Road to Disillusionment [Serebii Yuletide 2016, One Shot]
This was written for Serebii Yuletide 2016 as a gift for Psychic. Caitlin's one of the characters she's interested in, so I went ahead and used a few prompts that mentions her. I also know she loves Meowstic, so I snuck in an appearance for her haha. Psychic did a cute short ficlet of Caitlin, so I tried to have my version of her controlling her powers done differently. Thanks to Bardothren for his excellent beta and suggestions! More commentary after the story.
Undella Town, the town of rippling waves. In the summer people would sunbathe in the beach’s shore and rush in and out of the shops, but Caitlin preferred it in the spring when the streets were less crowded with the tourists’ chattering and the wind whistled between the quiet buildings. She always loved the crisp ocean breeze, the waves crashing onto the sand, and the sunlight caressing her skin. Shortly after she and Shauntal had arrived on the port, Caitlin’s butler, Mel, was there with a car to take them to her villa.
“So this is one of your many villas you go to on your vacations?” Shauntal asked during the car ride.
Caitlin nodded. “My father came from Unova, so this villa and his Pokémon had been passed down to me. However, I didn’t get to travel that region until after I left the Battle Frontier.”
“Ah, I see. You told me before you let Cynthia use it. Why does she come during the off season?”
“She often comes here for research, and speaking of which we should see her within a few days.”
“That would be lovely! And I think I prefer us coming here now so that I can focus on my writing without any distractions.”
A teasing smile pulled on the corners of Caitlin’s lips. “I take it the setting for your next story will be a beach?”
“Maybe,” Shauntal said with a chuckle.
“Oh, Lady Caitlin,” Mel then said. “Before we enter the villa, there’s actually a guest waiting.”
“A guest? So Cynthia’s there already?”
“Not her. Your guest wants their identity to be a surprise.”
“A mystery guest, huh?” Shauntal tapped a finger on her chin. “Maybe it’s one of the gym leaders or a trainer we battled before?”
Caitlin responded that either of those assumptions was possible, then she gazed out of the window. The sparkling ocean up ahead stretched over the horizon, the waves continuing to hit the sands. By the time the car drove uphill and through the looming trees, they passed by the unoccupied villas with the parking lots being empty and no one outside. Several Rattata and Pidove were scattering around, either on trees or in bushes.
It wasn’t long until they finally reached Caitlin’s villa. The car parked in front of a large two story house with several windows on all sides and a red roof. The two women got out once Mel opened the door for them, then he led them inside the house and through the hall.
“Oh my, this is a charming living room you have there,” Shauntal said, her mouth and eyes wide, when they stepped inside the living room. The furniture and coffee table sat comfortably in the middle while there was a bar and stools on the side next to the cabinet filled with chinaware. Several small paintings of various style were hung on the walls.
“Thank you,” Caitlin said, smiling a little. “I have to thank Mel for keeping this place neat during my absence.”
“That’s very generous of you to say that, Lady Caitlin,” Mel said. “However, for today the guest I told you about insisted in keeping the place tidy upon your arrival.”
Caitlin raised an eyebrow over the mention of the guest again. “Oh, and who might that be?”
“I take it you didn’t expect me to visit you like this,” someone else said. Caitlin gasped.
Coming from another room, a man dressed in a nice suit stepped inside to reveal himself. He held out his watch in one gloved hand, his other one pushing his glasses on the bridge of his nose. His dark gold-streaked hair was kept neat and slick.
“Darach…” she said in a soft voice, stunned.
“Wait, this is Darach?” Shauntal asked, her eyes wide. “The one you worked with during your time in the Battle Frontier?”
"Castle Valet Darach, at your service." Darach bowed at both ladies, and Caitlin couldn't help but smile a little.
"You're certainly correct that your arrival here caught me off guard. You haven’t changed a bit, not even your hair,” Caitlin told him, which made Darach chuckle.
"If you must know, I came here to see how you're doing. When you mentioned in one of our phone calls that you acquired a villa in Unova, I simply have to take a look." Facing Shauntal, he said, "You must be Shauntal, yes? I read one of your novels, 'Specks of Silver and Gold'. I do love your own spin on Johto's lore."
"Oh, why thank you." Shauntal grinned. "It always pleases me hearing someone appreciate my work."
Darach nodded, then his eyes met Caitlin’s. "Why don't we catch up with some tea? Preferably at the gazebo?"
"I would like that very much," Caitlin said after some consideration. It had been a while since they talked one another due to their busy lifestyle, and today was as good as any to do that.
On the back, the gazebo gave out a perfect view of the raging ocean being lit by the sun’s rays and there was a cool breeze outside. Mel had everything prepared, so everyone gathered around a round table with cups of tea in hand. Darach talked about some of the battles he had in the Battle Castle, and from the sound of his stories he seemed to be doing well for himself. Caitlin and Shauntal were also mentioning their time in the Elite Four.
"And right after that battle with Champion Iris, I got inspired to work on another story based on our battle. One of my favorite parts..." Shauntal flipped through the pages of her small journal, her finger pointing at the part she was looking for. "She was down to her last Pokémon. As she shuddered a deep breath, Iris's fingers danced around the pokéball's cold surface. The girl closed her eyes, and she let herself hear the cry of her dragons, vibrating every core of her body."
"That does sound like it'll be something I would enjoy," Darach said, looking pleased. He took a sip of his second cup.
"Iris's dragons are not only powerful, they hold an air of elegance when they fight, too,” Caitlin said after she finished her own cup. Mel went and poured more tea onto her cup.
“I have no doubt that would be case.” Darach gulped more of his tea, then settled the cup down. “Earlier you mentioned having a new Pokémon on your team. May I have a look at her?”
“Oh, you mean Meowstic? That isn’t a problem at all.” Caitlin bounced out of her seat and moved a few steps away from Shauntal and Darach. Pulling out the pokéball from her dress’s pocket, she said, “Meowstic, grace our guests with your entrance!”
She launched the pokéball in the air, and Meowstic burst out. The cat Pokémon mewed and curtsied. Meowstic then approached Shauntal and Darach, with Darach petting her forehead.
“This is a lovely Pokémon you have here,” Darach said as he continued stroking Meowstic’s white fur. A satisfied purr escaped from her throat.
“She is, indeed,” Shauntal said, and nodded. “They work very well together.”
“Thank you very much,” Caitlin said. When Meowstic came back to her, she scratched her Pokémon’s chin. “While traveling to Unova, she was abandoned in the alleyways of Castelia City, so I picked her up and let her join me.” She returned Meowstic back to her pokéball, then headed back to her seat.
“That’s very noble of you, Lady Caitlin. I’m sure Meowstic is in good hands.” Darach cupped his hand on his chin, his elbow propping on the table. “I take it you’ve been enjoying being the Elite Four so far? Upon you accepting this new path, I was worried it would be hard for you to control your temper.”
“Are you referring to Caitlin’s psychic powers?” Shauntal asked. “She told me and the others about it not long after joining us.”
Caitlin’s gaze fell onto her tea, her hands folded on the table. “It has its ups and downs, and there were times where I almost lost my cool. But yes, overall I’ve been enjoying it very much.”
Darach offered her a satisfied smile. “That’s good to hear, I’m glad that you’re well.” Rising from his seat, he then said, “This has been a lovely time with the both of you, but I must be going now.”
“Aw, leaving so soon?” Shauntal said, frowning.
“I’m afraid so. I had someone else looked over both Battle Castles while I’m gone, but I don’t intend to stay here long. I look forward to our next meeting, ladies.”
Caitlin watched as Darach made his leave. Her eyes flickered, and her fingers traced around the rim of her cup. She thought back to what he had said earlier concerning her powers, and that caused her to jump out from her seat.
“Darach, wait,” Caitlin called out. Darach halted, and both Shauntal and Mel tossed her funny looks. “Before you go, I have one request for you. I want us to have one battle so that you can see how far I’ve come since my days in the Battle Castle.”
A few seconds passed until Darach turned around, smiling at her.
“If that is what my ladyship wishes, then I accept.”
“Oh, a battle? This should be exciting,” Shauntal said and clapped her hands.
“If a battle is to take place, I volunteer to be a referee and oversee it,” Mel said, with Caitlin responding that would be fine.
Darach helped Mel with putting the tea away, then once that was done everyone headed to the backyard. There was already a large battle court there where Caitlin would have her battles with Cynthia whenever she visited. She and Darach were on opposite sides while Mel and Shauntal watched from the sidelines.
“What kind of battle do you fancy?” Darach asked, one hand on his side.
“How about a double battle, two Pokémon each? Whoever has at least one Pokémon still standing wins.”
“Sounds good to me. Without further ado, let’s get started! En grande!”
Darach snatched two pokéballs from the pockets of his vest, tossing them in the air. Two streams of light burst out and his Gallade and Empoleon were released. Both of his Pokémon cried out in excitement. Gallade crossed his arms like a swordsman while Empoleon puffed up his chest and stomped his webbed feet on the ground.
“Gallade and Empoleon, huh? Mushrana, Gothitelle, go show them your elegant moves!”
Caitlin threw her pokéballs next, letting out her Musharna and Gothitelle. Gothitelle held her hands together and bowed, and next to her Musharna spun around. They too cheered.
“The double battle between Castle Valet Darach and Elite Four Caitlin is about to commence,” Mel said, then his hand sliced down the air. “Begin!”
Darach started off first by ordering his Empoleon to use Aqua Jet at Gothitelle and Gallade to hit Musharna with Night Slash. Empoleon surrounded himself with torrential water and shot himself at Musharna just as Gallade charged at Gothitelle, his arms clouded in a dark aura.
“Musharna, Zen Headbutt before Empoleon hits you,” Caitlin called out. “Gothitelle, stop Gallade with Dark Pulse!”
Before Gallade could close to Gothitelle, she fired a beam of purple and black circles swirling together that hit and scorched Gallade’s chest. He shook that attack off and sprinted at her with his arms stretched out, but Gothitelle dodged his swipe. While that was happening, Musharna’s forehead glowed and she rushed towards Empoleon, ramming onto his forehead. Both were then pushed back, Empoleon landing on the ground but with wobbling steps.
“All right, now use Thunderbolt at Empoleon, Gothitelle. Musharna, Shadow Ball go!”
Musharna spitted out a crimson ball at Gallade before he had a chance to make his next move and it smacked him on the face, this time knocking him off balance. A wave of electricity draped Gothitelle’s body and lightning struck down onto Empoleon. The penguin Pokémon screeched in pain.
“Go, Caitlin!” Shauntal cheered from the sidelines, pumping her hand up in the air.
“Marvelous my ladyship, but I’m just getting started,” Darach said, smirking. “Empoleon, cover the battle with Mist. Gallade, Double Team then strike either Pokémon.”
Empoleon opened his mouth, breathing out a thick white cloud that surrounded the battlefield and the Pokémon within. Caitlin squinted through the mist but could only see fleeting shadows. She was about to order her next set of attacks, but then gasped in shock when she saw Mushrana flew out of the mist screaming. She dropped in front of her, and there was a deep gash on Mushrana’s side.
“Mushrana, are you all right?” Caitlin asked in concern, picking her up. Mushrana hummed a yes, let go from her arms, then floated back up. Caitlin’s lips curled to a smile. “Good. Use Dazzling Gleam to make the mist disappear. Gothitelle, Future Sight and keep an eye out for any upcoming attacks.”
Even though Caitlin couldn’t see, she could hear Gothitelle’s hum and a few wormholes appeared in the sky. Electrified psychic energy then shot through those and the wormholes closed. Meantime, a bright light emitted from Mushrana’s body and rainbow rays burst out as she twirled around. The mist soon disappeared, revealing Gothitelle blocking Empoleon’s flipper with her arms and several Gallade gathered around the battlefield. Gothitelle rammed Empoleon’s chest with her forehead, and her opponent skidded in the opposite direction. Empoleon was able to stop himself by digging his flipper on the ground, kicking up a cloud of dust.
As all of this unfolded, Caitlin spotted Darach staring at his pocket watch. She wondered what he could be planning. There was also the many Gallade her Pokémon had to deal with. She pursed her lips.
“Dark Pulse, Gothitelle, quickly! Mushrana, help out.”
“Gallade, Night Slash,” Darach countered. “Provide back up, Empoleon.”
Gothitelle once more hurled a beam of dark energy at the several Gallade, each one disappearing. One of the Gallade stretched out his arm filled with dark aura and hurried at Gothitelle. Mushrana acted fast by spitting a Shadow Ball at him, but he too turned out to be a clone. While Mushrana was baffled over what just happened, Empoleon jumped up and whacked her hard with his metallic flipper. At the same time, the real Gallade slashed Gothitelle’s back twice, leaving large cuts, and she cried out in pain.
Caitlin looked on in panic. It was then a headache pounded inside her head, and she touched her forehead. Her heart started to race faster, too. Darach raised a concern eyebrow.
“Is something the matter, Lady Caitlin?” he asked. Before responding, Caitlin inhaled.
“I’m fine.” It shouldn’t be more than a headache, she had hoped. “Mushrana, put Gallade to sleep with Hypnosis. Gothitelle, hit Empoleon with Thunderbolt like before.”
Darach twitched his lip in skepticism, but nonetheless he gave his next order of attacks. “Close your eyes and use Aerial Ace, Gallade. Empoleon, go ahead with Dig.”
Mushrana’s eyes glowed blue as she attempted to look straight at Gallade. Gallade shut his own eyes that instant and rushed at her, their bodies colliding together. This time, Mushrana crashed onto a tree and slid down. Gothitelle didn’t land a hit either as when she blasted jolts of electricity at Empoleon, he burrowed underneath the ground, avoiding the assault. Caitlin warned Gothitelle to watch out, and she did by swinging her body around constantly. But some seconds later Empoleon popped back up and rammed onto Gothitelle. She flew up in the air, then plummeted on the ground herself.
“Are you two all right?” Caitlin called out. She watched as her Pokémon struggled to get back up. They nodded at her, though she could hear their deep panting and they seemed worn out. Dirt and cuts covered their bodies. She then looked at Darach, who was watching his pocket watch once more.
“I think it’s about time,” he said, and snapped his pocket watch shut. “Gallade, get ready with a Quick Guard!”
Caitlin’s eyes grew wide in confusion. It wasn’t until the wormholes reappeared did she fully grasp what Darach was doing. Psychic energy shot right out form the wormholes, targeting at Darach’s Pokémon. Gallade crossed his arms, and a red barrier surrounded both him and Empoleon. That caused the psychic blasts to bounce off from the shield. The barrier then faded away, neither Pokémon being scratched.
“Oh, you were using your watch to wait out the exact moment Gothitelle’s Future Sight will strike,” Shauntal said, pointing her finger up.
“Exactly,” Darach said with a proud smile.
Caitlin bared her teeth, her nails digging into her palm. She had seen him use that trick once or twice before back in the Battle Castle, and had forgotten about it until now.
At that moment, that headache from earlier came back in full force. For so long, she held off that psychic energy that wanted to be released like a volcanic eruption. She squeezed her eyes shut and dropped to her knees. Her ragged breathing got harder to control.
She heard frightened voices from Mel, Shauntal, Darach, but the vibration in her head made it hard for her to understand them clearly. This was like the few instances she had battled against Cynthia and got frustrated. Caitlin began inhaling and exhaling, like she had done several times before whenever this happened, but her powers continued to shatter through her bones.
While Caitlin kept focusing on her breathing, there was humming from two voices and a warm aura overtaking her. The soothing chime of bells was also made. Breathed in, breathed out. Caitlin opened her eyes, and Mushrana and Gothitelle were in front of her with worried looks. The others also gathered around them, including Darach’s Pokémon.
“Gothitelle, Mushrana… did you two used Heal Bell on me?”
The pair nodded, and their faces softened. A small smile formed on Caitlin’s lips.
“Thank you, I can always count on the both of you,” she said and wrapped her arms around her Pokémon. This wasn’t the first time they did this to her, but she appreciated it nonetheless.
“Thank goodness you’re alright,” Shauntal said. “We were all worried your powers would get out of control.”
Caitlin let go of her Pokémon. She hung her head down, frowning. “I’m sorry. I’m able to handle my powers better than before, but I can still break on occasion.”
“There’s no need to apologize, my ladyship,” Darach said. “It’s my fault for putting too much pressure on you during our battle. If you want, we can stop and I’ll make my leave.”
Shifting her head away, Caitlin considered Darach’s offer. A part of her felt perhaps it was best if she didn’t overexert herself and to rest. She gazed at her Pokémon, and though they were tired she could tell from their hard stares that they weren’t done just yet.
“No, that won’t be necessary.” Caitlin stood up, facing back at Darach. “I want to finish our battle the proper way.”
Darach furrowed his eyebrow at her, then he chuckled. “Very well, then. Let us get ourselves back in position.”
Caitlin, Darach, and their Pokémon went back to their respective sides. Each of the Pokémon readied their battle stances. Mel yelled out the battle between the two shall commence once more.
“Gallade, Double Team once more. Empoleon, Aqua Jet at Gothitelle.”
Gallade made a pose, and several of him encircled the battlefield. Like before, a stream of water cloaked all over Empoleon’s body and he crashed onto Gothitelle. She stumbled on the ground, but was able to pick herself up right after. Her body wobbled for a moment.
“Dazzling Gleam at Empoleon and all the Gallade, Mushrana.”
As the Gallade were rushing at Mushrana, her body glowed and the rainbow rays erupted right out from her. The rays showered at all the clones, then when the real Gallade got hit, he screeched and halted. Empoleon used his flippers to block himself from the attack, but he too got struck on his legs and below his stomach.
Darach glared at Caitlin and grunted. He next ordered Empoleon to use Steel Wing on Gothitelle while Caitlin directed her to use Psychic. Empoleon’s flipper let out a metallic gleam and he charged at his opponent. Gothitelle, however, closed her eyes and clapped her hands together. Before Empoleon could touch her, he was raised up in the air and screeched when he struggled to get out. Gothitelle used her telekinesis to slam him onto the backwall of the villa, knocking him out. Having exerted a lot of energy, Gothitelle sighed and her arms slacked.
“Wonderful work there, Gothitelle,” Caitlin said in satisfaction, and Gothitelle cheered. Still, she knew this wasn’t over yet.
“Empoleon is unable to battle,” Mel declared, raising his hand up. Darach returned his Pokémon, smirking.
“I may have just one Pokémon now, but you shouldn’t underestimate me.” He then snapped his fingers. “Gallade, Night Slash at Gothitelle.”
Gallade sprinted off at Gothitelle, and she froze. Caitlin opened her mouth, but before she could say a command Mushrana was the first to act by floating in front of her partner and took Gallade’s assault instead. Another gash opened on her side, and with a cry she dropped towards the ground. Mushrana didn’t get up.
Caitlin returned Mushrana back in her pokéball. Her hands started to tremble, her heartbeat quickened, and the fierce energy that had been almost awoken stirred inside her once more. Caitlin’s eyes then met Gothitelle’s, her Pokémon offering her a gentle smile. She nodded and took deep breaths just as before.
In and out, in and out. She imagined being robed in that pleasant aura and the bells chiming. Her heartbeat started to slow down and her muscles less tense. Caitlin opened her eyes, and she gazed down at Mushrana’s pokéball with a soft smile.
“I’m proud of you, Mushrana, you deserve some rest,” she said before tucking it away in her dress’s pocket. Caitlin then looked at Darach, who had been waiting what she would do next. “I’m not done just yet, either.”
Darach smiled. “Good. I thought for a moment you would change your mind. All right then, let us go on all out!”
Caitlin hummed in agreement. “Gothitelle, Shadow Ball!”
“Hit it with Ice Punch!”
Gothitelle threw the crimson ball at Gallade, but icy mist formed around the blade Pokémon’s hand and he punched the incoming attack. Upon impact, the Shadow Ball turned into ice and broke into several shards. Caitlin glanced at Shauntal and Mel, the both of them unable tear their eyes off the glitter that sprinkled the battlefield.
“Ice Punch again!”
“Dark Pulse, now!”
While Gallade was charging at Gothitelle with a raised icy fist, she blasted the Dark Pulse straight onto him. He flinched and dropped on one knee, then he picked himself up through gritted teeth and with one of his arms trembling. He was able to launch himself back onto Gothitelle, punching her face with his Ice Punch. Gothitelle yelled in pain and crashed on the ground. She floundered getting back up, her breathing ragged.
“Finish now Aerial Ace!” Darach commanded, sweeping his arm up in the air.
Caitlin didn’t get a chance to blink when Gallade already slammed Gothitelle onto the villa’s wall, similar to what her Pokémon did to Empoleon before. Gothitelle collapsed when she hits the ground.
“Gothitelle is unable to battle,” Mel declared, raising his hand up. “The winner of this battle is Castle Valet Darach.”
Those words echoed through Caitlin’s brain like water ripples. She clenched onto her dress, and her shoulders grew tense. Her powers started to arouse from its slumber again, but she refused to let it win over. She inhaled and exhaled like before. In and out, in and out. She released her grip, and the stiffness in her shoulders lax. Calm and collected now.
Caitlin rushed to Gothitelle’s side. She bent down, cradling Gothitelle against her chest.
“Gothitelle, are you all right?” she asked. Groaning in pain, Gothitelle offered her a weak smile. Caitlin embraced her tighter. “You did beautiful out there.”
“Indeed she did put on a great show. Both of your Pokémon did.”
Caitlin gasped, and she gazed up to see Darach and Gallade in front of her. A wide grin lit up Darach’s face, and she caught herself smiling, too. After Caitlin recalled Gothitelle in her pokéball, Darach helped her get back up.
“Your Pokémon have been graceful themselves.” She patted Gallade’s forehead, which made him croon.
“I’m honored to hear that from you, my ladyship.” Darach’s grin then faded. “Do you remember what I had told the Battle Castle challengers often?”
A lump formed inside Caitlin’s throat. She reflected back to the times when she watched over the battles in the Battle Castle on her throne, and each time a trainer lost Darach would console them.
“That having everything go your way is the road to disillusionment. That there’s a difference between the possible and the impossible.”
“Correct. I can tell you were upset at first when I was gaining the upper hand, but you didn’t lose your ideals in the end.” He gazed at Gallade, who nodded at him, then returned his Pokémon to his pokéball. Darach faced back at her. “What’s more important is you strive for a better performance next time.”
“I’ll keep that in mind from now on,” Caitlin said, her smile returning. “I’m glad we did this battle.”
“As do I.” He and Caitlin shook hands.
“That battle there has been a joy to watch, it inspired me new story ideas,” Shauntal said as she and Mel joined them. “And what you two said about road to disillusionment? That’s a great line there, I should jolt it down so I don’t forget.” With her pen and journal in hand, she began writing. Amused by that, Darach chuckled.
“You have my permission to use that in any of your writings.” He stopped to glance at his watch. “I believe I must make my leave this time. May we have another battle in the foreseen future, my ladyship. And perhaps then I will also have the courage to…” His cheeks started to blush, and he shifted his head away from Caitlin. “You know what, forget I said that last part.”
Caitlin raised her eyebrow over Darach’s behavior at first, then her face softened. “Another battle with you would be lovely, and next time I’ll pull a victory with elegance,” she said, and Darach regained his composure. “I wish you a safe journey home.”
“I will.” Darach offered her an appreciative smile and bowed.
Everyone waved at one another goodbye. Darach made his leave, and Caitlin watched as his back grew more distant from her sight.
“Darach’s right that you pulled through from your powers in the end,” Shauntal said. Behind her, Mel nodded.
“I have to thank my Pokémon for that. I would’ve been lost without them.” Caitlin gazed up at the skies, the sun just about to set. She would keep Darach’s words to good use. Her powers would never disappear, but as long as she had her Pokémon by her side, she could get through this.
More Author commentary
I admit to being unsure of this idea because when I finished the first draft of this story I realized Darach could techinically be counted as a Sinnoh character and his team is primarily Sinnoh Pokemon. The Battle Frontier characters from Platinum also made a comeback in HG/SS, so that's what threw me off. Can't use Houndoom as that'll put him at a slight advantage oh my gosh. However, since Caitlin first came from the Battle Frontier and she mentioned Darach a few times in BW/B2W2, I went ahead and rolled with this. And yes, that's where I got the title for this story from.
One other thing that's on my mind is when this should take place. Caitlin's development went from her being impatient in the 4th gen games and BW to more humbled in B2W2. As mentioned in the story, Caitlin wanted to prove Darach that she got her powers under control, but that backfired and she almost relapsed. In the end I decided to have this happen somewhere after BW and before B2W2
For one particular part, the Future Sight scene, I admit to having some inspiration from the XY Pokemon anime, particularly the one where Ash battles Olympia. I watched that episode because I originally considered going with Psychic's prompt for Meowstic, but my muse had other ideas. I don't agree Ash using Pikachu in that case, but I noticed Darach's official art he carries a watch and this idea pops up. My beta thought it's clever, haha.
Last edited by Bay; 28th December 2016 at 1:13 AM.