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  1. #26
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    ...

    I. FREAKING. LOVE. N.

    ...Whew. Well, now that I've gotten that out of the way...

    This chapter just further made me certain that I absolutely love expansion on game characters. I knew I was going to love the way N was written here from the moment the Coffee Break started. Even Ghetsis was awesome. And totally in-character. Wait...a megalomaniac bantering during a coffee break felt in-character. How is this possible? xD This fic...just...this fic.

    The interactions with the Pokemon at the beginning were cute. I was especially intrigued with Zoroark, and glad to see how you set up his eventual return (being on N's E4 team and all that.)

    I really like the methodical quality to N's thoughts. What was even better was that usually characters who have that ultra-logical outlook tend to be cold and emotionless, so getting that quality alongside N's general warmth and compassion helped to make him instantly endearing. In general, my favorite part about this fic is the characters. And the fact that most of the humor doesn't go outright in your face trying to be funny.

    For some reason, I really liked the fact that he had to go buy a hat. It's one of those things that you wouldn't normally think about when expanding on what happened to a character before they met the player's character.

    Can't wait to see more~!

    ~Chibi~
    Last edited by Chibi Pika; 11th August 2011 at 2:03 PM.


    Ever wondered what would happen if humans had the power to overthrow the Legendaries? To either use them for their own ends, or eliminate them altogether? One thing is for certain...the balance between human and Legendary is unstable.

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    8/30/12: CHAPTER 7: “Into the Fire” POSTED!!!
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  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son_of_Shadows View Post
    I really like the portrayal of N so far. Genuine, kind, and perhaps a touch naive, due to how sheltered he's always been. I'm sort of getting an Asperger's type vibe from him, though perhaps that's just me having it myself. But he's an interesting character so far, can't wait to see how he's developed. And if you're going for "Priscilla" for the Purrloin, you're missing the s.
    As an Aspie myself, I have to agree, though I didn't think of it that way until I read your post. He does seem drastrically different from any character introduced so far and actually seems to behave like a 'captured' Pokemon in some cases. He does what Ghetesis says no matter what it is, including going against his belief of captured Pokemon by capturing them himself, but N's flawed logic Ysavvryl gave was good.

    I really liked the Coffee Break this chapter, especially the last few lines with Ghetesis, and loved the way you intersected the two seperate stories by repeating the last line in chapters 2 and 3. The explaination for the hat was realistic and so was the reasoning for Purllion joining N. I wonder how you're going to go about having other Pokemon join him. (especially that one-eyed Psychic/Flying type he has when you fight him on the ferriswheel. Can't remember it's name...)
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  3. #28
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    N drinks green tea, eh? is that why he has green hair?

    To be honest, I wasn't expecting a veiwpoint shift. I take it that we'll be seeing these before every N fight?

    Serenade, I would agree with the Aspie's statement. I can quite fully relate to it.
    Last edited by scizorstrike; 11th August 2011 at 4:05 PM.
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  4. #29
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    Another new chapter? This is what I get for going on vacation. I loved the Coffee Break, and I certainly hope there will be more with N and Ghetsis in the future. I also love your depiction of N, which is the most believable and deepest that I've ever read. I like Pricilla and Zoroark both, and I'm eager to see what the deal is with Val and Carol, who are weirding me out at the moment. And after reading Fedora's first line, I get the feeling he's gonna be a nutso of the first degree...

    And I also completely agree with the others' evaluation of N.
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  5. #30
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    Glad you're all liking this. I didn't intentionally design N's character as having Aspergers. I was just considering what he says and does to figure out his motives, then also considering things from Ghetsis' point of view. Those two characters do have to be fleshed out together, I find, due to their relationship. I even decided which dragon to have N go after based on Ghetsis, not N. But if he shows that, I might look into that angle to see what I'd want to do with it.

    The humor level of this is rather influenced by Terry Pratchett's writing. I love it when a story makes the reader laugh and think at the same time, so I do what I can to find that happy medium.

    The Psychic/Flying is Sigilyph, and I have some ideas for it. And yes, Fedora is a nutso. He swears like a sailor, which is why I named him Fedora and not Perry. Perry probably wouldn't swear even if he spoke. But Fedora is a different kind of nuts than Picasso from my previous Pokemon fic.

    Viewpoint shifts will be common; the next chapter has two POV characters in the same passage, Hilda and N. A few Pokemon characters get POV sections too. Off the top of my head, I know Fedora's already had one, and Pricilla gets at least one. And then there's the third protagonist, but he doesn't come into this fully for a little while yet.

    *needs to go write Chapter 7 so she can post Chapter 4*
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 15th August 2011 at 4:14 AM.
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  6. #31
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    Coffee Break

    "Are they psychoanalyzing me?" N asked, looking over the reviews.

    "It's a fan thing, to speculate on stuff," Hilda said. "I've speculated that R2-D2 was accidentally programmed with the ultimate secret of the universe, and that's why he can do anything he wants even though he's a specially designed robot."

    "It's all making me feel uncomfortable," he said, seeming like he was ready to leave this fourth-wall knowledge space and get back to the story. "Either that or it's having to do this one with just you."

    She grinned. "That's how things roll around here. Although it's funny that you gave your first Pokemon a misspelled name."

    "Pricilla's name is not misspelled," N insisted. "That's exactly what I was going for. I think that you were being uncreative when naming your Snivy."

    "But fedoras are cool. Oh hey!" She leaned over and pulled up a piece of paper from a folder there. "Do you want to talk about that comment on fanfiction dot net about Ghetsis and...?"

    "No!" N said, quickly cutting her off from that line of thought. "This is the commentary for Serebii and I'm glad we don't have to do this for that place. We are not talking about that."

    "What's wrong with dresses?" Hilda asked, faking innocence.

    N groaned and buried his face in his hands.


    Chapter 4: Hats


    late morning, 11/11

    Hilda got up, letting go of Fedora for the moment. The guy approaching them was tall and lanky, wearing what most teenaged guys would wear. Except maybe the Rubik’s Cube on a belt clip and the black baseball cap, those were a little distinctive. And he was obviously another Trainer, with a travel bag at his side and a single Pokeball attached to a team holder.

    N gave the Snivy’s Trainer a quick glance over. She was wearing a red and white sleeveless shirt with a Pokeball trim around the hemlines, along with knee length shorts. At her side, there was a pink travel bag and two Pokeballs. He also noted her white and pink baseball cap with the Bisharp patch, feeling justified in having gotten this hat as something that could blend in.

    Along with her, there was the guy just behind her. He had a white angular mask over his eyes and nose, cunningly made so that his pale blue hair seemed to flow right from the accessory. He also wore black clothing with ragged edges, something he would expect to see on the Shadow Triad, except that this guy was obviously not a member. Perhaps even they could blend in.

    “What the **** are you talking about, stickman?” the Snivy asked, flicking his tail in annoyance.

    “Did you mean what I said, or what Fedora here said?” the girl asked, puzzled.

    “Oh, you don’t understand them either? How very sad.” He was speaking quickly, barely keeping his words from blurring together. He then looked down at Fedora. “I mean you, Snivy. I heard you shouting from all the way over there, but I never expected to hear a Pokémon say anything like that.”

    Fedora pushed his hat back, then began speaking in a trill that Hilda couldn’t understand. But N could. “What, is this about the swearing again? Dammit, I’ll say what I want however the **** I want to say it.”

    “No, about your Trainer,” N said. “Although your swearing is rude.”

    Waving his paw in a dismissive manner, he said, “Whatever. Look, it was about that Ghetsis guy and she was saying that while his cape was amazing, and I’ll agree with that, he wasn’t wearing no hat, and that keeps him from being awesome like us hat wearers. But Hilda knows how awesome a hat really is!” He clapped his paws, truly pleased. “She let me keep my hat of absolute ******** coolness and I love her for it. It makes me glad that I decided to go along with her.”

    To N, this did not fit his idea of how things worked, how people related. Fedora shouldn’t be happy to be wearing the hat, or being with this Trainer… or cussing so much. He knew some of the Pokémon in the forest who would cuss in their own ways, but only rarely. Unless the girl was brainwashing him somehow.

    Yes, that had to be it. That could be the only way he was acting like this. “So this is all about hats, is it?”

    “The hat makes the man,” Fedora said with pride, although his fedora then slid over his eyes.

    Hilda then laughed. “Hats? Hah, I knew my Pokémon was a hat-lover too. And you must be too, because you have the awesome Patch Hat!”

    “The hat?” N touched the brim of his. “I just got it today because I wanted a hat; I didn’t really think it was anything special.”

    She grabbed at his arm, but he stepped out of reach quickly. “Hey, slow down there, boy! There’s no need to talk at a million miles an hour.”

    Oh, that again. N sighed. “It’s because I understand Pokémon, Hilda. They speak much more economically than humans, so I have to speak fast to keep up with their conversations. It’s hard to slow down from that. Oh, and the Snivy there told me your name.”

    “And I’m Fedora,” the Snivy said, finally managing to tilt his hat back. “I’m darn proud of my name, *****, and you’d better remember to use it next time.”

    “You ought to teach him better manners,” N added.

    “Hey, I just caught him a few hours ago. If he has a potty mouth, I can’t know it and it wasn’t influenced by me. Anywho, about your hat: did it come with an extra patch?”

    “Hmm, oh yes, it did.” He opened up his bag and soon found it. “Why?”

    Hilda grinned and clapped her hands together. “Yes, that’s awesome! You have a really rare Patch Hat, you know. They released the Reshiram and Zekrom patch a month ago, but in limited numbers and although I kept checking, I could never find it. And you found a starting cap with two! Hey, do you want to trade for another patch? I’ve got a big collection and I really want that one.” She brought out a DSD from her bag and recalled a large green folder from it.

    “This is a collection piece?” N asked. It seemed strange.

    “Oh yes, since the patches are interchangeable, you can have one basic cap, and change it every day with a different patch. I could give you one of my duplicate rares for that one.” She flipped the folder open and went through plastic pockets, all filled with hat patches. “Like the special holographic Rayquaza.”

    He peered over, interested. “Do you have one of just Zekrom?”

    “Yeah, but those are pretty common; you can probably find one if you go right back into the store. I do have the dueling Haxorus patch.” Hilda decided to flip through until he saw something. “And so who are you?”

    “My name is N,” he said. “Is there a Zoroark?”

    Smiling because he’d hit on a nice one (although nowhere near as rare as the Reshiram and Zekrom), she flipped a few pages quickly. “Oh yeah, I do have a rare version of that one I’m willing to let go! Here, this is the one with the badass pose.” She pulled out a duplicate of the alternate Zoroark patch. “So will you trade with me, N?”

    The patch in question was neat, N had to admit. It reminded him of his friend back in the forest. So he nodded and handed over the extra one of his. “Sure.”

    “Excellent, thank you so much!” Hilda said, taking that one and handing him hers. She went to the back to find an empty slot to slip it into, then put the folder back in storage. “If you get into the Patch Hats, there’s a really awesome fan club online where you can get special offers and learn about limited editions. If not, it’s still fun to have around.”

    N looked at her, knowing that he had wanted to berate her for putting her Snivy in that oversized hat. But then, he seemed to like it. Trying to find a way to bring it up again, he asked, “So were you listening to that speech? It has some ideas that I think you should really consider.”

    “I was more mesmerized by his cape than anything,” Hilda said, briefly getting a glazed look in her eyes. That puzzled N, even more so when it broke and she laughed. “Hah, I was listening, but I think he’s trying to confuse people. I don’t know what he means to do, but he’s certainly got something up his sleeve. Or cape, something.”

    By that point, the other guy had managed to slip over close to N. He looked up to the young man with intense blue eyes. “You smell interesting.”

    N looked confused again. Hilda sighed. “Kyurem, don’t eat him. We don’t want trouble this soon after starting.”

    “Fine.” Kyurem stayed there, still staring at N. “But who are you really?”

    N looked at this strange boy. He was named Kyurem, after the legendary dragon? While it was strange, maybe people did respect the legendaries like that. Or disrespect, really. “I already told you, I’m N.”

    “That is an odd name,” Hilda said. She wondered what kind of parents he had that would force him to live with that. “Oh, but you know what happens when two Trainers meet?”

    He was puzzled. Was this a test? “I’m not really sure. This is my first day starting out.”

    “Mine too!” She giggled. “Well sort of. No, we battle!”

    Taking Pricilla’s Pokeball in hand, he prepared himself. Okay, this was what he would be doing from here on out… as much as he hated the idea of forcing Pokémon to battle. The Sages said that people wouldn’t listen to a ‘nobody’, so he had to prove himself in this barbaric manner. “Right, that is what Trainers do. All right, I’d like to hear our Pokémon in battle. Pricilla, come back out.” He released the Purrloin.

    “Figures,” Pricilla said, but she didn’t seem disappointed.

    Fedora jumped up. “Finally, you guys were talking way too much. I want in on this.”

    Kyurem raised his eyebrows to this, but then walked out of the way of the battle. Noticing that, Hilda snapped her fingers. “Okay, Fedora, you’re up.” Kyurem was still at a much lower level, and she didn’t want to overpower this N guy too much if it was his first Pokémon battle, which it seemed to be. “And let’s go! Use Leer.”

    Touching his hat, the Snivy smirked. “Don’t hate me because I’m cooler than you.”

    “Pricilla, show me what you can do,” N said.

    She was hissing at Fedora. “Why you!” She dashed over and scratched him with her claws, knocking his fedora off in the process.

    “Hang on, Fedora,” Hilda said, “Leer and then attack.”

    He had really wanted to attack that dumb cat for knocking his hat off, but he took the orders in trust that she must have known what she was asking for. “Hmph, you’re just jealous that you’re not naturally suave.”

    The Purrloin scratched him again. “You seem to be the one getting beat up, though.” But right as she finished speaking, Fedora tackled her hard enough to force her onto the ground. She got back up and pounced on him, causing them to wrestle.

    Look at the status screen of the ball, N said, “Can you try Assist?”

    “I would advise against that,” Kyurem said. “It only works if you have another Pokémon on your team.”

    “Yeah, he’d know what he’s talking about,” Hilda said, then snapped to her Pokémon. “Get outta that and tackle again.”

    The Snivy threw the Purrloin off him. “Gotcha.” Then he rushed at her and tackled, this time knocking her out. As she vanished, he grabbed his hat and put it on with a flourish. “And that’s how it gets done, *****.”

    N was caught in a state of shock. His first battle as a Trainer and he’d lost? But, he was supposed to be the one who understood Pokémon, not the others who could not hear the words. “So there’s more I need to learn,” he said, clasping the ball. “But there’s more you need to learn too. If you don’t find a way to understand your Pokémon, you’re going to end up hurting them.” Then he left for the Pokecenter.

    After watching him go, Hilda looked to Kyurem. “See, that’s a reason you could help me by translating.”

    “Sorry, mistress,” he said in a polite tone. “But you should find ways to do that yourself.”

    “Hmph. Well, we’d better get a move on to Striaton so that we can train near a center that’s going to stay open. And I ought to use you on the way. Do you need to go back to Pokémon form for that?”

    He nodded. “Yes, but I’ll transform when needed.”

    With that settled, Hilda headed on to the exit of Accumula.

    -+-

    Why did that Snivy like something that made it look ridiculous? Why would he love someone who couldn’t understand him? And why couldn’t letting a Pokémon do what it would do naturally work in a battle? With his head a blur of questions, N entered the Pokecenter.

    He looked around at the wrecked state of the inside. Everything all torn up inside, the vandalism outside… this was a place of healing, so what had caused such destruction? To the side, he could see one of the Gym Leaders, Burgh, helping some clerks pack up boxes for digital storage. The nurse was still in back, doing something with the computers. “What happened in here?” he asked as he approached the nurse’s desk.

    She turned around. “Oh, hello. I’m sorry about the state our building is in; we’ve had a bit of a riot in here thanks to those Team Plasma folks. Do you want me to heal your Pokémon? I can still get that done.”

    “Yes please.” But, Plasma had been responsible for this? He thought that they weren’t supposed to be using force. He handed over Pricilla’s ball and tried to think of what questions wouldn’t give him away. “Why would anyone wreck a Pokecenter?”

    “Someone must know, but I really don’t,” she replied, placing the Pokeball inside a machine and setting it to run. “At any rate, we’re leaving Accumula, possibly for good. A lot of people around here like Plasma, so it’s been really tense for any Trainers that happen to come through, and for us working here. If they’ll do this, they could escalate to more dangerous demonstrations, so the League is moving us out until repairs and apologies are made.”

    Although he wanted to argue that Plasma wouldn’t, he was supposed to be incognito now. He thanked her for healing the Purrloin, then headed out the west exit of Accumula. Since the crowd was gone, he released Pricilla and let her walk alongside him. This issue of the ruined Pokecenter remained on his mind. In a way, it was preferable to thinking about Hilda and her Pokémon. There had to be some trickery going on with her.

    “Oh, N! There you are.”

    Startled out of his thoughts, N looked up to see Val and Carol coming up to him. They both seemed worried. “We hadn’t seen you for a while,” the latter said, shifting her pink hair back.

    “I had to go into Accumula to heal the Pokémon I got,” he told them. “But it’s a wreck; we ought to move up towards Striaton to continue. There’s also something about it that I need to talk with you about,” he lowered his voice at the last sentence, as there were several people, including an attendant, who were hanging out in the tunnel.

    “The Pokecenter is a wreck?” Val asked as they went onto Route 2. “What happened to it?”

    “Apparently, the vandals were connected to Team Plasma,” he said. “And we weren’t supposed to be acknowledged by the public until the rally for this morning got put on the internet and broadcast. I definitely know that we’re supposed to be a non-violent revolution except as a last resort. They’re even going to close up the Accumula center until an apology is issued, and that’s going to be bad publicity for us. I want to find out who’s responsible for this. If it’s not our group, then we ought to turn the real culprits over to the police in order to clear our name. If it is someone in our group, they need to be reminded of patience and non-violence. If we just go around forcing everyone to do things with violence, then we will be fought against. Non-violence will force them to struggle with their weak arguments of friendship and tradition.”

    For a moment, the two of them were quiet. N turned back to them and saw that they were puzzled. “You want us to find out what happened to the Pokecenter? You saw it yourself,” Val finally said.

    It took a moment, but N remembered that humans typically talked slower than he did. And it always seemed like they listened slower too. If he was going to be a great leader, he needed to find some way to force himself to slow down when talking to them. He gave it a try, but it felt unnatural. “No, get in contact with the other members of Plasma and have them find out who is responsible for the trashing of the Accumula Pokecenter. If it’s not members of Plasma, they should be turned in to the police so that we aren’t blamed for the violence. If it is a member or a group from Plasma, then they need to be reminded that we aren’t using violence just yet, or ever if things work out right.”

    “Oh I see, that’s a great idea,” Val said, nodding. “We’ll pass the word along, right Carol?”

    “Right,” she said, calm as usual. “Some newer members may be too enthusiastic.”

    “But we should stick together. What did you catch, N?”

    He looked around, realizing that his Pokémon friend wasn’t obviously around. “Ah, a Purrloin. She was right with me. Pricilla, where are you?”

    To his call, she emerged from behind a bush. Although she came to him, she gave the two girls a wide berth. “Sorry… gack… but those two humans reek! That is worse than the smell of Repel, ugh. I don’t like them. Do we have to travel with them?”

    “She doesn’t like your perfume either,” N told them. “Apparently you smell worse than Repel to Pokémon. So really, you shouldn’t be wearing it because you’re not going to be able to catch anything with it hanging to you.”

    “Does it?” Val frowned. “That could be why we’ve had trouble.”

    And if it was going to make his Pokémon friend (and himself) uncomfortable, that was another reason for them to travel separately. “Listen, I know you mean well, but I’ll be fine on my own. I don’t want to make my friends unhappy, so we’ll be going ahead. It’s not much use training around here if the Pokecenter is closed.” He walked faster to get by them.

    “But N, we’re supposed to help you,” Val said, in a slightly whiny voice.

    “I hardly know you,” he said. “And you hardly know me. If I run into trouble, I can speak with the local Pokémon and get myself out. I know you’re not in this for the badges and the Gyms and unless you can prove yourself helpful, I can handle things on my own.”

    He and Pricilla kept moving ahead, despite their protests. The Purrloin seemed amused. “You have to put your underlings in line.”

    “Normally I don’t have to deal with them,” he replied.

    -+-

    afternoon, 11/11

    Route 2 wasn’t as solid as Route 1 was. 2 split off into many different narrow paths, although all eventually led up to Striaton. On her way there, Hilda battled with Kyurem in areas that were large enough for him, and Fedora in areas that weren’t. The Snivy had no problems with any of the Pokémon along the way, and while Kyurem started weaker than everything else, his two moves did knock out everything on the way in one blow. That is, when they could find wild Pokémon bold enough to battle them.

    Even with strong skills, sometimes another Pokémon was quicker than Kyurem and got a strong hit on him. Hilda used up her last Potion to fix up the dragon while he was still in his normal form. “According to the town map, we should be on the last stretch before Striaton,” she said. She patted his black hide. “I can get more later. How’re you feeling?”

    He made a huffing sound, then turned into a human again. After adjusting his shirt, he said, “Quite well, considering that I started all over again. With the technology your people have, battles could carry on for quite some time.” Then he gave a smile; strangely, it was unnerving, the kind one would expect from a Pokémon an entire town called a true monster.

    Trying to put it out of her mind, she said, “They can. Well it’s getting late. Let’s avoid what battles we can.”

    Kyurem turned serious again. “As you wish, mistress.”

    Fedora made a chittering sound at him, which the dragon replied to with an almost snarl.

    In time, signs of the next town began to appear through the trees. Hilda hurried on ahead, but it quickly became apparent that there was a group of people ahead. Trainers who would want a battle? She could manage, but she couldn’t heal until town. Hopefully they wouldn’t stop her from reaching Striaton if she needed it.

    She spotted Bianca at the edge of the crowd, holding onto her Oshawott. Oddly enough, it seemed like there were mostly girls in the group. Her friend looked interested in what was going on, but nervous about going up to whatever the big deal was. Hilda went over to her. “Hey there. What’s going on?”

    She looked surprised, then smiled. “Oh, hi Hilda. Look, Hilbert’s here.”

    “Oh, him?” Hilda felt excited. Hilbert was a living superstar, one of the more famous Pokémon Trainers who was challenging the League right now. Whenever he was in a Gym battle, people always said he put on a great show. And Hilda wanted to be able to do the same.

    And yes, there he was! He had a mullet of brown hair, although he mostly covered it up with a Patch Hat that had an Archeops on it. He wore a blue jacket that had more patches and buttons sewn all over it, not just from Unova but from far away regions like Hoenn and Johto. At the moment, he was talking to the crowd of girls (only a couple of other guys, though) about his travels. “Yeah, I’ve been traveling the world since I was ten,” he said, all casual like it was simple to accomplish such a thing. “But I always love returning to Unova. This is my homeland and I hope to get the honor of being named Champion of this League. I’ll take that over being Champion of any other place.” He gave a confident smile with perfectly white teeth and, at that moment, the air around him seemed to sparkle.

    The other girls in the audience squealed and complimented him.

    “I hear that he’s wealthy from all the traveling and battling he does,” Bianca whispered to Hilda. “And that the Kanto-Johto League did try to get him to aim for being their joint Champion. That takes sixteen badges though; he’s amazing.”

    “Yeah,” she agreed. She knelt down to pick up Fedora so he could see too. When she looked to Kyurem, though, he was staring at Hilbert in a weird way. “What’s the matter?”

    “Hm?” Bianca asked, then noticed she was asking it of Kyurem.

    The transformed Pokémon studied the boy for a while longer. Then he turned to them. “I knew something was happening in the land. But I’m not finding what I expected. What I’m finding is… strange. I don’t know what to make of it.”

    “Care to explain yourself?” Hilda asked in a teasing manner.

    He looked to her, then shook his head. “Not yet.”

    “Hey, you two lovely ladies,” Hilbert said, coming through the crowd towards them.

    Bianca’s eyes went wide while Suzy shrank back in her arms. “Huh, us?”

    The famed Trainer smiled confidently as he came to them; his other admirers moved aside, jealous of them but still hoping to get his attention if they pretended not to be. “Yeah, you two. As you may know, I am the brightest star of the League challengers, Hilbert Godfrey.” He made a motion like he was tipping his hat. “And you two seem to be Trainers that I haven’t heard of yet. Are you also aspiring for stardom and glory?”

    “Um, uh, not really,” Bianca said, at a loss of what to say.

    So Hilda spoke up for her. “Not exactly. I’m Hilda, and this is one of my best friends, Bianca. We just started out on our journey this morning. Heck, we haven’t even gotten our League IDs yet since the Striaton Pokecenter got closed down.”

    He raised an eyebrow at that. “Did it? How odd. But at least I know not to waste time around there. At any rate, would you two like to battle?”

    “Battle?” Bianca asked. “But, we just started out, and you’ve been to all sorts of regions.”

    “Yeah, isn’t that just being a bully?” Hilda added. Even if she did have Kyurem on hand. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that he was slipping out of the crowd’s view. As for the crowd, they seemed puzzled that anyone would reject a battle offer from their idol.

    “Certainly not,” Hilbert said, radiating innocence in a way that could only be described with purple prose. “It’s part of the honor of the Pokémon Trainer; you’ll take on any challenge given to you. It’s like what the elders of the Dragon Clan in Blackthorn say: you shouldn’t care if the Pokémon is weak or strong, or if a Trainer is weak or strong. An honorable Trainer should do their best with the Pokémon they love.”

    “I suppose there is a noble challenge to it, if you twist it about like that,” Hilda said, although she was clenching her fist. “But there’s also a stupid challenge to it. Someone’s who’s had, what, eight, nine years of experience in Pokémon training and battling going against someone who had just started out? What challenge is in it for you, and what point is there for us? The Gym Leaders at least balance battles out to make a fair challenge.”

    He nodded. “You have a point, mademoiselle. In that way, it is a bit stupid. So then, I’ll battle the both of you, with just one Pokémon that I’m still working on. That would balance out the fairness, wouldn’t you think?”

    “That does sound nicer,” Bianca said, putting Suzy down, then patting her head to reassure her.

    “Sure, if you want,” Hilda answered as Fedora jumped down onto the ground on his own. She looked to her friend and winked at her. “Let’s do this, Fedora.”

    As the crowed backed off, Bianca tapped her holder. “Okay, go Lassie!” Then she summoned out a Lillipup while her Oshawott hopped out of the battle area. Oo, she was getting sneaky, Hilda thought.

    “Interesting,” Hilbert said, then frowned at the Snivy. Somehow, the air seemed to turn darker when he did. “Hey wait… that hat…”

    Fedora snickered and tapped the fern attached to it.

    “It’s awesome, right?” Hilda said, grinning.

    His cool image cracked enough to show anger. “That’s my hat! That fool Pokémon stole it from me yesterday when I was on Route 1.” A number of his fans gasped and backed away.

    “He had it when I caught him,” Hilda said. “And weren’t we going to battle?”

    Cooling down for a bit, Hilbert’s confident mask returned. “Right, but afterwards, we’re going to have to talk about that hat. Anyhow, I’m a man of my word and I’ll only call one. Go Gigalith!”

    A giant four-legged boulder of a Pokémon appeared, its red eyes glowering down at the two smaller Pokémon before it. The red crystals on its back glittered in the sunlight, contrasting with its dark blue hide. After a second, it snorted as if it saw this as nothing special or troublesome.

    He talks of being fair and then pulls out a Gigalith, Hilda thought in annoyance. But a good portion of her was impressed somehow that he had a powerful Pokémon like that. It was only natural given his experience. And why was she feeling like she wanted to follow him around like the other girls did?

    On one hand, she recalled Grass moves being effective against Rock types, and Fedora had learned Vine Whip now. On the other hand, she wasn’t sure how powerful that Pokémon had to get to evolve into Gigalith form. It might be able to withstand Vine Whip (and probably could). In that case, the best thing might be to weaken it first. “Fedora, use Leer.”

    Hilbert waved his hand dismissively. “Rock Throw, Gigalith.”

    Bianca looked nervous. “Um, use Tackle, Lassie.”

    Surprisingly, both the Lillipup and the Snivy were able to move before the Gigalith. But the body tackle didn’t seem to do much, as compared to when it summoned a rain of stones to fall on the two of them. The two Pokémon fainted immediately; the fedora disappeared along with Fedora.

    While Bianca encouraged her spooked Oshawott to join the fight, Hilda glanced to where she had last seen the blue haired boy-dragon. He was gone now. Good. She pressed the button on his Pokeball. “All right, you’re up Kyurem.”

    Suzy had just managed to get her courage to come into the battle area when the large black dragon appeared beside her and roared. The Oshawott froze in place. “He’s on our side, Suzy,” Bianca said quickly.

    On the other side, Hilbert looked rattled. “What, you have Kyurem? Now what about calling in a legendary Pokémon is fair?”

    “Oh, but he just hatched this morning,” Bianca said. “In a way. He’s low leveled.”

    “Hmm…” he got that smile again. “Gigalith, Stone Edge on the dragon.”

    “Kyurem, use Icy Wind,” Hilda said. If it stayed slow, then they might have a chance.

    “Suzy, use Water Gun,” Bianca said, more of a gentle suggestion than an order.

    The dragon went first, calling in a snowy frigid wind to strike the Gigalith. Then Suzy followed up with a small orb of water fired at it. Finally, the Gigalith stomped a foot on the ground and called up a giant spike of stone from underneath Kyurem, knocking him out. The Oshawott lost her nerve and tried to use another Water Gun, but ended up drenching one of Hilbert’s fan girls instead. A Rock Throw from the Gigalith knocked her out.

    Hilbert recalled his Pokémon and tilted his hat again. “You’re lucky to have fought me, you know,” he said. “Now, about that hat of mine.”

    “It’s not here now,” Hilda pointed out. “I have to go to the Pokecenter to revive Fedora first.

    -+-

    evening, 11/11

    Fedora lounged on a throw pillow of the hotel room’s couch. On looking at his hat, sitting on the couch arm, he felt satisfied with how the day had gone. Mostly. Losing that battle to the Gigalith had been awful, but at least he still had the fern fedora. Hilbert had tried and tried to take the hat back, but every time the Snivy retreated to his Pokeball, the hat went with him. The nurse explained that the hat had somehow gotten digitalized along with him when he was captured. Apparently, items could do that if the Pokémon in question identified itself with the item.

    And Fedora thought he looked awesome with the hat.

    On the other end of the couch, Kyurem was sitting in his human form. That dragon still scared Fedora, although he buried that deep within his mind so that it didn’t show. He was sitting there perfectly still, except for his chest moving with every breath and his eyes blinking occasionally. But in those eyes, there was a hunger and desire for violence and blood. Even if he was ‘weakened’, the Snivy felt like the dragon could raze this whole town and slaughter everything alive in it, overnight. That is, if Hilda told him to do so.

    Why did his human have such authority over Kyurem? Fedora wasn’t sure why. He had first met Kyurem as a voice, offering him freedom from Juniper’s Pokeball if they swapped places. At the time, he’d been okay with that; he wasn’t too keen about being given to some stranger for research. And then he’d met the dragon face to face and realized just what kind of power he’d made a deal with. Kyurem was a god in Pokémon form. Somehow, Hilda had control over him that went beyond a Pokeball’s normal mechanizations. What kind of deal had she made to get it?

    Hilda’s authority was the only reason Fedora felt like he could relax near Kyurem. At least, relax about not being eaten immediately. Something was going on now and his new friend and Trainer was at the center of it. He would have to do his best to help her through it.

    The girl herself was fiddling with her Xtransceiver. It made a ringing sound a few times before it clicked. “Hello, Hilda!”

    “Hi Mom!” she said happily, sitting on the bed. “How’s it going?”

    “All right; getting used to the quiet.” They laughed. “So how’s it going with you?”

    “Awesome! I had the most amazing day.”

    It certainly had been amazing, Fedora thought. He curled up on the pillow and soon fell asleep listening to them talk.
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 25th April 2012 at 3:34 AM.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

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  7. #32
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    This is getting gigity-giggity-good.

    I like the Coffee Break parts the best.

  8. #33
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    I am liking this. Please add me to the PM list!

    Oh, and the chapter 2 coffee break. Giant fighting robot Pokedexes? Cheren as a jerk? Exact same game dialogue? Is this referencing what I think it's referencing?

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    Maybe. And you are getting better about the dialogue thing. Loved the Ferris Wheel scene.

    In case anyone's wondering, yes, there is a review of ClicheStorm on FF.net that mentions Ghetsis and dresses. I just had to mention its silliness and embarrass N with it.
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    ...

    Excuse me.

    *goes to Clubs section and creates the Patch Hat Fan Club*

    Anyways, I wasn't expecting Hilbert to appear, but I'm kinda happy that you included him as a Champion-esque character. And the sections involving N's doubts and Fedora's analysis of Kyurem (and a mini-backstory too) were excellent. Actually, I think these battles are better than others I've seen you write, since the Pokemon have speaking roles as well as actiing roles.
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    Yet another awesome Coffee Break. I'm not sure I want to know what Hilda's talking about there...

    Yeah, I'm starting to see why Fedora wasn't named Perry, or even Indiana. But who knows, Perry's chatter could translate to something far more vulgar than what a romanticist might believe...

    Patch Hat Trading and Collecting! It's the new sensation that's sweeping the nation! They should really have this in-game.

    What is it, Lassie? Trouble at the mill? No, the barn's on fire! The well! TIMMY'S STUCK IN THE WELL!!! (There had certainly better be a reference somewhere along those lines made at some point.)

    I wonder, could Hilbert perhaps be the third protagonist? It would be a bit predictable, but still possible. Besides, you just said he/she wouldn't come into it fully for a little while, so he/she could have already been introduced.

    Overall, I can sum up my entire review with this: I am incredibly disappointed that Kyurem hasn't eaten anybody yet. You had better remedy this fatal error in your fic within the next chapter or two. N, Hilbert, Mewtwo, Giovanni, Kip, Picasso, I don't care. Just SOMEONE needs to go down that massive icy gullet.
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    I agree with GR on all counts (especially the eating one). except the pancakes. I have a question; do your Coffee Breaks have different content between here and FF.net?
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    Heh, some mention of eating people is in Chapter 5, and I considered having Hilbert get eaten at one point. Hilda's not letting Kyurem do that, yet, so complain to her.

    The Coffee Breaks are only here. The FF.net readers get an end-of-chapter chat from me. How the commentaries take place and what they talk about are the only differences. Yes, I have put out two versions of this and you'd have to see both to read everything. Just like Game Freak!
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    Lol great fic so far. The coffee breaks are hillarious and 4th wall breaking. I found an error though:
    So Hilda spoke up for her. “Not exactly. I’m Hilda, and this is one of my best friends, Bianca. We just started out on our journey this morning. Heck, we haven’t even gotten our League IDs yet since the Straiton Pokecenter got closed down.”
    Don't you mean Accumula? Anyway could you add me to the pm list? I can't wait for some more lols.
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    Coffee Break

    “Aw come on,” Hilda said. “It should get points for style.”

    “Nothing has more style than me,” Hilbert said, sitting back and drinking his coffee. “Oh, I think we’re on. Well it’s good to see that I have fans already, and… hey wait, she’s going to feed me to Kyurem?!”

    Hilda laughed. “Because you’re annoying?”

    Indignant, he frowned. “I am not annoying. I have every right to be proud of myself for what I’ve done. Nobody is better than me, not Alder, not Cynthia, nobody. And I had better be the third protagonist, although I think this story would be miles better if I was the main protagonist instead of you.”

    She stuck her tongue out at him.

    “Everybody loves me,” Hilbert said, counting reasons off on his fingers. “I am amazing, special, and beautiful, I never lose, and I am flat out amazing. That makes me the most common archetype for fanfiction and therefore, I should be the main protagonist here.”

    “Yeah, I wouldn’t be so proud of that,” Hilda said. “But you wear a Patch Hat too. That’s at least one point in your favor. Oh, and I love Lassie! There’s definitely going to be a Pokémon named Timmy around. You get one guess as to which one it’s gonna be.”

    “A Timburr?” Hilbert asked, puzzled.

    “Bzzzt, wrong! Anyhow, let’s get the chapter started, which talks of bacon and what Hilbert would taste like!”

    “I think I’d better start wearing some dragonsbane if I want to survive around here,” Hilbert muttered to himself.


    Chapter 5: Break for School?



    morning, 11/12

    Striaton was a place like Accumula, where people who worked in Castelia lived to get out of the city. But it was more of a middle class setting as opposed to the upper class finery of Accumula. While there were many apartment buildings and a few homes, they were more generic and plain, made of dark colored stones. Only a few streets were paved and an abandoned factory area was located to the northeast. In Striaton itself, there was the Gym, a Trainers School, a Pokecenter, and a public formal garden.

    In the morning, Hilda found both of her best friends and convinced them to go out to a diner for breakfast together. One of the dining options was the Gym itself, oddly enough, but it wasn’t open that morning. They went to one that had been made out of an old train car instead. “Oo, they have French toast,” Hilda said, looking through the menu.

    “You can even get it with strawberries, so it’s kind of healthy,” Bianca said jokingly before taking a drink of water.

    “Everything’s cooked,” Kyurem said in disappointment.

    “The salads and fruit bowls aren’t,” Cheren pointed out, then quickly patted at a purple paw reaching onto the table. The Purrloin he had caught yesterday afternoon was trying to steal his spoon.

    The dragon boy made a disgusted face at that suggestion. “Unacceptable.”

    The waitress, dressed in a red striped jacket and short striped skirt, stopped by their table. “Good morning, I’ll be your server today. What can I get you kids?”

    As Cheren indicated for the girls to go first, Bianca said, “I’d like an apple flapjack stack, please, with a berry and nut bowl, and Pup’s Breakfast Biscuits for my Pokémon.”

    “I’ll have a strawberry French toast platter, with extra strawberries if that’s okay, and a Pokémon’s berry and nut bowl,” she glanced at Kyurem, who was hiding his face behind his menu and grumbling about bloodless meats. “He’s shy; could you get him a sausage, ham, and bacon platter?”

    “Sure enough,” the waitress said.

    “I’ll have the country breakfast plate 3, with two fried eggs,” Cheren said. “And two Pokémon berry and nut bowls.”

    The waitress recited their orders back, then went to pass it on to the cooks. “Gosh, just feeding our Pokémon is going to be expensive,” Bianca said. “Especially since they’re going to be battling and we need to keep them in top condition.”

    “Once we’re registered in the League, we’ll get some compensation from them,” Cheren said. “Right now, we’ll have to be careful. Speaking of which, have either of you gotten your IDs yet?”

    They both shook their heads. “Nah, the nurse said it’s still in review,” Hilda said.

    “Do you think it has something to do with the Elite 4 challenge being shut down temporarily?” Bianca asked. “Because Alder lost one of his Pokémon to an infected injury just last week and the news reporters have said he’s in no condition to give interviews or act as League Champion.”

    “That would be horrible,” Cheren said. “But that could have something to do with the delay.”

    “Not much we can do about that but be patient,” Hilda said. She glanced off to the grill area, where the short order cooks were telling jokes and laughing while working. They seemed to be busy.

    Cheren opened his bag and brought out a pamphlet. “Even so, I think I’ve found a way to pass some time. See? The Trainers School here in town is offering a special two week session, starting today.”

    “Today?” Bianca asked. “But, uh…”

    “There’s still time to register,” he said as Hilda picked up the paper to read. “The classes don’t start until nine, so as long as we get out of here in decent time, we should still be able to join in.”

    Skimming over the info, Hilda noticed the session was made up of three classes, six days a week, for two weeks. “We do have to get two credits in Pokémon studies for our self study allowance,” she thought aloud. “And doing this would get us the year’s requirement. Seems like we could even have time to train our Pokémon for the Gym while we’re at it.” Fedora and Smoky gave their approvals to that idea, while Suzy was trying very hard to ignore Kyurem’s presence. The Lillipup and Purrloin were busy making faces at each other under the table.

    “That would be nice to get out of the way,” Bianca said, patting her Oshawott to reassure the Pokémon.

    They chatted about the classes and Pokémon while they were waiting, and between bites when they got their meals. Kyurem glowered at the plate of meats for a little bit, but reluctantly tried them to eat something. Although clumsy with his fork, he somehow managed to finish off his breakfast first. “Did you like your cooked meats?” Hilda said teasingly.

    “The ham and sausage were acceptable,” he said. “But the bacon was wonderful. I might make an exception for cooked meats if they are bacon.”

    They laughed at this. “There was a neighbor of ours who said she was a vegetarian, except for bacon,” Bianca said.

    When everyone was done with breakfast, the group headed out to the Trainers School. It was a large three story building which stood out as it was made of wood and brightly painted with red, brown, and yellow. There were a number of teenagers outside, but the three friends and their Pokémon were able to get inside easily.

    There was a receptionist desk near the entrance, but a sign by one of the hallways pointed them to Room 15 for school and class registration. There was a small sitting area in a cluster of offices, but no one was sitting there. Good sign, or bad? Whichever it was, Cheren knocked on Room 15’s door.

    “Come in,” a woman said. She was dressed in a business jacket, a straight skirt, and black rimmed glasses. “How may I help you?”

    “We’d like to register for one of the two week sessions, if there’s still room,” Cheren said.

    “Hold on, I think…” she checked something on her computer. “We only have openings for three more students in just one of the sessions that start today. You’d have to wait two weeks if all four of you wanted to join in.”

    That was a moment of confusion, but then Kyurem put his hand on Hilda’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about me,” he said. “I’m her bodyguard, not a student.”

    She gave him a look. “I see. Unusual, but all right. As I’ve said, most of the spots are filled up, so if you want in on this session, you’ll be taking the Traveler session, consisting of one general studies credit, Camping and Travels, and two Pokémon studies credits, Battles 3 and Pokémon Grooming. I just need to check your school records to make sure you’ve covered Battles 1 and 2 previously. May I have your IDs, whether League or general?”

    “We’ve just got general IDs for now,” Hilda said taking out hers to hand over. “That sounds like a good set.”

    “Yeah, that could be good,” Bianca said. Cheren thought it over, then nodded.

    The school counselor, as she turned out to be, got the three of them registered for the session. They had some time to make sure they had their basic school supplies before classes started, so they headed out to a nearby store the counselor recommended. On exiting the building, both of Hilda’s friends spoke up.

    “Pokémon grooming?” Cheren asked, not thinking much of the subject.

    “Battles 3?” Bianca asked, intimidated. “I barely passed Battles 2 and I think I only did because I got lucky in the final test battle.”

    Hilda grinned. “Well that was the only session they had open. I’m sure it will all be useful.”

    “You don’t have a problem with it?” Cheren asked.

    She shook her head. “I was considering it, because the Camping class will be practical. We’ll have to battle anyhow in the League, so another class will help.”

    “I guess,” Bianca said, resigning herself to it.

    “We can help you with it,” Cheren offered. He and Hilda had both aced the previous two levels of Battles class, so neither of them was nervous about 3.

    “As for the Grooming class, that’ll be fun,” Hilda continued. “And it could help build trust with the Pokémon we catch, since I’m sure they’ll like it.” She glanced at Kyurem.

    He frowned. “Don’t even try.”

    “Most of them, I suppose,” she admitted. “Besides, you might impress some girls by how well-kept and nice your Pokémon are.” Hilda elbowed Cheren. “That’d be good, huh?”

    As Bianca giggled, Cheren shrugged. “That could be a plus, although yes, gaining trust would be a good thing. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be some fashion contest thing.”

    -+-

    The teacher of Battles 3 was a short slim man, with a noticeable bald spot and round sunglasses tucked into his shirt pocket. He didn’t seem intimidating until he picked up a heavy metal rod and banged it on the floor to get the attention of the class. “All right students, welcome to Battles 3,” he said in an unwelcoming voice. “I want you to know that as this is a cram session, there is no slack for foolishness or laziness. You must pay attention, do homework immediately, and be ready for battle. I am Mr. Tailor and you will address me as sir. Now when I call your name, tell me what Pokémon you have at this time and be snappy about it.”

    As students answered (quite a few of them nervously), Mr. Tailor gave a dismissive assessment of each. When one student named a team full of Grass types, he was particularly critical of having a mono-type team. He said to Cheren’s Tepig and Purrloin, “One’s slow and the other is frail. You’re not going to get far against the fast and strong teams many Trainers have.”

    To Bianca’s Oshawott and Lillipup, “One’s a common type and the other’s common overall. People know how to fight them and won’t find you too hard to beat.

    And then to Hilda’s Kyurem and Snivy, “It’s not in your interests to lie; what is your team?”

    “Exactly what I said, sir,” she replied, then pointed to the human form Kyurem sitting in a chair by the wall. “Ask him.”

    Eying the teacher, Kyurem flicked his hand out and summoned a blade of blue ice. “Believe her or I’ll eat your hand,” he threatened.

    “That’s really not necessary,” she told him.

    After giving them both a sharp glare, Mr. Tailor sniffed. “Well you’d need a legendary to back up a Snivy. A limited move pool and poor typing will get it killed before it can put a dent in most opponents.”

    Fedora made a rude gesture at the teacher, but Hilda tapped his shoulder.

    -+-

    The next teacher was a lady with graying curly hair and lots of large jewelry. Her bracelets jangled together and her earrings swung as she introduced herself. “I’m Mrs. White and I’ll be teaching Pokémon Grooming. I’m going to teach you how to keep your Pokémon looking and feeling their best! As you may know, a happy and loyal Pokémon will do their absolute best for you, and grooming is a wonderful way to strengthen your friendship with your team.”

    Although she seemed much nicer than Mr. Tailor, it wasn’t long after class started that she started handing out a large stack of papers for references and homework. The staples were barely holding on and Hilda’s folder for this class was soon bulging. Wasn’t grooming supposed to be simple?

    “Now one of the first things you must do is determine the characteristics of your Pokémon to know how to best groom them,” she said, pulling down a massive chart over the chalkboard. “Pokémon come in many forms and there is a lot to consider. For instance, you three, in the front row.”

    Hilda, Cheren, and Bianca glanced at each other as Mrs. White came to their table.

    “You have five different Pokémon here,” she said, as Kyurem was still in human form at the side of the room. “And each of them has different needs.” She started down the row. “This Snivy is a reptile and a Grass type. It will shed its scales regularly, so you’ll need a buffing cloth to help peel off any dead scales that don’t come off naturally, and it will need sunbathing time every day to keep in optimal health.

    “This Oshawott is a Water type mammal with fine hairs. It will need moisturizers if you are going to be in a dry environment, but time in the water will suffice otherwise. Otherwise, it should be fairly easy to groom. On the other hand, this Lillipup is a Normal type mammal with thick fur, which will eventually get long. It will need to be bathed regularly, especially if it has dandruff problems, and it will need daily brushing. It’s not too bad now, but later evolutions will require an undercoat brush, a stiff brush for the long hairs, and possibly a comb to work out knots. Get it used to this right away so that it doesn’t fuss much later.

    “And then this Purrloin is a Dark type mammal with short fur. Now a Purrloin itself will keep its own grooming, but you should still get a soft short fur brush to use; it will love it, so it’s a great way of bonding. Also, you’ll need to watch for dandruff and bath it if this is a problem.”

    “That could be trouble, bathing a Purrloin,” Cheren said. The Purrloin in question was cleaning his ears.

    Mrs. White shrugged. “Start early to get it used to it, or use a foaming shampoo. And then this Tepig,” she patted Smoky, getting him to look up at her. “This one might fool you. It’s a Fire type mammal with a few short tough hairs. Brushes are not needed, but what do you think of moisturizers?”

    The boy looked puzzled. “He’s a Fire type, so no?”

    “Incorrect,” she said. “This Tepig will need moisturizing lotion applied daily to look at its best. You see, a mammal’s skin cells need to keep some moisture; otherwise, it gets dry, cracked, and flaky. And because it’s a Fire type, its skin will dry out faster than usual. So to keep it looking nice, use lotion. Check the booklet under skin care for more details about what kinds to use and what to avoid so that you don’t accidentally burn yourself doing so.”

    -+-

    For the last class, the students met with the teacher outside on Route 2. “This way, we can have lessons in the proper environment,” he explained. He was a man with glossy black hair, a beard, and something like a military uniform. “I am Mr. Smith, but you may call me George. Now a few of our classes are going to be held overnight for the camping section, so we’re not as compressed and hurry-along as the other two classes you’re taking this session. But you should still pay attention if you are going to be travelers, as this may be some of the most important information you learn in these two weeks.”

    The autumn wind was blowing hard that afternoon, so the students kept any loose papers in their folders and did their best to keep any from flying away. Sometimes other Trainers came by and looked, but as they were in class, they weren’t allowed to have battles with those outside the class. But no matter how much the wind blew, George didn’t have any trouble making himself heard over it.

    “Good to see some of you having your Pokémon out,” he said. Pointing to his Emolga, he went on, “When traveling in unfamiliar areas, or familiar ones where wild Pokémon are, it is best to have one of your Pokémon out along with you, maybe two. The Pokémon love this for one, and for another, they’ll be able to spot threats and trouble before you can. Also, I’ve found that if you’re walking in a grassy area with a well-trained Pokémon, the wild Pokémon that come to you tend to be stronger and tougher. I think this is because the wild ones can see what you’re capable of and figure that you’re a good challenge.”

    The cram session was going to be tough, but it would be worth the time and effort.

    -+-

    afternoon, 11/13

    On the west side of Striaton, there was a formal public garden. A tiered fountain stood in the center, surrounded by many man-made streams that outline pathways. Short flowering hedges were kept in straight lines, while a number of taller bushes were shaped to resemble Pidoves. At the north end of this garden, a trellis tunnel covered in pink climbing roses led to Route 3.

    In front of that tunnel, there was an old man who blocked the way. “I’m sorry, but the next route is long and dangerous to someone who doesn’t have any Gym Badges. Why don’t you go to the Dreamyard? That’s a good place for beginners.”

    “I’ll be fine,” N said. Of all the obstacles he had imagined, he had not thought that a stubborn old man would be one of them. “I plan on training my Pokémon friend on Route 3, so the tougher fights are exactly what I’m looking for.”

    “No, it’s too tough,” the old man said. “Go back east.”

    “It’s okay!” another voice said behind N. He glanced back at the black-haired girl. “We’re going together, so there’s no need to worry.”

    Them. At least Val and Carol weren’t wearing that hideous perfume today, N thought. And if going with them was what it would take to get on Route 3, he’d have to live with it. “Yes, they’re with me.”

    “I suppose that’s okay,” the old man said, moving aside. “But be careful, or you might lose an ear to a wild Pokémon.”

    “Thanks, old man!” Val said cheerily as she followed N though the rose tunnel. “Lose an ear? How weird.”

    “If he treated Pokémon well, then they wouldn’t hurt him,” N said. “Did you pass on the questions I had about the Accumula Pokecenter?”

    “What? Oh right, that. Yeah, we did. Zigzolin said that he would look into it. The news program said that it was a small group of vandals that were supporting Plasma.”

    “Didn’t say they were our people,” Carol said calmly. “Not that I’d trust them.”

    The path north stopped a short ways past the route’s start and headed directly west. Although the old man had said it was dangerous, there wasn’t any grass here. But there was a pair of buildings nearby, painted in bright colors with white fences around their lands. A number of small children and small Pokémon played together behind the fences. N walked with the two girls along the route. “But the ignorant masses do trust the news media and will believe what they’re told. They haven’t been told the truth yet. So we must make sure that they won’t see us as bad people when we’re heading for the ideals that are the best for everyone.”

    “Yes, of course,” Val agreed, then recited from one of the major books, “We seek to bring out the best of both Pokémon and humans, to create peace and perfect harmony between them and to bring to an end the corruptive and abusive relationship they currently hold.”

    The sound of laughter and cheering came from the other side of the fence. The two with him would just hear barking, but N clearly heard, “I got the ball! I got the ball! Play with me some more!”

    “I want the ball!” a little boy called, then cheered as the ball was thrown.

    “The illusions society creates are very strong,” Carol said. “They will fool themselves into thinking that the wrong things are right.”

    “We’ve seen past the illusions,” N said. It was still recitation, but it was good for blocking out the distracting illusions coming from the playground. Then he broke it to say, “Don’t worry; I have faith in the hidden truth and in the gods. We’ll set things right.”

    -+-

    night, 11/15

    On one of the nights the Travels and Camping class spent on an overnight study, Hilbert showed up again. Hilda, Bianca, and Cheren were working on getting a fire started. “You know, it’d be faster if you use matches, or your Pokémon,” he said.

    Hilda glanced up at him; he smiled with a bit of that strange sparkle to him. “Can’t,” she said. “Our teacher says that we can’t have dinner tonight unless we can cook it over a fire we made without Pokémon assistance.” They even had to keep a bucket of river water nearby rather than asking Bianca’s Oshawott to put out any escaping flames.

    “And this will work,” Cheren said, watching the sparks created. Some of them caught onto the brown leaves, causing a few flames and a thin curl of smoke. “There we go!”

    “Oh, I hope it sticks,” Bianca said. “What are you doing here, Hilbert?”

    Cheren looked up in interest on realizing who the other boy was. Hilbert crossed his arms over his chest. “I was just over at the Gym,” he said. “It changed hands while I was gone, so I had to challenge it again to keep my Unova badges. And I hear that the Opulucid Gym has a new Leader too, although since the old one is there, that badge is still valid. I might try to challenge the new one. So I thought you two were starting your journey. Why’re you in class?”

    At that point, Fedora came up and made a chuckling sound while tipping his hat up. Hilbert briefly frowned at him, but was back to smiles at the three other humans.

    “It counts towards our high school credits,” Hilda answered. “Plus we’ve done some camping before, but always near home and with other people.”

    “It’s worth the delay,” Cheren added.

    “And we can’t battle while in class, so don’t try that tricky honor business on us,” Hilda said teasingly.

    “Well that’s a pity,” he said, adjusting his Patch Hat. “I didn’t need a class to learn how to camp. I learned it all on my own, the hard way. Just wait until that night when an unexpected rainstorm comes in and collapses your tent on top of you. There’s no other awakening like that,” he grinned.

    “Certainly not, but one you want to avoid,” George said, coming over. “Say, are you that famous world traveler, Hilbert?”

    “That’s my name,” he said proudly. “I’ve been in more places all around the world than most people twice my age.”

    Their teacher looked excited. “Yes, I’ve heard of you through the Hiker’s Guild! It’s an honor to have you here. Do you want to talk with the Travels and Camping class here?”

    He shrugged. “Sure, why not? If you’d love to hear me, then I’d love to talk.”

    “Thank you, that’s great!” George then looked down at the progress of the campfire. “Good work on getting it started; keep at it. Say Hilbert, did you ever get to climb Mt Coronet?”

    “Of course, it was wonderful,” the teen said, walking off with the teacher.

    “Why do I feel like I both admire him and am annoyed by him?” Cheren asked.

    “I don’t know,” Bianca said. “I kind of feel the same way. He was great before we met him, and then he beat both me and Hilda with a Gigalith.”

    She nodded. “Yeah, all because of some Trainer’s honor about never declining a fight. That’s why I told him that we can’t fight in class. But looking at him now,” she glanced over to where he was charming the teacher, a couple of their classmates, and some of his usual fan girl followers, “I think that he’s got a secret and I think I know what it is.”

    “Oh, what’s that?” Bianca asked, interested to know what she’d come up with now.

    Hilda brought a finger up to her lips to indicate the secrecy, then held her hand up to say, “He’s a Twilight vampire.”

    “A vampire?” Cheren asked. “But it’s still daylight out.”

    “You never did read Twilight, did you?” Bianca said. “Those vampires can be out in the day.”

    “And they sparkle,” Hilda said. “Although it’s their skin that does it, while he makes the air sparkle. But it could be a diversion to throw people off. And most vampires are very charming, even when you know they’re dangerous.”

    Although he’d been quiet for most of the class, Kyurem spoke up. “He smells different. Would you like me to bite him and find out?”

    “Not unless he bites first,” Hilda said.

    “But then it would be too late,” Bianca said. Realizing what she said, she put a hand to her chin. “I mean, it’s not nice to bite people, however you put it.”

    “I don’t know if I’d want to eat him,” Kyurem went on. “He doesn’t smell appetizing. But if he causes trouble, I’ll do it.”

    “When has eating people ever solved anything?” Cheren asked, looking sickened.

    “It solved a lot of my problems,” the dragon boy answered. “Mostly hunger, but other problems too.”

    Hilda grinned. “Can’t argue that, huh?”

    -+-

    afternoon, 11/16

    The autumn winds nipped at his exposed skin, but he barely noticed. N was at battle. Over the past few days, he’d gotten acclimated to the fighting. He still didn’t like it, but he wasn’t losing his focus if he lost. “Pidove, use Peck,” he said.

    His second friend, who had insisted on not being nicknamed, flapped his gray wings, then dove down toward the Pansage they were fighting to peck at the green monkey. The little boy held down his yellow hat, but was grinning like a maniac. “Grassy, use Hyper Beam!”

    “Do what now?” the Pansage asked, then yelped as he tried to avoid Pidove’s attack

    “Your Pokémon doesn’t know Hyper Beam,” N said. “I don’t know if he can know it. Ask him to use a move he can use.”

    “I don’t know what he knows,” the boy admitted. “I just like saying it. If he can’t, then... I’m Hyper Beam!” The preschooler then yelled and rushed off down the route. A daycare worker shouted at him and started to chase him down.

    “Not again,” the Pansage groaned. “Look, sorry, can I take a rain check? I gotta run.”

    “Go ahead,” N said.

    “Thanks, man.” Grassy then rushed off after the kid, to help the daycare worker.

    “I should have known better than to assume that a child like that was mature and intelligent enough to battle properly,” he said, deciding to head down the route instead of hanging around the daycares.

    Pidove flew alongside him; Pricilla had asked to go off on her own for a little while, and N let her after she promised not to steal stuff from the daycares. The gray bird didn’t seem that happy at the moment. “We weren’t the ones who abandoned the battle, so it wasn’t our loss,” he said. “It was still an idiotic battle.”

    “I’m sorry about that.”

    The bird flew ahead. “I’m not with you to make friends, I told you that,” he said. “I like that you’re up front about everything; means I don’t have to waste time and get my heart broken again by some idiot human.”

    Watching him fly off to the treetops, N felt concerned. He would rather speak with Pidove and find out what was bothering him. Obviously something bad had happened to him in the past, but he didn’t want to talk about it. Not talking about that kind of thing rarely worked to solve the problem. But he also knew from experience that if a Pokémon wasn’t ready to talk about something with him, they wouldn’t. The best he could do now was to be kind and offer immediate help.

    But, he wouldn’t be keeping the Pokémon for long. N considered sending Pidove to Concordia. While she couldn’t understand them like he could, she did remarkably well. Pricilla seemed adjusted to her situation, although she’d probably avoid the routes once he let her go. He would miss these friends, but it was important to the cause that he go with the plan.

    As he continued west, he came across an unusual sight. He’d met with groups along the route over the past week, but it had always been two or three at a time. This was a group of nearly twenty people, along with Val and Carol. A Plasma gathering? No, the other teenagers there didn’t seem like they would be in the team. The center of attention seemed to be a brown-haired boy who was talking about Pokémon battles.

    “What’s going on?” N asked Carol quietly.

    “Shh,” she said dismissively, still listening.

    “Nah, it can take a month or so to properly train a Pokémon,” the boy said, with a smug air that was somehow interesting. “And that’s without considering evolution or other members of your team. Then you can have them in storage for a while if you don’t need it for a set of battles. But when you do need a Pokémon that you’ve had in storage, you should take it out at least a week before, so that you can get used to it again and make sure it’s in good shape. It does no harm, really.”

    What he was saying was absolute nonsense. N knew that. The Storage boxes were something that he wanted to have abolished when he had the right authority. Then why was he intrigued by this boy rather than angered at him? He wasn’t even a person of great looks, at least classically, but something about his voice made him compelling. Or maybe something else. N did not like it, and yet he was thinking about staying around like the rest to listen.

    Winning his willpower for the moment, he stepped away from the group without being noticed. There was a Gigalith nearby which did truly interest N. He hadn’t seen a Pokémon like him before. “Who is that boy?” he asked, careful not to draw attention from the crowd.

    “Oh, that’s my master Hilbert speaking,” the blue Pokémon said. “Unless you mean one of the other guys.”

    “No, I mean him, Hilbert,” N said. “Does he always get this kind of audience?”

    “Yeah always.” The Gigalith looked at Hilbert, seeming pleased. “But how could he not? I mean, look at him! At first he doesn’t seem like anything special, but the more time you spend around him and the more you listen, the more fascinating he becomes. He sparkles when he smiles even, really. He’s wonderful and I’m glad that I’m his Pokémon. I just wish he’d use me to fight more. I can be really impressive when I win fights. I haven’t lost in years. Hilbert hasn’t lost ever. I hope I can stay with him forever.”

    Strange, he didn’t ask about N understanding Pokémon. That usually caused questions. “Why? He was just saying that he put Pokémon he wasn’t using into storage. That’s terrible.”

    “I don’t care. I’ll be patient if he does that. So long as I get to stay in his company, it’s fine.” The Gigalith shifted its feet then. “Although, some of the guys in storage say they don’t like Hilbert. They’re convincing, but once I came back out, I saw how wonderful he was again. So I’m doing all I can to impress him so that he doesn’t put me back. But I will be stoic if he does.”

    “I don’t think it’s fine,” N said, but looked back at Hilbert. He could understand how Ghetsis could be intriguing, because he was a great man who knew how to talk to people. As for Hilbert, one part of N’s mind said that he was probably another terrible Trainer, while another part was inexplicably drawn to stay with this crowd and follow Hilbert in whatever he was doing.

    One of the girls managed to get to the center of the group; she was unique in having bright pink hair with dozens of small blue ribbons attached to her ponytails. “Hilbert, will you marry me?” she asked, eager and excited.

    He held his hands up. “Now, now, aren’t you being too forward? I know I’m amazing to all of you, but I’m not ready to settle down to that kind of commitment yet. Besides, I don’t know much about you.”

    “But I know everything about you,” she insisted. “I’ve been following you ever since Hoenn; don’t you remember me? I know all your favorite snack foods, and all of the Pokémon that you’ve ever used, and all about your greatest battles, and what kind of shampoo you use, and everything. I know exactly what you need in a wife and I’ll be the best one ever.”

    Hilbert’s confident look dropped for a bit as he looked disturbed. “Oh well… that has been a long time, hasn’t it?” Then he seemed to get back into his groove. “As I said, I’m not ready yet. And I don’t know who I’ll marry, or even date at this point. I was thinking about it.”

    A number of the girls piped up, saying that they’d love to go on a date with him… and they tried not to fight with each other. The ribbon girl out-shouted them all by saying, “I”LL GO OUT WITH YOU! When do you want to meet?”

    “Give me some time,” he said. “And I’m on a search for the eternal truth, so it’s only a thought. I don’t have much time.”

    “The eternal truth?” N asked aloud, getting their attention.

    “Well yes, of course,” Hilbert said, coming over to him.

    “Yay, he’s coming closer!” the Gigalith said, making his crystals glimmer.

    Hilbert was smiling, although he had a predatory look in his eyes, pouncing on an opportunity. “I might be speaking a little grandiose, but yeah, I’m always looking for truth. It’s never good enough to hear about something from someone else. I have to go see it for myself, or speak to someone who was involved.” He turned back to the group. “That’s why I was in Hoenn, actually; I wanted to speak to someone who was really involved in that Magma and Aqua mess way back when. Anyhow, it’s been wonderful talking with you all, but I’ve got to get back to my training. I’m sure I’ll see you around, but I need to be alone with my Pokémon now.” Then he quickly added in a low voice, “Thanks man; the loonies are always hardest to shake,” then walked off, snapping his fingers.

    Cheering again, the Gigalith followed along. The group seemed disappointed, but went off on their own activities. N stayed there for a moment longer. “Does he mean Reshiram?” he asked quietly, thinking aloud. “There are always two; perhaps he’s the other.” N clenched his fist. “Then I need to work hard to oppose someone like him.”
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 25th April 2012 at 3:35 AM.
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    I'm totally hearing Persona 4 music during those classes. I don't even know why... *totallynotobsessedoranything*

    I really hope Hilda gets to groom Kyurem. That would just be priceless. Polishing the frozen chicken... The whole grooming part was very well thought through, I enjoyed it.

    Adorable preschooler. I liked his dialogue with N. "I'm Hyper Beam!"

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    SO Kyurem likes bacon. Wow. Who would've thought that I would have something in common with a super-ancient man-eating legendary Pokémon? Excellent chapter.

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    Love this. I love breaking the 4th wall, although it isn't in the main story. I will put on my fic Coffee Breaks, if you let me use them.
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    Mmmmm... Bacon. (I actually know someone who has the vegetarian, exept for bacon eating habits). Does Hilbert use some kind of hypnosis? seeimg as several people (in-fic) have commented on how he seems to just have some kind of... sparkle to him. and the Gigalith saying about some 'mons inside the box were saying how they hated him, but when it came out of the box he
    saw how wonderful he was again
    . something isn't quite right...
    And kudos for letting Kyurem volunteer to eat him. is Kyurem ever going to take part in a Coffee Break?
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    Dang it, still no eating. Oh well, I suppose threatened with being eaten is still okay. And I knew that Hilbert was a vampire would be the third protagonist, because that would be the most cliched thing there is. And I feel robbed, because I was getting ready to point out that Hilbert, searching for truth, would be the one to get Reshiram. But then N had to go and steal my thunder...

    Also, given Gigalith's attitude, I'm going to say that Hilbert is either a) a human who can understand Pokemon like N, or b) a vampire. Seriously, that would be cliched. Not Pokemon cliched, but culturally cliched.

    Oh, and of course, I'M HYPER BEAM!!!
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    Just a note to DarknessInZero- sure, you can use the idea. I feel like I took it from someplace else, although I couldn't tell you where. It may just be other authors chatting with their characters in meta segments.
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    And then to Hilda’s Kyurem and Snivy, “It’s not in your interests to lie; what is your team?”

    “Exactly what I said, sir,” she replied, then pointed to the human form Kyurem sitting in a chair by the wall. “Ask him.”

    Eyeing the teacher, Kyurem flicked his hand out and summoned a blade of blue ice. “Believe her or I’ll eat your hand,” he threatened.
    /Fic

    Anyways, other than that line, I really liked the N POV sections of this chapter. I saw his interactions with Gigalith as if the Pokemon was under some sort of hypnosis, which made it more amusing for me. The parallel N drew between Hilbert and Ghetsis was excellent, and I can see it being used for his character development (since he seems to be the only character in his fic that has character development) in the future.
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    I forgot to said this. I Wanna Be The Guy! No, really. I wanna be in the PM list. And you can call me DiZ.
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    Coffee Break

    "Would you groom Kyurem?" Bianca asked, stirring some honey into her tea.

    "No thank you," Cheren said. "Leave that to the crazy one. On the subject of who gets to be in the coffee Beaks, it's set up to be whoever has the most spotlight in the chapter that follows. Mostly. So yes, I'm pretty sure Kyurem will show up here."

    The blond girl sat up. "Oh yeah, and that means that we get to star in this chapter! That's awesome!"

    He shrugged. "I guess."

    Looking puzzled, Bianca asked, "What's wrong with? She said she liked the chapter a lot."

    "You know," he said, waving a hand. "Anyhow, next subject. About Hilbert and his sparkly hypnosis or possible vampire status."

    "Oh yeah, that's because," she stopped. "Oh wait, that's spoilers. Aw, I can't say anything about it. But I can say that I agree about that preschooler. So cute, although I'd hate to be the daycare worker in charge of him."

    "We could gossip about Hilda, since she isn't here this time."

    Bianca giggled. "Sure! Remember that Halloween when we were all thirteen and she wanted to dress up as a Lopunny girl?"

    Cheren grimaced. "Yeah, that. I don't want to know where she got those sparkly tights from. At least her Pop caught on before she pulled it off and made her wear shorts with that outfit. She always goes for the strangest or least appropriate costumes."

    "You seem uncomfortable talking about it," she said teasingly.

    "She's like my sister," he said quickly. "It's just... not right. Can we start the chapter already?"


    Chapter 6: Identification Issues



    morning, 11/17

    At the end of their first week of the cram session, the three friends came to the Pokecenter early in the morning. There weren’t many people in there, so they were able to see the nurse quickly. “We were supposed to have received our League IDs by now,” Cheren said to her. “Have they come through yet?”

    “I think so,” she said. “I know we received some late last night; wait a moment, please.” She went over to a cabinet, unlocked it, then brought out some boxes to search. “The league has been occupied with problems related to what’s been going on with Alder, so it’s been taking longer for some things to get through. Ah, here we go.” She put some of the boxes on a counter, then brought one over. “I have an ID for Cheren… and Bianca… hmm…” Her friends took their new IDs while Hilda leaned on the counter. But the nurse shook her head. “Sorry, looks like Hilda doesn’t have one here. Let me check the network.”

    “We turned our forms in at the same time,” Bianca said.

    “Normally you would have gotten them back in three or four days,” the nurse said, looking at the screen. “This says that your application is still under review. It doesn’t have the usual error flags, so you must have had the form completed right. But it doesn’t say why it hasn’t been accepted yet.”

    “Maybe they didn’t have time,” Hilda said. “Aw phooey.”

    “I’ll make a note here to contact you when it does come in,” the nurse said. “May I check your Xtransceiver number?”

    After giving that, the three of them went over to the Pokemart counter. “That’s too bad,” Bianca said to Hilda. “I wonder what’s the problem.”

    She shrugged. “Eh, I’ll wait and see what happens. Maybe I’ll write them a letter if it takes too much longer.”

    The Pokemart counter being in a Pokecenter was a marketing experiment that had started up in Unova a few years back; it had become so successful that independent Pokemarts were almost nonexistent in the region. Bins that sat on shelves under the counter and on the walls held commonly sold goods, while the backroom held a large DSD which could store or transfer goods that the marts didn’t hold in stock. That way, one could get nearly anything Pokémon related from a mart.

    Behind the counter, there was a young woman in a striped blue shop apron. “Good morning, welcome to the Pokemart,” she said cheerily, setting down a cup from a nearby coffee shop. “How may I help you?”

    “We just got our League ID cards and we’re here to pick up the starting packages,” Cheren said, putting his card on the counter. After a moment, Bianca did too. “Just the two of us for now.”

    “That’s great,” the shop girl said, starting to bring up something on the central screen. “All right, so you’ll have a debit account with the League system now, which you can use with your cards. It starts out with 1000 Poke in it, which you can add to by winning battles or transferring from another account. Also, if you lose a battle, some money will come out of your account to help pay the victor, but it’s never allowed to fall under 100 Poke. As for the starter packages themselves, you will receive one Premier Ball, which is a specialty commemorative model, as well as four Pokeballs, a random accessory, three random berries, and your choice of a Badge Box.”

    She then caused the central monitor to swivel up and around so that they could see and use it. It was set to display various Badge Boxes. Around the edges, there were tabs for various options, like different materials, patterns, or colors.

    “Your free Badge Box may total up to 2500 Poke,” the clerk said, indicating an estimated value line, “and if the cost goes over that, you’ll need to pay for the rest.”

    “Okay,” Bianca said. The estimated costs of some seemed decently below that allowance. “Should we still go to the Gym today?”

    “That’s fine with me,” Hilda said. Not only had they planned on this today, but it might be better to observe the battles first.

    -+-

    evening, 11/17

    The Striaton Gym doubled as a restaurant during its open hours. In the center, there was a large open square that served as a battle area; shield generators around the edge ensured that guests did not get hit by Pokémon attacks. All around the edge were square wooden tables set up nicely with white tablecloths, various centerpieces, elegant silverware, and pretty plates and cups. It was classy, but not too expensive and formal.

    It was already mostly full when they arrived, noisy with chatter and laughter. A waiter dressed in black greeted them at the door. “Good evening, and welcome to Striaton Gym and Restaurant. How many are in your party?”

    “Four, please,” Bianca said, including Kyurem who was gazing over the crowd like an assassin could be lurking there.

    The waiter nodded. “Yes, we have a table you could take. Are any of you planning on challenging the Leaders? We only have two slots left open for this time slot.”

    “That’s good,” Cheren said, bringing out his League ID card. “There’s only two of us eligible right now.”

    Bianca shuffled through her purse looking for hers. “Um, yeah. I’ll go ahead and try.”

    “Very good,” the waiter said, taking the two IDs. “I’ll register you and bring the cards back to the table. Follow me.” He also grabbed four menus and led them to a place near the northeast corner.

    After a little while of checking the menus, Bianca lowered hers. “Oh my, I’m not sure I’ll be able to eat much. I mean, it’s my first Gym battle; I’m so nervous.”

    Cheren shrugged. “Well it is our first Gym,” he said, dismissive rather than concerned. “We’ve probably faced more challenging battles in class here.”

    “I don’t know,” Bianca said, biting her lip. “I mean, the Gym Leaders have to be really good Trainers to get the position. I know this Gym is new compared to the others, but still…”

    “Hello,” a young woman said, stopping by their table. She wore a cute orange dress with a white apron. “I’m Tia, and I’ll be your waitress this evening. Here’s your ID cards back,” she passed them over. “Bianca, you’re in the first slot, and Cheren, you’re in the second. I’ll come over and give you a heads up five minutes beforehand, alright?”

    “S-sure,” Bianca said. “I didn’t expect to be going first.”

    “It runs by challenge order,” Tia explained. “We have three of you for your first badge, someone for a second, and someone else for a sixth. Have you decided on what you’ll be ordering tonight?”

    “Do your steaks come rare enough to be warm and bloody all the way through?” Kyurem asked, causing the others to feel squeamish.

    “Err, no sir,” Tia said, her face paling a bit as she tried to smile through nervousness. “We can’t do that due to food safety guidelines.”

    “Worthless,” he grumbled, looking back at the menu.

    “They have sushi,” Hilda pointed out, directing him to that part of the menu.

    “What soups do you have today?” Bianca asked.

    “Today, it’s tomato basil, chicken and rice, and French onion.” She paused, then added, “And the specialty tea we have today is a lovely hibiscus chamomile blend, along with our usual favorites like the classic black. Our Leaders are excellent tea masters, and on Sundays, we have tea ceremonies that you can reserve a seat for. But there’s no battling during that time.”

    “That still sounds interesting,” Bianca said.

    After making their orders, the three friends talked for a while. Hilda and Cheren were mostly trying to encourage Bianca. “I hope no one laughs at me,” she said.

    “If they do, we’ll beat ‘em up,” Hilda offered.

    “I don’t think anyone would be so rude,” Cheren said. “And if they were, I’m sure the staff would make them leave.”

    Tia then came up to their table, carrying two trays and followed by a man who didn’t seem to be part of the Gym staff. “And here’s your food,” the waitress said, passing out plates. “Also, this is Master Grimsley of the Elite 4; he’s requested to join your table for this evening.”

    “Grimsley?” Bianca asked, sounding awestruck.

    “Certainly,” the man said. He was dressed in fine clothing, from the dark violet jacket to the yellow silk scarf to the diamond decorated wris****ch. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything special, but I’ll cover your dinner tabs in exchange.”

    Cheren nodded, seeming more polite than usual due to having someone so important drop in on them. “Thank you, that’s quite generous of you.”

    “It’s no trouble,” Grimsley said, then quickly gave Tia his order before pulling over another chair to sit at their table. “I came to Striaton looking for you, Miss Hilda,” he said, looking to her. “I was going to wait at the Pokecenter and send a messenger to you, but I had a hunch you might be here instead.”

    “Is this about my ID application?” she asked. That was the only reason she could think of why a member of the Elite 4 would be looking for her.

    He nodded, then pulled a card out of his pocket. “Yes, and I have your card right here. The application was filled out satisfactorily, but still, it was quite unusual. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of a Trainer audacious enough to claim a legendary Pokémon as her starter.”

    “Hang around her long enough and you’ll believe it,” Cheren said jokingly.

    Hilda laughed. “Well it’s true,” she said, then pointed her fork at the blue haired ‘boy’. “This is Kyurem, and these two are my friends Bianca and Cheren.

    Grimsley nodded to them. “It’s a pleasure to meet young Trainers at the start of their careers.” Then he looked at Kyurem. “And you, you’re the Pokémon?”

    “This form is more convenient for being indoors,” Kyurem explained. “If it’s proof you’re after, I could make it snow, but I doubt that would be appreciated in this place. Here.” He picked up his glass of water; as he did so, ice crystals grew rapidly up the empty sides, then outward to form precarious frost.

    Touching the frost lightly, Grimsley looked thoughtful. “I see. Why are you here? History shows that the legendary Pokémon tend to stay hidden from the rest of the world unless there is trouble lurking around. That goes especially for you and your siblings; you three never show up except during a time of change.”

    “I have my reasons,” Kyurem said. “And don’t try to bug me about it anymore. She won’t let me eat people and I’ve been surrounded by lots of tasty beings. It puts me in a bad mood.”

    “Err, yeah, and that is all he’ll say,” Hilda added. “Except that it’s to protect me for one reason or another.”

    Grimsley looked a little uneasy when the dragon had been talking about eating people, but perhaps knowing that Hilda wasn’t letting him eat people made things seem safe. “Hmm. If that’s so, then I’ll just warn the others to keep alert. In that case, Hilda, there’s nothing in the rules or anywhere that would keep you out of the Pokémon League for owning a legendary Pokémon and using it in battle. We primarily wanted to ascertain the truth of this situation. Here you are.” He passed over the card in his hand. “And I apologize on behalf of the League for any troubles that this delay has caused.”

    “Nothing major,” Hilda replied, taking the card from him. “It might be late, but hey, we got to meet you early. That’s cool.”

    A few minutes later, the waitress came back with Grimsley’s food. She also tapped Bianca on the shoulder. “This is your warning, miss; we’ll be starting the battles shortly. You’ll be going directly after her, sir.”

    “Oh right, thanks,” Bianca said. Cheren nodded to acknowledge his placement. “I hope it goes well.”

    “You’ve got a good pair of Pokémon,” Hilda said. “And we’ll be cheering for you.”

    Grimsley looked over the battle square in the center. “I’ve wanted to come out and see this Gym in action myself,” he said. “It’s a novel concept they brought forward, quite clever.”

    Then the lights in the restaurant dimmed while the lights over the center square brightened, causing a quieting of the conversations going on at the tables. A small hum started up in the center as the shield generators were activated, but not fully turned on. Then three young men came into the battle square. Dressed much like the male waiter who had greeted them, they looked remarkably alike save for the ways their hair was colored and styled. The blue-haired one held onto a computer tablet, while the green-haired one carried in a black case which he set off to the side of their entrance.

    Which left the red-haired one to come to the center of the square. “Welcome guests, to the Striaton Gym!” he said, followed by some applause. “I am Chili, and with me are my brothers Cress,” he indicated the blue-haired one, who nodded, “and Cilan,” he indicated the green-haired one, who gave a small bow. “We are the owners of this fine restaurant as well as the Leaders of this Gym. We hope that you’ve enjoyed your evening with us so far.”

    “Why did they make it a restaurant anyhow?” Bianca whispered.

    “It helps fund the upkeep of the Gym,” Grimsley answered quietly. “Lots of expenses involved, including care of the Pokémon, all the safety features, and the required equipment. And they’ve done remarkably well; enough that they’ve started to support some of the other Gyms which don’t have a steady source of income.”

    “And now it is time for what you’ve all been waiting for,” Chili said, smiling widely. “The time for our challengers to come forth and see if they have what it takes to earn the Trio Badge!” More enthusiastic clapping came to that announcement. “We have a full roster of five contenders tonight, and we’re expecting some exciting action. One thing I should explain before we get started is that when your name is called, please come up the challengers stairs on the opposite side. Otherwise, you’ll get a shocking encounter with the battle square shield.” Amid the few laughs, he turned to his brothers. “Now who is up first for tonight?”

    Cress glanced at the tablet, then announced, “Miss Bianca Waverly from Nuvema Town.”

    Bianca got up from her seat and gave a nervous wave to her friends as she went over to the three shallow steps that led up into the battle square. Hilda waited for some of the applause to die down to shout out, “Go for it, girl!”

    Once she was inside, there was a glimmer as the protective shields sealed shut. Cress and Chili stepped back, although the latter said, “And your opponent in this Gym battle will be Cilan.”

    The green-haired member of the triplets stepped forward and shook hands with her. “Yes, good evening,” he said politely, shaking her hand. “So, erm, do you have anything to say before our battle?”

    “Uh, I dunno,” she said, smiling nervously. “My Pokémon and I are going to do our best, I suppose.”

    “That’s great,” the Leader said (although Hilda noticed that he seemed to be almost as nervous about being in front of an audience as Bianca was about her first Gym Battle). “In that case, best of luck to you. Well then, let’s get to it.”

    In the back of the battle square, Chili rolled his eyes, then called out, “Each opponent needs to declare how many Pokémon he or she has.”

    “Two,” Cilan said, seeming a bit embarrassed that he’d forgotten that part.

    “Two,” Bianca echoed, finding the spot where she was supposed to stand.

    “Then get ready!” Chili called out as Bianca pulled a Pokeball out of her bag; Cilan took one out of his apron pocket. The redhead held a hand up. “Set… and battle!”

    Both Cilan and Bianca called out their first Pokémon, with both sides choosing a Lillipup. Cilan’s pup pricked his ears up and yapped, wagging his tail, while Bianca’s waved her forepaw. “Seems like a friendly match already,” Cress commented in amusement.

    “Focus yourself,” Cilan called to his Pokémon.

    “Um, tackle him Lassie,” Bianca said, sounding hopeful.

    Cilan’s Lillipup hopped in place, still yapping. And yet, a brown glow began to build around him, indicating that his actions were in no way random. Lassie scampered over and barreled into the other Lillipup, only knocking him back a bit.

    “Not yet,” Cilan said, “once more, then attack.”

    Lassie hopped back, then tackled once more. Still, the other Lillipup stayed on his paws, waiting until that glow was a stage stronger. Then he launched himself at Lassie, causing her to yip in surprise before she was knocked to the ground, defeated. Looking startled, Bianca recalled her Lillipup, then swapped for the other Pokeball she had. “O-okay, go Suzy!” She released her Oshawott. The Pokémon tried to take a brave stance, but she still seemed nervous. “Use Water Gun when he’s in range.”

    In the meantime, Cilan called his Lillipup back to his side to use a spray potion on him. As he was next to his Trainer, any trained Pokémon wouldn’t attack until he was safely away from the human. “Good boy; attack again.”

    Since the Lillipup wouldn’t attack when near his Trainer either, he rushed away from Cilan, heading for Suzy. The Oshawott produced a water bullet which hit the Lillipup directly, but didn’t stop him. She fell to his tackle attack as well, leaving Bianca without any useable Pokémon. “And the winner is Cilan,” Chili called out, stepping forward.

    “It was a good try,” Cilan said, trying to sound helpful. “Come back any time to re-challenge me.” He then touched something on his collar. It must have been a microphone as he said something to Bianca that didn’t get broadcast to the speakers.

    Stepping out of the challenger’s microphone range, Bianca said something and nodded, passing her two Pokeballs off to Cilan. A couple of minutes later, she was back to their table. “It was nice that they offered to heal my Pokémon,” she said, sounding disappointed. “But I didn’t even get past his first Pokémon.”

    “A lot of people fail this Gym on their first try,” Grimsley said. “Other Gyms too. That’s still no reason to give up.”

    “I’ll try again,” she said. “Maybe I ought to finish the battle class first.”

    “You’ll get the badge,” Hilda said in encouragement. “After all, if he started with a Lillipup too, it’s got to be a great Pokémon.”

    “I suppose so.”

    After the three leaders had made some quiet exchanges, Chili came back towards the center. “And now, our next challenger?”

    Cilan had the tablet now, and called out, “Mr. Cheren Flint from Nuvema Town.”

    “Good luck,” Bianca said under the applause as Cheren got up from his seat. He smiled back before he went to the battle square.

    Again, Hilda waited until things quieted before calling out her encouragement. “Knock ‘em out, bro!”

    Chili smiled more at that, then gestured to one of his brothers. “And your opponent for this Gym will be Cress.”

    “Oh, so they take turns,” Bianca said quietly as the blue haired brother stepped forward to shake hands with his challenger.

    “Sort of,” Grimsley said, but didn’t explain further.

    “It seems that we have some friends who started from the same town tonight,” Cress said. “Do you have anything to say before the battle?”

    “No, I’m ready to take you on,” Cheren said, confident.

    Cress nodded. “Well said. Now,” he stepped back to his position, “declare your Pokémon. I have two.”

    “I have two,” Cheren said, moving to the challenger’s spot.

    “Then get ready,” Chili called out from the back. “Set… and battle!”

    Cress released his first Pokémon, which turned out to also be a Lillipup. On the other side, Cheren called out his Tepig. Smoky let out puffs of white smoke from his nostrils to show off, while the Lillipup barked sharply to make her prowess known. The Leader quickly called out, “Power up.”

    “Smoky, Ember then tackle,” Cheren said.

    With a snort, the Tepig spat out a small fireball while the Lillipup followed the same strategy as the other one. But instead of the power move done twice, Cress had the Lillipup make a tackle of her own. The two Pokémon ran right for each other, but the Lillipup move aside at the last moment to tackle the Tepig in the side. Smoky managed to scramble back from the hit and made his own tackle, knocking the Lillipup back a foot and knocking her out.

    Cress then released his second Pokémon, a short monkey with blue fur and a funny tuft on top of his head. “Panpour, Water Gun,” the Leader said.

    Cheren looked like he was thinking quickly to figure out what to do. But not quick enough; the Panpour shot a water ball similar to what the Oshawott did earlier, causing Smoky to collapse. Hilda figured that he was probably tense and focused with that KO. Cheren then brought out his second Pokeball, releasing his Purrloin. “Shadeclaw, scratch it.”

    In comparison, the Gym Leader took hardly any time to think on strategy. “Again.”

    The Purrloin swished his tail, then ran up to his opponent in a zigzag manner. After rubbing his chin, the Panpour shot a Water Gun at Purrloin’s face when he was less than a foot away. The feline Pokémon yelped in surprise, but was knocked out when he hit the floor. Chili again called out, “And the winner is Cress.”

    Cress nodded to Cheren. “You’ve got a good start on training, but this may have been a bit too early. Come again to challenge me when you practice some more.” He then made the same offer to revive and heal his Pokémon before returning to his seat.

    “Wow, this really is tough,” Bianca said, still looking at Cheren.

    “Those guys are awesome,” Hilda said. “They don’t look the part of tough Trainers, but dang, they have a winning formula all right.”

    Grimsley nodded. “Oh trust me, some of the biggest surprises in Pokémon matches come from people who look unassuming and teams that don’t seem special on the surface. One of my toughest matches came from a guy who had no traditional advantages to his team, like superior typing or the like. It got down to the wire for both of us.”

    “I plan on being memorable for having flair,” Hilda said, grinning.

    “I’d just be happy with a couple of badges, to help with traded Pokémon if I get some,” Bianca replied.

    At that point, Cheren came back to their table. “That was disappointing,” he said as he sat down. “It’s much different being put under the spotlight like that, with an audience and knowing that all battles are recorded.”

    “They are?” Bianca asked, sounding self-conscious.

    “Yeah, but you have to give permission before they can be viewed by the general public,” he said.

    “Well our challengers haven’t had much luck tonight,” Chili said from the battle square. “Who’s next on the roster?”

    Cilan checked the tablet and announced, “N Harmonia of the Sarasota Forest.”

    Him? Hilda sat up. “I know him! I battled him a week back.”

    “Really?” Bianca looked back over to the battle square to see the green-haired boy walking up the steps. “Hey, he’s cute.”

    “He started on the same day we did,” she said. “So it might not turn out so well for him.” Still she may as well show some support, even if she didn’t know N as well as her friends. So she gave him a loud whistle.

    N looked surprised to hear that, especially when Chili said, “Well it seems our dedicated cheering section approves.”

    “Yeah!” Hilda shouted, causing some laughter around the room.

    “And your opponent will be, myself,” Chili said. He offered to shake hands, but N didn’t take him up on it. “Well then, anything you wish to say first?”

    “I don’t like how you’re making a show of this,” N said. He was talking noticeably slower than last time; maybe he was making himself do so. “It’s quite inconsiderate, desensitizing violence to the people.”

    In the back of the square, Cilan and Cress glanced at each other, as if unnerved by having a critical Trainer come in. Chili didn’t let it get to him, at least on the surface. “Well a good Trainer and Pokémon will do well under pressure,” he replied. “If you’re going to prove your ability, then you may as well do so in the public eye. So, are you ready? Declare your Pokémon. I have two.”

    N took a deep breath, then said, “I have two.”

    Cress spoke up since Chili was the one battling. “Then get ready… set, and battle!”

    “I wonder what his parents were thinking when they named him N,” Cheren said as Chili sent out a Lillipup and N his Purrloin. “It seems like something that would be surefire tease-bait.”

    “Maybe they were trying to balance out his lengthy surname,” Hilda said.

    Like his brothers, Chili had his Lillipup use that power up move. N had ordered his Purrloin to use Sand Attack (something which made Cheren mouth something, then check his Pokedex about his own Purrloin). Once the Pokémon actually got into attacking, the Lillipup was quite strong, but also completely missing the Purrloin. She leapt around her opponent while attacking with her claws, seeming to have a grand time of it. It took a long time, especially since Chili healed the Lillipup once. After several minutes, the Purrloin came out the victor of that match.

    Chili recalled his fallen Pokémon, then called out a red monkey Pokémon with a curly tuft. “Pansear, power up.”

    N took advantage of the KO to switch out his Purrloin for a Pidove. “Pidove, Fly,” he ordered.

    Obediently, the gray bird hopped up off the floor and beat his small wings furiously. After a second, he shot straight up into the air with a pale blue sphere of energy surrounding him. The Pidove then vanished into the glow shortly before he would have crashed into the ceiling.

    This move actually got the Gym Leader looking worried. Chili stepped back, then called out, “Move, Pansear! And get ready to attack.”

    Making an ‘ook’ sound in agreement, the Pansear began hopping about erratically around the battle square, taking care not to get too close to any of the four humans. Then the pale blue glow reappeared, bringing with it the Pidove who slammed right into the Pansear. A large gust of wind spread out from the attack, causing the competitors’ clothes to flap and the protective shield to glisten as it kept the energy from escaping. Once the view cleared up, the monkey Pokémon was no longer in the square and the pigeon Pokémon was landing in the center, unharmed.

    Cress stepped forward. “And the winner of this round is our challenger, N,” he said, causing applause to follow. Hilda cheered for him, joined in by Bianca, but it seemed like they were the only ones doing so with enthusiasm.

    “Well done,” Chili said, smiling. Cilan came up quietly and passed him a small serving tray. “For your efforts, you have earned the Trio Badge!” He passed over a small item that glinted gold under the lights, but it was hard to see from the tables. “And please take this gift TM from us to you. Congratulations on your first League victory.”

    “It is the Pokémon’s victory, not mine,” N said, right before he turned and left the battle square.

    “Cute, but a little serious,” Bianca said.

    “That was cheap,” Cheren said. “With a Pidove that knows Fly, he could have won with just that one Pokémon.”

    “It is a winning strategy,” Grimsley said. “But yes, a cheap one.”

    -+-

    Walking back to Route 3, N kept his head down, avoiding looking at anyone passing by. He wanted some time alone. But even with the darkening sky overhead, there was always someone else walking along. At the fork in the route, he glanced south and saw three other teenagers with some Pokémon, chatting and laughing. Looking to the east, there was no one. He went east.

    Down the path, he came across a waist-high ledge leading up to a grassy plot. It was easy to climb up onto the ledge, then look around in the fading light. There didn’t seem to be any people around. Strangely, there didn’t seem to be many Pokémon either, despite being the ideal spot for them to hang out. He wasn’t sure why; the books often said that it was easy to find Pokémon, but hard to catch them. He had no trouble convincing them to come with him, but finding them was difficult.

    He had the spot he wanted, so N sat down on the ledge. Looking past a line of trees, he could see a lake softly rippling under the autumn breeze. A few brown leaves drifted down around him, but the deciduous trees were nearly entirely bare. At least the natural world was still beautiful. He wasn’t so sure about cities.

    Although he had won his first Gym battle, N felt troubled. He was supposed to be finding evidence of the carelessness and cruelty of humans towards Pokémon. Instead, he found people who seemed to love Pokémon and Pokémon that seemed to love people. Perhaps a good percentage of them were influenced by cultural stasis, acting out the love because that is what they expected. They would see how much better things were when the situation was set right.

    And yet, when he thought of that girl Hilda and her Snivy Fedora, he was still finding it hard to prove insincere. The same with others. For every bad case like the Hyper Beam kid and his Pansage, there was a good case. There was also what he had just witnessed over dinner: Gym Pokémon who were proud to act as a test to others, Trainer Pokémon who willingly gave their all for the honor of their person, and even a pair of Pokémon in the audience who had been excited to follow all the battles.

    There was also the very first match of the evening, Cilan’s Lillipup against that one girl’s Lillipup. When N closed his eyes, he could see and hear them again in his mind. The male had gotten excited. “Sis! Good to see you again! And you got a Trainer, excellent!”

    And the female had waved. “Hi bro! And yeah, I’ve got the sweetest Trainer you’ll ever meet, and she takes me to class, and she gave me a nickname! I’m Lassie now!”

    “Wow, you did awesome! But it’s my duty to fight you with all my might. I’m sorry; I still love you as part of my litter.”

    “I know; I’ll do my best. I love you too, bro.”

    Feeling a chill, N opened his eyes and looked up at the sky. A few stars were starting to appear. He used to love coming out late to observe the night sky. But now, his mind was on the ‘pups. They had been part of the same family, the same litter. They loved each other and seemed to be proud of each other’s position. Despite that, they had no qualms about battling each other. The male had even apologized again when he had knocked his sister out, but he didn’t sound distraught.

    Did they actually like the current system?

    It still wasn’t right! N was becoming convinced that there had to be an element of brainwashing somewhere. Maybe with the Pokecenters. League Trainers would bring their Pokémon there every day, possibly even multiple times a day. For the next Gym, he would try avoiding the Pokecenter and heal his team in other ways.

    Which reminded him… it was time to let go. He took out the two Pokeballs he had, called out the two Pokémon, then brought a black tool out of his bag. When Pokémon were captured, they were converted to a digital form. To be released, they had to be converted back safely. While a Storage Box program could do so, he despised that technology on principle. One of the Sages had thus gotten him this instead, a Pokémon converter. “Thank you for your assistance,” N said. “It’s time for me to release you back into the wild.”

    “Good, I’ve been waiting for this,” the Pidove said.

    Pricilla lowered her ears. “Right,” she said, oddly reluctant.

    N took the Pidove’s Pokeball and put it into the converter. The machine asked him twice if he was certain that he wanted to let this Pokémon go. Why would it do that? Releases would be the main purpose of this tool. Once it accepted the command, a white glow appeared around the Pidove. The status screen of the Pokeball went staticy, then turned black. The Pidove appeared again, now free.

    After testing his wings and getting into the air, the Pidove said, “Right, well thanks for keeping your word. Have a good trip.” He then flew off across the lake, using Fly to go faster than he could previously.

    “I don’t know about this,” Pricilla said, coming closer to him. “I like traveling with you, and I know you won’t hurt me. I can keep helping you, N.”

    He shook his head. “Sorry, but I can’t compromise my principles. Keeping you in a Pokeball will come to hurt you over time, and I don’t want to do that. I also don’t want to restrain your freedom, which all beings deserve. This is better for everyone.”

    “But I like you,” she said, getting nervous as he picked up her Pokeball. “We can be friends.”

    “We are friends,” he said.

    “Well yeah, but we can be better friends if I stay with you,” the Purrloin said hurriedly. “And I’m your starter Pokémon, remember? Everybody says that League starters are always special and many of them stay with their Trainers their whole lives. I wanted to be special.”

    Her pleas pierced through his heart. Friends were treasures, precious to everyone. And while he couldn’t quite relate to wanting to be special (as he’d always been special), N remembered reading some stories where someone wanted to be someone special and either did great things or ended up in ruin, depending on how far they were taken by vice. If it would make her happier, then maybe he ought to keep her.

    No. That wasn’t in the plans and he had to be firm. “You are someone special,” N said. “And I’ll always remember you as my starter, and my friend. But I’m working for the liberation of all Pokémon. I can’t be a hypocrite and keep some, no matter how much I love them.” He put the Pokeball in the tool and started up the release process.

    She mewed in a begging tone. “Please? I want to stay with you.”

    ‘Do you really want to let this Pokémon go?’ the screen of the tool asked him.

    N hesitated. Why was this tough on him and her? She should be happy to be let go. He pressed on the confirm button. “It’s for the good of everyone, even the both of us.”

    When the glow faded, Pricilla’s ears and tail were twitching like she couldn’t decide if she was angry or devastated. “Wh-why?” she stammered out, but then bolted before he could answer.

    Feeling like he’d done something rotten, N tried to clear his mind. It didn’t work too well, as he kept thinking to what he’d heard people and Pokémon saying this past week. He put the tool back in his bag, then lay down on the ground. With the dark green of the grass waving in and out of his vision, he could see the stars clearly at this time. They were twinkling up there like they did every night. And yet, he found himself wondering what the stars were thinking about what they had seen him do.

    “I did the right thing; I shouldn’t feel guilty about it.” He spoke quietly, even though he knew hardly anyone else was around.

    The stars watched him back.

    Sighing, N put his hands under his head. “This wasn’t supposed to be a difficult thing to do.”

    -+-

    Pricilla growled into the grasses as she slowed down. She knew that he’d said it would just be one Gym battle. And yet, somehow she’d deluded herself into thinking that maybe he would change his mind. He nearly had, she was pretty sure. But N was sticking to his word no matter what anyone else said. She should just forget about him, and go back to being just another Purrloin.

    But she had been special there, for a while. He had even given her a name, which was better than what her last Trainer had done. And…

    That smell…

    Pricilla stopped, lowering her stance in the grass. There was that smell again, that awful Repel-like scent that accompanied those two stinky girls who tried to tag along with N. What was that? She lurked closer to the edge of the grass nearest the scent, trying to find it. It was somewhere, in the trees.

    And back there, she spotted her. The one called Carol, who had the ghostly pink hair and always wore those weird black skirts. Skirts that hid the fact that she carried two large knives on her person at all times.

    How many times had she seen them, staying just beyond where N would notice them? Pricilla lowered her ears, extending her claws for a moment. Any time she was allowed to roam around while practicing, she always found her or Val around. And they were always stinky, even if they had gotten better at hiding it from N.

    Wait a moment… N hardly ever ran into wild Pokémon. She had done all her training with him against captive Pokémon. And those girls always smelled that way. Keeping the wild Pokémon away from N? Why?

    It really wasn’t her concern anymore, Pricilla thought. N had released her and she didn’t owe him anything. Yet another thought said that she did like him and she still wanted to help him. Even if she couldn’t be by his side anymore?

    Not wanting to run into Carol and her knives, Pricilla went back another way, ending up near N. Moving silently, she managed not to get his notice. He was talking again, but to himself. “I have to figure out what’s brainwashing these Pokémon,” he was saying. “I hope it’s not the Pokeballs; I’d have to drop out of the League if it were that, and that would set us back so far. They all think this is normal, when it’s unnatural and unhealthy. I was the only one who noticed at one time, and now so many know this truth. I can’t give up now. This all has to be a test of my faith. It’s not wrong if I’m doing it for the right reasons.”

    Pricilla listened, calming down. Maybe she was meant to stay with N, if hearing his voice relaxed her like this. But also, she remembered her first Trainer talking like this at times. She did that when she was doing something that made her feel guilty or that she knew was wrong, while trying to convince herself that she was in the right.

    She was his starter Pokémon, and she’d make sure he was safe. Even if he would never notice her doing so.
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 25th April 2012 at 3:39 AM.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  25. #50
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    Aw, I feel so bad for Priscilla being released. You can tell she really loves N already, and indeed, he seems like the sort of trainer Pokémon would quickly warm to.

    Also yay Grimsley, dude's a boss.
    Originally Posted by scytherdude30
    no no no you need an empoleon as your powerhouse da listen to me man I AM THE BOMB
    Quote Originally Posted by Zincspider View Post
    Yes, someone is getting 'killed'... HOORAY FOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!....
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