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Thread Description
This is the story of a girl who's tired of pretending // Updates every other Thursday

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
174
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #81
Hi there everyone! I'm super, duper excited to FINALLY be posting a new chapter of As Above, So Below! This has been months in the making- written and re-written, edited, cut and pasted, etc.... as I've tried to decide whether or not I was going to come back to the forums. Well, I'm clearly back, so here's the chapter!

I have not decided the new upload schedule for AASB yet, but since I'm posting this on a Thursday, we'll stick to that. Whether it'll be weekly or biweekly is still up in the air, but I'll let you all know.

Again, super excited and happy to be here again! Hopefully I'm not too rusty haha. Hope you all enjoy :)

@MouseWithADinosaurTail thanks so much Mouse! happy to be here :)

@cyndakip thank you cynda, and thanks for the congrats as well! probably won't win since I wasn't around to campaign lol, but we'll see!

@JavierE64 it's great to hear from you again too, Javier! thanks so much :)

@Minty Electronica I will whole-heartedly agree with you that the men in this fic can be dumb AF lol, Wally especially. I think he's warming up to Lilian and her ways, but it'll take a while before he isn't so snarky towards her (and her to him, to be fair). Also yeahhhhh.......at the very least, I predict quite the scuffle with Aqua in Steven's future. He isn't the type of guy to mess around, and since he's been through it with this evil team once before already, I'm sure he's having none of this shit lol.

The voyage to Dewford Town is silent and tense, with the low hum of Mr. Briney’s boat having lulled my Pokemon to sleep rather quickly. I sit cross-legged at one end of the deck, caressing Mira’s weary head as she rests in my lap. Sage, Roe, and Ginger lay listless in front of me, bellies rising and falling with every gentle breath. The peaceful looks on their sleeping faces are the antithesis of my troubled expression.

Wally sits at the other end of the deck, silent as he stares out at the glistening expanse of sea. When he raises a hand to run through his wind-blown hair, I can see that his face is marred with the same worry as mine.

“What do we do about this shitshow of a situation?” I ask, breaking the hour-long silence that had settled like a suffocating fog between the two of us.

Without tearing his gaze away from the water, Wally lets out a prolonged sigh. “Not much we can do, other than keep a low profile until Aqua’s taken down.”

I snort, giving Mira a tender pat on the back as she stirs in her sleep. “Me keeping a low profile? I wish.”

“About that,” Wally says, finally glancing in my direction. “I think it would be wise to postpone your Gym challenge.”

“What?” I sputter, feeling my pulse quicken. “For how long?”

Wally shrugs, intertwining his pale, slender fingers and cracking his knuckles. “At least until The Devon Corporation finishes investigating Aqua’s re-emergence.”

“That could take months,” I whine, crossing my arms. “I don’t want to have to wait that long.”

“What’s the sudden rush?” Wally asks, furrowing his brow at me. “You weren’t exactly jumping at the chance to challenge Roxanne.”

“I just have a lot to prove, alright?” I reply, digging my fingers into my arms and shivering slightly as the wind begins to pick up. It rustles the fur on Ginger’s back, which prompts her face to scrunch up and her pointy ears to twitch.

Wally shoots me a puzzled look. “To me? That’ll take way more than a few Gym battles.”

“No you ass,” I hiss, swiping a few strands of rogue hair away from my face with one hand. “To my family.”

“Oh,” Wally says simply. He remains quiet for a moment as he shifts against the worn wooden flooring of the deck. “They’ve been unsupportive since you started, though. Why are you just now getting so heated about it?”

I can’t help but scowl at him. “Has anyone told you that you’re nosy as hell?”

Wally raises his hands in surrender, eyebrows raised and eyes wide. “Hey, I was just making conversation. We don’t even have to talk- in fact, I’d prefer it that way if you’re going to be this cranky.”

“Fine by me,” I mutter, clenching my jaw and fixing my stubborn gaze downward.

To my chagrin, I now find myself seething over this little predicament of ours. I don’t know why, but my conversation with Vivian has me feeling more insecure about becoming a Trainer than I’d like to admit. And now instead of being able to prove her and my mother wrong, I have to wait? Possibly for months?

A few minutes of tense silence pass between Wally and I before I realize I’d prefer to talk about it over quietly fuming. I let out an admittedly dramatic sigh and glance up at him. “My sister called me right after my battle with Roxanne, and let’s just say it didn’t go well.”

Wally looks over at me and tilts his head to one side. “What happened?”

“She just thinks I’m goofing off,” I mumble, biting the inside of my cheek. “She thinks I’m pathetic and that I should stick with what I’m good at.”

“Do you think that?” Wally asks.

The question gives me pause. I glance around at my team of four, still resting peacefully. Tears threaten to spring from my eyes when my gaze settles on Mira.

“I don’t know,” I say to him, trying and failing to keep my voice measured. “We’ve had some great victories so far, but you’ve said it yourself- I’m lacking in a lot of areas as a Trainer.”

“But you’re a beginner,” Wally replies matter of factly. “Everyone makes mistakes at the beginning. I know I did.”

“I can’t picture you screwing up,” I say, wiping a rogue tear that managed to escape. “You’re way too uptight to be anything less than perfect.”

Wally chuckles, shaking his head. “You should’ve seen me with Nikolai. I was a hot mess at the beginning.”

“Lying to make me feel better won’t score you any points with me,” I shoot back, an irritated flush coloring my cheeks. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being pitied.

“Lilian, I swear to Arceus I’m not lying,” Wally laughs, looking amused and embarrassed at the same time. “I was terrible. Brendan literally had to escort me around Hoenn making sure all of my Pokemon survived.”

I narrow my eyes at him. “Really?”

“For at least two or three months,” he responds, rubbing the back of his neck. “Nikolai had zero faith in me until I had a few badges under my belt. Oh and once, I accidentally poisoned Cleo.

“Poisoned?” I ask, unsure if I heard him correctly. “The man who has a conniption every time I even battle with Mira poisoned his Pokemon?”

Wally rolls his eyes but confirms his previous statement with a nod. “She wanted some of the soda I was drinking, and being the dumb ten year old I was, gave her some without thinking twice. She was out of commission for like a week.”

I snort, the biggest smile spreading across my face. “Alright yeah, so you’ve definitely fucked up once or twice. Even I know Pokemon can’t have soda.”

“I’m glad my shortcomings delight you so much,” Wally shoots back, sarcasm dripping from his voice. “But yeah, even I’ve made mistakes. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.”

My smile fades as quickly as it arrived. “That’s only half the problem,” I say quietly. “Even if I thought I was the best damn Trainer in the world, my mother and sister still think I’m pathetic.”

Wally seems to ponder this, looking rather pensive before giving me his signature shrug. “I guess you’ll just have to prove them wrong.”

I stare at him for a moment, envious of how he can genuinely believe changing my family’s mind is even an option. I’ve learned a long time ago that breaking the status quo means losing any and all support or respect from them. There’s no way they’ll ever see this journey of mine as anything more than some sort of sad rebellion.

Still, it would be nice to pretend for a minute. So I offer Wally a tight-lipped smile, and nod like I believe everything will be okay. “Yeah, I guess I’ll just prove them wrong.”


***

We reach Dewford Town just as the sun is beginning to kiss the horizon, bathing the quaint yet lively town in a warm wash of light. Wally scoops up a still-sleeping Roe and Ginger in his arms and hops off the boat, Sage fluttering close behind as she blinks her weary eyes. I hold Mira to my chest with one hand, extending the other to Mr. Briney so he can help me onto the dock. Wally and I say our goodbyes and wave him off, watching him sail away until the boat is just a tiny speck out at sea.

It may nearly be nightfall in Dewford Town, but the atmosphere is anything but sleepy. The air is swirling with laughter and animated conversation, which quickly rouses the rest of my Pokemon from their slumber. Tiki torches line every path in town, illuminating the locals as they sear Magikarp kabobs on smoky grills and dance around crackling campfires. In the center of the town, a group of brawny shirtless men play the bongos, occasionally chanting in unison.

Roe and Ginger jump down from Wally’s arms, scampering over to a group of people dancing to the music. He jogs after them, kicking up sand that tickles my bare ankles. I attempt to set Mira down on the ground, but she groans and buries her face into my chest.

“Someone’s still sleepy,” I chuckle, recalling her into her Pokeball. Sage flits over and nudges Mira’s Pokeball with her nose, which I’m assuming is her way of telling me she also wants to retire for the evening. I recall her as well, tucking both Pokeballs back into my bag when they seem to have settled in.

“These two are real pieces of work,” Wally grumbles as he walks back up to me, holding a squirming Roe under one arm and a pouting Ginger under the other. “Roe knocked a whole tray of kabobs to the ground and they both chowed down like they’ve never been fed before.”

I quirk an eyebrow at both of them. “Don’t test my patience tonight, I’m not in the mood.”

Roe bows her head shamefully and lets out a contritious garble. Ginger, on the other hand, turns her nose up at me. I’ve hardly gotten to know her, but I can already tell she’s going to be the biggest handful of them all.

Without warning, my stomach begins to grumble violently. An amused-looking Wally tilts his head at me. “Maybe Roe and Ginger should’ve saved you a kabob.”

“We haven’t eaten since this morning,” I mutter, glancing around the immediate area as I rub my stomach in a circular motion. “Wonder if we can just walk up to one of the grills and ask for some food.”

As if on cue, a boisterous man wearing nothing but blue floral swim trunks claps me on the shoulder with a huge, tanned hand. “You kids look like you need some nourishment!” he bellows, flashing his pearly whites as he grins at me and Wally. He speaks with a rich accent that definitely isn’t from anywhere in Hoenn. “Come join the festivities, won’t you?”

“Is there some sort of holiday on the island?” Wally inquires, setting Roe and Ginger on the ground. Roe whimpers and shimmies up to me, rubbing her dopey head against my leg as penance for her shenanigans. Ginger seems to roll her beady eyes at the remorseful display.

“Indeed there is!” the man exclaims, making a broad gesture with his muscular arm. He looks to be about Steven’s age, with deep wrinkles around his happy eyes. “We always throw a little party on the first day of the month. Life is too short not to celebrate!”

“Oh yeah, I suppose it’s September now,” I say. It’s a lot easier to tell when the seasons are changing in Kanto. Hoenn essentially just feels like it’s summertime all the time. I definitely missed that while I was away.

“That’s right little lady,” the man replies, extending his hand out to me for a shake. “My name is Honi, by the way.”

I offer my hand to him in return. “Lilian. This is Wally, Roe, and Ginger.”

Honi gives Wally a handshake as well, and leans down to pet Roe and Ginger. Ginger especially eats up the attention, purring and preening like the diva she is.

“So what’s this about some food?” I ask, wanting not to pry but also wanting some grub stat. At the mention of food, Wally’s stomach lets out a long, low grumble that startles Roe.

“Oh yes!” Honi cries out, as if he forgot why he approached us in the first place. He points to a campfire in the center of the celebration, surrounded by several grills that seem like permanent fixtures in the sand. “Follow me this way, we have plenty of Slowpoke tail and Magikarp to go around! Plenty!”

“Thank Arceus, we’re starving,” I reply, motioning for Roe and Ginger to follow behind. In a lower voice, I lean into Wally and say “I’ll have what he’s having. Dude’s like the Energizer Buneary.”

Wally scoffs at me. “Compared to you, maybe. You’re a special breed of crotchety.”

“I’m not crotchety,” I protest, crossing my arms as we weave in and out of the crowd. “I’m...disillusioned.”

“If that’s what you want to call it,” Wally snorts, shaking his head at me.

Honi leads us to the central campfire, gesturing for us to take a seat on one of the many colorful blankets on the ground. I dust some sand off of a blue one and plop myself down, while Wally settles onto an orange one across from me. Roe and Ginger, ever restless, opt to chase each other around the campfire.

“Magikarp or Slowpoke?” Honi asks over the buzz of surrounding conversations, picking up a pair of silver tongs and poking at the food sizzling on the grill.

“Magikarp, please,” Wally pipes up, bowing his head in thanks as Honi places several kabobs on a paper plate and hands them over. I shrug at Honi, not really having much of a preference beyond something hot and edible. He opts to serve me both, passing me a plate of two kabobs and a thick, juicy Slowpoke tail.

I reach into my bag and grab a half-empty box of Pokepellets, but Honi holds up a hand at me. “That won’t be necessary. We have plenty of food for the Pokemon as well.” At that, two Bellossom holding wooden bowls of fruit sidle up to us. They sway to the beat of the music, grass skirts rustling and the flowers on their heads slowly spinning.

I grab a few Oran and Pinap berries from their bowls, snapping my fingers to get Roe and Ginger’s attention for dinnertime. Wally snags a Razz Berry, wrapping it carefully in a piece of cloth and tucking it away in his bag. “I’ll save this for Cleo tomorrow,” he explains.

Honi fills his own plate before sitting down to join us for dinner. “It’s wonderful to be able to break bread with visitors to the island,” he says, smiling broadly at us. “What brings you two to Dewford?”

“Lilian’s a Trainer,” Wally explains, sliding a piece of Magikarp off a kabob and popping it in his mouth. “She’s looking to challenge Brawly.”

“Is that so?” Honi chuckles heartily, cutting into his Slowpoke tail. “You best be ready for a fight then, little lady.”

I pause mid-bite, setting my kabob down on my plate. “Sounds like you think Brawly’s pretty tough?”

Honi nods, a solemn look on his face. “Oh yes,” he replies in a reverent tone. “Brawly’s the best of the best. He’s been invited to be an Elite Four member many times over the years. Only stays here because he loves the island so much.”

'Really?” I ask, furrowing my brow. “He could have a better gig but doesn’t want to leave?”

Honi simply smiles at me. “Would you want to leave all of this behind?”

His question prompts me to glance around at my surroundings. People here seem to be in a perpetual state of bliss. Eating, dancing, singing, playing. The men are strong and full of energy, and all the women possess an enviable radiance. I’m sure the festivities have raised spirits a bit, but it’s more than that. This island atmosphere clearly breeds contentment. It would be a great place to have a life. To have a home, if I ever settle down. To have kids, if someone could ever truly love a mess like me. My ring girl days would be far behind me, and I could enjoy life without insecurity or pain.

At the moment, it seems like a silly fantasy. But maybe one day, I could be like these islanders. Maybe one day, contentment won’t elude me.


Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax


Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose


Sage the Yanma!
Female / Compound Eyes / Quiet / Likes to relax


Ginger the Vulpix!
Female / Drought / Sassy / Capable of taking hits
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
193
whatever your schedule is, please don't die again following it -- a posting schedule that accounts for ups and downs in energy would rule, especially as a more forgiving one makes it easier to build buffer and lessens opportunities for you to beat yourself up about missing deadlines (though that could just be me hardcore projecting)

In this chapter I enjoyed the natural build of the bond between Wally and Lillian. The ferry conversation was fine, but the juiciest part of this, for me, was how Lillian later instinctively sort of leans into Wally to make a joke. Little moments like that are life-giving and I think they're also incredibly important for the genre you're writing in. This sort of stuff wins me over to rooting for them to eventually get together! The ferry conversation also demonstrated that each is trying to be better with/to the other. All good shit.

I thought the ending was a little sudden but on reflection I enjoyed it, it uses story structure to help reinforce what a kind of show-stopper of a concept it is for Lillian. Very glad to see AASB back, and looking forward to more, when you have it!
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!! 31 Minutos FTW!!!
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
487
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
At last, this amazing run is finally back.

This was quite the boat ride; Lilian, Wally, and their interactions are still as enjoyable as ever; and Dewford really sounds like a nice place to live.

Thanks for writingng quite a chapter, and I wish you a great day.
 

Xita

Moo
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
186
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
82
Location
Germany
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Water, Dark
Glad to hear this run is back, was definitely one of my favorite new runs of last year. I love Wally and Lillian’s dynamic, and Mira is as cute as button. I also like the setting as well, a Hoenn set years after the original events of the games is an intriguing concept.

Looking forward to more! (Don’t push yourself too hard though)
 

Elfin Song

Conqueror of the Olivine Gym
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
146
Caught
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
364
Nature
Bold
Pronouns
she/her or he/him
Goooooood, everything about this chapter is adorable af. Like, I love the whole running theme that Lilian just wants peace and respect—the chance to be treated like a person and then, maybe, live like one (when she sees how peaceful it is on Dewford). Actually, in general, I think having a chat with Brawly will be healthy for her, because he's apparently routinely turned down fame and a higher position for a chiller position in life. Given how much stress Lilian is putting herself under (because of how much she hangs her self-respect on others), Brawly might be a good teacher for how to, you know. Not do that.

But of course, I also adore how that conversation with Wally went. Like, he can be a dick, but it's clear he's realized 1) that isn't necessary forreal, and 2) he legit knows nothing about Lilian. As such, watching him try to encourage her just. Is very adorable. And also very human. It's probably too early to hope that he's turning a full corner with his relationship with her, but this is pretty hopeful.

Also! Mentioned this over DMs, but best of luck with the schedule! I know you'll find a balance that'll work for you, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this journey in general goes. ❤
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
272
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
So glad to see this updating again! I loved Wally and Lillian's interactions in this chapter; it's nice to see them start to open up to each other a bit. And the Pokemon continue to be adorable!

Don't worry about the schedule, take your time and do whatever works best for you.
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
174
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #87
Hello everyone! Posting this chapter today because I'll be working tomorrow night when I'd normally post. I'm leaning towards weekly updates (I know I know, I promise I have a buffer and I'm not overextending myself at the moment) but will let y'all know when I decide. Thanks so much again for welcoming back with open arms and for all the support & excitement surrounding As Above, So Below's return! With that, let's get into it!

@Flopdisc yes, I love that Lilian and Wally are becoming less crotchety towards each other! It'll definitely take some time before things between them are fully non-hostile, especially since they're both quite the stubborn people, but I'm looking forward to developing their relationship as friends (and maybe more ;D) The end of the chapter was intentionally a little abrupt precisely because of what you said- the concept of being content is virtually foreign to Lilian. It's something she craves but doesn't know how to obtain yet. We shall see where her journey takes her!

@JavierE64 thank you so much, it's great to be back! I'm so glad you're enjoying my new chapters. Dewford is definitely a paradise- I'd love to live there myself!

@Xita thank you, glad to be back and writing again! One thing I really wanted from this fic was to play with the typical setting and characters. Aging everyone up a decade and a half really allows for me to delve into their lives as adults- with hardships, heartbreaks, secrets, insecurities, etc....that 10 year olds just don't have. I love writing the normally timid, sweet Wally as a major grouch, and Steven and Zinnia as an unsuspecting couple. I have more in store on that front- I can't wait to re-write some classic characters!

@Minty Electronica yessss! Brawly will be an excellent example to Lilian that you can turn fame down (well, MORE fame since he's still decently famous as a gym leader) down and still be happy. Lilian loves the ocean/beach/water, so it's been nice depicting Dewford as a sort of oasis and respite for her. She grows a little bored of it this chapter, but overall it's the place to be.

As I said to Flop above, we've still got a longgggg way to go before Lilian and Wally truly turn that corner instead of taking one step forward towards said corner and then getting the hell out of there lol. They're both equally bullish and won't let their guards down so easy-although I think this little instance of Lilian being vulnerable is a good first step ;P

@cyndakip I'm so glad to be updating again! This run means a lot to me, as does your support! <3 I can't wait to get back to topping the cuteness meter with all of Lilian's Pokes!

It’s been two weeks since we arrived in Dewford Town, and time has come to an utter standstill. With my Gym challenge being postponed until further notice, I am forced to watch time pass by like a distant ship out at sea. It creeps along at a languid pace, its course unalterable by a mere onlooker like me. All I can do is wait.

Most of our days have been spent on the beach, soaking up the fading summer sun. It sounds like a dream come true, but it’s grown awfully boring. Lately I’ve been prone to falling asleep under the shade of my umbrella, snoozing until Sage floats over to have the foam brushed off her wings or Mira cries out for me when the water stings her eyes. Roe and Ginger, on the other hand, seem to have formed a bond stemming from their mutual disdain for water. They remain with me under the umbrella the majority of the time- Ginger perpetually grooming herself and Roe eating every seashell she can find.

Wally’s breezed through half a dozen paperbacks by now, each one eventually ending up with saltwater-kissed covers and sand between the pages. When he’s not reading, he’s running. He goes with a group of locals every morning at dawn, jogging the entire length of the coast and bearing witness to Dewford's famous sunrises. He’s tried pestering me to join a few times, but I can’t be arsed to wake up that early.

Today, I rouse from my regularly scheduled nap to see that Wally’s nowhere to be found. I lower my sunglasses, peering around the general vicinity to look for him. Mira is splashing around in a small pool that Roe dug up for her, squealing with delight as she flings water everywhere. Ginger builds a sandcastle next to me, which Sage completes when she flies over with a shiny pink shell in her mouth. Cleo lies basking in the sun on a plush towel at my feet, occasionally letting out a content sigh.

A few moments later, I can make out a faint green blur in the distance that seems to be moving closer. Sure enough, it’s Wally jogging towards our little group of beach bums. Black headphones plug his ears, the thin wires sticking to his bare chest slicked with sunscreen and sweat. I narrow my eyes at his frame, questioning the presence of toned muscle that his clothes have never seemed to suggest.

“Surprised you aren’t asleep,” Wally quips, removing one earbud and reaching down to grab a small hand towel resting on his chair. He wipes his face with it before tossing it onto the pile of water toys, sunscreen bottles, and other towels on the ground.

I groan, leaning back in my chair and wiggling my toes restlessly. “I’ve taken enough naps these past two weeks to last a lifetime. I’m bored of doing nothing.”

Wally sits down on his chair, dragging our cooler closer to him so he can grab a bottle of water. “We don’t really have a choice,” he reminds me, unscrewing the top of a half-drunk bottle of his from before. He pauses before taking a sip, giving me a confused once-over. “Are you seriously not going to take off that shirt in this heat?”

Crossing my arms over the over-sized white t-shirt I’m wearing, I glare at him through my sunglasses. “This is to protect me from pervs like you ogling me in my bikini.”

With a disbelieving scoff, Wally rolls his eyes. “How long do we have to know each other before you get that I have zero interest in leering at you?” he asks. He considers me for a moment before a small, uncharacteristic smirk registers on his face. “Besides, you’re the one who’s been staring.”

I swear I hear Cleo giggling softly to herself. The accusation prompts me to flip Wally off, a deep scowl setting in. “Oh please, I’ve just been trying to figure out how it’s possible for you to be that pale after two weeks in the sun.”

Wally stares at me for a beat, an odd look flashing across his face as he seems to almost blink away whatever he was going to say next. “Right,” he says instead. “Well, suit yourself about the t-shirt I guess.”

“I will, thank you very much,” I reply stiffly, tugging the white fabric farther down my bare thighs. We sit in deafening silence for several minutes, watching the Pokemon play- the occasional squabble breaking out if one gets splashed by another. Not being able to contain my displeasure, I let out another groan. “I am so damn bored it’s ridiculous.”

“You need to be patient,” Wally says in a voice that would suggest he’s reprimanding an unruly child. “Steven’s getting closer to figuring things out.”

I arch an eyebrow at him, lowering my sunglasses with one hand. “He’s barely made any progress so far,” I counter. “At the pace this investigation’s going, I’ll be eighty years old before I get to challenge Brawly.”

Wally takes a deep breath before reaching for a bottle of sunscreen. “What do you want me to say, Lilian?” he asks, turning the bottle over and thumping it with the palm of his hand. “It’s not safe for you to be broadcasting your location right now. It’s best to just stay around large crowds and lay low.”

“What’s the worst that could happen?” I argue, my voice growing louder. “You wiped the floor with that Grunt when he tried to steal Roe. And I don’t go down without a fight. We can clearly handle these guys!”

Stopping mid-squeeze, Wally sets the sunscreen bottle down next to him and clenches his jaw. He glances around before leaning in closer, elbows propped on his thighs. “Lilian,” he starts quietly, eyeing me in a way that makes me feel stupid. “You don’t know what Team Aqua is capable of. They’re dangerous. We got lucky in the forest, but the truth is, I don’t have the ability to protect us if a group of thugs attack us in a more coordinated effort.” His voice sounds strained- almost disappointed- towards the end of his little speech.

I blink at him, swallowing the lump that's formed in my throat. Wally’s got a maddening knack for cutting through my false bravado. “Are you trying to scare me or something?”

Wally sighs, shaking his head slightly. “Not at all,” he assures me, grabbing the sunscreen again. “I just think it’s important for you to face reality. We need to be safe and have our guards up.” He squirts a few drops of the viscous white liquid into his hands, reapplying on his chest and arms.

“Okay fine, but-” I stop in the middle of my sentence, a faint light bulb going off in my head. Something Wally said caught my attention, causing my gears to spin as I contemplate it.

“What is it?” Wally asks, giving me a strange look. Cleo cracks open one eye, peering at me with the same curiosity.

I push off of my chair into a standing position, shaking my head at the both of them as I wordlessly stuff my belongings into my bag. Swiping my shorts off of the ground, I brush the sand off and hurriedly hop into them. After snatching my flip flops in one hand and a water bottle in the other, I begin striding away from the group.

“Lilian!” Wally shouts, holding his hands up in the air in a questioning manner. “Where the hell are you going?”

“Watch the Pokemon!” I yell back over my shoulder, jabbing a threatening finger at him but not breaking my stride. “I’m putting an end to this hellish limbo.”

***

The Pokemon Center is buzzing with a chaotic sort of energy that makes my skin prickle. Groups of Trainers lounge around on circular couches to exchange travelling stories and battle strategies, occasionally breaking out into simultaneous laughter. Pokemon scurry around on the linoleum floors, shrieking and chattering among themselves as they give chase to their friends. I sidestep a Nurse Joy who rushes past me carrying a tray with needles of an intimidating size, before nearly crashing into another Joy cradling an injured Makuhita in her willowy arms.

I finally manage to make my way to the back of the Center, pushing through the door marked with a blue telephone decal. Dull gray PCs with fingerprint-laden touch screens line every wall, each straddled by two privacy dividers. The room is empty besides one girl cooing at a Skitty on the screen of her PC, muttering cutesy nonsense at it that makes me nauseous. I give her the death stare until she hastily logs off and hurries away, unnerved. With a satisfied smile, I plop myself down on the closest swivel chair and punch in the number of who I’m praying will be able to help me.

It takes a few rings, but eventually the screen comes to life. Zinnia appears, holding up a half-empty martini glass and smiling broadly. “What a sight for sore eyes!” she purrs, cocking her head to one side. “How are you, Lilian?”

“Hi Zinnia,” I reply, suddenly feeling a bit embarrassed about this whole plan of mine. I’m sure she has better and more glamorous things to be doing than talking with me. “I’m doing fine, how about you?”

“Positively splendid!” she exclaims, her eccentric aura palpable despite us being separated by screens. “Steven’s been away investigating Team Aqua, so I’ve been filling my days with redecorating projects! The guest rooms were long overdue for a makeover.”

I muster up an excited expression despite not giving two shits about interior design. “Sounds like a fun time.”

Zinnia pouts at me, seeing through my half-hearted facade. “You seem troubled, Lilian.”

Inhaling deeply, I avert my eyes away from the screen. “Yeah, I’m actually calling to talk to you about something.”

“What’s on your mind, hun?” Zinnia presses, her perfectly plucked brows furrowed.

“Well,” I start, fiddling with a lock of hair that’s gone frizzy from the humidity on the island. “You know that I’m trying to complete the Gym challenge, right?”

“Of course,” she responds, eyes lighting up as she clasps her hands together. “Your precious Trapinch did a marvelous job against Roxanne!”

A faint smile flashes across my face as I remember that battle fondly. “Yes, well now I’m not able to continue challenging Gyms,” I explain, the corners of my mouth now pulling down into a frown. “At least not until Steven is able to shut Aqua down. We just can’t guarantee we’ll be safe if I’m broadcasting my location to everyone in Hoenn by competing.”

Zinnia pulls a face that’s difficult to read. “Oh well sweetie, unfortunately Steven isn’t very close to putting a stop to things,” she explains in an apologetic tone. “You’ll be waiting around for quite awhile before that happens.”

“And therein lies my problem,” I mumble, twisting my strand of hair so tightly around my finger that it turns white. “Lounging around the beach all day is fine and all, but I’d really like to be able to get back to battling.”

“Well I can understand that,” Zinnia says, after taking a small sip from her martini glass. “Idle hands are Giritina’s tools, after all.”

“And I really need to stop being idle,” I reply, a pitiful desperation creeping into my voice. “That’s why I wanted to ask you for a favor.”

Zinnia eyes me curiously, leaning back in her chair and lazily swinging one leg across the other. “Go on,”

“I was wondering if you could uh, maybe hire us a few b-bodyguards?” I say, stumbling over most of my words. “I mean, I can more than afford to pay them, that’s not the issue. But you, uh, offered to send some with us when we first met. So I thought maybe the offer might still stand?”

Confusion colors Zinnia’s comely face. “Wally wasn’t a fan of that idea when I first brought it up, if i’m remembering correctly?”

I sigh, crossing my arms in front of me. “At this point, he’s admitted he can’t protect us all. Maybe against one or two grunts, but not against a group if they target us.”

Zinnia nods her head slowly, leaning off screen to rummage for something. When she reappears, she’s holding a thin black notebook. “Well consider it done,” she states with an authoritative finality, waving a dismissive hand. “I’ll make some phone calls and send a pair of guards to you in Dewford as soon as possible. Don’t worry about the money either.”

I shake my head vigorously back and forth. “Oh thank you but you really don’t have to-”

“I do have one condition,” Zinnia cuts me off, suddenly looking rather serious.

“Uh okay, what is it?” I ask, my heartbeat picking up a bit. I can’t say I’ve ever seen her so solemn.

Zinnia regards me silently for a few moments before clearing her throat. “My condition is that you and Wally utilize the guards as a precautionary measure- not as an excuse to go pick fights with Aqua.”

I crinkle my nose, befuddled. “What do you mean?”

Sighing, Zinnia sets her now-empty glass on the table next to her. “What I’m trying to say is that I don’t want you and Wally suddenly becoming vigilantes now that you have the extra manpower.”

“I wouldn’t do that,” I protest, still feeling quite puzzled. “I don’t think Wally would either.”

“You’d be surprised, Lilian,” Zinnia responds tersely, turning the black notepad over in her manicured hands. “I didn’t make Wally and Brendan’s acquaintance until after I married Steven, but from the stories I’ve heard about Aqua’s first emergence, those two both have a strong sense of justice. Especially when those close to them are being threatened.”

Now that she mentions it, I suppose Wally and Brendan were both pretty unnerved about the whole Aqua situation. “Okay yeah, I see your point,” I concede quietly.

Zinnia gives me a tight-lipped smile, her expression once again unreadable. “I apologize if I’m coming across as hostile,” she starts, glancing down as she begins thumbing through the notebook’s pages. “I just don’t want anyone getting hurt. Losing loved ones is never easy.”.

“You say that like you know the feeling,” I blurt out before I can stop myself.

Pausing, Zinnia remains silent for a moment before her eyes flash up to meet mine. “I’ve experienced enough loss to last a lifetime,” she responds, a sad smile brushing past her lips. “I’d like to avoid any more.”

I nod, feeling as though I should change the subject. “Well anyways, thanks for helping us out with the guards. I appreciate it a lot.”

Zinnia steeples her fingers, leaning her chin on them. “Of course. I'm assuming we have a deal?”

I nod, catching a glimpse of her massive engagement ring as it twinkles. “I’ll pass the message on to Wally.”

“Good,” Zinnia replies, sounding satisfied. I want to offer to pay for the guards again, but she promptly ends the call before I can get in another word. I stare at the smudged black screen for a minute, processing the last few minutes of conversation, before heading back to the beach to tell Wally the good news.


Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax



Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose



Sage the Yanma!
Female / Compound Eyes / Quiet / Likes to relax



Ginger the Vulpix!
Female / Drought / Sassy / Capable of taking hits
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
193
honestly the dance of flirtation and insecurity between these two is excellent, Lillian is being such a kid about it lmfao and I relate in a vital way to her character, that sort of "do anything but show vulnerability" sense we get from her is fun in this story because you balance it so well. Sometiimes we see, for wont of a better word, the "feisty" archetype largely on the offensive for the sake of it. I think you've done in genberal a really wonderful job of showing us why Lillian is how she is. Her solution to call in Zinnia is baked into that too -- it's so horribly, bluntly straightforward, and all of this feels like a reflection of her upbringing and position of relative privelege. I think that's why I like her and Wally so much -- the gap between them is wide and real, and it will takle genuine growth and change on both of their parts to overcome.

Sorry, this was kind of messy, but I liked this chapter and I'm looking forward to more!
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
54
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
Aaaa, it's so good to see you back at it! Good to hear you have a buffer, and hope that you allow yourself grace with that update schedule. While they're a good thing to aim for, putting too much pressure on yourself to adhere to it can lead to burnout real quick ;;

Two pretty chill chapters, but they're in paradise so who am I to complain? :P Especially when we're getting some positively juicy interactions! Seeing Wally reassure Lilian, even briefly, was really nice. Sure, they're still pretty quick to jump on each other for the littlest thing, but I'll take any progress we can get! Agreeing with Flop that the back and forth between flirting/sniping has been fun to see, especially when considering where they started. Loved that Wally called Lilian on ogling him, and honestly? Given the life she left behind, it makes perfect sense she would be adamant about staying covered up. Which, also makes perfect sense why she'd arrange to have bodyguards. 👀 Can't imagine Wally's going to be a fan of this development.

The Pokemon continue to be adorable and charming as ever. 😊 Love that Roe and Ginger have been bonding over their mutual dislike of water. You include so many small but important details to breathe life into Lilian's team, even when they aren't at the forefront of our focus.

So great to have you back, Rhema! Can't wait to see what you've got in store for us next.
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
245
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Thank you for your continued devotion to this story even when you're facing difficulties irl (even if said difficulties are getting better)! I really appreciate getting to read more of this story—just don't push yourself too hard; that wouldn't be good for anyone.

I thought Lilian's desire for a happy, settled life at the end of Chapter 14 was sweet. Of course, that can't come yet…I bet Wally isn't going to be too thrilled with these bodyguards, but then again, these two are far from being done with butting heads—even if Wally's been able to open up a bit in the past couple chapters.
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
174
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #91
Hey everybody! Once again, I'm working tomorrow when I'd normally update so I'm here with this week's Chapter of As Above, So Below! It's been FOREVER since I've written a battle scene in this fic, so I'm hoping it doesn't totally suck. I always love writing gym battles, and today Lilian battles Brawly! You won't want to miss it, I swear ;D Enjoy!

@csidvuL I think something I really, really love about writing both Lilian and Wally is how damn stubborn they both are. It's extremely easy for me to write, because I myself am like real-life versions of them (aka hella stubborn). This of course applies to how they view each other as people. You have them start off as reluctant travel companions who really don't like each other very much, but we're getting to the point in the story where they've been travelling together for a couple of months and they're starting to maybe NOT full on loathe each other. But of course, getting either of them to admit they could be actual friends (or more ooh la la) is going to take a good while.

Also, you're very right about the gap between the kinds of people Lilian and Wally are. They are SO similar in a lot of ways but they lived very different lives up until now and I'm excited to start delving into that.

@Aurea thanks so much for the comment! I'm always glad to see you around the forums and hear from you. Wally and Lilian certainly have an interesting dynamic- they both aren't so quick with the give and take, so we'll see how long it takes them to stop sniping at eachother. But yes, bodyguards are uh, not really something Wally wants or is going to be happy with. As for the Pokemon, I love writing about my little cuties! I hope I'm decent at writing the fearsome/cool/elegant creatures they turn into in the future!

Also PS, there's a little Impulse easter egg in here! See if you can find it :D

@QuietGuardian hey, this comment really meant a lot to me. It's difficult coming back after such a long time, and dealing with the stuff I'm dealing with, so being appreciated for it means a lot. This definitely isn't the last time Lilian is going to crave some stability by a longshot. You'll have to keep reading and see!

Call me crazy, but I have an inkling that I’m not Wally’s favorite person at the moment.

He sits as far away from me as humanly possible at breakfast, occasionally glowering at me from across the room as he takes angry bites out of his muffin. I fight the urge to roll my eyes at the display, second guessing who the older one is out of the two of us. After about thirty minutes of shrugging off his palpable resentment, I drag my belongings across the Pokemon Center cafeteria and plop down next to him. He immediately looks in the opposite direction, fixing his gaze on a colorful info-graphic about what to do if your Pokemon is choking.

“Look,” I start, craning my head in an attempt to grab his attention. “I know you’re mad about the bodyguard thing but-”

“I’m not mad,” Wally corrects me in an argumentative tone, still refusing to look at me. “I just don’t agree with your decision.”

I sigh, fishing an orange out of my bag to peel. “I needed to take matters into my own hands.”

“You could’ve just been a little more patient,” Wally shoots back, pausing for a moment to sip on his juice. “Steven would’ve given us the go-ahead soon enough.”

“No,” I reply, feeling myself getting exasperated. “He wouldn’t have. And we needed to keep moving.”

Wally finally turns to look at me, annoyance reflected in his eyes. “We didn’t need to do anything.”

I swear I feel a vein throbbing in my head. I’ve never met a more stubborn person in my entire life. Arceus is really testing me with this one.

“Anyways,” Wally says, before I have a chance to reply. “What’s done is done and we’re moving forward. So let’s come up with a battle strategy.”

His voice sounds strained but his tone is adamant, so I simply nod my head in agreement. “Fine. What’s the plan?”

Wally leans over and grabs a newspaper from the thick stack in the middle of the table, unfolding it to show me a picture of Brawly’s current team.

“A Machop and a Makuhita,” I announce to no one in particular, rolling the orange between my palms. “Mira should be able to take them both no problem.”

“Even so, it would be wise to prepare all of your Pokemon for the fight,” Wally says, squinting at the photo of Brawly flanked by his two Pokemon.

Wrinkling my brow, I glance at Mira’s Pokeball tucked into the front pocket of my bag. “But Mira can more than handle Fighting types.”

“What if Mira gets hurt?” Wally challenges, folding his hands in an expectant manner on the table. “What if she’s weak to one of their moves? What if she gets scared and refuses to fight? What if-”

“Alright alright!” I shout, holding up a hand to stop him. “Enough with the fourth degree, I get your point okay?”

Wally snickers in response, earning a glare from me. “It’s so easy to rile you up.”

My cheeks flush and I start to stutter, but Wally’s phone begins to buzz before I can protest his ridiculous claim. He pulls it out of his pocket and glances at the screen, a disdainful look flashing across his face. “They’re here, waiting out front,” he informs me with a grimace.

I sling my backpack over my shoulder, popping the last sliver of orange in my mouth before gesturing for Wally to follow me. “Let’s go,” I say, walking backwards towards the cafeteria exit. “And don’t forget to be polite. These guys can probably beat the shit out of you.”

Wally scoffs at me, but ultimately rises from the table with the newspaper in hand. “I’d sure hope so, otherwise this is a waste.”

We weave through the crowd of hungry trainers carrying trays laden with food, careful not to step on the tails of any stray Pokemon scurrying about. The Pokemon have their own little section in the Center where Pokepellets and berries galore await them, but some trainers still sneak theirs into the cafeteria. I consider grabbing the gang so they can meet our new travel companions, but I shudder at the memory of the last time I got in the way of Roe eating. I’m shocked she isn’t fifty pounds heavier given how she chows down.

Sunlight briefly blinds me as we step out of the Center, the salty breeze tickling my skin ever so slightly. Wally scratches his head, turning in a circle as he looks for our guards. I’m sure he’s spotted them when he lets out an overdrawn, dramatic sigh.

I glance in the direction he’s facing and my eyebrows shoot up. Two of the buffest, tannest men I’ve ever seen stride towards us at a leisurely pace from across the beach. They both don tight-fitting black t-shirts that hug the curvature of their bulging muscles, visibly straining to contain it all. One man is bald and clean-shaven, with several large tattoos snaking up both arms. The other sports an impressive goatee, his arms and legs covered in the same dark hair. Both men have sunglasses obscuring their eyes and thin black earpieces hooked on one ear.

Mr. Wakefield, Miss Meridian,” the tattooed man says, tucking his sunglasses into the pocket of his cargo pants before shaking both of our hands.
“Pleasure to meet you both. We’re with the Stone’s security team.”

“Lilian is fine,” I wince, rubbing my hand once the man relinquishes it from his extremely firm grasp. “And you two are?”

“I’m Rafael,” the tattooed man replies, then gestures to the other man with his beefy hand. “This is Maurice. He’s not much of a talker.”

“He can never speak a word to us for all I care, as long as he protects us,” Wally says, crossing his arms and looking between the two men. “I’m assuming Steven and Zinnia have brought you up to date on our little situation?”

“They have,” Rafael responds with a curt nod of his head. “Rest assured you’re in excellent hands with us. Not a single Aqua grunt will lay a finger on either of you.”

Wally narrows his eyes, puffing his chest out. “And what about our Pokemon?”

Maurice smirks and Rafael lets out a chuckle. “We’re glad you asked.”

Both men reach for matching Heavy Balls they have holstered and toss them into the air. A Machamp materializes out of Rafael’s, pounding his chest with two meaty fists while flexing his other set of arms. A Hariyama appears next to him, vocalizing vicious snarls that cause the ground to quake.

“Boys, meet our new assignments,” Rafael says with a wicked grin that deviates from his professional manner up until now, flicking his hand towards Wally and I. “Vance is the Machamp, Ivan the Hariyama.”

I can’t help but giggle at Wally being put in his place. “You both look tough as hell, so I’m sure our Pokemon will be just fine as long as you’re around.”

“They better be,” Wally grumbles, eyes flickering between Rafael and Maurice. “Aqua’s not to be underestimated, so I hope you’re both prepared for the worst.”

“Settle down kid,” Rafael laughs, recalling Vance into his Pokeball. “You know Mr. and Mrs. Stone personally, don’t you? Do you think they’d send some chumps to protect their friends?”

Wally glares at him, jaw visibly tightened. “She’s the kid here,” he responds, jabbing his thumb in my direction. “I reckon the rest of us are about the same age.”

I groan, pinching between the bridge of my nose. “Wally, that’s so not the point.”

“Relax,” Maurice rumbles in a remarkably low voice, speaking for the first time since we met him. “You don’t have to like us, we’re just here for security. You won’t even notice we’re here.”

“Fine,” Wally grunts, steam practically coming out of his ears.

“Fine,” Rafael echos, rubbing the top of his smooth head eyeing Wally with an amused smirk that I’m sure is only pushing even more of his buttons.

“Fine!” I exclaim in a forced, cheery tone as I clap my hands together. “Let’s all go inside and get acquainted!”

***

Brawly isn’t quite what I pictured. From the way Honi talked about him a few weeks ago, I was expecting some sort of awe-inspiring legend of a Gym leader. Instead I’m met with baggy canvas shorts, grungy flip flops and a chaotically messy mop of electric blue hair. He’s handsome, don’t get me wrong, but the man looks like he belongs on the pier fishing up Magikarp rather than heading a League certified Gym.

To my surprise, Brawly moves to center stage and gestures for me to do the same. I amble over, quizzically regarding the man. I think he’s going for a handshake, so I nearly recoil when his hand covertly reaches up towards my chest

“What are you doing?” I snap, shooting daggers at him and fighting the urge to slap him right here and now. It’s not until I speak and don’t hear an echo that I realize he's turned off my mic.

“Apologies,” he responds quietly, a faint blush coloring his cheeks as he extends his hand for the shake I thought he was going for all along. “I realize that probably seemed like something it wasn’t. I just wanted a chance to speak without being heard.”

“Why?” I ask warily, accepting his hand in mine. When I glance down at it, a thin silver wedding band catches my eye. The crowd cheers at the apparent display of camaraderie.

“I followed all the news coverage back when you first quit being an MC,” Brawly explains through a tight-lipped smile, turning to wave at one section of the crowd with his free hand. “It was quite admirable. Just wanted to express that I’m glad you’re doing what you love now.”

“I’m not really sure I’d say being a Trainer is what I love,” I reply, feeling uncomfortable as I follow Brawly’s lead and offer a small wave to the other side of the stadium. “It’s just something I’m trying out.”

“Even so,” Brawly starts, releasing my hand and beginning to back away. “I know what it’s like to reject fame for a simpler life. It’s a good step in the right direction.”

He reaches up to switch his mic back on so I do the same, his words still echoing in my head. Once we both make our ways back to the edges of the battlefield, a ear-to-ear grin spreads fast across his face. “Are you ready to battle, Lilian?”

“More than ready,” I call out, and the crowd goes wild. Brawly hurls his first Pokeball into the air and out comes the Machop I’ve been eagerly anticipating beating. We’ve got this in the bag.

Ginger, let’s go!” I shout, and the crowd cheers as Ginger materializes and begins strutting around the battlefield like she owns the place. If this was an alternate universe and I had been a Coordinator, she would’ve won me a shit ton of ribbons for performance alone.

“Bulk Up!” Brawly exclaims, clearly getting hyped up by the crowd. His Machop punches at the air with veiny fists and his lean yet powerful muscles begin to glow. Just like we practiced, Ginger spews a fiery Ember at Machop while he’s distracted setting up. The attack singes the top layer of skin on his head, causing him to wince in pain and sustain a small burn that’ll be sure to limit his attacking power this match.

“Show these ladies what you’re made of!” Brawly yells, pumping one of his own fists in the air. “Use Karate Chop!”

Machop comes barreling towards Ginger, who nimbly dodges him as he swipes at her. Eventually, though, one of his hands slices right into her back and sends her tumbling into the side of the stadium wall. The crowd lets out a collective gasp and I cringe when I hear Ginger cry out. I can tell that she’s had the wind knocked right out of her.

“Good effort!” I call out, recalling her before Machop can finish her off. I had hoped she’d last a little longer, but her main job was to get that burn off.

“And who will you be using next?” Brawly inquires, shooting me a lopsided smile as he twists his ring around his finger.

“That’ll be Mira,” I respond, lobbing her Pokeball as high as I can. When she appears, she sticks her tongue out at the Machop and does a quirky jig that prompts the audience to burst out laughing. Leave it to Mira to entertain the crowd.

“Confusion!” I yell, hoping to catch Brawly and his Machop off guard with a quick command. Mira flings her arms out to either side and lets out a high-pitched shriek that makes my hands fly to my ears. The scream sends Machop flying backwards before he can react to Brawly’s next command.

“Disarming Voice, nice!” Brawly exclaims, seemingly unfazed over his Pokemon being pummeled by mine. “It’s always exciting when Pokemon learn a new move in battle.”

“That’s great,” I say before shooting Mira an exasperated look. “But what’s more exciting is when my Pokemon listens to me.”

Now I’m the one Mira’s sticking her tongue out at. She grumbles something unintelligible to herself before beginning to execute the Confusion I had initially asked of her.

“Seismic Toss, give it all you got!” Brawly shouts, eyes lighting up with an enthusiastic quality that reminds me of Brendan. The Machop dashes across the battlefield, breaking through Mira’s attack and grabbing her with curled fingers. He spins her around several times before hurling her at Brawly’s feet. She’s for sure down for the count after that, but luckily the attack also seems to have tired Machop out to the point of fainting.

We both recall our exhausted Pokemon and ready ourselves for the next fight. Running a hand through his messy locks, Brawly casts a playful wink in my direction. “You’ve ain't seen nothing yet.”

His Makuhita emerges from its Pokeball with a heavy growl, stomping its fat feet into the dirt. I scan the audience for Wally as I try to decide whether to send out Sage or Roe. I spot him in one of the upper rows on the left side, sitting between Rafael and Maurice. His eyes flicker to me after a moment and I swear I see him smile.

I quickly turn my attention back to Brawly, picking a Pokeball at random and tossing it. Sage materializes from the flash of white light, flitting around me as she obediently awaits further instruction. She doesn’t have any Flying type moves yet, but that doesn’t matter. We’ve got speed on our side.

“Use Quick Attack, Sage!” I call out, pointing at our opponent. Brawly gives the Makuhita some kind of signal and it begins kicking up dirt, creating a hazy cloud around it that causes Sage to narrowly miss her attack. She soars upward at the last second to avoid hitting the wall, her wings buzzing angrily.

I cup my hands up to my mouth to yell to Sage. “Double Team!”

She instantly creates a dozen copies of herself, all darting through the air at lightning speed. The Makuhita cries out with rage, punching at the copies with balled fists. I don’t realize the Makuhita is using Bulk Up until I see its hands and feet emitting a red light that pulsates faster and faster with every passing second.

“Quick Attack again!” I yell. Sage’s remaining copies disappear and she dive-bombs the Makuhita, cracking the ground underneath it with the force of the impact.

“Arm Thrust!” Brawly exclaims, and it is then that I realize I’m in trouble. I’m not able to tell Sage to get away quickly enough. The Makuhita slams its stocky arms into Sage’s body, clobbering her frail body over and over. She barely manages to get away, buzzing something fierce but unable to lift herself off the ground. I notice one of her wings are torn and my heart drops.

This battle is going to end badly for us if I don’t get her airborne. “Double Team again!” I call out, aggressively biting the inside of my cheek. “It’ll confuse ‘em!”

Yanma lets out a feeble moan but obliges, and the Makuhita begins tottering up to each of the copies, flinging its legs wildly at them until they disappear. My eyes dart over to Wally again, whose attention is captured by the huge monitor hanging over Brawly’s side of the field. It shows the half dozen copies of Sage left, each with twitching wings and pained looks on their faces.

An odd feeling beings to simmer in the pit of my stomach but I shake it off. This needs to end before Sage really gets hurt. My hand flies to Roe’s Pokeball, but before I can switch Sage out for her, the Makuhita suddenly collapses mid-kick in the center of the battlefield.

The audience gasps in unison, most of them rising from their seats for a closer look at what’s happened. My hand freezes on Roe’s Pokeball and I widen my eyes at Brawly, unsure of how to react. To my surprise, he begins to laugh heartily and shakes his head.

“Well I’ll be,” he chuckles, striding over to the Makuhita and giving it a tender pat on the back. “This little guy got himself so worked up that he passed out. An unconventional victory for you, but a victory nonetheless.”

At that, the crowd erupts into thunderous applause. Celebratory music begins blaring out of the speakers and confetti cannons shoot colorful paper into the air. The remaining copies of Sage disappear, letting me recall her as quickly as I can. Brawly scoops his Makuhita up in his arms and walks the remaining distance to shake my hand and present me with my badge. I suppose I should be happy, but Brawly’s words from before are on replay in my head. Am I doing what I love? How should I know? I don’t know shit about love. And with the way my life has gone so far, I probably never will.


Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax


Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose


Sage the Yanma!
Female / Compound Eyes / Quiet / Likes to relax


Ginger the Vulpix!
Female / Drought / Sassy / Capable of taking hits
 
Last edited:

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
272
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
The bodyguards are quite interesting! I hope Wally’s able to warm up to them. but he's still not doing a great job of warming up to Lilian so I doubt it

I loved getting to see so many of the Pokemon having a chance to shine in the gym battle! I feel bad for Sage, though. And the Makuhita collapsing like that seems almost too good to be true, I wonder what's up with that…

Oof, that ending line 😭
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
174
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #93
Hello hello! Apologies again for this chapter being late- Thursday is my upload day but for the past few weeks I've been working Thursday nights. I put in my two weeks at that particular job though so from now on, you can expect a fresh new chapter of As Above, So Below every Thursday!

This chapter is one of a series (basically this one and the following two) that I have been DREAMING about writing for months now. This little triad of chapters will do wonders for Wally's character development- it's basically his origin story, so to speak. I'm thrilled to shed some light on exactly who my version of Wally is, and how that affects his association/relationship with Lilian. With that, let's get into it!

@cyndakip Wally def agrees with you about the Brawly win seeming a little too good to be true- you'll see him challenge her on that in this chapter! As for the bodyguards- tbh, it's def a little annoying having to juggle two more characters (I mostly just plan on sticking them off to the side until it's their time to shine) but I'm excited about what their presence means for the coming chapters!
“So did you, like, bribe Brawly the other day?”

I stop dead in my tracks, whirling around to face a perturbed-looking Wally tapping his foot expectantly against the dingy gray brick of the port. His gaze pierces me in a way that makes me feel like a dirty criminal- like he’s caught me red-handed doing something unsavory or illegal. Rafael and Maurice keep an eye on us from a considerable distance, and I briefly consider calling them over to pummel this asshole for me.

“Excuse me?” I finally reply, feeling a dormant rage slowly bubbling to the surface. My skin pricks with hot anger and I rip off my cardigan, stuffing it in my bag. “What the hell kind of question is that?”

Wally averts his eyes away from me and tugs at the collar of his shirt, almost as if he’s lost his nerve. “Makuhita just fainting like that seemed too good to be true,” he starts, chewing on the inside of his cheek. “And meeting up at center field with Brawly like that was….weird.”

“Do you seriously think I’d pay a Gym Leader to throw a match?” I snap, closing the distance between him and I with clenched fists. The blare of a foghorn sounds a short distance away, warning incoming boats that Slateport City’s craggy coastline is fast approaching.

“Well you aren’t exactly denying it,” Wally mumbles, eyes flickering back to me.

I stomp one foot and lower my voice to a fervent whisper. “No, Wally,” I hiss, digging my nails into my palms. “I didn’t bribe Brawly and I didn’t flirt with him either if that’s what you’re thinking.”

Wally’s pupils dilate like a Stantler in the headlights. “I didn’t say I thought that-”

“The tabloids sure do seem to think that’s what happened,” I cut him off, gritting my teeth. “I’ve already been branded a homewrecker by half a dozen trashy magazines.”

“That’s just stupid,” Wally says quickly, crossing his arms tightly against his jacket and shaking his head.

I glare at him and raise an angry eyebrow. “And the idea of me bribing an Arceusdamn Gym Leader isn’t?

“The whole exchange between you two was just bizarre,” Wally argues, staring me down with that infuriating look again. “There really isn’t a logical explanation for turning your mics off.”

“There is if you fucking ask me for it,” I spit, turning away from him. “Way to assume the worst.”

I expect Wally to keep debating me on the matter, but instead I’m suddenly and roughly grabbed from behind. I shriek and jab my elbow backwards, hearing a loud groan and someone crumpling in a heap on the ground a split second later. When I spin around to face my assailant, I’m faced with a moaning Brendan that’s been tackled and pinned down in an uncomfortable-looking position by Rafael and Maurice. Wally stands off to the side, snickering at the sight of it all.

“What the hell, Brendan?” I shout, hiding my face in my hands as I peer at the gathering crowd through my fingers. “You know we have bodyguards now!”

“I didn’t think about it!” Brendan yells, muffled by Maurice squishing his face into the dirty brick. “I was just trying to sneak up on you!”

Wally snorts and shake his head. “You’re a moron, dude.”

“At least we got to see the boys in action,” I mumble, relieved to see the crowd losing interest now that it’s clear I’m not getting jumped.

“Friend of yours, then?” Rafael asks, inclining his head in Brendan’s direction. Maurice stares Brendan down, cracking his knuckles and then his neck.

Wally nods and extends a hand to help Brendan up. “A dumb friend, but a friend nonetheless.”

“You should be thanking him,” I say, scowling at Wally as Rafael and Maurice stalk off. “I was this close to backhanding you during that argument.”

Brendan wiggles his eyebrows, dusting the dirt off his black athletic pants. “Trouble in paradise?”

“Can we just forget it?” Wally snaps, the tips of his ears turning red. “It was stupid for me to even bring it up in the first place.”

“Damn right it was,” I concede with a broad smirk, clapping Brendan on the back. “Brendan here saved you from an ass-kicking of epic proportions.”

Brendan matches my smirk with one of his own and offers Wally a reverent bow. “I live to serve.”

Wally rolls his eyes but ultimately cracks a smile along with us. “What are you doing in Slateport, anyways?”

“Mostly field research,” Brendan begins in a trailing voice, sheepishly tucking his hands into the pockets of his red zip-up jacket. “But to be honest, I have an ulterior motive for being here.”

My breath hitches when Brendan takes a tentative step towards me and gazes at me with what I can only assume are his bedroom eyes. I’m paralyzed by a mixture of discomfort and secondhand embarrassment as he slowly moves his hands to either side of me, the fabric of his fingerless gloves scratchy against my bare arms. Turning me slightly to the left, he points at a stall in the distance and lowers his voice to a seductive whisper. “The best ice cream in all of Hoenn awaits us.”

“Brendan!” I shout, giving him a thump on the arm with the back of my hand. Wally busts out laughing, doubled over as he tries to compose himself. With a playful shove in the direction of the ice cream stall, I begrudgingly urge Brendan to lead the way.


***

“Why is ice cream so amazing?” Brendan sighs, ogling what’s left of his drippy Razz Berry cone like he wants to take it to prom. A runny drop of it splatters on the ground and is promptly fought over by a group of eager Taillow with sharp beaks and empty stomachs.

I tilt my cone to the side as the three of us stroll through downtown Slateport, licking some of the melted Pinap ice cream off the rim. “It’s pretty cool they make flavors safe for Pokemon.”

Wally nods in agreement, holding out his cup of Pecha-Chocolate Chip so Mira can take a bite. She leans forward excitedly in my arms, lapping up a good portion of ice cream with her tiny tongue. Cleo reaches up and wipes Mira’s face with her blue bloom, getting rid of a chunk of melted chocolate that didn’t quite make it into her mouth. I have to say, the dynamic between the two of them is pretty damn cute.

“Are you both staying in town for long?” Brendan asks, tossing his finished cone into a nearby trash can. “I’ve got some field research to do on Route 110, but that shouldn’t take more than a day or two.”

I shrug, taking a nibble out of my waffle cone. “Probably just for the night since there’s not a Gym here.”

“Agreed,” Wally says, using a tiny pink spoon to fish out a melted chunk of ice cream from his cup before throwing it away. “If we leave here first thing tomorrow morning, we should be able to make it to Mauville by-”

Wally comes to an abrupt halt, his sneakers screeching against the pavement. His face twists into a disapproving grimace as he adopts a thousand-yard stare. When I follow his gaze, what I see surprises me.

A lithe brunette comes strutting towards our trio with a haughty smirk plastered across her heart-shaped face. She donns skin-tight bicycle shorts and an equally revealing red tank top, paired with glistening white tennis shoes that look like they’ve never been worn. A crisp bandana sweeps shoulder length hair out of her steely blue eyes, which are currently swirling with a notable mischief that gives me pause.

“May Maple?” I ask no one in particular, tilting my head to one side.

“How do you know May?” Brendan asks with an inquisitive glance, boasting a similar scowl to Wally.

“She’s like, one of the most famous Contest starts in Hoenn,” I mutter, eyeing her with curiosity as she approaches us. “How do you two know May?”

Before either of them can answer, May bounds up to Brendan and envelops him in a giant Teddiursa hug. “It’s been too long, neighbor,” she purrs, tightening her slender arms around his waist. An obnoxious perfume wafts off of her, at which I scrunch up my nose in displeasure.

Brendan visibly tenses, eyes darting to Wally. “There’s a reason for that, May.”

“Oh, him?” May pouts, pulling away from Brendan to look at Wally. “As always, you’re gonna let some silly breakup ruin a decades-old friendship?”

I choke on air, a hand flying to my throat. “You and Wally dated?”

May casts a lazy glance in my direction, sizing me up with a manicured hand to her chin. “Sweetie, don’t get too jealous. He isn’t much of a catch.”

“Excuse me?” I say with a disbelieving laugh, too stunned to fully process the implications of what she’s saying.

“What the hell do you want, May?” Wally finally says, jaw clenched tight as he regards her with palpable disdain. Mira whines in my arms at the evident tension between us all.

A smug grin spreads fast across her face as she eyes me up and down. “I just had to see it for myself,” she responds, biting her bottom lip coyly. “You shacking up with this psychotic disgrace, I mean. It’s all the Contest world can talk about these days!”

“What the fuck did you just call me?” I growl, throwing what’s left of my cone to the ground and lunging forward at her. Brendan is quick to lock his arms between mine, pulling me backwards. Out of the corner of my eye I see Rafael and Maurice jump up from their table a few yards away, ready to spring into action. I shake my head at them- letting them haul her away wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as setting this bitch straight myself.

May lets out a grating chuckle, jutting her bottom lip out at me. “Wow, you really are just as violent as they say you are.”

“May, did you seriously just come over here to harass us?” Wally laments, looking more uncomfortable than I’ve ever seen him. He stands almost completely motionless, as if the sight her renders him immobilized. Cleo mutters something in a reassuring tone under her breath, tenderly placing one of her blooms on Wally’s arm.

Brendan unhands me and crosses his arms, brows furrowed at May. “Seriously, what’s your problem?”

“I don’t have a problem,” May blinks, false sincerity dripping from her voice. “Like I said, just wanted to see this little trainwreck myself. Wally’s never amounted to much of anything, but I expected a tiny bit more from him than this.”

“Are you unhinged?” I ask hotly, cupping Mira’s head closer to my chest with my free hand. “Who the hell talks about someone like that?”

May merely offers me a tight-lipped smile. “I’m not saying anything that isn’t true, sweetie.”

Brendan sighs, shaking his head at her. “You’re out of line, Maple. Just walk away.”

“It’s not my fault he’s pushing thirty and galavanting around Hoenn with some teenybopper,” May replies in a tone I can tell has been perfected to push Wally’s buttons. “The man couldn’t battle a way out of a paper bag, either.”

“Let’s do it then,” Wally says loudly and without warning, locking eyes with May for the first time since she’s graced us with her presence.

“What was that, hun?” May asks, confusion muddling her pretty, punchable face. Brendan and I exchange worried glances before looking back at Wally.

“Let’s have a battle, just you and me,” Wally announces with an unabashed confidence that surprises and impresses me. “I guarantee I’ll make you eat those words.”

Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax



Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose



Sage the Yanma!
Female / Compound Eyes / Quiet / Likes to relax



Ginger the Vulpix!
Female / Drought / Sassy / Capable of taking hits
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
272
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
Brendan! I didn't realize how much I missed him until he was back. That was a fun scene, haha.

And oh my god, May exists in this story? And used to date Wally? And is a complete jerk? Totally did not see that coming. This sure was a roller coaster of a chapter! I'm super excited to see how all this is going to turn out 👀
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!! 31 Minutos FTW!!!
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
487
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
Wow, May is the worst; Wally doesn't deserve this treatment.

I'm very curious to read how he and Lillian deal with someone as obnoxious as her.
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
193
May’s kinda right on all counts, is maybe my favourite part of this chapter. I think that makes conflicts like this all the more fun! Obviously, tossing around terms like psychotic is a rude exaggeration, but I really liked the way this was juxtaposed with the earlier portion of the chapter, where Lillian with varying degrees of seriousness used or pondered the use of violence to solve problems. I like choices like that, and in general I am really looking forward to the next few chapters!
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
174
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #97
Hey there peeps! I am VERY VERY VERY (honestly cannot put enough verys here) excited for this chapter. I really feel like a lot of what I've daydreamed about AASB is really starting to come together, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what y'all think as we start delving into the real juicy plot points. As always, thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy :)

@cyndakip honestly, I myself don't even realize how much I miss Brendan until he's back! he's an excellent antithesis to Lilian and Wally's constant stubborn, bickering dynamic. I'm thrilled that he's going to be a central character in these next few chapters, to aid in both Wally and Lilian's character development. As for May, yup! She is Wally's very hated ex-girlfriend, and while she likely won't make a ton of appearances in this fic, she was an instrumental force in Wally's life and a lot of the reason why he is the way he is, especially towards Lilian!

@JavierE64 May is for sure the worst- keep on reading if you wanna see just how terrible she was/is! Lilian won't put up with her attitude for very long, I can tell you that much.

@csidvuL oh for sure- May certainly isn't saying it kindly, but pretty much everything she's said has been accurate. Lilian has her little violent streak, and Wally- well, I wouldn't call him a loser, but he's definitely a little "Girl Interrupted" at this point in his life. It'll be interesting to see what kind of impact May's return has on both Wally and Lilian.

Word of May Maple being challenged to an impromptu battle spreads quickly, resulting in a mass of giddy fans swarming the front of Slateport’s Contest Hall in no time flat. A makeshift battlefield is drawn on the brick in chalk by a scrawny, fidgety man that appears to be May’s personal assistant. She waves him away with a bored hand and he scurries off with his head lowered meekly, nearly tripping on his untied shoelaces.

Wally stands on the other side of the field with Cleo, taking a knee so he can talk strategy with her at eye level. He glances over at May every few seconds, the wary look on his face unmistakable even from where Brendan and I stand.

“Lilian?” a confused, familiar voice calls out above the animated chatter of the crowd.

Brendan and I both turn at the mention of my name, and my breath hitches. “Lisia?”

My former best friend, donning flared blue jeans and a simple white crop top- a departure from her ostentatious Contest attire- offers me a tight-lipped smile as she approaches. “I never thought I’d see you within a hundred yards of a Contest Hall again.”

“That’s not an inaccurate assumption,” I grumble back to her, scuffing my shoe into the pavement. “But our friend’s got something to prove to his ex, here.” It feels odd calling Wally a friend- the term feels clunky and oddly embarrassing as it rolls off my tongue.

Even so, Lisia doesn’t seem to notice. “Your friend dated May Maple?” she asks, quirking an eyebrow at the star Coordinator standing opposite Wally. “Bet that didn’t turn out too well for him.”

“It didn’t,” Brendan interrupts, a faint blush creeping across his cheeks as he sticks a stiff hand out to Lisia. “Professor Brendan Birch. You can just call me Brendan, of course.”

Lisia beams at him and accepts the shake, her turquoise ponytail bouncing atop her head. “It’s a pleasure, Professor. I’m Lisia Sinclair.

“Oh I know,” Brendan begins to ramble, raking a jittery hand through his hair. “You’re a legend in the Contest World. You’re even more of a star than May!”

“I don’t know about that,” Lisia laughs, fiddling with a beaded bracelet around her wrist. She was always humble. At least, almost always.

“W-what are you doing in Slateport?” I ask, before I lose my nerve.

Lisia gestures at a tall building in the distance with a bright blue roof and sleek metal exterior. “Photoshoot at the Oceanic Museum,” she replies, fishing a navy Pokeball with rough netting around the top half out of her backpack to show us. “I’ve been training a Walrein and my publicist thought it would be good to get some pictures together.”

“Cool,” Brendan says simply, his face turning more red by the minute. I can’t help but roll my eyes at how enamored he is, but I suppose it’s kind of sweet.

“Anyways, I better get going,” Lisia pipes up, shifting uncomfortably as a group of teenage girls to our left begin pointing at her and whipping out their phones to take photos. “But Lilian, maybe we could meet up while we’re both still in town? We haven’t talked since….you know.”

Her face reads cautious yet optimistic, and I feel a pang of guilt remembering our fight several months before my public spectacle- me accusing her of being vapid and complicit, her screaming back that I’m ungrateful for everything I have. It wasn’t pretty.

“Sure,” I finally reply, unable to disguise the hesitancy in my voice. “I’ll call you.”

Lisia leaves us with a wordless smile, quickly disappearing into the crowd. My heart skips a hopeful beat when I notice she’s got the Altaria pin I gifted here as a birthday present last year clipped onto her backpack.

“You two had a falling out?” Brendan asks, gazing in the direction she went with painfully obvious infatuation.

“I was an asshole, she was an asshole back,” I mutter with a shake of my head, resentment and regret at odds with each other in the pit of my stomach. “I’ll tell you more later.”

A hush suddenly falls over the boisterous crowd as Wally and May assume their positions on opposite ends of the field. Cleo stands graceful and proud, her chin tilted upward and one petite foot crossed elegantly in front of the other. May expertly spins a glistening pink Pokeball on the tip of her finger, the blur of a heart-shaped decal occasionally flashing into view as it twirls around and around. She palms the Pokeball and tosses it sky-high, catching it with ease once her notorious Blaziken, Apollo, emerges onto the field. He’s easily three times Cleo’s height, with razor sharp claws and glowering yellow eyes that famously strike fear into the hearts of men and Pokemon alike.

“Wally’s at a major disadvantage here,” I whisper to Brendan, scowling at May as she blows kisses to the crowd. Fake bitch.

“Type disadvantages don’t necessarily decide all battles,” Brendan replies in a professor-like manner, reaching behind him to adjust his bandana. “Wally can win this if he’s smart about it.”

We stand at a comfortable distance to avoid the aftermath of attacks, and without microphones, Wally and May’s commands are impossible to hear over the roar of the crowd. Apollo moves first, darting across the field at lightning speed to deliver rapid-fire uppercuts to Cleo’s jaw. She takes a few hits before dropping to the floor, feigning a knockout before nimbly sliding between Apollo’s legs. She sweeps him off his feet with a pointed foot before tumbling out of the way.

Knocked to the ground, Apollo grunts and takes to the air, leaping to incredible heights and nearly disappearing into the wispy clouds rolling languidly across the sky. Wally shouts something unintelligible, prompting Cleo to spin on her feet like a top, surrounding herself with a dizzying layer of shimmering leaves. Apollo plummets back down, his beak glowing with a sweltering tenacity. He dive bombs Cleo and just barely penetrates her leafy shield, sending her tumbling towards Wally and himself skittering across the field from the recoil.

Apollo might have gotten a good hit in, but that’s not slowing Cleo down. She firmly claps her blooms together in front of her, sending a massive blob of radioactive purple sludge barreling towards Apollo. He attempts to dodge but the attack clips his left shoulder, immediately melting the surrounding feathers and allowing the poison to seep into his body. He winces and drops to one knee, a bead of sweat trickling down his angular face.

May stomps her foot and points aggressively at Cleo, who’s conjuring up a Petal Blizzard of epic proportions. Just as she launches the floral attack, Apollo jumps to his feet and punches at the air with fiery fists, singing most of the petals to a pathetic crisp. A few strays slice into his arms and stomach, one lodging itself into the raw, bubbling skin of his shoulder. Apollo cries out in agony, unable to contain himself.

At this point, my jaw has all but dropped to the floor. My attention utterly captivated, I watch with wide eyes as the two Pokemon spar for what seems like hours. Despite Cleo’s type disadvantage and less than intimidating build, her and Apollo seem- dare I say- evenly matched?

Wally breaks me out of my trance when he shouts the only command I’ve heard clearly this entire match: “Solar Beam”

Luckily for him, the sun shines steadfastly through the thin canopy of clouds this afternoon. Cleo’s attack is unleashed in an instant, the thick beam of blinding light blasting across the battlefield. At the same moment, Apollo tucks his knees close to his chest and catapults himself, scorching the earth beneath him as he barrels towards Cleo, engulfed in a blazing inferno.

The two attacks collide, resulting in a colossal explosion that shakes the ground and knocks several onlookers off their feet. Brendan grabs my upper arm with a firm hand, preventing me from following suit. A sulfuric cloud of ash and smoke chokes my lungs and makes my eyes water, concealing the aftermath of the collision from the crowd.

When the dust finally settles, both Pokemon are revealed to still be standing- barely. Apollo grinds his pointy teeth, squinting at Cleo with one eye as his whole body trembles. Cleo is shaking like a leaf, her gaze stubbornly fixed on the charred brick beneath her. With a heaving sigh, she blinks her curly eyelashes one last time before falling gently to the ground- ever graceful, even in defeat.

The crowd roars to life, having previously been stunned into silence by the explosion. I let out an involuntary gasp, covering my mouth as my eyes dart between Wally and May. As expected, May looks positively thrilled. She adopts a smug, gloating expression within seconds, addressing those cheering her victory with a gag-inducing pageant wave. Wally puts on a stoic demeanor as he trudges to the center of the field to recall Cleo, but I don’t have to be a genius to infer that he’s devastated.

The police quickly escort most of the crowd away, calling out instructions to vacate the premises immediately over blaring megaphones. Arcanine wearing mesh vests nudge nosy reporters away with wet noses, ensuring that May and Wally aren’t bombarded with questions. I realize instantly that the Contest Committee must’ve caught wind of the battle and ordered police to run interference afterwards- couldn’t have one of their star Coordinators harassed by the media if she had lost, after all. Typical.

Brendan and I approach Wally with extreme caution as he collects Cleo’s Pokeball and drops it into his bag with a resounding thud, a brief fondness for his fallen companion flickering across his face. Before we can get a comforting word or two in, May practically floats over to us, a haughty smirk taunting the three of us as she moves closer.

“What was that about making me eat my words, Wally?” she asks, in a tone that masquerades as innocent.

Wally takes a long breath and addresses May with steely eyes. “You win, I lose. Are we done here?”

“I suppose we are,” she says, a smug elation evident in her voice. “I just can’t help but want to offer up a few battling tips first, since you obviously need them.”

“Just go away, alright?” Brendan snaps, his typical cheery demeanor fading as we bear witness to May’s stinking, rotten bullshit.

“You know,” May starts, ignoring Brendan and shooting Wally a devilish grin. “It’s no wonder why Nikolai doesn’t travel with you anymore. He’s probably embarrassed of you.”

Before my brain can catch up with my hand, I step forward and deliver a hard slap to May’s right cheek. She stumbles backwards, hands flying to the stinging red imprint I left on her face. Brendan lets out a short, disbelieving guffaw before clamping his mouth shut, and Wally whips his head around to gawk at me.

“I, uh….” I stutter, blinking at the fuming Coordinator in front of me. “I…”

“A little slap-happy, are we?” May hisses. She straightens up and eyes me with an icy cold glare of superiority in an attempt to save face, but I can tell my outburst has put her right in her place. A few silent seconds pass between the four of us, and she eventually stalks away with a huff. In the distance, I spot Rafael and Maurice slowly backing off and holstering their Pokeballs once it’s apparent May won’t be a threat.

My eyes, drawn to Wally like a Mothim to a flame, flicker to him for some indication of what he’s thinking. To my dismay, his expression is utterly unreadable. Is he surprised? Embarrassed? Angry?

His gaze settles on me for a brief moment before he turns away and strides off in a random direction, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his jacket. He leaves both of us without a single word- Brendan rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly, and me, finding myself desperate to know where Wally’s head is at.


Mira the Ralts!
Female / Synchronize / Quirky / Likes to relax


Roe the Trapinch!
Female / Hyper Cutter / Jolly / Hates to lose


Sage the Yanma!
Female / Compound Eyes / Quiet / Likes to relax


Ginger the Vulpix!
Female / Drought / Sassy / Capable of taking hits
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
272
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
Ooh, more unexpected characters appear! Lisia seems nice enough, and I hope she and Lilian are able to be friends again. (Also, Brendan's crush on her is very cute!)

But wow, that battle! That was really fun to read, especially that dramatic anime-style moment of two attacks colliding in a big explosion as everyone waits anxiously for the smoke to clear! Even though Wally lost, it's pretty impressive that it was so close considering the type disadvantage.

Lilian, you can't solve all your problems with slapping, even if they deserve it! That’s probably just going to create more problems! I'm interested to see what Wally thinks...

I really enjoyed this chapter! I can see why you were so excited for it, and I'm excited to see what happens next!
 

boomdidiyadah

Hand Washer
Pokédex No.
1609
Caught
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
84
Location
Inside, outside, U.S.A.
Nature
Lonely
Pokédex Entry
Quietly sings to itself quite constantly, and is said to always have a song inside its head. Despite this, it has a terrible singing voice.
Lilian: has a problem

Lilian:


Good chapter! I like the way your battle scenes flow so smoothly and yet still convey the tension and chaos.
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
193
the slapping meme is really good and basically everything I wanted to say, except to note that it was fun to see a battle between expert — in relative terms — trainers from this distance. Usually as a reader, we’re much more up close to the action. I like do how well you sold us on the spectacle of pokemon battling in this chapter, atop all the other juicy stuff going on. Excellent work — very excited for more!

eta: this chapter, much like Lillian, slaps
 
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