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kintsugi

golden scars
Location
waiting for the fog to roll out
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. silvally-grass
  2. lapras
  3. golurk
hi Bench! here for our review exchange--I do wanna read the full eight chapters, but I wanted to drop you a line for ch1-2 real quick so I wasn't keeping you waiting too long. Things sort of pick up from ch3 onward, so I thought this was a natural breaking point!

"Rescue one," it read. Rescue from what?! Those shadows? Why only one?!
I really, really liked the phrasing here, and what it comes to mean for the rest of the story. It's really such an ominous command to receive--rescue one? What happens to the rest? And, like Gen asks, rescue one from what? Reading on, I can't help but wonder if it's a metaphorical rescue as much as a physical one--although the idea that the rest of these guys will be stuck as rocks forever is also a deeply sad one, there's something to be said for the right person showing up in your life at the right time. And there's something really compelling as well about the idea that the partner is literally chosen by the human--I'd be deeply unnerved if mailbox-senpai told me to pick a friend at random, or if I found out that the reverse was true. It looks like Gen is already choosing to keep some secrets from the group about being a human, so I wonder if the rest of this will come into play as well.

The intro chapter events are an interesting twist on the PMD opening as I know it which isn't very much tbh. I've seen openings with the personality test before, but the sheer absurdity of a literal mailbox giving commands worked for me tbh. Why is the mailbox giving commands? Who put it here? How does it know? I'm right there with Gen tilting my head in confusion at this endless abyss haha. I think you capture a good tone of confusion here; there's just a lot of strange things happening that defy my normal understanding of physics, and I like how you casually have creepy things like perfectly round platforms or color-changing bows flying around. The closing line is really fun and snappily dramatic as well. Something tells me that the rescue was at least partially literal, and the ones Gen didn't choose weren't so lucky?

The second chapter is a big pivot, but a necessary one--we get to see the world from the ground level instead of from the spooky abyss, so to speak. I think the first chunk is Burhalla? I found his narration to be really interesting from a worldbuilding perspective--I think it'd be pretty apocalyptic/dire straights to have to walk up to a billboard and see the missing faces of people I know, day in and day out. And he seems relatively young too, and he also doesn't seem to believe that there's anything strange about this! This one scene of a child casually deciding which of their missing friends they'll try to recover from the woods this time, the very mechanical calculations of if he'll be able to take out Saltriv if Saltriv has turned shadow or something--wowow, that's a really bleak timeline for everyone, but I'm here for it. Sometimes it takes the worst in the world to bring out the best of us. Also some big 👀 at the mentions of pokemon being turned shadowy.

Even if they did believe me if I said that I was a human from another world, what if they started asking me questions about my world? I doubted they’d react well to knowing about how Pokemon like them were usually treated in my world.
This is! a genuinely fascinating question! I've always wondered if the human is from our world, or from a world where training pokemon is commonplace--if the latter, surely they'd be really blown away by the PMD world, right? Pokemon being able to make their own societies, live peacefully without fighting, and even fight/strategize without any human influence--that'd be at odds with a lot of the messaging in a trainer-centric world and would be pretty confusing for a trainer to encounter, I imagine. I like how Gen quietly just pushes this one aside--it's a lot to consider lol.

Gen is an interesting protag! He does do this thing where he'll ask a question (like, how did Saltriv understand me at the time when I was a human?) but then not really pursue it--I do wonder how he's being so chill with this much uncertainty in his life, haha. There's a lot of strange things happening. Saltriv is such a sweetheart and I love them already; it'll be a lot of fun seeing this develop! Had a fun time with what I've seen so far, and again, looking forward to circling back for the rest of what you've got up!

some misc line-edits/thoughts as I was reading that I wanted to jot down:
I turned around, hoping that something else laid behind me, and the ground ended just as quickly that way, too. In every direction I looked, it ended the same distance away. I was on some sort of circular plateau.
I think this would read more clearly as "I turned around, hoping that something else laid behind me, but the ground ended just as quickly that way, too"--something to emphasize the contradiction.

There was nothing but a completely vertical drop into an abyss, that looked exactly like the strange skies above.
You don't need the extra comma here.

Maybe if I close my eyes, then everything will be ok.
Gen strikes me as a very (pardon the pun) gentle soul, poor baby.

Everything seemed to be the same as it was before I tried that, except I could now see something red in the corner of my vision. That wasn’t there before. I turned to the left to see exactly what that was.

I looked over the billboard, full with missing posters, lit by the sunlight that made its way through the clouds above. It’s depressing how small our town has gotten. I recognized Treecko, Sneasel, Morpeko, Orbeetle, Flapple, even Leon. I heard the whole Kecleon clan was looking for him. I haven’t seen Kecky at all since he disappeared. At least my own family isn’t among the missing.
This chapter has some tense flips from past to present--haven't/isn't/it's were out of place in the rest of the chapter, which is in past tense.

I also thought it was interesting that he recognizes Treecko/Sneasel/Morpeko/Orbeetle/Flapple but they don't have names! Is there a criteria for how that works?
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
Staff
Partners
  1. custom/sneasel-nip
  2. bidoof
  3. absol
Hey bench I've been meaning to read the story for a while unfortunately I haven't had a lot of time so hopefully I'll get to the rest soon but this is just going to be a review of chapter one.

To begin, I really like the way you've adapted the personality test into your story. It has this very trippy, surreal feeling. But at the same time, it’s different enough that it takes a little bit to pick up on what it’s meant to be - which is a good thing in my opinion!

I kind of found it weird that Gen didn’t actually change into an Oshawott yet. For some reason when I initially read through this chapter I didn’t realize that, and ended up being confused when I got into chapter two. It’s no big deal though.

Something that has me curious: I can't help but wonder if he was kind of destined to meet the chikorita. My reason being: all the other Pokemon. Do they exist, or were they only projections? Was he always going to pick chikorita? Are all these other Pokemon out there somewhere presumably waiting to meet their person? From the little bit I read ahead from chapter 2 it seems like Saltriv was in trouble, so are all these other Pokemon also in trouble will we see them or was Saltriv only in danger because Gen chose them. I don't know, it's just an interesting thing to think about.

You very quickly made it clear that Eternatus is going to have a major role within the story at this point I have no clue where it's going but at least I have a glimpse at the bigger picture. There's still a long way to go though I'm sure.

The beginning is short, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome. To me, that’s a good sign. I’ll be sure to pick up more of the story later.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Partners
  1. custom/pikachu-chibi
  2. lugia
Heya, I'll be back soon to read more chapters (in fact, I have an in-progress review for 2-4) I just wanted to get something out for the blitz, haha!

Chapter 1:

I really like the surreal imagery we're met with in the beginning. It's very striking and catches the reader's attention right away, a lot more than just a vague, hazy dreamscape from the games would have. We barely know anything at all about our protag and they're already in danger, possibly! It makes the reader feel just as off-guard as they are.

While I liked how confused and disoriented Gen was throughout the opening, it got a little bit overwhelming having so many exclamations back-to-back. When almost every sentence is shouted, it kind of lessens the effect for all of them in a way. I think it'd be stronger to keep the exclamations to the real wham lines, as the deluge of questions does more than enough to convey how lost Gen is without having his narration shout everything.

I enjoyed how that you mention a talking Meowth on the news to drop the fact that Gen is from a trainerverse and not the real world.

I liked the fact that Gen literally picked his partner, but it didn't feel video-gamey at all. And it of course leads to the question of what happened to the other Pokemon that Gen didn't pick, and whether or not they'll be able to be rescued later on. You've mentioned in Blacklight that this fic involves shadow Pokemon, and that Saltriv themself used to be one, so I'm guessing Gen just pulled them out of being shadowed, and the fact that Pokemon are getting shadowed is gonna be a big part of the plot.

I noticed the hint about Eternatus there at the end. Looking forward to seeing where that goes...
 
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
Merry reviewmas


Ch 1: Oh boy it’s that 3DS Zelda game people like
-Legit unsure what the naming inspiration behind Gen is. Dr. Google notes it’s British slang for information and he’s faking amnesia, so… maybe that? Actually I don’t know your nationality.
-Okay, so Gen’s a human from, I guess, a world akin to the pokémon anime? Since he mentions talking meowth, anyway.
-I would say this chapter’s kind of like the opening quiz segments, but more realistically I’d compare it to a Kingdom Hearts opening when characters are standing on their stained-glass mirrors while cryptic text boxes pop up all over the place. Pacing was very snapping, but some of the descriptors were a bit off due to A) some stiff word choice here and there (e.g. “The dark, glassy surface of the platform once more became mirror-like”) and B) some occasional moments of slipping into present tense in the narration. -Also, you start a lot of paragraphs with “I.” Perils of first-person, I suppose, but you could do to vary that up in this opening. Especially toward the end where the last 8 or 9 paragraphs are alternating starting off with “I.” Probably nitpicky, but variety keeps me more invested as a reader.
-I assume the big hand is Eternatus. Colors don’t match entirely, but a hand from a spiral reads as Eternamax Eternatus to me, which I guess is going to be the problematic force at play in this story.

Ch 2: An essential part of every grade school
-A bit odd there’s a lit of ‘mons… then “Leon” in place of Kecleon, who’s also called Kecky?
-Shadowy, huh? Welp, guess we’re going XD001 up in this. I also find this hilarious because of Blacklight and if Namo reads this, he’ll start muttering obscenities to himself.
-So, something else that’s risky with first-person is figuring out how to describe the POV character. At first I thought we were still going with Gen but that didn’t make sense. But I kept reading and there was still no indication who this was. Not until the tail flame bit at the end. In my opinion, you definitely waited too long to let me know this is a charmander. I don’t even have a name to go off with him. I also find it odd Saltriv has a name, but all the other pokémon go with species names. Hopefully there’s an in-universe explanation for this.
-Huh, Gen actually remembers the trippy sequence. Saltriv, too. That doesn’t usually happen. :V
-I’m still seeing a bit of tense confusion in the narration, here. For starters: “it was” does not contract to “it’s.” Made that mistake far too often myself.
-I see you’re going with location headed, perhaps in loyalty to the games. Having did that in my first fic, I’ve actually soured on the practice, personally. It’s better to describe the settings, which you don’t really do for the village and mystery dungeon. Could definitely do with more description. You can even go beyond just sights. The other senses are there, too.

Ch 3: Dungeon-crawling but it’s xenofiction
-So, I was ready to go on a bit about dialogue formatting, until I realized this was your arctozolt character. I suppose “You” is how the rear is referring to the front. It’s… a bit confusing since you’re doing first-person. Personally I’d have preferred calling the front “Zolt” and the rear “Arcto” but that’s just me I guess. That said, I think you’d still be better off using quotations or something beyond just colors for their dialogue. Colorblind readers will be in trouble otherwise and I know FFN doesn’t have colored text formatting. You could even use an alternate like brackets [] for Arcto’s thoughts.
-Arctozolt’s two minds/one body gimmick is otherwise pretty neat, though I wish it had been introduced in a more organic way beyond just some really basic dungeon-crawling.
-Related to that, looks like you’re taking an approach to dungeons that’s very loyal to the source material. It’s always interesting to see how people tackle the subject, though I hope you won’t spend too much time on dungeon-crawling. It’s generally the least interesting part of PMD fics, my own included ha ha. But I appreciate that Bruhalla’s explanation is kept brief.
-Ah, so Gen’s from Johto. Good to know. I like that he immediately tries to compare himself to a totodile. Good consistency.
-I appreciate there’s some more description on the dungeon’s appearance this time around.
-“You can’t just yell move names! This isn’t an anime!” [insert John Cena “are you sure about that?” meme]
-I must say that Saltriv gets over having been missing for months(!!!) rather quickly, though.

Ch 4: I guess we’re rolling out the welcome mat now
-I guess your Hoenn and Johto must be quite close to each other if Gen’s family chose to evacuate during the events of Emerald.
-Again, I think Saltriv’s parents’ reactions to her showing back up are… a bit underwhelming. If their daughter had been gone for months they should practically be bursting into tears of joy.
-Mom and dad should be capitalized when someone’s addressing a character as such, like Burhalla does for his.
-Also, personal preference, but I tend to avoid overly-colorful attempts at speech verbs like “interrogated.” Gen’s not being sat down at a table for questioning, so it doesn’t seem appropriate. Also, Gen’s immediate reaction being to lie makes me wonder how nervous of a human he was. Like, what would be the problem with just saying he’s human but not there to save the world? “I think I was human, but I have no idea why I’m here” or something. Y’know, beyond the plot.
-Ah, there’s a better description for Overcast Village. Seems like standard PMD hub town flare, though I believe I spotted a drakloak. <3
-Again, there was a lot of slipping into the present tense, specifically toward the end where Gen is recapping the day’s events. (Which might not even be necessary since these chapters aren’t on the long side.) You really do want to be consistent with the past tense narration. Even for little one-liner asides, which you enjoy making. I’d recommend a beta if it’s still giving you trouble.
-Something tells me Gen’s coworker is gonna get isekai’d. :P

Ch 5: I dunno, with all these POVs I don’t think everyone will be together for a fair bit
-Fs in the chat for Porgyon-Z. He was a trooper. o7
-Not gonna lie, it’s hard to take the threat of shadowing seriously when pokémon call it “going shadowy.”
-Mmm. I’m iffy about this bit on Burhalla’s mom and how it comes up in this shouting match. Maybe it’s because it’s nonchalant or maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many drama pieces that use the “hiding a family member’s death for years” schtick. Sounds to me like the brunt of the bad blood is from Burhalla’s side, then.
-Err, the journal entry is nice, I guess? But really redundant. The last chapter ended with Gen recapping the day’s events and now we got a second, longer recap. It struck me as padding.
-Well now, the back end of the chapter is much more interesting. And familiar b/c lol i basically did the same thing in guiding light. The “Council of World-Savers” name is, like, beyond dorkish and I really hope they don’t expect to be taken seriously with it. But, of course, there’s interesting lore to be had here. I figured it had to be an original locale connected to the main world and now we know for certain. Additionally, it would seem that Gen’s coworker from last chapter did get isekai’d… into Oshawott!Gen. Likely after picking up that ribbon in the ending scene or something. Which makes you wonder why he chose his coworker’s name and what’s gonna happen when they meet. Also, Saltriv being the sibling of a previous partner has… intriguing implications. How much of an age gap is there with Saltriv and Acacia? Does this mean Acacia is from the Thunder Continent? How’d she come to end up living in the Air Continent, then?
-Also dear god have I started a trend of necrozma villains in PMD fics? :grohno:
 

HelloYellow17

Artsy Whimsical Nerd
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. suicune
Welp I’m finally here for the review swap! Review swap aside, I’ve been wanting to check this out for a while, partially because of the similarities between your title and mine, heh. ;)

I must say, I’m pretty intrigued by this, as I’ve never read a PMD fic before. So this is all new territory for me! Fortunately I have played the games, though I’ve only played BRT and the newest, DX, so a couple of the items mentioned were unfamiliar to me. Not a huge deal, though — I’m sure most of them will be fairly self-explanatory!

Anyways, let’s dig in, shall we?

I hastily stood up, and gawked at what I saw. A few meters away, the ground ended, and beyond, was a constantly changing sky, of greens and purples and blues and whites, all shifting and distorting with each second. I turned around, hoping that something else laid behind me, but the ground ended just as quickly that way, too. In every direction I looked, it ended the same distance away. I was on some sort of circular plateau.

Hmm, the phrase “the ground ended” didn’t really work for me. I had a hard time visualizing what you meant by that until you mentioned it was a plateau. Maybe something like “the ground stopped short, indicating a steep drop-off” would work? heh, sorry, I’m not the best at providing specific solutions, but I’m working on that.

What was I even doing? None of this made any sense! Who wrote this, and why should I listen to them?

Did I really have any other choice, though?

Lol I love that this went from “questions! Panic! WTF is this?!” To “welp, guess I’ll do it.” Also, mood. I’d probably do the same thing.

After a few seconds, I calmed down, and picked the bow back up. As I did so, I noticed that, for some reason, my reflection looked different. I bent down to take a closer look. That looked like an...Oshawott?!

A-ha, I was wondering what Pokémon our protagonist would be!

A single paper had appeared in the center of the platform. I hesitated, before going over to it, and reading it. I gawked as I processed the message. "Rescue one," it read. Rescue from what?! Those shadows? Why only one?! This didn't make any sense! I grabbed the paper, crumpled it, and threw it. "What's going on?!" I yelled, as I looked towards the many-colored sky.

Gen’s inner thoughts and panic are really well done, here. The constant questions are a very realistic response, and as a reader, I could feel his (his?) stress and confusion.

depicting a Chikorita with an autumn-red leaf.

👀 SHINY Chikorita? Hmm this is interesting, how do fellow Pokémon view their shiny peers in a world like this? Is there a stigma? Do most not really care? Does this make the shiny individual an outcast?

Many of those that were found were shadowy, and had to be taken out of town to get better.

Shadowy? As in, shadow Pokémon? Consider me intrigued!

I headed over to the nearest deposit box to get everything I’d need, putting it all in my bag. Apple in case I get hungry, check! Max ether in case I get exhausted, check! A slumber wand to incapacitate Saltriv if they’ve gone shadowy, check! Two oran berries in case I get hurt, check! A tiny reviver seed just in case, check! Connection orb to find where Saltriv was, check! I still had my pecha scarf and looplet on in case they were in a Mystery Dungeon. I was all ready.

But, but, but...escape orb? Won’t you need one of those? Or maybe this character is already part of a rescue team (though probably a rookie one, from the sounds of it), so the badge can help out, right? Is that still a mechanic in the newer PMD games?

Hopefully, I wouldn’t be the next one missing.

Yikes, what a foreboding thought. Also...I get that he can’t tell anyone where he’s going because they would try to stop him, but couldn’t he at least, I dunno, leave a note? If he DOES go missing, nobody will know where to start looking!

Deep breaths. In, and out. Let my tail flame grow, then die down. Burn the stress away.

Hmm so we know they’re a fire-type, then. At first I was going to say something about revealing who this character is sooner, but actually, it wasn’t too jarring for me. Since it felt like I was watching everything through his eyes, I didn’t find myself feeling confused about visualizing what he looked like, although a few more hints to his appearance might have been nice.

This made no sense whatsoever. First, there was whatever that place I woke up in where I met Saltriv, and I could somehow understand them, then the entire platform got shattered by that giant hand thing, and now I was here, in—

“Twig Woodland,” Burhalla answered.

—Twig Woodland, apparently, as an Oshawott, and I had no idea why I was like this. Did that hand do this? Was it me falling into that abyss? Did my friends and family know where I was?

Haha, I love it when the dialogue affects the POV charscter’s inner thoughts like this. Just makes everything feel a little more real, and we get to know the character better based off their reactions.

I doubted they’d react well to knowing about how Pokemon like them were usually treated in my world.

I’m assuming they’re from the human version of the Pokémon world, then. Does this mean they wouldn’t like the idea of Pokémon being kept in balls and being used for battles, or does this mean something even more sinister, like Pokémon abuse being a common occurrence in Gen’s world? Either way, both are sobering thoughts when you compare PMD Pokémon to human world Pokémon.

“Just my name and how to do some things,” I said. I was digging myself deeper and deeper. I hoped they’d lay off the questioning soon, then I could worry about getting back home.

Oh yeah, I’m sure these lies won’t just dig a bigger and bigger hole and come back to bite Gen down the road when everybody is friends with each other and has developed deep bonds with one another. Certainly not.

I was about to ask about Overcast Village, when Burhalla reached into his bag, seeming to be searching for something, before his expression paled. “...I forgot to bring an escape orb.”


OPE. I called it, didn’t I?? So is Burhalla not a rescue team member, then?

“Mystery Dungeons are places where reality is unstable. They have a certain number of floors, connected to each other by stairways. Each floor is made up of a set of rooms and corridors connecting them. The stairways are never in the corridors, always in the rooms, and with few exceptions, every floor only has one staircase. Every time one goes into a Mystery Dungeon, the layout changes,” he said.

Oh, how interesting! Since this is my first PMD fic, I didn’t really know what to expect for explanations of the dungeons. I was kinda just prepared for each dungeon to be described as natural locations, like forests, canyons, etc that the team explores deeper and deeper. But this works too, and throws some supernatural vibes into the mix!



So the start of the next chapter was very interesting! The colored text was very helpful to show who was talking, though it threw me for a loop for a second, because I thought I was inside two heads at once for a few lines until I realized we were inside the blue speaker’s head, and they were simply speaking telepathically to the yellow speaker. Also, the colors seem to indicate what type they are? Neat!

But who are these people? I’m assuming they are former humans, what with the mention of pokedexes and Unova and all. Why are they following Burhalla? How did they get there? Hmmm so many questions!

Twig Woodland B3F


At first I was very confused by this, because the duo at the start of the chapter were on the first floor and working their way up, while our squad was working their way down. I figured it out eventually, but it did make me pause and wonder if there was a typo of some kind.

I had to do something against this. Come on, what moves did Oshawotts know? Water gun? Totodiles can know it, so maybe other water-type starters can as well? How do I do it, though? Do I just say it? Just point at it? Just imagine doing it? Couldn’t hurt to try all three at once. I pointed my free arm at the Pokemon, and yelled, “Water gun!” trying to imagine a stream of water being shot at it.

Lol this created a very ridiculous image in my head and I love it. So smooth, Gen. Well done.

“I just sorta...felt it, I guess,” I lied. I was digging myself deeper, but it was too late at this point for me to be honest.

Oh yay, more lies, deeper holes. This definitely won’t cause hurt feelings and damaged friendships down the road, nope. Surely not. Surely.
 
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
Ch 6: It’s the credits song from Gunvolt Chronicles! :D
-If it were me, I’d italicize that opening paragraph to make it read like the character’s thoughts, since it’s in present tense. Actually, this pops up a handful of times in the Mossy Town stuff.
-Did that one-shot orb actually kill the ‘mons or just make ‘em faint? Are dungeon ‘mons truly living or ethereal? Much to ponder here. >:3
-Fs out for that foongus. What a trooper. o7
-Well, guess we know what happened to that kecleon that was on the missing persons board. Okay, maybe not the whole story, but at least he’s still alive!
-Why do I feel like Saltriv’s mom had a companion other than Gen in mind? Y’know, one that actually knows how to defend themselves? XD
-The fog is deep, eh? SINNOH CONFIRMED. I knew it.
-Couple of minor nitpicks: 1) You’re supposed to write out “okay” in prose and dialogue, not “ok.” 2) When characters cut themselves off, you should use em dashes (—) and not hyphens (-).
-I wonder if the river of the riverside plaza runs out to the ocean, which would be the gateway to the canon continents? :3
-Fairly by-the-numbers chapter here. Doing some of the typical intro PMD stuff like laying out the town, coming up with the team name, and introducing what (I assume) will be an important location for the future in the form of the Dojo. Though I’m a bit surprised Burhalla’s setting all this up so easily after the shouting match with his dad. Makes me interested to see if there’ll be road bumps in the not-too-distant future.

Ch 7: Heads I win, tails you lose
-Ay, just throwing us right into the thick of the training. I appreciate it… along with the subversion of Gen getting an unexpected move instead of Water Gun or just outright failing. Though I do think you should still let readers know what the inside of the Dojo actually looks like. Otherwise it feels like they’re practicing in a void.
-I think I can safely guess that SaRO = Search & Rescue Organization, ja?
-oh noooo kids don’t go without official permission; something bad’s gonna happen. I’m still quite surprised the parents are okay with this. And what happened to asking that aron and rockruff? Might want to address that with a line or two.
-So, this dungeon has Drought up, hmm? Already throwing in the weather effects. Sly dog. Is the black sand supposed to give off a vibe of being scorched by the sun’s rays? 🤔
-Excuse me… seventeen types? Do… do fairies not exist in this world in something? Or did you forget to count normal-type? There are eighteen canon types, excluding ???-type.
-A lot to digest in this one. The chapter wasn’t terribly long by some PMD fic standards, but it was substantially larger than the ones in the rest of the fic to this point. I… legit wasn’t expecting you to do the entire dungeon crawl in one chapter. For better or worse, this felt like reading through a very strict interpretation of the canon games… up until the second half where everything went topsy-turvy.
-So I understand Gen doesn’t know the mechanics of this world, but this chapter could probably be shorter if you skipping a lot of the tutorial-esque explanations. Your audience is most likely familiar with this stuff, so I’m not sure it’s necessary especially if it bogs the pace down? Or maybe split the chapter after the Dynamax bit so the shadowing stuff can have its own focus as a separate chapter?
-That said, the second half of the chapter is super exciting. The Dynamax was very unexpected. I could make an argument that, perhaps, it should’ve been saved for later, since you put a greater focus on shadowing. But I’ve done big teases like that before with my writing, so I can’t fully judge. I do think it’s exciting and, like with Saltriv’s worrying ruminations, sets up some potentially juicy conflicts. I wouldn’t be surprised if Eternatus is connected to the shadowing phenomenon… and potentially dungeons as a whole since a power spot showed up in one.

Ch 8: Oh, is it time to go to church already?
-oh man our heroes must be smol beans b/c i don’t think flapple’s that big XD
-Just a bit of personal preference, but for external voices in someone’s head, I tend to like using some kind of quotation mark. Otherwise it looks like they’re Gen’s thoughts.
-I do still think calling ‘em “shadowy pokémon” drops the intimidation factor down a level or two, but that could just be me.
-DRAKLOAK <3 DREEPY <3
-Water Purification, huh? Gut check guess: Tapu Fini’s involved in this.
-Ay, got it right. I think this is a cool choice for a Celebi stand-in on the purification front. It also looks like there was some anime elements put in here with the fog and mist, but I could be mistaken.
-Oh, huh, so a town turned into a mystery dungeon. I was actually going to ask about the odd name choice, but you answered it for me. :V
-My gut check tells me the Insomniascope is going to come in handy down the road.
-Also I’m willing to bet Jellicent knows about Dewott!Gen, judging by her initial reaction. Though that does beg the question of why Saltriv and her parents didn’t react. Is Acacia distant from the family, then? Meganium mentions letters, so surely he’d been in touch. Hmm. You’ve given me much to ponder.

One final bit: Don’t know if you have a beta or not, but I would suggest one to help you with the verb tense confusion stuff I’ve mentioned. It does still pop up a lot and is something a good beta could help iron out.
 

Equitial

Pokémon Trainer
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. inkay
Chapter 1

This chapter was short but gripping. The things that stuck out to me the most were the setting and twists you took on classic PMD tropes. From the start, I liked the strange details of the place Gen had woken up in – talk about finding yourself far from home! It makes me wonder what the rest of this Pokémon world is like. I especially like the description of the mailbox. Very odd and creepy:

As soon as I stepped back onto the center of the platform, the darkness in the post started to spread to the platform, causing the grass scattered around it to wilt and disappear, revealing a glassy, mirror-like layer underneath.

You start off your story in a classic PMD way, but you sure set yourself apart from the rest! Along with the starting setting, there are a lot of weird quirks about Gen’s situation that caught my attention. For instance, Gen still seeing himself as a human –

What had happened to me while I was holding that bow?! There was no way I could have become a Pokemon. I had to still be human, right?

I moved my hands in front of my face. They were still human hands. What was that all about? What was any of this all about?! I threw the bow back down at the ground.

– and this bit:

A single paper had appeared in the center of the platform. I hesitated, before going over to it, and reading it. I gawked as I processed the message. "Rescue one," it read. Rescue from what?! Those shadows? Why only one?! This didn't make any sense! I grabbed the paper, crumpled it, and threw it. "What's going on?!" I yelled, as I looked towards the many-colored sky.

A take on how you select your partner in the games? This is really original – I like how you take video game concepts and twist them to work well in writing!

This was a short chapter, so I didn’t get much from Gen, but his confusion sure did come through loud and clear. I know a bit about Gen from Mafia, but the short bits you portrayed of him in this chapter make me interested in how he’ll react to what comes next.

So, from this chapter I’m expecting a creative and somewhat darker take on PMD, full of mysteries and strange places.

Grammar Notes:

Throughout this chapter, I noticed you used more commas than were needed. Sometimes in creative writing, you want to add or remove commas for certain effects, but here the number of commas is obtrusive and makes the writing overly choppy. You can use a site like Grammarly which will help you catch some of these. I’m also going to go through a few lines from the beginning to point out some things.

My eyes slowly opened, as I woke up, still tired, not ready for whatever today would bring.

(btw Gen is still dreading despite not yet knowing he’s woken in a PMD world – poor baby)

Here “as” is a subordinating conjunction. When a phrase starting with a subordinating conjunction is used in the middle of the sentence, there should be no comma.

For “still tired,” depending on how you interpret it there could be a comma or not. If “still tired” is used as an adverb with “woke up,” there should be no comma. If “still tired” is used to describe “I,” then there would be a comma. However, “not ready...” is also defining “I.” Therefore, in the latter case it would flow better if you wrote, “still tired and not ready...”

So a better way to write this could be, “My eyes slowly opened as I woke up, still tired and not ready for whatever today would bring.”

I walked over to the edge, and looked down, to see if there was some way down.

With coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and sometimes so), you only use a comma if you are connecting a clause with its own subject and verb. In this instance, you mean, “I walked...” and “I looked down...” so the subjects are the same.

There is zero need for a comma before the infinitive phrase “to see...”

So a better way to write this could be, “I walked over to the edge and looked down to see if there was some way down.”

A few meters away, the ground ended, and beyond, was a constantly changing sky, of greens and purples and blues and whites, all shifting and distorting with each second.

The first comma after “a few meters away” isn’t needed but is perfectly permissible. No issues there. However, “the ground ended, and...” should not have a comma because the subjects are the same.

You could have a comma after beyond, but you would need one before it as well, and commas aren’t necessary there. Generally, prepositional phrases in the middle of sentences don’t need commas like “of greens and purples and blues.” Nothing wrong with the comma before, “all shifting and distorting...”

So a better way to write this could be, “A few meters away, the ground ended and, beyond, was a constantly changing sky of greens and purples and blues and whites, all shifting and distorting with each second.”
 

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
Hi Bench! Here for your Blacklight prize review, and also to learn more about this Johtonese casino protagonist you mentioned! I read Act 1 (chapters 1-5).

There's a lot of weird and whacky stuff going on in this fic right off the bat! I enjoyed the twists you put on the classic PMD isekai sequence. They wake up feeling grass . . . but they're on a strange platform, not in the world at all, and they're still human. The mailbox and the "rescue one" were delightfully creepy. This seems to presage some hard choices and questions about just what force is orchestrating this and whether the people caught in this game can do anything about it. I was surprised to see that there are lots of isekaid humans in the PMD world and that they seem to be the go-tos for saving the world. Why exactly is that? What's it about human-turned-pokemon that sets them apart? What keeps bringing them here, and why does the reverse never seem to take place? It seems to paint the PMD world as dependent on the human one in a strange way. This fic seems to be poking some fun at classic PMD conventions, as well as raising some very real questions: how do chikorita keep diaries? What is literature in a pokemon-only world? I hope we get to see the protagonist pursue and attempt to answer these questions; thus far they seem very passive and quite the blank slate.

I was intrigued that we got a glimpse into the human world, as well as the reappearence of that very unsettling ribbon. Will there be a parallel plot in the human world? I'm curious to see how the two are intertwined.

The choice to have all the POVs be first is a tricky one to pull off, because you're asking us to hop from head to head, and that can be disorienting without each POV voice being distinctive. With the exception of the porygon-Z and whatever the blue-yellow interchange was, the POV voices ran together for me. I do think Gen would feel less blank in a third-person POV, where we expect less personality and intimacy off the bat. Prose-wise, sentence variation is definitely something to keep an eye on. I've pulled some sample sentences in the line-by-lines. A lot of the time only changing a word here and there or reorganizing a clause gives you more variety and a better flow. One thing that did grate a little on me were Gen's continual internal exclamations during the prologue. They didn't so much convey his panic as dampen it for me, by making it seem performative and not like something he was actually experiencing. The frequent switches with the place names are also a little jarring--generally if you feel like the name of the place is needed for the reader to know where it is, your full descriptive job as writer hasn't been done.

I was a little perplexed by the inclusion of Saltriv's journal entry--it was pretty much straight-up summary of what had already happened, without giving me any insight into Saltriv personally. That felt like a part that could be reduced, or some back-and-forth added between what Saltriv is writing and their actual thoughts--the tears at the end suggested to me that Saltriv's mind was in a considerably less happy place than the diary entry conveyed.

The POV segment at the end of chapter 5 was one that I initially took as being in third person. Then it turns out that actually, it's been a first person narrator all along that's been observing. It would have been nice to get more commentary from this POV, some observations or interjections. Even the most focused observer has a distinctive style. Persephone has a wonderful example of such a character in Broken Things--she has a beldum sent to observe the main characters, but who does so filtered through their distinctive mind.

I don't have much of a sense of Saltriv's personality yet, but Burhalla is definitely coming into focus. His paranoia about being lied to is at first an odd quirk that becomes understandable when we see his confrontation with his father. He comes off as strong-willed and almost dangerously focused when he gets his mind set on something. His planned retort to his father that, well, they didn't get hurt in the mystery dungeon shows a lack of a tendency for self-reflection or even self-doubt. He's not one to think about what could have been.

You mentioned an interest in symbolism in the discord chat. I'm personally intrigued by the mailbox as a symbol. Ordinarily it stands for two-way communication, for connection, for civilization. But in your fic it takes on a very contrary meaning--the communication isn't two-way here. Humans appear in the pokemon world, but not, seemingly, the other way around. Gen chooses Saltriv, without getting chosen in return. Mailboxes also raise interesting questions about identity--what defines the recipient of a letter? Usually a name and a location. But we see how in flux those markers are, as Gen is torn from his home, and as we meet a Dewott who shares his name. How do you define your identity, outside of the society that has defined it for you? We haven't learned much about Gen yet, but casino dealer definitely isn't the most glamorous of jobs. Who was he, and who will he become?

Also, sidenote, but I love the style of your header art! Very evocative.

My eyes slowly opened, as I woke up, still tired, not ready for whatever today would bring. I rubbed my eyes, feeling grass brush up against my arm as I moved it.

Wait, grass?! I don’t remember sleeping outside!
I think the panic would be more effective if it doesn't set in instantly.

Ex. "I woke up slowly, still tired. When I lifted my arm to rub my eyes, I felt grass brush against it.

Grass? I hadn't fallen asleep outside . . ."

A few meters away, the ground ended, and beyond, was a constantly changing sky, of greens and purples and blues and whites, all shifting and distorting with each second. I turned around, hoping that something else laid behind me, but the ground ended just as quickly that way, too. In every direction I looked, it ended the same distance away. I was on some sort of circular plateau.
This is very disorienting and surreal!

I walked over to the edge, and looked down, to see if there was some way down. I hurriedly retreated in shock, before standing back up. There was nothing but a completely vertical drop into an abyss, that looked exactly like the strange skies above.
The first sentence reads a bit redundant--to see if there is a way down implies looking down. The actions also seem out of order here. You would see the vertical drop, then reel back in shock.

Ex. "I walked over to the edge to see if there was some way down--a stairway. A rope. Anything. But there was nothing except a completely vertical drop into an abyss identical to the strange skies above. Shocked, I stumbled backward."

There had to be some sort of explanation for all this. Maybe if I close my eyes, then everything will be ok.
The second sentence here switches into present tense. You can either make it past, "Maybe if I closed my eyes, then everything would be okay." Or you can indicate it's the narrators thoughts by italicizing. Ex, "Maybe if I close my eyes, then everything will be okay."

It was some sort of mailbox at the side of the platform, with a pencil, and a piece of paper next to it. I walked over, and read the paper, which had the words, "Please write your name on this paper, then put it in the mailbox."
I like the simplicity to this weirdness.

I quickly backed away from it. What was happening to it?! As the light flashed even brighter in intensity, I flinched, and closed my eyes.
The interjection of 'What was happening to it?!' felt a little unecessary.

I opened my eyes, and saw the top half of the mailbox was gone, a dark, jagged wooden post in its place.
This makes it sound like the post replaced the mailbox, but it sounds like the top vanished and the post is what's left behind?

Ex. "I opened my eyes, and saw the top half of the mailbox was gone, leaving a dark, jagged wooden post."

I hurried over, and peered over the edge to see if anything snapped it, barely catching the still red top half of the mailbox disappearing into the technicolor abyss.
I didn't understand what "to see if anything snapped it" meant here.

I backed away, shivering.
I saw some people have brought up sentences starting with 'I' in reviews. One very easy way to vary up sentence structure with a sentence like this is to switch the word order: "Shivering, I backed away."

a dark, jagged wooden post in its place.
As soon as I stepped back onto the center of the platform, the darkness in the post started to spread to the platform, causing the grass scattered around it to wilt and disappear, revealing a glassy, mirror-like layer underneath.
I was a little confused by the 'darkness in the post.' The earlier description made it sound like the post was made of dark wood. What exactly is the darkness that's spreading? Is darkness bleeding out of it?

As I looked down, I saw something white out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head towards whatever that was, and noticed that there was a white bow on the ground a short distance away.
This is a little wordy for a pretty simple moment! There's a lot you could sheer off here.

Ex. "As I looked down, something white flashed in the corner my eye. I turned my head and saw a white bow on the ground a short distance away."

It was the softest fabric I had ever felt. As I rubbed the bow, taking in just how soft it was, I felt an odd sensation throughout my entire body.
Something about this bow strikes me as creepy.

Abruptly, the bow emitted an intense light, and my eyesight went dark.

I couldn’t see anything. Did I go blind?!

Soon, my vision started to return. Once my vision had fully cleared, the bow had taken on a blue coloration. I dropped it in surprise.
'Vision' would work better than eyesight for that first one. Below, you could sub in a different phrase.

Ex. "Abruptly, the bow emitted an intense light, and my vision went dark.

I couldn’t see anything. Did I go blind?!

Soon, my sight started to return. The bow in my hands had turned from white to blue. I dropped it in surprise."

I moved my hands in front of my face. They were still human hands. What was that all about? What was any of this all about?! I threw the bow back down at the ground.
The interjections of 'What was that all about? What was any of this all about?!' feel a little randomly placed here.

After a few seconds, the shadows dissipated for the most part, revealing a wide variety of Pokemon on the edges of the platform, all seemingly unconscious, and surrounded by a wavering shadowy aura.

Oddly, there didn't seem to be any Water-types.
Huh, that's a very specific thing to notice.

"Rescue one," it read. Rescue from what?! Those shadows? Why only one?! This didn't make any sense! I grabbed the paper, crumpled it, and threw it. "What's going on?!" I yelled, as I looked towards the many-colored sky.
Oof, that's creepy. Why only one indeed? What happens to the rest?

"What...happened?" I heard a voice to the left. I quickly turned in the direction of it, only to find one of the Pokemon, a Chikorita, starting to wake up, the shadowy aura around it dissipating. The crumpled-up paper was next to it.
This felt clever and true to the surreal setting. Even throwing away the paper and refusing the choice turned out to be making the choice. I wonder if questions of fate vs freewill are going to be on the table here.

"Who...are you?" it said. I froze in complete shock. What was happening?! Nothing here made any sense!
Freezing in complete shock communicates the sentiment of 'What was happening?! Nothing here made any sense!' I don't know if you need these exclamations.

Did something happen to it?

I walked over to it, and once I was next to it, I noticed the platform start to shift again.
There's a lot of its here! You could reword like:

"Had something happened?

I started to walk in its direction. Just as I got there, the platform start to shift again."

A massive hand was reaching down for us. Pink and black, coming from a spiral high in the sky.

I grabbed the Chikorita and ran to the edge of the platform, hoping to avoid it, only for it to smash into the platform, completely shattering it.

As the platform broke apart, and we fell into the abyss, I could hear my own screams, as well as many more.
Oh my! The surrealism continues.

The ending line is a little deflated by that last clause. I think it would end more strongly with something like, "As the platform broke apart, and we fell into the abyss, all I could hear were my screams."

I looked over the billboard, full with missing posters, lit by the sunlight that made its way through the clouds above. It’s depressing how small our town has gotten. I recognized Treecko, Sneasel, Morpeko, Orbeetle, Flapple, even Leon. I heard the whole Kecleon clan was looking for him. I haven’t seen Kecky at all since he disappeared. At least my own family isn’t among the missing.
This paragraph is mixing present and past tense. All in past, it would read, "I looked over the billboard, full with missing posters, lit by the sunlight that made its way through the clouds above. It was depressing how small our town has gotten. I recognized Treecko, Sneasel, Morpeko, Orbeetle, Flapple, even Leon. I heard the whole Kecleon clan was looking for him. I hadn't seen Kecky at all since he disappeared. At least my own family wasn't among the missing."

I needed to do something. So many people were going missing, and so few were being found. Many of those that were found were shadowy, and had to be taken out of town to get better.
From this, I get the sense our narrator is pretty young. There's a childishness in "shadowy" and an innocence in "to get better." I'm guessing it may not be so simple.

Aron and Rockruff were both still tired after yesterday, and Helioptile was several towns over.
Plus, if Dad or the police ever learned what I was doing, I’d never hear the end of it.
So, not authorized, but they've done this before.

I walked out of the main square and off the path to a small stone slab behind the house Flapple lived in before he disappeared.
Oof, this was a concrete way to show that many members of the town are missing. It's just a part of life at this point.

I emerged from behind the house and reentered the square. I could see all sorts of lines connecting the Pokemon around the square, some faint, some bold, some green, some orange. The connection orb was already working. I headed towards the Kecleon shop, where Mrs. Meganium and Mr. Torterra were talking to a Wooper I didn’t recognize—who soon left with a cheri berry. The pink line between the two was strong, and a blue line just as strong was behind each, both heading in the direction of the forest. Those must be the lines connecting them and Saltriv.
This was an interesting visualization of a game mechanic.

Deep breaths. In, and out. Let my tail flame grow, then die down. Burn the stress away.
I like this a lot; it has the rhythm and feel of a mantra that's been said many times.

I realized I was in a patch of tall grass. I needed to get out of here before I was attacked by a wild Pokemon.
This feels a little silly and videogame--it's not that all tall grass mysterious contains pokemon is it, but that certain routes do.

The human looked up, then grabbed me and ran, just as something smashed down where we were. Then I woke up here. I think that human saved me! Or maybe it was just a dream,” they said, before pausing.

“What do you last remember?” they echoed back.
It reads weirdly to have these be seperate paragraphs when it's the same speaker. If you want to break them up a bit you could use body language.

Ex. "The human looked up, then grabbed me and ran, just as something smashed down where we were. Then I woke up here. I think that human saved me! Or maybe it was just a dream,” they said, before pausing. Their leaf fluttered in the mild breeze. “What do you last remember?”

First, there was whatever that place I woke up in where I met Saltriv, and I could somehow understand them, then the entire platform got shattered by that giant hand thing, and now I was here, in—

“Twig Woodland,” Burhalla answered.

—Twig Woodland, apparently, as an Oshawott, and I had no idea why I was like this.
This interruption was fun.

I could faintly notice small droplets in his eyes.
The "could" is a bit of a filter word you can cut out.

“Right. Gen,” I hastily responded. I had to make sure to pay attention to him.
This last line struck me as odd. What's the alternative? Pay attention to him instead of zoning out?

I didn’t really have time to process that before, but now...it’s unlikely that my hometown exists here.
That's a big thing to realize. It doesn't seem to get much of an emotional reaction from our narrator here.

Even if they did believe me if I said that I was a human from another world, what if they started asking me questions about my world? I doubted they’d react well to knowing about how Pokemon like them were usually treated in my world.
👀 Very curious to learn what Gen means by this.

That clearing was too rectangular, and this path too straight, to be natural.
Ah, always fun when people play with the weirdness of mystery dungeons.

There was a staircase at the side of the room, and a shiny red apple on the ground next to it.
Come to think of it, I was feeling a bit hungry, and it did look pretty appetizing. Was it safe to eat, though?
Getting big Alice in Wonderland vibes here--why would a shin red apple just be sitting there? Is it really safe?

I didn't have any fingers anymore, yet I could still grasp it, like my nubs were some sort of suction cup almost. It felt completely different to grabbing stuff with my hands.
This was a nice physical detail.

“Saltriv...you’ve been missing for months.”


“W-what?!”


“School ended a while ago. I haven’t seen you at all since then. Just today, I saw your missing poster on the bulletin board. I thought you had gone shadowy, like Patrat had. I thought I was going to have to fight you once I found you. But you’re ok, and I’m so glad for that.”
Huh, I didn't get the impression of missing for months when Burhalla examined the billboard. If that's the case, I want to know why he decided to try and stage a rescue now rather than at any other time. It's pretty convenient.

“You really don’t remember how to use moves, do you? You can’t just yell the name of the move and have it work!” Saltriv answered between giggles.
Hah! I see you're playing with some of the sillier PMD conventions.

“I'd have told you if they weren't. I'm not my father. I don't lie about things like that.”


There was bitterness in Burhalla’s voice as he said that.
There's clearly a story here.

This was bad. This was very bad. If he found out I was lying about not remembering anything, I'd be alone in this world. I was in too deep now to admit to things, either. He'd never believe me. The only thing I could do was keep up the act and hope he never finds out.
*never found out.

“Is something up, Gen?” Burhalla asked, looking at me now. “Your expression’s a bit pale.”
Kind of wonder how oshawott pale!

As I tried to untangle myself, I saw two Embers head towards the Sewaddle, one after another.


Huh?!


I was pretty sure Chikoritas couldn’t learn Ember, so where did that second one come from? I didn’t see anyone else in the room besides me, Saltriv, Burhalla, and the now-fainted Sewaddle. Was that just a move I had never seen before? Double Ember?
Kind of confused by why this is something that stands out to Gen? What does embers look like? Two little spurts of flame? Is that any weirder than a flamethrower attack? And Gen doesn't seem to have been a trainer, so why would they be so convinced this isn't normal or care at all?

“I just sorta...felt it, I guess,” I lied. I was digging myself deeper, but it was too late at this point for me to be honest.
We get a lot of these 'justifying why lying' moments. I think they'd have more impact if you didn't throw them in every few lines. Here, for example, I don't think we need the accompanying internal narration; we can see why he might go with a lie here.

Not bad. I could already notice my pain disappearing, as it was replaced by reinvigoration.
"as it was" is a bit of a clunky construction. Maybe, "I felt my pain disappearing, replaced by reinvigoration."

I notice (lol) that you use the verb notice a lot. You could vary that up with "saw, felt, etc."

Would I need to hunt for food, or did stores exist here? Would I need to sleep outside, or had Pokemon invented houses in this place?


Even if stuff like stores and houses were a thing here, I didn’t have any of this world’s money. Did it even have any, actually? Were goods here provided on some other merit, like battles won or something?


I did not know in the slightest. And if I didn’t wake up back home in Goldenrod tomorrow, I’d need to know.
All nice practical questions. And I like the background assumption that maybe they'll just wake up tomorrow and it will all have been a dream. They seem in between treating this like it's real and not.

I needed someone to help show me how this world worked, and maybe get me a place to stay, at least until I get back home.


I looked over towards Saltriv and Burhalla. The two were conversing about something, though I wasn’t paying attention about what.


They were the only two I had met since I arrived here. Maybe they could help me.


Hopefully they’d be willing to.
This reads a little jaggedy with these miniparagraphs. I'd tie together the first three, and let the last sentence have some dramatic oomph from standing separate.

Ex. "I needed someone to help show me how this world worked, and maybe get me a place to stay, at least until I get back home. I looked over towards Saltriv and Burhalla. The two were conversing about something, though I couldn't follow exactly what. They were the only two I had met since I arrived here. Maybe they could help me.

Hopefully they’d be willing to."


“Maybe you could start keeping a journal to help you remember things!” Saltriv suggested.


I had no idea how a Chikorita would be able to write, or what writing in this world was like, but it wouldn’t be much help for me. It didn’t work out well when I tried keeping one years back, anyways.
I also wonder how a Chikorita would write.

“Come on! I want to see my family again!” they demanded.

I could understand their worry. I’d been through something like that once, though not to this degree.

I shuddered as the memory came back. Listening to the news about how Kyogre and Groudon were rampaging near Hoenn, frantically packing only the necessities before leaving the house, getting lost in the crowd and separated from my family as everyone in Goldenrod evacuated, calling out for help to no avail...If that brawl had made its way to Johto—
Ah, the Kyogre and Groudon incident. Such a nice ready-made source of trauma for Hoennese protagonists--and Johtonese ones as well! More concrete details would make this memory feel more alive and vivid to me. What did Gen consider "necessities"? It's a great opening to tell us something about who he is by the kind of items he chose to bring. What was special to him? What's the kind of thing he wanted to save?

As we climbed the hill, I started to hear unfamiliar voices, though I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. I slowed my pace a bit. I looked towards the other two, and they didn’t seem to notice them. Was I just hearing things?
Huh, does he have particularly good ears?

In the midst of me trying to figure out what to do, I saw a trio of figures emerge over the hilltop.
"In the midst" is a little wordy here. You could just say, "As I tried to figure out what to do, a trio of figures emerged over the hilltop."

“Berry crackers. I’ve been found out,” I heard him mumble under his breath.
Funny little not-swear!

“Hi, dad,” Burhalla responded after a pause.
* should be "Hi, Dad," because dad is being used as a name here.

I remember learning that Porygon-Zs were unstable. Was that still true in this world?
Porygon-Z huh! That's surprising in a world without humans, since they seem to be a humanmade pokemon.

“I’m not sure if I should believe you. You’re not faking it, trying to pretend to be another amnesiac human sent to save the world?” the Typhlosion interrogated. “There’s been four Pokemon who tried lying about that just this month.”
Huh! I wonder why.

He muttered, “Hopefully dad won’t be too harsh once I’m home.”
Again, dad would be Dad here because it's a standin for a name. If he said "my dad" it wouldn't be capitalized.

I wasn’t left with much time to process it, as the group continued onwards, down the hill, forcing me to follow them, lest I be left behind.
"lest" is a pretty archaic word that's jarring in modern narration.

It didn’t seem nearly as big as Goldenrod, but what it lacked in size, it made up for in wonder.
Aw, that's sweet.

There were so many Pokemon here, and yet I felt so alone.
Oof, that's understandable.

“Looks like you can come with us then, Gen,” the Meganium stated
Stated isn't really a direct substitute for said. It's best saved for official, formal contexts.

I doubted I’d be able to stay much longer, if I was even still here tomorrow, and didn’t wake up back home.
Nice to see he's still holding out for that.

The left side of the room held a bookshelf, every shelf filled with a colorful assortment of books, piquing my interest. What kind of literature did Pokemon have? I’d have to check that out later, assuming it was in a language I could read.
What kind of literature do pokemon have? I want to know too!

Worst case scenario, Saltriv’s family kicks me out, Burhalla is told, and I have no one to help me figure out this world.
This is in present tense!

It wasn’t long before we entered our destination.
You wanted "reached" instead of "entered."

“Get along, you two,” Meganium asked the two of us. “I don’t want a repeat of last time.”

“We will!” Saltriv assured. “He saved my life! Of course we’ll get along!”
Uh oh, what happened last time?

I’m somehow an Oshawott now, just like my reflection on that platform.
This is in present tense.

Burhalla also did two Embers one after the other back in Twig Woodland. I was almost certain moves couldn’t be used that quickly after each other.
I'm really not sure why Gen is so fixated on this.

Why did I even start that lie, anyways? All it’s caused me is trouble, and I can’t come clean now, or I’ll lose Burhalla’s trust, along with likely the trust of everyone else here.
This is in present. In past it would be, "Why did I even start that lie, anyways? All it had caused me was trouble, and I couldn't come clean now, or I’d lose Burhalla’s trust, along with likely the trust of everyone else here."

What was the best thing to do?

Was there even a right answer to that?

Why were there Pokemon pretending to have amnesia, anyways? Why was I an Oshawott? Why was I here at all?!

Gah, why was any of this happening?! Why couldn’t I be back home, where things actually made sense?!

What was happening back home, even? Were my family and friends ok? Did they know where I was? Were they trying to find me right now?

I want to go home. I want to go back to my family. I want to go back to the world I know.

I want to wake up back in my bed, like this all never happened.

My final thought before drifting into sleep was hoping that, somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, this was all just a bad dream.
All good questions. I think it gets hard to read when you have all these mini paragraphs like this.

I heard the gambler curse as the fourth card he flipped over was revealed to be a Voltorb. All 930 coins he won during this game were forfeit. I began to shuffle the cards for the next person in line, when the gambler smashed their fist against the table, causing the Doduo near him to flinch.

“Gimme another go! This time I’ll hit the level 8 jackpot!” he demanded. They never learn, do they?

“You’re back down to level 2,” I told him, as I doled out the cards, making sure to lay out the right amount of multipliers and Voltorbs. After I wrote down the multiplier and voltorb sums at the side of each row, I announced, “Begin!”
Ah, a casino! I like our narrator's sense of tedium and repetition here.

I pulled the rectangle out of my pocket, and sent a quick “U ok?” message to Gen. That should put me at ease for now.

I should get home soon. The sun was setting.

I walked down the street from the game corner, past a telephone pole adorned with a poster of a familiar visage.

I stopped, doing a double take. Yep, that was Gen alright, or at least a picture of him. And on a missing poster, too.

Well, this sucked.

Nothing I could do anything about, though.
Having three sentences that all follow the same structure of x verbed can give the writing a repetitive feeling.

"I pulled the rectangle out of my pocket, and sent a quick “U ok?” message to Gen in order to set myself at ease. He was probably at [insert activity Gen enjoys enough to talk about at work.] The sun was setting. I should get home.

Walking away from the game corner, I passed a telephone pole blanketed with posters. All the usual stuff, band advertisements, lost pokemon posters, and--

I stopped, doing a double take. That was Gen's face. And on a missing poster, too.

Well, this sucked. Nothing I could do anything about, though."

I immediately nabbed it. It was unbelievably soft, more than anything I’ve felt before. I didn’t want to let go of it.
Okay, my creepy vibe from that ribbon feels fully justified.

I floated through the fog, away from the Top Plaza. The sun was almost set. There’d certainly be no customers back at the old recyclin’ shop at this time. No need to take a gander at it before heading home.
This was the first POV switch where I felt certain it was a new character--the voice here is more distinct, as is the floating.

hungasfgdgdwqrqrqopnzmanzaggleccQSAJKJKJAOPFAFMALFLAPPLEFLNALFKAQOIUQNI

Toucannon can launch plain seeds with enough power to destroy boulders.

I floated through the fog. The distance to the village outskirts was not large.
I really like how stress leads to a malfunction that spits back a random fact and then resets. Feels suitably alien.

WHAT IN THE DISTORTION WORLD WAS THAT?!
The all caps struck me as not really suiting this POV.

The top half almost looked parasitic, like a Poisonous Slowking or a Parasect, as if it was a stem that had grown out of the corpse of an Arctoar.
Very cool description here.

The snow around its top half shifted as I heard an eerily familiar jingle. I couldn’t quite remember what it was, like its memory file had been overwritten long ago, but still had twinges of its former self.
I like this metaphor. I think it could be worded a little more clearly, "The snow around its top half shifted as I heard an eerie jingle. The sound seemed familiar and yet also not, like a memory file that had been overwritten long ago."

What if you had gone shadowy?!
Huh, I thought shadowy was a term that the kids used. "Shadowy" seems a little vague and childish to be the official word for it.

I’d have to do that tomorrow, if I’m allowed to even leave the house by then.
* I’d have to do that tomorrow, if I was allowed to even leave the house by then.

“Did you at least pack the right equipment?” he asked, tone a bit gentler.

I could probably lie here, and escape punishment. It would be simple, and easy. But I wouldn’t be like him.

“Everything but the escape orb,” I told the truth. The flames on my father’s back instantly flared up.
This was a strong character moment for Bruhalla. From this one interaction I got a big sense of his stubborness and integrity.

Before I could say a rebuttal, though, the flames on his back died down, and extinguished.
You generally "make a rebuttal" rather than say one.

I smiled a bit in response. That was a relief, unless he was lying again.
Oof, this baby charmander is paranoid.

“Why do you trust this Pokemon you didn’t know before yesterday more than your own father?” my father demanded.

“Because he hasn’t lied to me like you do!” I shouted back.

“For your own benefit!”

“Lying to me about my mother isn’t for my benefit!”

“You wouldn’t have been able to handle learning about her death!”

“It would have been better than you keeping me in the dark about it for YEARS!”
Ah, and it comes out. Curious to learn more of what the story is there.

I looked away from my father, seeing the Quilava that was my sister standing in the doorway.
'the quilava that was my sister' is an awkward construction in a first-person POV. Anyone would think of their sister as just "my sister."

I wiped away the tear stains, before closing the journal, and laying it back under the blanket with a vine.
! tear stains! The journal entry was very lowkey and upbeat so the tears suprised me. It's interesting that Sartriv makes a big deal of journal writing but doesn't seem comfortable being honest in that medium.

The small, blue house fashioned after a Squirtle on the outskirts of Pokemon Square was packed, with 8 very special Pokemon.
For numbers under ten especially, it's best to write them out as letters: eight. Something like 8 looks odd in written text.

A Wartortle and a Meganium were the hosts for this particular meeting, as it was on their home turf, and were standing at the back of the house.
This sentence reads oddly. It could be stated as a fact, "A Wartortle and a Meganium were the hosts for this particular meeting" that doesn't need justification. If it's meant to be a deduction, it would read better with the order flipped. "A Wartortle and a Meganium stood at the back of the house, the hosts for the evening."

Sceptile and an Empoleon, the only two there that had saved the world twice over, and part of the few who actually deserved to be here, were standing off to the side, near a pool of water.
"Deserved" is quite the judgmental word!

“...no. Saltriv’s still missing,” the Meganium, Acacia, solemnly responded.
Huh. Is this set before the events of the rest of the story, or is Acacia lying?

In the middle of the crater, was a wooden red mailbox, intact save for its post being jagged and half missing, as if it had been snapped off. Everyone soon crowded around it.

“That looks just like our old mailbox before our base was remodeled,” Acacia pointed out quizzically. “It almost looks like it fell from the sky!”
Oh my, the mystery mailbox returns!

“Gen,” he said, speaking for the first time since the meeting started. “Your name is written here. In Johtonese.”

The Dewott rushed over, and looked at the paper. “Please write your name on this paper, then put it in the mailbox,” he read out loud. “Then my name’s written below that.”
“Like Acacia said, it’s almost as if this mailbox fell from the sky, but it looks to be mostly fine. Gen had fallen from the sky when I first met him, and was fine when he landed.”
The plot thickens. So there was already an oshawott named Gen that isekaid into this world?

Most of us humans arrived on continents in crisis. The only exception is myself, and that was a worldwide crisis.”
Oh, they're all isekaid humans! Hmm.

A chorus of 7 agreements and nods were his response.
*seven

Inside the former’s shadow, I followed them, thinking back over what had happened.

This was juicy. So they ALL were going to the Thunder Continent. It was a great decision to spy on this meeting.

Time to bring the news to Necrozma.
Oh so this wasn't a third-person narrative section.
 

Shiny Phantump

Born of Smol and Void
Location
Hallownest
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. sylveon
I'm back for day 2!

So, this chapter gets off to a really strong start here, and I'm really starting to get what you mean when you say ES would've work in third person, because this hook definitely relies on it. The perspective there is really colourful.
Why couldn’t I feel anything for them, my family? Why did I only feel this fear and sadness towards them? Why couldn’t I feel any sort of fondness for when I ran the Kecleon Shop with my brother? Why was it so uncomfortable to even think of returning to them?

Why why why why why?

Brother, I’m sorry.
And then we get this, which is a nice cap-off to this. It's also a very interesting glimpse into a shadow pokémon's head. I haven't played much of the gamecube games so I can't say if they go deep into how shadow pokémon work later on, but I mostly got the impression that the games were vague about it, and mostly just made them kinda angry because of "closed hearts." I like this better. So much more flavour to it.
Burhalla said. “I want to be like the exploration team that helped me.”
Oho, Burhalla backstory, I wonder what happened here. I suspect there's more to the reason Burhalla's dad is so protective of him than what we've seen so far.
I was about to shut that idea down, before Saltriv spoke up. “That might work!” Quietly, they muttered, “Team Adventure Light, Team Light Search, Team Search Light…,” before suggesting, “Team Searchlights!”
Aww, this is a nice cute little naming setup scene. It might be worth having Saltriv specify that combining the names might work, and not Burhalla's original mouthful of a suggestion, but that's quite the nit-pick.
I didn’t truly know what this would entail, but at least I wouldn’t be alone.
This is a nice reinforcement of why, of all people, our anxiety bean wants to join the team. If anything, I wish there was more of these thoughts sprinkled about the chapter. Like, at a glance he doesn't seem like the type who'd want anything to do with that whole business, so at first I thought it was a bit odd he lept to join... Especially with Burhalla as the leader.

Chapter 7:
So, we start off with Gen trying to learn moves. I'd already known about the moves being tied to types from discord, but I don't think that changed my experience much, because I think it's clear enough that that's the case from this segment along.
Calm yourself, then unleash the move!
...and Gen got matched with the type that involves calm. Lucky him. I wonder if he'll just be locked out of water moves altogether, or if he's going to be able to get around the anxiety issues that are blocking him. Maybe he'll be able to learn it if given sufficient hugs beforehand. (Or, y'know, therapy.)
So it’s caused by frustration! Now I have at least one move I can rely on.
Okay, I don't know if Gen's just celebrating using a move at all, or if that's a self-aware quip about how his mental health means he'll be able to pull it off reliably, but I interpreted it as the latter when I first read it, and it gave me a good chuckle.

And with that, into the dungeon we go.
The Lapras still swam across the sea, now farther along. How were we still at sea level, even though we just went up a level?
The first bit that caught my attention here was this. The floors of Mystery Dungeons aren't entirely separate. I don't know what that means yet, but I'm curious to see if that comes into play.
My right arm glowed with a dark aura. I thrust it down at the lump on the Krokorok’s head. It cried in pain, loosening its hold on my neck just in time.
Nice reference to how Assurance works... Y'know, seeing as he has teammates to hit the enemies first, it'll probably serve him quite well. (It's kinda one of the better attacking moves in Blacklight right now for that reason.)
Everything was so small! Saltriv, Burhalla, the walls, the room, the Sandygast, it was all so tiny! I felt so much power within me! It was like I could do anything!

Wait...could I?

I gleefully willed for a surge of water to wash away the Sandygast, and an absolutely massive geyser shot out from me, completely submerging it.
Okay, this sure raises a question. Gen does not seem to be anything resembling "calm" right now, but he can still use a water move with ease. I suppose dynamax must override that system.
“None of us knew what happened there. You’re just as confused as we both were. Maybe even more than us. And I lashed out at you despite that,” he continued. “I should have known better. I shouldn’t have been like my father.”
Interesting. Maybe I did misjudge Burhalla's dad after all. Anyways, it's nice to see Burhalla being nice to Gen for once.
“Not anymore. I understand,” he answered. “Tell me, do you have anxiety? Do you remember what that is?”
yes I would like to register this anxiety bean with the bureau of bean anxiety plz. he requires all the hugs. all of them.
“If you want, I can try and get you an appointment with the village therapist. They’ve been pretty busy lately with all the disappearances, but I’m sure they can help,” he suggested.
Burhalla? More like Basedhalla amirite?

Jokes aside, I do really like seeing this other side of Burhalla's character. Before, the guy struck me as really intense and kinda scary, and this is some very welcome development to help him feel like a real friend and team member to Gen, rather than someone he's stuck with because of Saltriv.
No! This couldn’t be happening! No no no no no!

NO!

I barely noticed as a shadowy aura surrounded me, or as shadowy tendrils shot out of me towards the sky. I only noticed as they came falling back down towards us, at the dungeon mon, at myself, and even my teammates.
Ooh, Saltriv's not as purified as I thought they were. Interesting. I feel like I should have more to say on this, but I'm blanking right now. Still... poor Saltriv.
Keep calm. Calm down. Stop panicking. Maybe then they’ll disappear.
Why do I have a funny feeling that Gen's going to get shadowed and won't be able to handle it?

Chapter 8:
Purifying Flapple, what could go wron-
"Whatever you do, BE POLITE AT ALL COSTS," he told me. "Stay calm, don't make many unneeded movements. And don't ask about or touch the statues."
Oh. Well, be polite isn't too unusual, but the statues? That's creepy. I do not trust Tapu Fini. I'm creeped right the bloody hell out.
"I can't tell you until after we leave. They'll know. Just follow my lead, and you should be alright," Burhalla said. He hesitated, before continuing. "If anything happens to me, don't react. Calmly exit the shrine."
Ah, even better... and not very helpful to Gen, really. If something happens to Burhalla, Gen will totally panic. Telling him that is only going to make him more anxious going in.
I saw one of them, a Misdreavus, blink.
O_O
NopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNope. Get outta here, y'all. This is not a place where good things happen...
The three of us turned around, and exited the temple, with a now-purified Flapple in tow.
Okay, good. 3/3 party members are fine. Nothing went horribly wrong... this time.
"No," Meganium said, before Saltriv could get a chance to finish. "You know what happened last time you had a sleepover, and I need to have a talk with you after you went out underprepared."
Hmm. What happened during that sleepover? This is the second time it's come up now and it seems to have affected Saltriv's parents more than their disappearance did.
"This morning I mailed a letter to Acacia that you'd been found," Meganium said. "We might get a visit from his rescue team soon."
Ooh, this is interesting.

Acacia's one of the heroes, which means they know Other Gen. Plus, they've also seen the intro mailbox with Gen's name on it. I don't think Gen's lie about not being human is going to stand for much longer...

And Burhalla might be sleeping over at the time, too. This going to be a whole thing, isn't it? I'm looking forward to it.
Before too long, the Oshawott, Chikorita, and Charmander entered the building, leaving the Drakloak and Dreepy alone, and vulnerable. This could work.
A little snippet of our dubious duo here, and... I don't think I can really conclude much more about their purpose yet, but I'll keep an eye out for mention of those two guards going missing... Unless this duo ends up as a Totally Normal Statue, but I doubt that'll come to pass. Too convenient, and I don't think these two are introduced just to get offed before they can do much.
 

Equitial

Pokémon Trainer
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. inkay
Chapter 2

I looked over the billboard, full with missing posters, lit by the sunlight that made its way through the clouds above. It’s depressing how small our town has gotten. I recognized Treecko, Sneasel, Morpeko, Orbeetle, Flapple, even Leon. I heard the whole Kecleon clan was looking for him. I haven’t seen Kecky at all since he disappeared. At least my own family isn’t among the missing.

Ah, I wasn’t expecting to switch POV. Even though I wasn’t expecting a change in narrator, I wasn’t confused at all because of the details given – I immediately recognized it was another character from the PMD world. I also like the start of this chapter. It’s very to the point, showing what conflict this character and this character’s setting are facing.

I headed over to the nearest deposit box to get everything I’d need, putting it all in my bag. Apple in case I get hungry, check! Max ether in case I get exhausted, check! A slumber wand to incapacitate Saltriv if they’ve gone shadowy, check! Two oran berries in case I get hurt, check! A tiny reviver seed just in case, check! Connection orb to find where Saltriv was, check! I still had my pecha scarf and looplet on in case they were in a Mystery Dungeon. I was all ready.

As a note, I’ve played all the PMD games except for Gates to Infinity. So I’m familiar with most of the terms here but not all (for example I don’t know what a “fire-type V-Wave is). I personally like interpretations of canon which are more game-y, so this listing of what items Burhalla wanted to bring was a nice touch that got me more interested in the story! Overall, I think it’s a good idea to indicated what kind of stories your readers are in for, and there are casual hints about the plot of this fic. I did feel like this section went a bit long, though. Maybe combine or remove some of these? What Burhalla uses the connection orb for is also demonstrated a few paragraphs later, so the summary felt unnecessary.

Deep breaths. In, and out. Let my tail flame grow, then die down. Burn the stress away.

When the fic switches back to Gen, I find it odd when he’s panicking about waking up in a strange place again. We went through that in the first chapter, after all. It feels repetitive.

“I don’t remember,” I blurted out. That was a complete lie, but I had to roll with it now.

The other two were visually shocked. “You don’t remember? Not at all?” Saltriv asked.

I shook my head. “Nope,” I lied through my teeth.

I also find it confusing why Gen opts to lie instead of tell the truth. Saltriv clearly remembers, so it wouldn’t seem any more unbelievable than claiming he has amnesia. It feels a bit forced, like this is only happening because it’s a PMD trope. Maybe if Gen’s thought process and panic were portrayed somewhat differently prior to this decision?

Skipping to Burhalla finding Saltriv was also oddly-paced. Since I didn’t see what Burhalla did to get here, his rescue of his friend feels very quick. It makes me wonder why no one rescued Saltriv before.

Anyway, I find it interesting how Saltriv was brought to Gen! They were missing… were the other Pokémon Gen saw the other missing members of their and Burhalla’s village? The opening sequence was a fever trip; what exactly was going on? I wonder how all these characters will fit together, especially with Burhalla and Saltriv already being close friends. I know Gen is an Anxious Bean – how will he mesh with the Pokemon’s foreign world. Finding out how character dynamics will form and the nature of all the mysteries are my main points of interest in the fic right now.

Typos and Nitpicks:

I turned around towards the voice, and saw that same Chikorita as before—the same red leaf and everything. They looked much larger now, though.
I was about to ask who he was when Saltriv ran straight towards the Charmander. “Burhalla!”

Burhalla ran towards Saltriv and tackled them in a hug. “Saltriv! You’re ok!”

Minor quibble with the pronouns. I assumed that Gen was calling Saltriv “they” here because he switched to viewing Pokémon as people but still couldn’t distinguish Pokémon gender/sex. However, when Burhalla came in, Gen somehow knew his gender?

The human looked up, then grabbed me and ran, just as something smashed down where we were. Then I woke up here. I think that human saved me! Or maybe it was just a dream,” they said, before pausing.

“What do you last remember?” they echoed back.

The way this is spaced made me initially assume that Gen was repeating his question. I think this would be better as one paragraph.

“Where are we?”asked Saltriv.

Missing space.


Chapter 3

👀 at the unique POV and formatting in the first scenes of this fic. I figured pretty quickly it was a Pokémon who gained another head or something after evolution; after the types were mentioned I figured it was an Arctozolt. Cool interpretation of the Pokémon, with their warring minds forced together.

Arctozolt feels like an antagonist, judging by their being quick to anger and enact violence. I don’t know what they want, but 1) they’re after Burhalla?? and 2) they’re from Gen’s world???

Our Pokedexes, stored away.
Forget about that for now! That Charmander’s probably on the next floor by now! You thought.


Bloody Unovan. I thought back, as we resumed down the corridor, and ended up in a wide room.

I have no idea what these hints could mean, but I’m intrigued. For the latter quote… is Unovan referring to Charmander, to Burhalla?

I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

“You really don’t know what a Mystery Dungeon is?” Saltriv asked, bringing me out of my thoughts. “Everyone knows about them!

Amnesia (real or pretend) can be a useful trope to introduce worldbuilding to both the amnesiac character and reader, but I feel like a lot of the explanations in this chapter weren't necessary. After all, I and probably most of your readers are familiar with the PMD franchise. I like explanations when you present your twist on the canon, but with things like Mystery Dungeons where it's a very typical portrayal, that's not so interesting.

This bit is a humorous lampshade, though:

I heard him mutter something about being able to recite it from memory.

(Here's another bit I found humorous. This is one way to deal with this PMD issue xD)

I didn't have any fingers anymore, yet I could still grasp it, like my nubs were some sort of suction cup almost. It felt completely different to grabbing stuff with my hands.

Moving on, I'm even more curious as to what's happening in this world:

I noticed Burhalla’s expression pale, as I wondered who the Kecleon brothers were. He walked over to the apple, and put it in his bag. “I need to tell you something,” he said, looking at Saltriv.
“What do you mean?! I talked to them just yesterday after the last day of school!” Saltriv responded.


“Saltriv...you’ve been missing for months.”


“W-what?!”

A lot of drama. I wonder how much Saltriv knows about their world's situation and how they'll deal with it when they return home.

For Gen in this chapter, there are things I like and dislike. For starters, I wish that Gen had interacted with the other characters more. He spends a lot of time in his head; that isn't necessarily bad, but I feel like it's retreading old ground when he doesn't have any outside input. For instance, here:

This was a lot to take in. First off, Pokemon had school here?! Was there an entire civilization of Pokemon in this world? Leon, whoever that was, and Saltriv had both gone missing for quite a while, apparently. And there was a Patrat that had gone shadowy, whatever that meant, and Burhalla had thought Saltriv did too? Did that have anything to do with that shadowy aura I saw around the Pokemon back on that platform, including Saltriv?


I was about to run over and ask what any of that meant, when I heard something to my right.

Gen repeats how confused and scared he is, which has already been conveyed. You could have shortened the first paragraph, and then put some of that info into whatever he was going to say before the disruption.

I really like the consequences he is already facing for his lie, as well as the situations that come from being a fish out of water. I laughed when he assumed all Pokemon were like Saltriv and Burhalla.

“Hello? Who are you?” I asked it, only to be swiftly answered by it ramming its beak into my forehead.

Very understandable mistake xD, but then when he tried to use a move by saying it out... oh that poor boy ;)

But of course, there are other consequences to his lie:

This was bad. This was very bad. If he found out I was lying about not remembering anything, I'd be alone in this world. I was in too deep now to admit to things, either. He'd never believe me. The only thing I could do was keep up the act and hope he never finds out.

Oof, this poor boy. Though I found the thought process to his original decision confusing, his feeling like he's trapped is more understandable. He's a very anxious boy. I wonder if he had enough support at home? He's terrified about his initial error, and his thought process is very catastrophizing. Inevitably Burhalla and Saltriv will find out; it's worrying to watch Gen dig himself deeper. I like this character arc being set up for him.

Hopefully they’d be willing to.


“Can I go with you two? I don’t have anywhere else to go,” I asked the two.


Burhalla smiled. “Of course! I already offered to bring you to the mayor to see if she could help.” His smile faded a bit. “Did you forget that too?”

Again, I wonder about his backstory because of how he assumes no one will have his back. I wish he was a bit more active in this chapter, but I'm invested in his character development.
 

Equitial

Pokémon Trainer
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. inkay
Chapter 4

To the village Saltriv and Burhalla return, and Gen goes for the first time. I enjoyed reading about how he viewed the town, and also I enjoyed the characters introduced here. Saltriv’s and Burhalla’s parents were well-drawn, and I like that Porygon with their quirks. Very memorable for whom I assume will be a minor character.

I shuddered as the memory came back. Listening to the news about how Kyogre and Groudon were rampaging near Hoenn, frantically packing only the necessities before leaving the house, getting lost in the crowd and separated from my family as everyone in Goldenrod evacuated, calling out for help to no avail...If that brawl had made its way to Johto—

Very interesting 👀. It must have been a very scary experience for Gen – I wonder exactly how long it’s been since that happened.

As we climbed the hill, I started to hear unfamiliar voices, though I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. I slowed my pace a bit. I looked towards the other two, and they didn’t seem to notice them. Was I just hearing things?

Should I tell the others? Would they believe me? Would it be a good idea to keep this a secret from them after what Burhalla had said

Poor Gen being so uncertain about everything, even wondering if he should mention the sounds he’s hearing. It looks like he’ll need a lot of help in this new world. Saltriv and Burhalla will do that, but I really hope Gen can gain at least a little bit of confidence before his lies are revealed.

“I’m not sure if I should believe you. You’re not faking it, trying to pretend to be another amnesiac human sent to save the world?” the Typhlosion interrogated. “There’s been four Pokemon who tried lying about that just this month.”

Oh. Uh oh. This isn’t going to make anything easier for Gen. And this is Burhalla’s dad. Burhalla’s conflict with his father seems like a very prominent trait in Burhalla’s character. I wonder how his father’s perception of Gen will affect Burhalla when the Charmander eventually finds out.

“You are telling me the truth, right?” he questioned, turning to me, a look of suspicion on his face. “You’re not another Pokemon doing that for attention?”

“I’m not,” I hastily responded. It was true for one of his questions, at least.

Now technically, Gen was accurate on both points. He’s both not an attention-seeking Pokémon and not telling the truth.

Eventually, the others stopped, as we came to a house that looked like four massive pumpkins joined together, with gigantic leaves topping two of them, and a tree on top of a third.

This is fun concept for a Pokémon house. I liked the little details strewn about as Gen examined Saltriv’s home.

Burhalla also did two Embers one after the other back in Twig Woodland. I was almost certain moves couldn’t be used that quickly after each other.

Oh right. I don’t think I explicitly commented on this, but I think my theory is that Saltriv did this? They’re a different color, so a different form who can use Fire-type attacks?

Why did I even start that lie, anyways? All it’s caused me is trouble, and I can’t come clean now, or I’ll lose Burhalla’s trust, along with likely the trust of everyone else here.

Would they have believed me if I told the truth, though? With there apparently being Pokemon faking being amnesiac humans, not to mention humans being legends here, they probably wouldn’t.

Oh, Gen. I do have to admit that he has dug quite a hole for himself. Poor boy, I am absolutely dreading the fallout. I like how the distrust about Pokemon pretending to be humans comes in to cement Gen’s decision to lie. It makes a lot of sense why Gen is doing this; I am simply praying for this kid.

I paid little attention to his actions, instead glancing towards the empty table to my right. Gen should have been here for his shift hours ago. Where could he be?

Ooh, back to the human world I see. We’re getting some details about Gen’s human life. He worked in a casino?? Even regarding Gen’s age, I can’t see him being able to stand up for himself to a casino's… hmm, rougher customers. Eeeeep

Hopefully Gen would turn up soon. Managing Voltorb Flip all by myself was exhausting.

Plus, I did miss him a bit.

I wonder who exactly this person is. A friend, just a random coworker? It’s possible that the person finding Gen’s ribbon is a one-off, but maybe not. If a friend, that’s, um, a little concerning this person has issues admitting his like of Gen. Either way, though, I like this peek into how people in the human world view Gen.

Grammar note:

“Hi, dad,” Burhalla responded after a pause.
“I want to see dad again.”

When used as a title, words such as “mom” or “dad” should be capitalized. A good way to see if you should capitalize is to try swapping in a name and seeing if it still makes sense. For instance, “I want to see [Dad/Steve] again” works fine, therefore you’ll want to capitalize Dad. Whereas if it were, “He wants to see his [father/Steve] again,” that doesn’t work so well. Do not capitalize.


Chapter 5

(Minor note: it’s difficult to read the chapter title in TR's dark mode.)

Ah, I really, really liked this chapter. It threw a lot of balls in the air, so many mysteries and happenings. It’s a great way to cap off the end of the first part; my favorite chapter so far!!

I took a sharp right down the alley next to ol’ Flapple’s home. He’s sure been missing for a while now. I miss those times when we hung—

when we hung—

when we hung—

hungasfgdgdwqrqrqopnzmanzaggleccQSAJKJKJAOPFAFMALFLAPPLEFLNALFKAQOIUQNI

Toucannon can launch plain seeds with enough power to destroy boulders.

I figured the POV character this time was some village Pokémon, but it was only until this moment that I realized it was Porygon. I really like this quirk of their POV. It was very effective at demonstrating how much they miss Flapple. Oh wow, I was really sorry for Porygon after reading this. (Also I ship PNS-NT/Flapple.)

It was wrong in every possible way. It looked like someone had taken half an Arctoar and half a Ruzolt and stitched them together in the worst way they could.
...
The top half almost looked parasitic, like a Poisonous Slowking or a Parasect, as if it was a stem that had grown out of the corpse of an Arctoar. The hands almost seemed like they were tacked on as an afterthought, unable to reach anything. The whole top part looked like it was permanently locked in an ice bath, a frozen glob of snot dangling from its nostrils, almost like that of a Cubchoo.

The Galarian fossil Pokémon are monstrous sins against nature, and I like how you portray them here.

Suddenly, it lunged—

it lunged—

it LUNGED—

LUNGEDAFAKJFJAJFLARCTOJLFLAPPLEQKFJQFKAJKFJAKFKAFHLAJL QRQUINOJMQNOHUMANOBJCMBJBQAWHFCHASVBKFQHNO KFNQKJBJFQ BJB FJQVJQHARUNOHFHZOLTAKHFJAH FHAJKFN0JS11KJN0G010101010100101010

Error. Six unreceived packets. Backing up memories, then commencing reboot with unit PNS-NT.

NO, PNS-NT NOOOOO!!

So. I liked this sequence. A lot. PNS-NT's quirky POV really helped here, making the attack against them stick out all the more. No details were portrayed, but “it lunged” being repeating, them glitching out again, and that last paragraph being so ominous. Really great job. I’m even really attached to a character I barely know because of their quirks of speech in the previous chapter. You did a wonderful job with this.

(and oh no did Flapple’s name appear in the final keyboard smash. oh no I love Flapple and PNS-NT crying)

“I’m not going to punish you, Burhalla. You saved Saltriv, and I’m sure their parents are thrilled to have them back. As reckless of a decision it was to go into there, I’m proud of you for saving them,” he told me, in a softer tone.

I smiled a bit in response. That was a relief, unless he was lying again.

I appreciate the depiction of Burhalla’s father here. He’s harsh, but you can see where he’s coming from. He does care about Burhalla but –

“Why do you trust this Pokemon you didn’t know before yesterday more than your own father?” my father demanded.

“Because he hasn’t lied to me like you do!” I shouted back.

“For your own benefit!”

“Lying to me about my mother isn’t for my benefit!”

“You wouldn’t have been able to handle learning about her death!”

“It would have been better than you keeping me in the dark about it for YEARS!”

Oh god. Ouch. I definitely understand where Burhalla is coming from. That kind of thing… not good, not good at all. I would have trust issues after that too. (Though I dread how he’ll react to Gen.)

?? Month of Autumn, ?? Day

It’s been a while since I wrote in here!

For the next scene, I really like putting Saltriv’s journal entry here. It’s a nice twist with the first person POV and flows really well. It felt a little long though. I liked seeing Saltriv’s optimistic writing and their view on events, but some of that could have been cut out probably. Just keep the most important bits.

He asked me what I remembered last, and I told him about that place with the weird sky and the human. I don’t think he believed me, though. I can hardly believe it myself! An actual human!

Oh, the irony. Saltriv believes Gen didn’t believe them. Oh no. What a big big mess Gen has made for himself.

Anyways, the sun’s been up for a while now. I should get up. See ya tonight!

~ Saltriv


I wiped away the tear stains, before closing the journal, and laying it back under the blanket with a vine.

Oh, that optimistic writing switching to reveal that Saltriv had been crying. Poor baby, I want to hug them. This is a great decision to start with Saltriv’s journal, by the way. You get to emphasize their determination to look on the bright side, then reveal the emotions of they’re feeling beyond that. I love this concept.

Team Seedlings Base

Ooh, something I wasn’t expecting. The heroes of the games appear in this. Big 👀.

“There has to be some kind of lead, right? Gen, did you find out if anyone had disappeared from the human world?” the Meganium asked, looking towards the unkempt Dewott.

Wuh – what.

Um, so this is a plot twist. This character having the same name and species cannot be a coincidence. Oh, very intriguing. Dying to know where you go with this.

“By the way, Acacia, was your nibling found yet?”

“...no. Saltriv’s still missing,” the Meganium, Acacia, solemnly responded.

Ah, and Saltriv is the nibling of another human/partner. Lots of connections with heroes and humans. (minor note: I love the word nibling. Glad to see it here)

Chunks of dirt and rock were scattered everywhere. In the middle of the crater, was a wooden red mailbox, intact save for its post being jagged and half missing, as if it had been snapped off. Everyone soon crowded around it.

Oh hey the mailbox returns! It makes me wonder about the machinations of whatever is going behind the scenes. I definitely agree with Dewott Gen that this is not a coincidence. I see that Gen was a human as well. Could he… somehow be Gen from the future? But oh boy, how would that happen?

“I’ll go, then. I can look in the human world while I’m there.

Hmm, they can return to the human world?

Ayueg and Leviene were the first two to leave, heading towards Pokemon Plaza. Inside the former’s shadow, I followed them, thinking back over what had happened.

This was juicy. So they ALL were going to the Thunder Continent. It was a great decision to spy on this meeting.

Time to bring the news to Necrozma.

Ohhhh I didn’t even notice this scene wasn’t in first person. That makes sense. Again, great job of playing with your chosen POV. So far, you’ve shown that you have a lot of great ideas, and these mysteries are tasty. Definitely want to keep reading.

Grammar note:

with 8 very special Pokemon

Rules about numbers are kind of weird, but eight should be written out here. Generally, you only want digits when it’s something like a date or the number would be very ungainly to spell out (like 3710532).
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Hi, Bench! For @Navarchu's Blitz prize, he asked me to review you! So here I am. I read chapters 1 and 2.

I want to start by saying that I don't have a ton of experience playing the PMD games, so I'll only be commenting on what I notice in your story, not how it relates/doesn't relate to the games you took inspiration from. Also, the piece you commissioned from A_G Systems is so nice! Sets a lovely mood for the reading experience.

With that...

Chapter 1

General Thoughts:

I appreciated that the title of the chapter gives us a little bit of context and sense of place. For all the description we get throughout the chapter, it's not really clear what exactly is happening or why--for Gen or for me. I get that you're riffing off the "pick your character" segment at the start of every PMD game, but I'm not sure yet what the significance of you image choices will be for the broader story. Like, there's an emphasis here on mailboxes, paper, the written word, and it's all tied up in Gen's transformation. Does that mean some kind of interdimensional power chose this for him? Why is this how they choose to communicate with him?

Considering your premise is that your isekai'd human actually has his memories this time, I thought it was a shame we didn't learn anything significant about his past here. I think it would've really helped ground the narrative if you'd opened with some kind of flashback from Gen before he wakes up on a weird plateau styled like the Zoombinis Bubble Wonder Abyss. Maybe it's the last thing he remembers before Weird Abyss. Maybe it's something he's been worried about or avoiding--if the idea is that he's going to lie about not remembering his past later in the story, there must be something in his past that's influencing that choice, right? Getting some early hints of that would help lay the groundwork for the kinds of truble he'll get into later! Right now, I really don't know anything about him except that he's having a No Good Very Bad Day.

You've also got a lot of interrobangs (?!) throughout. I usually avoid them altogether in fiction unless it's part of an instant messaging thread, but even if you do decide to use them, you'll want it to be sparingly. Otherwise, they lose their impact. I think a great way to show Gen's bewilderment more naturally would be to give us more body language cues! Is he sweating? Heart racing? Dry mouth? This would be another great place to sprinkle in some of his backstory/memories. Okay, yeah, being turned into a pokemon would be alarming, sure. But being turned into a pokemon and wondering if you'll ever see your mom again as a result is way more upsetting.

In every direction I looked, it ended the same distance away. I was on some sort of circular plateau.
This is a little clunky. Suggestion: I sat at the center of a plateau, and stretching on all sides was more of the strange, shimmering vortex.

I hurriedly retreated in shock, before standing back up. There was nothing but a completely vertical drop into an abyss, that looked exactly like the strange skies above.
The order of cause and effect here is a little weird. The standing up makes it feel like done with this, on to the next thing, and only then do we get an explanation for why he recoiled. It would read more smoothly if it were structured instead as a) scrambling back from the edge b) explanation (there's only abyss) c) stand back up.

As I did so, I noticed that, for some reason, my reflection looked different. I bent down to take a closer look. That looked like an...Oshawott?!

What had happened to me while I was holding that bow?! There was no way I could have become a Pokemon. I had to still be human, right?

I moved my hands in front of my face. They were still human hands. What was that all about? What was any of this all about?! I threw the bow back down at the ground.
I'm unconvinced that Gen is willing to believe he's a pokemon so quickly, especially if his hands still look human. In this weird zone of rainbow abysses and magic mailboxes, why does seeing an oshawott translate to "that's my reflection--that's me?" It seems like nothing here feels real to him. Why not assume it's a window or a trick or the light or some other kind of illusion?

I also wanted to know more about his relationship to the idea of pokemon here. Is he a human from our world where pokemon are only fictional characters? Is a human from the mainline games, and if so is he a trainer? Seems relevant here!

"Rescue one," it read. Rescue from what?! Those shadows? Why only one?!
This is an interesting inversion of the partner-picking. This seems to imply there's something already wrong in this world.

Chapter 2

General Thoughts:

In this chapter, we start to learn a little about the town, the problems it's facing, and the third member of the main trio. Right now, of the three, we know the most about Bruhalla. He's got a history with the community and with the local mystery dungeons. He's cocky enough to run into a dungeon by himself without telling anyone but still also a little unsure of himself. There's definitely an opportunity here to give us more information about his friendship with Saltriv, but I already felt immediately more grounded and invested at the start of this chapter than I did at the start of the previous one.

The new point of view character did confuse me at first, though, since they're both in first person. And then the jump back to Gen confused me again. I couldn't even tell if it was Gen or Saltriv. We either need some much stronger context cues or a subtitle telling us who's POV it is.

We also learn that a) neighbors are vanishing mysteriously and b) there's some kind of shadow-sickness happening. I wish we knew more about that! It seems like something Bruhalla would've witnessed and could say more about.

I appreciated the little hints about Gen's difference in perspective, like his assumption that a wild pokemon might attack him.

One missing poster in particular caught my eye, struggling to stay attached to the billboard against the breeze, depicting a Chikorita with an autumn-red leaf. That was Saltriv!
This made me wonder how uncommon shiny pokemon are in this setting! Also, HUH, why do only some of the pokemon get unique names and some of them are just Flapple? 🤔

Many of those that were found were shadowy, and had to be taken out of town to get better.
I have no idea what this means. It makes me picture the evil purple shadows that are ubiquitous in 90's anime, but I don't have any sense of how it's affecting people, which is way more important to me narratively than what it looks like. Is this a behavioral symptom? Are these pokemon lashing out violently at others? Is it more like an illness? Are those infected getting weak and dying?

Surely Bruhalla has seen this happen to someone and could comment on how frightening it was!

They were pretty young compared to most of the others on the billboard; if they had gone shadowy, I could probably take them on, especially with today’s fire-type V-Wave.
This is a little clinical. If they're Bruhalla's friend, I would expect their reasoning for seeking them out to be less "this is an attainable goal" and more "my friend! Who I've shared so many memories with! I have to help them!!" I also have zero idea what a V-Wave is.

I had to do this in secret. There was no way I could find two other people who would agree to making a search party with me. Aron and Rockruff were both still tired after yesterday, and Helioptile was several towns over. Even if that weren’t the case, I doubt they’d be up for a full-time commitment like that. Plus, if Dad or the police ever learned what I was doing, I’d never hear the end of it.
Huh. Having trouble following the logic here. I don't think that "no one will want to join me" follows naturally from "this must be a secret." Maybe he wouldn't bother telling them in that case, but that's different from actively keeping it a secret. Dad or police finding out could be grounds for keeping it a secret, but ... we learn later that he already has experience going into dungeons and finding people, so I can't quite tell what the norm is here. Is this really dangerous and he's stupid for not telling anyone where he's going? Or is this pretty normal and his dad is overprotective? If it's really that dangerous that police might get involved, it seems like there should be other barriers or social structures to stop him from doing this.

Connection orb to find where Saltriv was, check!
If it's that easy to locate them, what's stopped someone older/more experienced from doing this earlier?

I walked out of the main square and off the path to a small stone slab behind the house Flapple lived in before he disappeared.
Since the story is told in past tense and Flapple disappeared before the start of the story, it should be in past perfect tense: I walked out of the main square and off the path to a small stone slab behind the house Flapple had lived in before he'd disappeared.

I’ll have to ask PNS-NT later to Recycle it.
I'm assuming PNS-NT is a porygon or something? (What does that mean in a world that doesn't have humans in it??) But I'm not totally sure. Right now, it's gibberish to me. I'm also not sure why recycle is capitalized. Even if it's a pokemon move, it's just being used a verb here.

where Mrs. Meganium and Mr. Torterra were talking to a Wooper I didn’t recognize—who soon left with a cheri berry. The pink line between the two was strong, and a blue line just as strong was behind each, both heading in the direction of the forest. Those must be the lines connecting them and Saltriv.
I didn't realize at first that these must be Saltriv's parents because Bruhalla sweeps past it all so quickly. I'm surprised we don't get a chance to see their presumably worried behavior. Does Bruhalla feel sad for their loss? Is he frustrated that they're not out looking for their child? Either way, it seems like there should be some kind of emotional response here.

Deep breaths. In, and out. Let my tail flame grow, then die down. Burn the stress away.
Aww, this was a cute character moment.

Hopefully, I wouldn’t be the next one missing.
Gee, if only there were a way to prevent this! Like, maybe, telling literally anyone where you're going or letting the police handle it?

Real talk, this felt like a weird note to end this segment on. If he's really that worried, it seems like he wouldn't be rushing into the dungeon by himself without telling anyone.

Twig Woodland Clearing
This felt like a video game convention that doesn't do you much good in narrative fiction. For me, it would be much more interesting to see it described through your characters' eyes. And, since you switch POVs here, it would be way more useful to label this section "Gen" instead.

Blades of grass pushed up against me as they were buffeted by a gale. I felt a leaf brush against my face as it was carried away by a gust of wind.
You've got two lines involving wind here, which is repetitive. You've also got a filter verb you can cut to make the sentence more impactful. Suggestion: A leaf brushed my face as a gust of wind carried it ...

I recognized that voice. That was the Chikorita that fell with me after...whatever that hand thing was shattered the platform.
Did Saltriv actually talk in the first chapter? I don't remember that. If they did talk, it's also weird that it takes Gen until now to react in surprise to that.

As I stood up, I noticed that things were very different than they were on that platform surrounded by a psychedelic abyss. The ground seemed to continue quite a ways away, and was uneven, unlike the perfectly flat ground of that platform. There were trees around, and through the openings in their branches, I saw a bright blue sky with clouds strewn about. Twigs were scattered everywhere.
I appreciate the scene-setting here! I did find it a little odd that you open by comparing it to the abyss/platform, though. It made the shift from Bruhalla in town to Gen in the woods even harder to process. Suggestion: When I woke up, I once again has no idea where I was. The ground was uneven and trees were all around ...

Also, I know it's in the name, but ... aren't twigs on the ground just a normal feature of a forest? :wink:

“What do you last remember?” I asked them.
We stan a protagonist who actually asks questions.

That I was that human?
Huh, this didn't completely land for me. I think part of the problem is that, as I said in talking about chapter 1, we never had a chance to be grounded in Gen's humanity and physicality. Saltriv also describes him picking them up, which I didn't remember happening.

What was that?! Did something find us? I had no idea how to defend myself!
Oof, that's quite a jump, from what is it to how do I fight it. Is this Gen's vibe, jumping to see everything as a threat?

I could faintly notice small droplets in his eyes. Were those tears? I didn’t know fire-types could cr—
A little clunky. Suggestion: Droplets glistened in the corner of his eyes. Were those tears?

“Hello? You there?” he said, waving a hand in front of my face.
I'm having trouble believing that Gen was really quiet for long enough to warrant a hand being waved in his face. This feels especially rude since they just met.

“I have no idea.” Well, besides maybe falling into that abyss, but I doubted he’d believe that.
It's weird to me that so much of his reasoning for not wanting to disclose his past is thinking they wouldn't believe him. I think the later line about being worried that they'll judge him negatively for being a human is a much more compelling reason to lie about his memories. (And so far we mostly know that humans are mythological here; there's nothing to indicate yet that people here do have negative views about humans.)

I doubted they’d react well to knowing about how Pokemon like them were usually treated in my world.
👀

Hope you still remember your moves at least, Gen.”
This felt a little video-gamey to me, too. It also felt a little turn-to-camera. Like, why would Bruhalla and Saltriv even guess that he wouldn't know his moves? Sure, he's claiming to have lost memories, but he can clearly still walk and talk and do other things that come naturally to most people in this world.

At this point, I'm hoping that something Gen remembers from his human life is uniquely helpful in combating this infiltration of shadows! I don't often see PMD protagonists who remember being human, so that's a pretty fun concept to play with. The choice to immediately lie to his new friends is also interesting. That should give him plenty to learn and growth through at least, haha.

If you've got thoughts/questions, feel free to reply here or DM me on Discord! Hope these comments were useful. ☀
 

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
Blitz exchange time!


I really had a lot of fun with this story. PMD has so many delightfully fun ways to twist the mold. You've decided to go with this little bean Gen, who can't help but lie about where he comes from. I can see this causing him a mighty big deal of trouble later down the line.

I read chapters 1-3 and I have to say, I really did like them. The first one was very 'whoa weird whats this whats going on', in a fun way.

Gen wakes up on this weird pedestal, there's a magic mailbox, and strange sky, and so many other wierd stuff. Having Gen acknowledge how strange all this was works very good.

I wonder, was the mailbox *supposed* to be destroyed? It almost seemed like there could have been two forces at play. Whatever strange space he was in, something was coming for him. I also wonder about those shadowy pokemon? What were they doing there? Why could he only save one? Did Saltriv get saved by accident or on purpose?

There's a lot of great questions posed, and I look forward to see what all these details mean.

Then in the second chapter, we follow a new character. I enjoyed seeing the perspective of one of the townspoke, who we see is friends with Saltriv. I like that you introduced that aspect quickly. I did find myself feeling a little blind picture who were following though, right until the end. I wonder if you couldn't slip in another detail of Burhalla's species a little sooner?

Then we go to Gen as he wakes up in his strange new body and struggles to adapt. I really liked seeing the world through Gen's eyes. I sympathized with how confused and lost he felt.

And then he slipped into telling those lies. Oh boy, probably not a good idea. That won't possibly come back to bite him later. Right???

The one part that confused me was the bit where you switched to second person with the colored text. I'm not sure if maybe I as the reader was meant to feel very lost? The grammar and everything was fine, but I'm not sure who it was or what was happening. If this was the sensation you meant to evoke though, I think that's fine. Especially if you wanted a sense of a confused mystery, then you did great!

Then we end with Gen choosing to accompany them out, which is great. Poor guy though. I'll go to some line by lines now to discuss things.

My eyes slowly opened, as I woke up, still tired, not ready for whatever today would bring. I rubbed my eyes, feeling grass brush up against my arm as I moved it.

Wait, grass?! I don’t remember sleeping outside!
Good opener!

I hastily stood up, and gawked at what I saw. A few meters away, the ground ended, and beyond, was a constantly changing sky, of greens and purples and blues and whites, all shifting and distorting with each second. I turned around, hoping that something else laid behind me, but the ground ended just as quickly that way, too. In every direction I looked, it ended the same distance away. I was on some sort of circular plateau.
I liked this bit of description. I could build a good (weird) mental image of the place.

This had to be a dream. This couldn’t be real. I pinched my arm, and winced. That pain felt real. This was real. This was happening. Where was I?! How did I get here?!
Good flow of thought

What was I even doing? None of this made any sense! Who wrote this, and why should I listen to them?

Did I really have any other choice, though?
Honestly Gen, I wondered the same thing. I also had the same thought of 'I mean what else are ya gonna do?'

After a minute of contemplation, I wrote down "Gen" on the paper, then inserted it into the mailbox.
I am curious now if Gen is his real name. Did he contemplate because he was thinking of a name, or uncertain if he should write the name. Intriguing.

That looked like an...Oshawott?!
I moved my hands in front of my face. They were still human hands.
Very weird. So he only had an Oshawott head, or perhaps he saw a vision.

Oddly, there didn't seem to be any Water-types.
Classic game logic. Love it.

A single paper had appeared in the center of the platform. I hesitated, before going over to it, and reading it. I gawked as I processed the message. "Rescue one," it read. Rescue from what?! Those shadows? Why only one?! This didn't make any sense! I grabbed the paper, crumpled it, and threw it. "What's going on?!" I yelled, as I looked towards the many-colored sky.
This has strong SCREM energy lol

Did I accidentally hit it with the paper?
Huh, so I wonder, was this fate or accident. Lol.

Well, there was that one Meowth that was on the news once, but that was just one Pokemon...right?
TR reference? GEN IS ASH KETCHUM CONFIRMED (jk)

I looked over the billboard, full with missing posters, lit by the sunlight that made its way through the clouds above. It’s depressing how small our town has gotten. I recognized Treecko, Sneasel, Morpeko, Orbeetle, Flapple, even Leon. I heard the whole Kecleon clan was looking for him. I haven’t seen Kecky at all since he disappeared. At least my own family isn’t among the missing.
This is a grim reality to have normalized.

So many people were going missing, and so few were being found. Many of those that were found were shadowy, and had to be taken out of town to get better.
This makes me think of how parents tell their kids that Fido the dog went to live on a farm.

I had to do this in secret. There was no way I could find two other people who would agree to making a search party with me. Aron and Rockruff were both still tired after yesterday, and Helioptile was several towns over.
Neat detail. Burhalla seems familiar with the concept of running rescues, so this was a good way to work this in.

I headed over to the nearest deposit box to get everything I’d need, putting it all in my bag. Apple in case I get hungry, check! Max ether in case I get exhausted, check! A slumber wand to incapacitate Saltriv if they’ve gone shadowy, check! Two oran berries in case I get hurt, check! A tiny reviver seed just in case, check! Connection orb to find where Saltriv was, check! I still had my pecha scarf and looplet on in case they were in a Mystery Dungeon. I was all ready.
It was nice seeing that Burhalla is cautious and does his research.

I emerged from behind the house and reentered the square. I could see all sorts of lines connecting the Pokemon around the square, some faint, some bold, some green, some orange.
This was really interesting, I hope this comes back. What do the lines colors mean, and the intensity?

Deep breaths. In, and out. Let my tail flame grow, then die down. Burn the stress away.
THIS WAS VERY GOOD!!!!! We learn what species Burhalla is, a coping mechanisms he's using, and insight to his character. This was really really good prose, A+.

Hopefully, I wouldn’t be the next one missing.
A scary ending line. I like it.

The sound of trees swaying in the breeze reached my ears. Blades of grass pushed up against me as they were buffeted by a gale. I felt a leaf brush against my face as it was carried away by a gust of wind. My eyes opened slowly as I struggled to full awareness.

As I stood up, I noticed that things were very different than they were on that platform surrounded by a psychedelic abyss.
Good open.

They looked much larger now, though.
I appreciated that the size difference is now apparent.

Saltriv turned back towards me. “I was walking down the path to visit Burhalla. The next thing I knew, I woke up in this strange place with a weird sky, and there was this tall thing that looked just like the humans of legends!
So humans are legends in this world? that's very interesting.

I didn’t really have time to process that before, but now...it’s unlikely that my hometown exists here. Even if they did believe me if I said that I was a human from another world, what if they started asking me questions about my world? I doubted they’d react well to knowing about how Pokemon like them were usually treated in my world.
I agree this line is very intriguing. Are pokemon treated badly in his world? Are they wild, or perhaps Gen is worried about how they feel about battling for sport? I hope we get to explore further this later!

I began to sweat. Maybe I should just come clean now? No, then nobody here would trust me. And apparently Pokemon in this world lived in towns?
Uh oh

This shouldn’t be too difficult, then,” Burhalla said, as we emerged into a larger, oddly rectangular clearing bordered by a thick layer of trees, with gaps in many places.
Ah, so this is using very game logic? Interesting.

I heard him mutter something about being able to recite it from memory.
Cute detail!

This didn’t sound like anything I’ve heard of back in Johto. Really, nothing here did. Reality being unstable in places? Humans being legends? Pokemon that lived in towns without humans? Everything here was so strange and foreign, including my own body.
Ah, so gen is from Johto?

I didn't have any fingers anymore, yet I could still grasp it, like my nubs were some sort of suction cup almost. It felt completely different to grabbing stuff with my hands.
lol, this was funny. How do pokemon like Oshawott pick things up? WHO KNOWS?

This Pokemon was behaving like the wild Pokemon back home. Did those exist here, too? I didn’t have much time to ponder that, as it tried pecking at me again. I grimaced in pain as its beak collided with my forehead once more.
Ah, this is a teensy insight to wild pokemon in Gen's world. I hope we get more.

“I'd have told you if they weren't. I'm not my father. I don't lie about things like that.”


There was bitterness in Burhalla’s voice as he said that.
DO I detect a trace of bitterness?

This was bad. This was very bad. If he found out I was lying about not remembering anything, I'd be alone in this world. I was in too deep now to admit to things, either. He'd never believe me. The only thing I could do was keep up the act and hope he never finds out.
Oh boy.

“Something’s coming,” I bluffed without thinking. No! That wouldn’t work, unless I got extraordinarily lucky.


Before he could ask, a small Pokemon wrapped in leaves entered the room we were in through the single corridor. I breathed a sigh of relief, only to be cut short as I was covered in silk. The sensation of the sticky string against my new fur was not pleasant in the slightest.
Shoot, Gen is lucky.

“I just sorta...felt it, I guess,” I lied. I was digging myself deeper, but it was too late at this point for me to be honest.
Oh dear.

I immediately complied, hurrying towards the stairs as fast as I could manage, hyperventilating as I ran. This was terrifying!
This was one part where I feel like I could use some more detail. It communicates it well enough, but it would be fun to add a bit more, me thinks.
["hyperventilating as I ran. My heart pounded in my tiny chest, and I struggle to propel myself with my tiny feet. This was terrifying!"]
That's just an example

With monster houses, the Pokemon drop from the ceiling.
I actually like that game logic is used here. It's also very funny to imagine pokemon dropping from the ceiling.

The three of us walked into the light.
Nice end.

I actually enjoyed this a lot. I'm sorry, I don't have a lot of critique to offer. The spelling and grammar was all mostly fine for me, and I liked Gen.

It was a little harder to get a read on Gen and Saltriv, but you dropped some good hints about them, and its still early in the story. I thought the elements so far were solid, and I'll probably read more when I have time. I genuinely thought this was pretty good and I am interested to see how this mystery unfolds, what is up with Burhalla's parents, and what will happen to Gen.

Also, here, meme time!
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HelloYellow17

Artsy Whimsical Nerd
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. suicune
back for more! Let’s do this!

these next couple chapters had quite a few mind-bending moments, but in a good way! I found myself asking “what is going on!?” at the end of chapter 5, LOL. I’ll get to my specific thoughts on that below!

I shuddered as the memory came back. Listening to the news about how Kyogre and Groudon were rampaging near Hoenn, frantically packing only the necessities before leaving the house, getting lost in the crowd and separated from my family as everyone in Goldenrod evacuated, calling out for help to no avail...If that brawl had made its way to Johto—

Ooh, I love it when events from other regions are mentioned. Makes sense that the Hoenn disaster would have a global effect and cause massive panic. Also, poor Gen, that would be so traumatizing to get separated from your family like that. :(

“Well, se-se-seems like Burhalla’s fine, and they even brought back Saltriv and this Oshawott! All’s well that en-en-ends well, at least!” the Porygon-Z stuttered, bringing me back to reality as I was finally addressed.

Okay I LOVE your portrayal of Porygon Z! Their dialogue is so well written, I could hear the odd robotic sounds haha

“I’m not sure if I should believe you. You’re not faking it, trying to pretend to be another amnesiac human sent to save the world?” the Typhlosion interrogated. “There’s been four Pokemon who tried lying about that just this month.”

oh?? More humans turned Pokémon? that was hinted at in chapter 3, but it sounds like there’s a lot more! Sad that people are assuming they’re all pretending, though. I mean, why would they?

“Let’s head home. Night is almost upon us.” the Torterra said, exiting the tent. The Meganium started towards a road next to an oddly apple-shaped house. Saltriv and their father followed, and so did I.

So...does Saltriv’s parents have names? If so, why didn’t they introduce themselves at this point?

However, it was far more likely that they wouldn’t believe me, especially after what Typhlosion said. Worst case scenario, Saltriv’s family kicks me out, Burhalla is told, and I have no one to help me figure out this world.

Ouch, that’s harsh. They would turn away an amnesiac stranger and just leave them on the street? Surely there’s some sort of system or someone they could send lost wanderers to, right?

Gah, why was any of this happening?! Why couldn’t I be back home, where things actually made sense?!

What was happening back home, even? Were my family and friends ok? Did they know where I was? Were they trying to find me right now?

I want to go home. I want to go back to my family. I want to go back to the world I know.

I want to wake up back in my bed, like this all never happened.

You wrote Gen’s inner panic/spiraling thoughts SO well. And honestly, I appreciate the fact that he’s not having one single moment of panic and then moving on—no! Anybody would be continually stressed and confused about this!


I stopped, doing a double take. Yep, that was Gen alright, or at least a picture of him. And on a missing poster, too.

Well, this sucked.

Nothing I could do anything about, though.

I—hahahaha I don’t even have words. This character’s deadpan reactions to shocking things are golden—though at this point, I’m not sure if it’s humorous or depressing. Maybe a bit of both. I’m excited to get to know them more.


I floated a bit closer to it, and with as much warmth in my voice as I could muster, told it, “Do you requi-qui-quire assistance?”

I’ll admit, I had to go back over this scene to understand what was happening. At first, I thought it was a dream — the “floating” verbs and the disjointed way things were being described made me think of it as such. But then when I realized who was actually narrating, I was able to understand what was going on. Perhaps if you can more clearly identify that it’s Porygon speaking near the beginning, it would be clearer? Other that that, though, I LOVED the way you described things inside Porygon’s head, with the constant glitching and error messages. Brilliant!

“Because he hasn’t lied to me like you do!” I shouted back.

“For your own benefit!”

“Lying to me about my mother isn’t for my benefit!”

“You wouldn’t have been able to handle learning about her death!”

“It would have been better than you keeping me in the dark about it for YEARS!”

Oof, there’s a LOT of baggage here. I’m curious to know what the context is for this and what led Typhlosion to hide Burhalla’s mother’s death. The fact that he refuses to apologize for it is...very frustrating, to be sure. I’m sure Burhalla has his faults and stubbornness, too, but at this point I’m on his side. I don’t blame him for holding a grudge over something like that.

The Sceptile shook his head, as the Empoleon, Pahelia, responded. “We really hoped another human had come, but they were just another imitator. They admitted it.”

Oh, so pokemon really are pretending? But...why? What do they have to gain? Perhaps they really were insomniacs but were forced to say they were lying about it by someone else with ulterior motives? Hmmmm THEORY TIME.

“That’s still a work in progress. Nothing of the sort has happened in Hoenn or Sinnoh, but I haven’t checked the other regions yet,” Gen the Dewott told him, before pausing. “By the way, Acacia, was your nibling found yet?”

WAIT W H A T

Gen is a Dewott? Saltriv is still missing? Hoenn and Kanto exist in this world? I was under the impression that the official regions were separate from this PMD world. And now...Gen is Gen but not Gen?! I AM CONFUSION

Oh and the maILBOX JUST FELL OUTTA THE SKY, WHAT IS HAPPENING

Haha but I think this is meant to be confusing for the reader, so...props to you! You’re definitely accomplishing that and you have me intrigued! XD
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
[Chapter 6-8]

Hey Bench! And now it’s time for me to read the final three chapters of what’s published so far. I’ll begin with some running commentary on the chapters themselves as I go along, and then top it off with some general thoughts on the direction things are going and what I’m expecting going forward.

Chapter 6: I think it’s a little odd how focused the story is about inventories and explaining the specific amounts. The lists seem to be a little extra, and maybe could be better to mentioned did they're low on something instead of giving the exact list. As it stands, it seems more like a Dungeons and Dragons inventory for the game side of things that doesn’t hold a lot of narrative weight. Too detailed for too little payoff.

Chapter 7 also perplexed me a little with how focused the narrative was, and in general how much time was being spent, on Dungeon mechanics. Seven chapters in, I feel like we can brush past the tutorials at this point! And ironically, it almost felt like one of the new elements, Dynamax, came practically out of nowhere. Since I played Gen 8 I know what’s going on there, but I was surprised at how quickly it came along, and more importantly how quickly the team seemed to… move on from it. We’ve got shadows, Necrozma has something to do with this, and now presumably Eternatus, or at least Dynamaxing, is coming into play. I suspect that these things are going to tie together soon, but as of now I’m not completely sure what the antagonistic force of the story is. I think, soon, that would be a good thing to take a look at, since so many antagonistic elements are being introduced, but not necessarily something to focus on.

Speaking of elements and mysteries, the ones in chapter 8 seemed to be a little more overt than the other ones. I don't really know what to make of it. The tone was a little strange, and the conflict itself more on the enigmatic side aside from the very obvious conflict that had gone on with the rescue mission itself, with their first (true) Shadow Pokémon battle, not counting Saltriv. That was overall a good fight. Kids seemed to really know what to do with themselves… But! That being said, one thing that really stood out to me here—

I find it hard to believe that three kids would be allowed in the shrine in this way considering the apparent lethality or permanent damage involved. Or whatever was going on with those supposed “statues.” I thought there would be a bigger freakout by the parents, shrine goers, or so on for what was happening, but they all seemed to take it in stride with only a few small objections relative to what they’d gotten themselves into. The way it was depicted, it seemed downright more dangerous than the Shadow Pokémon themselves! It all seemed a little too contrived. And if the method isn't that dangerous, then it wasn't depicted in a way that gave that impression, is the alternative there.

As a side note on the characters, I’d say that the core trio is starting to develop in terms of their personalities. Burhalla comes off as the most stoic of the three, but perhaps only slightly. He has confidence in his abilities and keeps his cool the most of the three. If I looked at these three at a glance, Burhalla would easily look like the leader of the trio. Saltriv and Gen have similar personalities so far, both of them a little nervous albeit for different reasons. Gen, of course, is trying to keep his lie safe with an ever-increasing set of flimsy lies, though I continue to wonder why he insists on keeping them up for so long.

Saltriv, meanwhile, is reasonably nervous about their former Shadows, and coming to terms with that possibility. However, Gen and Saltriv both don’t seem like the sort to be able to stand up to the scope of the foes that appear to be after them, let alone the missions they’re starting to take on. I’m hoping they toughen up a little or grow from these battles, otherwise it may be Burhalla carrying the weight, or otherwise finding very odd ways to have them be competent, such as sheer luck. Still, there’s a lot of potential for growth in all three of them, but I definitely see Burhalla as their mental anchor.

All that said and done, though, I still think the strongest point of this story was how you ended off the first arc, seeing all the past heroes and their committee, hints at a greater scope, mentioning the world with humans and Pokémon… I definitely want to see more of that evolve soon. These past few chapters felt like idling time away to let the team get familiar with each other instead of advancing the actual plot that had been promised from the first arc. That is what I hope to see more of! You have an incredibly strong start, and I hope to see that momentum pick up further as the story continues in chapter 9.
 

Umbramatic

The Ghost Lord
Location
The Yangverse
Pronouns
Any
Partners
  1. reshiram
I am HERE for REVIEW BLITZ. Specifically Chapter 1 because I have the attention span of a small rodent.

The usual disclaimer: I am not one to actively seek out PMD fics (despite me WRITING a PMD crossover and normally being like "haha fuck playing as or writing about humans" Pokemon without humans normally doesn't really do it for me, at least on a purely conceptual level), but I will CONSUME and ENJOY them when the occasion arises and I have CONSUMED and ENJOYED yours so far.

I immediately loved how dreamlike and surreal your opener is. I thiiiiiink you said in chat it was Kingdom Hearts inspired? If you did I can SEE it and I APPROVE.

Gen is obviously as confused as anyone is when confronted with Kingdom Hearts bullshit. I did notice he seems to be from the main series or anime world. I'm used to PMD protagonists coming from the REAL WORLD so this is a nice touch. As is the reference with the talking Meowth.

These mysterious shadow Pokemon (Wait, this is a PMD fic, not an Orre fic! I'VE BEEN BETRAYED) are bound to be relevant later. Unless everyone but the Chikorita is dead or something in which case:

I do recognize said Chikorita from art you've shared in this thread and Discord and I do wonder how they'll play into things.

And quite the cliffhanger! Lots of screaming. I wonder who's screaming? Surely no one important, nope, not at all.

I am very curious about what happens next!
 

penda

Hmm
Pronouns
they/them
Hey Bench! Always love to review a fellow PMD story and this is for the review blitz. I noticed your comment in the first post and decided to focus on the characters and story. If you end up wanting grammar or prose comments, feel free to let me know. I'll be doing the first 5 chapters.

An issue with changing perspectives while keeping first person is that its hard for the reader to know who is speaking. On a first read I assumed the speaker in chapter 1 and the first part of chapter 2 was the same. It may help to change one of these to third person, or use third person overall.

I like the characterization of the Charmander. In the first part of chapter 2, they show bravery and resourcefulness. It's appreciated too that they don't mull over the decision to jump into action for long, but instead make the choice themselves to act. Saltriv is also a nice bit of brevity to the so far bleak world presented.

At the start of chapter 3, I'm not certain what the perspective is or what the purpose of the colored text is. Some of the "I" narration is colored while some isn't as well as some of the "we" narration. I assume this will be spelled out more later on, though I feel this could be made more clear by having one color address another by name so we know who these characters are. It also isn't used again in the first 5 chapters so it seems an odd inclusion.

Gen, in his current state, feels like a third wheel in this story. Burlhalla and Saltriv seem to genuinely care for each other, they have history, and are invested in what is going on in the world. Gen being a first person narrator in this situation seems mostly to interrupt every interaction or observation from Saltriv and Burlhalla by questioning what it is. These questions keep pausing whatever is going on in the story and with how many times it happens it gets a bit jarring. I'd suggest trying to cut it back, or even switching to a 3rd person perspective and having Gen's confusion be woven into dialogue that helps to better get across his character or through actions.

Gen's sudden distress about being found out because he claimed amnesia seems odd. Like if he told them he started to remember some things, they'd just abandon him? That doesn't seem in line with Burlhalla or Saltriv's character as presented thus far. Even then, he genuinely doesn't know how to use moves or where he is. I don't feel like this needs to be a point of conflict for Gen, but rather something he needs to figure out how to explain., especially since it seems commonplace in this world that Pokemon fake amnesia for their own gain.

The last bit of chapter 4 where we're shown some of Gen's life in the human world was very refreshing. I really wish the story would actually begin with a seen of the Spersua and Gen on their last shift at the casino together before the events of the story proper. This would do wonders to help better characterize Gen by showing him in a setting familiar to him and giving him a close friend to work off of. Him being a manager at a casino could even be worked into his character post-transformation; maybe he is adept at seeing through cheating attempts from his work and that plays into the story, or that he himself has a gambling streak and is a risk taker. Giving Gen this established profession is a very nice touch and I'd like to see it better utilized.

Overall, your story shines when you're breaking out of the tropey typical PMD story beats and showing us something original. Chapter 5 showing us a second Gen and the intrigue from that is very nice. I look forward to reading and reviewing more!

I could probably take them on, especially with today’s fire-type V-Wave
I think this was a term from the game? Still it could definitely use with explaining what this is, especially for the unfamiliar (preferably explained organically through dialogue between two characters discussing the day's current v-wave).

A slumber wand to incapacitate Saltriv if they’ve gone shadowy, check!
I’ll have to ask PNS-NT later to Recycle it.
I always appreciate a story introducing unfamiliar terms to the reader via a character who is familiar with the term, though there's a line. I think "shadowy" does work in that regard as I assume it is used to describe feral or otherwise unnaturally violent Pokémon, but I have no idea what "PNS-NT" would refer too. I can glean that maybe it is some kind of robot? Though the previous description of the town doesn't hint at any advanced elements. You capitalized Recycle so I assume its in reference to the move, but I feel more context to better hit at what is being referred to here would help give this term a better impact.

The pink line between the two was strong, and a blue line just as strong was behind each
I like the technical aspects of the connection orb.

Deep breaths. In, and out. Let my tail flame grow, then die down. Burn the stress away.
A good use of subtle story telling to let the reader know that the narrator is a Charmander.

“I'd have told you if they weren't. I'm not my father. I don't lie about things like that.”
There was bitterness in Burhalla’s voice as he said that.

The bold line is really on the nose. Delete it.

Overcast Village
I floated through the fog, away from the Top Plaza. The sun was almost set. There’d certainly be no customers back at the old recyclin’ shop at this time. No need to take a gander at it before heading home.
I assume it's intentional, but I have no idea who is narrating the first part of chapter 5, so it's hard to get invested.
 

HelloYellow17

Artsy Whimsical Nerd
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. suicune
Here we go!! I’m finally all caught up, and oh boy, things are getting interesting, aren’t they? I have so many questions!

Keep running. Don’t stop. Don’t let them find you. Don’t let them know what you have become.

Oh wow, what a POWERFUL way to open the chapter. Great paragraph. In fact, this whole segment was really well done! I could feel this character’s panic (I’m assuming this is Kecky?) and their despair, could see them frantically running as fast as they could, etc.

“You’re finally awake!” I heard a familiar voice yell, as a Chikorita with a red leaf ran into the room. That must have been them. I waved awkwardly at them.

“So what do you think of my home? Pretty cool place!” they said, a bright smile on their face.

Aww Saltriv is so freaking adorable. What a precious BEAN, 10/10 would want to have them as my friend.

The Meganium and Torterra were in there, discussing something, but before I could find out what, the latter noticed us enter.

So we don’t have names for Meganium and Torterra yet, but I think it would help to refer to them as simply “Meganium” and “Torterra” rather than “THE Meganium/Torterra.” The “the” seems a little alienating.

A search party? I wondered what that entailed. From the looks of it, they’d be looking for Pokemon that had gone missing. How often would that happen? I probably wouldn’t be able to see them very much. What would I do then? I would be without my guides to this world. I’d be alone.

I didn’t want to be alone.

Poor Gen :( he’s just stressed and confused and missing home and he just wants to feel safe. It’s a good thing Burhalla and Saltriv are good beans.

“That’d get confusing quickly,” Burhalla told me. “What if we combine them? Team Adventure Light Search!”

I was about to shut that idea down, before Saltriv spoke up. “That might work!” Quietly, they muttered, “Team Adventure Light, Team Light Search, Team Search Light…,” before suggesting, “Team Searchlights!”

Lol Team Adventure Light Search, what a mouthful! Team Searchlights is a great name! I always struggled coming up with good team names whenever I played PMD...

This was my 17th try, and still nothing.

Haha I love this specific number, it shows Gen’s frustration well.

“We haven’t gotten approved by SaRO yet,” he explained. “Our certificate, badges, and synchronised bags haven’t arrived yet.”

Ohhh that explains my earlier questions about the team badges when he was rescuing Saltriv. So he charged into the dungeon without any backup, and before he was on a rescue team? I can understand why his dad was upset, even if he could have handled it better.

“Why don’t we go anyways?” Saltriv suggested, to my surprise.

“What do you mean?” Burhalla asked, eyes widening.

“There’s nothing stopping us, is there? You already checked in with your father, I already told my parents, Gen learned a move, we can go!” they answered.

A few seconds passed. Burhalla’s smile returned. “You have a point,” he said. “I’ll triple check to make sure our items are enough, then we’ll begin our search!

Oh boy. Something tells me Burhalla’s dad will not like this one bit if he finds out.


“Emeras are items only found within Mystery Dungeons. They have special effects if you insert them into a looplet, like this one,” Burhalla explained, as he motioned to his bracelet. “They shatter if they aren’t picked up quickly enough, or if they are taken out of a Mystery Dungeon. This one’s a big recovery emera. It makes stuff that heals you work better. Barrage emeras are purple, and are the best ones. They let you do two moves in a row!”

Ohh this is cool! I’m curious, is this a game mechanic in the later games, or was this your invention? Either way, it’s a really cool concept!

“Those are Dociles,” Burhalla explained. “They’re a type of dungeon mon that don’t attack if you leave them alone. Hostiles are the kind you have to watch out for.”

So there were multiple types of dungeon Pokemon? How many types were there?

This is new to me, too. Do newer games have types of dungeon Pokémon? It honestly makes sense that not every Pokémon would be out to get them.

I was going to die here. This would be it. My family and friends would never know what happened to me. I’d never see them again.

...No.

Oh, YIKES. This got real very fast! Are dungeons usually this lethal in this world?

YES! I did it! Hahahahahahaha!

I didn’t take any mind to a familiar voice yelping as I did that move again, the clouds around me starting to dissipate, rain beginning to fall, or a fleeing Growlithe as I completely drenched the entire area. None of that mattered. What mattered was just how much fun this was!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

LOL I know this is odd for Gen to be acting this way, and there’s probably a sinister reason for it, but this moment did make me chuckle. His maniacal laughter was fun.

I heard footsteps approaching. I braced for the worst. I deserved this, after all the lies I’ve told.

I felt two scaly arms wrap around me, as Burhalla turned me to face him. Was...was he giving me a hug?

“It’s...it’s ok,” he said, sympathy in his eyes. “I shouldn’t have snapped at you. I’m sorry.”

Awww, I was just about to write, “Poor Gen, somebody hug him!” and then Burhalla stepped up like the hero he is. Also, very impressive with how quick he is to forgive. Gen didn’t mean to, but he did very nearly kill Burhalla. These guys are a great team, so wholesome and understanding. I love them.


Really? All this, for me? I barely knew them for a day!

Still, it was...nice to have people that cared about me, even in this unfamiliar world.

“Thank you,” I told them both, finally smiling again. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to tell them the truth.

So many wholesome moments! It’s sad that Gen is still hiding the truth from them, but I can’t blame him for it at all. Although, at this point, if he decided to open up, I think they would be understanding. The longer this continues, however...


I barely noticed as a shadowy aura surrounded me, or as shadowy tendrils shot out of me towards the sky. I only noticed as they came falling back down towards us, at the dungeon mon, at myself, and even my teammates.

I yelped in pain as they cut through me, but I was more concerned for Burhalla and Gen. They were already pretty injured. I looked towards them, and was relieved to see only a few of the tendrils hitting them. The shadowy aura around me disappeared, as did the tendrils.

What did I just do?

Oh?? Shadow moves?? I thought Saltriv wasn’t a Shadow! I am shook.

No. No no no no no.

I couldn’t have been a shadowy Pokemon. I couldn’t have. I couldn’t have.

But what if Burhalla was right? What if I was?

What if I hurt them? What if I hurt Gen or Burhalla or Leon or mom or dad?

I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t.

I saw shadowy wisps began to form around me. No no no no no.

Keep calm. Calm down. Stop panicking. Maybe then they’ll disappear.

You are. SO GOOD. At writing internal panic like this passage here. The repetitive words and short sentences really sell it, I think. I also enjoy the head hopping going on here, it’s nice to see their different takes on the same situation and see how they all react differently.


I heard Burhalla shout about berry crackers again.

this made me laugh.

"Whatever you do, BE POLITE AT ALL COSTS," he told me. "Stay calm, don't make many unneeded movements. And don't ask about or touch the statues."

"Wait, what do you mean? Why?" I asked, startled by the sudden demands.

"I can't tell you until after we leave. They'll know. Just follow my lead, and you should be alright," Burhalla said. He hesitated, before continuing. "If anything happens to me, don't react. Calmly exit the shrine."

uhh, what? This sounds shady af. Also, way to calm Gen’s nerves, Burhalla: “If I die, don’t worry about it, okay? Just don’t panic.” LOL


The more I heard about this, the more fearful I grew of going into the shrine?

I think this was meant to end in a period instead of a question mark.

"I am! Good thing I had memorized what I was going to say if I ever met Tapu Fini!" Saltriv exclaimed. "I think I'd still be in there if I hadn't!"

Ohh yikes. So if you break the rules, you become a living statue??

"Careful speaking about them. You could incur their wrath. Especially her's,"

“Hers” doesn’t need an apostrophe.

Pardon me, Oshawott, but what is your primary name? If you're not comfortable saying it in public, I ca-"

Ohhhh, so this is why some characters have names and others don’t! I’m very curious about this—is it taboo to reveal your primary name too readily? Is it just personal choice? Burhalla and Saltriv have revealed their names pretty openly, so what does that say about them?

Just what was this piece of heaven in the shape of an apple?

Haha this is a great line.

Saltriv's expression fell. Maybe I should try to comfort them? How, though? Would a hug work?

Aww Gen. You’re a good apple.

"This morning I mailed a letter to Acacia that you'd been found," Meganium said. "We might get a visit from his rescue team soon."

Was a rescue team like a search party? And who was this Acacia?

Ohhh. OHHHH. So Acacia from chapter 5 was a relative, not Saltriv’s mom. This makes a lot more sense now—except the Gen doppelgänger. That still has me scratching my head, haha.

"Yeah. There was...a lot that happened," I said, as I laid down. That search mission was terrifying at times, but at least I wouldn't have to worry about being alone.

It says a lot that Gen is literally willing to repeat the near-death experience he had today rather than be alone. Poor anxious baby. :(

You idiot! We needed to move in sync! Now you scared that Porygon-Z off, and it alerted that whole village! I thought.

Ohhhh! So this was the hybrid Pokémon! In hindsight, I should have figured that out sooner, lol. And....they seem to be not incredibly dangerous, and just wanting help? But the dialogue near the end definitely sounded sinister, so maybe not. Also, big props to you for pulling something like this off—being in two heads at once in any scene can be really disorienting, but you pull it off really well! The colored text certainly helps.
 

spinaltapdancer3

Lost my cloud pfp pic. :(
Location
US - Central Time Zone
Pronouns
he, they
Alright so might as well review this. I've actually read a fair bit of it before, but never read it to the end. Glad I did though, it's definitely picking up in terms of action.
Chapter 1:
So I like the beginning sequence a lot. Usually when I've seen the quiz implemented its implemented straight, its rare to see someone skip to the "just choose your starter" phase, and kudos for **actually** including partner choice as well. I mean the fact that Saltriv was abducted to be one of the choices is such a unique spin, and how it happened also seems to have plot relevance.

Also I can't think of anyone who uses Eternatus as the presumed villain. So that's definitely cool.

I can't state enough how much I like this as a plot hook. Like really, its insanely good. You have the surface question of what is presumably Eternatus doing, but you also plot hooks that only appear if you think about it in the context of the later chapters. Like is the villain us playing the games? Are we the one kidnapping Pokemon so that they can be partner choices? Why is the weird shadowy things kidnapping Pokemon and asking people to "save one". Its really really intriguing.

Chapter 2
I don't really have much commentary for this one. It seems like the chapters purpose is to introduce to who the characters are, like who Saltriv, Gen, and Burhalla are. Nothing really stood out to me as particularly good or bad. The chapter was however incredibly effective of setting up the "Gen is getting caught in a web of lies in his own making".

The only nitpick I have is that Burhalla going behind mons back to rescue his partner seems a little out of place for a character who seems to value not keeping secrets from others. Granted we only learn of that later so it doesn't ruin the flow of the story or anything, just seems a little weird when you think back on it after reading the next few chapters.

Chapter 3
Again I don't have much commentary on this chapter as it naturally followed the plot. I do like the little detail that they have to backtrack through the 4 floors because they don't have badges. Introducing Arctozolt was interesting and the colored gimmick you have going is a really good way to do the split halves.

Dungeon crawling is inherently hard to write, but you seem to have a good idea of how to do it. Honestly its amazing how much mileage you're getting out of having to have everyone explain stuff to Gen.

Chapter 4
It never occured to me that having a scene dedicated just to the human being introduced to Pokemon society would be necessary for a fic. Usually it seems people like to rush into the the action, and in fairness you kind of do so as well. However this breather chapter works really well for the story, since it basically expands on of Gens conflict, namely Gen has to figure out a way to keep his identity a secret while also figuring out the world around him.

The meet up with the families is really well done. You did a really good job of characterizing everyone in a short span. The parents acted like worried parents and we finally learn about Burhallas dislike of dishonesty.

Chapter 5
I mean almost all the punch in this chapter is in that last part. I mean seriously the amount of intrigue, plot hooks, and worldbuilding that occurs at the world saving council is honestly insane.
What does Necrozma have to do with this?
Why is there a dewott named Gen as well?
Is nibling grandchild?
The mailbox shows up!?
I mean its clear that there's something going on here, and I'm interested to see what it is.

I understand the point of having Saltriv write out her diary, however I do not understand the neccessity of having the reader see it. It doesn't really introduce new information, and is a repitition of what just happened. Maybe I'm not getting it, but it seems like filler.

Chapter 6
Once again, another plot hook, namely what's up with Kecleon?

Having Gen be introduced to the village was a good way to introduce the setting in which he's presumably staying at. It's also interesting to see how much mileage you got out of coming up with a team name. I might have been able to at most have that take up a paragraph, but you've turned it into an entire scene.

Chapter 7
Ok I really like this chapter. One of my biggest complaints before this chapter was that Saltriv and Gen were a little one-dimensional. With the advent of dynamaxing and Gen finally using a water move and Saltriv using a shadow move, we get a second dimension to these characters. It's once again a really nice piece of intrigue to keep the reader in suspense.

Also a really hot beach is a unique concept for a mystery dungeon.

Chapter 8
So the Tapu is pretty spooky. Good job for on setting up an atmosphere, this I think was a prime example of "show" not "tell". I could get the fear and anxiety through actions and dialogue alone.

Also mystery voice is mysterious, and its nice to have something from the overarching external threat finally show up, It really builds up intrigue.

Overall thoughts.
Not gonna lie. I really like the story. I'm a sucker for intrigue and well done characters and this story presses all the right buttons in that department. Almost every aspect is incredibly well written. There's a lot of things I like with this story.
The good
1. Pacing is good, it doesn't feel rushed. Could be a little faster though, some of the town scenes when the villagers are talking, they tended to drag on.
2. This story flows really organically. At no point was I thinking "How did we get to this point" or "this moment seems really out of character"(Burhalla's little escapade at the beginning aside)
3. Holy cow the intrigue is done so well. Just enough is dropped to make clear something is happening, and to give a good idea of what that something is, while being vague enough that you can reasonably second guess what is going on.
4. Its interesting to see a world in which almost every imaginable mechanic from the game is implemented. Half expecting the rangers to show up at some point.
5. Dialogue is good. not much to say. It encapsulates the character personalities really well.
6. World building is phenomenal, its really easy to get immersed in the story
Things I worry about
1. It's a little early so this might be premature, but Burhalla is still a little one-dimensional. He doesn't seem to have any sort of character beside "mildly pissed off at everything". Not every character needs to be crazy fleshed out, but as one of the main three protagonists that he doesn't have an internal conflict yet. Granted, I might not see it just yet.

2. A lot of your intrigue and pacing is held together by taking the time to either
a) introduce some new worldbuilding concept(dynamax, shadow moves, some mysterious glimpse of the world from some third party)
b) having Gen question what something is and then having Burhalla or Saltriv explain it.
This is fine early on, but presumably at some point Gen will get the hang of things and you'll want to wrap things up. In the far future I'm curious about how you'll accomplish this since the two tools I mentioned really can't be implemented at that point. It's not an immediate concern, but I worry the pacing in future chapters might be a bit off.

3. Character creep. I can't find remember how many times I got invested in a story, and then that story kept adding characters, and then subplots started happening, and then I lost track of everything that was going on, and then dropped the story out of disinterest because half the time I was asking myself "whos this character and what are they doing again?" at the beginning of every chapter, and it felt like I was only reading the story out of habit than of interest/enjoyment. So far its not a problem, but I worry when the world saving council arrives that you'll have so many POV's and subplots that the story grinds to a halt and it becomes impossible to keep track of whats happening. So far I don't think it'll be a problem, but I feel like I need to bring it up anyways.
 

zion of arcadia

too much of my own quietness is with me
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. marowak-alola
Hey, Bench! Glad I got the chance to check out the first chapter (need to catch up anyway for book club, haha, so might as well get a review done while I'm at it).

It's hard to pin down the characters in the opening chapter. They're mostly disoriented so they don't really have much to do other than react to surreal situations.

Maybe if I close my eyes, then everything will be ok.

Really liked this line. It hints at Gen being an anxious bean. Also, I love stories written in first person! They always feel so intimate. I might've eased back on the exclamation marks though, they often felt extraneous and overemphatic.

The imagery is really strong in this opening chapter, too. The broken mailbox was especially vivid and feels especially significant if you're familiar with how important the mailbox is in the rescue games. I wonder if it implies that rescue teams are broken in some way? But I might be looking into that a little too deeply.

Dig the sense of dread and how everything immediately spirals out of control. Now that's how you write a waking up as a pokemon scene, haha! I could see this story either using this as a nightmare sequence, kind of like Kingdom Hearts, or propel Gen and our Chikorita buddy into some sort of survival scenario. I'm hoping for the latter personally, the breakneck pacing is actually really refreshing.

Keep up the good work!

Here's a poem for ya:

The ancient shepherd, who shivers
at the last martyrdoms of light,
in his Easter eyes has caught
a purebred flock of stars.

--second stanza of "Under the Poplars" by César Vallejo
 
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