chapter 5 ; [KUIORA]
Violet City wasn’t violet. There was green grass and brown buildings and white walking paths and there weren’t even any violet flowers. And the purple roofs didn’t count. It was sort of disappointing. I don’t know what I had been expecting, but it was certainly more than this. This city looked just like New Bark Town, except just organized in an entirely different way. A city full of flower houses and purple people would have been better.
Senori had a sad expression on his face when we got there. He didn’t even look up from the ground. I didn’t think he was upset for the same reasons as me; he had seen much more than me. I guessed that he was upset about saying good-bye to whoever it was he had left Sai for, but I thought that meant he should be happy. Whoever was holding him down no longer had to hold him down. Unless Senori let it get to him, he was free, just as I was free from Professor Elm. I told him to cheer up a few times, but he just told me that I didn’t understand, and that he’d get over it soon.
Sai seemed unresponsive to the city as a whole at first, too. He walked slowly and said nothing until we came across a large building that he called a school, and another large building that he called a gym. That was when Senori finally spoke before spoken to.
“You know, normal kids wouldn’t be excited about school. Trainers would complain about how they wasted so much time there instead of raising pokémon. Normal kids would be dying of hunger or thirst by now,” he said, holding his stomach.
“What’s school?” I asked. I could be curious, at least, without being scolded.
“It’s where you can learn about a lot of things… especially pokémon-related things,” Sai explained, walking up to the building and pushing his face against the windows.
Senori promptly ran in his direction and pulled at his legs, yelling, “Get away from the window! You got lucky at the professor’s lab, but they’ll definitely see you and think you’re a freak here!”
I noted how Senori mentioned the lab, how Sai must have been watching me and the others the entire time, but I hadn’t noticed at all. It must have been the little brown creature keeping him in line, and he was trying to do it again now. Sai moved, but not because of Senori’s force. He brushed off the pokémon like it was nothing and went back to where he had been before.
“Okay. You don’t have to yell at me. But I’m going there. I won’t stay long, but I think it will help me get better,” he said, still looking at the building.
“Get better at what?” I asked.
“Training. Raising pokémon. Getting badges and getting stronger as fast as possible,” he said. And he smiled.
“I can help with that,” I said eagerly. “Professor Elm taught us how to train at the lab. I knew how to train better than everyone else there, too.”
“You don’t have any experience, little guy. I bet those kids do… and especially the older guy there.”
“But I know how to train. And people should just bring food to you and your pokémon,” I said, trying to speak louder. The pokémon at the lab were hopeless. Hopefully Sai and Senori weren’t like them. I would find out in time by trying to talk more, I decided.
“Fine. We’ll rest and go get food. Happy now?”
“Yes,” Senori said. “If you don’t remember to sleep or feed yourself or your pokémon, there’s going to be issues… Good thing I’m here.”
“But if we just wait here—”
“Shush.” He glared on me and I cut myself off immediately. I had never seen that much seriousness or lack of emotion packed into one face. “I know what you’re talking about, but we don’t need to deal with that anymore, do we? Let’s go, little guy.”
What on earth was he talking about? He thought that I was a boy and he pushed me away in favor of the true first pokémon. I already didn’t like him.
But things got better. He took us to the store and bought enough food to last us for what seemed like forever. He also bought an unbelievable amount of pokéballs, and a backpack to carry it all. I thought that he should’ve just taken the entire store if the owner was willingly given so much away, but Senori explained that he could only buy so much with pokédollars. So this was why Professor Elm never got a bigger lab for us, even when we just seemed to grow and grow…
“Are you really planning on catching that many pokémon?” I asked so that I could stop thinking about him. Professor Elm was gone, and I was free. He didn’t mean anything to me. And I was hoping to prove to him sometime soon that he wouldn’t need to catch so many. I would get stronger, and I’m sure Senori would, too. While I reluctantly accepted that Senori would get better with me, I believed that we could be enough, and that only a couple more pokémon couldn’t hurt.
“What about medicine?” Senori suddenly asked, not seeming to care about what was already bought anymore.
He paused. “Medicine has never helped me,” he said softly.
“It could work for pokémon.”
“Then we’ll get it later.”
“But you’re already out of pokédollars,” Senori pointed out.
“We’ll get more of those later, too,” he replied, his voice stronger again.
Senori sighed and apparently decided to settle on food. “Whatever will be, will be, I guess,” he said, and he made his way over to the entrance of the door, signaling his desire to leave.
And that was the end of that. As we walked out, I noticed that the guy behind the counter, the one who had given Sai suggestions on food types and the pokéballs themselves, was looking at us rather oddly.
Next, we visited a place called the Pokémon Center for the very first time. Sai seemed to have never heard of such a thing. The place was huge and crowded with other trainers who were conversing with each other and showing off their pokémon. I tried holding on to Sai’s ankle to keep myself from getting lost, hoping that he’d join the crowd soon enough. There didn’t seem to be too many totodile around, so surely someone wouldn’t object to seeing one with their own fortunate eyes.
Instead, Sai headed to the front counter and asked what he could do here for his pokémon. There was a lady with pink hair and a soft but genuine smile there for him to talk to. She happily informed him that he could leave us here to get healed from any injuries, or to simply have a place to sleep peacefully and out of pokéballs for the night.
“But I don’t want to give away my pokémon,” Sai said flatly. He glowered at her. “I just got them.”
The lady behind the counter frowned and looked almost like Sai had hurt her physically. “Oh, we don’t keep your pokémon here. You can come back and get them whenever you’d like. Or you could rent a room for yourself for the night and take your pokémon with you.”
The boy’s face almost returned to normal, though he was still frowning. He was still suspicious. “Okay,” he said. “Well, maybe I’ll come back when it’s dark. Thank you.”
After turning away from the front counter and the lady, Sai bent down toward us and whispered, “Now we’ll definitely get that medicine later.” Senori nodded, satisfied this time around, and the boy led us outside once more.
Needless to say, Sai didn’t want to go back to that Pokémon Center. We slept on the outskirts of the city in the grass once again. No one complained, since us two pokémon had been used to it for our entire lives. Sai didn’t seem to mind, either, though I couldn’t understand why.
After that day, though, he left his backpack with us and went off to that school. He’d be gone when we woke up, and he wouldn’t be back until it was dark. We knew where he was, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, but we didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t as if we particularly liked each other. And if we tried to do anything, we risked getting lost. One day, though, I had an idea.
“Let’s catch a strong pokémon for Sai,” I suggested. “If he sees how strong and awesome we are, then he won’t have to use all of those pokéballs.”
“I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t like that. He seems picky about who he chooses,” Senori said. He was sitting against a tree, eyes closed. I glared at him for dismissing my idea in such a nonchalant way, but he continued, “I’m also tired. I haven’t slept well since we’re in unfamiliar territory…”
“Who cares? He has to keep whoever we choose. We’re his pokémon! He has to listen to what we want,” I said. I went over to his backpack, trying to figure out how to reach the contents inside of it. There seemed to be no opening for me to put my hand into. With this roadblock and Senori’s annoying self, I ended up ripping a hole into it with my teeth and not caring too much about it.
“Not listening, huh? I bet you don’t even know how to catch a pokémon,” Senori observed.
“I bet I could,” I said confidently, pulling out one of the spheres with my paws. It was a bit difficult to pull it through the hole I had made on the backpack with my tiny paws, but I managed it. I turned toward Senori, and went to push the button in the middle of the ball. I dropped it once in the process, since it was difficult for me to hold. Senori snickered, and I glared at him once more.
“You’re a baby compared to me. You’re fun to mess with. And it seems natural for someone older like me to do so…” Senori added a bit sadly.
“Yeah, well,” I started, unsure of what to say. I was young, true. But he didn’t have to rub it in my face. I pressed the button on the pokéball instead, and dropped it again as it grew larger, making it harder to hold than before. “All I have to do is press that button. Then, I have to throw it at the pokémon I want to catch. It’s easy. Why don’t you
try catching something?”
Senori’s eyes were still closed, but I didn’t give him a warning as I tossed the pokéball in his direction. It didn’t occur to me for a moment that the ball, when it got close enough to Senori, could snap open and suck the little brown creature inside. But that’s exactly what it did. And then it fell to the ground, swaying back and forth every few seconds. I stood there, dumbfounded. Hadn’t Sai already caught him with a pokéball? This shouldn’t have even been possible...
I expected Senori to pop back out and start teasing me again. But he didn’t. The ball stopped moving after what seemed like forever, and then I was left alone to wonder what I had just done. I successfully shut him up, and I could have something to use against him whenever he made fun of me from now on. Also, I figured that I had just saved Sai some time, and that I could now tell him that Senori had a pokéball if it was ever needed.
Walking up to Senori’s pokéball, I wondered if I should let him back out. But that would just be asking for more teasing and more complaints about things I wanted to do. Also, he was tired… Wouldn’t it have been best to just leave him in there to rest? Plus, I wasn’t the trainer. Sai could make these kinds of decisions himself. This was just an accident, so my actions didn’t count. I picked up the ball, which was easier now that it was back to its original tiny form. It didn’t feel any heavier, nor were there any signs that a pokémon was inside of it. It was almost as if Senori didn’t exist at all. I vaguely wondered again if I should release him, because if I were him, I wouldn’t want to be erased so easily. I had so much to do. I had to get stronger. I had to be deemed worthy of the legends. So much to do, and Sai made it seem like there wasn’t much time…
I decided to just train myself and put Senori’s pokéball in Sai’s backpack. I didn’t need the other pokémon standing around and watching me or trying to say that he could do better just because he was older. I could get a lot more done without him around, and this was especially true since it was still daylight. Sai wouldn’t be back for a long time. Still. So much to do, so little time.
I trained all day and all night, working on punches and kicks and aiming my water attacks correctly while still causing a lot of damage. I had been hoping to find new ways to train after leaving Professor Elm’s lab and seeing what else the world had to offer me, but I tried not to dwell on that and worked with what I had. I trained even after Sai came back, because when he came back, he didn’t ask where Senori was, and I didn’t tell him. He actually seemed calm and satisfied for once, and with the awkward and solemn demeanor he had presented already, I didn’t want to mess with that. He also didn’t ask why the grass or the trees were so wet. He still sat in the grass and he still slept against the trees and I still trained.
As it turned out, it was a good thing that I didn’t catch another strong pokémon for Sai, because he found one on his own. It was a strange looking creature that had been named Atis. It was strange looking, but also intimidating. He didn’t seem to like anyone, his feet and head had spikes on them, and when he battled in the other building Sai liked—the gym, was it?—he fought impressively. The battle was short, and even with the type advantage (I had learned about that from the bird owner, not Sai), he wasn’t afraid and he did what he had to do to win. I wanted to be like him. I vowed to be used in the next gym battle.
This was also the first time I had seen Senori since I had accidentally captured him. That morning, Sai finally asked me where he was when he said that we were going to the gym, and I explained everything to him. Besides a slight smile, Sai didn’t react much, and had to dig through his backpack and try every pokéball until he found Senori’s and let him out. He announced that we would be going to the gym later that day, and to be prepared. Now that I thought about it, I wasn’t sure why, since he never intended for us to battle at all. But that was okay. Atis showed us the regular routine, and next time, I (or Senori, unless Sai realized how much training I had done) would know what to do.