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View Full Version : The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is The Light Of An Oncoming Houdour {Graded}


Fever
02-04-2008, 07:38 PM
Complete & graded. Any reader comments appreciated as per the new rules. :biggrin:

The inferno was all around him. Tongues of flame rose like writhing, glowing Seviper from the forest shadows, billowing out black, heavy clouds of gas. The sickening smell of acrid smoke filled his nostrils and clogged his throat. His eyes watered from the heat and he shut them tight as his mother bent and fastened her jaws loosely to the scruff of his neck. Even through his terror, he felt comfort and reassurance in her grip, and he allowed himself to hang limply as his mother sprang through the flames, the fire barely singeing her fur. Far stronger and more used to fire - she was an Arcanine, after all - his mother felt no pain from the flames. Her heart, however, pulsated as wildly as the fire around them. Her other Growlithe cubs were still in the den; she could only carry one at a time, and it was only chance that she had picked up the hitherto-unnamed cub in her jaws rather than any conscious decision.
She deposited him on the riverbank, as far from the fire as she could go and still have time to return for the rest of her litter.
“Stay there, little one,” she murmured in his ear, voice slightly rasping from the effect of the smoke.

Therefore, he stayed.

He waited for three days. During that time, he ate nothing, too weak to capture food, and drank only water from the river rather than the healthy milk of his mother. Each night he lay and blinked up at the stars, his eyes tracing a pattern as old as time through them. He tried to comfort himself by picking out constellations that were familiar from Mama’s stories, but they only served to remind him of his mother, and her failure to return.

On the eve of the third day, he could take it no longer. The fire had died down long since, and the only sign that anything had happened was the charred tree trunks and piles of ash. The birds, in their feather-brained way, had returned as though their roost had never been alight, nor any of their number burned, and they chirruped greetings to the weary Growlithe as he crawled through the dense vegetation of the forest floor.

As he trudged on, the evidence of the blaze became more obvious; Furret and Nidoran lay with glassy eyes on the forest floor, jaws agape from their final wrestle with Death. The Growlithe cub fought the fear that threatened to consume him, instead setting his mind towards the one thing that troubled him most in the world - where his mother was.

Until he found her, it never occurred to him that she would be dead. Somehow, the Arcanine had always seemed so infallible, so reliable. She was his mother; she brought him food, she gave him milk - she was everything, and without her, he was nothing.

Therefore, when he found her, nothing could have prepared him from the shock. She lay, glassy-eyed and unmoving, at the foot of a charred tree stump. Her head lolled back, eyes turned heavenward and jaws stretched open, her ivory, daggerlike teeth and fireproof fur no use against the smoke gas that had choked her.

In that moment, the Growlithe’s entire world came crashing down about his ears. No more was the forest den his sanctuary, a place of love and comfort. No longer was the world all pinks and pastels; it carried with it a shadow, and that shadow was engulfing him.

He nosed her, unwilling to believe what his eyes told him. He had seen death before, but not of those he loved; the insect Pokémon he had eaten, and the Buneary and like meat brought back by his mother, were nothing to him. His mother, however…nothing could have prepared Arcanine’s youngest son for the grief that lanced his heart.

“Noooooooooooooooo -”

“Chance!” a voice came.

“Noooooooooooooo!”

“Chance!” came the voice again. “Chance, wake up!”

He opened his eyes to find Satine, his foster Houndoom mother, nuzzling at him. Around him stood his adopted Houndour brothers and sisters, most of them smirking.

“Did lickle Chance have nightmares again?” sniggered the biggest, Draco. “Did he dream about the nasty forest fire? Did he cry for his Mummy?”

Chance glared at him, but instantly quailed under his brother’s derisive sneer. Even besides the fact that the Houndour stood head and shoulders above the Growlithe puppy, Draco was a formidable-looking creature - for that fact, so were all his siblings. Their dusky black pelts were like inexplicable shadows in the night. If they hid in the shadows of the forest, and closed their gleaming red eyes, all that was visible of them would be the ruddy orange fur on their handsome muzzles, and the gleam of moonlight on the burnished skull-like structures on their foreheads. At certain angles, even the silver arches on their backs and rings above their paws would not be seen, and only a hideous skull over a pair of ruby eyes would be glimpsed.

“Well?” taunted Draco. “Did you, lickle Chance-pants?”

Oh, how he hated that nickname. He was not totally sure of what it meant - it was a human word, after all - but he knew from the way his siblings used it that it was offensive. He even disliked the name Chance; it was supposed to remind him how lucky he was that he had survived, but it only prompted thoughts of those who had not been so fortunate.

“Shut up,” he whimpered. He tried to snarl, but he was still too badly shaken from the dream to manage more than a whine, and the den rang with the sound of his adopted siblings’ mocking laughter.

“Enough!” snapped Satine, licking her adopted Growlithe son on the forehead. She had found the orphaned pup not long after losing her Houndoom mate, and she understood the grief that had wracked the small, sobbing body, curled up beside his mother’s corpse. While Satine might not awaken screaming from vivid, recurring nightmares - she was too proud to do anything but lock it away - she knew the very real pain that came with the loss of a family member.

“Enough,” she repeated. “Draco, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. Chance is your brother now. I will not have you treat him so spitefully.”

“Sorry,” mumbled Draco, his face contrite, but Chance could see the mischief dancing in his eyes. The Growlithe cub flinched. He knew that look. It meant Draco had something planned; something that involved his favourite punch bag. Something bad.

“Sorry, Mother,” whimpered Draco, masking his scorn with a repentant expression. “I say, why don’t we all go for a romp in the woods?” He winked at Vasco, his debonair brother with an infamous reputation. “We could make it up to Chance-pa -” He corrected himself quickly. “To Chance.”

Satine looked pleased. “Good idea.” She licked Chance’s muzzle, earning him snide looks from his adopted siblings. “I want you all back before dawn.” She glanced up at the star-studded skies, her eyes blinking owlishly at the silver crescent of the moon. “Two hours.”

“You got it, Mother,” smirked Draco. “C’mon, Chance.”

*******

The east side of the dank, dark Ilex Forest, planted so thickly with trees and shrubs that even the most agile of Pokémon were forced to watch their step, was not favoured by many Pokémon. The most prolific species were Caterpie and Paras, although in the daytime Spearow and Pidgey were partial to taking the odd snack before returning to the safer western end. It was, therefore, unfamiliar territory for the litter of cubs as they wound their way through the dense woodland, following the Houndour scout carefully.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” queried Silk. The young female Houndour’s ruby eyes spoke volumes of uneasiness and apprehension, tinged with something like pity. “I know he’s not one of us, but he was still raised like our brother. Anyway, what if Mother - ”

“Can you just shut up?” snapped Draco. “For five minutes? He‘ll hear us, and then we‘ll never get rid of the little twerp.” He turned his head to look behind them. Though the forest was dark - even the moonlight could not penetrate all the shadowy corners - his Houndour eyes could make out the form of the young Growlithe trotting along by Peril, another of Draco’s brothers, some twenty feet behind. He had told Peril to keep the stupid puppy a good distance away at first.

Only four of the Houndour pups had come out on this hunt, though all knew of Draco’s plan. Vasco, Wingfoot and Shadow had both refused to come, certain that the plan would fail. Diamond, with an injured paw, would not be able to flee from the humans as quickly as her brothers and sisters. As for Pirouette - Draco’s lip curled. She had refused to have anything to do with it; she was much too soft for her own good. Although she did not like Chance - as a Houndour, it was her natural instinct to dislike any other species - she considered ‘human enslavement’ much too harsh a fate for any Pokémon. It was a trait she shared with Silk - probably inherited from their mother.

On the other paw, Draco had convinced Silk and Peril to accompany him. Caviar had also agreed to join them. The young male had been assigned the role of scout. He was the one who would lead them all to the human settlement, Azalea Town. He would scout out the best place to cause the commotion that would lead to the ultimate moment of victory.

“I mean it, Draco,” Silk whispered as they skulked through the shadows, eyes and ears attuned to the smallest movement or sound that might initiate danger. “I don’t think this is -”

Draco’s eyes narrowed. “Do you doubt me, Silk?” His voice was calm, but it carried a note of warning; Silk was acting out of place. Draco, as the eldest, the largest and the fastest Houndour sibling, was the dominant pup. He had every right to attack his siblings - not, perhaps, to kill them, but to make sure they knew their status in the family hierarchy.

“N-no,” stammered Silk, pressing her soft underbelly to the ground in a gesture of submission. “I’m just afraid that -”

“Afraid?” jeered Draco. “Isn’t that sweet? Little Silk’s afraid.” He scowled at her. “No, it ain’t sweet, Silk. You’re getting as soft as Chance. And you know what we’re doing to Chance.”

****

“Where are we going, Peril?” panted Chance, his short Growlithe legs struggling to keep up with his Houndour brother’s long strides. “We’ve been walkin’ ages.”

“Don’t ask questions,” snapped Peril, his voice deep and surly. “We’re going hunting, and Draco’s leading us, with Caviar as scout. Isn’t that enough for you?”

His tone was final; it was clearly a rhetorical question, and Chance kept his muzzle shut as they progressed through the forest. He concentrated instead on all the things his foster mother had told him to look out for when one was hunting.

“The forest is our home and our friend, Chant,” she had told him. “But it is also our foe. We are not the only creatures of the night. If you had been born one of us, you would have this deep-seated in your mind from birth; an innate, instinctive knowledge of the dangers of Ilex Forest. As it is…you must learn, Chance. One day you will leave the family, as all pups do. You will make your own family, and you must be able to provide for your mate and cubs. Until then, study the forest. Know every scent, sound and sight. Learn how to track and trap. Fail, and you die.”

Now, months later, he still followed that advice. He could distinguish between the scent of predator and prey; at the moment, the only odour was warm and doglike - that of his Houndour siblings. There was also a mint-like smell; a few small bugs dotted here and there, he knew. Indeed, he did not need to sniff them out; the ruby spots of Ledian glowed on many of the thick, shrubby bushes they passed, and he could see Illumise and Volbeat dancing in the slivers of moonlight that filtered between the great, spreading branches of the trees. Their gentle humming floated down to the Growlithe’s ears, and he felt a shiver of excitement run down his spine. He loved that song; it was the soundtrack to his life. Every night, those bugs performed their ballet-like dance to their own swirling, mystical melody. The sound was not unlike that of a harp; it carried the same beautiful, yet eerie, ringing notes, and left one with the same sense of spiritual awareness.

“Chance!” barked Peril, interrupting the Growlithe’s thoughts. “We’re almost there.”

“Almost where?” queried Chance, looking all around. He could see nothing special about their position; the trees had not thinned into a clearing, and there was no river or stream to mark a particular individuality about the area. Nonetheless, there were odd scents on the scant, earthy breeze that wound itself through the forest. It was strange; in essentials, every element of the smell was the same, yet each was slightly different. Could they be hunting some strange group Pokémon he had never seen before?

“The human place,” whispered back Peril. He fought to keep his face calm.

“Humans?” repeated Chance in fear. “But -”

“But nothing,” snapped the Houndour. “I know, I know; we’re not allowed. But come on, Chance - do you really want to pass this adventure up? All we’re going to do is creep through, then skirt around the borders and go back home.”

“But Mother -”

“Mother will be proud,” insisted Peril. “Imagine how amazed she’ll be when she hears what we’ve done! She won’t be angry, Chance; she’ll be pleased.”

Chance paused to consider this. He did want Satine to be proud of him; since he was ‘only’ her foster son, he wanted to prove to her - and himself - that he was just as good as any of her biological children. Would this do it? Would this bring him acceptance?

Peril saw the Growlithe’s hesitation. “I mean it. Think of it as a test; do this, and you’ll be one of us.”

***

“Caviar!” exclaimed Draco, as the scout revealed himself. “What news?”

“No movement in the human dens,” responded the Houndour. In appearance he was identical to his brother, though smaller, but his voice was lower; more guttural. “They walk in the sun, though, so that is to be expected.”

“Excellent,” answered Draco. “Have you chosen which den we will create the distraction outside?”

“There’s one near the edge of the forest. I looked through the window. I saw an old man asleep at one of those wooden desk things; he had been doing something with an Aprikorn. I think I have seen him walking in the Aprikorn tree groves too.”

“How will we know the right den?”

“There is a large sign outside,” whispered Caviar. “But I couldn’t read it.”

“Very well. Go and tell Peril, but make sure Chance comes to me first. Silk, go with him.”

***

“Ssh,” whispered Draco as Chance approached nervously. “Did Peril tell you what we’re doing?”

“Sneaking through the town,” mumbled Chance. “So Mother will be proud of us.”

A flicker of annoyance passed across the Houndour’s face as Chance termed Satine ‘Mother.’ Insolent little pup. Satine might have adopted him, but that didn’t make the Growlithe her real son.

“Yeah, kinda,” he answered. “Look, Chance. It’s not much, sneakin’ through, is it? Nah. Me and Silk have decided to do something else. We’re going to cause a commotion - wake up the town - and then escape. That’s a lot more impressive, innit?”

“But what if we get caught?”

Draco took a deep breath, willing himself not to attack the Growlithe. “We won’t get caught. I’m in charge here, remember? I won’t let anyone get hurt.” Anyone except you, he added silently.

Chance relaxed slightly. The naïve puppy was as gullible as a child, simply accepting his brother’s words despite all common sense.

“Draco,” hissed Peril. “Here with Silk and Caviar. We know the plan.” He winked devilishly. “Are we ready?”

Draco sneered. “We’re Houndour. We’re always ready - oh, and so are Growlithe of course,” he added insincerely. “Let’s go.”

Caviar, who knew the way from his scouting trip, bounded forwards, his paws easily finding the soft spots of grass where he would make no sound. He led the way through trees and around puddles, craftily avoiding anything that might alert the forest creatures to their presence.

At last they arrived at the edge of the little town - a village, really. There were various red-roofed bungalows houses strewn across the foot of the mountainside, each walled with thick grey bricks. Curtains and blinds were pulled down or across the framed windows, and the only house where a light still winked was the third along from the man-made dirt path ribboning across the grass. Beside the open gate, a large, heavy-looking oak sign, carved with strange letters the Pokémon did not understand, creaked faintly in the insubstantial breeze. A large, bushy-looking Aprikorn tree, clearly well cared for, flourished in the square, trim garden.

“That one,” breathed Caviar. The moonlight glinted on his skull-topped head as he stepped forward beside his brother Draco. “With the sign and the light. I told you!”

“Hush,” whispered Draco. “Chance - do it.”

Chance’s paws slipped slightly on the mud. “What? Do what?”

“Start the noise, little id…brother,” hissed Draco, catching himself at the last moment. “Wake them up. As many as possible. We’re starting with the light one because he’ll see us better…is there a problem, Silk?”

“No,” muttered Silk, but she shifted from paw to paw uneasily, staring at Chance with an odd, sad look in her eyes. “I - everything’s fine. Let’s just do it. Go on, Chance.” It sounded as though she were forcing the words out.

Chance stared up at them all, his black eyes bewildered and confused. He wanted so badly to be a part of them - to be accepted. Since he had lost his mother and siblings, he had become dependent on others, too scared to be left alone for fear another forest fire would break out.

“W-what should I do?” he whimpered.

“Just go make a racket,” Draco answered smoothly. “Kick up a din. Scratch on the door or something. You can set fire to something if you want. Just make sure you keep going until a two-legs comes outside. We’ll join you then and we’ll all run for it together. Alright?” There was a menacing tone to the last word.

“Y-yes, Draco,” Chance answered meekly. Trembling, he edged forward, his orange fur catching the moonlight as he moved out of the shadows.

It seemed to take an age for him to reach the bungalow, and he could feel Draco’s crimson eyes boring into his back. At the door, he turned anxiously, looking back at the unblinking scarlet eyes gleaming out of the shadows.

“Right,” he breathed to himself. “I can do this. I can do this. And then I’ll be a part of the family…” The thought buoyed him up and before his newfound courage could trickle away, he let loose a volley of Roars - deep, guttural bellows that echoed through the shattered night.

Fever
08-09-2009, 07:28 PM
“What the -” a startled, sleepy sounding voice issued from inside. A shadow appeared at the window, silhouetted against the light behind him. “Who the hell is making that racket?”

Chance faltered for a moment, instinctively nervous of the man. All the same, Draco had told him to stay until someone came outside. Draco wouldn’t leave him, would he? Not even Draco would play a trick that cruel. Chance released another volley of barks, although his voice wavered slightly.

Lights began to wink on across the village, pushing back the shadows. The door slammed open, revealing a short, burly man of maybe fifty with thinning grey hair and a tanned, weather-beaten face. He was wearing a thick grey apron over khaki trousers and a black T-shirt coated with a fine, silvery dust. He was blinking, clearly tired; it was obvious he had fallen asleep whilst working.

“Oi! You!” he called. His voice was throaty, but not unkind. “Quiet, can’t you? People are trying to sleep around here.”

Chance looked around desperately, but he could not see the pack. Where were they? They should be coming to get him now - but the red dots in the shadows had vanished. He was on his own.

Chance made to run, but the man was already at the gate, swinging it shut with a click, and it was too high for the little cub to jump. He Howled dismally.

“Right, that’s it,” snapped the man. “I’m a reasonable bloke, but you won’t be quiet and it’s nearly two o’clock in the morning. Oi, you lot!” He bellowed the last sentence out across the village, his voice carrying on the breeze to even the more distant figures of irate neighbours at their windows. “Go back to sleep, I’ll sort this out.” He pulled an odd-looking azure and white ball from the pocket of his apron. “Slowpoke, do something about that menace!”

White streaks of light spurted from the ball like water, solidifying into a pot-bellied pink Pokémon on four short legs with curled, stumpy ears. Wide eyes blinked stupidly above a short, cream-coloured muzzle, and its long, tapered tail, paling slightly towards the tip, twitched on the short grass. It yawned idiotically, revealing short, blunt teeth.

Chance froze in horror. The man was going to attack him with a Pokémon slave? He trembled. Where were the others? He needed them; he wasn’t experienced in fighting.

“Water Gun,” commanded the man, but before his Pokémon could move, Chance was already Tackling it desperately, slamming into the Pokémon’s rounded head as hard as he could, ignoring the pain it caused his shoulder.

For a moment, nothing seemed to happen. The Slowpoke blinked at him dazedly. Then, almost theatrically, it winced as the pain registered in its dim brain. With a short, dull bellow that shook its flabby belly, it unhinged its jaws and released a torrent of icy water that surged towards the puppy Pokémon, soaking it thoroughly.

Chance’s fur dripped with water, hanging down from him miserably. The stink of wet dog filled the air, and he Howled once again. The noise made him feel more confident, and he felt a surge of strength pulse through his muscles. His fur flopped down before his eyes, but he attempted a Body Slam anyway, rushing forward and attempting to bring his full body weight back down on the other Pokémon. However, as he leapt, the water in his eyes blinded him, and he thudded down inches from the Slowpoke.

“Cor, you’re dafter than my Pokémon, and that’s difficult,” remarked the man. “Slowpoke, use Confusion!”

The Pokémon grinned affably, staring for a few moments at the winded puppy. Its eyes glowed blue, focusing on Chance.

The puppy felt an odd sensation in his mind, like the first twinges of a headache, and struggled to stand, his short legs refusing to co-operate. Furiously summoning his willpower, he fought back against the Psychic invasion, trying desperately to remove this odd, unwanted presence. The effort cost him not a little energy, but he breathed a sigh of relief when his mind was his own once more.

The water still dripped in his eyes, but he could just make out the fat Pokémon that sat gazing stupidly at him. Willing the fire in his body to burn ever brighter, he released a mass of shimmering sapphire balls of flame, each roughly the size of a clenched fist. The uncanny balls floated towards the Slowpoke, who seemed captivated by them as they surrounded it, even as they scorched a ring of burnt fur around its neck - until the pain set in, and it Growled furiously with outrage.

The noise visibly shook Chance, and he felt the power surge leaving his muscles. He attempted a Howl, but his mouth hurt from producing the Will-o’-the-wisp attack, and he could only manage a feeble whine.

“Enough!” snapped the man. “I want to go to bed. Slowpoke, use Aqua Tail. Now!”

The Slowpoke, driven by his master’s shout, turned about and pointed its long, thick tail at the cloudy sky. It shuddered for a moment; then, inexplicably, a jet of water streamed up into the heavens, swirling into a whirlpool-like spiral of gushing blueness.

Chance screamed, his eyes dilating with fear. His foster mother, Satine, had taught him that water was his greatest enemy, and to avoid it like the plague. However, there seemed to be no way to dodge the roaring torrent of water that spun ever faster, forming itself into a sphere and…

“NO!” bellowed a voice. Without warning, a blazing, star-shaped inferno of brilliant red flame shot over Chance’s head, colliding with the rotating sphere of water and engulfing it in a ball of fire, wrapping its five long arms about the ball and entirely encasing it.

“What in the name of all things holy…?” demanded the man.

There, standing on the other side of a gaping hole in the fence, having burnt her way through the painted wood, stood Silk, her red eyes concentrated as the flames billowed from her mouth, struggling to overcome the water and its elemental advantage.

“Silk!” exclaimed Chance, delighted. “I knew you wouldn’t leave me…but where is everyone?”

Silk rolled her eyes, unable to answer whilst attacking. Help me, her eyes seemed to plead.

Chance hesitated. He wasn’t sure how to match a Fire Blast, but he tried his best, releasing a fountain of swirling orange in a strong Flamethrower. Together, inch by inch, they forced back the water, causing a thick plume of smoke to balloon into the air like smoke, triggering a painful memory…

The sickening smell of acrid smoke filled his nostrils and clogged his throat. His eyes watered from the heat and he shut them tight as -

“Concentrate, Chance!” snapped Silk, collapsing onto the cold, damp ground, exhausted from her labours. “We need to fight this together.” She struggled to stand again, her neat black paws slipping and sliding on the treacherous mud, glaring at the placid, imperturbable Slowpoke.

“Right,” whimpered Chance. “But where are the others?”

“Idiot!” snapped Silk. “They’re not coming back. Draco hates your guts. You only trust him because you’re so blindingly loyal to your pack that you can’t see that you’re not a part of his!”

“Then -”

“Stop whining at either!” snapped the dark man. “God knows you make enough noise at is! Slowpoke, use Headbutt on the Houndour!”

The Slowpoke considered for a moment; then, with relative speed for such a fat Pokémon, it skidded towards Silk, head down, tiny white feet making no impact on the mud and thus keeping the Pokémon balanced.

Silk tried to stand, but even as she finally regained her poise, the Slowpoke cannoned into her, knocking her backwards into the Aprikorn tree. There was a dull thud as its body connected with the Aprikorn tree, and a few long, thin brown leaves drifted down in a mockery of serenity.

“Silk!” yelped the Growlithe, his dark puppy eyes full of fear. “Are you alright?”

Silk lifted her head and glowered at him. “I came back to help you, Chance! Do me a favour and co-operate by doing something useful!” She slipped down again, her body battered and bruised. “God, I feel so tired!”

Chance took a deep breath, willing himself to remain calm as the Slowpoke rounded on him. He needed to think of something that would help his foster sister. His first instinct was to glance around for berry plants, but there were none, only spiky green bushes and the splintered, broken fence. There was no way the two of them would be able to run away fast enough to escape the man, who doubtless had other, faster Pokémon slaves too.

“Water Pulse!” commanded the two-legs, his deep voice tinged with irritation. “End this so we can all get back to bed!”

The Slowpoke reared up slowly, squatting on its hind legs, flab shaking with the effort to keep upright. Bringing its front paws together, it concentrated, a spark of blue flickering in its dim eyes as a bright, shining sphere of turquoise water appeared, expanding outwards rapidly.

The Growlithe attempted to dodge, but the waves of water that burst from the ball seemed to be everywhere. The cold water knocked him backwards, leaving him lying comically on his back, legs pedalling in the air like an upturned woodlouse. His fur was matted and soaking, and it weighed him down as he flipped himself back onto his feet.

“Help me,” whimpered Silk behind him. “I’m too exhausted - I had to fight Draco quickly to get here.”

“You did?” Chance swallowed the lump he could feel in his throat, trying to focus on what Satine had told him once, by a bend in the dark stream beside the forest shrine. He knew there was something he could do to help his sister - if he could just remember…

Flash Fire.

That was it; the secret skill he shared with his brothers and sisters, bar Caviar, who had some strange power to will himself not to fall asleep. It was the power to remain immune to Fire-type attacks, and absorb the energy into oneself to increase one’s own power. However, carefully controlled, it could rejuvenate a tired Fire Pokémon…

“Silk, listen!” he called. “Trust me, okay? I need you to feel the energy and absorb it!”

“Why?” whimpered Silk nervously. “What are you going to do?”

Chance considered explaining, but he didn’t have time. “Just trust me,” he whispered.

Silk stared at him uncomprehendingly as he took an aggressive stance, raising his hackles and concentrating, wrinkling his muzzle. His throat vibrated as the flames inside him burned ever brighter, and glowing cinders began to fill his mouth. There was a moment of utter silence.

“What the - are you attacking that one?” guffawed the man. “Why, you’re a -”

The smouldering ashes of Ember exploded from Chance’s mouth like shredded rose petals, dancing like a whirlwind towards Silk and sinking into her fur. The Houndour yelped in fear, but upon realisation that there was no pain, but rather a pleasant sort of a tickle, comprehension began to dawn in her eyes, and she fought to harness the elemental energy.

The effect was visible to human and Pokémon alike. As the embers sank into the Houndour’s black fur, her muscles began to quiver, rippling under the skin as Silk fought with every fibre of her being to harness the power and use it for her own ends. Her crimson eyes blazed fiercely as she struggled, and she locked her gaze on the spellbound man in the heavy work apron, wanting him to see her defiance…

With a Howl that echoed across the village, reaching the ears of even those who had pulled the duvet over their heads when Chance had first disturbed the night’s peace, Silk leapt to her feet, the fur on her throat gleaming in a sliver of moonlight that slashed its way through a chink in the sky’s armour of dark clouds.

“To me, Chance,” she hissed, her fangs glinting. “Let’s show them what the forest can do to fat little two-legs. Bite!”

The two of them rushed forwards, his shoulder to her knee, teeth bared as the battle took on a new level. There was a frightening, feral appearance to them, like wolves pouncing.

Although Chance’s attacks were softer and closer to puppy-like nips, Silk had no qualms about sinking her teeth into the Slowpoke, cutting into the tender, meaty flesh like a butcher. At the first taste of blood, a wild beast seemed to overtake Silk. A glazed expression seemed to cover her eyes for a moment and she lifted her muzzle to the stars in triumph.

“You b*tches!” exclaimed the man. “How -” He whipped out the blue ball again, tossing it into the air and breathing a sigh of relief as the Slowpoke blurred out of view in a haze of red. “You’d better be glad my Poker won’t be feeling that inside here, or I’d take a far worse revenge than I plan on doing!” He advanced on them heavily, his face shining with angry sweat. He could taste the bitter, salty perspiration running down his face onto his lips and into his mouth, but paid it no heed.

“You’re monsters!” he bellowed. “Monsters! I’ll - I’ll - God, I’m going to make you suffer when I catch you!” He loomed towards them. “You think just because you won the battle you won everything?”

“Silk,” mumbled Chance, his voice broken by fear. “Silk, we should go…”

Silk, who had raised her hackles in preparation for a fight with the man, seemed to soften as she looked down at him. He was only a very young pup, after all, for a Growlithe, she thought…

“Fine,” she hissed. “Through the fence. One, two, three - GO!”

They bolted together, dashing through the mud left by Slowpoke’s attacks. They were inches from the charred gap Silk had burnt on arrival when it happened.

“No way,” snapped the man, delving into his apron-front and pulling out a fistful of small balls, and quickly selecting what he wanted. “Dusk Balls!” He flung two of the balls towards the Pokémon, smirking with satisfaction as they soared through the air, the hoary light from the crescent moon illuminating the green dapples on their cold black casing. A glowing green mist flowed from them as they split open, enveloping the Pokémon even as they wriggled through the gap….

“Silk!” screamed Chance as he blurred out of sight, closely followed by his sister. “Silk, Silk, help me!”

Yet Silk too was lost, trapped in a swirling white nothingness inside the Dusk Ball. Each cub howled uselessly to the other as they struggled inside their bizarre cages, desperate for escape…

Fever
08-16-2009, 02:05 PM
{FOR} Growlithe + Houndour
{NEED} 20-40k characters.
{ACHIEVED} 32, 998 characters.

It's not the best story I've ever written, but at least I finally got around to finishing it. :tongue:

Elrond
08-21-2009, 12:39 AM
Introduction:

I thought the introduction was very nicely done. It consisted really of two parts, the prologue and the part immediately following it. Your prologue did a nice job of explaining why Chance ended up in the situation in which we find him in the beginning of the story, while the intro to the main story did an incredible job of establishing a vivid personality for Chance and some of the members of his adoptive family. Emotions, especially Chance’s, obviously played a huge part in the way this story panned out, and it was great to see that you set this precedent early on. For example, the way you described the Houndours in such a detailed, scary way shows the reader how Chance is so intimidated by his family. You flowed nicely into the plot from the introduction. It was very nicely done.

Plot:

On the surface, there wasn’t too much going on with the plot, and it was rather predictable, to be honest. However, the intricate way that Chance’s emotions and personality, along with those of his siblings, were woven into the storyline really filled out and developed this plotline and made it very enjoyable to read. It’s not often I get to grade a story where a writer has so much prowess over their characters’ personalities, but you were able to create a plot that hung heavily, and even depended on, Chance’s desire to prove himself to his foster family, many of whom simply hated him. Though the characters were Pokemon, their emotions were very realistic, as sorry as I am to say it in the cases of some of Chance’s siblings.

Detail/Description:

I already alluded to the way you described Chance’s Houndour siblings in the intro. I’m glad to say that you described everything in this story very well, so that I was able to really visualize Chance’s surroundings and the events that took place. This is another place where I should say that you described the characters’ emotions very well, though I’m sure I’ve mentioned that plenty. Probably my favorite part about your description overall was the way you described the entire world through the eyes of a Pokemon, using terms like “Pokemon slaves.” This creates a mood for the story that really helps to develop the plot beyond just a simple storyline.

Grammar:

If there were any mistakes, I certainly didn’t spot any. So… yeah.

Length:

The length was just fine.

Battle:

This was probably the best part of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed that it wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill battle and incorporated a lot of Chance’s and Silk’s personalities. And, best of all, the battle was really a key part of the plot, rather than seeming like an afterthought, which many URPG battles do. Aside from that, the battle was very vividly described and exciting, which is always great because the battle is really supposed to be the highlight of the story, and it will likely be the thing that the grader remembers at the end. You did an incredible job on this battle, and it closed the plot nicely.

Overall:

I have no qualms about saying Houndour and Growlithe captured. I don’t know why you were selling yourself a little short in that last post of yours. No, it wasn’t freakishly amazing, but this was a solid story that did exactly what it was supposed to, and it was very enjoyable. Good job.

Fever
08-21-2009, 04:53 PM
Introduction:

I thought the introduction was very nicely done. It consisted really of two parts, the prologue and the part immediately following it. Your prologue did a nice job of explaining why Chance ended up in the situation in which we find him in the beginning of the story, while the intro to the main story did an incredible job of establishing a vivid personality for Chance and some of the members of his adoptive family. Emotions, especially Chance’s, obviously played a huge part in the way this story panned out, and it was great to see that you set this precedent early on. For example, the way you described the Houndours in such a detailed, scary way shows the reader how Chance is so intimidated by his family. You flowed nicely into the plot from the introduction. It was very nicely done.



Thanks :3 I rewrote the intorduction-to-plot bit about five times before I decided it was good enough, as it did seem very jerky when I read it back to myself. I'm glad you seem to think it has paid off. :biggrin:


Plot:

On the surface, there wasn’t too much going on with the plot, and it was rather predictable, to be honest. However, the intricate way that Chance’s emotions and personality, along with those of his siblings, were woven into the storyline really filled out and developed this plotline and made it very enjoyable to read. It’s not often I get to grade a story where a writer has so much prowess over their characters’ personalities, but you were able to create a plot that hung heavily, and even depended on, Chance’s desire to prove himself to his foster family, many of whom simply hated him. Though the characters were Pokemon, their emotions were very realistic, as sorry as I am to say it in the cases of some of Chance’s siblings.

:redface: No, the plot was quite cliche, really. I think it's partly because this yet another of those stories that I started last year (April '08) and never got around to finishing because I'm so darn lazy :D (Must...commit...harder...)

I'm glad you saw that about Chance's personality. :P When I originally came up with the idea of this story, I'd just been on a writing course that focussed chiefly on 'desire lines' and how they were the only real drive behind any plot. I tried to make Chance as hungry for acceptance as possible without going over the top. Thank you for noticing :3


Detail/Description:

I already alluded to the way you described Chance’s Houndour siblings in the intro. I’m glad to say that you described everything in this story very well, so that I was able to really visualize Chance’s surroundings and the events that took place. This is another place where I should say that you described the characters’ emotions very well, though I’m sure I’ve mentioned that plenty. Probably my favorite part about your description overall was the way you described the entire world through the eyes of a Pokemon, using terms like “Pokemon slaves.” This creates a mood for the story that really helps to develop the plot beyond just a simple storyline.

Thanks yet again! :D I've been truly pushing my description lately and trying to enhance the images/mood etc that I make.

Grammar:

If there were any mistakes, I certainly didn’t spot any. So… yeah.

:D Really? *dances*

Length:

The length was just fine.

:goofy: THAT IS THE BEST PRAISE EVAH. *kisses your boots*

Battle:

This was probably the best part of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed that it wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill battle and incorporated a lot of Chance’s and Silk’s personalities. And, best of all, the battle was really a key part of the plot, rather than seeming like an afterthought, which many URPG battles do. Aside from that, the battle was very vividly described and exciting, which is always great because the battle is really supposed to be the highlight of the story, and it will likely be the thing that the grader remembers at the end. You did an incredible job on this battle, and it closed the plot nicely.

Oh, goody :D I tried hard with this battle, as the repeated line in most of the grades I get is, "It was a bit short..." X3 I was worried it might seem rather forced and drawn-out, but if you like it then I'm not going to complain...

Overall:

I have no qualms about saying Houndour and Growlithe captured. I don’t know why you were selling yourself a little short in that last post of yours. No, it wasn’t freakishly amazing, but this was a solid story that did exactly what it was supposed to, and it was very enjoyable. Good job.

No, it definitely wasn't freakishly amazing, but I was originally only going for the Growlithe, so when I hit 32k I decided to rework some personalities & make it feasible that Silk would come back and get captured - so really it's only intended for one Medium. I have definitely written better plots, but I am pretty proud of the battle and description, so I feel horribly smug as I steal my Houndour and Growlithe away from you. :3 Although I think I'm going to rename them AND change their genders. (Don't try this at home.)

A last thank you for grading my story :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin: