Route 3 was Ouvert Way. Evangeline shook her head as she knocked out the Pokemon of a second preschooler. She was all for children getting experience before going off on journeys, but that seemed a little young, even for her. At least both of them took their beatings gracefully…well, gracefully for five year olds. Ella had been especially careful in the battles to cause minor injuries only so Evangeline wouldn’t have to be the one to break it to either kid that sometimes, battling could prove deadly.
Walking down a set of steps that had been built into the path, Evangeline wondered how much farther she had to go.
Jumping out of the path and into the grass, Evangeline blinked as a girl in roller-blades whizzed past. She glanced at the ground, and then where the girl had zoomed off. The path was just hard-packed earth, not something she would ever choose to skate on. Did they have better wheels or something here? Shaking her head, she resolved to see if she could find a pair and look for herself. Bikes were super-expensive and not something she imagined being able to afford, but maybe skates would be more affordable.
The next town’s walls loomed overhead to the north soon enough. One glance at her clock and the horizon confirmed that she would be able to make it to the Pokemon Center before it was too late. Weighing her odds, she took a brief detour through the tall grass to see what she could stir up.
The answer filled her with glee–a bird-type Pokemon. Her Pokedex quickly identified it. “Fletchling, the Tiny Robin Pokemon. These friendly Pokémon send signals to one another with beautiful chirps and tail-feather movements.” It gave a chirp as if to confirm this description, tail feathering up behind it.
Ella made quick work of the capture, catching her breath once the Pokeball stopped wiggling. “Okay, I’m pooped,” she declared, flopping down. “Use the bug next time, I am in need of food and a nap before we do any more.”
Giggling, Evangeline patted her on the head. “No problem. Let’s go get all of us some food and sleep. We’ll meet our new friend and give him a nickname at the Center.”
It ended up being easy to get a room. Nurse Joy was kind, and set her up with a room with a window. All of the Pokemon came out for a chance to stretch their legs and get a bite to eat. The new Fletchling was regarded with unease by Cho, but everyone else was pretty excited to meet him. He took on the nickname Henri, and Kakashi was soon the unofficial leader of the little band…though, a very laid back one.
As she was brushing out her hair to braid it, Evangeline looked out the window in thought. Her Pokemon had spotted preferred places to sleep, and Cho had surprisingly claimed the window sill. She ruffled her feelers a little, looking up at her trainer. “What are you thinking about?” she asked.
“Hmm? Oh, my father, I guess,” Evangeline admitted, beginning the familiar motions of weaving the braid as she spoke. “He lives in Violet City, which is the first stop for most Johto trainers. I guess I wonder what he would think if I was there, going through that region instead of Kalos.”
Cho tilted her head. “Why didn’t you? It just seems like a lot of work, traveling here just to go on a Pokemon journey…”
Sighing, Evangeline leaned her head against the window’s edge. “Fairness was some of it,” she said. “I didn’t want it to be easier or harder, just because of who my parents or grandparents were.” And it would have been a factor, she knew it. “But I also didn’t want the pressure, you know? I grew up around Flying types, but what if my passion really lies with Water types, like Kakashi, or Dark, or Fire. Going where no one knows who I am helps some of that pressure go away, so I can figure out who I am on my own.”
Cho nodded, looking out the window herself. “I didn’t think I’d ever get a Trainer, or get a chance to go stronger and evolve,” she said honestly. “But I’m glad to have the chance with you. Promise you’ll help me do my best?”
Evangeline’s heart melted. “Of course, Cho. We’ll all help each other.” She gave the Scatterbug a pat on the head. “But for now, let’s get some shut eye.”
“Alright. Good night, Evangeline,” Cho said.
“Good night. Sweet dreams,” the lone human in the room said with a yawn before crawling under the covers, working hard not to disturb Ella, who was curled up just so that Evangeline could tuck her legs around her, or Henri, who had settled on the headboard. Kakashi was on her pillow, and slid down to where he was cuddled in her arms as soon as she was lying down.
Cho looked outside some more, looking to the night sky and wondering. She hoped, and hoped… And then wiggled her way over to the bed, hopping up to sleep in the small of Evangeline’s back, just above Ella and on the opposite side as Kakashi. It wouldn’t do for the human to get cold, after all.
The next morning, Evangeline spent a good hour wrangling everyone through breakfast and into Pokeballs, not to mention getting herself fed and cleaned up. Then she set out to explore Santalune City. There were people to talk to, including the teacher inside the school and some of the students who were starry-eyed, seeing a new Trainer visiting. The boutique was cute, the PokeMart was actually in the Pokemon Center, which took some getting used to wrapping her head around. She spotted the gym, but walked ahead to find another route, Route 33–Detourner Way.
However, Evangeline quickly saw that the Route didn’t really have much to offer her, aside from a new friend in the form of a Litleo. Her Pokedex declared it the Lion Cub Pokemon, and the description was the stronger the opponent it faces, the more heat surges from its mane and the more power flows through its body. Her little cub was female, and quickly took on the nickname of Hiromi.
Rather than stay in the dangers of Route 22, Evangeline backtracked towards Ouvert Way for training up her little team before she dared take on the gym. Picking out a tree just outside of town where running into the Center would be easy, she laid out her sleeping bag as a picnic blanket and let all her Pokemon out again so those who she wasn’t working with could play. Hiromi and Henri made a fast-friendship, and Kakashi easily settled down for naps when it wasn’t his turn. Ella was poking her nose into every bush and bramble she could find.
It was Cho, however, who stole the show, just as Evangeline was considering a break for lunch and then go back inside to face the gym. This little patch was riddled with Burmy, and while annoying and creepy to Evangeline, they had been good for training purposes. Cho in particular, while struggling against them, at least didn’t have as much of a threat as she did from Henri’s fellow Fletchling. It was after one of those fights that Cho began to glow.
Startled, Evangeline took a few steps forward in concern before what she was seeing clicked in. Eyes wide, she watched as the white reshaped itself, and finally snapped off of her Pokemon with sparkles. Only rather than a Scatterbug…
“Spewpa,” her Pokedex declared. “It lives hidden within thicket shadows. When predators attack, it quickly bristles the fur covering its body in an effort to threaten them.”
“Cho, you evolved!” Evangeline said in excitement, running over to pick up the Bug type for a twirling hug.
“I did it, I did it!” Cho squealed.
The rest of the team quickly gathered around, offering their own congratulations and hugs. The newly-formed Spewpa basked in the attention, but also didn’t let Evangeline get away, leaning against her legs. Evangeline smiled at everyone and let them have their fun for a few more minutes before herding them back under control so they could get an extra-special lunch to celebrate Cho.
While the Pokemon were munching and getting their training scrapes healed up, Evangeline was making a battle plan. There had been signs proclaiming that this first gym specialized in Bug types. While she wouldn’t put Cho into the storage boxes just for that reason, it definitely meant that the little bug wasn’t going to be seeing much action inside the gym. Neither would Kakashi, really. That left Hiromi and Henri to take the lead, with Ella as back-up.
Conveying the plan to the team, everyone seemed on board, even if Cho pouted a little. She packed up all of their things, planning on hitting the road rather than stay at the Center for a second night.
Outside the gym, Evangeline was surprised to see the roller-blader from yesterday blocking the entry way. She frowned, but went on ahead.
“Hey stranger!” she greeted with a warm wave. “Isn’t cruising around town on your Roller Skates the best thing ever?”
Evangeline held out her legs, looking down at her white, calf-high boots. No wheels in sight.
It caught the attention of the girl instantly. “…Wait. Do you mean to tell me you don’t even own a pair of Roller Skates?” she demanded.
Evangeline shook her head. “Not since I was little, and I don’t think mine worked like yours,” she said. “You couldn’t leave town in them, that’s for sure.” Not unless you knew the roads were paved which were…few and far between.
“Wow, you must be from out of town.” The girl shook her head, and then grinned. “How about this then: if you beat me in a Pokemon battle, I’ll give you a pair.” She gave Evangeline a wink. “I have a spare set that I outgrew that should fit right over your boots. And I can’t say no to a contest, not me! So how about it? Do you wanna battle?”
Why not? It wasn’t like she was on a time constraint. And besides, free skates were even better than cheap skates. “You’re on,” she agreed.