A/N: I'M BACK, EVERYONE! Sorry this chapter took quite a while, but real life was being a pain like usual.
Anyway, a little recap of what has been happened to me ever since the last update. I did manage to get some work done for this fic during my trip in the Philippines, but not as much as I hoped. That was actually because while I was doing the work, I got a mosquito bite that nearly turned into a bad infection. I let my guard down whenever I write because I just can't juggle between that and focusing on my external surroundings. And since I always have a mosquito problem over there, I feared that I would get even more bites if I continued writing, therefore I simply stopped to preserve the rest of my exposed skin.
Anyway, now that I'm back, I was able to use what I got done in the Philippines as a perfect starting-off point for the rest of the content that I wanted. So it wasn't a total loss. I'm also back in school, and two of my classes are actually writing workshops, one specializing in creative writing, the other in creative nonfiction (apparently, those are two very different things). Not only am I enjoying those classes, but I have a great opportunity to use what I learn to make the quality of all of my fics even better for you guys. But unfortunately, the workload has been physically and emotionally draining for me, which has now made progress on these chapters all the more slower.
Alright, I'm rambling. Let's on with the chapter! ENJOY!
P.S.: There's something additional that I have to tell you all, but you're going to see that in the ending Author's Note. I don't want my addendum to take up more unnecessary space in the beginning of the chapter and subsequently bore you guys to death. Just wanted to point that out.
P.P.S.: I'M SUPER PSYCHED FOR THE UPCOMING "POKEMON SWORD AND SHIELD" GAMES! THIS MEANS NO MORE SM ANIME! YAS! ...Sorry, SM fans...but I can't wait to be rid of the SM anime once and for all!
Nick and Sons Oil and Construction Company
Pauvre Avenue, southeastern Kiloude City
"Yo, Parker, my man! ...What're you doing...?"
With a grunt, Parker set his makeshift weights down on the ground, examined his muscular arms for a brief moment, and then looked at Nick, who was staring at him with awe and wonder. He smirked at his temporary compatriot's rotund and unhealthy appearance, knowing how easy it would be to overpower someone as weak, incompetent, and pathetic as him and his ragtag band of allies. For once, the prospect of a double-cross was something that didn't worry Parker in the slightest.
"Keeping oneself in tiptop shape is a task that must be undertaken at all times," he said, just as his Sceptile suddenly landed on the floor beside him. "Should you wish to achieve your goals..." He promptly flexed his arms threateningly. "Your physique must reach ideal levels of perfection. Such is the way of all things in this world."
"Wooooow..." Nick replied. "I have no idea what you just said, but that is SO COOL! You think you can teach me?!"
"Help me capture what I need and I will put that offer into consideration."
Nick nodded vigorously. "It's a done deal!" Then, he gestured towards the doorway. "Sp-Speaking of which, some of your Hoppip, Skiploom, and Jumpluff have returned! I think they have great news for you!"
His eyebrow arching with interest, Parker and Sceptile quickly followed Nick out of their interim exercise room and into the living room, where a Hoppip, Skiploom, and Jumpluff were waiting. Cecile was admiring the three Pokémon; Sid was researching something on his advanced laptop; and Floyd, Lloyd, and a couple of Nick's other, unnamed subordinates were watching something uninteresting on an old TV set.
"Report, Team Kappa," Parker barked suddenly, catching everyone's attention. The Hoppip, Skiploom, and Jumpluff hovered rigidly before their Trainer, their normally happy expressions suddenly turning uncharacteristically serious. "Did you ascertain the whereabouts of the target?"
Hoppip, Skiploom, and Jumpluff all shook their heads with disappointment. Nick blinked with surprise at the response, just as Parker gave him a deadly glare that sent an eerie chill down his spine.
"They have great news from me, huh...?"
Everyone else sweat-dropped at Nick's incompetence while dealing with their temporary ally.
"W-W-Well," stuttered Nick fearfully, "th-th-they c-ca-came in all happy and stuff! I-I thought th-th-they-"
"They act that way whenever I'm around them." He glared back at Hoppip, Skiploom, and Jumpluff. "In spite of their cute and harmless appearances, I catch as many of them as I could, whenever the opportunity presents itself, because they serve as efficient scouts. No one would suspect them of being my eyes and ears because of their normally innocent natures."
"Normally innocent natures...?" repeated Cecile, her voice hesitating with confusion at the first word.
"Let's just say I subject each and every one of my horde to a strict training regiment so they could be better suited to the needs of my overall group." He raised his hand and snapped his fingers, prompting the three Grass-type Pokémon to slam themselves into Nick's torso, knocking the wind out of him. "Everything innocent, individual, and weak about them is stripped away, and replaced with unconditional loyalty and collective strength."
"O-Oh." Cecile stared at Hoppip, Skiploom, and Jumpluff pitifully. "That...actually sounds pretty sad for them, though..."
"Accomplishing a task leaves no room for pity or other emotions, only strength and efficiency. You are either the one who breaks another, or the one who is broken by another. And as the one with power over all of my Pokémon, I am the one who must break them, lest I fall pathetically to those of a weaker stature. That is a defeat I cannot tolerate. After all, those who suffer such fates are the ones who are undeserving of the pleasures the world has to offer, just as much as those who believe in will over strength."
Sid blinked, impressed by Parker's monologue. "Now that is a philosophy I can get behind," he said, mostly to himself.
"Now that you understand who you're dealing with," Parker continued, all the while staring at each of his new allies in turn, "I expect nothing but the best out of you. Numbers are everything, but they will ultimately mean nothing in a task like capturing Celebi if each individual doesn't fulfill their respective duties. Is that understood?"
Everyone else nodded with agreement, even Nick, who was still recovering from the triple-blow that he received. It was amusing to elicit such reactions from them, and Parker knew he was asking WAY too much from them. This was all just out of his own amusement in the meantime. But he wasn't done. He pursed his lips and stuck out his chin aggressively.
"I can't hear you," he snarled.
"Yes, Parker!" everyone chorused.
"Yes, Parker what?"
Everyone else started sweating bullets as they replied, "Yes, Parker sir!"
Upon affirming each of their loyalties to him, Parker made a tiny but triumphant smirk. He knew these lower-class beings wouldn't last a minute seriously trying to live up to those unrealistic expectations, but as long as he had them quaking in fear of his presence, Parker could achieve the bare minimum of what he wanted. Though those weren't the expectations he wanted, the poacher knew he would have to settle for that, given the circumstances of his situation.
And that was good enough for him.
"How about we do a recap the Search-and-Rescue Theme Performance?"
"Yes, Mandi. That Serena Gabena sure was amazing in that one!"
Upon hearing Serena's name being mentioned, Parker stared with shock at the slightly grainy TV screen. Through the vague snow of static, he saw a prerecorded image of the honey-blonde Performer during the aforementioned Theme Performance.
"It's her..." he hissed with recognition.
"It's who?" Floyd asked, looking at the screen as well. "The pretty little girl with the honey-blonde hair?"
"Wow, she's cute," added Cecile, her eyes sparkling with wonder at the honey-blonde's graceful movements.
"She's not cute!" Parker snapped, silencing the others. "She's a menace! Her and that nosy husband of hers!"
"She's married?" Cecile blinked with surprise. "I didn't know you could marry that young in Kalos-"
"She is the one who defeated me last night! Her and her husband! They took Celebi away from me and deprived me of my paycheck, just like their children always do! They always meddle with my affairs..."
"They have kids too? Okay, now that's weird..."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute," Nick interrupted. "You said they took a Celebi away from you, man?"
"Yes, that's right," snarled Parker.
"Celebi?" repeated Lloyd. "You mean the Legendary Pokémon that's rumored to travel through time?"
"Correct," Parker replied calmly. But in his mind, he was reprimanding himself for revealing the identity of his target to this ragtag band of incompetent fools. Now he just made things even more complicated for himself...
"Wait, you're saying you're after a...a Celebi?!" Floyd exclaimed, his eyes shining with wonder. The others also looked at each other with excitement.
"Whoa, that's so cool, man!" Lloyd cried. "Hey, hey, let's go get it! With that kind of awesome Pokémon in our hands, we can do anything we want!"
"Yeah! We...We can turn back time whenever we like and fix any of our screw-ups in life!"
"We can use it to play the same lottery over and over again until we get the right numbers!" suggested Nick. "We can get rich beyond our wildest dreams!"
"I can redo my old attempt to start a hair salon!" Cecile shrieked gleefully.
"HUZZAH!" the others roared with celebration.
However, Parker didn't partake in the festive atmosphere. Instead, he snarled, "You fools. Do you all really think Celebi's going to cooperate with your demands?! It'll just teleport itself away from you weak-willed fools! ...Unless..." Then, the poacher smirked with realization, after remembering the presence of Selene and Nate. "They must still have Celebi with them. I injured it badly enough that it can't use its powers without putting a great amount of strain on its body."
"So if we get to them," continued Nick, "we can get to Celebi! Before it fully recovers too! Then, we can snatch it out of their grasp and do whatever we want with it!"
"Yeah, yeah." Parker approached Nick and slapped him on the back. "Good thinking, Mickey."
Nick winced as he rubbed his back. "It's Nick..."
The poacher ignored him. "Alright, gentlemen, lady! We should now focus all of our efforts in bypassing those children and capturing Celebi." As he ruminated the prospect of recapturing Celebi and getting his paycheck at last, the Pokémon poacher's smirk widened even more with deep satisfaction. "Now, let's begin planning for our operation..."
Northern Kiloude City
"...I mean, what's there to think about? I-It's gonna be a thing, isn't it? Whether we like it or not, we will be married and have kids and be happy together, the whole package... It's inevitable, as my mom would say."
"...How do you feel about it?"
"How do I feel about it? ...I...I feel great about it! I mean, you've seen me interact with Selene and Yancy!"
"Yeah, but...how do you feel about having them with me?"
"I mean, how do you feel about marrying me? Having me as your husband? Is that something you want? I-I mean, there are so many guys out there in the world, guys you could have as husbands! ...I know we already know what's ahead of us, our future, and Selene and Yancy are good people. But I ask this because I want this whole thing to be on our own terms. I want us to decide our own future-"
"Of course! I'd like to have you as my husband!"
"Ye-Yeah! ...W-Well, I mean... I... I..."
Now back in her civilian clothes, Serena let out a heavy sigh of irritation as she followed the rest of her group out of the flashy Laurier Maison boutique. A valuable conversation with Ash, the one she wanted for months, had been taking place and was about to go somewhere! She was going to make her full-fledged, legitimate, no-holds-barred confession to the raven-haired Pallet Town boy! But of course, Miette HAD to butt in and ruin her precious, precious moment!
Arceus HAD to be playing some sort of sick joke on her. There was absolutely no way her crush on Ash would be noticed by everyone EXCEPT for him for THIS LONG!
Realizing she was fuming over things she shouldn't be that concerned about, Serena looked at Ash to cool down. Right now, he and Pikachu were complimenting Selene's look in her brand-new toque. Bonnie was right; her future daughter resembled a Torchic from certain angles. Not that Serena minded, though. In fact, it made the seven-year-old look even more adorable...
"Enjoying the view?"
Serena let out a high-pitched yelp, instinctively thinking Miette was making another effort at pushing her buttons again. But when she looked over her shoulder, she instead saw a pair of ruby-red eyes watching her.
"It's pretty cute, huh?" Aria continued, adjusting her fake glasses. "Your sister and Ash. He acts so fatherly towards her." She took a deep breath of reminiscence. "I remember when my dad and I strolled around these very halls, having fun..."
"Your dad?" asked Serena, her curiosity piqued.
"Yeah." The redhead's smile faltered. "He's no longer in the picture. Not since my mom..." She pursed her lips for a brief moment, before abruptly asking, "You like Ash, don't you?"
If Serena had a nickel for every time her face turned into a Tamato Berry, she'd be a millionaire by now.
"WH-WH-WHAT?!" she squeaked. "WH-WH-WH-WHERE D-DID THAT C-C-C-COME FROM?!"
Aria placed her hands on her hips. "I'm sorry, Serena, but...it's sooooo obvious."
"Even Aria caught onto my crush, but Ash still hasn't?!" Serena then sighed and replied in a low voice, "Then you should know the answer to that, Aria..."
The honey-blonde didn't know why, but she felt immense relief crashing over when Aria gave her a sympathetic smile.
"Must be tough, grappling with those feelings," the redhead said. "Not to mention worrying if your friend will reciprocate them. I feel your pain, Serena."
"Huh? You do?"
"Uh-huh." Aria giggled softly. "A friend of mine lives here. We've known each other for our whole lives. He's always been supportive of me, and I to him."
Serena's eyes started to sparkle with wonder and anticipation. "So you have a crush on him?"
Aria blinked, almost affronted by that prospect. "What?! N-No! Arceus, no!" She turned away, a blush forming on her fair cheeks. "I-I mean...I...I don't know. To be perfectly honest, he was the one with the crush, not me." Her eyes narrowed slightly. "In fact, he confessed to me last night..."
The other Performer held in a squeal. "Ooh, that's SO ADORABLE! What'd you tell him?!"
"I told him I didn't know." The Kalos Queen sighed longingly. "I...I promised him I would have a straight answer after the Exhibition Showcase..."
Serena's heart suddenly fell. She didn't like the sound of where this was going.
"Oh." The Vaniville Town native hesitated. "Have you...already decided what to tell him...?"
"No, not really. And to be perfectly honest, Serena...I don't think I'll be keeping my promise when I reach that deadline." Aria's scarlet eyes glimmered mysteriously. "Up until last night, he was just my childhood friend. We played together, we adventured together, we dreamed together... Now, this confession's opened up a whole new box of feelings and thoughts about him and I don't know how to sort it all out. Plus, there's something between the two of us that remains unresolved and it really affects my views about the whole thing..."
Serena arched an eyebrow. "Something unresolved?"
"Something private. Very private." Aria gulped and looked at the honey-blonde again with a forced smile. "Wh-What I'm trying to say is that I understand your concerns about a confession, Serena...because they're very real. Foster, that's my friend, must be thinking the same thing as I am. He's probably worried to death about what I have to say. Another thing that complicates the future of our friendship."
Serena's eyes widened with apprehension. "So you're saying Ash may reject me because my confession will open up a lot of new emotions that'll be confusing to him?!"
"Not if you tread through it carefully." Aria clasped her hand on Serena's shoulder. "Besides, what you and Ash have is a lot more wholesome compared to what I have with Foster. Ash may be confused and conflicted, sure, but I'm sure he will be able to sort out his feelings more quickly than I would. And if he rejects you, then it'll still be a positive experience for the two of you. After all, Ash is a nice guy. I'm sure hurting your feelings is the last thing he wants to do."
She gave Serena's shoulder a soft, reassuring squeeze. "There's nothing to be afraid or ashamed of, Serena. All you have to do is pour your heart out to him, and then let him decide where the two of you should go from there."
Serena looked at the Kalos Queen, who was looking back at her with confidence and support. Realizing she was right, the honey-blonde teenager nodded with agreement.
"Thank you so much, Aria," she said passionately. "I'll definitely tell Ash how I feel!" Then, she looked at Ash and Selene, and saw, to her dissatisfaction, that Miette had joined the conversation alongside Shauna and Blanche. "...But only after the Exhibition Showcase. I don't want any distractions."
"You sure about that, Serena? All of that pressure will probably affect your performances-"
"I'm sure of it, Aria. I want to be alone with Ash when I confess my feelings. This has to be between him and me and no one else."
Aria looked at Serena for a moment before smiling with approval. "Of course, Serena. You're the one with the crush. You decide the terms of how it's gonna go. Just don't give in to your fears. Let everything go, for better or for worse."
"I will." Serena looked back at the Kalos Queen. "And Aria?"
"You be strong too. I'm sure everything will work out fine between you and Foster."
Aria blinked twice before giving her friend a soft smile. But in her mind, she felt nothing but solemn glumness.
"Oh, Serena," she thought. "If only you knew..."
Unbeknownst to Serena, Aria, and the others, Amelia had caught sight of them while standing atop the mezzanine. With a bitter scowl, she stuck out her chin and continued walking. Immediately, the Fleurrh City native tried to divert her train of thought from her rival, but that was a lost cause from the moment she recognized that mop of honey-blonde hair and those stupid sapphire-blue eyes.
"Hey, Amelia! You and your Pokémon really need to watch yourself out on the stage! You actually could've gotten a Pokémon hurt today! It's not right!"
"Picking on others is not proper etiquette for a Performer!"
"I didn't misinterpret anything. It's you with the misinterpretation! ...I see a great opportunity for Performers and their Pokémon to show their beauty to the world together! But you can't do that effectively if you treat your fellow Performers like trash!"
Amelia clenched her fists tightly.
"That...That stupid hillbilly," she thought furiously. "She doesn't know a thing about Pokémon Showcases! And she insists on talking down at me like that?! Like I'm some...some uncultured Grumpig?! And in spite of her classless behavior, she still manages to win that ridiculous Theme Performance?! Even though I'm way more qualified than her to attain such a victory?!"
At that point, Amelia's fists were trembling, and her pupils were trembling madly. Nearby Laurier Maison staff noticed her demeanor and were instinctive in distancing themselves from the wealthy, black-haired girl.
"How?" she continued to think. "How can this be?! I...I should've won that! I should've been crowned the rightful winner! I should've had it all on that stage! How?! How'd it all go wrong?!"
"Always keep your eye on the goal and always treat everyone as an obstacle to be utterly destroyed. That's the family way."
"That's correct. I didn't take my obstacles seriously enough. Uncle Adam was right. I need to demolish my competition. I need to knock them down a peg or two. Only then will I show my superior, undeniable beauty to all five corners of Kalos! And then I'll be able to get the respect and recognition I deserve from my-"
"Oh, Miss Amelia!" a voice called, dispelling her thoughts.
Amelia's scowl became even more pronounced as her assistant waddled over to her like a fearful Piplup. He was sweating even more profusely, staining his collar and the fabric underneath his armpits, and even mixing with his irritating cologne to create an unpleasant waft of an odor. The young socialite briefly retched at this and struggled to hold her breath.
"What do you want?!" she snapped in a hoarse voice.
"I-I just w-wanted to c-c-co-congratulate you on y-your, uh..." The assistant gulped and struggled to find his next words. "Your, uh..."
The girl gritted her teeth. "Come on. Spit it out."
"Y-Y-Yo-Yo-Your, uh, m-m-ma-ma-mag-mag-ni-ni-f-f-f-"
"You're congratulating me on my defeat," Amelia interrupted in a chillingly calm voice. "Is that right?"
"Y-Yes." Then, the assistant's eyes bulged suddenly. "I-I mean, no! No, Miss Amelia! I-I meant-"
"Get out of my sight. You're fired."
The poor assistant looked as if he was about to have a heart attack.
"B-But Miss Amelia," he protested, "I-I need this money! I-"
"GET OUT OF MY SIGHT, PEASANT!"
The assistant started blubbering, trying to find the right words to say. However, he was so overcome with shock and grief at his firing that he couldn't even manage to utter any simple syllables. Amelia scowled at him with disgust and prepared to walk off when...
"And that is why you couldn't win, young lady," a new voice said. Amelia's eyelid twitched at the voice's familiarity.
"What do you want?" she demanded bitterly without turning around.
Palermo pursed her lips even more. "Your behavior clouds your judgment and blinds you from the true objective. That is why you didn't win the Fleurrh City Showcase and that is why you weren't able to win the Pokémon Search-and-Rescue Theme Performance. The fact that you cannot recognize the pattern behind your losses is even more disconcerting, and paints an unfortunate future for your Showcase career."
Amelia clenched her fists again. "What do you know about winning Showcases?" Then, she twirled around and glared at Palermo hatefully. "You're just an old lady, a has-been, a joke, pining for Showcases that are long gone! And you're the one who gets to decide who is a worthy Kalos Queen and who isn't?!" She scoffed haughtily. "Oh, please! Your star pupil is dragging down the Showcase scene with her presence and all the other Performers are at their wit's end trying to best her! Why else do you think no one's been able to dethrone Aria for years?! Now if anyone's gonna have a shot at beating her in the Master Class, then they must harden themselves and discard all superfluous trivialities in their lives in order to stay focused on the true objective!"
Palermo blinked idly. "You say I'm an old lady, that my views of Showcases are incompatible with today's views, that the Showcase scene has moved on without me. And yet you also say my star pupil, as you choose to call her, has overcome all odds for years and remains Kalos Queen to this day." She crossed her arms. "Do you see a hole in your logic?"
The Fleurrh City native gritted her teeth and looked away. "Whatever! I don't need any input from a hag like you!"
Palermo blinked again. "Perhaps I am too old. Perhaps the Showcase scene moved on without me. Perhaps you are right. But like it or not, you nor anyone else will be able to claim the crown from Aria until you recognize why she has held that title for so long. Then perhaps you'll realize that you're the one pining for Showcases that are long gone."
Amelia's eyes widened with outrage. She puckered her lips with disgust and marched away from the producer, her steps booming in the hallway. Her hapless assistant, who had been standing in the background helplessly and listening to the conversation, yelped fearfully and stepped away so Amelia could avoid bumping into him.
Then, Amelia called sharply, "Come on. I want my makeup redone, pronto."
"M-M-Me?" the man stuttered. "B-But I thought I was-"
"I told you to come with me, imbecile! Do you want to be fired?!"
"A-A-ABSOLUTELY NOT, M-MISS AM-AMELIA! A-ABSOLUTELY NOT!"
Amelia heard her assistant waddling after her again, blubbering incoherently and desperately wiping the sweat off of his skin. She could also feel Palermo's sharp, strict blue eyes bearing down on her, judging her every move like she always did with any other Performer. This, coupled with the fact that it was her who was deciding the future of Performers that she deemed fit, sickened Amelia to her very core.
"Perhaps I am too old. Perhaps the Showcase scene moved on without me. Perhaps you are right. Like it or not, you nor anyone else will be able to claim the crown from Aria until you recognize why she has held that title for so long. Then perhaps you'll realize that you're the one pining for Showcases that are long gone."
"That stupid old hag," she thought. "Who does she think she is, anyway? She doesn't appreciate nor recognize my talent! ...She doesn't."
Elsewhere, Adam Glazing was in the middle of drafting a document in a typewriter, gleefully so, when he abruptly felt his cellphone vibrating in his pocket. He growled with irritation before sticking his hand into the pocket, pulling out the small device, and answering the call.
"This had better be important, Nick," he snarled, "or I'll have your head."
"Hey, Adam!" Nick greeted. "Hey, buddy! It's me, Nick!"
Adam resisted the urge to face-palm. "I know it's you, Nick. I'd recognize your phone number from anywhere."
"Really? Awwwww, how sweet!"
"Oh, for the love of... I'm gonna hang up now-"
"Wait, hold on a minute, man!" Adam heard Nick hesitate for a brief moment. "Hey, remember that cool buff guy I bailed out of prison?"
"Yes." Adam remembered the phone call he got earlier in the day confirming the success of the prison break. "And don't forget, it was my plan that helped you and your broke friends break that man out, so don't go around giving full credit to yourself when it's undeserved." Suddenly, he began to sweat nervously. "...Why? Don't tell me the cops tracked you guys down-"
"What?! No, man! We're just fine! We're still at our office!"
"You mean that rickety shack you call an office," Adam deadpanned, his voice unrestrained in the brutality of its tone.
"...Touche. Anyway...the man says he's looking for a Celebi, of all things."
The green-haired man blinked rapidly with surprise. "A Celebi, you say?"
"Yeah! And now we're planning a way to capture that green thing."
"As if that's gonna work out in your favor. If I remember correctly from my university studies, Celebi is quite the slippery one."
"And that's why I'm calling you. You're very good at making plans, Adam. With your input, we can get Celebi in a millisecond!"
"I can't do that right now. I'm in the middle of something more important-"
"Dude, we're talking about a Celebi! It's not just a gold mine, it's a way for us to fix all of our lives! Just-Just think about it, man! You can finally get the better of your brother and take control of that family company of yours, just like you've always been talking about! And you don't even have to worry about all that jumbled stuff about inheritance and whatnot!"
Upon hearing that suggestion, Adam looked at the document he had been drafting. It was a letter to a board of directors, recommending the transference of inheritance rights from Amelia to him due to the former's apparent mental instability. At first, Adam was proud of the words he had written, but now, all effort and meaning was lost to him...
He crumpled up the paper and threw it towards a trash can on the other side of the hotel suite. He missed by just a few inches, but it didn't matter to him.
Smiling with giddy anticipation, he moved his mouth closer to the cellphone and said malevolently, "Tell me more about this plan, Nick..."
A/N: Yep. This is going to be the end of this chapter, quite unfortunately. Sorry, ladies and gentlemen. I know not much happened, but trust me, we will be getting a very exciting action sequence in the next couple of chapters! This chapter's just setting the tone for what's about to come! Now, on to the announcement that I wanted to make.
I will be taking a break from this fic.
That's right, everyone. I'm afraid I'll have to leave you all hanging for an undetermined amount of time. That's probably the last thing you all want to hear after waiting exactly three months for an update, but I'm sorry to say this is going to be the case. Allow me to explain myself, and be prepared for a wall of text, guys.
As much as I enjoyed writing this fic, I noticed I've been regressing back into the writing slump that I experienced after the conclusion of the XY anime. And this time, it's not just for "Pokémon", but for fanfiction in general. After doing some soul-searching and reexamination of my life for a month, I attributed my writing decline to two factors: school and my current fanfic workload.
As I've said before in the opening Author's Note, school has been physically and emotionally draining for me, which has now made progress on these chapters all the more slower than they naturally should be. I'm sleeping as soon as I return home, I'm no longer going on my evening walks lest I easily tire myself out, and I'm wracking my brain scheduling all of my homework and tests. As of today, I have decided to improve all of my daily patterns, especially in regards to sleep, in order to get a better handling of my educational workloads and regain the physical energy I lost these past few months. Time will tell how effective my efforts will be for the remainder of my college semester.
Because of my recent resolution, this'll affect my ability to write all four of my ongoing fics. In order to balance my time on this site with my schoolwork as effectively as I can, I've decided to discontinue one of my ongoing fics. It's definitely not this one, but one that I haven't updated in a LONG TIME and will clearly not revisit again even if I tried. I decided to do this because it's clear that I can't juggle writing four stories at the same time. Three stories is my ideal maximum and I wish I came to this conclusion sooner. It would've made things a whole lot easier for me.
As for why I've chosen to take a break from writing "The Way We Will Be", it's because I'm REALLY getting into "My Hero Academia" and I wanted to write a fic for it. In fact, I'm in the process of drafting my first chapter for such a fic and I'm REALLY liking how it's turning out. In order to fulfill my quota of writing no more than three fics at a time, I've decided to roll the dice and put "The Way We Will Be" in the shelf for the time being, so I can make room for my first MHA fic.
Don't worry, everyone. This is only going to be temporary. I'm close to finishing another one of my ongoing fics, and as soon as that happens, "The Way We Will Be" is coming back, and in a big way! Just give me a couple of months and you will be having more AmourShipping shenanigans in no time flat! In the meantime, if any of you are "My Hero Academia" fans, you can occupy yourself with my fic starting in a couple of weeks! I can't tell you much right now, but I'll just say it will be a Quirkless AU unlike anything you've seen before.
You guys following along? Hopefully.
And just in case you guys decided to skip through the wall of text (because let's face it, who the heck wants to read the ranting and raving of an author of fanfiction, huh?), here's all of my key points in summary form:
-School is LITERALLY being a pain in the butt and I'm trying to fix that as of now.
-I clearly can't write four different fics at the same time so I have lowered my workload to three stories by discontinuing the fourth (NOT THIS FIC).
-I'm putting "The Way We Will Be" on temporary hold in favor of publishing my first "My Hero Academia" fic.
-"The Way We Will Be" will return after I finish another one of my ongoing fics, which is expected to be soon.
Alright, that marks the end of this exhausting rant. I'm sorry I had to make you guys read through all of that, but I had to paint a really clear picture so everyone would understand what's happening with me right now. I hope all of these are acceptable terms and will remain patient with me as I immerse myself in the complex process of sorting my life out.
Alright, on to the reviews! I'd like to thank the following people for reviewing:
-Amourshipper35: Can you please be a bit more specific on which parts you liked? I know you liked the AmourShipping parts because what exactly about them did you like? How am I supposed to take notes on what my readers expect from me if they aren't specific?
1) Can you please be more specific with your review?
2) No, I didn't die, as you can see. If you want to know if I'm alive or not, I highly recommend you check out my profile. I'm updating it as often as I can with little snippets on my progress on stories and what's currently happening with me in real life.
1) I'm glad I got you hyped enough to return to your own "Pokémon" story! :D :D :D
2) Yes, the fluffiness is real. I am SO happy I wrote the ending that way. Honestly, fluffiness should be my new writing specialty. :3
3) Indeed, it is quite a bizarre (not to mention AWKWARD) conversation to have about the future, but hey, when you're visited by your child from the future, of course you gotta think about what's in store for you years down the road!
4) I'm very glad you had fun reading this chapter! I also apologize for it being and feeling so short, and I also apologize for the length of this chapter as well, but certain circumstances called for desperate measures, as you can obviously tell.
-Ash Jason AJ: Thanks! I'm glad you love this story and think it's such a masterpiece. But can you please be a bit more specific in your review? For example, what exactly did you like about this story? Is there anything you didn't like? Do you have any questions that you feel need to be addressed? These kinds of things are very helpful in making this story even more better in your eyes!
1) Welcome, new user! I'm glad to you have you here as a first-time reviewer! :D :D :D
2) Yep. As the chapter itself said, this fic nearly turned from a K+ story into a T-rated one. The hentai quality was almost real for a moment. XD XD XD
3) Well, I love dark villains. I don't know why; I guess I'm just a sadistic person who takes his evil out on writing.
4) Very nice suggestions! I had something akin to your Boys vs. Girls scene planned out, but the Ash vs. Pikachu one is something that I'm now intrigued with. I'll see what I can do to fit that scene into the narrative. ;)
5) Sorry this chapter didn't come out as soon as you'd like. But hopefully you liked this one as much as you've liked the stuff that preceded it!
-Rogue leader (guest reviewer): Can you please be more specific with your review?
Well, hope you enjoyed this late chapter! And I hope you'll wait patiently for the next chapter while I sort out my life and fics! With that, TheCartoonFanatic01 is out. PEACE!