Legends of Kalos

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Chapter 6: Ghost

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Having a fire in front of her was relieving for Serena. The night was a cold one, probably not the most appropriate for her to spend her first night out in. Luckily for her, Fayne was perfectly willing to spit a few embers and light a fire for her and Calem, and though Calem was reluctant to admit it, he was grateful.

She placed her hands out in front of her, feeling the fire heat them up instantly. The orange glow filled the area, almost like the entire meadow was on fire. It would have been scary, seeing all the flowers turn orange like they were burning, but it was so cripplingly beautiful that Serena couldn't bring herself to think it was scary. Above the fire, tiny embers floated into the air like hundreds of tiny pixies, fizzling out when they reached a certain height.

Fayne was curled up on Serena's lap, eyes loosely shut as she snored away, blowing warm breath onto the girl's knees. Giggling silently, Serena placed a hand on her Pokémon's back and felt her chest rising and falling, a feeling that, for her, was calming.

Froakie sat beside Calem, face neutral and soft, monotone croaks coming from his throat. He seemed alert, though his half-lidded eyes wouldn't make anyone think that. Even so, he was sitting up tall, ready to spit out any amount of water if the fire got out of hand. Lying beside him was Calem, his eyes also loosely shut and his hands behind his head in what Serena assumed was a relaxing position. With the soft grass beneath them and the generally pretty surroundings, Serena couldn't deny that, despite the fact that she was outside in the open, she felt extremely comfortable.

But she just wasn't tired enough to sleep yet. In fact, her eyes were wide open, staring at nothing but the fire before her, hand absentmindedly stroking Fayne behind the ear. It wasn't because she didn't want to go to sleep. She wouldn't deny that she'd be tired in the morning, but sleeping didn't feel like an option right now.

"Fen?"

Fayne, apparently sensing the troubled atmosphere, opened her eyes tiredly and stared up at her trainer. The look on her face was concerned, but she seemed to calm down a little when Serena chuckled and continued stroking her on the head.

"It's fine, I just don't feel like sleeping,"

Fayne frowned, hopping off of her lap and standing in front of her, flicking her tail back and forth with a still somewhat worried look on her face. Raising an eyebrow, Serena shifted so her right arm was holding the weight of her slouched body. After a few seconds of simply staring at her Pokémon, she finally stood up, placing her hands on her hips.

"You're not too tired, are you?" she asked Fayne, crossing her arms as she looked down at her.

At her feet, Fayne shook her head and twitched her ear, turning her head to the side curiously.

Turning to face Froakie now, Serena gestured towards the fire, catching the water-type's attention. "We're going for a walk," she stated. "Do you mind watching over the fire?"

Froakie croaked again, louder this time, and hopped a few inches ahead of him so he was now sitting right in front of the flames, watching them flicker around intensely. His eyes, usually so still, were flicking back and forth as they watched the movements, and Serena didn't see too much more before she turned around and gestured for Fayne to follow.

Still slightly confused, the Fennekin trotted along behind her, nose pointed to the ground as she sniffed at the countless petals below her paws. Serena was walking ahead, head held high though not particularly sure where she was going. She pulled her hat onto her head as she walked, feeling empty without it propped on top of her. The cold air of the night stopped hitting her forehead once she did so, and she was somewhat relieved because of it.

When the two reached a large, empty field, filled with nothing but grass and the occasional flower standing on its own, Serena stopped, so suddenly that Fayne almost bumped into her. The surroundings were dark, though her eyes had adjusted enough so that she could make out faint shadows surrounding her.

"I figured we'd work on your Flame Charge tonight," she said, as Fayne sat down beside her. "Viola said you might not to control it properly, so it might be a little overwhelming, but you can go back and sleep if you need to."

Seeming a little more enlightened now, Fayne nodded and stood up confidently, paws evenly parted and gaze pinned straight ahead of her, a determined look in her auburn eyes.

"Remember, you built up the heat from a normal Ember attack, so, uh…" Serena grimaced. "Actually, I really don't know how you did it other than it had something to do with your ability, so… just try to focus, okay?"

Not seeming any more confident at all with her trainer's words, Fayne nodded slowly and trotted to the middle of the field. Build up the heat from the Ember, then direct it to her body instead of just her mouth. That was how she remembered doing it last time, but the memory was foggy as is. Still, it couldn't hurt to practice. Pinning her ears back, she parted her paws, concentrating on the heat building up in her body. She felt the flames build up in her throat, but the more powerful attack had come out of her ears, so maybe she should concentrate on getting the heat to her ears first?

"Okay, Fayne! Use Flame Charge!"

Serena's command came all too soon, and Fayne resisted the urge to close her eyes as she readied the Ember attack. Actually, she wasn't at all sure of how she was meant to redirect the heat to a different part of her body. Ignoring the fact that she had no clue what she was doing in general, she focused on her head instead of her throat. When she'd learned Ember, it had also been by accident, but she didn't know how to heat up her body at all back then.

Breaking herself out of her wandering thoughts, she felt her ear hair flare up, parting ways and heating up her brain. Somehow, she'd done it, though unleashing the energy didn't seem too easy now that she'd built it up. Gritting her teeth so hard it was almost painful, she dug her claws into the ground and barked violently, her entire body now shaking vigorously. It was then that a few flames began to flicker inside her ears, and, as she forced them out, they began to surround her body.

Seeing this, Serena tensed up and resisted the urge to punch the air. Even if Fayne didn't pull the attack off entirely, it was a start. After a few seconds, the scrunched-up face of the fox relaxed again, and the bright orange flames began to die away, leaving nothing but a panting Fennekin in their wake.

Serena grinned, much to the confusion of Fayne, who looked far too disappointed. "Good job, buddy!" she called. "You're getting there. We just need more power, that's-"

"So, still training, are we?"

Hearing the voice behind her, Serena squeaked and jumped back, whirling around and shooting a hand out to slap whoever was behind her. When she tried to, however, the person's hand gripped her own wrist, tightly binding their rough fingers around her arm.

"W-what?"

When her eyes adjusted, she saw the slightly amused face of Calem in front of her. He looked ready to burst out laughing at her furious face, and he almost fell over when she used her free hand to push him back.

"Y-you jerk!" She took a few steps back as Calem began to laugh. Through the laughter, he spat out a few words that were barely audible.

"Y-you should have seen your face!" he spluttered, stumbling around like he was stuck on roller skates. Apparently the next face he pulled was an attempt to imitate Serena's "shocked" expression, only his own face was too filled with glee to even do anything close to the sort.

Grimacing, though slightly embarrassed, Serena crossed her arms. "I thought you were asleep."

Calem stopped laughing promptly. "Nah, just resting my eyes. Froakie's back with the fire, but I figured I'd follow you over here. I would say it couldn't hurt, but you did nearly slap me." He coughed out another chuckle, and Serena nearly slapped him again.

"Huh," she muttered, staring at the ground. "So you're a stalker?"

"I am nothing of the sort!" A mock-offended look appeared on the boy's face. "I was just watching from a distance, that's all."

"Oh, yes, without the victim knowing." Serena frowned. "Anyway, yeah, we're trying to get Flame Charge right." She gestured beside her to Fayne, who'd since trotted up beside her so see what was going on. If the person Serena was talking to had been anyone but Calem, they probably would have received an unlucky Ember to the face.

"Flame Charge?" he said, as if he hadn't quite heard right. "Has Fayne used it before?"

"During the gym battle," explained Serena. "Viola said it was because of her Blaze ability, which made a lot of pent-up power and caused her to use Flame Charge instead of Ember."

"Ah, I see." Calem nodded. "But I guess it's hard for Fayne to use it when she's not in the Blaze state, right?"

"Right." Serena looked down at her Pokémon, who was done with panting from the built up power and was now staring determinedly up at her trainer. "You want to go again?"

Fayne nodded once. "Fen."

-.-.-

Serena awoke the next morning to the sun rising over the horizon, shining rather rude rays of sun into her eyes. Groggily, she turned herself over, eyes still shut tight and reluctant to open. She hadn't gone to bed particularly early the previous night; training with Fayne and Calem had made sure of that, and she'd told herself she wouldn't be tired the next day. Oh, how wrong she was.

Beside her, the burned-out fire lay, ashen on the ground with only a few burned leaves and twigs to show it had ever been there in the first place. Fayne lay at her other side, still sleeping soundly, faint snores coming out with her breaths.

Drowsily, Serena yawned and sat up, finally forcing her eyes to open and welcome the new day. Well, they weren't so welcoming. Actually, they glared ahead of her, cursing the day for making her wake up. She still wasn't a morning person, and she was beginning to think that just being on a journey wasn't going to make her one.

Her bag lay next to her, and that was the first thing she'd willingly welcomed that morning. That bag had food in it – she'd made herself sandwiches the previous day when she was at the Pokémon Center, and she was looking forward to eating them. Hungrily grabbing for the bag, she unzipped it and began digging through it, causing Calem to shift awake on the other side of the fire pit. Though she ignored him completely, she heard him groan as he turned over, shielding his eyes from the glaring sun.

"Ugh, who woke the sun up?" he questioned. After he said it, he seemed completely baffled by what he'd just said. Rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand, he turned to Serena, who was now unwrapping a sandwich almost ravenously.

"Morning," she said absentmindedly, sighing contently as she finally won the battle with the foil it was wrapped in. Taking a massive bite, she whipped her head around to Calem and grinned toothily.

"Crap," he cursed quietly, frowning at his own bag. "I forgot to make food."

Serena laughed. "Idiot." Before Calem could retort, she turned to her own bag and pulled out a second sandwich. "I made two, you can have this one. I assume we'll be at Lumiose City before lunch." She tossed the sandwich towards him, and he gratefully caught it and began unwrapping it.

After a good breakfast that Serena had waited far too long for, the two swung their bags over their shoulders and continued on towards Lumiose City. Nothing really happened on the route in such early hours of the morning; there were no children, angry gardeners, or rude roller skaters like the previous day, only the occasional wild Pokémon that would jump out and attack, though the majority of them were easily dealt with.

The end of the route came quickly, and it was barely ten o'clock when they reached it. The city could be seen in the distance on almost the entire route, this side of the place only blocking the bottom with a few thick trees surrounding the place, though the tops of the buildings were far too tall to be hidden. She imagined the city on a foggy day, the skyscrapers breaking through the clouds and becoming shrouded by the mist. For now, even the very tips of the buildings could be seen without much trouble at all.

"Dexio! I think they're over there!"

Footsteps came from ahead of Calem and Serena, and the voice made both of them jump. The first voice was feminine and whiny.

"Slow down, Sina! They can't go anywhere."

The second voice was nagging and tired, quite the opposite of the first. It was male, and when Serena looked up, she saw a boy with honey-blond hair walking up towards them. Or rather, being dragged up to them by a purple-haired girl with an excited look on her face.

"Hey, you two!" called the girl, supposedly called Sina. "You're the newbie trainers that the professor enlisted as his servants… I mean, assistants, right?"

The girl stopped in front of them, grinning as the boy – Dexio – stepped beside her, panting and shaking his head. When he stood straight again, he saw Serena and Calem's confused faces and lightly punched the girl on the shoulder.

"Don't be rude!" he snapped through his panting, before he turned towards Serena. "Sorry about her, she's a little outgoing." He sounded a little uneasy with Sina glaring at him, though he tried his best to ignore it.

Serena looked at Calem and urged him to talk.

"Yeah, we're the trainers," he said, apparently trying to look more at Dexio than Sina. He seemed much easier to talk to. "Who're you?"

Hesitating for a moment, Dexio fumbled to hold out his hand. "I'm Dexio," he said quickly, narrowly avoiding a beckoning elbow from the girl beside him. He held out his hand, which Calem took and shook it. "I'm also an assistant to the professor, but we're a bit different to you two…"

"We're the professor's first-hand assistants!" announced Sina proudly, jumping out in front of Dexio and grinning widely. "I'm Sina, a lovely name for a lovely lady." She winked, holding a hand out to Serena, who took it shakily. Sina raised an eyebrow, but shook the confusion off and returned to her talking. "We're here to research fairy-type Pokémon. Say, do you two have any?"

Calem looked at Serena and nodded, and the blonde stayed silent as she pulled out Flabébé's pokéball. "She's, uh, a little disobedient, but…" Swallowing her words, she tossed the capsule into the air and it burst open, revealing a half-asleep Flabébé, resting her head on the stem of her flower. With all the eyes on her, her eyes opened drowsily and she looked around in the sudden brightness.

When Sina bounded over to her and began examining her with every weird face she seemed to have, Flabébé turned around to Serena and grimaced, before turning her nose into the air and sighing frustratingly.

"See what I mean…" Serena gulped, now gripping Flabébé's pokéball tightly in her hand.

"Huh, that's very out of character for such a normally sweet Pokémon…" muttered Dexio, scratching his chin. "But it's not like you're doing anything wrong. You probably just caught it, right? They can only be found around here."

Sighing, Serena nodded slowly.

"Exactly, so it just needs some time to warm up to you, that's all." Dexio grinned. "Maybe you should return it to its pokéball for now.

Nodding, Serena held up the ball and returned her Pokémon to it, to which the Flabébé didn't complain at all. If anything, she seemed to welcome the beam of light that would enclose her and stop her from having to socialize. Sina backed off, seeming a little disappointed at the fact that she couldn't spend any more time with the fairy-type.

"Aw, but it was so cute…" she muttered, but her face lightened up again after a few seconds. She bounded back beside Dexio and grinned. "Anyway, we've been waiting all morning for you. We're here to show you guys to the lab." She crossed her arms and looked around. "Wait, aren't there meant to be five of you?"

"They're behind us," explained Calem, glancing behind him as if the other three would pop up as he spoke. "But they should be here around midday. Well, Shauna should be, anyway."

Dexio and Sina glanced at each other, before nodding.

"Alright, we'll just meet them at the lab later, then." Dexio gestured for the two to follow. "Come on, Professor Sycamore is dying to meet you both."

Even the gate to Lumiose City was bustling with energy. People of all nationalities gathered around, some of them with Pokémon at their sides, others carrying briefcases and wearing suits ready for work. Many of them were simply gathered in the gate, waiting for whatever they needed to be waiting for or making conversation with the gatekeeper, who seemed tired already despite it only being mid-morning. Serena felt somewhat sorry for her; it seemed as if she just wanted to be left alone, though with a job in such a bit city, she assumed it would be hard to ever be left alone.

The city itself was filled with noise, cars, people, Pokémon, and more noise. In front of them, Sina and Dexio had to yell instructions behind them through the sounds of cars honking their horns at people going a kilometer or two below the speed limit in front of them. It seemed to be a frustrating place to live, especially in the morning, but Serena was intrigued by the place all the same. She and Calem had to link arms as to not get separated in the crowds of angry businessmen and mothers trying to keep ahold of their children, and the two being some of the shortest in the place didn't really help at all.

After walking about halfway up the street, Sina and Dexio stopped walking in front of the two and waited for them to catch up, Sina looking much more impatient than her male companion. Her arms were crossed and her foot was tapping the ground at a quick pace, eyes squinted and a frown wiped over her mouth. The place they were waiting was slightly off the main path, so Serena and Calem were relieved to no end when they could stop to take a breather from having to dodge everyone around them.

"You two have obviously never been in such a big city before, have you?" said Sina bluntly, a small, sly smile playing at her lips.

Calem grimaced. "Serena grew up on a farm in Sinnoh and I grew up in the smallest town in the region. I would have thought it was obvious that we're not used to crowds."

SIna shrugged. "You have a point. Anyway"—She turned around and pointed towards a fancy, brick building ahead of them—"the lab is just up ahead, see? Let's get going! The professor is waiting!" She sang the last words as she took off through the crowds again, Dexio hesitating and running after her as she did so, leaving Calem and Serena standing alone in the empty patch of the city.

A playful grin appearing on his lips, Calem held his arm out to Serena for her to hook her own with. "Are you ready to continue, M'lady?" he said, a fake British, medieval accent in his words.

Serena giggled, getting the hint and hooking her arm through his own. "I am, My Good Lord." She grinned as Calem began leading her through the crowds once more. The two continued to laugh as they shoved their way down the street, keeping themselves together as best as they could. Eventually, after a few minutes and a few more bruises, they were standing outside what was supposedly the Pokémon Lab.

The building was relatively modern, though with arched windows and the brick walls it looked almost like a church. In comparison to pretty much every other building in the city, it was tiny even though it was at least three stories tall. Serena gazed curiously at it, eager to go inside and see what Professor Sycamore had in store for them.

"Ta da!" shouted Sina, holding her arms out dramatically. "We're here! This is the Sycamore Pokémon Lab! Come on, let's go inside!"

She placed her hands on Serena and Calem's backs and ushered them through the doors, ignoring their protests that they could walk on their own and they didn't need any help.

Through the doors was a very clean atmosphere, much unlike the rest of the city. An air conditioner blew at their faces the second they walked in, making Serena shiver with pleasure, the streets having been humid and noisy. The lab was a refreshing atmosphere, to say the least, cold and dry and somewhat welcoming. At the back of the room stood a desk, a receptionist lady sitting behind it, fingers brushing over the keys of her computer as she furiously typed something into a document. When she heard the footstep at the front door, she looked up through her glasses and smiled lightly when she saw Sina and Dexio standing behind Serena and Calem.

"Welcome back!" she chimed. She stood up and walked over to the front of the desk, where the two assistants walked up and held up a conversation with her. "The professor is waiting for those two upstairs." She gestured towards Calem and Serena. "You can go up on your own if you want. The elevator is just over there." Pointing toward the direction of the elevator, she turned back to her computer screen and continued to type while Sina and Dexio engaged her in conversation.

"Third floor!" Dexio absentmindedly called behind him as Serena and Calem entered the elevator.

The two waited in silence as the elevator rose. Serena leant against the wall and Calem stood tapping his foot with his arms crossed. Serena wouldn't lie; she was a little nervous about finally meeting the professor. She didn't even know what the guy looked like, and he'd already trusted her with so many things. It puzzled her why he seemed so confident in her, even if they'd never talked.

"Non, non, les démarreurs Kanto, et non pas les démarreurs Hoenn! J'ai pensé que j'ai fait ce clair! J'ai besoin d'eux là avant-"

As the elevator doors opened, Serena flinched at the angry babbling that she couldn't quite make out. Calem gulped, throwing his hand out in front of Serena to make her stop walking. When she shot him a questionable look, he seemed to retreat back a little.

"The professor speaks fluent Kalosian," he hissed, leaning in closer so she could hear him. "It's a pretty old language, so not many younger people know it. He studied it as a kid, though, and now he tends to say random things in the language."

Serena nodded. "Can you translate?"

"My parents grew up in Hoenn, so I never learnt the language." He shook his head as he spoke, and at that point, in front of them, the assistant that was previously being yelled at scuttled away with her arms wrapped tightly around a box. She seemed to jump back a little at the sight of the two trainers, but kept walking all the same without giving them any more recognition than a glance.

"Do we go, or…" Serena trailed off as Calem began walking a head of her, standing significantly taller than he was before. "H-hey, wait up!"

She stumbled behind him, suddenly nervous. Professor Sycamore didn't look happy at all. He was standing in the middle of the room with his arms crossed, muttering under his breath something that was still not in Serena's main language. When he heard the footsteps behind him, however, he paused and turned around, flashing a wide, excited grin that seemed much less forced than Serena would have expected. She found herself hiding behind Calem as he looked them up and down, still smiling widely.

He spread his arms eccentrically as he spoke. "Many thanks for coming all the way from Vaniville Town to see me," he said. "Calem? And Serena? Am I correct?"

The two nodded and waved slightly awkwardly. To Serena, he didn't really look like the stereotypical professor. His hair was dark brown, flying out in all different directions, a few strands falling onto his face. The brown was lined with streaks of grey, though the professor himself still seemed quite young. The only thing that made it obvious that he was a professor was his lab coat, flying out around him as he spoke with way too much feeling.

"Allow me to formally introduce myself, I am Professor Sycamore." He placed his right hand on his him and shifted his weight to the side, standing in a much more casual position than his previous one. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Serena." He turned towards the blonde, who smiled slightly and took the hand that was held out in front of her. Giving it a vigorous shake, Sycamore then turned to Calem. "And Calem, I have not seen you in years!"

Laughing, Calem shook hands. "I can't actually remember ever seeing you before. I was probably too young."

"You were. Three years old, I believe? Just moved here from Hoenn." Sycamore beamed again, all of his movements jumpy and excited. "Anyway, how are your journeys going so far? Have you met many different Pokémon? No, no, don't tell me. Show me your Pokédexes."

Shoving her hand into her bag, Serena struggled to find her Pokédex through all of the mess. Having not been to a Pokémon Center to stay the night, she'd failed to find the time to rearrange her bag to have a little more order to it. Finally, she pulled out the device and handed it to an eager Professor Sycamore.

"Fantastic!" exclaimed Sycamore, taking the Pokédexes and turning around. At the back of the room was a large computer-like machine, though it had a lot more buttons than an actual computer would have, and a few slots where the Pokédexes could be placed. Sycamore did just that, and the screen on the computer lit up suddenly and a few codes appeared on it, beginning to display the different kinds of Pokémon that Calem and Serena had encountered so far.

"Ah, I see…" muttered Sycamore, pressing a few buttons on the keyboard. His face was lined with concentration, and his eyebrows were raised to widen his eyes. "Oh, I see you've caught a Flabébé, Serena! Excellent! Fairy-types only appear in Kalos, but you might already know that. It's interesting to see how the types and matchups of Pokémon are different here than in other regions. I hope you continue to travel with your Flabébé."

With that, he pulled the Pokédexes out of their slots and handed them back to the two trainers. Serena took hers gratefully and placed it back a little more carefully into her bag.

Sycamore spread his arms again. "Well, it appears I chose the right trainers to do research for me. You do have a certain je ne sais quoi!"

Serena raised an eyebrow and looked at Calem, who shrugged absentmindedly.

"At first, I was thinking of only having Calem go on a journey for me," continued Sycamore. "His parents were very good Pokémon trainers when they were younger, so I figured he had potential. However"—He turned to Serena and smiled—"I'd heard that the daughter of the famous Rhyhorn racer, Grace, was coming to live in Kalos, and then I thought; why don't I give more than one trainer Pokémon. So I did."

At that point, a ding came from the elevator, and Shauna stormed out of the doors and skidded to a halt beside Serena and Calem, almost bowling the two over in the process. She threw her arms out to her sides as if revealing herself over-dramatically, though she appeared to be holding back from panting.

"Shauna has arrived!" she announced. "Phew, took me ages to find this place. I got lost in traffic, then a guy on a Gogoat ran me over, and now… Oh, hi, Professor Sycamore!"

Following her came Trevor and Tierno, both very obviously breathing extremely heavily. Tierno's hands were on his knees, and Trevor was trying to catch his breath in order to address the professor properly.

"Does… that girl… ever… stop running?" puffed Tierno, standing up straight and wiping a bead of sweat from his forehead.

"Well, it looks as though we're all here now," said Sycamore, chuckling lightly under his breath. "So, how about we all have a Pokémon battle?" He turned to Serena and pointed at her. "Your opponent shall be me. Let's see if you truly have a good bond with your Pokémon!"

Serena gulped, but nodded all the same. "Wait, in the middle of your office…?"

"No need to worry about tiny details such as that." Sycamore waved a dismissive hand. "Let's battle now!"

With that, he tossed a pokéball into the air. As it burst open, it revealed a small, green, four-legged Pokémon with a bulb on its back. It yawned widely and looked around, blinking curiously at its new surroundings.

"Bulba?" it questioned, and Shauna squealed excitedly at the sound.

"It's a Bulbasaur! How cute!" she chirped, jumping up and down and clapping her hands in front of her.

"Alright, then, I'll use Fayne." Serena tossed her own pokéball into the air, and it revealed a confident-looking Fayne, who blew a few embers out of her mouth and barked menacingly.

"Fe!"

Sycamore stroked his chin. "From what I can see in her eyes, she already seems confident in your abilities as a trainer, Serena," he observed, before pointing at his Bulbasaur and calling his first command. "Bulbasaur, use Vine Whip!"

Croaking out a cry, Bulbasaur leaped into action. From the gap between its bulb and its back, long, thin vines snaked their way out into the open, lashing through the air like violent whips.

On the other side of the field (office) Fayne tensed up, but didn't seem scared of the attack. Her claws dug into the carpet, and her eyes squinted as she awaited her own trainer's command, ears twitching and tail flicking back and forth almost in comparison to the vines themselves.

"Fayne, keep them at bay with Scratch!" commanded Serena.

Barking once more, Fayne leapt into the air, dodging the first lash the vines sent at her. The attack hit the ground, causing two, vine-shaped dents to appear in the carpet. Hesitating for a moment, Bulbasaur redirected the attack upwards towards Fayne, but the Fennekin was already ready with her own counter attack. Diving downwards, she shot herself straight towards the vines and sent a large scratch through them.

Crying out, the Bulbasaur reclined back and retracted its vines, gritting its teeth and pursing its lips. Fayne landed on the ground with a thud, adrenaline coursing through her like the heat she possessed as a fire-type.

"Okay, now counter with Ember!" called Serena. She could have easily tried Flame Charge again, but it didn't seem appropriate in a professor's office.

Fayne obeyed without hesitation, somewhat relieved that her trainer wasn't daring enough to try the new attack. Feeling the flames enter her throat, she opened her mouth and breathed a flurry of powerful embers at her opponent, who couldn't think right to dodge in time and was hit with the fire right in the face.

"Keep your chin up, Bulbasaur! Use Tackle!"

Hitting the wall with its back legs and using the momentum to propel itself towards Fayne, Bulbasaur charged across the ground straight at the fire-type, who tried to dodge, but was clipped on the bottom of the feet by the attack and send stumbling forwards, momentarily in shock – too shocked for the second Tackle to not hit straight on.

"Fen!" she cried, tumbling through the air and landing on a table that probably wasn't exactly meant for battling on. Already, both sides were panting heavily, but still able to continue.

"Fayne, finish this quickly! Use Ember!"

With one more Ember, Bulbasaur was down and out, lying on the ground on its side. Its body was charred, and it looked a little disappointed in itself. Professor Sycamore smiled and picked it up, patting it on the head.

"You did a good job, Bulbasaur," he praised, before turning his attention back to Serena. "Well, that was impressive. I want to offer you guys a second starter Pokémon, but I only have three… So, if you could discuss between you who will get the Pokémon. The remaining two will get something from me later."

The five turned to each other. Fayne was now rested in Serena's arms, licking her paw and occasionally reaching up to scratch her ear.

"I don't mind," said Trevor quietly. "I'll opt out." He stepped back, probably wanting to avoid an argument. No one protested. Instead, the remaining four began discussing between themselves who would get the Pokémon.

In the end, it was Tierno who opted out as well, and Serena, Calem and Shauna stepped up to receive their Pokémon. Sycamore pulled two more pokéballs out of his pocket and tossed them into the air. Two more Pokémon appeared on the ground. One was a blue turtle with a red shell, and the other was an orange lizard-like Pokémon with a flame burning on the end of its tail.

"These Pokémon," began Sycamore, placing Bulbasaur on the ground next to the other two, "are starter Pokémon from the Kanto region. Bulbasaur, Charmander"—He pointed to the lizard—"and Squirtle." He gestured towards the turtle. "Take your pick. They're all very reliable partners."

The three trainers glanced at each other nervously, before Shauna knelt down in front of Squirtle, grinning as the water-type showed off by blowing a few bubbles out of its mouth. After giggling for a few moments, she looked up at Sycamore.

"Can I have this one?" she requested. When Sycamore nodded, she let out a happy squeal and picked up the Pokémon, cradling it in her arms.

"Well, Serene, any preferences?" asked Calem.

Serena tapped her foot. "Well, if I take Charmander then I'll have two fire-types, so I guess…" She knelt down in front of Bulbasaur, who slunk back a little at the sight of her outstretched hand. "Hey, it's okay," she whispered calmly. "I won't hurt you. And despite what you've seen, Fayne won't either." She chuckled as Fayne stepped up beside her and nodded, barking softly.

The Bulbasaur flinched for a few seconds, before it seemed to calm down a little. Stepping forward a few steps, it nuzzled its forehead into Serena's hand. The girl giggled, stroking the Pokémon with her palm.

"Welcome to the team, uh…" She paused to think for a moment. "Dexter!"

She picked up newly named Dexter in her arms and turned to see Charmander standing next to Calem, the flame on its tail flickering brightly in the air, a few stray embers floating around aside the fire. Calem seemed satisfied enough with the choice.

"Now, the main request I have for you all." Everyone turned back to Sycamore as he continued speaking. "You probably haven't heard of it before, but I have recently become interested in an event known as Mega Evolution." He pulled a box out of his lab coat pocket and opened it. Inside were three stones, each one taking on either red, green or blue primarily, with a strange swirl of rainbow in the centre of each one. "These are what we've come to know as Mega Stones. We believe that these can trigger Mega Evolution if used properly. That's where you three come in. From what we've discovered, it takes a strong bond between trainer and Pokémon in order to trigger Mega Evolution. So, I want each of you to take your Pokémon's respective Mega Stone." He held out the box beckoningly. "Go on."

A little hesitant, Serena reached out and took the green stone, the one that she assumed to be Bulbasaur's. It was only about the size of a golf ball, but she'd expected it to be heavier than it was. Strangely, it was extremely light to hold.

"You see, from what we've discovered, Mega Evolution is a process which gives certain Pokémon that would usually lack an additional evolution a new, temporary form. We, uh, really don't have any other leads than that…" muttered Sycamore somewhat sheepishly. "But I'm sure you all can discover the secrets behind Mega Evolution. I'm counting on you three. Thank you for visiting, and have fun on your travels."

"Thanks so much, Professor." Shauna placed her hands in her lap and bowed formally, closing her eyes in a somewhat respectful manner.

Calem, meanwhile, turned to Serena. "I want to ask you something. There's a Café Soleil. Want to meet there?"

Serena laughed. "Why? Is it that secretive." Calem looked at her questioningly, but she just laughed again. "No, that's fine. I want to look around a bit, but I'll meet you there in an hour?"

Calem nodded. "Sure thing."

After everyone else left, Serena walked towards the elevator with Dexter still in her arms, chuckling as the grass-type nibbled at her arm affectionately. However, there was something abnormal about the air. It felt cold, uneasy, like a cold breeze had just blown in through the window. Serena glanced around, shivering. Troublingly the window was closed.

That was when she saw a black-haired girl sitting in the corner of the room, her head tucked into her knees. She wasn't moving at all, and no one else seemed to notice she was there.

When Serena had been looking at her for a few moments, the girl lifted her head up and stared right back at her. Serena gulped; her face was sickeningly pale, like she didn't have a vein in her body to pump blood through.

"A-are you okay?" asked Serena, her voice coming out in nothing more than a whisper. "What's-?"

"No…" The girl's voice was raspy and cold. Slowly, she stood up, and Serena noticed her skin was slightly transparent. She was now shivering wildly, unable to control the coldness that coursed through her veins.

Slowly, the girl came towards her, step-by-step, her footsteps light. Looking down, it appeared to Serena that she wasn't even touching the ground. She kept walking until they were standing face-to-face, uncomfortably close.

"You're not the one."

Serena felt the world go black for a second, and she blinked and held her head in her palm, forcing herself to stay standing. The girl was getting more and more transparent until she seemed like nothing more than a shadow across the wall. Serena gulped, her vision shaky and her head dizzy.

"You're not the one…" she repeated, before fading away entirely.

-.-.-

Hypocrite Misa is a hypocrite.

Yeah, yeah, I said I couldn't make the whole "French talking" thing work in my story, but hey, Sycamore does it in game when no one else really does, so… yeah. Note that I used Google Translate to get the paragraph of French, so if it's horribly wrong (which it probably is) consider it the "Kalosian" equivalent.

I have a habit of naming any Bulbasaur I get Dexter. I don't know why. They just look like Dexters to me.

I apologise for this chapter taking so long to get out. School really screws up my schedule. I used to write during recess and lunch, but now I have volleyball training and that pretty much takes up all my free time at school.

A lot of people are probably disappointed that I didn't go with Squirtle. Most people wanted me to, but no one ever seems to go with Bulbasaur. Everyone goes with Charmander or Squirtle in these fanfictions. And besides, I like Bulbasaur. I think it's cute.

In case you didn't know, the ghost girl is an actual character in the game. She appears in one of the buildings in Lumiose City, but she only says one thing. I'm going to have her play a bigger role in this story.

Thank you for all the positive reviews. They mean a lot to me. And thank you if you've favourited and/or followed, too. I'll try to update a little faster, but, until then, stay tuned.