Tag Archives: Cho

NaNo 18, Day 1: Cue Training Montage and an Unwelcome Surprise

Where to start was…a little overwhelming. When she’d first started this journey, she’d been able to bring a new Pokemon up to match the rest of the team pretty easily. But with a new Gym on the horizon, not only did she have to get her old team up to snuff, but she had to get five new Pokemon to their level to.

Evangeline decided the best thing she could do was break it up like her old situation as much as she could. Picking one of the new Pokemon at random, she built a supporting team of more experienced battlers around them. Then once the new friend was up to challenges on the same level as the older members, she could switch out one of the old guard for someone else. Kakashi grumbled next to her, leaning his head against her shoulder. “This looks like a lot of work,” he complained. “Nap instead?”

She shrugged that shoulder to jostle him. “No, no naps,” she scolded teasingly. “I know this down time hasn’t been necessarily restful, but we need to get going again.” It wasn’t just Evangeline who needed a chance to grieve the lost of her Vivilion, Cho, but the entire group. She was determined to ease them back into their journey, though.

“So, setting up a picnic spot?” Kakashi guessed. “Like you did outside of Santalune?”

But Evangeline shook her head. “No. We rushed down that last route so fast, I’m sure there are trainers who are upset that they didn’t get a chance to battle with us. We’re going to back track, taking on the trainers and wild Pokemon we missed last time.” She looked to him. “And I thought to go back to the river. The Pokemon are a little less…assertive, there, and that seems like a better way to ease the new ones into our style.”

He nodded slowly, crossing his arms. “Take it slow, if you need to,” he cautioned her. “We all understand, and would rather you be a little more protective than to lose someone else so quickly.”

“I will,” she promised, standing up. “Okay, let’s get the first team ready to go. I think I’ll keep Haruka with me regardless, he’s been a bit clingy lately.”

“Isn’t he technically a baby Pokemon?” Kakashi asked as they walked over to the computer.

Evangeline hummed. “Something like it, and I think his evolution is based off of how well cared for he’s feeling. Maybe that’s why he’s wanting to stay close to me. It can’t hurt to indulge him a little.”

So Kakashi, Haruka, Felix, Lars, Hikari, and Antoine came with her as the starting team. And the number of trainers she missed was a little staggering. That, or more had come out over the last couple of days. She couldn’t be sure which. Either way, her team gave it their all–even the newcomer Lars caught some of their excitement, even if he didn’t get as much action as Evangeline had hoped. But there was an infestation of Psyducks, and she wasn’t about to risk him against a Water-Type! (The cute little idiots sometimes pulled power moves at the weirdest timing.)

As a result of all the fighting, Evangeline was more than happy to flop down into a field of flowers. “Somehow, this wasn’t exactly how I planned for today to go…” she muttered. The blossoms fluttered around her, as if hearing her comments.

Wait, that was a lot more literal than she thought.

Sitting up, Evangeline blinked at the little heads poking out of the various flowers. “Oh, hello,” she said quietly to the group of Flabébé that surrounded her. “I’m sorry, did I disturb you?”

They giggled and spun around her a bit, shy but not aggressive. Tilting her head, Evangeline remembered that this was around the area that she caught her own Flabébé, one that she’d barely had a chance to meet. She reached for her bag, hitting the appropriate switch and letting Hikari out.

She blinked up at Evangeline in surprise. “Another battle?” she asked in her little voice, the petals of her flower wilting a little in exhaustion.

That made Evangeline feel better about her decision. “No, I think it’s some old friends of yours, but they seem shy.” She said, pointing to the surrounding group of Fairy types.

Hikari floated up to look and squeaked in happiness. She was off in the group before Evangeline could blink. Smiling, Evangeline also released a certain Frogadier.  Before Kakashi had a chance to disrupt the reunion, she flopped back down and pulled him to lie down beside her. “Okay, now you can nap,” she promised. “Just until we all have a chance to catch our breath. Then training time.”

He grinned, snuggling up close so he could lie his chin on her stomach. “Right, as much training as you want,” he promised. He grunted in complaint when she reached to let Haruka out too, but the little bud was all to happy to snuggle on the other side of her like a toddler for his own nap in the sunshine.

When they woke up, Evangeline lived up to her promise and ran her team through their paces. The nearby daycare had a computer that they let her use to shuffle the team along as they got tired, so she could get the others out to run their own paces. (Or in Emi’s case, give Evangeline a chance to learn how to curb her enthusiasm.) One of the workers suggested a nearby berry farm when Evangeline inquired if they had any sort of cafe or if she needed to go back to Ambrette or Camphier Town to visit their Pokemon Centers.

The path to the farm was a little narrow, so she wasn’t surprised she missed it before with Tierno and Trevor urging her to pick up the pace. The more common trees slowly gave way to an orderly grove, the trees short and squat. With numerous bug types leaping from bush to bush, sniffing the blooms…and eating any berry ripe enough to be plucked.

A little girl, her hair in pigtails, chased after them with a net. “Get away, get away!” she begged, waving the net wildly. “You’ll ruin today’s harvest!”

Evangeline just couldn’t sit there and wait. “Henri, come on out!” she called, throwing out his Pokeball. The Fletchinder came out with ease, and at the sight of the joint Fire and Bird type, the collection of bugs scattered. The girl stopped her running and spotted Evangeline. She waved and pointed to the base of a tree where another net was lying down. Seeing no harm in joining the fun, Evangeline grabbed it and joined Henri in his dash around the trees, swinging the frame to gentle rattle branches and shake out hiding Pokemon.

Including a Spewpa, who fell right into the net with a fearful squeal.

She acted first, thought later. “Oh shhh, sweetie,” she crooned, reaching in to pull the little thing into her arms. “It’s okay, shhh, it’s okay.”

Big ochre eyes looked up at her, and it sniffled. “S-sorry,” it–no, she, Evangeline had enough experience to know that tone was feminine for this species–whispered. “I’m just so hungry…”

It was like a fist squeezed around her heart. She tried to tell herself no. The rest of her team was going to be absolutely furious, see this little one as a replacement. Even if the personality was completely different. All they’d see was the same as their friend once was.

Henri fluttered over, perching where he could crane his head to see what she was holding. “You aren’t going to let her go hungry, are you?” he asked. “I mean, the others looked like gluttons. This one looks kinda scrawny…”

“No, no of course not,” she said quickly. “We’ll… We’ll share our lunch with her, how about that?”

He nodded, pressing his head against her cheek with a coo. She patted him gently so as not to accidentally burn herself, and carried her burden over to a nearby picnic table. There was a chalkboard set up near it, with a list of different prices for lunches (human and Pokemon friendly), and the nearby building had a sliding window that was open where she guessed she’d get orders.

“Hey!” the little girl said, running up to her while still carrying her net. “Wait right there, okay?”

Blinking, Evangeline could only nod in agreement. She took a seat nearby, Henri joining her and tickling the Spewpa, earning a series of quiet giggles. Well someone was bonding with the wild Pokemon. She eyed him in concern, but before she could argue, the little girl was back, carrying a huge basket that was probably used for the berry harvests, a cloth covering over it.

“Here,” she said briskly as she set it down. “Those Bug-types have been ruining the harvests for days now. If it wasn’t for you and your Fletchinder, we’d never have gotten them to go away. I talked to my grandparents, and they agreed.” She pulled back the cloth covering, revealing a veritable hoard of berry hand pies. “These are for you and your Pokemon. They keep pretty well for a couple of days even, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad if it takes you a while to go through them.”

Startled, Evangeline started to shake her head. “Really, you don’t have to try and feed us, we just saw you needed help–”

“And so has at least four other trainers who just turn around and leave, not realizing the bug population is too high so rather than helping pollinate, they are just being a menace,” the little girl argued, crossing her arms. “And I recognize you from Camphier Town gossip. Tell me you don’t have a Snorlax you are trying to keep fed. I dare you.”

Henri chirped in laughter, reaching in to grab a pie with his beak. “She has you there,” he said, almost swallowing it whole. “I know if we made a dent in Theo’s stomach, his handlers and the nurses would appreciate it.”

Evangeline groaned. She was out-numbered. “You and the others eat before Theo,” was her only condition as she pointed at Henri in a mock-threatening manner. “He can empty out the basket.”

He gave her a mock salute with one wing…and pulled out another pie. Rather than eating it himself, he reached over to dangle it in front of the Spewpa. Due to her lack of hands, it was obvious she appreciated the help in getting her own meal. Evangeline bit the inside of her cheek to keep from chiding him, getting her own pie to nibble on.

Only after the Spewpa was fed did Henri lean his head against her thigh, making his eyes as big as possible. “Can we keep her?” he whispered.

She stared down at him. “She isn’t a replacement for Cho.”

Ruffling his feathers, he rapidly shook his head. “Of course not! We… We can never replace her. But this little one needs us. Cho would never forgive us for leaving her behind, you know? Under that diva mask, she really did care.”

Sighing, Evangeline looked at the Spewpa who was starting to dose off in her arms. “Fine,” she agreed in a whisper. “But you get to tell the others.”

He winced, but nodded in agreement.

Cerise (Spewpa)

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NaNo 17, Day 27: Team Flare, New Faces, and Closure

Thankfully, there was only one female Team Flare grunt down the mine shaft, both of her Pokemon easily defeated by Felix, to the grunt’s immense annoyance. She took off at a run in the same direction as the earlier grunt, especially when the Charmeleon sent a plume of flames after her.

Evangeline gave him a discouraging whap on the back of the head for it, but her heart wasn’t in it. After all, what would she have done if the grunt had decided that just because her Pokemon were defeated, she wasn’t done fighting? And he hadn’t been aiming to hurt. “Come on, let’s keep moving,” she coaxed him, turning away from the tracks and deeper into the cave.

The path curved around again, narrowing though not as badly as the earlier half of the caves. Perfect, though for two more Grunts to create a bottleneck.

Both gave her what they probably thought were model-esque poses, though honestly they just looked likely. The boy declared, “We’re Team Flare! We put the fashion into fear!”

Meanwhile, the girl just looked put-out. “We’re looking for fossils, but were discovered by a kid!”

What did they expect? The Fossil Lab wasn’t exactly making this place a secret. Evangeline narrowed her eyes, bracing herself for a fight.

“Evangeline!” Xavier shouted behind her, coming up at a run. He stumbled to stop, seeing the situation she was in. “So, there are two members of Team Flare this time…” He turned his head to look at her with an eager grin. “Are you ready to battle alongside me again, neighbor?”

This time, the suggestion also made her smile. These two grunts didn’t know what they were in for. “Yes,” she agreed.

“I just fought with another one of these Team Flare guys. They won’t stand a chance against us,” he declared, throwing out his first Pokemon: his Espurr. Evangeline joined him with Felix, and the fight was on.

Not that it was easy. Felix weathered the hits, but Xavier’s Espurr was replaced first by his Absol, and then by his Quilladin. In the end, they managed to get the necessary wins by the skin of their teeth. Evangeline bit her lower lip, though, through most of it, and made a mental note to mention to Xavier that he really needed to reconsider some of his battle choices. Using an attack that protected against special-type attacks didn’t do a lot of good when their opponents were using primarily physical-type moves.

Xavier stepped up, acting the part of the big hero. “If you’re just trying to make yourselves happy, I won’t stop you. But when you threaten people, it’s like who do you think you are, anyway?”

She rolled her eyes upward. Oh, that didn’t sound childish at all.

The male grunt looked over his appearance. “Oh man! My favorite, fashionable Team Flare suit is filthy!” He pivoted on his heels and took off down the mine shaft again, hopefully back whatever way he came.

His partner stomped her foot. “If we can restore fossils, we can make some good money!” she sulked, chasing after him. “The boss isn’t going to like this…”

Evangeline wasn’t particularly surprised. It took money to finance criminal operations of any sort, the question was what the big picture was. Shaking her head, she continued onward, just to be sure there weren’t any other grunts causing trouble for the dig assistant.

No one else turned up, except a gentleman in a white research’s coat. Xavier was behind her, and he craned his head to try and look around her. “Is he there?” he asked in a hiss.

It caught the research’s attention, or seeing movement out of the corner of his eyes did. “Why hello!” he said, quickly setting down his tools and turning around. “Here to look for fossils as well?”

She didn’t have a chance to answer, since Xavier stepped around her and immediately asked, “Was Team Flare here?”

Bless his heart, the research just tilted his head to the side in confusion. “Teemphlair? What’s that? A Pokemon?”

Xavier groaned. “Never mind…” he muttered. Evangeline covered her mouth to keep her giggles quiet. He gave her a sheepish grin. “Guess he was so absorbed with looking for fossils, he didn’t notice.”

The research clapped his hands together to get their attention back on him. “You two are very lucky you came upon me just now, you know. I just now found two fossils! But they’re both ones I already have, so I’ll give one to each of you. Do you want the Jaw Fossil or the Sail Fossil?”

“Jaw Fossil?” Xavier expressed interest, moving to get a closer look. Evangeline came behind him to look at the other, this Sail Fossil. It was beautiful and glistening, surprising her, as it seemed to reflect all the colors of the rainbow.

“So, the Sail Fossil for you, and the Jaw Fossil for you?” he asked both teenagers to confirm their selections.

“I’ll take this one,” Xavier confirmed, and Evangeline gave a quick nod, holding the fossil close.

The researcher grinned at them. “Wonderful. I’ll restore your Fossils and turn them back into Pokemon at the Fossil Lab! For now, I must return with these other samples. Hope to see you there!” Gathering up what he needed, he walked back down the path. She hoped it was safe for him now, and that between her and Xavier, they had managed to run any threats to those samples off.

Xavier shook his head, looking like he had a headache. “So, we went looking for the assistant, and we found that suspicious group called Team Flare as well…”

“I have a feeling that was more accidental than the Lab purposefully sending us in the way of trouble,” she pointed out quietly.

He nodded to show he agreed. “Still, with those Team Flare people running around, it would be better to train more so I can travel safely. I guess the best thing to do to get tougher is to challenge the Cyllage City Gym.” He glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes. “What about you?”

She took a deep breath. This had been a distraction, but Cho’s grief was still on her heart. Just not as heavy. “I think I’ll stick around here for a couple of days,” she admitted quietly, “Explore some of the roads a little better. I think I got so distracted with pushing ahead, I started making mistakes. Plus I have a lot of new Pokemon to learn about and train up. Cyllage is close enough, I might as well train for it here and then go to the Gym.”

With a nod, Xavier gave her an awkward hug. “Alright. Take care of yourself, alright? If you don’t catch up with us soon, I’ll come back and drag you along.”

She managed a laugh. “Alright. See you soon.” They parted ways, with Evangeline poking her nose around a little more while he hurried on. She had a feeling he had delayed his trip, just to make sure she was alright. There was a piece of amber that looked interesting. Evangeline pocketed it to take back with her.

The Rhyhorn from before was waiting for her, though thankfully not the rain. It even seemed to make him moderately more cheerful. She was relieved not to have to put on her raincoat again herself. Once she reached town, she stopped by the lab first, where the research assistant was already behind the counter and recognized her on site.

He also recognized the amber she pulled out while digging for her fossil that he had given her. Taking both, he disappeared in the back before she could stop him, making her frown. He came back with two Pokeballs. “Your Sail Fossil has become an Amaura, and that Old Amber actually contained enough scales from an Aerodactyl,” he said excitedly. “You can use the computer there, to free up slots for these two, if you need them.”

Startled, she did as he said, shifting her team around to take on her two new Pokemon. “Thank you,” she said with a quick bow of her head.

“You are more than welcome,” he assured her with a smile. “Best of luck with your new friends!”

She smiled and nodded, taking her exit, still feeling a little numb. Evangeline hadn’t expected to mean having this many new Pokemon when she mentioned them to Xavier! Back at the Center, she used one of the terminals to look through her box with a frown. Amaura, Aerodactyl, Sandile, Mawile…and Inkay. She took a deep breath, and took out all the new Pokemon, as well as Kakashi.

First, she let out her starter Pokemon. “Time to meet all the newcomers,” she told him. “Five of them.”

He tilted his head in confusion, counting off in his head and realizing who she was including. His face darkened a little. “If you let the one go, no one will blame you,” he said bluntly.

“I know they won’t,” she said, grimacing. “And trust me, I’m tempted. But I’m not going to judge it without meeting it first. Do you have a problem with that?”

Kakashi crossed his arms, considering. “I think I’m okay with it,” he said slowly. “The others might take longer to come around, but it’s going to depend on the Inkay’s personality, you know?”

She nodded, since that did make sense. “We’ll save it for last,” she promised, and reached for the first Pokeball. The Sandile was a serious little fellow who for some reason reminded Evangeline of a bouncer at a club. The first nickname she could think of was the same as one of her guards as a child who hadn’t been native to Kanto–Lars. Surprisingly, he liked it.

Lars (Sandile)

Next on the list was the Mawile. She seemed a little less sure of her surroundings, outside of the cave, but she raised her chin up rather than admit it. She took on the nickname Chiko, and rather than be recalled, she insisted on staying out to help Kakashi if any of the others ended up being trouble.

Chiko

Of course, that felt superfluous with the next one. The Amaura, despite its size, was shy as any story about wild Pikachu. But when she suggested finding him a new Trainer if he preferred it, he firmly shook his head and tucked his head into her body with a happy croon. “Awww, you’re just a big baby,” she cooed over him. “It’s alright, Felix didn’t talk much either.” Though with Felix being of Fire and this new Pokemon being of Ice, she wasn’t sure if they would actually be friends. She nicknamed him Etienne and let him return to his Pokeball.

Etienne (Amaura)

The Aerodactyl was the completely other side of the coin. She was bubbly and eager to meet her new friends, despite her size. When Evangeline offered her an apple, it seemed to cement their friendship. She chomped down on it and eagerly looked for me. Evangeline made a mental note to carry more food on her person for when she was carrying this Pokemon, who she dubbed Emi.

Emi

There was only one left. Chiko didn’t understand what was happening, but she stayed out with Kakashi in a fit of stubbornness, especially when Kakashi quietly explained what this particular Pokemon was to blame for. “It may have been an accident, but you never know how it’ll react to the news,” she said bluntly.

That surprisingly made her feel a little better about it. “Alright,” she said, “here we go.”

With a twist of her wrists, she released the Inkay responsible for Cho’s death from it’s Pokeball.

Immediately, it swarmed up to Evangeline. “Is that Vivilion alright?” she asked, worrying her tentacles. “It’s been a couple of days, hasn’t it? I didn’t know if you would ever let me out so I can find out, and none of your other Pokemon would talk to me about it…” She paused and muttered, “None of them wanted to talk to me period.”

Evangeline swallowed. “No, she wasn’t,” she admitted. “I’m sorry you were fretting.”

“And I’m sorry that it happened,” the Inkay said, deflating a little, her eyes big and watery. “I would understand completely if you released me back to the wild. Really, I don’t mind.”

If nothing else, that statement alone melted any lingering resentment Evangeline would have had. “It’s not your fault either,” she said. “It was… It was an accident.” Saying the words herself made it feel more real to her too.

The Inkay nodded a little. “Okay. I… I’m going to work really hard to show you, all of you,” she added after glancing at Chiko and Kakashi. “That I want to be on the team and I’m sorry I took someone away to do it.”

“Alright,” Evangeline agreed, and reached out to pat the Inkay on the head. “How about a nickname, hmm? A sign of approval to the others.” Thinking, she suggested Kanna, a name that meant white lily, as a sign of Inkay’s penance. She nodded in approval.

Kanna (Inkay)


NaNo 17, Day 26: Grief, and Learning to Move On

It was a long night. Evangeline couldn’t sleep, and her remaining Pokemon took shifts with her. The only one who stayed up the whole time was Kakashi, which spoke of how worried they were, if the one who loved nodding off stayed up with her. Even the new Fairy Type got in on the action, though Evangeline didn’t have the heart to offer her a nickname even in gratitude for the way she offered cuddles. Thankfully, Antoine and Haruka took over, using a computer to pull up a list of names that they thought Evangeline and the Flabébé could both like, settling on Hikari for the new little one.

Hikari (Flabebe)

The Meditite was trickier, but she also eventually came around during the odd hours after midnight. She fetched water and food for whoever was on shift, and while she didn’t know Cho herself, she realized how much she met to the Pokemon who had been on the team longer, listening to the stories that they quietly told each other. When asked, she admitted to having a nickname once before, given to her by a Trainer who had let her go after catching a stronger Meditite. Rather than change it completely, Henri was the one who came up with enough changes to it that she felt comfortable with it.

Stephanie (Meditite)

The Inkay never left the box.

Nurse Joy was efficient in the morning with walking Evangeline through the burial process. Due to Cho’s excitement when her wings came in, they decided to scatter the remains to the winds. Being on a cliff-side town just made it easier. Even if it was hard for Evangeline to stay standing the entire time. There was a neat little form that let her get an engraved plate for Cho to put on display.

Xavier found her around noon, playing with the plate of food Joy had set in front of her despite protests. “Hey,” he said softly. “Sorry about your Vivilion.”

She nodded to receive his sympathy, but didn’t feel like saying anything else.

He sighed as he sat next to her. “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it really was an accident,” he said, keeping his tone gentle rather than trying to pick a fight. “Even the best of Trainers can have them.”

“It was going okay, and then…” Evangeline whispered.

“It went bad in a hurry,” he said with a sigh. “I’d hug you, but your Pokemon might hurt me. The Charmeleon in particular seems rather irritable.”

“Cranky teenager phase, can’t talk, doesn’t know how to express himself,” she muttered. “Felix means well.”

“They usually do.” Xavier sat opposite her and picked some of her food off of her plate with a spare fork. “I don’t know your grieving patterns, so what would you prefer? To be left alone for a few days? An escort home?”

She absently used her own fork to smack the back of his hand so he’d leave her lunch alone. Evangeline wasn’t completely sure about her grieving patterns, so how could she explain them to Xavier? Stalling for time, she took a few bites of the food, surprised to feel a little bit of energy returning. Maybe that was the trick. “A distraction?” she suggested.

He blinked, and leaned back in the chair. “Distraction, huh?” Xavier watched her eat a few bites, though whether because he was thinking or because he wanted to keep her from accidentally starving herself, she didn’t know. Tilting his head, he pulled out his map of the town and looked it over. “How about the fossil lab?” he suggested.

She craned her neck to try and look at the map. “They have one of those here?”

“Yeah, the mountains around here are full of fossils.” He let her look, pointing out where it was. South of town, obviously where she hadn’t gone already. “Let’s go check it out, see what they have going on.”

Evangeline nodded and turned to go figure out who to take with her on such a trip. She hesitated when she saw the Inkay still in the box. Maybe… Maybe she’d be able to deal with it when she got back. Due to the mountain climate, Evangeline pulled all her Water and Grass Types together, as well as Felix since he was feeling particularly clingy and you never knew when a Steel Type would show up. Henri and Kagura also insisted on coming along, rounding out the team.

They set out together, walking the streets. Evangeline had to tell herself that no one was staring. The lab was a grey building, oddly shaped but functional. They walked inside, where yellow tile floors tried to warm up clinical white walls, racks of fossil bones on display. Evangeline looked over them briefly weaving her way back to the main lab.

“Wait for me,” Xavier hissed when he fell behind.

“Then don’t get so distracted,” she hissed back, hoping her smile kept it teasing, despite how lackluster she still felt.

He sniffed and walked ahead of her, like that was really going to irk her. Rolling her eyes, she let him be the one who caught the attention of the two scientists. The woman seemed calm, but the man was excitable. “Welcome, future archaeologists!” he greeted. “You were drawn here by the mystique of fossils, no doubt!”

“Something like that. I’m Xavier, and this is Evangeline,” the male Trainer introduced them both. “We’re researching Mega Evolution. Do you know anything about it?”

“Oho! So you’re Professor Sycamore’s students,” he said, adjusting his glasses. Evangeline glanced at Xavier. Is that what they were? He shrugged back, just as confused. “I’ve heard about you. Mega Evolution, you say… I’m sorry, but all I know is that it has something to do with mysterious stones…”

It was a disappointing answer, but not unexpected. If the answers were readily available, the professor wouldn’t have them poking their noses into it all.

“Still, since you’re students of the professor, you must know about Pokemon fossils, correct?” the research asked eagerly.

“Yes,” Evangeline said with a nod. While she hadn’t ever visited the museums, she knew something about them. In fact, a lot of museums were having to argue to keep their fossils as just that rather than awakening them into Pokemon.

“Wonderful! I expect no less from Professor Sycamore’s students!” he said with a grin. “Fossils are the legacy of prehistoric Pokemon.” He gestured to the shelves behind him, which held some impressive skulls and bones but no complete skeletons. “You should really go to the dig site and see the real thing firsthand.”

Xavier nodded, trying to look polite. “Is that so? Well, if you don’t know anything about Mega Evolution…”

Evangeline rammed her elbow into his ribs, making him yelp and cutting him off before he said anything even more insulting.

The female scientist looked up from her paper work, glaring behind her own glasses. “Hold on! Pokemon that can be restored from fossils just might have something to do with Mega Evolution. The assistant in Glittering Cave right now might know about that!” She gave Evangeline a look, who just shrugged helplessly. She was Xavier’s friend, not his keeper, and she had no interest in being promoted, if you wanted to call it that. She also wasn’t going to throw him under the rug, not when he was being nice and distracting her like she asked.

“Well…” he said, tucking his hands into his pockets. “As long as I’m here, I guess I’ll go see that assistant.” He glanced at her. “Heading to Glittering Cave, Ladybird?”

Translation, was she up for the trip. Thinking about it, she nodded. Yeah, a trip to some caves shouldn’t be too bad.

Unlike her, Xavier hadn’t grabbed the right Pokemon for a mountain trek. He urged her to continue on by herself. She waved her hand to agree, and went ahead without him. Unfortunately, as soon as she stepped out of the main building, it started to rain. Swearing, she dug in her bag and pulled out her raincoat, slipping on the powder pink vinyl and tucking the hood over her hat just in case the wind picked up with it. Her boots were tall enough, she wasn’t too worried about her legs getting soaked.

The poor Rhyhorn waiting at the beginning of a rather hazardous trail, though, looked miserable. They shook some of the water running off their stone hides, grumbling under their breaths. A saddle was on each of their backs to make riding more comfortable, and there was a sign overhead indicating that the path ahead was only travel-able on Rhyhorn back.

“Excuse me,” she said, walking up to the nearest one. “Would you mind taking us on to the Glittering Cave? Or is the rain too big of a hassle?”

“Us?” he grunted.

“My team and me,” she clarified, pointing to the Pokeballs on her bag.

“Ah, a Trainer.” He stretched and shook himself as if waking up from a nap. She giggled and held up her hands to block the deluge of water being shed in her direction. “Don’t see too many of those, mostly the white coats. Sure, not a problem. We’re used to it.”

“Thank you,” she said, and eyed the saddle. She’d never ridden anything like this before, but the basics looked to be the same. Swinging up on to his back, she saw that there were hand holds up there instead of a singular horn or smooth front bump, so she’d have something to hang on to.

“If we run into anything wild, chase it off, yeah?” he said as he started on the path, the stones in his way having nothing to offer resistance to his weight.

She swallowed around a lump in her throat. “Yeah, okay,” she agreed quietly.

He grunted, and with a lunge, destroyed a boulder that had fallen in his way. She grimaced and held on to the straps tighter as his whole body shook in the process. This was going to be a lot of work, even if she wasn’t the one doing the walking.

The Rhyhorn wasn’t wrong about wild Pokemon. He stirred up a Sandile, making her cringe but Kakashi almost did all the fighting for her. The Frogadier actually hopped up to ride behind her as they rode when they stirred up another. With the third, she decided Fate was telling her something. With a sigh, she told Kakashi to hold up before he knocked the little brown lizard out. She’d stocked up on Great Balls, a stronger variant of a Pokeball, at the Center. It didn’t stand a chance. But rather than deal with it, she immediately sent the Sandile back to the computer. It could wait until she went back.

There was, of all things, a Pokemon Ranger waiting at the entrance to the cave. She quickly took charge of the Rhyhorn, offering him some food and shelter from the rain, and even offered to give some quick healing to Evangeline’s team before going into the cave. After what had just happened to Cho, she readily agreed.

The caves were dark, but dry. Evangeline took off her jacket, draping it over her bag so it could dry some while she walked. A dig in her bag produced her big flashlight, letting her watch the ground beneath her feet as well as above her so nothing would risk injury. She was expecting something like the roosting cave connection further north, but at least here towards the front, the caves were tight and twisting, with several dead ends.

And several wild Pokemon. Including a yellow and black Pokemon that curiously had two mouths–one on the normal face, a second disguised as a sort of ponytail. It was adorable, but fierce. She caught it with much more confidence than the Sandile. Her Pokedex identified it readily enough. “Mawile, the Deceiver Pokemon. Mawile’s huge jaws are actually steel horns that have been transformed. Its docile-looking face serves to lull its foe into letting down its guard. It can chew through iron beams.”

Shaking her head, Evangeline found herself actually excited to meet the new Pokemon addition to her team. The first Steel Type, and another Fairy to boot.

The narrow paths finally gave way to a much larger chamber. Looking around, she figured it had to be an abandoned mine of sort. That, or the fossil business required a lot more digging than she thought, and rather than dig directly into the mountain for it, they’d chose to expand on paths once they started hitting fossils. She wasn’t sure which was the truth.

She was distracted from further thought by seeing someone else among the reddish dirt and rock of the mountain side. Dressed in an orange suit with similarly dyed hair, he looked completely out of place. Especially with those orange sunglasses over his eyes! It was too dark for those, wasn’t it?

“What’s this?” he asked, walking towards her. “Well, well. What do we have here? A nosy little Trainer has come poking around.”

“Nosy?” she muttered, baffled. She hadn’t done anything!

He snorted and set his hand on his hip. “Listen up! We’re the fashionable team whose very name makes people tremble in fear: Team Flare!”

“Sounds like a Team Rocket spin-off,” she countered, taking a step back to brace herself.

“Ha! Those old has-beens? They overshot themselves.” He waved his free hand dismissively. “Who needs to rule the world? Team Flare’s goal is to make it so we’re the only ones who are happy! We don’t care one bit what happens to other Trainers or Pokemon.”

“That’s awful,” she told him, eyes narrowing. If anything, that made them worse than Team Rocket in her opinion.

“What do you know?” he dismissed her. “Get out of here, kid. Don’t you know not to play with fire?”

For her, there was no choice. “No, I’m afraid not,” Evangeline said, releasing her first Pokemon–Haruka the Budew.

He scoffed at her. “Getting my fancy suit dirty isn’t the stylish way to do things, but if you insist… I’ll obliterate you. Get her, Houndour!” he released his own Pokemon, a black and grey dog Pokemon that’s Fire typing was obvious.

The fight was quick and dirty. Evangeline traded Haruka out for Kakashi, at least to defeat the Houndour, but let him back out when it was defeated and replaced with a Zubat.

“What’s this?” the grunt said in protest, stepping backwards rapidly after his defeat. “You’re a pretty tough Pokemon Trainer, for a kid. But watch yourself! I’m not the only member of Team Flare around here!” He took off with a run down the nearest mine shaft.

Shaking her head, Evangeline frowned and looked to where the tracks led, trying to listen and see if she heard anything.

The only sound was her own Budew, asking quietly, “Evangeline? What are you going to do now?”

She took a deep breath. “I think we’re going to have to clear those Team Flare jerks out of this dig site, before they cause any real trouble.”

“As long as I don’t have to go up against another Fire Type,” he muttered, hopping up to be in her Trainer’s arms.

Evangeline carefully stroked the petals on top of Haruka’s head. “I’ll be more careful,” she promised. “Now come on, let’s see how bad it is…”


NaNo 17, Day 25: A Trainer’s First Mistake

Morning dawned too early for Shauna, who hid under her covers when Evangeline checked in on her. Sharing her pain, but unable to linger like this between gyms this long, Evangeline gathered up her team and left Camphrier Town. Without the Snorlax blocking the way, she was able to cross the river where it looped around from where the rest of Route 7 followed it.

Flower fields proved to be just as treacherous as tall grass. Evangeline was thrilled to turn up the same type of Pokemon that Dexio had mentioned: Flabébé. This one had a blue flower as its companion of choice, though while wading her way out of the fields, Evangeline ran into others on orange or yellow blossoms. She sent it to the computer box until she reached a new Center to meet it better, determined not to back track to Camphrier Town again.

She didn’t make it too far past the bridge before she heard familiar arguing behind her. Rolling her eyes in affection, Evangeline turned and waited for the duo to catch up with her.

Due to sheer height, Tierno noticed her first. “Oh, hey Ladybird!” he greeted with a wave. It made Trevor’s head jerk up from where he was resolutely watching his Pokedex, and give her a shy wave in greeting.

“Hey yourself,” she said with a smile. “What are you two doing out this way?”

With a jerk of his thumb, Tierno indicated to his smaller buddy. “Trevs said he wanted to check out the Pokemon Daycare.”

“Oh, is that around here?” she said, tilting her head and pulling out her map. Yes, it appeared so. Evangeline hadn’t had a chance to ever visit one of the ones in either of her home areas, but she knew about them.

“Yeah. Hey, come with us!” he invited. “You might like it.”

She looked at her Holo Caster and confirmed that she had the time. “Okay,” she agreed, and let herself be led to the Daycare. It was a quaint little cottage, with several pens full of Pokemon. The couple running it were kind, and Evangeline was quick to coo over the baby Pokemon who had just hatched from eggs, while other eggs were in incubators, waiting to be given to the Trainers they belonged to. She decided not to leave any of her team with them, but Tierno had a couple that he wanted to see if an egg came out. She could see his point, since some moves could be inherited, and might help him with his dance goal.

“Have you ever heard of Pokemon Coordinators?” Evangeline asked Tierno as they walked down the road. “I think you might enjoy it…”

He shook his head, looking baffled.

“It’s mostly a big deal in Hoenn and Sinnoh,” she admitted. “When I was deciding where to have my journey, I ran across it. They are called Coordinators. Maybe you should look into it, since I think your dance would be appreciated.” She grinned at him, hoping this gave him some encouragement. “You could even be the one who helps it catch on here in Kalos.”

“That… sounds like a cool idea,” he agreed, looking down at his feet. “I’ll have to think about it.”

She nodded and patted him on the shoulder. “You’ll have to do a lot more research, I just glanced through it,” she said apologetically.

He nodded, and seemed to be thinking about it. Evangeline let silence fall for a moment, content to let him have a moment. Trevor demanded her attention first, wanting to compare Pokedex to see who had seen the most Pokemon so far. It was his form of a Poke battle, so she didn’t mind. Unfortunately, whether because of bad luck or whatever the case was, she just barely beat him out. He seemed to be briefly disappointed, but bounced back, determined to keep working at it.

Painters challenged the trio all the way down the route, pausing in their work of painting the glistening river long enough for a break. For many, it seemed to refresh their inspiration. Trevor pointed out the Battle Chateau, but none of them felt up for entering it yet. Evangeline made a note of it for later, when she would need to train up her team before facing the Elite Four. They reached the end of the route, at least as far as the river followed it. And waiting at the carved-stone steps leading up was a familiar head of blonde hair fighting its way free of a green cap. Xavier waved at them as they all caught up together.

“Hey, how about a double battle?” he suggested as they met, bouncing on his toes.

“Bored with the painters?” Evangline figured out, making him grin at her sheepishly, like it wasn’t too big of a deal. She rolled her eyes and waved her hand, taking a step closer to Tierno. She thought they would be a good team against Trevor and Xavier.

“Okay, let’s battle! Tierno and Trevor, you’ll battle against Evangeline and me,” Xavier said with authority.

“Wait, what?” Evangeline said in bafflement, even as the other two boys shrugged and moved to stand opposite the other two.

Xavier gave her an innocent look. “I thought these would be good teams since you and I are neighbors.”

She bit the inside of her lip rather than say what she wanted to, which was call him out on putting both Gym-oriented Trainers against two more unconventional ones. No wonder Xavier was so deluded about being the best. She sent out Cho again, and while Xavier struggled by using both his Fletchling and Gus, they still managed to defeat both Trevor and Tierno, who looked decidedly defeated.

Xavier crossed his arms behind his back at the conclusion. “Everyone sure has a different approach to being a Trainer,” he said with a grin.

Rolling her eyes, Evangeline patted both of the other boys on the shoulder. “That’s right, and you two have chosen a different path. Trevor, why don’t you ask Xavier to compare Pokedex? And Tierno, we can talk about Coordinators more while they do that.”

Both boys perked up at her suggestions, but Xavier suddenly took a turn for the nervous. “Well, that was fun, but I guess we should head to Ambrette Town,” he suggested, pointing over his shoulder. Unfortunately, both of the other boys chased after him and began rough housing.

Evangeline wasn’t having any part of that. Shaking her head, she walked the rest of the way to a cave system that went through a smaller slope of the mountains. There were some hikers inside interested in a battle, as well as another wild Pokemon–a Meditite that joined the others in the box for now.

Exiting out, Evangeline covered her eyes to help adjust to the change in lighting, relieved to be out of the dark. It hadn’t seemed that long, but it was enough to make her uneasy.

Of course, she hadn’t made it three steps before…

“Stop right there!” a familiar female voice called out of nowhere.

Evangeline about jumped out of her skin, at least until Sina and Dexio came around from behind rock formations. “Oh, it’s you two,” she said in relief, putting her hand over her chest where she swore her heart was trying to beat out.

Dexio laughed awkwardly. “We didn’t mean to surprise you,” he assured her. “How are you and Kakashi doing?”

“We’re doing great. He actually evolved while we were in Lumiose City,” she said with a grin. “As has Felix.”

“Ah, the Charmander you took from the professor?” he confirmed. “Or rather, Charmeleon now. That’s really impressive.”

“Speaking of the professor,” Sina butted in, “Haven’t you wondered how a single Pokedex could possibly cover a region as big as Kalos?”

Tilting her head, Evangeline finally shook her head no. Most areas had only the one Pokedex, but if Kalos was that big, was that not going to be the case here?

“Well, it can’t,” Dexio admitted. “That’s why we are here to power up your Pokedex.” He held out his hand, and Evangeline agreeably handed over the device. They showed her how to navigate the screens from both the Coastal and Central listings, so she could toggle as needed.

Sina bounced in place as they wrapped it up. “New encounters help people and Pokemon grow. We’ll be taking our leave. Bon voyage!” She dragged Dexio behind her through the cave system. If Evangeline were to guess, they hoped to ambush the rest of her friends.

Evangeline set off through the tall grass, still giggling as she pictured Trevor’s excitement to the expansion. It was the only explanation she had for the way a squid-type Pokemon managed to get the ambush on her. With a squeal, she ducked to avoid it, watching it with surprise. How was it able to float around like that out of water?

There wasn’t time to check the Pokedex either. Reflexively, Evangeline threw out Cho’s Pokeball. The butterfly almost seemed to dance with her opponent. Evangeline cheered her on, guiding her through moves.

She wasn’t expecting the devastating psychic attack.

Pink and violet wings crumbled to the ground.

“Cho!” Evangeline screamed, running to the Pokemon’s side. The enemy Pokemon hovered overhead, making the Trainer grit her teeth. She had to get Cho to a Center, fast! She summoned her back to her Pokeball, hoping the stasis would hold her stable until Nurse Joy could see her. To get the Pokemon to leave her alone, she threw the first thing she found in her bag. A Pokeball. Evangeline ignored when the captured Pokemon was scanned by her Pokedex, already scrambling into her skates so she could run as fast as she could to the next town. Surely Ambrette Town was closer than Camphrier!

She jumped over mud ponds, tall grass, and rock formations, going as fast as she could. Her thoughts were a constant cycle of worry and despair, praying Cho could hang on, just hang on. Other Trainers jumped out of her way rather than forcing a fight. Evangeline had just reached a long series of steps going down when she heard a shout behind her.

“Hey, neighbor!”

“Not now!” she shouted back, raising her voice for the first time ever. She almost tripped, trying to get down the stairs, but thank God, she was in town. There was the Pokemon Center!

She stumbled inside, and was comforted by the nurse running out from behind the counter. “Please, my Vivilion,” she gasped, holding out Cho’s Pokeball.

“You did the right thing,” Joy assured her. “This should have held her long enough for us to do something.” She then bustled back behind the doors, and an emergency sign flicked on overhead.

Evangeline half-collapsed onto the nearest bench, her bag slouching down as she held her hands in front of her mouth, almost chewing on her fingertips despite how dirty they were. There were a couple of flashes of light, and then she felt Kakashi’s slightly webbed hands wrap around her shoulders. Hiromi settled on her feet, purring in an attempt to offer comfort. Haruka hopped into her lap, squirming to get to where she was situated right. “Is Cho gonna be alright?” she asked quietly.

“The nurse is doing everything she can,” Kakashi said softly. “Evangeline got her here as fast as she could.”

“I should have used someone else, or run,” Evangeline said softly. “Not when I didn’t know anything about it.”

“Cho was always eager to show off,” Kakashi said, leaning harder against her. “Don’t judge yourself so harshly.”

Evangeline managed a slight nod, her eyes fixated on the door. Vaguely, she heard Xavier walk in, and felt Hiromi leave. The fire-cub was obviously keeping him at bay while the wait continued for what felt like hours.

The light went out. Nurse Joy stepped out, removing a surgical mask and gloves. And seeing Evangeline, could only manage a sympathetic smile and shake of her head.

She raised her hands to cover her eyes, bursting into tears. The Pokemon beside her joined her in grief as they mourned their friend.

Cho (Deceased)


NaNo 17, Day 15: Parterre Way and Professor Sycamore

A quick stop at the Center, and Evangeline was heading north out of town. The bag case conveniently enough clipped to her bag so while it was on display, it wasn’t in the way or showing signs of opening by mistake. She didn’t make it too far though before she was stopped, this time by a woman who looked a good deal like the Gym Leader that she’d just faced, just with slightly darker hair and dressed in dark colors. “Oh, you… You are, aren’t you? You’re one of the kids who got a Pokémon from Augustine Sycamore, right?”

“Oh, yeah, that’s me,” Evangeline said, tilting her head. “Can I help you?”

But the stranger was easily distracted. “Would you look at that! You got the Bug Badge! Looks like I might have a new scoop.” She winked, and tapped her chin with one finger. “To beat Viola at your young age… You really are something, aren’t you?”

Flushing, Evangeline fidgeted with her bag strap. “Not really,” she mumbled. “I mean, I’d like to think I’m a good trainer, but I’m just starting out.”

“Still, you did fantastic for your first Gym battle. Oh! Sorry, I never did introduce myself, did I? I’m Alexa. The Gym Leader you just faced, Viola, is my younger sister.” That explained the resemblance. “I work as a journalist myself.” And that explained the nosiness.

“I’m Evangeline,” she introduced herself with a quick nod. “Thank you for your compliments.”

“It’s no problem. I work at the big publishing house up in Lumiose City. Feel free to stop by anytime if you have the next big scoop to share with me!” Alexa tilted her head. “Though I take it if I want to run an article to embarrass my sister a little, she’ll already have a bunch of photos for me? You look like the type she loves to take pictures of.”

Evangeline flushed even darker. “Yes.”

Laughing, Alexa patted her shoulder comfortingly. “She’ll at least ask before she displays them anywhere. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rub it in that she lost like the good big sister I am.” She waved and walked back into town in the direction of the gym.

Shaking her head, Evangeline took off towards Route 4, which according to signs was also called Parterre Way. The center piece was an impressive fountain featuring Horsea, and several gardens and hedge mazes. And trainers training among them! She also ran into a Budew among the flowers. Hiromi almost scorched it to death, but it still bravely railed against them. Holding the lion cub back, Evangeline threw a Pokeball and caught the brave little fellow.

“Budew, the Bud Pokemon,” her Pokedex piped up. “When it feels the sun’s warm touch, it opens its bud to release pollen. It lives alongside clear pools.”

“Huh,” she mused, looking down at Hiromi. “It must have been attracted by the fountain.”

She went ahead and let her new catch out to meet him. Naive and laid back, he and Kakashi were pretty quickly friends. Evangeline made a note not to let them double team her into taking a lot of breaks, they’d never get anything done with those two in charge of the team. He took the nickname Haruka, which she thought suited his rather feminine Pokemon type and gender both.

Haruka (Budew)

Another surprise came after one of the battles, against a gardener named Fabian. Cho once again glowed, and Evangeline didn’t cover her eyes again, knowing what was happening this time. She guessed the trainers at Santalune City Gym weren’t kidding about how quickly Bug Types could evolve!

With a flash of wings, Cho broke the light aura to show off her new form: Vivilion, the same pattern to her wings as Viola’s. “Vivilion, the Scale Pokemon,” her Pokedex declared. “Vivillon with many different patterns are found all over the world. These patterns are affected by the climate of their habitat.”

Cho (Vivilion)

“Huh,” she said out loud, and smiled at Cho. “Well, I’m proud of you, Cho.”

“Thank you,” the newly hatched butterfly Pokemon preened, admiring her own new wings. “Wow, they are so pretty! And look, they match you!”

“They do,” Evangeline agreed, looking over them. They seemed well formed, which is all she worried about. Beauty was a bonus. “I wonder if that pattern is just for this area of Kalos, or if it has a wider change.”

“We’ll meet wild ones, I’m sure,” she said dismissively, with one last spin. “Okay, let’s keep going!”

Laughing, Evangeline agreed and they took off back down the path again. Evangeline slowed down, though, when she saw two people waiting at the end of the path, both in white suit-type uniforms. The blonde boy wore a blue tie, the dark girl a red one. She slowed down on her skates, unsure of what was happening.

The boy noticed her first. “Hello there!” he greeted warmly. “Have you ever heard of a Pokemon called Flabébé?”

Evangeline shook her head. “No, I didn’t run into one on this route,” she said.

“So, you haven’t seen one yet…” he said with a sigh, but didn’t lose his smile. “Well, that’s something you can look forward to!”

The girl butted in, perhaps sensing Evangelin’s confusion. “Flabébé is–now brace yourself–a Fairy Type Pokemon!”

Evangeline tilted her head. Was there something in her ears? She swore this girl just said a type of Pokemon that didn’t exist.

“It’s true! Fairy Type is a new Pokemon type that was just classified recently,” the boy insisted.

“This turned the entire type-match-up on it’s head!” the girl said, sounding excited.

Evangeline shook her head, but gathered herself quickly. She hadn’t heard about this on the boat ride over, but it was exciting. “Do you know how it’s affecting things?” she asked.

They shook their heads. “We’ve been battling Fairy Types against other types of Pokemon at Professor Sycamore’s request, but we’re still figuring out the specifics. Oh! I’m Sina, by the way. A beautiful name for a beautiful lady.” She tossed the edges of her bob, making Evangeline grin. It reminded her of Cho and her new wings.

“I’m Dexio,” the boy said with a more shy smile. “Two years ago, Professor Sycamore entrusted me with a Pokedex. You could call me a Pokemon-voyage veteran.”

Evangeline laughed, and couldn’t help herself. She gave him a formal bow like she would one of the trainers back home. “Hai, senpai,” she said teasingly.

Despite the language barrier, that bit of Japanese had apparently traveled to this region too. Dexio flushed, and Sina twittered, obviously trying not to laugh too hard at her friend. She got herself under control again soon enough. “If you’d like, we’ll show you the way to the lab,” she offered, and Evangeline quietly nodded. “Okay, come along now,” she said cheerily.

Evangeline hurried to take her blades off as she followed after them, strapping them to her bag for now. As they walked, Dexio asked politely, “So how are you and your Froakie getting along?”

“I think Kakashi and I are doing alright together,” she said, rubbing her elbow. He hadn’t voiced any complaints to her, or to the others that she had overheard. Nurse Joy hadn’t said anything at the Center either…

Dexio just hummed. “Well, the more you walk around with your Pokemon, the stronger your friendship will become.”

“Quit being a grump,” Sina scolded. “Right through this gate and you’ll be in Lumiose City!”

Evangeline managed to smile at her enthusiasm, uncertain why they were building this place up so much. A Pokemon lab wasn’t going to make the town that much bigger, was it?

She sucked in her breath as she walked through the doors. Tall buildings, crowded streets with trees scattered down the median… This was an actual city, not just a town with attitude. Evangeline was suddenly very glad for guides, or else she would have gotten lost.

Sina grinned at her elbow. “I’ll go ahead and wait in front of the lab for you,” she said, before taking off at a jog down the street. Evangeline managed a dumb nod belatedly, and Dexio got his chuckle at her. Flushing, she quickly walked ahead to follow Sina.

Thankfully, she hadn’t gone too far out of sight, and there were Pokeball-shaped signs that set the building apart from the neighboring ones easily. Sina still managed to gesture to it as if it weren’t obvious. “This building is the Sycamore Pokemon Lab,” she confirmed. “Let’s go inside!”

“Right,” Evangeline said, reflexively reaching up as if to smooth her hair down. It was finally time to meet this region’s professor. She hoped he was nice…

In the pristine lobby, Sina told her the professor was in his office on the third floor, with the elevator being the fastest way up. Evangeline waved good-bye and walked into the elegant, almost retro elevator with the way it was free-standing. The third floor came up way too fast. The white marble floors continued, along with the sapphire blue walls, the cool color scheme broken up by the red rugs.

The professor himself was waiting. A tall, thin man, his hair was dark and wavy, his clothes stylish but professional. He was younger than what she expected for a professor, and seemed much more charismatic than the crusty professor type like Professor Oak back in Kanto. “So, we finally meet!” he said with a smile. “Fantastic. Come this way, won’t you?” he asked, gesturing for her to follow him.

“Um, of course,” she said, flushing and hurrying after him. She was still baffled about how he knew who she was, so much so that he was able to recognize her on sight!

“Many thanks for coming all this way,” he told her as they reached what was obviously his desk rather than just his research room, private and away from any assistants. “As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m Professor Sycamore. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Evangeline.”

“The same for me,” she managed to stutter out, flustered at being the center of such sincere, enthusiastic attention.

“How is your Pokemon journey going so far? Have you met many different Pokemon?” he asked, moving to sit on the edge of his desk.

She fidgeted awkwardly with a curl of her violet hair that decided now was an excellent time to fall over her shoulder. “Oh, I suppose,” she murmured. “About as many as you’d expect to see, between here and Vaniville…”

“Oh? Let me have a quick look at your Pokedex and see,” he said, holding out his hand.

She fumbled removing it from her bag, and handed it to him with a flush.

He flipped it open and appraised what she had seen. With a hum, he handed it back with a grin. “It’s starting to look good,” he assured her, making her blush darken. He appraised her from head to toe. “Well now,” the professor noted. “You do have a certain je ne sais quoi. I have a good feeling about you!”

Rather than being complimented, she narrowed her eyes at him. That sounded like he knew more than he was letting on.

He didn’t seem daunted by her expression. “At first, I was thinking of choosing only one child from that town when I was deciding on who to give a Pokemon to. It was going to be the child of pair of Veteran trainers that I know who live there.” She huffed, knowing he meant Xavier. Sycamore smiled a little at her response. “But then, I heard that new people were moving in, and did a little investigating…”

She cringed. Oh no… “How much do you know?” she whispered.

“For such traditional parents, you dress very modern,” he said simply, which was enough. She groaned, covering her face with her hands. “You have to admit, it was too tempting. Here you are in the Kalos region, far from everything you know. Away from your parents, both Gym Leaders who inherited their positions from their parents and grandparents and further back, in a lineage most people would kill for, but you refused the prestige or the help.” He tapped his chest over his heart. “That really hit me right here.”

“And completely ruined the point of why I came here,” she pointed out.

“I’m not about to announce to the world that the daughter of Violet City’s Falkner and Fuchsia City’s Janine is traveling through the region,” he said with a scoff of his own, then giving her a wink. “Instead, I decided to give you a Pokemon so you could go on the journey you so obviously wanted. Was I wrong?”

She sighed, dropping her hands. “No,” she agreed reluctantly. Evangeline still would have been happier if he hadn’t known. But she was cut off from saying anything else by the sound of the elevator whirling, the doors opening just loud enough for her to hear in the quiet.

“Hi Professor, it’s Shauna!” a familiar voice called, and two familiar people came walking in. Shauna, as expected by that greeting, but also Xavier.

“Sorry to have kept you waiting,” he said with a smile, then did a double take at seeing Evangeline already there. She gave a sheepish little wave.

“Fantastic!” the professor said, clapping his hands. “Now let’s all have a Pokemon battle. Shauna, you versus Xavier. And Evangeline, your opponent shall be me.”

“What?” she yelped, startled, but Xavier and Shauna gave an enthusiastic cheer, moving to use the sitting room/library part of his office. With a gulp, she stepped back from the professor’s desk, reaching for her first Pokeball as he reached behind him for one of three that were on his desk.


NaNo 17, Day 8: Route 3, 22, and Santalune City

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.

“Coming through!”

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.

Henri (Fletchling)

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.

Hiromi (Litleo)

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 (Spewpa)

“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.


NaNo 17, Day 7: Santalune Forest

Evangeline had barely hit the first crossroads when she saw a familiar set of pigtails. Shauna did not look nearly as relaxed with the forest environment as Evangeline, and in fact seemed down right nervous. Titling her head, Evangeline wondered if maybe unlike Xavier and her, who had prior training and experiences growing up, if Shauna was the literal definition of a rookie, the first of her family to set out on a journey like this.

Okay, she could afford to be a little more patient. “Hey again, Shauna,” she greeted. “Fall behind?”

“Oh, hi!” Shauna jumped, turning around with a shaky smile. “Yeah, everyone else is up ahead. I just thought I would look around some, you know? Apparently a lot of people drop items around here, and there’s probably a lot of different types of Pokemon.”

Slowly nodding, Evangeline took a few steps forward to read a sign that said the same thing, and then, on a guess, started down the path to the left.

“Wait up, let’s walk together!” Shauna shouted, coming up behind her at full speed, bouncing a little to try and avoid running into Evangeline. “I feel like something will happen if I stay by you.”

Evangeline snorted. She knew what that meant. More like Shauna was hoping nothing bad would happen if they were together, or if it did, she was hoping that Evangeline would be able to get her out of it. Never mind that of the two of them, Shauna was the one wasn’t completely screwed if they ran into Grass types, which was pretty darn likely in a forest.

“I’ll heal your Pokemon whenever you want me to,” Shauna bribed, clapping her hands together in a pleading gesture. Her eyes grew big and wide, and her lower lip began to tremble.

If Evangeline had ever had any younger siblings or cousins growing up, such efforts would have been in vain. If she’d had much to do with younger children, she would have had at least enough for a token resistance. But she had been either in the watchful folds of her mother’s people or her father’s her entire life, and had private tutors rather than public schools. So she was completely unprepared for the effect of puppy-eyes.

With a sigh, Evangeline gestured for Shauna to follow her. “Come on, this way then,” she said.

“Yay!” Shauna squealed, and then plastered herself to Evangeline’s back.

It was hard to be afraid herself when someone was depending on her. Evangeline led the way down the meandering paths and tall grasses, finding items along the way. They reached a dead end, though, which meant turning around and going back to the crossroads.

And Evangeline stumbled to a stop at a rustle in the grass. “Oh no…” she breathed.

“What, what is it?” Shauna immediately put her hands on Evangeline’s shoulders to try and peer over the taller girl through a curtain of dark purple hair.

Out crawled a black and white, caterpillar type bug Pokemon. Evangeline barely heard her and Shauna’s Pokedex’s reciting in a creepy unison, “Scatterbug, the Scatterdust Pokemon. When under attack from bird Pokémon, it spews a poisonous black powder that causes paralysis on contact.”

“Oooh, are you going to catch it, Ladybird?” Shauna asked. “Can I watch you?”

No, no she wasn’t going to catch it. She fully intended to run and pray the bug was slow and couldn’t keep up with her. But taking a deep breath, she managed a nod. “Alright, Ella, let’s… Let’s catch a new friend,” she managed to squeak out.

The Zigzagoon zipped along the ground out of her ball, glancing over her shoulder at her trainer. “You okay?” she asked.

Evangeline managed a very weak smile. “I’ll be fine, go on,” she urged. The Scatterbug spewed out a stream of webbing–String Shot attack–and Ella had to focus on the fight, jumping out of the way.

It was a quick fight, especially with Ella’s speed. Closing her eyes, she threw the empty Pokeball, and covered her eyes with her hands as soon as it was gone. “Did it catch?” she asked Ella, unable to look.

“Yep,” Ella said, and she even went and fetched the ball for her. Reluctantly, Evangeline let the new Pokemon out. The little bug blinked up at her, sitting up straight.

With a swallow, Evangeline shakily patted the little feelers on top of its head. “H-hi,” she managed to squeak out.

“Hello,” the bug said. “Are you going to be my Trainer now?” She sounded dubious.

Evangeline felt dubious. “If you want. Would you like a nickname?”

“Yes.” The bug almost seemed to preen. “Something that suits me.”

Okay, that about made Evangeline giggle. Maybe this bug wouldn’t be so bad. She resigned herself to this, at least for now. “How about Cho?” she suggested. “It means Butterfly.”

The bug considered this with consideration. “Feminine, dainty, something to look forward to… I like it,” she pronounced with a nod of her head.

Cho (Scatterbug)

“Good, Cho it is,” Evangeline said. “And good job, Ella.” She held out both balls, returning both to her bag.

“That was really good,” Shauna said, clapping her hands. “You seemed really nervous, though.”

Evangeline grimaced. “I had an accident when I was little with a Bug-type,” she admitted as she led the way down the path towards the right path she hadn’t taken before. “If it has wings, I do okay, since I grew up with Flying-types around.” She pulled up the Pokedex and flipped through things. “I think Cho and I will be alright.” Tilting her screen, she let Shauna see the evolutionary chain of the Scatterdust Pokemon.

Shauna nodded seriously. “Well, thank you for letting me see someone else catch a Pokemon,” she said. “Xavier made it look so easy, and I felt pretty confident, and then we walked into here…”

“And it seems really different,” Evangeline said with a nod. “I know. But it’s okay to do things at your own pace, not mine or Xavier’s or anyone else’s, all right? And your Fennekin will help you too, even if you can’t understand what it’s saying. You can still work together.”

Shauna nodded, and Evangeline was relieved to see she was a little less nervous. It made the walk through the woods much more pleasant. They passed by Tierno and Trevor, one in the middle of a Pokemon battle of his own while the other waded through the tall class. Evangeline even thought she saw Xavier, but with his outfit, it was hard to spot him in all this greenery. She focused on her own fights, and Shauna even got brave enough to wander off on her own for a little bit, returning with some items someone had dropped along the way.

It was with a good bit of relief that Evangeline noticed the trees beginning to thin out and the road becoming straighter. The sun was beginning it’s descent, and she did not want to be stuck outside in the dark, at least not in an area crawling with more Bugs.

Shauna, though, made her pause and wait for the others to catch up. Xavier popped up first, looking surprised to see them. “So you’re the first to arrive,” he said, taking in the way Shauna was clinging and figuring out pretty quickly that it was Evangeline who had led them out. “Looks like my neighbor is someone with a lot of potential.” He cocked his hat back, looking at her with a sharper appreciation. She sniffed, tossing her hair over her shoulder. He was the idiot who had assumed she hadn’t known anything!

They were saved from any awkwardness by the arrival of Tierno and Trevor. Tierno barreled straight ahead of them in the path so he was front-and-center, spinning into some hip-hop inspired moves that were full of grace, almost in spite of his size. “The way Pokemon move, it’s just incredible!” he said, bouncing to a stop. “I want to show off some of that spirit when I dance.”

“Tierno…” Trevor sighed, obviously exasperated with his own travel partner. “Could you think about something besides how Pokemon move for once?” Tierno just shrugged sheepishly, unrepentant in his passion. Evangeline thought that was very brave of him.

“We’re all here!” Shauna said, some of her perkiness returning now that the whole group was together. But now it was a little more endearing to Evangeline, rather than being quite as surprising or grating. “Let’s go to Santalune City.”

There was nods of agreement, and as a group they continued to walk down the path together, the trees continuing to thin out and no tall grass to hamper the journey. “What are you all going to do?” Shauna asked to carry on the conversation. “Once we get to the city?”

“Why look for Pokemon of course.” Trevor’s tone was matter-of-fact, like the answer was obvious. Perhaps to him, it was. “The professor did ask us to complete the Pokedex, after all. And furthermore, different Pokemon prefer living in different places. To put it another way, it’s a chance to find different Pokemon than the ones in the forest.”

Tierno nodded, looking up towards the thinning canopy of leaves. “I’ll bet different Pokemon will use different moves. I sure want to see lots of moves.”

Not to mention it offers some coverage in different types of battles and situations, but if they weren’t thinking it, Evangeline wasn’t going to point it out right now. Maybe later. For all she knew, the types in Kalos weren’t as varied as her home region, and it was less of a concern. She’d find out as they went, and would mention it to Tierno and the others if it became relevant.

Shauna wasn’t daunted, though. “What are you going to do, Xavier?”

“I’m going to go to Santalune City’s Gym and challenge the Gym Leader.” Much like Trevor, Xavier was confident in his decision to go straight to the Gym. When he saw Shauna’s puzzled face, he added, “You see, Pokemon Trainers find out how good they really are by challenging the Leaders in Pokemon Gyms.”

“Wow, you sure know a lot.” Shauna pouted, obviously discouraged a little that she hadn’t known that.

“It’s because Mom and Dad taught me so much.” Xavier said dismissively. “Here, I have something for you guys: ‘Adventure Rules.’ I wrote down ten different trips every Trainer should know. If you are puzzled by something, try looking in these rules.” He handed copies to both Shauna and Evangeline. Glancing at it, Evangeline saw it wasn’t much different from the set of advice her father had given her, and she’d had weeks to study that. She shoved the notebook into her bag to avoid appearing rude by refusing the gift.

“Oh, this is great!” Shauna said, flipping through the pages avidly. When she finished, she clasped it to her chest. “I’m going to spend some time getting to know my Li’l Fenn. What are you going to do, Ladybird?”

Smiling, Evangeline shrugged. “Probably what Trevor and Xavier said. Looking for more Pokemon to round out my team a little more, and then take on the Gym. But first, I think I’ll head to the Pokemon Center. You did a great job keeping my team healed up in the forest, Shauna, but I think I’ll take the chance to spend the night in a bed.” She pointed out at the setting sun as it crested over the hill.

“Oh man, we’d better hurry!” Xavier said. “Race you there!”