Finally! I'd like to say I'm quite happy with this chapter, even though it was pretty much completely filler. I promise, it's going to pick up soon.

I should've said last chapter that this fic is beta-read by The Last Dragonite, instead of just last chapter. My bad.

Lot's of flashbacks in this one. I hope it makes sense.

Shoutouts to Youngster Joey, The Last Dragonite (x2), and Rogue Krayt Dragon!

~Chapter 11.5: The Rocky Road to Oreburgh City, Part 2~

"Well, this is just amazing. How did you manage to run into my brother, of all people?" Lucy Knight asked me, an amazed smile on her face. Yes. Lucille Knight. Again. What made this family magnetize to me?

Currently, Falon and I were sitting in her living room, a towel around both of our necks, a mug of hot chocolate in our hands. The person I happened to run into? Her brother. Who was also sitting in her living room.

Cecil Knight was thirteen years old, just over five feet six inches tall, and he looked so completely and totally like his sister, it was almost frightening. He was sitting on the plush blue sofa next to his sister, a wide-eyed and bewildered look on his face. His innocent yellow eyes glanced around the room awkwardly, and he scratched his head, which was framed by short, wet blue hair. Cecil also had a towel wrapped around his neck.

"Well, it wasn't planned," I assured her. I myself couldn't quite believe what had happened.

I jumped back in fright, startled by the eyes staring right into mine. The offending pair of eyes, and the person who was attached to them, mimicked me, and I heard an "Ow!" from behind the bush. I blinked more water out of my eyes, struggling to make sense of what happened.

"Piplup-pip? Lup-pip piplup!" Glacie's face was etched in concern, and I nodded and gave a small smile in return.

"I'm fine," the smile disappeared as I stood, brushed some of the mud and leaves off of my coat and peered over the bush. My eyes widened as I saw what sat on the ground: a boy, clutching his head in one hand and my Budew in the other. The boy glanced up and I stared into his soft yellow eyes, a stunned look on both our faces.

"I think it's amazing, how coincidental all this is," Lucy leaned forward, a gleam in her eyes. "Tell me. Are you sure that you're not some sort of paparazzi, trying to sneak into our house?" She joked, and I chuckled uncomfortably.

"No, this was a complete accident."

"Well, I'm glad my brother was nice enough to offer to take you here. I've taught him well." Lucy smiled warmly at her brother, contrasting the lightning flashes and explosions of thunder from outside the large windows (that looked way too fragile to hold off the tumult of rage and water outside). Cecil's cheeks turned pink from his sister's praise, and he gave Lucy a small, shy smile.

"Yeah, that was nice of him. I'm just surprised that Dawn and I found the same place." Falon added, shaking out her massive red hair and complaining that it was too long under her breath.

"Who… What?" The boy was the first to speak, a confused and startled expression plastered across his face. I was still staring at him – well, really I was staring at my Budew, cradled in his thin arms. He quickly noticed my line of sight and stared at the Budew, who was unconscious for some reason. The poor thing probably fainted. "Is she yours?"

"How do you know it's a she?" I asked, puzzled by the strange kid.

"Her skirt is longer. On males, the skirt is short."

"Oh," I blinked. I really should have known that. Embarrassment burned in my cheeks as I nodded. "Yeah, she's mine." The boy's brows furrowed, and he looked at me with suspicion in his eyes, along with a shyness that had been there from the beginning.

"Then why was she running away?" He asked, though it was more of an accusation.

"Well, she might be scared of me. But," I added when I noticed the shock and anger written clearly across his face, "I only caught her today." The boy visibly relaxed, and he fidgeted, awkwardness plain in his body language.

"Oh. Um," he held the Budew out to me shyly, "here you go." I grabbed the Bud Pokemon with both hands, and fished through my pockets (now filled with water) for her pokeball.

"Ugh, where did I put –" I cut off with a gasp, and slapped my forehead with my hand, sending water droplets flying. The last I had seen of the Budew's pokeball was when it was bouncing away from the road as Falon and I were running, when it released the Budew.

"Are you okay?" The boy asked, part curious and part afraid, while blinking freezing rainwater out of his eyes. He was probably scared that he had happened to run into some crazy girl in the middle of a terrible storm. What luck he must have.

"Yeah," I sighed, exasperated. Now I was going to have to backtrack and search all over, in the downpour (which hadn't eased in the slightest), for a small orb that was three inches in diameter, in a thunderstorm. Fun. "I just have to go find her pokeball." The boy jumped up, and I was hit with more raindrops sent flying by his movement.

"Hey, have you seen a Kricketot? His name is Teddy and he's about a foot tall and he, well, looks like a Kricketot. Have you seen him?" And now I had my answer as to why this boy was out in a storm. I looked at him oddly. Maybe I was the one to stumble across a crazy person. But I scolded myself for not giving him enough credit. He was out here, soaked to the bone, looking for his friend.

I took another look at the boy. His hair was a dark turquoise, which I guessed might be a teal-blue when it was dry. His clothes didn't look like something you'd want to travel in. His shirt was a button-down, with a looked-to-be-once-pressed collar. It was yellow in hue, darker than his eyes, though I guess they would be the same color under sunlight. His pants were brown and fancy, similar to those you would wear with a suit, and they were secured with a black leather belt. His shoes perplexed me. Black and leather as well, they were the type you'd see on a businessman, not a teenager that might be younger than myself.

"No, I haven't seen a Kricketot anywhere, sorry. Have you seen a pokeball?"

"No. What's your name?" He sighed before asking me what my name was. Clearly he was hoping I seen his Pokemon. I felt bad for the kid.


"Nice to meet you. I'm Cecil."

I looked around the Knights' living area. It was pretty much something you'd expect from a wealthy family. A large marble fireplace was the centerpiece of the room, and tongues of fire lapped up at the stone chimney, masking the room in an orange filter.

Above the fireplace hung a portrait of all four members of the Knight family. Sharing the center spotlight, Sophia and Gregory Knight stood side by side, both in crisp, pressed business suits. They matched in more ways than one. Both of them had teal blue hair (although Gregory's was darker) and yellow eyes, though Sophia's were brighter. Mr. Knight's face was sturdier and his cheekbones and jaw line were angular, but his wife had softer features (both of their children took after their mother, though Lucy showed signs of her father, with her straight, angular nose). They both had calming smiles on their faces. In front of them sat (in matching, ornately carved antique chairs) Lucy and Cecil. The siblings were not wearing business suits, but their clothes were significantly expensive looking. The entire family looked warm and welcoming, yet also classy and cool.

"Well, miracle aside, you're all soaked." Lucy stated the obvious. "Dawn, Falon, do you have any dry clothes?" We shook our heads – no. When we had arrived, a maid (the only one in the residence) had taken our backpacks (or duffel bag, in my case) and presumably emptied them of our stuff to dry. So the only thing we had at our disposal was the clothes on our backs. Our pokeballs had also been taken and put in a machine (much like ones in poké centers) so that our companions could rest for the night. "Right. You both look to be the same size as me. You can borrow something of mine. Let's all go get changed and meet up in our living room. You will stay the night, of course?" Falon and I exchanged glances and nodded. Heck yes we wanted to stay in a luxurious summer home belonging to one of the richest families in Sinnoh.

A butler arrived immediately in one of the four arched doorways of the room, beckoning for Falon and I to follow. We set our mugs down and followed obediently.

We were each given a set of pajamas and led to guest rooms right across from each other in a carpeted, fancy hallway. I didn't even think hallways could look fancy. The rooms were nice, but obviously not used often. The bed, night stand, dresser, everything smelled of lemons, indicating that they were freshly cleaned.

After I changed, I met up with Falon in the hall. Unsure as to how to get back to the living room, we walked in a random direction until we ran into somebody. That somebody happened to be Cecil.

"Hey!" Falon barked, surprising the boy whose back was previously facing us. He whirled around in surprise and squirmed in discomfort when he saw who it was. I'm not sure what made the boy so shy, especially since him and myself had been previously acquainted.

"So, uh, why are you here?" Cecil asked me awkwardly as we trekked through the downpour, searching for both his Kricketot and my pokeball. I was worried about the Budew, who was still cradled in my arms. She had been out cold (the reason still unknown) for quite a while, without showing signs of waking anytime soon. My best guess was that she was young – after all, didn't babies and kids sleep for a large percentage of the day? That, coupled with some information I obtained via Internet stating that younger Grass-type Pokemon (especially in the wild) usually slept a lot, due to the fact that they needed to grow in order to survive, made sense. Although this tidbit barely managed to dent my growing worry.

Another cause for anxiety would be my missing companion. When I ran off in pursuit of my Budew, I assumed that Falon was right behind me. That was not so. Little to my knowledge, she continued running in a fruitless attempt to escape the onslaught of freezing raindrops. She was probably in the Oreburgh Gate by now. I didn't blame her for ditching me. In the tumult of water, electricity, and thunderous brain-scrambling noise, one could only worry about putting one foot ahead of another and not tripping, which would result in a muddy, possibly injured mess. My conclusion; she didn't hear me. So, Falon carried on down the path to Oreburgh, assuming that I was right behind her. Ha.

"I'm looking for my pokeball." I furrowed my brows. I was corrected when he shook his head. Oh. "I'm traveling to Oreburgh. What about you?"

"I'm staying in my family's house just over there," he pointed vaguely to the left. I stopped walking, a pending question on my mind.

"Are you related to Lucy Knight?" I decided to be blunt. It works for some, why not me? Cecil skidded to a halt. If I thought the boy radiated awkwardness before, it was nothing compared to now.

"Uh, yeaaah," he drew out the word, as if stalling the rest of his answer. But after a long moment, he blinked. "Did you just say Lucy?" I nodded, and a look of suspicion came over him, but then a look of consideration. "I'm her brother."

Cecil Knight. No wonder his name was so familiar. The name that previously slipped my mind rose to the surface.

"How do you know her? No one calls her Lucy except for people that know her well."

"Well," I struggled to think of words to describe the previous days' events, "it was unintentional." Cecil stared at me, clearly hoping for more of an explanation that I was unable to give. Explaining something meant having a general knowledge about the topic first, and I really was as clueless as the next person when it came to the events of the previous days. How could I possibly hope to explain all that had happened to me?

"So then-" I never knew how Cecil would finish that sentence, because at that very moment, a stupendous clap of thunder boomed overhead, startling me and drowning out everything except the blood roaring in my ears. Beside me, Cecil jumped in fright. And he wasn't the only one. A shrub to our right rustled with a large force, and something colored red propelled itself out of the foliage and into our path. I saw only the flash of white and launched myself at it, securely clasping my soaked hands around a pokéball that I hoped was mine. But that wasn't the end. A squeal came from the bush (that sounded oddly like the sound a violin makes when put in the hands of a, Tyranitar) and a round red-and-cream organism hurled itself out of the shrub, bounced once on my head, and into Cecil's arms.

"TEDDY! YOU'RE OKAY!" Cecil shrieked with joy, wrapping his arms around the collared Pokémon ecstatically. His grin stretched from ear to ear, and I thought I saw his eyes glistening with tears. But that may have been the rain.

Really, Cecil's house wasn't that big. It was one of the Knight family's many summer homes, lying near a serene and glassy lake (or at least it was usually serene and glassy, when there wasn't a thunderstorm beating on its surface, shattering the watery mirror over and over).

The Knights mainly reside in Hearthome City, but Cecil and Lucy decided to rendezvous at the lakeside house to catch up, away from the large cities, and to make preparations for Lucy's seventeenth birthday party in late November. Or so Cecil told me. The house, mostly unused, was cleaned up by the maid and butler that Falon and I had seen earlier. It was small, or rather small in terms of the size of a house one would normally expect from the Knights. Nevertheless, Falon and I still couldn't navigate it.

Cecil showed us the way to the living room. Well, really, he gave Falon and myself directions, and was about to show us, until Falon took off briskly down the hall and I followed. Cecil fell into step beside me. He was a tad smaller than I was, perhaps the same height, but we were both shorter than Falon. I examined him with a shrewd eye. My mind finally recognized the familiar hair hue and eye color and I halted in my tracks.

How on Earth had I not seen it before? Short blue hair, yellow eyes. Lucy didn't have that shy delicacy about her like Cecil did. Everything matched. Lucy wasn't the person I saw in the vision. Cecil was.

But what in Arceus' name did that mean?

"Dawn, are you okay?" I snapped out of my epiphany to meet Falon's inquisitive blue eyes, and looked around the corridor to see that both Cecil and Falon were staring at me oddly. I blinked.

"I'm fine," I said, and we continued on our way, my mind whirling and fizzing with the newly revealed information.

Eventually our small group came to a halt in a room different from the lavishly decorated one from before. Instead of leather couches, ornate walls with crisp white trim, and antique decorations, this one contained a fireplace (yet smaller and more homely), a couch (worn blue cotton), matching chairs, and a small teak coffee table. The walls were simple wooden paneling, and littered with pictures. There, one of young Cecil and Lucy, playing with a ball in a grassy yard. One of Gregory and Sophia, except Sophia's hair was a smoky brown and her eyes were a lively amber, and Gregory's eyes were a mischievous gray. A school picture of Lucy, twelve years old, her braces shining. Next to it was one of Cecil, probably ten, hugging a Lillipup. Cecil noticed me staring.

"That last room's just for show." he told me.

His words reminded me that true, the Knights were famous and wealthy, but they were a family as well. I noticed another picture, not unlike the one in the first sitting room, except Sophia's hair wasn't blue and her eye's weren't yellow (they were the same as in the picture next to it, brown and amber) and Gregory's eyes weren't banana (gray), and everyone looked infinitely more comfortable in normal clothes. They were sitting in front of a fountain, and a sign behind them read "Canalave Zoo."

I hadn't noticed Lucy sitting on the sofa. She beckoned us over to sit, so we did, Falon and I each taking a chair, Cecil taking his place by his sister.

"Well, now that you're all cleaned up, let's have some formal introductions. You all know me, I take it," she said with a light smile on her face. "Cecil, Dawn," she nodded to us in turn, "you two have met. Which leaves Cecil and Falon. Cecil, meet Falon. She's traveling with Dawn. Falon, Cecil," Cecil gave a small, timid wave, to which Falon nodded in recognition. After a short silence, Cecil piped up.

"So, you guys are travelling trainers?" Cecil asked us, a light in his eyes that hadn't been there before. Out of the corners of my eye, I noticed Lucy frown.

"Yeah. We're heading to Oreburgh to challenge the Gym." Falon explained.

"Have you faced any Gyms before?" Lucy asked, looking perplexed, and Cecil nodded, seemingly excited. I scratched the back of my head.

"No, not really…"

"Oh." Cecil looked disappointed, and he visibly slumped. Had he expected two experienced trainers? Falon frowned, looking insulted. I decided to change the topic of conversation before this got ugly.

"So, Cecil, are you a trainer?" I asked lightly, trying to disperse the slowly tensing atmosphere. It worked halfway. Falon relaxed, while Cecil frowned.

"No. I mean, I have Teddy, and I'm licensed and stuff, but I'm not travelling. I always wanted to, though." His eyes shone with a longing that I recognized – he clearly wanted to travel, and I couldn't blame him. Even after the weirdness and surprising difficulty the last few days had posed, I still would never give up my journey, as little as I'd done so far.

"Now, Cecil, we talked about-" Lucy began, but was cut off by my companion.

"If you want to travel that badly, you could always come with us."

For a moment, silence reigned over the room. I stared in surprise at Falon, slightly impressed. Who knew she would offer someone (who clearly wanted to see the region from the eyes of a trainer) the opportunity to travel with us. It seemed awfully humane of her. Falon in turn looked nonchalant, as if she had asked about the weather, or was telling someone she was running to the supermarket. Maybe she hadn't realized what she had asked. Surely becoming an official trainer on an official journey had been momentous for her as well?

Cecil himself was sitting stock still, his feelings unreadable from his body language. But I had had much practice with Barry, and I recognized the signs of emotion. Most prominent were his eyes. For a moment they became cloudy with confusion, then swirled with shock, and finally blazed with happiness.

Lucy was unreadable. She too sat still, but her eyes reflected surprise, and then hardened.

Finally, Cecil said something. "You… you mean it?" He asked the question cautiously, as if unsure of what he heard. Falon shrugged.

"Sure. Dawn?" She looked at me, assuring my acceptance. I nodded and smiled at Cecil. For a minute he looked like he was going to cry. I worried for his health, until he broke out into a grin.

"Yeah! I'd love to-"

"No." All heads in the room turned to Lucy, who had been silent until this point. Cecil glared at her with a mix of indignation and confusion.

"But sis-"

"I said no, Cecil. You know how we feel about this." I stared in shock. What was that tone she had used?

"But-" Cecil's voice became heavy with hopelessness, as if he knew he had lost the battle already.

"No is no, Cecil." Her words were unwaveringly cold, business-like, as if she were talking to a misbehaving employee, not her younger brother. Falon and I gaped at the scene unfolding before us in bewilderment.

Cecil stood, his fists clenched and trembling. Without a word or backwards glance, he raced out of the room. One thought raced through my head; what just happened? I glanced at Falon and saw it reflected on her features as well.

Lucy turned to us. I gulped. Uh-oh, I thought. She didn't look happy.

"I would appreciate it if you wouldn't meddle in affairs that weren't yours to tamper with." She told us coldly. I shuddered. Where was the sweet, over-compensating girl I had seen just two days ago? She stood and prepared to leave, addressing us once more. "Please leave in the morning." It was an order. She stalked out of the room, leaving us with absolutely no inkling of what was going on.

I didn't sleep well that night. I kept tossing and turning, my mind flying back to that conversation. Who was that Lucy that regarded her brother, her guests, with such chilly separation? I barely recognized the girl. True, I hadn't met her but several days before, but I still thought I knew what kind of person she was. She hadn't given any sort of warning that she had a different side like that. Or perhaps… Maybe Cecil was the one that made her act that way. It certainly was plausible. She had been perfectly pleasant until Falon had offered him to travel with us.

Sighing, I put my thoughts and opinions about Lucy Knight on hold until I had a clearer mind and more evidence. I eventually drifted into a restless sleep, bad dreams echoed by the raging thunder outside.

In the morning, Falon and I awoke to find our packs had been placed outside our doors, everything in it clean and dry or replaced, and our Pokemon were all well rested. I left feeling more confused than ever.

The skies were cloudy, except a light, gloomy gray replaced the dreadful blackish-purple of last night. The ground was damp and a misty fog lined the trail to the Oreburgh Gate.

Trying to think about something pleasant, I pondered on how lucky Falon and I were to have landed in the same place. While she ran on when I was chasing my Budew, she noticed the summer home some ways off the path. Wanting to stay dry, she had taken a seat on the wrap-around porch until someone (Lucy) had noticed and invited her inside. To think, if it weren't for Cecil, I probably would've been stuck outside in the storm all night. If his Kricketot hadn't found my pokéball either, I would've been in major trouble, with a scared Budew and hundreds of yards of forest to cover.

We continued on down the road for the rest of the day, not speaking much. We ate lunch along the road around midday, in which I was faced with a new problem.

"You need to feed your Budew," Falon reminded me, and I sighed in both reluctance and an attempt to stall the conversation. "No stalling." Dang it. "Maybe she won't make an escape attempt this time," she added in an attempt to comfort me. It didn't really work.

With crossed fingers, as Glacie, Falon, and Falon's Pokémon looked on, I pulled out the Budew's pokéball and tossed it into the air. In a flash, the bud Pokémon was standing before me.

We regarded each other cautiously, the Budew regarding me with fear and uncertainty, and I regarding her with hesitation and uncertainty. At least we were united in something.

I decided to make the first move. Reaching slowly, my movements obvious as to not spook my Pokemon, I reached for my sandwich and broke off a piece of lettuce, which I silently and carefully held out in front of the Budew. She looked at me fearfully, but something connected between us as our eyes met. Maybe she realized that I didn't want to stick her up in a tree and leave her, or maybe she genuinely wanted to be my friend, or maybe she was just hungry, but she reached over and took a small bite of the lettuce. I exhaled in relief, and Falon clapped, both congratulatory and teasingly. I glared at her.

After a restful though wary lunch, we finally came to the Oreburgh Gate, ahead of schedule. I stared blatantly at the somewhat massive cave opening in Mount Coronet. I gazed upward, at the gargantuan wall of solid rock that climbed as far as the eye could see and beyond, through the clouds and to the heavens themselves. If I squinted, I could see the faded words Ut Arceus Benedic Itineris Tui emblazoned above the cave mouth, which, even after looking at millions of ancient sayings and lines in church in archaic languages, I had no idea what this said. It was obvious that the words had something to do with Arceus, but I couldn't deduce much more than that.

I glanced up and to the north at the cloudy skies, where some blue was shining through, to catch a glimpse of the snowy peaks of Mount Coronet. I smiled. Very rarely did the clouds clustering around the caps of the mountain range part long enough to get a good, clear look at the tip of Coronet, but if you did, it was said that Arceus herself wished you luck. Luck on what was never specified. I took one last look upward and turned to Falon.

"Let's go?" She looked at me, startled, and I noticed she was pale and her skin looked clammy, and she glared at the Gate with a look that was distaste mingled with dread. I guess whatever it was didn't hinder her too much, because she nodded, gulped, and stalked inside. I followed.

Unlike the rather deserted Route 203, the Oreburgh Gate contained many human beings, and many took notice of my companion and myself. Most were friendly. There was a jolly-looking man near the entrance who was examining rocks and ores, from the look of his tool belt. When he saw us, he smiled, waved, and tossed me a gray and black speckled stone. I was unsure of what it was but I smiled and waved anyways. We passed a troop of young Starly Scouts examining something in a tunnel that branched off of the main path. The kids waved as we passed.

The Oreburgh Gate was longer than I thought, but the fact that the passage was well known and well used worked wonderfully. Lamps lit the way through the cave, lighting the correct path so that passers weren't confused as to which of the many paths was the correct one. Throughout the walk, Falon didn't say a word. I looked at her, and noticed her fists were clenched and she seemed to be counting under her breath.

We came across two people shrouded in shadows, as if hiding from the cheery lamps. I didn't spare many glances, because whenever I tried to get a good look at them, they would suddenly halt their hushed conversation, turn, and glare at me. What I did see was odd. Both had creepily similar pin-straight, sharply cut hair (I couldn't make out the color) and high-collared shirts. I couldn't discern much more than that. We walked past them, and I couldn't help but feel wary of the strangers. They had seemed a little bit more than menacing, and I was glad when we turned a bend and saw a bright light ahead.

"Falon, look!" I nudged her, earning a slightly startled jump. Then she saw the light ahead, and I saw a jovial grin like none other spread across her face. Without a word, she raced ahead of me, running as though a pack of rabid Beartic were at her heels.

I shook my head, smiled, and followed, towards the sunlight.

Does anyone here speak Latin? I figured, archaic language = Latin. I used Google Translate, and we all know how reliable that is. I believe it's supposed to say, May Arceus Bless Your Journey. Yes? No?

Plot should pick up soon. I'm also going to try to update faster (not that I don't aways say that), but Palladium's about to reach its anniversary, and I want to finish before anniversary #2 comes along.

Review Responses!

Youngster Joey: Duly noted. Thanks!

The Last Dragonite: I assumed that it was you, though I have to admit it did cause some confusion at first. I guess they've been making so many additions and changes to the formatting that it glitches. I preferred the old way, myself.

Well, hopefully, the Budew can make up for the loss of character development by helping out the story. Besides, I got stuff planned for her. And I suppose you know already, but nope. Not Lucy. And thanks again for beta-reading.

Rogue Krayt Dragon: Thank you! I hope it gets better - it's been going for nearly a year, if I hadn't improved, that wouldn't be very good.

Review, please! They make my days!



PS Black/White 2 anyone? Opinions?