Evangeline hadn’t made it too far down Route 5–also called Versant Road–when she got interrupted. She blinked and stopped as a blue and black Pokemon she recognized as a Lucario came running up to her. Were those native to this route? But she wasn’t even in the tall grass! Ignoring her confusion, it ran around her in a circle, getting her scent or something.
“Wait! Lucario!” a female voice called out in annoyance.
“Over here!” Evangeline shouted back, relieved a little. Oh good, it was a Trainer’s. She didn’t know what she would have done if the powerful Pokemon was native to the area.
A pretty blonde skated over, decked out in white and red gear. She skid to a stop, another Lucario right on her heels. “Sorry about that, are you okay?” she asked in concern. The original Lucario hadn’t left Evangeline, still obviously intrigued by something “I was just doing some special training with my Lucario when all of a sudden he dashed off.”
“I’m fine,” Evangeline assured her, though, the Lucario hadn’t looked back to his trainer once. She tilted her head. Was he just willful, or something else?
“Hey, Lucario!” his trainer barked, putting her hands on her hips. “What’s going on with you? Did you get drawn in by this girl’s aura or something?”
He growled back at his trainer, and then looked at Evangeline with bright eyes. “Or something,” he admitted reluctantly. “Though her aura is…interesting.”
“Huh, well, it seems Lucario likes you!” Obviously, Korrina wasn’t one that could understand what Pokemon said, but she still seemed to get the gist of it. Besides she knew surely knew her own Pokemon better than that.
“You think so?” Still, Evangeline could help but feel a little skeptical. Why would a Pokemon seek her out because he liked her aura or whatever?
The Lucario snorted and crossed his arms, even as Korrina nodded eagerly. “Sure do! See, Lucario can read people’s auras. I guess something in your aura has made this one take a liking to a stranger!”
She looked at him curiously. Was the Lucario blushing? He glared down at the dirt, scuffing his toes. “You smell nice,” he was all he was admitting.
Evangeline covered her mouth to keep from giggling. It was just so cute!
Korrina grinned and pointed back behind her with her thumb. “This Lucario is always getting worked up in battle with my other one. Maybe it’s just been waiting for a Trainer to appear who’s strong enough to challenge it…”
“Maybe,” Evangeline said, not wanting to ruin the cool image that Lucario had obviously worked hard to give to his Trainer. She couldn’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for the poor thing, being the second Lucario of his Trainer. It had to be hard, to prove yourself different and unique without being weaker.
Speaking of, the other Lucario gave a cough, which prompted their Trainer. “Oops, sorry, I was on such a roll, I forgot to introduce myself!” She knocked her knuckles to her temple and stuck out her tongue, obviously making fun of how absentminded she had been “I’m Korrina, the Shalour City Gym Leader.”
“Oh, well, I’m Evangeline,” she introduced herself, reaching around the Lucario to shake her hand.
With a glance at her bag, Korrina gave her a challenging smile. “If you’re collecting Gym badges, I’m sure we’ll be battling sooner or later. I’m looking forward to it, with how Lucario likes you. I hope you know how to roll with the punches!”
Evangeline gave her a smile. “I’ll be sure to figure it out,” she agreed. “I’ll let you get back to your training.”
“Right! Come on, Lucario!” she called out, taking off on her blades again. The one who had been following her loyally was right behind her, but the one who seemed to like Evangeline hesitated, giving her a tentative wave of his own before he hurried after the other two.
Shaking her head, she continued down the path with a soft laugh. “An interesting aura, huh?” She wondered what he saw.
The route wasn’t too big of a challenge. She passed a skate park, which in her opinion probably explained why Korrina had chosen to train around here rather than back in her own Gym. There were a pair of young twins who were eager for a challenge, but since they both used Electric Types, Evangeline was able to wrangle around them pretty easily, even in a double battle, with Hiromi and Ella, who worked surprisingly well together.
Her first step into the tall grass stirred up a Pokemon, a dog-like one with wild silver fur and a dark face. “Furfrou, the Poodle Pokemon,” her Pokedex identified it. Historically, in the Kalos region, these Pokémon were the designated guardians of the king.”
Ella was able to dance a circle around him, and Evangeline used a Pokeball rather than risk him getting away. Unfortunately, with a full party, she couldn’t meet him. Her Pokedex had a scanner though, that let her send the extra Pokeball to the same box as her other spare Pokemon. She’d have to meet him, once she reached a Center.
At the top of the stone steps, she grinned at two familiar figures in the middle of a friendly argument.
“My goodness. Pokemon hordes are certainly intense…” Trevor muttered, appearing to be picking grass blades off of his clothes and hair.
Tierno grinned and gave a little pose. “Yeah, they’re just like a dance team made up of Pokemon, aren’t they?”
Trevor gave him a dirty look. “Oh Teirno, don’t you ever think about anything besides dancing?”
With a laugh, the big boy moved into a little break dance. Evangeline covered her mouth to keep from laughing out loud. “Nope! Even during Pokemon battles, I’m always checkin’ out their moves. And then my feet just start moving, too!” Coming to a finishing pose, he paused and held his hands up. “I can’t even help it, you know? Like with Swords Dance! I love it. I guess that’s why I can never win…”
“Aww, don’t say that,'” she interrupted, moving to stand with them.
“Oh hey, it’s Evangeline!” Tierno said with a wave in greeting. “Glad to see you got my message. Hey, do your Pokemon know any sweet moves? Show me in a battle!” He leaned forward, fists clenched eagerly.
Blinking in surprise, she gave a nod. “Alright, sure,” she agreed, picking out one of her Pokeballs. “One round alright?” she asked, not wanting to risk wearing out her whole team in the middle of the road.
“That’s fine,” he agreed with a smile of his own. At the same time, they threw out their Pokeballs.
Tierno sent out a Corphish, a lobster-type Pokemon that’s grip was legendary. Meanwhile, Evangeline had sent out Cho. The butterfly danced through the air, refusing to get close enough for her opponent to pinch her between those claws. It was a longer battle perhaps as a result, but the end result was Cho’s success.
With an excited squeal, the Pokemon perched on Evangeline’s shoulders. With a laugh, Evangeline patted her on the head in congratulations.
“That was some nice footwork,” Tierno said with a reluctant smile, deflating a little. “Or wing work, I guess? I should have known better, huh?”
“Don’t say that,” Evangeline repeated herself. “You did fine! Honestly, Tierno, it’s about picking your battles better. I’m training for gyms, but that isn’t what you want, is it?”
Trevor chose then to butt in. “Good to see you, Evangeline… Excuse me, I meant Ladybird. And you have a very valid point, which I am afraid I belittled with my teasing. It really does seem as though Tierno can only think about dancing and moves. When a horde of Pokemon popped out, he just stood there watching them.”
“Well, yeah, Trevs!” Tierno said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. He reached over to ruffle the redhead’s hair. “Coming up with the world’s best Pokemon dance is my dream after all. I was born to dance! I won’t ever stop, not with moves like this!”
With a scowl, Trevor worked on righting his hair again. “That’s indeed a perfect dream for you, Tierno.”
“So stop challenging people who are going on Gym-centric journeys,” Evangeline suggested, nudging his shoulder with hers encouragingly. “We’re focused on making our Pokemon as strong as possible in whatever that means, which is just different. Instead, focus on those who raise Pokemon for fun or wild Pokemon for your inspiration.”
“That’s a good idea,” Tierno admitted. “Thanks, Ladybird.”
“I guess I should show just as much dedication to my dream of completing the Pokedex, then,” Trevor said with a hum, looking to the sky. “It’s good to be serious about some things.”
“Just not everything,” Evangeline cautioned him, tilting her head. The two friends were really opposites, weren’t they? One too serious, the other not so much. She hoped that eventually they would help each other find some balance.
When they reached fields of lavender, the duo took off on their own to see about finding more Pokemon, and Evangeline waved as she pressed on towards the next town, which a sign showed was Camphrier Town, just like she hoped. Along the way, she ran into more trainers requesting battles, and more wild Pokemon that got stirred up.
The first surprise came from Henri as he helped Cho chase a wild Dodou away. Both flying types shared a high-five. But then Henri was covered in white light, and Evangeline and Cho both gave him space as he grew within his change, and with a flap of his wings, revealed his new form of Fletchinder.
Any congratulations that Evangeline was going to offer was immediately curtailed by Henri challenging Cho to a race. With a laugh, she skated to keep up with them as they set out to prove who was the fastest flier.
The second surprise was from an unexpected source. A self-proclaimed Rising Star, Hamish, had scoffed when Evangeline called out Felix. “A Charmander against my Kadabra? You’re nuts,” he scolded. The tan Psychic-Type joined its trainer in a mocking laugh.
For his part, Felix looked to Evangeline, claws twisting anxiously. “You can do it,” she assured him. “I believe in you.” With a firm nod, he turned back to look at his opponent, baring his little fangs.
“Yeah, and with what? A little Ember?” Hamish mockingly cooed.
“No,” Evangeline said, pointing her finger. “Felix, use Dragon Rage!”
“What?!” Hamish yelped, but it was too late. Felix’s eyes glowed violet, and he sucked in a deep breath. Rather than the yellow and orange flames he typically breathed, the cone of flames that left his mouth were purple and blue, forceful and refusing to leave.
The fight from there was short. As Hamish called back his Pokemon, Felix gave a triumphant flame of his normal fire and Evangeline cheered him on, so happy he was gaining confidence.
Only to freeze as the flames turned white and wrapped around her Pokemon. “Oh no…” she whispered, for the first time dreading an evolution.
But it was too late. The white faded with a sweep of Felix’s now much longer tail, his scales a dark shade of orange that was almost red. He looked up at her, but not by nearly as much as Kakashi had after his evolution, eyes narrowing a little.
“Looks like you’re a Charmeleon now,” Evangeline said, and held out her hands with a grin. “Congratulations, Felix!”
He eyed her hands, his attitude reminding her of a grumpy teenager now, no longer the sweet little baby she had taken in from Sycamore. But he put his paws in hers with a grumble, letting her squeeze them. She gave his shoulders a hug before she called him back in, breathing out only after he was safely out of sight and hearing. Charmeleon was well-known for being difficult to change. She could only hope that Felix was an easy teenager…
She’d barely entered town when she heard the little tune that indicated she had an administrative type message on her Holo Caster. With reluctance, she raised it up to her eyes to see what was happening now.
The character of the admins popped up, generated with a cheerful smile on its face. “Thank you for using the Holo Caster. Lysandre Labs developed the Holo Caster to make the lives of Pokemon Trainers richer, fuller, and more convenient. We hope you’ll continue to enjoy the fine services this device provides.”
A standard message. Why did it fill Evangeline with such dread? Hopefully it wasn’t Lysandre trying to feel out where her and the others were… She immediately deleted it so she wouldn’t have it lingering in her inbox, just in case it was a tracking program of some sort.
Camphrier Town was smaller, more like Vaniville than Lumiose City, thank God. She walked around the city streets for a moment, finding that there was no Gym here. While briefly disappointed, she brushed off those feelings as she walked into the Pokemon Center. She had a new Pokemon to meet!
The Furfrou was nice enough, if a little on the shy side. He accepted the nickname of Antoine. The biggest surprise was when she started introducing him to the other members of the team. Despite being one of the bigger Pokemon and being new to her, he quickly hid behind her, eyes half-closed.
“Antoine, it’s alright,” she assured him, reaching over to scratch him on the head through his dense fur. “These are all your new friends!”
“Are you sure they will like me?” he asked, looking at her with unease.
“I’m very sure,” she said with a smile. How about I introduce you one at a time? Will that be a little bit easier?” He tilted his head and gave a nod. It made the meet-and-greet take longer, but if that’s what it took to help keep Antoine comfortable, that’s what she needed to do.
Once he’d met everyone, Antoine was more comfortable with the team. He and Hiromi were engaged in some play fighting while everyone took a chance to eat something. Evangeline had accepted a sandwich from the on-duty Nurse Joy, and was having an early dinner herself.
“You handled that very well,” an unexpected male voice said.
Startled, she looked up to see a punk-dressed boy in a leather jacket, most of his hair sheared short except for an outcrop in the front dyed sea green. “I’m sorry?” she asked, confused by his comment.
“Introducing your Furfrou to the rest,” he said looking back down at her. “You took the time to put him before yourself. It’s impressive.” He looked back at her Pokemon and tucked his hands in his pocket. “I’m glad you’re finding the storage system useful.”
“Oh!” she blinked, sitting up. “You’re the one who developed the Kalos system?”
He laughed. “Nah, Bill is still the original creator, him and all the others just put their heads together to make the best system possible and are trying it out here in Kalos before they roll it out everywhere else. I’m good with computers, so he sent me here to maintain it.”
Most people wouldn’t have taken the boy as serious, not with his punk look. But Evangeline had seen enough to not believe him to be a liar. At least he hadn’t claimed to be the developer of it himself, that was a point in his favor. “Do you think you could walk me through some of it?” she asked. “I’m not used to this system, and there’s things like trays and this Battle Box thing that I don’t know how it works.”
With a blink of his own, he offered her a slow grin. “Sure, I can do that. My name is Cassius, by the way.”
“Evangeline,” she introduced herself, and let him show her how the storage system varied from what she was used to. It was the perfect entertainment for this brief break while she decided if she wanted to push on or not.