“Alright Kakashi, let’s try a Bubble attack,” Evangeline said, looking between the two Pokemon. This should be easy…
“Right!” The frog Pokemon took a deep breath, and blew out. The stream of bubbles wasn’t the fastest thing ever, but they still forced the Fennekin back a few steps with a cringe.
“Li’l Fen, use Tail Whip!” Shauna shouted, throwing her fist up in the air.
Evangeline rested her hand on her hip as she watched Kakashi stumble back away from the so-called attack. Really? Battle-debut with that move? She grinned. “Kakashi, use Bubble again!” she said confidently. If she judged things just right, she knew what would happen.
With a hop to get air, Kakashi blew out another stream of bubbles, and this time, the Fennekin had no where to back away from it. It gave a distressed yip, falling to its stomach and refusing to get back up. At this obvious sound of defeat, Kakashi ran up to Evangeline. She knelt down to greet him, immediately pulling him into a hug. “Good job,” she congratulated, even as Shauna called her Fennekin back to its Pokeball once sure it was going to be okay, at least till they could get to a Pokemon Center.
“Hey!” Shauna protested, catching their attention as she stomped her foot and pouted. “I wasn’t done watching my cute Li’l Fenn when you beat me!”
“Sorry?” Evangeline said, glancing down at Kakashi. He shook his head, and she agreeably pulled out his Pokeball so he could rest inside. Away from the incoming drama fest.
“It’s all right…” Shauna said, kicking the ground. “I guess I just got too excited…” She held out her hand, containing some of the coins they spent around her. It was custom that after a battle, the loser offered some reward to the winner.
“No hard feelings?” Evangeline checked as she accepted the coins, slipping them into her back pocket for now.
Shauna shook her head hard enough that her pigtails slapped around. “No hard feelings. You were amazing, Ladybird!” she assured with a sheepish shrug. “I’ll let you go, say hi to your mom for me!” She waved and ran back in the direction of the courtyard.
Sighing, Evangeline shook her head. “She’s not my mom,” she muttered, and turned to walk back down the Pathway towards Vaniville Town. It was just as peaceful as last time, and she still thought the gardens were pretty.
Vaniville was still the quaint little suburb it had seemed last night, with villagers talking among each other. She hoped Aunt Aya hadn’t been walking on the garden walls again… Back at the school, it didn’t raise any eyebrows, but here? The gossips would have a hay-day.
Nidoqueen was thankfully asleep in the front garden, so Evangeline made sure to be extra-quiet on her way back inside. She leaned against the front door with a relieved sigh as soon as she was safely indoors. Which of course, immediately got her great-aunt’s attention. “So, what did you and the neighbor kids end up doing?” she asked, from the couch.
“Not a whole lot,” Evangeline hedged, walking towards her nervously.
Unfortunately, Aunt Aya’s eyes were still sharp, even at her age. She stood up immediately opposite of Evangeline, taking her in from head to toe, before focusing on the new addition to her bag’s strap. “Wait one second! Is that a Pokeball you have there?”
Sheepish, Evangeline managed a quick nod, clutching at her bag strap. She knew what everyone else would be immediately asking. What type of Pokemon was it, whose footsteps was she following in, etc.
But not Aunt Aya. There was a reason she was Evangeline’s favorite relative. “You got your very own Pokemon!” she squealed in excitement, pulling the teenager into a tight hug. “You’re a Pokemon trainer now, too. Congratulations!”
“Thanks, Aunt Aya,” Evangeline said quietly, returning the hug with all her might.
“You are more than welcome,” Aunt Aya said warmly, pulling back. “Now, can I meet your new friend?”
Nodding, Evangeline clicked the button on the Pokeball, opening the lid so the beam of light could flash out. Kakashi landed on the throw pillow with a thump, and while he looked startled at first, he immediately relaxed. “Oooh, I like this spot…” he said sleepily.
“Don’t fall asleep now, Kakashi,” Evangeline teased. “You need to meet my great-aunt.”
“Huh?” Blinking, he rubbed at his eyes and sat up. “I thought we were taking a letter to your mom?”
Evangeline shook her head. “No, the letter is for Aunt Aya.”
“Huh? A letter for me?” Aunt Aya pointed at herself as she blinked in surprise. Evangeline reached into her bag and pulled it out to hand to her great-aunt. Aunt Aya spun it around in her hands, looking at it from every angle before opening it. “It says it’s from somebody named Sycamore. What could it be?” Her eyes closed to half-mast, and she hid her lower face behind the envelope. “A love letter?”
“Aunt Aya!” Evangeline whined in embarrassment, covering her own face with her hands. Kakashi started to laugh.
“Wow, what lovely handwriting…” Aunt Aya wasn’t deterred in the slightest, holding the envelope up to her forehead with a dramatic pose. It also revealed the mischevious smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
Evangeline whacked at her arm, making the smile turn to full-on laughter. “Aunt Aya, it’s from the local professor!” she said, fighting her own laughter to try and be serious. “He meant to contact Mom or Dad, but since everyone is assuming you are my mother…”
“Ha, like you’re old enough to be mine,” Aunt Aya teased, but at least stopped carrying on like it was a letter from an admirer. “No, poor Professor Sycamore didn’t know he’d have to call all the way to Violet City or Fuchsia City to reach your parents. Let’s see what he has to say, hm? Since I am their stand-in.”
“Only because Mom is paranoid,” Evangeline muttered, flopping down to sit next to Kakashi.
Without even needing to look away from the letter, Aunt Aya gave her a whack to the head. She also ignored Evangeline’s hiss of pain, talking to herself as she read, “Hmm, what do we have here? A request… Oh, I see!”
Folding the letter with a firm nod, Aunt Aya took a pose that Evangeline was far too familiar with. Groaning, she pulled the brim of her hat down. “Oh boy, here we go…” she mumbled. “Brace yourself.”
Kakashi tilted his head. “Huh? What do you–”
“Evangeline!” Aunt Aya barked, fire in her eyes. “We’ve barely unpacked, and all kinds of exciting things are happening! Okay, let’s get you and Kakashi ready for your journey!” She ran to her room, and immediately started yelling out as she found things in what she considered a standard kit.
“Come on upstairs to my room so I can pack for real,” she whispered at Kakashi. He grinned and hopped behind her upstairs.
It was much less work to pack, and more effort to assure her aunt that no one carried throwing stars in Kalos, or many other things that Aunt Aya tried to push on her. Sometimes, it was so obvious that her great-aunt never left the school for a journey of her own. Her sleeping bag attached to the bottom of her shoulder bag, and everything else was in easy access.
“Here you are, Evangeline,” Aunt Aya brought one last little gift upstairs. Before Evangeline could protest, she added, “Your mom specifically asked that I made sure you had it. She packed it herself!”
That pulled her up short. Curious, Evangeline opened the white plastic case, and managed a small smile at the carefully organized innards. She felt oddly touched by her mom’s thoughtfulness. This time, she packed Aunt Aya’s offering in the medicine pocket of her bag. “There, that should be it…” she said, zipping up the various pockets.
“My, what an unexpected turn of events,” Aunt Aya said with a sigh, looking around the room. It wasn’t the most decorated of places, with them just having moved, but there were still little signs that it belonged to the teenager. Pictures and posters, mostly. “I can hardly believe it,” she continued when Evangeline didn’t say anything. “You made friends. You met your Pokemon. And now you get to take a lap around Kalos.”
“It’s everything I’d hoped to do here,” Evangeline admitted, and then laughed a little. “If faster than what I planned. I can’t wait for Dad to call to check in next week and you tell him I’m already gone.”
“I can,” Aunt Aya drawled. “Oh and don’t forget this, I picked it up for you at the store earlier.” She held up a paper version of a map. Evangeline took it and unfolded it, revealing to be a complete map of the Kalos region. She reflexively looked to the wall, where scattered among the wall hangings was a world map, as well as up-close maps of both the Johto and Kanto regions. Yes, she definitely needed the update.
Aunt Aya wasn’t done yet though. She put her hands on Evangeline’s shoulders, forcing her to look up at her. Her eyes were completely serious, almost contradicting the gentle smile on her ruby lips. “I don’t know what this Professor Sycamore wants you to see on your trip, but taking a journey with your Pokemon is really a wonderful experience. Enjoy it, okay?”
Swallowing past the lump in her throat, Evangeline managed a quiet nod. Her aunt pulled her in for one last hug, and then gave her a push towards the stairs. With a wave over her shoulder, Evangeline took off down them, hearing Kakashi catch up with her and jump up on to her shoulders, paws on her hat so he could leverage himself a view up. Rather than call him down, she just laughed her way out the door.
They barely made it three strides, and big, dusky blue arms were picking her up in a hug. “Evangeline!” Nidoqueen sobbed, giving her a bear hug as she swung the human around. “I can’t believe you are leaving on your first journey!”
“I’m going to miss you too,” Evangeline said awkwardly, patting the arm holding her tight. “Down, please.”
“Hahaha, what a card!” Aya laughed from the doorway. Reluctantly, Nidoqueen set the human teenager down, wiping away the big tears at the corner of her eyes. Aya walked up to her Pokemon, patting her on the elbow. “I guess Nidoqueen wanted to give you a big send off for your journey. Well, she has known you since you were born, after all.”
Evangeline pulled the frazzled Kakashi into her arms. “It’s alright,” she said with a smile, giving her aunt a bow in the style of their homelands. She then turned and ran out the gate.
Regardless of propriety, Aunt Aya followed her out the gate to stand in the street and yell after her. “Good luck, Evangeline. Go for broke, and don’t worry! You’ll have Pokemon by your side, so you’ll be fine!”