At the Pokemon Center, everyone was very quick to make friends with Felix. Henri fooled around, making jokes and being silly, enough to even get the quiet Charmander to give a little, breathy giggle. The Nurse Joy was very apologetic though when she explained that while they had Pokemon food on hand, most visiting locals preferred to visit local restaurants for their own meals. Evangeline wasn’t the least bit upset, and after the team was finished eating, bundled them all up in their Pokeballs so she could try one out.
Restaurant Le Nah was the only one currently open in the south district. Quickly, Evangeline figured out that the fashion in Lumiose was for there to be double battles before each course. Since it couldn’t hurt, and might even pay back the money she spent on the meal, she agreed. A few of the other diners watched the matches in curiosity, but most were too busy with their own. The food was decent, so she decided it wasn’t too big of a hassle.
What was really surprising was the conclusion of the battle before her entree. Kakashi and Felix had been handling things handily, but as the battle concluded, a familiar white light flowed over her Froakie. Startled, she left her food to grow cold and watched with wide eyes as he grew under the light, changing from being the size of a teddy bear to being the size of a medium-sized dog.
The light shattered into dust, revealing a dark blue, aqua, and white Pokemon that her Pokedex quickly identified as Frogadier. Kakashi twisted his head to look himself over. “Wow, didn’t see that coming,” he admitted, looking up at Evangeline. “Is this…okay?”
She smiled and reached down to hug him. “Of course it’s okay! You grew up a little, Kakashi, but you are still my friend, and my primary Pokemon.” Pulling back, she flicked his nose. “I may not be able to carry you around anymore, that’s all.”
Rubbing his nose, he grinned and let Felix sniff him over while she finally dug into her food before dessert arrived. The rest of the evening was more uneventful, aside from Kakshi discovering there wasn’t room for him on the bed. He calmly gave his spot up to Felix, who obviously needed the physical reassurance, and settled down on a big pillow on the floor.
The next morning, they poked around in a few of the stores and boutiques, all of them awed by the selection. She even had a chance to get her hair a brief trim, though she’d had to say multiple times that yes, the purple was natural, and no, she wasn’t interested in dying it either. They ran into Shauna at a place called the PR studio, and Evangeline found herself bullied into making one once she was recognized thanks to Viola’s pictures (she knew she was going to regret those). One of her Pokemon was expected to appear in the video with her, and she quickly picked Kakashi as extra reassurance that she didn’t care about his evolution.
The make-up was bad enough, but then she found them styling her hair, pulling the heavy strands up so it curled around her shoulders and back rather than all the way down to her knees. Much like Viola, though, they found the bangs too stubborn to get out of her face. Shauna picked out a costume, though Evangeline quickly vetoed some options and insisted on others… Yeah, this was a mistake.
With all her heart, she hoped the end results wouldn’t be played on the huge screen featured in the square.
By the time it was all over, she was ready to grab breakfast at a cafe and leave before she had to see the end results of the studio. To her surprise, she saw Xavier lingering outside of one called Cafe Soleil. “Hey,” he greeted her, and then jerked his head in the direction of the cafe’s door. “Could you come here for a second? I’d like to talk.”
Blinking, she nodded her head and followed him inside. Like the name suggested, the cafe had a warm and cozy atmosphere, while still retaining the posh elegance that Evangeline was coming to accept as part of the Kalos region. But both stumbled to a stop at who they saw in the back of the cafe. “Oh, it’s Lysandre and.. is that Diantha?” Xavier mumbled, seemingly recognizing them both on sight. He glanced down at her, noticing the expression on her face. “Just so you know, Ladybird, Lysandre is the head of Lysandre Labs, which created the Holo Caster.”
Ah, not someone she wanted to be rude to. Great, and here she was hoping to avoid him if at all possible. She sighed and forced her face to relax into a more congenial expression.
Xavier nodded in approval, and added, “You already know who Diantha is too, right? She is one of the most famous movie stars in the world after all. I wonder what the two of them are doing here together.”
Evangeline bit the inside of her cheek so she didn’t reveal that no, she didn’t know who Diantha was. Her parents both were raised in staunchly traditional families, with heavy traditions attached to them. While her mother might have been more relaxed about it, Evangeline spent most of her time in Violet City outside of early childhood, and her father was, to quote Aunt Aya, a fuddy duddy stick in the mud about fun.
Any further conversation they could have had was cut off as the adults got louder. Lysandre tried to flatter the woman whose dark hair was close to being purple like Evangeline’s, “You played a young girl so wonderfully in your debut on the silver screen. Wouldn’t you rather remain young and beautiful forever and always play such roles?”
Diantha crossed her arms and shook her head, and even that seemed to be elegant, dressed all in white like she was. “What a strange question… Why would I want to play the same old roles forever?” she asked, freeing one hand to wave it while the other held on to her purse. “Youth may be beautiful, but it’s not all there is to life. Everything changes. I want to live and change like that, too. So I look forward to playing different roles as I get older.”
That wasn’t what Lysandre wanted to here. “You were chosen to be a movie star, correct? Isn’t it your duty to be ever beautiful? Everything beautiful should stay that way forever. I would make this world unchanging and eternal so all beauty will last forever.” The faked pleasant smile on his face faded to a hard look at the woman. “I can’t stand the thought of the world becoming uglier.” With a pivot of his heel, he turned to exit in a similar dramatic action as he had the lab lobby yesterday.
Only this time, Evangeline and Xavier were in the way. He paused, and put his charming-smile back on. “Oh, hello Evangeline,” he said, completely ignoring the teenage boy. It made Xavier bristle at the dismissal. To keep the peace, Evangeline managed to softly murmur a greeting back.
If he was put off by her shyness, Lysandre didn’t make comment. The ginger-haired man gestured behind him to where his prior conversation partner was still standing. “This is Diantha, one of the most accomplished movie stars in Kalos. She moves the multitudes with her excellent acting… Which is to say, she dedicates her life to making other people happy.”
He dropped his hand, but Evangeline didn’t miss how it almost clenched into a fist before he could stop it. Without thinking, she took a step to the side and behind a little, partially hiding behind Xavier. He quirked a brow at her, but didn’t call her on it.
“Oh! If only everyone were like her–what a beautiful world this would be!” Shaking his head, Lysandre gave them a nod of his head, folding his arm across his waist in a mockery of a bow. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be going.” He stepped around the two teenagers, and exited the cafe.
Sighing relief, Evangeline stepped from around Xavier. “Sorry, he just…” She shrugged, not able to explain it.
Xavier snorted. “At least he knows you exist though.”
She wasn’t sure that was much of an honor.
Apparently the movie star was done lingering in the back of the cafe, as she approached the two teenagers. She had plenty of height, her eyes a bright aqua blue. Her outfit was a little avant garde, but Evangeline thought the almost wing-like design suited her. “And who are you two?” she asked, sounding far more polite than she had with Lysandre.
It made Xavier brighten up considerably, to be asked by someone he obviously considered important. “My name is Xavier, and this is…”
“Evangeline, right?” Diantha cut him off with a curious expression on her face. “I heard Lysandre call you that. You seem to have caught his interest.”
“Now if only I knew how to lose it,” Evangeline grumbled.
They both were startled when Diantha gave a twittering laugh, but it helped relax them both a bit. “You both have lovely names,” the movie star said, working to keep Xavier included int he conversation. “Oh, and you’re both Trainers! How are things going with your Pokemon? Are they happy?”
“Yeah, mine are a cheerful lot, always eager for the next adventure,” Xavier said with confidence.
Evangeline shrugged when they both looked to her. “We’re a more subdued party, but I think we’re all getting along alright,” she said.
“Well, everyone’s Pokemon are different, so just by doing your best, you’re succeeding,” Diantha said firmly. “I’m a Trainer myself, in my off time. I look forward to us battling someday!” She leaned over and kissed them both on the cheek before waving good-bye.
Xavier held his cheek dreamily for a moment, making Evangeline giggle. That seemed to snap him out of his fog. “Hmm… I guess if you’re a Pokemon Trainer, you battle everyone, no matter who they are,” he said with a confident smile. “Someday, right?”
She gave him a droll look for dismissing Diantha like that. Just because she was a movie star instead of a Gym Leader or one of the Elite Four didn’t mean Diantha would be a push over. “Someday,” she agreed, “For now, lunch.”
“Huh? Oh, that’s right!” he hurried to keep up with her as she hopped in the line. Both of them ordered, and they took a seat at one of the little tables. He tugged at his blondish curls, obviously in deep thought. It was quiet while they ate, but just as Evangeline was about to bring it up, he said, “I have something to ask you, Ladybird.”
The violet-tressed girl paused in mid-sip of her coffee, setting it down slowly. “Well, that sounds ominous,” she pointed out. “You aren’t going to ask for my first born child or anything, are you?”
“What, no! Do they actually do that where you’re from?” he asked in disbelief.
Evangeline kicked his cafe lightly with the toe of her boot. “It was a joke,” she told him flatly. “Now come on, out with it.”
He nodded, rubbing the back of his neck. “Right. Well, would you be willing to compete with me to see which of us will become stronger?” She gave him a look, and he held up his hands to ward her off…even as he completely misinterpreted it. “I know we set off on our journey just after you arrived in Vaniville… But we were neighbors, and I think it would be fun to be in competition with you.”
She sighed. Why was everything a competition with him? One he thought he was owed, just like he thought was owed victory. Taking a sip of her coffee, she considered it. “Why me? You grew up with three other people who you could be competitive with. And Shauna is just as interested in Mega Evolution as we are.”
He gave her a look. “Shauna had a type advantage and still lost in battle with me. They always have. But you seem to be doing pretty well, getting plenty of attention from professors and Gym Leaders.” There was just a faint bit of bitterness to his tone.
Biting the inside of her lip, she decided it wasn’t worth pointing out that Professor Sycamore was interested in her because of who her parents were and how she was flaunting both of them, and Viola had just thought she was pretty. It wouldn’t do any good. Lysandre’s snub and the professor’s seemingly preferential treatment were getting to Xavier, who was used to being the natural choice. Now that he had competition, he wanted to make it official for whatever reason.
“Fine,” she agreed with a sigh. “As long as it doesn’t go too far, I don’t see why we can’t be rivals or whatever it is you are wanting. But only as long as it stays friendly.” She glowered at him over her coffee mug. “If it gets personal, I’m done with it.”
He smiled, obviously relieved at her agreement. “Great. I’d better get started then.” He picked up his trash to leave, and added over his shoulder, “Just so you know, I won’t lose.”
Rolling her eyes, she leaned back in her chair and waved good-bye to him. She didn’t care who won or who lost. That wasn’t the point of her little journey. But if it gave him a goal to work towards, fine. She wasn’t going to let it ruin a good cup of coffee.
She eventually had to leave rather than risk spending another day there. The sign for Route 5 was over the tunnel, thankfully not in any of the other districts. Per her map, it was the fastest way to Camphier Town.
A chime came from her wrist just as she finished strapping on her roller skates. A holo clip? She flipped open the screen and hit a few buttons to navigate towards the new message. Thankfully, the frequency was one that was in her contact list. Now that she knew Lysandre owned the labs that created the Halo Caster, she worried that he had a master list to dig for her info.
Tierno’s face and torso popped up as a holo in front of her own face, scanned from when he took the message. “Hey, Ladybird!” he greeted, waving his hand. She giggled, and refrained from waving back. A holo clip was like a text message, so he wouldn’t be able to see her. “So, check this out!” he said in excitement. “I’m out on Route 5 right now, and it’s just hopping with wild Pokemon! Hurry and come check it out. Trevor and I will wait for you.”
Huh, they must have left earlier than she had. With a grin, she closed the message and finished slipping on her skates over her boots. Route 5, here she came!