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Thread: From Johto With Love

  1. #1
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    Default From Johto With Love

    Hi, I'm Inukie and my handle on ff.net is Oliver Jasmine, I'm reposting this from there.

    I was going for a boys love story with action sequences instead of dates and pretty scenery instead of just pretty faces, but that would have boring to write rather than look at. So this is a supernatural story with gay boys thrown in. Take from this what you will. It will never go above T on ff.net or pg otherwise.

    Summary-Benjamin had 7 badges when he quit to go to high school and find answers to his questions. About about the legendary pokemon, his telekinesis, and about the strange world he lives in. He thought he had some answers until the accident. Ben thought his pokemon journey ended, he was going to work at the Sprout Tower until he started his own shrine. But he still has to deal with a crush on his best friend, his ornery bulbasaur, and the secrets of the world.



    From Johto With Love
    Chapter One
    From Sprout Tower

    “Alright listen up! You three were chosen as our new recruits. I'm sure you have a splendid mastery of Sprout Tower trivia, but do you have the work ethic?” my large bulbasaur made a whip crack sound with a vine. We had rehearsed this.

    “Yes, Benjamin.” the twelve year olds chimed. Their pokemon, a chikorita, totodile, and a cyndaquil looked up determinedly as they did. The kids' dark pinstripe robes were large on them and billowed dramaticly at the slightest movement. Mine did too, but I'd worked here every summer in high school plus some, and had earned tailored robes.

    “Good energy.” I grinned “Lets get to work, I want you to sweep the entire first floor entryway. I'll mostly be watching to see how you handle the wild pokemon.”

    “But that's not fair,” said a girl with her hair in long brown pigtails. Her cyndaquil looked accusing too, but with the squinty eyes you could never really tell. “You can't make us do all the work.”

    I noted silently that she had chosen cyndaquil by her side rather than her bellsprout. She wasn't as comfortable with the newer pokemon. “You got me, Megan” I said, “I'll be over there washing the statues.” I had been careful not to draw attention to the fact that she had interrupted. Years of tours here had taught me how to handle people.

    The kids got their brooms, dustpans, and bristle brushes from the pile my bulbasaur, Biasam, and I had gathered. One of the boys offered his chikorita a bristle brush. She scoffed and started scratching behind her ear. The totodile tried to copy the gesture, but its large head and heavy teeth unbalanced it and it fell over.

    “Hey, your pokemon hurt my totodile!”

    “Did not, yours is just to dumb to walk!”

    I let them squabble and went to my post washing the two massive bellsprout statues by the main entrance. The arched door was closed for the evening, the building was empty of people except for us. I could see the entire first floor of the shrine easily, a giant wood paneled square with a staircase off to the back. In the center was a massive beam, wider than a car, that slowly creaked back and forth. It was the Sprout Tower from a bellsprout that had grown that large, the shrine Sprout Tower was built around it. I'd learned to hear its steady creak even when the place was full of trainers.

    The kids started squawking as a couple zubat swooped by their heads. Cyndaquil spat an ember at them and totodile sent a water gun sailing above them. The zubat were scared off, but the water hadn't missed any of the kids.

    I looked to Biasam for judgment. The bulbasaur gave a bit of a shrug from where he lay watching them. I tried not to laugh at the wet kids, just smiled and waved to let them know I thought they could handle it.

    “Biasam, who do you think will stay the longest?” I asked my pokemon now that the others were working again.

    “I want Daniel to.” said my bulbasaur, who I could understand perfectly. Many trainers developed the ability after a few years. I was 19 and had started when I was only a bit older than them.

    “You just like the chikorita.” I said.

    “Yeah so?” he replied.

    I got on a step-stool and started on cleaning the wooden bellsprout's mouth. “I think Megan will.”

    “The first to talk back? Why?”

    I had been working on the bellsprout's upper lip, but couldn't reach the top of the statue. “Because shes the only one who actually got a bellsprout.”

    “I forget you can tell sometimes.” he sent a razor leaf at a rattata creeping along the wall and it fled.

    “I want people to.” I stretched on tiptoe but still couldn't clean the top of the statue. I looked over to the kids. They were occupied fighting a ghastly, with a bit more coordination this time. I focused on my washcloth and used my telekinesis to lift it to the top of the statue.

    There was a clatter from the kids. The cyndaquil had gotten an ember into the wash pail and ruined the water. My focus broke and my washcloth was left on top of the statue. I got off my step stool and settled down next to Biasam.

    “Chris with the totodile has a rattata, but I don't think it'll listen to what he says yet.” I said.

    “Hm.” he said. My bulbasaur yawned, tired rather than disinterested. I looked around and saw the kids were making good progress. The light from the windows was starting to slant. The reflection from the pond right outside was casting watery shimmers on the ceiling. I yawned too and stretched.

    With Biasam recalled, I crept upstairs for another washcloth. Past the open first floor, you had to circle the creaking beam of Sprout Tower every time you had to get to the next staircase up. The blocks of light cast by the windows stretched up the far wall by the time I reached the top. The sun glinted red off the metal supports for the Tower. It never hit the slanted roof no matter how much it swayed, the Sprout Tower was built around it after all. I could have sent one of the kids on this errand, but I liked to watch the sunset from up here.

    Violet City was a quiet place. All the houses had sloped roofs like this shrine. The trainer school was in front of the tower after the pond. Further than that was the flying-type gym where I'd gotten my first badge 6 years ago. Past that was dense forest, spring buds held larger bits of ice than the branches around them and gleamed in the sun. Whorls of pale lavender cloud formed dark shadows against the bright reds and pinks and yellows of the sky. This place is my home.

    “Ben! Hey Benjamin!”

    When I turned around the sun had completely set. The remaining light made Megan's face look white in the shadows.

    “I said we're done.”

    I nodded, then realized she couldn't see me “Sure, let me see.”

    Her cyndaquil chirped and ran ahead of us. I lowered my voice “Biasam, look intimidating.” I released him once everyone was on the ground floor. Biasam looked at the chikorita and didn't do anything. At least he was still thigh high on me, so that was something. The chikorita was looking back from behind her leaf, shyly.

    I looked around meaningfully, inspecting cracks in the floorboards and such. I already knew it looked fine. The point was just to have them clean somewhere they could admire their work every time they came in. “It looks excellent you guys! Tomorrow morning, I'll show you how to wax all of it.”

    There were some groans but they were tired out by now. Everyone dawdled along out and I locked the heavy wooden door behind us. The two boys went off somewhere but Megan tugged on my loose sleeve. “We're going out to the forest. Do you think you need to come and protect us?”

    I shook my head. “I'm sure you'll be fine, stay close to the town so the noctowl don't beat up your bellsprout and take the cyndaquil for dinner.”

    “Hey!” She blinked “But you've never seen my bellsprout.” The boys called from over the pond by the school. “Oh, and they want to know why your bulbasaur is so big.”

    “He was my first pokemon. I got him when I was a bit older than you, when I came from Hoenn. ” I realized I'd said more than I meant to after they finally managed to call her away. I sighed and went off into town. I gathered some food from the convenience store, and settled down at the pond by Sprout Tower. I released the rest of my pokemon, the poochyena, Anne, and the vulpix, Matsuri. The low red lanterns cast rippling light on the water. I ended the moment by grabbing an apple from the bag of them before Biasam ate them all.

    Anne just about swallowed her dumpling whole and started chasing her tail.

    Matsuri was grooming herself when she spoke, “Are you going to tell us how it went today?” the vulpix said. “Becoming an apprentice sage meant so much to you.” what meant so much to her was being the pokemon of a renowned psychic. I'm not this.

    “I like it a lot. I got invited to the noontime meditation around the tower.” I gave Biasam a shove, “He messed up our intimidating show we worked so hard on by crushing on this kid's chikorita.”

    “Bia has a crush!” Anne yipped. The poochyena started running circles around the bulbasaur instead of her tail.

    “Yes, please tease him so he's willing to look imposing again.” I replied.

    “You don't want them to obey you that badly, it won't be any help.” scolded Matsuri. She batted me with just one of her 5 tails, which showed her restraint. She was trying to be happy for me at least.

    “This place is my home, I can't get used to being treated like an authority figure all of a sudden just because-”

    “Benjamin!” A frantic voice called. A mans footsteps pounding on the decorative bridge.

    I looked up. He had blue bird keeper's overalls. He was one of the trainers from the gym. His pidgey was following him but looked injured.

    “Some kids are in trouble in the forest. They didn't know about the baltoy swarm.”

    I got up and dusted my black pants. It had been 5 years since I'd given up being a serious trainer to go to high school, but now everyone knew how powerful I was again. A part of me hated it as I ordered “Lead the way.”

    We ran out into the woods. It wasn't far, if the quaint town had streetlamps instead of lanterns there would still be some light. Matsuri the vulpix sent out floating flames, will-o-whisps that lit up a very bad scene. The kids were cornered against a tree by several baltoy. They looked like floating dolls or tops but were made of rock and very hard to damage. One boy hid in back cradling his injured chikorita. I could tell the totodile was barely standing. Megan's bellsprout was knocked out and that would have been their last chance at an advantage.

    “Anne, hidden power, Biasam, use razor leaf.” I noticed Matsuri hanging back from the ground types and directed her to set up some will o wisps to light the path home.

    My poochyena growled and spheres of energy formed around her. As they spun around her, they formed into one and she shot it at the nearest baltoy. The purple energy hit with a sound between the splash of a water balloon and shattering ceramic. The razor leaf didn't do much damage, but got their focus away from the kids.

    Then Megan yelled “Cinder, use swift!” the cyndaquil squealed and shot bright stars of energy at all of them, then collapsed in exhaustion.

    They all turned to her again. The other kids had gotten away safely, but not the cheeky girl in pigtails.

    A baltoy made a ringing sound and lifted up stones. Anne jumped in to bite it, but got in the way of another razor leaf and was knocked away.

    It flung the rocks at the downed cyndaquil. I saw her shift in the corner of my eye and yelled before she moved, “Megan no!”

    “What?!” Biasam startled and lost focus on his attack. In an instant he was pinned, growling, under a psychic dome.

    Megan had jumped out to protect the downed cyndaquil and put herself in the way of the attack. If I didn't think what I did would work, I would have jumped out too. I'm an adult, my bones are done growing and hardening, all I'd get would be some bad bruises. She was a child, under my protection, and she would be lucky to have any ribs intact. The damn cyndaquil was fully grown and wouldn't have done worse than me, even if he's small and cute. This evaluation took place in a fraction of a second. I didn't know I could do what I did next, I knew I had to. I reached out and held the stones with my own power before they could hit her. It worked, they stopped and fell harmlessly in front of her.

    Anne bit another baltoy, but shattered the ceramic doll's arm before she could throw it away from her. It spun and bashed her into a tree. Megan looked at the stones I had blocked with wide eyes. I fell to my knees, ears ringing. I needed to call Anne back to attacking from a distance so Biasam could hit more of them again, but there are just too many.

    “Jelly, use roar!” called a familiar voice.

    “Thank Lugia you're here, Matthew.” I murmured.

    A manectric roared. The spiky furred lion-like dog lunged onto the field, biting and clawing as many baltoy as he could reach before they scattered. I had never seen my friend look as confident as he did next to his manectric as it returned to his side, victorious. Sparks jumped along his pokemon breeders green overalls.

    “Benjamin! Are you hurt?” he was looking down at me grabbing my arm. I hadn't realized I was kneeling still.

    “No, they just... Used rock throw on us instead of the pokemon is all.” the world swam. I realized Megan was still staring at me in shock. My bulbasaur and poochyena had returned to their balls. Like how Megan could have returned the cyndaquil. Or ran away with the other kids. I feel like I spent my entire time as a trainer running away from something or other, why couldn't she run from one obviously lost battle?

    “Geez that's bad.” he said. Matthew helped me up and I could feel his manectric's electricity through him briefly. He was unaffected by it, like a trainer close to a fire type won't be burned by the flame on its body.

    We slowly got to the pokemon center. I was pretty terrified and wanted to yell at Megan for being bold and stupid. But she seemed to understand it, she was still trembling slightly. Matthew had started holding my hand after I nearly walked into a tree, then a lantern, and then the edge of a house. He clutched the top of his manectric's mane with his other hand like always, his pokemon perfectly heeled.

    I was pretty out of it but I was sure everything would be back to normal in the morning.

    Then Megan looked at me in front of the pokemon center doors “You're the boy Lugia saved, aren't you?”

    It was more of a statement rather than a question. The girl went inside before I was able to say anything.

    I looked after her, feeling like I'd been stabbed. I wanted so badly to leave it behind and not have people know. My robes were billowing around from psychic energy I didn't know I had left.

    Matthew kept holding my hand. “It's okay, I'm sure shes just scared, not scared of you.”

    I looked up at him, damn him being 2 years younger than me and still so tall. His holding my hand was making me feel fuzzy and using too much power was making me fuzzy and I felt like hiding under a rock. But... “Everyone's not just going to forget Matt. And even if they did I can't forget, the accident at the Whirl Islands Temple changed me.”

    “Everything changes you, all the time, now lets go back to your apartment and have dinner, I set the rice cooker and got everything for a nice dinner to celebrate your first day as an apprentice shrine-keeper.” Matt was tugging me along to my apartment. I could feel him channeling his therapist some, but didn't object. “Do you want anything to make you feel better?”

    I realized I was shaking, tears running down my face. I wished I was Megan's age and Biasam was small enough for me to carry around and hug until he gave up trying to get free. “I don't know what I want! I don't know anything!”

    “Of course you do, the master of the Sprout Tower even let you train as a sage after all these years.” he was holding my shoulder “You'll do great.”

    “How can I? I was so sure I'd grow up and have my own shrine. Then I got to actually meet Lugia and I barely even remember.” I wiped my eyes and said what I wished I had the will to every single time someone looked at me differently since the accident “They expected me to have some profound insight from it, but I don't even know what happened to me! I just don't know!”

    Once I'd stopped clinging to him and sobbing we managed to settle into my tiny apartment for the dinner Matthew had set up. Rice and some curry made from berries was complete with the sake one of the sages had given me after the accident.

    I started on the rice with my chopsticks while Matt washed the only fork, which I only had for when he visited. Biasam stretched up on tiptoe of his stubby legs to get at the curry “Matt, I need to go find my vision!”

    “You what?” he said, holding a large purple berry from the curry in midair.

    “I'm going to travel and work until I know it. My vision. The thing so magnificent I have to build my shrine to it.”

    “Ben, the world you see is so beautiful you could build a shrine just to the sunsets from Sprout Tower.” Matt was grinning, longish blonde hair falling over his eyes.

    I blushed and looked into my empty little sake cup. He was making fun of me. “You can help me find it.” the world swam again. I realized I was falling to one side at some point after I was looking at the underside of my short table.

    “I'd love to help you find your magnificent thing Ben. Maybe you'll even make sense telling me about it in the morning. But I take it even if you've been invited to the sages' noon meditation, you'll still do your predawn meditation in the woods.”

    “Of course.” I tried to work out which direction was up, from where I lay on my floor.

    “Then you're going to bed. I'll hang around town awhile later because I don't have to be back in Goldenrod until like, noon, tomorrow.”

    Matt left and I rolled over so I lay on my back staring at the ceiling of my apartment. My vulpix curled up on Matthew's seat cushion. My poochyena climbed onto my stomach and walked in a circle before curling up there, and my bulbasaur just lay his head next to mine.

    “We're going to find somethin' to build my shrine to.” and I was asleep.
    3ds friend code
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  2. #2
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    Default

    From Johto With Love
    Chapter 2
    From Violet City

    I went into the woods a ways before finding a rock I liked. The mossy ones were a bit warmer and this was out of the way of the breeze. It was cold enough at five in the morning without it. I settled against it and tried to clear my mind.

    “They know.”
    “They wall know what you're going to do. What it means.”
    The voice is a whisper on my awareness.
    I'm falling a long way and there's a crash. My breath is knocked out of me and the water pulls me down right away. The whirlpools make it impossible to know which way is up. I'm flailing, sinking, drowning. I have an idea, I pull the bell off my neck. Its just a little charm. Everyone at the Whirl Islands Tower has one, it couldn't really call Lugia. But all the same, I use my telekinesis to throw it the way that might be up.
    I don't remember the pain of it anymore, just the part where everything is going blank in the pressure of deep water.
    Then two massive glowing eyes.

    I come out of it in a sweat. Or no, its just the dew. I brush off the pleated pants of my robe and head into town. It's barely six in the morning and I'm badly drained. I wish Matt could have come with me. It's how we met. He used to wander around the woods in the early morning from insomnia. I never realized how lonely the sleeping village was without him.

    The bright colors are coming out of the clouds as I head to Sprout Tower. Two boys wait outside for me, with their rattata and chikorita. I release Biasam, who grumbles at me for waking him until he notices the chikorita. I unlock the arched doors of the tower and there's a whine of hinges as they open. A poliwag dozing near the pond is startled and dives back in. The sound is like thunder in the cold morning.

    It's not hard to get them to wax the floors. They're too tired to bicker. I can even get my giant bulbasaur to help a little. I was surprised, it was nice to have them listen to me so well.

    Noon came quickly and the kids were done with work for the day. As they were leaving, the boy with the chikorita tugged my sleeve.

    “Daniel, right?” I asked.

    “Yeah, I uh. Probably should have remembered in the morning, but Megan said to tell you 'thank you'.”

    'Its nothing,” I say hurriedly “Is she-”

    “She stayed late at the center with Cinder-uhm, her cyndaquil. So she couldn't get up with us.”

    I nod, relaxed “It's nothing, I'm glad shes well.” his stammer didn't escape me. He's lying, but I don't begrudge scared children some sleep. “Tell her try again tomorrow.” goodwill is far more important than letting him think he's pulled one over on me.

    I head in and nearly run into my boss. He has a way of being where you least expect. I've thought he might be psychic too, but that's a personal question.

    “Master Lii!” I said. A slight bow to hide my surprise, “Good morning.”

    “Good morning.” he says. The sun glares off his bald head. He was seventy when I started coming here at thirteen. Actually that was only a rumor. There are also rumors some live to over one hundred fifty in this region where Celebi lives. “Are you proud of yourself?”

    “Master?” I said.

    “You managed to protect that Megan girl. ”

    “It would have been terrible not to.” I look away “It's just so dangerous sometimes...”

    “Children train so pokemon can protect them. Pokemon train so they can protect the children. Its why they fight everyday.”

    I look at him perplexed “But lots of adults are trainers. Or trainers start later than ten, like I finished middle school.” his bellsprout stood by his side.

    “That doesn't mean they need pokemon any less, or pokemon need them any less. Your flashy friend, Ian was it? He could levitate, but he could never battle on his own.”

    I nod, then think of something I've been meaning to say “Master Lii, I think Megan is scared of me.”

    Someone calls from inside the tower. We're needed for the noon meditation. He pats my shoulder and we bow slightly to each other. He moves inside, and starts up the stairs faster than should be possible for such an old man. This is the reaction I get every time I bring up my abilities in this way. Wait how did he know about my ex-boyfriend who can fly?



    The next week passes peacefully. The ice has come off the buds in the forest. The memory of Lugia doesn't come back. That is all I can remember, of meeting a god. The weeks where it doesn't repeat through my head until all my strength is gone, they're divine.

    After noon meditation, I was talking to a woman sage about how my family ran the old team Aqua lab as a tourist destination “And her wailord brings everyone in and out and-”

    “Benjamin! Its Falkner. He's here to see you.” a coworker calls from the level bellow.

    What I was just talking about flew out of my mind. I bow and mutter apology before running down the stairs. Gym Leader Falkner? Me? I race around the creaking tower. My vulpix can keep up with me, she hides the way she slips on the slick wood floor. I reach the bottom of the staircase to the ground floor and pause to catch my breath.

    Flying-type leader Falkner was in his blue robe, wrapped down at the wrists and ankles to keep it from blowing around. He waited by the bellsprout statues, talking to his pidgeotto.

    “Leader Falkner.” I said with a slight bow. “I hope I haven't kept you waiting.”

    “I wouldn't dare interrupt the sages noon meditation.” he bowed to me.

    I probably failed to keep the look of awe off my face. A gym leader waited for me. I've paused too long. I'm saved when his pidgeotto takes off from his wrist and settles on the banister around the tower near my vulpix.

    “You know the baltoy swarm?” Falkner asked “Its still here, I want to personally request you go out into the forest and push them back. I want to request time off for the expedition from Master Lii of course.”

    I spin around and my boss is right behind me.

    “It would be my pleasure.” said Master Lii. “Benjamin, will you take a week off to handle this?”

    I stood as straight and tall as I have in my life “Of course Leader Falkner, Master Lii.”

    Falkner smiled and nodded. His pidgeotto returned to his wrist. “And Ben, you should come by for a rematch sometime. Don't think I don't know full well I can use my team for trainers who've already got eight badges.”

    “I look forward to it.”

    As we say our goodbyes, Lii calls his bellsprout back to his side. I hadn't realized his pokemon had been talking with the pidgeotto too. My vulpix comes back to me, but only because the other pokemon have left.

    “A request from a gym leader!” she said excitedly, “We'll make something of you yet.”

    I ignore her jab. “What was Falkner's pidgeotto saying?”

    “Oh he's in it big time. Underestimated them and now one of his pidgey is hurt bad.”

    “Hmm.” I said. Falkner hadn't been hiding this. In a more formal conversation he would have withdrawn his pokemon. But sages are supposed to be humble, it wasn't necessary, “It would make him look pretty bad if he couldn't handle it.” I make a mental note to tell my pokemon not to say anything.

    ...

    There was the matter of how I lost my last battle with the baltoy swarm. I nearly fainted rather than the pokemon, but still. It was barely afternoon, so I started walking to Goldenrod City to see if I could recruit Matthew for this. He was also a psychic. He had no telekinesis yet, but he drew psychic types. I glanced around. The way he told me about it was kind of awful. Just thinking about it made me wonder if any little pink munna with their little black eyes were watching.

    In the park outside Goldenrod always had a steady supply of trainers. Most saw my robes and figured I was some kind of pacifist. They left me alone. But a girl in a knee length white dress looked me in the eye and held it. A challenge.

    “Hey! Your vulpix is so cute, we should battle.” she younger than Megan, maybe eleven, but more sure of herself. Her clefairy ran over and stared up at me with dark, wondering eyes.

    “You're a beauty trainer?” I asked, patting the pink puffball. Matsuri twinned around her legs.

    “Yep!” she fished in her purse for her trainer card.

    “Me too.” we traded trainer cards and she had a few badges marked off. I could have sent out my bulbasaur to destroy the fairy type, but he had nothing to learn from it. Besides I hadn't battled a beauty trainer with just cute pokemon in a long time. Biasam was larger than most ivysaur, cute didn't apply anymore.

    “Maybelle!” she called. Her clefairy left my side and ran out to the clearing by the fountain. “She just evolved after we beat Morty, so watch out.”

    “Morty is pretty cool.” I said with a smile, about the man who realized I was a psychic “Matsuri, work on your hidden power.”

    “Which way?” my vulpix called back. I had to trust that she wouldn't against a real opponent.

    “Wave.” I replied. My pokemon all knew hidden power, but Matsuri was a special gift from the psychics' school in Saffron City after the accident. Her hidden power was the strongest I'd ever seen.

    “Maybelle use charm.” she was looking at me a bit strangely. You aren't supposed to talk to pokemon in a battle, not like that anyway. It gave away that I wasn't taking her seriously, but she was just confused.

    The clefairy looked up at Matsuri cutely. There was a force behind the move. The vulpix reacted but didn't have to physically attack her, so it didn't seem to have an effect. Matsuri drew up a dozen balls of energy that spun around her until she feinted forward. The energy hit the ground and rolled in a wide wave to knock the clefairy back. The ground it touched glittered with frost.

    “Sing!” the girl ordered

    “Hidden power.”

    Matsuri jumped up to the rim of the fountain while the clefairy sang. The sound of the water countered the move easily. It was only popular with pokemon who could take a lot of hits before it worked properly. Still, the clefairy was weakening. Energy spun around Matsuri and released in a wave as she hopped back to the ground. The clefairy was knocked back again. We had been moving around the fountain as they fought. It was the center of a pokeball design made of grass.

    “Wish, then pound!”

    The clefairy clapped her paws together and sent a star shaped bit of twinkling energy into the mid afternoon sky. Matsuri hit her with another energy wave and sent her smashing into the side of the fountain. Then she jumped back up on the rim of the fountain. The clefairy's hand began to glow and she followed Matsuri. The vulpix ran around the edge of the fountain until she was opposite the clefairy and shot another hidden power in a single energy ball. The clefairy crashed into the high grass.

    “Maybelle!” the trainer ran to her pokemon, and returned her.

    Matsuri returned to my side and began to groom some of the spray of old fountain water from her fur. “She can really take some hits.” I offered in consolation. I was going to continue and say what impressive pokemon the vulpix had beaten, but couldn't think of any. Anne my poochyena had brought down a steelix, the proudest moment of her life. Though that had probably been surpassed by the weeks after the accident she spent throwing herself at Steven's metagross until she could beat its mega form.

    “Thanks.” she said looking at me curiously “You have a Hoenn trainer card. Where are you from?”

    “Lilycove City, but I grew up in Mossdeep.”

    “Oh how beautiful.” she released a pikachu, which stayed by her side. I had won the battle “I hope I'll see you again Beauty Trainer Ben!” she giggled and ran off into the grass.

    I waved and laughed at how long it had been since anyone had addressed me as a trainer. My trainer card made no mention of my being a psychic. Neither did any of the magazine spreads I'd modeled with Ian as a beauty trainer. Or the ones where I was just battling, as I had a tiny bit of fame after cute little Anne had beaten Olivia's steelix single-handedly. Then at fifteen I left it all to go to a fancy prep high school in Saffron City where Ian my then boyfriend went to the psychic trainer's school. I had a good run of it.

    ...

    I was still daydreaming as I walked through Goldenrod City. The late afternoon sun made the yellowish bricks that made up the walkways and most of the buildings turn golden. Matsuri kept going off to weave around people's feet, but always came back to me. Violet City was probably very empty to her compared to Saffron City.

    “Ben! I didn't know you were here.” Matt was waving from a side street I hadn't realized I was going down. There was a view of the global trade center, the shimmering glass building looked out of place. I wondered if it reminded Matt at all of his home in Nimbasa City, Unova. His parents had sent him here nearly a year ago now.

    “Hey I was looking for you.” I glance around. Matt's therapist was around here somewhere, but the single level yellow brick houses and offices looked identical. “Would you come out and hunt the baltoy swarm with me?”

    “Sure I... Well-” Matt was looked fixedly at a spot on top of a nearby house. The city makes him anxious. It would have been better to catch him home, at his aunt and uncle's pokemon day-care.

    “Jelly, shock wave.”

    The manectric picked up on where Matt was looking without even glancing up at him. Jelly sent a single bolt of barely arching electricity at the roof of the building. An espeon yowled, jumped down and ran off with a glare.

    “Sorry, Goldenrod is just crawling with those.” he said about espeon as if describing an infestation of slugs. He had been clutching the manectric as always when he attacked and was still unaffected.

    “Come fight the baltoy with me?” I reminded him.

    “Oh of course” he grinned “Its perfect timing, look what I got.” he fished a pokeball out of his nidorino graphic hoodie and hit the button.

    A snorunt materialized on the gold brick path. The blue eyes that peered out of a black mineral body were intelligent. Maybe sharper than Jelly, and Jelly was an older pokemon than any of mine. It shook under its yellow... Coat? Thinking of it as fur was more inviting. I'd heard they were lucky, but I interpreted it as the fae kind of luck you realize you really didn't want afterwords.

    “Her name is Yuki! She was supposed to go with the pokemon to be adopted but she follows me around like Jelly.” he picked up the rock-in-a-coat pokemon and hugged her “Lookit.” he said and put her in his hood to ride there.

    “Shes... Cute?” she made me uneasy instantly. I tried to shrug it off “I'm sure she'll be useful. If we go back to the Day-Care and pack fast enough I'm sure we can get back to my apartment before too long after sunset.”

    “Cool.” Matthew nodded and went along ahead of me. When I was sure both he and the snorunt weren't looking I withdrew my vulpix and sent out Biasam. He was the oldest of my pokemon. I trusted his judgment. “Matt's new snorunt is called Yuki. I want you to watch her.”

    The snorunt turned in Matt's hood to look at us. My bulbasaur just nodded his ascent.

    ...

    Like this, we set out into the forest. The walking became routine again to me. Nothing but trees and the movement of the sun. At night the dark was as absolute as I remembered. It made the trees tower like gods and there was suddenly a sea of stars again. The light of Goldenrod City stained the sky far out west.

    We talked some, but mostly just walked. It was eerie not seeing any other trainers. Kids were rarely interested in striking through random forest. There were plenty with marked paths, the wild pokemon population controlled for beginners, and very importantly, they weren't so lonely and imposing. A teenager would be more likely to try, but they would pick a more interesting place than right outside the first gym.

    By three days into the forest, we had been fighting progressively larger swarms of baltoy. We were happy with our progress, and certain we had done more than enough to rid Violet City of the pokemon. But something strange happened that day.

    At noon we were stopping for lunch. We had found a cobblestone clearing, with a neat raised fire-pit and everything. I got my bulbasaur to gather wood. Matthew hadn't noticed any psychic types in awhile. His manectric would roar away anything but the baltoy. It didn't strike me as unusual to find a man made structure out here. We had been walking on a path, though not a maintained one. I went next to the fire pit and used my power to make an energy ball in the coals. I had fire type hidden power, useful, but I had burned my hands terribly learning to use it.

    There was a whirring noise, like a top.

    “Something's wrong. Jelly, use howl.” Matt ordered, looking around tensely.

    “Biasam, ingrain.” I said

    His manectric howled in preparation for battle. My bulbasaur sent down roots, tilting aside the cobblestones so he could brace against attacks.

    The little fire went out and the forest was teaming with baltoy. Ahead of us in the clearing was a claydol, its many red eyes regarding us. I glanced around for where my other pokemon where and called them closer to us. The second a baltoy advanced I gave my orders “Matsuri, hidden power, Biasam, use razor leaf. Hit as many as you can.”

    “Yuki, blizzard. Jelly, ice fang.”

    Energy gathered around my vulpix and a wind picked up around the bulbasaur. The snorunt trembled before them and then blew ice and snow over a good portion of the horde. The manectric lunged at the claydol and bit it with sparking ice energy before it hovered higher and shook him off.

    The claydol pulsed and touched the ground slightly from its levitating. The soil bellow the stones rose in spikes striking Matsuri. She fought her way out but I took one look at her and returned her to her ball. She really was much weaker than the others.

    Anne saw this and flung herself at the claydol. She bit it roughly and there was a loud cracking noise before it threw her off. She landed on her feet and snarling.

    The others managed to beat back the baltoy. It soon became a four on one fight, which was fair compared to four to twenty-four. The cobblestones had been heaved, thrown around, and crushed except a small ring around Matt and I.

    “Anne, shadow sneak. Biasam, leech seed.”

    The poochyena vanished in dark energy and reappeared right next to the claydol to bite its arm viciously. Before Biasam could attack, it used earth power to send another set of soil spikes into the manectric. He hissed and retreated to Matt's side.

    Biasam shot huge seeds at the claydol that burst into small digging roots The claydol started spinning and flung them off, then smashed into the bulbasaur. He had been rooted to the ground and shrieked when he was torn away.

    “We need to run Ben.” he hissed in pain. He was scuffed all over from taking more hits than any of the others. One claw was torn from the uneven ground.

    I repeated to Matt and made a grab for his sleeve.

    He shook me off “Try that one more time, if Yuki can just aim-”

    “Let's go!” I said.

    The claydol was coming back in another rapid spin at Biasam. Anne appeared from another bit of dark energy and smashed into it, driving it to the ground.

    “Now!” Anne called.

    The huge bulbasaur glared at her and shot another round of leech seeds. This time it worked, the roots covered the claydol and snaked into the ground, binding it.

    “Yuki, go!” ordered Matthew. The snorunt shot an ice beam at it, blue-white energy arcing like lightning. It hit the ensnared pokemon directly and there was the sound of ceramic parts grinding together, a roar.

    The claydol stopped fighting the leech seed and crashed into the ground. The many eyes remained open.

    “Ben we really have to run.” said Biasam. It was an order and I trusted him more than enough. I returned him and made a break for it, trusting the others would follow.

    Then a boy stood in front of me and I had to stop. My pulse was racing like a cornered animal. He was flickering with psychic energy that made my hair stand on end. His skin had the matte finish of polished granite. I figured it was from the claydol's memory failing that detail. Then I realized with a chill down my spine that he was a painfully realistic statue.

    “He's just a projection.” I said, for Matt. This didn't calm him, he was clinging to his injured manectric.

    The stone boy looked at me, through me. The claydol had built this statue boy, though it wasn't right here. I looked back and wondered if I was dealing with a creature the same power level as the bellsprout who has grown into the pillar that supported Sprout Tower. A god.

    The projection blinked. A small smile and raise of his head to confirm my guess at his power. He turned to look at Matt and Jelly. The snorunt stood between the claydol and her trainer.

    Yuki made a sound like whistling wind and glared at the claydol with eyes flashing. The boy had moved from blocking me, and was standing between her and the claydol.

    I hadn't been sure the stone boy was going to respond until I noticed a ringing sound, pitched so I couldn't really hear. Yuki's voice came back, such a mournful sound I felt I would drown in it. When the ringing and Yuki's cry like howling wind stopped, I looked up and wondered if the sun had moved.

    Jelly barked and I came out of it, disoriented. I knew I was a crumby psychic, but after years with Anne I knew I could use her run away ability. Just as soon as my legs stopped feeling like they were made of stone.

    The manectric barked again and Matt looked between the two suddenly. “This was your first trainer, Claydol?”

    A hum, this time I could hear it entirely. Then he spoke, “It has been very long. I sent them out so they might meet children of their own. They might come back and I could see one again.”

    Yuki's whistle. Agreement?

    He was looking at me again. Matt had calmed, so I don't think he was seeing what I was. An ancient power that seemed to rise a long gone child. “The boy Lugia saved. Your power feels like his, your love of the calm sea.”

    I couldn't run yet. looked him in the eye, trembling. Anne pressed against my leg, “P-please leave Violet City alone. Its my home and one of yours hurt one of the children I have to protect.”

    A hint of surprise, without the intake of breath. Without the twitches of eyebrow muscles. Just a change in the air. The claydol began levitating again, the slight rising and falling of it looked like breathing. All the baltoy we defeated plus a dozen more were surrounding us. Ringing in various pitches, some ghosted past the range I could hear.

    A baltoy came to the clearing before the claydol. The stone boy looked ever so slightly displeased. He snapped his fingers and where there was a baltoy, there were levitating balls of clay. “I will make this one again. My thanks, Matthew and Yuki. And me and mine will stay away from your town... Benjamin.”

    The statue boy got on his knees and touched Yuki's face. She whistled.

    “You understand, it has been so long. You could stay.”

    A harsh wind began to blow, this time it wasn't just the snorunt's voice. A blizzard picked up in the cobblestone clearing with the little fire-pit. Everything was white and I wondered if the pokemon had just cast us blind, but it was cold. I got to my knees and clung to Anne because she was all I was sure was there. I shut my eyes and when I opened them the baltoy were gone. The claydol was gone. The clearing was covered in a couple feet of snow. The piles creaked and slid further into the forest. Matt stood and brushed the snow off himself. Jelly swam in it back to the forest, leaving red stains.

    When we were all out of it, cold but unharmed, Yuki stood on the snow. She walked up to Matthew and looked up at him with those intelligent blue eyes. He picked her up and put her in his hood like he usually did. I grabbed Matthew's hand and fled. The pile of snow became smaller behind us. I kept dragging us along until we'd made enough turns that even with sparse not-spring tree cover, we could see nothing of the place.

    When we stopped to rest, I released Biasam to take a better look at his injuries.

    The huge bulbasaur gave a kind of bark “Ben, translate for your friend who's treating that snorunt like a stuffed toy.” he was glaring, “That never happened. We never met a claydol who made a statue of his old trainer. Baltoy come from eggs with ditto, even in places where there have obviously never been any ditto. And there is no god. A few days walk. Outside Violet City.”

    Matt waited, having caught that Biasam was talking to all of us.

    “Biasam says that never happened. We beat up baltoy until we ran out of time and had to head back.” I translated while Biasam let me inspect his foot.

    “Hey Ben?” said Matthew.

    “Sorry, should I not have summarized it?” I said.

    “No its not that, I think I heard him speak.” Matt indicated his manectric, “He said about the same. And that his name is Livolt and never call him that name I made up from looking at the weird characters in his file ever again.”

    I stared at him. He had barely known the manectric a year. He wasn't even a trainer when he came to Johto. That said I couldn't remember having ever seen him separate from Livolt, who he clutched at all times like a guide pokemon. Plenty of kid trainers were clingy with their pokemon, but these two seemed to need each other.

    “Ha!” said Biasam “That's the first thing I'd say to you if you dared call me 'Bulby' or 'Fluffy' for a year.”



    That was that week I spent as a trainer again. We went back to Violet City, and left the sea of stars in the night sky. And I left my last bit of faith that my world hadn't turned completely upside-down a long time ago.
    3ds friend code
    1005-9176-3923
    currently breeding stealth rock larvitar
    ...
    I have a fanfic here~
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...ohto-With-Love

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