The Green Chronicles: The Quest for Mesos (5)
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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default The Green Chronicles: The Quest for Mesos (5)



    Hello, everyone!

    I have decided to begin a new fic. Please note that this fic contains some graphic violence, but nothing too gory.

    If you would be so soon kind as to leave feedback for me, I would really appreciate it and will do my best to return the favor to whomever is nice enough to review what I've written!

    Update: I've changed the title because of my revival of my other fic, POKÈMON: The Power Inside, which features a different definition of "The Sacred Gift" in order to avoid confusion.

    Thank you so much!

    Legacy




    Table of Contents:

    1 - The Fuchsia City Medical Center
    2 - Where There's Smoke
    3 - Days Gone By
    4 - Dear, Victoria*
    5 - When it Rains, It Pours

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    Last edited by Legacy; 23rd May 2014 at 05:33 AM.

    Coming Soon...

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    One:
    Fuchsia City Medical Center



    A cold shiver scurried down the perspiring back of fifteen-year-old Lucas Green as he parked his bicycle in front of the large darkened building before him. The night was crisp and his breath was as visible as smoke, but Lucas was well aware that the chills he felt had no relation to the cold. What in the world was he doing here?

    Not bothering to chain up his bike, Lucas forced his legs to lurch forward towards the tall, rusted entrance gates. His heart was already thumping against his chest in protest, but he was a journalist after all. He did not have the luxury of time to feel scared.

    Lucas stuffed his hands into his jeans pockets and fished out a scrap of paper. The glow of the moon and distant light from town was barely enough to decipher the writing, but Lucas had already memorized the content. He gave it one final review.



    Luke -

    Got a tip for your school newspaper. Heard from my friend's mom that she's heard screaming from the old hospital on Hudson the past few nights. That place is supposed to be abandoned isn't it? Police say they checked it out but the lady swears she keeps hearing things. Sounded like something your crazy ass would be interested in.

    - Aaron



    His friend, Aaron, was right. Lucas lived for the scoop. He had always been nosy by nature. And ever since he had learned in school years ago about the famous Alexa of the Lumiose Press overseas he had dreamed of becoming a famous reporter. There was something about being right in the thick of the action, being the person who relays to everyone what is going on in the world. Seeking the unknown gave him an adrenaline rush unlike anything else. It made him feel alive.

    At the moment, however, Lucas was feeling particularly fond of feeling alive as opposed to dead or in pain. He wasn't sure he wanted to risk that feeling just to check on some unfounded claim from some woman he didn't know that something was going on inside the old Fuchsia City Medical Center. Besides, the building represented the dark days of Lucas' past that he had done his best to repress over the years, and the idea of returning was not exactly pleasant.

    But something about Aaron's tip made it unignorable. Something about the tone and conviction of the woman's voice on the phone had forced Lucas out here despite everything the cops had said. This, Lucas thought, was the downside to his extreme curiosity. He had to see for himself. He needed proof either way.

    Lucas drew in a deep breath and gazed up at the shabby brick building beyond the gates. Any activity inside, let alone nefarious activity would surely be front page news. The old hospital had been abandoned for nearly two years, along with many of the homes and businesses in historic Fuchsia City. Once a flourishing community with an abundance of tourist attractions, the recent poverty and hardship going on all around the region had definitely reared its head in Lucas' hometown.

    "Come on, Luke. It's time." he muttered to himself, putting everything else out of his mind.

    Lucas took note of the large padlock and chains securing the gates. Perhaps it was adrenaline or the intensity of the moment. Whatever it was, Lucas suddenly felt exhilarated, like he was some sort of secret agent or spy on an intelligence mission. Embracing this feeling, he cooly grabbed hold onto the metal bars and hoisted himself up in hopes of cooly jumping the fence.

    All manner of swagger was immediately deflated, however, when Lucas promptly lost his grip and tumbled painfully to the dirt. He swore. Thankful that no one had been around to witness his pathetic attempt, he stood up and brushed himself off.

    Despite his urge to relent and return to the safety of his house, Lucas' journalistic instincts would not let him give up. He scanned the perimeter of the gates for another way in. The darkness of the late hour was now a hindrance as he searched for any sort of opening. The fence seemed secure.

    Not knowing what else to do, Lucas started walking and followed the fence to see if there were any openings. In the moonlight, he noticed that the hospital's windows were boarded up and untended vegetation had begun to swallow the building's foundation. The entire area looked quite undisturbed.

    Then Lucas saw it. As he made his way to the southwest side of the building, there was a small service door at the fence's corner. Another shiver overcame him when he noticed that the padlock on the door had been broken off, leaving the metal gate to sway and squeak gently in the breeze.

    Maybe the police broke the lock when they checked the building and forgot to replace it, Lucas thought. That had to be it. Who would even want to break into an empty hospital?

    Cursing his own curiosity under his breath, he pushed open the door and circled back around the building towards the hospital's front doors. He walked up the front steps and stopped at the large glass doors, which were now grimy with age. He didn't expect them to be unlocked and he was correct.

    "Of course not," he said to himself. "That'd be way too easy."

    Had it not been for the sliced up padlock on the gate, Lucas would have given up right then and there. There were no other signs of forced entry and the windows that weren't boarded were all dark. He heard no screaming or sounds of any kind coming from inside, but something in the back of his mind was telling him that he should proceed.

    After a considerable amount of searching, Lucas found one of the main level window sills had rotted so badly over the years that he was able to break it away from its latch and slide it open. He took his flashlight out of his pocket and used it to peer inside. When he was satisfied that there was nothing of concern to be found, he climbed through the window.

    Once inside, Lucas realized that he had absolutely no idea what he was looking for or what he would do if he found it. He looked around the moonlit room. It was a typical patient sickroom with two empty metal-framed beds separated by a curtain, a couple of small guest chairs and a tiny bathroom. He tried the lights, but predictably, nothing. His flashlight would have to do.

    Lucas knew this place well. Aside from the tangle of cobwebs hanging along the ceiling and the sediment of dust caking every surface, it looked identical to the room he had spent so much time in as a young boy. Under the narrow beam of his flashlight, he saw that the beds where still made with the same scratchy white sheets, the floors still made up of the same speckled blue tiles.

    It felt like just yesterday. Even without the bustling nurses and bright white lights Lucas remembered, the painful memories of this place flooded his mind like a dam had burst.

    Feeling suddenly nauseous, Lucas hastily made his way out into the hallway and eventually found the main lobby. More pangs of queasiness quickly set in when his flashlight found the large waiting room flanking the front desk. The same grey chairs lined the walls. He could still see in his mind's eye the pretty pink-haired nurse who had sat Lucas down in the chair closest to the water cooler and delivered the worst news of his life.

    Seeing the hospital like this felt strange. The nurse's piercing words felt like they had been uttered only days ago, but the dust and cobwebs proved that years had passed.

    The dilapidated state of the familiar hospital was just another reminder of how far Fuchsia City had fallen over that time. The fond memories from Lucas' childhood were just distant dreams by now, the numbness of tragedy making it difficult to believe that such memories had ever taken place.

    The arcade where Lucas' mother had taken him for his eighth birthday party had been demolished in favor of housing projects. His old elementary school had been left to rot after enrollment had dropped. His entire world was crumbling around him.

    Perhaps this was why Lucas' aspirations to become a famous reporter were so strong. It wasn't just that he wanted to escape Fuchsia City to search for a better life. He wanted to escape the past. He wanted to make his mother proud, and to do that, he had to get out.

    Suddenly emboldened by the excitement of the journey he would begin in the morning, Lucas took one last look at the waiting room before quickening his pace around the hospital. By now, he was convinced that the tip he had received was false. There were no clues to indicate anyone had set foot in the building since its closure, but he had already come this far. He might as well make absolute sure that there was no news story to be found here.

    After wandering the halls and checking out different rooms at random for a while, Lucas eventually made his way to the stairwell to quickly check out the basement. He had never ventured down there and was curious as to what the hospital had been like behind the scenes. His footsteps clacked and echoed down the concrete steps until they stopped at a metal door. He opened it, revealing a long, narrow hallway.

    Lucas' flashlight began to flicker. He swore. He shook it pleadingly, and the strength of the light stabilized itself. Not wanting to get trapped in the pitch black basement with no light, Lucas picked up his pace even more. As far as he could tell, the basement was just a series of winding hallways with a network of pipes and wires running along the ceiling. Nothing too interesting.

    As Lucas turned a corner, his flashlight beam stopped on a wooden door with a shiny brass knob. Feeling anxious to wrap up his exploration and return home before his light died, Lucas started to pass the door. But he stopped.

    A soft horizontal sliver of white light was peeking through the bottom of the door. Lucas switched off the flashlight to make sure it wasn't just a reflection, but it was not. There was indeed some source of light inside. He took a deep breath and tiptoed up to the door. He carefully placed his ear against the wood and listened for any sign of life.

    Silence.

    Against his better judgement, Lucas slowly grasped the door knob and turned it. Easing the door open ever so slightly, he peered into the room.

    Inside, Lucas found that the light was coming from an open laptop computer sitting on a small table in the corner of what looked like a utility room or janitor's closet. Lucas shined the flashlight into the shadows but saw no one, only the computer.

    Lucas was suddenly very aware that his breathing had grown heavy. His heart's pace had once again quickened. Someone was here. A sudden urge to get out of the hospital as quickly as possible came over Lucas. Combating that, however, was an equally strong feeling of curiosity as Lucas gazed at the computer screen.

    The latter eventually won as it normally did. Lucas took one more look behind him before creeping towards the desk. He sat down and scooted the laptop closer to himself. There were two windows open on the screen. Lucas enlarged the closest one and read:


    ----------------------------
    FROM: Dr. O. Tanaka
    TO: Higher Management
    SUBJECT: Status Report A92 - Operation Special Soldier, Day 84

    PATIENTS: "Xena" (19), "Yosef" (21)

    PHYSICAL STATUS:
    As of Day 91, Xena and Yosef are the only two subjects to survive the cell mutation process. All other perished before Phase 2. Currently, both patients appear to be relatively healthy. Vitals are good; Yosef's heart rate is slightly above average.

    PSYCHOLOGICAL STATUS:
    Hypnosis and shock therapy seem to be most effective as both subjects are obedient to simple commands. Phase 3 will include commands that could clash with patients' moral standards to test the bounds of their obedience.

    NOTES:
    Both subjects are adjusting well to the mutation. Both displayed incredible power, although not great accuracy. Still volatile and unstable, but further adjustments and training should improve precision. Test results against human prey were satisfactory. Results versus adult Arcanine and adult Arbok were mixed, however. Recommend further stimulation procedures, possible hormonal adjustment as well to speed growth.
    ----------------------------


    Lucas read the message again, then once more. He couldn't make much sense of it. He wondered if he was reading something from a movie. Not knowing what to think, Lucas moved onto the other window and read.


    ---------------------------------
    FROM: Higher Management
    TO: Dr. O. Tanaka
    SUBJECT: Security Breach Protocol

    Dr. Tanaka,

    After convening with the board, we have agreed to let you proceed with the memory adjustment of Officer Jennifer Bryant. We agree that simply disposing of her would create more problems than we need.

    We do advise that you and your subordinates conduct yourselves with more caution. Our intelligence suggests that the security breach occurred when police received a complaint after a resident heard screaming coming from your location.

    Please proceed immediately and get Officer Bryant back to her post as soon as possible before the department starts getting suspicious.

    Keep us updated.

    The Lieutenant
    -------------------------------



    Lucas felt the sweat on his brow grow cold at the mention of the police officer and reference to the complaints of screaming. But what really tantalized Lucas was the "memory adjustment." What in the world was going on?

    Lucas didn't have long to ponder because the distant sound of footsteps from outside the small utility room made him freeze. He quickly tiptoed to the door and peeked his head out.

    Down the long hall hidden behind the corner, Lucas noticed a flashlight beam or two from afar along with soft voices in the distance. Not wanting to find out who was holding those flashlights, Lucas walked briskly and as silently as he could in the opposite direction. He didn't dare turn his own flashlight on, so he used his outstretched hands to guide himself down the hall.

    Ignoring the pleadingly loud beats of his heart and his yearning bladder, Lucas stopped at the first door he felt. He took a deep breath and took a moment to collect himself mentally.

    Lucas' journalistic gears inside his head began to turn at breakneck speed. Whoever this Dr. Tanaka was, he was certainly up to something. And whatever it was that he was up to, Tanaka and whoever he was working for definitely didn't want anyone to know about it. Surprisingly, Lucas felt excitement once again rush over him.

    Still, the voices from down the hall were gaining volume. And despite how badly Lucas wanted to know what was going on, he didn't figure simply walking up to these people and introducing himself would be the best plan of action.

    Just before the distant beams of light turned the corner and shone down the hall towards Lucas, he swiftly opened the door and slipped inside. Another dark room. It smelled terrible. Careful to breath through his mouth, Lucas closed the door softly behind him, flipped on his flashlight and turned around to assess the area.

    The moment his light found the mangled looking body suspended before him, Lucas nearly wet his pants. A sudden explosion of fear shocked him like an Electabuzz jolt. He would have screamed bloody murder had his voice worked. His brain implored him to run away, but his trembling knees wouldn't budge.

    The circle of light quivered under the guidance of Lucas' shaking grasp. A man, probably middle aged, hung from a large hook on the wall like a towel on a rack. Dark blood covered the man's battered face and matted his once-blonde hair. His head drooped towards his heaving chest and his limbs hung lifelessly at his sides.

    "Wh-what are you doing here, kid?!" a raspy, exhausted voice suddenly spilled out of the man.

    Lucas didn't respond. Terror was dominating his curiosity at this point.

    "You must... must get out of here while you still can," the man continued.

    "What happened?! What's going on?" Lucas stammered, finally coming to his senses and running over to the man.

    Lucas tried to hoist the man's body up and off the metal hook, but he almost lost his dinner when he realized the hook was plunged deep into the man's spine. A faint stream of blood was still oozing from his back, but the majority of it was pooled on the floor beneath him.

    Lucas stopped and shined the flashlight all around the room. His nausea exploded once again when he was a half dozen other human bodies strewn around the floor like dirty laundry. Some of the carcasses were missing limbs, others were completely mutilated to the point that they were completely unrecognizable as humans. Lucas could have swum laps in the amount of blood on the floor.

    "Leave... me," the man whispered. "Save... yourself. Those... things... monsters."

    "M-Monsters?! What do you mean?! What's going on here?"

    "Tanaka... made those things... too strong... you-you must get out..."

    "Please! Just tell me what Tanaka is up to!"

    The man's eyes were glazed over and were beginning to droop closed as Lucas watched his mouth labor to move. But before the man could utter any more words, his body went limp. The man was dead, left to hang like a rag doll.

    It was weird feeling to witness the exact moment of someone's death. Lucas felt badly about just leaving the man's body hanging like meat at the butcher shop without so much as a funeral or flowers, but the man's chilling words were enough to make Lucas forget his mission. He had to get out.

    Turning on his heels, Lucas again peeked his head out of the door he had entered. Complete darkness. Complete silence. Still breathing heavily, he took off on a dead sprint down the hall back towards the stairwell with only his memory to guide him through the darkness.

    Lucas had turned around the second corner when he saw the merciful moonlight from the window in the stairwell ahead. He quickly glanced behind him, but no signs of life. A slight wave of relief came over him. Whoever he had seen walking must be preoccupied. All Lucas had to do was get upstairs and out the nearest window.

    Eager to escape, Lucas turned and opened the door to the stairwell.

    THWACK!

    Something hard suddenly struck Lucas in the temple as soon as he opened the door. A light shined in his eyes, but his vision immediately started to blacken, his consciousness leaving him like he was falling asleep.

    As his legs began to fail and he collapsed to the floor, the last thing Lucas saw was a shadowy figure standing over him in the doorway. There was nothing Lucas could do, though. He blacked out.
    Last edited by Legacy; 9th April 2014 at 11:49 AM.

    Coming Soon...

  3. #3
    Less cute in person Beth Pavell's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    Ok, right! Well, first thing's first, you might want to edit on an age rating to the thread title.

    Technical Accuracy/Style
    I was a little apprehensive about the style of this at first. It's a little matter-of-fact, and it felt a little like a relay of information. But having reached the end I can see the point - overall I think it enhances the sudden shift in the mood. Speaking of which, very well executed shift! It's so easy to slip into melodrama, and I think by downplaying the scene you let the reader fill in the nasty sense of horrible horror. Perhaps one nitpick - "shone", rather than "shined"

    Story
    Worth hanging around for. A bit of a hodge-podge of backstory, but that's not a massive problem so early on. I suspect this will turn out to be one of those stories that keeps me guessing. What will make or break the story for me, I think, will be whether the mysterious experiment still makes sense in context when it is eventually explained

    Characters
    Lucas doesn't grab me immediately ... though I think that may have to do with my own hang-ups over journalism xD It's a good start though, and his reactions came across as quite real, so that shouldn't really set alarm bells off in your head.

    Final Thoughts
    I reckon I'll keep an eye on this. There's a lot of elements I like - particularly how you make the economic state of Fuschia City relevant, something I don't recall ever seeing before in a story
    The Long Walk
    For Joshua Cook, it's a long walk away from his dull life to the Pokémon League. But does he really want to be the very best? A coming-of-age story of adventure, friendship and growing up in the world of Pokémon.


    Pavell's Scribbledegook Week VII - Pokémon Taxonomy

  4. #4
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    Thanks for the review, @Pavell! Appreciate it. Anyone else who is nice enough to leave a review, I will definitely return the favor.

    Coming Soon...

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    Master Exploder The Roach's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    Very interesting start. I liked it!

    Echoing what Pavell said, the sudden shift in tone was well executed, I feel. It really helps me identify how Lucas must have been feeling in that moment, having everything go from "Huh, this is pretty weird" to "OMG WHAT THE HELL!?!"

    Speaking of Lucas, I was a bit puzzled by his motivations. Like, at times he seemed totally gung-ho about investigating, and then at other times he seemed apprehensive of the whole situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    Not bothering to chain up his bike, Lucas forced his legs to lurch forward towards the tall, rusted entrance gates. His heart was already thumping against his chest in protest, but he was a journalist after all. He did not have the luxury of time to feel scared.
    Lucas took note of the large padlock and chains securing the gates. Perhaps it was adrenaline or the intensity of the moment. Whatever it was, Lucas suddenly felt exhilarated, like he was some sort of secret agent or spy on an intelligence mission. Embracing this feeling, he cooly grabbed hold onto the metal bars and hoisted himself up in hopes of cooly jumping the fence.
    Despite his urge to relent and return to the safety of his house, Lucas' journalistic instincts would not let him give up
    Suddenly emboldened by the excitement of the journey he would begin in the morning, Lucas took one last look at the waiting room before quickening his pace around the hospital. By now, he was convinced that the tip he had received was false. There were no clues to indicate anyone had set foot in the building since its closure, but he had already come this far. He might as well make absolute sure that there was no news story to be found here.
    Maybe it's just me, but it seemed like his feelings kept shifting from "I'm excited" to "I'm terrified" back and forth. It didn't really seem consistent. Other than that, I liked how you brought up this mysterious troubled past that he had, but simply left it as such: a mystery. It makes me wonder what exactly went on, and makes me eager for the next chapter. Just be careful not to pull a "Lost" and have a payoff that makes no sense or just raises more questions. It's a common pitfall for mysteries, so just keep that in mind. :D

    Overall, I liked it. It started off a bit slow, but as it got going I got more and more involved. The tensity of the final moments was very gripping. I was mentally shouting at Lucas "No! Don't go in there you fool!" when he went for the basement, and I had a lot of fun with it. I'm eager to see what chapter two has in store. :)

    What are you looking at?

  6. #6
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    Quote Originally Posted by GastonGibus View Post
    Very interesting start. I liked it!

    Echoing what Pavell said, the sudden shift in tone was well executed, I feel. It really helps me identify how Lucas must have been feeling in that moment, having everything go from "Huh, this is pretty weird" to "OMG WHAT THE HELL!?!"

    Speaking of Lucas, I was a bit puzzled by his motivations. Like, at times he seemed totally gung-ho about investigating, and then at other times he seemed apprehensive of the whole situation.



    Lucas took note of the large padlock and chains securing the gates. Perhaps it was adrenaline or the intensity of the moment. Whatever it was, Lucas suddenly felt exhilarated, like he was some sort of secret agent or spy on an intelligence mission. Embracing this feeling, he cooly grabbed hold onto the metal bars and hoisted himself up in hopes of cooly jumping the fence.
    Despite his urge to relent and return to the safety of his house, Lucas' journalistic instincts would not let him give up
    Suddenly emboldened by the excitement of the journey he would begin in the morning, Lucas took one last look at the waiting room before quickening his pace around the hospital. By now, he was convinced that the tip he had received was false. There were no clues to indicate anyone had set foot in the building since its closure, but he had already come this far. He might as well make absolute sure that there was no news story to be found here.
    Maybe it's just me, but it seemed like his feelings kept shifting from "I'm excited" to "I'm terrified" back and forth. It didn't really seem consistent. Other than that, I liked how you brought up this mysterious troubled past that he had, but simply left it as such: a mystery. It makes me wonder what exactly went on, and makes me eager for the next chapter. Just be careful not to pull a "Lost" and have a payoff that makes no sense or just raises more questions. It's a common pitfall for mysteries, so just keep that in mind. :D

    Overall, I liked it. It started off a bit slow, but as it got going I got more and more involved. The tensity of the final moments was very gripping. I was mentally shouting at Lucas "No! Don't go in there you fool!" when he went for the basement, and I had a lot of fun with it. I'm eager to see what chapter two has in store. :)
    Thanks for the review Gib! I appreciate it. Good point about Lucas' "shifting" motivation and the curious/scared stuff. I tried to make that an inner struggle throughout the chapter. On one hand he's going into some scary building, but he's curious... And they he realizes oh shit there IS something to be scared of now, let's get out of here, but that only revs up his curiosity even more.

    i should have handled that better though. Thanks for the feedback!

    Coming Soon...

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    Gallifrey Stands Jabberwocky's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    This is very strongly written, as expected of Legacy. The premise and pulse of the story are engaging and interesting, and it's clear that a great deal of thought was put into it. This is not a story that was thrown together stream-of-consciousness. The setting is built very effectively, and I certainly want to learn more about why Fuschia and Kanto are in such a recession as they are. This is a great first chapter, and serves its purpose of establishing the story and making the reader want to read more.

    With that said, there are definite weaknesses. Lucas feels rather flat and uninteresting as a protagonist. He seems very typical, like he brings nothing new to the table. His actions also seem a little inconsistent, and it's a bit hard to get a real handle on the sort of person he's like. This isn't a major concern in my view, however, since it's the first chapter and obviously there's room for Lucas to grow. Additionally, there are points where the narrative seems too informative as opposed to immersive, and there are jarring shifts from a formal style of narration to a more casual one.

    However, this is still a solid chapter and an interesting story, and one I'll certainly be keeping an eye on. Well done.

  8. #8
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    Thanks, Jab. I will definitely work on developing Lucas' character as the story moves along. I always struggle with first chapters when I am basically just jumping into the action; I struggle with balance between setting the scene and introducing the character effectively.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Coming Soon...

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    Stray Dog Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    I can't say I connected to Lucas as a whole, but the story definetily gripped me and mademe jump once or twice while I was reading it.

    Starting from the technical side, I really shouldn't be surprised that I didn't spot any clear problems since this is you we're talking about, the description to me was pretty good, leaving just enough room for the reader to make their own conclusions while also describing what needed to be described and focusing on the feeilngs and actions of Lucas.

    In regards to Lucas, I thought that his inner conflict was actually very human, I mean we´ve all been in that situation where we're not exactly sure if we want to do something but our pride tells us to do it anyway. I'm also genuinly worried for him now that he's stuck himself into this type of situation.

    The plot seems interesting though a bit hard to pinpoint right now, I honestly thought it was going to be something like a horror and mystery fic but I can see it having some action in it too. Like I said, I was scared during parts of it so if you wanted to add some horror to it the I think you hit he nail on the coffin at least for me.

  10. #10
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift

    Two:
    Where There's Smoke



    Shrill screams echoed. Booming roars as well. There were endless black hallways, then a vision of a faceless man and a pair of glowing eyes. A sparkling blast of gold light flashed, followed by a beautiful rainbow. Then silence.

    Suddenly, whiteness drowned the entire scene as Lucas forced open his heavy eyelids and his surroundings began to solidify. Rays of infant sunshine greeted him, slipping through his partially drawn curtains and bathing his small bedroom in warmth.

    With a hearty yawn, Lucas sat up in his bed and was immediately welcomed awake by a pulsing headache. He winced and whimpered before his head fell back down onto the pillow. The throbbing in his temple subsided with his head back in its soft cradle, but what was going on?

    Now too confused to fall back asleep, Lucas looked down to see he was still wearing the same dirty green t-shirt and jeans from the day before. How had he gotten to bed?

    Lucas scratched his head as if to stir his memory enough to recall, but everything was fuzzy, like waking up from a dream only to forget the details once completely conscious. The last thing he remembered was leaving the house and riding off on his bicycle.

    Lucas' grogginess mixed with his still intense headache made it hard to spend too much time worrying about his mental lapse. Maybe it was the lack of sleep Lucas had enjoyed over the past few weeks. He thought about his father and how he would often complain about things called, 'hangovers' after a long night of drinking. Lucas frowned at this. He wasn't anything like his father, besides, he had never tasted booze even once in his lifetime.

    Finally working up the strength to get out of bed, Lucas stood and turned to the dirty, cracked mirror hanging on the wall. His amber eyes blinked the last bit of sleep from them revealing just how bloodshot and tired they were. His shaggy brown hair was posed wildly as well, but other than that, there wasn't anything out of the ordinary, not so much as a scratch or bump in the area where his head hurt.

    Lucas began to strip off his shirt, but the sudden smell of something burning from outside his bedroom stung his nostrils. A few moments later, there was a loud scream from elsewhere in the house.

    "Aaah!"

    Lucas threw open his bedroom door and sprinted towards the sound. He balled his fists in anticipation of thieves or tramps having broken into the house, which unfortunately was not uncommon these days. But as he burst into the tiny kitchen, all he found was a tall, chestnut brown haired girl standing in the midst of a billowing cloud of smoke.

    "Damn it!" Lucas heard her growl.

    "Vic?"

    Sputtering from fits of coughing, Lucas' older sister emerged from the smoke lifting a pan full of something charred and black from the stove. Her eyes were watering but still held a distinct expression of anger.

    "Ugh, sorry to wake you, Luke. I wanted it to be a surprise."

    "You wanted to surprise me with a burnt down house? Well, good job. I'm surprised."

    Vic growled and held up the pan of fizzling embers, giving Lucas a look of utter loathing.

    "No, you Bidoof," she spat. "I was trying to make you pancakes, your favorite kind with the oran berries in them."

    "Well, I do like them a little crispy," Lucas replied with a smirk. He deftly dodged the flying dish rag that suddenly came hurtling towards his face.

    "Yeah, I was never as good a cook as Mom," Vic said sadly.

    Lucas froze. There was a moment of silence between the two before he quickly moved to change the subject.

    "Thanks, Vic," he said quickly. "But why pancakes? You didn't have to. Porridge is easier."

    "You're telling me," she replied, scraping the ashes from the pan into the sink and wiping her hands on her already-filthy blue work shirt.

    "Porridge is cheaper too. And by the way, where did you manage to get oran berries this time of year? That must have cost--"

    "Luke, you and your damn twenty questions all the time!" Vic growled, throwing her hands up. She immediately softened, however, and sighed, "Look, I know you have this thing about having to know everything all the time, but can't a big sister just do something nice for her little brother once in a while?"

    Lucas finally cracked a smile.

    "You? No, that doesn't sound like you."

    Vic laughed, and the two of them sat down at the table to their customary morning meal of plain porridge and water from the well. It wasn't much, but as Lucas looked at Vic's careworn and tired face from across the table, the meager bowl of gruel sitting in front of him was like a magnificent feast.

    "Victoria," he said. "Thanks."

    "For what?"

    "You know... everything."

    Vic smiled, her bottom lip quivering ever so slightly. Her amber eyes met his and suddenly all their back and forth wit and sarcasm had even more meaning. The two of them ate in silence, but it was a pleasant silence this time, as if neither of them wanted the moment to end.

    "When do you leave?" Vic finally asked.

    "Grandpa said the last train leaves at midday, so I should be off as soon as I can, but..."

    He paused.

    "But nothing," Vic replied firmly. "We've been over this for weeks. You're going."

    "I just don't think it's a good time for me to leave you here. You've seen how Dad's been. He's a mess."

    Vic didn't reply. She seemed to be particularly interested in her porridge. She finally sighed deeply.

    "Luke, listen. You've got to do this. You said it yourself, it's a great opportunity. You've wanted this since you were really little. Me and Dad... I'll take care of him."

    Lucas looked at his sister sitting in her sooty work uniform and was suddenly startled by how grown up she had become. Once pink-cheeked and innocent, Vic's hardened expression and determined eyes reminded Lucas so very much of their mother. A lump formed in his throat.

    "Where is he anyway?" he asked.

    "The tavern, I imagine," Vic said with indifference. "He wasn't home yet when I got back from my shift this morning."

    "Drinking again," Lucas snarled. "Typical. What a waste of space."

    "You know it's been hard on him not having Mom around..."

    "Yeah? I'm sure it has, but it's been hard on all of us," Lucas said, his voice escalating. "You don't see us shriveling up and quitting! We need him! He's supposed to take care of us, not the other way around!"

    Lucas' face was hot and his throat stung. He took a swig of water and slammed the cup onto the table. How could his father be so selfish? Vic was only seventeen and she had already dropped out of school to work in the mines. For the past two years, she had been busting her tail to provide for the family while their father was off on some bender getting drunk.

    "You know how bad it's gotten out there," she said. "Dad just needs some time to adjust."

    "If you think I'm going to just run off chasing some stupid pipe dream while you're stuck here working yourself to the bone... No, I'm writing to Grandpa right now and telling him the whole thing's off. I'll get a job at the mines too. We need the money."

    Vic just smiled back at Lucas, which surprised him. His anger was through the roof, yet something about his sister's grin was comforting.

    "Luke," she said softly. "No baby brother of mine is going to work down there. It's sweet of you to worry about me, but you need to do this. Besides, it took a lot of convincing to get Grandpa to agree to help you."

    "But--"

    "Just stop. Look around us. We live in the Shell. It's a dump. We barely have enough to live on, and things are just going to get worse around here. Even if you, me and Dad all worked the grave yard down in those damn mines, we'd still just barely scrape by! There's something better for us out there! Mesos!

    "You've wanted to see inside those walls ever since you were in diapers. This is your chance... This is our chance. I've read your articles you've written for that newspaper of yours, Luke. You're an amazing writer... You're our ticket out of here. Out of Fuchsia, out of the Shell. You are our chance to have a better life."

    "What if..." Lucas began. His voice cracked. "... What if it doesn't work out?"

    Vic stood up and walked over to Lucas. She placed a firm hand on his shoulder before embracing him in a tight hug, a rare occurrence despite their closeness as siblings.

    "It's your dream, Luke. The important thing is chasing it. Whether or not you can actually get us into Mesos, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you try. I won't let you just sit around here until we're old and gray wondering whether or not you could have or should have. Mom would have wanted her son to follow his hopes, his dreams."

    Tears were streaming down Vic's face by now. Lucas rarely saw his big sister cry. She had always been the strong one in the family. Even when their mother had passed, Lucas had been a depressed wreck for a long time. Their father had descended into an ever deeper state. But not Vic. She was like their mother: strong, determined and willing to do what it took to keep the family going.

    Now it was Lucas' turn. Vic was right. He hated when she was right, but she was. Life out in the Shell was awful, never knowing if there would be food on the table and worrying about desperate bandits breaking in and stealing what little they did have.

    "Okay, Vic," he said quietly. "But if I go, there's not going to be any of this 'as long as you do your best' junk. I am going to make it. I am going to get us out of this shit hole. I'm going to buy you a nice house in Vermillion and you won't have to work another day in your life!"

    Vic nodded and gave him a watery smile before embracing him once again in another of her precious hugs.

    "You make me proud, Bidoof," she said with a giggle and a tousle of his hair.

    "I will."

    "No, I mean, I already am. I'm proud of you."

    With that, Lucas and Vic bid each other a heartfelt farewell to one another with Lucas promising to write as often as he could. Vic, finally home after a nightlong shift at work, still insisted upon preparing Lucas a care package for his journey to their grandfather's house before she would entertain the thought of going to sleep.

    So once Lucas had bathed and changed his clothes and Vic had packed clothes and food into his backpack for him, he finally tucked her into bed for a well-deserved rest. Lucas thought of asking Vic about last night and whether or not she remembered him coming home. He was still confused about how he had gotten to bed and the hazy dream he had had, but he decided against it. Her eyes were already closed before her head hit the pillow. Lucas smiled at the peacefulness on her face.

    "Lukey, you be careful out there. I love you," she muttered before the snoring began.

    Lucas felt tears welling up in his eyes and was suddenly very glad Vic had passed out so quickly. He wiped his eyes on his sleeve and hoisted his backpack over his shoulder.

    "You too, Vic. I'll be back for you soon."

    The train ride from the outskirts of Fuchsia west towards his grandfather's house was relatively uneventful. He had encountered only a handful of beggars at the rundown station, none of whom had threatened him with violence if he didn't hand over his backpack. With how things had gotten lately, Lucas considered himself lucky.

    Lucas watched gray and dingy Fuchsia City passing by through the window as the train sped to escape town. If Vic hadn't still been stranded there, Lucas would have been ecstatic to leave it behind. He wished she could have come with him, but she had refused because she couldn't leave their father by himself.

    New anger towards the man stewed in his mind the entire ride. Life was tough in the Shell-- the nickname that Kanto's outer ring cities and villages had acquired since the walls had gone up. The least his father could do was try. Try to help Vic have a better life. Try to move on from his wife's death. It wasn't fair that Vic had been forced to grow up so quickly. It wasn't fair that she had been robbed of her own childhood and dreams because she had to pick up his slack as provider.

    Lucas vowed to use his anger and pity as fuel on his journey. By the time the train had arrived at its destination, Lucas felt so determined that each and every step he took from the station towards Pallet Town felt significant in his mind.

    After a few hours of walking, Lucas made his way up the dirt path and stood before quaint, quiet Pallet Town. He looked down into the valley where the peaceful farmtown sat and began to admire its beauty. There were no dirty silver mines, no rundown buildings, no homeless drunks littering the alleys. The grass and trees were still a vibrant green, flanked by gorgeous ponds and streams of still non-polluted crystal blue water.

    As Lucas continued down the hill, he eyed his grandfather's house, which sat within the same wooden picket fence on the same large plot of grass. Memories of summers spent playing tag with Vic and the neighborhood kids and riding Ponytas in the fields came flooding back.

    Something was wrong though. The house came into better view the closer Lucas came, and his stomach fell as he saw that his grandfather's front door had been ripped off its hinges. It was hanging crookedly to the side, and Lucas could see black smoke billowing into the sky from behind the house.

    "Hope he's not trying to make pancakes too," Lucas muttered to himself as he took off running towards the house. The sinking feeling in his gut, however, told him that something wasn't right.

    Breathing heavily, Lucas finally reached the front stoop. He rushed inside the open doorway into his grandfather's small living room. Normally tidy and meticulously organized, the room looked like a tornado had blown through. Knick-knacks and papers were strewn across the floor. A lamp lay broken in pieces near the doorway as well.

    "Grandpa?!" Lucas called out.

    No response. And the heavy feeling of dread persisted. Lucas reached quietly into his backpack and removed a pocket knife his father had once given him. He flipped open the blade and tiptoed through the living room into the kitchen, which was in the same ransacked state as the rest of the house. For the second time that day, the smell of smoke was in the air, but unfortunately, his grandfather wasn't simply standing at the stove burning food.

    The scent as well as the clouds of smoke led Lucas back outside around the house to the backyard. As he silently snuck around the corner of the house, a loud whooshing sound made him jump.

    Before he could see anything, a huge jet of bright orange and red fire came racing at him like a comet. Just managing to dive out of the way in the nick of time, Lucas screamed in pain. His clothing and hair were singed from the flame, and his chest was bloody from the burns.

    Climbing to his feet, his knife still in trembling hand, Lucas turned and saw the source of the fireball.

    "Bad timing, kid!" a bald man with a scraggily beard cackled.

    There were two strange men standing in the backyard, both wearing oversized duffle bags over their shoulders, which were undoubtedly full of Grandpa's possessions. They were flanked on either side by two menacing canine creatures who were both showing off rows of dagger-like teeth. Smoke was still emanating from their mouths as they growled at Lucas.

    "Yeah, we were just leaving," said the other man, who had wild, shoulder-length hair. "Too bad you missed all the fun."

    Lucas' eyes grew wide when the two men stepped aside to reveal an old man laying in a crumpled heap in the grass behind them. Unconscious with burnt clothing as well, Lucas' grandfather looked lifeless and small.

    Terror pleaded with Lucas, urging him to run or beg for mercy. But the sight of his fallen grandfather made his blood boil. He was beyond sick of tired of this. Desperation and greed were seemingly all that was left in the Shell. Things had gotten so bad that crime had skyrocketed, and Lucas couldn't take it anymore.

    "You bastards better hope he's okay," Lucas said, hoping his sounded more courageous than he felt.

    "Big talk for a little twerp like you," the long haired thief spat.

    Lucas didn't respond. He calmly raised his hands and dropped the knife to the ground before marching towards the men, his arms still up in a motion of surrender. The Houndooms growls intensified, but he walked past the men and their Pokémon straight towards his grandfather. He could feel their eyes on him and figured they were confused as to why he wasn't simply cowering before them. Come to think of it, Lucas was a little confused himself.

    A glint of light reflecting off something at his grandfather's side had caught Lucas' eye. Something in his bones was telling him to go towards it. Something inside of Lucas was speaking to him, telling him that all was not lost despite the gruesome burns all across the old man's aged face.

    "I don't know what your deal is, kid, but before we go, let's take a look at that backpack of yours," the other man said, holding his hand out as though he expected Lucas to simply hand it over.

    Lucas ignored him. He reached his grandfather's side, his back still turned on the bandits. He kneeled down and checked for a pulse. It was faint, but at least there was one.

    "Hey, moron! I asked nicely! Don't make me take it from you."

    Unsure how he was going to avoid giving up his belongings, Lucas suddenly located the shiny object sitting next to his grandpa's hip in the grass. It was a marble-sized red and white metal orb that had apparently fallen out of his grandfather's pocket. Lucas gasped. A Pokèball? A real Pokèball? Such things were extremely expensive and rare outside of Mesos. Lucas had never even seen one in real life.

    "You don't listen too good, you know that? Hand over the backpack and no one needs to get hurt."

    Lucas reached down and picked up the Pokèball. The metal sphere felt cool and smooth in his hands, but a certain warmth washed over his entire body as he squeezed it. Something made him stand up and face the men, and suddenly a strange sense of courage erupted inside of him.

    "How about you idiots just drop my grandpa's things and get out off his property. Just leave, and we'll call it even. You said it yourself, no one needs to get hurt."

    The thieves looked taken aback. The bearded one actually laughed.

    "You're a real nutter, you are," he said with a chuckle. "But whatever, have it your way."

    He smacked the two fire-breathing canines on their behinds and on command, they barked fiercely and took off on a sprint directly towards Lucas.

    The strange feeling Lucas had felt inside of him morphed into something else, a light sense of quiet confidence, like already knowing the answers to an arithmetic test in school. It was the same feeling he would have when writing a news story or investigating for a report for the paper. It felt natural. It felt right. Somehow, Lucas knew exactly what to do.

    Mimicking the Mesosian trainers he had seen on television, Lucas pressed the small button on the Pokèball's surface and felt the orb grow to the size of a baseball in his hands. He wound up and fired the ball at the ground in front of the charging Houndooms.

    "Fine with me," he said, watching the spinning ball soar through the air. "My way, it is."

    Coming Soon...

  11. #11
    Less cute in person Beth Pavell's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift (2)

    Review time!

    Technical Accuracy/Style
    Smooth a silk. Looks like the matter-of-fact style of the first chapter was deliberate, because this is excellent - in fact out of all the authors here I think you have the best grasp of the art of using words. I'm therefore down to nit-picking. Fuchsia is a city on the decline, well and good. I thought the use of the word "bandits" was a bit strong, unless society has really fallen that far.

    Story
    Slightly strange change in tone. It's a bit like a completely new story - Chapter Two could almost be an introductory chapter in itself. Obviously you've got something up your sleeve so that's more of an observation at the moment rather than a criticism.

    Excellent exposition. There's a lot of information in there and it didn't read like an expo-dump. I rather like how vague you are about the time period. This kinda reminds me of the West Midlands if you turned the clock back a generation or two. The situation in Fuchsia feels very real and you don't overplay your hand.

    Characters
    A lot of development in a short space of time, which is what Lucas certainly needed. Emotionally I can't find fault, in fact this:

    "You make me proud, Bidoof," she said with a giggle and a tousle of his hair.

    "I will."

    "No, I mean, I already am. I'm proud of you."
    Well done, sir. Spot on.

    I get the impression that Lucas is supposed to have become hard-bitten by his family life and the rough neighbourhood he lives in. So far I'm more than willing to buy that, but I'd be interested to see his reaction after the adrenaline has worn off

    Final Thoughts
    It's not often I really have to nit-pick to find faults!
    The Long Walk
    For Joshua Cook, it's a long walk away from his dull life to the Pokémon League. But does he really want to be the very best? A coming-of-age story of adventure, friendship and growing up in the world of Pokémon.


    Pavell's Scribbledegook Week VII - Pokémon Taxonomy

  12. #12
    Gallifrey Stands Jabberwocky's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift (2)

    A very good chapter - much better than the first, I'd say. You're setting up themes of socio-economic hardship and inequality, which is interesting and unique in the realm of Pokemon fanfiction - that's a thread you should follow. Lucas' characterization is much more solid and consistent than in chapter one. I can tell you're already getting into the groove of things, which is good. My main gripes mostly have to do with word choice, which sometimes seem archaic or formal - "tavern" doesn't really make much sense in your setting; "bar" or "pub" would probably feel more natural. Still, with the improvement chapter two has already demonstrated, I'm confident that these issues won't be issues for long.

  13. #13
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift (2)

    Thanks for the reviews!

    I'm excited about this story, and I hope I can stay on a roll! Thanks for reading.

    Coming Soon...

  14. #14

    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift (2)

    This fanfiction is really good! I love chapter 2 more because Lucas and Vic really show how close they are when have to deal with they are poor. I wonder who the pokemon is that Lucas throws the ball.
    Anime lover, Amourshipper, fan fiction lover

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Green Chronicles: The Sacred Gift (2)

    I don't know why this site sometimes doesn't let me post. Very good fanfiction so far! The first chapter was very scary and like a horror movie, and now chapter two takes us back to Lucas home life. Very pretty touching scene with Lucas and Vic. Also I wonder which pokemon is hiding inside when Lucas threw it.

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