Disclaimer: this author does not hold the rights over Touhou Project, Pokémon or any of their supplementary materials. He does, however, have the privileges to explore and/or adapt some of the ideas both franchises may possess. This author also would like to credit the people responsible for making Touhou Puppet Play/Touhou Ningyougeki/Touhoumon and many more custom hacks out there for providing fans of both series with an experience to indulge in and be remembered.
Without any ado, please enjoy this adventure warmly, and remember to always take it easy.
TOUHOU PUPPET PROJECT
A NEW BEGINNING
"So far, we are unable to determine the cause of this massive outbreak of this invasive species, and researchers are working around the clock to identify these humanoid creatures with characteristics unlike anything we have come across before. Until a conclusive answer can be achieved, we will refer to these creatures as…"
The radio was switched off. He didn't think he would have time to listen to this kind of news break, especially when the news in question was well over a year old. It could not be helped, since years of travelling abroad had made him miss all the happenings. He shook his head and continued his trip down the road, his yellow electric mouse companion never failing to remain loyal to him even after the rest of his buddies had ceased to exist. He had grown old, as so was his companion, and yet his spirit as a Trainer remained as youthful as ever. He had seen many challenges, he had overcome all obstacles, he had done the impossible, and now he wanted to return to the very place he called home.
He arrived at his destination. It was here that, a decade ago, he set out for a journey that would shape him into what he had become. He snickered; nothing much had changed in his absence, and everything remained essentially the same. The laboratory that witnessed a forged bonding with his companion was still standing proud, a testimony that had stood against the test of time. He surely missed this little town a lot, and he wanted to make it up for his lost time.
The electric mouse stirred from its slumber. It let out a long, unassuming yawn and looked around. "…pi…?" With a confused look on its face it turned to its best friend for an answer. He merely snickered and told his companion that they had arrived at home. The electric mouse wiggled its tail in excitement, a sentiment that was shared by this man as well. With a tip of his baseball cap he headed to the first building he saw and greeted a woman who was working at the garden.
"Oh! OH! Red, is that you?" Before the young man could answer the woman left the flowers she was attending and hugged him very tightly. "You didn't give me a call that you'd be coming home! How I missed you so much!" she uttered, unable to keep her overwhelmed emotion. He returned the embrace, holding the woman he called Mother for as long as he could. The electric mouse jumped off his shoulders and perched upon the woman's head. "And you too, little one! I missed you as well," the woman spoke in delight.
The embrace loosened, and mother and son looked at each other longingly. "I could hardly believe how much my child has grown up," the woman spoke. "You've surpassed my height, too. Mommy's going to have a hard time grooming your hair after this, too." He merely chuckled and pointed to the laboratory. "You're asking about Oak? He's still the old, same professor you'd know from a long time ago. Why don't you go greet him? Though he's been busy on his new researches." He batted an eyebrow in curiosity over the remark. "I'll invite him to our dinner tonight, so both of you can talk as much as you like. Right now." The woman pinched him on the nose. "Big boy must take his shower properly after this, okay?"
Nodding at her, he gave his mother another hug before he stepped into the humble house and headed to his room. He was astounded, for the room looked exactly like it was when he left home for his adventure. The singe of nostalgia was knocking every door of his memory, and he chuckled slightly when he recalled his childhood.
"Pika!" His companion called out and pointed to the single picture on the desk. He approached the table and picked up the photo frame. He smiled; it was the picture of him in his earlier years, and he looked totally different back then. His companion jumped onto his shoulders to look at the picture; he gave the electric mouse a soft pat on its head when it inquired him about the photograph, as if saying it was just an old picture.
He was done with his shower, and after wearing his favourite clothes he headed to the laboratory. He greeted the old man who was examining news specimens on the table. "Goodness gracious me! If it isn't the champion himself!" He approached the old professor and shook his hand graciously while his companion waved to him from atop of his head. "Hello there, Pikachu! I see you're still as energetic as ever."
Just then Oak's mailbox rang. He excused himself to read the new email, leaving him and his companion with the specimens to look at. "Well, this is fascinating ¨C and worrying." When asked about what the fuss was, Oak answered: "You may not want to believe this, but Pokémon is no longer the dominant species - at least in Kanto, Johto and Hoenn. If this trend continues, sooner or later the whole world may face the same fate as these regions."
He furrowed his eyebrows, curious to know more about the situation.
"It happened two years ago when I was asked to lead an expedition to the Cave of Origin. It was there that we found them," Oak spoke and pointed to the three humanoids on the table. "At first we thought they were new Pokémon species but our analysis showed nothing to compare them with any known species." As Oak continued his explanation he approached the table and looked closer at the figures. There seemed to be human-like in many aspects, and his closer observations showed that these specimens bore more resemblances to a marionette than to a Pokémon.
"…and so we had come to a conclusion that these specimens share the same characteristics as Pokémon but are completely unrelated to any species," Oak spoke as he approached the trainer. "So in the end we had to settle in and refer to them as Puppets. Now, Red, you might be curious about why Pokémon are no longer the dominant species, aren't you?" He picked up Puppet that resembled a miniature witch. "Not long after I brought these three home, Professor Birch reported to me that all the Pokémon in Hoenn started to disappear, the void in which they left behind was slowly taken over by Puppets. Here, I'll show you." He played a video on the wall-mounted screen and asked everyone to watch. "This video was taken by a mountaineer in the Meteor Fall, and he was fortunate to get out of the battle alive."
He watched the video, as so were Pikachu and the three Puppets. It was footage of a sword-wielding Puppet fighting against a vampire-like Puppet, with the latter having the advantage of high ground by floating over the battlefield. The swordswoman Puppet crossed her swords as to endure the vampire Puppet's claw attack filled with dark energy, and managed to push her rival out of the way. The anticipation grew among the audience as the swordswoman Puppet opened a stance, her swords crossed and pounced at the vampire Puppet, but the video was cut off at that part, leaving them frustrated.
"The mountaineer reported to Professor Birch that all the Pokémon that once populated the cave were driven out of their habitat as a result of the battle," Oak spoke. "The same event was taking place everywhere, and before we knew it, Puppets were everywhere. We don't know what happened to the legendaries, but we assume they received the same fate as their common counterpart."
He frowned. He didn't like the outcome of this, and he knew why. He had lived and breathed the same air as Pokémon, and the fact that the so-called "invasive" creatures were taking over meant that 'old breeds' like him would be in danger of disappearing in history. His companion noticed the dilemma he was facing and urged him not to worry about it too much. Even the marionettes were trying to cheer him up, and he had to force himself to smile.
"The takeover was complete a year later, and since then everyone's been adapting into the change," Oak spoke. "Red, I know it's going to be very hard for you to live in this new world, but you've got to accept what is given to you, Fret not, my grandson Green also had the same thought as yours when the news came to him, but he didn't complain about it. In fact, he quickly embraced it because he saw an opportunity from the Puppets." Oak picked up Pikachu in his arms and patted its head. "If you're wondering where all the Pokémon have gone to, they're taking refuge in an island near the Southern Continent. It's the last place in this world where they can live freely without intervention from Puppets."
He said nothing. Rather his focus was on the red-white Puppet that was staring at him in intrigue. He was unsure of how capable these Puppets compared to Pokémon were, and he was doubtful these marionettes would perform on the same level, if not better, than creatures he had been attached to. "Oh? I think this little fellow has taken a liking for you already," Oak said. Confused, he looked back at the old man who just laughed over his reaction. "It's just like the old time! You gave me that same look when you got Pikachu as your first Pokémon." The comment made him blush, and he tipped his cap down as to hide his embarrassment. "Don't be that shy, Red. You're never too old to be a Trainer. You just have to adapt."
Uncertainty was still shrouding him, and he was unsure if he should accept the new development, or resisted it and continued living the old path. He didn't have to wait long when the red-white Puppet turned to the window, and without saying anything the red-white rushed to the outside. He recognized the reaction; it was the sign of battle! He and Pikachu gave the red-white a pursuit to a patch of grass, where he saw two girls huddling each other in fear, as cat-girl Puppet was hugging the ground, ready to pounce at the girls. It was clear that he needed to rescue the girls before the Puppet inflicted injury upon them.
"Red, Reimu wants to battle! Give her a command!" Oak shouted.
Reimu? He looked at the red-white, who was defending the girls from the cat-girl Puppet. So the red-white had a name. He quickly met up with the red-white and told the girls to get out to safety. With the problem taken care of, he stood behind Reimu as to face the cat-girl Puppet. He signalled at Reimu with a tip of his cap, and the red-white Puppet nodded.
"Nyaaaaa!" Furious that her targets had escaped the cat-girl Puppet attacked Reimu. Her scratches left visible marks on the red-white's clothes, causing panic to the girls, but Red stayed calm. The cat-girl attacked again, and this time Reimu vaulted over her opponent to avoid the attack. She landed behind the cat-girl, gave her a tap on the head and delivered a chop onto her forehead just as the cat-girl turned around. The attack left the cat-girl dazed but undeterred, and it only made her angrier.
"Careful, Red! This is your first Puppet battle, and you don't know what Puppets are capable of!" Oak reminded.
He paid the old man no attention. His heart was telling him to trust Reimu, and believing in the red-white he would. He tipped his cap downward, signalling at Reimu to finish the battle. The red-white leapt over the cat-girl, too fast for her to react, and she gave her opponent a drop kick onto the cat-girl's head, driving her into the ground. The cat-girl got back on her feet, refusing to give up, but her weakening state meant that the battle would be over for her.
And it was.
Giving out his last command, he told the red-white Puppet to subdue her opponent anyway she could. Reimu acknowledged with a nod of her own and approached the cat-girl, easily stepping aside to avoid her wobbly attack, and she knocked the cat-girl out of action with a swift chop on the nape of her neck. Pikachu cheered over the victory, as so were everyone else, and he approached the victorious red-white to offer her his congratulatory nod.
"Well done, Red. I know you can do it," Oak complimented. "And as for you two, you have any idea of how dangerous it is to walk in the grasses without a Puppet?"
"Sorry, but we got lost and didn't know where we were," the girl with puffy hat answered. "And we have no idea about what Puppets are, either."
"But in any case, thank God someone came in and saved our ass," the porkpie-hat girl said. "And that was an excellent duel, too! It gets me excited on the inside, already."
"Well, at least both of you are safe, but it's still unsafe to stay outdoor." Oak turned to Red's mother who had shown up. "Surely you don't mind looking after our… guests here for time being, do you?"
"Of course not," she answered. "Come, girls. Why don't you stay over our place? I'll let you use Red's room for a while." He snapped at the remark and tried stopping the woman to no avail, and could only watch helplessly as she invited the girls into his house. He grumbled in resignation and turned his attention to Reimu. After a long period of eye-gazing, the red-white smiled and bowed to him, in which he responded with a tip of his cap.
The residents of Pallet Town got to know the girls during dinner at Red's house. They introduced themselves as Usami Renko and Maribel Hearn, representative of the Sealing Club. They had been investigating the existence of a sealed region for many months as Renko told the diners, and they were determined to prove or disprove their theory of pocket dimension. Maribel also stated that they almost succeeded in discovering the hidden land when they accidentally stumbled across a gate to Kanto, and that was when trouble started.
"So you're trying to tell us here that both of you come from another world trying to investigate this 'pocket dimension' but somehow you instead found your way to our world," Oak uttered.
"Indeed it is," Maribel answered. "And we weren't even prepared for what was to come." She took a deep, anxious breath. "And we wouldn't even know whether we could get back to our world, let alone finding this 'sealed land'."
"But Mary, that doesn't mean we can't have an excuse to explore this world, can we?" Renko spoke. "As a matter of fact, that's what we are exactly going to do!"
"Renko, do you have any idea on what we're going to get through?" Maribel asked.
"You think I don't? Hell, we'll just become what he is!" Renko exclaimed and pointed to Red. "We'll get ourselves, uhh, what do you call it, Prof?"
"Puppets," Oak answered.
"That's right! We'll get ourselves a Puppet and start exploring!" Renko exclaimed.
"You girls can worry about getting a Puppet after you get some rest tonight," Red's mother spoke. "Right now, why don't you get acquainted with my son here? I'm sure he has words of advice if you're keen on becoming a trainer."
Both Renko and Maribel looked at Red. He paid them no attention whatsoever and focused on his meal. "A quiet type, huh?" Renko asked. "Never got to see someone like him back at our place."
"He doesn't talk much, yes, but he always gets what he wants," the woman said.
"True that," Daisy remarked. "Even Green always has trouble to keep up with him. Wonder what he's doing right now."
"Both of you will get your Puppets, some come over to the lab tomorrow," Oak told the Sealing Club. "And I'll ask Red to teach you how to handle Puppets, if he doesn't mind. Speaking of which." He, as well as Pikachu and Reimu, turned to the professor. "Why don't you keep Reimu as yours? I'm sure she'll be happy to have you as her master."
"Aw, but I want her!" Renko moaned. "She looked awesome when she took out that cat!"
"Renko, didn't Mister Oak say we'll get our own Puppets tomorrow?" Maribel asked.
"Yeah, yeah, I know, but I still want to keep her! She looks cute, too~" Renko said.
Red coughed. It appeared he and his companions had finished their meal ahead of the diners, and he excused himself to take a night walk. "Isn't he supposed to stay indoor with us?" Maribel asked as he left.
"That kid knows his backyard better than anyone of us is, so he'll be alright," Oak said. "Besides, I'd like to hear from you what kind of this 'sealed land' you're looking for."
He sat down near the shoreline, Pikachu and Reimu accompanying him side by side. He surely missed the freshness of Pallet Town's night sky, and he wanted to enjoy this atmosphere for as long as he could. Sure, he felt strange to be in command of a Puppet instead of Pokémon, but somehow he could feel the passion for battle resurging inside of him. It was as he had gotten another opportunity to relive the experience again.
His moment of inner piece was disturbed when Renko greeted him. "You mind if I join?" He just nodded and patted an empty space beside him. The porkpie-hat girl gladly accepted the offer and sat down. "Your mother told me you were the leading Pokémon trainer back in your time, and I felt kind of jealous to hear that," Renko remarked. He just smiled and looked back at the open sea. "So… that's all you do for the entire length of your life? Training Pokémon and seeking challenges?" He nodded. "That's awesome. You have all the free time to do whatever you like, just like me and Mary always do." Outstretching her arms, she adjusted her seating position so she could stay closer to him. "But still, the way you handled that Puppet duel… I don't know what to say, but it was just so incredible! You didn't even say a word at all, and yet your Puppet could understand your thought. You must be a psychic or something." She stared at him. "Right?"
He found himself blushing. He shook his head and maintained his calm attitude, although the way Renko was staring at him was putting him at unease. He had never felt this awkward before; sure, had had some embarrassing moments with female colleagues, but he usually managed to keep himself out of trouble. This girl, though, he didn't know of how to react to her apparent fondness-
Pikachu turned to the direction of the grasses. Instantly it took a defensive posture, growling at an imminent threat. Reimu joined up with the electric mouse and whipped out several charms out of nowhere, and the commotion momentarily distracted Renko. "What was that?" She looked at the direction Pikachu and Reimu were facing. The culprit showed up, and Renko was startled to know it was the same cat-girl Puppet. "It's that cat again!" Frightened Renko hid behind Red and asked him to dispose of the threat. Red said nothing as he waited for the cat-girl to react. To his and Renko's surprise, the cat-girl puppet approached him and looked up at him, staring at him in the way that would suggest that she was asking him to take her as his companion.
She didn't have to wait long as Reimu approached the cat-girl and patted her between her ears. The cat-girl squirmed in glee and purred happily, even as Pikachu joined Reimu in the patting. He just shook his head in amazement and told Renko to look at the newly forged friendship between the critters. "Well… I guess it's alright now, seeing that cat-girl making friends with your Puppet-" She fell silent when she found herself staring face to face with Red, and for a while the two of them were exchanging gazes before the porkpie-hat girl looked away in embarrassment. "So-sorry if I made you uncomfortable." He just snickered and removed Renko's hat as to give her hair a quick ruffling. "Oh, hey! Stop messing with my hair! Oh, come on! I'm not a little girl, jeez!"
Morning loomed over Pallet Town.
As promised, Professor Oak brought the Sealing Club to his laboratory to give them the Puppets they would need for the quest. With the help of Red the researcher explained the mechanics of Puppet battles, the know-how of Puppet raising and so on, and the girls were taking notes of his briefing very seriously. Along the time Red allowed Reimu and the cat-girl Puppet to play with the remaining "starters" as Oak referred to, while he himself paid attention to the girls. Renko noticed she was being watched and flashed him a knowing grin, in which he quickly looked away from her, making the porkpie-hat girl giggled at his reaction.
"And now on the matters on the Puppets," Oak spoke. "Red, that red-white companion of yours is Reimu, a little miko Puppet, while that cat-girl Puppet is Chen, a ghost cat Puppet." Red nodded in acknowledgment. "As for the rest of the starters, they're Marisa and Sakuya, the little witch Puppet and little maid Puppet. All of them are at their early stage of evolution, so you have to raise them properly if you want to see them becoming strong. Engaging in a lot of Puppet battles will help, as so are Trainer battles."
"A miko, a witch, and a maid," Maribel remarked. "Doesn't this sound familiar to you, Renko?"
"Yeah, it was on the article we read last week," Renko answered. "So I guess each of us will have to pick our Puppet before we can start our journey, right? Then I'll choose Marisa!" The witch Puppet pumped a fist upward and approached Renko with a confident grin. "I'm counting on you, Marisa! Let's do our best together."
"I guess I'll choose Sakuya as my starter," Maribel said as she allowed the maid Puppet to jump onto her palm. "Please take a good care of me from now on, Sakuya." Sakuya responded to her with a bow as a respectful maid would.
"And this is very important," Oak said. "You are officially a Puppet trainer, and that means you're qualified to take on the Gym challenges. The Gym challenge is crucial because you need to obtain the gym badges in order to be allowed to enter the League, and that means you're going to have to defeat all eight gym leaders around Kanto."
"That sounds a bit… intimidating," Renko remarked.
"Not really, if you have proper strategy," Oak said. "Now I suppose words aren't enough to satisfy your curiosity, so Red is going to demonstrate how to properly handle a Trainer battle."
The Sealing Club looked at each other, then at Red. "Mister Oak, we're supposed to challenge Mister Red?" Maribel asked.
"The best way to understand your role as a Puppet trainer is to experience a battle and get a feel of it," Oak uttered. "Red, you may take over."
Tipping his hat in acknowledgement Red asked the girls to follow him to the outside. Renko was already excited about the prospect of winning her first Trainer battle, while Maribel was sceptical about the purpose of the demonstration. They followed Red to a patch of land between the laboratory and Red's house and they watched as Red was consulting Reimu and Chen about the battle.
"Renko, can I ask you something?" Maribel asked.
"Yeah, sure, shoot it," Renko replied.
"Do you like Mister Red by any chance?" The question made Renko blush furiously, and she glowered at Maribel for explanation. "You kept asking his mother and Mister Oak about him during dinner last night, and you even went outdoor to see Mister Red. I was thinking that you're falling into his silent charm, hmm."
"H-hey, let's not talk about this already, shall we?" Renko insisted. "We've got a battle to take care of, so let's do this!" Before Maribel could have a say Renko already sent Marisa into the arena. "What are you waiting for, Maribel? Send out your puppet!" With great reluctance Maribel commanded Sakuya to team up with Marisa, who was already eager to take on her first battle. "Alright! We can win this, Mary!"
"Uhh… I guess so," Maribel uttered.
To the girls and their Puppets' surprise, Chen stayed at the sideline while Reimu stepped into the arena. The Sealing Club could not believe their eyes; Red was going to take both of them at once with only ONE Puppet!
"There's no time to lose! Marisa, attack!" Marisa jumped towards Reimu and attempted a tackling manoeuvre. To Renko's frustration Reimu easily dodged the attack and tripped Marisa off the ground. "Maribel! Tell your puppet to attack!"
"Uhh… okay. Sakuya, go attack Reimu." With a dagger in hand the maid Puppet leapt at Reimu and aimed her attack at the red-white's waist. It was botched when Reimu caught Sakuya's hand and disarmed the dagger. Sakuya whipped out another dagger and slashed at Reimu but missed its mark as the red-white rolled out to safety.
Renko again commanded Marisa to attack, and she dashed across the arena in a charging tackle; once again she was frustrated as Reimu somersaulted to avoid the attack. Maribel saw an opportunity and told Sakuya to attack, so the maid jumped at the red-white, ready to throw several daggers at her target. At the same time Marisa regained her ground and charged back at Reimu. It appeared Reimu was cornered, and with two opponents striking at her at the same time there was no way the red-white could counterattack both of them and survive.
Then Red tipped his hat down.
In a single, swift, motion Reimu did what neither Renko nor Maribel could predict: she twisted her body during her descent from the somersault and performed a back flip kick, scoring a direct hit on Sakuya's chin, and she used the momentum from the attack to drive her shoe into the back of Marisa's skull. Time seemed to be slowing down during the impossible manoeuvre, and Reimu's opponents seemed to be suspended in time as she slowly descended into the ground. The moment Reimu's feet touched the ground time went back to normal, and both Marisa and Sakuya were sent flying away from the red-white and crashed into the ground.
"Oh no!" Renko rushed into the arena and picked the barely conscious Marisa off the ground. "Marisa! You alright there? Please hang on!" Equally as worried as her friend Maribel got to Sakuya to attend her injury; Red, on the other hand, remained on his spot as Reimu returned to him and exchanged high-fives with Pikachu and Chen.
"We just lost, Maribel…" Renko whimpered. "We couldn't beat him even after we've worked together…" Her attention to her defeat was distracted when Red approached her together with his companions. She looked up at him, who was offering her a sympathetic gaze, before she frowned. "Go ahead. Laugh. Like that will change everything." Red said nothing, opting instead to kneel beside and remove Renko's head to ruffle her hair. Startled at first by the gesture, Renko later giggled and wiped off her tears. "Yeah, I'm fine now, so stop ruffling my head," she murmured. Red ignored it and kept playing with her hair, causing her to lower head in embarrassment. "H-hey, stop it. You're just embarrassing me even more. Jeez."
"Well, I guess the two of you are ready to take on your journey," Oak spoke after he and Daisy helped the Sealing Club restoring their Puppets.
"We think so," Renko answered as she was hugging Marisa. "Well, yeah, it's kind of miserable to lose your first battle, but it's a part of the learning curves, isn't it?"
"Don't be that gloomy," Oak told her. "Red has experienced defeats for so many times, but he never complains about it. At the very least he has helped you building your trust towards your Puppets. Trust is an important aspect to a Trainer, so remember that."
"We'll cherish this experience very much, that we're certain," Maribel spoke. "If it wasn't for Mister Red's generosity, we'd be still crawling in the dark."
Red coughed, causing Oak, his mother and Daisy to laugh. "Now, now, ladies, you're shrinking him into a stuttering wreck, already," Oak said. "Right, before you two can start your trip; I want you to have these." He gave the Sealing Club two devices. "These are Puppet Artbook. They're like portable dictionary, and they'll help record information on any Puppets you have come across or captured. To complete the Dexter, you're going to need these, too." He gave the girls a bunch of orbs. "Use these to capture the Puppets you desire to have."
With books and orbs in possession the Sealing Club expressed their gratitude to the residents of Pallet Town for their generosity and took their leave. "Go have fun, both of you, and remember that the vast world of Puppets is awaiting to be explored," Oak said.
"And we'll work hard to uncover its secrets, too," Renko replied.
"It's a shame that Mister Red isn't coming with us, though," Maribel said in lament. "He could surely share the experience with us."
"He has full faith in you girls, don't worry about it," Red's mother told him.
"And we shall have faith in him, too," Renko spoke and corrected her hat. "Well, I guess we'll be going now. Marisa, you may have lost your first battle, but that doesn't mean you will not in the future. Let's work together and be the best!" Marisa cheered energetically in Renko's arms.
"And you, too, Sakuya," Maribel said to her Puppet, in which she bowed to her.
The Sealing Club bade farewell to their new friends and started their trip, only to have Pikachu calling them back and taking them to Red. "I think Mister Red wants to say his goodbye to us," Maribel said. Red approached them and asked them that they wait. He turned to Maribel and asked her to bring her hands forward; he took off his gloves and placed them in her palms, and he clenched her hands around the item. "This is wonderful, Mister Red. Thank you," she spoke.
Smiling to Maribel, he turned his attention to Renko. She found herself blushing when Red smiled at him, and she tried to return the smile to no avail. He chuckled at the sight of the stuttering girl and removed her hat. He took off his baseball cap and placed the headgear on Renko's head, fixing it so that it would snug. Renko was taken away by the gift she had gotten, and without any second thought she lunged towards Red, and she pressed her lips against his, claiming them a kiss. The gesture left Red reeling on his feet, made Maribel gasp in shock, brought Oak, Red's mother and Daisy into a state of disbelief, and the Puppets cheering (Marisa was the less fortunate as she was squished between Renko and Red during the kiss).
Renko let go off his mouth, and she was smiling shyly to him as she whispered, "…you better cherish this gift of mine, Red…" She giggled afterwards and gave his nose a quick poke before she grabbed Maribel's hand and ran down the road, shouting "and thanks for the hat!" Red was left dumbfounded and could only watch as the Sealing Club followed the path that would take them to their destiny.
"Well, I think I should get back to my researches on the Puppet," Oak said and retreated to the laboratory.
"I'll go help you, Grandpa," Daisy said and followed his footsteps.
"Mommy will be indoor if you need anything, okay?" his mother informed.
The hapless trainer tried stopping them but they already left him alone in the opening. He groaned at the lack of support they were supposed to give, and he sighed at the new development that was falling upon him. He chuckled afterwards and looked back at the road the Sealing Club had taken. It surely felt very different to see someone setting out for journey of the lifetime, but he was certain that was the same feeling everyone in Pallet Town would have when he left this place a long time ago.
He looked down at his companions. Pikachu winked, Chen saluted and Reimu bowed. He returned their gesture with a simple nod and looked back at the road. Someday, he too would follow the same path his new-found friends had taken and reach out for his new future.
Someday he would.