• Welcome to The Cave of Dragonflies forums, where the smallest bugs live alongside the strongest dragons.

    Guests are not able to post messages or even read certain areas of the forums. Now, that's boring, don't you think? Registration, on the other hand, is simple, completely free of charge, and does not require you to give out any personal information at all. As soon as you register, you can take part in some of the happy fun things at the forums such as posting messages, voting in polls, sending private messages to people and being told that this is where we drink tea and eat cod.

    Of course I'm not forcing you to do anything if you don't want to, but seriously, what have you got to lose? Five seconds of your life?

Frontier Town Nina's Place

"Now where have I heard that before?" Bellatrix quietly asked herself, not realising that she was beginning to space out. The term 'pokémon wielder' had rung a distant bell. She had been familiar with the concept of a trainer, even in the depths of her emptied memories.

After a bit of an awkward pause, Bellatrix snapped herself back to reality. "Perhaps, but the principle stands," she countered. "It's not what it is but who uses it and the purposes behind it. Pokémon themselves are beholden to a similar principle from the stories I have heard. As you just said, there are some who will train alongside them as partners and other who will see them as tools or weapons to be wielded."
"Yeah." Nova looked down blankly at his sandwich and blinked a few times.

"Wait, you do have humans in your world? I figured you'd be from somewhere more like Mhynt's world. Or maybe Isidora's..."
"No," Bellatrix answered. "The world I came from is similar to this one, with no humans and plenty of Mystery Dungeons. Humans are, however, a bit of a legend there although the stories surrounding them are... odd." She leaned forward. "There, the word for 'human' and 'demon' are one and the same and the presence of one is said to bring forth chaos and disaster and yet, there is a long extinct precursor race that is revered for their technology, the remnants of which are used to power my world to this day, although to a much lesser degree. Now, I cannot say that the two are one and the same but from what I have seen and heard, I have my theories."
"I suppose so," Nova said. He took a rather large bite of what was left of his sandwich. "Though I've seen and known some pokémon that can build some wild machinery."
Bellatrix sipped her drink having finished her meal. "Indeed, I can see it for myself here on Forlas. Perhaps one day my world will receive that level of technological advancement without the need to scavenge." She gave Nova a polite nod, beginning to feel the strain of maintaining an illusion for so long, something Nova could see if he looked closely. She may have gained a new breadth of power over them but she was still very much a novice in the grand scheme.

"Your world sounds fascinating, I would enjoy hearing more when I have more time," she said, eyeing her cider. There wasn't much left in there, so if she could just finish it quickly...
Nova polished off the last of the sandwich. "It's, uh, a hell of a place. In more ways than you can imagine." He nudged the empty plate across the bar counter, then placed the necessary coins beside it.

"Good talking with you. Hope you get some rest." He stood up and winked. "Y'know, from your earlier training."

Nova turned and headed for the exit.
Nova received an appreciative nod in reply as Bellatrix's own form of waving him off while she finished her drink. She had already paid for her food and drink upfront so she could speed off immediately the moment she was done. She was eager to continue her illusion training once she managed to regain her strength. Who knew what she could learn while privy to a surprise conversation with another Wayfarer or another stranger?

Ch05: Past & Future Selves [Koa & Archie]
Of all the places in Frontier Town to eat, he found he liked Nina's Place the most. Sun Stone was too fancy for his taste, and the Wandering Zera always made him feel slighty uneasy and out of his element. He'd ordered himself a plate of food of some berries and fish, and a small cup of coffee, which he'd begun to develop a taste for once he'd added plenty of cream and sugar.

The day was still early, and he was considering heading out later and picking up a few supplies and preparing to see if he could visit the monastery. But for now, at least, he could enjoy a meal in peace. No dreadful lingering fear of Alex, and no looming fear of some upcoming fight with Cipher. Just a pleasant day.
Nina’s Place wasn’t a business Archie frequented often. Usually he settled for the cafeteria food at the Haus, and if he was going to treat himself, the Dewott preferred saving up to splurge at the Sun Stone – might as well go all out. Even now, as he walked through the door, it wasn’t the food that was calling to him, but the flash of blue fur he’d sworn he’d seen through the window as he was walking by. And, sure enough, after scanning the patrons for a moment, his eyes landed on the Electrike he was looking for, Koa.

He did his best to appear casual as he approached the Electrike, though truthfully he was more than a little worried. The last private chat he’d had with Koa had been… Fraught, to say the least. Honestly, the Dewott didn’t exactly have the best track record when it came to one on one conversations in general. Still, all he could do was try. So, he took a deep breath, and gave Koa his best smile.

“Hey, mind if I join you for a little?”
At the sound of Archie's voice, Koa's ears perked up.

"Hey Archie," he said cheerfully. Not having to worry anymore took a weight off. "Sure, I don't mind." It's been a little while since he'd had time to speak to Archie with everything that had happened. And since Archie had evolved.

He took another sip of his coffee. "Congratulations on evolving by the way," he said brightly.
The Dewott shuffled over to a nearby chair, taking a seat and folding his paws together on the table. Honestly, he wasn't even sure where to begin. So much had happened since their last talk before the Timeless Oasis expedition. And, as it turned out, Koa chose the topic before he had a chance to settle on one himself.

"Oh! Uh... Thank you," he replied, with a slightly nervous grin, "To be honest, I'm still not really sure how I feel about it. But, it happened!"

Seemed like most of them were evolving at this point. At least, those of them that could. Except, Electrike could evolve, into Manectric. And yet, here Koa was, still unevolved. Did Koa not want to evolve? It would make sense, Ein was a Manectric, and Koa had seemed especially fixated on him during the fight against the admins. Was the Electrike maybe associating his evolved form with the man?

"How about you? Prefer the Electrike life?" He asked.
At Archie's comment, Koa scowled a flicker of annoyance in his eyes. "No. I don't know why I haven't evolved yet. I want to. I've been training a lot but it still hasn't happened," he grumbled.

A fact that irritated him still. What was so different about him compared to everyone else on the team? He almost envied Archie a little, but he couldn't help but mostly feel proud of him.

"What do you think triggered it for you?"
The Dewott frowned, sympathetically. A touchy subject, it seemed? Still, it was odd. So far as Archie knew, Manectric didn't have any specific requirements for evolution. It simply did so once it was strong enough. And strength certainly wasn't a department Koa was lacking in, he knew that for a fact having seen the Electrike fight multiple times. So, if there wasn't a physical limitation to the evolution, maybe it was mental like he'd first assumed. But, rather than a conscious association causing the Electrike to limit himself, the problem was deeper, subconscious somehow?

"Well, for me, I think it was desperation," the Dewott said, clasping his paws tighter together, "I put everything I had into flooring Dakim the first time, only for him to get right back up, with a Shadow based power boost on top of that. And then I saw Wes on the ground, out in the hallway, and I panicked."

Archie shook his head, "Obviously, he was fine, but at the time, I remember thinking to myself 'If I don't do something, the mad ape will kill him.' I hadn't wanted to evolve, but, ultimately, I had to."

Probably not the most helpful thing for the Electrike to hear, to be honest. Desperation might've been enough to get over the former Oshawott's mental block on evolving, but he really hoped that wouldn't be what it took for Koa.
Desperation? "I've been desperate before..." he mused. Was he not desperate enough or was there some other trigger? He'd been desperate to beat Ein, to stop Cipher, to fight Alex, to save the shadow Pokemon. Had none of those been enough? Was something wrong with him? What was he missing?

"I can't figure out why. I think I must be strong enough by now. Electrike back home evolve pretty fast..." Steven had evolved after his little trip but he did think that would work well in his case. "It must be cool though for you, being stronger and faster like this, right?" He gave Archie he a grin. It'd almost felt like the Dewott was uncertain about it still. Maybe he was still adjusting... it had to feel strange, right?
The Dewott frowned again, the concern evident on his face. Koa was immediately taking it the way he feared the Electrike might.

"Listen, I don't know if there's a one size fits all solution here," he said, "Maybe there's something holding you back?"

As for the Electrike's follow up question... Honestly, Archie wasn't sure what he should say! Yeah, he was stronger, faster, bigger. He had a second scalchop. People were a little less quick to dismiss him now that he wasn't a baby faced basic stage Pokemon. Evolving certainly had its benefits.

"I... Don't know if I was ready," he admitted, "Mentally, I mean. Now that I'm evolved, it's not so bad, but I think I would've liked to have more time, to come to terms with the idea. Things about my life as a Pokemon, and my past as a human, I was having trouble reconciling. Maybe it's the same for you? You might feel like you're ready, but there's some kind of mental block in place? One you're not even processing?"
More time...? He remembered how evolution back home apparently felt different for every pokemon, and how much it could affect them. Was that what was happening to Archie?

"I don't know, I don't think so," he said finally, shrugging. He didn't think so, especially now that they were cured. "We're free of that shadow control now so I'm not sure what else it could be."

He stared thoughtfully at his food and took a few bites, then washed it down. Archie seemed uncertain, but it was hard to grasp what wasn't good about evolving. Especially into a pokemon like a Dewott. Strength, agility, power... Although he could still sympathize, considering his own team back home. "How come you didn't want to evolve yet?"
Koa couldn't think if anything that might be holding him back. But then, if he could, the Electrike probably wouldn't be in this situation, would he?

"Well, I'm sure you'll evolve when you're ready," the Dewott said, giving his best reassuring grin. "It probably just isn't something you can force."

He thought back to his talk with Silver, and before that to his one with Wes and Odette. How evolving had felt like he was giving up a piece of his humanity. How it felt like he was betraying the memory of all the humans on his world, by forsaking what made him like them. He sighed, and looked down at his paws again.

"When I first arrived in my second world, all I could remember was my name, and that I was human. I didn't remember that my first world was gone, and that I was all that was left. In order to survive, I had to adapt, become more and more like a Pokemon. My diet had to adjust, I had to learn to use moves and fight, even the way I dress changed," he held out his arms for emphasis, and, trying to add a little levity to his voice, quipped, "I knew guys back in Castelia who dressed like this. They hung out in back alleys and if you were lucky, they'd give you a TM along with their little show. Believe me when I say, I was not one of them."

He chuckled a little at his own bad joke, then lowered his paws back to the tabletop. "I even started thinking more like a Pokemon. I perceived myself as an Oshawott that was once human, and not as human that was now an Oshawott. I know it doesn't sound like a big difference when I put it that way, but it meant a great deal, to me. Then I remembered I was all that was left of my world, and suddenly, I felt like I had forsaken all of it. Moved on with my life. I felt like I duty bound to treat my last remaining connections to my world with a certain degree of reverence. That meant my own humanity."

"But, by that point, about the only thing I hadn't done that was intrinsic to the Pokemon experience, was evolve. So long as I was an Oshawott, I could tell myself that I was still holding onto something, that I hadn't 'gone native' so to speak. That I was still human in some small, but meaningful way," he shook his head, "Logically, it was just a dumb coping mechanism. I was just fooling myself into not having to face the facts. That world, and that life, are gone. I'll never be human again. And I need to stop living my life like I've got a planet's worth of ghosts looking over my shoulder."
Koa stared at the tabletop. How would that feel, to be the last one left? His own world was fine, and he would be a human again when all this was over. But what if he wouldn't? Being stuck as an Electrike would be... weird.

For a few moments, he didn't reply, considering everything Archie had said. "Evolution doesn't change your history though," he said slowly. "The memories and your character... that's the same. No matter what shape you're in. Some of my partners back home have different feelings about evolving. One is afraid to. And one doesn't want to. And one had a hard time adjusting..."

He found himself tapping a paw against the wood. "Just because you won't be human again doesn't mean that's not still a part of you, right?"
"My history hasn't changed, no," Archie said, shaking his head. This topic was starting to get kind of heavy. This was not what he'd intended to talk to Koa about when he'd seen the Electrike through the saloon window. Still, it felt rude to just shut it down all together. The Electrike was his friend, the Dewott felt he should at least make some kind of effort to explain where he was coming from.

"The thing is, I remember so little of that time. Am I really the same person as I was then? Sometimes, I wonder if the Archie that lived as a human ranger would even recognize the Archie that lives as an Oshawott adventurer," he said, "I think that, if I did remember everything, I'd hate the person I used to be, the things he had to do to survive. Sometimes, I wish I didn't remember anything at all, and I would've been able to spend my whole life making new memories, unaware of the fate of my first world. But, at the same time, I hate that about myself. It makes me feel so weak."

Honestly, it was all a mess, which is why it was easier just to not think about it, most of the time. Instead, he preferred to focus on other topics of conversation. Like Koa's Pokemon, for example!

"I think I fall somewhere in the middle of your three Pokemon," he said with another chuckle. Afraid, not wanting to, and having a hard time adjusting now that it'd happened anyway. "Do you know what made them feel those ways?"
Had Archie done something awful back home? Was that why he always seemed so guilty? "But that doesn't matter," Koa protested. "Even if you did do something back then. You're here now aren't you? You're doing something good. What matters is the person you are now." It was true. It had to be. Even if Archie had made mistakes, even if he'd done something he regretted, the fact that he had come here to help this world meant something.

And what of his own pokemon? "Back home as a human, I guess I didn't understand evolution. I figured every pokemon liked changing and getting stronger. But my Joltik didn't want to evolve at all because he liked his body. And my Tyrantrum nearly tripled in size and power. Having that much strength was hard for her I think. My Spheal is just worried about the idea."

Until coming here and turning into an Electrike he hadn't realized how disconcerting and weird having a new body could be, even if he liked it. How would it feel to have a new body all over again as a Manectric?

"It must be weird to have everything change for a pokemon so quickly."
Top Bottom