So, this is my first story... I'd appreciate a detailed grading.LOST
The yellow-green seas stretched in every direction, as far as Piper could see. No structures, not so much as a shack, punctuated the flat horizon. The breeze was rather strong today, and the tall grass, which reached to Piper’s waist, rolled in waves around her, and made a sound like rushing water. It was easy to believe she stood waist-high in a calm ocean. It was beautiful, the way the ground met the sky in a seam that circled widely around her.
On the other hand, being surrounded on every side by exactly the same thing really made navigation difficult. Piper swore mildly; she was now well and truly lost. The reeds rustled as Anima, her Growlithe, approached and sat down by her ankles. They were running low on water now, as well, although they could last another day.
This sameness could drive you insane after a few days. How did sailors stand it? Piper hadn’t seen anything larger than beetles for a day now. She knew that Goldenrod City was somewhere to the west, away from the rising sun, but she was still at least two days away, and she would need a more precise bearing than she had.
Piper was snapped out of her idle speculation by the sound of Anima tearing away through the grass. Piper was going to call her back, but Anima was going in the correct general direction in any case. Piper sprinted after her. And she saw something that might not have been grass, so it would be an improvement on her current location. Everything here was definitely grass.
It took only a minute of hard running to reach the point where Anima stood, waiting patiently for Piper. Piper knelt down beside the Growlithe and stroked her absently as she peered into the grass.
Ahead of them stood a flock of Mareep, walking slowly to the west. Surely they knew where water could be found! As they, unlike Piper, were native to the area, they probably knew the layout. Piper whispered to Anima, warning her not to spook the fluffy things. They crept slowly and quietly after the flock, which continued steadily westward.
As it turned out, the Mareep were clearly not from around here either. They had not reached water by sunset, and the Mareep clustered together to sleep the night. Piper groaned, disappointed that they had not reached any landmark. Of course, she had been crouching much of the day, and would have missed any far-off structures… She stretched her sore back and began to move grass aside to create a sort of nest in the soft, moist earth. She was travelling light, and had no sleeping bag, only a thin, linen blanket. Anima provided plenty of warmth in the cold, damp night.
As Piper scraped out a shallow depression in the warm earth, her gloved fingers scraped against something. She brushed the earth off to reveal a small iron box. It was perhaps eight by five inches, its top carved with some design she couldn’t make out in the fading light, and four inches deep.
Suddenly, Anima’s yowling bark rang out through the tall reeds. Piper stuffed the box into her haversack and stood up, running in the direction of the barking.
Anima was pacing in circles and whimpering when Piper arrived, huffing from the run. Anima whined at Piper and stared upward, but Piper could see nothing but the darkening sky, which was filling with stars. Anima calmed down after a moment, and the two returned to the nest Piper had dug out.
As they laid down to rest, Piper gazed at the now-star-spangled sky. That was probably the best part about being lost in the middle of nowhere, days from civilization… Honestly, Piper should have taken the road around these plains when she set out from Damacrest Village, her hometown. But she had been impatient to reach Goldenrod and hadn’t wanted to go so far off the straight-line route… She was sleeping before she knew it.
Piper was woken by Anima, who was wriggling from the nest to stare once again at the sky. This time, however, the celestial sphere was not so empty as before.
Green lights shot through the sky at lightning speed, but it was like no lightning Piper had ever seen. They were round and were a deep emerald in shade. Several flashed overhead each second. Piper stood up from the hollow, but then fell back. A shape loomed at her from the grass, quadrupedal in form. Before Piper could look more closely, it disappeared- it was unclear whether it had run away or somehow teleported. All she could be sure of was that it was not a Mareep. She noticed there were no more lights in the sky, and at that moment, the downpour began. Piper sighed and pulled out a rain slicker. This would make it impossible to sleep; it was a deluge of monstrous proportions. She would probably drown if she tried to sleep on the ground, so she called Anima and set off to find the Mareep.
They were some distance away, standing and staring blankly into the rain. The torrent had eased up a bit, so Piper sat down to rest and to wait for it to stop. She had a sudden brainwave and took off the rain slicker- she was soaked to the bone in any case- and dug a small hole, lining it with the waterproof coat. In a moment, she had a water collection system and was able to fill two of her bottles before the rain stopped. She and Anima drank the remainder, then she spread out the slicker and laid down to sleep.
The next day, the mud-covered pair woke to find the Mareep recommencing their westward journey. Piper figured they might as well follow, and ate her breakfast walking some distance behind the flock. Since she no longer needed them to find water, she didn’t really care that some of the Pokemon at the back of the flock seemed a little spooked by her presence.
As she marched on through the muck, which squelched beneath her boots, she remembered the box she had dug up. She fished it out of her bag, accidentally dropping a water bottle, and inspected it in the bright sunlight. The design on the front had sixfold symmetry and looked like some sort of flower. She flicked the catch up with her thumbnail, noting its ornamental design, and opened the box.
Inside was a medallion, fashioned of what looked like copper. It was carved into the same six petal flower design as was on the lid, but in a sort of bas-relief rather than just an etching. The box was filled with a black powder that cushioned the medallion. It looked like ash. Piper took out the medallion, which had a strangely shaped protuberance on the back, and sifted through the ash. Buried beneath, she found another piece of copper. It was square, and about two inches to a side. She pocketed both pieces, closed the box and pushed it back into her bag.
By midday, the flock of Mareep had led Piper to a wide, slow-flowing river. They had grown accustomed to her presence by now, and she walked more or less alongside them. They were still rather wary of Anima, however.
Piper knelt by the river with the flock to drink and to fill her water bottles. It was icy cold, especially after the long walk to get here. Beyond the river, the terrain got a bit rockier and the grass became shorter, present only in patches. Piper relished the change in scenery. Apparently it appealed to the Mareep, too. They lost no time in fording the shallow river. Piper followed, washing away some of the now-dried crust of mud off her clothes and hair, as did Anima.
A short way from the river, the land began to rise into hills. The Mareep and Piper soldiered on as the hills became more and more jagged. That night, Piper and Anima slept alongside the Mareep under a small overhang. Anima made a great pillow. This night passed uneventfully, and despite the hard ground, all of them slept restfully.
Early the next day, the Mareep crested a high hill. It overlooked a stretch of grass, beyond which Goldenrod City gleamed like a gem on the horizon. The Mareep continued in that direction, but it soon became clear that their course would take them around the south side of the city. So Piper stroked a few of the Mareep in farewell and split off from the flock.
They had been walking for about five minutes when Piper noticed that Anima was not, as usual, present at her heels. She looked back to see a large patch of grass rustling with the Growlithe’s passage. Piper waited for her, but it was a Mareep that emerged from the grass, with Anima trailing close behind it. The Mareep came closer, to chew on the hem of Piper’s sweater.
Apparently it had grown attached to her over the last day. “Do you want to come with me?” she asked it softly. It replied with a loud bah and stuck its nose into her haversack, pulling out a Poke ball. It was quite intelligent, Piper thought, for a rather dumb species. She took the ball from the Mareep. “Well, I believe that answers my question. Your name can be… Alexandria Fulgar.” It gave a loud bah, which Piper assumed was an approval. She activated the capsule and captured Alexandria. As an afterthought, she returned Anima to her own ball. Then, finally, she entered Goldenrod City.