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Pokémon Postcards

14. Cities and Seeing: Lilycove

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
14. Cities and Seeing: Lilycove

You never see fat trainers on billboards or magazine ads. LeyLine is just as interested, if not more, in selling to fashionistas and to the young hopefuls who quit after a few weeks, the ones who are more dedicated to dressing like a trainer than to doing the work. Those kinds of girls don’t aspire to be fat. By the time you earn your third badge, after all the hiking, you should be in the best shape of your life — you’ve never actually heard anyone say it in so many words, but everyone knows it. That’s how it works.

And yet here you are.

Sometimes people don’t believe you’re a trainer. They certainly don’t assume it. “You in town for work or for fun?” the clerk asked when you checked into the hostel. “Most of the folks who pass through here are doing the gym challenge.”

“Yeah. I’m a trainer,” you answered, pointing towards your belt.

The clerk politely tried to hide her surprise. “Sorry, I didn’t notice! Silly of me.”

“Mm. So, which room did you say I’m in?”

You used to work hard to disappear. Now you’re on display, online and in the flesh.

Today the contest hall is packed with trainers, pokemon, and spectators alike. All down the long hallway to your left and to your right other trainers stand at attention beside their pokemon, smaller ones placed atop a pedestal draped in a tablecloth in the color of their contest category. A few water-types occupy enormous tanks instead. Behind you is a second row of trainers and pokemon. The trainer behind you keeps bumping into you as he animatedly answer passing spectators’ questions about his loudred. You’re wearing shorts because the city is hot and humid this time of year and a halter top with horizontal stripes because it’s your favorite shirt. You don’t care if people look at your thighs or your jiggly arms. You care that they look at Squish, playing with her own tail on her pink-draped pedestal, and vote for her to win.

Joining the contest circuit wasn’t part of the original plan. The first time you registered for one had been because of Frankie, your high school friend and traveling partner. She had been curious — mostly interested in hearing praise for her spinda, you observed but didn’t say — but too nervous to go it alone. And you thought, Why not. You thought your azumarill was pretty cute. Frankie quickly decided she hated the scene: the waking up early, the paperwork, the constant repeat questions from spectators, the standing and waiting for things to start. She never signed up again. You, however, thrive in it.

You still battle sometimes, mostly to earn quick cash to pay for Squish’s special skin oils and other accessories. Never with Squish anymore, though — you can’t risk her scarring or bruising. She wasn’t a bad battler, especially in gym battles where the hard floors let her roll around and pick up speed, but it delights you to pamper her instead. She’s silky soft and fat and happy.

It’s not that contests are easier, just a different kind of work. Different drills, different supplements. More time on social media. Fewer rolled ankles, more carpal tunnel.

“Oh my gosh,” you hear through the crowd. “Aren’t you MissSquish on the Trainer Network?”

You flash her your brightest smile and stand straighter. “Yeah, that’s us. Did you want to meet Squish?”

“Yes! I love your feed so much. I was actually hoping we could take a selfie? For my blog?”

“Oh, sure. Just make sure to tag us.” You sidle out of the way and gesture towards the azumarill as if to say, all yours!

“You should be in it too!” She steps close and digs into her purse for her phone, which you notice has a case shaped like an azumarill, ears and all. “I love that top.”

“Oh! Okay.” And you smile for real, because this is the first time this has happened, but the way things are going… you’re not afraid to hope that this won’t be the last.
 
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Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
Oh! This was different, but sweet. I guess the first thing I have to comment on is the use of social media. You've called it "basically the enemy" in Spring, but here it's . . not. The turnaround was quite fascinating. The vignette opens with the harmful impact of media--unrealistic expectations, body-shaming, but ends on social media as a tool for acceptance and community. Didn't expect that from you, but I really liked it.

You also made the contest world feel very real to me in a only a couple of paragraphs, maybe because you highlighted the not-fun parts: early mornings, paperwork, expensive oils. Makes total sense that audience interactions, fan-base building, and social media would be a huge part of it. Just imagining Wallace's instagram now . .. many high shutter-speed shots of his milotic mid-water move, I expect.

[ in selling to New Year’s resolution tourists and fashionistas, the ones who are more dedicated to dressing like a trainer than to doing the work. ]
I could intuit what you mean by "new Year's resolution tourists" I think--trainers who pick it up on a whim, just long enough to buy the equipment and then never use it--but the sentence was very hard to parse on first-read. I think it could benefit from some reworking.

[By the time you earn your third badge, after all the hiking, you should be in the best shape of your life — you’ve never actually heard anyone say it in so many words, but everyone knows it. That’s how it works. ]
Oof. Well-put.

[You’re still quiet, but now it’s because you’re mostly alone. (If a girl walks in the forest and there’s no one there to see her, is she still fat?)

Except when you’re not quiet or invisible. ]
Not sure about these three lines. From the latter half of the fic, it doesn't seem like she's mostly quiet--she mentions answering audience questions. The parenthetical felt like it was hammering in the point too hard. And it's a little weird, too, since this fic's setting is pretty removed from the forest. Was honestly confused about what that except is referring to and the meaning of the last line there.

I'm not sure how much we need of the high school backstory/nasty classmates thing. It feels a bit like a string of cliches, all making the same point, which you've made already. The wailmer line is impressively mean, though.

[You’re wearing shorts because the city is hot and humid this time of year and a halter top with horizontal stripes because it’s your favorite shirt. You don’t care if people look at your thighs or your jiggly arms. You care that they look at Squish, playing with her own tail on her pink-draped pedestal, and vote for her to win. ]
Character voice came through strongly here. And I like it.

[“You should be in it too!” She steps close and digs into her purse for her phone, which you notice has a case shaped like an azumarill, ears and all. “I love that top.” ]


I know these are one-offs, but I really like this character, actually. Hope to see her again somewhere, if only in passing!
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
I guess the first thing I have to comment on is the use of social media. You've called it "basically the enemy" in Spring, but here it's . . not. ... Didn't expect that from you, but I really liked it.
Oh yeah, Chris has weird feelings about social media, but I love it. I'm addicted to my phone, actually. Oops. Was fun to write someone who has a different relationship to it for once.

Just imagining Wallace's instagram now
Actually had a long talk (and spreadsheeting sesh) with someone about that! There's actually a gym leader in SwSh who has a pause-for-selfie animation, and his rotom phone hovers next to him through the entire battle. And all the new gym leaders' outfits are absolutely plastered with brands and logos, Nascar-style. I both love and hate it. Total capitalist hellscape. But it feels realistic...and maybe kinda nice? It means the gym leaders are accessible to the public in new ways.

"new Year's resolution tourists"
Heard! Will recalibrate.

And it's a little weird, too, since this fic's setting is pretty removed from the forest.
Ah, yeah, I was thinking that moment was what her life pre-contests was like. I can probably just cut it though.

I'm not sure how much we need of the high school backstory/nasty classmates thing. It feels a bit like a string of cliches, all making the same point, which you've made already.
I don't disagree! Easy enough to cut.

I know these are one-offs, but I really like this character, actually. Hope to see her again somewhere, if only in passing!
Yay! She doesn't explicitly show up again here, but... Eventually I do need to try to write something with a group of trainers traveling together instead of one awkward loner. Maybe she will be a good fit for that someday. (Or someone like her.)

Thanks as always for the feedback. 👌
 
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15. Cities and Hunger: Nimbasa

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
15. Cities and Hunger: Nimbasa

When you walk a long time through the city, you begin to crave wilderness.

It’s not anxiety, even though cities do make you anxious. All those other trainers vying for crumbs of fame, the violent crime in the headlines. Or, at least, it’s not only anxiety.

You just want something that lasts. There’s comfort in seeing a tree that was planted long before you were born, in knowing the rocks will outlast whatever legacy you leave behind.

The trees and the rocks can’t keep you warm at night, but your pokemon do. Your liepard, Prince, has claimed one side of your tent as his, and Swift, your whimsicott, likes to sleep at your feet. You get lonely sometimes anyway — they’re not much for conversation.

Sometimes talking to strangers makes you lonelier.

New trainers, all wide eyes and new clothes, stop you and your pokemon on the street to plead for advice they’ll ignore. In bars, trainers lonelier than you tell you things they ought to keep to themselves. There are others you could talk to, maybe even some you’d like to travel with, if only for a little while. You know you hold other trainers at more of a distance than you have to. But…

You haven’t forgotten last year in Nimbasa City. The trainer with the seviper tattoo winding down her leg. She caught your attention the second she strode into the hostel common room. First her foreign pokemon, a big one — a crobat, dozing atop her backpack. Then that look in her smoky eyes, wordlessly daring the world to just try her. You didn’t have the guts to talk to her — what would you say to someone like that? But when she caught you sneaking glances, she came to you.

“Where I come from locking eyes is a surefire way to start a battle.” She didn’t sit, forcing you to crane your neck to look at her. “What kind of pokemon do you train?”

You battled more with Prince and Swift, but her crobat stirring awake and stretching its wings prompted you to answer, “I just started training a woobat.”

“Then you must be batshit crazy too.” She grinned, and immediately it was like the two of you were the only ones in the room. Electric. “I was thinking about checking out the amusement park later. You been yet?”

You hadn’t been planning on it, but now you were.

At first you were shy, but she wasn’t. She took your hand as the roller coaster started its slow climb. Her hand was surprisingly cool. Later, behind the popcorn vendor’s stall, you kissed until you were dizzy with it and the vendor’s assistant came out to chase you away. The two of you ran laughing between the aisles of flashing lights.

“I feel like I’ve known you for years,” you told her.

She laughed. “You don’t know the first thing about me.”

“So tell me.” You asked where she grew up, her favorite movie, her biggest fear. One right after another. You also wondered but didn’t ask whether kissing strange girls was something she did a lot — because you sure didn’t.

She only laughed again and silenced you with another kiss. “Questions later.”

You weren’t so naive that you expected it to become something, at least not right away. You hadn’t even found out yet whether you were traveling the same way. What you hadn’t expected was for her to leave before you even woke up the next morning. No note at the hostel’s front desk—nothing but a memory of the smell of popcorn.

Your return trip home for your sister’s high school graduation takes you back through Nimbasa for a night. You can’t resist the call of the amusement park. Wandering slowly through the arcades and past the rides, you tell yourself you’re just people watching. The popcorn stand is gone, or maybe you’ve misremembered where it was. You find a bench shaped like a scolipede and sit.

The people of Nimbasa dress loudly, many of the girls choosing fashions inspired by the local gym leader. Emolga is a popular pokemon here, both as a companion perched on the shoulder and as a design motif: emolga-head purses, emolga-patterned tights. You see lots of couples.

Of course, you see no sign of the girl with the seviper tattoo. You didn’t really expect to.

There are other travelers here though, and they stand out. They’re quieter, dressed mostly in shades of brown, charcoal, or sage. You try to guess which ones are from Unova and which ones have come from farther away. Even with their rugged simplicity and clothes full of patches, each of them seems lit from within. You recognize that fire in their eyes. You see it in the mirror, sometimes.

Someone drops onto the bench beside you, and you look up with a start. Another trainer, you see by his belt. “Hey there,” he says.

“Hi.” For a moment he only looks at you with an odd smile on his face, so you add, “I’m not really looking for a battle right now.”

“Oh, no.” His smile falters for a moment. “I just wanted to meet you.”

“Why?” You don’t mean for it to come out like that, but you’re startled and put-off by how close he’s chosen to sit. Something about this reminds you of a con you’ve witnessed once from a distance — one person to distract while the other sneaks up behind. You drape a protective arm over your pack and put a hand on Prince’s ball.

The trainer leans away reflexively but doesn’t stop smiling. “When I saw you here I thought, that girl’s too pretty to be sitting by herself. Thought I’d see if you wanted to ride the Ferris wheel with me.”

You don’t mean to laugh. When his face falls you do feel a little bad, but not bad enough to stop you from standing and shouldering your pack. “No. I’ve got somewhere to be.”

The path out of the park takes you past the Ferris wheel, and you stop for a few minutes to watch it cycle round and round. You’re sure that trainer will find someone to ride with him. This city is dependable for at least that much.
 
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Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
I really do think your urban-themed ones have been leaps and bounds stronger than the wilderness ones. Perhaps it's easier to convey the desire for something through its absence. I like the move this story makes of associating the wilderness with permanence because the city has become clouded with the impermanence of her one-night stand (the whole sequence of which, by the by, I thoroughly enjoyed.)

[“Where I come from locking eyes is a surefire way to start a battle.” ]
Get the sense she says this a lot. I like how you show that while also showing how fresh and electric it feels for our narrator, how special.

[There are other travelers here though, and they stand out. They’re quieter, dressed mostly in shades of brown, charcoal, or sage. ]
Also like the paradox here of the quieter-dressed folks standing out to her.

[Of all of the people in this city, they’re the most beautiful of all, because they’re free. Fierce and fleeting as falling stars. ]
Ah . . . the ending line issue. Beauty is a bit beside the point here and 'Fierce and fleeting as falling stars'? It doesn't even make sense with the internal thematics, if their beauty is in contrast to the city beauty which stands for impermanence, but then you're saying the travelers' beauty comes from their impermanence? Hard to offer suggestions here, because I'm not quite sure what note you mean to end on.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Perhaps it's easier to convey the desire for something through its absence.
That’s probably part of it. A lot of the urban ones were also written more recently.
one-night stand (the whole sequence of which, by the by, I thoroughly enjoyed.)
Yay! Glad to hear it.
[“Where I come from locking eyes is a surefire way to start a battle.” ]
Get the sense she says this a lot.
Gotta catch em all. 👀

Ah . . . the ending line issue.
Haha told you. Yeah, this is one of the half-baked ones. I didn’t even think of the paradox between “nature = ol reliable” and “fleeting = most tantalizing.”

Maybe instead it wants to be something in the vein of...
Even with their rugged simplicity and clothes full of patches, each of them seems lit from within. You recognize that fire in their eyes. You see it in the mirror, sometimes.

What keeps that fire burning? Fame? Love? The need to pay the bills?

You wonder if any of them know.
 
16. Cities and Silence: Coffee Shop

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
16. Cities and Silence: Coffee Shop

There are two ways of describing a postcard: a gift or a burden. One for each city, you told your best friend before you left. You made too many promises.

The first few were easy, because you thought of home everywhere you went. You composed long letters in your head as you walked down unfamiliar avenues and stared out bus windows. You couldn’t wait to write to your cousin about a cafe whose walls were papered with drawings by previous guests, the way sunset glinted pink and gold on the harbor, the food. You told your mother about your visit to a famous shrine and how much you missed her.

But, little by little, the writing begins to wear you down.

Flicking through the spinning card racks is tiresome. Your mother would love this photo of the skyline at night, but you wrinkle your nose at it. Certainly you have never seen the city looking so tidy and still. And everywhere you go — scattered between the postcards featuring landmarks and famous residents — there is always the same saccharine pikachu, photoshopped with sunglasses, a pool float, and a margarita. Wish you were here. Many of the souvenir shops are cash only, forcing you to turn out your pockets for change or walk out empty-handed. Once, you were already at the city limits before you remembered you’d forgotten to buy any cards and had to double back.

Every so often, you arrive at a pokecenter to see a pack of letters and cards sent ahead by your mother. Your best friend includes stickers and drawings in scented marker. The notes are sweet, but you inevitably have to recycle most of them to save room in your bag. Sometimes they do spur you into a burst of letter-writing, but other times even guilt isn’t enough motivation.

Now, at a cafe with mosaic-topped tables, you flip through the stack of cards you bought around the corner. It’s a haphazard selection, and you’re surprised by your own choices. Is it better, you wonder, to begin with an apology? Or you could jump to the highlight reel. But even as you start trying to distill your last gym battle into the space of a postcard, you have to stop and put down your pen. There’s too much to say, and yet too little.

Finally, you improvise a haiku about the cobblestone streets and people passing on the sidewalk. There. Done. You push the card aside and start on the next.
 
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Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
Only one left! Oh no.

This does have the feeling of wrapping things up and we get the eponymous postcards making an appearance! It was solid from start to finish, with a good flow. Line edits below are in the category of 'very minor tweaks and suggestions.'

[ You made too many promises ]
Aw. This line hits hard.

[You wrote long letters ]
Might go with 'composed' here! Suggests more the initial pleasure and care taken in the activity.

[the way the sunset looks on the harbor ]
Think this should be past tense? Could also be slightly strengthened-- as in, how it looked. Like, the way the sun struck orange off the harbor etc etc

[You told your mother about visiting a famous shrine and how much you missed her. ]
To vary up the sentences a bit, maybe "You told your mother about your visit to a famous shrine and how much you missed her.

[Your mother would love this photo of the skyline at night, but you wrinkle your nose at it. Certainly you have never seen the city looking so tidy and still. ]
Mm, like this. The growing distance between the narrator's experience of these places and what the postcards convey--and maybe even what their loved ones will accept or want to hear.

[the same saccharine pikachu, photoshopped with sunglasses, a pool float, and a margarita. Wish you were here. ]
🤣 Amazing

[ before you remembered you’d forgotten to buy any ]
Any postcards? Think you need a noun after 'any.'

[forwarded ahead ]
Sent ahead?

[Finally, you improvise a haiku about the cobblestone streets and people passing on the sidewalk. You push the card aside and start on the next. ]
I wonder if you might want to insert a short line in the middle here? Like, "That's one done." To further convey the sense of labor and duty it's become.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
@Pen I support these suggestions. Will adjust.
 
17. Home

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
17. Home

Leaving there, you finally arrive once again at the place called home. It’s not home anymore, not really. But you’ll never be able to call it anything else.

When you walk a long time through the wild, you begin to crave home. The annual county fair. Your dad’s spaghetti and meatballs. The old fashioned candy shop where you can still buy a giant jawbreaker for less than a dollar.

You wonder if this place has always looked so small.

When she hears you’re back in town, your high school friend Jackie invites you out to the diner where you had Saturday brunches with your family growing up. Seeing her is both weird and nice. You order pancakes with bacon and sausage and a side of hashbrowns. When it comes to meals made to order rather than on your camp stove, you’ve never been able to control the impulse to eat like it’s your last chance. Jackie orders coffee.

“How’s training?”

It’s a big question. Too big. You know she expects you to say something innocuous — “It’s good!” — or that you’ll take the leap and add your own details. She can’t help that she doesn’t know enough about it to know what questions to ask. But still. You shovel hashbrowns into your mouth to give yourself time to think, to wrestle your frustration into a reasonable answer. Jackie stirs creamer into her coffee and watches you chew while you weigh stories you could tell her.

“I mean… it’s a lot of things.”

You try to tell her some of the highlights, but the cities and the wilderness, like dreams, are hard to describe after the fact. It all feels like it happened a thousand years ago, or to someone else. You try anyway. Jackie listens politely, but you can tell you’re losing her in the specifics. You wind down with a helpless shrug and, “I guess you just had to be there.”

For a while, you switch to talking about your history together, which is both easier and hollow. She catches you up on your mutual friends: Louisa moved to Unova for work. Jenny and Alex got married and have a toddler. A toddler, already. You can’t decide whether to feel more repulsed or left out.

Jackie is working as an administrative assistant for a construction company, and it’s as hard for you to relate to her office politics as it is for her to relate to your travel stories. Your coworkers, so to speak, are your pokemon. They don’t gossip or leave passive-aggressive notes on the coffeemaker. There is no coffee maker.

She insists on taking the bill, and you let her without protest. Her income is steadier than yours. You part ways on the sidewalk, saying you’ll have to catch up again soon. Even if you probably won’t, you have to say it.

The supermarket is on your way home — to your parents’ house, that is — so you stop there for detergent and toilet paper. You haven’t bought such heavy or bulky items since before you left. It feels opulent, but you know Mom will be pleased with you.

You accidentally lock eyes with a woman as you squeeze your way past her cart. It takes you a moment to recognize her as your middle school math teacher, Mrs. Briggs. She looks the same, only older and deflated. When she sees you she breaks into a grin, and your gut seizes with irrational panic. You let her envelope you in a squishy hug.

“Back from training, eh?” she says.

“Just home for a few weeks.” Your badge case is at home, but you run her through the checklist of which ones you’ve collected. “Still a ways to go…”

She pauses, adjusts her glasses. With a faraway smile she says, “I always knew you’d do great things.”

You’re pretty sure you never got higher than a B minus in her classes. But you thank her all the same before saying you really should get going.

When you walk a long time through your home town, you begin to crave the world again.

You only last a couple more days at home before you and you mom start arguing about stupid things — the name of the neighbor’s skitty, the correct oven temperature for a baked potato, the capital of Hoenn — and you know it’s time to go. She tries to convince you to stay a little longer, listing friends you should visit and an upcoming church picnic, almost certainly knowing it won’t work on you.

While you repack your beat-up old backpack, she leans against the doorway and watches. She asks where you’re headed this time. You lie so she doesn’t worry, but the truth is you’re not sure yet. You don’t know how to make her understand your destination isn’t the point.

Sometimes being on the road feels like searching for some unnameable thing that doesn’t exist, getting lost in ways a map and compass can’t resolve. Other times, you know uncertainty is just the price of freedom.

END
 
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WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Aside from any lingering edits...that's all she wrote! I am slowly working on a set of drabbles in this vein, so there will eventually be more of these little things. Meanwhile, I'm going start slowly, slowly uploading my chaptered WIPs onto the forums...soon! ✨ Cheers, all, and thanks for reading.
 
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Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
The end! It's been a real journey. I think you nailed the emotions here, the subtle wrongness, the distance, the push-pull of desire and repulsion. And the ending line! Yes! You nailed that too!

When you walk a long time through the wild, you begin to crave home. The annual county fair. Your dad’s spaghetti and meatballs. The old fashioned candy shop where you can still buy a giant jawbreaker for less than a dollar.
As always, love the details

When it comes to meals made to order rather than on your camp stove, you’ve never been able to control the impulse to eat like it’s your last chance. Jackie orders coffee.
Throughout, you do a great job setting up these small, innocuous, maybe meaningless but somehow significant feeling contrasts.

You know she expects you to say something innocuous — “It’s good!” — or that you’ll take the leap and add your own details. She can’t help that she doesn’t know enough about it to know what questions to ask. But still.
Rings very true. Me every time someone asked what study abroad was like.

weight stories you could tell her.
typo - weigh

Jackie listens politely, but you can tell you’re losing her in the specifics. You wind down with a helpless shrug
mm, yes.

Your coworkers, so to speak, are your pokemon. They don’t gossip or leave passive-aggressive notes on the coffeemaker. There is no coffee maker.
UNLESS YOUR NAME IS MARK
Hilarious lines, though

You can trust she won’t follow up if you don’t.
Read this a few times, still having trouble parsing it

Dreams, like cities, take a while to build.
Not sure about the thematics of this. Is building a city, something permanent, really the goal?

Sometimes being on the road feels like searching for some unnameable thing that doesn’t exist, lost in ways a map and compass can’t resolve.
Suggestion: Sometimes being on the road feels like searching for something that doesn’t exist, a state of lostness that maps and compasses can’t resolve.

Other times you know uncertainty is just the price of freedom.
And she sticks the landing! (comma after 'other times' though, pls)

Congrats, this has been an amazing series. I know it's already shaped how I think about and write about the wilderness and being on the road.
 
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WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Rings very true. Me every time someone asked what study abroad was like.
That's EXACTLY what I wad drawing from.

ot sure about the thematics of this. Is building a city, something permanent, really the goal?
Very good point. Paying service to Calvino too much again here.

UNLESS YOUR NAME IS MARK
Dead, dying. Help.

Suggestion: Sometimes being on the road feels like searching for something that doesn’t exist, a state of lostness that maps and compasses can’t resolve.
Hmm, I see your point structurally. Getting lost, maybe?

Congrats, this has been an amazing series. I know it's already shaped how I think about and write about the wilderness and being on the road.
❤ ❤ ❤ Thanks for joining me on the ride.
 

kintsugi

golden scars
Location
waiting for the fog to roll out
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. silvally-grass
  2. lapras
  3. golurk
hello hello, it's been quite too long and you actually... finished the whole thing. whoops.

uwu

Wilderness and Hunger

Even trainers who gripe about re-hydrated food have to admit to one truth you learned early on: most nights, you’re so tired it doesn’t matter what you’re eating.
i stiww wwy <3 da deets ewe -- so muwch of dis is juws so wyt .
Trainer meals are designed (yes, definitely designed and not cooked or crafted) with consideration for vitamins and minerals but not much else.
smaww nitpick, buwt i wuwd pbwy awso add cawowies ewe, since dey def s/b designed 4 dat.
You plan to ration them out — and indeed, you start by pulling the first one apart and eating each layer slowly, licking icing off your fingers — but instead eat all ten in one sitting, wrappers spread around you on your hostel cot.
such a mood. Kids weawning dat m/b da duwm owd wwz theiw wents had 4 em wewen't as duwm as dey wanted.

Wilderness and Wonder

Leaving there and continuing
ah yes dew is a wecommended owdew 2b weading dis in n i'm not doin dat, m i? UwU dis is da johto bit? UwU
The pidgeys watched you from the edge of the clearing at first, making low sounds of displeasure, but after a time they got over themselves and alighted on the nearby trees.
admittedwy ive not twied to po biwds, buwt i feew wk da agitated ones i've seen, evn tewwitowiaw, dnt make "wow" souwnds 4 angew.
;)
...
look it's April Fools I had to.
(side note, i do thnk da wexicon ewe is ['n], buwt awso itz not wk pwepackaged food boxes w known 4 theiw stwict adhewence to gwammaw)
You should head to a trainer supply store first thing and get some new flavors, probably some batteries and duct tape.
o man, my fiwst oxfowd comma mishap in da wiwd n it ttwy thwew me -- 4 hawf a sec ewe i wwy thouwght da nuw fwavows wewe " pbwy some b8wez n duwct tape".
Do you really have to?
pwants ww giv uw wha uw need <3
jk dey wwy shd tho

Wilderness and Silence
There’s no point in saying you think she’s being a baby, even though you do.
phwasing ewe is a bit uwncweaw -- do dey say she's a bbe ow do dey thnk it? UwU i imagine da wattew since dew 's no swapfight w8a.
What a stupid way to die, you think over and over again.
dew 's a definite tonaw shift in dis whw da stakes change fwm bng a thiwd wheew/squwabbwing ova uno wwz to a wyf -ow-death thing, buwt i cnt quwite c whw da shift is. I def wk it wn emotions w mow iyf, so 4 me da shift was awmost 2 suwbtwe (especiawwy bc of how bwatant da nawwatow's feewings towawd lanna n cwiff w in da eawwiew chuwnk), buwt i thnk it wowks.
pokemon tucked against you for warmth…and for protection
dwopped a space
Bolting upright at the sound of leathery wings — no, only leaves.
admittedwy i hvnt heawd weathewy wings, buwt i thnk weaves hv a dwyew, mow muwwtipwied souwnd, if tms? UwU wk a wuwstwing souwnd coming fwm many diffewent souwwces vs da souwnd of fwuwffing ouwt a bedsheet. I'm awways weminded of da ocean, buwt if uw wanted sth deadwy my fiwst iwwationaw guwess is uwsuwawwy wattwesnakes in da middwe of a dense fowest.

I wk how da nme ewe isn't a wiwd pkemon ewe; itz da ewements/exposuwwe.

deez continuwe 2b fascinating to wead -- itz quwite ez to gt suwcked in n by da end of it i've finished da whowe vignette n i hvnt wwy thouwght of ne cwit. I thnk, ftmp, itz easiew to giv comments having wead da entiwe stowy since, especiawwy in dis case, each chaptew feews wk itz meant 2b buwiwding to sth gweatew than da suwm of its pawts ( da pawts awso bng quwite gd ). ww continuwe to catch ^! OwO

(fool's!)
 
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WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
and you actually... finished the whole thing. whoops.
Haha, it's okay. I finished the bones of it last year. Just cleaning up with edits now thanks to all the lovely, helpful comments here. (UwU)

ah yes there is a recommended order to be reading this in and I'm not doing that, am I? This is the Johto bit?
Nah, some of them just jump in with that opener. Pulled from Invisible Cities. I'm into the disorienting effect, so I'm leaving it there.

Admittedly I have not tried to piss off birds, but I feel like the agitated ones I've seen, even territorial, don't make "low" sounds for anger.
I'm thinking of a specific sound chickens make when you bother them. Pidgeys are kinda little and cute, so I feel like their anger can be too. I bet they could get screechier, but these ones aren't.

for half a second here I really thought the new flavors were "probably some batteries and duct tape".
Very fair! Will fix.

jk they really should tho
No, they are of the wild now! The wild will provide. It's fine.

Admittedly I haven't heard leathery wings, but I think leaves have a dryer, more multiplied sound, if that makes sense?
Oh, agreed. Bats have a very distinctive sound. Also aren't usually menacing, though maybe a goblet would be. But I think this is the kind of connection someone might make in half-sleep.

❤ Glad you're still enjoying them!
 

Virgil134

PMD Writer
Partners
  1. weavile
Hey there, I’m here because of review tag! Since I noticed your chapters aren’t super long, I decided to review two of them instead of just one.

Leaving there and continuing east, you eventually reach a plateau that overlooks the clouds.

First off, props for writing 2nd person! I know there are a few others fics that do it, but it’s still something you don’t see very often and I always appreciate unique things like that.

Below you are the miles and miles of gentle but insistent rain you’ve been hiking through for two days.

Ah, I remember how much it rained on this route when playing the games. Brings back memories of playing Pokémon Sapphire for the first time.

a trumpeting cry

Oh that’s just the route’s background music. Just ignore it.

One thunders over the place where you crouch. You watch as each one reaches the cliff edge, spreads its enormous leafy wings, and glides over clouds broken by snatches of rainbow. They call to one another as they fly. The power and joy of that sound immobilizes you with awe.

This seems like such a wonderful image.

The northbound route to Goldenrod is pocketed with pools. You can’t see the ocean yet, but you can smell it.

Huh, while I never imagined Route 34 like this myself, I could totally see how someone could interpret those ponds as pools and marshland. So pretty cool scenery here. I like it.

No longer caring who might see, you go in nude.

Everybody gangsta until a random trainer demands a battle of you right now.

However, you can’t help but wince looking at yourself more closely. Tens of bug bites and tiny cuts sting as the salt water washes over you. The bruise on your hip is turning yellow, a sign it’s healing but nasty-looking all the same.

Seems like someone had a rough journey through Ilex Forest.

You spot the pidgeotto circling overhead. Not until it dives, surprisingly close by, does it occur to you to scan for your furret. You hear a squeak of terror and your stomach drops.



You manage to recall your furret to her ball, and she dematerializes out of the pigeotto’s grip.

Phew, close call. That almost had a grim ending. Though I’m surprised that Pidgeotto could even carry that Furret so easily, or even targeted it in the first place. But I guess that’s just a matter of different headcanons.

Alright and made it to the end of the second chapter. I think the idea behind this story is pretty neat! It gives the routes some focus (which normally doesn’t happen too often) and tells small stories that trainers who travel through those routes could experience. I admit that it’s not the sort of story I’d normally read, since I have a very strong preference for PMD and Poké-centric, but I can still appreciate it.

Out of the two chapters I probably enjoyed the first one the most, since the story showed more of what makes that route special. The second chapter certainly wasn’t bad, but the rain and wild Tropius are very distinct of Route 119, whereas the story of the second chapter also could have been set on Route 212 for example (though there probably would have been a Staravia instead of a Pidgeotto then).
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Oh that’s just the route’s background music. Just ignore it.

You're hilarious hahaha. This was a fun review to start my day with. You're right -- they're tiny little things. The longest is still under 1.5k words. Glad you seemed to enjoy these even though it's not your usual cup of tea.
 

Equitial

Pokémon Trainer
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. inkay
I think you did well with your chosen format! None of the stories felt incomplete or not quite fleshed out, and the writing was evocative and lovely. Each piece was easy to read because of the short size, but each story also felt like it contained more than its word count would suggest. This was a thoughtful, beautiful read all the way through.

The short size of each piece and the concise, detailed writing also helped me to enjoy your realistic take on pokémon journeys. I’m usually not drawn to that type of thing, but the little bits of exploration about things from complicated feelings of loneliness to sore backs and bad food caught my interest, probably more than if I had tried a longer fic. I appreciated the number of explored angles about traveling. The only thing that feels conspicuously an exploration of pokémon themselves, which I think could have been very interesting from your take!

My favorite pieces were 3 and 5, for their takes on the isolation that would come from traveling without sapient company, 8, for the complicated before-journey thoughts of the protagonist – and their interactions with the gastly – and 14, which explores an aspect of pokémon rarely seen in the fandom, even without realism and discussion of fatphobia.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
@Equitia thanks for taking the time to read... wow, all of them! 😳 Glad you seemed to enjoy them.

The only thing that feels conspicuously an exploration of pokémon themselves, which I think could have been very interesting from your take!
Yeah, it wasn’t the main focus of this thing. I was really vibing on Invisible Cities and wanted to focus on bringing places to life. But I’ve been really enjoying short form world-building, so I might eventually do more! It would be fun to explore in how detail how pokémon alter the workplace, for example. I’m not necessarily that interested in pokémon as bio mechanical things — I’d rather handwave and call it magic. But I do have some *thoughts and feelings* about solrock and lunatone and twins that maybe I’ll get to eventually.

Thanks for the kind words!
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
Heyo! Here's to a little review exchange! I'll say, going in that I didn't really know what to expect beyond just being a series of drabbles, more or less. I came out of the first five entries pleasantly surprised at what this actually meant. A lot of these entries reminded me of my own hikes and little adventures like those, albeit with fewer wild Pokemon to deal with.

I'll get to some overall commentary on the first five in a bit. First, some quick quotes that stood out to me:

Leaving there and continuing east, you eventually reach a plateau that overlooks the clouds. A rainbow arcs between two clouds where the waterfall splits them.

I feel that the use of "clouds" twice here was a little repetitive.

you carry your shoes under one arm and squelch father through the salt marsh,

*farther

Wilderness and Silence: Viridian Forest

So, this one in particular I want to comment on, because it's got a little bit of an appeal to me compared to the other ones since it told a story rather than a snippet. Well, it was still a snippet in its own sense, but I still had a good sense of something that was being told--in hindsight, at least. At first, it was a little unclear to me whether they were still going to meet, or were currently together, or had been separated recently, or something, but no, it was more reminiscing long after the fact. I think. Right?

Well anyway, I still liked the way the story communicated this feeling that was sort of like longing, but also not minding it due to how things had turned out. A knee-jerk reaction to me is that this feels almost like an epilogue to a short (but still longer) story, and I'd've wanted to know more about it, but at the same time, it feels like it would be a little mundane all on its own. Perhaps that's why you started off here than there.

When you finally arrive in Eterna City, you buy ten Hostess cupcakes at the first convenience store you pass.

This... struck me as a little odd, particularly because not too many paragraphs ago you were using lawyer-friendly Pokebrands, and then suddenly hello, Hostess? Wow, those guys really know how to expand their brand across dimensions.

--

Anyway, overall? These have been a treat to read. While I'm not usually one for a plotless work of literature, I do appreciate these for what they are. I feel like there's a lot to learn from this for me, since I'm usually lacking in terms of the amount of words I place into depicting something for the sake of world building. Maybe one day I'll try something akin to this style...

But until then, thanks for the read! I intend to finish this off sometime later for sure.
 
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