Sukia gasped as Kyara was lifted off the ground a good four meters. Zephyr cawed with delight at Kyara's squeals of surprise.
"Wow Zephyr! You're much stronger than you look!" Kyara laughed. Zephyr settled her trainer back on the ground and perched on her outstretched arm. She cooed and gazed happily upon her new wings. Sukia stood and watched the Pokémon and her trainer. She had a sudden pang of jealousy. She looked down at her pokéballs and realised how much she had missed spending time with her Pokémon on things other than training, strengthening her friendships.
"Kyara? I'm sorry for tricking you," Sukia mumbled, scratching the back of her neck. Kyara felt Zephyr flap her wings to lift off and braced herself. Zephyr flew up into the clouds and disappeared temporarily from sight. Kyara smiled at Sukia.
"I can see you did it for your Pokémon."
Sukia felt ashamed as she knew she had tricked the other trainer for personal gain and Kyara was too naive to realise. Kyara stepped closer and examined her bandana.
"I like your bandana. They are Kanto Pokémon, yeah?" she asked kindly. Sukia nodded, but wouldn't be drawn into conversation. Kyara felt an awkward moment slip by, and then cleared her throat.
"Well, it's getting late now and we'd better set up camp," Kyara noted and began walking towards the camp-site she'd set up in last night. Sukia frowned.
"I guess. Can I ask you something?" Sukia ventured. Kyara turned around and smirked playfully.
"Yeah, we means you and me."
"Oh. Are you sure?"
"Come on, I don't bite..." Kyara laughed, "...much."
So the two trainers traced their way through the trees to Kyara's campsite. When they reached the sheltered site, Kyara was happy to see Zephyr waiting for her. Stormheart growled contently and nosed the piles of leaves and plant matter into nests. Sukia dropped her bag and flipped it over. On the base, where her roll mat was tied, there was an extra compartment where her sleeping bag was conveniently rolled into. The two trainers rolled out their sleeping bags. Kyara released Wolfshadow and set about checking any wounds. Her three Pokémon all wore satisfied expressions, as they knew they had fought their best. Sukia one by one released her Pokémon. First came Hope the Dragonair, then Gecko the Sceptile, and then Ember the Typhlosion. Then three new Pokémon were released: a Delcatty, Breloom and an Aron, which Sukia called Purple, Shroom and Pebbles respectively. Kyara went searching with Stormheart for some fire wood while Sukia stayed behind tending to Gecko's leg. She sat on her sleeping bag with the Sceptile's leg stretched over her lap. She tied a clean bandage around his leg and smiled.
"You'll be fixed by tomorrow," she concluded. Then she saw how her Pokémon all watched Wolfshadow sleeping happily next to Kyara's sleeping bag, and Zephyr plucking some down from her chest and tucking it into the sleeping bag. Both Pokémon showed great love for their trainer due to the way they had been treated when they met her, and how she believed in their abilities despite having no idea what they were, and directed them with such confidence they couldn't resist trusting her. Sukia remembered how her Pokémon used to look at her with the same expression of tenderness as Kyara's Pokémon did to their trainer. Ember glanced at his trainer, but when she caught his eye, he looked away awkwardly. She sighed and shuffled closer to her first Pokémon.
"Ember, I'm sorry for how much of a pig I've been. I got so caught up in getting badges for myself; I forgot you guys needed me."
Ember glanced at Sukia one more time before turning his head away. Sukia saw her other Pokémon were looking on in forgiveness as they hadn't known her as long as Ember. She miserably went through her bag and found the Pokémon food. She didn't feel hungry, but she forced herself to down a muesli bar. Then she curled up in her sleeping bag and drifted into a dark sleep.
Kyara returned after the sun had well and truly set. She had lots of fire wood and Stormheart had gathered a large pile of berries carried in a big leaf. Kyara was surprised to find Sukia already asleep, with her Pokémon curled around her. Then she noticed Ember was keeping a fire lit in the centre of the camp-site, but being careful to keep it small as not to burn the tree. Kyara dropped the wood to the side of the fire and shared the berries between herself and her Pokémon. As she chewed on a particularly sweet Pecha berry, she watched Ember stare blankly at the fire. When she had finished her meal, she picked up the berries she hadn't eaten and handed them to Ember.
"Cheer up. Have some berries," Kyara offered. Ember took the berries and chewed them, looking wistfully at his trainer. Kyara noticed and gave his head a reassuring pat.
"Don't worry, she knows what she's done wrong. She's been having it rough for some reason, and I am curious to know why, but I'm sure if you stick with us, she'll go back to the way she used to be."
Ember understood what she was saying, but still preferred to stay curled up next to the fire. Kyara hopped back into her bag and pulled Stormheart closer with a rough tug. He fell heavily by her side and gave a happy growl. Wolfshadow was stretched out and snoring, and Zephyr was roosting in the tree, quietly preening her feathers. Kyara couldn't imagine any other way to live. Then she felt a pang of sadness, as she knew she wouldn't see her family for a while. With luck, she might meet her sister along the road. She dreamed of what kind of Pokémon they both might befriend until she fell asleep.
The sound of the city waking in the distance greeted Kyara as she opened her eyes. The dawn air was fresh and smelled of dew, and the sky was still a pale hue of purple. Nincada were waking in the trees and already beginning to chirp, heralding the coming of a sunny day. Kyara rolled over to see Sukia gently grooming Purple. She had a look of determination on her face, and hadn't notice Kyara's awakening. The Delcatty purred softly as Sukia's brush flowed over her pale fur, leaving it clean and neat. At her side, Kyara could see Gecko and Shroom already brushed clean, and Pebbles was newly polished. Ember was still asleep, lying next to the dying embers of the fire. Sukia glanced over at Ember, noticing the distance between them, and went on brushing with great attention. Kyara had a suspicion that Sukia had been glancing at her Pokémon a lot. Kyara rolled onto her back and yawned loudly. Sukia looked up and gave her a forced smile.
"Good morning sleeping head."
"Morning. Been up long?"
"No. Stormheart has left already for food I suppose, and Zephyr went with him."
"Oh? And Wolfy...?" Kyara asked as she sat up. Wolfshadow was fast asleep on his back, his big dark paws waving about in the air, giving the impression of a Squirtle on his back. Kyara grinned lopsided and gave him a push. He rolled onto his belly and continued to sleep. Kyara set about poking him until he awoke and tried to bite her finger. He yawned and yapped at no-one in particular, then bit into the base of Kyara's sleeping bag. Sukia watched with amusement as Wolfshadow dragged the bag and Kyara tumbled out comically. Kyara then chased after the Poochyena as he stole the sleeping bag. Unfortunately Wolfshadow hadn't taken into account the length of the sleeping bag and stood on it, jerking his head down and forcing him to somersault twice before landing with his nose in the dirt, and the sleeping bag a metre or two behind him.
"Nice try. But you still need lots of training before can attempt to outsmart a sleeping bag," Kyara laughed and Wolfshadow instantly turned around indignantly, with dirt smears all along his muzzle. Kyara ran over and rubbed the dirt off before ruffling his fur. Suddenly, Zephyr swooped in and landed on the ground next to Wolfshadow, carrying a large bunch of berries. She cooed victoriously as Kyara took the berries and thanked her. She shared them out equally but didn't let anyone have any until Stormheart returned, and when he did he was carrying a small bunch of berries, but something shiny between his jaws.
"What'ya got there Stormy?"
The Absol dropped it and Kyara saw it was some kind of Pokégear. Kyara picked it up curiously. It was small and silver. It had a long handle-thing at the bottom and a small screen. It looked old, but it might still work, Kyara thought. She pressed the power button and the Pokégear came to life. The screen brought up the condition of a Vaporeon, a Chikorita and a bird Pokémon called Staravia. They were all in very good condition, and the last data entry noted:
Congratulations! Your Starly, Amelia, evolved to Staravia!
Kyara hadn't used one of the older models before, so it took her a second longer than expected to figure out how to get the trainer's details. She opened the details and studied the data.
Trainer: Orange, Stevie
Hometown: Saffron City, Kanto
Badges Won: None
Contests Won: None
Kyara was a little confused. Despite how strong her Pokémon were, this Orange trainer hadn't won any contests or Gym battles. Kyara shrugged, figuring either her strategy wasn't very good, or she just wasn't interested in winning competitions.
"Where did you find this?" Kyara asked. Stormheart indicated away from the city. The date of the last entry was weeks ago, and Kyara figured they were long gone now. Sukia walked over and studied the screen.
"Wow, old technology much. I haven't used one of these in ages."
"You know how to use this?"
"Yeah, I had one for a few years, but now I have a PokéNav."
"Well then," Kyara said, giving her the device, "Can you find out where they were going next, or where they had been?"
Sukia pressed buttons and stared at the screen for a few seconds, and Kyara watched over her shoulder.
"Well, this Orange character never wrote her final destination, but I found an email from a friend in Sootopolis. Perhaps she went there." Sukia gave Kyara back the device and proceeded to pack her grooming kit into her bag. Her other Pokémon could wait.
"Well, I suppose we could get there on the way to get gym badges, yeah?" Kyara asked. Sukia gave her a funny look.
"Who said we would be travelling together?" she asked, slightly flustered. Kyara smiled but rolled her eyes.
"I didn't think you'd want to travel alone, especially if we have a similar goal."
"Wouldn't it be quicker to travel inland first, then come back?"
"Yes, but my sister is going that way. I want to become stronger before I meet her again, and give her a chance. Besides," Kyara reasoned, "Aren't the gyms at sea tougher than the land-based one?"
"Not really. That's a common misconception. They all are about the same level of difficulty. They just require different type matchups and strategies."
Kyara smiled happily as she argued who were the strongest. Apparently, gym leaders were incredibly strong, but were required to train up more recent Pokémon to give trainers a chance.
As the sun climbed a little higher, the two trainers had packed up camp and prepared to go to Lilycove. Sukia had returned all of her Pokémon, but Kyara preferred to leave all of hers out. After much arguing, Sukia managed to convince her to put at least Wolfshadow and Zephyr in their pokéballs. Stormheart was thrilled he would be allowed to sniff the city. The trainers and the Absol set off to the sound of Nincada chirping and the low growling of Linoone in the grass. The sky had not a cloud in the vast blueness, but Kyara watched Stormheart stare at the sky, sensing pressure, temperature and movement. Kyara took a second to beam with pride at her Pokémon. She knew the natural ability of Absol was impressive, but her Absol, with his bright blue eyes, had far greater skill than any other Absol she had ever met. She had jumped on this when they began their training and helped him use it in battle. Stormheart was especially gifted as he had two abilities, not just Pressure. She grinned and Stormheart's tail twitched. He looked back to earth with a satisfied growl. Kyara was glad it would be a beautiful day.
Lilycove was not quite so busy the second time around. The markets had begun packing up and trainers were leaving with newly bought Pokémon and miscellaneous items for their adventures. Kyara didn't particularly like the idea of selling Pokémon, but she fully approved of adoption centres. As they walked past the windows of an adoption centre, she saw many discarded, young Pokémon, such as Nincada, Skitty, Zigzagoon and Wurmple. She thought it was sad and was happy her family took in the Pokémon, raised them and then set them free, and not selling them like the boutiques along the streets. Sukia looked with interest in the stores that sold Pokémon, obviously used to the way of the city. She eyed the expensive exotic Pokémon, such as the Bulbasaur, Totodile, Pikachu and Heracross that lined the windows, all looking surprisingly happy, even pompous. Sukia and Kyara continued down the streets, winding their way through small crowds and tightly packed buildings.
Eventually the two girls could smell and hear the sea, and stare at the magnificent expanse of water stretching beyond the horizon. The docks were a little busy, and there were large boats moving about slowly, heading from other regions and places Kyara couldn't even imagine. The world suddenly seemed too big, and she had a moment of doubt. Stormy whined and nosed her, sensing his trainer's nervousness. No, she couldn't be scared. They had plenty of time to explore, especially with friends. Kyara glanced at Sukia and wondered why she had instantly recognised her as a kindred spirit. Outwards, she was stubborn and arrogant, and she didn't appear to care about others. Kyara's instincts told her there was more to the girl than met the eye, and her instincts had gotten her out of many scrapes.
"Excuse me," Sukia said, cutting off Kyara's line of thought. They had found their way down to the passenger boats and were now standing in front of a man in a blue striped shirt with a Machop at his side. He looked rough, but had eyes that looked kind. He smiled, baring a gold-capped tooth to the world.
"My companion and I were hoping to get across to Mossdeep. When is the next ferry?"
"Aw Miss, this is the last one for the next week. And there are no places left. Sorry," the sailor said before walking up the gangway onto the boat. He turned and gave them an apologetic look before continuing on his way. Kyara turned to Sukia.
"I suppose we will have to do it the old fashion way," Kyara commented.
"If you mean use Pokémon, I'm all for it. But if you meant 'let's swim', then be my guest."