Thread: [Pokémon] Reverberations of Time
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Old October 27th, 2017 (12:18 PM). Edited November 1st, 2017 by Unown Seer.
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    Join Date: Aug 2009
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    Chapter 4


    Lyra and I are very close to Elm's lab. We've been quiet ever since we headed out from the bus station. I… feel nervous. What if Elm doesn't want to give me a starter Pokémon? I've decided that no matter what, I will be honest about my intentions, which means…

    "Well, here we are. This is the lab."

    It is a good thing that Lyra is here, because my mind is betraying me. The lab's exterior is impressive, but there is something homely about it. Granted, the entire town exudes this feeling.

    "Good. I can't wait to meet Prof. Elm."

    Lyra just presses forward with Snout in her arms. She really is in a hurry, isn't she?

    "Let me call him for you. I think that he may be upstairs in his home."

    "His home is upstairs? That must be convenient."

    Lyra goes outside, so I guess that the stairs aren't indoors. To pass the time, I look around. An assistant is staring at his computer and seems too busy to notice me. Before long, I see a little blond boy wearing glasses, who approaches me somewhat hesitantly.

    "Hey, are you Dad's special visitor?"

    "Why yes, I am. My name is Kris. What's yours?"

    "Roger. I'm Daddy's head assistant."

    I can't help but chuckle.

    "Your dad must have a lot of faith in you. How do you get along with Lyra?"

    "She's pretty cool, but I have to boss her around because she's scatterbrained."

    Something tells me that the truth may be a bit different, but I admire his confidence.

    "You might not be giving her enough credit, but you're lucky to work together."

    He doesn't seem to agree, so he changes the subject.

    "You're here for Chica, aren't you?"

    "Chica? You mean Chikorita? I am actually not sure which starter is the best choice for me."

    "There is no choice! Cinder and Toto aren't around anymore. Ethan picked Cinder, and that thief stole Toto."

    "What thief?"

    The boy just shrugs his shoulders. Obviously, he doesn't know anything about the thief's identity.

    "Poor Toto. We all miss him."

    "I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe… Toto will come back someday."

    "Ethan will bring him back! I know he will."

    Suddenly, I hear a man's voice.

    "Now, now Roger… Don't distract Kris with a sad story like that. This is an important day for her. Pleased to meet you, Kris."

    The famous Prof. Elm is finally here, with Lyra and Snout right next to him. He is tall, slender and youthful looking, none of which come as a surprise.

    "Likewise, professor! Thanks so much for having me."

    "Don't mention it. It is about time Chica found a partner."

    "But how did you know I wanted a starter?"

    "I can read between the lines. You're a bit too young to only care about research papers, aren't you?"

    "I do care about your research. I was hoping to discuss it, too."

    "Well then, shall I introduce you to Chica first?"

    "Absolutely!"

    Elm takes out a Poké Ball and summons a Chikorita. My new partner… is an energetic little thing. She runs towards me and sniffs me. A bit bossy, but I already like her.

    "Chica is smelling your scent. A person with a bad odor isn't right for her."

    "I hope I meet her standards… The ride here might have taken its toll on my hygiene."

    But Chica seems satisfied. She rubs against me and I caress her leaf gently.

    "You two will get along, I'm sure. I have a nose for this kind of thing."

    "Go on, hug her!" Roger exclaims.

    I pick up Chica and look at her eyes. I can tell that she is scanning me still, looking for validation of my desire to be with her. That's okay… I understand the hesitation. It's how I feel about people, too.

    "Chica, will you be my partner?"

    She shows me a small smile, as if to say that she is giving me a chance, but I'm on close watch. Fair enough!

    "Don't forget her Poké Ball," Elm adds.

    "I don't need a Poké Ball. Chica and I will walk together."

    "You can do that even with her Poké Ball present. That is what Ethan and Lyra do."

    Lyra nods. Snout is playing with Chica without a care about our discussion.

    "But… I don't want her to ever be alone."

    "She wouldn't be alone. The Poké Ball system allows Pokémon to be together in cyberspace."

    "Cyberspace? What's that?"

    "A virtual simulation where Pokémon play with each other. It is better than wild life because they don't have to live in fear of predator Pokémon. The system is designed to create each Pokémon's ideal habitat."

    "But… that isn't the real world. Isn't an imaginary world a little sad?"

    "Oh, Kris… You're a stubborn one, if you don't mind my saying. I think that you may have gotten the wrong impression from my papers."

    Okay, I expected this attitude… But I can still hold my own.

    "Have I? Isn't being with Pokémon all the time the best way to bond with them?"

    "It isn't practical if you want to train several Pokémon. You can't watch them all forever."

    "I think I can, professor. Please let me prove that to you."

    I finally notice that Lyra is looking at me intently. She seems a little annoyed, but she finally joins the conversation.

    "Oh professor, I think that Kris may have a point. I only have Snout, myself, but I'd like to catch more Pokémon and test Kris' theory."

    Catch Pokémon? I wouldn't use that term for what I have in mind…

    "Isn't it great, Kris? We have the same goal now."

    "Yeah. I'm glad that you share my opinion, Lyra."

    "I am curious to see if you're right! Wouldn't it be wonderful if trainers really could be with their Pokémon all the time? Has any person accomplished that before?"

    That's quite the change of tune from what she told me on the way here. What gives?

    "There is no record of that. In fact, before Poké Balls were invented, people had been limited to having a single partner," Elm clarified.

    "Maybe they never tried training more than one?" I asked.

    "I doubt it… People have always been curious, especially when it comes to Pokémon. You are not the first to come up with this idea…"

    "Professor, please don't discourage us. What's the harm in trying?" Lyra interjects.

    "All I'm saying is that the smart thing for Kris to do is take Chica's Poké Ball just in case. And in fact, she should take a supply of Poké Balls for her journey."

    "Okay, I will. But I am not going to use a single one."

    "So stubborn… Just put them in your bag, young lady. What would your parents think of me if I didn't give you such basic advice?"

    That last line was poignant, for reasons he couldn't know.

    "So Lyra and Kris are rivals now?" Roger inquired, prompting Chica and Snout to stop playing.

    "No way! I'd like to think that Kris is my colleague now. But first thing's first… We really need to finish the preparations for Ethan's welcome home party. Roger, will you give me and Rebecca a hand?"

    "Who's Rebecca?" I wonder aloud.

    "She's Ethan's mom. And the best cook in town!" Roger exclaims.

    "I see. Could Chica and I stay for this party?"

    "Of course! After all, Chica is dying to see Cinder again," Lyra says.

    "Great! Thanks for having me."

    Lyra stops smiling. I can't help but think that she may have been putting on an act during this conversation.

    "Well, it's settled. Ethan is coming back this evening and we will all be there to congratulate him for his feats. That sure is exciting, isn't it kids?" Elm summarizes.

    Lyra, Snout and Roger leave the lab to make their preparations. I am curious to meet Ethan, but the reason I came here is Chica. I hold her again to let her know, without speaking, that we are going to have a great journey together. Hopefully, I can truly start anew and forget about the past.

    ***

    After an extended playtime outside the lab, Chica falls asleep in my arms. I need to pass the time, and from a cursory glance through the window, it doesn't seem that Prof. Elm is doing much other than organizing books. Maybe we can talk some more? I'll go inside again and approach him.

    "Professor, do you have a minute?"

    He turns away from the library and looks at me.

    "Hmm, certainly. What's on your mind?"

    "Could you tell me what made you think of the Pokéwalker project?"

    "Sure. Have you heard of the previous trainer that entered the Hall of Fame?"

    "Yes, his name is Red. I don't know much about him, though."

    "Actually, Red is his nickname, while Ash is his official name. I guess that Red is his preferred name, though. Anyway, about three years ago Prof. Oak told me that Red had encountered a Pikachu near Pallet Town, and this Pikachu refused to stay inside its ball."

    "Really? So some Pokémon dislike cyberspace."

    "Don't get ahead of yourself. That Pikachu is very much the exception to the rule."

    Sometimes the exception proves the opposite rule.

    "But that Pikachu proved something, right?"

    "It seemed much more powerful than you'd expect from its species. That gave me the idea that walking might have a positive effect on a Pokémon's potential, hence the Pokéwalker project which I created to collect data on Pokémon trained this way. However…"

    "None of the participants showed the same effect as Red's Pikachu did, right?"

    "Right. They definitely grew closer to their trainers, and they also attracted rare wild Pokémon. But their battle skills were unaffected, so Pikachu may be an anomaly. Both Prof. Oak and I don't have a good theory about this, and it doesn't help that Ash – I mean Red – is gone."

    "Gone?"

    Before the professor can respond, I hear a voice from behind. Turning around, I see a woman about Prof. Elm's age and a black-haired boy wearing a mixture of red, yellow and black clothing.

    "Professor, you sure know how to make my son feel special. Let's not talk about the previous champion today of all days, shall we?" the mom says light-heartedly.

    "Mom! The world doesn't revolve around me," the boy says.

    Talk about an awkward moment. Prof. Elm seems embarrassed, and I… can only assume that the boy in front of me is Ethan. His attire is nowhere near as fancy as you'd expect from a champion, but then, he is barely older than I am.

    "My apologies, Rebecca. We were just talking about the Pokéwalker business to pass the time before Ethan's arrival. Speaking of Ethan, you know how proud I am of you, right?"

    "Of course. You were at a loss for words when we talked right after the Hall of Fame induction," Ethan says in an embarrassed tone.

    "I'm just joking, you know," Rebecca replies. "I could blame the professor for not making it to Indigo Plateau, but then I wasn't there, either. And through no fault of my own!" She seems to be in good spirits despite her complaints. I can't help but be jealous of Ethan for yet another reason; even without Rebecca, he has so many people that care about him.

    "I am not going to apologize for not telling you that I was going to Indigo Plateau, Mom. It was a stressful experience as it was. Now, could we stop talking about me and acknowledge that we are not alone here?" Ethan retorts and then looks at me, expecting an introduction.

    "Oh, where are my manners? Kris, these are Ethan and his mom, Rebecca. Ethan and Rebecca, Kris here is Chica's new trainer," the professor says while looking at all three of the rest of us.

    "Nice to meet you two," I say with a smile. Chica is still resting.

    "Chica's new trainer, huh? You know, Chica was my first pick, but she didn't want me because I was too dirty for her," Ethan jokes to break the ice a bit. I keep smiling.

    "I think she made a mistake, then. Congratulations on your victory."

    Chica wakes up as soon as I've finished stuttering. She seems pissed.

    "Oh, look who's up. I get the feeling that she's mad at me for not coming to visit more often."

    Chica is tackling him. What's that all about? I thought he was joking about the smell business.

    "Chica, that's enough!" I shout.

    "Don't worry. This impulsive one just wants me to send out Cinder," he says while summoning a fairly striking Typhlosion that towers over Chica and soon hugs her. At first I worry that there might be an accident, but Cinder has no flames on his back since he's just resting now.

    "These two really loved each other and still do," the professor explains for my benefit.

    "And I'm the bastard that separated them," Ethan laughs again.

    "Ethan, what sort of language is that?" Rebecca tells him off.

    "Whatever. Kris, you should know that my name is Gold. Only the folks in New Bark call me Ethan."

    "Because that's your real name!" Rebecca exclaims. A touchy subject?

    "Gold is an interesting choice. What made you think of it?" I ask.

    "I'll let you know after dinner!"

    "Not before you take a shower and find some clean clothes. We don't want Chica to be upset, do we?" Rebecca says with a smirk.

    "Sure. I'll see you two later, then," Ethan adds before heading off. Cinder stays behind with Chica.

    I don't know what the dress code for this dinner is, but I do have a nice sweater I could wear. Not that any eyes will be on me... I like how Ethan – okay, Gold – is so down to earth. I was expecting someone wise beyond his years with zero patience for the likes of me. Could we actually have a few things in common? Will he judge me for not wanting to be a "real" trainer that battles and catches Pokémon? Does it matter?
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