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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!
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.
♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️

Alright, heist time!! I'm feeling quite comfy with the two-week schedule, so this might become a permanent thing even after I rebuild my buffer. Then again, the world might end by next year and I kinda want to finish EH by then, so... hm, idk ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

@MegaInfernape I know! For heaven's sake, Teresa, even though you don't realise it you've got an audience here to impress >:L
Thanks! Yeah, I think it can be really rewarding to include the slower scenes where they're planning things out :D
Norman knows a thing or two because he's seen a thing or two!

@Green Tea Arceus bless this little skunk <3
Yeah, absolutely! Serperior is at the top of the food chain, while Fomantis... isn't
no way at all

@Leon Yorunaki What are we doing with our stories if we're not writing ourselves into a corner on the regular??
You make a really good point, Magnemite would be very helpful for this indeed (as well as against Wattson, being the Electric gym and all). And yeah, Teresa was very reliable in my playthrough, not so much when I started writing her xD

@apocalypsewriter Thank you <3 I certainly love Tichu too, and since she's the youngest of the crew it makes sense to me she'd be the most inquisitive about things Artemio or Pier may take for granted.
Well, Teresa is a Lonely Nature for a reason...
My pleasure! And some of the inspiration for Asshole Norman comes from his characterisation in the manga version of Pokémon (and also the Hard Mode comic, though he's a different kind of prick in that)

@SayleeK AU Entry Hazard involves a Carlos who just breaks through each gym riding a Mamoswine and is over within 8 chapters :v:
Ha! Yeah, that's the Norman I know. The anime Norman is practically a stranger to me xD
I will say that it's going to take a long while for Ruby or any of the other Elite 4 & Champions to show up, if they do at all. The story's going to be pretty busy with the characters I've got already, so I have to draw the line somewhere...

“Alright, that’s open. Have a look, Yellow.”

“Hey. I’m Frida, remember?” she told the thief.

“Yes, of course. But when we’re working, you’re Yellow.”

“Pfft. That’s lame. Where’s the imagination? Why not ‘Zekrom, Scourge of Petalburg’?”

“Look, I can only keep so many fake names going at once, so we’re keeping it simple for now. Let’s get the badge, and we can talk about aliases later.”

The Pikachu shook her head. “We’re talking getting me a Thunder Stone later. My skills don’t come cheap, you know!”

“Hey, keep your voice down. Yes, that’ll happen, but the wire comes first, okay?”

“Alright! Geez. Give me a second, boss.”

Carlos sat facing a plastic white box with his newest catch, a female Pikachu with a stump tail. All the Electric pokémon he’d caught greeted his wire-cutting idea with derision, then either hopped or floated deeper into Petalburg Forest. Frida was the one exception, humouring Carlos just long enough for him to reach the part of his pitch where he could explain what was in it for her.

He was acutely aware of how far their voices carried across the night. Still, no one had been sent to investigate when he’d prised the door open and turned a flashlight on the contents, so their presence seemed to have gone unnoticed up to this point.

Inside the box was a series of dusty cables. Some were white, some were blue, some intertwined, and some split into multiple wires, but every one of them was unmarked. Frida’s red cheeks hummed as she sniffed each cable in turn, her ears turning this way and that.

“So, you think you can do it?”

“Yeah, sure. Which building do you want cut?”

“There. The one with the tiled roof.”

Frida nodded. “Hmm. Alright, check it.”

“Make sure it’s just that building, or-“

Suddenly, the box erupted into a shower of sparks! Carlos shielded his eyes with his free hand; when he lowered it, he saw a self-satisfied Pikachu holding a black wire between her teeth. “Easy peasy,” she declared.

To his left, Carlos could hear a rolling wave of metal thumps within the Gym. With each one, his heart jumped a little higher; each thump proved he was right about the doors, at the cost of broadcasting how right he was to what felt like the whole city. The thief half expected Rayquaza themself to come check out the noise.

“Okay, great work,” Carlos said to Frida after a few moments of charged silence. “I’ll see you back at the base.”

“Nah, I’m coming with!”

“That… wasn’t the plan.”

Frida waved the base of her tail back and forth. “Hey, it’s Norman’s Gym though! I gotta see what’s inside. I bet he’s got tons of loot in there.“

“Yellow, no.”

“It’s Frida-“

But the Pikachu was cut off when Carlos opened her Poké Ball, recalling her in a red flash. “Sorry, Yellow. Don’t think you’re quite ready yet…”

By now, Dipa had finished her lap of the Gym leaving white powder on every camera. Tonight was a full moon, so Norman’s Gym was already outlined with a thin white border; what she’d done was add a twinkling constellation of security monitors rendered useless. It was quite a pretty sight, but Carlos was not the kind of artist who sat and painted pictures. He took no time to admire the view, instead pressing himself against the wall. As he sidled up to the main entrance, he kept an ear out for any sort of commotion inside. Hearing nothing, he knelt in front of the keyhole and got to work.

No matter how many locks he had picked during his time as a Trick Trainer, this never seemed to get any easier. The two pins scratched pointlessly against the inside of the lock at first, and at one point they stuck together causing a quiet panic as he fished them out. Eventually, the seized pins fell into place, allowing him to part the doors.

Slowly, Carlos revealed the unlit entrance hall and two further doors which had already sprung open. The parted metal gates and pitch black rooms beyond called to mind a pair of unnaturally large pokémon preparing to swallow the thief up.

“Can I have the lamp now?”

He jumped as if he’d been stung, but it was only Dipa. She hovered in the light’s path, casting a Frosmoth silhouette onto the ceiling.

“Not now, Mothwoman,” Carlos chuckled under his breath, “but you deserve one for sure.”

Dipa disappeared to be replaced with the team for phase two. Artemio cast his own light with his wand, Orville floated on ahead, and Tichu remained by her trainer’s side with her tail in the air and a spring in her step.

“Now, we’ve gotta be quick. It doesn’t matter which way we go, as long as it’s forward, but if there’s any camera in here I want to know about it, ok?”

“Yes, boss!”

“Shh.”

Carlos shone his light on the wooden floor as he crept forward, but he needn’t have bothered. There were no tripping hazards or secondary alarm systems, nor any cameras to trick. By the time he reached the One-Hit KO Room, the four of them were walking confidently toward their goal.

Before he knew it, Carlos was in Norman’s room! He quickly crossed it, just like the other rooms, though Orville hung back to properly take in his surroundings. “Oooh. This place is huge... Boss, you should see this with the lights on.”

“Hopefully I won’t. What’s it look like?”

“It’s just like the photo in your book, but… This is so cool to actually be here. He really has everything, there’s even an emergency nurse station in this corner! And a PC too! And there’s a whole bunch of photos here of his team!” The Shuppet coughed awkwardly. “Oh, right, noise. I’ll be quiet.”

“Go ahead, I don’t mind,” Carlos replied with a smile. He couldn’t imagine anyone hearing them now, they were so deep. “Just, uh, not so loud. Red, you’re on lookout. Tell me about anything, okay?”

“‘Course.”

When Carlos entered the badge room, which was about the size of a large closet, he was given a reminder they were only halfway done. Every type of Gym reward, from badges to Technical Machines to mega bracelets, was in its own separate container secured with a hefty padlock. “Oh, no. Not another one…”

As Orville described one of the team photos, Carlos closely examined the padlock. This was a common Shuckle-brand combination lock, which meant Carlos had to switch to a different pair of bent pins, but it wouldn’t hold for long.

“…His Slakings have to sit in the back of course, they’re so big,” Orville remarked. “Doesn’t matter which photo. They look identical, too… I wonder if they’re twins? As far as I can tell they evolved at the same time. He’s got a few non-Normal types, but obviously none in his ‘challenge’ teams.”

“Ooh, and check out this one. That’s a mean-looking Kangaskhan; she must be part of his main team. She’s been around for ages, too. Look at how small she was to start…”

“…You okay, Violet? Do you know that pokémon or something?” asked Tichu.

Carlos growled as the lock refused him again. He tried a different angle, taking care to apply consistent pressure to the lock’s base. “Sorry guys, this might take some… doing!” he grunted. The lock stayed stubbornly intact in his hands.

“No, nothing like that. I’m just… I’m wondering if I’ll ever be that strong.”

Artemio laughed. “Sure you will! Just stay with us and you’ll get strong in no time.”

“But to change that much. I can’t imagine…”

Orville drifted closer to the photos and was about to say something more when Artemio tapped his wand urgently. “Psst, we’ve got company!”

Carlos held back a curse as he lost his grip on the padlock, letting it clang against the metal container before he could snatch at it. Heavy, purposeful footsteps were now echoing up from the Gym entrance, and Carlos thought he could also hear someone talking.

“Boss! Hurry up!” Artemio hissed. “It’s him!”

There was nothing else for it: Carlos drew one last tool from his belt, a small hammer, and with it he rapped the padlock as hard as he could. It sprang open, and in a flash he was out of the room with a badge in his hand and a pounding in his ears.

-be a burglar, yes. Send a shark over. Hey! Stay where you are!”


Ignoring Norman’s command, Carlos nodded to Artemio and rushed for the OHKO room. Tichu left a surprise for their pursuer while Artemio shoulder-checked the wall. Enough of it broke away to allow him, Tichu, and Carlos to file out as the Gym Leader pursued them at a fast clip.

“Don’t you take another step! This is breaking and entering, and I will not- pffffack! What in the world!?“

“Stink bomb Smokescreen,” Tichu said to Carlos, who was fumbling for the Poké Balls. “Let’s see him find his way out now!”

“Very cool! See you at the base!”

There was a crash and the sound of tearing fabric, then Carlos’ jaw dropped as he watched a bedraggled Norman storm through a new hole in the wall with a Slaking by his side. Whatever time Tichu had just bought was already gone.

Carlos clambered onto Valentin with a “Ready, Grey!” and the Staravia spread his wings at once. “Go go go go!”

“Stay on the ground, or you WILL regret it!” Norman barked to no avail. A Blissey’s electric beam missed Valentin’s tailfeathers and a Gogoat who’d clambered up the building threw rocks at them, but even Norman’s pokémon could not stop the thieves as they soared away from Petalburg Gym.

YES!” Carlos cheered, unable to keep his voice low anymore. “We did it! How about that!?”

The warm air whistled around Carlos and Valentin as they sped toward the forest, Valentin flapping to keep a constant height. Neither of them looked down much. They didn’t need to know how high up they were. They didn’t see the Gym Leader shouting instructions into his phone or the lights in the Gym turning back on. They also didn’t see the Dragon type preparing for liftoff from the roof of a square building. The labyrinthine spread of streets and houses below them quickly gave way as the thick forest took over.

“How are you holdin’ up?” Carlos asked, his voice raised over the rushing wind.

“Fine!”

Carlos was about to make some quip about Norman, or perhaps what Ruby might think of this, when something which sounded like a cannon fired from below. He glanced down curiously. When he saw it, his arms tightened around Valentin’s chest.

“Hey, what-“

“Val! LEFT!!”

They banked just in time. A massive blur of scarlet, yellow, and navy blue tore through the air beside them. Carlos knew it had to be a Garchomp, but with its grooved dorsal fin and a yellow star on its forehead, it gave the impression of an elongated Sharpedo as it twisted around in the air.

“Boss, what do we do!?”

Though Carlos’ mind had frozen when this beast had revealed itself, the sight of it coming back for a second attack thawed it out just as fast. “Keep flying, but stop when it comes for us!”

The Garchomp roared at the approaching pair, then pitched forward. Inertia threatened to launch Carlos off his ride as Valentin pulled up immediately. He tore a Poké Ball from his belt and chucked it, shouting, “White, I hope you’ve got good aim!”

Dipa didn’t need to aim. The dragon flew straight through her Stun Spore as it dove for Valentin, its claws glowing with an ominous purple hue. Valentin flapped wildly as he backed off, but the spores were working! The Garchomp faltered just enough to miss Valentin by a hair.

Then it lunged one last time and caught Valentin’s wing between its teeth.

Valentin screamed, but the Garchomp let go at once. It flew off, weaving more and more as Stun Spore took effect. When Carlos saw what the Mach pokémon had left behind - Valentin’s left wing was now frozen to his side - he knew they had to find somewhere to land too. Fast.

“Boss…”

“I know! Just, don’t move it!” They were already losing altitude. “Do you see a clearing?” Carlos was slipping to the left. “Keep us steady!” What a stupid direction.

“I’m TRYING-“

There was no way Carlos could hear the rest. The wind rushed from below, assuming below actually was below them. Carlos was spinning like a cork shot out of a bottle. He was shouting something, so was Valentin, so was the air! Then the woods greeted them.





Carlos woke up with the worst headache he’d had in years. It felt at first as if he were back in bed, but beds weren’t usually made from moss and ferns. As he tried to stand up, there was a flash of pain which forced him to roll to the side, coughing heavily. He tried twice more, eventually able to get to his feet without sinking back into the cosy forest floor.

The first thing he noticed when he looked up was the moon; it was still in the same place above the treeline. He couldn’t have been out for long. As he ran his hand across his mouth, a trace of red alarmed the thief, but it was just a cut on the cheek. The more Carlos moved, the more scrapes made themselves known; he’d have to restock his first aid before they got going.

“Well… That could’ve gone better,” he groaned when he spotted his pokémon. Valentin was still out, resting against a cedar tree with his right wing outstretched. Dipa clung to the side of the trunk. “Could’ve gone worse too, though. Dipa, any sign of the Garchomp? Are we safe?”

Dipa peeled off of the cedar and fluttered down to ground level. She stared at Carlos, again with that inscrutable expression of hers, then before her trainer repeated himself she turned to Valentin. “His light turned off… He was so bright before.”

“Dipa, what are you talking about?” His puzzled frown became a wince as he approached the tree, then he stumbled forward in shock. “Valentin!”

Valentin’s wing was still encased in thick ice, and the rest of him was just as motionless. When Carlos felt the Staravia’s chest, a sickening realisation washed over him like cold slime: as painful as their crash landing was, Carlos hadn’t been caught on a tree branch on the way down. Valentin had.

“Valentin, no…” Carlos took out the one Hyper Potion he had and sprayed it against Valentin’s wounds. Valentin didn’t wake up and cough, nor did his pulse return. Carlos tried a Super Potion. No effect. He crushed it and chucked it away, trying to quell the rising wave inside of him that was threatening to wipe him out. He hadn’t come this far just to go to pieces again. He had to hold himself together for his team, he knew this would happen one day…

“Sorry, Carlos. I tried to help, but you were flying too fast-“

“SHUT UP!” Carlos found himself shouting. At once, he ducked his head. “Sorry! I didn’t mean…”

He meant to say, “Not your fault,” but the words didn’t come out. He picked up the fallen bird - he was lighter than he thought - and began to run through the forest. “Come on! We can’t stay out here.”

It was easier to concentrate on the weight he was carrying rather than who it actually was, or the way Carlos’ ankle punished him for every other step with a new beat of pain. Such was his preoccupation that he didn’t notice when a Breloom came to defend its territory until Dipa blew it away, but soon he found another tree which could support a base.

When he recalled Valentin, Carlos wondered whether a Poké Ball would even release a pokémon who’d died, or if he was locked in forever.

Wired: A pair, trips, or four of a kind dealt consecutively in a hand, usually in a stud hand starting with the first card.

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. I was really dumb here. So, first things, the actual Norman battle:

Abosede vs Shroomish: Mega Drain is no match for Ice Shard. Dipa would’ve been a better lead tbh, but I wasn’t to know how many Grass types Norman has here
Artemio vs Gogoat: Really tough battle. Razor Leaf takes off a lot of HP but Flame Charge gives Art the edge
Orville vs Shuckle: I know how to beat Shuckle by now, it just takes some time. Knock Off and Will-O-Wisp plays havoc with it
Tichu vs Chansey: This could’ve been a lot harder than it was. Tichu poisons it before it used Minimize, and it was just a matter of outlasting it. Tons of EXP gained, Tichu learns Venoshock to use in tandem with Poison Gas!

Went pretty well, right? Yeah, then on the way out I talk to the other trainers, just out of habit. Except the game didn’t set its flags right or something, because the next thing I know I’m challenged to a battle and I’m facing a GARCHOMP of all things! Abosede managed to beat it, and the embarrassing part comes next: Valentin dies to a Shroomish with Ice Fang. Cut me a break!!

On the lighter side of things, I’ve decided Mothwoman is this universe’s Batman and I am willing to trademark it :^)

One more thing, I'm sorry I forgot earlier! Thank you to @Leon Yorunaki for giving this chapter an extra look! I appreciate the help :sun:
7HelZXx.png

Tichu (F)
Hasty, Starter (in-game)
Poison Gas / Venoshock / Smokescreen / Bite



frosmoth.gif

Dipa the Frosmoth (XF)
Mild, Route 116
Struggle Bug / Infestation / Attract / Stun Spore



braixen.gif

Artemio the Braixen (M)
Gentle, Petalburg Woods
Psybeam / Tail Whip / Ember / Flame Charge



shuppet.gif

Orville the Shuppet (M)
Careful, Route 105
Knock Off / Screech / Will-O-Wisp / Shadow Sneak



pikachu-f.gif

Frida the Pikachu (F)
Brave, Petalburg City

Quick Attack / Play Nice / Thunder Wave / Double Kick
fomantis.gif

Pier the Fomantis (M)
Bashful, Dewford Town
Leafage / Fury Cutter / Growth / Ingrain



serperior.gif

Teresa the Serperior (F)
Lonely, Route 107
Tackle / Leer / Vine Whip / Wrap
rookidee.png

Chelsey the Rookidee (X)
Level 6-12



chingling.png

Kristian the Chingling (M)
Level 5-5



staravia.png

Valentin the Staravia (M)
Level 5-20

♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
 
Last edited:

Green Tea

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
5195
Caught
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
197
Location
England
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Poison
Pokédex Entry
Considered bitter by many.
Where's that "do not like" button gone?

This is what I expected from this run. Admittedly, it's a bit of a freak accident in-game, but out of it, the way that this run was set up, with the time constraints and the manner in which Carlos would be acquiring his badges, it seemed likely that there would be losses. Sacrifices, potentially, and part of me wondered if Carlos would end up recruiting someone for a specific mission, and then have to choose if they live or die for the greater good of his mission. Yes, he's trying to get back his original team, which he lost, stupidly, but he's building a new team and making new friends along the way, is it worth the cost?

Sorry, I'm possibly getting a bit heavy with my thoughts here, but this is the first gym-related loss of the run and it weighs heavy. Valentin was a likeable character, and, as a flyer, a valuable part of Carlos' team as the getaway driver. It's not directly Carlos' fault, but in the same way that all of this is Carlos' fault, it is. He's lashed out Dipa, who's almost as charming as Tichu, and I can see this rippling through the rest of the team. It's taken off any kind of rose-tinted glasses people might have been wearing about how feasible this could be, and why wouldn't the gym leaders be using any means necessary to handle burglars? Hopefully it doesn't put anyone off of helping in future.
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
260
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
2,046
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
Valentiiiiiin 😭 Trust Norman's gym to have a dang Garchomp in it, fuck's sakes. I knew deaths were coming, but my heart still wasn't ready for it to be darling Valentin... predicting a bit of a crisis for Carlos, who wants to rescue his team, but is it worth getting his new team killed...?
 

apocalypsewriter

Conqueror of the Fuchsia Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
5390
Caught
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
56
Wait. Not even a loss to Norman himself. A loss to the game letting you get in another battle on the way out? This is both shocking and yet somehow amazingly perfect for the story itself. Still. This was painful to read. And I can't bear to think of how Artemio is going to react.

Now excuse me while I find a tissue.
 

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, Carlos's attitudes are commendable, even when they're not.

I loved Frida and her somewhat stubborn personality (he'll have to work out on it, though), but nothing like the break-in on itself.
Now, if Carlos followed some lock-picking youtube channels, he'd know those locks aren't always that bad to open -- in fact, the more famous the brand, the more lacking it tends to be with default locks. Combination are the weakest, and can usually be shimmered through faster than dialing the combination, or at best it cracks open with a rubber hammer. But then I look at your final notes and see it as a nod to how gruelsome that battle must have been.
Still, guess it was better this way, since if he opened it as quickly as it could have been done, he'd probably meet Norman in his way out closer to the gym entrance, and it would be harder to escape...

Talking about escape, I shed some tears, because I totally expected you to keep your deaths as non-deaths (Chelsey soon comes to mind), and then... damn! I was not prepared for this, and I'm still sad at his death. Dipa's comment makes it a bit more painful, and to add insult to the injury Carlos didn't react well to it. Understandable, and not unexpected, but still, that one was quite the hit, and I don't think he'll recover soon. And I'll love to see how that unfolds, not only because now you lack a flier and have brought the wrath of a tough gym leader to yourself, but it surely will drive future recruitees away from your con team. That hurts.
(At least it wasn't Art, or the whole con would go to the can)
 

MegaInfernape

Wisher for the Return of Megas
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
5257
Caught
Feb 13, 2022
Messages
29
Nature
Hasty
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
  1. Electric
  2. Fire
Pokédex Entry
Has a very erractic mind. It is not uncommon for it to be seen moving from one activity or project to another.
Damn losing a mon to the game forcing you into another battle is unfortunate as hell. On other notes: Nooooooo not my favourite bird. I liked Valentin. Also yeah of fucking course Norman just pulls out a Garchomp. What's that? Worried about Slakings? Nah nah nah worry about the angry land shark instead.
 

crashcrashcrash

More like trashtrashtrash, amiright
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
3723
Caught
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
172
Location
Nimbasa City
Nature
Brave
Pokémon Type
  1. Fighting
  2. Flying
How is it possible that I’ve never actually commented before? Crash that is disgusting let’s fix this

I don’t want to make a habit of these long multi-chapter comments because woooo they’re not quick, but 1. I have to repay you for yours and 2. Regardless of that, EH DESERVES it, dangit!

That said,
Ok first off, love the aesthetic. Before we even open the prologue we’ve got a card ace mc and Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, and man, just, mwah, everything about this is gold already, I love it

The opening too is just glorious. Please don’t approach the shiny Meowth Carlos that’s where the plot is you know better than - d’oh--

But just. In general? I’m probably going to keep saying this ad nauseum, but the aesthetic. Of. Mauville. Is so good. It’s beautiful. And definitely not a take on that city I’ve seen before, so points for originality!

Can I just say, how ready and willing Carlos is to lie, about anything, it’s impressive. And I also BIG appreciate how we’re never told anywhere within the narration that Carlos stole the watch, but we all just know in our hearts that’s what happened, because that’s the kind of story this already is, and I just... It’s beautiful, man
And woah! The worldbuilding in this section! I think someone already said it but aaaah that is some good stuff! Having the story take place after the events of base Emerald is so intriguing, and actually exploring the ramifications of that plot and having it affect the setting? Good! Stuff! I want m o r e

And the Trick House! Man! I’m so happy to see that little detail of Hoenn getting some love, there’s so much potential there - and this run was made to deliver on it. Kudos! I love the drama about Carlos leaving, the dynamic between him and Paula, Carlos’s code of thieving that’s central to his character as a Good Person... I’m so invested

And oh? The mechanics of Secret Power and secret bases (aka another mechanic of the games that I’m a huge sucker for lol) - that’s new, that’s convenient, I wonder how that’ll play into things in the long run?

>Dustox
>Porygon
GOOD TASTE CARLOS
I mean Cleffa, Carvanha, and Stunky are also good taste, but. Dustox and Porygon. 👌

Also now I’m imagining a Carvanha sitting in a regular ol wooden chair, which is hilarious

I miss Constance already :’(

Awwww Tichuuuu in the daycarrrre what a babyyyyyy
Ngl though that’s such a resourceful way to introduce her as Carlos’ by-default ‘starter’ considering what happens to the rest of the team

Cynthia is such a tween girl I can’t

And ZAWA!! AAAAAAA
Everyone’s already said it but ZAWA. One of the characters for sure

And I mean, yes, it was objectively stupid for Carlos to challenge her when the legend goes “Do Not Challenge Her. The End,” but the setup with Cynthia’s issues and Carlos’s dreams of challenging the league and never having enough money for TMs and evolution items and gym tickets and food... Really sells Carlos’s desperation, and I’m sad to think that Cynthia’s rant to him about money only added to that...
I mean, we all knew this was going to end badly for Carlos, but whooooo boy reading through it was still a ride! You’d think someone as skilled as this man would know when to hold em, when to fold em, when NOT to cheat, but. He was just having a bad day I think

she didn’t even take the jacket………

Bro don’t forget to repay Mr. Ivy! I’m watching you >:(

No but I really do love the creativity in how Tichu ended up the de-facto starter in-story. Just imagining your average trainer thinking they’re hot gold, only to be randomly swept away in their own hubris and forced to rebuild with only the baby in the back of the party currently soaking up exp? I see that, I feel that, that’s unique.
Oh, Tichu raises a good point though, actually. What does Zawa even want the Pokemon for? Now I’m terrified about how and when we’ll see them again, if it’s before the heists are over I mean

TIIICHHHUUUUUUUU
i love her
that is all

Still, I’m wondering how Carlos got so lucky to end up with a team full of (-Cynthia) Pokemon who are totally cool with his... career path. Same as the new team, I guess?

Also! Something I’ve been wanting to shout from the rooftops re: this run! It’s the POV. You do wonders with it. Every time we get a segment from the point of view of the conee I giggle like a little girl. Like yeeea, gettim Carlos, yesyesyesyes

Even though we don’t see exactly when or how the pickpocket happens, just knowing that it will is great, and the lack of realization on the victim’s part is. Mwah. That’ll never get old.

Another fun detail: the occasional reminder that this isn’t Emerald, it’s ROWE, so ALL sorts of mon are just roaming about in the world. Idk why but I do appreciate those

No doubt he was on his way to the next city to promote this wondrous product!
Bro the CHEEKINESS in this line I can NOT XD

Oh good, he did pay the daycare man. With some extra! Morality points for Carlos, ya love to see it!
“It’s bad luck to repeat a con” Well there’s one way to force yourself to be super creative as a writer. Good on ya, and man, I love seeing Tichu as this audience insert and learning about Carlos’s skills. Her enthusiasm is contagious!

Man, Chelsey’s voice is so distinct, I love it <3

MOOOOOOTH
that is all

No but Dipa’s voice and whole... mothishness is... It’s beautiful. Scream away girl I love you :’)
Man you did NOT have to go that hard on the worldbuilding in this section but you did it anyway and mmm baby that’s good stuff

Also the little one-off mark characters, man, even if they’re all technically stock bureaucrats with money to burn, they’re all so distinct and visible and the way you describe them, either from their POV or Carlos’s, is so rich and satisfying. Delicious

Not to mention how Carlos gets the mark to want to throw more money at him, every single time? Hoohoohoo yess that is a skilled conman you love to see it

Awww the image of Dipa clinging to Carlos’s backpack is so cute <333

Fennekin being natural thieves is a take I haven’t seen before, though it makes sense, considering, foxes. Anyway I love Art and I’m glad Carlos and Tichu have someone else to love thievery with!

Too bad about Chelsey, but yeah, that was probably for the best. Was pretty hard to see them ever fully agreeing to that plan, but their help in the short run was appreciated. Also mad respect for knowing when not to kill em off, gameplay-to-story variety for the win!

Though I wonder, if Chelsey’s whole thing was wanting to join a League Challenger’s team, if we might see them again someplace granted that they find someone 🤔

Oh snap! Backstory!
No but for real, that’s a pretty interesting angle to approach Carlos’s parents - lots of times you’ll see protagonists who are the child of an admin or other known member of an evil team, but not so much random grunts. Really gives us a picture of them being actual people too, even if unnamed, and the way this impacts Carlos’s whole worldview (or at least, perspective on Hoenn) is really evident in places like Dewford, for example. Looking forward to exploring that more!

And every time you mention the Trick Master the more interested I get about finally meeting him 👀

It seems like in every Nuzlocke there’s a different way to break the Poke ball in order to release a mon. This is just an observation I had that I think is neat
Ghost mon Ghost mon! I like Orville, hope he stays

When asked if he wanted to help, Kristian kindly pointed out that he was, in fact, a Chingling.
This is hilarious with the context that this was a Nuzlocke death, but also, cmon man, it’s not like you’re expected to battle, and a bell could help with distracting the Gym staff or something! Ah well it wasn’t meant to be

Smart reasoning for why they do Brawly first! Man Carlos is honestly a genius ngl, his practical knowledge is unrivaled even if he makes objectively stupid decisions sometimes, we’ve all been there

The berry scammmm
MASSIVE respect for all the research that went into writing this. Berries are such a niche mechanic in the games and for what, idk, but thank goodness for bulbapedia and their endless pages on flavors, textures, natures, descriptions, rarities, what have you. I’ve been there, if you can’t tell XD Glad it ends up working out for Carlos, but whoo, for a second there it could have been bad! Foreshadowing for a future instance of distress perhaps? I am scared. I want more
This whole section with the Dewford Gym heist is glorious. The aesthetic. Brawly’s narrative voice. Bandit was, in fact, awesome. The cuteness of Brawly assuming this is a prank, and just going along with it, then being Wrong™ but okay with it. And because I want to, I’ll say it again: you could give a masterclass on how to do third person right. Doing the heist from Brawly’s POV and then going over the details with the team was truly the way to go.

And because I do feel partially responsible for this, heck yeah disability rep! So cool to see a blind trainer in Brawly’s Gym with its whole zero-light gimmick - I just aaaa it’s a small detail but a very cool one!

Pier is such a little piece of trash (affectionate) and his rivalry with Teresa is so spicy considering their size difference and the fact that the latter could easily eat him as a snack

Teresa is such a bad liar that’s hilarious XD

Props again for the berry con, and for helping me normalize acknowledging game mechanics in written stories

But yeah, man if this whole grifting thing doesn’t work out for Carlos he should really think about getting into acting, he has a natural talent. Though I don’t see it NOT working out, to be fair
Oh no, the conman got conned! XD After all that
But still, he got something, and not being broke sounds pretty great, so. Nice
To someone with a Leon-caliber sense of direction like me, this just reads like a normal conversation tbh XD though knowing what I do about this run, it’s obvious what is happening even when I don’t see it - excellent work!

Rapidash-racing as a concept makes me think of those random, long names given to racehorses irl, but with Pokemon. I’ve had Ponyta named “You Didn’t Shower Before Your Funeral And That’s Why Nobody Showed Up” and “Cooking Fish in a Studio Apartment Makes Everything Smell Like Straight-Up Karp,” for example.

Where is Artemio’s Oscar for that tomato berry trick come on

Paulaaaaaaa!
And the transition suit symbol being a heart aww

YANO
YANO LET’S GO
THE CAMEO WE ALL DESERVE
THE PLUSH COLLECTION
EXCELLENT
That made my day when I saw it the first time :3

“And if he gives you trouble, you can escort him through the wall instead.”
OOf this line. “Toxic as a Garbodor with the flu” indeed
Aww Teresaaa don’t treat Tichu like that >:(
I’m honestly so curious about how Teresa’s going to factor in going forward as a member of the team, considering she’s got a lot of screentime so far and not so much action in thieving.

And again, smart thinking with why to do Norman’s Gym next! Both logically and geographically. But now I’m curious about how you’d have to justify doing, like, Mossdeep next, considering it’s all random XD

I do appreciate the time and effort taken to establish how well-guarded this Gym is, though, and Carlos’s frustration in getting a plan together. Him getting excited about explaining the wire con to Tichu and then falling back into annoyance at the problem is so relatable. Like when you get distracted during an all-nighter. But he came up with something, so yay!
I’ve only had Frida the stump-tail Pikachu for five minutes but if anything happened to her I would deathlessly write off everyone in this room and then myself

No but I am a fan of the color scheme aliases! Though thinking that Pier and Teresa have to share one sounds like a recipe for disaster.

(My dog has a stump tail, so whenever any other dog would wag theirs, he just wags his whole entire butt and now I’m just imagining a Pikachu doing that and askljdhakjghaf)

That heist went... better than anticipated! I mean! Until it didn’t! Don’tcha love it when the Leader is deathless but the grinding ain’t T.T Ice Fang Shroomish new meta.
 
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.
♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️

I am back, after dying when I last opened this thread!
This is the last chapter of Part 1, and I want to thank each and every one of you for taking a gander at this run. I'm hoping Part 2 goes just as smoothly!

@Green Tea It’s not a feature, but I’ll appreciate the thought!
Yeah, sacrifices may have to be made… If it wasn’t Valentin, it could’ve been somebody else. It’ll certainly weigh on the team, but as you say, the gym leaders aren’t going to show the same mercy or restraint that Brawly did. It’ll make the pitch for new members tougher, that’s for sure :/

@SayleeK Losing Valentin stung outside of the story, too, because god damn it I love the Starly line and would’ve had great fun with a Staraptor! He beat a Blaziken in the first gym, for Mew's sake! :(

@apocalypsewriter R.O.W.E.: “You want a story? Here’s your story, nerd”
Me: 😭

@Leon Yorunaki I did watch a few of those LockPickingLawyer episodes in preparation for the lock segments (and I watch his videos when they appear on my dash, too) but since Carlos won’t have access to any of them I sorta had to unlearn some of that info xD
I’ll admit I shed some tears, too, more so when writing this chapter because it’s where most of the characters learn what happened… that’s just as tough imo
(no kidding. I may as well add him to the starter death rule ‘cause if the chaotic fox burglar goes, so do I)

@MegaInfernape I was so pissed when I was suddenly faced with a Garchomp, lel. Come on! Let me tell you, I was cured of the urge to talk to trainers after that.

@crashcrashcrash I have to send a bug report to the forum mods: the reactions button is broken. I cannot give you more than one Love! 😭:sun:

Please don’t approach the shiny Meowth Carlos that’s where the plot is you know better than - d’oh—
Nuzlocke protagonists being a bad decision magnet? Never!!
And I also BIG appreciate how we’re never told anywhere within the narration that Carlos stole the watch, but we all just know in our hearts that’s what happened, because that’s the kind of story this already is, and I just... It’s beautiful, man
I loved that sequence whenever I saw it on Hustle and that was my best attempt to replicate it in written form. I’m sp happy with how it turned out!

And woah! The worldbuilding in this section! I think someone already said it but aaaah that is some good stuff! Having the story take place after the events of base Emerald is so intriguing, and actually exploring the ramifications of that plot and having it affect the setting? Good! Stuff! I want m o r e

And the Trick House! Man! I’m so happy to see that little detail of Hoenn getting some love, there’s so much potential there - and this run was made to deliver on it. Kudos! I love the drama about Carlos leaving, the dynamic between him and Paula, Carlos’s code of thieving that’s central to his character as a Good Person... I’m so invested

And oh? The mechanics of Secret Power and secret bases (aka another mechanic of the games that I’m a huge sucker for lol) - that’s new, that’s convenient, I wonder how that’ll play into things in the long run?
Thank you so, so much. You’ve probably seen on the writechat that I’ve spent a lot of time considering the EH world; it’s a major focus of mine next to the characters and the content of the scams/heists. I’m very proud that I’ve taken what vanilla Emerald has given me and used it in (afaik) a unique way. I’m still surprised nobody has used the Trick House for this sort of thing because it’s such a fun sidequest in the games and it sticks out so much with the wacky level design & silly music!
Also now I’m imagining a Carvanha sitting in a regular ol wooden chair, which is hilarious
…how are water pokemon supposed to exist outside of the water, anyway? do they just float in the air? :psyduck:
And ZAWA!! AAAAAAA
Everyone’s already said it but ZAWA. One of the characters for sure
ZAWA ZAWA
And I mean, yes, it was objectively stupid for Carlos to challenge her when the legend goes “Do Not Challenge Her. The End,” but the setup with Cynthia’s issues and Carlos’s dreams of challenging the league and never having enough money for TMs and evolution items and gym tickets and food... Really sells Carlos’s desperation, and I’m sad to think that Cynthia’s rant to him about money only added to that…
Thanks :D
It’s that age-old problem of needing something in savings to make any of this work, but never actually getting that done because of the situation the character is in. No wonder he took the risk…

No but I really do love the creativity in how Tichu ended up the de-facto starter in-story. Just imagining your average trainer thinking they’re hot gold, only to be randomly swept away in their own hubris and forced to rebuild with only the baby in the back of the party currently soaking up exp? I see that, I feel that, that’s unique.
I think I have seen this before in the old forum? I took the idea from somewhere, I’m sure of it. 🤔
TIIICHHHUUUUUUUU
i love her
that is all
[Hug the Stunky, Pet the Stunky, Forfeit all mortal possessions to the Stunky]
Still, I’m wondering how Carlos got so lucky to end up with a team full of (-Cynthia) Pokemon who are totally cool with his... career path. Same as the new team, I guess?
What you don’t see is all the pokémon who aren’t interested and leave within minutes. Really, Cynthia is the exception to the rule, being the starter.
Also! Something I’ve been wanting to shout from the rooftops re: this run! It’s the POV. You do wonders with it. Every time we get a segment from the point of view of the conee I giggle like a little girl. Like yeeea, gettim Carlos, yesyesyesyes

Even though we don’t see exactly when or how the pickpocket happens, just knowing that it will is great, and the lack of realization on the victim’s part is. Mwah. That’ll never get old.
Thank you!! I never tire of it either xD
Oh good, he did pay the daycare man. With some extra! Morality points for Carlos, ya love to see it!
those are hard to come by so he's gotta take them when he can

“It’s bad luck to repeat a con” Well there’s one way to force yourself to be super creative as a writer. Good on ya, and man, I love seeing Tichu as this audience insert and learning about Carlos’s skills. Her enthusiasm is contagious!
<3 <3 <3
I totally agree, her enthusiasm is what keeps the engine of EH running imo! And Hustle has its own version of that rule, don’t run the same con consecutively, but yeah I made it more restrictive for exactly that reason! Thank you for the kind words :sun:
No but Dipa’s voice and whole... mothishness is... It’s beautiful. Scream away girl I love you :’)
m o t h

Man you did NOT have to go that hard on the worldbuilding in this section but you did it anyway and mmm baby that’s good stuff
Rustboro appears quite a few times in this half of the run, so I wanted to give it a memorable style and I’m glad I’ve managed it so far!
Also the little one-off mark characters, man, even if they’re all technically stock bureaucrats with money to burn, they’re all so distinct and visible and the way you describe them, either from their POV or Carlos’s, is so rich and satisfying. Delicious

Not to mention how Carlos gets the mark to want to throw more money at him, every single time? Hoohoohoo yess that is a skilled conman you love to see it
Stock bureaucrats exist in stories like this to get fleeced :^)
Fennekin being natural thieves is a take I haven’t seen before, though it makes sense, considering, foxes. Anyway I love Art and I’m glad Carlos and Tichu have someone else to love thievery with!
I’ve seen it a couple times myself, paired with the Magician ability which is pretty much Pokémon's way of telling me “this ‘mon steals like a conservative politician on his last day”
Also mad respect for knowing when not to kill em off, gameplay-to-story variety for the win!
🤝
No but for real, that’s a pretty interesting angle to approach Carlos’s parents - lots of times you’ll see protagonists who are the child of an admin or other known member of an evil team, but not so much random grunts. Really gives us a picture of them being actual people too, even if unnamed, and the way this impacts Carlos’s whole worldview (or at least, perspective on Hoenn) is really evident in places like Dewford, for example. Looking forward to exploring that more!
I’m so glad you noticed that! That was my thought process, too :D

Smart reasoning for why they do Brawly first! Man Carlos is honestly a genius ngl, his practical knowledge is unrivaled even if he makes objectively stupid decisions sometimes, we’ve all been there
Clever idiots are so fun to write!
The berry scammmm
MASSIVE respect for all the research that went into writing this. Berries are such a niche mechanic in the games and for what, idk, but thank goodness for bulbapedia and their endless pages on flavors, textures, natures, descriptions, rarities, what have you. I’ve been there, if you can’t tell XD
All the thanks!!! I’m most proud of this arc for that reason, on top of the fact that it’s an original scam I devised myself rather than lifting from Hustle or Great Pretender. There are similar ideas in both shows, but the berries within berries idea is mine and something I hope I can top in the future :D

This whole section with the Dewford Gym heist is glorious. The aesthetic. Brawly’s narrative voice. Bandit was, in fact, awesome. The cuteness of Brawly assuming this is a prank, and just going along with it, then being Wrong™ but okay with it. And because I want to, I’ll say it again: you could give a masterclass on how to do third person right. Doing the heist from Brawly’s POV and then going over the details with the team was truly the way to go.
I can’t take all the credit, @Obelisk and @localhoney were both incredibly helpful for bringing this scene to life. But still, thank you!
And because I do feel partially responsible for this, heck yeah disability rep! So cool to see a blind trainer in Brawly’s Gym with its whole zero-light gimmick - I just aaaa it’s a small detail but a very cool one!
I really appreciate your approval on this! 💖
But yeah, man if this whole grifting thing doesn’t work out for Carlos he should really think about getting into acting, he has a natural talent. Though I don’t see it NOT working out, to be fair
Hmmmmm… I can see that. 🤔

Oh no, the conman got conned! XD After all that
But still, he got something, and not being broke sounds pretty great, so. Nice
It was bound to happen sooner or later lel

Rapidash-racing as a concept makes me think of those random, long names given to racehorses irl, but with Pokemon. I’ve had Ponyta named “You Didn’t Shower Before Your Funeral And That’s Why Nobody Showed Up” and “Cooking Fish in a Studio Apartment Makes Everything Smell Like Straight-Up Karp,” for example.
lmao I love both of these! My absolute favourite horse name is Potoooooooo; the more of a shitpost a name is, the better!
Where is Artemio’s Oscar for that tomato berry trick come on
He appreciates the nomination, at least!
YANO
YANO LET’S GO
THE CAMEO WE ALL DESERVE
THE PLUSH COLLECTION
EXCELLENT
That made my day when I saw it the first time :3
Y A N O
A
N
O

Aww Teresaaa don’t treat Tichu like that >:(
I’m honestly so curious about how Teresa’s going to factor in going forward as a member of the team, considering she’s got a lot of screentime so far and not so much action in thieving.
Oh, Teresa? She’s going to be gone by next gym and I took the time developing her for no reason /j
And again, smart thinking with why to do Norman’s Gym next! Both logically and geographically. But now I’m curious about how you’d have to justify doing, like, Mossdeep next, considering it’s all random XD
That’s been a fun exercise, converting a random sequence of gyms into something that makes sense. It’s gone well so far!
Him getting excited about explaining the wire con to Tichu and then falling back into annoyance at the problem is so relatable. Like when you get distracted during an all-nighter.
I know this feeling very well…

I’ve only had Frida the stump-tail Pikachu for five minutes but if anything happened to her I would deathlessly write off everyone in this room and then myself
:ROFL:
No but I am a fan of the color scheme aliases! Though thinking that Pier and Teresa have to share one sounds like a recipe for disaster.
oh arceus you’re right
That heist went... better than anticipated! I mean! Until it didn’t! Don’tcha love it when the Leader is deathless but the grinding ain’t T.T Ice Fang Shroomish new meta.
That’s the first instance of R.O.W.E. being unnecessarily cruel to me in this run ;_;

Since the early days of pokémon training, personal Pokémon PCs have improved leaps and bounds. Using revolutionary technology from the Galar region, the PC has been revamped to include natural biomes, limitless food and water, and most recently a hologram system to make training multiple pokémon less of a headache.

A PC box is also more spacious than a Poké Ball, allowing for many biomes within the same four walls. In the current version, up to 30 pokémon could live together without putting any strain on the PC or its resources!

It was this feature that Pier the Fomantis would have deactivated if he could. Anything for a break from his serpentine neighbour, Teresa.

If their trainer’s plan had been for Pier and Teresa to magically reconcile while they were in the box, he was laughably wrong. Teresa’s insistence that she was somehow better than Pier was what got them stuck in this virtual paradise in the first place, so until she learned some respect he saw no reason to give any to her.

They were, of course, intangible, so even if Teresa wanted to fight Pier she’d just phase right through him until he accepted her sparring request. She had to rely on her insults to provoke him instead, but even those became unoriginal and pointless after some time. When he told her to get lost, she hid herself away and waited for Pier to start sunbathing.

As soon as he began to enjoy soaking in the warmth of the sun’s rays, a shadow fell over him; he opened his eyes to see Teresa nearby with a palm leaf in her tail. Every single time he moved, the same thing happened!

Eventually, Pier gave up. He stormed out of Teresa’s forest into the adjacent beach biome and formed a raft to reach the middle of the lake, well beyond her reach. There, he could gather the lily pads and tie them together to spell out a special message for the Serperior.

Pier was in the process of filling out the last U when he began to wonder what was taking Carlos so long, anyway. Surely he was back from the Gym by now.

…Right?



♦​


Deep in Petalburg Woods was a small but infamous river known among Hoennites as Gorebyss Brook. It cut deep into the ground but only measured two metres wide, running southwards from the mountain until it emptied out into the Petalburg River.

While the softly murmuring water was inviting, the bright red signs posted along the riverbank warned of how unsafe Gorebyss Brook really was: underneath this serene surface lay razor sharp rocks and dangerous rapids in which a swimmer would be lost within seconds. Without these notices, it would have been unfathomable that such a peaceful stream could harbour such deadly intentions.

Carlos sat on a tree stump, watching leaves drift along the water’s surface. He took out the Balance Badge, which he hadn’t looked at since he left Norman’s Gym, and stared at the metal object. It resembled a barbell, or perhaps glasses with circular frames, and the lighter grey in the middle glinted in the moonlight when he tilted the badge.

He was suddenly seized with an urge to throw it. He pictured it sinking irretrievably down to the rocks below, then himself leaving Petalburg empty-handed. His knuckles turned white as the badge’s edges cut into his palm.

“What am I doing?” he asked himself. He pocketed the token and left.



♥​


With its thick, featureless trunk and high branches which stretched out every which way, the cedar tree where he was supposed to make a secret base made Carlos shudder. He couldn’t see much else; even the moon could barely shine through the tangled web of bark and leaves overhead.

Carlos had warned his youngest pokémon about the possibility of a teammate dying when they started the journey, but now that it had happened, the thief still felt totally lost on how to approach this. He started pacing around the tree again until his ankle’s complaints about the uneven ground became demands to stop. It was time to go inside.

When he felt he was ready, he opened Tichu’s Poké Ball.

“What’s up, Carlos? I heard a huge-“ Tichu’s eyes widened in alarm when she saw Carlos’ face. “Oh, damn! You look awful! Does it hurt? Are we in trouble?”

“No, Tichu, I’m fine…” Carlos told her with a fixed smile. “Let’s get inside. I’ll explain there.”

“But you’re hurt! Is there anything I can do? Is there like a Potion for humans, because I can go get it for you, don’t worry!”

“Tichu, I am fine. Please use Secret Power,” Carlos said slowly.

He began a meeting with some of his team from Norman’s heist. Judging by the apprehension on Artemio and Orville’s faces, they had also heard some of the earlier commotion, and now that the team was incomplete they were beginning to understand something wasn’t right. Though Frida’s expression was harder to read, she did seem quite relaxed in her chair.

“Where’s Valentin and Dipa?” asked Tichu, who was as inquisitive as ever.

Carlos pressed a wet cloth to his cheek. “Dipa’s resting in her ball, Tichu. She fought off a Garchomp and helped get us to safety… Valentin is dead.”

“…WHAT?” Artemio shouted.

“Wow,” Frida said.

“D-dead?” Tichu asked.

Orville didn’t say anything, but he turned a pale colour and sank down to the table.

Carlos nodded, his vision blurring. The act of saying it out loud made it impossible not to cry. “We were flying,” he continued, “and the cops sent a Garchomp after us. It bit Valentin, and we couldn’t find a clearing… I’m lucky I didn’t die too.”

“But you can get him back, right? The centre’s free!”

“No, Tichu. This isn’t something you can recover from.”

“But… if we get the badges, then…”

Orville stepped in after a pause. “Sorry, Tichu. I know it’s hard, but when a pokémon dies you can’t revive them… That’s something no amount of badges can change.”

Tichu opened her mouth as if to challenge the Shuppet, but when she caught sight of Carlos staring defeatedly at the floor, she couldn’t manage the words. She let out an anguished wail and ran for the bathroom instead.

“Tichu, wait!”

No! Leave me alone!”

Carlos limped after her, but he had to back away in surrender when she pointed her tail at him. “GO AWAY!” she yelled.

“Alright! Alright.” Carlos closed the door.

He threw an uneasy look back as he returned to his heist crew. Part of him wanted to insist on talking with her, to convince her this wasn’t so bad, but nothing he came up with was both comforting and true.

The pokémon at the table were already discussing the night’s events in hushed tones.

“Doesn’t Dipa have Ice attacks?” Orville asked Carlos, his voice lower and clearer than it normally was.

“…No, just her powder,” Carlos muttered. “But she did what she could; I don’t want anyone to blame her, is that clear?”

The team agreed. The silence which crept in afterwards was deafening.

He sighed. “Continue.”

They talked quietly about Valentin and what had led up to the incident. Artemio and Orville wanted to know how Norman had been onto them so fast, though Frida was more curious about what they’d taken from the Gym to make him so mad; Carlos insisted it was just the badge.

As he recounted the events and heard the reactions, his thoughts drifted again to his old team. He had to keep wiping his eyes as he imagined what Cynthia might say. Here he was, sitting uselessly in a tree after losing another pokémon - this time permanently - and he was barely a quarter of the way through this journey! Even if he were to gather all eight, what guarantee was there that he could win against Zawa? What if he lost and this was all for nothing?

“-should probably tell Pier and Teresa, too.”

Carlos nodded absentmindedly in Artemio’s direction.

“…Boss!”

“Yeah. I heard.” Why were they still bothering to call him that?

“So?”

He gave a soft “Oh.” when he realised that was a request. Carlos looked at the PC for a long moment, then closed his eyes. “Later.”

“Later?” echoed Artemio.

“I’ll do it later. I know I should be telling them now, but… I don’t know, I guess I don’t want an argument. I don’t want to hear them blaming each other as if it’s anyone’s fault but mine.”

“You know what? It is your fault!”

Frida whistled, and Orville gasped. “Art!”

He shot Orville a look. “No, I mean it! It’s his idea that we went up against Norman in the first place, and look what happened. He told me we wouldn’t have to fight! He said we’d be safe!”

“That’s not true, though. He said-”

Artemio kept going; the fur in his ears burned brighter as his voice rose. “And guess what? We did get attacked, and Valentin got killed, all for these stupid badges! You didn’t even let me out! I could have protected him! I could’ve HELPED!”

Carlos nodded in surrender, but Frida just rolled her eyes at the Braixen. “Artemio, can you fly?”

“What!? No!”

She tutted. “So, how would you, a Fire type, beat a bloody great Dragon/Ground type in the sky? Honestly, think about it for one second. Sounds like Carlos had the right idea, sending out an Ice type.”

Artemio’s fur dimmed, and he looked away. “It doesn’t matter. I still should have been there.”

“Nobody should’ve been there,” Carlos corrected him, his head in his hands. “Dipa’s the only reason that Garchomp didn’t tear us apart.

“I shouldn’t have rushed into this heist, anyway. If we’d been just a little more prepared, maybe we could’ve gotten away. Or if I’d made a better backup plan for the Garchomp. Or… I don’t know. I do know I failed Valentin, and you’re right to say it, Art.”

Art didn’t reply. He merely sat down, starting at a spot on the wall.

“So, what do we do now?” Frida asked.

Carlos shrugged. “What else can we do? We’ve got to go to Rustboro again. There’s a badge there for us to get, and I can’t risk going past Zawa’s deadline, so we keep going as long as we can. No breaks unless it’s to raise money; that’s just how it’ll have to be until I have everyone back again. Art, are you alright to finish the wire con?”

“Yeah, sure…” Artemio looked as excited about the prospect as Carlos felt.

“Then we’ll definitely need to be there by tomorrow night so we can set things up.”

“So, how will we get there in time?”

“Not walking, I hope,” Carlos replied, giving his ankle a rub. “I’m probably going to have to pay for a Flying Taxi. I mean, I guess we could catch a boat going there, but it’s not really practical. The only one tomorrow is a cabin cruiser, and we can’t possibly get a reservation for that at this time of night.”

Orville narrowed his eyes in thought. “I’m guessing it’s too risky to raise money in Petalburg. We should just get out while we still can and worry about money later.”

“Let me get this straight,” Frida cut in. “Valentin was your flyer, right?”

“Yeah…”

“So… It sucks that he’s dead, but we’re in Petalburg Woods, remember? We can find a replacement in no time!”

Frida jumped back as a ball of fire plastered the ground she’d been standing on. It crackled against the wooden boards and threw up wild flames which licked the wall. “Hey! What the-”

Artemio’s ears were laid flat against his head as he advanced on the Pikachu. “REPLACEMENT?”

“Geez, calm down. I just meant there’s tons of birds-“

“REPLACEMENT!” The light on Artemio’s wand turned a bright blue.

“Oh, crud.”

“I happened to know that ‘bird’! I’ve never known such a selfless, brave ‘mon in all my life! He’s not just some part we can switch out and move on! And who the hell are you, anyway!? Some rodent who can chew wires? I bet we can find a replacement for you real quick.”

Frida moved behind a table leg. “Alright! That came out wrong! I’m sorry!”

Artemio raised his head - Carlos wondered whether he’d need to stop him - but he merely spat on the floor and turned around. The fire died down with a hiss, leaving an ugly charred shadow on the floor and wall.

“Tell you what… I’m out.”

The room became several degrees cooler.

“Out, as in…” Carlos pressed anxiously.

“I’m going back to the forest,” Artemio told him. “Thanks for the experience, but this is too much… I’m not getting killed for a badge.”

“Art, hold on a moment-”

“No!” he snapped. “I’m a thief, not a crook! If this is the kind of team you’re making, I don’t want to be part of it anymore!“ He threw one last glare at Frida, who shrank back to allow him past, then left for the woods.

Carlos was so stunned he could hardly speak. By the time he’d thought to get up and look out of the base, there was no trace of the Braixen’s lit wand or his bright yellow fur anywhere. The darkness of Petalburg Woods had already swallowed him up.

“Did… Did he really just leave!?”

“Yeah.” Carlos’ voice came out as a rasp. “He did.”

As Carlos moved back inside, he felt as if the ground was falling from under his feet. Valentin was dead; Tichu was distraught; Frida had just driven away his best member; Pier and Teresa still didn’t know what was going on; and Cynthia, Jamie, Constance, and Xenon were still in the clutches of a minor god who was probably laughing at his situation this very moment.

It wasn’t so much a question of what Carlos should do, but where he could even begin. He turned back and forth on his good foot until he arrived at a plan of action and found the energy with which he could carry it out.

The easy part first. “Orville? Would you mind if I recall you for the night?”

“Sure thing.”

“Thanks.”

Carlos switched Orville’s ball to ‘Resting’ and approached his Pikachu. “Hey, Frida. A word.”

“Yeah?”

“You all right? Any burns?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Frida waved her paw. “Some ‘mons can’t handle the pressure. I know his type, he just needed someone to blame. He’ll cool off in a few days.”

Inside, Carlos was anything but ‘cool’, but he waited quietly for her to finish talking. “I see.”

“Sorry, that was rude wasn’t it?”

He shrugged. “A bit. Don’t worry about it.”

“Something on your mind?”

Carlos didn’t look at her, instead inspecting the Poké Ball in his hand. He could see a very tired grifter reflected in the red half of the ball. “You could say that… Thing is, Frida, I’ve been so wrapped up in this heist shit that I’ve forgotten I’m a pokémon trainer too.” Carlos gave a laugh without any humour behind it. “Isn’t that weird?”

Frida cocked her head. “What do you mean by that?”

“Just what I said. Back at the Trick House, we always followed the Trick Master’s lead, but we were all people. Now, I’m the boss. It should be easier with pokémon, right, Frida? I thought if I could just teach you guys what I know and try to keep everyone happy…“ He gestured around. “Well, it’s not enough. I’m still just a trainer, and not even a good one.”

“If you ask me, you’re the best boss there is. Just keep at it, and I’m sure you’ll figure it out. You’ll be Champion in no time! Or, champion of thieves, anyway.”

“Hmm. Yeah. You wanted a Thunderstone for the Norman job, right?” Carlos asked.

“Oh, yes!”

“I’ve come to a decision about that. It’s not going to happen now.”

Frida’s disposition changed at once. “...What? Hey, are you serious!? You wouldn’t have gotten into Norman’s place without me! You owe me that stone!”

Carlos shook his head. “I do not owe you or anyone anything. I’m a pokémon trainer. It’s time I act like one, and I’m starting with you and your attitude!”

“But that’s not fair-“

“Then it’s not fair,” he growled. “I make the rules, and I can change them how I like. That’s how it works.”

She crossed her arms and looked away. “Lame.”

“So! I’ve got a new job for you! You are going to leave this base, you’re going to find Artemio, and you’re going to make things right with him. If you come back with Artemio, your reward is you get to stay with us and we’ll find you a Thunderstone when you’ve actually earned it!”

“…Let’s say I want to do that,” she replied with a scowl. “How will I even find him?”

Carlos summoned Dipa and explained the situation to her, then turned back to the Pikachu. “Dipa can find Art, I’d bet my bottom dollar on it. She’s also a good friend of his, so once you’ve apologised it might be best to let her do the talking. We’re leaving tomorrow morning, and I’ll leave anyone behind if I have to. Get it!?”

“Got it…”

“Get going, then!” He pointed to the entrance. Frida scampered out into the woods, Dipa gliding behind.

Carlos swung his chair back and sat, still steaming at Frida’s behaviour tonight. Once again, he looked at the bathroom door, then at the PC, and groaned. There was still so much to do.



♠​


When Carlos found Tichu she was in the bathroom sink, bunched up into a ball. She didn’t move when he quietly closed the door behind him except to repeat, “Go away!”

He shook his head sadly. “I can’t do that, Tichu. I’m sorry I didn’t come in earlier, but we’ve got to talk about what happened at some point.”

Tichu made a sound of disagreement. She fluffed her tail, though her trainer knew from experience when this was just a bluff.

“Come on. Talk to me.” Carlos sat beside her and waited.

The silence between them stretched on until the Stunky eventually tired of it. She shifted inside the sink and spoke in a hoarse voice. “I know what dying means. I’m not a kit anymore.”

“I know that.”

“So why are you still treating me like one!?”

He sighed. “I’m not. None of us are kids either, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get upset when we lose someone. It’s still going to hurt.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m fine. Go find someone else to bother, Carlos, because I’m not upset about it at all!”

“Tichu, you’re hiding in a sink.“ He tried not to grin as Tichu’s ears twitched in annoyance. “You don’t have to come out, though. Take as much time as you need; I’ll be here for you.”

“Hmph.”

“Is there anything I can do for you? I can make you something, maybe a pokéblock?”

“Well, there’s one thing…” she said after some thought.

“Yes?”

“…What about our team? Are they dead?”

The question struck Carlos like a stack of bricks; it wasn’t helped by the fact that Tichu was now looking at him with eyes red from her crying earlier. Immediately, he shook his head. “NO, Tichu! They’re still in their balls!”

“Really? Promise?”

“I promise. Remember how Poké Balls work, Tichu: nothing gets through them, not even other pokémon. They’ll be safe for a good long while yet! And we’ll rescue them in a few weeks’ time, promise.”

“You’d better be right. Because if they’re gone… If we can’t see them again…”

“Hey, Tichu, we will. And when we do, I’ll be sure to tell Jamie all about how brave you’ve been. Just keep at it, and we’ll beat that Meowth together. Alright?”

Tichu’s smile had a measure of pride to it. “Okay. Do you think they miss us?” she asked.

“If they’re missing us even half as much as I do every day… that’s all the more reason to hurry up with the badges. We can’t give up now.”

“We’ll do whatever it takes,” Tichu added in a firm tone.

He nodded, already thinking about what that might mean in the future.

Carlos stayed with his young Stunky for some time. Although he was getting so tired it felt like his head was filling up with sawdust, instinct told him he needed to stay until he was sure she would be alright.

The rest of the night went by in a blur. He made sure to bring Pier and Teresa out of the box and explain what had happened, but he barely registered the talk, only that Teresa was aloof about it and Pier tried to cheer him up.

Carlos left out the part where Artemio quit, but with any luck it wouldn’t matter. He was on his way back for sure! For Carlos, it would simply be a matter of waiting.



♣​


He wasn’t sure what time it was when he woke up, only that it was very early in the morning. The parts of the sky visible through the foliage were gradually beginning to brighten as the summer sun began to shine again, but it was still too early to get up and start the day. The Staravias and Fletchinders must have disagreed, however, as their songs were already as loud as they would be any other time of the day.

Carlos peered through the trees, hoping to catch a glimpse of his pokémon returning to the base. He’d even taken the risk of keeping the secret base’s door wide open through the night; when he thought about it, he was convinced it was one of his worst ideas yet. Sure, Artemio wouldn’t arrive at a closed door and assume it was too late to rejoin the team, but if a wild Zangoose found the base, absent crew members would suddenly become the least of his worries.

Seeing nothing in the dense forest, Carlos went back inside. He spent a half hour occasionally popping his head outside to check on the forest, wondering when it would be time to just leave the base and move on to Rustboro. Later, he placed a freshly prepared pokéblock on the doorstep and sat beside it with a Repel, just in case.

There was the feeling, like a crawling insect Carlos couldn’t find and brush off, that no one was coming. Artemio wouldn’t want to leave the forest for him, and although the ultimatum was a fair one, maybe Frida would just go home as well. As for Dipa, Carlos wasn’t sure what was on her mind at the best of times. Though he’d apologised for it several times, his outburst last night made him cringe whenever he thought about it. If all three pokémon left, would it really be a surprise?

He was just about to start packing when he heard his name. It was Dipa! Carlos half-ran to find the Frosmoth who was riding on the back of a Braixen, with a Pikachu following behind.

Frida glared at her trainer as she approached, as if to say, “There, I did it. Happy?” The tips of her ears looked slightly singed, but from the sheepish looks Artemio was giving her it seemed he had only meant to scare her off. Carlos noticed he had a new wand, too; no doubt the old one was either snapped or stuck in a tree somewhere.

“Art!”

“Carlos!”

“I was getting worried,” Carlos admitted as the two of them embraced. “I haven’t been much of a trainer; I’d understand if you wanted nothing to do with me anymore.”

He shook his head. “No! I’m sorry I lashed out at you like I did. I don’t blame you for what happened with Valentin. Honest.

“In fact, I wanted to come back ages ago! We tried retracing our steps, but I think that just got us more lost. Getting off the path in these woods is easy; it’s finding your way back that’s the tough part.”

“It’s a good thing you still glow!” Dipa chirped to Carlos. “Not as much as yesterday, though. Can you do that again?”

Carlos chuckled. “No idea what you mean, but if I can, sure.”

“So, I’m still out if that’s okay,” Artemio went on, now fidgeting with his new wand. “This badge business is just too dangerous. But… I hate the idea of staying here, on my own. If I can come with you for the adventure, maybe some cons too, I’d like that.”

That figured; Carlos tried not to let his disappointment show as he held his hand out to shake the Braixen’s. “Fine with me. Welcome back, Art!”

“Thanks, boss.”

“Yeah… Don’t bother calling me that, though.”

“Huh?”

“It’s pointless when we’re not working,” Carlos sighed. “Just call me Carlos. A real boss would’ve kept everyone safe, whereas I’m just a trainer who’s in way over his head…”

Though his eyes shone with tears, Artemio’s smile was back. “Hey, don’t start selling yourself short now. You won’t scam anyone like that!”

He thought about this, then laughed with Artemio. “You’re right! Can’t have a confidence trick without the confidence, after all!”

“So, say it. You’re the boss!” the Braixen insisted.

Carlos smiled at him. “I’m the boss. I’ll be fine once we’re on the road again, don’t worry.”

“Are you sure we can’t do anything else in Petalburg? Norman’s still there… We can’t just let him think he’s won.”

Carlos’ face fell, as did Artemio’s when he didn’t reply. They stood there for a while, watching the gradually brightening sky as Carlos tried to consider the idea of going against Norman a second time.

Frida slowly raised her paw. “Hope I’m not talking out of turn here, but I don’t think Norman won at all. We still have his badge, and we made him look pretty stupid back there on top of that. If we can get the rest of the badges now, I’m pretty sure he’ll be seething when he knows he could’ve stopped us here.”

“…That’s a really good point,” Art mused. “No sense risking our lives a second time just for him, I guess.”

Carlos nodded his approval. “Then let’s get going. We’ve got a lot of work to do if we’re going to beat the Gym Leaders, starting with Roxanne.”

Artemio grinned. “Go get ‘em, boss!”

Boss: In poker, the strongest hand in a stage of betting.

Yeah, the next gym is Rustboro! Pretty good roll, since it's so close, but it means I have to be careful not to lose any more pokémon because there aren't any new routes available.

No points for guessing the message Pier was leaving for Teresa! ;)

Artemio didn't die in-game, of course, but since the next gym is Rock themed I wasn't risking him there.
7HelZXx.png

Tichu (F)
Hasty, Starter (in-game)
Poison Gas / Venoshock / Smokescreen / Bite



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Dipa the Frosmoth (XF)
Mild, Route 116
Struggle Bug / Infestation / Attract / Stun Spore



braixen.gif

Artemio the Braixen (M)
Gentle, Petalburg Woods
Psybeam / Tail Whip / Ember / Flame Charge



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Orville the Shuppet (M)
Careful, Route 105
Knock Off / Screech / Will-O-Wisp / Shadow Sneak



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Frida the Pikachu (F)
Brave, Petalburg City

Quick Attack / Play Nice / Thunder Wave / Double Kick
fomantis.gif

Pier the Fomantis (M)
Bashful, Dewford Town
Leafage / Fury Cutter / Growth / Ingrain



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Teresa the Serperior (F)
Lonely, Route 107
Tackle / Leer / Vine Whip / Wrap
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Chelsey the Rookidee (X)
Level 6-12



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Kristian the Chingling (M)
Level 5-5



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Valentin the Staravia (M)
Level 5-20

♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
 
Last edited:

MegaInfernape

Wisher for the Return of Megas
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
5257
Caught
Feb 13, 2022
Messages
29
Nature
Hasty
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
  1. Electric
  2. Fire
Pokédex Entry
Has a very erractic mind. It is not uncommon for it to be seen moving from one activity or project to another.
Welp here it is. The reaction to the first death chapter. Always gotta happen at some point in these stories.
Anyways that was appropriately painful because yeah, ow. Tichu being distraught is hurting my soul and Art is properly pissed.
Also wait is this reason why you go back to Norman for a rematch. That would make sense actually.
Now then. Frida, listen, I get you're new here but you can't be talking about getting a replacement for someone who died right next to their friend.
“Yeah? Well, I’m fine. Go find someone else to bother, Carlos, because I’m not upset about it at all!”

“Tichu, you’re hiding in a sink.“
Despite the mood of this chapter, this is probably one of my favourite parts. Brings a bit of humour to the chapter.
 

Green Tea

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
5195
Caught
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
197
Location
England
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Poison
Pokédex Entry
Considered bitter by many.
I love the mental image of a stunky curling itself up in a sink. It brings a bit of humour, but also a different kind of pain, and highlights the way that the team have responded. Teresa and Frida had almost no interaction with Valentin or the team, so they can be a bit colder about it, while Pier is more concerned for Carlos. The rest knew him as a friend, and there's full range of reactions from rage, to self-flagellation, to, well, hiding in the sink. That she went straight for the bathroom makes it seem like this isn't the first time that Tichu's done it, either. Poor baby floof girl. :(

This run delivers on so many levels. The characters are great in their own ways, Carlos is an idiot that's trying to do right, and then you have the thrill of the cons and the thefts, the humour and, now, the feels. These are rich, deep, veins and you are mining them hard.

Fingers crossed that Carlos and Art pull off their con without a hitch. They could do with something working out well right now.
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
260
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
2,046
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
Oooof, Art's response hurt. Can't blame him, he knew Valentin the best, but when Frida talked about getting a replacement... OUCH. I like seeing them come back, but I think it would've been good to actually see the reconciliation scene, too. As if I'm not already emotional enough XD
 

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, aftermaths are surely a ride.
Considering the different settings, I guess a literal death in a run like yours hurts more than others, because it's established each member of the team actually wanted to go with Carlos, not just being a catch that got used to be trained or something. That piece of free will makes deaths hurt even more since, you know, it's kind of their fault as they decided themselves to join the team. No wonder each of them stormed out in a different way.
Also, for the love of god, take Frida out of the team and replace her with Pier. That lovely message with the lily pads is proof enough he needs a spot in the team ASAP. I don't care about what Teresa will think from this, period.
Now I think about it, leave Frida and Teresa together for one hour and I'll dread thinking what these two can plot...

Good to see it worked well in the end, and bless you Dipa for being so awesome. Godspeed in your big Rustboro con(s)
 
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.
♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️

@MegaInfernape I agree, the first death really sucks. It's a reminder that, yeah, this is a Nuzlocke after all!
It might be, it might not be!
Frida isn't the best at reading the room, I guess ;)
Thanks, it's one of mine too! Tichu is adorable 💖

@Green Tea I'm really glad the cast's reaction worked well, because there was a lot to cover in this chapter! And Tichu may have used the bathroom as a quiet place before now, yes. She does miss her friends...
Thank you, thank you so much :D

@SayleeK Now that you mention it, I think you're right. I might come back and edit that scene later on; I'll @ you if I do! :sun:

@Leon Yorunaki Absolutely. To me, this is just as hard to take as if a good friend of Carlos' had died, because, well, they are friends at this point!
Minor spoiler here, but your wish will be granted by the next full chapter. He's been boxed for long enough now!
Oh, god. Nothing good, that's for sure!

(For those who can't load images on their device or are using text to speech, enclosed is a TTS-friendly version of this extra)

[An Agility™ call begins, featuring Norman in front of a blank white background and eight other displays around his own. One by one, the screens turn on as the other participants come online: Brawly at Delta Beach, Flannery in front of a fireplace, Winona with an air balloon background, Tate with a wallpaper from a seasonal anime, Liza floating in space, and Juan in front of an extensive panorama of Sootopolis City. They begin to chat in earnest until Norman clears his throat.]

TVUqAFe.png
Welcome, everyone. I’d like to thank those of us who could make it to the meeting today, as it’s important to know where we stand. Item 1, apologies for-

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Oop, hold on, Norman! Anyone know how to turn this screen on?

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It’s the button to the left of the one that looks like a speaker, Watt.

KBwJFjo.png


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NO, the other one! You’re muted now!

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-ahaha! Thanks!

TVUqAFe.png
…Item 1, apologies for absence. Roxanne can’t make it today as she’s returning from her vacation in Unova. Everyone else is here, so we’ll move on. Item 2, rebuilding. How is it coming along with your cities? Any signs of criminal team activity?

8nuBRsF.png
No problems here. We’re nearly done replacing the buildings that were flooded!

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Not much to report with Fortree, but of course, we didn’t have much to repair.

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Yeah, all Dewford had to deal with was some gnarly waves.

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And we are doing splendidly! There’s been no sight of Team Aqua - they wouldn’t dare come near Sootopolis again, anyhow. The water level’s been stable for a while now, and we’re just getting started on our statue to commemorate the end of the Weather Wars!

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Will the whole statue be solid gold, or just you?

TCgtCay.png
My, my, what an idea! But no, I’m perfectly fine with bronze. It is Rayquaza who should be gold. They’re the one who protected Hoenn from destruction; I am merely a humble trainer who summoned them from their holy tower.

YuKV3oV.png
…Inspiring. Well, I’ve got only good news from my towns, too. We’re ahead of schedule when it comes to Lavaridge’s and Fallarbor’s rebuild, and Verdanturf is thriving.

TVUqAFe.png
Any sign of Team Magma?

YuKV3oV.png
For cr- Well, as I said in the last meeting, and the one before that, they’re gone. I promise you, if they come back you’ll be the first person I call, okay?

TVUqAFe.png
I don’t appreciate your tone.

YuKV3oV.png
I don’t like yours, either! It’s been years since the Weather Wars, so why can’t we relax and quit acting like there’s another crisis around the corner?

TVUqAFe.png
With all due respect, we’re Leaders; it’s our job to lead our cities as best we can, and that includes making sure everyone’s safe.

YuKV3oV.png
By treating every petty criminal like the next Archie? How safe is that, really? All I can say is, thank Rayquaza you’re not in charge of Lavaridge.

TVUqAFe.png
That’s fine, but I’m thanking them you’re not responsible for a whole city.

YuKV3oV.png
Oh, you didn’t just go there.

[As the two Leaders argue, Tate laughs, taking out a phone to point at the screen. Liza shares a smug glance but convinces him to put it away.]

TVUqAFe.png
…Enough! As long as I’m the League Chair, I decide what our priorities are. We’re keeping our cities safe, and that’s the final word on the matter.

YuKV3oV.png
Ugh, fine…

TVUqAFe.png
Let’s get back on track. Wattson, has there been any progress at all in cleaning up Mauville?

[Wattson is fiddling with the backgrounds feature. One second he’s in the Game Corner, the next he’s on a rollercoaster.]

TVUqAFe.png
Wattson!

yBwCYRn.png
Yes, sir! The whole city is sparkling clean! Wahahaha!

TVUqAFe.png
Be serious. Your city has been first in the region for fraud for three years running. You have to be looking for solutions.

YuKV3oV.png
Oh no, fraud! Surely this must be the work of Team-

[Flannery is muted mid-sentence. She stops talking and looks at Norman with her arms crossed.]

yBwCYRn.png
Oh, lighten up, Norman! It’s true, not everyone in Mauville behaves themselves, but it’s not as bad as you make out. Nobody’s getting hurt, and we haven’t had a whiff of any Aqua or Magma shenanigans either. Worst case, you go to the entertainment district and lose some money, one way or another! Waha!

TVUqAFe.png
That’s where you’re wrong. Mauville’s setting a dangerous example with its attitude toward crime. Even with the teams gone, a single lawbreaker can do a lot of damage. This is why I called the meeting: recently, someone cut the power in Petalburg and broke into my Gym. The PPD was able to deal with him, but now I’ve got two holes in my wall and a Balance Badge to replace! Who knows what else he might’ve done if I didn’t get there in time…

kEgfwFd.png
Oh! You got a badge thief too? I was wondering if the guy just wanted my badge or something.

TVUqAFe.png
When was this?

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Lemme think… It was sometime last week. He rode a Staravia, if that helps.

[Norman slaps his forehead, then brushes his hair back in frustration.]

TVUqAFe.png
And you didn’t think to tell me? You just let a trespasser go and forgot about him?!

kEgfwFd.png
Oops. Right, that’s my bad then. Sorry, Norman.

TVUqAFe.png
Unbelievable. It doesn’t matter now, but next time, for the love of Jirachi, talk to me when there’s a situation!

kEgfwFd.png
I will, Norman. Sorry, bro.

TVUqAFe.png
On to Item 3, then… Winona, how is the Battle Frontier project coming along?

Pbtv5wy.png
Still under construction.

TVUqAFe.png
Any progress?

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Well… er, not really.

TVUqAFe.png
I don’t know why I bother asking…

Pbtv5wy.png
Hey! Our priority is our own town. When Wally and I are satisfied with Fortree’s development we’ll start work in Ever Grande, but not before!

[Flannery gives Winona a thumbs up]

TVUqAFe.png
Very well. There’s no schedule, like you say; just keep in mind there is a budget. That’s all the points covered, so we’re done here. Unless anyone else has something to add? Any other thefts I should know about?

[The Gym Leaders shake their heads and begin logging off. Wattson turns the camera off and walks away from his PC… When his bellowing laughter can be heard from a few rooms over, Norman sighs and ends the call for him.]

TVUqAFe.png
The papers are going to have a field day with this…
Back in Rustboro City, Paula had checked into her room after a long day’s work. She carried with her a clipboard, several laminated business cards, and a shiny new briefcase.

“I appreciate that you found a room so quickly,” she told the concierge who was lingering by the door.

“It’s our pleasure, Mrs. Powell! I hope we pass your inspection; take as much time as you need.”

“Ha, I certainly shall.”

Once the conwoman knew she was alone, she set everything down and released the two pokémon she’d brought along: a Brionne and a Purrloin.

“Hey, Paula! How’d it all go?” asked Lillie, her Brionne.

Paula gave a long stretch, then flopped onto the settee. “Like a dream! Prof. Yano was a cooperative mark, and I was able to get away before she figured out she’d been had.”

“Awesome!”

“It’s a shame, though. She seemed nice enough, just a bit all over the place. I bet Carlos would’ve told me off for not choosing some prick with a solid gold toilet or something.”

Jace chuckled. “Did you see him?”

“Nah, not since the other day. He’s gone off somewhere again… Would you believe he’s got his pokémon picking pockets too?”

“Say that three times fast,” he snarked.

Paula just frowned. “I can’t believe I’m saying it at all. I should’ve asked him why he changed his mind. The first time I suggested using pokémon to him, he all but flipped out on me! Saying he’d never put his Cleffa up to that sort of thing. Now he’s running around with that Braixen stealing anything not nailed down, and it’s like it’s no big deal!

“I don’t get him,” she said, more to herself now. “First he leaves the House, then he lets the grace period to rejoin run out. Okay, fair, if he wants to go solo… then he’s out here doing this! What happened? Do you think he’s in debt or something?”

“I’m sure he’d tell you if you asked.”

She sighed. “I guess so. At any rate, he should know what he’s getting into if he tries this back home. If you see him, let me know.”

“Are we staying here for much longer?”

“Nah. Unless I find another mark, we might as well go home.”

“We’re swinging by Slateport for Pride next week, right?” Lillie asked, twiddling her flippers. “It’s my first one since, well…”

“Oh! Of course!” laughed Paula. “That’s gonna be so much fun. I’ll see what pins I can find for us.”

“Thanks. It means a lot.”

Jace moved closer to his teammate and laid his tail on hers. “We’ll make it a day to remember.”

As Lillie blew a couple heart-shaped bubbles, Paula smiled at her team then picked up a copy of The Rustboro Echo. She idly leafed through the pages, daydreaming about what the next week would bring. That is, until one article in the League section caught her eye…

🏳️‍🌈 Happy Pride, everyone! 🏳️‍🌈

The normal chapters will resume at some point soon, likely in two weeks' time, but I wanted to take an opportunity to include some of the characters and Hoenn goings-on which I've been talking about in Writechat. Consider this a Chapter 12.5!

I particularly want to highlight Jace the Purrloin and Lillie the Brionne: About halfway through the R.O.W.E. run I caught and named these two. Jace was FTM and Lillie was MTF, but they never actually made it onto Carlos' team in-game. I thought it was a shame they wouldn't get screen time, so now they're on Paula's team!
FipyGpB.png




purrloin.gif

Jace the Purrloin (M)
Naughty, Route 121
Thief, Fake Out, Hone Claws, Attract



brionne.gif

Lillie the Brionne (F)
Quirky, Route 120
Bubble Beam, Sing, Icy Wind, Encore
Unknown!

♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
 
Last edited:

Green Tea

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
5195
Caught
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
197
Location
England
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Poison
Pokédex Entry
Considered bitter by many.
These were fun extras! I, for one, wouldn't object to seeing more Gym Leader chats like this and I'm even more stoked for Flannery to make her full appearance.
 

Obelisk

no sleep only bnuuy
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
155
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
366
Nature
Quirky
Pronouns
He/Him
Pokémon Type
  1. Electric
Pokédex Entry
Eccentric 'locker obsessed with Magikarp.
I love the way you integrated these two Pokemon into the story in these extras. It's always a treat being a beta for your work, and this chapter was no different.

I think the funniest thing here - Flannery v Normal aside, is that Wattson, the technological genius behind Mauville/New Mauville, is horrible with laptops. It's such peak irony for someone like him, but also surprisingly realistic? I love it, love it, love it!
 

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Writer
Screenshotter
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
260
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
2,046
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 love the format of the gym leader groupchat! I can imagine some real Parish Council shenanigans going on with this lot... Also Wattson being the dude running a high-tech paradise of a city but not knowing how to use Zoom--sorry, Agility? :chef_kiss:

Happy pride to these trans Pokemon scamming beloved popcorn characters! They really do be out here being queer and doing crimes and we love that for them ❤️
 

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
This part was such a treat and I can't get enough of it.

First, the part with the leaders. Shame we couldn't get a glimpse of Roxanne, but that's a good thing since she's the next mark and it's for the better she doesn't know she's about to be conned. But everything else was ridiculous, be it Wattson as laid-back and the complete opposite of tech-savvy as possible, Tate being snarky and scolded by his sister nonetheless, and especially the jabs between Flannery and Norman. Geez, I've yet to see a hoenn fanfiction with a nice Norman ignore mine is probably one of the worst offenders but yours is probably among the best (and most believable) renditions of him.

And then Paula. The one person I wanted to learn a bit more about, and I'm not disappointed a bit. Of course, writechat means I was spoiled most of that piece, but it doesn't make it less lovely, you know? I seriously want to know if Carlos will arrive on time for her to catch a glimpse of his conning, but either way is nice to see things from different eyes. And her team is something majestic and I kind of want to see them chilling at the docks during and after 🏳️‍🌈.
 
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.
♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️

@Green Tea I'd love to do some more of them, especially once they realise Carlos isn't stopping at just 2!

@Obelisk Right back at you, mate.
heh, normal

@SayleeK I was thinking about that Parish Council incident! lol
...Come to think of it, I would pay for a Carvanha or Frosmoth shirt with "Be they, do crime" on it 👀

@Leon Yorunaki Thank you!
I'm so glad Wattson resonated with y'all. There's just something about him being lost around computer tech that's funny but wholesome! And yeah, Norman!! I appreciate that comment so much, because I do enjoy a good Norman character and to know EH Norman is one of them feels like a success to me :D
Thanks! <3 I'll think about including that, 'cause that's such a sweet visual.

It was another warm, dry day in the island region of Hoenn. The blue sky was free of any clouds, the Vibravas were buzzing incessantly, and an Azumarill family were splashing about by the shore. It was a good day to visit Petalburg’s shoreline - and many trainers were doing just that - but a professor by the name of Mauro Rodriguez had no time to sit and enjoy the good weather; he had a ferry to catch!

Mauro had to barge past a few trainers who didn’t get the hint he was in a hurry. Nervously, he drew out his pocket watch to find that he had only three minutes to go!

Someone else was also in a hurry, it seemed: an Orresian man with pink hair was storming along the docks with a cumbersome-looking tripod camera which bounced off anyone who didn’t get out of the way quick enough.

“Excuse me! Excuuuuuse me! I’m with Hoenn TV and we need to clear some space! Jeez… can you all keep back? Ruby Abbott is landing here soon and I need room to stage a photo shoot. Make way, please!

“Ruby?”

“Did he say Ruby?”

“No way! Tanya, get a pen! Get a pen!!”

“I said to clear some space, not-“ the cameraman tried to say, but within moments the pier was filled with admirers who packed together as they searched for the three-time Champion! The crowd grew in volume as they tried to guess which of the incoming boats Ruby was a passenger of.

During the confusion, the cameraman disappeared into the excited crowd and soon reappeared further down the docks. His walking stick clunked against the wooden planks, helping him favour his left foot, and the brim of his hat was tipped so that most of his face was shielded from the strong sunlight. He walked confidently up to the ticket inspector and cleared his throat.

“Here to buy a ticket?” she asked.

“No need, I have my reservation here for the afternoon ferry to Rustboro. I trust it will leave at four, on the dot?”

The inspector leaned forward in her chair. “Yes, of course. Let me see that. State your name, please?”

“Mauro Rodriguez,” said Carlos.

She looked from Carlos to the ticket, then brought out a magnifying glass. She peered carefully at the document, making notes in her log. It passed the test - stealing the right ticket was a job on its own for Carlos - and received a red stamp.

“Do you have your ID?”

That made Carlos freeze for a second, but the ticket inspector merely glanced at his trainer ID before waving him on. He sped up his walking, kept an eye out for the original Mr. Rodriguez, and clambered into the boat before anything else could happen.

The ferry jumped to life as it was untied from the pier, then it began its daily journey to Rustboro City. When he looked back, Carlos saw a thinning crowd and a red-faced man shouting into the tickets window.

“Sorry,” he said quietly to Mr. Rodriguez as the docks shrank into the distance.



♦​


“Hey, Tichu! Look! That’s a Walrein on the rocks over there!”

“Oh, cool.”

Carlos frowned. He had brought out his youngest pokémon for the ferry trip, thinking she might enjoy some time watching the many different pokémon through the long window beside them. Instead, she was faced the other way, staring into a wall. He knew why, of course, but discussing the topic didn’t feel like a great idea.

He sighed, and looked out at Route 104 as it slowly passed them by. The two of them were gently rocked by the waves, each lost in their own sea of thoughts. A few minutes later, Carlos cleared his throat. “Tichu?”

“Hmmm?”

“We’ll be back in Rustboro City soon. Tomorrow’s the big day! The Pyrite Derby’s said to be one of the biggest Rapidash-racing events of the year.”

“Huh, interesting,” Tichu replied. “It’s too bad we can’t bet on it for real, then.”

“…You know, I was thinking of teaching you a new grifting trick today. If you’re interested.”

It was as if a light had switched on inside Tichu; she looked up at Carlos with her ears perked up. “Oh? What trick?”

Carlos looked up at the ceiling. “Hmm, I don’t know. It’s pretty advanced. Are you sure you’re up for it?”

“Yes!”

“Positive?”

“Come ooooon, boss! Tell me! I’m ready!”

He chuckled. “Alright. But first, do you remember what you’ll be doing during the Pyrite Derby?”

Tichu nodded enthusiastically. “Dig a hole, and when you give me the money I hide it so Daniel thinks it’s gone!”

“Perfect!” As Tichu beamed, Carlos took out three playing cards and set them face-up on the table. “You’ll want to pay close attention here… This one’s called the ‘Convincer’. Are you ready?”

“Yeah!”

“I’ll demonstrate with some Three-card Monte. It’s simple: one of these cards has an ace, and it’s your job to tell me which one it is.” Carlos flipped them over, then - once his Stunky gave the signal - moved them around the table.

Tichu grinned as she watched the ace card, then as soon as Carlos asked she pointed it out. He clapped, then tried again. “This is easy!” she scoffed after her fourth win in a row.

“Okay then, Keen Eye,” Carlos said. “How about we make this interesting?”

“Okay?”

“If you get the next one right, I’ll give you a sweet pokéblock… but if you lose, it’ll be sour.”

Tichu only hesitated for a split second before saying, “You’re on, Carlos!”

This time, however, Carlos held nothing back. His hands moved with practised precision as he sent the ace card on a merry journey across the table, around, over, and sometimes under the other two cards. As Tichu attempted to follow her target, her smug expression began to fade until she was looking dejectedly at her trainer instead.

“I… I don’t know. Righ- no… Left?” she guessed.

It was the middle.

Tichu banged a paw on the table, then as Carlos drew out the pokéblock her nose wrinkled in anticipation. “Blast it. Okay… Here goes…”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to eat it,” Carlos chuckled. “But you see how easily you got ahead of yourself? Once you start winning these games, you get the idea you can’t lose. That’s the Convincer, boiled down to its most basic elements. When it comes to cons we can use the idea in lots of different ways.

“If we let a mark win some money on a small-scale investment scam, for example, they’ll be more likely to trust us with more money later on. Even though they would’ve thought it dangerous at first, the fact we made good on our promise before meant there’s no way it wouldn’t work just as well the next time!”

“Woah!” Tichu had stars in her eyes as she took this lesson in. “But isn’t that risky, though? What if they don’t want to play again?”

Carlos nodded. “Mhm, that’s why it’s so important to know your mark and their limits. The goal is to always have a grasp of the stakes, while your opponent’s just thinking about how much they can make.”

“…Can I have the sweet pokéblock now?”

“Maybe… if you can win the next round.”

“Oh, come on!” Tichu laughed. Carlos laughed along, glad to see her so cheerful again. She continued to play, and argue, with him until the ferry pulled into the sparkling shores of Rustboro City.



♥​


In Box 1 of Carlos’ PC, Pier felt a prickle of doubt run up his back as he reclined in his makeshift sunbed. He had been sunning himself in the PC for half the day now, but not once did a certain snake slither over to bother him.

As welcome as the peace and quiet was, Pier found it hard to truly enjoy it. He kept looking around, half expecting Teresa to ambush him with some more nonsense. Nothing happened… The Fomantis began to wonder if something was wrong somehow.

Then, he shrugged and sat back against the cool grass. If there was some problem with Teresa, it just meant he was free to soak in the sunlight. She could take care of herself. He could relax. This was fine.



♠​


This was fine.


♣​


“…I can’t believe I'm doing this,” Pier muttered as he heaved himself up.

He found the Serperior resting in a tree, her body curled around a thick branch with the end of her tail supporting her head. When Pier approached, one eye opened and started tracking him. “What?”

“Is everything alright?”

“Of course. Why wouldn’t it be?”

“I don’t know,” Pier said. “What with the heist last night, and what happened to Valentin…”

“I’m fine. I didn’t know him, in any case. Worry about yourself.” She turned her head away as if the conversation was over.

“Teresa? …Teresa!”

“Kyogre’s grace, WHAT?”

“I know something’s wrong. Can you just talk to me?”

With visible irritation, Teresa untied herself from the branch and climbed down to the forest floor. “Alright, Pier. You want to know what’s bugging me? Other than you, that is. I chose the wrong trainer.”

Pier’s brow furrowed. “…Huh? Carlos caught you.”

“Take a look at me.” Teresa drew herself up to full height. “I’m a Champion-level pokémon; I go where I like. But where does our brilliant trainer have me while I’m here? Stuck in a box while he acts like some master thief. What a joke. No wonder he can’t keep a team together.”

He rolled his eyes. “Don’t you think it’s at least a little bit your fault? You’re the one who bullies anyone who goes near you.”

“Really, Pier… what do you expect? I’m just here to fight and to grow stronger. Then, I’ll go find a real trainer I can challenge the League with, but until then you’re either a stepping stone or a hurdle… I’m not interested in ‘making friends’.”

“C’mon, it can’t hurt to be nice in the meantime.”

“Of course it can! You saw how everyone out there reacted when that Garchomp took Valentin out. It’s all sweetness and sunshine being friends with the whole team, and then someone dies and everyone falls to pieces.”

“…Have you lost a friend before?”

“No…” Teresa’s tail thumped against the ground. “I’m just saying. There’s no point getting close right now.”

Pier studied Teresa’s frigid expression, then threw his leaves up. “Okay, fine. But if we don’t at least pretend to get along we’ll be stuck in this box for the foreseeable. You’re not doing much fighting in here, after all.”

“…Yes. You’re right about that. But, you’re forgetting that there’s still only room for one of us out there.”

He sighed. It always came back to that.

“Say, Teresa… Is that sparring request still open?”

Teresa raised an eyebrow. “Are you being serious? I’ll flatten you.”

“Try me.”

“Hmm.” Teresa regarded her teammate curiously, then drew her head back. “Good luck.”

The Regal pokémon struck, burying her fangs in the dirt as Pier dodged to the right. Immediately after, she brought her tail down, barely missing him again. Pier backed up and started hurriedly crafting with his vines. When he had enough distance, he drew his bow back and fired at Teresa. The seeds bounced off her side and were promptly ignored as she charged forward through the forest leaves.

Though Pier was quick, Teresa was quicker; soon he couldn’t retreat and had to go on the offensive. He jumped over Teresa, raking a leaf across her back - she hissed angrily this time - and readied another barrage of seeds, but Teresa’s tail caught Pier around the middle and pushed him back down to the ground. Pier gasped for air as the coils began to tighten!

“Had enough?”

Pier struggled in the Serperior’s grip until he freed a leaf with which he could dig into the soil beneath them. The seconds stretched on until a sharp vine sprouted underneath Teresa; the shock made her hold on Pier loosen enough for him to squirm out and withdraw out of range.

Teresa lunged again, but this time Pier was in the right place: beneath a low-hanging branch. He sent a vine straight up, then kicked off of the ground. The Sickle Grass pokémon shot up into the tree, grabbed an apple, and swung himself back downwards! The vine kept his momentum the whole way, making Teresa cry out as he landed straight on the crown of her head.

“HEY! Cheap shot!” she shouted.

“No such thing,” Pier told her as he went in for another Fury Attack. “You’re stronger and faster; I have to be smarter!”

“It’s the strength that matters,” Teresa said, now sporting a thin red line across her belly. “Without it, you can’t hope to win.”

The two Grass types continued to spar for another minute, Pier giving ground whenever he could so that Teresa had to keep chasing him. Eventually, Pier held up his leaves in a defensive stance. “Come at me!”

Teresa obliged, swinging her tail at full force into the Fomantis. She had expected him to go flying, but there he stayed, literally rooted to the spot. Pier saw his chance to counter and took it, summoning as many vines as he could. They burst from the ground and criss-crossed over Teresa’s long tail, pinning it to the ground before she could do anything about it.

As she thrashed to and fro, the vines held her firmly in place… until one snapped. As Pier tried to fix it, another one went, then a few more! When there was nothing left to hold her tail back, it curled around him again and hoisted him up into the air. He was beginning to see stars as the Serperior’s iron grip reinforced around him.

“Okay, you win!” Pier tried to say, and though it was just a gasp Teresa understood. As she lowered him down to the ground, the box protocols reactivated.

“See,” Teresa panted, “power wins in the end. Not cute strategies and circus tricks. Power.”

After taking a moment to catch his breath, Pier sat across from his teammate and said, “It was close, though.”

“Not really.” When Pier raised his head to glare at her, Teresa laughed. “But it was fun. Thanks.”

“…So let’s say that one of us has to stay here for the next heist. I guess it wouldn’t be the worst thing if you went with the team,” he said.

“Hm? You’re saying I’m better?”

No,” he said at once. “But… Well, if Carlos runs into trouble like last time, I reckon he’ll need you more than he needs me. I mean,” he corrected as Teresa grinned, “just as much! My brains and your brawn. Both are needed.”

Teresa gave a hissing laugh. “I’ll agree with half of that.”

“Oh, shut up.”

The two of them sat back, listening to the leaves shifting in the computer-generated breeze. Pier closed his eyes and felt his leaves start to mend in the sunlight. Soon, their trainer would withdraw one - or both - of them from the box, and they’d have a new badge to steal. Until then, however, Pier had a lot of sunbathing to catch up on.
With the Pyrite Derby mere hours away, Carlos had one last money-making scheme left to try.

He wasn’t sure if it even counted as a con: enter a bar, find a couple patrons playing Driftveil Hold’em, and ask to be dealt in. It was practice, not business; he wasn’t even planning to cheat!

Carlos sat down in the chair nearest to the exit, playing up his nerves as if he were new to the game. Next, he got to know the group with a little pre-game banter, fumbled the cards on his first draw, and apologised for being so clumsy. Everything was going to plan until he saw the woman’s necklace.

It wasn’t difficult to notice that she fiddled with the sides of her necklace when she got nervous. Plenty of novices fell into this trap of playing with their jewellery, their clothes, or their hair; it became a reflexive action that signalled their true feelings, much like Teresa’s tail.

What caught Carlos’ attention, however, was the necklace itself, a simple accessory popular as a good luck charm. It was an Amulet Coin which sparkled in the dim light, winking at Carlos when he lost a hand. A knot began to form in his chest, and when he took his cards to find a 10 of hearts… he could feel that knot start to burn.

He was out the door in minutes.



♦​


The next bar Carlos entered was crammed with people who had to talk over each other in order to make themselves heard. It was a lot like the establishment in Slateport at which Carlos worked: it was loud, messy, and most of all, inviting. As he walked in with Daniel Faust, he sighed contentedly and felt his shoulders relax again.

“So, Jack! What’d you like? The first one’s on me, alright?” Daniel gestured to the different labelled taps at the bar.

Carlos smiled at his new best friend, completely at ease. For a short time at least, he could be ‘Jack’. “I’m not picky,” he responded. “Just go with whatever!”

It was tough to say whether Beereon could actually be classified as beer, as it was such a pale lager it was practically invisible. The colour was that of burnt straw, with a thin layer of dense foam on top. Many Hoennites joked that the best way to recreate Beereon’s taste at home - if one somehow couldn’t afford the astonishingly cheap price - was to take a single hop, a few grains of corn, then dump it all into a bucket of water.

As Carlos sipped the concoction, Daniel sat with him drinking a large Imperial Stout. “Thanks for this, Daniel,” Carlos told him. “I’m sorry again for how I acted over at the racetrack; I don’t always work with people well.”

Daniel raised his glass with a grin. “Oh, don’t worry about that. If this thing works, you’ve got every right to be smug about it! And anyway, I deal with assholes in my job all the time.”

“Oh, I’d think so. You’re a landlord by trade, right?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

“I’ve seen your ad in the papers,” Carlos explained. He hid a grimace as he set his glass down.

He laughed. “Oh, right, right. Yeah, you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to keep track of it all.”

“How many do you have?”

“Only six. But that’s enough for now! I’d need to find a partner if I wanted to grow it further.”

Carlos just nodded. “So how do you keep it going?

“Oh, that’s easy. The key is to remind your tenants who’s in charge! Don’t take excuses, don’t relax your standards. The main thing is that they know: if you break the house rules, you’re out. If they understand that, they’ll monitor themselves better than I’d do on my own.”

As the mark continued on, Carlos imagined himself standing up and pouring the sticky beer over his curly red hair.

“…and another time - this is the best one, Jack - A tenant of mine tried to smuggle a pokémon into their room, can you believe it? The cheek!”

Carlos tutted. “No respect for the rules. What was it, Daniel, a Trubbish?”

“Oh, gods, no,” he guffawed, “but just you wait, someone will try that! No, this girl brought in a Bonsly. Tried to tell me it was a potted plant!”

They roared with laughter, adding to the bar’s chorus. When Daniel took a minute to buy another round, Carlos politely declined another Beereon. After what felt like no time at all, Daniel checked his watch and jumped in his chair. “Oh, right! Look at the time, Jack! We’d better get moving if we want to make the derby!”



♥​


The Emerald Racing Centre greeted Carlos and Daniel with a tremendous warmth. Though none of the Fire-type racers had yet left their stables, the spectators were already sweltering under the relentless sun; the distant grey clouds which were slowly forming in the west did nothing to diminish the heat. Men, women, and bettors of all sorts were pressed together in front of the fences getting ready for what promised to be a series of tight, adrenaline-pumping races. While Daniel found a place on the bleachers which would’ve been perfect to watch the excitement without the sensory overload, Carlos had to remind him that they needed to be as close to the racing boxes as possible for this scam to work.

As they weaved their way through the crowd, Carlos kept an eye on the kiosk where he would buy a ₽100 slip. Behind it, he knew, was an empty lot with loosely packed dirt. Daniel was too focused on him to care what happened over there. This time everything would go perfectly.

“Ten minutes before the A tier Pyrite Derby!” came a warning from the loudspeaker.

“That’s our cue,” Carlos noted. His head rushed with excitement as he took the atmosphere in.

“Do your stuff, Jack,” Daniel told him.

He leaned against the fence, tapping the Poké Ball to release Artemio. The Braixen flinched at the noise of the crowd behind them. “Ray’s sake…”

“Well, what do you see?” Carlos asked.

Artemio’s wand levitated in his hand, turning thrice as he focused on the starting boxes. “A bunch of closed doors. I imagine there are Rapidashes inside!”

“Hmm. Do you really think so?”

“Yeah, and behind us is a total sucker who looks like a stiff wind would knock him over!”

“Interesting. And the one next door?”

“Heh. Stop worrying, boss, he can’t hear you in this racket.” Artemio shook his head, his ears flattening. “How do you humans enjoy this!?”

Stubbornly, Carlos kept to the script. “Alright, not that one either… So who wins, then?”

“Let’s go with ‘Fox In The Box’! I like that one,” Artemio laughed. “Now get me out of here before I go deaf!”

Carlos winked. “Sounds good.”

“Who are we betting on?” Daniel asked as soon as Carlos was next to him again.

“Fox In The Box.”

Daniel’s face fell slightly when he checked the slip. “That’s… 5 to 1 odds. Bah.”

Carlos put his arms up in a shrug. “Was kinda hoping for an outsider too, but hey, at least there’s no risk this way. We can always wait for the next race if you’re not sure, Daniel.”

“Five minutes before the Pyrite Derby!” warned the loudspeaker. “Get yer bets in!”

“…Let’s go for it.”

“Hell yeah,” Carlos replied, taking Daniel’s money and making a mental note to check it all the way through this time. “Back in a few!”



♠​


“And they’re off, it’s Fifty Wingull In A Trench Coat and Unova Connection up front, beautiful clean start for the two, Regifire keeping pace on the far outside, then it’s Fox In The Box, I Forgot To Name Him beginning to move up on the inside, Tomoooooooo further on with Neighpalm hot on their heels, Left Foot Right Foot Header chasing further back in the field, and Putting On The Heat bringing up the rear after a wobbly beginning. My Other Horse Is A Digimon is out on a false start…

“Now Unova Connection is in front, he’s against the rail, then comes Fifty Wingull In A Trench Coat as they approach the halfway point! Fox In The Box is also there, Regifire trying to keep it competitive, then it’s Tomoooooooo and I Forgot To Name Him battling it out behind her, they’ve made some space between them and Neighpalm! Now it’s Fifty Wingull In A Trench Coat in front again, pulling ahead of Unova Connection but only by a third of a length!”

“COME ON, FOX!” roared Daniel. Carlos followed suit, knowing full well the Rapidash was too far out at this point; for a moment, he had started to worry.

“Going into the final furlough it’s Fifty Wingull In A Trench Coat, Unova Connection falling behind now, Fox In The Box continues to be over a length away, but already here she is gaining ground on Unova Connection, Tomoooooooo following behind, FOX IN THE BOX PUTTING ON A BURST OF SPEED! SHE’S TAKEN SECOND! FIFTY WINGULL IN A TRENCH COAT IS MAINTAINING A STEADY PACE ON THE OUTSIDE AS FOX IN THE BOX BEGINS TO CHALLENGE ON THE RAILS, BRIDGES THE GAP AS THEY HEAD TOWARDS THE LINE NOW! And the winner, by a nose, Fox In The Box! Fifty Wingull In A Trench Coat comes in second, followed by Unova Connection some distance away. Tomoooooooo leads the second pack in fourth…”

As Daniel began jumping for joy, Carlos felt his veins turn cold. They had… won?

Limping in: A poker and Texas hold'em term. To limp is to bet the absolute minimum needed to stay in a hand.
Inside straight: In poker, four cards in a hand (for instance, 8 6 5 4) that will make a straight if the right card is added.

Yeah, I had a great time with this chapter. Between the Rapidash names, actually staging a proper pokémon battle, and Daniel Faust being a right dickhead, I kinda surprised myself with how much I wrote by the end! I should probably get used to chapters being on the longer side as these characters develop and cause even more headaches for Carlos :v:

Btw, Pier and Teresa are back on the team! Let's see how long that lasts...
7HelZXx.png

Tichu (F)
Hasty, Starter (in-game)
Poison Gas / Venoshock / Smokescreen / Bite



frosmoth.gif

Dipa the Frosmoth (XF)
Mild, Route 116
Struggle Bug / Infestation / Attract / Stun Spore



braixen.gif

Artemio the Braixen (M)
Gentle, Petalburg Woods
Psybeam / Tail Whip / Ember / Flame Charge



shuppet.gif

Orville the Shuppet (M)
Careful, Route 105
Knock Off / Screech / Will-O-Wisp / Shadow Sneak



fomantis.gif

Pier the Fomantis (M)
Bashful, Dewford Town
Leafage / Fury Cutter / Growth / Ingrain



serperior.gif

Teresa the Serperior (F)
Lonely, Route 107
Tackle / Leer / Vine Whip / Wrap
pikachu-f.gif

Frida the Pikachu (F)
Brave, Petalburg City
Quick Attack / Play Nice / Thunder Wave / Double Kick
rookidee.png

Chelsey the Rookidee (X)
Level 6-12



chingling.png

Kristian the Chingling (M)
Level 5-5



staravia.png

Valentin the Staravia (M)
Level 5-20

♣️ ♦️ ♥️ ♠️
 
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Green Tea

Conqueror of the Violet Gym
Screenshotter
Pokédex No.
5195
Caught
Jan 15, 2022
Messages
197
Location
England
Nature
Sassy
Pronouns
She/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Poison
Pokédex Entry
Considered bitter by many.
It's very clear that you had fun with this chapter - it shows!

The rapidash names are as awful as is to be expected from horse racing, and it's the kind of thing I could spend far too long doing and come out with no story about a hundred groan-inducing pun names.

Good to see Zawa make a sort-of cameo. She's still haunting the poor boy!

The fight was interesting, although I am both surprised/impressed that Teresa let up on the end without trying to teach Pier a real lesson about strength. I guess she's matured a bit now? That's both good and bad. I liked her being a menace to everyone, even if that's far from conducive!
 

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 of all, this was one of the most interesting chapters so far. The first con at the start was already interesting on its own, fast-paced, and I could totally watch the scene in my head.

And it only became better and better, first Tichu learning a valuable lesson from Carlos, then Pier from Teresa... (lovely battle, and they're so peaceful after that battle it kinda scares me a bit), and especially the Rapidash Racing. I still don't know what is my favorite name of all of those (and I believe quite a few of those memes are based on real horse names stares at Tomoooooooo), and that's quite of a setup for the upcoming con.

But... the moment I saw the Amulet Coin, I knew things would go south. Zawa is always watching, and she's surely using those powers to make Carlos' life a nightmare. Like, for example, making him win the race he was supposed to lose. That's some powerful cliff to hang on, and as always I hope you have a good plan out of that mess!
 

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