“I promise, I’m not too tough,” he assured her as they threw out their first Pokemon. She bit her lip, feeling a little hopeful.
The battle with the professor didn’t quite go the way that Evangeline was expected. For one, he used Pokemon native to Kanto, almost making her fumble. His first pick, a green dinosaur-and-plant fusion called a Bulbasaur, was quickly put down by Hiromi. Ella struggled a bit more against the turtle-like Squirtle, but Evangeline just didn’t have a Pokemon strong against Water Types that she felt could handle a fight. Haruka was still in training, she just wasn’t comfortable throwing him into the fray yet. Kakashi pulled it all to a close by easily defeating the fire lizard, Charmander.
Sycamore, thankfully, laughed as the battle wrapped up. “You’re too much for me,” he admitted with an over-exaggerated slump. You’re really something, aren’t you?”
She flushed, bending down to pick up Kakashi. The frog Pokemon seemed to realize she needed a cuddle.
The professor nodded, seeing perhaps something she didn’t at the action, and snapped his fingers. “I think I’ve about figured it out!”
That caught the attention of the other two as they wrapped up their own battle. “Figured what out?” Shauna asked, both her and Xavier poking their heads back into the room.
If he heard, Sycamore didn’t bother explaining. “Evangeline, you are an interesting Pokemon trainer indeed. It’d be wonderful if you took another Pokemon with you.” All three teenagers gasped, and Evangeline felt her ears grow warm in embarrassment. “Here, pick one,” he said, gesturing to the three balls on the table.
“Um, my team is full,” she admitted sheepishly. There were rules about how many Pokemon a trainer could have with them at any one time, and she was at that limit–six.
He laughed. “There’s a computer on the coffee table in the other room. Feel free to rearrange your team first.”
Startled, she shared wide-eyed looks with the other two Trainers as she hurried past them towards the table he was talking about. Sure enough, there was a computer that allowed her to transfer Pokemon. She sent Hiromi to a storage box, where caretakers would make sure she was in good health and happy while she wasn’t with Evangeline.
Back in the professor’s office, she saw he’d let all three Pokemon out, only unlike the incident in Aquacorde, all three sat around his feet patiently waiting. She hesitantly knelt down to look them over, pondering over what to pick. She didn’t see a need for a Squirtle, not with Kakashi as her primary Pokemon. So that left the Bulbasaur and the Charmander. The Grass-Type waved vines from the bulb on its back at her in greeting, making her smile, while the Charmander…
She felt a little sad, seeing how he pressed against the professor’s side. “Hey there,” she said softly. “Are you mad at me and Kakashi for earlier?”
He shook his head, but still didn’t so much as squeak, to Evangeline’s concern. She looked up at Sycamore, who gave her a sad smile. “I’m afraid this little one doesn’t talk, even to those who can understand him,” he admitted, resting one of his hands on the Charmander’s head.
The Fire-type pressed his head against the professor’s knee, clutching at his pants with tender claws. She didn’t see shyness in that look, though. She saw the expectation of rejection, making her furious at whoever had turned this Pokemon away for being quiet and shy. It was a trait of a lot of Charmanders, who didn’t really gain confidence unless built up by trainers or they evolved! Resolved, she set Kakashi down to stand beside her and held out her hands. “Well, would you like to join the team?” she asked.
Startled, he looked at her with his dark blue eyes wide. It felt like forever that she was on her knees, holding her breath. But it shattered as he ran over to her, tucking his head under his chin and wrapping his little arm around her as best he could, flame-tipped tail curling around her knees. Blinking so she wouldn’t sniffle, she rubbed his back. “Glad to have you,” she whispered, pulling back to meet his eyes. “How about Felix, for your nickname?”
He nodded rapidly, then hid his face in her chest. She rearranged him a little so he could continue to snuggle but she could stand up. Kakashi sat at her feet, puffing his chest out like a proud papa.
For his part, Sycamore looked a little too bright eyed himself, but he cleared his throat and spoke evenly. “I see, you’re picking Charmander. I think that is a smart choice.” She heard something else in his tone that gave her the impression he thought more of it than that, but it was the most diplomatic answer he could come up with. “Since you chose Felix, I’ll give you this Mega Stone, called Charizardite X.” She accepted the stone, curious about the blue and black swirls to it. For his part, Felix pulled back enough to tap at it curiously with his claws.
The professor finally acknowledged the other two trainers. “Come on now, you two. Pick your new Pokemon,” he said, gesturing to the remaining two.
Shauna squealed and ran over, Xavier at her heels at a more sedate pace. She looked between the two Pokemon rapidly. “I don’t know which one to pick! It’s so difficult!” she protested with a whine, hopping from one foot to the other.
“You’ll be together for a long time, so just take your time,” Xavier said with a patient roll of his eyes. Eventually, they both picked their second Pokemon from the professor, and both seemed content with their picks.
“Well, I’ve got a feeling that everyone else will be showing up soon,” the professor said, leaning against the desk again once Pokeballs were sorted.
“Hi, Professor Sycamore,” Tierno called out as he entered the room, almost on cue.
Behind him was little Trevor, who looked around in bafflement before joining Tierno on the opposite side of Evangeline from Shauna and Xavier. “What’s this? Everyone is already here,” he muttered in confusion.
“See?” the professor said to Evangeline, and she ducked her head to hide under her hat. He clapped his hands to break the moment and address the room at large. “So now that we’re all here, I’d like to say a few words.”
“Isn’t this supposed to be at weddings?” Shauna murmured, making Xavier snort, and Evangeline bite her lower lip so she wouldn’t do the same, her shoulders shaking in suppressed laughter.
Professor Sycamore gave them a dirty look, and stood up, pointing off in to the horizon. “Be the best Trainer you can be!” he lowered his hand, as if instructing a class “At the same time, remember to have fun traveling with your Pokemon. Also, I want to ask for your help in solving the Kalos region’s biggest Pokemon mystery: the secret and potential of Mega Evolution, a new kind of evolution that occurs in battle!”
All five teenagers exchanged shocked looks and murmurs. A new form of evolution?
“That’s why I gave you the Mega Stone just now,” he said. “It’s an important clue.”
“Mega Evolution? What should we do about the Pokedex?” Trevor said, stuck on what he obviously felt was a double-cross of what he felt his purpose was.
“Trevor, my lad, if that’s what ‘best Trainer’ means to you, then I want you to go out there and complete that Pokedex,” Sycamore said, assuring them all that he wasn’t about to push them on a journey they didn’t want, just asking for help.
“Mega Evolution sounds really interesting!” Shauna said, enthusiastic even in her tentativeness. Evangeline nodded in agreement, looking towards the professor again.
“If you’re investigating Mega Evolution, why don’t you check out Camphrier Town?” he suggested. “That town has a lot of history–you might find a hint there!”
She raised a brow at him. History like her home towns, or history that was actually publicly available? He winked at her, and she relaxed a little. Something actually able to find, then.
“Now listen,” he said, speaking seriously to all five of them. “If you visit many different places to complete the Pokedex, you will probably see Pokemon with many ways of living and meet people with many ways of thinking. First, accept the ways of living and thinking that sometimes conflict with your own.” He looked at Evangeline more pointedly. “And think about what’s really important–this will truly broaden your horizons.”
She nodded in understanding, recognizing what he was trying to tell not only all of them, but also her specifically.
“I feel that being different from others makes me special,” Xavier mused. “Mastering Mega Evolution will definitely set me apart from other Trainers!” He nodded, committed as much as Shauna and Evangeline. Both girls shared looks, and in Evangeline’s case, an eye roll. Yes, by setting out on the same path as multiple other people at the same time, he was going to differentiate himself. But neither said anything, in Evangeline’s case because she thought it better he figure it out for himself.
The other four gathered to chat, but Evangeline didn’t know enough about what they were discussing to feel included. Plus, she’d rather introduce Felix to the entirety of the team in the safety of the nearest Center and let the professor get back to work. With a polite bow good-bye, she took her leave.
But there was a disturbance happening in the main lobby. The doors had barely opened, and Evangeline could already hear the conversation taking place between Sina and someone else.
“So I will be able to meet them soon, then,” the stranger said.
“Yes,” Sina agreed, sounding pushed to the end of her patience.
“The children chosen by the professor… I wonder what potential they have,” the stranger mused as Evangeline cautiously walked around the front desk. Maybe she could sneak past him?
Nope. Sina spotted her, and gave a relieved smile. “And here’s one of them now… That’s Evangeline.” She waved her hand pointedly, the look on her face clear. There was no escape. “Evangeline, come here a sec!”
She walked over, her shoulders raising up towards her ears as she balanced Felix in her arms, Kakashi at her feet still. The stranger was a man with almost violently orange hair, spiked upwards away from his head, with a matching beard. His black and orange suit included a grey fur ruff along the neck, adding an intimidation factor to his appearance, though he tried to smile it away. Except his smile was too sharp, and the grey-blue of his eyes too cold.
“Oh! You received a Pokedex from the professor then… How wonderful!” He took her in, much like the professor had upon meeting her. Though rather than feeling warm but embarrassed by the attention, he just made her feel uneasy, like she should be looking for an exit. “That is a wonderful thing indeed,” he murmured, and then collected himself. “You are one of the chosen ones.” He held out his hand towards her.
She took his hand, and squirmed when he flipped her hand from a shake to where he was holding it like she was a fine lady, raising it to kiss the back politely. “I am Lysandre,” he introduced himself, holding on to her hand for a shade too long before she tugged herself free. “I’ve tried to learn as much about Pokemon as I can to help build a brighter future,” he said, tucking his hand back to his side.
“That is a very…noble goal,” she murmured. “Is that why you are here?” she asked.
“Professor Sycamore has taught me much,” he said vaguely without really answering her question. “Oh, I see you have a Holo Caster. Knowledge is power, after all. Put it to good use.”
She nodded slowly, but didn’t move her wrist so he could get her Caster’s frequency. He was creeping her out a little too much.
“Now listen,” he said, leaning forward so he was more in her space and his head was closer to her eye-line. “It is vital that this world become a better place. And the people and Pokemon chosen to make the world better must work tirelessly to achieve this goal.”
Right, no pressure. “I’m going to try and do my best, whatever that is…” she assured him, her voice going quiet in her unease. Felix gripped the fabric of her shirt a little tighter, and she felt Kakashi lean against her too. Wonderful, everyone didn’t like this man. She’d have to try and avoid him.
If he noticed how her Pokemon were reacting, Lysandre didn’t say anything about it. He straightened back up and tried to charm her with another smile. “Well, I’ll be off. Please give Professor Sycamore my best. My desire… it is for a more beautiful world, after all.” With a brief nod at Sina, he quickly strode out of the lab’s lobby.
“Still… I wonder what kind of beautiful world Lysandre desires…?” Sina asked out loud..
“I don’t want to know,” Evangeline said with a shudder. “He gave me goosebumps in a bad way.” He seemed way too much like some of her parents’ stories of Team Rocket members they had met growing up.
Shaking her head, Sina folded her hands in front of her. “In this great Kalos region, there are many different Pokemon. I hope getting a Pokedex gives you a chance to learn about them,” she said. “Best of luck on your journey!”
“Thanks,” she said, adjusting Felix in her arms. “I’m going to explore a little, and then spend the night at the nearest Pokemon Center, if you need me.”
“Okay. There’s an outage going on, so I think they’ve got this district on lock down,” Sina offered in warning. “I wished everything was open for you to see right away, but you’ll just have to come back and visit later!”
“Right, can do,” Evangeline assured, and managed a wave good-bye before she led her Pokemon out on to the busy streets.