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  1. #46
    The First Homunculus Pride's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    This is really good, Feli! I just finished reading through all of this, seems so awesome! I love how all your Pokés have great personalities, and really cheer Kris on. My favorite character is teddy, especially his name :D. I hope he becomes an badass Typhlosion. And I love how the rest of your team are all different, but can become really strong Pokémon.

    Anyways, keep it up. Can't wait for more :).

  2. #47
    Clarion of Revelations Feliciano's Avatar Social Media Editor
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    Well, chapter 9 is finally here. I really do apologize for the wait. I had some personal issues I had to work through regarding writing as a whole, and that really impeded this chapter's creation. Still, I hope it was worth the wait. At least you all have a lot to look forward to - seriously, how disappointing would it be to wait this long for a short chapter?

    I suppose I should mention something - that Odd Egg that you receive in Crystal has a 14% chance to be shiny. So while it was still extremely lucky that Lucy's shiny, it's not quite so astronomically lucky as you might ordinarily think



    Chapter 9



    Rain beat a gentle pattern on the large windows behind Archer’s desk. The first rainfall of spring was quite persistent in distracting Archer’s business; the constant noise did not soothe him as it did so many others, but only served to put an irritable scowl on his lips. Instead of fading into the background as white noise, the rain only grew louder with each passing moment.

    Archer placed his head in his hands as he tried to shut out the noise. It was as if it were beating against his head instead of the window, innumerable tiny mallets smashing into his skull from the inside. The storm was no more fierce than before, but to him, it felt like he was caught in the middle of a raging tempest. What he wouldn’t give for some silence so he could concentrate!

    “Hey, Archer?”

    Archer whipped his head up, slamming his hands on his desk so hard that the glass of wine perpetually within arm’s reach fell over, spilling a dark red stain over the papers and narrowly avoiding Archer’s clothes as it cascaded over the edge and pooled on the floor. “What?”

    Ariana paused only for a second before entering Archer’s office, the color returning to her face only a moment later. “Petrel’s arrived in Goldenrod.” she reported with a measured stability, laying another sheet of paper on the dry portion of the desk. “He’s going to scout out the radio tower once the rain lets up.”

    Archer quickly composed himself with a small shake, his veneer re-forming once he realized that his white shoes were in danger of becoming stained. “Good.” he said, this time more calmly. He stood up and strode out from behind the desk, turning his back to Ariana and facing the window. He stared out past his reflection into the grey gloom that hung over the few broad-leaved trees of the forest beyond and draped over the rest of the evergreens like so much Christmas tinsel. Beyond the trees, he could just make out the gap marking shores of a vast lake. The surface, normally mirror-calm, churned in the rain, and Archer could picture the small whirlpools that no doubt dotted the surface due to the wind and the activity of pokémon underwater. “Send for someone to clean this up.” he ordered, though he knew Ariana already had.

    He had compromised himself. Let the rain and noise get the better of him, break his concentration. He must be more careful in the future.

    ---------

    Kris stretched out under the blankets on her bed, too comfortably warm to open her eyes. She wondered blearily if it would be worth it at all to even get up and train today. Though she could no longer hear the rain that had lulled her into oversleeping, a small part of her mind knew it had to be past noon. Beside her, she could feel Teddy’s warm body curled up on the blanket and pressed against her side, and smiled, sleepily placing a hand on his back. Maybe it wasn’t worth it. Maybe she should just wait to drift back into sleep…

    Something, somewhere, began to beep incessantly.

    Kris grumbled, curling up and pulling the blankets closer around her in an effort to block out the noise. Teddy, disturbed by the movement, slowly blinked his eyes open and gave a wide yawn. He circled on the blankets twice, trying to re-form his nest of bedding, and lay back down on the third turn, but by then, Kris had given up. She flung a pillow over her head in the general direction of the beeping and sat up, rubbing her eyes and muttering a string of curses under her breath. Details of the room she currently occupied in Goldenrod City’s Pokémon Center began to swim back into focus. The bed, made up in clean white sheets, was shoved up in a corner, and a window above the nightstand beside it showed a sunny, though not very warm-looking, day. A brilliant rainbow stretched across the sky, shining in and staining the bed with color. Teddy jumped down off the bed, nearly falling over himself as the back half of his long body threw him off balance. Kris took care not to step on him as she crawled out from beneath the blankets and made her way to the pale yellow wall opposite hers, where a desk and a large video phone like those in the lobby sat. It was the video phone that was causing so much noise, and for an instant Kris was tempted to ignore the call. But Professor Elm’s name blinking on the screen was enough to make her tie back her hair, put on her best smile, and answer it. “Hello, Professor. Sorry I took so long – I was in the restroom.”

    “Oh, that’s quite all right.” Professor Elm said, waving a hand dismissively. “I was simply calling to check on you. Mr. Lowe said you should be in Goldenrod by now, and the Center was more than happy to give me the number to your room.”

    Kris smiled, silently cursing the Center for disturbing her sleep. Behind her, she could hear Teddy clambering back up onto the bed, re-forming his nest and returning to sleep. “Well, things have been going okay.” she said. “But, um…”

    “My dear, what’s the matter?”

    Kris ducked her head away, her smile fading as she nervously bit her lip. “Well…Mc – I mean, one of my pokémon died a couple days ago.”

    The professor’s face fell, taking on an expression of deep regret. “Oh my…”

    Kris sniffed and quickly looked back up at the screen. “There’s good news, though! The daycare people, they saw what happened and they gave me an egg. And it’s hatched!”

    A small smile once again crossed Professor Elm’s face, and Kris sensed that he was just as eager as she to get off the subject of McHairybug’s death. “Well now, that is good news! What pokémon hatched from the egg?”

    Kris fumbled around on her bedside, checking each of the pokéballs she kept there carefully until she found the correct one. “Her name is Lucy.” she said, releasing the small pink pokémon onto her lap. Lucy, it seemed, had also been enjoying a nap in her ball, as she yawned and blinked her eyes open at her release. “But someone said she doesn’t look like a normal Igglybuff.”

    The color drained out of Professor Elm’s face so quickly he wobbled, looking as though he were about to faint. Through sheer force of will, he kept himself upright, and his mouth hung limply open. “Th-that’s astounding!” he sputtered, fumbling with his glasses as he rushed to push them up on his nose. “Kris, do you remember what I told you before you started your journey?”

    “Um…don’t eat strange mushrooms?”

    “Well, you should have already known that.” Professor Elm muttered, waving his hand aside. “But this! I’ve never seen an Igglybuff with this kind of coloration before! You say you received her as an egg from the Daycare Center on Route 34?”

    Another part of Kris’ brain clicked awake. “Yes, that’s right. They gave her egg to me after my Beedrill…”

    “Kris, do you realize how rare this is?” the professor interrupted, clearly completely overtaken with delight. “I told you there were rumors of oddly colored pokémon, but until now, I thought they were just rumors! But now, here in front of me, you hold in your lap an Igglybuff that doesn’t display the normal color markings for her species! How soon can you come back to New Bark Town and drop her off? I’d like to begin my research as soon as possible!”

    Professor Elm’s voice had begun to grate on Lucy and she squirmed uncomfortably in Kris’ arms. She tried to bury her face in Kris’ elbow at the professor’s mention of research, and Kris could feel her small body nearly vibrating with terror. She shushed Lucy quietly, placing a hand on her head and petting her soothingly. “I don’t think Lucy wants to be studied, professor. She’s just a normal Igglybuff.”

    “But don’t you see, Kris? She’s not! I want to discover why her coloration – “

    “We’ll come back to New Bark Town, Professor.” Kris interrupted, looking up and staring straight at the camera. “After I become the Champion of Johto!”

    Professor Elm’s face fell, this enthusiasm vanishing like a puff of smoke in the wind. “Oh…and…how is that goal coming along, by the way?”

    Lucy had stopped squirming, and Kris gently rocked her. “I’m going to take on the Goldenrod Gym tomorrow. Today, I want to introduce Lucy to battles and –“

    One of the pokéballs on the bedside table rocked violently, falling to the floor with a sharp clack. Kris and Lucy jumped at the noise, and Kris recognized the pokéball as Florence’s. The ball continued to wobble with an almost indignant air, as though Florence desperately wanted to come out and scold her but knew that doing so would expose her.

    “Kris? What was that?”

    “Huh? N-nothing, professor.” Kris said quickly, snapping her head back to look at him. “My pokémon are getting restless, that’s all. With the rain, they haven’t been out to train yet today, and I want to get a little more training in before we take on this gym.”

    Florence’s ball settled down as the professor gave a small nod. “I imagine so. Apparently, this morning was rainy for most of northern and central Johto – the wild pokémon are probably particularly restless as well.”

    Kris nodded, guessing exactly what the cautionary tone in his voice was trying to imply. “We’ll stick to battling trainers until we’re a little stronger.” she promised.

    “That’s good to hear. Take care, Kris.”

    “You too, professor.”

    The call died with a low tone, and no sooner had the screen gone black than Florence burst out of his ball, feathers completely fluffed out in agitation. “What is the meaning of this?” he demanded sharply, flapping up and landing on the monitor in front of Kris. “How could you even think of letting Lucy battle? She’s just a hatchling!”

    “Calm down, Florence,” Kris said, holding a hand up in front of her, “I just said I want to introduce her to battles. I know she’s not old enough to fight herself yet, but I want to let her watch while I train you guys.”

    Florence rocked from side to side on his talons, muttering under his breath. “She will grow up to be a fine lady. She should not be exposed to this.”

    “Would you tell Cotton that she can’t fight because she’s a lady? Or Julia?”

    “They are not hatchlings!” Florence squawked. “It’s completely different!”

    “But they were once, and they had to learn somehow. Florence,” Kris said soothingly, reaching up a hand and softly smoothing Florence’s feathers, “I promise, Lucy will be safe.”

    With only one hand holding her, Lucy was able to wiggle her face out from its position buried in Kris’ elbow. “Unca Flory!” Lucy squeaked happily, reaching up for Florence. Her tiny arms wiggled as she tried to stretch them, and she let out a series of small grunts as Florence continued to elude her grasp.

    Florence’s feathers immediately deflated as he ducked his head sheepishly. He fluttered down and settled on Kris’ knee, causing Lucy to coo happily and hug him. Kris gave the pair a warm smile, and when he spotted it, Florence lowered his head even more. “I suppose…I will trust your judgment.”

    Kris chuckled, petting Florence’s head and giving him a small scratch behind his burgeoning head crest. “How are you feeling today?”

    Florence raised his head and puffed out his chest proudly. “Why, I’ve never felt better! I feel as though I could even best my third cousin’s godmother’s stepbrother’s – “

    “I get it, I get it!” Kris laughed, throwing up her one free hand in surrender. “Come on, help me wake Teddy back up and get the other’s up. I’ll get cleaned up and then we can go explore that route that goes north out of the city, okay?”

    Forence chirped his agreement and fluttered over to the bed, where Teddy was now lying half on his back and snoring softly. He hovered above Teddy’s head, pecking him while chirping loudly. Teddy grumbled, tossing and turning to avoid Florence’s heckling, but the small bird was persistent in his efforts. Finally, Teddy shook his head and spat a tiny flame in Florence’s direction. Florence dodged it quickly, and Kris let out a sigh of relief that the flames didn’t catch anything.

    “’M up, ‘m up…”

    “Teddy! You could’ve burned the whole place down!”

    “Do be more careful, Theodore!” Florence scolded, ruffling his feathered back down into smoothness. “You nearly singed me.”

    Teddy gave a wide yawn, then shook his head and flashed Florence a tiny grin. “That was the idea, featherbrain.”

    “Why you – “

    “Boys!” Kris called, standing up and setting Lucy down on the bed. She cooed again, fascinated by the colors of the rainbow outside on the sheets, and began to play in them. Her fur seemed to glow in the radiant lights. “Save the fighting for the training, not for each other. We’ve got a big day ahead of us!”

    ----------

    By one o’clock, the rain had let up completely. Though the pavement was wet, the puddles on the ground reflected the shimmering rainbow in the sky and even produced their own from certain angles.

    Petrel didn’t care about the puddles.

    His steps shattered the rainbows, refracting the light even further, then sucked some of the water out to be transferred to a slightly drier portion of pavement. The shadows of the tall buildings prevented the water from returning to the sky, but no shadow loomed longer than the Goldenrod Radio Tower. Larger than even than the region famous Goldenrod Garrod’s Department Store, the radio tower was nearly as busy. Petrel eyed the people flowing in and out of the tower’s large glass doors, then glanced at the banner hung above it that read Free Radio Card Quiz Contest! in garish yellow letters. It sagged with the weight of the rainwater that had soaked into the cloth and collected in the folds.

    A sloppy smile slipped onto his face, easy as the casual way his hands were shoved in his pockets. It was a good-natured smile, lazy and carefree as its owner’s posture. He wasn’t sure whether or not Archer had planned for him to be here while this event was going on – who knew what went on in that man’s calculator brain? – but it would make getting in to the tower even easier. He reached down and zipped up his black coat, hiding the conspicuous red R on his chest, and stepped out of the shadows. His gait was long and slow, and his purple hair gleamed along with the puddles he stepped in. Just another guy going to try his luck for a radio card.

    He trained his gaze carefully away from the tower, not wanting to appear too interested. To his right, the main avenue through town was packed with people coming out of the rain to visit friends, do their shopping, or whatever else it was that regular people did. A few of them had pokémon, and Petrel paused for a moment. It would be so easy to make his way into that crowd, blend in with the civilians, and before anyone realized, lift a few of them off of their trainer’s person.

    Petrel shook his head slowly. Archer had fed him some bullshit before he left on the mission about not doing things just because he could, and these pokémon didn’t look to be anything worth stealing anyway. A few Pidgey, a Caterpie, a Ledyba or two, a pale Igglybuff with green markings, a Quilava, a Dunsparce…

    A pale Igglybuff with green markings and a Quilava?

    Petrel’s gaze snapped back to follow the trainer he’d spotted. The young girl, blue hair sticking out from under her hat in two pigtails, was otherwise dressed simply, and she held cradled in her arms an Igglybuff so pale it almost looked white, with green eyes and a green swirl on its head. It looked like she’d just stopped in and had it groomed, too.

    His fingers twitched in his pockets, itching to wrap his hands around that Igglybuff. There was no doubt about it: that was one of the ones that Archer had been searching for. The rarest of rare – no one had even fathomed the idea that pokémon could have alternate colors a few years ago. And here, right in front of his eyes, was a trainer casually carrying around an Igglybuff that was clearly not the color Igglybuff should be.

    It was worth ten million Poke. At least. They could probably go as high as twenty.

    Petrel glanced at the Quilava, which was tailing the girl like a spoiled Growlithe and sticking close to her feet. He would be a problem if he tried to steal the Igglybuff now. He’d alert the crowd, make it harder to get away. That nasty scar on his head had to have come from some kind of fight.

    He felt someone bump into him, and with a muttered apology ducked his head and moved off of the sidewalk. All the while, he kept an eye on the trainer with the Igglybuff. Hadn’t Proton reported a trainer giving him trouble in the Slowpoke Well? A young girl with blue hair and a Quilava that he’d scarred?

    It couldn’t be.

    Petrel’s grin widened. Of all the lucky breaks. The girl was heading north out of the city, but she didn’t have any bags on her. She was going out to train, and wasn’t leaving for good. But if she was willing to meddle in Team Rocket’s affairs, Petrel knew he hadn’t seen the last of her. There was no way she would resist coming back to Goldenrod once she found out what plans Team Rocket had in store for it. Of course, by then, they would already be in motion, and too far along to stop. He’d let her go. For now.

    He smoothly slipped back into the traffic of the sidewalk, letting the girl leave his sight. For now, he had to focus on the radio tower. He was here for business, after all, and one should never mix business and pleasure. He was here to make the chairman an offer he couldn’t possibly refuse.

    ----------

    Route 35 smelled like mud.

    The path itself was fine – it had been made to withstand rain, after all – but the tall grass seemed to be more like a swamp than a plain.

    Still, Kris trudged on. She carried Lucy in her arms, and Florence was perched on her shoulder. She had let Teddy back into his ball to make it easier to move, but the mud sucked at her shoes and constantly threatened to make her slip. Eventually, Florence took to lazily gliding above her head, rather than endure the bumpy ride from his perch on her shoulder.

    Kris smiled as she looked up at him. In order to reach the grassy portion of the route, they’d had to go nearly to the gates of the National Park at the far end of it. Kris thought about entering, but decided that it would be a reward after defeating the gym. It would be nice to let Florence and Lucy play together there. Along the way, Florence had demolished every trainer they’d come across, and the healthy sheen of his feathers told Kris that he couldn’t be far away from evolving into a magnificent Pidgeotto.

    “Are you ladies quite all right down there?” he called down, circling around in another pass. “That mud looks dreadful.”

    “We’ll manage, Florence.” Kris assured him.

    “We’re okay, Unca Flory!” Lucy chimed in.

    Kris couldn’t help but grin. She had allowed Lucy to participate in a few battles earlier, though she’d never let her attack and always sent in Florence to do the actual fighting. As the day went on, Lucy seemed to be picking up more and more words, imitating both Kris and Florence. Now, it seemed she had progressed to complete, if simple, sentences.

    “If you’re sure.” Florence said, giving a slight nod. “It doesn’t look too dangerous. I can’t imagine any pokémon wanting to go gallivanting through the grass with this mud around.”

    It was true; Kris hadn’t seen a single wild pokémon since they had entered the grass. Even the bug-types that she would have imagined wouldn’t usually be bothered by the mud weren’t anywhere to be found.

    Kris felt a light chill shimmy up her spine. Her ears were ringing, but she couldn’t tell whether it was the eerie silence of the route or whether she’d just managed to turn her radio on to static. Something wasn’t right about this route. “Florence,” she called up, “do you see any– “

    A rustle in the grass in front of her interrupted her. Kris stopped short, and a low growl emerged from the grass. Slowly, out of the shadows, a small orange-and-black shape emerged. The creamy white fur on its head, chest, and tail was puffed out on end, and its teeth were bared in a fearsome snarl.

    “My territory.” the Growlithe rumbled. “Trespassers.”

    Lucy began to tremble in Kris’ arms and Kris clutched her tighter. “W-we didn’t mean to…” she said, trying to take a step back. She tugged at the mud around her ankles fruitlessly, but that only made them sink in deeper. She was trapped in a pit of mud with an angry wild Growlithe right in front of her.

    The Growlithe puffed out his chest and roared, leaping for Kris teeth and claws first.

    “Pidgeotto, no!”

    Florence screeched his displeasure and dove down, trying to intercept the Growlithe, but was forced to pull up. Another cream blur had flashed down from the opposite side, far faster than Florence, and slammed into the Growlithe, pinning it down in the mud. The Growlithe howled and struggled as the Pidgeotto’s sharp talons dug into its back. The Pidgeotto tried to take off again with its prey with a single thrust of its wings, but the Growlithe had sunk in too deep. It twisted around, trying to bite its attacker, but the Pidgeotto’s aim was true. As soon as the Growlithe tried to turn around, the Pidgeotto aimed his beak at the Growlithe’s face. Kris was barely able to cover Lucy’s eyes in time to stop her from seeing the Growlithe’s eyes get plucked out of his head like grapes.

    The Growlithe’s howls were in pain instead of anger now, and the Pidgeotto had apparently decided that it didn’t want a noisy meal. It released one of its feet from the Growlithe’s back and placed it on his head, gripping just as tightly. Rivulets of blood ran freely from the deep puncture marks on his back, and the talons were no less gentle on his head. The Pidgeotto pushed his prey’s head down into the mud, silencing the howls. Through the Growlithe thrashed, unable to breathe, his movements were soon stilled. The Pidgeotto glared at its prey, then up at Kris.

    “My territory.”

    Kris’ heart stopped. Her whole body trembled, and Lucy was struggling to get her face out of Kris’ chest. A trainer struggled out through the grass, wearing overalls and a pair of heavy leather gloves, attempting to chase the Pidgeotto down.

    “What are you doing, Pidgeotto?”

    The Pidgeotto locked his eyes on Lucy, who had finally managed to turn back around. “No others in my territory.” He spread his wings wide and took off once more, heading straight for Lucy.

    Kris twisted away, curling herself over Lucy and bracing herself for the inevitable collision of talons with her back. But it never came. A loud screech split the air, making Kris’ hair stand on end, as Florence streaked down out of the sky and slammed into the Pidgeotto, knocking it off course. The Pidgeotto tumbled aside and Florence’s talons scrabbled to grab hold of his opponent’s feathers. “Run, Kris! Get Lucy out of here!”

    The Pidgeotto twisted away, tearing himself out of Florence’s grip. A few missing clumps of his feathers was the only evidence of his encounter with Florence, but it was enough to make him wheel around to face the smaller bird. Both birds were completely puffed out in anger, and the Pidgeotto launched itself at Florence, as quickly as it had at Lucy, talons first.

    Florence threw up his talons in defense, locking them together with the Pidgeotto’s in midair. Red beams shot around the pair as the other trainer frantically tried to recall his Pidgeotto, but the two were tumbling around through the air to erratically for him to aim properly. Their wings were beating furiously as they jabbed at each other with their beaks. Pidgeotto tried once more to go for the eyes, but Florence kept bobbing and weaving his head back and forth, jabbing back whenever he could while he struggled to keep himself aloft as the Pidgeotto’s wingbeats buffeted him with the downdraft. Slowly, surely, Florence was pushed down, keeping his talons locked with Pidgeotto’s for as long as he could.

    Kris struggled with the mud, finally heaving one of her feet out of the mud. Lucy yelled as Kris toppled over, fighting the instinct to flail her arms. She hit the ground hard, slapping into the mud face first. Her ankle twisted painfully with the awkward angle, but the mud around it gave way, allowing it to resume its natural position. To her horror, she felt Lucy pop out of her arms with the impact.

    Lucy squealed as she shot out of Kris’ arms, distracting Florence for the briefest of seconds. But it was all the opportunity the Pidgeotto needed to strike. He unhooked his talons from Florence’s and beat his wings harder, forming a strong Gust attack that struck Florence full-force. Florence shrieked as he plowed into the ground, disappearing into the grass. The sickening snap was barely audible under the angry screech of the Pidgeotto, who rose in the air triumphantly. The other trainer stood a few feet away, staring at something Kris couldn’t see. With a triumphant cry, the Pidgeotto circled around in the air and dove, once again aiming for Lucy.

    “Lucy!” Kris shrieked, struggling to raise herself from the mud.

    Lucy had gotten back on her feet. She looked up at the Pidgeotto charging her, not showing any sign of fear at all. Her face was furrowed, her eyes were narrowed, and her mouth was set in a large frown. Her small pink hand curled around itself, and Kris was stunned to see it begin to give off a bright white glow. She took a deep breath, inflating her small body to twice its normal size, and pulled back her glowing fist. “YOU HURT UNCA FLORY!”

    Her punch landed square on the Pidgeotto’s beak. The Pidgeotto seemed to hang in the air for a split second, but before Kris could process it he was launched back, plowing backward into his trainer and causing him to stumble. The Pidgeotto’s eyes were dazed, and his trainer returned him to his ball quickly before he could recover.

    Kris finally managed to wrench herself free of the mud, hauling herself upright and rushing over to Lucy. She scooped the small pokémon up in her arms, checking her for injuries and murmuring reassuring words to try and stem the flow of tears from her large eyes. The other trainer walked slowly over to the patch of grass where Florence had fallen and knelt down.

    Kris’ stomach lurched. Suddenly, she didn’t want to take one more step towards that grass. But Lucy jumped down out of her arms and ran for it, and Kris forced her feet to move forward. The other trainer respectfully rose and backed away.

    Nestled in the grass lay Florence. His body was covered in cuts from the fight with the Pidgeotto, and a few of his feathers were missing. Some lay around him, scattered and broken. They no longer shone, even under the light of the rainbow that still managed to persist in the sky. His body looked perfectly whole, at first glance. Then, Kris noticed that his head hung limply to one side at an angle that couldn’t be natural. The force of his collision had snapped his neck.

    Lucy stood beside him, shaking him gently. “Unca Flory? Unca Flory, get up. Get up!”

    Kris closed her eyes and lowered her head. She couldn’t blame the other trainer – he had tried to stop the fight. But that wouldn’t change the fact that Florence was dead. Gently, she pulled Lucy away, taking her back into her arms. Lucy seemed to realize what was going on, and began to sob into Kris’ arms as she stood up.

    Cautiously, the other trainer approached her. “I…my Pidgeotto…I don’t know what happened to him. He just evolved, and I didn’t expect him to so soon, but he was never this aggressive when he was a Pidgey.”

    Kris nodded, completely mute. She didn’t think she could form words right now, even if she tried.

    The other trainer put his hand behind his head, looking down. “W-would you like some help burying him?”

    Kris shook her head, turning her back on the other trainer in an effort to hide her face from him. She didn’t know how much longer she could hold the tears back, but she couldn’t cry. Not yet. Not in front of Lucy.

    She wasn’t exactly sure when the other trainer left, but Lucy began to squirm in her arms. “Unca Flory…”

    Kris pressed her face against the top of Lucy’s head. She couldn’t tell whether the trembling she felt was Lucy’s or her own. “Unca Flory isn’t going to wake up.” she whispered.

    “But why not?”

    Kris bit her lower lip, slowly losing the battle to hold her tears back. “He’s flying in the stars now. We’ll see him tonight. Would you like that?”

    Lucy whimpered, and Kris gave her a kiss on the top of her head. “Why couldn’t he stay down here?”

    Kris couldn’t answer that. Florence’s body was already halfway sunken in the mud – trying to pry him out and bury him properly might damage his body further. The Growlithe from before was already no more than a few patches of orange fur barely visible through the mud. Kris picked her way back through the grass, heading towards the path. The mud would claim Florence in the end. He had deserved so much better.

    The rest of the day passed in a blur. Kris walked slowly back through the streets of Goldenrod, ignoring the stares of passerby who noticed the mud all over her. She barely registered entering the pokémon center again, climbing the stairs to her room, giving Lucy a bath while she showered, tucking an exhausted Lucy into her bed to sleep, pulling her pajamas over her aching body, or sitting down at the computer next to the video phone in her room. It was connected to a large tube on the side, ending in a small funnel over a tray with a semicircle scooped out of it. It was labeled PCCS – Pokémon Center Connection System – and was linked directly to Professor Elm’s laboratory and database. Kris mindlessly accessed her database, but paused when she reached the list of pokémon in it. Her mouse passed over the icon of a Rattata to settle on that of a Pidgey. She hovered over Ramón’s icon, then closed her eyes and took in a deep breath through her nose. She slowly opened her mouth and exhaled, then clicked Ramón’s icon and selected Withdraw.

    The PCCS began to hum, and a digital glow emitted from the funnel. It formed the shape of a ball in the cutaway portion of the tray, the physical ball forming within it. With a small ding, the glow faded and Kris reached for the ball that now sat in front of her. She stared at it for a moment, her finger hovering over the button. How would Ramón react to Florence’s death? Should she even tell him now, or should she wait until she had to tell the rest of the team?

    Kris closed her eyes. Ramón would want to know why he’d been taken back out, and maybe explaining things to him beforehand would make things easier in the morning. Maybe she could figure out what she would say. She inhaled deeply, then pressed the button.

    A red beam of light shot out onto the desk, forming into the shape of Ramón. He shook out his feathered and preened his wing, then looked happily up at her. “’Ey, chica! I didn’t expect to be seein’ you so soon! What, can’t a guy get a little vacación?”

    “Ramón, quiet,” Kris shushed, rubbing her arm nervously. “Everyone’s asleep.”

    Ramón tilted his head curiously. “Chica? ¿Qué pasa, why’d you bring me out when everyone’s asleep? An’ where’s th’ feather duster?”

    Kris bit her lip and dropped her gaze. “Florence…he…”

    Ramón’s eyes slowly widened as he realized what Kris was trying to say. He hopped onto her leg and nuzzled against her hand gently. “Chica…”

    Kris couldn’t hold her tears back any longer. Her elbows landed on the desk with a loud thunk as she sobbed into her hands, letting the tears and snot run freely down her face. “I c-c-couldn’t d-do anything! I w-w-was st-stuck in the m-mud, an’ he there was a Pidgeotto an’ he was j-just t-trying to p-p-protect me an’ Lucy…”

    “Lucy?” Ramón interrupted, looking up at her again. “Who’s Lucy?”

    Kris waved her hand over toward the bed. “Sh-she hatched yesterday…Florence really loved her…”

    Ramón fluttered over to the bed, landing gently next to Lucy, who stirred slightly. Ramón leaned down and softly preened her fur, and Lucy quieted down. Under her breath, Kris could just hear her mutter “Unca Flory…”

    Ramón sighed softly, shaking his head. “Lo siento, chica…no soy tu tío.” He fluttered back over to Kris, landing on her shoulder and preening her hair. “Th’ others…they know, yeah?” Kris shook her head, and Ramón continued his preening. “What’re you gonna do about Lucia?”

    “I don’t know…”

    Ramón sighed softly, then nuzzled her hair. “I heard ya, earlier. You promised the professor you’d be the Champion. An’ I think you should do exactly that.”

    Kris shook her head and pushed herself back from the desk. She sniffed loudly, wiping the tears from her face. “It’s late.” she said dully. “I just want to go to sleep.”

    Ramón nodded, nuzzling her cheek. “You need the rest, chica.” he said. He hopped down to her arm, then back onto the desk. He threw her one last reassuring look before pecking the button on his ball.

    Kris picked it up after Ramón was safely inside. She turned around to look at the five other pokéballs on her nightstand – four of them filled. She somberly set Ramón’s ball at the end of the line, turning her face away as she did. All she wanted to do now was slide between the sheets and curl up under them like she had that afternoon and wait for sleep to claim her. She didn’t even notice that a few tears remained to stain her pillowcase.
    ~ 3DS Friend Code: 5300-9399-4530~

    Heart of Crystal - a Crystal Nuzlocke challenge story
    "He had it comin'! He had it comin'! He only had himself to blame! If you'd've been there, if you'd've seen it, I bet you you would have done the same!"

  3. #48
    The First Homunculus Pride's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    UNCA FLORY!!!!!!!!!!! DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?!?!?!?!

    HOW COULD YOU?!?!

    *sniff *sniff* I mean, I knew Florence would get really injured in that fight, but I never thought he would die. I think it'll be interesting to see how this affects Lucy's character. I personally think it'll make her tougher, maybe even more fearless. I mean you pretty much just swiped away her father figure :P. Oh well, as least she still has Kris to look up to as a mother, right? Besides that, it wasn't a bad chapter. You definitely kicked it up a notch with the description :D and Team Rocket's plans seem to be going good as well. Keep it up!



    Oh, and easily, the best and most adorable line in this whole chapter, possibly story..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy
    “YOU HURT UNCA FLORY!”
    All in all, I liked it. A great chapter as always, though I must say, a rather depressing one :(.
    Last edited by Pride; 31st July 2012 at 01:24 PM.

  4. #49
    The Future King Koopa Jr's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    No, Florence! ;_;

    WHY U LET FLORENCE DIE?!

    I think you conveyed emotions very well. I was on the verge of tears when Florence died. And that's not easy to do with books and movies.

    I liked the parts with Team Rocket a lot. A good, but sad chapter.

  5. #50
    My life is forbidden Serenity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    Florence! No!!!!! ;__; I legit almost cried when I read Florence's death. It was a really great chapter, very emotional. ;_;

    Lucy needs to avenge Unca Flory. ;-;

  6. #51
    Sentinal of Anistar Ryuutakeshi's Avatar Social Media Editor
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    Add me to the list of people who almost cried reading Florence's death.

    Told you changing it to Unca Flory was a good idea :p

    Evil Figment (7:59:44 PM): Ryuu, however shakily you started, I've got to hand it to you that you earned my respect the hard way.

  7. #52
    The First Homunculus Pride's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Enchantress View Post
    Lucy needs to avenge Unca Flory. ;-;
    This.

    Also, forgot to mention this, yay Ramón's back! Here's to more Spanish backlash

  8. #53
    Stray Dog Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    I can honestly say that I saw Florence's death coming, well sort of. I knew that it was either going to be Lucy or Florence due to all the focus that was placed on the two of them at the beginning of the chapter.

    When I imagined Lucy standing next to Florence's dead body I remembered the scene from the Lion King when Simba was looking over Mufasa.

    It seems like Kris is really starting to receive the blows now, I wonder how she'll fare with Whitney and her Miltank...come on it's Whitney's Miltank it's obvious that there's gonna be at least one death.

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    Not A Piece of Cake Bubble Frog's Avatar
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    Chapter 6

    So, Silver has a personal vendetta against Team Rocket? That gives a new layer to his character since he's been portrayed as being an uncaring and vicious jerk most of the time. Kris has a Slowpoke now, her captures sure are coming at a speedy rate. You wanna be careful about that because juggling multiple Pokemon can be a chore, unless you're not planning to develop some of them. Teddy not wanting to evolve because of him possibly becoming for angry and violent, that's an interesting motive to not evolve and gives the Everstone a purpose other than Pokemon not evolving because they don't want to change appearance. The core interactions between Toto and Teddy were interesting, we got to see a bit more of both of their personalities.

    Chapter 7

    McHairybugs? I assume you were references a person when you said that given that there's quite a popular member of the Pokemon fandom under that name, either way it was an interesting allusion if that is the case. McHairybugs' death didn't both me to be honest, you probably wanted us to be sad about his death but I didn't care because he's so new and there definitely wasn't enough time to actually make the readers care for McHairybug and he only showed arrogance and rashness most of the time. Though I did care for him in essence of his personality being fairly distinguished from the other Pokemon of the group. It felt really weird the battle would continue after the death of the Pokemon and the other trainer didn't even seem to care. I mean, wow. The Pokemon is dead the trainer is still going at it? Two sad events in a row for Kris, interesting. Teddy's anger and her Beedrill's death. I'm interested in where this is leading. Kris obtains yet another Pokemon, interesting an egg. I'm guessing it's a Cleffa or Igglybuff. That's it for now, I have two more chapters until I catch up.

  10. #55
    Registered User Chimchar98's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    Not the birdy!!! :(

  11. #56
    Clarion of Revelations Feliciano's Avatar Social Media Editor
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    I've...really got no excuses for this taking so long, but I hope anyone who's still interested enjoys it.



    Chapter 10


    Dawn broke slowly, creeping through the window like a burglar, but Kris was all too awake. More than once, she’d woken from her fitful rest in a cold sweat, throat hoarse as though she’d been yelling. She pulled Lucy, thankfully soundly asleep, closer to her chest and curled around her. What would she do now? She was only a few days old, and she’d already lost someone so close. No one, pokémon or human, should ever have to deal with that. Maybe Florence had been right. Maybe battling was too dangerous; not just for Lucy, but for everyone. Maybe settling down back in New Bark Town would be safer for everyone.

    She shuddered as her mind returned to Slowpoke Well. She’d definitely never have to deal with the likes of Team Rocket in New Bark Town. It was too small, too backwater…but then again, she thought, wasn’t Azalea Town pretty rural as well? After all, the only difference between Azalea Town and New Bark Town was that Azalea had a gym, and what was stopping someone from coming in and setting one up in New Bark Town? Beyond that, the only way into Kanto without taking the MagLev Train or a ferry, even if it was a lot more difficult to get through Tohjo Falls than to step on a train or boat. But if someone wanted to enter Kanto covertly…

    Hadn’t that Kurt guy been surprised that she hadn’t heard of Team Rocket because she was so close to Kanto? And hadn’t he said something about them trying to take over Silph Co.?

    Kris squeezed her eyes shut, trying to block out the automatic radio alarm that had just clicked on. Surely she would’ve remembered hearing about that big on the news; New Bark Town was remote, but it wouldn’t take three years for word of something of that magnitude to get there.

    It was no use. The music was too loud, and trying to remember that far back was giving her a headache. Careful not to disturb Lucy, Kris slid out from under the blankets. She’d promised Teddy and the others that they would take on the gym, and she couldn’t disappoint him. But things would be different today. She had to make sure everyone would be safe. And for that, they needed to be prepared.

    She gently touched the button on Ramón’s pokéball, letting him out so he could stretch his wings. Ramón yawned widely, fluffing out his feathers as he blearily blinked himself awake. “¿Es mañana?”

    “Yes, it is.” Kris said, already on her way into the small bathroom adjacent to her room. After dragging a brush through her hair until it wasn’t tangled anymore, she carefully pulled it back into two pigtails. “We’re starting our training early today.”

    “So I see.” Ramón answered slowly, trailing off into a wide, loud yawn. “I also see that I’m the first one awake.”

    Kris muttered something around her toothbrush, but figured she wouldn’t be able to say anything that would satisfy Ramón anyway. If she were honest with herself, she wasn’t even sure that there were any words that could satisfy her, either, but she squashed that seed of doubt before it had time to take root. She needed to be a better trainer so that incidents like yesterday didn’t happen again. For that, she actually needed to train her pokémon.

    As she finished pulling her hair into her customary pigtails, she heard a squeal ring out form the room behind her. “Unca Flory! You’re back!”

    Kris’ heart plummeted down into her stomach. She’d woken Ramón up first hoping to get some advice from him on how to break the news to Lucy; she hadn’t expected her to wake up before she could get the chance. Steeling herself as best she could, she emerged back into the main bedroom to see a very awkward-looking Ramón perched on the bedsheets, his feathers puffed out in indecision as Lucy hugged him tightly.

    “I missed you, Unca Flory! Where’d you go?”

    “Um…chica…”

    As gently as she could, Kris lifted Lucy into her arms, prying her away from Ramón. “Lucy…Unca Flory had to go, and he can’t come back. But this is your Uncle Ramón. He’s come to keep you company for Unca Flory.”

    Ramón did his best to look cheery. “Sí, cariñito! Soy tu tío Ramón!”

    Lucy frowned, shifting uncomfortably in Kris’ arms. “I don’t want him. I want Unca Flory. He doesn’t talk funny.”

    “Aw, cariñito, I’m just as nice as your other tío!” Ramón chirped, hopping slightly closer. “I came all this way to meet you; it’s not very nice to not say hola!”

    Lucy squirmed again, but Kris gently set her back down on the bed. “He’s right, Lucy.” she said softly. “He’s your uncle too.”

    Lucy hesitantly stepped toward Ramón, looking at him warily. Slowly, lowered her head and wrung her tiny hands. “Um…hello, Unca Ramón.”

    “Call me tío, cariñito.” Ramón said, hopping forward and extending his wing toward Lucy. After a second’s hesitation, Lucy stepped forward and let Ramón pull her in against him and preen her. After a moment, she relaxed completely and closed her eyes again.

    “Okay, tío Ramón.”

    Kris gave a small smile, then walked over to the small chest of drawers she’d been keeping her clothes in since she’d gotten to Goldenrod. “I was hoping to get some more training in today, Lucy.” she said, hoping to sound cheerful. “Would you like that?”

    Lucy nodded into Ramón’s chest feathers, and Kris took a deep breath. She’d have to explain Florence’s death to the rest of the team eventually, but not now. As much as she didn’t want to go there, training on Route 35 would be more effective. She’d do everything she could to make that a place of reverence for Lucy, not a place of crippling sadness. It could be a place that would give her strength, and Kris would make sure that that was how Lucy would see it. What better way to show that strength than to train the team there?

    A short breakfast later and Kris was outside the pokémon center, Lucy cradled in her arms and Ramón perched on her shoulder. Despite the early hour, Kris could already feel the day’s heat leeching into the pavement. She wondered briefly at the oddity of such heat after the torrential rains of yesterday morning, but shrugged it away. If this was going to be a hot spring, it meant she could at least look forward to a few good thunderstorms – preferably from inside a safe building.

    Goldenrod City was already beginning to stir. People were emerging from their homes, collecting their mail, tending their gardens, waving cheerful hellos to their neighbors. Across the main street, Kris could see the gym’s roof rising up from behind some houses on another road, and she held Lucy a little tighter to her chest. There was no way that she’d be letting her battle in there.

    As she stared at the gym, Lucy squeaked in alarm and Kris felt herself collide with something warm and solid. “Oh my gosh, I’m sorry!” she blurted out, stumbling backward.

    The man looked only mildly surprised, and an easy smile quickly slid on to his face. “Don’t you worry yourself, little lady.” he said, shoving his white-gloved hands in the pockets of his long black overcoat. “No harm done.”

    Lucy squirmed uncomfortably in Kris’ arms and whimpered softly as Ramón glared at him. Kris gently patted her head, understanding their wariness. There was a certain sleaziness about this man, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was that unnerved him. Perhaps it was his short, thick purple beard, or the droopy look of his eyes, or his chunky white boots, or the way his eyes lingered for a little too long on Lucy – at least, she thought he was looking at Lucy. “Well, we’d better get going…”

    “To the gym?” the man quickly suggested. “I’m meetin’ with the leader. She’s a close personal friend’a mine, y’know. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind bein’ introduced to a spry young trainer like yourself.” he added, his sloppy smile widening.

    “Er…I’m not going to the gym.” Kris said heasitantly, eyeing the man warily.

    The man looked thrown off for a moment, but simply shrugged. “Ah, my mistake. You were starin’ right at it, and I thought you were nervous.”

    Kris was growing more nervous by the moment, but she couldn’t really explain why. “No, I’m fine – “

    Say now,” the man suddenly exclaimed, leaning down and thrusting his face close to Lucy and causing her to squeak in alarm, “that’s a mighty pretty Igglybuff you got there, miss! Aren’t those green eyes somethin’ special!”

    “Her name is Lucy,” Kris said, wrenching Lucy away from the man as Ramón squawked angrily and launched himself off her shoulder, “and she is a regular Igglybuff just like any other!”

    The man jumped at Ramón’s reaction, but put up his hands in submission. “Easy there, miss. I was just noticin’ – you can call off your bird.” he added, casually swatting at Ramón. His large hand nearly connected, almost sending Ramón tumbling into the pavement. “I thought I’d mention it to the gym leader. She trains normal-types, and loves cute little ladies like your Lucy.”

    Kris set her jaw and barely held back a growl, but bit her tongue. “Ramón,” she said through gritted teeth, “come back.”

    Ramón reluctantly flew back to Kris’ shoulder, swearing under his breath all the way, and the man dusted himself off. “Well, miss, it was nice chattin’ with ya, but I really must be off.” he said, motioning as if to tip an invisible hat. “I’ll make sure an’ mention you to the gym leader – what did you say your name was?”

    “I don’t believe that’s any of your business.” Kris answered, feigning a polite tone. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, we really have somewhere we need to be.” Without waiting for an answer, she shoved past the man and continued quickly, but purposefully, down the road.

    Ramón was seething on Kris’ shoulder, feathers completely fluffed out in anger. “If I ever see that cabrón again…”

    “Relax, Ramón.” Kris muttered under her breath. “He was just some creeper. He’s gone now, so just forget about him.”

    Ramón snorted, lightly kneading Kris’ shoulder with his talons. “I doubt that’s gonna happen, chica.”

    ---------

    Petrel chuckled to himself as he watched the girl speed-walk down the street. Perhaps her run-in with Proton had made her less naïve than he’d expected, though that wouldn’t make it any less difficult to rob her blind. He could be halfway across Johto with all of her pokémon before she even noticed, but that would be a plan for another day. He sauntered off down the street, continuing to pick his way between the people beginning to go about their daily business.

    Petty little worms, all of them.

    The girl might’ve been surprised if she were to learn that Petrel had actually not lied to her, and if she’d been smart, she’d know what a great honor it was for him to be honest with her. The gym loomed larger and larger in front of him, its bright pink trim contrasting sharply with the dusty yellow paint job that Petrel swore every building in Goldenrod was required to have by law.

    Two glass doors opened smoothly in front of him as he approached, releasing a heavy perfume that made Petrel’s nose itch. Rows upon rows upon rows of flowerboxes lined pink and white tiled floor, forming the source of the irritating smell, and the walls were covered in the same shade of pink as the tile.

    Petrel sneezed, the noise echoing slightly against the high ceiling. He hated coming here.

    The noise attracted the attention of a young blue-haired girl in a white blouse and blue skirt, who angrily stormed around the corner of a flowerbox. “How many times do we have to tell you pervs – oh,” her voice dropped flat as she glared at Petrel, “it’s you.”

    Petrel grinned, giving the girl a mock bow. “Ah, Miss Bridget. A pleasure to see you, as always.”

    “Spare me.” Bridget sighed. “I don’t know why Miss Whitney keeps letting you visit.”

    “I’m afraid that’s our business, little miss.” Petrel answered smoothly, straightening up. “An’ it’s business I need to tend to. Where might Miss Whitney be at this hour?”

    Bridget glowered, turning her back on Petrel. “Follow me. And don’t stop to ogle any of the girls!”

    Petrel followed her as she wound expertly between the flower boxes, and soon found himself at the back of the gym. A white door with an ornate brass handle stood innocuously in the center of the wall, and Bridget rapped smarly on it three times. “Miss Whitney?” she called. “You’ve got a guest.”

    After a short moment, the door opened, revealing a young woman in a white and red blouse and beige shorts with short pink hair. Upon seeing Petrel, she clapped her hands and squeaked with excitement. “Why, Mister Petrel!” she exclaimed through her thick southeastern Kanto accent. “I had no idea you were in town! Oh goodness, I am nowhere near presentable…”

    Petrel leaned down and took the woman’s hand in his own, giving it a small kiss. “Miss Whitney, you could not be more ravishing if I had ravished you myself.”

    Whitney’s face flushed bright red as, behind Petrel, Bridget rolled her eyes. “Bridget, dear,” Whiney said, “be a darling and watch the front door for a spell? Tell any trainers I’m entertaining a guest and am not to be disturbed.”

    “Yes, Miss Whitney.”

    “Now, Mister Petrel,” Whitney continued as Bridget walked away, “you simply must come in and share a cup of tea with me.”

    “Please, coffee will be fine, Miss Whitney.” Petrel said as Whitney led him inside the door. A large, airy room opened up in front of him, with pale wood floors and walls pinker than a virgin’s blush. Ribbons and pillows and pillows with ribbons were strewn about all over the room, and sets of sheer pink drapes neatly framed the larged paned windows on either side of the room. On the far wall, Petrel could see two doors, much like the one he’d just entered through; one for the bedroom and one for the bathroom. To the left, a small tiled area held the necessities for a kitchen.

    “If you’re sure, Mister Petrel, then just sit yourself down and we can have a nice talk. You still take it black, don’t you?”

    “Blacker than a dungeon.” Petrel answered as he gratefully sank into one of the chairs surrounding the wooden table near the kitchen area. For a while, he listened to Whitney chatter away about nothing in particular, sipping his coffee when she came to join him. “You know, I ran into a most interesting trainer this morning.” he finally said during a rare moment where Whitney had paused to sip her tea.

    “Really? What was she like?”

    “Oh, a girl probably not much older than Miss Bridget.” Petrel said casually. He watched Whitney’s eyes widen and sparkle as he described the trainer he’d bumped in to, giving particular attention to the shiny Igglybuff she’d carried in her arms.

    “Mister Petrel,” Whitney declared as he finished his anecdote, “I simply must rescue this Igglybuff. A poor little adorable thing like that, stuck with such an uncouth girl – I simply will not stand for it. Just the thought is making me feel faint.”

    Petrel gracefully offered Whitney a white lace fan that was convinently laying on the table. “Now, don’t you fret, Miss Whitney, you’ll get your chance. I believe she might be coming to challenge you.”

    Whitney fanned herself briskly as she stood. “In that case, Mister Petrel,” she said, “I am going to go prepare for the battle.”

    Petrel knew that that was the signal for him to leave. He stood up more slowly, once again leaning in to take Whitney’s hand and kiss it. “Then I’m afraid I must return to my business, Miss Whitney.”

    “Won’t you come visit again soon?”

    Petrel grinned. “Oh yes, I expect to be back quite soon.”

    ----------

    “Ramón, use Gust!”

    A small dust devil, the baked remains of yesterday’s mud, whipped up, buffeting the Yanma in front of Ramón and sending it tumbling away. Ramón landed heavily on the ground, his wings and head drooping as he panted for air. The air shimmered in the heat of midday, and Ramón’s feathers began to glow in the heat sheen. Kris watched with satisfaction as Ramón grew larger, the feathers on his crest lengthening into a more aerodynamic shape. He glanced back at his new, larger wings, and flexed them, wincing with strain. “Chica, give us a break, wont’cha?” he said, shaking out his feathers. “You’ve been workin’ us to the bone all morning.”

    “We need to step up our game.” Kris replied bluntly. “I don’t want to take any chances with this gym. It has –“

    “Sí, sí, una reputación.” Ramón sighed. “But we’re all exhausted, chica. You’ve been workin’ us to the bone all day.”

    The grass next to them shivered slightly as Lucy emerged, having finished examining a pair of small holes in a shallow dip in the ground under the grass. Her eyes widened when she saw Ramón. “Tío Ramón? Is that you?”

    “Sí, cariñito, don’t worry.” Ramón assured her, hopping over to Lucy and preening the top of her head gently. “I just evolved!”

    Lucy squeaked and pressed herself against Ramón in a hug. “Will I evolve too, tío?”

    “Maybe, cariñito.”

    “Lucy, what were you doing over there?” Kris asked, forcing herself not to snap at Lucy in irritation and fear. “You know it’s dangerous for you to wander off alone. I didn’t even notice you’d gone.”

    Lucy looked up at Kris, gripping Ramón in her hug even tighter, as her small, bright face darkened. “I found the place.”

    Kris’ heart sank and her stomach lurched. She’d been so intent on training, she hadn’t even noticed what part of the route they were on. But now, as she looked around, the events of yesterday flashed in her head, as clearly as if they were all happening again in front of her. She pressed her palms against her eyes and moaned softly, trying to block out the images that were making her head swim and ache.

    “Chica, you – “

    “I…I know, Ramón.” Kris choked out. Forcing her tears back, she stepped forward, letting Lucy lead her and Ramón a few feet away to the dip she’d found. Everywhere, there were signs of the previous day’s events. There were the holes her feet had made when she’d been stuck in the mud. There was where the mud had been churned like boiling water as the Pidgeotto had attacked the Growlithe. And there, on the far side of the dip, was a large nest of bent and broken grass, the tips sunk into the ground like anchors.

    Lucy once again latched on to Ramón, who began to preen her and coo soothingly. “Chica,” he said, turning to Kris, “the others should be here too.”

    Silently, Kris reached down, releasing her team one by one: Teddy, Cotton, Walter, and finally Julia. At first, the four of them milled around, curious as to why they’d all been released at the same time. Kris had trained with them individually throughout the morning, but all of them, especially Teddy, seemed to sense that this was something different from regular training. Finally, Julia looked up at Kris and asked simply, “Why did you call us all out, Kris?”

    “Where’s Florence?” Walter muttered under his breath.

    “Ramón!” Teddy said happily, hopping over to him. “You’re back! And you’ve evolved! But…why are you here?”

    Kris closed her eyes and cleared her throat, trying to swallow the lump that had formed there. “This…is a very important place.” she finally choked out. “Yesterday…Lucy and I were attacked. But we were lucky.” she continued amid shocked gasps from the rest of the team. “Florence…was there with us. He…he defended us.”

    Walter’s eyes darkened as he realized what she was about to say. Half a second behind him, a somber look settled on Julia’s face and Cotton began to tremble. Teddy, however, simply looked puzzled.

    Summoning up all her courage, Kris looked Teddy right in the eye. They all deserved to know exactly what happened, but especially Teddy. He was the one who had most urged Kris to take on the gym here. He had to understand what taking on gyms would really mean. “Florence died protecting Lucy and I.”

    Teddy’s face fell, his entire body drooping as Cotton sunk to the ground, still trembling. Slowly, Teddy curled his body around hers. Walter simply closed his eyes and crossed his arms, but Kris could see that his whole body was tense. Off to the side, Ramón was preening the top of Lucy’s head comfortingly. Julia, however, simply bowed her head and let out a small breath. “He died doing good.” she said. “We should remember that, and not be sad. He knew what he was doing, and it is thanks to him that Kris and Lucy are still here. We will earn the badge in his memory.”

    “Now jus’ hold on one moment.” Walter said curtly. “We shouldnae be jumpin’ straight in ta a gym so soon! He deserves our respect, nae jus’ a passin’ remembrance!”

    “That ain’t the point, rocky.” Ramón snapped. “We’ll be respectin’ him by not wallowing in our own guilt.”

    “What would you know about respectin’ ‘im?!” Walter yelled, causing Cotton, Teddy, and Lucy to flinch in surprise at the normally reasonable Geodude’s sudden explosion. “Ye werenae there! Ye were nae’r serious abou’ nothin’, least o’ all him!”

    Ramón glared at Walter and hopped closer to him with his feathers fluffed out. “You want to say that again to my face this time?”

    Teddy’s ears flattened as he winced. “This isn’t a contest, guys…”

    “Oh goodness, please don’t fight!”

    “T-tío…”

    “That is enough.” Julia stepped confidently between the two boys, looking sternly at each of them in turn. “It does not matter now. Fighting will only dishonor him more.”

    Ramón grumbled as his feathered flattened, and he turned away to comfort a frightened Lucy, but Walter smashed his fist into the ground. “I ain’t done wi’ ya, ya great lazy dustmop!”

    “You are done.” Julia insisted, turning back to Walter. “Or I will ensure it. Do not forget that I am of the water, and you are rock and earth.”

    Cotton gasped in the background as Walter’s eyes widened in shock, then narrowed. “Is tha’ a threat, lass?” He scoffed, turning away from her. “Figures. A man can’ e’en mourn ‘is own teammate wi’out gettin’ blamed fer somethin’. I though’ better o’ ya, lass. I really did.”

    Kris knelt down and hesitantly reached a hand out to Walter. “We’re all grieving.” she assured him, fighting to keep from choking on her own voice. “But Julia’s right. Nothing we do can bring him back. We have to move on.”

    Teddy cautiously stepped forward as well, his head low and his gaze troubled. “Lucy calls him tío now.” he said softly. “I think that means uncle.”

    Walter snorted. “All it means is tha’ th’lass ‘as forgotten ‘im quicker than I’m aimin’ to.”

    “That’s a lie and you know it.” Teddy hissed under his breath. “You saw how close she was to Florence! And now look; Ramón’s taking care of her, just like Florence did!”

    Walter grudgingly glanced over his shoulder. Ramón was carefully preening the tuft of fur on Lucy’s head, calming her down and repeadedly assuring her that he and Unca Wally weren’t fighting, but that Unca Wally was just sad like everyone else. Walter snorted, turning his back once more on the pair, and Teddy forced his face into Walter’s.

    “How can you look at that and say Ramón doesn’t care?”

    “Back off, lad.” Walter snapped. “Ah see it.”

    Cotton floated forward as Teddy shrank back, and Kris pulled him onto her lap. “Let him be, Teddy.” she said softly, petting the top of his head. “Everyone grieves differently.”

    Teddy gave a soft sigh as Cotton floated up to him. She whispered something in his ear and Teddy gently nudged her with his nose while Julia stepped forward once again.

    “You say this gym is run entirely by women?”

    Kris blinked. That wasn’t a question she’d been expecting. “Er…yes. A woman in the pokémon center told me. She said even all the pokémon the trainers and the leaders have are girls too, and they like to use Attract to make it harder for male pokémon to fight them.”

    “That does not matter.” Julia said bluntly, sitting down. “You will not need anyone but me.”

    “You mean because of your new move? I dunno, Julia…I’d still feel better if we were all a little stronger.”

    Julia shook her head. “We must go now. We shall earn the badge in Florence’s memory and wash away these feelings of sadness.”

    Kris sighed, letting Teddy down off her lap and standing up and brushing her knees. “You really think we’re ready?”

    “Worrying about it will mean that we will never be.”

    Kris chuckled softly. “I guess you’re right…but we’re resting up first!”

    Julia closed her eyes and lowered her head in agreement. As Kris pulled out her pokéballs, Teddy stood on his hind legs and nuzzled Kris’ thigh. “I want to stay out with you.”

    Kris smiled gently. “All right. Everyone else, back in the ball. Yes, Lucy, even you.” she said when Lucy began to pout. “I’m sorry, Lucy, but my arms are really tired, and I don’t want more people staring at you.”

    “But…”

    “Don’t worry, cariñito,” Ramón assured her, “the chica will let us all out for a proper rest once we’re back at the pokémon center.”

    Lucy sighed. “Okay…”

    As Kris recalled her, she felt Teddy nudge her leg again. “Someone was staring at Lucy this morning?”

    Kris grimaced. “Some random guy on the street I accidentally bumped into. A real creeper.”

    Teddy growled, dropping back down to all fours. “I’ll watch out for him.”

    Kris’ grimace faded, replacing itself with a small smile. “I know. Now come on – I’m hungry all of a sudden.”

    Teddy’s face brightened at the mention of food. “Me too! And Julia’s gonna need an extra good meal.”

    “You really think she’ll be able to handle the gym all on her own?” Kris asked hesitantly as she began walking back towards the city.

    Teddy nodded confidently. “If she thinks she can, then I do too. Remember that time I beat all of Bugy’s pokémon by myself when we were training with him? If I can do that, then Julia can definitely beat this leader, since she’s a lot stronger than me.”

    Kris smiled down at Teddy lovingly. “You’re stronger than you think.” she assured him. “But if you have confidence in her, I feel better about letting Julia do this.”

    The walk back to Goldenrod City was short. Teddy paced steadily along at Kris’ side, seemingly just glad to enjoy her company, and Kris didn’t press him for conversation. For a moment, it was just the two of them again, walking along side by side on an adventure, like they had been when they’d first left New Bark Town. But all too soon, the hustle and bustle of a busy midday city enveloped them again. Teddy stuck close to Kris’ feet, doing his best to glare intimidatingly at anyone who looked too suspicious until they reached the doors of the pokémon center. The clean glass doors had barely slid apart when a voice called out from inside.

    “Ah, Kris! You’re finally back! Over here!”

    Kris and Teddy both jumped in surprise as Professor Elm rushed up to them. He hastily shoved his glasses back up on his face and ushered them inside. “P-Professor!” Kris stammered. “I didn’t…when did you get here?”

    “Just a few hours ago – I flew here on Julius!”

    “You still have that old Fearow? Why not give that old sack of feathers a proper retirement?” another man, standing up more slowly than Professor Elm had, asked. His short brown hair was a mop of curls upon his head, and his face was so round that Kris wondered if this man might somehow be younger than her. His scrawny frame and pale complextion seemed to suggest he didn’t spend much time outdoors, but his pale lavender shirt and dark slacks were impeccably pressed.

    Professor Elm laughed, turning so that he was no longer blocking the man’s path to a very confused Kris. “Julius is not that old and you know it. Ah, Kris, I see you’re wondering who this is. Allow me to introduce a very good friend of mine; Bill, this is Kris, the trainer I was telling you about. Kris, this is Bill – he invented the PC system I use to store your pokémon!”

    Bill grinned at Kris and extended his hand. “Nice to meet you. Don’t mind Elm – he exaggerates. Computers existed before I came along; all I did was develop the program, and I had a lot of help with it.”

    Kris took Bill’s hand hesitantly and shook it. “Er, Professor,” she asked, “not that I’m not happy to see you, but what are you doing here?”

    “I’m here to visit Bill.” the professor replied simply. “In addition to his prodigious computing talents, he also happens to be a reknowned breeder of a remarkably rare pokémon called Eevee.”

    Bill nodded, not deflecting the professor’s praise this time. “Elm told me about a trainer he’d given a pokémon to recently, and I figured it must be the new user in the system.” he clarified. “But when he told me you were working on a pokédex…well, I figured you’d appreciate this.” he continued, reaching into the breast pocket of his shirt. Teddy stood on his hind legs, nose quivering in curiosity as he craned his neck to get a better look.

    “Oh, no,” Kris protested as she realized what he was reaching for, “you really don’t have to…we just met – “

    “I insist.” Bill replied with a smile, removing a shrunken pokéball from his pocket. He took Kris’ hand and pressed the pokéball into it warmly. “If it makes you feel better, think of it as a favor to Elm. He can only get so much out of me, but think of all the information he’ll be able to access if you train an Eevee yourself.”

    Kris cupped the small ball in her hands and stared at it, barely able to keep her hands from shaking as Teddy leaned up against her to sniff the ball inquisitively. She didn’t deserve any more pokémon – at least, not until she could prove that she could keep them safe. But what choice did she have? It would be so rude to refuse, and she didn’t want to offend either of them. After a brief moment, the ball gave off a digitized glow and abruptly disappeared into cyberspace. “Th-thank you.” she said softly. “I don’t know what to say.”

    Bill smiled again and opened his mouth to say something, but the professor cut in before he could. “So since I was in the area, I couldn’t possibly pass up a chance to visit you and check up on you personally! Have you challenged the gym here yet?”

    A dull ache was swirling around in Kris’ head as she tried to process the sudden change of events, and she tried in vain to shake it away. “No, not yet. I’ve been training all morning and my pokémon need a rest.” She patted her leg softly, calling Teddy away from his curious sniffing at Bill’s leg, and lowered her head slightly. “If you’ll excuse me…”

    “Ah…Kris!”

    But Kris was already gone, disappearing up the stairs as fast as she could. She knew what Professor Elm was going to ask, and she was in no mood to refuse him again, especially in front of his friend. Her head had begun to throb as she entered her room and flopped facedown onto the bed. Concerned, Teddy leaped up beside her. He sniffed her worriedly, but Kris pulled him close to her and cuddled with him. Teddy, still concerned but not knowing how to help, complacently cuddled up against her, and soon, he was fast asleep. Kris, however, had no such respite. Her head was throbbing so hard, her ears were ringing – where did this headache come from? Maybe she should see someone about these things…

    She grunted and pulled a pillow over her head, clamping down to try and deafen the noise coming from inside her own head. When that didn’t work, she sighed again, loosened her grip on the pillow, and reached down to her waist. One by one, she let the rest of her pokémon out of their balls. When she finally got to the last ball, she was able to feel a tiny vibration in her pocket, and she silently cursed. The damn portable radio had gotten turned on. When did that happen? And more importantly, she thought as she slipped the device out of her pocket and fiddled around in search of the button to turn it off, why did she still have this thing around?

    There was a click, and blessed silence filled the room, broken only by the shuffles of her team settling down into comfortable positions. They really were exhausted.

    Teddy poked his nose in her face and wrinkled it in worry. “Kris?”

    “I’m fine, Teddy.” Kris assured him, pulling him a little closer to her. “Just have a headache, that’s all.”

    “Take a nap.” Teddy told her, curling up between her arm and her chest and pressing against her. “I’ll wake you up if anything happens.”

    “I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep.” Kris grumbled. “Not when I’m so nervous about the gym.”

    Teddy kneaded the sheet under his paws, searching for an answer. “We don’t have to do it today.” he said. “I know Julia really wants to, but you’re our trainer. If you’re not feeling up to it…”

    Kris pulled Teddy against her chest and hugged him tightly. “I…I just don’t want to lose anyone else.”

    Teddy paused for a moment, then nuzzled Kris’ cheek. “It wasn’t your fault Florence died. He chose to protect you and Lucy…he wanted you to be safe.”

    Before Kris could respond, there was a knock at her door. She closed her eyes and groaned. “Coming.” she called out halfheartedly as she slowly sat up, careful not to aggrivate the headache still throbbing at the edge of her brain, and made her way over to the door, still clutching Teddy in her arms. When she opened it, she blinked in surprise. “Bill?”

    Somehow, Bill seemed just as surprised to find himself outside her door. “Erm, Professor Elm wanted to know when you were leaving for the gym.” he said. “I can tell him you’re not going today, if you want.”

    “How…?”

    “One of your pokémon died last night, didn’t they?” Bill guessed. Kris lowered her head, and Bill blanched, putting his hand behind his head. “Sorry…I saw the log last night. You retrieved a pokémon from Professor Elm’s lab, but didn’t deposit one in its place.”

    “Why were you looking?” Kris asked, gritting her teeth. The nerve of this guy!

    “Well…because Professor Elm mentioned you, and I was curious.” Bill admitted. “He also mentioned that Professor Oak gave you a pokédex because you developed a very strong bond with your pokémon very quickly.” he added, nodding down at Teddy. “So…putting two and two together, I can guess that you’re someone who becomes very close to their pokémon, so a death would…weigh rather more heavily than usual. I can understand if you don’t want to go to the gym today.”

    “Why does everyone think they know what I think?” Kris snapped, nearly dropping Teddy as he jumped in surprise. Behind her, her other pokémon all jolted awake, and Lucy began to cry. “’I guess,’ ‘I understand,’ I just met you! How could you possibly know anything about me? How do you know I don’t plan on just marching down to the gym right this minute?”

    Bill stepped back, stunned at the sudden outburst. “I…I didn’t mean to – “

    “To make decisions for me? You’d be the first.” Kris growled, turning around on her heel and letting Teddy down on the floor. “If Professor Elm wants to see me battle that badly, then he can meet me at the gym, because that’s where I’ll be!”
    ~ 3DS Friend Code: 5300-9399-4530~

    Heart of Crystal - a Crystal Nuzlocke challenge story
    "He had it comin'! He had it comin'! He only had himself to blame! If you'd've been there, if you'd've seen it, I bet you you would have done the same!"

  12. #57
    Stray Dog Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    Accepting a loss is always a tough thing to do, and I for one like the way Kris's team reacted towards Florence's death, especially the friction that was created between Ramon and Walter. Actually I think this chapter held a lot of developtment for Ramon as he now has to take care of Lucy in place of Florence, especially now that Petrel has his eyes on the little Pokemon.

    Maybe it's the fact that I've gotten used to reading longer chapters but this was actually a pretty quick and enjoyable read xD the chapter always kept me interesting thanks to your description and your character's reactions. Though I am curious as to what the relationship between Whitney and Petrel is; though that's something that just set your fic apart from the game itself.

    There's nothing much that I can point out for this chapter, however I do have some advice for the next one since there's going to be a battle. Remember that in the games Whitney's battle is one of the toughest due to her Miltank so if you're going to do such a tough battle then remember that you have to be prepared, and don't rush it, for a Nuzlocke this could end up becoming one of the most emotional chapters as well as having developtment for characters, so I'm intrigued as to what you'll come up with for the next chapter.

    Also, sorry this took so long for me xD

  13. #58

    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    Hey! I see you updated, good stuff!

    You're at a pretty terrifying place right now, Whitney's gym! I wonder what you've got planned with Julia taking on the gym though, what does your Slowpoke know to get through this?

    I'm really excited to see what she'll pull off here, honestly. I find it kind of funny that Whitney is in league/so tight with Petrel and I'm really really excited/fearful for how you're going to depict DAT MILTANK in this battle. I'm pulling for Kris and I want to see her team make it to the end!

    As a sidenote this kind of inspired me to try and write about a nuzlocke i'm doing

    i've never really TRIED the review thing and idk if I'm being too favorable here but from what I've read you're really good with characterization and you shore up any mistakes you have/had in writing. In terms of the story though, I kind of feel like the radio subplot is waning/forgotten.
    Last edited by Typhlosionisafirebadger; 26th March 2013 at 05:38 AM.

  14. #59
    The Best There Is Red's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    Welcome, one and all, to Heart of Crystal, a fictionalized version of a nuzlocke challenge of Pokemon: Crystal I am currently doing. If you are unfamiliar with the rules of the nuzlocke challenge, they are quite simple.
    1. You may only catch the first pokemon you encounter in a route or area.
    2. If a pokemon faints, it is considered dead and must be released or permanently boxed.
    3. All pokemon must be nicknamed.
    Even if you are unfamiliar with the nuzlocke challenge, I still hope that you enjoy this story, and I appreciate the time you took to read it. With that, welcome once again to Heart of Crystal.
    First off, I love the title of the story. It's the entire reason I came here, very eye catching. Secondly, I have never heard of this challenge before, but I'll be happy to jump on the ride and follow your adventure. Let me continue by saying this post will only cover the first chapter, and if this is any indication, you'll see me around more often!


    Chapter 1


    Two towers stood. One golden as the sun, the other silver as the moon, or so the legend went. But only the silver tower still stood. The golden tower gleamed too brightly, and its brilliance was finally melted away until only ruins were left. Or so the legend went.

    But something was stirring. Eddies formed in sea and wind, unnoticed and soon forgotten. But something was happening, and the restless earth seemed to sense it.

    Archer cared not for legends and stories. At the moment, he cared only for three things. The first was the glass of wine in his hand. The second were the three others sitting at the table, waiting for him to speak. And the third…he gave a tiny smile and set his glass down on the table. The third was what he had called his former cohorts here for. The third would bring him everything he deserved, and restore everything he had lost.

    “What’s this all about, Archer?” Proton asked, sounding slightly irritated as he ran his thumb over the blade of an elegantly crafted knife made out of a Seviper’s tail Archer had had imported especially for him. He had used it as incentive for Proton to actually show up this time, and he was pleased to see that it had worked. “None of us have heard from you in over three years.”

    “Patience, my friend.” Archer said, raising a hand. “Did I not promise I would explain everything to you once you were all here?”

    “Well, by my count, no one’s missin’.” Petrel interjected. “So what’s the deal?”

    Archer folded his hands together and leaned forward. “Gentlemen, lady,” he said, giving a polite nod to Ariana, “I have a proposal for you.”
    I loved this opening, and then follow it up with a quick cut to a far more innocent introduction. I don't necessarily know what transpires here, but it feels antagonistic, it feels ominous, and I worry for Kris' well being. Who are these people? Why are one of them named after a Mega Man villain? Will that fancy knife be used to stab someone in the back, my imagination is immediately swirling and excited. And then you follow it up by calming me down with Kris', well, average morning, I assume.

    My only complaint here, and this always irks me, is using "had had", it just trips me up and pulls me out. It feels redundantly redundant, and I don't think it was required. But that's just me.

    ----------

    “Kris! Get out of bed this instant! It’s one thirty in the afternoon!”

    Kris groaned and rolled over in her bed, pulling her blankets closer around her. The harsh winter light streamed in as her mom threw the curtains open. She continued to pace about the room, picking up clothes and scolding Kris for being so lazy all the time and never doing anything but sleeping as Kris slowly oozed out from under the blankets and rubbed her eyes until they stayed open.

    “You’d better get ready quickly. Mrs. Lowe is coming over in a few minutes, and Professor Elm called for you about an hour ago.”

    “Huh?” Kris muttered sleepily, blinking in the light. “What does Professor Elm want with me?”

    “He didn’t say, and if you’d been awake at a reasonable hour, you’d know for yourself.” her mother snapped, tossing a pile of clothes at her. “Now, get dressed, and if I don’t see you downstairs in five minutes –“

    “I’ll be down, mom.” Kris answered, giving a jaw-cracking yawn and stretching her arms over her head. “Promise.”

    The doorbell downstairs rang, and Kris’ mom ran downstairs to answer it. Kris gave another yawn, then pulled the clothes over and began to get dressed. She could hear her mother happily greeting Mrs. Lowe downstairs and rolled her eyes slightly. Maybe she did have a bad habit of sleeping in, but so what? It’s not like there was anything better to do in New Bark Town. Kris had planned on going to Cherrygrove that day to do some shopping, but apparently that was going to have to wait. What could someone like Professor Elm want with her? She sighed, rubbing her temples slowly in an effort to get rid of her throbbing headache. She knew it would be in vain – she’d had it for the past couple months – but today it seemed especially achy. Kris shook her head, trying to get her mind off of it, and went into the bathroom to brush her hair and teeth.

    Kris finished cleaning herself up and fixed a small hat on her head. Satisfied that the mirror didn’t reflect an unwashed bum, she made her way downstairs, hopping down two at a time. Bits of the conversation between her mother and Mrs. Lowe began to drift into focus.

    “…absolutely terrible. Who knew Sentrets could be so violent?”

    “Such a shame. I’m glad he managed to get away!”

    “Me too. But he told me that this isn’t the first time this has happened. Apparently, pokemon all over Johto are becoming more – oh, good afternoon, Kris!”

    Kris smiled politely. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Lowe.” she said, heading into the kitchen and making herself a sandwich.

    “Oh, Kris!” her mom called. “Your pokegear came back from the shop today! Do you need me to read the instructions to you?”

    “Thanks, mom, I’m good!” Kris called back as she put the food back into the refrigerator.

    Her mother, interpreting Kris’ response as affirmation, continued to read anyway. Kris gave a tiny sigh, ignoring her and knowing that her mother couldn’t see her in the kitchen. It didn’t take long for her to finish, and Kris walked back out into the living room, holding her sandwich in one hand and chewing the first bite. “Did you get all that, hon?”

    Kris swallowed and smiled. “Yep. I’m going to head over to the professor’s now, okay?”

    “All right, dear. And be careful if he sends you out, all right? Mrs. Lowe was just telling me that her son Ethan was attacked by a wild Sentret the other day. His Marill is in Cherrygrove Pokemon Center’s urgent care, but we don’t know if he’ll make it.”

    Kris winced. She’d heard stories about pokemon becoming more violent recently, but she’d never quite believed it. “I’ll be careful, mom. I promise.” she said, nodding.

    Her mother nodded as well. “All right. If you’re going to be back after dark, call me, okay?”

    “Will do. Bye mom!”
    I grew up with a sister, and this certainly feels authentic, and it's the whole reason I'll be continuing to check out this story. The relationship between mother and daughter felt real, and their interaction was solid. I can immediately feel myself on their living room sofa watching awkwardly. Then we get a wink to Ethan, and violent pokemon? The second big hook to keep me around, I am invested at this point. Will Marill be okay, I have to know, I love that pokemon. The mother's concern is genuine, and, again, Kris just feels like a real, but bored, teenage girl. And we're all bored in our small towns when we're teenagers.

    And her headache that she's had for the past couple of months? Tied in with her fancy ability we discover? Is it foreshadowing something imminent? I guess we'll see.

    Kris shivered as she stepped outside. It was always windy in New Bark Town, and most houses had windmills on their roofs to capitalize on it. But the wind today was especially strong, and it bit into Kris’ skin even through her coat. She hurried in the direction of Elm’s pokemon lab near the entrance to town, head bent down against the cold.

    A sharp gust of wind blew her cap off her head, and Kris chased after it with a cry. It blew around the corner of Elm’s lab and she rushed to grab it.

    “Hey, watch it.”

    Kris fell backwards with a small ‘oof,’ clutching her hat in one hand and rubbing her head with her other. She looked up and saw something she rarely saw in New Bark Town – someone she’d never seen before. “Sorry. Who’re you?” There was a small crate behind him, under one of the windows. Was he spying on the lab?

    “None of your business.” the boy snapped.

    “No need to bite my head off.” Kris grumbled as she stood up. “It’s not often there’s a new face in town, that’s all.”

    “Well, I don’t like people staring at my face.” he said angrily. “So go away.”

    Kris scowled. “What are you doing back here, anyway?”

    “I said go away!” the boy snapped, stepping forward and shoving Kris back.

    Kris stumbled back out onto the main street, then glared at the boy and placed her hat defiantly back onto her head. Without a word, she turned up her nose and marched inside the lab.
    I especially love the ending here, I can already picture Kris' grumpy face as she pulls her cap on over her head. You continue to bring this fiction alive. As for the boy, I can only assume I know who he is. You're carefully following the game, but it feels fresh.

    Inside, the professor’s assistant was scrambling around, climbing up and down ladders to put books back on shelves or take them off according to what Professor Elm called out. The professor himself was sitting at the back of the lab at his computer, occasionally calling out the name of a file or book he wanted his assistant to get for him. When the door opened, he looked up and pushed his glasses back to their proper place on his nose. “Kris? Is that you?”

    Kris pushed the door shut and turned back around. “Yes, professor, it’s me!”

    Professor Elm smiled and stood up. “Mr. Lowe, could you fetch that thing we were talking about?” His assistant set down his tower of books and rushed into the back room, and Professor Elm turned to Kris. “I’m glad that you could come over on such short notice, Kris. I have a favor to ask of you. You see, I just got an email from my friend, Mr. Pokemon. He says he’s made a serious discovery, and I think he really means it this time. The problem is that, well…” He waved a hand around his lab. “As you can see, with just the two of us here, it’s rather busy. So, I’d like you to pop over to Mr. Pokemon’s house and see what all the fuss is about.”

    Kris glanced back outside, then pulled her jacket a little tighter around her. “But Professor, what about the wild pokemon?”

    “Well, of course I wouldn’t send you out there by yourself.” Professor Elm said, leading Kris over to a table with three pokeballs on it. “Not with the wild pokemon becoming so violent. Here are three pokemon you may pick from to accompany you on your journey. You’ll be their first partner, but I assure you, any of them will be fine protection.”

    Kris looked curiously at the balls, each with a little picture on the table in front of them showing what the ball contained. “A pokemon? For me?”

    “That’s right.” Professor Elm answered, smiling. “For you. I know you’re responsible enough to care for it, and…well, to be honest, I just have a good feeling about it.”

    ‘A good feeling, huh?’ Kris thought, looking over the pictures. ‘Well, worse decisions have been made on less, I suppose.’ She ran her fingers gently over the pictures, thinking about the pokemon she would choose. ‘Well…if we’re going on feelings, I’ll take this one.’ she thought, grabbing the ball. ‘It’s winter and cold out, and this one will keep me warm.’

    “Ahh, Cyndaquil! Excellent choice!” Professor Elm exclaimed. “Would you like to release him from his ball and say hello?”
    Choosing her pokemon, and it was exciting! I am pleased that you didn't ignore the original intention behind Kris receiving a pokemon, it's always a worry of mine; most authors turn Ethan and Kris' journey into a regular pokemon quest, but it doesn't necessarily start out that way, and I'm happy to see you've kept that hook in. I also love Cyndaquil!

    Kris was already in the process of doing just that. As her new Cyndaquil emerged from his ball, Kris knelt down and offered her hand to him. “Hey there little guy…I’m your new trainer. My name’s Kris.”

    The Cyndaquil looked up at her for a moment, then smiled and nuzzled into her hand. Professor Elm also smiled and Mr. Lowe came up to them. “Here, Kris – a Potion for your trip.” he said, offering the small purple bottle to her. “In case things get a little hairy.”

    “Oh! That reminds me.” Professor Elm said, digging through his pockets. “Here, let me give you my phone number. If anything happens, call me, all right?”

    “All right, Professor.” Kris said, handing him her pokegear. As the professor entered in his number, she turned back to her new Cyndaquil and pet his head. “Now, what should I name you? Hm…what about Teddy? Do you like that name?” He nodded, and Kris pulled him into her arms. “Teddy it is, then.” she said as she stood up.

    “Here’s your pokegear back, Kris.” Professor Elm told her, handing it back. “Now be careful, all right? If anything happens, you can come back here and heal up Teddy on this machine.”

    “I’ll be careful, Professor.” Kris promised, heading towards the door. “And I’ll be back soon, don’t worry!”

    As she left the lab, she shivered again and held Teddy closer to her. “Burr…it’s getting really cold. You okay to stay out of your ball, Teddy?”

    “I’m fine.”

    Kris nearly dropped the tiny pokemon out of sheer shock. “Did…you just talk?”

    “I’ve always been able to talk. You’re just the only human who’s ever talked back.” Teddy said frankly, tilting his head at her.

    “Wait, so does this mean you actually have a name? Why didn’t you say anything?”

    “I like the name you gave me better.”

    “Well, I mean…how come I’ve never heard any pokemon talk before? Can you all talk? Do you just not talk around people? Is there some great advanced society of pokemon that you keep secret from us? How come no one has ever been able to understand any pokemon speech and now – “

    “Shouldn’t we get going?” Teddy interrupted. “It sounded like we were going a long ways away.”

    “Well, not terribly far.” Kris said, setting Teddy down. “But it will take us a while…would you mind igniting your flame? It is kinda cold out here.”

    “Sure thing.” Teddy answered, giving a small smile. “But to answer all of your questions, I have no idea why you can understand me and other humans can’t. Maybe you’re just special.”

    Kris sighed, rubbing her forehead again. She’d never been able to understand any pokemon before, and it didn’t look like she would get any answers. She decided it was probably best for her to keep it a secret for now. Professor Elm was nice and all, but who knows what kind of experiments she’d have to go through once he got word out to the scientific community? She smiled back at Teddy, relieved at the warmth the small pokemon was giving out, and decided not to worry about it any further. It was kinda cool, being able to understand her pokemon like this. “Ahh…that feels nice. All right, Teddy – let’s go!”
    Teddy can talk, plain as day, and a shock it is! A great final hook to reel the reader in and keep 'em interested in seeing how this pans out. I can just imagine awkward scenes of Kris conversing plainly with Cyndaquil in the middle of a meeting while acquaintances observe in fear. Who is this crazy lady? Anyhow, I truly wasn't expecting that, especially one as exclusive as only Kris being able to understand pokemon. How has she never known about this talent before, has she never been around a pokemon, I seriously doubt that.

    Perhaps it is tide into those headaches, the last two months where she's barely done anything, and could reasonably avoid pokemon. Either way, I'm intrigued to learn more.

    You've done a solid job of adapting the video game while remaining fresh and confident in the story. It never reads like a play-by-play and I thank you for that, for the confidence to sort of move away and develop your own plot hooks. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the opening chapter.
    Y: COMING SOON
    BLACK: 4213-4161-1545
    SOULSILVER: 3741-1763-4063

    -You're really irritating.
    -Does irritating mean 'fun'?

  15. #60
    Your mind is a world AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Heart of Crystal

    So... since I never replied on Chapter 9 either...

    NNNNNNUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    Florence! You were my favorite voice! Now I'll have to do Ramon, and I can't roll my r's :( Probably for the best, I get weird looks when I read this in public.

    But in all seriousness, Florence's death was handled exquisitely. I love how each member of the team had a different kind of reaction. You do a really good job of writing emotion. I was a little confused at the end of Chapter 10 though, as to how exactly Bill hit Kris's bitch switch. That seemed kind of like an abrupt outburst, but I suppose that could be somewhat written down to grief. I still really like how you've taken the game's story and made it into something more without actually changing the plot at all. It looks like you've done a couple things to set up at least one Pokemon dying at the hands of Whitney, but who knows. I hope all goes well, but I have a bad feeling...

    Only error I caught was this wee typo:

    Remember that time I beat all of Bugy’s pokémon by myself when we were training with him?
    Overall, great job! Sorry this wasn't as in depth as last time. I hope the next chapter is a little quicker in the making ;P

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