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Written Story Sinnoh Mature Behold, a Pale Horse!

Thread Description
Updating every Thursday!

Metafiction

Fourth Wall Demolitions Expert
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
237
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
27
Location
The depths of the nearest salt mine
Nature
Hasty
Pronouns
he/him/his
Pokémon Type
Water, Ground
Pokédex Entry
Writes in bursts of inspiration, followed by long lapses of inactivity. It reacts with sarcasm when provoked.
I never thought I would be so excited to read a story about a hitman being paid to assassinate the Sinnoh Gym Leaders. And yet weirdly, I'm here for it.

The narration hits just the right balance of grit and snark to keep me invested. The amount of effort you've put into expanding upon the world is fantastic as well; there's so many neat little details that really give things life. Deion is a great addition to the story, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him, as well as (hopefully) figuring out who exactly this "Amira" is and what she means to Ed.

As for the mysterious benefactor, I'm definitely intrigued. I have my theories on their identity, but I guess I'll have to wait and see whether those theories are sound or not. Definitely keeping an eye on this one.
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
Administrator
Moderator
🌱Featurer
Writer
Pokédex No.
43
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
147
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
he's ok i guess
Already just excited to see how long it takes until there's real danger for Eddie wrt investigations. I'm pretty sure after Gardenia gets got, things should be getting super serious there. Also, as soon as #2 is down, Maylene is going into a fucking bunker until further notice, so it's going to be really damn hard from there I'd think. Unless this mystery person is pulling more strings than that N'SYNC video...

I am totally just rooting for it to be Deion tho. Man is a legend. Not even gonna try to guess until I have some more to go off, though, and even then I'm not good at that stuff.
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
116
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
Okay I'm going to be honest, when reading the gym battle, I... sorta forgot why our dear Mr. Dorian is out and about in the first place? So seeing him prepping to well, y'know, take out his target? Felt so surreal. I love how he's just straight-up "business as usual" about it, despite the gravity of what he was about to do, just goes to show this is far from his first rodeo. The precision was really cool, even if Roark sorta mucked it up for him with his constant need to document his life.

Speaking of Roark, jeez, he was... pretty easy to dislike, y'know? I wasn't sad to see him go. xD Clearly Eddie wasn't, either. But I have to wonder... will the rest of the Coronet 12 be equally awful? I'm biased because I love the Sinnoh gym leaders, but it'll be interesting to see if Eddie comes across one of them who is, at least on the surface, harder to have that killer's detachment with. I'm very 👀 about the prospect.

Turning the Underground into a nightclub is legendary af, and Amira? Fuck, I'm excited about her. No idea what her character will mean for Eddie's background or for the story moving forward, but with an entrance like that, I KNOW it's gotta be good.
 

csidvuL

Conqueror of the Ecruteak Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
31
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
274
I got a copy of Sniper Elite 3 a few weeks back bc I had a powerful hankering for some snoipin. There's something enormously calming and satisfying to see a plan go off there. Reading your chapter put me in mind of it! The use of a Crime Abra was enjoyably novel, and I really enjoyed the attention to detail put into naming The Pine. Contrasting the clean and detached getaway with Eddie's messy performance in the Underground was good, solid storytelling, and I appreciated it a lot. I'm really looking forward to more!
 

Zephyr_Iphis

cryptid
Artist
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
101
Caught
Jun 18, 2019
Messages
62
Location
Surrounded by animals
Nature
Quiet
Pronouns
she/they
Pokémon Type
Flying, Steel
Pokédex Entry
It protects itself from the cold by wrapping up in blankets. It loves food and cooks constantly.
I must admit that being ahead of the crowd on this run is a lot of fun. Although not as much fun as the run itself. Eddie's wisecracking and the amusingly absurd disconnect between the gravity of what he's doing and his almost blasé perspective on it. But really the best thing about it all that is how well it manages to characterized our protagonist. Already there's a glimpse of a fascinating past that has me watching for each new hint. Being ahead also gives me the benefit of hindsight for these first few installments and I can see more clearly how some of the almost throwaway details are hinting at the many mysteries yet to be solved. I love those stories you can look back on and go "OH, that's what that was about." The pacing is also particularly comendable since this story moves at quite a clip. It's never confusing or fatiguing and knows how to give just enough to bring the world and characters to life. Just another thing that makes this such an engaging read. Good work! I'm excited to get to more!
 

localhoney

grook
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
195
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
  • #26
It's Thursday, so you know what that means!
@Rhema: Hell yeah! Hope you enjoyed the way that scene went down. The Underground is definitely a club I'd want to go to and it was a fun way to include such a popular part of those Sinnoh games. Lover? Competition? Both? Who's to say?

@Metafiction: Glad you have you on board! Thank you for the compliment on the world, I try to keep things semi-realistic so that it's easier to stay invested in that universe, so it made me smile that you're enjoying it. And do not worry, we're gonna be seeing a lot more Deion (and Amira) in the future. I'd love to hear your theories, especially this early on when there's not much to go on, it's fun to watch everybody theorize.

@Garish Garchomp: That NSYNC video was pretty good, but you'll have to keep reading to see how dicey things get. Do you think Deion would just lie? About who he is? Who does that?

@Aurea: Yeah, Roark did throw a small wrench in the works, but it's nothing a career professional can't handle! Roark was a prick, for sure, but there's some gym leaders in Sinnoh I love too much to give that treatment (Volkner).

I'm very happy you enjoyed The Underground as nightclub route, I didn't wanna leave it out but Eddie didn't strike me as much of a spelunker :v. We'll see when Amira comes back into play, but damn it, we've got a hangover to nurse!

@csidvuL: snoipin is what Eddie does best! Poor little Jacob doesn't know what's going on, he just wants to go camping. I'm glad the contrast of the scenes paid off! I previously had a little Eterna Forest romp there but (thanks to Zeph) I killed my darlings so we could keep the pace and get to some juicy stuff.

@Zephyr_Iphis: Zephhhhh!! It is similarly fun to have someone ahead of the pack and to bounce ideas off of to get a sense of how they might play with people reading the story.

That's part of the reason I love Eddie, his perspective is practically made for this story. He's moving quick but he's got his wits about him, so it doesn't feel like we're losing out on any critical details or background (except for some fun stuff on the way, maybe next week?)

This week, I also humbly bring you a very short extra that you should keep your eyes on! (wink wink)
When I came to, I was back at the apartment and considering the light shining through the window, it must have been early morning. More concerning was my lack of clothes and the woman sitting at the kitchen table. I immediately pulled the sheets over myself and tried to piece together the events of last night.

“Who are you, why am I naked, how did I get back her-”

My barrage of questions was interrupted by a throbbing headache in my temples and an even worse pain in the back of my head.

“I brought you back here. You got cold-cocked by one of the patrons at my bar, so I felt somewhat responsible for making sure you got home safe. And you’re naked because my Cherubi gave you a bath with the help of your Buizel and you apparently don’t own any other clothes.”

I made a mental note to buy extra treats for Aya, Arno’s new girlfriend who hunted us down from Floraroma.

“You own the Underground? Who even are you?”

“You mean, you don’t recognize me?”

She stood up and as soon as the heel of her boot hit the ground, my hungover ass knew who she was. The face of juice cleanses. The vegan queen. The permanent image on the only billboard in Twinleaf. She stood at the foot of the bed with her arms crossed, waiting for a response. I threw my hands up in surrender.

“I got babysat by Gardenia Eden. Oh god.”

“Mm, babysitters get paid. I did this out of the kindness of my heart. It’s the last kindness you’ll be receiving from me, Mr. Dorian. I’ll be expecting you tonight at the Eterna Stadium. Don’t be late.”

As she strutted out the door, I threw myself back in bed with a groan. Luckily, this match was later in the day than the one in Oreburgh, so I had time to compose myself. I went to get started on an over-the-top greasy breakfast and was surprised by the spread of fruits and foods already arranged across the countertop. On the edge was a note that said “Got bored, so enjoy. Visit Eternal Fashion (down the block from the Underground) and tell ‘em I sent you, you need a new wardrobe. Or any wardrobe” in impressively swirly cursive. Gardenia might’ve been my perfect woman, if I wasn’t being paid explicitly to kill her. And if she wasn’t married. And if she was attracted to men.

After smashing through the breakfast spread and throwing on last night’s attire, I headed out the door and cursed whoever made the sun so god damn bright. I made my way to the store and told the girl working the front desk that Gardenia sent me. She pointed towards the back of the store with a snort.

“Sure, buddy, clearance section’s over there.”

I flashed the note that Gardenia left to the girl and she turned a pale white.

“I am so sorry, sir, please follow me.”

She led me to a second story only accessible with a mess of keys and I have never felt so out of place. The clothes weren’t hanging on racks. They also weren’t messily folded on tables like when somebody wants the medium on the bottom. There was exactly one of each clothing item, all tailored to the mannequin they were on.

I settled on a pair of skinny black pants with a white belt and some blue loafers, all brought to me from a back room by some weirdly reverent employee. I also picked up a crisp white turtleneck. I didn’t plan on wearing this every day, but considering what people looked like at the match in Oreburgh, I wanted to have something to fall back on. I have no qualms in traveling the region in sweats, but I’d like to look good on TV. I paid for my items and filched a navy blue bomber jacket on the way out (just because I can afford it doesn’t mean I’m suddenly an upstanding citizen).

I noticed the sun setting behind the expanse of glass and steel buildings and hopped on one of the old-timey trolleys headed in the direction of the stadium. After a few minutes of rumbling along the wide streets of the city, I stepped off and walked right up to the registration desk, this time situated on the outside of the stadium. There was a massive glass dome that enveloped what I assumed were the stands on the inside, and also served as the tracks for some mobile lighting fixtures that were swiveling around as if for practice.

“Good evening, Mr. Dorian. Mrs. Eden has three Pokemon for this match, which consists of a double battle to start with, followed by a one on one. You need only to defeat two of her three to be named the victor. Which three will you be registering?”

Hoping to avoid the same mistake as last time, I let all of my Pokemon out of their balls right next to the desk. Ezio was still a Starly, but his chest had been puffed up since taking out that monster of a Geodude. Plus, he had the natural advantage fighting a bunch of overgrown flowers, so he was a sure bet. Bayek was still struggling to find his place as a fighter, so he was out. Arno was my anchor in the last match, and Gauntlet rules dictated that you couldn’t use your previous anchor in your next match, so he was out too.

I caught a glimpse of Deion’s match on the TV above me; Eastwood had evolved into a Gabite and was tearing through Gardenia’s Roserade. I didn’t have anything that could deliver that much raw power, so I had to go for a more strategic approach. All I was left with was my two rookies, Aya and Aveline. Maybe a water weasel wasn’t the best choice to battle someone who specialized in grass Pokemon but Jacob couldn’t do much in this battle except levitate a few branches. I placed their balls along with Ezio’s on the desk and returned the rest of my team.

“Time for the girls to put in some work.”

After signing off on the registration form, I walked through the front door of the stadium which, oddly enough, led directly into the dressing room. I changed into my fresh new threads and ran into some old friends, Large and Larger. After Roark’s unfortunate death, they were relocated here to beef up Gardenia’s security. Standing behind them was a woman that was half their size but shared their mass. I settled on naming her Tiny. Tiny sized me up and smacked her gum while she talked to me.

“Alright lover boy, you should know how this works. This knucklehead’s gonna pat ya down, the other’s got your mic and I will push onto the stage on your cue. Got it?”

As I went to answer, I was engulfed in muscle. Before I knew it, I was being pushed through another set of double doors. When I emerged, the crowd went wild. If I squinted, there were signs that said “Do it, Dorian!” and “The Mad Tactician!” I had amassed myself a nice little following (maybe I should become a MewTuber). The Eterna stadium was totally different from Oreburgh’s. In Oreburgh, the stage is at the front of the building and the stands fill up the rest of the room. This was more like an amphitheatre where the battle takes place in the center. There were two elevated platforms at the end of the walkway from the doors to the field, presumably for me and Gardenia.

As I admired the place, Gardenia sprung out of her doors and the crowd revived the dregs of the hangover I was nursing that morning. Much like she left my apartment this morning, she strutted towards her platform, her eyes and smile on the stands at all times. With a flick of the wrist, she quieted the crowd as the battlefield began to spring up below us.

Much like at Oreburgh, the metallic covering slid back and what looked like an entire forest rose from the center. Dense, thick pines covered up the majority of it, but brambles and sharp bushes seemed to be springing from the undergrowth as well. While I wondered how the crowd would see the battle, a set of four massive displays lowered from the ceiling and turned on, providing a bunch of ever-shifting camera angles. They occasionally flashed with advertisements for Gardenia’s new Poffin Powder or No-poke Tails (vegan alternatives for Slowpoke Tail).

“Eterna! Welcome to this Coronet Gauntlet match! Meet your challenger, the Mad Tactician, Edmund Dorian! And of course, I need no introduction since I am your Pride of Eterna, Gardenia Eden!”

I felt a camera whizz by on the tracks and I turned to give it a wink. I felt a buzz go through the crowd in response, and I tossed Aveline and Aya onto the battlefield. Aveline materialized and immediately hid herself in the dark underbrush, only noticeable by her glowing red necklace, while Aya grabbed hold of the trunk of the tallest tree. Gardenia released her two fighters: a Turtwig and a Cherubi (hopefully not the same one that cleaned me up last night).

“I saw you take down a Geodude with that Starly of yours, so don’t think your Buizel’s going to slip under the radar! Oakley, Sunny Day! Juniper, Weather Ball!”

In an instant, desert heat started beating down on the battlefield (even though it’s the middle of the night and I don’t know how that works). Her Cherubi formed a glowing white ball above her head and it caught fire. In a blink, it was blasting through the makeshift forest below us, leaving cinders in its wake. Aya switched tree branches and started trying to put out the flames, as Aveline stuck to the edges that were yet untouched by the fire.

“Aya, hose her down!”

On command, she hustled down the tree and sprayed a jet of water that instantly turned to steam. Aya froze in confusion as the cherry gathered another flaming ball above its head.

“Aveline, scare her!”

Aveline appeared directly behind Juniper and spooked her, causing the forming ball of weather to dissipate. Aya rushed back into the forest, getting out of the path of another attack. Gardenia called out another attack before Aveline could disappear.

“Oakley, bite down on that ghost!”

Her Turtwig rushed her, dark trails of smoke coming off of its teeth, and bit down. Aveline let out a blood-curdling scream that might’ve shattered the eardrums of about half the crowd.

“Put his ass to sleep!”

Aveline turned her head while she was still in the turtle’s mouth, and her eyes started to glow a deep pink. Suddenly, the Turtwig’s jaw went limp along with the rest of his body and Aveline flitted back into the darkness of the remaining underbrush. As Oakley fell into a deep sleep, the heat was replaced with a cool breeze and I watched Gardenia shift her weight. She had snagged the early momentum but we were turning the tide.

“Aya, Aveline, get back on the Cherubi!”

“Juniper, Razor Leaf!”

Half the leaves from the forest suddenly went up into the air in front of the Cherubi and shot forward. Aveline hadn’t materialized yet, but Aya looked like she was dodging through a laser grid. Up, down, side, side, down, and with that last jump, she caught the edge of a leaf that shredded the inflatable collar around her neck. Aya was splayed out on the ground, spraying water on her new wound. Aveline took shape and sent a multicolored beam at the cherry. Juniper went flying backwards and had a rough meeting with the pillar Gardenia was standing on. In her confusion, she curled up into a ball and started spinning circles around Aveline. Right as she went to make contact, Aveline vanished, and the Cherubi’s speed sent it careening against the acrylic walls of the battlefield. As Juniper passed out, her Turtwig was back up and running. I recalled Aya as Gardenia did the same for Juniper and noticed too late as Oakley tore through Aveline again.

“Get out of there, Aveline!”

Instead, Aveline started wailing. But it wasn’t a scream like before, it was more like some type of ghostly freeform jazz. I watched as Oakley started shivering and wincing as if he was in pain. One more chomp from that turtle and Aveline would be dead (again). But she kept singing, and Oakley started to fall into an even deeper sleep than before, only this time it was accompanied by convulsions. A harsh melody reverberated throughout the stadium, but whatever she was doing was working out for us, so I let her take the lead. A white beam absorbed Oakley just as Aveline finished her song.

“Perish Song is practically unheard of at any stage in the Gauntlet. To throw a Curse on top of that… you truly are insane, Mr. Dorian.”

The crowd, both excited by my success and relieved that the screeching had stopped, erupted into another bout of screaming.

“However, that does not count as a knock-out for match purposes as it is the Twelve’s duty to prevent senseless death. Unfortunately for you, that means you get to face Ingrid!”

At the mention of a final battle and Ingrid, the crowd went even wilder. I even heard a few failed attempts to chant “Gardenia” and “Ingrid” until they finally figured out “Eden.” Ingrid appeared at the center of the battlefield and the spotlights above me twisted and settled on the Roserade. Much like her trainer, she enjoyed the spotlight and blew a few kisses in the direction of the crowd. I noticed a couple of chunks missing in her large bouquet-arms, no doubt from her bout with Eastwood. Eastwood was a monster, 150 pounds of muscle and blades for teeth, and even he had struggled against Ingrid in the clips I had seen. I put Ezio out there and knew we were far too out-classed.
*****
Good afternoon, Detective Queen.

I hope this e-mail finds you well. I am writing to you on behalf of the Oreburgh precinct of the Sinnoh Police Department. Attached to this correspondence is a detailed report about the death of Coronet Twelve member, Roark Steele.

No murder weapon has been found, although a distinct bullet wound was discovered, entering at the top vertebrae and exiting through the windpipe. The victim’s jugular was severed, and we have yet to find the bullet. We have determined there are only three positions from which the attack could have taken place: the Oreburgh Pokemon Center, the entrance to the Oreburgh Mine, and the Oreburgh Museum.

We have a list of potential suspects:
  • John Belmonte (miner)
  • Deion Michaels (Gauntlet challenger)
  • Craig Dunbar (miner)
  • Loyola Sandoval (beautician)
  • Edmund Dorian (Gauntlet challenger)

We would like to request your help in resolving this case.

Thank you,
Officer Giancarlos Constantine
Sinnoh PD - Oreburgh Precinct
*****

*****
Good evening, Mr. Constantine

Please explain this to your chief of police or lieutenant or whoever requested you reach out to me. I decipher clues, evidence, things that others have missed. A detective of my caliber will not sully his hands with a simple homicide. Although Mr. Steele’s passing is tragic, and the person responsible for his death is surely a dangerous individual, I assure you that the Oreburgh Precinct can handle it.

Do not reach out to me again unless the case develops further and there is something to actually detect.

Detective Ezekiel Queen
*****
There is something that I equally love and hate about writing battles. It forces me to stretch myself creatively but I'll be damned if I don't get stumped in turning a Wing Attack slaughterfest into something interesting. Hopefully you all enjoyed this week's update! Sponsored by Gardenia's Green Juice.

As always, beta-read by the lovely @Zephyr_Iphis
 
Last edited:

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
606
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
This run is quite the joyride: The protagonist is oddly likeable, the writing is on point, the worldbuilding rocks, and the idea of having to assasinate the GYm Leaders is such an engaging concept. Looking foward for the next chapter.
 

localhoney

grook
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
195
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
  • #28
@JavierE64: glad to have you along for the ride! I appreciate the love, and I hope you enjoy every bit of it going forward.

“Ezio, move!”

The final match started with Ezio getting pounded against the ground. A Grass Knot had caught one of his talons and Ingrid was beating him senseless with her bouquets. At the sound of my voice, Ezio scratched up a pile of sand into the Roserade’s eyes and flew up into the tops of the trees. He was my best bet for this weed and he was getting beaten right off the bat. I saw the cracks in his beak from the battle with Roark start to expand in certain spots and felt a twinge of regret. If I was a decent Trainer, I would’ve come in here guns-blazing with type advantages and trained Pokemon but no, I came in with a Starly whose biggest victory came by smacking a Geodude into a stone pillar. I shook off the sentimental nonsense, and steeled myself.

“Dive-bomb her, Ezio, she’s not fast enough to stop you!”

That was one thing I noticed from Ingrid’s time on the field. She was still recovering from her battle with Eastwood, which made her a step slow. Ezio pushed off a tree and fired like an arrow at the Roserade. He got in a good hit with his wing, but not without catching the back end of a Poison Sting on his way back up into the air. He grimaced (as much as a bird can) with every flap of his wings and landed on the tree in front of me. A poison-steeped needle was jutting out from his leg.

“Aim at her roses, buddy!”

The battle fell into a pattern. Ezio would swoop down, deal out some damage, eat a Poison Sting or Magical Leaf, and fly back in ever-increasing pain. As they went on, he started to look like a purple pin cushion. He was getting slower, but so was Ingrid. One more well-placed hit would’ve been enough to take her down, but Ezio didn’t seem like he had it in him. I had to try.

“One last hit, with everything you’ve got!

“Stun Spore!”

Ezio took a dive and before he got within striking distance, Ingrid scattered hundreds of yellow spores into the air. Ezio’s flight got cut short as he fell through the air, his body entirely paralyzed. Thirty feet from the ground. I tapped his ball nervously. Twenty feet from the ground. I could save him before he hit the ground, but then I’d be forfeiting the match. Ten feet from the ground. I shook my head.

“Ezio, please, shake loose!”

Ezio hit the ground and vanished behind a cloud of dust. In the center of the haze, I saw a white light flash for a moment, and suddenly, a Staravia was hauling ass across the field to Ingrid. It tore through Ingrid’s white petals with a fury and unleashed a flurry of Wing Attacks as the Roserade crouched down.

“Seed Bomb!”

Ingrid fired a massive amount of sticky seeds into the air, and they went off in a chain reaction. The sky turned into a recreation of an underwater minefield, with the Staravia dodging the very edge of each explosion. The last seed exploded right in its face, but the bird rocketed through the blast and directly at the Roserade. With its talons, it ripped up the bouquets that it used to beat Ezio up earlier. It snipped a wandering Grass Knot and continued its onslaught. The bird moved with a speed that even on the video feed, it looked like there were multiple Staravia raining down hellfire on the rose. Then it flew back to me and I noticed the crack in its beak. No matter how big he got, there was no mistaking the irregular flight pattern of my boy Ezio. Gardenia returned Ingrid with a sigh and lifted her arm to present me to the crowd.

“The match goes to Edmund Dorian and his Staravia!”

*****
Privacy does not exist in Eterna. Being part of the Gauntlet comes with some notoriety, and I started to get people coming up to me in the street to take pictures. For a normal person, this would be a massive step up from living in a shitty town with a shitty landlord. Unfortunately, I am not a normal person. I’ve been interrupted every time while tailing Gardenia! The few times I snuck through the city unnoticed, Gardenia was in plain view of at least ten cameras. I ran into her at a crosswalk near downtown and decided to change my approach.

“Hey Gardenia, just the person I was looking for! I wanted to pay you back for taking my unconscious body back to the apartment the other night. Let me take you out to dinner, say, tomorrow night?”

“Oh, Edmund, you do know I’m taken, right? And if I wasn’t… I toss my Pokeballs left-handed, if you get my meaning.”

“Yes, you’re gay and happily married, I know! This is just a friendly meal, I feel that I owe you something in return.”

After a brief pause and a pair of cold daggers trying to figure out if I was lying, she shrugged.

“Well, I’d be remiss to turn down a free dinner if that’s the case. But I pick the place! Meet me at Om Om Snom tomorrow around 6.”

Tomorrow rolled around and Gardenia arrived at the restaurant with her usual entourage of Large, Larger, and Tiny. They waited outside as Gardenia and I sat down. Om Om Snom was more elegant than any place I’d ever been in. There were chandeliers made of ice hanging from the ceiling with tiny Litwick ice sculptures serving as the light bulbs. Way in the back, against the wall, was a massive ice sculpture of what looked like a Caterpie or some other bug engulfed in ice. It also doubled as one of those fancy recirculating fountains you see at weddings and rich people’s funerals. Even the chair made a polite squeak when I pulled it back to sit down. After the usual pleasantries and ordering expensive imported appetizers (Galarian Slowpoke Tail Bites taste great, by the way), I got down to why I was really there.

“So what does a typical day look like for the exceptional Gardenia Eden? I’m guessing… copious amounts of green juice and meditation at sunrise.”

“Edmund, I’m the owner of one of the most popular clubs at the Pine. If I see the sunrise, it’s because I pushed last call back a few hours.”

And with that, and a couple more Power Rum Punches, Gardenia started rattling off facts about her life in bits and pieces. The vegan queen persona was a lie (heartbreaking news, personally). She’d turned down a few endorsement deals from Silph and Devon a few years back, but eventually Darius Soleil, head of Osiris Industries, was the one to wear her down. Soleil was paying her to highlight their green products, and the money was competitive enough that she was considering retiring from the Coronet Twelve after this stretch.

She mentioned that her routine was dependent on her not receiving any more Gauntlet challengers, but aside from Deion and I, the challenge track was dead so that wouldn’t be an issue. After a good day at the Underground, she’d go to bed at 4 in the morning and wake up just in time to catch her wife headed to work at 1 in the afternoon. A couple of walks through the city, and right before her bartending shift, a meditation session (I knew she meditated!) below the Eternal Pine. Every single day, without fail, at sundown.

The waitress brought over the check, and after paying, I walked a stumbling Mrs. Eden home in the company of the Burly Brigade.

It was 1 in the morning when I dropped Gardenia off at her swanky luxury high-rise. Lucky for me, that meant I was only a block or so from the massive pine she meditates at. This was the first time I’d ever really paid attention to the tree, and it was ridiculously imposing. I’m not a particularly religious man, but if there were one dedicated to this tree, I might think about it for a second. I walked through the field surrounding it, trying to find a spot to pick Gardenia off. The bottom of the Eterna Pine was pretty public, but only Coronet Twelve members and employees of the Public Park Service were allowed within the fenced in zone, so I would have time to fade away into the bustling crowds afterwards.

I went through a mental checklist, trying to pick a building to set up inside of. The Underground? Too flashy, too much in and out, that’s out. Galileo Styles? Way too much money behind those doors, I wouldn’t even get in. A stretch of Carbink’s Crystals, Mag-mart, and Licki-Liquors all got crossed off my list until I happened on a building that looked like it got sucked out of Twinleaf and dropped here. Gray facade, smashed windows, no obvious cameras or security system to speak of. The next three buildings in either direction had all been torn down or were on their way. I noticed a picket sign that said: FUTURE SITE OF OSIRIS REALTY. I pushed through the disintegrating glass door and headed to the top floor of the building, careful to not fall through the rotting hardwood. Sightlines straight to the center of Eterna Pine Park, concrete foundation, no foot traffic to speak of. We got a winner.

I released Jacob, told him to memorize the location, and had him teleport me back and forth from the accommodations to my newly-decorated sniper’s nest. I set it up exactly like Oreburgh, except this time the tripod needed a slight height boost so I built up a stack of cinder blocks until my crosshairs were in line with more-or-less where Gardenia’s head should be.

I teleported back to the apartment and bought a Veilstone Train ticket for tomorrow at 9:30. That’s just enough time to hightail it out of Eterna before the cops cordon off the area and set up checkpoints at all points of egress. A quick teleport into a busy crowd, blend in for fifteen minutes or so, and then a speed walk to the train station a few blocks south. At worst, that being if I get lost in this city again or something goes sideways, I’d still have enough time to hop onto the train as it pulled away. At best, I’d be reclining in a train car, sipping on below-average booze.

*****
I was sitting in the bones of Osiris Realty at 8:07. It takes about ten minutes to walk from the edge of the park to the base of the tree. With Gardenia’s swift pace, she made it there at 8:14. The Burly Brigade followed suit and got in position at 8:19. Tiny facing east towards Eterna Forest and directly in front of her, Larger facing north towards the financial sector of the city, and Large facing south, and by association, me. I adjusted my scope as Gardenia sat down. 8:20. The reticle mere inches over Large’s shoulder.

8:21. I wrapped my hand around the grip and twisted the tripod a few degrees. 8:23. I curled my finger over the trigger and applied a slight pressure. 8:24. A breeze blew through for a minute, and I let it pass. 8:27. I heard a creaking in the building. I shook it off. Old, shitty buildings settle. 8:28. I held my breath and pulled the trigger. Like last time, a glowing white light fired. The bullet brushed past Large’s shoulder, before lodging itself in Gardenia’s skull with a blue flash on impact.

8:28. She slumped over dead just as the sun finished setting. Another creak. 8:29. Large looked for the shooter, while Larger checked on Gardenia and Tiny yelled orders into a walkie-talkie . 8:30. I glanced at the street and no bystanders were even scanning over this building. Another clean take. Or so I thought, until a hand grabbed me gingerly by the shoulder and I felt a mouth far too close to my ear.

“Lovely shot, Mercury. Or is it just Edmund now?”

Thank you to @Zephyr_Iphis as per usual <3
 

glancesherlock

Consulting Detective
🌱Featurer
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
32
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
181
Location
221B Baker Street
Nature
Lonely
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
Fairy, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Just wants to stay home and solve crimes.
Ack! Fell behind. Having a few updates to read in a row was nice though!

I like this play-by-play approach to the moment leading up to the assassination, with each minute accounted for. The killing itself is so brief, but the quickness of it makes it all the more impactful vs if you had lingered on it.

👀 Hey, Amira.

Om Om Snom. Never. Ever. Apologize.

I can't believe you're giving us "Gardenia was only three weeks from retirement." smh This one is going to hit harder than Roark; she's actually super likeable, and the fact that Eddie is probably going to leave some poor woman a widow makes me sad. :( You and your cliffhangers, haha. I'm guessing our mystery girl is making her second appearance here.

Re: extra. You had me at Detective. Detective Queen, tho? How'd you know my alter ego Can't wait for the inevitable moment where the case suddenly becomes interesting enough for this person to get involved.

EDIT: I want you to know that I was so engrossed in reading this, I didn't hear my oven and nearly burned my tatter tots.
 
Last edited:

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
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Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
116
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
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She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
Holy shit you are breezing through, sorry for falling behind! ;; That gym battle was intense! I had a feeling Ezio might evolve, and not a moment too soon.

Have to echo glance -- I really like the play-by-play of the assassination. It was very succinct and business-as-usual. It was like we were reading about something as mundane/normal (to Eddie) as an office procedure, not a murder. I think that really goes to show how this isn't something that feels too personal to him? He doesn't get a kick out of it or anything -- it's just a job. He's methodical, quick, and then gone.

I have to say, this... this one hurt more. Gardenia was genuinely likable. She took him in, was friendly at dinner, so close to retirement and then she's leaving behind a widow... I expected Eddie to have a harder time with it, I guess? Suppose it just reinforces my observations above, but oof. It stung a little to read.

Fuck, I was worried he might get caught. The fact he's already listed as a suspect, the way he mentioned that there's no privacy, how there's already so much attention drawn to him and then he took her out to dinner right beforehand? Suspicious as hell. I about jumped with that last line, and I'm dying to know who spotted him.
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
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Pokédex No.
43
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Jun 12, 2019
Messages
147
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Sassy
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he's ok i guess
Seriously, idk how it's gonna go from here-on out. This fucker who caught him here (gonna guess a Galactic exec, unless you're already roping this Amira fucker back into proceedings) could be bad news, but Edmund could use aaaaany help he can get. He's very clearly on a list of suspects just from Roark, and soon he'll apparently have an ACE DETECTIVE on his tail. Whatever interference can be run, or whatever ways he can shake up the routine or provide alibis or what have you, he'll need every damn bit of it. Shit, after two deaths they could have reasonable cause to shut down the whole fuckin league for a while.

Echoing the above, you pulled out all the stops making Gardenia likable right before her demise, in stark contrast to Roark. It makes sense, easing us in with a fuckwit before going to someone we'll miss far more, and I really like how you're giving each gym leader legit personality instead of making them just faces on targets, but it's still cruel lmao.
 

localhoney

grook
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
195
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
  • #32
@glancesherlock: glad to see you back in the thread and enjoying the story! If it already hit harder than Roark, just wait 'til you read what I've got for y'all this week. Maybe Amira shows up, maybe not, but you got another week to find out.

Nearly burnt tater tots are an incredible compliment!

@Aurea: Eddie's a very busy man, gotta get moving. I went through maybe four different styles for the assassination til I settled on this one, so I'm glad everyone's enjoying it. Next week we'll see who caught Eddie so early on in his business.

@Garish Garchomp: Let's see where the fuck it goes, my friend! Killing somebody so high-profile was bound to be tricky (and I wouldn't be writing this otherwise lmao).

This week, instead of getting right back to Eddie's story, I've got some extras for y'all.
Canalave - 1997
Roark Steele is born to Byron Steele and Cheryl Stonewall in a burgeoning city that will soon be known as Sinnoh’s principal port. His father has recently been elected to the Coronet Twelve, his mother is taking time off from her medical studies to care for him, and his adopted brother Riley has taken off to some far-off region in search of his calling. He is the talk of the town, and Roark knows it.

Before he can crawl, Roark teaches himself to run and spends his days running up and down the street. They say it takes a village, and for Roark, that is true. The sailors teach him to rig sails, his father’s chef teaches him how to cook, the trainers teach him the basics of battling. He adores the attention, but is yet to receive it from the one man he wants it from. Byron Steele comes to be known as the Man of Steel, and that moniker goes beyond his tactics on the Coronet Gauntlet battlefield. At home, he is cold and unyielding. Roark spends his days in town, coming up with ways to impress his father. All unsuccessful.

Roark turns thirteen, and that summer, Riley returns from his travels. He rattles off all of his impressive achievements in battle, all the things he’s learned, even the religion he’s begun to dabble in. Byron Steele’s cold exterior cracks, and the booming sound of his laughter catches even Cheryl off-guard. Byron takes Riley under his wing, even gives him command of the Iron Island operation. Roark is left to the wayside. He spends his days with his mother, but he is not satisfied. Roark sneaks onto an excursion to Iron Island with Riley and Byron, and steals a fossil from the dig site.

Cheryl returns to medical school in a small mining town, close enough for the boys to visit. Far enough that they don’t. Roark spends a year with his fossil before making the trip out to the newly-christened Oreburgh to see if his mother’s medical expertise is of any use. Sure enough, his mother knows of a research scientist developing revival technology, but it’s a few years away from completion.

“You can stay with me, if you’d like.”

Roark stays put in Oreburgh, addicted to the attention from an entirely new set of people.

He spends time in the mines, putting his father’s teachings to use. He slowly becomes an integral piece of the mining operation, and that is when his fossil is finally revived. The scientist calls it a Cranidos, a Pokemon unseen in Sinnoh for thousands of years. He’s sixteen. Roark abandons Oreburgh and his mother, and returns back to Canalave to show his father the fruits of his labor. He is unimpressed. Byron now has even more responsibility, being a senior member of the Twelve. The little time he has, he gives to Riley. Roark spends half a year in Canalave before returning to Oreburgh.
When he returns, he finds that his mother has passed away. Long term exposure to coal dust caused her to contract black lung disease, a disease that only doctors on the bleeding edge of medical research could have cured. Roark blames himself. Roark spends years in the mines, training his Cranidos at the same time. Anything to stay distracted.

A new video platform called Mewtube takes shape. Roark makes home films, to honor his mother. He gains fame. His battle prowess is renowned. He is twenty-one and is invited to join the Coronet Twelve. His induction is nearly unanimous. The only nay: Byron Steele’s. Roark severs all ties. Riley reaches out via Mewtube. He doesn’t answer. He continues making videos. He becomes the most-viewed creator on the platform.

It’s not enough.
Eterna - 2010
Gardenia Eden moves to Sinnoh from Lavender Town in Kanto at twenty years old. Her and her wife, Leaf, are determined to start a new life together. They lease an apartment in the south side of the city, and Gardenia knows somebody that knows somebody and starts working as a bartender in what would become the Pine. The both of them are known for their abilities in battle, but Gardenia does not have much time to refine her skills between the full time shifts at Galaxie.

Leaf watches her come back silently at six in the morning, every morning.

Before Leaf can get her first job, she’s scouted as a potential member of the Coronet Twelve, a scouting instigated by Gary ‘Blue’ Oak back home. Gardenia encourages her to apply.

“I want you to do whatever makes you happy.”

They fly Leaf off to the Battle Frontier that same weekend, with no notice for either of them. Leaf writes to her every week, and Gardenia writes back. Until she stops writing back. Five months later, Gardenia is now the manager at Galaxie. She owns the apartment she was leasing. She’s even found the time to train up a few new Pokemon that she met in the Eterna Forest. Leaf still isn’t back.

Leaf returns a month after Gardenia is promoted to manager, crying and distant. The apartment is silent, save for Leaf’s sobs. Gardenia tries to get her to open up to her, but to no avail. It takes three weeks for Leaf to tell her what happened.

“That fucking model guy killed him! He killed Blasty!”

Volkner, the newest inductee into the Coronet Twelve, had been chosen to test Leaf’s mettle. In an intense battle, his Electivire punched clean through her Blastoise’s shell, taking its life in mere moments. Leaf was forced to bury him alone. She was not appointed to the Twelve.

Months pass, and Galaxie gets shut down on account of money laundering. Gardenia is left jobless, with just enough in her account to pay for four months rent. The same amount of money she had put away to start her own club. She pays the rent.

Kanto’s Silph Company reaches out to Leaf to be the spokesperson for their newest line of Technical Machines, ones that will never break and can be reused forever, with the proper care. Leaf accepts, desperate for any way to help Gardenia pay for the apartment. Leaf goes from top-notch Trainer to runway model almost immediately, and the money starts to roll in. Gardenia starts putting away funds for her dream club again.

Leaf comes home from a shoot with a horrendous cough. It goes on all night. Then for two weeks. She starts to slim down, even beyond model slim. After a month, her hips and back are perpetually sore and breathing is harder than ever. Gardenia convinces her to go to the hospital, where she is diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. All the funds for Gardenia’s club go to her chemotherapy. Leaf can no longer model, but her contract was signed. Silph reaches out to Gardenia to complete Leaf's contract, mentioning that they understand the severity of the situation.

“If they understood the severity of the situation, they wouldn’t even fucking write me.”

Time passes, and Leaf is in remission. Her classic long brown hair is replaced with short brown fuzz, but she’s getting better. Gardenia goes from two jobs to one, and starts up her fund again. Leaf can no longer work but she keeps the mood light, cooks every night, and tries to keep Gardenia from going off the deep end. Silph still wants Gardenia. Devon Corporation, interested in only undercutting Silph, starts reaching out to Gardenia too.

A few years later, Gardenia gets scouted by the Coronet Twelve. She turns to Leaf. Leaf encourages her.

“I want you to do whatever makes you happy.”

Her newfound fame gets her an increased flood of modeling and endorsement offers. She turns them all down. She finally saves up enough money to open up the Underground. Her life starts to turn around.

Leaf passes away after suffering a stroke in her sleep. Gardenia’s world collapses. She maintains her position as one of the Coronet Twelve. She keeps wearing the ring. Leaf’s name doesn’t go to the obituaries. Gardenia doesn’t want anyone to know, except for her family who agreed to keep things quiet. Gardenia spends every second she isn’t battling or filing paperwork at the Underground. It becomes the crown jewel of Eterna’s nightclub district. The club is losing money, but she doesn’t care. She can’t close it.

A new endorsement offer comes, courtesy of Osiris Industries’ Darius Soleil, and she forces herself to decline. Soleil leaves the offer on the table along with his condolences. The club is still losing money. Leaf is still dead. She’s still miserable.

Gardenia does what makes her happy.

I do love twisting the knife just a bit. Originally, Roark's extra was just an exercise in third person and trying to further develop him as a character before I offed him, just to build up the world for myself. Then it grew, and it was going to be a one-off. Then I loved Gardenia and how she came to life next to Eddie, so I whipped one up for her as well.

You can expect one for every Coronet Twelve member now! I'll come up with a clever name for it eventually, like the Coronet Twelve Compendium or something.
 

JavierE64

Masks are so 2016!!! But don´t forget to wear one
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
310
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
606
Location
Perú
Nature
Modest
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Grass, Water
Pokédex Entry
The Master of both Light and Darkness; who loves the Violent and Dramatic, and the Fun and Adorable.
These small backstories of the targets are pretty neat, it really adds to the whole Hitman motif.
Cna´t wait to see more of them for the incoming Coronet Twelve members.
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
116
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
Oh holy fuck, you weren't kidding about twisting that knife!

Look Sinnoh is my favorite region so like... I already loved these characters on some level, even if they were assholes in the story (like Roark), but this just made it hurt even worse. ;; But in a good way. Keep tearing my heart out, I love it. Really excited to see you decided to include an extra for each of the Coronet Twelve -- it adds extra layers of depth and worldbuilding that we might not otherwise get through Eddie's POV alone.
 

localhoney

grook
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
195
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
  • #35
@JavierE64: glad to see you're looking forward to 'em! I plan to take them two at a time, so it'll be a while before we get to them.

@Aurea: yes, i was not playing! Plus, it was a lot of fun to think about all the characters in-universe and try and make their timelines make sense with each other. Very fun stuff.

Not gonna lie, I definitely did not realize it was Thursday and nearly forgot to update. Finals week and all. But I will not leave you hanging any longer!
I turned around slowly, trying to find the owner of the voice in my ear even though my brain was already putting the pieces together. My eyes traveled about a foot down until they made contact with a mess of red hair and a pair of dark, steely eyes.

Lani Keahi, codename: Mars Ultor. In the five years since I had left the Killers Galactic (lovingly nicknamed Team Galactic by me), she had not changed a bit. The determination in her stance, the permanent furrow in her brow, the upwards tilt of her chin, the cutting ice in her voice, all there. She was wearing an Osiris tracksuit, a dull grey to match her demeanor, and I noticed a bulge on either hip. Probably loaded. To her side stood a massive purple scorpion with razor-sharp claws, and an imposing stinger swayed over its head, as if it was trying to decide whether or not to run it through my brain.

“Lani.”

I was interrupted by the rush of the Drapion’s stinger lashing out just under my chin, keeping my eyes upwards. I heard a second pair of footsteps, slow, methodical, familiar. I risked a glance downwards and sucked in air. Amira Faizan. My Amira. Codename Jupiter Optimus. Her hair as pink as that night at the Underground. Her skin catching and reflecting the golden light flowing in through the shattered windows behind me. Her eyes warm. Her body perfectly filled out that same Osiris tracksuit Lani had on. No discernable bulge on her hip, but three knife hilts jutting out from her belt. Lani’s Drapion reeled its stinger back and I fixed the crick in my neck as she slammed a finger in my chest.

“I hope you enjoyed that Red Sphere to the skull, traitor.”

“That was you? My head’s been split in two since that night, you bitch!”

I can’t say me and Lani have always been on the best of terms. Not that it ever bothered me. Between Amira’s peacekeeping and our ever eventful missions, it didn’t impact my quality of life. I turned to Amira, ignoring the fit that Lani was gearing up to pitch.

“Amira, what the hell are the two of you doing in Eterna?”

“We caught the late night run of Jubilife TV and saw some work that could only be described as rusty. Figured it could only be our little Mercury, popping out of the woodwork.”

“We’ll see how rusty I am when I put a bullet through those crooked yellow teeth of yours, Mars.”

Amira gestured for Lani to move aside with a flick of her hand and positioned herself between us.

“Let’s get down to business. You’re killing off members of the Coronet Twelve. You left the Killers Galactic because you didn’t want ‘someone up your ass telling you what to do anymore,’ as I recall. So what Arbok charmed its way inside you to do their bidding?”

“Couldn’t tell ya. I get letters, I kill, I get paid. That’s all I got for you.”

Lani pushed past Amira and stuck her tiny finger in my face.

“You’re a fucking liar, Mercury. A liar and a fucking traitor. I’m out of here. Next time I see you, a Red Sphere isn’t what you’ll be catching with your head.”

Lani returned her Drapion and stormed out of sight. I heard the remaining shards of glass hanging from the door fall and shatter. Amira took in a deep breath and stared me in the eyes.

“Amira, I promise, I don’t know who’s paying me. Why are you even in Sinnoh? Last I heard, you two had recruited a new sniper and made some waves in Hoenn, not that they need any more. Let me guess, codename Neptune Oceanus?”

“Saturn Mons, actually.”

I let out a deeply sarcastic whistle.

“King of the Titans, huh? Great replacement for plain old Mercury.”

“Eddie, just tell me the truth. Why are you after the Coronet Twelve?”

“Because it pays the bills and then some. Why do you care?”

“Because I’ve always cared, Eddie! Because Saturn just picked up a contract for us to kill the Coronet Twelve! And if you get in his way, affect the jobs in any way, he will kill you!”

“Quite the partner you and Lani picked up.”

Amira balled her hands into fists.

“Were we supposed to retire? Dissolve ‘Team Galactic’ just because poor Mercury couldn’t handle it anymore?”

I gritted my teeth.

“I didn’t ask you for shit. I never have!”

“And I still gave you everything!”

Amira’s voice echoed throughout the building. I looked down at the ground, looking for nothing under my feet. I straightened myself up and returned her gaze.

“I’m glad I left. I’d do it again. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a train to catch.”

I picked up my scattered sniper’s nest and stomped down the stairs, sliding past Amira’s oversized skunk. I slung my duffel across my shoulders and headed towards the Eterna station, hoping to leave this city behind as fast as I left Kanto.

*****
I went over the old Team Galactic squad summary for me in my head as I waited on the Veilstone Train. “Edmund Dorian, codename: Mercury. Sharp wit, sharper aim.” These days, I’d probably tack on “Struggles with alcohol and Unovan women.” I wasted a couple bucks on overpriced train station coffee and a bag of chips, and plopped down on a bench in front of my station. The ride from Eterna to Veilstone was about ten hours, so I had paid for a double sleeping car. I didn't enjoy the idea of sharing it with some random merchant hawking shiny rocks or likely trafficked Pokemon, but a bed is a bed.

The train pulled in with an ear-bleeding squeal and stopped with a hiss of relief. I elbowed my way through some families, a newlywed couple, and an Eterna High School field trip until I made it to my car. I grinned when I noticed an unmistakable head of yellow hair getting their ticket punched by the conductor in front of my sleeping car. After getting my ticket punched, I slipped in quietly and surprised him.

“Huh, they’ll let anybody in these trains, I guess.”

Deion whipped around and tackled me in a bear hug, scattering salves and berries from his bag onto the ground.

“Eddie! With how slow you’ve been going, I thought I wouldn’t see you until Pastoria or Canalave.”

“Your mom read you the story about the Turtwig and the Buneary, right? Just checking.”

After a couple jabs back and forth and storing our things overhead, the train pulled out of the station. A service attendant stopped in to provide us with our complimentary drinks and snacks. I sat across from Deion, sipping on a Beartic Mountain Brew when I noticed his jaw set.

“Did you see they arrested the guy that killed Roark? Belmonte, something or other.”

“I didn’t actually. So they think he’s the guy?”

“Yeah, they said he had all the motive in the world. Roark had just laid him and a few other miners off to pay for a professional camera crew. That’s what they said on Jubilife TV, at least.”

Incredible news for me. Although the police contacted me officially to let me know I was a suspect, they let that drop. Probably because they arrested this Belmonte guy. Sure, my mystery benefactor said not to worry about the long arm of the law on my ass, but better safe than sorry.

“So… who do you think killed Roark? I mean, who would want to do something like that?”

Shit. The one conversation I was not trying to have.

“Fuck if I know. Couldn’t stand Roark, to be honest. Shame about Gardenia though, she ran a mighty fine drinking establishment.”

“Gardenia’s dead too!?”

Double shit. I forgot that that wasn’t national news yet. I grabbed the remote and flicked the TV on. It came to life on the channel for Jubilife TV, which was running the hottest news of the hour: HEALTH GURU AND CORONET TWELVE MEMBER GARDENIA EDEN FOUND DEAD. Bingo. Luckily, Deion didn’t question how I knew something that the news station was just running. He was frozen in shock. I turned the news off and kicked at his ankle.

“Hey, Deion, forget about all that, man. It doesn’t concern us.”

“What are you talking about? Of course it does! What if they decide to shut down the Gauntlet track for this season? What if they invalidate our victories when they inevitably replace Roark and Gardenia?”

He took a breath in the midst of his rant, looking at me with pure fear in his eyes.

“What if they think we did it? They already reached out to me saying I was a potential suspect for Roark, but then they put Belmonte away! Eddie, what are we gonna do?”

“Nothing. We didn’t do it, or as far as I know, I didn’t do it.”

“Eddie!”

“If they want to question us, they can go ahead. We’re both innocent and the truth will set us free, as they say.”

Hopefully the truth would come nowhere near me and my freedom, but I’d keep that to myself. I pressed on, trying to push the news of Gardenia’s death out of Deion’s mind.

“Anyways, what the hell were you doing in Eterna? Last you told me, you were hiking the Hearthome trail.”

“I did hike it! But once I got to the mouth of the cave that crosses over onto the Hearthome side, it was all cordoned off. Something about some religious zealot defiling an old ruin. So I had to hike my happy ass all the way back here and book a train to get to Veilstone. Check this out, though!”

Three beams of light brightened up the train car, revealing a Gabite, a Roselia, and a runt of a Togepi.

“The Deion Michaels superteam is well underway! I won this little guy in a high-stakes game of Voltorb Flip. I put up Eastwood as my bet, but I knew I wouldn’t lose. I named him Wright.”

The released trio milled around the train car before finding comfortable spots to sleep in. I decided to do the same and let my team get to know Deion’s. After a quick shower in the attached bathroom, I jumped face first into my pillow and let the rhythmic shake of the train hitting the tracks rock me to sleep like a Jigglypuff.

The light fought its way through the closed curtains and into my eyes as the train hissed, signalling our arrival in Veilstone. I returned all my snoozing Pokemon, grabbed my stuff and stepped off the train with Deion. And who should be standing there but a six-foot-three asshole in a tailored Giovanni suit with red letter R cufflinks, one-size-too-short slacks, and cotton candy blue hair. Archer Cunningham, my ex-landlord and overall bane of my existence.
*****
Good morning, Detective Queen.

I hope this e-mail finds you well. I am writing to you on behalf of the Eterna precinct of the Sinnoh Police Department. Attached is a detailed report about the death of Coronet Twelve member, Gardenia Eden. I have been informed by my colleague in the Oreburgh precinct, Officer Constantine, that you have been made aware of the homicide of Roark Steele.

The homicides share an MO. Same entry and exit wound, and similarly, the bullet was not recovered at either crime scene. I understand that you believe this is not a detective-worthy case and rather a random homicide. However, John Belmonte was in custody in Oreburgh at the time of the death of Gardenia Eden. The department has reason to believe these murders are linked, and have reached out to the Coronet Twelve to improve their security measures, to varying success.

We have a list of potential suspects:
  • Deion Michaels (Gauntlet challenger)
  • Edmund Dorian (Gauntlet challenger)
  • Yolanda Paillere (bartender)
  • Esperanza de Silva (bartender)
  • Ronald Al-qadi (waiter)

We would like to request your help in resolving this case.

Thank you,
Officer Mikayla Wurfalk
Sinnoh PD - Eterna Precinct
*****
*****
Good evening, Ms. Wurfalk

I deeply regret and mourn the loss of yet another member of the Coronet Twelve, for they are the backbone of Sinnoh in many ways. I am currently steeped in about a dozen ongoing case files, but I will attempt to find space to slot in these supposed serial murders.

I will note that, while these cases may be high priority for the department, they are low priority for me. Within the month, I should be able to give the reports a cursory look and report back on if I believe the case is worth my time.

I presume you all can handle yourselves until then. You are Sinnoh’s finest, after all.

Detective Ezekiel Queen
*****
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
116
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
Woo, there was a lot to unpack in this chapter! You left us on a cliffhanger and we jumped right back into the action here, and you didn't disappoint.

I heard a second pair of footsteps, slow, methodical, familiar. I risked a glance downwards and sucked in air. Amira Faizan. My Amira. Codename Jupiter Optimus. Her hair as pink as that night at the Underground. Her skin catching and reflecting the golden light flowing in through the shattered windows behind me. Her eyes warm.
When I say I was going 👀 the whole ass time I was reading this section, damn. I was SO excited to see Amira again and learn more about her connection with Eddie, but I was absolutely not expecting them to be Team Galactic. I wasn't expecting Eddie to have the codename Mercury, or for Saturn to be the sniper they hired in his place. Lani/Mars is absolutely terrifying in the best way, but I especially loved his conversation with Amira. So many tantalizing hints at backstory, I love it!

Oh shit, they arrested someone in connection to Roark's case? Shit... it just occurred to me after the train scene with Deion (sweet, lovable Deion, I just adore him, he brings out a different side of Eddie and just lights up a room), that he may be seriously considered a suspect at some point down the line? Maybe even accused? Eddie might be comfy with his benefactor working the system to ensure he doesn't get caught, but what if that means that Deion is slotted to take the fall? Would Eddie stand for that, despite having a soft spot for the kid? HMMMMM.

You've done such a fantastic job of building upon relationships and backgrounds, and keeping us on the edge of our seats from chapter to chapter (hi Archer!). Can't wait to see what you have in store for us next! ^^
 

localhoney

grook
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
195
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
  • #37
@Aurea: Amira is my love and I'm so glad I got to bring her back in for a full chapter and to get into the seeds of the Team Galactic of BaPH. And yes, Lani is a feral child with a Drapion, so very terrifying indeed.

Who's to say if Deion will get arrested, or if anybody will? Maybe Eddie is just that good at his job (but that wouldn't make for good television, now would it?). Hope you enjoy what's coming up!

“Of all the people in all the region, I happen to run into the man I want to speak with most! Mr. Michaels, would you mind giving me a moment with your friend?”

After cocking a brow and shrugging, Deion and Eastwood headed out of the station. Archer grabbed me firmly by the shoulder and led me towards a black-tinted door around the corner from the platform. He swiped a keycard over a scanner, pushed it open and gestured for me to follow. I kept a hand on Jacob’s ball on my belt. I didn’t know what Archer wanted from me, but I wanted to have an out if I needed it. On the other side of the door was a fully-stocked bar with no bartender, and across from that was a long couch that went from end to end of the dark room.

On the couch were two unassuming men, aside from the huge red R in the center of their chests. Archer guided me over and sat me in between the two men. I stiffened up and kept my neck on a swivel, in case more grunts flooded in from some secret staircase behind the bar.

“So, Mr. Dorian. You’ll be happy to know that I am already leasing out your old apartment to a new tenant. I see you’ve been doing well for yourself since leaving Twinleaf and joining the Coronet Gauntlet.”

“If you’re going to talk my ear off, can one of your grunts make me a drink? Black City Bourbon, on the rocks.”

“Amusing, but no, they cannot. You see, there’s a very specific reason that I brought you here. I am sure you have seen the news about the untimely deaths of both Roark Steele and Gardenia Eden.”

“Yeah, my apartment and the Gauntlet apartments get Jubilife TV. What’s your point?”

“A very simple one, Mr. Dorian. I know you are the culprit behind these murders.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

A thin smirk spread across Archer’s face as he took a seat across from me on a chair he pulled over.

“See, Mr. Dorian, I worked for Emilio Giovanni for quite some time. Twelve years, to be exact. In those twelve years, we saw plenty of assassination attempts. Poisoned beverages, ignition charges, not to mention the typical arsenal of pistols and snipers. At no point was Giovanni fazed. In fact, he welcomed the challenges to his power. Until your little ragtag group got bigger and bigger.”

“Get on with it, will you? You’re shaving years off my life with this shit.”

“If only it were that simple. Now, when the Killers Galactic really took shape as a capable trio of contract killers, Team Rocket saw it as an opportunity. We were among those that contracted you, if you can believe it. I’m sure you recall the handsome earnings you all received after the deaths of both Samuel Oak and Isaac Elm.”

That was the first big-time contract we ever received. Amira, Lani and I all took a week off after we got paid to go -- somewhere unimportant.

“Now, we figured that the Killers Galactic would be sated by the contracts they were receiving. We also assumed that the three of you would be smarter than to even attempt a hit on somebody so renowned in our field, especially after your failure in Hoenn.”

I winced at the mention of the Hoenn job. My hand instinctively went to my side, where Archie put a blade through me and tossed me in the Slateport Sea. Archer clenched his fists until the knuckles turned white and continued.

“How wrong we were. You cockroaches ruined everything!”

Archer stood up and threw the chair over my head. I closed my eyes as splinters coated the couch. He unholstered a pistol and pressed it to my forehead. His grunts did the same, pressing theirs against my back.

“Now listen here and listen well. I could end your life right now. So could they. This is merely a tool to guarantee your focus.”

Archer wrapped his index finger against the trigger and pressed even harder.

“I know you killed Giovanni. I know you killed Roark Steele. I know you killed Gardenia Eden. I rather like Sinnoh, and would rather not sully my hands with doing away with your body. Turn yourself in, and this whole affair can be resolved. Refuse, and the logical conclusion of your current situation will be reached. Understand?”

I nodded slightly, careful not to give this pompous fuck any reason to paint the wall with my brain. They holstered their pistols and I let out a long exhale.

“Good. I’ll give you, say, eight days to get your affairs in order. If you renege on our agreement, however, your punishment shall be far worse than death. I hope you know that if I can find you, I can find your colleagues. If you are truly as cold-hearted as they say, leave it to chance what happens to you and them. The choice is yours. Now leave us.”

I got tossed on my ass out the door with a new eight-day timer to contend with.

*****
The Gauntlet accommodations in Veilstone are in the middle of a monastery, which is built into the big ass hill in town. From there, you can see everything. And as you may expect for a town settled by monks, everything is not a lot. Aside from the obnoxiously out of place Osiris Headquarters on the north side of town, which is snuggled up to the self-proclaimed “tallest department store in the world,” Veilstone’s (I’ve been to both Cella Donna’s and Lily’s Cove; they’re lying.).

Apart from those two buildings, Veilstone was silent. A few hostels dotted the streets, recognizable only by the signs hanging from front porches, but this was not a tourist town. A tourist attraction, sure, in the same way Iron Island is. People go to see the sights and disrupt people’s daily lives and then head back to some gaudy all-inclusive hotel (maybe buy a seashell or Sharpedo tooth necklace).

I roamed the monastery, hoping to cleanse my soul (or something else enlightened-sounding). The only reason the Gauntlet houses challengers here is because Maylene demands it. My upcoming match would be the only one not televised, according to the stack of waivers I had signed this morning after my chit-chat with Archer. It would be a one on one, and it would take place at the large square somewhere inside, with no audience beyond the monks she handpicked for some reason or other. Deion’s match was the next day, but mine wasn’t for another four days.

I nearly went face-first into a pair of tall, gold double doors before a monk stopped me.

“I see you wish to see the Tomb of the Light. I cannot allow you to enter without the assessment of Most Venerable Ayya Maylene. Follow me.”

He turned around and sped off around a corner, his orange robes chasing behind him. Having nothing better to do, I followed him to the most colorful section of the monastery I had seen so far, all white columns and paintings of people praying to what looks like a black circle (I was never much for art history in school). The monk pushed a door open slightly, pressed his index finger to his lips, and gestured for me to walk inside. I expected really fancy pillars, rows of monks praying, and probably a few candles. Instead, the inside was plain gray with no windows and no decorations to speak of. The only thing to prevent the room from looking like an insane asylum was Maylene in the center of it, sitting on a single pillow, meditating with a Lucario across from her.

“Most Venerable Ayya Maylene, a challenger wishes to enter the Tomb of Radiance.”

“You may approach, Mr. Dorian. Thank you, Venerable Ajahn Kahn, you may leave us.”

Khan slipped back out the door, and I walked towards Maylene. She kept meditating but her Lucario stood up to size me up. With a grunt, it pointed at the pillow across from Maylene, presumably telling me to sit on it.

“What interest have you in the Tomb of Radiance?’

“I almost ran into the door by accident. But now I want to check it out, you all make it sound really ominous and cool.”

“The Tomb of Radiance is Veilstone’s greatest treasure. This monastery has cared for it since its inception. Few have ever been deemed worthy enough to enter. What makes you think you are worthy?”

“I bowled a 236 one time at Saffron Splitters. Hit a 7-10 split and everything.”

My athletic achievement did nothing to break her concentration or amuse her. She snapped at her Lucario, who kneeled down behind me and placed one hand (paw?) on my lower back and the other on the back of my head. I looked down and a blue light was coating my whole body. Suddenly, my body relaxed.

“Anima is reading your aura, as it were. She is tuned in to the Radiance just as we at the temple are. Ultimately, she deems if you will enter the tomb or be sent on your way.”

The blue light grew and started to cover the entire room when it suddenly went out.

“That can’t be good.”

“Anima has deemed you worthy. Congratulations. It has been many moons since anyone’s natural resonance with the Radiance proved strong enough to enter, other than my own. You will find that the doors will open to you upon your return.”

I bowed to Maylene after standing (it felt appropriate) and rushed back to the golden doors. Sure enough, as I stepped towards them, they silently swung back until there was barely enough space for one person to pass through. I slid in sideways and expected to be blinded by “the Radiance.” Instead, the room was a replica of the room Maylene was meditating in, but black instead of white. In the center was a sarcophagus, made of marble, with the top hanging open so that the inside was visible. To one side, a massive, pure white crystal sat inset in the bottom, with a black star marked in the center of it. On the other side, an old tome covered in scorch marks. In the center, a bronze plaque that looked hundreds of years old.


Here lie the Relics of Radiance.

If you are reading this, you have been deemed deserving and therefore contain a Shard of the Radiance. Your purpose is molded by it, your actions guided by it.
Embrace it. The Radiance must live on until the Shards may be reunited upon the return of the Light Bearer.


“I sincerely doubt the Radiance has guided me into my career path.”

I left the way I came, satisfied by my worthiness. I noticed the sun had long set, and made my way towards the apartment overlooking Veilstone. I made it ten steps in the door before I collapsed onto the wicker-frame bed.

I woke up at the edge of an icy plateau, barren save for the enormous black hole and the tree next to me. Its gravity pulled against my arms and legs, holding on for dear life. I patted my beltline, looking for Jacob’s ball to get myself out of there. My limbs gave way and my body levitated for a moment before getting sucked into the event horizon. I looked back towards the quickly shrinking hole and watched as a huge beast clawed its way out, tearing through the fabric of space until it escaped. Once it emerged on the mountain peak, the hole snapped shut and I woke up on the floor of the apartment, sweating but noticeably not in a black hole.
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
Administrator
Moderator
🌱Featurer
Writer
Pokédex No.
43
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
147
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Dragon, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
he's ok i guess
First off, it’s really cool to see that you went the route of experiment-turned-extra, it’s really a nice way to both expand your horizons a little and also get to know your own story a little more. And, y’know, add a lil extra humanity and a lil extra sads. Shows you how important perspective is!

I like how we have a couple cool-ass names of Galactic peeps with Mars and Jupiter/Lani and Amira, and then it’s just Edmund Dorian here who sounds less like a right proper sniper and more like a stodgy rich benefactor or some shit.

Also, Deion Michaels legit has a superteazm well underway, damn. What a legend. Too bad he’s totally just playing this and he’s 100% evil! You can’t get it by me!!!!! (The fact that he actually literally bet pokemon in Voltorb Flip is maybe the best detail about him tho lmao, what a hyperdork)

“The Tomb of Radiance is Veilstone’s greatest treasure. This monastery has cared for it since its inception. Few have ever been deemed worthy enough to enter. What makes you think you are worthy?”

“I bowled a 236 one time at Saffron Splitters. Hit a 7-10 split and everything.”
This is wonderful comedy and I love everything about this, but I now require this exact kind of situation to come up way down the road in order for Eddie here to both get out of a rough situation and become the greatest bowler/hitman Sinnoh has ever seen. Please.
 

Aurea

Moderator
Moderator
🎇Contributor
Writer
Pokédex No.
25
Caught
Jun 9, 2019
Messages
116
Location
Sinnoh Region
Nature
Calm
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Grass, Steel
“Now, we figured that the Killers Galactic would be sated by the contracts they were receiving. We also assumed that the three of you would be smarter than to even attempt a hit on somebody so renowned in our field, especially after your failure in Hoenn.”

I winced at the mention of the Hoenn job. My hand instinctively went to my side, where Archie put a blade through me and tossed me in the Slateport Sea. Archer clenched his fists until the knuckles turned white and continued.

“How wrong we were. You cockroaches ruined everything!”

Archer stood up and threw the chair over my head. I closed my eyes as splinters coated the couch. He unholstered a pistol and pressed it to my forehead. His grunts did the same, pressing theirs against my back.
YOOO this scene was _tense_, I was on the edge of my seat. 👀 I'm really digging the backstory that's coming out of this, too. Eddie's had quite the career it seems, and I love the little snippets of it you're weaving into present time. Archer does not fuck around, I was expecting some smartass remarks out of Eddie, but now I'm really interested to see what he'll do with his new timeframe.

“I sincerely doubt the Radiance has guided me into my career path.”
Ah, there's the smartassery we know and love. xD This and the line Gar quoted above were so great, honestly. I love how genuinely unbothered Eddie seems by his circumstances. A true, stone-cold professional. But I'm also curious about how he managed to be deemed worthy to enter the Tomb of Radiance? Very intrigued by this development, and interested to see how that factors in to the rest of the story! Also, one last quote bc I can't help myself:

I left the way I came, satisfied by my worthiness.
This was just too great. xD Humble as ever. Gotta love him.
 

AerialAce40

used Fly!
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
2236
Caught
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
24
Location
Driftveil City
Nature
Bold
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
Fire, Ice
Pokédex Entry
This Pokemon is characterized by its fiery passion, cool demeanor and exterior, and affinity for staying hydrated.
I'm really enjoying the writing style! After growing up with the Sinnoh games, it's a bit strange not seeing Team Galactic up to its usual shenanigans, but this last update definitely was a really cool plot twist. Looking forward to the rest of the story!
 

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