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

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
First Rhema you should remember to not reveal spoilers.

Second welp Zinna is evil, Wally is gone, Lillian will realize her love (of bodyguards) and Brendan will not be the same.
 

DistortionLocke

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
76
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
Oh fuck oh shit oh fuckohSHIT
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
565
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.
I had my suspicions about Zinnia, given her role in the games. But now I´m scared, because they became true.
I really wish the best for our protagonist.
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
252
can zinnia assign her bodyguards to shoot me dead????? ugh she is a QUEEN, I have loved her being a cold-ass mess throughout these couple chapters.

I enjoyed your attention to the minutae and tradition of the funeral process. I think it made for a deliberately slow and thus effectively paced chapter. That brief interaction between Lillian and Brendan right at the end of the chapter was great stuff, explosive and quick in contrast to the slow build of tension otherwise. Of course Wally's taken off like a dickhead. I can only assume he's off doing reckless sadboy shit -- not necessarily shaking down Aqua grunts, but more of the flavour of "well I guess this is what comes of forming attachments!!!!", the big dumb idiot. There was deliberacy in how he took off, given that his apology to Lillian reads as his farewell.

Looking forward to more!
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
100
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
“I’m just not up to it right now,” Wally mumbles in response, turning his back to us. Before walking away, he casts a rather curious look over his shoulder. “Bye, guys.”
Okay that "Bye, guys" was SUSPISH af and I was squinting, like. Wally. Don't run off and do something stupid. Which of course, he presumably did. Dx Aaaaaa, not great timing bub! I know you're sad and angry, but Zinnia's plottin' out here!! Your girls are dealing with some sketch shit!!!
As a final act of love and adoration, Zinnia tops the casket with a single white zinnia before blowing her late husband a tender kiss.
For a split second, I don’t recognize her. Her face resembles stone: cold and unmoving. Then, she erupts into airy laughter and waves my concern away with her petite hand.
“I trust that you’ll pass the message along to Wally and Brendan,” Zinnia hums, turning to dig around in her stylish leather bag. She pulls out three gold envelopes decorated with wax seals and hands them to me when she rises. “I need to be getting back to the other guests, but do keep in touch. I’d love to see you three at the annual Devon Corp Ball!” Her chipper voice and bright grin makes my palms sweat.
Okay on a more serious note - I quoted these excerpts in order because I really love how Zinnia devolves from the perfect picture of mourning widow throughout the course of this chapter? Something was a little... off, I guess, in the last chapter, but I chalked it up to her being a very poised and composed person who was holding it together as well as she could. That sort of spilled over into this chapter, with the crocodile tears right on cue during the funeral, and the dropping of the single white zinnia flower as a final goodbye, but like... as the day wears on? Her poise starts to crumble. She admits, she's exhausted! But not in the way we expect. It appears she's exhausted playing the role of mourning widow not because she's covering up her sadness to appease others, but because it's not genuine. Lilian noticing the dragon tattoo just sorta cements that something majorly sketch is going on.

I'm worried. For Lilian, as she figures out how to grapple with this new information; for Wally, who is out on his own and possibly getting into trouble; for both of them, for losing their protection with the bodyguards... things are definitely spicing up! Looking forward to seeing what happens next. 👀
 

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
  • #166
Hey peeps! Just letting y'all know that I'm going to have to push the next update of AASB to next Thursday.

Unfortunately, my husband's mother, father, and sister came down with COVID-19 last week. My husband was exposed to them because he helped them move houses, so naturally he (and I, by association), are at risk. The results of his swab test haven't come back yet, but so far he and I both feel completely fine. We're hoping we either lucked out or are asymptomatic, but there is still time for symptoms to develop. My in laws are doing better, but my mother in law also developed pneumonia as a result of getting corona so we need to keep an extra eye on her.

As you can imagine, this hasn't been a very fun week for our family lol. My focus has been on keeping my anxiety down and relaxing in case we did contract the virus. LIke I said though, I'm pretty positive we're fine! I did not get a chance to have this week's chapter edited because of the craziness going on, but it will be up next week! Thanks so much for understanding :)
 

DistortionLocke

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
76
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
I’m sorry to hear that! Please take care.😥
 

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
  • #168
Hi friends! Welcome to another chapter of As Above, So Below! Sorry again for the late update; things were crazy for me the past few weeks. Luckily, we ended up being negative for COVID! That was just the news I needed to be able to relax and get to writing again!

Big thanks to @Aurea for helping me through a HUGE plot progression issue I was having that was making writing this chapter near impossible. This is a slightly shorter chapter than usual, but I think it packs just as strong of a punch. Here we see Lilian and Brendan's dynamic for the first time ever, I think? Alone and just the two of them, that is. This was fun as hell to write and I'm excited to get things moving again. Hope you enjoy!

@Whozawhatcha yup, Zinnia is pretty much the queen of pricks and I've been DYING to finally be able to write her as her evil AF self. Looking forward to the utter shit storm comin!

@localhoney Wally fucking off certainly put another wrench in the situation lol, so here's to hoping the gang finds him soon! way to guess correctly!

@Missy interesting theory about Zinnia not *actually* working with Aqua! I won't say if you're right or wrong, however I will say things certainly aren't the way they seem. This evil plot is kind of a clusterfuck and idk if I'll be able to do it justice, but it'll sure as hell be fun to try!

@Duke_Maniac Lillian falling in love with the bodyguards is certainly an interesting plot development lol.... perhaps in an alternate version ;)

@DistortionLocke well said!

@JavierE64 you were right to be suspicious of Zinnia! Although she isn't "evil" in the games per se, I've always thought she had big villian potential.

@csidvuL honestly writing her slowly unravelling/revealing herself was fun but also a challenge? I didn't wanna make it TOO obvious she was evil but I also wanted to have some foreshadowing. As for Wally, you're pretty much right on the money lol.......he's a sadboi if I've ever seen one. So much angst in one character. Someone needs to love him!

@Aurea Tbh I was worried the "bye, guys" would seem TOO suspect, but again, I try to foreshadow a little bit when I can so things dont completely come out of the blue. And YES, loved writing Zinnia slowly revealing her true intentions. I mean it's not like she fully tipped her hand, but even without Lillian recognizing her tattoo, she was acting OFF AF to the point where I think a lot of people would be suspicious. She's extra AF and now we can see her be extra AF as an evil queen. I'm loving it.

We eat dried Oran Berries and beans from a can for supper same as every night this week. I could burn water, and Brendan’s not much of a chef either, so we’ve opted to keep it simple while travelling to Verdanturf. Our lackluster meals have me longing for Wally’s cooking. I’d kill for his signature dish: Magikarp fillets in parchment, with thin slices of Sitrus Berries. He’d fry it in a pan over the campfire and the smell was just heavenly. I miss it. I miss him.

“You think we have a good chance of finding him, right?” I ask Brendan, chewing on my bottom lip. The nervous habit has gotten the better of me this past week and has rendered my skin cracked and raw.

He looks beyond exhausted, with dark circles under his eyes and what seems like a permanent frown tugging at the corners of his mouth. “To be honest with you, I don’t know where he is if he’s not in Verdanturf.”

Virgil, who’s been fueling the campfire along with Ginger, whimpers at Brendan’s response. Mira mutters a soothing consolation to him, but is unable to mask the sorrow on her face. My heart aches watching my Pokemon suffer so much over this. I wish Wally knew how much they adore him. Maybe if he did, he wouldn’t have left.

“I guess I just don’t have much hope after not finding him in Petalburg,” I admit, spooning a few beans out of the pot suspended above the campfire. “Why would he go stay with a random cousin instead of his own mother and father?”

Brendan slowly shifts forward to grab a few berries, careful not to disturb Roe snoozing in his lap. “Wally lived in Verdanturf for nearly ten years. He’s just as close to his relatives there as he is his parents. Wanda’s like an older sister to him.”

“And you’ve tried calling her?” I ask as I attempt to coax Isobel into eating a few Pokepellets. She’s been a nervous wreck since Wally disappeared constantly clinging to me and lacking any sort of appetite. I suppose I can’t blame her, considering what she already went through with Harmony. Poor thing is probably terrified that I’m going to vanish, too.

“Yeah,” Brendan nods, his shoulders slumping. “Either she’s not picking up because she doesn’t recognize the number or because Wally told her not to.”

I huff and cross my arms, frustration bubbling to the surface. “I can’t believe he just disappeared. He couldn’t have picked a worse time, either.”

“To be fair, he had no way of knowing that Zinnia was a double agent,” Brendan replies weakly. Over the past week, his anger towards Wally for leaving has gradually fizzled out. Now he’s just fatigued.

“And that’s another thing,” I grumble as I angrily shovel beans into my mouth. “Even if we find him, there’s no fucking way he’s going to believe me about Zinnia. Can’t wait for that disaster of a conversation.”

Brendan shrugs and glances off to the side. “I dunno, maybe it won’t be so hard to convince him. After all, I believed you.”

“Eventually,” I snort, scuffing my heels into the dirt. When I first tried to tell Brendan the truth about Zinnia, he refused to accept it. Thought I was too upset about Steven’s death and Wally’s disappearance to be thinking rationally. It took me a full day digging through blurry photos of Aqua sightings online until I could find one that clearly showed one of the grunts with the same tattoo as Zinnia.

A sheepish look crosses Brendan’s face. “The truth is, I think part of the reason why I didn’t believe you at first is because I felt guilty.”

“Guilty about what?” I ask, my brows furrowed in confusion.

“I can’t help but think that I could’ve prevented it.” Brendan replies. He bows his head and lets out a long, labored sigh. “Looking back on things, I should’ve been able to tell that it was all an act with Zinnia. Wallace had his suspicions a few years back but we didn’t listen-”

I hold out a hand to cut him off. “Wait, what?”

Brendan sighs again. “When Steven and Zinnia got engaged, Wallace voiced concerns about Zinnia only marrying him for the money. Wallace was going through a nasty breakup at the time so we all chalked it up to him being jaded, but Steven was furious with him. He disinvited him from the wedding and everything.”

“Do you think he’d help us figure out what to do about Zinnia, then?” I ask, feeling hopeful for the first time since Zinnia tipped her hand. With somelike like Wallace in our corner, maybe we stand a chance.

“I think so,” Brendan confirms with a slow nod. “By the time I came to my senses about Zinnia, I wasn’t able to reach him. His secretary said he’s out of the region at some conference in the Decolore Islands, but I told her to have him contact me as soon as he gets back.”

“Well good, maybe we’re not screwed after all,” I say, almost smiling. “Oh, and I wouldn’t feel guilty about not snuffing Zinnia out earlier. She played the doting wife so well that I wouldn’t be surprised if she was a legitimate psychopath.”

My remark only seems to worsen Brendan’s mood. “That’s not the only reason I feel guilty,” he confesses in a low voice. “Wally’s my best friend. I should’ve sensed something was up with him. And then there’s what happened with Sage…”

“Brendan, stop,” I interject, shooting him a stern glare. “You know I don’t blame you for that.”

“I know you don’t blame me, but I blame myself,” Brendan replies. I can tell by his tone that he’s fighting back tears. “I’m a Pokemon Professor for Arceus’ sake. I should’ve had more control over my Pokemon. Maybe then Sage would still be alive.”

“Brendan,” I sigh, but I can tell what I want to say to him is just going to fall on deaf ears. So instead, I listen.

“I never wanted to be a Trainer, you know,” Brendan begins with a sniffle. “Wally was the one who had the passion for it. I knew he needed a friend alongside him to give him the confidence to keep going, so I pushed myself to keep up with him even though I would’ve been satisfied just assisting my dad in the lab and never leaving Littleroot. When Wally got too sick to challenge the League, I challenged it as a tribute to him. He was pissed though, and I understand why. He should’ve been the one that made it to Ever Grande City. He was the better Trainer by a mile. He still is. And he wouldn’t have lost control in a battle the way I did against you.”

“You need to stop beating yourself up over this,” I reply in a gentle manner, shaking my head at him. “Accidents happen.”

Brendan takes a deep breath before looking up at me. “I think another reason why I can’t get over what happened is because the whole situation just reminds me how much more qualified of a Trainer Wally is. I feel guilty that he was never able to achieve his dream and beat the League. It’s a shame, really.”

A sudden pang of sadness makes me shiver. I find myself wanting nothing more than to track Wally down and convince him he’s good enough. “Do you think he’ll ever try again?”

“Before Steven was killed, I thought he might actually be considering it,” Brendan responds, distracted for a moment by Ginger spitting random embers into the air to steal our attention. “Traveling with you was bringing out a side of him that I haven’t seen in a while.”

“Really?” I ask. For some reason, his observation makes my cheeks flush.

“I think seeing Mira grow up and be so in sync with you reminds him of the good old days with Nikolai and the rest of his old team,” Brendan says with the smallest of smiles. Compared to how downtrodden he’s been over the past few weeks, he might as well be beaming.

I match his smile with one of my own, filled with warm memories of Mira when she was just a baby. Those were much simpler times. “Maybe once we find him, we can convince him to take up the gauntlet again,” I remark.

“Maybe,” Brendan grimaces, drawing circles in the dirt with a stick Ginger fetched for him. “We’ll have to deal with this Zinnia situation first. The Aqua re-emergence was bad enough without throwing a diabolical double agent into the mix. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire Devon Corporation is corrupt.”

“At least she doesn’t seem to know we’re onto her,” I say, mustering as much optimism as the current situation allows. “We have time to come up with a plan.”

Brendan inhales sharply. “If only we knew what her plan was. Her working with Team Aqua is really throwing me for a loop.

I nod in agreement, fiddling with a loose thread hanging off my dress as a lump forms in my throat. The truth is, I’ve been actively avoiding thinking about what Zinnia is up to. Her involvement with Aqua has upped the ante considerably and I’ve gone from moderately concerned to scared shitless. I can’t help but feel like a sitting Psyduckdumb, clueless, and an easy target. And the worst part? Wally fucked off to Arceus-knows-where in the middle of it all. Would he have stayed if he knew what was going on? Would he have stayed if he knew I needed him? I'm not sure I want to know.


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
 
Last edited:

DistortionLocke

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
76
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
Super glad that you guys tested negative!

As for the chapter, I really enjoyed this insight into Brendan’s thoughts and feelings and his relationship to Wally. I hope he and Lillian are able to find Wally soon.
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
271
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Dammit Wally now is NOT the time to run off and be mopey

Also, good to hear you don't have COVID, and I hope your husband's family recovers soon.
 

localhoney

~either i'm careless or i wanna get caught~
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
141
Location
Miami, FL
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Electric, Poison
Pokédex Entry
Localhoney, the Sweet Toxin Pokemon. It's said that the sounds it emits can paralyze even a Gigantamax Grimmsnarl.
Very glad everyone's healthy over there! Hopefully it's smooth sailing from here on.

I really enjoy the Brendan-Lillian dynamic, and I think it works well. I'm also conflicted on if I want the duo to be successful, because it might be interesting for a few chapters if Lillian's essentially on her own and seeing her without her tether of Wally would be cool. But I also would like to know why the hell Wally left and ran off, so I'll be very satisfied either way.

Also,
Wally fucked off to Arceus-knows-where in the middle of it all. Would he have stayed if he knew what was going on? Would he have stayed if he knew I needed him? I'm not sure I want to know.
I want to know!
 

Mia

Miocchi
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
160
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
27
Location
here, probably
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Water, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Somewhat around?
I just read the whole story (thus far) in one sitting and I'm absolutely in love with your characters and omg I cried for Sage,,, ;_;

Keep it up! I love your writing style and where the plot's headed. Mira's an absolute dear btw I love herrrrrrrrr
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
100
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
This chapter turned out great! Glad you were able to push through it. It doesn't feel overwrought, and I think it accomplishes what you needed it to very well. It's kind of nice to see quiet moments with Brendan and Lilian, no matter how haggard and fatigued and worried they are. Wally is the common denominator that brought them together, and I've wondered how their dynamic would feel in his absence -- especially in the aftermath of Sage's death.

It was really nice to get some insight to Brendan's inner workings, his doubts, and his motivations for becoming a trainer in the first place. It gives us a lot of context for things that have already happened, and makes me wonder about his future as well. Also, it was sweet that he noticed Wally's spark return some, watching Mira and Lilian's bond grow. I know I really look forward to seeing more of the moments they share!

Can't wait for them to catch up to Wally and see how he reacts. 👀 Keep it up!
 

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
  • #175
Hello everyone! Welcome to another chapter of As Above, So Below! I'm super excited for this one, tbh. Lilian and Brendan's dynamic without Wally has been really interesting to write and I think it's bringing out things in both characters that'll really further their development. Maybe I should just never write Wally back in? (JK, can't believe I'd even utter such a thing lol).

As always, thanks so much for the read! Hope you all enjoy :)

@DistortionLocke thanks for the well wishes! And yes, I think Brendan's thoughts and feelings during all of this are particularly interesting. It's nice/sad to see how much he cares for Wally and how much he's tried to be a good friend.

@QuietGuardian Thank you so much for the well wishes! Wally is the saddest sad boy in all the land, so being mopey is sort of his M.O. at this point. But that's no excuse!

@localhoney thanks so much, I really appreciate your concern! Your comment actually prompted me to write this chapter a bit differently, tbh. I was actually going to have Wally come back at the beginning of this chapter, but decided that he hasn't been away for long enough. I think it's much more fun to explore Lilian and Brendan struggling without Wally because he is bae travelling just the two of them!

@Whozawhatcha I laughed so hard I was wheezing at that meme, oh my god lol

@Mia hey there, new reader! Welcome! Thank you so much for the comment, it's always cool to gain a new reader. So glad you're liking everything so far!

@Aurea I said this in another reply already, but I def think Brendan's reaction to Wally leaving is, tbh, the more interesting of the two for me. Obvi Lilian is upset, she's the protag and eventual love interest to Wally so of course we're gonna hear her POV, but Brendan's thoughts on everything kind of snuck up on me while writing and revealed a lot about his friendship with Wally, as well as who he is as a person in general.

“For the love of Arceus, stop arguing!”

I’m left with no choice but to physically insert myself between Ginger and Virgil as their bickering escalates into a no holds barred brawl in the middle of Route 117. My arm aches under the weight of Virgil attempting to lunge forward, and a stray Ember from Ginger comes within half an inch of singing off my left eyebrow. Sides are chosen quickly by the rest of my Pokemon; Isobel proves loyal to her longtime teammate while Mira and Roe back Ginger up.

Despite being a supposed expert on all things Pokemon, Brendan proves to be utterly useless in helping me diffuse the situation. He stammers out an admonishment from several yards away but ultimately makes no move to assist in breaking up the fight. Is this what being a single parent feels like?

“Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Pokemon on the same team fight like this,” Brendan nervously remarks, fidgeting with his collar as he sidesteps a rogue Bulldoze.

Twisted up in a mess of limbs and tails, I barely manage to turn and glare at him. “As much as I’m loving your commentary, some help would be great.”

At that, Brendan scurries over to my fanny pack that was ripped off in the scuffle. He fumbles for Virgil’s Pokeball and manages to recall him a split second before Ginger can execute a Fire Spin. She whirls around, snapping at the air with her teeth. Brendan nearly loses a finger trying to capsule her. Her Pokeball shakes violently against the ground as she resists its power over her, but ultimately settles down after a few moments.

I beckon Brendan over and yank my fanny pack out of his grasp, retrieving the rest of my Pokeballs so I can recall Mira, Roe and Isobel. I just can’t deal with any of them right now.

Brendan extends his hand to help me off the ground. “Arceus, that was brutal. What were they even fighting about anyway?”

“Beats me,” I grumble, dusting dirt and gravel off my clothes. “They’ve all been acting out since Wally left. As much as I hate to admit it, I think they like him better than me.”

“I’m sure that’s not true,” Brendan says, his tone soft and reassuring. “The balance is just all thrown off without him here. You and Wally are a team, you know?”

I shrug and try to ignore the painful truth of his observation. “I dunno, I guess.”

An upbeat tune emanates from Brendan’s pocket, interrupting whatever he was about to say next. He scans his phone screen with a grimace before shooting me an apologetic look. “I totally forgot I had a conference call with the lab on the books for today. Will you be okay by yourself for an hour while I take this?”

“Oh yeah, that’s fine,” I reply with a dismissive wave. On the inside, though, I’m dreading being left to my own devices. I haven’t been alone for more than a few minutes since everything’s happened.

Brendan accepts the call, mouthing a thank you at me as he hurries towards a nearby picnic shelter. With a heavy sigh, I meander around in a circle and contemplate how I’m going to entertain myself for the next hour.

My first idea is to try to find someone to battle, but I’m not really sure what the point would be since I’ve stopped training up my team for the time being. After everything that’s unfolded over the past week and a half, the Gym Challenge just seems insignificant. Who cares about some silly badges when the entire world is potentially in danger?

I consider making a phone call of my own, but who exactly would I talk to? My mother or sister? They could give a shit less about me. Lisia? No, we’re not as close as we used to be. Plus, I don’t want to worry her. And then there’s Wally, of course, but there’s no way in hell I’m trying to call him. If he wouldn’t pick up for Brendan, why would he pick up for me?

At once, I’m hit with the full force of a devastating revelation; even if we find Wally, there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t turn us away. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he never spoke to me again.

Sorrow washes over me like a torrential downpour as I realize I may have permanently lost one of the only true friends I’ve ever had. Desperate to distract myself, I grab a Pokeball from my fanny pack and give it a weak toss.

Isobel materializes at my feet, blinking confusion out of her eyes as she regains her bearings. She rushes to embrace me with bony arms, just like she always does, and I kneel down to bury my face in the crook of her neck. Her body is cool to the touch and feels refreshing against my flushed skin. To be totally honest, I was annoyed with how clingy she was after Wally left. But now? It just feels good to be needed.

****

I have no idea where I am.

Taking a stroll along Route 117 was supposed to clear my head, but I’ve been so lost in thought that I’ve gotten entirely turned around. The picnic shelter is nowhere in sight, and I’m pretty sure I’ve passed the same tree about six times. Most of the route was manicured and well-maintained up until now, but dense thickets and overgrown wildflowers populate the area I’ve found myself in. It feels like I haven’t seen another person for ages.

Isobel grips my hand as we trudge along, her claws retracted so she doesn’t stab me with them. Her head hangs low and she whimpers whenever I let out a frustrated sigh. I can tell that she’s anxious.

“Don’t worry, we’ll find our way back to Brendan soon,” I murmur, giving her paw a gentle squeeze. “We’re still on the same route, so that’s a good sign.”

Isobel doesn’t look even remotely convinced, but she doesn’t object either. We continue along in silence as I make several futile efforts to regain my bearings. Wally tried to teach me a few orienteering skills back when we travelled through Petalburg Woods, but I barely paid attention at the time. And even if I did pay attention, it wouldn’t do me any good now; he took the maps and compass with him when he left.

A knot twists itself in my chest. I hate being reminded how much I relied on him. It wasn’t something I realized until he was gone, and lately I’ve been wondering if I was just an annoyance the entire time we were travelling together. Clearly I needed him for tons of things, but was it one-sided?

I shake off the thought and soldier on. Now’s not the time for a pity party.

After another ten minutes or so, we finally stumble upon a sign of civilization. A brick building with a red roof stands next to a pond teeming with Surskit and Marill splashing about. The lawn looks freshly mown and has all sorts of colorful blooms lining the edges. Dozens of Pokemon peer at us through the gaps in the white picket fence surrounding the property. A baby Teddiursa offers up a jovial wave as we approach the door, prompting Isobel to carry on a brief conversation with it.

My hopes of asking for directions are dashed when I realize that nobody seems to be in the building at the moment. The door is locked and all the lights are off. As a last ditch effort, I swing the brass knocker several times before groaning in defeat and shuffling over to a nearby bench to take a load off. I recall Isobel, not wanting her to hear the string of expletives I unleash a moment later.

“You alright over there?” a husky voice asks from behind me. Startled, I whip my head around and see a lanky man approaching with a Drowzee trailing close behind. He shoots me a sympathetic smile, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his brown trousers. “Hoping to drop off one of your Pokemon too? I think the daycare staff are all on their lunch break.”

“Oh, that’s what this place is?” I ask, my cheeks burning with embarrassment. “No, I’m actually kind of lost. Was hoping someone would be around to give me directions.”

The man furrows his brow in concern as he sits down next to me. “Where are you trying to go?”

“There was this picnic shelter somewhere along the route,” I explain to him. “My friend’s waiting for me there and I haven’t been able to figure out how to get back.”

“Sounds like Pecha Grove Park to me,” the man replies, his head bobbing back and forth as he nods. “Isn’t too far from here, just gotta know where you’re going. Want me to walk you there?”

I hesitate, not wanting to burden someone I just met. “Are you sure? I thought you needed to drop your Drowzee off.”

“Nah, I’ll just bring Baz back when the daycare opens again,” the man assures me, waving off my concern with a lazy hand before extending it to me for a shake. “My name’s Lars by the way.”

“Lilian,” I respond with a smile, which rapidly turns into a frown when Lars’ grip on my hand tightens.

“I know exactly who you are,” Lars says, grinning at me like he just won the lottery. “Mind if we take a quick picture together before heading to the park? I’ve never met a celebrity before.”

Alarm bells begin to sound in my head and I withdraw my hand, quickly rising from the bench. “Actually, I kind of do mind,” I begin, taking a cautious step backward while trying to covertly reach one of my Pokeballs. Thanks for the offer but I think I can find my way-”

All pretenses of Lars being a halfway normal person fall away as he lunges forward and seizes my wrist, causing me to yelp in pain. “Come on, don’t be like that,” he purrs, yanking me towards him and whipping out a camera phone with his free hand. “You don’t have to get all defensive. I’m not like that creep you slapped on television or anything.”

“Get the fuck off of me,” I growl, struggling to free my wrist. Fear settles deep in the pit of my stomach when I realize I’m not strong enough to break away from him. Baz stands there with the absolute creepiest smile I’ve ever seen on a Pokemon and gurgles something that I can only assume is meant to be encouragement. My blood runs cold when his beady eyes begin to size me up.

“Arceus, I didn’t realize you were such a bitch,” Lars mutters as he shoves his phone in my face. “Just take the picture, it’s no big deal.”

Out of nowhere, a flurry of pink and green erupts from behind us and sends Lars flying, effectively breaking his grip on me. I gasp and stumble backwards, the sweet aroma of gracidea flowers assaulting my senses while I fall flat on my ass. The first thing I see when I open my eyes is Cleo with her blooms trained on an unconscious Lars crumpled on the ground. The second thing I see is Wally, sporting a daycare staff t-shirt, a canvas apron, and an expression of sheer, unadulterated rage.


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

God, I hate Drowzee. They're so creepy and their sprites look like they're molesting someone, which is.....unfortunately sorta fitting for this chapter. I instantly knew the creepy guy was gonna have a Drowzee because that's how much I hate them. That is all.
 
Last edited:

localhoney

~either i'm careless or i wanna get caught~
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
141
Location
Miami, FL
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Electric, Poison
Pokédex Entry
Localhoney, the Sweet Toxin Pokemon. It's said that the sounds it emits can paralyze even a Gigantamax Grimmsnarl.
“Oh yeah, that’s fine,”
Things, in fact, were not fine.
And then there’s Wally, of course, but there’s no way in hell I’m trying to call him. If he wouldn’t pick up for Brendan, why would he pick up for me?
But you know how cute it would be if he did pick up for you, Lillian?
see a lanky man approaching with a Drowzee trailing close behind. He shoots me a sympathetic smile, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his brown trousers.
ABORT
The second thing I see is Wally, sporting a daycare staff t-shirt, a canvas apron, and an expression of sheer, unadulterated rage.
knight in shining armor daycare uniform!
I loved this chapter and am glad that my comment had an effect on the way you wrote the chapter! Having a long stretch of no Wally and the struggles that come with that only for him to come to the rescue made his return all the better.

Can't wait for the next one!
 

DistortionLocke

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
76
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
Fuck yeah, Wally!
 

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.
Isobel materializes at my feet, blinking confusion out of her eyes as she regains her bearings. She rushes to embrace me with bony arms, just like she always does, and I kneel down to bury my face in the crook of her neck. Her body is cool to the touch and feels refreshing against my flushed skin. To be totally honest, I was annoyed with how clingy she was after Wally left. But now? It just feels good to be needed.
Isobel grips my hand as we trudge along, her claws retracted so she doesn’t stab me with them. Her head hangs low and she whimpers whenever I let out a frustrated sigh. I can tell that she’s anxious.

“Don’t worry, we’ll find our way back to Brendan soon,” I murmur, giving her paw a gentle squeeze. “We’re still on the same route, so that’s a good sign.”

Isobel doesn’t look even remotely convinced, but she doesn’t object either.
Isobel is so sweet, oh my gosh! A good bean who deserves all the hugs.

All pretenses of Lars being a halfway normal person fall away as he lunges forward and seizes my wrist, causing me to yelp in pain. “Come on, don’t be like that,” he purrs, yanking me towards him and whipping out a camera phone with his free hand. “You don’t have to get all defensive. I’m not like that creep you slapped on television or anything.”

“Get the fuck off of me,” I growl, struggling to free my wrist. Fear settles deep in the pit of my stomach when I realize I’m not strong enough to break away from him. Baz stands there with the absolute creepiest smile I’ve ever seen on a Pokemon and gurgles something that I can only assume is meant to be encouragement. My blood runs cold when his beady eyes begin to size me up.

“Arceus, I didn’t realize you were such a bitch,” Lars mutters as he shoves his phone in my face. “Just take the picture, it’s no big deal.”
Geez, this guy is as creepy as a Drowzee, and that's saying a lot. (Have I mentioned that I also despise Drowzee? Because I do. Gross creepy Pokemon-murdering yellow-brown tapir-pig-demon things? Please stay as far away from me as possible, thanks.)

Out of nowhere, a flurry of pink and green erupts from behind us and sends Lars flying, effectively breaking his grip on me. I gasp and stumble backwards, the sweet aroma of gracidea flowers assaulting my senses while I fall flat on my ass. The first thing I see when I open my eyes is Cleo with her blooms trained on an unconscious Lars crumpled on the ground. The second thing I see is Wally, sporting a daycare staff t-shirt, a canvas apron, and an expression of sheer, unadulterated rage.
WALLY!!!!!!!!!! He sure knows how to make an entrance, doesn't he? So happy to see him again!
 

QuietGuardian

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
271
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ground
Convenient Wally to the rescue! (Not that it isn't great to see him.)
 

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