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Pokémon In the Streets of Lago

Flaze

Bug Catcher
Location
Chile
Pronouns
he/him
Well, I think I dipped my toe enough with oneshots. Now I'm gonna try and go with something a little more challenging. This one's actually something I wrote two years ago, I've cleaned it up a little bit but haven't changed it too much, so that's why it might feel different in style and prose to what I've been posting so far.

Background:
Streets of Lago is a project that's been in my mind for...heck, a decade, the concept behind the story's evolved and changed a lot from what it was when I was fourteen years old, and I've never been able to properly put it down on paper (or doc if you wanna get technical), so I figured it'd be a good way to get back proper into writing stories by finally chaining down these elusive idea in my head.

Summary:

In the Streets of Lago is a story that takes place in the region of Caliorn. There, as its capital, stands Lago City, a city known for its contribution to entertainment and tourism and acts as a beacon for the region itself. However, not all is perfect, Lago's increasing immigrant population as well as gang activity has led to issues popping up around the city and it'll all start to boil over once a normal delivery boy becomes the unlikely friend of a young gang boss looking to stir the pan.

Genres:
Crime, Drama, Adventure, Friendship, Romance

Swearing and cursing, implied and possibly visible (though not detailed) drug use, implied sex, corruption, social unrest

Swearing and cursing. Some dialogue is also in Spanish, it's not important to understand it but I won't translate it either.
In the Streets of Lago

1st Street: Fateful Meeting​

The hustle and bustle of rush hour weighed heavily on the restaurant. People walked, yelled and laughed as they gathered to enjoy their lunch and drinks while others were simply trying to get through the background noise to order their food.

It was nothing new for him; it stressed him out beyond belief, but having grown up in the restaurant all his life, he was used to it. He shuffled through the crowd; senses working overtime as he kept his eyes peeled and his ears sharp for any customer that needed his attention. "Two more 52s for table 4 dad!" he yelled out once he made it behind the counter, the fragrant smell of spices wafting hitting his nostrils. He sniffed the air, a smile crossing his face in turn.

"On it!" he heard his dad call back from inside the kitchen. He seamlessly balanced his signature wok, making the fried berried rice dance in the air as he shook it with a spoon. It was a sight to behold from afar, the way in which the grains lifted off into the air only for them to fall back in such a controlled and well-kept fashion. It was beautiful and inspiring. Clearly he’d have to note it down for his next drawing.

Next to him, Keita’s Kirlia, Link, was using telekinesis to float the knives around and chopping vegetables and meats for his dad.

"We got a delivery, Keita!" he heard his mom call out from behind him. Her face was completely covered in sweat and her hair was sticking close to her forehead; which didn’t make for a good combination of kitchen smells that stuck to her. Keita stepped back a bit when it hit him, if only out of instinct. He couldn’t blame her though; it was something that was bound to happen when you tried to deal with customers during rush hour. "Could you please deal with-"

"Hey lady, I'm ordering over here!" a loud man called out from in front of the counter. His unkempt black hair and beard was a standout amongst the customers, along with his bulging eyes and twisted face in anger.

"I'll be right with you sir!" his mom didn’t miss a beat, trying hard to hide the antagonism in her voice as she turned back to him. "Could you please take care of it?"

"Uh…aren’t we a little too busy?" the young man asked, glancing hesitantly at the frenzied crowd once more. Sometimes he wasn't sure if they were like Pokemon or if that was just how he had grown used to seeing them.

"We can handle things here, oh and take Link along, okay?” she explained, her voice becoming more worried, that tipped Keita off.

“Link?” Keita asked in confusion. Ever since Jon—their previous kitchen assistant—left they’d needed to use Link to help with smaller tasks. It wasn’t unprecedented for him to take Link during delivery, but usually, it was for when he had to go to more…unsafe places

"You're going to Calle Ocho."

The color practically drained from Keita's face when he heard the name. Calle Ocho, one of the more dangerous sectors in Lago City. It was known for its high gang activity and internal turf wars. Not a place Keita would go under normal circumstances.

"Uh…why do I have to go? Can't we just tell them we don't serve there?" he asked. His lip quivered a bit and he’d started rubbing his hands together in order to keep them from shaking in front of his mother.

"We don't have anyone to do the deliveries after Mirai quit and we're packed here as it is," his mom replied, crossing her arms and sighing. "I'm not happy about it either, but it’s only a few blocks away."

Keita stared at his mom; her concerned expression didn’t help matters. Yet, he couldn’t protest, the restaurant had taken a big hit from losing two employees and a tax increase, they hadn’t been able to find someone else to take over the deliveries.

"All right," he finally replied, noticing that the customers' cries had gotten louder while they had their exchange. "I'll get going." he nodded.

His mom smiled, rubbing his short black hair and causing his glasses to fall back a bit. "Good boy. Your dad already left the order in the back of the store."

"Right. I'll take Link with me.” Still unsure, he made his way to the back of the restaurant. He stared at his dad’s back while he worked over the cooking pots and pans.

"The order's there.” His dad finally noticed his presence and pointed towards a small kitchen stove at the edge of the room right next to the door leading to the alley on the side of the restaurant. There was a bag with multiple containers inside, as well as Link’s pokeball next to the bag. "Curry fried rice with faux-shrimp and sweet and sour Chiklet-berry cutlets, oh and egg rolls," he explained, his voice sounding monotone as he checked on the broth cooking in one of the pots. "Be careful out there!"

"Will do!" Keita yelled out in understanding as he grabbed the bag—as well as Link’s ball—and walked out of the restaurant, letting out a long sigh. A good part of living in a restaurant was that you were always surrounded by tasty food. The bad part? You couldn't eat it for yourself.

The putrid smell of unattended trash quickly replaced the wonderful aroma of the food and caused his face to turn sour as he made his way out. He walked over to a small white scooter parked on the side of the restaurant. It was an old model and the seat had lost its coloring, but his mom kept it spotless.

As he sat down the idea of riding to Calle Ocho on a small scooter filled with East Johtonean food began to crawl into his head. He also realized he hadn't written out a will.

"Let's just hope everything works out," he muttered to himself before glancing at the pokeball that was strapped to his belt. Not wanting to stall more, he got on the scooter and turned it on before quickly heading off. As he passed by the front of the restaurant, he glanced at the small sign on the window.

"Now Renting" were words that brought an even sourer mood to Keita's face. At nineteen years old, he was already trying his best to have as much privacy as possible; having some stranger move into their additional bedroom wasn't something that would help with that.

He decided to put those thoughts behind him. He had bigger fish to fry, such as hoping he'd be able to deliver that order while keeping both of his kidneys.

***

Lago City was famous for two things.

The first was its wide variety of immigrant citizens that had come to Caliorn for a chance at "a better life".

The second was high-level of delinquency and disarray when said immigrants weren't able to fully cement themselves into the region. Nowhere did those two things stand out more than in parts like Calle Ocho in Lago’s Salvador Ward.

The city's executives had abandoned the area. Sure, you'd hear them talk about renovating and "giving everyone a chance at a better life" around election time. But no change came and when it did it was only in the form of incomplete buildings and roads or maybe one or two fundraisers, only for the money of said fundraisers to mysteriously disappear, leaving an increase in police activity in its wake.

Because of that, the neighborhood had fallen into ruin. Dirty streets and worn down buildings were the norms. A sense of community allowed the area to continue standing and the people living there were all very loyal to their community. However, that didn’t stop it from holding a good part of the low-income homes in Lago, especially with the recent tax increases that affected smaller businesses.

Many small street gangs or "Teams" as they so liked to call themselves –in honor of famously known criminal organizations around the world- also took roots along the alleys and streets of this area, with Calle Ocho being a focal point for it.

Keit felt like everyone he passed stared at him, analyzing him and trying to see how they could jump him. Or at least that's what he assumed was going through their heads, but in reality, no one did anything besides just steal a passing glance at him, children were still playing in the streets and a lot of adults were outside their apartments talking and laughing.

"Apartment Building #21, Apartment Building #21," Keita murmured in his head over and over as he passed through each one of the buildings, keeping his mind on where he had to go helped with his nerves.

And that's when he saw it. It stood tall, if faded, and like it had seen better days. The concrete had a layer of black muck around the walls and sides of the building, with broken windows and fallen terraces.

Seeing the place he was meant to go to up close filled him with relief. That was until he noticed that it was surrounded by a threatening group of people. Some wore too much clothing; others were barely dressed at all. Men and women, all looking robust enough to bend him like a twig, but that wasn't what scared him off his boots. It was the familiar Murkrow-shaped marks they all carried on some part of their body that set him off.

He ended up in Team Murkrow territory, and now he was dead. His mind immediately went to thoughts of moving out of home, in the off-chance he made it back alive.

"Oye, compa."

Nope. Dead.

Keita, reluctantly raised his head—just now realizing he instinctively lowered it—and came into view with a skinny dark-skinned man. He was wearing a bandanna on top of his head, which contrasted with the fact he had no shirt on, allowing him to show off the mural of tattoos on his chest, with the one that stood out the most being one in the shape of a Murkrow . "You lost, my friend?" the man asked, his tone mocking, venomous and with a clear Venitian accent.

Keita tried to come up with a response, but all of his thoughts went to the Murkrow that was perched on the man's right shoulder. The small dark-feathered bird Pokemon glared at him with its large red eyes. Its top-hat looking crest made it all the more menacing as its talons gently rubbed against its Trainers shoulders as if preparing to pounce.

"U-uh." Keita stuttered, causing the rest of the gang members who stood around the entrance to let out a laugh along with the man.

"No seriously, boy. What's a four-eyed, scrawny kid on a scooter doing here, with Johtonean food no less." He walked around Keita’s scooter and lifted the bag of food. "Hey, did someone order Johtonean food!? Cause if so then they're getting a beating for not sharing!” he yelled out, issuing more mockery and laughter and causing Keita to clench onto the handles of his scooter as tight as he could.

"I-I came to deliver the food…t-this is the address they gave me in the order," he finally replied, though it was mostly inward than anything.

The man smiled brightly at this, lowering the bag. "Really, kid? Then did you at least get a name? Cause if you don't have one then you have two choices. Beat it or we’ll beat you.” His Murkrow let out a squawk into the air that made Keita jump back.

The young man tried his best to regain his composure as he weakly raised the note was given to him with the address and the name of the customer. "M-Miguel…"

"Miguel who?" the man asked incredulously. "We're a mostly Hispanian gang, boy. We've got enough Miguels and Carloses to go around."

"Ah bueno si buscan a un Miguel, aquí estoy yo!" Keita heard a random gang member shout from the stairs that led to the building.

"Callate la jeta es lo que es, Miguelito!" the man called out, his voice violent and made the other gang member sit back down in fear. "Seriously, I thought we kicked him out," he muttered to himself while rubbing his forehead. He glared back at Keita. "So. Last name? "

"Uh…there's none.” Keita trembled, making sure to show him the note so he'd be able to see. The man grabbed it and scanned it carefully, only for his eyes to open in realization as his Murkrow kept its eyes focused on Keita.

"Hm, ese malayo-"

"Juan!" came a scream from inside the building, followed by an overweight teenager running out. He had a short afro and was wearing a simple black shirt and a pair of dark green shorts. The man known as Juan turned towards him, his face turning sour.

"Que paso, gordo, no veis que estoy hablando con el chamo.”

"El Jefe-"The overweight gang member started, though he stopped due to running out of breath. "El Jefe dice que él fue el que puso la orden," he finally spat out, though then again, Keita couldn't understand anything they were saying.

"Uh…what did he say?" he asked hesitantly, making Juan turn back to him.

"Lárgate," he said to his friend, waving him off before handing the note back to Keita. "It seems like our boss is giving you clearance, though I don't know why," he groaned, smirking. "You can go. Fifth floor, apartment 5B."

Keita nodded his head. He was in disbelief of the fact he'd be able to deliver the food in the end. However, just as he stood up and grabbed the bag, he saw Juan pull his scooter back and swiftly sneak his hand on his belt, grabbing his pokeball.

"Hey!"

"Can’t have you packing inside," Juan stated with a chuckle. "You'll get it back once you leave. Probably."

Keita was still scared, but he also felt rage bubbling inside him as he glared at Juan. He wished he could do something to defend himself. But he couldn't. They outnumbered him, all he could do was lower his head in a silent nod.

“You’re weak, Keita”

He heard her voice inside his head and immediately did his best to bury the memories back down.

***

With that, Keita was allowed to enter the building. Unfortunately, the elevators were out of order, so he had to go through the stairs. This gave him a pretty good look at the apartments from the inside.

It wasn't any better from the outside. The halls were a mess, and there were apartments that had their doors removed, some of which lay broken on the floor. The walls seemed to have an accumulation of humidity with black marks all over them. There were even ventilation holes that seemed too irregular to have been planned. All of that was coupled with gang members, both male and female, at every corner. Their glares fell on Keita as he passed, as if they were waiting for even the slightest odd move on his part.

Fortunately, he made it to the fifth floor before too long and was wonderfully surprised to find out that there were no members up there. The level also seemed to be taken care of a bit more and still retained a somewhat natural appearance. Keita walked along the halls of the floor, waving his bag along until he ended up in front of apartment number 5B.

That's when it dawned on him. He was about to go in to meet the leader of Team Murkrow, one of the more famous and fearsome gangs in Lago City. Should he be careful of what he said or even of how he came in? What if he annoyed him by walking there with food that was starting to get cold? All those thoughts and more flooded Keita's head as he stood in front of the room.

Nevertheless, he powered through, gently knocking on the door before receiving a loud "Pase!" from the other side. He didn't know what that meant, but he assumed it meant he could come in.

The first thing that stood out to him upon walking in was the single bedroom and bathroom that stood on each side, both with their respective lamps on, this, in turn, allowed them to shine light onto the otherwise dark hallway.

The next thing to grab his attention was the two red couches facing away from each other in the center of the room. They seemed old but well taken care of and there were a few Pokemon pillows and plushies scattered on either side.

Then there was the bookshelf to the left, filled with different kinds of books, he didn’t look through them too hard, but he could detail comics and manga along with law and finance books. Lastly there was the end of the hall, where a large, wooden, business desk stood with two leather chairs in front of them.

The closer Keita got to the desk also allowed him to see the person sitting behind it. He could see the top edge of a black beanie poking up from the chair, but what stood out the most was the fact that whoever was behind it was playing some game on a Holophone.

"Ugh!" a male voice groaned out. "Why is a Shinx harder to catch than a damn Mewtwo. Paying for more hearts is going to be a pain." the male, which sounded pretty young, groaned in annoyance.

It was then that he seemed to take notice of Keita's presence and proceeded to spin the chair around, allowing him to come into full view.

He was certainly not what Keita expected. The leader of Team Murkrow had tanned, slightly brown, skin and straight black hair. His young, boyish face and clear complexion, paired with his brown eyes made Keita believe he wasn’t much older than him.

His clothes also weren't what he was expecting based on the other gang members. He was wearing a white and orange hoodie, the center pocket of the hoodie had a white pokeball symbol that matched with the similar logo on his black beanie. Lastly, he was wearing a pair of fingerless gloves, with one of them having a piece of tape over the center of it. The one thing that did give away his association with Team Murkrow was the aforementioned bird perched on his shoulder however.

Keita wanted to feel afraid. But he couldn't. It was almost as if any pressure and hostility he felt in the building suddenly lifted upon seeing this young man.

"So," the leader finally broke the silence. "Is that my food?" he asked with a slight smile, pointing at the bag.

This was enough to take away Keita's words. Instead, he just stared in awe for a few more seconds before finally mustering up a sentence. "Ah, yes. Curry fried rice with sweet and sour Chicklet Berry cutlets and a side of eggrolls."

"Does it come with soy sauce packets? I love me some soy sauce," the young man stated with a laugh as he stood up and walked around to the front of the desk, causing Keita to step back as he saw him lean up against it. "Sorry the guys gave you a tough time, they tend to forget their manners around guests."

"N-No! It's okay! And, the packets come in regardless of what you ordered," he replied, his voice sounding more high pitched than he hoped. Why was he so nervous now, it was different than before too, less about fear and more about…

"Awesome," the boss replied, stretching his hand out towards him. "I'm Miguel. Mind staying for a chat?"

Any other day, heck, even ten minutes ago, Keita would've refused that offer, left the bag on the desk and run out without even bothering to ask for the money. But there was something that compelled him to do the opposite. "Sure," he said awkwardly. "I'm Keitarou Kageyama," he added, stretching his hand out to shake Miguel's.

On that moment, the gears started turning.

End of Chapter 1

Next Time: The Little Crow
 
Last edited:

OldschoolJohto

Never not editing
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
solrock
Hi-hi-hi. Here with some general thoughts up top and line-by-line comments below.

So we’ve met Keita and Miguel! We don’t know a ton about either yet. Keita works at the family’s restaurant, which is hard work, but we don’t know yet whether he has any bigger aspirations. I hope we get to see Keita make some of his own decisions soon, because that will tell us a lot about his character. So far, we’ve only seen him do things others have asked if him. Miguel is young yet in charge of a feared gang, and it sounds like we’re going to learn more about him next chapter. We don’t know yet why they have a bad reputation except that they were rowdy with Keita.

I do think you could drop more hints about the Murkrow Gang’s activities or rumored activities. I enjoyed some of the details we do have though, some nice physical descriptions of both the gang members and their building.

You’ve got some grammar hiccups, but I suspect a lot of them are because you’re writing in your second language. If I ever attempt to write something in Spanish, you can come after me in return haha.

I’ll be interested to see where you take this next!

1st Street: Fateful Meeting
Oh I like this structure! Is each chapter going to be a street?

It was nothing new for him;
You should plug in Keita’s name here. We get “Keita’s kirlia” before we get his name and it’s a little confusing.

the fragrant smell of spices wafting hitting his nostrils.
Which spices? This is a place where it might pay off to be more specific.

Clearly he’d have to note it down for his next drawing.
Oh is he an artist? I like that. You might be able to get more mileage out of that! How does this change what details he notices in the world around him? Is he thinking about what a lovely drawing something would be when he should be paying attention to the danger of the situation? Etc.

Next to him, Keita’s Kirlia, Link,
The inverse from above: I’d go with “his kirlia” here to avoid the alliteration, because it tripped me up a little.

Uh…aren’t we a little too busy?" the young man asked, glancing hesitantly at the frenzied crowd once more. Sometimes he wasn't sure if they were like Pokemon or if that was just how he had grown used to seeing them.
Being “like pokemon” doesn’t quite carry the same negative connotation as being like animals. I think you’ll have to get more specific about which pokemon.

Lago City was famous for two things.

The first was its wide variety of immigrant citizens that had come to Caliorn for a chance at "a better life".

The second was high-level of delinquency and disarray when said immigrants weren't able to fully cement themselves into the region. Nowhere did those two things stand out more than in parts like Calle Ocho in Lago’s Salvador Ward.
I want a little more of Keita’s opinions here, especially re: immigrants. Is his family native to the region? Is it his opinion that immigration is the cause of the conflicts, or is that just something commonly said?

I’d also love to get a better grasp of what a wide varieties of immigrants looks like. What are some of the ways we see that manifest?

The city's executives had abandoned the area. Sure, you'd hear them talk about renovating and "giving everyone a chance at a better life" around election time. But no change came and when it did it was only in the form of incomplete buildings and roads or maybe one or two fundraisers, only for the money of said fundraisers to mysteriously disappear, leaving an increase in police activity in its wake.
This checks out.

Many small street gangs or "Teams" as they so liked to call themselves –in honor of famously known criminal organizations around the world- also took roots along the alleys and streets of this area, with Calle Ocho being a focal point for it.
I think teams should be lower cased (just like gangs) but I like that detail. I don’t think you need “in honor of famously known criminal organizations around the world.” I think it’s implied because of fandom knowledge.

Or at least that's what he assumed was going through their heads, but in reality, no one did anything besides just steal a passing glance at him, children were still playing in the streets and a lot of adults were outside their apartments talking and laughing.
Long sentence! I’d break it into smaller sentences.

Keita, reluctantly raised his head—just now realizing he instinctively lowered it—and came into view with a skinny dark-skinned man.
“came into view with a skinny dark-skinned man” doesn’t quite work. I can’t tell who’s seeing whom. Suggestions: he caught sight of, he met the eyes of, he caught the gaze of ... etc.

He was wearing a bandanna on top of his head, which contrasted with the fact he had no shirt on, allowing him to show off the mural of tattoos on his chest, with the one that stood out the most being one in the shape of a Murkrow .
A little bit of clunky language here, though I like the details. (You’ve also got an extra space before the period.)

Suggestion: He was wearing a bandanna but no shirt, showing off the mural of tattoos on his chest, most notably a Murkrow with its wings spread across his collarbones.

Its top-hat looking crest made it all the more menacing
A little clunky. Part of my issue is that we already know what a murkrow’s crest looks like and part is that comparing it to a top hat sounds cute to me more than menacing. Maybe instead it flares its crest like cockatoos do?

Miguel who?" the man asked incredulously. "We're a mostly Hispanian gang, boy. We've got enough Miguels and Carloses to go around."
“We're a mostly Hispanian gang, boy.” This part reads awkwardly to me. For one, I think this hoes without saying. Secondly, it’s too close to “hispanic” to read as a region and instead sounds like a typo or something. The rest of this dialogue is nice though—the attitude comes through loud and clear.

“You’re weak, Keita”
Missing a period. I also usually skip quotations for inner monologue and remembered dialogue, but I think that’s personal preference.

I wonder what strength means both to him and to the person who told him this! Might be nice to get a hint of that sooner, because surely it’ll inform stupid choices he makes later.

He heard her voice inside his head and immediately did his best to bury the memories back down.
You can cut “back down” since bury already implies down. I also do want a little bit more clarity on who “her voice” refers to. I don’t think this is a useful ambiguity.

The halls were a mess, and there were apartments that had their doors removed, some of which lay broken on the floor.
This could be worded more concisely, but I like the image!

Suggestion: The halls were a mess. Several apartments were missing their doors, which lay broken on the floor.

The walls seemed to have an accumulation of humidity with black marks all over them. There were even ventilation holes that seemed too irregular to have been planned.
These two sentences are unclear. Is this mold and bullet holes or something else?

Should he be careful of what he said or even of how he came in?
I mean, yeah, my guy! Probably!

He didn't know what that meant, but he assumed it meant he could come in.
You could shorten this to “he assumed it meant he could come in,” since assume implies he doesn’t actually know.

a few Pokemon pillows and plushies scattered on either side.
This makes him sound young! (Which I wrote before the confirmation that he is lol.) Might be nice to get a reaction from Keita here.

Lastly there was the end of the hall, where a large, wooden, business desk stood with two leather chairs in front of them.

The closer Keita got to the desk also allowed him to see the person sitting behind it.
Suggestion: Finally, at the end of the hall stood a large, [serious/oak/ornate/heavy] desk and two leather chairs. The person seated at the desk was hidden in shadow, but the closer Keita walked the more clearly he could see them.

the male, which sounded pretty young, groaned in annoyance.
We can already tell he’s annoyed by the content of his words. You could more efficiently tell us his gender by dropping in he/him pronouns. So that gives us something like:
“[dialogue,]” he groaned. He sounded young.

I’m also wondering at a kid who’s dressed like a trainer and who has a real pokemon choosing instead to play a game about pokemon.

tanned, slightly brown
Redundant.

Lastly, he was wearing a pair of fingerless gloves, with one of them having a piece of tape over the center of it.
Suggestion: And like any self-respecting trainer, he wore fingerless gloves, one of them taped across the knuckles.
It doesn’t have to be that, but we could use a bit more of Keita’s personality and biases in the descriptions throughout the chapter.

The one thing that did give away his association with Team Murkrow was the aforementioned bird perched on his shoulder however.
Suggestion: The only thing about him that gave him away as a gang member was the murkrow perched on his shoulder.

It would also be nice to get some physicality from the murkrow! Is it glaring at Keita? Pointedly ignoring him? Pecking at Miguel’s ear for attention?

On that moment,
* At that moment

I also need more about how the gears in his mind are turning for this to land. I have zero idea what kind of conclusion he’s drawing, and it would be helpful to know.

Next Time: The Little Crow
I like this chapter title and the teaser of what’s coming next!
 
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