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  1. #166
    is obsessed with Noivern! Zekurom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    You know, I didn't realize that you started this fic seven years ago when I first read it, until I noticed the date.

    I was like, "OMG you're persistent".

    (I also had oodles of other comments, but they got erased when I refreshed the page. >_<)

    I assume you wanted a 10-scale rating, given that you posted your request on the comment page of my blog post about 10-scale ratings.

    Plot: 6/10

    While it's nothing too far out of the ordinary, it's enough to want me to read to the end.

    It jumped a bit from Chapter 3 to Chapter 4. I couldn't really tell where the two were connected. I know it's supposed to be a dream sequence that doesn't really make sense, but there isn't even much of an event to lead into it. It just sorta jumps.

    Characterization: 8/10

    I don't know much about Jiri besides the fact that he was the guy who tried to capture Lugia in the second movie. But the picture you paint of him as a child, losing his mother is awesome.

    I could imagine myself in Jiri's perspective, going through all of that stuff that he went through in the story.

    Also, Asaph. After seeing how he treated the Milotic, there was just something... wrong with him. It's probably what rubbed off in Jiri by the second movie.

    Grammar, style, and flow: 9/10

    There's even some characterization in your word usage! That in itself is awesome, something you don't readily see in fics around here.

    I imagine it's simply because you decided to do it in the first person. That always helps with characterization, especially when you're doing a story that revolves around a character.

    That Ralts was pretty funny as well. XD

    I noticed that your chapters are getting longer and longer. You must have a lot more to say.

    Update frequency: 1/10

    I just had to do this CX (<- that's a smiley, BTW.)

    Overall rating: 83/100

    Right up there with Roots and Field Research.

    (The update frequency rating was a joke. It doesn't count here ^_^)
    Last edited by Zekurom; 23rd October 2010 at 11:12 PM.
    The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.

  2. #167
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    Longer ago than that even. That's just when I started posting it HERE.

    Hahahaha yeah yeah updates blah blah. Takes a looooong time to craft these chapters, although 22 seems like it's taking longer than usual because I can't print it out to work on elsewhere (my printer is busted).

    Ralts is an interesting thing. Asaph is...strange yes.

  3. #168
    is obsessed with Noivern! Zekurom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Mask Marauder View Post
    Longer ago than that even. That's just when I started posting it HERE.
    So... when? Those chapters seem very short at the beginning. They started getting really long after a while.

    Hahahaha yeah yeah updates blah blah. Takes a looooong time to craft these chapters, although 22 seems like it's taking longer than usual because I can't print it out to work on elsewhere (my printer is busted).
    You must have a busy life, then. (Also, why a printer? Can't you just email it to yourself?)
    The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.

  4. #169
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    Because I don't want to lug my mom's heavy laptop around with me. I mean "elsewhere" as in "when I'm not online".

    And when I started...oh golly. The first two chapters were written sometime in early 2001 I believe, on index cards that I shoved in my pocket during my shift as a video store floor clerk.

  5. #170
    is obsessed with Noivern! Zekurom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Mask Marauder View Post
    Because I don't want to lug my mom's heavy laptop around with me. I mean "elsewhere" as in "when I'm not online".
    You mean when you're AFK, right? (I assume you don't have the money to buy your own laptop? Otherwise I'd assume you have one given your age... >_>)

    Sorry, I thought you meant you worked on it while at work. I was confused.

    And when I started...oh golly. The first two chapters were written sometime in early 2001 I believe, on index cards that I shoved in my pocket during my shift as a video store floor clerk.
    So that's why they're so short.
    The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.

  6. #171
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    Yeah, when I'm offline. And I donno, I don't really go many places that would merit a laptop so it doesn't really seem all that worth it to me.

  7. #172
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    An update! I started this chapter back in July while on vacation with a friend. We went to Seaside, Oregon, which I use in the fic as the basis for Seafoam. Hope you all enjoy!






    And then it was summer's end. Veronica and I had prospered off the information and had made quite tidy sums from it, investing and re-investing and overcoming small losses, always staying ahead of where we had been after that fateful morning. By the months passed, we had far, far surpassed that generous starting point.

    We had both elected to keep our fortunes secret from our families, and I for one was having a surprisingly easy time of it. Thanks to the ample boutiques in Seafoam, there to cash in on tourist money, I had started to dress better, although not as fine as I would prefer. But finally I was rid of the denim shorts and slogan-ridden shirts my father had initially supplied me with. Veronica was still at the mercy of her parents' demands to look a certain way, but she was able to sway the endless parade of stylists ever so slightly. And she was doing better in school. She had been having difficulty in some of her courses at the Viridian Academy, and had been unwilling to approach her parents about hiring summer tutors, a detail she'd sworn me to secrecy over.

    My father simply assumed that my sudden style change was Asaph's influence, and laughed that he should have given Asaph more of a discount on the C-class.

    It was a cold summer that year, and fog off the ocean swarmed around my clifftop home. But I didn't spend much time there anyway. Asaph and the both of us were meeting more, doing more, going more places. It was liberating in ways that our previous excursions with him hadn't been, in ways we couldn't describe. We were closer to being his equals; that was the closest thing we could put words to.

    Perhaps someday we could surpass him. We would outshine them all, he had told us, and the thought was more than idle fancy in my mind. It would be a ways off and we would have to maintain ourselves, but it was a thought we both entertained.

    I would be ten soon. Asaph was quite eager for it and had let on that he was in the process of procuring a fantastic gift for me. For Veronica's birthday, her thirteenth, he had given her an early century duchess's circlet with brilliant gems of blue inset with red and a band of yellow that she recognized as being in the image of a Manaphy egg. Although she had told me after that what she had wanted most had gone dismissed; a Lunar Wing, the bended feather of Cresselia. It was an inelegant statement but I simply nodded.

    That project of my father’s, his dream design, had lasted months and at times he would hole himself up on his days off to work on it for ceaseless hours. To me it still looked impractical, like a flying saucer from some cheap movie. But the longer he spent on it, the less time he could pester me. Not that he didn’t continue to be a source of embarrassment. It was humiliating having a father who delighted in the cheap thrills of the town, in the gaudy, shallow attractions of the constant carnival that was Seafoam. Even that annual surfing display saw him eagerly feed into the blitz of t-shirts and banners, and I had the good sense to leave town on that day.

    I was headed to the north, to Veronica's home in Viridian. The glamorous city awaited, with its mansions and skyscrapers rising to the brilliant blue sky. And today was something special. Her mother Tierney was hosting a premiere of her company's latest line, and the grounds and home were decked out in anticipation. I wore my finest suit for the occasion, although it was far too hot to do so, and asked Igasho to turn on the air conditioning in the car. Asaph was already in Viridian, so we drove on alone in thankful silence.

    Forest gave way to a seemingly endless expanse of farmland, mansions dotted along the hills between them. This was what artists sought to capture in so many landscapes, but it meant nothing to me as I sunk down in my seat a bit and thought about everything that had happened over the past several months. I had done that a lot, just as I had been pensive before that party.

    To finally be respected...It was a step, but money alone wouldn't wrest me from that reinforced cage. I needed something further, and unfortunately the only thing that would satisfy my father in that regard would be to age. And that was something money couldn't buy, not in that direction.

    It was something beautiful to be on my own, to be in the world as a person and not somebody’s child. Liberating and peaceful, although still unsettling at its core. Were they humoring me?

    Those thoughts were kept at bay by the beauty of the sun streaming through the clouds.




    I’d never been to Veronica’s home before, but once I arrived, there was no time to relax. The main entryway was overrun by catering trucks and magazine cadres, the side yard covered by workmen putting the finishing touches on a runway and arranging chairs around it. Tierney brushed past me in the main hall, talking over a large cellular phone, and I was left in a sea of people to find Veronica on my own.

    But it was simple enough. After peeking down the hallway past the double doors marked “private”, I saw her under a cloud of hairspray, through a wall of stylists.

    “Jiri!” she exclaimed, spotting me in her mirror. “Come in!”

    I did as was asked, although the smell in the room was terrible, and stood next to her, stifling a cough. “I’m glad to see you,” I said, waving a hand in front of my face to expel the chemical cloud.

    “I hoped you’d get here early,” she smiled as a curler worked its way into her bangs. “Although goodness, did you just sneak into a lady’s bedchamber?”

    I think I stammered for a moment before retorting “Well, milady knows I’m an awful knave.”

    That earned a laugh. “I think a good squirt of this hairspray would set you right. So I’m glad you’re here. Mom’s been terribly rushed today. This is her first time hosting an event like this, and she’s trying to show off as much as possible. Everything has to be perfect, and that means I have to be perfect too.” She reached out and squeezed my hand. “So I’m probably going to need to run off with you somewhere.”

    I chuckled, although I wasn’t sure why. “I don’t think that will be a problem.”

    “And you might have to go hide too,” she sighed. “One of the child models got sick and she thinks you’re around the right size to pick up the slack.”

    Well, that was unexpected. I wasn’t sure what to say for some time, although I was dimly aware that my brow was furrowed, so I hoped that would suffice as reply enough.

    “She’s going to be pretty adamant about it, so if you don’t want to, you should be prepared to hold on fast.”

    I considered things. To be part of the presentation process could be fascinating. To be regarded along with the art, as essential as the frame…or perhaps I was just being overdramatic. “Either way,” I said although I was certain I hadn’t said the first part aloud, “it should be an interesting experience.”

    “Hold off on saying that until you see the outfit,” Veronica warned.




    Clearly, the only course of action was to forge ahead with it. Tierney had been brusque, yes, but the requested outfit was rather unique. It was reminiscent of nobility, the light blue ruffles and contours of the classical era, and it felt oddly empowering to wear it. Although I questioned her assertation that it represented the Lorainne region, as it was clearly far more northern than that. I turned around in front of the mirror, admiring the ties on the calf-fitting boots, the buttoned leggings, even the curl they’d put in my hair along the sides of my face.

    I heard a giggle behind me, even though my dressers had left by that point. “You look nice,” Veronica said. “Like you stepped out of an old Windsor painting.”

    “Thank you!” I exclaimed. “I knew it couldn’t be Lorainnian, but she kept insisting.”

    When I turned towards her, she was frowning slightly. “...Yeah, she’s like that. Once she gets her head on something...but it doesn’t matter, I guess. Do you like my outfit?”

    She was outfitted in a pink dress with fringe along all edges, a leather strand belt adorned with turquoise at the tips, high pink boots with a pokéball emblem embossed into their sides, and topped off with a wide brim cowgirl hat with a large darker pink bow flopped against itself. It was somewhere between comical and something that would be potentially trendy. “It’s very pink,” I observed to be funny.

    It must have worked because she laughed. “I like it, actually. It’s a shame it would violate the uniform code or I’d wear it to school. Especially the hat. I think it’d take the edge off the people behind me if they can’t see the board. How did you get into distance classes, anyway? I think I’d enjoy that a lot more. Oh, but then I wouldn’t have as many excuses to leave the house. But at least I wouldn’t have to look any way special for it. Oh dear, I’m running at the mouth again.” She tried to shake it off by laughing again.

    I put a hand on her arm. “We’ll have to save some of this for later.” Tierney was coming around the corner.

    At the sight of the two of us, she gasped dramatically. “Oh you two are so--” and immediately set to work on last-minute corrections. She fluffed Veronica’s bow, set the fringe on her arms and at her knees straight, and tucked a stray curl under the hat. As for me, it was a flurry of tugs and fluffing as she tried to make the half-size larger clothes seem as if they were made for me. Finally she stood, and, licking her fingers first, wound them into the pre-curled hair at the sides of my face and tugged.

    “Ow!” It was painful, but at least brief.

    “Beauty hurts,” she said harriedly, looking us up and down again. “Aren’t you both perfect. Now, you’re going on near the end, as punctuation of sorts. I had to change the schedule around for that and Lada is very mad, so you can’t say a word about it. After you make your appearances, stay out there and all the other models will join you for a bow. But don’t bow until I do. And don’t pinch your face up, Veronica, I’m not sending you back to the makeup chair an hour before you go on. This is perhaps the biggest day of Mommy’s life so I need you to be absolutely perfect.”

    Veronica had made a bit of a face at the mention of the famous model, but I didn’t think it was anything strange. “Are there any musical cues we have to worry about?” she asked.

    “No, only the adult models are walking in time with the beat. Nobody expects that from the children. Now, I’d kiss you but I’m not going to muss your hair, so here.” Tierney leaned in and very gingerly put her arm around Veronica’s shoulder in what passed for a hug. “The director will give you your cues; you remember Nhung. He’ll tell you what to do and for now mommy has to go start things off, kiss kiss!” Without waiting for a reply, she hurried off again, a bluster of headset and designer fabric.

    Veronica was staring absently at the ground, and my gaze followed suit. “What are we looking at?”

    She started suddenly, pulling in a gasp. “Oh, nothing. Just we should get over there.”

    “Right.” I offered my arm and she accepted, smoothing out a bunching of fabric that had gathered around my elbow.




    The end of the opposite wing was a maelstrom of swarming garments on the most polished-looking people I had ever seen. They didn’t seem real, but like very realistic puppets, or a cluster of especially well-trained Ditto. I wanted to say that to Veronica, in the hopes that a witty remark may lighten her mood, but something in the tightness of her mouth silently told me that I should remain quiet.

    How strange, I thought. I had been told that that was a sign of nervousness and I accepted that, but with nothing better to do to fill the time, I pondered why that was. If someone had the want for quiet, wouldn’t it only make sense to say so? In our field, we were surrounded by such magnificent beauty; why would we want to take our eyes from it to look at each other?

    Was that something I would learn when I was older? I hated to consider anything like that. Knowledge came with time, but age was something different altogether.

    I shifted against Veronica’s arm, which she still held in hers, and thought about something else. I needed something opulent if I was to stand out among collectors, and had been considering an airship. The solution may have seemed obvious from the beginning, but nothing in my father’s catalog would serve my purposes if I was to live by my desires. Only the finest, the most luxurious, would do, and his crafts were still only vehicles at their core. My imagination had concocted a traveling hotel room, the sort of room found in upscale resorts I read about in my magazines, but my father’s ships at the top of his line only had a cot that pulled down from the wall and a tiny washroom, both unfit for any respected society man for anything but an overnight voyage.

    Maybe I could talk Veronica into getting a ship as well. We’d be quite a pair, traveling the world and searching for our beloved legendaries with the only human company we wanted.

    We’d have them someday; I knew we would. We had the drive, and the means were commonplace. If someone got to them before we did, we had the money, or we would in the future. Of course, that would eliminate the thrill of the chase, but the end result would be the same.

    I wondered what Lugia’s feathers looked like up close. What they felt like. Those fins on its back, were they flexible or rigid, and did they have feathers as well?

    And Veronica’s voice cut through, a wavering giggle. “What are you doing, Jiri?”

    I had my hand out in front of me as though I’d been petting something. My imagination had gotten away from me. “Thinking about Lugia. Don’t you imagine what it’d be like to touch Cresselia?”

    She shook her head, wider in scope than a simple negative gesture would be. Was she looking around for something? “Now’s not the time.”

    Ah yes, that I understood. These things were secret, never to be spoken of in the houses of our parents. They were for us alone, just as our fortunes and our futures were. “That makes sense,” I agreed. “I apologize.”

    She stood in silence again, absorbing everything around her. Sometimes I envied that, the ability to take everything in. I could internalise only some of what happened, whether it made sense or not. Asaph told us that we both had our strengths in our approaches, that Veronica had everything at her disposal while I could do things with my assorted knowledge that no one else could think to do, and that we came out about the same.

    I thought back to the Madame Remi painting in his home, and how we had approached our interpretations of it. Such a novel approach to things, I mused.

    Then we were shuffled forward in line by quite a pace, Veronica having to grab onto her hat to keep it on her head. A man with a headset and a very tight shirt awaited us at the end, just before a curtain divided us from outside. He looked us up and down, requesting that we turn around, and he straightened some of the frills on my outfit and some of the fringe on Veronica’s dress before speaking. “You’ll go down to the end; pace yourself as you walk, Tierney is going to talk about your outfits. Then pause, and turn around and go to the end of the line, you can’t miss it. Don’t talk to anyone; they’ll still be taking your pictures even when you’re in the line. Keep yourselves expressionless until you get in line, then big smiles!” He forced the corners of his mouth up with fingers to emphasise his point. “She’ll call you all back onto the stage, and you’ll do a faster version of what you did before. Got it?” He didn’t wait for any reply before ushering me forward, separating me from Veronica.

    And then we were all that mattered, the targets of every eye surrounding the makeshift stage. Cameras clicked and flashed as I began my walk down to where Tierney stood. She narrated, voice coming from speakers on either side of us. “Add a touch of the classics to your journey with this decadent ensemble based on the timeless classical masters,” the description came in an oddly flat tone, and I wondered if that was intentional. But she wasn’t done. “The boots are practical as well as stylish, with the leg-fitted design keeping your feet safe from the weather, and the soles are made for anything from a ball to a trek through the woods.”

    Unsure if I should do anything, I turned on my heel to reveal the soles of my shoes to the audience. It was met with more camera flashes, and my head swam from the commotion.

    “The layers will keep trainers protected from the elements, and the soft blue color is easy to spot in an emergency,” she went on, and I had a jolt of distress. It wouldn’t help if someone was drowning, and I started to lose my enthusiasm, unaware of what else she talked about. Absently, I wandered to the end of the line of brightly smiling models lining the side of the building near the stage.

    But the moment was over at the sight of Veronica in the spotlight. How did that take me out of it? I wondered internally, and my smile came naturally.

    “This exotic ensemble is a Towan fantasy, from the soft pink Miltank leather throughout to the hand-polished turquoise that dot her outfit. Don’t let the delicate appearance fool you—it’s as durable as it is lovely. Note the ease of movement, the holding capacity of the belt,” here, Veronica demonstrated that the strands came apart, affording one rope for each pokéball, “the beauty and strength of the open range.”

    Veronica had reached the end of the runway by that point, and twirled around as she crossed the mark, fringe spinning outward. She blew a kiss to the audience before joining me at the end of the line.

    She looked so happy, I thought, a marked change from just a few moments ago. But I couldn’t say anything, so I kept smiling and thought how delicious it was that here was another part of my life that my father would never know about. It was a wonderful feeling, so liberating, and I hoped that someday, Veronica would know that same freedom.

    “Let’s go away,” I heard, and I looked at her. We weren’t supposed to talk yet! But “Let’s go away,” she repeated, this time in my line of sight.

    I shook my head, widening my smile in the hopes she’d get the hint, and averting my eyes back to the audience. I noticed Asaph was present, near the end of the runway, and I thought I saw Lucrezia and Mr. Higuchi as well, although I wasn’t certain. One person I was positive was not in attendance was Lucrezia’s son, although I scarcely blamed either of them for that. He’d spoke of breaking away from our parents, something he’d yet to do. For all his success, he was still in his mother’s shadow. It was no wonder he had rebelled, as strange a way as it was to do so. Becoming a trainer...it was almost silly, really.

    More pictures, more polite applause, more dull narrative, and finally we were herded back to the stage, retracing our steps after Nhung readjusted our clothes. The music, which had been a nondescript soft piece that merited no description, switched to a pounding beat, and the older models pounded their heels with the beat, working it into their walk. Tierney had talked about that, how no one expected the child models to do that. And I didn’t try to copy it, despite seeing the words as confrontational at best and demeaning at worst. I kept to my own pace, walking a gentleman’s walk as I’d carefully learned.

    A brief pose at the end—I bowed gracefully, while Veronica did another twirl—and we headed back inside, single-file. The other models, working almost as a single entity, went back to the dressing rooms, but Veronica grabbed my hand. “Let’s go now.” It was no longer a request. The tightness of her grip and the slight bulge of her eyes told me that it was a command.

    “All right, milady, where will we be off to?” I tried to make light of it. Her and her hiding.

    “Viridian. Let’s go to Viridian. There’s a bus that goes by here every half-hour and the pickup point’s only a five-minute walk from here. Let’s go!”

    She really meant to leave? Not simply another game of hers? I followed along, towed by her grip but of my own accord. “Your mother will be cross with us,” I told her even knowing it would do no good.

    “After-parties are boring anyway. We won’t miss anything. We’ll be back by evening. No one will know we’re gone.”

    If she was adamant about it or simply trying to convince herself, I couldn’t tell the difference.

    She led me to the main entryway, deserted save for empty vehicles and a reporting crew that had suffered equipment failure and was loading their van. They paid us no mind and I was glad for it. About halfway down the driveway, Veronica let go of my wrist. “...Jiri, I’ll pay fare for both of us. It’s not much, but I don’t think you have your wallet on you, do you?”

    How long had she been planning to do this? The thought slightly disturbed me. “I have to say, we’ll be quite the sight in these outfits. I know they’re meant for trainers, but they’re so...elaborate.”

    Her pace slowed and she fell back with me. “I didn’t think you’d be in one. But still, I need to get away from there sometimes. Besides, Viridian is a great city! I don’t think anyone will notice!” She started humming something under her breath, a skip suddenly in her step. “Viridiaaaan, Viridiaaaan, hmm hmm hmmmmmm.”

    As much as her mood swings puzzled me, I had to admit that it would do me good to get away as well. Living at a fast pace had its place, but not all the time. I skipped along with her, recalling the mood of my outfit and the child noblemen in all their carefree fortune.

    The world was open to us, wasn’t it? It would do no good to stay in one place. And as the bus pulled up, I felt the size of that open world swell in the air around me.

  8. #173
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    And at long last, chapter 23!




    Veronica couldn't stop giggling, with a skip in her step as she paid our fares and headed to a seat in the back of the bus. I followed, sitting across the aisle from her. The bus was nearly deserted, with only a few locals about. The area she lived in was just north of the predominantly farm country that Asaph's home lay in, although his was some ways away. It was an unflinching place, where life droned on without incident yet personalities were laid bare and blunt. Far too quiet for my tastes, to say nothing of too impolite.

    She took my hand and patted it. "You look like you've never been on a bus before."

    "I take the bus sometimes. To downtown mostly." Although given Seafoam's small size, it was more of a shuttle, despite being called otherwise.

    "It's a nice feeling, being so free, isn't it?"

    I looked around. The bus was clean, with only a lingering diesel smell to give away the more unsavoury associations with this mode of transportation. "It's better than I thought it would be," I admitted. "A bit bumpy though." The roads out there were considered region roads rather than those belonging to any set city, although we were inside the outskirts of the Viridian city limits.

    "Yeah, that happens. Jiri..." Her tone changed, became softer, and her gaze wandered to the ground. "...I'm glad you're here with me. I hate being alone."

    "I remember that, from that night in Goldenrod."

    "You and I are very special people, aren't we?" Another aspect of the Goldenrod trip. Asaph's words lingered with us, working their way into our hearts and the depths of our minds. "We're better than most, right?"

    She was ending everything with a question. "Are you not sure of that? Because I am."

    She looked even further away, turning her head towards the front of the bus but not looking much at it. "All this pageantry gets to me after a while. It's so artificial."

    That was certainly understandable. "Yes, it's not very charming. Your mother may be a nice person, but she's a terrible designer." Having to buffer something negative with something positive, although I didn't think I meant the compliment.

    Green eyes back at me. "Oh, I like my dress. I like it a lot. Yours though..." She giggled again, which was encouraging. "Honestly I'm not sure what she was going for. I think she saw a painting and decided to make it into a trainer outfit. I think it takes more than some sturdy shoes to accomplish that."

    "True, true. Although I think yours would be better without the hat."

    Was she insulted or just kidding me? She harrumphed and sat back in her seat, slouching in a way Asaph would never allow. "I like my hat! It's kicky." But then she laughed again. "And it keeps Ralts with me. It's just tall enough to keep a pokéball on my head. But don't tell anybody. Mom would be mad that I'm messing my hair."

    The words /Among other things/ came to mind and I wasn't sure why, but I figured it wasn't time to say it.

    "You aren't very interested in pokémon, are you?" she asked abruptly, and it took me a moment to hear her.

    "Oh? No, not really." I sat forward at that, still looking at her. "Other than Lugia, but it's a world apart."

    I thought she would ask why, but she didn't and I was glad for it. "...Cresselia is supposed to be really lovely. I wish I had it today."

    "Well, you just had your birthday. Perhaps you'll be surprised at Christmas."

    She sighed. "...Your birthday is coming up. Is there anything you want?"

    Without thinking, I said "If I had Lugia, we could just fly there."

    It garnered a laugh, and I felt a wave of embarrassment. "I can see you doing that when no one's looking. Taking it out of its display and flying around on it." She made fluttering motions with her hands as she added "maybe with a scarf and goggles, like a gentleman aviator. Oh, and driving gloves! Can't forget those!"

    "I wouldn't do that," I muttered, turning towards the window. "I was kidding. One doesn't ride on Lugia."

    Another sigh. "You're so confusing. I know you want to soar across the sky on Lugia. And I know you adore it, but your voice gets so dull when you talk about it." In the reflection, I could see that she was staring out her own window, her back to me. "I tend to think that you're reigning yourself in, like if you let yourself get excited about it, you wouldn't be able to keep up your decorum. But I don't know if you're actually that way or not."

    "How long were you planning this?" Perhaps a jump of subject, but it had been on my mind. "You had the money on hand, and exact fare at that, even though you're still in your clothes from the show."

    She giggled as she had before. "I told you I'd have to go off somewhere with you, didn't I? Don't say I didn't warn you."

    Not that I had much of a choice. I suppose I could have resisted, but it would have been ungentlemanly to do so. "I hope you told someone."

    "They heard me." That was true, there'd been several designers around her at the time she told me. "We'll be back before the end of the party anyway. Mom and dad won't even notice that we're gone. Asaph might, but we'll be there before he knows it."

    That made sense. Viridian downtown wasn't very far, and the trip was over in about fifteen minutes. By that time, the bus had filled up more than half, and many people stared at us in our new designer outfits. But it only made us laugh, their disbelief at what they'd all gobble up the moment it hit shelves. Maybe to them it was like seeing the future, Veronica and I harbingers of what was to come.

    I was half tempted to say something to that effect when we disembarked, Veronica grabbing me by the wrist again and pulling me from my seat, but for some reason neither of us could stop laughing by that point.

    I'd had my apprehensions about the sudden trip, but once we arrived amidst the towering buildings, those feelings dissolved into the fragrant air. Viridian always smelled of flowers, of plants, known as it was as the Eternally Green Paradise.

    To be young and carefree in the big city...that was a wonder of the world, a work of art by itself. We were independent, living by our own means, and no one could tell us what to do.

    She still held my wrist even when she stopped at a corner. "So where should we go? Want to get some lunch? I haven't eaten all day."

    I thought back to my breakfast of reheated doria. Keeping my money secret from my father meant still dealing with whatever he filled the refrigerator with. "I'd like that."

    "Did you bring any money? I mean, if you didn't, I can pay for it, it's no problem, but..."

    "I have some. I didn't know if the servers would be tipped at the party, and I brought some in case they would." My wallet was stuffed into my pocket, and I was glad that it didn't show from the outside or Tierney likely would have demanded that I hand it over before heading out onto the runway.

    "And here you were getting on my case for bringing money," Veronica snickered.

    The difference there was that she'd brought exact change. Hadn't I said that on the bus? She got dismissive when I said so then, but now she was just smiling. "You're confusing too," I replied.

    "Let's all be confusing!" she exclaimed loudly, smiling broadly. "The world is confusing! Let's rise to the challenge! Come on!" And then she scampered off, to the next corner, where she turned on her heel and waited with her hands behind her back.

    By the time I caught up with her, she'd done a few spins in place. "You're going to get your dress all sweaty," I chided, but I got the feeling she wasn't paying attention.

    "Ooooooh, look at that!" she announced, pointing dramatically at an old-looking hotel. "They have a western tea service! Let's go!"

    I would have protested, but her bringing attention to the subject of food had brought to mind that I was quite hungry myself, so I followed along.

    The interior, past the uniformed doorman who held the doors for us, was broad and tall, with vaulted ceilings and thick metal rails down the staircase that trailed up a side of the room to a mysterious balcony with tiny black and white photographs dotting the wall. It took almost no effort to imagine the place playing host to the worlds' elite, to picture this being a centerpoint of prestige.

    As I looked around, marvelling at the moulding and detail, I could hear Veronica asking for a seat for two in the dining room. Glancing over at her, I couldn't help but think how she breached the worlds. Still very much a child, that much was clear by looking at her in all her frills and ribbons. But acting very much as an adult, that much was clear by her composed boldness.

    But Asaph had told us to hold onto our youth, despite our maturity, so I wondered if I could live in this time and be nine for longer than I logically could. It was impossible, of course, but ah, such a dream.

    We were led to a tiny table near the centre fixture of the room, big enough only for the two of us, with her purse having to take rest wedged behind her back. That fixture loomed over us, a giant round sitting structure with an inner rise crowned by an opulent blooming plant, and decked with plush seats. One of them was next to us, pulled up to our table as if expecting an uninvited guest. But Veronica and I sat across from each other, and she smiled as if she had done this every day.

    "I love tea, the whole service. Something about food being so much more special when it's small and ceremonial, you know?"

    I glanced at the small glossy menu set before us, next to the prearranged teacups with double chargers and faux-silver table setting. "I suppose. Domestic tea ceremonies can't hold my attention, but I appreciate the sentiment. I've never had a western tea before."

    She giggled as she sorted through the small basket of jams that sat at the edge of the table. "The tea tastes so good though! You should try to sit through one. The reward's well worth it. But you don't get little cakes with it. Ooh!" Selecting a tiny glass jar from the basket, she opened it with a flourish of her wrist. "I love marmalade. Mama tells me I have to watch my weight, but things like this...well, she's not here, is she?"

    I took a jar of strawberry preserves. "Something a bit sweet. I suppose this means the scones will be rather bland."

    She looked at the menu as well. "Probably." Leaning in conspiratorially, she confided "I can never eat those without getting crumbs everywhere. It's a good thing Asaph isn't here either!"

    "A lack of authority figures is certainly exciting," I agreed. "What are we going to do after this?"

    Leaning back, she smirked. "How about you pick the next activity?"

    "Oh well then!" But despite my enthusiastic reception to this idea, I had to pause to think. I hadn't seen much of Viridian. "Well...I think we're just a few blocks from the art museum."

    Veronica scoffed, her expression turning to a frown. "Jiriiiiiii" and it came out in a long high tone "We do that so much! Viridian is a big city!"

    "But they have a new exhibit," I told her. "That'll be something we haven't seen before, and I don't think Asaph will take us to it." It was on automobiles, the classic designs rarely seen in modern builds. Asaph didn't appreciate the artwork of machinery, considering it far too practical to be viewed as proper art. But I disagreed. A sleek design was as artistic as any jewel or painting.

    "Aah fine. I guess I did let you pick. You're so boring sometimes!" But she was smiling again anyway.

    A server appeared, seemingly out of thin air given our distracted attentions. "Are you ready to order? Two Peter Bunearies?"

    That was the name that was given to the insultingly base children's menu, and Veronica shook her head. "Absolutely not! We'd like the full service, please."

    The woman eyed us for a moment. While the full service menu was far more to our tastes, it was also three times more expensive, and there were two of us. "All right, of course."

    We placed our orders and Veronica adjusted her hat. "I swear, the nerve of some people," she said, ensuring that Ralts's pokéball was firmly in place. "Assuming something like that. We're almost adults."

    "I remember that story," I commented. "The one the service is named for. A Buneary sneaks out and gets into all sorts of trouble."

    Veronica laughed, the dainty society laugh we were taught. "Ah yes. One would think a Buneary wearing a jacket would be a giveaway that it was special."

    "Didn't he lose his jacket at one point?"

    She thought for a moment. "I'm not sure. It's been years since I've read that."

    "Me too..." There was something lost there, wasn't there? It was supposed to be a childhood canon, part of the means that form us, and we'd both forgotten how it went.

    "There's someone at school who named their Nidoran Peter, because of its ears," she mused softly. "But when it evolves, the name won't fit any more."

    The tea came and was poured elegantly into cups, the leaves falling into metal nets placed over the teacups. We waited until the waitress was gone to continue our conversation. I'd ordered a light tea from China and sipped at it although it was far too hot to do so. Veronica stirred in some honey to her herbal tea and waited. "Have you given any thought to naming your Ralts?" I asked as she tapped her spoon at the side of her cup. "Or will you?"

    "I'm not sure. I can't think of any name that would suit her. But Ralts aren't like humans. In the wild they don't give each other names."

    "Are there any species that do?" I asked.

    "Jynx do. They have a pretty complex language, although they have difficulty speaking most human languages. Something about the way their throats are formed. Aaaaand..." That tapping again, though her spoon was clean of tea, and she looked up at the ceiling, speckled with paint to give the impression of wear and age. "And I think Yamask do but that whole thing is really creepy...'

    I'd heard of them, those creatures that were said to have once been human. I wasn't sure if that was true or not, but they were often found in ancient tombs and had taken on the death masks of those buried there. And they guarded treasure, things they never used but prevented anyone from taking. How silly of them. The dead person wasn't about to enjoy such things, and the Yamask certainly weren't, so why not let the living take and enjoy the treasures within? To bury them was just a waste.

    I must have been smiling because Veronica burst into laughter, louder than before. "Let me guess. Yamask to tombs to treasures to your collection, right?"

    "You know me too well." She was only mostly right, as I hadn't yet connected it to myself yet, but it was certainly heading there.



    The tea service was phenomenal. Elegant though accessible, with simple delicacies that satisfied my hunger for the finer things in life. But I must confess it distressed me. Such simple things and yet they were far more than my normal life. It was frustrating to bite into a delicious cucumber sandwich only to realize that even my father could make something like this and yet chose not to.

    Veronica was her usual garrulous self, speaking of school, of home, of art and society. In turn I told her of my studies, of the clippings that decorated my room, of the madness that consumed Seafoam every summer surrounding the surfing competition.

    "You know, my mother's had a few of her sportwear designs in that competition. The Humungadunga attracts a lot of athletes from around the world, so it's great press for her."

    "I don't know how you can say that name with a straight face," I told her, admiring a painting on the wall. "I absolutely refuse to say such an inane name."

    She chuckled. "Sometimes I think you're just a very tiny old man. You come off as so relaxed about things but sometimes your sense of humor just..." She trailed off, shaking her hands in the air to dismiss the unfinished sentence. "I know you have one though. That's more than some people. But you're not a very spontaneous person either, today excepted."

    I leaned back in my chair, the plush walls of it taking the edge off the surrounding people as it blocked them from view. "Yes...I must admit that I thought I'd need more quiet. But the museum will provide that."

    "Quiet?"

    "Yes, after all the hustle and bustle of our outings, even our normal ones, I need solitude for a while to get my thoughts in order."

    Veronica reached for the last of the tea cakes, a small lemon bar. "Mm, strong. You seem like you have your thoughts in order all the time. Nothing really seems to get to you."

    I thought back to my outburst the year before, when I'd broken my father's book and stormed out of the house. "Not much, I suppose. Shall we move on? The museum awaits!"

    She paid for both of us, something I'd wondered if she'd do, and we left, tumbling out of the doors as we both laughed for the sheer joy of our freedom. It had come on suddenly, exhasperatingly, and we willingly gave ourselves to the emotion. Being outdoors in the city was a thrill we'd yet to adjust to, and I hoped we never would. But Veronica lived here, albeit off in the distance, and it had yet to wear out in her mind, so I had hopes for the future.

    The sights lay out around us, filling us with a sense of an exotic locale. Buildings wore faded paint ads for businesses that no longer existed, and large ancient vertical signs for things that did. It was a young city as far as the world knew, but it had seen its share of time pass by, and looked akin to some of the faraway cities I'd read about so longingly. Someday I'd see them, but for now their younger sibling would have to suffice.

    The past century had seen a boom, and our route took us by several places that had been constructed in that fat era. We'd been relatively untouched by war, even though it had decimated places as nearby as Celadon, so we had far more of our past to bear. And it was beautiful to behold, the modern era rising and swelling around us with the bounty of endless energy. Wood gave way to brick, brick gave way to steel and glass, and all of it suited the city perfectly. Viridian, the eternally green paradise, was our present and we meant to enjoy it fully.

    A park lay to our left as we continued on, block after block of tall trees and statuary, with people and pokémon taking up the benches that dotted the path. "We should go through there later," I pointed out.

    Veronica glanced over, a spring in her step. "Eeeeh," she muttered. "That area smells bad. I think people sleep there."

    That was a trainer's life, wasn't it? Going wherever, sleeping where they pleased, taking up space. None of them were even looking at the statues, and that was a pity far beyond anything else. "So close and yet so far," I murmured.

    "You're doing it again," she chided me. "I'm guessing you had some thought that led up to that, but it didn't make any sense coming off of what I said. Remember, Asasph told you that you have to elaborate more so you don't come off as odd. Why do you do that, anyway?"

    "I don't know. Things make perfect sense to me."

    "We're not mind readers, Jiri," she giggled, but it was broken as she glanced back and forth as we passed by a bench dominated by drunken scofflaws and a shaggy Growlithe that may well have been inebriated as well. I could guess that she was trying to ignore them, based off her increase in pace.

    "I do--" I was about to tell her that I don't suppose mind readers would be permitted to attend auctions when she grabbed my wrist, an action that made me pull my hand away. "I don't mind holding hands, but please try to show less force!"

    Her brow was furrowed again; was she trying to concentrate? Was she upset? Perhaps she'd misread me. "Well, there's the museum."

    There indeed. The building wasn't much on the outside, a misleading box of brick propped up on a slab of cement that had been dotted by a few sculptures. It was easy to pass it by, to mistake it for something it wasn't, but the rewards inside were the whole of the world.

    We together walked up the stairs to the front entrance, and I commented that they ought to have a doorman here as well as I held the steel-edged door for her. She didn't respond, keeping her eyes on the floor as she passed me by. A novel thing to do. I did the same as I followed her in, experiencing my familiar surroundings in a new way. How smart of her!

    I noticed she didn't check her pokéball at the coat check although people were asked to do so. As much as I valued the rules of society, Veronica wasn't likely to make Ralts known at any point, so I figured it wouldn't be worth it to say anything. Not that a Ralts couldn't cause trouble in a museum, of course. But I knew Veronica.

    She was laughing again, having received a compliment on her outfit from the clerk, and enthusing about her mother's design. The clerk was all too eager to see mine then, and I twirled around slowly just as I had a few hours ago. The attention was odd. We were here to see things, not to be seen, and I had the feeling of being on display myself. That would be interesting, I mused, to be the art itself and be admired by all who beheld me. Oh, what a dreamer I was!

    But we were surrounded by the bounty of the world, and so personages had to be left at the door. Nothing was ever meant to surpass the art, and even the grandest person would be so much background noise before the pieces.

    Veronica was already inside, looking around. "So where to first? The silver room?" That was her favourite, I recalled.

    "I want to see the automobile exhibit." I thought I'd told her, but in retrospect I may have simply thought it. Even so, I was positive I'd said the new exhibit.

    "Oh huh. It's closed today."

    I stood still for a moment, staring at her. "But the museum's open."

    She wandered over to a sign, taking an inordinate amount of time to do so. "It says that they have to have more security on it so they don't offer it every day."

    Had she not understood me? "But the museum's open," I repeated, slower and more distinctive. Perhaps I'd rushed my words before, so I made certain she would hear me.

    "I know that." She was slow and distinctive as well, staring back at me. "I can't do anything about that. We'll have to come back." Her mood had shifted considerably, away from the distinctly cheerful ebullience from a moment ago.

    "Odd, I hadn't figured you to take much interest in that exhibit." I started heading in, passing the room of prehistoric continental art.

    "What's that mean? You're so weird." After a chuckle, she followed along. "I hadn't figured you for a car guy either. You don't seem the sort."

    I paused in front of an especially realistic sculpture of a working man. "The designs fascinate me. They're beautiful, to have a functional work of art. At least those are. Commonplace machines lose their beauty, not only because of their being everywhere, but because they're dumbed down. I wish I knew why they did that."

    Veronica smiled. "Maybe they want to keep the special ones special. Like people, like how we're shining stars. We wouldn't be if everyone was."

    That made as much sense as anything, although I doubt that was the aim of the companies. "We're very rare, that's certain. But I still want to see them."

    "You can always come back. It'll be here for a while longer." She examined the sculpture, shivering slightly, before moving on to a red bench that wasn't for sitting.

    "I suppose." I had to remind myself of that, that it would be there and I could see it. Otherwise I'd be very put out by the whole affair. What sort of museum couldn't afford basic manpower for its exhibits? It put a damper on the whole thing.

    "You're frowning, right? It's hard to tell."

    "Hmm?" I held a hand to my face, and sure enough the corners of my mouth were tightened down. "I suppose I am. It's frustrating."

    "Tell me about it. This is what, the fifth time today that I've told you how hard to read you are? But I suppose that makes you a good dealer, since people can't tell what you're thinking. You'll be a wiz at negotiating."

    That hadn't been what I meant at all. But she was right about the future, I hoped. "Once I have things to negotiate with. I've got my eye on a sculpture for sale downtown." One of the many art galleries in Seafoam had caught my attention with a piece of a Wingull nest, and I sensed that the price was due to skyrocket due to the market shifting towards natural scenes. "How boring though."

    "I missed something, didn't I? Let's go to the silver room!" She reached for my hand again, this time more genteelly, and we went off together, me biting back that she was doing the same thing I did.




    What a brilliant event, the two of us wandering the museum of our own accord! From the silver room to the ancient treasures of the Orange region (none of my brilliant Lugia, though) to paintings from a distant continent and era, we were free to behold whatever we pleased. Free in a world of beauty and perfection, the highest freedom we could imagine. I never wanted it to end.

    But of course it had to. Even paradise has its working hours, and the Viridian Museum closed its doors after far too short a time.

    It was after dark, and Veronica pulled her fringed top tighter.

    "If I had a jacket, I'd offer it to you," I told her, although it would make no difference for her to know a theoretical situation.

    "I appreciate it. Chilly for this time of year."

    "Oh?" I took in the night, the breeze between the buildings, the streetlamps over us, the people in the park across the way. "It's fairly warm for me. But Seafoam tends to be colder than further inland."

    "In that case, I wish I had your fortitude," she murmured. "Let's get back to the bus stop in a hurry."

    "All right." The shortest route was through the park, and I started off that way automatically.

    "Jiri, where are--" Heaven only knows what she was planning on finishing that with. But she followed along a moment later, linking her arm in mind as she came up beside me. "Don't say anything, ok?"

    I nodded. Was this a game? But I could play along, even if I couldn't tell her to do anything in return.

    We continued through the park as she held tight to me, nearly through when one of the drunkards stepped out in front of us, smelling of all manner of debris and filth. "Going somewhere?"

    Veronica kept me moving, trying to steer me around him.

    He held out a rough, dirty hand. "There's a fee for fancy people to pass through. Hand over your money."

    That was trouble. She broke away from me and we both started to run, and both of us were stopped by growling dogs. The Growlithe in front of me snarled, backing me towards her again, while she was cornered by a Houndour with its fur in patches. "...Jiri, why did you go through the park! You knew I didn't want to go through the park!" Her words were slightly drawn out and a bit higher and thicker than usual. "Aaah fine!" she exclaimed before I could answer. "I didn't want to have to do this, but go! Ralts!"

    She'd taken off her hat and brandished Ralts's pokéball, triggering it to release the small psychic-type. Ralts appeared with a chirp of its name, twirling around in the air before landing in front of the Houndour.

    Once she had sent out Ralts, attention seemed to be off me, something I was glad for. I wandered on the outskirts, not wanting to be involved but not wanting to abandon Veronica either. I could have run, but no gentleman would run. Would it be gentlemanly of me to try to fight the muggers myself? Asaph had never covered this situation, and Veronica had told me not to say anything, so I was puzzled in silence.

    "Since I'm such a nice guy," the filthy man laughed, "I'll let you go first."

    She was up against a massive type disadvantage, but she stood her ground. Her mouth tightened and eyes narrowed, pink dress looking inflamed under the streetlamp. "Ralts! Double Team!"

    Ralts squealed and focused itself, creating identical false images of itself through force of will. The Houndour looked unimpressed, despite the ring of Ralts around it. With what seemed to be a roll of its eyes, it brought its teeth down on one at random.

    All the images vanished. Bite had been super-effective, and Ralts was knocked out, tossed out of the Houndour's mouth like a toy. Veronica cried out and scrambled about with her hat, recalling Ralts and trying to hide the ball again.

    "Say, that's a nice hat," the man said, approaching. "Would look awfully nice on Daisy here."

    She took a step back. "...You can't have it!"

    "Don't think you have much of a choice. Give it here, or I take it out of your friend here."

    I felt that hand coming at me and ducked just in time. He managed a handful of blue fabric that I was grateful was slick, as it enabled me to slip out of his hold. He reached for Veronica, who was holding her hat down with both hands on the floppy sides. "Stop it!" she screamed. "Get away! Jiri, run!"

    I couldn't leave her, so I darted only a short way, a few bench lengths to the end of the block. She was struggling with the man, who'd grabbed her hat and was pulling at the ribbon. After a moment that seemed to hang in the air, it ripped away from the hat, sending her tumbling back. But her hands didn't move from her prized crown, and neither the man nor his dogs seemed to have any interest in chasing us once they had extricated the ribbon.

    She didn't speak either, just concentrated on running, and so did I. It was as if our very souls depended on it, no matter if they followed us or not. The city was reduced to its sidewalks, and nothing else mattered.

    Reaching the bus stop was akin to finding a holy land, and I thought of a painting we'd just seen of exactly that. Veronica clung to the post that announced the times, swinging around it to bring herself to a stop, her breathing heavy from her open mouth. It was far too long before she said anything, and when she did it was low and precise. "Why would you take us through there? You saw those dangerous people and you dragged me in there anyway!"

    I shook my head, not wanting to break my promise not to speak.

    "Say something!" she yelled, clamping onto my arm with her hand tight. "Tell me why I lost my ribbon! Tell me why you're SMILING!"

    I had been and knew it, thinking of that painting of the weary travellers reaching their destination. It had relaxed me, put me in a world apart from our terrifying reality. She told me to talk, but words jumbled around in my head. "...It was fastest," I managed, letting out a breath. "To cut through the park would take about three minutes off our walk."

    "You didn't think!" Still yelling. "You didn't think about those people! You saw them on the way in! Didn't anything at all set off any red flags for you?"

    I thought about it. I remembered a man with a Growlithe, but nothing had really stood out. "Really I didn't notice."

    Another thing happened that I didn't expect. She brought her hand up and slapped me across the face, not very strong, but enough to get her point across. She was furious and made me know it. "I'm sick of this! You never notice anything! You get us into this situation and now I have to go home without my ribbon!"

    She wasn't making any sense. We weren't here by my volition, after all. "But Veronica, it was your idea."

    She shrieked, loudly, as a bus drove up and the door opened. "Everything ok?" the driver asked.

    "Just frustrated," she told him. "Is this the bus to south Viridian?"

    The driver laughed. "South Viridian? Hoo boy, no. That stops running at five."

    Her eyes widened, and she looked down. "I see. That's ok. We'll find another way."

    "Well, the pokémon center's about two blocks east from here. There's phones there if you need to call anyone."

    "All right. Thank you, sir." Her voice was higher again, and softer, as she took a step back and waited for the door to close. As the bus drove off, the driver taking another look at us, she turned away. "...come on. I'm sorry for slapping you. It's my fault."

    Was she still mad? Her fury seemed to have dissipated, but she'd said she was frustrated. I followed her. "I was smiling because I was thinking about a painting."

    "What?"

    "You asked my why I was smiling."

    "Oh..." She let out a long breath. "We have to admit to all this. Our parents and Asaph are going to be completely furious. They've probably been looking for us. I didn't know it was so late."

    I followed along without a word, not wanting to say anything even though I could. Trainers were so base, so far beneath us. How could people like that man be the ideal of most children? Neither of those dogs were of any value, and that's what battling did. That's what it did to people as well, made them value strength and intimidation above anything else.

    "I have to heal Ralts first. But I should make the call. Yes..." Higher still, softer still, and I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or to herself.

    The centre came into view, a rise of a building, a giant dome with a plaza of stairs in front. Veronica straightened her hat, said "Here goes nothing", and took a few marching steps into the street.

    And then a car came from seemingly nowhere, turning in a wide berth and screeching to a halt in front of us. Asasph's car, unmistakably so. And he was driving it, rather than his usual chauffeur.

    "Get in," he told us from the rolled-down window. I don't think I'd ever heard his voice so terse, nor him so short-winded.

    "How did you find us?" I had to wonder.

    "No talking, either of you." He hadn't bothered with driving gloves, and I could see in the light from the open door that his knuckles were white around the steering wheel.

    As I slid in next to Veronica, she took my hand and gave it a squeeze. But this time I pulled it away, and we may as well have been half a world from each other.

  9. #174

    Default Re: Obsession

    I joined this site, after stalking for years, to say this:

    Good job on the fic, bro.

  10. #175
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    Thank you! Any specific thoughts?

  11. #176

    Default Re: Obsession

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackjack Gabbiani View Post
    Thank you! Any specific thoughts?
    It was very pleasing to my bunghole, like the feeling of T-P.

    I heavily enjoyed how you made most of the Pokemon in the fic immensley creepy (ie; Lugia invading Jirarudan's dreams, the scary Milotic, etc.), and some, if not all of the adults seem shifty. It's quite dark, truly, and you manage to fit quite a bit of emotion into teeny chapters.

  12. #177
    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obsession

    Should I make that a tag line for the fic or something? "So good, even the trolls enjoy it!"

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