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TheFrostedLatios
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PostSubject: Chapter Feedback   Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:28 am

Our chapters will use Pokemon attributes to indicate Felix's challenges, such as "Rayquaza's Ferocity" when in an important battle in which offense is important.

Chapter 1: Victini’s Luck

Felix Verity finished combing back the rest of his black hair in the bathroom mirror, the normally untamable mess of fluff brought into submission with careful application of water and gel. Beside him, his mother brushed out the last few knots in Cascade’s tails with a wire brush. The Buizel occasionally winced as a particularly matted knot was pulled out, but he obediently kept still. After all, not a hair could be out of place if they were to have any chance with the Kanto Elite Four.

“Sometimes I wish I didn’t have so much fur,” Cascade muttered, rubbing his completed tail with a paw. “It took you less than five minutes to get your hair fixed up but I’ve been here almost half an hour.”

“I can arrange that,” Felix replied in the Buizel tongue, green eyes twinkling with mischief.

“What, you’ll shave me down? Somehow I doubt that.”

“Try me!”

“What are you two going on about now?” Sylvia Verity chuckled. She always got a kick at listening to her son say “Buizel zel buizel” and have himself be understood by his Pokémon and closest friend.

“Cascade wants to try shaving all his fur off,” Felix lied.

“Really?” his mother replied, reaching for an electric haircutter.

“H-hey, he’s just joking, really!” Cascade stammered, stepping back. Felix laughed.

“Oh, I’m just teasing!” She set the haircutter down. “You like your fur, don’t you?” Sylvia scratched the little otter’s head as he nodded.

“I like it too, you know,” Felix scratched his Buizel beneath his flotation collar with one hand while checking his Pokétch on the other. “Five more minutes…” he muttered anxiously.

“It’s a good thing I’ve finished, then.” Sylvia gave a final brush with a flourish. “How do you properly care for a Rapidash caught in the rain?”

“Get it dry with a flame-retardant blanket and feed it high-carb foods for quick energy, ideally sugar cubes or grain-based Pokémon food,” Felix replied automatically, quoting a textbook. “It should be warm but not sweltering; a Fire-type has its own fire for a reason. Don’t attempt to feed the flames on its mane with kindling--a Rapidash produces all its own fuel internally.”

His mother gave Felix a tight hug. “You’ve grown up too fast, my little boy. Don’t you worry for a second!”

“I’m not worried, Mom,” Felix insisted, pulling away. “But I do have to get going!”

“Wait!” Sylvia stopped her son, reaching for the green bandana that marked him as a Sinnoh Breeder. With a short thanks Felix tied the bandana around his head and posed dramatically, to Sylvia’s amusement.

“Tell me how it goes!” Sylvia said as Felix dashed out of the bathroom, Cascade close behind.

The teenage prodigy entered his room and shut the door, scrolling through the apps on his Pokétch until he activated the built in Holocaster. Promptly at five p.m. he an invitation to a video call, which he accepted without delay. A blue holographic projection of a screen was cast from the watch, showing video feed of Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha, and Lance, and in turn presented Felix and Cascade to the Elite Four .

“Hello, Felix!” Bruno said loudly. The brawny man did not wear a shirt and his black, spiky hair was tied back in a ponytail.

“Hello everyone,” Felix said, unable to help but grin nervously.

Agatha hummed to herself, analyzing the boy. Her shrewd eyes were set in an elderly face, a clear indication of the wisdom of her age. “How would you care for a sickly Gengar?”

“Let it rest in a dark, humid room. Allow it to siphon the life energy of its trainer and team members, within reason. Peace and quiet are ideal.” The words flowed out on their own, without any faltering or delay. All that rote memorization had paid off.

Agatha nodded approvingly but said nothing.

“Why should we trust you with Raphael?” Lorelei said in a reserved voice. Her slender figure was juxtaposed by voluminous orange hair.

“Well, you’ve read my credentials—”

“Of course we have; we want to hear it from you, boy!” Agatha snapped.

“Yes, of course,” Felix nodded quickly. “My name is Felix Verity; I’m a fully certified Pokémon breeder and caretaker, recognized by the National Breeders’ Association. I’ve spent the past several years mastering all forms of Pokémon care, including a full course in the care of each individual Type and a cursory knowledge of specific care for most Pokémon species. Furthermore… I can speak to Pokémon.”

“Any Pokémon?” Lance challenged, scratching his spiky red hair.

“Given a couple weeks to learn their language, yes. But I’ve done my best to expose myself to as many species as possible and I’m familiar with almost all species endemic to Kanto.”

“Now isn’t that something,” Lance replied, grinning. “How about Dragonite?”

Felix chuckled anxiously as the champion produced a tall, bulky dragon from a Pokeball. “It’s been a while, so I’m a little rusty. Excuse me, Dragonite, could you say ‘The quick red Vulpix jumped over the lazy brown Herdier’?”

Dragonite looked to Lance who nodded. Dragonite proceeded to repeat the phrase in his own language as Felix listened closely.

As the Pokémon finished, Felix replied unsteadily in the same tongue, “How… how is this my speaking?”

The dragon’s eyes widened. “Good! But did you mean to say ‘How is my speaking’?”

“Yes, thank you,” Felix nodded. “I have only did speak with Dragonite a few times before earlier.”

Dragonite smiled. “You’re doing quite well, especially for a human! Where did you learn to speak to Pokémon in the first place?”

“It has always been an… instinct? Power? Talent! It’s always been a talent of mine; I was only born with it, I guess. Since then, whenever I’ve met a new Pokémon I’ve done my best to learn their language.”

Dragonite chuckled.

Felix tilted his head. “What is funny?”

“You’re learning extremely fast. Already your accent is improving and you’re stumbling over your words less. I’m just so impressed with you!” In the background the Elite Four watched with rapt attention.

“Oh, I was just rusty at first, that’s all,” Felix insisted. “It’s all coming back to me now. You don’t really forget the languages you learn, after all.”

“Yes, you do,” Lance said, grinning madly.

“I beg your pardon—” Felix began in the Dragonite language before switching to English. “Sorry; what was that, sir?”

“If you don’t use a language often, you forget it. That’s how it always goes… when did you last talk to a Dragonite?”

“A couple years ago, I think…” Felix recalled. “It was a big event because my parents were commissioned to breed a couple Dragonite and we hardly see Dragonite here in Sinnoh so we were all excited, so I ended up learning the language from them.”

“How long did you have to learn?”

“A couple months, but I spent most of my free time talking to that Dragonite… so maybe one hundred hours or so?”

“He’s already fluent,” Dragonite said.

“I know. I was listening.” Lance replied in English.

“You can understand Dragonite too?” Felix exclaimed.

“Of course I can!” Lance laughed. “It’s kind of hard not to after the decades we’ve spent together! But talking back in his language? That’s something special.”

“Thank you, sir,” Felix gave a quick bow.

“Felix, I want you to convince me that we should choose you and not a professional, more experienced breeder,” Lorelei instructed.

“Yes, ma’am. I believe I would be a good fit for him mostly since we’re the same age and I have yet to go on my own journey. More than be a tutor, I can be a friend.”

“His childhood friend Malcolm Thrones will also accompany Raphael,” Lorelei countered.

“I, see…” Felix faltered.

“Do you really think this guy wants a babysitter following him around?” Cascade spoke up.

“That’s a good point!” Felix exclaimed in the Buizel language. He looked back to Lorelei and continued in English, “My friend Cascade said he doubts Raphael would want an adult following him around everywhere and telling him what to do; isn’t the point of a Pokémon Journey to learn independence and self-reliance? Besides, my only price for this is the opportunity to go on a journey with Raphael at all; a breeder would probably charge a lot over the months it would take to complete Raphael’s journey. Furthermore, wouldn’t it reflect poorly on you that Raph has his hand held every step of the way? Using me would be a lot more… subtle, you could say. Just a companion instead of a teacher.”

Lorelei smiled. “Good. I believe you’ve made a compelling argument. Do the rest of you have any concerns?”

“If Lorelei says you’re worth it, then you’re worth it,” Bruno said with a grin.

“He doesn’t look very strong as a sparring partner,” Agatha huffed.

“Do you have a better idea? Besides, I bet he’ll pick up battling real quick given how well he can communicate with his team,” Lance argued.

“If I may speak for myself,” Felix interjected, “while I don’t battle very often, my use of the Pokémon language keeps me from telegraphing my moves. Raphael will have no way to know what I’ll do, making me inherently challenging.”

Agatha hesitated, but slowly nodded. “We’ll arrange your flight to Kanto shortly. Bring along only what you need for your journey; expect to leave sometime next week.”

Cascade’s eyes widened. “Does that mean…” Felix said softly.

“Yes, boy, you’re hired,” Agatha replied curtly. “Now get going! You’ve got a long road ahead of you!”
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:10 pm

I really adore this! I'm super excited about this and the story. I love the way you guys wrote the beginning scene with Cascade, Felix, and Sylvia (the part of shaving Cascade's fur was really funny), and then Felix having to prove himself to the Elite Four was done really well. The part of him talking to Dragonite was especially a good touch, IMO.

As for Mal being mentioned and Kieran's dubiousness of it, I think that it's fine and they would probably know about him. As I told Kieran:

"Given how Mal's parents are close to Raphael's, the two would have talked. I think even though Mal didn't known until his mother told him, that his parents had already talked it over with the d'Alcotts, who'd probably relayed it (even if not officially with Mal having said yes) to the Elite Four, etc."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:39 pm

Chapter 2: Eevee’s Charm (Incomplete, also italics didn't carry over) Edit: I took your suggestions to heart, hopefully this is better!

“Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!” Felix said, kicking open the car door and running into Pallet Town. Cascade followed after him, less distressed. He skidded to a stop and turned back to thank his chauffer for reminding him of the backpack he had left in the car, then immediately turned around and sprinted again into the small town.

“You don’t have to go so fast,” Cascade laughed, keeping pace with his human.

“I’ve kept Raphael and his friends waiting long enough,” Felix said between breaths. “I’m already a whole day late!”

“The delayed flight wasn’t your fault,” Cascade insisted. “Neither was our trouble with your luggage or the traffic or the car blowing a tire on the way here…”

Felix groaned.

“Or the tree blocking the road, or the construction work, or that one Mankey, or—”

“I thought we agreed to never speak of the Mankey again,” Felix interrupted, his voice low. Cascade gulped.

“My point is, you didn’t do anything wrong,” the Buizel finished.

“I think that not doing everything in my power to keep my appointments is wrong. I can run all the way here, so I should,” Felix grunted, pushing himself to run faster.

One five minute dash later, Felix was outside the door to Professor Oak’s lab, gasping for breath. He pushed open the door with a shaking hand, entering a lobby with a wide entrance into the lab proper. The room was illuminated by tall, wide windows and overhead fluorescent lamps. Polished white tile covered the floor both in and out of the lobby.

“...And speak of the devil!” Professor Oak exclaimed. The aging man had grey hair and thick eyebrows and he wore a lab coat over a polo shirt and brown pants. Behind him were three others about his age. The boy with icy-blue eyes, ginger hair, and a red-trimmed white jacket he recognized immediately as Raphael d’Alcott, but the other two were unfamiliar to him: the other boy had crimson hair, green eyes and a burgundy jacket over a russet turtleneck while the blond girl with violet eyes wore a white shirt and skirt, pink scarf, and a tan overcoat. Raphael seemed pleased to see him, the other boy looked curious, and the girl seemed downright hostile with her cold glare.

Professor Oak gave the Felix a warm smile. “Welcome, Felix! I was just explaining to the others that you’d be here soon…” He adopted a surprised look. “You didn’t run all the way here, did you?”

“I am…” Felix glanced at his watch, “eighteen hours and forty-two minutes late. Why should I be any later?”

“Why indeed, my young friend!” Oak laughed. “Although I did accommodate for your late arrival; we were prepared to wait tomorrow if we had to.”

“Oh… that’s nice,” Felix muttered, slumping into a chair. Without warning the vase on the table beside him fell over, spilling water between his legs to make him appear as though he had wet himself.

“What was that for?!” Felix growled, jumping up and turning to see a cackling black-furred Zorua leap off the table from where she had hidden. She said something Felix couldn’t understand, as he’d never spoken to a Zorua before, but based on the tone it was something rude. Felix caught Raphael suppressing a laugh as the fox ran up to the girl’s shoulder.

“That was not polite, Zorua,” the girl chided. The fox only snickered mischievously.

“It seems you’ve already met Sonia’s Zorua,” Oak chuckled good-naturedly, “so why don’t I introduce you to everyone else?” He gestured to Raphael. “As I’m sure you know, this young man is Raphael d’Alcott. He’s been looking forward to your arrival ever since he heard about you. To the left is Malcolm Thrones, Raphael’s childhood friend. He’s a very talented and intelligent young man like yourself. To the right there is Sonia Darkin, a gifted psychic and trainer alike. And to the rest of you, this is Felix! He’s a young Pokémon breeder and caretaker, here to help keep everyone in good working order. Additionally, he can understand Pokémon and speak to them in their own language! Aren’t you all a talented bunch?”

Everybody regarded Felix with some surprise, making him grin awkwardly.

A psychic human? Felix thought. He had known about them, of course, but he had never met any personally. Furthermore, at the mere mention of the word “psychic” dozens of facts and procedures flooded his mind on the proper care for a Psychic-type Pokémon… hopefully he wouldn’t embarrass himself by treating her like a Pokémon by accident.

Felix stepped forward, feeling very self-conscious about his wet jeans and sudden, tardy appearance. He extended a hand towards Raphael, who had stepped forward. “Pleased to finally meet you, Felix,” he said as the two shook hands.

He then greeted Mal with another handshake. “Call me Mal,” the teen said quietly. Now that he was up close it was clear both of them towered over him by nearly half a foot each.

Sonia, who was much shorter than any of them, refused his handshake. “Is something the matter?” Felix asked, frowning. Instinctively he attempted to quiet his mind, something a telepathic Pokémon would appreciate. Shoot, am I treating her like a Pokémon? Is she reading my thoughts? Is she offended? Is she hearing this?! Oh no, oh no... Ironically, Felix’s mind started to race as he met her gaze.

“I don’t shake hands,” she said, avoiding eye contact.

“Why’s that?”

“If you’ll remember what Oak said, I’m a psychic,” she replied.

“I know; that’s really cool!” Felix replied as politely as he could. “But why can’t we shake hands?”

“Do you want me to have complete access to your thoughts? Learn all your darkest secrets and fears? Physical contact will give me a direct link to your mind. But if you insist…” she raised her hand to meet his.

Felix got the hint and quickly lowered his hand. After a moment or two he added, “Um… would you mind if your Zorua and I spoke every now and then?”

“Why?” She asked. “Can’t you understand her already?”

“Um, no; there aren’t many Zorua or Zoroark in Sinnoh, so I’ve never had a chance to learn their language.”

Sonia seemed surprised and almost disappointed. Zorua looked at her and smirked, but said nothing.

“Zorua says she is willing to teach you tonight, once all this is over.”

Felix was confused for a second, but then exclaimed, “Oh! You two spoke with telepathy!”

“Yeah. Your point?” A defensive edge entered her voice.

“Nothing, nothing,” Felix said quickly. “It’s just cool, that’s all.”

She’s not the only one with telepathy, Zoru, a female voice in Felix’s head called. I can use it too, Zoru. While it was accented and broken, the language was clearly English.

“Wow, that’s really cool!” Felix brightened immediately “Maybe while you teach me your language, I can teach some of the finer points of ours.”

Eh, that’s what Sonia’s for, Zoru. I just feel nice today, Zoru, so I’ll help you.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go and finish some preparations,” Oak spoke up. “Why don’t you all get to know Felix a little better?” And with that, he left.

The aspiring trainers stood around awkwardly for a few moments. Felix eventually broke the silence by speaking to Raphael. “So, have you picked a starter yet?”

“No, but I don’t plan to,” he replied, reaching into his pocket. “I brought my own starters.” Raphael procured two Pokéballs from which a pair of Eevee were released. “This is Sola,” he gestured to the one wearing a white bow. She was more slender than the other, indicating a female, “and that’s Lune.” Slightly taller and stockier--a male. Otherwise, they were nearly identical. Were they twins?

“Hello, new friend!” Sola said brightly in the Eevee language.

“Greetings, stranger,” Lune added coolly.

“It’s nice to meet you two!” Felix replied in their language as he bent down to their level.

Sola squeaked and jumped in surprise. Lune narrowed his eyes. “Where did you learn to speak our language, human?”

“It’s just something I was born with, as far as I can tell. I can learn any Pokémon language in just a few weeks if I really try! Being a breeder, I have lots of experience with your species, so I’ve already learned your language.”

“You sound just like an Eevee,” Raphael said quietly, looking rather stunned. Mal and Zorua both looked surprised, and Sonia gave him a curious look.

“As I was saying to them,” Felix switched to English, looking up to the star trainer, “this is why I’m such a good Pokémon breeder and caretaker. Pokémon can simply tell me what they want to communicate rather than have to rely on gestures and the like. Speaking of, I’d like to get a rough idea of your Eevee’s health, if I may.”

“Sure, go ahead,” Raphael nodded, moving to sit in a nearby plastic chair.

Felix frowned. “Aren’t you going to come with me? I can’t exactly do it inside, now can I?” It hit him a moment too late that of course Raphael wouldn’t know how to care for a Pokémon the breeder way.

“Really? Okay, then.” Raphael stood again. “What do you plan to do, then?”

“Let me show you,” Felix replied. “Follow me, please,” he added in the Eevee language. He led the three back to the front door, with Cascade joining in behind Felix.

“I’m Cascade,” the eponymous Buizel said as Felix pushed the front door open.

“Cascade, huh?” Sola replied. “That’s a nice name. I’m Sola, and this is my brother Lune!”

“So you two are twins?” Cascade ventured.

“That’s right!” Sola confirmed while Felix turned and sat beside her and Lune. The boy noticed that Mal had tagged along and was watching quietly.

“Now first, how are you two feeling?” Felix asked in their language. “Any aches or pains?”

The twin Eevee looked at one another before shaking their heads simultaneously. “We feel just fine,” Sola said. Suddenly she chuckled. “This is fun, talking to a human! Raphy’s always a little tricky to talk to, even if he tries his best.”

“Well, I’d be glad to deliver any messages!” Felix offered while he felt over Lune’s pelt to check for problems.

“Actually, could you tell him not to scratch me beneath my chin?” Sola asked. “I’m really sensitive there, but he won’t stop!”

Felix smiled and delivered the message. A bemused Raphael smiled and nodded and Sola.

The Pokémon breeder proceeded to check Lune’s teeth and claws and, finding them to be straight well cared for, patted the Eevee’s head. “Looks like you’re in good condition, Lune. One last thing, though; could you run to that tree and back a couple times?” Lune nodded and sped off while Felix checked over Sola.

Lune returned the second time and sat before Felix quietly. Felix gracefully turned to the male Eevee and felt his chest lightly with two fingers, counting his heartbeats as fifteen seconds passed on his watch. He frowned, muttering the number to himself in English. “Isn’t that a little high?” he said to no one in particular.

“Actually, it’s pretty standard for Eevee,” Mal replied. “They have an unusually quick metabolism, likely due to breeding for high energy or in preparation for evolution.”

“Vee, evui! I mean, yes, that’s right!” Felix cleared his throat, embarrassed to have gotten the languages confused. “So, where’d you learn that?”

“I’m trained to be a field nurse,” Mal replied. “You pick up on things.”

Felix grinned. “Still, always nice to meet someone so intelligent.”

Mal smiled.

Sola, too, was in fine condition. “Raphael, your Eevee are quite healthy,” Felix said cheerfully. “You’ve done a fine job raising them!”
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:14 pm

Summer: All of Chapter 2!

Chapter 2: Eevee’s Charm

“Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!” Felix said, kicking open the car door and running into Pallet Town. Cascade followed after him, less distressed. He skidded to a stop and turned back to thank his chauffer for reminding him of the backpack he had left in the car, then immediately turned around and sprinted again into the small town.

“You don’t have to go so fast,” Cascade laughed, keeping pace with his human.

“I’ve kept Raphael and his friends waiting long enough,” Felix said between breaths. “I’m already a whole day late!”

“The delayed flight wasn’t your fault,” Cascade insisted. “Neither was our trouble with your luggage or the traffic or the car blowing a tire on the way here…”

Felix groaned.

“Or the tree blocking the road, or the construction work, or that one Mankey, or—”

“I thought we agreed to never speak of the Mankey again,” Felix interrupted, his voice low. Cascade gulped.

“My point is, you didn’t do anything wrong,” the Buizel finished.

“I think that not doing everything in my power to keep my appointments is wrong. I can run all the way here, so I should,” Felix grunted, pushing himself to run faster.

One five minute dash later, Felix was outside the door to Professor Oak’s lab, gasping for breath. He pushed open the door with a shaking hand, entering a lobby with a wide entrance into the lab proper. The room was illuminated by tall, wide windows and overhead fluorescent lamps. Polished white tile covered the floor both in and out of the lobby.

“...And speak of the devil!” Professor Oak exclaimed. The aging man had grey hair and thick eyebrows and he wore a lab coat over a polo shirt and brown pants. Behind him were three others about his age. The boy with icy-blue eyes, ginger hair, and a red-trimmed white jacket he recognized immediately as Raphael d’Alcott, but the other two were unfamiliar to him: the other boy had crimson hair, green eyes and a burgundy jacket over a russet turtleneck while the blond girl with violet eyes wore a white shirt and skirt, pink scarf, and a tan overcoat. Raphael seemed pleased to see him, the other boy looked curious, and the girl seemed downright hostile with her cold glare.

Professor Oak gave the Felix a warm smile. “Welcome, Felix! I was just explaining to the others that you’d be here soon…” He adopted a surprised look. “You didn’t run all the way here, did you?”

“I am…” Felix glanced at his watch, “eighteen hours and forty-two minutes late. Why should I be any later?”

“Why indeed, my young friend!” Oak laughed. “Although I did accommodate for your late arrival; we were prepared to wait tomorrow if we had to.”

“Oh… that’s nice,” Felix muttered, slumping into a chair. Without warning the vase on the table beside him fell over, spilling water between his legs to make him appear as though he had wet himself.

“What was that for?!” Felix growled, jumping up and turning to see a cackling black-furred Zorua leap off the table from where she had hidden. She said something Felix couldn’t understand, as he’d never spoken to a Zorua before, but based on the tone it was something rude. Felix caught Raphael suppressing a laugh as the fox ran up to the girl’s shoulder.

“That was not polite, Zorua,” the girl chided. The fox only snickered mischievously.

“It seems you’ve already met Sonia’s Zorua,” Oak chuckled good-naturedly, “so why don’t I introduce you to everyone else?” He gestured to Raphael. “As I’m sure you know, this young man is Raphael d’Alcott. He’s been looking forward to your arrival ever since he heard about you. To the left is Malcolm Thrones, Raphael’s childhood friend. He’s a very talented and intelligent young man like yourself. To the right there is Sonia Darkin, a gifted psychic and trainer both. And to the rest of you, this is Felix! He’s a young Pokémon breeder and caretaker, here to help keep everyone in good working order. Additionally, he can understand Pokémon and speak to them in their own language! Aren’t you all a talented bunch?”

Everybody regarded Felix with some surprise, making him grin awkwardly.

A psychic human? Felix thought. He had known about them, of course, but he had never met any personally. Furthermore, at the mere mention of the word “psychic” dozens of facts and procedures flooded his mind on the proper care for a Psychic-type Pokémon… hopefully he wouldn’t embarrass himself by treating her like a Pokémon by accident.

Felix stepped forward, feeling very self-conscious about his wet jeans and sudden, tardy appearance. He extended a hand towards Raphael, who had stepped forward. “Pleased to finally meet you, Felix,” he said as the two shook hands.

He then greeted Mal with another handshake. “Call me Mal,” the teen said quietly. Now that he was up close it was clear both of them towered over him by nearly half a foot each.

Sonia, who was much shorter than any of them, refused his handshake. “Is something the matter?” Felix asked, frowning. Instinctively he attempted to quiet his mind, something a telepathic Pokémon would appreciate. Shoot, am I treating her like a Pokémon? Is she reading my thoughts? Is she offended? Is she hearing this?! Oh no, oh crap... Ironically, Felix’s mind started to race as he met her gaze.

“I don’t shake hands,” she said, avoiding eye contact.

“Why’s that?”

“If you’ll remember what Oak said, I’m a psychic,” she replied.

“I know; that’s really cool!” Felix replied as politely as he could. “But why can’t we shake hands?”

“Do you want me to have complete access to your thoughts? Learn all your darkest secrets and fears? Physical contact will give me a direct link to your mind. But if you insist…” she raised her hand to meet his.

Felix got the hint and quickly lowered his hand. After a moment or two he added, “Um… would you mind if your Zorua and I spoke every now and then?”

“Why?” She asked. “Can’t you understand her already?”

“Um, no; there aren’t many Zorua or Zoroark in Sinnoh, so I’ve never had a chance to learn their language.”

Sonia seemed surprised and almost disappointed. Zorua looked at her and smirked, but said nothing.

“Zorua says she is willing to teach you tonight, once all this is over.”

Felix was confused for a second, but then exclaimed, “Oh! You two spoke with telepathy!”

“Yeah. Your point?” A defensive edge entered her voice.

“Nothing, nothing,” Felix said quickly. “It’s just neat, that’s all.”

She’s not the only one with telepathy, Zoru, a female voice in Felix’s head called. I can use it too, Zoru. While it was accented and broken, the language was clearly English.

“Wow, that’s amazing!” Felix brightened immediately “Maybe while you teach me your language, I can teach some of the finer points of ours.”

Eh, that’s what Sonia’s for, Zorua. I just feel nice today, Zoru, so I’ll help you.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go and finish some preparations,” Oak spoke up. “Why don’t you all get to know Felix a little better?” And with that, he left.

The aspiring trainers stood around awkwardly for a few moments. Felix eventually broke the silence by speaking to Raphael. “So, have you picked a starter yet?”

“No, but I don’t plan to,” he replied, reaching into his pocket. “I brought my own starters.” Raphael procured two Pokéballs from which a pair of Eevee were released. “This is Sola,” he gestured to the one wearing a white bow. She was more slender than the other, indicating a female, “and that’s Lune.” Slightly taller and stockier--a male. Otherwise, they were nearly identical. Were they twins?

“Hello, new friend!” Sola said brightly in the Eevee language.

“Greetings, stranger,” Lune added coolly.

“It’s nice to meet you two!” Felix replied in their language as he bent down to their level.

Sola squeaked and jumped in surprise. Lune narrowed his eyes. “Where did you learn to speak our language?”

“It’s just something I was born with, as far as I can tell. I can learn any Pokémon language in just a few weeks if I really try! Being a breeder, I have lots of experience with your species, so I’ve already learned your language.”

“You sound just like an Eevee,” Raphael said quietly, looking rather stunned. Mal and Zorua both looked surprised, and Sonia gave him a curious look.

“As I was saying to them,” Felix switched to English, looking up to the star trainer, “this is why I’m such a good Pokémon breeder and caretaker. Pokémon can simply tell me what they want to communicate rather than have to rely on gestures and the like. Speaking of, I’d like to get a rough idea of your Eevee’s health, if I may.”

“Sure, go ahead,” Raphael nodded, moving to sit in a nearby plastic chair.

Felix frowned. “Aren’t you going to come with me? I can’t exactly do it inside, now can I?”

“Really? Okay, then.” Raphael stood again. “What do you plan to do, then?”

“Let me show you,” Felix replied. “Follow me, please,” he added in the Eevee language. He led the three back to the front door, with Cascade joining in behind Felix.

“I’m Cascade,” the eponymous Buizel said as Felix pushed the front door open.

“Cascade, huh?” Sola replied. “That’s a nice name. I’m Sola, and this is my brother Lune!”

“You two smell almost identical; twins?” Cascade ventured.

“That’s right!” Sola confirmed while Felix turned and sat beside her and Lune on the grassy hill outside the lab. The boy noticed that Mal had tagged along and was watching quietly.

“Now first, how are you two feeling?” Felix asked in their language. “Any aches or pains?”

The twin Eevee looked at one another before shaking their heads simultaneously. “We feel just fine,” Sola said. Suddenly she chuckled. “This is fun, talking to a human! Raphy’s always a little tricky to talk to, even if he tries his best.”

“Well, I’d be glad to deliver any messages!” Felix offered while he felt over Lune’s pelt to check for problems.

“Actually, could you tell him not to scratch me beneath my chin?” Sola asked. “I’m really sensitive there, but he won’t stop!”

Felix smiled and delivered the message. A bemused Raphael smiled and nodded and Sola.

The Pokémon breeder proceeded to check Lune’s teeth and claws and, finding them to be straight well cared for, patted the Eevee’s head. “Looks like you’re in good condition, Lune. One last thing, though; could you run to that tree and back a couple times?” Lune nodded and sped off while Felix checked over Sola.

Lune returned the second time and sat before Felix quietly. Felix swiftly turned to the male Eevee and felt his chest lightly with two fingers, counting his heartbeats as fifteen seconds passed on his Pokétch. He frowned, muttering the number to himself in English. “Isn’t that a little high?” he said to no one in particular.

“Actually, it’s pretty standard for Eevee,” Mal replied. “They have an unusually quick metabolism, likely due to breeding for high energy or in preparation for evolution.”

“Vee, evui! I mean, yes, that’s right!” Felix cleared his throat, somewhat embarrassed. “So, um, where’d you learn that?”

“I’m trained to be a field nurse,” Mal replied. “You pick up on things.”

Felix grinned. “Still, always nice to meet someone so intelligent.”

Mal smiled.

Sola, too, was in fine condition. “Raphael, your Eevee are quite healthy,” Felix said cheerfully. “You’ve done a fine job raising them!”

“Thank you, Felix.” Raphael smiled. “You can call me Raph, by the way.”

“Raph it is, then,” Felix nodded. “What will you evolve them into?”

Raph frowned, pensive. “You know, I’ve been thinking about that for a while, now. My mother says that an Umbreon will never let me down while my father has a Jolteon himself. And then Mal’s always said that a Sylveon would help me care for the rest of my team, so I’m really not sure.”

Felix nodded, attentive. “If I can give my two cents, I think that Glaceon and Leafeon make a great combination. And yes, they are the two most popular Eeveelutions in Sinnoh, but I think there’s a good reason for that! They just play off one another so well: Glaceon’s cold, Leafeon’s warm. Glaceon is serious, Leafeon is relaxed. You know? Anyway, just with what I know about them Lune seems like he’d enjoy being a Glaceon and Sola would like Leafeon.”

Raphael shrugged. “Maybe. I guess we’ll just have to see, right?”

Sola had pawed one of Cascade’s tails, calling him ‘it’. Cascade ran after her, but the nimble Eevee managed to avoid his tagging. “I guess,” Felix said absent-mindedly, distracted by the Pokémon’s game. “But make sure you get their opinions before you go and evolve them, okay?”

“Of course, of course. So was there anything else you needed to do for my Pokémon?” Raph smiled as Lune was dragged into the game.

“You know, I hate to cut their fun short, but… how about a battle?” asked Felix.

Something seemed to spark to life in Raph’s eyes. “Right now?” he asked.

“Well, maybe. They do look like they’re having fun…”

Raph shook his head. “No, no; they’ll be fine, trust me.” He turned to the Pokémon. “Sola, Lune, we’re gonna battle now!” The Eevee’s ears perked at their trainer’s call, then the two quickly ran towards him. “We’re going to show Felix here everything we’ve got, okay?” he said, kneeling down to their level.

“Please, hold nothing back,” Felix requested. “I need to know just how strong your team is so I know where to start in our training.”

“And if some of us get hurt?” Cascade asked.

“I’d rather you get hurt in walking distance of Professor Oak than somewhere down the road,” Felix replied quietly in Buizel. Cascade nodded in understanding.

“Ready to go, Felix?” Raphael called, already on the other end of the field. The transformation was stunning. No longer was the trainer the quiet, polite Raphael Felix had just met. There was excitement and anticipation in his every word and action. Felix contemplated if this was why Raphael was chosen to become the Elite Four’s rising champion.

“You bet I am!” Felix replied as Cascade took his position before Felix.

“I can be the referee,” Mal offered, standing on the side of the field between the two trainers.

“Alright! Sola, you’re up first!” Raph commanded. Sola immediately sprang from Raphael’s side out in front of him, facing Cascade with a determined glare. Cascade waved pleasantly.

Yeeahh! Come on, fox sister! Knock that stupid otter on his tails, Zoru! said the all too familiar mind-voice of Zorua. She and Sonia had stepped outside as well. Cascade shook his head, bemused at the little fox’s jeering while Sola thanked her for the support.

“Okay Cascade, let’s show ‘em what we’ve learned!” Felix exclaimed in the Buizel tongue. Just as Felix had hoped, Raphael furrowed his brow, concerned at the unfamiliar language. “Quick Attack!” he commanded.

The Buizel vanished and reappeared with his right paw slamming into Sola’s hide. A flustered Raphael called for her to dodge a moment too late. “Shake it off, Sola,” he instructed. “Use Baby-Doll Eyes!”

Sola stared at Cascade with hurt, endearing look. The Buizel became less tense. “Tackle!” Sola’s innocent look vanished as she charged Cascade.

“Get out of the way!” Felix called. never once using English. Cascade heeded the command, springing to the side.

Raphael grinned. “Sand Attack!” Sola stopped on a dime and kicked dirt backward towards her foe halfway through his jump. Unable to dodge, Cascade got a faceful of soil. “Tackle again!”

“Dodge it!” Felix cried, but the blinded Buizel hesitated and Sola crashed into him, knocking him to the ground. With a bit of thrashing Cascade threw the Eevee off and the two separated.

“Sonic Boom!” Felix called once Cascade has wiped the dirt from his eyes. Cascade whipped his tails around, sending a pulse of energy hurtling towards Sola.

“Counter it with Swift!” Raph commanded, but it was already too late; the attack had connected, sending Sola tumbling backwards. The young trainer was looking very anxious, his fists clenching and his stance weakening. After all, it wasn’t every day you fought a trainer who spoke a different language--could Raphael adapt to the lack of warning in Felix’s commands? That’s what Felix wanted to know.

“Quick Attack; aim from behind!” Felix said. Sola was knocked off her paws just as she had gotten up, flung into the air to land near the center of the field. She collapsed as she landed, eyes shut. For a moment it seemed she wouldn’t get up, but rise she did. She winced as she put weight on her left front paw, but she gave Cascade a determined glare.

“That’s my girl!” Raph cheered. “Don’t give up just yet; use Swift!” Felix noticed the pain in Sola’s movements, but with a swish of her tail she sent a flurry of stars after Cascade.

Thinking quickly, Felix shouted, “Cascade, Sonic Boom; counter her attack!” His Buizel immediately whipped his own tails around, destroying Sola’s projectiles with her own.

“Tackle!” Raph commanded. Startled, Felix didn’t have time to issue a command before Sola crashed into the distracted Cascade yet again.

“Throw her off, Quick Attack her in the chest, then Sonic Boom!” Felix instructed. Cascade complied immediately, kicking the Eevee off before speeding beneath her and using an uppercut all before Raph could react. By the time Raph noticed the Sonic Boom attack, it was too late.

Sola fell to the ground and did not stir. After a few moments, Mal declared, “Sola is no longer able to battle. The winner is Cascade!”

Felix let out a cheer while Raph collected Sola in his arms, stroking her fur comfortingly. Once the Eevee was returned to her Pokéball, Raph turned to Felix. “Very clever, speaking the Buizel language so I couldn’t understand you. But I’m not your average trainer; Lune, show him what I mean!”

Lune entered the field. “You may have defeated my sister, but you won’t bring me down!” he challenged.

Cascade shrugged. “Be my guest… but I’m not making it easy!”

“Lune, use Swift!” Raphael commanded. In the space of a single moment Lune’s muscles tensed, his expression darkened, and he whipped his tail around to spray stars at Cascade.

“Quick Attack to get behind Lune, use him as a shield!” Felix countered. His Buizel complied, vanishing in a blur before reappearing behind his foe. Cascade ducked as the star projectiles reversed direction to hurtle towards him through Lune.

“Jump and Swift again!” Raph reacted.

“Quick Attack, knock him into the stars!” said Felix.

The two Pokémon immediately obeyed their trainers’ commands. Lune jumped out of the way of his own attack and added a second round of stars to chase Cascade. Cascade in turn maneuvered behind Lune with incredible speed, kicking the Eevee into the incoming stars. A shower of light exploded from the stars Lune collided with while the rest finally found their mark in Cascade.

The Buizel dropped to the grass panting; all the battling was starting to get to him. Lune got to his feet, looking slightly fatigued but definitely in better condition. Felix had to wrap this up, quickly. “Sonic Boom!” he commanded.

“Sand Attack!” Raphael replied. Cascade’s exhaustion meant he could barely raise his tails before mud and dirt was tossed in his face. “Sand Attack once more; keep him disoriented!” Lune continued to kick dirt into Cascade’s eyes. Felix hesitated; a Sonic Boom or Quick Attack would just miss, and he can’t get the dirt off before Lune kicks up more.

“Now Tackle!” Raph instructed. Lune charged the Buizel.

“Quick Attack; get out of the way!” Cascade darted off across the field away from Lune.

“Use Swift; follow the stars and use another Sand Attack!” Raph continued. Lune heeded the command, unleashing another flurry of stars that collided with Cascade and exploded against his back, tearing open his pelt. As rivulets of blood streamed out of the wound, Felix’s heart began to pound, his head becoming fuzzy. Cascade turned to face Lune and immediately got a faceful of dirt.

“Will you stop that?!” Cascade growled.

“Only if you hold still,” Lune countered.

“Tackle!” Raph commanded. Felix couldn’t react in time, paralyzed by the sight of blood.

Cascade whipped around of his own initiative and used Sonic Boom, but the Eevee easily dodged his blind attack before crashing right into his belly. The otter gagged as the wind was knocked out of him.

“Finish it with Swift!” Raphael said. Obediently Lune unleashed another round of star projectiles. Cascade staggered under the blow, then collapsed, unconscious.

“Cascade is unable to battle!” Mal declared. “Raphael and his team are victorious!”

Raphael cheered and picked up Lune in delight as Felix quickly ran out to his hurt Buizel, examining the lacerations on his back. He tried to convince himself that it looked much worse than it was, but he could not seem to calm his frayed nerves.

“You’re not hurt too badly, right, dear?” Felix worried, speaking in Floatzel.

“No, of course not,” Cascade whispered and weakly shook his head. “I’m just more tired than anything. Also… ‘dear’?”

Felix blushed and laughed lightly. “Oh, sorry; I guess I was just worried and all,” he said using the Buizel language.

“If you say so… And sorry about the end, there. I got really flustered when he kept tossing dirt in my face.” Cascade said.

Felix chuckled despite himself. “Why are you blaming yourself? I’m the one who should have told you how to win. Besides, you nearly held your own against both of Raph’s Eevee! That’s a victory if I’ve ever heard one.” Felix reached in his backpack for Cascade’s Pokéball, expanding it as he pulled it out. “Let’s get you safe,” he said, returning Cascade to his Pokéball before he could react.

“That was quite the challenge!” Raphael said loudly. “It’s not everyday I fight a trainer like you; you even knocked out Sola!”

Felix smiled, slowly calming down. “It really was, yeah.”

“Indeed, what a fine battle that was!” Professor Oak declared. “Raphael, Felix, I see great potential in both of you! And good news, Felix; you’ve been registered! Tomorrow you should all be ready to set out on your adventure, but for now let’s have your Pokémon healed and your bodies rested. Come along, now; I have a healing machine in my lab.”

The aged professor turned and entered his lab and Mal followed suit.

Zorua stuck her tongue out at Felix. Heh! Just wait ‘til you fight Sonia, Zoru! Your stupid otter will lose before you can say “Bui bui bui”, Zorua! Sonia gave the impudent fox a flick on the ear, but followed Mal inside without a word.

“We’ll have to battle again sometime,” Raphael said, walking beside Felix. He grinned. “Maybe next time you’ll play fair and speak English.”

Felix shook his head. “Floatzel zel flo-tze,” he said somberly.

“Come on. really? You’re not a Floatzel and neither am I!”

“I said you’re going to have to get used to it,” Felix lied. “We’re travelling together, aren’t we?”

“Whatever,” Raphael replied. “See you inside!” The boy ran ahead, leaving Felix alone outside.

Floatzel zel flo-tze, Felix heard in his mind, memories from his childhood flooding back.

Make him strong, but keep him safe, Felix said again. I promise.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:07 am

Chapter 3: Pokémon’s Attribute

Repeat after me, Zoru, the now familiar voice of Zorua rang in Felix’s head. The human and fox sat together with Cascade on the floor of Felix’s guest bedroom, a simply furnished room with a queen size bed with cream-colored sheets along with a dark wooden headboard and nightstand. The delicious smell of baking wafted from the provided kitchen as Mal prepared another experimental batch of cookies for Felix to test. But for the moment, Zorua cleared her throat dramatically and said “Zoru zor zorua azo rua!”

Cascade shook his head. “We’re not going to get anywhere by teaching Felix insults towards himself,” the Buizel said. “You know I won’t let you trip Felix into saying it; why not just cooperate?”

You two are no fun, Zoru. Why not let a poor fox laugh a little, eh, Zoru?

“Tell you what, Zorua,” Felix said in Buizel, “at the end of your lessons, I’ll repeat anything you like for, say, five minutes?”

Anything, zoru? The fox’s deep red eyes twinkled with mischief, her vulpine jaw curling into a smile.

“I guess, sure! What’s the worse that could happen?” Felix knew he wouldn’t care if Zorua made him insult himself; after all, he was learning to speak Zorua. The language had, as always, come remarkably fast to him. After just a couple hours he was starting to pick up on some common words and a few conjugations.

Cascade frowned. “What if she has you insult me or Teddi and Su Lin? I don’t think they would take too kindly to hearing insults thrown at them, and… to be honest, I don’t want to hear you verbally attack me either.” The Buizel looked hurt by the very thought of his lifelong trainer insulting him, and Felix picked up on this immediately.

“Not anything, then, but almost anything,” Felix stipulated.

Argh, you stupid otter! Zorua mentally exclaimed. Are you that scared of words like a little baby, Zoru?

“I don’t think you’d take too kindly to having Sonia explain how terrible you are, genuinely or not!” Cascade shouted.

I… Zorua growled for a second. Fine! Say this, Zoru! She shouted another incomprehensible phrase, but once Cascade nodded his approval Felix repeated it.

It always felt strange how quickly Felix’s voice adjusted, the way his throat and tongue and teeth smoothly and effortlessly transitioned from English to a language he had barely heard before today. On nothing but instinct Felix repeated what Zorua had said, matching her intonation, syllable pattern, accent, and even pitch.

Yikes! That’s creepy, Zoru. You sound like the Pokedex!

“My trainer is quite gifted,” Cascade said with a prideful air.

As if! This breeder boy is nothing compared to Sonia! She’d squash him like an Oran Berry!

“What did you say, you insolent little canine?!”

Felix only smiled and rubbed Cascade’s floatation collar. He didn’t care whether she was a better trainer; he excelled in breeding, not battling. “Before you continue, could you please say out loud what you’re saying telepathically?” Felix interrupted.

Not until your stupid otter apologizes, Zorua huffed.

“Apologize?!” Cascade exclaimed. “Why on earth should I apologize?”

“Am I interrupting something?” the quiet voice of Mal cut through the tension like a knife.

“Zorua and Cascade are just helping me learn--hey, those look amazing!” Felix noticed the plate of cookies Mal was carrying. There were at least a dozen of the white sugar cookies, each meticulously frosted to resemble a different kind of berry, each of which immediately reminded Felix of the berry’s nutritional and medicinal properties. “They’re so detailed; how did you do that?”

Mal smiled and set the plate on the floor. “They’re Pokémon safe as well; why don’t you have Cascade and Zorua try one, too?”

“They’re really good!” a small voice squeaked. Teddi, Mal’s Teddiursa, cowered back behind her trainer’s leg after her sudden bout of bravery. Beside his other leg, Mal’s Pancham Su Lin nodded emphatically.

Felix smiled kindly at the little bear as he took an Oran Cookie and bit into it. Immediately his eyes widened with delight. The soft, sugary cookie perfectly complimented the sweet berry flavor of the frosting. There were other flavors mixed in, he was sure, but it was impossible to tell where one ended and the other began. Instead, he was left with what tasted like a mouthful of heaven.

“Holy—this is the best cookie I’ve ever had!” Felix exclaimed with a full mouth. He swallowed and continued, “Didn’t you say you made up the recipe on the spot? Where on Earth did you learn to cook this well?!”

Mal seemed to relax. “I’ve had some training over the years and in general I just like to cook. Glad to see the Pokémon are enjoying them too.” He gestured at Teddi, Su Lin, Cascade, and Zorua, all of whom were gleefully devouring their own cookies.

Felix sat cross-legged on the ground beside Cascade and rubbed the Buizel’s head. Looking to Mal, he said, “For as long as you’re here, Mal, why don’t we tell a little about ourselves? I know Raphael well enough from, well, studying him,” Felix laughed unconvincingly, “but you and Sonia are mysteries to me.”

Mal sat beside his own Pokémon with perfect posture. With a little huff, Zorua grabbed three more cookies with her jaws and said, If you two are just going to talk, Zoru, I’m out! But you owe me those five minutes, Zoru, don’t forget!

Felix laughed as the little fox skipped out of the room with her treats. “I won’t, Zoru!” Felix paused in surprise as Zorua’s laughter rang out. He chuckled, embarrassed. “Guess she’s got me doing it too.”

“She’s cute,” Mal nodded. “So would you like me to start?”

“If you like.” Felix rubbed Cascade’s side as he leaned against his trainer and reached for a second cookie.

“Well, as you know, my name is Malcolm Thrones. I was born to a well-off family in Celadon City and I’ve been a close friend of Raph’s since we were kids. I’ve had Teddi for as long as I can remember, and Su Lin more or less adopted me when I took a trip to Kalos.” He smiled fondly at the bears, rubbing their heads. “I enjoy… making things, mechanical and culinary.”

“Like these amazing cookies,” Felix lauded, then finished his Pecha Cookie.

“Yes, like those.” Mal continued, “I’m hoping to grow stronger on this journey alongside Raph, earn gym badges, meet Pokémon, and maybe even challenge the league. Hopefully I don’t slow Raph down too much,” he joked.

“You’ll be fine, I’m sure,” Felix insisted.

“And like I said earlier I’m trained in field medicine, so I’m sure we’ll have things to talk about there.”

“That’s awesome,” Felix replied. “To be honest, I’m kind of relieved you’re a Pokémon caretaker as well, because…” He sighed. “Well, I’m not too good with blood. Just… something about it always freaks me out, makes me slow and shaky.” He knew exactly why blood scared him, but there was no reason to tell Mal that. “Broken bones I can set in a heartbeat, sickness I can diagnose with almost perfect accuracy, but once a Pokémon gets a nasty cut, I’m basically worthless.”

Mal nodded in understanding. “I noticed that, during your battle with Raph. I’ll be sure to help out whenever it gets hard for you.”

Felix smiled. “I like you already. Well, it’s kind of hard not to like someone who brings along a plate of impossibly good cookies, but you just seem like a great guy all around: smart, creative, helpful, and very polite.”

Mal smiled back. “You flatter me, Felix, but thank you.”

Felix pointed at him emphatically. “See? Polite! Right there!”

Mal chuckled, shaking his head. “Yes, thank you, I get it. So do you have any questions for me?”

Felix thought for a moment. “Say, are Su Lin and Teddi male or female?”

Mal seemed somewhere between surprised and confused. “Er, they’re both female. Why do you ask.”

“Ah, that’s a shame,” Felix shook his head. “They would have made a really cute ship.”

Mal blinked. “Umm… pardon?”

“I would have shipped them if they could breed,” Felix said matter-of-factly. When Mal continued to stare, Felix elaborated, “You know, ship as in ‘relationship’? Where you romantically pair two characters in a TV show you like because you think they belong together?”

“I know what shipping is, but… you’re shipping my Pokémon? My real life Pokemon?” Mal asked.

“Come on, all breeders do it!” Felix replied with a casual air. “It’s basically our jobs, you know!”

Mal nodded stiffly, unsure of what to say. “So, uh, do you ship Cascade with anyone…?”

“Him? No, not yet; so far I haven’t found anyone good enough for him. Briefly thought about Zorua, but no, there’s definitely no romantic tension between them--just regular tension.”

Mal nodded again. “I… see. You’re a strange one, Felix.”

“Ah, you just need to lighten up,” Felix insisted. Beneath the boy’s arm, Cascade looked to Mal and nodded in agreement.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:02 am

Ohh, I adore this chapter! It's so cute~ You also got Mal spot on too. Teddi isn't really all that shy, but I think I can work with that, having him being shy around new people and all until he gets to know them. Good chapter!
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:20 am

Oh, I forgot to mention that it's not finished yet! Sonia and Raph will get some time in the spotlight too~
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:50 am

Awesome! Can't wait.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:25 am

Lamb: Chapter 3 in full

Chapter 3: Zoroark’s Wit

Repeat after me, Zoru, the now familiar voice of Zorua rang in Felix’s head. The human and fox sat together with Cascade on the floor of Felix’s guest bedroom, a simply furnished room with a queen size bed with cream-colored sheets along with a dark wooden headboard and nightstand. The delicious smell of baking wafted from the provided kitchen as Mal prepared another experimental batch of cookies for Felix to test. But for the moment, Zorua cleared her throat dramatically and said “Zoru zor zorua azo rua!”

Cascade shook his head. “We’re not going to get anywhere by teaching Felix insults towards himself,” the Buizel said. “You know I won’t let you trip Felix into saying it; why not just cooperate?”

You two are no fun, Zoru. Why not let a poor fox laugh a little, eh, Zoru?

“Tell you what, Zorua,” Felix said in Buizel, “at the end of your lessons, I’ll repeat anything you like for, say, five minutes?”

Anything, zoru? The fox’s deep red eyes twinkled with mischief, her vulpine jaw curling into a smile.

“I guess, sure! What’s the worse that could happen?” Felix knew he wouldn’t care if Zorua made him insult himself; after all, he was learning to speak Zorua. The language had, as always, come remarkably fast to him. After just a couple hours he was starting to pick up on some common words and a few conjugations.

Cascade frowned. “What if she has you insult me or Teddi and Su Lin? I don’t think they would take too kindly to hearing insults thrown at them, and… to be honest, I don’t want to hear you verbally attack me either.” The Buizel looked hurt by the very thought of his lifelong trainer insulting him, and Felix picked up on this immediately.

“Not anything, then, but almost anything,” Felix stipulated.

Argh, you stupid otter! Zorua mentally exclaimed. Are you that scared of words like a little baby, Zoru?

“I don’t think you’d take too kindly to having Sonia explain how terrible you are, genuinely or not!” Cascade shouted.

I… Zorua growled for a second. Fine! Say this, Zoru! She shouted another incomprehensible phrase, but once Cascade nodded his approval Felix repeated it.

It always felt strange how quickly Felix’s own voice adjusted, the way his throat and tongue and teeth smoothly and effortlessly transitioned from English to a language he had barely heard before today. On nothing but instinct Felix repeated what Zorua had said, matching her intonation, syllable pattern, accent, and even pitch.

Yikes! That’s creepy, Zoru. You sound like the Pokedex!

“My trainer is quite gifted,” Cascade said with a prideful air.

As if! This breeder boy is nothing compared to Sonia! She’d squash him like an Oran Berry!

“What did you say, you insolent little canine?!”

Felix only smiled and rubbed Cascade’s floatation collar. He didn’t care whether she was a better trainer; he excelled in breeding, not battling. “Before you continue, could you please say out loud what you’re saying telepathically?” Felix interrupted.

Not until your stupid otter apologizes, Zorua huffed.

“Apologize?!” Cascade exclaimed. “Why on earth should I apologize?”

“Am I interrupting something?” the quiet voice of Mal cut through the tension like a knife.

“Zorua and Cascade are just helping me learn--hey, those look amazing!” Felix noticed the plate of cookies Mal was carrying. There were at least a dozen of the white sugar cookies, each meticulously frosted to resemble a different kind of berry. Even a casual glance at the frosting immediately reminded Felix of each berry’s nutritional and medicinal properties. “They’re so detailed; how did you do that?”

Mal smiled and set the plate on the floor. “They’re Pokémon safe as well; why don’t you have Cascade and Zorua try one, too?”

“They’re really good!” a small voice squeaked. Teddi, Mal’s Teddiursa, cowered back behind her trainer’s leg after his sudden bout of bravery. Beside his other leg, Mal’s Pancham Su Lin nodded emphatically.

Felix smiled kindly at the little bear as he took an Oran Cookie and bit into it. Immediately his eyes widened with delight. The soft, sugary cookie perfectly complimented the sweet berry flavor of the frosting. There were other flavors mixed in, he was sure, but it was impossible to tell where one ended and the other began. Instead, he was left with what tasted like a mouthful of heaven.

“Holy—this is the best cookie I’ve ever had!” Felix exclaimed with a full mouth. He swallowed and continued, “Didn’t you say you were just experimenting with ingredients? Where on Earth did you learn to cook this well?!”

Mal seemed to relax. “I’ve had some training over the years and in general I just like to cook. Glad to see the Pokémon are enjoying them too.” He gestured at Teddi, Su Lin, Cascade, and Zorua, all of whom were gleefully devouring their own cookies.

Felix sat cross-legged on the ground beside Cascade and rubbed the Buizel’s head. Looking to Mal, he said, “For as long as you’re here, Mal, why don’t we tell a little about ourselves? I know Raphael well enough from, well, studying him,” Felix laughed unconvincingly, “but you and Sonia are mysteries to me.”

Mal sat beside his own Pokémon with perfect posture. With a little huff, Zorua grabbed three more cookies with her jaws and said, If you two are just going to talk, Zoru, I’m out! But you owe me those five minutes, Zoru, don’t forget!

Felix laughed as the little fox skipped out of the room with her treats. “I won’t, Zoru!” Felix paused in surprise as Zorua’s laughter rang out through the guest area. He chuckled, embarrassed. “Guess she’s got me doing it too.”

“She’s cute,” Mal nodded. “So would you like me to start?”

“If you like.” Felix rubbed Cascade’s side as he leaned against his trainer and reached for a second cookie.

“Well, as you know, my name is Malcolm Thrones. I was born to a well-off family in Celadon City and I’ve been a close friend of Raph since we were kids. I’ve had Teddi for as long as I can remember, and Su Lin more or less adopted me when I took a trip to Kalos.” He smiled fondly at the bears, rubbing their heads. “I enjoy… making things, mechanical and culinary.”

“Like these amazing cookies,” Felix lauded, then finished his Pecha Cookie.

“Yes, like those.” Mal continued, “I’m hoping to grow stronger on this journey alongside Raph, earn gym badges, meet Pokémon, and maybe even challenge the league. Hopefully I don’t slow Raph down too much,” he joked.

“You’ll be fine, I’m sure,” Felix insisted.

“And like I said earlier I’m trained in field medicine, so I’m sure we’ll have things to talk about there.”

“That’s awesome,” Felix replied. “To be honest, I’m kind of relieved you’re a Pokémon caretaker as well, because…” He sighed. “Well, I’m not too good with blood. Just… something about it always freaks me out, makes me slow and shaky.” He knew exactly why blood scared him, but there was no reason to tell Mal that. “Broken bones I can set in a heartbeat, sickness I can diagnose with almost perfect accuracy, but once a Pokémon gets a nasty cut, I’m basically worthless.”

Mal nodded in understanding. “I noticed that, during your battle with Raph. I’ll be sure to help out whenever it gets hard for you.”

Felix smiled. “I like you already. Well, it’s kind of hard not to like someone who brings along a plate of impossibly good cookies, but you just seem like a great guy all around: smart, creative, helpful, and very polite.”

Mal smiled back. “You flatter me, Felix, but thank you.”

Felix pointed at him emphatically. “See? Polite! Right there!”

Mal chuckled, shaking his head. “Yes, thank you, I get it. So do you have any questions for me?”

Felix thought for a moment. “Say, are Su Lin and Teddi male or female?”

Mal seemed somewhere between surprised and confused. “Er, Teddi’s male, Su Lin is female. Why do you ask?”

Felix’s expression brightened and he rubbed his hands together in satisfaction. “Oh, perfect!” he exclaimed. “I definitely ship it now!”

Mal blinked. “Umm… pardon?”

“I ship them!” Felix said matter-of-factly. When Mal continued to stare, Felix elaborated, “You know, ship as in ‘relationship’? Where you romantically pair two characters in a TV show you like because you think they belong together?”

“I know what shipping is, but… you’re shipping my Pokémon? My real life Pokemon?” Mal asked.

“Come on, all breeders do it!” Felix replied with a casual air. “It’s basically our jobs, you know! Besides, they’re a perfect combination! Teddiursa from Pangoro fathers tend to have biting problems, but nothing's cuter than a Pancham with Teddiursa genes!”

Mal nodded stiffly, unsure of what to say. “I... see. So, uh, do you ship Cascade with anyone…?”

“Him? No, not yet; so far I haven’t found anyone good enough for him. Briefly thought about Zorua, but no, there’s definitely no romantic tension between them--just regular tension.”

Mal nodded again. “I… see. You’re a strange one, Felix.”

“Ah, you just need to lighten up,” Felix insisted. Beneath the boy’s arm, Cascade looked to Mal and nodded in agreement.

Mal shrugged. “Anything else you’d like to know about me, or would you like to tell me about yourself now?”

“I’m sure I’ll get to know you better with time, so I’ll just go ahead with my own summary,” Felix said. “So my name is Felix Verity. I come from Sinnoh where I’m already a fully recognized breeder; I’m a bit of a prodigy, you could say.” He smiled, attempting to seem casual. “It helps a lot that I can speak to Pokémon, either by using their own tongue or by using the Buizel or Floatzel language as a proxy.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, how do you do that?” Mal interrupted.

“Speak to Pokémon?” Felix considered hinting at the truth, but reasoned against it. “I guess I’m just lucky and was born with it. They just… make sense to me, like cookie flavors make sense to you.”

“Fair enough,” Mal replied.

Without warning Sonia burst into the room, looking extremely annoyed. “Okay…” she seethed, “who would be so unimaginably stupid as to give Zorua sugar?!”

Mal raised a nervous hand. “That, uh, would be my doing.” In the living room behind Sonia, Zorua sped by in an instant, laughing and squealing.

“Then you’re just going to have to pray that she doesn’t break anything important before the sugar wears off,” Sonia growled. “How much did she eat, by the way?”

“I think she had one sugar cookie here and ran off with three,” Felix commented.

Sonia became still. “Four cookies,” she said icily. “She had four sugar cookies in five minutes.”

Felix grew concerned with her tone. “Is… that a problem?”

“Do you have any idea how hyperactive Zorua gets when she has sugar?!” Sonia exploded. “She’ll be up all night at this rate, and she’ll keep the rest of us up too! I swear to Arceus, I am this close to breaking someone’s arm!”

“I-I’m sorry, Sonia!” Mal replied. “I wouldn’t have given her any if I had known—”

“Let me handle this,” Felix offered, getting to his feet. Cascade followed suit.

Sonia snorted. “Let you handle this? That’s a laugh. What could you do that I haven’t already tried? She won’t listen to anyone, much less a person she just met.”

“Oh, she listens, all right,” Felix insisted. “It’s how she responds to what you say and do that really matters. If she won’t speak your language, speak hers.”

“We communicate with telepathy,” Sonia rebutted, “and you said yourself that you can’t speak Zorua. Just get off your high horse already.”

“Well… just watch.” Felix winked and led Cascade out of the guest room. “Spray her when she comes by,” Felix muttered to the Buizel in his own language. “Then taunt her and run outside. Sonia and I will be right behind you.”

The clacking of claws against tile signalled Zorua’s dash through the kitchen. With careful aim, Cascade spat out a stream of water directly at the little fox, thoroughly soaking her dark pelt. She squeaked in surprise as she was sprayed, then glared at the Buizel.

You… stupid otter! Zorua mentally shouted. Why did you get my fur wet, huh, Zoru?!

“It was funny!” Cascade laughed. “Totally worth that expression!”

Why, you...! I’ll scratch that smug smile right off your face, Zoru!

“First you have to catch me!” Cascade challenged. As Zorua leaped at him, he quickly sidestepped and bolted for the glass back door, whose handle he could just reach. Zorua quickly switched directions and launched herself at the fleeing Cascade, but he had already gotten outside and closed the door. Zorua bounced off the door to the carpet as Cascade stuck his tongue out from behind the glass.

Sonia, open the door, Zoru! Zorua demanded, trying to jump up and grab the handle herself.

Sonia glanced at Felix, surprised. The young breeder only wore a self-satisfied smile. “When you say ‘Get back here!’, she hears ‘Keep going, it’s funny!’” But if you say ‘You’ll never catch me!”, she’ll hear ‘Come outside and play with me!’ You have to know what the words mean to her, not just what they mean to you. Come on, let’s go outside.”

Sonia and Felix walked to the back door. The moment the girl turned the handle on the door, Zorua forced herself through and after Cascade, who had taken off across the grass. “I don’t know how much stamina Zorua has, but hopefully this will tire her out before Cascade,” Felix said, sitting on a metal bench on the patio.

“You clearly don’t know Zorua,” Sonia replied cynically, sitting on the far end of the bench.

“Nope!” Felix agreed cheerfully. “But over the course of this journey I will get to know her and the rest of our teams, and that makes me very, very excited. It's half the reason I signed up for this anyway.”

“And the other half?” Sonia asked. She seemed less icy than before, which encouraged Felix.

“It’s… actually, a lot of things, honestly,” Felix said with a short laugh. “A lot of the higher ups in the Kanto League and the National Breeder’s Association think having their two prodigies seen together will help PR, I’ve always wanted to see Kanto and meet new people and Pokémon and… well, I need more than just Cascade for breeding!”

Sonia seemed perturbed. “You want to catch Pokémon… just to have them breed with each other.”

“Not just for breeding! They're my friends and partners first… but yeah, I’ll look for good opportunities to breed them. And besides, I’m actually hoping to get as many different egg groups as I can, so they won’t be making too many Eggs together. ...What?” Felix could not figure out why Sonia looked so unnerved.

“Uhh… nothing. It’s nothing.”

Felix shrugged. “You can always tell me.” After a moment of silence, broken only by the banter between Cascade and Zorua, he moved on, saying, “Do you mind telling me a little about yourself?”

Sonia sighed. “Fine. I’m Sonia Darkin, a psychic from the Unova region. I moved to Kanto a few years ago and trained with Sabrina in her gym. I have Zorua and a Sawk named Kai. Will that suffice?”

Felix smiled patiently. Mal was so much easier than this. “Well, maybe a little more would be nice? Like, uh… what sort of powers do you have?”

Sonia twitched at the request, but nevertheless listed, “Teleportation, telepathy, telekinesis, astral projection.”

Felix grew wide-eyed. “All that? Can you do a lot with those powers? Like, teleport miles away or lift an Hippowdon?”

“In some ways. I can’t lift that much, but I can teleport between nearby cities with some effort. With telepathy I can put someone in a coma or drive them insane.” She eyed Felix, who backed away uncomfortably.

That much power for such a little girl? Something didn’t feel right about that, Felix thought. But he reasoned it would be best to befriend the girl who could probably kill him with a thought rather than shun or hate her. Emotions are infectious, after all

…Then again, she seemed to display no hint of emotion, unless you counted cynicism or irritation. Maybe she just needs a friend?

“I don’t need your friendship, Felix, and I’m not going to kill you,” Sonia suddenly said. “Just because I can doesn’t mean I will.”

Felix chuckled, trying to calm his nerves. “To be honest you are kind of scary. But that’s okay; I’m sure we can be friends! ‘Zelo float-ze zel zelo flo-el’, after all.”

Sonia blinked. “What was that?”

“Oh, now you stop reading my mind? Sure, fine—I said ‘Being happier is better than being sad’. It’s kind of my motto.”

“No, it was… never mind. Whatever. Cool motto, it’s not for me.”

“Aww, come on, Sonia!” Felix nearly wrapped his arm around her, but caught himself. “Who doesn’t want to be happy?”

“I don’t. And I especially don’t need you to make me happy.”

“Felix!” Cascade called. “I can't do this anymore... but Zorua just won’t get tired!” The Buizel narrowly dodged Zorua as she sprang at him again, then took off running across the grass once again.

Conversation forgotten, Felix immediately stood and ran for Cascade. As Zorua neared her target and jumped, Felix threw himself in the way, deftly catching the fox in a gentle embrace. Sharp claws enthusiastically dug into Felix’s hands as Zorua finally managed to grab something, but years of handling young Pokémon meant that Felix hardly noticed. Instead, he pinned Zorua against the ground, scratching and tickling her pelt all over.

As Zorua squealed with laughter, she telepathically complained, Hey, what’s the meaning of this, Zoru? You’re not that stupid otter!

Said otter collapsed against the side of the lab as Felix continued his assault on Zorua’s nerves. “Nah, he cheated and had me double-team you.”

Hey, no fair, Zoru!

“It was the only way we stood a chance of winning, you know!” Felix explained. “With all that sugar you’ve got in you there was no way either of us stood a chance alone.”

Zorua stopped wriggling so energetically, and Felix responded with more gentle stroking. With a canine grin, she called out, Yeah, hear that, Buizel? If your trainer didn’t help you, Zoru… I’d have torn you to pieces… Zorua yawned, prompting Felix to inwardly cheer. With deliberate, slow movement, he lifted the fox into his arms. Just as he suspected, Zorua crashed hard once her sugar rush ended and she had immediately fallen asleep.

He offered Zorua to Sonia, who took her Pokémon into her own arms with telekinesis. “I’ll admit, you’re pretty good with Pokémon,” she said quietly, mindful of the sleeping Zorua. “I think you’ll be nice to have along.”

Felix laughed softly. “'Nice to have along'? Well, it’s a start; I’ll take it!” Turning to the exhausted Cascade, Felix lifted and embraced his Buizel, rubbing his floatation collar. “And you did so well today," Felix praised. "You’re the real hero tonight!”

“Thanks, Felix,” Cascade replied. “But I'd like to go to bed now…”

“‘Course you can! You can fall asleep now, actually; I’ll carry you inside. How's that sound?”

The Buizel was already sound asleep.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:32 pm

Unedited and incomplete, it's Chapter Four part 1!

Chapter Four: [Pokémon’s Attribute]

“Best of luck, everyone!” Professor Oak offered as he ruffled up Raphael’s and Felix’s hair. The four teens stood in the lobby of the lab, morning light streaming through the wide windows. Felix automatically cringed, not expecting the hand as he fiddled with his Pokedex. But in any case, his suspicions were confirmed--the Pokedex didn’t have anything he didn’t already know. Shame. Felix pocketed the device.

“Thank you, Professor,” Mal said, polite as ever.

“Yes, thank you,” Raphael chimed in. Felix and Sonia stayed quiet.

“Now as a quick reminder, Route One is a straight path all the way to Viridian. It can get windy, but there won’t be any branches or forks to worry about,” Professor Oak said for the fifth time that morning. “Just follow the road and you’ll be there by nightfall! But if not, I’m sure you’re all prepared for your first night on the trail, right?”

“Yes, Professor, we’re prepared,” Sonia said with just a hint of annoyance. “Let’s just go now.” The girl walked out the front door without a second glance from her or Zorua from her perch on Sonia’s shoulder. In turn the boys looked at one another, somewhere between surprised and confused.

“We should be going to,” Raphael declared. “Thanks again for everything, Professor Oak!” The trainer walked with purpose out the door, Mal, Felix, and Cascade close behind. The three jogged at a brisk pace after Sonia and upon reaching her slowed to a more casual speed.

Felix took in the sight of dense trees marking the edges of the winding route, of patches of tall grass dotting the dirt road. He smelled the clean air, listened to birds sing, and felt each step, one after another. What a perfect day!

“Ah, I’m so excited!” Felix exclaimed. “Travelling all of Kanto, meeting so many new people and Pokémon, growing stronger and wiser… I’ve been looking forward to this my whole life!”

“I’ve been training for this my whole life, actually,” Raphael spoke up. “Years of preparation, learning every battle tactic in the book, and working with some of the best trainers in all of Kanto… all for this journey.”

“So I’ve read,” Felix replied. “You really have it all, don’t you?”

“Believe me, I’ve earned it,” the boy claimed. “You don’t work as hard as I do without reaping the rewards.”

Felix grinned. “Hah! You’re talking to a fully certified breeder, one who skipped a decade of classes to finish this early--if I didn’t want to go on this journey, I’d be making serious cash with Pokémon breeding and caretaking commissions. But instead I chose to come all the way to Kanto and spend however long it takes to push you through the gyms… but if you’re so high and mighty like you say, should I have bothered coming here at all?”

Raphael scowled. “Hey, it’s not like I begged you to come along—”

Felix laughed heartily. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Actually, it’d be more accurate to say I begged to come along with how much work it took to get here, so thank you for tolerating my presence!”

“Uhh, you’re welcome,” Raphael replied unsteadily. “I’m… glad you’re here, really.”

“Not to mention, Cascade beat Sola pretty good back there,” Felix said casually.

“That wasn’t a fair fight and you know it!” Raphael exclaimed. “Reacting to your opponent’s commands is a critical part of battling!”

“It’s all part of your training,” Felix explained. “How much better will you be if you can react to attacks or deception in half the time? Also, Sabrina’s going to be a real pain in the rear with her telepathy unless we start practicing for it.”

“She’s the sixth gym leader!” Raphael complained.

“Don’t forget Sonia! Hey, Sonia, you communicate with your Pokémon during battles using telepathy, right?”

“Hm?” Sonia replied, still looking forward. “Oh, yeah.”

“There you go,” Felix looked at Raph while gesturing to Sonia. Raphael only frowned. “Hey, is there a problem?” Felix asked.

“I…” Raphael began, then eyed Sonia suspiciously.

“I already know, d’Alcott; just say it,” Sonia spoke up bluntly.

“It’s… that!” Raphael exclaimed. “That and her other weird psychic powers. She has no respect for privacy or basic human decency. When we first met she read my mind and Mal’s without permission, just to insult me for my private thoughts.”

“It shouldn’t matter if you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” Felix commented.

“What, you’ve got nothing you’re not willing to say out loud?” Raph retorted.

“‘Course I do!” Felix winked. “But it won’t bother me if it comes out.” His heart lurching, he realized that Sonia hadn’t ever spoken up about his… secret. Did she know? Why hadn’t she said anything about it? He was good at not thinking about it, but certainly a psychic could find it anyway… right?

“Well, lucky you,” Raphael grumbled. “But I still can’t stand her.”

“The feeling’s mutual,” Sonia spoke up. “So just stay out of my way and I’ll stay out of yours.”

“Let’s just move on,” Felix advised. “So, in my research about the gym leaders, it seems the average number of attempts is around six to seven. Even if they deliberately use weaker Pokémon to scale with a trainer’s progress, they’re all way harder than most people expect.”

“Yeah, I’ve seen videos,” Raphael nodded. “They destroy trainers over and over.”

“So it makes me wonder, what about them is so tough?” Felix pondered. “If they use Pokémon on par with the average trainer’s, shouldn’t they be on equal footing?”

“Don’t forget, these guys have decades of practice battling,” Raphael explained. “Superior tactics, better reaction time—”

“A closer bond with their Pokémon?”

“Everything,” Raphael finished. “Most trainers eventually win by sheer strength; I want to do better.”

Felix grinned. “Oh, really?”

“I want to beat them at their own game. I want to show them why I deserve to be the champion, why I was chosen to represent the future of Kanto. I’m going to win not because my Pokémon did more laps around the track, I’m going to win because I can outsmart them.”

Sonia snorted. “Outsmart gym leaders? Really? I knew you had an inflated opinion of yourself, Raphael d’Alcott, but I’m surprised you haven’t burst from your own ego yet.”

Raphael glared at her and opened his mouth to probably say something nasty, but Felix stepped between them, saying, “Sonia, that was a little uncalled for, don’t you think?”

Sonia merely walked on, saying, “Sooner or later he’s going to end up humiliated in battle. Would you rather him learn humility now or after he’s had his team utterly decimated? Because I know he’s afraid of it. Failure’s not an option for him, not with all the high expectations put on him. Losing means failing the Elite Four, your mother, and now Felix--isn’t that right?”

“Shut up,” Raphael growled.

“So you refuse to lose, even if that’s completely impossible. The gym leaders are going to defeat you over and over—”

“I said shut up!” Raphael shouted. Felix frowned. Saying he looked tense was an understatement--he looked ready to kill the girl.

“Sonia, please, let me handle this,” Felix said. “I think you’ve made your point.” Turning to Raphael, he suggested, “Why don’t we fall behind a few steps? That way we can have our conversation with a bit more privacy.”

“Nothing’s private around Sonia Darkin,” Raph muttered.

Felix laughed. “That’s very true! Ah, but we’ll get used to it. If you’re at peace with yourself, she shouldn’t bother you.”

Raph sighed in response, but slowed his pace with Felix until Mal and Sonia were about fifty paces ahead.

“Sonia’s rather rude,” Cascade commented.

“I’m tempted to agree, but I feel like it’s just bad chemistry between them,” Felix explained in the Buizel language. “Raph’s rubbed the wrong way by Sonia’s brusqueness, and Sonia’s rubbed the wrong way by Raph’s pride.”

“And you?” Cascade asked.

The boy smiled. “Well, I think I’ll be able to understand and get along with both of them. Sonia wasn’t so bad last night, was she?”

“Felix?” Raphael interjected.

“Oh, sorry!” Felix switched to English. “Cascade just had a question is all.”

“That’s fine,” Raph replied. His shoulder’s slumped a little as he sighed. “So… what do you think, honestly? Is my plan stupid and prideful like Sonia said?”

“I think it’s a great goal, honestly,” Felix insisted. “But it’s good to keep things realistic. The only time a gym leader has been defeated first try is if the challenger had already cleared another region’s gyms and had an incredibly powerful team. So here’s what I’m thinking--since nobody in their right mind would expect a trainer to win first try, don’t! Just don’t even bother. You’re going to lose and it might even be hilarious.”

Raph gave Felix a disconcerted look. “Intentionally lose? Really?”

“Not intentionally lose, but… well, you can try your best to hold back a river even if there’s no hope of succeeding. In the same way, try to win even though you have no hope of winning.”

“I still don’t understand,” Raph shook his head.

“Well, just hear me out. You go in, you lose, but while you’re losing keep track of all the gym leader’s quirks and preferences. If you want to outsmart them like you said, watch carefully for any weaknesses. Then after some more practice, go in a second time and use those new strategies to learn how the gym leader adapts and any weakness they have in that. But then your third time, you should be nice and practiced against the gym leader. As long as you keep your own strategy fresh and really watch for those weaknesses you found, I think you can consistently win third time! ‘Course, this all depends on you being the tactical genius your reports say you are.”

“I don’t think all that’s necessary,” Raphael shook his head. “Why can’t I just do all that in my first battle?”

“Because…” Felix deliberated in himself for a moment. “It just doesn’t work that way. There’s not enough time to learn and adapt in the heat of battle. You need some downtime to really work out a good plan.”

“Felix, if there’s anyone who can do it, it’s me,” Raph insisted. “I’ve been training my whole life for this, remember?”

“You nearly lost to a breeder and his lone Buizel!” Felix countered. “The gym leaders are way, way tougher than I am!”

“That’s called a non-transitive game,” Raphael replied. “Just like Grass beats Water beats Fire beats Grass, you lose to gym leaders, I lose to you, and gym leaders lose to me.”

“That’s not how it works,” Felix said softly. “Tell me--are you really scared of failing, like Sonia said?”

Raphael was silent for a moment. Then he gave a short reply: “Yes.”

“Then please. Learn to expect failure from fighting these guys. You’ll be much happier that way.”

“I’ll be happy when I win,” Raph insisted, sounding uncomfortable. “Can we just drop this for now?”

Felix shrugged. “Sure. Brock’s not for another couple towns anyway.” He jogged up to the rest of the main group with Cascade and Raphael.

“Welcome back,” Mal said. “How’d it go?”

“Great,” Felix said before Raph could speak. “We discussed some battle strategies, but we’ll finalize things once we get to Pewter.” After that, an uncomfortable silence followed. Raph and Sonia, while on opposite sides, kept glaring daggers at one another through Mal and Felix.

Which is why Felix was incredibly grateful when Mal picked a leaf off a small, flowering plant. “I recognize this plant. Its leaves cause terrible stomach cramps and are a powerful laxative; its effects can last for days. For whatever reason, though, it’s marketed as a detox treatment in Kalos.”

Felix laughed. “Nothing like poison to clean up your system, that’s great! But then again, I recognize this leaf myself. Grind it up and dilute it enough and you’ll get a popular homeopathic remedy for digestive problems.”

Mal hummed. “If I’m honest, I’ve never liked homeopathy. It’s just hyped-up water, isn’t it?”

Felix shrugged. “Well, the theory goes that the aura of the substance stays in the water, then gets inverted further with each dilution. Then when you take it, it cancels out the bad aura of the ailment.”

“Even though no aura seers claim to see anything different about the water?”

Felix grinned. “Conveniently, the aura is bound extremely tightly within the water molecules.”

“So how does it spread to the other water molecules when you dilute it?” Mal countered.

“I have no idea,” Felix admitted. “But you’d be surprised how many breeders swear by homeopathic remedies.”

Mal only shook his head, leading to a break in the conversation. At least the situation seemed somewhat defused.

“Ow! What was that for?!” Sonia suddenly shouted from behind them. Everybody turned to look at her. “What?” she snapped.

Without warning, a woman was behind Sonia, causing everyone but Sonia herself to jump. Felix swore she wasn’t there the moment before. “What do we have here?” she said in a sickeningly sweet voice. “Four little children, wandering around by themselves?”

Felix was so stunned by her sudden that he hardly followed what happened next. Raphael approached, then the woman snapped at him and named Felix and his companions.

“Uhh… do you know her?” Raphael asked Felix, obviously as confused as Felix was.

Felix shook his head. “No; Sonia?”

In response Sonia raised herself with telekinesis up to the woman’s level. “Excuse me,” Sonia said. The ice in her voice made Felix glad to have the girl on her side. “But who the hell are you?”

The woman shook her head. “Such manners,” she tutted. Then she snapped her fingers, causing Sonia’s legs to fly out from under her as she fell to the ground. Felix’s heart started to pound. A psychic? This couldn’t end well.

“Ooh, rare Pokémon!” a voice called from the trees. “I call dibs!” Two nearly identical men dropped down from the trees, scooping up Zorua before standing beside the psychic woman.

Felix’s blood started to boil and it took every fiber of his being not to charge in recklessly. Sonia tried to run after them, but she collided with seemingly nothing.

“Uh oh,” Raphael muttered. “This is bad…”

“Who do you think you are, treating a Pokémon that way!” Felix suddenly shouted. He couldn’t help it, seeing them handle Zorua so roughly, clamping her muzzle shut. The poor thing pawed helplessly at the man’s huge hand--she couldn’t breathe!

“Who are we?” parroted yet another voice behind them. Felix and the others turned to see a short woman with blue stripes in her hair wearing a Team Rocket uniform. “I’m pretty sure the uniform speaks for themselves, kid.” Sure enough, under the others’ jackets was the Team Rocket uniform, giant red ‘R’ and all.

“Oh! Almost forgot my manners,” the psychic woman giggled. “We know your names, so it’s only fair that you know ours! “My name is Odette, that over there is Janet and these two here are Fred and Grant. Fred’s the one holding your darling little Zorua. Seems we have you surrounded, doesn’t it?”

Felix looked all around him. Thick trees to either side, each way of the road blocked by criminals. Could they escape into the woods? No, but they have to rescue Zorua!

“No you don’t!” Raphael declared, then charged at the non-psychic woman. But in one fluid motion, she grabbed his wrist, bent it at a painful angle, and knocked him to the ground. “Don’t try that again. kid,” she warned, finally letting go of his wrist. “I’ve been trained by the best.”

“I’m sure we can all resolve this peacefully,” Mal said, hands raised in a calming gesture. “Is there something specific you want?”

“Peacefully?!” Sonia shouted. Felix grew even more frightened. He hadn’t ever seen anyone this angry before… he could physically feel the hate emanating from her. “They’re trying to steal my friend! I’m not just going to sit here and take this peace talk crap! You are not getting away with this, you thugs!” Without warning, Fred flew backwards into a tree, crying out in pain and dropping Zorua.

And then Sonia was in front of the second grunt with her hand crushing his bare throat, having teleported before him. The man let out an agonizing scream as Felix, in horror, was reminded of Sonia explaining why one shouldn’t make direct contact with a psychic. So stunned by Sonia’s sudden display of horrible ferocity, Felix merely watched, dazed, as Grant threw her off, only to clutch his skull and scream in terror. Janet reached for a gun. Sonia snapped it in half from where she stood. Odette said something, and then Sonia stumbled back, her fury diminished. A few more words were exchanged, then Odette teleported in front of Sonia. They vanished together.

Raphael nudged Felix, snapping him out of his daze. Felix noticed Cascade was in his battle-ready stance, facing Fred’s Rattata. Seeming reluctant, Mal released Su Lin to battle against Grant’s Zubat.

“We’ll double team them,” Mal said, steely determination in his voice. Felix envied him for that.

“I’ll handle Janet,” Raphael said, confident as ever.

“Let’s do this.” Felix tried as hard as he could to keep the fear out of his voice.

Backs to one another, three trainers fought for their lives.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Feedback   Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:51 am

Chapter 5 - Gardevoir's Love

Felix hated himself for realizing it at the time he did, but there was no way to deny it. As he carefully watched Zorua for deeper injuries to reveal themselves in her battle against Lune, he couldn’t help but realize something very special about those two foxes.

He shipped them.

It just had to be so! Fake Tears had deeper aura-based effects than just pure guile, but there was definitely some true hesitation and guilt in Lune’s eyes. Lune’s pure revulsion in seeing the transformed Zorua so hurt and defenseless just sealed it for the breeder. Even if they didn’t know it yet, even if their trainers denied it and hated one another, dammit, Zorua and Lune belonged together!

But as can be expected, their non-breeder trainers couldn’t see what he did, so Felix would wait until the evidence was undeniable to tell Raphael and Sonia. In the mean time, that last Extrasensory might have really done some damage. He was still nervous about Zorua and glanced in her direction. He decided her checkup could wait; she looked fine.

Felix and Cascade ran across the Pokémon Center’s flat dirt battlefield and found Lune in the comforting arms of Raphael, beneath the tree Lune had fallen through. The little Eevee was battered and bruised, but based on his expression it seemed most of the damage was emotional.

“Hey,” Felix called softly in the Eevee language, gently stroking the fox to find where he hurt most. “You did good out there.”

“I failed,” Lune replied grumpily. “I let Raphael down, losing to that stupid Zorua.”

“What’s he saying, Felix?”

“He’s sorry to have failed you and let you down,” Felix translated.

Raphael frowned, looking darkly serious. “No, Lune, you did everything you could. It’s not your fault.” He stood with Lune still cradled in his arms. Felix winced at the hateful glare he shot at Sonia as he marched up to her but followed him nonetheless.

“You read Lune’s mind!” Raphael shouted. Felix groaned inwardly, but didn’t interfere.

Sonia returned his glare with one just as cold. “And what gave you your newest ridiculous idea?”

Raphael jabbed a finger at Zorua. “How’d she know to do that illusion, huh?!”

Because Sonia told her to, Felix thought, resisting the urge to facepalm.

Sonia looked confused. “Because I directed her,” she replied smoothly.

Exactly, Felix thought.

“Exactly!” Raphael echoed. “And where else would you get that except from Lune’s head?!”

Sonia stepped closer to Raphael, her expression furious. She was so much shorter than Raph, but that didn’t seem to bother her. “I didn’t read his mind, you idiot,” she insisted. “I got Zorua to use Fake Tears in conjunction with creating an illusion that made her look like a member of Lune’s species. Looking like a member of the foe's species is a common illusion trick widely used by wild Zorua to deter attackers!”

Raphael persisted. “But she looked just like Sola!” That was a good point, Felix mentally conceded.

Sonia twitched. “The only Eevee she has to work with are Sola and Lune! Who else would she look like?!” ...Also a fair point.

Mal put a hand to Raphael’s shoulder. “Raph, are you okay? This isn’t about your losing, is it?”

“Of course it’s not,” Raphael growled. “I just don’t want her poking around my mind or anyone else's!” He pointedly turned and began walking away. “Come on, Felix! Come on, Mal!” He called. “I got some battle training to do!”

Felix couldn’t help but jump. “But we need to take Lune to Nurse Joy!” he cried, running up to him. Looking back, he noticed that Mal and Sonia were having a conversation. It looked pleasant enough, so Felix let them be.

“Raph, seriously, Lune’s hurt. Making him train anyway will only make the injuries worse,” he explained. Raphael ignored him and walked further across the field. Felix sighed, looking up at the boring grey sky. These were always his least favorite days. It’s not bright and sunny, but there’s no soft, soothing rain either. It matched his mood rather well, though--today was day after those Team Rocket grunts knocked out Cascade and almost kidnapped Zorua and worry still gnawed at the back of his mind.

Raphael didn’t stop until he was on the other side of the field, as far from Sonia as he could get. He deposited Lune on the ground; the Eevee winced as bruised limbs were made to walk again. Felix felt a fervor start to build within him. He hated the sight of a hurt Pokémon. Once a battle ended, they should be immediately praised and cared for, having put their health and safety on the line for their humans’ sport.

Raphael reached for Sola’s Pokéball, but Felix snatched his wrist. “Raph, no. Lune is hurt. What do you think you’re doing? Sonia’s done enough damage--are you really going to make it worse on your poor Eevee?”

Raphael blinked, his expression softening. He looked to Lune, who was determinedly standing with perfect posture despite his shaking limbs, with some slight surprise. “Lune…” He shook his head, scooping up his Pokémon. “I’m sorry; I don’t know what came over me. I was just so angry at Sonia… I didn’t want to lose to her ever again.”

Felix smiled. “You didn’t want to waste a single moment?”

“Yeah. I guess so.” Already Raph was jogging back to the Pokémon Center. “I’m still furious with her, though! Do you know how many times I’ve lost to my age group in the past three years?”

“Never?” Felix ventured.

“Twice. You defeated Sola and Sonia defeated Lune. But yes--I have never lost before this week.” The automatic door slid open to admit them entry into the main lobby of the Pokémon Center. Soft red benches and white tables lined the walls where trainers were grooming or feeding their Pokémon or enjoying a meal alongside them. Nurse Joy’s desk was in the middle of the room with staircases on either side of her that led to the dormitories. “I just don’t understand what happened,” Raphael continued, “You’re a breeder, for crying out loud! You don’t even try!”

“I thought it was pretty obvious,” Felix replied. “But just to be sure, I wanted Sonia to battle you as well. The thing is, we both hit your weakness.”

“Oh, dear; I suppose you lost your battle?” Nurse Joy interrupted, rushing up to Raphael with Chansey close behind.

“Yes, ma’am,” Raphael replied grumpily. He then offered Lune and his Pokeball. “Could you take care of Lune? He deserves a good rest.”

Nurse Joy smiled, gingerly accepting the Eevee and Pokéball. “Don’t you worry, Raphael. We’ll bring him to full health in no time at all!”

As Felix and Raphael gave their thanks, Nurse Joy turned and walked away, already asking Chansey for a variety of supplies. Raphael then moved to sit on one of the soft benches and Felix followed suit, sitting Cascade in his lap.

“What did you mean by hit my weakness?” Raphael asked. “I know you both have an edge over me, but have you pinned down where I can improve?”

“I had my suspicions that I told you about earlier, but seeing your battle with Sonia confirmed it. You rely very heavily on countering your opponents’ strategies, on turning their moves against them.”

Raphael raised an eyebrow. “Of course. That’s what any good battler would do.”

“No, but you’re… overcompensating. You don’t have a good reaction time. You need to take in everything your opponent does before you can use it against them, but if they don’t speak, you can’t just react to that immediate move.” Raphael nodded slowly, which Felix took as a good sign. “You’re trying to play it like chess. Normally it works, but you spend so much time laying elaborate albeit skillful traps that, at least against us, you can’t take it one move at a time.”

“Okay…” Raphael seemed unsure on how to handle the criticism. “So what do I do?”

Felix smiled and sighed, rubbing Cascade’s inflatable collar. “Honestly? Keep battling us. Keep losing over and over. Each time you dive into your weakness, you’ll get a little deeper until reaching the bottom is as easy as jumping in.”

Raphael groaned and rubbed his temples. “I was afraid you’d say that. I don’t want to lose to you over and over, and I especially don’t want to lose to… her.”

“Sonia has a name, you know.”

“Not helping, Felix!” Raphael snapped. “But you’re sure there’s no other way?”

Felix shrugged. “You tell me. You’re the battling master here. I just lucked out on being your weak spot.”

“I don’t… I just… Ugh, you’re right.” Raphael sighed in defeat. “I just need to keep practicing, keep… losing.”

Felix clapped him on the shoulder. “It’ll be okay! As long as you expect to lose, it won’t bother you, right?”

“Of course you’d say that,” Raph muttered. “But it just doesn’t work like that.”

“Really?” Felix persisted. “Why not? Oh, hey, Mal!”

The quiet boy had come back inside and was walking towards them, Teddi and Su Lin close behind. “Hello Felix, Raph,” he replied softly. “I hope I didn’t interrupt anything?”

“‘Course not!” Felix exclaimed, shifting over to make room for Mal. “You’re welcome to come and talk; right, Raph?”

“Yeah, of course you can!” Raphael agreed, patting the empty seat. “You’re always welcome.”

“Thank you both,” Mal said, taking the seat between Felix and Raph. Like Felix he set his Pokémon on his lap. “Although I was wondering if either of you would like to come to the Trainer House. Perhaps we can all learn something from the way more experienced trainers battle.”

“Sounds good to me,” Felix agreed. “I probably really need the advice.”

“And I’m not too prideful to admit I could use the help, too,” Raphael said, somewhat defensively. He stood up. “Should we go now?”

Felix shrugged and stood as well, Cascade hanging in his arms. “I’m gonna wait on Lune regardless, but you can go on ahead if you like.”

Raphael blinked once. “Oh… right. Lune.” He groaned as he fell back on the bench. “Today has just not gone my way.”

“Hey. don’t worry about it,” Mal said. “We know you’re not used to losing.”

“I really should be better than this,” Raphael replied. “But no, I keep screwing up everything today.”

“You’re just having a bad day, that’s all!” Felix joined in. “Once Lune’s all fixed up we can head out and you can just relax and watch the battles, no stress, nothing more to screw up!”

“Speaking of Lune,” Mal gestured to an approaching Nurse Joy with Lune walking beside her. There was no trace left of any injury, Felix noticed. The Eevee could probably get right back into battling. Once Lune caught sight of Raphael, he dashed towards him with a happy yip, leaping right up into his arms.

“I think we’ll call it a day on training, Lune,” Raphael said, petting the Eevee. “Instead we’re going to go watch the battles at the Trainer House! Sound fun?” Lune nodded cheerfully in response.

“So it’s decided, then?” Mal asked. Felix and Raphael both voiced their agreement. “Glad to hear it. Come on; I know the way.”

~~~

The Trainer House was a moderately-sized building, being just one story tall and a little less wide than the Pokémon Center. It was simple, wooden, and rectangular, with a green roof and a couple of chimneys. Behind the building was a wide, flat, fenced-in field much like the battlefield at the Pokémon Center. Many battles were already underway, with Pokémon leaping high into the air to unleash powerful attacks that Felix had only seen before online and on television.

The group of Felix, Raphael, and Mal entered the building and were greeted by a receptionist who bowed and said, “Welcome to the Trainer House! How may I be of assistance?” The thin lady wore a grey business jacket over a white collared blouse and matching dress skirt. Her black hair fell behind her in wavy cascades. Behind her much of the building was obscured by bookshelves, but Felix could see tables of trainers reading from heavy books, discussing strategies, or explaining tactics directly to their Pokémon.

“We’re new trainers who were hoping to watch the professionals battle,” Raphael said smoothly. “Are they just through the back door there?” He pointed to the glass door on the far side of the room by the staircase leading into the basement.

“Yes, sir!” The lady nodded. “But as a rule, trainers here will not battle anyone with less than seven badges. It’s not official, but more inexperienced trainers just tend to gather around the Pokémon Center’s battlefield, while those on the way to Indigo gather here.”

“Believe me, I have no intention of fighting these guys,” Raphael replied with a short laugh. “I just want to learn a thing or two! Come on, guys; let’s watch some battling.” Felix and Mal followed Raphael through the building and out the back door, stepping back into the glaring sunlight. Immediately Raphael and Mal became entranced by a duel between a Machamp and a Gallade, but out of the corner of his eye Felix noticed something.

Turning to the sight, his suspicions were confirmed. As a Mightyena struggled to stand, its trainer kicked it over and shouting something. Felix could make out more as he rushed over. “...to this team and to me! I can’t believe how weak you really are. I’ve spent six months of my life raising you, caring for you, letting you share my food and shelter and this is how you repay me?” The male trainer, about a year older than Felix, looked livid.

“I’m… I’m sorry, honest!” the Mightyena whimpered, attempting to stand. Her trainer responded to her plaintive cries with another brutal kick. It was then that Felix noticed the canine’s torn pelt and shuddering muscles--had the Mightyena just battled?!

Felix came up behind the trainer, who didn’t notice him. He wore a simple t-shirt and jeans and had toned muscles from months of hiking. On his belt were six Pokéballs and on his back was a large canvas backpack.

Just as he raised his boot to kick his own Pokémon once again, Felix quickly kicked the trainer in his side, knocking him to the ground. Felix glared at the trainer as he scrambled back to his feet. He tried to punch Felix in the nose, but the breeder stepped out of the way, so the hit glanced off his cheek. “What the hell is your problem?!” the trainer demanded.

“What the hell is your problem?” Felix spat back, rubbing his bruised cheek. “Your Mightyena sacrificed her health and safety for the sake of a petty battle and you’re beating her for it?!”

“Trainer, please,” the Pokémon spoke up, “don’t make my master any angrier.”

“Oh, shut up!” the trainer shouted. Returning to Felix, he said in a low voice, “Listen, you: I don’t know who you are or what the hell you think you’re doing, but you have no right to tell me what to do.”

“I think I do,” Felix replied. “Pokémon abuse is illegal, punishable by revocation of one’s trainer license, one’s team, and even time in prison.”

“I’m not abusing it!” the trainer cried, indignant. “I’m giving it tough love.”

“It? You don’t even know she’s a her?” Felix tried his best to suppress his anger, clenching and unclenching his fists.

“It, her, whatever. But I can’t believe you would accuse me, a trainer of seven badges, as abusive. I ought to report you for harassment!”

Felix tilted his head. “We’ll see.” Switching to the Mightyena language, he said, “Speak freely, dear. He can’t understand us like this.” The Mightyena glanced at him with hopeful red eyes. Her trainer seemed somewhere between shock and fury.

“You can’t be serious,” he said, possibly to himself.

“I… he…” the Mightyena began, but sank back down, her ears back and her head between her paws.

“Let’s start with a yes or no,” Felix continued in the Mightyena’s language, standing between her and the trainer. “Is your trainer abusive to you?”

“No! He--he… I don’t know…” the Mightyena replied, her voice dying out.

“He can’t understand either of us, trust me,” Felix repeated. “He can’t hurt you for anything you say, because I won’t tell him.”

The Pokémon seemed hesitant, her tail brushing up the dirt and her eyes darting between her trainer and this unfamiliar boy. “He… gives me food and water, and sometimes takes me to the Pokémon Center when I’m in bad shape,” she began.

“Why hasn’t he today?”

“Because… I lost.” Her tail wagged faster and her words seemed somewhat strained. “He says if he makes it really hurt to lose, we’ll try harder and win the next time.”

Felix could feel his angry crystallizing into cold, hard ice. “And do you believe him?”

“Of… of course I do! My trainer knows what’s best for me.” Felix couldn’t help but feel like the Mightyena was trying to convince herself as much as Felix.

“How long has this been going on?” Felix asked.

“Ever since he caught me as a Poochyena.” Her voice softened a little as she said that. She must really want a trainer if she’s stayed with this tyrant for six months, Felix reasoned.

“And his other Pokémon?”

“He’s… certainly fair,” the Mightyena replied. “Sometimes he has us attack the losers for him, when he’s especially angry.”

Felix could hardly believe what he was hearing. He continued to stare at the abusive trainer, who could only stare back angrily, paralyzed by Felix’s fervor. “You can find another trainer, you know,” Felix offered, forcing his voice to stay soft. “There are plenty of people who would be willing to take in a strong, courageous Mightyena like you, and they would always praise you and treat your injuries immediately after any battle, win or lose. Your trainer would be a constant source of comfort, someone you can always turn to whenever you need cheering up. You don’t have to stay with him.”

The Mightyena got teary-eyed for a moment, but blinked it away and shook her shaggy head. “I can’t. He’s my trainer. I can’t just abandon him. And my friends, my other Pokémon…”

Felix made up his mind. Tapping a few buttons on his Pokétch’s touch screen, he called the Viridian City police.

“There’s a badly abused Mightyena here at the Trainer House,” he reported in English. “She has heavy injuries and that her trainer refuses to treat, and I believe this has gone on for months.”

“What do you think you’re doing?!” the trainer shouted, reaching for the Pokétch.

Felix shoved him away with all the anger he had built up, knocking him off-balance. He scrambled to his feet, but Felix held out a hand. “Now stay right here, asshole. Running away now would be an obstruction of justice and another crime you have to answer for. If you’re lucky, they might just take away your team and trainer license.”

He seethed with rage, but remained where he stood. Behind Felix, the Mightyena began to cry.

~~~

A few hours later, Felix found himself at a table with Officer Jenny in the Viridian City police office. “Doyle’s team all corroborated your story, Felix. Months or years of cruel treatment, even if they didn’t know it. We’ve taken his trainer license, his Pokémon are being cared for by Nurse Joy, and Doyle himself is facing a trial to see if he deserves additional punishment.”

“Thank you, Officer Jenny. And just to be sure, you’re looking for new homes for all his Pokémon? I asked--none of them want to return to the wild.”

“That’s right.” Jenny nodded. “We’ll do our best to keep them together, but I can’t promise you it’ll work out that way.”

Felix nodded somberly. “I wish I could just adopt all of them, but… they’ve already cleared seven gyms.” A trainer on a journey isn’t allowed to accept a Pokémon that has cleared harder gyms than the trainer himself.

“Don’t worry about it,” the policewoman insisted. “You’ve already done far more than anyone else has for them. Why don’t you go and visit them now? I’m sure they’d love to see you.”

No sooner did Felix step into the Pokémon center than he found himself tackled by an overjoyed Mightyena.
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