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Songs of the Sea

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Carmen Lopez, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. OOC: No, I most certainly didn't abandon Diaries~
    Here is the first of two sneak peek chapters of the final fic in the trilogy (alongside Chronicles of Giselle Valentine and Moving On). Once Diaries is finished I'll focus my attention here, but I really couldn't wait to post this! Hope you like it ^^ As a note, most chapters will be titled with either a song or a lyric from a song.


    Prelude: Good Life

    Mmmmmm…a girl could certainly get used to this!

    I would have to add Lilycove City to my list of favorite big cities ever. Though the beach was beautiful on its own, it was really cool to see the lights of the city reflected in the ocean. The tide was high under the full moon and Luz and I were enjoying every second of it as we sat on wooden beach chairs facing the ocean wearing our jean shorts, bright colored halter tops, and flip flops. The beach was never quite empty, but it became a lot less active and loud at nighttime. We toasted with our large, plastic blue drinking cups full of peach mango smoothie and laughed. I will be the first to admit that the extent of our laziness was shameful, but at the moment I really didn’t care. Sure we’d been living it up for a week in Lilycove, but I considered it a nice vacation of snorkeling, sightseeing, Pokémon battles, surfing, and shopping.

    “How in the world did I ever survive Sinnoh?” Luz said as she looked up at the full moon. “Seriously, it’s like I—

    “Left paradise?” I finished her sentence. “Yeah, you’ve only said it about a thousand times this week!” I wasn’t annoyed or anything. In fact, I don’t think anything or anyone could possibly annoy me in this moment. “But I’ll give credit where credit is due: Hoenn has been amazing so far…”

    “You say that and you’ve only seen one city!” Luz said as she suddenly shifted her gaze from the moon to face me. “Wait till you see the lab outside Fortree City where my dad works. You’ll love Hoenn even more after that.”

    I drained the last of my smoothie and smacked my lips in satisfaction.
    “I’m definitely looking forward to it!” I took a deep breath and breathed in the salt air. It was a warm, clear, and sultry night, but I loved it. The city lights clashed with the stars in the sky, but did not drown them out entirely here. “But what I want right now is to get some more of this smoothie.” The beach chair creaked as I got to my feet.

    “Awww, but I want to stay here and look at the ocean!” Luz complained. “You’re ruining the perfect moment!”

    “Oh come on!” I bargained. “We’ve been doing this for the past week. Surely you can sacrifice one perfect moment and go with me to get a smoothie.”

    Luz mocked concentrated for about two seconds. “All right, all right,” she said as she got up too. “I’ll go…but just as long as we get to go battle somewhere.”

    “Sounds good to me!” I agreed.

    We put our chairs in item balls and ran to the little juice bar a little ways up the beach. Lilycove was a twenty-four hour city—you could always find somewhere to go no matter what time it was. In fact, the only time I saw this particular juice bar closed was when all the employees decided they needed to surf an enormous wave that was coming in. I didn’t think there were people that laidback in real life until I came here, but it truly was a different atmosphere. I’m starting to think that leaving Sinnoh was one of the best things I could’ve done. I was getting to see what felt like a whole new world, and I even got a healthy appreciation for home about three days in. Things were just looking good all around.

    Luz and I pulled up seats at the counter which had sand on it. Since the bar opened up to the outside, it was possible that the wind carried it there. We were familiar with the old woman who was the spunkiest and coolest elderly person I knew. We saw her all over Lilycove City from places like this juice bar to the battle arenas to contest halls. Seriously, she was my kind of old lady—I wanted to be this cool as she was when I got old.

    “Hey Mrs. Hamada!” Luz and I said at the same time.

    “It’s good to see you again!” Mrs. Hamada said as she smiled. She still had all of her teeth which were bright white and her long gray hair was still healthy, shiny, and strong and not at all witch-y. All and all she looked a lot younger than her age actually let on. “What would you like this time?”

    “More of the peach mango please,” Luz said cheerfully.

    “Mrs. Hamada, have I ever told you that I want to be as cool as you some day?” I said loudly over the whirring of the blender.

    “As a matter of fact you did!” she replied. “But you both could stand to compliment your elders more!”

    “Seriously though,” Luz implored as Mrs. Hamada was returning with our smoothies. Her bright hazel eyes seemed to sparkle as she looked at her. “You could be relaxing on an island somewhere and never have to worry about anything.

    “Bah, where’s the fun in that?” I butted in. I stirred my smoothie with the umbrella Mrs. Hamada put in it. “All you think about is relaxing. When I get older I’m still going to be showing the newbies how it’s really done.”

    “Haha! That’s a good enough reason as any to live the crazy life,” Mrs. Hamada said grinning. “But I definitely wasn’t like the two of you are when I was your age.” She laughed at our shock and continued with a far away look on her face. “You might think I was always this rolling stone kind of girl but I wasn’t. In fact, I was still in school when I was your age. Heh! I married my husband, had a couple of kids, and lived a very average, but very happy life as a housewife.”

    “So how did you go from housewife to adventurer?” Luz asked as her blue eyes widened in interest. She was utterly engrossed in Mrs. Hamada’s life story. I had quickly learned that Luz loved to hear stories and was a pretty good storyteller herself.

    Mrs. Hamada poured herself a cup of tea and came to sit on the other side of the bar to face us. “My husband always said that he wanted us to go on an adventure when the kids were established adults and I thought he was crazy. I warmed up to the idea in time and I even began making plans for it….but life had other plans for me. My husband died of illness shortly after our younger child graduated college.”

    Both Luz and I gasped. “Oh no!” I said. “I’m sorry that happened…you never got to go on your adventure together.”

    Mrs. Hamada immediately looked stern. “I certainly hope that isn’t pity on your faces!” she told us. “It definitely was a blow, but we both lived a good life and we got to enjoy it. You know what they say: time heals all wounds.” She looked down and rotated the tea cup in her hands. “I eventually was able to go on that journey…and I’m taking it for the both of us. I feel younger than I have in years because of it!”

    I couldn’t really respond, so I just smiled. To be honest, I’ve never experience any kind of tragedy like that before so it was a bit hard for me to sympathize readily. My sister was much better at that sort of thing…actually all of my siblings were better at that sort of thing. I was the only one who got the short end of the emotional stick in my family. Carmen teases me all the time about being dense…it’s not my fault people don’t tell me what’s wrong!

    “Is anything wrong, my dear?” Mrs. Hamada asked Luz. “You look like you’re struggling with something.”

    See! I completely missed that!

    “Nothing really,” Luz said quietly. “I just couldn’t imagine losing the love of my life and then recovering from it.”

    “Heh! You’d be surprised at how resilient we can be!” Mrs. Hamada said with the sparkle back in her eye. “Not saying it wasn’t difficult for me. In fact, it was difficult just being in the house after he was gone. But life marches on; you hold onto the memories, but there’s no sense in letting tragedy take away the rest of your life. It’s too precious for that.”

    I heard the Wingull in the distance against the sound of the waves rushing in and out. Somehow the entire scene was just perfect for Mrs. Hamada’s words. The world continued to turn and the waves would continue to do their thing no matter what. You could think of it as depressing, but to me it meant that life goes on. I drank some more of my smoothie as I let the whole situation wash over me.

    Mrs. Hamada let out short laugh. “When you experience a little more life, you’ll understand.”

    Luz brightened just a little. “Aww, I hate being told I’ll understand when I get older…but I guess you’re right in this case.” She finally took a swig of her smoothie that she hadn’t touched the entire time Mrs. Hamada was talking. “I admit I don’t quite understand.”

    “Interesting, interesting,” was all Mrs. Hamada said as she looked at the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup. “But where are you girls off to after this?”

    “Oh, we’re going to find some a place where Reina can battle somewhere!” Luz said cheerfully with a winning smile on her face.

    I almost choked on the bit of smoothie I had just swallowed. “That wasn’t part of the deal! You said you wanted to find somewhere we could battle!” I protested. I made sure to put major emphasis on the we part.

    Undaunted, Luz replied, “But it’ll be so much more fun to watch you battle!”

    I rolled my eyes, but again, I wasn’t annoyed. Besides I was really itching for a battle by this point so I went along with her. I drained the last of my smoothie while Mrs. Hamada gave Luz a to-go cup for the rest of hers. “Then shall we be off?”

    “We’ll see you later!” Luz called to Mrs. Hamada as we both waved.

    I looked down at my Pokétch and saw that it was 11:00 pm. It was a good time of the day in general, but it was a really good time on a Friday night in a big city. It was the weekend and there were far more people out than usual. In fact, the only thing stopping Lilycove from having gridlocked traffic at this time (and indeed anytime) was the fact that it had a great public transportation system and the fact that people walked and biked pretty much everywhere. In fact, we were headed to an area mostly populated by trainers that was blocked off to anything other than buses. The noise of laughter, talking, and music grew louder as we got closer and we started running into more people.

    It may not have had a proper name like the Battle District in Veilstone City did, nor was it as big of a sensory overload, but this area was still lively. We kept passing by random street performers, arcades, restaurants, you know, USUAL things for a city…but we also came across people (mostly college and high school students) handing out pamphlets about a protest going on tomorrow about a building being proposed somewhere close to the beach which they said would harm it. This pretty much summed up one of the stereotypes about Hoenn.

    Back home, these people would’ve probably be written off as crazy and mostly ignored, but the people passing by actually looked interested and even stopped to talk to ones handing out the pamphlets.
    “Wait, are these pamphlets printed on recycled paper and with vegetable oil based ink?” one man asked one of the girls as he was about to leave.

    “Oh definitely,” said the girl brightly. “We don’t want to harm the environment and be wasteful while trying to help it.”

    The man was clearly impressed. “Good, you did your homework! I think I will come to this gathering tomorrow. Thanks for the info!”

    “Don’t forget to recycle that!” the girl (who didn’t look much older than fourteen) called happily after him as he walked away. It wouldn’t be that difficult to recycle it either—recycling bins usually flanked the sides of trash cans.

    “It’s so cool how eco-friendly Hoenn is,” I said to Luz . “I mean, Sinnoh is no slouch, but Hoenn goes above and beyond the call of duty...even though people here protest a lot.” I added. I think we had seen or heard of a protest nearly every day we were here.

    “A lot of outsiders find it annoying that they think they can’t do anything here without there being a protest,” Luz said smiling. “But it pays off because we get to keep Hoenn looking amazing,” Luz continued. “And speaking of amazing…”

    I groaned because I knew what had caught her attention. I looked in the direction she was gazing and saw him, and I had to admit he was cute. Like nearly every other guy I had met here , he was wearing khaki cargo shorts and a t-shirt (green in his case). Longish curly black hair, perfect tan, awesome smile, hazel eyes, nice bone structure…yep he was definitely Luz’s type. Generally all cute boys were her type though. He caught her eye, and instead of thinking she was creepy, he smiled back. Then again, most people here were a bit friendlier so go figure.

    “Hey!” said Luz with an enormous smile on her face. “I can tell you’re a trainer, so would you like to battle my friend here?”

    Judging by the fact that she’d used that line on about five other boys who didn't have Pokéballs visible (and was wrong every time), I knew she couldn’t tell a thing. But I guess even a blind Gyarados had a chance of hitting something eventually because she was in luck this time.

    The boy shrugged his shoulders. “Sure, why not?” he answered in a gentle voice. “This was perfect timing anyway because I was practicing for an upcoming contest…”

    “I’ve never done a contest battle before,” I admitted. “So I probably won’t be much help to you.”

    I was about to walk away when he said, “Hey, there’s a first time for everything. Besides, a battle would still help me practice.”

    “Awesome, we accept!” Luz said before I could even say a word. Wasn’t interrupting people supposed to be my job? Maybe I mellow out around people who are more like me. Who knows?

    “Great,” the boy smiled back. “My name is Noah Keaton. What are your names?”

    “I’m Reina Lopez and this is Luz Del Sol,” I told him while Luz waved energetically. “Where do you want to battle?”

    “There’s an arena not far from here…” Noah began.

    It might not have been far for him, but it was still a pretty good walk and it included a large hill. I enjoyed the exercise; however Luz was out of breath by the time we got to the top of it. Noah and I teased her for being out of shape. The neighborhood was pretty nice and remarkably quiet for this time of night and in this area of the city. The houses were mostly bungalows and fit in very well with Lilycove. And though they were really close together, many of the houses had palm trees and other greenery in the front yard. I saw a couple of Seedot hanging from the trees fast asleep.

    “Are we there yet?” Luz panted as she clutched her side.

    “Yep!” Noah said. “This is it!”

    It looked like we were in a tropical garden, but it turned out to be a regular park…too bad all parks didn’t look like this, because this one was amazing. Like the area around it, it was full of lush colors—mostly varying shades of green, but there were also other colors thrown in from the flowers and the brightly colored archway entrance. I bet they were extremely vibrant in daylight. There must have been a play area in this park as well because we saw a couple leaving the park with their children (one of whom was sleeping). Wait, who brought their children to play this late anyway?

    “This place seems a little to nice to have a battle,” I pointed out. “Even if it is for a contest.”

    Noah looked a bit miffed. He raised an eyebrow playfully. “Are you implying that contest battles can’t be as intense as regular battles?”

    “I’m not sure,” I admitted. “However considering how contests are all about looking pretty over beating the snot out of your opponent…”
    “Well, I’ll have you know that contests battles are also about beating the snot out of your opponents…while looking good doing it,” Noah countered. “You’ll see! But anyway, no, we’re not battling here. The arena is just beyond the curve.”

    The path beneath our feet felt spongy as though it had been made out of some recycled material. I wryly wondered if people protested this park being built since they probably had to cut down a couple of trees to do it. As we got closer to the arena, I started hearing a murmur of voices and then I saw what looked like a Signal Beam erupt from the trees.

    “Well, this is it!” Noah said.

    The battlefield was enormous and well lit. However, the surrounding area remained shadowy so I couldn’t see the people or their Pokémon…unless they had visible flames like that Infernape I just saw. That caused my heart to skip a beat because it reminded me of a certain other person with an Infernape (who I’d like to forget half the time). But there were many trainers with an Infernape in this world and as far as I know, he was still back in Sinnoh. There was no way I was taking a closer to look to find out if I was right though. What if it was him on an off chance or something?

    “Are you all right, Reina?” Luz asked.

    “Yeah, you look a bit anxious,” Noah noted. He paused for a second.

    “It’s not because of our upcoming battle, is it?”

    “Of course not,” I said, relieved to be able to focus on something else. “Now I’m just trying to figure out what Pokémon I want to use.

    Actually, I’ll let you pick: Paris, Meilene, Acero or Nasir?” I let him pick from the Pokémon I had already named.

    “Decisions, decisions,” Noah said. “I pick Nasir!”

    I pulled the Pokéball from my belt and enlarged it. “Time to battle, Nasir!”

    The Pokéball opened in a bright flash of light. Despite the fact that he wasn’t a Steel type, I was extremely proud of my Salamence. He was definitely one of my most powerful Pokémon, and seeing him evolve into his final form was definitely one the proudest moments ever because of how much Nasir wanted it and trained for it. Most Salamence trainers reported the same experience.

    “Wow…one of the most majestic Pokémon native to Hoenn,” Noah said in awe. “I’ll have fun battling it. Now I want you to meet Reese”

    He pulled a Net Ball from his pocket and released his Pokémon, a Shiny Mothim which are normally native to Sinnoh. I’m not one for bug types but I had to admit that he was cool…cooler than regular Mothim anyway. Reese flapped his blue and yellow wings elegantly and fluttered to land on his trainer’s back. Nasir glared at the Mothim and exhaled a jet of fire into the sky as a show of intimidation. The crowd around gasped at the sight. There was nothing elegant about Nasir unless you considered the bestial way he tore stuff apart beautiful...or maybe that was just me.

    Noah smirked. “My friend is training to be a contest battle announcer, so I’ll ask him to judge the match,” he said.

    As he walked away, I began to wonder just what had I gotten myself into. I was also beginning to feel embarrassed at how little I knew about contest battling considering all the time I’d spent training my Pokémon. You’d think I would’ve come across something or did a contest battle for fun before now. There was no way I was letting anyone see me sweat though. I’ll do my usual thing when I had no idea what I was doing—act like I did.

    Noah’s friend was named Hikaru. He had shoulder length black hair with brown eyes and was just as cute as Noah was. Again, he was wearing shorts (cut-offs in his case) and a v-neck t-shirt. He winked at me which made me feel really uncomfortable because it also reminded me of the one whose name I refused to even think about. For some reason it gave me a foreboding feeling in the pit of my stomach. Noah smirked again. He probably looked so self-assured because of the look on my face again. Hmph, I might not be good at contest battling, but at the very least Nasir would tear the wings off his Mothim for that bit of arrogance.

    “Are you both ready to battle?” Hikaru asked Noah and me. He certainly didn’t seem to have an announcer voice. He seemed way too laid back.

    “Definitely,” Noah responded.

    “You didn’t even have to ask,” I countered. “Come on, Nasir!”

    I jumped onto my Pokémon’s back and Nasir took to the sky. Sure, it wouldn’t have taken but a few seconds to run over there, but it was way more fun to show off. Nasir looped once around the battlefield and landed on our side. I gracefully jumped off his back and faced Noah. I had never done a contest battle in my life and this was supposed to be a learning experience, and yet I felt determination course through my body because I really wanted to win.

    “And the battle hasn’t even begun yet and Reina and her Salamence are already putting on an impressive show!” Hikaru announced.

    “Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?” Noah said eagerly. “Protect and Quiver Dance, Reese!”

    Reese surrounded himself in a rippling sphere the same color as the blue in his wings that vanished about five seconds later. Then he flew up high and began to rotate slowly while flapping his wings which were glowing in a pretty purple color. Similarly colored dust fell slowly to the ground as the lights adjusted accordingly. I had to admit it was beautiful in the moonlight and clearly the audience thought so too from the ‘ooooh’ I heard.

    This thing was delicate and dainty and beautiful.

    There was no way I could put on a show like that. No, that wasn’t Nasir and me.

    Time for plan B.

    “Impressive!” I taunted. “But two can play that game. Use Dragon Dance, Nasir!”

    My magnificent dragon glowed red and took to the sky and let out a Dragon Pulse into the sky this time. He furiously flapped his crimson wings as he flew around in a circle. We couldn’t do elegant, but we could definitely play up the fact that Nasir was a mighty, freaking Salamence for goodness sakes.

    “What, no Protect?” Noah asked. “That’s a little arrogant don’t you think?”

    “Oh please!” I said. “I dare you to attack! Your bug will be incinerated if it even so much as makes a move right now and that’s a promise!”

    I audience react with a ‘whooooa’ and ‘oh snap’ among other things and it felt good. It had definitely been a while since I let myself cut loose this much. I smiled more broadly. See, I thought my smile was normal, but everyone else said it was sadistic and that I scared people. Oh well, Noah didn’t look intimidated in the least anyway.

    “Well then,” he said. “Use Hidden Power, Reese!”

    A band of light formed around Reese like some sort of halo. Too obvious. I thought. If he was attempting a Hidden Power attack like that, it had to be either a Rock or Ice type move, but he still managed to surprise me. Rather than forming orbs and launching them like most Hidden Power attacks I’d seen, Reese released pulses in every direction from his glowing gray ring…and at Reese’s speed it was much harder to dodge. It didn’t stop us from trying because we were faster as well. Nasir kept his eyes on each pulse and dodged each one narrowly, when suddenly…

    “And Salamence is in a bind as it’s under assault from Mothim’s attack!” Hikaru announced.

    Somehow I didn’t notice the contest scoreboard until now, but I was losing points like mad! “Hey no fair,” I yelled. “How can I be losing points if I’m not even being hit?”

    “You’re dodging, but it looks disorganized,” Noah said smugly. “If you’re going to dodge, you need to make the other side look bad while doing it!”

    What kind of advice is that? I thought. In normal battling, you did what it took to not get punted…clearly that wasn’t helping me here. I could make it look sleek, but I could also just attack back instead so that was exactly what I was going to do.

    “Nasir hang in there and take the hit!” I yelled.
    My Salamence obeyed without question. He came to almost a dead start and turned to face the Mothim. The Hidden Power pulse cut through Nasir and I lost a bunch of points, but you had to sacrifice to gain the upper hand sometimes. Either way, Nasir took it like a boss.
    “Hydro Pump!”

    I heard the crowd grasp and it energized me. Hydro Pump was very uncommon on Salamence and I was extremely excited when I found out Nasir had it when he was a Bagon. Nasir opened his mouth wide and an enormous torrent of water shot out with about double the power of a high pressure fire hose that launched Nasir backwards about two yards. The ring around Reese shattered and the Mothim took a direct hit. He blasted back into one of the light poles with a satisfying WHAM. While not knocked out, it did look a bit bemused. There was nothing like the concussive power of water!

    “Good job, Nasir!” I said.

    “And Mothim takes a direct hit which sends it reeling!” Hikaru shouted. “And Noah takes an even bigger hit to his points!”

    Awesome! Now Noah was nearly tied with me in points. Sure looking good seemed to matter a lot on contests, but there was still nothing like a good old fashion beat down. Nasir let out another jet of fire in appreciation of the compliment and grinned at me. Sure he probably looked as scary as people said I did, but that doesn’t matter. Nasir and I had that understanding.

    “Not sure if your bug can take another attack like that and he isn’t even weak to water!” It was my turn to taunt.

    “Then I’ll have to make sure that doesn’t happen again, won’t I?” said Noah.”Air Slash, Reese!”

    Mothim had recovered from his epic collision with the pole and looked more determined than ever. He boldly flew to Nasir's level and began flapping his wings as hard as he could to slice the air itself. Pretty confidence for something that could so easily get burnt to a crisp. My first instinct was to use Flamethrower, but it wouldn't work while Reese was using Air Slash which I admit was actually pretty powerful. Nasir was careful to dodge the attack because it could easily take him out of the sky if we were careless.

    “Nasir, put some distance between you and use Scary Face!” I called out.

    With a huge burst of speed, Nasir flew out ahead of Reese and faced him. He roared as he glared with enough intensity to put anyone to shame. Reese quickly pulled up short and stopped his attack as intimidation set in, Ha! The attack worked perfectly. He wouldn't be so bold after that one.

    “I know it looks scary, but don't back down Reese!” Noah encouraged his Pokemon. “Keep up the offensive and use Silver Wind!”

    The shiny Mothim shook off his fear and spread his wings wide. Silver Wind...definitely another pretty little attack, and it looked better at night. Reese furiously flapped his wings and loosed a volley of glowing, crescents with silvery trails behind them. If this were a normal battle, I would've reacted instantly, but there were so many other things to think about in addition to just dodging and finding an opening for a counterattack. I was beginning to hate this restricted battling style.

    Oh screw it.

    “Nasir, use Dragon Pulse!” I abandoned all pretense and just let Nasir hit as hard as he could. The Silver Wind ended up destroyed and Reese took a direct hit...or so I thought. The Mothim had thrown up a Protect at the last minute which caused me to lose points. “Fine, fine. Use--

    “And time is up!” Hikaru shouted.

    “Wait, what?” I said befuddled. I looked up at the scoreboard and sure enough, the five minutes were done. “Yikes that was really no time at all.”

    “Yeah, you really have to think on your feet while looking good,” Noah said as Mothim floated to his side. “It's a challenge and every second counts. However you did do a better job on your first contest battle than my friend here did on his first time announcing.” He added under his breath,

    Nasir swooped in and nuzzled me more gently than his appearance would let on. “You mean I wasn't absolutely terrible?” I pet Nasir on the head, he'd done a great job unlike me I thought.

    “It actually wasn't bad,” Noah said simply.

    “Yeah, but how is that so?” I asked. “We didn't look pretty at all.”

    “That's a stereotype,” Noah responded. “Contest battling require a certain elegance, yes, but it's more about sticking to a cohesive theme which you did pretty well although I knew you were holding back. Even before the battle started you were showing off Nasir's toughness. Some people do like to focus on beauty, but others focus on coolness or even spookiness. I can't believe you've never even watched a contest on TV.”

    “Yeah, well,” I said. “It was outside of my radar. Besides since I didn't do as badly as I thought, maybe I'll do this again sometime.”

    “Hey Reina!”I heard Luz call to me. I had lost track of her during the course of the battle so I hadn't realized where she'd actually gone.
    “This guy says he knows you!”

    Without thinking, I turned around and I felt a huge jolt at the sight of the guy with her. I was stunned into silence I blinked hard in hopes that I was actually seeing things.

    But unfortunately I wasn't.

    He had changed since I last saw him, He had cut off his spiky black hair and now had a close cut. I saw that he had a bar piercing put through his left ear and unless it was my imagination, he had grown taller too. But yet it was unmistakably him. He still wore the purple Poketch, the medical bracelet, and the key that my dad had given him around his neck. Mimi had convinced him to let her ride his back this time.

    “Hey, Reina!” said Mateo Sandoval with that big stupid smile on his face. My face immediately flushed red at the sound of his voice; I couldn't help it.

    I really hated this guy right now.

    But then I'd be lying if I didn't admit that in my heart of hearts I was elated to see him.

    I'm so contrary...
  2. Yeah, you already know what I think of this. Wonderfully done and you can tell how much fun you had with a new character's perspective. Keep up the great work!
  3. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    *squee!* Awesome! ;D

    It's good to see you writing again Carmen and as always you certainly don't disappoint. This first chapter has already drawn me in with how beautifully you've described Hoenn, contest battles, and as always your magnificent characters. Even better because Mateo is one of my favorites ♥

    *Pulls up a camping chair for stalking*

    Thank God you're back, Carmen, this is some good stuff! I'm loving Nasir, although contest battles don't sound like his forte.
  5. And now you see why I can't finish Songs of the Sea without first finishing Diaries. There would be spoilers otherwise ^^

    I also wanted to apologize to everyone on being slow on posting. It really saddens me that Diaries isn't on the first page anymore because of it. I could always wait until I finish writing a fic to post it...but that's no fun and I'd never finish anything. I haven't abandoned anything so it's definitely gonna happen~
  6. OOC: Deep breath and plunge.


    I tried to keep my poker face, but that was really hard right now—especially since I suck at hiding my feelings anyway and Mateo knew it. He continued grinning at me.

    “Mateo what the heck are you doing here?” I said in a would-be irritated tone. I wondered if I was even remotely keeping my face even. Inside I was only feeling turmoil.

    Apparently I pulled it off because Luz looked alarmed at my harshness. I didn't care. He should've been back in Sinnoh far, FAR away from me. Mimi glared at me for disrespecting her trainer. Stupid monkey. I often fantasize about pushing her into some large body of water. Or off a cliff. Noah raised an eyebrow while Mateo raised his hands up in some kind of peace treaty maneuver. I knew I wasn't actually fooling him though.

    “Calm down, Reina. You too, Mimi,” he added because the Infernape started growling. Nasir responded by glaring back which was far more impressive because Nasir was a Salamence. Mateo's smile was warmer now and like an involuntary reaction, I did feel calmer. This was just getting awkward. I didn't want to feel anything for Mateo, and if I did have to feel anything, I wanted it to be hatred.

    Of course I didn't feel anything of the sort.

    “I just wanted to tell you that it's good to see you again,” Mateo said.

    I said nothing. All I did was pet Nasir.

    Mateo just shook his head and continued talking through the awkward silence. “So where are you guys staying for the night?”

    “Oh, we're staying at the Pokemon Center closest to the ocean!” Luz piped up immediately.

    Curse you, Luz. She gazed at me as she stroked her chin knowingly. She knew exactly what she was doing, and apparently so did Mateo because he stared directly at me and said,

    “Oh, in that case, I can stay there too! We can have a nice little chat.”

    “You still didn't answer my question,” I finally said. “What are you doing here? You didn't follow me, did you?”

    “I have the right to travel to wherever I want, you know,” Mateo responded as he winked at me. “No, I didn't follow you, but that wasn't from lack of trying. I asked your sister to tell me if you left Sinnoh--

    “You did WHAT?” I yelled, too appalled realize how creepy it was that he tried to follow me. “I can't believe Carmen would betray me like that!”

    “--and she didn't tell me,” he finished as he ignored my little interruption.”So it was fate that brought us together.”

    My heart was beating double time now; I felt like he heard each heartbeat. Luz was continuing to stare at me with that same silly look on her face. Great. Now I'd have to tell her some of the story to keep her pacified. I'll go as far as saying that Mateo and I did get along very well and that he had a certain...effect on me. Yeah, I could admit that much. Still, I can't believe this was actually happening. Carmen was right; I couldn't run away from him forever.

    “And where are my manners?” Mateo said to Noah. “My name is Mateo Sandoval, fighting Pokémon extraordinaire.”

    My body nearly betrayed me again because I definitely almost smiled. He loves introducing himself like that and has been doing it since he was far from anything resembling an extraordinaire.

    “Nice to meet you,” said Noah, “I'm Noah Keaton and I'm a contest coordinator.”

    “Coordinator, huh,” said Mateo. “See my perception of contest battling changed after I saw that battle. Everyone around me was saying that you weren't doing a bad job at all.”

    “See, Reina?” Noah said. “You're already changing minds!”

    “That's what I do best,” I said once I had gotten my voice back. “I admit that it's something I want to try again.”

    Hearing Mateo's voice made it a bit harder for me to wish he would disappear. Still, I knew it wouldn't be long before he would do something to make me want him gone. Just like before...In the meantime, we'd have some awesome adventures. Wait, now I'm getting ahead of myself. Whoever said we were traveling together?

    “Why don't we start going back to the Pokemon Center now?” asked Luz pointedly.

    Well, that was convenient, but Luz wasn't fooling me. I knew she wanted to be nosy and find out what the heck was going on.

    “Sounds good to me,” Mateo said. “Mimi and I had a long day anyway.”

    “And I can only walk part of the way,” said Noah, “I really should go home because I have a...meeting in the morning.”

    “Aww...”Luz said as her face fell. “I hope this won't be the last time I see you.”

    “It won't be the last time,” Noah assured her.

    “Thanks again, for the battle, Nasir,” I told the Salamence. He licked my face happily (it tickled) and I recalled him.

    Mateo had to add his two cents. “That is so disgusting. I'm all about being close to Pokemon, but that thing's breath is rank.”

    “Oh please, “I teased him back. “Like you have room to talk! Mimi doesn't exactly smell like flowers. I think you've just gotten use to the scent.”

    Mimi growled; it was about the only thing she could do in front of Mateo. Clearly her opinion of me hadn't changed, but it's not my fault she's jealous. Mateo pretended to sniff her and she made to hit him.

    “Only kidding!” Mateo said as he laughed, but Mimi was still glaring at me.

    The whole area was just as calm as it was when we went through earlier. I didn't really feel like joining in the others' conversation, but Mateo and Luz would notice if I was quiet. I decided to play it cool and act natural though...you know, act the way I did around him before he said those horrible words. I watched Mateo climb and walk across a handrail without so much as breaking the conversation he was having. He had impeccable balance; you'd think he spent most of his time walking on narrow handrails. And then for no good reason at all, he does a handstand on the rail and lifted his 6 foot plus frame vertically into the air.

    “You're still as big a show off as ever!” I teased him.

    He simply smirked as the blood rushing to his head made his face flush red. After a short while (longer than I would've been able to stay up like that) he lowered himself back onto the ground again.

    “Insane,” Luz said, “I can barely do a push-up! Of course, if I want to have my dream job, I need to change that...”

    “Oh?” Noah asked, intrigued. “And what dream job is this?”

    Luz flushed slightly at Noah's interest. “I-I'd like to be a Pokémon Ranger.”

    “Now that's a cool job,” Mateo said. “And you'll have plenty of time to get in shape as long as you're dedicated. No need to look so anxious.”

    “Yeah, but me and discipline will be having a tough fight,” Luz admitted.

    “Don't worry,” I told Luz as I clasped her shoulders. “You'll have me for motivation.” It wasn't like she had a long way to go anyway, but I can definitely tell she was one of people who looked healthy but actually wasn't all that in shape. I definitely saw that earlier.

    “Thanks Reina!” she said.

    “I can also help out too,” Mateo said. That would certainly be interesting. Mateo trained himself nearly as hard as he trained his Pokémon. It always amazed me. Oh well, at least Luz would already be prepared for the harsh workouts she'd probably face...wait a minute I was getting ahead of myself again. Just how long -did- Mateo plan on sticking around? Sheesh! Oh who was I kidding? He had absolutely no intentions of leaving us.

    Either way, there were going to be some interesting times ahead. My week of peace in Hoenn had been shattered by Mateo's reappearance. Whether I wanted him to stick around or not (and I kept telling myself I didn’t want him to), we would still have fun though. I was still mentally preparing myself for Luz's interrogation, but little did I know that our night wasn't over yet.

    As we approached a rather wide alley, we heard a very loud noise. Without warning, a flock of Taillow, a couple of Mightyena, a Zigzagoon, and a Shuppet all fled from the alley in all different directions. They all had one thing in common: they all were utterly terrified of whatever they were running from. Noah looked apprehensive, but the rest of us definitely wanted to investigate.

    “Whatever scared those Pokemon is probably really powerful,” Noah warned. “Judging by this area, it was probably a Golbat or Mightyena.”

    “Yeah, but we won't know until we look,” Mateo said impatiently as Mimi got into her battle stance. “It could be also be an awesome fighting type.”

    “Or it could be an even cooler steel type,” I said. The image of a Mawile popped into my head even though I knew they were native to the other side of Hoenn. “but let's go before we lose whatever it was.”

    The four of us all took out a Pokeball and rounded the corner. The alley was lit by nearby light attached to one of the buildings but was otherwise empty except for a dumpster and some recycling bins. However most of our attention was focused on the strangest Pokemon we had ever seen. It had a light blue body and darker blue ears, tail, and feet. It's head an arms was white. It had black eyes, a brown oval nose, and freckles to cap it all off. It was definitely not the fierce Pokemon we expected. In fact, while it was holding a seashell as a blade and was posed to strike at any moment, any intimidation it might had was instantly undermined by it's cuteness!

    Luz melted into a puddle of gushiness. “Awwwwwww! Isn't it the cutest thing you ever SEEN?!” And she approached it forgetting that this Pokemon had just scared off at least fifteen other Pokemon by itself.

    The Pokemon looked outraged that Luz didn't take it seriously. As she reached out her hand, it promptly used a Water Gun attack which Luz narrowly dodged. It hit one of the recycling bins behind her and blasted it back about twenty feet. It's contents scattered everywhere. I couldn't believe it's attack was so powerful. The Pokemon attached its shell to its body and folded its armed. It glared at Luz. So while it definitely still looked hilarious, I can definitely see how it scared off all those Pokemon.

    “Impressive,” Luz said. “I should've given you more respect.” She enlarged the Net Ball in her hand and released her Ludicolo. “But now I really want a water type like you on my team!”

    “Oshawott...” the Pokemon growled. (Even it's voice was adorable!)

    “Hey, I know that name!” Noah said as he frowned. “But aren't they native to Unova?”

    “Yeah,” Mateo and I said at the same time. He pulled out his navy blue Pokedex and pointed it at Oshawott.

    "Oshawott, the otter Pokemon. It fights using the scalchop on it's stomach. In response to an attack, it immediately retaliates by slashing."

    “Sounds fierce,” I said.

    “Now then,” Luz said brightly. “Ludicolo use Leech Seed!”

    Light energy gathered at the top of Ludicolo's sombrero like crown which formed the seed. It launched itself at Oshawott who attempted to knock it away with its scalchop, but it backfired. The Leech Seed attached itself to the scalchop and soon the vines spread and entangled the little Pokemon.

    “That was a good try,” Luz said. “A better option would've been to use that powerful Water Gun of yours to combat my attack.”

    The Oshawott managed to look defiant despite comically struggling against the vines with its shell and teeth. It was easy to see that the Leech Seed was taking its tool as Oshawott grew more and more sluggish. It's eyes were looking oddly unfocused.

    Luz got the same expression when she was trying to haggle a price on some jewelry. “You know...” she began shrewdly. “You really are one tough one, but I can help you get stronger, Soon it's going to take more than a Leech Seed to take you down.”

    The Oshawott stopped fighting against the energy sapping vines—not that it had much energy left anyway. It gave Luz a long and calculated look as though it were mulling over her offer. Luz opened her bag and pulled out a Net Ball she had bought while we were still in Sinnoh. She tossed it at the Oshawott and when it opened, a net burst out surrounded the concentrated red light that Oshawott had become. When the Net Ball closed, it only twitched once before becoming still. She smiled as she walked over and picked it up.

    “Nice catch,” Noah said.

    “Thank you,” Luz replied. She enlarged Oshawott's Pokeball. “He's definitely strong, but he's really young...it's really strange for him to be in Hoenn. I'm going to have to do some investigating tomorrow to see if he stowed away on a ship or someone lost him or something."

    “And if he did?” Mateo asked.

    “More than likely I'm still keeping him,” Luz said firmly. “Unless they give me a very good reason, he was wild and I caught him fair and square. Besides how could I let something this adorable go?” She thanked Ludicolo and recalled him.

    “We should pick up this stuff before we leave,” Noah said as indicated the plastic containers from the recycling bin that Oshawott had knocked over.

    “That's thoughtful of you,” I said. Noah, Mateo, and I moved at a normal speed to put the stuff back in the bin. Luz on the other hand definitely moving faster to get done quicker. When she finished she looked up at us with a glint in her eye.

    “Okay team! Time to get to the Pokemon Center in double time now!”

    And with that she left us in the dust. I don't think I've ever seen her move that fast before. She really was like a little kid when she caught a new Pokemon, and I had to admit it was cute. However it turns out Luz -was- really out of shape. By the time we caught up to her (which didn't take long), she was already out of breath and wheezing.

    She held up one finger in defeat. “Okay so maybe that wasn't such a good idea,” she managed to choke out.

    While Luz took a swig of water from Mateo's metallic water bottle, something on a nearby light pole caught my attention. I walked closer and saw a bright red sticker with plain black writing on it that said “The judge is coming...” What on earth could that be? It could just be another sticker for an underground music group or something, but those usually had a QR code or a link so you could find them. This sticker had nothing else on it. I looked around and saw more of them on nearby benches and on bicycle racks.

    “What do you think these stickers mean anyway?” I said to the group. They walked over to me to get a better look.

    Mateo looked as puzzled as I did, but Luz was down right startled—her smile vanished. I didn't expect that reaction. Noah however remained calm and he was the one that explained it to me.

    “The stickers are from an environmentalist group that formed in Lilycove called Let Nature Rule or the LNR for short,” he said. “They’re known for being radical about their stance.” Noah’s tone sounded a little too composed for some reason—this is coming from the girl who is awful at picking up on stuff.

    “Just how ‘radical’ are we talking?” Mateo asked the question before I could.

    “They usually just try to do things that grab the public’s attention,” Noah said. It was almost like the mood around us had shifted slightly...

    It was my turn to raise an eyebrow. “That’s not exactly answering the question—“ I said before Luz interrupted me.

    “They were rumored to have rigged the collapse of large building under under construction back when I was really young,” Luz said. “I don’t really remember much, but I do remember how scared everyone was. The worst part was that a series of bad things kept happening to lead up to that collapse and it started with the appearance of stickers similar to these...I hope that isn’t about to happen again. No one could actually prove it was them the last time.”

    “Yeeeah, that’s a little bit beyond radical there,” Mateo said. “That’s eco-terrorism if they did it to ‘protect the environment.”

    A couple of passers-by scowled at Mateo’s tone and even Noah looked a bit miffed. Okay...

    “I doubt it’s actually them though,” Noah said in an even voice. “It’s probably some copy cat.”

    “I certainly hope so,” Luz said.

    After a short pause, Noah took a deep breath and spoke.

    “Sorry if I seemed a bit...upset,” he said. He must have noticed our dubious expressions. “I'm Hoenn to my core...I appreciate groups that are willing to be radical to protect the environment.”

    Mateo and I really didn't know what to say. I don't know about Mateo, but I found that a bit creepy. Was he really sympathizing with radical environmentalists? I'd heard of people like that and had even heard two women say something similar when I was sitting at a neighboring table at lunch one day. It didn't make this any less unsettling.

    “All right...” said Mateo. His face was unreadable.

    “But enough about that.” The smile had returned to Noah's face. “I need to go and you need to get to the Pokemon Center to get Oshawott healed.”

    “Goodnight, Noah,” we called as he turned to walk away.

    “Hmmm, I really do hope that we see him again,” said Luz dreamily as soon as he was out of earshot.

    “Looks like Luz is in love,” said Mateo. I didn't miss that glance that he gave me.

    “In like with him actually,” Luz said. “I'll be in love when I spend more time with him...”

    Someone pleeeeease change this subject now! I thought. This conversation was going nowhere good if it continued, and I didn't want to be obvious by changing the subject myself. I couldn't believe that Mateo obliged me.

    “Speaking of Oshawott,” he said. “I think he should battle my Scraggy tomorrow mornng...Well, later this morning,” he noted as he looked at his Poketch and saw that it was well after midnight. “I think I'm gonna crash as soon as I get there. I should've been asleep long ago.”

    I remembered that well. He always tried (and failed a lot of the time) to make sure he slept on a schedule as a part of his whole diabetes care routine. He definitely wasn't fond of it, but he never complained too much. I wasn't sure I could do it because sometimes it could put a damper on things if you wanted to be spontaneous.

    When we got back to the Pokemon Center, Luz immediately ran to the nurse and handed over Oshawott's Net Ball. She started up a conversation with the nurse that I couldn't quite hear. I glanced around the building. This might be my favorite Pokemon Center so far. From the outside it almost looked like a resort. Nearly the front was made of a special glass. During the day it let in natural light to save on electric bills. Then solar panels took over the job of lighting the place at night as well as power the cooling system. According to Luz, this Pokemon Center was almost completely off the grid. The modern looking décor was made of biodegradable material or with stainless steel.

    It hadn't escaped my notice that Mateo and Mimi hadn't left yet, but before I could shoo him away...

    “Oh, before I forget,” Mateo said. “I wanted to give you something.” He reached into the bag he had slung over his shoulder and pulled out this amazing armlet. It was made of silver and shaped like a coiled Dialga. It even had a gem set into it similar to the one Dialga had. I looked at Mateo with wide eyes.

    “Are you kidding me?”

    “Don't tell me you don't like it,” said Mateo. “I know you do. I remember you admiring it a while back.

    And I had only mentioned in passing...I was impressed and (I hate to admit it) flattered. I couldn't believe he remembered. Then again maybe he remembered only because he liked me. At any rate, he was right. I want to snatch it from him and put it around my arm as soon as he pulled it out of his bag. My pride wouldn't let me do that, but there was no way I wasn't taking it because it was gorgeous. I reached out my hand and took it from him.

    “Thank you,” I said softly.

    “You're very welcome,” he said gently.

    He better not think this changed anything at all because it didn't. I don't know why he was looking at me like that. Mimi pretended to put her finger down her throat to gag herself. For once I didn't blame her. Honestly he could be so sappy sometimes. Mateo laughed.

    “I'm so going to pick you on when you find an Infernape you like,” Mateo told her jokingly.

    I sorely wanted to antagonize Mimi further, but I didn't want them to hang around a second longer. Finally he told me good night and went to one of the rooms reserved for trainers. Before I could even sigh, Luz had come back and she looked as eager as ever, I groaned.

    “Soooo, what's the deal between you two?” she asked. “I saw him giving you that armlet thing.”

    “Aren't you going to tell me how Oshawott was?” I said forcefully.

    “Oh he's fine, The nurse said she hadn't heard any reports of someone losing him, so he really may have just stowed away on a ship into Hoenn,” Luz said. “But let's not change the subject, shall we?

    I groaned as Luz looked at me expectantly. “Okay, okay, the deal is that he likes me.”

    “And? Do you like him back?” she asked.

    That fateful question. “Well, um, I...” I hesitated. “I don't want to like him.” I said finally.

    “Why not?”

    “It's complicated,” I lied. It really wasn't all that complicated but I really didn't feel like going into it tonight.

    Luz looked thoughtful for a moment. “I'll get the answer out of you one day, but I'll let you off the hook this time. You look exhausted.”

    Huh? Oh, I guess I was more tired that I realized. It had been a really long day. As Luz and I went back to the rooms for the night, I vaguely thought out my plans for the next day—one of which would involve a surprised Hydro Pump to Mimi's face from my Empoleon. I smiled at the thought.
  7. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    Wow. Reading about Hoenn like this makes me want to play R/S remakes even more. You've described Lilycove gorgeously in this fic. ♥

    After reading these first two chapters I'm actually kinda sad. It's obvious that these characters have lots of history and I want to know all of it - especially Reina and Mateo's past! The interactions between those two was adorable to read. Can't wait for more. XD

    Nice start to this latest fic, Carmen. I know you're holding off on writing more but I'm definitely looking forward to your third chapter. In the meantime I'll do my best to give Diaries a proper read too. :)

    P.S. - I squeed when the Oshawott came into chapter 2. ;)

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