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    Default Only Human (graded)-comments welcome

    Attempting to capture: Gardevoir
    Difficulty level: Demanding
    Recomended length: 40,000-55,000
    Actual length: 44,460 characters (with spaces; not counting underscores)
    Status: Graded

    All comments are welcome, even non-grading comments.

    I know, I know. It's my first story, and I decided to do the "demanding" difficulty. But I need that Gardevoir for my story, so I'm going for it. So, without further ado, here I go.

    EDIT: The parts I edited have been bolded.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I have to keep running. I don't know where I am going, where it will all end. But I have to continue. What other choice do I have? After what they did to me, is there any other option? I have to keep running. But when will I stop? Will I die of exhaustion? But who would care? Who would care about a dead Gardevoir?” she thought. She kept on running, blindly charging forward into the unknown of the seemingly eternal woods.
    __________________________________________
    "Cyndaquil, Flamethrower!" yelled Mark.

    "There's no mistaking it now. I've won," he thought. He had already begun his mental victory dance when he heard another voice, slightly higher than his, make a command.

    "Vileplume! Dodge!"

    The Vileplume jumped out of the way, yelling out an anxious "plume!"

    "Vileplume Vile, Vile-pluuume!" yelled Mark.

    The Vileplume heard him, and retaliated with a disgruntled "Vile-plume", followed by a Solar Beam directed at Mark's Cyndaquil. He had to stop taunting his opponents, Mark decided. A beam of energy erupted from the petals of the Vileplume, illuminating the surrounding trees in a brilliant yet short-lived light.

    "Cyndaquil, get out of there! Flame Wheel!"

    Cyndaquil curled itself into a fiery wheel and made a valiant attempt to escape the oncoming attack. However, it made the fatal error of forgetting to turn, instead fleeing in the same direction the oncoming beam was traveling. The force of the collision hurled Cyndaquil against a nearby rock.

    "Cyndaquil, are you alright?" Mark yelled in the tounge of Pokémon.

    "Yeah, I'm fine", was Cyndaquil's simple response, also in the Pokémon language.

    "Then let's finish rock!" Cyndaquil looked back with an expression of total incomprehension.

    "I mean it! Let's finish it!" he yelled, not quite as loud due to his complete embarrassment. His translating skills were good, but not perfect.

    "Why do those two words have to sound so alike?!" he thought. "They sound nowhere near the same in my language."

    His train of thought was instantly derailed when he heard his Cyndaquil cry out. He looked up to see his Cyndaquil groaning in pain on the ground.

    "Cyndaquil!" he yelled. His moment of distraction had earned Cyndaquil a blow to the chest with Vine Whip. Mark quickly recovered his thoughts.

    "Rollout!" he commanded. Cyndaquil crouched over and brought its limbs to its chest, forming its body into the shape of a ball. It spun rapidly in place, building up energy; then it released that energy and rolled toward the Vileplume at breakneck speed. Vileplume let out a cry in pain as Cyndaquil slammed into it at full speed. If Cyndaquil were a bowling ball, Vileplume would be a pin. Vileplume fell back, then lay in the grass, unconscious.

    "Vileplume, return!" yelled his opponent. In a red beam of light, the Vileplume was returned to its Poké Ball.

    "You did well. You deserve a nice rest," said his opponent comfortingly to his Vileplume, which was now in its Poké Ball.

    "Alright, Cyndaquil! Way to go!" Mark gave his Cyndaquil a high five.

    It’s not over yet! Go, Squirtle!” A Squirtle emerged from the Poké Ball the boy threw.

    “Squirtle, use Water Gun!” the boy yelled. Squirtle opened its mouth, and breathed in deeply. When it expelled that breath, what came out was not air, but instead a flow of water powerful enough to send a grown man reeling.

    “Dodge, and use Quick Attack!” Cyndaquil leapt out of the way, then charged toward his opponent. A stream of light appeared behind Cyndaquil as it practically flew forward, hitting the Squirtle squarely in the chest.

    “Squirtle, Tackle!” yelled the boy. Squirtle threw its full weight upon the Cyndaquil’s chest, then landed and stepped back slightly. Cyndaquil lost its balance, but quickly regained it.

    “Great job, Cyndaquil! Now, Flame Wheel!” Mark yelled.

    “Stop it with another Water Gun!” Cyndaquil was once again a fiery wheel, but his progress was halted by a crushing blow from a massive stream of water. Cyndaquil was sent hurtling through the air before crashing to the dirt in pain.

    “Cyndaquil! Are you alright?!” Mark yelled after him.

    “I’m fine!” said Cyndaquil.

    “Great! In that case, use Flamethrower!”

    Cyndaquil breathed in, charging then releasing a massive flame that engulfed the opponent and sent it flying.

    “Squirtle! Can you keep going?” Squirtle nodded. “Great! Alright, Quick Attack!” Squirtle sped toward Cyndaquil in a blur of white light, slamming into it at full speed.

    “Cyndaquil, use Flamethrower!” Cyndaquil charged and released a massive flame on the Squirtle at point blank, sending the Squirtle crashing to the ground, unconscious.

    “Squirtle, return!” Mark’s opponent returned Squirtle to its ball. “Great job, Squirtle. You take a nice rest, too.” His opponent looked up.

    "Thanks for a great battle," said his opponent. "I'd better get to a Pokémon Center so I can heal my Pokémon."

    "You do that," Mark said. "And, you’re welcome. I enjoyed our battle. Cyndaquil, return!" Cyndaquil practically skipped back to Mark, stopping by his side and turning on his heels. The two sat down on a rock (the same one Cyndaquil had been rammed against earlier), and discussed their victory as their opponent walked away.

    "Great job, Cyndaquil!" praised Mark. Cyndaquil responded with his thanks for the compliment as Mark placed a bowl of Pokémon food in front of him. Mark then took out a sandwich for himself. He began to move it toward his mouth, then paused. A sound. Crying. Where was it coming from? He placed his sandwich back in the bag he had pulled it from.

    "Did you hear that, Cyndaquil?" asked Mark.

    "Hear what?" questioned Cyndaquil through a mouthful of food.

    "It sounded like crying. You're sure you didn't hear anything?"

    "Nope. I heard nothing."

    "Well, I still think it's worth investigating."

    Cyndaquil agreed, and they both left their food to go investigate the noise. They pushed aside bushes, tree branches, and anything else in their way.

    "Why couldn't that noise have been coming from somewhere on the path?" was Mark's mental groan.

    Finally they reached an opening in the trees. It was not a clearing, but rather a cliff. On the cliff's edge sat a single Gardevoir, with its face in its hands and its elbows on its knees, crying softly.

    "What's wrong?" inquired Mark.

    The Gardevoir whipped its head around, a look of astonished horror on its face. Then it quickly stood up, turned, and fled toward the woods.

    "Wait, Gardevoir!" Mark exclaimed. He chased it through the woods, batting back branches, bushees, and other obstacles. After several minutes of tiring running, Gardevoir sprinted into a cave. However, its error occured to it when it reached a dead end.

    "Gardevoir, please! I just want to know what's wrong!"

    "How can you speak my language? You're a human!" Gardevoir said, ignoring his comment entirely.

    "I taught myself, with the help of my Cyndaquil!" An expression came to Gardevoir's face, an expression of realization.

    "Maybe... maybe you can help me," said Gardevoir.

    "Help you how?" Mark asked.

    “I need some help with my speech.”

    “Your speech?” he asked.

    “Yes. You see, when I was turned into a Gardevoir, I lost my ability to speak regularly. All I can say is my name. I can still understand humans, I just can’t speak normally anymore. Being a Pokémon translator, maybe you could help me to learn.”

    “Turned into a Gardevoir?” Mark asked. “What do you mean?”

    “I used to be a human,” said the Gardevoir. “Before I was turned into this.” Mark was shocked, and took a moment to take this fact in.

    “So, can you help me?

    “Maybe I could…” said Mark. “By the way, how did you become a Gardvoir? Just out of curiosity.” Gardevoir smiled.

    “I knew you would ask that eventually,” she said. “It’s a long story. Are you sure you want to hear it?”

    “Yes.”

    “Okay, but first, can we get some light in here?”

    “Oh, sure! Cyndaquil, could you light the fire on your back?”

    “Sure!” said Cyndaquil, his back bursting into flames.

    “Now, you were saying, Gardevoir?”

    “Alright,” Gardevoir took a deep breath. “Several months ago, I was taken from my home. I was like you at that time, happy and free. Then Team Rocket came to our town. With no reason apparent to me at the time, they stopped me on the street and knocked me unconscious. From what I can gather, the police could never find this hideout.

    “When I awoke, I was in a white room; the walls, the floor, the ceiling, everything was white, except for the Team Rocket members, who wore black. I thought I was standing when I first awoke because of my upright position. However, a glance down revealed that I was actually about a foot in the air. I was hooked up to a machine that had all my limbs in a diagonal position. Covering my hands and feet were basketball sized white spheres, with a hollow center where my hands and feet were trapped. I could not move from that position at all, no matter how I struggled.”

    “A member of Team Rocket wearing a black lab coat walked up to me with a clipboard in hand. He explained what they were doing to me. He said they were trying to remove the major physical flaws of humans and Pokémon by creating a being that had the good characteristics of both. They wanted to give a human the ability to use the moves of Pokémon.” The frown on her face turned into a grimace.

    “He said the procedure was new, and therefore potentially dangerous, and they didn’t want to risk the lives of any of their fellow Team Rocket members. So they decided to kidnap a random person for the procedure. And I was the lucky one they picked. He then instructed my vision to the right. There to the right was a horrified Gardevoir, hooked up to a machine that looked exactly like mine. He said that I would be receiving the moves of that Gardevoir. He asked me if I was ready for the procedure. Before I could answer, a switch was flipped, and a massive electrical charge filled my body.”

    “I screamed, and so did the Gardevoir in the other machine. I fell unconscious. I awoke to the same position, in the same machine. I looked to my left. The Gardevoir was dead. This depressed me, and I cast my face downward. And guess what I saw; I had been turned into a Gardevoir. I was shocked, horrified. I let out a scream. The Team Rocket members in the room looked back at me for a second, then turned back to what they were doing. In the hallway outside the room, I now noticed two voices: the scientist from earlier, and an unfamiliar voice.”

    “The doctor was telling the unknown man that “that girl was a complete failure”, and said to dispose of me immediately, my response to which was a terrified gasp. The unknown man said he did not want to kill me; that I was once a human, and that he would not do it. However, when the doctor threatened to fire him, he finally sadly agreed. The door opened, and the man stepped in. He removed the spheres from my hands and feet, then caught me when I tried to escape and forced my hands behind my back. I struggled against him, but to no avail. I continued to struggle as he practically dragged me outside.”

    “Then he led me far into the woods and tied me to a tree. He explained that he could not stand to kill me, so he would leave it to something else. “The Houndoom come around here every night”, he said, and they’re always very hungry. I’ll leave the job to them. I screamed bloody murder at him, but insults are not exactly effective when their target cannot understand them. And so I sat there for hours, awaiting my death. Finally, out of the shadows of the night, the Houndoom came about. They eyed me hungrily, and started to circle me. Then they pounced. It was awful. They were trying to tear me apart; they scratched and bit me over and over. I was becoming drenched in my own blood.”

    “My screams could not rise over the sound of their constant growling. Then I remembered that I was a Pokémon, and as such, could use Pokémon moves. I began to concentrate. I tried as hard as I could, and finally, to my utter joy, the Houndoom backed away in pain. I had used Psychic! I was very proud of myself until I realized something: I was still tied to the tree. I remained tied there for two days (the Houndoom did not return after what I had done to them) until a passing Sneasel heard my cries and freed me. I thanked him, then ran off into the woods, first to search for food, and then to put as much distance between myself and Team Rocket as possible. I thought I would die of exhaustion. Then do you know what I thought? I thought to my self, “Who would care about a dead Gardevoir?”” Gardevoir paused. “Ever since then, I’ve been trying to regain my speech and elude Team Rocket, who have since then discovered that I survived.”

    “Wow,” said Mark. “You must lead a hard life now.”

    “Yeah,” said Gardevoir, solemnly. “I do. Anyways, will you help me?”

    “Sure, absolutely!” said Mark. Gardevoir grinned.

    “Thanks.”

    “By the way, you never told me your name.”

    “It’s Melody,” she said.

    “That’s a great name,” he said, and she blushed lightly. “So, what did you do before you were turned into a Gardevoir?”

    “I was a trainer, like yourself.”

    “Oh, cool!” he said. “So, where are your Pokémon?”

    Melody’s eyes turned cold.

    “Team Rocket took them,” she said. “They’re either dead or in the hands of Team Rocket. From what I’ve experienced with the Rockets, the former may be more merciful than the latter.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” said Mark, regretting asking the question in the first place.

    “My poor Bellossom…” a small tear appeared on her cheek. It glided down her face, then reached her chin and dropped to the cave floor below.

    “There you are!”

    A voice had cut the silence after her comment wide open. Mark, Melody, and Cyndaquil all looked up. Walking out of the darkness was a man wearing a Team Rocket uniform. Melody stood up quickly.

    “A Rocket!” she said, utter contempt and rage flowing from her voice. “What do you want here?!”

    “There’s no use yelling at me, Melody,” he said with a grin. “I can’t understand a word you’re saying.” Melody made a noise like a low growl, clearly frustrated at the situation.

    “Mark! Translate for me, will you?!”

    “Alright, go!” said Mark. Mark and Gardevoir spoke in unison, with very little delay between Gardevoir’s voice and Mark’s.

    “Beware, Rocket! I am not the weak little girl I was before! I am ready to fight, and fight I will! Get ready…” they said, Melody in the language of Pokémon, and Mark in the language of humans.

    “Who said anything about fighting?” asked the Rocket in a taunting way. “I’m simply here for a trade off.”

    “And what am I to be exchanged for?” questioned Melody, still being translated by Mark.

    “This,” he said. Then, saying nothing, he carelessly tossed out a Poké Ball. Gardevoir gasped, for staring at her now with big sad eyes was her stolen Bellossom.

    “That’s…!”

    “Your Bellossom, yes. But don’t try anything stupid, girl, or there will be dire consequences,” he held up a small remote and pressed a small blue button near the top. Bellossom screamed and fell to the floor in agony as a small collar that had been around its neck send a huge surge of electricity through it.

    “What are you doing to her?!” Melody demanded.

    “It’s like a shock collar, only far more effective,” the Rocket sneered. “It’s great for stopping rebellions and keeping our Pokémon in line. You should try it some time!”

    “Not on your life,” said Melody.

    “Look, Melody. All I want is you. You come willingly for some tests, and I promise, this little Bellossom will live on. We don’t want to kill you anymore; you were more of a success then we initially believed. But, if you don’t comply, I’ll keep up the shock until your Bellossom dies. That should happen in about… two minutes.”

    Melody gasped.

    “So, will you come with me?”

    “Fine,” Melody practically whispered, deep contempt in her voice. She walked toward the Rocket as Mark and Cyndaquil shouted their protests. When she was beside the Rocket, Melody lifted her hand, and was about to unleash a Confusion attack when the Rocket spun around, grabbed her hand, twisted it behind her back, and whacked the side of his hand hard against the back of Melody’s head. Melody fell limp from unconsciousness.

    “Predictable,” said the Rocket. “Why must everyone be so cliché?”

    Four more Rockets stepped out of the shadows.

    “Excellent work, Bryan,” said one. “But what of the boy? We can’t leave him here. He’ll go after the girl.”

    “Fine. Take him, too. We’ll throw him in one of the Pokémon cages until we know what to do with him.”

    The five Rockets turned toward Mark and Cyndaquil. They didn’t have a chance.

    Mark woke to find himself uncomfortably positioned in a small cage clearly meant for something much smaller. He shifted around to make himself relatively more comfortable when he heard a sudden “Woop!” He shifted away from the wall of the cage to reveal a Wooper, looking straight at him.

    “Sorry! Did I squish you?!” Mark exclaimed. Wooper looked at him, confused. “I’m a Pokémon translator”, he explained.

    “Ah,” said Wooper.

    “So, where am I?” asked Mark, looking around.

    “A Team Rocket headquarters,” said Wooper. “Not quite sure where, area wise, though. You’ve been out for almost eight hours. I was beginning to wonder if you were dead!”

    “A Team Rocket headquarters…!” Mark exclaimed. Looking through the bars of his cage, he saw many other Pokémon, also in cages, all looking very sad.

    “That’s how I reacted when I was first brought here,” said Wooper. “I hate this place. The Pokémon in this section of the building especially have it bad.”

    “What makes this section worse?” asked Mark.

    “This is the experimentation section,” he said. “They take the Pokémon here and do horrible and life threatening experiments on them. I’ve been through quite a few myself…”

    “That’s terrible!” said Mark, still in shock. “How long have you been here?”

    “Two years,” said Wooper. “That’s most of my life.”

    “Gee, that sucks,” said Mark.

    “So why are you here?” asked Wooper. “Humans aren’t usually put here.”

    “Well, you see… there’s this girl, who they turned into a Gardevoir, that escaped from here. They hunted her down and got her, but I was with her, so they took me, too.”

    “Oh, sorry to hear that,” said Wooper. There was silence for the next few minutes. “So, did you like her?”

    “Huh?”

    “You know, were you two interested in each other romantically?”

    “No!” exclaimed Mark. “I only met her today!”

    “Oh, okay…” Wooper said, embarrassed. After a moment’s pause he spoke again. “I used to have someone like that.”

    “You did?” asked Mark.

    “Don’t act so surprised!” said Wooper, only half kidding.

    “Sorry!” said Mark. “So, where is she?” Wooper turned his head the other way.

    “She’s dead,” he said, almost crying. “They killed her. Those Rockets killed her!”

    “What?!” Mark practically yelled.

    “It was an experiment. It’s still going on now. They’re trying to see if they can get a Pokémon to learn a move that it shouldn’t be able to. It pushes a Pokémon’s body to its very limits, and often beyond them. That machine worked her to death.”

    “I’m so sorry to hear that,” said Mark.

    “I’m fine now. I’ve gotten over it,” said Wooper. “Still… I wish I could see her again.” At that moment, the door on the end of the room flew open to reveal a Rocket standing in the doorway, blocking the light from the hall beyond.

    “Let’s see here,” said the Rocket, looking at a clipboard in his hands. “Move capability experiment. Subject: Wooper.”

    “No…” said Wooper, terrified. “They’re going to do it to me, too!”

    “Do what to you?”

    “The experiment! The one that killed my love!” Wooper was horrified, and did not try to hide it. Then the Rocket opened the cage and wrestled the Wooper from Mark, who desperately tried to protect it. Finally, the Rocket won, and he slammed the cage shut. As he left, Wooper screamed a few final things.

    “I don’t want to die! Not now! Please!” These were some of the things Wooper screamed as he was taken away.

    Three hours. Three hours Mark waited, desperately hoping that Wooper had survived. Three hours of hearing nothing from that lab except soft screams in the distance. Finally, the door opened, and in stepped the Rocket. In his hands was Wooper. His whole body was shaking violently, and he did not make a sound, but his chest still moved in and out rhythmically. Wooper was still alive, but only barely. The Rocket opened the cage and unceremoniously tossed in Wooper, who hit the back of the cage hard, though he still did not make a sound. Mark picked up Wooper, concerned. The shaking had died down, for the most part. Wooper opened his eyes just slightly, and said one, simple sentence.

    “I survived,” said Wooper, looking triumphant. Then his eyes closed. At first Mark thought he was dead, then realized that Wooper’s chest was still moving. He was only sleeping. Mark smiled and put him down in one of the back corners of the cage, deciding that he needed his rest. Then Mark laid down his own head, careful not to disturb Wooper, and Mark fell asleep, too.
    __________________________________________
    Melody groaned. Her whole body ached. She glanced around the room, wondering where she was. In a cage; that much was clear. But where… suddenly she realized. The memories all rushed back. She had been captured by the Rockets. Her friend, Mark, had also been captured. She assumed she was in a Team Rocket headquarters. The shock of this new development was just setting in when someone not yet noticed spoke up.

    “Melody?” said the voice. Melody turned toward the source of the sound. Before her, in the same cage, was her Bellossom.

    “Bellossom?!” Melody all but yelled. “I’ve missed you so much!”

    “I’ve missed you, too!” Bellossom embraced Melody.

    “How have you been?”

    “Terrible. This is Team Rocket we’re talking about, remember?”

    “Oh, right,” Melody said, embarrassed.

    “And you?” asked Bellossom.

    “Huh?”

    “How’ve you been?”

    “Oh, I’ve been doing okay. As good as anyone could be, on the run.”

    “Gotcha. So, who was that boy that was with you?”

    “Just a friend,” she said. “Someone I met today.”

    “Oh, okay.”

    “So, do they let you outside much?”

    “No. They’re pretty much terrible in every way,” Bellossom sighed.

    “Sorry to hear that,” she said. “So… never mind.” Melody had been about to ask how much they fed the Pokémon here, but decided to hold her tongue. “Anyway, Bellossom, it’s so nice to see you again!”

    “I feel the same about seeing you,” said Bellossom. The two hugged; but their hug was cut short when a female Rocket opened the cage door.

    “Gardevoir. Out,” she said, unlocking and opening the cage. Melody grudgingly stepped out. She was led down a long series of hallways, until they finally reached a door with the words “Transformation Research” printed on it. The door was opened, and they stepped inside.
    __________________________________________
    Four days passed, and Mark was beginning to understand the routine. They got up early, ate lunch, and went back to sleep. Those were the highlights of his day. He still wondered what they planned to do with him. Whatever it was, they sure weren’t in a hurry to do it. Mark met many new friends there: an Espeon, a Cleffa (who was, unfortunately, killed on the second day), and a Pachirisu, to name a few. They were all very nice, but he still hated being there, hated having to worry constantly about Melody and Bellossom. He had stopped worrying about Cyndaquil when he had been thrown into a cage relatively close to him on the end of the first day (he had no idea where Cyndaquil had been before that). They had only tested Cyndaquil once, and he said that it was not a terrible one, just an examination of his abilities. It was exhausting, but not deadly or overly painful. Mark and Wooper became great friends, getting to know each other more and more each day. Finally, on the fourth day, Mark’s worrying stopped; Melody was thrown into the cage next to him, along with her Bellossom. Melody would not talk about the first three days, except to say that they were one of the worst experiences of her life. Another day passed, but on that day, things were finally going to snap.

    “Hey, Pachirisu!” said Mark. “How’d it go?”

    “Terrible, as always,” Pachirisu groaned. “Ugh. I hate needles.” Mark looked closer to reveal several small red marks on Pachirisu’s arm.

    “What will those needles do?” he asked.

    “Nothing. It’s not a deadly experiment,” Pachirisu smirked. “Just a failed one.”

    “Well, that’s good to hear,” Mark said, relieved. “Hey, does anyone know what they’re going to do to Whismur?”

    “Not much,” Whismur chimed in, quietly as always. Its small patches of skin were visible under its skin, most likely burned off. One of its eyes had a black eye, and half of one ear was missing.

    “Oh, hey! I didn’t see you there! So everything went fine?”

    “Yeah,” Whismur groaned. “But it hurt like heck.”

    “Oh, sorry to hear that.”

    “Meh. All their experiments do,” said Whismur. An Espeon, who had been listening quietly in the corner, finally spoke. Its fur was mangled and worn, and there was a large scar crossing its face. It leaned to its right as it sat, as its left leg had been broken in one of the Rockets’ horrible experiments.

    “Ain’t that the truth,” groaned Espeon. “Hey, Mark, I heard what they’re planning to do with you.”

    “What?!”

    “They were talking about it in my last experiment. They said that… that they’re going to execute you.”

    “I expected as much,” Mark said, not showing any fear. In fact, Mark actually grinned. “My daring escape will just have to be a little sooner, then!” Espeon chuckled.

    “Just make sure you take us with you, Mark.”

    “No problem.”

    Right then, a Rocket opened the door.

    “Wooper, combined power move experiment,” he said, sounding almost bored. Wooper’s eyes got big.

    “No…! No Pokémon has ever survived that! Not one!”

    “What is it?!” asked Mark.

    “They try to combine all a Pokémon’s moves into one, super powerful move. But it’s never worked! All the Pokémon they’ve tried it on have died!” The Rocket got closer and closer. Mark turned to an Ariados in the room, then spoke.

    “Ariados! Use Pin Missle on my hand!”

    “What?!” Ariados asked, confused.

    “Just trust me!”

    “Alright…” Ariados shot a Pin Missle onto Mark’s open palm. Mark winced as the Pin Missle impaled his hand. Right then, the cage was opened, and Wooper was taken out.

    “I’ll save you, Wooper! Don’t you worry!” Mark screamed as Wooper was taken, thrashing, out of the room.

    “What are you planning?” asked Melody as Mark painfully pulled the Pin Missle from his palm. Mark did not respond. He was concentrating the task ahead. He put the Pin Missle into the lock on the cage and jostled it around. Melody now realized what he was doing. Finally, after a few minutes of struggle, there was a click, and Mark threw the cage door open.

    “Mark, you’re a genius!” Melody said, ecstatic.

    “Thanks. Now, find a key and unlock all the other cages. I’m going after Wooper!” And with that, Mark threw open the door and sprinted into the hallway outside. He sprinted through the halls toward the sound of Wooper’s screams. Finally, he found the room he was looking for, and threw the door open. The scientist Rockets inside looked back at him.

    “Let Wooper go!” he screamed, grabbing a knife used in surgery from a tray. He held it out at arm’s length. The Rockets backed into a corner, terrified.

    “Cowards,” Mark spat on them, then removed the straps around Wooper, who was already looking exhausted.

    “Thanks,” said Wooper, with a faint but very sincere smile. One of the Rockets reached for a phone to alert the others, but Mark rushed over, Wooper in one hand, knife in the other, and cut the power cord to the base of the phone. Mark turned and ran, heading back to where he had come from. A few Rockets tried to stop him, but he simply jumped out of the way (or in the case of one, rammed them and kept going). He made it back to the room where all the Pokémon had previously been in cages. All the cages were open, Melody had some keys, and a Rocket lay unconscious on the floor. An alarm began to blast its alerting sound.

    “Nice,” said Mark. Then he began to talk like a Cyndaquil (as he did when he was talking to more than one species of Pokémon at a time. “The Rockets are coming! Are you prepared to fight for your freedom?! Your right to live?! Tell me, Pokémon, are you ready?!” The Pokémon yelled out their approval. Then their expressions hardened, and they went into battle mode. The door flew open, and the Rockets came flooding in.

    “Cyndaquil, Flamethrower!” yelled Mark. A massive flame burst from Cyndaquil’s mouth.

    “Umbreon, counter with Night Shade!” the Rocket’s Umbreon leapt into the air, then unleashed a lightning-like red energy that stopped Cyndaquil’s Flamethrower in its tracks.

    “Buizel, Aqua Jet!” Melody commanded to a Buizel standing nearby. The Buizel hurled itself toward the opposing Pokémon with water building around it. It leaped toward his opposition.

    “Dodge, and use Rock Tomb!” A Machoke threw several large boulders through the air toward their target.

    “Hyper Beam!” The boulders were vaporized by a large beam of energy from a Dratini nearby.

    “Ice Punch!” Ice crystals gathered around the fist of a Golduck, who unleashed a freezing punch.

    “Stop, stop!” yelled a well dressed man, stepping through the crowd of Rockets. “This is going nowhere. I say the only way to settle this is a one-on-one battle. Which of you two is stronger at a Pokémon battle?” Melody pointed to Mark.

    “He’s the only one who’s currently a Pokémon trainer,” she said. Mark translated for her.

    “Hey, a Pokémon translator! You know, you could be very useful to Team Rocket! Why don’t you join?” he asked. “You could be rich, successful, powerful… you could have it all!”

    “Why don’t you join?” said Mark, quoting the man who was clearly the head of the building’s operations. “Is that a rhetorical question, or should I respond with a snide remark?” Mark grinned.

    “You truly are ignorant. It’s a shame, seeing as you had so much potential. Oh, well…” he frowned. “Go, Charizard!” A Charizard emerged from the Poké Ball that he threw. It roared, then stared with blind rage at the three. Mark, Cyndaquil, Melody, and the Rocket leader all stepped out into the hallway.

    “Charizard, Flamethrower!”

    “Cyndaquil! Dodge!” Cyndaquil leaped out of the way as a gigantic flame hurtled toward him. “Great! Now use Flame Wheel!” Cyndaquil turned itself into a fiery wheel, then charged toward the Charizard.

    “Charizard, Fly!” Charizard flew, or rather hovered in what little space there was in the hallway. Then it dived down at a slight angle and chased after Cyndaquil. Cyndaquil switched directions, and so did Charizard. Finally, Cyndaquil became tired, and he slowed to a stop. Charizard rammed into Cyndaquil, sending Cyndaquil rolling in pain on the floor.

    “Cyndaquil! Are you okay?!” Mark yelled with concern.

    “I’m fine,” said Cyndaquil, standing slowly.

    “Great! In that case, use Rollout!” Cyndaquil curled up into a ball, then charged toward Charizard. It rammed into Charizard’s feet. Charizard recoiled slightly, then recovered its balance and waited for its next command.

    “Charizard, pick it up and throw it!” Charizard picked up Cyndaquil, still in a ball, and did as instructed. Cyndaquil hit the floor, hard, bounced a couple times, then stopped and slowly stood up, in a lot of pain.

    “Cyndaquil, Flamethrower!” Cyndaquil released a massive inferno from its mouth that engulfed Charizard. However, when the flames died down, Charizard was still standing, though it did look like it had taken a little damage.

    “This isn’t working! We’re just weakening it, inch by inch!” Mark said, frustrated. Melody stepped in front of him.

    “Let me give it a try,” she said.

    “Alright,” said Mark. “You give it a go.” Melody turned on her heels and glared at the leader, a burning hatred visible in her eyes.

    “Isn’t this cliché?” the Rocket leader laughed. “Scientist and experiment, reunited again in battle.”

    “Don’t hold back, and you might survive,” she said icily. The Rocket leader grinned, then spoke.

    “Charizard, Flame-!” but before he could finish, Melody was behind Charizard. Soundlessly, she whacked it upside the head. Charizard opened its eyes wide in surprise.

    “Charizard! Iron Tail!” Charizard swept its tail toward Melody, who used Double Team to counter. A smile grew upon the lips of every illusory Melody, along with original. Then Melody used Psychic attack. Charizard crashed to the ground, holding its head and letting out a massive roar.

    “Charizard! Get up! Use Fire Spin!” Charizard unleashed a beam of fire that twisted and twirled in the air, and this time, the attack hit. Melody was sent hurtling back into a wall. A huge dust cloud rose from the point of impact; a wall had been completely shattered in the collision.

    “Perhaps you’re not as strong as you think you are!” the Rocket leader called. Then the dust cleared, revealing Melody, almost completely unharmed.

    “Was that…” she smirked. “…all you’ve got?” Melody used Confusion, and drove Charizard into a wall to the side of it. Melody began to slowly walk forward.

    “How?! How could you possibly be so powerful?!” the leader questioned, shocked.

    “It is my drive,” she said. “My drive to end what you have started here, to free all these Pokémon, and to appease my burning desire for vengeance on the Rockets.” Using Confusion, Melody was tearing apart the entire building. Everyone rushed outside, Pokémon, Rockets, and Mark alike. Once outside, the leader of the Rockets spoke.

    “Charizard, return!” Charizard was returned to its Poké Ball.

    “Go, Sneasel!” said the Rocket leader, throwing a Poké Ball. Out of the Poké Ball came a Sneasel. “Sneasel, Shadow Ball!” Sneasel charged a ball of black energy that crackled with blue electricity. Then it fired it. Melody jumped out of the way, then used Magical Leaf. Glowing leaves appeared and twisted and twirled in the air, then flew forward and slammed against Sneasel.

    “Shadow Claw!” Sneasel’s claws grew black before it slashed its claws at Melody, grazing Melody’s arm as she stepped back. Melody grimaced from the sudden pain in her arm, then used Magical Leaf. The Sneasel was thrown to the ground by the sharp leaves that it had been it by; however, it quickly stood right back up.

    “Alright, now use Shadow Ball again!” Sneasel let loose a Shadow Ball, but Melody was ready. She stepped to the side to dodge the attack, then used Magical Leaf, which knocked Sneasel to the ground. However, once again, it stood right back up.

    “Tackle!” Sneasel rushed forward to Tackle Melody, but before it could reach her, she used Psychic. Sneasel took a few steps back in pain as the pulses of mind-bending energy reached it. However, it quickly snapped out of it.

    “Now, use Slash!” Sneasel jumped for Melody, but she simply stepped out of the way, leaving Sneasel flying toward a wall.

    “Night Shade!” Sneasel released a red beam of energy on the wall, stopping Sneasel from colliding with it. Melody then used Confusion. Sneasel took on a blue glow and lost control of its body. Moments later, it was sent flying. It smashed into a tree on the edge of the woods, knocked unconscious by the blow. The Rocket leader held out Sneasel’s Poké Ball.

    “Sneasel, return!” the red beam from the Poké Ball reached its target: a now unconscious Sneasel. “Go, Gallade!” A Gallade was sent out.

    “A Gallade?!” said Melody.

    “Gallade, Psycho Cut!” Gallade released crescent shaped energy from its hand. Gardevoir jumped out of the way, then used Psybeam. A beam of psychic power erupted from Melody’s palm.

    “Counter, Gallade!” Gallade sent out its own Psybeam, holding back Melody’s. Melody struggled to keep her Psybeam from going out.

    “Now, Psycho Cut!” Gallade sent a Psycho Cut attack at Melody, then used Psybeam again before Melody’s Psybeam could reach it. Melody was not quick enough, and the Psycho Cut hit her, followed by the Psybeam. Melody groaned with pain, then slowly stood up. Melody used Confusion and sent Gallade into a tree in the woods nearby. Gallade fell to the ground, then got right back up.

    “X-Scissor!” Gallade rushed forward to attack Gardevoir, but Melody simply stepped aside and used Magical Leaf as Gallade rushed past. Gallade was hurtled to the ground, then stood right back up yet again.

    “Psychic!” Gallade used Psychic on Melody, who fell to her knees, holding her head. She slowly held out her hand, then used Magical Leaf. The glowing leaves made contact, and Gallade’s attack ceased as it was hurtled a few feet into the forest. It quickly ran back out. Melody used Hypnosis, putting Gallade into a tranced stupor. Then Melody used Magical Leaf, which hit the defenseless Gallade hard.

    “Gallade, use X Scissor!” Gallade rushed forward, but slowly, as it was tiring. Melody had no trouble dodging the attack, then using Magical Leaf.

    “Use X Scissor again!” Once again Gallade rushed forward, still exhausted, but this time, Melody almost pitied it. It was jogging more than sprinting now; beads of sweat dripped down its face. However, her pity did not extend so far as to simply let it win; Melody stopped it with Psybeam.

    “Future Sight!” Gallade did as instructed. Melody used Psybeam, which the opposing Gallade used in return. Gallade’s master opened his mouth to speak, but before he could, Melody used Magical Leaf, then Psybeam again, just as Gallade had done earlier. Gallade was thrown to the ground, then pummeled by Psybeam, just like what had happened to Melody earlier. Then the Future Sight attack came. Melody jumped out of the way, leaving Gallade to be hit its own attack. Gallade cried out in pain.

    “Is there any real need to fight?” asked Melody. “We are both Pokémon. Why do you still obey your cruel and ruthless master?” Gallade paused, wide eyed.

    “Gallade, get up and use X-Scissor!” Gallade stood there, not moving an inch. “Gallade, do as I say!” Gallade turned toward its master, whose rage was written all over his face. Then Gallade used Psycho Cut, right at its master. The crescent shaped energy reached its destination; the leader of the Rockets of the headquarters was thrown into one of the remaining walls of the building in a heap of pain.

    “You have to run! Now!” Gallade commanded. The Pokémon, along with Mark, did not hesitate, and took their chance to escape into the woods. They all gathered in a clearing after several minutes of sprinting, every one of them exhausted.

    “Is everyone alright?” Mark asked, again speaking like a Cyndaquil. All the Pokémon voiced their joyful confirmation. “Great!” What followed was a series of thanks and goodbyes, some to Mark, and some between Pokémon that had met each other in that lab, but were now going their separate ways.

    “I told you I’d take you with me,” Mark said to Espeon. Espeon smiled, then walked off into the woods. The other Pokémon began leaving shortly after. Finally, it seemed as if everyone was gone.

    “Well, we’d better go, too, Melody,” he said.

    “Yeah,” she said, and the two walked off together.

    “Wait!” yelled Wooper, jumping out from behind a bush (he had seen an apple near there, but upon inspection, it had turned out to be rotten.) But the two were already gone. Wooper looked at the ground. “I wanted to come with you.” Wooper was sad at first, but then a smile crept onto his mouth.

    “We’ll meet again, Mark,” he said with a grin. Then Wooper turned around and walked off into the woods.
    __________________________________________
    Melody and Mark were relaxing at a diner a few miles from the Team Rocket headquarters. They frequently got stares and backward glances (after all, a boy was talking to a Gardevoir and serving it a human lunch) but they didn’t care. Cyndaquil was sitting on the table, eating Pokémon food.

    “This is delicious!” said Melody. “I haven’t had a human meal in months!”

    “Yeah,” grunted Mark, his mouth full of food.

    “So what are we going to do now?” asked Melody.

    “What do you mean?” inquired Mark, who had now swallowed his food.

    “Well, are we going to go our separate ways, or travel together?”

    “I hadn’t really thought about that.”

    “Well, what if I joined your team?”

    “What?!” Mark was shocked. He was not prepared for such an offer.

    “Of course, you could never keep me in a Poké Ball. I’d have to walk around with you.”

    “Of course,” Mark thought for a moment. “Sure, why not?”

    “Alright, but you’re going to have to fight me.” Melody grinned.

    “What?” Mark was confused. “I thought you wanted to be on my team.”

    “I do. But I want it to be a challenge,” she said. “I don’t want to simply join your team, I want to experience the thrill of the battle!”

    “And if you lose?”

    “Then we’ll go our separate ways, and that will be that,” she said. “There has to be some risk to it, right?”

    “I guess so,” Mark grinned. “So, are you ready?”

    “You bet!” said Melody.

    “Alright! Cyndaquil, how about you?”

    “Let’s do this!” Cyndaquil said, grinning. “But, could we finish lunch first?” Mark and Melody both laughed.

    “Yes, we can finish lunch,” said Mark. He paused. “Hey, Melody, didn’t you say you wanted help with your speech?”

    “Yes, why?”

    “Well, how about a lesson right now?”

    “That sounds great!” she said, excited.

    “Alright.” Thus began an hour long lesson, involving Melody trying very hard to pronounce the letters of the alphabet and not say the syllables of “Gardevoir”. At the end of the lesson, Melody was able to pronounce the letters “a”, “b” and “c”.

    Once they had finished eating, they left the restaurant and headed toward the woods.

    “Alright then! Cyndaqil, Flamethrower!” Cyndaquil unleashed a massive flame from his mouth. Melody jumped out of the way, then used Psychic. Cyndaquil fell to the ground, clutching his head.

    “Cyndaquil! You all right?!” Mark asked.

    “I’m fine,” said Cyndaquil, recovering.

    “Great! In that case, Flame Wheel!” Cyndaquil sped toward Gardevoir, who jumped to dodge the attack. However, her jump was a little late, and Cyndaquil rammed into her feet. Melody went crashing to the ground. Melody got back up, then used Magical Leaf.

    “Cyndaquil, dodge!” Cyndaquil jumped out of the way of the leaves that had been hurtled at it. “Great! Now, Rollout!” Cyndaquil curled into a ball and sped toward Melody. He slammed right into her feet, once again tripping her. She held out her hand and used Confusion on Cyndaquil as she fell. Cyndaquil was sent flying into a tree. He fell to the ground, then quickly recovered. Melody was now back on her feet.

    “Alright Cyndaquil, Smokescreen!” A black smoke filled the air. Melody looked around frantically, using Magical Leaf at everything that moved. “Now, Flamethrower!” Cyndaquil’s Flamethrower punched through the cloud and rammed into Melody head on. The smoke cleared to reveal Melody, hurt but still standing. Melody used Magical Leaf, which Cyndaquil dodged.

    “Quick Attack!” A bright white light appeared behind Cyndaquil as he rammed Melody at full speed. Melody managed to keep her balance, and this time used Future Sight. “Cyndaquil, she used Future Sight! Get ready!” Cyndaquil nodded.

    “Now, Cyndaquil, use Tackle!” Cyndaquil threw himself against Melody, who could no longer keep her balance and fell to the ground.

    “Poké Ball, go!” Mark threw a Poké Ball. However, in midair, it was incinerated by the Future Sight attack. Mark stood there, wide eyed for a second. “What the…!” Melody burst into laughter.

    “How’s that?!” asked Melody, proud of her accidental success. Then Melody used Confusion and sent Cyndaquil flying. Cyndaquil landed near Mark, then slowly stood back up.

    “Cyndaquil! Tackle her again!” Cyndaquil threw himself against Melody, but this time she was prepared, and she jumped to the side, then used Psybeam. Cyndaquil landed, then jumped out of the way and started running as the beam of psychic energy began to follow him around.

    “Cyndaquil! Counter with Flamethrower!” Cyndaquil unleashed massive flames on the Psybeam. The two attacks battled in the air, but eventually Melody’s Psybeam reached Cyndaquil, who flew back into the dust. Cyndaquil stood back up again.

    “Alright, Quick Attack!” Cyndaquil leapt at Melody, slamming himself againsther. Melody recoiled. The two landed on the ground, both breathing heavily, clearly exhausted.

    “Cyndaquil, can you keep going?” Mark asked. Cyndaquil nodded. “Great! Now, let’s finish this! Quick Attack again!” Once again a white light enveloped Cyndaquil as he threw himself against Melody, who fell backward and landed hard on the ground.

    “Poké Ball, go!” Mark threw a Poké Ball at Melody. This time, it met its mark.

    The Poké Ball rolled back and forth, back and forth.
    Last edited by Paragon; 12th December 2010 at 05:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Is awesome DarkShadowJake's Avatar
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    Default Re: Only Human (ready for grading)-comments welcome

    This isn't a review,just a comment.

    It was a very action packed story. It felt like a giant huge battle,which has it's pros and cons. I think it has a very good chance for a demanding story. I can't wait to see what will happen to Melody. I would let you catch Gardevoir,but it's the grader's decision. I'm looking forward to seeing you in the battle field.
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    :D Paragon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Only Human (ready for grading)-comments welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowJake View Post
    This isn't a review,just a comment.

    It was a very action packed story. It felt like a giant huge battle,which has it's pros and cons. I think it has a very good chance for a demanding story. I can't wait to see what will happen to Melody. I would let you catch Gardevoir,but it's the grader's decision. I'm looking forward to seeing you in the battle field.
    When I saw someone had commented on my story, I was like "Someone's graded my story already?! :D" to "Oh, it's just a comment..." to "I have a comment?! :D" XD

    Anyway, I really appreciate your comment. It's good to know that you like the story, and I hope the grader will think the same. Thanks for the comment :D Maybe we could have a battle sometime?

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    silence and sound MuddyMudkip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Only Human (ready for grading)-comments welcome

    It looks good, aand action packed. So, I like it.
    But, I would say add a bit more description to the story, especially during Pokemon battles.
    So, instead of like saying:
    “Dodge, and use Quick Attack!” Cyndaquil leapt out of the way, then rammed his opponent.
    You could say:
    "Dodge and use Quick attack!" Cyndaquil lept away, and quickly, speedily charged at his opponent. Ramming into Squirtle as a white trail of light behind the fire Pokemon disappeared.
    Or something like that. Also, if you want, you could always describe the Pokemon. (Like: A blue turtle Pokemon emerged from the Pokeball. etc)
    Last edited by MuddyMudkip; 26th November 2010 at 09:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Only Human (ready for grading)-comments welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyMudkip View Post
    It looks good, aand action packed. So, I like it.
    But, I would say add a bit more description to the story, especially during Pokemon battles. Alos, if you want, you could always describe the Pokemon. (Like: A blue turtle Pokemon emerged from the Pokeball. etc)
    Thanks for the feedback! :D I'll keep that in mind when I write my next story.

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    Default Re: Only Human (ready for grading)-comments welcome

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    Default Re: Only Human (ready for grading)-comments welcome

    This was a weird grade to write, ‘cause you’re a newbie, but you have a long story. I TRIED NOT TO OVERWHELM YOU. Yell at me if something doesn't make sense.

    Introduction: It was certainly gripping. The first person POV from Melody created a measure of suspense. It made me keep reading just because I wanted to know what, exactly, this Gardevoir is talking about, and why she feels so useless. The transition into a battle was kindof jarring, but it panned out well in the long run. You didn’t string us along too much before resolving the first set of Gardevoir questions. You also introduced a lot of plot and character elements that seemed pretty intriguing. The idea of a Pokémon translator looked interesting, and important to the plot—as it proved to be. There was also a bit of a cute moment that formed an accurate perception of the character’s personality and situation.

    On a whole, your introduction involved the basic components. I think a little clearer idea of a temporal setting would have been beneficial, just to get an idea of where/when they are for imagining purposes. That comes in through the details, which I’ll talk about later. You also might have chosen a third person perspective of the Gardevoir, or made the first person perspective show up later in the fic—it was a bit misleading (and unnecessarily so) to have the first paragraph from Melody’s POV, then never do it again. Be conscious that traditional anime-battle intros are looked upon skeptically. Your paragraph of Gardevoir smoothed out the downfalls of that, though, and the battle introduced your character well.

    All-in-all, you did pretty darn well for a first story.

    Plot/Character: It’s not exactly “original” in basic conception—Rocket experiments on Pokémon, someone saves Pokémon—but you pulled it off, plot-wise, very well. For future endeavors, I caution you against using a “simple” trainer-meets-danger plot layout; a lot of graders will be all GNAR NOT ALLOWED MAKE YOUR PLOT MORE COMPLEX. I have no problems with it, provided there is adequate expansion of ideas and incorporation of nuances—which I would say that, plot-wise, this did indeed have. The concept was pretty freaky and interesting, which is a plus. GOOD JOB.

    I have a few basic concerns. They all circulate around how much thought has been put in to cover up plot holes and make the story link together tightly. A lot of it also has to do with characters.

    • Why do the police not seem to care about these disappearances?
      • If they don’t know, why?
        • Do all of the disappearances occur pretty rurally?
        • Are the disappearances pretty sporadic, all over the place, instead of en masse?
        • Are the people not high profile enough to be worth reporting to higher authorities?
        • Are the Pokémon mostly wild?
        • Do they not believe that Team Rocket’s doing it?
        • Et cetera
      • If they do know?
        • Have they been paid to “not know”?
        • Are they just plain incompetent?
        • Is there no police division where the disappearances have been occurring?
        • Is Team Rocket mostly “off the map,” these days?
        • Et cetera

    • A kid was eager to jump in and save the day. Why?
      • You gave a sense that he’s always happy-go-lucky, ready to do anything. Why is that, and is that what made him want to help?
        • Is he just plain not easily scared?
        • Lots of scary stuff in his past?
        • Too naïve to understand the danger he could get into?
        • Dare-devil recklessness—thrives on the danger?
      • His emotions in the Rocket compound. Mostly “oh, okay, my friend just got tortured to the point of pain. I’m in a cage. Cool.” Why’s he so calm?
        • Redux of all the above questions.
      • He just stuck Melody in a Pokéball. What in the heck made him think that’s okay? And will she be ticked at him? (She better be.)
        • Lost in the moment?
        • Reflex?
        • OWAIT SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE THAT moment?
      • There’s something special about this kid. You’ve hinted. You’ve poked. But I want more than this. I want proof that I’m not just hallucinating that he’s more special than just “a Pokémon translator.” Rocket felt that Pokémon translating is a nifty skill. Why?
        • Is the skill only available to some people? (you hinted, but didn’t specify)
        • Can only a few people learn it?
        • Is it the sort of thing that is accessible, but takes a really special type of person to be interested in learning?
        • Why was Rocket so interested in him? A little bit more expansion from the random Rockets who are like OH JOIN US could have been cool.


    I could list more, but those are the most pressing questions. They come down to, How is Team Rocket getting away with this, Why is a kid the one who has to go fix it, and Why is this kid ABLE to fix it? In Pokémon anime, it’s kindof taken for granted that kids go around doing everything. But you’re trying to take a slightly grittier perspective on this—dead Pokémon, Gardevoir that feel worthless, disturbingly upbeat characters who’ve got to have something going on in their heads under the surface (as you showed us with Melody)… I think you have a lot of elements that are there, but that you haven’t capitalized on or written about. And I think these are really awesome elements that could make this an even better story than it already is. So, in the future, learn how to ask yourself questions like this, and think about which ones you can answer. Which ones you should answer is something you’ll work out on your own in time—it depends on whether you want your story to seem scary, adventurous, happy-go-lucky… You want to answer enough of the reader’s questions to keep them in your story, and to manipulate them into coming to certain conclusions about your story. You don’t have to answer all the questions to do so, but you still have to sortof prove to them that you know what you’re doing.

    Detail/Character: Three things with your detail. First, imagery. Second, dialogue alteration. Third, atmosphere. All three of these are things that you should be doing that you aren’t quite yet.

    Imagery. You have a good handle on what happened. You show me what people are doing, more or less why they are doing it, and what generally occurs. What you don’t do is give me a mental image of all of that occurring. Basically, you want to do that because it makes the story more impactful and all-around awesome when the reader has this close emotional imagination connection to it. How you do that really depends upon you as a writer. Those are decisions you need to make based on what you want the reader to perceive. The basic tools you should start using: the senses. Sight is the most obvious one—take a moment to describe what something really looks like. You said the Wooper was shaking in pain, shaking pretty violently. Where are those shakes occurring? Is it full-body convulsions, starting at his head and ending in his feet? Are those shivers, small quakes? Is he singed from the experiment? Do his eyes look traumatized and wide? What does he look like when he hits the back of the cage? Answer questions like that. There’s also sound—does he pants as he shakes, or is he disturbingly silent? Smell—does he smell like chemicals? Touch—does he feel odd? Maybe his fur is crackly, or something. (Not my favorite descriptive mode, personally, which is why my example sucks. XD But you might find something that really works for you there—experiment, work it out yourself.) And, uh, taste. Probably not the best in this situation. If he was singed or burnt from the experiment, perhaps the air tastes odd around him? Et cetera.

    This’ll be a combination of dialogue alteration and atmosphere. All of your characters talk the same way. That doesn’t make sense to me, because some of them are Pokémon who definitely come from different places than your humans. I’m not saying “add an accent,” or something. I’m talking what sorts of words they use, what sorts of sentence structures they use, what sorts of tones they use. Vary these based on the personality of your characters. This’ll make them feel a lot more individual and real.

    Now, for atmosphere. Atmosphere is basically how a piece of writing feels. It’s important in a lot of pieces—not necessary, per se, but certainly an indication of higher level writing. You create atmosphere with what you describe and what sorts of words you use to describe it. As-is, you don’t have a lot of description. While there are definitely emotions behind what’s happening, I don’t get to see a lot of them. The Rocket lab is supposed to be horrifying—there are all these experiments and nasty cages and dying Pokémon. So take a moment to describe something in the facilities that makes it seem this horrible. Grabbing a random one… You could describe the Pokémon.

    “They were talking about it in my last experiment. They said that… that they’re going to execute you.”

    “I expected as much,” Mark said, not showing any fear. In fact, Mark actually grinned. “My daring escape will just have to be a little sooner, then!” Espeon chuckled.

    “Just make sure you take us with you, Mark.”
    That first sentence is pretty traumatizing. You could, say, in a moment like this, describe the Pokémon saying it. Show how… their nails are too long, and their fur is unkempt and matted, and how they have welts and burn marks all over their body from the experiments, maybe. Perhaps they have a torn ear, or are missing a paw from an experiment gone wrong. That’ll make this scary. That’ll make this horrible. It’s Rocket experimenting on Pokémon—you want it to be horrible, from what I can see in everything you've written. How horrible is a question that will be answered by what elements you describe. Maybe Espeon is looking to the side, guilty that she has to give Mark this news. Or maybe she knows that Mark’s reaction will be so upbeat, and doesn’t fear telling him at all. Mention this, if that’s the case. You can look at a lot of places in your story and find where you could add little bits like this. You don’t want to add every detail in every scene—but find good places that help carry across the ideas you want to come across. If you want to show that Mark and Melody are having a good time in the end, describe them grinning at each other. If you want to show that Melody is sad, describe her posture, the look in her eyes.

    You can also use description in an atmospherical vein to make your character stronger. That moment where Mark grins at the thought of execution genuinely freaked me out. I was like WHOA WHAT A CREEPER. But at the same time, it didn’t make as much of an impact as it could have. If you’ve built this image of Mark being really upbeat and eager and get-it-done through the dialogue and the imagery, it’ll be a lot stronger in my mind. Instead of just a WHOA THAT’S WEIRD moment, I’ll have this WHOA MARK IS SUCH A BEAST moment. Show us how his face doesn’t change at all under the pressure, how he’s always smiling at the Pokémon and caring for them…. Or, alternately, show us that as soon as someone isn’t looking, he’s curling up in a corner crying because he’s so scared. I don’t know what image you have for this character because you haven’t shown me—so do that. Make him more real in my mind.

    One final note: don’t overlook describing the Pokémon. Graders like to stress the “we don’t know what Pokémon look like, necessarily, so go ahead and tell us” component of the story. General size, color, emphasis on prominent physical characteristics can all be good.

    Grammar: You have a few problems with possessives versus contractions. “And, your welcome.” → “And, you’re welcome.” Your is possessive; you’re is you are. You flubbed that a little. “Gallade turned toward its master, who’s rage was written all over his face.” → “Gallade turned toward its master, whose rage was written all over his face.” Whose is possessive; who’s is who is.

    Also, watch for small typos. I think I saw… two? You get your dialogue tags right most of the time, but you typo-d random ones.

    Other than that, the only thing I could talk to you about at length would be complex concepts of prose efficacy, which would be highly unnecessary at this point. MAYBE NEXT TIME >83

    Battle: For the amount of battling you did, the battles had interesting move interchanges but not a lot of emotional excitement or gravity. You can do that by adding the previously mentioned imagery component. I would even say that you could take out a lot of the attacks and focus on making the battle exciting by describing the scenery, and the moves’ impact.

    “Hyper Beam!”

    “Ice Punch!”

    “Pay Day!”
    Hyper Beam is massive. What’s more excting—“Hyper Beam!” or you showing the reader how the Pokémon releases this massive beam of light that the other Pokémon just barely manages to sidestep? What if that Hyper Beam smashes into a tree behind the other Pokémon, bores a giant hole right into its trunk, so that you can see through to the other side? And then, the beam is so powerful that the Pokémon is frozen afterwards—maybe show him staggering, unable to muster the strength for another move, or show him struggling to shift uncooperative muscles… However you see the scene, you want us to see the scene.

    This goes for the Ice Punch, too. Show the ice gathering around the Pokémon’s fist, the look on its face as it slams the fist into the other Pokémon’s stomach, maybe. Find little details that make the scene exciting. You want to focus on doing this with all of your battles, because if you don’t make them really exciting, you lose a lot of the gravity in your fic and your story climax.

    Length: 8 posts. Just over the minimum. Could easily have been well over, but hey, first story.

    Verdict: Okay. So. Here’s what I’m going to say. Gardevoir not captured. You went for a big goal, and I’m going to hold you to it. Demanding is one of those ranks that takes a pretty high level of togetherness to pull off. Quite frankly, you’re almost there. This isn’t a GO BACK TO EASIEST FOO non-capture. This is a YOU’RE ALMOST THERE AND I AM GOING TO FORCE YOU TO GET THERE BECAUSE I’M MEAN AND LIKE PUSHING PEOPLE INTO EXCELLENCE non-capture.

    You’re going to have to do the tricky editing if you want this Gardevoir. Fixing the who/your issues is something you should do, but what I really want to see is the whole story fit together. You have, like I said, a lot of really cool elements that I like a lot. You have a good setup, too. What I want to see, though, is those elements coming to life with the way you show them to me. Don’t just tell me that they’re happening—paint a picture in my mind; make me smell the carnage on the battlefield, the death and the chemicals in the lab. It’s not too tall of a task—I’m fully confident that you can do it. You’ve certainly shown yourself to be a good enough writer.

    ALSO. For your first story, I am seriously impressed.
    Last edited by Scourge of Nemo; 28th November 2010 at 09:12 PM.
    URPG Statistics
    Running Through Daisies

    kers x alaska x zak x derian x scourge x ireign

  8. #8

    Default Re: Only Human (ready for grading)-comments welcome

    The internet ate your grade when I posted it originally, then told me everything was complete. Sorry about that. It's fixed now. Thanks for letting me know. XD
    URPG Statistics
    Running Through Daisies

    kers x alaska x zak x derian x scourge x ireign

  9. #9

    Default Re: Only Human (ready for regrading)-comments welcome

    Alright. Because it’s your first story: Gardevoir captured. Keep in mind that as you become more experienced in the URPG, graders will start requiring more from you. :o This, though, you have done fantastically well. You patched things up in sections that I recommended, and you altered your battles to have a bit more of that action quality that suits this type of battle. I’d say there were still some unanswered questions, but… just think about how to answer uncertainties the reader might have in your later pieces.

    I’mma talk a bit more about detail, though. What you put in was pretty great—well-placed, well-worded, et cetera. However, you only put details in where I recommended you to. The idea of imagery is that you should look at your writing, and figure out where you need imagery to make a point. For this sort of writing that you’re doing, you need to have imagery in a lot more places than just where I recommended. You don’t want to have excessive imagery with things scattered all over the place even though they have nothing to do with the story. You also don’t want to have imagery only every once in awhile, when the mood strikes. You want to have imagery where there needs to be imagery to say what you want to say. Work on incorporating imagery into the body of your piece when you need to show that something is scary, pretty, exciting—whatever. It’s an acquired skill, so you’ll need to work on it, but it looks like you can get it.

    Also. GOOD JOB. Lemme know when you get a new piece up. :o
    URPG Statistics
    Running Through Daisies

    kers x alaska x zak x derian x scourge x ireign

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