Thanks for the feedback, guys :)
I will definitely try to work on the characterization of Milo's Pokemon.
So I was right, Izzy is playing a slightly larger role. Incidentally, that part seemed like the only major addition to that part. And as for the next chapter, seemed nigh-identical. Of course, now we're getting prepped for something completely different. Or so you say.
By the way, since I forgot to mention it before, what's the deal with Young/Youngblood? You seem to use the two alternatively. And why the switch from one in planning to the other back to presumably the original?
Fawkes: Baby family pet with a seemingly naive view of the outside world. No battle experience and seemingly no will to do battle as of yet...just don't steal its goddamned food or it will murder your ass at high-speed. The latter point might be dropped, since Spearow (victim of said food) was moved to earlier. Either way, it doesn't seem to know any fire attacks, indicative by not using any on Paras. Does not like strangers or at least strange Pokemon very much.
Luxio: Very tempermental, and possibly finicky about who it does and doesn't respect. Apparently young and inexperienced despite being an evolved Pokemon. If we take that to be fact, then it obviously has excellent potential already (if we consider Paras here and, if we assume it's mostly the same as Shinx, Golduck in the previous iteration). If you're spoiling for a fight, it's game and will more than likely beat the tar out of you. Doesn't seem too interested in anything but. May or may not actually be from the zoo - it was Milo's thoughts.
Spearow: It wants attention, but doesn't seem to get much. Thankful to Milo for helping it out, and didn't just go on its merry way afterwards, either. It - not a nocturnal creature - got attacked at night, so you might have to call into question...something. It was speedy and gluttonous in the original, but it may be dropped here.
Then we skip ahead around three weeks later. Although it was said to be able to fully heal "in a week or so", by then it's more logical for it to be able to fly. 80% at best, though I just made that number up - either way, it still should be able to work okay.
Speaking of logic, I'll be fully impressed with it if this is a world where Snorlax is only like 300-400 pounds and Onix is a ton, instead of it being the other way around.
Plus, Quest is a cool word - a cut above an Adventure or Expedition and way above a Journey, though below an Odyssey or Voyage.
So yes. I had a lot to say to a number of people here, but it can all be summed up with: Pocket Monsters: The Battle Quest (6) plz.
Don't know what to put here.
A/N: Here's Chapter 6. Please let me know what you think. I'm sure there's some spelling/grammar errors because I'm tired... But thank you for reading!
6. The First Battle
Thick black smoke billowed throughout the air like nasty black storm clouds born out of the fiery inferno that was spilling out of the decimated structure below.
Bloody and dirt covered people frantically scattered in all directions outside the charred and still-burning building. They had to dodge the screeching fleet of emergency vehicles that had arrived on scene, their lights flashing rabidly like blue and red strobes. Mounds of broken concrete, mangled metal and other debris littered the ground like a scene from a war movie.
Back inside the Maple Plain Pokémon Center, Milo, Rena and the rest of the patrons stared at the chilling scene unfolding live on the large television hanging on the wall.
A male newscaster's somber face was in the foreground as he reported on the chaos unfolding behind him. The words BREAKING NEWS scrolled across the bottom of the screen in loud font.
“I'm here live from Golden Valley, where thirty-two people are dead after a massive explosion has ravaged Silph Corporation Headquarters this morning...” the reporter said gravely.
There was a collective gasp all around when the death toll was announced.
“... The blast shook the metro area only about twenty-five minutes ago, causing a devastating amount of damage to the world renowned technology development facility. At last count, over sixty Silph employees, as well as several bystanders on the street, were injured in the explosion, including the thirty-two confirmed casualties.
“Golden Valley Police are here on the scene, but are not yet confirming the exact cause of the explosion, which reportedly occurred in the research and development wing of the complex, destroying over half of the ten-story building. At this point, a gas leak or machinery malfunction is thought to be the cause...”
Milo looked over to his right to see that the pajama-clad Rena had taken out a small tablet of paper and a pen – from where, he had no idea – and was feverishly jotting notes down on it.
“... Police Chief Roger Lennox has said that a thorough investigation will be conducted, and that the immediate area of downtown Golden Valley near Silph Corp. will be shut down for safety reasons until experts can determine significance of the structural damage to the building...
“... It is without question, one of the deadliest and most tragic accidents that we have ever seen here in Golden Valley. Within the hour, we hope to have a public statement from Silph Corps president David Silph. In the meantime, we'll be sure to keep you updated as soon as we learn anything else. Until then, back to you in the studio, Ron.”
After a few eerie moments of reflection, the crowd began to disperse, most still murmuring about the epic tragedy in Golden Valley. Milo and Rena were left to stand alone in the lounge in front of the television. It was then that she turned to him and finally acknowledged his presence.
“Wow,” she said somberly. “Silph Corp. is the largest technology manufacturing firm in the country. They make everything: cell phones, computer systems, military weapons, everything... even pokéballs.”
Milo didn't need Rena to enlighten him about Silph, however. His very own computer at home, the advanced gaming model that he had spent countless hours in front of, was a Silph brand machine. It was true, they were one of the world leaders in terms of developing cutting edge technology, and it was hard to say how this tragedy would affect them.
“I wonder what caused the explosion,” Milo replied, unsure of what else to say.
Rena shrugged, looking thoughtful for a moment until suddenly her expression changed as though she had just snapped back to reality and remembered Milo's promise to let her accompany him to follow Bryce. She then looked down at herself and realized she was still in her sleepwear.
“Anyways,” she said, looking embarrassed. “I should go get dressed and get my things together. Will you be ready to go in a few minutes?”
“Uh, yeah,” Milo said nervously. “I'm gonna go check on Fawkes and get my supplies from the front desk.”
But before Rena could leave for her room, a familiar barking noise from behind made them both turn around.
Milo instantly felt weightless with delight when he saw the young nurse he had met the night before approaching him with a very alive and seemingly healthy Vulpix in her arms.
“Fawkes!” Milo shouted as he ran up to his pet.
Another joyous bark and the Vulpix leaped spryly from the nurse's clutches to Milo's waiting arms. Feeling Fawkes' potent body heat against his chest, Milo couldn't help but giggle with relief as she licked his face.
“Thank you, thank you," was all Milo could repeat over and over, trying not to cry.
“It's amazing,” Joy said with a look of shock on her tired face, “She's the fastest healer I've ever seen! Look, her wounds are almost completely healed!”
Milo looked and saw that Joy was right. Where the two gruesome Paras stab wounds had been on Fawkes' abdomen, two tiny, almost-invisible, scab-like markings were left in their place. Her gleaming ruby-like eyes were looking bright and well-rested.
“Wow!” Rena said, looking amazed as well. She took out her notepad once again and began scribbling. “That really is amazing! She's practically as good as new... and after getting attacked by an Ursaring just yesterday!”
Joy looked at Rena with a confused expression and had opened her mouth to speak, but Milo quickly interrupted her.
“So, is Fawkes free to go then, Nurse?”
“Oh, yes. Definitely. She's good to go. Those scabs on her back should be gone by tomorrow at this rate. You can take her whenever you're ready.”
Joy smiled and wished Milo and Fawkes luck before returning back to her office. Rena leaned over and scratched Fawkes behind her ears in greeting before returning to her room to get changed, leaving the two companions to relish their reunion. Milo really was amazed by how fast Fawkes had recovered, but was too overjoyed to really care about how abnormal it seemed.
“I'm so sorry, girl,” he said as he set her down on the tiled Pokémon Center floor in front of him. “I should never have put you in that situation in the forest. We'll definitely have to train you up a little more before we try that again.”
Fawkes barked in agreement, wagging her tongue happily as she followed Milo over to the information desk near the entrance of the building. Milo walked right up to the plump blonde woman sitting behind the desk, unable to contain his excited grin. It was like Fawkes' return to health had energized his entire body and returned all of his confidence.
“Milo Youngblood here. I'm participating in the Battle Quest. I'm here to check in and get my supplies,” he announced to the woman.
The woman scanned a piece of paper in front of her and then nodded when she apparently found Milo's name on her list.
“Ah, yes. Mr. Youngblood, I wasn't sure if you were still coming,” she said cheerfully. “You're our fourth and final trainer to arrive. The other three already left yesterday.”
“Wow, really? Only four of us?” Milo said, looking slightly surprised.
“Well, only four leaving from this location. Each of the contest's participants start from their nearest Pokémon Center, and you four are the only ones to be registered in our area. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of people participating nationwide though,” the receptionist explained.
Milo nodded. He was a bit disappointed to learn that he was already a step behind the other three trainers from the area – one of whom he knew to be Bryce Montgomery – but Milo tried to remind himself that it wasn't a race. One lost day didn't matter at this point, as long as he could somehow become a decent trainer over the course of the calender year... which Milo knew, was still a daunting task considering what had happened yesterday.
“Here are your maps,” the woman said, handing him two folded up sheets of paper. “If you find yourself in an area where you can't get cell phone or GPS service, these will certainly be of use.”
Milo nodded and took the maps of Kanto and stored them in his back pocket.
“Do you have a mobile phone, Mr. Youngblood?” the woman asked.
Milo nodded and handed her his cell phone. The receptionist took it and connected it to some sort of device that was attached to the computer in front of her. She punched a few keys on the keyboard, and after a few seconds, she disconnected the phone and handed it back to Milo.
“I've uploaded the Pokédex application to your mobile device, Mr. Youngblood,” she explained.
“Yes. Short for Pocket Monster Index,” she explained. “Think of it as sort of a digital encyclopedia of all of Kanto's monster species. With it, you will be able to take a photo with your phone of any creature you may encounter in the wild, and the program will instantly identify the monster in the picture. Very useful to learn about the creatures you run into, and know whether they're dangerous or not.”
Milo clicked open his phone eagerly. He activated the program and pointed his phone camera down at Fawkes and pressed the button to snap the photo.
The phone beeped and instantly, several paragraphs of words along with Fawkes' picture appeared on the small screen:
The monster you have identified is Vulpix
Scientific Name: Vulcunus Sexcaudalis
These quadrupedal mammalian creatures get their nicknames
from the numbers of tails they have, usually six. Vulpixes
are nearly extinct in the wild with the vast majority being
born and raised in captivity. Their friendly behavior and
ability to learn obedience, along with their unique
appearance have made Vulpixes very popular house
pets all around the country.
Despite their domesticated reputation, some Vulpixes
do have the ability to “breathe fire.” These creatures,
along with several others in the monster kingdom,
can secrete a saliva that ignites into flames when it
is introduced to the oxygen in the air.
Over time, a Vulpix can be trained to “spit” this saliva
at its enemies, which can result in a jet of flames
capable reaching temperatures hot enough to melt steel.
Milo's eyes didn't leave the sentence about Vulpixes being able to spit fire. He immediately thought of Hugo Bowers' Arcanine and its ability to shoot flames out of its mouth. If only Milo could somehow teach Fawkes to do this...
“And here are your pokéballs, Mr. Youngblood,” the receptionist said, interrupting his reading.
Milo pocketed his phone and took the small suede drawstring bag the woman handed him. Inside, he heard the metal orbs jostling like precious jewels. He took out one of the balls to admire it. He noticed right away that the red and white metal sphere looked much newer and shinier than the ones Mr. J had given him and that the brand name 'Silph' was cleanly stamped on them.
“Is that all then?” Milo asked anxiously, replacing the ball in the satchel.
“Just one more thing,” she replied, searching her desk for something. “Oh yes, here we are. Your first Coin Keeper clue.”
She handed Milo a small envelope with his name printed on it. He took the letter.
Milo had forgotten about this aspect of the Battle Quest. Each contestant would have to decipher the clues to lead them to the Bowers' Coin Keepers, whom they would need to defeat to gauge their progress in the contest. He instantly realized the importance of the letter he held in his hand.
Milo ripped open the envelope. Inside, there was a postcard-sized sheet of paper with words printed in the same elegant black and gold-trimmed font as his acceptance letter he had received at home. He read it out loud.
Follow this clue to find your first foe,
For without it, you will wander,
Not knowing where to go.
The Coin Keeper you seek is both strong and wise,
And to find him, you must look where there's no sunrise.
Head north and gaze up at the starry night skies,
Rock hard is his body and stone gray are his eyes.
Milo read the words several times over, but they didn't make much sense to him. So he was looking for someone who was apparently really strong and with gray eyes? That could be anyone. And where on earth would he even begin to start looking?
The only actual hint he had was in the second-to-the-last line of the clue. He knew he had to head north, and he assumed Bryce had received the same clue.
He returned the paper to the envelope and placed it in his pocket. He thanked the receptionist, took his supplies and walked towards the Pokémon Center's front doors where he found Rena waiting with his backpack and red baseball cap.
“Here you go,” she said, handing Milo the bag and hat. “I saw these laying over by the nurse's office. Ready to get going?”
Milo took the backpack and donned the cap. He saw that Rena had changed out of her pajamas and was now looking ready to travel in a pair of cut-off denim shorts and a gray t-shirt. Her dark hair was tied back in a casual pony tail, but Milo tried not to notice how ravishing she still looked.
Fawkes barked happily and scampered over to Rena's feet and rubbed up against her bare legs.
“Hi again, Fawkes,” she giggled. She then looked at Milo and asked, “Where are we headed?”
“Heading north,” Milo said, feeling suddenly bashful. But he tried to sound firm so as not to alert Rena of his uncertainty after reading the clue.
“North? Great, so we're going to Clover Ridge, then? Is that where Bryce said he was going?”
“Uh, y-yeah. That's right,” Milo said quickly. “Clover Ridge, yup. If we hurry, maybe we can catch Bryce.”
Milo, who had scarcely paid much attention in geography class growing up, was pretty sure that Clover Ridge was the next closest major town to the north of Maple Plain. And even though he had no idea in what town or city he would find the first Coin Keeper, at least Clover Ridge would be a step in the right direction.
“All right, great! Shall we?”
And with that, Milo took a deep breath and put on his bravest face as he pushed open the glass Pokémon Center doors and was met by the warm Maple Plain late-morning sunshine.
Once Milo, Rena and Fawkes made their way into town, they deferred to Rena, following her as she led them down the sidewalks of her quaint suburban hometown.
As Milo admired the beautiful city, which was more populous and busy than Oak Grove, but more scenic and rural than Viridian City, the two teens made casual smalltalk. Milo was terribly awkward when it came to conversation, so he was glad that Rena was willing to do most of the talking. Having just met, there was a lot to learn about her.
Rena mostly talked about her school and her big journalism assignment, which entailed doing an exclusive investigative report on the Battle Quest, and how getting a good grade on her assignment would help her chances in getting into a good journalism college. She also talked about Bryce quite a bit, which obviously didn't please Milo very much.
After stopping in to grab quick breakfast to-go at a small convenience store a few blocks from Rena's high school, they continued north down Maple Plain's main street.
Milo tried to steer the conversation away from Bryce by telling Rena about his own life. He was so shy, however, and found it so hard to make himself sound anything but excruciatingly boring that he had begun to resort to making casual mentions of himself being a very skilled cook, the starting second baseman for the Oak Grove all-city baseball team, and of course, an accomplished trainer and battler of Pokémon destined to win Hugo Bowers' Battle Quest.
Their route soon took Milo and Rena completely through the heart of the city and they soon found themselves walking through one of Maple Plain's nature-rich city parks near the outskirts of town.
“Well, it sure did turn out to be a beautiful day, didn't it? I love this park,” she said, admiring the scene of lush and shady oak trees that lined the trimmed blacktop path they walked. “My family and I used to go camping here a lot when I was younger.”
“It's really nice,” Milo said simply, not knowing what else to say.
“It's so nice to get away from all the cars and buildings and enjoy nature,” she said cheerfully, but stopped suddenly “Oh, look over there!”
Milo looked up and saw that Rena was pointing at two hefty creatures grazing in the shadows at the edge of the thicket of trees about fifty feet away from the path. They were partially hidden by the overhanging brush, so Milo couldn't see exactly what they were.
Milo felt the same way he had felt before when watching Mr. J's cattle roaming free in the fields. Whatever these creatures were, there was something beautiful about seeing them in real life like this instead of simply in books or on T.V. Curious, Milo quickly took out his phone and did his best to snap a photo of the monsters from afar.
The monster you have identified is Stantler
Scientific name: Cervidae Stagimus
Weight: 120 lbs
Stantler (singular and plural) are ruminant mammalian
creatures that are extremely common throughout Kanto,
where they inhabit a variety of different biomes, including
forests, mountains, and even cold weather areas such as
mountains and the northern tundras.
However, Stantler can grow and thrive anywhere where
there is sufficient forest or brush cover and food so they
have been known to appear near human dwellings, parks
and fields as well.
They are naturally shy creatures who are spooked easily,
but will use their antlers for protection in extreme
Milo should have guessed that these brush-shrouded monsters were Stantler. He had seen them countless times growing up in Oak Grove, either wandering across his backyard or near the edge of the woods just outside of town, but he had never really appreciated just how majestic and formidable they looked with their jagged antlers and muscular hindquarters until now. And he would never have expected to see them in the suburbs.
“Wow, that's a cool phone you've got there,” Rena said, clearly impressed by the Pokédex app. “Can it do that for any monster?”
But Milo wasn't listening. He was too busy staring at the Stantler across the way. He kept his eyes on them, watching them like a predator watching his prey...
And then Milo did something before he could stop himself.
Maybe it was just a reaction to the newness of his Battle Quest adventure or the feeling of the pokéballs jangling in his backpack, but for whatever reason, Milo suddenly took off sprinting across the grassy parkway towards the grazing Stantler.
“Milo?! What are you doing?” he heard Rena call out to him. Fawkes barked at him as well.
But he didn't stop to answer either of them. This was his chance to show Rena – and himself – that he belonged in this competition along with the Bryce Montgomerys of the world. This was his moment. He was going to catch a Pokémon.
He reached back into the bag and took one of his pokéballs, churning his legs as hard as he could. When Milo got close to the grazing Stantler, they immediately sensed his presence and galloped off into the thick tree cover. But Milo was determined. He reared back and threw his ball at the slower moving of the two stags probably twenty feet ahead of him.
The orb soared through the air in what felt like slow motion. It connected with the buttocks of the Stantler and burst open. A flash of white light made Milo's heart jump, but it quickly fizzled out, and the ball fell harmlessly to the ground as the Stantler duo ran off into the woods.
Milo swore under his breath as he walked dejectedly over to retrieve his empty ball from the shrubs. He sensed Rena's eyes on him from across the way – not in a good way – and all he wanted to do at this point was just crawl into the high grass or run into the woods and hide.
“What was that all about?” she asked him, when he finally made his way back to the walking path. “Were you trying to catch that Stantler? You know a pokéball won't work on a fully-grown Stantler without weakening it in battle first, right?”
“Of course I do,” Milo replied, trying to sound casual. “I was... I was just playin' around.”
Rena nodded, but Milo couldn't tell if she bought it or not. The two teens and Fawkes continued to walk through the park silently, as though Milo's bizarre behavior had transformed the entire trip into one long, awkward encounter.
Milo was too embarrassed about his attempt to capture his first monster to say anything, and he feared Rena felt the same way. He thought back to when Bryce had revealed his two monsters to him in the Pokémon Center the day before. Milo shuddered at the memory of the towering, slithering snake and the jagged, angry-looking rock creature.
And he remembered Bryce saying that Milo's Vulpix wouldn't stand a chance against his beasts. Deep down, Milo agreed, although it infuriated him to do so. He knew his only chance to get better would be to acquire stronger monsters, but if he needed to weaken them in order to capture them, he was stuck. How would he ever manage to weaken a super-strong monster?
“So, Milo,” Rena said, interrupting Milo's thoughts and the silence. “You say you've been a training monsters for years, but... I gotta ask, have you ever caught a wild monster before? I notice Fawkes is the only one you have, and surely she wasn't born in the wild, was she?”
Milo stared up at Rena, not knowing what to say. He wanted her to think he was just as interesting of a traveling partner as Bryce, but he was sure that she was sensing his inexperience and didn't want her to think he was a liar.
“Uh, sure I have. Plenty of them,” he said, deciding the stick to his guns. “And Fawkes isn't my only monster. I've got a couple others as well.”
“Ooh, are they strong? Can I see them?”
But before he could open his backpack, a commotion from up ahead interrupted them. Milo remembered the angry monster rights protesters he had seen in Viridian City and hoped they hadn't followed him to Maple Plain.
But before Milo could explain his apprehension, Rena, ever curious, took off on a jog down the pathway towards the noise. Fawkes obediently followed, barking excitedly as though she thought it was play time.
Milo sighed but begrudgingly quickened his pace down the path which wound around more trees and shrubs.
As he turned the corner, however, he saw it. Like ogling spectators of a schoolyard fight, a sizable group of teenagers and younger children were gathered around in an open, grassy area just off the trail. Milo spotted Rena's long, bare legs and shapely figure amongst the crowd right away. She was holding Fawkes in her arms as she and everyone else was huddled around whatever event was going in their midst.
Milo ran up and pushed his way through the mob of people and got as close to Rena and Fawkes as he could. Instantly, a sudden explosion of fire in the air made him jump and almost caused a very feminine shriek to escape his lips as the rest of the crowed oohed and aahed.
Finally, after feverishly jostling for a position in which he could see clearly, Milo eyes grew wide when he saw what the large crowd was watching.
The source of the fire blast had apparently been the red-feathered duck standing near the center of the crowd. It was small but had an intense look in its glossy eyes, and the edge of its puckered bill was slightly sooted, presumably from shooting fire from it.
Opposing it on the other end of the makeshift battlefield, stood another duck-billed monster, this one much larger and more muscular with silvery blue scales and ruby-red eyes. The creature stood tall, almost like a human, holding its clawed and webbed hands up in a fighter's pose.
Both monsters stood opposite one another, each flanked by its trainer. A fat, brown-haired boy around Milo's age barked a command to his fiery Magmar. At the other end of the field, a tall and lanky redheaded shouted to his Golduck as well.
Milo didn't have to consult his Pokédex. Magmar and Golduck were popular breeds of fighting monsters that many of the KPL pros had been known to battle with.
Responding to their trainers' commands, both ducks inhaled deeply before ejecting powerful beams of energy directly at one another. Magmar fired an impressive jet of roaring red and orange fire at Golduck, who returned the favor with a powerful gushing beam of white water like from a fireman's hose.
In one spectacular, crescendoing moment, the two opposing attacks met like speeding trains colliding and exploding on the same track, totally drowning out the group's collective gasps.
When fire met water, an ear-splitting, sizzling sound was followed by thick clouds of steam that were released into the air. Neither side seemed to prove itself any stronger than the other. Like the opposite of an equal match of tug-of-war, the point at which they met was suspended in air as the two attacks continued from their sources.
Finally, the jets of fire and water dwindled in pressure and power, and the mist of the steam shrank as both Pokémon ran out of the necessary energy to keep them up. Neither attack had been able to break through, proving how equally powerful these two beasts were to this point.
Milo stared in amazement as teens and kids around him applauded and whooped loudly in response to the exhibition.
Suddenly, the chubby trainer bellowed another command to his Magmar, and it sprang into action immediately with a deep-voiced, growling quack. The redhead's Golduck did the same and lunged at the on-charging fire creature.
A vicious but breathtaking display of close combat ensued between the two monsters. Punches, kicks, slashes, bites and headbutts were exchanged like it was an epic boxing match. Golduck and Magmar bounced nimbly on their webbed feet, mixing dodging maneuvers with well-timed jabs and swipes.
Both creatures appeared to be even in terms of strength and training, and were matching each other blow for blow. The crowd of people were all silent in awe as the fighting went on for several minutes.
Milo felt an electric feeling of adrenaline pump through his blood, and suddenly his sore legs and tired feet felt cured. The excitement was more intense than he had ever felt. Seeing a real-life Pokémon battle with his own eyes and not just on television or his computer screen was certainly a big difference.
Seeing the actual singe marks and bloody scratches on Golduck's scaly hide and feeling the cool stray water droplets being shaken off Magmar's wet and ruffled red feathers was simply amazing to Milo.
“Golduck, enough fooling around! Up in the air!” the gangly teen suddenly barked.
Apparently the boy was fed up watching the two Pokémon trade shots back and forth. Milo could tell from afar by the look of his piercing blue eyes that he wanted to end this battle now.
The blue duck obeyed its master and jumped high into air above its opponent's range with amazing athleticism once again.
Baring its sharp clawed feet and hands, it landed on the back of the fire-breathing fowl like a cowboy riding a Tauros in a rodeo and wrapped its hands around Magmar's slender neck from behind, plunging the knife-like claws deep into its throat before it could react.
Honking in agony, the bird writhed in pain and tried unsuccessfully to shake the Golduck off its back. It jerked its head around desperately, shooting reckless jets of flame from its beak into the air. But no matter what Magmar did, it was no use. Golduck was safely out of its range with a vice grip on its neck.
The red head's monster continued strangling Magmar until it could only make muffled choking sounds. The blood was beginning to rush to its eyes and its legs slowly began to buckle as it sank to the ground.
“Stop it! You're hurting it!” Milo heard Rena suddenly scream loud enough to overpower the general noises of battle and its spectators.
But the red-haired boy ignored her. Milo thought he saw a slight smirk curl across the trainer's narrow face from afar as Magmar's final desperate fire-breaths reflected in the wetness of the boy's merciless eyes.
Milo didn't know what to do. Magmar was now bleeding profusely from the wounds to its neck, and Golduck was now standing over the fallen creature, still clutching its blood-soaked throat.
“All right, all right! I give up! You win!”
The crowd turned when the chubby trainer had apparently determined his Magmar wouldn't be able to pull through and wished to surrender the battle.
Milo breathed a sigh a relief and realized that he had been holding his breath for quite some time as he watched. But to his horror, Golduck wasn't releasing his grip. It was still squeezing its claws mercilessly into its helpless opponent's neck, ignoring the losing trainer's forfeiture.
“Hey! Stop! He said he gives up!” Rena's piercing scream again rang throughout the park. Milo hadn't known that a girl like Rena had a shrill sound like that in her, but obviously he didn't blame her at a time like this.
The crowd seemed to agree with Rena, but was apparently unwilling to voice it. The kids gathered around all looked very uncomfortable as though they knew that such behavior from the red-haired teen was commonplace but knew better than to question him.
After a few horrifying seconds of mercilessness which felt like hours, the Golduck trainer smirked again, raised his long-fingered hand and shouted to his fighter.
“All right, Golduck, that's enough,” he sighed, sounding arrogant yet casual. He then gave his challenger a demeaning glare and shouted more forcefully, “I told you your little duckling was no match for me!”
Milo felt his blood boil as he watched the terrified Magmar owner stumble over to his unconscious monster. With tears in his eyes, he quickly returned the bird to its pokéball and ran off immediately to find medical attention.
The arrogance of Golduck's trainer instantly reminded Milo of Bryce Montgomery, although this lanky boy didn't measure up to Bryce's stoic and chiseled image. And even Bryce wasn't this cruel... not to monsters at least.
“I told you all,” the redhead continued, now speaking more loudly to the crowd around him. “No one in this town can beat me! When will you learn?”
Milo had had enough of listening to this insolent prick spout off about how great he was. And the sadistic manner in which he had taken pleasure in actually hurting his opponent's Magmar and inflicting pain well beyond the cease of battle was sickening.
Milo looked over to Rena, hoping to catch her eye in order to gesture that he was ready to leave and make their way towards Cedar Ridge. But he saw that she was too busy glaring at the trainer in the center of the crowd.
“You think you're pretty great don't you?!” Rena shouted suddenly over everyone, with a tone more sinister and antagonistic than Milo had thought her capable of.
A hush fell upon the group, eyes from every direction found Rena, with Milo standing beside her. Milo had the sudden urge to run away as fast as he could to avoid this confrontation, but his feet were frozen to the ground and his knees were shaking. The red haired trainer chuckled.
“I know you,” he sneered. “I've seen you around school... Rena, right? You write for the school newspaper, don't you? Well, I'm surprised you haven't yet done an exclusive story on me... 'Shane McCarthy, Captain of Maple Plain High's battle team.”
“Why in the world would I do a story on a arrogant asshole like you?” she spat back to general astonishment from the surrounding teens. “You fight really dirty, having your Golduck choking Magmar from behind like that. What's wrong, Shane, not man enough to battle straight up, face-to-face?”
Milo stared at Rena in awe and horror... as well as a little bit of admiration. Her normally cheerful brown eyes were blazing with anger as Shane started to laugh.
“You obviously don't know much about battling,” Shane retorted, his voice now more intense in response to his manhood being questioned. “Don't worry though. When I'm battling in the KPL in a few years, I'll still grant you an interview... if you are able to persuade me.”
Rena made a mock gagging gesture and replied.
“The KPL? Yeah, right. If you're so good, why aren't you competing in Bowers' Battle Quest? If you think you're destined for professional battling, why bother yourself with being captain of a stupid little high school league team? Why aren't you out trying to win a pro contract right now?”
McCarthy just laughed again, looking unfazed.
“The Hugo Bowers contest...” he began in between chuckles, “What a joke! You think a bunch of fucking school children are gonna go running around the country on their little scavenger hunt or whatever it is and think they're all of a sudden gonna be good enough to be in the KPL?! Pathetic!”
“A joke, huh,?” Rena said. “Well, here's one of those school children right here... Milo here is actually competing in the Battle Quest, unlike you. He's got monsters you've probably never even seen before. I bet he could show you a thing or two.”
Milo felt an overpowering urge to vomit. He felt the weight of everyone's attention shifting from Rena to him as she pointed directly at him. The thought of taking off running had never felt so right, but again, his trembling legs would not permit it.
“This kid? What is he, like eleven years old?” McCarthy scoffed as though Milo wasn't standing right there. “See what I'm talking about? If chumps like him are competing in the so called Battle Quest, how legit can it be?”
Milo's eyes were silently imploring Rena to shut up, but she ignored him. He heard the words came out of her like a punch to the groin.
“All right, Shane... Why don't you battle Milo then?”
“Uh... l-look,” Milo gasped suddenly. “We don't want any trouble. My monsters are all too tired from the trip to fight right now anyway.”
Rena shot a look at Milo showing she was shocked by his cowardly response.
“What's the matter? You scared, bitch?” McCarthy said, finally speaking to Milo.
Milo couldn't help but notice the desperate look Rena was giving him, as well as pressure he felt from the group of onlookers staring at him. He slowly reached into his pocket, wondering if he dared. He didn't like McCarthy accusing of being scared, even if he was.
“Why would he be scared of you?” Rena snapped, apparently hoping it would stimulate Milo's confidence by talking more.
It didn't, and Milo was growing increasingly annoyed with Rena for her inability to keep her mouth shut, but for whatever reason, his hand closed around the old, scratched-up metal ball in his pocket. He thought about the electric cat's impressive display of power when he had saved Fawkes from the Paras in Viridian Forest.
Granted, Shane's Golduck was definitely more formidable than a common forest insect, but what other choice did he have?
Without a word, Milo took a deep breath and removed Luxio's ball and tossed it on the grass in front of him, daring to feel a slight twinge of optimism as he watched the capsule burst open.
But what happened next immediately extinguished any feeling of hope he had. What he saw made Milo felt like he had been stabbed in the chest.
As the bright white light of the pokéball dissipated, Luxio was no where to be seen. In his place, standing on two pencil-thin legs was the diminutive black-feathered bird whom Milo had rescued a few weeks ago. Spearow stretched his two now-healthy wings and gave a meek chirp of greeting.
Milo swore under his breath at his mistake as he heard the crowd around him begin to murmur. Truthfully, he had forgotten about Spearow entirely and thought the ball he had grabbed was Luxio's. His heart sank when he noticed Rena's expression of utter dismay.
McCarthy cackled maniacally when he saw the tiny bird whom Milo had summoned.
“Really?! A Spearow? This is what the great Battle Quest warrior chooses to use against my Golduck?!” he scoffed.
“No, wait--” Milo tried to say, wanting nothing more than to die right then and there.
Before Milo could plead his case that he had accidentally thrown the wrong pokéball, Shane suddenly bellowed to his Golduck.
“All right, Golduck. Let's see what this Battle Quest kid's got! Go!”
Feeling foolish and helpless, Milo watched in horror as he watched Golduck conjure another of its great blasts of water, which struck the sputtering Spearow head on with the force of a horizontal geyser blast. Milo didn't even have time to attempt to call a command to Spearow before it was too late.
The young bird was blasted backwards from the force of the water and landed in a crumpled, wet heap in the grass.
After a few moments, when it didn't get up and it was determined that Golduck had won, the surrounding spectators began to rumble once more, some started to chuckle and others, including Shane, began to outright laugh at Milo and his sorry attempt at battling.
“Are you fucking serious?!” McCarthy venomously shouted at Rena. “I thought your little Battle Quest boyfriend here was going to show me a thing or two about battling?! See what I mean? That stupid contest is a joke!”
Rena just growled angrily and stormed off away from the crowd and down the path leading out of the park.
Milo, still dumbfounded by what had just happened didn't know what to do. He felt the dozens of pairs of eyes staring at him and didn't want to endure any of McCarthy's ridicule so he recalled the fainted Spearow back into his ball and scooped up Fawkes into his arms before taking off running after Rena.
After a tiring sprint out of the park, Milo and Fawkes finally caught up to Rena just outside of Maple Plain's boarder. She was walking with long-legged aggressive strides down the dirt road that signaled to Milo that she was very angry still.
Milo instantly realized that he was ten times more terrified of Rena than Shane McCarthy at this point after Milo had led her to believe that he was a legitimate and experienced Battle Quest competitor who had battled an Ursaring and caught countless monsters in his storied lifetime.
He walked alongside her silently for quite a long time, feeling more and more ashamed and awkward with every passing moment of uncomfortable silence. It was clear that Rena was not going to acknowledge him, but it was at least a bit consoling that she hadn't screamed at him yet.
Finally, Milo couldn't stand the silence any longer.
“No, you look!” she barked immediately as if she had been waiting for Milo to dare to speak. “I thought you said you were a trainer! You made a fool out of me back there! And an even bigger fool out of yourself! I can't believe I believed you!”
Milo just sank his head, not knowing whether he should keep walking or just turn around and leave Rena on her own quest to find Bryce Montgomery.
But as he adjusted the baseball cap on his head, Milo remembered who had once owned the hat, and a voice from deep within himself urged him onward, even if Rena no longer wished to join him. And although, Milo had to struggle with the inner turmoil of it all, he did feel a slight charge of invigoration and motivation sweep through his body.
“I'm sorry,” Milo said simply to Rena, who refused to respond.
And for the rest of the afternoon, the two estranged companions walked silently: Rena too upset and angry to speak, and Milo with his new-found determination preventing him from stopping his journey. Fawkes again was lucky enough to ride in her owner's cradling arms.
As nightfall visited the two teen travelers, they found that darkness was swift and not accommodating; it would not wait until Milo and Rena had made it safely to Cedar Ridge to find lodging.
Milo could no longer see very far in front of him on the path and the tall grass and forestry that lined the road seemed to tower over him and Rena even more in the dark. Rustling from the bushes and the ominous hooting sounds from deep within the trees caused Rena to stop in her tracks.
“What do you think's out there?” she said, looking around nervously for the source of the noises.
“I don't know,” Milo replied.
“Damn,” she sighed. “I knew we shouldn't have stopped. Cedar Ridge is still probably a few miles ahead.”
“Well, should we set up camp for the night? It's too dark to really see where we're going.”
Rena didn't answer right away, and Milo couldn't see her face to gauge her expression.
“Uh... well, I don't really have any supplies,” she said finally, sounding embarrassed. “I hadn't planned on camping outside... I hadn't even planned on coming this far. I thought I'd be able to catch Bryce back at the Pokemon Center.”
“Don't worry,” Milo replied, relieved that Rena had stopped ignoring him.
Milo set the sleeping Vulpix down on the ground, and with the aid of his cell phone's backlight, he opened his backpack and found the matches his mom had packed for him in a plastic baggy. He then used his phone's faint light to find and gather several pieces of stray twigs, branches and bark just off the road.
Dropping the wood down on a flat area of grass, he tried his best to light the pile with the matches. But whether it was the wind or just that Milo was a dreadfully inexperienced camper as well as a monster trainer, the sad pile of wood would not light.
“Why don't you use Fawkes?” Rena asked impatiently. “Isn't she a fire element monster?”
But when Milo didn't answer Rena apparently remembered her anger towards him.
“Oh, of course,” she said sarcastically. “I should have known.”
Milo ignored Rena and kept trying, blowing pleadingly on the smoking embers to try to get them to take.
Finally, after he had exhausted all of his matches, Milo did manage to start a meager fire bright enough to bathe the area at the side of the road in a faint orange glow.
Feeling pretty proud of himself, Milo said, “Well, it's not much, but it should be enough to keep us warm for a while.”
Before Rena could retort, he reached into his backpack once again and pulled out his rolled-up sleeping bag. He unrolled it on the grass near the fire and unzipped its edge.
“Here you go,” he said to Rena, holding the flap open for her to climb in.
“Uh, thanks,” she said, her curious expression of surprise barely visible in the fire light. “But where are you gonna sleep?”
“I'll be fine here on the grass.”
“Thanks,” she replied as she slid into the sleeping bag before adding, “But don't think this means I'm not still mad at you.”
“Right,” he said as he lay down on the lumpy ground.
He starred up at the stars and listened to the whistling wind and soft chirping of nocturnal insects in the distance for a while. He figured that Rena had fallen asleep as he could hear her delicate but steady breaths in rhythm with the sounds of nature around them.
But then he heard her voice.
“Milo?” she asked, sounding slightly groggy. “Why are you participating in the Battle Quest if you obviously aren't a trainer?”
And there it was, the question Milo had asked himself countless times over the last few weeks. It would have been easy to lie once again and tell Rena that he was a talented trainer trying to challenge himself by only using immature monsters or say that he had just been playing around against McCarty, but he didn't.
Perhaps it was due to his heavy eye lids or his sleepy, entranced state, but Milo answered the question freely as though he was talking to only himself.
“Danny would have loved this,” he said fondly.
He let the simplicity and meaning behind the phrase take hold of the moment as the wind continued to softly rustle the leaves above.
“My older brother. He was a great battler back in high school in Rosemont, where I used to live. I was only six or seven back then, but I still remember watching him. He loved it. He would have been the first in line ready to go as soon as he heard about this Battle Quest.”
Milo paused. Did he know Rena well enough? He decided he didn't care.
“Danny died when I was seven,” he said simply.
Rena fidgeted in Milo's sleeping bag. “Oh, I'm sorry.”
“Yeah... He got really sick...” Milo said, his voice breaking at the end. “My family wasn't the same after he died.”
“I bet not,” Rena replied in a sympathetic tone.
“You see, my dad had always sort of favored Danny growing up because he was athletic and strong and good at sports, and I was... well... he favored Danny.
“And after Danny died, I think my dad sort of blamed it on me. I was never really ever interested in sports or anything that he liked. He was bitter that the only son he had left wasn't a star athlete or captain of the battle team.
“He started acting weird. Distant. He wouldn't talk much. And then suddenly one day, probably a few weeks after Danny died, he just left. He left me and my mom. Just left us with nothing but a fucking note.”
Milo's heart was quickening and he didn't feel as tired now. But even as he felt his anger return, it felt good to be telling the story for some reason. He continued.
“In the note, he said he just had to leave and wished us good luck. Mom only worked part time back in Rosemont. We had a huge house in a nice neighborhood and she couldn't afford it on her salary. We moved to a small house next to a farm in Oak Grove a few weeks later. That's where I live now. Haven't seen or heard from my father ever since then. He abandoned us.”
Even though Milo had no blanket or sleeping bag, he felt hot with rage. But he continued to talk, the words spilling from his mouth like they had longed to escape for years.
“It hurt when he left us. I've hated him ever since. But I love Danny. He was always looking out for me and trying to get Dad to take some interest in the stuff I was doing too. He would have won this Battle Quest thing for sure.
“So, I know it sounds dumb, but I feel like I sort of owe it to Danny to go on this journey. I know he was born for this.
And since he's not here, I owe it to him to try to improve myself and work hard like he would have done.”
Milo lay silent for a few moments thinking about Danny but soon noticed that Rena did not respond. She had apparently fallen asleep. No matter, though. Milo was actually relieved that she hadn't heard his painful life story in detail. She already thought so little of him after his pathetic display earlier that day, she didn't need more fuel for the fire.
Milo sighed deeply and stroked Fawkes' soft fur as he gazed up at the dazzling night sky.
He thought about his Battle Quest, only two days in. He never would have thought that his life could contain as much excitement and emotion as had occurred since he had left Oak Grove. Expecting to feel mentally fatigued and longing for home, Milo was surprised by the strange feeling of drive that seemed to be growing inside of him as he thought of his past.
To Be Continued...
So this is the change...
I must say, now I wholeheartedly approve of your decision to rewrite. By changing this scene, you've made it a lot more realistic, and added a lot more to Milo's personality.
Now, when I won't say I wouldn't have enjoyed seeing Luxio kick Golduck to the middle of next week, this is nice too. :)
All the same, I'm interested in seeing how Milo and his Pokémon develop with respect to Rena. I can definitely see she's going to become a major part of the story, but in what way...love interest, or something else?
Anyhow, great work!
Made by Blue Dragon!
Good chapter once again, showing even more spects of the pokémon world such as trainers who take joy in harming the foe, not just victory. The way the story pulls you in with immersion was great, and so was the way you reveal more about Milo. I have no negative comments keep up the great work!
Hmm, you really know how start the journey on a sour note, don't you. >:3
And then, of course, there's the old-school save at the end where Milo actually gets to explain himself. Probably Rena has some internal conflict of her own after hearing such things.
My only advice now is to try not to shoehorn adjectives in, which I found in a few places. But other than that, keep going. You have real potential in this.
The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, dirty MiloxRena peasants!!! GLORIOUS MILOxIZZY MASTER RACE!!!!!!
*ahem* So it seems the cat is out of the bag already now, the web of lies just barely got started before it like, exploded and stuff. Anyways! With all that said and done, bets on T-minus how long until "if you want to leave, then leave"? Or any variation thereof. Or, will she just leave and hook up with Bryce, or just go after the interview which she seems very subtly hell-bent on getting? On one hand, Rena hasn't seen Luxio yet in this, so there's that to consider. But on the other, its capabilities could be different, and besides, solo Milo would be cool to see for a bit. He's snapped before...but if so, what happens then? And I don't know why, but the phrase "smite the non-believers" came into my head. Also, bets on whether we'll somehow get to see JL vs. McCarthy, captain vs. captain?
Speaking of sooner rather than later, I guess we're getting the father story bit right here right now, with the Danny bit too. Also earlier than I was expecting. So the two are connected, and it was "just" illness. Will be interesting to see what it entailed.
In other news, in this combination of 6 and 7 from the previous iteration which turned an Arcanine into a Golduck and turned a battle into accidentally using the wrong Pokemon and losing in seconds changing the whole direction, it seems Milo's Uncle Greg, Kantonian soldier is no more. Reading too much into it with that last point? Yeah, probably. Whatever the case, we're entering new grounds for reals next!
Don't know what to put here.
Hmm... I like it. Alternate universes aren't always my favorite, but you really make this one interesting. You're incredible at describing the characters, although I think some more depictions of the setting would help to flesh out the world and make it come to life. I like the descriptions overall, but I think there were a couple of points where you went too far and the sentence became a bit long-winded.
Each of the characters has a story, especially Milo. I love that, it makes the reader care. You're characters are more human than almost any I've ever seen in a fan fiction, especially since they're dealing with real life problems that people can relate to (such as Milo's father) yet in a Pokemon world. The plot's making me curious to see what comes next.
Keep writing! That's good stuff. I'll be back.
I just start reading this. It's very good and well written but a lot of the Pokemon stuff is wrong. How can he start with a Vulpix if he lives in Kanto? Shouldn't he get a squirtle or bulbasaur or charmander? And where is professer oak? He is the one who gives pokemon to newbies, right?
Pika to the mofoing Chu!