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Pokémon Only the Truth (two shot)

Chapter 1: Only the Truth

Nubushi

しぶい
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/slowpoke-hgss
Summary: Rosa is frozen in an ice crystal during Team Plasma's attack on Opelucid City. This was not part of Colress's plan, and he is determined to fix the situation—but in doing so, he forced to come to terms with feelings he would rather have kept hidden. Sequence of two related one-shots. Colress-centric Colress/Rosa. B2W2 spoilers.

Genre: Romance, hurt/comfort, angst (ch. 2)

Rating: PG

Content warnings: none

Anything, as long as it is kind! I appreciate c/c as long as it's phrased in a kind way; I don't thrive on harsh criticism. I'd also appreciate if you can point out at least one or two positive things.


Chapter 1: Only the Truth


The ground rocked beneath them in the roar of an explosion.

Rosa and Drayden exchanged glances. The gym leader and mayor of the town, Drayden had just been explaining to her about the relic that had been passed down through his family for generations, the DNA splicers, and the legend of how the two dragons Reshiram and Zekroam had split from one being into two. But he had scarcely finished his explanation when they heard the blast, felt the ground shake beneath their feet.

“What was that?” Drayden asked. They emerged from his house to see a gigantic shadow over the town. In the sky, an enormous steel-plated ship floated above them, blocking out the sun. Rows of glowing blue oars fanned the airs like fins of a mechanical fish.

In the prow, two panels opened up to reveal a hole from which a gigantic cannon emerged. Rosa stared up at it, transfixed. There was a high-pitched keening sound as the cannon angled down, and its mouth began to glow blue.

A blast.

Rosa threw an arm across her face to shield her eyes. When she lowered it, there was an enormous cluster of ice crystals in front of her, radiating a cold so intense that she could feel it from yards away. The cannon swiveled towards them.

“RUN!” Drayen barked the command.

Instinctively, they split up, taking two different paths. Rosa dodged around the massive ice crystals that had been left by the cannon’s first blast, then zigzagged through the stone-paved streets. One after another, she could hear more and more blasts from behind her. But as she rounded a sharp bend, the stones beneath her feet were suddenly coated in ice. Her feet slipped out from under her. Her back slammed hard against the ground, and her momentum sent her sliding across a sheer sheet of ice to come to halt against another towering pillar of ice. She rolled on her side and struggled to prop herself up with her elbows. The freezing cold bit through her hands, and her feet scrabbled on the slick sheet ice beneath her.

She had just struggled to her feet when she looked up at the sky and saw the glow of the cannon mouth, pointed straight at her.

●●○○●●○○●●​

Colress rested his elbows on the desk in his office in the frigate, fingers laced together and his chin propped on his hands. He schooled himself to keep an expression of polite interest on his face as he listened to his subordinate’s report on the operations at Opelucid City.

In a stroke of good fortune, a certain girl trainer who had been thwarting Team Plasma’s plans recently had been caught in one of the blasts from the Plasma Frigate’s ice cannon, and was frozen in an enormous, unbreakable ice crystal. The mayor, Drayden, and the other trainer, the boy with the spiky hair, had slid around on the ice chasing after Zinzolin and the Shadow Triad, but had been unable to recover the DNA splicers which the Shadow Triad had stolen, the true object of today’s operations. Everything had gone splendidly, completely according to Team Plasma’s plan.

Colress’s plan, on the other hand, was in considerable danger of being completely ruined.

“Very good, you are dismissed.”

When the subordinate had saluted and left, he pushed his chair back—noticing with a detached part of his mind the way his hands shook on the surface of his desk—and stood to pace the metal floors of his narrow office.

His thoughts jumped erratically. How had it happened that Rosa, of all people, had happened to be in Opelucid City just at that time, and to be the one person frozen in a lucky shot by a grunt? And why in space and time had they been firing on people? The ice cannon had been meant as a threat, Ghetis strutting his power and ambitions of dominion, a matter of complete indifference to Colress—but regardless, the team members had been instructed not to aim at people or pokemon.

Should he investigate to find which grunt had ignored orders and fired the cannon at a trainer? He examined the thought briefly, dismissed it as quickly. Whoever it was, they were no doubt being lionized by their comrades now, and to punish the grunt whose cleverness everyone was celebrating would make him seem like an unnecessarily strict taskmaster. He enjoyed cordial relationships with his subordinates—perhaps partly because in his mid-twenties, Colress was much closer to their age, but more likely because anyone was preferable when compared to Ghetsis—and didn’t want to lose that rapport.

But that wasn’t what was important. He took a deep breath and forced himself to think calmly, in a logical order.

The first flaw of his plan was that he hadn’t considered that anyone would be caught in the ice crystals, let alone Rosa. Rosa was crucial to his plan, and most definitely not expendable.

The second flaw in his plan was, he had engineered this weapon without having any way of melting the ice that it created. Not only that, but he did not even have any idea what Kyurem's ice even did to human cells. Could she be thawed out and restored safely? The doubts of how long she could stay frozen, and whether there would be negative side effects, gripped his heart with ice just as potent as Kyurem's. Doubtless he would be thought cold by some, if they knew what his true plans were for Team Plasma and this trainer, but there were some things he would not stoop to even for science. Murder was one of them.

Even without knowing for sure whether thawing out a living being trapped in Kyurem's ice could be done, the only option was to do everything possible to try. His mind raced furiously, trying to think if there was any sort of machine he could fabricate that could melt the ice crystals, but he simply had nothing at his disposal that could equal the power of Kyurem’s ice.

There was only one being in this world that could possibly do that.

Decision made, he exited the office, locking the door behind him.

“Going somewhere, boss?” asked the grunt stationed outside his door.

“I’m going down to Opelucid City myself to have a look myself.”

“Ah. Please be careful.”

Colress smiled slightly, waving a hand in dismissal. He felt a little shaky, still, but from the guard’s lack of a reaction, he must have passed for normal. “Don’t worry. No one knows who I am, remember? I’m just an ordinary scientist.”

●●○○●●○○●●​

It was deep into the night, and Colress’s breath, and the breath of his companion, a young man who wore a baseball cap over a mane of unruly lime green hair that spilled down to his waist, clouded in the frigid air. They lurked in the shadows of a row of pine trees, looking into the frozen streets of Opelucid City.

Colress had been fortunate to find N, and especially in such a short time. This was the advantage of having a few psychic pokemon in his mostly steel-type team. He hypothesized that a psychic like his beheeyem would be able to pick up on the enormous amount of energy emitted by Reshiram, who was rumored to have some psychic abilities herself, though it was not her primary power. And he had been correct. Beheeyem had quickly pinpointed Reshiram’s location.

He was even more fortunate that the same idea had not occurred to Ghetsis, whose plan for locating his adopted son was to use Kyurem to freeze the region, hoping N and Reshiram would openly move to melt Kyurem’s ice. The man had clearly been intelligent once. Now he was a shell of his former self, a husk filled with hatred and rage, and blinded by them. The intelligence remained in the form of a sort of craftiness, cunning in some ways, stupid to the point of idiocy in others. He lacked the clear-sightedness and insight that could only be obtained by looking at all evidence objectively.

“You think we can get in without being seen by anyone?” N asked.

The timing, Colress judged, would not get any better than this. It was a clear night, with light from the moon and the few stars that could be seen this close to the city, and Opelucid was well-lit with street lights as well. However, everyone was cowering inside in the aftermath of Team Plasma’s ice attack, and they had not seen anyone stirring outside for quite a long time. Even Drayden and that other trainer, whose name Colress either had never learned or could not remember, had given up their efforts to melt or shatter the ice and retreated indoors.

Colress nodded to N. “Follow me.”

The streets of Opelucid City had turned into an icy maze. Chilling mist rose from the frozen streets. Massive, glittering crystals blocked entire streets. Even in the places where they could be navigated around, being able to reach the gap between a clump of ice crystals and the buildings around it was a delicate matter, as the ice underfoot could cause them to slide haplessly at any time.

But Colress had already found the place they were going, earlier in the day, and knew the way.

“Here,” he said as they reached their destination.

It was, perhaps, an unnecessary statement.

In the central crystal of the cluster of ice in front of them, they could clearly see the shadowy silhouette of a young trainer, a few years younger than N, maybe eighteen or ninteen. When he had come during the day to find where she was frozen, he had even been able to see the expression of wide-eyed fear perfectly preserved on her face. Remorse stabbed at his heart. He had invented the cannon, and the device that drew energy from the ice dragon Kyurem to power it, but this had not been what he intended.

N walked up to the crystal, raised a hand towards the surface, wisely stopping just shy of touching it.

“Can Reshiram melt that?”

N nodded. “If anyone can, it would be my friend.”

He spoke the name of the pokemon. When the legendary dragon materialized, vast and shining in the dark, for a moment Colress’s regrets and worries were forgotten as he gazed up at her in awe. She was white all over except for her brilliant sapphire eyes. Snow-white feathers blended into gleaming opal scales, with only the glow in her bulb-shaped tail hinting at the fire she held inside.

At a quiet command from N, Reshiram breathed out a carefully-controlled stream of flame. As Colress observed the pokemon, and the effect of her fire on the ice crystal, he had an impression of immense power held under extreme restraint. Reshiram had started with the top of the ice crystal before working her way down to the base, where Rosa stood. Rivulets of water trickled past their feet. The ice melted slowly at a steady rate, and Colress turned his eyes from the dragon to watch for the moment the last of the ice imprisoning Rosa would be gone.

Reshiram modified her angle, melting all of the remaining ice until there was only a thin, glittering shell remaining around Rosa; then with a final, gentle breath, the shell dissolved, and Rosa slumped to the ground, unconscious.

The moment the flames were gone from around her, Colress was there, kneeling by her side and gathering her still form into his arms. Her body was cold—much colder than a human should be. He observed her carefully. The movement was faint, but her chest was rising and falling, and there was a tiny cloud of fog when she exhaled.

“She’s breathing,” he announced, rising and turning to face N and Reshiram. “But very cold. Is there anything else Reshiram can do for her?” His worry filled his voice with urgency.

N and Reshiram exchanged glances.

The dragon bent her white neck so that her head hovered just above Rosa. She opened her mouth and exhaled, very gently. There were no flames, but a wonderful cloud of warmth enveloped Colress and Rosa together. He could feel Rosa’s temperature rising. She still felt cold, but not the same way as before. It was a normal cold, like the way his own hands felt when he had been out in the cold for too long. She stirred in her sleep, shifting towards him; a hand reached out to curl against his chest.

The dragon gave a rumble so soft it was barely audible.

“She says that’s all she can do for her. She’ll be okay, but she needs a human to be with her and warm her up the rest of the way.”

Colress frowned at the still form in his arms. Warm her up the rest of the way? What was that supposed to mean?

He hesitated, then spoke again. “N . . . I apologize, but could I ask you for one more favor?”

“Yeah?” He looked over at Colress. They were nearly the same height, but N tilted his head, probably to get a better view from under the brim of his baseball cat.

“Could you take her somewhere safe to let her finish warming up? I . . . may not be the best person for her to wake up together with.”

“Why’s that?” N asked, all unsuspecting innocence. “From the lengths you are going to save this trainer, it’s obvious she is important to you.” He looked Colress over again, appraising. “Surely you’re not someone she needs to be afraid of?” A faint note of doubt crept into his voice. “I mean, you’re on her side, right? Fighting against Team Plasma?”

“I suppose you could say I am on her side . . . in a way. But am I fighting against Team Plasma, absolutely not. She doesn’t know it,” he said, looking down at the trainer sleeping in his arms, “but I am their boss.”

“What?!” N automatically shifted into a battle stance—feet braced, center of gravity lowered.

Reshiram gave a soft grumbling roar.

N looked up and made eye contact with his partner. Pokemon and trainer locked gazes for several moments, in which Reshiram rumbled some more. Eventually N’s stance relaxed, though his expression remained wary. “Reshiram says you’re not a bad person.” He folded his arms over his chest and tucked his chin so that his eyes—even in the dim light of the streetlights and the moon—were further plunged into shadow by the bill of his hat. “But if you’re the boss of Team Plasma, why are you doing so much to help her?”

“It’s imperative that she be able to reach the Plasma Frigate soon, before your father fully implements his plan. Based on my observation, this trainer is the only person who has a possibility of stopping him,” he said, then amended his statement. “Well, it doesn’t matter to me whether she wins or Ghetsis does. All I care about is finding out the truth about which approach is better at bringing out the potential of pokemon. That is the real reason I have been working as the boss of Team Plasma for the last two years.”

Reshiram bent towards N and gave another long, low rumble.

“Hmm,” N said.

“What is she saying?” Colress asked, sensing that no explanation would be forthcoming without prompting. It was interesting to see N’s famed ability to speak with pokemon in action. Speech with pokemon was not his primary research interest—though he supposed it was tangentially related—but nevertheless fascinating to observe. Besides, this seemed personally relevant.

“She says it’s not true you don’t care which side wins. That you want to see this trainer defeat Ghetsis and prove that bonds of love and trust are superior to his cruelty.”

His glasses were slipping, and he wanted to push them back up his nose, but unfortunately both of his hands were full with Rosa. He settled for raising the angle of his chin minutely to keep them from sliding any further. “A researcher has to be objective,” he said, cradling the young trainer in his arms.

N looked the two of them up and down. “There are a lot of things I don’t understand about this situation,” he said. “What your motives are. Why you are working for Team Plasma, but you are trying to help this trainer defeat my father.” He paused, exchanged glances with the dragon beside him. “But I trust my friend—I trust Reshiram."

The dragon rumbled softly in reply.

“Also, I’m still learning about human emotions, but I can see that trainer trusts you from the way she is clinging to you.”

Reshiram gave an affirmative mutter deep in her throat that needed no translation.

“The calculation is simple,” N said, spreading his hands. “Whoever you are, and whatever your purposes are, it’s obvious she is going to be a lot more comfortable waking up with you than with someone she’s never met before.”

He was right. She didn’t know he was the boss of the team she was fighting against; to her, he was just some curious researcher who enjoyed observing her interactions with her pokemon. And although their interactions had been somewhat few, it would probably be less alarming to wake up in a room with someone she knew to be friendly than a complete stranger, however kind. Colress sighed, looking down at the young trainer in his arms, the fingers curled in his shirt. She was so slim, so delicate-looking, yet holding such unparalleled power and tenacity within her. When he looked up at N again, his resolution—or resignation, perhaps—must have shown on his face, because the younger trainer simply nodded at him.

“We’ll be waiting to step in when you need us,” N said. Reshiram’s form dissolved into the night, and N disappeared into the shadows.

●●○○●●○○●●​

Colress sat in a chair of the hotel room he had gotten, sipping a cup of coffee and waiting for Rosa to finish her bath. He had been relieved to see that reaction at seeing him when she woke up had been surprised, but not alarmed. But she had been cold—visibly trembling, and unable to stop, so he had heated a bath for her, hoping that soaking in hot water would relieve the chill that seemed to have seeped into her very marrow.

“Colress.” He looked up to see her emerge from the bathroom, huddled inside a towel wrapped over her nightgown. “I stayed in the bath until the water cooled down, but I’m still so cold.” Her voice shook with distress. “Am I ever going to feel warm again?”

This was not good. It was the result he had hypothesized. He had heated up the bath water so much he had been worried it might be a little too hot—rationalizing that if it was, she could wait until it cooled a bit, or add some cold water. If even after the healing of Reshiram’s breath, even after staying submerged in hot water for such a long time, she was still cold, how long was this effect going to last?

Colress crossed the distance between them to put his hands on her shoulders. She was shivering like a leaf in a storm. “Shhh, it’s all right.” He didn’t have much experience with this, but he tried to speak in a soothing way, like he would to a child. Being in an extremely weakened physical state often caused one to revert to a more childish state of mind, he had observed. “I’m sure it’s only a temporary thing, and you’ll be able to feel warm again soon.” Reshiram had said she would be all right. The opinion of a fire dragon pokemon was not the same thing as that of a human medical doctor, but on the other hand, he supposed that due to her connection with Kyurem, the remnant part of her that had been left over when she and Zekrom split, she might have more of an understanding of Kyrem’s ice than any human did.

He reached a hand up to feel her forehead; even after her hot bath, her skin was cold and clammy.

“Your hand is warm,” she said, looking up at him. Her eyes were soft and guileless.

“It’s because your skin is so cold,” he said matter-of-factly. Even without a precise measurement, he felt sure that her temperature was much lower than the average for a young woman her age. He left her, went to fetch his lab jacket. “Here, put this on,” he said.

As she took his jacket she slipped the towel off from around her shoulders, looking confused for a moment about what to do with it until Colress took it from her. Her body shook with another bout of shivering as she was left in only her thin nightgown. He hung up the towel, then went to search the closets for spare blankets. By the time he brought the hotel blanket to her, she had put on his jacket—ridiculously too large, of course, hanging down far below the hem of her nightgown. He wrapped the hotel’s blanket around her shoulders and led her to the chair closest to the heating unit, which he turned up as high as it would go.

“Any better?” he asked gently after a few minutes, but he could easily observe without asking that she was still shivering.

She shook her head. “Sorry, you’re doing so much for me, but . . .”

“You don’t need to apologize,” he said, feeling her forehead once more. “I should be the one apologizing.”

That was a mistake; he had not meant to let that slip. What if she asked why? Without knowing his role in Team Plasma, she had no way of knowing how great his responsibility was for the fact she had been trapped in the ice in the first place.

But she didn’t ask. Instead, when he removed his hand from her forehead, she reached out to grasp his hand. He met her eyes, startled by the vulnerability in their expression. Her hands were like ice.

“Sorry,” she said again, dropping her eyes. “It’s just . . . your hand is the only warm thing in this room . . .”

He sighed. For all his striving to maintain scientific objectivity, this trainer stirred up feelings of tenderness he didn’t often experience. Well, there was no help for it. He needed her to be in good shape so that she could be at her best when she confronted Team Plasma.

Which happened to include him.

“Here,” he said, reaching into the cocoon of blanket. “Put your arms around my neck.” She complied, and as she leaned forward he slid one arm around her back and the other under her knees, picking her up and then sitting in the seat with Rosa in his lap. He rearranged the blanket to cover them both, wrapping his arms around her to provide as much warmth as he could. Rosa buried her face in his shoulder, obviously self-conscious, but clinging to him like a child to its mother, still shivering.

It must be the physical contact, he thought. Bits of knowledge floated to his mind. Hearing from a classmate in university, a pre-med major who wanted to become an OBGYN, about how important skin-to-skin contact was for newborn babies. Learning about the way that whenever a deerling was born, its mother had to groom every part of its body with her tongue, or it would not be able to survive. Humans were mammals, and Rosa was like a newborn emerging from a womb of ice. It shouldn’t be surprising that she needed physical contact from another human being.

“Colress.”

“Yes?”

“Why are you being so nice to me?” Her voice was muffled by his shirt, but still audible.

“You know I am researching the forms of interaction between humans and pokemon. As I have said before, when it comes to drawing out the potential of pokemon, you are really excellent. I’m very curious to see the outcome of your confrontation with Team Plasma.” He strove to keep his voice calm, objective, but despite himself, his voice sounded much gentler than normal, even to his own ears. “In other words . . .” He could hear his voice start to catch. “You are too valuable of a research subject to lose.” The attempt was a failure. As hard as he was trying to be dispassionate, or failing that to seem cool and detached, he could tell no one would be convinced by this kind of act.

Rosa shifted in his arms, lifting her head and pulling back just enough that she could look up into his face. Colress met her gaze, trying to analyze her reaction. Her expression was doubtful, searching.

“Is that the only reason?” she asked softly.

In Colress’s life, there was only one ideal, which was supreme above all others. Truth. In pursuit of that, he ignored every other consideration. He was doing things that he knew seemed cruel, but he had to see the evidence that would prove what the answer to his question was. He could never be satisfied otherwise.

And so, he had never in his life been able to bring himself to lie. He often left things unmentioned that it did not behoove him to reveal, like not mentioning to Rosa that he was working as the boss of Team Plasma. But to say something false would go against not only everything he stood for, but everything that he was.

He was not ignorant of the emotions that Rosa brought out in him. He couldn’t keep pretending, even to himself, that they didn’t exist.

He allowed himself to brush the back of his hand against her cheek, feeling the muscles in his face soften and relax as he looked into her eyes. “No,” he said.

She dropped her eyes and gave a long sigh, but freed a hand to join his, lacing their fingers together. He felt her shoulders drop as she relaxed. “I’m glad.”

He didn’t know how long it was between when she dropped her head back down to rest against his chest, and when her even breathing indicated that she had fallen asleep, though his mind remained alert through that time, observing as her shivering gradually died down, and noting that the temperature of her skin, before he had realized it, crept back up to normal.

At some point, he dozed, as well, and when he woke again the faint grey-blue light of early dawn was filtering through the curtains. He cautiously disentangled himself from Rosa to stand up, and by some miracle, she shifted in her sleep but did not wake. She must be a sound sleeper. Still, he didn’t dare to risk retrieving his lab coat, so he left her still wrapped in it, tucking the blanket back around her.

The room was like a sauna; his body was damp with sweat. He felt her forehead one last time, reassuring himself that her body temperature had returned to normal at last, and lowered the thermostat to a toasty 74 degrees Fahrenheit, recalling that a comfortable temperature for women was usually slightly higher than for men, and considering that after being frozen in a huge chunk of ice, she might like it a little warmer than usual.

It was time for him to leave. Being in such a weakened physical state had reduced Rosa to a much more child-like state than was usual for her. Normally, she was independent, determined, and perceptive. He didn’t want to be here and face the questions that a recovered and likely much more clear-minded Rose would doubtless have. He would have to leave his lab coat, but it was fine, he had others.

He had hoped to see and touch base with her a few more times during her journey, before she fought through Team Plasma for a final confrontation with its leaders, Ghetsis, and him. But he did not dare to do so now, for the same reasons as he did not want to be present when she woke up. He would have to keep an eye on her progress from afar.

However, it wouldn’t be right to leave without any kind of word. He left her a note on the pad of paper on the nightstand. Hopefully someday she would come to understand, but whether she did or not was, in the end, not the most important thing. After stopping for one long, last look at Rosa, he closed the door quietly behind him.

●●○○●●○○●●​

Rosa woke to a sensation of warmth. She was wrapped in several layers, and curled not quite comfortably in a chair. She reveled in the too-warm heat for as long as she could stand, then shrugged off her blanket, then the lab coat that she had on over her nightgown, to stand up and stretch. It was Colress’s lab coat, she clearly recalled, and she felt her face heating as she reviewed her memories of the previous night. Picking it up, she folded it over her arm.

“Colress?” she called out. She looked around the room and could not see him anywhere. The bedsheets were crisp and untouched. The bathroom door was open and the lights off. She peeked inside anyways, then returned to stand in the center of the hotel room, her eyes sweeping the room for any trace of him. Her gaze fell upon the nightstand. There was something written on the pad of paper on it, and a strange device next to the message which she had never seen before. She picked up the note, which was written in neat and precise cursive, and read it.

“This is only a prototype, but it enlivens pokemon and brings out their energy. It can’t be used in battle, but you may find it useful in your journey. Please take this, and stop Team Plasma before it is too late. We will meet again sooner than you think. Colress.”

●●○○●●○○●●​

Except for the sound of her footsteps on the gangway, and the quiet slap of water against the frigate’s hull, everything was silent. There was no trace of any of the black-clad Team Plasma members who had manned this frigate only two years ago. They must have all truly disbanded and moved on to other things. Peering through the mist, Rosa could barely make out anything on the upper decks fore and aft, but she thought she saw a faint silhouette of a figure in white by the railing near the ship’s prow.

Her footsteps sounded loud and clumsy in her ears as she walked up the metal stairway to the upper deck. Surely he would have heard her, he thought, but he did not turn, seeming absorbed in whatever it was in the distance that he was gazing at, or more likely merely his own thoughts.

“Colress?” Even from behind, there was no one else it could be, so why did the question come out so hesitantly?

He turned, and his eyes widened.

“Rosa. I’m surprised that you found me here.” His expression was soft, but barren of the calm half-smile he always used to have. “After all, it has been a long time since Team Plasma has disbanded. All of the former members have moved on to other jobs, so I hardly come here myself. There’s nothing left . . .” His eyes were distant. “Nothing but memories, and an empty ship.”

“Then why did you come here?” she asked.

“To think about things.”

“What kind of things?”

He looked at her for a long moment before speaking. She wasn’t sure, but was there a hint of warmth in the depth of his eyes? “For example,” he said at last, “a certain trainer who was strong enough to conclusively prove, beyond any doubt, that Ghetsis’s way was wrong.”

“You still think about that?” she asked, shy. A breeze picked up, and she brushed back a strand of hair, which she wore loose now, from her face.

He smiled, but his face looked stiff, as if he hadn’t practiced in a long time. “I’m still thankful for that,” he responded. “And you? What brings you here?”

She felt herself growing a little warm, and hoped that it wasn’t showing in her face. She turned it away from him, anyways, to rummage in her bag. She pulled out a clean, folded piece of white cloth. “I came to return your lab coat.”

He chuckled. “Is that the only reason?” he asked, gently, and she recalled that time, two years ago, when she had asked him the same thing in the hotel room they had shared that night.

“No,” she said, smiling.

He smiled, too, a full, genuine smile this time.

She started to move towards him, but she only had to go halfway before she was enveloped in his arms, in the clean scents of linen and soap, and the faint tang of metal.

It was the first time they had seen each other in two years.

But it was the last time they ever parted.
 
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Chapter 2: Colorless

Nubushi

しぶい
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/slowpoke-hgss
Summary: A companion piece to the previous chapter. After Rosa's final confrontation with Team Plasma, and before his reunion with her, Colress reflects on his relationship with Ghetsis, and what it takes to find the truth. Slight Colress/Rosa.

Genre: Angst, slight romance

Content warnings: none


Chapter 2: Colorless


…I prayed
in very early years,
"give me truth;
cheat me by no illusion."
O, the granting
of this prayer is
sometimes terrible to me!
I walk over the
burning ploughshares,
and they sear
my feet. Yet nothing but
the truth will do.

-Margaret Fuller

●●○○●●○○●●​

Ghetsis had always been a man full of color. It blazed out of him—like the hatred which burned in his eyes, and in everything else he said or did, like the fires of hell.

It had been especially true before, when he still wore the heavy mantle of a ruler, sapphire gleaming in gold, and the royal cloak, saffron and violet and red. The two great unseeing eyes embroidered on it were like Ghetsis himself.

Always suspicious.

Always vigilant.

Never seeing.

But even now, with only a tattered gray cloak wrapped around him like a burial shroud, the colors still spilled out, seeped out. It was like he was dyed, stained with something that could not be washed away, and oozing it everywhere he went.

Even his pokemon were bursting with the brilliant colors that marked the most poisonous creatures in existence. Sickly greens, venomous purples, eerie glows. The shining violet exoskeleton of his drapion. The glowing yellow bioluminescence of his elektross with is gaping, tooth-lined maw. And his cofagrigus, the gold-and-turquoise-inlaid coffin like an echo of Ghetsis’s past and future, the blazing red eyes that were just like its master’s.

It was a team that brought Colress to his knees. Ghetsis, following his overtures to Colress about working with him to “assist him with his research,” had requested a battle, to ensure that Colress had sufficient prowess as a trainer to lead Team Plasma.

It was precisely because he had lost that Colress had agreed. He had to know. Was the cruelty and malice that seeped from Ghetsis like a miasma really the best way to bring out the potential of pokemon? Was there no better way? Ghetsis’s power as a trainer was simply objective truth. Colress would have to wait and observe, staying close to him to monitor whether any trainer with a different approach could defeat him.

But the more he observed, the more he realized that everything about Ghetsis was polluted, tainted. To see the truth required a clear mind. Ghetsis’s was so twisted by his pre-conceived beliefs that he could see nothing but himself. And his obsession with himself, with power, blinded him.

That was why Colress despised him.

All his life Colress had searched for the truth. But what would it take for the truth to visit him? He knew had to empty himself completely, stripping himself of every preconceived notion or bias, or otherwise, he would never be able to see the truth when it was in front of him. Emotions, with their taint of prejudice. Hidden assumptions—and of these there were many, so many one could hardly get to the bottom of them. Societal rules and mores. Morals and ethics, with their implicit value judgments. “Right” or “wrong” were judgments; he let go of them, questing always for a mind perfectly empty of all such things, ready to receive the truth, and only the truth, no matter what it was.

It was for this reason that he used a carefully-selected team of pokemon that were as close to being machines as possible. A collection of gears. A metal saucer levitating using its magnetic power. Steel balls clumped together by their magnetic fields. With these pokemon, and their naturally flat emotional affect, he could take as neutral an approach as possible, neither abusing them, like Ghetsis, nor showering them with affection, since they did not require the level of emotional input that mammals or even birds needed in order to function.

Yet, somehow, no matter how diligently he dug within himself to pull out the shoots of bias and uproot them at their source, preference sprang out of him like a weed that refused to die. It was like that wayward lock of hair that circled his head like some sort of scientific halo. Shot through with color, no matter how much he strived to make himself colorless. Blue like the sky, like innocence, like purity, like the contrasting color to Ghetsis’s crimson of hatred and rage.

Perhaps it was inevitable. The force of Ghetsis’s personality was too overwhelming. He had been pulled into a position symmetrically opposed to Ghetsis’s, like the pole of a magnet could never be anything other than opposite of its opposing pole. They were facing opposite directions on the same axis, just like their rooms were on opposite sides of the same hallway. They would never see eye to eye.

Colress knew Ghetsis suspected him of not being able to grasp the grandeur of his schemes for world dominion.

But it was Ghetsis who could never understand Colress’s thirst for truth. He could never understand that one had to set aside one’s beliefs, desires, and opinions in order to be able to see anything. He was wrapped up in so many layers, clinging to his selfish desires, his self-will, his burning need to make everything conform to what he wanted, that he could not even see his own blindness.

So Colress worked in secret, tirelessly questing, battling trainer after trainer in search for the answer to his question, trying to find the one who was capable of challenging Ghetsis’s supremacy. And when he found her, he carefully guided her on her journey: clearing the path of the obstacles Team Plasma placed in her way, testing her ability in battle, doing everything he could to ensure that she would reach Ghetsis and confront him in battle. Even when it meant working through the night to undo the actions of his teammates to free Rosa from her icy prison, warming her with his body, so that she could be the one to prove, once and for all, which way was true.

When she won, he was filled with euphoria, the pure, unadulterated joy of knowing the answer that he had sought for so long. The experiment conditions were flawless. The results were incontrovertible. There could be no doubt—this was the Truth.

It was in that state of bliss—filled with more peace and contentment than he had ever felt—that he disbanded Team Plasma as his thanks to Rosa. She had come like some sort of heavenly messenger aflame with the power of love for her pokemon—a flame totally different from the fire of Ghetsis’s hatred, which had consumed him and turned him into an empty shell.

But when the euphoria faded, he was left on the sterile frigate to look over his actions exposed to the searing light of the truth that Rosa had brought.

Now, knowing that it was the bonds of affection and trust between people and pokemon that were the true way to bring out pokemon’s abilities, the burden of everything he had done to discover that truth was a crushing weight. He had stood by when Team Plasma members had worked their pokemon to the bone to extract every last bit of their abilities. He had done nothing when he saw them corrupted by Ghetsis’s aura, thirsting for power and treating everyone who disagreed with them with contempt. He had invented the machine that had tortured Kyurem as it extracted the dragon pokemon’s energy to power the Plasma Frigate’s ice cannon. He felt like the insect pokemon that bore on its back an enormous slab of stone. Bereft both of the euphoria that first came when he learned the truth, and the unquenchable thirst for it that had sustained him so far, everything was dry and barren, and he was tiny, insignificant . . . disgusting, even.

It was a long time before he was able to let go of this thought. Years, in fact. But this, too, was a judgment, a feeling which he had to allow to pass through him, like a wave passes through the ocean and is gone.

On the day that he went back to the frigate, he wasn’t sure what drew him there. He wanted to be free of demons, and angels, and the frigate was so full of the memory of them that it almost seemed to echo with their voices, their footsteps. But the sterility of the steel and the obscurity of the mist were comforting somehow, turning the scenery into a world that was just as achromatic as he had, unsuccessfully, tried to make himself.

To go below deck, descending to that hallway, the rooms where he and Ghetsis had led Team Plasma from the shadows, would be too overwhelming, but he allowed himself to walk up the gangway to the deck. Wandering, without any particular objective in mind, he found his feet taking him to the upper deck at the prow of the frigate, where he leaned against the railing and breathed the salt wind, not trying to fight against the pain but allowing the memory of everything he had done in his search for truth to sear him.

He was so lost in his reminiscences that the sound of footsteps behind him could almost have been echoes of his memories.

“Colress?”

It was her voice. He could feel his eyes widening as he turned to face Rosa, the trainer who had defeated Ghetsis, now no longer a budding adolescent but a young woman just entering adulthood.

He didn’t attempt to conceal his surprise, nor the chuckle that bubbled up from somewhere inside him when he saw the lab coat he had left with her that night two years ago. Trying not to have emotions was only another thing he had let go of. It was, in the end, just another preconceived notion, another attempt to force reality into a mold that it didn’t fit, ignoring what was and trying to force it to be something it wasn’t. It was Rosa who had forced him to confront that truth.

And there was always something more to let go. Finally, he had realized that even the attempt to empty himself of self could be merely another sort of grasping, that even that was false, if it was forced.

He wasn’t sure if he had come back to his starting point, like in a loop, or if his attitude now was a similar point on a different plane, like the rising spiral of a bird in flight, or the coil of a spring.

But he was finished with attempting to force reality to be anything other than it was, to make that be which was not, or make that not-be which was.

So when Rosa took a step forward, he did the only natural thing.

He took her in his arms, and did not let go.

Other than the obvious plot deviations (adding a scene where Rosa is frozen by Team Plasma's ice cannon), I fudged with the canon of B2W2 in the following ways in this story:
1. Actually, someone in the game says that Colress is unaware of N's existence, whereas in my story, obviously, he is.
2. "Colress never lies." In PWT, he says he hopes that it turns out that treating Pokemon with love and respect is the best way to bring out their potential. When you fight him on the frigate (the first time), he says he doesn't care whether it's love or cruelty, he just wants to know which is more effective. Obviously, only one of these statements can be true. I hope my interpretation comes through in this story.
3. Colresss did not invent the ice cannon, Ghetsis did.
4. Colress did not gradually come to despise Ghetsis, he specifically says (on the frigate, post-game) that he despised him from the very beginning!
So, I was a little bit harder on Colress than necessary in this story.
 
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Dragonfree

Moderator
Staff
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Iceland
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she/her/hers
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  1. butterfree
Hey and welcome to Thousand Roads! I don't usually read a lot of shipping fic, and don't really ship much at all, but I saw this was a new fic with no reviews yet, so I figured I'd check it out anyway! Preemptive apologies for not being quite the target audience here, but I hope my thoughts are interesting/amusing anyway!

I generally thought you did a nice job conveying character for Colress. Chapter two in particular I thought was the strongest part of the story - he has a quite unique perspective focused around this blazing fervor for the truth and rigor, and you convey that nicely in all of his thinking. In general I think your writing style flows nicely and there are some really good bits of phrasing especially in chapter two that I liked a lot.

I kind of wish we'd gotten more characterization for Rosa, though. She's a bit of a blank slate here - which kind of makes sense given she's a Pokémon protagonist, but for a romance story, while you explored how Colress developed feelings for Rosa a bit, we don't really get to see much of Rosa's feelings about Colress at all. It's apparent she's attracted to him, but you don't spend any setup time giving a glimpse into why or into her as a person, which made her fall a bit flat for me. Colress assures us that normally she's independent and driven, but in the main scene she actually features in here, she's very passive and honestly kind of infantilized - lots of language comparing her to a newborn, saying her weakened state renders her childlike, etc. And I was definitely anticipating her being shocked and afraid when she woke up, and found it kind of disappointing when her reaction was ultimately just briefly summarized as surprised but not alarmed - why wasn't she alarmed, or at least reacting in some kind of visceral way, waking up alone in a hotel room with this man who's perhaps not a total stranger but still not someone she knows all that well? All in all she just doesn't get a lot of character outside of being someone for Colress to be protective of and take care of, and it makes it harder for me to properly buy the pairing from her end here.

The part with N also kind of bugged me. I don't remember N's appearances in B2/W2 suuuper well, since it has been a while, so apologies if this is just in line with that, but would N really have no clue at all about Colress? It feels like he's acting like he's just some trainer and Plasma's just some random team of evildoers, in general, which strikes me as kind of odd. Has N not been keeping tabs on his former team at all? Wouldn't he at least react differently to Colress claiming to be the boss of Team Plasma than your average trainer who doesn't have his specific massive amount of baggage with Plasma? Wouldn't some part of his thoughts on all this involve the fact this is a team that he used to lead, and is still being led by his manipulative father? It surprised me that he didn't have a more visceral reaction to all this.

And it just strikes me as kind of a stretch that N would decide to leave Rosa with Colress, in the situation you've set up here. Wouldn't the sensible thing to do be to bring her to a hospital, or attempt to find her friends, some actual people she'd trust with her life? (And would her Pokémon not be able to keep her warm, for that matter? Why a human specifically?)

Obviously this is a shipping fic, and the whole point here is to engineer the situation where she does wake up in Colress's room and he has to keep her warm. But the justification of her just needing a human feels weak to me - I don't think the story actually gets me from there to "N figures he should leave her with Colress". As I mentioned, I would really have expected it to be an unsettling experience for Rosa to wake up alone with this man she only knows a little bit, and even if Reshiram is a perfect judge of character it seems alarming to just trust him completely - so why does N think that's the ideal arrangement here, over any of the more responsible alternatives? In theory it could just be that N thinks it's fine when it clearly isn't because he's very oblivious, but I'm not sure that's what you were going for here.

That doesn't mean he shouldn't take her, of course - again, I recognize that that's the point of the fic! - but I do think you could probably have built up to it better, in a way that doesn't involve N making (what I think is) such a strange judgement call.

Also, side note, but I think it would've been lovely if you'd made more use of the fact that Reshiram is the dragon of Truth, given that Colress's character here is built around his obsession with the truth and the scientific approach to reaching it! I was expecting that here, given the title of the story and all, so I was surprised to see you didn't really capitalize on it. Maybe something worth thinking about.

That's a lot of critical rambling, but I really did think there was plenty to enjoy here, particularly in chapter two with the deep dive into Colress's way of thinking - it's just harder to say quite as many words about it, haha. (I did write some below.)

Quote reactions/corrections:

But he had scarcely finished his explanation, when they heard the blast, felt the ground shake beneath their feet.
I don't think you want the first comma there - normally when you write "X when Y" it doesn't have a comma, and there's nothing here to specially call for it.

In the sky, an enormous steel-plated ship floated above them, blocking out the sun. Rows of glowing blue oars fanned the airs like fins of a mechanical fish.
I think this is a nice image.

In the prow, two panels opened up to reveal a hole from which a gigantic cannon emerged. Rosa stared up at it, transfixed. There was a high-pitched keening sound as the cannon angled down, and its mouth began to glow blue.

A blast.

Rosa threw an arm across her face to shield her eyes. When she lowered it, there was an enormous cluster of ice crystals in front of her, radiating a cold so intense that she could feel it from yards away. The cannon swiveled towards them.
I'm kind of surprised Rosa only shields her eyes rather than running when a gigantic cannon is being aimed in their direction. You do say that she's transfixed as she stares at it, but if she has the wherewithal to shield her eyes it feels kind of odd for her to still just stand there.

When the subordinate had saluted and left, he pushed his chair back—noticing with a detached part of his mind that his hands atop the piles of reports and plans shook as he pushed himself away from his desk—and stood to pace the metal floors of his narrow office.
This paragraph was a bit strange and confusing to me and I had to reread it a couple of times. It's just getting at the fact when he pushes his chair back he notices his hands are shaking, right? I think squeezing in the mention of piles of reports and plans (which as far as I can tell don't actually have anything to do with the point of the sentence) just makes it harder to parse correctly what you're talking about, and repeating "...as he pushed himself away from his desk" after you already said he pushed his chair back also comes out awkwardly.

Whoever it was no doubt being lionized by their comrades now, and to punish the grunt whose cleverness everyone was celebrating would make him seem like an unnecessarily strict taskmaster.
Sentences with the same word twice in a row are always a bit funny, but in this case you do definitely want "Whoever it was was no doubt being lionized by their comrades now".

I'm not sure I can agree with Colress's assessment that reprimanding a subordinate who disregarded specific orders already given would make him seem unreasonable - even if many of the subordinates do think it was clever, surely they'd still realize that it was against direct orders and of course the command won't approve?

That said, I like how you write his very meticulous, curated thought process - examining a thought and then dismissing it, organizing his thoughts into a logical order.

The man had clearly been intelligent once. Now he was a shell of his former self, a husk filled with hatred and rage, and blinded by them. The intelligence remained in the form of a sort of craftiness, cunning in some ways, stupid to the point of idiocy in others. He lacked the clear-sightedness and insight that could only be obtained by looking at all evidence objectively.
Also enjoy this look at Colress's idea of what intelligence is.

Even Drayden and that other trainer, whose name Colress either had never learned or could not remember, had given up their efforts to melt or shatter the ice and retreated indoors.
Interesting detail - wonder if this is just a reference to the player character being renamable or Colress simply finding him unimportant because he doesn't feature in The Plan, compared to Rosa who does.

He had invented the canon, and the device that drew energy from the ice dragon Kyurem to power it, but this had not been what he intended.
Cannon has been spelled "canon" a few times now, so it doesn't seem to be a typo - the word you want has two n's, while "canon" is the one referring to a canonical text.

She white all over except for her brilliant sapphire eyes.
You want a verb in there.

“I suppose you could say I am on her side . . . in a way,” he said. “But am I fighting against Team Plasma, absolutely not. She doesn’t know it,” he said, looking down at the trainer sleeping in his arms, “but I am their boss.”
Something bugs me about "he said" twice in one line - think you only need one dialogue tag in here.

the remnant part of her that had been left over when she and Zekroam split
*Zekrom.

Ghetsis had always been a man full of color. It blazed out of him—like the hatred which burned in his eyes, and in everything else he said or did, like the fires of hell.

It had been especially true before, when he still wore the heavy mantle of a ruler, sapphire gleaming in gold, and the royal cloak, saffron and violet and red. The two great unseeing eyes embroidered on it were like Ghetsis himself.

Always suspicious.

Always vigilant.

Never seeing.

But even now, with only a tattered gray cloak wrapped around him like a burial shroud, the colors still spilled out, seeped out. It was like he was dyed, stained with something that could not be washed away, and oozing it everywhere he went.

Even his pokemon were bursting with the brilliant colors that marked the most poisonous creatures in existence. Sickly greens, venomous purples, eerie glows. The shining violet exoskeleton of his drapion. The glowing yellow bioluminescence of his elektross with is gaping, tooth-lined maw. And his cofagrigus, the gold-and-turquoise-inlaid coffin like an echo of Ghetsis’s past and future, the blazing red eyes that were just like its master’s.
This is a great passage, I think! You do a really nice job using the lens of color, normally something positive and happy, to paint this vividly unpleasant and grotesque picture of Ghetsis, which serves as a contrast to Colress's ideal of colorlessness - unbiased truth, unblemished by beliefs or preconceptions. I particularly like the bolded paragraph. Just totally sells this perspective.

his burning need to make everything conform to what he wanted it
I think you don't want the "it" there.

He had invented the machine that had tortured Kyrem
*Kyurem.

He wasn’t sure if he had come back to his starting point, like in a loop, or if his attitude now was a similar point on a different plane, like the rising spiral of a bird in flight, or the coil of a spring.
I like this a lot too - an interesting way of thinking about it, that makes a lot of sense, and is very apt for Colress's perspective.
 
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Nubushi

しぶい
Pronouns
she/her
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  1. custom/slowpoke-hgss
Hi Dragonfree,

Thanks so much for your in-depth review! You brought up a lot of great points for me to work on, and I really appreciate your willingness to read a genre that's not your usual cup of tea . . . also for pointing out all those sentence-level mistakes. (Goodness, there are so many typos and missing/extra words I didn't realize were there. >.> "I played these games in Japanese" is my excuse for having the wrong spelling for Zekrom in my head--Kyurem was a typo plain and simple, no excuse for that.)

The part with N also kind of bugged me. I don't remember N's appearances in B2/W2 suuuper well, since it has been a while, so apologies if this is just in line with that, but would N really have no clue at all about Colress?
To be honest, the real thing that I fudged in this chapter was that apparently in the games, Colress does not know anything about N. (Swept that under the rug for this story.) I also don't remember the scene where N first appears in B2W2 terribly well (and I played in Japanese! which tends to mess with my verbal memory), but there's a pretty clear sense that between Black/White and the sequels, he was off traveling somewhere, and just barely heard about what was going on in time to show up and rescue the player character before Ghetis murders him/her using Kyurem. So I do think that it's plausible N might not know much (if anything) about Colress. But regardless, your comments about how N should probably have a much deeper gut-level reaction make a lot of sense, thank you for that.

Interesting detail - wonder if this is just a reference to the player character being renamable or Colress simply finding him unimportant because he doesn't feature in The Plan, compared to Rosa who does.
It's Hugh who is present in that scene, actually (though, I can see how that description could apply equally to Nate). I can't recall whether Colress ever learns his name in the games or not, but definitely this is an intentional reference to the fact that Colress does not consider Hugh important.

Also, side note, but I think it would've been lovely if you'd made more use of the fact that Reshiram is the dragon of Truth, given that Colress's character here is built around his obsession with the truth and the scientific approach to reaching it! I was expecting that here, given the title of the story and all, so I was surprised to see you didn't really capitalize on it. Maybe something worth thinking about.
Great point. Just as a heads-up, other than for little mistakes like typos, I tend to have a very slow revision style (it just takes me a long time to process things and to get the distance I need to be able to rewrite things), so I may not get around to more deep-level revisions of this story anytime soon, but if/when I do, I'll definitely try to keep this suggestion in mind, as that would be a really intriguing thing to incorporate!

Thank you again for all your suggestions, and I'm glad you were able to find some parts of the story you enjoyed!
 

SinderellaWrites

Angry Female Protag
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  1. custom/sylveon-shiny
Hi Nubushi! Here for Blitz, and wanted to return the favor for your review on my story! Thanks again!

So far I've only read Chapter 1 because I'm a sucker for Hurt/Comfort stories, and I think you really hit it out of the park. I will hopefully be able to get to the second chapter for the last week of Blitz, because I think you turned me on to the Colress/Rosa ship!

To preface, B2/W2 are two games I haven't touched in a WHILE, so bear with me if I comment on something that might have made more sense to me if I was more familiar with the storyline of those games. I will try my best to keep my review as "in line" as possible regardless!

Anyway, you really opened this chapter with a bang. That first line really hit, and I knew for sure something was about to go down...and it did! I particularly enjoy the way you left me off on a cliffhanger just as Rosa is about to be frozen--I thought that was a phenomenal little beat, and a great way to end the scene and transition into Colress' POV. It left me off on an "oh no!" note, and I love that feeling.

The exposition from Colress' POV was also done really well. I particularly enjoyed his little transition from him being the big man on top for Team Plasma, to melting (ha!) into concern for Rosa being frozen. His thought process, as he decided whether or not he should hunt down the grunt who froze her was as great as it was gut wrenching. I know there probably wasn't much intent to portray him as really really angry about it, but I still got a gist that the part of him that was in love with liked Rosa was really really angry about it. I loved how he was torn between the idea of disciplining the grunt, and remembering that he was still playing into the Team Plasma side, and needed to act as such. It was a nice little "internal struggle" moment that I really enjoyed reading.

I was also squealing like a little fangirl during the interactions between Rosa and Colress while they were in the hotel room. The gradual realization that Colress needed to be the one to warm her up...ugh, my whole heart. It was precious.

Where I found myself kind of thrown was the time skip after Rosa waking up and realizing Colress was gone--the mention that it had been two years since was a little jarring, and it took me a second to get my bearings back after that. I had no problem with the time skip as it pertained to the story as a whole, but I would have liked to have seen some sort of indication that the time skip was going to be a big one...perhaps just a simple "Two Years Later," or even a different border between the scenes would have made all the difference.

I also noticed that there was a little bit of repetition in some of your sentences, especially during the scene where they were in the hotel room. It felt like in almost every paragraph, it was mentioned again and again how cold Rosa was. I would suggest maybe cutting out some of those descriptors meant to remind the reader of how cold she was, and maybe fill those spaces in with some more of that fluffy comfort. Because we love that.

Another thing that got me, and I don't even know if this counts as a critique, but...I wanted it to be longer! I would love to see you expand this one shot into a whole longfic. I want to see Colress and Rosa's first encounter, I want to see every subsequent encounter after, I want to see when exactly Colress realized he'd fallen for her. There was so much allusion to things that had happened before the start of the story, and I found myself wanting to witness those things for myself.

All in all, I think you did a fantastic job, and I look forward to seeing what else you might end up doing in the future with these two. Keep up the good work! :quag:

She had just struggled to her feet when she looked up at the sky and saw the glow of the cannon mouth, pointed straight at her.
Fantastic way to end a scene.

Everything had gone splendidly, completely according to Team Plasma’s plan.

Colress’s plan, on the other hand, was in considerable danger of being completely ruined.

“Very good, you are dismissed.”

When the subordinate had saluted and left, he pushed his chair back—noticing with a detached part of his mind the way his hands shook on the surface of his desk—and stood to pace the metal floors of his narrow office.
The immediate concern that overcomes him as soon as the grunt leaves is sooooo good. But what is his plan?

Should he investigate to find which grunt had ignored orders and fired the cannon at a trainer? He examined the thought briefly, dismissed it as quickly. Whoever it was, they were no doubt being lionized by their comrades now, and to punish the grunt whose cleverness everyone was celebrating would make him seem like an unnecessarily strict taskmaster. He enjoyed cordial relationships with his subordinates—perhaps partly because in his mid-twenties, Colress was much closer to their age, but more likely because anyone was preferable when compared to Ghetsis—and didn’t want to lose that rapport.
I loved this. I loved that he had to fight with himself--the part of him concerned about Rosa vs. his role as a Team Plasma boss. This was great.

The first flaw of his plan was that he hadn’t considered that anyone would be caught in the ice crystals, let alone Rosa. Rosa was crucial to his plan, and most definitely not expendable.

The second flaw in his plan was, he had engineered this weapon without having any way of melting the ice that it created. Not only that, but he did not even have any idea what Kyurem's ice even did to human cells.
I like this, but I want to know his plan! I want a lot more insight into his plan!

This was the advantage of having a few psychic pokemon in his mostly steel-type team. He hypothesized that a psychic like his beheeyem would be able to pick up on the enormous amount of energy emitted by Reshiram, who was rumored to have some psychic abilities herself, though it was not her primary power. And he had been correct. Beheeyem had quickly pinpointed Reshiram’s location.
Nice little tidbit of lore here.

“She says that’s all she can do for her. She’ll be okay, but she needs a human to be with her and warm her up the rest of the way.”

Colress frowned at the still form in his arms. Warm her up the rest of the way? What was that supposed to mean?
OH???? 👀

It was a normal cold, like the way his own hands felt when he had been out in the cold for too long.
Some repetition here.

Colress sat in a chair of the hotel room he had gotten, sipping a cup of coffee and waiting for Rosa to finish her bath. He had been relieved to see that reaction at seeing him when she woke up had been surprised, but not alarmed. But she had been cold—visibly trembling, and unable to stop, so he had heated a bath for her, hoping that soaking in hot water would relieve the chill that seemed to have seeped into her very marrow.
Oh, nice they have a hotel room 👀 But, truthfully, I wanted the scene where Rosa awoke and saw him...this is an instance where I would have preferred that you show me this, instead of telling it.

“Colress.” He looked up to see her emerge from the bathroom, huddled inside a towel wrapped over her nightgown. “I stayed in the bath until the water cooled down, but I’m still so cold.” Her voice shook with distress. “Am I ever going to feel warm again?”
Poor baby :(

Her hands were like ice.
A little bit more repetition here. This ends the paragraph, and I feel it can be cut. We know for a fact that she's freezing at this point .

“Sorry,” she said again, dropping her eyes. “It’s just . . . your hand is the only warm thing in this room . . .”
OH MY GOD, HE'S THE WARMTH!!!!

“Here,” he said, reaching into the cocoon of blanket. “Put your arms around my neck.” She complied, and as she leaned forward he slid one arm around her back and the other under her knees, picking her up and then sitting in the seat with Rosa in his lap. He rearranged the blanket to cover them both, wrapping his arms around her to provide as much warmth as he could. Rosa buried her face in his shoulder, obviously self-conscious, but clinging to him like a child to its mother, still shivering.
This is it, chief. This is the good stuff!

It must be the physical contact, he thought. Bits of knowledge floated to his mind. Hearing from a classmate in university, a pre-med major who wanted to become an OBGYN, about how important skin-to-skin contact was for newborn babies. Learning about the way that whenever a deerling was born, its mother had to groom every part of its body with her tongue, or it would not be able to survive. Humans were mammals, and Rosa was like a newborn emerging from a womb of ice. It shouldn’t be surprising that she needed physical contact from another human being.
I really enjoyed this little bit of exposition. Good characterization for Colress.

“In other words . . .” He could hear his voice start to catch. “You are too valuable of a research subject to lose.” The attempt was a failure. As hard as he was trying to be dispassionate, or failing that to seem cool and detached, he could tell no one would be convinced by this kind of act.
Oh. My heart. Colress, recognize your feelings!!!

He was not ignorant of the emotions that Rosa brought out in him. He couldn’t keep pretending, even to himself, that they didn’t exist.
MY HEART (TIMES 2.)

He felt her forehead one last time, reassuring himself that her body temperature had returned to normal at last, and lowered the thermostat to a toasty 74 degrees Fahrenheit, recalling that a comfortable temperature for women was usually slightly higher than for men, and considering that after being frozen in a huge chunk of ice, she might like it a little warmer than usual.
Very interesting use of a science-y thought process...this suits Colress' character really well, and I like it.

Being in such a weakened physical state had reduced Rosa to a much more child-like state than was usual for her.
I noticed this a repetition, as it was mentioned before that she had been reduced to a childlike state. The first time was great, the second time kind of undermined it, so I would maybe cut this out.

She was wrapped in several layers, and curled not quite comfortably in a chair.
AWWWW for the love of god Colress, why didn't you tuck her into bed?! That would have been such a precious scene, maybe something to add in a rewrite? :unsure:

Except for the sound of her footsteps on the gangway, and the quiet slap of water against the frigate’s hull, everything was silent. There was no trace of any of the black-clad Team Plasma members who had manned this frigate only two years ago.
WHOA, two year time skip?! I wasn't prepared for this. Like I said above, I would recommend some sort of indicator that you were going in for such a hefty jump!

She felt herself growing a little warm, and hoped that it wasn’t showing in her face. She turned it away from him, anyways, to rummage in her bag. She pulled out a clean, folded piece of white cloth. “I came to return your lab coat.”
This was very cute, but it struck me as a little odd. To me it seemed she ran into him by accident, yet she happened to have the lab coat on her? Did she carry it around with her every day for the past two years? I wouldn't necessarily mind that insinuation...but it should definitely be more clear.

It was the first time they had seen each other in two years.

But it was the last time they ever parted.
Hi, yes, I screamed. What an ending!
 

Nubushi

しぶい
Pronouns
she/her
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  1. custom/slowpoke-hgss
Hi SinderellaWrites, thank you so much for your kind return review! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the story, and thank you also for pointing out the places where my writing was repetitive, or where a little more information/warning was needed. I really appreciate that!

I think you turned me on to the Colress/Rosa ship!
This is one of my favorite things to hear. :wink:

But what is his plan?
Let me know if you still aren't sure after chapter 2!

Another thing that got me, and I don't even know if this counts as a critique, but...I wanted it to be longer! I would love to see you expand this one shot into a whole longfic. I want to see Colress and Rosa's first encounter, I want to see every subsequent encounter after, I want to see when exactly Colress realized he'd fallen for her. There was so much allusion to things that had happened before the start of the story, and I found myself wanting to witness those things for myself.
Well, ah . . . I have to first of all preface this by saying I absolutely can't make any promises! I tend to be pretty slow about getting new stories out, and implementing deep-level revisions also takes me a lot of time. BUT, having said that,

1. With the excellent feedback I've gotten on this story on here, if/when I revise, it will probably involve expanding and supplementing this story to some extent.
2. I do have some other ideas for Colress/Rosa fictions . . . but I'm really not sure if or when I will get around to those. All I can really say is the possibility is not zero (laughs).

So anyways, if I do end up adding some additional material to this story, or if I publish any other Colress/Rosa fics, I can try to remember to let you know!

Thanks again for all the kind words, and your detailed line-by-line! Chapter 2 is a little darker in tone, but I hope you can find something you enjoy there, too! ❤
 
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Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
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  1. dratini
Hi Nubushi! Here for your Review Blitz prize review, for the second chapter, as requested.

Canon character studies are a genre of pokefic that I particularly enjoy. It's always interesting to see how people interpret and deepen the often two-dimensional characters that canon gives us. The games especially produce a lot of nonsensical or contradictory lines--you flagged some instances in your note on changes from B2W2--and wrestling with those contradictions can open up intriguing possibilities. I haven't played B2W2 myself, and my familiarity with Colress is limited to a random episode of the anime I watched with him in it, so I won't be able to comment too much on how you've put your own spin on the character, unfortunately, though I can see from the notes at the end that you've made your own stamp on canon here.

I'll start with the epigraph. I can see why you picked it: Colress' desire to know Truth and the cost of that are at the heart of the story. I noticed you mention his memories searing him at one point--a reference to the poem, perhaps? I was curious about the poem's context so I ended up reading a bit about Margaret Fuller--she led a very full life! The line about burning plougshares for me invoked her experiences late in life, as part of the failed Italian revolution. Ploughshares are a symbol of peace--in the classic biblical phrase, swords are beaten into ploughshares. But here she speaks of plougshares that are burning. To me, that suggests an untenable status quo that must be confronted, even though it burns. The truth that Fuller invokes here seems to be a broad one, defined in opposition to comforting illusions.

What does truth mean to Colress? At points what he's searching for sounds very specific. He wants to know the best means to bring out pokemon's potential. This is framed as a scientific question, that can be solved through research and experimentation. In other places, he seems to harken after a more philosophical conception of truth, truth with a capital T. I was a bit confused with how these two ideas of truth seemed to mesh at the end, with Rosa's battle showing him Truth. I wonder if you could ingrate Rosa's influence on him in the emotion department a little more throughout the story.

Another through-line in this fic is color. Color is a metaphor for emotion here. Colress initially believes that he can achieve truth, ie objectivity, by striving to be emotionless, ie colorless. He finds his foil in Ghetsis, who is dominated by his emotions. However, Colress slowly comes to believe that emotion in and of itself is not bad, just the kinds of emotions that Ghetsis expresses. It's mentioned at the end that Rosa shows him this, but I wasn't sure quite how. There's some sort of parallel implied between Rosa demonstrating that treating pokemon kindly brings out their potential better than treating them cruelly, and the idea of Colress embracing his own emotions, though those two threads never quite came together for me.

Ghetsis appears as Colress' main foil here. As someone dominated by personal passions, he stands for everything Colress stands against. The times when Ghetsis is mentioned as being unseeing or blind to the truth felt a bit vague to me, though. I wonder if you could ground this with some concrete instances. The most concrete manifestation of truth in the fic refers to pokemon training methods, which you portray Ghetsis as succeeding in despite all these emotional flaws. So it would be nice to know in what way Colress views him as failing to see the truth.

I enjoyed how much attention you're paying to imagery and vivid words. I pointed out some places where the similes felt a little internally contradictory to me--that kind of thing breaks the story flow a bit. I liked how much internality we get for Colress. I did feel like the opening segment seemed to float slightly. I wonder if you could anchor things at the ship sooner in the narrative, and supplement the more summary style of his reflections on Ghetsis, Plasma, and his own thinking with some specific moments that illustrate his doubt and transformation.

Overall, this was a smooth read. Here are some more specific line-by-line reactions!

Ghetsis had always been a man full of color. It blazed out of him—like the hatred which burned in his eyes, and in everything else he said or did, like the fires of hell.
I found the leap from color to hatred and hellfire a little disorienting.

The two great unseeing eyes embroidered on it were like Ghetsis himself.

Always suspicious.

Always vigilant.

Never seeing.
You preempt your zinger here a bit when you call the eyes embroidered on Ghetsis' clothing unseeing. I'd cut that first use of unseeing so you get more oomph when you drop it to complete your triplet. I also wonder if that line would hit harder if we had more of a sense as to what exactly Ghetsis isn't seeing. The first two adjectives bring to mind someone who is watching out for threats. So when I read unseeing, my mind goes to the place of thinking that he's unseeing of threats. But in the context of the rest of the story, I don't think that's necessarily the impression you're going for.

But even now, with only a tattered gray cloak wrapped around him like a burial shroud, the colors still spilled out, seeped out. It was like he was dyed, stained with something that could not be washed away, and oozing it everywhere he went.
The similes here felt contradictory to me in a way that made the image less effective. Color is being compared to dye, here. It's spilling out of him, presumably tainting his surroundings. But when we picture dye seeping out of clothes, it's seeping out. At some point, all the dye will be gone. So when I read, could not be washed away, I'm confused, because the earlier part of the sentence creates precisely the image of dye coming out of clothing (ie, can be washed away.) Perhaps moving the locus of the stain not washing out away from Ghetsis himself and to the people he stains would remove that contradiction.

Ie, "But even now, with only a tattered gray cloak wrapped around him like a burial shroud, the colors still seeped out. His aura oozed everywhere he went, like dye, staining those he touched with something that could not be washed away."

Even his pokemon were bursting with the brilliant colors that marked the most poisonous creatures in existence. Sickly greens, venomous purples, eerie glows. The shining violet exoskeleton of his drapion. The glowing yellow bioluminescence of his elektross with is gaping, tooth-lined maw. And his cofagrigus, the gold-and-turquoise-inlaid coffin like an echo of Ghetsis’s past and future, the blazing red eyes that were just like its master’s.
Vivid use of color here. I like the comparison between Ghetsis and pokemon that flash bright warning signs. Ghetsis certainly does seem to do that with his clothing. Perhaps this is a B2W2 difference, but I tend to most associate Ghetsis with his hydreigon? So it was a bit odd to see his team characterized as being primarily poison-types.

It was a team that brought Colress to his knees.
I wasn't sure at first whether this was recent or distant past. Since it seems to be distant, the pluperfect may be your friend here. "That team had brought Colress to his knees."

Was the cruelty and malice that seeped from Ghetsis like a miasma really the best way to bring out the potential of pokemon? Was there no better way? Ghetsis’s power as a trainer was simply objective truth. Colress would have to wait and observe, staying close to him to monitor whether any trainer with a different approach could defeat him.

But the more he observed, the more he realized that everything about Ghetsis was polluted, tainted. To see the truth required a clear mind. Ghetsis’s was so twisted by his pre-conceived beliefs that he could see nothing but himself. And his obsession with himself, with power, blinded him.
Here we seem to have some conflation between two ideas of truth. On the one hand, we have the objective truth that Ghetsis is a powerful battler, despite being dominated by cruelty. On the other, that Ghetsis' obsession with power blinds him to 'the truth.' But these are ideas aren't really in direct contradiction? What's the truth Ghetsis is being blinded to here? If Colress is willing to accept that anyone who manages to be powerful has things right, at least when it comes to how pokemon training should be done, how does his personal distaste about Ghetsis being egotistical and power-hungry alter that?

All his life Colress had searched for the truth. But what would it take for the truth to visit him? He knew had to empty himself completely, stripping himself of every preconceived notion or bias, or otherwise, he would never be able to see the truth when it was in front of him. Emotions, with their taint of prejudice. Hidden assumptions—and of these there were many, so many one could hardly get to the bottom of them. Societal rules and mores. Morals and ethics, with their implicit value judgments. “Right” or “wrong” were judgments; he let go of them, questing always for a mind perfectly empty of all such things, ready to receive the truth, and only the truth, no matter what it was.
The first three sentences here all depict truth a little differently. First, truth is something to be searched for and found. That implies that truth is something static, to be actively discovered. Second, we have him wanting truth to visit him. That implies truth is the active force, and Colress the passive one, who need to make himself a worthy vessel, but otherwise not do much. Thirdly, we have the idea of seeing truth in front of you. That's a more passive vision of truth again, but also a more internal version than the first instance. This left me feeling a bit unsure as to how Colress thinks truth is found/achieved.

It's interesting that he thinks emptying himself of critical thought is the way to determine truth. It seems like if you let go of all ability to make judgements, you also lose any ability you might have to judge what is true. It's certainly not a very scientific mindset.

With these pokemon, and their naturally flat emotional affect, he could take as neutral an approach as possible, neither abusing them, like Ghetsis, nor showering them with affection, since they did not require the level of emotional input that mammals or even birds needed in order to function.
This reads to me as if Colress assumes that the best way to handle most pokemon, ones that aren't machine-like, is through affection.

Yet, somehow, no matter how diligently he dug within himself to pull out the shoots of bias and uproot them at their source, preference sprang out of him like a weed that refused to die.
I like preference as a weed here--conveys well something that's natural and numerous. I think you could cut off the sentence at weed--the associations with weeds come naturally, and I think it actually leaves a stronger impression in the mind to end on that word.

It was like that wayward lock of hair that circled his head like some sort of scientific halo. Shot through with color, no matter how much he strived to make himself colorless.
This simile got a little tangled up for me. First the lock of hair is similar to emotions in that it's wayward--won't stay in its place. Second, because it's colorful-blue. It's a bit difficult for me, even in the world of anime hair colors, to take a single lock of hair being blue on an otherwise blond person's head as being anything but intentionally colored.

I wasn't sure how to parse scientific halo here. If the lock of hair stands for everything that keeps him from scientific perfection--disordered and colorful--then how does it represent a scientific halo?

Blue like the sky, like innocence, like purity, like the contrasting color to Ghetsis’s crimson of hatred and rage.
Blue standing for innocence and purity isn't my first association--especially for innocence, white is the usual color. The imagery seems a bit too on-the-nose here. We're being told that Colress is pure and innocent because he has a blue lock of hair. That's the kind of simplification that makes me naturally push back a little, because it's so arbitrary.

Perhaps it was inevitable. The force of Ghetsis’s personality was too overwhelming. He had been pulled into a position symmetrically opposed to Ghetsis’s, like the pole of a magnet could never be anything other than opposite of its opposing pole. They were facing opposite directions on the same axis, just like their rooms were on opposite sides of the same hallway. They would never see eye to eye.
When force of personality and magnet poles are invoked, my first instinct is of someone being drawn towards, drawn in. I wonder if this could be restructured to emphasize the switch in Colress' feelings? How at first he was like a magnet being drawn in, but then, like the magnetic field shifting, he was suddenly repulsed. (The issue with using magnets as a metaphor to show that Colress and Ghetsis are opposites though, is that, as the saying goes, scientifically opposites attract, not repel. So when we're told the two can't see eye to eye, but are like magnets that repel, it's a little weird, since magnets that repel are magnets with the same type of charge.)

So Colress worked in secret, tirelessly questing, battling trainer after trainer in search for the answer to his question, trying to find the one who was capable of challenging Ghetsis’s supremacy.
I'm not sure I follow his reasoning. Are we to take as given that Ghetsis is the most powerful trainer in the world? More powerful than, say, Champion Alder? Why can't Colress drop Ghetsis and go hang out with the champion, or the hero of BW (since B2W2 is chronologically after it, right)?

When she won, he was filled with euphoria, the pure, unadulterated joy of knowing the answer that he had sought for so long. The experiment conditions were flawless. The results were incontrovertible. There could be no doubt—this was the Truth.
This is definitely a common sentiment in the games, that winning a single battle proves some sort of definitive point. But it's a bit hard for me to swallow coming from a scientist, and particularly phrased in a way that calls its an experiment. What exactly is the experiment here? Is the idea that Rosa treats her pokemon kindly and Ghetsis does not, so Rosa winning proves that treating your pokemon kindly is the best way to bring out pokemon's potential? But that's pretty much the antithesis of a scientific experiment. There are no controlled conditions here. A scientific experiment on this point would have to involve the same trainer and same types of pokemon being raised through different methods. And one battle certainly wouldn't prove anything--that's why science methodology calls for large sample sizes. I can definitely see how in Unova, where there's all this mythology about the dragons of Truth and Ideals, people who are religious or superstitious might attribute that kind of a weight to single battle, if it involves the dragon gods. But Colress doesn't seem to buy into that attitude. You've framed all his reasoning and desires around the scientific method. So I have trouble buying a single battle as convincing him of an incontrovertible truth.

She had come like some sort of heavenly messenger aflame with the power of love for her pokemon—a flame totally different from the fire of Ghetsis’s hatred, which had consumed him and turned him into an empty shell.
More expansion on how their fires differ here could be nice. We're told her flame is completely different, but how does that manifest in concrete terms?

Now, knowing that it was the bonds of affection and trust between people and pokemon that were the true way to bring out pokemon’s abilities, the burden of everything he had done to discover that truth was a crushing weight.
I'm a bit confused by this. The ethics of what he's done seems to stand or fall on its own, unrelated to whether bonds of affection and trust are more efficient. If torturing pokemon does unlock their greatest potential, is the torture suddenly made ethical? Colress might believe the ends justify bad means in that case, but the means themselves aren't improved. In the same way, what he's done not turning out to be the best method doesn't make something previously acceptable unacceptable. It always was.

He had invented the machine that had tortured Kyurem as it extracted the dragon pokemon’s energy to power the Plasma Frigate’s ice cannon.
It was a long time before he was able to let go of this thought. Years, in fact. But this, too, was a judgment, a feeling which he had to allow to pass through him, like a wave passes through the ocean and is gone.
Hm, I would have liked a bit more here. We seem to shuffle awfully fast from "oops I tortured pokemon" to "I forgive myself." What's he done in that time? How has he tried to make amends? Disbanding Team Plasma is a pretty once and done gesture. I'm not sure I see Colress really reckoning with his actions in a way that makes me prepared to accept it when he says he's forgiven himself. It gives me the impression that he's basically letting himself off the hook. (Sidenote: I know in BW that Looker arrests the seven sages. Is Colress under no threat of arrest here?)

He was so lost in his reminiscences that the sound of footsteps behind him could almost have been echoes of his memories.
This was a lovely line, with a nice flow from internal world to external.

He could feel his eyes widening as he turned to face Rosa, the trainer who had defeated Ghetsis, now no longer a budding adolescent but a young woman just entering adulthood.
I'd recommend being a little careful with your wordchoice here. "Budding" can read a bit icky when you've got an older man evaluating a young woman. If you want to show that Rosa's grown up since last they met, I would focus on emphasizing her maturity in a way that doesn't implicate her body. So, "Her pigtails were gone--sharp bangs now shadowed her face. Her eyes were shadowed too--there was a new weariness there, but as their gazes locked, it receded, and he saw again the bright spark that had first struck him, all those years ago" or whatever.

He didn’t attempt to conceal his surprise, nor the chuckle that bubbled up from somewhere inside him when he saw the lab coat he had left with her that night two years ago. Trying not to have emotions was only another thing he had let go of. It was, in the end, just another preconceived notion, another attempt to force reality into a mold that it didn’t fit, ignoring what was and trying to force it to be something it wasn’t. It was Rosa who had forced him to confront that truth.
This reveal felt a bit squeezed in. Rosa being the one who forces him to confront that truth comes a little out of nowhere (at least to me, having only read this companion piece. Perhaps a reader who's read both wouldn't feel that way.) I wonder if you could integrate Rosa and the impact she's had on his thinking more into the rest of the story, perhaps with reference to some specific moments or images that have lingered with him. That would give Rosa's appearance here at the end more weight to me.

He wasn’t sure if he had come back to his starting point, like in a loop, or if his attitude now was a similar point on a different plane, like the rising spiral of a bird in flight, or the coil of a spring.
Really nice, effective similes here. I like the two poles you've outlined--has he looped back to where he began, or has he risen, elevated to a new level of thought? It's an effective way to communicate a different conception of change.
 

Nubushi

しぶい
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/slowpoke-hgss
Hi Pen,

Thank you for the detailed review! This gives me a lot of great points to work on for clarifying thought processes in the chapter and making them more internally consistent. I'll just answer a few questions that touch upon canon:

Perhaps this is a B2W2 difference, but I tend to most associate Ghetsis with his hydreigon? So it was a bit odd to see his team characterized as being primarily poison-types.
Yes, it is a B2W2 difference. His team changes quite a bit, as he has two actual poison-types (drapion and toxicroak) in addition to the ones that aren't a poison type according to game mechanics, but still could be stretched to interpret as poisonous creatures (eelektross, seismitoad).

Is the idea that Rosa treats her pokemon kindly and Ghetsis does not, so Rosa winning proves that treating your pokemon kindly is the best way to bring out pokemon's potential?
This basically is his thought process in the games (though he does observe multiple battles throughout the game, not just one). That said, I'm the one who picked this particular two-dimensional character to do a character study on, so that doesn't excuse me from dealing with this problem. ;)

(Sidenote: I know in BW that Looker arrests the seven sages. Is Colress under no threat of arrest here?)
Correct; the player can find and talk to him again in the post-game, and there does not seem to be any threat of arrest. (Looker does not make an appearance in B2W2.)
 
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SinderellaWrites

Angry Female Protag
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In Guzma's Closet
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Alright alright alright! Got around to chapter 2, and I can say with full certainty I know what Colress' plan was now!

I will say, I'm a huge "show, don't tell" fiend, so I'm not normally a huge fan of prose that doesn't have a lot or even any dialogue at all. However, I really really really enjoyed this second chapter. Like, hard enjoyed. So much so, I'm having a hard time finding things wrong with it, if I'm being completely honest. 😂

I know I said before that I'm not fully knowledgeable about the events of B2/W2, but even with that, I still think you captured Colress' character really well. You stuck to this diehard desire of his to find "truth" to the very end, and did extremely well in portraying it. I especially enjoyed that opening poem, and how it ended up tying into the overall theme of the piece. It was like the little bow on top of this--all wrapped up and neat.

I also liked how, even though this was entirely a piece stationed around Colress and his thoughts, you managed to shoot some Pokemon lore and worldbuilding in. This specific paragraph:

It was for this reason that he used a carefully-selected team of pokemon that were as close to being machines as possible. A collection of gears. A metal saucer levitating using its magnetic power. Steel balls clumped together by their magnetic fields. With these pokemon, and their naturally flat emotional affect, he could take as neutral an approach as possible, neither abusing them, like Ghetsis, nor showering them with affection, since they did not require the level of emotional input that mammals or even birds needed in order to function.

I was absolutely enthralled with, and it got me thinking a lot about it. You would think that Magnetons and Magnezones would likely not require the same emotional input as say, a warm blooded Skitty? Or a Machamp? Because they're just clumps of conscious metal. It was just really neat, how this little bit tied in to Colress' whole struggle for truth. He didn't want to abuse Pokemon, but he didn't want to dote on them either. So, floating metal gears it is. Very very very neat! I also really liked how you described the particular Pokemon, without actually saying what they are. I'm going to keep assuming you're referring to Magnezone and Magneton, and if not, I'll probably be a lil' embarrassed but that's okay!

Likewise, don't even get me started on that ending!

So when Rosa took a step forward, he did the only natural thing.

He took her in his arms, and did not let go.

UGH! My whole heart. Give me a 300k word longfic about these two before I die, please for the love of god. I know it was only slight Colress/Rosa but that ending made the piece, along with the middle part where he realized she had led him to his Truth (TM). Love it. Can't get enough of it.

That about ends my thoughts. Like I said, I had a very hard time finding things to critique. I think I threw most of my criticism at you in the first review anyway, so I'm just here to gush some more. Good work and please do more!
 

Nubushi

しぶい
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she/her
Partners
  1. custom/slowpoke-hgss
Hey, thanks for coming back and reading chapter 2!

Alright alright alright! Got around to chapter 2, and I can say with full certainty I know what Colress' plan was now!
Great! 👍


I'm going to keep assuming you're referring to Magnezone and Magneton, and if not, I'll probably be a lil' embarrassed but that's okay!

You are 100% correct!

So much so, I'm having a hard time finding things wrong with it, if I'm being completely honest. 😂
That about ends my thoughts. Like I said, I had a very hard time finding things to critique.
Don't worry, Pen did plenty of that already. :P Don't get me wrong, c/c is great and I feel fortunate to have gotten a detailed review that gives me a lot to think about for revision. But while c/c is extremely helpful for revision, reviews like yours are super-motivating for me to write things. So a review that points out the things that you enjoyed about my story makes my day and is nothing to apologize for!
 
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