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Stories Write a story to catch Pokemon. A Grader will then decide if it catches or not.


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Old 05-05-2009, 11:09 PM
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Default Portrait of a Natu

Note to Graders: I appreciate it if you came in here to grade this story, but I've got this one that's been waiting over a week... I'm just sayin'


Portrait of a Natu

Beneath the cries of the Wingull, he scanned the rocky coast through the viewfinder, patiently examining the tide pools. It was a picturesque landscape; clear skies above a calm sea, with gentle waves lapping up over the rocks. Small pools of saltwater filled the depressions in the rocks during high tide, and as the tides withdrew, individual puddles were left behind. The zoom function of the viewfinder acted as an improvised binocular, allowing the photographer to search from a safe distance. As he slowly panned, the sharp rings of a cell phone interrupted the serene environment.

“Hello?” said the photographer.
“Yes? Andy, is that you!” asked the caller.
“Yeah, it’s me Backlot. What’s up now-”
“Did you get it?” interrupted the caller.
“Not yet, I’m-”
“Did you get it?” he asked again, frantically.
“I’m looking, I’ll let you know-”
“But you got it? You did? You got it?”
“Yeah yeah, right, I got it. I’ll call you,” the photographer hung up the phone.

Andy Markowitz, nineteen year old amateur photographer, was an employee of the eccentric millionaire Mr. Backlot. Backlot had an excessive amount of money, and was quick to throw it away on frivolous, impulsive endeavors. Currently, his obsession was portraits. He wanted detailed, quality prints of Pokemon he considered beautiful. Flyers were sent out all across Sinnoh, urging “Photographers of Any Skill” to “Flock to the Pokemon Mansion, located off of scenic Route 212 for a potentially life-changing assignment!”

It was the break Andy Markowitz was waiting for. A chance to put the photography skills he’d been developing to the test. His first few shoots impressed Backlot, leading the old-timer to send Andy on more adventurous assignments. And that’s what put Andy on the beautiful shores of southeast Sinnoh. An unusual ocean current had caused a grouping of Shellder to be swept from their typical Kanto habitats, to the sandy beach where Andy stood. Backlot wanted a portrait of a Shellder, and Andy was available for dispatch.

The young photographer was of slim build. He dressed in a sporty ensemble that allowed for quick and comfortable movement without a lot of noise. He didn’t care much for Pokemon training, and thusly did not own any. Backlot urged him to take a Pokemon with him for protection, but Andy consistently refused. He wanted no part in the world of Pokemon battles; his calling was to immortalize the animal’s beauty in color.

The tides were receding. Andy figured his best bet would be to pick out a spot and watch the tide, hoping to see a Shellder carelessly riding the waves, as they so often do. He put the camera to his face, closed his left eye, sand peered through the viewfinder.

“This would be a perfect landscape shot,” he whispered to himself. “But no. All that old coot wants is Pokemon. And Shellder, of all things. Who wants to look at a portrait of a Shellder all day when they could have a Gyarados, or at least something cool? A Shellder print isn’t even worth the film…”

As the minutes passed, Andy continued to focus on the calm seas. Then he finally saw what he had been waiting for. The tide pulled back, revealing a beached Shellder. The purple clam was dripping with salt water, and wrapped in a delicate strand of seaweed. A small, foamy wave tried to swallow up the clam, but wasn’t strong enough, leaving only a trace of whitewash forming around the shell.

“This is going to be iconic, even for a dumb old Shellder.”

Andy focused in on the Shellder; his right index finger clicked a dial for the light, and another for the speed. The finger made its way to the shutter button, and firmly pressed it. The scene depicted by the viewfinder quickly turned black, before opening again to reveal the shore. But Shellder wasn’t there.

“What? Where’d it go? Oh god, I hope I got the shot…”

He would have no second chances, for the wild Shellder was finally swept away, back into the sea. Andy Markowitz would have to return to the Pokemon Mansion’s custom built darkroom before he could tell if he caught the Shellder in the print. And even if he did, he couldn’t be sure that Backlot would like them.

~~~

Back at the Mansion, Andy was developing the picture in a darkened room dimly lit by an amber light. The photographer dipped the blank, glossy piece of paper into a tray filled with developing chemicals. He watched the paper, waiting for the Shellder to reveal itself. Slowly but surely, the image he’d captured was painted on the white paper; the shot had been a success.

Andy was relieved, to say the least. He proceeded to finish up the picture, taking the print through the necessary steps. Thirty minutes later, he held in his hands a stunning image of a purple clam shining in the water. He quickly made his way down the hall to Backlot’s office to present his work.

“Mr. Backlot?” Andy asked through the tall double-doors.
“Yes? Andy? Yes? You have it, yes?”
“Yeah, right here. It came out great.”
“But you have it? You do?”
“Unlock the door!”
“You have it!” shouted Backlot as he opened the door for Andy.

The photographer walked into the room. It was the kind of room a millionaire would be expected to reside in. Hand-stitched maroon carpet cloaked the hardwood floors. Each piece of furniture, from the chairs to the end-tables was hand-made and custom ordered from the finest artisans. But the pride of the room, what Backlot had obsessed over, was the pictures. The walls were lined by professional-quality prints in gold frames. Some of them were taken by Andy, along with the other freelance photographers Backlot hired.

Backlot hurried back to his desk after letting Andy in. Andy approached him there, and confidently held up the portrait of Shellder.

“Mr. Backlot, I present to you, Shellder!”
“Shellder!” Backlot repeated excitedly.
“Yep. I got the shot. Pay up, boss.”
“You got it!” Here, here!” said the eccentric man, waving a check at Andy.
“Thank you very much,” he said, folding the paycheck and depositing it into his pocket. “So, what’s next? Hopefully something more exciting than a clam. Oh! Maybe a shrimp or a goldfish! That’d be a good picture, right?” he said with sarcastic tone.
“No. Natu.”
“Natu?”
“Natu. Those green birds that nest nearby. That’s the next portrait.”
“Alright. Where do I go to find them?”
“No, not you. Felix,” said Backlot.
“What!? No, you’re not stiffing me on another job!” Andy was outraged.
“Not you. Felix. He’s already there. He’s already taking pictures.”
“So what am I supposed to do, sit around with my thumb up my ass until he gets back?”
“Felix is taking the portrait.”
“Ahh! You’re killing me Backlot!”

Andy stormed out of the Mansion, angry and frustrated. Felix Raymond, a long time competitor of his, seemed to be gaining most of Backlot’s favor. But rather than wait around for him to finish, Andy hatched an ambitious idea. He took out his phone, and gave his rival a call.

“Hello?” answered Felix Raymond.
“Hey Felix. What’re you up to?”
“What do you want Andy? Backlot gave me the job, so I’m telling you right now to back off.”
“No, Felix, you’ve got it all wrong – I just want to catch up on some things, you know it’s been so long,” Andy said craftily, lying through his teeth.
“Not happening Andy, I’m not falling for it,” Felix hung up.
“Damn…” Andy said into the phone.

The photographer was disappointed that he couldn’t smooth-talk the job away from Felix. He needed the money, and the only person in all of Sinnoh who paid good wages for pictures was Backlot. Andy was thinking about ways he could get the job away from Felix. And he came up with an idea he believed would work.

Andy rushed into Backlot’s office, shouting and flailing his hands. His mannerisms alone began to throw Backlot into an eccentric panic.

“Backlot! Backlot!”
“What is it Andy, what, what!?”
“I need to borrow a Pokemon! Someone attacked me, and stole my… something! I don’t know, but it’s gone now, and I need a Pokemon! Hurry Backlot, hurry!”
“You need a Pokemon, Andy!” Backlot repeated.
“Yeah! Hurry, the thief’s getting away!”
“No! Here, take this Andy, hurry! Oh, please, don’t let it get away!” Backlot said hysterically, as he tossed Andy a Pokeball.
“Thanks! And away I go!” Andy said, laughing hysterically as soon as he was out of Backlot’s range of hearing.

Back outside the Mansion, Andy continued to develop his plan. Using Backlot’s Pokemon, he would find and ambush Felix, take his photography equipment, and get the picture of Natu himself.

“This is bound to work. Felix won’t ever see it coming. What kind of Pokemon did I get?”

Andy released the Pokemon from within Backlot’s Pokeball. A glowing white silhouette formed in front of him. As the light faded, it revealed what Backlot had given Andy to use. A stout little creature, green and blue in coloration, with a lily pad growing atop the head. The Pokémon’s face advertised an expression of idiocy, as it slowly gazed at its surroundings.

“… Oh what the hell is this!?” Andy shouted.
“Lombre!” replied the Pokemon, without altering its dimwitted stare.
“Lombre… Well, it doesn’t look very strong, but you never know… Lombre, are you male or female? Say your name once if you’re male, or twice if you’re female, ok?”
“Lombre! Lombre! Lombre!” it shouted mundanely.
“Yeah… I saw that coming… Alright Lombre, from now on, you’re a male, ok? You like the sound of that… boy?”
“Bre,” he replied simply.
“Well Lombre, I hope Backlot taught you something about thievery… Because I know a photographer whose possessions need to be liberated.”

Andy, followed by Lombre, hiked a short couple of miles to a spot where he knew that Natu were local to. From there, he would pick up on Felix’s trail…

~~~

Andy was on the path that led him past a tall oak tree; the very tree he’d seen a bunch of Natu roosting in. The soft dirt path was littered with thin bird-like footprints, and coated in red and green feathers. Treading through the delicate little prints were those of a human, presumably Felix Raymond.

“We’ve got ‘em, Lombre,” said Andy to the borrowed Pokemon.
“Om-Ombre,” the Pokemon said, as he sat on the ground and put his own foot in his mouth, seeming to savor the taste.
“Wow…” said Andy in disbelief of the Pokémon’s behavior. “Get up, and let’s go… Your feet will be just as… delicious later.”

The footprints seemed to be leading in a certain direction. They were each a few inches apart, corresponding with the way Natu move by jumping around. Though young Natu are capable of flight, they don’t become particularly good at it until they grow into Xatu. Until then, the young birds typically will hop around, only flying when necessary to escape predation.

Following the footprints, Andy noticed that every so often a couple of Natu split off, maybe to perch in a tree and nest for the night. Then he saw the shoeprints go a separate way as well, following a specific set of Natu footprints.

“Felix… came this way, following the flock. Then, when this bird went his own way, he went with him. I’m right behind him, Lombre, I know I am.”
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Last edited by Moon Master; 05-05-2009 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Portrait of a Natu

The pair of footprints led Andy into a relatively open field, sparsely dotted with shade trees. The grass beneath his feet was soft and lush; prime for a Natu to pluck small insects from. As dirt gave way to grass, it became increasingly difficult to follow the footprints. He no longer had to, however, as he could see Felix in the distance.

Andy quickly ducked behind a tree for cover. Felix Raymond, who had stalked a specific Natu up to that point, was setting up a tripod to take the picture. Andy silently pointed at the other photographer, and then looked to Lombre.

“That’s him, Lombre,” he whispered. “You’re going to sneak up on him, and get that camera away. Got it?”

Lombre’s expression didn’t reveal whether or not he understood the directions. He stared blankly at Andy, and then waddled out into the open.

“Well… he’s going towards Felix. That’s a good sign, I guess.”

Lombre slowly made his way to Felix. The photographer was looking through the camera and adjusting the dials ahead of time, so he’d be ready when he crept up on the Natu, which was stabbing his short yellow beak into the ground. Felix was deeply focused on the camera, completely oblivious to everything happening around him, allowing Lombre to approach him with ease. Standing directly behind the photographer, Lombre raised his slimy blue hands, and slapped them together on both sides of Felix’s face.

“Fake Out! Nice,” Andy said, watching from a distance.

Felix was stunned. He fell to his knees and grasped his ears with his hands as they throbbed in pain from the sneak attack. During that time, Lombre casually kicked over the tripod, snapped the three extensions apart, and picked up the camera.

“Stop… What the hell are you doing?” Felix said, still in a daze with ringing ears. He had not yet realized that a Pokemon had attacked him. “Hey, wait… What’s going on? You’re a… Pokemon?”
“Lombre?” replied the assailant, turning back to look at Felix. “Lombre,” he said again, before walking away.
“Hey! Psst!” Andy called to Lombre, trying not to reveal himself to Felix. “Lombre! Take away his cell phone! It’s probably in his messenger!”

The Pokemon turned around and walked back to Felix. Acting like a true Thief, Lombre took the messenger bag from the photographer, and brought it to Andy. Sifting through it, Lombre miraculously produced the phone. Though Andy had not ordered this, the Jolly Pokemon decided one more assault was in order. He bent down his head, showing the full circumference of the lily pad on his head. The plant took on a slight purple glow. Lombre made a strange gargling noise, and charged Felix, ramming him in the jaw with a Zen Headbutt. Lombre strolled back to Andy, paying no mind to the photographer rolling on the ground in pain.

“Whoa! What was that, Lombre? I just wanted you to rob him blind and sabotage his career! I didn’t say anything about hurting him!”
“Lombre?” asked the Pokemon, who didn’t understand what he’d done wrong.
“Well that’s just great. I don’t know what I’m going to do about this… Damn it.”

Andy watched as Felix slowly picked himself up off the ground and limped away. Once he was out of sight, Andy took the stolen phone. Preparing his best imitation of Felix’s voice, he gave his boss a ring.

“Hello?” answered Backlot.
“Hi Mr. Backlot, this is Felix,” said Andy.
“Felix! You have the Natu, yes! I know you do!”
“Not just yet. I’m almost ready to take the picture-”
“I want a Natu.”
“You… want one physically, or you want a portrait of one?”
“I want a Natu. I want one for the Garden.”
“Hold on a second… Now you want me to catch you a Natu?
“I want one for the Garden. The Trophy Garden. I want a Natu.”
“Uh, sure, yeah, I’ll uh, try and just… catch one for you, I guess.”
“I want one for the Garden.”
“Yeah, I got it, bye.”
“Garden-” Backlot tried to ramble more as Andy hung up the phone.

Andy sat still for a moment, trying to figure out how he’d catch a Natu. He knew he’d have to rely on Lombre to battle the tiny bird, and he didn’t particularly trust the dim-witted creature to hold up his end of the battle.

“How am I even going to catch it? I don’t carry around Pokeballs…”

Andy didn’t know what he would do. He then saw Lombre, chewing on the strap from Felix’s messenger bag. Grabbing the back away from Lombre, Andy dug through the contents. Felix owned several things relating to Pokemon training: Pokeballs, Potions, Berries… Just what Andy needed.

“So, old Felix was a part-time photographer, part-time trainer. I never knew he bothered raising these stupid things.”
“Lombre!!” shouted the Pokemon, pointing a sharp red claw.
“What is it?” Andy asked.
“Lombre,” he said again, pointing still. He started flapping his arms, imitating a bird. “Bre bre bre!” he said as his arms flailed around.
“Oh! There’s the Natu! Okay Lombre, I see him. Shut up before you scare him away. Now, here’s what we’re going to do. You’re gonna sneak up on that Natu and hit it with Fake Out, just like you did to Felix. I don’t really deal with Pokemon, so I’m not sure how to go about battling, so… Just, use your own judgment… However flawed it may be.”

~~~

The sun was setting. The red sky was a sharp contrast to the green grass on the horizon line, much as the red feathers contrasted the green ones on Natu. Lombre had the tiny bird in his moronic gaze, but the Psychic fowl had noticed the plant creature. Natu was peculiar. He stood completely still, starring at Lombre as the Jolly Pokemon waddled in his direction.

Once he was within range, Lombre lunged forward and slammed his hands together, clapping the bird and stunning it. Natu shook his head quickly, dazed from the surprise attack. Just as he snapped out of disorientation, Lombre hit him with Fury Swipes, slashing the bird with his sharp red claws. Natu was taking hits one after the other as Lombre relentlessly clawed at him. Though the Plant Pokemon was notably getting worn out from the non-stop slashing, taking more time in-between swipes.

Natu saw an opening, and suddenly took on a strong purple glow. Lombre backed off the attack, unsure of what Natu was doing. Andy feared that the bird was cooking up a powerful Psychic attack, as the air around Natu was rippling with Psychic energy. But instead of attacking, Natu disappeared; Teleported into thin air. While it was an interesting trick, the bird was clearly inexperienced when it came to using his Psychic abilities, as the slightest trace of a purple aura followed the Teleporting bird. Even Lombre’s simple mind was able to track this tell, and spot the bird perched on a branch.

The Natu sat motionless atop the branch, starring into the sky. As his almond-shaped eyes were fixated on the red sky, a shooting star appeared. The star shot past Natu’s tree, trickling down a magical dust that healed the tiny bird’s wounds.

“He’s healing himself. Lombre! Get up there, will ya? Before it makes another Wish!”

Lombre wrapped his arms around the tree, dug in his claws, and tried to climb. But the thick coating of mucus that naturally oozed from the Pokémon’s skin made it impossible for him to keep on the tree; he slid back down to the bottom.

“Alright Lombre, if you can’t get up there, then knock the bird down here!”

Dew began trickling out of Lombre’s lily pad, as the Pokemon took on a bluish glow. The outer ring of the lily pad had the deepest blue coloration, with water accumulating in the plant-dish. Suddenly, a giant blast of water shot out from the pad like a cannon. The Hydro Pump hit Natu with enough force to knock him from the tree. The tiny bird fluttered his wings desperately to ease his landing.

After touching down, Natu pointed his beak to the sky, and stuck his wings out. He was channeling some mystical power, evident by his eyes turning a deep violet. Then, a sweeping aura of the same color enveloped the battlefield like an Ominous Wind. The colored wind seemed to blow through Lombre’s body, targeting his soul rather than his body. The Jolly Pokemon was not living up to his title. He fell to the ground, eyes closed, and began to roll around. The ghostly wind was torturing the creature, possessing him from the inside.

Andy, watching from the sidelines, raised his camera. “Might as well,” he said to himself. He took a picture of the Natu as it channeled the spiritual energy.

The Ominous Wind settled down, but the color did not dissipate. Strangely, it was absorbed directly into Natu’s body, increasing every aspect of the bird’s power. Lombre struggled to his feet, and retaliated by channeling his own special energy. He dug his claws into the earth, drawing from it the Power of Nature. But as Lombre manipulated the terrain to attack Natu, the bird proved himself to be a step ahead, Teleporting himself right on top on Lombre’s lily pad, and proceeding to Peck at it with his stubby beak.

Lombre lost his concentration before finishing the attack, and resorted to flailing around to shake Natu off his head. The bird fluttered into the air, though could not sustain flight as his feathers were still drenched from the Hydro Pump. Lombre quickly rammed his lily pad into Natu with a Zen Headbutt.

Soaking wet and shaking from the pain, Natu found himself unable to move. He simply gazed at the sky again, summoning a shooting star.

“This looks like my chance – I can’t let that Wish heal him again. Let’s hope this works…”

Andy threw one of Felix’s Pokeballs at Natu, the capsule absorbing the tiny bird within it. Natu tried to escape, as the ball shook deliberately.

Andy watched it, crossing his fingers as his potential paycheck wobbled back and forth…

Ready for Grading

Pokemon: Natu
Characters Used: 20,501
Characters Required: 10k-20k
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  #3  
Old 05-06-2009, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: Portrait of a Natu

*clears throat* ... CLAIMED! *stamps CLAIMED BY KHAJMER on story*
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: Portrait of a Natu

Plot: It was original, I'll say that. You had a good set-up with the photography thing, and I like your motive for catching the Natu. What I really enjoyed was Andy. Not only did you throw a sort of curve ball (my impression was that he was going to be the one sent to take a picture of the Natu), but you also made your protagonist kind of an antagonist, stealing his rival's job. Definite show of creativity.

Introduction: Not bad, not bad. As literary style goes, a portrait opening (an introduction casting a description of the scene) is something I can definitely take an interest in. It’s more of a refined style, to be sure, and that gets you places.

Grammar: Pretty good throughout, I only noticed one serious thing that you might want to watch out for.

Quote:
“Mr. Backlot?” Andy asked through the tall double-doors.
“Yes? Andy? Yes? You have it, yes?”
“Yeah, right here. It came out great.”
“But you have it? You do?”
“Unlock the door!”
“You have it!” shouted Backlot as he opened the door for Andy.
While it isn’t generally a grammatical rule, it is considered common practice to have line breaks between lines of dialogue.

“This is a sentence.”

“This is the next guy’s sentence.”

While for two or three lines of dialogue it’s not big deal, when you have big chunks of dialogue like that it looks like one block of text that can be harder to read.

Length: Hit it perfect, no comment.

Description: You kind of surprised me here. The Pokemon were pretty good, and I admit, I pretty much swooned over your scenery. I haven’t seen your other stories, but I know you’re relatively new so I applaud you for catching on quickly. But, I don’t get anything about the humans. Andy, Backlot, Felix, I haven’t got a clue what they look like. So while you’ve mainly got it down, you need to work on the human characters.

Battle: Pretty good. You made some good use of the environment with the teleport, made creative liberties with the attacks, and kept it nice and even. It was short, but that doesn’t really matter, so I’ll leave it at that.

Final Verdict Not much of a surprise, but Natu Captured. Not much else to say except that you’ve got the idea. Not going to say you’ve got it down because everyone can always improve.
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