Lesson One: Maturity

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  1. #1
    My Legs! Neighborhood-Guest's Avatar
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    Default Lesson One: Maturity

    Pokémon: Burmy (Easiest)
    Characters: 17,725
    Caution: Here, there be trolls minor suggestive themes and one instance of mild language. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

    ---

    Lesson One: Maturity

    A Bulbagarden Forums URPG Story, by Neighborhood-Guest

    ---


    A breeze blew through the half-open flap of the tent. It overstayed its welcome, leaving a cold draft before passing through the semi-porous fibers of the structure and continuing on its eastward path. The sudden chill that it left behind as it flew up through the canopy of the forest around the tent caused the sole inhabitant of the tent at this time to stir from an otherwise peaceful, dreamless, and uninterrupted sleep.

    Ron turned on his side, resting his head in his hand as he propped himself on an elbow, and glanced at the entrance to his one-room camping tent. Sure enough, the zipper was at a higher position than he had left it when he went off to sleep the night before. As he surveyed the area, he found that his pack of camping supplies, tackle box, fishing rod, the store of Pokémon food that he had brought with him, and his half-full canteen were all where he had left them, erasing the idea that some sort of burglar had escaped with something in the night as he slept. In addition, a certain partner was not curled up across from him where she had been when she had nodded off last night.

    All of these observations could lead to only one conclusion: Miranda was already awake. As she had done for the past week and a half, she had used the suction pads on her feet to pull the zipper up and let herself out for a meal, while Ron continued to sleep soundly.

    With a yawn, he stretched out his tired limbs, his toes tickling the edge of the sleeping bag as they brushed off the debilitating serenity of sleep. He blinked several times before rubbing his left eye with a finger, wiping away the sandy substance that had materialized on his eyelashes. In a motion trained by several weeks of monitoring Miranda’s steady growth, he reached into one of the side pockets of his camping pack and pulled out his watch to check the time. It was about eight-thirty.

    Not bad, he thought. At least she’s not waking me up at five anymore...

    He stretched again, and rolled his right shoulder in a circle (he still wasn’t used to sleeping on the stiff ground day after day) before placing the watch in the pocket again. He hesitated before pulling out his cell phone from the same pocket; he already knew the outcome of the action, but he had to be sure…

    “No bars,” he concluded as the little satellite appeared on the Sub LCD screen when he clicked the light on the side of the flip-screen. “Great. Now how am I supposed to reserve a room at the Eterna City Pokémon Center for us?” He slid over to the flap of the tent, grabbing his sneakers along the way, and flung it open, exposing himself to the full effect of the morning air.

    It hadn’t been long since the Sun had risen, since it was just beginning to peek through the openings in the trees around the clearing and bathe him with a warm light. The grass in the clearing was dampened with a fine coating of morning dew; luckily for Ron, the tent that he had purchased was entirely waterproof, lest he spend many a morning waking up to a soggy sleeping bag and a sniffle on his nose. The fire that had kept Miranda and him warm the previous evening had, obviously, smoldered long ago; the breeze was not quite powerful enough to pick up the ashes and scatter them all at once, though a select few bits slowly floated away now and again. There was still enough firewood left to get them through breakfast; Ron had made sure of this yesterday, so that he could pick up and leave en route for Eterna City as soon as possible today. And, as he expected, a rustling from the tree closest to his tent told him that Miranda had helped herself to the smorgasbord of greenery that the forest could provide for her to soothe her probably-empty belly.

    He approached the tree and looked up to find her nearly twenty feet above him, munching on a leaf nearly twice her size on a sturdy branch near the center of the tree. She gurgled an affectionate greeting to him and closed her eyes in a contented manner before further satisfying her growing appetite with a large bite.

    “I see you’ve helped yourself, Miranda,” Ron chuckled, to another gurgle-response in between bites. “Well, you just eat your fill up there, okay? I’m going to get started on my own breakfast in the meantime.”

    “Pi!” she answered, and nodded. Ron turned towards the seething pile of ashes in front of him.

    Time to salvage this fire, he said to himself, and he went inside of the tent to find his flints.

    ---

    A nice, low flame crackled in the pit as the firewood that fueled it slowly turned a dull gray and withered into nothing. The stainless steel pan that Ron had used to cook the pre-packaged camper’s breakfast of bacon and eggs now doubled as a plate as he rummaged through his pack for a fork. Having found one, he decided that the dish was missing only one thing. He procured the topping in question from his pack after another quick browsing: a small package of Honey. Sure, it was cringe-worthy to every single other person he knew, but for Ron, nothing could beat a good swab of Honey on top of a camper’s breakfast. If nothing else, it added some flavor that had been lost in the meal to the packaging.

    Meanwhile, Miranda had stuffed herself full of leaves in the tree above the still-standing tent, and was cheerfully plucking what little green was left from the tips of the branches that she had positioned herself on. Once she had finished the branch off, she scanned the area for a bite for the road, another conditioned action that she had grown used to in the past week and a half of travel. In order to cut down on their travel time, they would stop only a few times per day, though her appetite was constant. To remedy this, she would eat a little more than her fill of leaves just before they set out, and then she would tide herself over on the less-appetizing Pokémon food that Ron had with him until they stopped to rest again. This cycle would repeat several times over the course of one day.

    After a minute of searching, she found a suitable snack hanging from the very edge of a branch one tree away. This particular branch stuck out awkwardly, bending down towards the ground at the end, but offered up smaller leaves that would keep her full but wouldn’t overstuff her for the road ahead. She purred and started off towards the branch, maneuvering amongst the leaves to get from one tree to another without having to risk a jump.

    Ron gulped down another bite of his breakfast. The Honey topping clung to his lips before he slurped it off delectably.

    “Ah,” he sighed. “That sure hits the spot.” Having almost finished his meal, he figured now would be a good time to check on Miranda. He set the pan down on the grass just next to the pit, and stood up, trying to catch any rustling in the trees to pinpoint Miranda’s location. He found the sound coming from a tree adjacent to the one that she had been in when he woke up.

    “Miranda!” he called. “Are you almost ready to go?”

    No response. The rustling in the tree grew louder.

    “Miranda? Are you up there?”

    Again, no answer. Ron started to approach the tree cautiously as the rustling continued to increase.

    Without warning, a branch on the edge of the tree shook violently, and two shrill cries could be heard throughout the clearing. Before Ron could figure out what was going on, Miranda came tumbling from the branch towards the ground. With an urgent lunge, he got underneath her and caught her, cradling her in his arms to soften the fall. Several leaves, shaken from their perch on the branch, fell all around them, gently floating on the softened breeze towards the ground.

    “Are you all right?” he asked, searching her over for any wounds that she may have incurred. She nodded, and looked up towards the branch with an irritated gurgle. Ron followed her eyes but saw nothing of the phantom attacker that had flung her from the branch. He returned his gaze to Miranda just as the rustling grew louder again.

    “What happened up there? Were you-” Ron didn’t get a chance to finish that sentence; for just as he started it, something solid dropped from the tree and whacked him just above the hairline. Startled, he stumbled back awkwardly, one hand massaging the site of the attack and the other still cradling Miranda. He shook the slight bout of blurriness from his eyes, and set them on the aggressor.

    A Burmy, almost fuming with anger, stood in front of him. Some of its cloak was either missing altogether or partially bitten off; from this, he could conclude that Miranda had thought it just another branch, and had helped herself to the leafy cloak that it had put together to cocoon itself. It obviously wasn’t too happy about this. A frustrated cry left its mouth before it proceeded to use the fallen leaves to repair the parts of its cloak that had been eaten, but it didn’t intend to leave them alone afterward. Instead, it stood menacingly across from them, poised to attack.

    “Looks like we’ve got a fight on our hands,” Ron muttered, as Miranda jumped from his arms to meet the Burmy’s gaze. He reached into his back pocket and procured a small, reddish-brown Pokédex, and looked at it with a curious gaze.

    Jon said he upgraded this before he gave it to me, he thought. I guess there’s no better time than now to see what he installed! He opened the center screen, and a small note fell out into his hand. It was in Jon’s handwriting:

    Ron,
    One of the new features is the voice-activation system that the ‘Dex responds to. To get it to start, you have to use the command, “start operation.” It responds to the name “SARAH.” You can see the rest of the commands with the “OPT” button. Good luck!

    - Jon
    Ron turned to the device in his hand, and followed the instructions. “SARAH, start operation.” The Pokédex buzzed softly in his hand before responding to his command. The voice of a twenty-something woman, filled with an unmistakable lust that made Ron’s face flush a bit replied, “Greetings, sir. Operation successful. Now, what can I do for you?” If Ron wasn’t mistaken, she...it actually laughed playfully as it finished the sentence, which sent shivers down his spine.

    Figures Jon would give me something like this, he thought, annoyed. I’ll have to fix it later.

    “SARAH, identify Pokémon.” Ron pointed the infrared scanning eye on the top of the device at the Burmy. After a couple of seconds, some information came up on the LED screen.

    “This is Burmy, the Bagworm Pokémon,” the lustful voice said. “They typically inhabit trees with softer bark to allow them access to the tree sap inside. They coat themselves with different materials to create a cloak that offers protection as they mature. Burmy’s move list and other statistics can be accessed using the arrow keys next to the screen.”

    “Thank you, SARAH,” Ron said shrewdly.

    “It was nothing, big guy,” the voice replied. “You can ask me for anything you want, hmm-hmm.”

    “...Are you hitting on me?” Ron felt a lump in his throat as he cringed.

    “What if I am? What are you going to do to me, you big, strong man?”

    Ron slammed the center screen closed, forcefully shutting the system down as he returned it to his back pocket.

    Dammit, Jon!

    “All right, looks like we’re doing this battle blind. Tackle it, Miranda!”

    Miranda lunged forward, pointing her forehead directly at the Burmy. She hit her mark, landing a blow squarely on the Burmy’s coated midsection. It stumbled back, but regained its footing fairly quickly, hardly hurt from the blow. While she was still at close range, it countered with a Tackle of its own. Miranda was sent a few inches off the ground from the blow, and she fell backwards, landing awkwardly about a foot in front of her Trainer. Though concern for her health immediately gripped his being, she stood up from the attack, and faced her opponent defiantly, as if the blow had done nothing to her.

    “That’s the way!” But Ron knew that they would need something more powerful if they were going to keep on top of this battle. “All right, try a-” Miranda tucked her head in preparation for the order, but it didn’t come. She looked back curiously to see what the problem was.

    “Look, Miranda,” Ron said, and pointed to the Burmy. As she turned back to her opponent, she noticed that it was giving off a sparkling aura that covered its body in a semi-transparent wall.

    “It’s using Protect,” he explained. “We can’t damage it until that wall comes down.” This was certainly a problem, because the Burmy didn’t look like it was going to lower the wall anytime soon. About a minute passed, with no movement on either side. The Burmy stood proudly on its side of the clearing, as if to gloat that it had won. But as it did so, it spotted something a few yards away that piqued its interest. Near the fire that the human had started, there was a pan with several bites of food left in it, but that wasn’t what got the Burmy’s attention. It was the topping that made it gurgle with delight: the food was coated in Honey.

    Sweet Honey.

    Sweet, delicious, delectable, mouth-watering, scrumptious, sweet Honey...

    Without warning, the Burmy rushed over to the pan, outright ignoring Miranda and Ron despite how miffed it apparently was at them. This was just too sweet an opportunity to pass up! It bent over the plate, beak-like mouth watering voraciously, and began to devour the feast, Honey and all, though the bacon and eggs probably weren’t in its typical diet. But it didn’t seem to care, thanks to the Honey.

    “Um...all right, then,” Ron said, raising an eyebrow at the wild Pokémon’s unusually entrancing fervor for the Honey. “I guess this is as convenient a distraction as they come...Miranda, use Bug Bite to create an opening in its cloak!”

    Miranda had no complaints about that order. Another chance for a leafy meal sounded great to her. She crept up to the Burmy slowly, though it probably wouldn’t have noticed her regardless, and, when she felt the time was right, she began tearing away at the cloak. In a matter of seconds, several leaves were ripped to shreds and devoured. The Burmy seemed to register this attack, but it didn’t react to it; after all, there was Honey to be consumed! This continued for several seconds, until...

    Crunch!

    Miranda had created an opening, and she bit down hard on the wild Burmy’s exposed body. This got its attention; it reeled in pain as the tough little caterpillar clung to it forcefully, refusing to let go without a fight. It finally managed to shake her off by Bug Biting her back, which loosened her grip enough to allow it to throw her free from its body. Now thoroughly fed up with Miranda’s advances, the Burmy turned away from its precious find, and closed its eyes. Its body began glowing with a green light as it concentrated in preparation for an attack.

    It’s preparing Hidden Power, Ron thought. Considering the randomness of this attack, he knew that he had to do something quickly to avoid any devastating possibilities that the energy it was charging up could hold. As he tried to formulate a plan, he noticed that Miranda had only eaten a small portion of the Burmy’s cloak in order to create an opening; much of it was still at least relatively intact. And if it was going to release the Hidden Power from its body, inside of the cloak...

    “Miranda, use String Shot to coat its cloak!” Miranda obeyed, spraying the sticky substance all over the leaves. Many of them started to cling together, closing up what had been gaps in the cloak from which the Hidden Power would be released. Still determined to carry out its action, the Burmy charged the Hidden Power entirely, creating small green spheres of pure energy inside of its cloak. The spheres gave off a radiant light that shined impressively through the microscopic openings that were now present between the cloak and the sticky strings. Ron had to shield his eyes as the Burmy released the spheres from its body, with the intention of repelling its attackers with what was potentially its most powerful attack...

    I really hope this works, Ron thought.

    True to his studies, the spheres from Burmy’s Hidden Power exploded on contact with the first surface they touched. Typically, the first surface would be the enemy Pokémon that they were being directed at, but in this case, the sticky coating of String Shot was applied thickly enough to make the cloak act as its own surface, taking up enough area to make contact with the majority of the spheres. The Burmy never knew what hit it. The energy that it had released made contact with the sticky cloak, and exploded in a brilliant flash of light, sending it flying halfway across the clearing towards the trees. It landed with a dull thud on the grass just on the outskirts of the tree line.

    As Ron made his way over to the Burmy, he noticed that it was still moving, though barely. Without a second thought, he quickly went inside the tent, procured his pack, and took out one Poké Ball.

    Hang on, buddy, he thought. I’m going to get you to a Pokémon Center.

    He stood just a few feet away, clutching the Ball in his left hand. He looked at Miranda, who had made her way over to the scene, as well. She nodded her approval – that was all he needed. In one fluent motion, he stepped forward, flicked his wrist downward, and sent the Ball directly at the wild Burmy. It spun clockwise as it sped towards the target before finally making contact, bouncing off, and opening in midair. The Burmy dematerialized into a translucent red light as it entered the Ball. It closed as the red light on the center button illuminated, and it fell to the ground.

    Ron walked over to the wobbling Poké Ball, watching it fixedly, hoping that the injured Pokémon wouldn’t offer further resistance.

    He had made it suffer enough, he figured.

    ---
    Last edited by Neighborhood-Guest; 22nd May 2013 at 01:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Awesome Opossum Sequentio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Maturity

    I know older stories should have grading priority - but I began to read this and knew I needed dibs on it. So... claimed. :)

  3. #3
    Awesome Opossum Sequentio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lesson One: Maturity

    Sorry this took a little longer than expected. @_@


    Introduction:
    Most readers, before picking a story out to read, skim it to get a general idea if they're interested. Yet, where the interest lays in your story is the dialogue in the middle, therefore making your introduction appear a bit weak. Please, don't mistake me when I say it's not a well-written introduction, because it most certainly is. It sets the scene for the morning and it's described beautifully. My only problem is that it's not a "hook", and hooks are what generally draw readers in.

    The sudden chill that it left behind as it flew up through the canopy of the forest around the tent caused the sole inhabitant of the tent at this time to stir from an otherwise peaceful, dreamless, and uninterrupted sleep.
    If you were by chance, browsing for books - and came across two, what would you choose? The one that has a character snoozing peacefully or one that already has explosions and people speaking in tongues? I'm not saying go to that extreme (because that's well, perhaps a little too extreme), but a bit of action or interesting dialogue as an introduction can really bring in a reader.

    And from the rest of the story, since I know you can write well, I'm sure this won't be any sort of problem in other stories. But I digress, this was a much better opening than most beginning stories - especially for that of a Burmy. Fantastic job.


    Plot:
    Waking up next to Miranda, his Caterpie, Ron begins to make breakfast for himself; leaving Miranda to find her own food. Yet, of all sources, she finds a Burmy cloak and takes a mouthful - thereby angering the Burmy.

    This is a very simple plot, though I admit you made it a bit more interesting than, "boy walks into forest with his Pokemon and runs into a Pokemon he wants". You introduced Burmy through Miranda when she accidentally took a bite from his leafy plumage. This was a plausible plot that could happen somewhere out in the Pokemon world, but again - it's simple. It is very good for a Burmy story, but if you're going for a more complex mon, you'll need a more original plot.


    Dialogue:
    One word. SARAH.

    “Thank you, SARAH,” Ron said shrewdly.

    “It was nothing, big guy,” the voice replied. “You can ask me for anything you want, hmm-hmm.”

    “...Are you hitting on me?” Ron felt a lump in his throat as he cringed.

    “What if I am? What are you going to do to me, you big, strong man?”

    Ron slammed the center screen closed, forcefully shutting the system down as he returned it to his back pocket.
    This was a very nice addition. The first time I read this, I actually laughed out loud! Even with just simple sentences, you constructed a very thoughtful and funny personality for someone who isn't even human. And, perhaps without meaning to, you gave insight into Ron's personality. The way he reacts gives him character. (Which you were initially concerned that he came across bland - he didn't in the latter half of the story).

    You even gave Burmy an unique personality - which I'll explain more in the battle section.

    The one person whose dialogue did nothing was Jon. (Though this should be in the Detail section, I might as well ask it here.) WHO IS HE? Is he Ron's friend? The Professor? A PokeGear Mechanic? An alien?

    Right now, he just seems like an omnipotent being with his only voice being a note. :/


    Grammar & Detail:
    These two sections are going to be combined, since grammar was hardly an issue for your story. I personally didn't notice anything, so really, you're good to go.

    Concerning detail;
    This was particularly excellent. You described everything around you. The tent, the surroundings, Miranda... the one I didn't see any detail on was Ron! I think I read he had some eyelashes, but that's about it. What color is his hair? Is he wearing clothes? Does he have a dorsal fin? I don't know what he looks like and it's the author's job to give me a clear picture to imagine exactly what you do when you read it.

    Also, while reading through the battle, I noticed this;
    She hit her mark, landing a blow squarely on the Burmy’s coated midsection. It stumbled back, but regained its footing fairly quickly, hardly hurt from the blow. While she was still at close range, it countered with a Tackle of its own. Miranda was sent a few inches off the ground from the blow, and she fell backwards, landing awkwardly about a foot in front of her Trainer.
    Sometimes, you don't even notice this sort of thing when you're writing... it just kinda happens. The best way to avoid repeating a phrase is to read your story slowly out loud.

    Adding a few touch-ups would help correct any awkward sentences or word repeats, but you did well here too.


    Length:
    This could have easily been a story for three or four Burmy. Above and beyond. That's excellent. :)


    Battle:
    This was a nice battle, especially for Pokemon that have limited move sets. Two Tackles, a Protect, a String Shot and a Hidden Power (as well as some more leaf munching). I wished it would have been a bit longer, since you can of course, re-use attacks, but still very well done for Burmy. The battle was fairly two sided and you used your environment such as with the honey.

    “It’s using Protect,” he explained. “We can’t damage it until that wall comes down.” This was certainly a problem, because the Burmy didn’t look like it was going to lower the wall anytime soon. About a minute passed, with no movement on either side. The Burmy stood proudly on its side of the clearing, as if to gloat that it had won.
    Most people just use Protect to stop an attack and then to launch another one right away. Instead, you took a different angle, and I like that. I can completely see some smug bug just holding up a protective wall as a way of winning. It's plausible, and that's what graders and readers like.


    Catching:
    No doubt in my mind - Burmy Captured.
    Just try to expand on your plots a bit and throw a hook in there. You're very talented, and I do hope you write more.

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