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EVERYONE: Pearls From Beyond (Autumn 2023 contest one shot)

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(Rated E for Everyone!)

"Pearls From Beyond"

"So, why are we traveling to a graveyard in costume?" Ash wondered as Nemona led the way inside a public graveyard somewhere in Mesagoza. Misty, Brock, and Juliana were not far behind, with Juliana carrying an old cookie tin rattling with pearls inside.

"While yes, we do the trick-or-treating thing too, think of this as trick-or-treating in reverse--giving gifts to the dead as a reminder we are still thinking of them." Nemona explained as she brushed a leaf off of her costume's armor. "We do this in costume so the not-so-friendly ghosts are confused, and leave us alone."

"This particular graveyard is where the Naranja Academy founder, Lady Carmina, is buried." Juliana explained. "School lore says that if you're going to perform Las Perlas de Los Ángeles--or The Pearls of the Angels, if you wish--in Mesagoza, you always leave your first pearl at Lady Carmina's tomb. If you don't, school lore says you'll fail all your final exams."

"Is there any particular ritual you have to do when leaving a pearl?" Misty wondered as Nemona led the way to one elaborate tomb at the north end of the graveyard.

"Here..." Juliana passed Nemona a red pearl. "Lady Carmina's favorite color."

Nemona accepted the red pearl, knelt down and set the pearl on the beautiful tombstone. "Lady Carmina, se ofrezco este regalo desde la tierra de los vivos."

She explained "In other words, 'I offer you this gift from the land of the living.'"

"To perform a proper Las Perlas de Los Ángeles, you need to leave at least 15 pearls on fifteen different tombs." Juliana explained. "If you want to go on a longer walk, multiples of 15 are even luckier."

She led the way to another tombstone, and laid a green pearl by another tomb. "Abuela, te ofrezco este regalo desde la tierra de los vivos."

"Aw..." Misty smiled. "What was your grandma like?"

"Friendly--no matter what life threw at you, she would make sure anyone that came to her house got a hot meal and a warm bed for the night." Juliana explained. "She also introduced me to my favorite boccadillo flavor--prosciutto and cheese."

Misty balked at seeing a familiar Wakunese name on a tombstone. "Well! Who knew there was a sizable Wakunese population here in Paldea..."

Nemona nodded. "A lot of them are descended from samurai that came to Paldea to escape Nobunaga's ruthless ambitions. Not counting current Naranja and Uva students, there are roughly 15,000 Wakunese permanent residents in Paldea today."

"Many of these samurai helped Paldea during the turmoil of el Dos de Mayo long ago." Juliana explained. "They saw what Kalos was doing to Paldea at the time, and didn't want Paldea to suffer as Waku did under a ruler with an iron fist."

Misty nodded, and motioned for Nemona to give her a blue pearl. "Would these guys be referred to as 'te' or 'se'?" she asked Brock as he approached another nearby tomb with a Wakunese name.

"I would err on the side of 'usted'--these were respected warriors, after all." Brock replied as he accepted a green pearl from Nemona, then knelt before the tomb. "Motonari-dono, se ofrezco este regalo desde la tierra de los vivos."

"Motochika-dono, se ofrezco este regalo desde la tierra de los vivos." Misty followed Brock's lead as she set the blue pearl on her tombstone.

Ash rejoined the group by the southwestern corner of the graveyard. "Where else can we find Wakunese tombs in Mesagoza?"

"There should be another graveyard at the northwest part of town." Nemona replied as the group departed the graveyard, and returned to the beautiful luminaria lit streets of Mesagoza as some autumn leaves swirled in the night wind.

"Serena told me about the Kalosian perspective of el Dos de Mayo once..." Ash remembered as the group strolled down the luminara lined streets of Mesagoza. "Basically, the infamous Kalosian general Volonté wanted the Paldean royal family to effectively be taken prisoner in Kalos. At the time, Kalos had attempted to take control of Paldea thanks to chaos in Mesagoza over who would rule. Volonté saw this as a golden opportunity to assert what he believed would be Kalosian dominance over the Europan continent."

"But he didn't count on the people of Mesagoza to fight back!" Nemona agreed, picking up the tale where Ash left off. "Try as the Kalosians might to put the rebellion down in Mesagoza, the people of Mesagoza managed to unite all of Paldea against Kalos, and drove Volonté and his men out, in La guerra de los lirios y los claveles--The War of the Lilies and Carnations. You may also see the war called "La guerra de los lirios, las rosas y los claveles--The War of the Lilies, Roses and Carnations, because Galar did come and help Paldea in the fight."

She went on "Today, you can see a grand memorial to the heroes of the uprising--people come from all over the world to leave flowers and tributes."

Ash nodded. "Serena has said that if she ever gets to come here, she wants to leave some hyacinths at the memorial--as a way of saying 'I'm sorry' to those Paldeans of old."

"Until she can come, we can all collectively leave pearls at the Royal Tomb near the memorial." Juliana suggested. "So this way, we are honoring those that died protecting Paldea's freedom."

Brock noticed a ornately decorated tomb that towered over the other gravestones in the graveyard they were approaching at the north end of town. "That one has to be the memorial..."

Nemona nodded to confirm Brock's guess. "This graveyard is El Cementerio de Los Héroes--the Graveyard of Heroes. It was built here, overlooking the road to the Pokemon League at the north end of Mesagoza, so we would be reminded of those who died protecting the trainer's way of life long ago.

"Some years, you may even find La Primera paying her respects at the memorial during her own Las Perlas de Los Ángeles walk." Juliana remembered as the group made their way to the graveyard's gate, then gently made their way to the massive tomb that served as the memorial. "Once she travels to the memorial, she pays her respects to Lady Carmina and Lord Rado--the Uva Academy's founder."

"I take it the Uva students have to pay tribute to Lord Rado much like you guys pay tribute to Lady Carmina?" Ash wondered.

"From what Florian has told me, Uva lore says that if you don't leave your first pearl at Lord Rado's tomb, he will haunt you in your dreams all year." Juliana replied as the group approached the huge memorial. "I find that scarier than flunking all your exams for the year."

Nemona approached the memorial tomb, and noticed a red pearl and a purple pearl near where the epitaph was inscribed. "Looks like La Primera has been here already, and we missed her by moments."

"Bummer--I would've liked to see what kind of costume she dresses up in for the Halloween season." Ash sighed as he contributed a red pearl to the blue pearl and the green pearl Misty and Brock had already left on the beautiful white marble memorial.

Once Nemona had left an orange pearl, and Juliana had left a purple pearl of her own on the memorial, the group chorused "Héroes de Paldea, nos ofrecemos estos regalos del mundo de los vivos..."
 
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Hiya there LT! Writing reviews for all the contest entries (^_-)-☆

I thought the worldbuilding in this fic stood out quite a bit! I'm not very familiar with Spanish culture, so my analysis is very much so on the surface level here, but I thought your little tidbits of Paldean history sprinkled throughout were quite neat! Having the reader take the place of a newcomer like Ash and his friends (by means of not knowing much about the region's customs) was a really natural way to introduce everyone to much of the setting and history of your take on Paldea!

As for any criticism I have, there's not much! This was a solid entry, but I do think that you could have maybe stood to make the characters a bit more expressive, maybe Nemona in particular? I just felt that there was a bit that felt missing in terms of characterization (in Nemona's case, in comparison to game!Nemona), but that may just be a me thing.

Your worldbuilding helped to make it
your theme usage really stand out here — having the pearls mean something of importance to everyone (despite Ash and his friends not being from Paldea) was a nice touch, I think. The mixing of cultures here was very deep and great to experience — I really like hearing what other authors do for worldbuilding and how they mix together all the different areas of the Pokémon world.

Thanks for participating, LT! It was nice to finally read one of your fics o/
 
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@lisianthus

Thanks--to be honest, I was horribly blocked for a while--until I read over my research notes again, then did some digging to find out if a Japanese population exists in Spain--and surprisingly enough, there is! So I used that to make the made up holiday more meaningful to Ash and the gang. I know it ran a little short, but that was because I didn't want to ramble and make it run too long.

If you ever want to learn more about the remixed animeverse or the theaterverse, drop me a PM and I'll be happy to tell you about them.
 
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