The Story of Fritz Westmyn: The Turning World (old, crusty, abandoned) (2024)

Responses:

AiedailEclipsed, Chapter 2-7:

AiedailEclipsed said:

Oooh, a new character (well, not new per se...). I can't believe he actually got a note from Cronus! I mean, really? Oh, hey! We get to meet Muriel for the first time really. Also, lol at his manner of speaking. "It is my duty as an associate of Cronus Apporon..." Can you say pretentiouuuuuus?!

He isn't actually a new character. He's the prep, just never prominently featured up until now.

AiedailEclipsed said:

I think I'm more interested in the Korum character, tbh.

And we'll be seeing more of him...soonish!

AiedailEclipsed said:

Nice setup with the Nature Power bit.

The "power" moves are among the most interesting in my fic. I threw it in, just because.

AiedailEclipsed said:

Hm. I'm torn between believing that Muriel had anything to do with Venonat pausing and it being an outside force. I'm leaning towards the latter at the moment. I'm liking Muriel more and more...

As 2-8 implies, it possibly was the latter.

AiedailEclipsed said:

Hm, a Venomoth as well? Interesting indeed.

It's actually Butterfree. It was a reference to the whole Venomoth/Butterfree mixup thing. I mean at first glance without prior knowledge, you might mix them up too.

AiedailEclipsed, Chapter 2-8:

AiedailEclipsed said:

I have the weirdest feeling that time was moving differently in the shrine, given Premala's reaction. Also, Chatot "getting better." I'm postulating that Premala orchestrated that or due to the time passing differently, it healed on its own. So, given the forest + time theory I've got going, I'm gonna say that presence was Celebi or possibly Dialga... Let's go with Celebi. That's all I got for this chapter, it was nice though!

Interesting theories...we shall see if they come to fruition!!

Stellar Flaze:

Flaze said:

This was a kind of fast, kind of slow chapter. It was fast in the sense that it read very quickly which is a good thing cause it means it was interesting, but it was slow in the sense that nothing happened...literally nothing happened.

I guess its short length made it over with quicker, at least.

Flaze said:

Now I'm not saying this is a bad thing I mean, we got to know Premala more (I like her quirky personality) and we also got to see how weird Frytz for not enjoying the fact he has a cute girl hugging and kissing him at every second but aside from that.

Eh. Premala's intended to be more sexy than cute, if that makes any sense.

Flaze said:

It was a filler chapter (aside from a few things) but thing is that it didn't really have much to it, it was just Premala and Frytz walking and pondering on previous events and what could be the reason for it. Again not saying that it's a bad chapter, it certainly works as a bit of a break from previous events. And don't worry we all have chapters we don't enjoy but they're all part of the story so we love them anyways xD

Yeah, it really does bother me like that. I could've had more to it, but...it just would've downplayed everything else.

GotPika, Chapters 2-7 & 2-8

Druddigon said:

Nice action chapter, loved the events of Fritz's run in with the bugs and the battle scene with Muriel. I also liked those small back and forth with David at the beginning with everyone, a good showing of your skills at writing character interactions.

~

Druddigon said:

I don't think the next chapter was as terrible as you made it out to be, it was definitely a breather after the events of the previous chapters but I feel like it's just a bit too....hard to say? Uneventful for its own good,

The purpose of 2-8 was intended to be a breather, especially on Fritz' end. The reason why I said it was bad was because of said uneventfulness.

Druddigon said:

Premala certainly seems like a really weird character. She's hard to read or get a clear note on. I don't hate her character, I just don't really find myself heavily invested in her. Her behaviors just scream very odd in a hard to understand way.

Then I'm writing her as intended so far.

Druddigon said:

Sorry about the extremely brief reviewing style, I'll keep it more detailed in the future.

That's fine. You had short notice anyway. The Story of Fritz Westmyn: The Turning World (old, crusty, abandoned) (1)

Notes:

Same deal as 2-4. This is the new biggest chapter, checking in at just over 50KB in Wordpad format. Unlike the other there is a place to split this one down the middle - technically. It's maybe better to do so, or may technically be best to split it elsewhere, but I'll just post it as-is since that last one was kinda short. So it balances out...somehow?

Get hype for a gamechanger of a chapter, though! In more ways than one!

----------

Chapter 2-9: All in the Name of Love

The brilliance of today feels very much like my first day at Rukh's. Only a few cumulus clouds are decorating the skies, the sun is shining peacefully, it's nice and mild, and a light breeze is wafting. They differ in how the bustling rush of day one was switched with an air of peace. An improvement, I'd say.

"Ahh," I sighed with a mighty stretch. I felt a surge of positivity within, urging me to express my joy to the fullest extent. I decided to heed its advice, spinning about gallantly. "It's such a good day today!"

Thatcher paused in his tracks. "It's..." he started, almost as if he were being put off. I can understand why, at least. It's been so long since we've been able to relax, and seeing me as I was may have seemed initially foreign to his perception. Regardless, he was able to look beyond it. "It is a nice day...isn't it?" A slight beam formed.

"Yeah. Fritz." Well, even this is going to have difficulty befouling my mood. Reika was giving me a peculiar glare, partially that of a disappointed parent gazing at their child, partially that of a frustrated and impatient individual. "Glad you finally decided to spend time with us," she harshly remarked.

"Hey," I pointed out, "Aporon's been a slave-driver, and you've been held against your will by Mrs. Shugiri." I honestly wanted to be with my friends, even if it meant joining them in their punishment. I feel more at ease when they're around...perhaps that was part of the problem? Those two reasons were the main ones conspiring against us. I was invariably disrupted by him and his goons if I attempted to wait for them to be released. "And when you add in the rest-"

"It's been twelve days, Fritz!"

"Ten days," I corrected. The three of us we were last able to hang out together the day of their sentencing, and today's the 19th. "It could've been six or seven."

"Could have."

"Isn't that your fault, though?" If she had gone to the Big Contest with Thatcher and I, it would've.

"No, it's not!" she snapped. I guess...we could've made a more valiant effort to convince her. If Edgar weren't after me. If he wasn't though, who knows how that day could've gone? Reika turned away shaking her head upon noticing that I was in thought, then lowered her head. She removed a ball from her holster and examined it carefully. Affirmation.

"Oh, and here," she told me, hobbling over with the capsule in-hand. I instinctively held out my palm, and she firmly placed the white and teal sphere - just larger than a golf ball - in it. "Before you or I forget."

It took me a moment to realize what it was what she handed me. When I did, I smiled in appreciation. "I was wondering when Vespiquen would be better. Thank you, Reika." She seemed surprised at this...as if she weren't expecting thanks in response. Her agitation at my and Thatcher's inability to hang out as a group is subsiding...

"Anyway, I never forgot about you guys," I reaffirmed, finally causing the last shred of doubt in her mind to evaporate. I stared out into the distance. "I get the feeling things are finally going back to normal around here, if they haven't already. Don't worry."

We sat and basked in the cool air. Today has another thing in common with our first, I just noticed. We're all wearing the same clothes as we did then! I have on the same green and white T-shirt - thankfully less damp - and pair of jeans. Reika has her navy nylon shorts with a white stripe down the sides, along with that orange and white half-camp shirt. And Thatcher - besides his omnipresent black and teal jacket - wears a white undershirt with a cicada design, as well as his fancy pants featuring Caterpies and a different, red and white caterpillar Pokemon wrapped together like DNA. Neat coincidence.

"S-so it's mid-afternoon, and-"

He was cut off by an obnoxious growl. I turned to the source. "Reika, was that your stomach?"

My friend looked away in shame. "Skipping lunch is a bad idea. But I did it anyway," she cursed her own decision in an unintentionally humorous tone, which made me laugh.

"I did it too." It wasn't until a year ago that my body got used to non-linear meals, and if I hadn't, my gut may very well be joining her in cacophonous melody. Not to say I'm not hungry too; luckily our problem is easily remedied. I grinned to our other friend. "Let's grab some sandwiches, Thatcher."

"I...um..." he stammered, ashamed to admit something. "I'm out of them."

"We had the last two yesterday."

I blinked. I gazed at one of the campus' older-looking buildings, just before the gates on the left (from our point of view). I've been there before, generally on tasks from Aporon and his friends to serve as delivery boy. But my friends and I haven't as a group, and to my knowledge, they haven't altogether. Aside from heading out, it's our only choice for nourishment at the moment. "Guess we're going to the cafeteria, then."

----------

With a beige and cream tile pattern and patchwork white walls, the sponsored locale where students at Rukh's are served complimentary meals is somewhat distinct. The most defining feature of this place is its restaurant feel. Well, to be more specific, it feels like that for me because the tables are stationary, as well as some of the seats. There's a few folding variants available at the sides and extra space to set them up, sure, but who wants to use those?

Now, when I went before, I didn't have to pay any money from my pocket. When I asked why, I was told that meals are covered as part of the tuition fees, regardless of whether or not one actually eats there. Probably the Dean's work. My friends were surprised at this fact; again to my knowledge though, this is the first time they've stepped inside, let alone ate food from here.

"No lineup?" questioned Reika. Speaking of actually eating here.

"Must be a pretty slow day."

"It must be. There's so few people here." I estimate there's around sixteen to eighteen hanging about. It's quiet as a consequence...but perhaps that is also in relation to the general etiquette of this social group.

My friends seemed oddly fascinated by the cafeteria, all but confirming my suspicions they haven't been in here before. Our pace was slow as they looked about in intrigue. I'd like to admit I did the same thing when I walked in. Still, my friends' curiosity isn't bothering me.

"Damn," cursed Reika. "What's with the lighting?"

Something I've been wondering myself. "Last time I was in here it wasn't like this." It's like a bunch of the florescent tubes just decided to up and fail at once, and thanks to the limited number of windows, the illumination here is somewhat lacking. Due to a concentration around the counter, it's also difficult to read the day's menu from afar. "Maybe they're fixing it.."

"I hope they're fixing it!"

That conversation had delayed our progress for a moment. A group of friends at a nearby table are giving us a funny look, unnerving Thatcher. "W-well...let's go," he said, urging us to start moving again.

The counter in the back takes up about a third of the wall. There's room for more than one person to take orders, though due to the circ*mstances, there's only one tall individual on-duty today. Thanks to the lighting issues, the aproned fellow stands shrouded in the shadows. Still, his expression is quite jovial. In fact, his eyes lit up in friendly delight as the three of us stood before him.

"Son!" he what? "It's good to see you!"

"F-father?!"

"Mr. Li?!"

Thatcher's dad is here?! I didn't see him before. When did he get here?

"Reika, it's been so long," he greeted my other friend. Reika's shock isn't as great as Thatcher's, but she seems very startled all the same. Mr. Li continued, "You've gotten taller the last three years, I see!" causing her to look down at her feet and crutch in a weird way.

"Father, wait!" Thatcher cried, all but frothing in delirium. He was gripping his skull with contorted fingers and vibrating palms. "What are you doing here?"

"This is my new job. I now-"

"N-no! I...I mean...why here? What are you...why are you working...why here?"

Mr. Li sighed. A pause. Allowing me to gather my own thoughts from that twenty second bout of madness. The resemblance between the two is as clear as a hot summer day. They possess the same finely combed black hair, both wear glasses, and though Thatcher's eyes are a tinted slate blue-ish gray and lined with a yellow ring, his dad's tan eyes otherwise look much the same. Father and son do differ in height and build - the former is about 20cm taller, and is better toned. He also...I dunno if it means anything, but he just has the faint texture of a wanderer?

He flinched vertically. Realizing the presence of the counter when trying to get nearer to his son's level? "Well son," he began to explain, "Tuition fees cost a lot of money. Even between our savings and the money we received, it still wasn't quite enough to send you anywhere."

"I...I can't believe this. But...but then how..."

"Your mother and I knew you really wanted to get into Pokémon. We all knew that a school would be the best option," Mr. Li said, as if reminiscing about an earlier, more pleasant time. "We got lucky, to be frank with you. A landscape developer I know told me about this place. A good friend of the Dean, and owed a favor by him. He agreed to let you in at a lower rate. But the school did ask for one thing."

"Is that why you're here, Mr. Li?" Reika inquisitively asked. It was with a politeness I wasn't used to from my chubby friend, making me doubt it was her for a second. Her leaning forward in worried interest didn't help that.

His facial expression provided additional affirmation, "Yes, Reika. They wanted me to come work as head of the cafeteria." The three of us were standing in awe, although my own could be considered more neutral. "The Dean, Mr. Finkerton, had heard all about me. He wanted me to come on as employee to attract business. I was afraid that if I said no, he would rescind his offer. I was given a month to settle my other accounts."

Maybe. Anything could be possible with Dean Howard Finkerton. I can...see his logic, I suppose. With a small sigh, he added, "At least, it's a good paying job."

"This..."

"Y-you...why...you didn't...you didn't have..."

"I wanted to, son." Mr. Li elaborated, radiating an inner peace. "It isn't that big a deal to me, and it makes you happy."

Reika leaned over to me. Again, this felt so out-of-character for her to cautiously whisper into my ear, "I can't believe this..."

"Father..." Thatcher trembled.

A moment of silence drew over following this. The same people who overheard our conversation on the state of the building...and actually, everyone in the cafeteria, had halted their own talks and eating to stare at the incident. No one but me seemed to notice the gawking, and if they did, did not seem to mind or care. No one but me seems to be in the state of mind to break it.

"So!" Or not. Mr. Li cast off his sorrows and returned to the chipper attitude he had exuded prior to all this. Reika and Thatcher nearly leaped out of their skin. "What can I get you?"

"W-w-w-well..." Thatcher tried to say, again holding his head. Though in a darkened room, the beads of sweat were like a parade on his cheeks. "The...we're here...because..."

"It's all right, son," his father soothed. "I can already tell by the look on your face what you're thinking."

"Y-you...you can?!" Thatcher took this worse than anything I've seen...well, ever, besides Maribel Capdevila's defeat at the hands of her hated rival. Hands still locked, he twisted his elbows to try to shield himself with them. He tensed up, as if he were waiting for the trap to open beneath him.

"Ta-da!"

The reaction at the transparent bag offered was almost comical. Thatcher momentarily forgot his inhibitions to stand in shock and relief, arms and fingers sort of halfway between slack and their prior panicked position. "Here you go. Some more sandwiches for you and your friends."

A pause. I don't know how to say this any other way, except my friend has forgotten anything from language to basic motor skills. It was Reika who bailed him out, taking the somewhat large bag from her friend's dad.

"Feel free to call or drop by here any time if you want something else!"

Thatcher replied with a snivel. "O-okay. If...if you say so...father..."

"Thanks, Mr. Li." Reika gave a wave, juggling sincerity and concern.

I...am completely confused. I followed along as you noticed. Enlightenment about the history between my friends only served to raise more questions than answers.

"Fritz, was it?" I was about to set off to follow, but was called back. I paced a small circle to stand before him again, wondering what it could be for. "Fritz Westmyn?"

"Yeah."

"Thomas Li." He extended his hand, this time without a bag in it. I gave him my own, and though his grip was slack, shook on our formal introduction. Once the passive observer, I was now the focus of his attention.

"Thank you for looking out for Thatcher," he said with sincerity. "He's never had someone like you in his life that he could look up to."

I kept a polite silence, absorbing this information. I never realized...that might be the case until now. There's Maribel Capdevila, but she's more an idol. She's not someone who could be a presence in his life. I knew he might view me as someone to look up to. But I never thought I'd be the only one.

Bravado fading as they sulked out of sight, Thomas let out a deep sigh. "I do what I can for my son. Like this, and making sure Reika was with him here. But I regret I wasn't able to do more to help him. He's had very little opportunity between my work as a traveling chef, Tia's work as a computer technician, and the illness."

"Illness?"

"Oh. Never mind." He snapped up and backpedaled. "Please don't bring it up to him, okay?"

"If you say so..."

I might not bring it up to him, but now he's got me wondering. I should hustle out and join them though, just so they don't think much of my delay.

An illness that Thatcher had. Hmm.

----------

"F-f-father..."

That was the first thing my senses detected on opening the door outside. What were once soothing rays to my friends are now a harsh, unrelenting shine. It's less noticeable for Reika given Thatcher's obvious and apparent despair, but she looks just as helpless as him.

"You...you g-got to tr-travel...the world. Why?" Thatcher sniveled, eyes welled up. "Wh-why w-would you...give that up? Why...?"

Reika held her mouth open, the only thing managing to escape being air. Even as she approached, her whispers, "I've never seen Thatcher like this before. Ever," could be debated more as sorrowed breath. "I'm really worried, Fritz."

"I'm sure he'll pull through." If he made it through what I saw last weekend, he'll live through this. If I've inferred any tiny detail about him since meeting him, it's that he doesn't let things keep him down. "But there's got to be a way to cheer him up."

Let's think here. This isn't nearly at the level of the breakdown he had when Maribel lost. Still, at the same, it feels...a little more fundamentally deep. I'm hoping that my initial instinct is right, and this won't remain as a dark cloud hovering over his head. He hasn't let results of said contest bother him...wait, that could work.

"Hey, I got an idea."

Reika leaned forward in interest. "What?"

"Let's go take him to see a Pokemon Contest." I'll admit, it isn't the most innovative solution. It's so simple, it's a little stupid. If not that, it's certainly foolish to suggest it to someone who hates them.

"That would be for the best, wouldn't it?" She admitted this without any sort of pain or remorse. She twirled her ponytail a little. "I can't think of anything else. Can you?"

"No," I shook my head. Maybe there is something more, but it's better to strike when the iron is hot. "The least we can do is support him by offering." The worst that can happen is that he says he doesn't feel like it.

Reika closed her eyes in serenity. "Hey...Thatcher..."

"Fritz."

What? Oh. With a gesture of the hand, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed individual in swank clothing drew near. His blemish protection glistened in the sun's light.

"Who're you?" Reika asked. She tried to demand it, her mood not shifting as fast as she might like.

"One of Aporon's goons," I explained to her. I rustled my hair...besides Edgar the one time, the meetings between my friends and harassers have been nonexistent. "What do you want, David?"

"Nothing," the prep plainly stated. "But you had better come see this." He has a peculiar stoicness in his visage. A disturbing blend of association, anger, scorn, and indifference. "It is not for anyone's sake but your own."

"For his own sake?" Reika yelled. There it is, that didn't take long. She clamped her crutch in a deathgrip and made a fist with her free hand. "What's that supposed to mean?"

That's what I'm wondering. Maintaining my cool, I thought aloud, "What could be that important?"

"Hmph." Not going to give me an answer. He's just going to scoff like he usually does. He may not be as bad a person as I initially thought, but this quirk I could do without. The prep said, "It's better that you see with your own eyes." Pft.

"F-f-fa-Fritz." Thatcher was paying attention? His wallowing gave way to curiousity for my circ*mstances. He was still sobbing a bit as he pondered, "What...what could be...?"

"I don't know," I told him, "But I don't like how serious he sounds."

With David leading the way, the four of us began to march. Reika was struggling to retain pace on her crutch. Actually, screw it. I'm tired of this. "Can you tell me what it is and what we are doing, for once?"

"The battlegrounds," David informed, not acknowledging my frustrated tone for better or worse. "I would elaborate further, but by the time I finish the explanation, we will already have arrived. As we have just now."

Here we are. I have never seen so many people here to watch...what? It's not a battle...a Pokemon battle at least. Several familiar faces are among the crowd, including Aporon, Muriel, Teiko, Teikō, Cinque, Carlie, Andrew, Varick McGrody, and the guy who wanted me to go to the greenhouse. Most of all is Premala, having stepped forth...no really, forget that. What?

Thatcher's mouth hung slightly ajar at the spectacle. "Is...is that...?"

"What's going on here?" I demanded. "What's Phoebe doing?"

David snorted. With pure venom, he explained, "My thick-skulled brother went beyond too far with his actions."

Wait, "Edgar's your brother?"

"It is difficult to believe, but it is the truth. He is my full brother." I honestly never would've guessed they were related, let alone by full blood. A fact that seems to irritate this haughty prep, too. They look and act nothing alike. "Do you recall the little joke we made last Saturday? He used her adverse reaction towards that prospect as a means of insult."

"He's insulting her for making out with someone she hardly knows in front of four other people? What the hell kind of logic is that?"

"Inelegantly worded, but asking precisely what I did. Nevertheless, it sent her over the edge."

"What in the f*ck?" Reika exclaimed.

"You see?" I yelled at his ugly face, "You see what your jackass 'training' has done?"

Remaining cool, David responded, "Edgar has been read the riot act, if that changes anything. There are lines to be drawn, and he overstepped those boundaries." Just the riot act? Ugh, that really doesn't mean much. He gazed out at the scene with regret. "Thus far, she has expressed her distaste towards us for treating her as we did, yourself and her sister for not being there for her, and everyone else on campus for not stepping in."

"But then why is she going after Premala?" Of all people, I don't know why someone who she's never interacted with - to my knowledge - could be a target of delirious wrath.

"I am uncertain of the specifics on that one," a just as confounded as I am David said. "It might be best to ask her yourself."

Is that really a good idea? God. But I guess there's nothing else I can really do. If she is pissed off, she's going to come confront me sooner or later. And waiting may only make it worse. May as well try to get it out of the way now...entailing walking right in there...and getting it done...just like this...

"Um...hey," I awkwardly greeted.

"You!!" The expected result. Screw it. Let's cut right to the chase.

"Phoebe, what's wrong?" I asked, trying my best to show concern. Well, I mean, more concern.

"Everything!! No thanks to you!!" she cried, pulling harshly on her headwrap. "I thought we were going to be friends! Best friends! But you weren't there for me when I needed you!!"

"It's a difficult situation to handle," I interrupted her rant. She at least isn't too far out of it to give an ear to my reason. "I can't do everything, and I can't be everywhere." I paused to let this hang over her...it seems to be working, because she isn't angrily reacting. I barely noticed Premala smiling to me in approval, but paid it little heed. "Just because one retarded jackass says stuff because you didn't want to kiss me doesn't make it true and doesn't mean anyone else buys his bullsh*t."

"I...wouldn't have minded!" What in the-what? "Not in front of them...but I did like you! You...you didn't even give me a chance though! You didn't even want to get to know me..."

"That's not true."

"It is..." Her hands balled into fists, barely containing tears. Sorrow. It's progress, at least. "And then...SHE comes in!!"

Oh, never mind. Phoebe pointed with such object fervor that it felt like she was trying to project a blast of wind her adversary's way. "Is that what this is about?" I turned to Premala in annoyance. "What've you been telling her? Telling everyone?"

The robed girl shook her head. "I have told them nothing," she said. "People tend to judge with their eyes and not with their mind."

Ugh, too true. But we need to clear this up. If not for her, then for me. "Phoebe, there's nothing going on-"

"Stop lying! I know you kissed her and liked it!" For god's sake, really? A seething, but ponderous Phoebe strutted forth with fervor. "You! You think you're better than everyone else! Well, you're not!" Premala remained unflinching. She...never really struck me as the egotistical type. Again, she pointed right at Premala. "I challenge you!! To see who's better for Fritz!"

"What?"

"If you will it. I accept."

"WHAT???" What the f*ck?! "H-h-hold on. Y-you're not ACTUALLY going to-"

Premala grabbed me by my shoulders - firmly but gently. She flashed a soft smile. "Do you trust me?"

"To tell you the truth...no."

"Mm." You know what they say about honesty. Premala nodded. "I understand. Frisco. I will show you that you can."

That's it? I'm supposed to just take her word and have done with it? What the hell? I stomped over to my friends and David. Not gonna lie. I'm in a hysteria quite similar to Phoebe's.

"Ugh!! This is ridiculous. This...this is insane! What did I do to deserve this?!"

Reika rolled her eyes. "Fritz, I warned you! You brought this all on yourself!"

"No!" I protested. "It's not my fault!"

"Yes. None of the fault here lies with you." Wait, David is...defending me? Did I walk out of the cafeteria into some alternate universe? I'm confused. "Aporon chose you for the tournament not to get back at you for anything, but to secure his victory. All this we have been putting you through was simply a test."

"A test?"

He blinked. "I've said too much already. You'll find out soon enough." Guess that slipped out. "Anyway, when that approach failed to fulfill the double purpose of spurring you on, we hoped you two would become good friends. With our duress providing extra motivation for unity." David went on to stare out into the space beyond the two people waiting to square off, as a few people stepped in to make the preparations. "It may have panned out. But Edgar ruined any chance of that happening. This incident is cause of he alone. Phoebe's reaction could not be helped."

"It could've been helped if you stopped him!" I shouted.

He countered quickly, "We would have done so if we were there to witness the incident."

"You...you what?" He opened his mouth- "Oh, forget it. Never mind. God..."

...damn it. Just when things were looking up, this happens.

"Well...I guess there's no getting out of this," I grumbled. God. Wish I could just ignore this and walk away. But I may as well find out what the more desirable of the two - and I use that term loosely - comes through. I walked up a few feet from her, "So, what are you going to do?"

"I will be using my Spoink. My Leafeon. And my Tropius," the mysterious girl told me. "We'll see how things turn out."

"You're...actually battling her?" And two grass, and nothing really in mind? "That's really not helping my tensions, you know."

She smiled at me. "Frisco. Relax. Everything will be fine." She walked towards me. I took some steps back, but she accelerated enough to touch foreheads.

"I promise you."

She'd better be right. I stepped back and stood by myself close to the action, a side view from the center. Premala turned back to Phoebe, one of her Pokemon resting in her hand. The way they sent them out contrasted - Phoebe violently threw her capsule onto the ground, whereas Premala - I'd say shyly but she's anything but - opened hers up manually.

With a roar, a furry fulvous otter emerged. Tribal-markings line its face, including a slice above its eyes and black stripes over its face. Its front side from its neck to its belly is a lighter tone, though with two spots outside its gut. The creature's stubby arms - barely reaching out from the tube resting on its shoulders and just wedged below its two pirouetting tails - have dull dorsals on their back sides. Phoebe's Floatzel...

Premala's Pokemon is far simpler to describe. It's like a taller, more slender Eevee, except its tail is like a crinkled leaf, its ears are like crinkled leaves, it has a cowlick like a crinkled leaf...a few crinkled leaves are even sticking out of its body for good measure.

"No, no, wait! Not that one!"

Phoebe reflexively recalled Floatzel and sent out a different Pokemon simultaneously. This tiny blue arachnid was far less intimidating. It has two round orbs with pointy nails sticking out the side of its face - slightly sharper than the ones beside its sneering jaw. Its tail is comprised of several flattened spheres with demon-like horns jutting out. Legs are kind of tiny, though...and the turquoise mask it wears across its forehead is fairly absurd. How does it see out of that with those tiny eyes?

Premala seems to have no problem with this abrupt switch. "Are you ready?" she calmly asked.

"You bet I am!" Phoebe declared. "Skorupi, Poison Sting!"

Raising its tail high, the bug scuttled forward with intent to jab it into its foe. Leafeon deftly dodged and...no, that's actually it. It just dodged.

And that took Phoebe out of things. She paused in place. So did her Pokemon. And um, everyone else, except for Premala and her Pokemon. She simply smiled a little cheekily, and I think her Pokemon did as well.

"Poison Sting again!" Phoebe said, with a little less gusto. Again, this was met with a simple dodge and no follow-up attack. This elicited a more immediate and emotional reaction. "ARGH!!! What do you think you're doing?! That's not funny! Skorupi, stop it with Scary Face, and Poison Sting!"

Skorupi narrowed its mask whilst snarling, and went in for a third go. But Leafeon was not at all deterred by this glare, and simply made a third dodge. Premala nodded in acknowledgement.

"Please..." she softly spoke, "Magical Leaf."

With a serene wobble, the attack loosed from the Pokemon and quickly homed in on their target. The glowing folioles - already glancing in nature - did very little to affect their target.

"What was that all about?" Phoebe asked, trying to exude her rage, but natural curiousity taking precedence. She quietly commented to herself, "That didn't affect Skorupi much."

Premala shook her head. Then smiled as if to say her next move would, "Grasswhistle."

And it did. Unlike the likes of Sing, Grasswhistle is closer to Supersonic in how it's out of the range of human hearing. It's becalming to those that do hear it, to the point of where it can induce sleep. And Skorupi appears to be one of those species affected, as it slumped to the ground peacefully. I would say Premala then stared off into space, but her eyes were closed.

"WE'RE NOT PLAYING SLEEP IS KNOCK OUT!!" screamed Phoebe. "NOBODY EVER DOES!!" True enough. Everyone who does play like that quickly changes their mind when they meet the likes of my Tangela.

"I see." Premala nodded. "Then, Leafeon. Aromatherapy."

Seeing a Grass-type Pokemon release powder isn't anything unique to me especially with my Tangela, but...wait, what did she just-?

"What do you think you're doing?!" I demanded. Waking up her opponent? Her response was a quick smile.

"It is okay."

I don't understand her at all. The radiant dust washed over Skorupi. The scorpion twitched upon catching scent of the fragrance, before hobbling to its feet - a little groggy, but otherwise normal. But really, this isn't overconfidence. What's she up to?

Phoebe took it as an insult. "Don't underestimate us! Skorupi, SWALLOWCUTTER!!"

That's...reason enough!? Swallowcutter is a bit of a weird - and advanced - Flying move. The user tries to confound the target with speed, followed by slashing. It's not unavoidable by an attentive and/or quick target, but it's tough. Leafeon...seems to be neither. Ow. Skorupi's approach was a little slow, but once it was there, it quickly whipped its tail around at blinding speeds. The only sign that it hit was Leafeon going stumbling back.

"We're hitting that Poison Sting!!" Phoebe yelled, and with its opponent still reeling, the little crawler did. The injection was a little sloppy, but it got the job done. And Premala, is...smiling right now?

It hit me just before it happened. The sun is glistening high above the battlefield, nary a cloud to obstruct it. Though Leafeon was momentarily sated by the toxins entering its system, Leaf Guard kicked in. A green aura, much like the photosynthetic power of an Energy Ball, surrounded the wound. When it faded a few seconds after, it was like it wasn't even there.

"Huh!?" Phoebe was dumbfounded by this development. So much so that she didn't notice Premala gesture.

In response, Leafeon dashed toward its opponent at a high velocity, and with the distance (or lack thereof) between them gave no time to react. It was a gentle, but forceful impact. Premala said after a moment's hesitation, "...Hidden Power." This manifested as a ring of colorless spheres which surrounded the small fox. They were freed at the same moment after a brief charge, remaining in perfect formation as they struck their target. Which seems to have done a lot of damage...

"No..." Phoebe protested, as her Pokemon struggled to remain up. "It's not over yet! It can't be! Poison Fang!!"

Premala sighed sadly. "Leafeon, Energy Ball. Okay?" Her Pokemon carried out the order, halting its foe's advance en route. Phoebe started to panic over this development.

"Dig...you have to retreat Skorupi!!"

Leafeon didn't let them get that chance. Another Quick Attack, and that was all it took. Skorupi slumped over for the second time in the battle, but this time, for losing the will to go on.

"That's..." a startled Phoebe began, "How did you do that?" I swear she sniveled a little while bringing Skorupi back, mumbling an apology under her breath.

Her next course of action was to send Floatzel out again. "It's okay. You may have the type advantage, but I can still hit you hard! Floatzel, Razor Wind!"

The brown mammal began to twirl its two tails like a helicopter. Wonder if it could take off into the air with those. Anyway, the attack began as a mere breeze, but some distance away became a speedy dust devil. Leafeon attempted to evade this, but was barely caught by the move. It disappeared with a puff, leaving only a few scratches on the verdant fox. Phoebe cheered.

"Yes! Now, hit it with Aqua Jet, then Ice Fang!"

Floatzel...must've been getting some training, because it's a bit faster than when I fought alongside it. A recovering Leafeon had no time to react to this rush, or Floatzel chomping into its side. Condensing air from its frozen incisors leaked from the weasel's maw. As it was struggling to get up...

"Ice Fang again!"

Premala groaned a little. "Leafeon, protect yourself with Magical Leaf." Out came the shimmering petals, but this time...they encircled Leafeon instead? Whoa.

"No, no! Stop, Floatzel! Stop!" Between its trainer's frantic shout and its own reaction, Floatzel slammed on the breaks just in time. It prevented itself from running smack into the attack, but couldn't respond to it being fired its way right after. Unlike Skorupi, it took this attack way worse. Premala silently looked to Leafeon, which went on to prep for the move again.

"Agility to get away!" Phoebe shouted, and with that her Floatzel's footspeed increased dramatically. It was enough to get away from a second volley of the attack, which summarily failed to keep track of its target, faltering out pitifully. It's a helpful move and aimable unlike say, Quick Attack. But it does wear on the user if used excessively. "So now...Razor Wind a second time!"

Another bout of the attack. Premala and Leafeon, however, don't seem to be willing to throw in the towel. The fox scampered just out of range of the wild whirlwind, before Premala said, "Try Energy Ball." It hurled out a photosynthetic sphere which caught the weasel on the side, then...what what WHAT? After concentrating, it turned a flowing, glistening laser comprised of sparkling white energy on its foe. A few of the more astute people watching - including myself - gasped at this. Phoebe gasped when it hit her Pokemon and rendered the already tired-Pokemon unconscious.

I had to run up to her regarding this. "Fai-?! R..." I whispered to her, unable to say my words. I wasn't expecting it to have that of all things. I really...okay. Pokemon have a lot of types - over twenty in fact - even if part of the world turns a blind eye to some of them some of the time. And this one...forget it. I'll explain some other time whenever it's relevant.

"Yes," she confirmed, getting back to reality instead of my own musings. "It required much effort...but it was able to learn the move in the end."

A quivering Phoebe had dropped to her knees. She could hardly believe what was happening. She was as listless as her fainted Pokemon as she recalled it. The almost broken girl rasped, "It's...not...over...yet."

"It's three-to-one!!" some random person with good hearing yelled.

"SHUT UP!! NO ONE ASKED YOU!!"

Even when facing an opponent in a match, Premala's demeanor was the same as always. "Phoebe..." she spoke, unbridled concern in her voice. I can sort of respect that, strange as it sounds.

"Shut up!!" But Phoebe took it another way. The delirious girl leaped up and ripped a sphere out, nearly tearing her strap in the process. In her eyes, I see complete hatred. "It's not over yet! I still have one left! Face my best and strongest Pokemon!! Incendooh!!"

Released from the capsule was a strange ursid Pokemon with a small grin and beady eyes. Much of its wildly ragged fur is a scarlet color, with a lighter patch around its midsection. By contrast, its limbs, ears, and part of its backside are an umber tone. On its two legs, it's about two and two-thirds feet tall. And I don't know what it is about it, but it almost looks...forgotten? Huh?

"Uh-oh..."

"Uh-oh?" I barely held back the urge to scream aloud. "What the hell does 'uh-oh' mean?!" Isn't stopping me from screaming in a whisper, though.

Premala stared at it for a moment. "As part of my training..." She paused momentarily. "...that is, my travels, I studied a number of fauna and habitats across this country." The two of us examined the red bear carefully. If Phoebe didn't let it out of its ball just now, it could be considered an unreleased Pokemon. Good lord, what the hell was that, Fritz? Premala continued, "However, I am unfamiliar with this one."

"Hmm..." I can fix that. "Let me scan it for you."

I retrieved my scanning device from my back pocket. If it were anyone else, I'd be hesitant. But here, I'm not really worried about Premala potentially recognizing it. To be honest, I think she already knows where I'm from. I just get the feeling. I never did tell too many people my given name, so...

Incendooh
Fire Type

Nicknamed the Flame Bear. Much of the hair fibres covering this Pokémon are a shade of red: auburn and brick among the two most common singular colors. The darker the hair, the more resilient the Pokémon is to its own flame. Black patches are indicative of one of two things: singed hair, or flame-retardant patches. The natural points for the latter include the hands, the feet, the tips of its ears, and the spiked hair on its back. Tiny pores on these body parts are where it expels the fire it generates. They can grow up to 1.0m, and have a mass of around 15kg.

It is one of the 27 official starter Pokémon of Japan. As with most of them, due to monopolization by the Japanese government, Incendoohs are uncommon in the wild. These Pokémon are curious, and fascinated with their own fire. A blast of it is as much a show of affection as it is an attack, although this is a trait that breeders have attempted to suppress. Wild Incendoohs especially are captivated by the glow of flame in darkness, and have been known to wander near campfires.

Unlike their evolutionary relatives, Incendooh strongly prefer to attack with their limbs, rather than their flame. It is theorized that this is a behavioral adaptation, so that sparring comrades would not burn one another.

Premala expressed appreciation. "I see," she said. "Thank you. I feel a little more confident now."

"I don't know," I said in response. "It is a Fire type."

"I will be fine."

I stepped back again, though am closer to the side I guess I'm backing. The two Pokemon had begun to circle one another in lieu of commands. Despite her reassurances, there does seem to be a solemn look in Premala's eye. Her Pokemon is keeping a bright face, but its subtle motions are a hint to its condition. Phoebe is remaining defiant to the adversity, whereas her battler appears a little antsy.

It doesn't have to wait much longer though, as Phoebe clenched a fist in determination. "Incendooh, Defense Curl and Fire Ball!" she ordered.

The small bear curled up, shrouding itself in flames. It bounced up and made a gravity-defying tackle aimed directly at Leafeon. Reminds me of Flame Wheel and Swift. Never seen that before, but it's definitely not innovated by her. The toll of battle already wearing on the fox, it took the attack dead-on. And then...

"Incendooh, THRASH!!"

Some people might think something just under three feet - even if it is a bear - might not be able to hit hard. But this little monster swung its body out with enough force to leave no question to its power. The last shred of doubt surely evaporated when it smacked Leafeon halfway across the field, instantly putting its lights out.

Premala took this as if it were an inevitability, approaching her downed friend calmly and squatting beside it. "Thank you Leafeon, for a job well done." she said, stroking the battered Pokemon soothingly. I swear it looked up at her for a moment before she recalled it. Phoebe adjusted her headwrap, a bit of security entering her visage. Sparks are coming out of her bear's body...it didn't seem impatient once the matchup started, but the wait then and now seems to be driving it up the wall. And I don't know if Premala taking her time is purposeful...

...nah, probably not.

A bit of thought did go into her next selection...for some reason. If it wasn't for the tiny little nubs to its sides, one could easily (if gruesomely) say this is a severed head of a boar. If one examined close, its ears could be spotted pinching the small crystal between themselves. The elasticity of its coiled tail is blatant; this little guy (gal?) called Spoink had difficulty getting still at first, though it did eventually do so. You know. Because if it couldn't stop moving, that would be stupid on numerous levels.

"Hehe!" Phoebe chuckled. Almost giggled. Weird to see her happy all of a sudden. "Here's a surprise for you! Incendooh, Pin Missile!"

Turning its back on its foe, the messy hair on the ursid's back began to stand on end. Tensing up or gathering power much like my Nidorina when it uses Poison Sting, it expelled several spine-like projectiles at a high velocity towards Spoink.

They failed to notice that Spoink had been gradually pulling itself down. Right before it was hit, Premala's Pokemon released the tension, rocketing itself high into the air. What's more, it's about to fall on Incendooh.

Phoebe wasn't taken aback at all at this development. "Avoid it, and hit it with a Fire Punch as it comes down!!" she fired off with poise.

The flame bear took two steps back, simultaneously getting out of the way of the high height stomp and getting into the wind-up position for the attack. Spoink naturally whiffed it's GOT SHOCK WAVE?!?!! It did not land from the Bounce plain and simple; instead, an expanding ring of electricity burst out along the ground upon impact. And much like anything that can't hide in the air, there was no dodging this. Phoebe's Pokemon managed to carry out its command a split-second before it got zapped.

Incendooh got the better of the trade, but the two Pokemon jumped back into action at the same time, trading a Headbutt and Zen Headbutt respectively. It was Spoink who got the better of this one.

"You're trying to take the fight up close?" Phoebe asked. "That's nice, but it's not going to work! Show them your Charm, Incendooh!"

After realization and a motion from Premala, Spoink's body begin to shimmer mysteriously, but it was too late. On catching sight of the sickeningly adorable display, the pig lowered its guard. Spoink did regain its composure shortly after the act had ended and a determined grin came over Incendooh, but its motions had far less vigor in them than prior.

"Good job. Now, Wild Charge!" Electrical energy crackling from its pores, the bear barreled forward right into a Psybeam. Guess they forgot that Psychic-types often carry special attacks as well. Phoebe began to panic again. The follow-up Power Gem from Spoink only nicked its foe as it rolled aside to avoid it, but still did damage.

Unfortunately, it was enough damage to cause a raging inferno to sweep over the bear's body.

All at once, all the joy in the world seemed to funnel into Phoebe. "All right, Blaze!!" she said with a leap and fist pimp. "Now Incendooh should be strong enough to knock out your Pokemon in one hit, hussy!!"

Premala folded her hands. "Skill Swap."

Before it could even register, two spheres barely on the spectrum wafted out of each Pokemon and into the other. I think after that, a surge of energy that's just off connected the two for a moment. I think that's how it works, and the Pokemon's motions said as such.

"Gah!! Did you honestly...teach it that...just for that?!"

I turned to her, wanting to know the very same question. She smiled and told me, "You know the answer already, do you not?" Well...that's true. A move like Skill Swap isn't something you use all the time, but it's good to have around. And you're thankful when you can use it. Still...wow. I was not expecting this. Even in higher levels of battling, this is rare. Who the hell is this girl?

"Fine!! It doesn't matter then! We're still going to beat you!" Phoebe pulled her headwrap, a tic I surmise from one of our training sessions that she does when ready to make a bold move. "Incendooh, HEAT WAVE!!"

Like that. Incendooh focused hard. It tensed every ounce of its frame to the absolute limit, quivering under the duress. It looked its foe dead in the eye, and with a roar...what in the hell? Is that steam? A massive cloud of steam? The flame bear's scream went shrill with panic and frustration, and it flailed around a little as the gas escaped its body.

"No!!" shouted Phoebe as her Pokemon nearly fell over in exhaustion, "That's all wrong!! But...that...also works!!"

Okay...this is the first time I've seen Heat Wave backfire like this...and judging from just about everyone else's looks and even Premala's, it's the first time they've all seen it too. An unpracticed or hard-to-use attack can go wrong...but something like this, what the hell?! How did that line up?! It's a rhetorical question, I know. What's important is the downwind is gently carrying the botched attack towards a terrified Spoink, and neither it or its trainer knows what to do.

"Tropius can still handle it, right?" It'll be awkward for all of us if she loses this. I don't know what that attack is going to do, but it can't be any good.

Premala ponderously nodded. "Tropius is among my most dependable friends. Perhaps the most. There is no doubt in my mind it would be able to."

"That's good." Now that made me breathe a loud sigh of relief. "You better be ready to do that."

Still having been thinking, something came to Premala at that moment. She flashed me a flirty grin. "I did not say it was forced, however." Turning to her Pokemon, she encouraged, "Spoink, this will be difficult, but please...Bounce as high as you can."

Is she actually going to...she is!! With far more power than before, up went the springy swine. Up, up, and over the scalding cloud! I've seen pigs fly before, but watching one falling with style is way cooler. Phoebe and Incendooh froze in fear.

"Dodge, In-Incend-...INCENDOOH!!!"

That was Phoebe's reaction, spouting an order too little too late, and cried out as her Pokemon was nailed. How much does that guy weigh? Unimportant, I guess. Because Spoink carried enough girth to instantly knock out the ursid when landing on it.

My teammate in the tournament again fell over in her mental state. She looks really distraught...she's on her hands and knees, like she wants to curl up and die. She missed recalling her defeated Pokemon three times, until getting it right the fourth time.

"GAIEHHEHHHEHEAAAAHHH!!!!"

Uh? That was the rough verbalization of a cross between a wail of depression and cry of frustration. She scrambled to her feet and ran off crying...for a small-framed person, Phoebe has an amazing footspeed. An unlucky group of people just near the battlefield's exit got bowled over by the girl, who was barely slowed by this.

...wow...

Premala sighed sadly. The sigh of a person who did something they had to do, despite not wanting to do so. The sigh of someone displeased with a particular outcome. She approached and stood before me. "Frisco," she almost apologized, before another sigh escaped her breath. She took her leave just as abruptly, albeit not with as much haste.

And that's that.

No one is doing anything, saying anything, or even sure what to think.

I'm just standing where I am. Everyone else is standing where they have been.

This awkward silence was...out of all things, broken up by Aporon. He smugly looked over to a concerned, but ultimately unimpressed Muriel. "I never thought your sister was as screwed up as you."

"You're the one who screwed up, Aporon!" she fired back. "If my sister hates Fritz, how are they going to be able to team together?"

Like a ton of bricks, it hit him. I hate to admit it, but as bad as these circ*mstances are for all parties involved, it was worth it to see his stunned expression. Completely priceless. The king of the school cut down to size. As the crowd began to disperse, I approached my mentor for the tournament. "She's right, you know."

"Look," he said, devoid of any of his usual bravado. David approached with a nod, my friends following behind. Returning the motion with a robotic wave, Aporon reassured, "I'll take care of it. Somehow..."

The two of them left while whispering to each other; I use that as a loose term. Aporon's stressed rasps probably could've been heard several meters away, and his body language was apparent for the whole world to perceive. That left my friends and I on our own.

Thatcher and I looked at each other. We synchronously sighed and lowered our heads. We were in the same boat for once...this day had gone from good to bad for us both in moments. I mean, first we find out Thatcher's father is working here for his son, and then this happens. As for Reika...I peeked over to her. She has know idea what to think or what to do anymore. I really don't blame her; the only thing I can think of doing is to pray nothing bad comes from any of this.

The Story of Fritz Westmyn: The Turning World (old, crusty, abandoned) (2024)

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