Chapter Thirty-two: Assumers
Fighting For Everything
I heard a banging noise. My eyes shot open. I sat up quickly. Someone was knocking on my door. Roserade, who occupied most of the bed, jumped up. "Get under the bed." I told her. She jumped down and crawled under. I stood up and rubbed my eyes. It was the early hours of the morning. I opened my door.
"Good morning, Sunshine!" Ember greeted. He waltzed into my room.
"Em, it's, uh, early." I closed the door and crossed my arms over my chest. "I was asleep."
"I know that! But no one in town was awake so I came over here." He lounged on the couch and rested his arms behind his head. "It's better than being in a tree. This way I can have better access to you guys."
Roserade jumped out from under the bed and started to lunge at Ember. "No!" I yelled. Roserade looked at me. "He's a friend." She jumped up on the bed.
"You really are a rebel." He laughed. "So, roomie, should we have a pillow fight or something?"
I rolled my eyes. "First of all, no, second of all, you're not my roommate."
He made a dramatic face and put a hand on his heart. "Cynthia Marie! I would never say something like that to you!"
"Shut up Ember." I teased. "Why are you in such a good mood anyways?" I sat on the bed and started petting Roserade. The day before was spent moping and being depressed. We all were separated. We needed to cope in different ways…I needed to train, so I did. Even though the whole time I was reminded that I was down a Pokémon…It helped me get over the rebel thing. Rowan spent the day at the library, he had to send out Brush's letter to his wife…After that, he was pretty upset too. I'm not sure how Volkner and Ember spent their day, but we were all grieving and emotional wrecks.
"It's a new day!" He said enthusiastically. Knowing Ember, he was over it all. He could adapt so well.
"You know you can't stay here, right?"
"Oh pish posh. Why are you being such a downer?"
"Because we can't share a room. Bunk with Volkner, at least that's ethical."
"No way. That dude is a creep-fest with extra anger. He might kill me in my sleep or something!"
"Come on, he's not that bad."
He gave me a look. "Why are you defending him?"
"You're defending him. Why?"
"I'm not defending him. I'm just saying he won't kill you in your sleep…Or any other time."
"How would you know what he does in his sleep?"
I frowned. "Ember, where are you going?"
"I'm just saying. You two aren't, you know, a thing, right?"
"Absolutely not!" I snapped. "Why in Sinnoh would you assume that?!"
"Good." He smiled. "And I don't know, you two seemed pretty tight. That's all. He talks about you like you're a saint, too."
I cocked my head. "What? He talks about me?"
"Yeah, yesterday we talked a little bit and he just speaks highly of you."
"Well I don't speak highly of him. Believe me."
"Good! Because like I said, creep-fest." I laid down on the couch. "So roomies?"
"Still no. Bunk with Rowan."
He snapped his fingers. "Dang. Oh well, better then Mister Extra Anger. Besides, Professor Rowan in like my idol…It could be fun." He stood up and left the room.
I laid back down to go to sleep. A few moments later there was another knock at my door. "Come in." Roserade quickly got under the bed. Rowan and Ember walked in.
Rowan was wearing a robe and looked like he just came out of bed. Ember was wearing a sheepish grin. "Did you send this to me?" Rowan pointed to Ember.
"…Yes." What did he do?!
"I woke up with him leaning over my bed staring at me. Return to sender." He left the room.
Ember chuckled awkwardly. "So roomies?"
I rolled my eyes. "Fine."
He went back to the sofa. "You know, I had to get up this early everyday in The Callousen."
I sat next him. "What was that like?" I hoped I wasn't crossing a boundary that wasn't supposed to be crossed when I asked that. We were best friends, after all. I didn't think there were a lot of boundaries.
"It was…Weird." He looked away. He was deep in thought. "I turned into a different person. It all feels like a big blur. I did things I never would think about doing…" He looked ashamed. "I really was the bad guy, and I liked it. I feel like I grew up though…But at the same time became more immature. I lost sight of the right things. I lost morals and…" He sighed. He was done talking about it. I didn't pressure him for more information. I was just curious.
He met my eyes. "And when I saw you out there, it's like a rubber band snapped back into place in my head. I turned back into…Myself." He smiled. "I missed you."
"I missed you too. Everyone misses you."
"Are you going to go home?"
"I can't go home." His gaze fell to the floor. "I don't want anyone to know what I've done."
"No one has to know, Em. But your mother is sick. She's literally worried sick."
Hurt crossed his face. "I miss everyone, trust me. But I can't go back yet. I need to lay low anyways…Until you replace Lea."
I looked at the floor, too. "I may not be able to. You know that, right?"
"I believe in you." He looked up at me and smiled gently.
There was another knock on the door. I sighed and walked over. I opened the door, Volkner stood there. "Hi." I greeted.
He stepped in. He frowned when he saw Ember. "Miss Cynthia, Rowan and I were headed to get breakfast. We were wondering if you would like to join…I didn't realize you weren't alone." His eyes cut to Em.
"We'll be down shortly." I said. Volkner nodded and left.
"See? Mister Extra Anger." Ember snickered.
I rolled my eyes. I walked into the bathroom and changed, then the two of us went down for breakfast.
Our breakfast consisted of bread and berry jam. It was quite good. Although it was awkward. Rowan was kind of uncomfortable with Ember, Ember was freaked out by Volkner, Volkner really didn't like Ember, and I hardly liked table-talk anyways, so it was quiet unless Rowan talked to me.
"Miss Cynthia," started Rowan, "I hope you're preparing for your journey to Snowpoint. The battle will be challenging."
"Yes I am. I'm not giving up, now I need to get to Lea more than ever." I used to be apprehensive to tell my plans to Rowan, but now I know he's one-hundred-percent on my side.
Rowan smiled. "Great, I love to hear that. I'll be heading back to Sandgem today. I suggest you leave soon as well. You know, get your head back on track."
I nodded. "I'll be leaving today or tomorrow. I agree."
"Ember, what will you be doing? Heading back to Celestic?" Rowan asked.
Ember was overly thrilled his idol talked to him. "I'm not sure. I might stay here, I might go somewhere else. I'll be a drifter for a while, I guess."
Rowan nodded. "Makes sense." He sighed. "I watched Jubilife News this morning…"
"And?" I pressed.
"They declared Captain Steel deceased. They said he drowned in a boating accident. Lea has declared him dead, that means…"
"Ellena and them are dead, too." I finished. My heart ached.
"My deepest apologies, Miss Cynthia. They were all such good people."
"Well, Lea will go down. For them, for my grandfather, my parents...He will be stopped somehow, someway."
"I'm afraid that's harder than you think." Rowan said.
"I don't care. Lea's going down."
The next few hours I spent in my room, half-sleeping half-thinking. Ember and Volkner went to see Rowan off. I said my goodbye. It was a simple goodbye and he patted my shoulder. Nothing too gushy.
I crawled out of bed and threw my hair up in a bun. I went out to train in the forest. I decided to train as much as I could here, and only as much as I have to in Snowpoint. Training in the snow did not sound fun.
I walked out to Embers 'camp' to see if he was there. He was. He was leaning against the tree, deep in though.
"Hey." I greeted.
He looked up at me and smiled. "Hey." He had his guard shirt in his hard. He looked down at it. "I think I'm going to throw this in the river…And never look back."
I looked over at my cloak. I had thrown it to the ground the other night and it lay there still. I went and grabbed it. "I'm right behind you." We walked out of the forest and to Route 218. There was the ocean that connected Canalave and Jubilife. You could see a ship headed for Jubilife in the distance.
We looked at each other, then threw our items out to sea.
"Why'd you throw your cloak?"
"The rebels are done…If I'm going to avenge them, I'm going to do it unmasked. I'm going to do it as me."
"I'm done being a Callousen. I'm never going back."
"Why do you have to lay low? Why can't you just leave."
"It doesn't work that way, Cyn. I'm basically enrolled. You can't get out once you're in. If you try to leave, you normally die. Lea is vicious, he doesn't tolerate quitters."
I nodded in understanding. "I can see that. Are you worried they'll find you?"
"No. They won't pay enough attention. They'll assume me dead. But…Better safe than sorry." I knew Ember was avoiding going home. I would have, too. I was ashamed to admit it to Grandmother and Jamie when I quit. He's ashamed to see his parents. It's all understandable.
I looked at him. He was still wearing his undershirt. You could see his shoulder blades. There were red gashes covering them. I gasped. "Ember, what in Sinnoh is covering your back?"
At first Ember looked confused, but then he caught on. "Yeah…Those are marks from…Something."
"Punishment in the Callousen."
I covered my mouth. Punishment, as in someone hitting him multiple time with some weapon. "Sinnoh! Ember!"
He pulled off his shirt and turned his back to me. His bare back was covered in gashes. I reached out and touched it. He winced.
"This is awful. Why didn't you leave sooner?"
"I told you…You change. You get into stuff, meet people, your head gets all off track." He put his shirt back on.
I hugged him. "Well I'm glad you're back."
We turned around and went back to the camp. Volkner was there when we arrived. He looked angry, great.
"Hey, I wondered where you went." He said to me.
"And we didn't wonder about you." Ember said. His tone came off aggravated.
Volkner cut his eyes at Ember, then looked back at me. "Do you want to train with me? I thought you could use some company."
Before I could answer, Ember spoke up. "I could be her company."
"I wanted to be." Volkner snapped.
"I was the one already being her company." Em growled. This was a side of him I had never seen. Just like when we were in the volcano. Unlike this morning, when he was normal. This must be the 'matured yet immature' side of him.
"I don't give—"
"Guys! What are you doing?!" I stood in-between them. They both intensely stared at each other. "I know you aren't very fond of each other, but let's act mature here."
"I am acting mature." Ember snapped.
"Shut up! She was talking!"
"Both of you shut up! I'm going to train alone."
"It's not safe out there." Volkner said. "I should go with you."
"Um, no." Ember stepped closer. "I was in The Callousen, I know what they think, I'm better to protect her."
"You don't know what I've been through, kid."
"Stop it! Ember, Volkner, both of you stay behind. I want to go alone. I think we can all agree that I can handle myself, I don't need a bodyguard. I'm strong." I stepped away. Volkner and Ember weren't following. I continued to my usual train-spot.
I had finished up training with Milotic, Spiritomb, Togekiss and Gabite when someone approached me. "Volkner, I told you not to come out here."
"He doesn't know I'm out here." He shrugged. "And what he doesn't know won't hurt him."
"I don't need protection."
"You do need company." He smirked.
I scoffed. "Rather not. Why didn't you leave with Rowan, anyway?"
"I wanted to stay here with you."
I blinked. "And why?"
His smirk grew. "Because you want me to."
I smacked my head. "Sinnoh, stop saying that. You know that's not true."
"Then you want Ember to stay?"
"You have feelings for Ember." He said matter-o-fact.
"Absolutely not! He's my friend, friend! Why does everyone assume untrue things?!"
"Then he has feelings for you that aren't friendship."
"I seriously doubt that. We've been friends for a while."
"You really don't have feelings for him?"
The honest answer…Was no. I truly didn't have anything but friendship feelings for Ember. I knew we got too close in the cave and we may have gotten too close other times…But it was because he wasn't thinking straight, and I wasn't thinking straight. I wanted comfort at the too-close times, not romance. "No. I really don't."
"Maybe you should tell him that."
I put my hands on my hips. "Why am I even telling you this?! It's not your business! Just leave me alone." Sadness crossed his face, but he left.
I scoffed. It really isn't that mans business. Of course I don't have feelings for Ember. I'm so tired of all these…These…Assumers!
I continued training with Roserade. Everyone was doing good. Ever since the cave, Gabite was listening perfectly. I even saw signs that she may evolve soon. Milotic was obeying me most of the time, Spiritomb was doing greatly ever since my presence was banned, and Togekiss was fighting-ready.
It started to rain lightly when I headed to Ember's 'camp.' Volkner and Ember were sitting there, not looking at each other, in silence. When I approached, they got up.
"Hey." They said together, then gave each other dirty looks.
I just gave them weird looks. "What's going on here?" I was very confused.
"Nothing." They said together again, and then gave the dirty looks.
I rolled my eyes. "You two are freaking me out. I have decided I'm leaving for Snowpoint in the morning."
"Okay, I'll…I don't know." Ember said.
"I don't know what I'll do, either." Volkner said.
"Good to know you all have your lives figured out." A voice said. We all turned and looked.
"Oliver!" I ran over to him.
Volkner and Ember were right behind me. "Who's this?" They said together. They had their protective faces on again.
"This is Oliver from Eterna."
"Hey, Cynthia." Oliver wore his usual apparel. He clutched the straps of his backpack and ran a hand through his green-tinted hair.
"This is Ember and Volkner." I introduced them since they were being rude. They weren't happy seeing Oliver.
"So Cynthia, what was that letter all about? You freaked Annie out."
"You showed Annie?!"
"Yeah, you said to get people to bring with me, I asked the few people I know and they all said no. But I'm here! Man, it took me forever to find you."
"Well, you're late." I said and chuckled. "The wars over."
"War?!" He echoed.
I gave him the rundown of the rebels and the war. When it was over, he looked a bit dazed. "Wow…That's a lot to take in." He muttered.
"You're telling me." I agreed.
"Then…I guess I wasted my time coming here, awesome." He ran a hand through his hair.
"Yeah, I'm sorry."
"But hey, I have some news on the…" He looked at Ember and Volkner, who sat quietly the whole time. "You know."
I knew he was talking about the statues. I nodded. "Let's walk and talk." We started walking through the woods.
"So Annie looked at them and she has a theory."
"She says they could have held the spirit of a Pokémon."
Well, that would explain a lot. "Are you sure?"
"Nah, you can't really be sure of that kind of thing. You know? And she says the drunken statue maker was nothing but your average fool, so it doesn't even make sense that he would have Pokémon-possessed gems." He chuckled, I fake laughed.
"Yes, that wouldn't make sense."
"Have you figured anything out?"
"Not really." I didn't want to go into the while 'I was possessed but now I'm not' thing with him.
"Oh…Well, I guess it's all just a freak thing. We looked into it too much."
"Yeah…I guess so." Fantina's words echoed in my head:
If it was Pokémon.