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Fanfic / Travels of the Trifecta

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Travels of the Trifecta is a Pokémon fanfic by Shinneth that focuses on the fanon theory that Frontier Brain Brandon is Reggie and Paul's father. It is set after episode 100 of the Japanese Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl.

The story starts with Paul and Reggie receiving a letter from Brandon and mostly follows Paul's Pokemon journey with Conway as a surprise traveling partner. It also focuses on Reggie's attempts to get back into Pokemon training along with developing his relationship with Maylene. This story follows the dub anime canon very closely and adapts several episodes while adding extra perspectives and explanations in some places that differ from the known anime canon.

The story can be found here at

Travels of the Trifecta provides examples of:

  • Accidental Aesop: In-Universe, Paul "learns" from his Mine Badge battle that he's such a great trainer that he can beat Gym Leaders even when sick, instead of learning to be more patient and take better care of his own health. This then leads to Candice beating him in a Curb-Stomp Battle the first time he battles her, not only because of him underestimating her Pokemon's power, but because of his own deteriorating health at that point caused by him being injured during his trek through Route 216-217 and his terminal illness that he is unaware of at that point.
  • Annoying Patient: Paul is implied to have been this during his hospital stay in Chapter 13.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: In Chapter 5 when Paul faints after the Canalave Gym battle, he stays unconscious for at least a few hours, which would be an abnormally long time in real life and would be a sign of something much more severe than exhaustion and influenza/severe cold. Possibly justified by his terminal chronic illness that is revealed later on in the story, although this instance still stands out as unusual when compared to the other times in the story when he is rendered unconscious. In Chapter 10, for example, he wakes up from Mars knocking him out in a much quicker amount of time.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Conway does this in secret after he is presumed to be dead following an encounter with Mars (see Not the Fall That Kills You…). He recruits Maylene to help him make arrangements both to clear his belongings from the house and to begin combating Team Galactic, although he cannot resist peeping just a bit about people's reactions to his "death".
  • Awful Wedded Life: According to the author, Byron and his wife Alanis pretty much hate each other and are only staying together for the sake of their son, Roark. In fact, Roark was only accidentally conceived because his parents had hate-fueled sex one time in the middle of a mud puddle when they were teenagers.
  • Bait the Dog: Conway's beloved cousin Sloan, who especially seems kind to him in comparison to his sister and parents, turns out to be Saturn from Team Galactic.
  • Bathroom Search Excuse: Conway instructs Maylene to use this as a way for her to find his room so she can open his window from the inside. That way, he can get inside without anyone noticing during his "funeral".
  • Bathroom Stall of Angst: Paul escapes his hospital room and hides in a bathroom stall after he first learns about his terminal illness.
  • Big "NO!": Brandon retains his anime version's habit of giving a booming "NO" when he disapproves of something, especially when someone calls him something other than his first name.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Starting around Chapter 10, Paul suffers from this. It is a sign of his terminal illness.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents: Conway initially seems to hope to achieve this with Paul, although neither of their parents are exactly missing in the conventional sense. He quickly finds, however, that Paul is quite resistant to bonding of any sort.
  • Break the Haughty: The majority of the story up until the battle against Ash at Lake Acuity is this trope for Paul.
  • Broken Pedestal: Conway's cousin Sloan becomes this after Conway finds out that Sloan is actually Saturn from Team Galactic.
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Paul gets a severe cold near the beginning of the story that is caused by him being soaking wet after he nearly drowns trying to catch up with a boat in the rain.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A Smoochum that Conway and Paul see as part of a swarm on Route 216 ends up helping Conway when he's in danger later on.
  • Clothing Switch: Paul and Conway end up wearing each other's iconic outfits independently from each other in Chapter 20, although Paul is forced into it because all his other clothes are dirty.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Paul, especially in the second battle against Candice where he trashes the ice field and plays mind games with her
  • The Comically Serious: Paul falls into this trope sometimes in his interactions with Conway, especially when he has to compete in a Pokémon Contest as a result of losing a bet.
  • Crash-Into Hello: This is how Conway meets Barry.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Paul is on the receiving end of this in his first battle against Candice.
  • Dead Fic: Hasn't updated since 2016.
  • Defiled Forever: Conway feels like he is this trope after Mars seduces him in the helicopter, because she stole his first kiss that he was saving for Dawn.
  • Definitely Just a Cold: Paul dismisses his worsening illness in chapters 4-5 as "allergies", even when it's clear that it's causing a fever and eventually causes him to faint after his gym battle against Byron.
  • Determinator: Paul is this when it comes to getting both his Mine Badge and Icicle Badge, with disastrous results for his health both times.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Brandon's Berserk Button. Call him simply "Brandon" even though, most of the time, he won't refer to YOU by your own first name.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Reggie has a dream in which he sees Paul lying in the snow, covered with blood. This foretells events that occur the first time Paul attempts Route 216 and is why Reggie demands that Conway accompany Paul on that route.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Both Paul and Conway's families. Conway's family situation is especially bad, considering his parents don't even acknowledge his existence. Even when he is presumed to be dead, they only act like they loved him for the sake of appearances at his funeral.
  • Embarrassing Rescue: This trope is in play for Paul pretty much any time Conway has to rescue or take care of him, particularly when Conway first rescues Paul and Weavile from drowning near the beginning of the story.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Paul is not a nice guy and does not have the best relationships with his own family members, but even he's disgusted by how Conway's sister bullies him and his parents treat him like he doesn't exist.
  • Exact Words: Conway invokes this in chapter 9. He promised Paul that he would not have to watch the Pokemon Contest as the punishment for losing the bet. Instead, Paul and Conway end up competing in it instead.
  • Fainting: Paul faints multiple times in the story, with two of those instances being after the end of a Gym battle.
  • First Friend: Paul and Conway are this to each other. In particular, Paul is the first person Conway has likely ever even invited to his house, considering that Franny is surprised that he's actually a real person and not just Conway's imaginary friend.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Paul goes through the Five Stages after finding out that he's terminally ill, with the Anger and Bargaining stages directly mentioned at the end of Chapter 13.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Surprisingly averted for a Pokemon fanfic; Reggie is struck by lightning while training on Mt. Coronet and it is treated realistically. He survives it, but nearly dies and ends up needing to be hospitalized.
  • Heroic RRoD: After the first battle against Candice in Snowpoint Gym, Paul vomits up blood, faints and almost dies from the combination of his illness and the physical strain of his trek through the most brutal parts of Route 216-217. This incident finally forces him to acknowledge his own illness and general physical limitations.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Brandon and Byron were childhood friends and still remain close into their adulthood. Byron is one of the only people that Brandon feels he can talk to about more personal matters, such as his relationship with his two sons.
  • Hey, You!: Brandon only addresses people by name if they have earned his respect by winning his symbol, even extending to his own sons. Somewhat hypocritically, he insists on being referred to as simply "Brandon" by other people and hates being called "Sir." This changes for Reggie during Brandon's battle against Paul. Reggie was promoted to being addressed by name because he was considered an adult now that he had turned 18 and thus Brandon felt it was ridiculous to still call him "boy."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the second battle against Candice, Paul's Ursaring purposely smashes a big fissure in the ice field, only to trip on it later in the battle, which causes it to be easily knocked out by Abomasnow.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: Paul does this twice in the story, to both Reggie and Conway, and both times only realizes his mistake later on. With Reggie, it occurs in the first chapter, when Paul threatens to disown him if he loses to Brandon, which then starts the chain of events that leads to Reggie getting struck by lightning. With Conway, Paul abandons him after they get attacked by Team Galactic because Paul thinks that Conway is a traitor for "letting" Mars molest him, and stays angry at Conway until Reggie talks to him about it and Paul realizes that he shouldn't have abandoned Conway like that.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When traveling through Route 216, Paul threatens to release Weavile and his other Pokémon for wanting to help him get through a giant wall of snow. He ends up being able to break through the snow wall on his own, but is too tired and frostbitten to notice his surroundings and ends up falling off a cliff, where he would have died frozen and bleeding if his Pokémon hadn't disobeyed his orders and gone to get him help along with Conway's Slowking and Castform.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Reggie, during his Big "NO!" moment.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Brandon compares Paul and Conway to this when he hears them bickering in Chapter 7.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Deconstructed when Paul tries to travel through Route 216 in his usual outfit instead of at least getting a thicker winter coat, and he ends up almost freezing to death.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Conway, whose parents completely ignore him and are oblivious to his presence. Paul tries to point out to them that Conway made dinner for them but they think that Conway's sister Franny was the one who made the meal despite Conway being right there in the room.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Paul tends to do this regarding his own health during the first part of the story, brushing off a severe cold as just "allergies" and is dismissive toward Nurse Joys who try to treat him when they notice things like blood on his clothing and the injuries he receives on the way to Snowpoint City. It never ends well for him. He seems to learn to not be so reckless with his own health and safety later on, after he learns that he's terminally ill.
  • Meat-O-Vision: Mars tries to imagine Conway as a giant pizza before making an attempt to seduce him to convince him to give her a book Team Galactic wants. This is because she made Saturn promise her a pizza party if she brings the book back, and she wouldn't normally be attracted to Conway so she tries to imagine him as something else she wants.
  • Mighty Glacier: Despite his own impatient personality, Paul tends to prefer this type of Pokemon, with his Torterra being a prime example. Paul's preference for more durable Pokemon is one reason why he is extra harsh with Weavile, who is a Fragile Speedster.
  • Mistaken for Undead: when Conway returns to Reggie's house to find shelter after escaping near-death on Route 216, Maylene (who is taking care of things while Reggie is gone) thinks he's a ghost at first because his "death" got reported in the news since he fell out of a helicopter and it was assumed that No One Could Survive That!. Things get cleared up once he reminds her that she can sense people's auras and she realizes his aura is that of a living person.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chapter 17 alternates between more comical scenes of Barry and Conway's interactions and Paul's angst-filled training for the upcoming battle against Ash.
  • Morality Pet: Conway and Reggie both at least try to be this trope for Paul, although Reggie is a lot more successful at it, being his older brother who he actually does care for on some level.
  • Mythology Gag: The reason Mars is so eager for a pizza party is because she and many other Galactic Grunts are tired of the yucky "energy drinks" and food supplied at their hideout. This isn't mentioned in the anime, which the fanfic is otherwise based on, but in the games, when you're at the Galactic Hideout, you can find a refrigerator filled with sinister murky drinks and a sink with foul substances caked on it, possibly implying that the food and drinks Team Galactic has don't taste good.
    • Another reference to something that is in the games but not the anime is that the reason Maylene is using Reggie's backyard for a makeshift gym is because the Veilstone Gym is closed for remodeling, which is a reference to it having a different puzzle in Platinum than in Diamond and Pearl.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: After Conway falls out of Team Galactic's helicopter, he is able to survive and be relatively uninjured because Paul acts as a human cushion, and the story even states that Conway would probably have otherwise died on impact if Paul hadn't been there.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In Chapter 8, Paul jumps to the conclusion that Reggie was having sex with Maylene because Reggie is tired the day after Maylene stayed at their house (while Paul was staying with Conway), and starts a fight with Reggie over it. (This was not helped by the fact that Maylene was the one who explained that Reggie didn't get much sleep that night.) In reality, Reggie was tired because he was having nightmares that were keeping him awake, but Paul doesn't believe this at first.
  • Perspective Flip: From the original anime series in Chapters 11 and 18, which are about the Pokeringer competition and Ash and Paul's Lake Acuity battle. Where the original anime follows Ash's perspective, in this story, it mainly follows Paul's perception of those events.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Paul faints after winning his Mine Badge because he was sick, ignored it and pushed himself too far.
  • Promoted to Parent: Reggie essentially faces this following the death of his and Paul's mother. His father soon leaves for Kanto to be a Frontier Brain, leaving him and Paul alone. Although Brandon does help from afar to support the family, Reggie also has to supplement the income and learn to cook for, care for, and otherwise raise Paul, especially before Paul went off to become a trainer.
  • Red Herring: Paul assumes the reason he's coughing up blood is because of his rib injury from having Conway fall on him. It's actually because he's got an incurable genetic illness.
  • Ridiculously Difficult Route: Paul purposely takes the hardest path on Route 216 and 217 as a Self-Imposed Challenge, and it's stated as being a path that very few people would voluntarily use because of its harsh weather and terrain.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Paul may be a powerful Pokemon battler, but he is very bad at cooking and other household chores such as doing laundry. He states that he got by on his Pokemon journey by eating at restaurants/take out all the time or having Reggie cook for him when they were together. He also dismissed Pokemon Contests as being not worth his time, which comes back to bite him when Conway makes him enter one for losing a bet, and Paul doesn't even know that Coordinators have their names announced (so he thinks that simply wearing a ninja costume will hide his identity from viewers on TV).
  • Secret-Keeper: Paul and Conway each end up having a secret they're hiding after the two of them part ways in Chapter 10, and each of them has at least one Secret Keeper who knows their secret. Candice, Dr. Dalton, and the Nurse Joy from Snowpoint City are the few people who know that Paul is terminally ill, and Maylene is the only person at first who knows that Conway is still alive and didn't die when he fell out of the helicopter (both Paul and Reggie eventually become secret keepers for Conway, too). However, Conway defies this trope with Barry. Soon before they part ways in chapter 20, Conway tells Barry about why he's traveling in disguise, but before they part, he also tells Barry to simply forget they ever knew each other so that he doesn't have to rely on someone as flaky as Barry to be a secret-keeper.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Downplayed with Conway, who doesn't actively hide his family's wealth, but doesn't like to discuss it unless the subject comes up directly, like when Paul first visits Conway's home. This is because he'd rather be liked for himself rather than his monetary worth (his explanation when Paul asks him why he doesn't brag about his wealth to try to attract girls) and also because he dislikes most of his family anyway.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: In-Universe, Paul purposely tackles the hardest path on Route 216, and also chooses a team weak to Ice-types for the Snowpoint Gym.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Conway and Paul, respectively. This is especially shown in their reactions to seeing the Smoochum swarm, when Brandon catches up with them in Reggie's hospital room in chapter 7, and in their encounter with Mars. Paul is also the Manly Man to Reggie's Sensitive Guy, to the point that Reggie is often compared to their mother, who was also a Pokemon breeder when she was alive, and Paul gets compared to Brandon. This ends up being played with when it is revealed that Paul is the one who inherited their mother's terminal illness, and that Reggie is the one who is physically sturdy and strong like Brandon.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The whole Regigigas subplot, in multiple ways. First, after Paul and Conway go to the trouble to find the only book on Regigigas and keep it from Brandon so that they can buy Reggie extra time to train, not only does Brandon get the book from them anyway, but he also lets Reggie off from having a time limit of "You have to battle me when I catch Regigigas" and lets Reggie come to him whenever Reggie is ready, rendering the whole "keep the book from Brandon" mission meaningless. Later, Chapter 16 adapts and follows the Regigigas story from the anime, meaning that Brandon ends up not having any of his Regis anymore, nor does he capture Regigigas like he claimed he would, making the challenge he issued to Reggie in the beginning of the story even more meaningless. The out-of-universe reason for this trope is because the story was started before Brandon's appearance in the Diamond and Pearl anime, and thus the author could not have predicted that the anime would have him attempt to capture Regigigas and fail.
  • Shout-Out: You may recognize Ezekiel, a challenger at Maylene's gym, as a character from the Total Drama series. Also, Conway's sister Franny is based off of a character by the same name from the anime Candy Candy.
    • There is a scene in Chapter 13 where Saturn quotes a line that is from both The Merchant of Venice and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, although the latter is only an implied reference.
    • There are several references in Chapter 20 within various characters' dialogue: Palmer says "Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a Poffin in my eye" as a reference to Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic using a similar saying that ends with "stick a cupcake in my eye". Conway's "HOLY BALONEY, FUDGE, AND MUSTARD!" line is a paraphrased quote from John Cena of the WWE. Barry saying "Sweet crackers!" is a reference to Stormy Waters from Sealab 2021. The part where Reggie startles both Paul and Maylene by suddenly shouting for Maylene to watch out behind her is a loose reference to the technique Marty McFly from Back to the Future uses to escape from bullies. Finally, Conway's "It's not you, it's my low opinion of you" and Barry's "I never forget a face, but I guess I can make an exception" are taken from a Let's Play of Final Fantasy XIII-2 done by "The Posse" and both lines were taken from things medibot said.
  • Shower of Angst: Paul has one in Chapter 20 where he thinks about Conway and feels guilty for having abandoned him.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Paul and Reggie's mother died of an unnamed terminal illness. Paul learns that he has the same mysterious illness because it's genetic. It seems to have periodic coughing up blood, physical frailty and weakened immune system as general symptoms but it is not stated to be any real-life disease. Given that Pokemon has animals that don't exist in real life, the Pokemon world having its own genetic diseases isn't too unusual.
  • Stereotype Flip: Paul and Conway are a Stereotype Flip of the Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense trope. Conway may come from a wealthy family, but because he is a Lonely Rich Kid whose parents are away most of the time, he had to learn how to do things like cooking for himself, as first shown in chapter 8. As for Paul, while he comes from a middle-class background, he Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training and Reggie always does the cooking and other chores for him when he's at home, so he has no idea how to cook or do things like the laundry.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Reggie talks to the spirit of his dead mother in his dreams multiple times, which started after he was struck by lightning and almost died himself.
  • That One Level: In-Universe, Route 216-217 is this for Paul just like it is for many people playing the games, exacerbated by him purposefully taking the hardest route and initially not being dressed for the cold weather.
  • Trauma Button: In chapter 20, Barry referring to Roark as his "cousin" and Byron as his "uncle" is upsetting for Conway because of how he found out that his own beloved cousin "Sloan" is actually Saturn of Team Galactic.
  • Unbroken Vigil: Conway stays up late watching over Paul in the hospital after his first accident on Route 216, wanting to make sure Paul survives.
  • The Vamp: Mars plays this role in chapter 10, and it's implied that this is a recurring role for her in Team Galactic's plots.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Reggie has Paul and his Pokémon help clear the rubble from what's left of Snowpoint Temple to begin training for his battle against Ash at Lake Acuity, Reggie's reasoning being that doing things like lifting rocks helps build up the Pokemons' stamina and strength, and having Paul do it too is supposed to help him be more in tune with them. Of course, Paul does not understand the point of it at first, although the end of the chapter implies he finally understands what Reggie was trying to teach him.
  • Weakness Is Just a State of Mind: Paul wholeheartedly believes in this trope, not only in how he treats his Pokemon, particularly Weavile near the beginning, but himself as well, until he's finally forced to face his limitations and admit them to himself after what happens to him after he loses to Candice the first time.
  • Working Through the Cold: Paul refuses to admit that he's sick and challenges the Canalave Gym anyway, resulting in his Post-Victory Collapse.