Fic number six~ -Chapter 1- “One double cheeseburger; hold everything but the ketchup, aaand…” the voice of a mature young woman trailed. “large curly fries, and a medium drink,” she finished. The female was of average height, neither short nor tall. Long black hair tied into a pony tail trailed down to the small of her back. Her shapely figure wore a pair of gray jeans and a blue top that was decorated with trails of black flowers. A sleeveless jacket of sorts fell just past her hips. On her feet were flat-soled shoes, the tops of which were blue; her arms wore black arm-warmers. Her skin was smooth and pale, free of any visible blemish. She had powerful and handsome facial features; her black bangs fell around her face, allowing anyone to see her stunning sapphire-blue eyes. No makeup was on her face, not even lipstick, and her ears were un-pierced: so was any other part of her body. Tara Valens stood at a stall, ordering food for her ever-hungry stomach. They were near Lilycove City, Hoenn, out in front of the main entrance to the Safari Zone. She had no desire to enter the Safari Zone, but vendors always seemed to park outside of the reserve during warm times of year, when the zone was at its busiest. It was indeed warm; the sun was out full force, without a cloud in the sky to offer any defense to the creatures that dwelled on the surface of the planet. It was a healthy warm however: an invigorating heat that radiated; something that you welcomed after staying so long inside an air conditioned building. Not even a hint of a breeze was present and life seemed to thrive happily. “A drink?” the pimpled face of a generic young man inside the stall repeated. “Not a shake?” For the stand indeed specialize in shakes and they were a very popular item. “I have no doubt that I’d drink it all,” she replied, leaning forward and placing her arms on the small metal counter. “But cheeseburgers and shakes never blended well for me,” she winked. “R-right,” the young man nodded with a blush; pushing specific buttons on the register and asking for the amount required for the purchase. “It’ll be up in a second,” he informed her as he handed her change. “Thank you,” Tara mouthed, having leaned away from the stall, taking the receipt from his hand with two fingers. Taking the medium-sized cup also given to her, she took two steps to the left, allowing the wary person behind her to place their order. They were wary due to Tara’s companion. “Sure you don’t want anything?” Tara asked for the third time as she pressed her cup against a lever in the soda machine, allowing a few ice cubes to tumble into the thick paper container before quickly being switched to a different lever, out of which flowed a dark and frothy liquid. ”Quite sure.” Tara slapped a plastic top onto the cup and stabbed through it with a straw, turning on her heel quickly to look at her companion. “I swear you never eat anything,” she remarked to the obviously not-human being. Despite that, the creature looked very human-like; standing upright on two legs, two arms clasped politely before it. It had a head, two eyes, and even hair. Her figure was thin and sleek, elegant, and a ‘dress’ of sorts flowed out behind it, also elegant. The creature was most commonly known as a Gardevoir: a Pokémon that was generally loved. However, this one was quite intimidating. Instead of the quite common green coloring on Gardevoir, this one had black instead. If that was not enough, her eyes were the color of blood, and she did not look kindly at anyone around her. Valaura, for that was the Gardevoir's name was, blinked slowly and simply. ”I am sure you remember that occasion in Mauville not two weeks ago, I ate with you then.” Tara snorted. “Oh, right, I forgot,” she rolled her eyes as she took a sip of her root beer. “That means you don’t need to be fed for at least another three.” The psychic narrowed her eyes slightly, not threatening; in fact they had the teeniest, tiniest, faded hint of grim amusement. “One ketchup-only double cheese with curlies!” yelled one of the other burger-stand workers. Tara walked back the two steps and took the bag from the hand that reached out of the window of the stand. “Thank you,” Tara said just loud enough for whoever it was to hear her. Walking quickly through the mass of people, the duo settled into a bench a fair bit away from the food stands where there were few people. “Mmm…” Tara exclaimed, closing her eyes as the flavor of the food in her mouth flooded her taste buds. “I needed this.” ”Of course you did,” Valaura replied sarcastically as she stood, not quite willing to sit on the dirty bench. ”The slices of pizza you had two hours ago could not possibly have been enough, even when the eggs and pancakes from this morning are taken into account.” Tara rolled her eyes, taking another sip of her drink and popping a fry into her mouth. “Quiet, at least I’m not morbidly obese like you,” she grinned as she chewed. Valaura stared incredulously for moment, before reluctantly reaching out and silently swiping a curly fry from the human’s hand. She held the food close to her face, examining it with her eyes before deciding whether or not to consume it, noting the grease that seemed to bleed from invisible scars on the once-potato. She also noted the over abundance of salt and inconsistency of its texture, the fry being crispy in some places and utterly soggy in others. Her eyes settled into a glare that declared that the thing must be destroyed. At once the mediocre fry burst into flames between the Gardevoir’s fingers, and then she tossed it lightly into the air behind them. Turning slightly to point a finger at the falling curly fry, she annihilated it with a weak zap of reddish electricity from her fingertip. “Oh dear,” Tara murmured, looking at the ashes that were once her fry as they fluttered to rest in the grass, never to be seen again. “Did you do it then?” she asked Valaura, turning slightly in her seat to face her again. “Is Middle Earth saved?” she chuckled, showing off another fry in her fingers before eating it. “Firstly,” Valaura announced quite seriously. “I am nowhere near short enough,” she glared, still stern. ”Secondly, it had to be destroyed in the oils in which it was made,” the psychic said ominously. Her cross expression lightened as Tara giggled. “Then let us watch as the world is consumed in darkness and shadow!” Tara’s head shook with her proclamation, hair rippling as her teeth gleamed. There was silence for a while. Tara ate, her left leg crossed over her right knee and her right leg straight out towards the sidewalk. Left to her thoughts, her mind began to wander back. It had been only a few months since she had returned, bringing with her a strange and violent world that almost caused the death of both hers and Tara’s, as well as Valaura’s. They had both done well in the past months of traveling. Plenty of healing. Tara and Valaura were closer than either could dream, well: Valaura had an easier time seeing it actually, since Gardevoir as a species could often glimpse into the future. The funny thing about Tara was that she could too, though she had no control over her precognitive abilities, just like her teleportation. It was almost as if she didn’t even have those abilities. Yes, Tara Valens was psychic too. She had a hard time believing it herself. She always found herself reminded of that, especially since the need for it was small outside of her regular surveillance of minds around her. That had grown natural for her, being aware of the feelings in the minds of everyone around. She paid attention only to emotions, though she could also read thoughts if she wished. Emotions ensured her safety, not that there was any danger, now that she was locked away. It was only a precaution. Technically only Valaura had to be as vigilant now, though Tara insisted, mostly out of habit, but also because she didn’t want the ability to become weaker from disuse; incase it would be needed. This also applied to her telekinesis. Yep, Tara Valens was a pretty remarkable girl. Take away the psychic powers and she was still more mature than she should be at only fifteen. Sharp as a tack, skilled in Pokémon battling, she had it all put together. Musing to herself as she ate, she didn't pay any attention to the person walking by. It was a boy, about Tara’s age. His skin was a healthy tanned color, and he grinned sheepishly as he looked curiously at the two females before him. His hair was short in the back and a bit longer in the front; light brown, almost blond in the sun that reflected off of its styled surface. His eyes were green, matching his hunter-green short sleeved shirt that he wore. A pair of light-wash jeans clung not-too-tightly to his legs, and a simple pair of flip-flops protected his feet. He was taller than the girl, but wasn't lankly - he seemed well proportioned. He stopped a bit after he had passed them, a Butterfree was following him and fluttered to the young man's shoulder. They leaned into each other, as if engaged in a conversation. Tara raised her eyebrow for a moment as she looked him over while Valaura stood alert, though at ease. Turning swiftly on his heel, he walked towards them. “Hey,” he said smoothly and lazily, slowly waving a hand before returning the limb to his side, thumb in his pocket. Miss Valens smirked, not rudely, at him. “Hello,” she greeted, nodding her head but still sitting, averting usual courtesy. “I’m Lucius,” he introduced himself with a nod that mimicked Tara’s and stepped a few paces towards them, outstretching his hand. ”Afternoon, Luke,” Tara grinned. “My name’s Tara," she scooted forward in her seat and took his hand, shaking it firmly. “Hmm…” Luke mused for a second, a hint of a smile on his face. “Tara… no way for me to shorten that, is there?” Tara bit her lip in another grin, amused. “Nope.” She found herself acting a bit strange around him. She did find him attractive, but that usually didn’t stop her from acting normal. "You're rather pretty, though," he commented, looking a bit smug now. Tara’s grin stayed, though not entirely because of the compliment. She attempted to scan through his surface thoughts, but found a tough barrier in the way. The Butterfree seemed to flutter a bit when she had tried. Tara decided against trying to break through it, and she doubted she could. “Pretty straightforward aren’t we?” she played along. “Can’t help it,” Lucius shrugged lightly, casually. Tara’s eyes narrowed the slightest bit. "Are you always this polite?" she teased before munching on another fried slice of potato. "I try to be," he answered, flashing a smile. Tara rolled her eyes again, looking over to Val. “So what else did you want, Luke?” Tara yawned. “Besides compliment me.” The young man shrugged again. “Not sure, just saying hello I guess.” Tara suddenly had a Pokéball between two fingers, displaying it to him. “We can battle if that’s what you’re getting at.” “Nah,” he shook his head, "maybe another time." He turned his head and looked at Valaura, asking, "and who’s this lovely and beautiful Gardevoir?” Tara chuckled to herself as she took the last bite of her burger and crumpled up the wrapping. Valaura didn't seem as amused as Tara, but neither was she defensive. He shot a glance at Tara, expecting her to be the one to answer him. "My name is Valaura." “Oh!" his eyes widened a bit, surprised. "Pleased to meet you," "You have a very nice Butterfree," Tara told him, examining the creature's wings. "It's a he, right?" she asked. "Thanks," Luke smiled warmly. "Yep, Zephry's a guy all right." At the sound of his name, Zephry perched atop his trainer's head, shading the boy from the sun. He laughed, looking up at his partner with his green eyes. Tara caught herself admiring the boy and turned away discreetly, looking as casual as ever. "What did you want then, Luke?" she asked wryly. "What?" he asked innocently. "Can't a guy meet new people?" "That depends," Tara bit the inside of her cheek. "You heading to Lilycove?" he asked, spinning around on his heel, still looking up at his Butterfree. "We're-a headin' that di-rection, yessir," the girl replied before taking a bite of another fry. "Mind if I come with?" he asked, standing still now and looking directly at Tara and Val. "I'm on my way there too, and it'd be nice to have someone to chat with along the way." Tara turned to look at Valaura, who shrugged using her eyes, not seeming to care if the boy came or not. The young woman laughed silently at the psychic Pokémon: she was getting better with people, honestly. "Sure, why not?" Tara shrugged. "Hungry?" she offered him what was left of the fries. Shrugging himself, Lucius took a few from the paper pouch. "Thank you," he replied before putting them in his mouth. "Let's get going then!" Tara exclaimed, jumping up from her seat and starting to walk towards the large city that was in the distance. ------- The two teens exchanged conversation while they walked, their Pokémon companions being rather silent. Tara learned that Lucius grew up in Hoenn, in Rustboro to be exact. He had gone to the academy there and graduated near the top of his class, which, Tara had to admit, was rather impressive. The boy had received a Caterpie as a gift from his father on one of his trips to the Kanto region. He was told the Caterpie would set him apart from many of the other kids who had Wurmples and other Hoenn-native Pokémon. The Caterpie was his first Pokémon and Lucius trained with it as often as he could, and it evolved quickly like most Bug-types did. Zephry was easily one of the hardest Pokémon to beat at the academy by the time Lucius graduated. After school was over Lucius had immediately started on his Pokémon journey, which started merely a year ago, he having started later than most trainers due to school. Luke had a whole team of Pokémon now. He explained how good it felt to be catching Pokémon after studying the way he did, and each new thing they learned was like an adrenaline rush to his system. And then there was the ever-present thrill of winning. Tara understood completely what he meant, even if she hadn't gone through as much schooling as he did. Her first captures at the start of her journey were the most exciting, even though she also had an advantage with not one, but two trained Pokémon before the start of her journey. The girl's mind drifted away at the thought of Muku as the boy went on. "Tara?" She shook her head, breaking her semi-aware state. "Hm?" "You okay?" he asked her, looking at her with his green gaze. "Totally," Tara answered with a smile. "You just reminded me of my days starting out is all." "And where exactly are you from?" he elbowed her as they walked, causing her to shift over to the side due to loss of balance, laughing as she did. "I do believe it's your turn to share." "Well..." Tara Valens told her new friend about where she grew up and summarized her journey through Sinnoh. She highlighted certain gym battles and told him about her performance in the Sinnoh League, showing him the ring she had received. Besides that she told stories of some other adventures, choosing not to tell him about Fida and totally ignoring the whole episode in Saffron. Instead she told him how she was enjoying her travels through Hoenn so far. "You do sound like a great trainer," Lucius told her. "We actually should have a battle soon." Tara grinned, always up for a match. "Sure, I'd love to knock you to the moon." The girl socked his arm. "Hmph, we'll have to see what my ribbons have to say to that!" he challenged, shoving her back. "Please," Tara waved a finger. "Don't forget; I have eight badges PLUS the six I've gotten here, and a shiny ring-" she paused suddenly. "Ribbons?" she sneered in what was quite the delayed reaction. "Yes, ribbons," Luke responded quite seriously. "You know, contest ribbons?" Tara bit her lower lip to keep from laughing as she blinked. "You're one of those kinds of trainers? A coordinator?" she shoved him a bit to the side. "I'll wipe the floor with you, priss-boy." "Priss-boy?" he scoffed, Zephry looked offended. "Harsh much?" "Yeah, priss-boy!" Tara teased further, twirling around her new acquaintance, glancing briefly at Valaura, though the Gardevoir didn't seem quite so interested in their conversation. "What? Are you too much of a sissy for real battling?" "Look here, foreign girl," Lucius replied strongly, yet not upset, seeming rather amused with Tara's reaction. "I don't think you've ever been to a contest hall in your life! I'm just as hardcore as you, trust me," he smiled. "You'll wish you had never messed with me when we battle." "Wow, that sure of winning aren't we?" she hooked her arm into his and continued walking, wondering briefly why she was doing so. "You see, even if I am a prissy-sissy-boy, that's still better than actually being a girl." That was it, he said it. Tara heard something deep inside her scream for vengeance, and it sent shivers up her spine since she wasn't quite sure it was even her who had demanded it. It was right either way: such a comment could not be allowed to stand. "Listen up good, dipstick," Tara said very sternly, so much so that Valaura was shaken from whatever thoughts she had to focus on the conversation. "I don't like your tone, and you're going to pay. When I win this little battle you're buying me dinner at a nice restaurant." "Fine," Luke agreed, very much amused now. "When I win, you're going to buy me dinner at a five-star of my choosing. "We'll see" Tara held her tongue between her teeth as she smiled. "Battles never go well for anyone who underestimates me." "First time for everything," he chimed. After that they resumed normal conversation as if nothing had happened, moving on to random subjects. One subject being Tara's undying hunger for food - the thought of a restaurant meal having made her stomach growl.