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

Replies:

@AiedailEclipsed;

AiedailEclipsed said:

Will we ever get to see a battle between Fritz and someone like Muriel or Aporon or Elyna, when they're on point?

Probably eventually! They were introduced as strong opponents, and both parties going at it full capacity is something not to pass up.

AiedailEclipsed said:

I'm also ever curious about Fritz's origins in North America and about his other Pokémon there. You continually revealing new ones that he has used before that are "allowed" in Japan make me so curious!

The general rule is, anything 493 plus Sylveon. They've all been revealed at this point. Tangela, Nidorina, Mareep, Eevee, Huntail, Vespiquen that he used in the school arc. And Lairon, Houndour, Toxicroak, Azumarill, and Mantine that haven't been. As well as Crobat, who's kind of in limbo at the moment.

Those aside, he's also mentioned two that aren't allowed, a Hydreigon and a "Falkyrie".

AiedailEclipsed said:

One thing I think would be a good thing to keep in mind going forward is character balance. I realize that how you write Fritz is particular in how his strategies work and such, but I sometimes feel how he does is almost overdone. I know that he has lots of previous experience, but at the same time, it's... borderline on becoming a bit too Gary Stu?

Bigger challenges are coming.

AiedailEclipsed said:

I really felt this was illustrated in the battle against Capdevila. And this is coming from someone who specialized in that character type for a while there.

This was kind of an interesting battle from a plot perspective. Fritz didn't so much as do well as Maribel did poorly, as the bonus alludes to. A theme of Part 3 is the role you play in other peoples' lives. Fritz' draw with Maribel is close to, if not a last straw in her ongoing cold streak.

AiedailEclipsed said:

I think another thing that would be good is for you to maybe concentrate on developing a core set of characters in these next few chapters? The Traveling Hobos would be a good place to go. For instance, we don't know if they have Pokémon or if they're terrified of them. With this story moving from a stationary setting towards this more mobile one, it'll be key for you to pick some characters and work with them more, I think.

That's the plan moving forward! Although developmental detail - the Hobos are harder to write than I thought. I mean, Dick was supposed to be out-of-place and change the dynamic alone...but it changes it a bit too much. @_@ If/when they show up again, you can be sure you'll see more development, though.

More developmental fun facts: the splitting up was originally to test drive the narrative with Fritz being on his own, but I ended up liking Bonnie after reusing her in 3-4, so...


@chaos_Leader;

chaos_Leader said:

Hey there! I just finished reading this entire story in essentially one day-long binge-read. Gonna focus my thoughts mainly on the post-hiatus content, since that's more relevant I think.

Mmmhmm!

chaos_Leader said:

I like the change of pace this post-expulsion arc is taking. For a while it was building up in a pretty traditional academic-setting style fic. Also, I feel like a lot of the characters and interactions, especially earlier in the story, were a little over-the-top.

Guilty as charged on that last part, thinking about it, heh. I did pick up more of a rhythm for that as I went along, and there will be more consistently down-to-earth/well-balanced characters moving forward.

chaos_Leader said:

The whole "Traveling Hobo Detective Agency" angle is pretty cute, I have to admit. I would find it quite hilarious if, after being separated from Fritz for an extended period, they show up again as a wildly successful franchise.

The hobos will be back soon. But you won't be disappointed!

chaos_Leader said:

The change of pace is nice, yes, but now we're left at a bit of a conundrum: where does the story go now? What drives the action of the story going forward? What provides the tension of the plot? When Fritz was in the academic setting, there were all sorts of social dilemmas, and even a malicious mystery mon at one point. Now, there's nothing. For these first chapters of the "post-expulsion arc" it's not too much of a concern: this is where you get Fritz settled into the new life, establishing the new starting point. But since it is basically a new start, I feel like it would benefit the story greatly for there to be a new plot hook, a new something to drive the story. We don't really have that: we have a single cute episode with the family, and a slight teaser with a champion, but nothing really to grab the reader into what happens next...

For all intents and purposes it feels like this new arc could be broken off of this story entirely and made into a proper standalone sequel. From what I can see, it looks like you've done it once before already. The "academy arc" has essentially run its course as a full story: with a beginning, middle and end, and this new arc essentially creates a new beginning.

You're exactly right. And you know what? That's exactly the point. Though not yet explicit, Fritz himself is asking himself, "Where do I go now?" He's had several options thrown at him: going on a traditional journey (3-1), returning (mentioned in 3-2, but he said no), actually being a part of the group (3-2), being a coordinator (3-3), and travelling with Bonnie (3-5, here). This is what the title of Part 3 means, "The Aimless Path". He's on a road with no destination, both literally and figuratively. Furthermore, a question of why he went to Rukh's in the first place is raised, which he's been evasive on. Besides that, the early part of this part is in-part intended to get the reader to know Fritz' non-school Pokemon, as well as putting his school Pokemon in-perspective.


@Crobatman; the Flaze

Flaze said:

Well it seems like I actually stopped reading this right at the end of part two, meaning beforeeverything went to hell. I have to admit that chapter was weird, the lead up to the end with Fritz's expulsion was really insane but I guess that was the point, you wanted to show all the things Fritz had mixed himself in and how it all came to a head before he was expelled. That being said thoug while the reveal was shocking and the end of it was sad I did feel like maybe it was a little...out there.

I mean it is racism and racism can be really bad and it varies amongts people and it's true that not everyone reacted the same way Reika did, but I kind of feel like it was borderline cartoonish how most of them reacted, especially the vice principal, again not to say it couldn't happen but the way he kept screaming and stuff just...made me laugh more than anything with how over the top it was.

The point of the setting was to get as many people gathered as possible to hear it. Kripps is supposed to be a bit crazy, yes. He definitely has his head up his ass to an extent. As for reactions, only a few in particular were really showcased. In fact, Kripps' and Reika's extreme reactions did indeed earn Fritz some sympathy - it wouldn't be nearly as bad as he thought it would've been had he returned. Particularly, I have a bonus scene where Carlie, Irene, and Andrew are in complete disbelief about how she'd turn on him so suddenly after he stuck up for her several times and remained her friend despite all that's happened. Even Josef acknowledges this, that it's unusual for Reika to be the one breaking off a friendship, and it's usually other people who can't stand her.

Although a fun fact: almost every character at the school introduced has a line in the huge mess at the end. You may even recognize some of their speech, but have a bonus with the full list including four that went unused and the "guest speakers"

Flaze said:

But again it really was sad to see Fritz go, especially since he had gotten together with Premala and all. That was like the shortest relationship ever. I do hope we get to see those characters again before too long, it'll be bad if they just never appeared again, particularly Premala considering how she and Fritz ended up becoming so close at the end.

Yes to seeing them again. Not exactly on their becoming so close. If it wasn't clear from 2-15's bonus, it was ill-fated. However, Kripps interferance caused it to end through no fault of Premala's own.

Flaze said:

I mean Fritz isn't at the academy and right now he's still trying to decide what he's going to do but I myself am just wondering where the story is heading, it's been three chapters since part three began so I guess it's still okay for it to be setting up and the last couple of chapters at least gave Fritz some idea of where he could go.

I honestly didn't expect the hobos to come back, I think this is the first story that really puts the focus on hobos and it was kind of weird cause I'm honestly thought to not really pay mind to them xD but I guess it's what's allowed to drive the story forward so far. But that does leave me with my biggest question and that is where exactly we go from here?

Again, exactly! Spoiler, Fritz himself (again) will be questioning where he goes from here.

Flaze said:

That being said though I think your chapters have been having a lot of battles lately and they tend to be really long battles, like even just a one on one is long, so maybe think about shortening a little? I get that you want to showcase all types of strategies in these battles but remember that when a battle goes for too long it can end up dragging the story with it.

The point of these battles were to introduce Fritz' other Pokemon. It'll be toned down from now on. I wasn't intending on introducing them so soon...but stuff came up.


@Athena;

Athena said:

For instance, I know very little about any character who isn't Fritz. I can give the bare basics of a few of them, but I really don't know any of them well.

Due to the nature of this, a lot of the character details need to be picked up on in conversational passing. A lot of the information is scattered about, too. Even some details about Fritz are blink-and-you'll-miss-it deals or in the subtext. A recent example is in 3-3: he said "Been a while since I've been in front of a great crowd like this". It's an innocuous line that reveals he's battled in huge stadiums before. Though I am admittedly excessive with this at times...

That said, not every character is intended to be treated as super-important. Reika and Aporon, for example, were more important than Lawrence and Muriel, who were much more important than the likes of Teiko and Ina, and even they had more importance than some characters. Everyone has their story. But not everyone is important to your own story, and you can't become involved in everyone else's (as stated in other responses, a theme of Part 3 is the role you can play in others' lives). And isn't that how it usually is? You have some main characters, you have a supporting cast, and then you have the rest. This even applies to this chapter right here. It's clear enough who the most important characters are in this mini arc.

With that in mind, I am going to be narrowing the cast moving forward, and since others brought it up too. Although do expect characters of the day. And...your bringing this up just gave me a really sick idea and help on where to go, so thanks for that. :>

Athena said:

almost all the stuff related to battles

I'm going to put this in a nested spoiler because it's a bit long and reveals things.

You've just unintentionally uncovered one of Fritz' biggest character quirks - he is good at battles, but rarely actually initiates them despite ending involved in many. Almost every battle he's been in was because he was challenged, had to fight for some obligation, or for no good reason. All the same, he's very good at it. So why does he battle? What does this mean? What can you take and guess about his feelings from this? I mean, just look at this.

  • - 1-1/1-2 vs. Huntail: Was attacked first. Caught it to spite Aporon.
  • - 1-2 vs. Gyarados: Fought this to help Thatcher and to keep it busy. Kind of felt he had no choice.
  • - 1-4 vs. Edgar: He was challenged by the hothead, and then decided to redeem himself after taking him too lightly.
  • - 1-6 vs. Bats: Wild Pokemon defense.
  • - 1-7 vs. The Beast: Wild Pokemon defense.
  • - 1-8ish vs. Edgar: He was challenged, Edgar wanted payback.
  • - 2-2 vs. Aporon: He made the challenge to try to prove himself. The rare exception.
  • - 2-5 vs. teams w/Phoebe: Forced into these as part of training.
  • - 2-6 vs. Bees: Wild Pokemon defense
  • - 2-10 vs. Phoebe: Forced fight as part of the tournament.
  • - 2-11 vs. Yujo: Tournament fight.
  • - 2-11 vs. Ryosuke: Tournament fight.
  • - 2-12 vs. Elyna: He was challenged due to her interest, and especially due to Fritz pissing her off in 2-10; this was also set up by Aporon.
  • - 2-13/2-14 vs. The Beast: Wild Pokemon defense.
  • - 3-1 vs. Tulu: He made the challenge for no good reason other than irritation.
  • - 3-1 vs. Josef: He was challenged, because Josef wanted to see how a person from North America battles.
  • - 3-2 vs. gang: Defending Saya
  • - 3-3 Contest: He entered this to pass the time, to challenge himself, and for fun, really. Can qualify as another exception.
  • - 3-4 vs. Sairo: He was challenged, for unclear reasons.
  • - 3-5 here: Still not him challenging.

I'm not kidding at all! It is indeed a indisputable fact his battles rarely have any emotional stakes for him (although not all of the above were like that, 2-12 in particular had some serious stakes). It's actually even in the open to some extent. Fritz outright states that he doesn't care about the tournament, and only actually shows...well, a refusal to outwardly react when asked if he wants to be a good trainer.

This isn't to say that the battles are pointless from the story's perspective. The coordinator battle, for example, had three purposes: the first, to help establish Fritz' old team. Second, to introduce a new character. Third, to worldbuild and in-particular show off Maribel Capdevila.

All noted, though. I'm not really sure how to respond to these points otherwise, because to make too many changes would require completely changing the tone of the fic. I can tone it down, and will take some of your advice moving forward. But like, one battle an arc? That's just not the kind of fic I want to write, and don't feel every story has to be that way. I'm more than capable of writing battles with stakes and intend to...it's just that few have come up yet. And I'll even spoil a line I may throw out when one does,

"You can be as great at battles as anyone else, but if you can't do it when it counts, it means nothing."

Besides, those battles don't come around every day. Especially in this kind of setting. Though with that all in mind, I might try a story where it's just a buildup to this one battle, just to see how I can do.

The most important thing in a battle though, IMO, is not stakes, but that it have some sort of point. Whether it's exposition (3-1 vs. Josef introducing Fritz' old Pokemon), setup (3-4 was a setup for things), just to put over something's power (1-7 with the Beast), or whatever else. I always make sure to achieve that.

Athena said:

In short... please. You've become bad at this as of late. You should take more time between fights, show Fritz when he's not fighting or on the way to his next fight.

Well, don't worry about that. Going to tone it down moving forward, regardless of sort of having Pokemon exposition in every chapter in Part 3...until now.

Athena said:

The point of the underdog story is they have everything to lose and are improbable to win. When they have nothing to lose and keep beating superior trainers, they are no longer the underdog. They're actually kind of boring to read about.

Fritz is hardly an underdog, actually. 2-2 and going into 2-12 being exceptions. But in a way, 2-12 was supposed to be pulling the exact same trick as in 1-2: showing Fritz is WAY better than he lets on. I had Elyna built up as a huge challenge, one of the school's biggest three challenges. And then Fritz decides to stop pulling punches, goes all-in, and gets the victory. And it's stated, albeit in a way that's admittedly easy to miss, that this was no fluke ("that was my best"). 2-11 also alludes to this.

Something clearly happened to him that made him want to attend an academy, but he's been noticeably evasive as to way - aside from mentioning he wanted to 'start over'. That said, Fritz is something! It just hasn't been shown what it is yet. I will say he's not an underdog, though. Far from it.

Athena said:

If Cronus had been a mentor/antagonist who became the focus of the story as Fritz slowly tried to get better to escape his shadow or prove his worth to himself, that would've been great.

Well, regarding this. Let's just say if things continued, they would've developed in a very different angle. A tiny detail, he called Fritz "Fritz" for the very first time at the very end. One of the dynamics I would've loved to explore...I did actually think of extending the school section further to a more solid conclusion, but decided leaving it abrupt fit the overall theme of the fic better.

Athena said:

But you need to think more about making long plot arcs and figuring out what Fritz is actually doing. What does he want? What will that involve doing? Who will that involve fighting? I think if you think long and hard about those questions you'll start to sort out what matters and what doesn't.

Like I said in reply to chaos_Leader. I do know where I'm going with the story: Fritz doesn't know where he's going with his life. I can understand your concerns, though. Writing a first-person narrator who isn't always forthcoming can be troublesome at times. X,X Will keep it in mind moving forward, thanks!

Thanks for all your comments. Even if I don't necessarily agree with all of your sentiments, I feel this'll help me a lot moving forward. Really appreciate it!

Notes:

Was lost on this one for a while, hence yet another huge delay between chapters. It was supposed to be one large chapter...but I split it for build-up and practicality purposes. And yet due to various expansion, it was still 50.8KB (up from around 46KB prior). Although I just learned that Wordpad format can be really weird, and depending on how I formatted sentences - even if they were technically shorter - I could go up to 50.9KB. And after I did one formating thing, it was suddenly 49.1KB.

Also hoping to get some discount Atlas stuff back up. Wish there was a good place to put them on-boards now!

__________

Chapter 3-5: Pacts

It's a blisteringly hot day today, with not the slightest hint of precipitation in the sky. I've shorn the entire outfit except the hat, which played a part in keeping the heat of the blistering June sun off my head. Said celestial object was enough of a concern for me to purchase a bottle of suntan lotion this morning before setting out. It's been about two hours since then. Being off the rails has been a pleasant experience. It's one thing to watch the countryside zoom by while riding a train. It's another to traverse it on foot. Or more specific, on the back of a mount.

The hilly valley we're traversing is a spectacle to behold. The road is the traveler's to pave, consisting of dirt, sand, and the occasional patch of burnt grass. Brown cliffs rise over the land, occasionally jutting out erratically. Rocks and shrubs litter the landscape, alongside a few small trees standing tall in defiance of the climate. Bones have been an uncommon but existent sight. Off in the distance, I can spy a small river. Various desert and mountainous Pokemon are wandering and grazing, mainly congregating near that stream.

The beast my companion is riding was formerly one of them. He's a rugged rocky creature, grayish with a tint of brown. Jagged plates cover him, though only a few on the sides and very back are close to having sharp edges. Even his horn is somewhat dull. There's a dip in his back where a single rider is able to comfortably sit. He's smaller compared to Lairon, standing at just under rather than somewhat over a meter high.

I tilted my head to ask Bonnie a question. "So have you thought of a name for him yet?"

She shook her head. "No. I have to give it some thought." Exhibit A as to why I almost never bother with nicknames. Too much work to make them meaningful. The coordinator, dressed in a loose plain white shirt and feminine knee-high blue shorts, made an appreciative gesture. "Thanks again for helping me catch him, by the way!"

"You're welcome, again. It is a pretty boss rhino, too." She did want to capture it, and her Pokemon couldn't really do much given their types and attacks, so I let her borrow Huntail for a bit. It didn't last very long against the eel's watery assault, and a few potions and bonding got the rhino ready to ride. "Speaking of nicknames, how did you come up with Bonbon, anyway?"

"Well," she twirled a finger in the air as she elaborated, "I was looking for something a bit cuter. You know, for the stage. I tried Bonne, Bonnette, then I thought, 'hey! candy!'" She counted off the first two on her other hand, also acting out the realization by beaming and laying out her palms. "And so I went with Bonbon! Bonbon Bachi! It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?" Well, duh. That makes sense. I mean, where else could it come from? It is enlightening to hear the thought process that led her to it, at least. "Hey, you said Fritz is like that too, and your real name's Frisco? What's the story there?"

"Uh." Well. Um. I kind of told her that casually, but I guess I'm fine with telling her the whole story. The short version, at least. "Well, my sister couldn't pronounce my name right when we were very little, so she called me Friss. She jokingly brought it up again like a decade later, and I changed it up a bit and stuck with it ever since. It's a bit less awkward and easier for people to remember than Frisco, too."

"That makes sense," she acknowledged. A thoughtful pause succeeded this. "It must be nice to have siblings."

"I guess sometimes." It depends. I'm certain though...a year and a half away from home, and there's still moments where I really, really miss Annika. But, shouldn't dwell there. "I imagine the one good thing about being an only child is, you get all your parents' attention."

She rocked her head, considering this statement. "That's true. I am their 'little angel'." With this, the coordinator sighed and peered at the ground. "Still, it was lonely. I did have my cousins, but extended family isn't really the same."

"I know what you mean. You really don't get to see them as often as your immediate family. So you don't get to know them nearly as well." My siblings and parents, I could tell you nearly anything about them. Spending the better part of my life with them let me learn all their quirks, all their intricacies. Not so much the rest of my family. "Even really close friends aren't the same."

"Not to say friends are bad!" Bonnie declared with an open-palm gesture and smile at me. I returned the grin. Indeed, that's a fact. "They just have different roles in your life than family, that's all. When you think about it, is it really fair to compare the two?"

"Not at all. They're like, completely different things. You know?"

"Uh-huh. Yup." She paused for a moment to take a drink of water. She sighed contentedly as her thirst was quenched. "And like they say, no road is too long in the company of a friend."

Speaking of which, I guess I should explain how my new friend and I ended up traveling together. I got some much deserved rest at the Pokemon Center after the chaos of yesterday, also swapping out several of my Pokemon as I've frequently been doing. In regards to this, I've been keeping one, usually two of my powerhouses (Toxicroak, Tangela, and especially Lairon) and at least one of my Pokemon who needs training (Mareep, Huntail, and occasionally Eevee) on-hand at all times. Speaking of which, there were people who wanted to talk to me after my performance against a potential regional Champion, to which I indulged out of politeness.

For the most part though, I stuck around the one person I knew there, and if not with her, to my room. I spent the rest of my evening mulling over my next move, and listening to the radio - every room in the Center came with one. There was an interview with Maribel Capdevila over the contest I participated in. Explains why I did so well against her. Though now I legitimately have to consider, will Thatcher listen to that program? I again wonder what he'd have to think about it.

Anyway, after a quick breakfast of hot cakes and sausages in the morning, I ended up bumping into Bonnie again. We ended up doing shopping for our individual trips together. The two of us stocked up on food, drinks, and a few miscellaneous supplies. Having done it on and off for a year and some months now, what to purchase came naturally to me. My coordinator friend did her homework as well, and despite minimal experience knew exactly what to get. During this is when the subject of our destinations came up. As it turned out, both of us are headed in the same direction, towards Porcella Town. And so that's how we ended up traveling together, at least for now. Traveling alone isn't boring for me, and I can take care of myself. But it's been pleasant. For both of us.

Bonnie yawned while protracting her arms and body. With a roll of her shoulders and ankles, the girl retrieved her cell phone from her pocket. She flicked it on and checked the screen. "Hey, it's a quarter past 11." Wow, really? "Do you want to break for lunch in a while?"

Hm, do we want to? I peered up at the sun, scouting the scenic expanse once more. A brief once-over made for an easy decision. "We should eat soon, but I think we should keep moving." I shook my head to emphasize. We can eat while we ride, and in regards to stopping, "Not like there's any comfortable or cleanly place to sit down out here, either."

"Well," she voiced while pressing her index fingers together, "It would be good to stretch our legs at least. You know what I mean?"

"True. Good point." I rotated my own ankles backwards, which were a bit sluggish to respond to my commands. My companion took note of this and giggled a bit. I chuckled at it myself. "Yup, that makes sense."

Patting her Rhyhorn's head, she added, "I imagine our Pokemon are getting tired and want to take a break, too."

On hearing this comment, Lairon snorted, making a comment. Heh. Well, I'm not a Poke-Linguist, but it's clear what that meant. "Well, either way, I guess they'll get to rest for a bit by default if we're doing that. Hopefully we can find place with some shade." Which, actually...given the time of day, that's going to be a tall order.

"It would be nice to get out of the sun for a bit. An arch or outcropping should do the trick," she encouraged, examining our surroundings herself. A frown formed on her lips. "Well, I'm sure we can find one of those."

"That or a really tall rock formation." None of the three are in the immediate area, but those first two would work for sure. Like she said, I'm sure we'll come to some before too long. It's practically inevitable. "We really have been on the road for a while. How close are we to Porcella?"

Bonnie thought about this, ultimately shrugging. "I don't know for sure. But the guidebook did say it could take a better part of a day to reach it from Mylon City on foot through the countryside."

"Oh." Was hoping she'd have like a GPS map in that phone or something, but it looks as though that ambiguous statement is all we have to go by. It does help, at least. "So we have a ways to go. Good thing we left in the morning."

"Yup."

"Just need to keep moving."

"Uh-huh. Oh!" Bonnie lit up. "Look, over there!" She motioned to the crag that was coming into view on our left side. Looks like we got an arch to rest under!

"Just what we're looking for. Let's eat and rest there for 15-20 minutes."

"Sounds good to me. Let's go!"

The two of us bought various foods, drinks, and snacks with us for the walk, although regarding the latter, purchased nothing that could melt. Rice balls, sandwiches, granola bars, those kinds of things. Nothing to make a huge meal out of, just affordable stuff you can eat on the go when traveling from point A to point B. Kind of what I've been trying to do as of late, when I don't miss cooked meals enough to want to go eat at a restaurant or other such establishment. Or with either of them, if I'm tired of discarded and charity food.

One thing's for certain, though. It'll be nice to have a decent meal with someone for the first time in over a month!

##########

"Too hot...exhausted..." A panting Bonnie, fanning herself, gazed back at me. Though her voice was too weak to express the proper tone, her eyes did the intended pleading. "Have any...left?"

I shook my last water bottle, trying to get more out. Anything. I found nothing. "Sorry. Last gulp."

She sighed. A very sad sigh. "Didn't think...it'd be this bad."

"Huh?"

"Traveling Tokatsu..." she breathed. "Traveling in summer."

"So...why not go in winter?"

"It's bad no matter what time of year you go!"

"Ah...yeah. This is bad..." Very bad.

Estimating, a further two hours or so have passed since then. We've been out in the wilderness for around three hours now. The heat has become unbearable. We thought we had plenty of water and drinks...but it caught both of us off guard how fast it disappears in this environment, even with letting our Pokemon do the exertion for us. It's fortunate that they're unreliant on hydration, both species able to go for days, if not weeks at a time without. Lairon is concerned, only forced to keep pace by Bonnie's Rhyhorn marching on without a care in the world.

Wait. Something just occurred to me. Something that could save our lives. "If we're really stuck...do have my Huntail to help."

The coordinator's eyes brimmed with concern. "Is that safe?"

"It should be..." A small huff inadvertently escaped. "...not anything fatal."

"Right. Right..." she remembered. There would be some bodily bacteria mixed in with the hydrogen/oxygen combo from on the way out, but it shouldn't kill us...any more than having nothing, in the worst case. "Good thing...you brought it."

"Want...need any now?"

"I...I don't know." Weakly, she shook her head, using her hands to support herself. "If we don't find something soon..." Bonnie paused. Her eyes were drawn to a carcass, being picked at by scavengers. Shuddering, she turned away from the gruesome sight of nature. It's something I can't help but stare at...like a wreck you can't look away from...but thankfully, we soon left it behind. My companion placed two fingers to her temple, considering something. A vocalization escaped her mouth. She pulled out a handkerchief to wipe her brow. "Hey...didn't we see a river back there?"

That's right. "Another option...maybe less risky..."

"Should we...go back?"

"...should we...?"

My words hung delicately in the air, as the Pokemon came to the top of the ridge we had been climbing. Is that?! What I'm seeing at the bottom was enough for me to signal to stop. Lairon responded immediately, though Bonnie had to tell hers to halt while gently pulling back on its head.

"Are those...houses down there?" I rubbed my eyes and shook my head, uncertain that they're not playing tricks on me. No, that's not a mirage. There really are houses out in the middle of nowhere. "A town, here?"

Bonnie, after a moment of taking in the sight, confirmed. "Tokatsu has lots of places like this. Small towns not on the map." She coughed. A worrying dry cough. "Maybe...we can find something there."

"I hope so...let's go, Lairon."

As my Pokemon began to move again, Bonnie's Pokemon snorted. The girl let out a yelp, clinging on tight as the rhino quickened its pace enough to not be the follower. Thankfully, the incline leading down was a gradual one. Our Pokemon took us to the tall gateway to this valley oasis, a makeshift metal monument that's more ornamental. A similar one stands on the opposite side.

"That...should be good," I told my Pokemon. I stretched my legs while still on him before lifting a leg behind him to carefully dismount. "Thanks for the lift. Couldn't have made it here...without you."

"Yup. Thank you." Bonnie, who was also getting down albeit with a bit more trouble, gave similar praise to her Pokemon. She found herself wobbly after such a long time of sitting, but managed to regain her equilibrium before falling over. Bringing our respective rides back to their usual homes, we turned our attention to the place before us. "La Fortuna," Bonnie read its name, delicately carved into a signpost stationed at the entrance.

An unnerving curtain of silence has been drawn over this town, if one wants to qualify it as that. Surrounded by wooden fences about three feet high, it's exactly one street long. I'm not sure where the materials for these wooden buildings were obtained. Their presence on either side of the road is a fact, but there's no sign of any usable trees. Or for that matter and more distressingly, the people who constructed them.

Bonnie's swept her sight across one side as we walked through this empty place. "They have a police station, a pub, a market...what's that say?" She tilted her body and eyed the building one removed from the far right corner. "Satō Workshop?"

"And a whole lot of homes." Most of them situated on our left. "Hey, check that one out." I pointed towards the largest structure here, dwarfing every other building save perhaps the pub - a large two and some storey building on the far left side. They could've built two houses where this one stands, at least.

After taking that in, Bonnie placed her hands in front of her lips. "Hellooooo? Is anyone here?"

No response. Not even from the wind.

I followed as she meandered over to an open-air structure, tilting her head to peer inside. My internal guess on their being stables was proven correct when we spotted a wheelbarrow and piles of hay inside. Yet no signs of anything else that goes in a stable.

"Nothing." I shook my head.

"Maybe this place is abandoned."

I shook my head. Not ruling it out, but, "It has to be fairly recent if so. Doesn't look like the buildings are in any disrepair."

"Well, we've found shelter at least." After letting out a sigh of relief with me, she looked out at the town. "And maybe supplies."

"If there's any place here bound to have stuff, I imagine it's the pub." To drink, I mean. Water, alcohol, whatever. We just need something. It's right next door to where we are now. It may even make for better shelter.

"Might even be people there too." Bonnie hands flew to her mouth just in time before she coughed inadvertently. "Let's check it out. The..." Walking over, we looked up at the signpost above the railings and pillars. "Grey Diamond Pub." A flat-roofed structure at least two storeys tall, likely a half higher. It looks exactly like it leaped out of another era of construction, perhaps by necessity. Windowshades prevent looking into the establishment. For that matter, neither of us can hear sound from inside. There's a 'porch' before the building's base, filthied by mud and dirt. Above it, a tiny balcony before a sloped section of roof, the former also where the sign is suspended from. A sturdy oak door stands guard, serving as the entrance.

I reached for the handle, grasping it in my right hand. Moment of truth time. I twisted my wrist. And the knob turned. I nodded to Bonnie; this place isn't locked. We can enter normally. I pushed open the door to see what lay within.

And...there are people here! Almost all the heads in the room turned to stare at us. The sole straggler is a man in a dark blue suit and hat, engrossed in his whiskey at the very back. But the rest are gawking. A four-person performance troupe, wearing traditional masks and holding musical instruments, each in an outfit white and a personal color, is atop a small stage tucked in the far right corner. There's a freakishly huge yet vacant man in jeans and a jean-shirt, with an eight-pointer covering his wiry hair. He sits with a much smaller wisenheimer. Crowned with a derby, his upper apparel consists of a contrasting tattered brown coat over a neatly buttoned white shirt. Simple tan pants held up by a belt comprise his lower apparal. To their right, a blatantly inebriated individual clad in dusty black overalls, sporting tied back hair and shadow way past 5-o-clock. Nearest to the counter, a slightly rugged, tanned man in a safari jacket is glaring at us with a furled mustache from under his dark, bushy eyebrows.

"Should we...be here?" I whispered to Bonnie. The burst of energy from finding this place had left our bodies. Replaced with an immobilizing pressure, bearing down on us.

"We...have to be..." she puffed, rightfully. We won't survive without something to quench our thirst. No matter how hostile this environment, we're dead if we don't endure it. We advanced together, retinas trained on us as we went. Regardless, we need to reach the fixture in the far left corner. Besides the stage, two other features about this pub stick out to me. One being the second floor with a number of rooms on it, and the other being the oddly-positioned lights along the sides.

The stout bartender is plainly dressed in a white shirt, black jeans, and a red bow-tie. Not a second exemption from our reception, he regarded us with disinclination as we guardedly approached. Behind him lies various coolers, containers, and a door in the corner. One of the performers whispered something unintelligible to my ears, getting forcefully nudged by a compatriot for his or her efforts.

He lowered his gaze as we stood before him. "So." His tone is low. "What'll it be?"

"Uhh..." Bonnie gulped. "W-we'd like something to drink, please."

"Sure. What'll it be?" Unchanged from before.

"Just need something..." I got out. "...water for now."

The bartender silently walked over to a cooler, retrieving two glasses along the way. He placed one beneath and held down a switch, dispensing salvation into the container. The large man passed the first water to my coordinator friend, who gulped half it down before my own was half filled. She gasped for air and nearly collapsed on the counter, as her lips drew away from the cup. Her next sip was significantly more modest. Haha. Too good. I soon received my own. I swirled the first swig around in my mouth to hydrate it, before carefully starting to enjoy the rest.

"Than-" A belch escaped Bonnie, her hands flying to her mouth late. "Oops, ex-excuse me." Her cheeks went flush. "Thank you. Sorry, guess I was too eager, there." She giggled at her faux pas.

"Ugh, gimme a break."

The man in the safari jacket? He's firing a hateful sneer our way. And in fact, is standing up and physically coming our way. What does he want?

"You two." He looked from me to Bonnie. "You don't belong here. So what're you here for?"

"We're just..." My coordinator friend is more than a bit unnerved by this man's harsh, unfriendly presence. "Passing through, that's all."

"That's right." I confirmed.

"Hmph. 'Passing through.' Right." He rolled his eyes.

"It's the truth."

"Is it?" He co*cked an eyebrow in exaggerated fashion. He shook his head, his retinas tightening around us. Did we walk into the wrong place? Should we leave? "Give me one good reason why I should believe you."

"Listen!" A panting Bonnie got out. She pleaded in desperation. "We just came in here for water and supplies. We could've died if we didn't!"

The man's menacing gaze morphed into a deathglare. "Maybe you should've."

"Wha-? AH!"

He slammed his left fist down on the counter, with enough force to rattle our drinks. "Listen up good, outsiders! We don't want you around here." He lowered himself, leveling at us over his arm with an expression of undiluted animosity. "So get on out."

Bonnie and I glimpsed at each other, before surveying the opinions of the rest of the pub's clients. Everyone's staring, even the guy who wasn't before. Some coldly, some just from the commotion being raised, but all of them are staring at us. The safari jacket man strummed his fingers impatiently.

"NOW!"

"Stop it, Akio!"

A busty blonde woman in a purple dress with white frills pointed at him from the upper banister. She marched down the steps and got right in this man's, this Akio guy's face. "They ain't doing nothing wrong, they just came in here for a drink."

An undeterred Akio stood up straight, scoffing at this notion. He crossed his arms. "How can you say that for sure?" He turned his head, scrutinizing us. Jerking his head back, he continued, "How do you know these outsiders aren't here to cause trouble?"

The woman stepped a foot diagonally and checked us over herself. She gave us acknowledgment, summarily crossing her own arms. "Do these two look like the troublemakin' kind to you?"

The furious man turned back. He stared at Bonnie, enough to make her cringe in discomfort. After around five seconds of leering, he moved on to me. He narrowed his eyes, giving me extra-hard analysis. In the end, he grumbled a sigh of defeat. "Maybe not," he conceded. "But looks can be deceiving. You know that well, don't you?"

"You're jus' bein' semantic."

"I'm just stating the facts."

"Enough already!" The well-dressed woman's hands balled into fists. She got even closer than she initially did, practically yelling down his throat. "You got no reason to suspect them of wrongdoin'! Jus' sit back down and leave'em be!"

The two had a staredown for what felt like forever. Neither wanted to back down from the other. No one did or said anything to intervene. Eventually, it was Akio who relented, taking a step backwards. "If it turns out you're wrong..." He shook his head and set off back to his table...but could not resist getting in some last words of contempt at us: "This isn't over."

Bonnie breathed a sigh of relief. She took another swig of water, smiling at our savior. She bowed her head. "Thank you, ma'am."

"Sorry about that, folks," she apologized on behalf of the town. I checked, and everyone else is continuing to go about their business. It seems we're fine. "He can be a real hardhead at the best of times."

"Heh..." Ah, what's this? That man in the hat from the back has drawn near. Only other one not to show us hostility. "Well, hello there, missy," he greeted with a goofy grin and wave. "You're mighty steamy right now. Sexy satin dress. Thick high heels." He raised his chin, smirking. "An' it's nice to see someone who can shut that codger up."

"Yes," she replied. "Thank you."

The guy smugly peeked Akio's way. "Ya hear that?" he taunted. The man in the safari jacket growled, returning metaphorical daggers. But that's all. "He's been flappin' his gums for too long now, don't ya think?"

She shrugged. "Probably."

He unbuttoned the top of his suit, showing off his body a bit between exposure and stretching. Seriously? "So what do ya think 'o a man like me?"

Barely containing her disinterest now, she flat-out refused eye-contact. "I don't know."

The man tilted his body as so to re-enter her field of vision. "Well, I think you're a real strong girl." He actually literally waltzed in front of her. He offered his hand. "How's about you and me ditch this place and head 'round back?"

She put up her arms and backed away. "Sorry, I jus' can't do that right now. Some other time, maybe."

"Oh come on," he begged. "It'll only be a minute."

"Just a minute?" I sarcastically commented under my breath, garnering a chuckle out of Bonnie. I have no idea what's going on or why she won't stand up to this guy when she would with the other, but I just can't help but shake my head at it. "What's this guy's problem..."

He paused and gave me a scowl. His tone changed. "What'd you say?"

There was momentary silence as I turned my head to glare right back. Since she helped us, I'll reiterate, loud and clear, "I said, what's your problem?"

"Shut it, ain't none of your concern."

"Wha-!?"

"Hey!!"

He shoved me hard, right into Bonnie. The two of us went toppling over, crashing onto the hard floor. That...was not the response I was expecting. Ow.

"Pft. Morons..." The drunken guy made a comment on the side, shaking his head and returning to his drink.

As Bonnie was pulling herself up to her seat, the brute apologized to her. "Sorry about that, little lady. It was the boy's fault. Here, lemme make it up to ya." He turned and smirked at the man behind the counter "Barkeep. The hardest thang ya got for this lass here."

"Y-yes, sir." The bartender obeyed, quickly and without question. After some rapid pouring, he slid the mixture to Bonnie, who had been doing everything she could to avoid anyone's eyes since his attention was on her. She appraised it for a good five seconds before gently pushing it away.

"No thanks..."

"What's wrong?" asked the man in the hat, personality reverting. "Somethin' wrong with my gift?"

"I just don't want it..." She turned towards the wall to her left. "...that's all..."

"Why not?"

Bonnie now looked him in the eye, seriously. More firmly, she stressed, "I'm three years off of being 20 for one. This would be too much for two. And water is fine enough, anyway. So please, take it back."

This guy...is creepy as hell. He let out a depraved chuckle. "I like girls with a little restraint," he declared, getting in close. "But you don't need to-"

"Leave me alone!" Bonnie snapped and lashed out, delivering a crisp slap across the head. The thug turned his cheek in motion, seething at her. Patrons, the barkeep, and the woman gasped at this action. The brutish man slowly turned his head.

"What'd you say?"

I returned the favor from before, shoving him a good meter, meter and a half away from us. "You heard her. Get lost."

"You two really wanna go?"

The man moved threateningly towards Bonnie...who met him with a solid, pinpoint kick to the groin! That scream of pain, god damn. That was worth hearing, regardless of what we've gotten ourselves into. His hat went tumbling off his head as he fell to a knee, gritting his teeth through the agony. The thug reached into his pocket with one arm while punching with another, landing a glancing blow on the coordinator, who backed up with me. "Make'em pay, boys!"

Patrons shouted, and the bulk of them backed to the edges of the pub. Two Pokemon met us, a two-legged blue muscular reptile, and a four-legged black mammal with short upright ears that's a bit taller.

"Let's go, friend!" Bonnie urged, retrieving a Luxury Ball. Don't have to tell me twice! "Echizen, it's your time to shine!" Right behind her! A small orange insect with big eyes and fat front legs with needles on their tips came out, joined by Nidorina who scraped the floor restlessly.

"We'll get that one," I stated with a point that sent my Pokemon into motion. "You get the hare!" Nidorina was on our foe like a swarm of furious hornets, slamming and pinning it against the ground and Fury Swiping relentlessly.

All the while as the other came in baring its fangs, Bonnie said, "Jab it, Echizen!" Poked with the nails before it could bite, sending it reeling.

"Come on, you two!" The brute commanded. Both still conscious, but getting up and stunned respectively Both of ours stood ready to deliver their respective finishers.

"Double Kick!" / "Hone Metal Claws!" Echizen rubbed his nails together furiously to sharpen them, as Nidorina turned around. He vigorously slashed the hare in the belly, and she delivered a mule kick to the reptile's face as it stood up. That did it!

"Stupid mushroomless bug, stupid blue...thang!" He reached into his coat for something!

"Hyah! Wh-whoa!"

Landed a punch to the side of his head to try and stop him, but had to dodge as he whipped out a club. "Ah!!" Barely avoided his second swing, nearly stumbling down in the process. He turned his attention to the Pokemon. Paras got its claws out in time to block the weapon. The thug whirled and nailed an advancing Nidorina in the face with the spiked tip, drawing blood. Now he's retrieving a ball. "Arbok, let's kill'em!"

A third Pokemon emerged, this one...much nastier than the others. A huge purple serpent, wide at the head area which has a skull pattern around it. One hiss was enough to paralyze the bug in terror, as both trainer and Pokemon advanced on us.

"Lampha, help!"

"You too, Mareep!"

Bonnie flashed me a grin as both of our Pokemon materialized beside each other, unleashing simultaneous Thundershocks. Mine's went way off-course, striking and blowing up a bottle at first, but he would soon join the other in zapping our aggressors. They did little but stun either. Arbok hissed as it recovered, and spitting Poison Stings at all the Pokemon in front of it. Echizen scurried away, but the sheeps couldn't escape. Their wool at least caught some of the needles, but they cringed at the ones that pierced through. The thug shuffled out of his Pokemon's range, raising his weapon to strike.

"Block it, Mareep!" He did as instructed, puffing up a bit with Cotton Guard - though not as much as Bonnie's did in her appeal - to absorb the swing and block his path. He cursed, carefully trying to swing for its head without grazing its wool. Meanwhile. the snake, shaking off another burst of electricity from Lampha, was about to launch another strike when it hissed in pain. Nidorina - literally and figuratively seeing red - was the culprit, Crunching on its tail as hard as she could. The snake thrashed violently to try to get her off.

"Are you Charged, Lampha?" Bonnie asked her Pokemon, who was doing so while our foe was distracted. "All right! Electro Ball!" The other sheep's tail glowed. He let out a shrill bleat, firing a photon blast. The Arbok, just having thrown Nidorina into the counter, turned just in time to get this between the eyes, falling over like a wet noodle.

Wha-!? And all eyes on him, because he's evolving! His entire form become enveloped in a brilliant white light. He stood up on his hind legs, the wool below his torso crumbling away as he did so. His front legs became stubby arms, and his hind legs sprouted small toes. And now that the radiance has faded, I can see his new pink form with snow-white wool in full.

"Awesome! You evolved!" Bonnie ran to embrace her new Flaaffy.

"I'll be back!" What!? The thug recalled his Pokemon during that and is standing at the door! "The lot of you will pay for this!"

"You aren't going anywhere!" shouted the man in the safari suit, all at once smashing a bottle against a table and giving chase. He was met with a slammed door. "Damn it!" he cursed as he ran into it, fumbling to get it open and pursue. "Where'd you go?! Where'd the f*ck you go?!?!!" He's loud enough to hear from in here. "DAMN IT!! f*ck!!" He came storming back in, hey!! Getting right in our faces. Again. "I knew you'd be trouble. Do you have any idea, ANY IDEA what you've done?!"

"Defended ourselves?" I asked, with some spite while recalling one combatant. Should heal that wound of Nidorina's. A potion will have to do for now, as much as she dislikes them. Thankfully, if any poison got into Mareep's body, it seemed negligible.

The woman in the dress smiled in approval as I treated my Pokemon. "Well I think it's nice someone showed some scrote to these guys."

Akio was quiet. He remained quiet for several long seconds prior to asking a question. "So what happens now, 'missy?' Huh? What do you think they're gonna do next?"

And then, silence. People's jaws dropped. Realization of something imminent dawned on them. Something we're in the dark on. Bonnie and I exchanged nervous glances. Have we...done something horribly wrong?

*WHOOKRAK!*

Some people nearly leaped out of their skin, including Bonnie (whose new Flaaffy, still out, immediately went on-guard), the two guys sitting together at a table, and one of the performers as the entrance to the Grey Diamond Pub flew open.

Five people came marching inside. Two of them, an older couple, I'm guessing by their holding hands. The clean-shaven, dark-haired man, clad in a white work coat and jeans, is chewing anxiously on a piece of straw. His brunette wife in her similar rural clothes, laid her eyes on us right away. She gave us a suspicious, yet terrified look. One of them is younger, around our age, and appears to be a product of theirs. He's in plain overalls, has a camera slung over his shoulders, armed and ready, and otherwise appears more composed than his parents. Nearly inappropriately so. A shaggy, gray-haired older man in a green lab coat wearing a stethoscope is bringing up the rear, and at the front of the pack is a gruff man in a duster and cowboy hat.

"I heard a commotion over here," he said, adjusting his hat.

The doctor spoke up. "Anyone wounded?"

"Not yet, doc!" a nigh-frothing Akio stormed up to them. "But we're in real deep sh*t!" He pointed at Bonnie and I without turning. "These two, these outsiders caused us some huge trouble!"

"Hai..." the troupe member in yellow spoke up. Hm. Haven't really been noticing them. It's like they've kinda been bleeding into the background a bit. Yet though they seem to be traveling entertainers from the looks of it, even they know what's up.

"Outsiders?" asked the woman, relieved and unnerved at the same time.

"Didn't think it would come to this, Mrs. Sakubajin, but it's the case."

And again, silence, besides breathing and Bonnie recalling Lampha. It was broken by the sound of the door near the bartender creaking open. A red-headed child, no older than eight or nine, wandered over to the large man behind the counter. He gazed up at the bulky man, with confusion. "Dad, did something happen?"

The bartender stared out at the crowd. They could give no advice. We couldn't give any advice. He turned to his son with a sorrowful frown. "Bad things, Mikey. Bad things..."

The man in the cowboy hat turned to question the man who had been the spearhead for the events of today. "What did happen, Akio?"

Akio sighed, expressing the first emotion besides wrath since we walked through these doors. "One of those people were in here, sheriff. These two," he emphasized with venom, "Picked a fight with him. They beat him and his Pokémon. Pissed him right off." Beat. "And he managed to get away."

The shock hit those unaware of it like a wrecking ball.

"No!" cried the woman, burying her head in her husband's chest.

"You're Pokemon Trainers?" asked her son. What?

The doctor removed his spectacles. "This is bad."

"And needless to say," a pacing Akio continued. His next words came out cold and ominously. "I'm betting they'll be coming back looking for vengeance. And it will be a bloody one."

The sheriff removed his hat. He sighed. "So it's come to this..."

"Are we going to be okay, dad?"

The townsfolk began talking amongst themselves, discussing their predicament. Okay, that does it. I cut through the chattering with a commanding tone of voice, "Can you PLEASE, for the love of god, explain to us what exactly is going on here? Who are they?"

The sheriff nodded solemnly. "They call'emselves Saiko-dan. They're a group of bandits who've been harassing our town for two years running. Blocking us from having normal lives. Led by an experienced gang member who calls 'imself Odin."

"Hold up." If he had anything else to say, I just interrupted it. "Your town is being harassed by a gang of marauders?"

"They really aren't that uncommon in rural Tokatsu..." Bonnie explained to me, becoming downcast.

"Wait, really?"

"Uh-huh."

"So why don't the police do anything about it?!"

Akio just laughed at me. Right in my face. "Do you think they care about backwater places like this? Ha!" He blew me off. "You got a lot to learn, kid." His expression and tone turned bitter. "They won't help us. We're on our own here."

The woman in the dress confirmed. "It's a sad fact, but it's true. I tried callin' 'em before, an' they told me they ain't gonna waste resources searchin' them out." She sat down near us. "Much as I hate to admit it, we're in a real pickle here." Bonnie sighed in guilt, as panic started to set in.

"What are we going to do?!"

"I'm scared, Gino!"

"So this's it, huh?"

"We gotta leave, friends! We ain't a part of this!"

"But, my hometown!"

"Are we gonna be okay?"

"Mikey..."

"All right, all right, calm down." Akio spoke up loudly, waving an arm to get everyone's attention. When he had it, he nodded. "Look. This is all these two's fault." Uh, what? His sudden point startled Bonnie. He waved his finger in our direction. "All we need to do is hand them over to those dregs. And we can get on with our lives."

The drunken man smiled. "Hey, you're talking sense!"

"What?" the aghast woman in the dress said. "He is not!" But few are listening.

"Yeah, they's who caused it. Let's get'em, Leo."

"Hahaha. Okay, Gino."

The man of the couple glanced to his wife. Mr. Sakubajin reluctantly conceded, "Guess he does have a point..."

Akio waved them on, "Let's get them."

Damn it...! Bonnie's expression told me she was thinking the same thing as me, as we were backing away from the advancing mob. We really don't want to have to fight our way out of this, but...we thankfully don't have to.

"Hey, HEY!" Akio protested to the one who interposed between us. "Move it, sheriff."

The sheriff shook his head firmly. "No. If we were to do something like this, we'd be no better than they." The woman in the dress backed him up, standing beside him. The bartender nodded as well. "We aren't going to stoop to those miscreants' level."

"But we have to do something!" Mrs. Sakubajin beseeched. "If they can't have them, they'll take it out on us for sure!"

"Then we'll stop them!" Bonnie? What are you saying? She stepped forward to stand beside the town's protector, pumping a fist. "I don't know all of what's going on here, but you can't let these people push you around! You can't!"

I rushed up beside her. Jeez. "Are you serious?" I rasped.

My friend nodded in confirmation. "I am."

She's right. I know she's right, but I wouldn't think to actually do this. But, it's the right thing to do. "Okay." I nodded as well. If you want to do this, "I'm with you, Bonnie." She smiled at me as I turned to address the town. "If everything you've said so far is a fact, then this gang needs to be dealt with. We got you guys into this mess, so we'll help get you out of it."

The reply was nonexistent, save for stares like we had spoken Greek. The Sakubajins' son eventually spoke up, worriedly so. "Just...just you guys?"

The others began to talk this over. "Could be trouble if anyone else helps," the Gino fellow, the small one in the derby, remarked.

"But if none of us help..." Mrs. Sakubajin started, with the bartender finishing her thought.

"They might not blame us for it."

As the town was deliberating this, the sheriff stood up in front of us. He raised a palm. "I don't want you kids throwing your lives away."

"But it's true that we're responsible for this," the coordinator admitted.

"Pah. Just a waste of time."

Bonnie turned to face Akio. No longer fearful of his presence, she inquired, "What do you mean by that?"

He scoffed, as if belittling us for not knowing something. "Let me ask you two something. These folks are ruthless and relentless. They killed Mikey's real parents here over a mere slight." The young boy whimpered, hugging his adoptive father tightly. Akio huffed, feeling just a little bad about bringing up what are certainly terrible memories. "Sorry. But back to what I was saying. Normal measures aren't gonna cut it here. Just giving them a beating isn't gonna cut it. Might even make things worse." He with this started to approach us, walking as he continued on. "There's only one way to get these scum to stop, and so I gotta ask." He got down and looked us dead in the eyes. "Do either of you got the gall to deal with them permanently?"

Bonnie and I turned to face each other at the same time, both processing the same question. Could I...could either of us take a life? Take several lives? Even if they are bad people-

"That's what I thought." He read our expression, interrupting our thought process.

"So you just have to show them you're not going to be pushed around anymore. Everyone here." The whole pub perked up at that. That's all they really can do. I flashed a smirk at Akio. "Unless you like living like this."

"And I don't think any of you do!" Bonnie asserted.

Akio is NOT happy with our response. "You little..."

"It's just like you said," Bonnie interrupted him, "You know what you have to do if you want these people to stop terrorizing you. If the police can't help, and us alone isn't enough, that means only one thing!"

"I'm with you folks!" The couple's son instantly threw his hat in, much to his father's shock.

"Borna...!"

The next to pledge herself was the woman who saved us from the enmity on our arrival. "You can count on me!"

"Missy?" asked the bart-wait, what? That's really her name? Bonnie looks just as surprised. With those two, the ball was in-motion.

The sheriff nodded. "If that's how it's going to be."

"I guess we're doing this," said the bartender.

"Yeah!" Mikey leaped into the air. "We'll avenge mom and dad!"

"If this is what it takes to protect our farm...our town..."

"...if it's the only way out of this, so be it!" The lady of the couple started the thought, and her husband finished it.

The citizens of La Fortuna once again stand harmonious. But this time, it's not from any fear or hostility towards the unknown. This time, they stand in hope, some even in excitement.

The wiseguy turned to his buddy. "So whaddaya think, Leo?"

"We can do it, Gino!" The huge man nearly banged his head on the roof imitating Mikey.

"Sometimes, preventative medicine is the key." The doctor cracked his knuckles.

The drunk chuckled. He chugged down what remained in his glass. "Ya'know, maybe we do got a shot at this."

You know...here I was thinking this was crazy and suicidal at first. But if everyone's becoming involved, if everybody in the town is this fired up...maybe we DO have a shot at this. I looked over to the Noh troupe, and even they're getting into it. One of them, clad in blue, removed her mask, placing her flute down. She smiled at everyone. "I can't turn my back on my hometown." Oh.

"Is it fate that brought us here today?" asked her comrade in green.

"I'm not sure, Mr. Odori! Ha ha. It could be a cruel joke," the one in red cackled.

The one in yellow played a chord on his harp. "There is one thing we know for sure, however."

In unison, they sang, "We'll help you, friend!"

The sheriff gave them a wave. "It's good to see you again, Yura." He turned to address us. "Well, if we're all decided on this, then I may as well make it official. I'm naming you two kids as official deputies of La Fortuna. Now we got some time to get ready, and if I were a betting man, would say they'll be riding in early on tomorrow. We'll be counting on you to help get us ready."

"Well, not quite all of us, sheriff," Missy spoke up. She pointed in the direction of the one she was referring to.

No surprise, that person is Akio. He was leaning against the front wall of the building. "You're all buying into this? Really?" When he received various forms of confirmation, he questioned them again, "You're going to risk everything we have on these outsiders' plan?" When he was met with approval towards us for the second time, he threw up his arms. The sheriff opened his mouth, but Akio was already moving for the door. "I don't believe this. I'm going out for a smoke."

Sadly, some things can't be helped...oh, should ask the sheriff, "So how long do we have?"

"If what happened before was any indication, they'll be striking at 10AM sharp. They like to do their killing after breakfast, they said." We were interrupted by the tolling of the town's bell. It chimed once, It chimed twice. And stopped. 2PM. "So we got around eight to ten hours to prepare. Want to make sure we'll all well-rested for this."

"So what's the plan?" Bonnie asked.

The bartender raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean, what's the plan? This was your idea, little lady."

"Oh..." She blinked. Caught off-guard by this. Very clearly lost, she turned to me to field this one. "Well, got any ideas?"

"Just some basic stuff, like getting them ready for battle. Training their Pokemon, maybe fighting directly, that sort of thing."

She nodded. "Right. We can figure out what we're going to do once we know what we have to work with."

"Oh! Oh!" Borna flailed his arms, sauntering up to his parents excitedly. "Mom, pop. Can I show the Pokemon trainers 'round town? I-I mean, they really should get to know everyone if that's what their plan is!"

His father shook a finger. "Sorry, Borna. You got work on the farm to do."

"Aw, man," he pouted.

"We'll be training everyone in town. That includes you," I pointed out. He'll still meet us. "If you have Pokemon."

"Hey, you're right! Thanks!" He grinned in cheer, before rubbing the back of his head. He looked down at his camera. "But um, somebody should show'em 'round town, right?"

"I'll do the honors, then," said the sheriff, agreeing and tipping his hat. "I'll take you kids around and introduce you to everyone you haven't met just yet."

"Thanks!" Bonnie flashed a thumbs up. She and I made our way to the exit, where the coordinator stood tall, as if she were ready to perform, and addressed the whole pub. "Everyone with Pokēmon! Go get them and get ready! We'll start as soon as we're done with our tour of the town! Everyone else, you get ready too! Make any preparations you have to for tomorrow! Be ready to defend yourselves if you can and need to. When we're all finished, we'll meet up at dinnertime, and figure out our strategy. Okay?" On the town's acceptance, she clapped. "O-kay! Let's go!"

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

FAQs

Is Detroit still abandoned? ›

Today, only around a third of its population remains to call Detroit home. The decline has continued despite several large-scale revitalizations. Funny enough, Michigan is now home to one of the United States' prettiest places, not too far from the Detroit area.

Is Gary Indiana abandoned? ›

In fairness, it is not at all accurate to label the city of Gary, Indiana itself as “abandoned”, as it is estimated that, as of 2014, approximately 78,000 people live there - yet at its peak in 1960 it had over 178,000 residents.

Who planned to kidnap Lincoln? ›

Booth conceived a plan to kidnap Lincoln in order to blackmail the Union into resuming prisoner exchanges, and he recruited Samuel Arnold, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Michael O'Laughlen, Lewis Powell (also known as "Lewis Paine"), and John Surratt to help him.

Why did they dig up Lincoln? ›

On September 26, 1901, Lincoln's body was exhumed so that it could be re-interred in the newly built crypt. However, several of the 23 people present feared that his body might have been stolen in the intervening years, so they decided to open the coffin and check.

How many ghost towns exist? ›

Well-preserved relics of our past can be found around the nation. One report by Geotab has identified and mapped 3,800 ghost towns in the U.S., many of which were vacated in the 20th century for greener pastures and big city dreams.

What is the most beautiful abandoned city in the world? ›

The town of Kolmanskop in Namibia was founded in the early 1900s after diamonds were discovered in the Namib Desert, but it was eventually abandoned and all but swallowed up by sand. There's something special about peering into a space that isn't regularly inhabited by humans.

What is the underground city in Michigan? ›

Below Detroit's streets is a network of tunnel systems almost as elaborate as the bustling metropolis that sits above it. Unveiling this underworld opens a cavern of secrets necessary to understanding Detroit's history.

Is Detroit still crime ridden? ›

The city of Detroit finished 2023 with 252 homicides, the fewest recorded since 1966. The city also saw a 16% reduction in nonfatal shootings and a 34% reduction in carjackings a coalition of local, state and federal partners announced today.

Is Detroit turning around? ›

Still, there is little doubt that downtown Detroit is turning around when many other office districts are heading in the opposite direction.

Why is Gary so run down? ›

In the 1960s, like many other American urban centers reliant on one particular industry, Gary entered a spiral of decline. Gary's decline was brought on by reduced employment in the steel industry overall, which caused U.S. Steel to lay off many workers from the Gary area.

Where is Scary Gary? ›

An Indiana border city is undergoing a makeover following six decades of decline which earned it the moniker 'Scary Gary'. The now crime-ravaged metropolis was named after lawyer Elbert Henry Gary, who founded US Steel and built what is still the conglomerate's biggest plant there in the summer of 1908.

Is it illegal to explore Gary, Indiana? ›

Last week Gary, Indiana secretly and without public commentary passed a new ordinance. Anyone who wants to enter an abandoned building or photograph an abandoned building (inside or out) needs a permit. The permit is $50. It's unclear if this is per day or per calendar year, but it is $50 a head.

What happened on Lincoln Way, Pennsylvania? ›

It was once said to be a “rich enclave” for African-American communities – established due to their segregation from nearby communities. Many of the men from Lincoln Way worked at the local steel mill. It was largely an isolated community though and as the years passed, people simply moved on and didn't come back.

What happened to the train that carried Lincoln? ›

In 1911, a prairie fire near Minneapolis, Minnesota, destroyed the train car that had so famously carried Lincoln's body to its final resting place.

What happened when Lincoln went to New Orleans? ›

In 1828, a teenaged Abraham Lincoln guided a flatboat down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. The adventure marked his first visit to a major city and exposed him to the nation's largest slave marketplace. It also nearly cost him his life, in a nighttime attack in the Louisiana plantation country.

Where was the only house Lincoln ever owned? ›

For 17 years, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, called this simple comfortable house at the corner of 8th and Jackson Streets home, from the time he purchased it in 1844 until he left Springfield in 1861 to face the ordeals of secession and civil war in Washington, DC.

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