Chapter Eight: Breaking Away
“Aislyn!” Mary Bright was shouting out the back door, looking all around the yard for her missing daughter. When there was no reply, she frowned. Where on earth was she? When she didn’t return from her morning chores, Mary grew concerned. Breakfast was ready, but she wouldn’t let anyone eat until Aislyn came back. She could hear Freddie in the kitchen, complaining that his food was getting cold.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise from the side of the house. It nearly gave the poor woman a heart-attack. What the heck was that? She wondered. Was it Aislyn? Setting aside her spatula, she went out to investigate the noise. Just as she rounded the corner, she saw an odd assortment of creatures gathered on her lawn.
“What in the name of-” she began, but stopped when she saw her daughter with them.
“Mom!” Aislyn exclaimed, then rushed to her. Mary was surprised when her daughter embraced her, tears tugging at the young girl’s eyes.
“What’s going on?” Mary was still lost. Freddie and her husband appeared behind her, looking just as confused.
“It’s a long story,” Aislyn chuckled weakly.
“And I wish there was time to share it with you,” Troy stepped forward, taking his hood off. “But I’m afraid that there isn’t.”
“What do you mean?” Aislyn’s father scratched his head.
“Mom,” Aislyn finally let go of her mother. “Remember that story you told Troy about me? About how that Pokémon saved me? That Pokémon was a Cresselia. She healed me, but said that I will need to help her someday. Well, she needs my help now. I am the only one who can help her, but . . .”
She trailed off, looking at each of her family members fondly. She then quietly finished, “But I need to leave. I need to leave now, and I don‘t know when I‘ll come back.”
Everyone was silent for a while, taking in what Aislyn had said.
“But you can’t leave,” Mary’s eyes began to water. She held her daughter’s head in her hands and tucked a lock of her hair behind her ears. “You’re my little girl. I don‘t want to lose you.”
“You won’t. I have to do this,” Aislyn took her mother’s hands in hers. “She needs me, and I owe her that.”
Mary looked deep in her daughter’s eyes, searching for a way to keep her here. But what she saw in those eyes wasn’t a girl; she was looking into the eyes of a determined young woman. She was growing up, Mary realized. The older woman knew that she couldn’t stop her from doing so. She sighed, then said:
“All chicks must fly away from the nest some day. I just didn’t think this day would come so soon. I understand, Aislyn. If this Cresselia needs you, than you got to do what you’ve got to do. You’re an independent young woman now. You must do what you know is right. I‘m sure going to miss you, though.”
Aislyn beamed and hugged her mother once again. “I won’t let you down, Mom. I’ll make you proud. And don‘t worry, I won‘t be alone.” She let go, looking towards the Knights. “They’re going to help me.”
“I will swear to you, Mistress Bright,” Troy bowed deeply, as did the others. “I will protect your daughter with my life.”
“No harm shall come to her,” Frostpaw added.
“Not while we are being around,” Gunuru thumped his chest.
“I guess there’s no stopping you now,” Aislyn‘s father chuckled. “But I can’t let you just run off empty handed. Let’s get you ready for your adventure. I‘ll let you take some Doduo. They‘ll carry you far, to wherever you‘re goin‘.”
“And you’ll need some food!” Mary remembered. “And clothes!”
“Better make it fast, though,” Thyme reminded them of their limited time.
Within minutes, with a great deal of fussing and packing, Aislyn and her team was outfitted for their quest. Her dad passed her Dewy’s Poke Ball, as well as two others for Gunuru and Troy. Frostpaw was capable of keeping up with the fast birds, therefore would be traveling on foot. He also gave her a Mareep, saying that it would be useful for many different things. Mary laded the party with as much food as she could, hopping that they wouldn’t at least starve. Aislyn packed some clothes in her backpack, as well as her sketch pad and some tools.
Before leaving her room she took one last good look at it, wondering if she would ever return to it. Shrugging her pack on, she left it behind for good. Finally, the time had come; the time to say goodbye to her family. They all waited downstairs in the kitchen, silently waiting for her. Her mother looked like she was on the verge of crying. Aislyn hoped she wouldn’t; it would only make the parting worse. Taking a deep breath, she took the last step off the stairs and confronted her family. At first, they didn’t say anything, but Freddie somehow found words after a long silence.
“So, I guess you’re taking off now,” he said awkwardly.
“Yeah,” Aislyn answered with the same style.
Freddie tried to say something else, but he forgot about it and just gave his sister a big hug.
“Don’t get lost,” he managed to say as he let go. “Look both ways before crossing the street and all that.”
Aislyn laughed, admiring how her brother always managed to tease in any situation they found themselves in. “I’ll keep that in mind,” she answered.
“Those are wise words,” her dad joked along with them. “But I know you’ll make the right choices. Take care of yourself, and be strong.”
“I will, Daddy,” she hugged him next, then turned to her mother. Mary gave a gentle smile, admiring how her daughter had grown.
“We’re proud of you, honey,” she affectionately tucked Aislyn’s hair behind her ear again. “And we love you so much.”
“I love you, too,” Aislyn hugged her mother now, feeling the tears threatening to spill. They remained in each other’s hold for a while, then they let go with great reluctance. It was hard for both of them, but Aislyn somehow knew that she would see them again. It might be far up the road, or might not, be she knew that she would be reunited with her family again. Though she had always wanted to go on an adventure, Aislyn didn’t even expect it to be so hard to leave her family behind. This was what had held her back all those times she wanted to run away, she realized.
“Thank you for your hospitality,” Troy finally spoke up, bowing to the Brights. “These past few days I spent with you have been most enjoyable. May there be a blessing upon your household now that we part ways.”
“It is time we left,” Frostpaw looked towards the window, out at the sky.
“We better not take any more of your time, then,” Aislyn’s dad took Troy’s green hand and shook it. “It has been a pleasure.”
“Be safe,” Mary ordered, taking out a handkerchief and dabbing the corners of her eyes. Better leave now before she snaps, Aislyn thought. That would be the last thing she needed to see before she left.
Aislyn and her Knights stepped out of the house to see the sun half-way up the sky. They really needed to start now, before it was too late. Aislyn couldn’t help but think about Thyme’s warning. She could only hope she would lead away the hunters from her family. A trio of Doduo were tied to the front porch, eagerly awaiting a new journey. Troy and Gunuru mounted theirs after asking the birds’ permission. It was almost an odd situation, but the Doduo were understanding. Dewy looked excitedly at Aislyn, stamping his feet impatiently. Aislyn reached up and affectionately patted the hair-like feathers on the bird’s side. Tapping his ankle, Aislyn sent the message to him to kneel down. Dewy complied, and Aislyn climbed up on his back.
Troy steered his Doduo away from the house, leading them south. Aislyn followed, but stole a glance over her shoulder. There was her family, standing on the porch and waving at her in farewell. Buster was by their side, sadly howling back at her. Waving back at her family, Aislyn felt a deep sadness settle in her heart.
“Do you think they’ll be okay?” she asked Thyme, who was seated in front of her. The Celebi had declared to them that he would travel with them for a while, until Colossus needed him again.
“Of course!” Thyme answered optimistically. “But I think you should really worry about us. We got a long road ahead of us.”
“That’s right,” Troy overheard. “We’re heading to Kanto, to search for the first trio: Articuno, Zapados, and Moltres.”
“I only wish it was as easy as it sounds,” Frostpaw appeared by them on the road, easily keeping pace with the Doduo. “We still don’t know where exactly to find them.”
“But I know someone who can help,” Troy kept his eyes on the path before them. The Gallade reluctantly lead them down the road, despite Lady Silver’s warnings. Right now they were only in open country, and traveling off the road would only lead to angry farmers. Watchful eyes could spy them easily, wherever they traveled in the farmlands. However, a large cottonwood forest was waiting for them beyond the Adelite province. Once they reached it, they would lose the road and travel under the canopy‘s relative safety.
Aislyn was lost in thought as she peered across the familiar fields of barley and corn. The crops were only knee high, but they seemed to stretch far across the horizon like green carpet. Alfalfa was beginning to bloom with their tiny purple flowers as the songbirds sang to each other. The beginning summer was here for good, and setting in with a kindly sun. It didn’t bear down on the travelers with heavy heat, but seemed to soak into their spirits and hearts.
Gunuru the blue Medicham pulled his Doduo to Aislyn’s side, his face lifted up in a beaming smile.
“Lovely day for traveling, is it not?” he sparked up a conversation, his voice lilting as if he was singing.
“It’s very nice,” Aislyn answered shyly, offering a pleasant smile.
“It is as if the sun is with us in our cause. We should be taking this as good luck, my friend,” he turned away from the sun’s rays, looking at Aislyn with a curious expression. “I must say that I regret not knowing you as well as I should. Perhaps we could be spending this time getting to know one another better, yes?”
“Um, sure,” the young girl had to admit that it felt so odd to be traveling with people she hardly knew. Hopefully, she could change that.
“Good! I am glad you agree! Tell me, have you always been living in here in this land?”
“Yeah, I’ve never really left Lunnori before,” she frowned, the sadness of leaving her family arising again.
“Never?” Gunuru looked surprised. “Then this is being your first adventure, yes? Oh, I remember my first adventure! Such exciting times!”
“This Pokémon’s kinda weird,” Thyme whispered to Aislyn, hiding behind Dewy’s heads. Aislyn just chuckled to this comment, and patted the Celebi’s head.
“What was your first adventure?” she went ahead and asked, wanting to be friendly. Gunuru meant no harm, she knew.