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Fanfic / Infinity Train: Court of Cyclamen

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"Are you connected?"

Infinity Train: Court of Cyclamen is a story in the Infinity Train: Blossomverse by Green_Phantom_Queen, taking place during Acts 2 and 3 of Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail.

Taking place after his humiliating loss against Ash Ketchum and being chewed out for his callousness by Leon, Bede is beside himself at his actions. It's not his fault Hop got stuck on a Train because he just put in some honest truths! And what would they know about struggling to survive? The Train doesn't scare him!

And then the Infinity Train picks him up and he is tasked by a man in a blue shirt to search out a strange and enigmatic figure named "Mitsuko" in the Family Circle Car, in hopes of answering an important question.

The story eventually came to an end on September 11th, 2021.

As revealed in the now-deleted Fury of Thistle, Court of Cyclamen is non-canon to the trilogy except for certain bits, like the fact Chloe and Bede met each other.

Tropes included in the story:

  • Absence of Evidence: Part of what makes Bede so frustrated at the fact people tell him Chloe's not perfect while the net says otherwise is because there's little, if any, proof of the former being real, Because somebody's erasing everything in order to make Chloe seem like a perfect hero. Thankfully Rashid contacted Tomas about this.
  • Actor Allusion: Josh of the Blue Clue's Car wishes to perform on Broadway and states that if he had a magic lamp, he'd wish Bede out of the Train. His actor, Joshua Dela Cruz performed on Broadway in the live-action Aladdin musical.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The fanfic brings out a categorization of the denizens and the roles they play.
    • Chapter 6 has Chloe call Ash and have a talk with her father, which she never got to do in Blossoming Trail, revealing just why her father never took her to that well-needed counseling session. The following chapter has Chloe talking to her mother.
  • Adults Are Useless: Discussed. Chloe detests this trope because it only makes things worse and is the reason why she can't trust them. After all, why should she bring up her problems if her dad stupidly refused to get her counseling, rejected any attempts of her to do something she liked, put her in a cage and gave her nothing to do while blatantly crowing about Ash and Goh's successes and giving them everything they wanted? The Curious points out that the only reason this happens is because adults don't have the full picture and uses Gladion's decision to not tell his mom about Lillie's trauma as an example of why she needed to speak up more. She later reveals that she didn't want to say anything because she was afraid of being as selfish as Sara.
  • An Aesop: You should never set a bar to compare yourself to others; other people will excel at things, but that doesn't mean what you do is meaningless.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Prior to the story's beginning, Chloe forgave her father for his actions. But in this story, she's chewing out when he reveals why he didn't give her therapy.
  • All According to Plan: While he doesn't outright say it, One-One clearly thinks this when he reveals to Amelia Chloe's journey so far, up to and including the praise she's gotten, has been controlled by him to build her up only to send her crashing down for a true hero's journey. Amelia is not amused and it turns out it doesn't go according to plan...
  • Ambiguous Situation: What's going on with Ai and Yusaku seeing as this heavily deviates from VRAINS Season 3 and the last the two were seen in Knight of the Orange Lily, Ai was looking like he was hypnotizing Yusaku to prevent him from leaving like Specter did...
  • And the Adventure Continues: Bede killed off Mitsuko but she has 53 other bodies she's possessing. So he and the Court of Cyclamen head off to destroy the rest of her.
  • And Then What?: One of Josh's questions asks if Bede will be happy if he becomes the greatest Pokémon Trainer in the world, even if he doesn't have anyone to share it with.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Josh gives three of these to Bede to help him figure out his problems. While Bede answers the first two without problem, it's the third one ("Are you connected?") that causes Bede to hesitate.
    • When Chloe talks to her father and learns why he never gave her therapy, she gets pissed off more and more with his excuses, really making it seem like he was inflicting Double Standard just like she believed early on in Blossoming Trail.
    Chloe: Did I have to jump on a Lugia to get your attention? Or is leaving Chloe to stay at school to do something fun too much to ask for when you let Ash and Goh do whatever they want?!
  • Artifact Title: The "Court of Cyclamen" themselves don't have much of a presence in the story before Chloe usurps the role of protagonist from Bede. Even when they do get together near the end, the story ends shortly after.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: After Leon made it clear he would destroy him, Bede became a case of What Happened to the Mouse? back in Blossoming Trail, with his absence going unnoticed. This story gives both the simplest and most obvious answer: the Train snatched him.
  • Author Appeal:
    • While nowhere near as blatant as the Specter imagery in Blossoming Trail, Yu-Gi-Oh characters are still featured, Ai and Yusaku Fujiki.
    • Exotos — who helped write Chapter 2 — lampshades how Green Phantom Queen was probably preparing to put Bede through psychological horror again like what she did with Goh when it came to later chapters.
  • Bad Future: One of these is featured in Chapter 8. After a bad encounter with the Monk Dogs, that future's Chloe becomes Lady Destiny and tries to kill Grace, who's forced to kill her back. Before anybody can celebrate, though, the rest of the Red Lotus Quarto, in a fit of rage and grief, slaughter the Apex with absolute brutality.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After being bombarded with voices telling him off for his insensitivity, Bede wishes to be alone right now. Then the Train picks him up and he'll be alone for quite some time...
    • The Curious wished for Bede to become nicer to his Pokémon. He got his wish... right before Chloe's ill-worded advice convinced Bede to kill himself.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • Professor Cerise shouts this when he hears from Yusaku that Chloe is about to commit suicide. In the same chapter, Goh shouts this when Chloe reminds Bede on how he advised her to just split apart from Goh and never talk to him again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The story ends with Chloe having to leave Bede for his journey with the promise that she must not contact him until he finally makes it out on the Train. And while he killed Mitsuko, she has 53 other bodies to possess and he must track them down. However, Bede himself is learning to change himself for the better and the Court of Cyclamen are sticking to him so he won't be alone and Chloe was able to mend fences with her parents and let go of the belief that she has no worth, ready to prepare herself for the Fog Car.
  • Blame Game: This is still going on in Vermillion City with the only players that aren't in it being Class 5-E and their parents. Ash is thoroughly sick of all of this going on but makes a point not to blame Chloe over her brother's mess. Despite making amends with her father, Chloe pretty much loses it when she learns why her father refused to get her therapy, and she decides to enter the game yet again despite being supposed to be better than this (the author does point out that Chloe is stressed out as it is).
  • Bookends: Bede gives The Curious cyclamen flowers by stating they mean "friendship" (they really mean "Goodbyes"). The end of the story has The Curious give Bede yellow roses and stating that they mean "Friendship" (which is accurate).
  • Broad Strokes: How the story's dealt with post-Fury of Thistle, it's mostly non-canon, but stuff like Chloe and Bede meeting did'' happen.
  • Call-Back: Tomas points out that Yusaku feels familiar, or rather his Duel Disk is. This is because Specter's Duel Disk was the basis of the Signal Car.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Before Chloe leaves with the Court of Cyclamen, Amelia tells the girl to be very careful and would not want to see her falling to her death. Yeah, Destruction would like a word with you...
    • During their fight, Boscha claims that the only thing Chloe would have to do to make it clear she's just a self-righteous fraud compared to what she's built up as is tell somebody who's been tortured and broken that they deserved it. You think if she came out of this alive that she'd make good friends with Paul?
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • In Blossoming Trail, Bede's excuse that he was an orphan came across as him trying to divert blame from himself. This story reveals that no, he really is an orphan, and this warped his mind.
    • In Chapter 4, it turns out One-One has been coldly manipulating Chloe's journey behind the scenes, building her up in order to make her hit rock bottom to complete her hero journey. Atticus even questions if the trip to the Curry Car was his doing, something Chloe herself commented on Blossoming Trail, and One answers Yes.
      • Moreover the sheer coincidence of Grace and Simon just meeting up with Hazel, a denizen who initially looks like a human? That's also One-One's doing so that Grace can learn empathy.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In The Reaper Car chapter, Bede is looking up posts of Chloe's trip to the Curry Car and freeing the soul of the Curry Prince.
    • Chloe mentions that she's not that perfect, as she recalls posting a video exclaiming she's only human in the end of the Cyan Desert Car.
    • During the Talking Down the Suicidal events for Chloe, Ash states that he cheated with a pre-recorded speech from his Rotomdex.
  • Continuity Snarl: The car is set during a stretch of time of Blossoming Trail between the Bede battle and when Chloe enters the Fog Car, though trying to line up the details to that stretch of time often creates issues in how the two fics present the characters at the time with people fighting when they should have made up, grumpy when they are happy, and other contradictions that make the story struggle to fit into the established timeline.
    • One of the biggest offenders is during the talk between Chloe and Ash: the latter is currently at the Cerise Institute, but this is implied to be recently after his fight with Delia, which is when he's supposed to be in Pallet Town with Serena and Trip.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Sunset Shimmer and Wallflower Blush are currently stuck in a care that's exactly like their home world.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: The Bad Future has Grace having to kill Chloe-as-Lady-Destiny to protect herself and the Apex, but since the rest of the Red Lotus arrive late and get the wrong idea, they get slaughtered.
  • Dance-Off: One of these take place between Ai and The Curious in the Reaper Car. The winner is Hattena.
  • The Dead Can Dance: Thanks to some restructuring, The Reaper Car has undead creatures dancing as part of its challenge instead of fighting an undead army.
  • Deceptively Silly Title: The Equestria Girls Car is as bright and cheerful as its source material is. But what happens in the chapter is not, particularly One revealing a timeline when Grace killing Chloe ended up with the rest of the Quarto killing the Apex in retaliation.
  • Did Not Think This Through: The Professor's attempts to protect Chloe went FUBAR because 1) his attempts to not give Chloe therapy came from the last counselor he tried being a scam that went nowhere meaning that he wasn't willing to try again even though 2) he knew that Chloe had problems and refused to let her do after school activities even when she begged him and 3) his reasoning as to why she wasn't doing anything in the Institute was that if she did, it would look like she was getting "punished" but it just fed into reason 2 and made it look like downright favoritism on Ash and Goh getting everything. Needless to say, all of his problems could've been solved if he considered Chloe's mental health above everything else or actually asked her what she wanted.
    • One's plan to make Chloe be a "true" hero involves not telling Bede about his suicide survival so that she can grow and not rely on the positive praise from the denizens. But not doing so eats away at her psyche and she's close to throwing herself into the wheels because she's not able to live up to so much expectations.
  • Dramatic Irony: Chapter 4 has Bede attempt to commit suicide when he believes Chloe's prepping him up to become her next chew toy. The Red Lotus Quarto is and his teammates are led to believe he succeeded, while the audience knows he failed.
  • The Dreaded: Blue, Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper reacts like this after Josh suggested that Bede should head to the Family Circle Car. And for a good reason... It's so bad that even Walter Sullivan hates her.
  • Driven to Suicide: A recurring theme as one of the influences of the story was based on Suicide Club.
    • Bede can't take the idea of Chloe "helping" him and decides to wheel himself to avoid being her next plaything. He gets saved by Sunset Shimmer.
    • Because of the above, Chloe is pushing herself to do this also, feeling like she's a failure as a person for everything she's done. It takes everyone on and off Train to get her to let go.
    • Mitsuko was a former passenger who got on the train because she nearly killed herself.
  • Epigraph: The prologue contains a verse from Puck's final monologue in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: A sad one. Just when Chloe is about to kill herself does the Professor lament what he did wrong; instead of caging Chloe and giving her nothing to do, he should've given her something to prove that her life isn't bound to that school of hers.
  • Fantastic Caste System: While it's unknown whether the system is true or just speculation, Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle have found a way to classify Denizens as such: Those who accompany a Passenger (Companion), those who help with their native Car's challenge (Helper), those who are responsible for the challenge (Guardian), those who keep the Passengers with their guard up (Monster), and those who shower them with pointless praise (Zealot).
  • Food as Bribe: Leon tries this with Bea in order to fess up on what she knows about Mrs. Bergamot. In a surprising twist, she refuses the sweets.
  • Food Porn: The Blue's Clues Car shows off some Filipino cuisine (justified as Josh is Filipino himself and this is a Green_Phantom_Queen story).
  • Flower Motifs: Cyclamen which means "separation" or farewell. Bede hands a bouquet of these to The Curious by lying that they mean "Best friends" and symbolizes how Bede himself is a loner and chooses not to make relationships.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The timeline that would make Cherry Bloodlines was caused because of an incident in a Hall of Heroes Car where the jerkass Dog Monks boasted about Ash and made Chloe feel she'd never do anything good, culminating in her becoming Lady Destiny. And because Grace killed in her — in self-defense before the Quarto could arrive to calm her down (and an Apex child stealing the Pendant of Life) — there was no way to revive her. End result? Grace lost her arm and every single Apex kid was massacred.
    • Since the Timeline above was caused by Chloe being compared to Ash. Ash telling her everything she's good at and everyone helping her realizing she shouldn't be trying to set a "bar" for herself, ultimately destroys any chance of that timeline being formed.
    • Ash and Professor Cerise admit that they should've started calling and texting Goh the minute they learned Goh's attempts failed as it would've meant that they cared for Chloe.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • The author reveals that Bede will be encountered in the Darkest Day arc in Infinity Train: Voyage of Wisteria, so he'll eventually leave the Train.
    • Whatever Bede's opinion of the Apex becomes, he won't be the one to take them out, as that's what Chloe and Grace end up doing in Act 3.
    • Since Ai and Yusaku are featured in the Intermission of Voyage of Wisteria, they'll come out just fine.
    • Chloe will survive whatever happens as this is taking place prior to her trip to the Fog Car and she's not supposed to die until Destruction drops her from the sky.
    • After One's "plan" to turn Chloe into a hero causes the Red Lotus Trio to hate him, he has to work on gaining her forgiveness...which happens seeing as Chloe gives him a goodbye hug when she finally leaves the Train.
  • Four Is Death: Chapter 4 features Bede trying to commit suicide and the reactions of it: the Red Lotus Quarto think he succeeded, the audience knows he failed, and One-One enforces this upon Amelia, forcing her to keep quiet lest the Stewards blow her brains out. And not even four chapters later, Chloe is about to wheel herself.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Chloe tries to both bond with, and get Bede to open up by claiming she's seen his past. What happens instead is that he gets so scared he uses Abra's Teleport in order to wheel himself.
    • One is trying to make sure Chloe becomes a true hero by making sure she's in the dark about Bede's death and to prevent a future where she becomes Lady Destiny. But his methods nearly make her commit suicide.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: However epic Bede's quest ultimately becomes, nobody will remember it, since Chloe doesn't mention it whatsoever. Chloe leaves before Bede encounters Mitsuko and he tells her to not contact her at all when she returns because he has to do the journey by himself
  • Hidden Depths: Josh: Usually he's a goofy lovable Manchild who plays a puzzle mystery game with his blue puppy, but he seems to be aware of something up with Mitsuko.
  • History Repeats: A Galar Pokémon Trainer in a Pokémon Center gets picked up by the Infinity Train due to Leon's poor choice of words.
  • Human Cannonball: Bede's role in the Circus Car. Against his will, of course.
  • Hypocrite: Bede thinks he's better than Hop, but he also falls for the allure for the Train just like Hoppy did and barely listens to Hatenna warning him to not enter.
    • Chloe can't believe that Bede wouldn't understand her problems and try to hurt her instead, while she, despite seeing his past, decides to keep him in the dark about it out of spite. Her number even rises from it. She then tells Bede everything about what's going on though.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Bede and Hatenna's reactions to eating from the Giant Choc Nut bar is this and Hatenna starts hopping around in a mad sugar rush.
  • I Regret Nothing: Bede's personal motto; don't regret anything that happens in a battle. But given that this also meant he insulted Hop and dragged him onto the Infinity Train...
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The situation with Goh was caused by Parker getting his hands on the Unown.
    • Bede is the cause of Hop being on the Train and he was chewed out by Leon for his Kick the Dog moment.
    • Once again, Ai having a humanoid body heavily spoils Season 3 of VRAINS.
    • Amelia joining the Red Lotus Trio was a big spoiler back in Blossoming Trail. In here, there's nary a fanfare for it.
    • The existence of Midnight Sparkle in the Equestria Girls Car as she doesn't appear until the tail end of Friendship Games.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: The chapters are much shorter than the ones from the original trilogy, and primarily focus on Bede's journey, plain and simple. This is justified since in those stories it focuses on the loved ones of the main protagonist, whereas Bede doesn't have any of his own. Instead, there is now a subplot of Leon investigating Bede's origins and the orphanage he came from.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Bede does this in the Reaper Car when he learns that the only way out is to dance in a car that's a cross between a cemetery and a disco hall.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Josh says his cousins Steve and Joe work at the Detective Agency Car and Present Store Car respectively; the first episode of Blue's Clues and You! reveal that this is their jobs now.
    • The Curious dancing to disco music actually happened at the end of an episode of his show.
    • Yet again, a Passenger asks another about what they were thinking while doing something related to The Cat. In Book 4 of Infinity Train, Min-Gi asked Ryan why he tried flirting with her. In this story, Bede asks Amelia why her group trusted a talking cat of all things.
    • When discussing legendary passengers in the Train, two of the people Bede mentions are the Knight of the Orange Lily and the Professor of the Monster Kingdom.
  • Never My Fault: Bede doesn't believe himself to be completely at fault for why Hop got picked up by a therapy train. While he did make a valid point, Hop's fragile state meant that anybody could've set him off, and that this is also on Hop not able to handle losses well, it was still a dick move, and him not even caring about how Leon felt just proves that he wasn't empathetic in the first place. Even when Chloe spells it out to him that he needs to work on himself after he's pushed everyone he's ever loved to the side, he decides to screw it and kill himself.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Bea loves sweets, but when Leon bribes her with a parfait for information on Miss Bergamot, she doesn't take them.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The orphanage Bede was raised at is consistently being built up as this: ignoring Bede's entire attitude, what Chloe saw horrified her, and whatever Leon found about it is so bad he decides to try shut it down. To make it worse, it's currently run by a Not Quite Dead Hunter J and there's a connection to Ms. Turner too. Thankfully the final chapter reveals that it's been shut down.
  • Resolved Noodle Incident: One of the Cars mentioned in the main story, that the Red Lotus Quarto went through anyway, was one dealing with pizza and animatronics. This story pretty much shows not only what happened there, but how the team weren't along in this endeavor.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the Frogs with Hats Car, one of the frogs wears an upturned tea kettle for a hat.
    • The concession stand that The Curious got his giant Choc Nut bar from is called Trese and is manned by two bartenders wearing diamond masks.
    • In the Orange Car, there's a sloth denizen named Cassidy.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The story takes place around Arc 2 and 3 of Blossoming Trail, starting around the time Chloe has left the Dead Carnival Car and has gotten her new wardrobe.
  • The Social Darwinist: Bede keeps acting like this, though his visit to the Blue's Clues Car gives him some second thoughts. This is basically due to his upbringing in the orphanage he came from.
  • Stealth Insult: Bede tries to get The Curious away by handing him a cyclamen bouquet and stating it's for best friends. Cyclamen mean "separation" in the language of flowers. The Curious doesn't get the hint and continues to follow Bede until he gives up and has the denizen join him...then Chloe had to reveal what Cyclamen meant...
  • Talking Down the Suicidal:
    • Chapter 4 has Chloe try to talk Bede into not killing himself but Bede does so anyway mostly to spite her.
    • Chapter 8 is this for Chloe, as Bede's suicide and trauma from other chapters has broken her and she has decided to give up on her journey. It takes support from on and off the Train, including Bede revealing that he survived, to get her to move on.
  • Teleportation: Bede owns an Abra that knows Teleport, which is how they (accidentally) reach the Pizza Chat Car. The Curious can also do this to an extent.
  • Tempting Fate: Bede states that the only way for him to actually believe that he matters is if he has to prove it, which will never happen. And then Chloe decides that, because of his suicide attempt, she's about to follow what he did by jumping onto the wheels of the Train.... Sunset even lampshades this in her thoughts.
  • They Just Dont Get It: Why Josh suggests Bede go to the Family Circle Car; it's as clear as day that he won't listen to anybody but himself, so the Car will give him a reality check. Even when Chloe tells him that she saw his soul and all the pain he's gone through (Both from rejection and rejecting others) and him even admitting she's wrong, he refuses to admit that he has to change, culminating in him wanting to wheel himself.
  • Title Drop: The Curious states the title when Chloe is figuring out what to name the group of him, Ai, Yusaku and herself.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Chapter 9 explains what's been going on with the timeline. Chloe using Ose on Looper-Satoko (who resets every time she's killed) causes this affect giving Chloe more time to hunt after Mitsuko and prepare for her final showdown in The Fog Car.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: When Chloe has a Cuteness Proximity moment with Bede's Gothorita, who's a girl in the games, he bluntly informs her that Gothorita's a guy. Bede comments that this is actually so common that Pokémon Professors are working on ways to further differentiate genders between Pokémon whose forms lean more towards one or the other. They later have a talk about this more in Chapter 9.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 4 has Bede attempt to kill himself, only to be found safe and sound by Sunset Shimmer. However Chloe is to be kept in the dark of this and decides to leave the Red Lotus Quarto to aid Ai, Yusaku and the Curious to fulfill his last request to meet up with Mitsuko in the Family Circle Car.
    • Chapter 7 reveals the reason why One is so adamant on his plan to have Chloe grow; he doesn't want to be like the time Grace murdered her and ended with the Red Lotus Quarto killing her and the rest of the Apex.
    • Chapter 8 has Chloe on the verge of suicide after everything she went through, only stopped by everyone's reassurance that she is a human and her feelings are validated. And in a meta sense, the author reveals it's time to change the story, and future Blossomverse tales, into something much brighter than before.
  • Wham Line: Chapter 6 reveals a woman who is working in an orphanage, who went under many names. But their most well known one?
    "She really missed those times when "J" was all she was known as. But J was dead now, killed by those dinky fairies. Humiliating, all things considered."
  • Working Off the Debt: Bede does this in the Animal Crossing Car...only to find out he's 1,000 Bells short.