Reviews for Fledglings
Windskull chapter 27 . 7/21
I’m back once again with a review. This time, though, I’m only covering the special episode. Episode 6 will come at a later date. For now though, let’s check this chapter out.

First off, I find it interesting that Tromba celebrates New Years on the winter solstice. It does make sense, especially if they base their years off of a lunar calendar. Based on the later passage with the pirates, that’s not universal. Does that mean every island has their own calendar system? Or is it perhaps just the Company and the Empire that celebrate New Years separately. Obviously each island has their own holidays, which makes sense. But if they have their own calendars as well, that sounds like a logistical nightmare.

["You will spend at least some time with us, won't you?" the Nidorina pressed.]

Oof, the age-old “spend holidays with friends vs with family argument.

Crom… which looked like a misshapen white egg with two blue spikes attached to it.
Aww, that’s adorable!

["Wait a minute, Tromba?" Hess' Floatzel first mate asked. "Captain, isn't this a bit overkill for a detour?]

Oh, this can’t end well. The story says so! It’s a bit of a foregone conclusion since no one recognizes the pirates during the raid back in episode two, but it’s still fun to see how Hess fails.

[The Mistral Marauder might not have been a mountain peak, but it was still their Aggron captain's domain.]

I guess this is a play on the aggron dex entries? It does make me wonder if aggrons claiming mountain territory is a common occurrence in fledglings. I suppose it would be for ferals, at least And it was evident from his demeanor that like others of his kind, a trespass on his domain was an invitation for confrontation with the much larger and stronger Steel-Type.

It’s probably just me, but Tromba feels more lively than usual. Not a complaint, just an observation . Probably because its a holiday?

[The sound of shattering clay rang out inside, quickly followed by an irate Kecleon's voice and storming footsteps coming from inside.]

Marley Please! It costs money to fix that! Even though he was probably not sharing bc greed, I still feel a little bad for Calino getting the short end of the stick here. More for the property damage than for the goading into gifting items though.

[But no matter, it was something that could be mollified with loot and liquor he'd hidden aboard for just that sort of celebratory occasion…]

Glad this pays off later in the chapter. Also, due to the relatively upbeat, lighthearted tone of Fledglings (in comparison to other pmd fics I read) sometimes I forget alcohol exists.

[The bug was caught off by a low, rumbling growl, and saw that the captain was giving a piercing leer. The beetle blinked and gulped, before hastily amending his words.]

Minor nitpick: considering the first sentence already starts with an epithet, it would probably flow better to use either Keiichiro's name or the name or even just "he" since who "he" refers to could easily be inferred.

[From there, the rest of the way up became a mad dash up the trail to try and reach the shrine before it popped out on the other end.]

It wasn't super clear what "it" was in this sentence. I initially thought it was referring to the shrine and was very confused, before working out that "It' was the star.

"We were wondering when you and your Hunter friends would show up!" he cheered, giving a nuzzle at his elder son's snout, leaving him to blush and snort flusteredly.
Aww, how cute!

And man, Hatteras had such an inspiring speech here.

As I’ve come to expect you’ve created fireworks for your world in a way that jives with the technology level as well as PMD canon.

Even though they’re minor characters that barely get attention in the future, I liked that we got to see what kind of gifts Nida’s siblings got, since their gifts say something about their interests, and who they are as a result.

Final thoughts:

Although not really something that would matter in the grand scheme of the story, this was a cute little chapter. It definitely feels more skippable in comparison to future special chapters, though. I do have a few gripes that would apply if this chapter had been meant to stand alone as a one-shot, but when put into the context of a larger story don’t matter as much. (Primarily, my gripes have to do with the fact that Nida and Hess’ parts of the story have little to do with each other. In a oneshot that would have bothered me, but when this chapter is more meant to provide further characterization and context to characters in a larger story, I don’t mind.)

Other than that… I don’t really have much more to say? It’s a cute chapter, but I’m excited to get back to the action. So with that in mind, I’ll hopefully be back to do the next episode soon. Take care.
Windskull chapter 26 . 7/21
20: Out of the frying pan.

This might be just me, and I know that there’s not a lot of words to describe… whatever nuzleaf is, but for whatever reason describing him as a “dryad” felt a little bit odd.

Ooof, Ellesberg. You’re being a bit dense right now, aren’t you?

[Ellsberg's face fell.]
Huh, now you got me wondering what mothim facial expressions are like. Pokemon - and animal in general - facial expressions are always fun to think about.

Ah, right the subway. I remember that comes up later, and I like that it’s briefly foreshadowed here. That said, I can’t help but wonder if it would have been better to leave it as just name-dropped, or else with a briefer explanation, and let the full explanation of what it is being left for when it becomes relevant. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that it’s explained here, mind you, but I have a feeling that, considering how much later it’s brought up, most readers won’t remember the explanation.

["Loose lips sink ships," or so the saying (created by a Pokémon that had lips, clearly) went]


Heh, if I remember a certain special episode correctly, Elty would know a lot about what to look for in dungeons, wouldn't he?

As is often brought up in my reviews, I like the worldbuilding you do with little things. This time, it’s the cash-crop berries that caught my eye.

[Pleo squawked and hastily beat his wings to hop up onto a tree branch away from Elty, stumbling a bit from still-weaken balance when he reached it]

It should be still-weakened or still-weak I think?

I like that you found a way to work both the wind that blows you out of a dungeon and the stable rooms of dungeons in a way that works with the world and doesn’t feel too game-y. One could argue that the stairs feel weird, sure. But using the winds as the way the layout shifts works really well.

And of course things had to go wrong when they left shelter. Why wouldn't they?

Also. I do really like that you use the other language names for Pokemon as regional names. It helps fit in with the way you chose to have language work.

I felt this chapter was paced pretty well. It gave us a good idea of where our current major players - Lyn’s group and Pleo’s group - were at, helped set up for the next area our protagonists are going to visit and established a bit more about the world while still feeling like it had a good deal of progression. The heroes found themselves lost and got out of the dungeon all in one chapter. Which, with the length of your chapters, is a pretty good amount of progression.

21: Unfamiliar Territory

[Yes, this was a wonderful and exciting place, and it had done its part in keeping the group distracted from their pains for a moment… but that while was rapidly drawing to a wincing close, much to the annoyance of Actor.]

I don't know for sure why, but I had trouble parsing this sentence. I think it's the word "while" that threw me off. Maybe using “moment” again here would be better.

I'm glad the matter of a reward was settled quickly. Though having absolutely nothing to their name could have caused some… interesting problems.

I love how different this town feels in comparison to Tromba. It gives things a very different cultural vibe.

[Eventually only Team Chasseur, Team Traveller, and Maranda, who was still standing at the doorway, remained.]

I don't think we had been introduced to Maranda yet. So it feels weird to see her name here.

["Er, you misunderstood her," Cenn answered back. "She meant that Crom would grow big, and also strong like dad."]


[Ow! Perk-! ..y little guy, isn't he?]

Oh hey, I think I know what he was about to say! 8P

I don’t really have much to say about this chapter. While the last one focused on tying up loose ends from the previous episode, this one seems to focus more on setting up the conflicts for this episode, in the form of Margi and the set up for everything going on back at Tromba.

22: Clouds on the Horizon

I remember finding the gummi stuff really interesting. It was neat to see them used not as just a treat, but as a staple food item. It was also fun seeing how pokemon created them. And, of course, the special effects are linked back to the dungeons. With linking dungeon diving even closer to the local economy, it’s no wonder a lot of pokemon get involved with guild work.

Ah, and here’s our more formal introduction to imperials, if I remember correctly. I like the way this bit of lore was introduced in comparison to some earlier bits, primarily because it came up naturally within the story itself, through the dialogue.

[Further down was a small hut with a Delibird at the counter cheerily advertising places to store extra items, taking special care to point out the extra free spaces for higher-ranked members of the local guild.]

A simple, but effective way of integrating that bit of game mechanics into story.

["Heh heh. That's because Poké's made from copper and aluminum here," the chameleon chortled. "Not every Pokémon can see it like you or I can, but it shows in the way the sun shines purplish off of it!"]

This was a fun little way to introduce differences in vision between pokemon. It kind of makes me wonder if I should take pause and try to keep a closer eye on descriptions to see if different colors and other sensory differences come up, but I probably won’t remember. Still, more neat little worldbuilding tidbits.

Also the stuff about aluminum is cool, and helps sell the futuristic-fantasy feeling your fic gives. It vaguely reminds me of an rpg series I like, but… I’ll avoid getting into that since the nature of that is a spoiler.

Ah yes, here comes the running gag of scout the sentret. Good to see you again, buddy.

Don’t really have anything else to say on this chapter so I’ll just move on.

23: Bête Noire

Like I briefly touched on for 22, I like the inclusion of the fact that metal is both hard to come by and hard to work with. It works well with the lower-tech fantasy setting.

Of course a very foresty setting like this would be guarded by a Pokemon like celebi. 8P

[Ahead of her was a small dragon with blue and magenta scales lugging a satchel on his back, his head and back covered in black feathers]

Heh, I had to do a double-take and look up a picture of deino here because… I never noticed the magenta patches before. I also never thought of the black part as feathers, but… wow that makes a lot of sense.

Out of all the times to be mistaken for a wingull, this is one of the better ones. Daraen is adorable. Protect this child.

[And with maman saying a demon showed up in town, a lot of them have been avoiding going out]

I do remember finding this a bit odd, considering this was only their… third day there, I think? And they grabbed the mission on their second day there iirc. I’m sure word travels fast among the Marked, but it just feels a bit weird, saying that he needs help because the others aren’t getting out when, at the time he posted it, news would have just been spreading.

Daraen continues to be adorable with the image of him creating his substitutes. Probably one of my favorite one-off characters as of this point in the story tbh.

[The Deino pushed three of the dolls back into his bag and took one of the remaining two up with his mouth before setting off for one end of the field.]

Based on the text, I’m assuming there's supposed to be 5 like mentioned here, but a few paragraphs earlier the text says he has four.

Of course Marley would have ice beam. Perfect dragon-slaying weapon!

Tiny nervous dad is adorable.

["And something could always go wrong at sea even without Lyn getting involved," Teja reluctantly said. "Just like with the Mis-"]

I could be forgetting something that comes up later, but this strikes me as a plot thread that’s going to come up later.

["And if there's any lingering doubt about something critical to its future, it's best to try and bring back evidence to inform decisions…

Isn't that right, Ander?"]

Syntax error? I’m pretty sure there should be a quotation mark before “isn’t” unless there is an unusual grammar rule wrt ellipses that I don’t know about.

Despite the fact that they're not totally in the right and can feel a bit close-minded at times (not that their non-marked counterparts aren’t close-minded at times too)… I like that the marked have such a close, tight-knit community. When they're as looked down upon as they are by the general public, I imagine they have to look out for each other.

And, of course, the fun and games couldn't last forever. And we get a bit more info on the history of the world. Though how accurate it is… don't know yet. Look forward to finding out.

Anyways, this chapter leads right into the episode’s conflict, which I’ll talk about more at the end of 24. It’s also the chapter where Crom starts to be relevant again, what with Hatteras’ plan. I believe you said somewhere that he originally wasn’t going to be super involved with the plot, but I for one am glad he gets to be more active. The role he and his dad play in the fic works very well!

24: Cri de Coeur

Before I start reviewing this chapter… mini confession: in my reread, I accidentally read 25 first. I kept thinking. “Man, I could have sworn there was another scene with Margi before this, what’s up?” Then I get to the end and go “wait… there’s supposed to be 6 chapters this episode. ...I skipped one, didn’t I?”

Anyways, we once again get a little bit of drip-fed history wrt the guildhouse through dialogue and it works really well.

Marely, you're not helping. Look, you're scaring the child!

[Eh?" Marley replied, tilting an ear back in puzzlement. "Of course not!"

It wouldn't? That seemed strange to Crom and drew a puzzled head tilt.]

The wording is a bit weird here, like there's a line missing or like there was an edit to Marelys words. "It wouldn’t" just seems kind of weird in response to “Of course not” in this case.

Darn it, Elty! This is why we can't have nice things!

[Why, a particularly mean-spirited Pokémon could just tear up the bridge by pulling out the pegs on this end end!]

Duplicate word.

You know, if this had been published just a year later, I would have thought the "space between world's" was ultra space. It would make some sense since other legendary Pokemon can be found there. As it is, though, hm… No matter. This chapter did a good job of wrapping up the episode's conflict, giving us a bit more information on the Marked’s lore, as well as giving the satisfaction of someone changing their mind, even if only a little, due to Pleo. We can see just how deeply ingrained the fear of the protectors is with this part though. Like, dang. No one else can recognize Pleo as a protector on this island except the Marked, who probably all have at least an idea of what all the protectors look like, do to their teachings.

25: Moving Targets

[Nida followed suit as Pleo quickly hopped up onto the railing with his two passengers and spread his wings to take flight, only to see the Ursaring bearing down on them.]

Yeah, I’d be terrified to see that, too.

[The three saw glints coming from the ship, and without thinking, Elty suddenly barked out…

"Pleo, dive and go right! Now!"

Without thinking, Pleo followed along, and entered a steep, almost perpendicular dive to his right.]

Very minor nitpick here, but using “without thinking” twice in a row comes off as repetitive. Unless that was your intention, using something else might have been better.

[As the little Protector felt himself stagger and struggle in the air, He heard Elty yelp as the dog's hindquarters dangled precariously in the air,]

Basically the same thing here. The issue could probably be solved in this case by cutting the first instance of “in the air”

Ah, that was an intense getaway, I’d say! It was hard to stop and take notes because of everything that was happening!.

And that final scene, I can’t help but imagine the song that plays when you depart Outset Island from The Wind Waker when reading it.

Final thoughts on this episode:

I really liked it! We got bits and bobs of plot-important information, learning a bit more about the Marked along the way. I very much appreciate that Margi helped out the heroes in their time of need. She does have a point, after all. A free Pleo is much less dangerous than a Pleo forced to do the companies bidding. Having her think critically helps make her feel more realistic.

There were also a lot of fun worldbuilding tidbits in this section. We get to see just how different the islands can be from each other, and we get to see things like how gummies work in your world. We also get to see Crom do more than just sit at home and mope, which is nice. All in all, a fun episode.
Windskull chapter 20 . 7/21
[The bird's body wobbled wildly in the air and lurched here and there barely missing wires and paper lanterns as he tried desperately to adjust himself with the sudden extra weight his new passenger brought along.]

I could be wrong, as my grammar checker isn’t marking it either way, but it feels like there should be a comma between “there” and “barely.” I think maybe the length of the sentence is what makes me feel that way though.

Heh, well, that’s one way to end the fight. Sorry, Elty, looks like you’ll be the punching bag for a while still.

[the magenta bird]

Hm… this is a very minor nitpick, but I don’t really think magenta is a color I would use to describe a hawlucha.

Alright, let’s talk about the Anders scene (or, the gang learns about systematic racism). Because I remember really liking it on my first readthrough, and I still really like it. It’s a scene that really shows just how bad off the Marked are in comparison to the rest of the populace.

It was also really nice to see how good and protective of a dad Anders is, even if he kind of jumped to conclusions.

Something that I think I misinterpreted the first time, though, and think is worth pointing out, is the apricorns here. When I first read through, I’d assumed that they were being used as a thinly veiled threat towards the marked, left behind by less kind pokemon. But upon a reread I’m realizing that more than likely, the scavvers use them to transport bodies.

And of course, this scene was important to set up Pleo’s self-doubts in the upcoming chapters.

And of course, feelings after that tense event carries into the mood that night. Pleo’s fears will rear their ugly head later, so I’ll talk about that when I reach that point.

Ah, scarf dying. Conceptually, it’s a neat idea, and I really like it. And it makes sense as a quick and simple disguise. But it also kind of feels... like it would be more useful to just have a few undyed scarves lying around so that they can just create disguises as needed, as opposed to having to paint or dye on a design onto their main scarf, only to have to wash it off or re-dye it again later. It’s established here that Lyn is willing to stoop that low if it gets the results he wants, so I don’t see why having some spares laying around would be an issue. Then again, it is something that would take up space on the ship, so that could be part of it. And I’d imagine it would be a bigger issue with darker-colored scarves, as opposed to the lavender of the company scarves.

["Grr… That's lovely, Lyn," Osmund harrumphed.]

That’s a lovely way to reply to those thinly veiled threats. Very thinly. Paper thin.

And so, the race to save Pleo is on.

Once again, I’m glad that Hatteras isn’t going to let himself be pushed around, not even by someone as dangerous as Lyn. Or at least, he’s going to oppose him as much as he reasonably can.

["Hrmph. Calm your sparks, sheep. I don't see your 'Dragon Buster' in the crowd to help you out this time," the otter chided.]

I’m not going to get into epithets all that much, I but I wanted to point out this one in particular. It felt like Lyn was meant to be a bit more menacing here, but referring to him as “the otter” kind of takes away from that, because I don’t really see an otter as all that menacing. I think it would have been better to just use “Lyn” or “the Samurott” in this case.

And to end my commentary on this chapter off, I really liked that Elty got to use his nose here. Great use of senses! Especially on an animal creature that would have a superior sense of smell.

And that use of the sense of smell carries over into this chapter as well. It’s already great to begin with to see a fic that takes senses other than sight into account, but the focus on a strong sense of smell helps sell the “non-human” aspect.

Two related things:
1. I love the way you handle the move Surf. I’m always a fan of working out semi-logical ways moves might work, and the idea of asserting some control over the nearby water makes a lot of sense.
2. I also really think it’s neat when we get to see improvized moves, such as the electrical surf. It really gives the reader an idea that, even if these guys fumbled their abduction attempt, they still have a clue how to fight.

[The Sceptile weaved out of the way, digging his claws into the hull of the ship and clambering along the wall before dropping back down to slash at his opponent from behind, making the balance-disrupted Samurott stumble forward.]

Right here is a great example of a character using the environment and their natural skills to their advantage. This line, in particular, stood out to me as good fight writing.

["Or we can settle this by fighting it out until the last hut and Pokémon standing in this hamlet. Your choice."]

Although I get what you were going for here, the wording makes it a bit hard to parse. I feel like either “Or we can settle this by fighting it out until the last Pokemon standing,” simplifying the statement, or something along the lines of “Or we can settle this by fighting it out until the last hut and Pokemon falls.”

And of course, the kids are going to jump in and get involved. Both because this is their friend (and protector) we’re talking about, and, well, they’re kids. They’re not likely to just take no for an answer. Let’s see how that works out for them…

[Perhaps that was normally the case, but Company shakedowns were hardly anything the town wished to consider normal, and there were only so many ways for most residents to air their displeasure without incurring the wrath of the lavender-scarved Pokémon.]

On the positive side, I think that was a really clever idea. Of course, the village would find little ways to get back at the company that wouldn’t cause them more trouble, and Nida’s plan of hiding in the berry crate was particularly smart.

That said, this line felt a bit more… passive than the rest of the prose around it? I think that’s the right term. It feels kind of like a passive narrator is just commenting on it, instead of it being integrated into Nida’s thoughts. It’s a nitpick, though, and not something that happens very often.

Even if he’s not fully grown, the pokemon moving Crom’s crate must be pretty strong (guess that’s what Strength is for, lol).

Then again, grumpig isn’t a pokemon that can learn strength. Levitation, perhaps? I’m probably just overthinking this Or else Crom is even smaller than I imagined.

Oof, they don’t exactly treat stowaways lightly (understandably), even kids (less understandable). Everyone’s going to look at it differently, but for me, this was one more nail in the idea of “The Company, in general, are bad.”

...Thinking about it though, there’s a lot of political intrigue within this fic, in my opinion. I’ll try to elaborate on that in a future review after we start getting into the motivations of The Empire.

["Um, yeah… I kinda need to revise that forecast," the Psychic-Type said, showing off a little glass flask shaped something like a plum with a neck grafter onto the side filled with colored water and attached to a string with her beak.]

Probably not important since it doesn’t come up later, but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to recognize this item?

["I said we're getting out of here!" he growled. "I'm not letting myself get stuck here with a restive and scheming bunch of peasants, waiting for a storm to pass while we have such a big prize to lose!"]

Gotta outweigh the pros and cons of waiting out the storm versus making sure you didn’t miss any stowaways. In reality, Lin probably made the most logical decision. But boy did it cost him.

Even if the situation was grim, watching Hatteras come up with more and more ridiculous ideas was a nice little breather that took the edge off of how bad things are, even if only for a moment.

["Because if I bring you to my father, it'll validate me in his eyes and he'll finally accept me for the first time since I was young,"]

I see what you did there. (Although to be fair, I don’t think I caught that reference the first time. Probably because I hadn’t drawn the parallels to Avatar yet.)

Glad to see Nida was able to get some of Pleo’s effects back. Having his few items of comfort taken away certainly didn’t do Pleo any favors.

I love seeing how different people designed their orbs, if they gave them different designs. And I think your ideas make a lot of sense (and some of them came pretty close too!)

Ah, Elty, opportunistic as always. I’d imagine he’d have to be to survive as a pirate.

[Nida's jaw dropped as Elty poked his head out and dragged a round, yellow berry with green circles on its hide back into the box as the lid shut.]

A nitpick: Hide isn’t technically wrong, but it just sounds like a rather… weird descriptor for a berry.

It makes sense that they’d have the orbs for defensive purposes but, not gonna lie, the first time through I thought the guards were taking the orbs to use as prizes for winning card game. As in, taking one or two for themselves. Lyn certainly wouldn’t miss them, right? Right?

Minor though it may be, I like that the scarcity of metal was addressed, since it helps establish what kind of technological level the society was at and what was available to them. The idea of making it from melting down the metal spikes from dungeons was also a clever idea.

["Would I steer you wrong?" the Growlithe asked. Elty wagged his tail expectantly, only to frown as Nida and Pleo looked at each other and nodded back.]
This is both adorable and hilarious at the same time.

And of course, Pleo just had to go get his stone back. I mean, it does make sense that he would want it back and he wouldn’t think about the dangers of trying to retrieve it, considering his inexperience and age. Still, it sure did bite the team in the butt.

The scene back on Tromba has me mixed. On one hand, it kind of brings the action to a halt. On the other, I think it provides important context that helps explain where Pleo’s burst of power came from. I certainly would not have cut it, but I do wonder if it could have been positioned better in the story. Such as at the beginning of the chapter with some minor restructuring, for example.

And it would not be long before the Distortion's reshaping winds claimed the floor they were all on.
Well, that can’t be good. On a related note, I only just realized that you capitalize “Distortion.” I figure that’s the name/title that the pokemon have given to the phenomenon, but it’s still curious. And I’m not complaining about it, by the way. I just find it. Curious. And wonder if it means something more and I should put more thought into that, or if I’m just grasping at straws.

Anyways, we’ve now reached the end of episode 4! Now the chase is on, and the adventure has really set off. This was a pretty intense episode, with a new, dangerous antagonist introduced that shows just how outclassed our heroes are.

Due to just the sheer size of the story, Fledglings has just a bit of a slow start. After all, we’re about 20 chapters in, and the adventure is only just setting off. But on the other hand, those first 15 or so chapters set up a lot of important elements that are needed, and it’s not like they’re without action. It’s also the nature of an episodic story.

Ah, I’m rambling a bit at this point. It’s not a complaint, just an observation. I think what I’m getting at is that not every story can pull this off, but due to the way Fledglings is structured, it works.

Anyways, that’s about all I have to say here. I’m looking forward to the next couple of episodes since I remember there being some interesting stuff that I want to talk about in them.
Windskull chapter 14 . 7/21
Chapter 9

Heh, everyone’s ganging up on Elty. It’s to be expected at this point, but it’s still amusing.

Oh Chrom Crom, you get it eventually. Rough skin and gentle healing don’t really go hand in hand, huh? I can’t help but feel for Elty just a bit.

Ahh, Melissa. I remember really finding the idea of porygons functioning as move tutors really neat, especially with regard to TMs. Particularly, I thought it was a really neat, logical way to handle learning a move through a disc, especially in a relatively low-tech world. I also remember it wasn’t until this section that it finally clicked what an “ahp-gred”(If I’m spelling that pronunciation correctly) was. I really do like the way move tutoring and TMs in general are handled in your fic, with them only being the potential, but still needing to be practiced and improved on.

Chapter 10

["Grr… What on earth do they teach amatorzy at your guild anyways?" the orange and cream dog frowned.]

So, I had to go back and check this myself, but in this case, the “the” in the second sentence should be capitalized because frowned is an action, not a dialogue tag. If it had ended in said, grumbled, or any other dialogue tag like that, this would be correct.

God, Cass is quite adorable.

[Ah yes, that was why the team and anyone else who entered a Mystery Dungeon always made sure to carry some paper and envelopes with them. If they ever somehow got completely stuck and deprived of working badges, they could write a distress note. From there, the winds that reshaped floors in Distortion would catch them up, the note's light weight allowing the winds to carry them out of the Mystery Dungeon.]

There’s nothing wrong with information dumps like this in small doses, though I do wonder if this could have come up more organically in the conversation instead of being narrated to us, or even explained later. I remember it coming up a few arcs down the line.

I like the worldbuilding you do with food. It works well, jiving with the idea of how it would probably be weird if all pokemon were sapient, and yet they eat other pokemon without it being weird, but also the fact that pokemon are canonically known to eat each other, it’s a nice compromise, and plays well into the idea of the pact.

I can’t really think of how I want to word this, so I’ll just say that I like that Nida’s backstory is getting some more depth, and it’s kind of nice to see more about her as a character through how she reacts to people talking about an event that was obviously quite traumatizing for her.

Chapter 11

["Well, your shadow's not touching any of us," Pleo replied as he paced tottering towards the end of the branch he was on.]

Still loving how literal Pleo is taking things. Also, I’m not sure, but it feels like there should be a comma between paced and tottering. I could be wrong though.

Knowing what I know from having read the story previously, I find it interesting that they don’t seem to know there are other protectors that have awoken already. Then again, I suppose it makes sense that both the Company and the Empire would want to keep it on the down-low. Both to keep it a secret from each other and to limit the chance of uprisings.

I like the scene with the pikachu. It serves as a little lesson to Pleo, allows the team to learn something new, and contributes to the worldbuilding all at the same time.

Pataki, chill girl.

I like the… otherworldly feeling, for lack of a better term, of some of the features you give your this mystery dungeon. Like the upside-down waterfall. In general, I like it when mystery dungeons are weird and “not-quite-right.”

Heh, it makes sense that different groups of pokemon would have different ideas, traditions, and legends about their protector.

Chapter 12

I wonder if there’s any reason you chose indigo and lavender for the Empire and Company. Of course, indigo is associated with royalty and lavender is still a shade of purple...

And there they are, the dreaded company that's been alluded to up until this point. I think this is a conflict that was set up well, with the implications of a looming, hated higher power creeping up until they're in your face.

[Back in Bluewhorl, the atmosphere was far less cheery as the Company ship docked. Hatteras breathed a quiet sigh of gratitude to the gods for the ship being smaller and less imposing than he had dreaded- and more importantly, for Pleo being far away right now. Far from the eyes of the Pokémon accompanying the unwelcome ship that day.

"At least it's one of their smaller ships this time. I don't think they'll be able to take much from this town today."

"How much they'd take wasn't my biggest concern," Hatteras replied. "Get some of your subordinates handy, they'll need a welcoming committee to keep them in line."]

I do wonder if the first two paragraphs could have been combined in some way, since what Osmund says basically just reiterates what Hatteras was already thinking.

Elmer- er, Ellsberg does a good job of appearing menacing in his introduction.

Hm… So a traveling warrior, like a few of the so-called 'Immortals'. How quaint,
Oh hey, is that a reference to Trizano (and possibly others) I see there?

Chapter 13

[The next thing Nida and Pleo felt was Elty tagging them from behind before falling back, leaving a bluish, sparking aura to envelop the two before settling down.]

That’s a neat way of describing Helping Hand. I’m guessing it’s loosely based on the anime depiction?

Oh Pataki… never change

Ah, hello Lyn. My, how menacing you are. I love the little detail in what substitutes he fights. It makes it quite obvious that he’d like nothing more than to put the Tromba residents “in their place.”

So, thoughts on the episode overall. It was pretty fun! There’s a lot more little worldbuilding tidbits here and there, and I love that we start getting hints at the bigger plot overall. Bad things are about to start happening, and I, for one, look forward to it. I don't really have any criticisms for this section, outside of the couple minor ones I mentioned above. Hopefully I'll be back to review episode 4 before the end of the year.
Windskull chapter 9 . 7/21
Hey there! I'm working on crossposting reviews from forums over to FFN. These aren't anything new, so don't mind them.

Hey there! Previously I'd reviewed this on FFN, but since I recently made an account here, I thought it would be nice to cross-post my reviews here. I previously reviewed episode 1, so I'll be going through episode 2 today. I'm also trying out a different review style for bulk chapter reviews, so excuse me if my thoughts are a bit disjointed.

Chapter 4

You do a great job of setting the scene at the beginning of chapter 4. I can easily picture the inside of Hatteras’ hut. The only minor critique I would have of this description, however, is in this line:

[Inside, they sat on a mat along with a few carefully selected snacks in front of the hut's proprietor, who was calmly seated on an overlooking stump lit by sunlight coming in through open windows.
I think the length or structure of this sentence leads to a bit of fatigue. I found myself having to read the line twice to make sure I understood it correctly. Rearrangement of words or restructuring it into two separate sentences might help with that.]

Back to the positives, Hatteras’ antics never cease to amuse me. I got a solid laugh out of his switching of the scarves in my first read-through, and it still makes me laugh now.

["Yeah, he does things like helping to plan out festivals," Crom added, "And negotiating with the Company over who gets to be a guard and how much they're allowed to take from us each-"
More little hints at the unique situation Tromba is in - not that one would know it at the time. Things like this make the reread worth it.]

In retrospect, a froslass running a daycare is quite the interesting choice. Froslass certainly isn’t a pokemon you’d typically associate with a daycare of, so it’s a neat little element.

Pleo insisting he get a name and naming himself is adorable.

It was just muddy, because of course it was. Don’t worry Nida, soon enough a muddy badge is going to be the least of your problems.

[Indeed, it truly was not, given that the world that the two Pokémon was really effectively split in two. On the one hand, there was the Cradle, the inland sea and the skies above it that held Tromba and the other islands in the world that were habitable. On the other, there were the Wastes beyond, which... Well, they certainly weren't anything that the Cradle was.]

I kind of feel like the placement of this paragraph is to the detriment of the scene. Obviously it’s meant to explain the conversation, but I feel like it could have been introduced more organically, as most of the information in this conversation ’s repeated a few paragraphs down to explain the role of the company, but I think it works better that time, partially due to being phrased like rhetorical questions. Word choice might make this paragraph stick out less. But an explanation comes up later with the pirates much more naturally and provides just as much information.

On a more positive note, I appreciate that Harettas at least tries to make sure Ander gets the respect he deserves, even if he kind of lets it slip in the end. There’s still a lot to learn about the Marked, even where I am in the story. I have some stuff to say about them, but I'll save it for a later review.

Chapter 5

I appreciate the fact that pokemon in your fic have varying sizes (such as Chrom’s mom being bigger, since Chrom’s still a kid, and his younger brother being smaller.) It helps it feel more natural, instead of everything being standardized and uniform with pokemon popping out of the eggs at full size.

I like the ways you found to build some pokemon moves into the world. Like the uses of protect, for example. I found it clever.

["Wait, everyone was looking at something? What was it?" a Zubat asked, before the noise of the returning din of battle drowned its voice out and grew indistinct as Team Traveler continued to move further away.]

Oh zubat, if only you knew.

Calino’s earlier statement comes back to bite him in the butt. Nice callback.

["It's kinda like trading food, except the food never goes bad… And you can't eat it... I guess it's not like food at all, now that I think about it,"]

Another line that got a kick out of me.

Chapter 6

After having read the rest of the fic, going back to when Nida was struggling with a poison sting is… quite amusing.

["Oof! I- I am slain!" the older Druddigon cried, before she staggered and overdramatically toppled forward onto the floor, closing her eyes.]

Drama queen much?

Joking aside, of course Pleo is anxious about hanging around Gwenith afterwards, when this is the only experience of fighting he has to go off of. Of course Nor has he had a chance to learn to fly yet. He’s only a few days old! Give him time to learn!

I like that pokemon actually show battle damage, even in minor sparring matches.

Pomeg berry actually being like a pomegranate on the inside? Nice.

I’m so glad that Hariti doesn’t treat her marked children differently. I have some thoughts on the marked that I’d love to talk about but I’m going to hold off until a later conversation that I seem to remember.

And now we get some nice world building! There’s a lot of little things I appreciate here, like how you’ve found a way to use gummis within the story both as a common food source and as a way to explain why pokemon that, by real world logic, would be obligate carnivores don’t have to eat meat. (And on that subject, maybe it’s just my style, but I do like when PMD fics acknowledge pokemon eating other pokemon.) I also like that the feral pokemon aren’t just like regular animals or anything like that, as it works well with a PMD mechanic that I remember comes up later.

Crom being so shy of Marley also amuses me, not that I can blame him based on the stories of her beating down a certain dragonite.

And of course, shortly after Pleo learns about pirates, the pirates come. Because we can’t let him have too many nice days, now can we!

Chapter 7

I feel bad that I keep reading “Mildrew” as “Mildew”

["Stop right there, criminal scum!"]

This needs no commentary.

["Mrph, the Gabite will at least live to get what's coming to him," Marley harumphed as she scratched at an ear and took a moment to pocket her most recent trophy.]

I like little things like this, where we see pokemon doing animal behaviors. It really sells that these are non-human creatures we’re talking about.

["I've sparred with the likes of Trizano the Immortal before! Do you think I'm going to let a bunch of midgets and an overgrown Wingull push me around?!"]

Oh hey, Trizano. It’s going to be a while before we see you, but it’s nice to see him hinted at as early as now. And here’s one of the first uses of the wingull running gag. I suppose it makes sense that no one outside of Tromba recognizes Lugia, considering how long it’s been.

After that big display of power he’s taken out by tripping on a rock. Ironically fitting.

Chapter 8

I feel like this type of opening is a bit cliche, but I don’t think it really detracts anything in this case.

I know he’s young, but it still amuses me that one moment Pleo is ready to get back out there to fight the pirates because he’s needed, and the next he’s all but cowering in the corner at the sight of a captured one.

["Grr… And to top it off, you called me fat when you're the one that pigs out every meal!"]

Is that really what you’re worried about right now buddy, not the hostile crowd?

Bubblecide. The charges against the pirates just get sillier and sillier.

Pleo’s got a good heart, I’ll give him that.

Oh hey, apricorn thickets. That’s not ominous at all. And by that I mean very ominous.

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. It introduces a lot of little things that become relevant later, and it also happens to introduce us to the ever-comedic Iron Fleet. I very much love Hess, but I haven’t had much chance to see his personality shine yet, I’ll hold off. On a technical level, I think chapter 4 was the weakest, but none of them really stood out as bad.

Now that I’ve had time to get reacquainted with the main cast, I’d have to say my favorite out of Nida, Crom, Kiran, and Pleo would be Crom. He’s kind and eager, but also has a bit of a timid side at times (especially around Marley, understandably.) It may be a while before I get to episode 3, but I'm really looking forward to it. Until next time.
rycorop chapter 81 . 4/9
I started reading this story yesterday and all I can say is how good it is so far! The plot and the characters?
*Mwah* They're perfect!

Especially the kids, Lyn, and (my personal favorite) Darzin. I'm so curious to see just how their stories will end.

I hope you're safe and doing well! :)
Dr. Glutamate chapter 81 . 4/5
Fledglings reads like a children's story. I'll admit I'm not particularly well-read when it comes to fanfiction, but it's a general style that I haven't seen before, and I like it. It has a rich cast of characters, and I've particularly enjoyed Elty's character development and watching Pleo try to figure out his place in the world as a Protector. It's also nice to see some of the more underappreciated Pokemon. Drudigon as a main character isn't something you see very often. The world building is pretty interesting, and I'm curious to see exactly what happened with humans and legendaries way back when.
That having been said, there are a few things about the story that get repetitive. There are a few turns of phrase that get overused, in particular, characters starting out a statement with "Eh?" or "Why", and more recently "hemmed and hawed". The arc where the Siglo Swellow was trying to catch up with Nida's group was extremely formulaic, but things are looking much more interesting now.
Overall, it's been an enjoyable ride, and I'm looking forward to seeing exactly how everything gets resolved. Oh, by the way, having the characters play the Pokemon TCG is a nice touch.
Namohysip chapter 64 . 9/25/2019
Hi, I’m back. After catching up on other fics and some other things getting in the way, I’ve finally returned… and with a lot to comment on, too!

Episode 9!

And this time, we’re popping up in the pirate town. That being said, I’m not really sure what to make of it compared to a previous, similar premise… Kenobi. They’re in the middle of enemy territory and one of the antagonists is nearby. I dunno if it’ll wind up the same way, too, or… I don’t know. I’m almost apprehensive this time around because these episodes have been very similar lately.

The most interesting part in the first chapter is probably the political scheming going on in the background, though I have to say, the pacing is really bogged down by trying to show every little thing that all parties are doing.
Aside from that, I don’t have much to add for the first chapter.
Oh, but I do want to point something out again, because it’s still extremely egregious. This line right here:

["Hello, brother…"

The Formidable Pokémon froze and instinctively grabbed at the handle of one of his seamitars when he paused. Sevan realized that the voice was familiar for good reason, and if not necessarily friendly, it was not hostile. The culprit soon became clear, as a familiar looking Samurott donning a white scarf with a blue sun stepped out and gave a welcoming bow.

"Let's talk someplace quieter," Lyn said. "I had a few questions for you that I needed to get to the bottom of."]

That… that middle paragraph was just painfully redundant. A single sentence would have sufficed. Again, less is more, but I just felt a strong need to point out this passage in particular. It could have been implied through all the context clues we’ve had prior, rather than just… outlining it like that. I’ll get into this later if the episode goes as I think it will, but I definitely recommend being very careful or aware of meandering around during the narrative.


The second chapter is similar, except we have some new characters to look at, but I’d like to focus on an interesting tonal shift for this episode that is a lot more apparent. Compared to everywhere else, I think this is the first episode where verbal or narrative threats of mortality took center stage; we had a bit of that with the ferals two episodes ago, but this time, it’s more of a systemic aspect. It’s definitely an interesting flavor, but it was also very sudden, between threatening Guardia to the, ah, disciplinary policies of the Pirate guild. To be honest, I’m kinda surprised there was a pirate guild at all, since until then, Hess seemed to more or less be a free-floater. Nice cameo of that Tyrantrum from the special episode, though.

And also, we’re finally getting that Elty arc, several episodes too late.
That’s one thing worth noting—Elty feeling like he’s at home again and showing tiny, tiny signs of worry and concern for his involuntary team, and so on. Oh, and also Guardia very clearly being the one crying out to the moon, as per their ‘Dex entries… maybe? Hmm. It seems almost too obvious, since that’s one of the most well-known (and illogical) pokedex entry series out there, so I’m going to wait until it’s actually confirmed.

The next several chapters, which I finally got to read in succession after getting everything taken care of, was an interesting take on the payoff. At first, I was pretty worried that it was going to be just like all the other encounters to a T, with them running off or something, but then Elty’s house of cards finally fell over and everything fell with it. The fight itself was more of the same at first, and I wasn’t particularly enthralled, buuuut… I think everything changed when Pleo got a sudden buff.

Once again, I felt like the outburst came out of nowhere. This thought just occurred to me, but I feel like if Pleo really hears these voices and pleas and prayers when he gets powered up, I wonder if it would be a good foreshadowing if he just… hears them occasionally as he passes by? Maybe it’s a manifestation of his Psychic Typing, but I feel like this would be a much better way to foreshadow it than for it to all happen at once. And then the voices become more and more intense, culminating into the blast—which, by the way, was actually my favorite moment of the story in a while. Still doesn’t top the first time it happened against Lyn waaaay back then, but it was at least reminiscent of it.

The destruction that followed was, I believe, the current top spot for the most sudden and intense attack to ever take place. The aftermath was a bit on the nose (Pleo thinking about if this was what the Marked meant was probably unnecessary, and actually detracted from the implications by being so directly acknowledged so soon.) However, the actual moment before it was pointed out so obviously was good. Everyone had a hand in the chaos, and that chaos of the two factions trying to get a hand on Pleo was what allowed them to escape in neither’s clutches. A classic tale.

And the chapter ends… and, well, the episode as a whole ends… Well, I won’t say exactly the same, but it’s still similar. We had some big shakeups—the biggest one that actually lasted, I’d say, being the fact that now Elty’s disloyalty is out in the open. But the rest is still the same formula, Crom’s group being one island behind, Pleo’s group escaping the clutches of their enemies… And since we’re always doubling up on islands and then also looking at what everyone else is doing, it really bogs down the pace.

Still, at the very least, I’m curious about where this Elty situation will take us.


Episode 10
50, 51

Well, that’s an opening! I nearly forgot about Lyn, but once the winds of fate brought Pleo a bit closer, I already knew it was going to be the Company and their turn to have a hand at grabbing the Guardian from the skies. The awkward talks between Pleo and Elty after everything was said made for another interesting exchange, too—I don’t recall for sure, but I’m pretty sure this is the most fragmented Elty had become from the group since he had first joined. I guess now that the façade is down, he doesn’t have much of a reason to act nice.

I think, again, you were a bit on the nose with Pleo’s perspective on things. It’s pretty easy to infer that he couldn’t help out his partners. I’m fine with it being said outright once, but I recall two times almost word-for-word it’s said again within these two chapters. Like, I think I get it.

And so it seems that Hess is going to be going after them despite everything, mostly out of convenience. I think what’s more interesting is the prisoner exchange, basically nullifying the Imperials’ losses in terms of manpower, while still giving Hess a second start on his new approach. If these new henchmen see him as incompetent, does that mean Hess will be getting a boon to his army, technically? All he needs to do is boost their morale, and… Perhaps he’ll be more intimidating than being the clear-last-place in this three-way race to Pleo.
And so, once again, they flee into a Dungeon, battle some random mooks, and keep trudging through. Oh! Actually, before I go on, I want to mention one thing that caught me by surprise—I didn’t expect every instance of a species to be related, but it seems like our heroic Grovyle is related to Osmund! And a sister, no less! …Why did he never mention that at all until now, and how did nobody…? Well, either way, that’s interesting. I’m curious what that’ll mean for chemistry down the line.

The final bit with Guardia was something that I suppose I half-saw coming. I’m a little annoyed that the reveal was actually as underwhelming as I thought it’d be for its episode-long buildup (subverting it with it being both parents didn’t quite cut it for me) but I do like the fact that it gave Elty a reason to relate to her. A glimmer of hope? And also a hint at Elty’s familiarity with loss, which is a curious side that I’m hoping gets explored soon.

I’ve ranted a lot about how the Cubone’s traditional dex entries are contradicted and, if played straight, makes no logical sense from a population standpoint, so I’m glad for the “nice stereotype” line, at least.

Was it bad that the moment they stole from the Kecleon, I assumed they were boned? I’m actually genuinely surprised that with how much this work seems to follow the canon Dungeon mechanics to an extent, the Kecleon weren’t one-shotting the team in a swarm like Cuccos from Legend of Zelda.

The following encounter with Ken’s duo (Side note, wow, actual, standard, American names? I was legitimately wondering when we’d get an island themed after that.) was another battle, same as always, though it seems that as of where I had to briefly stop reading, they sent word out that they’d been found. That’s gonna be interesting.

Oh! And speaking of interesting. Nagant and Ketu! Like oil and water. I like Ketu’s casual, yet clever play on deception here, even opening with something that could have been extraordinarily incriminating just to throw Nagant off their trail. Very clever, and I could really get an image of him resting on his icy throne.

Looks like Pleo got a bit introspective again after Elty and Nida made up, at least on an unspoken way. I imagine it’s still a rocky road ahead for them to fully make up to one another, but it’s first steps… And it would have been a wonderful scene, had it not been for the fact that Pleo’s on-the-nose introspection was back again. Leaving it with just, “Pleo beamed toward both of them, feeling a small weight lifting from his wings” or something to that effect—not outright saying what Pleo was thinking, but implying it very clearly—could have been stronger. Spelling it out weakens the message.

But it’s good to see that they’re starting to make progress, even if running into another mook fight was what was needed to get them rolling again, though.
Oh, I also noticed something—during the final scene with Crom’s bit, why exactly were they introduced to distantly?

[Down on the deck, the Pokémon in charge of packing away the spare sails were similarly kept busy, among them being a young Druddigon, his father, and their acquaintances from Bluewhorl, including a Scyther with five-tailed blotch on his head that seemed at a loss over their task.]

You refer to many of the characters by name with little mention of their species, even if said characters appear less often compared to the core cast. Yet with these characters, which I’m significantly more familiar with, why are they introduced like this was the first time we were seeing them? I’m not sure what the rationale is behind this sort of prose.

53, 54
The final two chapters were interesting, but the first portions of it were definitely a huge mixed bag for me. It was only until the very final portions did I actually start to see the payoff, and I was kind of getting the sinking feeling that this was going to be another repeat. They go to a new island, struggle in a Dungeon, rest at an inn, run into trouble, and flee.

This has been, with a few minor variations or reordering, what the past several episodes have been like, and I think repeating it so many times is a huge issue for me. I know you told me in your last review response that that’s the formula for this part of the story, but to repeat it so often, I wouldn’t call that a style so much as a design flaw. I was literally rooting for them to lose just to break the trend.

That makes the ending of this episode that much better; the final chapter was very solid. In particular, I’d like to note that the portion where Nida and co. were fleeing from Lyn was something I was able to visualize very easily in my head, which is something rare when it comes to action scenes that are written out by others. At least, to visualize them so precisely. I haven’t had that in a while here, so I was happy to get that going for me.

Right now, I'm curious how Hess is going to stack up against these trained elites in particular. So far, the narrative hasn't been able to fully show what he can do, so to speak... or if he's already at his limit and he actually has to be cunning for once. That's something I'll be keeping an eye out for.

So, that was a bit of a long trek, but I’m glad that I was finally able to get back in the swing of things. Bit of a large review, but oh well.

I’ve been told that the next chapter I should read is the April Fools entry, so I’ll be skipping ahead to that before returning to form. I’ll cover that here as a final hello as I get back into the swing of all this.

April Fools:

This is too long. Hooo boy. I read this one in two halves because it was just so long that I couldn’t tackle it all at once, so bear with me here. First of all, the opening half was a bit on the weak side. It lingered a little bit too much on them getting their bearings, and it opened with a fight against some randos that were more or less just villain cameos as of now. I guess Team Fang needed some relevance after being shafted for the bulk of Guiding Light, eh? But eh, opening with an inconsequential battle could’ve gone better.

That’s pretty much my only major critique for the first half, though. Afterward, I really appreciated all the interactions they had with the GL cast—Team Spectre and Crabrawler Café in particular, off the top of my head. I also liked Latias’ reaction to Lugia, though I wish it lasted a bit longer for the sake of comedy. The cultural disconnect was overplayed a bit, I think, but that’s a minor nitpick, all things considered.

Oh, another thing I noticed—it happens a lot throughout the story in general, but it seemed particularly noticeable here. You have a tendency to go over exposition twice because of a perspective change. For example, first Team Traveler asks about Zero and so on to Team Captivate, and then they ask about it to Umbry and Espy… but it’s sort of weird at the same time, because the thought process for both of them was the same. It’s new to them, but not to the reader, and it felt very redundant / overexplaining things in narrative, something prevalent even at the start of Fledglings. But now that I’m getting closer to caught up, I think it’s worth mentioning again that it’s really good to think “less is more” when it comes to narrating thoughts.

Halfway through, I actually get some semblance of a plot for this chapter beyond Gallian showing up near the start. But during what’s basically an anime recap episode of Guiding Light, there was an odd line that caught my attention. That tidbit about people in Fledglings getting sick and spreading "miasmas"… Like another one of those special episode plot previews. I think I'm gonna back pocket that.

Boy, that whole recap went on for a whiiiiile. All just to convince Nida and Elty that this place has a scope even worse than their world, hah. But I guess it was necessary to make sure they had to get going, but I still feel like it went on for a while. Or maybe I just feel that way because it comes off as a giant advertisement for GL.

...Oh huh. I'm kinda surprised they found Gallian. Since he first appeared at the start in Dewdrop, and then Meta gave a different location under the presumption they'd've still been there recovering. Talk about luck. Sigh. I forgot how stupid Gallian was. Oh, wait, no, I didn’t.

These epithets are killing me just so you know "the dog" throws me off. Elty? Lux? I gotta double take sometimes. The fight was fun, and it makes me wish that Sticky used his traps more often in GL, but I guess compared to all the other stuff going on, he was a bit outclassed. And also—calling the Lightless Black. Wow! That’s probably the dumbest thing I’ve heard in this chapter so far! Let’s see how that goes.

Also, wow. Props to you guys, but probably Amby for pointing it out, that Pleo’s team would be immune to Necrozma’s soul-steal because they don’t operate in a light-based world. I’m probably one of the few readers to get that, having read both~

Okay, that was actually a pretty fun read, and I was definitely able to appreciate it thanks to having read both epics at this point. Very nice and fun chapter to look through, and I decided upon Virgil’s request to actually give it a more thorough look this time compared to the other special episode entry. And… this is now a monster review. Oh well. Next time I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled reading habits.


As a reminder, I’m eager to see where episode 11 will take me, because the trend FINALLY ended… hopefully. I’ll just have to read along and see!
Windskull chapter 4 . 8/19/2019
I started reading Fledgelings way back at the end of last year, and blazed through the whole thing in a matter of weeks, keeping up with regularly since. It’s been a major inspiration in getting my own fic out of years of limbo and beginning to write it. And yet I never got around to writing a review. I’m changing that today. Today, I’m going back to read and review the first episode, and I’ll be working from there.

I’m not particularly sure why, but the fact that you actually describe nidoran as spiky really appeals. I suppose it fits in with the immersion and makes things feel more real, giving me a tangible texture to imagine, as opposed to the level of detail for in-game sprites

[The time I fought and beat the cheating dragonite?]
Heh, it’s kind of funny, going back and seeing little things like this that mean more after having read everything else.

I like the explanation for the difference in ferals and pokemon that live in towns and villages. And the lore behind legendary pokemon and their place in the world. I wonder how much is true and how much is embellished fiction, and I still find myself wondering what the marked’s whole side of the story is.

I know Bluewhorl is a pretty small town, but still, I think it’s pretty nice that Calino memorizes all his regular’s usual orders (or at least theoretically, if Nida’s interaction is anything to go by). Shrewd or not, it’s neat to see him actively involved with the local rescue teams (even if it is just good business practice).

Ah, the “ahp-gredah.” I remember being confused about that until we actually meet Mellissa, though it makes a ton of sense in hindsight that characters in a pokemon world wouldn’t understand such human terms as an up-grade. Oh, and the first mention of Maranda was here too. I like that you’re already sewing the seeds of all these little plots that come up later.

Crom’s a cheerful guy, I can’t help but be amused by the difference in size between these two.

Even though Crom is probably a bit small due to being young, it still amuses me that the spinerak didn’t seem afraid of him at all, but was terrified of Kiran. Then again, flying type.

The chaos of the fight against the krabby really sells how much of rookies Nida and Crom are.

I don’t actually see traps used very often in fic, so it’s nice to see them used here.

And then we get to the young, curious Lugia. It seems he already was born understanding some speech, but that there’s a lot for him to learn still. I suppose it’s only natural. I’m guessing the fact that he seems to have been born during a storm while the “Sea Prince’s Traveler” was behind the moon was not coincidental.

I think that’s all I had to say here. I really love the overall worldbuilding. It reminds me a bit of Avatar: the Last Airbender, with a disjointed world waiting for a protector to return, that’s looked at episodically. There’s a lot of little things here that are mentioned that pay off down the road. I look forward to looking back on the next episode and doing my next review.
Namohysip chapter 46 . 7/18/2019
Aaah, so it seems that the Imperials are also a bit keen on infighting when they need to. I guess nobody on the kinda-antagonist side can really keep it together for very long, huh? Oh well. I’m not quite as interested in these guys just yet since they haven’t really done anything, and this is kinda just buildup for when they actually try something. Until then, though, I’m more interested in what the rest of ‘em are doing.
So, unfortunately, it seems that the subway location was quickly becoming another place-to-visit, following the formula of the past… most episodes except the first few. I’m wondering how it’ll get changed up this time, but man, we’ve been following this beaten track for a while. Though I am curious how they’ll figure out how to head into the subway… If a fight breaks out, would that destroy the bubbles, too? Tough call.
My last bit that irked me a little was the interaction between Crom and Ander. It was nice to get a bit more lore (not that we already knew this from past talks) but the reasoning behind why it’s so unknown to non-Marked is… strange. Surely there’s at least one Marked out there who knows the scripture, but told it to others? Statistically, it’s gotta happen, yet… I dunno. It still feels odd that an entire society would be so willfully ignorant of what the text of this apparently very important book even says, at least down to the basics. It’s a really weird spot of contrived ignorance that both permeates the setting, yet still feels that it has to be this way for some plot-critical or information-management reason.

Not sure how I managed it, but I read the next two chapters back to back! So, these chapters continue to be long for the sake of trying to cover everybody once or twice, but at this point I’ll just stop openly complaining about that and just get into the actual content as if they were multiple chapters instead. First thing – the fight with the pirates was actually pretty interesting in terms of Hess actually… being a proper threat! I guess without Pleo to scare him off, he can actually do some decent damage, at least to the ship.
The “hearing” with Salvini, now, that was an interesting turn of events. I didn’t expect her to get out of it with such a stroke of luck, but it looks like all the infighting actually played to her favor. And that means she’ll definitely be turning up later, seeing as she’s going to be relocated. Hmm, let me guess, maybe to the next destination or two ahead of the Travelers? Who knows. Something like that.
Oh! And them running into that Ampharos, the elderly one. That was pretty interesting, particularly because, well, it’s the same species as one that we had run into before. Now, I know that in my work, I go a little nuts with odd pairings, but over here, it seems like same-species pairings are not too uncommon, and that leads me to believe that this Ampharos is related to Hatteras. She’s even from Tromba, I mean, come on! But one thing that’s throwing me off is whether it’s the mother or mate of Hatteras. Elderly… was Hatteras described as elderly? I know he was looking for someone precious, but ahh, I can’t… no, because she has Flaaffy kids. So perhaps the mate? Either way, it’s an interesting little coincidence.
And that sort of leads me to what is perhaps one of my biggest, overarching gripes that I’m finally seeing in full force here. This plot runs on happenstance coincidences. And it’s never been more noticeable than in this chapter. Despite all the remarks about how huge this subway is, let alone the underwater town itself, the two Imperials who happened to divert from their duties and happened to be passing over the Travelers, who at the same time happened to run into Lyn’s brother in town (Who I later learn is a sellsword, so he happened to be there at the time, too!) … it’s just really, really a stretch at this point how many of these coincidences can be happening at once. People are constantly running into each other across islands, in crowds, at the same time, and it’s just way too convenient.
Now, there is a possibility that I’m ignoring here: What if it’s not quite a coincidence, and someone behind the scenes, perhaps some kind of hand of fate, is toying with where everyone is? Aside from you, the author, of course. But if that’s the case, I haven’t caught a lot of foreshadowing or acknowledgement of how crazy these coincidences are becoming beyond a remark of “we probably won’t get that chance again.” But I will keep that possibility in mind, just in case.
As an aside, Inler is the first character in this story to immediately get a voice in my head. He sounds like the commander from Monster Hunter World, English dub. Deep and powerful, but not quite rough.

Next, On the Table, I don’t have a whole lot to say for the bulk of this chapter, since it’s kinda just more setup and people talking and stuff that I’m generally less interested in. We see a glimpse of life back home, we see more of Darzin’s position relative to all the others, the Imperials are doing their thing… meh. Let’s see how they do when the talking and planning is done.
The main highlight is them finally seeing the Blue Fairy – I did not expect it to be Manaphy! Another Protector! And… I feel like that aspect was a little downplayed, all things considered. I’d expect a bit more of a mystified feel, or even a little flourish, but it seemed kinda mundane, especially after the opening we had with Pleo at the beginning, full of wonder and curiosity. Yet here we have a fully grown Protector, and… it’s for more exposition. I dunno. I feel like more could have been done, though the lore was interesting to read about. I thought the Blue Fairy was going to be some kind of well-traveled Azumarill.
As an aside, I’m curious how that meeting between Lyn and his brother will be.

Surprisingly, I don’t have a whole lot to say about this last chapter as a whole. Though I’ll at least admit, I was expecting Pleo and the gang to just get totally kidnapped or something, but instead they managed to escape… into a Dungeon again! Similar formula, tempting fate as always, but I’m curious where Elty will be taking them, since we’re at his home. I also see that there’s a special episode next, so I’ll read through that in addition to the rest of this chapter.
As an aside, I felt that the struggle against the two Waters felt a bit drawn out; perhaps it could have been streamlined? Eh, I think it worked fine enough as it is. The little “mutually assured destruction” bit between Darzin and the Imperials, though—now that was a very clever use of political power versus raw power. Kudos for that.
Ooh, and also, I enjoyed seeing the fracturing alliances within the Company. They really are starting to fall apart, huh? Just like Manaphy said. One person contemplating treason, someone getting high school bullying flashbacks… the winds of change are coming, but it doesn’t look like the Company will come out quite the same by the end.

As with all Special Episodes, I’m glad to see you quickly established when something was taking place with very clear time markings—Lyn just becoming a third rank, and Pladur being a new daddy of his second child.
One thing that I noticed about Tarquin’s gang, and especially Tarquin himself—you were a biiiit on the nose with his baddie bad aura, always using words like greedy or malevolent to describe the way he smiles, which happens pretty often. I dunno, seemed a bit “tell”-y and not very showy, since for the most part he didn’t actually behave that badly, at least for the first half of the episode that I’ve read so far. He didn’t quite… demonstrate the adverbs given.
In any case, that was a fun little special episode with a few characters introduced, though I personally think the only thing that I’d consider truly interesting was that brief glimpse into the Dead Zone’s outskirts. The red light (a star of destruction remnant?) and the Pokémon statues (Dark Matter relations, perhaps?) is an interesting prelude.

Well! In any case. Overall? I’d say this episode had some good moments, some interesting bits of lore… though I was hoping that it would’ve turned out a little differently than all the other ones since they were under the sea and all that. Unfortunately, it sort of turned out to be almost the same formula… Oh well. Guess we’ll see what the next set has in store now that we’re in Elty’s old pad. Maybe we’ll finally get more development for him.
KeinNiemand chapter 74 . 6/30/2019
I think they might need a silth scope to identify the ghosts
WyldClaw chapter 74 . 6/30/2019
That was amazing!

How will Nida and the rest of Tesm Traveler save Pleo from the ghosts?
KeinNiemand chapter 73 . 6/15/2019
I came here becouse of pokemon mystery dungeon guiding light

I just finished reading this and I'm really liking this so far. I really don't like th usage of other languages since I'm listening to this using text to speech and by the time I get to the translations I already forgot whrere the original text was and going to the end of the capter everytime simthing is in another language takrs way to lang (the app I'm using has animation when going to the next/previous page)

I'm hoping that this continues after they have beaten the company/empire since there are much bigger Problem (The restoration of the rest of the world) I really want to know ehat really happened to the humans. Also did pokeballs exist in this world? Appricons exist so they likly did exist but why does nobody know that pokeballs where a thing. Why where pokeballs forgotten?

Does this fic have regular/semi-retular updates? How long does it usually take for a new chapter to come out?
Namohysip chapter 40 . 6/14/2019
And now for Episode 7! It’s a little surprising how quickly I’m coming along with this story, all things considered, particularly because of the long chapters. Blame the commute; makes it a lot easier for me to get through these in larger chunks.
A Little Learning was another setup chapter for the most part, and there wasn’t a whole lot for me to note on except for the fact that, well… you’re setting things up for this episode’s conflict. This is a bit of an odd approach in that despite the fact that they still need to keep on the down-low, they’re laxer about it, despite the fact that I feel like they’re in more danger here than the last episode. The dissonance is a bit odd.
Also, Pleo having an affinity for storms is something that I really liked. I knew instantly what was up, but it’s nice to see this get a bit of lore acknowledgement, so to speak, and I’m curious what that’s going to mean down the line for him.
One thing that I’m a bit critical about is yet another use of “small world” plot devices, just-so-happening to run into Elmer—I mean, uh, whoever that Mothim guy is, he’s probably not important—who finds a single feather left behind by Pleo. I feel like these happenstance run-ins with Company folk are happening a bit too frequently when it could easily have been spotting them from a distance but having no easy way to get to them, or something? I don’t know; I just hope this doesn’t get used much more often from here on, or at least they’re conveyed in a way that doesn’t feel like that. Just how tiny are these islands for people to intersect like this?

The next chapter was the first time that I noticed something peculiar on why the chapter lengths may be getting so long: You’re jumping across all the perspectives that are currently at play per chapter. Now, as a stylistic choice, I don’t think that’s necessary to cover everybody in one chapter, but there is something that I’m noticing stemming out of it: With so many people, you might want to start considering your options in terms of who might be good to abridge, and who might be good to show in full. This chapter felt very slow because of all the setup, similar to the last episode, with so many people just “trying to do something,” while the core Team Traveler is… off making sandcastles. Completely understandable, and I actually liked their scene in this chapter. The problem is, there’s so much other stuff going on slowing everything else down. Hoo. I know it’s hard to juggle all these moving parts, but I hope the pacing picks up a bit more from here on.

And pick up it did! Okay, It’s a Trap! Has finally gotten to the part of the episode that isn’t slow buildup. And we get some of my favorite things when it comes to long fics like these – lore! The depiction of what seemed to be the destruction of Xerneas was an interesting little walk, followed by what happened to the egg in present day. Very interesting, contextualizing what happened and showing perhaps more precisely what had happened. Makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing something like that near endgame.
One minor nitpick, though, I thought the talk between Pleo and the others about death was weirdly heavy-handed and, well, for lack of a better word, choreographed on where it was going to go and how it would become relevant. I think if a conversation like that happened a few chapters ago, maybe even the episode before with the Cubone graveyard, it would’ve been more impactful, because with it taking place in the same chapter, it was a little too close to have that as a “clever callback” or foreshadowing, etc.
That goes double for the sudden power of prayer that Pleo felt again when he was trying to defend against the wilds as what was basically a literal deus ex machina. Unlike the last time it happened on Lyn’s ship, this one didn’t have as much buildup, if any at all, and I felt that it could have had a bit more impact if it did, even if it was just a few passages earlier to make it more gradual. As it is, it felt kind of sudden.
That being said, Pleo’s desperation for his friends when they had finally escaped hit a lot of good notes, and I’m impressed at how you were able to depict both Pleo trying to help, and his naïve confusion on why it wasn’t working as it always had before. That was a very strong scene, even if it could have been stronger for the reasons mentioned above. In a vacuum, however, it was good.
I think the most mysterious Pokémon right now is Trizano, without a doubt. He somewhat shows up and introduces himself goofily, please tell me he has a British accent, and then scares off Nida and such, but now, here, you’re starting to set him up as what might be a key player, or at least related to one. He’s either a/the Voice of Life (or your iteration of one, considering the timing of when you first started publishing this and the fact that he feels like he’s part of the “big picture” overarching plot) or he’s an emissary of the Star of Destruction. Those are my two guesses.
And then we end off with the inevitable betrayal of Grovyle, and them getting captured and put in a hopeless spot again. At this point I’m used to it. Anyway, this is the first exciting chapter of the episode, and while I wished it happened sooner, the payoff is still strong.

Helping Hand continues the trend of “things actually happening” and while it wasn’t quite as exciting as the last chapter, it was definitely enjoyable and kept the wind going. The clash between Hess and Crom’s groups felt like it drew on for a while for what had been accomplished, and I was much more interested in what Nagant was going on about.
I thought that you handled Phyllis’ fears of Pleo well this time, compared to other Marked encounters. It wasn’t focused on for too long, but it wasn’t glossed over, and it didn’t really feel needless or anything like that. It wasn’t an annoying repeat, and it had a decent impact on the plot and how things all turned out, including the reasoning for keeping them in place for Lyn to pick up.
The other highlight of this chapter was, without a doubt, the interactions between Salvini and Trizano. The latter is a very interesting character just for how much he seems to know, yet doesn’t let on, which is a trope that I’m guiltily fond of. Salvini, meanwhile, is showing a very nuanced mixture of duty and heart, which is often something that can conflict with one another in the line of work that she decided to get into. Under normal circumstances, I imagine she wouldn’t stay in that field for long if she had that sort of outlook, so I can see why she decided to help Trizano… but I do have one nitpick, and it’s something that I haven’t really been able to pinpoint until just now:
Sometimes, you draw your scenes on for too long. Some things can be summarized, skipped over, or condensed; other conversations can perhaps end sooner, or perhaps more snappily, than draw on idly. Sometimes the camera can pan away with good timing and lose no information. And I finally spotted a concrete example of where this could be done:
["I think you should already know the answer to that question, Salvini," he said.

"Well, what is it?" she demanded. There was a long pause between the two as Trizano tensed his wings to be ready to strike at a moment's notice, before the tension suddenly evaporated with five simple words…

"And what do you need?"]

You could have literally ended this scene right here. Because the following four paragraphs…

[The Skarmory blinked and lowered his razor-feathered wings at the gecko's words. Did… she just offer to help him? But this was no Elekid's play, and he couldn't in good conscience accept help from someone who had so much to lose.

"Are you sure about this, Salvini?" he asked. "You're aware that it could get you in just a bit more trouble than that drink back there, aren't you?"

"I think you should already know the answer to that question, Trizano," she replied. A smile began to creep over the Skarmory's beak, there were more brave souls in this town than he had expected to find on such short notice. The two volunteers he'd accrued so far would do just fine.

"Well, then… why don't we start with a little privacy?" Trizano volunteered. "Time is short, and we've only got one shot at this."]

provide no new information. We already know that it’s risky for her to do this; we already know that they’re going to be teaming up and planning things out; yes, that parallel retort was clever, but not in exchange for all those extra words for no new information. I feel that the scene could have ended right here on a very powerful line and achieved the same information conveyance at the same time.
But that aside, another good chapter to roll things along. Only one chapter left to go, but with how long these chapters are becoming (seriously, they’re starting to outlast my commute!) anything can happen.

And finally, Up in the Air. You definitely wrapped up the main arc of this plot, but you didn’t quite, eh, give that payoff to having Pleo try to train or anything of the sort. I guess they sorta got distracted by the storm and stuff, even if they were largely unaware of what to do with themselves for most of it—and the story as a whole got sidetracked by the other things going on away from the main characters. I’m not sure if this is true or not, but I feel like, by ratio, the main Team Traveler had the least screen time in this episode.
Salvini’s arc reached its end for now, though I see potential for her to come back into the picture later in one way or another. Not sure. But I thought it was interesting to see how she wound up making her decision, even if I somewhat saw it coming a few chapters ago just from how she was introduced.
I’m starting to get mildly annoyed at Nida’s prey instincts. I swear, that’s the most prominent trait I see from her at this point, but while it started off irrational, it’s starting to border on the downright silly at this point, all because Trizano happened to be the same species. This sorta falls under the same prejudice as the Marked, in a way, judging by species or appearance, heh. Speciesism or, uh, Markism and all that.
Also, another theory that crossed my mind, and it was only because of some past “Immortal” characters in PMD: what if there are two Trizanos? The way Trizano appears fully healed after clearly being injured could be chalked up to being an immortal and/or being healed, and there is a lot of lore surrounding that, apparently, but there’s, like, a 10% chance of a bait-and-switch and there are two of him, similar to the Haunter trio of PMD Sky. But it’s… a huge stretch right now. I’m gonna keep an eye out for how this guy ticks in future episodes.

So, overall? Much better than the last episode, which more or less felt like a speed bump for approaching this one. Still hard to top that episode of escaping from Lyn’s ship, but this one’s picking up the pace and giving a sense of tension. I wasn’t really sure how they were going to get out of this one, all things considered. The way they eventually managed to escape made for a very interesting turn of events, and now I’m curious about this ever-spoken “subway” is going to be like.
As an aside, regarding more comparisons to TTYD, I think you’re handling this location-hopping adventure genre quite well. Even if not every location is really spent a great deal of time on, most of the story revolves around the simple premise of trying to evade capture while finding a way to get home safely. The sub-intrigue is going to all these locations and seeing what each one is like—and while some of them feel a bit the same in terms of what can be seen, each one had a slightly different flavor. Still, if this kept up for any longer, I’d start calling it repetitive. But not anymore, assuming the subway is as different as I think it’s going to be. For the first time in a while, it feels like we’re genuinely entering a new arc in the story. Looking forward to it.
Namohysip chapter 34 . 5/16/2019
[The following is for Episode 6]

Next episode, here we go! The first chapter is another bit of setup, really. I think the main highlight of the first chapter is just them managing to somehow sneak into the place, and then Elty, well, looking for an out. I’m kinda getting the vibe that one way or the other, there will be setbacks to preventing him from doing this, culminating in some kind of realization that he cares about them in some way? I’m not really sure how long he’s going to be keeping up his reluctant Traveler schtick.

The second chapter gives us a first real look at the administrators, and it was basically dripping with “the bigger boss” vibes regarding the interactions between Lyn and Farn. I’m not really sure how strong she is, particularly because Lyn holds a natural disadvantage against her, but I think she’s more powerful in the political sense, even if she’s still formidable otherwise.

As an aside, is Scout randomly appearing going to become a running gag? He’s everywhere. Surprised at the number of coincidences happening in this seemingly dense town, or at least, that’s the impression I get based on how it’s basically Company HQ with two “guilds” hustling and bustling with folks doing their own thing, seedy or otherwise. But that’s about it for now.

Third chapter, same as the second. I thought that the exposition dump that happened here was a little heavy. Definitely put the pacing to a grinding halt again, and I was almost as impatient as Elty was for an entirely different reason. (Also, I’m pretty sure without even looking at the dates that Super must have been released some time ago at this point, with the inclusion of Wands in the story~) Looks like we have a lot of things going on at the same time now, though I found the most entertaining segment to be our brief visit with Crom and the others trying to retrace Pleo and company’s steps. Curious if this is going to be a trend or not of constantly missing each other.

As an aside, though, I think your integration of Super mechanics, while obvious, was actually done pretty well, especially since it happened on a new island, so maybe such Dungeon phenomena is more prominent here, or something along those lines. So, good job on adapting to the canon while still staying course.

Next chapter is interesting in that we have some interlude stuff going on in the background with folks trying to track down Team Traveler, but the bulk of the chapter, at least from how it felt, was focused on the Cubone tribe and their interaction with Pleo and company. And I’m not… really sure what you’re trying to go for here, actually. I think part of it has to do with the fact that you topped so high with Lyn’s encounters that this whole arc so far as rung… hollow. There isn’t nearly as much tension as I felt there could have been for literally being in enemy territory, yet the most that they’ve been dealing with were pirates and thugs rather than Company. I’m hoping that changes for the last few chapters of this episode, but it has been underwhelmingly slow when following Pleo himself.

The fight against the Cubone was done well, though again, there was a lack of tension when the fight was over. They actually could talk to each other, and they let them get away. It was perfectly in character for Team Traveler, but I was sort of surprised that the Cubone sorta… didn’t think anything of that. Then they return with backup, and they’re ambushed and outnumbered after a bit more clever tactics from the Marowak elder. Buuut again, the tension just doesn’t feel present. The Company is looming in the background but they’ve yet to actually do anything, and I’ve kinda been waiting for that for four chapters now. Instead, we have… this Cubone filler. I’m sure there’s significance to this, and as a reader I’m putting faith in you as a writer, but the way it’s presented right now, it’s an in-between that’s just delaying the conflict I actually care about.

Ahh, here we go! The next chapter, and we have some small payoff! Kinda. So that whole Cubone arc was all for the purpose of getting a new addition to the team, huh? And it seems that with that, we have an eclectic set of four as part of the (main) Team Traveler. We have a Tromban / civilized Pokémon, a Protector, a pirate, and a feral. All that’s left is a Company member. Lyn, anyone? It’s a crapshoot, but hey. Maybe in several dozen chapters. Ooh, and a Marked! Can’t go without one of those on the main squad. But I guess Ander kinda counts for that already, even if it’s not with Pleo.

Speaking of Marked, despite the payoff of Guardia on the team, the most interesting part of the chapter is still what Crom and company are doing trying to trace the steps of Pleo’s side. Everything having to do with the Cubone, I feel, went… a lot longer than it should have. Right now, Nida’s just sort of wandering in an arc that I was honestly expecting to be a bit more on the perilous, stealth side, but I don’t really get a feel for that at all.

So… the next chapter, Gate Crashers, I… didn’t actually have a whole lot to comment on. The plot is moving along, folks are getting ready to go from one spot to the next, the interrogation happened, but… I don’t know. I just didn’t have a whole lot to say. Actually, aside from a few key moments, I’m sort of surprised at the fact that despite being the longest episode so far, I also have the least to say. Same for Changing Course. The brief bit about the map and planning was incredibly heavy on information, and I doubt I’m going to remember all of it, so hopefully there will be cues or reminders about it in the future. I’m interested in the mention of that “dead zone,” however. Bit of an inconspicuous little mention, that. Random guess: That location is going to be where the middle of the story takes place, or endgame/close to it.

Anyway, back on the subject of information dumping: going so in-depth about how they’re going to find their way across the ocean felt a bit unnecessary, especially on top of the long time they spent looking at the map, and how long the narration depicted every detail of it. I think there’s a bit of a problem when the main group is the least interesting part of the story, since the highlight of this chapter was the Imperial bit near the very end (Also, hi, Cabot!) I feel like without Casting Off, I would have been less interested, but that was actually a nice little treat.

Overall, I think this unfortunately might be the weakest episode, at least from my experience, due in part to its length versus how little actually happened. It had a lot of buildup without any real payoff, and I feel like you put off a lot more than you should have. There was no confrontation with Lyn, but instead with more Company grunts. It was just setup between him and his superior, and then we pretty much don’t see him much else except for brief appearances. Elty trying to get away from the group to return with Hess, washed up quietly with how long it took for them to get back, before ultimately never returning at all.

No confrontation with Hess, or with Elty himself, or any sort of turnabout in attitude, or… anything. He just continues along by default, as he always had been. No slippage about it to the others, no real evolution except for really brief allusions to lingering guilt… yeah, sure, all these things you’re setting up will probably happen in the future. But this episode was set up as being right in hostile territory, yet the biggest threat they encountered wasn’t from Company or pirate ilk, but… a bunch of ferals.

Anyway, I’m still optimistic for what’s coming. You’ve at least laid the groundwork for future conflict, and I’m hoping we get some payoff for at least some of that before more threads are introduced. For the next episode, I’m not really sure what to expect. I doubt Pleo will be able to train as much as the Travelers would hope, but what they’ll actually encounter there is a total wildcard. Based on what the narrative is implying… It’ll be Imperials of some kind. But beyond that? Completely unsure. Here goes!
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