Tag Archives: Xavier

NaNo 18, Day 10 & 11: Geosenge Town and Route 11

The stone arch gave way to perhaps the oddest town layout that Evangeline had ever seen. Oh, it was filled with a rustic charm, with log cabin homes and stone lined paths, but it was also laid out in a circle of all things, no signs of a grid. And it was a circle around tall tower-stones in grey that chilled Evangeline to even look at them. The Pokemon Center was thankfully nearby, letting her check in. It wasn’t even close to being done for the day–she wasn’t even ready for lunch–but she knew the Centers at home kept bento boxes for Trainers on the go.

She lucked out. Nurse Joy had bagged lunches that didn’t need refrigeration–apples, hard smoked cheeses and meats, and a flaky croissant. Evangeline had a knife so cutting it all up later wouldn’t be a problem, and her water bottle was refillable. Theo was definitely not coming with her, so a few baggies of food were enough to keep her friends fed while she ate too, even if she ended up spending the night in a cave or wood grove somewhere and had to dip into her emergency rations.

There was no reason to stick around, but Evangeline decided to poke her nose around. Especially after meeting all those Team Flare grunts on her way here. That had been a red flag back at the mines, and she felt like it was probably applicable to them in general.  They were immediately around, and no one she talked to seemed to realize they were around, but that didn’t mean they weren’t!

There was a path that led around the village that she decided to follow. It was almost like a shared yard between the houses. A very…strange…shared yard, but it at least gave her an idea of why it was set up that way. Hitting the north end of the path, she considered turning around. But a flash of orange caught her attention, and she ran forward to confirm it.

Unfortunately, she had failed basically every stealth class she’d ever sat in during her visits to the academy with Mother. She was spotted almost instantly. He twisted around to see her clearly, scowling. “Not you again!”

She prepared for more trouble herself, reflexively grabbing Kakashi’s Pokeball. “I could say the same thing.”

“Hear this, pipsqueak! Team Flare is gonna use the stones on Route 10 and a fantastic treasure to make everyone on our team happy!” he said authoriatively. “In this world, the ones who have power are the ones who win with flare!”

“So that rules you out, doesn’t it?” she pointed out.

He threw a smoke bomb at her in answer, making her cover her mouth and cough to wait for it to clear the air. Jerk.

A series of steps came running up behind her, resting his hand on her shoulder. The smell of powder in her nose had her reflexively reaching for the kunai that should have been strapped to her thigh… Only nothing was there. Because she wasn’t at the academy. She was in Kalos, and the person behind her was a friend.

Sort of.

Xavier made sure she was standing up on her own and breathing properly before he relaxed. “Evangeline, are you okay?” When she nodded, he looked over head in the direction she had been talking to the moron. “Was someone from Team Flare here just now?”

“Yes,” she managed to cough out, straightening up as her lungs finally cleared.

His expression was…skeptical, to say the least. “You said he was here, but he isn’t anymore, is he? There’s only a dead end up ahead…” he pointed out.

“He was there!” she insisted, glaring up at him, annoyed at the insinuation. She wasn’t crazy! There had been a Team Flare member here, and now he was gone. Evangeline may not know where he went, but as much as she was awful at being sneaky, the academy had taught her all about secret passageways and entrances. Just because they couldn’t see something, didn’t mean it wasn’t there.

Wisely, Xavier held up his hands. “I believe you!” he quickly corrected his tone by assuring her. She humphed, making it clear that was the right answer or they were about to have a real problem. He shifted the bill of his hat up so he could look over the area more. “I wonder where that Team Flare guy went…” he mused.

“I don’t know, but I’m content to tell the nearest Officer Jenny and her police force, and stay the hell out of it unless forced,” she said, crossing her arms to hug herself. “We’ve been lucky, Xavier. These are grunt level in a terrorist organization, they barely know what they are doing and they aren’t the strongest trainers. Their more elite members, much less their boss? There’s no telling what would have happened.”

“Speaking from experience?” he asked, raising his brows at her.

She shrugged awkwardly. “My parents dealt with a similar organization in their youth,” she said. “The local champion managed to step in at the time, but it was dicey for a while.”

“The Kalos Champion isn’t well known, but I imagine whoever they are, they are keeping an eye on the Team Flare situation,” he said soothingly. “I’m going to push on, I’ll catch up with you later, okay?”

Evangeline hadn’t expected him to even be here considering the time advantage he’d had, so she nodded in agreement. He scurried away, and she walked over to where she had last seen the Team Flare member. There was nothing here that stood out to her as being a secret entrance, but it may be further on ahead too… She shook her head. Nope, she was leaving this to Officer Jenny, as soon as she found one.

Walking back out of the circling path thankfully spat her out close to the road leading out of town. She was just walking under another stone arch when the cry came behind her.

“Lucario! What are you doing?”

Turning around, Evangeline grinned as a familiar Lucario came running over, his trainer and fellow Lucario just behind him. “Running away again?” she asked. He scuffed at the dirt of the road, his head ducked bashfully.

Korrina skid to a stop in her roller blades, looking at Evangeline with wide eyes. “Hey! You’re that trainer from Route 5!” she realized, looking at her Lucario who kept seeking Evangeline out. He wasn’t a lot of help, twisting to look up at the sky as he grumbled under his breath, too faint for Evangeline to hear and understand him.

Not that it stopped Korrina. “I’m not exactly sure, but I think Lucario says he wants to battle with you,” she said slowly, and then looked at Evangeline with bright eyes. “Would you battle with us?”

Oh, why not? It wasn’t like her journey had to be measured in terms of time rather than accomplishments. “Sure,” she agreed, reaching for one of her team’s Pokeballs.

“So, I have two Lucario… But do you know which is the one that has taken a shine to you?” Korrina asked with a teasing glint.

Evangeline managed not to roll her eyes. It was a little obvious. But she wasn’t going to start a verbal argument. Instead, she called out Hikari.

“A fairy?” Korrina said skeptically.

“What is it with people judging by appearances?” Evangeline muttered, and the battle was on. Perhaps because of Korrina’s dismissal, Hikari threw herself into the fight with abandon, making Evangeline have to hold her back more than anything else, as she set about destroying both Lucario. Grabbing the fairy before she could turn on Korrina, Evangeline laughed. “You know, you didn’t have to beat them that badly,” she said.

“They made fun of us!” she argued in a squeaky voice. Still laughing, Evangeline patted her consolingly on the head and let her return to her Pokeball to stew in silence.

Or well, near silence. Korrina clapped her hands as she reached an epiphany. “Okay, now I get it!”

“Get what?” Evangeline asked, clueless as to what Korrina had actually figured out. Maybe that Evangeline understood what the Pokemon were saying?

“I see why Lucario likes you so much!” she said with a sunny smile. Well, that made one of them. Evangeline still wasn’t sure why someone else’s Pokemon kept seeking her out. “So, do you remember that I’m the Gym Leader in Shalour City?”

Evangeline nodded, deciding that was the best answer she could give to the question.

“Once you get past the cave just beyond here, you’ll be there, so stop by and say hello!” Korrina demanded, reaching out and taking Evangeline’s hands in hers. She didn’t let go until Evangeline quietly agreed, and then skated off.

Shaking her head, Evangeline reached up and scratched under the brim of her hat. Was the newspaper in Cyllage just an anomaly? Or did Korrina pay as much attention to the news as her father did to Johto? (Which unless it dealt with certain topics, was not at all.) Either way, she figured it couldn’t hurt to let Korrina maintain her current beliefs. She could break it to her later.

Route 11 had postings also calling it Miroir Way, describing how people could feel the power of the earth’s interior thanks to the crystals that had poked out of the ground, exposed to the surface by time. It was climbing back up the mountains, basically, amusing Evangeline at how she came all the way down, only to have to go back up. It really highlighted to her why the different Pokedex classification systems existed here, with how the region was divided geographically.

There were a handful of trainers along the route, though thankfully not as many as there had been leading up to Geosenge Town. She’d barely been walking through the tall grass at all when she stirred up a wild Pokemon–a Chingling that she caught and nicknamed Yvette.

Yvette (Chingling)

Flipping through her Pokedex as she pushed her bike up the steps, Evangeline was shocked when a beep came from her Holo Caster alerting her to an incoming message.

It was too early to be Aunt Aya, and a part of her dreaded that it was that creepy Lysandre. To her relief, the call actually shaped up to be from Professor Sycamore. “Hello there!” he greeted with a casual wave.

“Hello, Professor,” she returned with a shy smile, glad to hear from him. “How are you?”

“Doing well. According to your Caster, it looks like you’ve almost made it to Shalour City. That’s fantastic!” he congratulated her. She flushed, thankful that the hologram wouldn’t be able to translate the change in her complexion over. “You look happy,” he added with a softer expression. “It looks like your journey with your Pokemon around the Kalos region is going swimmingly.”

“I’m glad I came to Kalos too,” she agreed, wishing she could explain more. But she was too flustered with competing emotions, most of them ones she was unfamiliar with. It almost made her feel dizzy.

He nodded, and then got to his point. “I wanted to tell you about a person in Shalour who knows a great deal about Mega Evolution. People call him the Mega Evolution guru.”

That got her attention out of her emotional wallowing. “Then why did you bother sending us to Camphier Town?” she asked sharply.

“You needed to go through anyway, and I may have known about a certain reoccurring problem in the area that I thought you could handle.” He winked at her. She huffed in mild annoyance. Evangeline should have known Sycamore was meddling–professors were notoriously nosy. “Anyway, I’ve told everyone else about him, so if you have a second, you should give him a visit!”

“I’ll add it to my list of things to do,” she said with a sigh, but she nodded.

He grinned at her, and the call ended. She looked at the looming cave entrance, and wondered if she should have warned the professor she was about to enter a set of caves, so he wouldn’t have gotten so excited. But steeling herself, she walked her bike inside to navigate her way to Shalour City.

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NaNo 17, Day 27: Team Flare, New Faces, and Closure

Thankfully, there was only one female Team Flare grunt down the mine shaft, both of her Pokemon easily defeated by Felix, to the grunt’s immense annoyance. She took off at a run in the same direction as the earlier grunt, especially when the Charmeleon sent a plume of flames after her.

Evangeline gave him a discouraging whap on the back of the head for it, but her heart wasn’t in it. After all, what would she have done if the grunt had decided that just because her Pokemon were defeated, she wasn’t done fighting? And he hadn’t been aiming to hurt. “Come on, let’s keep moving,” she coaxed him, turning away from the tracks and deeper into the cave.

The path curved around again, narrowing though not as badly as the earlier half of the caves. Perfect, though for two more Grunts to create a bottleneck.

Both gave her what they probably thought were model-esque poses, though honestly they just looked likely. The boy declared, “We’re Team Flare! We put the fashion into fear!”

Meanwhile, the girl just looked put-out. “We’re looking for fossils, but were discovered by a kid!”

What did they expect? The Fossil Lab wasn’t exactly making this place a secret. Evangeline narrowed her eyes, bracing herself for a fight.

“Evangeline!” Xavier shouted behind her, coming up at a run. He stumbled to stop, seeing the situation she was in. “So, there are two members of Team Flare this time…” He turned his head to look at her with an eager grin. “Are you ready to battle alongside me again, neighbor?”

This time, the suggestion also made her smile. These two grunts didn’t know what they were in for. “Yes,” she agreed.

“I just fought with another one of these Team Flare guys. They won’t stand a chance against us,” he declared, throwing out his first Pokemon: his Espurr. Evangeline joined him with Felix, and the fight was on.

Not that it was easy. Felix weathered the hits, but Xavier’s Espurr was replaced first by his Absol, and then by his Quilladin. In the end, they managed to get the necessary wins by the skin of their teeth. Evangeline bit her lower lip, though, through most of it, and made a mental note to mention to Xavier that he really needed to reconsider some of his battle choices. Using an attack that protected against special-type attacks didn’t do a lot of good when their opponents were using primarily physical-type moves.

Xavier stepped up, acting the part of the big hero. “If you’re just trying to make yourselves happy, I won’t stop you. But when you threaten people, it’s like who do you think you are, anyway?”

She rolled her eyes upward. Oh, that didn’t sound childish at all.

The male grunt looked over his appearance. “Oh man! My favorite, fashionable Team Flare suit is filthy!” He pivoted on his heels and took off down the mine shaft again, hopefully back whatever way he came.

His partner stomped her foot. “If we can restore fossils, we can make some good money!” she sulked, chasing after him. “The boss isn’t going to like this…”

Evangeline wasn’t particularly surprised. It took money to finance criminal operations of any sort, the question was what the big picture was. Shaking her head, she continued onward, just to be sure there weren’t any other grunts causing trouble for the dig assistant.

No one else turned up, except a gentleman in a white research’s coat. Xavier was behind her, and he craned his head to try and look around her. “Is he there?” he asked in a hiss.

It caught the research’s attention, or seeing movement out of the corner of his eyes did. “Why hello!” he said, quickly setting down his tools and turning around. “Here to look for fossils as well?”

She didn’t have a chance to answer, since Xavier stepped around her and immediately asked, “Was Team Flare here?”

Bless his heart, the research just tilted his head to the side in confusion. “Teemphlair? What’s that? A Pokemon?”

Xavier groaned. “Never mind…” he muttered. Evangeline covered her mouth to keep her giggles quiet. He gave her a sheepish grin. “Guess he was so absorbed with looking for fossils, he didn’t notice.”

The research clapped his hands together to get their attention back on him. “You two are very lucky you came upon me just now, you know. I just now found two fossils! But they’re both ones I already have, so I’ll give one to each of you. Do you want the Jaw Fossil or the Sail Fossil?”

“Jaw Fossil?” Xavier expressed interest, moving to get a closer look. Evangeline came behind him to look at the other, this Sail Fossil. It was beautiful and glistening, surprising her, as it seemed to reflect all the colors of the rainbow.

“So, the Sail Fossil for you, and the Jaw Fossil for you?” he asked both teenagers to confirm their selections.

“I’ll take this one,” Xavier confirmed, and Evangeline gave a quick nod, holding the fossil close.

The researcher grinned at them. “Wonderful. I’ll restore your Fossils and turn them back into Pokemon at the Fossil Lab! For now, I must return with these other samples. Hope to see you there!” Gathering up what he needed, he walked back down the path. She hoped it was safe for him now, and that between her and Xavier, they had managed to run any threats to those samples off.

Xavier shook his head, looking like he had a headache. “So, we went looking for the assistant, and we found that suspicious group called Team Flare as well…”

“I have a feeling that was more accidental than the Lab purposefully sending us in the way of trouble,” she pointed out quietly.

He nodded to show he agreed. “Still, with those Team Flare people running around, it would be better to train more so I can travel safely. I guess the best thing to do to get tougher is to challenge the Cyllage City Gym.” He glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes. “What about you?”

She took a deep breath. This had been a distraction, but Cho’s grief was still on her heart. Just not as heavy. “I think I’ll stick around here for a couple of days,” she admitted quietly, “Explore some of the roads a little better. I think I got so distracted with pushing ahead, I started making mistakes. Plus I have a lot of new Pokemon to learn about and train up. Cyllage is close enough, I might as well train for it here and then go to the Gym.”

With a nod, Xavier gave her an awkward hug. “Alright. Take care of yourself, alright? If you don’t catch up with us soon, I’ll come back and drag you along.”

She managed a laugh. “Alright. See you soon.” They parted ways, with Evangeline poking her nose around a little more while he hurried on. She had a feeling he had delayed his trip, just to make sure she was alright. There was a piece of amber that looked interesting. Evangeline pocketed it to take back with her.

The Rhyhorn from before was waiting for her, though thankfully not the rain. It even seemed to make him moderately more cheerful. She was relieved not to have to put on her raincoat again herself. Once she reached town, she stopped by the lab first, where the research assistant was already behind the counter and recognized her on site.

He also recognized the amber she pulled out while digging for her fossil that he had given her. Taking both, he disappeared in the back before she could stop him, making her frown. He came back with two Pokeballs. “Your Sail Fossil has become an Amaura, and that Old Amber actually contained enough scales from an Aerodactyl,” he said excitedly. “You can use the computer there, to free up slots for these two, if you need them.”

Startled, she did as he said, shifting her team around to take on her two new Pokemon. “Thank you,” she said with a quick bow of her head.

“You are more than welcome,” he assured her with a smile. “Best of luck with your new friends!”

She smiled and nodded, taking her exit, still feeling a little numb. Evangeline hadn’t expected to mean having this many new Pokemon when she mentioned them to Xavier! Back at the Center, she used one of the terminals to look through her box with a frown. Amaura, Aerodactyl, Sandile, Mawile…and Inkay. She took a deep breath, and took out all the new Pokemon, as well as Kakashi.

First, she let out her starter Pokemon. “Time to meet all the newcomers,” she told him. “Five of them.”

He tilted his head in confusion, counting off in his head and realizing who she was including. His face darkened a little. “If you let the one go, no one will blame you,” he said bluntly.

“I know they won’t,” she said, grimacing. “And trust me, I’m tempted. But I’m not going to judge it without meeting it first. Do you have a problem with that?”

Kakashi crossed his arms, considering. “I think I’m okay with it,” he said slowly. “The others might take longer to come around, but it’s going to depend on the Inkay’s personality, you know?”

She nodded, since that did make sense. “We’ll save it for last,” she promised, and reached for the first Pokeball. The Sandile was a serious little fellow who for some reason reminded Evangeline of a bouncer at a club. The first nickname she could think of was the same as one of her guards as a child who hadn’t been native to Kanto–Lars. Surprisingly, he liked it.

Lars (Sandile)

Next on the list was the Mawile. She seemed a little less sure of her surroundings, outside of the cave, but she raised her chin up rather than admit it. She took on the nickname Chiko, and rather than be recalled, she insisted on staying out to help Kakashi if any of the others ended up being trouble.

Chiko

Of course, that felt superfluous with the next one. The Amaura, despite its size, was shy as any story about wild Pikachu. But when she suggested finding him a new Trainer if he preferred it, he firmly shook his head and tucked his head into her body with a happy croon. “Awww, you’re just a big baby,” she cooed over him. “It’s alright, Felix didn’t talk much either.” Though with Felix being of Fire and this new Pokemon being of Ice, she wasn’t sure if they would actually be friends. She nicknamed him Etienne and let him return to his Pokeball.

Etienne (Amaura)

The Aerodactyl was the completely other side of the coin. She was bubbly and eager to meet her new friends, despite her size. When Evangeline offered her an apple, it seemed to cement their friendship. She chomped down on it and eagerly looked for me. Evangeline made a mental note to carry more food on her person for when she was carrying this Pokemon, who she dubbed Emi.

Emi

There was only one left. Chiko didn’t understand what was happening, but she stayed out with Kakashi in a fit of stubbornness, especially when Kakashi quietly explained what this particular Pokemon was to blame for. “It may have been an accident, but you never know how it’ll react to the news,” she said bluntly.

That surprisingly made her feel a little better about it. “Alright,” she said, “here we go.”

With a twist of her wrists, she released the Inkay responsible for Cho’s death from it’s Pokeball.

Immediately, it swarmed up to Evangeline. “Is that Vivilion alright?” she asked, worrying her tentacles. “It’s been a couple of days, hasn’t it? I didn’t know if you would ever let me out so I can find out, and none of your other Pokemon would talk to me about it…” She paused and muttered, “None of them wanted to talk to me period.”

Evangeline swallowed. “No, she wasn’t,” she admitted. “I’m sorry you were fretting.”

“And I’m sorry that it happened,” the Inkay said, deflating a little, her eyes big and watery. “I would understand completely if you released me back to the wild. Really, I don’t mind.”

If nothing else, that statement alone melted any lingering resentment Evangeline would have had. “It’s not your fault either,” she said. “It was… It was an accident.” Saying the words herself made it feel more real to her too.

The Inkay nodded a little. “Okay. I… I’m going to work really hard to show you, all of you,” she added after glancing at Chiko and Kakashi. “That I want to be on the team and I’m sorry I took someone away to do it.”

“Alright,” Evangeline agreed, and reached out to pat the Inkay on the head. “How about a nickname, hmm? A sign of approval to the others.” Thinking, she suggested Kanna, a name that meant white lily, as a sign of Inkay’s penance. She nodded in approval.

Kanna (Inkay)


NaNo 17, Day 26: Grief, and Learning to Move On

It was a long night. Evangeline couldn’t sleep, and her remaining Pokemon took shifts with her. The only one who stayed up the whole time was Kakashi, which spoke of how worried they were, if the one who loved nodding off stayed up with her. Even the new Fairy Type got in on the action, though Evangeline didn’t have the heart to offer her a nickname even in gratitude for the way she offered cuddles. Thankfully, Antoine and Haruka took over, using a computer to pull up a list of names that they thought Evangeline and the Flabébé could both like, settling on Hikari for the new little one.

Hikari (Flabebe)

The Meditite was trickier, but she also eventually came around during the odd hours after midnight. She fetched water and food for whoever was on shift, and while she didn’t know Cho herself, she realized how much she met to the Pokemon who had been on the team longer, listening to the stories that they quietly told each other. When asked, she admitted to having a nickname once before, given to her by a Trainer who had let her go after catching a stronger Meditite. Rather than change it completely, Henri was the one who came up with enough changes to it that she felt comfortable with it.

Stephanie (Meditite)

The Inkay never left the box.

Nurse Joy was efficient in the morning with walking Evangeline through the burial process. Due to Cho’s excitement when her wings came in, they decided to scatter the remains to the winds. Being on a cliff-side town just made it easier. Even if it was hard for Evangeline to stay standing the entire time. There was a neat little form that let her get an engraved plate for Cho to put on display.

Xavier found her around noon, playing with the plate of food Joy had set in front of her despite protests. “Hey,” he said softly. “Sorry about your Vivilion.”

She nodded to receive his sympathy, but didn’t feel like saying anything else.

He sighed as he sat next to her. “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it really was an accident,” he said, keeping his tone gentle rather than trying to pick a fight. “Even the best of Trainers can have them.”

“It was going okay, and then…” Evangeline whispered.

“It went bad in a hurry,” he said with a sigh. “I’d hug you, but your Pokemon might hurt me. The Charmeleon in particular seems rather irritable.”

“Cranky teenager phase, can’t talk, doesn’t know how to express himself,” she muttered. “Felix means well.”

“They usually do.” Xavier sat opposite her and picked some of her food off of her plate with a spare fork. “I don’t know your grieving patterns, so what would you prefer? To be left alone for a few days? An escort home?”

She absently used her own fork to smack the back of his hand so he’d leave her lunch alone. Evangeline wasn’t completely sure about her grieving patterns, so how could she explain them to Xavier? Stalling for time, she took a few bites of the food, surprised to feel a little bit of energy returning. Maybe that was the trick. “A distraction?” she suggested.

He blinked, and leaned back in the chair. “Distraction, huh?” Xavier watched her eat a few bites, though whether because he was thinking or because he wanted to keep her from accidentally starving herself, she didn’t know. Tilting his head, he pulled out his map of the town and looked it over. “How about the fossil lab?” he suggested.

She craned her neck to try and look at the map. “They have one of those here?”

“Yeah, the mountains around here are full of fossils.” He let her look, pointing out where it was. South of town, obviously where she hadn’t gone already. “Let’s go check it out, see what they have going on.”

Evangeline nodded and turned to go figure out who to take with her on such a trip. She hesitated when she saw the Inkay still in the box. Maybe… Maybe she’d be able to deal with it when she got back. Due to the mountain climate, Evangeline pulled all her Water and Grass Types together, as well as Felix since he was feeling particularly clingy and you never knew when a Steel Type would show up. Henri and Kagura also insisted on coming along, rounding out the team.

They set out together, walking the streets. Evangeline had to tell herself that no one was staring. The lab was a grey building, oddly shaped but functional. They walked inside, where yellow tile floors tried to warm up clinical white walls, racks of fossil bones on display. Evangeline looked over them briefly weaving her way back to the main lab.

“Wait for me,” Xavier hissed when he fell behind.

“Then don’t get so distracted,” she hissed back, hoping her smile kept it teasing, despite how lackluster she still felt.

He sniffed and walked ahead of her, like that was really going to irk her. Rolling her eyes, she let him be the one who caught the attention of the two scientists. The woman seemed calm, but the man was excitable. “Welcome, future archaeologists!” he greeted. “You were drawn here by the mystique of fossils, no doubt!”

“Something like that. I’m Xavier, and this is Evangeline,” the male Trainer introduced them both. “We’re researching Mega Evolution. Do you know anything about it?”

“Oho! So you’re Professor Sycamore’s students,” he said, adjusting his glasses. Evangeline glanced at Xavier. Is that what they were? He shrugged back, just as confused. “I’ve heard about you. Mega Evolution, you say… I’m sorry, but all I know is that it has something to do with mysterious stones…”

It was a disappointing answer, but not unexpected. If the answers were readily available, the professor wouldn’t have them poking their noses into it all.

“Still, since you’re students of the professor, you must know about Pokemon fossils, correct?” the research asked eagerly.

“Yes,” Evangeline said with a nod. While she hadn’t ever visited the museums, she knew something about them. In fact, a lot of museums were having to argue to keep their fossils as just that rather than awakening them into Pokemon.

“Wonderful! I expect no less from Professor Sycamore’s students!” he said with a grin. “Fossils are the legacy of prehistoric Pokemon.” He gestured to the shelves behind him, which held some impressive skulls and bones but no complete skeletons. “You should really go to the dig site and see the real thing firsthand.”

Xavier nodded, trying to look polite. “Is that so? Well, if you don’t know anything about Mega Evolution…”

Evangeline rammed her elbow into his ribs, making him yelp and cutting him off before he said anything even more insulting.

The female scientist looked up from her paper work, glaring behind her own glasses. “Hold on! Pokemon that can be restored from fossils just might have something to do with Mega Evolution. The assistant in Glittering Cave right now might know about that!” She gave Evangeline a look, who just shrugged helplessly. She was Xavier’s friend, not his keeper, and she had no interest in being promoted, if you wanted to call it that. She also wasn’t going to throw him under the rug, not when he was being nice and distracting her like she asked.

“Well…” he said, tucking his hands into his pockets. “As long as I’m here, I guess I’ll go see that assistant.” He glanced at her. “Heading to Glittering Cave, Ladybird?”

Translation, was she up for the trip. Thinking about it, she nodded. Yeah, a trip to some caves shouldn’t be too bad.

Unlike her, Xavier hadn’t grabbed the right Pokemon for a mountain trek. He urged her to continue on by herself. She waved her hand to agree, and went ahead without him. Unfortunately, as soon as she stepped out of the main building, it started to rain. Swearing, she dug in her bag and pulled out her raincoat, slipping on the powder pink vinyl and tucking the hood over her hat just in case the wind picked up with it. Her boots were tall enough, she wasn’t too worried about her legs getting soaked.

The poor Rhyhorn waiting at the beginning of a rather hazardous trail, though, looked miserable. They shook some of the water running off their stone hides, grumbling under their breaths. A saddle was on each of their backs to make riding more comfortable, and there was a sign overhead indicating that the path ahead was only travel-able on Rhyhorn back.

“Excuse me,” she said, walking up to the nearest one. “Would you mind taking us on to the Glittering Cave? Or is the rain too big of a hassle?”

“Us?” he grunted.

“My team and me,” she clarified, pointing to the Pokeballs on her bag.

“Ah, a Trainer.” He stretched and shook himself as if waking up from a nap. She giggled and held up her hands to block the deluge of water being shed in her direction. “Don’t see too many of those, mostly the white coats. Sure, not a problem. We’re used to it.”

“Thank you,” she said, and eyed the saddle. She’d never ridden anything like this before, but the basics looked to be the same. Swinging up on to his back, she saw that there were hand holds up there instead of a singular horn or smooth front bump, so she’d have something to hang on to.

“If we run into anything wild, chase it off, yeah?” he said as he started on the path, the stones in his way having nothing to offer resistance to his weight.

She swallowed around a lump in her throat. “Yeah, okay,” she agreed quietly.

He grunted, and with a lunge, destroyed a boulder that had fallen in his way. She grimaced and held on to the straps tighter as his whole body shook in the process. This was going to be a lot of work, even if she wasn’t the one doing the walking.

The Rhyhorn wasn’t wrong about wild Pokemon. He stirred up a Sandile, making her cringe but Kakashi almost did all the fighting for her. The Frogadier actually hopped up to ride behind her as they rode when they stirred up another. With the third, she decided Fate was telling her something. With a sigh, she told Kakashi to hold up before he knocked the little brown lizard out. She’d stocked up on Great Balls, a stronger variant of a Pokeball, at the Center. It didn’t stand a chance. But rather than deal with it, she immediately sent the Sandile back to the computer. It could wait until she went back.

There was, of all things, a Pokemon Ranger waiting at the entrance to the cave. She quickly took charge of the Rhyhorn, offering him some food and shelter from the rain, and even offered to give some quick healing to Evangeline’s team before going into the cave. After what had just happened to Cho, she readily agreed.

The caves were dark, but dry. Evangeline took off her jacket, draping it over her bag so it could dry some while she walked. A dig in her bag produced her big flashlight, letting her watch the ground beneath her feet as well as above her so nothing would risk injury. She was expecting something like the roosting cave connection further north, but at least here towards the front, the caves were tight and twisting, with several dead ends.

And several wild Pokemon. Including a yellow and black Pokemon that curiously had two mouths–one on the normal face, a second disguised as a sort of ponytail. It was adorable, but fierce. She caught it with much more confidence than the Sandile. Her Pokedex identified it readily enough. “Mawile, the Deceiver Pokemon. Mawile’s huge jaws are actually steel horns that have been transformed. Its docile-looking face serves to lull its foe into letting down its guard. It can chew through iron beams.”

Shaking her head, Evangeline found herself actually excited to meet the new Pokemon addition to her team. The first Steel Type, and another Fairy to boot.

The narrow paths finally gave way to a much larger chamber. Looking around, she figured it had to be an abandoned mine of sort. That, or the fossil business required a lot more digging than she thought, and rather than dig directly into the mountain for it, they’d chose to expand on paths once they started hitting fossils. She wasn’t sure which was the truth.

She was distracted from further thought by seeing someone else among the reddish dirt and rock of the mountain side. Dressed in an orange suit with similarly dyed hair, he looked completely out of place. Especially with those orange sunglasses over his eyes! It was too dark for those, wasn’t it?

“What’s this?” he asked, walking towards her. “Well, well. What do we have here? A nosy little Trainer has come poking around.”

“Nosy?” she muttered, baffled. She hadn’t done anything!

He snorted and set his hand on his hip. “Listen up! We’re the fashionable team whose very name makes people tremble in fear: Team Flare!”

“Sounds like a Team Rocket spin-off,” she countered, taking a step back to brace herself.

“Ha! Those old has-beens? They overshot themselves.” He waved his free hand dismissively. “Who needs to rule the world? Team Flare’s goal is to make it so we’re the only ones who are happy! We don’t care one bit what happens to other Trainers or Pokemon.”

“That’s awful,” she told him, eyes narrowing. If anything, that made them worse than Team Rocket in her opinion.

“What do you know?” he dismissed her. “Get out of here, kid. Don’t you know not to play with fire?”

For her, there was no choice. “No, I’m afraid not,” Evangeline said, releasing her first Pokemon–Haruka the Budew.

He scoffed at her. “Getting my fancy suit dirty isn’t the stylish way to do things, but if you insist… I’ll obliterate you. Get her, Houndour!” he released his own Pokemon, a black and grey dog Pokemon that’s Fire typing was obvious.

The fight was quick and dirty. Evangeline traded Haruka out for Kakashi, at least to defeat the Houndour, but let him back out when it was defeated and replaced with a Zubat.

“What’s this?” the grunt said in protest, stepping backwards rapidly after his defeat. “You’re a pretty tough Pokemon Trainer, for a kid. But watch yourself! I’m not the only member of Team Flare around here!” He took off with a run down the nearest mine shaft.

Shaking her head, Evangeline frowned and looked to where the tracks led, trying to listen and see if she heard anything.

The only sound was her own Budew, asking quietly, “Evangeline? What are you going to do now?”

She took a deep breath. “I think we’re going to have to clear those Team Flare jerks out of this dig site, before they cause any real trouble.”

“As long as I don’t have to go up against another Fire Type,” he muttered, hopping up to be in her Trainer’s arms.

Evangeline carefully stroked the petals on top of Haruka’s head. “I’ll be more careful,” she promised. “Now come on, let’s see how bad it is…”


NaNo 17, Day 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 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 15: Parterre Way and Professor Sycamore

A quick stop at the Center, and Evangeline was heading north out of town. The bag case conveniently enough clipped to her bag so while it was on display, it wasn’t in the way or showing signs of opening by mistake. She didn’t make it too far though before she was stopped, this time by a woman who looked a good deal like the Gym Leader that she’d just faced, just with slightly darker hair and dressed in dark colors. “Oh, you… You are, aren’t you? You’re one of the kids who got a Pokémon from Augustine Sycamore, right?”

“Oh, yeah, that’s me,” Evangeline said, tilting her head. “Can I help you?”

But the stranger was easily distracted. “Would you look at that! You got the Bug Badge! Looks like I might have a new scoop.” She winked, and tapped her chin with one finger. “To beat Viola at your young age… You really are something, aren’t you?”

Flushing, Evangeline fidgeted with her bag strap. “Not really,” she mumbled. “I mean, I’d like to think I’m a good trainer, but I’m just starting out.”

“Still, you did fantastic for your first Gym battle. Oh! Sorry, I never did introduce myself, did I? I’m Alexa. The Gym Leader you just faced, Viola, is my younger sister.” That explained the resemblance. “I work as a journalist myself.” And that explained the nosiness.

“I’m Evangeline,” she introduced herself with a quick nod. “Thank you for your compliments.”

“It’s no problem. I work at the big publishing house up in Lumiose City. Feel free to stop by anytime if you have the next big scoop to share with me!” Alexa tilted her head. “Though I take it if I want to run an article to embarrass my sister a little, she’ll already have a bunch of photos for me? You look like the type she loves to take pictures of.”

Evangeline flushed even darker. “Yes.”

Laughing, Alexa patted her shoulder comfortingly. “She’ll at least ask before she displays them anywhere. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rub it in that she lost like the good big sister I am.” She waved and walked back into town in the direction of the gym.

Shaking her head, Evangeline took off towards Route 4, which according to signs was also called Parterre Way. The center piece was an impressive fountain featuring Horsea, and several gardens and hedge mazes. And trainers training among them! She also ran into a Budew among the flowers. Hiromi almost scorched it to death, but it still bravely railed against them. Holding the lion cub back, Evangeline threw a Pokeball and caught the brave little fellow.

“Budew, the Bud Pokemon,” her Pokedex piped up. “When it feels the sun’s warm touch, it opens its bud to release pollen. It lives alongside clear pools.”

“Huh,” she mused, looking down at Hiromi. “It must have been attracted by the fountain.”

She went ahead and let her new catch out to meet him. Naive and laid back, he and Kakashi were pretty quickly friends. Evangeline made a note not to let them double team her into taking a lot of breaks, they’d never get anything done with those two in charge of the team. He took the nickname Haruka, which she thought suited his rather feminine Pokemon type and gender both.

Haruka (Budew)

Another surprise came after one of the battles, against a gardener named Fabian. Cho once again glowed, and Evangeline didn’t cover her eyes again, knowing what was happening this time. She guessed the trainers at Santalune City Gym weren’t kidding about how quickly Bug Types could evolve!

With a flash of wings, Cho broke the light aura to show off her new form: Vivilion, the same pattern to her wings as Viola’s. “Vivilion, the Scale Pokemon,” her Pokedex declared. “Vivillon with many different patterns are found all over the world. These patterns are affected by the climate of their habitat.”

Cho (Vivilion)

“Huh,” she said out loud, and smiled at Cho. “Well, I’m proud of you, Cho.”

“Thank you,” the newly hatched butterfly Pokemon preened, admiring her own new wings. “Wow, they are so pretty! And look, they match you!”

“They do,” Evangeline agreed, looking over them. They seemed well formed, which is all she worried about. Beauty was a bonus. “I wonder if that pattern is just for this area of Kalos, or if it has a wider change.”

“We’ll meet wild ones, I’m sure,” she said dismissively, with one last spin. “Okay, let’s keep going!”

Laughing, Evangeline agreed and they took off back down the path again. Evangeline slowed down, though, when she saw two people waiting at the end of the path, both in white suit-type uniforms. The blonde boy wore a blue tie, the dark girl a red one. She slowed down on her skates, unsure of what was happening.

The boy noticed her first. “Hello there!” he greeted warmly. “Have you ever heard of a Pokemon called Flabébé?”

Evangeline shook her head. “No, I didn’t run into one on this route,” she said.

“So, you haven’t seen one yet…” he said with a sigh, but didn’t lose his smile. “Well, that’s something you can look forward to!”

The girl butted in, perhaps sensing Evangelin’s confusion. “Flabébé is–now brace yourself–a Fairy Type Pokemon!”

Evangeline tilted her head. Was there something in her ears? She swore this girl just said a type of Pokemon that didn’t exist.

“It’s true! Fairy Type is a new Pokemon type that was just classified recently,” the boy insisted.

“This turned the entire type-match-up on it’s head!” the girl said, sounding excited.

Evangeline shook her head, but gathered herself quickly. She hadn’t heard about this on the boat ride over, but it was exciting. “Do you know how it’s affecting things?” she asked.

They shook their heads. “We’ve been battling Fairy Types against other types of Pokemon at Professor Sycamore’s request, but we’re still figuring out the specifics. Oh! I’m Sina, by the way. A beautiful name for a beautiful lady.” She tossed the edges of her bob, making Evangeline grin. It reminded her of Cho and her new wings.

“I’m Dexio,” the boy said with a more shy smile. “Two years ago, Professor Sycamore entrusted me with a Pokedex. You could call me a Pokemon-voyage veteran.”

Evangeline laughed, and couldn’t help herself. She gave him a formal bow like she would one of the trainers back home. “Hai, senpai,” she said teasingly.

Despite the language barrier, that bit of Japanese had apparently traveled to this region too. Dexio flushed, and Sina twittered, obviously trying not to laugh too hard at her friend. She got herself under control again soon enough. “If you’d like, we’ll show you the way to the lab,” she offered, and Evangeline quietly nodded. “Okay, come along now,” she said cheerily.

Evangeline hurried to take her blades off as she followed after them, strapping them to her bag for now. As they walked, Dexio asked politely, “So how are you and your Froakie getting along?”

“I think Kakashi and I are doing alright together,” she said, rubbing her elbow. He hadn’t voiced any complaints to her, or to the others that she had overheard. Nurse Joy hadn’t said anything at the Center either…

Dexio just hummed. “Well, the more you walk around with your Pokemon, the stronger your friendship will become.”

“Quit being a grump,” Sina scolded. “Right through this gate and you’ll be in Lumiose City!”

Evangeline managed to smile at her enthusiasm, uncertain why they were building this place up so much. A Pokemon lab wasn’t going to make the town that much bigger, was it?

She sucked in her breath as she walked through the doors. Tall buildings, crowded streets with trees scattered down the median… This was an actual city, not just a town with attitude. Evangeline was suddenly very glad for guides, or else she would have gotten lost.

Sina grinned at her elbow. “I’ll go ahead and wait in front of the lab for you,” she said, before taking off at a jog down the street. Evangeline managed a dumb nod belatedly, and Dexio got his chuckle at her. Flushing, she quickly walked ahead to follow Sina.

Thankfully, she hadn’t gone too far out of sight, and there were Pokeball-shaped signs that set the building apart from the neighboring ones easily. Sina still managed to gesture to it as if it weren’t obvious. “This building is the Sycamore Pokemon Lab,” she confirmed. “Let’s go inside!”

“Right,” Evangeline said, reflexively reaching up as if to smooth her hair down. It was finally time to meet this region’s professor. She hoped he was nice…

In the pristine lobby, Sina told her the professor was in his office on the third floor, with the elevator being the fastest way up. Evangeline waved good-bye and walked into the elegant, almost retro elevator with the way it was free-standing. The third floor came up way too fast. The white marble floors continued, along with the sapphire blue walls, the cool color scheme broken up by the red rugs.

The professor himself was waiting. A tall, thin man, his hair was dark and wavy, his clothes stylish but professional. He was younger than what she expected for a professor, and seemed much more charismatic than the crusty professor type like Professor Oak back in Kanto. “So, we finally meet!” he said with a smile. “Fantastic. Come this way, won’t you?” he asked, gesturing for her to follow him.

“Um, of course,” she said, flushing and hurrying after him. She was still baffled about how he knew who she was, so much so that he was able to recognize her on sight!

“Many thanks for coming all this way,” he told her as they reached what was obviously his desk rather than just his research room, private and away from any assistants. “As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m Professor Sycamore. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Evangeline.”

“The same for me,” she managed to stutter out, flustered at being the center of such sincere, enthusiastic attention.

“How is your Pokemon journey going so far? Have you met many different Pokemon?” he asked, moving to sit on the edge of his desk.

She fidgeted awkwardly with a curl of her violet hair that decided now was an excellent time to fall over her shoulder. “Oh, I suppose,” she murmured. “About as many as you’d expect to see, between here and Vaniville…”

“Oh? Let me have a quick look at your Pokedex and see,” he said, holding out his hand.

She fumbled removing it from her bag, and handed it to him with a flush.

He flipped it open and appraised what she had seen. With a hum, he handed it back with a grin. “It’s starting to look good,” he assured her, making her blush darken. He appraised her from head to toe. “Well now,” the professor noted. “You do have a certain je ne sais quoi. I have a good feeling about you!”

Rather than being complimented, she narrowed her eyes at him. That sounded like he knew more than he was letting on.

He didn’t seem daunted by her expression. “At first, I was thinking of choosing only one child from that town when I was deciding on who to give a Pokemon to. It was going to be the child of pair of Veteran trainers that I know who live there.” She huffed, knowing he meant Xavier. Sycamore smiled a little at her response. “But then, I heard that new people were moving in, and did a little investigating…”

She cringed. Oh no… “How much do you know?” she whispered.

“For such traditional parents, you dress very modern,” he said simply, which was enough. She groaned, covering her face with her hands. “You have to admit, it was too tempting. Here you are in the Kalos region, far from everything you know. Away from your parents, both Gym Leaders who inherited their positions from their parents and grandparents and further back, in a lineage most people would kill for, but you refused the prestige or the help.” He tapped his chest over his heart. “That really hit me right here.”

“And completely ruined the point of why I came here,” she pointed out.

“I’m not about to announce to the world that the daughter of Violet City’s Falkner and Fuchsia City’s Janine is traveling through the region,” he said with a scoff of his own, then giving her a wink. “Instead, I decided to give you a Pokemon so you could go on the journey you so obviously wanted. Was I wrong?”

She sighed, dropping her hands. “No,” she agreed reluctantly. Evangeline still would have been happier if he hadn’t known. But she was cut off from saying anything else by the sound of the elevator whirling, the doors opening just loud enough for her to hear in the quiet.

“Hi Professor, it’s Shauna!” a familiar voice called, and two familiar people came walking in. Shauna, as expected by that greeting, but also Xavier.

“Sorry to have kept you waiting,” he said with a smile, then did a double take at seeing Evangeline already there. She gave a sheepish little wave.

“Fantastic!” the professor said, clapping his hands. “Now let’s all have a Pokemon battle. Shauna, you versus Xavier. And Evangeline, your opponent shall be me.”

“What?” she yelped, startled, but Xavier and Shauna gave an enthusiastic cheer, moving to use the sitting room/library part of his office. With a gulp, she stepped back from the professor’s desk, reaching for her first Pokeball as he reached behind him for one of three that were on his desk.


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 6: Route 2 and Enter Ella!

Backtracking across Route 1 and the south end of Aquacorde Town, Evangeline didn’t linger. Down the steps, she found that while the town didn’t have a Pokemon center, it did have a strong shipment of Potions. So much so they gave away a free sample on the streets!  She stocked up while she was here, and also found a woman who offered to heal any of her Pokemon. Evangeline made a note of where she was, in case the road ahead ended up being more dangerous than expected. Another store held some basic Pokeballs, and she grabbed five of those too, hoping that would be enough to get her through to the next town with more selection.

Across the bridge, brown coble stones and brick gave way to grass again. Route 2 was noted as the Avance Trail. She waded through some of the taller grass, only to freeze at a rustle. Evangeline reached for Kakashi’s ball, waiting to see if she was right as she walked carefully.

A burbling cry came from the patch of grass, and a brown-striped Pokemon zipped out. Her Pokedex chimed, registering the new Pokemon. “Zigzagoon,” a female, robotic voice said from the speaker. “The Tiny Raccoon Pokemon. It walks in zigzag fashion. It’s good at finding items in the grass and even in the ground.”

“Alright, Kakashi, let’s go,” Evangeline said encouragingly, throwing her Froakie’s Pokeball.

It snapped open, allowing Kakashi to emerge out of light. He hopped a couple of times, eager to go. “Just tell me what to do!” he agreed.

The following battle was quick and dirty. The raccoon-type had speed on Kakashi, but Evangeline encouraged him to be patient and be steady in his attacks. In the end, they whittled the Zigzagoon’s health down, and she pulled out a new Pokeball, throwing it towards their opponent. It snapped open, red light gathering the Zigzagoon in to trap it inside. The ball wiggled from side to side, the wild Pokemon fighting its new home.

Kakashi waited, tense. Evangeline kept her eyes on the ball, moving her bangs out of her eyes with her hand. It wiggled once… twice… three times… And then the red button in the middle turned to white, and the wiggling stopped.

Squealing in delight, Evangeline did a fist-pump and then darted over to sweep up the new ball. Kakashi hopped behind her, cheering. Her first time capturing a wild Pokemon, and with her new partner! She gave Kakashi a hug. “Good job,” she told him. “Now, how about we meet our new buddy?” He nodded, and she pushed the button to let the Pokemon back out.

The Zigzagoon shook itself, resettling its fur. “Wow, you’re good,” it muttered, the high pitch of her tone leading Evangeline quickly to the conclusion that it was a female. “So now what?”

“Well, now you’re a part of the team, if you want,” Evangeline said, holding her hand out. “Otherwise, I’ll let you go so you can go be with your friends here.”

Tilting her head, the Pokemon took her seriously, and then butted her head into the palm of the new Trainer’s head. “I’ll come along,” she agreed.

“Good, I’m glad,” Evangeline said, patting her head and smoothing down the fur. With a giggle, the tiny raccoon rolled over and wiggled, tickled but enjoying the attention. “Hmm, how about Ella for a name?”

“I like it,” she said, hopping up. “Now, let’s get going!”

Laughing, Evangeline stood up. “Alright, alright. Onward we go!” she said, holding out the Pokeballs for both Pokemon. Her hands shook a little as she clipped them back into place on her bag. She could hardly believe it was going so well already!

Ella (Zigzagoon)

She didn’t run into any other Pokemon in the tall grass, and breathed out softly as she returned to the road. Her walk, though, was interrupted by a familiar head of pigtails. “Shauna?” she said, wondering how she had caught up with the other trainer.

Whipping around, the girl waved. “Oh hi Ladybird! Come learn how to catch Pokemon with me!”

“Huh?” Evangeline managed to get out, but it was too late. Shauna reached out and snagged her wrist, pulling her along to the next patch of tall grass. Xavier was already waist-high in it, looking around carefully.

Shauna bounced next to Evangline, finally letting go of her wrist. If only because she raised her now free hand as if to hide the fact she was talking. “Xavier’s mom and dad are amazing Trainers. That’s why he knows so much about catching Pokemon and battling,” she said in a very loud whisper.

Loud enough that Xavier heard them. He looked up and shook his head with a rueful smile. “Well… Mom and Dad may be good, but that has nothing to do with me,” he said. But Evangeline heard the pride in his voice, the confidence. She wrinkled her nose at him. He looked towards the right, hearing or seeing something they didn’t. “Okay, now watch carefully you two,” he ordered.

“But…” Evangeline tried to protest, and finally just blew her hair out of her eye for a moment in exasperation when she realized they weren’t listening to her at all.

A Bunnelby hopped up to Xavier, who immediately released… a Fletchling? Huh, looks like Xavier had already been busy. Evangeline rested her chin on the palm of her hand, elbow balanced on her other wrist, as she tried to remain patient and polite during a tutorial she didn’t need. It was nice of them, she guessed, to assume that she needed the help. Maybe because it was obvious Shauna did need the extra instruction that the felt Evangeline did…

“Wow, the Pokemon went inside the Pokeball?!” the pigtailed girl shouted once Xavier had finished his demonstration.

Evangeline adjusted her hand so it hid her face so her expression wouldn’t hurt Shauna’s feelings.

“Shauna…” Xavier sighed, sounding exactly like what Evangline felt. “What do you think your Chespin is inside of right now?” He waded back out of the grass, ruffling the top of her hair as she pouted. “Here, I’ll share some Pokeballs with the two of you.”

“Pokeballs!” Shauna squealed, instantly perked up.

Evangeline was shocked to have a full box of ten pushed into her hands too. “You don’t have to do this,” she told him quietly.

“Consider it a house warming gift,” he said back quietly. She gave him a shy smile back, warming to him a little. And then he ruined it. “Besides, you’re new around here. Isn’t it the job of the more experienced trainer to help out?”

She bit the inside of her lip to stop herself from snapping at him.

Thankfully, Shauna’s innocence to the rescue. “Do you think I can catch Pokemon with them too?” she asked, holding the collection of unused devices like they were sacred.

“Sure. You can catch the Pokemon around here just be throwing a Pokeball near them,” Xavier said with a lazy wave of his hand.

Evangeline shook her head, disagreeing. They were just starting out, but the wild Pokemon were no slouches. Unless it was a very weak Pokemon, she doubted any of them would stay in a Pokeball without anything on their parts being done. He’d even said so during his little tutorial, hadn’t he? She was pretty sure… But then again, Shauna was the one who ran straight into a battle as soon as she got her starter Pokemon, so maybe she’d figure it out for herself.

“Okay. If I find a cute Pokemon, I’ll throw lots of Pokeballs at it, and then we’ll become friends!” Shauna said with a determined nod.

Evangeline rolled her eyes upward for a moment, and let Xavier handle her. “When you catch a wild Pokemon, it makes your Pokemon stronger, too,” was what he left it at. “Good luck!” He waved his hand and went on ahead. Shauna waved at Evangeline too and took off after him.

“It’s not like we’re going to part ways,” Evangeline muttered. The road was pretty straightforward. She decided it wasn’t worth running after them, and it let her have some peace and quiet. There was more tall grass to wade through, stirring up an aggressive Pidgey who took off after Kakashi sprayed Bubbles at it.

A sign outside of a tight grouping of trees with only one road into it warned her that she was about to enter Santalune Forest. She checked the map and saw that it was the only way through, and the paths tended to twist around. Warned, she started towards the entrance.

Another trainer was lingering outside, and flashed his ID at her as soon as they locked eyes. “When two trainers’ eyes meet, a Pokemon battle must begin!” he said with authority. “My name is Austin, and my Pokemon and I are going to defeat you.”

Evangeline took a step back, “Alright,” she agreed to the battle, letting Kakashi out of his Pokeball. He released a Zigzagoon, one that seemed slightly stronger and faster than Ella. It still didn’t stand a chance, not with Evangeline’s strategy of consistency and patience.

“You should’ve told me you were that strong!” Austin protested, reluctantly forking over the reward for his defeat.

“You didn’t exactly give me a chance,” Evangeline pointed out as she pocketed the change. She scooped up Kakashi to carry him away from the battle sight with a wave good-bye to Austin.

He looked up at her. “People really don’t give you a chance to say much,” he pointed out.

She shrugged back at him. “I get used to it. Hey, how about we let Ella handle any of the wild Pokemon we run into in here, give you a break and give her a chance to train up?”

“I could use a breather,” he agreed. “Besides, if anything in there is a Grass type…”

“You’re sunk,” she said knowingly. “So Ella is in charge in the forest this time. Do you want to chill in your Pokeball or out here?”

“Inside, please,” he said, and she put him away so he could rest like he wanted. Then she adjusted her bag’s strap. Her strongest Pokemon was officially a bad choice at least until she cleared the trees. Ella and her were going to have a crash course in bonding. All Evangeline could hope was that the Bugs didn’t swarm her. She might run back to Aquacorde Town screaming.

(As a note: I missed Days 4 and 5 on purpose. I had an all-nighter event this weekend, and I knew I was going to be too busy/exhausted to do much. Even today, I only wanted to get through Route 2.)


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.