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  1. #1

    Default Lucky Egg

    Okay, this is my first ever pokemon fanfiction, so I'm a little bit terrified to post it. This is going to be a journey fic of a currently undecided length (don't worry, I know how it ends). Hopefully you guys enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :D

    As for content warnings, be on the lookout for swearing, mild violence, maybe mild sexual situations, etc.

    Index


    Lucky Egg
    Chapter 1: No Smoke Without Fire


    The orange light of sunrise reflected off of the fresh puddles that dotted the dirt paths, turning them into pools of liquid amber. The peaceful illusion cracked when two bicycle tires ripped down the center of one of them. The sun-tinted water became mud that splattered all over the bike’s dirt-crusted spokes and its rider’s worn leather boots. The rider didn’t seem to mind, if she noticed at all.

    Nani Hynson sped along the paths, swerving side to side like a Swellow playing in the air currents. With the way she unpredictably accelerated and decelerated and the winding, unorthodox course she followed, one could easily mistake her trip for a free-spirited, spontaneous morning romp through the fields and cheri tree orchards of Hynson Ranch. At least, if not for the dead look in her eyes. In truth the dancing pattern of her ride was mere routine, a series of turns and swerves and subtle braking that she had repeated every morning for as long as she could ride a bike. The path was so ingrained into her muscle memory that she could probably follow it while asleep. This early in the morning, she practically was asleep. It was a miracle that she hadn’t crashed already.

    The eggs certainly weren’t helping her drowsiness. Two colorful pokemon eggs were strapped to her body by a harness--one in the front and one in the back--and another dozen hung off her bike’s luggage rack. She could feel the fluids inside the one against her stomach subtly shifting with every change of speed and direction, creating a hypnotic, soothing rhythm that only made her want to close her eyes more.

    Nani wished that she could stop and take a quick nap in the dewy grass, but that was not an option. The riding pattern she adhered to was designed to create the optimal amount of fluid circulation within the eggs in the minimum amount of time. Going off-book could throw this batch’s hatch time off schedule, or worse, fail to properly maximize the baby pokemon’s bone strength. It wouldn’t kill the pokemon or anything, but every beginning trainer should have a chance at an equally healthy and battle-ready starter. At least, that’s how her parents always put it. They also liked to add that no one on the ranch got their breakfast until they finished their morning chores. Nani muttered something bitter about corporate bullshit and kept to her course.

    As she approached the small lake at the far end of the ranch property, the coolness of the September air was broken by strong heat radiating off of the Torchic egg attached to her front. It would probably be hatching soon. She made a mental note to move that egg to Incubation Section C when she got back. That was, if it didn’t hatch before she could make it back. It was heating up fast.

    Nani’s surprise transformed into deep concern as sticky sweat adhered her tee shirt to her stomach. She’d held thousands of Torchic eggs at various stages of development, from freshly laid to hatching, and never had any of them felt quite this hot. Was it sick? She decided to head back to the ranch early in case there really was something wrong, and began banking around the edge of the lake to turn herself around.

    A fourth of the way around the lake, the egg on her back began to heat up as well. The temperature was rising to dizzying levels. What a pain, she thought, clutching the handlebars to keep herself from toppling over. Now she would have to put even more eggs in the incubation chamber, or deal with two newborn Torchic at the same time--

    Wait.

    The egg attached to her back was a Mudkip egg. Those don’t get hot when they hatch. Not to mention that the temperature seemed to be rising all around her. The eggs couldn’t have been the source of all that heat, so what was?

    Nani looked out over the lake. A mysterious object hovered a few yards above the water, although calling it an object felt like a stretch. It was a blip, a little wrinkle where not everything lined up the way it was supposed to. She was tempted to call it a trick of the heat, but there was no wave to it, only a perfect sphere of distortion. If she had stared at it for a few more seconds, she may have decided it was a figment of tired imagination. She never got the chance.

    The light-warping bubble popped, and suddenly the air was filled with flames. A blast of scorching air and a deafening roar slammed against Nani, pushing her to the side of the path and throwing her off balance. The lake boiled and hissed. The force of the explosion launched scalding water into the air that rained onto Nani and sizzled against her flesh like hot coals. She howled in pain and put her hands up to shield her face, sacrificing her control over the bike. By the time she realized that she was falling, it was too late to recover.

    Despite the absolute chaos around her, only one panicked thought ran through her mind—the eggs. If her bike landed on its side, the eggs on the luggage rack would be crushed, and all those defenseless unborn pokemon would be goners. Without thinking Nani threw herself off the side of the bike and onto the ground. The shock of impact rattled her bones and knocked the air out of her lungs, but she still managed to catch the bike with her legs before any of the eggs hit the dirt. She would have sighed with relief, but she was far from safe.

    With bulging eyes, she peered through the bike frame out at the lake. The air was thick with billowing steam, but through it she could see something hovering in the air. The shape was completely obscured, and she could only make out muted colors--black, white, and a few patches of blue, all cast in a fiery orange glow. Tendrils of flame burst forth from the floating beast like solar flares, scattering petal-shaped embers that fluttered along the heated air currents. It would have been a beautiful sight if not for the encroaching smoke and the harsh scent of burning cheri wood. The orchard was on fire.

    Nani scrambled to her feet. With trembling hands she propped up and mounted her bike, eyes darting from side to side in search of a safe way out. There was only one path that hadn’t been clogged with smoke and fire, but it was a third of the way around the lake. It was her only chance.

    She sped off towards the opening. Her lungs were heavy with smoke and the burns all over her exposed limbs made every movement agony, but panic kept her legs pumping. A blast of fire rushed at her and barely missed her back wheel, sending her lurching forward and knocking a high-pitched scream out of her.

    “Oh arc, oh arc, fuck, fuck, fuck!” she squeaked, pushing at the pedals with more force than she ever thought she could manage. She was so close, and the trees along that path still hadn’t caught fire. Just a few more yards.

    Nani veered away from the lake and shot past the tree line. She made it. Hope rose inside of her, but it didn’t take long for it to be shot down.

    A blinding light glared in her right peripheral vision, followed by a crackling rumble. A stream of fire rocketed past her, missing her by inches and sending her swerving to the left. The bark of the nearby trees turned black and then ashy white in the heat, and the flames began to creep up the trunks and grab at the canopy’s leaves.

    Nani howled as a horrible burning sensation spread across the back of her right arm. The fire must have caught her tricep, scorching her even worse than the scalding water had; the hot embers being blown against the wound only made it worse. She gritted her teeth and struggled to keep her watering eyes open through the pain.

    The fire blast had gone far, and all of the trees for a good ten yards in front of her were ablaze. A higher branch of an older tree was beginning to buckle as the flames chewed away at the base of it. With a twisted gut Nani leaned forward and accelerated as much as she could.

    Just as she was about to pass the hazard, the branch broke off with a loud snap. She ducked her head and gave one last push forward. She managed to bolt out from under the branch before it could hit her, but the harsh clanking sound from behind informed her that it struck her bike on the way down. Her body shook in fear of how that could have ended.

    Even after she had past the last of the flaming trees, Nani didn’t slow down. She sprinted ahead, never looking back, until the crackling of flames faded and all she could hear was her own racing breath and the blood rushing through her ears. Then she went further. The main buildings were in sight when her legs gave way and slipped off the pedals. She flopped off of the bike and stumbled to a halt, gently laid the bike down on its side, and collapsed into the grass. Every part of her was quivering, and she felt like her legs were going to fall off. She doubled over and coughed violently in a vain attempt to clear the smoke from her lungs.

    Now that she was out of the immediate danger, the reality of the situation was beginning to dawn on her. The orchard was on fire. If it kept spreading, they could lose their whole cheri crop. She had to get somebody. Her mom would be awake, and maybe together they could grab the Swampert brood mothers and have them put the fire out before things got even worse.

    Nani finally looked back to assess the damage, but there was no smoke. Confused, she flipped herself over and scanned the horizon. There wasn’t a single burning tree or plume of smoke or even an orange glow anywhere in sight, only blue skies and puffy white clouds. The air had cooled as well.

    This didn’t make any sense. From what she witnessed before, the fire should have been visible for miles. Nani gaped for a good minute at the clear skies. She was beginning to question her sanity, but the stinging burns all over her skin insisted that there was in fact a fire, and she had been in the middle of it. Maybe the other staff had already noticed and put it out while she was biking away...?

    She was snapped out of her thoughts but a soft impact against her hip. Startled, she lurched and stiffened, then glanced down. It was just a little Treecko, bumping his head against her.

    Usually Nani wouldn’t have been alarmed--this was a starter farm for Arc’s sake, there were Treeckos everywhere--but this was a really tiny Treecko, probably two thirds the size of a healthy newborn. Not only that, but he was slathered in amniotic fluid and shaking like a leaf. There was a large red blotch covering his shoulder and upper arm, likely a burn. With bated breath Nani looked over at her bike. One of the last eggs on the luggage rack had been smashed open at the top, probably by the falling branch from earlier.

    “Oh arc, oh arc,” Nani stuttered, her panic rising again. She scooped the poor little thing into her hands. He curled up in a desperate attempt to soak up her warmth, then started butting his nose up against her thumb repeatedly. She doubted that she could get him back to the ranch in time to save him; even if she did, it was unlikely that he would survive given how prematurely he was hatched. Still, she had to try.

    She carefully slid him back into what remained of his egg, hoping that that residual fluid would insulate him well enough for the ride back home, but she knew it wouldn’t be enough without her body heat. She decided to swap his egg with the Torchic egg on the front of her harness to give him more of a fighting chance. Her plan was to switch the eggs and quickly as possible, but she froze solid the second she looked down at the one in her harness. Slowly, utterly bewildered, she unstrapped the egg and held it up to the light.

    Nani had seen enough Torchic eggs in her life to know that this was not one. It was at least 10% larger and nearly twice as heavy. Rather than orange and yellow, the shell was half white and half navy blue with the two colors split between the hemispheres, although the boundaries were warped by a thick swirling pattern. In the center of the white side sat a dark teardrop shape; flipping it over, Nani found an identical white mark on the other side.

    Where had this come from? She couldn’t place the species, and she could have sworn that the one she had loaded up at the beginning of her ride was a Torchic. In fact, she distinctly remembered glancing down at the egg when it started feeling hot and seeing a standard orange and yellow shell. But that meant the egg was replace after the ride had already started, most likely sometime after the explosion...

    No. She refused to go there. The explosion itself and fire vanishing was weird enough, but at least she could sort of explain those away with pokemon weirdness. Adding any more strange phenomena would push it into the supernatural, and she didn’t want to deal with that. She had just loaded up the wrong egg, and failed to notice because she was hungry and groggy. Nothing out of the ordinary, just human error.

    She was pulled back to reality when she heard a small, pained squeak coming from the Treecko. She pushed her confusion to the back of her mind and switched the placement of the eggs. Once the Treecko was secure against her stomach, she got on her bike and started making her way back to the ranch.

    Her legs still felt like they were made of lead and the back of her arm was still screaming from the burn, so she tried to distract herself by paying attention to the Treecko. He wasn’t shaking quite as bad anymore, but it was still weakly hitting his head up against the nearest surface, in this case the shell of the egg. He must have been stressed out of his mind. Nani knew that the best way to calm down a frightened baby pokemon was to name it and repeat that name over and over, but that practice was frowned upon on the ranch since the starters had to be given away and named later. Of course, the chances of a scarred, prematurely born Treecko being given away as a starter were minuscule, so Nani decided to fuck it all.

    “Everything’s going to be alright, Bumper,” she said, going with the first name that popped into her head. She tried to sound calm and soothing, but her rasping breath was undermining her efforts. “Okay Bumper? Bumper, Bumper, Bumper...”

    She repeated the name as she glided along the fields, passing Mudkip ponds and fireproofed Torchic pens. Even with the name chanting Bumper should have been getting steadily worse, but instead his condition seemed to be improving. By the time Nani pulled up in front of the main building he had stopped quivering altogether, and was looking up at his new human friend with wonder-filled eyes.

    “You’re a tough little guy, aren’t you Bumper?” Nani said.

    Bumper gave her the most adorable little smile, along with what might have been the only positive emotion that she had felt all day.

    The front door of the house opened with a low creaking noise. Her mother stepped out, her puff of greying, tightly curled hair pulled back with a bandana and the smell of bluk berry pancakes following her around like an Aromatisse’s scent cloud. Nani would have started drooling if all the adrenaline hadn’t killed her appetite.

    “Sweetie, why aren’t you putting the eggs away?” Mrs. Hynson’s friendly curiosity slowly transformed into horror as she took in all the details--her daughter’s frazzled hair and heavy breathing, the burns all over her skin, the smashed egg sitting in her harness. “Oh lord, what happened? Are you okay?”

    Mrs. Hynson rushed to her daughter’s side, but Nani gestured for her to shoo. “I’m fine. And I thought you guys were already on it.” How else would the fire have gone out so fast?

    “On what?”

    Nani raised an eyebrow. “You know, the fire?”

    Mrs Hynson’s eyes went wide with terror. “There’s a fire?” Her arms were beginning to tremble; this couldn’t be good for her heart health.

    “No! No, there’s not a fire,” Nani assured her, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “At least, not anymore. I thought you guys already put it out, since there’s no smoke or anything... You know, maybe there wasn’t a fire at all.”

    Of course there had been a fire. She bit the inside of her cheek and clenched her fists as the fear of losing grip on reality crept back into her mind.

    “First you say there’s a fire and now you say there’s not one.” Mrs. Hynson was beginning to grow agitated. “What happened? Where did you get those burns?”

    Nani put her hands up defensively and stammered. “I--well--I was just doing my course around the lake and then... um, this Camerupt came out of nowhere.” That was a total lie, but also more believable than what she had actually encountered. “It jumped right in the lake and used eruption or something. Splashed boiling water all over me.” She shook her head, trying to clear the uncomfortable fog that always filled her head when she lied. “I just kind of assumed there was going to be a fire because it was a fire pokemon attack, but I guess all that rain last night made it too wet for that.”

    Mrs. Hynson put a hand up to her mouth as agonizing empathy washed over her. “Oh, sweetheart!” She almost went in for a hug, but decided against it to avoid aggravating the burns. “I’m going to go get your father and see if he has any good burn salves. You stay right here--”

    “No, I can’t,” Nani protested. She pointed to Bumper, who was started to shiver again. “I need to get him to incubation.”

    “Just hold on one minute.” Mrs. Hynson turned and jogged back to the front door, sticking her head inside. “Corey! Lance!” she screamed.

    Faster than Nani would have thought was humanly possible, her twelve year old twin brothers filed out of the house. Both had clearly just woken up, although Corey was better at hiding it thanks to his buzz cut and his generally more attentive demeanor.

    Mrs. Hynson unstrapped the broken egg from Nani’s harness and handed it to Corey. “Take this down to the incubation house and give it to Sadie. She’ll know what to do.”

    Corey nodded and ran off to the west side of the farm.

    “His name’s Bumper!” Nani shouted after him. She really had wanted to see the Treeko there herself, and now she would spend the rest of the day worrying, but Corey could probably get there faster than she could. It was for the best.

    “Lance, forget cleaning the Mudkip pond filters,” Mrs. Hynson said. “You take over making breakfast.”

    That woke Lance up. He grinned from ear to ear as if all his dreams were coming true. “Okay!” He bolted back inside before his mom had the chance to change her mind. It was a good thing he went when he did, too; based on the smell coming out of the house, Nani wasn’t the only thing that got burned that morning.

    “Now you stay right here,” Mrs. Hynson ordered, guiding Nani into a seated position on the ground. “Take it easy. I’ll be back in a few minutes with the burn salve.”

    Nani couldn’t think of another reason to fight back, so she went silent and gave in. Her mom ran off in the direction of the mill. She undid the harness and placed it gently on the ground next to her, reveling in the relief of having that weight off of her shoulders and back. Her arms and legs still felt burning hot, so she laid down on the ground, hoping that the cool, wet grass would sooth her wounds. With the way her head was spinning, she expected to pass out before her parents returned.

    Just as she was about to drift off, a small snapping sound caught her attention. She jolted--it sounded like fire--but calmed down a quick scan of the area showed no visible flames. Confused, she sat up and listened for the source of the noise. It was coming from the bike. The strange, navy and white egg was shaking in its holder, and the shell was beginning to crack. A tiny, jet black claw broke through the top.

    Nani crawled to the bike and plucked the hatching egg off of the luggage rack. A second claw poked through the shell, followed by a third. She browsed her memory for all the pokemon species she knew, trying to figure out what this thing could be. She had narrowed it down to a few choices, and the top one was confirmed when a dark blue, blade-like extrusion burst through the side of the egg. It almost took her finger off, but she was too amazed to care.

    With that last push, the top of the egg shattered, and out popped an itty-bitty baby Absol. Its usually dark skin was a light dusty grey and its fur coat was little more than fluid soaked pecha-fuzz, but the stubby crescent blade coming out of its skull was enough to confirm its species.

    The Absol clambered out of the egg and flopped onto Nani’s arm. Its eyes were still fused shut as many furry pokemon’s were when newborn, so all it could do was sniff the air to coordinate itself. Nani cooed and rubbed its cheek lightly with her thumb. Its precious face was making it easy to forget her own wounds. “Hey little guy,” she said. “What was your egg doing on my bike?”

    It mewled and nipped at her finger, although its toothless gums didn’t do any damage. Nani just laughed. “Hungry, huh? I’ll bet. How does some warm milk sound?”

    She stood and was about to carry the Absol inside when she spotted her parents running her way. Her father had two first aid kits, one in each hand. Mrs. Hynson looked exasperated when she saw that her daughter was standing up.

    “Nani, I told you to take it easy,” she said. She hesitated when she noticed the baby pokemon in Nani’s arms. “What’s that?”

    “I think it’s an Absol,” Nani said, rocking it back and forth. It purred in contentment, calming her nerves a bit. “Its egg got mixed up with the others somehow, and I took it on the ride by accident. It just hatched.”

    Her father flinched at the mention of its species, but her less superstitious mother remained unfazed. She just smiled. “Well, it seems like it’s grown pretty attached to you already, and we can’t sell it to Professor Birch... Would you like to keep it?”

    The question caught Nani off guard. Despite having lived on a pokemon breeding ranch her entire life, she had never owned a pokemon all by herself. There had always been little ones around to play with, and she and her siblings just used the off-season breeding sires for battling if they ever got the itch. Getting her own pokemon had never crossed her mind. For an unsure moment she wondered if she could handle the responsibility, but then she remembered that she had been taking care of pokemon at a professional level for as long as she could remember, and that she was a thousand times more qualified to care for one than most of the 10 year olds that the ranch’s starters end up with.

    “Definitely,” she answered. She grinned from ear to ear and placed a gentle peck on the Absol’s delicate skull.

    In her excitement she hadn’t noticed Mr. Hynson coming up behind her and unscrewing the top of the burn salve. He applied a large glob of the cream to the burn on the back of her right arm. The sharp coolness and subsequent relief made her shiver and gasp.

    “That better?” he asked with a light chuckle.

    Her eyelids flickered as she reveled in the feeling. “So much. Thank you.”

    The salve had already put her in a better mood. The incident at the lake drifted into the foggy outskirts of her mind, as all things she preferred not to think about tended to. It would no doubt return and cry out for attention in the middle of the night when there was nothing to distract her senses, but for the time being she could focus on the good. She had her own pokemon now, and a rare one at that.

    “It needs to be fed and dried off,” Mrs. Hynson said, glancing at the baby Absol. “I’ll take care of it while Dad patches you up.”

    “Hold on,” Nani said. “I need to name it.” She examined it closely. Unlike the starter pokemon, she didn’t know enough about Absols to determine it’s gender at a glance. That was okay. The name she had in mind was gender neutral, anyway.

    “I sure was lucky to end up with you,” she said softly, holding it up to her face. “I’m gonna call you Lucky.”

    Although its eyes had yet to open, Lucky stopped squirming and seemed to look its new owner dead in the eyes. For a drawn-out moment it was uncomfortably silent. Lucky then started kicking his feet as if doing the doggie paddle, causing Nani to chuckle.

    “Lucky it is,” she said, handing the Absol off to her mother. “Be careful with them, alright?”

    “And you be careful with yourself,” Mrs. Hynson said. “You’re taking the rest of the day off, understood?”

    Nani sighed, shoulders slumping. “Yes, mom.” She loved vacation time as much as anyone, but unexpected days off always made her feel lazy and useless. Her work always got dumped on someone else, and that barely seemed fair to her. Still, there was no arguing with her mother. She held out her arms to make it easier for her dad to apply the salve to her smaller burns and watched her mom carry Lucky away.

    “So,” Mr. Hynson said as he rubbed the cream over her left arm, “now that you have you own pokemon, do you think you’ll be going on a trainer journey?”

    Nani let out an almost playful groan. “Dad, do I look like I should be making big life decisions right now?”

    “Well, you don’t have to leave right away,” he said. She wasn’t even allowed to leave right away; their family had a long standing rule about no trainer journeys until the person is sixteen years old, and Nani’s sweet sixteen wouldn’t be here for another couple of months. “It’s never to early to think about it.”

    She went quite for a moment, mulling it over. “I’ll see how Lucky feels about it.”

    *****


    Nani spent the rest of the day in bed, reading guides about Absol care on her laptop and applying burn salve to her arms and legs every half hour. Her mom acted as the go-between between her and the outside world, giving her updates on Bumper’s health (“He’s a strong little fella, Sadie says he’s gonna be just fine”) and progress reports about various other activities on the ranch. She even went down to the lake herself and reported seeing no signs of a fire, not even a charred twig or a dusting of soot. Nani feigned thankfulness when she heard that news, but really it made her stomach twist.

    Eventually Mrs. Hynson brought Lucky up to the room. The staff had identified him as a boy and given him proper food, but he had started to grow anxious after being separated from his “mother.” Nani was grateful for the company, and let Lucky sprawl out on her lap as she continued to surf the web.

    At one point she decided to scour google for answers about what happened that morning. She searched for disappearing fire, spacial distortions, explosions from nowhere. Nothing of substance came up, and after ten minutes her stomach began to churn and lurch at the memories that threatened to overwhelm her. She watched some cute Skitty videos to take her mind off of it.

    When the sun hit the horizon and splashed warm hues across the darkening sky, Nani shut the blinds and hid under her blanket. Those colors were the last thing she wanted to see, and yet whenever she closed her eyes red and oranges danced across the backs of her eyelids. She thought about that thing she had seen through the steam. Her memory was blurry, but she recalled two spots of blue near the top of it. Maybe those were its eyes. She felt like it was still watching her.

    Unsettled, she opened her eyes and poked her head out from under the blankets. Something was watching her, but it wasn’t the mysterious flaming steam monster. Lucky had crawled up her chest and was now face to face with her, so close that their noses were nearly touching. Nani chuckled at her own paranoia.

    “Are you in on all this, Lucky?” she asked, pretending that the question was a joke.

    Lucky nipped and licked her nose, then nuzzled his head up under her chin. His crescent head-blade cupped the side of her face, but thankfully it was still too dull to cut her; Absol’s blades didn’t get sharp until a month after their birth. Nani picked him up and moved him onto the pillow next to her.

    “Goodnight, nubbins,” she said, lightly tapping on the rounded point of his head-blade.

    Lucky curled up and fell asleep almost immediately. For a while she just watched his fuzzy side rise and fall and listened to the light whisper of his breathing. Maybe he was a part of whatever had happened in the woods. Maybe he was even behind it all. Whatever the case, Nani had a feeling Lucky would be worth all the burns and the panic in the end. This was the start of something great. She counted his rhythmic breaths until she drifted off to sleep alongside him.
    Last edited by BinkVallen; 8th April 2015 at 11:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Less cute in person Beth Pavell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    I have something of a priority list when it comes to reading, and lucky for you, new authors are near the top of it

    Technical Accuracy/Style
    It's very readable. I noticed that you kept spelling "brake" as "break" when referring to the bike. Aside from that that I would probably de-capitalise Cheri, but that's not essential. Description's good - it's evocative without undue purple, which as most people will tell you, I always like to see. And it's an entirely new location in a canon region, which I always like to see. As a small suggestion I would probably refer to the cheri grove specifically as an orchard

    Story
    Nice to see that you've taken your time getting started. I really like the concept of the protagonist living on a starter ranch, it's a cunning idea and solves a lot of problems right off the bat. It'd be nice to see her skills come up again later on. I am kind of hoping that this will be more of a slice-of-life style fic, mostly because of my own predilections, but also because there aren't many about.

    The mystery pokémon and mystery fire is a good starting hook. I would be surprised if it doesn't puzzle the rest of the family further - at the end of the day, Nani got burned but the orchard didn't. I'm curious to see how the mysteriously appearing Absol egg play out

    Characters
    It's a decent start. I've already gone over the concept of the protagonist. Other than that I'm left with the unfortunate position of the cast being good enough for no complaints but not so good as to gush. In any case that should still be a good sign - nobody's going to make me gush about the characters on the strength of one chapter

    Overall
    A nice start. I should like to keep an eye on this - adding it to the list, alas
    The Long Walk
    For Joshua Cook, it's a long walk away from his dull life to the Pokémon League. But does he really want to be the very best? A coming-of-age story of adventure, friendship and growing up in the world of Pokémon.


    Pavell's Scribbledegook Week LIII: Pokémon Taxonomy: Onix Line

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Quote Originally Posted by Beth Pavell View Post
    I have something of a priority list when it comes to reading, and lucky for you, new authors are near the top of it

    Technical Accuracy/Style
    It's very readable. I noticed that you kept spelling "brake" as "break" when referring to the bike. Aside from that that I would probably de-capitalise Cheri, but that's not essential. Description's good - it's evocative without undue purple, which as most people will tell you, I always like to see. And it's an entirely new location in a canon region, which I always like to see. As a small suggestion I would probably refer to the cheri grove specifically as an orchard

    Story
    Nice to see that you've taken your time getting started. I really like the concept of the protagonist living on a starter ranch, it's a cunning idea and solves a lot of problems right off the bat. It'd be nice to see her skills come up again later on. I am kind of hoping that this will be more of a slice-of-life style fic, mostly because of my own predilections, but also because there aren't many about.

    The mystery pokémon and mystery fire is a good starting hook. I would be surprised if it doesn't puzzle the rest of the family further - at the end of the day, Nani got burned but the orchard didn't. I'm curious to see how the mysteriously appearing Absol egg play out

    Characters
    It's a decent start. I've already gone over the concept of the protagonist. Other than that I'm left with the unfortunate position of the cast being good enough for no complaints but not so good as to gush. In any case that should still be a good sign - nobody's going to make me gush about the characters on the strength of one chapter

    Overall
    A nice start. I should like to keep an eye on this - adding it to the list, alas
    Thanks so much for taking the time to review. ^w^ I made all the technical changes you suggested. (You were right about capitalizing cheri, I either needed to not do that or capitalize all the other berries.) This isn't going to be pure slice of life because I have a overarching plot in mind, but I've been going back and forth on having a few filler-y slice of life style chapters. I'll see how that goes.

  4. #4
    you can breathe now... diamondpearl876's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Nani Hynson sped along the muddy paths, swerving side to side like a Swellow playing in the air currents.
    Cute name for a character, and I quite like the image. Would remove the word “muddy” as you already hinted at that quite a few times in the first paragraph, and it's redundant here.

    The fluids inside them sloshed with every change of speed and direction, creating a hypnotic, soothing rhythm that only made her want to close her eyes more.
    When you work for a ranch like this, I guess that sound can't be anything but appeasing... Having (tried to) raise real bird eggs, though, I think the sloshing sound isn't actually very realistic or wanted at all. From what I learned, the fluids inside were supposed to keep the fetus inside in a stable position as as not to damage any still-growing organs. But then again, this is a fictional world, so... I guess that's up to you.

    They also liked to add that no one on the ranch got their breakfast until they finished their morning chores. Nani muttered something bitter about corporate bullshit and kept to her course.
    How evil, but oh, how motivating.

    The egg attached to her back was a Mukip egg.
    I think you meant “Mudkip”

    She was tempted to call it a trick of the heat, but there was no wave to it, only a perfect sphere of distortion.
    This was a pretty clever, interesting piece of description in particular.

    Of course, the chances of a scarred, prematurely born Treecko being given away as a starter were minuscule, so Nani decided to fuck it all.
    I lol'd, though the concept as a whole is pretty disheartening.

    Unsettled, she opened her eyes and poked her head out from under the blankets. Something was watching her, but it wasn’t the mysterious flaming steam monster. Lucky had crawled up her chest and was now face to face with her, so close that their noses were nearly touching. Nani chuckled at her own paranoia.

    “Are you in on all this, Lucky?” she asked, pretending that the question was a joke.
    Another cute image, though I'm assuming Nani knows that absol are known to bring disaster... ;p

    All right, generally how my reviews go is that I point out particular sentences/paragraphs/whatever and then give my general opinions. So, uh, this is definitely one of the most interesting, unique openings to a journey fic I've ever seen. That sounds exaggerated, but it's really not. The mysterious fire, doubled with an absol's seemingly innocent appearance, brings about a lot of questions that I assume will be answered gradually, over the course of the story. The description of the fire could have been a bit more urgent. By that, I mean that you use a lot of filler words that stops the action and slows down the scenes. Action scenes like that require a LOT of “show, don't tell”. So don't tell me Nani is confused outright (which you did), but show more by having her swear and talk to herself (which you also did, but I'd advise on adding more).

    The ranch and the whole egg raising process seems very interesting as well. I imagine it won't play the biggest role in a journey fic, but Nani's knowledge about how to take care of certain types of pokemon when they're young seems really helpful. I'll be interested to see how she grows as a character too. How does she deal with giving pokemon away if they've grown attached to her? How does she react to older pokemon? I had another question, but forgot it.

    Anyway, I'll be looking forward to more.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post

    Cute name for a character, and I quite like the image. Would remove the word “muddy” as you already hinted at that quite a few times in the first paragraph, and it's redundant here.

    The fluids inside them sloshed with every change of speed and direction, creating a hypnotic, soothing rhythm that only made her want to close her eyes more.
    When you work for a ranch like this, I guess that sound can't be anything but appeasing... Having (tried to) raise real bird eggs, though, I think the sloshing sound isn't actually very realistic or wanted at all. From what I learned, the fluids inside were supposed to keep the fetus inside in a stable position as as not to damage any still-growing organs. But then again, this is a fictional world, so... I guess that's up to you.

    They also liked to add that no one on the ranch got their breakfast until they finished their morning chores. Nani muttered something bitter about corporate bullshit and kept to her course.
    How evil, but oh, how motivating.

    The egg attached to her back was a Mukip egg.
    I think you meant “Mudkip”

    She was tempted to call it a trick of the heat, but there was no wave to it, only a perfect sphere of distortion.
    This was a pretty clever, interesting piece of description in particular.

    Of course, the chances of a scarred, prematurely born Treecko being given away as a starter were minuscule, so Nani decided to fuck it all.
    I lol'd, though the concept as a whole is pretty disheartening.

    Unsettled, she opened her eyes and poked her head out from under the blankets. Something was watching her, but it wasn’t the mysterious flaming steam monster. Lucky had crawled up her chest and was now face to face with her, so close that their noses were nearly touching. Nani chuckled at her own paranoia.

    “Are you in on all this, Lucky?” she asked, pretending that the question was a joke.
    Another cute image, though I'm assuming Nani knows that absol are known to bring disaster... ;p

    All right, generally how my reviews go is that I point out particular sentences/paragraphs/whatever and then give my general opinions. So, uh, this is definitely one of the most interesting, unique openings to a journey fic I've ever seen. That sounds exaggerated, but it's really not. The mysterious fire, doubled with an absol's seemingly innocent appearance, brings about a lot of questions that I assume will be answered gradually, over the course of the story. The description of the fire could have been a bit more urgent. By that, I mean that you use a lot of filler words that stops the action and slows down the scenes. Action scenes like that require a LOT of “show, don't tell”. So don't tell me Nani is confused outright (which you did), but show more by having her swear and talk to herself (which you also did, but I'd advise on adding more).

    The ranch and the whole egg raising process seems very interesting as well. I imagine it won't play the biggest role in a journey fic, but Nani's knowledge about how to take care of certain types of pokemon when they're young seems really helpful. I'll be interested to see how she grows as a character too. How does she deal with giving pokemon away if they've grown attached to her? How does she react to older pokemon? I had another question, but forgot it.

    Anyway, I'll be looking forward to more.
    Oh, thank you for reviewing! I'll implement a couple of the smaller changes later.

    Yeah, the sloshing isn't that realistic, but I was trying to come up with a reason for why walking/biking around with the egg is important for hatching like it is in the games. Might change it from a sloshing noise to just the feeling of the fluids shifting slightly in the harness eggs. That's a little less extreme.

    Nani's fully aware of the myths behind Absols, but she prefers to listen to the science and believe that they only predict disasters rather than bring them. Although, after everything she's gone through she might start to question that... ;P

    Yeah, action sequences were never my strong suit. I'll try to cut out some redundancies, but that scene might need a more thorough rewrite in the future. And her background as a starter breeder is going to have a big impact on how she adjusts to like as a pokemon trainer (a very different scene than raising baby pokemon). Thanks again for reading. >w>

  6. #6
    built this ship to wreck. Lugion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    I love seeing little game things like breeding implemented like this. Starter farms are an interesting concept.

    I have to echo earlier sentiments that some of the prose was a bit redundant (for example, "...she could probably follow it while asleep. This early in the morning, she practically was asleep." You're ending two consecutive sentences with "asleep", when you could probably axe the second one without losing any meaning.), but overall good. You have a pretty unpretentious style that's pretty enjoyable to read.

  7. #7
    Registered User chaos_Leader's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Interesting.

    Personally, I've figured the universally egg-based reproduction process was only like that in the games for game mechanics purposes. In what I'd write, it'd be something I'd do away with, and go with something more akin to real animal reproductive behavior. But you're sticking with the everybody-in-eggs and movement-based incubation mechanic, so I can only look at it fairly if I keep that in mind.

    Trying to think of things to say that aren't reiterations of what others have said so far.

    The suddenly vanishing fire is a real question mark in the head, since it was obviously real enough to cause burns to Nani, but suddenly not there when she leaves. Makes one wonder what'll happen if she goes back there, if she'll find anything, or anyone who might have a clue what's going on.

    It might have been nice to get a more complete introduction to the family/family home, but Nani was understandably under a lot of duress at the moment, and the brevity of the family's into here can be forgiven.

    One small moment that caught me off guard a little though:

    scalding water into the air that rained onto Nani and sizzled against her flesh like hot coals.
    Water that hot, when it's dispersed into a spray wide enough to hit Nani, would either 1) evaporate very quickly as steam and never hit her in the first place, or 2) cool off before hitting her. It'd probably still be pretty hot, but not painfully so. Then again, the burns she received later were implied to be from the fire, not scalds from boiling water. I dunno, it's a small nitpick in an otherwise pretty strong start, really.

    In any case, color me interested in the story. I can't wait to see how the mystery of the suddenly vanishing forest fire plays out. Hope to see more of you around!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Lucky Egg



    Chapter 2: Happy Birthday


    “Oooh, ooh! Open mine next!”

    Nani took the blue present from her little sister Mina’s outstretched hands. The entire Hynson clan--her parents, grandparents, and all 11 of her siblings--kept their eyes on Nani as she tore away the wrapping paper and opened the box. Inside were two items: a 5-pack of potions, which ran with the theme of all her other presents thus far, and a bottle of hair dye, which did not.

    “Oh, thank you Mina!” Nani said, holding her presents up for everyone to see. According to the label, the hair dye was the exact same shade of platinum blonde that was currently coating her tight curls. “It’s even the right color.”

    Mina beamed in pride. Behind her, their older brother Lamar rolled his eyes.

    “Honestly Nani,” he said, “you’re better off dyeing your hair back to normal before you leave. Keeping that up on the road’s gonna be tough.” He fidgeted with the scratched-up pokeball in his hands as a passive-aggressive reminder to his little sister that he knew what he was talking about. As thankful as Nani was that Lamar had taken a week off from badge collecting to come home and shower her with his wisdom, he could be a killjoy sometimes.

    “I’ll make it work,” Nani said. “Besides, Lucky and I gotta match.”

    Lucky didn’t respond to the sound of his name. He was too busy circling the pile of presents on the coffee table like a hungry Sharpedo, staring at the boxes with his dinner-plate eyes as if he could see through the wrapping paper if he focused hard enough. Although it was technically Nani’s birthday, most of the presents were ultimately for him. He was the one who had been insisting on a trainer journey for the past 4 months, and now his dreams were finally coming true.

    Nani noticed that Mina’s excitement had started to fade. She grinned at her and hugged the dye bottle against her chest. “Your present’s great, Mimi,” she assured her. That cheered her right up.

    Lucky snatched another present in his teeth and threw it onto Nani’s lap. He then tried to climb up onto her as well, but found that he was too large. He had grown a lot over the past few months, and now stood nearly 3 feet tall at the shoulder. Unable to establish a foothold on his owner, he fell backwards and crumpled at her feet in a defeated heap.

    Nani laughed and rubbed his belly with her foot. “Slow down Nubbins, you’re gonna hurt yourself.”

    She opened the present Lucky had passed to her, then another present, and another. As expected, most of her haul consisted of pokemon training supplies. Empty pokeballs, various medicines, a sleeping bag, new running shoes, a TM for Swagger, and just about everything else she needed to get on the road. Lucky’s enthusiasm grew with every present, until it became too much for him. By the time Nani picked the last present off of the table, he was shivering in excitement and teetering around the room like a lost Spinda.

    “This one’s from me,” Lamar said.

    Nani turned the little yellow box over in her hands. Lamar had been bragging all week about how great his present would be, and she was curious to see if his claims were justified. She ripped the paper away, revealing a lusterous black package with a simple golden plus sign decorating the front. It took her a moment to notice the small, elegant text embossed into the bottom: PokeNav Plus.

    An excited squeal started to form in her throat, but it was shoved back down inside her by a tidal wave of guilt. Judging from the box this was the newest model, and could easily have cost upwards of fifty thousand pokedollars. She squirmed. “Lamar...”

    “If you’re worried about the price tag, I got it for free,” he assured her with a flippant wave of his hand. “I did the president of the Devon Corporation a favor a couple months back. It’s been sitting in my box ever since. I figure that you’ll get more use out of it than me.”

    Just like that, the guilt was gone. Nani flipped the box over with a wild grin and read the features list on the other side. 48 hour battery life and solar cells for charging on the go. Water, acid, and shock-proof. Comes with AreaNav, DexNav, PlayNav, BuzzNav, and Entry Call all pre-installed, along with thousands of other apps available through AppNav. “Oh my arc, this is so cool!” She threw herself over the table and wrapped her brother up in a bear hug. “Thank you thank you thank you!”

    “No problem!” Lamar laughed happily, and Nani let go of him after that laughter turned into strained wheezing. She was only his little sister based on age, so she had to be careful not to squeeze him too hard.

    While she was busy thanking Lamar, most of her younger siblings had escaped from the living room and crowded together in the kitchen, probably eyeing the chocolate cake that Mrs. Hynson and Lance had baked for the occasion. Nani left to join them, but she was stopped by the sound of the doorbell ringing. She only managed one step towards the entrance before Lamar blocked her way.

    “Sit down, birthday girl, I’ve got it!” he shouted, jogging towards the door.

    Nani shook her head and collapsed back onto the couch. Now that most of the family had migrated to the kitchen, there was enough space for Lucky to settle down in the seat next to her. She ran her fingers through his soft mane as he sniffed at the PokeNav Plus box. “This thing’s gonna help us find our way around so we can visit lots of new places,” she explained to him. She wasn’t sure if he understood what she meant, but his tail was wagging regardless.

    Something shifted in Lucky’s demeanor. It was subtle, but Nani felt his muscles relaxing and his energetic shivering slowing down. He rested a gentle paw on her leg and looked at her with calm, steady eyes. Lucky’s sudden bouts of peacefulness used to confuse Nani, but now they made her brace herself. Usually, it meant that his keen senses had picked up on something that Nani was bound to have a bad reaction too.

    The sharp scent of scorched fabric hit her nose a few seconds later. Lucky’s warning kept her heart form racing, but she may have winced a bit. She watched the door open and relaxed when she recognized the source of the smell. In the doorway stood a familiar, wide-faced man with a well trimmed beard and a genial smile. The right sleeve of his white lab coat was slightly charred, but he didn’t seem to mind.

    “Professor Birch!” Lamar beamed at the professor and motioned for him to come inside.

    Professor Birch stumbled through the front door with a good natured laugh. “Lamar! Great to see you again. How’s the journey treating you?”

    “Six badges and no complaints,” Lamar replied. “What happened to you sleeve?”

    “Let’s just say that’s the last time I try to say hello to your Torchics.” Another jolly guffaw made his wide shoulders bounce. “Never mind that, I’m fine.”

    “Them again?” Lamar grimaced. “Those things are a menace these days.” He gave Nani a sidelong glance, reminding her of the lie she had to keep up. The lack of fire damage around the lake made her family doubt her false story about the Camerupt, so she came up with an even falser one about playing with the Torchics when she wasn’t supposed to and getting burned in the process. It was even less accurate and got her a stern talking to about honesty and fire pokemon safety, but at least they stopped asking about her burns.

    “There’s the birthday girl!” Birch said when he finally noticed Nani. He sat on the chair across from her. “Are you ready to get started on your journey?”

    Lucky yapped in eager agreement, but Nani wasn’t as decisive. She looked around the room at the well-worn furnature, the family pictures dotting the wooden walls, the rolling fields sprawling outside the windows. She had lived in that house for her entire life, and the idea of leaving for more than a week at a time was difficult to comprehend. “I don’t know,” she said. “It’s all really surreal.” She smiled when she smelled the rich, chocolatey scent wafting in from the kitchen. “I’m definitely ready for cake, though.”

    Birch laughed. “Cake sounds great. But first things first.” He pulled a bright red object out of his pocket and handed it to her. “Sorry I didn’t wrap it, I lost track of time.”

    “A pokedex?” She hadn’t been expecting to receive one. Trainers usually had to sign up for the field research program to get a pokedex, but she supposed she was a special case because Birch was a family friend. “Cool, thanks!” She flipped open the cover. The screen lit up automatically, and a spinning pokeball symbol appeared as it scanned the area. The loading screen was replaced with a picture of an Absol, along with a few lines of basic data.

    “Absol, the Disaster Pokemon,” the pokedex droned in a synthesized female voice. “Absol’s horns are highly sensitive to the environment, allowing them to predict natural disasters. They live in steep mountain environments and only venture into populated areas to warn the inhabitants of incoming catastrophes.”

    Lucky peered at the Absol on the screen in confusion. “That’s you, buddy,” Nani told him. Admittedly the Absol on the screen was a generic one, much less scrawny and bug-eyed than Lucky, but he was entertained all the same.

    “By the way, Nani,” Professor Birch said, “are you sure you don’t want an official starter? Plenty of trainers start with multiple pokemon.”

    Nani shook her head. “Nah. I want to get to know pokemon that aren’t Treeckos or Torchics or Mudkips for once. Besides, Lucky’s all I need!” She reached out to give her Absol a hug, but he had slipped away while she wasn’t looking. He plopped down in front of the TV, eyes glued to the blank screen. Nani glanced at the clock, and as she expected it was 7:59 PM exactly. She obediently picked up the remote, turned on the TV, and changed it the RealTrainer Channel.

    She saw the puzzled look on Professor Birch’s face and made a dismissive gesture. “His show is on.”

    The new episode of RealTrainer’s Badge Run: Hoenn began. Lucky’s tail swung from side to side in time with the theme music as he watched, mesmerized by the shiny badges streaming across the screen over footage of dramatic gym battles. Nani wasn’t sure how Lucky discovered the show in the first place, but she knew that it was what got him enamored with the idea of going on a journey. She tuned out the TV and focused on Birch again.

    “Actually, Professor,” she said in a low voice, “do you know if Bumper is still in the system?” She still hadn’t forgotten about that little Treecko, and she wouldn’t at all mind taking him in if he didn’t have a home yet.

    “Ah yes, Bumper. I’m afraid he isn’t,” he replied. “He was adopted about a month ago by a very nice coordinator. He’s in good hands, I’m sure.”

    Nani raised an eyebrow. She had a hard time believing that a coordinator would bother participating in a disabled pokemon adoption program, let alone take in a prematurely born Treecko with burn scars and a complex motor tic. (He never could stop hitting his head against things.) Maybe whoever adopted him was just a coordinator on the side, and intended for Bumper to be a house pet like most disabled pokemon. That made more sense.

    Either way, Nani couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. She barely managed a smile. “Oh, well, that’s good.”

    “So no extra starter then?”

    She shook her head.

    “Fair enough,” he said. “So, do you still want me to drive you out to Littleroot tomorrow morning, or would you rather go tonight?”

    “Tomorrow,” she answered. “I need another night in my own bed. Thank you, by the way.” There was nothing of interest between the ranch and Littleroot and the paths weren’t well maintained, so she didn’t want to take that hike unless she had to.

    “It’s no problem at all!” he replied. “I was planning to come over anyway to talk to your parents about next year’s breeding regulations. Having company on the ride back is just another plus!”

    A tap on the shoulder caught her attention. She turned and saw a meek-looking Mina rocking back and forth on her heels. “Nani, can we have cake now?”

    Nani put a hand to her chin and pretended to mull it over. “I don’t know, can we?”

    “Pleeeeease!”

    “Okay, fine,” she said with playful emphasis as she stood. “We can have cake.”

    Lamar leaped over and crouched in front of Mina, letting her climb on his back for a piggy back ride. “But the real question is, can we eat it too?”

    Nina chuckled. “Aren’t you a wise guy?” Usually she would have called him a wise ass, but there were too many small children running around. Lamar just grinned and zipped away with Mina on his back. Nani followed, bracing herself for the out of tune barrage of the birthday song that was about to hit her.

    *****


    The next morning came like any other. Nani woke up in her own bed at 5 in the morning, went through her typical morning routine, and left to do her morning chores. In the typical fashion of Hoenn winters, the morning air was chilly but stubbornly refused to drop below freezing. While most Hoennites would be shivering in these types of temperatures, Nani always had an oddly high tolerance for cold, so she didn’t bother throwing on anything warmer than a light jacket. She fetched her bike from the shed and coasted over to the incubation house to gather eggs for the morning ride.

    It was only after she had donned the empty egg harness that she remembered that she was no longer technically an employee of Hynson Ranch. She didn’t have to take the eggs for their morning ride; actually, she wasn’t sure if she was allowed to handle the eggs like that anymore. Someone else would be coming down to do egg rounds soon, so doing it herself ran the risk of throwing off the schedule.

    She removed the harness, but decided to complete the course without the eggs. This would be her last chance to ride around the ranch for a while, and she had three hours to kill before she and Professor Birch left for Littleroot. Besides, it would be a nice way to say goodbye to her home.

    Nani mounted her bike and sped off along her usual trails. Without the weight of the harness and eggs, riding around like this just felt wrong. She tried to distract herself by looking out at the fields and berry orchards and pokemon pens, but all that did was remind her that she wasn’t going to see any of them again for a long time. Maybe this ride was a bad idea. She was just making herself sad.

    Still, she continued. She followed the paths deeper into the cheri orchard, and soon arrived at the lake. Passing the lake after what happened used to make her wary, but she had gotten over it about a month after the incident. At least, she thought she had. Nani hit the brakes and stared out at the water. Besides the occasional ripple from the cool wind scraping over its surface, the lake was still and solid as a pane of glass.

    She wasn’t sure why, but she got the feeling that sitting by the lake would somehow lead to the closure she wanted. Wasn’t that what this ride was about? Closure, saying goodbye, and caving to the indomitable force of a life-long habit. The cheesiness of the idea made her laugh, but at the same time she felt compelled to follow through. It wasn’t like anyone was watching.

    She leaned her bike up against a tree and sat in the damp grass at the edge of the water. She didn’t know what she was expecting. A little bit of steam maybe, or the reappearance of that distortion sphere. Something to tell her that she hadn’t hallucinated the whole event. She took off her jacket and ran her hand over the scarring on the back of her right arm. All of her other burns had been minor and healed after a day, but the one from the fire blast left a ruddy blotch and a few white petal-shaped patches from the flying embers that stood out from her much darker skin. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but it helped her keep her sanity.

    “Hello?” she called out. Maybe whatever she saw through the steam was still there, hiding under the water. “Are you still there?” Waking it was probably a terrible idea, but it seemed so unlikely that she was willing to take the risk for the sake of her own curiosity.

    No response came. The surface of the lake was as still as ever. She knew it wasn’t coming back, but she felt like talking anyway.

    “I’m not mad, you know,” she said to no one. “Were you the one who sent Lucky? I think you were. I’m taking good care of him. We’re leaving for a trainer journey today. He’s a goofball, but he tries hard.”

    “Who are you talking to?”

    Nani jolted and turned around. Lamar stood about twenty feet back in the shadow of the cheri trees, his hands stuffed in his red hoodie’s pockets and a perplexed look on his face.

    “For arc’s sake, Lamar,” she exclaimed. “You scared the shit out of me.”

    “Sorry.” He didn’t sound very sorry. “Who are you talking to?”

    She hesitated, scrambling for an answer. “Um... Rayquaza.” She wasn’t exactly the religious type, but quite a few Hynsons were, so she had picked up enough practices for that to be a believable excuse. The lie made her teeth clench.

    “In front of a lake?”

    He had a point; bodies of water were more Kyogre’s territory. She pursed her lips. “It seemed like a good idea at the time?”

    “We have a shrine in the house...” He shook his head, giving up. “Never mind, forget it.” He walked over and sat on the ground beside her.

    “Why did you follow me?” she asked.

    “I thought you were running off to start your journey,” he said. “I couldn’t just let you leave without saying goodbye.”

    “I’m not. I’m leaving with Professor Birch later today.”

    “Good,” he said. “If you left before everyone got to send you off, Mom would probably hunt you down all the way to Littleroot.”

    A silly image of her mom trampling through the underbrush with a machete and a snarl of pure rage popped into Nani’s head, making her laugh. “Oh arc, she’d kill me!”

    Lamar chuckled too. “Anyway, while I’m here, there’s a couple things I want to tell you about pokemon journeys.”

    “Lay it on me.”

    “First of all, about that travel buddy thing.”

    Nani closed her eyes in exasperation and rubbed her temple. “Lamar—”

    “Don’t be like that,” he said before she could counter. His tone was dead serious. “Having a travel buddy is crucial. Besides always having pokemon on you, the buddy system is probably the most important safety precaution for a trainer.”

    “Traveling around with some stranger I meet on the road doesn’t sound safe to me,” she argued. “What if they’re a thief or a murderer or something?”

    “Ask to see their trainer card.” He pulled his own out of his pocket. “Then scan it with your PokeNav. It warns you if they’re a convicted felon or if there’s a warrant out for their arrest. Don’t trust them if they won’t show you their card.”

    “But what if they haven’t been caught yet?” she asked.

    “Well, that’s a risk,” he admitted, putting away his card. “But honestly, it’s riskier not to. Just, try to find someone about your age and watch your back until you get to know them better. Lucky can probably sense if they’re up to something, so you already have an advantage. Trust me, I’ve been through a few travel buddies, and even traveling with the worst of them was better than going on my own.”

    Nani sighed. She understood that it was common practice among trainers, but the whole system sounded like a catastrophe waiting to happen. Still, traveling alone didn’t sound like much fun either. “I guess I’ll try.”

    “Atta girl.” Lamar gave her a friendly slap on the back. “Sorry if I sound pushy, I just don’t want anything to happen to my little sister.”

    “Awwww!” She leaned over, knocking into him and resting the side of her head on the top of his. “You really do care about me.”

    “Fuck off,” he said, although he was grinning for ear to ear. By the dry sputtering sound that followed, Nani guessed that some strands of her curly mane had found their way into her brother’s mouth.

    She sat upright again and used her sleeve to wipe the spit out of her hair. “Eww, gross.”

    “That was entirely on you.”

    She laughed, admitting her defeat. “So, do you have any more nuggets of wisdom or are we done here?” The dampness of the grass was starting to soak through her pants, and her stomach was whining for her to get breakfast.

    “One more thing,” Lamar said. His tone had gone serious again, which Nani had expected, but it was tinged with a darkness that caught her off guard. He plucked a pokeball off of his belt and rolled it around in his hand, staring at it as he talked. “Pokemon are amazing creatures. I mean, you already know that, but my point is that a lot of them are even more powerful than you thought they could be. A lot of people don’t realize that until they become trainers and see their how strong they are up close. And then, once you have your own well trained pokemon, you start feeling like you’re powerful too. Like you’ve got what you need to really change things.”

    There was something unsettling in his eyes--regret, it looked like. Nani stared at his pokeball as he rolled it across he palm and weaved it through his fingers. She wasn’t very familiar with her brother’s team, and she wondered what was inside the pokeball he was fiddling with.

    He paused for a second to gather his thoughts. “What I’m saying is, there’s a lot of bad shit going on in the world, and when you have a fire-breathing dragon that can bite through a truck on your side, it feels like you have the power to stop the bad guys. But you don’t, because they have even more powerful pokemon that will stomp yours into the ground without a second thought. They’ve also got experience and numbers and money, everything you don’t have. Sure, every once and a while some kid has what it takes to actually make a difference, but that just fuels the fire for all the ones who don’t.”

    Nani knew who he were talking about. Those two trainers from Littleroot who managed to single-handedly dismantle Team Aqua and Team Magma a few years back had been all over the news when it happened, and she had heard stories about similar heroic triumphs of young trainers in other regions. It never occurred to her how many impressionable trainers must have tried to follow in their footsteps, barging into criminal hideouts and attempting to take everyone down with their undertrained pokemon. Her gut wrenched when she imagined the fate that all those poor kids met.

    “No matter how strong you think you and your pokemon are,” he continued, “they’re not strong enough. Organized crime has been on the rise recently, and I don’t want you getting yourself killed. Stick to battling regular trainers. If you see something fishy, report it to the authorities and leave it alone. Don’t try to be the hero.” He put the pokeball away and stared across the lake. “Trust me, none of us are the hero.”

    She could tell that this was personal and she was tempted to pry, but if Lamar wanted to tell the story he would have by then. Instead, she nodded silently.

    “Okay, now I’m done,” he said in a suddenly chipper tone. It sounded forced, but Nani didn’t call him out on it, as she was equally motivated to lighten the mood.

    “Wanna get breakfast?” she asked.

    “So much.” He rolled back onto his feet. “I heard that Mom’s making Kalos toast.”

    This didn’t surprise her at all, as her mother had a thing for special send-off meals whenever a family member was leaving home for a while. The thought of coming home to her favorite dish made her stomach rumble. “I’ll race you there!” She darted in the direction of her bike, and had already jumped onto it by the time Lamar realized what was going on.

    “Hey!” he shouted, running after her as she rode off laughing. “No fair!”

    *****


    Through the rear window of Professor Birch’s pickup truck, Nani watched the dense mass of people that was her family wave goodbye to her from the entrance of the ranch. She waved back until she was too far away to make out their faces, swallowed the lump in her throat, and turned around so the was facing the road ahead.

    “Excited?” Professor Birch asked.

    “That’s one word for it.”

    “Everyone’s a little scared at first,” he said. “You’ll fall into the rhythm of it in a few weeks, don’t worry!”

    The professor turned the radio on, releasing an old classic rock song that Nani vaguely recognized into the air. He returned to his unusual driving position, with a slumped posture and his hands close together near the top of the wheel. “And of course, there’s nothing stopping you from going back home every once and a while if you’re homesick,” he added. “It’ll be easy once you get a flying license.”

    “How many badges do I need to get one of those again?” she asked. She vaguely remembered Lamar talking about a badge requirement for that when he left for his journey two years ago.

    “There’s not actually a badge requirement.” His slightly irked tone he used suggested that he clarified this matter a lot. “But if you have at least 6 badges you’re considered experienced enough to teach your pokemon proper flying from a HM. It saves a lot of money, and most trainers don’t have a flyer strong enough to handle their body weight until they have 6 badges anyway.”

    That made a lot of sense. She had always wondered how her dad ended up with a flying license even despite never going on a trainer journey. It was a relief--to be honest, she wasn’t sure if she was going to make it to 6 badges. She wouldn’t be surprised if she never got a single one to put in her case. “That’s good.”

    For a while neither of them spoke. The man on the radio was singing something about his girlfriend and a Clefairy, although his Nani couldn’t make much of it out through his slurred annunciation. She watched the forest rolling by out the window, a mishmash of lush green pines, the brown, barren trunks of various deciduous species, and the occasional flash of red from Wurmples crawling along the branches.

    About ten minutes into the ride, Professor Birch decided to break the silence. “So, Nani, what pokemon are you planning on catching first?”

    She shrugged. “I don’t know yet.” The same question had been bugging her for months. Every pokemon she considered ended up on the list of ones that she wanted to catch, but at the same time she didn’t think she could handle more than a team of two until she got the hang of things. “Whatever I see first, I guess.”

    “Well, whatever species you decide to go after, I’d recommend making sure that the pokemon has some fight in it before you catch it,” he said. “Not every pokemon has what it takes to be a battler. Just make sure it doesn’t run away when you confront it, and you should be fine.”

    She was about to ask how to tell if a Wurmple is going to end up as a Cascoon or a Silcoon—Dustox was the only pokemon she’d rather not have—but the familiar frantic theme of a special news bulletin caught her attention.

    “This just in,” the stern voice of the radio host said, “the hostage situation at the Lilycove Department Store has been resolved. All but one of the hostages have made it out alive, although three of them are in critical condition and have been taken to Lilycove General Hospital. The hostage takers are believed to be members of a re-established Team Magma group. One of them was captured and arrested, but the other two absconded from the scene with over ten million pokedollars worth of merchandise. Everyone in the Lilycove area is advised to be on the lookout for large, bald man with a Milotic and a woman with long purple hair and a scar across the bridge of her nose.”

    Nani’s eyes widened. She hadn’t heard a thing about a hostage situation until just now. “Are we in the Lilycove area?”

    “Oh no, we’re nowhere close,” Professor Birch assured her, although he grim news had dampened his usually chipper tone. “Lilycove is in the northeast. Don’t worry, there hasn’t been much criminal activity around Littleroot.”

    That didn’t make her feel much better. She was going on a trainer journey, which meant a lot of traveling around. It wouldn’t be surprising if she found herself wandering into Lilycove one day. She rubbed her finger over the pokeball on her belt and tried to convince herself that Lucky would protect her, but Lamar’s words echoed through her mind. No matter how strong she thought her pokemon were, they wouldn’t be strong enough. Any comfort that she got from having her hand on the pokeball faded.

    Maybe a travel buddy was a good idea. At least someone would notice if she got kidnapped by Team Magma goons.

    The car lurched as the road turned from pavement to smooth dirt. The tan walls of quaint village houses began to show themselves between the thinning trees. Professor Birch pulled the car into a parking lot near the edge of town and stopped in a parking space marked with his name. Nani recognized a nearby building as the professor’s lab. “We’re here!” Professor Birch announced.

    As soon as Nani stepped out of the car, the pokeball on her belt burst open on its own accord. Lucky materialized and hit the ground running, scrambling out into the town and sniffing everything that he could reach with his nose. Nani trusted that he wouldn’t venture too far, so she didn’t call him back.

    “If you want to make it to Oldale by sundown, you may want to leave soon,” the professor said. “Of course, you’re more than welcome to stop by the lab first for a quick snack and—”

    “Lucky, no!”

    What Nani had failed to remember was that although Lucky had never been to Littleroot in person before, he had seen it enough times as the starting town on Badge Run to understand the general layout. As soon as he realized that the big yellow-roofed building was the lab where new trainers received their starters, he dashed northward, headed straight for the entrance to Route 101. Forgetting the professor entirely, Nani snatched her backpack and sprinted after her rogue Absol. “No, stop! Wait up!”

    Professor Birch was left on his own next to the car, but he didn’t take it personally. Excited trainers ran off into the woods before he could give them a proper send-off all the time, but this was the first instance he’d seen of the pokemon being the impatient one. He chuckled and waved goodbye to her. “Good luck, Nani!” he called after her.

    But Nani was already out of earshot. She ran up to the edge of the woods and stopped to catch her breath. For a moment she worried that she had lost her only pokemon on the very first day, but her fears were snuffed when she spotted Lucky trotting out of a denser part of the woods. Small twigs and specks of dead leaves poked out of his mane. Knowing him, he probably tripped and landed in a dead bush. He sat in front of Nani and looked up at her with wide eyes, his tail beating against the ground in an uneven, feverish rhythm.

    Nani knelt in front of him and plucked one of the larger twigs out of his fur. “You ready to go, Nubbins?”

    Lucky gave her a high-pitched yip, and his tail started wagging even harder.

    “Alright.” She looked down the route lying ahead of them. The surrounded plant life was tame and the path was well-worn, but the distances involved meant that this was still going to be a hell of a trek. She had hoped that Lucky’s exuberance would rub off on her, but that had yet to happen. She took a deep breath. “Let’s go, I guess.”

  9. #9
    Less cute in person Beth Pavell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Ok, so - first of all, relax

    Last edited by Beth Pavell; 10th February 2015 at 07:19 PM.
    The Long Walk
    For Joshua Cook, it's a long walk away from his dull life to the Pokémon League. But does he really want to be the very best? A coming-of-age story of adventure, friendship and growing up in the world of Pokémon.


    Pavell's Scribbledegook Week LIII: Pokémon Taxonomy: Onix Line

  10. #10
    The Ace of Aces Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Nani is totally the blandest most useless character ever and you should feel bad about it.

    ...I'm just kidding, please don't feel bad xD

    Anyways I actually am really interested in this fic. The first chapter left a lot of questions in regards to what Nani had actually seen (I kind of thought it was a Volcarona) and in general the whole feel of the chapter was very alarmed which I think made for a good introduction. The mystery of how she got Lucky to begin with is also there and I know that that's definetily a mystery we'll be getting an answer to at some point.

    In general you used a lot of good ideas here in regards to Nani. Pokemon Ranch aren't usually featured in journey fics so seeing a character with that kind of background was a welcomed breath of fresh air. You certainly did a good job of showing how the ranch worked and how Nani's family life is from having a lot (a lot!) of siblings to all her duties and the things she has to do around the farm. I do challenge you to list the ages of all of her siblings though :P

    The way Nani stared her journey was interesting, she's clearly in it more because of how much she's been pestered about it by her family and Lucky so I wonder if she'll eventually warm up to the idea of journey. Her reaction to the travelling buddy system was certainly something that supported this though it was a good way to make fun of that whole idea in general.

    You threw some pretty nice tidbits of world building here as well, expanding more on the game's story makes it all the more interesting since showing how other trainers must've reacted to the whole thing help in showcasing the consequences of it. It also makes sense for crime to be on the rise, since Team Magma and Aqua were basically the ones leading the crime world in Hoenn it makes sense that all the smaller criminals would want to all have a piece of the pie, what this means for Nani will remain to be seen though.

    Also I'm totally sad that she couldn't have Bumper as an additional starter :c I really liked th elittle guy even if his situation isn't the best, so I hope we can see him at some point during the fic and that he's actually able to function properly (Power to disabled Pokemon yay!).

    Anyways I will be checking this fic out every time you update because I really like it. You've managed to launch it off in a really nice and proper way, now I wonder what the rest of the flight will be like :p the first routes are always the toughest to write down in a journey fic so I wish you luck and hope to see it soon enough.

    ....Oh, and you don't have to worry about Nani, she's a really nice character, she's not really average either and her personality has enough aspects to it that will make it interesting to explore her later on.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Good golly gosh guys, I'm not that insecure. >W>

    I can't quite believe that someone other than myself has paid attention to the season - keep an eye on it going forward! The landscape description is pretty good for someone who - I assume - isn't much of a botanist.
    Admittedly I kind of wrote myself into a corner when I mentioned that Chapter 1 was in September. The fact that it's winter was not as intentional as it should have been, but I did end up doing research about how winter works in sub-tropical climates, which I'm assuming Hoenn is. Also looked up a lot of tree species. Still don't know much about trees. Trees are pretty funky.

    The idea of the pokémon being more interested in the glory of the journey than the trainer is a new one, and a nicely executed reversal. It's funny how Lucky acts much like a precocious pet in this.
    I was hoping that would come across well. :3 Lucky is so fun to write. I usually think of him as a yappy and excitable chihuahua in an Absol's body. Pokemon personalities in general are really fun, and are probably one of the things I'm looking forward to most while writing this.

    I do challenge you to list the ages of all of her siblings though :P
    arc dammit okay let's try

    The ones I actually know for sure are Lamar (18), Nani (16), Corey (12), Lance (12), and Mina (7). The rest I just sort of have a vague idea. I know there's a 20 year old (he/she never journeyed), a 14 year old, a 13 year old, a 9 year old, and a set of triplets (5). So in order, that's 20, 18, 16, 14, 13, 12, 12, 9, 7, 5, 5, 5. (Mrs. Hynson took a break after the twins and gave up completely after the triplets.) I haven't decided whether any of them are adopted or not. Honestly, I don't know what her parents were thinking, but it's a family ranch that needs employees and their mom is badass enough to handle all of them.

    Thank you so much for the reviews though!

  12. #12
    The Ace of Aces Flaze's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Wow, Nani's parents sure are busy.

  13. #13
    you can breathe now... diamondpearl876's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    Nani took the blue present from her little sister Mina’s outstretched hands. The entire Hynson clan--her parents, grandparents, and all 11 of her siblings--kept their eyes on Nani as she tore away the wrapping paper and opened the box. Inside were two items: a 5-pack of potions, which ran with the theme of all her other presents thus far, and a bottle of hair dye, which did not.
    This is kind of a nitpick, but dashes—should look like this—not like two hyphens strung together, as you have. If you're using WordPad, it won't do it automatically for you, but pretty much any other program should.

    It's also recommended that you type out numbers under 100 (so 11 should be eleven).

    Mina beamed in pride.
    I think the phrase you were looking for is “with pride”

    “Honestly Nani,” he said, “you’re better off dyeing your hair back to normal before you leave. Keeping that up on the road’s gonna be tough.”
    I've only seen one other fic that actually focuses on having a trainer with unruly hair. If you can actually make it plot-related or make me laugh with what I assume will be crazy hijinks later on, I'll love you for it.

    staring at the boxes with his dinner-plate eyes as if he could see through the wrapping paper if he focused hard enough
    dinner-plate eyes

    Spot-on description and ain't that the most adorable absol I've ever seen.

    He was the one who had been insisting on a trainer journey for the past 4 months, and now his dreams were finally coming true.
    I actually would have been really interested to see how—and why—a pokemon would insist going on a trainer journey when the trainer herself doesn't particularly want to. Alas.

    “Them again?” Lamar grimaced. “Those things are a menace these days.” He gave Nani a sidelong glance, reminding her of the lie she had to keep up. The lack of fire damage around the lake made her family doubt her false story about the Camerupt, so she came up with an even falser one about playing with the Torchics when she wasn’t supposed to and getting burned in the process. It was even less accurate and got her a stern talking to about honesty and fire pokemon safety, but at least they stopped asking about her burns.
    That's certainly one way to explain a magical phenomena away. I do like, though, how you have Nani reacting to the scent of fire, though, as an aftereffect anyway. It would have been unrealistic had she just forgotten about the incident completely and wiped it away as a whim concocted by her imagination.

    She looked around the room at the well-worn furnature, the family pictures dotting the wooden walls, the rolling fields sprawling outside the windows. She had lived in that house for her entire life, and the idea of leaving for more than a week at a time was difficult to comprehend. “I don’t know,” she said. “It’s all really surreal.” She smiled when she smelled the rich, chocolatey scent wafting in from the kitchen. “I’m definitely ready for cake, though.”
    Did I just see ridiculous cute mentions about cake and a serious attempt at explaining homesickness in a pokemon fic... all in one paragraph?

    I think I just did.

    “Nah. I want to get to know pokemon that aren’t Treeckos or Torchics or Mudkips for once. Besides, Lucky’s all I need!”
    Does she actually mean to keep Lucky as her only pokemon forever, or...?

    She saw the puzzled look on Professor Birch’s face and made a dismissive gesture. “His show is on.”
    Yeah, Nani, because that explains everything.

    “Hello?” she called out. Maybe whatever she saw through the steam was still there, hiding under the water. “Are you still there?” Waking it was probably a terrible idea, but it seemed so unlikely that she was willing to take the risk for the sake of her own curiosity.
    All right, now we're seeing the real effects of that fire. It seemed that the bike ride wasn't really just about saying goodbye, was it? This was also her last chance to find proof of the fire.

    “No matter how strong you think you and your pokemon are,” he continued, “they’re not strong enough. Organized crime has been on the rise recently, and I don’t want you getting yourself killed. Stick to battling regular trainers. If you see something fishy, report it to the authorities and leave it alone. Don’t try to be the hero.” He put the pokeball away and stared across the lake. “Trust me, none of us are the hero.”
    This chapter feels like it's equally about Lamar, and not just Nani. I'm interested to see how you'll develop Lamar later on. I have a feeling he'll be showing up time and time again, and also, this may be foreshadowing, but I never pick up on that shit, so who knows.

    “That’s one word for it.”
    It kind of just occurred to me that you never explained Nani's reasoning for going on a journey after all. “Because Lucky wanted me to” isn't probably the whole story behind it, and if it is, it's not very well explored inside the narrative.

    “How many badges do I need to get one of those again?” she asked. She vaguely remembered Lamar talking about a badge requirement for that when he left for his journey two years ago.
    Okay... If the answer to this question is “no,” then I apologize. But have you read Digital Skity's work? There's lots of similarities between your story and hers (not plagiarism).

    Anyway, another solid chapter. The fact that you spent time on her departure and her family made it enjoyable. It's certainly different from most journey!fics (and while this is a pretty bland thing to say, it is highly regarded as a compliment in the pokemon fandom).

    Though I'm... actually not sure why the fact that it was her birthday mattered. Was it coincidence? A way to show family dynamic? She didn't turn 10, so the age isn't an explanation. Was her birthday an excuse for her to stay home longer and think about going on a journey? ← That would make a lot of sense, but the birthday thing is just kind of there as a character introduction tool at the moment and I'm not sure if that was intended or not.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    @diamondpearl876 Thanks for the review! I'll fix up some of the nitpicks later. And I use FocusWriter, which sadly doesn't automatically correct the dashes like Pages does. I thought I swapped all those out, but I guess not. :P

    I going to have a lot of trouble writing homesickness later on, because I for some reason am immune to it most of the time. And the bit about Lucky being the only one see needs is a little misleading, yeah. I meant that he was all she needed to start off, but that didn't really come across.

    Oh yes, Lamar will come back. I'm a little fuzzy on the details about how (the middle has yet to be fully plotted), but he will. >:3 And Nani's reasoning for journeying will be explored plenty as the story goes on if I stick to my current plan. I haven't read Digital Skitty's work; actually, I've never even heard of them. All similarities are unintentional.

    As for the birthday thing, it's only important because kids in the Hynson family have to work on the family farm until they turn 16. It's just family policy. After that they can get a permanent full-paying job on the farm, go on a trainer journey, continue their education, or get another job. I think there might have been a passing mention of that in the last chapter, but I might have left it out. I had the time skip there so Lucky could have a chance to grow up, and the birthday party scene was to introduce the fact that she decided to go on a journey and show off the family dynamic a little more.

  15. #15
    Registered User chaos_Leader's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lucky Egg

    I wish I had more to say here.

    Lamar seems very interesting to me, mainly insofar as he's hinting at other occurrences, possibly some regrets? He also seems like more subtle person, in contrast to Nani.

    Birch seems like his usual fun-loving, occasionally absent-minded self, nearly incinerating himself at the Torchics. Makes one wonder if a trainer of fire-types should keep a fire extinguisher, fire blanket, or other safety measures to mitigate the damage the mon could do.

    like I said, I wish I could say more, I really do. This chapter seems like a transitional piece, a bit of a bridge between the previous chapter and the upcoming journey. It gives us a chance to see at least a little of Nani's family, see how Lucky has grown and developed (taking on some of quirks similar to Nani it seems), and the subtle, what I'm guessing is foreshadowing, conversation between Nani and Lamar outside the birthday party.

    Still a good read, and it leaves me wanting more, which I suppose is the kind of reaction a writer of a serial like this would ultimately want. I'll be looking forward to the next chapter!

    Oh, and what's so bad about Dustox? I know they're kind of ugly and all, and granted I did kind of find them unappealing for a while. But the Wurmple/Cascoon/Dustox I caught in my playthrough of AlphaSaphire turned out to be one of the beastliest toxic-stall tanks I've ever trained for in-game use. Unlike so many early-game bug-types, which tend to get obsolete very quickly, my Dustox proved its worth all the way through the journey, even going toe-to-toe with Kyogre at the end. Only my Parasect I used in HeartGold holds a higher place on my personal ladder when it comes to bug-types.
    Last edited by chaos_Leader; 19th February 2015 at 10:22 PM.

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