Land of Monsters (Three)
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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Land of Monsters (Three)

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Legacy. Thank you for opening this thread.

    I have been away for some time (in terms of writing), but I am happy to announce that I am back! If you are so kind as to read what I have written below, I will be eternally grateful. I will also do my best to return the favor should you take the time to leave reviews on my story.

    Thanks so much for being great friends!

    Now... without further ado:





    Table of Contents

    - One: Bug Catchers
    - Two: Masara
    -Three: Sis and Bro



    One
    Bug Catchers

    (Tokyo, Japan - 1981)



    A shiver raced down Ren's spine like a sharp winter breeze as he watched the hulking beast climb away higher and higher with surprising swiftness.


    This creature… this monster, whatever it was, was scaling the towering steel construction scaffolding platforms towards the heavens. Tucked under its arm during its ascent like a sack of rice was a terrified girl in a pink dress, her shrill screams triggering a sick feeling of dread deep inside Ren's stomach.

    Ren knew he couldn't waste any time. He dashed towards a metal ladder and began to climb, not entirely sure what in the world he would or could do even if he did somehow catch up to the hairy beast.

    He reached the top of the first ladder and found himself standing on a platform about fifteen feet off the ground. He took a few labored breaths and looked upward. Much to Ren's surprise, he saw that the oversized primate had stopped climbing. It was now simply standing on the highest platform, probably fifty feet above Ren, staring down at him with the girl still flailing desperately from in its armpit.

    The fact that the creature seemed to be taunting Ren now infuriated him. A shot of adrenaline coursed through him like a gulp of hot chocolate on a frigid night. Ren growled and put his head down, rushing full speed for the next ladder leading up to the next highest platform. His arms and legs burned with fatigue as he climbed, but he forced himself onward.

    *Clang, Clang, Clang!*

    The booming sound of metal crashing against metal echoed throughout the entire area. Ren stopped and looked up just in time to narrowly avoid a rolling, bouncing iron oil barrel by leaping over it just before it struck him.

    Another glance up at the beast told Ren that it was the one throwing barrels and large chunks of loose concrete down at him as if they were nothing but empty soda cans or small pebbles. Seeing the beast's raw strength and size caused his terror and panic to grow. This thing could easily rip him to shreds. This rescue mission was surely going to be nothing but a romantic gesture… a suicide mission… with no chance of success.

    But Ren did not… would not stop. Even if it was just a gesture, even if he was climbing to his death, he couldn't give up. He had to let her know how much she meant to him.

    Ren finally reached the last ladder that led to the beast's platform. He heard the monster beat its chest and roar at him from just above him. Still not having any idea what he was going to do, he gave an emboldened shout and gritted his teeth as he took off.

    As he scaled the final ladder, however, something pulling on his sweater sleeve stole his attention away. Was someone trying to stop him? He tried to ignore it and focus on his task, but the tugging persisted and grew more forceful.

    "Ren!"

    Ren blinked and took his hand away from the joystick. He took his coffee-colored eyes away from the screen and rubbed them until he regained his focus and the real world returned to him.

    He took a step away from the machine and turned to see familiar face greeting him with an unmistakeable expression of concern.

    "Hello?! Ren? Anyone in there?"

    "Kenji? I uh… sorry, I didn't hear you coming," Ren mumbled, looking a little embarrassed to have lost himself so completely in an arcade game.

    "Yeah, I could see that," sighed Kenji, a shaggy-haired, spectacled boy of fourteen wearing his school uniform. "You get like this every time you come to the arcade."

    Ren just shrugged. "It helps me keep my mind off things, that's all."

    "Well, I'm just glad I finally found you. I've been all around Tokyo looking for you, you know," Kenji said tiredly. "I should have known you'd be here."

    "And you call yourself my friend," Ren said, his voice full of sarcasm.

    Kenji, looking more annoyed now, replied, "I'm serious, Ren. People are starting to get worried about you. You haven't called anyone. You haven't been back to school in weeks. No one has seen or heard from you since..."

    Kenji stopped mid-sentence, a look of utter horror and shame exploding across his face at what he had almost been careless enough to say.

    "Oh, Ren, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to bring it up. God, I'm such an idiot!"

    "You are, yes," Ren replied with a smirk. "But it's fine, Kenji. He's gone. It happened. It's not like it's a secret."

    "Yes, but I shouldn't have--"

    "It's all right. Let's drop it," Ren said a bit more sharply.

    It was the late afternoon by now, and the local arcade was beginning to fill with more and more uniformed school children excited to spend their spare lunch money at the multitude of colorful and flashing video games that lined the outer walls.

    "Sure gets crowded this time of day," Ren muttered under his breath as he rummaged through his jeans pockets for more tokens.

    "Ren, are you okay?" Kenji asked, going so far as to place a hand on Ren's shoulder. "Have you been coming here everyday?"

    "Not everyday," Ren said, waving him away.

    "When are you going to come back to school?"

    Ren's expression remained emotionless. He inserted another coin into the machine and began to play again.

    "I'm not coming back," he said without looking up.

    "What?!"

    "To school. I'm not coming back to school."

    "Of course you are," Kenji said, almost laughing. "Look, I'm sorry about what I said. Take all the time you need. I don't mind taking notes for you or bringing you your homework until you get back."

    "I'm serious," Ren said as he manuvered the joystick to avoid more rolling fireballs thrown by the virtual-beast. "I start at the plant tomorrow."

    "You're dropping out of school to work at the power plant?!" Kenji looked like Ren had just kicked him in the groin.

    "Yeah, why shouldn't I?"

    "You can't be serious! What about your future?!"

    "What are you talking about?"

    "Oh, come on!" Kenji replied, slumping his shoulders in exasperation. "You get great marks in school. You're the only first-year student to make the baseball team. You're brilliant with computers and video games. I've never seen someone take apart one of those Famicoms down to the screws and put it back together like you..."

    "Kenji, you're rambling. What's your point?"

    "Don't you want to do something with your life? You could get a baseball scholarship to the University. You could study computer engineering or whatever. You could be anything you want. You could be rich someday. But quitting now and working at the plant for the rest of your life won't help you achieve your dreams."

    Ren's stony face cracked a smirk at this. He thought Kenji sounded just like his mother. He finally turned from the game to look at his friend.

    "Dreams…" Ren said with a roll of his eyes. "It's time to stop acting like kids, Kenji."

    "What?"

    "Dreaming about playing pro ball. Designing video games. Going to the University. It's fun to dream about that kind of stuff when we're kids, Ken, but we've got to grow up sooner or later. We've got to be realistic."

    "What part of getting an education is unrealistic?"

    Ren actually laughed at this. He stopped when he saw Kenji looking so hurt and confused.

    "You remember my cousin, Ryu, don't you?" Ren asked seriously.

    "Yeah, he was a ball player too, wasn't he?"

    "Exactly!" Ren said, wagging his finger at Kenji. "Ryu had everything you are saying that I have. He was awesome at baseball. He got a scholarship to Kyoto University to pitch for them. He was smart in school. Everything was great."

    "Yeah, see?" Kenji interrupted. He was about to continue when Ren cut him off.

    "Everything was great... until he tore a tendon in his elbow at practice one day. He was never the same. Before he knew it, he was off the team and his scholarship was gone. Without it, he couldn't afford to stay at the university. He had to move back home and ended up getting a job as a garbage man."

    Kenji sighed. He took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes like he was in pain. He looked defeated.

    "Ren, now you're the one rambling. What are you trying to say? You aren't your cousin, you know."

    "Dreams, Kenji," Ren said, shaking his head. "Dreams are for the privledged. Dreams are for people with rich parents, for people with powerful friends. What if I don't get into the university? I'll be left with nothing just like Ryu. Better to start making my living now rather than waste years of my life and end up with nothing to show for it!"

    "Ren, why are you being this way?"

    "Kenji! My father is dead! Don't you realize I'm the man of my house now?! My mom works part time in a grocery store. I have three sisters. We need money! I have to grow up! My future that you keep talking about... it's here! My future is now!"

    Ren knew instantly that Kenji was ashamed. Ren, stared blankly at the floor and fidgeted with the nearby change machine. Despite his friend's blatant remorse, Ren was angry. Why couldn't Kenji understand? Why did he care so much? There were hundreds of people making good honest livings by working at the power plant. What right did Kenji have to judge him? ... Why had his father left him in this mess?

    "I'm sorry, Ren," Kenji finally whispered, tears on the verge of spilling from his eyes. "You're right."

    "That's why I'm here, Ken," Ren replied, gesturing to the room at large. Seeing Kenji's shame made Ren's anger dissipate somewhat.

    "Huh?"

    "Here at the arcade, I mean. Like I said, I start at the plant tomorrow, so today's kind of the last day of my childhood. After today... Well, I just wanted to enjoy my last day of being a kid."

    "Say no more," Kenji replied with a nod. "You're a good man, Ren."

    "Man? Not until tomorrow," Ren reminded him with a wink.

    "Right. But hey! I have an idea."

    "Oh, this should be good."

    "Shut up, Ren," Kenji said wryly. "Listen, Aiko from school told me that there's a nest of giant hornets up in a tree by the river a few miles from his house."

    Ren rolled his eyes. He already knew where this was headed.

    "I can't believe you still care about that stupid bug collection, Ken. We're not eight years old anymore."

    "Oh, come on, Dr. Bug!" Kenji replied with a hopeful smile. "You used to love collecting insects too!"

    "Yeah, 'used to.' And don't call me Dr. Bug anymore! I'm fifteen years old for God's sake. Bug hunting was fun when we were kids, but we're at the age now where it's just weird and creepy. And besides, giant hornets aren't exactly little pink butterflies. I'm not too keen on getting stung by one of those things."

    "Stop being chicken," Kenji teased. "How cool would it be to have one of those in our collection? And you said so yourself, it's your last day of being a kid before you start your career at the plant. What better way to spend it?"

    Ren gave him a warning glare, but Kenji put his hands up in mock surrender. Ren could think of probably a hundred ways to better spend an afternoon, but he didn't say anything.

    "Come on," Kenji finally pleaded. "For old time's sake, at least?"

    Ren exhaled deeply and rolled his eyes again. Kenji... simple, carefree Kenji. He was such a kid. But maybe he was right. A lifetime of predictability at the plant was in store for Ren for the rest of his life. And besides, Kenji was a good friend. He had been there for Ren at all hours of the night after Ren's father had passed.

    He thought back to those warm summer mornings with Kenji and the other kids spent in the tall grass fields behind the school. They would catch grasshoppers, lady bugs, spiders and all kinds of creepy, crawly bugs in jars with airholed lids. Ren remembered riding their bikes excitedly to the library to learn everything they could about the monsters they had just captured.

    It was a good childhood, free from the worries of having to bury his father and take up his responsibilities at fifteen. If today was truly the last day of Ren's childhood, he supposed one last quest for bug collecting glory wouldn't hurt. It would help ease his mind if nothing else.

    "All right. Let's go," Ren said, trying to sound as unenthusiastic as possible. "But if I get stung, I'm going to kick your ass."

    Kenji just laughed and cheered as the two of them left the arcade.

    After stopping at the drug store for supplies, Ren and Kenji took the train just out of the city to the spot near the river that Aiko had mentioned.

    Tall, sun-bleached grass rippled in the wind as did the thick, leafy bushes and shrubs growing near the edge of the river. It was late afternoon by now, but the cloudless blue sky and the still bright sunshine made nightfall seem like a lifetime away.

    Ren and Kenji recreated their normal childhood routine of wading in the river bank and skipping pebbles over the surface of the water. They picked blades of grass and competed to see who could whistle them louder.

    It was exactly what Ren needed to ease his emotions and forget his anxiety and grief.

    The two boys finally decided to walk down the river's edge in search of the alleged hornet's nest. They reminisced about the good old days and kicked water at each other as they walked. They laughed, something Ren hadn't done in weeks. After they'd made it about a mile or two, they finally saw it.

    A small group of tall willow trees with wispy, drooping branches stood before them right near the water's edge. Ren spotted it hanging from one of the higher branches near the trunk... the giant hornets' nest.

    "There it is," Ren said, pointing to the hive which was the size of a basketball and the color of dirty dishwater.

    "So what's the plan?" Kenji asked as he took out the protective beekeeper masks that they had packed.

    "Well," Ren said, still staring up at the tree. "I figure you can climb up and smoke the hornets out of the hive and try to snag one with a net or something. I'll be down here supervising."

    Kenji glared at him.

    "We both have to climb, Ren. One of us will carry the smoker. The other has to bring the jar. Once we knock them out with the smoke, they should be mellow enough to catch one without getting stung."

    "This is the worst idea you've ever had," Ren deadpanned. "Is it too late to go back to the arcade?"

    "It will work!" Kenji insisted. "Seto's uncle is a honey bee keeper, and he says smoke pretty much puts them to sleep. We just gotta get close enough to get one in the jar."

    Ren muttered his doubts and shook his head but donned his netted mask and grabbed the smoking device, a small metal can with a spout like a tea kettle. Kenji lit the filament inside and smoke began to eminate from the spout.

    "Okay, you ready?" Kenji asked from inside his mask.

    "These things aren't going to protect the rest of our bodies if the hornets attack," Ren said, trying to hide the apprehensiveness in his voice.

    "That's what the smoke is for. Let's go."

    Ren cursed under his breath, but joined Kenji as they both hoisted themselves up the willow branch by branch. Ren realized right away that they were now close enough that he could hear the faint hum of hornets above them. It was not a comforting sound at all.

    Both Ren and Kenji were skilled climbers from all the experience they had gained throughout their younger years, and they had little trouble reaching the hive. They moved slowly but deliberately even as a few straggling hornets buzzed past them.

    Ren swore many times as the hornets passed his face, but was poised enough to do so quietly and without many sudden movements. The black and yellow hornets lived up to their name; they were huge. Much bigger than the common honey bees and spiders that Ren used to collect. The stingers they wielded caught Ren's eye right away. They looked like small, venom-spewing daggers.

    Ren now regretted the decision to put himself in such close proximity of such dangerous looking insects, but he was too high up off the ground to go back now. He clutched the smoke can tightly, but luckily, up until now at least, none of the insects suspected Ren or Kenji as enemies.

    The boys used extreme care as they both manuevered themselves like gymnasts until they climbed up into a high branch a few feet above where the nest hung.

    "Okay," Kenji whispered quietly from the next branch. "Pour the smoke. Slowly."

    Ren, gripping the thick branch he was sitting on with his legs, leaned over and aimed the smoker so it was directly above the hanging hive by a few feet. He moved slowly and quietly, trying to steady his shaking hands as he tilted the device like a watering can.

    The thick, gray smoke poured from the spout like coffee and billowed around hive. Ren's heart skipped a beat as he saw the black, shiny eyes of several curious hornets poke out of the hive, but the thick cloud of smoke seemed to be serving its purpose as the steady buzzing sound seemed to lessen in intensity and volume. The hornets walking on the surface of the hive moved slowly and sluggishly if at all. The group that flitted through the air nearby seemed to mellow as well, flying in more relaxed and smooth patterns.

    "Nice work," Kenji whispered. "Keep pouring while I try to catch one of those ones hovering around."

    Ren nodded. He continued to hold the can so that smoke kept pouring out, but a ticklish sensation on the back of his neck stopped him instantly. Ren froze. He could feel an insect crawling on his neck, and he was sure that it wasn't something harmless.

    "Kenji..." he said, not wanting to even draw in a breath so as to anger the hornet on his neck. But Kenji was busy trying to coax one of the drunken hornets into his waiting jar.

    Ren prayed that his stillness would mean that the hornet would fly away with no damage done. He thought about gently waving the hornet away, but he didn't dare. He remembered reading how territorial the insects were. What in the world had they been thinking coming up here?

    And then several things happened at once.

    A stiff breeze whipped through the wispy willow, forcing both Ren and Kenji to brace themselves on their respective branches. Ren, nearly falling out of the tree, lost his grip on the smoker, which tumbled from his hand, falling to the ground with a multitude of metal-sounding thuds as it bounced off branches on its way down. Then, as Ren had expected, a sharp pain pricked him in the side of the neck and instantly began to burn like someone had put out a cigarette on his skin. Ren shouted and reactively swiped wildly at the culprit before his better judgement could stop him.

    "Ren!"

    He couldn't answer before another burning pin-prick stabbed him in the shoulder. Then another in the forearm. And another... and then another.

    Ren felt himself getting dizzy. The excruciating pain was actually beginning to subside as the swarm of hornets buzzed angrily. Kenji's voice was starting to sound further and further away. Ren hoped the hornets hadn't been stinging him as well.

    Obviously abandoning all hope at catching any bugs today, Ren tried his best to climb his way down towards the ground away from the angry hornets, who were now free of their smoky sedation. But he couldn't move fast enough to escape the stings. His thoughts were racing, but everything else seemed to be moving in slow motion.

    Eventually, Ren's grip failed him completely. His extremities went numb and he felt gravity take him into its arms towards the ground. His descent was slow and almost peaceful as if he was a rock sinking to the bottom of a lake.

    Then, everything went black.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cover.jpg  
    Last edited by Legacy; 9th March 2014 at 09:08 PM.

    Coming Soon...

  2. #2
    CEO of the Monsters Lugion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    Whew. That was intense. Very nice, visceral details. I can hardly wait to see where this is going!

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Lugion View Post
    Whew. That was intense. Very nice, visceral details. I can hardly wait to see where this is going!
    Thank you, sir! I'm really enjoying writing this.

    This world will be very different than people are used to with a Pokemon fanfic.

    Coming Soon...

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    Go Niners! Akari's Avatar
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    Hello!

    I am very excited that through my perusing of this site, I have found out that you are the author of The Power Inside and Pocket Monsters: Battle Quest, both of which are among my favorites stories from ff.net. I post there quite a bit. I didn't know you also posted on this forum! You are a very good writer and so I'm glad to find you here :)

    I just loved this prologue. I at first thought that Ren was chasing a Snorlax or something, but soon I realized that it was actually just the Donkey Kong arcade game! Very clever. I even looked up when that game came out and it was 1981 like you say at the top of the page.

    I was surprised to see a Pokèmon fanfic start in the real world of Japan. Interesting. I wonder how the worlds will crossover. Very intriguing.

    Kenji seems like a good friend for worrying about Ren's future, but he has got to do what he's got to do for his family. I felt bad for Ren.

    The part about the bug collecting reminded me of Pokèmon, which I assume is intentional, so I am excited to see what direction that heads. I took great pleasure in the amount of suspense and detail that is put into scenes like the one with the boys in the tree. Chilling.

    The prologue was an exciting first step to what I am sure will be another PokemonLegacy classic (oops, I guess you just go by Legacy here ^_^) I can't wait until the first real chapter is unveiled!

    Cheers,

    Akari

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    Ice ice baby Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    I know it's just the prologue but I'm gonna go on a limb and says he wakes up in the Pokemon world or something like that xD

    Anyways, it's nice to see you back after such a long time Leg and I think this had to be said but, you've certainly topped yourself with this prologue xD. The flow of the chapter as well as the description was good enough to give us an idea of how things and the characters looked but also leaving room for the reader to make their own conclusion. While not much happened in regards to events till the end I'm a fan of the way your characters interact, something that I must admit I was always inspired on.

    I liked the situation regarding Ren and Kenji so far, also I liked how you decided to focus on Japan itself. There are a lot of things that came to my mind while reading it but I won't say it cause A) it's bad to assume what will happen and B) it's bad to state it in public and on someone's story, so I'll just sit and wait to see :)

    Also for a second there I thought it was something like King Kong xD it wasn't till I noticed the multiple ladders that I figured out that it was Donkey Kong so good twist there man.

    Anyways I will keep reading, so if it's okay could you mention me when a new chapter comes out?

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    Go Niners! Akari's Avatar
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    On a sidenote: the title poster thing you posted is badass :)

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    Thanks @Steller Gale; and @Akari;

    Thanks for noticing the DK reference both of you haha.

    Coming Soon...

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    Go Niners! Akari's Avatar
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    Thanks @Steller Gale; and @Akari;

    Thanks for noticing the DK reference both of you haha.
    Holy cow, I just thought of something while reading this again! I don't know of I should say, but the bug collecting part is what did it for me.

    I'm very excited to read more!

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    Haha, thanks for reading everyone.

    Coming Soon...

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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    When is the next chapter going to come out, Legacy?

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters

    Quote Originally Posted by Akari View Post
    When is the next chapter going to come out, Legacy?
    Right meow!

    Also, @Stellar Gale; mentioned per request.




    Two
    Masara



    Bright white light began to flood the darkness as Ren's eyelids slowly opened.

    Ren saw only white at first, and for a split second, he thought he was dead and had passed on to the afterlife. But even before his eyes could fully open, intense, throbbing pain in the side of his head made it clear to him that he was still very much alive.

    The pungent smell of pine trees was in the air. For some reason, Ren briefly thought of camping trips in the forest with his father. Ren groaned in pain once again, but forced his eyes open so he could gauge his surroundings.

    The sunlight was blinding, but when his eyes had adjusted, Ren was surprised to find himself lying on a bed of straw in the middle of a tiny wooden shack. It was smaller than Ren's bedroom at home. The single glassless window to Ren's right was enough to let the warm rush of sunshine inside.

    Ren looked around. The only other thing in the room besides him and the bed of straw was a small wooden nightstand with a bowl of green liquid standing on it.

    When Ren sat up, his headache returned, worse this time. He gritted his teeth and touched the spot where it hurt. He noticed that his head had been bandaged with long strips of wet cloth that smelled like pine needles.

    Ren's memory, initially stifled by pain, rushed back into existence. Kenji. The tree. The hornets, angry, stinging. What had happened? Had Ren fallen out of the tree? Where was he now?

    Ren immediately threw off the rough wool blanket that had been covering him and realized that his clothes were gone. All he was wearing now was some sort of cloth smock that resembled a hospital gown.

    Was he in the hospital? Ren quickly concluded that if he was, this was unlike any hospital he had ever seen. For one thing, the floor was made of dirt.

    "Kenji?" Ren called out wearily, climbing to get up and out of the bed. He stood up and removed the bandages from his head.

    Suddenly, before Ren could give much thought to where Kenji might be, he saw movement in the room along with him out of the corner of his eye. He turned and let out a tiny yelp when he saw it.

    Entering through the open door, a large, snow white creature with amazingly bright sapphire-like eyes stood before Ren. Its eyes were piercing but Ren was more worried about its teeth and claws. It looked like a giant cat, like a pure white panther with eyes of blue fire. It was an animal unlike anything Ren had seen in real life.

    That was it! This wasn't real life. This was a dream! It had to be a dream, Ren thought to himself. This animal, whatever it was, didn't exist. Ren had probably just hit his head falling from that willow tree and was dreaming all of this.

    Ren was comforted slightly by this revelation. At least this animal couldn't kill him if it wasn't real. Ren didn't know what to do next, though. He slapped his own cheeks with his palms in order to try to wake his real self up from this dream. When nothing happened, he did it harder and harder, fully expecting to open his real eyes and see a real worried Kenji standing over him in some Tokyo hospital.

    But by the time his face had begun to sting and throb, Ren realized hitting himself wasn't going to work. He again touched fhe gash in his scalp gingerly. He looked at his fingers. Blood was mixed with whatever the piney-smelling liquid was. Why didn't this feel like a dream? Why did it feel so real?

    Ren's bewilderment was interrupted by fear again when the white cat began to approach him. The blazing blue eyes fixed squarely on him as it sauntered closer.

    "Easy, boy," Ren whispered pleadingly, standing frozen near the bed.

    The creature ignored Ren's pleas and suddenly pounced on him like he was dinner. Ren shrieked and fell back onto the bed.

    Too weak and astonished to fight, Ren was prepared to be ripped apart by teeth and claws, but to his amazement, it never came. Instead, the cat's face was nuzzling the area between Ren's neck and shoulder. After a few seconds, a weird low, clicking sound was eminating from its throat. At first, Ren thought it was growling, but quickly realized that that wasn't it. It was purring!

    Just then, the front door swung opened again.

    "Raz! G'off!" snapped a thin red haired boy probably a few years younger than Ren.

    The giant cat obeyed immediately, leaping off of Ren and rushing to the younger boy's side. The boy was dressed peculiarly in a dirty white shirt, ripped at the cuffs, and old, gray trousers, also frayed and ragged at the bottom. He was barefoot and his copper-colored hair was grimey and unkempt.

    "You have awakened! At last!" the boy said happily, beaming at Ren. "Pay no mind to Raz. He is harmless, but you know how Persians can be."

    "I, uh... Yes, I'm awake," Ren replied softly, still utterly confused about absolutely everything. "What... Where--"

    Before Ren could say another word, the boy ran up to him to inspect his head wound.

    "My hero, surely you would agree that it is best to keep the bandages secured on your wounds," he said. "Fey has gone to great lengths to concoct that healing serum." He motioned to the bowl on the nightstand.

    Ren couldn't speak. What in the world was happening? Where in the world was he? Looking at how this strange kid dressed and hearing how he spoke... This had to be a dream. But why wasn't Ren waking up?

    It seemed as though the boy could tell that Ren was confused. He gave Ren a smile.

    "My apologies, my hero. I am Sora," he said with an odd curtseying motion.

    "I'm Ren," he replied politely before getting to the point he wanted to address. "Sora, what's going on?"

    "Forgive me and forgive Raz for appearing unannounced, Hero Ren," Sora said, scratching the beast behind the ears. "We are just pleased that you have finally risen from your sleep. It has been two full moons."

    "I've been out for that long?" Ren asked, shocked even though he didn't know exactly how long two full moons meant. "What happened? Where am I?"

    "Hero Ren?"

    "Why are you calling me that, Sora?"

    Sora raised his eyebrows and looked apprasingly at Ren.

    "Hero Ren, do you not recall what occurred prior to your injuries?"

    "No, I don't recall. Can you tell me where I am?"

    "I shall need to tell Fey of your lacking memory, Hero Ren," Sora said. "But allow me to tell you what bit I know. Perhaps it will help rekindle your senses."

    Ren sat down on the bed and let Sora reapply the pine-smelling bandages to his head before joining him on the bed.

    "This is Masara," Sora began, gesturing towards the window. "We are a peaceful village near the bottom of the Zion River--"

    "Let me stop you there, kid," Ren interrupted apologetically with a wave of his hands. "Where the hell is Masara? What's the Zion River? Is this some sort of joke? How far am I from Tokyo?"

    Sora looked at Ren like he had just spoken a foreign language. His bright blue eyes traveled up to Ren's headwound as if he believed it was the cause of Ren's questions.

    "Hero Ren, I know not of any place called Toke-yo, but I assure you that you are safe here. Your wounds were inflicted by the river. But our entire village is eternally grateful for the bodily sacrifices you have made."

    "What are you talking about?" Ren asked, more desparation in his voice now.

    "Four sons of Masara were washing clothes down by the river bank," Sora explained. "As young boys will do, they decided to recess and play amongst the fishes. One of them, a boy called Jo, wandered too far out into the middle of the river where the current was strongest. His footing failed and he was swept away."

    "Couldn't he swim?"

    Sora gave Ren another curious look.

    "Our children learn to swim at an early age, but at this point of the river, the current is quite strong and ends... abruptly."

    "A waterfall?" Ren guessed.

    "You remember?" Sora replied, raising his red eyebrows.

    "No, I just assumed."

    Sora looked disappointed but nodded and continued. "The other three boys started shouting for help, but as it was midday, most of the other villagers were tending to their duties in town. Lady Luck blessed us when she brought you here, Hero Ren. All of Masara is in your debt."

    Ren, still believing he was in the middle of some strange, unshakable dream, tried to remember anything Sora was talking about, but he couldn't. All he could remember was hunting for hornets with Kenji back in Tokyo, and even those thoughts felt cloudy in his head at this point like they had happened a lifetime ago.

    "So, they saw me walking by the river?" Ren asked. "Where did I come from? How did I get here?"

    "Ah, Hero Ren, this I do not know. No one in Masara knows this. We assumed you to be a lonely traveler. The boys saw you walking alone along the river with a walking stick and a leather travelsack on your back. You were a stranger.

    "But when Jo fell and was rushed away, you dropped your belongings and jumped in after him without thought. He had been underwater for a time, but you managed to reach him and throw him close enough to the river's edge for him to climb out."

    "Is Jo all right?" Ren asked.

    "Indeed, thanks to you, Hero Ren! But regretfully, you were not so lucky. The water became quite fast and the boys lost sight of your head above water. They ran along the river after you until the end, but they could not locate you. The river swallowed you."

    "I don't remember any of this," Ren admitted. It was all making his head hurt even worse.

    "I do. I was there," Sora muttered, looking dejected. "I was one of the four boys. Jo is my youngest brother. You saved his life in front of my eyes. That is why I call you, 'Hero Ren.'"

    Ren didn't know how to respond. It was surreal to be thanked for doing something that you had no recollection of doing, especially in a foreign place like this. The look on Sora's face, however, made Ren realize that this was certainly no joke to him.

    "So, you said the river swallowed me," Ren replied, wanting to change the subject. "Well, you obviously found me. How'd I get here?"

    "We alerted the village. Numbers were sent to search for you, Hero Ren. Finally, you were discovered washed up on the bank in the valley below the falls bleeding from the head. By the mercy of Arceus, your breath was still in you, but barely. They took you to Jiro the Healer, and he and Fey together mended you where you would not be disturbed."

    "Fey?"

    "Eldest sister of Jo and myself," Sora replied.

    "This certainly is a hell of a dream," Ren sighed and slumped back onto the bed feeling defeated.

    "Hero Ren?"

    Ren was getting tired of this. He exhaled deeply.

    "I'm Ren. I'm not a hero. I'm just a student from Japan. I'm starting my job at the Tokyo Electric Power Company tomorrow morning. I have no idea what the hell is going on. This has to be a dream... but it feels... It doesn't feel like a dream."

    Sora patted Ren on the back.

    "Hero Ren, I assure you that you are not in a dream. Your head injuries have simply altered your senses slightly. Fey says confusion and forgetfulness are common. Allow Lady Time to work her magic. You will remember soon. You will stay with us until it passes. When your memory returns, I promise to help you return to wherever you were traveling from."

    Ren felt like he was being talked to like an elderly person in a nursing home, but he simply nodded and forced himself to smile. If he wasn't going to wake up anytime soon, what more could Ren do?

    "Hero Ren, I must alert the village of your awakening. Everyone will be most pleased... especially due to your impeccible timing, Hero Ren. Today is going to be most exciting!"

    Before Ren could object, Sora leaped off the bed and excitedly ran out of the shack. Ren didn't know what Sora had meant by "impeccible timing," but he didn't have a long time to think before he heard Sora's jubulant voice booiming outside the window.

    "The traveler! His name is Ren! He has awoken! What a day this will be!"

    Ren heard excited voices buzzing outside the building but didn't dare stand by the window to look out. He didn't have to wait long before Sora returned to the shack with a tray of food -- a generous chunk of bread, a bunch of beautiful purple berries of some kind and a clump of hard white cheese -- along with a clay mug of water. He also brought with him a spare shirt and trousers not unlike the ones Sora was wearing himself.

    "If you please, Hero Ren," Sora said. "Fey says you must eat, and afterward you will have an audience with Elder Pa in the village square before he makes the big announcement. I brought you clothing as well."

    "Announcement? Who's Pa?... Where are my clothes?"

    "You will receive answers to your questions soon enough, Hero Ren. Please, just eat."

    "Okay," Ren replied, annoyed. He took a bite of bread. "But you have to do one thing for me, Sora."

    "Anything, my hero!"

    "Drop the 'hero' routine. Just call me, Ren, please."

    Sora nodded with a look of intense seriousness that made Ren chuckle as he finished eating. He hadn't realized how famished he was, and the food was surprisingly delicious. Ren had never tasted berries so sweet.

    After checking Ren's bandages one last time, Sora helped him get dressed (much to Ren's dismay) and led him out of the wooden shack and out into the surrounding village.

    "Welcome to Masara, Ren," Sora said with outstretched arms.

    Ren gasped. He was instantly spellbound by the picturesque beauty before him. Masara, the quaint riverside village that Sora called home, glistened in the mid-afternoon sun. The village wasn't much more than some square wooden buildings with thatched roofs and small, winding roads of cobblestone that had sprouted up in the middle of one of the most beautiful scenic settings Ren had ever seen.

    The crystal blue of Zion's nearby waters... the lush green of the vast forest in the distance... the red stone that made up Masara's roads... The flowers growing, the sky above, even the brown dirt, everything seemed more colorful, more vivid and beautiful here, especially as Ren remembered the grayness and dinginess of the big city back in Tokyo.

    Suddenly, Ren realized that he had been so enamoured with the scenary that he had failed to notice that there were absolutely no people to be seen. The roads and buildings looked empty.

    "Where is everybody? I heard people outside earlier." Ren said.

    "They have all gone to the village square for the Elder's Address," Sora replied. "We shall make our way there now if you please."

    Ren wasn't sure if it was the soothing visual beauty of Masara or if he was just too tired to care anymore, but his nerves seemed to be calming somewhat. His head still ached, but he was no longer as worried about where he was or how he had gotten there. If this was indeed a dream, what else could he do besides go along with it as long as it lasted?

    "Oh, what the hell?" Ren sighed, throwing his hands up. "Lead on, Sora."

    After a short walk to the other end of the village, Ren saw what had to be the village square. At the bottom of a small, grassy knoll, there was a square pit dug into the ground, maybe as deep as a large swimming pool.

    As Ren and Sora made their way closer, Ren saw that there were several rows of stone steps carved away like tiered sitting benches around the outside. The modest population of Masara was seated there, the eyes of every man, woman and child were turned and focused right on Ren as he approached.

    "Hear ye! Presenting our hero, Ren!" Sora suddenly shouted toward the people as he took off running, pulling Ren by the arm along with him.

    Although Ren was used to being in front of groups of people, namely spectators at his baseball games, he was a bit caught off guard when the entire village of Masara all stood in unison as soon as he entered the village square.

    Ren nodded politely to those who caught his nervous eyes. He mostly just stared at his moving bare feet as Sora led him up onto the center platform in the middle of the square.

    A small group of Masara villagers were already standing on the stage waiting for him. Sora guided Ren to a spot a few feet away before making his way to the other end of the stage to stand with the others.

    The first person before Ren was a tall, beanpole of a man wearing a deep purple robe. He was old, wrinkled and hunched with his back-length gray hair tied back in a ponytail. For his age, however, the man's brilliant blue eyes shimmered as brightly as a child's.

    "Ah, my dear boy," the man began in a surprisingly strong and low voice. "Masara is forever in your debt for your bravery. We are all grateful to see you have finally awoken and appear well."

    Ren again nodded politely. He assumed that this man was the elder or whatever Sora had
    said. Ren wasn't sure how he was supposed to respond, so he just bowed a little. Ren's gesture must have looked as awkward as it had felt because he heard a girl's giggle suddenly ring out around the square before it was quickly extinguished.

    He looked over to his right and saw her. A girl, a very pretty girl, no more than a year or two older than Ren, with copper red hair and dazzling blue eyes just like Sora. Ren caught his first glimpse at her just as she was composing herself from laughing. She forced her face stone cold and acted as though nothing had happened.

    Ren's attention was stolen back by Elder Pa when he continued his address.

    "Young Jo is a gleaming treasure shared by this entire village," the old man said, still without even a smile. "The boy's family joins us here. They would like to address you as well."

    Ren looked over at the girl once again across the platform. Sora was next to her. And instantly, Ren understood. There were two red-haired adults standing there as well, a man and a woman, with a young boy (also a redhead) peeking his head out bashfully from behind her legs.

    This was Sora's family. His parents and little Jo, whom Ren had apparently saved from the river. And the girl... it was Fey. They all were dressed in the same shabby clothing as Sora, and all gazed at Ren thankfully with intense but kind blue stares.

    "Master Ren," Sora's father began with a friendly smile. "Our family is forever in your debt. Our most heartfelt gratitude to you, our hero. If there is anything you wish that we can provide you, we implore you to name it."

    Ren blushed and nodded politely once again.

    The audience seated around the square all stood once again and clapped for Ren. Some of the men in the crowd gave a sort of salute that Ren had never seen before with their clenched fists placed over the middle of their chests.

    Elder Pa turned to the crowd. Evidently this was Ren's cue that he was excused because Sora walked over quickly and ushered Ren off the stage and down to an open seat on the stone bleachers with the rest of his family.

    "Now that we have formerly welcomed our honored guest, let us address the exciting matters at hand," Pa continued.

    The old man walked gingerly towards the very front of the stage. Another man in a farmers hat and sweat-soaked shirt stepped forward from his seat in th audience and handed Elder Pa something.

    Walking back towards the center of the platform, Pa put the object to his lips and blew. Ren realized that it was some sort of whistle from the high-pitched sound. A few seconds passed before Ren felt the breeze pick up with stray leaves and sand along for the ride. Suddenly, Ren gasped.

    An enormous feathered creature that looked like a large bird came soaring into view like a fighter jet. As it swooped closer and dived down to perch on the elder's shoulder, Ren got a better look at it. It had a gorgeous plumage of shiny black and red feathers, beady eyes and a long, spike-like beak. Another animal... or creature that Ren had never seen anything like.

    The elder reached up and untied a roll of paper from the bird's leg. He unfurled the paper and held it up to the audience.

    "This," his voice boomed. "The reason I have called this address. The day we have been waiting for has come."

    The crowd burst into hushed excitement as though they all knew something that Ren didn't. Sora nudged Ren and gave him a big grin as though something great was about to happen.
    Last edited by Legacy; 9th March 2014 at 08:30 PM.

    Coming Soon...

  12. #12
    Ice ice baby Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters (1)

    Well looks like my guess regarding where Ren was going was right xD though it seems like he's now in some sort of medieval Pokemon World which is honestly interesting considering that kind of setting has barely been used at all. Your description and flow were once again great and I could imagine what was going on vividly, though I didn't quite catch what the bird Pokemon at the end was. Other than that the first thing I thought of when I saw Pa was Gandalf but that's just me xD

    You make it hard to review cause it's just hard to find any mistakes or something that you have to work on honestly xD though I've always wondered how you got become such a great writer.

  13. #13
    Go Niners! Akari's Avatar
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters (1)

    Uh-Maze-Ing!!

    I love the unique world you have created which is very different than the high-tech world that most Pokèmon stories take place in. I love the visual description of the beauty of Masara. If I'm not mistaken, Masara is a subtle shoutout to Pallet Town; I got that when you described the colors (paint pallet), plus Masara is Pallet's Japanese name I think. Clever.

    I get the feeling with the description of Persian and whatever the bird was at the end, that this is more of a "based on Pokèmon" story than an actual fic. The word Pokèmon hasn't even been used yet.

    The balance between Ren with his belief that he is in a dream and his experiencing of Masara and this world is going to be really fun to read. The dialogue as well is masterful. You really get the sense that Ren is in a foreign world but the emotion and understanding is still there.

    Looking like another Pokèmon_Legacy classic!

  14. #14
    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters (1)

    @Stellar Gale; Haha yup, you were right about Ren waking up in the new world :) thanks for the kind words, coming from one of the most established and popular writers here... it means a lot! Thanks for reading!
    @Akari; Thank you for the complements. It's good to be back writing again. Thank you for reading, both here and at FF.net. I don't think I will post this story there, but maybe.

    Thanks everyone who has taken the time to read my little story. I would greatly appreciate any feedback you could provide. If you do review, again, I will be glad to return the favor. Just drop me a VM and we can discuss a review exchange.

    Coming Soon...

  15. #15
    Because I like Tophats Tophat Dragoneye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Land of Monsters (1)

    I have to say, this story intrigues me, as it is not the same conventional Pokémon fics we usually see around here. For me, it is still a bit too early to come up with a proper review, but I'll see what I can do.

    The story so far could be seen as similar as the Harry Potter books, as the main character (Ren in this case) is thrown into a world he doesn't know about until he comes face to face with it, instead of living in a (possibly) miserable life in the one he knows about. How it happens, is where this story deviates, as Ren suddenly finds himself in this new world after the hornet attack. It may or may not be a hint, but Ren and Kenji's discussion about dreams could have something to do with how Ren ended up in this new, strange world. And I loved the story.

    Every bit of details you've written is amazing, I can easily imagine seeing the world(s) in the story with my own eyes. Dialogs is also greatly detailed, with lots of personality in them, for example Ren keeping his way of talking and his personality when transported to this new, unknown world. And to be honest, I couldn't find any error in the fic, so that's a nice bonus.

    I decided to subscribe to this thread for future reading, but you're welcome to add me in the mention list :)
    Revolutionaryverse


    Many thanks to Blue Dragon for the signature

    ONE-shot: Forced into Retirement

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