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    Default Broken Paths

    Broken Paths


    Ash has lost his battle to Paul in the Sinnoh League. Throughout his journey through the Sinnoh region, Ash had been animated with the burning desire to prove to his rival, Paul, that through bonding and training alongside them, any pokémon could become powerful. But is efforts have failed. What will become of Ash, his friends and his pokémon? Read to find out.

    Chapter 1: Burned to Ashes
    Chapter 2: Daybreak's Lonely Light
    Chapter 3: A Pallet of Blues
    Chapter 4: Nuvema Showdown

    - - - - -


    Chapter 1: Burned to Ashes

    Dawn could barely believe the words she’s just heard. She couldn’t believe it. For a moment, she thought it might have been her mind playing tricks on her or the din of the crowd coming off in waves behind her. The roar of the crowd swirled around her like, smothering her in noise. But as she looked up at the scoreboard, her stomach dropped: she knew she hadn’t imagined what the referee had just said. Infernape had been declared unable to battle, and Paul was declared the winner of the battle. As the crowd erupted in cheers around her, all Dawn felt the seat beneath her disappear, so did the floor and soon, the entire stadium. She felt motionless and weightless, floating in the silence of confusion. Ash had lost.

    She’d said out loud, softly, like a creeping sound barely on the edge of whisper. As the words left her mouth, they sunk into her mind, as though slowly swallowed by quicksand. Ash had lost.

    She sat, immobile, paralyzed by the weight of what she’d just witnessed, the implications not yet registering. After all the hard work she’d seen him put into raising his pokémon, after all the times she’d seen him train alongside them, after all the battles they’d been through, Ash and his pokémon had lost.

    She was brought back to reality by the crowd growing silent.

    “Ash, get up,” screamed Ash’s oldest friend, Brock, who’d been sitting right next to her stoically throughout this tournament.

    Dawn turned her eyes back towards the battlefield. She saw Ash, on his knees, trying to find the strength to breathe. She could see him clenching his knuckles, turning them as white as a Snowpoint City blizzard. She stood up and tried to scream something at Ash, tried to make her voice heard in the midst of this noise, but no words came.

    She felt something that felt like velveteen touch her hand. As she looked down, she saw the deep inquisitive blue eyes of her Piplup. They’d both been together since she started travelling.

    “Just like Ash,” she thought.

    After spending the better part of the year traveling with the older trainer from Pallet Town, Dawn could barely recall a time where she didn’t know Piplup and Ash. Those days felt like a distant memories, light years away, from where she was now. Both Piplup and Dawn had watched Ash has he’d try for the past year to prove to his rival Paul that he was just as good a trainer as he was, that Ash could get just as much as Paul, if not more, out of pokémon, by being friends with them, by believing in them. All those efforts, all those sparring matches, all those battles, it was all for nothing. Ash had lost.

    “Pip… lup…” she heard her pokémon let out, almost as a pained sigh. She could tell he was feeling the same way.

    She was shaken out of her thoughts by the boy on her left standing up and shouting.

    “He did it,” said the blond teen, enthusiastically. “Paul really did it. He beat Ash. I knew only a superior trainer like Paul could beat me. He was really awesome, don’t you think?”

    “What did you say?” she screamed. “Barry, you know Ash gave his all out there. Just because he lost doesn’t mean he’s less than Paul.”

    She couldn’t believe her ears. She could feel anger boiling inside her. She’d known Barry for years, and she never thought she could feel so angry at him.

    “Please,” scoffed Barry. “Paul totally outclassed Ash. He only lost two pokémon in the battle. Only Ash’s Pikachu and Gliscor managed to take out some of Paul’s pokémon, because, as usual, Paul’s caught the strongest pokémon, so he’s the strongest trainer.”

    “Well, at least Ash managed to take out some of Paul’s pokémon,” argued Dawn, angrily responding to Barry’s praises. “You didn’t even manage defeat one.”

    She breezed past him. She wanted to get away from him, from the crowd, from the entire stadium of fans cheering for a trainer she’d seen abuse his pokémon with her own eyes.

    “Hey get back here or I’m fining you,” said Barry, but Dawn ignored it. Swiftly followed by Brock, she made her way to the trainer’s rooms in the stadium.

    “Wait for me,” screamed Barry, who was running after them.

    Dawn blocked him out from her mind, she only focused on Ash. She needed to talk to Ash, tell him the same things he’d once told her when she’d experienced several crushing defeats in contests. He’d always been there for her, encouraging her. She wouldn’t have gotten as far as she did in the Grand Festival, or been the coordinator she was today without Ash. As she, Brock Barry and Piplup ran down the stairs and made a left towards the locker room, Dawn felt her heart racing. Images of Ash kneeling, pounding on the ground with his fists kept flashing into her mind. Who would she find behind the door?

    She pushed open the metallic blue door that led to the locker room. She saw Ash sitting on a bench, starring at the ground. He looked lost in the labyrinth of his own disappointment; Dawn could read nothing in his vacuous stare.

    “Told ya you wouldn’t get anywhere with Chimchar,” said the apathetic and snarky voice of Paul, Ash’s opponent. “Even though you’ve raised him into an Infernape, he’s still just the same loser he was back then, nothing special. You wanna know why I beat you? Because I didn’t waste my time playing around with my pokémon; I went out there, and sought out the strongest pokémon, the most unique. I didn’t just capture the first run of the mill pokémon I saw; I caught winners.”

    Dawn was trembling in rage. On her right, she could hear Brock’s breathing getting heavier and his eyes growing narrower. She expected Ash to bounce off the bench, and let Paul know just how wrong he was, that any pokémon could become strong if you trained them with care and friendship. She wanted Ash to yell at him, to tell him he was wrong, but she just saw Ash fixating on the ground. While she couldn’t see his eyes, Dawn didn’t hear him cry. This worried her. Ash had always worn his heart on his sleeve, never hiding any of his emotions, good or bad.

    “Paul, perhaps you should leave since you have that big match tomorrow,” said Brock calmly, but with authority. This wasn’t a request.

    Dawn saw Paul nod to Brock and walk past her as he left the room. The three of them stayed immobile in silence as they heard the echo of Paul’s feet slowly dying off. For seconds that seemed to last a lifetime, there was no sound, no movement, just a cold stillness. Dawn could feel a wall being built, brick by brick between her and her two companions.

    Breaking the tension, Piplup jumped down on the floor and ran towards the bench Ash was sitting on. His attention was solely on the badly bruised yellow rodent lying next to Ash. Dawn crept closer and took a look at the Pikachu, Ash’s oldest pokémon. He was covered in frostbites and seemed to be running a fever. Brock ran to check on the injured pokémon.

    “Ash, we gotta get Pikachu to a Pokémon Center as soon as possible,” said Brock. “He’s been poisoned and we need to get him checked.”

    But, Dawn didn’t see Ash moving a muscle, not even acknowledging their presence or Pikachu’s injuries. She could feel something was wrong.

    “Ash, it’s me, Dawn,” she said sympathetically. “I know you’re disappointed, but we need to get Pikachu checked out.”

    “Who cares?” said Ash. The two words hit Dawn like a slap in the face. It wasn’t just the fact that Ash had just said he didn’t care about Pikachu, his oldest friend, but the inhuman ease with which the words had left his mouth.

    “Ash, listen to me,” started Dawn, but she never had the chance to finish her sentence.

    “Just leave me alone,” shouted Ash, as he ran outside the door.

    “Hey Ash, stop,” said Barry. But Ash only answered back by pushing him out of the way.

    Dawn just stood, transfixed by what she’d just seen and heard. She saw Brock pick Pikachu up and grab her arm as he dragged her to Ash’s pursuit, as though knowing her feet wouldn’t have moved by themselves.

    They finally found Ash standing outside in the rain, holding a pokéball in his hands. As droplets dripped from the tip of Ash’s cap, she saw him stare intently at the small metallic sphere in his palm. After a moment’s debate, Ash released the pokémon from his ball. Dawn saw a purple bat with immense yellow eyes pop out of the ball in a flash of light, which she immediately recognized as Ash’s Gliscor. The pokémon tried to jump and hug his trainer, but Dawn was shocked to see Ash forcefully push Gliscor away, who tumbled onto the muddy ground.

    “You think this was good enough,” screamed Ash. “I trained you; I made you evolve; I sent you to be trained by the best, and this is how you repay me. With all of this effort, taking out only one of Paul’s pokémon was the best you could do? You’re nothing but a pathetic loser.”

    As he said those words, Dawn saw Ash take Gliscor’s pokéball and smash it on the ground, shattering it in a million pieces.

    “Get out of my sight, nobody could ever want a loser like you for a pokémon,” screamed Ash.

    Dawn could see Gliscor’s eyes puffing up and filling themselves with tears. Gliscor was obviously confused, and didn’t understand what was happening, and he wasn’t the only one.

    “Just go already,” said an exasperated Ash.

    Gliscor turned away from his trainer and took off into the sky, the rain or maybe the pain weighing him down. Dawn saw Gliscor disappear into the moonless night. She turned her attention back to Ash who was getting ready to take another pokéball from his pocket.

    “Ash, stop,” she screamed, running towards him, holding his hand as he was ready to call out another one of his pokémon, obviously to have it suffer the same fate. “What are you doing? Stop this.”

    “You don’t understand Dawn,” Ash said to her, looking straight at her blue eyes, “They’re weak.”

    “But Gliscor defeated one of Paul’s pokémon,” she argued, unconvinced.

    “But he’s nothing special,” said Ash, unemotionally. “There’s a million Gliscor just like him.”

    Dawn remembered the first time she and Ash encountered Paul in Sandgem Town. After a heated battle between the two, which ended in a tie, Paul had released a Starly, despite the Pokémon having come victorious in the battle. That’s what he’d said, that there were millions of Starly just like it, that it was nothing special. Dawn couldn’t wrap her head around what had just happened. She couldn’t understand how Ash could have just released one of his pokémon in anger.

    “Why’d you do that for?” asked Dawn, has she pushed long locks of blue hair off her face frantically. “What happened today wasn’t his fault.”

    “You’re right, it’s not his fault,” said Ash, dryly. “He couldn’t help it, but lose because that’s what he is, a loser. That’s why it was bossed around as a Gligar, that’s why it had trouble flying, because he’s just pedestrian. I’ll never be strong without strong pokémon.”

    “Don’t blame him for your loss,” said Dawn. She’d tried to make her voice feel as little reproachful as she could, but to no avail. Her voice betrayed her incomprehension and shock.

    “Didn’t you listen to a word I just said,” Ash said. “I don’t blame him. I blame myself for ever lowering myself to train him and those other losers, for ever thinking they were good enough. They were just a waste of my time and so were you.”

    Had Ash physically hit Dawn, he couldn’t have hurt her more. She felt all strength leave her body; the magma pumping through her veins when she’d seen Paul had been frozen. She felt almost dizzy. Her mind couldn’t comprehend what was happening.

    “You’re just like them,” Ash continued. “You’re nothing special, just a whiny brat who cries every time she loses. You don’t deserve what you got; everything you ever achieved was handed to you on a silver platter. Zoey was always there to tell you the basic things any coordinator would know; showing you how to pull off your combinations, practically waging your battles for you. I was always there trying to convince you that you were good when I should have cut you lose a long time ago. You’re nothing but a leech, sapping my energy, always forcing me to stand in the front row of your ridiculous contests, watching you in your ugly pink dress doing some ridiculous sparkly appeals, knowing you’d never amount to anything. The only thing you ever did was hold me back.”

    Dawn stood motionless as she watched Ash turn his back on her and walk away towards Brock. She saw Ash try to pick up his pokémon, but he was quickly stopped by Brock.

    “I’ll take him to the Pokémon Center,” said Brock. “You can pick him up there later.”

    Both left in opposite directions, leaving Dawn in the rain, dripping wet.

    “Dawn?” she heard Barry say behind her. “Dawn, are you okay?”

    For a few seconds, she stayed silent, the words not coming to her. She turned around to see Barry, whose wet blonds locks had fallen on either side of his face. He looked truly worried, but she had no words to reassure him.

    “Dawn, talk to me,” he asked again. “I’m gonna fine you if you keep ignoring me.”

    “No,” she answered softly, her voice drowned in the noise of the torrential rain. “I’m really not.”

    Silenced by the downpour, paralyzed by the words she’d heard Ash say, the things she’d seen Ash do, Dawn was unable to say more. For the first time since leaving home, she felt totally and utterly alone.

    - - - - -

    Comments, reviews, etc. would be greatly appreciated. I hope you like it! :)
    Last edited by Hellion; 14th July 2011 at 03:56 PM.

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    Registered User brickwork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    This is good so far, a very unique idea for a story. I'd love to see where you go with this. And also:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellion View Post
    She couldn’t believe her ears. She could feel anger boiling inside her. She’d known Bar
    I think you might be missing something.

    Completely off-topic, but did your username come from M:TG?

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    Child of the Atom Hellion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Just a precision, everything up to DP166 follows the anime canon, from that point on, I asked myself what if Ash had lost his match against Paul, what reaction would that ellicit in him. How would it affect his style as a trainer, his friends, his pokémon, so things changed. Basically, none of the anime canon after DP165 has happened in my fic, and that includes Ash's age being confirmed to be 10, Dawn's Cyndaquil and Brock's Chansey evolving, etc. I know it starts sorta emo, but it'll get cheery by chapter 2. ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by Teddiursaring View Post
    This is good so far, a very unique idea for a story. I'd love to see where you go with this.
    Thanks!

    I think you might be missing something.
    Fixed, thank you

    Completely off-topic, but did your username come from M:TG?
    From the X-Men character.
    Last edited by Hellion; 17th May 2011 at 03:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Chapter 2: Daybreak’s Lonely Light

    Immobile, yet restless, struggling against the sheer weight of her bed sheets, Dawn was laying awake. She had been back at home for a week or so, but the memories of her last day at the Lily of the Valley Conference kept haunting her, memories of Ash. Images of a time where she was surrounded by friends kept popping into her slumbering mind like echoes of a distant past. She couldn’t believe it had only been a week; it felt like centuries. Sprawled on her bed, her long hair resting all around her like seaweed left on the beach by the receding tide, she felt like a shipwreck: empty, abandoned and useless. With good reason, Ash and Brock had just left the Conference without her; they hadn’t left a note, a message, nothing.

    “Pip… Piplup?” she heard her loyal pokémon ask. She could feel the concern in his voice, asking her if she was alright, but she couldn’t seem to find the words to give him an answer.

    She closed her eyes. It seemed to her that it was all she’d been doing for the past days: closing her eyes in the hopes that when she’d open them again, it would be over; Ash and Brock would still be here. But they were gone, for good it seemed.

    Her eyes shot open as she heard a knock on her bedroom.

    “Dawn,” she heard the familiar voice of her mother Johanna call to her.

    “Yes, mom,” answered Dawn.

    “Honey, are you okay?” said Johanna through the door. “If you want, we can talk about it.”

    “It’s alright, mom,” answered Dawn, before adding in a dejected tone, “No need to worry.”

    Those last words carried with them none of their trademark optimism, just a sense of sinking hopelessness that wasn’t lost on Johanna. Worried, she opened the door.

    “When you say that is when I worry the most,” said Johanna affectionately as she sat on the side of the bed. Dawn shifted to her side, her back facing her mother.

    “Well, I can’t force you to talk,” said Johanna. “But you will grab a shower, and get dressed. Breakfast is in half an hour.”

    An annoyed Dawn complied; she wasn’t in any mood to argue. She got off her bed while her mother picked Piplup up and went downstairs, as if she could feel her daughter needed a moment without the inquisitive pokemon’s prodding. Dawn grabbed the black dress folded on the chair, and made her way to the bathroom. Simply turning on the hot water seemed a herculean feat. As the warm water hit her face, she was brought back to that night; she once again heard Ash’s harsh words. Part of her wanted to be convinced that Ash had simply taken out his anger out on her; that he hadn’t really meant what he’d said. But part of her thought Ash’s words rang true. She had been relying on Ash, on Zoey, on Brock. Her ribbons, her final at the Sinnoh Grand Festival, did she really deserve any of it?

    Whenever she lost, Zoey and her mother had taught Dawn all she knew of contests; Brock had taught her about taking care of pokémon, and Ash had always been there to support her, to believe in her even when she didn’t believe in herself. At that very moment, Dawn kept wondering if she’d be the same person had she not met them. Dawn turned off the water, and dried herself off. As she wiped the steam off of the bathroom mirror, she saw her face looking back at her, and couldn’t help feeling like she didn’t know who she was anymore. Was she the confident Grand Finalist, or was she the lost girl who had once wanted to quit contests altogether.

    Dawn put on her black and pink dress, resigned to go downstairs and sit down for a silent uncomfortable breakfast with her mother. Just as she started walking down the stairs, feeling like a death row inmate walking to the chair, she was shaken from her dreadful thoughts as she heard a voice downstairs. It sounded like a young teenage boy.

    “He’s here,” she said, inaudibly. All of a sudden, it felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She could feel her lips crawling up her cheeks, a smile slowly painting itself upon her face. She ran down the stairs expectantly to greet… Barry.

    “Hey Dawn,” said the blond teen, with his mouth half full as he devoured the contents of his plate.

    “Barry,” answered Dawn, trying hard not to let the disappointment show on her face. She liked Barry enough, but she was expecting someone else. “Isn’t this a surprise?”

    “Uh?” said Barry, as he continued his eating sprint. “Your mom invited me. Didn’t she tell you?”

    “Silly me, it must have slipped my mind,” said Johanna, unconvincingly. Dawn was fooled. Her mother knew she didn’t want to see anybody, or talk about the Lily of the Valley Conference, or even think about it. It was just like her mother to try and force her to face those facts, and that’s why Barry was here.

    “So Barry, you’re back in Twinleaf?” said Dawn, trying to make small talk while staring at her plate.

    “How was the rest of the Conference?” asked Johanna. “I do wish Dawn could have stayed until the end. It only comes once a year after all.”

    “It was great,” said Barry enthusiastically. “Dawn, you should have been there. Paul was amazing. He took out 4 of Tobias’ pokémon, and they were all legendaries. Right from the start, when Darkrai put Paul’s Ursaring to sleep, I thought Paul was a goner, but he’s so awesome, he’s planned for it. He had Ursaring use sleep talk, and with Ursaring’s ability, he was able to land a super powered Hammer Arm attack on Darkrai, and then --”

    “That’s alright Barry, I saw the match on the TV on the ferry,” lied Dawn. She wanted to run from the table; she wanted to be anywhere but there listening to Barry babbling on about Paul like a lovesick schoolgirl.

    “Oh, then I guess you know how it all went down,” answered Barry. “I would have had to fine you for missing that match. It was the match of the century.”

    As Barry went back to shovelling heaps and heaps of food in his mouth, Dawn stared at her plate, barely touching it. She knew it was coming; she could feel it, and yet when it happened, she felt totally disarmed.

    “So, have you heard back from Ash?” asked Barry. She wanted to be mad at him for bringing it up, but she could see something she’d never really seen in his eyes: concern.

    “No, not after…” began to answer Dawn, her eyes trying to look at anywhere but her mom, Barry or Piplup.

    “Oh, well what are you planning to do now?” asked Barry, trying to change the subject. Dawn could see him fidgeting on his chair, not knowing how to handle the situation any other way than to change the subject.

    She hadn’t thought about it. What was she gonna do? She figured that she would just keep on traveling with Ash and participate in contests wherever he went, but now that plan wasn’t an option anymore, she didn’t know what to do.

    “I haven’t thought about it,” she managed to utter, after a long silence. She noticed the concern in everyone’s eyes. “What about you?”

    “I was thinking of going over to Kanto to participate in the Battle Frontier there,” said Barry. “I want to practice before I go and challenge the one here in Sinnoh. There’ll be tons of really strong trainers, trainers strong enough that they require a certain kind of superior challengers. Look out Kanto, here I come!”

    She recognized Barry’s burning desire to defeat his father Palmer, the Tower Tycoon. The fire in his eyes probably would have brought a smile to her face had Barry not mentioned Kanto. Kanto was where Ash probably was at the moment, and that taught haunted Dawn.

    “You should come with me,” said Barry. “I hear they have contests over there.”

    “I think that’s a wonderful idea,” said Johanna, obviously trying to get her daughter to chase away her dark thoughts by embarking on another journey.

    “I don’t know Barry…” hesitated Dawn.

    “Just say it, you don’t want to travel with me,” said Barry, obviously a little hurt. Dawn realized he was only doing this to help her, as a friend.

    “That’s not it Barry,” said Dawn. “I just don’t want to get in the way. I don’t want to impose that heavy a burden on you.”

    “That’s crazy talk,” answered back Barry. “You’re not a burden, and I’ll fine you a million dollars if you think that way.”

    “Dawn, I think it might be good for you to do this,” said Johanna.

    “Piplup Pi Pi Pip Piplup,” said her blue pokémon, obviously excited at the idea to once again prove its strength and grace in contests arenas.

    She stayed silent for a long time, not knowing what to say. She knew she didn’t feel ready to embark on a new journey, but at the same time, she knew that it was the thing she needed to do. She couldn’t just wait around for Ash to come and apologize. She knew she needed to prove to herself that she was able to accomplish things on her own.

    “Alright, I guess I’m in,” said Dawn. The whole kitchen erupted in cheers at her decision.

    “Good thing I did a little shopping earlier in the week,” said Johanna. “You’ll have some new clothes to wear in your contests.”

    “ARRRRGH! CLOTHES!” yelled Barry. “I have to go pack, right now. I’ve already wasted too much time. See ya later Dawn!”

    “Wait a minute Mister,” said Dawn. “We’re leaving today?”

    “No time to waste,” replied Barry, already jogging on the same spot, ready to start sprinting. “I need to pack clothes, and a map, and… there’s so much stuff to do. I gotta run!”

    Dawn could only stare in pure disbelief as she watched Barry run for the door, nearly tripping on a rug in the process.

    “Mom?” asked Dawn. “Could you do me a favour?”

    “What is it honey?” answered Johanna.

    “Could you pack for me?” said Dawn, “I want to spend a few moments with my pokémon since I won’t see them in a while.”

    “Why won’t you see them?” asked Johanna.

    “If I’m gonna do this, I’m only gonna take Piplup with me,” answered Dawn. “All my other pokémon are great, but… I want to start over; see what I can do by myself, not relying on others. Ash helped me catch Buneary; Brock helped prove myself to Mamoswine; Lyra gave me Cyndaquil and Salvia entrusted Togekiss to me. I trained them and taught them combinations, but I can’t help feeling that they’re not the pokémon they are today because of me. I love each and every one of them, and they’re all strong, so I want to become strong enough to deserve great pokémon like them. I’m sure Professor Rowan won’t mind looking after them.”

    Dawn gave her mother a weak smile, and ran outside to enjoy the rest of the morning with her pokémon. As she watched them play around and have fun in the sunlight, she realized she’d forgotten all about them in the last few days, only thinking of what Ash had said to her. That was the other reason she’d accepted to follow Barry to Kanto. She wanted to see Ash; she wanted to talk to him, and there was no better place to do that than his home region. But that was a discussion for then, for now, she was decided to simply enjoy the company of her pokémon.

    As the morning neared noon, Dawn heard her mother call her. She’d made her a lunchbox for the trip and had packed her bag. They made their way to the harbour to meet up with Barry. As they got nearer to the ocean, Dawn could feel the saline air invigorate her as it entered her lungs, or maybe some of Barry’s energy had rubbed off on her. Whatever it was, it had jolted her out of her morose state of mind… well, for the most part.

    As Barry, Piplup and her boarded the ship and ran to the banister to wave goodbye at Dawn’s pokémon and Johanna, she still couldn’t shake that feeling of uncertainty that was lingering in her that she wouldn’t be up to the challenge.

    “Leave it here,” she heard Barry say.

    “What?” she answered confused about what he’d meant.

    “Whatever you’re feeling, whatever’s holding you back,” said Barry. “What he said to you, leave it all here.”

    He flashed a confident grin at her, and gave two thumbs up. She answered with a weak smile, trying to seem convincing. But deep down, she knew it wasn’t that easy.

    “Next stop, Pallet Town!” she said.

    “Why aren’t we there yet?” said an impatient Barry.

    “Barry we just left!” said Dawn.

    “I want to be there already,” answered Barry, “There are tons of super strong trainers that are just waiting there for me to beat them, and I hate making people wait. I’m gonna fine that conductor if he doesn’t get us there faster.”

    Dawn and Piplup looked at each other and sighed, both thinking this trip was starting to sound a lot more exhausting than it first appeared.
    Last edited by Hellion; 17th May 2011 at 03:06 PM.

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    ポケモン Tsutarja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    I'm confused, is this story about Ash or Dawn? :/

    Anyway, great start and nice second chapter. Although I find Ash's change in personality a bit too jarring, I guess a loss could have such an effect on him, especially after all the training he did. Also, I hated how released Gliscor. :/

    One more thing, Ash and Dawn are very close friends. Why the sudden change from a nice, lovable Ash to a jerk? Can't he be like Paul, but nice instead?

    Anyway, I like where this is going. She's going back to Kanto (where I assume also Ash is, unless this is a Dawn-centric story) with Barry (awesome combo with those two together) Looking forward to chapter three! :D

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsutarja View Post
    I'm confused, is this story about Ash or Dawn? :/
    It's gonna revolve around Barry, Dawn and an as of yet unrevealed character, with Ash as the main rival/antagonist, but also as the main motivation for their journey. It's about them trying to get Ash back on track... with a little help...

    Anyway, great start and nice second chapter. Although I find Ash's change in personality a bit too jarring, I guess a loss could have such an effect on him, especially after all the training he did. Also, I hated how released Gliscor. :/

    One more thing, Ash and Dawn are very close friends. Why the sudden change from a nice, lovable Ash to a jerk? Can't he be like Paul, but nice instead?
    I do agree that I could've written the transition with more subtlety, but at the same time, I wanted to convey the feeling of rage, of hopelessness. This is the team he's trained the hardest, pushed the furthest, Sinnoh is the region that challenged him the most, and despite all that, it's still not enough. He's still not good enought to beat Paul. It's that heat of the moment fury I wanted to capture, hence the Gliscor release and the lashing out at Dawn.

    Though, I'll definitely take your advice and tone it down in future chapters, but not to the point of having a "nice" Ash. He's crossed a line, he's gone to the dark place, and there's no quick fix for that. :P

    Anyway, I like where this is going. She's going back to Kanto (where I assume also Ash is, unless this is a Dawn-centric story) with Barry (awesome combo with those two together) Looking forward to chapter three! :D
    They might not stay in Kanto for long... just saying... ;)

    But I'm really glad you enjoyed it so far and thanks for the review! It's really helpful.

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    barry was always my favorite in gen 4, would've preffered him over Dawn in the trio. Could have make things more hilarious

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    ポケモン Tsutarja's Avatar
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    Post Re: Broken Paths

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellion View Post
    It's gonna revolve around Barry, Dawn and an as of yet unrevealed character, with Ash as the main rival/antagonist, but also as the main motivation for their journey. It's about them trying to get Ash back on track... with a little help...
    Hmm, an original character or ...?

    Anyway, I'm glad I could help. Yeah, it'd be nice to see the story from Ash's perspective to see how he suddenly (and so drastically) changed his opinion and his whole attitude. Though I can kinda understand him, Sinnoh was indeed the region where he gave his best and seeing Paul crush him like that might as well have proved Paul's attitude on training strong Pokémon only correct.

    I'll be reading. ^^

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsutarja View Post
    Hmm, an original character or ...?
    Nope...

    Anyway, I'm glad I could help. Yeah, it'd be nice to see the story from Ash's perspective to see how he suddenly (and so drastically) changed his opinion and his whole attitude. Though I can kinda understand him, Sinnoh was indeed the region where he gave his best and seeing Paul crush him like that might as well have proved Paul's attitude on training strong Pokémon only correct.
    Exactly, my thoughts were that Ash bet the farm on this fight and lost it all, so now, he's left feeling like his way, his philosophy, etc. is not good enough.

    About making it from Ash's perspective, I was planning to have a few chapters here and there written from his perspective, but I might do one earlier than later, since you brought it up as something that could help the story.

    I'll be reading. ^^
    Great!

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    So Barrys going to be the mian character of this story?

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Barry, Dawn and an as of yet unrevealed character are gonna be the main characters, while Ash will be the main rival/antagonist.

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Okay that makes sense. Is he going to be like the beginning game Silver?

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Who? Ash? Hum... no. He's gonna be like a darker version of Ash.

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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Back after a huge delay, but other stuff kept getting in the way, so here's Chapter 3.

    - - - - - - -


    Chapter 3: A Pallet of Blues

    As the wind was blowing through his blond hair, Barry was fidgeting on the ferry’s deck. His foot kept hitting the wooden planks. He felt something in him stirring, burning; he wanted to be there already.

    “This is taking too long,” screamed Barry, startling his travel companion. Barry noticed Dawn and her Piplup giving him an exasperated look. “What? We should be there already.”

    “Calm down,” said Dawn. “We’re not gonna get there faster if you keep complaining about it. Just relax, and enjoy the ride. We’ll be there in no time.”

    Barry relented and sat down next to Dawn on a bench. Both sat in silence, looking at the horizon. Barry’s foot kept jumping up and down.

    “Can’t you sit down, and just appreciate the beauty of the ocean?” said Dawn. Barry just grumbled under his breath. He wanted to test his strength, prove his skill against all the trainers in Kanto, and he couldn’t do that sitting around on a boat. He felt trapped on this boat, like his feet were stuck in concrete. He needed to move, to go somewhere. It felt like ants were running all over his legs.

    Barry looked at Dawn holding her Piplup. She looked better than she had a week ago at the Lily of the Valley Conference, but that worried Barry a bit. He’d invited her to tag along, not really knowing her all that much. While Barry thought she was nice enough, but he couldn’t understand her. He couldn’t comprehend how a person could just stand in silence as they’re being insulted. If anyone had talked to him like Ash had talked to her, he would have yelled back; he would’ve hit him, or done something, anything. Yet, Dawn wasn’t like that. He wondered how she felt at the moment. He’d seen her smile, but part of him didn’t buy it. There was something forced about it; she was hiding something.

    “Barry, look!” screamed Dawn, pointing in front of them. Barry turned away, hoping she hadn’t caught him staring. His eyes followed her arm to where it was pointing; staring at the horizon, he could make out little by little some greenery rising above the water. As the boat slowly made its way towards the land, both Barry and Dawn could make out a sparkling white lighthouse in the distance, then soon after, the entire harbour.

    “Kanto,” whispered Barry, intrigued by the unknown land.

    As the boat dropped anchor, Barry, Dawn and Piplup followed the waves of passengers flooding like the rising tide the pier to reunite with their friends and loved ones. Barry couldn’t help noticing how Dawn looked saddened by the happy faces around her. He thought that maybe all these people excited at disembarking and reunite with their friends and loved ones probably reminded her that there was nobody waiting for her.

    “Well, where do we go from here?” asked Barry. “I think the Battle Factory is near, over in Pewter City. Maybe I should go to the gym there too. I could participate in the League, and of course if I participate, I’ll win everything or my name isn’t –”

    “Professor Oak?” asked Dawn inquisitively.

    “What? No I was gonna say –” started Barry.

    “Professor Oak, it is you” said Dawn, further ignoring Barry. She ran to meet a tall figure in a lab coat. Barry followed her, peeved at being twice interrupted. As they came near the figure, Barry recognized the professor who’d visited their hometown a few months ago during the Twinleaf Festival. Yet, Barry couldn’t help noticing that he seemed to look beat and tired. “Professor Rowan said you’d soon be in our midst, so I thought I’d check to see if you guys needed a lift.”

    “A poem!” said Dawn. “I expected no less from a world famous poet like you than to welcome us with a rhyme!”

    “That didn’t really rhyme,” said a grumpy Barry, with his arms crossed.

    “You wouldn’t know a good poem if it hit you in the face,” replied Dawn.

    “There’s no need to fight,” said Professor Oak. “It was just a friendly greeting, not a poem.”

    Barry felt a surge of pride rising through him.

    “See Dawn, I was ri –” started Barry.

    “Professor, you’re so humble,” said Dawn. “But you don’t have to hide your gift because of him.”

    Professor Oak gave Dawn a weak smile and invited them to get in his jeep. As he started off the engine and drove away from the harbour, Professor Oak engaged in what Barry thought was a boring conversation about poetry. In the backseat, Barry kept drifting in and out of the conversation, barely following what was being said. He was too busy thinking about the battles he would soon be fighting. Every time his attention was brought back to Dawn and Professor Oak, their conversations felt stilted and forced. They were being careful and guarded. Deep down, Barry knew why without them having to talk about it.

    “So Professor Oak is Ash still in Pallet Town?” asked Barry tactlessly.

    Barry noticed Dawn stand up straighter and tightening her grip on Piplup, who was sitting in her lap. Her gaze dropped to her feet. The Professor on the other hand was fidgeting, he started out stammering. Barry knew right then and there that Dawn hadn’t been the only one affected by Ash’s loss at the Lily of the Valley Conference. Something had happened with Ash after he had come back here.

    “He left a couple of days ago,” said the Professor, finally overcoming his stammer. His tone carried a hint of fear and despair. “He received a letter from Paul’s brother Reggie congratulating him for his performance in the tournament and letting him know that Paul had started a new journey. Well, you know Ash, that’s all he needed to get him started again.”

    Barry could tell that Dawn wanted to ask something but didn’t have the strength to.

    “How was he?” asked Barry, “He took the loss pretty hard.”

    This time Barry’s question was met with an ominous silence that didn’t give him much hope that Ash had really recovered from the loss and was back to the way he used to be, that he was back to the Ash both he and Dawn knew. They didn’t utter a word for the rest of the way, and Barry knew better than to press the subject.

    They arrive at Oak’s laboratory, and Barry stared in awe at the giant windmill and the spacious open space that surrounded it. It was atop of a hill. Barry could feel the warm wind swirling around him. There was something about the sun and the wind that felt hot, like a soothing heat that enveloped him like a blanket. It only made the Professor and Dawn’s coldness all the more apparent. They made their way to the door in silence.

    “Tracey, Delia, I’m ho–” started the Professor before being smothered by a giant purple gooey mass. Barry, who was freaked out by the attacked, couldn’t help but notice that Dawn didn’t seem surprised in the least. “Hello again, Muk”

    Barry noticed the Professor’s bemused and resigned tone. This wasn’t the first time this had happened to him. But before Barry could ask the Professor about it, he heard voices from inside the lab.

    “Tracey, have you seen Muk?” said an unsure feminine voice. “He’s not supposed to be up yet; he still needs to recov–”

    “Delia, Muk’s here,” screamed the Professor as Dawn was trying to help him to get out from under the poison type pokémon. After the Professor had gotten back on his feet, Barry looked at the pokémon. He noticed that Muk had a worried yet relieved look on his face, like he was afraid Professor Oak would never gonna come back.

    “Muk, get back here,” said the woman with authority. Barry, Dawn and Oak followed the poison pokémon to a room in the back of the laboratory. As Barry pushed open the doors of the room, he heard more than a dozen machines buzzing and beeping. Each of them hooked to a different pokémon, monitoring their heartbeats. They were all wrapped up in bandages, and sported a bitter defeated look on their face. Some had bruises and cuts all over their bodies.

    “Professor, you’re finally back,” said a tall young man Barry had never met, but assumed to be Tracey. He knew Ash’s mom was called Delia, which he assumed was the older woman trying to keep a seemingly heartbroken Bayleef from struggling as the younger man tried to bandage one of its legs.

    Barry, Dawn and Piplup followed the professor into the room, observing more closely the pokémon. Among others, Barry saw a Noctowl nursing a broken wing, a crying Torkoal whose shell had its edges chipped away, a Donphan whose right tusk had bee broken in half and a Kingler with a pincer in a cast. Barry couldn’t help but feeling that this whole room had been converted from a laboratory to a makeshift infirmary.

    “Those… are all Ash’s pokémon,” Barry heard Dawn whisper next to him. He turned to face her and noticed her looking away, seemingly understanding something that had escaped him.

    Barry left her side, and made his way deeper into the makeshift infirmary. He noticed Dawn’s Piplup walking alongside him sporting a concerned look. He kept looking around, seemingly looking for something. It hit Barry that Dawn and Piplup had traveled for months with some of these pokémon, and that they were probably concerned about
    The pokémon they both had met over the course of their journey with Ash through Sinnoh.

    As he made his way further into the room, Barry attention was drawn to two pokémon that looked much more battered and bruised than the rest. One was a simian fire pokémon who appeared to have every singled one of his limbs bandaged. Barry recognized Ash’s Infernape, the same one who had lost Ash the match against Paul in the Lily of the Valley Conference quarterfinals. Infernape looked as though he was ready to burst into tears. He sported a look of shock and disbelief on his face. What drew Barry’s attention was the pokémon next to Infernape. It was a surreal sight to Barry. He saw numerous machines all straining to keep the tiny yellow pokémon they were hooked to alive. Barry knew at once it was Ash’s Pikachu. He kept wondering where was Ash if all his pokémon were injured; kept wondering how Ash, the Ash he knew, could have left any of them, let alone Pikachu, at a time like this.

    “They got the worst of it,” said the Professor over Barry’s shoulder.

    “What… what happened?” said Barry, his voice trembling.

    “It’s Ash isn’t it?” Barry heard Dawn say. He turned around to face, and saw her kneeling near a bed on which laid an orange water pokémon, Ash’s Buizel. “He did this to them. He forced them to do this to each other.”

    “Dawn, you know Ash would never do that,” said Barry. He looked around for any sign of someone supporting his claim. Professor Oak and Tracey looked away, desperately trying to evade his inquisitive gaze. Mrs. Ketchum started to cry softly, and something told Barry it wasn’t the first time she had done so in the last few days.

    “He did,” managed to say Tracey, obviously still having a hard time dealing with the situation. “After he came back, he didn’t talk for a few days. He was just holed up in his room sulking.”

    “But then, he received a letter,” said Mrs. Ketchum, in between sobs, “a letter from Paul.”

    Barry twitched as he heard the name. Paul was not only the trainer who had beaten Ash in the Lily of the Valley Conference, but also the trainer who had taken Barry out of the tournament. Barry knew that Ash and Dawn had always held a grudge towards Paul, because they thought he didn’t care about his pokémon and didn’t respect Ash, but at the Conference, Paul had been gracious to Barry after he’d beaten him. Yet, Barry remembered how much Paul had ripped Ash after his defeat. He wondered why these two really couldn’t stand the other. Looking back on it, Barry couldn’t help but wonder if Paul had been nice to him because he didn’t care enough to be mean, at least, not the way he seemed to consider Ash very important, like a true rival.

    “Paul told him he was going on a journey,” continued Mrs. Ketchum. “From the moment he read the letter, Ash only had one thing on his mind: follow Paul and beat him in a battle. That’s when –” She couldn’t go on and broke down in tears.

    “That’s when all of this happened,” said the Professor as he pointed towards the injured pokémon. “Ash came to the lab one morning, and said he needed to train with all of his pokémon. He took them out in the ranch. He came back with six of his pokémon; asked for their pokéballs, and left.”

    “I’m gonna fine everyone one here one million dollars if they don’t tell me what Ash did,” screamed Barry.

    “He made them attack each another,” softly said Dawn. “He made them tear each other to pieces to weed out the weak, and keep only the strongest.”

    Barry’s blood froze as he heard those words. For the first time since they had entered the lab, Barry looked up at Dawn’s face. He could see how much it was taking out of her to even be in the room; he could see how devastated she was by the words she’d just uttered.

    “When you say keep only the strongest,” started Barry, but something prevented him form saying the rest.

    “He released the rest,” said Tracey. “All of these pokémon are once more without a trainer.”

    “Why?” asked Barry.

    “Isn’t it obvious?” said Dawn. “You’re like Paul; you only care about catching the strongest pokémon, but Ash wasn’t like that. He befriends his pokémon, and through that trust, through that friendship, he believes he can bring out the strength out of any pokémon. But when Paul beat him, he must have thought he’d been wrong all these years; he must have thought that his methods could only take him so far, so he followed Paul’s.”

    Barry could hear a hint of anger in Dawn’s voice. He couldn’t help but feel that Dawn had probably hoped all this time that when she would meet Ash again, he would be the same person she’d traveled with. But the Ash she knew was gone.

    “I don’t know what we’ll do,” said Professor Oak. “Even when they heal, these guys won’t be able to go back to the wild. You see, these guys didn’t see Ash as their trainer; to them, he was their friend. They trusted him, and he broke that trust. That’s something that will take more time to heal than their wounds. I just don’t know what we’ll do.”

    “I know what we’ll do,” said Dawn. She turned to face all of the injured, trying to get their attention. Something about the strain in her voice told Barry she was holding back tears. “I’m gonna find Ash wherever he is, and talk some sense into him. I’m gonna make him realize what a mistake it was to ever think you guys weren’t worth his time. I won’t rest until he’s back here to be with you all again.”

    The pokémon looked at each other hesitating, clearing having difficulty trusting her after the ordeal they had been through.

    “No, that’s not what we’ll do,” said Barry, taking everyone by surprise. “I’m sorry Dawn, but Ash has already shown he didn’t put much stock in what you, so you have no guarantee you can deliver on those words.”

    Barry could feel Dawn crumbling besides him. The words had come out much harsher than he had intended them to.

    “You’ll play your part Dawn,” said Barry, eerily brimming with confidence. “But whatever you have to say won’t help these guys trust Ash or any human trainer ever again, and it won’t make them get back what Ash took from them; it won’t give them back their confidence. These guys need to prove themselves in Ash’s eyes; they need to prove they can fight, and someone needs to show Ash that the way he trained pokémon was right.

    “Brilliant my boy,” said Professor Oak. “These two problems have one clear solution: these guys need a trainer and that trainers needs to beat Ash with his own pokémon, and his own methods.”

    “You want to train these guys?” asked Dawn.

    “I’m gonna need you to show how Ash did it, but yeah, these guys and I will defeat any enemies in our path,” said Barry, before turning to the pokémon. “What do you guys think? Will you follow me?”

    The pokémon all looked at each other. Barry could tell some had immediately embraced the idea, pokémon like a Totodile, dancing on his makeshift bed. Others, like a very stern looking Bulbasaur, seemed to react more coldly. The din surrounding Barry was unnerving; he hated to wait after others’ decisions. Suddenly, the pokémon grew somewhat more silent as one of them approached Barry. It was a tiny blue pokémon that looked like a blue head with arms and legs. Barry immediately recognized the Gible he and Ash had once fought over. Barry crouched down to Gible’s level.

    “You want to come with me?” asked a grinning Barry.

    Gible kept his empty, vacuous stare glued to Barry for a few seconds, before jumping at him and clamping his teeth around Barry’s head.

    “That’s Gible’s way of saying yes,” said Dawn, who couldn’t help laughing a little.

    As Barry tried to get Gible to stop biting his head, he saw the Muk who had welcomed them move towards him, and before he could say anything, he was smothered by a heavy mass of living goo. The exuberant dancing Totodile and a few other pokémon threw made their way to him, signalling their intention to follow him. Only Infernape, Bulbasaur and Pikachu had remained behind. The former was smiling but couldn’t move because of his injuries, while the other two didn’t seem to want to have anything to do with Barry.

    “That’s quite a good team you’ve got there young man,” said the Professor.

    “It’s just temporary,” said Barry, as he got out from under the pile of pokemon that were smothering him. “It’s just until these guys return to their rightful owner.”

    “Still, they’ll make a great team for you to fight through the Unova region,” said Oak.

    “Uno-what?” said Batty, in pure an utter shock.

    - - - - -

    Next chapter will be shorter and up sooner. : P

    Comments are always appreciated!

  15. #15
    ポケモン Tsutarja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broken Paths

    Ugh, I'd feel more comfortable if Dawn trained Ash's Pokémon. x(

    Anyway, I can't believe Ash did that. And his Pikachu, I thought they were buddies? Which Pokémon did he bring with himself anyway? Well things are certainly getting interesting, and I assume you will introduce the fabulous boy in Unova? :P

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