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Intro & Chapter 1


Bug Catcher
What is Timeslip?
To put it simply, it's a slow burn AU romance about Professor Sada and Turo from the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet games, that changes a singular but drastic thing about them and is now having fun exploring all the possible ramifications of it. And feels. Lots of feels. And time travel shenaningans.
After playing Pokémon Violet and getting emotionally destroyed by it, not to mention getting out of it with one of the biggest obsessions for some characters I've had in a while (which is ironic, considering how... little we actually know about them), I started thinking about this saga. The basic idea was founded on a theory that floated around before the games actually came out and as soon the "past vs future" theme of the games started to become obvious: what if Professor Turo and Sada actually were from a far off future and past, and after somehow meeting they ended up stranded in 21th century-Paldea together? How could it happen?
What would drastically change about them (and indirectly the game's plot)? What would stay the same?
What started as a fun thought experiment then spiraled into pretty much it's own thing, and was enough to convince me to pick up writing again after some ten years or more of hiatus. Before this, I had never written anything in English or really nothing longer than a oneshot or 2-3 chapters at the most, so this fic is my first time approaching a lot of things in a sense. It's been a lot of fun.

Warnings: Some light swearing and violence.
At the moment of writing this, the story has 17 chapters already published and some 100k words written. I'm not at all interested in rewriting what is already done, and much more focused on writing the new chapters: early chapters are done and finished for me when I publish them, at least in terms of content. (Especially because with alternating POVs between the two main characters, moving scenes around is a bit complicated)
Of course I'm more than happy to go back to them to correct typos, repetitions, awkward sentences and so on, so feel free to point out anything that jumps out. I'm sure there must be quite a lot of them.
If you want to offer some critique or writing advice, of course you are free to do so! Just be aware that it ... Probably won't get actually implemented until after the backlog is posted and we reach the chapters I am currently writing. What I would love are comments about the story itself, the characters, possible plot holes or foreshadowing if you feel like there are some, and the worldbuilding. Pretty much anything goes.

Chapter 1: I
14'000 years in the past, in the area that will be known as Kalos, Paleolithic Era

The first thing that young Turo, Ph. D in Applications of Time Traveling at the University of Mesagoza thought after opening his eyes was

"Well, this sure isn't Lumiose City".

He was, all things considered, pretty calm for a man who had just stepped into a time machine for the first time in his life and just got catapulted into an unknown time that was nothing like he was expecting. It was a lot more cold, for starters.

Or maybe he was a bit too used to the perfectly controlled temperature of the labs. But sure, those things could happen. Time traveling was not a really exact field... Mostly because there is a lot of time you could end up into in the "past" direction and even more in the "future" direction, so one of the first hurdles to overcome to avoid unfortunate accidents had been to develop a way to make sure that you could always come back. It was all in the manuals and papers that he spent weeks reading, studying, dreaming and in the end almost hallucinating to the point of being able to recite by memory when he had started his studies.

He checked the little device similar to a wristwatch on his arm. Battery was low, but everything looked functional. The little device responsible for anchoring him to his time would recharge in a couple hours time, as long as the sun was out. If the sun wasn't out, it could recharge simply by walking, but that would take definitely more time, not to mention effort, because you would be stuck running a couple miles either in the rain, at night, or in the rain at night just to get back home, and who wants that, really? (And that's the reason why rainy places were not a good spot for time traveling to, he discovered: nothing more than human laziness)

He had ended up in a forest. And that was.... Already not something he was used to. His time, barring some extremely remote (and extremely costly) places, was not.... Really big on the whole "living with nature" stuff. Not because they didn't want to, of course. The times were people could simply walk into a forest, maybe even with a Pokémon or two with them, were a pretty popular subject in media. Entire VR simulators were built around them (with realistic nature sounds!), milking the desire for times long gone that no one alive had the chance to live in. Well, except if you time traveled there... But time traveling was still pretty new as a field of research, and of course, for the general public, it would have been so expensive that only one 50-minutes trip anywhere and anywhen would cost you so much that you were better off investing your life savings in planning that move to the Natural Reserve of Hoenn.

Nice place, if you didn't mind active volcanoes that rained ash. Or Groudon and Kyogre having a staring contest every couple of decades requiring mass evacuations. Or too much water. But he was getting distracted. Point was, he was in a forest. A real forest, with real leaves. And the sun! A real sun, not an hologram with artificial light projected onto the walls of the laboratory so people didn't lose their minds not stepping outside for days! He spent a good minute just staring at the light that shined across the leaves, mesmerized, hands in his lab coat's pockets, before moving some hesitant steps. There was no traces of a trail or any other sign that people had ever visited this place. He had wanted to land in the Lumiose City of almost 15 years ago - nothing big for his first time jump, just a little test run, walk around a bit, grab a PokePuffin, listen to some 15 years old music - so the place should have been the same, but the time.... There wasn't even traces of a city. Maybe he messed up the calibration of the machine and accidentally went back 140 years? No, the city was much older than that. 1400 years...? That would put him... Still quite a bit past the League Golden Age. The times were everything seemed perfect, were people were living in harmony with Pokémon and enjoying the longest time of peace that the world had ever known... If you excluded some crazy guys that wanted to destroy the world or remake it or whatever it was in a couple of very, very intense decades.

Turo could hear a stream gurgling on his left; he followed it, figuring that streams and rivers had always been a place to meet people in any era. His pace hastened when he finally heard a human voice, humming to itself. He went around a little curve in the riverbed and stepped out from the cover of the trees.... And then immediately stopped, frozen in place. There was a person there, a woman with light brown hair wearing what he could only describe as "stereotypical caveman clothes". She was fishing in the river for something, humming, and a mean looking spear with a sharp stone point was laying on a flat rock at arms reach.

Shit. Shit. Now he had done it.

Years of studies, of planning, his first opportunity to actually concretely apply what he had spent so much time studying and he ended up in the Paleolithic age. As far as he knew, that's the farthest someone had ever time traveled... No wonder his time-anchor's batteries were so low. People were not even sure if it was possible to go that far back. Guess he had an answer now, if he made it back, that is...

He started to quietly back away, but his boots creaked on some branches. The woman whirled around in a flash, grabbing the spear with astounding reflexes, her eyes widening when they landed on him. Turo did the first thing that came to mind: slowly raised his hands, in what he hoped was already an universal sign for "I'm unarmed, don't shoot". Or.... Or stab, in this case.

« I-I come in peace...» he mumbled, feeling stupid while doing so.

It's not like she could understand him. Did ... Did people even have language already at this point...? Turo knew a good bit about history(in his field of work where punching the wrong numbers in could land you in some nasty situations, who didn't?), but the problem with going so far back was that inventions and development were measured in the span of thousands of years. A lot of room for error, there.

He doesn't move an inch while the woman stares him down, still wide-eyed. Well, he doesn't blame her.... His clothes must stand out a lot. If he had landed as planned 14 years ago, nobody would have batted an eye at his skin tight body suit and lab coat. The dark violet suit was pretty common in his time, being made of a material that was quite suitable to a lot of different environments and capable of checking vitals, automatically regulate body temperature, and a lot of other functions that were honestly utterly useless at the moment. The lab coat was.... Ok, the lab coat wasn't exactly required to time travel, or at all, but it was just rule of cool. He liked his lab coat.

Here, on the other hand...

"Please don't stab me thinking that I'm some evil spirit or Pokémon" he silently pleads, shaking slightly. He almost literally jumps back and closes his eyes when the woman suddenly moves, thrusting the spear forward. A moment later and he hears a light tap on his chest.

He slowly opens his eyes again; the woman is... Tapping the side of the spear along his arms and legs. It's almost like she is checking for some hidden weapons, quickly circling him. When she comes back around she seems satisfied that he really doesn't seem to be an immediate danger, because she lowers the spear, smiles and then unmistakably opens her mouth and asks him something.

And he just stares at her in confusion. She's got little fangs. Is... Is that normal? A mutation? Something that humans had that disappeared along the way and they never found traces of it? At least she seems to have language, not that it helps him particularly... She tilts her head to the side, staring at him with clear, light grey eyes, then repeats the question, which sadly does not make it any more comprehensible.

He just shakes his head(another gesture that he hopes is already universal), and she frowns for a second, before moving a step forward. Turo automatically moves one back by instinct, still with his arms raised, and that's when she grabs one of his arms and pulls it towards her to examine it. She seems... Fascinated by his lab coat, and it takes him a moment to realize that it's probably because of the color and texture. Such a stark, shiny white is probably even more unnatural than purple to her. There's like... berries and fruits for purple, right? And Pokémon furs, even just the common Rattata is purple.

She rubs the hem of the lab coat between her fingers, and Turo finds himself staring at her with the same fascination that she seems to have for his clothes. He thinks back to the stereotypical way the first humans were represented in movies and books, as brutish, grunting savages, and realizes how stupid that is. Her eyes are brimming with the same curiosity he has when challenged with some inexplicable puzzle. Her head suddenly snaps back up, and he jumps a little when she stares at him with a mix of curiosity and frustration, and asks the same thing again, this time slowly, like she was talking to a child.

"She knows we don't speak the same language." he realized. Probably thinks that he is from some far away tribe or something... People lived in nomadic tribes around this time, right...? She huffs and shakes her head, such a normal gesture that it just makes the whole situation only more surreal, then moves the hand that is not holding the spear and points to herself.

« Sada. Sa-da»

The hand points to him next, and his eyes widen in realization. ... Honestly, it must say something about his state of mind that he didn't think about doing something like this sooner. Must be the shock.

... Sure, let's go with that.

Not him being an idiot that managed to fling himself at the beginning of human civilization. Nope.

« Turo. Tu-ro»

She gives him an enormous smile at his answer and moves back to the riverside, motioning for him to follow. And... Really?

He shouldn't. He really shouldn't. He should be running away and avoiding all signs of civilization to keep the risk of catastrophically influencing all of human history to a minimum. The Beautifly effect and all that. But then again.... It's not like he has encountered an entire village or something. It's just one girl. And he is still stuck here for the next couple hours until his time-anchor recharges. And staying with her surely is more safe than wandering the forest completely defenseless and getting mauled by a prehistoric Ursaring or something. She is the one with the spear and advantage of knowing the land, after all.

Turo takes a couple of long breaths. He can do this. He can manage a couple hours. He is a scientist, he is going to use this as a learning opportunity. Being able to directly experience life in this era! He could.... Write a paper on it, or something.

Turo follows her to the river, where the girl - Sada - proceeds to excitedly show him what she was working on. A string of leather and what looks like a bunch of tiny scales, tooth and feathers, probably gathered from wild Pokémon. She points to a similar necklace that is already hanging from her neck. Oh... So she was gathering materials for another one? She sits by his side and starts to work on the new necklace, pausing every couple of seconds to point at something in view and enunciate it's name. Grass. Rock. Water... At least, that's what she is pointing at, so he is going to assume that's what she is doing. He tries to copy her words and starts doing the same almost unconsciously before stopping.

What is he doing? Trying to teach her his language or to learn hers, trying to communicate?

In a couple of hours he will be back in his time and never see her again, and she will have been dead for literally more than ten thousand years, all traces of their weird encounter erased from history.

That thought unsettles him more than it should: maybe he isn't cut out for being a time traveler if something that obvious still upsets him that much.

« ... Turo?» Sada looks at him hesitantly; she kept stealing glances at him while talking - or at his weird clothes, more probably - and must have noticed his sudden sullen expression.

He manages a smile to reassure her and points at something new, mostly to distract her.

« "Sun"»


They both stumble their way through some incredibly basic vocabulary, and even start a crude game of quiz by pointing at something and waiting for the other to recite the respective word in the other's language. She gives him one of the necklaces she has completed in the meantime, pretty much pushing it into his hands even when he tries to refuse (is it going to be ok bringing it back with him? Necklaces with real teeth and Pokémon scales aren't exactly... in style, in his time).

All in all, it's somewhat fun, even if simultaneously incredibly frustrating by how little they both can communicate. Sometimes Sada would just start muttering to herself, frustrated by something that she doesn't know how to explain or to ask him. He is sure of it, because in all that time the eyes of the girl have never stopped being so... Excited, shining with curiosity and a burning desire to understand the weird guy she suddenly met. She probably is trying to teach him words figuring that he was going to stay around, and that kind of breaks his heart.

Turo tries to stealthily check the time-anchor on his wrist, not wanting to gather attention on it. The battery has reached full capacity and should be able to transport him back at any moment. Problem is, he can't exactly.... Poof out of existence in front of her eyes, or he is probably going to go come back to his time and find out that a weird robed figure in white and purple had suddenly been depicted in some ancient cave paintings in Kalos puzzling historians, if not something worse. His superiors were never going to let him hear the end of it.

No, he has to... Distract her and get away. Somehow. He rises to his feet and awkwardly tries to find an excuse with the like.... Twenty words he knows.

.... Yeah, not much he can do here. He points to himself and then from where he came from, miming some walking with his hands. Sada nods solemnly and stands up gathering her spear and the couple of necklaces she has completed in the meantime, evidently wanting to accompany him. What? No. This is even worse. Doesn't she have a family to go back to?

Wait.... She's isn't thinking that he wants to be brought to her group, right? Absolutely not. Way too dangerous.

He fumbles in his pockets for something to give her as a little farewell gift; the only things in them are... A little paper notebook and a pen. The pen is not made of plastic, thank Arceus, they stopped using that stuff that took forever to decompose a good dozen of centuries ago in favor of new, more eco-friendly materials. This things should be okay, right...? They will leave no trace and become useless the moment she uses it all up. He clicks the pen and shows her how to write with it on the notebook, and is rewarded by her eyes immediately lighting up with excitement. She grabs the pen and starts doodling on the first page, completely absorbed by it.

He bolts for the trees as soon as her eyes are off him and activates the time-anchor the instant he is out of view, disappearing in a sudden flash of light.

When the head researcher reads his report on the trip the following days, he gets both complimented in somehow managing that trip and banned from using the time machine for a month.
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Chapter 2


Bug Catcher
Chapter 2: II
When Turo first gives her something that he pulled out from that shiny mantle he is wearing, Sada can't help but get excited. Trading between other communities is nothing new, but it's always... The usual stuff. Furs, obsidian and other rocks and gems that they can't get here, like tooth and scales from creatures that don't live in this area.

Sometimes food. This was new; she had never seen such garments, especially not so perfectly made. She thought that she wasn't half bad at sewing clothes, but when she tried to examine that cloth, she couldn't find a single seam or hole where the needle went through. Whoever did that must have been incredible in their art.

And... And the feeling! It was so smooth to the touch and so different from the pelts she was used to working with: the creature it came from must have had some incredible fur. She had tried to ask him where he came from, but it didn't look like he had understood her question. She is so focused on examining that new material that it takes her a moment to notice that the man is running away.

« Wait!» she calls after him, but loses some precious seconds in grabbing her belongings: writing tool in one hand, the sheets of ... stuff in the other, she has to fumble around a moment before managing to grab her spear and start running. He is already far off into the trees, hidden from view, but the rustling of his clothes and the crunch of leaves under his shoes is still clearly audible... And then it stops, suddenly.

She catches up to where he was, and finds him just.... gone. Vanished without a trace. She checks the trail of footprints he left behind: the shoes he was wearing were also weird. Heavy and smooth, they almost looked like they were a single piece with his purple clothes. They honestly didn't look very comfortable: how does he take them off? Do they come off.... All in one go, all or nothing? But they do leave some nice, clear imprints in the ground... Which again, doesn't really sound that safe if you want to avoid predators, but makes it more convenient for her, so she is not going to complain. But the footprints don't tell her much: they also just vanish suddenly.

How? Is he a really good climber? She raises her eyes and starts checking the tree branches over her head. Did he... Climb them and start jumping from tree to tree? Did he step in his own footprints backwards to throw her off and then went another way? She keeps looking around for a bit, but can't find any other clue about what happened. Someone else would have been suspicious, troubled.... Maybe even scared.

Sada just tilts her head to the side.

"... interesting"

She gathers her things -properly this time -, and starts to make her way back. She is quite a bit away from her settlement; they've set up tents and plan to stay there for a couple more full moons, until the snow starts to fall more often and the herds of Steady Glaciers - the great wooly beasts with icy breath - will move further north. If she walks briskly, she will have to spend only one night alone before meeting up with the rest of her group; men usually are the ones who go out hunting, but it's not unusual for women who are not taking care of children to also explore and scout ahead. Finding new possible food sources, exploring trails and of course monitoring the creatures to make sure that nothing dangerous got too close to the settlement... There was always something to do, and no hands to spare. She personally enjoys exploring much more than being stuck paying attention to a bunch of kids, even if it was more dangerous. It gave her time to think, especially when it lead to strange experiences like that of today.

That man... Just where had he gone off to?

When the sun disappears and night comes, she opts to stop for the night; she's been following the river backwards the whole time, but cautiously decides that it's better to not stay too near the water. Night creatures could possibly come to drink, and she would be too easy of a target. She enters the thick of the trees again until she finds a nice spot to camp. With her back against the great trunk of a pine tree, she clears the area around the roots, gathers some rocks from the river and places them in a circle to light a fire. Still a bit damp, the rocks will prevent it spreading too much, and the little spiky leaves and branches will make for good fuel. From a little leather pouch tied to her hip, she pulls out some berries she has picked up along the way.

She's got a good variety gathered; they are perfect to eat while walking, and in a pinch, some of them can even be used against creatures. She has been carefully observing which kind creatures like to eat and which they don't, and the effect they seem to have on them. Satisfied, she quickly eats a dinner of some of the hardest berries cooked on the fire and then goes back to her most pressing concern: examining Turo's gifts, obviously.

They were also both from some never seen material - honestly, did that guy have anything she had ever seen before, except for his being a person?-. The pieces that he showed her how to paint on were both incredibly thin and light as feathers, and bound together with what she could only guess was some sort of tree bark. That sure was a smart way to make sure they didn't fall off... It was also both pretty flexible and fragile at the same time; it crinkled easily, leaving marks, and it also tore at the slightest pull.

That saddened her a bit: she didn't want to waste it... She stared at the little corner she had accidentally ripped off, way too small to draw on and, after a moment of consideration, cautiously licked it. It.... Tasted a bit like leaves. Less bitter, and much more dry. Was it a kind of leaf? Sada stares at the pine needles that she was keeping in a little pile near her for the fire for a second.

... She was not going to start tasting every single leaf to find which one this sheets were made of, even if a part of her kinda wanted to. Too risky. Better to just ask Turo when she saw him again.

Still... If it was a leaf... She threw the little piece in her hands in the fire and watched it burn almost incredibly fast, blackening and turning to ash in a split second. She nodded to herself, happy to have her little idea confirmed; with how dry it was, no wonder it burned so quickly. And maybe like anything else from Turo it had come from some unknown creature: there were quite a lot of plant ones, even if most of them didn't seem to like the cold. That was fine by her: the plant creatures were dangerous, with bright flowers that could shoot seeds and colored dust that could put a person to sleep, make them sick, or even immobilize them completely, leaving them in the worst state she could fathom, fully conscious but completely helpless.

A chill that had nothing to do with the cold crawled along her back, and she made sure to check the branches overhead. Some of those creatures could even hang from trees, but if there is one thing they seemed to hate more than the cold, it was fire. She should be safe here. Still... If some group of people was really out there using leaves from some creatures just to make little sheets to draw on... They must have been pretty gutsy to try and do something like that. She distracts herself by examining the writing utensil next. This one is more familiar apart from the material, pretty much a tube filled with some tincture. The fact that it was still liquid and hadn't already dried though, that was remarkable. You could carry it around and there was no need to continuously mix ash or dirt with water. Maybe it was also an ability of some kind? She would keep an eye out for creatures that showed some power of the sort...

She keeps doodling on the leaves for quite some time into the night, unable to sleep, mind racing from one thought to another.


« Um, mother?»

The next day, after reaching the settlement, she first approaches her mom, who's busy mending some clothes with a needle made out of bone and some leather strips. Her mother is getting quite old; her hair has streaks of white peeking out, her hands are getting wrinkled, but her mind is as sharp as ever and most importantly, as the current oldest person in the settlement, she has experience.

« What is it, dear?» she asks, without pausing in her work, bone hook sliding in and out of the fur in her hands at incredible speed. She ponders how to best describe what she wants to ask.

« Do you know of some tribe that has some.... Weird clothes? I've met this man one night ago, and he was... Strange. Didn't speak our language, so I was wondering where he was from, and he got away before I could ask.» Now she pauses in her work, quietly lifting her head and waiting for her to continue.

« He had purple clothes that looked almost like they were clinging to his skin, and I couldn't see any fur on them... They looked more like they were made from some incredibly tiny scales. »

« Were they warm clothes?»

Sada almost gasps, immediately recognizing what her mother was pointing at.

« No, they didn't look very warm... He also had this... shiny mantle to cover him, but it didn't look like it would do much... Have you seen people like him? Are they from the south?» she asks, hopeful.

Her mother thinks for a moment.

« Can't say I have... Purple and white, you said? And "shiny"?» she sounds confused.

Honestly, she feels the same. That mantle seems useless to her no matter how you looked at it, if not straight up dangerous. Way too bright to help in hiding yourself in the underbrush, and it flapped around making a lot of noise while moving.

« I had never seen such a pure white. It was like fresh snow. »

« That seems horrible for hiding, unless he is actually from the far north... »

« But he would die from the cold even with the sun out in those clothes, so he can't be from up there.» Sada objects.

Her mother nods, and slowly resumes her sewing.

« Then he must be from the south, where it's much warmer. Far over the mountains... We traded for a bit with a group that came from over there... Didn't have some "shiny mantle", but I remember clothes made of scales, smooth and really hard to the touch. »

That could be it! But if he is from the south... Something else does not add up now, she realizes after a second.

« There's also... another thing that is weird about him. » she ponders aloud.

This one was a bit more subtle, it had been nagging at her from the moment she had first seen him. Just this incredibly subtle feeling of wrongness that had lasted for a second looking at him, before being replaced by excitement.

« He is too.... Clean.» Her mother looks up at her again, now giving her daughter her full attention.

Sada tries to put into words what she has noticed.

« His clothes are almost impossibly well done, but it's not just that... He is incredibly pale, like someone who hasn't seen the sun... Ever, and his face, his hair and beard, his hands, they were just so...»

She stops, frustrated because she has no idea how to describe it.

« So... Tidy. No scars, no cuts, not a single injury that I could see. Not even a bruise! And he had no weapons with him... nothing.»

Traveling (apparently) alone, with no weapons, no signs of tear or use in his garments or on his body, with clothes that were just begging to get him eaten by some creature... It was more than strange. It was impossible.

« Pale, weird clothes, no marks on his body, disappears... He is starting to sound more like a spirit than a man to me.» his mother smiles shaking her head.

Sada looks at her for a second, almost disappointed. A spirit...? Some long lost ancestor of them that supposedly appears to give you advice, like in the stories told around the fire?

That would be.... so boring if that was the case. Also he didn't exactly give her advice, in fact it had been the opposite: some lousy ancestor that he was if he didn't even have some great wisdom to impart.

« No! He is a real person, I just know it...and I will find out what's going on with him. » she announces, determined.


First thing to do, of course, is meeting him again, which is easier said than done. She has no idea where he went off to so the only thing she can do is go back to the point of their first meeting, hoping to catch him there again. For a couple of days, nothing new happens, and Sada grows increasingly frustrated. How is it possible for someone like that man to just... Leave no traces of his passage behind? Not even traces of a camp, places where he could have spent the night? She starts to keep track of every place she checks on the leaves Turo gave her, sketching a crude drawing of the area; after a moment of consideration, a couple of crude symbols get added to mark places where she knows certain creatures have established their territories.

A little flame to mark the place where the pack of black fire breathing creatures usually hunts.

One stylized feather to mark the nest of one of those aggressive flying ones, and a long fang to mark an area where the rivers drops in a short waterfall, infested with Brutal Fangs.

Those places in particular should be safe to exclude from her search... Surely no one is going to just walk through places that are clearly inhabited and dangerous?

Sada gets proven wrong not even half a day later; she had just finished gathering some more berries for lunch, when a sudden loud roar from the waterfall echoes through the air.

She jumps to her feet, spear in hand, and listens cautiously: is it a struggle between two Brutal Fangs? Fighting for territory? Food? Those things are vicious, she has seen them (carefully, from a distance) simply fly into a rage and attack each other at random while peacefully swimming next to each other just a moment before. She waits for a second roar to echo, or for the telling sound of snapping teeth and wild thrashing.

What she hears instead is a muffled, panicked and obviously human scream. For a long second, she can't even move, dumbfounded.

... He didn't... no one can be that oblivious to their surroundings, can they?

Sada starts sprinting towards the river at full speed; bursting out of the trees, the nearby waterfall comes into view, and at its base, near the edge of the water and with his back to her, Turo seems to have fallen backwards and is desperately scrambling to his feet. The Brutal Fang, it's vivid red scales glistening from the water it just jumped out from, opens its mouth full of teeth and barrels towards the man, who manages to avoid it at the last second by rolling to the side, causing the creature to crash head first into the gravel on the riverbank, avoiding him by an inch. Not missing a beat and evidently not caring about being on dry land, the red and gold fish thrashes violently against the ground until it rights itself, it's eyes never losing sight of its target. Who, by the way, seems too busy being paralyzed by fear to actually do something useful like, oh I don't know, run for his life. Sada's incredulity turns first to worry and then rage.

She didn't spend the last three days camping here just to watch him get eaten by a stupid fish!

The creature jumps again, and she readies her spear.

« Get down!» she screams, hoping that the urgency in her tone will get the message across.

He catches sight of her at hearing her voice and hurls himself to the side, the spear passing right over him and hitting the Brutal Fang straight in the forehead. Admittedly, it doesn't do much, but it kills its momentum and makes it crash back into the shallow water. Before it can regain its wits, Sada pulls out a yellow berry from her pouch and throws it at the creature, stunning it for a moment.

Evidently deciding that they weren't worth the trouble, the creature lets out a last echoing bellow and then sinks back down into the river with a great splash, disappearing from sight and splashing them both.

Sada isn't fooled, though: they are not the kind of creatures that call for backup, but it could still change its mind and lunge at them again. She recovers her spear as quickly as she can and whirls around towards Turo.

Other than being drenched from head to toe, he appears unarmed, his purple clothes curiously glistening like the water was smoothly sliding off them instead of getting soaked. First thing he does is check his wrist, strangely; she pulls closer to see if he did get injured after all, but he seems to notice her intentions and slips his hand into one of the folds of his mantle, hiding it from sight.

She pouts a bit, disappointed: he's obviously hiding something from her, and that just makes her want to know what it is even more. Then she realizes what just happened.

« What. Were. You. Doing?» she asks, punctuating every word with a tap of her spear, stomping towards him.

Seriously, what was he thinking? Didn't they have Brutal Fangs were he was from? But even if he had never seen one before, how could you simply stroll near something that obviously had creatures nearby? With how strong they were, you had to assume that every creature you met was aggressive! Well... Almost every creature, there were some more docile ones admittedly, but... Brutal Fangs were obviously not docile. There was a reason they had given them that name after all.

If she had gotten there a moment later, he would have been lunch.

He looks at her spear somewhat alarmed, obviously not understanding her, his eyes flitting between her and the pointed stone tip. She sighs and lowers the weapon, even if just to reassure him that she has no real ill will.

« Let's get warmed up.» she offers him her free hand and he takes it after a long moment of hesitation, still keeping the other hidden.

His hand is warm, bigger than hers, but strangely soft and smooth, with long, slender fingers. She can't help but stare at them for a moment, puzzled.

That really looks like the hand of someone who hasn't worked a day in his life. They are children's hands, it's unnatural.

They go back to the camp she had set up in the past three days; she sits him down on a log and points at the ashes left from last night's fire.

« "Fire"» she then points to the ground, glaring at him like she would with a hyperactive child that won't stay still.

« Stay here. Don't move. I'm going to get some more food.» she huffs, moving away.

She pointedly stares at him for a couple more seconds, almost expecting him to pull another magical disappearing act as soon as she looks away, but he just lowers his head and scoffs, looking almost... Embarrassed.Seems like he got the message.

She is going to gather some more berries, trusting him to start the fire in the meantime. They can keep working on their vocabulary after she comes back.

« Sada....» his voice reaches her at the edge of the camp and the woman stops, looking over her shoulder.

« Thank you » The words are unfamiliar, but the gratitude and relief in them are palpable.

He suddenly looks so... Vulnerable and lost, sitting on that log with his strange clothes and eyes that still have that trace of fear in them.

.... A complete mystery.

Just who is that man?

She simply nods, and disappears into the trees.
Chapter 3: Future Looks Good


Bug Catcher
I'm aware of there being some problems with tenses flipping around in the first 2-3 chapters, I was still figuring out my writing stile... and in Sada's POV chapters, it was at least partly intentional to try and give her narration a more "grounded in reality" feel. Not sure if it worked. I do plan to fix it all little by little. Also please tell me if this formatting is hard to read and ends up being too "wall of text" like. I've had nobody bring it up for now but I've read that a lot of people find it hard to read so if necessary I will add more paragraph breaks!

Chapter 3: Future Looks Good
Travelling back (or technically forward?) in time to the place he had come from was much more disorienting that Turo expected. Maybe it was because, when he had stepped into the time machine a couple of hours before, he had had the time to prepare mentally. There was a whole procedure to follow while setting up the time machine in preparation for a jump; other than being necessary to avoid messing something up (which he still had done... Somehow), it helped people concentrate. Prepare. Even relax, if necessary.

Getting back using the time anchor was much more sudden, and he stumbled while getting out of the time machine, his mind still half convinced that he was walking on damp leaves and uneven terrain instead of the perfectly pristine and smooth tiles of the Time Travel Department Laboratory.

« Time anchor ID 9537 has returned from space-time coordinates 48°51′12″ N, 2°20′55″ E, timestamp in seconds 441504000000-»

« Just save those coordinates to my ID before you get a stroke trying to pronounce that.» Turo interrupted the smooth artificial voice that had spoken from the time machine while he headed for the door.

There was a moment of silence, then something behind his back moved suddenly; Turo stopped when the sleek, round figure of a Porygon 568 zipped around him and stopped him from exiting the room, floating at eye level with the human.

It still had the basic shape of a duck; why the very first Porygon had been designed with that shape in mind was a bit of a mystery: maybe because it had been simpler to code and render, or the dude responsible just really liked duck Pokémon, but it had become a bit of a tradition of all subsequent updates during the years to try and make it as outlandish and ridiculous as possible but still keep it recognizable as a duck.

If there was one thing that scientist and computer nerds loved, it was running gags; Turo knew, because he was also one of them.

This version in particular was made to look bright yellow with spiky, needle like feathers where his "wings" were supposed to be, and ended up looking more like a cross between a Psyduck and the legendary Zapdos... A little, puffy, dopey and kinda adorable Zapdos.

The Porygon clicked its beak, quickly scanning him up and down.

« Time-displaced object detected. To bring external objects outside of the time machine room, registration of object is required.» it spoke again.

Turo blinked, surprised; it was his first time doing the procedure, and even if he knew that the Pokémon was supposed to say that - it was its job to act as a sort of defensive mechanism for the time machine and anything that got in and out of it, after all - , it still took him a moment to get what it was referring to.

« Oh, this...? Just a little... Souvenir.» he answered, fishing in his lab pocket for the necklace that Sada gave him. It.... Looked even more surreal now in his time, the little leather string with organic fangs and feathers attached. He quietly wondered from what Pokémon they had come from, with that bright red and blue color.

He held it in front of the Porygon, who quickly scanned it.

« Object is not considered a safety or sanitary hazard. Permission granted to bring it outside of time machine room. Welcome back, Dr. Romero Turo. Hope you had a safe trip.» the Pokemon beeped before moving away from the door and going back to the main frame of the time machine, disappearing inside the transparent cylindrical structure that acted as it's control panel.

Turo watched the Porygon go, then stared at the necklace. So that meant he could... Keep it? It would have gathered quite a bit of attention on him... But just depositing it in some box in the laboratory for innocuous random objects brought from the past to be catalogued and eventually donated to some museum, like standard procedure dictated, didn't sit right with him. Sada had given it to him after all, and the girl's excited smile flashed in his mind while he stared at the little pendant.

He ended up tying the leather string around his neck and slipping it under the collar of his bodysuit. It felt a bit strange, having something that was different from the smooth texture of his suit touching his bare skin, but not exactly uncomfortable.

He exited the room still in a bit of a daze; that wasn't exactly surprising even if the trip had been to only fifteen years ago like planned. "Time sickness" was apparently a thing: the human body -or living things in general - didn't react well to passing through time. It had taken quite a bit of studies and experiments to make the trip safe; some lives had tragically been lost in the first test trials: people not landing when and where expected, or coming back with amnesia.

Now, it was mostly just an inconvenience, and some of his more experienced colleagues assured him that he would grew used to it.

No one had traveled that far back though... That reminded him.

He had to write a report about his trip, right?

The corridors of the Time Travel Department Laboratory (or TTDL for short) were currently deserted, which made sense, since it was late night. Turo had been forced to use the time machine in the night time slot, since all other slots during the day had already been reserved for other -and more important - trips than his simple test run. No one wanted the night shift if possible; it gave you the worst time jet-lag ever.

Soft lights blinked on a couple of steps ahead of him while he traversed the corridor and quietly switched off as soon as he had passed, leaving only the quiet hum of machinery.

At the end of the corridor, he thumbed the button to call the elevator. He always found it somewhat amusing how, in a society that was completely converted to holographic controls, haptic feedback or single gestures for... Pretty much anything, some fringe areas of technology had stubbornly remained unchanged for centuries.

They had tried to use touch screens, or holographs, or even voice commands, of course, but people didn't like it.

They would press the screen and then do it again, just to make sure that the command had been acknowledged.

Voice commands had been a disaster with people getting in and out giving conflicting commands.

In this case, a physical button to press was still the best.

At the end of the day, it turned out, people just really liked to mash the shit out of buttons.

After getting out at the ground floor, he quietly walked across the great hall of the university. Something small and quick scurried away at his feet, and Turo absent mindedly side stepped the little Steelccino that were busy cleaning the floor, ignoring the indignant screeching of the chinchilla Pokémon at seeing him leave even just a speck of dust from his boots. One of them tried to jump on his lab coat, swiping at him with his brushy tail - the only part of its body that still looked identical to the Mincinno it had evolved from long ago, chattering angrily. The man had to almost physically push the little critter away, sneering.

« Come on, it's not like I did it on purpose. You expect me to go back millennia and not trek around some dirt? Shoo » Turo complained, exhausted. The Pokémon obviously didn't care, their shiny, red led-like eyes fixing him with a death glare before getting back to work.

They were employed by the university of Mesagoza as natural cleaners at night, which was perfect, as long as you weren't part of the TTDL. His colleagues hated the little critters and the critters hated them right back, in an eternal cycle of mutual annoyance.

He welcomed the sight of the teleporters near the entrance: scanning his ID he stepped into one, a smooth circular platform made of what looked like light purple glass, and recited his home address.

That wouldn't have been the most secure option in broad daylight -you wouldn't want to announce where you lived to everyone after all -, but screw it, he was tired and there was no one around anyway. The platform briefly lit up, almost seemed to hesitate for a second, calculating the closest teleporter to the given address, then zapped him away.

Teleporting had become ubiquitous some couple centuries ago - of course, a simpler version had been in use since much, much earlier, with Psychic Pokémon ferrying people to and from important places since ancient history. Developing a technology that didn't require the constant use of Pokemon and could be accessible to everyone had taken a bit more time, but it was now part of everyday life.

It had, for all intents and purposes, completely eliminated commuting and traffic.

Imagine having to spend multiple hours a day just getting to work! And then getting back home! That sounded exhausting, how did people put up with that in the past?

The teleporter left him a bit away from his apartment complex; obviously only the richest people could afford a personal teleporter that would deposit them literally on their doorstep, but Turo didn't mind walking the little distance he had to. It was still infinitely better than the alternative.

The front door of his apartment unlocked as soon as he got near enough, and with a tired sigh, Turo closed the door. He was home. Between all the preparations for the time jump, setting up the time machine and his studies, he hadn't set foot outside of the laboratory for the past three days. Of those three days, he technically had been "really" gone only for a couple of hours, but... It felt like so much more. His mind was still kind of processing what had happened.

Two hours he had spent simply sitting on that river side, talking with someone that was now less than dust. How did she spend the rest of her life? How long had she even lived?

It wouldn't do him any good to dwell on those thoughts so much; if he wanted to keep working in that field of research, he had to get used to it.

Two blue lights blinked at him from his small living room, accompanied by a low « Gwaaaoohhh » and the quiet clicking of metallic paws on the floor.

Turo smiled, hugging the Miraidon that welcomed him back and stroking it's neck.

« Hey buddy, how are you doing? » he caressed the smooth light grey scales, examining them carefully.

« Is your Hadron Engine still acting up?»

The was a slight pause, then the Miraidon's throat lit up, briefly pulsating with blue energy, an electric buzz filling the room. It had almost managed to form a complete wheel shape before it sneezed, snapping back to its low power form.

It growled sadly and pawed at the floor, looking almost ashamed.

« Don't worry about it, you just need to rest. We'll go riding as soon as you're doing better... And I can get a day off. » Turo added.

Miraidon had been with him since he was a kid, still living with his parents in Medali.

The apartment where he lived was a bit small for him, but the Pokemon could generally come and leave freely, wandering the city; still, in the past few days he hadn't been feeling too well, and had spent them mostly curled up on the sofa. With Turo himself not having exactly stepped outside the laboratory for days (except for the little trip through time), he was looking forward to taking that little road trip. Just cruising through the highway at high speed, wind hitting his face, nothing but a seemingly infinite road in front of him to let Miraidon speed up as much as he wanted. Maybe they could even practice gliding again. That sounded nice. With a last pat on the Pokémon's head, he headed to the bathroom for a shower before going to bed.


« So how did your test run go? »

Turo raised his eyes from the screen that floated in front of him, stopped mid sentence in his report, and made a quick "stop" gesture by lifting the index and middle finger of his right hand. The writing program that was tracking his lip movements to write down his report recognized the gesture and dutifully stopped, then started to automatically check spelling and punctuation while waiting for the prompt to start again.

Waiting for an answer in front of him with a mug of coffee in one hand and a bemused smile was Gervaso Ortega, his senior by a year and accomplished time traveler.

Turo hesitated for a moment, then stood up.

« Depends... Theoretically, incredibly well. Technically... I must have messed something up.»

The other man gestured for him to follow him out of the little office he got assigned and into a break room, or as people in the TTDL called it, the "sanity room".

Constantly kept at a comfortable temperature and humidity, the holographic walls continually projected calming images of natural landscapes and relaxing sounds.

« Oh... It's a rainy forest today? Nice, relaxing.» Gervaso commented, sitting down.

Turo almost wanted to point out that it was only relaxing because they weren't actually getting wet, but he wasn't going to complain. A nice forest with some rain was a much better scenario than some.... Alternatives they had had in the past.

« Remember that girl that was researching pirates and forced the room to simulate a creaking ship at sea for "immersion" for three months?» he answered, sitting down in front of him and ordering a coffee of his own. The other man grinned.

« Oh man, Sea Shanty Girl! Wonder what she is doing now... If I never have to listen to "Randy Dandy-Oh" again, it will still be too soon.»

Turo laughed, but his colleague seemed pretty curious about his trip, prompting him again.

He was... Actually a bit nervous about revealing what had happened.

« The trip was fine. No excessive time sickness, no allergic reaction to the pre-jump shots... Weather was fine so I didn't even have to recharge my time-anchor manually...» he hesitated.

« I may have.... Overshot the landing on the time coordinate a bit.»

That made Gervaso, who had been nodding along, pause, intrigued.

« Really? By how much?»

« .... Some 14'000 years?»

There was a slight incredulous pause, then the other man exploded into laughter, hurriedly putting the mug of coffee down on the table.

« Are you serious? The new guy does his first time jump and ends up where no one managed to ever go before? You are either going to become the best time traveler I've ever seen, or the worst

Yeah, that's what he had figured would happen.

He took a sip of coffee, only for Gervaso to almost slap it out of him by patting his shoulder.

« ... I'm going to get grounded, aren't I?»

« Oh, you are so grounded while they figure out how you did it. »


He does end up "grounded" in the end, banned from using the time machine for a month. The coordinates he had used on the other hand are still safely associated to his ID; as soon as one month passed, he could, theoretically, travel there again.

His original project had actually been traveling to the future - not too far away. The future direction was much more risky by definition, since you obviously had absolutely no data on where you would end up.

Most time travelers who chose the future wouldn't jump more than a couple of years; tiny incremental steps, and reports on what they knew were kept secret with the highest level of security (except for spoilers about when the new season or movie of a series would come out and how much it sucked, because of course people wanted to know about that way more than possibly horrible news).

And that had always fascinated him terribly; it was pretty much a leap of faith into the unknown.

... Maybe a bit too ambitious for his first project; maybe he could... Travel to the distant past for a bit after all? It was... Really, it was so far away that it was almost as unknown as the future.

The happy smile that Sada had made while they had tried to talk only encouraged his decision.

While he can't time travel, what he can do, man of science that he is, is spend his time doing some research.

He pours over every anthropological book about the Upper Paleolithic he can find, digs up documentaries and even some fiction.

There is.... Frustratingly little. Makes sense since there literally wasn't even written language at that point, so not much got passed down through the ages. The timescale is also something that makes his head hurt on more than one occasion.

« "First evidence of Pokémon domestication like Growlithe and Mareep could have occurred between 15'000 and 10'000 years before common age"... Sure, that is just.... An error margin of 5000 years, no biggie. » he sighs, flicking away the screen he was reading with a swipe of his finger.

It was going to be a long month.


Exactly one month after his first jump, he walks back into the time machine room. He slips the time anchor to his wrist, checking that it is attached securely.

Waiting for him are Porygon 568 and a woman wearing medical scrubs and holding a syringe.

« Time anchor ID 9537 ready for departure as soon as medical checks complete. Update destination coordinates?» Porygon 568 speaks up.

« Yes, add... 316800 seconds to the timestamp» it wouldn't do to appear again literally at the same moment he had left.

« Acknowledged.»

The woman quickly approaches him and slips the needle of the syringe into his left shoulder, the clear liquid inside entering his body. Turo grimaces for a second; something else he will have to get used to... Those "shots" as they were called were the only thing protecting his body from getting teared apart in the time machine. It was... A bit unsettling to think about actually. How did they work? No idea, he was no doctor. (… Well he technically was, but not that kind of doctor)

He pulls the sleeve of the bodysuit back up to cover his shoulder, slips back his lab coat, and steps into the time machine.


This time he can tell that it worked before even opening his eyes. It's been a month for him, but not even a week has passed here: the same cold air, the leaves getting rustled by the wind, the stream rushing by his side. He start following the river, listening for some tell tale sounds of human activity. Steps, rustling of leaves, some smoke signal for a fire maybe... If Sada had been working by the river last time, she probably lived nearby.

A shape in the water catches his attention: red with a big yellow dorsal fin and whiskers, it takes him a moment to recognize the silhouette of a Magikarp... It's a pretty big one, but that is nothing unusual. Lots of Pokémon were just bigger in ancient times, or one particular individual simply grew a lot more. He notices the Magikarp stop dead in the water and slightly turn in his direction. Turo pays the Pokémon no mind: they are so common even in his time that seeing one is nothing unusual, so he just keeps walking in the shallow water.

That is, until it suddenly charges at him.

He lets out a panicked yelp when the Magikarp is suddenly right by his side, teeth snapping and missing his arm only because he stumbles backwards and falls on his back.

It's the angriest looking Magikarp he's ever seen, and... Teeth? Magikarp don't have teeth! They barely have functioning muscles!

The shock stops him from moving for a couple of seconds; is it some prehistoric form of Magikarp? The one that was supposedly stronger than the current one?

This is way more than a "a bit stronger", this one looked ready to bite his face clean off. Did it even need to evolve into Gyarados?

He tries to get up to his feet, hands slipping on the stones that make up the riverbed, but the creature is much faster than him. It jumps out from the water and he desperately rolls to the side. He can feel the teeth snapping close to his head before the creature flies past him and crashes outside of the water.

And it still doesn't stop.

It's furiously thrashing on its side, kicking up water and gravel until it manages to turn itself right up, and the sight of it is so surreal that he can't help but stare, frozen in place, when everything suddenly clicks in his mind.

It's... It's using Splash.

Is that how the move developed? Is that what it originally was for? To chase prey even on dry land?

« Get down!» Sada's voice suddenly rings out from behind him and he just throws himself to the side, then stares as the woman literally chases the damn thing away with nothing but a spear and... What even was that? It looked like some kind of berry...

Anyway, she just saved his life.

He finally gets up to his feet; the bodysuit he's wearing makes sure that most of his body is still dry, but the same can't be said for his hair, hands, lab coat and-

"Shit, the time-anchor"

With a quick surge of panic he checks the device on his wrist; it should be pretty damn resistant to any kind of damage, even Pokemon moves, and really be much more durable than the person who is wearing it, but he feels pretty justified in his panic when the little device is literally the only thing keeping him tethered to his own time.

It thankfully doesn't even look wet. He notices Sada staring at his wrist and quickly hides his hand in his lab coat pocket, pointedly ignoring her little sad pout. He jumps a bit when she storms up to him, brandishing her spear.

What... What did he do? Did he accidentally end up somewhere he wasn't meant to? Was that Magikarp some kind of holy creature and she's pissed because she had to attack it to save him?

Is he going to end up stabbed in the chest after all?

He doesn't understand, but she just sighs and offers him her hand.

He takes it after a second.

All right... Looks like he has avoided "death by spear" for the moment.


He's been sitting on that log for a couple of minutes now; he has tried to thank Sada for saving him, and now the girl has disappeared into the woods again. He nervously looks around, jumping at every sound. He doesn't even have Pokémon with him to protect him: even if he could get the permission to bring Miraidon with him, just pulling out a Poké Ball and using it would be... Incredibly risky. It's considered one of the most pivotal inventions of all of human history, almost at the same level of.... The wheel, or writing. Who knows what the effect of just accidentally showing someone the idea much earlier than supposed to could do to history.

Not to mention that Miraidon would look even more out of place than he does.

His eyes land on something that Sada has left behind, and he recognizes it as the notebook he has given her.

Seeing it covered in marks he scoots closer and picks it up, intrigued.

He flips it open and is left staring at the page, speechless.

He was expecting some random doodles. Maybe stick figures like the ones in cave paintings.

These are notes. A drawing that is unmistakably a map is drawn on the page, with the position of the river, the woods and what must be other peculiar spots all marked with symbols. He flips behind a couple pages, and there's stylized drawings of mushrooms, leaves, plants, even Pokemon, all marked with one or more accompanying symbols.

On one of the first pages, he notices that a corner of the page seems torn up. Another corner has been dipped in water, ink all smeared.

She hasn't just been using it, she's been experimenting with it, trying out different things with this new unfamiliar material.

His heart starts pounding with excitement: this is incredible... she is incredible-

« TURO!»

He jumps like a kid caught stealing cookies from the jar right before dinner.

Sada is back, her leather pouch overflowing with what looks like random roots, plants and berries, and is staring at him with a mix of exasperation and disappointment.

She sets down her bag and mutters something under her breath, then points at the circle of stones she had set up and repeats the word she had taught him before. Was it... Something like ash? Or "fire", or.... Oh. OH.

.... She had asked him to start the fire, didn't she?

He flushes with embarrassment while she keeps possibly berating him -he doesn't blame her, he deserves that-, all while skewering some mushrooms on a couple of sticks.

« S-sorry...»

Well, even if he had understood her, he had no idea how to actually start a fire.

He tries to excuse himself by pointing at the fire and shaking his head. She stops and looks at him quizzically, seemingly pondering something. Probably how someone lacking survival skills like him is still alive.

She sits down near him, and grabs two pieces of wood from a pile near the log they've been using as a makeshift bench. The first one is flat, and looks like a little groove has been carved in it. The second one has an angled head, almost like a plow.

She slots the plow inside the groove and starts moving it up and down quickly, keeping it an an angle, then stops and offers him the two pieces of wood.

Oh. She.... She really wants him to do it himself, doesn't she?

He start mimicking what she had just showed him, and in not even a minute his arms already start protesting about the effort they are definitely not used to performing.

But he keeps it up, pushing through the pain, and... It does seem like it's working, smoke coming out from the friction of the movement. He had seen it done in movies, but never in real life. He honestly didn't think that a spark would come out so quickly, but suddenly there it is, a little pile of charcoal friction burned into the groove with an even tinier spark smoldering inside. Sada is quick to get a dried leaf near it, causing it to start burning, and transfers it into the campfire to start it proper.

Turo is left sitting there, with a huge, dumb grin slowly spreading on his face.

Sada laughs at his expression, but he doesn't mind.

He just made fire!! With his own two hands!! That's AWESOME!


He had tried to refuse the food, feeling pretty bad in taking it when he had it so readily available at home, but the girl had just stared at him with a glare that... Well... Honestly had reminded him a bit of his mom when he was little and she was waiting for him to finish eating his vegetables.

There was no saying "no" to a glare like that.

While they are eating some roasted mushrooms and roots, Sada excitedly shows him the notebook. She pinches one blank page between two fingers and looks up at him with those bright, clear eyes.

« What is it?»

Reminded of the first little "game" they had played, it doesn't take him much to guess what she just asked.

« "Paper"»

« "Paper"... » she repeats, looking back down at it. She looks conflicted, and he can almost see the thousand questions that she wants to ask, and doesn't know how. She gathers some leaves that they have been using as kindle and presses one on the page, before looking up at him again. She struggles a moment, silently mouthing a question, then speaks up again.

« Is.... "Paper"... Leaves?»

He looks at her, shocked.

Technically, no, but it's still cellulose, and she got scarily close to the right answer.

How did she even figure that out?

« No, it's... um .. "Wood"» he stammers out after a moment, pointing to the log they've been sitting on.

She stares at him for a moment, then nods, grabs her pen, and jots down another little mark on the page, a lil drawing of a tree.

... She's taking notes.

Many, many years later, Turo would look back at this scene and recognize it as the exact moment he first fell in love with her.
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Bug Catcher
Thank you so much for the review!
I will definitely go back and fix the various typos/correction you have made! As for the tenses switching around a bit... it's a problem I'm aware of in the first couple of chapters, I was still trying to get used to writing in English and I will probably go back and correct sticking to past tense eventually. For the chapters in Sada's point of view (chapter 2 and a couple others), using the present tense was at least in part intentional, to try and give her narration a more "living in the moment" feeling and make her feel completely different from Turo's, so... I will have to think about if I want to fix those.

Flagging this because of the apostrophe, but it may be a regional thing, so YMMV
Will have to check what to use and fix it.
Ooooh, so Hoenn is a nature reserve in the future? Or is this referring to a nature reserve in the region?
The idea was the whole region, and to give a sense that most places really don't have that many natural spaces with "wild" nature anymore. Hoenn, having legendaries with a strong tie to natural forces, kind of managed to remain a bit less industrialized.
Excited to see how this fic deviates from and follows canon. So far we have some very interesting examples of both. Keep up the good work!
Thank you! It's been a lot of fun!
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The Eyes Have It
Hey, Nekodatta! I've been meaning to check out your story--I do love some time travel nonsense, and I think there's a lot of interesting ground to cover with the ScarVi professors.

One of the things that stood out to me the most about this story was how many cool little details you include, both in terms of callbacks to pokémon lore and generally related to the time travel itself. Iron Fangs representing the "far stronger" magikarp ancestors the pokédex talks about, and Turo completely ignoring them because he's used magikarp being weak as shit, is probably my favorite so far. It's both a cute takeoff on existing lore and what feels like a reasonable, but unexpected sort of danger that a person might encounter when traveling to the distant past. (Or pokémon's distant past, at least!) The future porygon and their continued semi-ducklike forms (the designer must have just really liked ducks? Paging kyeugh...) was another highlight, but so were plenty of the non-overtly-pokémonish details, such as Sada being weirded out by how smooth Turo's hands are, and the various ways in which he seems like a child to her. I think these sorts of details really sell the time travel aspect of the story and give an idea of how much thought you're putting into how people from such different times would really view each other. It looks like you're having a lot of fun playing around with the implications of the time travel aspect, and that makes it fun to read about, too.

It's fun that Turo has a miraidon, too--makes sense that he'd later be so enamored by the ones he pulled in from the future. I wonder whether Sada also has a koraidon she hangs out with, then.

I was a little disoriented in Chapter Three, since we see Turo return to his own time, but after his first time ending up in the distant past. Since in Chapter Two we saw him back for a second visit to Sada's time and because he didn't seem super shaken up by having gone way off-course while time traveling and also having met an ~intriguing~ woman while lost out there, it took me a while to figure out that we were seeing him after that first visit rather than chronologically (from his POV, heh) after the end of Chapter Two.

I think you've done a good job of Turo and Sada's interactions so far. She's exasperated by his complete lack of survival skills, but also intrigued by all his strangeness and the technology he has. He had never thought of the people living tens of thousands of years ago as anything more than primitive savages and is shocked to be confronted by this curious, intelligent woman. I can definitely see the bones of a relationship forming there. I'll be curious to see how these two end up stuck in the modern-day pokémon world. Could be that Turo eventually tries to bring Sada forward to his time and, due to some sort of miscalculation or malfunction, they end up shunted elsewhere. It would be funniest to me, though, if Sada caught Turo when he was about to time travel and grabbed him or something, and having another person involved caused Turo's time jump to go haywire. One way or another, I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun to see how they handle getting stranded out of time. At least as Scarlet and Violet would have it, they were clearly coping well. :P

I did find the third chapter a bit harder to read due to the lack of paragraph spacing. If you like, you should be able to add a [respace] tag to the top of the chapter and [/respace] to the end in order to get the double spacing without needing to manually add paragraph breaks.

A couple other small technical notes: like Torchic mentioned, in American English large numbers are written with commas rather than apostrophes (e.g. 15,000 rather than 15'000). Also, I was a little confused by the dialogue punctuation in this fic. Also, I was a bit confused by the dialogue punctuation; at the beginning of Chapter One there's the bit where Turo thinks, "Well, this sure isn't Lumiose City," which is how I expect to see dialogue punctuated (i.e. with quotation marks). As a result I took the «» to indicate dialogue in Sada's language, which Turo wouldn't understand, but as of Chapter Three it's clear that brackets will just be used for everybody's speech. Most English text uses "" for dialogue, and you sometimes have some diversions from the usual dialogue punctuaton/capitalization rules. Here's a guide to what those are, although you may have gotten a handle on them by your later chapters. Let me know if dialogue errors are something you'd like me to point out.

All that aside, though, I think this is a really fun premise for a fic, and it's been a good ride so far. I know you're a bit farther along in the story than what you've posted here, but I hope things are coming along well and you're still having a great time with the later chapters!
Chapter 4: A Matter of Trust


Bug Catcher
I missed some weeks in reposting chapters here so for now here is chapter 4. I'm going to answer the review more in depth later, meanwhile I've tried to reformat this to add more line breaks.... the [replace] tag didn't seem to have worked(I'm probably just using it wrong lol, I tried to insert both in bb code and normally), so I tried replacing every line break with two to leave a bit more space.

As for the dialogue tags... I'm not really sure what to do now because nobody ever mentioned it and switching them up in the middle of the story for future chapters would just confuse people as they must have gotten used to it by now. So I guess I will keep them like this...
Reading in a lot of different languages I've seen anything from "" to « to even - used to tag dialogue so I honestly never really considered it a problem as long as it was consistent in the same work, or thought about there being official rules.

So in this fic « » is for words spoken outloud, " " for direct thoughts. Since there's a lot of fumbling around and characters not understanding each other and/or learning how to pronounce words, I tried to convey it by using italics when the something said outloud was not understandable.
The idea I tried to convey is that they are learning to talk in this weird mix of both of their languages, pulling words from one or the other.
I do always try to point out in the narration when the POV character has no idea what a word means but now I'm wondering if it has confused people... well at least it would put them in the characters shoe's pretty well I guess lol

Anyway, back to Sada's point of view!

Chapter 4
The more she looked at Turo, the more the man just completely baffled her.

At first she thought that he just hadn't understood her, but... He couldn't even light a fire!

Maybe his tribe didn't use it? If he really came from the south, maybe they didn't need it for warmth, that much was obvious... But what about food? Did they eat everything raw? That didn't seem plausible.... And he hadn't looked unfamiliar with cooked food.

It was almost like... He had been born in the body of an adult and had none of the skill and experience that came with it. Which was impossible, unless... he had lived a very secluded life until now, someone else doing everything for him...

She had one theory about what he was, that could explain at least some of his... More strange qualities. And no, it was not "he's a spirit".

She had no way to confirm it though, not yet. She first needed to be able to talk with him better.

So the strange writing material was called paper! And it wasn't leaves, but wood... Somehow. She examined the paper with this new information, trying to think of a way to ask Turo how it was made. Wood could be pretty flexible, so maybe by cutting it in really thin sheets...? But then how did it become so soft...? How did they make every piece so perfectly even?

So many questions, she had no idea where to start.

But maybe... She could try and confirm where he was from.

She flips the "paper" back to the map of the area she's been drawing these last day and points first to Turo.

« You» she then draws an imaginary circle around the page, then offers the pen to the man.

« Where... Did you come from...?» she asks, pointing at various spots on the map.

He stares at the page for a couple seconds, leaving her to wonder if he got what she was trying to say. But more than perplexed, he looks... Conflicted.

Does he not want to tell her?

Maybe he doesn't even know?

He slowly takes the writing stick from her hand and presses it, staring at the page. She notices that he holds it differently than her, daintily propped between two fingers, and then he hesitantly, slowly, draws a little "X" shape at the bottom right of the page.

Sada tries to mask her enthusiasm. He is from the south!

« I knew it!» she whispers, ignoring his confused blink. All right, next question... She gestures for the writing stick again, and on a blank page, draws three simple human shapes. Sada circles one and points at Turo.

« You» she then mimics walking with two fingers like he had done a couple of days ago.

« Alone? Or with people? "People"» she repeats, drawing a circle around all the stick figures together and hoping it was understandable. Learning words from stuff you could physically point at was easy. Most abstract concepts, less so, but they could try using drawings as symbols to represent them. As long as they were understandable...

At her side, she hears Turo shuffle uncomfortably for a moment, clothes crinkling slightly, before pointing to the single circled figure.

She looks up at him again - and that impossibly neatly trimmed beard looks even more weird up close, unnatural -, but he interrupts her before she can voice her next question.

« "Is"... You... "Alone"?» he stammers a bit, his accent all wrong and weird and... Outsider-ish. But the fact that he is trying at all and that he actually picked up words that she's been using is strangely... Endearing. She's not the only one that has some questions, it seems.

« No. My people are, umm... Here.» she draws another "X" similar to his in another corner of the map, north east to their current position. Sada waits a couple seconds, observing his reaction. He looks... Pensive.

« Do you want to...?» no, too complicated.

« You... Come... With me?» she asks after a moment, pointing first in his direction, then to the little stick figures and finally on the position of her settlement on the map.

It takes a couple of seconds, but then his eyes go wide and he starts vehemently shaking his head, looking suddenly nervous.

« Oh no, absolutely not-» he mumbles.

Sada frowns a bit.

... She doesn't understand. Surely staying with a group of strangers is still safer than living alone? Maybe he misunderstood her?

His reaction is making her theory a lot more likely though.

« All right... » disappointed, she goes back to the first sheets of paper, and starts pointing out the various plants and mushrooms, just trying to get out as much vocabulary that could be useful as possible. It's slow going, but when they arrive to the sketches she has made of various creatures, he seems to suddenly perk up. He gestures for the writing stick and points to the first sketch, one of the big birds of prey with grey and red feathers... Not like her drawing can show it, since she had access only to one color.

« It's a Fire Wing...» they were dangerous while they were hunting or if you happened to get near their nests, but she liked to look out for their fallen feathers; they were soft and incredibly warm, great to wear during the colder season by sewing them inside clothes, or as accessories. Turo nods, just the hint of a smile on his lips.

« "Talonflame"»

Is that what it was called in his language...?

Then, to her surprise, he starts sketching a Fire Wing of his own alongside hers, with a great amount of details.

A couple of strokes to draw the head, the curved beak with a sharp point and even sharper eyes... he is good at it, the picture so similar to the real thing it's like one of the creatures had been quietly sitting between them all this time, posing for reference.

But of course, there isn't one; he must be going from memory, not unlike her when she takes notes after some sightings.

But to be able to draw it so perfectly... He must have seen so many of them! And from really close, no less...

Sada finds herself almost transfixed by the smooth movements of his hand while it flits along the page, expertly filling in the drawing. The way he moves, even how he was holding the writing stick, not a single blemish on his fingers ... It's obvious he is much more used to doing this than... Lighting a fire, or holding a weapon, or ... really any kind of manual activity.

Someone else must have done them for him all this time before now, giving him the opportunity to get that good at something not immediately useful for survival like drawing.

And there is only one role she can think of that would allow for that kind of privilege, if it was even possible.

Turo finishes his drawing, absentmindedly flipping the writing stick between two fingers before giving it back to her, then starts listing off the various body parts in his language. They are not immediately useful as words between them (how many times is something like "talon" going to come up in a conversation?), but she still listens attentively. They are useful to her, and he seems... Weirdly knowledgeable about these creatures.

« Fire Wings umm... "Move"... No...» he lifts his arms and moves them a couple of times up and down, and she has to stop herself from giggling: the white cape loudly flapping along makes him look ridiculous.

« Fly...?» she offers, only half successful in stopping a laugh from escaping her.

He blushes a bit -which is weirdly adorable - and keeps talking.

« Y-yes... they "Fly" with... Fire... Umm...» there's obviously something else he wants to add, but can't explain. He sighs and palms his face.

« Of course they do, dumbass... How do I explain "fireproof"...?» he mutters to himself, lowering his hand to rub at his chin.

Sada stares at him for a moment, pointedly avoiding her eyes after noticing that she had been gazing at him just a bit too hard.

« "Dumbass"...?» she repeats, picking out one of the words from his muttering at random, and only because it sounded funny.

Turo freezes, a flash of horror on his face that quickly gets replaced by a stuttering, incredulous laugh that he tries and fails to contain.

« Wha...? No! Nononono, don'tusethatword, of all the things to pick up» he manages to get out, shaking his head but still being mostly incomprehensible.

Sada just stares at him, perplexed - and just a touch amused at his reaction -

« Turo, what is "dumbass"?»

His laugh only gets louder, and he can't do much except keep shaking his head, tears in his eyes.

It takes him a good couple of minutes to calm down.

... Now she really wants to know what that word means.


After a couple more hours, when they've exhausted speaking (or as close as they could get to speaking) about every creature in her paper sheets - or her "notebook", as Turo had called it-, the man stands up and Sada knows, before he even looks to the south, that he is going to leave.

She frowns, trying to think of a way to get him to stay; knowing him alone, in the dark, in a place unfamiliar to him... It worries her. She can't help but picture another Brutal Fang jumping out of the water to drag him away, or another hundred ways he could end up dead.

That he isn't is still baffling.

Maybe he knows of some special way to avoid creatures attacking him...? Not that it worked before.

Turo seems to hesitate for a moment, then gestures for the notebook.

She gives it to him, and he flips it to the first blank page. He draws a circle with some lines coming out of it.

« Sun»

All right...? He already told her how to say it in his language though...

He looks up and searches the sky for a moment before quickly drawing another half circle.

« Moon»

He circles both of them together, then looks up at her for a long moment.

« "Day"»

Sada looks at the drawing; a sun and a moon together form... What?

He thinks for a moment, then draws another line, this time with only half of a sun over it. An arrow pointing away from it, and a moon after that... Oh! She almost jumps a little when it hits her.

He's drawing day and night! She nods enthusiastically and he smiles, then proceeds to draw another couple of sun and moon symbols, each with arrows leading from one to the next.

« I'll come.... Here... in "three days".» he enunciates slowly circling the last couple of symbols, before giving her the notebook.

It's a sequence of days and nights... He's telling her when they can see each other again. If the first symbol is today, and there is another after that, and a couple more after than one...

He starts to slowly back away, cautiously, and Sada looks back down to the notebook, conflicted. A part of her really wants to tail him, to discover where he's going. What he is obviously hiding from her. Why he looks so reluctant at the idea of meeting other people.

But... He did just promise to come see her again.

She doesn't want to break that trust right away.

« Three days.» she nods, and to give him proof of her good intentions, sits back down on the log.

He looks a bit more relieved at that, and turns around quickening his pace.

She looks at him until he completely disappears from view amidst the trees, then closes her eyes and holds still, straining her ears.

His footsteps are still audible for the time it takes her heart to beat thirty times- then they're gone.


« So you've met with that strange man again? » Chalo asked, her dark raven hair clinking as the little wooden beads that decorated it rattled against each other.

« Yes, I've actually got a theory about him now.» Sada answers, carefully following the other woman along the trail they've been walking along for a couple of hours.

She had gone back to the settlement after Turo had left: no reason to spend those three days just lazing around.

The trail was just the faintest line visible among the grassy field that extended all around them. The grass grew pretty high, tall enough to hide both a person walking upright, or most creatures. That made this area relatively dangerous: creatures couldn't see you coming, but you also had no idea of what could suddenly jump out at you. Unless they left traces, like the one they were following. Grass flattened by a great number of creatures stepping on it, walking in an orderly line. A herd, and Sada was pretty sure she knew what kind of herd it was. That was the whole reason that Chalo had dragged her along after all: she was the only other one in their group both curious and crazy enough to go along with her ideas.

« You do? Let's hear it. I still think that your mother is right and he is a spirit... But not an ancestor. A creature spirit, the ones that come out at night and can disappear in smoke.»

Sada lets out a sigh, crouching briefly to examine a patch of grass that looked like it had been burned.

« He is not a creature. First of all, he talks. »

« Yeah, but not our language, right? What if it's a creature using you to learn how to speak?»

« ... That's way more ridiculous than him simply being an outsider.» Sada rolls her eyes, and Chalo simply shrugs.

« ... But it's more interesting. Anyway, your theory? » she asks again, cautiously parting the grass growing on both sides of the trail to check their surroundings.

Sada follows her a couple of steps behind, swiftly stepping on Chalo's footprints to reduce noise to a minimum.

« He's the shaman of his tribe. The lore-keeper... He knows so much stuff about creatures, and can draw one perfectly! He looks like he has barely travelled before now; maybe he ... Really just didn't, because his role in the group has always been to create medicine, or... Teach the children about stuff, not hunt or explore.»

Chalo hums briefly, not convinced.

« Shamans get their role when they are are old, though. And Narjik still knows how to use a spear, not like this Terg guy-»

« Turo. And maybe in their tribe it's different, and it gets appointed at birth. » she explains enthusiastically.

« It would also explain his weird clothes. They're not for traveling, they are his shaman clothes. »

« All right... » Chalo stops and turns around suddenly, forcing the girl to stop walking.

« If he's so important for his tribe... What's he doing here? Alone?» she asks in a triumphant tone, but Sada just crosses her arms over her chest. What, did she think she hadn't thought of that?

« I've asked. He didn't look happy at the idea of meeting other people. I think he's been... Driven out. Forced to get away from them.»

Chalo goes from looking smug to slightly worried.

« So you think he's some... Outcast? Doesn't that mean he did something bad if they banished him?»

Yeah, that... That was the part of her theory she couldn't quite explain. You had to do something pretty awful to get thrown out of your tribe and left to die in the wilderness. At least, that's what she had been told; it's not like it had ever happened in her lifetime.

Sada shakes her head.

« I'm sure there's another explanation. He... Does not look like the kind of person that could hurt someone else. He was shaking completely terrified when I first approached, didn't even try to grab my spear. » she just can't reconcile the image of the weird awkward man that blushed while fumbling for his words with that of someone that had... Killed a fellow tribesmen, or something even worse.

There was just no way.

« Yeah, the explanation is "He's a spirit creature", just admit it!»

She laughs at Chalo's eagerness to see her theory get proven true.

« You would love if he was, didn't you? Like in that old story... »

Their little discussion gets interrupted when they arrive at their destination. The trail opens up in a little clearing, where the herd of creatures they've been following is hanging around, sleeping or grazing by nipping at the grass.

Their fur is blue, but most of the body is covered by white, soft wool. Occasionally, two of the creatures would accidentally brush on each other, sending little sparks flying with a sound similar to a crackling fire, but much sharper. In the whole herd, just two creatures were different, and obviously the leaders of the group, being slightly bigger, with pink fur and strangely less wool on their bodies.

Probably a male and his bond mate.

Watching how the creatures changed while growing up had always fascinated Sada terribly. Why didn't humans change like that? It wasn't fair.

« Which one were you thinking about?» she asks in a whisper while scanning the herd with her eyes. Chalo quietly points at one of the smallest creatures, close to the edge of the clearing.

« I've kept an eye on them. They're not aggressive, they prefer to flee rather than fight. And this one's even calmer than the rest. He will be perfect. »

Sada nods approvingly, then rummages in her pouch.

« You saw them eat the pink berries, right?»

« Yeah »

They creep closer to the creature by skirting around the meadow, keeping hidden in the tall grass.

Sada throws one berry near the... What even is it's name?

« What do you call them?» she whispers, observing it trot near the berry and start sniffing it.

« Is that important right now? I haven't decided!» Chalo hisses back, then holds her breath, staring at the creature with anticipation.

It starts to eat the berry, and Sada throws another one to goad it into coming a bit closer.

Well it's important for her, how is she supposed to take notes about them otherwise?

They look pretty cute, but she's not sure about what they can do... Their target has just started munching on the second berry. It's so close now that she could hold a hand out and pet it, and really doesn't look like it cares much about them.

Now the tricky part; she winces a moment, hoping for the best and that Chalo had gotten the right idea about these creatures.

She pulls another object out of the bag, a bright red root firmly wrapped in leaves, and after making sure that it's tightly balled up, throws it in the middle of the clearing. It makes a loud popping sound, scaring - and thankfully not enraging - the rest of the herd into taking off running.

The only one left is the smaller creature that is still eating his berry, and is only now placidly turning around to check out what the noise was.

It seems to realize it's been left on its own, and lets out a "meeeh".

Chalo practically shoves another berry under it's mouth to distract it.

« Heeeere, you want the tasty berry? Yes? Sure you do» she waves the fruit around taking a couple of steps backwards... And the creature seems to think about it for a moment. It looks back to where it's herd was. Then to the berry in the girl's hand.

And actually starts to follow her, trotting along.

« Holy spirits, it worked!» Chalo grins and hugs her, and Sada can't help but get excited herself.

This... This is huge. If they can get it back to the settlement, they can use it's wool without having to scrounge up little pieces by what they found laying around, or by actively hunting them.

If they could get another of the opposite sex, maybe they could even start an herd of their own!

There's just one last thing to decide.

« ... What do we call it?»


In the end, they name the creatures Spark Tail, after noticing its tail lighting up. Well, Chalo actually wanted to call them "Fluffyhead", but Sada had refused.

« You can call this one Fluffyhead, but I'm not going to refer to this things with such a silly name»

« But look at how fluffy it is! And why? Are you afraid Terg will laugh at you? He won't even know what it means.»

« It's Turo, and.... That's not it.» she grumbles, watching the Spark Tail chew on some grass right outside her tent.

It's just that she wanted it to sound... Proper. She keeps staring at the creature that, admittedly, was pretty fluffy - just not enough to deserve naming it after that singular characteristic. How silly would that be?

As long as it had food, it really didn't seem to mind being apart from his herd, or being surrounded by humans. They hadn't even needed to build some enclosure for him, just made sure to keep it away from furs and other things that could catch fire brushing against the sparks that came out of his wool.

What a simple, peaceful life it was leading.

The kids already loved it, and Narjik was trying to figure out a way to trim it's wool without getting hurt. She would love to help with it -it was something new to do, a new problem to solve-, but she had to get going if she wanted to reach the meeting point with Turo in time.


She arrives at the camp at sunset, and to her surprise, finds it already set up. The fire is crackling, not strongly admittedly, but there is a certain skill in feeding a fire and keeping it going that the man obviously seemed to lack, so the fact that he managed to get it started at all after apparently having it done only once before was impressive. Turo himself is sitting cross-legged near the fire in his usual clothes, a second notebook and writing stick of his own propped up on his knee, intent on drawing or writing something on the page.

Something looks off about him(or... More than usual), and it takes her a moment to consciously realize what it is.

It's only been three days. His facial hair should not be that long.

She blinks, trying to decide if it's just her mind playing tricks on her and she's misremembering how long it was tree days ago, or if it's just another weird thing to add to the growing list of strange things about Turo.

Probably the latter, she decides with an almost resigned shrug.

Turo looks up at her approach, just a twinge of fear crossing his expression before he relaxes, recognizing her. He raises his free hand and waves it in midair.

« "Hi" »

Sada timidly repeats the gesture and word, not quite sure what to make of it. A greeting? Or some kind of ritual?

Maybe a way to show that he was unarmed, like during their first meeting?

It seems to be the right thing to do in any case, because he smiles and gets up, closing his notebook and slipping it into his robes before she can so much as catch a glimpse of it - to her disappointment, she kind of wanted to know what he was drawing.

« You... walk... With me?» he mimes the by now usual gesture, surprising her again.

Walk? Right now with the sun setting?

Sada nods and stops just a moment to better tie the spear slung over her back, then grabs a piece of wood from the fire to use as a torch. She glances at him while they walk away from the camp; he's got both hands hidden in his mantle, head moving left and right while he seems to be scanning the trees looking for something.

« What...?» she starts to ask, and he turns back to look at her with a small smile.

« Fire Wing feathers. »

It takes a moment to recognize what "feathers" meant, before she remembers his portrait of the creature. Why is he so interested in them now? Unless...

« Are you.... Cold?» she mimes some shivering, and after a moment of hesitation, he quietly nods, looking a bit frustrated.

Sada grimaces, mentally berating herself. Of course he must be cold, not being used to living in this area. She starts to actively look for the feathers, while the obvious question of "how didn't he freeze to death the night before our meeting " keeps nagging at her.

Maybe he had something else from a creature with the power of fire with him these days, and it has now lost it's effect. She shuffles a bit closer to him, raising the torch, and he gives her a little smile noticing the gesture.

They find some feathers, but they are obviously not the ones they are looking for: much bigger, mostly white with a blue purple base. It's not the first feathers of that kind that she sees around here, but she still hasn't been able to spot the creature they belong to.

Turo also seems intrigued by them, getting down on one knee to pick one up. His free hand goes to his neck, where his strangely smooth purple clothes start.

They seem to cling so tightly to Turo's body that, when he hooks one finger around the fabric and pulls it down slightly, it almost looks like he's pulling away a weird layer of purple skin.

It looks creepy enough to distract her for a moment from what he is actually doing, namely pulling out an object hanging from his neck that was obviously hidden under his clothes.

Sada lets out a little gasp and points at it.

« My necklace!»

He nods, looking a bit embarrassed, then holds up the necklace still looped around his neck in one hand and the feather in the other. Some of the smaller feathers used in the necklace have the exact same shade of blue.

Sada gets a bit closer, keeping the torch at arm's length.

They could be from the same creature... And as far as she can remember, there are no flying creatures around with bright blue feathers.

« What is it?» Turo asks, probably his way of asking what creature it came from.

Sada shakes her head.

« I don't know.»

He looks disappointed, and slips the feather he has found in his mantle, and the necklace back under his clothes.

They keep looking for a while, but the sun having set completely in the meantime forces them to stop. Wandering around in the dark is way too dangerous; the torch is now their only source of light, complete darkness pressing against them all around otherwise.

Actually, not really the only source: Turo's purple clothes seem to glow slightly in the dark.

She stares at them for a second while he notices and ties his mantle closed, slightly embarrassed. Those have to be the most useless and backwards clothes she's ever seen.

Noticing that Turo seems to glance around nervously, she grabs his hand and guides him by walking ahead.

Or at least tries to, because his hand almost seems to squirm away from the contact, and then he suddenly stops. She turns around, only to find him with his head held high, eyes fixed to the night sky.

And an expression of almost child-like wonder on his face.

She raises her eyes to the sky as well. The moon has almost completely disappeared that night, leaving only the myriad tiny lights in the sky to shine. She's always wondered what they are; some are bigger, some smaller, some look like they are twinkling, like really small distant fires, high up in the sky.

Who's lighting those fires? Some creature, flying up in the sky at night? Maybe other people, living really, really far away?

Turo is looking at the sky like someone who is seeing it for the first time in his life; he resumes walking, slowly, but keeps glancing up, and barely avoids stumbling to the ground a couple of times, smiling all the while.

It's both adorable and heartbreaking at the same time; where they... really keeping him secluded somewhere his whole life?

Maybe he wasn't banished from his tribe. Maybe he escaped.

Maybe he's terrified of meeting other people because he's afraid of getting locked up again.

Her theory only sounds more plausible when they get back to the camp, and she insists on giving him some of her pelts to sleep in.

He looks incredibly nervous as they settle down on opposites sides of the fire.

She can hear him turn around, unable to sleep, long into the night, until she herself finally falls asleep.

He's gone come morning, but there is a piece of paper torn from his notebook left near her when she wakes up, with two day and night symbols drawn on it.
Chapter 5: Fast & FuTurious


Bug Catcher
So here it's chapter 5 (I'm still proud of that dumb title lol)!
After some debating I've decided to simply keep posting the story here exactly as it is in the original, errors and all, only adjusting the formatting a bit for legibility. (And maybe fixing some glaring typos if I happen to catch them)

Chapter 5: Fast & FuTurious

Report on Time travel jump n. 2 of Dr. Romero Turo, time-anchor ID 9537.

Coordinates of successful jump: 48°51′12″ N, 2°20′55″ E (current time position: Lumiose City)

Weather conditions: Clear, temperatures recorded by suit sensors average 15°C. Measurements coherent with estimated data about Last Glacial Period. Body suit encountered no difficulties in maintaining body temperature to comfortable levels.

Number of hours spent time-displaced: 5 hours and 12 minutes

Shortly after landing, encountered a Pokémon that seems to be an ancestor of the common modern Magikarp. The Pokémon, temporarily dubbed "Proto-Magikarp", showed a predatory instinct and aggressiveness completely absent in its modern counterpart. It's anatomy also showed a clear adaptation to hunting prey; strong musculature for swimming even against the current and developed teeth for ripping flesh, more similar in size and form to the ones seen in Pokemon like Basculin or Carvanha (possible common ancestor?).

Most interesting was it's behaviour after accidentally beaching itself in an attempt to assault me. It thrashed violently to right itself until it could attack again, in a movement extremely similar to the currently useless move "Splash" that Magikarp still uses today. I believe this to be the original use of the technique, and that possibly most Pokémon that are -or were- using the move known as Splash could actually have originally developed different uses for it, until changes in physiology and environment changed the move into its current iteration.

Made contact again with a native"

And there the report stopped, the cursor blinking on the monitor patiently waiting for Turo to continue. And it would have to wait quite a bit more, because the screen had been sitting untouched for the best part of two hours now, his owner seemingly much more interested in slowly spinning the leather chair (fake leather, of course. Were would you even get true leather these days?) he was currently slouched into round and round, both arms behind his head, staring at the ceiling of his office. Contrary to the fancy ceiling of the sanity room, this one didn't have much in terms of decoration - just the standard "regulate the artificial lights automatically to simulate sunlight".

At the moment, the light was dark orange, reflecting the sunset that was currently visible in real time right outside the window. Just a couple minutes more, and the last rays of sunlight would completely disappear behind the tall buildings of Mesagoza. In ancient times, the city had been built similar to an old fortress, with the Pokémon Academy built on the top of a hill towering over every other building, looking down on the city. Nowadays, the Pokemon Academy (and the University for more modern studies that had been built near it a couple centuries ago) was neither at the highest point nor the tallest building in the city anymore.

He felt conflicted about reporting his meetings with Sada. On one hand, he kind of had to do it; on the other, having to write about it in such cold and technical terms, like it was nothing more than an experiment to report on, felt.... Wrong.

There was also the issue of other people taking interest in his project; now that he had proven that it was possible, nothing was stopping someone else going in the exact same time and place. It was extremely improbable; there was a sort of "code of honor" between researchers of the TTLD: no interfering with other people's project, unless you were actively collaborating in a joint activity.

The possibility was there though, and the idea of an entourage of scientists arriving near Sada's people to study them like in some safari, even if carefully from afar while staying hidden instead of making active contact, was... It made him feel guilty.

He shouldn't have felt that way:

Studying and observing history was what they did, after all. That was the whole point of their job.

They travelled to the past as silent observers to confirm historical moments, to witness them first hand with a neutral perspective. Sometimes it was to confirm scientific theories, or to preserve artifacts that would have been lost to time otherwise. They did it to make sure not to repeat the mistakes of the past, and cautiously monitored the future to better prepare for it in the present.

It was right there in their motto, written in clear letters at the entrance of the Time Travel Laboratory Department, and again right on the time machine, something to be reminded of every time you stepped into it.

Ex tempore, scientia.

Ex scientia, sapientia.

"From time, knowledge. From knowledge, wisdom"

The irony of using a long dead language to write it in hadn't been lost on him. Whoever had come up with that had to have a nice sense of humour.

So he shouldn't feel guilty in reporting all that had happened... But a part of him still did.

Turo stopped the chair so that it was facing the screen again. With a sigh, he gestured to the screen to resume writing and continued to silently dictate his report, mouthing the words while opening another screen on his left with a flick of his finger to check some data his suit had recorded.

Info about his vitals, measurements about the environment gathered automatically while regulating said vitals... Audio transcripts of the entire conversation.

He slipped an earpiece in and started to play the audio back from the very beginning.

He had to be as accurate as possible.


Miraidon leaped excitedly out of the door, the pixelated compound pupils cycling through an array of colours outside of the usual cyan.

« Gyaa-»

« I know, I know, just let me... Lock the door...» Turo had barely finished scanning his ID through the door when the Pokémon, growing impatient, started to gently headbutt his shoulder, nipping at his arm.

Turo laughed softly and let himself be pushed along, exiting their apartment complex and walking into the streets of the megalopolis. It was a nice Saturday morning and the street buzzed with activity;his wasn't the only Miraidon present, the dragon Pokémon zipping around roads that, with traffic by now virtually nonexistent for short distances, had been adapted to better use for them and other, still popular vehicles like Rotom bikes.

A bunch of kids was sitting on benches in a small plaza, excitedly talking about the latest e-sport tournament in some vr game or other.

He dismissed an ad that started playing on the wall-sized display of a building as soon as he got near, more focused on the news snippets that were playing on the screen next to it.

Celebrity gossip. The colony on Mars was still stuck in the middle of a global dust storm. Stark mountain in Sinnoh had been erupting for five days straight. The Hassel Art Gallery was holding an art exhibition with pieces from the 24rd century (recovered by the TTLD, by the way).

A comet that would pass near Earth was closely being monitored, with some people swearing that it was going to be Jirachi's Millennium Comet (spoiler alert: it wasn't, it's orbit was completely mapped and it came near Earth every 300 years or so. That didn't stop people from romanticism about it).

He turned to Miraidon while finishing to put on a pair of gloves; his riding clothes were slightly different from his usual body suit, more similar to mountain biking gear. Still sleek and pretty form fitting with a dark purple color(he just... Liked the color), it sported elbow and knee pads in woven borophene to absorb impacts, with the same sturdy but flexible material covering his chest and shoulders, and shoes with magnetic soles to better cling to Miraidon's back while riding. The last piece of equipment was a full face helmet in a solid black color.

« Gyaaaa-»

Turo could almost feel the dragon next to him raring to go, a static charge building up on his scales while it crouched low on all fours to let him mount on his back.

He patted the Pokémon's neck while jumping on with practiced ease, gripping the two spikes that grew from his front legs and acted as natural handlebars.

« All right, let's go!»

The Pokémon let out a piercing shriek and jumped forward, leaping a couple of times on all four legs, still in low power mode, before releasing the electricity it had been storing mid leap to generate two bright energy rings from its throat and tail, changing smoothly into his drive mode before it even touched the ground again.

Turo lowered himself on the Pokémon's back while it sped up along the road, briefly racing with another Miraidon -the rider waving at them- before doing a sharp turn to get on the main road. There the dragon accellerated again, his rings glowing brightly while more electricity and power coursed through them, a roar growing increasingly louder not from the Pokémon's throat but from the jet-like vents from his legs.

Turo loved that feeling; the perfectly aerodynamic shape making him feel every air current, the electricity crackling on his skin and passing over him harmlessly, the fact that he could feel the dragon's power pushing him faster and faster... there was no other Pokémon that made riding it feel as viscerally satisfying as his Miraidon did.

A Rotom bike would never feel this good.

It was something in their very DNA, humans and Miraidon's ancestors Cyclizar had developed an almost symbiotic relationship since ancient times. It just felt right for the both of them, and the fact that they had been together since he was little more than a toddler and the Pokémon barely out of the egg had only made their bond even deeper. His mother always joked that Turo had almost learned to ride Miraidon before learning to walk, and certainly before learning to crawl.

He tapped the Pokémon's right spike and gently pressed his left leg against the Pokémon's side, Miraidon reading his body language and turning to the right into another road, towards the city's southern gate... Which was actually a bit of a misnomer. It was more correct to say that it was the city's historical southern gate and border.... By now, "Mesagoza" had expanded to become a megalopolis that included Los Platos and another half a dozen cities in South Paldea, almost reaching Cabo Poco on the coast.

Turo waited until they were officially out of the city's center before speaking to the Pokemon again. Technically, what he wanted to do wasn't exactly allowed. He needed a lot of open space and a nice, long road just to be safe.

« C'mon buddy, I know you can go much faster!»

Miraidon snorted and shook his head, turning it's head enough to glare at him with just one eye, the pupil flickering on and off in annoyance.

« Gyaa...»

Turo just grinned, the helmet masking his expression while he kept teasing the dragon. That was the reaction he was expecting, really. Mostly because it was kinda risky to do. For him, not for Miraidon. But it was also going to be awesome if it worked.

« Don't tell me you're scared to try that

« Gwaooooh!»

That seemed to do it, the Pokémon roaring indignantly before slowing down slightly, energy rings shrinking in size.

Turo braced himself, leaning completely forward on the dragon's back, his helmet almost touching the creature's smooth neck.

The crackling of electricity kept rising all around him, Miraidon concentrating on revving up his Hadron Engine to the fullest before rearing up on his hind legs with a screeching, metallic roar. Yellow and purple-blue energy surged through the dragon's throat, tail and antennae while it started to push itself off the ground on pure electromagnetic power alone, first just levitating and then propelling itself higher and higher.

Turo laughed while the road they had been following grew smaller and smaller, Miraidon soaring through the sky in his ultimate form at exhilarating speed. The wind was so strong that it kept him pushed flat on the dragon's back, and made it impossible to hear any sound apart from its howl. To communicate with the dragon, he would have to rely on touch alone, or simply trust it's judgement.

They passed Los Platos in the span of fifteen minutes instead of the hour of driving it would have taken them travelling along the highway and kept going south, flying over other districts and towns. He could already see the ocean, high up as they were, the water glittering under the sun and a welcome change of scenery from the constant grey, pure white and bright artificial lights of the city.

He pressed both legs against Miraidon's sides and leaned slightly to the left, noticing something on the coast that had caught his attention. The dragon growled in acknowledgement and started to tip forward towards the ground, dropping both altitude and speed while it slowly circled around the spot he had pointed to. Turo slowly straightened his back when the lower speed allowed it, sitting upright on the Pokémon's back and observing the building that laid under them, coming closer and closer.

It looked like an old lighthouse, the very top having broken off and fallen to the ground long ago, crashing through the roof of what looked like a small house built right next to it. And by old, he meant old, the place still looking like it had been built with classic bricks and mortar.

That had to make it at least a thousand years old, if not much more.

He directed Miraidon to land on the elevated platform that was still standing, then cautiously dismounted the dragon, almost expecting the entire building to crumble under his feet at the slightest touch. It didn't.

He took off his helmet and turned toward the edge of the platform, where a railing had probably allowed people to enjoy the view without risking falling off in the past, but had completely rusted away in the meantime. Being so close to the sea probably had not helped.

The ladder (not an elevator? Shit that made it even older than he first thought) that had allowed the caretakers or visitors to climb up had met a similar fate, leaving nothing but a gaping hole and a long drop to the ground.

He stared at the sea for a while; it was strange to think that the ocean was probably the only part of the current view that he could enjoy similarly to people that had stood here in the past, the only scenery that hadn't changed at all, and hopefully never would.

It was... strangely comforting.

« Let's keep going, I want to reach Artazon by noon » he declared after another couple minutes, turning back towards Miraidon. The dragon just stared at him, then hissed softly and briefly flicked his antennae, spreading his gliding membrane open.

The message was pretty clear: no flying in ultimate mode this time.

Turo just rolled his eyes, climbing back on the Pokémon's back.

« Yeah, yeah... All right mom, we'll do it the boring and careful way...»

There was another hiss by the lizard dragon and the gliding membrane opened up again before he was finished putting on his helmet, hitting him square on the nose.


« Your nose looks pretty red, is it alright?»

« Shut up, it's fine.»

The sanity room today was a beautiful recreation of the first floor of the Sprout Tower of Violet city. An hologram in the center of the room simulated the famous central pillar of the building, swaying in place, while the sound of creaking floorboards, soft chants and prayers from the monks (personally recorded by current director and head researcher of the TTDL) filled the room. Someone had gone the extra mile and even lighted some incense. Bellsprouts were sadly missing though. It was the kind of atmosphere that made everyone present subconsciously talk in whispers, at least until Ortega snickered while stealing a chair from the next table and sitting down near him.

« Was it something in the Paleolithic era? »

Turo glared at his colleague, then sniffled. His nose still hurt.

« No... Why would it be? Isn't that what the pre time-jump shots are for? Avoiding getting killed by millennia old bacteria and a dozen other things? » he answered. Ortega just shrugged.

« I don't know. Maybe you had gotten punched in the face by some caveman.»

« No, nothing like that.» he quickly tried to change the subject, not wanting to admit to getting whacked in the face.

« How is your project going? What was it again...?»

Ortega was a bit of a weird case in the department, always seeming to swap between one project or another instead of focusing on one thing at a time; Turo could never quite remember what the guy was working on at the moment.

« "Confirming historical moments that drastically changed human society in the last couple centuries"» Ortega recited.

« Which is just a fancy way of saying "I dick around dressed in historically accurate clothes"» another voice piped up from the table where Ortega had just stolen furniture from. A woman with ferociously red hair sat down opposite from Turo, offering a handshake.

« Melany Vega, pleased to meet you»

He took it, trying not to smile at Ortega looking annoyed.

« Hey, dressing for the part is important! Especially in most recent centuries. In ancient times, you can land anywhere and just say "Ooooh, me come from far away land!" and people will believe you because it's not like they knew better. That doesn't fly in modern times. People will know something's up if you show up in impossible clothes. Not to mention getting caught on camera. And the internet. »

« W-wait... Wouldn't it still be better to at least try and... Look like you fit in? Should I...? » Turo asked, eyes widening.

Both fellow time travellers looked at him for a moment.

« You're "Paleolithic era" guy, right? » Vega asked.

... Is that what people were calling him?

« Yours is a special case. You go so far back that it doesn't matter. Even if someone noticed your weird clothes, at most it would become a bit of a strange story and then get lost to time... Unless you did something so memorable that it becomes a legend passed down for all of human history, but in that case, we would have bigger problems on our hands.

And we wouldn't even know where to start in making replicas of clothes that pass as historically accurate for you, because we know so little about it. Do it wrong, and it's even worse. » Vega answered after a moment. Ortega nodded.

« Yeah, best you could do for historical accuracy was showing up naked... And I don't recommend that.»

« ... You sound like you speak from experience.» Turo muttered after a moment.

Ortega just smiled, refusing to elaborate.

Turo could only sigh at his senior, then turned back towards the redhead.

« If I may ask, what are you working on...?»

« "Gathering photographic evidence of legendary Pokemon's sightings in different eras"»

Turo's mouth hanged open for a moment.

« You chase legendaries? »

Arceus, that must have looked badass on your resume.

Vega nods.

« It's way less epic than what it sounds like. 90% of "legendary Pokémon" sightings in history are people that had one too many drinks and mistook a Pangoro for an Urshifu or something stupid like that. » she explains.

« You did get that really cool picture of the battle between Groudon and Kyogre in Sootopolis City though. The one from uuuuh... 2005 was it?» Ortega points out.

« Those two are always going at it, it's nothing special! My grandma's got a picture from their last battle some 50 years ago that looks basically the same! » Vega rants, looking annoyed.

« The only way you can tell the picture is genuinely from 2005 it's because Steven Stone and those two eco terrorist idiots are chillin' in the background!»

The two men both laugh, then to his dismay Ortega manages to bring the conversation back to his nose.

« Anyway, what I wanted to say before we got sidetracked was... I would wait a couple more days before jumping back, if I were you. Get that nose back to normal. The less excuses you have to make and keep track of, the better. That's why I don't like visiting the same time more than a couple of times. Too much effort. » he shrugged again.

It was surprisingly solid advice, and Turo nodded, grimacing a bit. He had hoped to jump back exactly three days later for both him and Sada to try and keep the two timelines as coherent as possible- if nothing else, for his own sanity, because the second jump being an entire month for him and barely a week for her had already been confusing enough, but it looked like things rarely would be that easy to keep track of.

Still, as long as the disparity was only going to be a couple more days here and there, he could do it...


When he had gone back (and his nose gone back to normal) to Sada's camp he had expected to find her already there, but the place looked abandoned. No pelts or furs to mark a spot where she could have been sleeping, and even someone as clueless as him could see that the fire hadn't been used in days. She probably had gone back to her group for a couple of days.

He decides to light the fire himself while waiting for her to arrive, then sets himself down on the ground. He's brought a second notebook with him - it's not like he can bring anything more advanced than pen and paper to take notes in. Dropping some paper and a pen in the wrong century? No problem, it will decompose in no time and the most someone can do is doodling on it. Dropping an entire tablet?

Way more risky if someone else finds it.

The only exception is his suit, but even then, half of its function only really work when he goes back to his time. Sure, it's recording every single heart beat of his, or changes in body or external temperature, or fluctuations in hormones and stress levels, but he can't access the data here, and the suit itself literally only works for the one who wears it, keyed to their DNA.

He starts to jot down some observations about what has happened until now and what he wants to check today. Sada had showed him a drawing of what was unmistakably a Talonflame, and hadn't commented on it when he had drawn one himself: that could only mean that in this time Talonflame was already the same as the one he knew from documentaries and pictures. No weird changes like that Proto - Magikarp.

It made a certain amount of sense. Even in his time, not all Pokemon had slowly changed until they were basically recognised as different species like Miraidon and Cyclizar.

Some had simply gone extinct, not being able to adapt. Some (not many, admittedly, with the great majority of them being legendaries and mythicals that were so powerful they didn't need to change) hadn't felt the need to change further, like Magikarp.

He wanted to observe a Talonflame of this time if possible... But he was mostly interested in their feathers.

They were pretty famous for being completely fireproof: people had used them for creating fire- resistant clothes since ancient times, and he wanted to know if Sada knew about that property, but had had no idea how to ask her about it.

Easiest thing would be to just find some feathers and show her.


They had found some feathers, but not the ones he was interested in, and in the meantime, Turo's been forced to pretend that they are looking for them because he's cold.

He's not, the bodysuit is more than capable of keeping his body at a perfectly comfortable average temperature of 37°C at any time. But he knows that they surely don't look like warm clothes, and saying that he is fine would just look weird - and the last thing he needs is looking even weirder than he already does.

Still, the feather they have found is pretty big - big enough that the Pokemon it comes from must have an impressive wing span -, and Sada herself doesn't seem to know much about it. He slips the feather into his pocket, with half an idea of having the guys from the science department at Uvanja Academy run some DNA tests on it to try and identify what Pokémon it is.

The forest has gotten darker and darker as soon as the sun had gone down. Turo shouldn't be surprised, it's obvious that it would become dark, but... He had no idea it would be this dark. A total, impenetrable, pitch black darkness that looked ready to swallow them as soon as the fire on the little torch Sada was carrying fizzled out. Anything could be hiding out there.

He's suddenly incredibly aware of how spoiled living with artificial light always available has made him. True darkness simply does not exist anymore in his time... Except maybe the bottom of the ocean or something. Places were humans have no business living in any case.

Anywhere else, there is always a street lamp, or a display or a monitor that's on 24/7, or his Rotom Phone. His own clothes have stripes with a slight bioluminescence built into them.

His eyes simply are not used to not having even just a bit of light. And speaking of his clothes, Sada is staring at them, and it occurs to him that maybe wearing something that literally shouts where you are to any nocturnal Pokémon in the vicinity wasn't exactly the best of ideas. The fire could be put out, or brandished as a weapon in an emergency. His bodysuit... Not so much. He buttons up his lab coat (which is only slightly more stealthy due to his color, or lack thereof) to hide it completely.

She takes his hand, which he doesn't mind. It's starting to become a constant, her dragging him along and leading the way, but this time he finds himself frozen to the spot when he almost casually lifts his head to glance at the night sky.

He's never seen this many stars in real life.

Too much light pollution in the city, making the night sky look like a foggy black sheet with only the moon and the brighest stars managing to shine through.

Of course he's seen pictures, and documentaries, and those stupidly big photographs done with the latest telescopes with a resolution of a bajillion pixels where you could zoom in for a good while before getting tired and closing the tab. He's even gone to a planetarium a couple of times, but even that time, as cool as it had been, it still had only been a really good 3D picture projected on a (really big) screen.

There was no sense of depth on a picture or a screen. No way to reproduce the slight vertigo he was feeling in this moment, with the sky so impossibly open and vast over his head and everywhere he looked, just more and more stars.

Not a single silhouette of a building to cover it. No blinking lights from planes or satellites or space stations.

He kinda wants to keep staring at the sky for a while, but Sada keeps dragging him along and he can't do much else but follow her.

Still, he's pretty sure that he's got another stupid smile on his face that's impossible to stop.


He stands corrected: the smile melts off his face when they arrive back to camp and it becomes increasingly obvious that Sada expects him to spend the night with her.

Not with her, thank Arceus, but still to sleep at the camp until morning (and giving him some blankets made of what looks like thick Mamoswine fur while she is at it, because he's cold, of course).

From her point of view, it makes perfect sense.

From his point of view, it means he can't leave.

Not without going poof right in front of her, and that is, of course, bad.

"Rule number 1 of the time traveller manual" levels of bad. Don't get seen appearing or disappearing.

He needs to get a good distance away from her to avoid having the flash of light that accompanies his jumps alert her - or the entire forest for that matter -, but that is just not possible at the moment.

Turo's got the distinct impression that the woman is keeping an eye on him even while she is completely draped in blankets herself, ready to bolt and tackle him to the ground if he so much as tries to look like he wants to walk away and get his dumb ass eaten in the forest the instant he steps out of the circle of light, warmth and protection offered by the fire.

He finally gets an opportunity to slip away almost at dawn, when he is sure that she is fast asleep, but not before slowly and carefully leaving a message with the next date when they can meet up near her. Only two days.


It ends up being four on his time, because the time machine is completely booked in the following days, even in the night. That's also something that was starting to mess with him, having to come and go in the middle of the night, but it had surprisingly worked out this time. Spending an entire night in the past too nervous to sleep, then finally coming back at the crack of dawn and it still being like 3 AM felt amazing and had basically made his tired brain go "yesss, free sleepy time!" when he had come home and crashed asleep on the bed.

The next day, after finishing his report - he can already hear the jokes about "spending the night there"-, he submits a request for having some analysis performed on the feather he's brought back. He also makes them analyze the necklace. The answer arrives just a couple of hours later, mostly because there isn't too much to say.

Yes, DNA from the necklace and the feathers were a perfect match, so it is the same Pokémon.

No, they've got no idea what it is.

"You want us to try and look for the closest genetic relative? That's going to take a bit more"

"Sure, go ahead"

He had made sure to get the necklace back from them, though. By now it was starting to feel weird to not have it around his neck.

Turo stepped into the time machine, and immediately scowled when the first thing to greet him in the past is rain hitting him in the face. Great, he would have to charge his time-anchor manually this time if it didn't let up soon.

There had to be a better way to do this, he thought as he made his way towards the camp, boots squelching through the mud. Can't Porygon 568 check the weather for him before he jumps? An umbrella would have been weird, but he would have brought at least a jacket.

This time Sada is already waiting for him, even if it takes him a moment to recognize her; she's wearing what looks like a primitive grey cape with a hood to protect her from the rain, and a larger than usual bag slung on her back. She's definitely more prepared than him. Sada must be thinking something similar, because she just looks at him - hair plastered on his face, lab coat getting soaked, probably a tired dead look in his eyes- and shakes her head with half a smile.

« Come with me.»

By now her hand grasping his wrist and pulling him along is becoming a familiar sight; Sada hurries him along in the opposite direction they've been going two nights ago, walking increasingly uphill. After a couple of minutes his legs are already burning with pain from the effort; at least the time-anchor's getting charged. Sada, who is also carrying way more clothes and luggage than him, is barely breathing any faster than normal.

... was he horribly out of shape, or were people just built differently back then?

... both??

He slipped on the mud a couple of times and she grabs his arm with both hands to stop him from falling back down the hill, then mercifully stopped for a moment.

« Here » she offers him her spear to use as a makeshift walking stick, and he takes it after a second, feeling absolutely ridiculous. This thing was heavy: a good two meters long, the stone tip masterfully crafted to a sharp point and kept in place by fibers wrapped to make rope. And they used to throw these things.

His month spent reading up on Stone Age life has taught him one thing: the only reason humans had not only not gone exctinct by sharing the planet with Pokémon but had risen as the dominant species was thanks to their ability to just throw stuff really, really well. Almost everything else had come from that. Early hominids had literally evolved to throw stuff as efficiently as possible; hell, even the Pokéball, which they had based their entire society on after it's invention, had been developed to be thrown.

They could have made it so it had to be rolled. Or punched. Or simply pointed against the objective, but nah, they had decided "let's throw that, watch me nail that Bidoof on the head from 30 meters" (or at least, that's how he had always imagined the first practical demostration of the Pokéball to have gone down).

And that was just... wild to him. Even as heavy as it is, the spear helps quite a bit in keeping him upright while walking.

« Where... are we... going?» he heaved after a while. Sada turned around for a moment, looking at him a bit worried, then pointed at something that rested at the very top of the hill. He squinted through the rain; the green and brown of the forest disappeared towards a massive crag. Near its base, a rock overhang created a natural space shielded from the rain.

With a sigh of relief, Turo forces himself to climb the last couple hundred meters until they reach the entrance of the cave.

He fumbles for his time-anchor while sitting down on the ground and clicks a button to take note of the current coordinates; no way was he going to climb that hill again if he could avoid it.

Meanwhile, Sada just looks like she did nothing more than have a nice leasurely stroll. She pulls down her hood and sits down near him with a smile.

« Hi.» he smiled a bit in response; they have both picked up words from the other, he usually more words from her than the opposite, so hearing her speak something in his language is still kind of strange.

Turo takes off his lab coat to leave it to dry, and can't help but notice that Sada is staring at it. With an amused chuckle, he remembers how fascinated by it she seemed to be on their first meeting and offers it to the woman, who stared at him wide-eyed for a moment before taking it with both hands and examining it.

« What creature is it?» she wondered.

« It's not... here. » he answered slowly after a moment. Better just to tell her that it came from some Pokémon that lived incredibly far away.

« Where my, umm... people are.» he added, remembering the word after a short moment.

Technically the truth. She pouted, evidently disappointed, then gives him back the lab coat and goes for her bag. He's actually been curious about that: it's held shut with strips of leather, and is probably full of everything she needs to set up camp somewhere. There's blankets rolled up, her smaller leather pouch where she seems to gather berries and other perishables, and of course, the notebook, hidden inside one of the blankets... to protect it from the rain, probably. He smiled almost proudly - of course she would be careful like that.

Sada took the notebook out and flipped it open; he shuffled a bit closer, ready for another language lesson, but the page is completely empty. She actually looks a bit embarassed all of a sudden.

« I, umm.... » she pointed to her own cape and hood, then to his bodysuit.

« "Clothes" »

Turo nodded, not sure where she was going with this.

Sada started to rummage in her bag again; usually he is the one to embarass himself in front of her, so seeing her mutter something under her breath while avoiding his gaze is... the only word he can find is "precious".

It's adorable.

« Turo's clothes, um... cold. So I... make clothes... my people clothes... » she showed him what she had taken out of the bag: a big bundle of cloth of various sizes and color, the furs obviously coming from different Pokémon. And in her other hand, what's obviously a needle made out of bone.

She wants to... oh man.

Looks like he's getting those "historically accurate clothes" after all.


Rescue Team Member
Pokemon Paradise
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
I want you to know that I haven't even gotten halfway through the first chapter yet and I'm already giggling with glee. This is so good!

I completely burst out laughing at Turo's first thought about being able to experience life in this era being that he could write a paper on it.

Anyways, I'm here for catnip! I've been wanting to read this fic for a while, ever since you reviewed Eternal Shadows, and I'm so happy to say that it exceeded my already pretty high expectations!

First off, love your writing style. It reminds me sorta of my favorite fanfic ever, Dimensional Links. The way you blend plot and humor seamlessly is amazing, and it reminds me of cozy days reading a good fanfic. Which this absolutely is!

Sada and Turo are a delight to read about here. Their interactions are amazing, and as someone who's always loved clashes of extremes, it's so cool seeing someone from the distant future interact with someone from the distant past.

Violet is one of the only mainline Pokemon games I finished, alongside Legends Arceus, and I can really tell that this is Turo. You have his personality down perfectly from what we're given in the games. I'm so simultaneously excited and worried about Turo and Sada's eventual spiral into tragedy. Or maybe they'll have a happy ending? Either way, I'm hooked!

Thank you for writing this!


Rescue Team Member
Pokemon Paradise
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
I'm already giggling with glee again, not even 500 words in.

This chapter was just as lovely as the last! We get Sada's POV! Paradox Pokemon! Insight into Sada's community! Aaaaaa it's all so good!

I'm imagining the Brutal Fangs as especially fierce Magikarp. No wonder Turo is so shocked by them!

I'm really struggling to collect my thoughts here, because it's all so good! Everything is amazing, and it's hard to pick individual stuff out. Heck, I'm STILL giggling with glee!

I love this fic so much already. It's easily my new favorite Paldea fic. It has so much personality and intrigue and it's just an absolutely wonderful experience!

Also, love the bit with the "thank you". That was lovely.

Thank you for writing this!
Chapter 6: Warm exchange


Bug Catcher
Chapter 6: Warm exchange
Sada was pretty proud of her idea, but explaining it to Turo proved more difficult than she thought. Still, he seems to get it after a moment, and his reaction is to shake his head and try to refuse. She had been expecting this; from food to her offer to join her settlement, he seems pretty adamant in refusing any kind of help.

Was he really that fearful and wary of other people?

This time though, she is not going to budge. He needs those clothes, the ones he is wearing now are completely useless at best and dangerous at worst, and he obviously seems unable to make some himself. Which makes sense, if he's never even hunted before.

Sada starts to unravel some thread from her bag, together with some leather strip with little signs cut on it that she is going to use to take measurements - her personal invention. When she lifts her head and turns back towards Turo, measurement tape in hand, she finds him staring at her with a slightly confused look on his face that gives her pause.

... What? He's never done this before? That's impossible, how would he even get his current clothes to fit so perfectly otherwise? It's like there wasn't a single inch of wasted material on those robes... And now that she's thinking about it, this is the first time she's seen him without his mantle on and can actually get a good look at the clothes without the fluttering white cape covering most of it.

A really good look, which makes her realize two things. One, they are... incredibly tight, even all around his shoulders and arms; it makes her feel both amazed and kind of jealous of the sewing abilities of whoever created them. The mysterious material probably helps, normal fur from the creatures that live here just doesn't stick like that. If it did, it would make it impossible for someone wearing them to move.

Two, he is pretty lean, to the point of having barely any muscle on him... no wonder he was having so much difficulty simply walking before.

Sada approaches him and gestures for him to stand up, which he does after a moment.

She first slips the strip of leather around his neck, to get an idea of how large the hole for the head should have to be and grumbles when he stiffens up and tries to back away.

« Just a moment -» she takes a quick note on the notebook - an idea she had just the other day. Her mother taught her how to sew and she takes pride in being quite good at it, getting clothes to fit as much as possible and using the cloth she had available in an efficient way. Which is exactly why she is so determined in getting them right: she doesn't want them to look shabby compared to his current ones.

Next she measures his shoulders and chest, and in the meantime, can't help but keep studying the purple clo... no, it's definitely not cloth. It's also not tiny scales like she had originally thought. It really looks like some kind of...shed skin that he somehow wrapped around himself without tearing it, all in one piece. Which is kinda impressive, but also a bit gross. Also what kind of creature would give you a single piece that big?

"What even is this thing... why make it glow?" she wonders silently, almost absent mindedly prodding the part of his suit that had been glowing the other night,right between his ribs, completely absorbed in her work to the point that she doesn't notice his increasing discomfort until his breath brushes against her hair for a moment.

Only then does Sada finally lift her gaze from the little leather strip still wrapped around his chest to find herself eye to eye with him, and realizes that they have never been this close to each other. They have walked together, they've sat side by side passing the notebook between them, but she's never actually gotten this close to him.

The thought that her curiosity had also gotten the better of her and she had kind of prodded him all over without really thinking about it finally hits her, along with the realization that judging by how he had flinched before, he hadn't exactly appreciated it.

Turo's expression at the moment is evenly divided between slight embarassment and... something she can't quite point out at first. Frustration, she realizes after a moment.

That makes her suddenly release the leather strip, letting it fall to the ground, and take a step back. Was he... angry at her? Sada bites her lip and turns around, feeling suddendly guilty. Right. This had been stupid. He had sayed no at first, and she should just have listened to him, even if she didn't understand his reasoning. But... she had just wanted to help...

Sada gets pulled back all of a sudden; she turns around, surprised, to find that Turo has

grabbed her by the wrist with one hand, and picked up the measurement tape with the other.

« No, you... make clothes.» he nods after a moment, giving her a smile. Just a small one, the corners of his mouth barely twitching upwards, but his eyes light up in the subtle way that only a genuine smile can do. He isn't forcing one just to be polite.

He wasn't one for big smiles, she had noticed, apart from that one time he had exploded into a complete laughing fit for... some reason that she still didn't quite get. And when he had smiled with wonder at the stars, it hadn't been directed at her like it was now. Which makes his smile now look even more... Genuine. Special.

« Just... » he points to himself and starts to wrap the tape around his chest again. « ... let me do it

She returns the smile after a moment of indecision -what was that frustration just now, then?-, much wider, before approaching him again.

With her explaining how to do it and occasionally keeping one end of the tape, they manage to get all the measurements done quite quickly. She happily looks at all the notes she's taken, then starts rummaging around the pile of furs to select the pieces she will have to cut and sew together.

In the meantime, Turo sits back down - looking quite relieved for the whole thing to be over- and takes a little piece of cloth from the pile, turning it around in his hands.

« You make...» a slight pause where he looks around, before pointing at the spear left near them and miming using it to stab something. « ... this

She just looks at him perplexed. Is he asking if they got the fur themselves? Well... yes? How else would get them?

« Yes. My people hunted them. "Hunt"» she repeats and mimes stabbing something back at him, and he winches a bit and looks uncomfortable, looking back at the fur in his hands. It was mostly yellow, with just two brown stripes almost at the center, and belonged to one of the furry rodents that would sometimes sneak into their camp to steal food. Nobody liked them, so they didn't even bother giving them a name other than "the pests" and they were pretty much attacked on sight.

His reaction still puzzled her; it was obvious that he didn't hunt personally, but... of course he must have known that people did it for him back in his tribe? He couldn't have been that sheltered, didn't he? But then why would he look so uncomfortable at the idea?

The only thing she can think of to explain it is that maybe, back in his place, the fuzzy yellow creatures were actually seen differently...?

« Your... Turo's people not hunt them...?» she tries to ask, and after a couple moments of thinking, he just chuckles a bit and shakes his head.

All right. Weird.

Sada looks back down on the piece of Steady Glacier pelt she's working with, trying to bore some holes in it with a sharp stone she took out of her bag, where the needle will then go through.

« Why? » she asks after a moment, looking back at him. That's a bit of a difficult question though, and she doesn't expect him to understand her. It frustrates her, how slowly they are progressing. With stuff you can point at or mime, physical actions, they are getting by and learning words quickly, sure... the drawings are also helping for stuff you don't always have around. Some little things she also picked up by context, if he says something incomprehensible but is obviously referring to something they both know.

But other things... she wants to asks him why he had looked frustrated right now, if it wasn't for the clothes. Where he disappears every time (and especially how). How his life was before, if he had really never seen the stars or barely walked around, to the point of being completely out of breath after a stroll. Why he had left his group.

Was he on the run? Were they looking for him?

As she expected, Turo just shakes his head, then throws the little pelt back in the pile and sits back down, arms resting on his knees. Now that she thinks about it... she steals a glance to his right wrist. There. There's a thing on his arm that he's always fiddling with, she has noticed. It's usually covered by the white mantle, so now it's her first time getting a good look at it. It looks like some bracelet, made of strange parts attached together perfectly, like most of his stuff.

« What is it? » she asks, pausing briefly to point at it. He automatically tries to hide his hand away, before realizing that he is not wearing the mantle.

« My people... make it. » Turo still seems to try to cover it up by putting his other hand over it, even if subconsciously. It must be important to him. A memento?

But it always looks like he does something with it, because she has caught him slipping his other hand into the sleeve to touch it a couple of times.

Was it some kind of... ritual? Like how some hunters would paint their faces and cover themselves with furs of the creatures they wanted to hunt, to summon their spirit for good luck?

« Why...?» she asks again, before realizing with a frustrated sigh that that question would not bring her any answers. She had to word it differently. She puts the fur down and thinks quietly for a couple of long moments, biting her lip.

« Sada... um, "I" » she stresses the word and points to herself for good measure, trusting him to realize that she is still referring to herself.

« I am... "hunter". I "hunt". » Sada tries to emphasize the difference between the two words and mimes some quick spear attacks for good measure.

« Turo... "you"...?»

Turo's been completely silent the whole time, just listening and quietly staring at her, dark brown eyes completely inscrutable. It makes her heart start beating faster and feel suddenly nervous, the way that his face shows absolutely no emotion right now. Just what is he thinking...?

He breaks eye contact to stare at the ground for a second, giving another one of his almost invisible half-smiles.

« "I" am... no "hunter".» he chuckles after a moment shaking his head and her heart skips a beat, because his accent had been almost perfect this time, and this is probably the most coherently sound exchange they've ever had without having to stumble or mime their way through half the words, as basic as it was. He got it. He understood her!

"We can do this"

« What... are you?» she asks after a moment. She just wants... a word, even if in his language. They can start with that. Just... something to define him with, that lets her know that he actually has some kind of... role, or position in his tribe, to draw parallels from.

Turo hesitates a second, his left hand briefly scratching at his chin while he seems to ponder something. He lowers his hand and raises in eyes to meet hers again.

« I am... a scientist

« "Scient....ist."»

That... was that his word for sciaman? What other roles could there be in the tribe?

His next words completely shatter her bubbling excitement, throwing her into complete confusion.

« You are... a scientist

... what? She is no shaman. She literally just told him that her position is that of huntress. Has he completely misunderstood her after all?

« No, I...»

« Yes, you are.» he leans closer towards the notebook that's been laying between them and flips back to the first page, points to the notes she's taken, the drawings, the little tests with the torn paper and the smudged ink where she had got it wet and realized for the first time that it would be better to keep the paper away from the rain.

« This. All this... make you a scientist.» there is an... intensity in his voice that she's never heard before. He is utterly convinced.

She doesn't quite understand what he means, but he believes in it fully.

So, for him, is it more like... a title...? For what?

« And that is... beautiful.» Turo whispers something to himself, something she can't understand yet. She will not be able to for quite some time.


Turo had left at sunset, walking back down the hill until he had disappeared through the trees, promising to come back after five nights at this same spot. As always, she had to suppress the urge to just sneak after him, choosing to keep working on his clothes. It would take a couple of days before she's finished with them, especially because she still has to provide for herself in the meantime - better to keep her berry bag untouched for the actual trip back to the settlement.

It happens right when Sada is out hunting; she's been looking for eggs to steal this time, and the fastest way to do it was to find a Slither Grip. Long and completely purple, she had noticed them wrapped all around tree branches to sneak over an unsupervised nest and swallow the eggs whole while the parents were away. Stalk one of them, scare it away while it's busy eating the first egg, and you had free access to all others. Easy.

She crouched low behind a bush, spear slung over her shoulder, staring at the purple and yellow creature that was making it's way up the tree, gripping the branches with two short claws near the upper part of it's body, when a low thud fills the air. Wings flapping, pretty big ones. Sada stares at the tree tops for a moment, worried; she can't see what kind of eggs they are, but if that is the sound of one the parents coming back to the nest, it would be better to retreat, fast. A shadow passes over the ground for a moment, and the creature seems to pass right over them; she manages to catch just to quickest glimpse of something red, and big, before it's gone, wings flapping heavily to keep it afloat. Is it going to land near here...?

The Slither Grip had also paused briefly, it's tail making a slight rattling noise, before deciding that the food right in front of it's nose was evidently more important. It opens it's jaw wide and gobbles up the first egg, and Sada stands up.

If she wants to act, she has to do it now. She throws a rock she has carefully prepared before at the creature, nailing it on the head. The Slither Grip is still busy swallowing and can't do much else than angrily rattle it's tail at her. Another rock chucked right on it's nose makes it finally decide that the rest of the eggs are not worth the possible injuries of getting repeatedly pelted with rocks, and it slithers away much like the name implies, rattling all the way down the tree. As soon as it's gone, she quickly climbs the tree herself and carefully makes her way to the nest by crawling along the branch, legs and arms wrapped around it. The remaining three eggs are a bit smaller than what she would have liked, but better than nothing. She really carefully puts the eggs inside her bag and starts making her way back down the tree, satisfied. If only finding something to eat would be so easy every day...

Sada freezes when she hears something moving right under the tree, in the direction of where the Slither Grip had disappeared. There is a threatening rattle - definitely the purple creature, then a growl from something else that she's never heard before.

She quickly finishes climbing back from the tree and grabs her spear, conflicted.

On one hand, caution tells her to get away while she can. On the other hand, her curiosity makes her want to at least see what the misterious creature is.

Her curiosity wins.

Sada prowls through the underbrush, until she manages to catch a glimpse from the creature. It's definitely the one that flew overhead just before, and she finds herself staring at it in complete amazement. It's beautiful. Much bigger than the Slither Grip that it is currently staring down, it is standing upright on two strong legs covered in red scales like most of it's body, except for part of it's tail and throat that are completely black, and a white underbelly. A magnificent crest of big colorful feathers runs all along it's back and head, and she immediately recognizes them as the same ones she had used for Turo's necklace.

The creature stares at the Slither Grip for another long moment, then pounches with unexpected speed, grabbing the purple creature in it's maw. The Slither Grip's struggle is cut short when it bites down on it and shakes it's head violently, then tips it's head back to swallow it. It licks it's lips, then lowers it's gaze... and stares straight at her, the dark pupils on bright orange eyes narrowing in catching sight of her.

It's throat seems to expand suddenly and another growl, much louder than the one it had done just before, reverberates through the air.

Along with something else; Sada finds herself drenched in sweat, and not just from nervousness. The air has suddenly gotten much hotter around the creature while it squares her up.

She tightens her grip on the spear, heart hammering in her chest while she considers her chances; honestly? They weren't good. No way is she defeating this thing with a single spear. It's gotten way too close to her and is way too fast. No, the only way she is getting away from it is by distracting it. Make herself not worth the effort.

She slowly, slowly slips her free hand into the bag and gets one of the eggs out. The creature tilts it's head to it's side and hisses, but does not attack.

She crouches and deposits the egg onto the ground, then takes some steps back.

It's looking at the egg, then back at her.

It goes on four legs to sniff at it, tongue darting in and out for a moment, then snatches it up and swallows it. It licks it's lips again, then looks back at her, still on four legs.

Sada gets the second egg out, and the creature waits until she takes another step back before eating that too. It's eyeing her bag now, sniffing the air.

She scowls for a moment, then gets the last egg out.

« This was supposed to be mine...» she mutters while it happily devours the last egg, before looking back at her. It growls softly and suddenly spreads it's wings, flapping them with enough force to send her sprawling to the ground and taking off into the skies. Sada is left staring at the spot where the creature had disappeared, where a couple of white and blue feathers were fluttering to the ground.

It hadn't attacked her. It easily could have, but it didn't.

Against all better judgement, she decides to leave some food for it out every day in the same spot.


Sada can't wait for Turo to come back, and those five day and nights seem to pass excruciatingly slow. She wants to show him his new clothes, which she has completed in the meantime, and proudly announce that she's discovered what the strange creature is, since he also had looked interested in it. She can't wait to see his reaction to both things.

The food she is leaving where she met the creature disappears every day; it could be any other nearby creature eating it, but Sada has been finding more and more traces of the red creature around the forest. More feathers of the same color and lenght, even some scales, and she even caught it flying high in the sky a couple of times. It definitely looked like it lived around here.

She tries to draw it as better as she can in the notebook, and takes some notes about it. Really strong and bulky, definitely one of the strongest predators in the area. Could fly with the feathers on it's head, and enlarge a part of it's throat. It looked like a meat eater, but she had tried to leave some berries and roots and those had disappeared too. If no other creature had been the one to eat them, then it probably ate everything... but had showed no interest in eating her. Why?

People were an easy meal for most creatures, and she had been pretty much defenseless. It had looked way more interested in her bag... or the eggs, more probably. Maybe it just had been full.

At midday of the fifth day, she notices Turo come out of the trees and make his way toward the cave, not without stopping to catch his breath. Guy probably couldn't run to save his life. She is way too excited to wait for him to arrive and sprints towards the man.

« Turo! Your necklace! I've found the creature! It's so beautiful and strong and it can fly and- » he probably can't understand even half of what she is saying, but she doesn't care, she just grabs his hand with both of hers and pulls him along.

She's pretty much dragging him up towards the cave, and she can't help but laugh at his absolutely confounded expression, both eyebrows knitted while he is trying to puzzle out what she is saying based on the words he knows.

« Look here!» she grabs the notebook and shows him the drawing she's done, pointing to the big crest of feathers she's drawn on the head, then to one of those same feathers she has found in these past days. He gets it immediately, his eyes starting to shine while he examines the page.

Turo sits down, takes his own notebook out, and starts to copy her drawing.

She squeezes close to him to observe him work; like the first time, he is quick to get the basic shapes down, and starts drawing little lines and symbols she can't understand near it, pausing every now and then to check his work.

He points to one of the symbols she has drawn on the page.

« This... what is it?»

Oh, that was the one she had drawn to note that it seemed to like eggs. It was just a small circle, but with no context, no wonder that he had no idea what it meant.

... how could she explain it?

« Umm... "eggs". »

No reaction from him, because of course he has never heard the word before.

« Umm... wait.» she flips back to the drawing of the Fire Wing, and draws a little nest with three eggs in it. That should be self-explanatory... as long as he isn't so clueless that he's never seen eggs before.

« This creature... » she flips back to the drawing of the red beast.

« "Eats eggs".» she mimes putting something in her mouth and he seems to get it, nodding and writing down something on his page, more lines and symbols. She tilts her head at his notes, curious. It doesn't look like he is drawing anything in particular, at least nothing that she can recognize, they are more like... squiggly lines that mean something to him.

Weird. What if he forgets what one line means? How can he make sense of it?

She kind of wants to ask, but is not sure how. Also, she has something else to show him. Excited, she gets his new clothes out of her bigger travelling back and scoots back to his side.

« Your clothes! » she announces with a big smile. Turo raises his head from the notebook and his eye go wide. They are done mostly in Steady Glacier fur - which of course means that they are perfect against the cold, warm and cozy. Light brown in color, there's three pieces. One garment to drape over the head, with a hood lined with thick purple fur - she's pretty proud of that little detail, to call back to his own clothes. A pair of long pants, and she even had some fur left for some boots. Not so different from what she is wearing, apart from material and color. He takes them slowly and stares at them in complete silence. It's actually making her a bit nervous: what if he does not like them?

Turo stands up, looking a bit lost. He takes off his mantle, then hesitates, before slowly putting the hood over his own clothes. She had expected him to take them off completely -she's still wondering about how he actually does that-... but he probably just doesn't feel comfortable without them. That's fine with her, as long as he isn't cold anymore.

When Turo finished putting on the rest of the clothes, though, she finds herself simply staring at him, surprised. Now that he's dressed exactly like any other man of her tribe, he suddenly looks completely different, much more... normal. He's still as pale as death, but the hair and beard look a lot less unnerving without the weird clothes making them stand out even more. He looks... good, she realizes with a little surprise.

... and then he slips the shiny mantle back on, and she finds herself laughing at how strange it looks. She kind of likes that about him, though.
Chapter 7: Daisy Bell Blues New


Bug Catcher
Chapter 7: Daisy Bell Blues
« Time anchor ID 9537 has returned from space-time coordinates 48°51′12″ N, 2°20′55″ E. Welcome back, Dr. Romero Turo. Hope you had a safe trip.» the by now familiar voice of Porygon 568 welcomed him back to his time as he stepped out of the time machine, the Pokémon briefly zipping around him for a quick scan. There it stopped for a second and clacked its beak, puffing up its virtual feathers.

« Analysis of body language, pupil dilation and breathing pattern indicate heightened emotional state. Is medical assistance required?» it asked, causing Turo to blink and actually look at the Pokémon, caught by surprise. First time it had said anything else outside of the ordinary procedure.

« What...? No, everything's fine. » he answered, before stopping by the door to look at the Porygon with a touch of amusement.

« Were you worried about me? Do you also ask the others how they are doing? »

Porygon 568 paused for a moment, then puffed up its feathers again with a little spark of electricity surrounding it, eyes flashing yellow.

« ... it is in my interest to ensure that users of the time-machine remain in peak physical and psychological condition. That is all.» it answered, then turned around and decompiled itself into code, disappearing inside the console of the time machine with a last beep that somehow managed to sound annoyed.

Now alone, Turo made his way towards the teleporters. It was almost dawn; he still had to use the night slots for his jumps, and that was starting to mess up his day and night cycle.

Thing is, Porygon 568 hadn't been wrong. His last visit with Sada had been... something. He hadn't expected her to offer to make clothes for him... and especially not to pull out a measurement tape (were they already used? Or had she literally come up with the idea herself?) and insist on taking his measurements right then and there.

Her approach had been very... hands-on, so to speak. He wasn't used to it; it wasn't exactly necessary to measure for clothes anymore, or even try them on before buying for that matter. They were either one-size-fits-all, automatically adapting to your body shape or, in the very rare occasion where you actually wanted something custom made, you just got a couple of pictures taken from different perspectives and the tailoring software would just automatically calculate everything.

Turo hadn't expected her to get so close to him, completely ignoring his personal space when she had gotten distracted by examining his suit from up close.

The way her eyes had started to gleam while she pondered the problem in front of her, so lost in her own little world of questions and hypotheses to not even notice what she was doing, it just...

She was just so bright. And that had... frustrated him terribly. Almost angered him.

It wasn't fair. There she was, one of who knows how many people with brilliant minds and the potential to change history... born in the completely wrong era.

Too early. Way too early.

It wasn't fair, he thought again while entering his apartment.

Sada had that spark in her, that drive to never stop asking questions, to want to understand the world around her, even when she barely had any tools at her disposal, even while lacking the words to articulate those questions.

It wasn't fair... how much the thought of her being both so close, yet so impossibly far away hurt him.

He almost angrily got out of his clothes and stepped into the shower, welcoming the cold water hitting him. He closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the shower glass, taking deep breaths.

What was he even trying to accomplish, here? Sure, he had his nice little project going. But that's exactly what it was: a project. A job. Something that had to produce results with a definite deadline. His deadline still wasn't set in stone - he had the little advantage of being the "new guy that still has to get used to the job", so they were a bit more lenient in expecting actual results from him. Honestly, just that one initial successful jump, even if accidental, would already look good on his CV and, worst case, would even pass as the only "actual" result of his research.

Once his project had ended, he would have to choose a new objective. Even if he decided to specialize in that time period, like some of his colleagues did - Ortega seemed to prefer contemporary history, only going to the last 500 years or so - ... there were literally centuries to explore. Entire continents in different time periods to examine. He couldn't just keep visiting that exact same spot in time.

So that meant that his visits to Sada had a hard time limit. A finite number.

And he had absolutely no idea what to do once that number would reach zero.

Turo flinched and opened his eyes when he realized that the water had turned from cold to scalding in the meantime, getting quickly out of the shower.

« ... what am I even supposed to write in that stupid report right now? » he asked nobody in particular once he had gotten into bed, pinching the base of his nose.

Miraidon just growled and nuzzled his other hand, not sure how to comfort him. He patted the empty space by his side on the bed and the Pokemon jumped up on it, curling up in a semicircle all around him. The dragon's hide was smooth and hard, its metallic shine reflecting the first rays of sunshine that were coming in from the window. He darkened the window with a wave of his hand, then settled down against Miraidon after propping a pillow against the Pokemon. Not exactly the most comfortable surface to sleep against, but he had never minded it much.

He could feel the low hum of electricity that coursed through the dragon change in intensity while it slowly drifted asleep. That sound had been a constant companion to him since his childhood; by now it was synonymous with... Warmth, safety and affection. Lulled by that barely audible droning sound, Turo slowly let himself fall asleep.


To his dismay, he got woken up after what seemed to him an instant later by an incoming call. After a couple of failed gestures he managed to flick a screen open in front of his face without standing up from his bed, picking up the call in voice only mode. He glanced at the corner of the screen to read the time. 7:34 AM. He had barely slept for two hours.

« What... ?»

« There's a problem with the time machine. All jumps are cancelled.»

That woke him up quick. Turo sat upright, the screen automatically moving to follow his head, Miraidon blinking awake right behind him.

« Has there been... an accident? » he swallowed, suddenly feeling anxious. Who's turn was it to use the time machine this morning...?

Vega...? No, she had gone yesterday, her next trip was scheduled for next Monday...

Everyone in his field of work knew the horror stories of what could happen if there were problems during a jump. The reports of the very first test jumps - those that had ended badly- were mandatory reading.

"Mismatch" was the cold, technical term for most problems that could happen during a jump. In theory, his own first jump had been a mismatch, but he had been lucky that it had only involved a slight offset on the time coordinate, all things considered.

People had been lost to space. Literal space, because the time machine had shot them at a point in time where the planet had been in a different position around the sun. Or inside the ground. Or right in the middle of a natural disaster.

Or they had simply... disappeared in time, in whatever direction. How far off had they ended up, either in the past or future? No idea. The time machine hadn't been able to print the number, leaving that part of the report eerily blank.

Both possibilities were terrifying just to think about.

After that, in the following decades, they had learned really fucking quick to write software that would calculate and check those coordinates, and then other software that would check that software, and implemented countermeasures, error handling, routine maintenance... but accidents could still happen. The possibility was never zero: people just didn't want to think about it.

He held his breath, expecting some horrifying news.

« Fortunately, no. Porygon 568 must have felt that something was wrong and cancelled the time jump at the very last moment. It's been acting up strangely ever since though. You are our expert in Artificial Pokémon Programming, so...»

Turo let out a sigh of relief; at least nobody had ended up hurt or worse. Still, those were bad news. Porygon 568 pretty much was the time machine; without him, executing a time jump would be too risky.

« I'm coming. Give me twenty minutes.» he answered.

Eighteen minutes after the call, the time necessary for a quick shower to wake him up completely, get dressed, run to the nearest teleporter and notably not eat anything, he entered the time machine room. He wasn't alone. One of the nurses from the nearby Uvanja academy had evidently been called to examine the... well, "Pokémon" part of Porygon 568, its physical body so to speak.

« What's wrong with him?» he asked, kneeling to get a better look at the Pokémon. For once, it wasn't floating at eye level with a human, but actually touching the ground, "wings" pressed close to it's body and eyes closed. Every couple of seconds it would spasm almost violently and shake its head, its eyes would snap open for a brief moment and, for lack of a better term, glitch out in a series of random symbols.

It was a pretty pitiful sight. He patted the Pokémon on the head a couple of times, trying to comfort it.

« Physically, nothing... he didn't get injured in any way.» the nurse seemed perplexed.

« But if you directly ask him what is wrong... Porygon 568, status report.»

« SEGMENTATION FAULT CANNOT ACCESS MEMORY AT ADDRESS 0x2fffff » it screeched suddenly. Both humans flinched at the Pokémon's sudden voice change.

... uh, maybe he could look into that too, there really was no reason for it to blast errors in that tone of voice.

Seriously, it just sounded needlessly creepy.

« Whatever it is that caused this, it must be some error in his code.» the nurse added. Turo nodded, opening up a terminal by his side while he considered how to approach the problem.

« All right, I'll see what I can find... you keep monitoring his physical state. Porygon 568, activate debug mode, authorized by administration key 04860. » he spoke enunciating the necessary credentials. Someone messing with a Porygon's code, especially a Porygon that was handling something as delicate as a time machine, was, of course, bad, so he was one of the few people in the department to have the necessary keys to directly access the Pokémon's data.

« Access g-granted » it answered after a moment, shuddering. Even its voice was slightly distorted. Turo furrowed his eyebrows, thinking. What had happened?

« Show me the stack trace for the last hour...» he asked, and a list of executed commands and subroutines started streaming over his terminal.

He went from kneeling to sitting cross legged on the floor to hunched over the screen when he realized that this was probably going to take a while.


It took him ten days of almost non-stop work to isolate the issue with Porygon 568, and he still had no idea of what happened in the actual time machine. Best he could do at the moment was setting up some more error handling procedures so that, if something similar happens again, at least it won't directly affect Porygon 568 so much.

In the meantime, the entire department was pretty much anxiously breathing down on his neck while twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the green light to resume their respective projects, and it is pissing him off quite a bit - it's not like he was keeping everything on hold for fun, he also wanted to resume his time jumps as soon as possible.

« So how long will it take you to fix this?» Ortega asked after poking his head in Turo's office for the third time that morning, coffee in hand.

« Not my words, by the way. The director's. » the other man added after a moment when Turo glared at him, offering him the mug of coffee as a gesture of peace. Turo, grateful, took a sip before realizing that it was boiling hot and hurriedly putting it down, huffing.

« Argh... I'm not "fixing" anything, I'm just making sure that at least Porygon doesn't literally... crash again. » he said, as soon as his mouth stopped burning.

Ortega sat down in front of him, watching Turo type away at the screen in midair, more serious than usual.

« So you don't know what happened in the time machine?»

Turo shook his head, not turning away from the console that was floating in front of his face.

« Could have been anything. The settings weren't any different from any other jump we've done, so it shouldn't be anything on our part. Porygon 568 says that he sensed something right before deciding to cancel the jump. »

« "Something"? Didn't he have anything more specific? »

Turo shook his head again.

« But... Porygon's pretty much an AI. They don't do vague, and he still can't tell what happened?» Ortega added. Only then did Turo stop and flick the screen in front of his face to the side to look at his colleague.

« No... and that's what worries me. We like to think that we know so much about time travel, that everything is perfectly safe, that we can treat it the same as stepping in any teleporter to go shopping, or a trip to the Moon... then stuff like this happens and we realize that we still don't know shit about how it actually works. It frustrates me.» he answered after a moment, reclining back in his chair and taking another cautious sip of coffee.

Ortega thinks for a couple of long seconds, then sighs.

« If you are sure that there was no error on our side, then there is nothing else we can do. There will never be a completely fool-proof system-»

« I can sure try-» Turo mumbled under his breath.

« - and you would fail miserably. You said that we can't treat it the same as a teleporter or the Moon... but even those are not perfect. A teleporter could disintegrate you at the atomic level. You could die in space. Or you could wake up one morning, slip in the shower and break your neck. What's the difference? » he shrugs, and Turo just quietly stares at the man for a couple of long seconds.

Ortega's always had this... flippant, devil-may-care attitude toward his job - or life in general, it looked like. His projects were always short and to the point. Never visiting the same point in time more than a couple of times, if he could help it. From what he had read of his reports, never interacted much with the natives of the time period he visited.

He slipped in, perfectly camouflaged in his "historically accurate clothes", witnessed history, and came back. He couldn't imagine doing the same thing.

Treating it like just... just a normal job.

« I... I don't understand you sometimes. You and the others in the department. Are you really not scared of a mismatch...?» he asked, exasperated. They looked more worried about their projects running late than... you know, not getting torn to pieces or worse in the time machine because of a stupid error in the code.

Was it because he was still relatively new, at least in the role of "active" time traveller...?

« Of course I'm scared... but I've made peace with the fact that if it happens, I mean... there's probably still worse ways to go. And you have to admit that "Got shot at the end of time and witnessed the heat death of the universe" would sound awesome as an epitaph.» Ortega laughed.

... ok, yeah, he had to admit that it sounded kind of cool.


In the end, it took almost a month for things to go back to normal: they had slowly started doing time jumps again, nervously monitoring the first couple of runs. They had also reduced the number of times the time machine could be booted up each day: for all they knew, maybe it was under too much stress.

That meant that he had inevitably also built up some more time discrepancy with Sada; he had promised to come back to that cliff, like... five days later...?

Was it five or six?

Turo had to replay the last conversation he had recorded just to be sure; he mentally thanked the fact that he had spoken the words out loud as a pure coincidence. Had he simply written it down in her notebook like he had done that night under the stars, he would have been screwed and would have had to guess.

He steps into the time machine room, where the usual Porygon 568 and the nurse for the medical check-ups are waiting for him. He exchanged a brief nod with the artificial Pokémon, who was busy calculating the coordinates.

« Update coordinates for the jump?» it asked while the nurse is slipping the needle into his shoulder. Turo barely noticed it anymore, and checked that the time-anchor is strapped securely to his wrist, before clicking a couple of buttons on the device.

« Yes, set these spacial coordinates as the new landing zone for this time, just move it some... 200 meters south, and add... let's do 4 days and 12 hours to the last time coordinate.» he answered after thinking for a moment. As much as he wanted to, appearing exactly by the cliff would be too risky.

He steps into the time machine with a newfound nervousness and keeps an eye on Porygon 568 while it boots up, almost expecting it to start suddenly glitching out, time and space distorting all around him before sending him who knows where.

Thankfully, nothing feels out of the ordinary and he takes a deep breath, closing his eyes, and a moment later opens them up again in the distant past. He is not quite at the top of the hill they had climbed last time, still hidden by the trees - good, that's exactly what he had wanted.

He had barely started to make his way uphill when he hears Sada's voice call out to him.

Turo looked up just to see her pretty much sprint towards him at full force.

He can't help a little smile in seeing her; he had missed her in that entire month spent mostly staring at computer code and error messages, sometimes finding himself distracted by wondering about what she was doing in that moment... before brutally reminding himself of the fact that the answer was nothing, because she's dead in the present, she has been dead for centuries you idiot-

But she is alive here, and he just wants to forget about everything for a couple of hours and enjoy the time he can spend with her.

His smile turned to confusion when she launched in some excited explanation and he realized that he's one month out of practice with her language, and oh arceus those are a lot of words, coming really fast-

He managed to catch that it's something about the necklace, but after that, he is completely lost and just lets himself get pulled along. His confusion must show pretty clearly on his face because Sada laughs at him, tugging at his hand. She's so obviously excited about something that it just warms his heart.

When Sada shows him the notebook and he gets what she was talking about, he can't help but get a bit excited himself. The DNA analysis had come back during that month, and it had showed the closest still living relative of the mysterious Pokémon as... Miraidon, strangely enough. So he had expected something similar to a Cyclizar, but this drawing... this looked like something else entirely, and not just because of the feathers.

An ancestor of Miraidon from the distant past that no one had ever heard about; this was huge.

He had to take some notes about it.

He started to copy her drawing, trying to reproduce the sketch as closely as possible, and added some notes all around, stuff he wants to check better later. Four limbs, not dissimilar to Miraidon, but with feathers covering his body... what functions did those feathers have? They were big, but didn't look strong enough to make him fly... then again, Cyclizar couldn't fly too... maybe it was something that came only after the transition into Miraidon...?

Sada had also taken some notes with her little pictograph drawings, and he puzzled over them for a couple of seconds. Without knowing what Sada's intention behind each pictograph was, it was pretty much impossible for him to guess at their meaning. There was the drawing of a flame... which could mean anything from the color of the scales to the fact that it could actually breath fire for all that he knew. That was the problem with ideographic scripts; really only the author knew what he or she meant to say with each symbol.

He gives up trying to decipher them and asks about one of them.

She says something incomprehensible that could be anything, then shows him something on the page about the Talonflame.

Oh right, the Talonflame-- he had forgotten all about that.

... he really needed to start jotting down a lot more stuff about what happened during his jumps, especially little things like these that weren't important enough to end up in the official reports.

Sada drew a little nest with... oh, of course. Eggs...?

So the Proto-Miraidon (he needs to find a better name) ate... eggs?

That's a strange diet. Miraidon has never showed much interest in those... a lot must have changed. He writes it down, then a sudden thought hits him: wait... how would she even know this? She must have seen it from quite close... but like he had personally experienced, Pokémon were absolutely vicious in this time.

... just what exactly had she been doing in these five days?

Something dangerous, most probably.

Turo is so focused on the two notebooks that he doesn't really notice Sada getting something else out of her bag until she literally shoved it in front of him with an enormous smile on her face.


Oh wait. The clothes. Of course.

He had expected a cape with a hood to be fair, similar to what she had worn in the rain, but she had really... sewed him an entire set of clothes, it looked like.

For him.

... it makes him feel so guilty - all that work, and actually he doesn't even need them - that he initially just stared at them in stunned silence, before slowly taking them and standing up.

He should... put them on, at the very least. Turo took off his lab coat and hesitated for some long moments. He... really does not want to take off his bodysuit, so he compromises by slipping the primitive jacket, trousers and finally the boots right over it.

They fit him perfectly... and they are strangely heavy, at least for someone like him who's used to wearing form-fitting, ultra light fabric that was designed to make moving as easy as possible. He isn't used to stuff... pushing down on him like that. The thick Mamoswine fur (he is almost sure it is Mamoswine fur, by the color and just how long it was) also added a lot of volume, another thing he isn't really familiar with. It is... weird, to move his arm or his leg and feel so much stuff all around it. And of course, they are incredibly warm, because that had been the whole point of them after all.

Turo quietly stroked the fur of one of the sleeves.

... this must have taken so much work.

So many precious resources; those Mamoswine pelts... it wasn't like in his time, where all fabric was synthetic and manufactured. Someone had risked their life to hunt these- maybe even Sada herself.

And it was going to get completely wasted on him, and he feels terrible for it. But... she had done it because she wanted to, it's not like he had forced her to do it - quite the contrary, actually-, so...

Turo put the lab coat back on, automatically - he feels almost naked without it - and Sada laughing again snaps him out of his thoughts. He looks down at himself, and realizes why, blushing slightly.

He looks... yeah, completely ridiculous.

Still, her laugh gave him an idea. A silly, little, stupid thing, but now that he's thought of it, he just had to do it. He took the lab coat off again, slinked close to Sada while she was still cackling -showing just the slightest hint of those little fangs -, and wrapped it over her shoulders like a cape. It caught her by surprise, one hand going to her shoulder to touch the smooth white fabric, eyes widening in confusion and half a "what...?" on her lips.

« There. Now we can both look stupid.» he smirked.

Even if she didn't understand his words, she definitely understood his tone; smiling she put it on properly, or at least tried to. It was just too big for her, reaching down almost to her ankles and with her hands disappearing inside the too long sleeves.

It should look ridiculous - and it does, a bit, they've pretty much swapped clothes right now -, but then Sada laughed again and spinned around, apparently just to watch the lab coat flap around her, which she seemed to find pretty amusing. The pure, unbrindled joy in her voice just made his chest hurt.

... he could listen to that laugh for hours and never get tired of it.

He wanted to listen to it for hours, he realized after a second with a pained smile.

Sada had started to play around with the lab coat buttons, fascinated by the material.

« This rock... from your people?» she asked.

« Yes. » He just said.

He knew that she seemed to hate his vague answers - yep, there it was, that little half sad, half annoyed pout -, but he couldn't exactly tell her that it was made from nano-carbon when she didn't even knew about metals yet.

One, it wouldn't mean anything to her, two, it would lead to more questions, so it was better to just let her think that it was some strange rock only found where he was from, far, far away... which was pretty much the truth, in very, very broad terms.

The girl hesitated; she wants to ask him something, and he already had a good idea of what it could be about. It's not the first time she tries to ask him about "his people", and he knows that he is pushing his luck every time he refuses to answer, but he has no other choice. He just shook his head silently before she could even ask him anything and her face fell a bit.

... and now he feels even worse; she has spent who knows how much time sewing those clothes for him and he can't even give her anything in return. At least, not anything... that would leave some trace in the past.

But... there is one thing he can give her. Turo slowly sat back down and picked up his notebook, gesturing for her to sit down near him. Sada complied after a moment, and as expected, started to glance curiously at what he was doing. Turo just smiled and flipped to a new page, then started writing a couple of letters, putting in the effort of making them bigger and more legible instead of his usual hurried handwriting.

Most people in his time had horrible handwriting; you really only wrote stuff manually only when you were actually learning how to write in school, and in some rare jobs like his where you couldn't always summon a screen to type on.

He left quite some space blank on the page, then offered Sada the notebook and pen and pointed to the first symbol, tracing the line on the page with one finger.

« This is an "S".»

Turo saw the confusion in her eyes and after a moment of hesitation gently took her hand. He wrapped his fingers around hers, taking a couple of seconds to help her rearrange them so the pen would sit more comfortably in her hand, in a better position to write. It took him a couple more moments to get it right - he was left-handed, she wasn't-, but he managed to help her copy the first letter of what he had written a couple of times.

Then he pointed to the second letter with his right hand.

« "A".»

Turo watched her expression more than the page as they continued; she was smart, he had no doubt she would quickly catch on to what they were doing, what the strange lines he was having her trace represented. At first, she just looked even more confused, her hand almost hanging limp while he guided her. Then it happens: following him her eyes wandered over the last letter he had written, a second "A" right after the "D", and her entire face just lit up while her eyes darted between the two "A", connecting the dots and recognizing that simple, elementary but incredibly important idea that led to one of humanity's greatest invention.

Same symbol equals same sound.

A writing system that didn't represent general ideas but sounds, where everything that you could ever think of was represented with the same set of symbols.

« This is... this is...» she almost stabs him with the pen with how excited she is, how strongly she is clutching his hand, but Turo couldn't care less.

That spark of wonder in her eyes is the purest thing he has ever seen. It just pains him so much, to think of her in this era. How many great things she is going to miss, simply because she had been born at the wrong moment. He just... he just wants to show her everything, to laugh with her, to discover stuff and get excited about them together, to tell her about his dream of seeing the distant future, so far off for the both of them, and --

But he can't. So this will have to do.

« Yes... ? » he encouraged her, slowly.

« My "name"! It's me» she breaths out, still exhilarated by her realization.

Turo simply smiled, while she wriggled her hand out from his grip to start writing her name again and again, alone this time. Not even a second later, her head snapped up again, looking at him.

« Turo! What is "T"? Show me!» she pretty much pushed the notebook on his lap again, and he is more than happy to spend the next couple of hours quietly showing her how to write the rest of the alphabet.


« Time anchor ID 9537 has returned from space-time coordinates 48°51′12″ N, 2°20′55″ E. Welcome ba-» Porygon 568 suddendly got quiet as soon as Turo stepped out of the time machine. The man just sighed, knowing exactly what had gotten the Pokémon to freeze. He took off his lab coat - he had gotten it back from Sada before coming back to his time -, and waited for the Pokémon to continue.

«... many time displaced objects detected.» it said after a moment. If only because he had literally spent a month debugging it and talking with the Pokémon to test every new procedure he had implemented, Turo was almost sure that there was a trace of surprise in it's voice now. It zipped all around him, scanning the new clothes that Sada had made, before stopping to hover at eye level with him.

« Objects are not considered a safety or sanitary hazard. Permission granted to bring them outside of time machine room. Welcome back, Dr. Romero Turo. Hope you had a safe trip. » it beeped. He gave the Pokémon a couple of affectionate pats on the head while heading for the door; it was admittedly a bit weird, knowing that it now had parts of code that he himself had written in it. Not enough to warrant releasing a new Upgrade and version number, it was more like a little patch, but still... weird.

Turo hesitated on the doorway. Unlike pretty much all his previous time jumps, it was only the early afternoon this time.

Which meant the TTLD would be full of people.

Which meant...

« Oh. my. Arceus.»

He sighed again when he caught sight of Vega coming out of the sanity room - and why did it sound like there was ukulele music coming out of it today? -, the redhead staring slack-jawed at his clothes.

... he should have changed before jumping back, even at the risk of getting his face bitten off by that Proto- Miraidon that was lurking around or whatever while he was busy stripping down.

It would have almost been better than this.

« Guys... guys you have to see this - where's Ortega? » she quickly leaned back in the break room wildly gesticulating to everyone else inside, before approaching him to better examine his clothes, quickly followed by other people poking their heads out from the sanity room or their respective offices at the commotion.

« Oh my Arceus... how did you even get these? » she touched one of the pelts on his shoulder.

« The... native girl I've met... made them for me. She thought I was cold.» he mumbled after a moment, prompting a little "aww" from the woman.

« ... wow. I mean. This is real fur.» she added after a moment, caught between amusement and just a touch of horrified awe.

« ... I know.»

« Real Pokémon died to make this.»

« ... I know

There's a moment of silence, Vega evidently struggling to decide if she should express her next thought out loud. Turo started to make his way towards the elevators, hoping to catch one before she could. He didn't make it in time.

« ... so how many Rattata do you think it took to make that?» she added pointing at the purple fur lining his hood, snickering.

« I don't want to think about it.» he straight up punched the button to call the elevator, only to be met with a ping and the doors already opening up... to the figure of Ortega, who took a single look at him and started howling with laughter.

« Look at Ötzi the Iceman over here!»

« That was Neolithic, you're off by almost 10'000 years.» he grumbled, stepping inside the elevator.

It takes a moment for Ortega to stop laughing and catch his breath.

« Oh man... you know that now you will have to wear them here before every jump, right? Which means...» he asked, refusing to step out of the elevator.

Turo paused for a second. He... hadn't thought about that, actually.

"Which means..?"

Ortega just patted his shoulder a couple of times.

« ... eh, good luck. » he said, before finally stepping outside and leaving him free to leave.

"Good luck for what?"

He doesn't quite understand what his senior meant with those words, until he had to cross the University Hall at night a couple of days after that exchange with his new "historically accurate clothes" on, and the damn Steelcino literally all jump at him en masse, screeching while trying to "clean him up".

He can start considering himself a real time-traveller by how much he is starting to hate the stupid critters.
Chapter 8: Zenzenzense New


Bug Catcher
If this chapter's title sounds weird, it's because it was inspired by the song from the soundtrack of the movie "Your Name". It also means "Past-past-past life" so... it kinda fit I guess.
Chapter 8: Zenzenzense
Sada keeps drawing - or "writing", as Turo had called it - the symbols that Turo had taught her, still quite in disbelief at how they worked even hours after the fact, when he had finished showing her the last symbol. It was just... Such a brilliant and simple idea, she still wasn't sure why the thought had never occurred to her before.

She didn't have to come up with a drawing for everything she wanted to take notes off anymore! She could just think about it and she now had a way to represent every single thing that came to her mind. And the best thing was, someone else that knew the symbols could understand it without having to ask her about what it meant!

She had to teach everyone at the settlement! Nerjik would love it, and the children... even if she didn't have enough paper for everyone, they could use charcoal and practice on rocks, or even just on the ground with sticks... anything would work.

It opened up so many possibilities!

« Did you... make all these?» she asked Turo after he had finished teaching her.

You still had to remember what each symbol sounded like, but it was still much easier as a system than the one she had been using. You just needed a bit of practice. Now she was just doodling - "writing" - random words in all the pages she had already taken notes in, marking all of her little symbols with the actual words they represented, making them much more accurate. It did have the disadvantage of taking up more space though... maybe she could use a mix of the two methods of taking notes? Drawings for quick immediate notes - on her map, especially- words for anything else...?

... she would have to think about it.

« ... no. My parents "showed" me.» Turo answered after a moment with a little smile, and Sada blushed slightly. Um... no wonder he had picked up that word, she must have repeated it quite a lot of times in her excitement in that couple of hours.

He was quite fast at learning new words from her, she had noticed. If she used a single word that he had never heard but the rest of the sentence made sense, he would often pick it up just from context. Same usually went with her regarding his language, and... oh! Of course! Now she could just write down what some words in his language meant if she was afraid of forgetting it!

This was incredible.

Like right now, when one word he had said had stuck out to her.

« "Parents"...?» she asked, flipping to an empty page and carefully trying to write down each symbol that made up the word.

« Oh, um...» Turo thought for a moment « "Parents" are... the people that.... make you? » he explains after some hesitation.

She stares at him. She had understood him, probably, there weren't many other things she could think of when talking about "making" a person, but he must have thought that she didn't, because he starts to think of another way to explain it.

And fails spectacularly at it, getting more and more embarassed. He points at himself, then at her.

« It's... ah... you know... when a "man" and a "woman"...» now he's raising both hands, and starts... gesticulating wildly, vaguely miming two persons... well, it's either that or they are violently murdering each other and she had actually misunderstood what "parents" is supposed to mean. She has her doubts about that though.

« ... make a...»

Sada just keeps staring at him, trying to suppress a grin from spreading on her face.

It's... incredible how weird Turo could get sometimes. In a good way. For every basic thing he had never seen or couldn't do, it seemed like he knew ten more that she could have never dreamed of... but at the same time, he missed others.

It was almost like his mind was so busy racing to the thousand of things he did know that he completely failed to see what was right under his eyes sometimes. Like right now, where the solution to his problem was so incredibly simple.

Sada giggled and started drawing again on the empty page. Two stick figures, with a smaller figure between them. She points to the bigger stick figures, then to the word she had written at the top of the page.

Turo stops his embarassed sputtering and just stares quietly at the page for a long moment.

«... yes. » he nods in a small voice, eyes kind of unfocused in a wide, disbelieving look. Probably wondering how he hadn't thought of just doing that; looks like even with writing the drawings are still going to be useful for a while after all. In any case, if his parents had taught him to "write"... was it something that was passed down from father to child? Part of his role as a sciaman... or a "scien-tist", as he had called himself.

« Are your parents scien-tist ? » she asks, and he turns slightly toward her, raising a single eyebrow with a confused frown.

« No...? » he seems puzzled, like he is trying to figure out how she got to that conclusion. Well, now she is confused too. This would be so much easier if only he was a bit more willing to talk about his people in general, but... everytime she tries to mention them or even steer the conversation in that direction, he clamps up completely. Or gives her single word answers that don't really tell her much. Had it been anyone else, she would have been suspicious of him by now, but Turo didn't seem interested in approaching the settlement in any way. Chalo's theory that he was using her to learn their language also didn't look that possible to her: she was doing the same with his, after all.


When Turo stands up to get away as usual, it takes her a second to realize that she is still wearing his cape and she hurries to take it off and give it back to him. It had been fun to wear, so light that she hadn't even noticed it, and the half bags sewn on the front on both sides were pretty useful. She could easily do the same with some of her clothes...

Turo rips a page out of his notebook, and instead of the usual symbols for day and night that they have been using until now, writes down a couple of words to accompany them.

She takes the piece of paper and reads them aloud: the meaning is obvious even with just the sun and moon drawings, but she is determined to show him that she's going to memorize these symbols perfectly.

« Fo- f-o-ur d-da-y-s... h-e-r-e.» she looks at him for confirmation after she is done, and he gives her a sharp nod.

Four days, though... that is no good. She has already been away from her settlement for more than five days. It wasn't uncommon for people to spend days away from the settlement - especially if they were out hunting, that took time - so no one would worry for a couple of days of absence, but... she really needed to get back before they started to wonder if she had been eaten by something after all. Besides, she kind of wanted to go back and tell everyone what she had learned. And about that red creature.

So she shakes her head and scribbles over the words Turo has written, crossing them out, then adds some more sun and moon symbols.

« Ten days... and...» she hesitates a moment, uncertain. If she could slowly get him to agree to meet her in a place that was... more convenient for her, maybe...?

Where to start, though? They had a couple of common meeting points that she could use by now: the river where they had first met, the little camp she had set up in the woods, this one up the cliff... maybe she could point out a landmark to use as their meeting point.

« ... here? » she takes out her map and points to a place just east to the river where they had first met.

« There are a lot of big rocks here, really tall... and I can start a fire as a signal.» she offers. The smoke would be visible from miles away even if he couldn't find the exact spot she meant. Turo doesn't look particularly convinced about her idea, but he nods slowly after a moment.

« Ten days. » he repeats, before turning around to start making his way towards the forest. She watches him slowly get away until he disappears under the cover of the trees - she blinks and suddenly gets up, not sure of what she had seen.

Had there been... a flash of light right there at that moment?


« Come oooooon Fluffyhead, moooove--» Chalo tried to coax the Spark Tail into following her, but for once the creature was being stubborn, preferring to chew calmly on some grass while refusing to budge an inch. Chalo had a rope made of leather in her hand, which was tied to a collar they had put around the creature's neck. Not that it would do much to keep it tied up: if it really wanted to escape, it could just burn the rope with the sparks generated by it's wool.

« Pleaaaase, just show Sada what you showed me yesterday... » Chalo sighed and sat back down near the fire that was burning at the center of the camp, the beads in her dark hair clinking.

Sada had gone back to the settlement right after Turo had left, and had immediately taken it upon herself to teach the writing symbols to everyone. Her mother had listened politely at first, but hadn't looked that interested in actually learning them.

« I'm too old to move around much anymore, it's not like I will ever need to send a message to someone. Whatever I want to say, I can just say to anyone here. » had been her reasoning.

« But... you could write down anything you wanted. And people could read your words... days, moons and seasons later, learning from them. You could write everything you know about sewing!» Sada had protested, but her mother had just shook her head.

« That's not something that you can teach just with words and symbols. Same with hunting. You can tell someone the best spot to strike a Steady Glacier with a spear, but it won't stop someone from dying if he has never practiced doing it. »

That... was true, there were things that you simply couldn't teach, but she had still been a little disappointed in her reaction.

Luckily, other people had looked more interested. The kids - four in total in the whole settlement at the moment, the only ones that had survived until they learned to walk upright and talk - had been begging her to show her how to write all their names. Narjik, the old shaman, had been incredibly eager to learn just like she had tought. That wasn't surprising, the man had gathered an incredibly vast knowledge of all the local herbs and their various effects in his life, and he knew all of their old stories and legends. He had been looking for a successor, someone to teach everything he knew before he passed on into the next life; this way, his knowledge could be left behind and taught to someone - many people - even after he was gone. He seemed to find comfort in the idea.

Sada herself had learned a lot from him, but she could never take his place as the next shaman... even if Turo seemed to think the opposite.

She was currently tracing some of the symbols on a flat rock near the fire, using a stick of wood that had been left to harden in the ashes the night before and some ash. When she had covered the whole thing in symbols, she would wipe the ash from the rock to start again. Right beside her, to her left, Narjik was observing intently and slowly writing down every symbol she explained. He wore clothes not unlike those of everyone else, with different layers of furs to protect agains the cold, but the markings painted all over his face, neck and arms in black tint, even with the latter not being visible at the moment, showed his status to everyone else in the group. His hair that was turning almost completely grey was styled in an elaborate long braid that went way past his broad shoulders.

Chalo, on the other hand, looked much more interested in talking about the guy himself that whatever he had taught her.

« Sooo... You've spent quite some time with this Terg guy now.» she chuckled, giving up on getting Fluffyhead to listen to her and picking up a stick of her own to copy her.

« Not... really. He always leaves as soon as it gets dark. Comes and goes every couple of days. » Sada doesn't even bother correcting her on the name anymore - mostly because she is pretty sure she is doing it on purpose at this point.

« Wait, what? » Chalo said turning to look at her, surprised. « I thought you were spending night and day with this guy by no- Fluffyhead nooo » she wailed when the fluffy creature decided to approach her after all and flop down right over the rock she was writing on, ash sticking all over it's puffy wool.

It looked at the humans, sniffed the ground and let out a "Mareeeep". Chalo started to absentmindedly pet it, trying to get the ash off.

« I was also under the impression that you were visiting his... camp, or group. » Narjik spoke up, eyes fixed on the "j" he had scribbled with ash. There wasn't enough space on the rock to write his name completely, so he wiped it and started again, smaller this time.

« No, I... I don't know where he lives.»

« Just follow him?» Chalo proposed, before there was a zap and she let out a little yelp, shaking her hand and glaring at the creature.

« Don't burn me, I'm trying to clean you up!»

« ...eep » it lowered it's head and bumped it's nose into her hand, nuzzling it.

« I don't think he did it on purpose.» Sada offered petting the creature, trying to steer the conversation away from Turo. Unfortunately, the shaman sitting by her other side hadn't been distracted as much as the other girl had.

« You don't want to follow him.» he stated, calmly. It wasn't a question, and Sada nodded reluctantly after a long moment.

« I know he is hiding something, something he absolutely doesn't want me to see, and of course I want to know what it is... but I'm afraid that if I follow him and he realizes it, he will... just run off elsewhere and never show up here again.»

She thought back to the flash of light between the trees that she had only been able to see because she was looking down on the forest from the top of the hill. It had been over in an instant. If she had blinked at the wrong moment, she would have missed it. It was just a nagging suspicion, but she was pretty sure that Turo had caused it, somehow. The flash of light, and his first strange disappearance that had left no footprints anywhere on the ground, or the way his boots and clothes seemed able to just suddenly... stop making any sound everytime he walked away from her, after a while. Maybe it wasn't exactly that - it would be weird considering how much noise they seemed to make at any other time -, and they didn't make any sound because he literally disappeared.

There were creatures that could... "jump" between the air, disappear from one spot and reappear in another, she had seen them a couple of times. Was Turo... able to do the same? Then why didn't he do it when he had been attacked by that Brutal Fang?

It made no sense.

Anyway, that wasn't important right now.

« And I... don't want that. » the confession came out at a whisper, almost covered by the crackle of the fire. Sada had seen him just a couple of times, but... there was just so much she wanted to talk about and discover and explore with him, the more she learned his language and he learned hers.

And... she wasn't sure how to explain it, but something about Turo struck her as... so lonely. Or... pained. Maybe it was just because he had told her that he had come here alone.

There were moments where she had caught him deep in thought, eyebrows deeply furrowed and one hand half stroking his chin, and then suddenly when she said something or called out to him that carefully constructed expression would slip away for a moment, revealing a sad half-smile that he would immediately try to hide again.

Every time she watched him turn around and walk away, she was a bit afraid that he would never come back again, that he had found another place to stay at. Or that he had decided to go back to his tribe after all. Wherever it was.

And so every time she saw that fluttering white mantle appear through the trees, her heart had started to skip a beat. It was always a bit of a surprise, since they never decided on the time of the day to meet at.

« Oooh, so that's what this is all about after all.» Chalo grinned with a knowing smile while she finished cleaning up Fluffyhead's pelt.

« You've never actually described him, apart from "pale and weird looking". What is he like? ... phisically, I mean. » she asked while Narjik went back to focusing on his symbols, not interested.

Sada blushed slightly; no, that's not what it was about at all, she was just curious about him... or was she?

« He is... quite tall. Dark brown hair and eyes...» she started to answer. Her mind though was elsewhere.

She thought back to that moment when she had been inches away from his face, or when he had guided her hand with his, pressing slightly into her side to inch just a bit closer; how he would blush in that adorably awkward way when he was caught by surprise, before trying to compose himself. How he stumbled and tripped over himself while walking with her, but was a bit too prideful and stubborn to just ask her to wait to catch his breath.

Or how he looked proud when she understood a new word that he had just used, or explained something in her notes to him.

« ... and scrawny.» she added after a moment, causing Chalo to frown a moment. She was petting Fluffyhead again, apparently not minding the possibility of getting hit by another spark. (Then again, he was so fluffy and soft that she could understand her perfectly)

« So not my type then. Then again, I'm still convinced that he is a creature in disguise- AH!» the girl screamed, pointing to the Spark Tail, whose tail was... doing as it's namesake implied and glowing slightly. After a moment, Fluffyhead's whole body glowed yellow and it released a great arc of pure yellow-white light that hit the ground a dozen meters ahead, charring it black. A great, booming zap made everyone jump and the kids start crying.

« See? THAT! He did that yesterday! Now if only I could figure out how to make him do it on PURPOSE, he could help me when I go out hunting! » Chalo yelled pointing excitedly to the creature and then to Sada.

She carefully observed the creature, whose tail had stopped glowing. So the more it glowed, the more powerful the spark it could create? What had made it glow so much? She thought back to what had just happened. The only difference had been...

« ... what were you doing when he did it yesterday?» she asked, trying to confirm her idea first.

« I had just fed him and was... petting... him... » the dark haired girl's eyes widened slightly. Chalo started to rub her hand all over Fluffyhead's wool, getting zapped a couple of times. Just like she had thought, the creature's tail started to glow again.

« Yesss, look at this! » Chalo started to jump up and down, excited, then tried to get Fluffyhead to shoot another stream of yellow light in the same direction.

« Maybe... you could use a word?» Sada offered after a moment. A simple command. They used various call outs to warn each other about what a certain creature was doing when out hunting, and she had seen various creatures do the same. And Fluffyhead had showed that, while not exactly bright, it was capable of paying attention to what humans were saying. It had learned really quick which words meant "food" directed at him, at least. Maybe it could also learn that doing a certain thing meant praise and pets.

« Right.» Chalo pointed dramatically towards a tree. « Fluffyhead, KILL THAT!»

... Sada was thinking about something a bit more subtle, but... as long as it worked.


After spending a couple of days at the settlement, she decided to go back to the cliff to check out the red creature. She had decided to name it "Winged King"; the winged part was obvious, and the King part had come from the fact that it seemed to be the strongest creature in the whole area. What had happened with Chalo and Fluffyhead had given her an idea; she had spent the next two days with Narjik, having him teach her how to carve a simple flute out of wood.

She stepped into the place where she had been leaving food for the creature in the past days; the nest had disappeared completely, with the creatures that had lived in it probably deciding to move somewhere else now that a predator like Winged King was prowling around.

She quietly left some berries, strips of dried meat, and even one egg for it, then brought the flute to her lips and played a single, long note. She waited for a couple of seconds, then did it again; nothing moved all around, the forest almost unnaturally quiet. By experience, she knew that was usually a sign that something big and powerfull was scaring anything else away. Which meant that Winged King was somewhere around here. Sada quietly left, repeating the same little ritual for the next couple of days, always at the same time of the day.

She wanted to see if Winged King was smart enough to associate the sound of the flute with her and the one who had left it food.

The fourth day, it was already waiting for her by the tree, calmy sitting on it's hind legs.

Sada froze, her heart beating wild; this wasn't like approaching something like Fluffyhead. Sure, every creature was deadly to humans, but Fluffyhead didn't have it in it's nature to attack something if not to defend itself. It was meek and shy, while Winged King was most definitely the opposite.

But if it wanted to hurt her, it would have done so already. She kept repeating herself that while she approached it, playing a single note on the flute - it perked up at that, it definitely had learned what it meant. She gave it everything that was left in her smaller bag. It sniffed the air and got up, letting out a little "gyaaa" while it got closer. Sada reached her hand out, arm trembling slightly, only to pull it back when it growled.

All right, all right... she got the message. Little steps.

She managed to get closer while it was eating by approaching it from the side. While it was still focused on eating, she reached her hand out again.


Gave a silent prayer to her ancestors, and then touched the red scales on it's neck.

For a moment, it didn't react; still busy stuffing it's face. Or, more probably, it just didn't care because it had no reason to fear her. What could she even do? If she was quick, she could get maybe one good stab of her spear in before getting absolutely torn apart. After that single moment, it turned one of it's bright orange eyes towards her, followed a second later by the rest of the head turning towards her. She quickly moved her hand away, taking a step back, but it followed her hand with it's eyes and sniffed it slowly. Sada froze again, hand half-raised, unsure on what to do. Move? Step back? Approach it again?

Winged King seemed to decide for her, closing its eyes and quietly pushing against her hand with its head for a brief moment, before backing up and getting back to eating.

She is left staring at it in quiet awe.


Another couple of days later, and Sada realized that her plan with the flute had worked maybe a little too well, because now Winged King comes crashing through the forest every time she plays the flute, as long as it's close enough to hear it.

And "crashing through the forest" was literal: she had been playing the flute quietly to herself one night and the creature had pretty much dropped out of the sky in front of her a couple of minutes later, scaring her half to death.

« You can't just show up every time and eat all my food.» she sighed quietly, watching it sniff around the entire camp, then look at her expectantly.

With her notebook out she was busy furiously adjusting her drawing of the creature, now that it was actually staying relatively still in front of her.

After realizing that there was no food for him (her? She had no idea how to check), Winged King walked up to her and layed down behind her, starting to snore loudly after a while. It didn't budge in the slightest even when she cautiously pressed her hand against its scales, admiring them up close.

With a satisfied smile, she went back to taking notes, quietly wondering what Turo's reaction would be to this the next time they met. Just a couple of days more.
Chapter 9: Starman New


Bug Catcher
Some swearing
Chapter 9: Starman
« Anyone want some Poké Puffs?»

Everyone turned to look at Ortega, who had just half poked his head into the sanity room. That day the weather had decided to be absolutely terrible: one of Paldea's infamous flash storms had hit most of the southern part of the region, and the view outside the windows in most offices of the TTDL had been of a rather depressing grey mixed with the constant drumming of raindrops on glass for a couple of days by now. By the third day, everyone who was not away on a time jump had spontaneusly gathered in the sanity room; it was cozy, warm, they kept each other company, and it was nice to look at something that wasn't rain for a bit.

Turo had pretty much claimed a little corner of the room that had a comfortable couch and a table to hold a drink as his own, his figure veritably obscured by a wall of screens and monitors he had opened up all around him, each showing a different article, website, or obscure book he had been digging up. They all shared the same topic: Cyclizar and what changes in the environment had sparked his evolution (in the classical sense, not Pokémon-evolution sense) into Miraidon.

His latest report about Sada's discovery (because it was hers, like he had made sure to point out in the report) of what was probably a Paleolithic era ancestor to both had sparked quite a bit of interest, and so he had spent the last couple of days reading up about Cyclizar and Miraidon. He only had the copy of Sada's drawing to go by, but even only with that there were some details about the Proto-Miraidon that were... puzzling. Like the antennae on the top of their head they both seemed to share: Sada's drawing had given a lot of emphasis on them, while Cyclizar seemed to lack them completely. It was weird, from an evolutionary perspective, for something to lose a certain trait and then acquire it again.

He was so absorbed in his reading that he had barely noticed the question, but the same couldn't be said for everyone else.

« Which Poké Puffs are we speaking of?» came the question from Vega, who had a monitor of her own open and was busy shifting through blurry pictures she had tried to take of the legendary beasts trio. She stopped to contemplate one in particular, which would have captured a perfect and gorgeous image of Suicune running over the waves... only for some guy in a frilly cape to have accidentally photobombed the shot, causing the Pokémon to go out of focus and be nothing more than a blurry splotch of blue in the background. She deleted the picture, irritated.

« ... this dude was everywhere while I chased Suicune, I swear-»

Ortega entered the room proper and rolled his eyes, stealing a chair - as usual- and sitting down.

« The ones from before they changed the recipe and made them smaller, obviously. I need to jump to Lumiose City in year 4679 anyway this afternoon, may as well grab some while I'm there.»

That at least made the redhead perk up a bit.

« Oh hell yeah, get me a deluxe box of Supreme Spring ones then.»

« Of course you go straight for the most expensive option...» the man muttered while taking notes. More orders started to come from the others in the room.

« I want a box of frosted mocha flavored-» that was Satoshi, the researcher from Kanto that had joined the TTLD just last month.

« One medium box of Mint flavored for me.» someone whose voice he didn't quite catch.

« - oh, and also a box of Sweet Fancy ones, you know those with the cute little chocolate squares on top?» that was Vega again.

« You really plan to eat them all?»

« ... I would like a box of frosted orange flavored. » Turo finally raised his hand over the wall of screens, making Ortega jump a little.

« Didn't even see you there... and I thought you hated orange flavored stuff?» he asked, trying to peek over the monitors. Turo flicked them away and accidentally into each other, causing a short buzz of static when the holographic projections collided to fill the room.

« They are not for me. Miraidon loved them when we were little, and he got all sad when they stopped producing that flavor. » and when Miraidon got sad, he had his own special way of looking at him with those cute pixellated puppy eyes, and damn if it didn't make him feel terrible about whatever it was that had caused them, even if it was something outside of his control. You would think it wouldn't be possible for a Pokémon whose eyes were literal pixels to look so heartbroken, and you would be wrong.

« I'm sure he will be happy to taste them again.» having finished his explanation, he buried himself in the screens again, going back to his reading and mentally tuning out Ortega and Vega that had started to bicker about the prices of Poké Puffs in 4679 and how much money she had to give him taking inflation into account.


Later that evening, after Ortega had come back carrying a small mountain of pastries, Turo walked back into his apartment with the small box of Poké Puffs tucked under his arm. Miraidon ran up to the door to welcome him back as always, and the Pokémon's pupils got wide when it seemed to smell what he was carrying. With an excited growl, the dragon got up on his hind legs and put his front paws on the man's shoulder, wagging his tail.

Turo just laughed, trying to avoid getting pushed to the floor. Sure, Miraidon wasn't actively weighing down on him - or he would have been sent sprawling already -, but when he got so excited it was a bit difficult for him to control his strength.

« Calm down, calm down! Get off me, you're way too heavy to do that now... you're not a puppy anymore.»

Nevertheless he took a moment to stroke the Pokémon's neck and just rest his forehead against the smooth scales. Miraidon almost purred and nuzzled him with his head, then backed up to give him space, eyes notably never leaving the little box he was carrying.

Turo smiled and opened the box, offering one of the Poké Puffs to the Pokémon.

« Just one for now, I can't have you gobbling them all up in one go... »

He personally wasn't a fan of the smell of oranges that would no doubt permeate the kitchen in the following days, but he could endure it if it would make Miraidon that happy.

A ringing sound resonated through the apartment; with equal parts annoyance and anxiety, he opened a screen and took the call, watching Miraidon devour the Poké Puffs in two big bites.

The anxiety dimmed a bit when the caller was not the TTLD as he had feared. Just a bit, though.

« ... mom? I just got back from work. No, I didn't time travel today, next jump is in two weeks time...»

Turo stopped at the voice of his mother on the other side of the line, then groaned.

« ... No, that doesn't mean I've got nothing to do until then, I do other things in the meantime, I've already told you... And no, I don't want to go to the Moon for some overpriced lunch on Sunday-»

It was crowded and way too turisty - mostly all people born on Mars that got all stupidly sentimental about being on "the" Moon - and it was too far for teleporters to reach, which meant that you actually had to sit down on a shuttle and suffer through three hours of horrible movies and screaming toddlers.

The reduced gravity was really only interesting for the first couple of times, after which it got old pretty fast, and it's not like they didn't have simulators for it on Earth anyway.

Much cheaper. Faster. Less martians that accidentally elbowed you in the face to take a selfie with a view of the Earth in the background.

« Can't we at least do it somewhere else? » he sat down on the couch and tried to at least change the location to meet up, to no avail.

A couple of minutes later he closed the call with a defeated sigh and turned to look at Miraidon, lifting one hand to rub the Pokémon's snout that still had some cream from the Poké Puffs stuck to it.

« Sorry buddy, looks like Mom had other plans for us this weekend. We'll go riding next week, I promise. Somewhere sunny.»

« Gwaoooh.»

« You're still coming with me though. If we have to suffer, we suffer together.»

«... gwaoh.»


In the end, the trip had thankfully been not too bad; no screaming toddlers this time, and he had managed to just sleep for most of it. The shuttle docked at the Moon base around 11 AM and Turo mentally prepared himself for the weird sensation of suddenly feeling much, much lighter.

It wasn't complete zero gravity, but it still felt pretty much... "floaty" was the only way he could describe it.

The Moon base was a series of interconnected structures, each built at different points in history for different purposes. Completely isolated and self sufficient with an artificial atmosphere, they were pretty much little cities of their own, and the Moon as a whole was considered it's own region not unlike any other.

Just a bit more deadly if you stepped "outside" without a pressurized space suit.

Turo took the first bouncy step outside the shuttle, where artificial gravity was kept the same as on Earth, and almost went flying - literally-, landing five meters over where he would have landed if he had still been on Earth. The momentum was enough to send him skipping another couple of times and had him resort to windmilling both arms furiously just to finally stop. He glanced around; a couple of teenagers passed by, giggling at him while shaking their head.

See? This is why he hated the Moon. It was so weird, the micro-gravity always left him disoriented and nauseous, and he usually had to leave just as he got the hang of it, because screw spending the "night" there. Complete zero gravity was better than this.

At least he had the comfort of knowing that absolutely everyone looked stupid walking on the Moon, practically Lopunny-hopping everywhere. The only way to make that look cool was the ancient footage of those first astronauts, and only because of the historical importance of it.

Miraidon skidded to a stop next to him in a much more dignified way, having simply tucked his legs in, adopted his Drive form and easily floated after him on his energy rings. Turo glared at the Pokémon.

« That's cheating.»

« Gyaa~» the lizard dragon managed to look pretty smug at that.

« ... just let me ride.» he grumbled, mounting the dragon Pokémon and directing him to their destination.


His parents were already waiting for him inside the restaurant. Turo dismounted Miraidon, checked that Pokémon were actually allowed inside, then entered the place. It wasn't the most luxurious place, the really expensive ones served real meat and fish instead of lab grown protein steaks. It was something of a status symbol and nothing more, to be able to say that you could afford it, and there supposedly wasn't really any difference in taste or nutritional value... not like he had ever been able to check if that was true. Or any particular desire to do so, actually.

It was still a restaurant on one of the most touristy spots on the Moon, and so like everything else it was overpriced as hell. He found the table they were sitting at and managed to half slide, half float his way through without bumping into other people, grabbing his chair and sitting down on it with a defeated sigh. The only good thing about micro-gravity is that stuff at least would still stay down and actually stay on the ground once it stopped moving.

« I can't believe you had your first date here, of all places.» was his way of greeting his parents. That was the whole reason they kept coming back to this place.

At 54, Leandro Turo looked pretty much what his son imagined he himself would look like in some... twenty-five years give or take, just with darker hair than his father. Those had definitely come from his mother's side, who was the perfect image of the stereotypical Paldean woman; dark hair and eyes, long eyelashes and olive complexion, Carmen Ramos de Turo simply smiled and shook her head.

« It was quite romantic, actually, an- you brought... Miraidon?» she asked in seeing the Pokémon approach their table, looking a bit nervous in trying to not accidentally hit something or someone with his long tail.

« Why wouldn't I? He's family. » Turo answered, while the Pokémon happily licked both.

« ... good to see you, anyway.» he added after a moment, with a bit more warmth in his voice than usual. Even if he despised the place they had chosen to meet up, he was glad to see them again.

They exchanged pleasantries and ordered their food while catching up on what they had been doing the last couple of months.

« So... time traveling. Never would have thought to see it in my lifetime... It still sounds weird, telling everyone that my son time travels as his day job- no Mirai, down.» his father said while cutting his steak, only to be interrupted by Miraidon cautiously sniffing the plate. The Pokémon whined and sat down, head hung low. The sad puppy eyes had stopped working with his parents decades ago.

« ... it's still almost as weird for me to talk about it with someone else. » Turo answered after a moment while he sneaked a piece of meat to the dragon under the table. It was like... talking about his job with someone outside of the TTDL, someone that knew nothing about how it worked, what they did, what it felt like... it was like two completely separated parts of his life were suddenly being forced to meet. The whole thing made him a bit uncomfortable.

« Still, you were always talking about the future during your studies, I'm surprised you are actually traveling to the past now that you could actually go there.»

His mother's remark make him frown for a short moment, Sada's face flashing by in his mind.

« It's... ah, better to start with the past. The future is more... complicated.» he managed to come up with an excuse, which was also technically the truth. Just... not what his primary reason had been in choosing his destination.

He spotted Miraidon circling the table behind his parents, scooting closer on all fours while staying low to the ground, tail swishing behind him, and recognized the Pokémon's classic "I'm about to try and steal something while you're distracted" stance. He kept his expression carefully neutral, trying not to laugh.

« Makes sense. So many things you could mess up with knowledge from the future.» his father nods, while his mother still looks a bit unconvinced.

« But... isn't the past even more dangerous? You could end up influencing something and completely change the present.» there's just the slightest hint of concern in her voice, and Turo is not sure if she is concerned about something happening to him, or about the fact that her son could accidentally time paradox them all out of existence.

He would be a bit offended about her lack of faith in him, but.... honestly, after somehow shooting himself to the Stone Age?

She had a point.

« That is one theory about how time works, yes. That's why we have so many rules in place, just to be cautious. We don't even know if time paradoxes are actually possible, because... well... nobody wants to be the one that finds out. Truth is... there's been cases here and there that point to something different going on. » he started to explain, playing with his salad with a fork.

« Have you ever heard about the first successful time jump?» he asked after a moment.

They both nodded.

« Of course. It was all over the news, it was a historical moment. »

« Thirty-two years ago, Jules I. Wells was the first man to successfully jump back in time by 43 minutes and come back. »

« Yes, but... that's not everything he did.» the complete report was something that he had only read after starting his work in the TTDL.

« That morning, on his way to perform the first ever time jump with a functioning time-anchor, Wells went to his usual favourite bar to have breakfast. There he discovered that the croissants he always used to order were all sold out. So, for his first test jump, he decided on something completely innocuous: go back in time just enough to get that croissant.» there was a slight pause while he watched his parents reactions.

« ... I'm sure you can figure out where this is going.»

« ... oh. » they both said after a moment.

« It was him, wasn't it?» his father asked, still blissfully unaware of the lizard right behind him that had his eyes fixed on the half steak still on his plate.

« Exactly. He himself had been the one to get the last croissant, and he never would have had the idea to jump back if it hadn't already happened. The cashier confirmed that he had seen him enter two times that morning and found it strange how he had asked for another croissant after the first, but didn't say anything about it. It's a stable time loop. There's probably a lot more of them just dotted around history... but you have no way of knowing if what you do in the past will result in one until... it does. Or even worse, if it is possible to accidentally break a loop... nobody knows for now, and really nobody wants to be the one to accidentally find out. »

And that is why they just tried to observe things.

And probably why everyone in the TTDL ended up a bit... strange, now that he thought about it. Maybe the job simply attracted a certain kind of person.

His father frowned slightly.

« That sounds... stressful, I wouldn't be able to... MIRAI, NO-»

Turo grinned while he watched what was left of his father's steak get snatched up by Miraidon and the Pokémon scamper out of the restaurant with his prize.


A couple of days later, the current director and head researcher of the TTDL, Louis Moreau, entered his office.

« Dr. Turo, may I disturb you for a moment?»

« Y- yes! »

Turo furiously dismissed the half a dozen screens he had opened and stood up almost at attention; he had been here for more than a couple of months by now, but he still felt like an absolute newbie compared to the man in front of him. The man was a legend, practically one of the founding fathers of their entire field of research: in his sixties by now, he had worked closely with Wells himself by helping develop the time-anchor that everyone still used.

He, on the other hand... well, he probably wouldn't shake off the "Paleolithic era guy" nickname for the rest of his career. The man who had accidentally stumbled into the Stone Age, when he actually dreamed to see the future.

... it almost sounded like some bad joke.

« I've been reading your last couple of reports about your project... » the man starts, opening a screen of his own at eye level with a flick of his wrist and pulling up the various documents.

Turo's heart simply drops in his stomach, and for a short moment he feels his legs tremble, threatening to just drop him to the ground, or at most back in his chair.

That's it. They must be cutting him off. Now he will tell him to find something more productive.

His first immediate thought isn't for his job and his research; it's for Sada that would probably wait for him while sending smoke signals into the sky, day after day, wondering when he would come... he had promised to see her again, after all-

But he couldn't let his shock be visible in front of the director, he wasn't going to panic.

« Is there... is there something wrong with them?» he managed to choke out after a moment, voice kept at a carefully controlled, almost robotic monotone.

Moreau looked away from his screen to him with a look of slight surprise.

« Pardon? Oh no, absolutely nothing wrong with them! I understand that things are going pretty slowly in that time period, but there's nothing we can do about that, not with so little information about it that we can use...» he scrolled from one report to another, and Turo resumed breathing normally. He hadn't even noticed that he had been holding his breath.

So he wasn't... they weren't going to...?

« Me and some researchers at Uvanja Academy have been wondering about these "ancestor" Pokémon you've been mentioning in a couple of reports. » the man suddenly closed the monitor and stared straight at him, causing Turo to unconsciously freeze. Those piercing, icy blue eyes would have made anyone squirm.

« ... do you think you could catch some specimens to bring back? » he asked, clasping both hands behind his back and regarding him carefully.

It took Turo a couple of seconds to register what he had said.

« ... c-catch...? »

Like... like with a Pokémon battle, like in the VR games...?

« We will give you Master Balls to use, of course. Should be the most discrete way of doing it. »

Oh... of course. Master Balls. Those were a thing. Made sense.

Didn't make it any easier for his head to stop spinning at the whole idea, still caught between relief that they weren't cutting him off and complete shock.

« Is... is it safe to bring them along...? » he asked. Moreau just waved his hand.

« History isn't going to change because a single prehistoric Magikarp went missing 14'000 years ago. Wouldn't be the first time we extract exctint wild Pokémon from the past and try to reintroduce them in the present. Or at least study why they disappeared.»

Tudo swallowed.

« ... what if someone sees me? »

« Well... it's your responsibility to make sure that doesn't happen. Like everything else with our jobs. »

Yes. Right. He had to be cautious. He had to do this.

... somehow.


The usual flash of light announced his arrival in the past, this time in a completely unfamiliar place. He had studied modern maps the day before and tried to approximate coordinates for the area Sada had pointed at, then Porygon 568 had done the rest, automatically tweaking them to make sure he didn't appear halfway inside a tree, or a rock, or the ground... or above the ground, for that matter. In his time, the spot he had chosen was a quaint little café in the middle of Lumiose City. In Sada's time... he could still see the usual river in the distance, this time from the opposite side, but the forest looked less thick here, leaving space for great fields of tall grass. Here and there, boulders and small clusters of trees dotted the landscape, but it was still much more open that what he was used to. And that made him nervous; he felt defenseless while he started to walk following what looked like a small trail that countless Pokémon (or people, for all he knew) had cut through the grass by walking.

He was wearing the clothes Sada had made for him, but since they didn't have any pockets, he had been forced to still bring the lab coat with him. In the left-side pocket, his hand was gripping one of the six Master Balls they had given to him.

... there really was no reason to give him exactly six, it's not like there was a Box system set up in the Paleolitic, it had just been "tradition".

"You should feel honored", Moreau had joked.

"Only Pokémon Professors and really special individuals get clearance for using them."

Turo just hoped that he didn't accidentally lose some by chucking them in the water. Or off a cliff. His aim was horrible, but he probably could use them as a last ditch defense mechanism. Tap something that was about to murderize his face like with that Proto Magikarp, and it would get caught. Problem was, that implied getting close. And doing it alone, if he didn't want to risk Sada seeing him.

He nervously glanced all around to make sure he was alone, then took his hand out of his pocket and stared at the Master Ball. Those had also received some design changes during the centuries: it was completely white with a red line all around the perimeter, but how they worked was pretty much the same. You couldn't improve perfection, after all. Just one little functionality had been added in the last couple of decades, specifically for time-traveling.

One little button press on the side, and the whole Master Ball turned invisible. Turo shifted his grip around it for a moment, trying to get used to the feeling of touching something that he couldn't see, then switched the cloaking device off and slipped the Ball back into his pocket.

He wasn't sure which option would be worse. Sada seeing him pull out another impossibly smooth and round "stone" that imprisoned Pokémon inside it, or him apparently making a Pokémon disappear into thin air by simply touching them.

But, well... he was in no rush. Sada always seemed to choose places that were relatively safe from Pokémon; apart from their encounter with that Magikarp (which, to be fair, had been his fault), they hadn't encountered anything else. He wasn't exactly eager to go running off alone into the tall grass, so he would take his time with this task.

And speaking of Sada... he tried to look around, scanning the horizon for the smoke signals she had mentioned. It was early morning, so maybe she hadn't set up the fire yet...?

Turning east, he actually saw more than one. Three little smoke columns rose far, far into the distance, and it took him a moment to realize that they probably belonged to none other than Sada's settlement. She had pointed east on the map when explaining where she lived, after all, and he had serious doubt about there being that many villages within walking distance of each other. There simply weren't enough people.

It was... weird to think about. There lived her whole world; her family, her friends, probably everything and everyone she had ever known. All in this little corner of the world near what would become one of the biggest metropolis on the planet millennia later, burying every trace of their existence under grass and stone and roads and labyrinthine sewers and finally concrete.

With a small frown, he turns his back to the smoke trails and walks away.


Turo didn't have to walk for long before he recognized the exact spot that Sada must have chosen. Those were some really big rocks, and really tall... they were more like giant slabs of stone, laying sideways in a triangular formation and creating three big slopes that made for a great vantage point. And right on top of one of them, there was Sada, sitting down with her back to him. Probably busy starting the campfire.

He smiled and started walking a bit faster, rustling the grass all around him.

« Hey!»

That made her jump around, in a way that wasn't too different from their first meeting. That time she had grabbed the spear and pointed it at him in a second; now she had immediately recognized his voice and waved at him with both arms.

She looked... excited. Well, Sada always looked excited about something, but this time she was even more excited than usual. Maybe she had discovered something else about the Proto-Miraidon?

« Turo!! Ah... come here! Quick

Nevermind, that wasn't just excited, she was euforic. There's something new about her appearance, and he noticed what looked like a wooden tube hanging from her waist. What was that?

It didn't look too different from one of those blowguns that people would use to hunt.

Sada doesn't run up to him this time, but she looked so impatient that he forced himself to speed up a little.

« Sit here! » she pretty much forced him to sit by the fire, still grinning all the while. He expected her to grab her notebook to show him something, but Sada took a couple of step backwards and grasped the object at her waist. When she brings it to her mouth he finally recognized it as a crude flute carved out of wood, and is left just more perplexed.

She wanted to play him something...?

« Watch. »

That is... nice, but he didn't think it would justify such a level of excitement...

Three long, piercing notes come out of the instrument, much stronger and clearer than he was expecting, giving him an involuntary jolt. He sits straighter now, waiting for Sada to keep playing, but she had already lowered the flute and was looking at the horizon.

There's a long moment of slightly awkward silence, only the tall grass rustling around them.

... wait, that was it?

« Umm...» he tried to get up, only for a deafening roar to suddenly fill the air all around them. It's strong enough to force Turo to cover his ears and squeeze his eyes shut, and unlike anything he's ever heard.

When he opened his eyes up again, squinting and with his ears still filled with a slight ringing noise, it's just in time to catch the sight of an enormous figure climbing the rock formation and rising up right behind Sada. Who is still turned towards him, hasn't noticed anything, doesn't even have her spear, why doesn't she even have her spear-

They say that when faced with mortal danger, people evolved to respond to it with either one of two fundamental actions: fight or flight.

In retrospect, Turo kind of wants to say that he fearlessly threw himself towards her to protect her, clutching the Master Ball as the only weapon he had and staring down the enormous scaled creature.

Sadly, Turo was firmly in the group of people that developed a third alternative to the fight or flight response. The one called "freeze in panic and do nothing".

To his credit, he did at least jump up and tried to grab Sada's arm to yank her towards him, away from the figure, but to his surprise - and confused terror-, she actually moves away from him, towards the towering scaly lizard-like beast, that...

That is not... attacking... her. In fact, it's actually letting her pet it, lowering its head and letting out a suspiciously familiar sounding purr.

It's... it's the Proto- Miraidon. The bipedal stance had thrown him off, since Miraidon either walked on all fours or simply floated, but it's undeniably the same creature of Sada's drawings.

His legs fail him and Turo slumped to the ground, still trying to make sense of what he was seeing.

Sada turned towards him, one hand still petting the Pokémon, looking so proud of herself.

« Ah... ahahah-» he couldn't help letting out a short, incredulous laugh.

Why wouldn't she be proud? People in her time were still barely figuring out how to approach Growlithes without getting barked at and here she was, taming an honest-to-Arceus dragon. What could you even say to that?

He slowly got up and took some hesitant steps towards the two, observing the Pokémon. It was much bigger than Miraidon and bulkier, pure raw muscle strenght compared to his counterpart's sleek and somewhat slithering figure.

« The name is Winged King.» Sada proudly announced by his side, making him pause and turn to look at her.

« Winged... ?» was it because of the feathers? Sure, they were pretty big, but didn't look able to make him fly, and surely didn't look like wings to him. As for the second word, he had never heard it before.

... he really needed to give it a scientific name, even if just for the reports. Let's see, if Miraidon had been named after the Johtonese word for "future" when they had realized that Cyclizar would pretty much become a completely different Pokémon, then... something related to the past...?

He would have to think about it. For now, "Winged King" would work fine.

Meanwhile, Sada has been talking softly to the Pokémon, getting it to lay back down on all fours. And then, right as he was thinking that there was no way that she could top "convinced a Dragon Pokémon that's barely had contacts with humans to not kill me" in a single day, she mounted it.

Well... okay, she actually took a little running start and then jumped on its back, hanging on the feathered crest -ouch- before managing to seat herself on the Pokémon's broad back- Winged King growling a bit and shaking his head, scattering a couple of white and blue feathers all around.

Her technique definitely needed some work, he thought suppressing a smirk; but considering that she was, maybe, one of the first humans ever to do it? Nailed it.

He was still pretty amazed that the Pokémon seemed okay with it; it kept shaking its head and pawing at the ground, but when the girl didn't show any signs of letting go or jumping off, patting it's neck a couple of times and whispering something that he didn't quite understand, it just huffed and then started to move its head left and right, in a series of small, jittering motions that he recognized with some amazement.

That was exactly what Miraidon did when he tried to pretend that something wasn't bothering him, feigning indifference. How many little details like that had remained unchanged, from one species to another?

Sada broke him out of his amazed trance by patting the space left behind her on the Pokémon's back.

« Come! »

For once, Turo didn't hesitate. He walked to Winged King's side, boosted himself up by pushing against the Pokémon's back legs with one boot, and swung his leg over its back to seat himself right behind the girl, lab coat swishing around behind him - and pointedly reminding him of the Master Balls tucked deep in its pocket-.

Only when she turned to look at him strangely, one hand still half raised like she had been ready to help him up, did he realize what he had done.

Umm... shit.

He was so used to mounting Miraidon that his body had pretty much moved on autopilot. Should he have pretended to struggle a bit?

Well, it was too late now anyway.

Sada regarded him in silence for some excruciatingly long seconds, those bright, brilliant eyes narrowing and quickly scanning him up and down. Looking for some other detail she must have missed, some explanation, they stopped on his hands, his face, his legs. Turo pointedly held her gaze, feigning innocence.

«... let's go?» he offered, trying to keep his voice neutral.

After another long moment, she just shook her head, exasperated, and turned back around to give a command to Winged King in her usual chipper fashion.

She must have noticed something and simply decided to not speak up about it.

Winged King growled and started to walk, walking down the natural ramp of the rock formation it had climbed just before. Sada held on to the spikes on the Pokémon's front legs, another detail that it already had in common with its descendants that amazed him, while Turo managed to kind of hang on by just tightening his grip around the Pokemon's sides with his legs, staying upright.

It wasn't that different from Miraidon, really... just a bit more rigid scales and feathers instead of smooth, metallic plates.

And then it started to sprint, and he had to immediately eat his words.

He let out a little yelp of surprise at the sudden speed boost and had to scramble for some purchase, grabbing onto Sada from behind by looping his arms around her stomach, which made her jolt and gasp in surprise.

Winged King was speeding up, cutting a path through the tall grass, and his only thought at the moment was pretty much "Nope, it's not similar to Miraidon at all".

Miraidon's movements were... smooth, lithe and elegant, his paws not even touching the ground while he zipped forward like a bolt of lightning blitzing through the sky. But most importantly, his old partner's movement felt... controlled. Perfectly adapted and calibrated to ride with him, reading his slightest change in body language, thanks to millennia over millennia of evolution alongside humans.

Winged King's movements made it clear that he was accomodating no one but himself; he could feel the pure power behind every one of the Pokémon's strides, every kick of its legs. There was no reassuring buzz of electricity filling the air, just the sound of it's powerful claws tearing at the ground, its whole body moving up and down.

Winged King felt like riding a force of nature; you didn't control it, you just held on for the ride and hoped to not get thrown off.

But Sada, somehow, was managing it, leaning down to pat the Pokémon's neck and pointing in whatever direction she wanted it to go, in a series of signals she had to have developed herself.

The Pokémon seemed to take them more as suggestions than real orders, but still, it was listening to her.

And then, after another one's of Sada's commands, the Pokémon jumped up, climbed a tree to its highest point, then jumped off it and took off.

« IT FLIES?! » he couldn't help the scream that escaped him as they rose into the air, partially covered by Sada's ecstatic laughter.

How was it even flying? Those antennae even if extended couldn't be the only thing it was using to keep itself in the air, it didn't make any sense! Even Miraidon had to use his jet boosters to keep rising in altitude, and he floated magnetically.

Was it part flying type? Was it generating wind currents to fly??

The Pokémon flew in circles over the tree tops before slowly circling back down to the ground. It landed roughly, almost sending both humans directly pitching forward, and shook his head before growling.

Sada was the first to jump down, and she got something out of her bag that the Pokémon was quick to gobble up in a single bite.

Turo got down a bit more slowly, still in a bit of a daze over the fact that it just flew.

Sada regarded him with a radiant smile, the little moment of tension between them from before already forgotten - or at least, that's what he hoped.

« Did you see?! We were flying! » she breathed out.

« Yes... »

His enthusiasm must have evidently not matched hers in intensity, because she grabbed both his hands with hers, jumping up and down.

« FLYING Turo, like birds! I can... we can... move so much faster. We can explore so much more now!» she was talking much more excitedly now, much faster, and he missed some bits and pieces, but he still understood enough for her words to tug at his heartstrings. Of course... of course that would be the first thing she would think of...

« We can... go to your people ? » she added after a moment, looking up at him. Hopefull. Excited. Beautiful.

His breath caught in his chest.

Turo forced himself to slowly extricate his hands from hers. He lowered his eyes to the ground, he didn't want to see that excitement slowly disappear from her eyes, the light in them die and get replaced with disappointment. He slipped both hands into the lab coat's pockets, as if to hide them from her. Out of sight, out of reach.

« My people are... far, far away. »

He unconsciously gripped one of the Master Balls in his left pocket.

« We... can't go. »

He knows that answer like these must frustrate her so much, because how can't you simply not go somewhere, but how could he even start to explain to her how impossibly far away he actually lives from her?

He simply can't, that's it.

Sada went silent, for the first time since he's met her looking somewhat angry at him.

But mostly disappointed.

Turo sighed, looking around, anywhere that was not her. His eyes happened to land east again. Towards her village. Her people.

« I... » he said slowly, hesitantly.

It would be risky. He would have to be careful. But... really, if she could never meet his, getting to know her people was the least he could do. He could... document who they were. Who they had been. So that at least some trace that they had existed would be left behind. That was what his whole job was for after all, right?

« Can I... come... to your people? »

He watched her eyes widen in surprise.

« R... really? »

He nodded, and was rewarded by the biggest smile he had ever seen on her, her whole face practically glowing - and then she jumped up and hugged him, throwing her arms around his neck, and he is left petrified with a mix of fear and excitement and oh her hair is so soft and tickling his neck and he has no idea what to do should he hug her back and not stand there like an idiot should he kiss her fuckhereallywantsto-

Thankfully Sada let go only a couple of seconds later -even if they felt like an eternity to him- and gently took his hand, or at least his arm.

« Let's go!»

... wait. Wait a moment.

She gently tugged him along, already starting to explain something, and he is left stumbling behind her.

... he didn't mean right now.


Rescue Team Member
Pokemon Paradise
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
  6. tropius
  7. arctozolt
Sorry I'm late, but here I am with my chapter 3 review!

This was another really fun chapter! We even got a look into what the future is like!

And yep, I was right! The Brutal Fangs are paradox Magikarp! I love the detail with Splash being so much more terrifying back in ye olde days.

I love how Turo and Sada are starting to understand each other more and more! It's really quite lovely!

Thank you for writing this!
Chapter 10: River New


Bug Catcher
No, there actually isn't a river in this chapter. It's just the title of a song I was listening a lot to as I wrote the chapter, and it seemed to fit the Sada of this AU quite well.
Chapter 10: River
Sada observed as Winged King lazily slept sprawled over the grass. It seemed to prefer sunny spots to soak up the light, fanning open the feathers all over its body. Sometime its head or tail would twitch a bit, and it would open its mouth to hiss slightly before turning around and going back to sleep. Maybe it was dreaming? Did creatures even dream like people? By now it was comfortable enough to even sleep around her, and it would often follow her around while she moved, but still did mostly its own thing. It hadn't followed her to the village yet, but she had seen it fly around high in the sky.

Did it mean that even if so strong, it was wary of people in large groups?

She kind of wanted to bring it to the settlement with her... It would eat a lot of food, but to have something so formidable on their side... It would make hunting and fighting creatures so much easier.

And, if she could just manage one thing, it would make travelling also so much easier.

Sada wanted to ride it... Which was crazy, of course. Narjik loved to tell old stories of their ancestors that fought against monsters and evil spirits by riding on some creature, fighting together, but those were just... Fantasies. The kind of stories you told to entertain children or that the hunters loved to come up with after drinking a bit too much fiery berry juice late at night and nothing more, wildly exaggerating old hunting experiences.

"And then my great great grandfather totally jumped on that Roaring Moon and it helped him kill that Great Tusk! It was the biggest there ever was, you could carve a hundred spears out of its tusks and its skin was so big they made entire tents out of it for everyone!"

Stuff like that.

But... If she could actually do it... The problem was... How?

She walked up to the dragon; there was a spot right on its back where there were neither spikes or feathers, that seemed just perfect for sitting on its back... Taking advantage of the fact that it was much lower to the ground at the moment, she decided to simply try climbing on it.

Sada had barely gotten one leg over the creature's back when Winged King woke up, jumping upright with a growl and sending her falling back to the ground, landing hard on her back. It took her barely a moment to catch her breath, her body moving on reflex and rolling to the side when the dragon's great shadow covered her, and another moment to right herself in a low crouch, staring down (or, to be exact, up) at the creature.

It had simply turned to look at her, orange eyes looking almost offended at what she had tried to do; her instincts were still telling her to get ready to fight or to run, to grab a weapon, a berry, anything, but Sada forced herself to remain calm.

Winged King wouldn't hurt her. It hadn't done so the past days and it wouldn't start now. She was sure of it, she wanted it to be true.

She was proven right when the creature simply snorted and walked away a couple steps, plopping back down on the grass to resume sleeping.

Sada slowly got back up, grinning. Did it really think that she would give up so easily?


She tried to approach the creature from many different angles after that: from the side (it simply leapt away from her, with a strange throaty hiss that she could swear was its version of laughing at her), sneaking up on it from behind (it only managed to teach it to use its tail to playfully swipe at her legs), and finally from above. She crept along the branch of the tree she had climbed, staring at Winged King dozing off right underneath her. Curled up like it was, it was almost a perfect target to land on. Sada waited for the little signs that it had fallen in a deeper sleep: the feathered crest lowering until it laid flat on its head and the chest rising and falling at a slower rhythm, before springing into action. Leaping down from the branch, she landed right on the dragon's back. Before it could wake up completely and send her flying again, she pressed both legs against its side and desperately grabbed for something to hold on to, namely the feathered crest.

« Gyaaa-»

The creature started to buck wildly, trying to shake her off. The feathered tendrils she was gripping were literally vibrating in her hand, and Sada realized that the creature was trying to unfurl them like she had seen it do to fly away.

One of them snapped open under her grasp and almost whipped her in the face, the girl only managing to avoid it by ducking her head on pure reflex. With her hand now empty, she immediately looked for a new handhold to grab on to. Her eyes fell on a curved blue spike that grew from the creature's front leg, and she held on to it while the single opened wing flapped wildly, the creature still trashing and shaking its head.

After a moment of consideration, she quickly grabbed the opposite spike, freeing both wings. Winged King immediately jumped up, flapping both wings as wide as possible with a smaller "gyaa-".

Had she... Had she been hurting it by grabbing them like that...? It definitely looked like it was much calmer now that she wasn't grabbing its head directly, but it still growled and tried to shake her off, to little effect. Sada realized that she was probably in the most secure spot possible: it couldn't touch its own back in any way, unless it started to throw itself on the ground, or smash his own back against a rock.

It thankfully didn't seem to have hit on that idea yet, and Sada had no intention to let it think too much about it.

« If you let me stay up here, I'll give you some tasty food...» she whispered, caressing its neck. That seemed to get the creature's attention: it had learned really fast what the word "food" meant, mostly by her grumbling about it while it showed up at her camp to devour all her supplies the past few days. It went completely still, dropping back to the ground with a heavy thump and trying to turn around to look at her.

« Gya?»

« Yes, "gyaaa"»

She kept petting the creature, both because it seemed to genuinely like it and to distract it from the fact that she was still stubbornly seated on its back. Winged King started to slowly pace around, and Sada tried to get used to the weird feeling. It was simply walking, but... She was... actually doing it! She was riding it! Like in Narjik's stories!

Ooh, the look on his face if she would actually show up to the village riding Winked King! Nevermind him, the look on everyone's face! What would Turo's reaction be?!

She threw her head back and laughed, delighted.


The next day, she called Winged King with her bag completely packed with supplies from the village. She had made sure to pick all the things that Winged King had seemed to enjoy eating more.

Sada had been walking back and forth from the settlement to the place where she would meet up with Turo again in a couple of days, where three great flat rocks protruded from the tall grass. The red lizard arrived swiftly, already sniffing the air while eyeing her bag.

She made sure to keep it closed while she got up on its back, the creature immediately growing a bit displeased at it.

« All right, if you want some food...» she opened up her bag, took one strip of dried meat in her hand, and threw it a good couple of meters forward.

« Go get it!»

Winged King's head snapped forward, eyes following the arc made by the morsel of food before bolting after it, Sada barely managing to hold on. With two great leaps and one final jump, the lizard caught it in midair before it could even touch the ground; it flapped its wings a single time and landed heavily on all fours, licking its lips with a satisfied growl. Just like she had hoped, it had been so focused on the food that it hadn't cared about her riding it in the slightest.

« Gyaa-!»

« Good job!» she leaned forward to pat its neck, overjoyed, and it purred.

Yes! Good! This was working... If she could get it to associate letting her ride with getting treats, she could teach it pretty much anything!

It would quite literally eat a hole in their supplies of food, but if she managed to get Winged King's help during hunting expeditions... The problem would just solve itself. It could probably fight anything without too many problems.

« Let's try this now...» she got another piece of meat out and held it up high. Somehow, Winged King seemed to sense that she was holding something in her hand even without being able to see her, trying to twist around to get a look at it. That was interesting... Did it notice that she wasn't holding the spikes on its legs with both hands? Had it noticed the sound of her bag rustling open? That had to be it.

It was much more smart than what she first thought if that was the case. That just made her even more excited about it: was it a special case? Or was it possible that all creatures were actually that intelligent?

« Go!» the lizard's head immediately snapped forward again, expecting to see another piece of food fly through the air, only to growl with disappointment when it realized that she hadn't thrown anything yet.

« No, not yet... "Go"» she repeated, but it stubbornly dug its claws into the ground, refusing to move.

« Gya!»

She pouted, but she couldn't just let him have it if she wanted to train it.

Maybe it was better to change tactic for now.

« Go left!» she exclaimed, throwing the piece of meat in that direction. It immediately turned around to run after it, again catching it in midair. She kept doing it for quite a bit until her bag was almost empty, changing directions and making sure to praise it after every successfull attempt; she was starting to get used to switching quickly from throwing the food to keeping her grip on the creature's back.

Winged King, she noticed, also seemed to have quickly realized what was going on; it really was quite smart. It would turn its head this way and that, trying to anticipate her command, and before long it had started to change direction as soon as she had started to speak, already recognizing the two different words for left and right. It was a very... rough way of moving around, leaping from spot to spot through the tall grass and constantly starting and stopping, but somehow, it was working.

Eventually, she hoped that it would listen to her even without the immediate promise of food. With how smart it seemed to be, maybe it wouldn't take that long.


Finally, the morning where she would meet up with Turo again arrived; she literally couldn't wait to see his reaction to Winged King, and had set off from the village to reach the designated spot to set up the smoke signal. The elevated position also had a second purpose: she was... quite curious to see from which direction Turo would come from. Logically, unless he had stealthily moved around quite a bit these days (and this was Turo: the man looked ready to collapse in exhaustion after walking up a small hill), he should be arriving from the west relative to her position...unless he had used his more... "Flashy" method of travelling.

Along the way, she gathered some materials to light a fire.

After reaching the meeting spot, Sada spent a bit of time looking around, searching for Winged King. She hoped that it hadn't chosen this one in particular as the day to roam farther than usual; she couldn't find traces of the lizard in the sky, but maybe it was sleeping somewhere in the grass.

She set her weapon and supplies down and dug into her satchel, looking for the two flints she remembered she had packed inside to start the fire.

« Hey!»

The voice came not long after that, surprisingly, from behind her. She jumped up, startled, and turned around, and sure enough her eyes landed on Turo's figure walking through one of the narrow trails in the tall grass. Her surprise -why was he coming from the direction of the settlement?- didn't last long, soon changing into excitement. There he was! Oh, she couldn't wait to see his reaction! These ten days had seemed longer than usual with how much had happened in them, and she realized that she had kind of missed him. He was also wearing the clothes she had made for him, even if still with his usual white cape covering it, left hand hidden from view inside it.

She waved at him with both arms, impatiently waiting for him to reach her.

« Turo!! Ah... come here! Quick!» Sada hurried him along and he complied with a small smile, trying not to slip on the rocky surface. As soon as he was near, she took his arm by the elbow and pretty much forced him to sit by the fire she had just lit. Turo looked slightly surprised at that - but not displeased -, his eyes quietly wandering over her as he no doubt tried to guess what had gotten her so excited.

« Watch »

He raised a single perplexed eyebrow when Sada brought the little wooden flute she had carved to her lips, blowing three sharp notes into it. She immediately started to look around, trying not to laugh at Turo's absolutely dumbfounded face while he evidently tried to decide what was the appropriate response to the whole situation.

Just then, a familiar roar resonated through the air and behind her, and Sada hid a small smile after hearing the sound of Winged King making its way towards them. So it had been laying around here after all...

She had to admit to feeling a bit guilty in seeing Turo's expression change to fear and slight pain as he covered his ears; those roars could get quite loud, especially from up close. Winged King climbed up the rock from behind her. She heard it shift to its bipedal stance, rising to its full height and towering over them both. Turo managed to open his eyes again and seemed to freeze in fear, not unlike he had done against the Brutal Fang that had almost killed him, shrunken pupils fixated on the figure right behind her, not moving a muscle, breath caught in his chest.

All right... Now she was starting to feel really bad about the whole thing. She happened to move away right as he jumped up, arm outstretched and trying to grab her, and even as she neared the dragon she felt a small quick surge of warmth in her chest. He had tried to save her. Even while obviously terrified and helpless, he had moved to try and get her out of what he thought was mortal danger.

Sada quickly moved by Winged King's side and started to pet the lizard's head feathers to reassure Turo that they weren't in any danger.

It takes him a bit to realize that Winged King isn't going to hurt them; Sada smiled proudly, cheeks flushing slightly at Turo's short, incredule laugh. He slowly approached the creature, still quite fearful and hesitant, until he stood by her side, completely transfixed by the creature. The name seemed to confuse him, and she realized that he probably had no idea what King meant. Umm... How could she even explain it?

Ah, but did it even matter at the moment? There were definitely more exciting things to show him right now! One word could wait.

She turned back towards Winged King and tried to get him to lay down.

« Just get down a moment... "Down"» she caressed the leathery skin of its throat, where three smaller spikes seemed to protrude from it; the lizard seemed to like it, because it raised its head to give her better access to it, eyes squeezed shut, before opening them up again in disappointment when the petting stopped. It looked at her hand, and she immediately took the chance to point it at the ground to get the creature to lower its head.

« Down» it growled but obeyed, lowering itself back down on all fours.

She mounted it - still with some difficulty - and turned back towards Turo, smiling and encouraging him to get near.

« Come!»

She almost had expected him to hesitate and refuse, shaking his head while muttering something like he often did, but now it was his turn to surprise her. He approached the lizard, planted his boot firmly against a specific spot on the creatures hind legs, and jumped up quickly swinging his other leg over in a single, fluid motion she honestly didn't even think him capable of. He made it look so easy, like he did it everyday. Sada just stared at him, stunned, and after a moment he seemed to realize that something was off.

That he had messed up. His face became completely neutral, like it often did when she tried to approach some subject he wasn't comfortable with. It was almost like watching some of the wooden masks Narjik wore during some of their rituals slide right over his face, every single feature carefully crafted and controlled to not betray even the slightest hint of emotion. Their eyes met, and for a couple of long moments none of them both dared to move or even breath.

Then Turo spoke, trying to act like nothing was wrong.

He knew. He knew that she knew that he was hiding something.

She was tempted to question him about it, but decided against it after a moment. No use doing it right now. With a resigned sigh, she turned back around to direct Winged King. While the dragon started making his way off the rock, she listened for Turo's reaction, but even then, there was nothing but silence coming from behind her.

... Was he busy trying to come up with some excuse to give her later? Because she was going to question him about it. When the dragon sped up, Turo finally gave a reaction more in line with what she had been expecting of him from the beginning, trying to not fall off. What Sada wasn't expecting was for him to grab onto her to do it. She was suddenly acutely aware of his weight onto her back, his hands lightly pressed around her waist, and she involuntarily let out a startled gasp. "Focus".

She needed to concentrate in order to avoid both of them falling off the dragon.

She leaned forward on the dragon, starting to give him instructions just like they had practiced; without the promise of immediate food, the lizard was quite more reluctant to follow her directions, but she didn't exactly need it to be perfectly obedient at the moment. It was already incredible that it was actually listening to her: sometimes she still found herself in disbelief at it all. Just a couple of days earlier, and she wouldn't have dared to dream being able to do something like this. And now... Here she was! Not only riding a peaceful creature but one as amazing as Winged King.

With a smirk, she gave it one last command: this one they hadn't had much time to practice, so she wasn't sure if it even remembered what she wanted him to do. So when the dragon suddenly started climbing a tree, then jumped off it and spread its wings to fly, she couldn't help letting out an exhilarated laugh.

The wind, it felt amazing! It was so much stronger up here, so much colder. Winged King's scales radiated a reassuring warmth as it flapped its wings and flew slowly over the forest before circling back to where they had come from. Turo's grip on her had suddenly gotten much stronger, the man probably worried at the idea of slipping sideways from the creature's back and plummeting to the ground from that height.

They landed quite rockily back on the ground, and she quickly jumped down to give a growling Winged King the very deserved prize he was probably demanding right now.

Turo jumped down with way less grace than when he had gotten up, looking a bit distracted.

Of course he would be! They had just been flying! She grabbed both his hands, elated. Did he have any idea what this meant?! They could explore places that were difficult for people to reach, they could see the world like no else had ever done before! They could even... She hesitated a moment when the thought struck her.

«We can... go to your people ? » she asked, barely daring to hope for a positive answer. If he said yes... Just a little visit! A really short one... She just wanted to see where he actually came from. What kind of places had creatures that could make paper and his weird stretchy clothes and that had writing and who knew what else...

Turo froze, and then slowly moved his hands out from hers, hiding them both in his pocket, eyes low, and she already knew what he was going to say.

No, obviously.

Both hands went back to her side, one balling up in the first surge of annoyance and real anger that she had ever felt towards him.

Did... Did he think she was stupid? What kind of excuse was that? That was the whole point of being able to fly now, so what if it was far away?! If he was scared of going back to his tribe or whatever fine, he could just show her the way once they arrived near there and she could go herself!

The anger didn't last long, quickly replaced by something more subdued, a quiet disappointment in realizing that even after saving his life, after all the hours they had spent together, side by side, slowly teaching each other words and talking and laughing... He still didn't trust her enough to reveal pretty much anything about himself.

Always disappearing at sunset. For every word he said, she had the feeling there were five more he had decided to keep to himself.

Just... Why?

What honestly deserved so much secrecy?

An uncomfortable silence fell between the two; Sada bit her lip, petting Winged King that had bumped her shoulder with its snouth.

« I...»

Turo was mumbling something, eyes fixed to the east, where the smoke of various campfires was snaking up towards the sky. She suddenly remembered that it was also the direction he had come from just before.

"Can I come to your people...?"

His question was so unexpected that she had to made sure she had heard right.

She stared at him, eyes wide. Did he... Did he really ask to...?

Had she been wrong? Had he refused because he was already planning to come to her settlement in the end?

Sada couldn't help hugging him, throwing her arms around his neck, laughing happily. She accidentally brushed against his chin and paused for a moment, surprised by how spiky his beard felt, then hastily let go, regarding him with an enormous smile.

« Let's go!» she offered, grabbing his left arm, mind already racing towards all the things she would have to explain to him about how the settlement worked, how they lived, and... And...

She heard Turo stutter something out from behind her, and she turned to look back him.

« What ...?»

He looked flustered, face slightly red. And nervous. Sada smiled, trying to reassure him.

« It will be fine!» she tugged encouragingly on his arm again, and he slowly, slowly brought his left hand out from where he had shoved them away just earlier. Sada grasped it with her right hand, and before she could consciously think about it, found herself interlocking her fingers with his. She squeezed them slightly, rubbing her thumb on the back of his hand. Turo flinched slightly, wide eyes never leaving her face. His lips parted and he seemed on the point of saying something.

« It will be fine.» she repeated, gently, and he stopped, before nodding slowly, eyes never leaving her face.

Sada led him towards the camp, walking half a step ahead of him like they often did, still never letting go of his hand. Winged King followed them for a while, before turning back around and flying away when it realized that they were going towards the settlement.

Along the way, she felt Turo trip behind her a couple of times and smiled feeling a surge of affection towards the awkward man. To distract him, she pointed out a set of footprints on the trail.

« These are from a Bushy Pelt » she said, before explaining as best as she could about their incredibly thick, white fur. They moved in packs, and would leave white strands of fur pretty much everywhere. Turo nodded along, but if she had turned around to look at him a bit more often, she would have noticed that he seemed much more interested in glancing at her instead of whatever she had been pointing at.


Turo seemed to become more and more nervous the nearer they got to the settlement and more and more traces of human activity showed up.

He stared with wide eyes at the large tents and temporary huts that had been erected near each other in groups of three or four, in a wide circle. Great bones and tusks were used to create the walls, with furs thrown on top and sewn together to create a barrier against the sun, the rain and other elements.

He didn't seem to be familiar with them, and she wondered what materials his people used to build things. Surely not that weird stretchy skin they seemed to use for clothes?

Smoke was coming out from a hole in the top of some of the larger ones, where someone was probably cooking something, judging by the smell that was coming out of it. A larger campfire, now still empty and cold, sat at the rough center of the settlement, this one usually used as a communal meeting point by everyone in the group to sit around at night and share stories, at least when the weather wasn't bad.

They were organized mostly in groups made from people that were related by blood, even if almost all activities at the settlement were communal. Hunting, gathering food, crafting tools and child-rearing were all done by everyone as a group.

They crossed a small group of hunters about to set out, Chalo and Fluffyhead among them. Sada greeted them with a sharp nod, lifting her spear and tapping the ground twice.

« Good luck!»

They answered her in a similar manner, cheering, before catching sight of Turo and stopping in their tracks, staring. Sada turned towards him, only to notice that he had very slightly shuffled to the side, almost trying to hide behind her. Since he was almost one head taller than her and draped in blinding white, he wasn't having much success.

« This is the shaman from the south I've told you about. He'll be staying with us from now on.» Sada opted to break the awkward staring contest between the two groups, missing Turo raising one eyebrow in a puzzled expression by her side.

« Ooh, finally the mystery man shows up.» Chalo was the first to react. The woman grinned, moving towards him only for the man to nervously take a step back, eyeing both the spear and Fluffyhead.

Chalo, meanwhile, stared him up and down, eyes stopping at their still locked hands.

« You weren't kidding when you said he's weird looking. What's up with his hands? »

Sada sighed while some of the other hunters expressed similar comments.

She was suddenly glad that he was actually wearing the clothes she had made for him. If this was their reaction when he was dressed exactly like them (well, cape aside), she could only imagine how they would have reacted at seeing him with his original clothes.

Sada looked up at him, pensive.

He didn't look that weird.... Did he?

Or... was she just getting used to it? She... She kinda liked it, actually.

Turo meanwhile looked ready to bolt, wide eyes passing between all of them with obviously no idea of what they were talking about. She squeezed his hand reassuringly.

« Chalo, not now...»

The girl just laughed and lifted her free hand to slap Turo on the shoulder. The man flinched.

« Riiight, you two have fun. Bye Terg!» and with that, she whistled a command to Fluffyhead and resumed walking, the rest of the hunters following suit.

« T- Terg? What's Terg?» Sada couldn't stop a short giggle at seeing Turo so confused by that of all things.

« It's... Nothing. It's stupid.»

He just looked even more confused, but at least not as terrified as before.

They resumed walking, and Sada finally ducked into one of the bigger tents, leading him inside. Turo stopped and looked at his feet, at the moss that has been used to cover the floor, and appears completely taken aback again, like he had never seen anything like it before.

She's similarly surprised by his reaction. Had he been sleeping on cold, hard stone before now?

That was... Sad.

The tent is at the moment empty, save for one figure sitting near the hearth, paying attention to some pieces of meat on the fire. The woman lifted her head in hearing them approach, and Sada couldn't help feeling suddenly a bit nervous. She had pictured the scene so many times in her head, having it actually take place right in front of her eyes now didn't feel real. She was so happy that he had finally decided to join the settlement, but what if people didn't accept him...?

« Mother, this is Turo. I've been teaching him our language, but there is still a lot he doesn't know so... try not to overwhelm him. » she explained, Turo's head snapping in her direction at hearing his name but clearly not being able to parse much else.

« Turo, this is my... "Mother"» she added turning towards him, thinking back on their conversation from some time ago.

« My... Parent.»

It took him a second, and then he suddenly looked even more terrified than when Winged King first showed up. Face completely white, Turo looked back at Mother, trying and failing to stutter something out as a greeting.

« Ah... Umm... H-hello...» he almost managed in a low voice, and it's so painfully awkward that Sada couldn't help but cringe slightly with second hand embarrassment. It's just.... So like him to fly into a panic simply at the thought of having to exchange a greeting, even though she could understand that he would be nervous. She probably would too, in a similar situation.

Thankfully, Mother didn't comment on it. She nodded slowly as an answer and just quietly stared at him, apparently studying his face.

« So this is the man you've been meeting with?» she finally asked.

« Y-yes. Can we... Sit down?» Sada offered. Turo sure looked ready to pass out from sheer nervousness, maybe sitting down would put them all a bit more at ease. Mother simply nodded, and Sada sat down on the opposite side of the fire. She patted the ground just on her right for Turo to sit beside her. He complied, sitting cross legged with some difficulty. He kept poking at the moss on the ground with one hand, playing with it nervously. Was it... Really that fascinating for him? The other, his left hand, was again firmly hidden in his mantle. He... Had been doing that a lot today, now that she thought about it. Was there something about his left hand that was different today, something he wanted to hide? But no... The only thing she could think of was his weird bracelet he seemed so protective of, but he kept that on his right wrist. And all the time she had just spent holding his hand, she hadn't noticed anything different.

« He... Looks nothing like the tribe from the south I remember meeting. » Mother spoke up after a couple of moments of silence, catching Sada by surprise.

Oh...? She had actually hoped that Mother would recognize something familiar about him. Maybe it had been... A different tribe?

« What creature does that come from? That doesn't look like fur.» her mother asked after a moment, pointing at Turo's mantle. Sada smiled, excited; of course she would be interested in it! That was good; if they could just talk about... normal, everyday things, that was maybe the best way to make him feel welcome here.

She brushed Turo's arm and looked at his face, ready to explain in case he hadn't understood the question, but he just shifted his weight slightly and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.

« It is not... fur. Not a P-... a creature. » he opened them up again and answered, voice a bit wavering but clear.

« It's... umm... not a tree... » he squinted and scratched at his chin, seemingly having trouble remembering a word.

« ... plant! It's a plant. "Cotton". Not...from here. I think»

She felt a strange sense of pride in listening to him trying to make his way through the conversation as best as he could.

« A plant...? I guess you could twist the fibers like we do for baskets, but... Make clothes out of it...?» her mother seemed intrigued, but Sada couldn't help but notice that Turo looked completely lost at her answer.

« She is asking... "How" you make this.»

His face cleared up a bit, just to go right back to nervousness a moment later, eyes shifting left and right.

« Ah, I... D-don't know... How.» he muttered.

Mother raised one eyebrow, perplexed, before turning her attention back to her.

« He knows what it's made of, but not how?»

Yes, Turo was... Weird like that, apparently. That probably was just how shamans were in his tribe... Or... Something.

« Why don't you show her?» she asked the man. He just stared blankly, not quite sure of what she meant.

Putting her hand on his wrist, she pinched the white fabric and tugged gently.

« Your clothes. Can you show them to her?» she mimed taking the mantle off like he had already done one time to let her examine it.

She was sure that Mother would be as fascinated by them as she had been, and with how much more experienced she was, could probably figure out more about how they were made.

To her surprise, Turo stiffened at her touch. His eyes moved from her hand gently touching his left arm, to the space between them - and briefly her face-, then to his hips.

« Ah... N-no... Sorry.»

... What?

She stared at him for a moment, honestly confused. He had been more than happy to let her examine it last time, and had offered it himself.

Why was he suddenly so defensive?

What was going on with him today...?

There's complete silence in the tent for a couple of moments, the only sound that of the fire and the skewered meat that is cooking on it.

Her eyes wandered from his face to his side... And landed on the left pocket of his mantle. The one he had kept his hand in the whole time since this morning. They were pretty large pockets... At least large enough for his notebook and pen, and probably other things.

He wasn't hiding his hand from view, he was hiding whatever was inside that pocket.

Something else he didn't trust her to see, apparently.

Sada looked back to his face... And there it was again. The "mask".

Except that this time, he couldn't stop the rest of his body from betraying him. She can feel it, from the hand still on his arm, their knees touching sitting side by side, legs crossed. He is actually trembling, face inscrutable but white with panic.

« Sada... please...»

The mask cracked, the tiniest bit, and his eyes are begging, literally begging her to not delve further. To drop the whole thing and pretend that nothing happened. To play dumb.

For a short moment, she is almost tempted to just shove her hand inside his pocket and grab whatever it was he was hiding... But... She can already picture the panicked and betrayed look he would give her.

« ... Never mind. Maybe another time. He says he's cold without it.» she couldn't help but mutter under her breath, and Turo just hanged his head with a guilty expression, surely having recognized the word.

« Alright. There is no rush. » Mother pointedly looked at Turo after having witnessed their short exchange, before looking back at her, eyes narrowing.

« Are you sure you can trust this man?» she asked in a low voice.

Sada bit her lip. Yes, of course she trusted him, he's never shown the slightest hint of ill will towards her, there must be a reason for why he had been acting like that, but... did he even trust her?

« I'm sure he's just... nervous. »

Mother simply shrugged, going back to handling the fire.

« If you say so. Let's just eat.»

Sada nodded, relieved, and grabbed some of the skewers, passing one to Turo and biting into one of hers.

« Here.»

It's not the first time they have eaten together, during the hours they have spent teaching each other vocabulary and discussing different creatures and their powers, but it's usually been just berries, roots and similar things that she had gathered nearby before he arrived. It's not like she could go hunting and catch something while Turo was with her... both because the guy was so clueless in walking stealthily that he would have scared everything away, and because having to make sure that he didn't get his face bitten off by whatever she was hunting would have just made things more difficult for her.

So she isn't exactly surprised when his eyes go wide at seeing the meat he was being offered; it was probably the first piece of cooked meat he had seen since coming here.

If he had to survive all this time on roots and berries that he found... no wonder he was so scrawny.

Turo looked at both of them, almost like a kid making sure that yes, he was actually allowed to eat it.

« T-thank you... » he stared at it with a strange expression of puzzlement on his face, turning the skewer in his hand. He looked about to take a bite, before stopping again.

« W... what creature is this? » he asked, quietly. Sada stared at him, not really getting the point of the question. Why would it be important...?

Ooooh, maybe he was afraid that the meat came from those creatures his people didn't hunt? If they were considered special for some reason (not like she could understand why), then they obviously didn't eat them as a form of... respect, or something.

She simply pointed to the corner of the tent, to the Steady Glacier bones that made up the walls.

Turo got even quieter after he seemed to realize what she meant, and he ate in complete silence.


After eating, Sada decided to show Turo the rest of the settlement. He seemed pretty interested in the little enclosure they had built for Fluffyhead and a couple of other Spark Tails that Chalo had managed to round up in the meantime, even taking out his notebook to take some quick notes about it. Sada tried to glance at the paper, and he strangely didn't stop her. She quickly understood why: the symbols that should have been the same he had taught her were scribbled so hastily that she could barely recognize a couple of them. Turo smirked at her disappointed pout, letting one of the Spark Tails sniff his hand. He seemed familiar with them.

« Sada! » they both turned around at the voice that had sprung up behind them. Ari, one of the children, had come running out of his tent towards them.

« Jesraa wants to know when you are going to teach her the other- Oh.» the child stopped after seeing Turo, eyes wide. She couldn't blame him; he was probably the only other person from outside the settlement he had ever seen.

Still, his sudden appearance had given Sada an idea. She turned to Turo, an excited smile making its way on her face... and for once, Turo actually looked worried, like he had sensed that she had something planned for him.

« You teach them! »

Of course! Brilliant! What better teacher than the man himself? She had already taught Narjik, Chalo and a couple of other people, but she didn't have time to teach every single person and make sure they didn't make mistakes... but Turo could! It could be a way for him to integrate into the settlement, get to know people...

« T-"teach"...?»

... oh, right.

« Um... you show... all people here... writing.» she clarified, but his reaction wasn't quite what she had expected.

« You... showed them writing?» he asked, slowly, eyes staring straight into hers.

« Yes!! » she nodded, and Turo looked... conflicted. He muttered something incomprehensible to himself - "aw, shit-", then sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, left hand covering one half of his face.

« Is it... bad...?» had she done something she shouldn't have...?

But what was the point of being able to write stuff if nobody else could read it?

He was silent for quite a while, before lowering his hand with another sigh.

Even if he was trying to hide it, she could swear there was the tiniest trace of a smirk on his face. A proud smile.

« ... no. It's... incredible...»


They entered another hut, one of the biggest ones used by the whole tribe as a meeting spot when the weather wasn't good enough to sit outside, that Narjik would sometime use as a place to teach the children or tell old stories. He was out at the moment, gathering herbs and other materials for his rituals.

Sada had been a bit disappointed - she was really interested in watching the two shamans meet.

At first, the children had been afraid of him, so she had sat down by his side near the fire and encouraged them to get near, translating when necessary.

Now, Sada smiled warmly while Turo traced lines on his notebook and held it up for all four of them to see and copy line by line. They were using soot to write, and it had predictably ended up everywhere, including his face, his hair, and the front of his mantle, now no longer an immaculate white but covered in black, child-shaped handprints.

He seemed much more at ease with the children than with adults; teaching seemed to come natural to him.

« Where are... the "others"?» he asked after a while, in a pause from their lessons. Jesraa, the youngest, had fallen asleep on his lap, but he didn't seem to mind. He's got his notebook open and propped up on one knee, and it looked like he was drawing the interior of the hut, pausing every now and then to study how the bones were laid out.

Sada blinked, for once being the one caught unprepared.

« "Others"...? »

« Your people. Are there "others"... » he pointed at the children and thought for a moment. « Um... small... people? »

Sada laughed a bit when she realized he didn't know the word for children and had to improvise.

« "Small people"... you mean children?»

He nodded, still looking at his notebook.

« Yes. Children. "Others", um... not... these children.»

Oh, all right. Now she got what he had tried to ask. Sada simply stared at him, confused.

« There is no "other" children »

There's a long moment of silence, then Turo suddenly raised his head to gape at her, bewildered.

«... what? »

... why does he look so surprised?

« These are the only children here.»

« But... only four... »

He went really quiet after that, his warm smile at watching the child sleep in his lap becoming pained.


« I have to go. »

Turo's words took her by surprise, again, for the second time in the span of a couple of hours. It's after midday, and the sun is already going down, now that the days have been getting shorter and shorter. Soon it would become much colder.

Sada looked at him while he stood up and tried to clean up his clothes as best as he could.

Go...? But he had said... that he wanted to come to her people, so she had thought...

« Where... ? You can stay here -»

Turo just looked at her, silent, and she knew that whatever she could say would have no use in convincing him. Well, now she suddenly felt really stupid, getting so excited about his coming to live with them... she stared at the ground, biting her lip, almost tearing into it, a mix of anger and embarassment and disappointment swirling in her chest.

Something gently touched her chin and lifted her head, and she finds herself staring into Turo's warm brown eyes.

« ... I'll come back. »

Sada glared back at him.

« Tomorrow. At dawn. » and he better not be late. If he really had to run off who knows where at night, the least he could do was run right back.

He nodded after a moment.

« ... tomorrow. At dawn. »


She watched him leave, like always. What was different from all the other times, was that he was leaving from her village. She knew the area so well she could navigate it with her eyes closed, and so she knew perfectly well about all the possible spots Turo could choose to spend the night. The little thicket of trees to the south. The stream they get water from to the north. The great fields of tall grass.

She gave him an advantage of a couple hundred meters before sneaking after him.

He was being extremely cautious; he kept turning around every now and then, making sure that no one was following him, then checking his surroundings.

Sada, however, knew perfectly well how to move unnoticed. How to keep a low profile, how to leave as few prints as possible, how to stop moving when he turned around to not alert him due to a sudden movement... she quickly gained back the ground he had covered. All the while, she is staring at his back, just trying to make sense of his behaviour. Why does he need to go this far out? What is he even looking for...? This surely is not a safe space to pass the night...

Turo suddenly stopped, and Sada freezed, crouching low to the ground to hide herself in the tall grass. He gave one last look around, then raised his left hand and started rolling up the sleeves of his right arm, revealing his usual purple clothes underneath... and the bracelet. Outlined by the last rays of sunlight, he touched the little object on his wrist, and she suddenly had to squeeze her eyes shut, hurt by the blinding burst of white light that surrounded him...

... and when she opened them up again, he's gone.

Sada is left staring at empty air, not a single trace left of him. It took her quite a bit to notice that she was trembling, frozen in place.

He had... really disappeared. She had tought about the flash of light, sure, but deep inside, she had always assumed that it had a perfectly normal explanation.

Sada had wished for it to have a perfectly normal explanation, because that would at least make Turo... easier to explain. To think of him as... similar to her, a kindred spirit.

But to actually see him do it, to disappear into thin air like he commanded the power of some strange creature she had seen... now she wasn't so sure anymore.

... what was he, really?
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