OOC: I realized that if I wanted to repost -anything- I had to post this fic first. It's my baby because it's my first finished Pokemon Fanfiction so enjoy it in all its newbie glory! To be honest, I'm not sure how edited this copy is, so there maybe typos. And I still very much welcome any constructive criticism so feel free to drop any advice you may have. Giselle was, once again, back in her bedroom, the television going, in her hometown of Pallet. She had failed for the fourth or fifth time to win a gym badge so she was severely depressed. She was dazed, her dull brown eyes out of focus, only vaguely listening to the TV. She just played with her long white hair inattentively. Her depression wasn’t helped by the continual praise that her friends received from the people around the town as she returned from the Pewter City after another fiasco. “Did you hear about Elisabeth? Her Squirtle is already fully evolved!” “Or what about Jean. He’s on his, what, seventh badge?” “Don’t forget Marie. She collected over 100 different species of Pokémon and she’s not that far into her journey!” Giselle hated them all: for reminding them of her failure and for praising her friends in front of her. No one ever mentioned her name, except in gossip and in a joke. She felt like an embarrassment to her town. Pallet Town had a reputation for producing the greatest trainers around and Giselle didn’t measure up. She couldn’t catch a Pokémon to save her life. The fact that she even had two Pokémon was a bit of an accident. She had also never beaten a trainer. She wondered why she even became a trainer in the first place…oh yeah that’s why. Trainers were heroes: glamorous, strong, and respected…what Giselle wanted to be. They traveled all over the world and had powerful Pokémon. And in Pallet Town, strong trainers were next to God in the minds of the townspeople. They adored their hometown heroes. Giselle wanted desperately to be adored like that. She received her starter Pokémon, Charmander, and set out on the road, but she found out that being a trainer was much more difficult that she could have imagined. There was no one to make you dinner on the road, no one to give you money, no one to remind you to be sure to pack a coat, no one to take care of your Pokémon when you didn’t feel like it…Life on the road turned out to be very harsh and unforgiving. It required something that Giselle felt she didn’t have. And then there was the Pokémon training itself. It was nothing like Giselle saw on TV, where the trainers seem to know everything there is to know about battling and Pokémon, where everything always turned out perfectly. Pokémon battling took much more strategy than just calling out attacks and then there was more to training Pokémon that just battling. It was like taking care of a child; they had their own personalities, too, but Giselle wasn’t great with identifying with her Pokémon. They needed things like humans did, like food. And Giselle didn’t always have it to give. Those were dark days. She never got much farther than Pewter City. So it was with a heavy heart that she kept returning home after all her failures, the subject of all Pallet Town’s gossip and the butt of many jokes. This time was no different and she was starting to reach her breaking point. A commercial for a cheap ship ride to Sinnoh flashed across the TV screen, catching Giselle’s interest for the first time. She wanted out of Pallet Town and out of Kanto completely. The commercial said that all who wanted to go should go to Vermillion City three days from now and pay just $100 to board the ship. Giselle had heard enough and turned off the TV before the commercial had even finished. This was her chance, she though, to get out of this godforsaken town. She began making preparations immediately. ~ ~ ~ Everything then happened very quickly. She packed up just the basics for the journey: five outfits, her Pokédex, and some food for herself and her Pokémon. She also made the decision to take the money intended for college if she had opted not to be a trainer. Not that it was a lot of money; it was only about $5000—that wouldn’t be enough for a semester at a college. And of course she would take her two Pokémon, Charmander and Caterpie who hated her. All that was left was to tell her parents what she was about to do. Giselle waited until dinner to tell her parents. Meal times where always subdued, the atmosphere tense when she was home. Though Monique and Claude Valentine never mentioned it, Giselle could tell that her parents were disappointed in her failure as a trainer. They had hoped that Giselle would as great a trainer as they had been in their younger days. But it never happened and Giselle resented their disappointment. The family ate in silence. Giselle’s beautiful mother had her usual “I have the world on my shoulder so don’t bother me look” while her stoic father maintained his poker face. Giselle had inherited her white hair and plain face from her father. Dinner dragged on and on until Giselle could no longer stand it and broke the silence. “Mother, Father, I’m leaving in three days for a trip to Sinnoh,” she quickly said. Neither one said anything for a moment, and then Monique asked haughtily “What do you know about Sinnoh?” Now it was Giselle’s turn to be silent because she really didn’t know anything about Sinnoh—but she wasn’t about to admit that to her mother. “It’s her decision. Let her go,” Claude said flatly as though her mother were fondling over her, “it doesn’t matter one way or the other.” Giselle had expected this reaction. After all, they never were supportive at anything she did. She got up from the table and walked back to her room. This would be the longest three days of her life. ~~~ The next two days had passed without incident. She didn’t go outside of the house for the entire time. At about 2 a.m. on the third day Giselle couldn’t sleep because she was so wound up about her trip. She didn’t see the point of waiting until the sun came up so she got up to leave right then. She stepped out into the cool darkness. The sky over Pallet Town was beautiful. Giselle preferred Pallet Town at night. The houses were all dark and no one was out late because the people of Pallet Town were good people who didn’t walk the streets at night. She let out her Pokémon to check them before leaving. Charmander came out of his Pokéball and stretched walked around a bit and Caterpie remained still after being released. They looked all right to Giselle; she reached out to pet them. Charmander just stood there and Caterpie jerked away. Giselle couldn’t figure out why Caterpie hated her, why Caterpie looked at her with such contempt. She didn’t know what else to do with her Pokémon so she recalled them and walked on. Pallet Town was on the ocean so Giselle could take a ferry to Vermillion City—something most trainers didn’t do. They preferred to take the long way catching Pokémon and taking on gym challenges along the way. Giselle ached as she thought about what her friends might think of her now. The small ferry had the color scheme of a Pikachu, the unofficial mascot of Pallet Town, so it almost glowed in the dark it was so bright. Giselle wasn’t fond of Pikachu because of its connection to Pallet Town and as a result she thought the ferry looked ridiculous. But she was grateful that there was a ferry going at 2:30 in the morning. It never got any business but it was a Kanto-wide law that said that that public transportation must operate 24 hours a day. Giselle boarded the ferry, surprising the captain who didn’t expect riders. She walked to the very back of the ferry and sat down. She was relieved to be leaving Pallet Town. She had never been to Vermillion and for the first time in a very long time she was excited. The ferry trip would take about forty-five minutes so Giselle used the time to think about what she would do in Sinnoh. She had $5000 which she figured would be plenty. She was planning to buy everything else she needed for the road in Sinnoh. And on the off chance she needed money she would sell anything she found on the road. She had heard plenty of stories from trainers about the treasure they found while traveling. After she was done contemplating, Giselle got up from her place in the back of the ferry to look at the ocean. Like the heavens above, the ocean was magnificent. It was calm and dark blue; red lights would emanate from the waters occasionally signaling that Staryu and Starmie were just beneath the surface. Giselle soaked in the salt air and in what seemed like no time they had arrived in Vermillion City. Unlike Pallet Town, Vermillion City was bustling with people even in the early morning. Burly workmen and sailors were calling to each other in loud voices. Being a port city, there were crates loaded with all kinds of cargo with Machoke and Machamp helping with the moving. There also were people from all over the world chatting with strange accents. The sights and sounds of the city overloaded Giselle’s senses as she had never seen anything like it. She liked Vermillion—but it wasn’t enough to change her mind about leaving. A sign conveniently located a short distance away had the arrival and departure times and the origins and destinations of the ships entering and leaving Vermillion harbor. Giselle immediately knew which ship was hers as it was the only one leaving for Sinnoh. It left at 8:00 a.m.—about five hours and forty-five minutes from that point. Finally, Giselle had started to get sleepy so she headed to the Pokémon Center for a nap. The city was much larger than Pallet Town but the center wasn’t difficult to find because signs told people in which direction to go. It took only ten minutes to find it; Giselle rushed in and collapsed into one of the chairs but not before setting the alarm on her Pokédex to 7:20. She was about to fall asleep when a harried looking man entered the Pokémon Center. A woman, presumably a person waiting for him, called out, “Hey you’re back! How was Sinnoh?” At the word Sinnoh, Giselle perked up. “Don’t even get me started,” the man grumbled, “it was terrible. For starters, everything was…” Giselle stopped listening. She didn’t want to hear anything that would deter her from her escape from Kanto. She was sure whatever Sinnoh held could not be worse than what she was leaving. But she began to feel uneasy anyway. She tried to block the self doubt out her mind and fell into an uneasy sleep.