CONTINUUM - A Slenderman Story

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    Default CONTINUUM - A Slenderman Story

    CONTINUUM

    A Slenderman URPG story

    NOTE: Inspired by the fact that various ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) have their own sort of mythos for Slenderman, I’m going to be doing the same thing. As such you won’t really be seeing the terms Slenderman, Proxies, Operator Symbol, and so on, except maybe in reference to general lore. It’s all still the same concept, just with different names to give it its own special flare.

    =/=/=

    (X)Prologue(X)


    On December the 22nd, 2012, the Apocalypse struck.

    It wasn’t zombies, or a meteor, or any of the massive volcanoes spewing enough ash and debris into the atmosphere to cause the next ice age. It wasn’t the sun exploding, or the poles shifting, or nuclear war. It was the work of man, doing what he did best: that which he should not.

    For decades, the worldwide company known as EnvironMental had been the leading group in the health industry. Their medicines, vitamins and other goods were all obtained in environmentally-sound and Eco-friendly manners, always using renewable and organic substances. However, what most people didn’t know, including a good number of those working for the company, was that many of the breakthroughs that had led to a majority of EnvironMental’s innovations came from illegal genetic testing. Most of this was carried out on Pokemon, who’s DNA held extraordinary secrets for those with the patience and technology to unlock them.

    This experimentation was done in top-secret, highly secured testing labs located all around the globe. The scientists working in these labs often had no family or friends to speak of, most of them actually living their whole lives in the facilities. This was one of the facts that would eventually lead to the outbreak of what would come to be known as the Crossbreed Virus.

    For years, the top laboratories of EnvironMental had been working on a way to use Pokemon stem cells in various treatments for humans. The Pokemon cells were much more resilient and versatile than human stem cells, and much easier to collect. Scientists thought the keys to Pokemon hardiness and even their ability to use incredible powers could be linked to the stem cells. They hoped to use this to overcome crippling diseases such as cancer and AIDS, and to extend human longevity as well.

    The majority of their testing was centered around taking Pokemon stem cells and injecting them into human subjects suffering from various ailments. Most of the subjects reacted badly to the foreign cells, becoming extremely sick as their bodies tried to fight off what it perceived as a bizarre infection. Others were unaffected by the cells, aside from mild cold-like symptoms such as coughing for a few days. Other than these cases, though, there’d been no success to the scientists’ endeavors.

    On the third of December, 2012, however, their continued patience paid off, though in a way entirely different from what they’d been expecting. A young man had come into their custody, one who had only a tiny portion of his left lung thanks to a childhood infection that had destroyed most of the organ. He was injected with Gallade stem cells, but instead of the results that had come to be expected, the cells began to fuse with those of the young man. The Gallade DNA then started to meld with the man’s human DNA, something no one had ever thought would occur. The fusing of DNA altered the man, giving him certain physical characteristics of a Gallade and even imparting many of the Pokemon’s abilities to him.

    And so, the world’s first Hybrid was created.

    The melding of Pokemon and human DNA caused random mutations, though, mutations that resulted in a malignant strand of DNA forming in the Hybrid’s cells. This newly-formed virus began attacking its host, seeming to focus mostly on the brain. Within a week, the Hybrid had been reduced to a mindless raving beast, attacking anyone who came within sight with a frightening savagery. Even Pokemon, when brought near the Hybrid, were ruthlessly set up if they could be reached.

    The Hybrid’s rapid and unexpected mental decline, on top of the fact that he’d been so mutated to begin with, meant those in the lab were poorly prepared in regards to handling and containing him. All it took was a well-placed Psychic blast to knock the door of the Hybrid’s cell off its hinges and set him loose in the underground Unova facility. Most were killed, left mutilated beyond recognition, but a good number somehow managed to survive. The Hybrid himself eventually worked his way to one of the emergency exits and from there, out into the forest surrounding the well-hidden entrance to the laboratory.

    Once in the wilds, he attacked any living creature he came across. Many were able to escape with only minor injuries, but there was a fatal truth to the virus now rampant in the Hybrid’s body. It was contagious, highly so, and was carried in all the Hybrid’s bodily fluids, even saliva. Most of the Pokemon he attacked ended up with some of the virus in their system in one way or another, where it quickly set to work reducing them to crazed beasts. On top of them, those living in the lab who’d managed to survive the Hybrid’s riot were infected as well. Most of them ended up dying, but those that lived through the second ordeal became insane Hybrids as well. Like the one who’d infected them, they soon managed to find their way out of the lab into the world.

    It wasn’t long before the Hybrids and infected Pokemon reached civilization. They came to Mistralton City first and completely wiped it out, leaving all its inhabitants either dead or mutated into Hybrids, or in the case of Pokemon, dead or infected. The virus, adapting to the species of whatever host it infected, would carry the DNA of that species into any humans that survived an attack. Thus a wide variety of Hybrids came out of Mistralton, and from there the virus made short work of Unova.

    On December the 22nd of 2012, Mistralton City fell and the beginning of the end arrived.

    The rest of the world fared little better than Unova had, as there were many Hybrids and Pokemon who could fly or swim to various parts of the planet. They arrived at other regions in droves, too many to destroy before they started to rampage all over again. However, humanity was determined not to let itself be wiped out. When it became obvious the Hybrids and infected Pokemon were too numerous and too powerful, entire cities and towns were evacuated into underground bunkers and safe houses.

    And yet, the world above ground wasn’t completely lost to the crazed Hybrids and infected Pokemon, which had been termed Mongrels and Ferals, respectively. There were people who were able to assimilate the virus perfectly; they became Hybrids, but didn’t suffer any of the mental decline of the Mongrels. These Hybrids roamed the surface, some trying to find a place in the world, others out only for themselves. Some wanted to find a cure for the Crossbreed Virus so the infected could be cured of their madness and humans could safely emerge from their underground vaults.

    The year is now 2017, and humans have been leaving their vaults in waves thanks to overpopulation and unsanitary conditions. The world is still teeming with Mongrels and Ferals, and sane Hybrids are harshly prejudiced against. There has been no success in coming close to finding a cure for the Crossbreed Virus, if one even exists. For now, all that can be done is struggle to survive in the wasteland that is now Earth.

    /=\

    (X)One(X)


    It was the middle of the night, a little after midnight according to the glow-in-the-dark Hoothoot clock on my nightstand. I was sitting up in my bed, having recently been woken by…well, I wasn’t sure. It was a creeping sensation, like someone was staring at me. But there was no one in my room other than myself and my various Pokemon plushies. The feeling of being stared at remained, though; in fact, it grew even stronger. I clutched my quilt as fear thrilled through me, but I wrestled it away after a moment. I was fifteen, no longer a little kid to be scared of the dark. Besides, I was too tough to be afraid. Years of helping my parents run their privately-owned Daycare had seen to that.

    “Stop being such a girl, Rena” I said out loud, but my voice sounded hollow and tiny instead of brave. “Real women don’t let their imaginations scare them…” I then scowled and tossed my quilt aside, swinging my legs over the side of my bed and standing. On a whim, I strode to my window and pushed the curtains to the side, determined to prove to myself that there was, indeed, nothing to be frightened of. I peered out of the window, scanning the sidewalk and road for any trace of danger. I didn’t see anything and nodded to myself, forcing a laugh at the dread still gripping my innards.

    “See? There’s nothing out th-“ I abruptly cut myself off when my wandering gaze came upon something that simply
    didn’t belong. Tall and thin, clad in black, standing in the middle of the road…I blinked out of shock, and when my eyes opened, what I’d thought I’d seen was gone. I let out another laugh, this one shaky and faint. I hastily tugged my curtains closed and tried to ignore the urge to rush to my parents’ room. I was way too old to go crying to Mom and Dad just because a shadow had spooked me. I shook my head and made a compromise with myself; turn my light on for the rest of the night. I hadn’t needed a light on in years, but I figured that this one time wouldn’t really matter. I turned from the window-

    -THERE.

    I froze, fear exploding in me like New Year’s fireworks going off in my veins. My mouth went dry and a chill settled in my bones. My heart began to race to quickly it hurt, as if I were gripped by a heart attack. Breathing was nearly impossible, since it felt like my chest was shrinking and constricting my lungs. I could only stare, incapable of making any kind of noise, at the figure standing in front of my closed door.

    Tall, far too tall. My ceiling was nearly ten feet high, but this…this thing…almost had to bend over to avoid hitting its bald, pale on it. Thin, so much so that it looked almost fragile. Its arms and legs were long and lanky, almost skeleton-like. It wore what looked like a black tuxedo and a dark red tie. But the worst thing of all was it had absolutely no face. In the faint light of my clock I could see the contours where facial features should be.

    And then several ropey black tendrils rose from behind the creature, snaking through the air towards me without a sound and with more speed than I was expecting. They ensnared me before I even realized what had happened. The last thing I saw before I was completely enveloped was that pale faceless head, and a voice whispering words I couldn’t understand.


    /=\


    I startled awake, blindly swiping at the air as a rough cry rose in my throat. I blinked groggily when my claws hit only empty air, shifting in the plush recliner I’d fallen asleep in and glancing around blearily. I was the only occupant in the room, which was how it should be. I grumbled under my breath and wiped at my eyes to clear the blurriness of sleep from them, sitting up and stretching afterward. I then reluctantly stood and stifled a yawn before heading to the kitchen.

    I’d been having this dream for nearly a week now, this dream where I was abducted by a faceless being. It was probably just the stress of being attacked by Hybrids the past several days. Not Mongrels, either, but sane ones like myself. The stress was simply mixing with old stories my family used to tell of a being just like the one in my dreams, a being known only as The Overseer. My family had a long history of psychosis and random disappearances; the stories went that this Overseer either made my bloodline insane or stole them away. The tales were nothing but feeble attempts by my family to excuse the deviancy it was partial to, a way for them to avoid taking the blame for the issues.

    The dreams had reminded me, though, of the night six years ago, when I had been kidnapped. Someone had gone through a lot of trouble to impersonate The Overseer; either they’d gotten stilts and a suit and the whole shebang, or they’d had a Pokemon create the illusion of The Overseer being there. My money was on the latter, since it would be easy for any Ghost or Psychic Pokemon to make me experience what I had that night. I had ended up passing out just as the tendrils had wrapped me up all the way, most likely due to a Hypnosis. I’d been gone a whole year before eventually being found in a park about five blocks from my home, wandering aimlessly with no memory of the past twelve months. The amnesia was probably the work of whatever Pokemon had helped snatch me away in the first place.

    I also remembered the fact that my parents had been thoroughly freaked out by the incident. Even though a visit to the hospital revealed I hadn’t been abused or injured in any way, within a month we’d moved from Goldenrod City, located in Johto, all the way to Canalave City in Sinnoh. It had taken time to get used to the differences, since living in a port city was a lot different from living in a suburban city, but as the months passed, my parents became less paranoid and things started to return to normal.

    At least, they had before everything had gone to hell in Unova.

    A group of half-human, half-Pokemon creatures, as well as a veritable horde of Pokemon, had descended upon Mistralton City and obliterated it within days. The humans who’d survived ended up turning into bizarre half-human, half-Pokemon creatures as well, and the surviving Pokemon went as bonkers as the ones that had first attacked the city. It hadn’t taken long for Unova to be completely decimated, or for what scientists started calling the Crossbreed Virus to make its way to other regions.

    Coastal cities and towns of Kanto and several other regions, including Sinnoh, were hit first, swamped by hundreds of what were now called Hybrids and Ferals. Those that could fly swarmed other locations; even though the Sinnoh branch of the Pokemon League, in addition to the Sinnoh military and numerous Master Trainers, had been present to deal with the threat, they’d been quickly overwhelmed by the number and ferocity of the invaders. Canalave had been one of the first cities to fall, though my parents and I had fled the city before it became a graveyard. We, as well as numerous other people, had gone to Snowpoint City under the assumption that its location and frequent inclement weather would prevent Hybrids or Ferals from overrunning it. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to mind the snow and blizzards and freezing temperatures, because it wasn’t even a week after they arrived in Sinnoh that Snowpoint was raided.

    It was in that attack that a Kangaskhan Feral literally smashed through a wall of the house we were staying at, killing most of the other people living there. My parents and I were all bitten by her when we tried protecting the others; Mom and Dad ended up becoming Mongrels, but something about me was different. I became a Hybrid, yes, but I retained all my mental faculties. I can assure you that the process was extremely horrible and painful, not to mention the random hallucinations I had as the virus ran rampant through me. I later learned other Hybrids remained sane as well, though in comparison to the Mongrels, we were definitely the minority. I still don’t remember much of what happened after I was bitten, but the details I do recall are very vivid. Candice had arrived shortly after the Feral and dispatched of the rampaging creature with her Medicham before hustling the survivors out of the house. I was being taken to a hospital before blood loss from my injury made me pass out, but not before seeing my parents begin to go crazy from the virus.

    I shook my head, pushing aside the dark reminiscing and realizing that I had opened the fridge while my mind wandered to days gone by. I stared at the contents, which had gone bad so long ago that they no longer produced an odor. Most everything was now just little shriveled piles of whatever it had once been. Since such privileges as electricity and running water had ceased to be once the Crossbreed Virus had swept through the region, it wasn’t surprising that the items contained in any fridge had long since lost the right to be called “food”. I supposed it was only deeply-rooted habit from my pre-virus days that had caused me to go to the fridge rather than the cabinets.

    This house, it seemed, had been raided already, either by sane Hybrids -or Civilized, as I liked to call us- or humans. There was a random pack of stale PokeChow way in the back, but I didn’t feel like eating years-old food. My stomach rumbled dully to remind me I hadn’t eaten a decent meal in nearly four days, which prompted me to throw my clawed hands into the air with an exasperated sigh.

    “I’m trying here, okay, but other than going to the nearest PokeMart and snagging canned PokeChow, there’s just not much food to be found lying around,” I grumbled. My stomach made a few offensive noises before grudgingly falling silent. I shook my head and hopefully pawed through a few other cabinets, but didn’t find anything remotely edible. Groaning in defeat, I turned and left the kitchen. A few minutes later I passed through the living room and opening the front door when I reached it. I was stepping outside when I noticed something in my peripheral vision, a tall flash of black in the distance that made me jerk my head in its direction to focus on it. There was nothing but a few twisted trees, though, and I chuckled at myself for how jumpy I’d become recently. It seemed stress and hunger could cause a person to see some pretty bizarre hallucinations.

    I set off at a brisk trot, not bothering to close the door behind me when I left. There were several houses in this area I hadn’t checked yet, but last night I’d been forced into hiding when a group of Mongrels passed through. The fact that I was a Hybrid as well hardly mattered, since Mongrels and Ferals would often fight each other as well as any humans or Civilized they came across. It was rare to see more than two or three traveling together without some kind of fatal battle breaking out, but a gang of at least ten had come around the previous night. There’d been no way for me to fight all of them, so my only option had been to lay low until they moved on.

    Now I made my way to the closest house, a tiny little thing that looked more like a fancy hut than an actual house. When I reached the front door I found it was locked, as was the back door and all the windows. This was a good sign; only those who could Teleport or phase through the walls would be able to get into the house without breaking down a door or shattering a window, but everything was intact. There was a good chance I could find some decent food here. Having been subsiding mostly on overly-sweet Berries and the occasional can of PokeChow the past four days, I was ready for some real food.

    I glanced around to ensure the coast was clear before sinking the claws of both hands into the wooden door. I then spread me legs in a wide stance and set my shoulders before yanking backward, using my tail as additional force to help wrench the door off its hinges. They squealed loudly for a few seconds as the metal warped and twisted before snapping, the door coming free so suddenly I nearly toppled over. I looked around again, but nothing seemed to have heard the noise, so I quietly set the door down and wiped my palms on my pants before heading inside.

    It was a nice little place, with soft cream carpets and walls that were painted a rich, warm honey color. The plush couch and loveseat in the living room were made from amber fabric and some kind of dark wood for the legs, and the tables here and there were a light brown color with an immaculate shine. There were bookcases filled with various knick-knacks rather than books, and a multitude of paintings hung upon the walls. There was an entertainment system that was bare of anything save a few cables; the work of petty raiders, stealing valuables and electronics when the world had been going absolutely crazy. In the end, money had come to be worthless, and most raiders met their demise at the fangs and claws passing Mongrels and Ferals.

    The house was set up in a weird way, with the front door leading to the living room, but then having to go straight back through a bedroom to reach the kitchen. As I passed the bedroom I caught a flash of movement from the corner of my eye. I whirled to face what I was certain was a threat only to find the movement had come from my reflection as I walked by a full-length mirror hanging on the door. I paused for a moment and stared at the mirror, my racing heart slowly receding to a more normal speed.

    Even after five years, it was still sometimes a surprise to see myself, especially when I wasn’t expecting it. I stood at roughly 5’11 tall and, unlike the Pokemon that had infected me, was lean and muscular rather than bulky. My body, rather than skin, was covered in smooth and supple gray-brown scales that were, surprisingly, more sensitive than my human skin had been. Platinum-blonde hung to my waist and usually hung in my bright red eyes, which is why I tended to tie it up in a simple braid. Above each ear I had a small, blunt white horn; these weren’t good for stabbing or goring, but could help me deliver a nasty head butt. The small but sharp claws on my fingers and toes, however, were very good at stabbing and goring. To finish the whole thing off was a thick, powerful tail growing from the base of my spine, extending about three feet behind me. All in all, other than my (not very imposing) height, I wasn’t exactly the kind of Hybrid to send people fleeing as they screamed for their lives.

    I sighed and picked at my clothes as I studied my reflection. A simple white long-sleeved shirt and tan khakis were all I bothered wearing. The shirt and pants were torn in several places thanks to numerous fights I’d been in, but they weren’t so damaged that they were overly revealing. At any rate, they were still comfortable and I felt incredibly awkward pawing through another person’s clothes, so I hadn’t bothered swapping them out for something in better condition. I didn't bother with shoes of any kind thanks to the calloused scales on the bottoms of my feet, which offered better protection than most footwear.

    Staring at my reflection too long inevitably sent me back to memories of my parents and the attack that had, quite literally, completely changed my life. I shook my head to clear the depressing thoughts and turned from the mirror, marching to the kitchen and focusing on trying to find something relatively nourishing.

    The cabinets contained nothing but random dishes, but there was a pantry in the back of the kitchen that was crammed full of various foods commonly used for disaster situations. A few pails of MREs, the kind you could get at a store, dozens of canned goods, several boxes of Twinkies (those things were about as immortal as Arceus, it seemed), an entire shelf packed with bottled water, and other goodies were ripe for the taking. I could barely contain my glee as I grabbed a few cans of SpaghettiO’s before rummaging in a cupboard to find a can opener. I quickly opened the three cans and dumped the contents into a small pan obtained from under the sink. I then inhaled, holding my breath for several seconds, before releasing it as a red-and-orange burst of flames.

    After using my Flamethrower for about seven minutes, the SpaghettiO’s were nice and hot. I grabbed a spoon and proceeded to scarf them down straight from the pan, ignoring the scalding of my tongue as I inhaled the delicious pasta-and-meatball goodness. It took less time for me to eat the stuff than it had for me to heat it up, but at least I was no longer ready to gnaw off my own arm and eat it. Once I was done, I found a rag and wiped out the pan. I’d probably be hanging out here until the food was gone, so it would be best to keep any dishes I might use in the future clean rather than leaving them sit to get nasty.

    I snagged a bottle of water from the pantry and left the kitchen after I was done tidying up, heading back into the living room and plopping onto the couch. I wasn’t heavy enough to cause any damage, barely weighing in at one-hundred and sixty pounds, but the plush stuffing made the couch poof up around me in a way that momentarily caused me to worry that I’d broken something. Then the stuffing settled down and I snorted at my concern for breaking something that would most likely never be used again once I left this place.

    It wasn’t long before melancholy set in. I absently sipped at my water as I thought about my past, unable to avoid the memories since there was nothing else to occupy myself with. No electricity meant no TV, no internet, no games. There were no radio stations sending out signals, and all devices that might have had music on them had long since died, no longer able to be charged. I’d never been big on reading, as staring at words on a page for more than a few minutes tended to make me dizzy. There was certainly no one to talk to. The only thing I ever really had to worry about was avoiding the Mongrels and Ferals, and even that wasn’t something that took up very much time in most cases.

    I sighed and twirled the bottle, watching the water inside swirl around and dwelling on memories of days long since gone by. I thought about the Daycare and all the Pokemon I’d helped raise, all the Pokemon that had been born. Then I found myself wondering how many had managed to survive the past few years, and how many of those had ended up becoming Ferals. I thought about my classmates being jealous when I got to leave school to work at the Daycare. I thought about the weddings, the reunions, and the funerals I’d attended. I thought about my abduction and the things that may have occurred during the year I was gone. I thought about the day I decided against becoming a Trainer and traveling the world, instead opting to stay at home and work with my parents. I thought about all the adventures I might have had as I journeyed with a team of Pokemon, and thought about the adventures I had while dealing with all kinds of Pokemon at the Daycare.

    Eventually I got tired of remembering the past and downed the rest of the water in one gulp, tossing the empty plastic bottle to the floor and standing up. My good mood at finding a place well-stocked with food had soured by now, and all I could feel was bitterness that I’d had to resort to this in order to survive. I glared at the empty bottle before turning and heading back to the bedroom, suddenly tired even though I’d just woken up a little while ago. Maybe it was because I had a stomach full of actual food for the first time in days and my body needed some rest to get to digesting, or maybe my brooding had taken a mental toll on me and I needed more sleep to recharge. Or it could have been because I hadn’t slept more than three or four hours at a time in months thanks to the constant threat of being attacked. I’d become something of a light sleeper of the years, a vital habit when the softest sound might alert you to the presence of possible death.

    I opened the bedroom door and stepped inside the room, closing the door behind me before trudging to the bed and sitting down. For a moment I stared at wall across the room, wondering what kind of person had lived in this tiny place and what had become of them ever since the Crossbreed Virus broke out. Then I laid down and did my best not to think about anything else other than falling asleep. My mind didn’t like being reined in and tried its best to bring up all sorts of things I didn’t want to be bothered with, but luckily slumber was quick to snatch me from the waking world and all the troubles and sadness it held.

    /=\


    I woke from a deep, dreamless sleep, completely confused and disoriented. It took me a few minutes to remember where I was and how I’d gotten there, at which point I discarded the thought that I hadn’t had the odd dream again. The only time I ever woke up like this, suddenly and without warning, was when a noise or presence startled me awake. I remained still, only moving my eyes as I made sure there was nothing or one in the room with me. Once I’d confirmed I was the only occupant of the room I quickly sat up and flung my legs over the edge of the bed, standing and creeping towards the closed door.

    A moment later I heard a crashing noise, like something falling over. I jumped, not having expected something so loud, then cautiously opened the bedroom door a crack. There was nothing in the hallway that I could see. I considered my options for a moment: I could either confront who or whatever had broken in, fling the door open and make a mad dash for the front door, or climb out of the window and hope no Ferals or Mongrels were hanging around and spotted my attempt at escape. The window was looking like my best bet, seeing as I had no desire to confront my “visitor” and find something unpleasant like a Steelix Mongrel. Trying to run to the front door would only draw unwanted attention and most likely result in an equally unwanted chase. I wasn’t exactly built for long-distance running, or running at all, really. I preferred an easy amble over a stressful sprint, though over the years I’d developed an endurance to hours of continuous jogging. Taking one’s time wasn’t a good idea these days, not if you wanted to keep living.

    I was stepping back to close the door when I heard another sound. This one was faint and I barely heard it; if I’d been making any noise I would have missed it. It sounded like heavy, gasping breathing, almost as though who or whatever making the noise were on the verge of breaking into tears, or maybe just throw up. I paused for a moment, unsure of what to do. What if it was a kid or someone who’d been hurt? I couldn’t just leave them behind without seeing if there was something I could do to help. The urge to save my own hide warred with the protective and caring nature I’d developed over the years tending to newborn Pokemon. Flee and guarantee my safety, or stay and possibly put myself in danger?

    “Dammit,” I muttered, pushing the bedroom door open and warily stepping into the hallway. I glanced towards the kitchen, since that was the direction the crashing noise had come from, and found a small pink Pokemon poking through cans and packages. It currently had its back to me, but I could still see the pink ponytail and what looked like salmon-colored pants with a white waistband covering its lower body. It was a Happiny, a Pokemon I’d only ever seen a few times before when I was younger. They were incredibly rare and hard to breed, but people loved them for their cuteness. Well, that and the fact that they evolved into one of the bulkiest Pokemon around.

    It seemed the Happiny had been trying to climb the shelves of the pantry but pulled one down instead. The crashing I’d heard had been the multitude of cans hitting the ground, as well as the heavy wooden shelf. The little Pokemon didn’t appear to be hurt, but was making that heavy panting noise. Maybe she could smell some of the food and was unsure how to get at it; she did look rather thin, not at all as round and plump as a healthy Happiny should be. I felt sorry for the Pokemon and started to walk forward, but at that moment she fell still before turning to face me.

    “Well…damn,” I sighed. Happiny’s eyes were tinged a soft rose color, a sign that she’d been infected by the Crossbreed Virus. I didn’t know exactly why it happened; maybe the virus caused blood vessels in the eyes to pop or something. Whatever the cause, Mongrels and Ferals all had the same rosy eyes. Upon spotting me, the Pokemon’s face contorted into a visage of mindless rage. She completely forgot about the food and instead squealed at me; it would have been funny had she not looked ready to rip my head from my shoulders.

    “Okay, I think I’m just gonna go now,” I said aloud, hastily backpedaling from the Happiny as she started to stalk towards me. She was small and starving, and Happiny weren’t really known for their prowess in dealing out damage, but the Crossbreed Virus drove Pokemon completely nuts. Their madness and fury leant Ferals strength and endurance a normal Pokemon didn’t possess, and that made them extremely dangerous. This Happiny was about as harmless as a rabid Houndoom.

    Before I could get too far, Happiny inhaled deeply and started to stomp around, unleashing a reverberating scream a moment later. I flinched at the sound, my teeth grinding together as my ears were assaulted by the Uproar. A thought occurred to me that the noise might attract unwanted attention, but the sheer volume of it left me unable to think clearly. After a moment, though, Happiny had to stop her attack in order to breathe. Shaking my head and momentarily only able to hear a piercing ring, I leapt towards the Feral. When I’d closed the distance enough, I shifted my weight to my right foot and pulled back my left, then whipped it around with all the force I could muster.

    The Mega Kick caught Happiny straight in the gut and sent her flying into the pantry, causing more cans and packs to fall to the floor. Happiny herself hadn’t hit any shelves but instead landed on top of one. Despite the blow she’d taken, she didn’t stay down for long. She couldn’t stand up since there wasn’t room between the shelves, but that didn’t stop her from grabbing a can and heaving it at me. I was too surprised to dodge and ended up getting conked on the forehead, causing me to stumble back with a rather colorful string of choice words. I reached up to rub the stinging ache that bloomed from where the can had hit before noticing Happiny had wiggled herself from the shelf and was on the floor again.

    “All right you little-“ I started, only to be cut off when a harsh white light exploded from Happiny’s body. I yelped and squeezed my eyes shut, flinging my arms up out of instinct. Once the glare died away I dropped my arms and blinked away the tears that had formed. Everything looked a little bleary no matter how much I blinked or rubbed my eyes, and it now appeared as though there were two Happiny standing side-by-side.

    During the time I’d spent trying to recover from the Flash, Happiny had been preparing yet another attack. Both she and her afterimage opened their mouths and exhaled a bright red stream of flames. I dove to the left, barely dodging the Flamethrower as it tore by. The heat of it singed my right side a bit, but it was better than getting hit. I hit the ground in an ungraceful heap but quickly rolled to my feet, lifting my right foot as I stood. Happiny hadn’t even had time to end her Flamethrower before I slammed my foot down, feeling the impact resonate through my body. As soon as my right foot came down I smoothly shifted my weight to it and raised my left, repeating the process. It was a jarring series of stomps, but after a few moments the ground began to quake. As Happiny’s Flamethrower finally petered out, a series of giant cracks and fissures tore themselves open with a succession of sharp cracks and resounding pops. Splinters of wood went flying every which way as the floor was ripped up, and the force of splitting wood sent Happiny tumbling when one of the larger fractures went between her feet.

    While Happiny struggled to get back to her feet, I took a moment to recover. Earthquake wasn’t my favorite move since it taxed my feet and legs so much, and I’d definitely be having cramps later, but it was one of the best attacks I had for tripping up enemies. It had saved my life more times than I cared to admit, and now it would help me get away from this crazy little Pokemon before things got any worse. After the numbness in my feet subsided some, I hurriedly exited the kitchen and made for the front door.

    I was fairly certain I was in the clear when I reached the empty doorway, but at that moment a strange windy trilling noise reached my ears. I made the mistake of slowing down a bit, frowning as I tried to place the sound, and ended up getting hit square between my shoulders a second later by something unbelievably cold. I staggered forward and let out a shrill curse as a deep chill raced through my body, settling itself in my bones. I found myself shivering and tried to force myself to keep moving, but the cold was so intense I couldn’t achieve anything faster than a sluggish walk. My teeth chattered together a few times as I turned to see Happiny running towards me, her arms outstretched.

    “I-I-Icy Wi-i-i-nd,” I stammered with a dark scowl, irritation and concern fighting to be the dominant emotion. I was too cold to run and probably too cold to fight effectively, and while Happiny was definitely moving slower than before, she wasn’t weak enough to leave me be. I shook my head to try and clear my blurred vision and get rid of the icy fog gripping my mind. I needed to come up with something to end this before Happiny ended me.

    Gotta get warm or I can’t do jack, I thought, sucking in as deep a breath as I could. I inhaled until I felt like my chest was going to burst, then tilted my head back as I clenched my gut. I have no idea what kind of reaction doing that caused, only that the end result was me spewing up a cascade of brilliant orange-red flames. My Flamethrower exited my mouth with a dull roar, burning larger and hotter than Happiny’s had earlier. The fire rose into a pillar before arching back towards me, engulfing me a moment later. The flames were pleasantly warm, not setting me or my clothes on fire as most might expect. It was just one of those weird Pokemon things science had never gotten around to explaining; so long as a Pokemon’s attack didn’t hit them because of something like Counter or Mirror Coat, it didn’t cause them any harm.

    The Flamethrower quickly melted the ice in my veins and chased away the bone-deep chill, and I let the attack die out. When the fire died away I saw Happiny standing a few feet away, a murderous gleam in her rose-colored eyes. I was surprised she’d come this close with my Flamethrower raging around me, but I didn’t have time to think about it before she suddenly lunged at me. I stepped back but not quick enough, and the Feral’s skull collided with my chest. The Headbutt knocked the wind from my lungs and I nearly fell over, only just catching myself by grabbing the doorway with my left hand. I then balled my right into a fist and drew it back, narrowing my eyes in an attempt to focus and clear my vision. That earlier Flash was proving to be a pain in the ass, for certain.

    Before gravity could take hold of Happiny, I finally decided my aim was as good as it could get and snapped my fist around. It connected with Happiny’s left side, and the moment it made contact with the Feral’s soft body, I felt a jolt race through my arm into my body. It spread like fire, only instead of burning, this was a satisfying sensation as the ache from my various injuries lessened a bit. A sharp burn had started to flare in my chest where Happiny had hit, probably the result of a fracture or something, but it lightened to a tolerable level after my Drain Punch replenished some of my energy.

    Happiny wasn’t quite as lucky and didn’t fare nearly as well from the attack. The force of it sent her into the wall, which she bounced off of with a little squeak. It almost sounded like someone throwing a squeaky toy against a wall, and I would have laughed had I not felt a little sorry for the poor thing. She hadn’t asked for this, after all, and it wasn’t her fault the virus had driven her crazy. I willed her to stay down, to give up so we could leave it at that, but it seemed she had a bit of fight left in her. She struggled to her feet, clearly feeling that last attack, and made a hissing noise I’d never heard a Happiny utter before. The sound and the twisted expression of uncontrollable fury struck me as horribly wrong. Happiny were supposed to be such joyful and peaceful Pokemon, almost impossible to anger.

    My pity for the Feral gave her time to ready her next assault. She opened her mouth and started to make an awful gagging noise. At first I thought she was choking somehow, but suddenly the Feral spit a mouthful of thick, sludgy goo at me. It was a sickening green-yellow hue, tinged with dark purple streaks, and even before it reached me I could smell a horrid bitterness radiating from it. Words cannot describe the level of disgust I felt when the glob struck my right arm, despite my best attempts to dodge it.

    The moment the glob hit my flesh I felt an intense stab of burning pain race through my arm and back. I cried out and hastily tried to swat the goo away, but only managed to smear it around and get It on my left hand. Without thinking, I tore my shirt off with my claws and madly scrubbed the fabric against my arm and hand, wiping the acidic gunk from my flesh. It left a painful, angry purple mark where it had touched, and I started to feel a roiling in my stomach. A cold sweat broke out over my body and I felt like curling up in a corner somewhere.

    “That is the most disgusting Toxic I’ve ever seen,” I mumbled, my limbs feeling shaky and weak. Happiny, at least, seemed to need some time to recover before attacking again, as she hadn’t made any further moves against me since spitting up that Toxic. I decided to take the chance to finish the battle, since the longer it went on, the worse and worse the effects of Toxic would become. I needed to wrap this up so I could go rest somewhere for a while.

    I held up a hand and concentrated on my flagging energy, drawing my focus to it and shutting out everything else. I blocked out my pain, I blocked out Happiny’s labored breathing, not letting anything distract me. As my attention drew inward to the pulse of energy flowing through my body, I gently exerted my will on the insubstantial power and directed its flow to my raised hand. I watched as it started to form a visible orb floating about an inch above my palm, a tiny sparkling brown dot that rapidly grew in size until it was about as big as a basketball. At that point I cut off the flow of energy and allowed my focus to expand. Once my perceptions returned to normal I turned my attention to Happiny, who still hadn’t moved and was simply glaring at me with baleful eyes.

    With a flick of my wrist I lobbed the Focus Blast. Happiny seemed to sense that it would be bad for her if it struck, since she attempted to dodge it by ducking to the left. Her fatigue hindered her, though, and she didn’t move fast enough to evade the glittering sphere. It hit her in the side, causing her to spin about comically before falling over. At the same time I felt a rush of fresh pain and nausea as the Toxic grew stronger. I groaned and clutched my stomach, struggling to stay on my feet and not simply collapse where I was standing. Happiny, thankfully, seemed down for the count. She looked fairly beat up, but after a bit of rest she’d be fine.

    Speaking of rest, I needed to get some as well. I was too tired and disoriented from the combined effects of Toxic and Flash to search for a safe place to recover. Despite the noise my little dance with Happiny had made, it didn’t appear as if anyone or thing had been drawn to investigate the commotion. For now, the best option would be to hole up here until I’d regained enough strength to move on. Still, I couldn’t just leave Happiny here like this. If she recovered before I did it would be bad news for me.

    Gritting my teeth and staying upright only through sheer willpower, I tottered to where Happiny was knocked out and bent over to gather her up, almost falling over in the process. I then proceeded to take her outside, only taking her a few houses away before leaving her under a hedge. By the time I returned to the house, several more jolts had hit me and I was struggling not to get sick everywhere. My whole body was shaking and I felt incredibly weak and cold, despite the sweat practically pouring from my scales. Gasping and close to passing out, I somehow made my way back to the bedroom. I had the presence of mind to shut the door behind me, though I wasn’t even aware I was doing it, and barely made it to the bed before the Toxic raging through my veins ate up my last bit of strength and sent me spiraling into unconsciousness.

    =/=/=

    Pokemon Going For: Happiny
    # of Characters Needed: 30-40k
    Total # of Characters: 43,903-ish

    EDIT: Forgot to mention this is also a story deal, Happiny is going to Bee for a lovely Krookodile :D.
    Last edited by Dog of Hellsing; 9th January 2014 at 10:22 PM.
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    Virbank Gym Leader WinterVines's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONTINUUM - A Slenderman Story [1st chapter WWC]

    Despite not liking Slenderman, I'm going to claim this story against my better judgement.

    /claim'd on sucky school internet.

    Edit: This has been graded and deleted for the WWC.
    Last edited by WinterVines; 26th January 2013 at 08:13 PM.
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    He Sees You... Dog of Hellsing's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONTINUUM - A Slenderman Story [1st chapter WWC]

    Terms and Definitions

    So like I did with Monsters of the Machine, I’m going to be including a list of terms and definitions in the chapter following the one they originally appear in. I’ll also be posting this list in my stats, with a link to the post so people can view the full list if they come in during later chapters (mostly for Graders).

    *The Overseer- A mysterious faceless figure who supposedly is the source of many problems for Rena's family and has been for decades.

    *The Crossbreed Virus- A bizarre virus that was born as a result of Gallade DNA being injected into the cells of a young human man. It causes the DNA of an infected person to merge with the DNA of whatever Pokemon infects them.

    *Hybrid- A human who has become infected with the Crossbreed Virus.

    *Mongrel- A Hybrid who has gone insane as a result of being infected by the Crossbreed Virus. In the majority of cases, the virus attacks the brain of its host and reduces them to mindless savages.

    *Civilized- Rena's term for those who retain their sanity after becoming Hybrids.

    *Feral- The Crossbreed Virus can infect Pokemon as well as humans; infected Pokemon go insane and become as crazed as Mongrels. Infected Pokemon are known as Ferals.

    /=/=/

    +Last time on Continuum…+


    Rena Blake, a 21-year-old Kangaskhan Hybrid, wakes up after a dream in which she is abducted by a mysterious being known only as The Overseer. She then searches the house she’s in for food, but unfortunately there is none to be found. She leaves and heads a few houses down, finding a little place that seems to be untouched. After tearing the door down, she finds that the house’s pantry is stocked full of various canned and dry goods. She makes herself a pan of Spaghetti-O’s, then spends some time brooding about her past and the way things have become since the outbreak of the Crossbreed Virus. Eventually, though, exhaustion overcomes her and she heads off to get more sleep.

    She is woken by a Happiny Feral, which had wandered into the house and tried to get into the food in the pantry. Rena tries to distract the Happiny so she can flee, but ends up getting dragged into a battle with the little Pokemon. She eventually manages to knock it out, but not before taking a fair bit of damage herself and being Poisoned by a Toxic. Sore and sick from the poison, Rena takes the Happiny and drops it off near a house several blocks away, then returns to the house and shuts herself in the bedroom before passing out after quite literally falling into bed.

    And now, chapter two of Continuum…

    /=\

    (X)TWO(X)


    When I woke next, it was to darkness. I blinked groggily, momentarily confused and disoriented. After a few seconds, though, my memory kicked itself into gear and I remembered what had happened before my most recent decent into SlumberLand. I groaned a bit as I sat up, my body sore from where the Toxic had run its course. My stomach still felt a bit unsettled as well, but I wasn’t hurting nearly as bad as earlier, nor was I anywhere as sick. I was also feeling considerably more rested than before, since I’d been so worn out I’d actually managed to get more than two or three hours of restless sleep.

    I glanced out the window, sighing a little. I didn’t like traveling at night, since Mongrels and Ferals were more active then and could hide in the shadows better than I could find them. I had better senses than humans did, but that didn’t mean I could always see, smell, or hear a threat before it ambushed me. I’d learned that painful lesson several years ago when I’d decided to be an idiot and run around during the night once. I’d been a bit too egotistical and certain of my ability to sense danger before it struck. I suppose things could have ended a lot worse than they did, but looking back on the incident always made me cringe at how stupid I’d been.

    As much as I disliked traveling during the night, though, I couldn’t really stay here until daybreak. That was made evident by Happiny’s intrusion earlier, and for a moment I wondered if any other Ferals (or Mongrels for that matter) had found their way inside while I was sleeping. It was only blind luck that I’d been undisturbed for so long. I had no way of knowing what time it was now, or if it was even the same night that I'd fought Happiny. Judging by how well-rested I felt, it was most likely the next night.

    I tossed my legs over the side of the bed and heaved myself onto my feet, wincing a bit at the lingering ache in my calves. I’d probably had Charley horses in my sleep thanks to that Earthquake, but been knocked out too deeply to be woken by the pain. I silently thanked whatever deity had spared me that torment and stepped towards a closet door I’d remembered seeing earlier. I opened it and started fishing around for a new shirt, finally managing to find a white one a few minutes later. It was a few sizes too big, but I wasn’t exactly picky about that sort of thing.

    After shrugging the shirt on, I went to the bedroom door and slowly opened it. I listened for a moment but didn’t hear anything that indicated trouble. Of course, if a Mongrel or Feral was resting somewhere in the house, I wouldn’t hear it moving around. Moving as slowly and quietly as I could, I flattened my back against a wall to try and remain in the darkest shadows and crept towards the kitchen. I glanced back towards the living several times to make sure nothing that might be lurking in the impenetrable gloom was coming for me; by the time I reached the pantry I was all nerves. There didn’t seem to be anyone or thing back here, at least, but there could be unwelcome occupants in the living room, so it was with great care and silence that I started gathering various cans and packages together. I vaguely remembered seeing a few cloth shopping bags hanging near the pantry door; a bit of groping in the dark saw me finding them a moment later. I then went about packing them as full as I could while being able to carry them, stuffing one bag with nothing but bottles of water.

    After gathering everything together as quietly as possible, I carefully made my way towards the living room. I paused every other step or so to listen and make sure nothing was coming into the house, so it was slow and painful going to reach the living room. Thankfully, the front part of the house was as empty as the back part, and I didn’t run into any unwanted visitors. I let out a heavy sigh when I reached the doorway, peering at the torn hinges and briefly entertaining the idea of try to fix the door. I discarded the idea after a few moments, though; I wasn’t skilled at carpentry and would probably break things more than I had already. On top of that, the commotion from trying to repair the hinges and get the door back on them would probably draw an unpleasant crowd within minutes. I shrugged absently as I walked through the empty doorway and into the warm night.

    I was passing the front door, which was still propped against the house, when something about it caught my attention. I paused and glanced back, instantly seeing in detail what had only been spotted by my peripheral vision. There weren’t too many clouds tonight, so there was enough light from the moon for me to see a strange symbol drawn on the door in what looked like marker. It was an infinity sign, but each side had an X in it. I stared at it for a long moment before shivering and turning away, feeling a strong sense of unease rise up in me for reasons I couldn’t explain. There was just something about that mark that told a base instinct within me to avoid it. Tail twitching anxiously and moving as quickly as I could without making too much noise, I crouched over and started off, eager to leave the door and its odd drawing behind. As I made my way through the town, I wondered exactly who had decided to come by and leave that symbol. The more I thought about it, the more troubled I became.

    No Mongrels would have done that, or Ferals for that matter, I thought. That means it had to either be a human or a Civilized. But why mark a random door like that? It only makes sense to do it as a message of some kind or something. But then if someone knew I was in that house, why not just come inside and announce their presence? And if they wanted to leave a message, why go about it in such a cryptic manner? Why not just be out in the open about it? There’s no need for all this cloak-and-dagger BS.

    I pushed the thoughts away, unable to afford the distraction at the moment. It was risky enough moving around at night when you were alert and aware of everything around you, let alone when you were letting your mind wander. I stuck to the shadows, my head swiveling back and forth so much that it would have made anyone watching me dizzy. I was used to it from years of practice, though for the first several months after my mutation I suffered constant vertigo and neck aches from stretching the muscles so much.

    About an hour after leaving the house, I’d managed to slink about twenty blocks away. It was particularly slow going this evening because there were random packs of Mongrels and Ferals crossing my path every few minutes. Like the one I’d seen a few nights ago, most of these packs were unusually large. The smallest one had consisted of seven individuals, all of them moving with that jerky, twitchy trot the infected take on once the virus has ravaged them. At one point I thought I was in trouble; a Lucario Mongrel who was part of a pack at least twelve strong must have caught a whiff of my scent or maybe sensed a fragment of my Aura, because it looked right over at where I was crouching behind a large decorative bush. Luckily it didn’t come over to investigate and instead hurried to catch up with its pack, which had continued to move on without it while it stopped to look over in my direction.

    It took several hours of lurking and ducking, but eventually I reached the outskirts of the town. Away from the numerous knots of infected, the air took on a cleaner, more pleasant scent. Back in the town it had been thick with the smell of unclean bodies, waste matter, and rotting corpses. I always hated going into anything larger than a small village, since the reek of uncivilized habitation always took a while to get used to. I preferred staying out in the wilderness, bunking down in caves and wooded areas where there were much fewer Mongrels or Ferals to worry about. One would think the Ferals would continue to roam around in the wilds, but for reasons I’d probably never discover, a majority of them seemed drawn to areas heavily populated by Mongrels.

    By the time I left the town whose name I didn’t know behind, my stomach was showing its displeasure at being empty by cramping on me. Even though I was out of immediate danger, I was still too close to the town to risk sitting down and having a jolly good meal. Instead, I pushed the hunger away and made my way towards the dark outline of a wooded area less than a mile away. If not for the pangs in my gut and the threat of being ambushed by a random party of infected, it would have been a nice walk. It was warm, the air was clean, and by now the soreness and nausea from being hit with Happiny’s Toxic had worn off completely. The grass under my clawed feet was cool and soft, as was the ground itself.

    It took maybe another hour or so to reach the trees, and by then the darkness of night had given way for the coming dawn. It wasn’t too bright yet, but the sky was a much lighter shade of blue with the first tinges of orange and purple on the horizon, and I could clearly see now. I let out a relieved sigh and glanced about to ensure I was alone before moving on.

    The ground changed a few yards into the woods, going from soft grass and dirt to arid, rough earth peppered with pebbles and small rocks, with the only grass growing in disjointed clumps scattered all over. The soles of my feet were tough enough from years of running around with no shoes to keep the terrain from being painful, but it was still rather uncomfortable stepping on sharp rocks or stiff brown weeds every few moments. The trees themselves were kind of scraggly and thin, spaced far apart and only sparsely leafed. There was a dry, rusty smell to the air, probably because of the rocks and parched ground. It was far from a relaxing atmosphere, but it was one of the safest places that could be found these days, so I wasn’t going to complain.

    Once the sun had cleared the horizon and the sky was a stunning shade of bright blue, I cleared a spot and sat down, setting the bags of food and water next to me. I grabbed a bottle and twisted the cap of, drinking a good third of the water in one gulp before putting the cap back on and delving into another bag. This time I drew out a few packs of Twinkies and a can of pork and beans. The Twinkies were devoured first so the sugar would have time to hit my bloodstream and give me some energy, and the can of pork and beans was generously heated after being opened thanks to a short Flamethrower to warm the can’s contents. It wasn’t a five-star meal by any standards, but it was better than going hungry. Once I was done eating I finished my water, leaving a bit left to rinse the can out. Call me a tree-hugger if you must, but even in these times I hated the idea of leaving my trash lying wherever. I stowed the cleaned can back in the bag, intending to toss it in a trash can when I next had the chance.

    I was shuffling around in the bag to make sure the can lid wouldn’t slice any of the other packages open when I became aware of another presence. I instinctively tensed and jerked my head up, spotting a Vanillite maybe ten or so feet away. It looked nothing more like a little floating ice cream cone; the Pokemon’s cone-shaped body was a sharp crystal blue and constructed entirely of solid ice, and its pale white head strongly resembled a scoop of vanilla soft-serve, complete with a swirly top. The air around it clouded visibly thanks to the Pokemon’s naturally low body temperature. While the species wasn’t anywhere near large at just a few inches over a foot tall, this one looked smaller than most of its kind. At first I thought it was young, but then I noticed that it also looked a lot thinner than most Vanillite I’d seen in the past.

    The Vanillite’s condition was only noted upon a second inspection, however. My immediate thought had been that it was a Feral, and I had instantly focused on its eyes. To my relief they weren’t the rosy shade of an infected, but rather the normal powder blue of the Pokemon’s species. Its irises were a dull navy color, and as it floated there, I saw its gaze constantly switching between me and the bags of food I had. Obviously it was hungry, if its size was any indication. Vanillite and their evolutions did not dine on ice, as most people tended to first assume. They ate normal organic matter and their bodies converted it to energy, though their system was a lot more complicated than, say, a human’s.

    “I’ve got plenty of good stuff here if you want some,” I offered, keeping my voice soft in order to avoid spooking the little thing and scaring it off. It blinked at me, a tired expression in its eyes, before cautiously approaching. I dug out another two packs of Twinkies, figuring the Vanillite needed the calories in order to start putting on some weight. “I don’t know if you like sweets, but these things will give you an energy boost.”

    [Thank you,] the Pokemon replied, its voice distinctly male. I opened the Twinkies and held one out for him, which he took with two sharp little spikes, one on either side of his body. They weren’t arms, per se, but they were a lot more flexible than most people realized and were useful in allowing the species to hold things. [You’re the first nice Hybrid I’ve ever seen.] I didn’t reply as the Pokemon then proceeded to inhale the Twinkie he held, the other three following in quick succession. I already knew Civilized were rare, but in five years this little guy hadn’t seen a single one before me? I’d encountered several over the years, not counting the recent ones that were determined to beat me into a pulp for some reason. Still, it had been maybe eight or nine months since I’d last seen a Pokemon who wasn’t a Feral, so I could understand the Pokemon’s surprise upon running into a Hybrid who didn’t want to turn him into ice cubes.

    I offered the Vanillite some water once he was done eating, and he gladly accepted. Once he’d finished he handed me the bottle, which I put away before watching the little Ice Pokemon. He was nervously glancing around, constantly hovering back and forth. I could understand his anxiety; even though we seemed safe enough, there was no telling when a random Feral or Mongrel would pass by and attack us. I myself was almost always on high alert; it was how I’d picked up on the Vanillite’s presence so quickly.

    “So do you have a name?” I asked. The Pokemon flinched a bit at the sound of my voice as he faced me.

    [I…my name is Lux,] he replied, his voice uncertain. [It’s been such a long time since I’ve told anyone, I’d almost forgotten…] He then smiled somewhat sheepishly. [That probably sounds really stupid.]

    “Not at all,” I answered with a shrug. “I mean, heck, there were times when I would just sit and talk about random nonsense for hours, just to hear the sound of my own voice so I wouldn’t go crazy from loneliness.” Lux bobbed in a way that could be taken as a nod, a distant look coming into his eyes for a brief second. The hyper-awareness returned almost instantly though, and the Pokemon nervously glanced about as he inched closer. We remained silent for a few moments, but I soon started getting the urge to move on. Sure, the woods relatively safe, but instinct had learned that the only truly safe place was a barricaded building you could hunker down in for a day or two. I didn’t like randomly sitting around out in the open like this, even if it was in a secluded place such as the woods.

    “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get going,” I told the Pokemon as I stood, stretching and collecting my bags. “Sitting around here isn’t doing anyone a bit of good. Oh, my name is Rena, by the way.”

    [I…I can come with you?] Lux asked hesitantly, clearly longing to hang around but worried I’d turn him down. I winked at the little Ice Pokemon and jerked my head as an indication to follow.

    “I wouldn’t have asked for your name or told you mine if I wasn’t planning on having some company,” I told him, earning a grateful smile from him. Without another word I headed off in no particular direction, suddenly feeling much happier than I had in a long, long time.

    /=\


    The wooded area was smaller than it had seemed upon first reaching it, so it didn't take long for us to get through it. The yards turned to miles as we wandered in a roughly northerly direction, the two of us spending the hours swapping stories and generally enjoying one another's company. Lux shared stories of how he'd come to this place from Unova's colder regions, and I rambled on about my family and experiences I'd had since the outbreak of the Crossbreed Virus. Some point after the sun had started its decent towards the horizon, though, I noticed the outlines of what looked like a city in the distance. It was somewhere around two or three in the afternoon, if I had to guess, so there was plenty of time to reach the city before nightfall. I drew to a halt as I weighed the options, Lux continuing on another few feet before realizing I'd stopped.

    [What is it?] he asked. I scowled a little and shook my head.

    “I don't like going into big cities and places like that,” I said. “Too many Mongrels, and usually too many Ferals. Not to mention the possibility of having to deal with any survivors that might be hanging out, though they're more of an annoyance than anything. I'd much prefer a small town or village. We have plenty of food and water here, but I don't really see any other suitable places to take shelter in.” I glanced back, but was no longer able to see the woods we'd left behind. All around us seemed to be nothing but a sort of mini-plains, a huge field that stretched on in all directions. There were scattered trees, sure, but usually on their own or in small groups of two or three. The unknown city was directly before us, though still a fair number of miles away. We could detour either east or west of the city and see if there were any other preferable places to take cover for the night, especially since we still had a good six or seven hours of daylight left.

    “Too many chances,” I muttered, shaking my head again. “City might not be the safest place, but getting caught outside at night in an unfamiliar place is a lot more dangerous. Best to just get to the cursed place and find a decent house or building to hunker down in for the night.” I sighed and offered Lux a faint smile, as the Vanillite was looking a bit concerned after my one-sided conversation with myself. “Sorry. I have this little debate with myself pretty much every time I come to a new city or whatever.”

    [Do you really think it's safe to go into the city?] the Pokemon asked, sounding nervous. From some of the things he'd told me as we wandered, it sounded like he'd had some pretty harrowing adventures in the civilizations of yesteryear as well. I shrugged, not trying to dance around the subject or offer dodging answers.

    “It might be, it might not. From past experience, wooded areas and the wilderness in general are a safer place during the day, but at night you either need to be really far from any urban areas, or in a reinforced shelter of some kind to be truly safe. It's usually pretty hard to find somewhere out-of-the-way enough to be considered safe, so a sturdy house or building of some kind that you can barricade is usually the best way to go. As long as you don't make enough noise to attract attention, Mongrels and Ferals will usually just wander right by your hiding place. They only really head indoors when they're actively after someone or looking for food; in the case of the latter, they don't normally bother with places that don't already have an open door or window.” As I spoke, I thought back to the other day and mentally kicked myself. I had been so fixed on finding food that I hadn't thought to barricade the house properly at all; hell, I hadn't even put the door back. A mistake that I'd not soon forget and had no intentions of ever repeating, especially now that I had someone other than myself to look out for. Lux didn't reply, but I could tell he was willing to trust my judgment.

    We stopped for a short while to take a rest, eating a quick meal and splitting a bottle of water while we caught our breath. After roughly an hour we headed off once more, both of us remaining silent. As we neared the city, I started to feel that familiar apprehension settling between my shoulders. It spread down my back and sent icy tendrils around my sides, causing a coldness to settle in my gut. I did my best to ignore it, but it wasn't long before I was constantly looking back and forth to make sure there were no potential threats around. At least I didn't have to worry about looking paranoid, since Lux was just as wound up as I was.

    Another couple of hours slipped by before we reached the city's outskirts. The giant field we'd been walking through gave way to concrete as we came upon what was clearly a residential area. By now I was walking in a crouch, and Lux was sticking as close to me as he could without actually sitting on my shoulder. We checked the houses in our immediate vicinity, but none of them could be entered without breaking a window or tearing another door off its hinges. After nearly forty minutes of stressful searching, we still hadn't found a house we could get into. We also hadn't seen any Mongrels or Ferals, though, which was a lot more worrisome than one might expect. Where the hell were they all? It was pretty much impossible for the city to be as completely abandoned as it was starting to seem.

    We were rounding the corner of a block when my suspicions were confirmed. About twenty feet away from us were two figures, a Timburr Mongrel who was accompanied by a regular Timburr. They were just standing there, facing our direction, as if they'd been waiting for us. I drew up short and uttered a startled curse upon spotting them, and Lux responded with a faint squeal as he retreated behind me. I tightened the grip I had on the bags I was carrying as the Timburr Mongrel offered a malicious little grin.

    “Hey there, Rena,” he said in what could only be described as the voice of a creeper. He was maybe a few inches taller than me, but it was hard to tell thanks to the distance between us. His skin was a pale tan to match that of the Timburr next to him, and he was as bald as the Pokemon he took after. In fact, this Mongrel looked pretty much just like a normal Timburr, albeit taller than the species' one-foot height. He also lacked the huge pinkish veins on the back of his head, his hips, and around his armpits that Timburr sported. At least he was wearing clothes and not running around naked.

    [How does he know your name?] Lux asked in a tiny voice. [Do...do you know him?]

    “Not at all,” I replied, trying not to show how tense this unwelcome little meeting was making me. I could tell this was another of those Civilized who wanted to beat the tar out of me for some reason by the simple fact that he knew my name, not to mention his attitude.

    “How've ya been sleepin'?” the Hybrid continued, as if he hadn't been interrupted. I glared at the thing but all that did was amuse him, if his mocking laughter was any indication. “Don't worry, you'll be gettin' plenty of sleep soon enough.”

    “I've put plenty of you crazies in your place,” I replied, trying to project confidence rather than anxiety. “I don't know why you all wanna have a go at me but it's getting to be really irritating. Why don't you save yourself a nice little beating and just crawl back into whatever stinking hole you climbed out of?” At this the Hybrid simply smirked and folded his arms over his narrow chest, chuckling under his breath.

    “Silly Rena, you're the one who needs to learn her place.”

    Before I had a chance to say anything else, the Timburr wordlessly held up both hands. Its eyes narrowed a bit before two spheres of red-orange energy suddenly flew from its palms. I wasn't exactly sure what move it was using, other than the fact that it was clearly some sort of fire-based attack. Lux seemed to realize the danger as well, erecting a dazzling white barrier to deflect the attack. The Protect would keep him safe from the attack, but I decided to take a more offensive initiative.

    Dropping into a crouch, I broke into a dash as I honed in on the Timburr Hybrid. He blinked in surprise, obviously not expecting a head-on attack, and I drew to a halt less than a foot away. For a moment the other Hybrid just stared at me, and I smirked before gut-punching him with a Fake Out. His breath came out in a wheezing cough as he staggered back a step, winded from the blow I'd landed. I didn't have much time to feel proud of my work, though, because the Hybrid recovered faster than I'd expected. He threw his weight towards me in a heavy punch in almost the same second, and I felt the momentum of my own blow doubled back at me as the Counter connected with my chest.

    I was knocked off my feet, coming down on my back and grunting as the wind in my lungs fervently escaped through my mouth. My back, too, was now aching from the fall, and it felt like I'd pulled a muscle in the base of my tail. I coughed weakly and groaned, forcing myself back to my feet and resisting the urge to rub the back of my head. I'd whacked it on the ground when I landed and now had the beginnings of a headache, which would only serve to make things even harder.

    At that moment I felt a distinct drop in temperature, enough that the scales on my arms and neck prickled uncomfortably. Scowling, I glanced around and saw that Lux had released an icy beam at the Timburr he was fighting. The rime struck Timburr's right shoulder and covered it in a clear, frosty patch. Timburr winced from the cold, but wasn't so bothered that it couldn't fight back. It balled its left hand into a tight fist and slammed it into the ground, and after a moment a flurry of tangled foliage literally exploded from the ground beneath the Ice Pokemon. Lux let out a squeak of surprise and tried to avoid the snagging roots, but they coiled around his body before he had a chance to retreat.

    Whatever he did next was lost on me, because the next moment I felt a force like a small freight train colliding with my stomach. I would have made a noise if all the air in my lungs hadn't once again been forcibly evacuated. For the second time within a handful of minutes I was knocked clean off my feet, though this time I caught a bit more airtime before finally rendezvousing with the ground. I came down hard on my right side and felt a painfully heavy sensation in my shoulder before I heard something pop; pain surged through my entire arm, into my neck and side as I tumbled a few feet before coming to a halt. I hardly noticed when I stopped rolling, as the acid-coated daggers digging into my shoulder were rather hard to ignore.

    “So easily distracted,” the Hybrid was saying, though I barely heard the words. I was too busy trying to get up and catch my breath. Not to mention that now my right arm was just kind of hanging there, pain radiating all throughout it. It didn't feel broken or anything; it was most likely just popped out of place. It still hurt like a bitch, though, and I didn't know if I could focus enough to pop it back in without causing myself more damage. “I don't usually get a chance to pull off such a flawless Focus Punch.”

    “Well whoop-DE-doo for you,” I grumbled, wiping drool from my lips and clenching my teeth as I resisted the desire to clutch my injured shoulder. I forced myself to stand straight, watching the Hybrid sauntering towards me without a care in the world. I narrowed my eyes as he closed the distance between us, knowing I couldn't afford to let him get close enough for another physical blow. I braced myself for the hurting I knew was coming and raised my right foot, bringing it back down to the ground with a forceful stomp. I repeated the process several times until I had a fine Earthquake going, wincing as a familiar throbbing settled in my calves. Not only that, the force of each stomp traveled right up my leg and torso into my already-aching arm.

    At least it had the desired effect. Large fissures tore themselves into the concrete of the street and sidewalk, the sound akin to a rock slide going right by my ear. The Hybrid was tripped up by a smaller gouge opening right under him, causing him to pitch forward. I didn't waste the opportunity, reaching down to grab up a few large chunks of pavement that were ripped free by my Earthquake. I hefted both of the chunks to judge their weight, and once I was satisfied I heaved them at the Hybrid struggling to find a solid patch of ground to stand on. The first hunk caught him in the head, while the second hit his left leg with a meaty thud. The Hybrid cursed as his leg buckled from the blow, dropping him to one knee.

    Seeing my foe was out of commission for the moment, I looked around until I spotted Lux and the Timburr. Lux seemed to have frozen the Fighting Pokemon's feet to the ground with some Ice more or another, but as I watched, it managed to shatter the ice. Without hesitating, it suddenly lunged for Lux in a blur of motion. Startled, the little Pokemon fired off a lime green beam of energy consisting of box-like patterns, but Timburr was able to use its speed and duck under the Signal Beam. It then lunged the last few remaining feet between it and Lux, swinging around a fist and delivering a solid blow to the Ice Pokemon's face. Lux didn't make a sound as he was knocked to the ground, clearly knocked out by the Mach Punch.

    Timburr obviously wasn't about to leave things at that, though, getting ready to attack the downed Vanillite again. I let out an angry growl, forgetting about the Hybrid as I focused my rage on the Timburr who meant to cause more harm to my new friend. I let the fury well up inside me, fed it with the frustration and uncertainty I'd been feeling lately, and let it all out in a concentrated beam of crimson energy. The Outrage flew out of my jaws with a shriek, catching Timburr completely unawares. It struck the Pokemon's side and sent it flying; blind rage now directing me, I swung my head around and let loose another blast of energy, not bothering to aim, not caring how much noise I was making or how much attention I might draw. I vaguely heard a shocked yell, but didn't bother to try and find the source. All that mattered now was pouring out my rage, and damn all else.

    After a few seconds, though, the rage petered out and I sagged, feeling drained and bemused. I blinked a few times, seeing that the Hybrid was trying to pull itself out of a particularly deep crack in the ground. I must have hit him at some point and knocked him into the crevasse he found himself stuck in. I didn't see Timburr anywhere, but my fatigued brain didn't really process that right away. Instead, I tried to focus on finishing the battle, only to be hampered by the fact that my mind kept wanting to stray.

    So tired... was its current concern, and I shook my head in an effort to clear it. Everything hurts...

    I saw the Hybrid pull himself out of the fissure, though it was hard to really pay much attention to him when I was so sore and tired. I forced myself to watch him, though. It took several minutes for him to finally get to his feet, and he wasted no time in getting back at me. The moment he spotted me, he broke into a rapid sort of jog. I saw that he was only going at that reserved pace to avoid falling into any other cracks. I also noticed something yellow coiling around his right hand, which balled into a fist as he drew closer.

    Don't let him hit you! my brain barked at me as sudden clarity blossomed in my mind. I reacted without thinking, stumbling back a few paces and lashing out with my left hand as the Hybrid reached me and flung his fist at my face. I realized this was a ThunderPunch, mainly because I heard the crackling snap of electricity and caught the strong scent of ozone as the Hybrid's fist did its best to meet up with my nose. Thankfully, my clumsy retreat let my dodge the attack, while my own Crush Claw found its mark on the Hybrid's side. My claws, coated with a pulsing white energy that left them dull, hit with enough force that I heard at least one rib snap from the impact. That was what Crush Claw did, after all, delivering blunt-force damage rather than tearing damage.

    The Timburr Hybrid nearly fell over, but managed to find his balance after a few precarious steps. He didn't look angry, though. In fact, he looked like he was having the time of his life. I glared at him, trying to ignore how much my shoulder was hurting as the confusion that'd been gripping my mind dissolved away.

    “Well, that was certainly fun, but it seems I have to get going,” the Hybrid said. For a moment I thought he was lying, even as he offered a mocking wave and turned. He was lying, trying to confuse me so I'd lower my guard. But he kept walking, eventually turning a corner several blocks away. I waited, tense, expecting some sort of sneak attack, but nothing happened. After nearly five minutes, I decided that the Hybrid had really left. I had no idea why he did, but I wasn't about to ignore the chance to get to safety.

    I took a moment to check my shoulder, prodding and poking until I was sure it really was just popped out of place. I then gritted my teeth and took a deep breath before grabbing my right wrist. Then, without giving myself time to think on how much this was going to suck, I wrenched my arm as I jerked my right side forward. There was a brief, unpleasant grinding noise, then another popping sound as my shoulder found its way back into its socket. I bit back a loud curse, instead settling for a drawn-out stream of incoherent gibberish. The pain spiked for a few seconds, but quickly receded to a more tolerable, less agonizing ache than it had been before. I could move my arm now, too, which was a plus.

    Glad that I didn't end up making my condition worse, I went over to where Lux was lying. I checked him to make sure he was just knocked out and was relieved to find he wasn't injured. I then scooped him into my arms, ignoring the chill of his body.

    “Why do I get the feeling that things are only going to go downhill from here?” I asked no one in particular, letting out a heavy sigh as I glanced around. We really needed a safe place now; there was no telling if (or more likely, when) Mongrels or Ferals would start arriving. I was actually surprised the commotion hadn't attracted any by now, but it was a miracle I wasn't about to question.

    I headed off in a different direction the Timburr Hybrid had taken, my sore legs making the going slower than it had been before. Luckily, the houses in this area were small and close together, so it was easy to check them as I went around each block. After nearly fifteen minutes of tense searching, I was finally able to locate a house whose front door wasn't even closed all the way, let alone locked. I cautiously nudged the door open with a foot, peering inside and straining each of my senses to ensure there were no other inhabitants of the little dwelling. The only thing I could smell was stale air (the door hadn't been hanging open, it just hadn't been pulled shut fully) and I heard nothing but the rush of blood in my ears. Even so, I was alert as I slid inside and used my butt to bump the door closed. It caught with a faint click, and I did an obligatory search of the house before allowing myself to relax.

    Soon I'd have to barricade the doors and windows, but for now I could rest.

    =/=/=

    Pokemon Going For: Timburr, Timburr, Vanillite
    # of Characters Needed: 30-60k
    Total # of Characters: 38,000-ish
    Last edited by Dog of Hellsing; 27th January 2014 at 02:17 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: CONTINUUM - A Slenderman Story

    What is this? A second installment to a story I've graded? Bring eet.

    /claim
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  5. #5
    Virbank Gym Leader WinterVines's Avatar
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    Default Re: CONTINUUM - A Slenderman Story

    What? Two grades in one wages period? #gettingstuffdone
    @Dog of Hellsing;

    Continuum Part 2 Grade

    ---

    Intro: The recap was a good idea, in case people didn't read the first part. Thankfully I've read (and reread) the first part, so I had a fairly good handle on what was going on. That being said, I kept in mind that this fic is a second chapter.

    You begin by Rena waking up from the rest she needed after the Toxic attack. While that's not a bad thing, especially for a Medium-ranked chapter, it wasn't very interesting. I've read somewhere that beginning/ending sections with sleep is sort of overdone and it sometimes makes readers want to do the same thing and stop reading. For a suspense-ish story (cos Slender and whatnot), slow parts aren't very exciting.

    I think this style could've been more capitalized on if I felt she was in some danger at the end of the last chapter. As it was, I didn't feel that there was any reason to panic or that she wouldn't wake up. I'm not sure if that's what you intended or not, but I wasn't worried for her at all in the gap.

    The only thing more important than the first chapter of a story is the second, since the first hooks readers in, but the second keeps them there. I think maybe that the sense of unease Rena got when seeing the infinity symbol on the door might've been a nice way to start the story as well, like being the reason she woke up in the first place.

    That could've been part of the reason for her nerves exploding while she got dressed and went to the pantry to gather supplies. You promised Slenderman, so I think taking advantage of moments of suspense and really putting readers on edge would be cool, since that's part of why they want to read fics in this genre. That heightened reader anticipation is a high of sorts, and that will definitely keep bringing people back.

    Other than that, the intro did continue on the story from where it stopped before. I'm glad there wasn't too much of a jump into the future, but at the same time, it would've been interesting to see what sort of emotions could've been drawn up by some sudden event right at the start, too. For a Medium story, this works fine, but keep in mind that the longer the story continues on, the harder it might be to keep sucking readers in.

    Plot: The plot of this chapter was pretty similar to the last one, actually, only Rena gained a companion instead. It's sort of like kid wandering into the woods and stumbling upon a mon, though setting and the battle at the end twisted it a little bit. Again, for Medium, this is perfectly acceptable, although I do sort of want to see some complexity in the story soon.

    As a whole, it was pretty solid with a clear beginning, middle, and end. The group got from point A to point B with some conflict along the way. One of the big things I had a question on, however, was Rena's ability to talk with Pokemon.

    I assume that this is some Hybrid thing and that because she's part Pokemon that she can understand their language and also morph her own into some variant that Pokemon understand too (although canonly, most Pokemon seem to understand human speech just fine, I guess). However, I guess it could also be a result of the virus and maybe some sort of side effect to being exposed to it.

    That got me thinking about the Happiny before. Why didn't she try talking to that? Does it only work with non-Ferals or other Hybrids or what? Is Vanillite just special? You prove later that she could talk to the Timburr Hybrid, and we didn't get to see if the sane Timburr could speak or not.

    I think that how this works could've used a mention, especially considering this is a different world than the normal one. The rules of the world aren't as established since you let the virus run around, so grounding the readers with what's possible and what's not will help them understand better. I was super confused at first when the Timburr Hybrid was introduced, because you typo'd and called him a Mongrel, so I was all sorts of weirded out since those are supposed to be mindless savages XD

    I did notice that I sort of had the same minor complaint with this chapter as I did the last one, though—I still think things are going way too easy for the main character. Half the chapter was over before something really happened (being the fight with the Timburr) since the meeting with Vanillite wasn't really that stressful.

    Some things, like when the Lucario and its pack almost found her, could've been fleshed out instead of summarized to help with that. I think little tense moments like that make stories more interesting, especially in this Mystery/Suspense/Horror type genre you seem to be shooting for. Even the fight with the Hybrid seemed to go pretty much in her favor. She did take a dislocated shoulder, but otherwise, it wasn't too risky.

    Which brings me to my next point. Why are other Hybrids attacking her? She stated that she didn't know, and I think this is also something you could've expanded on a little more. Rena says that this sort of thing has happened before, but how many times? What mons were they and what were the attacks like? Did it seem organized? Did she get any info from them? Furthermore, it is something she's worried about constantly (and if not, as it kinda seems from her mostly confident attitude, should she be?)? This is another aspect that could be used to rouse reader curiosity and up the ante on emotions.

    Since not a lot of other stressful things happened in the story, this is the part I latched onto the most and found myself wanting to know more about. Unfortunately, other than the first few thoughts before the battle began, this vein isn't really explored that much. While that can be a good mystery element, I don't think it was pursued enough to really spark the interest it could've.

    Why didn't Rena try to question him during the fight? There were a couple opportunities for it (when she wasn't out of breath, that is), and it could've maybe even been used to enhance the fight, such as her asking him something and him smirking at her and refusing to answer. That could've aided the force in her attacks if she got frustrated, etc.

    I find it odd that she didn't speculate a little more on why they seem to be after her, or at least hint that it was going to happen in the near future. Maybe she does know why and could hint to that, or if she really doesn't, it becomes more important that she would want to find out. Or if she doesn't want to find out, why that happens to be.

    Mostly this is just stuff to keep in mind for next time. Capitalize one those strenuous moments and the suspense with Slender and all that. This plot sufficed for the mons you were going for, but I know you can be complex if you want to, and I really want to see what you can do with some high emotion moments.

    Detail/Description: Your detail and such was very good. I especially liked the attention to the environment, especially considering that the landscape has changed because of the outbreak and whatnot. I guess as far as setting goes, the only other thing I wanted to know more about was where they were. I gathered that they were in Unova from what you said about Vanillite, but I could be wrong. I may have just missed it as well.

    I'd like to know mostly because you stated that Rena is originally from Sinnoh. Because these two conflict and I'm not really sure how one gets from one country to the other except by boat, I'd like to know how Rena either got to Unova or how Vanillite got to Sinnoh, too. Some sort of destination might also be helpful, since other than surviving, I'm not really sure what Rena is doing. Does she have some sort of goal? Is she looking for someone/something? Since we're getting into the meat of the story, I'd like to see some of this uncovered or at least hinted at, and setting could perhaps be one mode for doing it.

    The move descriptions were very good as well. A lot of people tend to say the name of the move with nothing to go with it as far as describing goes, but you often do the opposite, which I appreciate, especially because Hybrids are a thing, and people may perform moves differently than Pokemon because of the alterations. The effects of Outrage and how it made Rena a little disoriented were also cool. That could've been a point where you made her in trouble though, if she had smacked instead. She got out of that one pretty easily =P

    Grammar/Mechanics: Nothing much to complain about here. Other than that one typo that confused me about the Timburr Hybrid, all was good.

    I did notice that you had a lot of long sentences, though. This isn't necessarily bad, but it does slow the story down a lot, especially if there's a lot of them in a row. Compounded on this is your paragraphs and how most of them are also the same size.

    For suspenseful stories, I've read that some short, choppy bits can add speed and heighten tension, so maybe something like that could work here, especially in those bits when she stumbles across something suspenseful. Mixing up some sorter sentences in there will also help with reading vitality and ease the flow of the words.

    Mostly, this is a style thing, but considering this is in first person, you have a lot of opportunity to make your text do more things for you than just tell the story. My impression is that Rena has a slight touch of sarcasm to her caring nature, and that could really shine through in the narrative if she had a sort, spicy sentence here and there. One-liners can also help this to make a startling point, especially in the parts when there isn't a lot of dialogue for a long time.

    I enjoyed the dialogue parts the best, I think, since it sped the chapter up and displayed personalities (minus the part where is seemed Rena talked for a long time, like when telling the Vanillite why she didn't like the sight of a town. On that note, I've also read somewhere that any one character shouldn't really have more than four or five sentences in a row without some sort of action or something to break it up. That probably coincides with pacing of the story too).

    Length: The range for three Medium-ranked mons is 30-60k. I counted around 35,583 for your fic, so all is well.

    Reality/Miscellaneous: I appreciate the nod to my last miscellaneous comment, about shutting the front door XD

    On that same note, the only thing I found odd was that Rena didn't eat before she left the house. I can see if she was worried about Ferals/others finding her or burning darkness, but there wasn't really a reason given for why she wouldn't have eaten. Time was briefly considered later, when she was hungry, but she probably could've eaten something quick, like the Twinkies, before leaving. That would've given her an energy boost and then prevented her from getting hungry while she was trying to escape town (since a growling stomach attracts dangerous attention and give away positions—oh hey, there's another place you can add suspense!)

    Other than that there wasn't anything too out of the ordinary for this alternate world you placed the story in.

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    ChainReaction 6:09 pm
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