Sanpo Nepenti, Episode 2!

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    Default Sanpo Nepenti, Episode 2!

    Okay folks, here's the first chapter of Sanpo Nepenti!



    Table of Contents:
    Chapter One: The Evolution of Tansy
    Chapter Two: Trees Upon Trees

    I've never submitted fanfic to any kind of forum before, so I'm pretty nervous. It's probably very cliché, being a Kanto journeyfic, but over the course of the story I hope to take the plot and characters somewhere interesting. Also, it's more anime-inspired than game-inspired. I'm updating my Livejournal concurrently with concept art and notes, so feel free to check that out. Thank you very much if you decide to read/review!

    --"What Is" Jack



    "Bella?" a gravelly voice whispered into the darkness. "Are you there?"

    "Bella~!" another voice replied, apparently unable to stifle its rosy cheeriness.

    Professor Oak smiled weakly. How Tansy had managed to get Bella to say her own name rather than "Chansey" was something he’d probably never figure out.

    "Everything's on schedule? The Flinch will be here?" The predawn light was getting stronger over the hills and fields surrounding the lab.

    Bella frowned momentarily. Professor Oak was so confident their plan would go off without a hitch that he wouldn't be expecting anything but an affirmative answer, and were there a wrinkle, how was she expected to tell him what it was? An instant later her sunny disposition regained control. Bella was sure Tansy would be happy, and that would make the Professor happy. "Bella~," she warbled.

    "Good." Professor Oak sat back on his ankles. He and Bella had been planning it for weeks: they had arranged for the three tiny Flinch, whom Tansy had befriended shortly after arriving at the lab, to fly to her window at dawn, perch on the sill, and awaken her with sweet birdsong and sunlight.

    The Professor thought it wasn't a bad way to greet (or be greeted by) the day, and he didn't want anything to mar it: the day his granddaughter began her Pokémon journey.

    Most children -- or perhaps, they were children no more -- set off on their Pokémon journey when they turned ten. But Tansy, who had become a quiet, melancholy child ever since moving to the lab, expressed no desire to leave it on her tenth birthday. Since she seemed so happy among all the Pokémon in Professor Oak's care, and so eager to learn everything about them all, he indulged her. But he knew (or hoped) that one day she would be drawn out into the wider world to the search for friends -- both Pokémon and human -- as yet undiscovered.

    Now, three years later, Tansy had finally labeled herself as "ready". Ah, his precious Tansy, growing up and becoming more and more like her mother each day...

    A thundering sound outside the open window shook Professor Oak from his reverie. As the thundering grew louder he looked around wildly at Bella, who had a placid smile on her face.

    Professor Oak stared in horror as three huge, three enormous shapes blundered through the window, exploding into the room screeching and squawking and sending feathers flying everywhere.

    The Professor stood in silent horror. Bella smiled. Tansy sat bolt upright. Leaning over her bed, long necks bursting through the window like flames from a firework were NOT three tiny Flinch, NOT their evolution the graceful Quaille, but the elephantine Oscringe, each five feet tall and blaring raucous salutations.

    "BELLA!" shouted Bella gleefully and launched herself at Tansy. She wrapped her arms around Tansy's neck and nuzzled her cheek contentedly. Tansy sagged slightly under the Chansey's weight.

    "Grandad!" Tansy cried, spotting Professor Oak, who was spread across the bedroom wall like a paint spatter. "The Flinch evolved all the way to Oscringe! All three of them! I'm so proud of you!" she said to them, stretching her arm its utmost to ruffle the feathers of the nearest Oscringe, as Bella was still fastened around Tansy's neck.

    "B-b-but they were still Flinch th-three weeks ago," stammered the Professor, wobbling slightly as he peeled himself off the wall. "Bella, why didn't you tell me?" He rounded on the Chansey, who frowned again. "They were supposed to sing to you."

    "They were still Flinch three days ago," Tansy said quietly as Professor Oak came and sat on the edge of her bed. One of the Oscringe leaned forward and took a tuft of his hair in its beak playfully. "I've been going around for the past few days saying goodbye to everyone..."

    Bella detached herself and wandered off to fix some eggs for breakfast. Tansy reached forward and smoothed some of the wayward feathers on the nearest Oscringe's head. "When I told the Flinch I was leaving for my journey, they started crying," she said softly. "And of course, that got me crying."

    Professor Oak scooted forward and pulled his granddaughter into an awkward hug. She laughed a little, her face buried in his labcoat. "No, I told them it was okay, because of course it's sad when someone's leaving, someone you love." She looked up into her grandfather's face. "But soon you have to be strong, and live your life so that person can be proud of you. They wouldn't want you to be sad forever."

    He stroked Tansy's hair. "I suppose the Flinch took 'be strong' to heart, my dear," he said, releasing her.

    "Yeah," Tansy laughed.

    An hour or so later, Tansy stood at the bottom of the hill, surrounded by a small circle of well-wishers: her grandfather and little brother Gary, long-time friend of the family Delia holding her small son Ash, and Tansy's other grandparents, who'd travelled up from Mandarin Isle to see her off.

    After Delia fussed one last time over Tansy, asking her to make sure she had everything, telling her to call immediately upon her arrival in Viridian City, and urging her to be not shy if she ever needed to discuss "girl things", Tansy's grandmother drew forward, taking something from her purse.

    "Your mother wanted you to have this," she said. Tansy took the glittering object. It was a large circular pendant on a long tarnished chain. "She bought it when we went to the Ruins of Alph."

    It was a taijitu, made of yellow and green amberite. "Sandie wore it when she began her own journey, and she said it always brought her good luck," said her other grandfather. "When you were born, she said she'd give it to you the day you started your own, because from then on you were her good luck."

    Tansy smiled, trying to silence the tiny sprout of a thought that whispered, Does that mean Gary was her bad luck...? "Wow," she said aloud, "thank you so much..." She put the pendant around her neck.

    "And here's your Pokédex," said Professor Oak, handing her a small red flip-top device.

    "Um, Grandad, I was kinda thinking..." began Tansy, taking a steadying breath. "Do you think -- I mean, would it be okay if -- when it's time for me to register, I didn't register as Tansy 'Oak'? I mean--" she rushed on, watching her grandparents' faces, "--I don't want people bothering you or interrupting your research if they find out someone related to you is doing something. Like every time Dad---"

    Tansy cut herself off inadvertently. They never talked about her father anymore, and Tansy didn't know how he'd spilled into the conversation. She'd kept a lid on anything pertaining to him for so long...

    She expected her grandfather's face to be stony at the mention of his son. But to her surprise it was soft. "I know, dear," he said softly. "You can have whatever last name you'd like, but at least still be 'Tansy'." He hugged her. "And don't worry about me. Gary and I will be fine."

    Tansy nodded and looked around at Gary, who was rolling sideways down the long hill with Ash, both of them laughing hysterically. "Gary, gimme a hug!" she shouted.

    "Uh-uh!" he shouted back, on his feet again and covered in grass.

    "Tansy!" yelled Ash, running over and grabbing her around the middle. At only five, Ash was not yet shy about public hugging.

    "Bye Ash!" Tansy said, ruffling his hair and causing grass to fall out. "Where's Bella?" she asked. "She should be out here by now..."

    "Here she comes," said Professor Oak, pointing at a large pink blob bounding down the drive to where they were standing.

    "Bella~!" said the Chansey upon reaching them, and proffered a large tray of new eggs. Tansy's grandmother took one. Ash took two. Delia agreed to take the rest of the tray home.

    After hugging each of them, after one last round of good-byes, Tansy finally turned and faced north, where somewhere through the trees lay Viridian City. And, possibly, him...
    Last edited by Sanpo Nepenti; 5th October 2010 at 09:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Sanpo Nepenti, Episode 1!

    I'm loving the pictures you put up. That's an interesting name you gave to Prof. Oak's granddaughter. Did you do this so that people wouldn't confuse her with May or Misty's sister Daisy, or because you liked the name?

    Here's me trying my hand at critiquing:

    The introduction is kinda iffy. There's no build-up or description of the setting, you just kind of throw it all at the reader. The only one we're given any details about is Tansy. Even though most people are familiar with Prof. Oak, Delia, Ash and Gary, it's better to at least give a little description of each of them than nothing at all.

    "The Flinch evolved all the way to Oscringe! All three of them! I'm so proud of you!" she said to them, stretching her arm its utmost to ruffle the feathers of the nearest Oscringe, as Bella was still fastened around Tansy's neck.
    And that goes double for any fanmade Pokemon or OCs. Names are given, but we have no idea what these creatures and people look like.

    The Professor thought it wasn't a bad way to greet (or be greeted by) the day, and he didn't want anything to mar it: the day his granddaughter began her Pokémon journey.
    The bold part seems unnecessary to me.

    As the thundering grew louder he looked around wildly at Bella, who had a placid smile on her face.
    I don't know if you intended for the reason Bella smiled was to be mysterious, but it comes off as random to me. Again, details would help clear this up. Is she happy because the Flinch evolved and she wants to surprise the Professor?

    Professor Oak stared in horror as three huge, three enormous shapes blundered through the window, exploding into the room screeching and squawking and sending feathers flying everywhere.

    The Professor stood in silent horror. Bella smiled. Tansy sat bolt upright. Leaning over her bed, long necks bursting through the window like flames from a firework were NOT three tiny Flinch, NOT their evolution the graceful Quaille, but the elephantine Oscringe, each five feet tall and blaring raucous salutations.
    Again, the bold part seems unnecessary to me. And Tansy is randomly added into the mix now? It would help if you established where everyone was exactly in the lab, because to me it looks they've been in Tansy's room since the start of the story, and that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    It was a taijitu, made of yellow and green amberite. "Sandie wore it when she began her own journey, and she said it always brought her good luck," said her other grandfather. "When you were born, she said she'd give it to you the day you started your own, because from then on you were her good luck."

    Tansy smiled, trying to silence the tiny sprout of a thought that whispered, Does that mean Gary was her bad luck...? "Wow," she said aloud, "thank you so much..." She put the pendant around her neck.

    "Um, Grandad, I was kinda thinking..." began Tansy, taking a steadying breath. "Do you think -- I mean, would it be okay if -- when it's time for me to register, I didn't register as Tansy 'Oak'? I mean--" she rushed on, watching her grandparents' faces, "--I don't want people bothering you or interrupting your research if they find out someone related to you is doing something. Like every time Dad---"

    She expected her grandfather's face to be stony at the mention of his son. But to her surprise it was soft. "I know, dear," he said softly. "You can have whatever last name you'd like, but at least still be 'Tansy'." He hugged her. "And don't worry about me. Gary and I will be fine."
    This whole section peaks my curiosity. I like how you just gave the readers 'a thread' so to speak, and not a whole sweater. There will be plenty of time in later chapters for this to be explained, so there's no need for a big info dump just yet.

    After hugging each of them, after one last round of good-byes, Tansy finally turned and faced north, where somewhere through the trees lay Viridian City. And, possibly, him...
    Nice foreshadowing. You've established a hook for the readers to continue reading. I'm left asking questions about the story, which is a good. If it was predicable than why bother reading it right?

    The questions I'm left with after reading:
    • Will Bella's ability to say her nickname rather than her species name ever be explained?
    • What happened to Tansy and Gary's parents?
    • Does the taijitu that Tansy has eventually become Gary's?


    To sum everything up, your story could still use some tweaking in terms of the writing style, but the story so far is good. I hope my critiquing wasn't too bad ^^;

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    Swap Cauldroneer Sanpo Nepenti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sanpo Nepenti, Episode 1!

    Thanks so much!

    Visual description is my eternal bane when it comes to writing, as I've been told before. I see it so clearly in my head so I forget to mention it

    I really appreciate your input I'm glad you got a chance to read it so soon!

    --"What Is" Jack

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    Panne Cottontail Kakuna Matata's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Sanpo Nepenti, Episode 1!

    You're very welcome =)

    I understand that problem. Whenever I had to write stories for school, visuals were always hard for me too. Some things are just hard to transfer from mind to paper. Do you have any pictures for the Fakemon you mentioned in the story?

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    Default Re: Sanpo Nepenti, Episode 1!

    Hehe, the fauxkemon?
    I do on my Livejournal, but I didn't know where would be appropriate to post them here, if at all. I'm trying to generate some concept art between episodes there. I don't think they figure into the story beyond this mention (<== dynamite planning, that).

    --Jack

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    Default Re: Sanpo Nepenti, Episode 1!

    Fauxkemon eh? First time I ever heard that term used before. Anyways, you could upload all of your pictures for this story to an album and link to it.

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    Default Sanpo Nepenti, Episode 2!

    This one is a lot longer than I'd anticipated, so please bear with me!



    Miranda hoisted herself between the densely packed tree trunks, vowing to cut off her waist-length hair once she caught sight of civilization once more. Countless messy salmon-pink strands had been escaping from her haphazard ponytail as the day’s hike progressed, becoming plastered to her neck and forehead with sweat and a little grime.

    She marveled at the pace her brother set for himself, tramping onward through the forest with no sign of fatigue, while the monotonous sight of tree upon tree upon tree had long since gotten to her. Youthful exuberance, she thought to herself. After all, he was only ten.

    Panting, dirty and exhausted, Miranda broke the silence that had settled between them. “I’m calling a halt,” she grunted, plopping down on a gnarled old trunk and wincing. She took out a hairbrush and attempted to rearrange her hair into a more sturdy shape. “Are you sure we’re still headed east, Mo-mo?”

    Her brother turned and scowled at her; he hated that nickname. “I think so, Mi-mi,” he said pointedly. He cast his eyes at the slanting shafts of sunlight scattered about the wood. “Are you sure it was a good idea to leave the road?”

    Miranda beckoned to him with a few rolls of her wrist and set to brushing through his fairer mop of strawberry blond hair. “Don’t you know how to do that thing with your watch to tell where North is? Something with the hour hand and the sun?”

    “Yup.” He sat patiently, readjusting the wide headband he habitually wore.

    “Well?!”

    Morty held up his wrist. “It’s a digital watch.”

    Miranda sighed dispiritedly. “I’m having a sandwich.” She started rummaging through her knapsack. “What... are you doing?”

    “I’m going to see where we are,” Morty replied, scrambling up a tree. “From the top, we might be able to see the road.”

    “I always said you were the smart one,” said Miranda. She chewed contentedly. “See anything interesting?”

    Morty’s voice was faint. “Just trees upon trees,” he called. “And a Chansey.”

    Miranda scrambled to her feet, choking. “Really?”

    “Yup,” said Morty as he climbed down and hopped from the last branch. “I found the road, too.” He pointed.

    “Well, come on then, what’s keeping you?” cried Miranda, already scurrying through the trees. “It isn’t everyday you get to catch a Chansey!”

    * * *

    As she pressed further on, weariness forgotten, Miranda thought she heard a soft, female voice chatting to itself just beyond the next few trees. Those are actual words, she thought, quickening her pace. A Chansey that can talk? She stumbled out into the light of a wide, grassy path and almost collided with the source of the voice: a thin, airy-looking girl in her early teens, dressed in a long eyelet skirt and turtleneck.

    “Are you alright?” the girl inquired worriedly. Beside her, the Chansey Morty had seen from the trees let out a hiccup of alarm.

    Miranda’s breath caught in her chest at the sight of a Chansey in person. It was so... pink, standing a little over three and a half feet tall in the bright sunlight. “Yes,” she panted, straightening up. “Sorry about that...” With some chagrin she realized that this girl must be the Chansey’s trainer. “I’m Miranda.” She stuck out her hand. “My brother and I have been lost for awhile; you’re the first person we’ve come across.” Behind her, Morty emerged from the trees, puffing slightly.

    “My name is Tansy,” the girl replied, taking Miranda’s hand in a lukewarm grip. “Bella,” she said, turning to the Chansey, “would you give them some eggs?”

    “Bella~!” it responded, and in the blink of an eye Miranda was eating the most wholesome, heartening thing she’d ever tasted.

    “She can talk?” Morty mumbled faintly with his mouth full.

    Tansy looked down at the Chansey fondly. “All she talks about is herself,” she said quietly. Suddenly she looked up. “I love your accents, by the way. It sounds like you’re from... Violet City?”

    Miranda smiled. “Close. We’re from Ecruteak. Our family have been gym leaders there for a few generations.”

    “What are you doing in Kanto?”

    “We’re eventually headed to Celadon City,” Miranda replied, hoping she hadn’t answered too quickly. “But we plan to take in some of the sights on our way there.”

    Tansy, who appeared for a moment not to have been listening, refocused on Miranda and smiled. “That sounds lovely. I’m on my Pokémon journey; we could travel together for awhile if you’d like.”

    “You’re really lucky to start your journey with a Chansey,” said Miranda, eyeing Bella again. “How did you get her?”

    A slight shadow seemed to cross Tansy’s face. “My grandfather gave her to me when I was little. I’m actually taking her to Viridian City so she can work as a nurse in the Pokémon Center.”

    “Why not keep her?” Morty asked, puzzled. “Don’t Chanseys bring their trainers happiness?”

    The shadow deepened. “Bella can do much more good caring for injured Pokémon than being my nursemaid all throughout Kanto. And anyways,” she said, coming back to herself a little, “we’ve never really had a serious battle before. I mean, we’ve trained, but...” She trailed off.

    Miranda looked sidelong at her brother. “Who do you think, Mo-mo?”

    Morty paused to consider. “Who are you using?”

    “Dyogol, I think.” Miranda reached for the tiny bag she had slung from her belt.

    Morty closed his eyes. Tansy looked questioningly between them.

    “We could battle, if you’d like,” said Miranda, fishing a Pokéball from the tiny bag. There was a mechanical harmony of beeps and clicks, and a sudden flash of light. Standing before Miranda was a small Sneasel, its sharp claws glistening in the light. The sparse pink feathers ranged about its arms and tail cast odd shadows on the grass. “This is Dyogol.”

    “What a cutie!” Tansy gushed. Bella bounded forward and shook the Sneasel’s hand, which quickly retracted its sharp claws. “Don’t beat us too badly!”

    “No need to worry,” said Morty, opening his eyes once more. “Bella is going to win.”

    “That’s your prediction, is it?” Miranda said playfully. “We’ll see. Dyogol,” she cried, “Use Scratch!” After all, she thought to herself, we don’t want this to be over too quickly.

    Dyogol sprang toward the Chansey, claws oustretched. Bella fell backwards, wincing in pain. A jagged red welt flourished across her side. “Bella, use Defense curl!” Tansy shouted. Immediately Bella retracted all her limbs and Dyogol was left facing a featureless, pink sphere.

    We can trap her, thought Miranda. Please work! “Dyogol, use Ice Punch!” Dyogol’s fist began to glow with a diamond-bright light. Miranda held her breath. The Sneasel drew back, and struck the curled Chansey, hard. Ice began to form instantaneously around the inert Chansey’s body, and she was soon encased. Miranda cheered. It was incredibly lucky.

    Across the impromptu playing field, Tansy gazed at the frozen Bella. She didn’t have many options. Miranda felt a little bad when she saw the uneasiness in her eyes. “Bella,” Tansy shouted, cupping her hands around her mouth. “Use, um... use Minimize!”

    Miranda’s eyes widened as she saw the Chansey comply, shrinking by half. She’s more well-trained than I thought. We’ll have to do better! “Dyogol, use Screech!”

    Dyogol crept up to the block of ice and let out a piercing ululation that made everyone cover their ears. Bella bounced inside the small hollow she’d created when she Minimized. Miranda looked up in satisfaction only to stop dead at the smile forming on her opponent’s face.

    “Bella,” cried Tansy, “Rollout!”

    Slowly, the small pink ball began to wiggle. Then to roll. Soon the Chansey was rolling around and around the small hollow in a continuous loop, picking up momentum. All of a sudden the icy shell broke and Bella was speeding toward Dyogol like a bowling ball toward the final pin.

    Miranda thought fast. In Bella’s minimized state she was much harder to hit. Dyogol could only use one more move. They had to make it count... “Dyogol,” Miranda shouted, “Use Swift!” It wasn’t the best idea, but it was the only move Miranda could think of that wouldn’t miss.

    Dyogol dug his heels into the ground and let loose a stream of tiny, glimmering stars at the oncoming Chansey. Bella thundered on, peppered by the tiny stars the Sneasel threw in her direction. Dyogol stood his ground.

    Suddenly Bella skidded to a halt, overcome by the onslaught. With a whimper, the Chansey uncurled, then deflated slowly, stretching out along the ground.

    “Bella is unable to battle,” Morty chimed, his gym training kicking in. “Dyogol is the winner!”

    Miranda rushed forward. “Great job, Dyogol,” she said, hugging the small creature. “Return!” In a flash of light, the Sneasel had disappeared. She turned around to see Tansy bending over the prostrate Chansey. “Is she alright?”

    Tansy looked up. “She’ll be fine,” she smiled. “Bella, eat an egg.”

    “Bella,” the Chansey replied softly, smiling a little.

    * * *

    By sunset, they were still a few miles from Viridian City, by Tansy’s reckoning. The three of them decided to spend the night in a small clearing just off the road. After supper, Miranda and Morty sat talking quietly to one another, across the fire from Tansy and the recovered Bella.

    “I thought you said Bella would win.”

    Morty shrugged. “That’s how I saw it. But I’m not right a hundred percent of the time.”

    Miranda shook her head. “We both know you’re never wrong. You’re just right very slowly.”

    As the fire died down, the three humans and one Pokémon bid each other goodnight.

    That night, Miranda dreamt that she was once more hopelessly lost in a maze of trees, surrounding her, blocking her. They were moving about in the growing darkness when she wasn’t looking. And they were getting closer. Every time she looked away, she was sure they got closer. She found herself struggling desperately to get between two closely growing trees, certain her salvation was just on the other side. She strained, unable to scream—

    “I had a horrid nightmare last night,” she said later that morning, after they’d been walking steadily northward for awhile. “I dreamt I was trapped in the trees again. And they kept moving.”

    “I dreamt about trees too,” said Tansy abruptly, then fell silent. Miranda looked at her. Tansy looked more unfocused than ever; she seemed to be drifting across the ground, rather than walking.

    “Oh?” Miranda said promptingly.

    Tansy blinked slowly. “I was surrounded by trees upon trees...” she said in a trancelike voice. The hairs on Miranda’s neck prickled in spite of herself. “And something was calling me onward. And I ran through the forest, flying from tree to tree, and something told me to look up...

    Nobody moved.

    “And then I woke up.” Tansy started walking again, normally now, seemingly unaware of the strange effect she’d just had on them. Miranda let out her breath. She was suddenly reconsidering her decision to travel all the way to Celadon with this girl.

    They walked on, the sun almost to its zenith. Suddenly Tansy stopped in her tracks and went rigid. “What is it?” Morty said.

    The--trees,” she said faintly. Miranda and Morty looked at one another. Tansy started to drift off the road.

    “What—” began Miranda.

    In a blink Tansy had sped off without a word.

    Bella began to hiccup in alarm. Miranda’s head was spinning. She reached into her bag again. “Curie!” she shouted after the flash of light. “Follow her. Keep an eye on her! We’ll catch up as fast as we can.” The Murkrow started to fly off in the direction Tansy had run. “And no tricks, Mercurie!” Miranda shouted after him.

    “Murkrow!” came the fading response.

    “Bella, stop crying,” said Miranda exasperatedly when she saw that the Chansey was in tears. “Everything’s going to be alright. Come on.”

    She took the Chansey’s hand and headed back into the trees.

    A wave of claustrophobia hit Miranda hard as the tramped through the bushes. After a few minutes Curie came back and cirled overhead, crowing down at them. Then the Murkrow flew off again, leading the way for them. Climbing over fallen logs and stumps, Miranda was brought up short by a tree split halfway up the bole, a little like a slingshot. Morty caught up and looked up at her.

    “Nothing,” she said breathlessly. “Come on!” She ducked around it. Curie flew back by over head and stayed with them, flapping from branch to branch, until they’d caught up to Tansy.

    She was standing beneath an enormous tree, staring upward.

    Miranda clapped a hand on her shoulder angrily. “What’s wrong with you?” she yelled. “What’s the idea of taking off like that?”

    Tansy turned slowly to look up into Miranda’s eyes. “They were the same—”

    “What?”

    “They were the same trees as in my dream. I dreamt about these trees.” Tansy looked up at the enormous tree again. “Something’s up there.”

    “This is ridiculous,” said Miranda. “Curie, do you see anything up there?”

    The Murkrow flew up to the tree’s impressive heights, then disappeared among the branches. In the expectant silence Bella shambled forward and put an arm around Tansy’s waist. Tansy didn’t seem to notice.

    “Krooow!” Curie called suddenly from far above.

    “What?” muttered Miranda in disbelief.

    Soon the Murkrow reappeared, dangling something in his claws as he descended. As Curie dropped closer, dipping his wings elegantly, its burden became clearer: a small, whitish lizard, curled in a tight ring.

    “What is that?” said Morty.

    “It called me,” murmured Tansy. Curie placed the lizard into her cupped hands. It had enormous blue jewel-like eyes and thick white scales. It curled tighter in reaction to their scrutiny. “We need to take it to the Pokémon Center.”

    “Maybe you should give it an egg first,” suggested Miranda, her attitude softened at the sight of the beautiful Pokémon.

    Bella snatched up an egg from her pouch. She broke off a small piece and offered it to the lizard. A tentative tongue flicked out. As soon as the lizard swallowed, it immediately fell asleep. Bella placed it carefully into her empty pouch. Then she thrust the rest of the egg at Tansy.

    “No, I’m fi-”

    Bella.” Miranda had never known a Chansey could be so firm before.

    “Alright,” said Tansy, and she ate the rest of the egg. Soon she was looking more aware again. “Let’s hurry.”

    * * *

    Tansy sat with her head in her hands in the Viridian Pokémon Center waiting room. Bella sat next to her, leaning on her. Morty and Miranda sat nearby, occasionally glancing at each other. When the light over the surgery doors went out, all four of them sprang to their feet.

    Nurse Joy and two Chansey appeared, wheeling the small Pokémon out on a gurney. “She’s alright now,” Nurse Joy said with her comforting smile. “She was up in that tree for a few days, it seems. You may have saved her life.”

    Tansy’s eyes were swelling with tears. She looked up at Nurse Joy. “What kind of Pokémon is she?”

    “She’s an Ochi,” replied Nurse Joy. “They aren’t generally found around here. I’d ask your grandfather more if I were you.”

    Tansy felt the blood drain from her face. That was supposed to stay a secret. “If anyone knows, it’s him,” she replied, swallowing. She sniffed and wiped her eyes. “Can I call him from here?”

    “Of course. The phones are along that wall.” Nurse Joy pointed.

    “Thank you.” Tansy turned to her new traveling companions. “Please, excuse me for just a moment,” she said.

    “We’ll be right here,” Miranda replied.

    Tansy took the Ochi from the gurney, cradling it in her hands, and hurried over to the phones.

    “Tansy! How are you, dear? You’re in Viridian City already?” It was good to see her grandfather’s face.

    “Hi, Granddad. I was wondering if you recognized this Pokémon?” She held up the Ochi where he could see it.

    “If I’m not mistaken, that’s an Ochi. It looks a little smaller than normal. Where on earth did you come across that?”

    “Well,” Tansy began, “I think she called me. I kept having dreams about trees, and when we were walking this morning I suddenly realized the trees all around us were the ones I’d been seeing in my dreams. This Ochi was stuck high up in a tree.”

    “Hmm,” Professor Oak said after a moment of thought. “It sounds like she was put in that tree by her mother, perhaps in response to danger. She probably intended to go back for her sooner than this. Those dreams you were having were actually the Ochi broadcasting her position to her mother. It was a psychic cry for help.”

    The lump in Tansy’s throat began to rise. “Have I taken her away from her mother?”

    “No, I fear something has happened to the mother. I’m not certain you’ll be able to find her. My sincere advice, Tansy, is to capture this Ochi. If you do find the mother, you can release her.”

    Tansy was silent for a moment.

    “Tell you what. If you stay at the Trainer lodge over night I can send you some information on Ochis and their evolutions. You can read it in the morning. I love you, dearest.”

    “Thank you, Granddad. I love you too. Give my love to Gary,” she said, hanging up. I don’t even know why I’m crying, she thougt to herself. The Ochi looked up at her, blue jewel eyes glowing. “Well, there’s only one thing left to do,” she said absentmindedly. A commotion across the room broke her from her spell.

    “Bella, what is the matter?” she cried, striding back to them.

    “It’s like she saw something through the doors,” said Morty. “She just started shouting, but there’s nothing there.” Bella ran over and clung to Tansy’s waist, beside herself. Tansy scrambled not to drop the small Ochi.

    “Bella, calm down, do you really not want to be a nurse that badly?” she said.

    Bella looked up, bewildered. “Bel?” She said softly. Then she looked at Nurse Joy. Slowly, Bella loosened her grip on Tansy’s waist.

    “We’d be lucky to have you, Bella,” said Nurse Joy, holding out her hand.

    Slowly, Bella shuffled over to Nurse Joy.

    “I’ll miss you, Bella,” said Tansy quietly. She walked over and kissed the Chansey on top of her head.

    “BELLLLLA~!” the Chansey called as Tansy, Morty and Miranda walked out the doors of the Pokémon Center.

    Tansy turned and waved. Among the three of them, only Morty was unmoved.

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