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Pokémon Raingurl, Make It

thenatureking

Youngster
Pronouns
He/Him
Hi. First story here. Still new to forum format, so hopefully everything looks okay.

(Author's Note: Before I forget, this was actually inspired by the beginning of Pen's The Suicune's Choice. I was doing drabble writing and the concept for this story spiraled out-of-control haha,)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance.

Summary:
NEW CURRENT: Shia’s first bout of trainerhood is through the rainforest to surprise her boyfriend in Fortree, but what she intended to be an uneventful trek becomes anything but. Between strange men, freaky weather, a borderline sadist ghost, and some barbarian's love-struck pet dinosaur, she doesn’t know what can get any worse... Who said a journey is only fun with boys and badges?

Raingurl, Make It

Chapter: 1
Down-and-out.pour.
AKA: A Girl and Her Ghost.

“Rain rain go away, please come back another day,” Shia pleaded through clenched teeth, to keep them from cla-cla-clattering. An icy chill seeped into her body head-down as big, fat dragon-sized droplets of rain pummeled her skull through the hood of her yellow rain jacket, which, for the ridiculous amount of money she’d spent on it, shouldn’t have felt thinner than wax paper. One thing was for sure, though: she was never doing business with Elesa’s brand of trainer’s athleisure ever again!

The downpour had cast everything in her vision behind a silvery veil, so she couldn’t see where she was going, but her nav’s compass pointed south which was the direction from which she had come so she put her trust in that and continued to run.

Mud sloshed out of her boots as she barreled through the wide-leaved undergrowth of the forest. The ground had been turned into a soupy mess of mud, rotted pomeg berries, and exposed roots, and she was the one churning it. Her foot caught something—probably a root—and she fell hard, knees first, into the sludge. Mud splashed her face and got in her mouth. She grimaced at its earthy grittiness and spit it out. Then, she realized her hands were empty.

“Oh crap! My nav!”

She felt around in the muck for the little yellow device, whimpering at the different textures she touched. “It’s nothing! They’re nothing!” she sang, willing the monstrous imaginations of her mind to fade away. She knew the sleekness of metal, though, and squealed giddily when she fished her Nav out. The screen still lit up. “Yes! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she peppered it with kisses, muddy lips be damned. She couldn’t lose this baby. Not now.

Struggling to her feet, she noticed the water rose precariously high—to her calves—and slowed her down so much so that, at times when the terrain dipped, she was wading through it. Was this normal? No, it couldn’t be. Was this what they called a flash flood? She’d heard those kinds of things were possible on Route 119, due to the terrain differences in slopes and heights and such, but even during class when they’d covered emergency what-if scenarios, they’d never tackled a situation like this! What to do when you’re in a rockslide? Check. What to do if the volcano erupts? Familiar. But never what to do if you’re caught in a flash flood in the middle of the rainforest? All she knew was to run!

Shia couldn’t believe her luck. Day two of her first traveling experience, and she had to deal with this.

She was a Mauvillite through and through, a silver spoon-fed city girl that hadn’t a need for traveling, let alone owning a pokemon in her 18-year life until she wanted to move away from the shadow of her parent’s success. Seven months ago, she’d taken the first steps to do exactly that. All it took for her to become a licensed trainer was a six-month speed course and an ounce of luck. Who knew!

After graduation, brewing with excitement and newfound ambition, she came up with the idea of surprising Dylan, her boyfriend, in Fortree for his birthday. She spent the last month planning her trip, watching the weather until it was just clear enough to make the trek up to the treetop city unscathed. She knew Route 119 was known for its frequent precipitation, and she had prepared for it, but it shouldn’t have been raining now, and so strongly, no less. So, why was it?!

Her wrinkling, chilled fingers gripped her Nav as she struggled to make out the mud-encrusted and wet-beaded screen through the onslaught. She wiped and refreshed and waited. Even though she had four bars of signal strength, it took a minute to load, longer than usual. She wasn’t worried, though. It was the latest PokeNav Plus model—their most durable, their most reliable, and their most waterproof. An Hoenn pro trainer must-have. She’d bought two of them, one for herself and one for Dylan’s birthday gift.

She’d skimmed through the reviews, and they were generally pretty positive. She trusted what she read, plus 4.8/5 stars were convincing enough on its own. Besides, why would people go out of their way to leave a review if they weren’t passionate about the product? She’d wished she’d been so thorough before she bought this stupid, flimsy rain jacket. Yellow wasn’t even her color.

When her weather app finally loaded, it parroted what it had been forecasting all week for the Route 119 area: clear skies.

“What the…” She slowed her pace, captivated by a tree with a hollowed trunk. Shia was used to the artificial lush of Mauville’s perfectly designed central park. A tree like this wasn’t within an architect’s capability. It was both naturally strange and naturally beautiful. Maybe she could take shelter here temporarily, while she caught her bearings.

The opening was wider than it was tall, and she had to crouch slightly to keep from bumping her head on tree, but inside she had enough room to stand up straight. If anyone had ever wondered what the inside of a tree smelled like, well, it smelled like musk and wood. With its awkward structure, the exposed roots snaking through the ground like a Frenzy Plant attack, she thought that perhaps there was a time years ago, where there might have been dirt where she was now standing. Before flash flood after flash flood had eroded the soft soils away.

Admittedly, she probably should’ve checked if there was a wild pokemon hiding within before she sprung in, but she had other concerns and an immediate relief. She was just grateful for the makeshift roof.

She peeled her hood back and pulled her ponytail lose from her hair tie. Dark curls fell around her, and she gathered them, twisting and ringing handfuls free of moisture. Then, she tied it back up. Traveling with long hair was a crime, she decided. The salon treatment she would need after today... She wondered if there were any good places in Fortree.

She tried the nav again and refreshed it, but again, it read the same. Clear skies.

She pulled up the search engine, clumsily thumbed, ‘W E A T H E R’, and held her breath as she waited for the page to load. Seriously, she hadn’t noticed the stalled load times before. But maybe that was because she was panicked now. Maybe that was how they had always been.

The page stuttered then displayed the same weekly forecast: clear. skies.

“Stupid thing!” she threw the Nav down and covered her face to hold back the tears. This was awful. So awful. She shouldn’t have come out here, and she shouldn’t have come alone. She shouldn’t have thought she was capable of doing anything by herself. Maybe Mother was right.

Shia let out another choked exhale. Her breath did little to warm her hands, which were so cold against her face. They felt like they weren’t hers, anymore, trembling all on their own. She hadn’t been able to stop shivering ever since she fell. Her trail pants were no longer just dark below the knee, but darkened completely and covered in mud and forest bits, and her yellow rain jacket clung to her like a swimsuit. Some water resistance this was. And her bag—

Shia’s mouth fell open in a silent gasp. Her back was pressed firmly against the bark of the tree; no awkward protrusions in between when there should have been. “Oh crap,” she whined, mind jumping to trace back over her steps. “My bag...”

It was gone. All of her supplies: her extra clothes, her sleeping bag, her tent, her packed food, her hydro flask, her nav’s portable charger, her utility knife, her lighter, her repellent, my purse, Dylan’s gift!—all gone.

But where?

A fully-brown zigzagoon skidded to halt at the entrance of the tree and stared at Shia with its big brown eyes like it was petrified. If Shia were a pokemon, this zigzagoon would be the one. It was drenched and covered in mud and shivering, looking pitiful in the downpour. It was clearly in search of shelter just like she was and must have not seen her inside when it spotted the tree. She wondered if she’d accidentally taken over his home, if wild pokemon even had those.

“Aww, here, there’s room,” she said, shuffling to the side to make space. It hissed at her, and she jumped. “Hey! Play nice, you!”

It turned and darted underneath the petals of a pomeg flower. An oddish poked its head out of the mud, its leaves pointed razor sharp at the zigzagoon. Then, it softened up and curled its leaves around the zigzagoon. They cowered under the protective cover of the flower together. She felt bad for them, but felt comforted that the rain wasn’t just ruining her day.

She pursed her lips. Something about the sight was reminiscent of something… but what…

Aha!

Back in the clearing. That’s where her bag was! Needing a break, she remembered shedding her bag underneath an oran tree because the bag’s straps were eating at her shoulders, and she’d wanted a light, free snack herself. And then, she’d gotten distracted by a herd of tropius that had appeared. Courage, or was it insanity, had inspired her to approach them, albeit cautiously. They regarded her, sniffed her dark curls curiously, then paid her no mind as they went to nibble at the berries in the treetops. She pet one of the smaller tropius, who was more friendly than the others and nudged her with its head. It kept lifting its neck towards her, seemingly offering her its fruit, but Shia didn’t think it felt right to take it. She guessed juvenile pokemon were like human kids in the sense that they were all too nice and too trusting than a cruel world like this deserved.

It was so surreal, so picturesque that she had to take a picture. One of the herd and a selfie with her little friend. It was the first time she had considered herself an actual trainer. Here in the wild, surrounded by Mother Nature and Mew’s Gifts. Everything was perfect. How it should be.

Then, lightning flashed, and suddenly there was rain, a whole lot of it. Thunder boomed next, so intense it shook the earth and sent the tropius into a panic. They broke out into a stampede, green giants stomping the earth, and Shia ran for her life so as to not get trampled. After a while, she had just wanted to get back home. It hadn’t crossed her mind as to her why she had stopped in the first place.

Idiot.

She bit her lip. A little pain helped draw feeling away from her watery eyes. She promised herself she wouldn’t cry anymore, once she became a trainer. But the tears kept threatening to spill over. Today was just too much. She thought about the emergency beacon that came installed in all the latest navs. Once initiated, it’d signal the dispatch center who’d contact the nearest ranger’s station who’d then send a ranger out to find her. She wasn’t embarrassed to use it. She knew it saved lives. And this rain was absolutely too much. She wanted to go back home, back to Mauville where it was safe and warm and free of most precipitation. She’d never missed the city’s odd, donut-dome design so much so until now. And Dylan could always come down to Mauville for his birthday, like he’d done the year prior, right?

But…

No.

Dylan traversed Route 119 all the time. If he could do it, then so could she!

Shia allowed herself one last sigh, one final moment of self-deprecation before she swore off anymore negativity. Solutions only. Dwelling in her feelings would get her nowhere.

Though, before she could feign confidence in her situation, she reached for her belt in hopes of feeling the one poke ball that was supposed to be there.

Please. Please. Please.

Sleek. Smooth. Metal.

“Oh, sweet baby feebas, thank you!”

She clutched the sole poke ball in her hand. She hadn’t used her pokemon once throughout her trip, as there hadn’t been a need. And she didn’t want to make the common rookie mistake she’d heard of which was trainers burning through all their pokefood so quickly because they kept their pokemon out all the time. Affording pokefood was no problem, but she was trying to be responsible starting out and—

Oh, who was she kidding? Pokefood didn’t do much for her pokemon, anyway. It had the kind of diet that gave her the heebie jeebies. Frankly, she was, in fact, quite a fan of its poke ball use, and to be even more honest, she had no clue how her pokemon would even be able to help her. It wasn’t like it was capable of willing the rain away.

But one thing she remembered from trainers’ school was that pokemon had an innate instinct to survive, so they might be more helpful in an emergency situation than a trainer was capable of realizing. Shia hoped that was the case, because the downpour hadn’t eased up, and seemed like it wouldn’t ever..

In any case, she was all out options anyway. Here goes nothing, she thought.

In a flash of light, Sadwick materialized low to the ground, but rose slowly until they were eye level. That was a 1:2 eye ratio, with a duskull involved.

She made sure to focus on the middle part of his skull face instead of his glowing fiery-like eye while it swayed between his sockets, lest she hypnotize herself again. It’d taken her a week to learn her lesson, and upon realizing that she actually was growing and gaining new knowledge—wisdom—she felt the seedlings of pride take root within her chest. This helped her steel her nerves, like she normally tried to do before facing him. But this time, she knew she couldn’t quite quell the despair she felt for her situation.

After all, she had turned to him out of desperation, which was exactly the type of helpless energy and unfortunate circumstance that duskull lived for.

“Hi, Sadwick. Did you rest well?” She spoke slowly and calmly with a strained smile. This part was always unnerving, but she was starting to understand his unique ways of communicating.

Sadwick’s body quivered, his robe-like body folding about him. Then came his voice, low in volume but discordant and hard on the ears. Even though she was already cold and shivering, and more importantly, bracing herself for what she knew would come; the sound was still capable of forcibly evoking a bodily response in anyone that was instinctual: a shudder.

Sadwick quivered in response and his eye pulsed, pleased.

“Yeah, Sadwick. I’m pleased to see you, too. Are you hungry?”

Yesterday morning, as she was leaving Mauville, she had been sure to pass through a cemetery on the way out, and since then, Sadwick had been confined to his poke ball. Theoretically, he should’ve still been fine, but she knew there was no way he was going to pass up on the big breakfast that was her aura. She just hoped it wasn’t too much. The nightmare Sadwick could become…

No. No negative thoughts!

Silly, silly girl.
Mother’s words popped into her head, and she clenched her eyes shut, willing them away.

Shut up shut up shut up!

When she opened them, Sadwick had moved closer, and was drifting up and down around her in a lazy arc. In her mind, she imagined him nibbling off of floating orbs of negativity that surrounded her, some big and some small but all delightfully delicious.

Sadwick liked to take his sweet time eating. Normally, that was a good thing, but when you were the main course, it suddenly lost its appeal. It felt like she was under the telescope, being dissected and separated from all her bad bits—but she liked her bad bits. They weren’t always a party at times, but they were still hers.

She sighed. In the first couple of weeks, his feeding process had been unnerving. But now? It was just a part of their tedious everyday routine.

One day, it struck her that this was how Dylan must have felt when he stuck around on the days she got an itch to re-christen her parents’ credit cards. At first, she couldn’t understand how he didn’t understand the beauty of shopping… How could anyone be so lifeless surrounded by so many cute clothes? But really, it was the simple fact that he just didn’t see the world through the same lense as her. Just like how she couldn’t see the world through Sadwick’s lense. It didn’t make his reality anymore lesser than hers; if anything, it was enough for her to know that it simply existed and brought him joy. Apparently, knowing that must have been enough for Dylan, too, because he still accompanied her to Mauville’s malls even when it was clear he’d rather be anywhere else than the dressing room’s wait bench. It was that small realization that made Shia love him that much more.

It was part of the reasons why she still wanted to make the trip to Fortree, and why, in spite of the unexpected setbacks of the day, she wanted to persevere. Because Dylan would, and consistently has, done the same for her.

So, what was a little rain, a little cold, and a little waiting while Sadwick fed off of her aura if it meant that she couldn’t wait to see Dylan?

He had always waited for her, and it was because he had always waited for her that she knew that waiting wasn’t for her. She didn’t want to wait. Not right now. Not in this moment. Not if waiting meant silently standing by, loyal but unfulfilled. It was time for action and time she showed him that she could be just as impatient for him as he was patient for as long as it meant seeing the person she loved most in the world.

She believed in a love that empowered all to live in their realities uncompromised. Dylan deserved to not only know that, but to have that. She needed to see him, to remind him of that in person.

“Alright, Sadwick, now don’t be greedy.” She swatted him away and made sure there was an appropriate amount of distance between them before she continued. Although she was feeling better mentally, her physical conditions were less than ideal, so it was only sensible that she be cautious.

“Now, I need you to help me figure out how we’re going to survive the night, okay? Think you can do that?”

Sadwick quivered.

Shia narrowed her eyes. She wanted to take that as a yes. But, she had also said ‘survive the night’, which had to have been every ghost-type’s favorite words.

“We are not out here for fun. You hear me?”

Sadwick sank a little lower.

“Okay, now, here’s the plan.”

* * *

The rain was now a light drizzle. Shia had a feeling it wouldn’t last, though. She needed to move quickly.

“Come on, Sadwick.”

She slipped on her hood and approached the huddling oddish and zigzagoon.

“You can have your place back!” She pointed at the hollowed trunk. “Doesn’t it look waaay more dry and inviting?”

The oddish only blinked at her, but the zigzagoon bared its tiny fangs.

“A fierce little guy, aren’t you.”

The zigzagoon growled, and she stepped back.

It didn’t look like they were going to budge from their flower umbrella.

Too bad she wanted it.

She sent Sadwick away. With less “threats” to focus on, it was less likely for the zigzagoon to attack, and a zigzagoon was the last pokemon she wanted to be the first pokemon her and Sadwick’s first battled against.

For one, Sadwick wasn’t exactly battle trained and ready. Between planning for the journey and the time it took her to get adjusted to having a duskull as her very first pokemon, Shia hadn’t set much time aside for training. And while she didn’t know much about Sadwick other than the fact that he had been bred by one of Mother’s friends and had only hatched from his an egg a few months prior to when she received him, Shia knew that the environment he was raised in was not battle-oriented. You didn’t fight in libraries unless you have a death wish for the librarian.

It was ironic that zigzagoon were considered among the least dangerous pokemon in the Hoenn region (and consequently, were sought out by beginner trainers alike as the go-to wild pokemon to pick on) because they were high on Shia’s “Do Not Engage With” list for one important reason.

She had a ghost-type that only possessed offensive ghost-type moves, and against a normal-type pokemon, that meant she had nothing. Sadwick couldn’t hurt a single hair on a zigzagoon’s normal-type body. And sure, by that same logic, Sadwick’s ghost-type body was safe from zigzagoon’s normal-type advances; but that was only a stalemate in a trainer’s battle. In the wild, that left her defenseless with a useless pokemon that couldn’t only watch while she was attacked. And in her specific case, it left her with a pokemon that might thoroughly enjoy watching her be attacked. If Sadwick knew the amount of fear he could feed off of if he realized the situation, if Shia let it come to that, then she was doubly screwed.

Duskull were insidious, tricky creatures if not handled carefully. Even before she had done her research on them, growing up, everyone knew about the horror stories; they were told around campfires and sleepovers. Stories of duskull turning into bullies, scaring their own trainers just to feed off of their energy. Stories of duskull stalking schoolgirls at night. Stories of trainers losing their minds because their duskull had turned scaring them into one sick game. That premise had inspired the popular movie series Scream, which was massively popular in Unova until the premieres starting attracting massive hoards of duskull to cities and towns alike—though, the studio in charge did come under fire when it was suspected that it was part of some elaborate marketing ploy..

Personally, Shia thought the movie series was cheap and misrepresented duskull, but even she had been privy to its affects when she first receieved Sadwick. She remembered the flashes of intrusive thoughts where she saw Sadwick as a crazed murderer instead of an innocent ghost-type creature that was simply as curious as she was. She felt ashamed. She hadn’t even nicknamed him yet.

So, taking Dad’s advice—“Knowledge defeats superstition”—she did a lot of research to rid of herself of the dumb single story shameless Unovan films had given her. However, pop culture aside, it couldn’t be denied that duskull were difficult pokemon to train regardless. Coven, a top Hoennese tabloid featured duskull in a list of top ten pokemon that Hoennese and Sinnohan trainers were likely to release. And it was all because trainers underestimated what it took to train them. Shia didn’t want to make the same mistake, which is why she had to be conscious of everything. She’d found a little indie book dedicated specifically to raising duskull, and lived by it.

Rule #1: Play chess.

If trainers remembered to stay two, three, four steps ahead, then raising duskull was a matter of assessing situations, reading the opponent, and planning ahead.

Shia hated chess, but she liked keeping her sanity in tact, so she made due. She had a plan. This zigzagoon wasn’t going to give her any grief on her watch.

She smiled weakly at the pair: an oddish and a zigzagoon… Who would’ve thought?

“Sorry, guys. No hard feelings, right?”

The wild pokemon were so focused on her, they hadn’t noticed Sadwick drifting behind them. She raised her hand, and as expected, the wild pokemon locked on it. Sadwick had his signal.

She wasn’t betting on using sheer force to move the zigzagoon. She was betting on using sound.

He shrank himself, then exploded outwards, letting out a ear-grating screech that still made Shia flinch despite expecting it. The oddish’s leaves went stiff, and it seemed to faint, poor thing. The zigzagoon darted for the hollow. But as soon as it got within the safety of the tree, it started growling.

“Huh? What’s wrong with you now!”

It dove at Shia’s feet, and she jumped back, unintentionally tossing up a wide splash. It splattered the zigzagoon directly in the face and it backed away, rubbing at its face.

“Sadwick, now!” Shia crouched and yanked at the root of the pomeg flower. “Pull!”

Sadwick hated taking full corporeality, if only because his body lacked much physical strength. Still, Shia needed all the help she could get ripping the plant out of the ground. The muddy earth might’ve helped loosen the plant had she been able to keep herself from sliding, and her wet and muddy hands struggled to keep a grip, too. She crouched and pulled on the flower’s thick stem with her arms, then with her back, then with her knees. She couldn’t remember which body part Dylan had said to use when she lifted things—he was the weight-lifting junkie, after all—but she knew she was hurting all over no matter what she tried.

“Sadwick, you’re not even helping!” He was pulling weakly at the petals. “Grab the base!”

He let out a wailing sound. He couldn’t bring himself to hover so low above the ground for too long. He seemed scared to land. Or maybe…

“You too good to get a little dirty?!”

It whined louder.

“Good grief!”

Don’t tell me he’s a house’mon!

Shia heard the growl before she saw the flash of brown out of the corner of her eye. She bobbed, reflexively, twisting around the plant just as the zigzagoon went soaring right pass her face. His claws slashed at the air and stabbed the ground when it landed and circled around. It was hissing violently, and looking really scary.

“Oh, crap,” Shia mumbled.

Sadwick appeared right at her ear, breathing heavy, quivering.

“Now’s not the time! Go away!” Her hand passed through his body as she tried to shoo him away, and a chill climbed up her spine. She growled through it. “Argh! If you’re not gonna help, at least try to defend me!”

Rule #2: Channel your fear into another emotion.

She chose anger.

Sadwick moved in between her and the zigzagoon. It didn’t make much sense, though, as when zigzagoon dove with a tackle attack, it passed right through Sadwick’s gray body and went straight towards her.

She tried ducking behind the flower, putting her nose directly into the flower’s center. The spicy sweetness of the pollen made her nose tingle, and cleared her sinuses right up, but it also gave her a rush akin to adrenaline. She sneezed, and with a sudden burst of herculean strength, the pomeg flower’s roots snapped. She flew back holding the flower, and it blocked the zigzagoon’s fangs, which dug in.

He shook his little stuck body, growling into the plant all the while Shia screamed and screamed. Seeing a murderous zigzagoon up close was not on her bucket list. She threw the plant aside, and the zigzagoon went with it.

As she was scrambling to her feet, her hand brushed against something sharp that made her cry out. The oddish! It was half-deep in mud, but its head leaf blades were razor sharp. She had totally forgotten it was passed out underneath the flower, and by the looks of one of it’s ripped leaves, she probably stepped on it.

Oops.

No wonder the zigzagoon had been so incessant on attacking her. It thought she was attacking its friend.

Shia glanced the cut. It went straight across her fingers on her right hand, but it wasn’t so deep that it was bleeding, only like a paper cut. It hurt to curl them, and she thought they kind of felt numb, but she chalked it up to adrenaline and shock. Something like that.

The zigzagoon had finally worked its tiny fangs free of the plant and charged again when Sadwick suddenly appeared in front of it. Shia couldn’t see what he did to stop the zigzagoon mid-charge, but when Sadwick moved aside, the zigzagoon swayed, and its eyes were out of focus. It shook its head through the daze and stumbled over its little legs. Huh?

“What did you do?” Shia asked. Sadwick’s eye pulsed and for a second she felt light-headed.

Focus. Just…not on his eye, she remembered.

“Whatever, let’s just get out of here!” Shia grabbed the pomeg flower. She was a little wet, and even more filthy, but she had what she wanted. Now, all she needed was a stick, which—how hard would that be to find in a rainforest? She cackled. Loudly,. Surprising herself and offending duskull because she was smiling for the first time since the downpour had started. She could do this. She could do this survival thing, after all.

Before she took off, she waved at the oddish and the zigzagoon, who had both retreated into the hollowed tree.

“Stay friends for a long time, yeah!”

She took off running into the undergrowth with her duskull slow behind her.
 
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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

me trundling to all the new Suicune's Choice fans, big hype, yes!!

Also, hi, welcome! Excited to see you're posting on the forums <3

This is such a fun first chapter. I think you do a great job of setting up Shia as this somewhat inexperienced trainer but she's still determined to go through with this--she's smart in enough ways to get herself out of problems, but not quite smart enough to keep herself out of them. Her logic is really fun to work through here, and she definitely seems a bit more spacey and/or introspective than a lot of trainers, so it's fun to get inside her head for a bit! There's a bit where she's scrambling for her nav in the mud and then she kisses it, "muddy lips be damned" or something, that really helped cement her character for me: she's got some reservations, but she's got grit and she's willing to do what she's gotta! But there's still a genuine spark of enthusiasm and optimism in here that makes her a lot of fun to read.

My favorite parts here are definitely in the worldbuilding though (+ how you filter it through Shia). Watching her interact with Sadwick is a delight, and you really toe this lovely, delicate balance of how pokemon could be mad terrifying but also are creatures deserving of being treated as independent entities. Shia reading up on indie books on how to raise duskull is such a cute mental image for both of them, ahahaha. And the little bits about Sadwick cackling, snooping around to pick out the tastiest bits of her fear and misery--it's a really interesting way to add tension when your allies might not ... be 100% allies in the same sense that you'd want them to be, and I'm curious to see how these two will continue to interact. There's a really cute line where Shia recognizes that she's learning more about Sadwick and she feels "the seedlings of pride take root within her chest" that I really loved here. There's some other neat hooks about pokemon/human relationships as well--the idea that trainers might keep pokemon in pokeballs as a money-saving strategy is interesting to say the least--I guess technically if my friends could keep me in stasis so I'd have to eat less I probably wouldn't mind tbh, but it's an interesting thought experiment.

Friendly tropius! Oddish under a floral umbrella! This chapter had some really cute setpieces. The section where Shia details the danger of wild pokemon is an interesting one too--do all wild pokemon just hop out to challenge you then? She mentions that they'll specifically attack the human trainer if there isn't a pokemon in the way, so I'm sort of curious what the pokemon are after/why they're attacking, if those opinions would change when they're caught, etc.

The rainforest descriptions here are really nice too. Some good mud prose (a sentence I never thought I'd say), and you do a great job of establishing how this could be a miserable slog for the unprepared, lol. Rain hiking is truly the worst. I'm a little 👀 at the hooks about how this type of rainfall isn't expected at this time of year, how they didn't cover this in trainer school, how the nav thinks it's supposed to be clear ... surely in Hoenn this is absolutely unimportant, but I think only time will tell on that one!

Shia's got a lot of thoughts~~ going on, which was great for setting up the worldbuilding and lore here, but I think it got a little hard to follow in some points + it drags out the pacing of your scenes in a few spots. The second half of the first scene goes through a fair amount of info:
  • Backpack where?
  • Zigzagoon. Cute, has umbrella.
  • Oh, backpack there.
  • Backpack by tropius! Tropius are cool.
  • Oh yes hmmm gonna die.
  • Dylan would make it through this.
  • Oh yeah no gonna die.
  • Sadwick could help! a lot
  • Must pretend like there is no danger so Sadwick doesn't feed.
  • Dylan. Love empowers all to live, and Dylan must be reminded of this.
  • Plan!
And I think the transitions end up being just a touch too rocky--it's tricky too, since it feels like it's in-character for Shia to be zipping around ideas like this, but in an intro chapter it's a little hard to follow. By the end I'm not really sure what the plan for the flower even is, or why she was so desperate to get it. There's a second instance of this when they're fighting zigzagoon where the narrative meanders for a bit into Shia flashing-back to how/why/what she does when training Sadwick. I think setting up some of the information in a more linear fashion would help, particularly in an early chapter when you want to set up so much information at once--it's not even about cutting information, just changing the order that things get presented in:
  • Backpack where? Oh, backpack there.
  • Backpack by the tropius. Tropius are cool. We need to get back there. [but which way is there?]
  • Zigzagoon. Cute, has umbrella.
  • Oh yes hmmm gonna die.
  • Dylan would make it through this. [Dylan is why Shia is going through this.]
  • Sadwick could help! a lot
  • Must pretend like there is no danger so Sadwick doesn't feed.
  • Plan!
Or something! Again, I think you have some flexibility in later chapters to lean into a more sporadic narrator, but it's a bit hard to track in an early chapter.

There are a lot of good lines here but my favorite one by far was:
Rule #2: Channel your fear into another emotion.

She chose anger.
Really smooth transition there back from the flashback into the reality, and the short sentence is super dramatic and fun.

---

some sentence-level thoughts:
An icy chill seeped into her body head-down as big, fat dragon-sized droplets of rain pummeled her skull through the hood of her yellow rain jacket, which, for the ridiculous amount of money she’d spent on it, shouldn’t have felt thinner than wax paper.
Could probably cut some words here--what is a "big, fat, dragon-sized droplet" anyway? Presumably "dragon-sized" isn't literal, so it's kind of redundant imo with "big, fat". I'd also tweak the last bit to say "should've felt thicker than wax paper" to cut out a few of the negatives.

One thing was for sure, though: she was never doing business with Elesa’s brand of trainer’s athleisure ever again!
Love the characterization and worldbuilding here--really good job of establishing early on that Shia's a bit inexperienced with this, and also some cool tidbits with Elesa! "One thing was for sure" suggests that something else isn't for sure, which felt like a strange reversal in the context of this paragraph since most of the previous info was concrete.

The downpour had cast everything in her vision behind a silvery veil, so she couldn’t see where she was going, but her nav’s compass pointed south which was the direction from which she had come so she put her trust in that and continued to run.
I got a bit lost in the back half of this sentence. I couldn't quite see where the details were adding up to--we don't figure out why she wants to be backtracking for a little longer, for example, or I'm not sure why her compass points south to begin with. I think something like:
> "[...] but her nav's compass pointed south, back where she'd come from, so she put her trust in that and continued to run.

when she fished her Nav out
I don't think you capitalized "nav" anywhere else, so this one stood out to me a bit.

With its awkward structure, the exposed roots snaking through the ground like a Frenzy Plant attack, she thought that perhaps there was a time years ago, where there might have been dirt where she was now standing. Before flash flood after flash flood had eroded the soft soils away.
I thought this was a really pretty thought for her to have in this moment. A bit of a calm in the eye of a hurricane, and it also says a lot about Shia for thinking this in this moment.

Dark curls fell around her, and she gathered them, twisting and ringing handfuls free of moisture.
You'd want "wringing" here instead of "ringing".

Traveling with long hair was a crime, she decided.
It is!!! Ugh. Long hair problems.

She pulled up the search engine, clumsily thumbed, ‘W E A T H E R’
I dunno if there's a hard-and-fast rule here, but I think this would read better as "W-E-A-T-H-E-R" (suggests that she's spelling it out) rather than having the spaces.

But where?

A fully-brown zigzagoon skidded to halt at the entrance of the tree and stared at Shia with its big brown eyes like it was petrified.
Mostly covered this a bit higher up but the transition here was especially abrupt.

She pet one of the smaller tropius, who was more friendly than the others and nudged her with its head. It kept lifting its neck towards her, seemingly offering her its fruit, but Shia didn’t think it felt right to take it. She guessed juvenile pokemon were like human kids in the sense that they were all too nice and too trusting than a cruel world like this deserved.
This was such a lovely detail! I wonder if there are adult tropius somewhere nearby though? I'd totally panic if I saw even a small deer in the woods tbh--easy way to get trampled. But it also makes sense that Shia would just want to take selfies with them ahahaha.

Shia hoped that was the case, because the downpour hadn’t eased up, and seemed like it wouldn’t ever..
Either an extra or a missing period here.

In any case, she was all out options anyway. Here goes nothing, she thought.
I think italics would help a bit to separate the thought from the narration.

She believed in a love that empowered all to live in their realities uncompromised. Dylan deserved to not only know that, but to have that. She needed to see him, to remind him of that in person.
This felt a bit dramatic and overstated, but at the same time! Kids who are just learning about love tend to do that, haha.

In a flash of light, Sadwick materialized low to the ground, but rose slowly until they were eye level. That was a 1:2 eye ratio, with a duskull involved.
I couldn't quite follow the image here--I imagine it has to do with the fact that duskull is mostly eye, but I'm not sure.

Sadwick’s body quivered
Sadwick quivered in response and his eye pulsed, pleased.
I really love how you make Sadwick feel unique in general--he's distinctly not human and his mannerisms are foreign to Shia, but it seems like there's an internal logic to him, even if it's alien. The close repetition of "quiver" is a good visual but I think in prose it'd be helpful to mix up the words a bit.

When she opened them, Sadwick had moved closer, and was drifting up and down around her in a lazy arc. In her mind, she imagined him nibbling off of floating orbs of negativity that surrounded her, some big and some small but all delightfully delicious.
omg <3

She sighed. In the first couple of weeks, his feeding process had been unnerving. But now? It was just a part of their tedious everyday routine.
This too! Such a cool detail. Things that are fascinating and magical to an outsider eventually become routine and mundane.

it was the simple fact that he just didn’t see the world through the same lense as her
I'm pretty sure you want "lens" here.

Because Dylan would, and consistently has, done the same for her.
Lil' zoop into present tense.

With less “threats” to focus on, it was less likely for the zigzagoon to attack, and a zigzagoon was the last pokemon she wanted to be the first pokemon her and Sadwick’s first battled against.
This sentence got a little lost for me as well--I think too many firsts/lasts. Maybe rephrase to something like:
> With fewer "threats" to focus on, it was less likely for a wild pokemon to attack. Beyond that, a zigzagoon was the last pokemon she wanted to have her and Sadwick's first battle against.

That premise had inspired the popular movie series Scream, which was massively popular in Unova until the premieres starting attracting massive hoards of duskull to cities and towns alike—though, the studio in charge did come under fire when it was suspected that it was part of some elaborate marketing ploy..
Another lovely bit of worldbuilding. Italics would be helpful on "Scream" and I think you either have one too many or one too few periods at the end of this sentence.

He let out a wailing sound.
It whined louder.
I lost track of the action in this bit--who's whining? I know Shia uses "it" for zigzagoon and "he" for Sadwick, but is the louder whining supposed to be a response?

She cackled. Loudly,.
Cackled is a great verb! A comma snuck in here though.

She took off running into the undergrowth with her duskull slow behind her.
oh nooooo don't leave him behind :(((

---

This is a really fun first chapter! Delightful start, excited for the storm gods and the love-struck dinosaurs in the future.
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Hey! Here from Catnip, looking at the first chapter, naturally.

but her nav’s compass pointed south which was the direction from which she had come so she put her trust in that and continued to run.

I'm trying to wrap my head around this sentence but it's not really working out for me. Does the compass in this context mean a navigator that would point to the set destination? Or is it a traditional compass in that it always points north, and by "south" this actually means down / towards the viewer, as south is usually marked in maps? Is she trying to get back to where she came from, or go in the opposite direction? I just can't seem to interpret it in a way that'd make sense.

An Hoenn pro trainer must-have.

I was today years old when I learned some people pronounced Hoenn with the H silent. It seems to be pronounced Ho-en in the anime, though.

With its awkward structure, the exposed roots snaking through the ground like a Frenzy Plant attack,

This is a really fun, creative descriptor!

She pulled up the search engine, clumsily thumbed, ‘W E A T H E R’, and held her breath as she waited for the page to load. Seriously, she hadn’t noticed the stalled load times before. But maybe that was because she was panicked now. Maybe that was how they had always been.

The page stuttered then displayed the same weekly forecast: clear. skies.

Now I can't know if there's actually something supernatural going on with the rains yet, so I'll answer this with the assumption of it just being observable for all: I find it kinda weird that she came across no news or warnings of this sudden downpour, and that the forecast showed only clear weather, as I've used a weather app/site or two and they always give the latest observations as well. If those were clear, too, then her rage would be even more justified.

It turned and darted underneath the petals of a pomeg flower.

I didn't actually know pomeg flowers were so large and strangely umbrella-shaped beforehand, so I just imagined this was a regular larger-than-average flower, which then became kind of ridiculous when Shia wanted to use it as an actual umbrella and prompted me to look it up. You could make the point that you did say what it was, a pomeg flower, and the rest it up for the reader to know - and if this was a pokémon, I'd agree, but the appearance of berry flowers seem like information that's obscure enough for the average fic reader not to know / be able to guess. To get to the point: I think it'd be beneficial to have some establishing description woven in so those that aren't familiar with pomeg won't make the same mistake I did and get sucked out of the story for the moment they need to figure out what they missed. Something like "underneath the large stiff(?) petals(?)" (I'm not actually sure if the red part is petals since it seems to have a separate flower above it with white petals) or further description elsewhere so the usage of it as an umbrella makes sense.

And then, she’d gotten distracted by a herd of tropius that had appeared. Courage, or was it insanity, had inspired her to approach them, albeit cautiously. They regarded her, sniffed her dark curls curiously, then paid her no mind as they went to nibble at the berries in the treetops.

*Jurassic Park theme plays*

She guessed juvenile pokemon were like human kids in the sense that they were all too nice and too trusting than a cruel world like this deserved.

what kids you been around lol

though, the studio in charge did come under fire when it was suspected that it was part of some elaborate marketing ploy..

Accidental double period?

Personally, Shia thought the movie series was cheap and misrepresented duskull, but even she had been privy to its affects when she first receieved Sadwick.

The latter bolded word has a typo, no question, but the first is a bit more complicated. My first thought was that this was a case of mixing up affect and effect (affect is the verb, effect is the noun), but a google search then told me that there is a noun definition for affect: "emotion or desire as influencing behaviour". I still don't think it really fits, though, and a friend I asked seems to agree, so it's probably better to just switch it to effects.

In the wild, that left her defenseless with a useless pokemon that couldn’t only watch while she was attacked.

Did you mean "could only watch", or did I miss something?

“Huh? What’s wrong with you now!”

While it is a shout, I believe questions should still be ended with question marks to mark their question-ness.


Stray comma.

---

General Thoughts

The highlights of this chapter for me are definitely the pokémon interactions. I very much like that the zigzagoon and oddish seem to be friends - that friendliness is part of what makes pokémon special compared to just regular animals, which usually freak out at or try to eat anything that moves and doesn't look or smell like them. And memes aside, the part with the tropius really does have a Jurassic Park -kind of awe. I also liked the mention of a clothes brand by Elesa and talk of the Nav model being new. Pop culture and the mundane have great power when it comes to worldbuilding and making your setting seem real.

The expansion of duskull's lore and the exploration of the species' place in society was interesting. The Scream franchise giving duskull a bad name feels like it mirrors the bad rap great white sharks got from Jaws, so it feels authentic. With all this information supporting the notion that duskull are hard to train and a challenge for the trainer, I feel like I'm completely missing the reason why Shia a) got a duskull and b) kept the duskull. She doesn't seem to be particularly fond of them. Getting it seems like it was convenient because of the mom's friend thing, and keeping it can maybe be chalked up to her being stubborn and not wanting to back out of her decision (even if it would turn out to be poor), but it's like... if your friend offered you a free tarantula. Yeah, it's free, but do you want a tarantula? Do you have the physical and mental resources to safely take care of a tarantula that might have a nasty venomous bite? I guess if you want to be a trainer and have no other choice, you'd take a duskull, but there's not really anything so far to suggest that you couldn't pretty easily get some other pokémon that was less challenging to train. I mean, those tropius seemed tame enough despite being wild - or so I assume, anyway. I guess they could just be a herd of farm animals grazing or semi-domesticated roaming half-wild, like reindeer.

Personally, I didn't really connect with the protagonist and so my engagement wasn't as tight as it could've been, but as I have trouble giving a reason as to why, I'm going to guess it's just personal preference. Romance is pretty much untread territory for me, so I can't comment much on that, but what I've seen here seems sweet enough. Finally, story-wise, the immediate motives are clear, but it was perhaps lacking in the longer-term department, as I can't really tell where this story would be headed from here. The goal of arriving at the boyfriend's house seems pretty attainable if this is a route the boyfriend has traveled multiple times (and presumably so have many others), though I could be underestimating how much of a survivalist chad that boyfriend might be. To sum up, this doesn't really feel like the beginning of a very long story. Maybe it isn't, but there's not much foreshadowing to indicate something bigger than getting stuck in the rain is going to happen. The summary sounds like there will be, but this chapter feels disconnected from that for the reasons I've just mentioned.

Anyway, in general this seems like a solid fic. I wish you luck with further writing. See you around.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Hey, Nature King! All that discussion about your Lincoln + chinchou project ... and then it turns out you've been sitting on this the entire time!! A pleasant surprise. Thanks for sharing this--it was a fun read!

First of all, Route 119 is objectively the best route in any pokemon game, so good choice. There's a delightful mix here of nature as beautiful and nature as threat/inconvenience. I really felt the wonder of the tropius fren and the hollow tree, the awfulness of the mud and wet clothes. I can definitely see how this sprang from Suicune's Choice! I love seeing pieces of writing in conversation with each other. 🤓

I also definitely enjoyed the glimpses at pop culture and consumer culture here. Did you know you were writing OSJ bait? LOL. Parts of it slowed down the story more than I wanted to (and, as Kint suggested, some of it could be fixed with reordering) but I enjoyed it all the same. More on that in my line-by-lines below.

Shia presents as girlish, a little superficial, and a little flippant--even though she knows she's in trouble, I get the sense that she doesn't quite get how precarious her situation might really be. But she's also stubborn in a way that turns into fortitude. Might save her skin here, and it's also interesting because it seems at odds with her more materialistic tendencies. She has set her mind to do something, pursuing her ideal of what a girlfriend should be, and she's gonna make it happen!

I'm sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop re: Dylan. Her determination to see him makes me think that things between them might not be doing well with distance. Though it's possible that's not your intention, the fact that she doesn't seem to have any past messages from him to draw on for strength makes me wonder if he's as invested in their thing as she is. 👀 Which! Could be a really cool growth opportunity for her, if that's where things are moving. Certainly, she's telling herself it's about Dylan ... but she's also thinking about not wanting to be someone who waits. She's doing this for herself too, on some level, and I think it shows she's becoming her own person, even if by accident.

It does seem like she's also accidentally pitted the future of relationship ... against Kyogre though, lol, given the setting and the weird weather. The only other angle I can imagine is that you're doing something wild and interesting with the weather institute and castform. I guess you'll have to bang out the next chapter so we can find out. (Cough, cough.)

One thing was for sure, though: she was never doing business with Elesa’s brand of trainer’s athleisure ever again!
This says a lot about Shia (and the world!) to me. This is a globalized world: even people in Hoenn know about and admire Elessa, and she's down to try to sell them a product. And poor Shia has tried to buy her way to being a good trainer without knowing the right questions to ask. Too much "does this make me look cool?" and not enough "will this keep me warm and dry?" Clearly, she didn't quite know what she was getting into.

The downpour had cast everything in her vision behind a silvery veil, so she couldn’t see where she was going, but her nav’s compass pointed south which was the direction from which she had come so she put her trust in that and continued to run.
A little wordy here! This sentence was hard to follow, in part because it's so long. (There's also a missing comma after "south.") Breaking it into smaller sentences would make it a little easier to understand the relationship between all these pieces.
Suggestion: Shia could barely see her own feet through the silvery veil of rain, let alone the path ahead. But her nav's compass still worked. She could see which way was north, which was where she needed to go, and so so she put her trust in that and continued to run.

Mud sloshed out of her boots as she barreled through the wide-leaved undergrowth of the forest. The ground had been turned into a soupy mess of mud, rotted pomeg berries, and exposed roots, and she was the one churning it.
Is mud coming out of her shoes or squelching underfoot? Weird that it's in her shoes before she falls ... unless her shoes are also really bad. I love this soupy mud description (soup and dirt--two of my love languages, TBH), but I'm not sure about "and she was the one churning it." I feel like we're skipping a step. Is it that she's fucking up her own traction by running in this, and that's part of what causes her to fall? Or are you just trying to nail down a visual of muddy chaos? If you're just trying to get the verb "churning" in there, I'd do something like, "At each step, the ground churned beneath her sneakers, a soupy mess of ..." If it's about setting up her fall, I'd break it into a few more sentences. Maybe she's struggling up a slope, sliding in it and tearing up the slope with each attempt to bulldoze her way up (grabbing for an exposed tree root to pull herself up?) until she eventually eats shit and faceplants in it.

She was a Mauvillite through and through, a silver spoon-fed city girl that hadn’t a need for traveling,
Love the demonym! Would she self-describe as silver spoon-fed though?

She wiped and refreshed and waited.
The rhythm here was really nice.

She wasn’t worried, though. It was the latest PokeNav Plus model—their most durable, their most reliable, and their most waterproof.
Loved this.

She’d skimmed through the reviews, and they were generally pretty positive. She trusted what she read, plus 4.8/5 stars were convincing enough on its own. Besides, why would people go out of their way to leave a review if they weren’t passionate about the product? She’d wished she’d been so thorough before she bought this stupid, flimsy rain jacket. Yellow wasn’t even her color.
I thought this could be condensed though! I do like that we learn that she's the type of person who researches ... but that she was foolish enough to think the nav was more important than the raincoat. But we get that even if you cut those first two sentences.

Shia was used to the artificial lush of Mauville’s perfectly designed central park.
I think the noun you want is lushness. Lush as a noun = an alcoholic. I like the sentiment here, though! Her idea of nature had not prepared her for this.

but she had other concerns and an immediate relief.
These don't quite gel for me. This is another one where I think it would be better as two sentences. I also don't think you need to be coy about what her "other concerns" are--we know exactly what her problem is already, lol.

Suggestion: but she'd deal with that if she had to. The dry space was an immediate relief, [reaction or comparison?]

Dark curls fell around her, and she gathered them, twisting and ringing handfuls free of moisture. Then, she tied it back up. Traveling with long hair was a crime, she decided. The salon treatment she would need after today... She wondered if there were any good places in Fortree.
I enjoyed the physicality of her hair! And, yeah, girl. I feel you, Shia. Long, curly hair is a huge pain. If I could give my teenage self one piece of advice, it would be to cut my hair short way, way earlier in life. ❤

Her breath did little to warm her hands, which were so cold against her face. They felt like they weren’t hers, anymore, trembling all on their own.
Excellent details! I really felt this.

“Aww, here, there’s room,” she said, shuffling to the side to make space. It hissed at her, and she jumped. “Hey! Play nice, you!”
This was cute and also really sells the idea that she doesn't quite get what a wild pokemon is like, haha. She's got some compassion for it, but is totally unprepared for its inhuman response to her verbal offering.

Oh, sweet baby feebas, thank you!”

She clutched the sole poke ball in her hand.
Funny, but it did make me think there was a feebas in the pokeball.

And she didn’t want to make the common rookie mistake she’d heard of which was trainers burning through all their pokefood so quickly because they kept their pokemon out all the time.

Oh, who was she kidding? Pokefood didn’t do much for her pokemon, anyway. It had the kind of diet that gave her the heebie jeebies. Frankly, she was, in fact, quite a fan of its poke ball use, and to be even more honest, she had no clue how her pokemon would even be able to help her. It wasn’t like it was capable of willing the rain away.
HMMMMM
It seems like she's making excuses for why she wants to keep her duskull in its ball, NGL. And it does seem like she has good reason to be uneasy. It doesn't seem like his, uh, feeding hurts her though? I can't quite tell.

That was a 1:2 eye ratio, with a duskull involved.
No comma needed there!

She sent Sadwick away. With less “threats” to focus on, it was less likely for the zigzagoon to attack, and a zigzagoon was the last pokemon she wanted to be the first pokemon her and Sadwick’s first battled against.
* fewer threats
*she and Sadwick

My initial thought: Interesting. She doesn't seem like she values the competitive aspect of training very much ... yet she's got weird, prideful hangups about how her first battle should go.

Second thought: Oh, okay, it's about safety. Well, girl, what are you planning to do, exactly, if a normal-type just up and attacks you? I was also surprised and confused why she has a non-combat pokemon with her on this trip when it's so clear that the natural world can be dangerous all by itself in this setting.

You didn’t fight in libraries unless you have a death wish for the librarian.
👀 *Happy library worker sounds*

And in her specific case, it left her with a pokemon that might thoroughly enjoy watching her be attacked.
🙃 Hahahahaha WELP. This tension is really fun, and it'll be interesting to see how it develops. Like I said, I have to agree with Canis' questions about why she's chosen to go forward with Sadwick. BUT she does seem to have a curiosity and care for him--or maybe it's just that stubborn streak, wanting to do something she's been told is hard. Either way, they are with each other now, and so there's an inherent tension between them.

though, the studio in charge did come under fire when it was suspected that it was part of some elaborate marketing ploy..
Extra period.

Shia didn’t want to make the same mistake, which is why she had to be conscious of everything.
I like this insight into her thoughts.

but she liked keeping her sanity in tact, so she made due.
*intact
*made do

Don’t tell me he’s a house’mon!
*house mon
I don't think that would be a contraction.

Rule #2: Channel your fear into another emotion.

She chose anger.
Love this. I relate deeply, and I love this character dynamic.

She tried ducking behind the flower, putting her nose directly into the flower’s center. The spicy sweetness of the pollen made her nose tingle, and cleared her sinuses right up, but it also gave her a rush akin to adrenaline. She sneezed, and with a sudden burst of herculean strength, the pomeg flower’s roots snapped. She flew back holding the flower, and it blocked the zigzagoon’s fangs, which dug in.
The action here was a little muddy. I'm having trouble picking out cause and effect.

At the end here, I wasn't entirely sure what she was trying to do. Is she doubling back for her backpack or charging ahead without? Is this giant flower going to be her umbrella, or does she have something else in mind? I wish I had more clarity on those two points.

I'm also keeping an eye out for that hand injury! The offhand way you note the, oops, numbness but it's probably no big deal makes me think it will, in fact, be a big deal. Sleep spore in the wound? Poison? 👀

Either way, looking forward to seeing where you go next in this world!
 
Last edited:

Starlight Aurate

Ad Jesum per Mariam
Location
Route 123
Partners
  1. mightyena
OldSchoolJohto said:
Route 119 is objectively the best route in any pokemon game
Amen to that.

Hi! I came here because I heard 1. Hoenn, 2. rain (Kyogre???), and 3. more Hoenn. Hoping Mightyena is going to crop up in that list soon. So I've gotta give this story a shot!

As said before, welcome to the forums! Always wonderful to see stories by new people :)

First paragraph is lovely. I can see you went for relatability with this! :D

The ground had been turned into a soupy mess of mud, rotted pomeg berries, and exposed roots, and she was the one churning it. Her foot caught something—probably a root—and she fell hard, knees first, into the sludge.
Ahhh I know this feel. Not a fun thing to go through in real life unless you enjoy getting muddy :P (which, tbh, I sometimes do)

but even during class when they’d covered emergency what-if scenarios, they’d never tackled a situation like this! What to do when you’re in a rockslide? Check. What to do if the volcano erupts? Familiar. But never what to do if you’re caught in a flash flood in the middle of the rainforest?
Hm, seems a bit odd to me, especially since flash flood in rainforests are possible. I would think they'd at least tell the trainers signs to look out for or evacuation routes/areas to go to.

She knew Route 119 was known for its frequent precipitation, and she had prepared for it, but it shouldn’t have been raining now, and so strongly, no less. So, why was it?!
IT'S TEAM AQUA, I KNOW IT

An Hoenn pro trainer must-have.
canisaries said:
I was today years old when I learned some people pronounced Hoenn with the H silent.
Yep, same here.

The hollow tree sounds pretty cool! I love natural architecture like this.

She peeled her hood back and pulled her ponytail lose from her hair tie
Should be loose.

Traveling with long hair was a crime, she decided. The salon treatment she would need after today... She wondered if there were any good places in Fortree.
I'd say traveling and doing outdoorsy things with long hair is manageable, though it depends on how much you want it to remain groomed and styled :P If you want it to look pristine, then yes, it's just not going to be that way. If all you want is it to be tied up and done, then it's not a problem!

And when she looses her cool, I could totally feel that. Roughing it in rainforest/jungle area is ROUGH, especially when it gets cold and rainy! Poor girl.

I really like the paragraph when she sees the Tropius herd! And when the young one offered her its fruit--awwww <3 It's really sweet! I love the jungle as a setting and the various Hoenn types in there, and I think you're doing a great job with describing all of it so far!

I also find it a bit striking that we're halfway through the first chapter and she's been described as a "trainer" this whole time but no Pokemon of hers has been in sight yet. I take it that, since this story was inspired by The Suicune's Choice, you write your Pokemon to essentially be equivalent to animals, yes?

Shia allowed herself one last sigh, one final moment of self-deprecation before she swore off anymore negativity. Solutions only. Dwelling in her feelings would get her nowhere.
That's the spirit! I love it when characters refuse self-pity and plow forward :D

Frankly, she was, in fact, quite a fan of its poke ball use, and to be even more honest, she had no clue how her pokemon would even be able to help her.
A very interesting perspective you don't normally see in fic! And so we finally get a glimpse of her Pokemon, though we still don't know what kind of Pokemon it is--we only see that Shia seems to have a bit of an aversion to it, judging by the fact that she's only thought of it in terms of utilitarian use (so far) and doesn't even refer to her Pokemon by its species or name!

I find it a bit ironic that she brought out her Pokemon for its survival instinct and it happens to be a Ghost type XD

Sadwick’s body quivered, his robe-like body folding about him.
You use the word "body" here twice; I recommend either getting rid of one of them or replacing it with a different word/descriptor. You could jus say "Sadwick quivered," even.

It didn’t make his reality anymore lesser than hers; if anything, it was enough for her to know that it simply existed and brought him joy.
"Anymore lesser than hers" reads a bit clunky; you can cut it down to simply "It didn't make his reality any less than hers" or something along those lines.

She believed in a love that empowered all to live in their realities uncompromised. Dylan deserved to not only know that, but to have that.
I'm always intrigued whenever people bring up the topic of "deserving" love, and what type of love it is, and what drives their love and what exactly they think and believe about love. Makes me wonder where their relationship will go in the future.

But, she had also said ‘survive the night’, which had to have been every ghost-type’s favorite words.

“We are not out here for fun. You hear me?”

Sadwick sank a little lower.
This is so adorable and I absolutely love it :D

You didn’t fight in libraries unless you have a death wish for the librarian.
Or you don't fight in libraries unless you want the librarian to have a death wish for YOU!

In the wild, that left her defenseless with a useless pokemon that couldn’t only watch while she was attacked.
I think it would be "... a useless Pokemon that could only watch..."

Also, I absolutely love the paragraph on Duskull lore you have here--the part about the movie 'Scream" attracting hordes of Duskull as a marketing ploy is hilarious XD

However, pop culture aside, it couldn’t be denied that duskull were difficult pokemon to train regardless. Coven, a top Hoennese tabloid featured duskull in a list of top ten pokemon that Hoennese and Sinnohan trainers were likely to release. And it was all because trainers underestimated what it took to train them. Shia didn’t want to make the same mistake, which is why she had to be conscious of everything.
This gives me the impression that she isn't determined to stick with training Sadwick out of any care for him or desire for him to grow but because she doesn't want to become part of a negative statistic and have it reflect on her as a perceived failure.

It splattered the zigzagoon directly in the face and it backed away, rubbing at its face.
Same as before: I recommend not using the same word twice in a sentence, as it feels repetitive.

Shia glanced the cut. It went straight across her fingers on her right hand, but it wasn’t so deep that it was bleeding, only like a paper cut.
Paper cuts don't gush blood, but they still bleed.

Some extra punctuation here.

My general thoughts are that you have a compelling story here (and I don't just say that because Hoenn, though it's admittedly a part of it). I LOVE that Duskull is Shia's beginner Pokemon, as it's not a Pokemon you often see in fic! I think your prose works beautifully; the rainforest and mud was easy to envision, and you don't try to pretty it up unrealistically.

Shia's got plenty of character, and plenty of attitude. She seems mostly motivated by her romance for Dylan, as that's why she became a Pokemon trainer and wound up in a muddy rainforest in the first place. I find it a bit tragic that she doesn't seem to care for her Pokemon much outside of that--she focuses more on herself and her relationship instead of what Sadwick might want and it comes across as a bit utilitarian. She seems like a typical city slicker trying to make her way through the outdoors and is currently relying on he go-to attitude to get he through--it'll be interesting to see how she fares once that attitude dies down and being outdoors and away from civilization from days starts to get to her.

Anyways, this is all just to say that I think you have a compelling story to start with and am excited to see where you go with it!
 

Flaze

Don't stop, keep walking
Location
Chile
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. infernape
Yo yo yo, I actually do feel like I owe you a review since life didn't allow me to beta for that earlier story you wrote. Better late than never though right?

And I'm actually pleasantly surprised because I actually really liked what I saw here. I will say that maybe the one flaw that I'd give chapter 1 is that nothing really happens in and of itself. It's, for better and worse, a chapter entirely focused on introducing us to Shia and Sadwick, show us their relationship and show us who Shia is as a character and the things she goes through.

However, what the chapter does do is really interesting and left me really intrigued. I particularly like how you set up the scene right from the get-go, really selling this downpour that Shia's gotten herself stuck in and how it affects the environment and her. It really paints a picture and makes you feel like you're wading through mud yourself, in a very gross way.

I also can't deny that I liked it cause 119 is my favorite Hoenn route and it doesn't get nearly enough representation though!

Shia as a character was really endearing to me. She's just the right amount of silly and entitled enough where she ends up coming off as fun rather than bratty, also the fact that you drop more hints about her past and her relationship with her mother helps to balance her character out. She's layered is what I'm trying to say, commenting about how fun shopping is in one paragraph, talking about what one should do for true love in another one and then talking about how hard she went on studying up on Duskull care just for Sadwick. It's amazing how you can embody all these different sides to her in such little time.

Her relationship with Sadwick is really unique as well, I hadn't seen a story tackle a relationship between a ghost type and a non-ghost-type fanatic like this; they have their own method of care and their own quirks that trainers have to be aware of and I like that challenging aspect that makes a reader wonder how much of it is true and how much of it isn't.

Heck, I even love how in the end it kind of feels like the real menace here is her instead of Sadwick, she's the one coming up with all the crazy plans that Sadwick has to execute.

And now for some line by lines!

An icy chill seeped into her body head-down as big, fat dragon-sized droplets of rain pummeled her

I think you need an extra comma there between fat and dragon-sized.

She felt around in the muck for the little yellow device, whimpering at the different textures she touched. “It’s nothing! They’re nothing!” she sang, willing the monstrous imaginations of her mind to fade away.

Ew and also that's a really great way of getting across the feeling of having to search through unknown gallons of mud in one sentence, plus it showcases Shia's more whimsical and childish side.

Shia couldn’t believe her luck. Day two of her first traveling experience, and she had to deal with this.

The things one does for love amirite?

Besides, why would people go out of their way to leave a review if they weren’t passionate about the product?

Bots, self reviews, people just reviewing it for the sake of bumping it. I've been burned too many times.

Traveling with long hair was a crime, she decided.

I have never had long hair but I can indeed imagine how annoying it would be to have to travel through a forest with wet, muddy hair. I hope Dylan likes them with short hair.

She tried the nav again and refreshed it, but again, it read the same. Clear skies.

Mood

It was gone. All of her supplies: her extra clothes, her sleeping bag, her tent, her packed food, her hydro flask, her nav’s portable charger, her utility knife, her lighter, her repellent, my purse, Dylan’s gift!—all gone.

I just, love how the whole paragraph of Shia listing her essentials and then it's just the super personal stuff that, sure are important but are nowhere near as important as the things keeping her from dying in the woods. It really highlights where her priorities truly lie at the end of the day.

Back in the clearing.

How did she not notice? I can't walk five steps without my bag.

Dylan traversed Route 119 all the time. If he could do it, then so could she!

Shia is a strong independent trainer who don't need no man.

She thought about the emergency beacon that came installed in all the latest navs. Once initiated, it’d signal the dispatch center who’d contact the nearest ranger’s station who’d then send a ranger out to find her.

I thought this was some quick, nice, world-building, it's not too long so as to fall into exposition and it also tells us something that could act as a possible solution. Plus it's a neat way of making sense of all the rangers hanging around route 119.

“Oh, sweet baby feebas, thank you!”

Why feebas?

She made sure to focus on the middle part of his skull face instead of his glowing fiery-like eye while it swayed between his sockets, lest she hypnotize herself again.

I kind of wanna know what happened the first time.

but she knew there was no way he was going to pass up on the big breakfast that was her aura. She just hoped it wasn’t too much. The nightmare Sadwick could become…

This is what I meant in that it's great how you showcase the difference between taking care of a normal pokemon and taking care of a ghost type. Plus I found it unique how they LITERALLY EAT LIFE ESSENCE as food, sounds like it'd be exhausting.

It was part of the reasons why she still wanted to make the trip to Fortree, and why, in spite of the unexpected setbacks of the day, she wanted to persevere. Because Dylan would, and consistently has, done the same for her.

Dawwww. I actually really like that Shia has a boyfriend from the get-go, I don't know what'll happen to them but I haven't seen it in any fics I've read so it's interesting and a really nice life detail.

and had only hatched from his an egg a few months

Baby ghost.

In the wild, that left her defenseless with a useless pokemon that couldn’t only watch while she was attacked.

I think you meant could there.

Duskull were insidious, tricky creatures if not handled carefully. Even before she had done her research on them, growing up, everyone knew about the horror stories; they were told around campfires and sleepovers. Stories of duskull turning into bullies, scaring their own trainers just to feed off of their energy. Stories of duskull stalking schoolgirls at night. Stories of trainers losing their minds because their duskull had turned scaring them into one sick game. That premise had inspired the popular movie series Scream, which was massively popular in Unova until the premieres starting attracting massive hoards of duskull to cities and towns alike—though, the studio in charge did come under fire when it was suspected that it was part of some elaborate marketing ploy..

I wanna know how different Scream! is in that world. Als another great detail showing how ghost types are perceives in that world and it does make you wonder how true people's assumptions are.

but she liked keeping her sanity in tact,

Intact.

“You too good to get a little dirty?!”

It whined louder.

“Good grief!”

Don’t tell me he’s a house’mon!

Sadwick is based.

“Stay friends for a long time, yeah!”

She took off running into the undergrowth with her duskull slow behind her.

No seriously, is Shia the one we should worry about here?

But yeah, overall I thought this was a really fun and interesting start to a story. I do wonder what we're in for in later chapters, but I have to say that you have me 100% interested.
 

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
Beyond the fact that Route 119 is just objectively the best route, one advantage it provides to writers is the crazy weather, and you've used that to great effect to open up with a pressing conflict in your first chapter. City-slicker gets in over her head is a simple foundation, but a solid one. And I love the way you've built Shia's character to show how unprepared she is--her reliance on branding, her conflation between a good social media picture and being an "actual" trainer. I really enjoyed the places in the narrative where you let her bubbly, slightly manic narrative voice run free. In other portions, (noted below) the narrative felt a bit detached from Shia's POV and lapsed into summary. I'd definitely recommend trying to keep Shia's distinctive voice consistantly present through the chapter.

Shia presents a lot of questions in this chapter. The main one for me was why she doesn't use her emergency nav. I'm all for the bad decisions club, but I didn't feel satisfied by the explanation given for her initial decision. More compelling was the later paragraph where she thinks about how important it is that she show up for Dylan. Having her not decide to continue on right away would make the decision feel a little more realistic to me, I think. Maybe she thinks she'll wait the rain out for a bit (giving her and us some time to digest her backstory) before coming to the conclusion that no, gotta do this for my man. I was definitely getting a sense that things with Dylan might not be all roses. If so, that's definitely a hook set up for a longer story. You go through all this for your boyfriend, and then it turns out he's not so into you? Oof.

I also had questions about Shia's becoming a trainer. It's presented as a way to escape from her parents, but since Shia's 18, I kind of wanted to understand why she thought becoming a trainer was the best way to do so. And what she plans being a trainer to entail, other than visiting Dylan.
I was also curious about her decision to train Sadwick. She got it from a family friend, but was training a potentially dangerous ghost that feeds on bad vibes really her only option? I'm curious about what avenues there are for getting pokemon in this world, and why they were closed to Shia to the extent that a duskll was a better option. We get some thoughts about Mom not approving, but Shia got the egg from Mom's friend, so it can't be complete disapproval. (A bit setting your kid up to fail, giving them a bad-vibes ghost?)

I adore how much world-building you've developed around how duskull are viewed in pop culture, particularly the movies and the rumors. Shia being her pokemon's food source is a greta way to put tension into the pokemon-trainer relationship. Have you read @Persephone's Alola Dex entry on sensei oricorio? It's a very similar vibe and I think you'd appreciate it!

One thing I really enjoyed in this chapter were all the depictions of the wild pokemon, particularly the zigzagoon and oddish frends. My heart. It made the route feel nicely lived in. I wonder, was Shia off the main road? It's interesting that other people haven't come up as a possibility, especially since the weather was forecasted to be clear.

This is a meaty first chapter, and it's all good stuff, but you may want to consider spacing out some of the exposition--there were times when the story felt put on pause to dig into backstory for several paragraphs in a way that didn't feel like it flowed organically from the moment. Tone was also a bit tricky--Shia's mood seems to jump around a bit, even pre duskull feeding. I wasn't sure if we were supposed to interpert the duskull feeding as completely diminishing her negative emotions and giving her a euphoric high--that could be a cool mood shift to lean into, particularly if you made her decision to keep going and not use her emergency signal come after it.

Lastly, more on this in the line-by-lines, but I think Shia's actions would feel more anchored if balanced by some concrete things about Dylan. We get some big picture stuff about why she appreciates him, but nothing really tangible--some body language that's particular to him, or some speculation about what he's probably doing at the moment.

I'm looking forward to seeing how wrong this all goes--this is Hoenn fic after all, and unexpected rain showers are never a good sign . . .

(Author's Note: Before I forget, this was actually inspired by the beginning of Pen's The Suicune's Choice. I was doing drabble writing and the concept for this story spiraled out-of-control haha,)
Aw, that's always an exciting thing to hear! let the world be filled with route 119 fic.

Down-and-out.pour.
This pun is so cute! The extra period looks a little weird--maybe "Down-and-out(pour)"?

“Rain rain go away, please come back another day,” Shia pleaded through clenched teeth, to keep them from cla-cla-clattering.
You need a comma after both rains here!

The sentence reads a little oddly with how you attached the "to keep them from clattering" clause--reads as if the pleasing is what's to keep them from chattering. You could reword to, "Shia pleaded, clenching her teeth to keep them from cla-cla-clattering." or, "Shia pleaded, her teeth cl-cla-clattering."

I really like the onomatopoeia with cla-cla-clattering!

An icy chill seeped into her body head-down as big, fat dragon-sized droplets of rain pummeled her skull through the hood of her yellow rain jacket, which, for the ridiculous amount of money she’d spent on it, shouldn’t have felt thinner than wax paper.
I like all these details, but they feel a bit crammed in this sentence. I think you could start with the water droplets--as is, the sentence reads a bit backwards, with the effect of the chill coming before the explanation. Maybe, "Fat, dragon-sized droplets of rain pummeled her skull and sent an icy chill seeping down through the hood of her rain jacket, which, for the ridiculous amount of money she’d spent on it, shouldn’t have felt thinner than wax paper."

(Big is a bit redundant with dragon-sized.)

One thing was for sure, though: she was never doing business with Elesa’s brand of trainer’s athleisure ever again!
Love the tone of aggrieved consumer here! It's clear that Shia's priorities haven't quite caught up with her situation.

The downpour had cast everything in her vision behind a silvery veil, so she couldn’t see where she was going, but her nav’s compass pointed south which was the direction from which she had come so she put her trust in that and continued to run.
You might want to consider swapping out "cast" for "hid"--cast makes it feel like she's admiring the beauty, where the focus feels like it should be more on how it's obscuring her vision. The sentence feels a bit like a run-on, and I'm not sure I fully get the logic? Her nav points south, the direction from which she came, so she should keeping running forward? Isn't it the opposite?

Mud sloshed out of her boots as she barreled through the wide-leaved undergrowth of the forest.
Out of her boots? I feel like it would be entering her boots as she runs?

The ground had been turned into a soupy mess of mud, rotted pomeg berries, and exposed roots, and she was the one churning it.
Enjoying these scene-setting details. I love the verb churn, but I'm not sure about this usage. The mud is definitely churning, but is she making enough of an impact to be churning it? Churning up might work.

Her foot caught something—probably a root—and she fell hard, knees first, into the sludge. Mud splashed her face and got in her mouth. She grimaced at its earthy grittiness and spit it out. Then, she realized her hands were empty.
Nice focus on the different senses with the taste of mud. The transition with "Then" feels a bit abrupt here. Maybe have her realize as she sits up? Like, ugh hands are muddy, wait hands, no nav, ahhh!!!

(Maybe, mud "ran into" or even "snuck into" her mouth?)

She felt around in the muck for the little yellow device, whimpering at the different textures she touched. “It’s nothing! They’re nothing!” she sang, willing the monstrous imaginations of her mind to fade away. She knew the sleekness of metal, though, and squealed giddily when she fished her Nav out. The screen still lit up. “Yes! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she peppered it with kisses, muddy lips be damned. She couldn’t lose this baby. Not now.
The narration in this paragraph is so dynamic and lively! Really felt the roller coaster of Shia's emotion here, and love the goofiness.

Struggling to her feet, she noticed the water rose precariously high—to her calves—and slowed her down so much so that, at times when the terrain dipped, she was wading through it.
Think you want "had risen" here, since she's noticing something that's already happened.

Was this what they called a flash flood? She’d heard those kinds of things were possible on Route 119, due to the terrain differences in slopes and heights and such, but even during class when they’d covered emergency what-if scenarios, they’d never tackled a situation like this! What to do when you’re in a rockslide? Check. What to do if the volcano erupts? Familiar. But never what to do if you’re caught in a flash flood in the middle of the rainforest?
Nice world-building and character voice here.

She was a Mauvillite through and through, a silver spoon-fed city girl that hadn’t a need for traveling, let alone owning a pokemon in her 18-year life until she wanted to move away from the shadow of her parent’s success. Seven months ago, she’d taken the first steps to do exactly that. All it took for her to become a licensed trainer was a six-month speed course and an ounce of luck. Who knew!
Huh, I'm interested in getting more info on how pokemon training works in this world. I feel like 18 is precisely the age when you have other options to escape your parents than run off and be a pokemon trainer. If she was never interested previously, what did she plan to do as an adult? College? Job? It doesn't sound like she wants to actually be a trainer, so what's her plan other than seeing her boyfriend?

After graduation, brewing with excitement and newfound ambition
Ambition for what?

Her wrinkling, chilled fingers gripped her Nav as she struggled to make out the mud-encrusted and wet-beaded screen through the onslaught.
Nice sensory details. "Wet-beaded" doesn't quite match "onslaught of water" to me. Beaded with water feels like there's not that much water.

It was the latest PokeNav Plus model—their most durable, their most reliable, and their most waterproof. An Hoenn pro trainer must-have. She’d bought two of them, one for herself and one for Dylan’s birthday gift.
Enjoying how much she's internalized the branding.

When her weather app finally loaded, it parroted what it had been forecasting all week for the Route 119 area: clear skies.
wom womp womp!

“What the…” She slowed her pace, captivated by a tree with a hollowed trunk.
This transition felt abrupt. Maybe she could look up from the screen to confirm that the rain hasn't magically stopped, and then see the hollowed trunk?

Shia was used to the artificial lush of Mauville’s perfectly designed central park. A tree like this wasn’t within an architect’s capability. It was both naturally strange and naturally beautiful.
Nice furtherance of this dichotomy you've got going between the city and nature.

I'm not sure about it not being in an architect's capability--it's not like architects make the tree. Seems more like an architect would never have allowed a tree to get that way.

Reading "naturally strange and naturally beautiful" I kind of want "naturally strange and strangely beautiful."

(Lush should be lushness.)

If anyone had ever wondered what the inside of a tree smelled like, well, it smelled like musk and wood.
The "anyone" was a bit jarring here--takes us outside Shia's POV.

Admittedly, she probably should’ve checked if there was a wild pokemon hiding within before she sprung in, but she had other concerns and an immediate relief. She was just grateful for the makeshift roof.
The narration seems to change a bit in style here, from being very energetic and frantic and in Shia's head to being more detached and explanatory.

She peeled her hood back and pulled her ponytail lose from her hair tie. Dark curls fell around her, and she gathered them, twisting and ringing handfuls free of moisture. Then, she tied it back up
Seriously, she hadn’t noticed the stalled load times before. But maybe that was because she was panicked now. Maybe that was how they had always been.
The sentiment is very real--things do seem to take longer when we're stressed.

"Maybe that was how they had always been." <-- pronouns read oddly here. They refers to the load times, but that's not immediately clear. "Maybe that was how it had always been." might read more smoothly.

The page stuttered then displayed the same weekly forecast: clear. skies.
You need a comma between stutter and then!

“Stupid thing!” she threw the Nav down and covered her face to hold back the tears.
She should be capitalized here. Independent sentences after dialogue get capitalized.

This was awful. So awful. She shouldn’t have come out here, and she shouldn’t have come alone. She shouldn’t have thought she was capable of doing anything by herself. Maybe Mother was right.

Shia let out another choked exhale. Her breath did little to warm her hands, which were so cold against her face. They felt like they weren’t hers, anymore, trembling all on their own. She hadn’t been able to stop shivering ever since she fell. Her trail pants were no longer just dark below the knee, but darkened completely and covered in mud and forest bits, and her yellow rain jacket clung to her like a swimsuit. Some water resistance this was. And her bag—

Shia’s mouth fell open in a silent gasp. Her back was pressed firmly against the bark of the tree; no awkward protrusions in between when there should have been. “Oh crap,” she whined, mind jumping to trace back over her steps. “My bag...”

It was gone. All of her supplies: her extra clothes, her sleeping bag, her tent, her packed food, her hydro flask, her nav’s portable charger, her utility knife, her lighter, her repellent, my purse, Dylan’s gift!—all gone.
All good internal panic stuff here, but I think the ordering might be a bit off. "She shouldn’t have thought she was capable of doing anything by herself. Maybe Mother was right." felt very sudden to me. I think it would have felt more natural if it built with some of the other info first, the shivering, freak-out, etc, to lead up to these thoughts.

A fully-brown zigzagoon skidded to halt at the entrance of the tree and stared at Shia with its big brown eyes like it was petrified. If Shia were a pokemon, this zigzagoon would be the one. It was drenched and covered in mud and shivering, looking pitiful in the downpour. It was clearly in search of shelter just like she was and must have not seen her inside when it spotted the tree. She wondered if she’d accidentally taken over his home, if wild pokemon even had those.
This paragraph feels a little jumbled. Possible reordering below. I like that Shia's thinking about the wild pokemon having needs too.

"A fully-brown zigzagoon raced towards the entrance of the tree, stopping short when it caught sight of Shia. It was a pitiful sight--drenched and covered in mud, shivering as it stared with big brown eyes. Little guy must be looking for shelter, Shia realized. It probably hadn't spotted her inside when it made a dash for the trees. She wondered if she’d accidentally taken over his home, if wild pokemon even had those."

“Aww, here, there’s room,” she said, shuffling to the side to make space. It hissed at her, and she jumped. “Hey! Play nice, you!”

It turned and darted underneath the petals of a pomeg flower. An oddish poked its head out of the mud, its leaves pointed razor sharp at the zigzagoon. Then, it softened up and curled its leaves around the zigzagoon. They cowered under the protective cover of the flower together. She felt bad for them, but felt comforted that the rain wasn’t just ruining her day.
Awww! Love this.

She pursed her lips. Something about the sight was reminiscent of something… but what…

Aha!

Back in the clearing.
The connection gets explained pretty belatedly, which made this jump a bit jarring.

And then, she’d gotten distracted by a herd of tropius that had appeared. Courage, or was it insanity, had inspired her to approach them, albeit cautiously. They regarded her, sniffed her dark curls curiously, then paid her no mind as they went to nibble at the berries in the treetops. She pet one of the smaller tropius, who was more friendly than the others and nudged her with its head. It kept lifting its neck towards her, seemingly offering her its fruit, but Shia didn’t think it felt right to take it. She guessed juvenile pokemon were like human kids in the sense that they were all too nice and too trusting than a cruel world like this deserved.
TROPIUS! Bless.

The last sentence is a bit awkward grammatically. 'Than' needs to be paired with a comparative like 'more'. Ie, "She figured juvenile pokemon were like human kids--more trusting than a cruel world like this deserved.

It was so surreal, so picturesque that she had to take a picture.
Repetition on picturesque and picture is a little awkward.

One of the herd and a selfie with her little friend. It was the first time she had considered herself an actual trainer. Here in the wild, surrounded by Mother Nature and Mew’s Gifts. Everything was perfect. How it should be.
Interesting that she feels most like an actual trainer when she's already commodifying her experience with a tagline!

"It was the first time she had considered herself an actual trainer. " gives this a finality that sound like this happened a long time ago and she's had time to reflect on it. Something, "For the first time, she'd felt like an actual trainer." would feel a little less distant to me.

Then, lightning flashed, and suddenly there was rain, a whole lot of it. Thunder boomed next, so intense it shook the earth and sent the tropius into a panic. They broke out into a stampede, green giants stomping the earth, and Shia ran for her life so as to not get trampled. After a while, she had just wanted to get back home. It hadn’t crossed her mind as to her why she had stopped in the first place.
The last two sentences here also make this feel like it was a long time ago, rather than what happened presumably just before the narrative started.

A more direct transition would make this detour into the near past feel less disconnected, ie "They broke out into a stampede, green giants stomping the earth, and Shia ran for her life so as to not get trampled. Leaving all her supplies behind.

Idiot."

A little pain helped draw feeling away from her watery eyes.
I didn't quite get what this meant. Is she distracting herself? The way it's worded makes it sound like the pain is making her eyes "feel" less?

She promised herself she wouldn’t cry anymore, once she became a trainer. But the tears kept threatening to spill over.
This caught me off-guard a bit--felt a little melodramatically phrased.

But…

No.

Dylan traversed Route 119 all the time. If he could do it, then so could she!
Hm, I found this reversal a little unconvincing. She lists a lot of good reasons to use her emergency beacon and then says, But Dylan. But like, this is obviously not normal weather and it's not what she prepared for. Is Dyland kind of an asshole about stuff like this? Who is she trying to prove herself to here?

Shia allowed herself one last sigh, one final moment of self-deprecation before she swore off anymore negativity. Solutions only. Dwelling in her feelings would get her nowhere.

Though, before she could feign confidence in her situation, she reached for her belt in hopes of feeling the one poke ball that was supposed to be there.
The reversal in the latter paragraph felt a bit sudden. Maybe, "She reached for her belt, refusing to even entertain the thought that the pokeball there had been washed away too."

“Oh, sweet baby feebas, thank you!”
Hah, love this expression!

And she didn’t want to make the common rookie mistake she’d heard of which was trainers burning through all their pokefood so quickly because they kept their pokemon out all the time. Affording pokefood was no problem, but she was trying to be responsible starting out and—

Oh, who was she kidding? Pokefood didn’t do much for her pokemon, anyway. It had the kind of diet that gave her the heebie jeebies. Frankly, she was, in fact, quite a fan of its poke ball use, and to be even more honest, she had no clue how her pokemon would even be able to help her. It wasn’t like it was capable of willing the rain away.
Hm, if her duskell literally doesn't eat pokefood, the first paragraph in her internal monologue doesn't really make sense. I could see it as a fake justification she gives another person, but people don't really go over completely impossible reasons first.

In any case, she was all out options anyway. Here goes nothing, she thought.
Except for the option of using her emergency beacon?

That was a 1:2 eye ratio, with a duskull involved.
Hah, this is cute and clever.

She made sure to focus on the middle part of his skull face instead of his glowing fiery-like eye while it swayed between his sockets, lest she hypnotize herself again. It’d taken her a week to learn her lesson, and upon realizing that she actually was growing and gaining new knowledge—wisdom—she felt the seedlings of pride take root within her chest. This helped her steel her nerves, like she normally tried to do before facing him. But this time, she knew she couldn’t quite quell the despair she felt for her situation.
Getting accidentally hypnotized sounds pretty eerie! Did it just make her fall asleep? For how long? Or did it hypnotize her in the sense of making her to things she didn't mean to do?

"lest" is a pretty archaic word. Feels out of place here. "Quell the despair" is also a little archaic/melodramatic in a way that's not matching the vibe I'm getting from Shia's other narration.

After all, she had turned to him out of desperation, which was exactly the type of helpless energy and unfortunate circumstance that duskull lived for.
Oof. That's a potentially unhealthy relationship.

“Hi, Sadwick. Did you rest well?” She spoke slowly and calmly with a strained smile. This part was always unnerving, but she was starting to understand his unique ways of communicating.

Sadwick’s body quivered, his robe-like body folding about him. Then came his voice, low in volume but discordant and hard on the ears. Even though she was already cold and shivering, and more importantly, bracing herself for what she knew would come; the sound was still capable of forcibly evoking a bodily response in anyone that was instinctual: a shudder.

Sadwick quivered in response and his eye pulsed, pleased.
Sadwick's body language here is excellently creepy. Made even more creepy by Shia's unnatural way of speaking, which we can see really runs counter to her usual personality.

Yesterday morning, as she was leaving Mauville, she had been sure to pass through a cemetery on the way out, and since then, Sadwick had been confined to his poke ball. Theoretically, he should’ve still been fine, but she knew there was no way he was going to pass up on the big breakfast that was her aura. She just hoped it wasn’t too much. The nightmare Sadwick could become…
Cemetery vibes are so yummy.

Eyes at that last bit.

No. No negative thoughts!

Silly, silly girl.
Mother’s words popped into her head, and she clenched her eyes shut, willing them away.

Shut up shut up shut up!

When she opened them, Sadwick had moved closer, and was drifting up and down around her in a lazy arc. In her mind, she imagined him nibbling off of floating orbs of negativity that surrounded her, some big and some small but all delightfully delicious.

Sadwick liked to take his sweet time eating. Normally, that was a good thing, but when you were the main course, it suddenly lost its appeal.
Really like Shia's visualization here, and the last line is oof.

I'm into this reversal on the pokemon-trainer relationship. It's rare to see a trainer have to pay any sort of personal cost to train their pokemon.

It felt like she was under the telescope, being dissected and separated from all her bad bits—but she liked her bad bits. They weren’t always a party at times, but they were still hers.
I like the sentiment, though I'm a bit confused about to what extent Sadwick's feeding takes them away.

She sighed. In the first couple of weeks, his feeding process had been unnerving. But now? It was just a part of their tedious everyday routine.

One day, it struck her that this was how Dylan must have felt when he stuck around on the days she got an itch to re-christen her parents’ credit cards. At first, she couldn’t understand how he didn’t understand the beauty of shopping… How could anyone be so lifeless surrounded by so many cute clothes? But really, it was the simple fact that he just didn’t see the world through the same lense as her. Just like how she couldn’t see the world through Sadwick’s lense. It didn’t make his reality anymore lesser than hers; if anything, it was enough for her to know that it simply existed and brought him joy. Apparently, knowing that must have been enough for Dylan, too, because he still accompanied her to Mauville’s malls even when it was clear he’d rather be anywhere else than the dressing room’s wait bench. It was that small realization that made Shia love him that much more.
I like this analogy between Sadwick and Dylan, and also that we're getting some insight into what makes Shia want to go through all this for him, but this paragraph does feel a bit dumped in.

It was part of the reasons why she still wanted to make the trip to Fortree, and why, in spite of the unexpected setbacks of the day, she wanted to persevere. Because Dylan would, and consistently has, done the same for her.
This feels a little turn-to-camera. It might feel a bit more grounded if you had her imagine Dylan's surprise and excitement when she shows up, what take-out they'll get together, how he'll be impressed by the photo of the tropius, and then they'll curl up on the couch and watch re-runs of [insert their favorite show.] All that to say, when I'm gearing myself up to get through something nasty, it's not a generalized sense of obligation that gets me through, but imagining the specific things waiting for me on the other side. (Like getting to review this fic and so many others after finishing finals!)

So, what was a little rain, a little cold, and a little waiting while Sadwick fed off of her aura if it meant that she couldn’t wait to see Dylan?

He had always waited for her, and it was because he had always waited for her that she knew that waiting wasn’t for her. She didn’t want to wait. Not right now. Not in this moment. Not if waiting meant silently standing by, loyal but unfulfilled. It was time for action and time she showed him that she could be just as impatient for him as he was patient for as long as it meant seeing the person she loved most in the world.

She believed in a love that empowered all to live in their realities uncompromised. Dylan deserved to not only know that, but to have that. She needed to see him, to remind him of that in person.
Shia's starting to sound a bit desperate here. I wonder if things aren't so great before her and Dylan and she's trying to paper that over with positive thoughts and true love.

Although she was feeling better mentally, her physical conditions were less than ideal, so it was only sensible that she be cautious.
I wasn't sure if she's feeling better because she's come to a decision, or because Sadwick's literally sucked out all the bad emotions?

She wanted to take that as a yes. But, she had also said ‘survive the night’, which had to have been every ghost-type’s favorite words.
This is so charming. One of my favorite lines in the chapter.

She sent Sadwick away. With less “threats” to focus on, it was less likely for the zigzagoon to attack, and a zigzagoon was the last pokemon she wanted to be the first pokemon her and Sadwick’s first battled against.

For one, Sadwick wasn’t exactly battle trained and ready. Between planning for the journey and the time it took her to get adjusted to having a duskull as her very first pokemon, Shia hadn’t set much time aside for training. And while she didn’t know much about Sadwick other than the fact that he had been bred by one of Mother’s friends and had only hatched from his an egg a few months prior to when she received him, Shia knew that the environment he was raised in was not battle-oriented. You didn’t fight in libraries unless you have a death wish for the librarian.

It was ironic that zigzagoon were considered among the least dangerous pokemon in the Hoenn region (and consequently, were sought out by beginner trainers alike as the go-to wild pokemon to pick on) because they were high on Shia’s “Do Not Engage With” list for one important reason.

She had a ghost-type that only possessed offensive ghost-type moves, and against a normal-type pokemon, that meant she had nothing. Sadwick couldn’t hurt a single hair on a zigzagoon’s normal-type body. And sure, by that same logic, Sadwick’s ghost-type body was safe from zigzagoon’s normal-type advances; but that was only a stalemate in a trainer’s battle. In the wild, that left her defenseless with a useless pokemon that couldn’t only watch while she was attacked. And in her specific case, it left her with a pokemon that might thoroughly enjoy watching her be attacked. If Sadwick knew the amount of fear he could feed off of if he realized the situation, if Shia let it come to that, then she was doubly screwed.
This sequence with the zigzagoon was a bit confusing. She says she doesn't want zigzagoon to be the first pokemon Sadwick battles against, but is at this point planning to have Sadwick attack the zigzagoon? It doesn't make sense to me to distinguish between "battle against" and "order my pokemon to use an attack against"--either way there could be back and forth. I wasn't sure if you were intentionally trying to hide Shia's plan here, but the narration felt misleading.

I like her concern about being attacked by the zigzagoon if it can't hurt Sadwick, but if she thinks the zigzagoon would attack her, why does she think sending Sadwick away will make it less likely to attack if she approaches? Clearly it considers her threatening, or it would havejust entered the tree hollow.

Duskull were insidious, tricky creatures if not handled carefully. Even before she had done her research on them, growing up, everyone knew about the horror stories; they were told around campfires and sleepovers. Stories of duskull turning into bullies, scaring their own trainers just to feed off of their energy. Stories of duskull stalking schoolgirls at night. Stories of trainers losing their minds because their duskull had turned scaring them into one sick game. That premise had inspired the popular movie series Scream, which was massively popular in Unova until the premieres starting attracting massive hoards of duskull to cities and towns alike—though, the studio in charge did come under fire when it was suspected that it was part of some elaborate marketing ploy..

Personally, Shia thought the movie series was cheap and misrepresented duskull, but even she had been privy to its affects when she first receieved Sadwick. She remembered the flashes of intrusive thoughts where she saw Sadwick as a crazed murderer instead of an innocent ghost-type creature that was simply as curious as she was. She felt ashamed. She hadn’t even nicknamed him yet.

So, taking Dad’s advice—“Knowledge defeats superstition”—she did a lot of research to rid of herself of the dumb single story shameless Unovan films had given her. However, pop culture aside, it couldn’t be denied that duskull were difficult pokemon to train regardless. Coven, a top Hoennese tabloid featured duskull in a list of top ten pokemon that Hoennese and Sinnohan trainers were likely to release. And it was all because trainers underestimated what it took to train them. Shia didn’t want to make the same mistake, which is why she had to be conscious of everything. She’d found a little indie book dedicated specifically to raising duskull, and lived by it.

Rule #1: Play chess.

If trainers remembered to stay two, three, four steps ahead, then raising duskull was a matter of assessing situations, reading the opponent, and planning ahead.
Lots of good stuff here. I really like how you're integrating pop culture.

This detour does end up feeling a little long when paired with the passage I quoted above, especially since we've become something like an action scene.

Sadwick hated taking full corporeality, if only because his body lacked much physical strength. Still, Shia needed all the help she could get ripping the plant out of the ground. The muddy earth might’ve helped loosen the plant had she been able to keep herself from sliding, and her wet and muddy hands struggled to keep a grip, too. She crouched and pulled on the flower’s thick stem with her arms, then with her back, then with her knees. She couldn’t remember which body part Dylan had said to use when she lifted things—he was the weight-lifting junkie, after all—but she knew she was hurting all over no matter what she tried.

“Sadwick, you’re not even helping!” He was pulling weakly at the petals. “Grab the base!”

He let out a wailing sound. He couldn’t bring himself to hover so low above the ground for too long. He seemed scared to land. Or maybe…

“You too good to get a little dirty?!”

It whined louder.

“Good grief!”

Don’t tell me he’s a house’mon!
Hah, ghosts trying to lift things, oh no. That strength ability score in the negatives.

I wasn't following her plan here. Why does she want the oran flower?

Rule #2: Channel your fear into another emotion.

She chose anger.
This reads snappily, but it does make me ask, anger at what, exactly? The weather? False advertising? Her mom?

The spicy sweetness of the pollen made her nose tingle, and cleared her sinuses right up, but it also gave her a rush akin to adrenaline. She sneezed, and with a sudden burst of herculean strength, the pomeg flower’s roots snapped. She flew back holding the flower, and it blocked the zigzagoon’s fangs, which dug in.

He shook his little stuck body, growling into the plant all the while Shia screamed and screamed.
I like the berry plants being so powered up and working on humans!

I couldn't really envision the sequence of events with "She sneezed, and with a sudden burst of herculean strength, the pomeg flower’s roots snapped. She flew back holding the flower, and it blocked the zigzagoon’s fangs, which dug in. He shook his little stuck body, growling into the plant all the while Shia screamed and screamed." It didn't sound like she was tugging at the flower, just that she'd ducked behind it? And it sounds like the zigzagoon hits the flower, which--can flowers block fangs? And are they substantial enough for a zigzagoon to get stuck on them? The rest of the fic has been pretty grounded in realism, so this sequence felt old.

one of it’s ripped leaves
typo, its.

“What did you do?” Shia asked. Sadwick’s eye pulsed and for a second she felt light-headed.

Focus. Just…not on his eye, she remembered.

“Whatever, let’s just get out of here!”
Does she not recognize that he used hypnosis?

Now, all she needed was a stick, which—how hard would that be to find in a rainforest? She cackled. Loudly,. Surprising herself and offending duskull because she was smiling for the first time since the downpour had started.
So she plans to use the flower as an umbrella? I guess I hadn't gotten the impression it was that big, considering zigzagoon and oddish are on the small side.

I love the cackling.

(Something funky going on with "Loudly,. Surprising herself and offending")

“Stay friends for a long time, yeah!”

She took off running into the undergrowth with her duskull slow behind her.
Hah, very endearing closer.
 
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