Tag Archives: Felix

NaNo 18, Day 3: A Father’s Love

“Evangeline!” he greeted her, his voice more enthusiastic than his expression–but then, her father’s stern expression was nearly legendary. Overly serious by far, she could see a lot more of herself in him than her mother. But there was a softness there, affection for his only child, that had been present all her life outside of Gym battles when he had to be scary. “I wasn’t expecting a call from you and Aya for a couple of more days. Are you settled already?”

She winced a little. “Um, about that.” She ran her hands over her braid in nerves. “The nearby professor got word of me being here. Professor Sycamore. He, um, decided he could lump me in with the latest trainer class he was giving starters out to.”

His only visible eyebrow raised, and she could only tell because of how well she knew him that he was shocked. “So you have already started your journey?” he asked.

Evangeline nodded slowly. “Pretty much right away,” she admitted. “My starter is a Froakie, his name is Kakashi. Or, was. He’s already evolved.”

Falkner tilted his head. “I’m not familiar with that one, so not a Flying type in any evolution,” he said, his tone deceptively bland.

“No, Water,” she said, and quickly added. “Henri is the flyer, a Fletchinder.”

That smoothed his expression over, making her want to sigh in relief. “At least you have one,” he said, with a nod. “Your Maiko is doing well here, by the way.” Her heart swelled at the mention of the Pidgey-turned-Pidgeotto she had trained under her father’s guidance as a child. “I’m considering using her for Gym Battles, if you are okay with it. My current is ready to evolve, and she’s the best Pidgeotto in the Gym right now.”

“Of course,” Evangeline agreed. “I’d be honored.” Oh! Scrambling, she grabbed the case she’d brought with her from her room. “Speaking of Gyms, I faced the first one here, at Santalune City,” she said, and held up her case, letting him see her only badge so far. “I’ll be heading towards Cyllage City for my second in the morning.”

“Good work!” he complimented with a soft smile, making her sit up straighter in pride. But then he tilted his head like one of his Hoothoot. “Is that a beetle…?”

She whined, wilting at the reminder so her head rested on the table in front of the computer.

“Oh, my poor chick,” he said with a chuckle, though he turned serious again. “At least if you had stayed here in Johto, I could have talked to Bugsy for you.”

“I don’t want special favors,” she complained, voice muffled by the wood of the desk. “We talked about this, ad nauseam, before I left.”

“I know, but I promised the bird keepers I would ask their ‘hime’ if she was ready to come home yet,” he said. She snorted at him. If they were asking that, he must be talking about her as much as he talked Flying philosophy. “Evangeline,” he scolded.

Right, right, act like a lady. Sighing, she straightened up to pout at him. “I’m doing just fine here,” she muttered. “And I like that it’s different. New Pokemon, new places, new challenges. No one who knows who I am just by looking at me.”

Her father gave a slow nod. “I won’t pretend to understand,” he admitted at least. “I never had the desire to leave here, and just wanted to improve the Gym. But your grandfather Walker did, and it was quite some time before he settled here as the Gym Leader. Take your time, Evangeline, and follow your heart. It’ll lead you to your intended roost, just like it did him.”

“Yes, Father,” she promised and glanced at the clock. “I had better get to bed and let you get to work. I’ll call you in a couple of days?”

He nodded and added, “Make sure you call your mother sometime too. Or let Aya handle her, which ever you think is best.”

“Considering Aunt Aya was her idea, I’m tempted to just let them talk,” she muttered, but nodded in agreement before saying good-bye and hanging up. Neither of them were the type to casually mention their love for each other, but both knew it.

Evangeline sighed and went to go find a space in her own bed for her, between the cuddlers that made up her group of Pokemon. She’d call Aunt Aya in Cyllage to give her an update for her mother. Her father was too right, it would be easier for her to let Aya handle the communications back to their home regions as much as she could. If her mother wanted to talk to her, Aya could tell her that way.

*****

The aquarium’s collection was impressive. It made Evangeline wish she had a fishing rod. Of course, as she walked down the beach path, she found that desire was waylaid by the sight of the waves crashing up on the sand. She understood why Nurse Joy had pushed at her to consider taking some time to enjoy it. There was a small area that seemed intended for tourists, or at least those who might not have worn their bathing suit for their journey to the coast.

She let her Pokemon out as she struggled to get her hair up in a ponytail and out of the way. Kakashi gave a whoop and was off to the waves before she could stop him, Ella right on his tail. Shaking her head, she straightened the ruffle at the top of her one-piece swim suit–it formed the straps that sat just off of her shoulders, tying with a chord in the middle, and not exposing any cleavage but just highlighting her collarbones. It was in her preferred aqua blue, with white and pink flowers and navy leaves for the print.

Glancing around at the ever-so-fashionable other swimmers, never had Evangeline been more happy that Aunt Aya had insisted on a shopping trip before they even boarded the boat to Kalos. She hadn’t even owned a swimsuit before, and would have looked awkward in either her ninja gear or her hakama skirts trying to wade into the water. She already felt odd since she was so simple compared to high French fashion. But it worked for her, and she was going to be happy.

Kakashi and Ella were joined by Chiko, who seemed to be enjoying snapping at the spray with her larger-mouth and the splashing at the others with her hands. She didn’t even try to convince Haruka, figuring that salt wouldn’t be good for him, and he seemed content to guard her bag. Cerise stayed with him rather than risking getting carried away with the waves, being so small. Felix seemed torn between avoiding Cerise and avoiding the water, and settled for sitting away from the other two and far from the waves. One of the handful of stands that rented out equipment included beach balls. Evangeline was more than happy to purchase one for those in the waves to bounce back and forth.

Of course, keeping control of the ball was something else entirely. One wrong hit by Ella sent it crashing into a nearby girl who was splashing around herself. “Hey!” she shouted, spinning around and indignant. Her blonde hair was easily as long as Evangeline’s, but perfectly straight and cut in fashionable layers, contrasting with the tan of her skin. Her pink halter bikini exposed a lot more skin than her one modest one-piece, and it made Evangeline self-conscious.

But she wasn’t going to let her Pokemon get yelled at. “Sorry, it was an accident,” she said, stepping forward and folding her hands in front of her to give an apologetic bow. “We’ll move further down the beach and be more careful.”

“We?” the swimmer looked over and saw Evangeline’s team. “Oh, a trainer! You can apologize with a battle. My Pokemon will get me vengeance.”

“It was just a ball,” Evangeline protested, but didn’t try and argue. She just gestured for her own team to gather around. The swimmer released a Psyduck, and she barely refrained from groaning. At least she knew how to handle them. “Haruka, you’re on!” she called out. The Budew waddled over, his bud opening and closing as he faced off. Cerise came over to watch, which Evangeline only thought could do the Spewa good.

At least until the Wingull came out. Cerise squeaked at the sight of the bird, trying to hide behind Evangeline’s leg. Haruka quaked a little too, but Evangeline stood firm. “You can do this, Haruka!” she promised. “Just keep up your attacks!” Both of her littlest Pokemon looked up at her. The Grass-Type puffed up, and he set his mouth in a firm line. He faced down the dual type with a fierceness that filled Evangeline with pride in him. So when he burst into white light at the end of the battle, she wasn’t surprised.

Haruka (Roselia)

What did surprise her as Cerise inched forward to watch was Cerise copying him.

Her breath caught in her chest, and she looked between both of them. Haruka finished first, shaking his new hands and then raising them up in happiness. Then he saw Cerise and quickly came running over as her wings flicked off the light with a gust.

Cerise (Vivilion)

Purple wings. Evangeline felt like she could collapse in relief. Apparently they had moved into a new region for wing patterns for Vivilion. She smiled softly as Haruka and Cerise danced together in excitement for their new forms, the others clapping and cheering. The swimmer sulked and tossed her some coins, which she went to go put in her bag.

She looked up just in time to see Felix approaching. Evangeline tensed, watching the Charmeleon pause behind Cerise. The new Vivilion’s wings fluttered anxiously. But Felix held up his clawed hands, delicately taking her much smaller paws in his. He gave them a little shake, ducked his head, and then went to walk next to the bag to sit again.

Evangeline grabbed him by the shoulders, hugging him close. “That’s my boy,” she whispered to him, making him flush before she ran to join the celebrations.

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NaNo 18, Day 2: Responsibilities

The reactions to the napping Spewpa went… about as well as could be expected. Kakashi was leery, but he put his trust in Evangeline. Most of the newer Pokemon didn’t particularly mind one way or the other. Kanna became a doting aunt to compliment the proud papa Henri, perhaps as part of her need to apologize for what happened to Cho. Ella and Hiromi weren’t particularly happy, but they still listened to Evangeline, so she could only hope it would get better with time with them. Haruka, of course, was just happy for another playmate, even if this meant he had to share his spots with her. And that left Felix.

The Charmeleon was very obviously sulking, and he growled every time he so much as spotted the new Bug, who Evangeline had dubbed Cerise. He also growled at Evangeline, which she tolerated–she wasn’t going to get on to him for expressing how he felt.

It was when his Ember attack came too close to hitting her, and she saw him glance at her to see what she would do, that she had to draw a line. “Felix, come here,” she ordered when the wild Pokemon ran off. He paused, and so did all of the others who were playing around her sleeping bag and the nearest flower bed. He made like he was going to walk in the opposite direction, and she added with a touch of steel to her tone, “I mean it. Come. Here. Right now.”

Growling, he stomped over to her crossing his arms (a much easier task than when he was a Charmander and his arms were so short). Rather than match him defensive posture to defensive posture, Evangeline put her hands on her hips and gave him a stern look. “You can be upset,” she said. “I understand, and respect that. You can vocalize this upset as much as you want and physically can, and again, I will respect that as long as it doesn’t turn towards bullying one of the others. But you do not get to attack me over it. Are we clear?”

His eyes grew wide in surprise. She didn’t back down. Felix’s surprise turned to anger, and he opened his mouth–the threat visible, the fire lingering in the back of his throat and sliding forward. “Kakashi!” she shouted, and the Frogadier slid up from the others to stand in front of Evangeline defensively.

Felix stared at them, smoke rising from the corners of his mouth. And then he turned around, collapsing into a sit with his tail wrapped around his legs, chin up mulishly in the air.

Evangeline walked around to the side, spotting the tears at the corners of his eyes. “Oh, sweetie,” she murmured, moving to where she could cup his jaw. “I know this is hard, and you are twisted up from losing Cho, not to mention evolving. But I can’t have you around if you are going to hurt me or the others. You evolved so fast, but there is further for you to go. You have to learn to control your impulses now, and I’d be an irresponsible trainer if I didn’t pull you up.” She wiped at his cheek to catch his tears. “You will always be my friend and a part of this team, Felix. No one is ever replaced. We just grow.”

He sniffled, pouting for just a few more moments. And then he reached out to wrap his arms around her waist, tucking his head into her stomach and bawling. Sighing and wishing for just a moment he was still small enough for her to pick up, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and patted his head. “It’s alright,” she murmured, promising as much as she could. “We’ll figure it out.”

The rest of their day passed much easier, and slowly Evangeline made her way back to Ambrette Town as the sun began to set. She reviewed where everyone was at, and while Cerise was far behind, she thought they had made enough progress today that she could press on in the morning.

When she expressed that to Nurse Joy, she clapped her hands. “Oh, you should spend the morning at the beach, before you press on to Cyllage City,” she suggested with a wide smile. “The weather will be absolutely perfect for a little fun in the surf, and it’s on your way. They even have little tents where you can change in and out of your swim wear.”

“The beach?” she repeated, confused.

Nurse Joy nodded and pointed towards the map. “Muraille Coast actually has two parts,” she explained. “The cliffs which you passed through to get here, and then if you go through the aquarium and down one level, you’ll reach the other half, a beach front road that goes straight into Cyllage.” She folded her hands in front of her politely as she added, “Our aquarium has an impressive collection of oceanic Pokemon too that you might enjoy seeing.”

Evangeline hummed. She still wasn’t sold on one singular type of Pokemon like her parents, who were either Fly or Die in the case of her father and under heavy regulations on his Gym team’s strength since he was the first on the Johto route, or Poison and the resulting tie to Bug-types, who Evangeline had developed a bit of a phobia about, like her mother and grandfather. (She was going to be the family disappointment, she just knew it. Bad thing since she was the end of both family lines.) But the aquarium sounded interesting, and would give her an idea of what was in the local waters. Kalos being such a different region, she doubted it was nothing but Magikarp.

It did make her feel guilty for not writing or calling home. With all her recent battles, she had plenty of coin for postage, and it wasn’t like the Pokemon Centers didn’t offer free wireless calling. She did some quick math. Both of her parents were workaholics–they’d be in their respective Gyms by eight a.m. It was an eight hour time difference, and it was going on evening here. If she called before bed, they’d be just getting up and feeding their Pokemon and themselves. Nodding slightly, she thanked Nurse Joy and set about getting everyone dinner for the night. (Lo and behold, Theo actually ate a smaller meal than normal after finishing off all of the berry pies earlier that day, and went right off to sleep from exhaustion due to training. Maybe she had him handled too.)

By the time it was all done, she’d braided her hair for the night and slipped into her pajamas. No one else was staying in town, so she felt comfortable padding out in her slippers to the computer terminal. Nurse Joy waved at her, but stayed behind the counter in case of an emergency. Evangeline shut the curtain of one of the computer/phone booths and logged in with her trainer ID. The system took a long time trying to set up the connection through to Kanto, but finally she was able to reach the Nurse Joy who was responsible for communication. “Call to Fuschia City Gym, please,” she requested. “For Janine.”

“Of course, and who’s calling?” she asked, hitting a few keys.

“Her daughter, Evangeline.”

“Putting you through now,” the Joy confirmed with a wide smile. “Your mother will be happy to hear from you, I’m sure!”

Evangeline managed a tense smile. She hoped so, anyway.

The line rang for what felt like forever, until finally it answered in her mother’s office. But not to her mother’s expression. Instead, a very harried looking camper picked up, squinting at the computer screen as his eyes still adjusted to the light of the lamp and screen. “Fuschia City Gym. Who is calling the boss at this ungodly hour?” he demanded in Japanese.

“Good morning, Barry-san,” she greeted him in the same language, smiling weakly. Barry had been one of her baby-sitters, the rare times she visited home after the incident.

He immediately straightened up as he got a better look at her. “Evangeline-hime!” he yelped. “I am so sorry!” He rapidly bowed several times in succession to the computer screen.

“It’s alright, I know the time difference is awkward,” she assured him. “I just wanted to check in with Mother. Is she already training?”

His face fell as he looked up. “Oh, I’m sorry again, hime. She went to go visit your honored grandfather in his mountain retreat for some bonding time. She was set to be back in a couple of days to check in with Aya-sensei.”

That lined up with what Evangeline had already known, she just hadn’t expected her mother to be gone in the days leading up to that call. Well, as far as her mother knew, Evangeline was safe and snug in Vaniville and hardly in any danger, of course she’d feel comfortable going on a trip. She smiled rather than show her distress to Barry, who certainly didn’t deserve it. “Alright, thank you for letting me know. I’ll try again in a couple of days, then. Give her my love when you do see her.”

“I will be happy to, hime!” he promised, and the line went dead.

Sighing, Evangeline restarted the connection, this time tracing it to the Johto region. “Violet City Gym, please,” she requested as a new Nurse Joy picked up the line. (And she could only tell the difference because the uniforms were slightly different between Kanto and Johto.) It was an old hat at her to make the same requests, just switching the names, although when she was younger she had gotten it muddled a few times. “For Falkner.”

“Putting you through right now,” Joy said cheerfully, and the call went through.

It took much less time for there to be an answer. “Violet City, Falkner speaking.” The man on the screen was stern of expression and clean shaven, having finally grown into a square jaw and narrow eyes. His navy hair hung slightly in his eyes in a style she was more than familiar with, though the bulk of the length was pulled back to the nape of his neck. He dressed in traditional clothes, only the sky blue of his haori visible, and his teal eyes were the same as Evangeline’s own.

She swallowed thickly and bowed her head slightly to the screen. “Good morning, Father.”

(AN: Blatantly calling out the anime and how they handled the Charmeleon/Charizard situation there…)


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 19: Route 5 and Camphrier Town

Evangeline hadn’t made it too far down Route 5–also called Versant Road–when she got interrupted. She blinked and stopped as a blue and black Pokemon she recognized as a Lucario came running up to her. Were those native to this route? But she wasn’t even in the tall grass! Ignoring her confusion, it ran around her in a circle, getting her scent or something.

“Wait! Lucario!” a female voice called out in annoyance.

“Over here!” Evangeline shouted back, relieved a little. Oh good, it was a Trainer’s. She didn’t know what she would have done if the powerful Pokemon was native to the area.

A pretty blonde skated over, decked out in white and red gear. She skid to a stop, another Lucario right on her heels. “Sorry about that, are you okay?” she asked in concern. The original Lucario hadn’t left Evangeline, still obviously intrigued by something “I was just doing some special training with my Lucario when all of a sudden he dashed off.”

“I’m fine,” Evangeline assured her, though, the Lucario hadn’t looked back to his trainer once. She tilted her head. Was he just willful, or something else?

“Hey, Lucario!” his trainer barked, putting her hands on her hips. “What’s going on with you? Did you get drawn in by this girl’s aura or something?”

He growled back at his trainer, and then looked at Evangeline with bright eyes. “Or something,” he admitted reluctantly. “Though her aura is…interesting.”

“Huh, well, it seems Lucario likes you!” Obviously, Korrina wasn’t one that could understand what Pokemon said, but she still seemed to get the gist of it. Besides she knew surely knew her own Pokemon better than that.

“You think so?” Still, Evangeline could help but feel a little skeptical. Why would a Pokemon seek her out because he liked her aura or whatever?

The Lucario snorted and crossed his arms, even as Korrina nodded eagerly. “Sure do! See, Lucario can read people’s auras. I guess something in your aura has made this one take a liking to a stranger!”

She looked at him curiously. Was the Lucario blushing? He glared down at the dirt, scuffing his toes. “You smell nice,” he was all he was admitting.

Evangeline covered her mouth to keep from giggling. It was just so cute!

Korrina grinned and pointed back behind her with her thumb. “This Lucario is always getting worked up in battle with my other one. Maybe it’s just been waiting for a Trainer to appear who’s strong enough to challenge it…”

“Maybe,” Evangeline said, not wanting to ruin the cool image that Lucario had obviously worked hard to give to his Trainer. She couldn’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for the poor thing, being the second Lucario of his Trainer. It had to be hard, to prove yourself different and unique without being weaker.

Speaking of, the other Lucario gave a cough, which prompted their Trainer. “Oops, sorry, I was on such a roll, I forgot to introduce myself!” She knocked her knuckles to her temple and stuck out her tongue, obviously making fun of how absentminded she had been “I’m Korrina, the Shalour City Gym Leader.”

“Oh, well, I’m Evangeline,” she introduced herself, reaching around the Lucario to shake her hand.

With a glance at her bag, Korrina gave her a challenging smile. “If you’re collecting Gym badges, I’m sure we’ll be battling sooner or later. I’m looking forward to it, with how Lucario likes you. I hope you know how to roll with the punches!”

Evangeline gave her a smile. “I’ll be sure to figure it out,” she agreed. “I’ll let you get back to your training.”

“Right! Come on, Lucario!” she called out, taking off on her blades again. The one who had been following her loyally was right behind her, but the one who seemed to like Evangeline hesitated, giving her a tentative wave of his own before he hurried after the other two.

Shaking her head, she continued down the path with a soft laugh. “An interesting aura, huh?” She wondered what he saw.

The route wasn’t too big of a challenge. She passed a skate park, which in her opinion probably explained why Korrina had chosen to train around here rather than back in her own Gym. There were a pair of young twins who were eager for a challenge, but since they both used Electric Types, Evangeline was able to wrangle around them pretty easily, even in a double battle, with Hiromi and Ella, who worked surprisingly well together.

Her first step into the tall grass stirred up a Pokemon, a dog-like one with wild silver fur and a dark face. “Furfrou, the Poodle Pokemon,” her Pokedex identified it. Historically, in the Kalos region, these Pokémon were the designated guardians of the king.”

Ella was able to dance a circle around him, and Evangeline used a Pokeball rather than risk him getting away. Unfortunately, with a full party, she couldn’t meet him. Her Pokedex had a scanner though, that let her send the extra Pokeball to the same box as her other spare Pokemon. She’d have to meet him, once she reached a Center.

At the top of the stone steps, she grinned at two familiar figures in the middle of a friendly argument.

“My goodness. Pokemon hordes are certainly intense…” Trevor muttered, appearing to be picking grass blades off of his clothes and hair.

Tierno grinned and gave a little pose. “Yeah, they’re just like a dance team made up of Pokemon, aren’t they?”

Trevor gave him a dirty look. “Oh Teirno, don’t you ever think about anything besides dancing?”

With a laugh, the big boy moved into a little break dance. Evangeline covered her mouth to keep from laughing out loud. “Nope! Even during Pokemon battles, I’m always checkin’ out their moves. And then my feet just start moving, too!” Coming to a finishing pose, he paused and held his hands up. “I can’t even help it, you know? Like with Swords Dance! I love it. I guess that’s why I can never win…”

“Aww, don’t say that,'” she interrupted, moving to stand with them.

“Oh hey, it’s Evangeline!” Tierno said with a wave in greeting. “Glad to see you got my message. Hey, do your Pokemon know any sweet moves? Show me in a battle!” He leaned forward, fists clenched eagerly.

Blinking in surprise, she gave a nod. “Alright, sure,” she agreed, picking out one of her Pokeballs. “One round alright?” she asked, not wanting to risk wearing out her whole team in the middle of the road.

“That’s fine,” he agreed with a smile of his own. At the same time, they threw out their Pokeballs.

Tierno sent out a Corphish, a lobster-type Pokemon that’s grip was legendary. Meanwhile, Evangeline had sent out Cho. The butterfly danced through the air, refusing to get close enough for her opponent to pinch her between those claws. It was a longer battle perhaps as a result, but the end result was Cho’s success.

With an excited squeal, the Pokemon perched on Evangeline’s shoulders. With a laugh, Evangeline patted her on the head in congratulations.

“That was some nice footwork,” Tierno said with a reluctant smile, deflating a little. “Or wing work, I guess? I should have known better, huh?”

“Don’t say that,” Evangeline repeated herself. “You did fine! Honestly, Tierno, it’s about picking your battles better. I’m training for gyms, but that isn’t what you want, is it?”

Trevor chose then to butt in. “Good to see you, Evangeline… Excuse me, I meant Ladybird. And you have a very valid point, which I am afraid I belittled with my teasing. It really does seem as though Tierno can only think about dancing and moves. When a horde of Pokemon popped out, he just stood there watching them.”

“Well, yeah, Trevs!” Tierno said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. He reached over to ruffle the redhead’s hair. “Coming up with the world’s best Pokemon dance is my dream after all. I was born to dance! I won’t ever stop, not with moves like this!”

With a scowl, Trevor worked on righting his hair again. “That’s indeed a perfect dream for you, Tierno.”

“So stop challenging people who are going on Gym-centric journeys,” Evangeline suggested, nudging his shoulder with hers encouragingly. “We’re focused on making our Pokemon as strong as possible in whatever that means, which is just different. Instead, focus on those who raise Pokemon for fun or wild Pokemon for your inspiration.”

“That’s a good idea,” Tierno admitted. “Thanks, Ladybird.”

“I guess I should show just as much dedication to my dream of completing the Pokedex, then,” Trevor said with a hum, looking to the sky. “It’s good to be serious about some things.”

“Just not everything,” Evangeline cautioned him, tilting her head. The two friends were really opposites, weren’t they? One too serious, the other not so much. She hoped that eventually they would help each other find some balance.

When they reached fields of lavender, the duo took off on their own to see about finding more Pokemon, and Evangeline waved as she pressed on towards the next town, which a sign showed was Camphrier Town, just like she hoped. Along the way, she ran into more trainers requesting battles, and more wild Pokemon that got stirred up.

The first surprise came from Henri as he helped Cho chase a wild Dodou away. Both flying types shared a high-five. But then Henri was covered in white light, and Evangeline and Cho both gave him space as he grew within his change, and with a flap of his wings, revealed his new form of Fletchinder.

Henri (Fletchinder)

Any congratulations that Evangeline was going to offer was immediately curtailed by Henri challenging Cho to a race. With a laugh, she skated to keep up with them as they set out to prove who was the fastest flier.

The second surprise was from an unexpected source. A self-proclaimed Rising Star, Hamish, had scoffed when Evangeline called out Felix. “A Charmander against my Kadabra? You’re nuts,” he scolded. The tan Psychic-Type joined its trainer in a mocking laugh.

For his part, Felix looked to Evangeline, claws twisting anxiously. “You can do it,” she assured him. “I believe in you.” With a firm nod, he turned back to look at his opponent, baring his little fangs.

“Yeah, and with what? A little Ember?” Hamish mockingly cooed.

“No,” Evangeline said, pointing her finger. “Felix, use Dragon Rage!”

“What?!” Hamish yelped, but it was too late. Felix’s eyes glowed violet, and he sucked in a deep breath. Rather than the yellow and orange flames he typically breathed, the cone of flames that left his mouth were purple and blue, forceful and refusing to leave.

The fight from there was short. As Hamish called back his Pokemon, Felix gave a triumphant flame of his normal fire and Evangeline cheered him on, so happy he was gaining confidence.

Only to freeze as the flames turned white and wrapped around her Pokemon. “Oh no…” she whispered, for the first time dreading an evolution.

But it was too late. The white faded with a sweep of Felix’s now much longer tail, his scales a dark shade of orange that was almost red. He looked up at her, but not by nearly as much as Kakashi had after his evolution, eyes narrowing a little.

Felix (Charmeleon)

“Looks like you’re a Charmeleon now,” Evangeline said, and held out her hands with a grin. “Congratulations, Felix!”

He eyed her hands, his attitude reminding her of a grumpy teenager now, no longer the sweet little baby she had taken in from Sycamore. But he put his paws in hers with a grumble, letting her squeeze them. She gave his shoulders a hug before she called him back in, breathing out only after he was safely out of sight and hearing. Charmeleon was well-known for being difficult to change. She could only hope that Felix was an easy teenager…

She’d barely entered town when she heard the little tune that indicated she had an administrative type message on her Holo Caster. With reluctance, she raised it up to her eyes to see what was happening now.

The character of the admins popped up, generated with a cheerful smile on its face. “Thank you for using the Holo Caster. Lysandre Labs developed the Holo Caster to make the lives of Pokemon Trainers richer, fuller, and more convenient. We hope you’ll continue to enjoy the fine services this device provides.”

A standard message. Why did it fill Evangeline with such dread? Hopefully it wasn’t Lysandre trying to feel out where her and the others were… She immediately deleted it so she wouldn’t have it lingering in her inbox, just in case it was a tracking program of some sort.

Camphrier Town was smaller, more like Vaniville than Lumiose City, thank God. She walked around the city streets for a moment, finding that there was no Gym here. While briefly disappointed, she brushed off those feelings as she walked into the Pokemon Center. She had a new Pokemon to meet!

The Furfrou was nice enough, if a little on the shy side. He accepted the nickname of Antoine. The biggest surprise was when she started introducing him to the other members of the team. Despite being one of the bigger Pokemon and being new to her, he quickly hid behind her, eyes half-closed.

Antoine (Normal)

“Antoine, it’s alright,” she assured him, reaching over to scratch him on the head through his dense fur. “These are all your new friends!”

“Are you sure they will like me?” he asked, looking at her with unease.

“I’m very sure,” she said with a smile. How about I introduce you one at a time? Will that be a little bit easier?” He tilted his head and gave a nod. It made the meet-and-greet take longer, but if that’s what it took to help keep Antoine comfortable, that’s what she needed to do.

Once he’d met everyone, Antoine was more comfortable with the team. He and Hiromi were engaged in some play fighting while everyone took a chance to eat something. Evangeline had accepted a sandwich from the on-duty Nurse Joy, and was having an early dinner  herself.

“You handled that very well,” an unexpected male voice said.

Startled, she looked up to see a punk-dressed boy in a leather jacket, most of his hair sheared short except for an outcrop in the front dyed sea green. “I’m sorry?” she asked, confused by his comment.

“Introducing your Furfrou to the rest,” he said looking back down at her. “You took the time to put him before yourself. It’s impressive.” He looked back at her Pokemon and tucked his hands in his pocket. “I’m glad you’re finding the storage system useful.”

“Oh!” she blinked, sitting up. “You’re the one who developed the Kalos system?”

He laughed. “Nah, Bill is still the original creator, him and all the others just put their heads together to make the best system possible and are trying it out here in Kalos before they roll it out everywhere else. I’m good with computers, so he sent me here to maintain it.”

Most people wouldn’t have taken the boy as serious, not with his punk look. But Evangeline had seen enough to not believe him to be a liar. At least he hadn’t claimed to be the developer of it himself, that was a point in his favor. “Do you think you could walk me through some of it?” she asked. “I’m not used to this system, and there’s things like trays and this Battle Box thing that I don’t know how it works.”

With a blink of his own, he offered her a slow grin. “Sure, I can do that. My name is Cassius, by the way.”

“Evangeline,” she introduced herself, and let him show her how the storage system varied from what she was used to. It was the perfect entertainment for this brief break while she decided if she wanted to push on or not.


NaNo 17, Day 18: Exploring Lumiose and Beyond!

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.”

Kakashi (Frogadier)

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.

Screenshot 2017-11-18 18.47.55

Via Pokemon Trainer Creator vs 2 by  Hapuriainen

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!


NaNo 17, Day 16: Mega Evolution Begins, and Lysandre’s Desire?

“I promise, I’m not too tough,” he assured her as they threw out their first Pokemon. She bit her lip, feeling a little hopeful.

The battle with the professor didn’t quite go the way that Evangeline was expected. For one, he used Pokemon native to Kanto, almost making her fumble. His first pick, a green dinosaur-and-plant fusion called a Bulbasaur, was quickly put down by Hiromi. Ella struggled a bit more against the turtle-like Squirtle, but Evangeline just didn’t have a Pokemon strong against Water Types that she felt could handle a fight. Haruka was still in training, she just wasn’t comfortable throwing him into the fray yet. Kakashi pulled it all to a close by easily defeating the fire lizard, Charmander.

Sycamore, thankfully, laughed as the battle wrapped up. “You’re too much for me,” he admitted with an over-exaggerated slump. You’re really something, aren’t you?”

She flushed, bending down to pick up Kakashi. The frog Pokemon seemed to realize she needed a cuddle.

The professor nodded, seeing perhaps something she didn’t at the action, and snapped his fingers. “I think I’ve about figured it out!”

That caught the attention of the other two as they wrapped up their own battle. “Figured what out?” Shauna asked, both her and Xavier poking their heads back into the room.

If he heard, Sycamore didn’t bother explaining. “Evangeline, you are an interesting Pokemon trainer indeed. It’d be wonderful if you took another Pokemon with you.” All three teenagers gasped, and Evangeline felt her ears grow warm in embarrassment. “Here, pick one,” he said, gesturing to the three balls on the table.

“Um, my team is full,” she admitted sheepishly. There were rules about how many Pokemon a trainer could have with them at any one time, and she was at that limit–six.

He laughed. “There’s a computer on the coffee table in the other room. Feel free to rearrange your team first.”

Startled, she shared wide-eyed looks with the other two Trainers as she hurried past them towards the table he was talking about. Sure enough, there was a computer that allowed her to transfer Pokemon. She sent Hiromi to a storage box, where caretakers would make sure she was in good health and happy while she wasn’t with Evangeline.

Back in the professor’s office, she saw he’d let all three Pokemon out, only unlike the incident in Aquacorde, all three sat around his feet patiently waiting. She hesitantly knelt down to look them over, pondering over what to pick. She didn’t see a need for a Squirtle, not with Kakashi as her primary Pokemon. So that left the Bulbasaur and the Charmander. The Grass-Type waved vines from the bulb on its back at her in greeting, making her smile, while the Charmander…

She felt a little sad, seeing how he pressed against the professor’s side. “Hey there,” she said softly. “Are you mad at me and Kakashi for earlier?”

He shook his head, but still didn’t so much as squeak, to Evangeline’s concern. She looked up at Sycamore, who gave her a sad smile. “I’m afraid this little one doesn’t talk, even to those who can understand him,” he admitted, resting one of his hands on the Charmander’s head.

The Fire-type pressed his head against the professor’s knee, clutching at his pants with tender claws. She didn’t see shyness in that look, though. She saw the expectation of rejection, making her furious at whoever had turned this Pokemon away for being quiet and shy. It was a trait of a lot of Charmanders, who didn’t really gain confidence unless built up by trainers or they evolved! Resolved, she set Kakashi down to stand beside her and held out her hands. “Well, would you like to join the team?” she asked.

Startled, he looked at her with his dark blue eyes wide. It felt like forever that she was on her knees, holding her breath. But it shattered as he ran over to her, tucking his head under his chin and wrapping his little arm around her as best he could, flame-tipped tail curling around her knees. Blinking so she wouldn’t sniffle, she rubbed his back. “Glad to have you,” she whispered, pulling back to meet his eyes. “How about Felix, for your nickname?”

He nodded rapidly, then hid his face in her chest. She rearranged him a little so he could continue to snuggle but she could stand up. Kakashi sat at her feet, puffing his chest out like a proud papa.

Felix (Charmander)

For his part, Sycamore looked a little too bright eyed himself, but he cleared his throat and spoke evenly. “I see, you’re picking Charmander. I think that is a smart choice.” She heard something else in his tone that gave her the impression he thought more of it than that, but it was the most diplomatic answer he could come up with. “Since you chose Felix, I’ll give you this Mega Stone, called Charizardite X.” She accepted the stone, curious about the blue and black swirls to it. For his part, Felix pulled back enough to tap at it curiously with his claws.

The professor finally acknowledged the other two trainers. “Come on now, you two. Pick your new Pokemon,” he said, gesturing to the remaining two.

Shauna squealed and ran over, Xavier at her heels at a more sedate pace. She looked between the two Pokemon rapidly. “I don’t know which one to pick! It’s so difficult!” she protested with a whine, hopping from one foot to the other.

“You’ll be together for a long time, so just take your time,” Xavier said with a patient roll of his eyes. Eventually, they both picked their second Pokemon from the professor, and both seemed content with their picks.

“Well, I’ve got a feeling that everyone else will be showing up soon,” the professor said, leaning against the desk again once Pokeballs were sorted.

“Hi, Professor Sycamore,” Tierno called out as he entered the room, almost on cue.

Behind him was little Trevor, who looked around in bafflement before joining Tierno on the opposite side of Evangeline from Shauna and Xavier. “What’s this? Everyone is already here,” he muttered in confusion.

“See?” the professor said to Evangeline, and she ducked her head to hide under her hat. He clapped his hands to break the moment and address the room at large. “So now that we’re all here, I’d like to say a few words.”

“Isn’t this supposed to be at weddings?” Shauna murmured, making Xavier snort, and Evangeline bite her lower lip so she wouldn’t do the same, her shoulders shaking in suppressed laughter.

Professor Sycamore gave them a dirty look, and stood up, pointing off in to the horizon. “Be the best Trainer you can be!” he lowered his hand, as if instructing a class “At the same time, remember to have fun traveling with your Pokemon. Also, I want to ask for your help in solving the Kalos region’s biggest Pokemon mystery: the secret and potential of Mega Evolution, a new kind of evolution that occurs in battle!”

All five teenagers exchanged shocked looks and murmurs. A new form of evolution?

“That’s why I gave you the Mega Stone just now,” he said. “It’s an important clue.”

“Mega Evolution? What should we do about the Pokedex?” Trevor said, stuck on what he obviously felt was a double-cross of what he felt his purpose was.

“Trevor, my lad, if that’s what ‘best Trainer’ means to you, then I want you to go out there and complete that Pokedex,” Sycamore said, assuring them all that he wasn’t about to push them on a journey they didn’t want, just asking for help.

“Mega Evolution sounds really interesting!” Shauna said, enthusiastic even in her tentativeness. Evangeline nodded in agreement, looking towards the professor again.

“If you’re investigating Mega Evolution, why don’t you check out Camphrier Town?” he suggested. “That town has a lot of history–you might find a hint there!”

She raised a brow at him. History like her home towns, or history that was actually publicly available? He winked at her, and she relaxed a little. Something actually able to find, then.

“Now listen,” he said, speaking seriously to all five of them. “If you visit many different places to complete the Pokedex, you will probably see Pokemon with many ways of living and meet people with many ways of thinking. First, accept the ways of living and thinking that sometimes conflict with your own.” He looked at Evangeline more pointedly. “And think about what’s really important–this will truly broaden your horizons.”

She nodded in understanding, recognizing what he was trying to tell not only all of them, but also her specifically.

“I feel that being different from others makes me special,” Xavier mused. “Mastering Mega Evolution will definitely set me apart from other Trainers!” He nodded, committed as much as Shauna and Evangeline. Both girls shared looks, and in Evangeline’s case, an eye roll. Yes, by setting out on the same path as multiple other people at the same time, he was going to differentiate himself. But neither said anything, in Evangeline’s case because she thought it better he figure it out for himself.

The other four gathered to chat, but Evangeline didn’t know enough about what they were discussing to feel included. Plus, she’d rather introduce Felix to the entirety of the team in the safety of the nearest Center and let the professor get back to work. With a polite bow good-bye, she took her leave.

But there was a disturbance happening in the main lobby. The doors had barely opened, and Evangeline could already hear the conversation taking place between Sina and someone else.

“So I will be able to meet them soon, then,” the stranger said.

“Yes,” Sina agreed, sounding pushed to the end of her patience.

“The children chosen by the professor… I wonder what potential they have,” the stranger mused as Evangeline cautiously walked around the front desk. Maybe she could sneak past him?

Nope. Sina spotted her, and gave a relieved smile. “And here’s one of them now… That’s Evangeline.” She waved her hand pointedly, the look on her face clear. There was no escape. “Evangeline, come here a sec!”

She walked over, her shoulders raising up towards her ears as she balanced Felix in her arms, Kakashi at her feet still. The stranger was a man with almost violently orange hair, spiked upwards away from his head, with a matching beard. His black and orange suit included a grey fur ruff along the neck, adding an intimidation factor to his appearance, though he tried to smile it away. Except his smile was too sharp, and the grey-blue of his eyes too cold.

“Oh! You received a Pokedex from the professor then… How wonderful!” He took her in, much like the professor had upon meeting her. Though rather than feeling warm but embarrassed by the attention, he just made her feel uneasy, like she should be looking for an exit. “That is a wonderful thing indeed,” he murmured, and then collected himself. “You are one of the chosen ones.” He held out his hand towards her.

She took his hand, and squirmed when he flipped her hand from a shake to where he was holding it like she was a fine lady, raising it to kiss the back politely. “I am Lysandre,” he introduced himself, holding on to her hand for a shade too long before she tugged herself free. “I’ve tried to learn as much about Pokemon as I can to help build a brighter future,” he said, tucking his hand back to his side.

“That is a very…noble goal,” she murmured. “Is that why you are here?” she asked.

“Professor Sycamore has taught me much,” he said vaguely without really answering her question. “Oh, I see you have a Holo Caster. Knowledge is power, after all. Put it to good use.”

She nodded slowly, but didn’t move her wrist so he could get her Caster’s frequency. He was creeping her out a little too much.

“Now listen,” he said, leaning forward so he was more in her space and his head was closer to her eye-line. “It is vital that this world become a better place. And the people and Pokemon chosen to make the world better must work tirelessly to achieve this goal.”

Right, no pressure. “I’m going to try and do my best, whatever that is…” she assured him, her voice going quiet in her unease. Felix gripped the fabric of her shirt a little tighter, and she felt Kakashi lean against her too. Wonderful, everyone didn’t like this man. She’d have to try and avoid him.

If he noticed how her Pokemon were reacting, Lysandre didn’t say anything about it. He straightened back up and tried to charm her with another smile. “Well, I’ll be off. Please give Professor Sycamore my best. My desire… it is for a more beautiful world, after all.” With a brief nod at Sina, he quickly strode out of the lab’s lobby.

“Still… I wonder what kind of beautiful world Lysandre desires…?” Sina asked out loud..

“I don’t want to know,” Evangeline said with a shudder. “He gave me goosebumps in a bad way.” He seemed way too much like some of her parents’ stories of Team Rocket members they had met growing up.

Shaking her head, Sina folded her hands in front of her. “In this great Kalos region, there are many different Pokemon. I hope getting a Pokedex gives you a chance to learn about them,” she said. “Best of luck on your journey!”

“Thanks,” she said, adjusting Felix in her arms. “I’m going to explore a little, and then spend the night at the nearest Pokemon Center, if you need me.”

“Okay. There’s an outage going on, so I think they’ve got this district on lock down,” Sina offered in warning. “I wished everything was open for you to see right away, but you’ll just have to come back and visit later!”

“Right, can do,” Evangeline assured, and managed a wave good-bye before she led her Pokemon out on to the busy streets.