Welcome to another chapter of Holly Rising! There is a prompt here, but it will be detailed after the chapter to avoid spoilers.

As always, see the author's notes for details, and I do not own Pokémon. All prompts are the property of Wizardmonfan, and are being summarized here with permission.


49. Freedom

Holly did not have to speak to feel the tension in the air. Molly still cast her severe gaze over all of them, and Kris still had her reddened, tearstained, face. Anabel's expression was unreadable, but Holly had no doubt it was nothing good.

Holly clenched her fist.

She wanted so badly to punch someone! It was all Molly and Anabel's fault that things were like this!

But before she could do anything, Molly broke the silence.

"What do you want to do now?"

Holly grimaced.

She only wanted to get rid of Molly and Anabel right now!

But Anabel had shut her eyes as she was speaking.

"I wanted to go to Route 11 in the west for training, but I think it may be better to go to the south for a while. The area to the south of Lavender has several fishing spots, and I feel a little relaxation would do us good. We can't get anything done now, not with the way we are."

Holly clenched her fist even more.

How dare Anabel suggest relaxation, when she was the one that started everything that made the situation tense!

Holly glanced toward Kris and noticed the disabled Trainer was at attention.

Holly blinked.

Why would she listen to Anabel and Molly after all that happened?

But Anabel was speaking again.

"My Kris… She loved fishing… Do you like it too?"

Kris nodded slowly.

"Would you like go on a trip, to relax?"

Another nod.

Holly felt her fists loosen.

She didn't want to go anywhere with Anabel, but at least she could support Kris.

And fishing was an outdoor activity! That would be surely something Holly liked, too. Even though she'd never really tried…

Molly nodded.

"The fishing spots may as well be training. There's powerful Pokémon that Holly can use to get stronger. Maybe Kris can catch some as well."

Holly felt her eyes widen as she remembered Kris's goal.

The disabled Trainer had wanted her to get stronger! Of course she wouldn't object!

Holly nodded and glanced toward her, but now Kris's eyes were unreadable.

Holly cocked her head.

Even after all this time, she still couldn't tell what Kris was thinking.

But she could tell that Molly was speaking again.

As for me, I'm going to check on Azure and Spencer at the Pokémon Center. I'll meet you at the fishing spots afterward."

Despite the situation, Molly smiled.

"After all, water's one of my favorite things too."

Annabel nodded.

"It's settled, then."

She turned to leave, and Holly followed. Yet as they walked out of the building, Holly heard Kris whisper.

"That black dragon… He lied to me… And the white dragon… She was fading…"

The disabled Trainer clenched her fist.

"Why… I don't understand…"

Holly cocked her head.

What was Kris talking about?

She shook her head.

Perhaps she would ask her later.

For now, there was fishing to be done.

And fishing, Holly discovered, was rather passive.

She had hoped she would be able to run around, but instead, Anabel made them stop at a dock with calm, flowing, water.

The woman quickly handed her a rod with some bait and a lure attached.

"Here. You just throw the rod back and cast the line into the water."

Holly glanced down at the rod, noticing a button on the underside. She figured that was how the rod cast.

"And then what do I do?" She couldn't help asking.

Annabel responded. "Then you wait. When the lure goes under, you use the reel to bring your catch in."

Holly hoped Anabel wouldn't notice the way her face fell, or the giant sigh she let out.

That sounded so boring! How could Kris like that?

Holly turned toward the disabled Trainer, quietly sitting in a chair that she had brought with her.

Kris looked like she was about to say something, but Holly wasn't sure what.

Could it be advice on fishing (even though Holly wasn't entirely sure what advice there could be)?

Telling her to just enjoy it?

Before Kris could speak her mind, Holly heard the sound of giant footsteps.

In a flash, Spencer appeared, Molly riding on her Entei's back. She dismounted rapidly, walking over to the others.

"Looks like I made it just in time. This should be fun!"

Annabel nodded, smiling despite everything.

"How's Azure?"

Molly replied. "He's fine, despite being a little shaken. I saw him off, and he sends his thanks to all of you."

Holly could not help giving Molly a hard stare, but luckily the psychic didn't notice.

How much was Molly leaving out?

Did the Viridian Gym Leader know that Kris had an untamed power?

That she was one misstep away from being thrown in jail, or worse?

Holly frowned. She hoped he didn't know anything.

Kris had more than enough to deal with!

But luckily no one saw Holly's discontent as Molly spoke again.

"Ready to go fishing?"

Holly nodded.

She was ready to get going to the next place!

But before she could even throw in her line, Kris stated. "Wait."

Holly's eyes were wide.

What now?

The disabled trainer took a deep breath, speaking slowly. "Could you please remove Holly's tether?"

Anabel looked shocked, as though she had forgotten something important. Confusion flashed in Molly's eyes, but the psychic didn't ask any questions. Holly figured with her status, she must've known what was going on.

Anabel spoke quickly.

"Oh, of course I should remove the tether while Holly goes fishing. It will make things easier."

Kris's eyes darkened. "No, I meant permanently."

Anabel's eyes went wide, and Molly had a look of skepticism on her face.

Holly couldn't resist her own eyes going wide.

Did Kris understand what she was saying?

Anabel snarled. "Who are you to say that? The punishment is mine to decide!"

Kris shook her head. "Not anymore. You put me in charge of all the decisions of the journey. And my decision is that Holly earns her freedom back."

Anabel's eyes continued to go wide.

"What?"

Meanwhile, Molly clenched her fist.

Holly wondered what the psychic was thinking, but Molly gave no indication.

Kris continued.

"Besides, I believe Holly has earned her freedom back, according to the criteria you set. You wanted her to feel others' pain, and care for them. She has proven to understand my pain, and has defended me several times. It's proof that she cares for others now. And that's not the only thing. She's cared about several Pokémon, even though they were not her own. Finally, you wanted her not to run away, and she hasn't, despite many opportunities. So it's reason enough to release her from the punishment, and give her Pokémon back."

Holly blinked, all the memories flooding back to her.

There was all the times she'd stood up for Kris when the disabled Trainer could not… And that was despite them hating each other in the beginning…

And then there was the time that she cared about the dead Poochyena… And Kris's own dead Pokémon… And then there was the multitude of times she'd praised her Pokémon and appreciated their victories…

Even Nidoqueen, the one that got her into the punishment begin with…

And Kris was right about her not running away. Admittedly, it was mostly because Holly was afraid of what Anabel would do, but at least it kept her in line…

Holly looked at Anabel, a silent plea written in her eyes.

Surely the woman would listen to reason.

But Anabel shook her head.

"No, Holly has not learned nearly enough. You've see how she can rebel."

Kris's gaze pierced Anabel, and she responded in a cold voice.

"Then what will be enough, Anabel? You have to know when how to set limits. Besides, do you really want her mother to see her like this?"

Holly felt her blood run cold, and Anabel stepped back. Molly gritted her teeth, but did not say anything.

Kris seized the advantage, speaking again in her cold voice.

"That's right. You know where we are going next. And you know who will be there. How would she react? Nothing good, I imagine."

Anabel yelled. "What Erika feels doesn't matter!"

Kris kept her voice even as she stated. "Oh, does it now? I think the feelings of other people matter plenty. Otherwise you two wouldn't have reacted to Mr. Fuji back there."

Anabel stepped back even further, face going pale, and Molly's eyes blazed with rage.

Before either could say anything, Kris continued.

"He was willing to give Holly a chance. He believed she could change. That she had changed. Why can't you?"

Annabel simply sputtered out. "He doesn't know…"

Kris quickly cut her off. "He doesn't know Holly. That much is true. But he was willing to give her a chance anyway. And you know her. So there's no reason you shouldn't. Besides, Anabel, you want Holly to change, but there's no way she can if you don't give her a chance to. And she can't have that chance if she's chained up to you all the time. What better way to prove herself then to finally behave properly when she doesn't have people watching her constantly?"

Anabel gritted her teeth, eyes closed. Molly's eyes still blazed furiously. The psychic still looked like she wanted to say something, but her lips never moved.

Would Anabel finally listen?

And what did Molly want to say? Why didn't she speak?

But Holly could pay no attention as Anabel slowly opened her eyes, nodding.

"Very well."

In her hand she held a Poké Ball, tossing it to Holly.

Holly's eyes widened.

She had no doubt what Pokémon this was.

In another second, Holly could feel psychic energy surrounding her. Her tether melted away, never to come back.

Holly flashed a giant grin, pumping her fist in the air.

At last, she was free!

The journey was finally hers again!

Her Pokémon were by her side, and she could make whatever choices she wanted!

At last, she could enjoy the trip!

Anabel simply stated. "Don't let me down, Holly."

Holly nodded, smile still shining on her face.

She was still aware of Molly's burning glare, but paid it no mind.

Especially since Kris was smiling with her.

Right now, things could not be better.

The rest of the day passed by slowly. It seemed to take forever to Holly. For what seemed like hours, she focused on her lure, but nothing happened.

Holly sighed in annoyance and stole a glance at Kris.

The disabled Trainer sat contentedly, watching her own lure with an intense focus.

Holly sighed again.

How could Kris like this? There was nothing to do!

Suddenly, Kris pointed.

Holly's eyes darted to her own lure, and she saw it dip beneath the water.

Almost immediately, she felt something yanking on the rod.

Holly's eyes began to go wide as adrenaline surged through her.

What could this be? A fish? A powerful Pokémon? She had to find out!

Holly put her hand on her reel, newfound energy coursing through her body.

And that was when the yanking only grew stronger.

Before Holly could say anything, she found herself flying off the dock and through the air. She let out a screech as her body was drenched in cold water, fishing rod still in her right hand.

Holly let out a gasp as she spat out water, trying her hardest to keep her head from going under. Holly could feel her entire body shaking as she was drenched in the freezing water. No matter how hard she tried to dodge, the waves just kept coming.

She wanted to scream again, but was afraid water would enter her mouth and drown her. Holly could feel her clothes plastered to her body as she traversed the water at a speed she never thought possible. The roar of water filled her ears, blocking out almost every other sound.

Holly thought she could hear the others shouting something, but it sounded very far away.

So instead she clutched the rod in her right hand, focusing on the creature that dragged her through the water at lightning speed.

It was a Pokémon. That much she knew. The creature was green and looked a little like a frog, but Holly couldn't see much else. Whatever it was, it was strong and quick, and she was no match.

But she had to continue.

She might just land a strong Pokémon, and Anabel might be angry if she dropped the fishing rod!

Suddenly, the Pokémon jumped up, and Holly let out a cry as she jumped with it. She saw something else get dropped into the water, and registered that it was heading towards her. Holly flailed her left hand, feeling herself catching something hard.

Yet she saw the creature began to disappear below the water, and she felt the tug of the rod as it dipped down with the failed catch.

Holly gulped.

She knew she would be next.

Holly had just one thought on her mind.

Would she drown here?

Holly held her breath as she prepared to go underwater with the creature.

Only to feel another's scales.

Before she could register what was happening, Holly felt the rod get yanked out of her hands. Holly's now free hand slammed against the other creature's back, wincing as she hit the hard scales. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the green creature swimming away, captive fishing rod flying behind it.

And then, a voice crashed through her head.

"Reese, return to land!"

The other creature let out a deep rumbling cry as it took off with Holly on its back.

It swam leisurely through the water, and Holly let her surroundings come into focus. She looked at the creature that she now realized was a Pokémon. Its scales were blue, and its fins waved gently in the water. The Pokémon had long mouth that almost looked like a beak, and Holly could see something sticking straight up in the air. She thought it was antennae, but certainly knew this wasn't a bug. Red eyes met hers from the side, but they held no malice.

Even from the back, Holly knew the name of this Pokémon.

Kingdra.

A rare Pokémon to be sure, and one of the most powerful water Pokémon in existence.

Holly blinked. She wondered who would have this Pokémon.

But before she could wonder any further, her attention was drawn away from the Kingdra. Holly was then alerted to something pointy stabbing her palm, and slowly opened up her fist.

She could see a golden rock the shape of a crown in her hand.

She hadn't gotten a Pokémon, but she had gotten something…

Holly's eyes went wide, but she couldn't fully notice what her catch was.

Because then the land came into view, and Holly could see the others. The Kingdra was heading towards Molly, so Holly assumed this was her Pokémon. Both the psychic and Anabel wore concerned looks on their faces as they stood at the front of the dock. Kris sat behind them, concern also showing on her face.

As Kingdra neared the dock, Molly and Anabel grabbed Holly and pulled her onto land. Holly was aware of psychic energy, as a blanket flew through the air and was wrapped around her. She glanced at Kris, seeing her Delphox, and figured it was the one that had moved the blanket.

Molly quickly gave the Kingdra another command.

"Reese, go check on the Politoed Holly tried to catch and see if it's all right. And do try to get the fishing rod back."

The Kingdra nodded and swam off, continuing its gentle sway in the water.

Holly watched it go, but then turned to Anabel.

Anabel's eyes were the size of dinner plates as she stared at Holly.

"Holly, you could have drowned. Why did you hang on to the rod?"

Despite everything, Holly couldn't help smiling.

"Because I got something!"

She held the strange rock in her hand, and noticed Kris's eyes glimmer with recognition.

"Ah, a King's Rock. Rare and useful, used to evolve Pokémon and sometimes prevent opponents from attacking in battle. Not a Pokémon, but a good catch nonetheless."

Holly continued smiling. Perhaps there was something worthwhile in fishing after all.

She didn't have much time to ponder it, as Anabel quickly cut their trip short. She got Holly some warm clothes, and tucked her into an even warmer bed. Holly tried to say she didn't need to sleep, but Anabel insisted she stay in the bed.

So Holly lay, wondering what to do, when Molly walked in. In her hands, the psychic held a drenched fishing rod, and Holly thought she could see a bit of blood on the lure.

"You certainly did not make it easy, but I got the rod back."

"Thank you." Holly quietly responded. She wondered how Molly had gotten the rod back, but quickly decided she didn't want to know.

Holly heard Anabel's reply. "I'm glad you got it back, because that rod was expensive."

Holly suddenly heard Kris come up behind them, and wondered how the disabled Trainer could be so silent.

"I'm just glad Holly's okay."

Holly thought she could see a flash of regret in her eyes, and wondered if it was because she had been the one to agree to fishing.

But she quickly turned to Molly as the psychic spoke. "After Holly recovers, I'm leaving. For now, my business with Kris is over, and I have other things to attend to."

Anabel nodded. "Safe travels. And thank you for the help."

Holly cocked her head, wondering why Anabel didn't ask Molly to stay, but figured no one wanted her around.

Anabel had a bit of a stern look in her eyes as she stated. "Speaking of Holly, we should leave her to rest."

Holly shook her head, eyes wide.

"What? But I'm not tired!"

The look on Anabel's face didn't change. "You've been through a lot, so you will be."

She gestured to the others, and Molly started leaving. Kris looked like she wanted to say something, but quickly followed.

Anabel simply whispered. "Sweet dreams."

With that, the room was drenched in darkness as the woman shut off the lights. Holly heard the sound of a door closing and buried her face in the pillow.

If the others wanted her to sleep, at least she could pretend to.

But a few minutes later, she was aware of psychic energy.

Her eyes went wide. There was no one in the room! Could it be one of the restless ghosts from before?

Yet Holly relaxed when heard Kris's familiar voice.

"No need to panic. It's just me."

Holly's eyes went wide again. Of course she had forgotten the telepathic connection! Kris hadn't used it in a while.

"But if you do this, won't you get caught?"

Kris evenly replied. "Only if I'm the one doing something. And I'm not. Besides, it's not like I'm hurting anyone with this." Holly winced at the way Kris said the words, and wondered if she was thinking about what happened at the Tower.

She resisted the urge to clench her fists.

This truly wasn't fair! Treating Kris like a criminal over a bunch of things she truly had no control over!

But if Kris could free her, then maybe she could free Kris…

Now Holly had another question in the back of her mind.

"How did you know I wasn't asleep?"

Kris dryly responded. "I know when someone's pretending to sleep. Trust me. I'm notorious for doing that."

She let out a laugh, and Holly wondered what type of conversations the disabled Trainer had eavesdropped on.

But she didn't get a chance to ask, as Kris continued speaking.

"Look, I just wanted to say I'm sorry. The fishing… It was my idea… And the Tower… I don't know what came over me, but it clearly wasn't good…"

Holly shook her head. "You didn't want to go to the Tower anyway. Anabel should never have forced you. She knew you had dead Pokémon there… You never meant to hurt us anyway… And the fishing… That was just an accident... And it turned out well in the end. I got a nice item out of it."

The disabled Trainer didn't respond, and Holly could only imagine the guilt flowing from her.

So she decided to quash the guilt.

"Well, I just want to say thanks. For getting rid of the tether, and standing up to Anabel."

Kris evenly responded.

"It was the right thing to do. The punishment had gone on long enough, and it wasn't something even wanted to start in the first place."

Holly's next words came out slowly, but she felt her confidence growing as she continued to say them.

"I know you can't control the journey anymore but… could you still guide me, though? You've been so helpful, and I've learned a lot."

Surprise was evident in the older Trainer's voice, but she immediately responded.

"Of course."

All of a sudden, Holly could detect a small cry of pain, and her eyes widened.

It had most certainly been coming from Kris, but what was wrong?

"Is everything all right?"

Kris rapidly responded, but Holly could still hear the pain in her voice.

"I'm fine. It's just… This reminds me of one of the ghosts in Lavender… When we were there, he was missing…"

Holly's eyes widened again.

"But then, where is he?"

Kris's voice took on a dark tone. "I don't know, but this can't mean anything good."

Kris was silent for a while, before she replied.

"I'd better go, so I don't actually get caught. And you probably do need to sleep some."

Holly reluctantly nodded.

"See you later, and thanks again."

The disabled Trainer's voice faded from Holly's head, and with it, the psychic power.

Holly clenched her fist. She still needed someone to talk to!

She rummaged around until she saw a light flashing. She nodded approvingly, picking the source of the light up.

It was something that looked like a cell phone, but it also had a wristband.

Holly never used the wristband, because she found communication with it awkward. But she still kept the device with her.

It was something issued to all Trainers who got their Trainer Cards, and it had been given to her as soon as she started the study.

And now she knew exactly who to call.

Holly quickly dialed a number, and Professor Pine answered on the other line.

Words poured out faster than Holly could register, as she told Professor Pine of everything that happened.

Holly was relieved to hear that the professor at least showed some concern… Perhaps Holly's own from before had been for nothing…

At least until she asked about the name Julia.

The professor refused to answer the question, instead redirecting Holly to other subjects. Holly noticed that the professor acted confused, but if Kris knew the name, it must've been familiar…

Holly shook her head.

There could be more than one Pine, and Kris had met the professor years ago. Perhaps the disabled Trainer had just gotten two people mixed up.

And the professor probably found the whole name issue absurd, just like Anabel did.

She put the phone down, relieved that she had not been caught. Fatigue finally mixed with the relief, and she drifted off to sleep.

The next day in Route 11 was a blur, and other than Molly riding her majestic Entei as she left, Holly could not remember much.

Because her mind was on a single track, as she could only focus on one newfound concept.

The thing she had wanted for so long, and had finally gotten back.

Freedom.


Author's notes:

First, the prompt!

Route 11 is a small area west of Lavender, although one must first go south. No Pokémon are mentioned in the RP, although they do exist. There also some items here. They are the Itemfinder (if one has not gotten it already), two Revives, an Escape Rope, an Awakening, and a Great Ball. The route leads to Vermillion.

Authors notes:

-So Route 11. I wasn't originally planning to do it, because I typically traverse it much earlier on, and the player can't access this road from Lavender at this point in the games. However, this route appeared as a required area in the RP. I already had the fishing scene planned out, and knew there was water to the south of Lavender, near Route 11. So I just decided to use the pools of water instead, with Route 11 getting a mention. The actual route that the water is on will get a proper appearance when it comes up in the RP. Route 11 will also get a proper appearance in some of the other books.

-Molly liking water comes from the movie where she is originally from. In this movie, she battles Misty underwater with her Pokémon, and seems to be enjoying it. It's also worth noting this type of battling would not show up in the games proper until a long time later. Even with that, the player would be unable to battle Trainers underwater until the remakes of the games that introduced battling underwater originally. Molly owning a Kingdra is also based on the movie she is from, where she uses one in battle.

-Holly's encounter with the Politoed comes from the games. In Kanto, the only way to get a King's Rock without trading with someone who has it is by stealing from or capturing a wild Pokémon holding the item. One of the Pokémon that can hold the item is Politoed. However, the chance of them holding the item is very rare.

-The King's Rock works exactly as Kris describes, evolving certain Pokémon. A secondary effect is that in battle, a Pokémon can hold the item, and all attacks have a chance of causing the opponent to flinch and miss their turn. This happens even if the moves have no chance of making an appointment flinch normally, and if the move does have a chance, that effect is stacked.

-Lastly, I was planning on Holly getting her tether off before Celadon for a long time. However, I also initially planned for her character development to be complete by this time, but then I realized it would be rushed. Instead, her character is going in a complete different direction, but the tether still remains off. Also, Anabel was originally the one to declare that the tether be taken off, but instead that was changed to Kris suggesting and eventually forcing her to do it. This also is because of Kris's character taking a different direction than what was initially planned, although those who have been paying close attention to her character may be able to pick up the change from early on.