Tag Archives: Heir to the Sky

NaNo 18, Day 4: Cyllage City and Bike Drama

The surprises for the day weren’t done once Evangeline put on her normal clothes and continued down the beach-road along the coast. There were other trainers itching for a battle, and two of her Pokemon just waiting for a chance to evolve. She wasn’t sure if Ella was jealous at how quickly her fellow original members were evolving or if she just ran for it. Either way, her sleek new form ran in excited circles around Evangeline’s ankles.

Ella (Linoone)

The second was more a surprise. She had just finished a battle with a fisherman, and Hikari spun around her flower thoughtfully. Evangeline watched, letting the little fairy do what it needed. Finally, she hugged it close, and immediately burst into white light. Startled, Evangeline ran through the clingy sand to reach her side, just as the petals of her flower spun to break it up.

Hikari (Floette)

She beamed up at Evangeline, spinning her flower like Evangeline remembered spinning parasols when she was a child. Laughing, she clapped her hands and offered Hikari a hug in congratulations.

Cyllage City was built on various levels, and rather than the dirty or cobble roads of the other places she’d been so far, they had hard pavement that was better for tires. Most of the houses were residential, though she did find a clothing boutique that she poked her head in. The shop girl was able to give her directions to the Pokemon Center, thankfully, and Evangeline checked in with Nurse Joy for a check up. Her team was grateful for the chance to rest, especially as she gossiped with some of the locals. The city’s gym was Rock centric, so she was happy Haruka and Hikari had evolved. They would be needed as back-up for Kakashi. Kagura and Etienne insisted on coming, and she was keeping Cerise nearby until the little Vivilion had a chance to learn some more about battling.

Once she was set for her upcoming Gym battle, Evangeline started to circle around the town again to explore. Everyone was friendly, at least, though there were so. many. bikes. She found out why as she spotted a store front with wheels on the store front and a bike sign. So that’s where the outlet was in Kalos. Debating for a minute, she decided to at least go in and see how close she was to being able to afford a bike.

Or at least, that was the plan until the owner behind the counter spotted her. “Oh, oh, oh! Welcome, welcome!” he said eagerly leaning over the counter. “Come here, please, Miss Evangeline!”

He knew her on sight. Not good.

Reluctantly, she walked over to the counter, holding tight to her bag strap. “How do you know my name?” she asked in confusion.

Flipping open the newspaper on the counter, he pointed to an article about the photo expo of an up and coming trainer by Viola, written by Alexa. They’d interviewed Sycamore, who thankfully kept his mouth shut about her parents and as the only one who knew, she was safe on that front. Still, it was enough to make her whimper in embarrassment.

“They find the VR video you made with your Frogadier and have been running it too,” he added with a grin. “You’ve got a lot of people interested in Pokemon journeys again, and the younger kids are really looking up to you.” He folded the paper decisively. “Which is why I have something special, just for you.”

“What…?” she asked weakly, following him as he walked over to a corner of the store. The most popular colors for bikes were green and yellow, though she saw a couple of other colors tossed in there. Most were all-terrain models, though there were a couple of speed types and extreme mountain riding too.

He paused by a pink all-around bike, the exact same shade that Evangeline favored. “This is for you,” he said, holding up a hand before she could argue. “And in return, I want you to tell everyone where you got it if you are asked in an interview how you get around. Consider it an endorsement.”

“I-I-I… I don’t know what to say,” she stammered, holding her hands over her heart. Oh, this was bad. So bad. “It’s a beautiful bike, sir–”

“Custom color,” he said with a wide smile. “And I’ve had three different girls asking for it since I got it in and put it on display in hopes you would walk in here. Without even mentioning your name.”

So just by traveling with it, she’d get him business. Reassuring, since she was going to be avoiding journalists like the plague now, at least until she finished her badge collecting. “I’m just a Pokemon trainer!” she tried to argue, refusing to stomp her foot. Her nanny used to whack her on top of the head with a dictionary if she stomped her foot, helping break the childish habit, but sometimes, she was so tempted. This wasn’t what she wanted!

“You’re a girl Trainer,” he argued back. “We don’t see nearly enough of those making their rounds between the gyms, no matter how much pushing the government is doing in the schools. They tend to stick close to home, their parents too scared to let them go out into the world. Well, you are proving that they can and be just fine. I’ve decided to help drive it home. Maybe it’ll get my own daughters out to discover a bond with Pokemon.”

Great, now she was being used as an example. She sighed, realizing she was not going to win this argument. “Just… Spread the word that I don’t want the help?” she begged. “Pokemon Centers are one thing, but this is more than I feel comfortable accepting.”

He laughed. “That, I can agree to. I don’t think anyone was quite as eager as I was, so you should be safe.”

Oh thank God. She breathed out and held out her hands. “Alright, I’ll take the bike.” He grinned and unlocked it from the stand, letting her wheel it out. She sighed as she looked down at it. “I am not telling Aunt Aya about this,” she muttered. Evangelin would make up some sort of contest and winning the bike first.

She’d ridden a little back in Johto, so with a little practice, she was able to go up the bike paths that lined the cliff. The going was different from the smooth streets of Violet City, but she managed. She did blink and skid to a stop when an unfamiliar male came running up from another path on foot.

“Hey!” he said, waving. His dark skin had a healthy glow to it, and his dark curls were twisted and rolled with a collections of stones. He wore rock climbing gear in functional greys with orange accents. “If you’re here for the bike race, I’m afraid you’re too late.” He paused and looked over her bike in question. “Nice ride, by the way. Custom paint?”

She flushed, not wanting to answer that. Apparently he hadn’t been poking around in his own city’s bike store.

“The race is over, I won first place,” he factually told her, resting his hand on his hip. “I feel bad that you missed it.”

“Please don’t, please,” she asked, cringing a little. “I actually only just got this bike, to speed up my traveling between towns. I’m looking for the local Gym.”

“Oh!” He laughed and rubbed the back of his head. “That would be me. Or, my Gym, I guess. Name’s Grant, and I’m the Leader for Cyllage City.”

“I’m Evangeline,” she introduced her self with a nod of her head, since he didn’t hold out his hand for her to shake.

“How about I walk with you up to the Gym?” he offered. “I can get in place while you are facing off against the trainers who work with me.”

She swung off of her bike to show her agreement, walking it next to her as she came to stand beside him with a smile. He cleared his throat and started walking down the path. “So, your accent isn’t native to coastal Kalos,” he said, a question disguised as a statement.

Evangeline bit her lower lip and said quietly, “My great-aunt and I had just moved to Vaniville when Professor Sycamore handed out starters to the latest class. I got roped in with them, since I was already registered.”

“Just moved? From where?” he asked.

She shrugged. “A lot of bouncing around,” she said evasively. Which was true. Before they were in Vaniville, they were on the boats. And before the boats, she spent roughly three-quarters of her time at one parent’s location, the other quarter…usually bouncing between the academy, her mother’s actual house, and her grandfather’s house. She rarely set foot in the Fuschia City Gym anymore.

He smirked. “A little mystery. I like that.” He paused outside of an impressive doorway literally cut into the cliff face. “Here we go, the Cyllage City Gym.” He gave her a mock salute with two-fingers. “I’ll see you inside.”

She grinned at him. “All the way at the top.” He ducked through the doors, and after she got her new bike taken care of, she followed him in, eager to lay claim to her second badge.


NaNo 18, Day 3: A Father’s Love

“Evangeline!” he greeted her, his voice more enthusiastic than his expression–but then, her father’s stern expression was nearly legendary. Overly serious by far, she could see a lot more of herself in him than her mother. But there was a softness there, affection for his only child, that had been present all her life outside of Gym battles when he had to be scary. “I wasn’t expecting a call from you and Aya for a couple of more days. Are you settled already?”

She winced a little. “Um, about that.” She ran her hands over her braid in nerves. “The nearby professor got word of me being here. Professor Sycamore. He, um, decided he could lump me in with the latest trainer class he was giving starters out to.”

His only visible eyebrow raised, and she could only tell because of how well she knew him that he was shocked. “So you have already started your journey?” he asked.

Evangeline nodded slowly. “Pretty much right away,” she admitted. “My starter is a Froakie, his name is Kakashi. Or, was. He’s already evolved.”

Falkner tilted his head. “I’m not familiar with that one, so not a Flying type in any evolution,” he said, his tone deceptively bland.

“No, Water,” she said, and quickly added. “Henri is the flyer, a Fletchinder.”

That smoothed his expression over, making her want to sigh in relief. “At least you have one,” he said, with a nod. “Your Maiko is doing well here, by the way.” Her heart swelled at the mention of the Pidgey-turned-Pidgeotto she had trained under her father’s guidance as a child. “I’m considering using her for Gym Battles, if you are okay with it. My current is ready to evolve, and she’s the best Pidgeotto in the Gym right now.”

“Of course,” Evangeline agreed. “I’d be honored.” Oh! Scrambling, she grabbed the case she’d brought with her from her room. “Speaking of Gyms, I faced the first one here, at Santalune City,” she said, and held up her case, letting him see her only badge so far. “I’ll be heading towards Cyllage City for my second in the morning.”

“Good work!” he complimented with a soft smile, making her sit up straighter in pride. But then he tilted his head like one of his Hoothoot. “Is that a beetle…?”

She whined, wilting at the reminder so her head rested on the table in front of the computer.

“Oh, my poor chick,” he said with a chuckle, though he turned serious again. “At least if you had stayed here in Johto, I could have talked to Bugsy for you.”

“I don’t want special favors,” she complained, voice muffled by the wood of the desk. “We talked about this, ad nauseam, before I left.”

“I know, but I promised the bird keepers I would ask their ‘hime’ if she was ready to come home yet,” he said. She snorted at him. If they were asking that, he must be talking about her as much as he talked Flying philosophy. “Evangeline,” he scolded.

Right, right, act like a lady. Sighing, she straightened up to pout at him. “I’m doing just fine here,” she muttered. “And I like that it’s different. New Pokemon, new places, new challenges. No one who knows who I am just by looking at me.”

Her father gave a slow nod. “I won’t pretend to understand,” he admitted at least. “I never had the desire to leave here, and just wanted to improve the Gym. But your grandfather Walker did, and it was quite some time before he settled here as the Gym Leader. Take your time, Evangeline, and follow your heart. It’ll lead you to your intended roost, just like it did him.”

“Yes, Father,” she promised and glanced at the clock. “I had better get to bed and let you get to work. I’ll call you in a couple of days?”

He nodded and added, “Make sure you call your mother sometime too. Or let Aya handle her, which ever you think is best.”

“Considering Aunt Aya was her idea, I’m tempted to just let them talk,” she muttered, but nodded in agreement before saying good-bye and hanging up. Neither of them were the type to casually mention their love for each other, but both knew it.

Evangeline sighed and went to go find a space in her own bed for her, between the cuddlers that made up her group of Pokemon. She’d call Aunt Aya in Cyllage to give her an update for her mother. Her father was too right, it would be easier for her to let Aya handle the communications back to their home regions as much as she could. If her mother wanted to talk to her, Aya could tell her that way.

*****

The aquarium’s collection was impressive. It made Evangeline wish she had a fishing rod. Of course, as she walked down the beach path, she found that desire was waylaid by the sight of the waves crashing up on the sand. She understood why Nurse Joy had pushed at her to consider taking some time to enjoy it. There was a small area that seemed intended for tourists, or at least those who might not have worn their bathing suit for their journey to the coast.

She let her Pokemon out as she struggled to get her hair up in a ponytail and out of the way. Kakashi gave a whoop and was off to the waves before she could stop him, Ella right on his tail. Shaking her head, she straightened the ruffle at the top of her one-piece swim suit–it formed the straps that sat just off of her shoulders, tying with a chord in the middle, and not exposing any cleavage but just highlighting her collarbones. It was in her preferred aqua blue, with white and pink flowers and navy leaves for the print.

Glancing around at the ever-so-fashionable other swimmers, never had Evangeline been more happy that Aunt Aya had insisted on a shopping trip before they even boarded the boat to Kalos. She hadn’t even owned a swimsuit before, and would have looked awkward in either her ninja gear or her hakama skirts trying to wade into the water. She already felt odd since she was so simple compared to high French fashion. But it worked for her, and she was going to be happy.

Kakashi and Ella were joined by Chiko, who seemed to be enjoying snapping at the spray with her larger-mouth and the splashing at the others with her hands. She didn’t even try to convince Haruka, figuring that salt wouldn’t be good for him, and he seemed content to guard her bag. Cerise stayed with him rather than risking getting carried away with the waves, being so small. Felix seemed torn between avoiding Cerise and avoiding the water, and settled for sitting away from the other two and far from the waves. One of the handful of stands that rented out equipment included beach balls. Evangeline was more than happy to purchase one for those in the waves to bounce back and forth.

Of course, keeping control of the ball was something else entirely. One wrong hit by Ella sent it crashing into a nearby girl who was splashing around herself. “Hey!” she shouted, spinning around and indignant. Her blonde hair was easily as long as Evangeline’s, but perfectly straight and cut in fashionable layers, contrasting with the tan of her skin. Her pink halter bikini exposed a lot more skin than her one modest one-piece, and it made Evangeline self-conscious.

But she wasn’t going to let her Pokemon get yelled at. “Sorry, it was an accident,” she said, stepping forward and folding her hands in front of her to give an apologetic bow. “We’ll move further down the beach and be more careful.”

“We?” the swimmer looked over and saw Evangeline’s team. “Oh, a trainer! You can apologize with a battle. My Pokemon will get me vengeance.”

“It was just a ball,” Evangeline protested, but didn’t try and argue. She just gestured for her own team to gather around. The swimmer released a Psyduck, and she barely refrained from groaning. At least she knew how to handle them. “Haruka, you’re on!” she called out. The Budew waddled over, his bud opening and closing as he faced off. Cerise came over to watch, which Evangeline only thought could do the Spewa good.

At least until the Wingull came out. Cerise squeaked at the sight of the bird, trying to hide behind Evangeline’s leg. Haruka quaked a little too, but Evangeline stood firm. “You can do this, Haruka!” she promised. “Just keep up your attacks!” Both of her littlest Pokemon looked up at her. The Grass-Type puffed up, and he set his mouth in a firm line. He faced down the dual type with a fierceness that filled Evangeline with pride in him. So when he burst into white light at the end of the battle, she wasn’t surprised.

Haruka (Roselia)

What did surprise her as Cerise inched forward to watch was Cerise copying him.

Her breath caught in her chest, and she looked between both of them. Haruka finished first, shaking his new hands and then raising them up in happiness. Then he saw Cerise and quickly came running over as her wings flicked off the light with a gust.

Cerise (Vivilion)

Purple wings. Evangeline felt like she could collapse in relief. Apparently they had moved into a new region for wing patterns for Vivilion. She smiled softly as Haruka and Cerise danced together in excitement for their new forms, the others clapping and cheering. The swimmer sulked and tossed her some coins, which she went to go put in her bag.

She looked up just in time to see Felix approaching. Evangeline tensed, watching the Charmeleon pause behind Cerise. The new Vivilion’s wings fluttered anxiously. But Felix held up his clawed hands, delicately taking her much smaller paws in his. He gave them a little shake, ducked his head, and then went to walk next to the bag to sit again.

Evangeline grabbed him by the shoulders, hugging him close. “That’s my boy,” she whispered to him, making him flush before she ran to join the celebrations.


NaNo 17: Final Thoughts

Technically, I could write till I’m brain dead tonight and try to make 50,000 words. However, I have some final thoughts on NaNoWriMo that I want to write instead. (Plus, I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for the last week and lost miserably.) So, there’s the “official” goal of NaNoWriMo, which is…a lot more complex than it sounds, and then there are personal goals that you might have within the context of the challenge. Here’s my stance on this year.

The official goal is to write a complete, original book of at least 50,000 words. Well, this has always been problematic for me. Why? Because I am, as Professor Davis put it, a put-er-in-er. What he means is I get my basic framework out of the way in a rough draft, and then I spend the next couple of drafts adding to it to flesh out characters and scenes that might need it, fix my stimulus and response, and if there are any “blank spots” in terms of background or character descriptions, fill those in. Even then, my original books tend to run around around 40,000 for the first draft, and how much it gains varies considerably. I’m not a door-stopper writer, probably because I hate reading those. (Exception being Ginny’s stuff, which I get in nice bite-sized snippets for the actual story, and then when I’m editing the big book, I couldn’t care less.)

The second problem with this goal is that… I already know I can do it if pushed. If I absolutely have to, I will almost kill myself to turn out 50,000 words. But I will then suffer through three months or so of burnout trying to recover my health and motivation to write anything other than RP posts and the occasional fanfic. Not good, especially when I have an agent interested in Sun’s Guard: Ten, and I might be working on future books for that series soon… *crosses fingers*

This is where personal goals come into play. I realized that I was still in the same sort of “brain” as I had in college/grad school. Short bursts of turning out a ton of work, and then long breaks. The problem is without a set deadline, it’s harder to get the bursts going. I also work full time now, I am stepping up in my medieval group, I have a house to keep up with and no spouse to help, plus all my RPs (most of which I paused this year) and other things I do for fun. Add in the neglect I’ve been showing Ginny’s and my MMO concept, putting far too much work on her shoulders, and my crappy health lately? Yeah, writing hasn’t been happening.

Which just makes me more exhausted. Writing is my outlet. I enjoy it, it lets me create a world and people who have an important part to play. But God, it is exhausting to the old brain pan as much as it’s refreshing. And I have forgotten (if I ever knew) how to pace myself when I don’t have anything other than self-applied deadlines, and now that I’m out of school, I don’t know what is considered reasonable for me to do without causing burnout.

So my personal goal for NaNo was, while not to write every day because I knew that was impossible, but to write more and when I got tired, stop. If my head was hurting, or I had an anxiety attack, I was allowed to take the day off. Since it was Thanksgiving during this month, I made time for my family. And at the end of the month, evaluate what I learned.

The end results are pretty satisfying. In a rehearsal month (because yes, I have medieval fair rehearsal in November) when there is a major holiday where I am expected to see my family, and with not only a major anxiety attack one weekend and fighting a sinus infection, I turned out 33,000 words. That is at least half if not more of a novel. I also averaged anywhere from 1700 to 2500 a day on days where I could write, though the 2500 I could tell was me pushing a little harder than I should have. That’s about one chapter for me. It’s definitely a blog post, as you all can tell.

Right now, Heir to the Sky is at a good stopping place, so I’m going to call this the end of “arc 1,” even though I only gained one badge. Next year, unless I’m stupid behind on a deadline for a publisher, I’ll pick it up again for November 2018 and see if I can get us to the Mega Evolution. I’m still going to play the game (once I buy a new charger for the DS, Kari wrecked my only one) and get all my notes done so all I have to do is write… I might even do super-prep and get all my art graphics done instead of doing it as I go, just to save time.

While I may not have met the official goal of NaNoWriMo, I definitely met my personal goal. I know my pacing now, and I have a plan for the next few months. December is gift writing, January is working on Ginny’s and my game and querying Ten some more, since the agent hasn’t given me yes or no yet and isn’t exclusive yet either. February is actually going to be dedicated to some first-arc plotting for both Bree’s first book, Truth of Justice: Touched and Caley’s second book, Sun’s Guard: Page, and then I might start writing Touched if there’s time. March is going to be a “rest month” where I focus on fanfiction and catching up any RPs I’ve let slide, giving my brain a break, mostly because it’s the last month before medieval fair and that’s going to be eating me alive.

And of course, you can return here for your expected blog post once a week. ^_^ I’m not sure what next week’s is going to be, I have a couple half-started, so we’ll see!