Tag Archives: Tierno

NaNo 18 Day 11 & 13: Reflection Cave

Caves weren’t nearly as bad as forests in Evangeline’s opinion. While it was more dangerous in terms of cave-ins and potential Pokemon encounters, it was less dangerous in terms of her mental health. Of course, she was thinking of the pictures she had seen of the inside of Mt. Moon, or even the small caverns she had walked through to get to Ambrette town or to hunt for fossils. These connecting caves (albeit lacking in a clever name) were of a completely different cut, and she was being literal.

Unlike the brown, dark stone of other caves, this was nearly blue, with more of the same crystals she’d seen on Route 11 emerging from cracks and crevices. As she walked down the path, she almost let her bike fall in shock. She grabbed it just in time, and tilted her head at what she was seeing in the glow of the crystals. Was that a mirror, in a cave…?

No, it was the wall.

In quiet disbelief, Evangeline walked over and pressed her fingertips lightly to the rock surface. It really was like a natural mirror, the inside of the stone smooth and polished. Maybe every stone in here was a proto-crystal that hadn’t had a chance to find the inner glow? She wasn’t a scientist, so she had no way of knowing. Either way, it reminded Evangeline of something she’d heard about–mirror mazes, where it was hard to know where there was a legitimate doorway and where it was just another wall.

Suddenly, she wished she was in Mt. Moon.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” a voice asked, and she turned. A backpacker, he had a huge yellow pack that was almost as big as him, and he was staring at the wall with an amazed smile. “The whole cave system is this way! I’ve traveled all over Kalos, and it still is just as inspiring as it was the first time.”

She nodded silently, letting her hand fall.

He turned to look at her, and his eyes gleamed when he noticed her gear. “How about a battle? Let you get used to the reflection in your battles now before you get so deep in the system that you can’t get back out.”

That sounded more than fair to Evangeline. Reaching for a Pokeball, she said, “Etienne, let’s give it a shot.”

The big blue dinosaur type came out with a trill. Only he also quickly got distracted. Walking over to the wall, he cooed, flipping his ear frills at his own reflection. Evangeline clapped her hands over mouth to muffle her giggles. “Etienne, focus, sweetie,” she chided once she had control over herself. Shaking her head, he gave her a sheepish smile and looked towards the backpacker, who was letting out his Linoone.

It wasn’t necessarily a hard battle, just a tricky one. Much like her own Ella, this Linoone was a fast bugger, and Etienne had trouble keeping an eye on him so he could use any attacks. Finally, though, one placed Aurora Beam attack knocked the Linoone out.

“Easy now,” she murmured to Etienne, coming to stand beside him as the backpacker checked his Pokemon. He smiled at her and recalled the Pokemon, confirming that it was just a knock-out, nothing serious. Evangeline returned the smile and recalled Etienne. He gave her the required payout, and with a wave, went to go heal up his Linoone.

The caves gave ways to levels…and wild Pokemon. It didn’t take much for her to turn up a new friend–a Fairy type mixed with rocks that reminded Evangeline of a rabbit. Due to the rock, she thought of the pun of the rabbit in the moon and decided to nickname it Usagi. It didn’t appear to have a gender–it didn’t even have a mouth, so she used the French gender-neutral pronoun of “on,” or one in reference to a person, when referring to it out of respect. It seemed thrilled at the acknowledgement.

Usagi

It was the last bit of peace that they had. There were levels to the cave that had to be navigated, and sometimes the way up was actually to go down. In addition, the wild Pokemon were absolutely relentless, and the trainers were down here as a tourist attraction or for practice even more so. Evangeline tried very hard not to cry in relief when one woman offered her healing services rather than asking for another battle.

Bless her heart, she noticed. “That’s why I’ve stationed myself here,” she said sympathetically. “I wish the Elite Four would send a more official nurse station put in. The wild Pokemon and all the trainers can be overwhelming for someone who isn’t prepared for it. Even for some who are!”

“I’ll mention something to Korrina when I get to Shalour City,” she promised. “With my personal experience attached to it. I don’t know what I would have done without you to heal my team.” There was a donation box, and Evangline didn’t hesitate to put some money in it to help this kind girl replenish her Potion supplies.

She hadn’t walked too far past her (and had yet another set of battles) when a familiar voice called her name from down the hallway.

“Hey Ladybird!” Tierno called, running up. “How are you doing in the Reflection Cave?”

Evangeline made a face.

He laughed. “Yeah, I get yah. Maybe I can help you out a little.” He reached into his pocket and held out a TM. “If you use the move Flash, not as many wild Pokemon will turn up,” he explained.

She took the TM, twisting it in her fingers. “Really? That’s handy.”

He grinned, rubbing the back of his head. “I kinda depend on Flash. I’m still not very good at battling, so I keep running into trouble. I sure wish I could be as good as you.”

“Yeah, well, I needed to get some help, so don’t judge yourself too hard,” Evangeline tried to reassure him with a smile. “This cave is hard on us Trainers!”

He smiled back at her, and if she were to guess, he did look a little brighter. “You’re right, I shouldn’t beat myself up too much. Especially with all the trainers around here.”

“Exactly.” She gave a firm nod, glad she wasn’t going to have to argue with him about it. “Have you had a chance to look into the Coordinators like I told you about?” she asked, changing the subject.

“Oh yeah!” he said, and he was eager to talk to her about what he found out as they walked. He paused though when he saw a group of wild Pokemon who were in a weaker level. “Hey, I’m going to see if those Mime Jr have any dance moves I can use.”

Considering they were the baby form of the miming Pokemon, Evangeline was going to say that was a safe bet. She waved him on and decided to keep going to try and get out of these caves sometime today.

Of course, the other trainers seemed to have something else in mind. She sighed when a man in a white gi came running up, bouncing on his toes as he flexed. “Battle?” she guessed.

“Yah,” he agreed. His accent was thick, and neither French or like Evangeline’s. It made understanding him difficult, and he seemed to struggle with her accent in return, but they managed.

Or rather, she managed survival. He had only the one Pokemon, but it took her rotating out her entire team and applying potions in order to get through the fight. She recalled Kakashi as the last one, rubbing her forehead and feeling the cool sweat that had gathered there. “You did great,” she told him, speaking a little slower to help him understand. “Hard battle.”

He laughed, boisterous and loud. Not the least put out that he’d lost, probably because it used her entire team to do it. “Good battle,” he agreed and pointed at her. “Hard opponent.”

She waved her hand sheepishly, making him laugh again. Igor patted her on the back so hard that she stumbled forward to keep on her feet, and went back to his training. And left Evangeline with a dilemma. She didn’t have enough Potions to get everyone to full health, but if she backtracked through the tunnel, it would mean longer in the caves and more battles due to the distance, even with Flash.

Time and battles weren’t worth the risk to her team. She healed up one member enough to face anything she met along the way and went back to the woman from before.

“Let me guess,” she said dryly as Evangeline handed over the team’s Pokeballs. “Igor.”

“At least I won?” Evangeline said with a tentative smile.

“Well, you’re the first this week,” the woman said with a scowl, puttering about her clinic. Rei’s ears laid back and he puffed up when she slammed a box down–this was no Nurse Joy with her easy way about taking care of her patients. But Evangeline wasn’t going to argue with free care in this out of the way spot, and just ran her hand soothingly down the back of Rei’s head to help him calm down. “I swear, that man has caused more incidents than any of the wild Pokemon, and his French is so poor that I can’t tell if he understands me when I tell him to knock it off and go somewhere else for his training.”

“What is his native language?” Evangeline asked curiously.

“Russian,” the woman said blandly. Evangeline could only shake her head, since that was way out of her wheelhouse in being able to help. She took back her team, and went back into the tunnels. There was no sign of Tierno, so he must have already gotten out of the cave. With a deep breath, she tried to push through too, though she did have a pause between battles to eat her lunch and share with her team. With all of the fighting, she was sure they needed the energy!

At last, there was an opening up ahead, and it took all of Evangeline’s will not to run towards. Finally, freedom from the Reflection Cave! Inwardly, she swore that she would not be revisiting, at least in the form of using it as a path between Cyllage City and Shalour City. There had to be an easier way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He shook his head, looking baffled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She wasn’t expecting the devastating psychic attack.

Pink and violet wings crumbled to the ground.

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

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

“Hey, neighbor!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cho (Deceased)


NaNo 17, Day 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.


NaNo 17, Day 7: Santalune Forest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cho (Scatterbug)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NaNo 17, Day 2: Route 1 and Aquacorde Town

The route between Vaniville Town and Aquacorde Town–appropriately named Vaniville Pathway–was little more than a short garden path. Evangeline took a moment to appreciate the green bushes and trees as she sipped her coffee. It was good for Aunt Aya’s sake that the next town was easy to get to, so her shopping wouldn’t be a complete nightmare.

The blue slate roofs of the buildings quickly towered over the trees again, the gravel of the walkway giving way to paved stones. Evangeline looked to either side as she walked, trying to figure out where exactly she was supposed to be going. The buildings had just given way to some sort of courtyard when someone called out, “Hey, Evangeline! This way, over here!”

Startled, she looked to her left and scanned the tables. Finally, she spotted the group of four already gathered around two tables they had pushed together. Shauna was leaning over the far-end, waving her hand in excitement. “We were just talking about you!” she explained as Evangeline walked over. “C’mon, have a seat.”

That wasn’t unnerving as all get out. “Thank you,” she said quietly instead of what she was thinking, taking the empty seat next to Xavier.

He grinned at her. “This is the meeting place,” he explained. “Here, let me introduce you.” Xavier gestured to the other two boys at the table. “Everyone this is Evangline.”

The huskier boy immediately nodded his head, an awed expression on his face. “Wow, Shauna’s description was spot on,” he said.

Evangeline ducked her head down to hide her flush. Xavier laughed. “That’s Tierno,” he said. “He’s got some serious dance moves.” He gestured to the smaller, redheaded boy. “And this is Trevor. He never misses a single question on his tests, but he’s a little shy…”

“All right, nice to meet you,” Tierno said, holding his hand out. Evangline agreeably took it for a brief shake. When they broke hands, he crossed his arms, looking upwards as if contemplating something. “You know, it’d feel like we’re a closer crew if we call each other by nicknames.” He looked at Evangeline, opening one eye and then closing it to open the other.

She blinked back at him, not really getting it.

“Can I call you E-kins?” he asked unexpectedly.

She opened her mouth to protest–she didn’t care if they called her by a nickname, but preferably not one that sounded like a snake Pokemon–but Shauna beat her to it.

“What? No way!” she said, thumping the table so hard it rattled as she stood up. “She’s a Li’l E, for sure!”

Evangeline made a face. Okay, that might actually be worse. Trevor looked at her from across the table, biting his lip to keep from laughing. She raised her coffee cup back up to her lips to hide her expression so she wouldn’t risk offending anybody on her first day.

“What do you think, Trevor?” Shauna immediately tried to draw the battle lines.

He whipped backwards, arms pinwheeling for a second as he tried to get his bearings. “What?” he squeaked. “You want me to nickname someone I just met?!” He slouched forward, looking up the table from under his bangs. “Shauna, you shouldn’t put people on the spot like this.”

Both Tierno and Shauna looked at him expectantly, neither backing down.

“Well…” Trevor finally dithered, glancing at Evangeline again. She covertly took a sip of her coffee. Nope, she wasn’t coming to his rescue. “How about something low key? Maybe something like… Lady E?”

Okay, that one wasn’t half-bad. She gave him a tilt of her cup, acknowledging that he at least had better taste than Shauna and Tierno. He gave a relieved sigh and a shy smile.

Xavier coughed into his fist, and Evangeline braced herself for more bad nicknames. She was pleasantly surprised when he suggested, “Why don’t you decide what we call you?”

Setting down her cup at last now that she no longer needed the shield, she looked up at the sky, resting her chin on the palm of her hand. “Well…” she said slowly, trying to gather her thoughts. “Trevor’s nickname wasn’t so bad, but rather than E, how about…” She thought of her father, and grinned. “Bird. Ladybird.”

“Ladybird?” Shauna repeated, tilting her head. “Isn’t that a bug?”

Evangeline felt a reflexive shudder, and looked at Shauna with wide eyes. “Huh?” she said, confused.

“Yeah, the one with red wings and black spots,” she said.

Oh! A ladybug! That’s right, that’s how the French translated. Evangeline waved her hand, not minding that so much. She even liked the ladybug Pokemon chain. “Those are good luck, so not so bad bugs,” she said.

The others around the table laughed, and she relaxed a little, glad that they were getting along so well. “Good luck, I think that fits you perfectly,” Shauna said, doing a one-eighty on her opinion with that little fact. “I’m sure we’re gonna be great friends, so I’ll call you that, too!”

The boys all nodded, and it seemed to be settled.

“Hey, can we see the Pokemon now?” Shauna kept the reins of the conversation firmly. “I want to meet my new partner soon!”

Tierno nodded. “I know, right? It was such a cool feeling when Trevs and I met our Pokemon. Hope you feel the same way we did.” He reached down beside him, and pulled out a purple and gold canister. He put it on the table and lifted the lid. Evangeline leaned forward, counting three Pokeballs.

It was all she had time for. White light quickly exploded, and the three Pokemon hopped out on to the table. On the left was a brown mammal-type, with a green leaf-hat, in the middle was a yellow and orange fox-type, and on the right was a blue and white frog-type.

“Hi, hi, hi!” the brown Pokemon greeted, bounding forward with a wave, and immediately knocking into the fox.

“Hey, watch it!” the fox yipped back, jumping back so that the brown one fell forward, the fox jumping up on top of it.

Tierno laughed. “The one on his belly now is a Chespin, a Grass type, and the one on top of him is a Fennekin, a Fire type. And this little guy…” He reached down to scratch the frog on top of his head. “…is a Froakie, a Water type.” He looked between Shauna, Xavier, and Evangeline, before grinning broadly. “And because she’s the new kid, Ladybird gets to pick hers first!”

Not expecting that, Evangeline could only stare dumbly at the three Pokemon for a long second. Why her first? She was the new kid! But she quickly noticed that the Froakie seemed to be a little more withdrawn than the others. Sorta like her. “Hey,” she said quietly, holding out her hand. “My name’s Evangeline.”

He blinked his big yellow eyes at her, hopping a little closer. “Hi,” he said, putting his hand in hers. “Are you going to be my trainer? I promise to work hard! Though, I tend to take a lot of naps…”

Evangeline smiled at him. “I don’t like waking up either,” she confided. “So what should I call you?” He tilted his head, and she tilted hers the same way, thinking. “How about… Kakashi?”

“Isn’t that a Kanto or Johto style name?” Xavier asked the other three, who just shrugged at him.

For his part, the Froakie seemed to consider it very seriously, and then nodded. “I like it,” he agreed, and hopped over to settle into her lap.

Laughing, Evangeline cuddled him close and accepted his Pokeball from Tierno. “Alright then, that makes us partners,” she told him, patting his head and earning a sort of trilling croak from deep in his throat.

Kakashi (Froakie)

“Wow, I didn’t know you were one of the people who understands Pokemon, Ladybird!” Shauna said. “Xavier can too, that’s so exciting to know two people who can.”

“The statistics are in favor of it,” Trevor pointed out in a mumble. “Your turn to pick a partner, Shauna.”

“Hmm…” she seemed to muse, but it didn’t last for long. Snapping her fingers, she tilted her head to the side. “Okay! My partner is Fennekin!”

“Me? Oh goodie!” the fox yipped, skipping over the table to her.

Shauna was quick to cuddle her new Pokemon to her cheek. “Wow, we go together great! The two of us are just way too cute!” she drew out the words in a baby-talking drawl that made Evangeline look down at Kakashi and make another face. He quickly put his paws over his mouth to fight down his giggles while Shauna set about figuring out a nickname for her new Pokemon: Li’l Fen.

“Aw shucks, that means I’m last,” the Chespin pouted.

Xavier didn’t seem put off. He grinned down at his new Pokemon. “Nice to meet you, Chespin. I’m Xavier. Because of you, I can be a real Pokemon trainer, so thanks.”

“Hehehe, wow, no need to thank me, I’m glad to be your new partner!” Chespin got up to his feet and ran to wave his hands up at his new trainer. “So what’s my new nickname, huh?”

“How about… Augustus, Gus for short,” Xavier suggested, to much cheering by the Grass Pokemon.

“Uh, pardon me,” Trevor interrupted reluctantly. “But I have something for you from the professor as well. Something that will help you understand Pokemon on a much deeper level-”

“Trevor, just hand over the Pokedexes,” Xavier interrupted. “We all know the speech about them.”

The redhead pouted, but brought out three of the red Pokedex devices. Evangeline juggled Kakashi and the device so she could pull out her trainer ID and slide it into the specific slot for it in the cover.

“The professor said I had to give you the full instructions!” Trevor protested, and looked upwards for a second as if trying to recall the words from a book. “Uh, so you see… The Pokedex I just gave you is a high-tech device that automatically records the Pokemon you encounter.” He nodded, sure of himself again. “The reason you get one is because the professor wants us to go on a journey with our Pokemon and complete the Pokedex.” Once out of the spiel, he turned a little shy again. “To put it another way, it’s an important mission from the professor. I’m sure of it!”

“Oh lighten up, Trevs. You’re way too serious sometimes. They just want more data to confirm information they already know,” Tierno dismissed Trevor’s enthusiastic recitation. He leaned across the table. “Um, Ladybird? Please take this with you too. It’s a letter from the professor. He said you should give it to your mom.”

Evangeline refrained from snorting. Her mother was months away by boat, there was no way she was getting a letter very quickly. Aunt Aya was probably who the professor meant…or at least, who was going to get it. That was the only reason why Evangeline went along with her parents’ insistence on her great-aunt coming with her at all. She accepted the letter gracefully, and put it in a pocket of her bag. Tierno had letters for Shauna’s and Xavier’s parents too.

Once the mail was handed out, the bigger boy clapped his hands together. “All right, we’re done with our errand for the professor. I guess Trevs and I will go look for Pokemon. Let’s go, Trevs!” Tierno stood up and began to walk off. Trevor waited until Tierno walked behind his chair before he gave a bashful nod of his head and hurried after his friend.

Shaking his head, Xavier focused his attention on Evangeline for a moment. “In Kalos, kids are chosen to carry a Pokedex and go on an adventure. But you need to give that letter to your mom before you go.”

“I can take a hint,” she said, sticking her tongue out at the playfully. “Alright, I’ll head back real quick then.” She stood up and gave them both a brief wave before walking back to the main thoroughfare. Kakashi seemed content to be carried, and she wasn’t in any hurry to put him back in his Pokeball unless he wanted in it.

They had just barely left the gathering area when she heard footsteps behind her. Frowning, Evangeline wondered if she forgot something, and turned to look. Shauna came running up. “Ladybird, wait,” she called out. The brunette caught up with her quickly, and took an assertive stance. “You’re gonna be my opponent in my Pokemon-battling debut!”

“I am?” Evangeline said in confusion.

Shauna spun around in what was probably supposed to be a dramatic fashion–someone had obviously been watching a lot of Trainer battles on TV. “Okay, Li’l Fen! It’s our first battle!” she shouted. “Let’s win it with style!” She threw out her one and only active Pokeball, releasing her Fennekin again.

Looking down at Kakashi. Evangeline sighed. “Alright, Kakashi, I guess it’s time for our first battle. You ready?”

“Ready!” he confirmed, hopping down and standing opposite the Fire-type.

“Begin!” both girls shouted at the same time.