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April 6, 2013
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Then what am I? To you? by purplekecleon Then what am I? To you? by purplekecleon
Hatch and Charcoal played together more often now, and though they still refused to talk to the younger Pokémon, they pulled no more cruel tricks. Tohne, however, took an interest in watching Palette’s canvas transform from blank to light grey to blank again, and he was delighted when she was finally satisfied with her pencil outline and began painting the scale model.

Every once in awhile, Palette would notice a shadow watching her from the door, flitting away as soon as she looked. She knew very well who that shadow belonged to, and she missed him dearly, but she could not stop until she had finished. Because she felt so attached to and driven by her work, she did not speak with Pal until the fourth night.

That night, she had finally put the finishing touches on her model, and was dozing off while waiting for it to dry, when he quietly broke the silence of the darkened daycare.

“Palette?”

She woke with a start, and her eyes found Pal’s face; clean and composed, like he’d just washed. He was standing over her, but directly in front of her model. He’d been inspecting her work, perhaps?

Presently, he gestured toward it, and smiled weakly.


Ma chérie, you have been working very hard lately! Your model looks absolutely beautiful. However, I think you deserve a break, do you not?” He extended a paw to help her up, and she took it without a word. Of course, she still had to get up by herself; Pal was never known for his upper body strength.

A few meters away, Tohne listened and thought.


As Pal and Palette crossed the village square, he told her about his last commission.


“Do you remember? Ah, perhaps you were not awake at the time; it was very early in the morning. His name was Twigs, but he brought his step-brother Styx along as well.”

“Twigs?” Palette considered. “Is that the same Twigs who proposed to PK?”

Pal frowned. “Perhaps? I admit I have not been paying attention to much of the village politics lately. Perhaps I should. I certainly hope he did not, though; he was an exceedingly rude customer. I cannot imagine PK putting up with him for much longer than a minute.

Alors! He said a lot of very vicious things about Messieurs Shroomsworth and Malt, though his step-brother’s babbling made it very difficult to pick out the words. Eventually, he asked me to paint a portrait of him, so I told him my prices. He ignored me! He said I could choose a prize from his home, when I was there. I asked him why in the name of all art I would be visiting his home. Ma chérie, if only I had not asked.

“He told me that he was not planning on returning to the village soon, so I would have to deliver the finished artwork in person!”

“What,” said Palette blankly. “Did you... mishear him? Surely no one could be that inconsiderate.”

“No,” Pal replied, “I did not mishear, though I thought so at first too. I feel the right thing to do just then would have been to refuse, but... that Meowth’s claws were not looking very good for my canvas, and he looked ready to snap if he stayed much longer. And it looked as though he would stay much, much longer if I tried to turn them away.”

“Besides,” Palette reasoned, “you did need the money, and any treasures you obtained could be sold through the Merchants Guild.”

Pal looked very strange for a moment, as if he wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.


“Yes, yes. Bien sûr! Of course we need money. But I would not dream of selling what I came home with. It is the point of this story, actually. Come in, let me show you!”

The studio was filled with light, because every lantern in the room was ablaze. The four easels stood flat against the back wall, and any detritus of Pal’s profession was similarly cleared away. Palette noticed the huge cardboard box that Pal had been carrying the night she’d left; it was sitting ominously in the very forefront of the room. Expectantly.

Pal hurried over and pried the petals of the box open, peering inside. “Yes!” he said, “it is still as beautiful as before! Come see!”

Palette was more than a little unnerved by his mania, but her doubts melted away when she saw the intricate machine inside the box. Its base was a little metal rectangle, with a circular pad on top and a handle for cranking attached to the side. Next to the pad was mounted a sort of enormous horn, with its mouth agape to the world and its mouthpiece lost in complex machinery that terminated in a little wheel.

“It is known as a phonograph, I believe,” Pal said.

“It... certainly is something,” Palette replied. “But what does it do?

“Well,” said Pal, “not very much, alone. Mais!” He rooted around inside a drawer, and pulled out some sort of disc. “With this, it will make music!”

Palette looked closely at the object in Pal’s hands. It was deep black, nearly as black as wet black paint, and covered in little circular grooves that spiraled outwards from an inner white circle, which itself was punctured through the middle. The inner circle had writing in it, in fancy lettering that Palette could just barely make out:

“UNTITLED, composed by ♬ and performed by the Alomomola Symphony Orchestra.”

“Watch, and see!” Pal placed the disc gently on the floor, and took the phonograph out of its box, setting the machine on the floor next to the wall. He ran the box into the kitchen. Then, he picked UNTITLED back up, and fitted it clumsily into the top of the strange machine. He set the wheel carefully into one of the grooves on the disc, and turned the crank vigorously. The crank made an ugly click-click-click noise as Pal worked.

Then, finally, he let go, and the crank immediately started to turn the other way... but so did the disc, and when the disc moved, the horn of the phonograph crackled and spit and started singing the most gorgeous song Palette had ever heard. She gasped aloud, and Pal smiled broadly.

Ma chérie, do you know how to dance?” Palette shook her head slowly. “Ah, then, follow my lead. Ce n’est pas difficile!”

Palette couldn’t reach Pal’s hip, as the traditional stance would require, so they grasped claw to paw and paw to claw. Pal showed her, with light motion, how to sway and step to the rhythm, to the ebb and flow of pianissimo and mezzoforte. Her feet stumbled and jerked at first, but eventually she found a sync, and then they were dancing. It felt like the most natural thing in the world, then.

For a measure, or perhaps it was a hundred measures, they said nothing; they were too busy concentrating on their steps, and on each other. But then, for the second time that night, Pal broke the silence.

“Palette... er... about those paintings. The ones which were still on the easels?”

She tripped over her own foot, and crashed to the floor, but caught herself. “Yes, the... the children made those. They had been having nightmares.”

Another long silence. Pal and Palette swayed and stepped.

“Palette,” Pal said finally, “something very big is going to happen, is it not? Something even bigger than those disappearances, even worse than the disaster with that ice dragon.”

“I think,” Palette said, “perhaps, you are right. And those children, caught up in the middle of it...”

“Us as well, caught up in it,” Pal mentioned.


“Us too, yes.”

Pal was silent, again, for a moment, but Palette knew he had much more to say. And he did.

“I am afraid,” he admitted, “of everything I have worked for all these years, just blowing away in some wild wind. I am afraid of losing all of that.” He grasped Palette’s claws tightly. “But, beaucoup plus important, I am afraid of losing you, ma chérie. Please, promise me? Promise me that you will never blow away again.”

Palette promised.

“Now, about... about what you said, that night.”

“No!” Palette interjected, suddenly. “No, I... I know I was wrong, you don’t have to–”

“You were not wrong,” Pal said, with a hint of sadness. Palette listened.

“I have never been very good at expressing myself,” he said. “Not in words, that is. And I am afraid that I hurt you, as a result.


“You said, or you said everything but, that I only gave you a home because I felt sorry for you.” He looked away briefly, in shame. “And that was the truth. At least, it was the truth at first. You were a young girl, and I could not live with myself if I allowed a young girl to be endangered so often only for money, you understand?” Palette nodded. He had said as much before.

“I felt that way for a very long time, but I thought I felt that way for much longer than I did. When I thought... when I thought you had died, though, I knew it had been more than that. I could not eat, I could not sleep, and I could not paint. I would have been prepared to give up, you see? To give up everything. Just to see you again.”

“Pal,” Palette said. There were tears in her eyes.

“I have never told you this,” he continued, “so how could I expect you to know? I was a fool, and I deserved those three days to remember what it was like to be lonely again. But, Palette,” he looked her straight in the eyes. “You are much more to me than a lost child, or a student, or an injured animal in the woods.”

“Then what am I? To you?” Palette whispered.

Pal smiled, and his smile made Palette smile, too, and the two of them swayed and stepped circles and pirouettes until the morning.

=====

Final part to "Inspiration" by :icondeathsbuddy:

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:iconcarlyandrickforever:
CarlyAndRickforever Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Student Artist
cool
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:iconz3rolui:
z3roLui Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist
I spent the day reading this story from start to finish. All throughout the time I was reading, I found the story deeply moving. Deathsbuddy, I admire your abilities as a writer and how each part of the story fits with each illustration, and Purplekecleon, you've done a wonderful job on the illustrations as well. Together, these pieces have given me what the title implies........... "Inspiration."
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:iconstarrywishy:
starrywishy Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Student General Artist
This is a really gorgeous piece. I absolutely love how it's grayscale, yet has accents of vibrant colors that fit! You did really well on this, I love it ;o;
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:iconsupergeeknerdlazy:
SuperGeekNerdLazy Featured By Owner May 13, 2013
A heart-warming ending to this well-written side-story.
I do have one problem with this part however, (whiny French is whiny) is that "beaucoup plus important" while not grammatically incorrect just sounds weird in this sentence IMO.
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:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for mentioning that! I recognize that my French isn't that great, and I apologize for the bastardization.
Reply
:iconsupergeeknerdlazy:
SuperGeekNerdLazy Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
It's fine, this bastardization is nothing compared to some of the "French characters" seen on TV shows, movies, games, etc. And it's not easy mixing two languages either even when one is fluent in both.
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:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Haha, I suppose it is better than some of that.
Reply
:iconuruboros:
Uruboros Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Professional Writer
I think this is my favorite part of the story so far and your artwork to go with it fits so well.
Reply
:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Honestly, I think I worked a little harder to make the writing compelling in this part. I probably should've tried to make it more consistent.
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:iconrodent347:
rodent347 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013
Weird music shells? How do people come up with such crazy ideas?
Reply
:iconteavian:
Teavian Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013   Digital Artist
Aww I'm so glad these two are okay again. I had a feeling he might like her more than just a student. This is so sweet, great job guys! Great story.
Reply
:iconeroborus:
Eroborus Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
so this is love ~
Reply
:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
hmm, i didn't think of that! i guess that song does fit the mood, among others.
Reply
:iconpikachulover2012:
PikachuLover2012 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Awww this is such a sweet and romantic story. I enjoyed reading it. :aww:
Reply
:iconlord-vladimir:
lord-vladimir Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
:heart: thank you
Reply
:iconlord-siver:
Lord-Siver Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013
awwww soo beautiful
Reply
:iconnhlovedani:
NHLoveDani Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, that lighting in Pallet's hair. Idk why it's so attractive to me hehe! Your use of color, AHHGG I can't get over it. Not ever.

This story was beautiful. Just wow. I hope to read more of them. Pal proved to be so sweet and kind ;///;. It's lovely to have significant others like him who open up in such a way.
Reply
:iconotakusyra:
OtakuSyra Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
What tool do you use to make this? O,O
like brush, marker, ect
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:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
google docs
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:icontehsnowflake:
TehSnowflake Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
Cool C:
Reply
:iconlucas420:
lucas420 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i love the colouring and strokes. they are so cute. <333
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:iconwanderer619:
Wanderer619 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
Nicely Done
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:iconwanderer619:
Wanderer619 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
Well Done
Reply
:iconchristian3211:
Christian3211 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing story~

But the Spelling Nazi in me is saying:

"Twelfth paragraph, Fifth sentence; 'I certainly he did not, though;'"

"I'm certain*"
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:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
oh, that would be my fault.
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:icontrinosaur:
Trinosaur Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Professional Filmographer
-deep breath- AAAAAAAWWWWWWWwwwwwwwwww......
Reply
:iconshikkatl:
ShikkaTL Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awww this part is very beautiful. i love it. specially the ending of it!
Reply
:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
this art is absolutely stunning

and i mean that, i'm not sure this could've been more beautifully rendered. nicely done!
Reply
:iconaglassman:
Aglassman Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Student General Artist
And the writing made me cry, so good job.
Reply
:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
if it's any consolation, i cried writing it
Reply
:icondarkblackarcanine:
DarkBlackArcanine Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lovebirds~!
Reply
:icontwilightsweetie:
TwilightSweetie Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Student Artist
Awwww its so cute and romantic! >u< I hope these two get together at some point.
Reply
:icongoldgust:
goldgust Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist
haAHA for some reason i thought they were already.. like.. 50% married or something
Reply
:iconmallowninja:
MallowNinja Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Aaaaaaaah this is an adorable story and I'm always fascinated by the writing PMD-e produces.

thank you PK and deathsbuddy :dummy:

I feel honored to read this.
Reply
:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
you're very welcome! i'm glad you liked it.
Reply
:iconmallowninja:
MallowNinja Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It was fantastic and adorable and I am glad that you wrote it.
Reply
:iconkelsyjones:
Kelsyjones Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm really enjoying this story so far!
Reply
:iconsuripi-okami:
Suripi-Okami Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
Ok Pal and Palette are now my favorite characters, tied with Rhodes and Dmitri.
I have a question as well, who designed Pal and Palette?
You had the ability to make them just some typical painters, but you guys really went the whole mile here.
I read most of the side stories for these two ,sometimes twice even, and I even gotten me to the point where I got into French culture a little more than I used to.
(Not to mention caused me to obsess over Smeargles.)
Reply
:icondeathsbuddy:
deathsbuddy Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
They were originally suggested by Mechadrago ([link]), and redesigned and repurposed by PK.
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:iconsuripi-okami:
Suripi-Okami Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
Thanks.
Reply
:iconrosygirl:
rosygirl Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A joke, your knight or your brother?

But on a serious note, this is very sweet. I am glad they can have a peaceful moment before everything falls apart again.
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:iconmiyukitty:
Miyukitty Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013   Traditional Artist
:iconfinnplz::heart:
Reply
:iconart47:
Art47 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
My best friend in the world~
Reply
:icondenrua-chan:
Denrua-Chan Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
This is so romantic... Very beautiful...
Reply
:iconjoyjababanoid:
JoyJababaNoid Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I got tingles reading this. Very beautifully thought out. I also love the picture with it's dark colors and bright ones contrasting. It's lovely. :clap:
Reply
:iconpheonixfoxblood24:
pheonixfoxblood24 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013   General Artist
oh wow....this is so lovely and romantic >w< such a cute couple...i hoped they would get together....its..just so cute.....fantstic work
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:iconsuperhurricane:
SuperHurricane Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
Good for you, Palette. Good for you.
Reply
:iconmewtwofangirl:
Mewtwofangirl Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OMG is pal in love with palette ? i want to know more this is getting cute
Reply
:iconxfangheartx:
XfangheartX Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
So...damn...romantic. I just knew that these two were meant to be!
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