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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 Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
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
  • #121
Hello everyone and welcome to another update of As Above, So Below! I'm going a little stir crazy at home so I've really been writing up a storm. Hope you all enjoy, and thanks for reading!

@boomdidiyadah lol, I liked your comment for ya! it was a very sad chapter indeed haha.

@Duke_Maniac thank you! I'm also glad that Lilian and Wally are finally starting to warm up to each other!

@Xita thanks Xita! I really wanted to convey that Lilian's other Pokemon were grieving alongside Lilian, Brendan, and Wally. It's a sad thing for Pokemon and humans alike!

@cyndakip omg your comment made my entire day, not gonna lie. I know how time consuming those juicy comments are, so I'm always super touched when someone leaves one! I was incredibly worried about the dream sequence not landing well- it was my first time writing one of those! so it means a ton to me to hear someone tell me that it was effective! in regards to Lilian's team and their personalities, that's probably the best compliment you can give me. It's a special challenge to try and convey personality traits when Pokemon can't speak. Thanks so much again for the kind words!

Crooner’s Cafe is a cozy little eatery nestled in a lesser-known corner of Mauville, away from the popular tourist traps and chain restaurants that litter the city. Snazzy jazz music floats through the air, with the mellow hum of a saxophone providing the melody. Waiters dressed in simple black attire deliver plates of charcuterie and other antipasti to patrons seated at circular bistro tables. On the far side of the restaurant, Brendan and Wally sit at a large table covered in wrapped gifts of various shapes and sizes.

“You guys,” I groan as I slide past a waiter carrying bread baskets. “My birthday was nearly two weeks ago. This is dumb.”

“What’s dumb is not telling your besties that you turned twenty-three!” Brendan exclaims, wagging a faux disappointed finger at me. “We must shower you with gifts and delicious food!”

I roll my eyes and lean forward to check the time on Wally’s watch. “It’s nearly two. We’ll need to be quick so I don’t miss my battle.”

“We’ll get you there with plenty of time to spare,” Wally assures me. He distributes the stack of menus a waiter hands him when she passes by.

“She gave us five menus,” I say to no one in particular, quirking a brow upon noticing two extra place settings at the table. “Who else did you guys invite?”

As if on cue, the door chimes behind me. I swivel around to see Steven and Zinnia approaching our table with a bouquet of lilies and a small gift box in tow. Steven is dressed in a tailored button-down and crisp slacks, while Zinnia dons a midnight blue sheath dress accessorized with a thin leather belt. Her engagement ring glistens when soft beams of light from the chandelier hanging overhead hit it.

Wally grins and rises to greet our surprise visitors. “Glad you two could make it.”

“And impeccably dressed to boot,” I observe with a laugh as I glance down at my tired old sundress and sweater. “Way to make me feel like a slob.”

Zinnia waves my comment away with a freshly manicured hand. “Nonsense! You look adorable as always.”

“You look just fine,” Steven assures me as he pulls a chair out for Zinnia. “But we aren’t here to compare outfits; this is a birthday celebration!”

“Indeed,” Wally confirms with a broad smile. “Once you let the Delcatty out of the bag, I couldn’t help but throw you a proper party.”

My face begins to flush from all the attention, and I sink into the empty chair between Brendan and Zinnia. “You really shouldn’t have. And you shouldn’t have made Steven and Zinnia come all the way from Rustboro just for this.

“Darling, we aren’t just here for your party!” Zinnia exclaims, letting out an airy laugh as she skims the wine list. “We’re here to watch your Gym Battle!”

“Excuse m-me?” I stammer, wide-eyed and sufficiently mortified. “There won’t be much to watch-- I’m subpar at best.”

Steven shakes his head at me over his sleek black menu. “You’re too modest. We’ve watched both of your Gym Battles on television, and you were excellent. Besides, we also have a third reason for being here.”

“Oh?” Brendan asks, his face twisted in confusion.

“I didn’t want to mention it over the phone,” Steven begins, dropping his voice to a low murmur as he scans the room for eavesdroppers. “But there’s been a major break in the Aqua case.”

Wally’s face lights up like a Delibird Tree. “Are you serious?”

“Took long enough,” I chime in, reclining in my chair with crossed arms. “Does this mean we don’t need the bodyguards anymore?”

“Let’s save this discussion for a more private venue,” Zinnia responds quickly as she begins loading my lap with presents. “Open your gifts while we wait to order!”

Brendan pounds the table with his fists and chants for me to oblige, giving our water glasses a precarious shake. Wally chuckles and gestures in agreement, so I begin unwrapping the bounty of gifts in front of me. Among them is a bejeweled can of mace from Rafael and Maurice, a stuffed Ralts sent by Lisia along with her regrets over having to miss the party, and a delicate pair of sapphire stud earrings from Steven and Zinnia. Brendan proudly hands me a misshapen lump of brown kraft paper with what looks like an entire roll of tape wrapped around it. It turns out to be concealing an army green fanny pack equipped with six slots for Pokeballs.

Once all the presents on the table are opened, Wally hands me a small box with a thin red ribbon tied around it. “This one’s from me,“ he says, guiding my hands around the box before he lets go. “Careful taking it out. It’s fragile.”

My curiosity thoroughly piqued, I let the ribbon fall to the floor and raise a puzzled brow when I open the lid. A snowglobe the size of my fist rests inside the box, surrounded by a nest of tissue paper. It’s only when I remove the globe from the box that I understand.

A picturesque beach scene is contained within the globe’s glass walls. Crystalline sand lines the floor and is kissed by a sliver of painted water. A sculpted palm tree spans the length of the globe, providing shade for the two beach chairs that rest under it. When I give the globe a shake, a dreamy deluge of glitter rains down on the entire scene.

“I know you love the beach,” Wally explains in a hurried manner, running a hand through his hair. “Thought it might be nice to carry a piece of it with you while we travel.”

I don’t dare tell Wally that this is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I don’t dare tell him that my own damn mother opts for money stuffed in envelopes in lieu of actual presents. I don’t dare tell him that this year, she didn’t even bother. She didn’t even give me a call.

Instead, I place the globe back in its box and tell him it’s great—because admitting I love it requires far more courage and far less baggage than I possess.

***

I cannot and will not accept that this is the leader of Mauville Gym.

A scrawny boy with highlighter-yellow hair strides out of the tunnel to the tune of thunderous applause. He devours the attention, egging the crowd on with raised arms and a gigantic smirk plastered across his youthful face. The jumbo-tron captures the flirtatious wink he offers to a group of fangirls, which sends them into a pathetic fit of giggles.

“You can’t be more than fifteen,” I remark into my mic with a grimace. “I’m assuming you’re not Saul Wattson?”

The boy lets out a haughty laugh as he folds his arms across his preppy polo. “The name’s Oliver,” he corrects me in a snotty tone. “My grandpa’s old news, lady. Passed the torch to me the day I turned sixteen.”

“Last week, then?” I inquire, earning a few chuckles from the crowd.

Oliver scowls at me in silence, opting to send out his first Pokemon rather than answering my question. A Magnemite emerges from its Pokeball bathed in a shower of sparks, and the crowd hoots and whistles when its metal arms begin to whir round and round. I scoff and select Ginger’s Pokeball from my fanny pack. This should be a walk in the park.

“Ember!” I shout, and Ginger takes off across the field. Her hind legs launch into the air as she fires off the attack, nearly obliterating the Magnemite in the process. My jaw hits the floor when I realize it somehow managed to hang on after the super-effective assault.

Oliver points at Ginger, his expression oozing smugness. “Volt Switch!”

The Magnemite whizzes through the air and spews static out of every orifice of its body. It slams into Ginger before she can evade it, returning to its Pokeball as Ginger crashes to the ground and begins to spasm. The smarmy asshole paralyzed her and wasn’t even ballsy enough to leave his Magnemite on the field to face the consequences.

His next Pokemon is a Voltorb that can’t seem to sit still. It rolls around the field without being prompted, bouncing off the stadium walls like a pinball. My stomach tightens as I’m reminded of Brendan’s Wailmer and its massive, rotund body.

“Use Ember again,” I say through gritted teeth as I eye the Voltorb with vigilance. No way in hell am I letting another one of my Pokemon get flattened. Ginger manages to pull off the attack despite her paralysis, but it only grazes the Voltorb.

A shit-eating grin spreads fast across Oliver’s face as he regards me. “Volt Switch!”

Ginger cries out in a mixture of pain and confusion as yet another one of Oliver’s Pokemon smashes into her and immediately returns to its Pokeball. My hands fly to my hips and I struggle to remain civil. “Are you going to grow a pair and actually leave a Pokemon out on the field long enough for a proper fight?”

Oliver rolls his eyes at me and releases the same Magnemite from before. “Don’t say I never gave you anything.”

Ginger easily finishes the Magnemite off, but her paralysis cuts her speed in half and makes it likely that future attacks won’t even land. I recall her and send out Roe in her place, watching in amusement as Oliver’s smirk vanishes.

“Not so tough now that I’ve got a ground type on the field, huh?” I taunt, taking great pleasure in watching him squirm.

“That won’t stop us from schooling you,” Oliver mutters into his mic as he sends out his Voltorb once again. It takes off at lightning speed and ricochets off the closest wall in order to launch itself at Roe.

I recognize the attack as Rollout and stomp my foot against the ground. “Oh hell no. Stop that with Bulldoze, Roe!”

Roe obliges with enthusiasm, mimicking me by stomping her feet into the earth. The ground trembles and cracks, splitting wide open to trap the Voltorb in mid-rotation. Roe sends shock waves through the floor as she continues her chaotic tantrum, rendering the Voltorb unconscious in an instant.

The crowd applauds us and I can’t help but smile. Oliver scowls at me as he fiddles with the collar of his polo. “Lucky break. Let’s see how you handle my ace!” He hurls a blue Pokeball streaked with yellow high into the sky, releasing a Magneton that buzzes so loudly I can’t hear myself think.

Roe snarls at it, her confidence unwavering. Emboldened by her display of bravery, I decide now’s as good a time as ever to try out one of her new moves. “Roe, use Dig!”

“Not so fast!” Oliver shouts, looking rather gleeful. “Use Supersonic!”

The Magneton emits a deafening screech akin to nails on a chalkboard, and it manages to stop Roe dead in her tracks. She pauses mid-burrow and begins scrambling around in the shallow hole she’s dug, confused and disoriented. A fervent murmur sweeps over the crowd as they watch her struggle to get her bearings.

“Magnet Bomb while she’s confused!” Oliver commands with a priggish smile. The Magneton launches a swirling mass of steely electrons that crashes into Roe and traps her against the ground. She gasps for air as she struggles under the weight of the bomb.

“You need to use Bulldoze right now!” I screech at the top of my lungs, struggling to breathe as Roe’s whole existence flashes before my eyes. Luckily, my outburst seems to shock her into action. I don’t take another breath until she manages to wiggle out from under the bomb and K.O. the Magneton with a violent Bulldoze that devastates the entire battlefield.

Oliver angrily rips his mic off and throws it onto the ground as the crowd goes wild over my victory. I fall to my knees and throw my arms wide, beckoning for Roe to approach. She bounds over to me, and I envelop her in a suffocating hug and squeeze my eyes shut to prevent the tears from falling. I won’t let another one of my Pokemon die. Not again.


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

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

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

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
563
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.
It´s great to see Lillian enjoy a wonderful birthday party, with people that truly care about her.
And the Gym battle makes this already amazing chapter even better.
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
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
  • #123
Hi everyone! Unfortunately, I will have to push my update to tomorrow instead of this evening. We are at our new house waiting for WiFi to be set up, so naturally I am unable to hop on the computer and properly compose the post. I will see you all tomorrow with a fresh new update!
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
269
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
A delayed update is a bummer, but that reminds me that I forgot to comment on the latest chapter!

Lillian's birthday party was really sweet. I laughed out loud at the bejeweled can of mace from Rafael and Maurice, and I got a sense of meaning from the other gifts: Lisia is following through on their rekindled friendship by putting in the effort for a personalized gift, Steven and Zinnia give something to Lillian signifying worth and beauty, Brendan is inelegant but honest and practical, and Wally shows his sensitive side with something that's really impactful. (I have now started waiting for Lillian to open up about just how impactful, though. Yes, I know it will take a long time/never happen, but dammit, sometimes you've just gotta hope.)

Hm, Oliver's not the most professional of Gym Leaders, is he?
 

Duke_Maniac

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Pokédex No.
367
Caught
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
78
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Pokémon Type
Grass, Psychic
Basically the first Paragraph of what QuietGaurdian said

I liked the birthday Party it was really sweet

And nobody died. That’s Good
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
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
  • #126
Hello friends and welcome to another (slightly late) update of As Above, So Below! This chapter contains a scene I've been absolutely dying to write: a one-on-one conversation between Lilian and Steven! I'm hoping it pays off, because I really enjoyed writing it. Hope you all like it!

@JavierE64 thank you! I actually dread writing Gym battles so I'm glad I did this one justice haha. And yes, I loved writing about Lilian's party!

@QuietGuardian glad you thought the mace was funny haha. I really wanted to have the gifts represent the giver, so it's great that came across! I promise Lilian will EVENTUALLY open up- it's coming sooner than you might think! I ship her and Wally harder than anyone. Thanks for the read!

@Duke_Maniac thank you! yes, no deaths is always something to celebrate

Steven deems our rooms too cramped and the lobby too public for discussing the Aqua situation, so we commandeer the PC lab in the back of the Center. Rafael and Maurice stand guard outside the door along with their Pokemon to discourage others from disrupting our meeting. As we wait for Wally to come back with coffees, Steven thumbs through a small black notebook while muttering talking points to himself. Zinnia files her nails with expert precision, looking utterly bored of all the waiting around.

“Hey, are you doing okay?” Brendan asks. He leans across the table to nudge me with his elbow.

I look up from my magazine, shrug, and crease the page I’m on before closing it. “Oh yeah. I’m used to seeing myself in the tabloids by now.”

“That’s not what I was asking about,” Brendan says, a guilty look spreading fast across his face. “I meant … you really freaked out when Roe was in trouble during your Gym Battle. I know losing Sage hasn’t been easy and—”

“Brendan, I’m totally fine,” I assure him in the breeziest tone I can muster. “You don’t have to keep checking up on me.”

His chest heaves as he fixes his eyes on the worn linoleum floors. “It’s the least I can do after killing her.”

Zinnia pauses mid-file and glances up from her nails with a raised brow. “What’s all this talk about killing?”

Before either Brendan or I can respond, Wally stumbles through the door with a massive tray of coffees precariously balanced between his arms. He mutters incoherent curses under his breath and not-so-gently sets the tray onto the table, causing coffee to slosh out of the cups. Rafael and Maurice’s laughter at Wally’s agitation is faintly audible from the hallway

“Trouble at Staryubucks?” Zinnia pouts at Wally as she tucks her nail file away.

“It was a complete disaster,” Wally huffs, sulking into the chair next to me. “They were short-staffed, and I had to ask them to remake two of the drinks.”

Steven offers him a sympathetic smile from across the table while grabbing his dark roast from the tray. “Well, we appreciate you fetching the refreshments. I suppose we’re ready to begin?”

“Absolutely,” Wally sighs. “Your good news is sure to overshadow my coffee debacle.”

“Don’t get too excited,” Zinnia warns as she reaches for her cortado. “It’s not earth-shattering news or anything.”

Brendan dips a finger in the tower of whipped cream that tops his frappuccino as he narrows his eyes at Steven. “Don’t tell us you were bluffing, Stone.”

“Certainly not!” Steven laughs, simultaneously passing Wally his cold brew and me my vanilla latte. “My wife is a bit of a pessimist, that’s all. She won’t be satisfied with our mission’s progress until every last member of Team Aqua is behind bars.”

A lopsided grin spreads fast across Zinnia’s face as she kicks Steven playfully under the table. “All I meant is that we’re far from putting a stop to Aqua, even with this new information at our disposal.”

“And what exactly would this new information be?” I inquire, removing the lid of my cup to blow on the surface of my drink. “You’ve got us at the edge of our seats here.”

“Of course,” Steven replies. “Apologies for getting off topic. Zinnia, would you like to do the honors?”

Zinnia opts to toy with us for a moment. She takes a lengthy, slow sip out of her cup before lowering it back down. Her lips, slick with a ruby red gloss, leave a perfect imprint on the cup’s rim. A devilish glint lights up her eyes as she glances around the table. “My extremely tenacious and resourceful husband has managed to locate Aqua’s hideout.”

Wally slams his hand on his thigh, a look of pure joy overtaking his whole face. “How the hell is that not earth-shattering news?! You can infiltrate! You can take those bastards down!”

“Arceus, calm down, Wally,” I mutter, smirking into my drink. Seeing him get all riled up is admittedly amusing.

Brendan turns to Steven and flutters his lashes. “Pretty please let us help with the takedown?”

“You boys are getting way too ahead of yourselves,” Steven chuckles, rubbing the back of his neck. “You both know it isn’t that simple.”

“What do you mean?” I ask, my brow furrowed. “Can’t you just, like, call a SWAT team and have them arrested?”

Zinnia snorts at the suggestion and shoots me an apologetic look. “Pardon me, but your naivety is rather charming. We can’t have a bunch of officers just waltz in there.”

Steven places a warning hand on Zinna’s arm before addressing me. “Zinnia’s delivery might not be the most tactful, but unfortunately she’s right.”

“Yeah, I suppose she is,” Wally remarks with a disappointed sigh. “Aqua is one of the most dangerous and highly-organized crime syndicates in the world. We have no way of knowing what’s waiting at that base or if that’s even the only one they have.”

“Precisely,” Steven says with a curt nod. “It’s certainly a big step in the right direction to know about this hideout, but without further research, we can’t risk an attempted takedown of any kind.”

I’m unable to hold back my scowl as I stare Steven down. “So what’s the point of this meeting, then? Sounds like a conversation that could’ve just been had over the phone.”

“We’re informing the three of you in person because we don’t want to risk other channels of communication being corrupted,” Steven explains in a low voice, an air of sudden sobriety palpable in the room.

“Wait, what’s that supposed to mean?” Brendan asks, eyeing Steven with concern.

Zinnia’s chest heaves as she and Steven exchange a worried look. “We suspect a mole has wormed their way into Devon Corp,” she remarks quietly.

“You think someone’s a double agent?” I inquire, glancing around the table. Wally’s jaw is clenched tight, and Brendan’s as white as a sheet. “Do you have any idea who?”

“Not a clue,” Zinnia responds as she massages the bridge of her nose with two fingers. “The whole situation is beyond disturbing. We’ve worked with this group for years. The thought of one of them being an Aqua grunt in disguise makes my stomach churn.”

Steven nods in agreement, tightening his grip around Zinnia’s hand. “We just don’t know who we can trust. We’re a bit panicked, to be quite frank.”

I don’t quite understand why, but the reality of how fucked up this situation has the potential to be doesn’t hit me until I catch a glimpse of Roe’s Pokeball in my bag on the floor. When I remember what that son of a bitch did to me and to her, it dawns on me. That man was evil to his very core. If someone like him managed to insert themself into Devon Corp, this whole takedown mission is screwed. Hoenn is screwed.

***

The night is clear and colder than I’d prefer. I shudder and pull my robe closer to my chest as a gust of wind passes through the courtyard. With a weary sigh, I brush stray strands of hair out of my face and glance up at the sky. To my surprise, I can see a smattering of stars. What an oddity in a crowded city like Mauville.

“Couldn’t sleep either?” a voice calls out from behind me.

Startled by the sudden break in silence, I whirl around and see Steven leaning up against the side of the Center. An unlit cigarette dangles between his fingers, and he regards me with a knowing smile.

“Yeah,” I respond, moving to close the gap between us. “Probably too much coffee earlier.”

“Perhaps caffeinated beverages at seven p.m. were a poor idea,” Steven admits with a chuckle. He digs a lighter out of the pocket of his silk pajama bottoms and ignites his cigarette. The dim ember glow is the only blip of color for miles—another oddity for such a crowded, busy city. It’s as if we’re the only two people awake in Mauville.

I nod my head at his cigarette. “Quite the nasty habit for such a classy guy.”

In true Steven Stone fashion, he gracefully dodges the implications of my comment. “I am quite fortunate to have never developed an addiction. I seldom have a cigarette—only when I am under duress.”

“Well, in that case, I don’t blame you,” I huff, crossing my arms as I press my back against the wall. “Your news about Aqua was bittersweet at best.”

“We certainly aren’t thrilled about the possibility of a mole having wormed their way into this operation,” Steven sighs after taking a drag of his cigarette. “It complicates things. And we don’t have the time for things to be complicated.”

“Life’s funny like that,” I remark with bitterness. “Screws you over just when you think you’re starting to figure everything out.”

Steven glances over at me and places a tender hand on my forearm. “I don’t think Zinnia or I ever got to express our condolences over your loss. We are truly sorry for what happened to Sage.”

“Thanks,” I mumble, my voice stiff. “I can’t believe she’s gone.”

“Losing a Pokemon is always a devastating loss,” Steven laments. “I remember my first death like it was yesterday. All of them sting, of course, but the first one hits especially hard.”

I rub my eyes with vigor, desperate to stop the tears from coming. “I know it’s dumb, but it felt like the whole world was collapsing when she died.”

“That’s not dumb at all,” Steven replies in a gentle manner. “In fact, it actually reminds me of something my father used to say.”

At the mention of his father, a dull pain aches in my chest, as I am reminded that I barely got to know my own before he died. “What did he used to say?”

“My father fancied himself quite the amateur philosopher when he was alive,” Steven begins with a faint grin. “Always had some sort of proverb or aphorism at the ready for any given situation. One of his favorites was a catchy little saying he felt applied to most situations.”

A gentle breeze floats through the courtyard and rustles the leaves of nearby trees. I swallow my increasing grief and ask again. “What did he used to say?”

“As above, so below,” Steven says, tilting his head to gaze at the stars. “As within, so without. As the universe, so the soul.”

“What’s all that supposed to mean?” I ask. I bite the inside of my cheek as I contemplate the phrase.

Without looking away from the sky, Steven’s grin grows wider. “It means that everything is connected. The big, the small. The heavens and the earth. It means that what you went through with Sage is certainly enough to turn your entire world upside down. It’s all connected.”

“It’s a little hippie dippy for my taste,” I admit sheepishly, scratching behind my ear. “But I suppose I can see his point.”

Steven blows a hazy thread of smoke from his lips before he looks away from the stars to meet my gaze. “I thought it was silly when he first mentioned it to me too. But I can tell you that once you really start to pay attention to what goes on in your life, you’ll see that the concept almost always applies.”

Normally I’d be reluctant to put much stock into such mumbo jumbo, but something about Steven as a person makes it impossible not to trust him. He has this air of incorruptible good about him that comes across as impossible to taint. I can see why Wally admires him so much; maybe if I had a mentor like him, I’d have turned out differently.

“Sweetheart?” a feminine voice coos from behind us. “It’s late. Are you coming to bed?”

Zinnia stands under the doorway of the Center, holding the automatic door open with her outstretched arms. She is dressed in a slinky black nightgown with lace around the bust and a floral silk robe that grazes the floor. A delicate yawn escapes from her mouth as she glances between Steven and me. She seems less bothered by her husband being alone with another woman in the middle of the night than she does with having her beauty rest interrupted by his absence.

“Of course,” Steven replies with a compliant gesture. “It was a pleasure chatting with you, Lilian. I hope you sleep well.”

As I watch the pair retreat into the Center, arm-in-arm and obnoxiously in love, I can’t help but wonder if all of this would be easier if I had that kind of love in my life. The kind that comes to find you at one o’clock in the morning. The kind that keeps you sane and steady. The kind that endures through trials and pain and devastating loss. The kind that prevails over all else.

It doesn’t take long for me to realize that I do have that kind of love in my life. That love is Mira. That love is Roe and Ginger. That love was—no, it still is—Sage. She may be gone from this world, but she’ll never be too far. I keep her in my heart, and that’s where she’ll forever remain.


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

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

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

Duke_Maniac

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Pokédex No.
367
Caught
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
78
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Pokémon Type
Grass, Psychic
Okay know this update is sentimental and all but also FINNALY confirms that Lillan and Wally are gonna end up together. Thanks for the slip of the tongue . And back on topic that was a good talk from Steven. I am really interested in finding out who the mole is, knowing this comic it’s either Lillians mother or May.
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
563
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.
“As above, so below,”
Roll Credits

But seriously, The Double agent stuff must´ve been painful to Zinnia. I wish the best for both her and Steven.

On the bright side, We have a Ship Tease for Lillian and Wally.
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
177
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
This is such a charming run with a lovely cast, and from the moment I opened that Chapter 1 spoiler, I couldn't stop reading! Your run bewitched me, and so I'm excited to let you know you've been featured!
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
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
  • #130
Hello all you lovely people! I'm back with another update of As Above, So Below! Not gonna lie, this week was HELLA crazy for me. We're still unpacking/moving and trying to fully transition from our apartment to our new house, so I've been really pressed for time and therefore wasn't able to give the usual amount of attention to writing. However, I found some time here and there and finished the chapter (which spoiler alert, is a pretty eventful one haha)! Now I just need to build up my backlog again... 😬

Also......I am PUMPED to announce that As Above, So Below had a feature written about it! The awesome @glancesherlock wrote some really nice stuff about this fic. Check it out under the Resource tab on the forums, if you'd like!

@Duke_Maniac hehe yup, at this point I can't deny that I ship the hell out of Lilian and Wally <3 even though it's not really a surprise anymore, I'm looking forward to writing their slow burn and eventually (BIG eventually) have them end up together. As far as the mole goes, good guesses! Of course, I won't reveal who it is until the time is right ;)

@JavierE64 lol right? I love a good title drop haha. but yeah, the double agent thing has gotta be super stressful for them!

@glancesherlock omg thank you again for the feature! I'm so glad you've enjoyed AASB so far and hope you keep reading!

There’s nothing I hate more in this world than reporters.

They have this way of twisting your words to fit their narrative that just infuriates me. Even worse, they seem oblivious to the error of their ways. At least paparazzi own the fact that they’re scum. Reporters, on the other hand, will spin webs of lies and deception with innocent smiles and chipper voices without batting an eye.

I am reminded of my seething hatred of them when Wally and I are stopped by one on the way out of Mauville. I recognize her as Gabby Sanchez instantly. Not only is she one of the most ruthless, two-faced reporters in all of Hoenn, but she happens to be in the process of filming a one-hour television special about my fall from grace.

“Lilian Meridian!” she calls out as she appears from behind the Route 111 sign a few yards ahead of us. “Any comment on your recent departure from the Contest industry?”

“Fuck,” I mutter under my breath, earning a squeaky admonishment from Mira. I reach for my sunglasses and begin to speed-walk past Gabby and her cameraman.

“Wally Wakefield, is it?” Gabby presses, matching our pace and shoving her massive microphone into his face. “Any comment on the rumors that you and Ms. Meridian are romantically involved?”

Wally turns bright red and lowers his head. I swat Gabby’s microphone away and glower at her over my shoulder. “No comment.

“Well if neither of you are going to answer our questions,” she calls out in a sing-song voice. “Will you at least battle us?”

I stop dead in my tracks and slowly turn to face Gabby. “Excuse me?”

“Think of it as a way to prove yourself to all the haters who think you aren’t cut out to be a Trainer,” she replies with a broad smile.

Wally rolls his eyes at the remark and tugs on my arm as he starts to walk away. “That’s stupid as hell. Let’s go.”

Normally, I wouldn’t give the challenge a second thought. I was in showbusiness long enough to know that humoring reporters seldom ends well. But Gabby Sanchez isn’t just any reporter. She’s actively trying to tarnish my reputation. And to be honest, I’m dying to stick it to her.

“Fine,” I say to Gabby, pulling my arm free from Wally’s grasp. “But Wally won’t be participating. He’d decimate you two and it’s only fair you have a fighting chance.”

Gabby flashes me a devious grin and releases a Whismur that opens its mouth and lets out an ear-splitting wail. Mira winces at the noise and squirms out of my arms so she can assume a battle stance. A whirring Magnemite appears from behind the cameraman, blinking a lackadaisical eye as it beeps and hums.

Not wanting to risk her disobeying me, I decide against sending out Ginger. I’m hoping Roe’s more compliant personality combined with her familiarity battling Magnemite will serve me well during this battle. She emerges from her Pokeball a bundle of energy, ready to fight.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Wally mutters to me as he eyes Gabby warily. “What if you lose?”

The comment stings more than I’d like to admit. “Gee, I didn’t realize I was going to have to prove two people wrong by winning.”

“I didn’t mean to-” Wally starts, but I shoo him away before he can attempt to apologize. I need to focus on beating Gabby, not on listening to Wally stick his foot in his mouth.

“Ready to begin, Miss Meridian?” Gabby calls out from across the way in a saccharine voice that makes me want to strangle the fake-sweetness right out of her.

I nod and point at the Magnemite. “Roe, use Dig!”

Roe burrows her way under the ground, sending the Magnemite into a nervous tizzy. I quirk an eyebrow as the cameraman makes no attempt to direct it to dodge Roe’s attack, instead instructing it to fire off a feeble Thundershock in retaliation. The faint bolt of electricity fails to penetrate the ground, and Roe is able to knock out the Magnemite in one hit.

“Dammit Ty, now’s not the time for your incompetence,” Gabby snaps, letting her innocent facade slip. Rolling his eyes, Ty stalks off the field and retrieves his camera to film the rest of our battle.

“You can forfeit any time you want,” I inform her with a broad smile.

Gabby glares at me before matching my smile with one of her own. “Not a chance.”

“Suit yourself,” I reply, shrugging at her. “Mira, Disarming Voice!”

Upon hearing my command for Mira, Wally jumps to his feet and makes a cutting motion across his neck. I squint at him in confusion as Mira lets out a heart-wrenching scream that’s sure to inflict massive damage. It’s only when the Whismur brushes off the attack like it’s nothing and counters with a gutteral screech that I realize my mistake.

“I see you’re unaware that Whismur are typically immune to sound-based moves,” Gabby remarks, utter delight creeping into her voice. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.”

My shoulders slump when it occurs to me that my little oversight will make me look incompetant as fuck when Gabby puts the battle footage in her television special. A dreadful feeling of defeat begins to wash over me, but something surprising happens before it drowns me completely.

Without a single command or instruction from me, an enraged Mira lunges across the field faster than I knew she was capable of. In an instant, her body becomes bathed in a white light that shimmers with a captivating tenacity. My mouth drops as I watch her limbs elongate before my very eyes. My little Mira isn’t so little anymore. She’s lithe. She’s graceful. She’s a Kirlia.

My amazement quickly transforms into amusement upon watching Mira utterly destroy Gabby’s Whismur. She executes a series of twirls and spins that seem to have confused the Whismur to the point of not being able to move. Once she’s done with her dance, she thrusts her razor-thin arms into the Whismur’s soft flesh and sends it flying through the air. It lands unconscious at Gabby’s feet, twitching slightly before going limp.

Wally rushes off the sidelines and drops to his knees once he reaches Mira. He fights back tears as he examines her new form with a big, goofy grin. Mira regards him with wide eyes, murmuring something to him in a voice deeper and softer than she possessed as a Ralts.

I let out a laugh filled with pure, unadulterated joy before smirking at Gabby. “How’s that for your documentary, you smug bitch?”

*****

“How much longer?” I whine, wiping a bead of sweat off my forehead with a tired hand.

“Arceus, are you going to complain the entire time?” Wally asks as he squints at the comically-large map he’s holding in front of him. Fiery Path is a cramped, boiling hot series of tunnels that are impossible to navigate without directions. When I last checked the time, we’d been in here for over three hours. To be frank, I’m fucking over it.

“Why the hell is it taking so long if you’ve been here before?” I inquire with a huff while helping Ginger over a large boulder blocking our path. Unlike me and Wally, she’s positively thriving in this heat. I figured she’d be just about the only Pokemon between the two of us that would enjoy being out of her Pokeball for this.

Wally turns to face me and scowls. “I was here over fifteen years ago, Lilian. Excuse me for not remembering the place like the back of my hand.”

“You’re excused,” I chirp, folding my arms across my chest.

Rolling his eyes but fighting back a small smile, Wally extends his hand to me and helps me over the boulder before climbing over it himself. Rafael and Maurice lag several yards behind, not seeing the need to pay much attention to us considering we’re the only four people walking Fiery Path right now. We continue on wordlessly for a few minutes, the only noise filling our ears being the sound of steam shooting out of cracks in the walls.

But not for long.

I pause when I hear the faintest whimper echo through the tunnel. “Did you hear that?”

“Yeah,” Wally remarks with a frown, folding his map into a small square and tucking it into his pocket. “It sounded like a Pokemon.”

“A Pokemon in pain,” I add as I take a few tentative steps forward to peek around the bend.

When I do, I am knocked flat on my ass by a burly man rushing past me with a Pokemon slung over his shoulder. I hit my shoulder on a rock jutting out of the wall as I fall; not hard enough to seriously hurt, but enough to piss me off. I’m this close to telling the guy off when I notice it.

The striped shirt. Blue stripes. No, not blue. Aqua.

I freeze, gripping my arm where the rock punctured it but not daring to move an inch. Ginger trots over to me, whimpering as she cowers behind my legs. To my surprise and slight mortification, Wally grabs a fistful of the Aqua grunt’s shirt and throws him against the tunnel wall. The Pokemon- a Sneasel that looks like it’s seen much better days- rolls out of the grunt’s arms and stops just a few inches away from me.

The grunt pushes himself off the wall and gets right up in Wally’s face. “Someone thinks he’s a tough guy, huh?”

“I know exactly who you work for, and there’s no way in hell that I’m letting you steal that Sneasel,” Wally growls, not backing down.

“Steal?” the grunt laughs, stroking his stubble thoughtfully. “Is it stealing if the owner is dead?”

My eyes widen and Wally takes a small step back without taking his eyes off of the grunt. “You son of a bitch, what did you do?”

Before the grunt can respond, Rafael and Maurice come running around the corner along with Ivan close behind. Upon spotting our reinforcements, the grunt clenches his jaw and begins slowly backing away. All it takes is Ivan stomping a fat foot into the ground for the grunt to take off the way he came from, nearly stepping on the Sneasel as he dashes out of sight.

“Are you seriously just gonna let him go?” Wally shouts at Rafael and Maurice with outstretched hands and a furious look in his eyes.

“What the hell do you want from us, kid?” Rafael asks as he shakes his head back and forth. “We’re bodyguards, not hitmen. Our sole assignment is to protect you two.”

Wally and Rafael continue to bicker, while Maurice helps me off the ground. My sweater is ripped and a small amount of blood trickles out of the gash on my shoulder, but I’ll survive. Unfortunately, I can’t confidently say the same about the Sneasel passed out at my feet.

“You guys,” I interject weakly, gesturing at the Sneasel. “She looks bad.”

Ginger approaches the Sneasel with caution, sniffing her limp body. She lets out a sharp yelp and darts back over to me, casting a concerned glance over her shoulder. Wally’s expression shifts from one of anger to one of horror when he looks at the Sneasel. “She’s an Ice-Type in a sweltering tunnel. I don’t know if we can save her at this point.”

My stomach drops at Wally’s admission, and I search my mind for a solution. There’s no way we’re getting out of this tunnel fast enough to cool her down. My hands begin to tremble at the idea of another Pokemon dying right in front of me.

“You could try to capture her,” Maurice suggests with a casual shrug.

I feel dumb not immediately thinking of it, but now’s not the time for self-pity. I drop to the floor and dig through my bag for an empty Pokeball. The Sneasel is easily caught, and it makes me feel sick. There’s no way I would’ve been able to capture her if her former Trainer was still alive. What did that grunt do? What kind of monsters are we dealing with?

“We should get out of here as fast as possible,” Wally remarks as he hoists a whining Ginger into his arms. “Being in the Pokeball will keep her from getting any worse, but there could be permanent damage done if she’s not treated quickly.”

I nod and gather my belongings from off the ground. Before putting the Pokeball away, I hug it close to my chest. “You’re going to be just fine. We’ll make sure of it.”


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

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

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

??? the Sneasel!

Female / Keen Eye / Jolly / Takes plenty of siestas
 

Duke_Maniac

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Pokédex No.
367
Caught
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
78
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Pokémon Type
Grass, Psychic
Well that update was a thing. First of all I can’t wait for that documentary too come out. Wally’s reaction is gonna be gold. Second of all, Woo a Kirlia, glad to see that reporter have at least one second of disappointment. Last of all New Sneasel. Hopefully she isn’t dead and can become a rocking weavile. Also, Dang you’ve got a lot of girls on your team
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
269
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Geez, at this point, it just about feels like there are more people out there who do have it in for Lillian than who don't. Give your main character a break already!

But, more importantly, congratulations on the well-deserved feature!
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
349
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
Congrats on the feature! It's definitely well-deserved.

I really enjoyed the last few chapters! It was great to see Steven and Zinnia again, and Lilian's birthday party was lovely. Also, Mira evolved, wooo!

The sneasel is definitely an interesting new catch! I hope she'll be okay.
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
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
  • #134
Hi there everyone! Welcome back to another update of As Above, So Below! We have yet another eventful chapter this week- one that I think y'all are gonna like a lot (especially if you ship Wally and Lilian ;D)! Thank you all so much for your congratulations on my feature; it was a complete surprise and I'm still in shock over it! It feels great to have someone value your work in such a way.

As always, thanks so much for the read, and hope you enjoy!

@Duke_Maniac I, too, would be very curious to watch that documentary about Lilian if it actually existed! Something tells me they wouldn't portray her very fair. And yes, although I am enjoying my new additions, I do indeed have a lot of girls on my team. Luckily the scale tips a bit in this chapter ;)

@QuietGuardian yup, Lilian certainly has a lot of people out to get her. Luckily she's tough as nails and can handle it! Don't worry though, she'll get a break at the very end of this fic.

@cyndakip woohoo, glad you caught up and enjoyed it all! Lilian's birthday was actually one of my top 5 favorite scenes to write- I loved showcasing all of the unique gifts!

All we can do is wait.

That’s what Wally keeps telling me, at least. He assures me there’s nothing else we can do at the moment. We rushed Sneasel to Lavaridge’s Pokemon Center as fast as we could. Nurse Joy is going to do all that she can to save her life. We just have to wait here in this lobby, completely and utterly powerless. We don’t get a say in whether Sneasel lives or dies. We just have to wait and see.

“I can’t take much more of this,” I mumble, scratching at the blood-caked gauze wrapped around my shoulder.

“Don’t itch that,” Wally chastises without looking away from his paperback. “It won’t heal properly if you keep messing with the bandage.”

I lower my hand and refocus my nervous energy towards pulling at a loose thread on the couch. “How much longer are they going to be back there? It’s been three hours, and we haven’t heard any news.”

Wally sighs and creases the page he’s on before lowering his book. “I’m not sure, but worrying about her isn’t going to make the time go by any faster.”

“What else am I supposed to do?” I snap and wind the rogue thread around my finger until it breaks. “She’s my Pokemon now. I have a right to be scared.”

“I’m not saying you don’t,” Wally replies gently, a sympathetic smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. “I just think you need to try and relax while—”

His statement is cut short when an abrupt ping resonates in the air, followed by the red light above the operating room changing to green. A few seconds later, Nurse Joy appears in the doorway pushing a wheelchair with a lethargic but very much alive Sneasel in it.

“Oh thank Arceus,” I breathe. I shoot off the couch and rush over to examine Sneasel. Her breathing is shallow, and one of her eyes is swollen shut. Several bruises and a myriad of cuts litter her body, and a thick bandage is wrapped around her left hand.

“I know she looks rough, but she’s going to be okay,” Nurse Joy reassures us, carefully transferring her from the wheelchair into my arms. “Her name is Isobel, by the way. We’ve replenished her oxygen levels and treated the burn on her hand, so now it’s just a matter of her getting some rest.”

Wally strokes Isobel’s head with gentle fingers. “Will she have any long-term complications?”

“Not any physical complications,” Nurse Joy replies, a hint of hesitancy in her voice. “Unfortunately I can’t say the same about her mental state.”

“What do you mean?” I ask with a frown.

Nurse Joy motions for us to follow her over to the counter, her low heels clicking against the floor with every step. She punches a few keys on her computer before swiveling the monitor around to show us. A dark-skinned girl with curly hair and prominent freckles smiles back at us. The image instantly makes me sick to my stomach.

“That’s her previous Trainer, isn’t it?” I inquire quietly, despite already knowing the answer in my heart of hearts.

“Her name was Harmony Katz,” Nurse Joy informs us as she eyes Sneasel with quiet pity. “Two hikers found her unconscious and bleeding at the foot of Mt. Chimney this morning. She was rushed to the hospital but didn’t make it. Eyewitness accounts of a man fleeing the area with Isobel have led the police to think she was stabbed trying to stop her Pokemon from being stolen.”

Wally shakes his head, hands balled up into fists. “This is a new low for Aqua.”

“Indeed,” Nurse Joy agrees through pursed lips. “Aqua making a reappearance has been quite the thorn in Hoenn’s side as of late, but this level of violence is unprecedented from them. Harmony’s wounds indicate she put up an impressive fight trying to save her Pokemon, so perhaps things got uglier than the assailant planned.”

“I still can’t believe she was murdered,” I remark as I watch Isobel take pained, labored breaths in my arms. “Aqua is more twisted than I gave them credit for.”

Nurse Joy nods, gripping the counter with white knuckles. “We just need to trust the police are doing everything they can to bring Aqua to justice.”

I bite the inside of my cheek to prevent myself from saying anything about Steven and Devon Corp’s involvement in this fiasco. Wally’s reminded me more times than I can count that we’re supposed to keep it hush hush.

`“Well we appreciate you nursing Isobel back to health,” Wally says to Nurse Joy, offering her his hand for a shake. “We won’t keep you up any longer. It’s getting late.”

“I actually have something else to discuss with you before you go,” Nurse Joy replies quickly. She hands me Isobel’s Pokeball before clearing her throat. “It’s about one of Harmony’s other Pokemon that the Center has in their possession.”

I recall Isobel before dropping her Pokeball into my bag. “What do you mean? Weren’t they all stolen?”

Nurse Joy begins to rummage in her apron pocket, only stopping once she pulls out another Pokeball. “The police found this in Harmony’s bag. They think the Aqua grunt missed it while grabbing her other Pokemon.”

“So there’s a Pokemon in there?” Wally asks with a furrowed brow.

“A Chimchar named Virgil,” Nurse Joy responds, wrapping her manicured fingers tight around the Pokeball. “The police brought him into me to make sure he didn’t have any injuries, but from the looks of it, he wasn’t released during the scuffle.”

I bite my lower lip as I stare at the Pokeball. “Does he know that Harmony was killed?”

“Yes,” Nurse Joy says, her chest heaving when she sighs. “He took the news better than anticipated, but balked at the idea of being flown back to Sinnoh to be released into the wild.”

“Not surprising,” Wally murmurs before letting out a bleary yawn. “A Fire-type like him would probably hate Sinnoh’s colder climate. He’d be much happier if he stayed here in Hoenn.”

Suddenly, it becomes clear to me what Nurse Joy is getting at. “You want me to add him to my team along with Isobel, don’t you?”

A guilty smile creeps onto Nurse Joy’s face. “We can try to find Virgil a new owner, but I figured you might be interested in keeping him and Isobel together. Especially considering their shared trauma.” She extends the Pokeball out to me with a hopeful glint in her eyes.

I hold my breath as I consider my options. I had no problem committing to capturing Isobel given the circumstances, but I wasn’t expecting two new team members in such a short amount of time. To be honest, I’m not sure if I can handle it. Then again, the alternative is separating two Pokemon that are teammates and most likely friends. Not to mention that tearing Isobel away from yet another loved one doesn’t seem like the smartest move given what just happened to her.

The way I see it, my choice is clear. I take a deep breath before accepting Virgil’s Pokeball into my outstretched hand. In a matter of hours, my team has increased from three Pokemon to five. Arceus help me.


***

I have never been this relaxed in my entire life.

Blankets of steam roll languidly through the air and envelop my tired, aching muscles. The pain washes away as bubbly water laps at my skin and soothes every sore spot afflicting my body. My back rests against cool stone that balances out the heat of the sweltering hot springs.

Wally sits a few feet away, lounging with his head tilted back and eyes closed. We would’ve been separated by gender just a few years ago, but Lavaridge knocked down the divider and now allows commingling provided you’re wearing a swimsuit.

In a smaller pool off to the side, Virgil and Ginger splash around in the steaming water. Nurse Joy recommended we visit the hot springs with Virgil as a sort of therapy, considering his typing. I’m starting to think we need to visit an actual therapist; while Isobel has taken to me quite well, Virgil seems to want nothing to do with me. He pretends I don’t exist unless I have food to offer him. And to add insult to injury, he adores Wally.

That’s why it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest to see him swim straight to Wally after an unsuccessful flirtation with a prim Jigglypuff. His lower lip juts out and wiggles as if he’s about to cry. Wally opens his eyes and offers him a consoling pat on the head before shooting me a confused look. “Why’s he so mopey?”

“I think he was trying to romance that Jigglypuff over there,” I reply, trying my best not to smirk. Ginger scoffs at my intimation and rolls her eyes at Virgil’s efforts. Virgil sticks his tongue out at her before nuzzling his head into the crook of Wally’s elbow.

“Ahhh,” Wally realizes with a smile. He tilts Virgil’s chin so that he has his full attention. “Want my advice, buddy? Don’t bother with love. It’s never worth the trouble.”

My eye twitches involuntarily at the comment. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Wally shifts Virgil so he’s propped up on his lap, and then he furrows his brow at me. “It’s pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?”

“Assume I’m stupid, then,” I remark, suddenly aware of an acute pain in my chest that the hot springs have yet to alleviate.

“Done,” Wally says with a cheeky grin. Virgil imitates the facial expression while winking at me.

I let out an irritated huff, crossing my arms over my bikini top. “Are you saying you’re just never bothering with trying to date women again? That’s beyond dumb, even for you.”

Wally eyes me with a look that makes me feel transparent. Like my skin is made of glass and everything inside is on display. He averts his gaze after a few moments, opting to silently stroke Virgil’s fur instead of answering my question.

“Well?” I press, growing flustered. “Let’s hear more about this delusional philosophy of yours.”

“I just don’t think love is all it’s cracked up to be,” Wally finally responds. He puffs out his chest and straightens up as if he’s being put on trial.

My eyes flutter shut as I take a measured breath. “It’s because of that psycho you dated, right?”

“Ya think?” Wally snorts in response. I hear Virgil paddling away towards the smaller pool, no doubt bored by our cumbersome conversation.

“Don’t get me wrong—I totally get why she’s soured you to being in a relationship.” I stretch both hands above my head to crack my knuckles. “But don’t you wanna stick it to her? Show her what she’s missing?”

Wally scoffs, and I hear a splash when he swats at the water. “I’m not convinced she’s missing much.”

“Oh please,” I protest, opening my eyes to glare at him. “Don’t let that bitch make you feel like you don’t have anything to offer. That’s just pathetic.”

“I didn’t realize I was talking to a relationship expert,” Wally counters, an edge to his voice. “Tell me—how many boyfriends have you had to make you feel like such an authority on the subject?”

My first instinct is to give him a piece of my mind for even asking me something like that, but a familiar shame is quick to sober me. “Zero.”

A mortifying silence settles between us at once, making me wish I had lied. Wally stares at me for what seems like an eternity before letting out an awkward series of coughs. “You’re serious?”

“Is it so hard to believe?” I grumble as I squirm around in the water in an attempt to get comfortable. “You’ve had a front row seat to how much of an unbearable asshole I am for the past few months.”

Wally inhales sharply, as if preparing to launch into a tangent. He seems to decide against this, however, opting to simply shake his head at me. “What a stupid thing to say.”

“Excuse me?” I ask, face flushing at the observation. My ego can only take so many hits.

“It’s stupid to view yourself that way,” Wally clarifies. He runs a hand through his hair, matted and slick from the humidity. Beads of sweat slide down his bare chest and ripple the surface of the water when they fall. “You’re far from unbearable, but it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you constantly rag on yourself like that.”

I can’t help but smirk. “Hello, Pot. I’m Kettle.”

Wally purses his lips to suppress a grin, knowing he’s been found out. “We can both stand to work on that, I suppose.”

Smiling, I glance down at my reflection in the swirling water. I spent so much time in a costume these past few years that sometimes my true appearance still surprises me. When I was stuck being an MC, I wore a permanent scowl that I’d only shed in front of the cameras. These days, I catch myself smiling more and more. I can’t say I mind the change.


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

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

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

Isobel the Sneasel!
Female / Keen Eye / Jolly / Takes plenty of siestas

Virgil the Chimchar!
Male / Iron Fist / Sassy / Takes plenty of siestas

Wowza, I FINALLY caught a male!!! If I'm not mistaken, Virgil is the only male Pokemon Lilian uses throughout this entire fic! For some reason, this playthrough had me catching lots of females, which isn't normally the case for my Nuzlockes. In addition, this playthrough saw lots of repeat natures and characteristics for some reason! RNG is weird.
 

Duke_Maniac

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Pokédex No.
367
Caught
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
78
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Pokémon Type
Grass, Psychic
Well 2 new members. Also you’re really bad at not revealing spoilers.
Also this might be me and my “Not Shipping Goggles” but just because they talk about romance doesn’t mean it’s a shipping moment. Granted I’m bad at shopping so :p
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
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
  • #136
Hello friends! I wanted to update you all on a slight change that I'm going to be implementing starting this week. I've decided to switch to biweekly updates, still occurring on Thursdays, rather than the weekly updates I've been doing.

Lately, I've gotten a lot busier than I'm used to being. Some of you may already know this, but I'm in the process of starting a baking blog! Naturally, the photos and writing for this have created extra work every week that's been overwhelming me combined with my usual chapter per week of AASB. I'm used to this fic being my only creative endeavor, but I honestly just don't have the proper amount of time to dedicate to chapters if I try to cram it into one week now. I think this change will help ensure I'm still producing quality writing! It'll also allow y'all more time to get the chance to keep up with my updates! Biweekly updates gives everyone more time to stop by the thread. It's a win-win!

Anyways, I think this change is the best decision for me and AASB as a whole. With that, I'll see you all with a new chapter next Thursday! :)
 

cyndakip

there goes my luck
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
23
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
349
Location
Lilycove City
Nature
Hardy
Pronouns
they/she
Pokémon Type
Fire, Water
Pokédex Entry
Part Cyndaquil, part Mudkip, entirely tired.
Wow, Aqua’s really not messing around this time. Poor Harmony… at least two of her Pokemon are able to stay together. Virgil's definitely interesting already! I look forward to seeing more of him and Isobel.
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
212
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
  • #138
Hi everyone! Welcome to another update of As Above, So Below! I'm already feeling much better about my new posting schedule; I love the extra breathing room and feel like it really shows in the quality of my writing! (hopefully haha). This chapter is mostly Gym battle, which you'd THINK I'd love writing seeing how this is a Pokemon fanfiction forum, but quite the contrary. I find battles difficult to write, so it's always an extra challenge when I have a long one like this featured. Regardless, I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!

@Duke_Maniac I am admittedly bad at not revealing spoilers, yes! I just get too excited haha. I suppose talk of romance doesn't have to be a shipping moment, but it still had my heart all aflutter writing it! ;D

@cyndakip so glad to see you've caught up! I always enjoy hearing what you have to say. I'm def excited (and a little overwhelmed, yeesh) about the TWO new team members Lilian has! The way they ended up with Lilian is tragic, but I'm looking forward to seeing how they contribute to her team!

Alright, it’s official. Brendan’s on my shit list.

“Where the hell is he?” I grumble, pacing back and forth in front of Lavaridge Gym. Its fiery red roof looms overhead, protecting us from the fat drops of rain that plummet out of the sky. “He was supposed to be here thirty minutes ago.”

“Maybe he got caught up in all this rain?” Wally guesses. He sits on a long metal bench with Virgil, who evolved into a lanky Monferno just yesterday. As we were leaving the hot springs, he was shot down again by the same snooty Jigglypuff. In a last-ditch effort to woo her, he evolved right then and there. Unfortunately, the Jigglypuff was no more impressed than she was when he was a Chimchar. Poor little guy.

“Well, he sucks for not planning ahead, then!” I exclaim as I throw my hands in the air from the frustration of it all. Just as I do, a clap of thunder sounds in the distance.

Wally rolls his eyes at me when he thinks I’m not looking. “How could he have known it was going to pour? It wasn’t even in the forecast for today.”

“Whatever,” I huff, crossing my arms over my raincoat. “At this point, he’ll just have to find you in the crowd. My match starts in five minutes.”

“You think you’re ready for this?” Wally asks, gesturing towards the Gym with a lazy flick of the wrist.

I nod and glance down at the three Pokeballs clipped to my holster. “Ginger and Roe have no issues handling Fire-types. And with Mira being a Kirlia now, I’m not worried about her either.”

“Good,” Wally responds as he scratches Virgil’s pale belly, who begins checking Wally’s hair for fleas. “Virgil and I will be rooting for you up in the stands. It’s too bad Isobel can’t join us.”

“She’d melt in there,” I sigh, a twinge of guilt plucking at my conscience. “I hate how we’ve had to keep her in her Pokeball so much.”

A regretful smile pulls at the corners of Wally’s mouth. “It’s not our fault Lavaridge is hot as hell. After today, we’ll be able to spend a lot more time with her.”

Before I can respond, a uniformed man wearing a headset pokes his head out of the Gym’s front door. “It’s time to go, Miss Meridian.” He hands me a mic, which I clip to the strap of my dress.

“We’ll hurry up to the stands,” Wally says, hoisting himself off the bench. “I think Rafael and Maurice got seats near the middle. I’d wish you luck, but I don’t think you’ll need it.”

“Thanks,” I reply, fighting back a grin. Wally salutes me before he disappears inside the Gym with a drowsy-looking Virgil. I would’ve used him in battle today, but I’ve barely gotten a chance to train him. To my chagrin, he seems to prefer napping to fighting.

I am led into the Gym through a side door and escorted to the battlefield with haste. The moment I step out onto the pitch, every last one of my senses are assaulted. Sweltering heat washes over me in waves, prompting me to shed my raincoat as quickly as I can. The air smells of charcoal and firewood that’s been lit ablaze for hours on end. Tendrils of smoke reach upward, dissipating just before they make contact with the ceiling. The crowd roars to life as I enter the room, their cheers reminiscent of crackling embers.

As the smoke and soot begin to fade, Flannery Young comes into view on the other side of the battlefield. Ironically, her claim to fame is that she doesn’t look her age. People speculate that all the time she spends in the hot springs keeps her skin looking as youthful as it did when she became Lavaridge’s Gym leader sixteen years ago. I’d believe it; she looks more like a teenager to me than a woman in her thirties.

Flannery is flanked by two massive bonfires—clearly the source of all the heat and smog in the room—that sizzle and snap with vigor. She greets me with a beaming smile, her crop top inching up her torso to expose a belly button piercing as she offers me an enthusiastic wave. “Welcome, Miss Meridian! I’m thrilled to be battling you today!”

“Ditto,” I reply through a fit of coughs. “Any way we could, uh, lower the temperature in here?”

A wicked grin spreads across Flannery’s comely face. “If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Or the Gym, in this case.”

“Fair enough,” I laugh, removing Ginger’s Pokeball from its holster and releasing her for battle. She lets out a disinterested sigh when Flannery sends out a Slugma that somehow seems even more dopey than Brendan’s.

Unfortunately for us, Flannery’s Slugma turns out to be more savvy than it looks. It manages to land a crippling Overheat before I can get a command out. Ginger hisses when the white-hot embers prick at her skin, and she skids backwards after a particularly large one hits her square in the chest.

“Incinerate!” I shout, hoping that her strongest move stands a chance to deal formidable damage. I’m keenly aware that her typing is a double-edged sword in this battle. Damage she takes isn’t very effective, but her own damage output isn’t either.

Ginger breathes a mass of sweltering flame that envelops the Slugma whole before it can move out of the way. I puff out my chest, proud of Ginger’s success. Not five seconds later, my pride is quashed when bulbous chunks of rock begin to fly across the field.

I gasp in unison with the crowd as the biggest boulder of them all slams into Ginger. The impact sends her whizzing towards me, and I lunge out of the way just in time. She collapses into a twitching heap on the ground, sputtering in an attempt to get the dirt out of her mouth, and Flannery uses the opportunity to have Slugma set up Sunny Day. An artificial light twinkles above the stadium in stark contrast to the torrential downpour that can be seen out the glass ceiling.

My hand flies to Ginger’s Pokeball as I prepare to recall her, but she picks herself up with a huff and digs her heels into the dirt. I think she’s more stubborn than Wally and me combined—and that’s saying something.

“You wanna keep fighting?” I ask, to which Ginger responds with a curt nod. “Fine by me. Fire Spin!”

Pissed off and with something to prove, Ginger launches the mother of all Fire Spins. Chaotic, searing flames that would be right at home in the depths of hell trap Flannery’s Slugma and leave absolutely zero room for escape. I make a mental note to never get on Ginger’s bad side.

Before the Slugma faints, it manages to get off a Light Screen. Walls of violet luminescence build themselves around the Slugma’s body as it slumps to the floor in a gooey heap. With a frown, Flannery recalls it and sends out a whinnying Numel in its place.

Not wanting to push my luck, I switch out Ginger for a fully healthy Roe. The roar of the crowd causes Roe’s entire frame to shake with unadulterated excitement. She rocks back on her hind legs to wave a stubby, enthusiastic paw at Flannery’s Numel. The Numel sneers at Roe and turns its head back to look at Flannery for a command.

“Don’t be rude,” Flannery chides, bending over slightly to wag her finger. “Use Lava Plume!”

The Numel lets out a snort before slamming its feet against the dusty, parched ground. Small cracks begin to form where it stomped, and I nearly lose my balance once the floor starts to tremble underneath me. The cracks grow longer and farther apart with every second, revealing a network of molten lava that spans the entire battlefield just a few feet below the surface.

I instruct Roe to dodge the inevitable attack, but she doesn’t move quickly enough. With a primal grunt, Flannery’s Numel summons geysers of raging magma that erupt in violent displays of crimson. One explodes right under Roe and sends her flying towards the ceiling. She slams against the thick glass with a resounding thud before hurdling back down.

Watching Roe plummet out of the sky makes my heart feel like it’s going to detonate inside my chest. In this case, the best and only defense is a good offense. “Use Bulldoze when you hit the ground!” I shout.

The command is risky, but it works. When Roe lands, the impact sends devastating shock waves through the torn-up earth. The waves knock Numel off its feet, and it convulses as the ground shudders beneath it. It struggles to stand but is unable to regain its footing and promptly passes out from the stress.

“Good recovery,” Flannery remarks with a clap, looking quite impressed. She recalls her Numel and fishes one last Pokeball out of the pocket of her flared jeans. “But your Trapinch looks like it’s one attack away from fainting. Hopefully you have at least one more Pokemon in your arsenal to handle my ace!”

She sends out a Torkoal that is geriatric beyond a shadow of a doubt, but I won’t make the mistake of underestimating it. I decide to give Roe some much-deserved rest and send out Mira to finish the battle. She makes quite the entrance, elongating her slender arms above her head before executing a flawless pirouette. I still can’t believe my clingy little crybaby is the same graceful creature in front of me today. This must be how moms feel when their kids grow up.

“Sunny Day!” Flannery shouts between cupped hands. Her Torkoal tilts its head towards the ceiling and yawns. The action summons a similar artificial light to the one Slugma had concocted, and it heats the stadium to an even higher temperature than before. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice spectators shedding their jackets and fanning themselves with their programs.

This Torkoal may be old as hell, but it must pack a punch if Flannery refers to it as her ace. I know I’ll have to get rid of it swiftly before it can land a boosted attack on Mira. “Use Confusion!”

Now a Kirlia, Mira no longer needs to engage her entire body while readying attacks. Without moving a muscle, she sends a dizzying ray of mauve energy across the field and hits the Torkoal square in the face. It lets out a creaky moan and plops down on its belly. My jaw hits the floor as I watch it roll over onto its side and faint without having landed a single hit.

“I may have been bluffing about Bertha here being my ace,” Flannery calls out over the boisterous crowd, a sheepish smile plastered on her face. She crosses the war-torn field and hands me a smooth, shiny badge in the shape of a flame.

My frame shakes with delighted laughter as two uniformed men escort me off the battlefield and back through the tunnel from which I came. I was expecting to be at a disadvantage with two of my Pokemon unable to battle today and a newly evolved Pokemon that I haven’t had much chance to get used to, but that match was surprisingly easy. Maybe I’m better at this whole Trainer thing than I thought.

Wally meets me at the back entrance of the Gym with an opened umbrella and a goofy grin. “That was your best Gym Battle yet.”

“You think so?” I giggle, holding my newly acquired Heat Badge close to my chest. “It felt good out there today.”

“It looked pretty damn good, too,” Wally replies, closing the gap between us so we can share the umbrella. “You were totally in sync with the girls. Roe’s recovery was one of the best I’ve seen to date.”

We continue back towards the Pokemon Center, shoulder to shoulder and prattling on about the battle. I’m so high on happiness that I don’t notice the hooded man approaching us until he’s just a few feet away. His face is so stricken with despair that I almost don’t recognize him as Brendan.

“Where the hell were you?” I ask in a playfully angry manner, hands flying to my hips in an exaggerated stance. “You missed a damn good battle!”

Brendan remains silent, glancing back and forth between us before his gaze eventually settles on Wally. My demeanor shifts to one of concern when I notice that his eyes are bloodshot and puffy. He’s been crying.

“Jeez, dude. Who died?” Wally remarks jokingly, leaning forward to swat Brendan on the arm.

I elbow him in the ribs in an attempt to alert him to the apparent sobriety of the situation, but his smile doesn’t falter until Brendan’s silence extends past the ten-second mark. Wally’s brow furrows, and he drops the umbrella to his side, allowing the heavy rain to assault us both.

“You’re scaring the shit out of me, Brendan. What the hell is going on?”

With a heaving chest, Brendan finally manages to muster up the dreadful words we need to hear. “Steven. It’s Steven.”


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

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

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

Isobel the Sneasel!
Female / Keen Eye / Jolly / Takes plenty of siestas

Virgil the Monferno!
Male / Iron Fist / Sassy / Takes plenty of siestas
 

Duke_Maniac

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Pokédex No.
367
Caught
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
78
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Pokémon Type
Grass, Psychic
Ay nobody dead in very scary gym Battle. Unfortunly Steven didn't read the script correctly and dies from Lung Disease. That kids is why you don't smoke. But in all honesty I don't think you're going to kill a Main Character yet.

Right?


Right?
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
563
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.
Well. That was an easy battle.

I really hope Steven makes it out alive, It would a shame if he dies.
But now I wonder, who is really the one responsible for this?
 

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