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Written Story Sinnoh Mature Behold, a Pale Horse!

Thread Description
Updating every Thursday!

localhoney

~either i'm careless or i wanna get caught~
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
63
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.


"And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider's name was Death..." - English Standard Version Bible

Thank you for checking out Behold, a Pale Horse! A Pokemon Pearl Nuzlocke, but you'll note that much of the standard in-game plot devices have been transformed or done away with altogether. You'll find the rules I'm using throughout the run in the spoiler below!​

Rules:
  1. YDYD
  2. One 'mon per route
    • Shiny Clause
    • Dupes Clause
  3. Set Mode
  4. Adapted @Season Factionlocke Rules
    • Upon catching a Pokemon, randomly generate a number, 1 through 4. These numbers are associated with a marking in the PC.
      • 1 - Circle
      • 2 - Square
      • 3 - Triangle
      • 4 - Heart
    • After each in-game hour, RNG (not including the first hour of gameplay) a number from 1-6. This is how many Circle marked Pokemon are required for the next hour. Repeat this RNG for Square, Triangle, and Heart, reducing the maximum number as appropriate (so if my first RNG was 6, I wouldn't roll anymore). If you only have 1 Circle 'mon, and you rolled 6, enjoy the next hour.
Also, although the run has been tagged as mature due to certain chapters that will deserve that tag, the rest of the story would be more teen-oriented, but better safe than sorry! You can expect cursing and mature themes (debt, depression, alcoholism, etc.). I'll make sure to include specific mature TW for the chapters that deserve it.


Now, without further ado, Welcome to Behold, a Pale Horse!
The town of Twinleaf was once considered to be the fertile ground where another Jubilife or Sunyshore would bloom. Droves of people journeyed from all across the region to be the first to stake their claim to an acre or two. Jubilife TV even had multiple exclusives on the new “Pride of Sinnoh.”

The operative word there is “once.” These days, Sinleaf is known for housing career criminals and murderers with good lawyers. Once the hope for this town collapsed, half of the administration of Team Rocket’s Johto division moved in. Ariana and Archer own the building I live in. And the one behind it. And the one down the street. They own a lot of shit around here.

Then there’s me, who doesn’t own a damn thing. I’ve been renting the most dilapidated apartment in town, and that’s saying something. The whole place is falling apart and I’ve got collection notices stacked about a mile high.

Which is why I said I’ve been renting an apartment, because according to my landlord (thanks Archer!), I am no longer renting it. It’s also the reason that the newest piece of mail comes as a blessing. An unmarked envelope absolutely stuffed with money. I’m talking enough to pay off all of these notices ruining the incredible ambiance of my home. And while I wish I were so lucky to be the accidental recipient of such a massive sum, I am not so lucky. Slotted in between the bills was a letter that said this:


May this letter find you in good health. It will be the first of many, as shall the other contents of this envelope.

My request?
Dispense of Roark of the Coronet Twelve.

You will receive a package soon that will aid in this mission.
Good luck, Mr. Dorian.”

Let me explain. I’m an assassin, have been for quite some time, so this letter is somewhat par for the course. After I took out Giovanni (you know the one), I gained a lot of well-deserved notoriety and requests like this one poured in. You might be thinking, if I’ve got anonymous people sending me envelopes full of cash to do the one thing I’m good at, why am I broke? I’ve never taken on a single job. If I wanted to eliminate a target, it would be on my terms. I also hate being beholden to a mysterious figure with deep pockets and shallow patience.

That was ten years ago, when my hairline wasn’t imaginary and I had the money necessary to be selective of what to use my talents for. Now, not so much. A few things stood out to me about this job though. For one, there’s not even a hint of who this person is. Mob bosses and criminals are so in love with themselves that even their anonymous messages tell you who they are in some way or another. The more important point is the target: a member of the fucking Coronet Twelve? These people would have security guards up their own asses if it was biologically possible.

You’ll notice I referred to him as the target. Money’s tight. It’s time to get back to work.
 
Last edited:

Season

Formally known as White Chaos.
Writer
Pokédex No.
1979
Caught
May 13, 2020
Messages
33
Location
Massachusetts
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
he/him/his
Pokémon Type
Grass, Poison
Pokédex Entry
This Pokémon is the Unovan regional form of the Pokémon White Chaos, shrugging the Dark/Psychic typing in favor of a Grass/Poison persona.
Excited to see where this goes! Super sick that you're using an adaptation of one of my Nuzlocke rules. [:
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
209
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.
Oh hey, this is neat! I like your writing style; you've got this grim humor angle that's pretty fresh. it's not often I actually chuckle reading a fic, so I think that says something about how well your wit is coming through! I'm also intrigued to see how this rather interesting ruleset works. Can't wait!
 

Frankied00dle

Conqueror of the Vermillion Gym
Pokédex No.
328
Caught
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
21
Location
England
Nature
Relaxed
Pokémon Type
Fire, Fairy
Very excited to see how this rule set and narrative are gonna come together! Been looking forward to this ever since you told me you picked up Pearl, hope Sinnoh treats you kinder than it has me! Haha best of luck!
 

pinkshellos

Black Lives Matter !!
Artist
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
1220
Caught
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
237
Location
Hoenn Route 120
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Bug, Flying
Pokédex Entry
A timid Pokémon typically found in groups. The only thing that motivates her more than companionship is food.
Oooooh, super interesting so far. Didn’t expect Archer and Ariana to be mentioned in a story set in Sinnoh.
 

Xita

Moo
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
186
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
93
Location
Germany
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Water, Dark
Nice start, I like the dark humor angle this is going for. This ruleset looks like it could be good either work in your favor or be your downfall (What‘s YDYD?). Also it looks hard at the beginning when you don’t have that many encounters. Good luck!
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
172
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
I'll be honest, you got me with the title. It's so weird and specific, I had to check this out.

Like what you do in such a short amount of time. Interesting take to have our backwoods starting town become a cesspool for criminals to settle down in. (Please tell me Sinleaf was on purpose 'cause I love it.) I'm really curious if Archer is aware of MC's hit on Giovanni and if that's influenced the rent situation. Like. I already want a history of this entire setup. lol

Awesome premise, snarky narrator--def following this one!
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
Administrator
Moderator
🌱Featurer
Writer
Pokédex No.
43
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
110
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
he's ok i guess
So first off, just the way you set Twinleaf is two things, both of which hooked me right in:
1. It’s unique as hell, taking the whole “sleepy starter town” motif and not even turning it on its head, just absolutely wailing on it like Mike Tyson at the gym and then slam dunking it upside down and walking away while it explodes in the background.
B. It’s succinct but vivid. There’s so much bite in these lines, from murderers with good lawyers to no longer renting to just… Sinleaf. It’s so good. Just so good.

And like, I was on the boat already just by this subversive setting. But then you throw in Team Rocket (which I can’t imagine is just a setting-filler “hey they’re in Sinnoh now!” given, uh, our protag's history) and then you throw in the fact that this protag is a goddamn ASSASSIN and like, this is straight catnip. I’m so interested to see you build on this protagonist and really get into his character not just as a person but as an assassin. You’ve already established a code here, or at least a semblance of one way back before reality set in, and when it comes to protags like this it’s always interesting to see where their moral compass points in different situations and where their boundaries lie and what does and doesn’t get reactions out of them. So, just that alone is something I’m eager to see built on.

On top of that though, just his motivations and his style of approach to these things (and the problem solving we're sure to witness) and just to see what comes up to bite him in the ass will be so fun, because there’s so many directions to go here. And if this is what you’ve done to Twinleaf, I’d love to see if any other towns are really built out or totally revamped in a wonderfully twisted and compatible way.

If I can just end it on one more quote that stuck out, of which there were many just in this tiny prologue:
These people would have security guards up their own asses if it was biologically possible.
God bless this prick already. I can’t wait for Thursday.

also I am now choosing to believe that your protag’s first name is John and this is just an alternate universe down on his luck J.D. from Scrubs
 

localhoney

~either i'm careless or i wanna get caught~
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
63
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.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
@Season: hell yeah! these rules have been kicking my ass but I'm grinding my way through.

@Rhema: wow, thank you! I've already mentioned how much I enjoy AASB, so I'm very glad that you enjoyed the prologue. Hope you enjoy this chapter as well!

@Frankied00dle: the rule set is tough as nails, but what's the fun in easy rules? Sinnoh's been doing its best to obliterate me but I will not allow it.

@pinkshellos: Thank you! Those are some of my favorite in-game characters, so I wanted to bring them into this world.

@Xita: Didn't realize I didn't change YDYD from when I wrote the rules, it just means if ya dead, ya dead. Yeah, at the beginning it was very rough because I was getting RNG-screwed, but it came around.

@glancesherlock: Thank you! I came up with it listening to one of my favorite albums and thought it'd fit perfectly to the plot I was planning out. Sinleaf was absolutely on purpose and I'm glad I'm not the only one who enjoyed that. We'll be seeing a lot more of Archer in the future, so you might just get your wish but you'll have to stay tuned in!

@Garish Garchomp: Wow, this comment is almost longer than the prologue. When I came up with the idea for an assassin protag, I knew he couldn't come out of a sleepy, happy little town with the story I wanted to write, so I had to tear up Twinleaf immediately. Like I told Glance, you'll be seeing more Archer in the future. And yes, he is absolutely a prick but he's our prick!

I've never seen Scrubs

So, I had decided to upload every other Thursday but the response to this thread has me so excited for this run going forward that I decided to 1) upload this chapter a day early and 2) update EVERY Thursday until I burn out or life catches up with me.

I received a box. It came in a somewhat non-traditional transportation method: a six-foot blond blur barreling through the door of my apartment, otherwise known as Deion Michaels. He’s responsible for approximately 75% of the damage to this shithole. He’s also the only person in this town who doesn’t make my stomach turn, so that’s something.

“Delivery for the hermit of Twinleaf! When’s the last time you even got mail, Eddie?”

“That didn’t have a return address to Bank of Sinnoh, Porygon Financials, or Osiris Loans? Couldn’t tell ya.”

I didn't have a chance to tell Deion about the letter I received yesterday, not that I would have either way. Kid’s got no idea what I used to do, and although I wouldn’t stand out living in Twinleaf, I’d like to maintain some shred of normalcy in my life. And Deion isn’t exactly known for staying out of people’s business. Before I can even grab the package, he’s ripping the tape off.

“Dude! You ordered a Pokemon? And here I thought your old ass didn’t like having fun. Take it out, lemme see it!”

Rather than a request, that’s his way of saying “I’m going to open your package now, thanks.” His thumb pressed down on it, and I have no idea what is gonna pop out of that thing. What I do know is that I’m losing my security deposit if a Metagross or Tyranitar materializes in my living room. I blinked, and there was a tiny green turtle acclimating to its surroundings.

“A Turtwig?! These little guys cost more than your apartment is worth, how did you swing that?”

“It’s Twinleaf. Everybody knows somebody that knows somebody.”

Except I don’t know somebody. And I’m confused as shit. The crotchety professor that used to live in Sandgem Town died in his sleep years ago, and once Osiris Industries bought the land, nobody took over his Lab, and so nobody took over breeding the old starters. Well, publicly, apparently. While Deion played with it, I snatched up the box to see if my mysterious sponsor sent anything else. A couple magazines, all neatly stacked on top of (surprise, surprise) another letter:


“Provided in this package is the ammunition I require you to use for this, and all later, requests.

You will also find a Turtwig. I believe the Coronet Gauntlet would be an ideal cover for your mission - hiding in plain sight and such. Take good care of him; his name is Arno.

Take care, and consider moving out of that horrid town. I hear Jubilife Condominiums is seeking new tenants.”


Running the Gauntlet might not be a terrible idea. Except that when you factor in that I’ve never been particularly good at the whole Pokemon Trainer thing, then yes, it is probably a terrible idea. But it’s the best I’ve got at the moment.

Gauntlet aside, I’ve received a lot of requests over the years, but being particular about ammo is a pretty rare request. I grabbed a magazine, and took a look at the oh-so-special bullets that are absolutely necessary to successfully shoot someone in the head. I was met with a bright white glazed tip, and dark and neon blue splatter from the shoulder of the slug down. Special is right. In the dim light of my apartment, they seemed like they were almost glowing. And I must have inhaled a bit too much dust, because it sounded like they were humming too. Deion tried to take the magazine from me but I pulled it back out of reach.

“What else did you buy?”

“Uhm, just some paintball rounds.”

“Hold on. A Turtwig and paintball rounds? I smell a mid-life crisis coming on!”

“I’m not going to dignify that with a response.”

“You know I’m only joking. Eh, mostly. Anyways, where are you planning on going once Archer kicks your ass out of here?”

“I hear Jubilife has some nice condos.”

*****​
Deion ran back in the room with eight bags hanging from his arms and berating the Machoke Movers customer service rep on the phone.

“Yeah, can you hold for a second? *click* Dude, look at all this stuff I got!”

The contents of the bags spilled out onto our suspiciously clean floor. A hypochondriac’s amount of potions, antidotes, and burn heals scattered across the hardwood. A few repels rolled away, along with some brand new Pokeballs. Hell, he even bought what looked like 500 feet of rope and twelve different varieties of berry seeds.

“So you’re opening a combination berry garden/clinic/rescue service? Ambitious.”

“No, dickweed, these are all the things you need to take care of a Pokemon.”

“Well, I was gonna get all those things myself. It’s not like you’ve got one.”

“Wrong again.”

Deion pulled a matte black Pokeball complete with gold trim off of his belt, and held it up like it was the missing Eleventh Commandment of Arceus. A beam of white light blinded me and when my vision returned, a blue bipedal shark was gnawing on our rope.

“Ta-da! Deion Michaels’ star Pokemon, Eastwood the Gible! My ticket to the top of the Coronet Gauntlet.”

Fuck. Me. I’ve put up with Deion tearing through my place for the past few years. I even begrudgingly accepted him cosigning for the new condo, considering it’s the nicest place I’ve been allowed to live in! (Even though I have no clue how his rap sheet came up sparkling clean, but that's a conversation for a different day.) But having him ducking bullets while I try to take out Roark is a whole other dilemma.

“Why would you even wanna run the Gauntlet? The last person to run it successfully was Roark, and even that was debatable. Everybody knows Byron paid his way through.”

“I’m not worried about all that. You’re looking at the future head of the Coronet Twelve, so you might want to start writing the speech you’re going to give at my inauguration.”

I decided to give him a chance without breaking my prime directive: not screwing myself over.

“Yeah, I’ll make sure to talk about how I ran the Gauntlet first and humbly allowed you to take the position as head of the Twelve.”

“That smells like a challenge!”

“Well, it’s either that or Eastwood. I’ll bet the master bedroom that I get to Oreburgh and take down Roark before your slow ass.”

“You’re on!”

And without a second thought or breath, Deion scooped Eastwood onto his shoulder and grabbed half of the items on the floor on his way out of the door. And while I do wish I’d bet something that wasn’t the master bedroom, it’ll pay off in the long run. I snatched the Pokeball out of my duffel, and let my Turtwig stretch his legs.

“Hey buddy, so… I guess we’re going to be partners for the foreseeable future. Let’s see what you can do!”

Dead silence.

“Come on, Turtwig! Michelangelo? God damn it, what was your name...”

I pulled the folded up letter from my back pocket and read back over it.

“Arno!”

Almost immediately, Arno flicked a razor-sharp leaf across the room, through the slightly cracked window, and into the lamppost across the street. An uncontrollable grin spread across my face.

“We’re going to get along famously.”

*****​
I am potentially the worst trainer in all of Sinnoh. After baiting Deion into sprinting to Oreburgh, I decided to round out my team. Nobody runs the Gauntlet with one Pokemon, and although hard to believe, Arno would likely get tired of my sparkling personality. I figured I would start small and head back towards Twinleaf to catch something easy like a Bidoof. That did not go my way. I spent half an hour getting chased by a Bibarel and ended up at the edge of Verity Lake. I tried catching a Kricketot there, but Arno decided it was time to showcase his prowess and body-slammed the bug into next week. At least he’s confident.

Rather than continue on my path to getting my ass handed to me by the next child I lock eyes with, I found an opening in the cluster of trees surrounding the lake and laid down to rest. A rest that was rudely interrupted by a rustling of leaves, a few dozen branches breaking, and a ping of confirmation of a Pokeball. I sat up and saw a lit up ball that had rolled out of my duffel lightly rocking in the wind. Arno clicked it with his foot, and a runt of a bird flew out, clearly disoriented. Just my luck. There’s Starlys in this area that could apply for the title of Ace Pilot, and I get stuck with one that fell out of its nest and onto a Pokeball. I thought about releasing it, but then again, I don’t care that much.

“Impressive flight there, buddy.”

I received a coo and multiple blinks in response. Inexperienced in flight and sarcasm. I named him Ezio, on account of his acrobatic display just moments before. I was also secretly hoping that the power of manifestation would make it so that his skill level would eventually match that of his namesake.

With the new addition to my team of cold-blooded assassins, I made the trek back through Jubilife and to the mouth of a cave. I took a step into the cave and was met with a pair of fangs, followed by a shock wave that traveled from my ankle to the top of my skull. The echo of my “FUCK!” bounced off the walls of the cave, waking too many Zubats to count.

Rather than punt the cause of my distress all the way to Kanto, I glanced down and saw a Shinx. But unlike Ezio, this Shinx had experienced a bit too much life for its size. I crouched down to its level and saw shards of rock lodged in its right eye and a hazy yellow sheen in both.

“Somebody messed you up, huh?”

It bared its fangs at me as I approached, but perked up once it realized I meant no harm. As if in celebration, it ran circles around me and crashed headfirst into a rock. Except that rock looked like a Geodude. And if Geodudes snort protein powder and take amino acids, this one probably started the trend.

In retaliation, the Geodude lifted the nearest boulder and fired it.

“You gotta be shitting me.”

Before I could react, Arno flew out from his Pokeball and sliced it in half. That did nothing but double our problems. The newly birthed half-boulders lost no speed. Then Arno shot another two leaves and quadrupled our problems. I shielded the Shinx and braced for impact.

I opened my eyes and saw lumps of coal. I also noticed a distinct lack of pain from a massive rock ripping my head off. I locked eyes with an Abra floating in front of me alongside the Shinx. It reached into my bag and pulled out two Pokeballs, then lightly tapped the Shinx with one, and himself with the other. I collected their balls as they clicked and straightened myself out.

“Welcome to the squad, Bayek and Jacob.”

As I stood back up, I leaned on a pitch black wall. The clang of metal hitting earth was reverberating throughout wherever I was. Machops were cracking the smaller pieces of rock falling off of the wall and tossing them into carts that flew past. Almost in sync with the hand tapping my shoulder, my brain pieced it together. I was in the Oreburgh Mine and face-to-face (more so face-to-miner’s helmet) with Roark Steele.

Thanks to @Zephyr_Iphis for beta-reading this chapter!
 
Last edited:

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
172
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
This fricken moves. You covered a lot of ground in this first chapter. (Updating early because of a flood of feedback is such a mood, and I respect that.)

I love this dynamic between Eddie (if that's even his real name) and Deion. They're adults, but the age difference still gives us that old guy who's seen some shit and the naive kid who runs a mile a minute. The Barry influence is there, but Deion definitely stands out as his own character and is immediately endearing. That's going to get pretty sticky with him taking on the Gauntlet while Eddie's on the assault. Another layer of complexity to the whole assassination business.

Catch me theorizing over this mystery benefactor for the entire run, tbh. Obviously, it's someone familiar with Eddie and his services, but to go so far as to send him a Turtwig and give him further orders outside of, "Hey, kill this person." Very odd, good cover story or no.

Almost immediately, Arno flicked a razor-sharp leaf across the room, through the slightly cracked window, and into the lamppost across the street.
I died. What a killer.
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
209
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.
Glance is right, this fic moves fast- but in a good way! I think the pacing, while a bit more quick than most fics, contributes to the sort of action-packed vibe I'd expect from the plot. This dude's got a job to do, after all! I'm assuming that Eddie will be "assassinating" all 8 Gym leaders as well as the Elite 4, which makes me wonder how the hell he's going to do so without arousing suspicion. Let's hope he's good at what he does!

Also, I'm going to throw an absolutely wild guess out there and theorize that Deion is the benefactor? You haven't really said anything that would make me think so, but I think it would be hilarious if that were the case, so I'm guessing it nonetheless. Some other guesses of mine are one of the Gym leaders/Elite 4 that are trying to eliminate the competition, so to speak, or maybe Cynthia?
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
78
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
New Sinnoh storylocke? Turtwig starter? Older trainer who's an assassin? 👀 You're checking all my boxes, here. Count me the fuck in.

You are covering so much ground so quickly, good grief. First of all 'Sinleaf' is amazing, I love what you've done with it, I'm incredibly intrigued by the Rocket occupancy, the fact that this is after Rowan's death and the lab's been overtaken, the Coronet Twelve is a kickass name for the gym leaders/elite four, and most of all, I wanna know WHO is sending these letters. I've got a guess I'll keep in my back pocket for now, but I'm really excited to see further communication.

Our protag is super interesting, beyond just being a (former?) ex-assassin who's getting back into the game. He's clearly got some moral gray areas, but not a bad dude if he's got something of a soft spot for Deion. He's not callous to his Pokemon, and he seems just... like a pretty normal dude. Just trying to make rent. Except he's the dude who took out Giovanni, so. Nonchalant demeanor or no, I'm very curious to learn more about Mr. Dorian here.

Oh, and. Turtwig is the best, Arno is a badass, I'm so so excited to see him grow and slice 'n dice with those leaves of his.
 

localhoney

~either i'm careless or i wanna get caught~
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
63
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.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13
@glancesherlock: Yeah, I didn't notice until I was battling Roark within 2 chapters and a prologue but the pace will slow up a bit soon! I definitely can't wait to have more interactions with Eddie and Deion. Right now their goals are about as disparate as can be but they're both going to end up essentially alongside each other for the ride. I'd love to hear whatever theories you come up with for the mystery benefactor, that's part of the reason I ultimately decided to go first-person and to leave it obscure rather than reveal it, I wanna see what people come up with.

@Rhema: Well, he did kill Giovanni so he must be decent! Hmm, Deion as the benefactor would be a nice twist, but we've got a long ways to go until anything that may reveal it comes into play. Yes, yes, more theories I love it! I do love me some Cynthia...

@Aurea: I am so glad that Sinleaf has tickled everybody and not just me. I knew I didn't want Eddie running a gym track meant for 12-year-olds so I had to spice 'em up a tad! Eddie's just a regular dude, just so happens that his 9-5 is killing people, no big deal! I also love me some Arno, he's been essential in the actual gameplay for the fic.

Let's get right into it!
I gotta say, Roark Steele is the spitting image of his father. If his father was 5’7 and wore designer jumpsuits to mine coal. While his Cranidos threw rock after rock into the slag heap, Roark grabbed his phone off its perch nearby and ended the recording. Roark was one of Sinnoh’s C-list celebrities, right alongside the Poketch Clowns, and he spent most of his time finding good lighting and recording his monthly three minutes of mining to upload to his MewTube channel. How anybody buys his blue-collar persona is beyond me, but if it works, it works.

“You must be Mr. Dorian!”

“How could you possibly know who I am?”

He pulled up a screenshot of a file from his omnipresent phone (seriously, it’s like the kid has an invisible third arm toting the thing around).

“Your friend, Mr. Michaels? He’s already filled out your application for the Coronet Gauntlet. I merely need your signature and you’ll be good to go. He told me to expect you, although I didn’t expect for you to teleport into my shot. Rather rude of you, but I can look past it.”

“Yeah, if you could do some magical video editing and take me out of the video, I’d appreciate it.”

“Oh no! This is raw, uncut, pure scenes from my life, I can’t cheat my adoring fans by adulterating it. You’ll merely have to deal with some newly gained attention.”

Attention that I absolutely did not want. I could see the headlines now: “Beloved Coronet Twelve Roark found dead! Possible suspect: random man seen seething in last uploaded video.” Then again, Roark’s been known to have a couple of rabid stalker fans, so maybe I wouldn’t be the first person of interest. I gritted my teeth and nodded as Roark gestured for me to follow him.

“Come with me, Mr. Dorian, we must get you out of this place.”

I followed Roark all the way back to the front office of the Oreburgh Stadium. He presented me with a stack of waivers that I didn’t bother reading, but the gist was something like “If your Pokemon dies, we’re sorry. If you die, also our bad.” I’m a subpar Pokemon Trainer, but even I’m not going to get my Pokemon killed.

“One last one, if you please.”

I scribbled my initials on the final form, and Roark winked.

“I appreciate you signing that video release form, you’re going to look impeccable on MewTube.”

Fuck.

“Your match is in two days, at exactly 6 in the evening. The Coronet Twelve happily provide complimentary food, drink, and housing to all challengers. I am looking forward to our match!”


*****​
Hearthome wasn’t built in a day. That’s the line I fed myself after two days of what some would call insufficient training. I would call it dogshit, but who’s asking? Arno is my bulldozer so I didn’t anticipate any of my other Pokemon seeing the light of day in that stadium, but I like to futureproof. It comes with the territory.

At night, the Oreburgh Stadium took on a life of its own. Whereas the rest of the city was covered in coal dust, the stadium was a steel-glass monstrosity that I was sure was going to grow legs and stomp away. One positive is that a glass facade meant nearly infinite sightlines.
It also meant I could shoot from anywhere, since bullet beats glass, if you weren’t aware. But those are things to consider after a hopefully successful battle.

What Roark (and my currently nameless benefactor, for that matter) failed to tell me about this whole Coronet Gauntlet thing was that it was one, widely televised, and two, a black-tie affair. Even the miners in town poured in through the front doors wearing dress shirts and wingtip shoes. I walked up to the challenger’s counter in a pair of sneakers with holes in the soles, a pair of five-finger-discount Osiris sweatpants, and a graphic tee that said “Who’s your daddy?” with a Ditto underneath. Needless to say, not the most camera-worthy appearance. The woman at the counter failed to conceal her smirk and asked which of my Pokemon I would be bringing into battle.

“Uh, all of them?”

“Oh honey, did you not read the Gauntlet contract? Challengers can only battle with the same amount of Pokemon or less as the Coronet Twelve member they are challenging.”

In fact, I did not read the contract. Shit. I figured that Jacob was essentially out, as his favorite move was to teleport out of reach of his opponent until they got bored of waiting. I also assumed bringing a bird to fight a bunch of rocks and rock-throwing dinosaurs would be less than ideal, so I settled on bringing in Arno and Bayek. I set their Pokeballs on the counter and watched a couple of highlights that were playing on a loop on a TV above the help desk. The feed switched just as Roark’s Cranidos was annihilating a Roselia.

“So, do people always get creamed like that?”

“No, not typically. Usually it’s far worse. Early on, before Mr. Steele got a handle on controlling his Pokemon, it was almost a sure bet that there’d be a wrongful death lawsuit hitting the Twelve each week. Those were all settled of course. Ever since the challenge rates have dropped off, there haven’t been many highlights to show.”

Yet another thing Roark’s daddy was paying to get off of his shoulders: accidentally killing Pokemon. On each clip, his nose is stuffed in his phone as his Geodude and Cranidos batter their opponents. What a surprise.

“Chin up, though! We just had a challenger come through this week who mopped the floor with Mr. Steele. Maybe you can emulate that! Or maybe he’ll mop the floor with you instead. Who’s to say?”

And with a wink, she handed me my two registered battlers and pointed me in the direction of the dressing room.

“Of course Deion slaughtered Roark, a Gible in this part of the region is essentially unheard of, so he probably caught him off guard.”

As soon as I walked in the dressing room, I was met with a faceful of shoulder. Two muscle-bound, human excuses for Machamps were standing in front of the door like they weren’t unsure how it worked. In what could only be described as the most delayed reaction ever, one of them stuck his oversized finger in my face.

“Hey you. We’s here to make sure you can’t hurt Mr. Steele during your battle. Empty your pockets so we can pat you down.”

The idea of being patted down by Large and Larger wasn’t exactly a bucket list situation for me, but refusing would have probably just led to getting strangled by Large (Not Larger, he strikes me as a pacifist). Just as the pat down approached “this has been weird for too long,” Larger grabbed me by the arm with a grunt and led me to a large door labeled STAGE.

“Good luck, challenger. Don’t get pulverized.”

And with that, he clipped a small wireless mic to my shirt and pushed me into the shot of what must have been a thousand cameras. I knew Roark was vain, but Arceus Almighty! The top row of stage lights burned my eyes until I could only see yellow, and when I tried looking down, the bottom row temporarily blinded me (How does Bayek live like this?) I had only seen about twenty, maybe thirty people in town in the last two days, but the stadium was filled to the brim. The stage shook as the onlookers started failed iterations of The Wave (they got it eventually) and yelled one-too-many syllable chants. Suddenly, the lights went off and a hush fell over the crowd.

Then Roark stepped out and it was as if Suicune had split the sea right on stage. The energy returned to the crowd a thousand-fold and lights flashed and moved throughout the stadium while Roark slowly strode towards the middle of the stage. And as quickly as he stepped on, the floor fell out from beneath him (I, for one, was excited to have my work be done for me) and the crowd gasped. He suddenly rose from the ground on top of a massive rocky battlefield, complete with cliffs, towering rock pillars, and stacks of boulders. The whole time, his phone was glued to his hand, recording the scene from multiple angles.

“Good evening, Oreburgh, and welcome to the second match this week! I am your beloved, irreplaceable, Roark Steele! And today, we have the privilege to be challenged by Mr. Edmund Dorian!”

Almost as if on cue, the crowd began to boo me and throw things (Who brings a piece of coal to a battle?).

“Bite me.”

My voice boomed throughout the stadium and I bit my tongue. I had forgotten about the stupid ass microphone. Roark flashed a disapproving look in my direction and continued on with his Sinnoh’s Greatest Showman routine.

“Worry not, Mr. Dorian. You’ll soon see my Pokemon have more bite than you can handle. Go, Oreburgh’s Titan! Atlas!”

He flicked a Dusk Ball onto the highest hill on the battlefield, and a massive Geodude emerged from that ball. This Geodude looked a hundred times meaner than the one that tried to take my head off in the cave and far more battle-hardened. I snatched Arno’s Pokeball off my belt and tossed it onto the field behind the stack of boulders. Except that in the spot where a Turtwig should be standing, I saw Ezio flapping his wings. I registered the wrong fucking Pokeball. Immediately, the crowd exploded in laughter and Roark cocked an eyebrow.

“If you expect to take down Atlas with a Starly, Mr. Dorian, I will show you how lost you truly are.”

“No, no, it was a mistake, let me ret-”

“Atlas, Rock Throw!”

Before I could switch Ezio out, Atlas scooped a chunk of the hill and sent it flying towards Ezio.

“Ezio, dodge that!”

I would have been better off saying nothing, because as he took off, he flew right into the path of the projectile and caught it beak-first. The poor bird got decked but shook it off and fluttered right back up. Immediately, Atlas was firing coin-sized stones in his direction. They seemed harmless until one punched clean through a boulder and landed with a puff of dirt at Ezio’s feet.

“Get in close and hit hard!”

For once, Ezio’s erratic flight pattern was useful. Atlas couldn’t predict which way he was headed, so he couldn’t nail him with another rock. Ezio nose-dived and the attack looked good until Atlas cocked back and cracked him in the face, sending brown feathers flying across the field. He fell out of the sky and landed at the base of the cliff. Somehow, Ezio got up, but I could see the crack in his beak and the tentative flapping of his wings. Head-on and distanced combat were both out of the picture, and I had to think fast before I had a dead Starly on my hands.

“Try picking him up, buddy! Grab him and slam him into that pillar!”

Ezio regained his composure and flew straight at Atlas. Before the titan could even grab hold of another rock, he was flying through the air. Ezio continued to pick up speed until he put his head down and flew straight at the pillar. The crash reverberated through the stadium with a crack, and as the dust cleared, Atlas was passed out and Ezio perched on top of him.

The crowd roared with excitement (can you blame them?) and the momentum was on my side. Roark grimaced across the field and returned Atlas, simultaneously swiping at his phone (probably deleting the footage of his rock monster getting worked by a bird).

“Nice tactics, Mr. Dorian! Let’s see how they work against the Rock Queen, Gaia!”

I let Arno loose just as Roark’s Cranidos hit the field. This time, the roles were reversed. Arno was at the edge of the cliff and Gaia was at the base, pawing at the ground. I refused to get caught off guard again.

“Razor Leaf!”

Except he didn’t, because why would my Pokemon listen to me? Instead, Arno tackled a few boulders at the top of the hill and sent them rolling downhill towards Gaia. They picked up speed and one hit the Cranidos square in the chest, while the rest whizzed by. After recovering from the hit, Gaia started to sprint up the hill. Arno tried repeating the same tactic and Gaia lowered her head and smashed through boulder after boulder. Suddenly, she had picked up speed and was a step away from sending Arno into the Sinnoh Underground.

“Arno, Withdraw!”

After his tactic failed, Arno listened to me. He retreated into his shell just as the top of Gaia’s skull made contact. Arno went flying back like a green pinball, skipping off the field, off one pillar and onto the remains of the one that sent Atlas packing. He came out dizzy, but unharmed.

“Can you fire Razor Leaf now?!”

On command, Arno leaned back and jerked his neck forward with force. We were surrounded by dozens of sharp leaves that floated in the air and flew at Gaia with ridiculous speed. Most of them got lodged in the rocks and boulders lying on the field, but a few managed to clip Gaia. Two of them even sliced off the spikes on the back of her head. They slowed her progress, but not nearly enough. The Cranidos jumped off the hill and managed to land a hit square on Arno. He tried to retreat but she hunted him down, cutting off his escape route. He ran himself into a corner, surrounded by rocks and with his back to the cliffside.

“All out of clever tricks, it seems, Mr. Dorian.”

Roark’s smarmy voice echoed across the field and I racked my brain to come up with something that would get Arno out of this mess. Just as I was about to give Arno a command, he opened his mouth and launched a mess of sticky seeds onto Gaia’s body.

“Leech Seed? Is that the best you can-”

His snarky comment was interrupted by a blast that sent Gaia flying off the battlefield and into the crowd. Arno brushed himself off and strutted to the center of the stage, eager to accept attention from his audience. The crowd exploded into a frenzy while Roark returned Gaia to her ball and headed towards center-stage.

“Perhaps we are kindred spirits after all, Mr. Dorian. I mean, waiting until the last possible moment to unleash a Seed Bomb? Truly, a flair for the dramatic lives within you!”

Roark faced the audience and flipped his showman switch back on.

“Oreburgh! You were just witnesses to one of the greatest battles of my career! Give it up for the Mad Tactician, Edmund Dorian!”
I don't really have a note, but all the cool writers have them so I figured I needed one too. But actually, I've stacked up a decent amount of backlog to where I couldn't remember what chapter was live on the forums, so that's good. Just meant I've been holding my tongue a little more!

Subscribe to me on Mewtube!

Thanks again to @Zephyr_Iphis for beta-wooper-reading this chapter!
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
209
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.
If his father was 5’7 and wore designer jumpsuits to mine coal.
Idk why but this made me LOL

a graphic tee that said “Who’s your daddy?” with a Ditto underneath.
Okay, now that made me LOL. You're pretty damn funny.

Loved the battle. I'm interested to see if every member of the Coronet Twelve is as much of a self-absorbed celebrity as Roark was. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get to see Dorian murder the dude lmao, but I suppose that's coming soon!
 

Wwarborday

Gradually Becoming Productive
Pokédex No.
153
Caught
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
116
Location
Gaytown
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/him/his
Pokémon Type
Ground, Ice
Pokédex Entry
I'm Doing My Best
Saw somebody else was doing a run about (lowercase) death and I had to check it out 👀

This is a real blast to read; the story moves right along and keeps the action tight! Like, goddamn, three chapters and already a badge? i think that's a forum record. Your style's entertaining, and the premise really grabbed me, especially with the televised battles. I'm VERY eager to see how Edmund manages to pull off this assassination (and then, I guess, the next eleven!)
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
172
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
How anybody buys his blue-collar persona is beyond me, but if it works, it works.
I can't believe Roark is a pop country singer.

I always love seeing how people interpret gym leaders and their role in the world, and you really nail the modern celebrity/influencer angle. Roark is so artificial, even if the man can still battle worth a damn. The gym itself feels like a hybrid of a mafia and WWE, complete with bouncers and smack talk. I love how ruthless the crowd is. (Throwing coal, oh my god.)

Kudos to Eddie (or Arno really, let's be real) for winning that badge! Grabbing popcorn for when this assassination goes down.
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
Administrator
Moderator
🌱Featurer
Writer
Pokédex No.
43
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
110
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
he's ok i guess
First off, I love that Eddie’s totally low-key hoping for a Metagross or Tyranitar and then he just gets this little turtle that’s just as expensive but about a million times worse at hurting a fly.

Second off, I’m glad we have this Barry analogue here to be able to believe that sketchy new Turtwig owner just randomly got paintball rounds to go with his pet. I’m pretty sure most mid-life crises don’t go the way of Barry or Agent 47. As far as I know, anyways. I’m still young. Like Glance said though, I’m glad Deion’s around just as an extra thing to work around, potential loose-end, etc. Makes a lot of sense, too. Also he has a Gible which means he must be protected at all costs, pls.

2.5 off, Roark as a fucking influencer. Jesus christ lmao. What a random and wonderful wrinkle to throw in.

I gotta say though, that is a very unusually forthcoming woman at the counter there. Is she allowed to dish about lawsuits like that? Did she have one and this is how they settled? Or is she about to quit and just said fuck it, I’m telling everyone everything, fuck the Twelve (in which case that’s wonderfully and sneakily topical but I doubt it).

Legit tho, one thing I’m really interested to see as this goes on is his relationship with his team. Do any of them even know how bad a dude he is careerwise? Do they care? That kinda stuff is intriguing even if it doesn’t often actually come into play, and Arno seems like a lovely lil guy so I’m def curious. Torterra is def not the most stealthy assassin-like partner though lmao.

The other thing I’m intrigued to see is his battling. Like… how much he develops a style or not, what difficulties await him there, etc. Because on the one hand, it makes sense for him to have to improvise a lot bc he’s not a natural and might get caught out by stuff or make rookie mistakes… but then, if he’s not that great at it, he shouldn’t be super great at that improv unless we see some development or hidden skills or whatevs. So I’m just eager to see how that pans out for him… especially since I wrote all that just before he gained a fucking nickname for his accidental exploits lmao. Way to go, Mad Tactician.
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
Just wanted to cover off in short that this is an engaging an appealing run. It was a bouncy, fun read, and I am breathless with anticpation about you delivering on the promise of this premise after the battle! also i would die for large and larger, ALSO also the ruleset you're using looks neat! Well done to @Season for devising it.
 

localhoney

~either i'm careless or i wanna get caught~
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
63
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.
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
@Rhema: I agree, we should lobby Nintendo to mass-produce that shirt. Yes, it is coming soon, perhaps in this very post!

@Wwarborday: If it is a forum record, I believe I deserve a medal or a badge or something. Glad you're enjoying it! These early chapters are all pretty fast-flowing and snappy, but there'll be a touch of a dip in speed once we really get into some juicy plot points. Look no further than the spoiler below this one to see how he pulls it off!

Also, I've got Don't Fear the Reaper on my list of runs to check out, so seeing you reading Pale Horse was super cool to see!

@glancesherlock: Jubilife TV's next documentary: Is Roark Steele actually Blake Shelton? I've always thought that gym leaders were surprisingly grounded for how well-loved they are usually, so I thought I'd push them further into the ugly side of what they would more likely be like in real life. They're essentially professional athletes that are also like the political entity of their city, so just imagine.

Eddie is a tactical genius, thank you very much.

@Garish Garchomp: Imagine how much easier of a time he would have if he could just ride atop a Metagross, sniping at people from afar. Deion is one of my favorite characters to put next to Eddie in terms of dialogue and general personality, and I think their growth is going to have a lot of parallels going forward. That lady at the front desk is totally inspired by this one lady I worked with when I interned at a law office, who just dished everything to everybody. Pretty funny in real time, but wild the things I heard from her. Also, are you kidding me, a Torterra isn't stealthy? Ridiculous.

I do hope to show that Eddie doesn't have so much a proficiency for battling as he does coming up with outside-the-box schemes that may or may not work. They worked this time, but we'll see if he develops any sort of battle acumen to supplement that.

@csidvuL: Not gonna lie, seeing your comment on here and in the Discord meant a lot! I really admire and adore your writing, so to see you compliment mine made my heart swell with joy. Large and Larger are my sons and I do hope to keep them involved in Sinnoh one way or another. Yeah, the ruleset is very cool, although it kicked my ass at times.

I'm so incredibly glad to see y'all enjoying Pale Horse, and I hope to do y'all proud as I go. Now, time to deliver on the promise of the prologue.
Two days after my match with Roark, I left the challenger accommodations and publicly left Oreburgh. In that time, I got a lot of things done. I set up a campsite on the north side of town, below the Grand Osiris Highway; that way, I could stay close to town but it would seem as if I had skipped town to face the next member of the Coronet Twelve. I tailed Roark through town both days, to get a sense for the best time to strike. He spends a lot of time at the hair salon for someone who wears a helmet all day long. Unfortunately, the hair salon was built up against a cliffside and in between the Pokemon Center and the local tavern, so that was a no-go.

On the second day, I found the perfect spot: a secret alcove Roark had at the top of the Oreburgh Stadium. Every night, from that alcove, he livestreams a run-down of his day and has a Q&A with his fans (yes, I watched his MewTube videos, sue me). And because Roark refuses to let anybody ruin his shot, Large and Larger stay on the ground floor to prevent anybody from going inside. A high building, open to the air, with sightlines from half the city and no security? Couldn’t be a simpler hit.

Finding a place for the sniper’s perch was somewhat harder. The Pokemon Center was open 24/7, and so was the Mart, so those two were out of the picture. I considered the crane near the mine for a second, but balancing precariously while 300 feet in the air was not my idea of a good time, so I scratched that off the list. There were tons of residential buildings, but the chances of a cheating husband or wife catching me in the middle of the night was too high to risk, so I was left with one option: the Oreburgh Museum.

Not only was nobody there at night, but nobody was there during the day either. And considering that their main attractions were coal, the history of coal, and A Day In The Life of an Oreburgh Miner, they weren’t exactly raking in the dough. Fortunately for me, that meant a defunct security system from a time before time, and no security guards to speak of. The same night I figured out the position of Roark’s alcove, I set up my nest. A set of binoculars, a tripod aimed at the stadium, one of my twelve magic magazines, and my rifle. That baby hadn’t seen action since Giovanni, but it was glistening in the moonlight. I had been polishing and cleaning it nightly ever since receiving the initial request, but in the past two days, I spent more time cleaning my gun than anything else. I unfurled my sleeping bag and set an alarm for sundown as the sun rose over the peaks of Mt. Coronet.

I woke up five minutes before the alarm. 8:15. I peeked over the low wall on the roof of the museum, and saw Roark leaving the hair salon across town. Right on schedule. Large trailed ten steps behind, while Larger stayed ten steps ahead. I had a window if I wanted it. All I would need to do is twist my shooting platform a few degrees down and I could put the shot past Larger’s left ear and into Roark’s brain. But that would be messy. That would be careless. There’s substantially less sightlines to the road in front of the salon than to the stadium, on account of the rising ridge behind it and the buildings around it. I waited.

The sun set fully behind the mountains. 8:27. Roark lingered at the Mart a minute longer than usual, and again, I had a window. Between Large and Larger, through the Hyper Potion display, and into the back of his head. I set up my rifle but didn’t adjust the angle. My shot was coming, and it was going to be precise. Down to the second. Once Roark began to head in the direction of the stadium, I let Jacob out of his ball.

“In fifteen minutes, I’m going to pull this trigger. As soon as I give you the signal, you warp us and all this stuff back to camp. Got it?”

Jacob nodded and floated around the nest to look at all the stuff he would have to teleport with us. Roark walked in through the doors of the stadium. I did the math. It would take him ten minutes to get to the roof and five minutes to set up the livestream. Taking him out before the stream went live was my preference, but mostly out of my control. As soon as his head was helmet-free and rising above the lip of the stadium, that was my shot.

8:40. Roark was on his way up. 8:50. Roark was on the roof, setting up his recording. 8:51. My finger on the trigger. 8:52. Scope trained on where his head would be. 8:53. Roark took a step forward. 8:54. Roark took his last step.

The bullet breezed through the smog, shining white until it found its target and flashed blue on contact. It punched through the top of the spine and clean through the neck, but I lost sight of it after that. Roark staggered forward and slumped against the ledge, phone in freefall. 8:55. I turned to Jacob and nodded. 8:56. We were under the Grand Osiris Highway, next to a crackling fire.


*****​
I was careful to avoid the scene of the crime the next morning when I passed back through Oreburgh. I stayed to the shadows of the mountain and back alleys on my way back to the pass, staying multiple blocks clear of the stadium at all times. A two block perimeter had been cordoned off and the Sinnoh Police Department was crawling all over. Just as one of the boys in blue stopped one of the miners coming in from Jubilife, I snuck past and headed back to my apartment.

I checked the mail on my way up, but the box was bare. To be fair, mail takes time to travel and Roark has been dead for less than 24 hours. I opened the door to the apartment, and noticed two letters pinned to the corkboard Deion had stolen from the Osiris Homegoods store down the block. One with a familiar block lettering, and the other blank. I grabbed Deion’s letter first.


“Dude, I caught your match on Jubilife TV! A Starly vs a Geodude? You’re absolutely crazy, but they do say that old people start to lose frontal lobe capacity, so it’s not your fault.

Anyways, I’m headed to Eterna City to take down Gardenia. By the time you catch up, maybe we can have a drink in Pastoria. See you when I see you, Eddie!”


His letter was dated two days ago. By now, he’d probably be on the train to Veilstone or on the mountain pass to Hearthome. I turned on the TV, hoping they might be playing some highlights of his match against Gardenia on some channel, but every channel had Roark’s face plastered across the screen: BELOVED CORONET TWELVE AND MEWTUBE STAR MURDERED (I predicted that headline nearly to the letter, I should go play the Lotto).

“Roark Steele was found dead on the roof of Oreburgh Stadium, according to reports from Sinnoh PD. Here is a statement from Officer Constantine.”

“The victim’s phone was found shattered, but the data within was intact. We have the entire department working around the clock to pin down the identity of the killer. We have also received anonymous tips that during Mr. Steele’s last live video conference, a flash of white can be seen in the background, as well as a silhouetted figure, before the phone fell.”

“Thank you, Officer. We hope that the Sinnoh PD can resolve this case, and if any of our viewers have an anonymous tip, the department asks you to call the number on the screen.”

Fuck. All that meticulous planning, all the time spent following Roark, and the crick in my back that still hasn’t gone away, and for what? To have the police start sniffing up my ass because that hack couldn’t go an hour without being on his phone. Good fucking riddance. In my rage, I ripped the untagged envelope off the wall and bills scattered all around the apartment. Luckily, the letter was untouched.


“Masterful work, Mr. Dorian. Do not trouble yourself with the investigations of the police department, I assure you that they will not interrupt your work.

Since you are a smart man, I expect you understand this letter is my second request.
Eliminate Gardenia of the Coronet Twelve.

Good luck, and enjoy the Eternal City.”


*****​
I hate the Eternal City. It couldn’t have been the Average-Sized City. I would’ve even settled for the Really Big City. But no, the damn thing had to be eternal. I spent so much time looking for the Gauntlet accommodations and signing up for my match when I got out of the forest that the sun started setting. I let my Pokemon stretch their legs in the apartment and took a chance to enjoy the Eterna nightlife.

After a much-needed shower, I headed to the Pine. The Pine does not refer to the big ass tree in the center of the city, but instead, it is the name for the ring of nightclubs that surround the tree. Of course, the grassland it grows on and acres around it were Sinnoh-protected land, but where the rules and regulations end, the fun begins.

At some point during night, I found myself at a nightclub called The Underground. I must’ve blown half of the money I had on overpriced themed drinks, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t feel better sipping rum from a halved Prism Sphere. The night wore on and everything started to fade in and out of focus. The lights in the club pulsated in time with the beat, alternating red and pink. All thoughts I had rushed out of my mind as soon as I saw a head of pink hair across the club, peeking out above the crowd. I pushed past people, shouldering through and then I saw her and time froze.

She was in a stunning pair of silver heels and a skin-tight black dress. The lights danced across the stones hanging off her neck and her ears, like the moonlight on the sea of the Seafoam Islands. Her brown skin was unblemished, as perfect as I remembered. Her lips, pink like her hair. Her eyes, a deep brown that she covered with silver contact lenses. Her hair, cascading down her shoulders like Tohjo Falls.

“Amira.”

I caught a Red Sphere to the back of the head and passed out.
We finally get to the promise of the prologue! It's actually a scene that was a lot of fun to write, and turning the Sinnoh Underground into a nightclub is one of the best things I've ever done. It's too bad Eddie's gonna wake up with a raging headache because I feel like it'd be a pretty nice club.
Thank you to @Zephyr_Iphis for beta-reading! <3
 

Rhema

Conqueror of the Azalea Gym
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
209
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.
YES! One down, eleven to go! Way to murder, Dorian!

Seriously though haha, was oddly excited to see Roark go down? I've just been so curious as to how you were gonna write the assassination. Very intrigued about what happened at The Underground (such an awesome interpretation, making it a bar/club, btw). Is this woman a past lover? Competition? Both? Can't wait to find out!
 

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