The surprises for the day weren’t done once Evangeline put on her normal clothes and continued down the beach-road along the coast. There were other trainers itching for a battle, and two of her Pokemon just waiting for a chance to evolve. She wasn’t sure if Ella was jealous at how quickly her fellow original members were evolving or if she just ran for it. Either way, her sleek new form ran in excited circles around Evangeline’s ankles.
The second was more a surprise. She had just finished a battle with a fisherman, and Hikari spun around her flower thoughtfully. Evangeline watched, letting the little fairy do what it needed. Finally, she hugged it close, and immediately burst into white light. Startled, Evangeline ran through the clingy sand to reach her side, just as the petals of her flower spun to break it up.
She beamed up at Evangeline, spinning her flower like Evangeline remembered spinning parasols when she was a child. Laughing, she clapped her hands and offered Hikari a hug in congratulations.
Cyllage City was built on various levels, and rather than the dirty or cobble roads of the other places she’d been so far, they had hard pavement that was better for tires. Most of the houses were residential, though she did find a clothing boutique that she poked her head in. The shop girl was able to give her directions to the Pokemon Center, thankfully, and Evangeline checked in with Nurse Joy for a check up. Her team was grateful for the chance to rest, especially as she gossiped with some of the locals. The city’s gym was Rock centric, so she was happy Haruka and Hikari had evolved. They would be needed as back-up for Kakashi. Kagura and Etienne insisted on coming, and she was keeping Cerise nearby until the little Vivilion had a chance to learn some more about battling.
Once she was set for her upcoming Gym battle, Evangeline started to circle around the town again to explore. Everyone was friendly, at least, though there were so. many. bikes. She found out why as she spotted a store front with wheels on the store front and a bike sign. So that’s where the outlet was in Kalos. Debating for a minute, she decided to at least go in and see how close she was to being able to afford a bike.
Or at least, that was the plan until the owner behind the counter spotted her. “Oh, oh, oh! Welcome, welcome!” he said eagerly leaning over the counter. “Come here, please, Miss Evangeline!”
He knew her on sight. Not good.
Reluctantly, she walked over to the counter, holding tight to her bag strap. “How do you know my name?” she asked in confusion.
Flipping open the newspaper on the counter, he pointed to an article about the photo expo of an up and coming trainer by Viola, written by Alexa. They’d interviewed Sycamore, who thankfully kept his mouth shut about her parents and as the only one who knew, she was safe on that front. Still, it was enough to make her whimper in embarrassment.
“They find the VR video you made with your Frogadier and have been running it too,” he added with a grin. “You’ve got a lot of people interested in Pokemon journeys again, and the younger kids are really looking up to you.” He folded the paper decisively. “Which is why I have something special, just for you.”
“What…?” she asked weakly, following him as he walked over to a corner of the store. The most popular colors for bikes were green and yellow, though she saw a couple of other colors tossed in there. Most were all-terrain models, though there were a couple of speed types and extreme mountain riding too.
He paused by a pink all-around bike, the exact same shade that Evangeline favored. “This is for you,” he said, holding up a hand before she could argue. “And in return, I want you to tell everyone where you got it if you are asked in an interview how you get around. Consider it an endorsement.”
“I-I-I… I don’t know what to say,” she stammered, holding her hands over her heart. Oh, this was bad. So bad. “It’s a beautiful bike, sir–”
“Custom color,” he said with a wide smile. “And I’ve had three different girls asking for it since I got it in and put it on display in hopes you would walk in here. Without even mentioning your name.”
So just by traveling with it, she’d get him business. Reassuring, since she was going to be avoiding journalists like the plague now, at least until she finished her badge collecting. “I’m just a Pokemon trainer!” she tried to argue, refusing to stomp her foot. Her nanny used to whack her on top of the head with a dictionary if she stomped her foot, helping break the childish habit, but sometimes, she was so tempted. This wasn’t what she wanted!
“You’re a girl Trainer,” he argued back. “We don’t see nearly enough of those making their rounds between the gyms, no matter how much pushing the government is doing in the schools. They tend to stick close to home, their parents too scared to let them go out into the world. Well, you are proving that they can and be just fine. I’ve decided to help drive it home. Maybe it’ll get my own daughters out to discover a bond with Pokemon.”
Great, now she was being used as an example. She sighed, realizing she was not going to win this argument. “Just… Spread the word that I don’t want the help?” she begged. “Pokemon Centers are one thing, but this is more than I feel comfortable accepting.”
He laughed. “That, I can agree to. I don’t think anyone was quite as eager as I was, so you should be safe.”
Oh thank God. She breathed out and held out her hands. “Alright, I’ll take the bike.” He grinned and unlocked it from the stand, letting her wheel it out. She sighed as she looked down at it. “I am not telling Aunt Aya about this,” she muttered. Evangelin would make up some sort of contest and winning the bike first.
She’d ridden a little back in Johto, so with a little practice, she was able to go up the bike paths that lined the cliff. The going was different from the smooth streets of Violet City, but she managed. She did blink and skid to a stop when an unfamiliar male came running up from another path on foot.
“Hey!” he said, waving. His dark skin had a healthy glow to it, and his dark curls were twisted and rolled with a collections of stones. He wore rock climbing gear in functional greys with orange accents. “If you’re here for the bike race, I’m afraid you’re too late.” He paused and looked over her bike in question. “Nice ride, by the way. Custom paint?”
She flushed, not wanting to answer that. Apparently he hadn’t been poking around in his own city’s bike store.
“The race is over, I won first place,” he factually told her, resting his hand on his hip. “I feel bad that you missed it.”
“Please don’t, please,” she asked, cringing a little. “I actually only just got this bike, to speed up my traveling between towns. I’m looking for the local Gym.”
“Oh!” He laughed and rubbed the back of his head. “That would be me. Or, my Gym, I guess. Name’s Grant, and I’m the Leader for Cyllage City.”
“I’m Evangeline,” she introduced her self with a nod of her head, since he didn’t hold out his hand for her to shake.
“How about I walk with you up to the Gym?” he offered. “I can get in place while you are facing off against the trainers who work with me.”
She swung off of her bike to show her agreement, walking it next to her as she came to stand beside him with a smile. He cleared his throat and started walking down the path. “So, your accent isn’t native to coastal Kalos,” he said, a question disguised as a statement.
Evangeline bit her lower lip and said quietly, “My great-aunt and I had just moved to Vaniville when Professor Sycamore handed out starters to the latest class. I got roped in with them, since I was already registered.”
“Just moved? From where?” he asked.
She shrugged. “A lot of bouncing around,” she said evasively. Which was true. Before they were in Vaniville, they were on the boats. And before the boats, she spent roughly three-quarters of her time at one parent’s location, the other quarter…usually bouncing between the academy, her mother’s actual house, and her grandfather’s house. She rarely set foot in the Fuschia City Gym anymore.
He smirked. “A little mystery. I like that.” He paused outside of an impressive doorway literally cut into the cliff face. “Here we go, the Cyllage City Gym.” He gave her a mock salute with two-fingers. “I’ll see you inside.”
She grinned at him. “All the way at the top.” He ducked through the doors, and after she got her new bike taken care of, she followed him in, eager to lay claim to her second badge.