• Want to support a good cause? Visit https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ to see how you can help the Black Lives Matter movement, even without donating.
  • Have YOU been itching for a zine? Look no further! Arowana is hosting sign-ups for their Nuzlocke Zine until July 24th... or when slots fill up!
  • New here and still figuring out the site? Check out the New User Guide and FAQ for some help!
  • Trying to figure out how the different forums have changed? This thread is the place for you.
  • One of our new features includes receiving a message on Discord when you have alerts. Find out how, here!
  • Have you seen our Stream tab? It let's you peek in and chat with our forum streamers on-site, from both Twitch AND Picarto! You can even view multiple streams at once. You can submit your own channel via Streams > Submit Channel.
  • If you're a fan of giving and recieving constructive criticism check out this resource about Critique Level Tags!
Extravanganza Accordian Demo
Thread Description
A short-con artist must gather a team to pull off 8 dangerous heists… or lose his pokémon forever. Next update on the 27th!

Vivace

Designated Meganium Defender
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
204
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,251
Location
Fochun
Nature
Brave
Pronouns
He/Him / They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Dragon
  2. Fighting
Pokédex Entry
The Lad Pokemon, Vivace's main powers are photoshop and chatting shit. Manages the unofficial nuzlocke football team.
♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

Welcome to my storylocke based on a run of Pokémon R.O.W.E.! R.O.W.E. stands for 'Randomised Open World Emerald', meaning you can start from any town or city, ignore any story blockades or HM requirements, and complete gyms in any order you wish. There's also an in-built randomised dex option with nearly every pokémon from Gen 1-8 available in some form. I decided to have fun with the formula, and this is the result!

At its core, this run is a love letter to BBC's Hustle, which I absolutely adore and recommend to anyone who enjoys crime drama with grifter MCs (start at episode 3 for the best experience). The 'long con' that Hustle is formatted around is hard to accurately portray in a nuzlocke with one human trainer, but the real fun can be found in the tricks and misdirections of the 'short con' anyway.

Please enjoy, and leave a comment if you have any feedback!

(This run is rated PG-13 by the official Nuzlocke Writing Association of Me. There'll be some violence, vulgarity, and death (it is a nuzlocke!) but it'll be on the lighter side compared to runs marked Mature.)

Rule 1 - I can only catch the first pokémon I encounter in each route.
Rule 2 - If a pokémon faints, it is dead and must be released ASAP.
Rule 3 - Every pokémon must be given a nickname.
Rule 4 - The starter Stunky must remain on the team at all times.
Rule 5 - If the starter dies, the run is over.
Rule 6 - The next Gym is chosen at random and can't be skipped.
Rule 7 (plot spoiler) - When the 8th Gym is beaten, I must go straight to Norman and fight a rematch without accessing the box (healing items are fine)
Rule 8 - Please gamble responsibly!


carlos_paula_and_their_pokemon_pride.png


A pride feature, drawn by LilyCelebi! From left to right: Carlos, Orville/Natasha, Dipa, Lillie, Jace, and Paula.

In the gambling paradise of Mauville, Hoenn, there is an unwritten rule: if you see a shiny Meowth behind the craps table, walk away. Turn right around and find something better to do, because anything you bet is as good as gone.

Carlos was familiar with the Game Corner and its legends, having visited the famous casino almost weekly since his 21st birthday. Excepting that half-year where he'd tried to quit, he could be seen every weekend in front of one of those slot machines with a handful of tokens.

Sometimes, Carlos could have sworn he'd hit the third 7 at just the right time… only to see it slip one row too far. The trio of Poké Balls practically taunted the trainer, squatting in the place where that 7 ought to have landed. Later, he would line up three Lotads, and the day was saved. Today was one such day. Carlos slammed the payout button and walked to the front counter before he could change his mind.

When the wiry, Fearow-eyed cashier exchanged his tokens and tried to goad him into buying back in, Carlos glanced back at the game tables. By this point, he knew every member of staff there by name. There was Umar at the roulette and Vic stationed at a poker station he was already banned from. Tucked in a corner near the false exit was the craps table, but the cheeky dealer, Seth, was most definitely human. There wasn’t any point in spending more today. Carlos took his 'winnings' of ₽3185 and worked his way out of the building.

He had to shield his eyes for the sheer brilliance of the neon signs all around him; one had to be on their guard leaving the Game Corner. Newcomers were the easiest to shake down because the surroundings were so disorienting at first. Cars blared their horns as they fought over parking spaces, construction was as deafening as it was constant, and pokémon battles happened too as friends and rivals loved surprising each other in this place. The smell of cigarettes and alcohol was also such an ever-present feature of Mauville City that Carlos’ nose adjusted fast whenever he visited. It was somehow worse than the bar in Slateport he did odd jobs in, though maybe that was down to the air. The Red Tauros was situated on the shoreline and had great circulation, but here, the air stood still as if it too was waiting on the betting results.

Though Carlos had somewhere to live now, this mystery box of a city was still ‘home’ in a way.

With a quick visit to the ATM, the rest of Carlos’ money for the day was rescued. The ATM never made a mistake but he still made sure to count what it spat out. He didn’t need to check his remaining balance; he knew the number down to the penny.

Next up was the Poké Mart. The customers here were a lot richer, but naturally they held on tighter to their purses and bags. One man perusing the Ruby-brand X items had a pretty wallet with a chain attached to it. “They raised the price again?” he complained.

Carlos shrugged. “They figure they can get away with it. They’re really good, and now that the Champion bought the brand…”

“Hmph. That’s no excuse. If the prices keep going up, before I know it nobody can afford this stuff! Do you know what that would do to the market??”

“I’m guessing bad news?”

He nodded firmly. “Indeed. If the common trainer can’t buy a product, the bubble will burst. The stock plummets! Oh, excuse me,” the man said with a smile. “I’m ranting to a stranger. May I have your name?”

“Jack.”

The sharply dressed man kept his eyes focused on Carlos as he talked, friendly but guarded. “Nice to meet you, Jack. Call me Mr. Miller. Are you here to find work?” He raised a hand to shake, and Carlos noticed the glint of a golden watch as he held the man’s gaze.

“Nah. I have something going in Petalburg. I’m interning at Norman’s Gym!”

“Splendid!” Mr. Miller sized him up as he slid his hand into his coat pocket. There was that watch again as he drew out a card. Now he was in full rhythm: “Good for you, keeping the League system going. Though… if you do find yourself in need of more money, I have a call centre in the East sector. It pays well if you can sell, and you strike me as a very convincing young man. Here’s my card. Don’t hesitate to give me a call!”

Carlos pinched the card and held it up to the light. “Tempting,” he admitted, but not about the offer. “But you see, I’m on a good course. If I learn enough, I can go challenge the League myself! I can’t take my eye off the prize, I’m so close already!”

Mr. Miller wasn’t totally able to hide his smirk as he regarded Carlos again. “Hm… I’m not so sure, is that wise? Someone like you… I mean, there aren’t many career paths open at your age. You should take your opportunities when you can, my friend.”

Carlos kept his expression aloof as he pocketed the business card. “Well… I don’t know. Tell you what, if I can’t win my game this week, I’ll call you, how’s that?”

The man nodded. “Splendid! We’ll always have a place open for you, Jack.”

“I’m sure.” murmured Carlos, who turned to go, then stopped. He waited two seconds. “Actually, hang on.”

“Hm?”

He turned back with the card in hand. “I have a sister, she’s looking for work here. And my friends might be interested too. How many cards do you have?”

He may as well have offered the man a free Dratini. Mr. Miller’s eyes lit up brighter than the Game Corner sign as he rummaged in his pocket for more cards. “I have… eight more! Here!”

“Thank you so much! I won’t forget this! I’ll take five - thank you! - oh, hold on, can I give one back? I just remembered Luis got a job already.”

“Of course!”

Carlos returned one of the business cards with his left hand, and transitioned into a deep handshake with his right. “Expect a call, Mr. Miller! And good luck with the stocks!”

When they were done exchanging farewells, Carlos walked swiftly out the door back into the chaos of the main street. He had some items still to buy, but on balance it’d be smarter to go to the one in South later. The prices were better there, anyway.

In the gambling paradise of Mauville, Hoenn, there is a more important rule: you must assume everyone you meet is a thief, a con artist, or both. Trickery is the lifeblood of this developing city, and - in one way or another - everyone participates in it.

Thanks to @Obelisk for his invaluable help in beta reading this run!

♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
 
Last edited:

DistortionLocke

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
939
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
I'm intrigued already!
 

overkill

The Flatulent
Pokédex No.
1549
Caught
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
179
Pokémon Type
  1. Cool
Pokédex Entry
A Pokemon composed primarily of shit
I'm a huge fan of this sort of genre, so this is right up my wheelhouse. I'm eager to see what you do next
 

Green Tea

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
5195
Caught
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
195
Location
England
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Poison
Pokédex Entry
Considered bitter by many.
I've seen snippets of this on the Nuzwriter Discord, so I was waiting for it to get started.

I can't wait to read a bit more and see what happens!
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
260
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
2,045
Location
Scrivener
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fire
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
I see shenanigans afoot 👀 Gotta love the confidence of a good conman, which is of course how they get ya... guess he got a nice watch out of all that flip-flop with the business cards, huh?
 

Garish Garchomp

Friendly Neighborhood Landshark
Administrator
Moderator
🌱Featurer
Writer
Pokédex No.
43
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
677
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dragon
  2. Psychic
Pokédex Entry
he's ok i guess
First off, anyone who decides to use a Stunky as their starter is a wonderful being with excellent taste so kudos.

But more to the point, I'm hyped to see where you take this! You've done some nice scene-setting in this prologue with this whole sin city vibe, and slotting Carlos right into that. Now we gotta see what starts him venturing around more... and also what he spends the watch money on.
 

Leon Yorunaki

I'll Spirit Shackle you!
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
453
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
820
Nature
Rash
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Ghost
First things first, I was curious to see what would come seeing those out-of-context snippets in nuzcord.
Second, you hooked me at the first line. And lever let go.
I just can't be sure if Carlos took something more than business cards from Miller, or if it was the stock guy who tried to. I mean, it looked a pretty normal conversation for your setup until the finishing line...

About the ruleset, I take you randomized the gym order already so Petalburg isn't the last, because what would happen if it was with that hidden rule?
 
OP
Vivace

Vivace

Designated Meganium Defender
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
204
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,251
Location
Fochun
Nature
Brave
Pronouns
He/Him / They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Dragon
  2. Fighting
Pokédex Entry
The Lad Pokemon, Vivace's main powers are photoshop and chatting shit. Manages the unofficial nuzlocke football team.
♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️

First off, I can’t describe enough how happy I am to have replies from the very start! I am so excited to see what y’all think once everything’s set up and the adventure can truly begin :V:

Secondly, another thank you is in order for @aegagrusScholarship for creating the signature banner for the run! If you haven’t seen Somewhere in Unova I recommend doing so because I really dig the artstyle and the writing is a barrel of fun as well.

@DistortionLocke: Glad to have you on board! 😁

@overkill: I hope it won’t disappoint. Quick, light storylockes are great to read, but sometimes I do like one where the main ingredient is Crime™

@Green Tea: I’ll probably post more of my word wars scribblings on there, though I should be careful about not giving certain things away since I’ll be a few chapters ahead of what’s posted here. I’m glad it interests you!

@SayleeK: Shenanigans are 100% guaranteed, from start to finish! There’s not much you can trust in a story like this, but you can set your watch by that :3:

@Garish Garchomp: Thank you for your kind words!! I’ve got a renewed respect for the line after this playthrough! And you’ll see what drives our confidence man out into the wider region soon enough 👀

@Leon Yorunaki: The line hooked me too! I was planning something completely different at first, but when I was storyboarding I thought of this and the rest of the run concept came with it.
And yeah, Carlos definitely got the watch :3:
That might have been a little anti-climactic if Petalburg was last, yeah. I won’t give away everything yet, but Norman is fairly early in the Gym order compared to vanilla R/S/E.

Since the beginning, Hoenn was not a friendly region to newcomers. The ever-changing climate made settlement almost impossible when the weather switched from boiling sunlight to torrential rain, seemingly in an instant. After the first towns were successfully established, it took several generations to transform the ‘Desert Ocean’ into a region trainers could thrive in.

Though it was never as prosperous as Kanto nor as cultured as Kalos, Hoenn managed to carve out a niche among the main-body regions as an inexpensive holiday destination. What used to be necessary adaptations to an unforgiving environment became quaint curiosities to travellers. The Corsola rafts of Pacifidlog Town became world famous. Elite surfing competitions were held at Mossdeep City owing to the dramatic tidal system present there. A quarter of Fortree City’s income was generated by the gorgeous treetop hotels.

If one had the time, one could visit the hot springs of Mt. Chimney, stay for a few exhilarating nights at a Mauville Game Corner, search for the Mirage Tower of Route 111, brave the white water rapids of Route 132, learn the region’s history at Sootopolis Museum, then finish by visiting the spot in the ocean where the primordial beasts Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza had clashed five years ago. The options of what to do as a tourist were endless!

One of the most curious landmarks of Hoenn was, paradoxically, an unnoticed house in the middle of Route 110. Located directly under the Mach Bike Path with the forest of Route 103 practically growing into its side, there was nothing outwardly interesting about this hidden dwelling. The windows were opaque from grime and, judging by the many vines peeking out between the bricks, no human had lived here for a very long time.

This was precisely what the peculiar man known only as the “Trick Master” had planned when he’d started the Trick House project so many years ago. It began as an ordinary battle locale, but under his guidance this house gradually became a place for oddballs to gather and compare magic tricks instead of their pokémon. Word of mouth spread, giving the Trick House a reputation among rogues as a place to share information, tricks, and even the essentials such as food and lodging.

Since it was in such a forgettable area and in a state of apparent disrepair, the ownership details of the house - and the fact anyone lived there at all - had faded from the public eye completely. Therefore, the only people who came knocking were those who knew what the Trick House really was.

On this still Tuesday afternoon, along came a man as unassuming as the house by the forest. He was a pokémon trainer in his mid-20s carrying a brown backpack with four Poké Balls attached to the side. He wore a blue-and-white T-shirt and khaki trousers with many pockets. The sports shoes he wore may have been of some value once, but the constant use and lack of care meant the logos and details had already been smoothed out.

The trainer was evidently not of Hoennian descent, but instead Orresian. His reddish brown eyes spoke of the desert; they lacked the playful twinkle a Hoennian might have. He also had thin lips and a sharp chin, but they were completely clear of the usual thick, wiry stubble. His medium-brown hair was somewhat long with a few curls. As he walked, they fought to return to their original position after a thorough styling earlier that day.

With a quick glance around to make sure no one was watching him, he strolled to the dishevelled house. There was a door, already slightly ajar, but he ignored it. Instead he made his way to a front-facing window and knocked.

A few seconds later, the wall around that window swung outward. A taller woman with spiked blue hair stepped out with her arms raised. “Carlos! It’s good to see you again, bro!”

Carlos’ expression softened slightly as he met the woman’s embrace. The two of them patted each other on the back, greeting each other merrily, then pulled away.

“What brings you here today?” asked Paula, one of the many Trick Trainers.

Carlos laughed. “First, give back my wallet.”

Immediately Paula tossed back the padded wallet with a grin. “Just keeping you sharp!”

“I appreciate it, Paula. Anyway.”

Carefully, Carlos set down his backpack, unzipped a few pockets, then brought out a wristwatch. It glistened in the sunlight, ticking away faintly as he draped it over his arm. “So, this is from a gentleman who was trying to rope me into a cold-calling scheme. He was probably waiting for my decision until he went to check the time!”

Paula’s eyes - which were their usual deep indigo - widened as she studied the watch, noting different details and tilting her head to read the inscription. “Okay, not a family present… it’s not super high-end either, nice.” Her eyes flicked back up to meet his. “What name did you use?”

“Jack. I was from Petalburg.”

She nodded. “Super.

“…Well, that’s all right then,” she concluded, bringing out a briefcase with a puzzle piece pattern on it. Several clicks later, it opened. The bartering had begun. “I can give you ₽10,000 for that.”

Carlos crossed his arms and waited.

Paula chuckled, “only joking. ₽15,000?”

He sighed heavily; that was next to nothing. “₽40,000?” he ventured.

“40!?” Her laugh became a cackle, meant as ever to intimidate Carlos into backing down. “You haven’t lost your sense of humour, bro!”

Carlos gritted his teeth. Under his breath, he hissed, “stop calling me bro…”

After she’d settled down, Paula was back to business. “Okay, let’s be sensible. ₽20,000.”

“₽36,000,” he countered.

“₽22,500 and not a penny more!”

“After the trouble I went to get it? No way.”

The two went back and forth for some time, gradually closing the gap between their starting offers. Carlos found the process irritating, but when Paula was at the door it was at least bearable.

“Okay okay okay,” Paula yielded. “Tell you what… ₽25,000 if you come in and stay awhile. We have so much to talk about! We all miss you, bro. Trick Master does as well!”

Carlos gave a tight smile and held out his hand. “Sorry. You’ll just have to tell him I dropped by. ₽24,000, final offer. I’m going home either way.”

The Trick Trainer started to argue but relented when she saw Carlos’ expression. “Deal! And thank you.”

Neither of them tried any sort of move as the goods were exchanged, for there was no tolerance in the Trick House for swindling one’s own friends. Carlos quickly looked over the stack of bills he’d been handed, giving a thumbs up to Paula. “I don’t know when I’ll be back here, but I hope I see you again if I am, Paula,” he remarked as he turned to go.

“Byeee!” Paula called out. “You can come back anytime! We’ll always have a place here for you!”

Carlos raised his hand in farewell, setting off into the rising forest that connected the route with 103. It didn’t take long before he was off the main path, climbing up a huge oak tree.

Despite how strange it looked, this was in fact another secret of Hoenn: as long as one had a pokémon with Secret Power, one could easily create a secret base from nothing. All that was needed was a rocky wall or, in this case, a large enough tree. Sure enough, Carlos pressed a square indent and slipped through into a spacious room.

The trunk closed behind Carlos, but light had already filled the room, illuminating a cozy imitation of a small apartment.

First things first, he went for a shower. The water that spurted from the tap was frigid and intermittent, but it sufficed for cleaning himself up. He dried himself, shivering involuntarily, then looked in the mirror. It was always a good day when he could avoid wearing contacts, and his hair was growing out nicely. He tried a couple new styles, liberally applying gel as he cycled through his favourites. After he slicked his hair back in a biker’s perm, he chuckled and got dressed.

Carlos smiled faintly as he traced a finger over the back of a dirt-covered chair in the middle of the room, then dusted the furniture off thoroughly and sat himself down. The other chairs, smaller but easier to clean off, stood in a circle around a makeshift table. The beginnings of a name, Tichu, had been scratched into the back of the newest chair.

After a few red flashes, the other four seats were filled with a pokémon: Cynthia, his Cleffa, Jamie, his Carvanha, Constance, his Dustox, and Xenon, his Porygon. Carlos couldn’t help but laugh as Constance immediately tackled him with a fluttering hug. “CARLOS!”

“I know, I’m glad to be home too.”

Once everyone was situated, Carlos unzipped his bag to reveal four sizeable pokéblocks. "Alright, everyone, dinner time!"

“Thank you!”

"Excellent!"

As the pokémon tucked in, Carlos took out one package - a simple, buttered cheese sandwich - and finished it in seconds. It would do today.

"So, what have you been doing today?" asked Constance between bites. His pokéblock was visibly sour, but apparently that was okay with the Poison type. "Did you see Tichu?"

"Yeah, this morning. She's growing up fast! Another day or two in the Daycare and she'll be ready for some battling.”

"Nice!"

"Can't wait to see her," said Jamie. Their pokéblock today was dry; they didn’t seem to mind one way or the other, so Carlos just rotated the flavours. "I've got to show her my new move!"

Carlos beamed at them. "Just go easy on her when you can train. Tichu's still young.

"I also went shopping, and got some more money for us to save. At this rate, it'll take, er, maybe a few more weeks to buy an Upgrade?"

Xenon let off excited sparks at that while Cynthia picked at her food. Furrowing her brow, the Cleffa asked the question. “Hrm… and how did you get this ‘money’ this time?”

The whole team leaned in to listen as Carlos cleared his throat. “…Well. I was in the Poké Mart, and a rich businessman tried to scam me. So, I scammed him back.”

Jamie, Constance, and Xenon broke into applause as Cynthia resumed cutting up her pokéblock.

“Good for you, boss!”

“What did you get? How much??”

“You’re the best!”

“Yeah, woo.”

As Carlos bowed and told the story to his pokémon with great theatrics, he kept an eye on his starter, Cynthia. She did crack a smile at one of his jokes, though he wondered if that was just to keep the mood light. Clearly, something was on her mind.



♣​


Carlos made his excuses and withdrew the others back into their Poké Balls. "Cynthia…"

“What.” She was already scowling.

“I have some bad news,” Carlos started cautiously. “That Moon Stone we were looking at got sold. I don’t know when I’ll find another.”

“Fine.”

“I promise I tried my best, Cynthia. I even went to the Game Corner, and if I’d gotten that jackpot I’d have gone straight over there.”

“Why didn’t you just steal it?” retorted Cynthia. “I’m sure Jamie and the rest would love that!”

“Well, it’s not that easy. For evolution stones as rare as that, it’s way too well-guarded. They might even have the Garchomps investigate if they think Team Magma or Aqua are back!”

“Yeah, whatever. Let’s just keep stealing watches then. That’ll help.”

Carlos shook his head. “How about this? I can take some time off from work, and we can go to Meteor Falls together. I’m sure if we look hard enough we can find a Moon Stone for free…”

“I don’t care about the Moon Stone!” Cynthia erupted. “I’m worried about you! And anyway, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a Cleffa! I’m not a Clefairy and I never will be if you keep stealing from people!”

The words stuck in Carlos' throat, and it took a few seconds of looking about to untangle them. “You don’t mean that,” he encouraged her.

“Yes, I do! If you keep doing this, you’ll get arrested! Then what happens to us?”

“I know, it’s risky… but I’m really good at staying unnoticed.”

“Yeah, until you get caught, you clod,” Cynthia insisted.

“Once we have enough to challenge a gym-“

“No!” She pounded the chair with a tiny fist. “We won’t! Remember how much one gym ticket costs? Add that to all the TMs we need, and the Upgrade for Xenon… even if you can grift that much money from people without getting caught, all that’ll do is prove that’s your solution for everything! It’s like we never left the Trick House!”

“So, what, we wait even longer to get started?” Carlos asked in desperation. “The bar only pays me enough for food!”

Cynthia huffed and turned away. “Maybe we shouldn’t start at all then, because if you use that money for us, I’m not battling anymore.”

Before Carlos could decide whether he wanted to continue the argument, Cynthia hopped up and tapped the button on her Poké Ball. She disappeared, leaving the trainer with his thoughts.



♦​


The neon lights of the Game Corner buzzed warmly as they welcomed him back.

Carlos pushed through the crowd with a grimace as he made his way into the building. He could either enter a wreck, or angry and focused. He chose the latter.

Now that the sun had set, the Corner had become brighter and even louder. The place was so crowded Carlos could barely see the register. He was about to set off to convert everything into Coins, then stopped. Had he heard his name?

“Helloooo!”

Though some regulars called to him sometimes, Carlos had never heard this voice before. It was scratchy and naturally high-pitched; Carlos realised it was a pokémon but refused to hope as he focused on the craps corner. For a moment, he saw nothing out of the ordinary… then his eyes adjusted, and a Meowth appeared from nothing.

He'd heard countless tales from his fellow fortune-seekers about this pokémon.

Although each story differed slightly, the structure remained the same. A desperate gambler would see her manning a table one day. and nobody, staff and customers alike, would look at or acknowledge her in any way. The Meowth would challenge people to one game of any kind, so long as it was fair, and if the challenger were to win they’d be made richer than their wildest dreams.

To this day Carlos had never heard of somebody winning, hence the warning to stay away… but then again, if he won, why would he stick around Mauville talking to bums about it? If some master card player had won, they would be living the good life in a Kalosian villa by now!

The thought stayed with Carlos whenever he was in the Game Corner, and lately he'd found himself contemplating the legend elsewhere too: when he passed by Wattson's Gym, when he was looking through the glass at the Poké Mart's display of items and TMs, and any other time he dug his hand into his pocket only to remind himself he didn’t have enough yet.

Here, alone in the corner, was the pokémon of myth. She was a Meowth, her ears and tail were pink just like they’d said, and she beckoned Carlos forward as he stared. “Fancy a game, Carlos?”

Carlos nearly stumbled on a chair as he rushed to the Meowth’s table. “Are you… did you… how do you know my name?” he stammered as his brain tried to ask several questions at once.

The Meowth’s grin widened. “I know about every gambler who finds me here,” she purred as Carlos sat across from her. “I know everything that happens here in this Game Corner. I hear every bet that’s made, and when the die is cast I know where it will land.”

“So you’re really…“

“Yes, Carlos.” The Meowth gestured to her coin which sparkled dazzlingly in the casino lights. Her entire body seemed to flicker and shine. “I am Zawa, Goddess of Wagers. I thank you humans for building this temple for me! It was so… empty in this land before you blundered in. Other pokémon are so boring; they don’t bet like humans do.”

The constant clinking and clanging of the room was oddly muted now that Carlos was at the table. He noticed how easy it was to hear her in the din, yet nobody around paid the two of them any attention. “Don’t worry about any interruptions,” Zawa continued. “The table is closed and no one will notice. I’m quite picky about who I show myself to!”

“I don’t understand,” Carlos replied. His head was still spinning from the fact this was real. “If you know everything, why do you play games then? Won’t you just win every time?”

“For fun, of course! Look,” said Zawa as she pulled off her coin - Carlos didn’t even know Meowths could do that - and set it down beside her. It glinted on the table but nowhere near as much as it had on her head. “This right here is the source of my power. With it on, I could tell you what’s on any card you point at in this room. Without it, well… I’m just another gambler.

“You see, it doesn’t only work for me. If someone else were to hold it, it bestows the same power upon them. The ability to predict any game of chance… that would come in handy, no?”

“Prove it.”

Zawa tapped the coin with a claw and slid it across the table, never breaking eye contact with Carlos. “Gladly. Hold it in your hand and tell me what the roulette will land on.”

Hesitantly, Carlos took the Meowth’s coin and put it in the palm of his hand. It truly was a beautiful object; it sprang into life as it reflected every light in the room with such intensity he looked away. He felt a warmth in his core as he watched the spinning wheel nearby. “Wynaut, yellow,” he told Zawa.

The silver ball spun a few more times, then stopped in that hole. Carlos could hear Umar’s voice as he handed the coin back: “Wynaut, yellow!


“So, this is where I challenge you to a game?” he asked.

Zawa laughed. “My dear boy, you’ve been challenging me for the past several months! The difference is you’ve now come with an offering…” she indicated Carlos’ backpack stuffed with money, “that I can accept.”

The Game Corner grew even quieter around Carlos as he considered his options. There was at least ₽100,000 in his bag, plus a little more if the items counted as well. He’d been prepared to lose it earlier, but now he’d had time to calm down he wasn’t so sure… However, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Can I come back later?” Carlos suggested.

Zawa’s tail was weaving like an Arbok ready to strike as she studied him. “Of course, but I don’t like to be kept waiting. If you leave this table now, it would take a much higher offering to see me again.”

“Okay,” Carlos said at once, “I’ll play the game now!”

Zawa’s eyes flashed. “Wonderful. Now, you must choose, Carlos. How will you entertain the Goddess of Wagers?”

The four pokémon in the Secret Base are part of the team I caught in-game, though Tichu is the actual in-game starter. For instance, I got Jamie through the random pokémon prize in the Game Corner, in keeping with the theme!

Oh, and Zawa’s name is a reference to the sound effect used in Kaiji: https://myanimelist.net/anime/3002/Gyakkyou_Burai_Kaiji__Ultimate_Survivor
Another thing I heartily recommend :D

Not applicable yet, but here’s a picrew of Carlos in the meantime:
1JMIkH9uBPH6BbSvnrMMT73gjdAgo3hcNE1DEGbZQMytte6F57MfecFvBZ6zA0Q.png

♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
 
Last edited:

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
3,042
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Loves music, worldbuilding, anthropomorphism, horrible puns, and Masquerain.
I love the worldbuilding here. The description of Hoenn, the Trick House, Zawa... there's a lot to gush over here.
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
260
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
2,045
Location
Scrivener
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fire
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
Shame you didn't get this out before the Ganza because on this chapter alone I'd vote for Best Worldbuilding in a heartbeat 👀 I love Carlos' Pokemon, and Zawa... gotta love a goddess who's good at finding a new kind of temple for herself in the modern world!
 

Green Tea

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
5195
Caught
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
195
Location
England
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Poison
Pokédex Entry
Considered bitter by many.
Zawa alone is reason to keep reading this run. I love what you're doing here, there's so much still to untangle and so many questions about what is, and isn't, significant. I can't wait to see where this goes.
 

DistortionLocke

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
939
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
Boy, you should know better than to mess with the supernatural!
 

Leon Yorunaki

I'll Spirit Shackle you!
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
453
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
820
Nature
Rash
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Ghost
oh boy oh man oh boy, here we go.
First, as everyone above me noticed: the worldbuilding. geez, I don't remember seeing something so full of life, yet so close to the games. We all know what casinos are like, but the trick house, and Zawa... I bet it's early to tell, but she makes for a great villain.
Which isn't to say Carlos isn't. A thousand grand in his pockets and he refuses to buy an upgrade and a moon stone for his team? Faking poverty saying he's working when he's gambling? Cynthia is right to be worried!
But, I mean, it's Carlos we're talking about. Chances are he's stealing that coin, having to run around the continent and away from the goddess... that looks fun enough.

Also, shoutouts to Constance for letting you into #teammoth
 
OP
Vivace

Vivace

Designated Meganium Defender
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
204
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,251
Location
Fochun
Nature
Brave
Pronouns
He/Him / They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Dragon
  2. Fighting
Pokédex Entry
The Lad Pokemon, Vivace's main powers are photoshop and chatting shit. Manages the unofficial nuzlocke football team.
♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
Thanks again for the early interest, guys! :yay: This is the perfect time to follow along as (from my experience anyway) once a run hits 10 chapters or so it becomes a daunting task to catch up. Tell a friend about Entry Hazard today :3:

Alright, enough banging my own drum. Carlos has a game to win!

@Trollkitten Thank you! ♥️ If you like my descriptions, I know I'm doing something right here because there's a lot more to come for other locations :D

@SayleeK I had to resist the urge to reply to this early, oh my god!! I was originally going to submit All Our Futures for best worldbuilding when I saw you weren't eligible, which I took to mean you've already won it previously! So holy shit, to get that praise from you had me levitating with happiness for the rest of the day
(Yeah, I'm definitely regretting not starting the run before the Ganza, but I wanted to be sure I could actually finish this run first... still, bad timing. :cybercrime: At least there's 2022? Assuming I can keep standards up??)
And yeah, Zawa is Best Goddess.

@Green Tea I must confess that, while she's a significant character, there won't be much screentime for Zawa for the majority of this run. That's as far as I'm going to say, though, because I don't want to spoil any surprises!
Thank you! ♥️

@DistortionLocke hey, if MCs never messed with the supernatural, we'd all have much shorter nuzlockes ;)

@Leon Yorunaki Thank youuuu! ♥️
Hmmm. Without giving too much away, I should say the in-story item prices don't 100% reflect those in-game. Not to say Cynthia's feelings aren't valid, though :(
yoink
I humbly accept my invitation and promise mothy happenings at some point in the story!

The Game Corner had never been this quiet.

The shiny Meowth and the human challenger began their game of straight poker with a ‘winner takes all’ agreement. Any further items placed on the table between them would constitute a raise and therefore become part of the pot.

This was nothing like the flashy professional games Carlos had played against Vic and the others. The sounds, smells, and even the permanent taste of alcohol in the air had somehow disappeared from their corner of the room. Without any background noise to distract, whenever either of them coughed, moved their cards, or did so much as raise an eyebrow, the other might notice. He’d have to keep that in mind.

Poker was Carlos’ game of choice for one simple reason: he couldn’t trust Zawa. Carlos wasn’t sure how one could cheat at dice, but he at least knew the book on rigging poker games. Besides, if they played a simple game like this, he might stand a chance of reading Zawa’s tells to win the game somewhat honestly.

They started out slow. Zawa had her own stack of coins, and though Carlos wasn’t sure if they were actually hers, she did play as if she wanted to keep them.

Zawa’s poker face was frustratingly indecipherable, but that wasn’t what bothered Carlos. Perhaps it was because of her mythical status or because she was a shiny pokémon, but whenever he stared at her closely enough his mind started playing tricks. Occasionally his eyes would start to drift to the wall behind her, and it took a conscious effort to refocus when that happened.

Fortunately, Zawa’s tail seemed to have a life of its own. Early in the game, Carlos mapped out its movements to the worth of the cards she held. If it tilted to the right, she had a highly rated hand like a full house or a straight. Otherwise, she was merely bluffing. With this knowledge he was able to recover some early losses, but he wasn’t confident enough to do much more than match just yet. If he bet everything on a bluff and he was wrong, he wouldn’t get another chance.

Carlos noticed how much he was sweating; it was time to ditch the faux-leather jacket he’d brought with him to the Game Corner. After losing a round, Carlos asked for a quick pause to remove it.

Once it was off, part of it flopped onto the table before Carlos could catch it. “Oh, whoops. Does this count as on the table?”

Zawa stopped admiring her claws and peered at Carlos. “You… what? Do you think I would want a jacket?”

“I don’t know. It’s a very good jacket,” Carlos replied defensively.

“…It’s not a question of how good the jacket is!” Zawa’s retort was tinged with amusement. “The question is how am I going to wear it? No, I’m not interested in your clothes. This is not that kind of game!”

“Okay, okay! I was just making sure!” laughed Carlos as he drew the jacket back. A card fell off the table, and he caught it without skipping a beat. “I don’t want to lose it either!”

They continued the game without any suspicions raised. Eventually Carlos got a peek at his extra card: a 10 of hearts, just as planned.

The game itself was not going the grifter’s way, however. He was bleeding coins because Zawa’s tell had seemingly vanished. Her tail now swayed whether or not she had a good hand. She was having too much fun, and Carlos was nearly out of capital.

Carlos knew it was time to act when he was dealt a perfect hand: 7 of hearts, 8 of hearts, 9 of hearts, jack of hearts, and an ace of diamonds. An ace high was junk, of course, unless…

As the Meowth picked her own cards up to study them, tail curling slightly to the right as she did so, Carlos made his play. A sneeze, a pinch, a switch. Gone was the ace, replaced seamlessly with a 10; he sniffed quietly as he adjusted his posture to let the other card slip down his sleeve into a specially made pocket.

It went perfectly! Now Carlos had a straight flush, and Zawa's expression hadn't changed one bit. She just smiled down at her own cards with that unnerving self-satisfaction. What did she have? It wouldn't matter this time.

She glanced up at him, smirked, and bet.

Neither backed down, so the pot kept rising. In a matter of minutes, the rest of the money was on the table… And so were the items… And so was Carlos' only TM. On Zawa's side was her share of the money and the golden coin. She’d scoffed a little when Carlos insisted she use a cloth to move the item, but Carlos held firm.

"Carlos, I'm all in," Zawa purred. "If you win this hand, your fortunes will be yours to decide."

Carlos could only make a faint noise of agreement as he stared ahead.

"Then there’s nothing else to do but to reveal. Here goes." As the Scratch Cat pokémon let her cards fall, Carlos' mind lurched from jubilation to confusion. Two tens. Trash. Had she really been bluffing the whole time? "Now you."

Finally allowing his emotions back in, Carlos dumped his cards on the table with pride. “Straight flush!" he announced.

Silence. Zawa's look was one of bewilderment. At first, Carlos thought she was about to complain or try to trick him with another challenge. Instead, she leaned over and let her teeth show in a terrible grin. “Carlos… if that's true… why do I have these cards?”

“What are you talking abou-“ Carlos began as he glanced up at the cards. He gripped his chair’s armrests in panic. Nestled in the middle of Zawa’s last hand was a 10 of hearts, just like his.

“Well?”

Carlos' eye twitched. “That’s nothing to do with me,” he insisted as he pointed at the cards. “You dealt me these cards, so really I should be asking you!”

Zawa’s tail curled. “Wrong answer.”

All at once, every coin, item, and card slid to Zawa’s half of the table. Carlos didn’t notice until it was too late that even his backpack on the ground was sliding away; he snatched for the Poké Balls attached to the side as they slipped out of reach. “H-hey! Wait!”

“You were challenging the Goddess of Wagers, and you thought a simple card switch would fool her? You, Carlos, are an insult to the craft! While I must admit your technique is perfect, your mistake was trying in the first place. You will now lose everything, as I shall have my winnings!” Zawa declared.

“Please,” begged Carlos, “at least leave me my pokémon! They’re not even part of the stakes!”

“Shan’t,” crowed the Meowth. “You should have thought about that before trying to deceive me.”

NO!” Carlos lunged for the bag, scattering coins everywhere as he threw the table aside, but before he could touch the Poké Balls he collided with some sort of invisible barrier.

Zawa stepped further out of reach with a supremely satisfied look on her face. “Our game is over,” she stated haughtily. “Unless you have the means to continue or wish to arrange a rematch… our business here is finished.”

“Yes! Rematch! I demand a rematch!”

“Oh?” Zawa studied Carlos coolly from behind the invisible wall. Carlos kept his mouth shut for fear of antagonising her further. After a horribly long silence, she asked, “How should I trust that your offer is genuine? You were trying to cheat me a moment ago, after all.”

“It is! I won’t cheat ever again, I swear! I’ll do anything, just please give me back my pokémon!” Carlos’ voice broke as he pleaded with the Meowth.

Zawa refitted her coin, which gleamed brilliantly as it did before. “Very well, Carlos! You may challenge me a second time 31 days from now, or exactly one human month. I’m interested in what magic tricks you’ll bring to our next game…”

“Oh, thank you! Thank you! But I really won’t ch-“

“…On one condition!” Zawa’s grin widened. “Your tribute must be far higher than what you brought today. I have a stake in mind: one badge from each of your city Gyms.”

Carlos trailed off when he realised what the goddess had just asked for. “…What?”

“I always liked the way they shine,” Zawa explained offhandedly, “but gamblers never seem to have any.”

“But… that’s impossible, I… winning badges without my pokémon… I can’t do it!

Zawa shrugged. “Then I suppose we won’t meet again. Now, begone from here, swindler!”

Before Carlos could reason with her or offer all of his possessions, an unseen force blew him backwards. He cried out as he skidded across the floor, and when he got up all he could see around him was a crowd of gamblers and Game Corner staff. Few of them had even noticed him on the ground. He scrambled to his feet and ran back to the craps table, but all he could find was his empty backpack and a faux-leather jacket.



♥​


As he fled Mauville City, Carlos could hear nothing but the ringing in his ears. The tantalising music of the Game Corner had fallen away along with the noises of traffic, the twittering of Rookidees, and the sound of his own footsteps. Someone from a window appeared to call out to him. He couldn't tell for sure. The ringing was getting louder. There was Zawa's laugh again, but maybe it was somebody else watching this grown man sprint for Route 110 clutching at his head. The feeling didn't go away when he left the city, either. Questions erupted in his mind only to be shoved aside by another one just as fast. How did Zawa know? What would Cynthia say? How could a backpack with nothing in it weigh him down so much? Why was he so sweaty? Was this even the right way? What had he done? How could he get a badge now? There was the Trick House coming into view, past the bridges, past the water and-

GRASS!

When a strand of the tall grass brushed the back of Carlos' hand, he found himself diving to one side. There was water in that direction so he launched himself left again only to catch his hip on a fence. Pain and shock flashed through his system as he stepped back and fell butt-first onto the dirt path. "Agh! Ahhh…” As Carlos clutched his hip, he scanned the unassuming patch of grass he'd nearly run into. Sure enough, a pair of Shinx could be seen resting just beyond it. If he'd disturbed them…

Carlos gulped air, trying to calm himself down. His chest was so tight it was threatening to implode, though he wasn't sure if it was from the running, the fright, some other issue, or even some combination of the three. A heart attack?

Briefly Carlos considered getting up to go to Mauville… no, he couldn’t, even if he made it to the hospital in time which seemed a long shot at this point. He tugged at the neck of his shirt to loosen it as he slumped back down against the fence, shivering slightly. He’d forgotten to take his jacket. He laughed dully.

The lake was as serene as ever, despite everything. There was a faint tide against the sandy bank; Carlos found himself watching the water as it ebbed and flowed. A Jellicent floated further out. Carlos watched it. Nothing helped. He had heard focusing on something simple would help in times like this, but his mind refused to relax. He retreated into his arms, rocking slightly as he waited for something to happen.



♠​


By the time Carlos felt like himself again, the sun was already beginning to rise. It was several more minutes before Carlos trusted himself enough to get back on his feet. A few rubs and test punches on his side told him nothing was broken, though there was the beginning of a nasty bruise. He could also feel the points on his head where his fingernails had dug in earlier.

He needed pokémon. Carlos grunted as he forced himself to concentrate on this fact.

The boxy buildings of Mauville squatted in the distance past the trees. Carlos knew from trainer school that an emergency pokémon could be loaned to him for a fairly low rate - though anything costing money was going to be a problem again - but he realised that wasn't going to be necessary. West of Mauville, before any grass or trainers, was the Daycare. Tichu was there. The Game Corner hadn’t taken everything after all…

Carlos realised he was crying now. Steadily, he sank back against the fence and put his hands to his face.



♣​


The journey to Route 117 was simple enough. He was afraid at first that he'd have to avoid the Game Corner's view for one reason or another, but the loud building came and went without any sort of encounter. As the cheerful painted fence and quaint house of the Daycare came into view, Carlos tried to look as normal as possible.

Mr. Ivy, the owner, tipped his grey stovepipe hat as he stepped over his flowers to greet him. “Good day to you, Carlos! Have you come to check the progress of your pokémon?”

“Yes… Sort of. I’d like to have Tichu back early if that’s okay?” Carlos scuffed the gravel beneath his feet as he asked.

“Not a problem! Wait right here.” A few minutes later, the Daycare owner was back with a Poké Ball. “You have a very healthy Stunky, Carlos! She’s had a lovely time playing with her friends here. That’ll be ₽500, then.”

Carlos’ blood turned to ice. Money…

Despite a base urge to grab his pokémon and run, Carlos kept his eyes low as he searched his pockets. “Um… this is embarrassing; I forgot my wallet at home.”

“Of course, say no more about it,” Mr. Ivy said softly. He chuckled at Carlos’ expression, “Well I’m hardly going to hold your pokémon hostage am I? You pay every time. Come pay me a visit when you have the money, okay?”

Carlos couldn’t answer. He nodded meekly and held his hand out to receive Tichu.

Mr. Ivy tilted his head. “Are you okay, Carlos? I’ve never seen you this quiet. And, dear me… have you been sleeping properly?”

“Rough night,” he muttered as he turned away. “Don’t worry about it. Thanks again, Mr. Ivy.”

“Of course. Please let me know if you need help with anything!”



♦​


Carlos stared at the lone Poké Ball as he found a secluded hill in Route 117. His hand trembled slightly as it clutched the plastic red-and-white ball. “You’re really here,” he whispered.

When the Stunky was released, she rushed to hug Carlos’ leg. “Hey! You’re early!” she half-complained.

“Sorry…”

Tichu shook her head. “It’s okay! I made a lot of friends. I played hide-and-seek with a Psyduck! And there was this Voltorb, he had some kind of allergy, he said! Every time he got near me he sneezed sparks! And a… Mudbray? Yeah, he was a Mudbray, and we… well, I should really wait to tell the team! It was great!”

Carlos pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to listen to his newest pokémon. The longer he waited, the harder it would surely be to break the news to her…

Tichu’s face fell when she paused to look up at Carlos. “Uh… Boss? What’s wrong?”

And so begins the run! The clock’s ticking, and since the first Gym is in Dewford Carlos had better get his skates on!

Panic attacks are scary-ass things btw. Obelisk mentioned that the Route 110 scene is on the lighter side of things, so I can’t begin to imagine what a major one would be like :ohdear:

7HelZXx.png

Tichu (F)
Hasty, Starter (in-game)
Poison Gas / Scratch / Focus Energy / Fury Swipes​

♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
 
Last edited:

Green Tea

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
5195
Caught
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
195
Location
England
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Poison
Pokédex Entry
Considered bitter by many.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

There is so much good stuff in this update. So much. I've already said I like Zawa, but I'm not disappointed that she isn't too frequent a party to events. Her mystique is enhanced through sparing use, and Carlos has certainly seen enough of her for the time being! I can't believe he inadvertently challenged her to a game of strip poker. >_>

Nuzlockes are all about making life hard and my goodness me, Carlos has certainly done that to himself. Is it any less than he deserves? No, but, eesh, poor guy all the same.

I'm a big fan of Stunky/Skuntank. I don't feel like it gets enough love, so you'd better be good to Tichu!
 

Trollkitten

Kitten of Lore
Artist
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
208
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
3,042
Location
Gatto Region
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
She/her, Aetherai Lorekeeper
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Clever
Pokédex Entry
Autistic writer who starts more things than she finishes. Loves music, worldbuilding, anthropomorphism, horrible puns, and Masquerain.
Carlos noticed how much he was sweating; it was time to ditch the faux-leather jacket he’d brought with him to the Game Corner. After losing a round, Carlos asked for a quick pause to remove it.

Once it was off, part of it flopped onto the table before Carlos could catch it. “Oh, whoops. Does this count as on the table?”

Zawa stopped admiring her claws and peered at Carlos. “You… what? Do you think I would want a jacket?”

“I don’t know. It’s a very good jacket,” Carlos replied defensively.

“…It’s not a question of how good the jacket is!” Zawa’s retort was tinged with amusement. “The question is how am I going to wear it? No, I’m not interested in your clothes. This is not that kind of game!”
I mean, it wouldn't be very fair if it was, because Meowth usually go naked anyways.
The game itself was not going the grifter’s way, however. He was bleeding coins because Zawa’s tell had seemingly vanished. Her tail now swayed whether or not she had a good hand. She was having too much fun, and Carlos was nearly out of capital.
Apparently the secret to being a good liar is to convince people that you are a bad liar. Not that I'm recommending that.
 

overkill

The Flatulent
Pokédex No.
1549
Caught
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
179
Pokémon Type
  1. Cool
Pokédex Entry
A Pokemon composed primarily of shit
I don't know what Carlos was expecting, after all he was going up against a literal god. I can't really say I feel bad for him, he brought everything that happened on himself. :laugh:
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
260
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
2,045
Location
Scrivener
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fire
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
Oh no, oh nooooo... the moment he switched the card I was whispering "don't do it, Carlos, she is the GODDESS of GAMBLING, don't do it, DON'T DO IT" and then he fuckin Did It. He brought this entirely on himself, but still, his desperate pleading for his Pokemon and subsequent panic attack makes me heartsore 😭
Tichu is a sweetie! Please don't let her die getting shiny badges to rescue her friends 😭
 

DistortionLocke

Johto League Champion
Writer
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
939
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
What did I say? What 👏🏾 did 👏🏾 I 👏🏾 say?!👏🏾
God, I feel like an exasperated parent dragging their kid by the ear while muttering that they can’t take them anywhere…
 
OP
Vivace

Vivace

Designated Meganium Defender
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
204
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,251
Location
Fochun
Nature
Brave
Pronouns
He/Him / They/Them
Pokémon Type
  1. Dragon
  2. Fighting
Pokédex Entry
The Lad Pokemon, Vivace's main powers are photoshop and chatting shit. Manages the unofficial nuzlocke football team.
♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
Bit more exposition/set-up to go before the run can start proper, but the second part has a little fun to make up for it. I was tempted to name it The Henderson Challenge, but I like this chapter naming theme and want to keep to it.

@Green Tea Exactly! Zawa will be back, but for now Carlos has a job to do...
Carlos is such a bad decisions magnet and I love him
I will! The Stunky line was ‘okay’ to me before, didn’t have many opinions either way, but once the run got going I was so happy I rolled this precious skunk as a starter :D

@Trollkitten So she’d have vetoed that idea very quick :p
It certainly helps your odds if your opponent is underestimating you 👀

@overkill yeah, sometimes simply walking away is the best option.

@SayleeK The Feels Knife strikes early! That’s one of the scenes where I was really happy to have a second pair of eyes; I think it really improved the writing from what I had originally.
No promises on that, but she’ll do her best!

@DistortionLocke That comment had me rolling. Thank you!!

You bet us on a game!?” shrieked Tichu.

Carlos held his hands up. "Wait! I didn't! Not exactly. I…" There was no way to lie without making it sound worse, and regardless, Tichu deserved to know everything. "I cheated. We were both betting everything, and I thought I could switch cards to win. I never meant to include the team, I swear!

“I just had them with me on my backpack, and when Zawa went and took everything, well…" Carlos trailed off, watching his Stunky as she absorbed this information. She looked ready to spray him.

“I don’t think I could’ve won,” he continued. “In fact, I’m sure she cheats too. I just don’t know how yet…”

You got out-tricked by someone?”

Quietly, Carlos nodded. He let his arms fall to his sides. “Tichu, you have every reason to be mad at me. I screwed up bad today. I shouldn’t have challenged her… I just wasn’t ready.”

“You really didn’t mean to bet us?” Tichu insisted.

“Tichu, I promise I didn’t! You all are family to me. I’d never do something like that.”

Her tail, still held aloft, twitched. Carlos expected the worst, but instead she laid it flat on the ground, deep in thought. “Did the Meowth say how you can get them back? Can you get them back?" she asked.

"Y-yeah, with 8 badges,” Carlos sighed. “She said I have a month, then we can play again."

Tichu whistled through her teeth. "That's unfair… What's that, two badges a week? We've never won one! I'm guessing we can't just bring something else?"

Carlos shook his head, trying not to cry again.

"Well… really… that JERK!" Tichu's tail was back up as she paced in a circle. She looked madder than ever. "Taking pokémon, who the hell does that? What kind of miserable god is that? Goddess of Wagers? Goddess of Dumb! She'd better not try and take me too! I'll be ready! I can beat a Meowth, that's for sure! What does she even want a pokémon for!? Pokémon can't be trainers! What a loser, she's probably doing this because she thinks it's funny! But we'll show her. We'll walk up there, show the badges, and beat her up before she can say 'Double or nothing'!"

Carlos breathed a sigh of relief and started to suggest something, but he faltered as Tichu rounded on him. She wasn't done yet. "And you! You… idiot! How come you got caught? Aren’t you supposed to be good at cards? You should've walked away! I bet the oh-so-amazing riches she's supposed to have are just things she's stolen from everyone else dumb enough to bet everything on a STUPID game! Now what?! You've got one pokémon and you're lucky to still have me, you idiot!"

As Tichu continued to rant, her trainer couldn't help but smile a little. It took a few more minutes until the Stunky was satisfied she'd insulted him, Zawa, and the entire city of Mauville enough, then she finished and curled up to lay in front of Carlos. There was a terrible smell he didn't feel like mentioning, lest she start up again. He pet her, gently, and asked, "Feel better now?"

"No," she spat. "You're still an idiot who conned himself.”

"Yeah… I'm an idiot. I'm a clod. A nitwit, too.”

"Oh, I like that one! You’re a nitwit!”

"Since I'm a nitwit, I'm going to need your help. Getting my team back, I mean. Would… would you please help me?"

Tichu's eyes widened in disbelief. "Carlos… of course I'll help you! I'm your pokémon. I can’t just leave you like this. So, what Gym is first?”

Carlos shook his head. “No, we can’t challenge the Gyms. Even if I had enough money, the waiting list is so long we don’t have a chance of getting it done in time…”

“How long is it?”

“About two weeks.”

“Two weeks!?” Tichu cried. “Why do trainers care so much about these dumb badges anyway?”

“That’s a good question, Tichu. Gimme a sec.” Carlos unzipped his bag and pulled out the empty badge case. There were eight shaped indents with an inscription below each one; Carlos pointed at each in turn. "So, look here. There are eight badges, as you know. Their names are Stone, Knuckle, Dynamo, Heat, Balance, Feather, Mind, and Rain. Every pokémon trainer is judged by how many of these we have; for instance, I’m still considered a beginner since I’ve never won one.

“We collect these so that we can qualify for better items, shop discounts, and higher tier licenses to catch more powerful pokémon. Also so we can brag to our rivals if we have more badges than them, of course! At the end we show 'em off at Ever Grande City to prove we've completed the League Challenge, and then we’re allowed to face the Elite 4.”

“And there’s no way we can just cut in line?”

Carlos grimaced. “No, especially not for us.”

"But… but…" Tichu was clearly looking for a loophole here. “What if we challenge them now, all at once? Just sign up now so we don’t have to wait! We’d-”

"We would get destroyed," Carlos finished for her. “There’s no way we could win all 8 games without the advantages those badges would get us.“

Tichu’s ears drooped. “Oh. Right.” She contemplated the ground for a few seconds, then looked up. “But, boss, if we can’t get those badges in time… isn’t there no point? You must have a plan!”

“I do,” he sighed.

“What is it, then?”

“So, you know how I sometimes take things that aren’t mine?”

“Oh, of course!” Tichu replied, “Jamie told me all about it! You’re great at stealing!”

“Grifting, yeah, but let’s go with that.” He took a few more seconds to gather the courage to say it. Each word felt like poison in his mouth. “We can win the badges if we… take them. From other people.”

It didn’t matter carefully how Carlos chose his words. Immediately after he said it out loud, Cynthia’s reproach echoed in his mind. “It’s like we never left the Trick House,” he breathed.

Tichu heard none of that. Her eyes lit up, and she leapt onto the badge case. “We can do that? That’s so much easier! We’ll have all eight in no time! So how’ll you do it? Pretend you’re a tourist? Switch backpacks when they’re not looking?”

“…Does Jamie ever talk to you about something other than con ideas?”

“Nope!” Tichu answered with a grin. “They’ll be so jealous when I tell them what we’ve been up to!”

Carlos rubbed his forehead. “Yeah…”

“…Hey,” the Stunky complained. “What’s the problem now?”

A couple of Pawniards were practicing marching formations in the grass nearby. Carlos watched them pensively until they disappeared behind a boulder. “It’s not that we can’t do it,” he muttered, eventually. “It’s just… taking it from trainers who’ve earned it? It doesn’t sit right with me.”

Tichu headbutted him. “That’s not a problem! That’s just you being a killjoy! Like, what’s the difference between this and your other cons?”

“Lots!” Carlos said at once. “For one thing, I only do that with items that are just an inconvenience to get back or replace. A Gym badge is a totally different thing!”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. Think about the spoils Jamie’s told you about. You know, a bit of cash or some jewelry the person won’t think twice about in a week’s time. What we’re talking about here is stealing a unique treasure that marks a milestone in a trainer’s life! They’re so important, I’ve heard pokémon instinctively know how many badges you have. That the especially strong pokémon need a certain number of badges before they respect you enough to obey orders in battle. What if they stop respecting their trainer and it’s my fault?

“I’m not saying we can’t manage it,” Carlos finished, his voice quavering as he did so, “but if we do this I’m not sure I’ll ever forget what I did…”

Tichu opened her mouth to argue, then shut it. The cogs were turning. “Hang on… So, you’d like it more if we took it from someone who wouldn’t notice it’s gone?”

“I’d certainly be able to sleep at night, yeah. So I think we should spend some time finding a mark who genuinely doesn’t need them, or won’t until we get back from the Game Corner, at the very least. I just don’t know how we’d go about doing that.”

“Then let’s steal it from the Gyms themselves!”

“That’s an idea,” Carlos laughed.

He paused.

“What, you’re serious?”

“Think about it!” Her tail danced around as she made her case. “They won’t mind if one of their badges go missing, we don’t have to wait two weeks for them to let us in, and it doesn’t matter how powerful their pokémon are since we’re not gonna battle them! It’s simple!”

Carlos knew he had to let his Stunky down before she got any further ideas of him being some amazing cat burglar from the movies. “Okay, Tichu. I love the idea, but it’s way beyond me. I can pick people’s pockets or convince them of some opportunity, but what you’re talking about is me breaking into eight highly-guarded buildings and-”

“Oh, shut up for a second and listen to me!” Tichu interrupted, stamping her paw. “I don’t care if it’s hard! We have to save our friends! Tell me we’re going to do that, damn it!”

Carlos looked down at his youngest pokémon, stunned. He was about to ask where she’d picked up that language, but this wasn’t the time. “I… of course. You’re right, we have our team to think about. And unless we think of something better it’s the best plan we’ve got. But if we get caught…”

"Don't worry about that!" Tichu was practically vibrating from excitement as she squeaked at him. “We won’t, boss! You're brilliant. They'll never suspect you in time to do anything about it! We can do it in a week!"

"Hah, now that's definitely not true…"

"And if they do find us, then I’ll make another secret base and we can hide there! Simple!”

“…alright.” Carlos patted Tichu on the head. “Let’s do it.”

“Yahoo! We’re gonna rob the League!” Tichu danced on the tips of her paws then raced into the grass like a cork that had been shot out of a champagne bottle. “We’re gonna rob the League! I’m gonna find a new friend to help us!”

Carlos stood up abruptly when he realised what Tichu was doing. “Tichu! Wait, come back!”

There was a faint thunk! sound, then… “Ow! I found one!”

Carlos recalled his pokémon with a sigh. When he brought her back out, she had a small bruise between her eyes, and her attacker was storming out of its patch to meet her again. It was a Grookey brandishing its stick in indignation. Tichu looked up at her trainer expectantly, but her ears drooped when she was ordered to chase the Grookey away.

“Never do that again,” Carlos scolded her later. “We can’t just start a fight without a plan.”

“I had a plan!” Tichu insisted. “I weaken the ‘mon and you catch it!”

A slight chuckle escaped Carlos’ lips, but he kept his expression serious. “With what? We’ve got no items, remember?”

“Oh. Right…”

Carlos ruffled the Stunky’s fur. “Come on, let’s get healed up. The centre’s always free. If you want, we can talk on the way about how we’re going to raise some money for the journey!”

“Are we going to steal it?” Tichu’s eyes sparkled at the thought as they set off for the city.

“You bet we are.”
Kent Tannenbay hated Mauville City during the rush hour. The parking spots were non-existent at this time in the morning, meaning he had to deal with public transport… and the public. Oh, the Mauville public. More often than not they were shifty, unkempt vagrants with no sense of style. They’d sooner pick his pocket than find a job of their own. He had an important one, however, and if this meeting went well he’d get that bonus secured for sure.

He stepped back sharply as two Mienfoos ran by, followed by young teenagers on bicycles. "HEY!" he shouted as he felt an elbow brush the side of his jacket. They didn't stop, so he hollered after them. "You brats! Get off the sidewalk!"

A quick pat told him his wallet was still there, though that wasn’t his main concern. He bent down and inspected the top of his thoroughly shined shoes, then the bottom of his pinstripe trousers, and so on…

…Not a speck of dirt in sight. Perfect. Everything was perfect. He continued on to his meeting, satisfied the youths hadn’t ruined his attire.

“Hello, sir?”

He kept walking. There was no way he’d allow himself to be stopped by someone on this street.

“Sir!”

Kent still refused to acknowledge the local scoundrel behind him. He glared up at a red street light, waiting for it to change before they caught up to him. This one was taking forever…

“Sir!”

He whirled round. “Go away! I will not buy whatever you’re selling, and if it’s a pamphlet don’t bother! It’s going straight in the trash!”

The well-dressed man, in his mid-20s, looked shocked by the tone he’d used. He seemed about to run the other way, but he raised an arm to point behind Kent first. “You have a… thing on the back of your shirt. I think it was a Pidove or something that did it. Sorry!” he squeaked at his glowering expression. “I just thought you might like to know!”

What!?” Kent immediately contorted himself to check the back of his shirt. Sure enough, his right thumb brushed against something wet. “Oh… for Rayquaza’s sake!”

The walking signal turned green, but before he could trudge off the local caught his attention again. “It’s okay though! I know how to fix this!”

Kent looked back hopefully. “You do?”

“Sure!” He gestured for the jacket, which Kent handed over. He shifted his hands to move the bird dropping into view and explained, “I have a few bird pokémon at home. What you do is you get some cold, distilled water. Run it on there for a few seconds, it’ll be gone before you know it.”

“Have you got some?”

“Not on me, no. See that café over there? They’ll have plenty.”

“You’re a lifesaver,” Kent remarked as he took his coat back. He rushed through the crowd to the café that the man had pointed out.

It wasn’t until he got to cleaning the jacket that he noticed the ‘dropping’ had the consistency of sour cream and that his wallet was a few bills thinner.



♥​


There were usually fewer pedestrians in the West District. Today was an exception, as amateur and professional Pokémon Contest entrants were preparing for their next competitions. Nobody paid any notice to an Orresian gentleman who fastened his tie as he slipped into a dimly lit alleyway. With a quick look around, the man unscrewed a Potion and poured its contents into several shot glasses.

“Ladies, gentlemen, everyone with pokémon, may I have your attention?” His voice echoed across the street easily as he stepped out onto the pavement. He’d already produced a table and a chalkboard which read ‘Dr. Palter’s All-In-One Conditioner’. “Every trainer and their pokémon deserves an opportunity to shine at the Contest, do they not? But how can that be, when the price for any premium fur conditioner is so high and climbs higher by the day?”

One or two onlookers agreed as they approached to better read his sign.

“I’ve known of this problem for many years back in my home region, but with a pinch of ingenuity and a lot of effort in securing the patent, I have here an identical alternative to the leading brand which is 30% cheaper to manufacture. Now, watch closely!”

The salesman picked up an ungroomed Stunky - which caused a small outcry - then took a glass of the conditioner and upended it over the pokémon. The fluid bubbled slightly as he worked it into its fur, then he wiped the froth off with his sleeve. “As you in the front can see, it dries instantly. It’s safe for any pokémon species - we’ve made absolutely sure of that! - and the result is a coat that looks brand new! What sets this apart from other store brand products is its faint healing properties. Cuts and bruises will be gone in a flash, and for hairless pokémon, this stuff works wonders on acne!”

A murmur of appreciation rippled through the crowd. “How much does it cost?” a beauty cradling a Vaporeon piped up.

Dr. Palter held up a finger. “Ah, yes, price. Unfortunately, to cover costs and research, the price will be similar to the store brands when it goes on the market. There’s not much I can do about that. But! For today only, I can offer these samples for an easily affordable ₽400 each!”

Naturally, the dozen samples of Dr. Palter’s All-In-One Conditioner flew off the table. He collected the coins, bid the Contest hopefuls a grand farewell, then made his exit with the chalkboard under his arm. No doubt he was on his way to the next city to promote this wondrous product!



♠​


The sun shined fiercely over the Hoenn Daycare. Mr. Ivy wiped his brow beneath his favourite hat as he admired his handiwork; the tomatoes were growing nicely. He’d needed to water them an extra time thanks to the intense summer heat, but the harvest would make it more than worth the effort. In a few days, they and the rest of the vegetables would be ready, and they would cook up something special for the overnight pokémon’s dinners.

“Mr. Ivy!”

He knew that voice well. Carlos was making his way over to him, Tichu following behind. The youthful stride he’d lost earlier was back in full swing. “Carlos, so good to see you again! Today’s a better day, I expect?”

“Much better, thanks!” Carlos replied as he dug into his pocket. He produced a ₽1,000 bill and cheerfully handed it over. “This is for Tichu.”

“Oh, why thank you,” he said warmly. “If you’ll follow me to the house, I can get you your change.”

Carlos shook his head vigorously. “No, please. You’ve helped us out enough; consider it a tip.”

Mr. Ivy was taken aback, but he nodded. “Okay, that’s fine by me. Will we be seeing you again, mister?”

Tichu gave a stuttering yip which he knew to mean laughter.

“No, not for a while, I think,” Carlos replied, “but if we do need someone to take care of a young pokémon I know who we’ll ask. Goodbye, and thank you both!”

The two cautiously walked through the grassy field as they set off towards Verdanturf. Mr. Ivy had seen this enough times to know when a trainer was ready to begin their League Challenge. “Good luck,” he wished the team.



♣​


“Alright, back to grifting,” Carlos said once they were out of earshot. “I reckon we’ll need a little more before we’re ready to shop for items.”

“Or, we could’ve just given him ₽500,” Tichu argued.

“I said no.”

“Okay…”

The foothills of Mt. Chimney loomed to the right as Carlos and his pokémon headed for the next town. They were almost ready to buy some supplies, which meant new pokémon…

He promised himself that, someday, he would show Cynthia and the rest every area they’d travelled through.

No new teammates in this chapter, but it won’t be long until we get one! That Grookey was my first encounter, but sadly it was too much of a pain to catch.
Not all the aliases’ names are references, but Dr. Palter is based on Gwenyth Paltrow, the IRL snake oil tycoon!

7HelZXx.png

Tichu (F)
Hasty, Starter (in-game)
Poison Gas / Scratch / Focus Energy / Fury Swipes​

♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top