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Pokémon What the Gods Gave Me


Bug Catcher
I'm here for the Catnip review!

- Chapter 3 -
This chapter was incredibly interesting with Atlas trying to explain psychic powers to Aeimlou, both as a concept in itself and how they work in the fic but especially because they've being explained by someone who's used to them.

I also didn't expect Atlas to believe him when he said he was a raven before, but I suppose that sharing a psychic connection makes it easier to feel that someone is sincere.

Atlas also speaks of "being chosen", which makes me wonder if it's something of a known phenomena in the world. Are there past reports of other "ascensions", maybe?

The scene at the lab watching the starters being given from a not human point of view was interesting, with Aeimlou initially thinking of the trainers as becoming "mothers" and Atlas admitting after a moment that staying with their real parents would be better, at least purely from the "raising them" point of view.

Using Aeimlou who's completely new to all of this is an interesting way of having both Pokémon and humans illustrate their respective point of views, I really like that. He also seems completely "neutral" to it, at least for now, so I'm curious if he will form more opinions about human-Pokémon society.

I admit I didn't expect too see Atlas becoming his trainer, aww
This will be interesting!
Chapter Ten: The Bus Chapter New


The great speckled bird
A town at the bottom of the ocean
Chapter ten
The bus chapter

The upright beams of Skyarrow bridge whipped by in a gray blur. The first signs of the city came through as colourful smudges of early-morning cyclists puffing their way alongside them. Atlas stirred beside her. Despite sulking in his chair, acting like a petty bitch made from melting jello, he couldn’t stop sneaking glances at Aeimlou as the busy bee nibbled on some little girl’s apple.

If there’s one benefit Hilda thought would come from the bus, it would be the easy distractions. Shiny metal things and shinier Unovan urbanites to keep Aeimlou occupied. Plus, enough space for him and Atlas to trail after each other like confused litten and leave her alone.

She should’ve known never to assume things would just work out. To be fair, she didn’t expect Atlas to be the one causing problems. Of all the times he decided to show his age and yammer on about dumb shit, it had to be now, trapping her against the window of a bus.

Hilda rubbed her eyes. Maybe she could pretend to fall asleep.

Oh, but who the fuck was she kidding. This was Atlas. He’d just read her brainwaves or some shit.

“I don’t know what you expected,” she grumbled. Leaned back. Tried to crick her neck against the scratchy, fabric headrest.

It’s jarring to think about, Hilda. Even acknowledging these sorts of hierarchies worries me.

“He was a bird a week ago, what the fuck are you talking about?”

He’s quite intelligent.

He was a bird!” Hilda snapped. Across from them some wet-haired guy in a suit glanced at her over his newspaper. So she lowered her voice, forcing the words through her teeth in a quiet hiss. “He was like, born a week ago. Let me say this again: what the fuck did you expect? It’s a miracle he can function at all. Who cares he’s not gonna tear down the establishment with you?”

It isn’t about that, Atlas rumbled. His thoughts were so loud Hilda could catch glimpses of faint images—black specks passing through an open sky, a group of humans huddled around an open fire, flickers of energy, blasts of water, electric lances.

“Then what?”

Atlas took a while to answer. He couldn’t keep his attention away from Aeimlou, either—and Hilda was forced to share in some of that even as he clearly tried to steer the mix of different warmths from comforting to burning.

She scratched her neck. Tried to draw attention away from it. She should be familiar with these kind of images. It’s most of how he talked, anyways, but she couldn’t help but feel intrusive. Only these days, though. There used to be a wonder there that now only poked out in one of Altas’ rare moods.

Atlas was her only concession to selfishness back when she still rooted around for pokemon like a tepig rooted for truffles. She had wandered through route 5. Got slapped by an image so strong she still hadn’t forgotten it. And after a quick bit of research resolved to catch herself a solosis. Atlas. She wanted to believe he’d sent her the image, but that was probably bullshit.

And just a memory of a river, anyway.

Atlas found his bearings.

I don’t know. I suppose I’m insecure. It’s not my place to teach in this way. It’s too close to what I dislike.

He paused. Calmed a little and seemed to let her have some quiet. She huffed and took it, at least until she gathered the courage to be compassionate and reply.

They passed through the big blocks, the bank blocks and highrise monoliths that drowned the bus in solid fields of shadows as they shuttered to a halt at every overzealous jaywalker and traffic light. Aeimlou still poked his nose at every brief stab of attention, but didn’t seem to notice the honking and commotion just barely leaking through the bus windows. Would he even care? There were millions of people out those windows, but he couldn’t reach them from in here.

Turning out onto the sideroads, up to highway east, took them over another river and into view of the distant smokestacks across the way.

“What did you think you were agreeing to?” Hilda asked, finally. Her breath misted the window and hid her reflection.

Something different.

“We have to teach him, Atlas.”

I don’t trust we’ll do a good job.

Hilda shrugged, leaning into the harsh plastic wall of the bus.

“You don't trust I’ll do a good job, you mean.”

To his credit, Atlas didn’t show much shame. Some disgruntled creature wriggled through their connection. One he definitely stole from her.

Interpret that any way you want.

“Yeah, well…”

They sank back into silence. Not awkwardly, though. Hilda’d known enough of that in the back of government cars. Awkward silence was trying to find something to say—this was knowing what the other would say and not needing to elaborate.

Still, there were some gaps. She leaned to her other side. Against the armrest, feeling Atlas’ cool gel slick the hairs on her arm. A hand trying to warm her in the cold.

Maybe she’d visit her mom after Undella.

“You’ll fuck him up no matter what you do.”

That didn’t seem to comfort him. Those turbulent waves started roiling.

That’s the issue.

“Is it? Just try. It’s all you can do. Otherwise, he’ll go somewhere else and get fucked up there.” She bumped his arm in some weird example of a handshake. He jiggled slightly but did not react. “I mean, I trust you more than most other people. He likes you.”

And Atlas wouldn’t say shit to that, but she could feel him press back against her.

The bus rumbled out of the city centre and into the suburbs, all these plain-roofed squares of shingles sprawling beneath the slats of the Pedestrian East bridge crossing the river. They wouldn’t spend much time there. Already, the houses thinned and the roads widened and rows of strip malls sat marooned in great parking lots where the lawns used to be. Hilda let out a breath. She leaned back against her seat. Her hair was greasy, pooling around her shoulders and sticking around her neck.

It was too cold to swim, but she’d get a shower in Undella. If only at the pokemon center. She was used to rivers, though, so how the fuck could she complain?

“Yeah, I get it,” she said. To herself.

She couldn’t be the one to make Atlas happy. Still, she was the only person he talked to. Could find a good kind of silence with. Aeimlou was his second best and they'd only know each other a week or so.

“I was talking to him,” she slipped in. Slyly, she hoped.

About what? Atlas asked, sitting up as much as he could. His body jiggled and the squiggly patterns on his seat turned to wobbly little smiles through his gel.

What? Concerned, maybe? Hilda could almost smirk.

“I’m not telling you.”

He rippled.

I should be worried, then.

“You could always ask him.”

He paused, an electric shock passing between them as if he’d been caught. It scattered quickly, into a dulling chill.

Oh. Very subtle, Hilda.

“Just have a fuckin’ conversation with him. Why are you still here? Poor bastard hasn’t been able to needle a single other person yet without his talking-mouth blob to speak for him.” She crossed her arms, waggling her eyebrows at the young couple confusedly trying to sort out what Aeimlou meant by a series of coos and hand gestures. “And it’s not like there’s ten million other opportunities and a hundred years to do that shit. He needs it now, mom.”

Atlas sighed--an odd gurgling sound that echoed in Hilda's skull.


He pushed himself off the armrest, leaving a carpet of stray fabric hairs reaching for him from the seat. None stuck to him, somehow.

Whether his turbulence on rising was because of the bus rolling out onto an uncertain, pothole-ridden highway or his lingering discomfort, Hilda couldn’t tell. He pretended to be finished with her. Took a long look back and sent her something strong. As if he’d decided this.

Drama queen.

At least she had a second to herself.

Well, until she looked out the window. A solid rush of green blew past a second. Then she blinked and the dead, gray ocean stared back at her. They couldn’t be far off, now.



United States of America
Hello~! Dropping off a smeargle swap! I hope I nailed him well enough!

Chapter Eleven: Opposititis New


The great speckled bird
A town at the bottom of the ocean
Chapter eleven

Undella beach should be empty. Early still in time and season. At least, the desolate square of gravel lined by stilted log benches said so.

Well, not quite desolate. One dark car—a solid black from tires to windows—watched, lonely, across the sea and to the faint crowns of rocks that hid with the bobbing of the waves.

And the man who leaned against the hood and tried very hard to look like he belonged.

“You guys should go,” Hilda mumbled. Atlas and Aeimlou hovered behind her, still watching the far road, squinting through a cloud of dust that lingered in the wake of the bus. “Just get lost for a while. You remember the pokemon center?”

A hard question bubbled up from Atlas and dangled between them. Then he must have seen it, too. He cut the question and let it flatten against the road.

He bobbed midair.

I understand. Come, Aeimlou. We can talk elsewhere.

Aeimlou tilted his head. Pointy nose scrunching up between fast blinking eyes.

Hilda couldn’t feel it directly, but Atlas showed him something. Intimate, based on what she’d known. A memory deep in the corner of Driftveil, thin tent nylon against her back, shivering. She couldn't hug a cold body like she used to hug her blanket, so they could only share comforting thoughts.

I understand, Aeimlou said. And nodded. Like she used to when she didn’t understand.

But he still floated after Atlas and into the forest and that’s all that mattered.

Now for the team.

Releasing your pokemon needed more of a delicate process than dumbass teenagers realised. Hilda had her own strategy. Sepira first. As respect, though the serperior didn’t like to pretend she cared. All she needed was a spot to unfurl, fernlike and regal. And a bow to send her off.

Kid and Butch always came out together. A scrafty and mienshao were an unlikely duo, especially since she found them halfway across Unova. Especially since half the time they came out hissing and spitting at each other. But whatever. All they did was brood when they were alone and she had no clue what knotted bullshit they got their relationship into. So they came out together. This time was nice enough. Thankfully for Hilda’s mood they decided they’d listen and took a head start down the rocky beach path and across to Undella proper.

Ace would probably never fully trust the rest of the team—blame that on waking up a million years after your species went extinct—but she could at least tolerate them now. Even if that meant forcing Hilda to release her last so she could dart to the nearest tree, rip up through understory in a mess of cracking branches, prehistoric squawks and loose feathers, and perch on the summit, a flimsy, bendy arm of pine bowing under her weight until she felt comfortable enough to glide in whatever direction she decided. Screeching the whole way.

And Hilda wondered if Ace knew she wasn’t actually last or just feigned ignorant for Hilda’s benefit. Either way, Giran always came out last. Some dumbass once told her releasing a chandelure without backup would kill her.


She kind of got it, though. Giran liked to throw a fit no matter how many times she told him people didn't build mansions in the middle of forests and those they did build tended to have people living in them. But he was too sensitive of a candle to do much harm except to the carpets of dead leaves or Sepira, when she let him.

Juniper said once she’d found evidence chandelure existed before the mansions they liked to haunt. Which seemed like some sort of existential crisis, but whatever. There were plenty of empty buildings in Undella for him to fuck around in, so Hilda gave him the good news, took his happy little chime on the chin, and watched him float after Kid and Butch.

She almost found herself smiling. Or at least unfolding her arms.

And then she turned back to the very, very, very inconspicuous figure. He’d turned to her, sunglasses perched on the tip of his nose, hair slicked back. He didn’t have his suit on, but a blazer and collared shirt didn’t make him look like less of a cop.

Dickhead. It’s not even summer yet.


It wasn’t even summer yet.

Isaac knew he shouldn’t stress about people coming to Undella because that’s what people do and that’s what Undella is for. But one lone, black car parked on top of the cliff was weird, wasn't it? Nobody was supposed to come to Undella for a while. Not for the seance, definitely not for vacation.

Isaac should still have until summer.

He tried to breathe. Curled his claws around the glowing curtains still draped over his window until they met and ran through his train of thought again. One car didn’t mean a sudden invasion. It didn’t shift the calendar. Spring still filled every little nook of the house with a wet cold and the sun still barely warmed anything. And he shouldn’t be shivering either because he wasn’t cold. It’s not something he felt often anymore.

Mostly tired.

He hadn’t been sleeping. He didn’t think he had to. Sometimes the light would collapse over the forest and he would instinctively yawn despite not knowing where his mouth was. He’d lie on his old, dusty, still sheet-covered bed, and stare at the ceiling until King popped by and dragged him out to train or he got bored.

Except now dull prickles stung the corners of his eyes and found himself unconsciously rubbing them like a crying toddler. The images that stained his vision when he drifted had grown stronger and stronger until they grew colour and form and didn’t leave easily.

He just hoped the nightmare wouldn’t stop by when he finally crashed.

Isaac peeked back through the curtains, struggling to force his eyes open against the light.

The man had left. The car’s dull white headlights stared him down, but at least the man left.

He sighed and slumped against his bed, claws curled around his knees.

When would King get back? The question popped up too much for comfort. It’s not like the bisharp had proved himself besides being a general threat.

He had an aura though. Some sort of boogeyman. That took a liking to him for some reason. Was it weird that Isaac felt safer him with around? Maybe not stomping around the beachouse, but when King went out to wherever he liked to go to, Isaac felt free. An empty beachouse seemed kind of sinister and made him think of his own death that hadn’t actually happened, but the thought that King would be back later kept the heaviness of it away.

Well, normally. When he wasn’t exhausted.

Isaac rose, dragging himself up by the curtains with a grunt. Another cautious glance confirmed that yes, the man had left, so he could dart over the bed and back into the hall without much but a whirl of dizziness passing him under the unlit doorframe. And he could tumble back downstairs and hover across the kitchen and through the living room and find his little comfort spot on the couch, surrounded by a growing pile of things King had shifted around or destroyed. Layers of dissected clothes over moved furniture—stools and chairs and pillows—all on emptied kitchen drawers dumped out and the insides painfully rearranged in metal rows that glowed orange at daybreak. Like the guts of moving boxes waiting to be put in their place.

Isaac fidgeted but would never ask. When he was a kid he liked to build his little kingdom of toys and sticks in the forest, where everything felt strange and un-homely—so the beachouse must be the same to King.

He kept his stare for a while. Hummed to himself and dug his knees so far into his chest they sank in. The light touched him. The soft, fabric brush against his back comforted him. The sounds of the ocean through—

He jolted. His eyes flickered back open, breath held high and tight in his chest. His claws shot up, pinching the edges of his mass and tried to force his eyelids. Open. Not that it had worked the first time—his mass seeped around his claws and settled into a dry squint.

Maybe he should watch TV.

He broke, whining, sounding something like a broken stereo, and thanking everything that King wasn’t there to see him melt down again. Maybe literally, this time. His edges seemed to blur and smudge the corners of his vision an ashen black.

He fumbled forward, claw stretched out to the coffee table. But as his mind caught up to his body and his claws tapped at an empty slab of glass, he found nothing.

Then drew his attention slowly to King’s pile. He couldn’t sort out one thing from another, in there.

Fine. Fuck it. He gave up. Deflated and sank back into his arms, eyes forced shut.

“No nightmares,” he whispered. “No nightmares, no nightmares. Please I— uh… please.”

Even when he tried to force his chin into his chest, counting his breaths and waiting, sleep did not come. Fear kept it away, snarling and biting at the dark whenever it threatened to take him under. Some nausea came with it—whether his fear protected him or not, Isaac still hated it and curled further into himself from it.

And then a knock sounded at the door. Three taps, sharp and resonant.

He almost didn’t want to acknowledge it.

And then thought about it for a moment. Little panicked thoughts shooed away his turmoil for the moment.

He drew himself from his mess. Daylight let him see through the foyer’s floor-to ceiling front windows. Even if they were icy and turned everything on the beach into pixellated blobs of beige and black.

Only now, something pastel floated there, bobbing up and down in migrating dots of yellow, pink and blue. Isaac coughed, but then it caught in his throat.

He felt it.

Even from his spot on the couch, a kind of atmospheric pressure felt over him like a dense, wool blanket. Equal parts stifling and comforting. A sort of instinct that Isacc thought he could let decide for him.

His mind drew back to first meeting King.

I felt your size, the bisharp ground out, echoing still from days before.

Is this what others felt from Isaac? Did everybody else get caught in this funnel that swirled around him? Theirs chased away his sleep, but he didn’t think his would be so inviting—probably ugly and strange and discomforting. Thought that begged the question.

He cleared his throat, still stuck a couple days in the past and wondered if he should open the door instead of desperately trying not to fall asleep..

“Uh… come in!” he called. Maybe too quiet. But not. The door cracked open. A curved head entered first, pale and glowing faintly and built in some facsimile of a swan’s.

They turned this way and that, glowing marble eyes taking in the house with a musical hum.

For the brief moment when their eyes met Isaacs’s and they smiled, he felt younger. In his mind, his snivy’s similar curled snout jerked up at his as she accepted him. A burst of genuine, actual joy cratered in his chest.

What was that?


So what was that?

Midas hissed. He tried to slow, the plume of water kicking up from the surf beneath him thinning to a mist. Even still, psychic pressure compressed under his fins until they dug between his feathers and built in his muscles. With a grunt and a stretch of the neck, he angled himself left, pointed to the human-built bay and let his psychic release, forcing him up and away from the surf.

He put his cloak on just in case. Sensation cut out. Flickered a while until it settled over him like the mist he’d left.

Invisible. Flawlessly. Even to his own eyes, the snout that once prominently stuck into his vision had vanished.


Midas coasted along the cliffs, up and over the trees until he met a sea of resting wingull rather than water. They ruffled as he passed overhead, the minute swirls of current he created eliciting some tired murmurs and croaks.

Otherwise, no fuss. They were incurious creatures.

He’d felt a pulse. A very strong psychic presence cutting through his musings as he felt along the coast for Undella—as directed to him from a discarded human document he’d barely managed to translate with the human words he’d learned. He huffed as he caught sight of the human settlement. He would certainly like not to go near any structure that white, unsightly or unnatural as the homes they built, but…

But the presence didn’t last long enough for him to pick it apart. A teleport, most likely. Also most likely not the new ascension. While Midas picked it up easily, for the average creature teleportation could take years.

Still, the settlement had the same shape as the Undella he expected, and he knew he wouldn’t be the only one speeding over either to take them on or take them in.

Which only meant he wasn’t first.

“An advantage,” he huffed to himself. Revelling in the mist of his breath and the confused waking of some wingull beneath him.

They must have known ahead of time. Mew told them, likely. She had always liked to throw some chaos where it didn’t belong.

Midas could not do much about that, though. Only curse her out and hover along the treeline, watching the occasional hazy silhouettes of people and pokemon alike meander along the path and through town. He could only watch so much, though, when the silhouettes vanished behind a treeline or into a home and the beach quickly emptied, replaced by nothing.

He squinted, ducking closer and closer until his chin brushed the green-budding branches and smelled the cold rain still lingering there.

This was supposed to be a settlement? It seemed remarkably empty. Primitive in the sense that a human creature would need such fortified buildings—and only to leave them alone and undefended. But fine enough—he supposed that made things easier even if it set him on edge to skulk around like a pest.

Hopefully the new legend had killed most already. Doubtful, though he’d heard of worse happening on ascension. Regardless, he took the opportunity to reach fingers of psychic out, twining them through thin branches and over sturdy rocks until they reached where he thought the pulse had come from and split. Millions of invisible needles fired off and the area became awash in every little electric and psychic impulse that had passed through for the last few hours. All pink and vibrant in his mind’s eye.

And he got two mountains and a heavy, sinking void.

He blinked. His first impulse was to imagine he’d done something wrong, but that seemed absurd. And sure enough, shaking his head to dispel it, wrinkling his snout and firing off one more time revealed the same.

Right. Well, he certainly wouldn’t be approaching that void. While the creature next to it almost seemed to fill the hole, Midas could still sense the darkness under it. And it projected something like a claim—not that Midas would want to teach something like that. So the dark thing was unapproachable. And its psychic counterpart seemed refined, far too shiny and edgeless for a newborn.

He scoffed. So the lone mountain it was. With all its ragged, broken edges waiting to be sanded into something useful.

The road met him as he coasted down. A pair of harsh black lines cut through the filtering layer of leaves and led him on, across the open path and to what would be his target. In a few moments, when it emerged from behind the thicket.

He waited, nose fielding so close to the ground that the smell of asphalt and wet leaves consumed him.

And waited.

The first sign was another black path, the long, feathered end of a snout. A sharp triangle cut off by a long white neck and the sudden reemergence of black.

Then Midas recognised the creature. Because he saw the same in the water every morning.

His cloak began to flicker before he could catch it. There, in what seemed like the hours of fumbling to mask himself, a pure, unfiltered, justified heat took him over.

That vile fucking creature.

Midas cut it. Shut himself off. With only the energy to keep still, trembling. He barely knew who he referred to between spikes of rage. Mew or this abomination floating before him, blinking dumbly at the trees with its pet reuniclus beside it.

Either one would be hearing about this.

But he could not move. Even as he ground his teeth until he tasted iron. Even with claws so tight they approached bone. Even as he wanted to rush up to it and take its neck and force it to know his rage.

This thing was born only days ago.

It could not know.

It would be prudent not to let it know.

Midas would not let himself mistake caution for empathy, here. He was only doing this to spite Mew. She would like him to get upset and not care if he cut the head off her… what? Pet project?



What a good word to have echoing around his skull as he watched it scan the road for traffic—as if a car shouldn’t be trivial.


And for what? Only approaching a century, still young, more able and more willing and more competent than every single mortal creature, nevermind the slew of crushingly dull legends he had to contend with.

And yet he was the one being replaced.

It was a sign. One to really start forcing his way to the top rather than playing their game and waiting another thousand years to eat out of someone’s hand for it. But he’d already thought about that, and either way he’d need to train some prodigy.

His Replacement. Or otherwise that dark, void creature.

As the thought caught up to him Midas spat and swore, cutting his teeth on all the worst words in his silent, little bubble, and only quieted when he remembered that he was watching someone.

Who was gone.

Well enough, Midas didn’t think he could stand seeing its face.

And so he took off. In a teleport—still too uncertain about his own rage to move. A brief suction surrounded him, his cloak vanishing into it first. Then all feeling went.

And reappeared all at once.

The smells and sights of earth were replaced by blinding white and cold. Nothing waited in the clouds except him. But the clouds themselves shifted beneath him as if alive and the sounds of the earth pounded like a heartbeat in his ears.

Which might be his own.


It could have been his own.

Aeimlou still buzzed with excitement, breathless and only hovering mildly beside Atlas on the outskirts of the forest. All the stimulation of meeting strange humans on the bus had him sensing everything. From the huge, lingering wave of emotion after, to the baser instincts of creatures like those he used to fight for scraps, to Atlas bobbing absently beside him.

This meant also that he had some difficulty parsing his own feelings from those outside him. Atlas especially, turbulent as ever, filled him with many strange contradictions.

The reuniclus had taken off from Hilda’s side to connect him with the humans on the bus. Aeimlou only considered now that he had quite an advantage with Atlas communicating for him and felt he should be able to learn. He should ask.

But they had talked on Atlas’ request. After leaving the bus, though that same turbulence that he felt through Atlas kept their conversation away a few more moments.

Atlas also acted strange about them talking. He had stressed many things, putting enough emphasis on certain terms that they felt literally heavy between them. And although Aeimlou had listened and intellectually understood every word, his energy had made it difficult to internalise any of it.

So he sort of hummed and nodded along.

Really, Aeimlou could not get his mind off the bus.

How would I impress the rest of the flock? He asked after a while watching Atlas brood. He had peeked at them going off on their own and not one had peeked back.

All the trees shadowing green in Atlas’ gel made a jagged look against the solid lump of his body. He passed through that at the edge of the road, facing the rocky cliffs tumbling down to the beach.

The sea was massive behind him.

Is that what Hilda talks to you about?

In some cases,
Aiemlou said, head tilting back and forth, in one case actually. We talk about training sometimes. Or we talk about you. We also talk about the forest and other humans, some other things also that I cannot remember.

And impressing the rest of the team interests you?

Aeimlou sensed a hook on those words. It was something Hilda also liked to include. Some kind of trick to her sentences that always took the conversation in a direction Aeimlou did not understand.

He enjoyed the game, at least.

Yes. They seem interesting.

How so? They don’t talk to you.

They are all different shapes. And they all vanish as soon as they appear. I do not think you have talked to them, either.

We have nothing to talk about.

Atlas shuddered so slightly Aeimlou only caught the motion with a change in the sunlight’s reflection off his body.

Well, I would like to talk to them. I must impress them.

He got more silence. Atlas plucked little strands between them, sounding out faintly with each one but never quite resonating.

I can help, I suppose.

But then why did he sound so disappointed?

Aeimlou supposed he understood what the hook was about though. He must wait. And so he did, staring out over the flat-top human nests and into the ocean. It did not interest him as much as he thought it should. Everybody he had spoken to liked to talk about it at length. He thought it might be something relegated to Hilda and Atlas—who spoke about it with the hint of a relieved sigh—but everybody on the bus seemed eager merely to pass by.

There certainly was a lot of water.

Which did not hold his interest long. Eventually, he turned back to Atlas, expecting a response.

Atlas had shifted. Only now Aeimlou noticed the chill.

And another creature standing close, just exiting the forest around the near cliffs. It froze as they met eyes. Atlas froze in turn.

Aeimlou did not remember a tall red like that. Nor the clicking-clacking pincers and rows of sharp blades. It looked quite strange. It did live, however. The rise and fall of its chest spoke to that.

He chirped something light.

Hello? He warbled. But to no success. Not a word. Not a twitch. He nosed Atlas’ side for support, the cold of his gel leaving an impression on his cheek.

They’re a bisharp—a dark type. They won’t connect, Attlas responded, shaking him off. And I have no ability to speak out loud. I doubt you’ve learned speech on the bus, correct?

I have not.

Which left them quite awkward between the bisharp and the cliff behind. The terse bonds between them made it obvious Aeimlou should not ignore the threat.

Yet threat seemed an overbearing word. The bisharp simply stood there. Eyes sunk into darkness under its crown. And all of Aeimlou’s attempts to reach psychically simply passed through and felt instead the production of leaves and grass beyond.

Still, it tilted its head. Those mandibles did a pensive shuffle.

It’s time to go, Aeimlou.


It poses a threat.

It is not doing anything.

Regardless, I have little defence against it and you are inexperienced. How is your flight?

Atlas prodded him backwards and Aeimlou understood the message immediately. A trip down the cliff did not scare him.

Neither did the bisharp.

Why will it not speak to us?

Atlas’ prodding stopped. Or transitioned into an invisible hand over his neck—corralling, holding him closer. More intimate than forceful, but no less stern.

I don't know. I can’t tell you why pokemon won’t talk to you, Aeimlou, he grumbled, regardless, you can have Hilda’s team. Pokemon I trust, at least to be friendly. Not this.

Aeimlou supposed that was true enough. He had memories of less-friendly creatures. Even those who would scatter seeds across the grass only to chase him off, or wrap themselves around him as he ate, squeezing so tight he feared his feathers would stick in and pierce his little heart.

So He let Atlas ease him backwards, wobbling tentatively midair until cool currents of wind curled under his fins and a great expanse of muddy yellow cliffs cut down the scene.

The bisharp watched them all the way.

Goodbye, bisharp, Aiemlou attempted. It would not hear.

And even supposing it did, it made no response.

Finally, Atlas released. Aeimlou wobbled a moment in midair, but caught his bearings quickly. A flutter in his chest travelled up his neck and caught his chin. The mechanics fit easily in his mind, now.

Below him, the human nests hid like bleached shells embedded in the sand

Aeimlou used to like the shells beyond what they spilled out when crushed under the weight of human transport. Sometimes halves survived and he matched them to those on the beach.

Well, Atlas said, almost amused as they backed further up and over the water. They certainly made a strong impression.


What a strong impression.

Another legend around Undella. And another. King could sense. They never did anything to hide themselves. Old myths from every corner of civilization told you to love them. Or hate them. Fear them, either way.

King could watch. And feel nothing they didn’t send thoughtlessly. Isaac was proof of that—the subconscious. He didn't exhibit pressure on purpose. He didn't seem to understand anything about himself. Therefore, not purposeful.

It was a wonder if Isaac did anything purposefully.

Though he had something in his intuition. It was refreshing not having to tolerate someone trying to take the numbers from every situation and use them against you.

Still, a worry. Other legends would want to supplant Isaac eventually. If they hadn’t already. Which necessitated supplanting King.

He crossed the road. He didn’t bother to look for cars. If a human made the mistake of hitting him, he wouldn't be the one dead.

Beyond, the floating ones had vanished in the distance. They feared him. Not unexpected. They left no signs on the rocks or the sand below. They did not seem to have gone into the homes. Not Isaac’s home. Truly, they had vanished.

King clenched his claws. Always cold—you would never feel heat from a bisharp except the blood from your mother’s wounds. A burning in every way. He could still remember the winds.

Which must be the same winds here. They grew warmer by the day. Soon it would be summer. A summer of letting the rocks dislodge from sea walls and tumble into the water.

By the end of summers like these, erosion completes itself. One day, everything will become Undella beach.

And Undella beach will be empty.
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