But he, whose heart a skogsrĺ steals
it will never recover
His soul will long for moonlight dreams
and no mere mortal lover
-Viktor Rydberg, 'Skogsrĺet'
skogsrĺ or skogsfru/skovfrue (meaning "Lady (read, counterpart of a Lord) of the forest")
If you want a little atmosphere whilst reading this fic, then Loop this ****!
This came to me in a sudden flash of inspiration and it has captured my mind these past two days. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Without further ado...
They say the Old Château is haunted.
Years ago, the man who owned it (a wealthy businessman who used it primarily as a summer retreat) mysteriously died within its walls. His family inherited the place and for a while they kept it, tax reasons they said, eventually they couldn't bare hanging on to the place where the businessman died, so they sold it.
The staff, who had worked hard to maintain the opulent manor, began to quit one at a time after a few months of the new ownership. Sceptics argue that this was merely a reaction to the new owner, who gave them low pay and forced them to work long hours. Everyone else says that something happened in that old house, something so bad the staff couldn't bare working there any more, something that scared them away for good.
Nobody listens to the sceptics.
That's how the story got around, that the Old Château is haunted.
Ghosts, people say.
Gardenia was the new kid in town, so she obviously hadn't heard the story about the Old Château.
“Stop scaring the new kid!” At least one person was standing up for her. Being the new kid was brutal. At this backing from a regular kid though, the group filtered away, their fun taken away like the fat kid does the last brownie.
“Hi, new kid,” the little girl who had stood up for her offered a hand. “I'm Cynthia.”
Gardenia smiled. “Gardenia” she said quietly.
“That's a pretty name, do you like flowers then?”
“I do, I like them a lot. Much better than ghosts anyway.”
Cynthia laughed, “Don't worry about that stupid story, my mum tells me it's just something to attract more tourists, ghosts don't exist.”
Gardenia didn't seem to be placated by this, “What about ghost pokémon?”
“Teacher says that they're only called ghost pokémon because they look like ghosts or can do things that the stories about ghosts say they do, like floating through walls and things. Other than that, they're just regular pokémon.”
Gardenia said oh, and grimaced.
“Want to go play?”
Gardenia looked up, seeing the smiling face of her new, dare she say it, friend.
* * *
It was raining.
Gardenia was outside with no shelter in sight, the hood on her forest green poncho was sodden and she could feel it on the top of her head, there was even a small puddle of water that had run into her matching boots. She suddenly wished she were back in Ilex forest, the trees there were much more compact and usually kept the rain out, instead she was walking through Eterna Forest, with it's wide open clearings and sparsely placed trees.
Her travelling companion had started to run, so she followed, running into a big muddy puddle as she did, splashing dirty water everywhere.
“Watch where you're running, Gardenia, you got some crap in my hair.”
“Well, you will wear it long. It's hardly practical.” Gardenia was right, when she says long she means, long.
“It's not that long, I've seen way longer.”
Gardenia put on a little speed to catch up to her much taller companion, “It's down to your thighs, I'd say that's pretty long.”
“You're just saying that because you have short hair and you're not used to long hair.”
Gardenia rolled her eyes. “Whatever, why are you running anyway, it's not as if we'll get less wet.”
“I've seen a big house, we'll ask if we keep dry for a few hours. I doubt they'll turn us away, a couple of polite, young women.”
The house was massive, two stories with a tall roof. It was T-shaped, with the double front doors at the bottom of the 'T', it certainly looked like it would cost a lot of money. Cynthia walked up to the front step and rapped her knuckles on the hard oak doors.
Knock knock knock
“I don't think anyone's home, all the lights are off.”
“Good eye, detective Gardenia, we'll just have to see if they forgot to lock up.”
Gardenia gasped. “You can't do that, it's illegal!”
“Oops, too late, the door seems to be open. Perhaps we should investigate, detective.” Without waiting for an answer, the girl walked inside and began rummaging in her bag for something.
Gardenia looked around, it was still raining and it didn't look like it was about to stop so begrudgingly, she followed her friend. She lowered the hood on her poncho and ran a hand through her ginger hair to make sure it wasn't sticking up in any embarrassing way.
Cynthia was already opening doors and exploring, a towel wrapped around her neck, her blonde hair having visible signs of being dried. “This place is great, lucky we found it really.”
Gardenia had a towel of her own and was currently running it around her body, trying to get the bulk of the dampness off of her, “Wait a minute,” she said, resting the towel around her neck like Cynthia, “Isn't this the-”
“Aw, look what you did!” Cynthia shouted, “You left a damp patch on the carpet.” Sure enough, Gardenia was standing in her own personal dark circle of wet carpet.
“Sorry, I was looking at the room and I must've dripped. Anyway, as I was about to say, isn't this the Old Château?”
Cynthia stopped and thought, “You know what, it probably is, it fits the bill well enough.” Cynthia took off her long black coat an shook it, trying to dry it.
“Hey, hypocrite! You're making a mess everywhere.” Gardenia shouted, noting the drips of dirty puddle water all over the nearby mirror.
“It's the Old Château, right? Well then, nobody lives here and hasn't done for years, doubt anyone will care if we mess up an abandoned house.”
Gardenia ran a finger across the top of a table nest, “I don't know, Cynthia, how many abandoned-for-years houses do you know that are regularly dusted.” She showed a perfectly dust-free finger to her companion.
Cynthia took a closer look at the main foyer they were currently stood in, wide-eyed. “Oh-kay, you're right, this is really weird. I say we explore.”
“Explore the creepy ghost house?” Gardenia scoffed, “Sure, Cynthia, that's a great idea.”
“You know the place isn't really haunted, we settled that ages ago.”
“Well, I'm starting to re-evaluate my decision after I discovered the fact that the house cleans itself.”
Cynthia smiled nervously, “Calm down, Gardenia, my grandmother always told me that there is truth at the heart of a myth, that with a careful appreciation of the legend, we can find the reality. That's all I want to do, have a little look around, see if I can find a journal or something that explains what really happened here.” She walked over and put an arm around Gardenia, hugging her close. “Shall we go?”
“Fine, but if it is haunted, I get to say 'I told you so' and throw it in your face.”
Cynthia laughed/ “Whatever you want, you can even do a little dance if you feel like it.”
The main foyer was longer than it was wide, with a small section at the front which was probably used for greeting guests, about half way across the foyer, two staircases lay at either side of the room which lead to a first floor landing with doors leading off into the other parts of the house. At the end of the foyer was an open door.
“We should probably start with the ground floor.” Cynthia said, looking at Gardenia, who had grabbed her arm.
Together, they walked through the door at the end of the room, it lead into a room quite the opposite of the one they had just left, not very long, but it was very wide. A massive dinner table lay in the middle of the room and dominated the majority of the space.
“This must be the Dining room,” Cynthia surmised, “Imagine the parties that were held in here.” She stared across the room and at the chandelier that would have gleamed if there were much light in the room. Each place at the table had a high backed, wooden chair and a purple, velvet mat for your meal to rest on. They took a counter-clockwise route around the table, staring at the artwork on the wall and at the elaborate centrepieces and candlestick holders along the dining table.
When they finally made their way three-quarters of the way around the table, they noticed another door, leading off from the dining room. “It's probably the kitchen,” Gardenia guessed.
As they opened the door, they realised that Gardenia was right, rows of ovens and sinks and tabletops devoted to chopping and cutting. The tile floor was glowing white and their shoes left dirty imprints on it's surface. Through another door was a fully stocked pantry, Gardenia had to stop Cynthia from taking any food, “We're already trespassers, I don't want to be a thief as well.”
They stepped out of the kitchen and back into the dining room, as they did, Cynthia found a light switch on the wall, “Hmm, I wonder.” she said aloud, pointing out the switch to Gardenia,
“Try it, I wouldn't mind being able to see a little better.”
Cynthia flipped the switch and thousands of tiny lights in the chandelier flickered to life, flooding the room with light. Gardenia averted her eyes a bit as the glare from the hundreds of well polished pieces of silverware sat at each place on the table hit her.
“Wait a minute,” Gardenia said, looking confused, “I don't remember there being any silverware.”
Cynthia raised her eyebrows, “There must have been, knives and forks don't just appear out of nowhere. Besides it was dark, they wouldn't stand out as much as they do now would they?”
Gardenia didn't want to believe that, but she walked out of the room holding Cynthia's arm a little tighter.
They had left the dining room, but as they were walking, Gardenia noticed a strange statue. “I never saw that before. It's giving me a weird feeling, like it's glaring at me.”
Cynthia laughed. “You and your imagination.”
Gardenia shoved Cynthia slightly, “I'm not imagining things.”
They stood, both staring at a staircase each.
“What do you say, should we split up and look for clues?” Cynthia smirked.
Gardenia didn't seem in any mood to joke around. “I don't think splitting up is a good idea.”
“Look at it this way, Gardenia, the faster we get done searching this place, the faster we leave. It'll take a long time searching room by room together, but if we each take one side, we get it done twice as quick.”
Begrudgingly, Gardenia agreed.
Cynthia unhooked herself from Gardenia's death grip. “I'll take left, you take right.”
They each took a staircase and disappeared behind a door.
Gardenia shut the door and fumbled around for the light switch, when she found it, the room revealed itself to be a library. Rows upon rows of books filled much of the space, she wouldn't have time to search each row and look at the title of each book, but she did keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
She walked down one row, staring at a few titles in passing, she found that they were mostly scientific journals. Not once could she see any titles that she actually recognised, there probably wasn't a work of fiction in the entire place. At the back of the room she saw a desk, there were papers strewn about it haphazardly and oddly a small lamp still was still lit, flooding the desk with light.
Gardenia approached slowly and saw that on top of the papers was a notebook, she picked it up and noticed something scrawled on the first page, "Som...hing so pecu...r shou... make off ...ith the mot..." she flicked through the rest of the pages but they were blank. She pocketed the notebook, intending to show it to Cynthia when they met up.
She left the library, Gardenia saw no more reason to stay, the next door was on the back wall, there was one on the other side of the room and it was every chance that Cynthia had already checked her room and was making her way through the rest of the rooms. Gardenia pushed open the door and found herself on a long corridor, judging by what she had seen of the house already, she figured that she would be in the living area.
Gardenia looked right and saw the shadow of someone enter the very last door, 'oh, that'll be Cynthia.' she thought, rushing down the corridor. She looked at the painting as she walked, the way the eyes followed her was pretty creepy, in fact almost everything about this house was creepy. She reached the final door and pushed it open, Cynthia was stood in the middle of the almost empty room, facing towards the back wall, she must have been looking at the artwork.
“Hello, Cynthia, I found a notebook, it's nothing spectacular but it's better than nothing right?”
Cynthia span around, her blonde tresses flowing behind her, the long black coat she always wore was swishing around her calves as if caught in a stiff wind. “Finally made it have you?”
Gardenia laughed nervously. “What do you mean, I wasn't that long, was I?”
Cynthia laughed mirthlessly, it was high and cold, like smashing glass. “You were always slow to catch on.” Cynthia stepped forwards and brought a hand up to Gardenia's face, stroking a thumb across her cheek. “I've always admired you, perhaps more than I'd like to admit.”
Gardenia could feel Cynthia's hand against her face, but it was cold, 'she must still be cold from the rain.' Gardenia however was flushing, blood and heat rushing to her cheeks. “Um,” was all she managed to say.
Cynthia smiled, but her eyes betrayed no emotion. “Don't say anything, you'll ruin the moment.” she brought her other hand up to Gardenia's cheek and held her there as Cynthia lowered her head to Gardenia's.
Gardenia tried to back away but Cynthia had her in a vice, before she knew it, Cynthia's cold lips were pressed against her unwilling ones. Gardenia found a new well of strength and pulled herself backwards, falling over as she did. Gardenia stared wide-eyed as Cynthia regarded her with that same casual grin and those same stormy eyes. She got to her feet and launched herself out of the room, almost screaming as she ran into... Cynthia?
“How are you there! You were just there!” Gardenia was pointing first at Cynthia, then over her shoulder at the door she just emerged from.
“Cool it, Gardenia, I was just about to check this one, it's the last on the row and I've found nothing but a busted television.”
Gardenia paled, “Then what was...” she didn't have time to process the end of that sentence, she had already passed out.
She awoke minutes later, lay on a sofa in the main foyer.
Cynthia was stood over her, using the notebook Gardenia had found as a makeshift fan. “Back in the world of the living are we?”
Gardenia sat up straight staring wildly at Cynthia, she stood on shaky legs and wobbled over to a potted plant, which she promptly threw up in.
“You okay?” Cynthia asked, sounding nervous.
Gardenia wiped her mouth on the back of her sleeve and made a retching sound, but gladly didn't throw up again. “I have the feeling that I'll be better the further away from this place we get.”
Cynthia put her arm around Gardenia's shoulders. “You're the boss, detective, I think we've got everything we could hope for anyway.”
Together, Gardenia and Cynthia left the Old Château, but before they even had a chance to shut the door, a brisk wind blew through the house and did it for them.
* * *
Many Years Later
Gardenia lay down on her bed, it had been a long day.
Some days, being a gym leader was a gratifying job, you had the peoples respect and you got to have intense battles on a daily basis. Other days it wasn't so great, people think it's your responsibility to solve every little problem and the list of challengers gets so long that you spend most of your day stood in that little trainer box with the dry heat pressing down on you.
Today was one of the latter days.
She had spent almost nine hours battling today, a few newbie trainers, a few advanced trainers, but most were intermediates. Her pokémon were exhausted, but does anyone care? No. There's only so much delegating to gym trainers you can do.
Then the phone rang. The machine picked it up.
“It's Lily, pick up.”
Gardenia didn't even bother moving.
“I know you're there, I saw you go to your room.”
Begrudgingly, Gardenia rolled over and grabbed the phone with the most convenient hand.
“What?” she growled.
“Sergeant Forrester has asked for your assistance in an urgent matter.”
Her eyes may have been closed, but she rolled them under the eyelids.
“Tell him to solve his own crimes.”
“He said he wouldn't ask if it wasn't a serious matter. The Police Department require your expertise in a sensitive matter.”
Gardenia sighed violently. “Tell him I'll get down to the station as soon as I can.”
Gardenia had taken the gym leader position after an appeal by the Eterna City Council. Their last gym leader had quit suddenly and without warning, they didn't have time to carefully pick and choose the next suitable candidate, so a snap decision was made. Choose a successful trainer, one who called Eterna City their home and ask them if they would watch the gym temporarily whilst a new permanent leader was found.
Gardenia was that trainer.
She turned out to be such a rousing success in both her position and with the people, that the Council elected that she stay on permanently, an offer she couldn't refuse. There was after all, no more prestigious career path for a trainer than to be elected Gym Leader, except maybe the Elite Four and its Champion.
Her old friend, off gallivanting around Sinnoh, defending her title and doing her duties. She visits from time to time, when her business takes her through Eterna, which isn't very often. This sleepy little suburb doesn't attract much attention from the Sinnoh Elite Council.
It had been a full year since she had taken up the post and the life was beginning to wear her down. The pay was excellent and she didn't even have to buy her own house, it came free with the Gym. Never before had she had so much money, but she had no idea what to do with it.
She kept her pokémon well fed and well trained, she made sure her gym trainers got paid for helping out with the challengers and any other problems she might be having. She spent almost every day fending off wave after wave of challengers angling for a Forest Badge. Some would call this life ideal, but Gardenia never liked the idea of monotony. The four months out of the year when the League was off-season were great, it gave her a chance to pursue a hobby or study Eterna Forest, something she had been trying to do in her spare time between battles, but there just weren't enough hours in the day.
She had time to reflect on these things as she dragged herself out of the gym and down the street where the Police Station was. It was a fairly large, but unremarkable building.
At the front desk, a young officer pointed her to a door, which she entered, passing through a long corridor. She looked through a window into one of the meeting rooms, the Sergeant was there along with a multitude of other people. Gardenia entered and, at a nod from the Sergeant, sat down in a free chair.
Sergeant Forrester stood up holding a pointer to a whiteboard affixed to the wall. “Now that Gardenia is here, we can continue with the briefing.” He turned his bearded head to her and began speaking directly to her. “A child has recently gone missing in Eterna Forest, we called you here because we know you have a familiarity with the area that most of us do not, we believe that with your knowledge and your ability, you would be an invaluable tool in the search.”
The gathered uniforms murmured agreement.
“According to the boys mother, he was last seen leaving the house to go and meet with a friend, after a few hours of no contact, the mother called the friends house to discover that her son had never arrived. Local Fishermen have come forward saying that they have seen a boy fitting his description wondering into the forest a few hours earlier. Accounts say that the boy looked 'dazed and confused' and that he 'rebuffed all offers of assistance.'”
The Sergeant stared directly at Gardenia again, “I don't think I need to tell you how serious this matter is, the first few hours are crucial in cases like this and I'd like to have this dealt with by tea time.”
Gardenia cleared her throat. “Have you checked anywhere in the forest yet?”
“We've spent the majority of our time up to this point figuring out what the boy was doing before he went missing, when we discovered he went into the forest, we called you.”
“Okay, what's your plan of action?”
“We hoped that you would have a better idea of how to search the forest.”
Gardenia thought for a few seconds. “Give me a few minutes, I need to check something.”
Gardenia stood and left the room, pulling a mobile phone out of the pocket in her orange cargo pants. She pressed a few buttons and hit the first number on her speed-dial.
Gardenia smiled at her voice, she hadn't heard it in a while. “Cynthia, I need your advice on a serious matter.”
“Okay sure, I've got time, ask away.”
Gardenia heard a small explosion on the other end of the phone. “Are you battling?”
“No one I need to concentrate against, my garchomp could probably do this himself. What do you help with?”
Gardenia explained the situation as best as she could. “I've been thinking about it and I've noticed similar reactions when an exeggutor went a little overboard with it's hypnosis attack, I know those kinds of things can really affect the human mind. I know what lives in that forest and very little is possible of doing this kind of damage, I fear that something new is doing this.”
There was a brief silence on Cynthia's end. “Sorry, I was just telling my opponent to try again next time. Yes, you're right, what you've described does seem like a reaction to a hypnosis attack, I believe the pokémon you're talking about, misdreavus, gastly and their evolved forms, all have the ability to use hypnosis attacks but I can't see why they'd lure the child into the forest.”
Gardenia frowned. “You've reached the same place as me then, but I don't know what to do, they expect me to lead them and find the boy without any problems.”
“You know where he is and I know that you know where he is, you just don't want to face it. I understand what you went through, but this is the safety of a child on the line, you have to suck it up and get over your fears.”
“You're right, as always.”
“Oh, whilst we're talking, you wouldn't mind showing me around town soon will you? I'll be passing through and I want to research the strange statues in the town square, something related to a little problem I have at the moment.”
“Yeah sure, I'm always happy to help.” Gardenia pressed the end call button and sagged against the wall. She took a deep breath before walking back into the room.
“Don't bother searching the entire forest, I know where the boy will have gone, the Old Château. It's the only place in the forest where ghost pokémon live and they are the only ones in there that can use hypnosis attacks, the most likely cause of the boy's 'dazed and confused' behaviour.”
The Sergeant's beard twitched. “And what evidence do you have for this hypnosis theory of yours?”
Gardenia pressed her forefinger and thumb to her temples. “Only that the Sinnoh Champion agrees with my theory.”
“Upon whose authority have you been allowed to share sensitive information about an on-going investigation?”
“As you well know, Sergeant, The Sinnoh Champion and the Elite Four act as field operatives in the service of the Sinnoh Elite Council and are therefore privy to any information regarding on-going investigations.”
“And we're to believe that you have the phone number of the most pre-eminent practitioner of pokémon battling the Sinnoh region has seen in years?”
Gardenia threw her phone to the Sargent. “Check my call logs, ring her up if you want, now do you want to find this boy or not, because I know where he is.”
The Sergeant fell silent, another officer in the group stood up and saluted. “We have a Mobile Command Centre set up on the outskirts of the forest ma'am, we have a senior officer on scene, he'll be able to mobilise the groups from there.”
The officer sat down when he saw the glance Sergeant Forrester was giving him. “Alright, move out, let's do our job.” the Sergeant said finally.
Gardenia stood several metres away from the Old Château entrance, something about the building repulsed her.
“I told you so.”
She said it out loud and was vaguely aware of the uniforms passing her on either side, but she didn't care. Gardenia knew now what had happened that day, and she had no desire to repeat the experience. She'd told them where the boy was, she'd shown them her logic, Cynthia's logic, they didn't need her any more.
Gardenia turned to leave when she heard someone calling her name, a shrill hiss that nobody else seemed to be reacting to.
“Gardenia, follow me.”
She span around and her eyes fell upon someone who really didn't belong in the męlée of uniformed officers and investigators. A young woman, wearing a leafy green dress that fell just below her knees, her long brunette hair was tied back into a ponytail, she was also barefoot, but she didn't seem to mind.
“What are you doing here?” Gardenia whispered.
The woman smiled. “I'm here because you're here.”
“What I meant to say is, you can't be here!”
Her smile never faltered. “I am here.”
Gardenia groaned and looked around, nobody seemed to care that a young woman had just appeared out of nowhere in a restricted area. “Do you know what's happening here?”
The woman laughed. “Of course I do, it's because of me this is all happening.”
“What!? You have to tell somebody!” Gardenia shouted.
“I'm telling you.”
“Somebody who can do something about it!”
“You can do something about it, just follow me.” The woman turned and ran, moving faster than someone without shoes should be able to in the forest.
Gardenia sighed and gave chase, she couldn't say no to a lead like this and the further away from the Château they got, the better she felt.
The woman was darting through the trees with ease and every now and then she would look back over her shoulder and flash a smile at Gardenia. At one point, all Gardenia could see was the tip of the woman's ponytail flying behind her.
When she had finally stopped, Gardenia leaned up against a tree, trying to get her breath back.
“Isn't it wonderful?” The woman was spinning around, arms in the air, apparently she hadn't even broken a sweat.
Gardenia looked up, still trying to catch her breath, but what she saw took her breath away. She was stood in a small clearing, the ring of trees around them was dense and ivy crept up the the trunks of each one of them. To Gardenia's left was a small pool of water bordered by grey rocks, it looked big enough to sit in, around the edge were various water plants and flowers that filled the air with the most beautiful fragrances.
The woman was watching Gardenia's expression with earnest, “So what do you think?”
Gardenia was still looking at the miniature paradise. “I've spent a massive portion of my life exploring this forest and I've never seen anything that even comes close to how lovely this is.”
The woman cheered. “It makes me so glad to hear you say that.”
“Who are you?”
The woman stopped smiling and suddenly became very serious, her tone icy and cold. “You were always slow to catch on.”
Gardenia's memory ran into overdrive, a light bulb flashed on in her head somewhere.
“Finally made it have you?”
“Y-You're from the Château!” Gardenia stumbled backwards, hitting a tree trunk.
The woman laughed and took a step closer. “Not originally, but yes, I was there that night. You were all alone and I couldn't help myself, you have such a beautiful spirit.” She inhaled deeply and took another step, “Your presence is so intoxicating, your earthy smell and the delicate fragrances. Your spirit is so natural, you are exactly what I've been looking for these long years.”
Gardenia blinked, she tried to slip away into the forest but the clearing had become a solid ring of oak. “Who are you?” she repeated.
The woman was right up close to her now, she rested her arms either side of Gardenia's head, “You know who I am. You've wanted to meet me all your life and I've wanted to meet you for all of your life as well, but for a long time, you were too young. Then you stepped foot in my domain, took your tentative steps into my Château and I couldn't control it, I had to make you trust me, I became your friend and said the things I'd wanted to say for so long.”
Gardenia squirmed, but to no avail, she was locked in place.
“Back then, you were on the cusp of becoming a woman, I took a sip from the cup but knew I couldn't drink too much.”
“Who are you?” she said more forcefully this time.
The woman smiled a dazzling smile. “Why, my little flower, I am Celebi.”
Gardenia's eyes were the size of dinner plates, it seemed mad but it was beginning to make sense, when she looked into the eyes of the woman, one was a light green, the other was a bright pink. “Celebi as in the Lord of Forests? As in Celebi the time-traveller?”
“Yes, the two aspects of my being,” she smiled, her green eye glowing slightly, “I'm glad you put them in that order though.” Celebi leaned in, but Gardenia wasn't done asking questions.
“This doesn't make any sense, what would you want from me?”
“I thought it was crazy when I first felt it as well, I don't think there has ever been a mortal like you, at least none that have ever come under my purview. Over the years and watching you mature, I've come to love you like I do my forests and now that I have you, I don't ever want to let you go, I want you to stay by my side for eternity.”
“I-I can't, I have a life, I have commitments. I can't leave all of that behind.”
Celebi laughed, it sounded like wind chimes on a summers day. “Trivial human matters, your kind are so good at clearing those up. Besides, you don't have to decide right now, I'd like to show you what it could be like... with me.”
This time when she lowered her head, Gardenia didn't try to stop her, Celebi's lips were warm and soft and tasted like nectar. The taste was intoxicating and as the kiss went on, Gardenia felt her resistance melting, she brought a hand up to Celebi's shoulder and stroked it, her skin felt as delicate as a flowers petal and just as velvety.
Celebi didn't want to stop, the plant life around the pair went crazy, growing around them and carrying them to a lying position on the floor, the grass was softer than any mattress Gardenia had ever slept on. Celebi relented, her arms still either side of Gardenia's head, “So how do like Nature's bed?”
Gardenia stared into the mismatched eyes of the young woman above her and felt a warm, complete feeling in the pit of her stomach, “It's perfect.”
Celebi lowered her head, bringing it to Gardenia's ear and whispered, "Hold on tight, it's time you became one with nature.”