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August 18th, 2012 (9:12 PM).
There's Something About Lamps
Join Date: May 2011
Location: The USA
Thanks for the review, Cutlerine! A bit of a late reply here, but thanks. And this one only took two months! Hurrah! Well, the span of two months. I went through a phase of not doing anything to do with literature, but I realized I have to finish this story. Oh writer's block, you sneaky ba
Chapter 4: Edge of the Shore
There was something magical about the sea. Connie always found herself staring out towards the flat horizon wherever she went. She supposed it became a habit. The wet, briny air helped Connie relax as she sat on the pier and stared at the bow of a ship slice through the waves. It almost reminded her of home in Sunyshore City, where storms brewed and the boats fought the ocean, rising and falling as the waves ripped towards shore. The Vista Lighthouse was almost always busy with all the ships coming into harbor.
Here it was mostly calm, although Hoenn did get a lot of tropical storms and had recently gone through a period of flash flooding. The ocean placid, Connie sat on the edge, her bare feet dangling a few feet over the clear water. It was so clear, in fact, that when she peered down, she could spot a school of magikarp swiftly swimming away from a pack of carvanha along with a lone seadra drifting about. She tossed a discarded seashell and watched the pokemon scatter, but slowly, they would return as if nothing happened.
Then she grabbed her fishing pole with one hand and cast away, watching the lure sink into the water. Reeling it back in, she heard someone come up to her and say, “So you were hanging around here the whole time.”
She didn’t have to look up to know who was behind her. “I need to start fishing more. I’ve had this rod forever, but I barely use it.”
“Great minds think alike.” The boy sat next to her, holding out his own fishing pole and quickly casted the line. He rushed reeling in his fishing line and looked on dully, almost bored. Yet his eyes were full of wonder. Too many contradictions floated around him. She also noted the slowking proudly standing beside him, its hands behind its back.
“Marf?” she said in realization.
He nodded with a spry smile while he tapped his crown full of pride. “Always a pleasure, Connie.”
“And you can talk, too.” Turning towards Marcelo, she asked, “You brought him from Kanto, then?”
“He’s nice company,” he simply said.
“So then you’re going to enter him in the tournament, too.”
He nodded, throwing his lure and reeling it back in a methodical manner, and he didn’t acknowledge her for a while after that. Quietly, they began to talk about their travels through Hoenn, the people they met, and the battles they had won. It was only small talk, but there was some significance in being able to meet each other. Marcelo had constantly come up with excuses to rush through his journey. But time had been kind to their friendship, although Marcelo didn’t seem to receive the same treatment from the last time they had met.
His arms were thinner than she remembered and his face had become slender. Marcelo’s skin took on a smooth texture, so pale that it was almost transparent. Blue veins became visible, and they made him seem fragile. It came to the point that when Connie looked at Marcelo, she was reminded about the things that kept him alive.
Secretly, she worried for him, now more than ever. Three years had passed since he first took to traveling and training, and each year seemed to take more and more out of him.
Evidently, Marf became bored and began blowing bubbles. Connie saw them capture the sun’s rays that made them shine with a variety of colors until the wind carried them farther away out of her sight. They sat leisurely, enjoying the sun’s rays and the sea air.
Then Marcelo jerked on the fishing line — something bit the lure. But whatever he hooked, it was weak. It was no wonder considering how little he seemed to care about fishing. The pokemon splashed on the surface as Connie made out the red scales gleam before the fish flailed back into the water. He would let the line drag out and reel it in. Eventually, the magikarp gave in and allowed itself to be pulled up to the pier. It flopped on the deck.
It could hurt itself
, she thought. And then it occurred to her that Marcelo didn’t catch it, so she asked.
“I don’t need anymore pokemon,” he answered. He poked the magikarp and examined the bright scales.
“Then why bother?”
“Fishing is just for fun.” He was pulling the hook out of the magikarp while it calmed down and resorted to wheezing. “Everyone else seems to take it so seriously. Don’t tell me you were trying to catch something?”
“I was wondering what it would be like to train a seadra,” said Connie. In truth, she was fishing, because she knew Marcelo would find her and she didn’t want to be pestered by the other trainers entering the tournament.
“There aren’t many seadra around the piers, I think. They’re probably around the reefs. How about we head out there?”
“The reefs are too far out.”
“Well, we have pokemon.” He grinned.
She stared at him, realizing what he implied. “I was kidding, and we don’t have anything large enough to carry us to fish.”
That didn’t bring him down, though. “I’ve kinda had enough fishing, too. It’ll be dark soon.”
And true enough the sun had almost disappeared while the sky was a deep, empty blue.
“So what do you have in mind?” she asked.
“Let’s go out to sea and explore a bit,” he said. “There are a lot of places left to be found out there. And even if we don’t discover anything, it’ll be fun.”
He continued talking, and Connie was perfectly content listening to him. His enthusiasm hadn’t waned since she first met him; in fact, it grew. Marcelo wanted to do many things, to do exciting things. In turn, Connie got dragged into his antics whenever they found the time to meet up. It was always fun and always hectic — he wanted to do too much. That led him to be rushed, to jump around more. The first year as a trainer was tough, for him especially so. There were always deadlines, whether it was scheduling a gym battle or getting to the next town before it started to get dark. Adjusting took a while.
It was a wonder he even found time to do everything he wanted to. Still, she could tell he was happy, if somewhat weary at the same time, but Connie never mentioned it, at least not to him. Reggie had become slightly friendlier, but he was still distant. They didn’t have much of a rivalry when she thought about it. Reggie became a figure for her to beat who shared a mutual friend. He could be bitter and cold when he needed to, but she rarely saw him around, so they rarely even battled. It was an odd relationship.
Connie stood up and followed Marcelo walk off the pier. Lights turned on from the buildings that were separated from the ocean by the beach. As they approached the shoreline, Marf asked, “Are you sure about this? You don’t know what’s out there.”
Marcelo finished stuffing his shoes and fishing pole in his backpack, grabbing a poke ball to let his quagsire out. “You’re enough to fight off anything that might want to eat us. Walon, too.”
Marf stared at him, bewildered. “I was concerned about you two drowning.”
“Oh,” said Marcelo rather innocently. He turned towards the quagsire. “Walon, we’re going for a swim. You’ll carry Connie, so make sure you follow me.”
Walon nodded and waddled into the waves, Connie right behind him. She flinched as she submerged herself into the icy water.
Marf and Marcelo had gone out further ahead where Marcelo had to cling onto the slowking; eventually, Connie had to do the same. She found herself nervous and jittery. Her arms held on tightly around Walon’s slick body, and as she began to lose sight of the shore, she grew excited. In the daytime, she could go out to open sea, and it wouldn’t even matter. Then, it was only ordinary. At night, it became an adventure.
She didn’t know how long they swam. All she knew was that it was a while before they came across a small island — one that she thought would only be seen in fantasies. There was a cluster of palm trees huddled together in the center, but other than that, it was empty. Marf stepped onto it, immediately lying down and panted heavily. Connie was about to poke him to check if he was all right, but Marcelo called her over.
“What?” she asked.
“Marf is fine,” he said. “He’s meditating. He does that a lot.” He reached out to Walon and patted its head while he returned it.
“So this is it,” said Connie, looking around and seeing nothing but the ocean. “Was this where you wanted to go?”
And Marcelo only smiled at her. Without a word, he pointed to the sky.
Gazing up, she saw the stars and the moon shining against the black background. The night was ripe with many wonders to gaze at. Still, why did he bring her out so far to look at the sky? Then again, he was impulsive. She heard Marcelo laugh lightly, so she said, “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing, nothing,” he said, waving his hand. He lied back in the warm sand with his hands behind his head, relaxed. “Keep looking, Connie.”
Seeing nothing but the stars, she asked, “Why?”
“Can’t you tell? It’s a meteor shower.”
As soon as he said that, a single streak illuminated the sky amongst the stars, dissipating within seconds. She was about to say something, but another one flew through the sky and disappeared in the same way. A few moments passed before more stars shot across the twinkling black canvas, each going in different directions. The sky was a reflection of the ocean, it seemed; it teemed with life and brought its own set of mysteries and wonders.
Marf seemed to have gotten over his fatigue and sat next to them as he explained the different constellations and names of stars with such enthusiasm — Connie felt as if she could have sat there forever, listening to him talk on and on about the wonders before them.
“You know, sometimes the world makes me feel so small,” said Marcelo. “It’s boundless up there. Look, the Pleiades is dragging all the stars away. It’s making it emptier.”
But the stars remained as they shined in the same place they were before. Nothing much had changed, Connie thought. So what was Marcelo talking about?
“Hoenn is known for its connection to the night sky and outer space. Mossdeep is famous for landing the first people on the moon.” Marf cleared his throat. “They didn’t find much up there, though.”
“No proof that clefairy are from there, either,” Marcelo added. “The people here have a lot of legends about the meteors and space.”
“Like what?” she asked.
“Jirachi’s one,” replied Marcelo. “It’s said that jirachi fell from the end of a comet and crashed in Hoenn. Some say it grants wishes to people who sing it a lullaby.”
“Why a lullaby?”
“Because it helps it get a better rest. I know you wouldn’t want to be waked up early.” He smiled.
“True.” She laughed. “Say, if you found jirachi, what would you wish for?”
“If I could wake it up? Well . . .” he trailed off. He lay there silently, evidently thinking.
Marf cut in, answering, “I’d wish for a substantial amount of currency.”
Connie snorted. “What does a pokemon want with money?”
“I would buy myself some property and build a respectable house,” he said rather proudly.
“And what would you do with one?”
“Why, live in it, of course.”
Something took over Connie, something she couldn’t control. It caused her to smile, and then she exploded into laughter. Maybe it had something to do with Marf’s ridiculous pose, which made him clench his fist with a serious expression on his face. But when she glanced back at him, he was grinning, patting Marcelo’s back as he coughed and laughed simultaneously. Even Marf let out a chuckle.
Apparently, even slowking could be funny.
After a while, the only sounds were the waves crashing and receding barely touching their feet. And then Connie asked again, “Marcelo, what would you wish for?”
Moments passed until he said, “I wish I could live on the moon. I could dance with the clefairy all-night and live out in space. It’d be like running away, but it would be lonely.”
“Being a trainer is running away, isn’t it?” said Connie.
“You can go home, though,” he pointed out. “And that’s not exactly running away.”
“Anyway, I think we should head back now. I don’t wanna be late to the opening ceremony tomorrow!” said Marcelo, standing up and letting Walon out again.
And back into the water they went. The trip couldn’t have felt any longer. Walon swam leisurely, which didn’t help that Connie was freezing. Still, it kept her awake for a while, but she couldn’t tell whether or not that was what she wanted. When they finally hit the shore, her clothes drenched and hair clung onto her face, she shivered and told Marcelo thanks for bringing her out there. She would have missed it if he hadn’t told her about it and she wouldn’t even have known about it. Even now, he still broadened her horizons to newer things.
He brushed it off as nothing and waved to her saying, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Connie watched him disappear back into the city, probably towards his hotel. She wouldn’t meet him again like this for the coming weeks. After the opening ceremonies marked the start of the tournament. The long competition they’ve been waiting all year for.
Tomorrow, they would be rivals.
★ Some Stars ★
~ on Chapter Four!
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