Fourth in my fic series. This is a lot lighter and cheerier. -Part 1- The sun shone weakly through a slightly overcast sky that covered Cerulean City, though it was still very much warm. This was due to the fact that it was summer time, and one overcast day wouldn’t do a thing to the area after a solid month of sunshine. Trainers were out in force this time of year, training and playing with their beloved partners in order to achieve their dreams. Gym Leaders were always busiest during the summer, and there was a battle going on in the Cerulean Gym at that very moment; echoes of large splashes could be heard from the main entrance. Misty was in a two piece as usual, wearing only a pair of sneakers besides the bathing suit. The trainer was thoroughly wet; water dripped from her vibrant orange hair and covered her tomboyish figure. Sem Aquais was in the presence of Misty, the Gym Leader. The same Misty who was currently looking at him with her heartbeat racing, passion alight in her eyes. The very same Misty who was world-famous. The Misty that had so many fan clubs she could establish her own country. The Misty that was on the cover of many magazines, always in a tight bathing suit or bikini to show off her form. But Sem didn’t care about any of that. Sem stood on one of the floating platforms in the large pool, wearing a pair of black trunks with broad blue bands running down the sides, and no shirt; simply his black hoodie. He faced the Gym Leader, who was on the opposite side of the tank, in-between them were two Starmie, firing attack after attack at the other. The young trainer had come to test his own Starmie against hers to see what he could still learn. “Thunderbolt!” Sem ordered as his platform was rocked by a wave. “That’s pretty risky!” Misty observed. “Light Screen!” Sem’s starmie rotated both body segments in opposite directions, fast enough to generate sparks and to send them raining down on the water. The pool lit up as the electricity hit it, though Misty’s starmie was safe within its own shield of psychic energy. Luckily for the trainers, the platforms were rubber, allowing Sem to only feel a slight tingle in his toes. A small girl watched on from a safe distance in the bleachers. She had her own suit on, a violet color that made her pale skin stand out, as well as her silvery-blond hair. Her feet swayed back and forth as she sat, eagerly watching the battle. A Pokémon sat next to her; a small purple creature with gems covering its body. There was a mischievous grin on its face. “Time to make this more interesting,” Misty winked playfully. “Ice Beam, Starmie! Cover the whole pool!” “Fine!” Sem nodded. “Help it out, Starmie!” The temperature took a noticeable drop as both star-Pokémon worked to cover the arena in a decently thick layer of ice, which happened in a matter of seconds. The Starmie landed on opposite sides of the ice, each before its respective trainer. Without any cues both Pokémon skated across the ice at once another, unleashing various physical attacks from Rapid Spin to the simple Tackle. “Hydro Pump!” Misty yelled finally with an extension of her arm. “Twister!” Sem retorted, hoping to create an effective counter. As Misty’s Water-type began spurting forth powerful jets of water, Sem’s water-type had hovered up into the air, rotating itself like a propeller and calling forth a vicious cyclone within the gym. The water hit the air currents and followed them instead of their intended target, creating a water spout on top of the ice heading straight towards Misty’s Starmie. “No you don’t! Ice Beam again!” Her starmie launched the chilling attack at once, turning the spinning mass of liquid into a beautiful sculpture of ice that refracted the light coming in from the glass roof. “Use it for a Blizzard!” Sem shot right back at her. The frozen water spout shattered, throwing thousands upon thousands of shards up into the air to be used in Sem’s Starmie’s Blizzard attack, which flew at their enemy in full force. “Throw up a Protect!” Misty sputtered quickly. Instantly her Pokémon was surrounded by another psychic energy shield that rippled and fluctuated with each hit. “You’re pretty good,” Misty commented, allowing a moment for the Pokémon to rest. “Thanks,” Sem nodded. “I’d say the same, but you don’t get to be world-famous by being bad.” Misty giggled, putting her hand to her mouth, which turned to a devilish grin. “Psychic!” “Psychic!” Sem copied. There was absolute silence as the two Starmie’s minds clashed together, trying to break through or around the other in order to gain control. The quiet battle continued on for a surprisingly long time and the atmosphere was very tense. A loud crack sounded from the ice as a large break formed between the Starmie. More ice broke as the Psychic attacks continued, creating a web across the pool. Chunks of frozen water began to fly up into the air as the force of the attack increased, breaking the entire floor and rocking the many platforms. Then in the blink of an eye each Starmie was launched backwards at the exact same moment, flying through the air until being stopped by walls. They both slid down the wall to the ground, gemstone cores flashing weakly. “Recover!” both Sem and Misty said at once. The star-pokémon shone with pure-white brilliance, restoring their stamina. “We could keep going all day,” Misty noted. Sem nodded, wiping water from his brow. “Draw?” “Totally,” she agreed. And so both Pokémon were returned to their Pokéballs for much needed rest. The water-type trainer took up some towels when she was back on solid ground, handing one to Sem as she dried her face and hair. “Your Starmie’s pretty good, one of the strongest I’ve ever seen,” she commented, throwing her wiry hair back and putting the towel around her neck. “Thanks,” Sem replied with a small smile, a bit embarrassed at the compliment, but proud all the same. “I’m just glad I had this chance to see where I could go with its training.” “I get what you mean,” she nodded. “Right now you’re at the point where you just focus on how strong its attacks are, and how much it can dish out before it’s too tired,” “Yeah, guess that’s right,” Sem agreed, putting his wet towel on a bar. “I’d like to test how strong it is with its psychic power.” By now Fida had walked over to them along with Sableye, who took his place on Sem’s right shoulder. “Isn’t Sabrina a Psychic gym leader?” she asked. “Saffron’s not very far.” Sem considered this. “I’d hold off on that if I were you…” Misty met Fida with a serious glance. “Some weird stuff’s been going on down there.” “Yeah, even we saw that red flash," the boy recalled gravely. "All the way in Pewter." “I’ve battled Sabrina before anyway, and Starmie did ok, so I think you’re fine,” she winked. She reached into a pocket on her suit, pulling out a small blue object shaped into a drop of water. “You deserve to have this - it was one good battle.” The teen looked at the Cascade Badge, bowing his head in appreciation. “Thank you.” Putting the badge away in a pocket he picked up his bag. “I’m gonna change, back in a sec.” The young girl sat on the edge and dipped her feet into the water, releasing Calhoun as she did so. The Magikarp cut into the water effortlessly with a large splash. Fida laughed, throwing her arm up to stop the splash from hitting her in the face. “Your Magikarp is big!” Misty said with surprise. Indeed, Calhoun had grown a lot since his capture almost a year prior. He was about as long as Fida was tall. “Hey, there!” Misty cooed as she bent over the edge, hands on her knees. “What’s its name?” “Calhoun,” Fida answered, calling him over with some underwater taps against the wall of the pool. “He’s adorable!” the gym leader practically melted as Calhoun swam up to her, allowing her to touch him. The girls played with the carp Pokémon as Sem was off changing into some proper clothes. “You gonna enter him in the ocean race?” The older girl asked. “Race?” Fida questioned, having never heard of it. “No… you think I should?” “Definitely. There’s a prize for the winner and if you're anything like your buddy you got what it takes to win,” she winked again. “Where is it?” she wondered, suddenly interested. “And when?” she blushed slightly. “It’s gonna be up in the Cerulean Cape,” Misty waved her arm in the direction of the cape. “It’s tomorrow; last day to sign up is today, so if you wanna enter you better get moving.” “Hmm…” she pondered. “What do you think, Elvia?” she asked the invisible presence around her, closing her eyes and waiting for the emotional responses. She only received positive notions, meaning yes, she definitely should. “All right, I’ll tell Sem…” she explained as she got up. “Thanks for letting me know,” Fida bowed her head. “Sure thing.” Misty stood as well. “Good luck!” ------- “A race?” Sem shrugged. “Sounds fine, and we have no other plans.” “We better get going then so I can sign up…” she urged, beginning to walk in the direction of the Cerulean Cape. The walk did not take very long, as the cape was within walking distance, and was quite a popular spot during the summer. It was still morning when they arrived, though already it was bustling with people, natives and tourists mingling with each other as they went about their various activities. It took only a few minutes to locate the sign-up station; the contest was so heavily advertised you would have to be blind to not find the stand, which had 'Water-type Ocean-race!' painted in large letters on a sign. Sem went off to another stand, leaving Fida on her own to register for the race. The line was a bit long, but progress was quick and she was near the front by the time Sem had returned with a newspaper in hand. “Trying to get into these things…” he muttered as he opened the paper, awkwardly holding the pages. “Good to stay informed, even if these are obsolete, as SIR would say.” Sableye cackled in response. “I’d still like to meet SIR,” Fida commented as she moved up a space in line. “No you don’t, trust me…” Sem mumbled as he gazed at the front page. The person in front of Fida had walked away after another moment, making it her turn. As she approached the almost too-tall counter she felt Elvia’s presence shudder for a moment, causing the girl to look around briefly. Seeing no one, she returned her attention to the person in the stall. “Signing up, little lady?” the man asked. He appeared to be in his 30s, though little else was discernable because of how dark it was inside the stand. “Yes, please,” Fida nodded. “What’s your name, miss?” “Fida.” “Fida…?” the man prodded. “Just Fida,” she looked away. “Gotta have a last name, missy.” She sighed, thinking for a split second. “Fida Valens,” the girl told the man, pretending that she didn't notice Sem glance at her out of the corner of his eye before going back to reading whatever article had caught his interest. “Who you entering?” “My Magikarp, Calhoun,” she announced quite proudly. “Your Magikarp?” the man chuckled. “You’re cute, missy,” he commented, handing her a bag. “Anyway, you’re all set up. Race starts tomorrow at noon; so be ready and good luck!” “Thank you,” Fida thanked the man, stepping away from the line and walking towards the water. Sem followed behind her as well as he could, trying to read and walk at the same time without bumping into anything, though Sableye did a fine job of keeping anyone away from his trainer. As they neared the water they noticed a course marked by yellow buoys. It was fairly long and several obstacles were involved. No one was allowed on the course, but there were plenty of people practicing in the water nearby. “Hey… someone blew up a Steelix in Hoenn…” Sem informed as Fida walked towards a section of beach that was less crowded, hoping to get some good practice with Calhoun and get him excited. “Almost as weird as falling engine cars…” He had slowed down considerably, standing in the sand as he read. The pony-tailed blonde pulled out a Lure ball and tossed it over the water as she waded in to about her knees. Calhoun appeared with a rather large splash and immediately swam over to her, rubbing up against her and almost causing her to lose her balance. “Hey, stop!” she giggled. “We gotta practice, I entered you in a race; I know you’re going to win,” she smiled, patting the space between the fish’s eyes. “Go!” she pointed off into the waves. Calhoun went off as soon as he was told, cutting through the water with ease thanks to all his training. His fins were powerful and were well developed; enough so that the fish could almost turn on a dime. Fida watched, filled with excitement. Elvia took pleasure in Fida’s emotion, happy that the girl was happy, and glad that Fida had been so the past few months. This almost overshadowed the urgent and surprising news that the ghost had received only moments prior when Fida was signing up. It was a strange tale, but she would play her part in it by keeping her trainer out of it. Fida was alive and breathing and happy, which meant all was right with Elvia’s world. The Mismagius expanded her consciousness, finding some children making their way towards Fida - Elvia informed her of their approach. Fida turned, watching as a group of children walked over to her, lead by boy who looked to be the oldest of them, a bit older than Fida herself. The boy had sandy brown hair and a band of freckles going across his tanned face. Clad in only a blue pair of swimming trunks, he put his hands on his hips and stared at Fida. “Hey,” he lifted his chin in a greeting, his lower lip protruded out from under his upper lip. “Hi,” Fida smiled, though she already knew this wasn’t going to be a pleasant talk. She turned back to check on Calhoun, who had just cut neatly through an incoming wave. “I’m Tom,” he introduced himself. Fida noticed that he was flexing his arms, showing whatever muscle they had. This made her smile, knowing that the other kids in the group probably admired him for it. “I’m Fida,” she didn’t nod or bow, simply looked back at her pokémon. “That your Magikarp?” Tom asked, a hint of a sneer on his speckled face. “Yep,” she nodded. “His name’s Calhoun.” Fida waved him over. The group laughed, Tom looked back at them with eyebrows raised and an are-you-serious?-smile spread across his face. “How old are you Fida?” “Almost nine…” Fida murmured as she lifted her arm to shield her eyes from the sun, looking for her Magikarp. “I’m ten,” he said too proudly. Fida lowered her arm, looking over at him with her eyebrows raised this time. “Cool?” she replied. “Thanks! I think I'm cool too,” he confessed in a snarky manner, holding a thumb to his chest. The rest of the group fell back into giggles. Fida rolled her eyes and looked away once more, catching glimpse of Calhoun only a few meters away. “You entering tomorrow’s race?” he inquired. “Because if you are, I’ll tell you right now you’re gonna lose.” “Yes I am going to race tomorrow, but I think I’ll win,” Tom’s prey answered. “Win with what? Kalhon?” he laughed, the rest of the group echoed him. “Calhoun.” “Whatever.” “And yes, I’m entering with him,” Fida glanced at Tom, touching Calhoun as she did so. Since he had come so close this allowed the children to see how big he actually was. Tom blinked in slight surprised before lowering his brow in contemplation. “He’s a Magikarp! They’re all weak!” “Not Calhoun,” she shook her head. “He’s special,” “Did your mom tell you that?” More laughter. “Did she help you catch him too?” Fida frowned. “No, my friend helped…” “Both of you must be pretty weak if it took two of you to catch him!” Tom took a step back and clutched his stomach as he and the rest of his gang laughed. The ground rumbled and the temperature plummeted. Calhoun looked agitated as he stared at the group. Fida breathed in deeply, letting go of her clenched fists. “Leave me alone,” she stated flatly without looking at them. "I need to train for tomorrow." Tom looked weirdly at her, rubbing his goose-fleshed arms. “Yeah, let’s go guys; this girl’s a freak.” And with that the group went off down the beach in search of new prey. The girl sighed, standing silently for a moment. Calhoun swam over and gently nudged her. Fida smiled, having been cheered up. “Let’s go again, Calhoun!” she giggled as he swam away, splashing her. “You meet all kinds of people when you’re traveling,” Fida heard Sem say from behind her as he approached. He had discarded the paper, having read all that interested him. “But I don’t believe I’ll meet anyone who’s meaner or more vicious than a kid.” Fida shook her head. “I’m not gonna worry about it,” she looked down affectionately at Sableye, who had jumped down from his trainer’s shoulder into the sand in search of some rare morsel of rock. A light wind swam down the length of the beach as a wave crashed. “It’s almost been a year,” Sem noted, taking a few steps closer. “I know…” Fida nodded; her eyes were half-squinted and her lips bitten down as she looked over the sea. “I’m getting better.” “I know, but I still expected to see that kid laid out flat on the beach,” Sem chuckled lightly. “Even if that’s what he deserved.” “He’ll get laid out flat tomorrow at the race,” Fida remarked wittingly. “He better.” ------- Fida trained with Calhoun on and off throughout the day, taking enough breaks to ensure he wouldn’t be completely out by the time the race started the next day. Calhoun was about as ready as he would ever be; his speed was remarkable and he could adjust it on a whim. He could take turns very well and, most important of all, was determined and willing to show himself, Fida, and the rest of the competitors what he could do. Fida returned him when it was time to eat dinner, which was at a restaurant in town, courtesy of Sem. As they ate they talked about the race and what their plans were for after the race. The older trainer had the idea of simply heading straight down to Vermillion, catching a boat to Sinnoh in order to spend some time up at his home, and to introduce his parents to Fida, who already adored the girl. Fida realized it would be a decent idea, and that for the amount of time she would be there she could get some schooling in; her education having taken a halt after leaving home. Their planning continued on their way back to the center, where Fida gave Calhoun to the nurse for the night in order for him to be fully energized by morning. In her room as she lay in bed, Fida thought about her friend, as she did every night. Wondering what she would say if she were there now, and knowing that she would be proud. Whether it was because Fida herself, or Elvia; the girl dreamt of Tara that night.