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Written Story Alola Teen Pokemon Sun Storylocke

Thread Description
(18/06) Chapter 5: "Every time I get in spitting distance."

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
forflop_medium_by_raineyj-db44fj5.png

A flash of bravery sees Lillie cast out from a paradise prison where her mother has long served as jailkeeper. With her body free, can her mind follow?
Rules:
  • If a pokemon faints, it's boxed and rendered unable to battle again.​
  • Only catch the first pokemon encountered in an area. You may ignore and retry if it's a duplicate.​
  • Shiny pokemon may be freely caught.​
  • Pinwheel clause applies to Route 1.​

Table of Contents:

Character Art and Bios:
Credits:
  • Banner by Rainey
  • Character art by beloved cryptid zephyr_iphis
  • Beta readers are credited on a chapter-by-chapter basis​

Opening notes:
  • I've taken the opportunity presented by the forum move to restart my storylocke! It had a number of problems stemming from a lack of planning that compounded over time.
  • This run is tagged as level 3 critique (an explanation of the level system can be found here). I'm not married to this and will happily accept any feedback you feel is appropriate. I will note that since this is a reboot, and I've got a pretty clear vision for how I want to go about it, I might not be too likely to act on feedback given on broad-scale stuff. However, if you feel I'm careening over a cliff, please let me know!
 
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csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2
Prologue

“Help him, please!”

High on Mahalo Trail, feet on the cracked lip of a swaying plank bridge but daring to inch no further, Lillie Frost put her trust in a stranger.

It felt easier than breathing.

“The little guy?” Lillie’s stranger asked. She was a stocky splash of pastels, with a broad voice, and when she looked out to the middle of a bridge, where a little starry scrap of a pokemon was being beset by Spearow, she seemed impossibly steady. “I got him. No worries.”

Lillie realised her mistake after one step -- asking for help from somebody as fundamentally helpless as she. "Wait! You don't have a po--"

"Doesn't matter." The stranger smiled. There was something wild in it.

She tried to raise another objection but it seemed to bounce off the stranger's back. By the positioning of her head, the other woman walked with her eyes up, negotiating that swaying plank bridge with an ease that shamed her. They were big, bounding steps; always forward.

Lillie knew all there was to know about her, there and then.
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
She never knew when, exactly, her natural caution had grown out of control. When the unfamiliar had become so frightening. When a video call became an ordeal. When nothing left her mouth that was not carefully, tremulously chosen. Perhaps it had begun when Gladion left -- but that was a lie, an attempt to neatly reason it out. It just was. Mother called it her diligence, when she was feeling charitable.

That feeling, that mood, passed into memory years ago.

Night had fallen on her eventful day and Lillie found herself in the midst of far too much noise. When a local boy her age -- making him a man by technicality -- asked her to attend the festival with him, she had demurred in anticipation of a crowd. And now here, outside Iki Town’s community centre, the very thing she dreaded had assembled.

Without, it seemed, the one she was looking for.

The battle stage from earlier had since been moved away to make for a bonfire, with the area around it dedicated to music and dance. The remainder of the clearing left plenty of room for a buffet, benches, tables and other ad hoc seating. Children and their new pokemon scurried about, chasing and playing and finding themselves frequently underfoot. Most adults wore sandals or went barefoot altogether, with bared calves to match. Open shirts, less familiar pastels, swimwear, sarongs and towels bunching pleasantly on hips... all of them contributed to an air of informality. The trainer’s ceremony and dedication to Tapu Koko seemed quite forgotten.

She should have been grateful to have been left sitting with only her duffel bag for company. She shouldn’t have been scanning smiles, or scrutinising steps. Or missing home, where humidity was corralled and banished to the enclosures. Paradise.

Her stranger should have been there. She had said so back on the trail, while they were breathing air sharp like lightning. Air that served as the island guardian’s lingering benediction. Lillie had felt it ripple across her skin and done nothing.

And then the stranger had shrugged, grinned, and waved farewell. Maybe they would see each other around, she had said. Like it didn’t matter.

Pew?

“Nothing,” she told her open bag. The scrap in there — Nebby, named in defiance of the Aether Foundation’s designation, Cosmog — he didn’t seem satisfied with her answer. “Are you hungry?”

Pew! If she pretended, it sounded close enough to affirmation. Reason enough to stretch out her legs and rise. This put her at shoulder and head height with most around her. Through them she moved, circling the edge of the dance area, her attention jumping between bodies of those within. Lillie catalogued them with dispassion: bared shoulders, unfamiliar looks, sprays of freckles…

All strangers, and none hers. The observation clung like sweat. Night was deepening and familiar faces seemed to have melted into it. Where was Professor Kukui, whose slapdash fieldwork she documented and whose loft she slept in? Where was the island’s stolid kahuna? His broad-shouldered grandson?

“Lillie!” The grandson. The one who wanted her there. He bore his gifts with easy grace: his tall frame and strong, handsome features, all kindled by a lively smile. The two-armed wave he favoured her with matched what little she knew of his nature: open, grand. Matching his looks. “Alola!”

She couldn’t begin to return it.

“Hau.” He lit up when acknowledged, and joined her in line. Tucked into his sleeveless shirt was an amulet from the kahuna. Decidedly untucked were his biceps. “Congratulations.”

“For-- right, yeah!” Hau brushed his amulet on the way to rubbing his neck. “Still doesn’t feel real yet. I keep forgetting.”

“You have someone to remind you,” she said, with a small smile. “What did you call your pokemon?”

“Bubbles.” They moved within reach of a table. Hau took two paper plates and began piling them indiscriminately, and Lillie resolved not to notice his gluttony. Mother would have been scathing -- and he certainly didn’t deserve that brought to bear on him. Very few did. “I kinda love him already! Well, no kinda about it. Bubbles and I are gonna do great things.”

After adding a couple of spoonfuls of an overdressed salad to her paper plate, Lillie answered him. “I agree. That is-- I know that you both will.”

He was content with that for the rest of their sojourn at the buffet.

“So what changed your mind?” Afterwards, at his request, Lillie was carrying an overburdened Hau’s drink, poured to match his second plate. She nearly poured it back out when she heard his question. “About coming along tonight.”

“Yes, well...” her attention was snagged on a dancer’s sashaying waist. When her partner’s arms closed around it, Lillie looked away. Somehow, that didn’t suit her stranger. “Professor Kukui. I think it would make him happy.”

“Yeah?”

By his pace, they were coming closer to the place he wanted to sit. Lillie studied him, and when no further comment came, realised it was on her to elaborate. “He… would be pleased to know I had a friend. And that I was being a little more social.”

“Oh.”

“...sorry,” said Lillie, without understanding the offence given.

“That’s okay!” Hau’s answering grin took a beat longer to reach his eyes. “But hey, it’s too bad you couldn’t make it to the ceremony and the battles earlier. If you wanted to meet people… anyway!” They had arrived at one of the wooden picnic benches closer to the community center. Perhaps, Lillie realised, she ought to have paid closer heed to being lead away from the gathering. She could not afford to be so trusting with Nebby under her care. But-- “Here’s a person!”

But there sat her stranger.

Sat was inadequate for conveying the breadth of the space that stranger managed to occupy and the languor with which she did so. Her scuffed shoes splayed in different compass directions. Her cheek rested on her tanned arm. She was utterly boneless; Lillie’s hero, her stranger, with bandages covering the talon marks raked across her back in Nebby’s defense. They were visible under her loose, drink-stained top.

“Fuck,” she said, when Lillie looked down at her. “Shit.”

“Pardon?”

“I mean-- yeah. Uh. G’day.”

“Isn’t it nighttime?” asked Lillie.

“Huh, s’pose so.” There was a motion close enough to a shrug. Sweat-stringy hair fell across her face. Then she twisted her mouth into an easy grin, pushed herself upright, and fixed all that unwashed elegance on Lillie. “Still. Hey?”

Pew!

She hushed him without looking away.

“Hey,” said Hau, “do you guys know each other already?” Lillie shrugged, too, and the informality felt freeing. Mother would have taken it as insolence. “Okay. Lillie, this is Moon.”

Her stranger no more.

After that Hau ushered her to sit across from them both. She set her duffel bag on the picnic table, bowing to protests from Nebby and allowing him to survey her companions. Instead, he launched himself at their plates.

“Nebby,” she said -- because Mother wasn’t there to. In this they were united. “Don’t be so uncivilised.”

“Don’t listen to your mum,” Moon told him. Lillie watched her tear her flatbread in two and slop it in sauce. “Go feral if you want. Here.”

Hau, sliced tamato berry on his plastic fork, frowned. “It’s okay. Lillie must have fed him earlier. Right?” She nodded. “Let’s not make him sick.”

“Whatever.” With another careless shrug, she stuffed the flatbread she had offered Lillie’s pokemon into her mouth, despite Nebby having bitten into it. Then, not wiping sauce away, she took an extended draught from her plastic cup. It came down empty, like the grin that followed, and in an admittedly deft movement Moon pounced up to sit on the table itself, her back to Lillie. “Lil. Help me take my top off. Hau’s gotta see these gnarly scars.”

"No!" There was no need to think through an appropriate or diplomatic reason to reject such a request. "Absolutely not. In any case, scar tissue only becomes apparent after a wound has healed."

“You’re no fun.” Her lips were expressive. But why, Lillie wondered, was she looking at them particularly? She bit the inside of her own cheek and the thought passed. Moon’s expression flickered, but was smooth again when she turned away.

Hau cocked his head. "Scars? You weren’t the one in our battle."

“Yeah, but I tried to punch some bird-types when I fucked off earlier. S’how I met this little bugger.”

Pew!

“Flying, first of all,” he said. Then, with a short laugh, “fighting-types do have a disadvantage.”

Moon’s answer was an uninhibited roar, a laugh that boomed. “Think I get why, yeah.”

The pair of them, her hero and her friend, fell deeper into their drinks and their conversation. Moon’s back remained turned to her. Lillie gathered up Nebby and tucked him away and left them, and fancied that they never even noticed.

She convinced herself it was better that way.

Thankyou particularly to Rhema, Manifold, PagesofParsley, and Dag for help with beta-reading!
 
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PagesofParsley

Conqueror of the Cerulean Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
285
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
9
Location
gremlin land
Nature
Naughty
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Fairy
Pokédex Entry
gay
I've screeched at you a whole lot about this reboot, and I'm beyond stoked to see it hit the forums in all its glory! I remember reading Trainer-watching months ago when I first joined the forums--one of the first runs I read--and I'm just as impressed now as I was then. Actually, that's a lie. I'm more impressed now. Your prose is tighter, more focused, and that's a worthy feat considering how good it already was. Lillie's narration is as crisp and engaging as ever. It's dignified and slightly morose, just the kind of language that brings a character like Lillie to life. Moon and Hau are so different by comparison, so colorful and unique, that all three of the main cast members hardly even need dialogue tags to sort them out.

I'd also just like to commend you for being brave enough to reboot. It's never easy taking a step back and admitting that to create the best story possible, you might need to take a different approach. Seriously, kudos to you. This is great stuff, and I cannot wait for more!
 

Frostmourne

Warriors of the Frozen Wastes, Rise!
Writer
Pokédex No.
46
Caught
Jun 14, 2019
Messages
51
Location
in her hoard
Nature
Sassy
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Fairy, Cool
Pokédex Entry
A Dragon Lich Queen | Fabulous and Stabulous
I'm so stoked to see this! Your original work was one I was able to read on the sly and not as frequently as I wanted, but I'm so excited to have the ability to read this reboot as it comes out. It's really fantastic so far, too. Your narrative is tightly wound and beautifully woven, with a lot of rich sensory descriptors that really are at odds with the distance Lillie holds the narrative, too. It's such a fine-tuned story with fine-tuned writing, and I am very stoked to see how it goes. The cultural clash, the subtle ties to class and behavior and the like? All of that really gets my brain whirring. I really am digging this, great work on this and I love the growth you've demonstrated. You're a phenomenal writer, please keep up your amazing work so I have more to enjoy! //selfish (:
 

Paine

The doctorate is in pain.
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
118
Caught
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
319
Location
Good question!
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
He/him; they/them; she/her
Pokémon Type
Psychic, ???
Pokédex Entry
It never quite knows what it's doing. Yet, somehow, things still get done.
Is this the infamous Lillie and Moon you've kept talking about...

Either way I'm down! (And the character art dang... you can tell a lot about everyone in just the one profile there, huh xD). This is a semi-live read reaction so enjoy.

As of the first chapter: yes hello I love Hau I would say I want to see him grow up & thrive & etc meme here but uhh. Think he's got that covered xD Lillie's portrayal here is... quite interesting! But I like it, it's very reflective of the kind of shit she'd had to have grown up with and absorb. Even when you know it's not right, there's still only so far you can go in shaking what's made up the foundation of your life.

Moon
I'd say more but I think just. An emphatic Moon about sums it up. also shh Hau bird types are real, I heard it from a guy in Kanto!

Aaand just... poor Lillie at the end there :') Ouch...

Looking so forward to watching this develop, especially it being a reboot :D
 

Uberle

Lur King
Screenshotter
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
209
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
193
Nature
Lax
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
Fire
Pokédex Entry
Stays in the distortion dimension where no one bother him
I'm crying
I'm laughing so much right now
This is GLORIOUS

Ok, I haven't read this before, but every character is basically what I expected from what I've seen in writing chat
All amazing

AAAA, I can't wait for more
 

Bowser's Family Vacation

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
301
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1,069
Nature
Rash
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Cool
Pokédex Entry
"Am I Mario's babysitter? Are you going to call me every time that guy blows his nose, or what?"
Everybody: I'm going to re-upload my masterpieces update by update, so new readers aren't intimidated!
Me: IT'S ALL HERE

Seriously, though, I'm loving this trend! ^^ I've been meaning to read this run for a while, and here's my chance..!
I love immediately how Moon is "Lillie's stranger"? Like, Lillie, isn't that a little soon? XD
I love the subtle cues in Lillie's narration to indicate her trauma. Like, she loves her mother! She's just cautious by nature! Excessively so!
Or missing home, where humidity was corralled and banished to the enclosures. Paradise.
This is my favorite hint here. The cage of Aether is a paradise to Lillie right now.

Tucked into his sleeveless shirt was an amulet from the kahuna. Decidedly untucked were his biceps.
That's an Alola mood. Like, yay, lack of body shame, but it's not great when your body shame is already internalized.

RIP, Hau. Friendzoned by someone who had no idea he had any interest. Hau is a good bean who respects that, though. Now, go, Lillie! Be a happy lesbian with your stranger!

“Hey,” said Hau, “do you guys know each other already?” Lillie shrugged, too, and the informality felt freeing. Mother would have taken it as insolence. “Okay. Lillie, this is Moon.”

Her stranger no more.
AAHH THE JEALOUSLY INHERENT IN THOSE FOUR LITTLE WORDS AAHH

Her lips were expressive. But why, Lillie wondered, was she looking at them particularly?
oh geez i dont know rick I'm so looking forward to this bab's lesbian awakening.
 

vent

Conqueror of the Vermillion Gym
Pokédex No.
41
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
24
hey! it's great to see you're back at TW finally and you've 100 percent improved from the first go at it; the main trio are in top form out of the gate and I'm very interested to see where you go with this new shot at the story proper!
 

BritishAirSnails

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
90
Caught
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
80
Location
I come from my house
Nature
Modest
Pokémon Type
Grass, Fairy
Pokédex Entry
Beware the BritishAirSnail. They come from the sky and leave their slime EVERYWHERE
I never got a chance to read the original TW, but I'm not going to miss my chance to read the reboot!

So, I have hear A LOT about TW and, just from the new prologue and first chapter, I see why. Reading things from Lillie's pov is striking and the imagery you're able to convey is great.

How you handled the opening part of the game with the bridge was simple, but powerful. We get so much of just not Moon from Lillie's perspective, but of Lillie herself, as well.

I already love Hau, he's endearing and drop dead gorgeous, loved the comment about the biceps XD and Moon is definitely a rough around the edges kind of gal, and poor Lillie is just enthralled already.

I can't wait to see what comes next and how these two completely opposite girls are going to mesh.
 

Washi

a good bean
Writer
Pokédex No.
72
Caught
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
4
Nature
Gentle
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Flying
Pokédex Entry
Has an unfortunate habit of writing story-changing plot points on post-it notes and then losing them.
AAAAAAAAAAA

I got super behind on reading TW on the old forums, so imagine my surprise when I see it’s not only here but being rebooted! As great as the old run was, I can already tell from these first two chapters that your prose has tightened and you know precisely what you’re doing, which is making me emotional.
All strangers, and none hers. The observation clung like sweat. Night was deepening and familiar faces seemed to have melted into it.
That description? Delicious. Bring me my knife and fork plz.

Lillie, Moon, and Hau all feel familiar but so much sharper than I remember—we’re really hitting the ground running right from the beginning and all I have to say is, good thing I bought some hiking shoes cause I’m HERE FOR IT.
 

Dustox

Professional Schemer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
10
Caught
May 15, 2019
Messages
143
Nature
Hasty
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Bug, Poison
Pokédex Entry
"No matter how hard you look, you won't see what I'm scheming."
So guess what? You deserve a Tyra gif.



Because gurl, like I messaged you, this is solid grade A+ work. Your best picture so far. Picture of the week! I read this side by side with the original T-W and not for nothing, that one was already solid to begin with. But this just blows it out of the water.

You have so much more mastery over your world, your characters that it is leaking out everywhere. This alone:

The battle stage from earlier had since been moved away to make for a bonfire, with the area around it dedicated to music and dance. The remainder of the clearing left plenty of room for a buffet, benches, tables and other ad hoc seating. Children and their new pokemon scurried about, chasing and playing and finding themselves frequently underfoot. Most adults wore sandals or went barefoot altogether, with bared calves to match. Open shirts, less familiar pastels, swimwear, sarongs and towels bunching pleasantly on hips... all of them contributed to an air of informality. The trainer’s ceremony and dedication to Tapu Koko seemed quite forgotten.
It illustrates so much of the place we're in effortlessly without feeling like just dumping the information there for people to see. There's so much to glean from this one paragraph, about how the town and the people work. And of course, your characters.

I think it's great that there's this renewed focus on Lillie, who has always been the main character. But you nail her character here in so many lines but I think this is my favorite.

She should have been grateful to have been left sitting with only her duffel bag for company. She shouldn’t have been scanning smiles, or scrutinising steps. Or missing home, where humidity was corralled and banished to the enclosures. Paradise.
And of course, fucking Moon over here.

Sat was inadequate for conveying the breadth of the space that stranger managed to occupy and the languor with which she did so. Her scuffed shoes splayed in different compass directions. Her cheek rested on her tanned arm.
Again, I think the work you put into this reboot shows and shows. This has been polished back and front, side to side, up and down, zigga zigga ah, and you've made an already amazing run into something even more spectacular.

All in all, 😩👌
 

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.
Ugh, I totally forgot to comment on this earlier so apologies for that. You’re freaking awesome and I consider you the master of romantic tension tbh. The dynamic between Lillie and Moon is palpable and *hot* from the very beginning and I’m pumped to follow along with your updates because I love me some problematic romance. Also love how Lillie just immediately friend zones Hau lol. Well done as always!
 

MouseWithADinosaurTail

A Comedian At Heart
Artist
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
47
Caught
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
1,464
Location
Snubbville
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Flying
Pokédex Entry
She's like a sea urchin. Tough and prickly on the outside, but delicate and easily wounded if hit the wrong way. Please handle gently.
Wonderful, Im loving this so far! A nuzlocke run from Lillie's perspective is an interesting choice full of potential, and I love Moon already, hahaha! Can't wait to see how things go on! It seems like Hau's got a popplio, so I'm excited to meet Moon's rowlet!
 

Manifold

Conqueror of the Vermillion Gym
Pokédex No.
678
Caught
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
18
One of the pleasures of a reboot or revision is how focused the writing can be, now that it can work toward its goals rather than trying to discover them. That polish definitely shows here. The use of the phrase "her stranger" for Moon, again and again, gives the chapter a backbone on which it can lean on. The later chapters of the old T-W made great use of repetition like this and it's great to see you mix it into the beginning of the reboot. I feel it conveys so well, and so succinctly, Lillie's estrangement and distance from other people even amidst a crowded festival, a point that hits home in every other aspect of the chapter - descriptions, dialogue, etc. - as they get filtered through her strongly filtered point of view. The development of her character and her relationships with Hau and Moon have started off real strong here!
 

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
Wassuuuuuuup, as someone who only got a lil ways into catching up before this reboot, I'm hype as hell to actually be up to date on this!

First off, that prologue. Not even 200 words, and yet, the characterization of both peeps is wonderful. That "it felt easier than breathing" line struck me real nice (prolly bc I like to throw those same kinds of punches), and you portray this mysterious stranger very well through a wild smile and through action which is always such a treat to see done. It's such a fuckin anime scene in the game, but you pull it off here as the start of a journey that I'm sure will just involve a wonderful friendship between two disparate people and in no way have any relational strife or words uttered that can never be taken back or any of that!

The style is exactly what I'd expect, and I mean that in the best way possible. Looking at the world through Lillie's eyes (in third person POV, because of course) lends this analytical approach that not only does well just for being able to lay out entire scenes like the bonfire and make it feel natural as her just scanning across the view, but it also makes the figurative language pop a bit more:

Her stranger should have been there. She had said so back on the trail, while they were breathing air sharp like lightning. Air that served as the island guardian’s lingering benediction. Lillie had felt it ripple across her skin and done nothing.
It's Alola so there's gonna be some hella opportunity for this kinda stuff, but it's still cool to have this very even tone that can lead into these pieces of imagery that serve to emphasize particular feelings or some such. This goes double for the sheer contrast between Lillie and Moon, which I feel like there are ten billion ways to portray that and you've had and will have all the fun in the world finding all of them.

That's about all I have rn but I was glad to hear you're rebooting it and felt a lot better about the direction and I hope this totally not late at all comment becomes a vaguely early comment bc I can't wait to see more!
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Goldenrod Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
238
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17
On a sunny morning, sitting on the narrow stretch of beach outside Kukui’s shack, temptation overcame Lillie and her scruples. It left her with a bottle of sunscreen in one hand and a cylindrical flask in the other. Neither belonged to her.

They weren’t unreasonable thefts — few acts of hers were — nor even permanent ones. Quite as just as they were temporary, in fact, because of the days that had passed since she had snuck away from Iki Town’s festival, and the discovery made in that interval, unsettling and exciting.

Lillie had found out who her neighbour was.

Therefore she had gathered what little courage remained after her escape from Aether Paradise, and spent it on placing down her towel besides the canvas bag belonging to the beach's only other occupant -- her neighbour, Moon. Other items of interest poked out from it or bulged against the bag’s thin confines. And Moon, she knew through careful observation on prior mornings, from the beach shack’s blanketed loft, would not have turned for shore yet.

Normal people, like the ones she read about in Wicke’s yellowed paperbacks, showed up on their neighbour’s doorsteps and waited for an invitation inside. Once there, they drank hot beverages and exchanged pleasantries. And, crucially, they often showed up with a gift, something they knew their neighbour liked.

That was why Lillie had to pull that canvas bag over. It was why she needed to reach in and first pull out the elongated vacuum flask she had spotted, hiding under a bottle of sunscreen that she set down in the sand. Knowledge. She twisted the flask open and learned first that the lid served as a cup; secondly, that it was filled with coffee. Lillie breathed it in — thin and sharp, lacking the robust body that came from beans ground on-site. Earthy.

Cheap. Mother — she would have hated it. Lillie sympathised.

And yet Moon drank it each morning after her swim, while she sat on the beach and stared out at nothing. Maybe the rhythm of waves stretching over then drawing back from shore lulled her — something Lillie realised they would have in common. Her breath probably hung heavy with it afterwards. So if they stood close to each other— and if Lillie drank from the same cup she fervently hoped Moon was civilised enough to use, then it would be like—

“Man, I hate that stuff.” The accent was foreign, though familiar. It belonged to someone Lillie had allowed to sneak up, while those unhygienic but intriguing thoughts had pawed at her. This woman wore a very thin floral-print dress whose wrinkles suggested it had been retrieved from the floor. Lines of swim shorts showed under. Plasticy sunglasses pushed back her mane of unbrushed hair. Lillie judged her to be around her own mother’s age, but the differences between them could not have been more pronounced. “You really gonna drink it?”

“Well…”

The woman jostled a plastic bag at her side. Lillie heard chunky ceramic clinking within. “I’ve got tea. Want some?”

She didn’t. “That would be lovely. Thank you.”

The woman introduced herself as Opal, and dunked two tea bags in her shallow mug after it was filled with hot water. When handed another vacuum flask, Lillie pointedly poured water over her single tea bag and refused milk and sugar with a tone that was barely polite. It did not escape notice, during this, that Opal smiled and lifted Moon’s things up and away from her.

“Been here long?” Opal asked. Then she blew on her tea.

Lillie, like a proper lady, let hers rest undisturbed. Even cheap tea deserved peace. But her mind churned like undertow. “I— was planning on a walk. The waves— they’re nice. So I sat here.”

“Right. Only been here a coupla weeks myself.”

“Oh!” Lillie pretended to sip her tea. There were waves, and wind, and cries of pokemon sounding from the grass behind them and the sky above. And yet space without words felt intolerable. She could see Opal watching in her peripheral vision.

“Maybe the coffee is more your speed after all.” She grinned. “No worries there.”

“It’s…”

“You’re here to meet a friend, right?”

Lillie nestled her cup down in the sand and looked out to sea — Moon had turned for shore. She pressed her lips together and inclined her head only slightly.

“That kid out swimming?” An unwelcome elbow grazed her own in a nudge. “Shit, you sure you wanna?”

“What?” Lillie’s response was sudden. To it, she tacked a scarcely more moderated, “why should I not be sure, specifically?”

“Bit of a boofhead, that one.”

“Well,” said Lillie, with finality in her tone. The— the adjective Opal had used for Moon was not worth the indignity of repeating. Its pejorative nature was clear. “Thank you for the insightful warning.”

Thanking somebody was one of Mother’s most effective tools for dismissing them. Even when pointed, it allowed all parties to save face. It was a tool for swatting Aether subordinates.

“No worries!” And it had no effect on her unwanted company.

There was no more time after that to dismiss her: Moon had surged out of the water and was taking her first heavy steps ashore. Her swimwear was in two pieces and left her midriff uncovered, but fell in otherwise practical-looking lines. Lillie could see just how high the freckles on her legs ran, how they almost connected to her hips, how they skipped up to her arms, which showed far more definition— that is, any— than was strictly ladylike; how those freckles lastly dusted shoulders and cheeks flushed from exercise. When she shouted a breathless greeting and half-jogged up the sloped beach to meet them, Lillie was too caught up wondering why Moon squandered the sight of her body with such loose, formless casualwear to respond.

That body, after all, was the product of obvious cultivation, and so she considered it with the cool detachment of a patron considering a well-formed sculpture. As for the material used — when Moon threw herself down on Lillie’s other side, and drew heaving lungfuls of air in — it would have been a simple matter to touch her and confirm a hunch. Clay, mouldable, yielding—

“Wait.” Moon shot upright. Looked through her. “Mum. Why are you here?”

Lillie’s head snapped about. The familiarity in Opal’s expression fell horrendously into place. “You—“ Gladion’s propensity for the profane was something, in that second, to be envied. “I—“

“She been giving you shit, huh, Lil?”

“Oi, fair cop!” Their accents both broadened. “Only came out here ‘cos I thought she was gonna pinch your stuff.”

Her heart pounded. Lillie sought redemption in her cooling tea; drinking so hastily that she slurped at the cup’s lip. Mother’s laughter rang in her ears, and Opal’s smile seemed little better.

“Fuck all worth nicking.” Moon’s breath was slowing, evening. But still she tossed her words about in reckless fragments. “Forgot my keys.”

“Bloody typical.” There was warmth in how Opal snorted.

“Please,” said Lillie, “forgive my manners. And allow me to introduce myself. I—“

“Don’t worry.” Moon’s mother waved her hand airily. “You already did.”

"Knew you were giving her shit.” Moon was quick to speak -- certainly, Lillie thought, the closest thing to serious since she had sounded since Mahalo. Even that was still light. “Behave, mum. Don't be such a mongrel."

Both retained their grins. They weren’t ghoulish ones, nor glassy ones, nor dangerous ones, Yet what had passed between them— all the swearing— vanished with an easy laugh from Opal. As though it had been nothing remarkable.

“Anyway,” she said, climbing to her feet. “It’s Lillie, right? How d’you take your coffee?”

“Oh,” she said. Rapid review of their short acquaintance supplied Lillie with the answer Opal seemed most receptive to. “However it is made. I am not terribly fussy.”

Opal’s eyes flicked between them both. “I can tell.”

“Mum!”

“Seeya at brekky tomorrow, Lillie.”

“Mum!”

Lillie counted a set of waves while Opal walked back up the beach. Moon’s hands moved and snapped through her peripheral vision, forming into gestures she had sometimes seen her brother make at their uncle Faba’s turned back.

Her stomach churned again. It leaked into her voice. “Is that… ordinary behaviour?”

“She was doing worse ones.”

“...I see.”

“Yeah, nah, never mind all that,” said Moon. The reproof in Lillie’s tone worked as intended, leaving her neighbour apparently now eager to move on. “Wasn’t actually sure I’d run into you again after you buggered off the other night. So...”

“Ah,” said Lillie, shifting in place. “That.”

“You don’t have to explain. No fun listening to pisspots and all. I mean,” she said, off a look of unconcealed bewilderment, “drunks. When you’re not, y’know?” Lillie murmured a blank affirmative. “Yeah, I never go deso driver ‘cos of it.”

Her words were a maze. One that it was best, Lillie felt, to simply push past. “It was a long day.”

Moon’s agreement came bundled in a sigh; Lillie responded with eyebrows raised. From Mahalo Trail until now she had been utterly indefatigable. Now--

“Anyway. You local?” Moon’s eyes flicked over her. “That’s cool. Dressed for a walk. City girl’d favour Hano, right?”

“I don’t… get the chance to go to beaches often.” An explanation sat behind her tongue -- or a justification. An apology, maybe, for a life lead in such abrupt contrast to her former stranger, her newfound acquaintance. There was still courage in her, or cowardice; because Lillie swallowed it back and let her words hang there. It meant that for a moment, she was just a beachgoer, not Aether Foundation's furtive heiress.

The reply came free of any indication that her pause had been noticed. "That sucks."

“I suppose.” Lillie found herself smiling.

“I like it when you smile.”

Something jolted in her stomach. Merely, she decided, from the surprise of it. “Pardon?”

There had to be an explanation.

“Oh! I just-- nevermind. I mean, it’s-- it’s cool to know you can.” Moon began to collect her things. “Like you got all the right muscles in your face for it.” She stood. “Face muscles. Good. Was a bit worried.”

“What?” Lillie then corrected herself. “What do you mean?” Such an outburst was unseemly, even if it were only a short one. Her own face burned -- had she spent too long in the sun already? “Of course I can smile.”

“Yeah. Course you can. Your little mate too. Does enough for you both.” Moon looked down and around her, and this time, Lillie better understood her expression: she was searching for her -- their -- way back from the unfamiliar precipice they had come to. “No little pew for that one? He not here?”

“Professor Kukui is looking after him,” said Lillie, rising too. “But I fear I’ve been away too lo--”

“Nebby’s at the lab?” Moon interrupted her. “Not too far, then, at least. And ol’ mate’s alright company.”

“The Professor is under forty,” said Lillie. Others, she would have questioned their interest in Nebby’s location atop her defense of Kukui. Moon had earned her exemption already.

“It’s just a-- like a thing, old mate.” Her response carried a falter in it. “That you say -- or, well, I say. People say, where I grew up.” Moon shrugged, and her eyes dropped down to her bag. “Don’t worry ‘bout it. I gotta go.”

“You do?” She remembered, then, that she had been the one to instigate farewells. “Right. Um, good-bye.”

“Yeah. Seeya, Lil.”

That finality was short-lived. Both turned for the same rutted path up off the beach, and both were marked by the same silence; Moon with her bag slung over one shoulder and Lillie, a half-step behind her ambling, carrying her own neatly folded towel.

“I live over there,” Lillie eventually said, as explanation. “Kukui’s laboratory.”

“Yeah?” Moon’s tone remained blank -- carefully so, she judged. “Are you guys…?”

“I work as his assistant,” she said. Her aunt Wicke had loaned her novels detailing arrangements like the one Moon had hinted at. The imprudence of the inquiry demanded a decisive response.

“Oh!” Both had come to a stop at crossroads, where sand gave way to grey dirt paths and stringy, thin grass. Lillie knew not to stray too far from there, where it thickened and flourished wild. Those areas were alive with sound and movement -- which posed hindrances for her, but no issue for a trainer. Moon’s stance relaxed -- deflated -- as though it were a demonstration keeping pace with her thoughts. It made space between them for a tight laugh. “That’s great. Really great. Good on ya.”

“The Professor is a married man.”

“Doesn’t always stop ‘em,” said Moon. “Or so I hear, anyhow.”

“Moon.” It was the first time she had said her name.

“Alright, alright. Sorry. Let’s not-- make a thing out of this. Yeah?” She held out her hand, to… be shaken? Lillie stared at her and the strangeness of the gesture, outside of business, between two already introduced people. “Please? We’re neighbours. We should, y’know, get along and all that.”

The momentary jolt from earlier returned, fluttering up her chest and then down to her fingertips, when she allowed her hand to be taken and pumped briskly. “Neighbours. Yes.”

She watched Moon leave afterwards, lingering on that crossroad and letting her flats accrue dirt as she scuffed one back and forth, absent. Her eyes and her thoughts ran to the distinctive scarring across the other woman’s back, and from there to ostensibly to contents of her bag, which made a merry clatter when they bounced against her hip.

Lillie turned for the Professor’s laboratory, thinking clay thoughts. Kukui didn’t comment on her inattentiveness during the day that followed -- she was lucid enough to be grateful for that.

But she never noticed his knowing smile.

Thankyou to @PagesofParsley and @Rhema for their help with this chapter! Both are also storylocke authors with interesting works that are very much deserving of your time!

(please bear with me as I am sure I will do a messy job of tagging people!)

@PagesofParsley: thankyou! It did take a lot to finally make the call and go for the reboot. I am a little lamenting the lost story progress but it's a thing that I know was definitely the right decision.

@Frostmourne: smh I can't believe the original run was your guilty read

Very glad to have you on board now in earnest! Also, yeah, the... socioeconomical stuff, I guess, is endlessly fascinating to me. There are some runs on the forum who go harder into it and I am happy to recommend them for further reading, if you're interested!

@DoctorPaine: I will scream until the end of time about how much I love the character art. Tree knocked it out the bloody park and I am endlessly grateful to her.

Also, I love the diplomatic use of the word interesting here, haha. Lillie's... certainly that, sometimes. :v The definitely alternate character interpretation was inspired during my first play of the run, where I thought to myself "gee, what if these kids grew to maturity under this influence?"

@Uberle: 💪 (god i hope emojis work in this fashion here)

Anyway, thankyou for reading! I hope you stick around.

@Bowser's Family Vacation: your mini-liveblog restored life to me, pulling me back from the abyss i have teetered these last x weeks, blessing my crops............

For real, thankyou for stopping by! I hope you continue to stick around.

@vent: well, so far it's gay shitposts oops

But yes, there's some stuff I'm really excited to get to, both in terms of new content and content I would love to rework. This reboot has been endlessly interesting to think about! Thankyou for all your support, too.

@BritishAirSnails: Yeah, I know the feeling. After a certain point with serial fiction re: progression it can be hard to make that initial commitment to get through it. There's no real logic to it but... I've totally been there too hahaha.

Thankyou for choosing now to jump on in! I'm glad you've enjoyed what you read so far.

@Washi: As with the above comment, dw, I totally get it and tbh am sitting here marinating in my own guilt and shame for falling behind on a bunch of things too.

But really I'm super excited to be here again and I am pleased as punch that you feel my prose has sharpened! That is, I guess, I know I've made strides and it's a pleasure to show it and a pleasure to have this recognised. Thankyou! I hope yoou enjoy this chapter!

@Dustox: I can totally see Lusamine chucking an I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU tanty in Ultra Space, right in front of Lillie, while Guzma's Miss J just kind looks on with lips pursed

I'm super flattered you went side-by-side! This chapter, however, wholesale replaces the old chapter 1. At this stage, my next chapter will be more like a straight rewrite (but then make it extra) that will be more conducive to that. Regardless!! Tickled pink, and also so glad that you and other people are here to enjoy chapter 1 moonspreading, our girl just putting everything everywhere right out the gate

Thankyou for commernting! I hope you enjoy this chapter

@Rhema: omfg to your whole comment hahahaha, I am not sorry that I continued to dish out more of The Gay Shit

Also, thankyou so much for your help looking things over with this chapter!

@MouseWithADinosaurTail: sorry to disappoint on one front! We should be seeing both Hau's and Moon's teams in the next chapter.

tbh, I'm just glad this arrangement of starters leaves Litten over for Kukui to give to the Masked Royal, who can then raise it as a glorious tag team partner!

Really, though, a Lillie-perspective run seemed super intuitive to me from the get-go. She's essentially the main character, with the player character acting more as her like, enforcer than anything else hahaha.

I hope you enjoy this chapter!

@Manifold: you are a gift 😭

I feel like there's actually not too much to say here; we talked extensively when the first chapter came out and just before it. The conversations we had about adaptation and stuff, and that whole storytelling thing, these were huge influences on me and you are part of those. I really see your point about discovery vs working to goals. I treasure and value the discovery phase of this immensely, but man oh man has it been fun to come out the gate swinging, you know?

Thankyou so much for your time. I hope you enjoy this chapter!

@Garish Garchomp: you were in fact right on time to be early!

Alola is wild, and I love its shameless dip into anime shit and the potential that gives us to just write some real vivid stuff. I'm no you when it comes to imagery, but I'm still having a lot of fun dabbling!

Congrats on OTR's debut, too!
Normally I'm pretty tepid on notes with excuses for time taken between updates. However, I recently crewed for a children's TV show! It ate up my weeks and I loved it.

If you read t-w's first run, you'll notice that very little of the original chapter this corresponds to remains. Tighter story direction necessitated shifting subplots and some character beats around! I'm happy to go into specifics in DM but would like to keep these notes brief.

Thanks for reading, guys! See you next chapter!
 
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Manifold

Conqueror of the Vermillion Gym
Pokédex No.
678
Caught
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
18
-DAMN, Lillie's thirst is unreal, and I'm not talking about coffee or tea. There's no holding back on Lillie's desire in the early chapters in this rendition of T-W.

-I loved reading about what Lillie thinks "normal people" do, based off Wick's yellow-backs. This entire passage does a great job of showing how isolated Lillie's life has been and how her upbringing has warped her conceptions of what socializing, friendship, and romance are. Best of all, we get to see how odd Lillie is from an outsider's perspective while still being decidedly immersed in her point of view

-Speaking of Lillie's perceptions of relationships, omg the indirect kiss fantasy. I hope Lillie starts studying up on yuri for tips on how to win Moon over

-The revelation that Opal is Moon's mom was hilarious given how she described Moon beforehand, and the whole scene shows a ton about what both Moon and her mom are like

-I'm very fond of and amused by the awkwardness at the end when Moon and Lillie are talking about Lillie's smile. I say this with the benefit of foresight, but Lillie is too in her own head about her own struggles in the conversation to notice that Moon's fumbling through it herself after what I think is that attempt at flirting didn't quite land
 

PagesofParsley

Conqueror of the Cerulean Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
285
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
9
Location
gremlin land
Nature
Naughty
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Fairy
Pokédex Entry
gay
I'm more than honored to beta this fucking gay lovely story, Flop! It's always a pleasure to read your work, and these little gremlins never fail to excite me!

Now, about this chapter itself! I think what I might love most is the focused theme throughout the chapter of expectations. Lillie's expectations of romance. Her expectations of Moon. About Moon's mother. Moon's expectations of Lillie and Lillie's relationship with Kukui. It's a chapter all about the preconceptions we develop before we even know someone. Lillie's so fascinated by her neighbor, acting as if Moon is a mystical creature she has to study. But as she learns a little more about who Moon really is here, we get to see that Lillie's preconceived notions were just filling space until Moon mentions that neighbors ought to get along. It's a wonderfully well done thematic beat! Real people progress through the stages of human relationships. Lillie and Moon are no different, and that's a beautiful thing.

Opal is the absolute shit. I know I screeched about her a bit reading drafts of the chapter, but I seriously love her. And all of the interactions in this chapter, Opal's conversation with Lillie before Moon shows up is the most indicative of the "expectations" theme. Lillie writes her off almost immediately, failing to see her similarities with Moon because Opal's isn't the target of Lillie's fantasies. Opal is just some woman getting in the way. Barely tolerated, barely acknowledged. Honestly, this is the best writing in a chapter of really excellent writing. How Opal navigates the situation knowing exactly what's happening, displaying the maturity of a middle-aged woman but still the playfulness of the person who could only be Moon's mother, is so so good. Her little jabs and jokes about the two of them are hilarious and show so much about all three characters. Lillie not entirely getting it because she's sheltered, Moon's gay ass floundering, and the impish mum teasing her kid with little kernels of truth. I absolutely adored Opal being the catalyst for future development between Lillie and Moon, as well as a truly interesting character in her own right.

The chapter winds down gracefully. A literal walk on the beach is the cheekiest shit, and I love it. The "I like it when you smile" line is so fucking gay, and the lack of ambiguity about their chemistry and attraction to one another is really refreshing in a genre where lesbian romance is sometimes not up front enough (fuck you intsys). Lillie and Moon are awkward, young, and so viscerally real. This ending perfectly sets the tone for the story to follow, for an intimate examination of relationships and two young women learning as much about themselves as they do each other. I really love it, Flop.

You done did real good. I cannot wait to read more!
 

Paine

The doctorate is in pain.
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
118
Caught
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
319
Location
Good question!
Nature
Timid
Pronouns
He/him; they/them; she/her
Pokémon Type
Psychic, ???
Pokédex Entry
It never quite knows what it's doing. Yet, somehow, things still get done.
Aaaaaaa yes good more of the gay shit

And yet the first thing that really sticks out to me is... man, poor Lillie sitting there watching the interaction between Opal & Moon, she was probably just like... expecting it to explode or turn into something nasty, huh? There’s still something highly amusing but also just... slightly tragic about how she keeps going back to Wicke’s old romance novels as guides for How To Social, it’s not like she’s really had any other examples, huh?

Moon is the exact antonym of subtlety and its great; as is her trying to explain the slang/general vocabulary she’s held on to xD & in general, like Parsley said... it’s really interesting, watching this & sewing first impressions vs reality, on all sides. Damn good stuff :D
 

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