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 Happy to Give, I was born a believer [Development]
 Posted: Jul 31 2018, 04:04 AM


[[The goal of this development topic is to gain some loyalty for all of the pokemon involved and introduce Soren's new pokemon to their home.]]

Dear Diary,

I came back to Floaroma Town on my way to Eterna City. The second gym is there, but it's quite a trek even from here. I'm glad that I get to see my Daddy for a while though. We picked flowers in the meadow and visited the Valley Windworks together. I love watching the windmills turn, and sometimes you can meet rare pokemon there. I met my pachirisu Storm there. He's a sweet, quiet creature. Daddy says he'll keep him for me since I'd rather not take him through the dangers of the forest. I caught a buizel as well, and I've named him Boomer. He is a cunning, tricky creature, and he's always hungry. Shadow helps me keep him in line. She's evolved into a luxio now, and she's grown even bigger and stronger than Tank.

I'm facing a new challenge now, learning how to integrate new personalities into my existing team. So many of them are proud and strong willed that it's sometimes difficult to make them cooperate together. We must be as a team if we're to make it to survive the forest and make it to Eterna City. To have any hope of winning in the Eterna City Gym, we must be a family.

I may be young, but I know my duties as a trainer. I must be the glue that binds these conflicting personalities together. I must meet each struggle with compassion and understanding. I must realize that each of my pokemon is an individual with its own hopes, dreams, and fears. Each of them deserves to be loved, and I am happy to give it.

--Summer Sharp

It was the dead of night by the time Soren reached the home of his farm with his new pokemon in tow. Nimbus was lighting the way, but the mareep was exhausted. The hour was exceedingly late and Nimbus was still a very young lamb. Nevertheless, he was determined to lead his boy home. Soren knew the way, but he was depending on Nimbus to be his light. Nimbus would have loved to chat more with the other pokemon, but he simply hadn't the energy left. Every time he blinked his eyes, it felt like it took a supreme effort to lift them again and even the bulb on his tail gave him only the dimmest glow.

Soren had said goodbye to Jillian when the two of them entered the protective walls of the city. He hugged her goodbye, though she didn't return it and complained a bit. She at least tolerated it, and Soren felt like he needed that much. They'd survived two frightening encounters together, and Soren didn't think he'd have made it safely home if it wasn't for her. At least she didn't scold him and tell him he should never go out again like some grown-ups might. Perhaps she understood better than most the longing to explore further and expand his horizons. He made a mental note to try and think of exercises for their next lesson whenever he found the time. He felt like he'd caused her trouble by pushing to stay out so late, and helping her make more progress towards her own goals might make it up to her some.

As Soren finally entered the gate and stepped onto the fields of his farm, he still carried Bellsprout in his arms. "You know, if you're going to stay and be my pokemon, I'll need to think of a proper name for you." Soren told the bellsprout softly. Bellsprout were common grass type pokemon, but they had a deadly side to them. They were also poisonous, quick, flexible, and carnivorous. This bellsprout wasn't all that big though. Maybe it was young.

Soren began thinking of flower names, and he came up with several ideas right away thanks to that book on flowers he and Jillian had been reading earlier. He liked one especially well. "How about Amaranth?" Soren suggested. Bellsprout only stared at him, but that's about what Soren expected. He liked the way the word felt when he said it, and he remembered that it meant "unfading" according to the book. Soren knew from his time on the farm that amaranth was more than just a pretty flower too. They produced a nutritious and easily harvested grain. Sometimes at festivals and events, delicious cakes made from amaranth and honey were passed out for people to enjoy. Amaranth was a useful plant, and so too would Bellsprout be, Soren hoped. Thus he settled on the name thinking that the ambassador would approve whenever he told him.

"Don't worry, I'll think of a name for you too, buddy. But Amaranth is hurt and we need to take care of him first," Soren said to zigzagoon, who glanced up to him as he waddled to keep up with the group. Of course, Nimbus and Genesis were hurt too. Soren frowned as a feeling of guilt gnawed at him when he thought of how his pokemon had been hurt because of the decisions he'd made. It didn't seem fair that they always had to be the ones fighting, but Soren wasn't strong enough to battle himself. Plus, he always felt so scared when pokemon began fighting that it was already as much as he could manage to give instructions. The least he could do is to make sure they received good gentle care when they were injured.

Soren led his pokemon into the fields where the radishes, peas, and spinach were almost ready for harvest. Soren thought this would be a good place for Amaranth since these plants didn't grow very tall and wouldn't block him from getting sunlight once the sun came up in the morning. However, people hopefully would be mindful enough inside the area that they wouldn't accidentally step on him. The farm was a lot safer than out on the plains, though sometimes pest pokemon came in and caused some mayhem. During the night hours, Soren's father's zubat Grace patrolled the farm. She used her sensitive hearing to detect threats.

"It's just me coming home, Grace," Soren said, seemingly to empty air. He couldn't see the zubat in the darkness, but he didn't doubt that she could hear him just fine even though he wasn't shouting. "I made some new pokemon friends, so please be nice and help protect them." Grace was not an affectionate pokemon, but she knew Soren and wouldn't treat him or his pokemon unkindly. She didn't necessarily take orders from the child either, but Soren trusted her hunting instinct to encourage her to fight off any predators that might want to finish off his already injured bellsprout.

Soren knelt down and set Amaranth on the ground, allowing the little plant to test the feel of the fertile soil beneath its roots. "I'm going to plant you here for the night. This is a safe place, and you'll get plenty of water and sunlight to get you feeling all better." Soren promised as he gently pushed some soft dark dirt over Amaranth's root feet. Beside him, Nimbus yawned and then finally seemed to collapse on the ground, cushioned by his own soft wool. Soren and Zigzagoon both looked over at the lamb in concern, but a soft snore reassured Soren that Nimbus was just sleeping and not seriously hurt or sick. "Then I guess I'd better put Nimbus and Genesis in the barn so that they can get some rest too."

 Posted: Aug 1 2018, 04:09 AM


Amaranth was already feeling a little better. He'd been unsure when the boy first carried him into the human settlement, but this area wasn't as crowded or cluttered by mud brick buildings. It was pleasantly open with plenty of other healthy plants growing in the same area. The soil was soft, fertile, and slightly moist from being watered before sunset. If he stayed here, and he decided that he would, he was sure to find plenty of prey to feed on as well. This was the kind of place that would attract lots of delicious bugs.

Soren reached into his bag and took out a corked gourd full of fresh water. He uncorked it, and poured the warm water over Amaranth's buried root feet. The flower thanked him, giving a timid "bowbow" noise. Soren grinned, feeling slightly giddy with wonder. He knew that bellsprout spoke as any pokemon did, but he'd never heard the noises they make before. How did Amaranth speak without a set of lungs? He must be pushing air sharply in and out of the flower that made up his mouth. Soren gave the flower a tender pat, reveling in the softness of its petals. "Your welcome, Amaranth! I need to go take care of my other pokemon now. I'll check on you again in the morning. For now, just focus on feeling better, okay?"

With that, Soren put his gourd away and wiped his hands on his pants to get the dirt off of them. Then he crouched down and picked up his sleeping mareep. Nimbus didn't wake even as Soren lifted him, and the boy carried the lamb through the field and into the barn. Zigzagoon followed at Soren's heels, looking everywhere and examining his new digs.

There was plenty of space outside, which was good, but Zigzagoon had been hoping for something more comfortable. It was common knowledge among pokemon, especially pokemon with as much experience with humans as Zigzagoon had, that humans built great structures to protect themselves from the elements and from predators, and Zigzagoon had been looking forward to a nice soft human bed to sleep in. This boy seemed the type that would share, and Zigzagoon imagined himself stretched out on a luxurious straw mattress. After a delicious meal, of course. The barn, therefore, fell short of his expectations. Sure, it was dry and reasonably clean and safe, but where was the cotton soft pillows? The wool blankets?

Soren carried Nimbus to his stall and carefully laid the lamb down in the soft clean straw bedding. Then he opened his bag and pulled out something peculiar. It looked like a tiny, lifeless, and horribly deformed mareep. Zigzagoon found it positively hideous. It had eerie wooden button eyes and a bland stitched on smile. It was white and grey instead of yellow and blue, and it didn't even have a tail. Zigzagoon watched, barely suppressing his revulsion as Soren took the little abomination and deposited it snugly against Nimbus's flank. Well, that's horrifying! Zigzagoon thought to himself, even as he made sure to greet the boy with a smile and a wag of his bushy tail when Soren turned back to him.

Next Soren went over to Genesis's stall and released her from her pokeball. She materialized on her own bedding and blinked wearily at Soren and Zigzagoon. While Soren hurried off to fill her buckets with food and water, Zigzagoon took the opportunity to quiz the psychic pokemon. "So uh, that thing beside Nimbus...does the boy give one of those to all of his pokemon?" Zigzagoon asked, watching Soren carefully as he pushed a huge bucket full of water into Genesis's stall before going off again for her food.

"The 'boy' is named Soren. You should remember it. You're now at least partially responsible for his care and protection," Genesis hummed. Despite the exhaustion in her eyes, her tone was a sharp as ever. Zigzagoon's ears lowered involuntarily in submission even though he didn't entirely like the idea of being responsible for anyone besides himself. He understood, however, that if he wanted the boy to provide him with safety and food, then the boy needed to remain alive to do so. Soren seemed unpleasantly defenseless and a bit of a high-maintenance human, but at least he had several other pokemon to help with the burden of protecting him. Genesis had certainly proven that she was able to contribute more than her fair share in battle.

"Yes, Soren, of course. I won't forget. I'll help look after him," Zigzagoon promised reluctantly.

"The answer to your question is 'no'. Soren constructed that doll in an endeavor to console Nimbus in his state of perceived alienation."

Zigzagoon stared at her for a long moment. "I...you...can you repeat that?"

Genesis blinked, but forced herself to remain patient. Soren was bring a food bucket full of carrots and hay into her stall. Zigzagoon looked at the carrots hungrily and felt his own stomach rumbling. It was irritating how he had to wait for everyone else to be fed before him, but the boy had tried to feed him once and he was sure that Soren would do it again. Clearly the child was prioritizing the injured pokemon first. "Soren made that item for Nimbus especially. Nimbus becomes lonely and won't sleep by himself. Soren gave that doll to him to comfort him," Genesis hummed very slowly as though she thought Zigzagoon might be a little bit stupid. Then she stood up and busied herself with eating her food. Soren gave her an affectionate stroke on her shoulder, frowning at the injuries on her neck and chest. He knew she'd be okay with some time to rest. She'd recovered from worse injuries after the last tournament.

Finally Soren turned his attention to Zigzagoon. The fat raccoon pokemon panted a bit and bobbed his bristly tail back and forth to encourage the boy. Soren smiled and knelt on the ground in front of him then wrapped his arms around the pokemon in an embrace. "I'm so glad I met you today! Are you hungry? Let's get you some food," Soren suggested, and Zigzagoon nuzzled his own head against the child's face as he recognized the magic word. Food! Here it came at last!

"Ew, um, maybe a bath first though," Soren said, withdrawing slightly and putting a hand up to shield his nose.

A what? Zigzagoon stared at Soren in confusion until Genesis chipped in helpfully. "He's going to wash you. Because you stink," Genesis explained between bites, taking care to use small words. Her tone was utterly flat, and she seemed to gain no amusement from the insult.

"Like he can talk! Has he sniffed himself lately?!" Zigzagoon chattered in outrage. Soren drew back further, watching the pokemon warily as Zigzagoon showed some aggression for the first time. Zigzagoon took a deep breath and made himself calm down. Keep cool! Keep cool! You're just getting a little hangry. You're not you when you're hungry, Zigzagoon. He thought to himself as he lowered his ears and whimpered, giving Soren an apologetic look.

"It's okay, Zigzagoon. I promise it won't be scary. I'll stay with you the whole time," Soren whispered in a soothing tone before standing up and grabbing a wooden bucket and digging around in the back of the barn until he found a block of soap. "Come on, Zigzagoon. Let's go!" Soren led the way out of the barn, and Zigzagoon waddled close behind him.

 Posted: Aug 8 2018, 02:25 AM


Soren let Zigzagoon out behind the barn to the well. He pulled up a bucket of cool water and set it in front of the pokemon. Soren reached into his bag and refilled his gourd as well. It wouldn't do to be caught someplace without fresh water to drink, so Soren made sure he had at least one drinking gourd full at all times. Especially in the summer, it wasn't uncommon for workers to die or become ill from the heat. Zigzagoon lapped at the water gratefully.

Instead of immediately hauling up more water to bathe his pokemon, Soren took a seat on the ground and rummaged through his pack for a brush he'd grabbed back in the barn. It was similar to the curry brush he used on Genesis but with longer bristles that he thought would be better for Zigzagoon's thicker coat. He chose it also because it was softer, less harsh than some others and he needed to be extra gentle while he was still working to gain his new pokemon's trust. "Okay, Zigzagoon, I'm going to brush you first. Stay still please. No biting." Soren commanded, scooting closer to the pokemon. Very softly at first, he began to run the brush through Zigzagoon's thick fur.

The pokemon watched him carefully. He'd watched humans interact with their pet pokemon before, so he'd seen this behavior. He'd just never been on the receiving end. He felt a pang of anxiety with the human so close to him, using one hand to pet him and hold him steady while the other worked the brush through Zigzagoon's fur. Being an outdoor pokemon, Zigzagoon's fur was matted in some places and tangled with burs and dirt. He cleaned himself, obviously. Zigzagoon might be on the heavy side, but that didn't mean he was a complete slob. Still, living entirely outdoors and having a thick coat of fur meant it was normally kind of tangled and messy. It was honestly kind of nice of the boy to help. It didn't feel to bad either. It was kind of like having a massage. The only part that made him uncomfortable was being this close to a human when he still wasn't totally confident that Soren wouldn't turn on him when he least expected it.

"That's a good boy! All done now, so let's wash up." Soren was more aware of his own stench than Zigzagoon gave him credit for. The boy had after all worked all day in the summer heat and then had an adventure out on the plain. He pulled up another bucket of water from the well and then stripped out of his dirty clothes, pulling a fresh set out of his bag. He then used the soap and water to wash himself before turning to his pokemon. "See, I did it. It's not going to hurt you," Soren reassured the pokemon, holding out the soap. Zigzagoon sniffed the object. It had a kind of flowery scent as if whatever this substance was had been mixed with lavender. You want me to smell like a flower? He thought and if he had eyebrows, he would have quirked one at the boy. He'd never known that humans were so strange.

It would have been better if the water were warmer maybe, but the water from the well was always cool in the summer and warm in the winter and Soren had no control over that. Despite Soren's verbal reassurances, Zigzagoon didn't like it at all when the boy gently poured water over his body even though he was careful not to get any in the pokemon's eyes. Zigzagoon began to waddle away but it was too late, he was soaked. Plus the boy darted in front of him and blocked him. "No, don't run. It's okay! This will be quick!" Soren worked the soap into a lather in his hands and then worked it into the pokemon's fur. When that was done, he carted up another bucket of water from the well and used that to rinse his pokemon. Once it appeared to Zigzagoon that the boy was done, he made sure to shake his whole body and send water flying everywhere. He'd hoped this would generate more annoyance from the boy, but instead Soren erupted in laughter. Zigzagoon smirked himself, feeling satisfied with his work.

Soren didn't have anything to use as a towel, so they would both just have to air dry. That didn't worry Soren. Having grown up with little to no privacy, he never learned much modesty. Even if he was worried about being seen, it was now the middle of the night and he was on his own farm. If anyone did come out and find him, it would probably be a member of his own family at least. "You've been very good, Zigzagoon. Are you ready to eat? I'll get you something really nice to eat next, okay?"

At last! The Zigzagoon grinned at the boy and wagged his tail, looking perhaps even cuter now that he looked like a sentret that someone had tried to drown. Once Soren felt dry enough, he put on his clean clothes. He picked up the dirty ones to carry them inside the house. He'd have to wash them later. For now, he needed to get food for his new pet and maybe for himself too. He hadn't eaten much himself today, and he was beginning to feel it. If he could eat a few bites, maybe he could squeeze in some sleep before he needed to get up in the morning and see if he could buy pokeballs before work started. Soren crept into the farmhouse, not realizing that his still slightly damp zigzagoon was following right behind him.

 Posted: Aug 8 2018, 04:03 AM


Soren moved stealthily into the house. It didn't matter much that it was nearly pitch black. He knew the environment well enough, and there wasn't much in his house to trip over anyway. He went into the kitchen area and sniffed around. He thought he could smell leftovers from whatever meal had been for dinner. Following his nose, Soren found a covered plate of taquitos. Soren suspected that they'd been left for him specifically, since his family was getting used to him coming home late for dinner.

Taquitos were normally a corn tortilla rolled and filled with some meat and cheese filling that was then fried to be crunchy and delicious. Even Soren, who normally disliked meat, would eat them. It helped that the meat was always ground to an unidentifiable pulp and hidden inside the tortilla, of course. These taquitos had been sitting out all night though, so they'd gone soft from the grease and cold. Soren was hungry enough to eat it anyway, and Zigzagoon certainly was. In fact, as he picked up clay plate, he felt a patch of wet fur brush against his arm. The zigzagoon had also found the taquitos, using roughly the same method that Soren had used.

"Zigzagoon, no! Pokemon aren't allowed in the house. You go outside right now," Soren ordered in a hard whisper, trying to be firm. Zigzagoon just sat and stared at him, his eyes glowing eerily in the dark as he panted and begged. "No!" Soren said again, pointing towards the door. "No food until I bring it to you outside. Bad zigzagoon!" Zigzagoon's ears wilted in defeat. He whimpered as though the boy had beaten him and slowly made his way outside to wait until Soren came to him.

Soren would head out shortly, but he wanted to grab one more thing. He went to the little room that he shared with his older sister and his little brother. The two other children were already asleep, and Soren was beginning to grow tired himself. He gave them an envious look and began to silently feel along the floor for Ivka's pack. Like him, she carried her own supplies with her. Unlike him, she was a vain prissy girl who carried around fancy items to try and make herself look less like a miltank's behind. Soren pawed through her pack, bypassing all the less interesting items like her diary. Since finding his mother's diary, he's grown more respectful of the art of writing in a diary, but perhaps less respectful of other's privacy. Thus, he'd already read his sister's diary and found it to be nauseatingly boring. From now on he'd only subject himself to her drivel if he absolutely needed to do so. Finally, he felt what he wanted. It was a long smooth hair ribbon. He couldn't tell the color in the dark, but that really didn't matter much.

Soren then brought his stolen loot outside and was greeted by a very enthusiastic zigzagoon. "I have everything now, so let's go eat." Soren said and lead Zigzagoon back into the barn. Once there, Soren found a quiet spot and sat down in the soft straw bedding. He brought out the plate of taquito's first. "Ta da!" He said and sat them down between himself and his new pokemon. "Dinner is served!"

Zigzagoon wasted not time digging in. He used his front paws to hold one of the flute-shaped tortillas and bit into it with gusto. Soren ate as well. They were a bit slimy from sitting in their own grease for hours, and they'd be better if they were warm. Overall though, they were still good, he thought. "I'd really better think of a good name for you," Soren said between bites as he watched Zigzagoon. The pokemon stuffed his face, literally shoving as much food as he could fit in his cheeks until Soren worried that he might choke. Soren made sure to take several taquitos himself. He had a feeling that this pokemon wouldn't care if he ate all the food and left Soren to go hungry. Soren still believed that this was a good pokemon, but he hadn't rushed into action to protect him or his pokemon out on the plain. He was maybe a bit cowardly or a bit selfish. He definitely seemed to love to eat. "I think I'll call you Epicure, okay? Epicure is your name now."

Once he and Epicure were done eating, Soren leaned forward and tied the ribbon around Epicure's neck. It was a bright red, and Soren looped it into a pretty bow. "Don't take that off. People aren't nice to zigzagoon sometimes, I bet. I don't want anyone on the farm to see you and hurt you. If you wear this, I hope they'll see that you belong to someone. I don't think any wild zigzagoon wear bows." Soren thought this was a clever idea, and though Epicure didn't understand every word the boy said, he was clever enough to figure out what the ribbon was for. He'd happily leave it on if it mean the humans feeding and petting him instead of chasing him and setting their pokemon to fight him. Epicure dared to hope that maybe his days of stealing to survive and always running and hiding might be over

"Goodnight Epicure! Tomorrow I'll get you and Amaranth a pokeball so I can keep you both safe," Soren said, wrapping his arms around the zigzagoon in a hug. And out of trouble, Soren thought privately. Amaranth at least didn't seem like he was going to bother anyone, but now that Epicure knew that the house was a source of food, he might not stay out of it. Soren wasn't looking forward to getting yelled at or punished by his family for being unable to control his pokemon. With that, Soren got up and left the pokemon to rest in the barn while he tried to sneak into his own bed for a few hours of sleep.

The next morning, Soren hurried out before he needed to start his deliveries to barter with a few vendors he thought would give him good prices on medicine and pokeballs. When he came back, he was several hundred tokens poorer, but he had everything he needed. Soren went over to Amaranth first to see how the little flower was healing. "How are you feeling? Any better?" Soren asked, inspecting the bellsprout. Amaranth watched the boy uneasily, but spending some time with his roots firmly planted seemed to have restored some of his health and energy. The burned leaf had fallen off, but there was a bright green of new growth where the old leaf had been. Soren reached out and touched it gently, noting how soft and tender it felt. Amaranth flinched away from him. It seemed like it would take more time for the bellsprout to really learn to trust the boy. "I'm really sorry that you got hurt, but look, I bought this pokeball. If you go inside it, you can get plenty of rest and be safe. I'll take care of you every day too. How about it, Amaranth?" Soren tossed the pokeball underhand at the pokemon and watched the ball open up and suck the bellsrout inside. He waited nervously. If the pokemon burst free, it would be because he didn't really want to stay, but the ball locked almost immediately which Soren took to indicate that Amaranth was on board.

Soren then went to look for Epicure in the barn. The zigzagoon was curled up with Nimbus, fast asleep. Genesis and Nimbus both seemed pretty out of it as well, curled up and snoozing in their stall. Soren felt a little guilty knowing that he'd have to wake Genesis at least. He needed her to help him do deliveries. He made a note to focus on training his other pokemon more. It wasn't fair to have her to the majority of the fighting and then have her do all the work with him every day too. Plus, if he trained her to carry him as a mount, he couldn't expect her to let him ride her and battle at the same time. Soren looked over and Epicure's sleeping form and wordlessly tossed a pokeball at him. Like with Amaranth, the pokeball locked immediately without any of the nerve-wracking rocking that happened when it was pitched at a wild pokemon. That meant Epicure wanted to be his pokemon, or at least that Epicure was too lazy to fight him over it. Soren took a moment to revel in the warm happy feeling of having two new friends to spend every day with from now forward. He'd need to spend some time training them to obey him and become stronger, but they at least liked him enough to want to be around him, and that seemed like a good start.

 Posted: Aug 8 2018, 03:36 PM


topic closed
▲▲ +50 tokens for completing a topic.
▲▲ +30 tokens for 3 (1k posts)
▲▲ +1 Loyalty Genesis.
▲▲ +1 Loyalty Nimbus.
▲▲ +2 Loyalty Epicure.
▲▲ +2 Loyalty Amaranth.
▲▲ +1 Loyalty to all for Housing Bonus.

▼▼ -2 Pokeballs.

Epicure needs a snickers! All these people are great. Soren is great. Everyone is great! I liked the time you put into Soren's development with his team and how you keep their personalities consistent. Genesis is my fav though, because of her sass. Amaranth will probably need the most work as far as loyalty goes but Epicure loves getting his belly filled.

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