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Thread: Gems in the shadows [x4]

  1. #1
    URPG Staff evanfardreamer's Avatar
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    Default Gems in the shadows [x4]

    Three gem-studded Carbink floated through the rocky tunnel, unaware that at least one of them was about to become a meal. Sableye clung to the side of a stalactite, purple claws holding it motionless above the center of the tunnel. It watched with faceted jewels as they drew nearer and prepared itself to attack.

    One of them must have sensed something at the last moment as it slowed its pace. Sableye reached out as it fell and called forth the power of water from a subterranean stream. It dropped neatly in between the wary Carbink and its less perceptive friends, rending the floor of the tunnel with a swipe and releasing the pulse of water it had drawn forth. The brief blast was enough to knock all three of the Carbink askew, one of them spinning crazily as it bounced further away down the tunnel.

    The Carbink who hadn’t been surprised recovered first. It bounced higher and tried to tackle Sableye down to the ground, but Sableye simply phased and the Carbink flew right through him. It careened off a stalagmite and smacked into the wall, momentarily out of the fight.

    The other Carbink had gathered its wits by this point. One of the crystal shards growing from its underside glew a bright blue before bursting free and shooting towards Sableye. Its phasing couldn’t stop the powered gem, and it struck his side leaving a deep scratch.

    Sableye hissed in pain. Its jewel-like eyes glowed violet for a moment as it gathered the shadows to its hands, bringing them together in a dark sphere and launching it at Carbink. The shadowy ball impacted it dead center, knocking it unconscious and sending it tumbling through the air.

    He turned back to the wary Carbink to see it shining a cold, white light. The craters and ridges on its craggy body reminded Sableye of the one time it had seen the moon, and it knew the Carbink was using a powerful move. Sableye knew only one way to survive – a technique it had learned from its father, using the traces of metal in its rocky diet to redirect the attack back at his enemy. It concentrated these metals just beneath its purple skin as quickly as it could.

    When the attack came, the white light made the shadows dance through the corridor. It struck Sableye full on in an agonizing beam, nearly overwhelming it and charging the lattice of metals. It felt consciousness slipping and knew it had to win to survive. All that mattered was channeling the energy back at its foe, directing that surge of power back at the Carbink.

    It felt the energy leave it in a rush, not even seeing the impact as the traces of metal burst against Carbink and split it apart with a crack. It slowly came back to its senses and saw the two enemies in three still lumps on the tunnel floor. Moving was incredibly painful but Sableye slowly limped to the motionless piles and began to feed. As it devoured the gems and echoes of life in the rocky Pokemon, its own strength began to return.

    An echo from down the tunnel distracted it from its meal. It looked up and saw glints of light dancing and flickering, marking the approach of some other creature. Sableye knew of only one creature in these tunnels who would shed light in such a way – Diancie, a deadly foe. Knowing in its weakened state it had no chance to survive a confrontation, it gathered up the largest remaining chunk of Carbink in its hands and fled.


    The grimy miner stood before the foreman’s desk, delivering bad news with her helmet in hand. “We’ve removed a good ten feet of stone in that direction, sir, and the gems only went a few inches into the rock. The mineralogist said he’d never seen anything like it. Normally the veins follow the seam in these tunnels, but it was almost like these just grew right there and nowhere else. That can’t be possible, can it?”

    Carl stood, setting aside the tunnel map he’d been looking over. “Of course not. If gems grew on trees, we wouldn’t need to be mining them.” He walked around to the front of the desk. “It’s clear that it’s not a natural formation though. Tell that bookworm that I want a list of other theories no matter how strange or outlandish, that would explain the formations we found.”

    The miner put her helmet back on. “I’ll tell him now, sir. Thank you.” She turned and left Carl alone in his office, looking at the small pile of blue-tinted diamonds. No, it was clear that these were somehow created or placed in the wall of the tunnel, and if the foreman figured out how to control that he could save his company.

    He needed another look at the site. Picking up a helmet and lantern from his shelf, he left the office and briefly enjoyed the cool evening air outside. He followed a well-trod path uphill to the mine entrance and exchanged greetings with two miners who were going off shift.

    The tunnels were cramped and narrow as they twisted and ran back upon each other. Some patches were worn smooth by erosion, some rough-hewn by picks and sledges in pursuit of valuable minerals or gems. They were also pitch black beyond the sphere of lantern light that bounced and swayed with every step he took.

    Carl remembered this recently widened stretch of tunnel; the miners had broken through to another network of large tunnels twisting deeper into the heart of the mountain. The scout had only gone a few hundred yards before finding large chunks of diamond glinting on the wall at a branch in the tunnel. What should have been a rich vein was instead a shallow strike, and the week of digging had rewarded them with nothing more than gravel for their growing pile.

    As he stood and silently gazed at the new hole, he heard a new sound. A soft crunching came from inside the hole and he quietly stepped closer, hefting the lantern. He saw a hunched purple figure a few yards down the passage, recognizing a Sableye eating what remained of a Carbink.

    Carl had expected to see the occasional Pokemon in the tunnels, but this is the first one of the secretive Ghost-types he had heard of in the area. He kept a few of the Pokemon he’d caught in his journeys as a child so he was only a little nervous when it regarded him with sightless jewel eyes.

    He slowly drew a few lumps of quartz from a pocket, tossing them gently down the tunnel. The Sableye stayed crouched and scooted just close enough to carefully pick one up, opening its razor-sharp maw and crunching down on the worthless crystal. Carl could see that it was injured, its small humanoid torso covered in scratches and what looked like burns; but they seemed to be healing with the energy it gained from the quartz.

    He watched it devour the rest of the quartz and then turn back to the dead Carbink. It had eaten enough of the stone and minerals to reveal the very center – a very rough gem of a pale pink crystal. It dug around the gem with razor-sharp claws until it broke free, and it crept back towards Carl, depositing it on the tunnel floor in front of him.

    The foreman smiled. “Thank you,” he told Sableye. He knew the core could be refined into an item for Pokemon trainers to use in battles, though it wasn’t as valuable as many of the gems they mined. Sableye went back to finishing off the carcass of the Carbink, and Carl picked up the rough gem, placing it in the pocket where the quartz had been.

    A flicker of light in the corner of his eye made him turn his head. Something seemed to be coming through the tunnels, with sparkles and flashes of light leading the way. He noticed that the Sableye had stopped eating and was also looking at the flashes, but he couldn’t read the strange Pokemon’s body language.

    His curiosity was answered a moment later when the new Pokemon came around a bend in the corridor. It reminded him of a Carbink, though the upper portion was a grey humanoid figure. The entire thing was dazzling, covered in gems and crystals as it hovered in the air. It’s tiny face was set in a furious glare and upon seeing Carl it let out a shrill cry.

    The sparkles in the air seemed to harden and then a storm of the light shards flew towards him. Carl dove for the tunnel floor, watching the motes of light impact against stalagmites and the tunnel wall. As the light faded, his lantern revealed that the stone walls had been dusted with growths of crystals. At least his diamond mystery was solved if only he survived to tell anyone.

    The light began shifting again as the Pokemon moved towards him. Digging furiously in his pockets, he felt the round spheres of Pokeballs and pulled them free. Three were empty Dusk Balls, but the fourth was the red-and-white sphere of his partner Pokemon. At this point it was his only hope.

    He threw it further into the tunnel. “Aggron! It’s been a while, but I need your help!”


    Sableye flinched away from the storm of gems Diancie had unleashed. He watched the human call forth an Aggron, a hulking quadruped of dark hide and iron armor plates. It growled out a challenge to the Diancie who responded with flashing eyes and hardening skin.

    Sableye stepped through the shadows to be closer. He had seen several Aggron fight before, but not with such skill. When the claws and tail were not slashing at the enemy, they were knocking chunks of rock towards it, or knocking away shards of razor-edged crystals to shatter on the floor. Diancie had clearly not expected such ferocity, and finally summoned a barrier of pure will to hold off the assault.

    Behind it, Sableye could see several more Carbink. They drew closer to the battle, and began charging their gems when they saw Aggron batter through the barrier that Diancie had erected. They fired a slew of gems and rocks at Aggron who roared in pain at the onslaught.

    Diancie pressed the advantage, launching more shards of crystal that Aggron couldn’t deflect. The attacks drove it back a step, then two, as it tried to regain the advantage. As Diancie neared a cluster of stalagmites Sableye saw its chance to defeat the foe.

    It stepped through the shadows again, emerging just before Diancie. Focusing its energy in one clawed foot, it swept around and delivered a low kick to the spire of rock that Diancie floated on.

    That was enough to get Diancie to split its attention. It threw out its arms and summoned more shards of light, but Aggron took the chance to turn the tide. It bashed Diancie with its armored skull. Diancie reeled back in pain and Aggron took a mighty leap, knocking stalactites free of the ceiling as it brought its full weight down to bear on Diancie.

    It was too much for the enemy, who collapsed with a scream of pain. The Carbink stopped their attack and watched warily. Aggron let out a massive roar that echoed off the walls of the tunnel, causing the Carbink to flee in terror back into the darkness.

    Sableye saw the human stand up from behind the stalagmites. The man threw a black and green mottled sphere at the senseless Diancie, and Sableye watched it turn the enemy into a flash of red light. This human must be powerful to capture such a dangerous foe and Sableye grew afraid as the man walked forward.

    The man spoke to him, though Sableye did not understand his language. He knelt, and Sableye saw a greenish gem in its hand. Was he offering more food?

    “He wants you to come with us,” the Aggron growled. “He thinks you can help him find gems. The humans use them for other things, but he says you’ll have all you could want to eat.”

    Sableye looked up at the man. He carefully took the offered gem and began to gnaw on it as he followed the pair back down the tunnel.

    Target Pokemon is Sableye. My character count came to 11,411. To whomever grades - my particular style is lousy with commas and I could really use some advice on how to trim them out. I removed probably two dozen in my edit pass that did nothing but take up space, and I still feel like there are too many when I read back through it. Thank you in advance!
    Resurrected stats (still under renovation!):

  2. #2
    pink ball Mistral's Avatar
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    Gonna claim this and get you a grade within the next week! :D

    also pls bear with me, is first time grading in a while.

  3. #3
    pink ball Mistral's Avatar
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    @evanfardreamer; One month and 5 days later...

    First Impressions
    So from my first read through of this, I got that there’s a Sableye looking to feast on Carbink because they have gems, but a Diancie keeps stopping him. And then Carl comes in and takes out the Diancie, catches it, and brings the Sableye with him. I think I have some issues with all of that, but that’s for later, I think, and definitely after I give it another read through. I also noticed some of the comma stuff you were talking about, but since I was reading this to get an idea of what I was going into, I’ll get more into that later too. After all, this is just my first impression, and therefore just a brief interview of what I’m gonna get into later! I did enjoy the story though!

    Plot Stuff
    Okay, so like I said above, there’s a Sableye feasting on Carbink because gems, and there’s a Diancie stopping him from doing it. And then there’s Carl going into the tunnels trying to find gems and do researchy things on why the gems are growing where they are. It seems like a pretty solid, straightforward plot, to be honest.

    I think where I have concern is with Carl and the whole tunnels thing. Why that particular tunnel? What drew him and his people to that tunnel? It was said that there were other Pokemon there, but what kind of Pokemon? I know you mentioned Sableye was a rarity there and only known through rumors up until Carl saw one from his own eyes, but were the Carbink a typical sight there? Was the Diancie an issue for him and his crew? He was concerned about living to tell the tale, so were there others that hadn’t lived to tell the tale?

    I guess this might all seem nitpicky in a way, I dunno. Like I said, it is a solid, straightforward plot. The questions I have aren’t really necessarily about plot holes, at least not at Medium rank, but rather they’re just questions that came to mind as I was reading. I think at a higher level though, stuff like that would be a bit of a concern, and perhaps even a CC booster if you did dive deeper into it, but at this level, you’re fine. Think of it as food for thought for when you’re ready to move onto writing beyond Medium rank (if you haven’t already because tbh, I said I’d grade this a month ago and I didn’t grade it a month ago, oops).

    Detail Stuff
    Okay so, at the beginning, with the three Carbink floating through the tunnel and Sableye waiting in the shadows, I got pretty lost with keeping up with the three Carbink. I feel like it’s a pretty easy thing to do since there’s three Pokemon all of the same species being discussed at the same time.

    When the Sableye surprises them, one goes spinning away and two were knocked off to the side, but one kinda expected it. The two that were knocked off to the side got back up to fight until they were knocked out, but I feel like the third one was just kinda forgotten about. Was it knocked out of the fight completely from the surprise or did it come back to its friends? I think what threw me off was three Carbink being discussed at the time, but I had to read it a couple times to get a grasp of what was happening.

    I said earlier in my First Impressions that there was a part I was concerned about with the Diancie capture, but I think having gone back and rereading it again, I have a clearer vision of it. No more worries there, I think it was just me reading it once to get an idea of things and my whole first impression of it.

    Other detail stuff seems pretty solid. The only thing I really see outside of what I mentioned above is with Carl. He’s one of the central characters of the story, and all I really know about him is that he’s a foreman and the one presumably in charge of this whole operation. Other than that, I don’t really know too much about what he looks like and all, though it can probably be assumed that he looks similar to other miners. Still, he’s a foreman, and I can’t think of any foremen in the games. I guess my real question is, is he dressed a little better than the others or does he look just like everyone else there? I assume he has some kinda miner gear since he’s gone into the caves, but is he always dressed like that or no? Again, just food for thought for the future.

    Grammar Stuff
    This is where you really wanted help, so I’m going to try (but no promises) to spend a little more time here. I know you wanted commas help, so I’m also going to try to focus on that, but I’m also going to try and throw in some other grammatical stuff that I saw as well.

    Moving was incredibly painful but Sableye slowly limped to the motionless piles and began to feed.
    Here, you’ll definitely want a comma. The clause before “but” and the clause after “but” can be their own standalone sentences if you remove “but,” so in that case, you’d need a comma. There’s a couple errors like this, but I’m not gonna point them all out for ya.

    if the foreman figured out how to control that he could save his company.
    Here, you’ll also want a comma after “that.” It’s pretty lengthy otherwise, and the comma allows you to take a breath before continuing on.

    Carl had expected to see the occasional Pokemon in the tunnels, but this is the first one of the secretive Ghost-types he had heard of in the area.
    This one actually isn’t a comma issue, but instead, it’s one of the other grammatical things I said I’d point out if I caught them. It’s actually just a tense issue here, where you say “this is the first…” Everything else in the story is in the past tense except for that one little bit. You’ve got a pretty good grasp of your tenses, just watch for little mistakes like that one.

    Carl could see that it was injured, its small humanoid torso covered in scratches and what looked like burns; but they seemed to be healing with the energy it gained from the quartz.
    With this one, it’s just a misplaced semicolon. Switch the comma you have after “injured” with the semicolon you have after “burns,” and you’ll be set. Commas are used to divide two sentences with a conjunction (and, but, or, etc.), and semicolons are used to divide two sentences without a conjunction.

    It’s tiny face was set in a furious glare and upon seeing Carl it let out a shrill cry.
    This one is a possession issue. “It’s” is used to replace “it is.” The possessive form is “its,” so just take out the apostrophe.

    I think that’s pretty much everything that I see. A general rule of thumb with commas, since that’s what you’re most concerned about here: if you’re wondering if you need a comma, read the sentence out loud. If you find yourself pausing for breath, then you probably need a comma there. If you’re not, then you probably don’t need the comma.

    Decision Stuff + Length
    Okay, so since this is for Fourplay, the rank is indeed reduced to Medium, so the MCR is in the 10-20k range. I’m getting 11485 for your character count, so you’re on the lower end of things, but you’re still fine on that front. Overall, I enjoyed the story. While there were some issues, I don’t think there were any glaring issues that really hindered reading the story, again, at least at this level. I would definitely keep what I said in mind, and I hope I was helpful with the comma stuff! I hope you also enjoy your spooky new Sableye because Sableye is captured!

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