The Desert Traveler [SWC]
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    Registered User Jake434's Avatar
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    Default The Desert Traveler [SWC]

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    The Desert Traveler

    Through a small hole in the sandy, brown, battered, wooden wall I looked out into the unrelenting storm. It's been going on for maybe two or three hours and I needed to get to the next town soon to refill my supplies. I thought that snowstorms were bad, but only the high winds and large debris like sticks and ice hurt in snowstorms. Sandstorms on the other hand have high winds and, sadly, just about everything hurts when it hits you. From the tiniest grains of sand and dirt to the biggest tumbleweed out there. Even a cactus that was pulled from its roots could be found flying around in the winds. Just about anything that a sandstorm can carry hurts when it strikes you. Even worse is that they pop out at you, without warning and when you least expect it.

    Even though I was locked in the small shack for a couple hours, I wasn't, at least, completely bored. I had a letter from my mother I got at the last town. It was such a small town that I was surprised they got mail. I don't even remember the name of it. I walked over to my black backpack and grabbed the letter out of the small front pocket. I found a seat on a small crate hidden under the table. I sat down and rubbed my temples. I started to thank Arceus I found this little shack before I started to open my letter. This little shack, no bigger than a small bedroom, was hidden behind a tall rocky pillar. It blended in so well that I almost didn't see it. Good thing I did, though. Otherwise I'd be hiding behind a rock as best as I could.

    That's another thing I hate about the desert, besides the sandstorms. All of the rocks get very annoying. They are literally everywhere. To the left, to the right, towering over you, under your feet, blocking your path, behind other rocks, everywhere! The only good this they do is provide shelter from the sun and, more importantly, sandstorms.

    Anyways, I brushed off my brown khaki shorts and my now dirty white t-shirt that still had sand on them and opened the white envelope. Since there were no windows and I wouldn't dare to open the door and let the storm in, so I used my headlamp. I tore apart the seal which was masterfully done by a stamp. The seal was red wax and the design was a Sceptile on the left, a Blaziken in the middle, and a Swampert on the right. The mark signifies that it's from my family.

    When my great grandfather, who was part of a set of triplets, got his Pokémon, each of the triplets chose a different starter to see who would be champion first. Like when I got my starter, my great-grandfather had the same three choices to pick from. A Treecko, Torchic, or Mudkip. My great-grandfather did not become champion first, his brother with the Mudkip did. Then the triplet with the Torchic beat his brother with the Mudkip and finally my great-grandfather with his Treecko beat his brother who had the Torchic. That's why I had chosen a Treecko as my starter.

    I loved hearing those stories from my grandfather. I shook my head to clear my thoughts and get back to what I was doing. I shook some sand from my short, light brown hair and gazed at the letter with my bright blue eyes.

    I read it over and decided to read it to my Pokémon. I stood up and grabbed my bag bringing it back to the crate I was sitting on. I sat down on it and pulled out two red and white balls, Pokéballs. They were at storage size so I clicked the white button on each so that they grew to twice the size they were at. Now my Pokémon were able to come out. I threw the two balls in the air and almost in unison, both balls opened revealing their contents.The first was light green gecko-like Pokémon with fat dark green tail, a red belly, and two large yellow eyes with black pupils. Treecko seemed to like the hot weather we were in and he started to climb onto the table to sit next to me. The second Pokémon that popped out was a candle Pokémon. It was mainly white with one yellow eye showing, but it also had a large purple-blue flame on top of it. Litwick decided to just hover next to me.

    "Hey you two. I decided that you two might want to hear this letter that Mom sent us." I looked at them. "Do you want to?"

    Litwick smiled and happily chimed, "Liit! Litwiick!"

    "Good!" I told the little Candle Pokémon. I turned to the Wood Gecko. "What about you Treecko? Do you want to hear a letter from Mom?" He just got up and walked to the wall and started to scale it. Once he was on the ceiling he found a cabinet to hide in on one of the walls. He crawled over to it and opened the door. In one fluid movement he was inside the cabinet and resting while chewing on his twig.

    "Ko. Tree, treecko." He looked at me one last time and closed his eyes to take a nap.

    "Fine, be a grouch." I was used to this behavior now. For the past week I've only let him out when we were inside a building. He was annoyed that I was doing that, but it's just for his safety. I don't want him running off to try and find the warmest rock in the whole desert. He may never come back. I shook my head to clear my thoughts and looked back down at the letter. I opened it once more and started reading aloud to Litwick and hopefully Treecko was listening too.

    "It says:
    Dear Jake and your Pokémon,
    I am glad to know that you are safe, even if you are in the desert. Even though I know you are sixteen and are responsible, I'm guessing you are finding trouble in the heat, whether that trouble is from people or the heat itself. Things must be exciting out there, I can only imagine. There isn't really anything going on here. I have just been doing work and tending my garden. The berries are finally coming in! I know how much you love them. Everyone here is doing fine and I hope you get this letter as soon as possible. Sorry to make this letter short, but I need to get moving. We all love you and good luck on your journey!"

    "Lit?" Litwick tilted his head as much as he could to read the note as best as he could. I don't know if Pokémon can read human languages, but if they can than I'm sure it would make Litwick happy to read.

    I looked at the bottom of the letter to see signatures. "It's signed by my mom, my dad, and my siblings." I folded the letter neatly and put it back in the envelope and packed it away in my backpack. I didn't hear anything and I realized the storm must of died off and quit completely. I looked back up at Treecko and saw that he was still 'sleeping'. "Litwick, let's go outside. Then we can get going to the next town. You can stay out if you want."

    "Tree?!" I looked at Treecko and he looked excited, but he also looked a bit mad. Probably because I never took him outside ever since we entered the desert.

    I looked up at his resting place and he immediately went back to his resting position. "You can come to. You know, if you want. Otherwise I'm leaving you here and you can wait right there and maybe in a few weeks someone else will come by and let you out." That got him moving and he was out the door and clinging to a rock faster than you could say Zebstrika. I followed him out and Litwick followed me. I closed the door and walked out from behind the rock where the shack was hidden to let the light shine on me. I closed my eyes to block the sun form damaging my eyes, only something was very wrong. I felt no heat and someone or something was tugging on my shorts. I opened my eyes to see that there was a black sky before me with all of the stars glowing around a shining, silver moon. It was a beautiful sight, but it was cold. I looked at my shorts to see who or what was tugging them and found that it was a very cold and shivering Treecko. I immediately returned him to his ball, but left Litwick out since she was part fire-type and could handle the desert night's coldness. "Well, it's cooler at night so we'll travel now instead of in the heat. Okay, Litwick?"

    "Litwick, lit, litwick." She wasn't really enthusiastic about the idea, but she sounded like she understood and was okay with it. We started back on the path to the next town. It's supposed to be at least three times as large as the last town, so I had high hopes of finding somewhere to stay and something to do when I got there.

    It must have been three hours before we saw the first rays of sunshine and I figured out that we were in the shack for about six hours. The time we spent in there seemed much shorter than that. We really didn't encounter any obstacle on our way and the only life we saw out there was a couple Drilbur that quickly burrowed their way back into the ground once they saw me. I stopped to switch out some gear and sat my backpack down. I shut off my headlight and put in my bag and called for Treecko again. He came out, but this time he looked like he felt better. I slung my backpack back on and we continued on until we reached the town.

    Saying that this town was twice the size as that little one was a gigantic understatement. This was a huge town and right away you could see it was a tourist town. Even though it might be a tourist town, the official population must be at least four times the size of the tiny town. I walked down the street and just in my one minute of being there, I counted at least five hotels and three saloon restaurants. All of them had either a brown, wooden theme or a modern, updated, state-of-the-art, marble floors look. I heard my stomach rumble and growl at me, reminding me that I needed supplies, but I needed to get some food in me before I went shopping.

    After going up and down the streets, popping my head in and out of restaurants and diners, feeling the rush of frigid cold air becoming hot once again as I went back out, I finally found a nice little diner. It had the rustic, old days, cowboys and Indians look, but the modern style of well, modern day. It wasn't anything fancy at all, but it had a certain appeal to it. Maybe it was that it was smaller than most restaurants or maybe because it was in a quieter, less touristy part of town. I sat down at a booth by the window so I could see out there without having the heat all around me. The waitress, a blonde who had a white apron on over a pink outfit, came up to me and handed me a menu. "Here you go sir. Our special today is a homemade soup called Secret Chicken Soup."

    "What is that?" I asked really confused that this quaint of a restaurant would have something that sounded so odd.

    "Oh, it's almost the same thing as Chicken noodle, except we add a few special ingredients from our garden." Either she didn't know what else to say or she was waiting for my response.

    "I'll just take the special with a glass of water please." I handed her the menu that I never opened and she walked back to the kitchen to give them my order. I looked back out the window while I waited for my food. Treecko was came up from under the table along with Litwick. I didn't even know they were hiding, I just thought they were off playing in the park. The waitress that took my order started cleaning a table next to me and I remembered something I should've earlier. "Ma'am, I forgot to ask if you serve Pokémon here."

    She did a little jump like she was taken by surprise after someone scared her. "Oh, yes we do. If we didn't none of us would be here." She pointed at the chef and I saw why. Next to the chef stood a little red monkey with a flame for a tail. "Chuck and Chimchar are some of the best chefs in town." Then she pointed to another waitress at the counter watching a very colorful bird with a music note on his head at a families' table. "Helen and Chatot work together to run this restaurant. Chatot takes the orders since he can speak human languages and Helen can watch the register, take anther table's orders, or bring food to the people."

    I never thought that Pokémon other than Growlithe would work. "What about you and your Pokémon. You must have something." I looked around for more Pokémon, but saw none.

    "Uhh, just wait here. I'll be back in about a minute." She walked up to Helen and whispered something into her ear. Helen nodded to her and the waitress walked out what must be the back door. I waited a couple minutes and watched the door for her return. It was maybe a minute later when she returned, carrying something in her arms. All I could see was a towel and a bowl. When she reached me, she carefully set the towel on the table and began to slowly unfold it. she set the bowl, which was full of Pokémon food on the table and Treecko and Litwick started eating right away. I turned back to the waitress and egg. I saw something light red and cream so right away I was thinking a fire type. When she unfolded the towel completely though, I couldn't believe it.

    "Is that an..." I was at loss for words.

    "Yes, it is an egg. I found it here on this table. I figure a tourist or a kid found it and thought it was just a neat rock, then left it here by mistake. I've been holding it since. It's never left my sight or my-"

    "CHIIIIC!" A small red chick with short, yellow wings and three yellow feathers on its head ran into the small diner frantically running around obviously looking for something. Then it saw us and the egg. It ran up to use, hopped up onto the bench, jumped onto the table, and rubbed the egg with its chin. "Torrr. Chiiccc." It sounded like it was purring a little.

    "As I was saying, my Torchic and I watch the egg." Torchic looked her and glared. The waitress looked down with a small, apologetic smile and said, "I was going to bring it back to you. You know that I always do." Both of them looked away and Helen came up behind them.

    "Torchic, let's get you and the egg back in the house." She then nudged the waitress. "Did you remember to introduce yourself this time?" The waitress's face went pale then started to flush red with embarrassment. "Do that while I take Torchic and the egg back to the house." Helen walked away leaving us two to talk.

    "Might as well start. My name is Melody and I'll be your server today." She gave me a bow and then stood straight up while giving me a partial smile.

    "Hello, Melody. It's nice to meet you. I am Jake and this is Treecko and Litwick." I gestured to each of my Pokémon respectively. They were too busy eating to care though. "You look a bit young to be working as a waitress. Shouldn't you be on your Pokémon journey like me?"

    Melody sighed and sat down in the other booth across from me. "I was supposed to start my journey six years ago, but I never got going. I didn't have any money to buy even one Potion, so I got a job. Then my parents disowned me after finding out I had a Pokémon and I had to find my own place. I found an apartment that was just under my budget. I barely scrape by and save any money I can." She buried her head in her arms.

    I took pity on her and slid a couple extra PokéDollars under arm. She took them and mouthed 'thanks'. My stomach rumbled again to bring my thoughts back to food. "Uhh, so not to be rude, but this is a restaurant and I came here to eat." She lifter her head and nodded slowly. Then she started to get a confused face. I just continued, "So, if you don't mind me asking, is my soup ready yet?"

    "Oh, your soup! Sorry, with all of this egg stuff and story telling going on I forgot. I'll get it right now." She quickly walked off and as fast as she left she was back with my soup. Special Chicken Soup," Melody gave a bow, "for one."

    "Thank you. I haven't eaten all day and most of yesterday. All I had was an energy bar." Without another word I started eating. I found out that they add small parts of cucumber and peas to their soup. It tasted amazing and I finished the whole bowl. Then, without warning, Melody came up to me and pulled me up off the bench and towards the back of the restaurant towards the kitchen. Treecko and Litwick followed, as clueless as I was. "Melody, what are you doing? What's going on?" she just pointed out the window I was just sitting at. There were three people with some very scary looking Pokémon with them staring coldly at us through the window. Behind them were a couple more people and some motorcycles.

    "Helen!" Melody yelled, "They're back!" She continued to back away from the window. Helen came out of the back of the kitchen and looked at the window.

    "What? You have got to be kidding me!" The bikers, all in their black leather jackets and blue jeans walked past the window and entered through the front door. The first one through, I'm guessing, was the leader. He had a dark green Pokémon that looked it was wearing a hat and short spikes covered its whole body. I recognized it as a Cacturne, a Pokémon that resembles a cactus. The other goons followed through the door. One had a dark little dog called Poochyena, another had a black bird that also had a hat-like feature. That, I knew, was a Murkrow. The next two goons had a purple skunk, aptly named Stunky, and a small brown alligator with darker stripes named Sandile. I only knew all of these Pokémon since I've read an online Pokémon encyclopedia ever since I was little. The encyclopedia just listed their name, type, and had a couple pictures of the Pokémon. The apparent leader of the bikers went up to Melody, completely ignoring Helen and me.

    "So, missy. Are you ready to take me on in your little," he paused to spit on the clean linoleum floor, "challenge."

    Melody backed up against the wall. "Uhh, no. I'm too busy to."

    The goon and his goons all laughed and chuckled. "I don't see you doing anything or tending to anyone." He raised his arms to gesture to the empty restaurant.

    "Uhh-uhh," was all Melody could say.

    "She's tending to me." I stood in front of Melody between her and the biker. I'm a horrible fist fighter, but I'd rather be hit than let Melody take it.

    The leader chuckled again. "Who's this? A tourist is brave enough to stand up to me. Do you know who I am?"

    I quickly went through my head to come up with a good comeback. "All I need to know, ugly, is that your stupid for accepting her challenge in the first place."

    All of the goons 'oohed' at my remark like it was super harsh to their leader. The leader quickly snapped at them and told them to shut up. "Okay, kid. How about you battle me?"

    I though about it for maybe a half second and decided. "All right, you're on. First though, I want you to promise that if I win you and our goons never come back here again."

    "And if I win?" the leader spoke slowly and sounded like he was going to make a plan to cheat.

    It thought about his question. "Then you can have an egg." I know Melody's going to hate me for offering her egg up, but this will motivate me a lot more than saying they can beat me or something.

    "Jake! What are you doing?" I saw that reaction coming. "You can't do that."

    "I'll explain later." I smiled to her to giver her comfort and hopefully she took it.

    The goon leader thought and made weird moaning noises while thinking. I was completely caught off guard when he started talking. "Okay, you got yourself a deal. Since you got to choose the reward, I get to choose the rules."

    "That sounds fair enough." I swear I heard him snort at the word 'fair'. I followed him outside where the streets were empty. "Rule One is that this will be a one-on-one match. Rule Number Two is that you can't use potions and stuff, only moves." The goon took a big pause.

    "Is that it?" I really hope he doesn't make a lot of rules, but I don't think this biker has ever been in a match like this from the way he was sweating. I knew the sweat wasn't from the heat, so it must be from nervousness.

    "Yea, that's it." He looked calm again, or at least as calm as you can be when you look like your ready to break somebody's face with your fist. He pointed his finger out towards me and yelled, "Go Cacturne!"

    I knew he was going to use Cacturne. I stood up straight and put my hands in my pockets. "Litwick, I choose you!" My little Candle Pokémon cam floating off the roof where I could see Treecko basking in the sun and watching the action from a safe distance. I knew he would come down though if I needed him.

    "Cacturne, use Growth!" Cacturne started to inhale tons of air and he practically inflated, swelling to and incredible size. When he got to a point where he looked like he could be popped with the flattest, most dull object, he released the air. "Ha, now his Special Attack has more powerful," the gang leader yelled to me and laughed. It sounded like he was trying hard to rub it in my face.

    I rubbed my hand down my face. This guy sounded very cocky and like a little kid who is battling with those little cards parents get them until they get a real Pokémon. "Litwick, light things up with Will-O-Wisp!" Litwick's eyes glowed white and three balls of blue fire appeared out of nowhere. They started circling Litwick, getting faster and faster until they were launched towards the Cactus Pokémon. All three ball of fire hit Cacturne. Then the cactus started to turn red and started on fire for a second or two before going out again. "Now, Litwick! Follow it up with Hex!" Litwick's eyes started to glow white again and his body started to fade a bit.

    "Oh, no you don't! Cacturne, it's Payback time!" Cacturne's spikes hand started to glow a dark purple and turned black with a purple glow. Cacturne rushed at Litwick and hit her right square in her little body. Litwick flew back, but then she stopped and Cacturne started convulsing. The thug's Pokémon was lifted and it started flailing its arms and legs, hitting burns with its own hands. Litwick's Hex was causing a lot of pain, especially with that burn. Suddenly Cacturne fell and Hex was over, but not the turn. The Cactus Pokémon started to catch fire again, and then it was out. Cacturne stood up, but was obviously just about to faint.

    "Litwick, finish this up with Flame Burst!" The little Candle Pokémon started charging a ball of fire between its hands using the flame on its head as the source.

    The thug started to panic. "Cacturne, use Ingrain!" Cacturne started to grow roots out of its feet, but it was too late. Litwick launched the fireball that immediately split into five fireballs with smaller ones everywhere else. Fire was everywhere, smashing into dirt, rocks, and more importantly, the Cacturne was hit head on and it fell backwards onto its back. It had fainted and I won. The diner staff clapped and cheered for my victory along with tourists that were watching. I didn't know we drew a crowd from this. Suddenly I heard the gang leader yell. "Nooo!" The thug leader called his Cacturne back into its ball while on his knees and started to hit the ground. I never thought I would see a thug like this pound the ground because they lost a match.

    "Excuse me, but I believe we had a deal. I won so you can never come back here." I heard a growl coming from the goon leader on the ground that I just beat and he stood up.

    "I will never leave! Never ever! NEVER!" Then he started advancing on me with clenched fists that made his knuckles white. "You'll pay for this battle." He continued advancing and picked up his pace, but then in a flash of green the thug leader was on the ground and unconscious. I looked next to him and saw that Treecko was standing next to him. I guessed that Treecko was defending me and was sick of the thug.

    I looked at the goon leader's face and saw the imprint of Treecko's belly on his cheek. "Did you use Slam on him?" Treecko nodded, scratching the ground with his foot like a little kid trying to look innocent. "Good job. I think you've got that move down." He stood up straight with pride and looked at me with his large yellow eyes with joy at my congratulations to him perfecting a move, even if it was on a human. The thugs grabbed their leader, picked him up and put on his motorcycle. Hopefully he was awake enough to drive it. He was since he was able to start it and leave us, leaving a large trail of dust that his gang members followed. I looked down at Treecko and smiled since I got the better of the thugs.

    Litwick and Treecko came over to my side and Treecko leaped up onto my left shoulder while Litwick floated next to my other shoulder. Melody ran up to me and shouted in my face, "Great job! Thanks for doing that. I would've never have beat him since I'm not able to train Torchic. It's so hard to when she's always with that egg day and night. It's cute, but it's really going to set me back on my dreams of being a trainer. It doesn't help that I barely get off work, either. I'm only working at the diner until I know I can make it out in the world with Torchic."
    Last edited by Jake434; 14th August 2012 at 09:52 AM.

  2. #2
    the bug catcher pokémon Buoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Desert Traveler (SWC)

    This story is actually only just over 10,000 characters. If you want any chance at actually getting at least one of the Pokémon you've aimed for, please lengthen the story.

  3. #3
    Registered User Jake434's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Desert Traveler [SWC]

    Yea, my computer keeps acting up and won't post properly. I'll hopefully have the whole thing posted soon.

    EDIT: Second part of first part is the next post.
    Last edited by Jake434; 27th July 2012 at 02:59 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User Jake434's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Desert Traveler [SWC]

    Helen then came up behind Melody and lightly grabbed her shoulder as a gesture to comfort her. "You will make it as a trainer, Melody. Everyone trains at a different rate and it takes time to get strong. The Elite Four didn't get to where they are over night. They all had to wait and it took a lot of time for them to get there. You'll get there eventually with Torchic, especially when that egg hatches." Helen smiled as she said the word 'hatches' and turned to the crowd on the other side of the street the thug and I battles in. "Victory party at our diner. Free food for everyone!" People started running into the small diner and I was left out in the sun hoping everyone could fit. I followed Melody and Helen into their little restaurant. Chuck must have already gone inside to start cooking.

    Once inside I noticed that balloons and confetti were already everywhere. Then once somebody noticed me everyone stopped what they were doing as I stepped in the front door. "Three cheers for our town hero! Thank you for beating those bikers!" It occurred to me that apparently these were not tourists, but townsfolk, if they said 'our town hero'.

    "Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!" the crowd cheered in unison. I could feel my face turn hot with blood and knew I was blushing. I started to mingle with the people, saying 'hi' and 'hello' to anyone who greeted me. I received a few handshakes and, surprisingly, a hug. I felt a pull on my arm as Melody pulled me away. She made me follow her all the way through the restaurant and out to the back alleyway.

    "Look, I know this is sudden, but do you have a place to stay tonight?" The question and its suddenness took me a bit to process in my head, but then I noticed that she started to scratch her arm lightly since she seemed embarrassed to ask me a simple question. "I'm just asking because if you don't I have an extra room in my apartment that you could use." Now she was looking down at the ground and I noticed she peeked a look at my face to see my reaction.

    I thought about her offer and decided to accept it. "Okay, I'll stay at your place. After all, you owe me for getting rid of those bikers." I playfully smirked at her.

    "Huh," she gasped. "I could've handled them."

    "But you didn't, now did you?" I now had a teasing smile on my face.

    She lightly punched me on the arm and walked inside to get people their food. I followed her inside and started telling little kids that were just about ready to begin their training about the battle in detail and all of the planning you have to do in a matter of seconds. Before long everyone started leaving and night fell. Helen and Chuck sent Melody and I on our way so they could close the diner and clean up to get ready for the next day's customers. I grabbed Treecko and Litwick before I was out the door and returned them to their Pokéballs.

    "Jake, follow me. My apartment isn't far from-" Melody was cut short by someone yelling behind us.

    "Waaiit! Melody! Wait!" Helen was running up to us with an awkward gait. Probably caused by her age, what she was carrying, or both. We waited for her to make it to us. "Are you going to make me run the whole way?" she yelled as best as she could. You could tell she was breathing heavily. Melody put her hand in my face to gesture for me to stay where I was. She ran up to Helen who was already about fifteen feet away.

    "What is it, Helen." Melody asked curious of what was in the arms of Helen.

    "You forgot these two at my house. This better be the last time. I can't keep running out here and chase you." Helen gave Melody what she was carrying very gently and I saw her Torchic pop out of the towel and onto Melody's shoulder.

    "Thank you, Helen. I'm sorry I forgot. I will remember to grab them next time." Melody returned her own Pokémon who had jumped off her shoulder and started running around. She came back over to me and I saw that she had the towel that her egg was cloaked in for warmth. "Let's get going then." She smiled as if nothing had just happened.

    The walk through the town cloaked with the cold desert night was longer than I thought. Melody's apartment was almost on the edge of town where the wild begins. She led through the alley to the back where her apartment door was. We first had to hike up the steep stairs that seemed to creak whenever you inhaled and exhaled. She fiddled with her keys to find the right one and fiddled then fiddled with the door lock. I followed her into her warm apartment. I was, for once that day, happy that I was warm. The desert night was too cold to bear. Melody set the egg in a cardboard box that held more towels and released Torchic. The little fire chick immediately went to the box Melody just set the egg in and nestled next to the egg. The Pokémon fell asleep almost the second she closed her eyes. "Well," Melody spoke quietly so she wouldn't wake the sleeping Torchic, "this is my place. I'll show you your room." She motioned for me to follow her.

    We passed two rooms, one must have the bathroom, the other was Melody's bedroom. I peeked through the door that was slightly cracked open. I saw her bed and lots of cardboard boxes that probably held items from her old home and clothes. What I really noticed though was that there were a lot of pictures of Melody with her family all around her room. She looked so happy in each of them. I heard a door swing open and I snapped my focus back to following Melody down the hall. At the end there was a door and she was already opening it. I followed Melody inside and saw that there was a bed with brown blankets, a large dresser, and a small closet. Simple, but it was homey. "Here you go. I'm going to go to bed if you don't mind." She left and shut the door behind her. I packed my clothing into the dresser and changed into a loose-fitting lime green shirt and blue pajama pants. I crawled into the bed and fell asleep.

    When I woke up I could it was morning by the little ray of light coming in from the shade and curtain-less window. I got up and put on a pair of white socks, white shorts, and a plain light blue shirt. I opened my creaky door and walked down the narrow hall to Melody's kitchen. She wasn't up yet so I found a bowl, some cereal, and milk from her little fridge. While I sat down and started eating I heard Melody open her door and come out to the kitchen and living area. "Good morning, Melody." She just waved to me and gave me a small smile. I don't think she's a morning person. She quietly got down two bowls, filled one with milk and kept the other one dry. She set the dry bowl in with Torchic and gave herself the other.

    "Jake, the second I'm done with this cereal I'm leaving for work. I think Helen mentioned to me yesterday that you can come and help too, she said that she would pay you a little." While I thought about her offer and ate, Melody started chowing her cereal down. We both finished at about the same time and we left with Torchic and the egg in our arms. "So, are you going to work or what are you going to do?"

    "Well, I'm coming with you, aren't I? Otherwise I'd still be back at your apartment packing." She smiled a bit and we continued walking in silence. The walk to the little diner felt like it was a lot faster than the walk to Melody's apartment. We were there, got on our own aprons, mine being longer than Melody's and over a blue outfit Helen and Chuck had for another worker. Melody showed me the ropes on an regular customer who understood my situation and went along with it. After some critiquing from customer, Helen, and Melody and a waiting on a couple customers, I was a pretty good waiter for my first day ever doing it. The day went by very quickly and at points I was able to get Treecko to help my while Litwick stayed in the kitchen to help cook the food.

    "Thanks for the help today you two. Here you go," Helen said to Melody and I as she handed us each an envelope. "Melody, that's you pay and Jake, that's for helping us today." We both said our thank you's to Helen and Chuck and I waited at one of the tables while Melody ran out the back and into Helen and Chuck's house to grab Torchic and the egg before we left. Once she returned we set off to Melody's apartment with everyone in their Pokéballs. It was still dusk out, but the light was still bright enough that even alleys were lit up a little.

    On our way back, the atmosphere felt different. When we turned a corner we found out why, the gang and their leader I defeated the day earlier was back in town and just about fifteen feet away from where Melody and I stood. They had broke the deal. "Hey! I thought we had a deal!" I yelled to the gang leader.

    He turned to see me standing behind him. "Yeah, well I don't like to listen to little brats that interfere with our plans," he half said, half yelled. "Now get going before we decide what to do to you both."

    "Then next time I won't let you get away so easily." I walked around him, glaring the whole time. Melody stayed on the opposite of me so she wasn't seen as easily and the egg wouldn't be noticed either. I kept glaring and walking until we rounded another corner, the whole time the thug leader was glaring back while his goons dug threw trash and whatnot.

    "Oh my gosh, that was so scared. I'm still trembling even though we're here." I looked to see what 'here' was and I saw that we made it to the apartment building. We went through the alley to the back like the night before and went back up the creaky stair. Only, this time, Melody stopped halfway. "Jake, there's a plant here and it's all wilted." I was confused as to why there would be a plant on her doorstep, especially since we were in the back of the building. We crammed onto her little porch, if you can call it that, and I knelt down to see the plant. It was still green, but it wasn't a plant.

    "Melody, this isn't a plant." I lifted the head of the little creature.

    "What?! Then what is it?" Melody asked, totally stunned.

    "It's a Pokémon. If you want to be exact, it's a Snivy. It looks as if it had been hurt or hasn't found water for awhile. Perhaps even both." I looked the Snivy over, letting it sit while I moved its green and cream head and then its small arms and legs. Its green, leaf-patterned tail drooped over the edge of the tiny deck. The eyes were closed so it must have been asleep. "Let's bring it in and get it some water." Melody nodded to agree and unlocked the door. She pushed the door open while I picked up the Snivy. The second I grabbed it, the Pokémon woke up, but still very weak.

    "Sniii," was all it could say and it tried to launch a Vine Whip attack on me, but the small, powerful vines that came out of its neck immediately retracted. I picked up the small Grass Snake Pokémon and gently carried it inside. Melody had already put her egg inside the cardboard box with all of the towels.

    I set the Snivy in there as well and set it slightly upright. "Melody, can you go grab a bowl of water and bring it here for Snivy?"

    "Sure, yeah." Melody walked over into the kitchen and grabbed a small bowl from the cupboards and filled it with water. She carried it over to me and set it inside the box next to the egg and Snivy. I took Snivy tail and set it in the water, hoping to get some sort of reaction. He started turning green, but just his tail was. I dipped my hand in the water bowl and scooped up some water. I sprinkled it all over the little Snivy's body and I really concentrated on sprinkling most of it over its head. Everywhere started to turn a darker color which gave me hope that the Snivy would survive. He cracked his eyes open and I could just see his light red eyes and he looked back at me before they closed again. I finished up sprinkling the water on him and I stood up. I left some water in the bowl in case he's able to get up and drink it. I lightly walked down the hallway to my bedroom. I heard Melody quietly speaking in her room. I cracked the door open just enough to see inside and not alarm her.

    "Torchic," Melody sadi getting the small fire chick's attention and pointed, "that's where I would always swing." She turned the page in what must have been a scrapbook. "That's where I always sat, it was my favorite spot." I figured that she was going through old memories and I left her door. I continued walking down the hall and entered my room. I turned on the light and closed the door behind me. I changed back into my green shirt and blue pajama bottoms again and shut the lights off to get some sleep. As I was crawling into bed Melody came in and turned the lights on. I shot up and looked at her. "Oh, I didn't think you'd actually be sleeping, sorry. I just came in to ask if you need me to do some laundry. I was heading down there with my clothes and I thought, 'Hey, why not ask Jake if he needs me to wash his clothes.'" I was glad that she asked since I have always hated doing laundry, but I didn't want to give her more to do for me. She has already got me a way to get money and she gave me a place to sleep last night and tonight.

    "If you really want to," I said, trying to play this right.

    "Yeah, it's no big deal. I like doing laundry, it helps me unwind after a day of work." She looked sincere and I handed her my bag with my dirt clothes. "Okay, I'll bring them back later when they're washed. I nodded and stifled a yawn. Once I was back in bed she shut the lights off and closed my door. I fell asleep surprisingly quickly.

    It was very early in the morning when I awoke and found that Melody had done all of the laundry since my clothes were clean, folded and placed on the dresser she said I could use. I got up and packed them away into the drawers and walked out of the bedroom and into the hallway. As I passed by Melody's room, I turned my head saw her asleep on her bed with Torchic nestled beside her. I walked out into the living area and went straight for the box to check on the Snivy I found the night before. To my amazement it was gone! The water was gone as well and even worse, the egg was split and the contents were missing. "Melody! Melody, wake up!" I yelled out and ran as best as I could in the small apartment. "Melody! Torchic! I need you up right now!" I heard a muffled noise and then a loud thud. Melody must've fallen out of bed. When I reached her door she was sitting on the floor, hair all tangled and Torchic on her head.

    Melody yawned and stretched her arms. "What is it, Jake. I was sleeping."

    "Snivy is gone and the egg is broken. I think it hatched." Melody glared at me to see if I was telling the truth while Torchic ran out of the room to go and check the egg.

    "Chiiic!" Melody stood up and knew I was telling the truth after hearing Torchic screech in alarm. I turned back around and went into the kitchen to start looking while Melody went into the bathroom to look. Torchic looked through the whole entire living area and under each piece of furniture. No sign of them anywhere.

    We all started heading outside, I made it to the door first which was left open a bit. "Melody, I think they escaped!" She gasped so loud I could hear her from where I was standing and she was in the bathroom still. I opened the door and I couldn't believe my eyes. The little green Snivy I found yesterday was as healthy as can be and standing on the small deck, face to face with another Pokémon. "Melody, I think I found what was in your egg." Melody came up behind me and looked. Neither of us could believe our eyes. Snivy was using a weaker form of his Vine Whip attack to train Melody's new Pokémon. Its movement was amazing, so agile and fluid, but powerful. The Martial Arts Pokémon was mostly a cream yellow on his body, hands, tail and head. Otherwise the arms, legs, feet, and forked tip of the tail was a light red. Even the eyes were a shade of red. The only odd color were the two gray ovals over the eyes. Meinfoo looked like it was training in the art of Detect, a move that allows you to dodge any move since it heightens your senses and allows you to see where the next move will hit. Meinfoo would dodge a Vine Whip that swung over it, at the feet, to the left, right, straight at her chest. Nothing made contact. Both Pokémon were skilled in controlling their moves.

    Melody and I stood there in awe at the two amazing Pokémon work together so spectacularly to train. "Tor? Chic!" Torchic had just made it through Melody's and my legs to see her friend that hatched. Meinfoo and Snivy turned to see us three watching them. They were so focused that they hadn't even seen us appear in the doorway. "Tor, tor, chic. Torchic." Torchic was busy checking on Meinfoo and maybe was telling her something.

    I turned to Snivy after watching Torchic get acquainted with Meinfoo. Melody also went up to Torchic and Meinfoo and brought them both inside her apartment as I knelt next to Snivy. "Hey, Snivy. I'm glad you're feeling better." I smiled at the grass type Pokémon.

    "Sni. Sni, sni, vy." Snivy looked a lot healthier and smiled back to me. He obviously remembered who I was and that I healed him by giving him water. A thought just occurred to me that really brightened my mood.

    "Hey, Snivy, do you want to join my team?" I called out Treecko and Litwick to show who he'd be traveling with. "This is Treecko," I gestured to the Wood Gecko Pokémon, "and this is Litwick," then I gestured to the Candle Pokémon. "If you join, you will be traveling with us three and we could have some very fun times." I smiled again at Snivy. It took him a couple minutes to decide, but he did. He jumped up onto my lap and curled up. "Okay then. Why don't we go inside and get you some food and more water then. Treecko and Litwick are probably hungry too." Treecko waltzed right into the apartment and Litwick followed leaving Snivy and I at the back. I made sure to shut and lock the door before I went into the kitchen. I grabbed four bowls, two for water and two for food. I filled each and set them on the ground in a circle. Snivy went directly for the water while Litwick and Treecko went for the food.

    "Do you mind if Torchic and Meinfoo join you?" Melody asked my Pokémon. Everyone nodded yes while they ate or drank. Torchic and Meinfoo walked up and sat down next to a bowl of food and started eating. I grabbed two bowls and put some cereal in them with milk and gave one to Melody and I took the other. We sat down on her chairs and ate while watching our new Pokémon interact with the others.

    Once everyone had their fill we left to go see Chuck and Helen. Even though it was Melody's day off, there wasn't really anything else to do. Melody said that they have the diner open all week, but she needs days off so she can train Torchic and now she can also start Meinfoo's training. We entered the restaurant and were greeted by Helen and Chuck. Today wasn't very busy and so they were just cleaning the floors and tables. "Hello, Melody. Hello, Jake. How have you two been today?" Helen asked us as we entered and she saw us.

    "We are fine. My egg finally hatched, see!" Melody showed Helen her new Meinfoo. "He hatched this morning and Jake's new Snivy started training her. She has amazing agility and she's already looking like a good fighter." Melody smiled the whole time while talking about her Meinfoo.

    "Oh, did it now. What a splendid new Pokémon for you to take on your journey, Melody," Helen said as she continued sweeping the floor. "Go to the back storage room. You can just take Jake with you. Oh, and Jake, took good care of your Snivy. I'm guessing yours is the one that was abandoned by a tourist after finding out how much work they need."

    I stood there confused. "What do you mean that this Snivy was abandoned. Are you serious?"

    Helen sighed and looked out the window with a longing gaze. "Yes, the Snivy you are now in possession of was abandoned. Late last night I heard a some tourists go by laughing and then I heard one say that he was very glad that he had left the Snivy behind in an alleyway." I couldn't help but be angry and happy with that tourist, but mostly angry.

    "Well, I'm just glad that I have Snivy now. I better go to the back too now. see you later Helen, Chuck." I waved to them both and both waved back. I left them out front and followed Melody to the storage room in the back. I found her looking through. I peeked and saw that it was from her parents.

    "Oh, hey Jake. Look at what I parents sent me!" Melody moved aside and showed me a Pokédex and and pack. When she lifted the new pack she got I saw some Pokéballs, Potions, and other trainer items. Some were worth a lot of money. "Now I can start my journey," she said as she opened the pack. "Oh, my. Look!" She pulled out a wad of PokéDollars out of her pack and threw it in my face. It fell after it bounced of my shoulder. I picked it up and counted it.

    "Melody, there's 5,000 PokéDollars in here. I'm guessing that your parents are rich." She nodded yes and took the money back.

    "That's why they didn't want me to have a Pokémon. They believed that all people should be businessmen or businesswomen instead of trainers. Pokémon trainers are frowned upon in my family, but I guess they had a change of heart." We went through all of the items making a list of it all. When we left the diner I ended up carrying the box to her apartment for Melody who was busy holding her sleeping Meinfoo.

    When we entered her apartment we found the place had been trashed. "What happened?!" Melody screamed, waking the Meinfoo in her arms. The Martial Arts Pokémon jumped down and was in a stance before I drew my breath. Melody ran through her apartment, searching for something. She ran from her bedroom to mine to the bathroom. "It's not here! It isn't anywhere." She came out of the bathroom and sat on the ground in front of her chair and started to cry.

    I walked up to her and sat down next to her to give her some comfort. "What is missing, Melody?" I really had no clue what someone could take from her.

    "My necklace. It was from my mom. She gave it to me for my birthday this past year and it was very special. She had it engraved and the stone was a pure Sapphire. It's worth so much money and she wanted me to wear it on any special occasion, and she said I could only visit her if I was wearing it. Actually, now it's more of IF I ever visit her. Now I'll never get to go see her because it's been stolen."

    "We can find it, Melody. Just don't worry. Maybe Meinfoo can find their scent or something." Just then Meinfoo came up holding something in its paws. "What's this?" I grabbed it and examined the item. "I know who stole your necklace, Melody." I held out the piece of leather to her.

    "The biker gang." Melody grabbed the evidence and threw it at the window. She got up and started packing her new pack.

    "What are you doing?" I asked. I hoped she wasn't going to do anything drastic.

    "I'm going to hunt down the bikers and get my necklace back." My hope was denied.

    "Then at least I'm coming with you to get it. I won't accept no for an answer." I was at least going to keep her safe. She may have two Pokémon now, but one hasn't been worked with for awhile and the other just hatched that morning. We each packed our own bags with anything we could carry. We each grabbed clothes, flashlights, batteries, PokéBalls, Potions, food, water, mostly the necessities. We left the apartment, each with our Pokémon and I followed Melody out into the town. "So, do we know where we are going?"

    "I know where they are hiding. It's in a cave complex about ten miles out of town. It will take some time getting their, obviously, since we also need to go around a ridge of spiraling, vertical rocks." She was so confident right now I couldn't help but notice.

    We had been walking for about four hours and were maybe two or three miles out of town. The sun making us stop and get a drink every so often slowing our progress. Then I heard Melody speak up. "Jake, we need to find some cover and quick." She sounded serious, but you can never be sure if someone is joking or not.

    "Why? The sun is shining, a bit too harshly, but shining. Not a cloud in sight and I don't hear anything." I really didn't see anything that would cause us to find shelter.

    She pointed to the horizon. "Maybe that will help you figure out why." I looked and saw dust, but why would we need to take cover from dust. I then saw that the storm was moving to quick and way too dark with dust to have just been picked up. "Over here!" I turned to see that Melody had already found some shelter some twenty feet away in a cluster of rocks. I ran over to her and ducked down next to her. It couldn't have been more than half of a minute we were hit by the storm. I was glad that we found this spot. It was made up of one large rock that took most of the storm for us. Next to it were maybe two or three rock and smaller rocks formed an almost complete circle. Our little shelter had two openings. Inside of the circle of rocks was enough space to make a fire and have about four more people. I started to question if someone made this shelter according to a certain design, but I would probably never find out. I heard a yawn next to me and looked over at Melody. "I'm going to get some sleep, alright?"

    "Yeah, that's fine. I think I will too." I rolled onto my side and took off my backpack so that I could use it as a pillow. I rested my head on it and fell asleep.

    I awoke to the sound of dead silence, or at least almost dead silence. There was still a slight wind, but the storm had blown over and moved on. I turned from my side onto my back and sat up. "Ow!" I yelled as I felt a sharp pain in my back, but I held my voice back enough so I would not wake Melody up. As I stood up and cracked my back, I was luckily relieved of the pain. I looked around at the vast landscape and saw that the sun was just rising signaling that it was dawn. I was relieved that the sandstorm was over and left, but that meant that we needed to continue on in our quest for Melody's necklace.

    Next to me I heard a small scuffling noise and a voice. "Jake? Are we going now?" Melody asked me quietly.

    "Yea, we can leave after we all have some breakfast and then get packed up again." I pulled out my three Pokéballs and clicked the small white buttons on each to release my Treecko, Litwick, and newest addition, Snivy. They all looked happy to be released and they were able to stretch, but they were also very tired looking. "Were you three sleeping right before I called you out?"

    "Tree." Treecko tried to curl up on my backpack to try and sleep, so I took that as a 'yes'.

    "Well, I'm guessing then that you three aren't ready to eat?"

    "Sni! Snivy!" Snivy perked up at the though of food.

    "Tree. Ko." Treecko was more awake, but he acted like his usual self and sat down with his twig in his mouth.

    "Lit! Wick!" Litwick was also happy to be able to eat something.

    "Okay, just wait a couple of seconds," I said with a small laugh as I reached into my bag. I pulled out two bowls and in each bowl I put either a bottle of water or a can of food. I set each bowl down and opened the can of PokéFood first and poured it into the empty bowl. Then I opened the bottle that was filled with water and poured a quarter of it into the second empty bowl. "There you three go. Eat and drink up, we have a big day ahead of us."

    "Mind if these two join you?" Melody asked as she released her Torchic and Meinfoo. Her two Pokémon rushed right over to mine and began eating.

    "I don't mind at all. We all need to eat and we might as well eat together." I honestly didn't know the reason why she asked if her party could join mine. We've all eaten together before. I shook the thought off and pulled out two apples for Melody and I. I took one and gestured and offering of the other to Melody. "Do you want this or something else?"

    Melody looked at the apple and took. "This is fine. Thank you for asking, though." We both started eating our sweet, juicy red apples and watched our Pokémon eat. I finished my apple quickly, but everyone was still eating so I sat back and leaned against the rock that we used as a shelter last night during the sandstorm.

    Eventually everyone finished their breakfast, Melody first then the Pokémon. We packed up the bowls and leftover food, recalled everyone into their Pokéballs, and headed off on our journey. We continued heading in the direction of the gang's hideout in the cave system.

    We made good time while traveling with no storms ever appearing.There were dust devils, which are little tornadoes made purely of dust and wind, though, but we didn't need to hide from them. We were going strong when we saw a large ridge rise up over the horizon. The trek to the rocky ridge was going to be the easiest part ever on this trip as I would eventually find out. It was all flat land with a little downhill slope every hundred feet or so. The only obstacle being the heat which made us stop and get a drink every once in a while. I looked up at the top where the cave system supposedly was. "How long would it take to go around?" I asked Melody.

    "Maybe two or three hours. It really depends on how fast we go and how many dust storms pick up."

    "Two or three hours?!" I was astounded at how long that would take. I didn't think that the ridge was that big. I gave it a thought, but that was too long for me. "Okay, I made my decision," I said while looking up, determined to get to the hideout no matter the way.

    "And what is your decision?" Melody half sarcastically said like there was only one option.

    "I'm going up. Going around would take too long and this is the fastest way." I looked at her with pure seriousness.

    "Are you nuts, Jake?! If we are going to climb, we will have to climb without a rope and that sounds really dangerous. It's just too dangerous, and I just don't think I can do that." Melody sounded really scared and she started to back away from the cliff face. I was scared, too, though I knew that we needed to go over. Going around was not an option for me, it would take way too long. Climbing cliff faces, though, is something I have never done and something I never planned on doing this morning, but we are on a mission. I tend to not like heights, but I was willing to do anything to finally put these thugs down. Then a great idea hit me.

    "Melody, we do have a rope, although it's not really what you think it would be." I grabbed two Pokéballs out of my bag and threw them up in the air. "Come on out you two!" I yelled out as the two red and white balls popped open and then two green shapes formed and took shape in a flash of crimson light. The Wood Gecko and Grass Snake looked around, wondering why they were in the middle of a desert.

    "Tree?" Treecko looked at me expecting a very good reason as to why he was out in the heat.

    "Vy? Sni?" Snivy also looked at me, but more in a questioning way than Treecko did.

    I crouched down to speak to both of them. "Treecko, Snivy, we need you both to help us two get up this ridge." I looked at Treecko and spoke, "Treecko, I need you to just climb on the rock and help us keep our balance. Break loose rocks with a strong Pound attack and that way we'll have a place to put our feet." I then turned to Snivy and said his instructions. "I need you, Snivy, to use Vine Whip and dig the ends of your vines into the top of this ridge so that we can have something to hold onto." I stood up after crouching so I could speak to them. "So, are you ready?"

    "Sni!" Snivy yelled with a firm nod. Snivy then used his Vine Whip as I had instructed him to do so.

    "Ko," Treecko said as he started to climb the face of the cliff we were about to scale.

    "Let's go, Melody." We gave each other a serious nod and grabbed a vine from Snivy. We started our climb very easily. There were plenty of small indentations that we could grip with our hands and feet. We got about halfway up when Melody slipped. "Melody! Are you okay?!" I was very concerned that she may have hurt herself. We were in the middle of nowhere, near a biker gang's hideout, and I had no first aid supplies that would help Melody if she fell.

    "Yea, I'm fine. It's just a scrape." She then looked down and said, "Thank you, Snivy, for catching me." Melody looked back up and continued climbing and quickly caught up with me. Treecko had made more indents for our hands and feet to grip so that Melody and I wouldn't fall again. The climb to the top was hopefully going to go better.

    We had just reached the top when we saw two bikers appears on the horizon. "Quick, Melody! Over the top. Snivy, Treecko, get up here!" Treecko easily climbed up and over the ridge to where we were now hiding and Snivy pulled himself up using his Vine Whip attack that was still lodged in the rocks. Snivy made it up before the bikers got close, but he didn't really need to hurry as they were heading around the ridge and not towards us.

    "Well, look who we have here?" once voice said behind us.

    "It looks like a couple of snoops." At the second voice Melody and I both turned around to see that two bikers were standing behind us, each with a malevolent smile on their faces. "Grab them and we'll take them to the boss." Melody and I tried to back away , but we had nowhere to go, but down.

    "Use your Vine Whip again, Snivy, like you did when we had to climb up the rock," I whispered and Snivy immediately put his vines back into the rocks. As Melody and I started to climb back down, a biker swooped down and managed to just grip me. "Let go of me!" I yelled as I felt a tug on the collar of my shirt as his hand slipped from his grip.

    "Oh no you don't!" a biker half yelled, half said at us as he reached for Melody.

    "We just can't let you two slip away like this never happened," the other biker said as he was able to grab me again. "The boss would be very angry if he knew we let you two slip away." Both bikers chuckled and pulled Melody and I up and over the cliff face onto solid ground. As quick as I could, I pulled out two of my Pokéballs and recalled Treecko and Snivy. As the biker pulled at my collar to drag me away I carefully slipped the Pokéballs back into my pocket.

    "You better let go of us. Someone will come looking for us really soon and you'll be sorry!" Melody started yelling to the thugs.

    "Oh yeah, is that so. Then we'll just make sure that you'll never be found." The bikers laughed again.

    I had to get out of this somehow. "If you don't let us go, then I'll beat your bosses Cacturne again and he'll be-"

    Both bikers laughed their hardest, I think, at what I said. "Little kid, you didn't defeat our boss," the biker started laughing so the other continued.

    "That was just our bosses brother. He wants to be leader, but now that you beat him, he never will. If you want to fight our boss, though, then that can be arranged." Then I felt them stop dragging us, let go, and as I turned around I felt something hit my head. I fell right onto my back and so did Melody.

    I was in excruciating pain and the last thing I saw was the bikers both holding a brown rock in their hands as I felt a large bruise form on my forehead, just where my hairline started. "OW! D-did you just hit us with r-rocks..." I tried to speak, but then I started to black out as both bikers began to laugh hysterically and drag us away again towards a dark cave. The last thing I saw was the last ray of sunshine before darkness overcame me and the desert.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Desert Traveler [SWC] (Grade Needed)

    Hey, buddy.

    Story: So... where to start. I've been sitting here wracking my brain trying to think of the best way to grade this. I really want to begin with good news and encourage you with some positive reinforcement, but I've reread this story three times now and I just can't think of great way to start this. Your story was...ok. It wasn't terrible; you didn't have horrible grammar, a horrible plot, or horrible descriptions. They were just...ok. And that's why I am having such a hard time with this. When a story is terrible, I can come to an easy judgement of not awarding the capture and point out the obvious errors for the author to fix. But a story like this one, where the faults aren't exactly obvious and it hangs on that borderline, is probably the most difficult kind of story to analyze. Writing is subjective, yes, but I can still recognize craftsmanship when I see it, even if it wasn't to my preference. A chef can distinguish a well-cooked Alfredo, even if he doesn't like pasta.

    Was this story cooked? Yeah, it was. It was edible. But was it cooked well?

    A story is the outcome of a wide array of ingredients. And much like a chef, the author needs to select the right ones at the right moments and use the right amount. Otherwise, our result is less than satisfactory and the majority of people will not want to eat it.

    The main problem is that this story is simply empty. I really hate not being able to point out specific things that I thought you achieved nicely, but I can't in good conscience tell you something that I don't believe is true. As terrible and harsh as this sounds, the best thing about this story was that it wasn't bad. Please don't get discouraged though, because we're here to learn. Everyone starts somewhere, and no matter how good you get, there is always room for improvement. Perception differs from person to person, so hearing how someone perceives your stories over time will give you a greater grasp on what you are doing right, and what you are doing not-so-right. And, I don't use 'wrong' because I personally believe there is no true 'wrong' way to write. Apart from the mechanics of grammar and punctuation, it is entirely up to the author's discretion.

    So, having said all that, I'm going to explain my reasoning behind it.

    -Plot: Every great story originates from a single idea. Be it small or complex, it is the foundation of your entire tale. If it is weak, then your story will also be, unless you can depict it with enough skill to make it interesting. But that is a task that only the most experienced writers should be attempting, because already you have an incredibly crippling factor and your story hasn't even begun.

    It probably sounds really annoying when someone tells you to be 'creative'. It is indeed a bland and vague word in itself. So what does 'creative' even mean? Well... that is also subjective. When someone says they are looking for creativity, it means they are looking for something they haven't seen before. They want originality; something that comes entirely from you. A concept that is exciting/depressing/invigorating/imaginative and completely unique. Time and time again, graders have stressed negativity with the "Trainer walks into forest and finds Pokemon" storylines to the point that has almost become a meme. It refers to ideas that have no substance. No goal. Much like this one. Jake is traveling through the desert until he comes to a small town, where he stays for a few days and encounters several unrealistic scenarios. What are Jake's goals? Where is he going? Why is he here? The answer needs to be more than just "because he wants to become a great Pokemon Trainer." And in addition to that, what makes this tale special enough that it should be told?

    Imagine someone documenting your day to day life, and writing it down to be retold. Unless you live a very unconventional life, odds are it is not going to turn out to be something you would like to read. :P People don't want to hear about the humdrum that happens to someone, because they experience it already in their own life. So you need to find a way to make something ordinary become extraordinary. This doesn't mean your story should be packed with incredulous action and outrageous scenes all the time. It just means that reading about a boy working at a diner, feeding his Pokemon, and for one moment battling a rogue biker is not the kind of plot that will gather much of a following. Think of all the great movies you have watched, and what kinds of things they involved. Comedies, Romance, Action, Horrors, Dramas - the answer is right in the titles of the genres. You need these things in your story's core. Otherwise, it is not much of a story at all. :(

    -Characters: Where your plot gives your story substance, your characters give it life. These are the components that give us empathy. As your characters experience conflict, so should we. As they feel happiness and sorrow, so should we. As they fear, hate, envy, laugh, love, long, wish, dream- so should we. They should feel like living people. They should have personality. And while there were a few moments yours had a flicker of life in them, for the majority of the time your characters might as well have been robots being remote controlled from one scene to the next with little more than a light chuckle to give them any animation. If their names weren't gender-specific, I probably wouldn't have even been able to tell who was male and who was female.

    I'm sorry if this sounds extremely blunt, but I really want you to be able to grasp what I am trying to explain to you, and I'm worried that if I sugarcoat it then it will lose some of its meaning. Your potential is there. You have all of the pieces to a great character, you just lack the life. Put emotion in their dialogue; put action in their tags. Describe them as they would describe themselves. Use adjectives that would reflect that spice. In the end, it just comes down to you imagining them and depicting what you saw.

    I will say that very very faintly, your Treecko had a hint of the life that I am talking about. It was a flash of character that no one but him had; a 'can't be bothered' attitude that suited him very well. I just wish it had been elaborated further into the story.

    -Realism: The type of realism I am referring to here is going to be the 'why' version. Why do things happen. Your writing pattern is overbearingly some combination of "This happened. This happened. And then this happened." It was a telling that held no rhyme or reason, and no references to why. Character interaction was sudden and unrealistic. Most noticeably when Jake first goes into the restaurant. not only does he make immediate friends with the waitress within a minute of time, he fends of a biker, gets thrown a party immediately afterwards (which, in itself is even more unrealistic - considering that somehow people managed to find confetti and other party favors within the time he was outside battling when they didn't even know what the outcome would be), and then is invited by that waitress to live in her home. I personally would not invite some strange guy I had just met to come live with me the day I met him, but if Melody is the kind of person who would, then you need to explain why. Realism doesn't necessarily have to mean 'earthly'. Your story could take place in a bubble in outerspace and the events would still need to be probable. And if they are not probable, then there will be a reason that they are not - you need to explain that reason.

    Another scene that jumps out to me is Melody receiving her parent's blessing for no reason. She was practically disowned apparently, and then all of a sudden she gets a fat wad of cash. Why? What changed their mind? Then later, when her necklace is stolen, Jake volunteers to scour the desert for the culprit. Why? I can understand him wanting to rescue a damsel in distress and all that jazz, but then he puts their lives in danger so they can scale up a mountain. Why? You say he chooses that route because it is quicker, but humans are, deep down, instinctual creatures. Unless it compromises the safety of a loved one, survival is our core instinct. I just don't see the probably of risking falling to your death over a necklace that was just some cherished keepsake.

    Believability keeps your readers emerged within your story. When something happens randomly, it tends to stick out like a sore thumb. It makes the reader question the story rather than live the story.

    -Voice: Your voice is your writing style. Your personality as the author often reflects into the tale itself - if you read multiple works by notable authors, you will begin to notice similarities between the pieces. If you read enough of someone, you will probably be able to recognize their work (should you ever happen upon it) even without looking at the author. And you need to develop yours by simply relaxing and putting yourself into your words. Choose words. There are a lot of them. What words would you use to describe yourself?

    Another thing that defines your voice is your sentence structure. How you formulate your sentences affects how they read. There is a lot of artistry in writing; most of it is stylism and preference - but let there be some. Don't feel so boxed in that you can't explore your story more than just what you find on the surface. You have the bases covered, you just need to start building off of them.

    Grammar: For the most part, this was pretty decent. The most pleasing thing to me was that your dialogue punctuation was absolutely perfect. There were several typos that could probably have been avoided with some good proofreading, but they didn't bother me much at all. The only thing I feel strongly enough to mention here is tense inconsistency. Your story is in past tense, so make sure you keep your verbs in past tense unless the context allows for variation. Uniformity will keep everything flowing smoothly.

    Detail: These are your spices. They create flavor. You want them to be vivid, but not overpowering. The choices you made were decently thorough, but they were very ordinary. Colors were themselves: Red was red, blue was blue. You can vary your shades to things like crimson, cerulean, emerald and lavender. You can also use verbs and comparisons to create emotion. The biggest factor here is variation and then moderation.


    Through a small hole in the sandy, brown, battered, wooden wall I looked out into the unrelenting storm.
    Adjectives are wonderful things. But like most good things, too much of them becomes a bad thing. Not only do we have four adjectives describing a single noun, but this is the very first sentence of your whole story. Right off the bat, we are overwhelmed and confused. It's difficult to process this much information at once; we are forced into attempting to picture something sandy, brown, battered and wooden - and it ends up being a wall. The things you describe the most should also have the most relevance. It doesn't matter that the wall is that many things - it is not an important facet of your story. And in fact, it is never mentioned again after this sentence. Your flow was immediately disrupted by this over-description, and we were left to stumble into your story. Simpler is often better.


    I closed my eyes to block the sun form damaging my eyes, only something was very wrong.
    I pulled out two bowls and in each bowl I put either a bottle of water or a can of food. I set each bowl down and opened the can of PokéFood first and poured it into the empty bowl. Then I opened the bottle that was filled with water and poured a quarter of it into the second empty bowl.
    Here are two examples that I remembered seeing, and pulled. But, this happened extremely often. Referring to the same things identically gets very tiresome after a while. When you describe something one way, we picture that in our minds. So if you refer to it again and again with the same words, you add nothing to the picture. It is just reiteration of what we already see, which adds nothing to the experience but boredom. You don't have to use the same repetitious nouns and details. I'd highly recommend utilizing a thesaurus. It will vastly increase your vocabulary and even further improve your writing skills.

    I was in excruciating pain and the last thing I saw was the bikers both holding a brown rock in their hands as I felt a large bruise form on my forehead, just where my hairline started. "OW! D-did you just hit us with r-rocks..." I tried to speak, but then I started to black out as both bikers began to laugh hysterically and drag us away again towards a dark cave. The last thing I saw was the last ray of sunshine before darkness overcame me and the desert.
    I feel this needs to be pointed out simply because it is so contradictory. "The last thing" he saw turned out to be two different things. I am not sure if this was just a mistake in typing, but only one thing can be last. The doubling of the technique kind of ruined your impact. :(

    Climax: I'd say we hit this point when Jake and Melody began to scale the cliff. Mountain climbing is an interesting event, but it ended abruptly as did the duel that followed. I realize that this is only part one of your tale and you wanted to leave it on a cliffhanger (pun?), but... nothing happened. A cliffhanger requires a peaked level of either danger or confusion, and all we were left picturing really was Jake getting hit with some rocks. The biggest problem isn't with your climax so much as it is with your actual plot. There was little build up to much of anything throughout the story, and so the climax was naturally underwhelming.

    There were moments written decently; a bit of humor and then suspense when Melody slipped, but I was never worried for her. I was sure everything was going to turn out okay, and it did. Readers should not expect your outcomes. Keep them guessing, surprise them, confuse them. It makes for a wonderful experience and a thrilling read.

    Outcome: I am terribly sorry for the amount of criticism in this grade, but you are aiming for three Hard ranked Pokemon. And as the name implies, it is hard to catch things here. You need more than an average plot and descriptions. You hit the very minimum length requirement for all three of them, which doesn't add much extra effort other than writing what was necessary. If this was for three Medium Pokemon, you would probably have passed with relative ease, but things start to get trickier in this level and above.

    I feel that this is not quite up to the standard for a Hard rank capture, but because this tale was so long, I'm going to say Treecko captured! but Litwick and Snivy not captured. The time you put into simply typing this out should be enough for at least one of them, but for the other two, you need to put some more time into expanding your plot. Create new events or edit your old ones. Provide reason. Give your characters some attention. If you make a good attempt at including these things, I will give you your other two Pokes.

    Sorry again. :( Good luck; you certainly have the ability to make it happen.
    Last edited by EmBreon; 22nd August 2012 at 08:38 AM.



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