Tag Archives: Santalune City

NaNo 17, Day 14: Santalune City Gym

Rinka’s Zigzagoon didn’t stand a chance against Cho, not with the way the Spewpa was still so excited about her recent evolution. “Wow, I didn’t even get up to full speed!” the skater said in surprise. “You just might be stronger than a Gym Leader.”

Evangeline flushed and waved a hand as she called Cho back to her Pokeball. “I’m not that impressive,” she said. “You just caught me on my way inside, so the whole team is ready to go.”

That at least got Rinka to laugh, so no hard feelings. She handed over a bit of money, and then reached into her bag with a grin. “All right, here you go! One spiffy pair of Roller Skates, just as I promised.” She held up a pair of silver blades that, just like she said, Evangeline could see fitting over her boots easily. They would definitely make the walks between towns faster, though using them in tall grass or in tight quarters was probably a bad idea.

She put them away and with one last good-bye to Rinka, hurried into the gym.

And blinked at what she found.

Where were the paper screens, the tatami mats? Where were the people in mock-battles, creating a maze of people to work through? Where was the environment that obviously favored the type of Pokemon the Gym specialized in?

Instead, Evangeline had walked into a photo gallery. Artistic prints were carefully displayed on white walls, dark carpet with Flying/Bug type Pokemon and chrome lighting making it where they would be the center of attention. That, and the pole in the middle of the room, that was odd.

The only person present was a middle-aged man who waved her down. “What’s the hustle, little Crustle!” he greeted with a wide smile. “Welcome to Santalune City Gym.”

“Thank you,” she greeted, cautious. “It’s, um… Not what I expected.”

“First time challenging a Gym, huh future champ?” he teased. She stiffened, not liking it. “Thrilled? Pumped?” he asked in the same fashion.

She shrugged, wishing she hadn’t walked into this conversation now.

“Well, you should be,” he said with a boisterous laugh. “You’ve got Pokemon by your side, after all. And they’re going to be the ones doing all the battling. Am I right, or am I right?”

“Right,” Evangeline said weakly. Even though there was a chance in any battle that the Pokemon might die, if the trainers weren’t careful or an accident happened. But she wasn’t going to say that and risk making a completely stranger irritable with her.

He pointed to the out-of-place pole she’d noticed before, leading down to what she assumed was some sort of art installation more literally than the photography. “Jump on that pole there, and you’ll be on your way to where the Gym Leader is waiting for you.”

…That just sounded wrong. Evangeline gave a half-hearted wave and moved to go get a better look at it.

“Oh whoops!” the man said. “There’s something else I’m supposed to tell you.” She paused, turning her head to listen. “Everyone in this Gym uses Bug-Type Pokemon, got it?”

She refrained from rolling her eyes. Barely. “Got it,” she agreed, not mentioning she figured that out before she tried to challenge the Gym in the first place. Reaching the edge of the pit, she found it was really a hole, though the bottom was too dark for her to see what it was. Evangeline eyed the pole and shook her head. Okay, she officially missed home. The gyms made at least a little sense there.

But if it was the only way. With a reluctant sigh, she took a short jump to grab the pole, crossing her ankles so she could slide down like it was a fireman’s pole. She didn’t know why a Bug gym was underground, seemed more like a Rock-type sort of thing…

The pole slipped out from under her, leaving her to drop to the floor. Except it wasn’t a floor. It was a net…? Evangeline’s eyes widened as she got a good look at what was under her feet. “Oh no…” she breathed, standing up on tip top like it would make it better as she covered her mouth with shaking hands. It didn’t help.

Rather than a floor, the Gym was a giant spider web.

Taking quick, panicked breaths in through her nose, Evangeline tried very hard not to completely freeze. Looking up, she saw there was no way back up. She was going to have to battle her way out. That earned a whimper, and two cautious steps down the web. Nothing came crawling out…was it perhaps just a stylistic decision? They seemed to connect to wooden platforms, with large trees and under bushes on the outskirts.

And there were trainers on the platform. Great, balancing and battling on spider webs. It was something straight out of Evangeline’s nightmares.

Thankfully, the fights were easy. Using Hiromi and Ella, she quickly worked her way through the trainers who were there, learning under the Gym Leader. Like the man in the gallery had said, they all specialized in Bug types, although thankfully most weren’t far enough along in their training yet that poison or various powders were an issue yet. The last one, a Lass named Charlotte, was even nice enough to let Evangeline take a breather on the platform so she could give a Potion to Hiromi, who was looking a bit tired.

The final platform was more like a photographer’s tent out in the wild, taking photos of wildlife of all kinds. Evangeline walked up with caution, though it didn’t matter. As soon as she saw movement, Viola looked away from whatever she was working on to walk over, camera hanging from her neck. A blonde woman of fair skin and light eyes, she was a curious combination of put-together elegance and tomboy that suited her.

Coming to a stop, she tilted her head as if examining Evangline like she was a subject for a picture. “That determined expression, that glint in your eye that says  you’re up to the challenge…” She burst into a wide smile, clapping her hands together. “It’s fantastic, just fantastic! You have to let me take your picture!”

Evangeline blinked, and pointed at herself. “Me? For a picture?”

“Of course!” Viola reached over and tried to tuck Evangeline’s bangs out of her face, only for it to fall back immediately. It actually made the photographer squeal. “Oooh, so mysterious, especially with your coloring. How do you feel about black?”

Like she was stealing clothes out of Mom’s closet. “I’m actually here for a Gym battle,” Evangeline said, trying to gently steer the conversation away from pictures. Besides, she sincerely doubted Viola’s taste in human models if she was picking her of all people.

“Oh, is this your first time challenging a Gym?” Viola seemed to get even more excited, if possible. “Fantastic!”

Evangeline flushed. She wasn’t getting out of here without getting her picture taken, she just knew it.

Viola nodded, doing a small fist pump. “Whether it’s the tears of frustration that follow a loss or the blossoming of joy that comes with victory… They’re both great subjects for my camera!” She grinned and took both of Evangeline’s hands in hers. “Fantastic, this’ll be just fantastic!”

She whirled away and began moving stands around, setting cameras on timers and adjusting the lighting of the tent. Evangeline covered her face with her hand. This could not be happening to her. She parted her fingers to peek. Yep, it was. She took a deep breath and forced her hands down. It wasn’t like there weren’t eccentrics among the other Gym Leaders. This was just the first taste of it.

Once satisfied with the lighting, Viola took a stance opposite Evangeline. “Now, come at me,” she demanded. “My lens is always focused on victory–I won’t let anything ruin this shot.”

Nodding, Evangeline pulled her first Pokeball out.

Viola took the chance to steal a shot, just as Henri made his appearance with a determined chirp. The battle was on! First, Viola sent out a Surskit, which made Evangeline nervous. Wasn’t that bug half Water type? It certainly looked the part, being mostly blue with long, spindly legs. Henri managed to persevere through the Water Sports and Bubbles.

But Vivillion was a different story. A butterfly looking Pokemon, it had pink and teal wings with a black body. Twice, Evangeline was forced to use Potions, but finally she couldn’t risk Henri any longer. She switched the little bird out for Hiromi. And the lion cub was having none of the giant butterfly’s nonsense.

“Wow,” Viola said in disbelief as she called back her final Pokemon. “You and your Pokemon have shown me a whole new depth of field!” She hit a button, causing the various cameras staged around to flash. “Fantastic, just fantastic,” she cheered at the idea of her shot.

Evangeline was blinking spots from her eyes.

“Young Trainer, you…” Viola shook her head. “No, it wasn’t you alone. You and your Fletchling and your Litleo have shown me a whole new depth. You more than deserve this.” She held out a brown badge with green eyes, shaped almost like a beetle. The Bug Badge.

“I also have this,” Viola said, holding up a case that Evangeline could see was meant for holding all the badges of the region. “But to get this… You have to let me take your picture with you and all of your Pokemon!”

Evangeline had to weigh if it was really worth it or not. But she hadn’t seen any badge cases in the PokeMarts, so there didn’t seem to be much of an option. With a sigh, she held up all of her PokeBalls. What followed was an agonizing bit of posing with both each individual Pokemon and the group as a team. Cho, at least, enjoyed it, and Viola was quick to coo over the one Pokemon Evangeline had that matched her Gym type.

Finally, Viola was satisfied and handed over the case with a wink. “Now, can you zoom in a bit to check out the tent behind me?” she said, pointing towards the tent panel in the back of the platform. “Take the stairs that you find beyond it, and you’ll be back up to the entrance faster than a flash!”

“Oh thank you,” Evangeline said in pure relief. “No offense, you all have been super friendly, but…”

“But not everyone takes their cues for decorating from Bug Types,” Viola said with a laugh. “No worries, you aren’t the first to be unnerved coming down here. I’m even more impressed at how composed you were, knowing that you were one of them.” She leaned over and gave Evangeline’s shoulders a quick hug. “Good luck on your journey!”

“Thank you,” Evangeline said, returning the hug and then scurrying her way around the tent panel and up the stairs. She breathed a sigh of relief as soon as the wall panel at the top slid behind her to hide the stairs again from new entrants, moving to walk back to the main door.

Unfortunately, the man from earlier was still hanging around, and saw the case under her arm, the clear top letting the badge show through. “Whoa-ho-ho!” he said, playing up his excitement just enough that she cringed a little inside. “Would you look at that Bug Badge? Nice, very nice future champ! I bet that schmancy-pants professor  who gave you your first Pokemon would be amazed to see it. After you heal up your Pokemon at the Center, why don’t you go on up to the Pokemon Lab in Luminose City to show him?”

Ahh, it was a commentary on the professor, less on her. Or he didn’t know how to relate to teenagers, she was willing to bet both. “Thank you,” she said, giving him a brief bow like she would back home before she could catch herself. She then took off at a fast walk for the door clinging to her happy feeling.

Looking at the case, she gave it a smile. “My first badge…” she murmured, hugging it to her chest before taking off at a run for the Center for a quick check-up of her team.


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

Route 3 was Ouvert Way. Evangeline shook her head as she knocked out the Pokemon of a second preschooler. She was all for children getting experience before going off on journeys, but that seemed a little young, even for her. At least both of them took their beatings gracefully…well, gracefully for five year olds. Ella had been especially careful in the battles to cause minor injuries only so Evangeline wouldn’t have to be the one to break it to either kid that sometimes, battling could prove deadly.

Walking down a set of steps that had been built into the path, Evangeline wondered how much farther she had to go.

“Coming through!”

Jumping out of the path and into the grass, Evangeline blinked as a girl in roller-blades whizzed past. She glanced at the ground, and then where the girl had zoomed off. The path was just hard-packed earth, not something she would ever choose to skate on. Did they have better wheels or something here? Shaking her head, she resolved to see if she could find a pair and look for herself. Bikes were super-expensive and not something she imagined being able to afford, but maybe skates would be more affordable.

The next town’s walls loomed overhead to the north soon enough. One glance at her clock and the horizon confirmed that she would be able to make it to the Pokemon Center before it was too late. Weighing her odds, she took a brief detour through the tall grass to see what she could stir up.

The answer filled her with glee–a bird-type Pokemon. Her Pokedex quickly identified it. “Fletchling, the Tiny Robin Pokemon. These friendly Pokémon send signals to one another with beautiful chirps and tail-feather movements.” It gave a chirp as if to confirm this description, tail feathering up behind it.

Ella made quick work of the capture, catching her breath once the Pokeball stopped wiggling. “Okay, I’m pooped,” she declared, flopping down. “Use the bug next time, I am in need of food and a nap before we do any more.”

Giggling, Evangeline patted her on the head. “No problem. Let’s go get all of us some food and sleep. We’ll meet our new friend and give him a nickname at the Center.”

It ended up being easy to get a room. Nurse Joy was kind, and set her up with a room with a window. All of the Pokemon came out for a chance to stretch their legs and get a bite to eat. The new Fletchling was regarded with unease by Cho, but everyone else was pretty excited to meet him. He took on the nickname Henri, and Kakashi was soon the unofficial leader of the little band…though, a very laid back one.

Henri (Fletchling)

As she was brushing out her hair to braid it, Evangeline looked out the window in thought. Her Pokemon had spotted preferred places to sleep, and Cho had surprisingly claimed the window sill. She ruffled her feelers a little, looking up at her trainer. “What are you thinking about?” she asked.

“Hmm? Oh, my father, I guess,” Evangeline admitted, beginning the familiar motions of weaving the braid as she spoke. “He lives in Violet City, which is the first stop for most Johto trainers. I guess I wonder what he would think if I was there, going through that region instead of Kalos.”

Cho tilted her head. “Why didn’t you? It just seems like a lot of work, traveling here just to go on a Pokemon journey…”

Sighing, Evangeline leaned her head against the window’s edge. “Fairness was some of it,” she said. “I didn’t want it to be easier or harder, just because of who my parents or grandparents were.” And it would have been a factor, she knew it. “But I also didn’t want the pressure, you know? I grew up around Flying types, but what if my passion really lies with Water types, like Kakashi, or Dark, or Fire. Going where no one knows who I am helps some of that pressure go away, so I can figure out who I am on my own.”

Cho nodded, looking out the window herself. “I didn’t think I’d ever get a Trainer, or get a chance to go stronger and evolve,” she said honestly. “But I’m glad to have the chance with you. Promise you’ll help me do my best?”

Evangeline’s heart melted. “Of course, Cho. We’ll all help each other.” She gave the Scatterbug a pat on the head. “But for now, let’s get some shut eye.”

“Alright. Good night, Evangeline,” Cho said.

“Good night. Sweet dreams,” the lone human in the room said with a yawn before crawling under the covers, working hard not to disturb Ella, who was curled up just so that Evangeline could tuck her legs around her, or Henri, who had settled on the headboard. Kakashi was on her pillow, and slid down to where he was cuddled in her arms as soon as she was lying down.

Cho looked outside some more, looking to the night sky and wondering. She hoped, and hoped… And then wiggled her way over to the bed, hopping up to sleep in the small of Evangeline’s back, just above Ella and on the opposite side as Kakashi. It wouldn’t do for the human to get cold, after all.

The next morning, Evangeline spent a good hour wrangling everyone through breakfast and into Pokeballs, not to mention getting herself fed and cleaned up. Then she set out to explore Santalune City. There were people to talk to, including the teacher inside the school and some of the students who were starry-eyed, seeing a new Trainer visiting. The boutique was cute, the PokeMart was actually in the Pokemon Center, which took some getting used to wrapping her head around. She spotted the gym, but walked ahead to find another route, Route 33–Detourner Way.

However, Evangeline quickly saw that the Route didn’t really have much to offer her, aside from a new friend in the form of a Litleo. Her Pokedex declared it the Lion Cub Pokemon, and the description was the stronger the opponent it faces, the more heat surges from its mane and the more power flows through its body. Her little cub was female, and quickly took on the nickname of Hiromi.

Hiromi (Litleo)

Rather than stay in the dangers of Route 22, Evangeline backtracked towards Ouvert Way for training up her little team before she dared take on the gym. Picking out a tree just outside of town where running into the Center would be easy, she laid out her sleeping bag as a picnic blanket and let all her Pokemon out again so those who she wasn’t working with could play. Hiromi and Henri made a fast-friendship, and Kakashi easily settled down for naps when it wasn’t his turn. Ella was poking her nose into every bush and bramble she could find.

It was Cho, however, who stole the show, just as Evangeline was considering a break for lunch and then go back inside to face the gym. This little patch was riddled with Burmy, and while annoying and creepy to Evangeline, they had been good for training purposes. Cho in particular, while struggling against them, at least didn’t have as much of a threat as she did from Henri’s fellow Fletchling. It was after one of those fights that Cho began to glow.

Startled, Evangeline took a few steps forward in concern before what she was seeing clicked in. Eyes wide, she watched as the white reshaped itself, and finally snapped off of her Pokemon with sparkles. Only rather than a Scatterbug…

“Spewpa,” her Pokedex declared. “It lives hidden within thicket shadows. When predators attack, it quickly bristles the fur covering its body in an effort to threaten them.”

Cho (Spewpa)

“Cho, you evolved!” Evangeline said in excitement, running over to pick up the Bug type for a twirling hug.

“I did it, I did it!” Cho squealed.

The rest of the team quickly gathered around, offering their own congratulations and hugs. The newly-formed Spewpa basked in the attention, but also didn’t let Evangeline get away, leaning against her legs. Evangeline smiled at everyone and let them have their fun for a few more minutes before herding them back under control so they could get an extra-special lunch to celebrate Cho.

While the Pokemon were munching and getting their training scrapes healed up, Evangeline was making a battle plan. There had been signs proclaiming that this first gym specialized in Bug types. While she wouldn’t put Cho into the storage boxes just for that reason, it definitely meant that the little bug wasn’t going to be seeing much action inside the gym. Neither would Kakashi, really. That left Hiromi and Henri to take the lead, with Ella as back-up.

Conveying the plan to the team, everyone seemed on board, even if Cho pouted a little. She packed up all of their things, planning on hitting the road rather than stay at the Center for a second night.

Outside the gym, Evangeline was surprised to see the roller-blader from yesterday blocking the entry way. She frowned, but went on ahead.

“Hey stranger!” she greeted with a warm wave. “Isn’t cruising around town on your Roller Skates the best thing ever?”

Evangeline held out her legs, looking down at her white, calf-high boots. No wheels in sight.

It caught the attention of the girl instantly. “…Wait. Do you mean to tell me you don’t even own a pair of Roller Skates?” she demanded.

Evangeline shook her head. “Not since I was little, and I don’t think mine worked like yours,” she said. “You couldn’t leave town in them, that’s for sure.” Not unless you knew the roads were paved which were…few and far between.

“Wow, you must be from out of town.” The girl shook her head, and then grinned. “How about this then: if you beat me in a Pokemon battle, I’ll give you a pair.” She gave Evangeline a wink. “I have a spare set that I outgrew that should fit right over your boots. And I can’t say no to a contest, not me! So how about it? Do you wanna battle?”

Why not? It wasn’t like she was on a time constraint. And besides, free skates were even better than cheap skates. “You’re on,” she agreed.