto

Never not editing
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
solrock
Replying to chapter 2 now! I listened on TTS instead of reading with my eyes, so this will be more generalized thoughts, not so many quoted passages.

It’s interesting we’re seeing a different side of Polly. These kids feel very little to me, so her language felt way harsh (I’m a teacher, so this set off alarms for me!) but I don’t mind the idea that she’s kind one-on-one age harsher in the classroom. You could get the same effect by making her softer in the previous chapter, or maybe by leaning on her actions here instead of language. And again, as someone who works with kids, I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell them to “go find so-and-so” and just let them wander off. Especially in such a new environment, kids need routine and stability. A teacher or Pokémon should take them.

The information here felt important, though delivering it through dialogue here felt a little “as we both know...” I also thought the metagross’s word choices were very similar to Polly’s — seems strange to be for such an alien, inhuman entity. I’d either highlight it — oh, it talks like its trainer because they’re so close — OR alter the dialogue a little to give it a more unique voice.

I appreciated the idea that powers alone won’t be enough to carry them in a fight, highlighting their inexperience. Though it did make me wonder what or who exactly they might be fighting since we haven’t gotten an inkling of it yet.

Similarly, with our father/son duo, I had to wonder why their clan didn’t want the riolu to learn about humans. Especially in light of the vow. Are these lucario oath breakers? Does mom know about this secret Mufasa and Simba education? Good to get a little bit more of dad’s backstory and some of the world-building re: the vow.
 

Umbramatic

The Ghost Lord
Location
The Yangverse
Pronouns
Any
I LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE

I will respond to reviews later maybe i just want to make this chapter finally happen its been so long i'm so sorry

Chapter 10: I Just Met You And I Love You

Aaron stared. And stared. And stared some more. Until he was finally able to reply to the small Riolu in front of him.

"You can talk? Like a Psychic type can? Are you a Psychic type?"

Riolu raised an eyebrow. ~What? No. I'm a Fighting type. Anyway you didn't answer my question.~

A big smile sprouted on Aaron's face. "Wait, you really want to be my partner?"

~Well, yes, but only to-~

He was interrupted by Aaron hugging him.

"That's great! We'll be best friends!"

~Wait but-~

"We can train together and show bullies who's boss and play games and - oh! I've got to show you to the other kids and their Pokemon! They'll love to meet you!"

It was then Riolu realized his mistake. The human was clearly desperate for the partnership to be a permanent affair.

~Um, I-~

"I'm Aaron, it's so nice to meet you! Do you want a human name?"

~No.~

"That's okay! Come on!"

He grabbed Riolu's paw and started dragging him to the monastery. Riolu thought quickly. If Koba had ditched his human couldn't he do the same with this one? But there was what his dad said about human-Pokemon bonds being special and having a Vow around them... Why did this have to be so hard?

---------------

Eve, Louis, Atta, and Callie, along with Iuroidea, Rook, Stabby, and Munchkin, were passing a ball around - though Rook and Stabby were just watching due to their increased ability to cut the ball open. It was then Aaron dragged Riolu in.

"Guys! Guys! I found a Pokemon partner!"

The kids and their Pokemon froze. The ball dropped to the ground and rolled away. Everyone stared at Aaron and the Riolu inexplicably next to him.

"Callie?" said Louis. "Did you sneak something funny into our lunch again?"

"It wasn't me I swear!" said Callie.

"Then... He did it!" said Eve.

The group gathered around Aaron and Riolu.

"A Riolu?" said Atta. "Isn't that cliche for an Auric?"

"I mean it's a cliche for a reason," said Eve. "Aren't Lucario Fighting-type Aura powers the most similar to humans usually?"

"Why the bloody dogs got it I don't know," said Louis. "Aaron, where did you even find him?"

"He just walked up to me and asked if he could join me!"

"Doubt." said Atta.

~It's true though.~ said Riolu with a sigh. The others jumped back.

"He can talk! Cool!" said Callie.

"So he's like Polly's Metagross then..." said Louis.

"Yeah!" said Aaron. He then shifted a bit. "So, uh, any tips for like... Taking care of him?"

"Well..." said Eve.

The kids went into a huddle; meanwhile Riolu was pulled away by the other mons.

"Well the dweeb finally got a partner!" said Munchkin. "Did he give you a name?"

"No," said Riolu, shaking his head.
"Regardless, Riolu," said Rook, "It is a pleasure to meet you."

"Don't be so formal, Rook, the guy doesn't seem like the type," said Iuroidea.

"He seems... Stoic! Like some kind of gruff loner mon!" said Stabby.

"I'm fine, really," said Riolu, shaking his head.

"Well welcome aboard!" said Stabby. "The human kids are happy to see you, and we're due for some action!"

"Please no action today," said Rook.

"By the way," said Riolu, "Have any of you seen a Chimchar around?"

"No?" said Munchkin, scratching his head. "Someone as canny as I would remember seeing one of those here."

"You could try asking some of the other Pokemon around," said Iuroidea. "Knowing Aaron he's probably going to show you off to everyone anyway."

Riolu nodded. "I'll do that."

-------------

Polly was sitting quietly with Metagross and Dunsparce, enjoying some tea, when Aaron dragged Riolu before her.

"Polly, look! I have a Pokemon now!"

Polly spat out her tea, causing Dunsparce to recoil and hiss. If Metagross had movable eyebrows he would raise one.

"How- Er, yes, Aaron, that's lovely! A Riolu huh? Did you name the mutt?"

~I'm not a mutt.~

"No, he didn't want one."

"Some Pokemon don't," said Polly. "I never gave Metagross or Dunsparce one. Felt weird."

"Huh..." said Aaron. "That's a big thing for Pokemon, so I guess it's okay."


"Yep."

"But I have him now and it's great!"

Ignoring Aaron for the moment, Riolu approached Metagross and Dunsparce.

"You two seen a Chimchar anywhere?"

"Nope!" said Dunsparce. "I would know if I saw a monkey with its butt on fire."

"I haven't seen one." said Metagross. "Why do you ask?"

"...They're a friend."

"I won't pry. And I don't read people's minds without permission anymore. I hope you find them. Maybe ask Aaron for help?"

Riolu paused. Then sighed.

"Maybe."

Once again Metagross would raise his X-shaped metal eyebrow if he could.

---------------

Aaron walked, - no strutted toward Gabriel, Riolu in tow, as Gabriel slumbered on Patricia's back.

"Hey Gabe! I got a Pokemon! How about that!"

Gabriel's eyes snapped open. He quickly looked over at Aaron.

"Wimp? What do you wa-"

He caught sight of the Riolu and just kind of stared.

"...Whose Riolu is that?"

"He's my partner!" said Aaron, puffing out his chest and placing his hands on his hips.

At this Gabriel visibly panicked and almost fell off Patricia.

"You got a Fighting type?! If you got a fighting type then-"

He shook his head.

"No - even with the type advantage you're a wuss! The wussiest wuss to ever wuss! You'll see!"

There was a pause.

"...Patricia, could you move us elsewhere? We need to hi- prepare for a showdown against this twerp."

Patricia gave a "s-sorry about him" only Riolu could hear as her individual segments rotated in tandem so she could roll away, Gabriel running in place on top of them as his purple eyes locked on Aaron with a glare until they vanished.

"Oh yeah! You have a type advantage against Onix! I didn't even think of that!"

~Well now you know.~

"We really will make a great team!"

Riolu paused. And sighed.

~Yeah. Though... Have you seen a Chimchar around?~

"Uh, no, why?"

~I came here to look for him. And I figured one of the humans could help me.~

"Oh really? Sure thing! Anything for my new buddy!"

Riolu looked left and right. ~Yeah...~

"Come on! We'll check the cellars first!"

The two ran off.

---------------

Polly had finished her tea and was walking to Ryan's office when she saw Terrence approaching, along with a Duraludon.

"Polly!" he said.

"Yeah?"

"You available? I have some things I wanted to ask you."

"Sure?"

Terrence looked around. "This place. It's huge. And It seems like it's been around a long time. How'd it get here?"

Polly raised an eyebrow. "Why do you want to know?"

Terrence gave her a look and shrugged his shoulders. "I mean. I've been staying here long enough and I ought to know more about this place. Plus I'm just curious."

His Duraludon made puffing noises and nodded.

"Rohe would like to know too."

Quick brain check. The Duraludon was indeed named Rohe and would indeed sincerely like to know. Polly sighed.

"Alright. This place... you can probably tell, but it's old. Real old. At least 200 years old, and that's probably undershooting it."

"Wow... You Aura Guardians built it I presume."

"Yeah! So people with Aura powers can have a place to be protected and socialize with people like them and taught to use their powers for good!"

"What about fighting evildoers?"

"That shit's dangerous. Only when absolutely necessary."

Rohe made a disappointed noise.

"Oh come on you get what I mean."

Terrence chuckled. "Okay then, seems like we've mostly gone through the obvious. So next question... How did YOU get here?"

Polly blinkled. "You mean in like a metaphysical sense, how I got here on this planet, or..."
Terrence rolled his eyes. "To the monastery."

"Right, right. I was brought here, along with some of the other senior Aura guardians here, mainly Vince, Carol - though she didn't call herself Carol back then and everyone thought she was a boy - and-

She stopped.

"And who?"

"...Elliot."

"I haven't seen him around."

"There's a reason for that. He's... He's gone."

Terrence's eyes widened behind his glasses. "Oh, oh... I'm sorry... Didn't mean to go there..."

"It's fine. You aren't a Psychic. You couldn't have known."

Rohe placed a reassuring stump on Polly's side and gave a "dur" of reassurance.

Terrence paused. "I... I have a reason I'm here too. I'm looking for a friend."

"A friend?"

"Yeah. One that went missing. And I think it has to do with the disappearances you all were investigating. Hence why I signed up to help."

"Oh. Oh that makes sense.'

She then squinted at him.

"...Why didn't you say so in the first place?"

Terrence shrugged. "Personal info. This was a professional job. Most employers don't wanna hear a sob story."

Polly rolled her eyes. "Fine, fine."

"Anyway, wanna head over to the mess hall? They've got Watmel berries."

"Ooh, I love those."

Rohe thirded them with a trill of excitement, and they headed on over.

----------

It was late evening. Vince was patrolling the Time Flower Abbey grounds. It was then he saw Louis, with Rook beside him.

"Hey! Kid! You and your Scyther! What are you doing out so late?"

Louis yelped and practically jumped out of his pants before Rook put a reassuring blade on his shoulder.

"Uh, um, I-"

"What is it?"

"...I needed some space. To think."

"About what?"

"...What it was like. Before I came here."

Vince's expression softened. "Oh. Yeah. You were... With that abusive family right?"

Louis flinched. "Yes."

"The Cains?"

Louis flinched harder. "Also yes."

He pulled down his collar to reveal a tattoo on his shoulder. One of two Corvinight mauling each other.

Vince scowled. "Damn Kalosian noble families. Pieces of work, all of them." He blinked, shook his head, and shrugged. "No offense of course."

"...None taken. I'm... I'm glad I'm here."

"Same. I know I was-"

Suddenly Rook perked up, pivoted his entire body in a direction, and snarled. Vince and Louis to look. Something nearby was flickering.

The flickering lunged.

"Get down!" Vince yelled as he summoned both a Night Slash blade and Henry. Both lunged back at the flickering as Rook lunged as well and Louis jumped back. The three of them tackled the flickering, revealing it to be someone in a strange red and white cloak and mask, who was quickly overpowered and knocked back. Vince acted quickly, binding the person to the ground with dark Obscuric whips, which the person attempted to turn intangible again and phase through to no avail. Vince turned to Louis.

"Get the others, quick!"

Louis nodded, then scrambled off. Vince turned back to the strange figure.

"Now... Who the hell are you?"

***
 

Equitia

Junior Trainer
Pronouns
he/him
Partner
espurr
Aw, Aaron is so cuuuuuuute!!! His reaction to Riolu joining him was absolutely precious. The other characters' initial disbelief that Aaron found a partner was kind of sad for Aaron, but funny for me xD. By the way, I noticed how Aaron's friend and teachers reacted with total incredulity --

The kids and their Pokemon froze. The ball dropped to the ground and rolled away.
Polly spat out her tea
-- while Gabriel, on the other hand, stared and then instantly believed it. Oh noooooooooo

Also,
"Did you sneak something funny into our lunch again?"
Again.

It's also sad for Aaron that Riolu doesn't care so much for him, but totally expected considering what Riolu had just gone through. I liked how Riolu spoke with the Pokemon before considering asking Aaron anything. It's in-character that he would trust Pokemon more than humans, and it also gave the Pokemon characters a chance to demonstrate their personalities.

There is one thing I don't like about Riolu's introduction to other characters, however, and it's how the humans talked about Riolu like he wasn't there. It was a bit uncomfortable for me and also odd. I hadn't noticed this happening with Pokemon before (for example, Duralodon is acknowledged in conversation in this chapter), and Riolu could even speak with the humans.

I liked the last scene! It was nice getting more background about Louis, and the sudden shift into action was nicely paced and tense. The cliffhanger is aaaahhhhh to me as a reader because I have to wait for the next chapter, but structurally it doesn't feel cheap. You covered a good deal with this chapter and ending it where you did seems appropriate.


Now, some grammar stuff. Throughout this chapter, I noticed you always capitalized the word after an ellipsis. This is sometimes appropriate to indicate a thought trailed off, for example here:

But there was what his dad said about human-Pokemon bonds being special and having a Vow around them... Why did this have to be so hard?
but other times you used them to indicate a pause in a sentence. In those cases, you shouldn't capitalize the next word because that implies you have started a new thought. For instance, with these

"So, uh, any tips for like... Taking care of him?"
He seems... Stoic!
you probably don't want capitalization.
 
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