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Old 04-24-2009, 03:58 AM
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Default Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book Two Complete]

Burning Desires of a Charcoal Maker

Foreword: I've been doing creative writing for awhile, but this is my first time writing a story for the URPG. I read some other people's stories first an tried to replicate that format, but I don't know if that makes this seem stale and unoriginal. Well, like the sticky said, I'm my own worse critic. Here it is: my story.

On a warm Spring night, a lone figure stood beside a flaming barrel. The rusted metal cylinder glowed a fierce orange from the intense heat festering within. The light from the fire gave the barrel’s attendant a subtle orange glow, revealing him to be a young man. In his left hand was a pair of steel tongs with flame-resistant rubber grips. The young man casually dipped the tongs into the barrel, removing from it a piece of blackened, charred wood. He carefully placed it in a bucket, setting it down atop several other pieces.

His name was Marcus Roebuck, and he was a Charcoal Maker. A niche job that had been held by his father and grandfather before him, the Charcoal Maker wasn’t a mainstream occupation. Rather they provided a valuable service to their neighboring city, which housed a Pokémon Gym specializing in the Fire type. The Charcoal made by the Roebuck family was unique; through some unknown power the Charcoal could intensify the power of Fire type attacks.

Marcus Roebuck lived in a small hamlet located at the base of an active volcano. It was an entirely unique environment. Ash frequently fell from the sky, coating the ground in a gritty dust. The temperature from the volcano would rise without warning, leading to frequent dry spells and heat waves. This made it extremely difficult for Marcus to raise his only Pokémon, a young Horsea he plucked from the ocean while on vacation some months ago. Despite warnings from his father that the Water Pokémon wouldn’t survive the abrasive climate of their hometown, Marcus kept the Horsea. And his father proved to be right.

Although Horsea as a species can exist outside of water for a considerable amount of time, the young female owned my Marcus couldn’t stand a chance in her new home. The extreme dryness sucked the moisture right out of the sea horse, and on top of that, this Horsea had a unique allergy to the ash produced by the volcano. The only time Marcus could let Horsea out of her Pokeball was in his bathroom, after drawing a bath and shutting all of the windows. A bathtub is far from a suitable place to keep a Pokémon, but it was the only thing he could do for Horsea.

Satisfied with the outcome of that night’s burn, Marcus gathered up the Charcoal and returned home. It was late, and he was feeling too tired to set up the bathroom for Horsea. “Sorry… I’ll take you out first thing in the morning,” he whispered apologetically to the Pokeball on his belt. Outside his modest little home, Marcus stacked the Charcoal in the storage bin before stumbling to his bed. Before drifting off into sleep, he did some serious thinking about his life. Despite the position his lineage had placed him in, Marcus Roebuck knew on the inside that he didn’t want to spend his days chopping wood, and his nights making Charcoal. He wanted more.

Lying in bed, he thought to himself, “This could happen as soon as tomorrow. Just get together all your things, and leave. You’ll be eighteen soon, so might as well get a jump start on the whole independence thing.” His thinking was interrupted by a deep yawn. “Let’s sleep on it. See in the morning…”

Marcus awoke suddenly to the sound of an axe head driving into a piece of wood; his father’s cue that it’s time to get to work. Taking his time, Marcus donned as many layers of clothing as could fit on his back. The stuffed both his backpack and messenger bag with as many things as he could tolerate carrying. Geared up for a long trip, he approached his father at the wood pile. Marcus’ dad was a simple minded man. Though lacking in refined intelligence, he had all the skills it took to make it in the backwoods. His nature was written all over his face, with a bushy gray beard and a seemingly permanent layer of soot and ash on his skin. He eyed his son suspiciously.

“You headin’ out someplace, boy?” said the senior Roebuck with a stern voice.
“Yeah. I’m leaving… For good. This… just, isn’t what I want.”
“Leaving? Alone? What do you know about Hoenn? You ain’t gonna last a day and a half out there.”
“I disagree. I’m confident that I’ll be able to make it. Besides, I won’t be alone. I’ll have Horsea to protect me.”
“Humph. That shrimp won’t be able to protect you. You’ll be spending all your time protecting it, and it ain’t gonna be repayin’ you squat. Think long and hard before you walk out, ‘cause I’ll be damned if I let you back in if you’re gonna walk out of the family like that.”
“I have thought about it,” Marcus said. With that, he turned away and left. He didn’t know where he’d go, or what he’d do. All he knew is that he would relish the adventure.

It had been a few hours of solid hiking for Marcus Roebuck. The weight of his gear and layers of clothes were bogging him down, draining his energy. He didn’t know exactly what his plan was, but had a basic idea. Before leaving, he had wrapped the last night’s Charcoal in a burlap sack to take with him and try and sell. He’d never tried to sell Charcoal outside of his usual clients, thus had no idea if there was any demand for his product at all outside of his community.

Gazing at his compass, Marcus tried to remember the way he took to the vacation resort. It was the only place he had ever gone outside of the volcano territories, and was his only reliable heading. Still, he wasn’t very sure that he knew how to get there. On a quick thought, Marcus noticed that the air had become fresher in the last couple of miles. “Oh! There’s no ash in sight either!” Marcus said aloud. “Maybe Horsea will know how to find her way home. Or, at least find a body of water.”

Horsea emerged from her Pokeball, and seemed surprised at first. She was in a very different place than the enclosed bathroom she was used to. Tall healthy trees seemed to hold up the sky like columns. Green grass grew freely without the assault of constant ash dirtying it. Though there was no water in sight, the air was cleaner and more humid, allowing for Hosea to safely remain out of her Pokeball for awhile.

Marcus scooped up his Pokémon to carry, as the Water type had a very difficult time trying to navigate on dry land. Hoping to get a clue as to where to find open ocean, Marcus asked Horsea for help. “This is all new to you, isn’t it?” I know you don’t know where you are right now, but do you know where you were born? Is there some kind of natural instinct in your head, like something urging you a certain direction? Do… do you even understand a word I’m saying right now?”

“Sea, Horsea,” remarked the Pokémon it her peculiar language. She turned her head, pointing her long, gaping mouth defiantly in one direction. “Horsea! Horsea!”

“Ahah, there you go! Then it’s that way for us,” Marcus said. He started hiking with a renewed sense of vigor. “I just hope you’re actually pointing us toward the ocean, and not just a bug you want to eat or something.”

About two hours later, Marcus noticed another change in his surroundings. The thickness of the canopy was lessening, allowing more sunlight to illuminate the forest. Trees were fewer and far between. “So we’re almost out of the woods I think. That should mean we’re on the right track, right?”

Horsea didn’t respond. Rather, she stared intently on something in the distance. Marcus felt that she was beginning to shudder. Her wide eyes were fixated on that one spot. Though Marcus couldn’t see anything, Horsea could sense that something was there. While she shook in fear, Marcus was intrigued with curiosity. He approached the spot Horsea was eyeing. As he got closer, he took his steps more carefully. He was just feet away now, and Horsea could no longer take it. She started squirming uncontrollably, trying to escape Marcus’ grip. During the confusion, a mid-sized black creature pounced on the man and his Pokémon. Horsea flew from Marcus’ arms as he was knocked backwards. He quickly jumped to his feet, frantically trying to find Horsea and identify his attacker.

“Horsea! Where are you?” he shouted.

“Sea! Sea!” the little Water type shrieked.

Looking over, Marcus could see that the attacking Pokémon was holding its ground a short distance away. From its orange muzzle it flashed a set of ferocious teeth. It was sizing Marcus up, deciding how it wanted to strike. Thoughts were racing through Marcus’ head. He wondered what the Pokémon was, why it was attacking, if there were others… But the most prevalent thought produced in his haste was if his Horsea even knew how to battle. She hadn’t ever fought another Pokémon since coming into Marcus’ possession.

Last edited by Moon Master; 04-29-2009 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 04-24-2009, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: Burning Desires of a Charcoal Maker

“Houndour! Hhhhhoundouuuur!” Growled the attacking Pokémon.
“Houndour? I think I’ve heard of that species… It’s a, it’s a Fire type. Yeah, it is, I’m sure. All Horsea has to do is land one solid hit on it and that should be enough.”

Houndour was done eyeing Marcus. It was ready to strike. The Dark Pokémon dashed towards Marcus with its mouth open, ready to tear into its prey.

“Ahh! Horsea! Do something! Uh… BubbleBeam! Use BubbleBeam! Do it now!”

Horsea was fearfully watching as the wild Houndour charged at Marcus. She recognized the command that her owner had frantically given her, and despite having no battle experience at all, Horsea knew just what to do. Her mouth pointed at the rushing Fire type Pokémon, and spewed out a beam of glowing bubbles. Her targeting was spot-on. The BubbleBeam nailed the Houndour just as it pounced, forcing it back to the ground. Each glowing bubble exploded in a sudden pop of liquid as it hit the black fur. The dousing had a strong effect on the Fire type, visibly causing it a lot of pain.

“Houn...” it barked meekly. Undeterred by the damage, Houndour picked itself up off the ground, now focusing on what it deemed to be a bigger threat: the Horsea.

The air directly in front of Houndour’s face became wavy, a result of the intensifying heat of the Fire type. Opening its mouth, Houndour shot out a stream of Embers. The attack itself didn’t cause much harm to Horsea, but it left a lingering effect. The tips of Horsea’s scales were burnt black. The Burn was causing a constant pain for Horsea, significantly weakening her power. Marcus knew that Horsea wouldn’t be able to function so long as she was Burned. If there was one technique he was thankful to have learned in his years of Charcoal making, it was how to treat Burns. Marcus had developed an innate ability to instantly quell the pain of any Burn, and with sufficient time, he could completely heal one without requiring any supplies. But he wouldn’t have enough time to treat Horsea at all with Houndour present. Thinking fast, Marcus reached into his bag and grabbed a piece of Charcoal.

“Want this! Yeah? Go! Fetch!” he shouted, throwing the Charcoal at Houndour.

While the wild Pokémon was distracted, Marcus got to work on soothing the Burn on Horsea. By gently rubbing and pinching the blackened scales, Marcus was alleviating the pain. It was something his father taught him years ago. It was supposedly a kind of ancient acupuncture technique, though none of the Roebucks knew the exact science of how it worked. It clearly did, though, as Horsea’s squeezed shut eyes began to open.

“Feeling better?” Marcus asked, smiling reassuringly.

The Houndour was running back to the battle, having retrieved the Charcoal.

“Oh, damn! I didn’t think that through! What was I doing, giving Charcoal to a Fire type?”

Houndour dropped the Charcoal from its mouth. The burnt wood was glowing bright. Marcus could tell that Houndour had extracted the power boost from the special Charcoal. Using that energy to its fullest potential, Houndour released a massive Flamethrower, scorching the surrounding grass. It was clear that it wasn’t even concerned with hitting Horsea – it just wanted to burn the entire surrounding area to the ground.

Without requiring direction, Horsea spit out burst of water trying t keep the flames in check. Marcus ordered that she focus on the Houndour rather than the stray fire, and Horsea quickly re-aligned her shot. Taking aim at the wild Houndour, she fired off a Water Gun. The concentrated bullet of water splashed Houndour in the face, generating steam from the intense meeting of hot and cold. Shrugging off the damage, Houndour began rushing Horsea, intent on Biting her.

“Spit at it Horsea! Lay down a Smokescreen!”

Thick, dark colored gunk emerged from Horsea’s spout. Horsea’s unique ink evaporated instantly into a thick cloud of black smoke, obscuring Houndour’s vision. While the Dark Pokémon was confused, Horsea began charging up a powerful attack; something she knew would finish the Houndour once and for all.

“Horsea, I’m so proud of you right now! Your first battle, and you’re handling it like you’ve done this your whole life! What… What are you doing?”

Horsea wore a determined expression. Her mouth dilated, as her whole body shook. A strange blue glow enveloped her. Finally, she unleashed a massive surge of water through a Hydro Pump attack. Sheets of water drenched Houndour, knocking it to the ground and keeping it down with the extreme pressure of the water cannon. The stream of water finally weakened as Horsea ran out of energy. Puddles of watered now dotted the ground, and the flash fire produced by Houndour was all but extinguished. And there it lay, collapsed in a puddle. Though severely weakened, it was not yet defeated. Faint grunts could be heard coming from Houndour, and it made unsuccessful attempts at movement.

Marcus had a general assortment of Pokémon supplies in his backpack, including a couple of Pokeballs. It was a spur of the moment idea on his part, but Marcus thought if he could catch the Houndour, then he’d be that much safer the next time he was attacked. Reaching in for the Pokémon catching tool, he thought to himself, “This is it Marcus Roebuck. This is your first real test. Prove it now, that you can do this!”

He threw the Pokeball at Houndour, watching with adrenaline-fueled excitement as it sucked in the weakened dog. Still unwilling to surrender, Houndour tried to escape from the ball. It shook violently, as the wild Pokémon surely knew this was its last chance to remain feral. Marcus stared at the wobbling Pokeball…

Ready for Grading

Pokemon: Houndour
Characters: 14,296

Last edited by Moon Master; 04-25-2009 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book One Complete]

I'm gonna go ahead and claim this. Hopefully, I'll have a grade up tonight.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:58 AM
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book One Complete]

Introduction: Good job in this section. You had a reall good introduction. While it wasn’t particularly exciting, it managed to do the basic thing a good intro should do: introduce the reader to the characters and setting. This was a good basic introduction, but if you’re looking to step it up, you should definitely create some kind of hook. For this, your objective is to get your reader hooked on the story from the beginning. So, you might add an action scene or fill the beginning with suspense to make the reader want to keep reading.

This was a very unique plot. It was not very action-packed, but it still managed to keep my interest throughout the story. The fact that you used the Charcoal Maker concept from G/S/C and added your own spin to it was pretty cool. I also liked that it wasn’t your typical trainer going out on an adventure. Instead, it was a freedom-bound charcoal maker who wanted to escape being a charcoal maker his whole life. I also really liked the inclusion of Horsea and how he could only survive in the bathtub. That gave me a laugh. However, something that bothered me was that you didn’t go into how Horsea was captured. It’s not a huge problem, but I would have liked to see how that happened.

To make your plot better and more elaborate try and answer questions like these. Why did Marcus’ family make charcoal? Was it a family business? Were they forced to do so? Answering questions like these make your plot much more elaborate, which really helps when going for harder Pokemon.

By the way, I liked the pictures in the story. They added to the presentation of the story.

Description: Your description was amazing! I could see everything perfectly. You described the surroundings with great detail and it helped me get a visual of where everything took place. However, you failed to describe the main character, Horsea and Houndour. You should ALWAYS describe your main character because the main character is the most important person in the story. Also, just because this is a Pokemon Forum, don’t think that you can just expect everyone to know what the Pokemon look like. Add some description of each Pokemon for those who don’t know what that Pokemon looks like.

You described everything visually, which is fine. However, if you want to take your descriptions up a notch, you need to describe how things felt, how things smelled, how they sounded, etc… You need to describe things using all the senses to give readers a full perception of the surroundings.

Grammar: Nothing major in this section. There were just a few typos like “Hosea” instead of “Horsea” and other things like that. Make sure that you proofread your story at least twice just to make sure your story doesn’t have any small errors like that.

Length: The length was fine. However, just remember, always aim for the maximum amount of characters, not the bare minimum.

Battle: This was a nice two-sided battle. Even though Horsea clearly had an advantage because of the type, you gave Houndour a fighting chance, which is very good. You describe everything about the attacks really well, so good job with that. However, like I said in the description section, remember that there is more to description than the visual aspect. How did the attack feel against the wild dog’s fur? What did the burn on Horsea’s scales feel like? Did the flamethrower make a noise?

Also, I liked how Marcus could relieve some of the pain caused by the burn. That was pretty innovative. I would have never thought that Charcoal Makers would be good at healing burns.

Outcome: Well, this was a really good story. So, I have no problem saying Houndour CAPTURED! Keep the good work up. Work on what I said and you’ll become an even greater writer.

Last edited by poke123; 04-29-2009 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 04-29-2009, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book One Complete]

Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker

Marcus Roebuck, a Charcoal Maker from a tiny village in Hoenn, left his home to find the ocean where he caught his Horsea.
On his way through the woods, he was attacked by a wild Houndour.
Despite having no battle experience, Horsea successfully defeated the Pokemon, and Marcus captured it.

The Charcoal Maker’s Syndicate

After a tense few seconds of violent shaking, the Pokeball became inanimate. Marcus was breathing heavily, with wide, startled eyes. The events of the last several minutes replayed in his mind. He saw Horsea knock the wild Houndour out of the air with a beam of bubbles. He saw the intensity of the fires engulfing the foliage of the woods. He saw his first Pokemon, one who had never participated in a battle, fight valiantly against a vicious attacker. As Marcus came back to reality, his attention turned to Horsea. She still had remnants of the burns, and they would take some more time to heal. Then he saw the Pokeball, sitting motionless in a patch of burnt grass. Cautiously, he approached it. The Pokeball was warm, a sign of Houndour’s blazing struggle to escape.

Marcus’ moment of accomplishment was interrupted by the cries of wild Hoothoot resonating from the canopy. It was getting dark, and he needed to settle down. It was to be Marcus Roebuck’s first night in the wild, and he was helplessly exposed to the elements. He hadn’t accounted for this, and now he was in a dilemma. A voice played in his head. “What do you know about Hoenn? You ain’t gonna last a day and a half…” the harsh predictions of his father seemed to be coming true.

Marcus sat there for a moment, throwing a piece of Charcoal into the air and catching it. The fidgeting helped him think. Having put on many layers of clothes, he decided to sacrifice some of them to pitch a make shift tent. Using the low branches on a sturdy tree, Marcus took a jacket and sweatshirt, laying them out across a pair of parallel branches. The thin fabric roof gave him a sense of security, despite how false it may have been. The Charcoal Maker huddled up under the tree. He tucked Horsea into his shirt, nesting the Pokemon close to him. Closing his eyes, Marcus prepared to endure a long, uncomfortable night.


As the morning sun began its ascent, Marcus let out a sigh of relief. While he was able to sleep a few minutes here and there, most of the previous night was spent worrying about being attacked again. Slowly crawling out from beneath the shelter, his hands felt the slick coating of dew on the grass. The damp, pleasant smell of early morning invigorated him. Feeling ready to move on, Marcus checked his two partners. Horsea was exhausted from the previous day’s battle, and Marcus was reluctant to even let Houndour out of the Pokeball, fearing it would turn on him. Such fears were just, but Marcus could not go on being afraid of the sphere in his backpack. He held the Pokeball in his hands for a moment, before finally stomaching the courage to loose the Houndour.

The Dark Pokemon burst out of the Pokeball adamantly, though swiftly mellowed out. Marcus cooed the Pokemon towards him. Houndour seemed curious of what this human was doing, but displayed no signs of aggression.

Marcus examined the Houndour to try and learn as much as he could about his new Pokemon. The anatomical structure revealed Houndour to be a male. He had a thick coat of smooth black fur, with rock solid bones lining his back. His eyes radiated determination, courage, and strength – but not loyalty. Houndour, though no longer hostile, was skittish around Marcus. Trust would have to be forged over time. Marcus wondered what could have made this Pokemon so suspicious of humans, and then he found it. An anomaly on the rear left leg of the Houndour. He gently slid his fingers over the strange marking, identifying its unnatural origins. It was an insignia that had been branded there with a hot iron. This was no wild Houndour; it was either released, or more likely, had escaped.

“Houndour… Who marked you like this? You… you didn’t like whoever used to own you, and that’s why you attacked me? Now it makes sense,” Marcus patted Houndour reassuringly. “Don’t worry. You don’t have to be nervous around me. Ohh…” Marcus clenched his stomach as it twisted and growled. “We need to find food. I hadn’t accounted for three mouths to feed. The rations I packed won’t be enough for all three of us. Well boy, you seem like the kind of Pokemon that can track a scent. What do you say, Houndour, want to find us something to eat?”

“Hounnn!” he roared agreeably.

“Alright. Let’s see how good of a tracker you are. Use Odor Sleuth, and find us something edible.”

Nose to the ground, Houndour paced quickly around the forest floor, scanning for a scent. He zigzagged back and forth, thoughtfully analyzing the potential of each odor. Suddenly he bolted, howling for Marcus to follow.

“He’s got something Horsea,” Marcus said with excitement. “Come here, we’ve gotta keep up with him.”


Houndour ran with elegance, focusing on the trail while being fully aware of his surroundings. His sprint led him out of the woods and into an open field sparsely dotted with grassless patches of dirt. Then he began to slow his pace, and sniffed the ground more intently. His nose seemed to be absorbing the dirt itself, processing every last pinch of odor. Then he suddenly came to a halt. Standing firm, Houndour’s eyes scanned the field, studying something on the horizon.

Marcus caught up, and saw what Houndour had been tracking all along. On the horizon were four unidentifiable figures. Marcus couldn’t tell who they were or what they were doing, and with no cover of any sort to hide him in the openness of the pasture, all he could do was walk directly towards them.

The strangers were evidently suspicious of Marcus. One of them stood and approached him. A sturdy looking man of about thirty years stood opposite the seventeen-year-old Charcoal Maker. Directly behind the man stood three others, dressed in unison. All four men wore on their clothing the insignia that Marcus found branded on Houndour.

“Hello there,” the lead man said with a phony kindness. “What’s a kid like you doing in the middle of nowhere all alone?”

Marcus was silent for a moment, trying to decide what to say. “I… I left my home, on my way to the ocean…”

“Ocean? We’ve gotta be fifty miles from the ocean. What are you really up to? And why do you have my Houndour?”

Upon hearing his name, Houndour snapped into alertness, placing himself in-between Marcus and the inquisitive man, ready to defend.

“While I was traveling in the woods, this Houndour attacked me. My Horsea defeated him, and I captured him in a Pokeball. I didn’t know he belonged to anyone... Do you want me to return him?”

“Hmm. I don’t think so; you caught him fair and square after all. Besides, he seems to have taken a liking to you already. He bolted from me without looking back. Guess I rubbed him the wrong way.”

“Or maybe you branded him the wrong way,” Marcus said confrontationally. “I saw the mark on his leg. It’s the same one you guys are wearing. I may be young but I’m not stupid. Just what is it you’re doing out here?”

The man clearly took offense to being spoken to this way. His mild expression turned to one of anger, and Marcus instantly regretted what he said.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t-”

“Who the hell do you think you are?” the man shouted, walking quickly toward Marcus. “I don’t know what kind of authority you think you’ve got here, but I’m pretty damn sure you have no right to talk to me like that!”

“Please, I didn’t mean to, I’ll just go-”

“No, you’re not going anywhere. Come here, kid.”

“Houndour, do something!”

“Houndourrrr!” growled the Dark Pokemon, baring his teeth to the approaching man.

“You think that’s going to protect you? Watch this,” said the man as he reached for a Pokeball.

Throwing it into the air, the red and white sphere burst open, releasing a white light that morphed into a large bear. It stood on its hind legs, brandishing its claws.

“Make this quick Ursaring. Get in there for some Close Combat. “

Ursaring took loud, deliberate steps toward Houndour. Each pace left a colossal footprint in the earth. Ursaring roared viciously, with saliva flying wildly from its agape mouth. Marcus shouted for his Pokemon to keep the Ursaring at bay. Houndour then opened his mouth and shot out a small burst of fire. The Ember singed Ursaring’s fur, causing some severe Burns. But rather than halting the enemy Pokemon, Ursaring seemed to relish the pain. It was as if the searing sensation of being Burnt drove the Pokemon to move faster, and fight harder.

Confused by the behavior of Ursaring, Houndour stood motionless as the hulking bear rushed him. It let out a primal roar, and began bashing the fire dog with fists, feet, and claws. One hit after another gave Houndour no opportunity to retaliate. He was being pummeled relentlessly, until he could take no more. Houndour dropped to the ground, out cold.

“You’re next, kid,” the man said.

“Houndour! Get up, come on! Damn it, no!” Marcus withdrew the fainted Pokemon. “Horsea, you have to pull through for me again. Get out there!”

“Keep up that Close Combat Ursaring! Don’t even give them a moment to breath!”

Horsea took Hondour’s place on the battlefield. The aquatic Pokemon was anything but graceful in the mixture of grass and dirt; she bounced around on her tail awkwardly, trying not to fall over. Finding balance, she began to charge up her most powerful attack – Hydro Pump. Ursaring rushed her with Quick Feet, showing no fear. In her desperation to stop the charging bear, Horsea unleashed the Hydro Pump prematurely. She hadn’t powered up the attack enough, merely belching out a weak splash of water that did nothing but give Ursaring some relief from its Burn, ad dilute the stench of burning fur that had engulfed the area. Before Horsea could do anything else, Ursaring was right there, raking her nonstop with sharp claws and angry feet.

The little seahorse didn’t stand chance against the raw power and aggression of Ursaring. She lay squirming on the ground, struggling even move. Ursaring stood over her, and raised its arm in preparation for a final Slash attack. Its white, blood stained claws glistened in the sunlight as they reached up high.

“Kill it Ursaring, don’t hold back!” the man shouted.

Mere seconds before Ursaring’s unforgiving brute strength came crashing down on the defenseless Horsea, a blast of Thunder struck the bear down. It dropped to its knees, with a tingling sensation through its entire body. It looked down at the Horsea, but had no strength left to attack it. Breathing heavily, the Ursaring collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

“Who was that!?” demanded the man. “Who did that!? Huh!?”

“I did,” an unknown voice answered. “What do you think you’re doing here, Luis?”

“Alejandro?” said the man revealed to be Luis. “What is this? Why’d you attack my Ursaring?”

“Because you’re out of control. Look at you. You would have killed that kid if his Pokemon didn’t take the bullets for him. I saw the whole battle, but was waiting to see just how far you’d go. And unfortunately for you, Luis, you’ve gone too far. You’re gone. Drop your gear, and Ursaring’s Pokeball. That monster can lie hear until it comes to and wanders off. Oh, and you can take those three goons with you, too. We don’t need anyone who’s been infected by your psychotic tutelage.”

“You’ll live to regret this, Alejandro. I swear to you,” Luis scoffed as he and his henchmen walked away.

“I knew he’d do something like this. It was only a matter of time… That’s why I’ve been following him,” Alejandro said to himself. He then turned his attention to Marcus. “Are you alright? He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“No, but my Pokemon…”

“Don’t worry, they’ll be fine, I’ve got medicine. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Alejandro Gaines.”

“I’m Marcus Roebuck… thank you. I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if you hadn’t intervened. But, how did you do that, with the Thunder?”

“That was my Raichu. See him, off in the distance? Yes, he’s got the most accurate Thunder I’ve ever seen. Most foes never even get a chance to see it coming.”

A great distance away stood Alejandro’s Raichu, accompanied by a small Pichu. The baby eagerly followed the parent as they trekked across the meadow to rejoin their trainer.

“I raised my Raichu from a baby, years and years ago. He’s still strong as ever, but, he’s getting old… He fathered that little Pichu, and now I’m training the heir apparent to take the old timer’s place… It’s sad to think about, but Raichu won’t be around forever… The best I can do is to pass a little bit of him on to the next generation. Now, Marcus, you and your Pokemon should come with me. I can’t just leave you all alone. We’ve got a lodge not far from here, you can stay as long as you need.

“That’s very kind of you. But, if you spare me some medicine to treat my Pokemon, I should be able to take care of myself.”

“I’m sure you can, but I insist you come with me. There are some people who I know would like to meet you.”

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Old 04-29-2009, 02:54 AM
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book One Complete]

The lodge was a homey, two-story little building all by itself in the plains. A couple of vehicles were parked beside the building. Marcus made note that the door was marked with the insignia. Alejandro, Raichu and Pichu walked right through the front door in a calm and natural manner, while Marcus had stopped. He had reservations about entering the building. Everything was swirling around his head, trying to make sense. The insignia that he saw on Houndour, Luis, and the door to the lodge. Why Luis and his men were out in the middle of the wilderness. Who Alejandro was, and why he seemingly betrayed Luis. Marcus felt it in the pit of his stomach; something very wrong was going on, and he’d ended up right in the middle of it.

“Come in, Marcus!” called Alejandro in a friendly, but insistent voice.

He took a deep breath, and walked through the door. The main room was well lit by sunlight pouring through the windows. It was cluttered; all sorts of supplies were scattered around the floor and stacked on shelves. Several men were sitting at a dining table, eating and conversing. Alejandro was speaking privately with someone. Noticing Marcus, he raised his hand towards the boy.

“There he is, Marcus Roebuck,” Alejandro said. “Marcus, you are in the temporary headquarters of the Extorsão Syndicate. And this man is Amiel Buonarotti, our leader.”

“Hello Mr. Roebuck,” said Amiel. “Alejandro here told me you battled Luis.”

“I kind of did, I suppose. He attacked me with his Ursaring. I had no choice but to use my Pokemon to defend myself.”

“Would Luis’ Houndour be one of those Pokemon?” Amiel asked.

“Yes. Houndour attacked me while I was traveling, but I defeated and captured him. I noticed a symbol branded on his leg – the same one worn by all of you. I followed Houndour to the meadow where Luis was. And then, well, I ended up here…”

“Marcus, I’ll be blunt with you,” said Amiel. “Keep the Houndour, you caught him fair and square – that’s not why we brought you here. Alejandro saw your courage in a dangerous situation. He thinks you have potential. Marcus, I’m making you an honorary initiate. You are now a member of the Extorsão Syndicate.”

While Marcus was not sure whether or not he wanted to join the Extorsão Syndicate, a group he knew nothing about, Amiel had said it in a way where Marcus knew he didn’t have a choice. He would join the Extorsão Syndicate, and that was decided by Alejandro and Amiel, not Marcus.

“Mr. Buonarotti, I-”

“Call me Amiel, please, Marcus. We’re not strict on things like that here.”

“Um, Amiel… I don’t even know what this Extorsão Syndicate is. I don’t feel comfortable committing myself to something I know nothing about.”

“You’ll learn what we’re about tomorrow. Now I’ve been told your Pokemon were injured in the battle with Luis. We have a spare room upstairs, on account of Luis no longer being a part of this organization. Alejandro put some medicine in there for you, it should be more than enough to treat your Pokemon. Patch them up, and get some sleep. All will be made clear in the morning. Rest up, Marcus.”

“…Thank you,” Marcus said. He slowly walked up the stairs and through the room with an open door.

He shut the door, and took a deep breath. He had been, for all intents and purposes, forced to join. The members were being kind to him, but he did not know if they’d snap like Luis did when faced with disrespect. It was clear that Luis had not returned to the lodge since the battle, as his possessions were scattered everywhere. On the bed sat a basket, with bottles of medicine, bandages, syringes, and other first aid equipment. Lifting up the basket, Marcus saw a folded up piece of paper under it. He opened it up, and read it to himself.

There’s a reason I brought you here, but we can’t talk about it yet. I’ll explain things as soon as I can. Just play along for now. Now, destroy this note, and don’t discuss what you’ve read with anyone. –Alejandro’

Marcus ripped the note into a bunch of pieces and discarded it. Things were getting only stranger, but he didn’t have time to try and make sense of it. He had to tend to his injured Pokemon. Releasing Horsea and Houndour from their Pokeballs onto the bed, Marcus could see they were more beat up then he thought. Houndour had regained consciousness, but still could not move. Horsea attempted movement, but could barely muster up a squirm. He wasn’t sure that he could heal them himself. While he could treat Burns and simple cuts, Horsea and Houndour were beyond his capability.

The door started to open, and Marcus turned quickly to see who it was. Raichu and Pichu walked into the bedroom. This was Marcus’ first good look at the two; Raichu wore his age all over his body with wrinkled skin, dull fur, and weary eyes. Pichu bounced around the room with youthful vigor, a total contrast to his fatigued parent.

“Raichu,” began the old Pokemon in a raspy tone. “Rai-Raichu.”

He walked over to Marcus’ Pokemon, picked up a bottle of medicine, and began treating them. Pichu, pacing in circles around the perimeter of the room, stopped suddenly to watch what Raichu was doing. The baby, having a low attention span, quickly lost interest in what his father was doing. He zapped Raichu with a weak Thundershock, trying to coax the parent into playing with him.

“Rai, Raichu,” he scolded, and motioned Pichu to leave the room.

The baby seemed upset, but obeyed and dashed out of Marcus’ room. Raichu then proceeded to work on the Pokemon, applying a type of medicine in a spray-bottle to Houndour. The senior Mouse Pokemon expertly mended the fire dog. He even reached into Marcus’ messenger bag to retrieve a piece of Charcoal. Raichu gave the Charcoal to Houndour to chew on. It seemed to calm him, and the Charcoal became dimly lit as Houndour managed to draw some power from it. Raichu then applied some bandages, and turned his attention to Horsea, giving her the same treatment. Once both Pokemon were recovering, Raichu gave Marcus a friendly smile, and left the room.

“Thanks, Raichu,” Marcus said.


The next day, after the men of the Extorsão Syndicate (including the reluctant initiate) finished eating breakfast, Amiel finally divulged some information to Marcus.

“Now I know you’re curious about what we do,” Amiel said. “We’re a… battle club, of sorts. You’ve had the chance to see our Raichu, and there’s plenty more where that came from.”

“A battle club…” Marcus wasn’t buying it. Too much didn’t add up for the Extorsão Syndicate to simply be a battle club.

“Of sorts. See, I know you’re a little suspicious of us, based on what you’ve seen from Luis. But he’s bad, and that’s why he’s gone. What the rest of us members aim to do is start up a Pokemon Gym. We’re not going to be a part of any league, and we won’t have a badge made up, or anything like that. In our Gym, challengers will get to pick one of us that they wish to battle. After a one on one fight, the victor leaves with both Pokemon.”

“We play for keeps in the Extorsão Syndicate,” Alejandro added.

“If the challenger wins, they leave out with both the Pokemon they battled with, and the Pokemon they defeated,” Amiel said with a wry little smile. “But we’ll be taking some… special precautions to ensure that doesn’t happen too often.”

The members of the Extorsão Syndicate laughed to each other.

“The Gym will have a custom, homebrewed arena. Alejandro’s arranging the construction, and he’s in the process of leasing out a vacant gym in the Kanto region.”

“That’s right. It’s located in Saffron City, right in the middle of the region. It used to be a dojo, ‘till the owner left somewhere and never came back. It’s really simple in its architecture, so it’ll be a breeze for us to modify.”

“What are you getting at Alejandro?” Marcus asked. “It sounds to me like you’re setting up rigged battles to steal people’s Pokemon.”

“Not at all, Marcus,” said Alejandro. “The Gym will have damaging traps, yes, but it will also have advantageous things like healing stations that dispenses potion spray. We’ll just have the advantage of knowing where the traps are and where the safe places are.”

“…” Marcus didn’t know how to reply. He didn’t agree with what he had just heard, but a flat-out refusal might anger the Syndicate. “That aside, I don’t understand how any of this involves me.”

“Marcus, listen, you’re not some prodigy that we’re seeking to control,” began Amiel, “You’re just a kid that was traveling all alone, heading nowhere, and stumbled upon one of our guys. You have potential, that’s easy to see, and with some help from us you’ll become strong. If you wish not to be a part of this, then you may leave. We will keep your Pokemon as payment for last night’s stay, and you can go wandering until you get attacked.”

“Amiel, please,” Alejandro interrupted. “I have to go and sign off on some paperwork regarding the property. How about I bring Marcus with me, and we’ll talk about it then. He’s only a kid, Amiel. This is a tough decision for him. He’ll come around,” Alejandro gave Marcus a quick wink, subtly telling him to go along with it.

“How about it Marcus? Want to go with him?”

“I suppose I will…”

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Old 04-29-2009, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book One Complete]

Alejandro, Marcus, and their four Pokemon piled into one of the trucks parked outside the lodge. As soon as Alejandro started the engine, Marcus started demanding answers.

“What the hell is going on, Alejandro? I read your note last night, and I know you’re agenda is not the same as Amiel’s.”

“Marcus, please, I can’t fully explain things right now. If you were to slip and reveal any incriminating information in front of the others, it could be very dangerous for both of us. At this point, the more you don’t know, the safer we’ll both be.”

“This is getting ridiculous. What’s the insignia, what’s with this Gym? What was Luis doing that made you not trust him?”

“Marcus… Okay, I’ll tell you as much as I feel I can. But in the presence of the others, you don’t know any of this. The insignia is simply that; a logo of the Extorsão Syndicate. Extorsão translates into ‘extortion’ in English. A fitting title for this gang. Their goal is, as they told you, to rig a Gym and scam people out of their Pokemon. What they haven’t yet told you, and probably never will, is their endgame plan. While the other members, and you, battle in the gym for keeps, Amiel will be conducting a behind the scenes operation. Have you heard of the Kanto-based criminal organization Team Rocket?”

“No, never.”

“Well they’re the ones funding this project. They’re going to be buying the Pokemon that Amiel steals. They gave him a quota. Once he reaches it, they say they’ll give him a high ranking position within Team Rocket, and will absorb all members of the Extorsão Syndicate into the Team as well. This is what Amiel wants – power. You, and the other members are the pawns.”

“What about you? What’s your part in all of this?”

“I can’t tell you yet. I realize I’m being cryptic with you, probably only adding to your confusion and unrest… You’re going to help me stop this. We’ll be going to Kanto, all of us I mean, after I get this paperwork signed. Play along with everything Amiel says until, I say otherwise. “


Alejandro parked the truck outside a small building. Like the lodge, it was all by itself in the wilderness. He and Marcus, along with their Pokemon, exited the vehicle.

“Wait out here, Marcus. I shouldn’t be long. I’m not worried about Raichu, but keep an eye out for the little one. He’ll get into trouble given the chance.”

Marcus nodded, and Alejandro entered the building. Marcus heard him lock the door. The Charcoal Maker, swept into a situation he never wanted any part of, turned to his Pokemon and let out a sigh.

“Horsea, what happened to us… All we wanted to do was get out of that town, and find the ocean… And here we are now. Houndour… I know you didn’t mean to get me into this. Having you follow the scent was my idea. I don’t blame you for it.”

“Raichu!” shouted the parent.

Marcus turned around to see Pichu running away. The baby ran into a thick cluster of bushes, and Marcus lost sight of him. Horsea instinctively sprang up into his arms, as Houndour and Raichu pursued little Pichu. Before they got close enough to investigate, Pichu re-emerged on his own, dragging with him another Pokemon.

“Pichu, what’s that?”

“PiPi! Pichu Pichu Pi!” he squealed frantically, pointing both at Raichu and the Pokemon.

The Pokemon found by Pichu was clearly frightened. Shaking uncontrollably, the small creature was barely able to speak.

“Kan… Kangas… Khan…”

“Kangaskhan? That sounds so familiar… Right, I remember. I saw a picture of one in an encyclopedia once. But it doesn’t look like the picture… Of course! She must be the baby! Though why would the mother leave her all alone, in a thorn bush?”

“Houndourrrr!” interrupted the fire dog. He was growling and standing his ground, much like he’d done before when defending Marcus.

“Houndour… I see it,” Marcus whispered.

About two hundred feet away, two large brown Pokemon were fighting. Squinting to focus, Marcus identified them. One was a much larger Kangaskhan, presumably the little one’s parent. The other was an Ursaring, with burnt, black fur.

“That’s Luis’ Ursaring, but he’s not with it. He must not have come back for it after the battle. What are you… Pichu! No, Pichu! Come back!” Pichu wanted to get involved with whatever the two Pokemon were doing, whether or not he understood it was a fight. “Alejandro! Alejandro, come quick! Ahhh! It’s no use, he can’t hear me… No no no no no! Houndour, go! Don’t let Pichu get involved in the battle!”

Houndour obediently chased after Pichu, though the mouse had too great a head start. Houndour caught up just in time to see Pichu place himself right in the middle of the battle. Ursaring and Kangaskhan stood still, facing each other. Ursaring looked angry, with claws raised; it was on the offense. Kangaskhan looked nervous; she was the prey. Without looking, she reached down with her giant fists and plucked up Pichu, placing him in her pouch. She thought Pichu was her baby wandering off from her hiding place.

“Not good, not good! Alejandro! Damn it, what do I do?”

What was once a simple confrontation between an Ursaring and a Kangaskhan had escalated into an incredibly perilous situation. Although Kangaskhan thought that Pichu was her child, and would protect him as long as she believed that, there was no telling how she would react upon suddenly realizing it wasn’t hers. And there was no guarantee that Kangaskhan would even be able to fend off the Ursaring at all. Marcus’ Pokemon had been beaten by Ursaring before, and he knew the only way they’d come out on top was with support from Raichu.

“Houndour, Raichu, you’ve got to work together. Take out Ursaring, and try to get Kangaskhan to think you’re on her side. Horsea, keep the baby Kangaskhan calm – don’t let the parent see it. Alright, let’s do this.”

Ursaring noticed the two familiar Pokemon; one whom it had beaten, and one whom had beaten it. It turned its entire body away from Kangaskhan, and took heavy footsteps towards Houndour. Ursaring intended to defeat Houndour the same way as before – Close Combat. But before the intimidating bear could pummel Houndour, it was stung by several glowing star-shaped rays generated by Raichu, who had fired off a Swift attack. Houndour followed up by Biting Ursaring’s arm. The Dark Pokemon latched onto the arm and tried to cause as much damage as possible, but Ursaring was able to shake him off.

Kangaskhan, seemingly making the connection between friend and foe, contributed to the onslaught of the common enemy. She moved in close, and unleashed a flurry of Comet Punches, striking Ursaring several times.

The bruises were adding up, but Ursaring was not deterred. It knew that Raichu was the biggest threat of the group. Targeting the electric mouse, Ursaring raised its arm, strained its muscles, and brought the Hammer Arm crashing down. Raichu was battered, but was able to lift himself up off the ground. He Slammed the entire weight of his body into Ursaring in retaliation. The bulky bear was un-phased.

Everything that the three allies were doing to Ursaring was causing the beast pain, but wasn’t weakening it enough for a knockout. Raichu could have ended the battle decisively the same way he had last time with a super charged Electric attack, but Thunder had too great a blast radius that it would hit Kangaskhan, as well as Pichu. He was also reluctant to use any Electric attack as long as Pichu was in Kangaskhan’s pouch. The baby was eager to mimic his father’s use of electricity, and the sudden discharge would startle Kangaskhan into realizing it wasn’t her child in her pouch. So Raichu would have to make due without his greatest abilities.

Marcus could only watch as the free-for-all unfolded before him. His shouts for Alejandro did not reach him. The battle was pure chaos, and he knew he would have to establish control. “Houndour! Listen to me! Cook that bear with Flamethrower! Hear, take this!”

Marcus tossed a piece of Charcoal to Houndour. He caught it, siphoned the burning energy, and unleashed a power-boosted stream of fire directly at Ursaring. The Hibernator Pokemon was engulfed in flames, and began to Thrash around wildly to put out the fire. The uncontrolled attack battered Houndour and Raichu. Kangaskhan nimbly avoided it, and stopped the rampage with a Double Hit, punching Ursaring twice in the chest.

The fire engulfing Ursaring was out. Luckily for Marcus, Ursaring wasn’t left with any permanent Burns to increase its power. The bear quickly grabbed Houndour before he could move out of the way. Ursaring leapt into the air with Houndour in tow, and came slamming to the ground, crushing Houndour with its weight. The Seismic Toss had taken a heavy toll on Houndour; while not completely disabled, he was critically weakened. Marcus decided to take him out of play now, rather than risking his life.

“This isn’t going well at all…”

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Old 04-29-2009, 03:10 AM
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book One Complete]

Meanwhile, Alejandro sat inside the isolated office discussing the paperwork with the realtor, oblivious to what was going on outside.

“Well then, Mr. Gaines, everything seems to be in order on my end,” said the realtor.

“Very good. Once again, I thank you for agreeing to meet in this… unorthodox location. You’ve been very helpful to me and the men I represent.”

“Thank you, Mr. Gaines. Here you are,” the realtor said, handing Alejandro a folder. “This contains the deed to your new property, as well as the key.”

“So we’re all set here, then?”

“Yes. You are – rather, this Amiel Buonarotti is, the new owner of the property in Saffron City.”

“Great,” Alejandro said, picking up the folder. “I’ll be heading out, then. Mr. Buonarotti is expecting this.”

Alejandro exited the building, expecting to see Marcus and the Pokemon sitting near the truck. He looked around, and saw the battle unfolding in the distance.

“Oh my god,” he said to himself. “Marcus!”

He started sprinting to the fight, yelling to the Charcoal Maker as soon as he was within earshot.

“Marcus! What’s happening!”

“Alejandro! About time you got here! Okay, long story short, Pichu found a baby Kangaskhan in a bush. Then he saw Ursaring and the parent Kangaskhan fighting, got in the middle of it, and got scooped up and put in her pouch; she thinks he’s her baby right now, and as long as she thinks that she won’t hurt him. That Ursaring there, that’s Luis’. It defeated Houndour, leaving just Raichu and the wild Kangaskhan.”

“What about your Horsea?”

“She’s keeping the little Kangaskhan calm, so the mother won’t notice it and reject Pichu. The mother Kangaskhan is wild, so I can’t control it, and Raichu seems to be struggling – you’ve got to do something Alejandro!”

“Ok Marcus, I’ll take the reins. Raichu!”

“Chu!” the Pokemon obediently answered, relieved to see his master giving the orders.

“Alright Raichu, things are getting serious here. We’ve got to regain control of this battle. Nail Ursaring with Thunderbolt.”

“Chu, Rai,” he said, shaking his head in disobedience.

“I know Raichu, I know why you’re reluctant. Trust me, use Thunderbolt. I know what I’m doing.”

Raichu’s cheek sacs began crackling with electricity as he charged up the attack.

“Good Raichu, power up and zap Ursaring. Pichu, you’ve got to listen to me. Use Sweet Kiss on Kangaskhan.”

While Raichu was preparing his Thunderbolt, Pichu puckered up and gave Kangaskhan a Sweet Kiss on the stomach. The kiss carried with it a weird sensation that seemed to travel all the way to Kangaskhan’s brain, confusing her. Meanwhile, a bolt of lightning shot down from the sky, critically wounding Ursaring. The act of using Sweet Kiss distracted Pichu long enough for him to miss seeing the Thunderbolt, thus giving him nothing to try and imitate.

“Good Pichu! Now get out of the pouch! Let’s go, come come come come come!” Alejandro said hurriedly.

The little Pichu slipped out of Kangaskhan’s pouch and ran over to Raichu, who motioned him to Alejandro.

“All right Raichu, the kid’s out of harm’s way. Now you can use Thunder – muster up the strongest one you can!”

“No!” Marcus shouted.

“What do you mean Marcus? Why not?”

“If he uses Thunder it’ll hit the Kangaskhan too. She’s allied herself with us to fight the Ursaring. She’s been supporting Houndour and Raichu this whole time, we can’t just turn on her like this.”

“… You’re sure, Marcus?”

“Yes. Don’t use Thunder. Ursaring’s hurt already from the Thunderbolt. You ought to be able to pick it off with a weak attack… Please, Alejandro.”

“Ok. Raichu, no Thunder. Use Shock Wave instead. Make sure only to hit Ursaring.”

Raichu raised his lightning-shaped tail into the air, as it began to glow blue. He then whipped it in the direction of Ursaring, firing off a projectile of cerulean electricity at the bear. Already staggering from the surmounting pain of the long battle, the Shock Wave was enough to knock out Ursaring. The hulking bear, defeated for a second time, fell to the ground.

Marcus knew if Kangaskhan continued to attack in her unstable state that he and Alejandro would have no choice but to attack her. He called Horsea away from guarding the baby. Though he did not want to battle his unlikely ally, he would have no other choice.

“Horsea, we’ve got to make this quick. Try not to hurt her too bad; just enough to bring her back from the confusion.”

Horsea was dwarfed by the hulking Parent Pokemon. In a show of sheer power, the little sea dragon wouldn’t stand a chance.

“Marcus, you’re sure you want to do this on your own?” asked Alejandro.

“Yeah. I’m not trying to kill her. She won’t be hostile once she snaps out of it. I’ve just go to stall until then.

“Ok. My Raichu is standing by if you get in trouble though, don’t forget that.”

Kangaskhan was thrashing wildly, as if she was striking at foes that weren’t there. Marcus took advantage of this, ordering Horsea to use Agility. The seahorse would have to be nimble if she were to stand a chance. Horsea started twitching, as her natural speed doubled.

“Now, hit Kangaskhan with Bubble. Take it easy, nothing major.”

Foamy bubbles spewed forth from Horsea’s snout, splashing into Kangaskhan’s thick hide. The quick surge of cold water failed to cure the beast’s confusion, only enraging her more. She pounced on Horsea, hurling a massive weight on the little creature. With the Water type pinned down, Kangaskhan opened her mouth, driving her blunt teeth into the blue scales. Horsea wriggled around, but could not free herself. Marcus had shouted something to her, but she couldn’t hear it over the intense roars of Kangaskhan. Horsea improvised, using one of her not-yet developed Dragon powers.

Horsea took on a greenish glow, and seemed to explode in a burst of draconic force. It was her first time using Dragon Pulse; she was unfamiliar with any attacks not dealing with water. But the attack worked well enough, knocking back the Kangaskhan.

“Horsea! Smokescreen!” Marcus shouted eagerly.

The gaping blue snout lobbed out a thick ink at Kangaskhan, which vaporized into black smoke. Kangaskhan disappeared from sight into the smoke.

All seemed to be going well for Marcus and Horsea, but the Charcoal Maker was unaware that Horsea was on the fringe of consciousness. Though she had only been bitten once, the Agility had sped up her heart rate to an unnatural level. The ten minutes of battle, to Horsea, felt like a full day of non-stop combat. Horsea suddenly lost her balance, falling over onto her side. Her eyes seemed to stare a thousand yards into the sky; her whole body still twitched from the overwhelming effects of Agility.

“Marcus! Withdraw her, now! Do it or you could lose her for good!”

“Horsea! Horsea, come back!” She was unresponsive. Marcus aimed the Pokeball in her direction, and a beam of white light shot out at the ailing seahorse, pulling her back into the ball. “Alejandro, what can I do?”

“You’re out of time, Marcus. Both of your Pokemon are down, and we really need to get back to the lodge. Just throw one of your Pokeballs at Kangaskhan, and then we’ve got to book it, no matter the outcome. I’m sorry, I know you want this, but I can’t keep Amiel waiting.”

“Ok, ok, I’ll try it,” Marcus said with a nervous quickness. Through the Smokescreen he could make out the silhouette of Kangaskhan. Aiming at that, he hurled a Pokeball. From inside the smoke flashed a quick burst of white light. Marcus could hear the ball wobbling, though he could not see it.

“Should we go in and see?” he asked.

“Carefully, Marcus. You don’t know if she’s sealed in there or not.”

Marcus slowly walked into the smoke, and saw the Pokeball. It was…

Pokemon: Kangaskhan
Characters: 39,600
Characters Needed: 30,000 - 40,000

Ready for Grade

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Last edited by Moon Master; 05-24-2009 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book Two Complete]

*Tore herself from watching "Heroes" to do this :p *

Plot: Yay, a new team that isn’t from the anime. ^^ I don’t have anything against Team Rocket and the others, but it’s refreshing to see a new team who’s plot isn’t to rule the world. In fact, I think their idea of creating a gym to rip off trainers of their Pokémon is pretty clever; most trainers would jump to take on the challenge, I think. Marcus being the kid dragged into the middle of this is not really that original, but it fits, and it’s always interesting to find out exactly how he gets out of it in one piece. Overall, this plot didn’t amaze me, yet it was really enjoyable to read, especially since you gave us a pretty good insight on Marcus’ thoughts about what hell that’s going on. Really, I don’t have any complaints. It was solid. *gives gang sign*

Introduction: Hehe, I liked the summary: short, simple, and to the point. It’s always a good idea, though, to refresh us on where the character is and what they look like. I’m not going to you mark you down for that. Just remember that while you described your surroundings and the character in the previous chapter, a new grader is only going to read the chapter they are going to grade.

Grammar/Spelling: This was really, really good. You know your way around your grammar. Make sure you proofread just a little bit more, though. There were a handful of instances where there were missing commas, or the word you typed was malformed in some way.


“Or maybe you branded him the wrong way,” Marcus said confrontationally.
I actually went, “Oh no he didn’t!” when I read this. xD

Length: Hehe, I’ll just give you a peace sign and move on.

Description/Detail: After seeing how well-written this story is, I wanted to get a book and beat some sense into you. This was your worst section not because you cannot describe but because you only described a fraction of what you were supposed to. I had no idea what Amiel, Alejandro, or the rest of the team looked like nor their base and the room. The sprites aside, you also neglected to described all the Pokémon except Houndour and Horsea (you might have described Horsea in the first chapter, so I can’t you didn’t when I don’t know). In a nutshell, you only described actions and surroundings, and when you’re going for a Complex Pokémon, that is not enough. Never forget that all characters, surroundings, and Pokémon should be described, the amount of description depending on how important they are in the story.

Battle: I was really hoping that this would be your saving grace. I would have disregarded the fact that Kangaskhan only got hit by a Sweet Kiss if you had described everything you were supposed to describe. Since you didn’t, the battle brought you down. At least in my book, you need to battle the Pokémon you’re going for if all your other sections of the story aren’t excellent. To be safe, in your future stories, make the Pokémon you’re going for more involved in the battle. Different graders have different opinions about this section, so it’s better safe than sorry.

Now, that aside, I’m just going to point out something. As I was reading the battle, I couldn’t help but think that something was missing in the description of the attacks. For example:

The bruises were adding up, but Ursaring was not deterred. It knew that Raichu was the biggest threat of the group. Targeting the electric mouse, Ursaring raised its arm, strained its muscles, and brought the Hammer Arm crashing down. Raichu was battered, but was able to lift himself up off the ground. He Slammed the entire weight of his body into Ursaring in retaliation. The bulky bear was un-phased.
This is written well, but it leaves me wanting more. When you say “Raichu was battered,” what exactly is “battered”? Did he have a bruise the size of a gold ball forming on the back of his skull? Was the fur on his belly bloodied and matted because he had suffered a huge gash? And then when you say “The bulky bear was un-phased,” did you mean he suffered no bruises from the attack or that even though he was hit hard and sent into a tree, he got up like nothing? When you describe your attacks, you need to tell us more about how the attacks affected the Pokémon or exactly how they recovered from a blow. Make your moves less of a summary of what happened and more as if you are writing every important detail down as you are witnessing the battle happening before your very eyes.

Outcome: You have no idea how hard I was biting my lip as I wondered what the outcome should be. While this was done exceptionally well in terms of grammar, the flow of the story, and the execution of the plot, you missed out on describing crucial elements, and the battle wasn’t good enough to let me forget that. For now, Kangaskhan not captured! I can assure you, it was very close, and because of that, you don’t have to do much for the Pokémon. All I want you to do is go back and describe the surroundings, characters, and the Pokémon you didn’t describe the first around. It may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t when you take into account you basically didn’t even battle Kangaskhan, a Complex Pokémon. I know you can do it, MM. :) PM me for a re-grade whenever you’re ready. ^^

- Kat

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Old 05-27-2009, 03:37 AM
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Phantom Kat Offline
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Default Re: Chronicles of a Charcoal Maker [Book Two Complete]

Sorry for not doing this yesterday like I promised. I had a mariachi concert (and then a band concert a little while ago). ^^;

While you didn't describe what you neglected to describe, you lenghtened the battle so that Kangaskhan was the one receiving the hits. Though not long, Kangaskhan took some damage and gave some in return, and if you would have added this in the first place, I would have more than likely passed you because of how well-written the overall story is. So, though borderline, I'll say, Kangaskhan captured! Please make sure you describe everything you're supposed to describe in your future captures, and, when in doubt, battle the Pokemon you're going for because you never know what grader is going to grade your story. Keep on writing, and enjoy your Pokemon, MM! ^^

- Kat

(Banner by the epic Neo Pikachu) TAC Challenge: I'm learning Finnish! ^-^

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