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November 4th, 2010 (6:37 AM).
Oatmeal? Are you CRAZY?!
In the middle of nowhere.
Cassandra watched out her window as Sakura Konohana, now dressed in a kimono, smiled placidly at the innkeeper and bowed to her. A limo sat on the road behind her, and a man was scooping up her bags to put them inside. As Cassandra watched, Sakura shook the innkeeper’s hand, bowed once more, and got inside the limo. The innkeeper turned away, but Cassandra saw the girl’s face just before the door shut; she was frowning, and she already had a cigarette in her hand.
Would all contests be like this? Would she constantly lose to less talented people because they were willing to give judges money? Cassandra closed her eyes, thinking over things. Giving steroids to Pokémon, bribing judges, people setting bombs in caves, friends slowly dropping out of touch…the last one almost brought tears to her eyes. While Belle had hinted at a possibly painful split between her and Derrick, she hadn’t come out with the full story. Was she okay? What she had said in her email made it seem like she was at fault.
Cassandra turned away from the window and looked at Karen’s bed. The girl was stretched out on it, kicking her feet and coloring, her long pink hair spread out around her. Tuffly lay across from her, frowning in concentration as it attempted to hold a crayon. “You’re doing good, Tuffly,” Karen remarked, pointing at the page. “Look, you stayed inside the lines there and everything.”
Tuffly seemed proud of itself.
Cassandra stood; Fluffy shifted from his place at her feet, lifting his head and watching her. He seemed to never want to be in his Poké Ball now that he had seen her get attacked by Isis. Now he wanted to keep an eye on her at all times.
“Hey Karen,” Cassandra said, crossing the room and picking up her jacket. Fluffy stood at once.
“I’m going out to train with Ellia. I’ll be back before dark.”
“It’s wintertime,” Karen reminded her. “It’ll be dark sooner, so don’t get carried away.” She picked up a crayon and lightly shaded something. Tuffly made a sound rather like a laugh. Karen laughed in reply. “You’re right!” she remarked.
Cassandra froze on her way to the door and turned around, Fluffy cocking his head quizzically up at her. “What did you say?”
“Oh, I was just telling Tuffly that he was right.”
Cassandra didn’t know what to say. After a long silence, she finally asked slowly, “And what did he say?”
“Oh, he just said that the Ponyta you caught probably won’t take kindly to being captured.”
Cassandra was so shocked she could have thrown up the entire contents of her stomach. “You can understand Tuffly?”
Karen nodded, poking her tongue out of the corner of her mouth. “I can understand all Pokémon.”
The doorknob would have shattered under Cassandra’s hand if she hadn’t almost collapsed. Fluffy barked. “And when were you planning on telling me
Karen shrugged nonchalantly. “It’s not a big deal. Tuffly, would you stop hogging all the purple?”
a big deal!”
Sighing, Karen put down her crayon and looked up, folding her hands in front of her. “Okay.”
Cassandra straightened and drew in a deep breath as she zipped up her faux fur-lined jacket. “When did it happen?”
“When did what happen?”
Fluffy wagged his tail as he sensed his Trainer’s growing frustration. “
When did you figure out you could understand Pokémon?
“When I was little, of course,” Karen replied. “When else would I figure it out?” She swept a strand of pink hair behind her ears.
“I don’t know. They’ve just always made sense to me. My parents thought it was amazing.”
Fluffy barked; Karen nodded. “But you should get training. Ponyta are used to running free, so it might take Ellia a long time go come around.” With that, she turned back to her coloring book, clearly dismissing Cassandra.
“Don’t eat before I get back,” Cassandra said as she opened the door. “We’ll talk about this more at supper.”
Thankfully, no ash was falling today. Cassandra didn’t want to go to her favorite little training patch for fear Ponyta would disappear into the trees, so she chose a nice, wide-open space with plenty of room to aim the red beam from her Poké Ball.
Fluffy wagged his tail as he walked beside her but remained vigilant as he scanned the area. When she stopped, he stopped also, and started to trot around the perimeter of the space.
Cassandra pulled out everyone’s Poké Balls and tossed them one by one into the air—Ellia, of course, was the last. As soon as the fiery Pokémon’s hooves hit the ground she was running. “Return!” Cassandra yelled, and the red beam pulled Ellia back into the Ball. “Let’s try that again.” But Ellia took off once more, forcing Cassandra to return her to the Poké Ball. This happened several times before Ellia grudgingly stopped running and stood angrily before Cassandra, tossing her head and pawing at the ground. “You are my Pokémon now and your name is Ellia,” Cassandra told her. “You will be entered in at least one Contest, so I’d like to start training you now.”
Ellia glared fiercely back at Cassandra. She didn’t appear to want to do anything. “How about a spar?” Cassandra finally suggested. “Swablu, could you please?”
!” Swablu chirped as it rose into the air. Ellia kept her eyes on Cassandra as she slowly turned around to face the Pokémon, not breaking her glare until she could no longer help it.
“Okay, Swablu, I’ll just tell Ellia what to do and you can do your thing.” Pulling out the little-used Pokédex she acquired upon choosing Finny, Cassandra scrolled through Ponyta’s moves. “Hm…okay. Ready, Swablu?” She pocketed the Pokédex again. Swablu chirped, bobbing up and down in the air. “Cool. Okay, Ellia—use Flame Wheel!”
Instead, the Ponyta reared up on its hind legs and turned, lashing its hooves out dangerously near Cassandra’s head. In a flash, Fluffy was between them, snarling and snapping; Ellia squealed in displeasure and danced backwards as she shook her head. Cassandra’s hand tightened into a fist. “You’ll do as I say! Spar with Swablu!”
Ellia seemed extremely indignant to this sort of treatment; she reared up again and opened her mouth, allowing flames to shoot out. Finny came to the rescue; he quickly used Mud-Slap to smother the flames before they reached Fluffy or Cassandra. Angrily, Cassandra pulled out Ellia’s Poké Ball and returned her. “We’re done for today,” she snapped, and she turned and went back to the hotel, not even bothering to return her other Pokémon.
With a quick shared glance between them, Fluffy, Finny, and Swablu started off after her.
“Finny says Ellia won’t listen to you,” Karen said as Cassandra stepped out of the bathroom. Finny shrugged apologetically from his place on Cassandra’s bed as his master threw him a sharp glance.
“Mm-hm. Says she tried to attack you.”
Cassandra narrowed her eyes at Finny, who dropped his gaze to the coverlet. “Yeah, well, she won’t listen, and she
try to attack me. He say anything else?”
“No, but Swablu told me she’s worried about you. She wants you to release Ellia.”
“Well, I’m not,” Cassandra snapped. “I’m going to train her if it’s the last thing I do.” The Ponyta had made this a battle of wills, and Cassandra was used to those—Joanna presented them daily, almost.
Swablu chirruped worriedly. She was perched on Cassandra’s bedpost, a fluffy ornament.
“She says she thinks you’re being too stubborn,” Karen piped up. She was
“I’m not, Swablu. I’m just being determined.”
Another chirrup. “Why do you insist on fighting to your own destruction?”
Cassandra clamped her mouth shut. She returned Finny and Swablu to their Poké Balls before glancing down at Fluffy. “Did you say anything to her?”
Fluffy made a noise in his throat and shook his head. Cassandra didn’t even need Karen to translate for her; she crossed into the den and started up the computer, allowing the Mightyena to trot along after her. She was going to train Ellia, no matter what anyone said.
Don’t you go doing this too.
Your last email wasn’t very descriptive. Please don’t pull a Belle on me. Don’t leave me all alone with TWO best friends to worry about. I’m so worried…what happened?
The Ponyta I caught won’t listen to me, but I’m determined to train her. Swablu thinks I should release her. You know how I know that? KAREN CAN TALK TO POKÉMON. When she was planning on telling me this, I have no idea. But there it is; she can talk to Pokémon.
I’m going to send an email to Belle’s mother, because I’m way too worried about her to just let her fester. She seems like she’s starting to open up (that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to withdraw!!!!), but she needs something to jolt her out of it.
Lots of love and worry,
As you know, I’m Cassandra
toile, one of your daughter’s best friends. She’s been a bit withdrawn lately, and I’m incredibly worried about her. Has she been communicating with you at all? I know that right now she’s at Cinnabar Island about to challenge the Gym Leader, and I also know that she stopped traveling with Derrick. Do you think that there’s anything I, Alyssa, or you can do to put her back into her senses?
Thanks very much,
P.S. How’s Derek doing?
Joined Aug 2009
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