Mienfoo and the Golden Fruit (Ready for Grading)
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  1. #1

    Default Mienfoo and the Golden Fruit (Ready for Grading)

    Since I've always had trouble writing short stories, I figured that I would try making one long one for a bunch of mons. Unfortunately, I don't think splitting it up into a series would work out well considering the way I've planned the plot. I'm just going to post one chapter at a time whenever I feel that it's ready. I admit that I'm not the best writer, so I don't expect to get all the pokes I'm asking for on the first grade- but I do hope that I'll be able to edit out or in any problems and ultimately improve my writing skills in the process.

    If anyone has feedback, please either VM me or contact me on AIM. Constructive criticism is welcome.

    Table of Contents (Will be edited with links as chapters are posted):
    Chapter 1: The Queen's Tournament
    Chapter 2: Round 1
    Chapter 3: The Rough Lands
    Chapter 4: To Centerton
    Last edited by Dust; 14th October 2011 at 10:31 PM.
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    AIM: Sandstorm263

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mienfoo and the Golden Fruit (WIP)

    Chapter 1: The Queen’s Tournament

    At the heart of the Land of Uryus, there is a great tree, the Sacred Oak, which produces a single golden fruit once every ten years. The Golden Fruit’s taste was so irresistibly sweet and magnificent that the land’s Pokémon fought viciously over it for many centuries. Determined to end this dark era, Queen Meloetta ruled that a tournament would be held every time the Golden Fruit grew to determine the Pokémon that would receive it- however, only children would be eligible. In the centuries since, young Pokémon across the land would flock to the great tree whenever the tournament is held, eager to both prove their worth and win the world’s most delicious fruit for themselves.

    After ten long years, the Sacred Oak - a giant tree standing at well over a hundred meters - began to bloom brilliantly once again, showering the Royal City built around it in a beautiful rain of pink flower blossoms. It was at this time that thousands of Pokémon from all over Uryus (and even some from foreign lands) traveled to the area. The reason for this trip was not only to see the blossoms fall, but to enter their children into the Queen’s Tournament, where they would have the chance to win the single Golden Fruit that the tree produced at this time.

    Mienfoo stared up at the great, flower-covered city in awe as his yellow and pink fur rustled elegantly in the breeze. Thousands of flower petals danced gracefully in the wind above the city before eventually coming down to blanket it in a beautiful pink snow. Though his mother had described it to him many times when he was an infant, he now realized that those stories could not possibly prepare him for seeing the city during the Sacred Oak’s blooming period with his own two eyes. The sight alone was so peaceful that he partially wished to be able to simply stand there, gazing at it for hours on end– but he knew deep down that there was still a far more important matter that he wished to attend to. After watching this spectacle for several minutes, Mienfoo slung his light traveling bag over his shoulder and continued on into the city, slowly sifting through the busy streets and periodically stopping to ask for directions until reaching the nearest inn- a large and fancy wooden building sitting at the side of a wide street and almost completely covered with pink petals. He would stay there until the tournament began and accommodations have been set up for its participants.

    Eagerly, he walked up to the front desk to rent a room with the little currency he had brought with him. Because he was alone, as his mother had been unable to leave their hometown, and because the inn was packed with numerous tourists, he agreed to share his room with two other young Pokémon that were also travelling alone. Making his way up to the fourth floor, he found his room and entered. “Anyone here?” he called out as he set down his bag. Turning his head, he noticed an odd-looking, yellow, bipedal lizard-like creature with enormous eyes and an unusual frown standing still in the dark room’s nearest corner.

    “Wassup?” the Scraggy shouted loudly and briefly when he had noticed him, giving him an odd stare.

    Mienfoo stepped back in shock when he heard this before regaining confidence and reentering the room. “N… not much,” he answered hesitantly, “I’m guessing that you’re my roommate. Are you entering the Queen’s Tournament too?” Thinking back, he did remember the inn's clerk warning him that one of his roommates was mentally unsound- hence why the rent was so cheap -though, unlike most other potential customers, he hadn't been too concerned over the matter.

    The Scraggy stared at him for several moments, before opening his mouth wide in reply– rubbing his stomach as he answered. “Golden Fruit, yum yum!”

    Mienfoo chuckled awkwardly as he moved further into the room towards what appeared to be the nearest empty bed. After a few moments, to his relief, the room’s door opened and a figure entered to interrupt this odd meeting. “Don’t bother with Scraggy, there,” the metal figure, a red and black Pawniard with sharpened blades for hands and cold, piercing eyes, spoke in an uncaring, straightforward tone. “He’s a little messed up in the head."

    “SCRAGGY!” the lizard Pokémon shouted its own name as it watched its other roommate walk past him.

    "His family wasn't the kindest bunch, apparently," the Pawniard continued, shifting its gaze from Mienfoo to the otherside of the dark room where a small, neatly made bed could be seen in the corner next to the window. "Just ignore him and he'll go away.

    “Ah, I see,” Mienfoo replied, giving Scraggy a cautious glance and shaking his head in lament upon noticing a number of faint scars from bruisings across the Pokémon's body. After a moment, he began to walk up to the Pawniard. “I am Mienfoo Gregorein, your new roommate," he continued, politely bowing his head a little. Though given names were rarely, if ever, used unless distinguishing between two Pokémon of the same species, Mienfoo felt that it was important to make a good first impression.

    I figured that much,” the knife Pokémon replied without looking back. “Call me Pawniard.”

    Mienfoo watched Pawniard give him the cold shoulder as he began to make his way to his own bed at the farside of the dimly lit room. Not wanting to end the conversation, he stuttered a little before continuing. “I came here to enter the Queen’s Tournament, so-“

    “You and everyone else,” Pawniard interrupted. “This tournament gets well over five thousand participants from around Uryus every time it occurs, it’s that popular.” Moving to his bed, Pawniard reached under it and retrieved a shoulder bag. “I was just about to head to the Royal Palace to sign up for it myself.” Silently, he returned to the door and opened it before turning back to face his new roommate. “You can come too, I suppose,” he said in what seemed to be a slightly more welcoming tone, though his kindness still left much to be desired.

    Regardless, the easy-going Mienfoo immediately smiled and jogged after him- but stopped upon reaching the door. Turning back, he noticed Scraggy still standing in place, looking at him with a disappointed frown. "You coming?" he asked the lizard kindly, who instantly grinned and rushed after them. Pawniard groaned irritably.

    After weaving through the crowded, pink-blanketed streets, the three young Pokémon finally arrived at the Royal Palace- a massive stone castle built right at the Sacred Oak’s base and beautifully covered in a thin layer of fallen pink blossoms. Unfortunately, an incredibly long entry line extended out of its entrance, through the gardens in front and into the streets bordering it, forcing the three to wait in it for what would clearly be several hours. It didn’t take long for boredom to tear at their patience.

    “I hear that the Golden Fruit that was picked last week is on display inside,” Pawniard eventually said in a dry, tired tone after a long silence, prompting Scraggy to shout ‘GOLDEN FRUIT!’ repeatedly for several minutes. The Knife Pokémon turned to give Mienfoo a discontented gaze for inviting this annoyance.

    Ignoring Scraggy’s inherent babble and Pawniard's annoyance, Mienfoo responded cheerfully, “I’ve always wondered what it tastes like, the most delicious fruit in the world. I’d give anything to just have a bite. You too, am I right?”

    Pawniard stood in thought for a moment, briefly shifting his focus away from Scraggy. “If I do end up winning the fruit, I’d probably sell it,” he replied in a somewhat rude, matter-of-fact way. “It’s worth a fortune, you know.” Mienfoo nodded in agreement, though he could never imagine selling such a mythically wondrous thing.

    Finally, after hours of waiting, the group was admitted into the palace’s expertly white marble-carved foyer- where they were quickly directed into yet another line for the tournament signup desk. As the second line took them from room to room, Mienfoo enjoyed the palace’s splendorous displays ranging from exotic paintings of the Queen and her knights to ancient statues. At last, it brought them to a large, circular room where the melon-sized, apple-shaped Golden Fruit was on display inside a large tank of reinforced glass guarded by a dozen tough looking, red and grey, iron-coated Escavalier with intimidating pointed lances in place of arms. Even through the tank’s thick, reinforced glass, Mienfoo’s sharp nose could still pick up the fruit’s intoxicating aroma, which coupled perfectly with its seductive golden glow- enough to make him drool in eagerness. It was so tempting, in fact, that it took him a great deal of willpower to keep from rushing towards it. Unfortunately, there were some with less self control than him.

    “GOLDEN FRUIT!” Scraggy yelled, splattering drool on the ground as he ran forward towards the display. Mienfoo and Pawniard both attempted to hold him back by forcing their arms around his, but found the lizard Pokémon to be quite a bit stronger than they expected.

    “Get a hold of yourself,” Pawniard scolded him as they barely managed to keep him inside the line with great difficulty, although Scraggy did not seem to be listening. “You don’t see anyone else acting like this."

    These words were spoken too soon, however. Ahead of them, at another section of the line, what could only be described as a small, less 1’ high, red and yellow furball with four stubby limbs burst out towards the tank, and the Escavalier guards quickly mobilized side by side into a wall of iron to block its path.

    “Return to the line, child,” the centermost guard spoke in a commanding tone. “Only the victor of th-”

    The guard was interrupted by a ball of crackling orange flames that suddenly shot out of the ball of fur’s mouth and expanded to massive size. “Darumaka!” it cried as it leapt through the spreading flames towards the intoxicating fruit, only for a guard to jump in its way and unleash a deafening screech of sound from the small mouth beneath its helmet, displacing the air before it powerfully enough to make the furball fall back towards to the ground with a distinct thud. As several more Escavalier approached, it stood and rushed backwards while covering its pounding ears with its paws. “Mama!”

    A red, apish Pokémon with eyebrows composed entirely of raging fire extended its arms to embrace her child protectively. “I’m sorry for Darumaka’s behavior,” she apologized as the furball cowered behind her, “she’s just a little excited, that’s all.”

    The lead guard nodded. “It is understandable,” he replied sternly, “however I must inform you that signing up such a young child into the Queen’s Tournament is not recommended. I advise you not to enter.” Darumaka whimpered at these words.

    Darmanitan looked sadly at her child before shaking her head. “I understand.” Slowly she led Darumaka out of the line and began to cross the room towards the nearest exit.

    “Hold it!” a young voice called out from some distance behind Mienfoo’s group. The voice belonged to a short, bipedal, brownish-gray Pokémon with bulging pink veins across its body and a small piece of timber hanging over its shoulder. “If she wants to enter this tournament to win the fruit, then what right do you have to stop her?” the speaker, a young Timburr, asked loudly with a courageous grin spread across his face. “Even if she’s a little young, she is still eligible, right? Don’t just step all over someone’s dreams like that! I’ll protect her!”

    Darumaka smiled in glee and ran towards the Timburr as the adult Pokémon gave him surprised stares. “Calm down, kid,” he said in a lowered voice as she hugged his leg tightly, though he could not hide a soft chuckle.

    As this matter resolved itself, with the guards and the mother agreeing to leave Darumaka in the Timburr’s care, Pawniard sighed. “That was irritating,” he said. “Sending Pokémon that can’t take care of themselves into a tournament like this is a stupid idea. They’ll only get hurt."

    “I don’t know,” Mienfoo replied thoughtfully, extending his arm to grab Scraggy’s as he attempted to make another run for the fruit, “that guy seems really nice.” After a little arguing, Pawniard agreed to let a few others skip ahead of them in line until they were next to the Timburr, Darumaka, and Darumaka’s mother.

    “Hey there,” Mienfoo greeted the Timburr with a smile, extending his arm in greeting, “I’m Mienfoo.”

    “Timburr,” the Pokémon replied with a grin as they firmly shook hands. After exchanging introductions and laughing a little, the two groups – as Mienfoo had hoped – quickly bonded into one. Though there was still a ways to go until the line’s end, their cheerful new friends ensured that it was not nearly as boring as it had been before.

    After another half hour or so longer in line, the group finally made it to a desk at the end, where the clerk had them fill out the documents necessary for entry into the tournament. With that done, Darmanitan entrusted her daughter to the other children, who were allowed to wander the parts of the palace open to the public on their own for another forty minutes. They all agreed to avoid the room containing the Fruit because of Darumaka and Scraggy, but had trouble deciding where else they should go.

    “Why don’t we go see the Queen’s throne room?” Mienfoo suggested as they moved through the crowded white foyer. “We might even get to meet her!”

    “Queen Meloetta will be speaking before the participants when the tournament begins tomorrow morning,” Pawniard replied without looking back at him or truly answering his suggestion. “If we make it far enough, we’ll probably even get to meet her in person then. Honestly, staying here is a waste of time when we could be preparing ourselves.”

    “Don’t be such a bummer,” Timburr replied with a friendly push to the knife Pokémon’s shoulder as the tiny Darumaka shouted happily in agreement while sitting on the wooden block resting on his shoulder.

    Pawniard turned his head irritably and did not attempt to continue his argument. It didn’t take them all long to agree to go explore the throne room.

    As they moved through a crowded hallway towards it, Mienfoo found himself lagging behind the group a little after stopping to inspect an interesting old portrait of the the blooming Sacred Oak on the wall. Before he could hurry to catch up, however, an off-limits door opened a couple meters before him and two dark figures emerged from it. One of them he recognized as an Accelgor by its green-striped pink helmet, dark bluish cloak, and piercing eyes. The other however, was a kind of Pokémon he was not familiar with. Its eyes were twice as piercing, had leathery black skin, fang-like teeth, razor-sharp claws, and bright red feathers lining its head like a crown. A single glance from the strange Pokémon’s cold stare as it noticed him was enough to make him freeze up in a crippling fear. The two then continued on, ignoring the youngster.

    With those two gone, Mienfoo was soon able to move again and he stared down the bustling hallway they had left in, realizing that he had been the only one to take notice. He knew that the strange Pokémon was not native to Uryus and could not help but wonder what a foreigner was doing in an off-limits area of the palace. Shaking his head, he decided that it was none of his business and rushed off to catch up with the others.

    Soon after, the group entered the uncomfortably packed throne room, but they were unable to even see the queen. After some time, they eventually finished their tour and walked back to the entrance disappointedly, exiting into the pink flower-covered gardens surrounding the front of the castle. It didn’t take long for them to quickly discover that something was awry. Up ahead, a young, bipedal crocodile-like Pokémon with shifty looking black marks across its tough brown skin, a Krokorok, seemed to be rampaging around and holding up the line to enter the palace.

    “You’re gonna enter the Tournament with that level of skill?” he shouted aloud mockingly as he bullied a young Lillipup. “Don’t make me laugh!” Raising his leg, the Krokorok brought it down to create a fierce shockwave powerful enough to send the small, furry hound flying backwards into a wooden fence- whipping up a few hundred pink blossoms in the process. Then, it twisted around and jumped in the air before crashing back down to create a miniature earthquake that knocked down everyone near him in the line with a brief tremble. “Listen up everybody!” he shouted loudly and arrogantly to the fallen groups. “Only the strong stand a chance at winning the fruit, and all you weaklings out there will just get in our way! Save yourselves the humiliation of utter defeat and get outta here before you get a taste of what real pain feels like!” The Krokorok began to laugh as he continued stomping the ground and injuring those waiting in line with even more shockwaves. Many were taking his advice and began to turn their backs on the castle and leave.

    “Stop that!” Mienfoo called out angrily, moving towards him as he saw the crocodile’s actions. Timburr and Pawniard also stepped forward to confront him as Scraggy and Darumaka hung behind to watch.

    “Got a problem?” The Krokorok asked with a menacing grin of its long snout that showed off a mouthful of sharp fangs and moved towards the group in wide steps that made the ground shake beneath his feet. Though the crocodile didn’t seem to be that much older, it still towered over all of them by nearly a foot. As it neared them, its smile soon degraded into a vicious, bloodthirsty scowl.

    “Yeah,” Timburr replied with a determined look in his eyes, unbothered by the Pokémon’s intimidating, muscular physique, “you’d better shut that jaw of yours before I smash it shut!”

    The crocodile snorted in laughter before thrusting his head forward and opening his large jaw to unleash a sudden blast of tightly-packed sand from its throat that shot forward to strike the speaker and then explode outwards to knock the whole group off their feet- save for one.

    The moment this occurred, Pawniard dodged by leaping forward into the air, using the force of the explosion to launch himself further before coming to the ground to begin rolling towards the enemy and then standing up to rush forward, slashing mercilessly at the flesh of Krokorok’s soft, pink-tinted gut.

    “Not bad,” the enemy spoke as he stepped backwards and swung his tail into Pawniard’s side to knock him down, rubbing the cut on his belly irritably. He was just about to deliver another, more powerful blow with his claw when Mienfoo and Timburr came at him with a blinding barrage of flying fists and claws. After exchanging a few blows, the three-allied Pokémon had surrounded Krokorok, who laughed before opening his mouth to spit out a stream of sand- which quickly began to blow around him in a fast circle to form a sandstorm-like shield of sorts, picking up hundreds of nearby flower petals as it spun. In an instant, the blowing sand burst outwards to blind the three and knock them down long enough for Krokorok to retreat backwards a little. From there, he opened his mouth even wider than before and a massive ball of rapidly swirling sand which quickly grew larger and larger began to form- obviously powerful enough to make them all realize that being struck by it would be really dangerous. An instant before the brutal attack was unleashed, however, a mighty bolt of blinding white electricity shot past the group to land right before the crocodile with a flashy explosion, causing him to lose focus and misfire to his side. As the smoke and dust of Krokorok's failed attack cleared, the group saw that the thunderbolt had come from a tiny, bright yellow mite-like Pokémon with four solid blue eyes standing behind them- a Joltik.

    “I’d get out of here right about now if I were you,” the Joltik spoke to the desert crocodile in a calm, but confident and threatening tone. “Or you might end up with a little more than you bargained for, punk.”

    The gator stared at the new arrival for a moment before looking back at the other three and then to a group of Escavalier guards quickly approaching from the palace entrance. He grimaced. “I guess you all pass,” he replied grudgingly as he stepped backwards. “We’ll meet again in the tournament- and this won't end so easily next time around.” With that said, Krokorok spit out another ball of sand at his feet and promptly disappeared in the resulting dustcloud.

    “Nice one,” Mienfoo said, greeting the electric mite after checking to make sure that they were all alright. Meanwhile, Pawniard quickly began to look around for any signs of the gator as Timburr stumbled around in a fit with Darumaka and Scraggy at having been unable to stop the crocodile properly. At around the same time, the Escavalier palace guards arrived to ensure that the situation had calmed down.

    “Yeah well, I just couldn’t stand by and let that guy do stuff like that, you know,” the Joltik responded, staring up at the mustelid with a laugh. “The fact that there are actually contestants who act that way makes me sick.” Mienfoo smiled and nodded in agreement.

    After exchanging introductions, Joltik – who had also recently signed up for the tournament – agreed to join them as they all went to spend the rest of the day exploring the city and prepare for the tournament together.

    When evening had come, the group of friends had all stopped at a local food stall set up on the side of a less-crowded street for dinner. “You know, we should all team up for the tournament when it starts tomorrow,” Joltik said as he finished his meal from a plate on the ground, being too small to reach the wooden counter properly. “That way we can easily give that gator what’s coming to him and pass any challenge the planners throw at us.”

    “Team up? Can we do that?” Mienfoo asked curiously. Since arriving, he had heard surprisingly little about how the tournament would play out. He assumed that the Pokémon in charge of it had been keeping it a secret on purpose.

    “There’s nothing in the rules against it,” Pawniard answered, brushing some splattered soup off himself as Scraggy rapidly and messily consumed bowl after bowl without end next to him, splashing it everywhere. “They’ll have to get rid of a lot of contestants in the beginning somehow, so there will probably be some sort of free-for-all to determine who goes on. If there is, we definitely won’t be the only team out there.”

    “Still, if we do meet up with that Krokorok,” Timburr added, clutching his hands into fists as Darumaka sat next to him, “he’s all mine, got it? There’s something off about that guy!” Darumaka cried out in agreement.

    Mienfoo smiled proudly to himself, glad at having already made so many new friends. There weren't many others his age in his hometown and, before reaching the city, he had secretly been somewhat worried about entering the tournament without anyone to share the experience with. It was good to know that this wouldn’t be an issue.

    For the rest of the evening, the group laughed and enjoyed each other’s company- happy to have just one last night of fun and relaxation before the great tournament began. Nevertheless, when it did, the six of them – Mienfoo, Scraggy, Pawniard, Timburr, Darumaka, and Joltik - would be ready to take on any challenge thrown at them. Even if they had only met just earlier that day, their bonds of friendship had already formed- bonds so powerful that nothing in this world could possibly tear them apart.
    -------------------------------------
    It was late, in the black and silence of night that Krokorok moved swiftly through the now dead dark streets of Royal City until coming to an abandoned warehouse in its outskirts. After knocking three times on a locked door to its side, a slot on the door opened up to reveal a pair of keen, soul-piercing eyes. After being asked for a password, the crocodile replied correctly and the door swung open to allow him inside. Slowly, he walked through the building, passing several large shady figures which glared down at him expectantly until stopping in front of a tall, skeletal Pokémon with an edged helmet-like head and numerous other blades attached to its metal body.

    “Progress report?” the figure asked coldly, giving him a gaze that instantly shattered his normally tough demeanor.

    “I have successfully entered the tournament, as you have requested,” Krokorok answered nervously, fidgeting with his claws as he attempted to avoid looking the tall Pokémon directly in the eyes. “However, I must apologize for my other assignment. The diversion was ended prematurely.”

    “It was more than long enough, so do not worry over that matter,” the other Pokémon told him without lessening its cruel tone, though the crocodile still sighed in relief. “For now, focus on winning your way through the Queen’s Tournament- and annihilate anyone who dares to stand in your way.”
    Last edited by Dust; 13th January 2012 at 01:36 AM.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Mienfoo and the Golden Fruit (WIP)

    Chapter 2: Round One

    Mienfoo’s eyes immediately shot open the moment he began to stir the next morning, and he eagerly jumped out of bed. After wincing at the bright morning sun seeping into the room through the shutters of the small, sole window for a brief moment, he soon got used to the light and quickly realized that Pawniard was already up- having most likely awakened much earlier in order to prepare.

    “You should go get breakfast,” Pawniard told him as he stood in place, practicing various combat stances and slashing at invisible enemies with the deadly, white steel knives attached to his arms. “Since you don’t really have anything important to take with you, all you should worry about is getting a decent meal before we leave. We need to meet up with the others in an hour.”

    “Sounds good,” Mienfoo replied cheerfully before turning towards Scraggy, who was still snoring loudly in a deep sleep. Though somewhat reluctant to awaken his friend in the middle of what seemed to be a pleasant dream, he knew that the lizard was just as eager to enter the tournament as he was.

    Pawniard nodded before returning to his morning training routine without another word. Mienfoo walked towards Scraggy’s bed and attempted to stir him, but to no avail. The lizard wasn’t keen on waking, and it took a lot of pointless effort to drag him back into consciousness.

    Once Scraggy finally had awakened, Mienfoo led him out of the room, through the candle-lit hallway, and down the wooden staircase to the inn’s dining hall, where free food was being provided for its residents. Mienfoo himself ate only a little, as his mind was far too preoccupied with the excitement of the upcoming tournament, but Scraggy immediately began to stuff himself with everything he could get a hold of. Other residents stared at the two in both surprise and disgust, completely awestruck as to how such a small pokemon could eat so much.

    It was not until the kitchen had nearly run out of food that Scraggy’s stomach was finally content. Ignoring the stares they were receiving, the two began to return to their room on the second floor– but were stopped when Pawniard stepped out in front of them on their way to the stairs. From there, he immediately told them that the inn would be holding on to their belongings so that they wouldn't have to drag them with them everywhere throughout the tournament. He believed that the event's planners would provide them with anything they needed until their return anyways.

    Mienfoo smiled in agreement before turning towards the inn’s entrance and walking towards it with Scraggy and Pawniard following shortly after. The three then departed towards the location where the tournament’s contestants were all told to gather whenever they had signed up for it at the palace beforehand- a certain spot within a large, grassy plain to the east of Royal City.

    Not in a hurry to leave the beautiful, blooming city, Mienfoo managed to convince his friends to move slowly at first so as to get as much last-minute sightseeing in as possible. Along the way, they stopped at another inn not far from theirs to pick up Darumaka from her mother- as only contestants and tournament staff were allowed at the meeting point. Soon afterwards, they spotted Timburr amongst the passing crowds and eagerly rushed to meet him. The walk towards their destination was long and tiresome, but a little chatting amongst themselves made it much more bearable. When they had finally reached the edge of the bustling city and exited into the green prairie, it became clear they were by no means the only ones moving east. Dozens upon dozens of other young contestants within eyesight alone were also making their way to the meeting point. Clearly, nearly every young Pokémon in Uryus had come to try their luck in the tournament.

    After an hour of trekking, they all finally arrived at the meeting point to find a massive crowd of young Pokémon numbering in the thousands standing in front of a wooden stage built next to an old log cabin. Among the many adult tournament planners standing atop the stage was a small Pokémon of unrivaled beauty in the front with slender limbs, a bright blue gem embedded in the center of her forehead above her similarly colored eyes, and long, green hair filled with musical bar-styled streaks. This was Meloetta- the legendary Queen of Uryus. Like those behind her, she waited patiently as contestants continued to arrive, looking around at them all with a warm, prideful gaze.

    Timburr shouted out over the chaotic sounds of thousands of contestants carrying out conversations around them in search of their missing friend Joltik. Mienfoo, Darumaka, and Scraggy soon joined him in his search as Pawniard lagged a few meters behind the group, silently surveying the competition. Though it took them a good half hour, they finally found the small yellow mite amongst the unthinkably massive crowd. Soon afterwards, they moved to the back and found a nice patch of soft grass to sit down and bide their time together.

    Within the hour, a few dozen more contestants arrived before Meloetta finally stepped forward to address them. “Welcome all,” she spoke in a loud, but harmonious voice that instantly quelled the tumultuous gathering, “to the Queen’s Tournament! From this point on you will be faced with various challenges designed to test your valor, skill, and intuition. The contestant who makes it to the end will be rewarded with the Sacred Oak’s Golden Fruit!” Impassioned roars erupted from the crowd at these words, and the queen stopped to wait until they died down before she continued.

    For some time, her speech went on as she discussed numerous topics– ranging from the tournament’s creation some three hundred years ago to the reasons why they should not let the competition get in the way of having fun and getting to know one another. Within five minutes, most of the young contestants had begun to lose interest in the speech– and their impatience showed as they waited for the announcement of the first round, some even sat down to rest. Finally, after ten minutes, the Queen finally seemed to be nearing the end of her announcements and everyone promptly began to return their attention.

    “This year, there are fifty-two hundred and eighty-seven entrants,” she said, raising her hands to signal those who had sat down to stand, “and I must say that each and every one of you has proven yourself for simply making the effort to enter. For you see, this tournament’s purpose is not only to give away the fruit, but also to highlight the skills of, and make way for Uryus’ next generation, you.” The crowd cheered and clapped at these words and the queen snuck a bright smile.

    “I realize that we have a few foreigners among the many applicants, and to them I must say that we are happy to have you all as well. It is my hope that, not only Uryus, but all of Pokéarth will have great Pokémon guiding them in the future.” At this point, many of the foreigners in the crowd began to roar excitedly, though their outburst was soon overpowered by the rest of the contestants’ clapping. After waiting for this to die down once again, Meloetta continued, “Now then, I suppose you are all ready for the tournament to begin!” Without waiting for their excited response to end, she kept speaking: “Then I am sure that you will be pleased to hear that the first round is about to kick off!” The crowd again roared at the top of their lungs as a number of different adults emerged from the nearby cabin's large door one by one while pushing large carts filled to the brim with wooden tubes connected to adjustable carrying straps.

    “The rules for this round are simple enough,” Meloetta explained as each cart stopped at some location adjacent to the crowd of contestants. “Each of you will receive a map of the region marked with a destination point, and you will have thirty-six hours to reach that point. Anyone who meets that requirement will be able to move on in the tournament. However, I must note that flying types will receive a different test once the others have set off due to an unfair advantage. Other than that, there are no special regulations."

    As she went on, many seemed to impatiently inch towards the nearest cart as they again grew restless. Meloetta grinned slightly in amusement and raised her arms yet again. “You may begin!” she yelled, prompting everyone, save the flying types that had been excluded from the test, to flood the carts all at once, running forward to snatch a tube containing their map and then rush eastwards towards their new destination.

    Unsurprisingly, the attempts of several thousand Pokémon to simultaneously evacuate the area quickly resulted in unrestrained chaos as each contestant struggled to force their way through the crowd towards the carts. Though the queen had explicitly stated that anyone who managed to make it to the goal point within the allotted time would be permitted to continue, the hostile tensions between them seemed to imply that many were under the impression they had to be there first and that everyone else would only be in their way.

    Most members of Mienfoo's group shouted out in surprise as a young black and white equid rushed past them, unleashing large amounts of vibrating white bolts of electricity from its lightning-shaped mane in the process.

    “Get out of my way, laggards!” the Blitzle cried out, laughing aloud as they all fell to the ground for cover and he neared the cart they had been moving towards. “I’ll pass this round easy!” he laughed while rushing into the distance with the tube hanging around his neck. “Nobody’s faster than me!” The confused group all stared at the zebra disappearing in the distance for a moment and more Pokémon rushed past them.

    “C’mon we’ve gotta hurry,” Timburr said loudly as he stood up, rushed towards the cart, grabbed a bunch of tubes and then threw them back to the others. Everyone then began to run after him as he charged in the eastwards direction that just about all of the other contestants were taking, save for Pawniard and Joltik- who simply sat down not far from the cart and began to inspect their respective maps together. After a minute or two, Mienfoo and the others realized that they were missing part of their group and reluctantly returned to ask them what they were doing.

    “According to this map, there is a very rough region located between our current location and the finishing point,” Pawniard replied, his voice hinting at a repressed irritation at the others’ hastiness. “If someone were to go there directly in a straight path, it would very likely end up taking longer than thirty-six hours to get through- no matter how fast they go.”

    “So how are we supposed to make it, then?” Timburr asked bitterly as the tiny Darumaka sat at the end of the wooden block he had balanced over his shoulder. By this time, nearly all of the other contestants had already picked up their maps and left, giving them plenty of space to chat in a suddenly quiet environment.

    “Notice that the queen never said which path we have to take to reach the destination,” Joltik replied as he placed his right front leg on the paper. “Going around the rough region will probably be a much faster course, but there are quite a few plausible options. For instance, there are a handful of trails highlighted here that pass through it and aren’t more than several hours away from where we are now.”

    Pawniard nodded in agreement. “Unfortunately, taking paths which are too crowded may result in more chaos like what just happened, while taking one that fewer contestants think to go to could hopefully help prevent needless interferences. I recommend heading north first, where we can follow a nearby river until nearing one such trail which will lead us through.” The knife-Pokémon looked around at them expectantly with his emotionless eyes as he pointed to the location of said trail on the map. “Well, what do you all say?”

    Mienfoo nodded his head to show his agreement as he scratched his snout and inspected his own map. From their interactions with one another the day before, he could tell that Pawniard was undoubtedly the most experienced of their group and felt that not listening to his suggestions would only get them in trouble.

    “I have to agree,” Joltik added as he too looked through the map for other options. “Though the trail’s entrance might be farther away than some others, the path itself doesn’t seem to wind much; so it could ultimately save us time. It could very well be our best bet, though we might end up cutting it close no matter which route we take."

    “Then what are we waiting for?” Timburr replied loudly after having obviously been completely lost in the others’ conversation, looking at Pawniard’s map on the ground with his head tilted in confusion. “We need to hurry, right?”

    Mienfoo shifted his gaze towards the raised platform where Meloetta and the rest of the tournament staff still stood, now conversing amongst themselves. He paused awkwardly for a moment as he noticed the queen glance at them and give him a warm smile. After a moment, he turned back to the group and scratched the fur on the side of his head humbly. “Yeah, let’s get going.”

    Without argument, the six quickly agreed to Pawniard’s plan and then began their journey. The first leg was very easy and passed without incident as they hiked north through the wide open grassy prairie at a steady pace. Unlike their trip to the meeting point hours before, there were now no other contestants in sight – as all of the others had most likely either taken different paths or rushed ahead of them. Of course, none of them expected this quiet isolation to last long.

    After a half hour, the group could finally see the outline of the river in the distance. Excited, they all began to rush towards it, but Mienfoo stopped suddenly. Within the tall, waist-high bushy grass ahead, he could have sworn that he had seen a pair of glowing multi-color eyes staring at him, but they immediately disappeared the moment he took notice of them. Several meters behind him, Pawniard stopped as well.

    “Wait!” Pawniard yelled, having noticed that something was off- but it was too late. From the distant river, Mienfoo caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a small, stone-like Pokémon onboard a large wooden raft which unleashed a beam of bright white energy from a hole on its body that shot forward to strike the closest member of their team, Scraggy, with a small, but blinding explosion.

    Mienfoo sighed in relief as the dust cleared and he noticed the fallen Scraggy sit up from the tall grass he had collapsed into and look around in confusion, but the mustelid bit his lip upon glancing back at the stone Pokémon still onboard the boat. Within the crevice at the center of its round body, a huge, dense ball of bright white light seemed to gather. “LOOK OUT!” he screamed at the lizard at the top of his lungs, breaking into a run as the ball of light was unleashed into the air.

    Hearing this, Scraggy turned towards the river in time to see the ball’s form change into the shape of a massive, spiraling white beam at least one meter in diameter which instantly disintegrated the tips of any blades of grass it passed through as it produced a roaring buzz. The yellow lizard froze, its eyes widening in shock as it saw the rapidly approaching Hyper Beam- which glowed so brightly that the light it gave off seemed to briefly make the sun above go dark in comparison. Upon realizing that he had lost his opportunity to dodge, Scraggy slammed his eyes shut and covered his head with his arms; whimpering in panic as he prepared for the attack to tear him apart with a merciless, explosive howl.

    But no such thing occurred. Instead, in the instant before he should have been done for, Scraggy felt something leap towards him from the side and tackle him out of the way in a split second. The two painfully struck the ground and rolled through the tall grass as the Hyper Beam roared past them for a good ten to twenty more meters before finally dissipating in a large explosion.

    “Are you alright?” Mienfoo asked Scraggy, panting as he brought himself to his feet and looked around for the others; who were still rushing to catch up.

    The lizard just stared back at him with an odd smile as wet tears dripped down his face. “Mienfoo!” it shouted gleefully as it rushed forward to hug him.

    “It’s another team of contestants, so stay on guard!” Pawniard shouted from behind the others, his sharp eyes enabling him to see the threat more clearly than them from such a distance. “Try to get close while their artillery is still recharging!” he continued, prompting Timburr and Darumaka to rush forward towards the enemy as Mienfoo struggled to push the overly-thankful lizard away.

    “You can thank me later!” the mustelid said urgently as he managed to break out of Scraggy’s grasp and prepared to go follow the others towards the river, only to be interrupted when a short, brownish bipedal rodent with the same threatening eyes he had seen before suddenly jumped out of the waist-high grass to bite him in the leg with its massive white buckteeth. As he cried out in surprise and struggled with the aggressive Patrat, Scraggy quickly stepped forward the pull the rat off- giving him enough time to knock it backwards by slamming his open palm into its forehead.

    Meanwhile, as Timburr neared the rushing blue river, he noticed that there were several Pokémon onboard the boat. Among them was a blue and brown, rock-like creature with two stubby legs, a single stone antennae, and a yellow crevice in the center of its body from which another small beam of flashing silver light, a Flash Cannon, shot out towards him from above. Before it struck, however, Darumaka leapt off the piece of timber in Timburr’s arms to land in front of him and spit out a powerful, swirling current of flame that collided with the other attack to produce a massive explosion of fire and energy in the air between the two groups.

    Using this as cover, Timburr rushed forward to the riverbank, dropped his block of wood, and began to pull on the rope attaching the small vessel to land with all his might so as to drag it closer. As it floated near them, a gray-furred Pokémon with large ears stepped past the Roggenrola and leapt onto shore before slashing at his chest with its tiny claws. Before it could follow up with another attack, however, Pawniard had jumped out of the tall grass to hold it off.

    “It’s over for you,” the Minccino said in a threatening feminine voice as she attempted to cut him, but Pawniard easily parried every attack with his own knife-like claws. After a few attacks, she quickly realized the strength of her opponent and called out to her comrades on the boat. “Herdier! Purrloin! A little help here!” Immediately, a large, brown, shaggy-furred dog and a nimble purple feline jumped off the boat as well to support her. The two quickly surrounded Pawniard to cut him off from the others.

    As Timburr stood to help, a series of small stones and seeds from the mouths' of the Roggenrola and a large, striped weasel with enormous red and orange eyes still onboard the vessel immediately bombarded him and Darumaka. Soon afterwards, a bruised Patrat came running out of the tall grass to the riverbank, being chased by Mienfoo and Scraggy. “Brother!” it screamed, and the weasel leapt down from the boat to support it by unleashing a barrage of seeds at the two attackers.

    Pawniard, meanwhile, found it difficult to handle three opponents at once. Every time he moved to attack one, two others struck him from the sides- making him quickly lose stamina. The Minccino laughed. “Sorry, but the five of you aren’t nearly enough to beat the six of us- too bad.”

    The moment she said this, a glowing yellow lightning bolt suddenly erupted from within the tall grass bordering the riverbank towards the boat to strike the Roggenrola onboard. The small Pokémon stumbled back and forth as the raised raft rapidly tilted up and down as a result of the explosion before finally tripping overboard and falling into the raging blue waters below with a splash, its heavy stone body preventing it from being able to swim back up. Triumphantly, Joltik emerged onto the riverbank from beneath the grass and unleashed a surge of electricity at the Purrloin attacking Pawniard from behind.

    Using this distraction, Pawniard came forward to slash Minccino while knocking the Herdier back with his other arm. “Looks like you didn’t see Joltik there,” he said when she collapsed to the ground, clutching her blood-stained fur tightly, “he’s a little small, so the grass hides him fairly well.” Minccino scowled as he raised his arm and brought his metal elbow down onto the top of her head to knock her unconscious before turning to finish the other two.

    Using his arms to defend himself against the barrage of seeds, Mienfoo ran towards the Watchog responsible. After ducking down to dodge a swing from its sharp claws, he came up to deliver a powerful strike of his open palm directly into its chin before stepping closer as it stumbled back to deliver another Force Palm into its gut. It gave off a painful cough as it stumbled backwards before falling on its side, and its Patrat brother stared at Mienfoo and Scraggy from behind a large rock, quivering in fear.

    With help from Joltik, Pawniard was easily able to subdue the Herdier and the Purrloin while Timburr dived into the river to rescue the drowning Roggenrola. With every opponent defeated, the group dragged them all into a single spot and surrounded them.

    “Where did you get the boat?” Pawniard asked fiercely as Minccino returned to her senses a few moments later, bending down to give her a frightening glare. “Surely you weren’t able to build something like this so quickly?”

    Despite being obviously angry and upset at her defeat, Minccino answered dejectedly knowing that she had no choice in the matter. “My parents work for the queen and heard about this round,” she said slowly. “They set it up for me and my friends to speed up our trip by a few hours.”

    “Adult assistance is against the rules, you know,” Pawniard responded upon hearing this and she glared back at him.

    “We’ll let you use it, if you promise not to rat us out,” she said after a few moments of silence, more desperately than threateningly.

    “No way!” Timburr shouted in defiance as he saw Pawniard stand straight and turn to inspect the small vessel, as if seriously considering her offer. “I didn’t enter this thing to cheat!” Darumaka, Mienfoo, and Joltik quickly spoke up to voice their agreement.

    Pawniard sighed as he turned to again face the chinchilla and her beaten comrades. “Darumaka, if you will.” The child happily turned towards the boat and opened its mouth to unleash a ball of condensed fire towards it, which struck and shattered it into pieces with incredible force. As flames consumed what remained of the vessel, Pawniard turned back to give the defeated Pokémon a cold stare. “I suggest you give up on this tournament and hurry back to Royal City- now.” At these words, the six of them trembled in terror and rushed away as fast as they could, eventually disappearing into the distance.

    After waiting until the defeated opponents were out of sight, Mienfoo smiled. “Alright,” he exclaimed, “our first victory!” Scraggy and Darumaka roared excitedly in agreement.

    “Easier than I expected,” the still-soaked Timburr said with a chuckle before returning to the edge of the water to retrieve his weapon, averting his eyes to keep from looking directly into the bright flames. “At this rate the whole tournament will be a breeze.” Darumaka cheered as she rushed to his side.

    “Everyone is aiming to win, so there are many more fights like that awaiting us,” Pawniard replied passively as he began to walk north along the river. "This test was probably meant to sort out those whose physical abilities are lacking, so not all of the other contestants we meet from this point on will be as weak as those we fought here. While we walk, I suggest we try to strategize in order to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.”

    After exchanging annoyed glances, the others caught up with him and chatted for a while as they walked steadily through the winding riverbank until eventually agreeing to begin planning various attack combinations and maneuvers the rest of the way Finally, after four long hours, Pawniard stopped before a dirt road emerging from a small bridge and continuing directly eastwards. “This is as far north as we need to go,” he said, “so this is where we start heading east. It won’t be long before we reach the Rough Lands, and this trail should easily lead us through.”

    Everyone’s spirits lightened as they all turned and stepped onto the road to continue towards the Rough Lands. Even from a distance, they were able to see the numerous massive and dangerous stone hills filling the terrain- though they were tiny stones in comparison to the overwhelmingly huge Sacred Oak still visible to their southwest. They were all confused, however, when they noticed two young, red-furred simians hurrying down the trail in the opposite direction.

    When they came near, the group realized that both Pokémon were badly beaten and bruised. “Don’t go that way!” one of the infant Pansears urgently warned them. “There’s a really strong kid up ahead beating up anyone that tries to use the trail!” The other Pansear nodded in agreement. After a moment of confusion, Mienfoo and the others understood the situation.

    “A tough guy, huh?” Timburr spoke, cracking his knuckles in excitement. “We better go teach him a lesson!”

    “Agreed,” Joltik replied. “I’m not about to give up and turn back just yet.” With no argument over the matter, everyone in the group decided to continue forward.

    “Don’t worry; we’ll put a stop to this,” Mienfoo said, turning around to reassure the two fleeing Pokémon that everything would be alright. Unfortunately, the Pasears did not look as if they had any intentions of continuing onwards.

    It didn’t take long for them to find the problem. The section of the trail that continued ahead into the Rough Lands cut directly through the region to form a large ravine of sorts- where the tightly packed rocky hills bordering it on each side were almost indistinguishable from the walls of a canyon. At the entrance laid a pile of around three unconscious young Pokémon, and a couple others still struggled with the bully responsible.

    With several attacks, the perpetrator easily felled one of them and then came forward to slam the second with its long, black-striped brown tail, hurling it back a few feet in the group's direction. Noticing them, the Pokémon smiled to reveal a row of sharp teeth within its long snout. “Ah, it’s you guys again,” he spoke in an arrogant tone. “I didn't think we'd meet again so soon."

    “Krokorok…” Timburr muttered angrily under his breath, forming a fierce scowl as the crocodile Pokémon stepped forward. The earth beneath the enemy's feet seemed to rumble in anticipation.
    Last edited by Dust; 29th October 2011 at 07:31 PM.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Mienfoo and the Golden Fruit (WIP)

    Chapter 3: The Rough Lands

    “Just what are you up to?” Pawniard asked as Krokorok neared them. Though tall, the gator’s appearance was dwarfed by the massive ravine leading into the Rough Lands behind him.

    Krokorok laughed in reply. “Isn’t it obvious, I’m getting rid of the competition.” The six stared back at him in disgust, but were met only with an evil grin. “Now then,” Krokorok continued, “let’s get this fight started.”

    “I couldn’t agree more!” Timburr shouted as he rushed forward to strike the enemy with the piece of timber in his arms, but Krokorok simply stomped its foot on the ground in his direction to create a wave of wind pressure which instantly knocked him back. Without pausing, the Pokémon opened his mouth to unleash a steady stream of sand that struck the ground and blew towards the group, quickly forming a monstrous wave as it picked up more and more dirt in the process. Then, the crocodile lowered its head and followed it towards them as quickly as he could.

    Covering his eyes with his arms to protect them from the sandstorm as it struck, Pawniard shouted commands to the others. “Mienfoo! Scraggy! You two go get his victims out of the way! The rest of us will try to push him back!”

    Mienfoo immediately complied, and Scraggy followed soon after. First, he moved to pick up the Pokémon that had been kicked towards them, which he handed to Scraggy and instructed him to carry further away. Then, he set his sights on the unconscious pile of children behind the crocodile and rushed forward through the sandstorm to reach them.

    “I don’t think so!” Krokorok shouted as he swiftly moved into the raging wind and sand to strike Mienfoo with its claws, only to be stopped by Pawniard. Stepping forward, the crocodile began to rapidly swipe its claws and tail, and Pawniard struggled to keep up until finally being knocked back by a strike to the head. Before he could follow up with another attack, however, Timburr snuck up on him from behind and slammed his wooden weapon into his back.

    As the crocodile moved to counterattack, Mienfoo had arrived at the pile of unconscious Pokémon and used all of his strength to carry them away from the fight on the trail two at a time. Within a minute or two, Scraggy had returned to help him as well.

    Back inside the sandstorm, Joltik and Darumaka had joined the fight, but quickly found that their lightning and fire attacks were almost useless on the enemy. Instead, they resorted to using them to distract him long enough for Timburr and Pawniard to deliver their own blows. By the time Mienfoo and Scraggy had moved half of the fallen Pokémon out of the way, they had managed to push him out of the sandstorm and towards the ravine. When Mienfoo and Scraggy had finished, they immediately rushed to aid their comrades- taking positions behind the crocodile in order to surround him.

    Noticing this, Krokorok smiled. “You’re all pretty good,” he spoke, jumping up and slamming back into the ground to produce a tremor strong enough to knock all four off their feet; using the force of the mini-earthquake to jump again even higher, soaring backwards into the air before landing right inside the ravine, “-but not good enough!”

    Without hesitating, Pawniard, Mienfoo, and Timburr stood up and began to rush towards him restlessly as Joltik unleashed a Shockwave that flew over their heads to explode before the crocodile’s feet- blinding him long enough for them to reacarrive and deliver a series of combo attacks.

    Laughing, Krokorok again leapt backwards, further into the ravine as he opened his arms wide- closing his fists tightly to make the air around them produce cracking noises. Just before hitting the ground, he moved his arms sharply as if hugging the air and the rocky ravine walls on either side of where he had just been- where his three attackers still were- exploded to bring a landslide of dry, heavy stones down onto their heads.

    It was only thanks to Pawniard and Mienfoo’s quick reflexes that that they had all been able to retreat out of the way in time. By now, they were all beginning to pant in frustration.

    “As much as I hate to admit it,” Timburr spoke, biting his lip in frustration as he looked up at the pile of stones that had come to rest before them, “he IS strong.”

    Pawniard let out an irritated grunt before leaping up onto the pile to climb over it and continue the battle. Timburr and Mienfoo quickly followed as their three companions rushed into the ravine after them. Pawniard’s blades and Krokorok’s claws clashed several times before anyone managed to come near to support him.

    With his incredible strength, the crocodile pushed against Pawniard’s blades to force him backwards before pivoting around to swing his tail into Timburr’s head while elbowing Mienfoo in the side. When Mienfoo hit the ground, Krokorok stopped and raised both his arms as if to bring them down and smash him to a pulp. Before the attack landed, Pawniard had jumped up to grapple the crocodile’s head and pull him to the ground- only for him to twist while falling so that Pawniard took the brunt of the damage by hitting the ground beneath him.

    Standing up with a scowl, Krokorok fiercely kicked the bladed Pokémon away, but, as he turned back to Mienfoo, he was greeted with a Force Palm to the chest. The crocodile stumbled backwards, but quickly regained his footing and stood sturdy. “That all you got?” he asked, prompting Mienfoo to rush forward and deliver another palm strike to his shoulder, and then another to the left side of his ribcage. In an instant, he had managed to gain advantageous footing and began to deliver as many Force Palm attacks as he could manage in rapid succession. After just under a dozen successful hits, Mienfoo stopped and stepped back to catch his breath- but his eyes widened in horror when he realized that Krokorok was still standing strong.

    Stepping forward, the black-striped brown crocodile laughed. “My turn,” he spoke menacingly as he whipped his tail to trip Mienfoo towards him and his knee buried itself in his gut. Then, Krokorok grabbed onto Mienfoo tightly and bent down- creating a mini-earthquake that magnified the force of his jump, allowing him to drag the young mustelid Pokémon high into the sky above the ravine. As he reached the highest point in his leap, the crocodile shifted his center of balance back and then tilted quickly forward to throw Mienfoo with all his strength, sending him soaring deep into the thousands of tightly packed stone hills that make up the rough region.

    Upon coming back down, Krokorok punched the ground with both his fists to generate an earthquake which shattered the wall of the ravine Mienfoo had been thrown over- as well as numerous hills on the other side. When this was finished, the crocodile bent down to pant heavily and spat out a mouthful of blood – obviously not unfazed by his opponents’ barrage of attacks. When he had caught his breath, he turned to what remained of the group. “Who’s next?” Four of the five stared at Krokorok in shock, and he grinned monstrously at their bewildered faces, but this smile died the moment he noticed the fifth’s face.

    Scraggy’s big eyes were filled with an insurmountable hatred, and his mouth revealed a fierce, murderous frown- a face that would make even an adult step back in terror. “What’s the matter with you?” Krokorok asked after regaining his composure, and was answered in an instant by a blindingly fast fist to the face.

    “MIEENNFOOO…!” the lizard roared angrily as the crocodile tumbled backwards many meters. The moment he had managed to stop himself and stand, Scraggy had instantaneously closed the distance between them and unleashed a mighty kick into his stomach to send him flying back even further.

    The others stared in shock at their friend’s sudden skill, briefly forgetting about Mienfoo’s predicament. “Was he always that strong?” Timburr asked aloud as they finally rushed forward in attempt to catch up.

    “I don’t know,” Joltik answered, snapping back into the seriousness of the situation, “but I’m not looking down on him ever again. What about Mienfoo?”

    “We’ll deal with that later,” Pawniard answered in a cold, emotionless tone as he took the lead, lowering his head to hide a furious glare. “In the meantime, we’d better try to detain Scraggy. I don’t think he’s going to be easy to stop when he’s like this.”

    Up ahead, the ravine turned sharply so the others could not see what was going on, but Krokorok had managed to stand and fend off Scraggy’s attacks- but only just barely. After blocking a few hits, his guard was broken- allowing Scraggy to send him flying into the ravine wall with a single, high-speed punch to the center of his chest.

    “…damn…” he grumbled, spitting out a broken, blood-soaked tooth and struggling to stand as the enraged Scraggy came forward, roaring, to deliver the final blow.

    Minutes later, the others had finally arrived on the scene to find Scraggy laying face down on the dirt-coated ground unconscious and Krokorok nowhere in sight. “Did he lose?” Joltik asked as Pawniard flipped their friend over, cursing under his breath.

    Inspecting him, Pawniard found a single small indented patch of flesh in his torso, as if someone had stabbed him once with a single blunt finger. It was clear to him that the injury was far too small and precise to have been delivered by Krokorok. “Someone else interfered,” he answered coldly.

    “So Krokorok’s got an ally, huh?” Timburr responded, almost trembling. “That’s a surprise. I’d hate to see two enemies as strong as him walking around.”

    “No,” Pawniard corrected him, “Scraggy and Krokorok are strong, but whoever did this is on a completely different level.” Everyone fell silent in awe at this news. “I don’t think our friend here is going to wake up for quite a while, so we’ll have to carry him the rest of the way.” After pausing for a moment and giving off a bitter look, he continued. “We’d best get going if we want to make the time limit.”

    “Wait, aren’t we going back for Mienfoo?” Joltik asked, stopping him. Timburr and Darumaka nodded in agreement.

    Pawniard shook his head, a look of intense self-deprecation spreading across his face. “Krokorok sent him far, and it will take too long for us to find and meet up with him in this region,” he finally answered, walking ahead whiled trying to conceal his worry in an emotionless veil. “He’s better off trying to continue on his own. Mienfoo is smart; I’m sure he’ll understand. As for his injuries, Fighting-types have tough bodies, and I highly doubt that the Queen is going to let anyone die in this tournament.”

    “What are you saying!!?” Timburr protested angrily at the knife-Pokémon’s back. “We can’t just leave him behind! Is this how you treat your frien-?”

    “Enough!” Joltik stopped him mid-sentence, jumping between them. “Pawniard’s the one who suggested we take this path in order to help avoid confrontations like what just happened, and now Mienfoo’s gone and we don’t have time to go after him. How do you think he feels?”

    Timburr glared at Pawniard and grumbled a bit before finally agreeing to go along. He reluctantly slumped over to carry the limp Scraggy on his shoulder. Once again, the group - minus one- set off through the Ravine towards their destination, praying for their missing comrade’s well-being.
    --------------------------------------------
    The searing afternoon sun burned down over the Rough Lands for several hours before Mienfoo’s eyes finally opened. Coming to, he realized that he had been thrown quite a distance away and was lying on a small, sand-colored stone plateau among a sea of dry, rocky hills, unable to tell the direction of the ravine he had been thrown out of.

    After standing up and inspecting his lifeless surroundings, Mienfoo eventually came to the same conclusion as Pawniard: attempting to meet up with his friends would be too time-consuming. The best chance he had at making it to the destination in time was to continue on his own. Looking into the sky to check the location of the sun, he was able pinpoint the direction he needed to travel. In order to make up for lost time, he decided to head southeast, directly towards the destination, rather than going back to the trail north of him. He would just have to navigate the rough terrain to the best of his ability so as to have even a shot at reaching it in time.

    Without wasting a moment, he moved to the edge of the plateau and began to climb down the rough cliff. With few sturdy footholds present, this act alone took him at least ten minutes, and he turned to find many more, similar hills ahead. After letting out a sigh, Mienfoo continued forward, attempting to weave through the terrain as quickly as he could.

    Again, hours passed as Mienfoo moved on, making significant, but still inefficient progress. His whole body was painfully sore from both his previous injuries and the constant climbing, but he rushed onwards regardless. As he attempted to scale a particularly large hill in his way, an outstretched rock he had grabbed onto as a handhold broke off and sent him tumbling down. Upon hitting the hard ground, Mienfoo laid still and groaned. Looking up at the sky, he bit his lip and clenched his fist. This was the only chance at winning the Golden Fruit he would have in all his life and he didn’t want to be unable to continue through the tournament with his newfound friends already. If he gave up now, he knew that he would regret it forever. Ignoring the pain, he stood and began to climb again, pushing forward with all his might.
    --------------------------------------
    Elsewhere in the same region, a bandaged Krokorok stood silently at the top of a massive stone hill which towered over all the others. As the wind blew softly, he stared outwards to the Sacred Tree in the distance. From behind him, the sound of light footsteps quickly climbing upwards resounded. Upon turning to face the Pokémon the noise belonged to, he noticed a dark shadow dart out of sight.

    “That’s enough,” he muttered quietly. “I know you’re there. Weavile. Accelgor.”

    From behind large rocks at lower points on the hill, two shadows shot out at blinding speeds to land just before the crocodile in a single leap. “You noticed us, huh?” one of them, a foreigner with black skin, a few bright red feathers on his head and tail, and an angry glare, asked in a gruff voice. The other, an Accelgor with a dark cloak and a green-striped pink helmet, remained silent.

    “Why are you following me?” Krokorok asked defiantly, turning back around. “This is my mission.”

    “If we were to leave the most important tasks of this operation to a mere child, our organization’s reputation would be tarnished,” the Weavile answered, “-so we were told by Bisharp to follow and support you from the shadows. Good thing too, you’d have been done for if Accelgor hadn’t intervened in your battle with that Scraggy earlier.”

    “That’s not the problem!” the gator yelled, turning back angrily. “The queen undoubtedly has telepaths keeping track of every contestant’s wellbeing. If they notice that there are adults aiding me, everything will be ruined!”

    Weavile gave off an impatient tsk. “We’re professionals. There’s no way we’d be caught by mere telepaths.” Krokorok fell silent and turned away before he continued. “Given your recent loss, I would suggest you hurry to complete this round and play it safe from here on out. No more needless fights, got it?”

    After a moment, Krokorok finally responded in a resentful tone. “Very well.”
    ---------------------------
    “Just how are we supposed to get down there?” Timburr asked as the group came to a stop where the road within the ravine suddenly dropped vertically a great distance to create a massive, rocky cliff. Hours had passed since their seperation from Mienfoo, and it was clear that they still had a ways to go.

    “We climb,” Joltik replied cheerfully as he stepped forward and began to easily climb down thanks to his sticky, spider-like limbs.

    “That’s not fair!” Timburr countered as Pawniard helped Darumaka down. Shifting the unconscious Scraggy onto his back, he threw his wooden block over the edge of the cliff so that he could retrieve it at the bottom later and began to slowly move downwards. “Now might not be the best time to tell you all this,” he continued loudly when the others were nearing halfway down while he was still stuck near the top, “but I’ve never been too big on climbing.”

    Pawniard sighed and called up to him. “Just try to get as far down as you can,” he instructed. “I’ll come back up and help you once Darumaka is down.”

    After dejectedly agreeing, Timburr continued to slowly make his way down while trying to balance Scraggy on his back. He had barely made it a quarter of the way when Pawniard and Darumaka reached the ground, and Pawniard called up to inform him that he was going back up. As Timburr attempted to take another step down, however, his foot slipped and he pushed his center of balance forward to keep from falling. “LOOK OUT!” he screamed in panic as Scraggy slipped off his back and fell towards the ground headfirst.

    Everyone’s eyes widened as they saw Scraggy plummet downwards, knowing that such a fall would be fatal and that there was nothing they could do to save him. Pawniard jumped down and ran beneath his shadow in attempt to catch him before he landed, though he knew that it wouldn’t do any good. As Scraggy came about halfway to the ground, a brownish blur shot out of the southern ravine wall towards him, and they both promptly disappeared into the northern one. The group’s panic immediately turned to pure confusion.

    After a moment, the blur returned and leaped out of the rocky hills, beginning to scale the ravine wall with a series of skillful jumps before coming down right in front of Pawniard and the others. They fell silent as they saw the large buffalo Pokémon; sporting a massive afro and two long horns, walk towards them with Scraggy lying across its back. “Lose something?” the Bouffalant asked calmly as it bent over to roll the unconscious Pokémon onto the loose dirt.

    “Th... thank you,” Pawniard said, both his confusion and his graciousness at this turn of events clearly showing in his voice. “But who are you?”

    “Bouffalant,” the stranger replied. “I just happened to be passing by, so I lent a hand.” That said, the bison turned and prepared to take off, but was stopped by Pawniard.

    “You just happened to be passing by in a place like this?”

    Bouffalant stopped and looked back at the Knife Pokémon. “My team reached the destination early on, so I’m travelling around to scout the competition. I grew up in this sort of terrain, so moving through it is no problem for me.”

    Pawniard and Joltik fell silent at this news, though Darumaka was too young to understand. While Bouffalant certainly seemed young, he seemed to carry the atmosphere of a responsible adult- making it hard to believe that he was actually young enough to enter the Queen’s Tournament. Then again, they knew that there were a few adolescent contestants, and the bison did not appear to be lying. For the most part, however, they were worried about having to go up against him. From what they had seen of his abilities just now and the fact that his team had already reached the destination when only around ten to twelve hours had passed, it was clear that he would be no easy opponent. For now, they both knew that attempting to befriend him was the best course of action.

    “And what sort of competition have you found?” Joltik asked, stumbling to continue the conversation.

    Bouffalant looked up, as if in thought, for a moment before replying. “Most everyone I’ve seen so far are pushovers, but there are a few prodigies out there- they’ll probably be the ones to make it into the later rounds. Anyways, you all better get going. The route you’re on now is easy, but long. It will take you at least seventeen more hours to get out of this region and then head south towards the destination- and that’s if you don’t stop to rest for the night.”

    Pawniard nodded in agreement, and Bouffalant began to move towards the large ravine wall. After moving to pick up Scraggy, he called out to him in a hopeful tone – the first time his mood appeared to lighten since the incident with Krokorok. “We lost a friend, a Mienfoo, in this region earlier and can’t get back to him. If you happen to come across him, we’d greatly appreciate it if you could lend him a hand."

    Bouffalant looked back and smiled. “I’ll keep an eye out, but the Rough Lands is a big region. I can’t promise anything,” he responded before turning back and leaping up and disappearing out of sight into the rocky hills.

    After a couple of minutes, Timburr finally reached the bottom of the cliff. “What was that about?” he asked, looking in the direction where Bouffalant had disappeared.

    Pawniard shrugged and turned around to continue down the path. “Nothing important,” he answered.

    “Liar!” Timburr yelled back as he moved to retrieve his weapon before going after them. “It was important, wasn’t it?” Joltik and Darumaka both sniggered.
    --------------------------------
    The sun had set over Uryus, and Mienfoo still struggled to make his way through the rocky hills- knowing that he would not be able to make it in time if he stopped to rest for the night. Still, all of this constant climbing made his body ache more than it ever had before, and it became increasingly difficult to navigate the terrain as the sky grew darker.

    An hour after night had fallen; the young Pokémon finally reached another rocky plateau that overlooked the Rough Lands. Standing as high as he could, he stared carefully out into the horizon- but could see nothing but an endless sea of stone hills around him. Even the massive Sacred Oak appeared only as a small point in the distance. After coming so far, he was still not even close to making it out of this region.

    As he realized this, a soft drizzle began to rain down onto his head and he collapsed to his knees, no longer able to resist the pain of his injuries and tired muscles. “I’ll never make it…” he told himself aloud sorrowfully as his fur became wet and salty tears rolled out his eyes. “Sorry guys…” Falling to the ground, he began to bawl out at both the pain of his wounds and the fact that he could no longer bring himself to continue onwards.

    This went on for several minutes until Mienfoo finally cried himself out. Wiping his eyes with the pink sleeve-like fur on his arms, he sat up and stared blankly in front of him, listening sadly in self-pity to the pitter-patter of the rain and the sounds the water made as it seemed into the earth through cracks in the hard ground. At some point, however, he realized that there was another noise, besides the rain and flowing water, resounding from behind him. After a minute, he recognized it as the sound of humming. Turning around, he noticed a stout, red-skinned Pokémon wearing white clothes slowly moving in his direction through the hills while singing to himself. Mienfoo stared at the Pokémon for several minutes as he came near, and he was eventually noticed as well.

    “Why, hello there!” the red Pokémon greeted him with a cheerful wave. Coming to the plateau, he began to climb up it until reaching the top. “I’m Throh,” he introduced himself with a smile, extending a hand in greeting.

    Mienfoo shook his hand and introduced himself in exchange, though in a more depressed tone. “Mienfoo.”

    Throh laughed and sat down by crossing his legs. “So, are you a contestant too?” he asked.

    Mienfoo hesitated for a moment at these words. “I was,” he answered regretfully, “but I don’t think I can go on any further. I suppose I’d better just drop out.”

    “Don’t say that!” Throh stopped him. “You can’t just give up! I mean, you’re already around halfway, right?”

    “Even if that’s true,” he replied, staring down at the ground, “there’s no way I’d make it to the destination in time; the terrain is just too difficult.”

    Throh fell silent and thought for a moment. “Do you know why, I’m taking this route?” he finally responded with a question, which quickly perked Mienfoo’s interest. “You see, I was born in a secluded dojo in the Uryus Mountains to the north. There, everyone is dedicated to training themselves as much as possible.

    “Certainly, I could have taken a road which would have led me through these Rough Lands easily, but then I would be no better off than I was before. On the other hand, taking the more difficult route will ultimately improve my body and leave me more prepared for what lies ahead.”

    Noticing that Mienfoo was beginning to understand, Throh continued. “There must be some reason why you entered this tournament, right?” Mienfoo nodded in agreement, shaking the rainwater off his fur. “No matter what it is, won’t you be more pleased with yourself if you finish this having fought to the best of your ability and done everything possible to improve your body and mind, whether you accomplish that goal in the end or not?”

    “I suppose so,” Mienfoo replied, his spirits lightened somewhat, “but that still doesn’t change the fact that I’ll never get past this terrain in time, and this is the only chance I’ll ever have at winning the Golden Fruit in my entire life.”

    Throh chuckled. “The trick to getting through these hills quickly is not speed, but perseverance. If you try to rush through them, you will only tire yourself out and need to stop to rest more often. Conserve your energy and take it slow, but steady. If you follow this rule, you will find making it through here much simpler.”

    Mienfoo pondered these words of wisdom for a moment, but sighed in disappointment. “I think I’m already too tired, though. Even if I were to start after a good night’s rest, it would be too late.”

    “That might be true,” Throh replied, scratching his chin in thought. Then, his eyes widened and a smile spread across his face. After reaching into his white and black martial arts outfit, he pulled out a small, clay canister. “Here, drink this.”

    Upon accepting the item, Mienfoo fingered it in confusion. “What is it?”

    “It’s a special drink specially made from rare herbs and berries by my dojo. Just one mouthful will give even someone on their deathbed enough energy to move around for several hours. It even helps speed up the healing process of your wounds a little.”

    After hearing this, he stared at the canister in disbelief. “Th… this is so nice of you,” he replied. “Are you sure it’s ok for me to take it?”

    “I brewed a few of these before I left just in case, but I never actually intended to use them. It’s more of a challenge that way, you know? Besides, you need it more than me right now- and I’m looking forward to meeting you later on in the tournament.” Throh said these words cheerfully, and Mienfoo smiled at his new friend’s incredible kindness before unscrewing the lid and taking a sip.

    The drink’s cool, sweet herbal taste was so delicious and refreshing that he went on to chug every last drop. Upon finishing it, he set down the canister and jumped to his feet with renewed vigor. “This is great!” he shouted cheerfully as he felt all of his energy return and the pain of his injuries fade. “I feel like I can go on all night!” Throh clapped and laughed as he danced around the plateau happily in the rain.

    “Don’t hog that stuff all for yourself!” A third, very angry and bitter voice called out to the two from behind, and they turned to see a very tired, bruised, and beaten zebra-like Pokémon with a mane resembling a lightning bolt step onto the plateau as well. Rainwater dripped down its black and white fur as it stared at them with distraught blue eyes. “Give me some!”

    After looking at him for a moment, Mienfoo’s jaw dropped as he realized who this was. “You’re that Blitzle that attacked me and my friends after the queen’s speech ended earlier today!” he shouted in surprise, though not with a resentful tone. He was too kind a person to hold such foolish grudges.

    The Blitzle grumbled at these words, but quickly regained his composure. “Sorry about that,” he responded. “I was just a little excited, that’s all. But I didn’t realize how difficult this region was, and I ended up crashing too many times when I tried to run through it.

    “But now I understand,” the zebra continued, shifting his gaze to and from the two of them, “I just have to take it slower and be more careful so that I can pass the round. If I only had one of those drinks, I’d have another chance at making it. Please.”

    Throh sat there for a moment before reaching into his outfit and pulling out another canister. “OK, then,” he replied as he rolled it on the flat, stone ground towards Blitzle. “I can’t just go around giving help to one fellow contestant and no one else, after all.”

    When the canister came near him, Blitzle stopped it with his hoof and greedily snatched it off the ground with his mouth. Breaking the lid with his teeth, the zebra raised his head and began to quickly gulp the drink down. Upon finishing, he dropped the canister and roared into the dark cloud-filled sky with utmost satisfaction. Then, a bolt of white lightning erupted from its mane to explode violently at Throh’s location, though he was able to easily stand up and jump out of the way in time.

    “Hey! What was that about?” Mienfoo shouted angrily when Blitzle stepped back and began to charge up more electricity.

    “If I had more of those things, winning this tournament would be a piece of cake!” he answered loudly as he unleashed another series of thunderbolts at Throh. “So hand the rest over!”

    Instead of responding, Throh merely jumped around to effortlessly evade the various attacks. Blitzle laughed as he released a large wave of vibrating electricity towards him in such a way that he would not be able to dodge. Throh raised his arms to brace himself, but quickly found that Mienfoo had jumped in the way to protect him.

    When the resulting smoke had cleared, Mienfoo still stood strong - albeit with slightly singed fur. “Throh here is my friend, and I owe him so much,” he said angrily while stepping towards the zebra. “If you want to attack him, you’ll have to go through me first.”

    Blitzle grunted. “Fine then,” he replied while releasing another barrage of electric bolts, “I’ll beat you down too!”

    Coming forward, Mienfoo ducked to the ground to dodge beneath the lightning before leaping upwards to reach incredible heights- coming down onto the enemy’s back to deliver a fierce bounce attack with his swinging paws. Ignoring the painful surge of electricity that flowed through him as they came into contact, Mienfoo rolled to the ground and faked an attack to the left then twisted around to deliver a Force Palm from the right. As Blitzle stumbled backwards, Mienfoo stepped closer and ducked beneath him before raising his leg to launch him off the ground with a vertical High Jump Kick to the stomach.

    “Stupid fool!” Blitzle shouted from mid-air as he charged up more energy before unleashing it to deliver a massive Thunderbolt directly at him from above.

    Before the attack hit, Mienfoo jumped upwards as a sphere of swirling, bluish energy began gather between his fists, giving off a bright, magnificent glow. Crying out, he then threw the Aura Sphere upwards into the air where it collided with Blitzle’s thunderbolt to produce a violent, smoky explosion between the two fighters. An instant later, Mienfoo landed on his feet while the zebra crashed down on his side.

    Struggling to stand upright, Blitzle muttered under his breath angrily. “You think you can beat me?” he asked aloud nonthreateningly, obviously attempting to convince himself to continue. “I’ll show you!” Another bolt of lightning shot out of his mane towards Mienfoo, who ran towards it while bracing himself to take the attack head on.

    For a second, Blitzle smiled as he saw his attack explode on contact with the young Pokémon, but his eyes widened in surprise when Mienfoo jumped through it to deliver a mid-air Jump Kick to his neck. When he had fallen, Mienfoo stepped back.

    “An ungracious, greedy, and crude Pokémon like you doesn’t deserve to win the Golden Fruit,” Mienfoo spoke strongly, his clawed fists clenched with repressed rage. “I will end your journey through this tournament right here and now!” Upon saying these words, he ran forward to kick the zebra in the side with all his might- sending him flying far off of the dark plateau.

    After a moment, Mienfoo caught his breath and turned back to his new friend. “I’m sorry about,” he said dejectedly as he bowed his head slightly in apology, “I might have gone overboard there.”

    “Don’t be,” Throh replied, clapping. “You’re pretty strong, and you fight for what you believe in. I look forward to battling you later on.” Mienfoo looked back at him in surprise for a moment, prompting him to explain further. “I’d rather go up against an honorable competitor such as you than a self-centered one like him. But enough of that, I think we’ve rested here long enough. Let’s move on, shall we? You’re ok, right?”

    Mienfoo smiled and nodded to let him know that the fight hadn’t hurt him too badly, but stopped short after beginning to walk after him. “What about Blitzle?” he asked worriedly, looking back in the fallen zebra’s direction as if suddenly realizing just what he had done.

    “I think he’ll be fine,” Throh answered sympathetically. “His injuries aren’t fatal, and the Queen will probably send some of her knights out to save the stragglers if she feels their lives are at risk.”

    After a brief pause, Mienfoo followed him off of the plateau and they slowly began to weave their way through the hills together. Upon passing at least three, he stopped upon realizing something else. “Hey, Throh,” he spoke as he resumed pace, “earlier you asked me if I had a reason for entering the tournament, and I told you that I wanted to win the Golden Fruit.” Throh nodded in acknowledgement. “What’s your reason?”

    The stout Pokémon stood still for a moment. “Part of it is because I wished to test and improve my abilities,” he answered, “and the main reason is of a similar vein. You see, there is a certain Pokémon in this tournament who I wish to defeat.”

    Mienfoo looked up at Throh, wondering who it was he was talking about. Realizing that it wasn’t any of his business, he continued after him and they travelled through the region together well into the night.
    ------------------------------------
    It was well past midnight when a tall, steel-skinned Pokémon with numerous sharp blades across its body and a helmet-like head stepped into the impossibly rocky terrain that comprised the Rough Lands. With a single, effortless jump, it was able to reach the top of a nearby stone hill in the blink of an eye.

    Before him, a wall-like dark void appeared and from it emerged a golden, floating sarcophagus with two glowing red eyes and four shadowy arms. Behind the coffin came a large, vulture-like Pokémon with brown feathers and a bare pink head. “Ah, Bisharp,” the vulture spoke in a cruel, feminine tone, “how’s it going?”

    The steel-skinned Pokémon looked back at the vulture with a blank, featureless glare. “Progress Report?” Bisharp asked dispassionately, ignoring her question.

    The Mandibuzz sighed. “As you predicted, the Golden Fruit has been removed from the palace. Its current location is unknown, but we have reason to believe that it is being kept in the ruins of Centerton- where the contestants of the Queen’s Tournament are currently gathering. Garbodor and Simidark are in the area investigating further.”

    “What of Krokorok?” Bisharp inquired as he passed between them and began to walk forward down the hill.

    This time, the coffin-like Pokémon answered as he and Mandibuzz turned to follow him. “He is being supported by Weavile and Accelgor, as you requested. According to Weavile’s last update, they successfully lead him to Centerton two hours ago and are currently hiding out in the surrounding forests to avoid detection. Apparently the Queen and several of her knights are there as well.”

    “I expected as much. Tell them to continue supporting the kid as long as possible,” Bisharp ordered calmly. “In the mean time, we will wait until Simidark reports back with further information before stepping in. Understood?” The two Pokémon quickly agreed, and Bisharp promptly disappeared in a sudden high-speed blur.

    “He really intends to go up against the Queen?” Cofagrigus asked when he was sure that they were out of earshot.

    “No task is impossible so long as the pay is good enough,” Mandibuzz answered with an evil smile. “That’s DLST’s motto, after all.”
    Last edited by Dust; 29th October 2011 at 09:16 PM.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Mienfoo and the Golden Fruit (WIP)

    Chapter 4: To Centerton

    “…. Wha….?” Mienfoo drearily thought aloud as he slowly came to, wincing from the hot afternoon sun glaring down through two rocky cliffs directly into his eyes. After standing up slowly, he brushed the dirt off his toasted fur, smacked his dry, cracking lips, and looked around at the stone hills surrounding him. Almost immediately, he brought his paw to his forehead and cursed himself. What was I thinking! he thought as he began to scale the nearest hill in order to get a better look at the sky. Did I oversleep?

    Upon reaching the top, he stared up at the glowing sun hanging in the center of the sky and quickly confirmed his suspicions. Upon realizing this, he quickly dropped to his knees in defeat, lowered his head, and sighed disappointedly as a light, but warm breeze blew his fur and whiskers uncomfortably. The heat from the sun above seemed to distort his view of the sky, making the flaming mass appear to dance tauntingly at the young mustelid Pokémon.

    I shouldn’t have stopped… Mienfoo thought depressingly as his mind raced back to the previous night, when his tired, injured body had finally begun to overwhelm the energy drink’s effects. Not wanting to hold his friend back, he had told Throh to go on without him. Though he had planned to stop only briefly, the cool night sky had proven to be too much and quickly lured him into a deep sleep. Now, he realized that he had been asleep for a good seven or eight hours and only had approximately the same amount of time, hopefully a little more, to continue. He knew that he would never be able to escape the large Rough Lands region so quickly, and he no longer had the chance to meet up and continue through the tournament with Pawniard and the others. He had already lost.

    “… won’t you be more pleased with yourself if you finish this having fought to the best of your ability and done everything possible to improve your body and mind, whether you accomplish that goal in the end or not?”

    Throh’s words echoed through his head as it hang low in a defeated manner, and he instantly stood up, closed his paws into a tight fist, and smiled determinedly. That’s right, Mienfoo thought as he clenched his teeth and rubbed his blurry eyes on his warm sleeve-like fur, causing the dancing sun to return to its still, dejected position in the sky. Just because it’s impossible to succeed doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try!

    Without a second thought, he began to steadily climb back down the cliff to the dusty, stone ground where he had just awoken. On a small nearby boulder, a small clay canister caught his eye and he reached out to pick it up. He smiled as he held the drink in his hands, glad at his friend’s kind gesture. However, he felt rested enough from his long nap to continue on without it. “Guess I’ll save this for later,” he told himself aloud as he undid the shoulder strap attaching himself to the tube he had received at the start of the round the day before and slid it inside along with his rolled up map.

    Knowing that he would need to hurry if he was to have any chance at all, no matter how slight, of making it in time, Mienfoo immediately set off towards the hill before him and a look of ascertainment flashed in his eyes. There was no way he was going to let anyone down by losing this round, no matter the odds. And even if he did, he would only satisfied by the fact that he had tried his very best until the end- even if he was still far from making it out of the Rough Lands by then.

    Even more hours passed as Mienfoo slowly, but steadily weaved through the rocky hills and made his way onwards- not stopping to rest even once. It was not until the time limit approached four hours or so and the afternoon was nearing its end that he began to unconsciously panic a little. Still, he knew that he could not give up just yet, and began to force himself to pick up the pace. He hadn’t gotten far when he heard a faint voice calling out desperately from the cliffs up ahead. Curious, he decided to stop briefly to investigate.

    Approaching the site where the voice came from, he noticed a great mass of broken stones lying at the base of a rocky hill looked that as if its peak had been shattered and the resulting pieces fallen to the ground as if some sort of small tremor had occured there. The voice, it seemed, seeped out from beneath the pile of rocks. “Anyone in there?” he called out to it loudly.

    “…Please, help!” the faint voice answered him with renewed vigor, and Mienfoo realized that a Pokémon must have been inside a cave or crevice when the rocks had sealed him inside.

    He stood there in thought for a moment. If Throh was right, then an adult would eventually come to save the trapped contestant, so there was no reason for him to waste time trying to free him. Still, at this point he had realized that no matter how fast he moved, there was unfortunately no way he would be able to make it in time. Perhaps potentially saving a life would be better than pointlessly trying to continue onwards anyways. “Don’t worry!” he told the Pokémon inside after coming to a decision. “I’ll get you out of there!”

    Working as quickly as he could, Mienfoo attempted to remove the stones with all of his strength and muscle as a fighting-type, but the task took him a good twenty minutes before he was able to get to the trapped Pokémon inside. As he removed the last one with a mighty heave, a small-bodied, grey-skinned Pokémon with a disproportionately large forehead, glowing green eyes and two short, stubby legs pushed its way out, struggling to see in the bright sunlight. The brownish tube hanging across its shoulder told him that it was a fellow contestant as well.

    “Thank you, friend,” the Pokémon spoke in a drawn-out, robotic voice, though the terrified-yet greatly relieved tone behind it could clearly be detected. “I was beginning to worry that I would never escape that place. I am Elgyem.”

    “Mienfoo,” he replied as he inspected Elgyem’s bruised and beaten body. It was obvious that he was very worn out, though his injuries seemed to have been dealt some time ago and were already beginning to heal. “How did you get stuck in there, anyways?”

    Elgyem shook his head, raising his hand to shield his eyes from the bright sun. “I was attempting to use my psychic abilities to float over the region, but I was spotted by a strong contestant. He shot me down with an attack and then rushed to finish me. I tried to defend myself, but he was too powerful and I was easily overwhelmed. When I came to, I was already trapped.”

    “Who attacked you?” Mienfoo asked worriedly, stepping forward to help support the Pokémon when he had begun to fall over.

    “I… I don’t remember clearly,” Elgyem answered as he struggled to return to his feet and then began to walk towards a nearby stone which he could sit on, “it all happened really fast. I recall a flash of white… and being really cold. So cold…” The Pokémon fell silent and shuddered.

    Mienfoo listened to these words and shook his head in disgust. To think that there were still other cruel Pokémon like Krokorok and Blitzle in this tournament. Opening the tube still strapped to his shoulder, Mienfoo pulled out the canister given to him by Throh. “Drink this,” he instructed, “it will make you feel better.”

    The Pokémon did so cautiously, and his weariness seemed to fade as he drank it with increasing speed. Upon finishing it, he grunted in shock to discover that he could once again stand and walk without stumbling from the pain of his injuries and lack of energy. “Incredible!” Elgyem said, breathing excitedly. “I never knew that there were such powerful rejuvenative teas in existence. I didn’t think I would be able to move like this for at least a day! Please, friend; I must repay you for this. Is there anything I can do for you?”

    “Not really,” Mienfoo chuckled as he scratched the back of his head, having smiled at being called ‘friend’. Then, he noticed the sun to begin to set, shining a brilliant orange in the sky to their west, and sighed. “Not unless you could somehow get us to the destination in the next two hours.”

    Elgyem stopped to stare at him blankly for a moment, and then turned to carefully inspect the far-reaching rough terrain to their east. “Such an act would not be implausible with my abilities,” he finally answered in a matter-of-fact tone, bringing the three multicolor digits on his hand up to caress his chin in thought.

    Mienfoo’s smile faded in surprise upon hearing Elgyem’s reply and he turned to face him at a loss for words. “Wha-” he began, only to be interrupted when a stream of glowing pink psychic energy shot out of the black symmetrical lines on the psychic Pokémon’s large forehead and formed a wide, thick ring around them.

    “Let us go,” Elgyem spoke in a monotonous voice as the circle of energy split into two smaller ones which quickly enveloped each of them and shrank until coming to a stop around their hips. Upon raising his arms to clap his hands together, the rings slowly rose through the air with their respective targets in tow.

    Mienfoo stared in shock at the ground slowly growing further and further from the soles of his feet before glancing at the gray Pokémon. Confidently, he nodded and Elgyem extended his arm towards him. The moment they made contact, psychic energy surged through into the mustelid's body and they both soared up even higher.

    Then, Elgyem closed his green eyes in concentration and they shot forward through the sky opposite the setting sun. Mienfoo stared down in awe at the thousands of massive stone hills pass beneath their feet, feeling as if he were standing still on a high bridge watching a river of stones flowing rapidly below as a strong wind blew vigorously against his fur. Within several minutes, they could both see the edge of the massive region in the distance ahead.

    Upon coming closer, Mienfoo’s view of the area beyond the Rough Lands gradually became clearer. In the narrow flatlands between the two regions, he could see a beaten trail running from the north and then turn sharply eastwards into a large, leafy forest. Thinking back to the last time he had looked at the map given to him at the start of the challenge, he guessed that this was one of the trails leading to their destination.

    Suddenly and without warning, the two began to rapidly lose altitude. Before long, Elgyem had carefully brought them down to land with a blunt thud on the trail just in front of the forest and then fell to the ground in exhaustion. “I must apologize,” he told Mienfoo, his monotonous, robotic voice sounding even more drawn out as he panted heavily. “Advanced levitation is very tiring. I do not think I bring us any further.”

    “Don’t be sorry,” Mienfoo answered kindly, struggling to keep his sheer excitement under control, “we can walk the rest of the way and still make it.” After having been on the brink of failure, a miraculous stroke of luck had given him another opportunity to succeed and rejoin the rest of his team. There was no way he would let that opportunity go to waste.

    After helping the cerebral Pokémon to his feet and making sure he was alright, Mienfoo hurried down the path with him as quickly as they could manage. For more than half an hour, they hurried down the winding forest trail; guided by the light of the setting sun seeping through the treetops surrounding them. As they moved, the two gradually picked up speed in their anxious excitement. After some time, however, Elgyem stopped suddenly.

    “What’s the matter?” Mienfoo perplexingly asked as he slowed down and looked back at Elgyem’s widened, horrified face. Upon speaking, he noticed a faint mist emerge from his mouth and he suddenly realized just how frigid the air was. Having just been standing beneath the searing sun in the Rough Lands, he was bewildered at how the temperature had managed to drop so quickly. It shouldn’t be possible.

    Then he heard the sound of twigs being crushed by heavy feet in the trees behind him. Turning around, he found himself staring at the belly of an enormous white-furred figure.

    “What have we here?” the towering Beartic spoke with a scowl, revealing a row of deadly white fangs above a beard of sharp icicles as it stepped around him. “I thought I recognized your scent,” it said with a vicious growl as it glared at Elgyem with its cruel, ireless black eyes. “Do I really have to put you in your place again?”

    Elgyem stepped backwards, trembling. “You… it was you…” he said, his humdrum, toneless voice drowned out by unmistakable terror. Before making it far, he tripped over his feet and fell into the dirt.

    The bear smirked at the small Pokémon’s reaction and began to move towards him, only for Mienfoo to jump in the way. “Don’t worry; I’ll take care of you after I’m done with him,” it spoke, staring down at him like a ferocious giant preparing to step on a harmless, dying roach, “or would you rather go first?”

    Mienfoo didn’t as much as blink as he stared up at the monstrous bear, clenching his teeth and giving off an angry glare. “You’re the one who attacked Elgyem before, and left him for dead like that?” he asked unfalteringly. Anger on behalf of his newfound friend surged through him, but that was not the only reason he stood so firmly. He had been through so much during this round, and there was no way he was going to let himself and his friend be stopped now that he knew that there was a chance at passing.

    “So what if I am?” the Beartic answered, opening its mouth threateningly to reveal its many sharp teeth. “I did that to a bunch of other contestants, too. What are you going to do about it?” Without waiting for an answer, Beartic threw back its head and then brought it forward to unleash a powerful gust of chilling wind from its mouth that came down and exploded to blow Mienfoo backwards. Before he could stand, the bear rushed forward to slam him further away with a long, but bulky and powerful arm.

    Rolling to his feet, Mienfoo quickly raised his paws to take on defensive stance. “Why are you doing this?” he asked in an irate yell.

    Beartic laughed. “Because you’re the enemy,” he answered gruffly, as if it should have been obvious. “The less competition there is, the easier this tournament will be.” After taking a deep breath, he exhaled cold air onto his claws to coat them with a clear, deadly-sharp ice and extend their reach. With his new frigid claws in place, he once again came forward to strike Mienfoo- who slid beneath his legs and came up to deliver a jumping kick to the back.

    Beartic’s size of almost eight feet kept him from losing balance and allowed him twist his body around to slam his attacker to the ground with an open palm. As Mienfoo attempted to crawl backwards, he breathed out a stream of chilled air to cover the earth in a layer of solid ice. Then, he jumped up and came down to shatter the ground with his massive claws.

    Mienfoo stood and ran back to escape the blow, but a sharpened icicle shot out of the resulting dust cloud like a spear to pierce him in the arm the moment he looked back. Again, he fell to the ground, biting his lip in a futile attempt to ignore the pain.

    As the small Pokémon laid on the ground, struggling to remove the bloodied icicle from his flesh, the bear slowly stepped towards him then briefly glanced at the sky, which had unknowingly now slipped into a black dusk lit only by the moon and stars above. “There’s not much time left,” he said with a cocky smirk spread across his face as he raised a massive white claw, “so I’ll finish this real quick.”

    “Stop that!” Elgyem screamed from behind as an invisible psychic energy took hold of the bear, lifted him briefly off the ground, and hurled him into a nearby tree trunk. When the bear stood and stared back at him, he gulped bravely and took a step forward. “If Mienfoo can stand and fight you, then I can as well,” he said, still trembling as he returned the bear’s gaze. “I won’t run.”

    After getting back up, the bear walked towards Elgyem, snarling. “You’ve got a death wish?” In response, Elgyem unleashed a beam of multicolored energy that shot forward and exploded to make him stumble back a little. In an instant, Beartic had shaken off the damage and prepared to rush towards the attacker, but stopped when he felt something amiss then turned to see that Mienfoo had pulled the icicle out of his arm, rushed forward, and leaped upwards to stare at him at eyelevel, giving him an cold, unforgiving death glare. The bear did not even have a moment to react as a powerful sphere of swirling blue energy was unleashed from the mustelid’s palm into his cheek and slammed him into the ground with explosive force.

    Before the dust had settled, Mienfoo already knew that such a powerful opponent would not be downed so easily and brought his hands together to form another, far larger Aura Sphere. After taking a deep breath, he slammed the mass of aura into the fallen bear as well- producing an even greater, more violent explosion that shook the earth, made the surrounding trees tremble, and even blew his own ally off his feet. When the dust finally did settle, he stood victoriously atop Beartic’s dirt-stained, unconscious body.

    After lowering his head to catch his breath, he turned to call out to Elgyem. “Let’s get a move on,” he said urgently as he shared a faint warm smile, “we don’t have long.”

    Elgyem stared disbelievingly at the fallen Beartic until finally giving off a relieved chuckle. “I’m glad I met you,” he then said, looking back at Mienfoo admirably. “But yes, lets.”

    More than half an hour had passed before the trail Mienfoo and Elgyem were traveling on opened up into a massive clearing in the forest, within which they could see a small town filled with numerous large, wooden buildings, each giving off an unpleasant musky scent from age. Before they could set foot inside the clearing, however, a painful cracking sound filled the air as a big, floating white figure surrounded by a greenish goo-like substance - a Reuniclus - teleported before them in a sudden flash of light.

    “Congratulations,” the adult spoke cheerfully, “your arrival here in Centerton means that you have successfully completed Round One of the Queen’s Tournament! And not a moment too soon either! If you had come ten minutes later, I would have had no choice but to disqualify you.”

    Mienfoo laughed in pure delight and Elgyem sighed. After all that they had gone through, they were both undeniably relieved to have succeeded in passing the round in the end.

    “I have already recorded all necessary information, so now I will show you to the nearest dining hall where you will be able to have dinner and then select your own quarters afterwards,” Reuniclus continued once the two had calmed down, turning around to lead them into the town.

    “I never knew that there was a town here,” Mienfoo thought aloud as he inspected his surroundings, seeing no one else nearby. Having come from Western Uryus like most of the other contestants, he knew very little of the land’s more untamed eastern half.

    “More than a hundred years ago, Centerton was a very thriving port that was often travelled through by merchants going to and from the land of Kidala,” Elgyem unexpectedly replied in a matter-of-fact tone with his usual monotonous voice, "but when sea travel became possible, most business moved to the gulf in Western Uryus and the town was quickly abandoned as a result. However, it is still maintained by the government, presumably for events like this.”

    “That’s correct!” Reuniclus exclaimed upon hearing Elgyem's words. “Not many people know this region’s history so well, I’m impressed!” Elgyem turned his head away shyly at the adult's praise.

    Soon after, they had reached the dining hall- a large building with bright lights shining out its many windows- and began to walk towards the door. “This is Dining Hall D,” he told them, “we’ve had a surprisingly large number of Pokémon pass the round, so we had to open up two extras. Still, there should still be something left to eat even at this hour. Once you’ve had your fill and the end of the round has been announced, you can contact an official about finding a cabin to stay in. We’ve placed first aid and plenty of other conveniences inside each one, so you should be able to recover a little before you turn in.” After stepping in front of the door, he gave them a big smile. “I have other business to attend to, so I’ll have to go now. Good luck to the both of you!”

    Mienfoo and Elgyem both turned back to thank him and wave goodbye as he floated away before entering the building, which was lit by glowing lamps powered by bright, white-tinted psychic energy. Looking around, they found it to be rather packed, with hundreds of tough-looking contestants sitting and eating their meals at various long tables. Before they could go to receive some food from the adults handing it out at a table up front, however, a loud voice rang out from the crowd.

    “MIENFOO!!!” the voice shouted, and a familiar face suddenly appeared to tackle him to the ground with a bone crushing hug.

    “Scraggy!” Mienfoo replied happily, though he struggled to break free from the lizard’s uncomfortable iron grip.

    “Alright, you made it!” Timburr spoke excitedly as he, Pawniard, Darumaka, and Joltik rushed to greet him from between two long dining tables. “We were starting to worry that you wouldn’t get here in time! Scraggy here missed you a lot, it seems.”

    “So it does,” he replied as he managed to push Scraggy off then stepped forward to exchange greetings with the others. “This is Elgyem,” he said, gesturing to the cerebral Pokémon still behind him, “there’s no way I would have made it if it weren’t for his help.” Elgyem waved shyly.

    The group all laughed; exchanging stories as the two new arrivals received their dinners and sat down. Mienfoo told them of everything that had happened since their separation at the hands of Krokorok; from his meeting with Throh to the fight with Beartic, and expressed shock upon learning that Scraggy had gone berserk when he was thrown away earlier. Though the topic of Krokorok’s powerful unknown ally came up, they mainly focused on the excitement of their reunion rather than dwelling on it too much. Apart from that fight, the others had little difficulty reaching Centerton earlier that day – save for a few minor confrontations with others.

    “I didn’t expect this many Pokémon to make it here,” Mienfoo said after the excitement of their reunion had begun to fade, eyeing all of the contestants seated at the tables surrounding them. The fact that this was only one of at least four dining halls further added to his surprise. “Just how many others are there?”

    “Last I heard,” Pawniard answered indifferently, his head lowered so as to avoid eye contact, “just under half of the contestants present at the beginning of Round 1 have successfully passed. That would be somewhere around twenty-five hundred. Most of them took southern routes, it seems.”

    Seeing the shocked look on Mienfoo’s face, Timburr chuckled. “I know right? I found it hard to believe, too. I guess there’s just a lot of skilled competition around. It is more fun that way though, right?”

    “I suppose so,” the mustelid answered as he returned to the surprisingly delicious brownish goop that comprised his meal. Though the idea of so much competition still troubled him, his journey through the Rough Lands had helped him further realize that winning the Golden Fruit wasn’t what was most important to him - having fun while competing for it together with all his friends was far more satisfying. He was sure that the others felt similarly.

    Within a few moments time, the dining hall’s door slammed open as a massive white figure entered the building. Mienfoo’s jaw dropped and Elgyem’s eyes widened when they realized that this was the same Beartic they had defeated earlier. From the amount of damage the aura spheres had dealt from point-blank range, they hadn’t expected the bear to wake up for at least half a day. The fact that he had been able to regain consciousness and make it here so quickly was stupefying to them. As if suddenly noticing the two familiar faces, the bear quickly turned to give them a terrifying, heart-stopping glare – and they both could not help but shudder in shock.

    Fortunately, the bear averted his gaze and quietly moved to the opposite side of the building when Reuniclus entered through the door as well. “Attention everyone!” he shouted, making everyone fall quiet. “The last contestant has arrived, and the time limit has expired! Round One has now officially ended! Therefore, you are all now permitted to enter the cabins you picked out earlier to rest for the night. If anyone does not have one yet, please speak with me or another official once you’re done eating so that we may find you one. I recommend that you all get a good night’s sleep, as Round Two will begin at eight ‘o’clock tomorrow morning!” Around half of the seated contestants cheered, but the rest, the more experienced, tougher looking crowd, remained dead silent. Once Reuniclus had fallen silent, most of the contestants quickly stood and began to exit the building in mass.

    “Don’t worry about finding any quarters,” Joltik told Mienfoo and Elgyem, who were still not finished with their meals, from the small stool to their right he had crawled onto from the floor. “We managed to get a whole cabin for ourselves, and there’s enough space for you two to stay there as well.”

    “Wonderful,” Elgyem replied as he began to finish eating, though his discomfort at Beartic’s sudden appearance still showed in his eyes.

    After Mienfoo had explained who the Pokémon that had been staring at the two was, Timburr snorted. “Don’t worry about him,” he told Elgyem reassuringly as he attempted to look through the moving crowds of contestants to get a better look at the white bear on the other side of the hall, “if he tries to attack you during the next round, he’ll have to go through all of us first.” Joltik, Scraggy, and Darumaka immediately raised their voices in agreement and Elgyem acknowledged his gratitude with a slight nod.

    When the topic of Beartic had finally faded and nearly all of the other contestants had exited the hall, Mienfoo placed his chin in his palms to think. “I wonder what the next round will be like?” he asked aloud calmly.

    “Who knows?” Timburr answered with an eager smile. “It’ll definitely be harder than the first one, though. I can barely wait!”

    “Whatever it is,” Joltik continued, “I think we can expect a challenge. We already know for a fact that there are some really strong contestants around that we’ll inevitably have to go up against eventually. ”

    "And we'll be ready," Mienfoo spoke after a brief, akward pause, finishing his meal and standing from the small wooden stool he had been sitting on a moment later. Everyone cheered at these words and quickly stood to make their way out of the dining hall towards their cabin, where they would be able to sleep peacefully for the rest of the night in preparation for the trials that would await them the next morning.

    As the group walked through the town together, Pawniard hung behind and stared depressingly at Mienfoo’s back. The memory of staring helplessly up at the sky as Krokorok threw him deep into the Rough Lands and then cruelly telling the others that they would have to leave him behind, all because they had taken the road he had half-heartedly suggested on a whim, flashed through his mind. His head hung low as he reminded himself that all of his friend’s misfortunes were his fault.

    “Pelagius… run!” his father’s voice echoed from in front of the infant knife Pokémon, who stood still in terror as a pair of demonic, murderous eyes belonging to a familiar, steel-skinned figure emerged from the darkness before him – the deadly sharp metal blades on its arms stained in the gray-tinted blood of his mother and siblings. “I said run!” his father yelled louder as he stepped between the two and raised the identical, though untainted blades on his own arms. The child snapped to his senses and took a step backwards, wet tears filling his eyes as he turned to run in the opposite direction, hearing the sound of his father’s metal corpse hitting the stone floor with an echoing thud an instant later.



    Everything was always his fault.
    Last edited by Dust; 13th January 2012 at 01:38 AM.
    My URPG Stats
    AIM: Sandstorm263

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mienfoo and the Golden Fruit (Ready for Grading)

    I think this is a decent stopping point for now, even if I've still got a ways to go. I'm not really into URPG anymore, but I still want to at least finish this story before leaving altogether. I know it's not all that good, but hopefully the grader's advice will help me improve it a little.

    Targets (Chapters 1-4):
    -Mienfoo: 20k
    -Pawniard: 30k
    -Scraggy: 10k
    -Darumaka: 10k
    -Timburr: 10k
    -Joltik: 10k
    -Elgyem: 10k
    -Required CC: 100k
    -Actual CC: Aprox. 108k


    Edit: Went back and proofread it a little. Seriously, I must've been half-asleep when I last did that.

    Edit AGAIN: Added a few details in the first two chapters (mostly the first) and patched up a glaring flaw (which I somehow overlooked until now) in the early inn scene. God, I'm a horrible proofreader.

    Oh, and sorry about all the excess edits. I'll stop now.
    Last edited by Dust; 18th October 2011 at 12:49 PM.
    My URPG Stats
    AIM: Sandstorm263

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mienfoo and the Golden Fruit (Ready for Grading)

    Introduction: Interesting start with the Golden Fruit. I have read numerous stories and such that include some sort of mystical fruit so it made me wonder how you would pull it off, but that’s for later. The first opening paragraph did a fine job of drawing the reader in. This was accomplished by you deftly using the detail about the fruit, using history about ‘the dark era’ then setting up the rest of the story with the tournament.

    Some authors like to leave the reader guessing about the plot lines of your story, but you chose to tell the reader straight up, and that is fine. But when using that kind of introduction you want to be careful and not give too much information because then you’ll lose that excitement factor and the reader would grow bored. This didn’t happen, so good job.

    Overall, I really don’t see any problems with the intro, you nailed it one the head.

    Plot{Chapter 1}:

    I’m breaking this part of your story into a plot because you listed it as a chapter, but it could have falling into the category of either a prologue or extended introduction. Let’s start with why.

    As I mentioned above you started with the history of the golden fruit then you move into the main character, a Meinfoo. From this point you go onto meet a Pawniard, Scraggly, Darumaka, Darmanitan, Joltik, Timburr then lastly a Krokorok. The first are introduced as roommates and the others, with the exception of Krokorok, as Pokemon they happened to strike up friendship with. I liked the variation of how Mienfoo came into contact with the others, because you could have easily introduced them all in the same manner and that could be boring.

    Besides setting up all the characters you are planning to use you throw in two interesting tidbits that caught my eye. The first is the assumed rivalry developing between the friends and the foul Krokodile. That kind of relationship creates a good contrast of the characters and can provide a slew of plot lines as the story progresses. And the other thing was the idea of team battles. Usually in these stories you don’t see double battles or anything higher than that, so that also can be fun to read if pulled off correctly.

    There is all the good things that I liked, now we can move onto the three questions I had as I read through the opening chapter. The first question revolves around the Pokemon don’t have their own individual names. Because based on what I’m reading this is a Pokemon world without humans, now I obviously could be wrong on this point, but in the beginning it felt weird to be totally immersed in a Pokemon with everyone having the same species name. I don’t know if were trying to keep the Pokemon separated so you could keep track of them, but I felt it could have created a more personal touch and realism if had given them names.

    My second question deals with the Scraggly. it’s personality felt out of tune with the others. What I mean by this is that you have Scraggly having outbursts and making impulsive behaviors without some explanation. You did say that he was sort of screwed up in the head, but you never go past that and it really made the Pokemon stand out in a bad way. To solve this you should have a sentence or two that would give the reader more information so that a clear picture is created and there aren’t any points of conflict.

    When you switch to the part about the Krokorok meeting his master you start the paragraph out with some hidden figure asking for the password and then you give it to him. The problem I see here is that you have a dissonance because you used dialogue to ask for the password then didn’t use any to reply. I think you wanted to be secretive here, and that’s perfectly fine, but what I would suggest is either using dialogue throughout the scene, or not using it. This would solve the contrasting feel.


    Plot{Chapter 2}:

    This one pretty much starts off from where the other one left. Your main character, Mienfoo, wakes then he and his roommates go off to the staging grounds where they meet up with their other friends. From there we descend into battle with the group of six and you cut the story off when they run into their old foe Krokodile.

    Not much happened here that was eye catching about the team battle, so we can start there. You moved from battle scene to battle scene as everyone battled smoothlessly and this was a good thing. When attempting to do this kind of battle, as an author, you’ll want to worry about transitions so that your fight doesn’t look like indiividual pieces of jumbo text blocks. That didn’t happen here, so props to you for that.

    Moving on, something that did bother me about the battle was a lack of moves and some questionable outcomes. Here’s what I mean:

    As she said this, a lightning bolt erupted from within the tall grass to strike the Roggenrola onboard- immediately causing it to fall into the river and sink.
    Up to this point in the battle Roggenrola hadn’t recieved any significant amount of damage. In the Pokemon universe Electric typed attacks will still hurt rock type Pokemon, but will they cause to essentially faint? Not really. If this was two fully evolved Pokemon going at it, I could possible see this occurring. But with two basic Pokemon, who don’t have full control over their moves and are still learning moves it just doesn’t make much sense. If you wanted to disable the Roggenrolo you could have done it a few other ways that would have made more sense. Like you did later, Darumaka could have set fire to the raft and sunk it then, disabling the Pokemon.

    Another point:

    From the river, a beam of bright white energy shot out and struck the closest member of their team, Scraggy with a small, but blinding explosion.
    -
    With every opponent defeated, the group dragged them all into a single spot and surrounded them as Scraggy stumbled onto the scene, almost completely oblivious to his injuries.
    Here’s what bothers me. Scraggly was knocked out by a Flash Cannon move, a move he is resistent to. As I said above, you are allowed leeway in how moves work and the way Pokemon react to them, but even the crazy Scraggly can withstand a Flash Cannon. If it was something it was weak to I could understand. As for the second quote Scraggly just appears and appears to injured. That raises questions for two reasons: one this is his first appearence since he was attacked, but that is it. You say he was attacked then move onto something else. The other thing is that you say he is oblivious to his injuries, which is odd because the attack wouldn’t have done too much damage and because the others fought heavily but you never mention them getting injured. Like before, I felt in this case you wanted to pass over Scraggly or not use him in the fight, but you could have accomplished this a few other ways. One such path that immediately pops into my mind is that the Pokemon was just oblivious to his surroundings or something along those lines. That’s all for this battle for now.


    Lastly about this chapter, you had a lot of dialogue in it. Using dialogue this much is okay if used correctly. Here’s what I mean by that: when using a lot of dialogue you want to be careful so that is doesn’t stand alone from the rest of the story. What this means is that a reader doesn’t want to come across a long speech to find that the rest of the story has very little. You want to create a balenced feel throughout the whole story, so keep an eye on this type of stuff for future stories.


    Plot{Chapter 3}:

    I liked the opening to this chapter better than the other ones because the reader was thrust into a battle scene, one that has major bearing on the rest of the story. We can talk about the battle first because it is the first thing that pops up. Unlike the last battle, this battle was between Krokorok and the gang of ‘heroes’. Even with those odds stacked against the Ground type you had a fairly even fight here between all the Pokemon.

    But the one problem that you have is that you make Kokorok too powerful. Obvious you need to make him a bit tougher to take on those type of odds, but its heavily weighted. Here’s what I mean by that:

    For starters the Krokorok was able to take on the gang, as well as numerous other Pokemon he had already beat up. Despite his evolved form, a Pokemon can only take so much damage, then it starts to add up. And based on your group battle he took more than enough hits to have been knocked out already, not counting the energy he used for his attacks and the previous battle with the baby Pokemon. What you’ll need to work on is your realism part of the battle. You had it down pat in the previous battle for the most part, but I felt it escaped you during this part. I’m saying this because it had multiple times during the chapter, so please tone down next time.

    Anyway, after the battle we switch to the individual journeys of the team and the solitary Mienfoo. With the exception of introducing the one Pokemon, not much happened during this part. So we’ll move on to what I figure to be an important part of the chapter: the individual journey of Mienfoo.

    I liked this part because you revealed aspects of Mienfoo’s personality that weren’t readily apparent before or just didn’t show up. Mienfoo starts out determined to continue forward and hopefully meet up with his friends. But as time goes on and the challenge becomes hard he starts to feel sorry for himself and pretty much gives up. After dwelling in his mood for sometime you introduced a Throh, who not only heals/rejuvenates him, but gives him a pep talk that restores his confidence in himself. That self-esteem is further boistered when he battles and defeats the Blitzle from earlier in the story. This part allows the reader to identify with the Pokemon because I’m sure that most people have felt like that at least once in their life, and they can understand the Pokemon’s drive. So good job, it’s hard for a writer to tro to create that connection between the characters and the readers.

    At the end you added that little part about the bad guys that adds some intrigue to the chapter, and ends the chapter with a cliffhanger of sorts. This part combined with the rest is so far the best chapter and it sets up the ending for a nice climatic conclusion.


    Plot{Chapter 4}:

    This part of the story starts off from when Mienfoo continued forward with Throh. But the reader comes to find out that Throh continued on without him while he took a small break. But to Mienfoo’s dismay he had fallen asleep and now can’t make the round cut because he overslept. This links to the third chapter nicely because Mienfoo once again become dejected, but as the memories of the night before flood back in he regains his confidence to continue forward. Later he meets up with a Elgyem and they later battle a Beartic, but with the help of Elgyem he ends up making the cut and reuniting with his friends.

    As for the ending, you did drop a cliffhanger on the reader with the flashback, and that was a good thing. That’s all I’m going to say for now about this chapter.


    Plot{Story}

    Now I’m going to bring all the chapters together so we can examine the story as a whole. What we have hear is the typical Pokemon journey that is often see, but what separates this one from the rest is the tournament background you have going, which I like because it adds a goal and gives the thing a structure. Now, besides the journey you have a little side story going that you only devote about 10% of the time writing about. You kept this side quest hidden and with the addition of the last part quite mysterious, and I loved that.

    All that being said, you run into a few problems. The first of which is the side quest. In my opinion this was a crucial element and without it the story would be too bland, but you never delve into the subject enough. I liked how you slowly fed bits of information to the reader and that you ended on a cliffhanger, but combined with the rest of the story it just needs more to create that impact I think you were looking for. Because as it stands now there is a lot left unsaid and to be honest the whole story sort of feel like an extended introduction. Here’s why: you introduce all the elements and you only complete the first round of the story, but what hurts is that you don’t provide a conclusion, you still want to continue the story but without tying up the loose ends. If you intend to break it up into different stories you still need to provide an ending that ends the first story and connects it to the second. As the author you can create whatever you like, but as a reader I would have like to seen it end with something about the bad guys that explain why they are there and what their plans are. That would have tied everything up nicely while creating a hanger that would have left the reader wanting more.

    The second problem is that in my mind it it too unrealistic, even for Pokemon. By this I mean that when you attacked with the Pokemon it felt exaggerated. Either Pokemon could take multiple strong attacks or their attack were high powered and did way more than normal. Now I don’t mind this happening maybe once or twice in rare circumstances, but it happened way too often I felt. I already gave some example concerning the third chapter, but you did the same when Mienfoo battled the Blitzle. The next thing that ties into this one was that the Pokemon endured more than most Pokemon should. By this I mean that they had to complete a marathon of sorts while battle at the same time, doing such a thing is not easy and would require training, and these are baby Pokemon essentially.

    Now onward to some other things that I mentioned earlier but I would like to delve in again.

    1: I mentioned the name thing before, as I said this bothered me because this is a Pokemon world and it would make more sense. But at the very end you give Pawniard a name and that total threw me off course because it is the only name mentioned besides the queen Pokemon. Minor issue overall, but something you should consider looking into for future stuff.

    2: Scraggly’s personality. Scraggly seems to have developed this strong bond with Mienfoo that you never explained or explored and this really left a hole. To be complete honest, with the exception of the Krokorok incident Scraggly doesn’t really have a part in this thing as a whole, even the part about him being saved in the third chapter doesn’t make sense at the end. This was one of the weakest things because it never fit with the rest. To make this work you need to explain the Pokemon’s personality more and need to explain how it developed the affection for Mienfoo.

    3: Krokorok the bully. He ties into the bad guy espect but you could have explained his role in the story more than you did because as of right now he only appears to be a powerful bully with someone pulling his strings. Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing per se, but he only appears a few times and that is mostly in the form of an arrogant teenager bent on causing pain. Something about his plans or motivation would be nice.

    Collectively, don’t take everything I said the wrong way, you really did have a good story here.


    Grammar:

    Nothing presented itself in a pattern, most of them were typos or I few things I think you missed. Regardless I listed some here, with the exception of some awkward sentences you have in the last two chapters that should be examined.

    “I’m Mienfoo, {you’re} new roommate.”
    ~ That should be ‘your’.

    Mienfoo watched Pawniard give him the cold shoulder and continue walking.
    ~ Weird structure at the end here, both continue and walking do not fit.

    Ignoring Scraggy’s inherent babble, Mienfoo responded{.} “I’ve always wondered what it tastes like, the most delicious fruit in the world. I’d give anything to just have a bite. You too, am I right?”
    ~ Using responded as a speech verb so you you need to have a comma.

    “Return to the line, child{,}” one of the guards spoke in a commanding tone. “Only the victor of th-”
    ~ Missing a comma here.

    Though the crocodile {couldn’t didn’t} seem to be that much older, it still towered over all of them by nearly a foot and gave them all a vicious scowl.
    ~ Need to leave out one of these words.


    Even through the tank’s thick glass, Mienfoo’s sharp nose could still pick up the fruit’s intoxicating aroma, which coupled perfectly with its seductive golden glow- enough to make him drool in eagerness.
    ~ Some nice description here early on. What drew me to this sentence was that you used multiple senses.

    From the river, a beam of bright white energy shot out and struck the closest member of their team, Scraggy{,} with a small, but blinding explosion.
    ~ Should be a comma here.

    As Timburr stood to help, a series of stones and seeds from the Roggenrola and a large weasel{,} with enormous, red and orange eyes{,} aboard the vessel immediately bombarded him and Darumaka.
    ~ You have the comma in the wrong spot here and that makes the sentence say something than you originially intended. You need to delete your comma and put those two, otherwise it seems like the vessel has red and orange eyes.

    Timburr muttered angrily under his breath, forming a fierce scowl as the crocodile {p}okémon stepped forward.
    ~ You got this most of the time, so it’s most likely a typo.

    With several attacks, the perpetrator felled two of them and then came forward{,} slam{ming} the last with its long brown tail, hurling it backwards to land before the arriving group’s feet.
    ~ You need a comma to separate the parts here and you missed a few letters.

    Timburr shouted as he rushed forward to strike the enemy with the piece of timber in his arms{,} but Krokorok simply stomped its foot on the ground in his direction to create a wave of wind pressure which instantly knocked him back.
    ~ You should put a period here and make this two sentences.

    According to Weavile’s last update, they successfully {lead} him to Centerton two hours ago and are currently hiding out in the surrounding forests to avoid detection.
    ~ Past tense means you need ‘led’ here.

    “Don’t hog that stuff all for yourself!” A third, very angry and bitter voice called out to the two from behind{,} and they turned to see a very tired, bruised, and beaten zebra-like Pokémon with a mane resembling a lightning bolt step onto the plateau as well.
    ~ Change that to a period and get rid of and, otherwise comma splice here.


    Detail:

    Really good, I liked what you had here. You did a really good job with the environemt descriptions.

    The section of the trail that continued ahead into the Rough Lands cut directly through the region to form a large ravine of sorts- where the rocky hills bordering it on each side were almost indistinguishable from the walls of a canyon.
    Here an example of not too much intricate detail, but I could clearly picture what the scene looked like in my mind. You had this throughout every important part so I’m not concerned.

    You also did a good job on the Pokemom too.

    Turning around, he found himself staring at the belly of an enormous white-furred figure.

    “What have we here?” the towering Beartic spoke with a scowl, revealing a row of deadly white fangs above a beard of sharp icicles as it stepped around him. “I thought I recognized your scent,” it said with a vicious growl as it glared at Elgyem with its cruel, ireless black eyes. “Do I really have to put you in your place again?”
    The only part I would have liked to see you work on is the battle area, specifically the attacks.

    “I don’t think so!” Krokorok shouted as he swiftly moved into the raging wind and sand to strike Mienfoo with its claws, only to be stopped by Pawniard. Stepping forward, the crocodile began to rapidly swipe its claws and tail, and Pawniard struggled to keep up until finally being knocked back by a strike to the head. Before he could follow up with another attack, however, Timburr snuck up on him from behind and slammed his wooden weapon into his back.
    I like this quote because it is an execellent paragraph of how the fight is progressing, but the problem is not there, it’s here:

    Without hesitating, Pawniard, Mienfoo, and Timburr stood up and began to rush towards him restlessly as Joltik unleashed a Shockwave that flew over their heads to explode before the crocodile’s feet- blinding him long enough for them to reach him and deliver a series of combo attacks.
    You did the same thing above, but here it is different because you are using a Pokemon attack. When using a Pokemon attack it is generally a good idea to describe how the attack presents itself.

    The bear did not even have a moment to react as a powerful sphere of swirling blue energy was unleashed from the mustelid’s palm into his cheek and slammed him into the ground with explosive force.
    This is the one area where you did it, when Mienfoo was using his Aura Sphere move. Outside of that I felt this area was lacking and based on everything else you could have done a good job here. I think you understand what I’m getting at, but just incase you don’t here an example that will only cost you five bucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by me
    Joltik unleashed a powerful wave of eletric energy that rippled through the air in a wave of yellow light.
    See? Not too elaborate or mind blowing, just something that shows the reader instead of telling them.


    Length: Meep.


    Conclusion: Okay,
    .
    @Dust
    Last edited by AmericanTreeFrog; 23rd October 2011 at 04:31 PM.
    League of Legends SN: ATF Crysis



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