Hey guys, so we're back to the regular schedule. I was happily surprised that there were reviews (even positive ones!) for the last chapter; I wasn't sure if there were going to be any just because the pairing was so unique. To those reviewers, thank you! It meant a lot. If you haven't seen it, please check it out, maybe leave a review/suggestion, especially the important note at the bottom. If you do want to suggest a pairing, leave it for the prev. ch. And now, based on the other chapter, your reviews were hilarious (esp. about the fangirls, haha). Please continue to leave your great reviews and enjoy!
Disclaimer: Pokemon isn't mine...aw.
I sighed, carefully unhooking the Magikarp from my line and releasing it back into the stream.
"There you go little guy…"
"No need to be so disappointed about catching a Magikarp; I do that all the time."
I turned to see Red coming from out of the trees, hands in pockets and smiling. As usual, Pika was close behind, frisking back and forth through the grass. Spotting me, he ran over, begging to be petted.
Smiling, I obliged. "I'm not disappointed about catching a Magikarp," I said.
Red sat down nearby and I felt my face flush at the close proximity. Luckily, he didn't seem to notice; instead, he just said, "Well, maybe not about the Magikarp, but you're sad about something."
"And how do you know that?"
"Men's intuition!" Red joked, tapping the side of his head with a finger.
I couldn't help giggling.
Red feigned a look of being offended. "What?! Men have intuitions too you know."
"Sorry," I murmured between laughs. "I guess I'm just not used to hearing about men having intuitions."
Shrugging, Red's look became slightly more serious though his tone was still light. "Well, right now my intuition is telling me that you're avoiding the question." He glanced at me. Probably seeing my mouth turn downward, he suggested, "Was it about the Contest?"
"A little…" I muttered. Staring at the water lapping against the shore, I thought for a second. "I don't mind the loss too much, I kind of expected that actually…but I feel like I failed Chuchu."
"What are you saying?!"
Startled, I looked at Red who was giving me a look of bewilderment that matched his statement. He continued before I could say anything. "You didn't fail anyone including Chuchu."
"I got distracted which caused Chuchu to become distracted," I protested.
"That might or might not be true," Red conceded. "But that still doesn't mean you're weak. In fact I think that you and your pokemon have a lot of potential."
I blushed. "That's not true…"
Shaking his head, still looking bemused, Red stared out at the water without speaking for a minute. Suddenly, he snapped his fingers. "It's kinda like that Magikarp."
"The Magikarp…?" I repeated slowly, confused.
"Yeah! People always say Maikarp are useless and that they lack any real strength, but just think of that Gyarados from last time. That pokemon evolved from a "weak" pokemon into a huge, powerful beast!"
"So you want be to become a Gyarados?" I blinked, wondering if Red was being serious.
Red smacked a palm on his face. "Wha-? No! I know you have potential in you. You just need a little training to bring it out."
"Who would want to train me?" I said. Maybe Red believed that I had all this "potential" in me, but I still wasn't sure. Besides, I couldn't burden Red (or anyone else) to train me when I'd already lost in the Contest.
Surprisingly, Red didn't look disheartened by my uncertainty. Instead, he smiled and motioned with his head toward the trees. "I think I have someone in mind…"
-in the clearing-
Slowly, the figure in front of us turned his head and I started in surprise, realizing it was Lance. His own eyes widened just a tad, but when he spoke, it was with a neutral tone.
"And here I was, wondering if you would show."
Red's eyes narrowed slightly, but noticing me observing them both, he simply said, "Well, I did say I'd find her."
"Excuse me?" Both Lance and Red turned. "Um…what are you talking about?"
"I was…" Red started, but Lance cut him off.
"Hey Red, we should probably get started." He glanced up at the sky where the sun was fast approaching its peak. "We don't want to be working till late and I only have today until I head back."
The expression on Red's face made me feel like he wanted to protest, but again, he nodded. He turned to me.
"Like I was saying earlier…I found someone to help you train based on what you told me. And that someone would be Lance."
"And the training needs to be one on one." Lance's voice cut in as he came closer. "It'll be easier based on what Red's told me about your abilities."
Red nodded reluctantly. "Is that okay with you Yellow?"
I felt a flash of indignity that Red had told Lance about me without my knowledge, but softened. "It's ok…" I knew that Red had done what he did trying to help.
"You should get going Red." Lance's voice was easy but authoritative.
"I'm going," Red rolled his eyes half-mockingly but gave me a bright grin. "Good luck Yellow and I'll see you later." The last comment seemed to have a bit more force directed in Lance's direction, but with only a raised eyebrow as a response from the Elite Four leader, Red left.
"So, tell me about your abilities."
"I thought Red already did that." I twisted my fingers, still feeling a bit anxious to be left here without Red.
Lance waved my comment away. "He did, but I want to hear about it from you personally."
I nodded; it did make sense. "Well…I can tell how my pokemon are feeling, like read their emotions…"
"Um…" The rapid answer and the way Lance was staring at me didn't help as I fumbled to think.
"You can heal." It was a statement, not a question but I nodded.
Lance cocked his head. "The first isn't exactly unique; most good trainers have to have some measure of their pokemon's status, both physically and mentally, to be strong. That second power however is unique."
"Unique?" I said. The word made it sound like my power was special, but it certainly didn't feel that way.
"Yeah," Lance nodded. "I only know of a few people who can actually do it."
Again, he nodded. Seeing the question in my eyes, he pointed at himself.
"You can heal?" I cried.
"Yes. But that's not the only thing I can do," he said, "…and I expect that's not the only thing you can do too."
"What do you mean?"
Lance waved a hand. "I'll explain later. For now, I think we should start working on the basics. Can you release one of your Pokemon?"
Nodding, I selected Chuchu's pokeball and quickly called her out.
"Pika…" she yawned, blinking at us. Realizing I had company, she dashed behind my legs and peeked out at Lance.
"It's okay." Lance crouched down, offering a hand to Chuchu who sniffed it.
"Pikachu…" Chuchu backed away, looking wary. Still when Lance reached over to pet her, she allowed him to.
"Tell me, what is Chuchu feeling right now?"
"How do I do that? And wait; how do you know her name?" I asked. "I don't think I told you that…"
Lance smiled. "You didn't. Chuchu here did," he said, patting her head for emphasis. Looking up at me he continued. "It's easy. All you have to do is focus on Chuchu and it should be simple to tell what she's feeling."
"Ok, I'll try." Staring at Chuchu, I could see that she looked quite content from her body language. "She's…happy?"
"And…" I stared harder, trying to find something else to say. "I'm not really sure."
Standing up, Lance moved behind me and placed his hands on my shoulders. I stiffened at the contact. "Relax. It's usually easier to read a Pokemon if you look them in the eyes. And again, relax; Pokemon don't trust people who are too nervous."
Taking a deep breath, I tried to focus on Chuchu by looking her straight in the eyes. The foreign feeling of Lance's hands faded and I could feel happiness from the simple warmth of the sun and the scent of the grass and flowers around us. But underneath this pleasure was a faint hint of worry. Without warning an image flashed in my mind.
"It's me," I exclaimed in surprise.
Lance nodded. "Your Pikachu is worrying about you, as are your other pokemon I suspect."
"I'm sorry," I said, stroking Chuchu who hummed quietly in response. "I'll try and be stronger."
"By being here, you're already doing just that." Lance clamped his hand on my shoulder again. "But I think a good way to get there isn't just about focusing on your own pokemon but on the opponent's pokemon as well." He brought out a pokeball.
The ball hit the ground, releasing a large, orange dragon-Pokemon. The Dragonite threw open his wings with a loud, "Dragonite!"
Both Chuchu and I took a hasty step back. The dragon-Pokemon was much taller than me and looked like he could possibly eat Chuchu for a snack.
Either not noticing, or ignoring, our reactions, Lance reached into his pocket and pulled out an item, showing it to me. My surprise overrode my nervousness and I leaned forward.
"They're playing cards." Lance began shuffling the cards as he explained. "As you noticed before, when you tried to read Chuchu, you couldn't "read" her as you might read a book, in actual words I mean. Instead, what you got was an emotion paired with an image, am I right?"
I nodded and Lance continued. "In time, with enough training, you might be able to actually be able to read your pokemon's thoughts more coherently." He looked up. "But what we're going to be working on now is on reading other pokemon."
"Why?" I couldn't help asking.
"Simple. Even though usually Pokemon act instinctively when they attack or trainers call out the attacks, the pokemon themselves often have some sort of idea, even subconsciously, of what they'll do next. That knowledge could be the difference between a win and a loss in battle for you."
"Isn't…" I hesitated. "…isn't that a little dishonest? For me to use my ability this way…"
Lance looked at me sharply and I was afraid he'd get angry at me. After all, he too possessed these powers and he was an Elite; he might get offended that I'd basically implied he'd cheated his way to his position.
But he just blinked and turned away. "It's hard to say. In a sense it could be seen as an advantage, but there's always more than one way of seeing things." Leaving that topic, Lance said, "Are you ready?"
I was startled. "For what?"
"Oh, sorry, I totally forgot to explain." Lance whistled for Dragonite to come over. He held up the cards. "Basically I'm going to hold up a card for Dragonite to see and then you'll try to read Dragonite's mind and tell me what you think he saw, got it?"
Lance held up a card for a few seconds then dropped it. I stared at Dragonite who looked back placidly. Closing my eyes I tried to get a read on Dragonite but the only thing I could get was a feeling of serenity from the dragon.
"Um…3 of hearts?"
Lance held up the Queen of spades.
Again the card. Again more staring.
"8 of diamonds?"
Lance held up the 2 of clovers.
"…Ace of hearts?"
Wordlessly, Lance held up the King of spades.
As time wore on, I found myself staring longer and longer between each card and hesitating more and more between each answer. Still, Lance remained patient even as an hour then another rolled by.
At one point, between shuffling the deck, Lance asked conversationally. "So where are you from Yellow?"
"Viridian City," I answered after a moment's pause. All the focusing was starting to make my head ache and I rubbed it absentmindedly.
"Ah…that explains it." Lance held out a card.
"…6 of clovers? Explains what?" I repeated.
Lance showed me the 3 of spades before answering. "I'm also from Viridian."
"Oh really?" It might have seemed a silly thought, but I would have never guessed Lance had come from the same hometown as me.
He nodded as he gave Dragonite a card to see.
"Jack of diamonds?"
The 10 of hearts flashed in front of my eyes before Lance spoke. "They say that there are children from Viridian who are blessed. I knew early on that I was one of them, but until I met you, I thought the stories were just myths. I thought I was special. But I guess I was wrong."
I didn't know how to respond. Again, I wondered if Lance was upset about not being "unique." Glancing at him, his facial expression was hard to read. But when he did look down at me, he smiled.
"It's a good thing for me to know that there are others like me," he said. His eyes seemed to take on a somewhat odd gleam. "I think we should probably try something else though; it's starting to get late."
"What were you thinking about?" I could see the sun was starting its slow descent and the simple act of trying (unsuccessfully at that) to read Dragonite's mind had already tired me out.
"I thought it'd be a good idea to test your physical capabilities since we've been working on your mental ones."
I was slightly alarmed. "You want us to fight?"
Lance shook his head, hiding a smile. "No, of course not! What I meant is that Chuchu will attack Dragonite. Your job is simply to focus on Chuchu and try to channel your energy into her. If you're successful, her attacks should grow stronger."
"But won't that hurt Dragonite?"
Lance peered at me curiously. "It might. But I have enough potions here to heal him completely and we're not even certain this will work."
The words stung as I remembered how I couldn't read Dragonite's mind even once, combining with the guilt that still hung over me from the loss of the competition. "…Alright," I said reluctantly.
Lance and I stood at opposite sides of the clearing with Dragonite and Chuchu in front of each respective trainer. Chuchu's ears twitched as she waited for my command while Dragonite stood with a patient expression.
The thread of lightening shot toward Dragonite, but the orange dragon simply raised an arm and effortlessly dispersed it. I gasped as Chuchu skipped back in shock.
"Again." Lance's voice was calm and unaffected.
I steeled myself, trying to put all my attention into Chuchu and her attack despite the alarm of the ease Dragonite could stop Chuchu's Thundershock.
Like the scenario with the playing cards, Dragonite was able to block and counter every move easily. The difference was that instead of mentally stopping me, Dragonite was blocking using an arm, a wing, and even more often as time passed, simply standing there receiving the attack without a twitch.
Chuchu and I stopped to stare at Lance. It was only then that I noticed both she and I were breathing in sync heavily. I petted her as I healed her slightly, offering her my thanks as well as a bit of the energy I had left.
"It seems like this isn't working either…" Lance paused behind Dragonite who looked at his trainer obediently.
"I'm sorry. This must be a waste of your time…" The sun was low in the sky now, probably around 5 and Lance probably had a million things to do. I hugged Chuchu to me.
Lance shook his head. "It's not you per say." He stared at the setting sun thoughtfully. "We're running out of time…" I heard him mutter.
I couldn't think of anything to say except, "I'm sorry."
"No…what you're lacking isn't the strength or the ability." Lance turned to look at me with an almost hungry expression. I waited, feeling tense. "…I believe you're just lacking the motivation."
A sudden rustle from the bushes caught all our attentions and a moment later, Red came out of the forest.
Suddenly Lance called out, "Dragonite, Hyper Beam!"
Immediately the orange pokemon opened its mouth and shot out a huge bolt of power straight for Red.
I felt something in me jolt and desperately I called out to Chuchu. She jumped in front of Red and sent out a huge Thundershock. The same jolt that I'd felt seemed to grow inside of me until I felt like energy was coursing throughout my entire body.
I opened my eyes in time to see Dragonite close its mouth, the same placid expression on its face as though nothing had happened. Then I noticed Chuchu.
"Chuchu!" I rushed over to my Pikachu who was slumped on the ground. "Chuchu…"
"Chu…" she cried woozily. She closed her eyes, still breathing loudly. Tiny crackles of static still danced on her tiny body but her energy levels were so low that they didn't even sting my palms.
"Yellow! What happened?!"
I turned, still holding Chuchu as Red ran forward. He looked alarmed. "One minute I was about to walk over and then the next minute Lance's Dragonite is shooting a Hyper Beam and Chuchu was holding it back with just a Thundershock!"
Shaking my head slowly, I responded simply, "…I don't know what happened…" I blinked feeling like my eyelids weighed a ton and hardly noticed Lance approaching.
"So it did work."
I opened my mouth, but Red beat me to it. "Is that all you have to say? Both Yellow and Chuchu are completely exhausted! What did you do?!"
Lance opened his mouth, but this time I beat him to it.
"It's ok." Both males looked at me, surprised. Seeing the anger on Red's face, I placed a placating hand on his arm. "We were trying something new to bring out my powers…and I think it worked."
"Are you sure?" Red turned his back toward Lance, blocking him from my view and looking concerned. "If he pushes you too hard, you need to tell me."
I smiled. "Thank you Red. I think I'm ok, just a little tired." I yawned, heading slowly for the trees. "I just need a little rest." Remembering something, I turned and bowed. "Thank you Lance."
Lance offered me a small smile and a wave as Red looked slightly annoyed. "I'll get your stuff and go with you Yellow," Red called to me.
I nodded and began heading for our house, too tired to think about training, Lance's intensity, or even Red and his odd behavior. I simply wanted a nap.
"If you do anything to harm Yellow in any way, shape, or form…" Red trailed off. "…You'll have me to answer to."
Lance raised his eyebrows, looking mildly surprised. "I see." He was quiet, observing the scorch marks that marred the clearing from the double attack, before he spoke again.
"So I take it she's important to you?"
Lance smirked, "Well, if that's all you had to say to me, I have to go." He mounted Dragonite.
Lance motioned and Dragonite paused from taking off. "Yes?"
"Yellow needs you to train and I'm not a person who gets in the way of others because of my own interests." Red paused then scowling continued. "But if you push her too hard, you better pray to Lugia…"
Lance rolled his eyes, amused. "I know, I know. I'll be off then. Tell Yellow goodbye for me."
Catching the glower on Red's face as he flew off, Lance smiled. "Too easy."
"Can you move your legs please?"
I looked up from my egg, setting down the cloth I'd been holding in my right hand to watch the drama that was about to ensue.
"No." Sapph turned her face away from Ruby as she tossed another chip into her mouth.
"I said please." Ruby shifted his weight from side to side, clearly indicating that he wanted to sit…badly.
"And that matters to me because…?"
Ruby's eyes narrowed. "For one thing, because I've been trying to teach you some manners and this would be a great place for you to demonstrate you've actually learned something. And for another thing…you're taking up the whole couch!"
Peeking over to the bickering pair, I did see that Sapph had (deliberately) sprawled herself over the entire couch so that there wasn't an inch of remaining space for anyone to sit. Ruby was now tapping his foot, looking extremely peeved.
"Are you two arguing again?"
We all turned as Crys entered the room, heaving a large sigh before walking over to the end of the couch where Sapph's feet rested. As she plopped down, Sapph immediately pulled her legs back.
With her head resting back on the headrest and her eyes closed, Crys didn't notice Sapph's triumphant grin nor Ruby's muffled breathe of exasperation.
"So what were you two quarreling about now?" Crys asked as she tipped her head back upright.
"…Nothing," Ruby muttered, settling himself onto one of the spare armchairs that was in the room.
Crys nodded slowly then started to chat with Sapph as Ruby pulled out his Pokegear, presumably texting. I went back to polishing my egg. It might have been my imagination, but I could almost feel it radiating warmth and I smiled.
Leaning back, I surveyed the room contently. It had only been around 2 months since school had started, but here at least, in the living room we all frequented most (not counting the boy's "man cave" or us girl's "meeting place"), I felt at home. This specific room, out of the dozens of living rooms was the most convenient since it was the closest to a kitchen and the front door; so it had become our house's informal gathering spot.
"Hey, where are the others?" I asked.
"Hm?" Ruby looked up from his Pokegear. "They should be here soon; they said they'd be here in time to watch them announce the Battle tournament match-ups. That's tonight isn't it?"
"Oh yeah," Crys exclaimed. "I've been so busy with other things I've barely had time to check the dates of the tournament. How's it been going for you guys?"
"Ok," I said. Ruby shrugged noncomittedly.
Sapph however grinned widely. "I'm glad that these pre-battles are over. The people I've been facing weren't that great to begin with. I'm ready to face the real competition!"
Crys shook her head disapprovingly and was about to reprimand her when Red entered. I sat up straighter, careful to keep the egg secure in my arms.
"Hi Red, have you seen the others?" I piped up.
Red sat down with a drawn out sigh, looking exhausted. "No…just Yellow."
I stiffened, wondering why he'd only seen Yellow but Crys asked the question for me. "Where is she by the way?"
"She went to sleep. She's pretty beat."
"Why?" Sapph asked, still munching away.
Red shrugged, turning his face away from us. I caught a flash of a grimace as he moved. "I dunno…I think she was training today."
We nodded. Just then, the T.V. which had been on (but muted) flashed with the words. "Pokemon Tournament Match-Ups!"
"Turn it up, turn it up!" Sapph yelled, bouncing up from her slumped position.
"Ok, ok, calm down," I joked, pressing the mute button on the remote beside me.
"After a grueling amount of preliminary battles between record numbers of trainers participating in this year's K.E.P.A. annual battle tournament, we've finally reached the much anticipated beginning of the official tournament!" the perky announcer exclaimed on-screen.
"These fifty trainers and their pokemon have struggled and fought their way out of hundreds to continue onto the next exciting stage." Pictures of the fifty trainers (I felt a flash of pride as I caught sight of my own picture) appeared and lined up in neat rows.
"Trainers will receive a text of who their challenger for this next round will be, but for those who are out of the competition and for the family members of the competitors, we'll also be displaying the match-ups, right…now!"
At the announcer's cry, the pictures began rotating and shuffling around in a complex manner and I closed my eyes, feeling them blur from all the randomness.
"…The pairs have been matched and from the next series of battles, only twenty-five competitors will remain!"
I opened my eye, just in time to see Green and Gold come in through the door. Gold let out a loud whoop as he looked at the screen, receiving glares from both Crys (stern) and Green (annoyed).
"There's no way this could have happened…" Ruby said, shaking his head in disbelief.
I simply stared at the screen, wondering if what I was seeing was right. Suddenly, my Pokegear beeped and I pulled it out. "Tournament Match-up Opponent." Opening it, the message popped out: "Congratulations Blue Natsuki on reaching the next level of the competition! Your next opponent will be…"
A/N: Darn...another cliffhanger. Haha, sorry guys. But Yellow's starting to grow with Chuchu which is a good thing, right? Nothing else to say I think, except hope you liked it and leave a review! And give me some input about pairings you'd like to read in the Memoir chapters, it'd be really interesting for me.