Backtracking across Route 1 and the south end of Aquacorde Town, Evangeline didn’t linger. Down the steps, she found that while the town didn’t have a Pokemon center, it did have a strong shipment of Potions. So much so they gave away a free sample on the streets! She stocked up while she was here, and also found a woman who offered to heal any of her Pokemon. Evangeline made a note of where she was, in case the road ahead ended up being more dangerous than expected. Another store held some basic Pokeballs, and she grabbed five of those too, hoping that would be enough to get her through to the next town with more selection.
Across the bridge, brown coble stones and brick gave way to grass again. Route 2 was noted as the Avance Trail. She waded through some of the taller grass, only to freeze at a rustle. Evangeline reached for Kakashi’s ball, waiting to see if she was right as she walked carefully.
A burbling cry came from the patch of grass, and a brown-striped Pokemon zipped out. Her Pokedex chimed, registering the new Pokemon. “Zigzagoon,” a female, robotic voice said from the speaker. “The Tiny Raccoon Pokemon. It walks in zigzag fashion. It’s good at finding items in the grass and even in the ground.”
“Alright, Kakashi, let’s go,” Evangeline said encouragingly, throwing her Froakie’s Pokeball.
It snapped open, allowing Kakashi to emerge out of light. He hopped a couple of times, eager to go. “Just tell me what to do!” he agreed.
The following battle was quick and dirty. The raccoon-type had speed on Kakashi, but Evangeline encouraged him to be patient and be steady in his attacks. In the end, they whittled the Zigzagoon’s health down, and she pulled out a new Pokeball, throwing it towards their opponent. It snapped open, red light gathering the Zigzagoon in to trap it inside. The ball wiggled from side to side, the wild Pokemon fighting its new home.
Kakashi waited, tense. Evangeline kept her eyes on the ball, moving her bangs out of her eyes with her hand. It wiggled once… twice… three times… And then the red button in the middle turned to white, and the wiggling stopped.
Squealing in delight, Evangeline did a fist-pump and then darted over to sweep up the new ball. Kakashi hopped behind her, cheering. Her first time capturing a wild Pokemon, and with her new partner! She gave Kakashi a hug. “Good job,” she told him. “Now, how about we meet our new buddy?” He nodded, and she pushed the button to let the Pokemon back out.
The Zigzagoon shook itself, resettling its fur. “Wow, you’re good,” it muttered, the high pitch of her tone leading Evangeline quickly to the conclusion that it was a female. “So now what?”
“Well, now you’re a part of the team, if you want,” Evangeline said, holding her hand out. “Otherwise, I’ll let you go so you can go be with your friends here.”
Tilting her head, the Pokemon took her seriously, and then butted her head into the palm of the new Trainer’s head. “I’ll come along,” she agreed.
“Good, I’m glad,” Evangeline said, patting her head and smoothing down the fur. With a giggle, the tiny raccoon rolled over and wiggled, tickled but enjoying the attention. “Hmm, how about Ella for a name?”
“I like it,” she said, hopping up. “Now, let’s get going!”
Laughing, Evangeline stood up. “Alright, alright. Onward we go!” she said, holding out the Pokeballs for both Pokemon. Her hands shook a little as she clipped them back into place on her bag. She could hardly believe it was going so well already!
She didn’t run into any other Pokemon in the tall grass, and breathed out softly as she returned to the road. Her walk, though, was interrupted by a familiar head of pigtails. “Shauna?” she said, wondering how she had caught up with the other trainer.
Whipping around, the girl waved. “Oh hi Ladybird! Come learn how to catch Pokemon with me!”
“Huh?” Evangeline managed to get out, but it was too late. Shauna reached out and snagged her wrist, pulling her along to the next patch of tall grass. Xavier was already waist-high in it, looking around carefully.
Shauna bounced next to Evangline, finally letting go of her wrist. If only because she raised her now free hand as if to hide the fact she was talking. “Xavier’s mom and dad are amazing Trainers. That’s why he knows so much about catching Pokemon and battling,” she said in a very loud whisper.
Loud enough that Xavier heard them. He looked up and shook his head with a rueful smile. “Well… Mom and Dad may be good, but that has nothing to do with me,” he said. But Evangeline heard the pride in his voice, the confidence. She wrinkled her nose at him. He looked towards the right, hearing or seeing something they didn’t. “Okay, now watch carefully you two,” he ordered.
“But…” Evangeline tried to protest, and finally just blew her hair out of her eye for a moment in exasperation when she realized they weren’t listening to her at all.
A Bunnelby hopped up to Xavier, who immediately released… a Fletchling? Huh, looks like Xavier had already been busy. Evangeline rested her chin on the palm of her hand, elbow balanced on her other wrist, as she tried to remain patient and polite during a tutorial she didn’t need. It was nice of them, she guessed, to assume that she needed the help. Maybe because it was obvious Shauna did need the extra instruction that the felt Evangeline did…
“Wow, the Pokemon went inside the Pokeball?!” the pigtailed girl shouted once Xavier had finished his demonstration.
Evangeline adjusted her hand so it hid her face so her expression wouldn’t hurt Shauna’s feelings.
“Shauna…” Xavier sighed, sounding exactly like what Evangline felt. “What do you think your Chespin is inside of right now?” He waded back out of the grass, ruffling the top of her hair as she pouted. “Here, I’ll share some Pokeballs with the two of you.”
“Pokeballs!” Shauna squealed, instantly perked up.
Evangeline was shocked to have a full box of ten pushed into her hands too. “You don’t have to do this,” she told him quietly.
“Consider it a house warming gift,” he said back quietly. She gave him a shy smile back, warming to him a little. And then he ruined it. “Besides, you’re new around here. Isn’t it the job of the more experienced trainer to help out?”
She bit the inside of her lip to stop herself from snapping at him.
Thankfully, Shauna’s innocence to the rescue. “Do you think I can catch Pokemon with them too?” she asked, holding the collection of unused devices like they were sacred.
“Sure. You can catch the Pokemon around here just be throwing a Pokeball near them,” Xavier said with a lazy wave of his hand.
Evangeline shook her head, disagreeing. They were just starting out, but the wild Pokemon were no slouches. Unless it was a very weak Pokemon, she doubted any of them would stay in a Pokeball without anything on their parts being done. He’d even said so during his little tutorial, hadn’t he? She was pretty sure… But then again, Shauna was the one who ran straight into a battle as soon as she got her starter Pokemon, so maybe she’d figure it out for herself.
“Okay. If I find a cute Pokemon, I’ll throw lots of Pokeballs at it, and then we’ll become friends!” Shauna said with a determined nod.
Evangeline rolled her eyes upward for a moment, and let Xavier handle her. “When you catch a wild Pokemon, it makes your Pokemon stronger, too,” was what he left it at. “Good luck!” He waved his hand and went on ahead. Shauna waved at Evangeline too and took off after him.
“It’s not like we’re going to part ways,” Evangeline muttered. The road was pretty straightforward. She decided it wasn’t worth running after them, and it let her have some peace and quiet. There was more tall grass to wade through, stirring up an aggressive Pidgey who took off after Kakashi sprayed Bubbles at it.
A sign outside of a tight grouping of trees with only one road into it warned her that she was about to enter Santalune Forest. She checked the map and saw that it was the only way through, and the paths tended to twist around. Warned, she started towards the entrance.
Another trainer was lingering outside, and flashed his ID at her as soon as they locked eyes. “When two trainers’ eyes meet, a Pokemon battle must begin!” he said with authority. “My name is Austin, and my Pokemon and I are going to defeat you.”
Evangeline took a step back, “Alright,” she agreed to the battle, letting Kakashi out of his Pokeball. He released a Zigzagoon, one that seemed slightly stronger and faster than Ella. It still didn’t stand a chance, not with Evangeline’s strategy of consistency and patience.
“You should’ve told me you were that strong!” Austin protested, reluctantly forking over the reward for his defeat.
“You didn’t exactly give me a chance,” Evangeline pointed out as she pocketed the change. She scooped up Kakashi to carry him away from the battle sight with a wave good-bye to Austin.
He looked up at her. “People really don’t give you a chance to say much,” he pointed out.
She shrugged back at him. “I get used to it. Hey, how about we let Ella handle any of the wild Pokemon we run into in here, give you a break and give her a chance to train up?”
“I could use a breather,” he agreed. “Besides, if anything in there is a Grass type…”
“You’re sunk,” she said knowingly. “So Ella is in charge in the forest this time. Do you want to chill in your Pokeball or out here?”
“Inside, please,” he said, and she put him away so he could rest like he wanted. Then she adjusted her bag’s strap. Her strongest Pokemon was officially a bad choice at least until she cleared the trees. Ella and her were going to have a crash course in bonding. All Evangeline could hope was that the Bugs didn’t swarm her. She might run back to Aquacorde Town screaming.
(As a note: I missed Days 4 and 5 on purpose. I had an all-nighter event this weekend, and I knew I was going to be too busy/exhausted to do much. Even today, I only wanted to get through Route 2.)