Twin-blade Turnabout [SWC]

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    Trainer Ordinaire evanfardreamer's Avatar
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    Default Twin-blade Turnabout [SWC]

    For the Some Writing Contest
    Target 'mon: Scyther, Complex, 30-40k chars

    When Evan got a letter dropped on his school desk Thursday morning, his heart surged with excitement. He was a student at the Violet City's prestigious Trainer Academy; five days a week, they sat in small classes learning about Pokemon, types, attacks, and other sundry trivia. The weekends were a welcome relief, when they were allowed to go into the large town on their own time with whatever pocket money they'd saved.

    However, every time Evan had gotten a letter like the one before him, it always meant a three-day weekend adventure. The man in the dark uniform who brought it to him also gave letters to two other students Evan knew; they were occasionally sent off as well, and while they were occasionally paired with each other, Evan had never been..

    The letter sat before him, an innocuous white envelope bearing simply his first name in Davis' large block lettering. Hands trembling slightly, he picked it up from the desk, turning it over and opening the envelope's unsealed flap. Upending the contents, several pieces of paper and a small picture fell out.

    Staring up from the picture was a majestic Scyther, standing in a dark forest; Evan didn't recognize the leafy trees in the background. The Pokemon didn't seem to be looking at the camera, almost unaware that its photo was even being taken.

    A couple of the pieces of paper were various maps. The forest wasn't far from Violet city, and one map showed game trails and walking paths cris-crossing the green expanse. A third piece of paper was a note excusing him from class on Friday, citing extracurricular activities, and the fourth was a letter from Davis.

    He smoothed out the latter on the oft-vandalized wooden surface; it was short, as Davis' letters usually were. Normally, they only gave him a brief assignment and location particulars, as Davis expected him to be able to fill in the rest however he saw fit. True to form, this one only had four sentences.

    "Evan", Davis wrote. "Temodar woods, a day's journey to the North, contains many rare and dangerous Pokemon. It also has freelancing poachers and the occasional adventurous Trainer. The regional Executive wants a demonstration of the progress I keep telling him you're making; he wants to be sure you're Rocket potential. I know you won't disappoint us, and it's your chance to show off to the bigwigs."

    It was unsigned, but Evan was sure Davis had typed it. It read like his style, and as far as Evan was aware, nobody had been following his progress. It made him a little nervous, but he forgot that quickly at the prospect of not only skipping a whole day of classes but also acquiring a new and intriguing Pokemon.

    He'd heard of Scyther before, but never seen one personally; he admired the long, razor-sharp blades that served as arms, the short yet powerful wings, and the eyes that showed a canny intelligence.

    Class ended a few minutes later. On the way out, he handed the slip that excused him to the middle-aged teacher, who seemed to already be expecting it. He waited until the rush of students left before heading towards his dormitory; he had an hour for lunch before his classes resumed.

    Dark-haired Morgan and fair Larry were waiting for him outside, and they fell into step. They wore the dark clothing that most Rocketeers favored, in contrast with Evan's light-blue shirt. They had been the other two who got letters in the study hall period, and they peppered him with questions about his mission.

    "I'm going after a Scyther," he told them. They oohed and aahed appreciatively when he showed them the picture, calling him lucky.

    "We never get to go after anything that cool." said Larry.

    "Yeah, you always get the good ones. Why is that?" Morgan asked him.

    "Davis says I always get fun ones because I always come back a winner; I haven't failed one of these assignments yet." Evan said proudly.

    Morgan had been sent to a nearby lake to catch a Wooper, and Larry was tasked with the Rock Tunnel and catching an Onix. They idly chatted about how they were going to accomplish their tasks while Evan led the way to their rooms.

    They reached the dormitories and separated. Evan went into his small room, reminding himself to clean up when he noticed the clutter again. He began warming a can of ravioli in a stained pot on the stove as he bustled about, getting his gear ready to leave. His red backpack had been custom-made for his small frame, which hadn't been cheap; his school stipend covered most of it, and he'd had to run errands on a few weekends to make up the rest. He filled it with a couple of changes of clothes, some soap and toilet paper, and food that could be eaten cold; he'd learned it paid to be quickly mobile on these assignments.

    To the outside, he strapped his bedroll, a small tarp, and a small hatchet for cutting firewood, should he need it. He also filled a couple canteens with water and hung them from convenient hooks, since he wasn't sure how potable the streams he might run across would be.

    A couple finishing touches, and he was as ready as he would be. His satchel already held spare Pokeballs, various medicines, and a first aid kit. Between the two, he'd be able to get along just fine - he was only going to be out for the weekend, after all.

    He leaned the pack against the wall, next to the door, so it would be ready to grab when he finished his last class of the day. Noticing that his ravioli was finally heated, he sat down to the last warm meal he'd likely have for a few days, and made sure to enjoy it.

    *~*~*

    The lonely, dusty trail was wide and dry, making Evan's travel quite easy. After setting off from school, he'd walked for a couple hours, seeing nobody; thanks to the light woods that surrounded Violet City, he'd been able to have at least some shade during the hottest part of the day.

    Now, however, the sun was dipping towards the mountains to the north. He was walking among fields of tall grass, dotted with gently rolling hills and the occasional patch of brilliant wildflowers. A light breeze ruffled his blonde hair, causing waves in the grasses and bearing a flock of Pidgeotto towards the south.

    Evan kicked a pebble along the path, idly watching its dust cloud dissipate. Spotting a thick group of leafy rowan trees along the path ahead, he made his way to it, planning to use the rest of the light to set his camp. It took him the better part of a half hour to travel the distance, but he made it there just before the last rays of sunlight hid behind the rocky range.

    As he pushed his way into the grove, the temperature dropped by several degrees in the space of a few paces. Evan found a hollow between trees that was large enough for him to lay down in. Spreading out a tarp and his bedroll, he watched a pair of Diglett chase each other around a mound of their tunnels. He scarfed down a peanut butter sandwich, throwing the crusts to the Mole Pokemon, and dozed off into a light sleep, interrupted only by the occasional Hoothoot or fitful dream.

    Waking with the dawn the next morning, he realized that a mound of soft earth had been formed under his head while he slept. Moving the edge of the tarp, a Diglett - likely one of the ones from the night before - poked its head out from the pile.

    "Thanks, Diglett," Evan said. Scracthing the small brown Pokemon's head gently, he had a light breakfast - not much more than a hunk of bread and a chunk of cheese - which he shared with the thoughtful Pokemon he'd befriended. Making a mental note of where he'd bedded, he folded his tarp, rolled his bedroll, and set off along the path again.

    He walked past beautiful meadows of flowers where Furret chased each other around, alongside swift creeks with splashing Marrill and jumping Magikarp, and passed several small villages where children did much the same in dusty streets. Trees began to appear in large numbers once again, mostly oak or elm, and Evan realized as the sun was high overhead that he was nearing the forest that was his goal.

    He stopped for lunch, eating some jerky and trail mix to keep his energy up; he washed it down with the last swigs of water from his first canteen. He watched a pair of Buneary frolicking in the underbrush, far enough away to dart farther away if he made any aggressive moves. They tired of their game soon enough, though, and disappeared when the day's temperature got highest.

    It still was much cooler than the summers Evan had spent outside recently, so he kept walking, pausing to dangle his feet in a deep, clear stream that meandered near the path. Making sure to keep his toes far away from the Crawdaunt he saw among the rocks along the bottom, he dried his feet and laced up his boots, setting off once more.

    This time he met a fellow trainer on the road; the boy was no older than Evan, and wore a red vest, blue jeans, and a grey hat. They spoke briefly, but the other trainer wasn't interested in a battle; he was going home to visit his sister, who had been sick for some time.

    Evan paused only once more during the early afternoon, when he stumbled across a small pond full of Farfetch'd and Magikarp. He spent a little while crumbling bread and tossing it to them from a small stone bench; his spirits were lightened when one unlucky Farfetch'd, who hadn't gotten much to eat, took his leek to an ambitious and well-fed Magikarp, chasing it across the pond. Still smiling, he stood and continued his journey.

    The leafy trees he encountered, and the shrubbery around them, kept getting thicker until something resembling twilight reigned. The wind now turned cold, biting through Evan's shorts and thin t-shirt. Several Noctowl and Spearow stared down at the trespassing child from high birch branches as he struggled through the thick undergrowth, and he felt more eyes that he couldn't see watching his progress carefully.

    Finding a large, gnarled yew trunk, he shed his full backpack, wrapping it in the tarp and leaning it against the tall roots. Taking just the canteen and his satchel, he began to walk slowly forward along a small game trail. Remembering the map that Davis had given him, he managed to piece together where he was currently; seeing what looked to be a clearing ahead, he matched it to the somewhat crumpled paper and proceeded quietly.

    He realized as he stepped into the open space that the rest of the forest had grown silent. The Kricketot and Pidgey who had been trilling their melodies to each other stopped abruptly, and the quiet in the air turned suffocating and oppressive; the only sound was the chill breeze, still blowing.

    He had only an instant's warning before they attacked; a flash of yellow from the corner of his eye signalled the assault of the Beedril. Diving to the ground, the conical needle-tipped forearms slashed through the space he'd occupied just a moment before, and drops of poison scattered across the forest floor as they wheeled about for another attack.

    There were four of them, and Evan thought back to his first days of being a Pokemon trainer, when his newly-acquired Growlithe helped stave off a swarm of them.

    Perhaps it was time to relive those memories. Reaching for a Pokeball on his belt, he threw it forward. "Legend, come on out! I need your help!" he cried.

    In a flash of crimson light, a large canine Pokemon stood before him. Orange fur covered its powerful frame, striped with obsidian and broken by a mane, tail and ankle ruffs of cream-colored fur.

    Seeing the Pokemon arrayed against him, his toothy maw opened wide in a grin.

    "I thought you might like to relive a fun memory, Legend," Evan said. "I know it's been a year - do you think you can do that well again?"

    In response, the Arcanine stretched his legs, flexed his jaw, and arched its back. "Arc!" it said, as the ruffs of fur began to twist in the drafts like flickering flames.

    The four Beedril came in all at once, giving little warning. Legend was ready for them, however; he blew forth a sheet of flames that caught all four of the Bug Pokemon squarely. One of them fell immediately to the forest floor, its wings a charred mess; its carapace was scorched and one of its eyes was blackened. It twitched a few times, then lay eerily still.

    Before Evan had a chance to feel remorse, the other three swooped back in. Attacking from separate directions, this time, they came at the pair with furious vengeance evident in their sharp, violent motions. One had a pair of legs twisted beyond use, and the other two showed bad burns on their abdomens, but they came on relentlessly, driving the two to the edge of the clearing.

    Arcanine put up a magnificent fight. Had there been just two of the attackers, he would have easily dispatched them; and had they attacked together again, he could have hit them all with a well placed burst. The Beedril had become wary, though, and pressed their advantage on his flank.

    Swiping paws, snapping jaws, and the occasional gout of flame kept any of the trio from getting close to Evan, but he knew that this fight needed to end now. "Don't worry about me, Legend," he said. "Take out that left one, it's already crippled, and you'll have no troubles with the others.

    The Arcanine turned to do his trainer's bidding. Leaping forward, he caught the Beedril unprepared, loosing a wave of scorching flame right into the enemy's face. It withered under the surprise assault, and the other two backed off even further, seeing yet another comrade's demise.

    Legend pressed his advantage; leaping a dozen feet in a single bound, he came down atop another of the Beedril, wreathing himself in blazing flames and crushing his enemy beneath him. The remaining attacker turned and tried to flee, to no avail; one last, sustained salvo of fire caused him to crumple to the ground unconscious as well.

    "Great work, Legend," Evan told his friend. By way of thanks, he retrieved some of the smoked and dried jerky he'd brought along from his satchel and fed it to the Arcanine; after the Pokemon had finished chewing the tough, dry meat, Evan returned him to his Pokeball and walked from the clearing back to the path, trying not to look at the still smoking bodies behind him.

    *~*~*

    Several hours later, the dim light filtering into the forest was darkening farther still. Realizing that night must be near, Evan began to worry; it would take him the full day tomorrow to walk back, and he still hadn't seen any rare Pokemon, much less a Scyther.

    In earnest, he began looking for any signs of the elusive target; scratches on the trunks of a handful of trees pointed him in the direction of another clearing. Around him, the various Pokemon of the forest stilled, much like they had before the last assault on him. Ducking himself into some nearby brush, he realized that there was a figure in the middle of the clearing ahead.

    It was taller than Evan by at least a foot; vaguely humanoid in appearance, it was crouched at the edge of a forest brook, burbling softly with the moving water. Peering through the thick foliage, he realized with a start that what he'd originally mistaken for a backpack was actually a pair of folded wings. A triangular head rose cautiously from the stream, and looked in Evan's general direction; Evan was thrilled to see that he'd finally caught sight of his target Pokemon.

    The Scyther was amazing to behold; sleek lines and curves defined function, from the vivid green carapace to the razor-sharp ivory foreclaws. Bright green eyes showed a predatory intelligence, that even though it was at rest was fully active. Minor twitches of the wings showed that it was constantly on edge, whether from instinct or the unnatural hush of the other forest dwellers, Evan wasn't sure.

    He watched as it speared something within the creek on the edge of its blade, bearing the small, wriggling creature to its mouth. It bit down partway through the struggling meal - Evan guessed it was a Corphish - tearing it into smaller pieces, which it quickly devoured.

    Movement at the far edge of the clearing caught the attention of both Scyther and Evan. A large, burly man wearing camouflage-patterned clothing strode forward. Thick boots crushed twigs underfoot, and a sweat-stained green bandanna was wrapped around his bald head. "Here's one, guys. Get the net guns, we'll catch us a Scyther!"

    The Scyther, seeing that this human meant it no good, turned and began fleeing for the edge of the clearing near Evan. A bush not ten paces from the boy disgorged two more figures, as disreputable looking as the last; they held large tubes on their shoulder, and pressing buttons on the sides, fired large, weighted nets at the Pokemon.

    Scyther made a quick slashing motion as it dived to the side, and one of the nets came apart into several pieces, while the other missed entirely. The Pokemon darted directly to the side, diving into the trees, and all three hunters gave chase.

    Evan swore - a bad habit he'd picked up from some of his fellow Rockets - and stood from his hiding place, ready to move forward. The men were probably poachers, given the gear they had tried to use. While Evan had no objection to capturing Pokemon, he felt it still should come down to Trainer skill, not brute force and technological gadgets.

    "Hold it right there, kid," a familiar, nasally voice from behind him droned. "I think you've got something we want, see?"

    Evan turned to see the speaker was a fat, unappealing man in blue overalls. Watery eyes, greasy hair and a bulbous nose called him to mind instantly - Evan had run into the fellow when he was trying to rescue some wayward kids, defeating him with the help of Gastly who had lived in the area.

    The man stood in front of a motley group - two other humans stood beside him, one shorter and somewhat skinnier, the other taller and thin as a rail. Both had mussed brown hair that showed a general disdain for hygeine. Of the Pokemon standing beside them, Evan recognized Lucario and Sneasel, and the third must have been an Azumarill; it was as high again as a Marrill, with its lower half being white, and the wiry tail being longer and larger. Its long, rabbit-like ears twitched back and forth with every word the Team Aqua member said.

    "The something would be your Pokemon, kid. Hand them over now and you won't get hurt."

    Evan frowned at the audacity and incompetence of the men in front of him. "Not going to happen," he said. "My Pokemon are all mine, and I went through a lot of work to get and train them. I'll be happy to chase you off again, if you'd settle for that."

    The man laughed, but it wasn't humorous or pleasant. "The kid things he's in charge," the man said when he'd caught his breath. "I think we should show him a thing or two, huh? Get up there, Zumie."

    The Azumarill obligingly tottered forward. "Azum, zum!" it said, eyes glinting at the prospect of imminent violence.

    Evan pulled a Pokeball from his pocket. "Nidoking, I think it's time we chased them off for good. Come on out!"

    He was a little surprised when nothing happened; the Pokeball stayed inert in his hand. "Nidoking, didn't you hear me? Come out and help me!" he said, shaking the ball.

    The man laughed again, patting a small device on his belt. "I don't think so, kid. This little thing here sends out radio waves that keep the Pokeball from opening - and even if it didn't, it emits a pulse field to keep the energy they're stored in from resolving back into the Pokemon. You haven't got a chance against us, so you may as well give up now."

    Evan thought furiously. If he wasn't going to be able to use his Pokemon, he really was in trouble - these men were well-equipped, from what Evan saw slung over their backs, and they already had Pokemon out.

    Quickly coming up with an idea, albeit not a great one, Evan drew another Pokeball from his backpack. "I'll bet you this one will work!" he said, a lot more confidently than he felt.

    The man roared, and his goons howled with laughter. "Fine, kid, since you're so sure, I'll give you the chance. Throw the Pokeball, let's see what you're trying to send!"

    Knowing he'd only have one chance, Evan expanded it to full size. "Nobody, I choose you!" as he cocked back his arm and hurled it directly at the Aqua goon's face, turning to flee before he could see if it struck its mark.

    *~*~*

    Evan had made his way around the clearing in the ensuing chaos. He'd been deeply gratified to hear the meaty smack of impact his Pokeball ruse had earned him, and the pained yelps from the man who might well have a broken nose.

    The boy didn't feel sorry for him in the slightest, though. In choosing to try and steal Evan's Pokemon, he'd deserved whatever Evan did to defend himself and those he cared about. If it weren't for their odds-evening devices, he was sure he'd have beat them all, even three to one.

    It'd been a little while since Evan had seen any of them, though. They had crashed through the clearing a few times, chasing what they thought was his trail, but he always gave them the slip. He cautiously edged out into the clearing; he was extremely thirsty, and the bubbling brook had driven him mad for the past ten minutes.

    He was afraid that it was too late for him to catch the Scyther, and he wasn't sure how he felt about that. On the one hand, he'd been waylaid by three well-prepared goons and gotten away. Although he was sure Davis would understand, the mysterious executive he had been reporting to might not be so kind.

    On the other hand, he was acting under orders from Team Rocket to catch a Scyther; if lesser trainers got in his way, he would simply have to defeat them, no matter the marvels they may have acquired. Winning in the face of adversity was a testament to strength, at least according to a motivational poster in one of his classrooms.

    He'd reached the stream at last; the water was cold, clear, and delicious. Evan drank as much as he dared, rising quietly to return to the edge of the space, when a crash drew his attention to a nearby copse of trees.

    Standing still, he saw the Scyther bolt back into the clearing; it was covered in fine scrapes and cuts, and was favoring a leg and a wing. It seemed not to notice him as it darted away from the trees, but as it got close it saw him and came to an abrupt halt.

    The human and Pokemon locked eyes; time seemed to come to a standstill as the two, who were each used to being the top of the pile, saw in each other the fear of being prey. The Scyther's eyes brightened, and it gingerly approached Evan, who stood and walked slowly toward it.

    Stopping a few feet before they actually met, he sketched a half bow; not taking his eyes off the other, or presenting the back of his neck, he showed his respect for the powerful Pokemon. Scyther crossed his blades before him and did much the same, as they realized they had met their matches.

    Evan had the dawning realization that it was fate bringing them together. More than his assignment, or the journey, or run-in with the Aqua goon, he was supposed to meet this Pokemon in this fashion. He drew resolve from the knowledge, and quickly offered his deal to the Scyther.

    "It looks like we're both in some trouble; how about we help each other out? I help you against the poachers, and you help me against the goons chasing me. Fair?" he asked the Scyther.

    Amazingly, the Scyther understood. Evan barely had time to wonder after its brief nod where it learned to understand human speech, when the stillness of the forest glade was broken by a loud voice.

    The poachers had found them first; the burly man with the bandanna strode forward, trailed closely by what Evan realized was an Alakazam. "Back off, kid, this one's mine." he yelled gruffly.

    Evan pulled out his Pokedex. This might take a bit of luck; one exhausted Scyther and a trainer that didn't know what it could do, versus a highly-trained and well-rested Alakazam and a well-paid, vicious poacher. Those odds didn't sit well with him, and he frantically pulled up Scyther's file on the device.

    "Scyther, the Mantis Pokemon. Its blindingly fast speed adds to the sharpness of its twin forearm scythes. The scythes can slice through thick logs in one wicked stroke."

    Well, Evan thought, that could be useful. "Pokedex, please tell me some of Scyther's known attacks."

    "Partial list," his Pokedex chimed. "Moves such as Double Team, Quick Attack, Fury Cutter, and Air Slash."

    "Give me the full list, and quick!" Evan said. "Just show me!"

    The poacher had already crossed most of the clearing; now he stopped, letting his Alakazam stand in front of him. "Alright, Kazza, let's take it out. Hit it with Confusion!"

    "Scyther, you're going to have to trust me. Use Double Team!" Evan called out.

    Launching into motion, the Scyther blurred through a ring around the Poacher and his Pokemon. What looked like several duplicate copies of him surrounded them; the Psychic Pokemon's attack harmlessly blasted through a false image.

    "Alright, Scyther, we're doing okay. Try going on the offensive - hit it with Fury Cutter!"

    The image to their left swiftly flashed toward them; the others disappeared as soon as Scyther stopped darting through them temporarily. Raising his scythes angrily, his flurry of attacks landed three times on the frail Alakazam.

    "Try it some more! It's working!" Evan cried.

    "I think not. Kazza, use Substitute - let it wear itself out on copies too!" the poacher cried.

    Obligingly, the Alakazam began summoning up false images of itself that Scyther tore through one at a time; each copy looked like it took something out of it, though, and it was getting tired faster than Scyther was.

    "Fury cutter isn't enough, Scyther," Evan said. He looked through the list. "Try this one - X-Scissor! Hit it with both scythes at once!"

    The Scyther spun about, slashing one final copy from the air. Crossing its scythes, it darted forward and slashed both at once, leaving deep furrows in Alakazam's torso.

    "Kaz... Kaz..." it managed to gasp out before collapsing at it's Trainer's feet.

    The poacher looked incredulous. "How, how could this happen?!" he stammered. Trying to recall his Pokemon, he pointed the Pokeball at its prone form to no avail. The crimson beam that normally would transport the creature back inside it failed to appear, and the Poacher looked even more flabbergasted. "What is this? Please, I'll stop, just please, don't hurt me!" he said. The man looked close to tears at this point as he awkwardly tried to drag the unconscious Pokemon away from the angry Scyther.

    "Hold, Scyther. I think that if he cares enough about one Pokemon to try and get it out of here, he'll think twice before trying to poach again. Isn't that right?" Evan asked the man.

    "Yes, yes, I promise! Just please, don't hurt us. We'll go."

    Scyther lowered its scythes, and the man gratefully carried the Alakazam to the edge of the clearing. Administering a potion to its wounds, it stood unsteadily, and they gingerly walked away from the victorious pair.

    "I know I heard something over here, come on, worthless maggots!" a voice behind Evan said.

    Realizing how much noise the battle must have created, he turned to face the returning Aqua goons crashing through the shrubbery. "There he is!" the man cried. "Get that little bastard!"

    "Watch your language around kids, jerk. I'm only fourteen," Evan said.

    The man only looked more aggravated. Blood had dried beneath his nose, which was bent at a strange angle; it was almost certainly broken. "Watch out for any more cheap tricks from this kid," he said, as they began to circle him. They'd apparently picked up another member, this one with disheveled black hair and wearing the trademark blue coveralls, who had a Parasect standing behind him.

    "Cheap tricks, from the goon who can't face me without the latest technological marvel. Too scared I'll beat you again, eh?" Evan goaded him. The man was scarlet with rage, now, and Evan thought he'd better make his move now, before he got too much more incensed.

    "Now, Scyther! Use your Fury Swipes on those things on their belt!" Evan said.

    Scyther exploded into motion. Before they could react, Scyther had destroyed each of the devices they carried that tipped the odds in their favor. As shattered bits of plastic, metal, and glass fell quietly to the grass, the leader's face crystallized in horror, realizing what had just happened.

    Drawing two Pokeballs from his pocket, he tossed them casually to the ground. His Nidoking and Jolteon appeared in two flahses of light, and growled menacingly at the eight arrayed against them.

    Evan narrowed his eyes as he spoke. "Get them."

    Jolteon reacted instantly, charging his spiky yellow fur and launching a powerful bolt of lightning against the Azumarill. The thick beam darted unpredictably, looking like it would miss, but a fork at the last second caused it to strike home solidly.

    The Azumarill screamed in pain as if fell twitching to the ground, clearly unconscious. Evan had a moment to hope it wasn't permanently injured, before being distracted by Nidoking charging forward with a howl. As its enormous feet stomped, they caused a crack in the very ground beneath it, which arrowed straight towards the Lucario. His main attack, however, was reserved for the Sneasel; leaping into the air, it brought both its feet down onto the black and red Pokemon, which crumpled under the assault.

    The leader of the Aqua goons bawled in fear of the enraged Pokemon before him. Recalling his Azumarill to its Pokeball, he dashed toward the nearest forest edge, gasping to retreat.

    "But we aren't done yet! Come on, Scyther, it's up to you - use Wing Attack on that Parasect!" Evan shouted.

    The Trainers of the Lucario and Weaville recalled their Pokemon and followed their leader, but the one with the Parasect stood his ground. Evan initially thought he was exceptionally brave, until he realized that the kid was shaking in fear, and would need a catalyst to run.

    Scyther bore down on the giant bug Pokemon, indifferent to the quailing trainer behind him. At the last moment, he stiffened his diaphanous wings, striking the Parasect and sending it rolling.

    As he landed, the tumbling Parasect struck its trainer, and they went down in a heap of arms, legs, and spores. Finally coming to his senses, the last Trainer screamed as he disentangled himself, then ran after the others, recalling his Pokemon as he ran.

    In a few more moments, the clearing was silent again.

    *~*~*

    Evan took another long, cold drink of water from the stream. The Scyther sat nearby; it'd done its share of work in chasing off the goons from Team Aqua. The mop-up hadn't taken as long as Evan had thought it would, as they all were as cowardly as their leader.

    "Well, Scyther, I have to thank you for your help. I couldn't have done it without you." Evan dried his mouth on his sleeve.

    "Scyth, scyther," the Mantis Pokemon said.

    "You know, Scyther, I'm in training to be a Pokemon Master. Having a strong Pokemon like you with me would make that easier. Would you like to come with me?" Evan asked, as he carefully regarded the Pokemon.

    In way of response, it stood from the ground, bringing its scythes around to the fore in an aggressive stance.

    "You want to battle?" Evan asked it. "Is that it?"

    Scyther simply nodded.

    Evan smiled, and stood. He called forth his Arcanine and made ready to battle.

    Although, between the weakened Scyther and his well-trained Arcanine, the end was never really in doubt.
    Last edited by evanfardreamer; 20th February 2011 at 09:08 PM.
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    Long Live the Ghost Dojo!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Twin-blade Turnabout [SWC]

    Didn't somebody grade this one?
    If not, wait an hour. I've got you covered...
    I grade things for the URPG.

    New experimental grading system. Request a tier after I claim your story:
    Tier I / Basic: A quick verdict and some useful advice without much fuss.
    Tier II / Normal: More in-depth analysis.
    Tier III / Heavy: I WILL TEAR YOUR STORY TO SHREDS AND TAP-DANCE ON THE PIECES

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Twin-blade Turnabout [SWC]

    It's grading time!
    I read this story for the SWC, but I don't remember if I voted for it. Oh, well.

    Length
    Capture Complex x1, 30-40K
    Your count: 29418

    Your story is mildly underlength.
    Six hundred characters is about a long paragraph's worth. It's not hard to add that much, but it's also a pretty small margin to miss the limit. You'll have to work extra hard for a successful capture with an underlength story. Let's see if the story's good.

    First impressions

    You try to set the scene with plentiful description, but there's a bit of a roadbump there. The first sentence is action: Evan gets a letter. The rest of the paragraph is exposition: who is the guy, what does he do. It would be better to have one paragraph for action and another one for exposition. It's harder to notice that way.

    Since I've read this story before, I'm compromised when it comes to writing first impressions. I'll end by saying that it segues well into the rest of the story after that first slightly-noticeable roadbump with the description.

    Grammar

    No major problems here. You have definitely polished your prose. Some typos, sure, but this is the Internet.

    A note:
    "How, how could this happen!" he stammered.
    This is both an exclamation and a question, so you can have both punctuation marks. Therefore, use !? or ?!. Pick whichever one seems more natural to you.

    I do notice that you tend to use a lot of semicolons. I like semicolons too, but you shouldn't use enough of them that it becomes noticeable. Mix things up with commas, periods, or other ways to join two clauses. Semicolons in dialogue are especially problematic. People don't use semicolons when they speak, especially children. You might be better off with a period or even a comma splice. It's improper, sure, but it sounds far more natural. Remember: talking people are seldom grammatically correct.

    Otherwise, good job! It's great to read carefully-written stuff.

    Plot

    Okay, let's get started for real.

    This story is the latest in a series where your original "Evan" character has adventures as a junior associate of Team Rocket. I find it interesting that the Team Rocket here seems to be a... more personable version of its game/anime depiction. You seem to have crossed it over with the yakuza and their emphasis on honor and semi-legitimacy. I like that. Nuance!

    I don't think this is the first story in the series I've read. There was one about the beach or something. But anyway, I remember this series as having a protagonist in an interesting situation.

    You see, there's this tension underlying the whole thing: is Team Rocket good or bad? Evan seems to think it's the best thing that ever happened to him, and he's getting away with some very idealistic actions, but something's got to give eventually. Either Evan will feel betrayed by Team Rocket's inherent evilness or we'll see you explain just how Team Rocket works differently in this universe. Either way, it'll make for good reading.

    Comparing him to the Team Aqua goons at least tells us that there seems to be room for "good people" in the Team Rocket ethos. Evan, compared to the Team Aqua goon, is a good guy. He gets along with Pokemon and treats them with respect. As I said before, well have to see if this creates friction between him and the rest of the Team Rocket establishment.

    The plot depends on the trope of everyone all coming together at once. Evan's out to find the Scyther, Team Aqua is off to steal Pokemon and happens on Evan, the poachers are out to poach Pokemon and happen on Scyther, and the Scyther's just doing whatever Scyther-ey thing it is that Scythers do. It's a coincidence, but not too much. Each character's actions are defined by their jobs; the only coincidence is that they all picked the same forest on that particular day.

    Everything comes together at once, and Team Aqua draws Evan away from the Scyther's battle with the poachers. Evan outwits the goons, happens on the Scyther, and proposes a deal. After two battles, the second of which happens "offscreen," Evan and the Scyther find that they kind of like each other and do the manly thing: battle to see if they're worthy of each other.

    The themes we see here are pretty normal for Pokemon stories. The Pokemon setting generally emphasizes things like respect for nature and being nice to Pokemon. Writing the story like this is a way to hold true to that spirit without being too flowers-and-unicorns-happy-happy. You're picking shōnen (boys' manga style) over shōjo (girls' manga style), I guess. Pokemon itself can go either way nowadays.

    You've set up the flow of action so that very little actual Pokemon battling happens. This may or may not be a conscious effort to set up Evan as an intelligent and flexible character who doesn't always take the most obvious path. There's also the anti-Poke-Ball plot device that the Team Aqua goon holds, which very artificially takes away Evan's advantages. That's why I called it a plot device. Because Evan was written to not be able to battle at first, he went and did that clever trick with the Poke Ball to the nose. It's an effective but obvious way to rack up the tension. You do give us that satisfying scene where Scyther gleefully breaks the devices, though, so I guess it balances out.

    The two final Pokemon battles were never described. This was a bold move. You should only do this if the plot and characters alone can carry the story. They're not quite at that level, and your story is underlength, so it's obvious what you must do. Writing at least one of the battles will complete the story in more ways than one.

    On a more positive note, the battles you do have do demonstrate that an extra battle scene would add a lot to the story. The ones you have seem carefully-thought-out and the individual attacks are well-described.

    Description

    A problem here: we don't find out that the goons are from Team Aqua until Evan escapes them. This would work in a situation where their identities were secret, but Evan already knows who they are; he's encountered them in previous chapters. It seems more like you've taken their descriptions for granted and forgot to mention their identity until too late. This happens a lot for recurring but minor characters in serialized stories. Always consider what a first-time reader would know as he or she reads through this story without having encountered previous chapters. You don't have to do a "Last Time On The Adventures of Evan" segment or anything, but naming and briefly describing each old character as he or she appears would help greatly.

    There are a lot of seemingly-inconsequential details in this story (the Diglett, Evan's friends, a Trainer going home) that you have used to serve a purpose. You have tried to flesh out this world, and you have done admirably. We get a good sense of the mood of this world: people are generally nice and nature is always interesting. Putting them all in the beginning of the story where Evan is still traveling is a good move. This way, they don't break up the narrative during the action scenes.

    Your battle scenes, as I have said before, are pretty good. You show how each move works. You've also made a big distinction between wild and Trainer battles. Wild fights can be curbstomps because there aren't any Pokemon League no-killing rules. This makes it somewhat inconsistent that the wild Scyther doesn't go around slaughtering everyone, but a story's a story. The fact that there's even a difference between wild and regulated fights means that you've given some thought to this.

    Characters

    Evan the Self-Insert Protagonist
    An everyman protagonist. Nothing remarkable, nothing worrisome. He's got the standard protagonist attitude of "be kind to the Pokemon" that makes it easy to identify with him.
    As I've said before, there's interesting things in store for his future if you go all the way with this Team Rocket thing, but that's neither here nor there for this particular chapter.
    His character traits allow him to catch the Scyther where others could not; while the others trap or steal, he goes out with open hands and gains that thing's respect. This is hardly new, but it's well-done. It's the moral to your story, I guess.
    As for Legend... wait... I think I've graded a story with Legend in it. Did I?
    Eh, whatever.
    So about Legend, yeah. He has no personality because he requires no personality. If ever you want to do a longer story, an effective way to make it engrossing would be to flesh out this Arcanine a bit.

    Aqua Goons
    They're just foils for Evan. They steal instead of respect. They also cheat. You are careful to make sure that they receive their comeuppance and are suitably humiliated at the end. Their cheating devices are destroyed and they are sent away because Evan doesn't want to injure them too much. A broken nose is just bad enough to be embarrassing and not far enough to be life-threatening.

    Poachers
    Like the Aqua Goons, but less personality. They represent deceit instead of theft or honor. It's odd that you named the main poacher's Alakazam Kazza, though. Are the poachers characters from the games? I mean, I have an Abra named Kazza...

    Scyther
    This character is simple in concept. He is supposed to respect strength and be a good counterpart for Evan. The plot centers around them making friends, after all.

    Your characters serve their purpose. You can flesh Evan out, but it would probably take a longer story and perhaps change the tone. Don't do that until you're prepared.

    Overall

    This story is competently written. I think you've done everything you set out to do with it. It may gain more value as more chapters are written and things develop.

    Decision

    I grade things for the URPG.

    New experimental grading system. Request a tier after I claim your story:
    Tier I / Basic: A quick verdict and some useful advice without much fuss.
    Tier II / Normal: More in-depth analysis.
    Tier III / Heavy: I WILL TEAR YOUR STORY TO SHREDS AND TAP-DANCE ON THE PIECES

  4. #4
    $CUSTOM_USER_TITLE
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Twin-blade Turnabout [SWC]

    Okey doke.

    Regrade go!

    It seems that you've addressed pretty much everything I mentioned in the grade:
    -The new battle is just as good as the others. I especially enjoyed the part where he decided to frighten the Parasect Trainer into fleeing.
    -The world-building is even more extensive now.
    -There just seem to be a lot of little things that I didn't see last time.

    You just needed to add six hundred words of battle scene, but you've gone above and beyond that.
    You get your Scyther and long may you cherish it.
    I grade things for the URPG.

    New experimental grading system. Request a tier after I claim your story:
    Tier I / Basic: A quick verdict and some useful advice without much fuss.
    Tier II / Normal: More in-depth analysis.
    Tier III / Heavy: I WILL TEAR YOUR STORY TO SHREDS AND TAP-DANCE ON THE PIECES

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