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IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
Chapters 2-4

I kind of got carried away with reading after that chapter 1 cliffhanger, so I'll do a summary review of chapters 2-4.

To be honest...I really couldn't find any issues. It was all superb all the way through. I was completely hooked until Jade was free.

I especially liked Spencer and Rudy's surprise intervention, Ajia coming back from the prologue to save the day, and the mystery of the experimental Pikachu!

The battles were amazing, too! Each Pokemon involved got a turn in the spotlight, the action is so fluid and dynamic, the bits of dialogue interspersued through it all showing how the human characters were reacting to all this, the high stakes, all of it came together to paint an amazingly gripping picture.

Overall, this was all absolutely amazing!
 

SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. fennekin
~Review of Chapters 10 - 37~

I . A R R I V E

Hello! I was planning to come back after the Raikou battle, but then I got a bit carried away... oh well. now I get to drop a monster out of the blue instead >:)

This fic has mostly been a blast from start to the near finish of what's currently published. There've been a few bumps, but overall it's exactly the kind of thing I enjoy reading when I search for trainerfic! Now that I think about it, I think I stumbled upon an earlier draft of this years ago. It had, like a vulpix pokespeech test.

I think when the story picks back up, the Rebellion trainers are at the end of their training to take on Team Rocket. I feel like the descriptions sometimes get a bit bland or repetitive - to the point where I have read something, then glanced up a few paragraphs because I thought I was reading a different one - but appreciate that you walk the reader through the battles with cinematics rather than just having Jade and Rudy call out attacks and assuming everyone knows what they are. As someone with basically zero move knowledge, that really went a long way for me.

I think the Rocket Bases are also pretty realistic, in how surprisingly mundane they are. Pre-packaged meals that rack up debt behind the scenes, endless grunt work, etc. It sounds exactly like the kind of thing grunts would be doing in a Rocket Base, although initial impressions would lead you to think it'd be much more interesting than that. But... they're also pretty mundane, so we don't really spend too much time there. In particular I'm surprised by how overt the Celadon Base is. Like, yeah, they're clearly powerful there, but you don't just run an underground crime organization, then stick a large neon sign on one of your bases and expect nothing to happen. And from Darren's comment about how the town is run by Team Rocket, it feels like the Pokemon League would crack down on that... if they actually care. Because now that I think about it, I don't really know tbh. TR seems to have its claws in the league anyway, so... IDK.

“Hey Karen, I heard you were looking to train up a few subordinates.”

I am physically restraining myself from making a Karen joke

That said, Karen very much lives up to her stereotype. Like... yeah, she's pissed because she didn't get the promotion she oh so clearly deserves and why can't you see that you're just an idiot like everyone else on the higher staff, but also, like... there is no way she gets that promotion by treating her new recruits the way she is?

I mean. She might have. When Astrid/Starr left. But still. What a grump

Of course Team Rocket owns the Silph Company
It's a pretty cool nod back to the games, though, NGL. Although I have to wonder how Team Rocket is this powerful and widespread and they're focusing on capturing legendaries? I'm not really seeing their long-term goals clearly here. If it's just "something something World Domination", then they kind of already have that - they control the League to some extent, control arms shipments to other evil teams, have a military, basically have the run of Viridian and Celadon, own Silph Co, etc. All Giovanni has to do is say the word and he could probably have the champion offed and get away with it. So what's the deal with capturing the legendaries? 'Cause that's the kind of conspicuous gambit that gets all the other regions to gang up on you and end you in a flash.

Another kid chimed in, “It’s all like… lectures on how to get goods and Pokémon for Team Rocket and, like… profit analysis crap.” That got a solid round of laughter from almost everyone in the room. Sure, I hadn’t been too fond of the training so far, but at least it was preferable to that.

Is it bad that I am like. Totally here for that

As a quick side note, "The Thunder Field" is a really cool name and I'm really disappointed that wasn't the name of Chapter 12

On the subject of Chapter Twelve, the Raikou Battle was definitely one of LC's shining spots. Every bit of it was really well-done - you got the atmosphere of the battlefield and the thunderstorm across perfectly, as well as the strength of the Thunder Field and how terrifying Raikou is when it fights. The part where it tore the Ursaring to shreds was a complete horror moment. I also appreciated the amount of thinking on their feet the Rebels had to employ here. Especially the part at the end with the recalls from the air, the diversion, and the teleport back. However, Stalker didn't show up, and it's here where I again begin to get "uhh" vibes about him. Like, yes, it might be dangerous for him to show up there and strategically he probably shouldn't, but this is the part where the ruthlessness what he's doing really begins to be fully realized, and watching all the Rebels finally come to that realization was the just another thing that put me off him.

But the rebels get off free, with only a quick mention of "Interlopers" from Raikou before he runs off. There's a brief interlude, where Jade decides she wants to go get Chibi back. Stalker rings another warning bell with his "if I let you do this, you're gonna do something for me too", but for the most part it's "heck yeah, let's do this!" I am probably a little too invested in rescuing Chibi from the monsters who dared to steal him, see

This is the first mission where things get truly hairy for Jade. The highlights for me, though, were mainly all the new characters we saw in this part - Stracion Decora feels like a big Chekov's Gun, one that wasn't necessarily sprung yet later in the rocket prison, and of course this is Aros, Stygian, and Razors' debut. I'm glad that you decided to expand more upon a few of the experiments - especially the one Tyson had, but I also wonder if we'll ever see the others. If Mewtwo is experiment 36, and we've only seen four others... Granted, knowing the Rockets, I don't know how many of them are still alive, but there are or at least were 31 other experiments at some point in time and I feel like this is due to come back soon. I... also keep mixing up Aros and Stygian for some reason Failmander.png Stygian just seems so appropriate for a Flygon

I... really should have made the connection between Experiment 36 and Mewtwo. It feels so obvious, but I didn't really connect the dots until I saw the cover art for Chapter 14. So far I feel like Mewtwo has only really done a few broad devastating strokes for Book I, though, and he hasn't really shown up for Book II yet. I'm a bit worried to see what he's going to get up to later on, especially since he caught himself...

The ruins were definitely an interesting touch, and I wonder if that factored into Stalker's decision to set up camp where he did. And also that the writing in "Tohjoan" was there... (Is "Tohjoan" your form of "Johtoian"?) It's clearly modern and I think you said somewhere in the thread this wasn't like "Chosen One magic" or anything, so I kind of just don't have much to go on there. Unless someone's been doing maintenance. That orb is weird, though... I feel like it's connected to Suicune somehow, so I don't think it was just a trial to see if someone is worthy of being a Legend's Chosen or anything, but even so I don't really remember this being a part of canon not that I'm well-read on Johto canon... Feels like Suicune was protecting the area, though. I have a really big feeling this is going to be important later.

So LC being a 'chosen one' story doesn't really bug me that much; in fact, I didn't even really blink until you specifically mentioned it in the summary. I'll say that I'm definitely biased and this is one of my few triggers so maybe take me with a grain of salt on this portion, but my first thought when I think of a Chosen One Story are those stories who feature the goody-two-shoes protags who inherited some old legacy or were predestined to pull the sword out of the stone or something like that. I feel those types of stories send across a couple of really bad messages - (A) that people born with silver spoons in their mouths are above those who aren't, and (B) you're defined by what came before you. And while I know that's only one facet of the genre, I feel like that defines "Chosen One" more than anything else - so when I read the author's note, I was initially like "aww, that's where it's going?" and even with the assurances that this was going to be a subversion of those tropes, I still kind of had to logic myself out of that for a while. I don't really think I would have batted an eye if not for the author's note, though.

Then comes the setpiece that fully introduces the ALRs - this setpiece was frankly the cleanest/most well oiled action set of Book I. I felt like there was a clean explanation for everything. The ALRs had a clear method to destruction - they didn't just stand tall and then fall to pieces on the plot's instruction like the Thunder Field did - and the battle between the legendaries read clearly enough. Although, if Mew was there in the line of danger.... surely Ajia mustn't have been far behind? Astrid appears here for the third time, and this is the first time that I begin to realize that wow, she really has it out for Jade specifically. Which... okay, fair, knowing what comes afterward. But in the moment, she gives off Bellatrix Lestrange vibes - that one crazy on the villain team who's probably literally more evil than the big bad, lacks moral boundaries, and has it specifically out for the hero.

The way the mission ended was a bit shocking, but ultimately not unexpected. Jade had basically been kicking all the Get Captured and Tortured By Rockets flags since the first time she entered a Rocket Base, so it was only a matter of time before she actually got caught and tortured. The torture scene itself only gets more and more horrifying to me the more that I know about it. It was obviously hard for Jade, who was literally traumatized by the affair, probably permanently - but thinking on it, it was probably so much worse for Starr. Can you imagine having to repeatedly torture one of your childhood friends for information? I honestly couldn't. And by no means is it a noble or good thing, but... god that probably took every inch of willpower from her.

And of course Raichu happily murders/tortures everyone Starr tells him to and is friendly with them the moment they switch sides but he gets a pass because he's so stinking cute

SoCute.jpg

I mean look!!
He's adorable ❤

Like a lot of things here, the dynamic between all the Rebellion recruits feels a lot like Harry Potter. You've assembled a trio of three - Rudy, Jade, and Darren - and then regulated pretty much everyone else to the background. And it works pretty well, honestly. It allows you to throw around names without spending like three paragraphs building each one, and by attaching simple characteristics to them, you stop everyone from getting too confused by all these names. Although, also like Harry Potter, I find myself wishing we saw a bit more of the other students, rather than just a glimpse into their lives. Even Darren, the most ignored character of your original trio, feels somewhat simple and one-note.

I think there's also a flip-side of this too, which I'll cover with the all-terrifying ChApTeR tWeNtY-tWo

This chapter was pretty shaking, NGL. I also feel like this is the first time that you truly subvert the Harry Potter mystical world let's fight the bad guys! vibe for something more realistic. Of course, I expected Midnight Island to be attacked at some point. I wasn't expecting the attack to be so brutal. I think the portion that stuck with me the most out of it all wasn't Razors' death - more on that later - but rather when Jade reaches the entrance and sees that one kid has been shot through the head. I think that's the point where both Jade and I realized that "Oh, shit. Kids can die here."

As much as I want to analyze why every action Stalker takes while leading the Rebellion is Bad and Self-Serving, I honestly can't really fault this one. I mean, yeah, he was going to try and rope a few kids back into his scheme, but it would have served him pretty well to just let the entire Rebellion die right there and bail on them. Even if some kids survived and tracked him down, he probably would have been able to manipulate them into believing he had fled for some strategic reason or something. At the very least, he tried to get as many of them to safety as possible, when he only had to lose by it (one of those kids could easily give Team Rocket a face description of Stalker, or spill literally all the Rebellion secrets, give away names, incriminating info like all the Rocket connections Stalker had, which would narrow down the list of people he could be greatly, etc.). So I guess he's not entirely heartless.

So... Chibi and Razors. This subplot had screentime for about five chapters altogether, but it's so crucial to Chibi's characterization. I liked that you took the time to dig deeper and deeper into their psyches and pasts to see why they were so entwined with each other. And while I will admit that I did get a few twinges of "Oh wow that's edgy" when Razors slit his own throat, but the effect it had on Chibi was felt very deeply and I definitely felt the effects of Razors' death afterwards. That comic was cruel :<

Poor Wartortle ;-; Granted, she was pretty much in the background the whole time, though, so I don't think this death really affected me much. It obviously was meant to affect Rudy, though, so I suppose it served its purpose.

I mentioned earlier that I thought there was a flip-side to you treating the other Rebellion members like the miscellanious hogwarts students, and it's that at the end of the day, that's what they are. They act mostly like friends when they're a part of the Rebellion - Jade knows a few names and even meets a few people, but they're optomistic children. They don't realize that when push comes to shove, those bonds that they're forming probably aren't going to hold out when they're faced with their deaths. After the attack on Midnight Island and the loss of Stalker's Leadership and also half the squad, they all kind of just split up once they realize how fragile and doomed the whole operation was. And I think that's what makes this section LC extremely real to me - there's no way Jade would have been able to know and make friends with literally everyone in the Rebellion, and if the Rebellion had stuck together afterwards it would have rang as extremely unrealistic to me. So, at least for this part, I think keeping all the children mostly in the background made the Rebellion's falling apart extremely believable.

Astrid was Starr.

“I’m the boss’s daughter,” Starr answered before Ajia got a chance to say anything.

CALLED IT

...Or half of it, really. Called it that Starr was essentially this universe's Silver (or is that Lexx? IDK but Starr kind of fills it more for me), but not that Starr was Astrid. In fairness, I don't really think it would have been feasibly possible to say that Starr was Astrid before the story revealed it, since the only real clue-in we had was that she was young for an executive but like. they're all >20? and Jade kinda-sorta-recognized her, but she was also working pretty hard to keep it all under wraps until that alleyway meet-up in Lavender Town, so... I guess that means it worked? Either way, it was pretty shocking. I had been expecting Starr to show up sooner or later, but probably in Book II, not here.

After this chapter of Jade moping around and slowly getting her life back into order, I feel like this is where the second arc of LC Book I truly begins, and it brings back That One Character from the prologue and like chapter six or something that is insanely cool but hasn't had much screentime up until now: Ajia. For all intents and purposes I'm pegging Ajia the Hermione Granger of LC, and she pretty much lives up to that moniker - overskilled, knowledgable, always has a plan or some sort, and more. I kind of felt like she had some sue-ish tendencies in the beginning, but that was pretty much dispelled once I learned that she was Mew's Chosen. The line about her "making her own luck" is pretty powerful, IMO. And also the gambit with "Espeon" and "Umbreon" being Mew and Zoroark - that's so overcomplicated but also an insanely useful tactic and frankly you'd think more people in this universe would be using their pokemon in crafty ways like that.

So Ajia and Jade break into Viridian HQ, like... twice to talk to Starr, and then on the second break-in they also get Mewtwo freed and get Starr on their side and Ajia's Pichu defeats Starr's Raichu and then Mewtwo trashes the base. And this is about the first time that I begin to think that... okay, maybe they're getting away with a bit too much with these missions. Like, yeah, Ajia's OP and she's been doing this for years and she's got a legendary on her side, but at this point I'm confident that they're going to be able to battle their way out of whatever happens in the Team Rocket Bases. And,... they do. They did not suffer a single loss from this mission - unless you count Starr's Team Rocket membership, but even she admitted that was for the best later. As fun as it was in the moment, I think that was a bit of a letdown for me. No tension because I basically knew they were going to get away with it.

The chapters in between were nice and quiet, though. We got to watch Starr slowly come around, and begin to heal her relationship with Jade despite all the stuff that happened between them previously. There was also a bunch of worldbuilding, which helped reveal how much power Team Rocket truly holds here, and especially their control over Johto. Although, we still haven't seen anything of the Johto Force yet... it feels like you're holding this card close to your chest but I would have expected we'd see at least something now that Jade and Starr have crossed over there. Especially considering Jade spends like nine months in Johto after Book I, so you'd think they would rear their heads at some point.

And then we finally meet Stalker again, and we learn that he is, in fact, a Rocket - not just a Rocket, the Johto Commander at that - and prooobably shaping up to be a Big Bad of this story and I am not surprised at all, tbh. This guy rang warning bells every step of the way. Just when you think about it - he's a probably 19 - 20 something-year-old training children practically half his age to fight a criminal military faction, he's got contacts and clearly holds lots of sway in Team Rocket, he never actually gets himself into the face of danger until it literally comes knocking at their doorstep, etc. Pretty fishy. The thing that got me about Stalker, though, was the way he talks to Jade along the missions. At best, he offers up some empty kind words and then it's back to strats and how she can be useful again. At worst? He literally makes it clear that the rebels exist as his subordinates, and that if Jade is going to do something for herself, she has to do something for him too. He is a good leader, though - I'll give him that much. If this were like a teen action novel, it feels like Stalker would be the cool older brother figure who's completely on the level... and yes, LC technically is a teen action story, but I often get the feeling you use that a lot to fool we the readers, so I shan't be tricked here

After this, you have "Stalker"/Sebastian essentially morally force Starr, Jade, and Ajia into Book I's final action setpiece: The raid on Viridian.

I have... mixed feelings on this setpiece. I think that you hit all the narrative goals you wanted - Establishing Jade and Lugia, and furthering Firestorm's arc to its crucial point - but the setpiece itself was such a large-scale thing that it was kind of boring to follow. We jump with Jade from battle to battle, watching them tangle with Mewto and eventually Lugia, but it feels like there's so much stuff going on that it's hard to capture it all in writing. I have one really strong feeling about this setpiece, and it's that it would look really cool captured in an artpiece/film. But aside from that, it kind of made me go 'eh'. I think the beats that stood out the most to me were the ones that were relavent to the arcs at large - Firestorm straight-up killing a guy, and Jade capturing Lugia with a masterball and Lugia nearly killing her afterwards. I also find it interesting that Mewtwo was the only one to capture himself with a pokeball - was it just that he had easy access to one/was smart enough to make the connection? I don't really see Lugia just strolling into a pokemart and nicking a ball from the shelves, after all.

...Although, then again, when you're Lugia, you probably do whatever you want, tbh

The wind-down and eventual ending were satisfying, though. It was nice to see Firestorm's arc finally explained and concluded, although I do feel like it just sprang up out of nowhere. We didn't really see much of this before he became a Charmeleon, so I just wrote it off as a "Charmeleon attitude thing". It might be Early Installment Weirdness - I know you've said the Plane Arc isn't exactly a shining example of LC's best writing, but I would have liked some more hints from when he was a charmander pertaining to this. Unless I'm a dumbarse and missed them?

I liked that Rudy handed Jet off to Jade at the end. It made sense, given what happened to Wartortle, was also a nice mirror to Jade giving Pikachu to Rudy - they both did it because they'd lost a similar pokemon in the past and couldn't stand to train the current ones, and both became parts of their team later. Although granted, Pikachu kind of faded out of the picture after Jade gave her off to Rudy.

The ending of Book I itself is really good, though. I absolutely hate it when books end on deliberate cliffhangers so you'll buy/read the next one, so I'm glad that the ending here actually feels like it has finality. Watching Jade and Co. get their happy (...for nOW) ending made me more excited to start reading the next one more than any cliffhanger could have, tbh.

...Which is why, like the impatient person I am, I decided to start reading Book II despite knowing it isn't finished yet! This definitely will not come back to bite me when I inevitably catch up.

When Book II opens nine months after the first one ended, Jade is pretty much just going around Johto, keeping herself occupied and trying to forget that the whole Team Rocket thing happened. Which has earned her Chibi's ire, and he constantly nags her for updates from Ajia. Starr, understandably, wants nothing to do with any of this but will probably get dragged right back in later. I enjoyed the first few chapters, escpially the scene with the beach and the introduction to the Indigo League, but I feel like it began to drag once Jade battles Rudy. Pretty much the only narrative purpose I can see is introducing Rudy's league team, which feels like it could have been done much more cleanly with a league match of some kind. As it is, I honestly felt a bit bored reading that part.

Of course, you don't let it meander forever. Trouble is on its way, and it comes in the form of Lexx from the Chapter 24 Extra. He's an asshat who works for Sebastian and is apparently related to Starr and is also apparently playing every single side because he sold out his own Father to Ajia and then considered selling out Ajia to Giovanni and now apparently sold out to Sebastian. Talk about chaotic evil, tbh. Then Moltres attacks the league, and we meet our two presumable deuterantagonists for this book - Ender and Raven. We admittedly don't get to see much of them yet, but from what little they do see they seem extremely dangerous and even Starr is apprehensive of them. I'm interested to see what these two are going to do from here, since it seems like you're setting them up for big things.

Afterwards is the part that seems like it's going to the real important stuff - and it makes up the fic cover too! The Legendaries' Chosen Ones. So far, it's Ajia and Jade who have been Chosen by Mew and Lugia, respectively, and I don't really know how to feel about Lugia yet. So far it seems like it's open to the prospect of being friendly with Jade - which, I mean, it's just bonded for life with her so yeah, probably a good idea - but at the same time it doesn't seem very concerned about whether or not she dies or lives or anything. We've only really seen a bit of it yet but I don't get very altruistic vibes off Lugia. It feels... selfish, and I have a feeling that's gonna come out to play sooner or later.

As an aside, I'm also interested that Hoenn is getting involved now! I wonder how many other regions you're planning to take us to in the future. Plz Kalos

And through it all, Jet looked… worryingly unconcerned.

Jet rn: Copyka.png

I... feel very worried for Jet.

So now some general notes on the story. The first thing I want to talk about is how much of a brilliant subversion this story is. It starts out as a goofy, Harry Potter-esque magic school type thing, but that's all a facade, really - you use Jade's First Person POV and her limited knowledge to keep us under that illusion until the entire thing breaks and then once it does we realize - like Jade - that everything isn't as black and white or easy as she's made it out to be. The entire second half of LC Book I feels like a series of consecutive sucker punches meant to completely ruin any sense of fantasy the world of LC had - this isn't a utopian Trainer world where kids fight Team Rocket and get off scot-free. If you're in, you're in for life - however short that life may be.

As I said in my previous reviews, you do a really good job with the worldbuilding here - I love little tidbits you throw out that build the world and make it seem believable, like how Team Rocket operates economically, where their bases are, trainer logistics, an actual Exam, etc. They make the world seem real, lived-in, and full of its own problems that couldn't ever exist in ours, no matter how similar they are. I also really enjoyed the addition of Pokespeech being an actual language and lowering that barrier between Humans and Pokemon. It's easy to take it for granted when you're like 20 chapters into this fic, but this is honestly one of only a few fics I've seen that do this or something similar, and it does so much. All of the pokemon are characters in ways they really couldn't be if you didn't give them the ability to talk, and just for that reason this is perhaps my favorite part of the worldbuilding here.

I did have some issues with the story while reading, though. The first one is that I constantly got the feelings of It's Too Easy throughout the whole story - and yes, the Rebellion was doing the Bad Guy's Bidding the whole time, so it technically was too easy, but even so. It feels like they often don't have trouble doing things that would be a lot more hassle IRL - it's way too easy to get your hands on a rocket ID with Admin Rights, way too easy to just blow up machines when the plot demands it (and near-impossible when it doesn't), Jade and company escape one too many rocket bases and battlefields mostly unscathed, etc. For the level of dangerous stuff going on that Jade is meddling in, it never really feels like she's had a true brush with death until the attack on Midnight Stadium. And while that may just be part of Jade's POV, that she's not fully understanding/caring what she's playing with, I often get the feeling that things are being ignored/conveniently shafted so Jade and Co. can stand a chance against the Rockets.

I also had some logical complaints about the story at large: Firstly, it's clear that the Rockets have access to huge artillery and firepower, given that they carry around guns, had countless explosives applied to the S.S. Anne, and are able to mass produce weapons like the ALRs. And that's just the Kanto Force; who knows what the Johto Force is capable of. And while it may not be the best idea to, y'know, blast Raikou, the Legendary Birds, and Mew full of bullets while you're trying to capture them, it feels like they should be using their firepower against the Rebellion more? At most, a few guns are pulled on Jade. For instance, the attack on Midnight Stadium probably could have been accomplished much more covertly by a sneak-attack squadron, a few guns, and some cleverly-placed arson. They didn't have to go the whole nine yards and use Moltres out in the open where there are clearly Rockets there anyway.

Second thing is that there's this whole rivalry between the Kanto and Johto units, to the point where they're fighting over who gets to claim Entei, they very clearly hate each other, etc. I mean, Stalker commands the Johto Force, and he's presumably doing this so that the Johto Force can get all the legendaries and stick it to the Kanto Force. Thaaat's an internal problem if I ever saw one. Even without the knowledge that this is what Stalker was doing, if the Kanto Force routinely got sabotaged and let all these legendaries get away, and then the Johto force just swooped in and got them all without a hiccup, with knowledge of this very public rivalry I would begin to get suspicious pretty quickly. And Stalker may be in Tohjoan command, but I very much doubt he equals Giovanni (?) in rank. So I'm wondering why Giovanni's just content to sit back, (presumably) pet his persian and boss his daughter around, while there's this very clear schism growing in his organization and it's beginning to affect his plans. And to learn that something to this extent happened about two years ago, caused all this, and he apparently didn't care... He just reads to me as more incompetent than anything. I have to wonder if he's actually in command or just a figurepiece for someone else.

I also felt that the Book Two Opening was a little janky. The buildup with the league was cool and all, but even for a slow burn I found myself getting bored in parts. For instance, I didn't really feel like anything was accomplished by Jade and Rudy's battle that couldn't have been shown in a league match instead... Although, granted, I might have been spoiled by Book I's fast pace. I honestly felt like we were meandering around a bit before the Rockets attack the league with Moltres, and then after that the pacing speeds up to 180 and we're dealing with new Rocket Commanders, Lexx, Lugia, Chosen Ones, etc. Now that the pacing seems to be stabilizing out to what it was in Book I, I feel like the opening sticks out like this weird thumb.

Overall, The Lengendarian Chronicles is a sometimes zany, sometimes dead-serious combination of Harry Potter, Stand By Me, and Pokemon, and I am loving it all the way. Like every story, it has its issues, but like all good stories, those are eclipsed by its positives. My sole worry at this point is that I'm gonna run out of material and then be waiting years for the rest of the story to be published - I'm not actually sure how many Books are planned, now that I think about. I... wanna say three or four? IDK, though. Either way, this is genuinely the best trainerfic I've read in a long while, and I don't throw around that title lightly. Keep on writing! Please. Don't leave me in the dark forever :sadcat:

~SparklingEspeon

Listening to: JoJo
 

SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. fennekin
~Review of Chapters 38 - 45~

Hello I am back and this time I got all caught up *cries in no more LC to read*

This was.... a ride, from start to current finish. The pace really picked up and just... kept going and going and going. It even got a bit exhausting after a while, although looking at the Chapter 46 blurb it looks like that may finally be a break from all the constant action.

I think that's what I'll cover first, tbh. Book II has been much, much larger in scale than Book I was, but I think that's in large part because you're beginning to lean away from the "Kids Fight Team Rocket" angle and more towards the "Legendaries and Prophecies" angle. Which, you've made no secret that this is where it's going, but but like... wow this became Godzilla fast. Especially the Hoenn arc, in which you pull out every single stop but still get into a very huge scale of action that not even the assault on Viridian can top. But scale is actually one of the things that sort of hinders these battles a bit, IMO. It's not that you're doing it wrong by any means, because they're written expertly. But it feels like the larger-scale they get, the more desensitized as a reader I am to them. It's The last three or so major battles in LC have all been like something out of the last act of The Avengers - they take up an entire city, there's blockbuster movie destruction everywhere, disaster fallout, entire armies raging on the scene, etc. And honestly, there has to be a cooldown phase somewhere that's a bit more than just three or so chapters. I know I said that I thought the opening was a bit too slow-paced but if we segued straight into another huge legendary destruction setpiece from here I think I'd have to put this down for a bit again just so I can recuperate and stuff. Not to mention Jade and Co. need some rest that would be cruel

Parallel to this, I feel like the pokemon members on Jade's team haven't really had too much of a spotlight out of battle because all they've been doing is battling. They just legit haven't gotten a break to sit down and talk about things for a while. And while Rudy's team seems to express themselves best in battle, it just feels like the character interactions are getting crushed out by all the constant action a bit.

I do think despite all the constant action, you aren't letting things get too out of hand. The Aquas and Magmas were definitely an.... eccentric bunch, and they really brightened up the Hoenn setpiece. I love the contrast between the two teams - the careful, cautious, and maybe a bit uptight Magmas VS the laid-back, take-it-as-it-comes, overly rambunctious Aquas - and the fact that they still try to pretend they have a rivalry even though they're on the same side now. In particular that the Aquas' strategy was pretty much "Hey, look over there!" *runs away* was a big Pffft moment

I also thought Groudon and Kyogre's... interesting way of life was a cool angle to the whole "ancient beasts" side of this fic - I was a bit disappointed that it looked like you were going to characterize them as mindless beasts, but what you did instead was a whole other world of interesting - especially since it shows that some of the legendaries operate on a scale of Orange and Blue Morality and just won't see things the way we do. On that note, though, I did feel like you cheated a bit with Kyogre, who is nowhere near as emotionless as Groudon is and feels like a much more human character hiding behind a formal mask. Which sort of cheapened the effect for me; more like a "we know about this modern stuff but Groudon's a stickler for the old ways and I just play along to make him happy" sort of thing.

Poor Skarmory... and Jet, although Jet was really just asking for it with all her recklessness. Although, I have to wonder: Jade and Darren had nine months of peace, and Protect can't be that hard a move to get. Why did neither pokemon ever learn it, just in case?

But enough about Hoenn; I should probably cover Team Rocket, Moltres, and the Pokemon League attack.

First off, Sebastian. I thought he'd be playing his cards close to his chest and operating mostly through Lexx now that he got outed, but nope, he's throwing himself straight into the fire and I just don't understand why. I have every inclination to believe he's motivated completely out of greed/powerlust after seeing his current position and how he throws people around as tools, but, even so... and this may be just me giving him the benefit of the doubt unfairly, I think I do that for evil characters a bit too much - something about that just doesn't ring right to me. There's one big piece that's missing here, and it's why Sebastian wants the Johto Force to have all the legendaries. It can't be to help the current form of Team Rocket, because if that was where Sebastian's interests lay then he would not still be attempting to sabotage the Kanto Force's legendary captures. And if there's one thing we know about Sebastian, it's that there's a lot he doesn't say, but he never directly lies. And this still hasn't been explained:

“Not all Rockets are satisfied with the direction the team is headed. Some of them have their own plans. Some of them are working against Giovanni from within the team.”

Which, yes, is likely code for "I'd be a better leader, I'm gonna take all the power", but... even so.

So there's really two options I can see: (A), it's completely self-serving. Sebastian wants to take over Team Rocket completely and dethrone The Boss, or (B) he's trying to stop something else. And that requires him to play the Evil card so he can appear loyal to Team Rocket until he can, and I don't know which one it is. he seems particularly adamant that the Kanto Force doesn't get the legendaries, to the point where I don't know if he'd have the reaction he does when Jade allows the Kanto Force to capture Rayquaza if it were self-serving. And the same thing goes for Latios - by no means does it justify what he's done, but I don't get the impression he takes particular pride in having captured Latios. But at the same time... I don't see why he'd play the Evil card towards Jade and Co. unless he had to hide his true allegiances from someone in that group. And the only person who fits that criteria is Ajia.

And on Ajia, there's a lot we still don't really know about her. Obvs she doesn't seem to be aligned with Team Rocket, but her past is somewhat shady outside of that. Jade does not know a lot about her, we don't know a lot about her, but we do know that she was an instigator of the original Revolt that led to this all. And she's got connections. And she's Mew's partner. She's been perhaps the most involved and shady member of the hero cast here.

So my tentative theory going forward is that Stalker isn't necessarily fighting Team Rocket; he's also fighting Ajia. And there's a whole other dimension to the Revolt that we haven't seen that would turn the whole situation on its head - maybe Ajia is fighting for her own ulterior motives, or perhaps the legendaries themselves do not have the most benign of intentions if left to run amok. But even so, I just don't have a good read on either Sebastian or Ajia. Both could flip either way at this point for me, tbh. I'm thinking this may even have connections to the League "knowing", as Steven alludes to. Perhaps Sebastian is worried that if he's too liberal about his side-flipping, someone on Jade's side is gonna let something slip and his plans go down the drain as they make their way through the grapevine.

T h e . J o h t o . F o r c e . a p p r o a c h e s

And tbh, it's about time we see them make an appearance. You've been building them up as The Bigger Threat, but pretty much all the TR action we've seen in LC so far has been from the Kanto Force - the Johto Force has been playing its cards off-screen, or behind Sebastian's mask. We see them in what is assumedly their full glory here, with a fleet of ALR-equipped airships... although again, you fall into the trap of not really describing them well and leaving it up completely to the imagination what these airships look like. I imagined a blimp-like design, but no clue how close that is and I feel like those'd be particularly vulnerable to going up in flames if hit by a single attack, so... no clue tbh.

Oh my god Ender and Raven are scary. The battle in Indigo was the first time we really saw Jade's team get dispatched in such a brutal and fatal way, and it was horrifying to watch. I don't think literally any villain before has gotten as much of an angry/terrified reaction out of me as Raven did when she beat down Jade and then just causally commented that she knew they were working with legendaries. They're definitely threats, and I was not the tiniest bit sorry when Ender went tumbling out of that plane.

Although... Every time Ender summons his Xatu to teleport himself to safety in midair I can't imagine Xatu being an actually flying bird so I imagine it just comes out of its ball and like T-poses on Jade or something in midair before it teleports them XaTpose.png

Moltres and Rudy are a pretty good pairing, tbh. Although I feel a bit sorry for Rudy, because Moltres can be such a jerk. Hopefully they can find a way to make it work, because... they're stuck that way for life 🙃 I'm reassessing my opinion on Lugia a bit - it's much more aloof and ruthless than Jade is, but also helps keep Jade in check when she needs it. They balance each other out pretty well. And Ajia and Mew already work together pretty well, but... well, they've been doing that for years. I wonder what Steven meant when he said "I'm sorry to hear that", though. I mean, obviously being paired with a legendary isn't all sunshine and sunflora, but he makes it sound like he knows something the other legendaries are keeping from Jade and co. Maybe something to do with the prophecy? Last I checked, Steven had a thing for archeology...

These eight chapters have been... very action-packed and run at a breakneck piece that's as dense and exhausting as it is addicting at times. But it's still a very good read, and I'm extremely looking forward to the next chapter...

~SparklingEspeon

Listening to: JoJo
 

IFBench

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Chapter 5

I really like the conversation at the beginning! It makes sense that they'd all be a bit shaken from everything that happened.

Ajia proceeded to read the card several times, repeating certain bits out loud to herself as though trying to discover some hidden meaning that I’d overlooked. “This is… really vague. Though possibly just to protect the leader from being found out. It doesn’t even say where you’ll be going… I guess you’re supposed to figure that out in Vermilion. Overall, it’s suspicious, but I don’t think it’s a trap.”

“A trap?” I said blankly. The thought hadn’t really occurred to me.

She nodded. “There’s always the possibility, but that’d be very unlike the Rockets. What would they gain by going and finding a bunch of kids, pointlessly feeding them info, and then killing them? No, I think it’s real… though I can’t say I know what the motives are.”
Do I see some foreshadowing here?

I really like Ajia's personality! She is a really interesting character!

Jade's realization that she really was a trainer now is really good!

I like that little conversation with Firestorm about Pokespeech. It was neat.

I feel like something's up with Stalker. He seems really suspicious.
 

IFBench

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5 Extra

Oh boy, seems like Jade is making a phone call home. This is going to be interesting.

I like that she initially thought that this was a joke.

And her mom's not very happy with this. I wonder how this is going to turn out.

Hooray! Her mom gave the ok!

That "stay safe" line really hits hard, especially combined with Jade's thoughts afterwards, and the lie that is Jade's final line.
 

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
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Well, I'm reading this potentially so I figured I'd have some fun and put some thoughts reactions.

I'll admit, I tried twice before to read this but didn't get too far, got distracted. Stopped in chapter 1 usually. Clearly I was a fool for not reading far enough into chapter 1.

glanced down the other end of the hallway just in time to spot my friend Ajia, a small fifth-grader with dark hair and eyes.
Dark hair and eyes? Well, I'm sure glad she has eyes.
I guess my brain expected a description of eye color here but dark counts for both, I suppose.

Yeah, that class is confusing doom when you first start out.
confusing... doom? is this a linguistical tick of the pokemon world? If so, I'm intrigued to discern what it means.

You’re such a little kid,” Starr said, smirking.
*violent flashbacks to iris*
*shudders*

I was gonna quote other stuff but got lazy, lol
Anyways I love that you kicked things straight into high gear with the appearance of Entei, Lord of the Volcano! (I see we share a tendency to kick plots off with Volcano Lords, hmmm?)

I liked the descriptions of areas, it was easy to picture things.

Gotta say, this was a wild start, I'm very much wondering where this will all go and what take on pokemon this will be. Felt real bad for poor Charmander.

Oh, and your prologue was interesting! Love me some Lugia!
 

IFBench

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Chapter 6

I really like Jade's last-second worries at the start of the chapter!

The moment right before Jade was admitted onto the ship was really tense! Great job!

Jade's inner monologue is so good.

I love the description of the ship interior! It's very vivid and detailed!

I sighed and forced myself to look away. Come on, enough already. Everything was going to be fine.

I'm going to go ahead and guess that that won't be the case.

YEP. The experimental Pikachu is on the loose. I'm really intrigued to see how this plays out.

That small conversation with the experimental Pikachu is really good!

...I now see where your username comes from.

...oh dear. The Rockets are on board.

So Stalker might be a former commander of Team Rocket? Very interesting.

For a moment there, I thought Chibi straight-up killed the Rocket grunt.

Oh boy, things are getting really intense again, now that the Rockets know something's up, and presumably found their (hopefully unconscious) allies.

Seems like Chibi really didn't like what he did on the plane. Interesting.

And looks like Jade can't call Ajia for help. Oh dear.

Oh no. I'm pretty sure that the "secondary mission" that's about to begin is the hostage one.

Well! This was a very high-stakes chapter. I liked it a lot!

Can't wait to see what happens next!
 

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
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  1. flygon
“then we can get started on that training.”

Since this concludes the S.S. Anne arc I figured I just give some brief thoughts.

That was a pretty wild ride! Tense and a lot of crazy action stuff. (Still not sure how much I actually enjoy pokespeech as a thing but hey, its still interesting)
You definitely captured and essence of being in over your head vibe. I thought it was very good, I don't have any hard critique (and anyways I'm just here to pleasure read, not critique lol). It was fun, and captivating.
Cool appearance of Lugia, nice to see legendaries actually, ya know, doing things to help people. I assume he didn't start the storm, or maybe he did? If he did though, I wonder why.
Anyways, glad that he stopped it, that's what really matters. I feel bad for Chibi, getting seemingly caught again. I do have one big gripe with chapter 8.
Jade only once thinks about Chibi, and then only briefly. I would have expected her to show a little more concern for the Pikachu hybrid who basically saved her life, ya know? Maybe you didn't mean to, but it kinda felt like she just straight up forgot he existed. Although I suppose you may have been aiming for a 'doesn't want to think about him cause she feels too bad?'
If that was the idea though, I do feel like it wasn't clear.
At any rate, I'm digging how fast this story is escalating and evolving. The Rockets feel dangerous, the stakes high, and the situation overwhelmingly scary. Can't wait to read more!
 

Flyg0n

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My heart curled inward on itself, and I fought back the sudden urge to disappear from the conversation. Why did he have to ask about that? The memory burned a hole in my chest every time it came up. How could I have let the Rockets take Chibi? Why couldn’t I stop them? Why?
Ah, there it is. Glad to see the inclusion here, much more clear that she's actively trying not to think about poor Chibi.

I know that we’re awful fond of singles here. It’s the dominant format for all official battles in Kanto. But double battles are the primary format in Hoenn. Sinnoh runs a large number of tag battle tournaments. Unova has more than one format with six Pokémon on the field at once. These formats are collectively known as multi battles.
I really dig the inclusion of mentioning how other regions have different types of battles they favor.

Sure, I didn’t know what half the moves being used were, but what did that matter?
Ah Jade. Knowing moves is half the battle i'd think. How can you expect to become stronger if you don't know your moves ;)

“Well, that settles it. In a few months, the Rebellion will be a force to be reckoned with.”
I woulda called it team Midnight, but I'm a fat cheeseball so.

Anyways, cool chapter! Even if it was staged, it was still an intriguing battle to watch. Curious to see what further training these kids will learn, and how the missions will go.
 

Flyg0n

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“I… I want to rescue him.”
By the time the Rockets burst out into the alleyway, we were gone.


Wow, what an intense set of chapters. I was wondering when Jade when get up some guts and try and rescue Chibi. After everything Chibi did for her, it seems only fair.
Really good read, very tense, lots of fast paced action. Huge fat bonus points for a Flygon!!!!! Loved the personality of the different experiments.The scene between Jade and Mewtwo was definitely very eerie. Part of me feels bad for Mewtwo but he also sounds terrifying as well. I wonder what will become of the other experiments? Hm...
Also this is a day late dollar short, but I totally knew they were gonna go after Raikou and not Zapdos. A flying mon sounds harder to handle and they already went for Entei so it makes sense they're trynna complete a set. I guess Suicune will be next.
Not sure how I feel about that other girl, the Rocket who helped Jade, as a character. But I try never to judge a character to harshly until I know more. Normally I might count it a stroke of luck against Jade, that she conveniently avoided capture then.
But the fact that escape was still a challenge she had to work for, I approve. Overall, strong action sequence, no real complaints. Glad Chibi is back safe, and she rescued other experiments.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
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Chapter 5 (Extra)

The conversation between Jade and her mother felt very believable. It flowed well and was enjoyable to read. It sounds like Jade
may get her licence in the future? The limits of not having one do seem very inconvenient. I'd never considered you'd need one
just to use all the facilities in a Pokemon Center! But it does make sense, and I like this little detail a lot. I wonder if
this applies to healing her pokemon too, since some people may just keep pokemon as pets? I think I recall her needing to buy
potions and such earlier on.

So I steeled myself as hard as I could and opened my mouth to say the five words I’d been practicing for the last hour which suddenly felt impossible to actually say:

I especially liked this part. How many times can we rehearse things yet they seem impossible when the time arises? Her mother's reaction
was on point, too. Exasperated, rather than outraged. You can pick up on the mother/daughter bond here.

The ending with her telling Jade to 'stay safe' carries the ominous feel of the upcoming events with it. Nice.


Chapter 6

Yeah, the S.S. Anne!

I had to crane my neck upwards just to get a look at the uppermost deck and the orange-rimmed smokestacks rising from the top.

Really nice imagery here!

I really liked the interactions with Chibi and Jade in this chapter. It went smoothly from her being apprehensive and puzzled by him
to having some level of (puzzled!) understanding. It was really striking that he was making the effort to speak slowly and clearly so
she could understand him, as if he was putting the effort in for her sake more than his own.

As much as I like Jade, Chibi is definitely the star of this. He's just surrounded by so much mystery and intrigue which has me hooked
on everything he does. He's a bit of a loose cannon and you just don't know what he's going to do next. But he does know what he's doing.
The way he handled those rockets was brutal yet effective. I'm not sure if he killed either of them? It wasn't exactly clear, and I guess
Jade just didn't want to know?

This story has a stark contrast to the anime with the danger level of the pokemon cranked right up to 11. Chibi's attack on the rockets
wasn't your typical 'Pikachu thunder shock making the trainer see stars' attack we see in the anime whatsoever. I also interpreted his
tail attack as 'iron tail', which if I'm right is pretty alarming since he basically had that Rocket Grunt at knife-point to get his
information. Brutal, yet lovable XD

I also have to complement your art for this chapter, too. I love Chibi's spiky hair-do.

“I just… thought they’d do a Pokéball inspection, and right now I don’t have one for my Pikachu.”

He waved a hand dismissively. “It’s a trainer’s party, they don’t mind if Pokémon are out and about, so long as they’re not too big. Weren’t you paying attention when they announced all of this?”

No, I really hadn’t. I had been too busy wondering if my Pikachu was going to kill anyone or not.

“By the way, I like your Pikachu. He looks cool.”

This amused me XD

I could almost hear my heart thumping, and part of me was afraid they’d hear it through the door.

I love little descriptions like this.

Stalker also has his fair share of mystery behind him. I'm beginning to wonder if he was once working for the Rockets,
or perhaps an organization they've warred with in the past?

Jade's worries with getting aboard the ship without any identification was very tense up until she discovered she didn't need any
after all! Just like the other potential recruits. So no one would have been recorded. Hmm... did Stalker orchestrate that to
protect the identity of his chosen recruits? Interesting.
 

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
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So as long as review blitz is going, I figured I'd leave another review. Naturally, given I am coming into reading LC late and there's chapters upon chapters ahead of me, you can feel free to ignore any criticisms that will be addressed later.


My eyes widened. I actually knew someone who fit that description perfectly.

Alright, so I'll try my best to cover my thoughts ranging from the first discovery of the prophecy to the end of chapter 23.

Let's cover some big overviews. First up, this is a chosen one story. I don't have a huge peeve against chosen one stuff, so I wasn't put off by it. I actually wasn't even thinking 'chosen one' when I saw the prophecy at first. I was just thinking 'oh a prophecy'. I made the immediate conjecture however when she stepped into the inner chamber and took the orb thing. (I swear it must be like... Palkia or Dialga's orb?? or maybe Reshiram. I'd have to go back and pay a little more attention.).

I was surprised Jade didn't realize something is weird when she's able to remove the orb, given the line that seems to imply only the chosen one can take the orb. Then again, Jade isn't always the brightest lol.

I think the pacing of this story is pretty good so far. There's a good balance of lots of action, with downtime. For a brief bit the pacing felt almost repetitive though. It was 'big mission goes wrong but also kinda right', 'training', 'big mission that goes kinda wrong but right', 'training'. This isn't really a straight criticism though, more like an observation. It a necessary thing and makes context in the sense of the world. Especially since Jade at one point acknowledges that missions always go wrong.

To move on, I am surprised and intrigued by how well Rocket is succeeding. I've seen some stories where legendaries are just like... eldritch super beings? Which isn't all bad, but LC runs much closer to my personal preferences of them being pokemon with god-like powers. The fact that they are able to be overwhelmed by tech is a big bonus. I always believed that while a legendary could destroy almost any pokemon in a battle, pokemon seem to share a particular weakness to tech. The fact that they are making strides actually controlling legendaries makes the situation way, way way scarier.

Your interpretation of the legendaries was certainly unique. They were much more casual than I initially expected. I take I'll probably be seeing them more and done as flawed beings than benevolent deities. Looking forward to more of that.

That said, I still have some reservations about the use of pokespeech. I've always had an aversion to pokemon openly communicating, although its a bit hard for me to explain why. In this story, its used well enough, and there are some moments when it works especially well. There's also times when it (somewhat inexplicably) detracts from the story for me. I feel like with the use of pokespeech, I expected a bit more from the dynamic. I would hope for more fleshed out interactions and dialogue, but there are some times when it feels shallow or stunted.
It's hard for me to place exactly where or how though. Maybe I'm hoping for a touch more interactions between pokemon themselves? Maybe stuff where they talk to rocket pokemon? Perhaps a stronger team dynamic or relationship between Jade's pokemon?

Granted, I am relatively speaking not super far in the story yet. It's entirely possible you plan to address or develop this more and I haven't seen it yet. After all, its really only been a couple months. I can hardly expect too much as far as Team dynamics.

Moving on to the more recent chapters, aka Jade's capture and escape. I have to say that was some pretty heavy stuff. I thought for the most part the descriptions were good. Jade's flow of thought grounds the reader pretty well. You also get a good handle on her emotional and psychological state. To flow with that and then go right into the attack on the base though... wow.

That was some intense stuff for real now. it came out of left field and felt extremely unexpected. After reading your commentary and giving it some thought, I think it works well. As for why Team Rocket would retaliate like that... I mean it seems obvious to me. These rebels have been a thorn in their side for awhile. Incinerating them sends a dang strong message, doesn't it? An overwhelming show of force to prove that you're far outmatched and should give up. I'd be surprised if they did anything less, to be honest. It makes absolute sense to me.

What sets off red flags for me is killing both Wartortle and Razors.

Usually in a product when too many characters die at once, it's a big Danger Light. When it comes to loss and character death, its much much more dangerous to kill a character than injure them, imo. Because with injuries you get to keep writing them and develop them. By killing them, my expectations actually skyrocket. I've always had issues with depictions of grief/loss in media. I rarely feel like it is well handled.
I'm not saying you haven't, just that my expectations are now much higher. I fully and desperately hope this won't be something we glaze over after spending a couple chapters on sadfeels.

So far you haven't failed me though! I hold out hope for a story with depictions of grief I can enjoy (I use the term loosely lol).

Also you redflagged me with the Astrid/Starr reveal. Not that its surprising. I never gave it much thought but I'm not shocked either. But the 'friend is suddenly revealed to be part of bad guy side' drives me insane. The language used in this chapter and how the characters talk about it also drives me berserk. I guess it's cause I've seen the same concept handled really badly/boring in other stories where it gets glazed over. Like I don't care about your sadlife Starr, cry me a dang river. Working for Team Rocket puts you directly in my 'inexcusably stupid and evil dirtbag' box. And if you honestly expect to climb out of it, Astrid, you better work hard. Really hard. Not just 'oh but uh I tried to only kinda make you think I was killing you. I swear I had no other choice but to join Team Rocket har har'. CRY ME A RIVER STARR!!! boohoo.
(not railing against you but I instantly despise her now).
I will say however, my expectations have now gone up more. Handling a situation like this is a bold move. It's like the equivalent of telling me you'll cook me a delicious steak and lobster meal instead of taking me out to Burger King. I expect this story to deliver really well. (Its worth noting that I admit I'm biased. I have a chip on my shoulder regarding certain topics.)

Now, all things said, none of these are specifically a criticism or doubt. So far I think you've actually done a fantastic job at all the elements you've utilized so far. I think your pacing, character growth and everything else in on point. Your MC is believable. Your side characters are pretty good. The plot is expanding solidly. The subplots are developing well. The villains are good so far too.

I think other reviewers have pointed out more specific criticisms so I don't have any small details to critique. Just the broad strokes. So yeah, that's about it! Great job so far, can't wait to see where this goes.
 

Flyg0n

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  1. flygon
I took a deep breath. “Everything that’s happened between us has been so messed up. But neither of us wanted that—it was only because we were on opposing teams. I think we both need the chance to move on.” I was so, so tired of being haunted by that night. And this was probably the only way to heal from it.
I feel obliged t leave a review cause idk, why not?

I'm going to be frank. Cause I like this story. So far I don't have any problems with grammar, plot, pacing, prose etc. I think its all very solid. really enjoyable. The reveal that Starr is apparently Giovanni's daughter is only mildly surprising to be honest. Which isn't bad. I think its possible that being on discord maybe clued me in? Otherwise, I am rather used to these kinds of things. None of this is a critique though, just a statement. The reveal is more important to the characters tbh. But...

My opinion of this chapter went from :0 to :V to *eyeroll*

The reveal was surprising. Then her refusal to kill her, ya know, friends, was good. I almost started to like her. But the end... Ah.... Not a big fan.

Now granted, I still withhold full judgment on what happened given that I have awhile to go in the story. But even Jade being Jade, I cast fat doubt on her too easy forgiveness of someone who not only tortured and nearly killed but her but presumably killed other people and did terrible things. I'm really really concerned that so far Jade(?) has seemingly glazed over Team Rocket's evilness. As if the only bad thing they've done is try to catch some legendaries.

Team Rocket is a wicked organization that manipulates pokemon, mind controls them, uses them as objects, commits fraud, theft, robbery murder and tons of heinous deeds, no?

The brush off of 'oh yeah we were just on opposing sides' as if this was a game of dodgeball feels very meh. While I can sympathize with Starr cause she grew up in a sticky situation I am disappointed in that I guess Jade(?) doesn't seem to see how evil team Rocket is, and how this idk... it feels serious. Team Rocket isn't just a big company you disagree with like 'Oh yeah I don't like to shop at Winn Dixie'. But this chapter really comes off this way. It's hard to put my finger on why but I guess I would want more anger towards the overall terrible things Team Rocket has done?

A big reason is that Aija doesn't even admit that the things she did was wrong, or her worldview was wrong. She kind of is like? "Sorry I tried to kill you but then couldn't do it?" Like Starr do you not have a problem with everything else evil team Rocket has done?

All things said though, you can totally ignore this if it will be further explored later. The only reason I decided to say anything is that this chapter with the forgiveness things did a big Red Flag for me. I've seen a lot of other shows do something in a nearly identical manner that just. Makes me groan. I figured it's worth saying the way this chapter comes off or could come off to readers. Although it's certainly possible like I said, that this point is null and void.

That said this chapter was otherwise well-written. I thought seeing the tense battle scenes, Pichu taking on Raichu, and everything else was good. The attack on the base was a good read. And I'm very curious what exactly Aija managed to do there. She's up to something for sure. Naturally, I'll be reading to see how you handle things going forward.

(Also apologies if this comes off as harsh, I don't by any means dislike the story yet !
I still really dig it!)
 

Umbramatic

The Ghost Lord
Location
The Yangverse
Pronouns
Any
Partners
  1. reshiram
i

HAVE

RETURNNNNNNNNNNNNNED

Yes I am here for more juicy delicious Legendarian Chronicles goodness. Specifically Chapter 29.

This chapter is a lot slower than the last one but a lot still manages to happen. Starr, Aija and Jade's interactions make me laugh. They really do seem like a bunch of old childhood friends who have ended up in the most bonkers and terrible circumstances.

Speaking of. Jade's flashbacks to Lugia are haunting. I love the emphasis on its MASSIVE PSYCHIC POWER, an aspect of Lugia that is often weirdly overlooked. I mean I get WHY, it doesn't LOOK or ACT like a Psychic type, but.

Also Jade's Pokemon being at her hospital bed is cute. As is Chibi going "never do anything that stupid again." I have no doubt Jade inevitably will!

We will probably never see this one Ranger nurse again but she was fun too.

Jade "she will never believe this"

Nurse: -believes it anyway-

Jade:

I uh wanna do a very special mention of the Firestorm bit at the end because like. God. Fuck. That was fucking powerful and is one of the highlights of the fic so far? And if Firestorm wasn't one of my favorite characters before he is now? Like. God. Firestorm's thoughts on the whole thing and his justifications for what he did and his backstory and his anxieties about it all and Jade trying to help and god it's just really emotional and engaging and good?

Anyway next chapter is the last chapter of Book 1! I am. Very excite.
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. mawile
Chapter 7

This was a fun chapter! I have a vague memory of this, and even the recollection of you saying you'd had to research what a
cruise ship's engine room looked like. This was certainly action-packed. Jade did a fantastic job of pulling herself together to
run around and find all those bombs, even if she was trumped by Team Rocket in the end. Man, putting all those bombs back after she'd
removed them? That must have been a real crushing revelation for her.

Firestorm came through here, too. I expected him to go down to that Ninetales, but the little guy hung in there and evolved! Nice!

I'm concerned for Chibi's wellbeing here, too. I don't think I made it past this chapter, if much at all, in my initial read so I'm
excited to find out what happens to him.

His intelligence really shone through here, as well. He's not just some mindless animal (although all of the pokemon so far have
been very intelligent creatures like the anime portrays them.) What struck me is Jade didn't have to tell him not to use his
electricity in that engine room. He knew it was dangerous and doing so would either blow up the ship, set off the bombs, or damage
the device they needed in order to find them all. Go, little Pika! =D

A system of metal platforms spanned the area, with massive generators on level with me, and from what I could tell, countless tanks and pumps covering the platform below us. I couldn’t even tell what was overhead, but I couldn’t make out the ceiling—the room just seemed to keep going. The noise from the engines overwhelmed any other possible sound, and the air was hot and sticky and uncomfortably thick.

This description was just lovely. Even down to the sticky heat... what an unpleasant yet fascinating place to be? Well... it would be
fascinating if it weren't for the villians lurking within it.

He was… clinging to a metal overhang? How…? A crackle of electricity swept across his paws as the Pikachu slowly crawled forward, stopping to position himself above the group of Rockets.

I'd never considered a pikachu using its powers like this before! Spider 'Chu! I love this mental image XD

Chapter 8

Well this was exciting! I do love Jade's internal monologue. While it can be amusing, there was a real sense of danger and threat
in this chapter. Her struggles in the water were very well described. That storm! I can't believe Rocket stole the lifeboats... actually
no, wait, I can believe that. Why wouldn't they?

I did like how that gyarados was totally calm and okay with those struggling trainers riding on its back. What a good monster fish.

A huge, shadowy mass swept under me. Everything was dark, but this thing was dark enough to stand out… somehow. It slowly turned in my direction, and the only thing I saw was a pair of glowing blue eyes before it turned and dove further below me.

Well hello there, Lugia! Did he cause the storm? It comes up later that he stopped it. Hmm...

It would probably take over twenty trips for all of us, and after the first five or so, the psychic was already looking tired and had to drink some Ether. Wherever we were headed, it must have been pretty far for the jumps to tire the psychic out that much.

This was a very nice nod to the restrictions of move PP! I do like it when you intersperse lore like this.

I wasn't expecting to see Rudy make an appearance on the SS Anne. Well... off it. It's nice timing, given Jade will likely need a
familiar face around after that ordeal.

She's clearly very shaken up, but she does have a good head on her shoulders. Realising she's in so deep she now wants to see it
through and help stop the Rockets is very believable, and with Rudy beside her now and Stalker running this training thing on the remaining
trainers, things are really about to blast off (ahem).

I wasn't sure what the Rockets were doing on the SS Anne in the first place, it might have gone over my head. So I really appreciated
Stalker answering that for me in this chapter. They were targetting his recruits... oh dear. It's a bit of a surprise to find some
trainers were actually lost in the sinking ship. I guess there weren't enough water- and flying-type pokemon to go around? That only
adds to the sinister sense of danger radiating from your portrayal of Team Rocket. They're not the cartoony buffoons in this story
at all!

I'm still worried for Chibi's fate. No sign of him on the rescue boats? Argh, I hope they manage to save him!

I was just vaguely wondering how the Rockets had escaped, and if they’d had actual rockets in their backpacks, when a hand clapped my shoulder.

I loved this! Please say they do! XD

Chapter 9

Man the artwork for this chapter is amazing! It really echoes that epic battle near the end. The descriptions for the various attacks
were great and echoed the competitive double-battles with Charizard and Dragonite using 'protect' to get the upper hand. It also
followed nicely from Firestorm getting beaten by Ivysaur, proving furthermore that type advantage isn't always key to winning.

It really struck me how Jade hasn't a clue how to have a casual battle. After her fights with the Rockets I'd expect she'd have some
knowledge with battling, but thinking back she was fighting alongside more experienced trainers, and on the SS Anne it was Chibi taking
most of the lead. I loved how Swift took over, managing to win then feeling a bit... bad about it after. He's an adorable birb.

Firestorm's attitiude seems to have changed a bit now he's evolved. He's like a more obedient version of Ash's Charmeleon XD His backstory
was very welcome! I'd been wondering what had happened to him, as someone had mentioned in a review that they suspected he'd had a trainer.
Turns out he had! Pretty sad, what happened. I wonder if he'll find his trainer again?

At that comment, the feathers on his face ruffled with embarrassment, and he focused intently on his food bowl.

This was just adorable! Ahh!

Things are tying together a bit here. Jade has secured a job, and now they're training for the rebellion. I liked the ending with
Stalker joining in with the team name idea. The suggestion of one felt rather child-like (which makes sense since they're made up of
I'm guessing 10-14 year olds!) It made me see a bit of a light-hearted boyish streak to the young Stalker. I liked it a lot =D

Chapter 10

Straight into the action in this chapter. There's clearly been a time-skip. Swift's evolved, and I like the way it was portrayed to us
through his pysical description rather than outright stating he's a pidgeotto now (although I feel this could be hinted at a little
earlier on as it wasn't clear to me when he first appeared). It's also pretty clear that Jade is familiar with the other recruits now,
and it's nice she's sticking with Darren and Rudy, even going so far as to be teamed up with them for work.

The fire lizard growled in frustration. “*It’s hard to concentrate.*”

“Of course it is!” Stalker shot back. “You’re changing the composition of your claws—it’s going to be hard!”

Is this a hint at Metal Claw's reduced accuracy? If so, that's a fantastic way of portraying it!

And groups 4, 8, 11, and 15 will be going to Celadon—those are the ones that will be recovering supplies and Pokémon for us.

Please say this is a reference to the casino prizes! Oh man, I love little nods like this.

I don't imagine Jade's Team Rocket ID doubles up as a trainer's licence? Probably not since she's considering asking Rudy to buy her
pokeballs XD

A bold feeling suddenly struck. This was the second time I’d heard mention of the commander, and I had to know. “Why doesn’t the Kanto force have a commander?”

Warren jerked slightly, taken aback for just a second before regaining himself. “He resigned. Apparently there was some drama involved, so it’s not talked about often. I don’t know the details.”

Why wouldn't they just hire another Commander? It seems like a sensible move, but I wonder if something more is going on here
that means they can't for some reason?

Jade was definitely bold asking those questions up-front to Warren. He was rather okay with it, and his personality constrasted
a lot with Karen's! I don't imagine she's going to be much of a friend to Jade and her team.

Jade is by no means an ace at this stage. It feels a little early to be thrown into the field like this. I was a little surprised
Reed got assigned, given it was hinted he was last compared to everyone else. Hmm... I reckon some exciting struggles are ahead.
I look forward to how this plays out!
 

Navarchu

Exploration Team leader
Pronouns
He/Him
Partners
  1. swampert
Hi. Navar here, decided to check one of the trainer fics out for the Blitz. With that in mind I just finished reading the prologue. You made it with two very distinctive scenes, so I thought about making my review about both of those scenes! Alright, here I go!

So we start off with a scene with sea birb, Lugia! I think this scene was very well done, Lugia was fierce like a deity should be, his presence was there, it was very obvious that you don’t mess with a Legend like that so easily, and so, I give you praise for this. A very neat introduction. I’m not entirely sure what Lugia’s relation to the main protagonist is, but nonetheless, I got intrigued enough by this scene that I decided to keep reading the prologue.

As for the next scene, we’re introduced to the main protagonist, as I assume. Now, I never read any trainerfic before, so this is my introduction to the genre. Therefore, I can’t say if this is a cliché or something, but for me, at least, I think it was a nice scene, more slice-of-life, than serious or action paced, but that’s fine. I think it’s a good thing that you took the time to show the main characters, and with that in mind, I enjoyed it. Oh yeah, the tension between the protagonist and Starr felt natural. I kinda feel sorry that her mom basically forced her to move out. It was a good conflict, though, and I liked this prologue. Good work!

 

Dragonfree

Moderator
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
I have arrived, to review... chapter 34, the first chapter I didn't properly review yet! Hoooopefully this is the start of me catching up on reviewing this on TR.

My body had gone rigid, every panic instinct flaring up at once. We were supposed to have more time. It wasn’t supposed to be this soon. We were supposed to have more time. Lexx’s warning from earlier flashed through my mind on an infinite repeat. It wasn’t supposed to be this soon. But... he hadn’t said one way or another, had he? Some warning.
The repetition of "It wasn't supposed to be this soon" feels awkward, possibly accidental? Technically it sounds like she's quoting Lexx, but looking back at chapter 33 it doesn't seem like she is, and as Jade points out here he didn't actually say anything about how soon it would be, so I'm all in all a little confused by this opening. (He did kind of make it sound like it'd be soon, I thought!)

“C’mon, let’s go check it out,” Rudy said, gesturing in the direction that we’d heard the explosions. His words reached my ears, but my body didn’t want to respond.

“Wait,” my voice finally said.
Enjoying this dissociation.

He froze, staring at me with an expression I couldn’t place. Surprise? Fear? No, it was more like a dozen thoughts and memories flashing through his mind at once. He turned back in the direction of the commotion. The noises were growing louder, building in intensity. More explosions. Now we could actually hear screaming.

Rudy bit his lip. “I mean… we’ve still gotta go see, don’t we?”
Look at these traumatized kids compelled to rush into exactly the situation they wanted to get away from. unquag

And then an overwhelming burst of flames tore through the sky, and a massive shadow loomed overhead, circling like a vulture. My blood ran cold. Every muscle in my body seized up instantly. I knew that shadow. Slowly, my eyes slid upward to stare helplessly at the fiery spectre soaring over us. Just like when it attacked Midnight Stadium that night, the night that our lives had been torn apart.
Mmm yes that delicious trauma. I enjoy when things that aren't quite conventionally thought of as particularly scary are made so in the way they're described.

My eyes slid back to it just in time
Jade just talked about her eyes sliding upward in the previous paragraph, so this feels a little repetitive.

Love how generally traumatized Jade is for this entire opening; it's delightful.

The hybrid paused, blinking incredulously. Then he glanced up and down at my sorry state, no doubt trying to hold back his disdain.
Jade that sure is a self-deprecating assumption you're making about what he's thinking.

“I don’t know if I can do all of this again,” I whispered.

“*You’re not alone,*” Chibi said, leaping up onto my shoulder.
Aww, look at the two of them.

“You’re sure eager to jump back into this,” I muttered.

“*Only because I knew it wasn’t really over. The threat you can see is a much easier threat to face,*” he said. I couldn’t really argue with him.
That's very Chibi - just never managed to relax and put his guard down at all, and is kind of relieved that finally they're just dealing with an immediate threat instead of the long waiting game.

“*Oh geez what,*” he blurted out, craning his neck up to get a good look at Moltres.
Haha, that sure is another kind of reaction.

Suddenly, a handful of beam attacks shot through the air, flying past Moltres. One of the firebird’s wide loops over the tournament site had taken it too close to a handful of the escaping Pokémon. Their trainers had panicked and ordered attacks. When seemingly threatened by a Legendary, their instinct was to try striking back. I held my breath, mentally willing them to stay away from it as hard as I could. They didn’t need to be involved in this. No one else needed to get hurt. Just stay back. Please.
That powerful instinct to just not get anyone else involved, and then they do anyway, oof.

“You’re wasting time, Ender,” a woman’s voice said crossly.

I bristled. Who was that?

Aros whirled around just in time for a blur of green to slam into him, sending us reeling backward, our flight path completely askew. I threw a hurried glance around, unable to locate our attacker.
Kind of sounds like if Raven had just not announced her arrival before the surprise attack, they would've been dead meat. Good job, Raven. :P

I buried my face in his feathers, screwing my eyes shut and holding on for dear life, heart pounding so fast it hurt. That was way, way too close. Claws still clung to my shoulder. I turned to see Chibi still holding on out of the corner of my eye.
I like this description in particular.

“Don’t take away all my fun, Raven,” the man—Ender—said. “Have you forgotten what sort of mission this is?”
It feels a little odd for him to be answering Raven's line from several paragraphs earlier here as if nothing were more natural.

He fired a burst of lightning at the enemy Flygon (he must’ve been aiming for its trainer) but the bug-dragon darted out of the way so fast it practically vanished.
A bit confused by why this isn't just "He fired a burst of lightning at the enemy Flygon's trainer" - initially I figured what you meant is it hit the Flygon but he was going for the trainer, but then you say Flygon dodged out of the way altogether, so in what sense could you actually say he fired it at the Flygon but was aiming for the trainer?

But he must not have heard me, seeing as his claws flared up with dragonfire and he slashed, finally catching the enemy Flygon with a wicked slash across its side.
Yup, just didn't hear, definitely

Dammit. Why did everything have Ice Beam whenever Aros was out?
nice TQftL reference

Falling. The pair of us spiraling toward the ground, my hands holding tight with a death grip as the air rushed past. Struggling to reach for my Pokéball belt. Had to recall him, had to let out Firestorm, had to do something. But my hands trembled, missing their mark, and my vision had gone blurry, and my sense of space had dissolved into a dizzying spiral, and the last thing I saw was the flashing of wings in my peripheral vision, rapidly closing in on us. And in that moment, the only thing my brain managed to process was that they weren’t Altaria’s or Flygon’s—they were a Dragonite’s.
Love this paragraph and how confused and panicked it is - "my sense of space had dissolved into a dizzying spiral" is my favorite bit.

The whole Moltres chase is great - feels super tense and oh shit throughout with no break, and Chibi's saving-the-day moment has a very cinematically epic feel to it. The chapter is pretty short but kind of feels even more so, thanks to being just one big action scene! It feels sort of funny pacing-wise but I don't recall enough about the details of the previous and next chapters to be sure if it could sensibly have been combined with one of them.

As an introduction to Ender and Raven, it's definitely effective, showing these new antagonists working together effectively, taking down Aros with ease and keeping Jade running for her life for the entire thing. Also, it's lovely to see Aros's issues coming out here, adding interest to his character.

also, t r a u m a

All in all, a nerve-wrecking chapter that I enjoyed both times through! It's funny to go back to pre-Chosen Jade, still just freaking out about being pulled into the fight against TR again. It'll be fun to keep comparing as I reread.
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Location
florida
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
LC! we're back babey!

29: aftermath

i took an accidental break from this fic a while ago, just because i sort of stopped keeping on top of it and never really got back to it... but my memory of the last dozen (?) chapters or so is a lot of nonstop action. i expected more of that coming back in, which was a little intimidating... but instead we got this chapter titled aftermath, and i was really grateful for that. i feel like jade and the gang™ don't get a ton of time to just take a breather, so this chapter was pleasant—also, for my own specific case, it was great to get a chance to read them sort of reviewing the recent events i'd sort of forgotten, and sort out the aftermath before powering through to a new plotline. i guess i picked a nice chapter to leave off on, huh?

the three-way conversation with starr and ajia was great, it felt very genuine and emotional. i have a feeling this won't be the end of the drama for jade and the crew but it's so legitimate for her to finally just want to take a rest from all this stressful world-ending shit. they all three very much feel like real humans with real desires and feelings, clashing and bouncing off one another... not an easy thing to pull off! i'm sure i've said it to death by now but characters are your strength and they are very strong.

ii will say i really expected chibi to be a bit more upset about the Catching Lugia thing. maybe i'm misremembering but did jade ever get the chance to explain that? it's one thing for him to be grateful she's alive but it did seem odd to me that he was so willing to reduce that whole debacle to just "don't do it again."

the development with firestorm is simply juicy tbh. i'm really looking forward to seeing how that manifests as we go forward, now that he's achieved that super powerful, dangerous form. i found firestorm really irritating before but i totally feel for him now... before his obsession with power was just annoying, but now it may be outright dangerous or lethal to himself or others. it'll be interesting to see how that develops going forward, although hopefully jade's done with life or death situations for now... unless? 😳

After spending forever lost in a hazy void of nothingness, the tiniest bit of awareness slowly started returning to me. How much time had passed, I had no idea. Scattered images and senses drifted to the front of my mind—a dizzying patchwork of memories that I wasn’t entirely sure were mine. A burst of cold before falling out of the sky. Someone’s Charizard tearing a man limb from limb. A giant silver bird soaring overhead, eyes flashing murderously.
it's been a hot minute since i read this fic, so the haziness of jade's memory here closely mirrors mine... definitely striking images to return to here.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

After a long moment, the hybrid relaxed slightly, ears lifting, fur lowering. “*I’m glad you’re here too,*” he said quietly. Then he paused, like he wanted to say something else, but was having a hard time finding the right words. “*…I was lying.*”

I tilted my head, confused.

“*When I said that I didn’t need you,*” Chibi went on. “*That was a lie.*”
oh god. getting my feels punched within minutes of returning to this fic. thanks a lot.

“Good, you’re awake, I was worried I’d have to come back later again. My name’s Jen, I probably don’t look it, but I’m your nurse,” she said rather quickly while removing her gloves and washing her hands at the sink.
i feel like this dialogue should be more like four sentences than two.

I blinked at her in disbelief. Our efforts had worked? We’d actually made a difference?
oh jade. how many times will you have to Make A Difference before you realize your efforts Make A Difference.

The only reason I had even approached Stalker to join his resistance was because I’d wanted its protection.
huh, this is kind of surprising. didn't she join to do something? didn't joining the resistance put her in a more dangerous situation?

“*Are you joking?*” Firestorm asked, lifting his head and staring me dead in the eyes. “*How many times have the Rockets almost killed us and I haven’t been able to do anything about it? Do you know how many times I’ve re-lived that day? Do you know how many times I’ve seen you lying on the ground, dead?*”
ouch. firestorm was a dick before, but this totally puts his behavior into perspective. i can't believe you're making me like him... (relive can be one word, by the way, no hyphen necessary).

---

30: to a new tomorrow

nice note to end the book on... it really feels like a new beginning much more than an end. short and sweet, wraps up a few loose loose ends, sets up for the story to come. i enjoyed seeing jade doing a bunch of pretty ordinary trainer stuff—taking the trainer test, fighting a wild buizel—and finding joy and excitement in it. after all that's happened, this really is her first steps of becoming a trainer, and it's nice to see her leaning into that and enjoying it after all that pain. i kind of feel like that effect would be doubled if she still had anxiety over the trainer test rather than just sort of shrugging it off; that would emphasize that after everything, training in the ordinary sense is still very new for her.

anyway this one was pretty brief and straightforward so not a ton to say about it, but this book has been a complete ride overall and it's been nice getting a little bit of time to sort of just review and digest it. very much excited to get back into the swing of things and find out where jade goes from here... and even after everything she's still got that Mysterious Orb, huh. i'm sure that'll never come up again. 👀

As the examiner led me into the back room, I expected to feel… something. Fear. Anxiety. The pain of past failure burning a hole in the back of my mind. But now? After everything I’d been through? Enduring countless battles, calming unruly experiments, facing down raging Legendaries? This was nothing.
haha, damn. kinda can't relate. i feel like no matter how much i go through, text anxiety is always there. i suppose i've never been tortured though.

“*I’m so sorry,*” Swift said, lowering his head. “*That must have been hard to learn.*”
god bless swift. mom friend of the century. he literally just learned it himself but rather than talking about how he feels he's immediately empathizing with everyone else.

“Can I ask you… what you think of me? After what I did to Lugia.”

The hybrid took several seconds to mull the question over. “*I think you were an idiot. But you already knew that,*” he said simply.

That was it? Nothing about how I’d basically betrayed the cause that we’d dedicated ourselves to for months? How I was the same as the Rockets?

“Nothing else?”

He opened a single eye and peered at me through its corner. “*I trust you had your reasons. I also trust you know to never do anything that stupid ever again.*”
well, okay. that kind of clears up my feelings about the last chapter, i suppose, although it's still sort of a surprising response. and no juicy drama 😭

“Maybe not. But I think we deserve a break,” I said, giving a weak smile of my own.
a-fucking-men sister.

He exhaled slowly, shuffling his foot against the grass. “Aside from Ebony, Nidorino took it the hardest. I never even noticed he was close with Wartortle.”
oh god, i forgot about wartortle... noooooo... and of course he didn't notice, lol.

We’d both been naive. It felt like we’d aged years in just the past few months.
days, more like.

It was also the coolest I’d felt in a long, long time.
getting blasted by lugia, destroying rocket cannons, tearing a man apart with a charizard: i sleep
catching a wet rat: real shit

And in that moment, soaring on the back of my first Pokémon, preparing to set out on a journey with my best friends, it stuck me properly that for the first time in a long while, things felt sort of alright. It was easy to forget that Team Rocket wanted all of us dead. It was easy to forget that we had to stay on the move to avoid them. It was easy to forget all of the terrible things that had happened to us.

In that moment, it was easy to pretend that everything was alright.
let's hope it lasts! i'm sure it will.
 

Dragonfree

Moderator
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
“Mew? And my friends…?” I lifted my head to see a pair of flying Pokémon soaring ahead of us. Ajia riding her Aerodactyl—Pichu on her shoulder—and Starr riding… a Dragonite? What? Where did the Dragonite come fro— But then my brain clicked into place. The Dragonite… it had to be Mew. Starr was riding Mew. What a bizarre thought.
I enjoy this bit of normal reaction to the level of bizarre things that are happening.

“They’re only the new heads of the Kanto combat unit,” she said flatly,
This line ends in a comma rather than a period.

Starr froze, looking like she’d rather not answer. “I… might have asked Ajia. But it was obvious; they were second in command under me, so it’s no wonder they got the position after I left.”
Still kind of bonkers to think that Starr was the literal head of the combat unit at eighteen years old. Does this mean she's better than Raven and Ender? We haven't seen much of Starr's team actually fighting at all, have we.

I wanted to ask why she’d brought us here, but the words somehow didn’t reach my throat. Fortunately, Starr was more than willing to.

“Why did you bring us here?” she asked, not bothering to hide her suspicion.
It feels slightly repetitive how the first line already implies Starr says "Why did you bring us here?", and then you quote the exact line. It would feel less so if one of the instances used different phrasing, or if you just left out the quote altogether since it's implied.

I stopped, blinking with surprise for a second before continuing after her. I guess I did have the vague inkling that at one point I’d probably known that her dad worked for the Ranger Union… maybe? I’d just… managed to completely forget about it.
This feels kind of like a "why hasn't this come up before" handwave but also honestly kind of like a realistic human thing. If I had a childhood friend who I hadn't seen in years and had at some point as a kid heard what he did but not really thought about it since? Yeah, it's not implausible I'd forget. And I have a pretty good memory.

You give a very nice sense that the Ranger HQ is very busy and a lot of stuff is going on around them, which is cool! One of those things that are harder than they sound like to convey in writing.

“So you came here from Indigo, huh?” she said, tapping a finger against her belt. “Please don’t tell me you were fighting Moltres.”

“Heck no, I’m not that crazy,” Ajia replied. I fought back a sudden desire to melt into the floor.
Ahaha, poor Jade, unwittingly getting dunked on.

Man, it had been ages since I had seen Ajia’s dad. Not since the last time I’d stayed at her house back when we were both in grade school. That felt like an eternity ago with two completely different people, neither of whom were us.
This is fun and just feels very authentic.

“Is… is it okay if I heal my team?” I asked Kari.

“We look like a Pokécenter to you?” she asked dryly.

My face fell. I was just about to stammer out some kind of apology, but then she snorted. “Just messing with ya. Help yourself.”
Jade, perfectly willing to accept that she must be an annoying idiot just for asking if she can heal her Pokémon. Seems like such a throwaway narrative joke but it's characterization! Always enjoy that.

“No, no, he’s not a field ranger,” Ajia said quickly. “He’s an admin, he’s mostly in charge of organizing stuff here at HQ, assigning squads to the field, keeping track of who’s doing what, that sort of thing.”
Enjoy that rangers have admins who are just doing office work.

Ajia stopped once we’d reached our destination, opening a door and leading me and Starr inside the lounge, which was currently unoccupied. It was a spacious room with several well-worn couches, a couple of snack machines, and tables covered in various books and magazines. Starr didn’t waste a second zeroing in on the closest couch and flopping onto it dramatically.
Reminder that I love Starr

“Leeeet’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Ajia said, holding both palms out. “The Legendaries have good reason to want to play it safe right now. And Mew trusted me to keep her secrets.”

Right. It wasn’t fair to make that decision for them. But still… if we could at least ask them about it someday…?
We haven't seen this come back yet, have we? Expect this'll be coming out during the League politics arc. Looking forward to that.

Starr sucked in a breath. I hadn’t meant to bring up something that had happened while she was still a Rocket. I knew she hated being reminded of it, and I was sure she was going to say so. But she didn’t. Instead, she stood up and walked over to me. I flinched. And then she grabbed my hand pulled me into a hug. I blinked for a moment, caught off guard, but then found myself slowly relaxing.

“That’s… that’s in the past, okay?” Starr said. “We both said we’d help each other get past all that, yeah?”

I exhaled slowly, holding tight. “Yeah.”

For several seconds, neither of us said anything. I forced my eyes shut, willing my brain to block out everything else—the Rockets, Moltres, everything—and just exist here in this moment.

After some time, Starr let go, glancing away. “I’m glad you’re okay,” she said quietly.
Look at Starr awkwardly being there for Jade. Such a good hug.

I stared at her, a familiar feeling creeping up the back of my neck. One that I hadn’t felt since the night of the Viridian attack. Ajia was still pacing, still muttering various things under her breath, but I wasn’t paying attention to any of it now that I’d realized what was going on.

I’d… I’d have to say something. But the idea of doing so was just so intensely uncomfortable that part of me was tempted to just go along with everything she said, without question.
Oof. A familiar kind of feeling.

Ajia took a deep breath, her eyes sliding to the ground to avoid making contact with mine. “Can I ask you something? Have you ever considered rejoining the fight?”

I gaped at her. “What?” Why on earth would she ask something like that? “I spent five minutes in the fight just now and I almost died, what kind of question is that,” I said, feeling the blood rush to my face.
This reaction feels a little off to me because... it's not like Jade wasn't just earlier thinking about how she'd immediately gone and confronted the Rockets? Given that happened, it seems very reasonable Ajia might be wondering if Jade does want to rejoin the fight on some level, and Jade shouldn't be quite so surprised she'd ask, right?

<Certain events that transpired last year may have altered your fate,> the legend said earnestly.

I raised an eyebrow. “My ‘fate’? What are you talking about?”
hmmm a Mew talking cryptically about fate

An overwhelming pressure gripped me from all sides, and my body instantly went numb. Not that voice. Anything but that voice. It cut through me like a knife, sending my mind reeling back to that fateful day when I made the biggest mistake of my life. It was the voice that had haunted all my nightmares since then—one that I’d desperately hoped to never hear again.
Surely Jade has plenty of nightmare material that doesn't involve Lugia, though. :P

<Welcome, human. Are you ready to face the consequences of the day we last met?>
Come on, Lugia, this deliberately ambiguous bit has no purpose other than to mess with her.

This chapter has a really funny feel to it - a sort of frantic atmosphere throughout, everything being strange and some answers just beyond reach. Ajia's so obviously acting weird throughout, thinking about something in particular, and it serves a nice buildup job here - really feels unsettling and like something big is going on.

There's some nice human, relatable Jade in this chapter that I like, as well as Starr just being very good. Love her. It feels again like not much happened here, per se, but that's because it's all building up to something big, and I think it works.

Oh boy, Lugia scene next time! Looking forward to reviewing that properly.
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Location
florida
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
31: eight months later

timeskip! timeskip!

so jade is in johto now, with four badges no less. four badges in eight months is pretty good time, although i guess her team is already trained up—i guess that means a pokémon journey would take around two years for the average trainer? it's always interesting seeing how people interpret the journey. despite being such a central component of the world's lore, it's surprisingly open to interpretation.

it's curious that jade chose to come to johto and not, like, hoenn or something—isn't stalker aligned with the johto rockets? if she really wanted to get away from all that stuff, you'd think she'd go, well, anywhere else... but maybe i'm misremembering, or maybe she has her reasons. i guess we'll see!

lot of catch up in this chapter—good to see where starr, ajia, and rudy are, as well as seeing how jet has come along—but a lot of fluff too. the gym battle, messing around on the beach, etc. like i said in the last review, this fic is so go-go-go that it's nice to get a little downtime and just see everyone interact and dick around a little. too much of it and i'd probably get bored, but for now it's some much-needed unwinding. not much else to say for now, just pretty nice and breezy stuff all around.

“Aqua Jet!” I called out
missing a period here.

Shouldn’t have wasted a moveslot on Water Gun of all things, but it managed to get her free, so it was worth it.
hah, it's kind of funny seeing it get called a "moveslot" in-universe.

Or if she’d register the command with how much pain she had to be in.
this read a little awkward to me. something like "Or if she'd register the command at all, given how much pain she was surely in" would probably work better for me.

A sudden wave of noise burst from the audience stands, where all the gym trainers had been watching their leader’s match—half of them cheering for our victory and the other half groaning at Steelix’s defeat.
interesting. i wonder if trainers taking on the gym challenge have fan followings, like marnie in sword/shield?

and haunted by the looming spectre of a giant avian dragon,
i think "spectre" is the british spelling—you probably want specter.

this sequence describing her dreams is really vivid and chilling. the brief descriptions give a nice effect, as they call back to events that took place within the story and that we've read. sort of makes it feel like you're reliving it with her.

“*I like sand,*” Aros replied defensively.
insert anakin gif here

I was pretty much done with my food, so I picked up the tray and went to throw its contents in the trash. At least, until Jet poked my side and made grabby-hands at it.

I rolled my eyes and lowered the tray so she could reach it. “Here.” She shoved the remaining fistful of fries into her mouth.
hah, aw. i love how playful she is, very much feels right for a pokémon based on otters.

Chibi turned away, flattening his ears in frustration. He sat there like that for several seconds before standing up suddenly and announcing, “*I’m going for a walk.*” He then wandered off down the beach, kicking at the sand as he went.
lol, this is such an adorable mental image, chibi pouting down the beach with his hands in his pockets. poor guy, can't help being the cutest thing in the room.

grinned. “It was great. Came pretty close to the wire, but we pulled through and got the badge,” I said,
hmmm, it would make sense to say it "came pretty close" or "came down to the wire," but "it came close to the wire" doesn't check out for me.

There was the muffled sound of Rudy saying something with the microphone pointed away from him, then a much louder and clearer voice barking out, “*Really?! Oh boy, oh boy!!*”
hahaha, omg. i love how the pokémon still feel like, well, pokémon even though they can speak. they're intelligent and sensitive and feel like people but also don't not feel like pets, lol.

---

32: the kanto league

i don't have a ton to say about this one; it's mostly battling which isn't my thing. i do enjoy a lot of your battles but mostly what i'm enjoying is the stakes, which aren't really here. doesn't make it bad, just not up my alley. i get the impression that these couple chapters just aren't for me, and that's fine seeing as most of the fic really is. :D i'm enjoying the potential Plot Threads getting opened up towards the end... hopefully that means mewtwo will return! i think mewtwo has some cool stuff going on with, like, personhood/being used as a tool and whatnot. excited to see where that goes.

A scattered group of uniformed people riding Pidgeot circled the area, waving colored flags to direct the aerial traffic.
haha, i'd always wondered how this would work. that makes sense. aerial crossing guards...

All I had to do was show the attendant my ID and she handed me a glossy card that read ‘99 Kanto League Championships’ with the word ‘spectator’ under it in big, bold font.
whoa, '99. shit, no one tell her what happens in 21 years...

So I wandered the tournament site, passing under the shadows cast by the grand stone arches at the entrance. My eyes traced the ridiculous array of vendors’ stalls that had been set up along the walkway, which was absolutely packed with trainers. I saw battle enhancements of every shape, size, and color, the majority of which I didn’t even know the names of. An absolute rainbow of different types of Pokéballs. Walls upon walls of TMs. An assortment of League-branded merch like shirts, bags, and plushies (including a ridiculously huge plush of Bubba the Venusaur, this year’s tournament mascot.) It was almost dizzying.
hah, does this happen to be based on your experience at Worlds at all? :p

“I know, I know, just trying to give you a hard time,” he said, elbowing my arm. “I still think it sucks that you’re not actually in the tournament. But at least you’ve been keeping up with badge collecting, yeah? How many you up to now?”

“Five,” I said.
huh, i thought she had four? did she get one offscreen?

“Iron Tail!” I yelled.

Stygian’s bladelike tail began to glow, flickering at first, then gradually increasing in brightness.
ngl, if you'd asked me five minutes ago whether absol had a tail i would have said no.

After that Ice Beam nonsense from Nidoking, I was fully expecting more unexpected moves. I just obviously didn’t know exactly what kind, which made it hard to anticipate.
i feel like you could cut this second sentence.

“Oh my god, I am never gonna hear the end this, am I?” I asked, putting both hands to my forehead in what was only slightly exaggerated defeat.
* the end of this

I’d lost, and it wasn’t even a close loss on the last two. And I hadn’t even really won the first match, Pupitar had just gotten bored. That was even worse. Granted, we probably would’ve won that round anyway. At least I could tell myself that.
well that checks out. when the battle first started i was like damn, is she—with all of four or five badges—really going to manage to take down this guy who's about to participate in the league? but yeah, the experience disparity here definitely came through both in the specifics of the battle and in the results.

Starr snorted. “Wow, really? Even I watched that one.”

Ajia raised an eyebrow. “Oh really?” she asked with just the slightest bit of a wry grin.

Starr scowled. “Oh, don’t get the wrong idea. We were enemies, alright? I had to stay informed on your location and your strengths and your—”

“Uh huh, sure,” Ajia said, elbowing her playfully. Starr just rolled her eyes with an exaggerated scoff.
hah, i love how this feels like teenage drama even though they were pretty much out for blood. classic.

“Probably just afraid if they try anything, Mewtwo’s gonna show up out of nowhere and kick their ass,” Starr said with a smirk.
1609481799560.png

---

33: family reunion

stuff is picking up! it was interesting meeting lexx; based on the fact that he seemed comfortable enough telling the news about the rocket attack in front of jade, i'm guessing he has some knowledge of her history? maybe stalker mentioned her specifically? i predicted before that we'd see more of stalker since jade chose to train in his home region, and it seems like that prediction is coming true. i'm not sure what to expect from the attack—stirring up anti-legendary sentiment is pretty vague, but if they're trying to make it look like it's legendaries attacking... maybe they have illusion tech of some kind? it wouldn't work to just send a bunch of actual legendaries out, especially if they're just trying to pull a little publicity stunt, given how the last, uh, run -n went with legendaries being sent out willy nilly. poor rudy. guess this means his shot at the big leagues is ruined forever due to rocket meddling.

these last few chapters have been a little slow but i feel like i'm always asking for slow chapters so that's not the worst thing. at any rate it looks like we're about to get back into the thick of it and i am definitely looking forward to it! seems like this won't be as high-stakes as the last big confrontation, but i'm sure it'll drag up a lot of those memories regardless. this seems like a good stopping point for now—i'll be back soon to check out the next few chapters!

Then again, his opponent’s team was stacked with rock-types so he’d opted not to (though part of me had still half expected him to bring her anyway.)
this may be a stylistic thing but i believe the period should go outside the parentheses here. i think i saw the same mistake somewhere in the last chapter too.

I replaced my phone in my pocket and then just sort of shuffled a foot against the concrete while I waited for her to show up. Now that I thought about it, it was kind of weird that I’d been traveling with Starr for nine months and she hadn’t mentioned her brother once that entire time. I mean, sure, I hadn’t thought to ask, but… He hadn’t come up once in any of the countless stories she’d told about her training journey. Not even a single side mention?
hmmmm. wonder if he's wrapped up in rocket stuff, too. he has to be, right?

“You’re on Team Rocket?!” I blurted out, spinning towards Lexx.

Starr burst out laughing. “Of course he is! I got caught up in that damn team because the boss is my dad—why would it be any different for Lexx?”
i mean, yeah. i'm kind of surprised that jade is so surprised by that.

“Team Rocket is going to attack the League.”
oop. things are getting spicy. of course rocket is attacking the league—after all, jade is at the league, and that's just her luck, isn't it.

I gaped incredulously, jaw hanging open.
i don't think you need to specify that her jaw is hanging open right after you've already said she's gaping.

For several seconds, there was no response. Then a slow, satisfied grin made its way across his face. “That’s my favorite thing about you,” he said. “I don’t even have to say the things I’m not allowed to say; you just figure it out anyway.”
doesn't saying that she said what you can't say count as saying it? 🧐

And then I felt another tremor radiate through the ground. The distant call of an alarm split the air.

It couldn’t be. Now? Why now? So soon?!

This was it. The Rockets’ attack was now.
hoho! go-go-go time resumes! explosions commence!
 
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