Re: Gotta Catch em' all Kanto: Yellow Version [RP][Open]
Aidan stretched his hand over the lip of the pot, running his fingers through the coarse soil within. It crunched dryly beneath his touch, as if pleading for a drink. With a sympathetic smile, Aidan heaved a purple watering can above his head and shed its contents over the parched petunias. While he waited for the water to drain, the platinum-haired boy drank in the rich scent of the blossoming flowers. Mother had really outdone herself this year. The greenhouse was bursting with color, with all the flats filled with annuals of all shapes and sizes. The aisles were roofed with hanging pots, fat with cascading petunias.
Stepping away from his pot, Aidan let his eyes wander across the greenhouse. Today was the last day he would be here for a long time. A lot of people were envious of this chance he had been given, he knew, but he couldn’t help but feel sentimental. He really was going to miss this place. Life here had been simple, and easy-going. What he was about to get himself into promised to be anything but.
“Did you get them all watered, Aidan?”
Aidan turned around and smiled as his mother walked into the greenhouse. She was wearing her typical gardening “uniform”, with her fraying straw hat, dirt-speckled apron, crinkled green gloves, and black rubber boots. Her mouse-brown hair had been tied up in a pony-tail, which fell to the small of her back. She smiled at him, already looking weary from the morning’s labors.
Returning her grin, Aidan eagerly nodded, “Yep—and I moved those tomatoes into this greenhouse like you’ve been wanting to do.”
“Did ya?” she glanced at the pots he indicated. Clasping a hand on his shoulder, she praised, “Thanks, Aidan. That was thoughtful of you. Now maybe they’ll have a little more room to stretch.”
“Is there anything else I can do?” her son asked as he set down his watering can.
She frowned thoughtfully before wondering out loud, “Hmm… What time is it?”
Pulling down her gloves, she stared down at the watch she had been concealing beneath it. Eyes growing wide, she exclaimed, “It’s five minutes to eight! Aidan! You’re going to be late!” She caught on to his shoulders and directed him towards the exit. “Do you want a ride to school? Do you have all your things packed? Oh, goodness, I hope they don’t leave without you. I shouldn’t have kept you for so long. Maybe I should write a note or…”
“Mom!” it was all Aidan could do to keep from laughing. Turning around with a bright smile, he took her hands and tried to calm her down. “It’s okay. I can walk. I packed last night, before bed, so it should only take me three minutes to get there. I’ll be fine.”
She tried to smile back, it was clear in her eyes that she was still worried. “Are you sure? What about breakfast?”
“They’ll feed us there,” he assured her.
Aidan’s mother studied him with admiration. Clasping her hands together, she submitted, “Oh, you’re growing up so fast, Aidan! Already going off on your journey… Honey, I’m so proud of you.”
The boy bashfully glanced downwards, not knowing how to respond.
“Alright, you best be on your way,” she bent over to wrap her arms around her son. “Be careful—and don’t push yourself too far, okay?”
“Got it, Mom,” he hugged her back, taking his time to enjoy his mother’s embrace. Who knew how long it would be before he would feel it again?
After a long moment Aidan’s mother finally withdrew, her eyes slightly damp. Holding his shoulders, she instructed, “When you get to the next town, make sure you call me and let me know you got there in one piece, okay?”
“I will, Mom,” Aidan had to admit he was having a hard time fighting tears as well. His excitement helped to keep them at bay—plus, Aidan knew he had to be brave. For the both of them.
“All right then,” she released him with a slight sniffle. “You’d better hurry along. You don’t want to be unfashionably late.”
Aidan inclined his head, and headed for the door. Before he left, he hesitated, taking in the rich earthy smell of the greenhouse one last time. Turning back to his mother, he called, “Love you!”
“Love you too, Aidan,” she returned with a small wave.
After waving back, Aidan sped from the greenhouse to their simple home on the hill. Time was not on his side, and if he didn’t want to get left behind he knew he’d better get a move on. Tearing open the back door, Aidan ran into the kitchen and scooped up the backpack that he had left on the countertop. A tiny ball of fur that had been resting near it slowly stirred.
“Morning, Olive,” the boy greeted the creature, ruffling the hair on her head. Reaching out with his “special gift”—his sixth sense—he caught her drowsy thoughts as she pulled herself from sleep.
<Time to get going all ready…?>
“Yep,” Aidan replied as he flung his bag over his shoulders. “Ready to go?”
Olive yawned and stretched, flicking her bushy tail back and forth. <I guess. Let’s get this school day over with.>
Aidan had to chuckle. Crossing his arms, he asked, “Olive, did you forget? We’re not having class today.”
The Eevee snapped awake at this revelation, an eager spark igniting in her chocolate eyes. <What? That’s today? Then what the heck are we waiting for!>
“Let’s go,” Aidan offered his arm. Olive promptly leapt from the counter and took her typical perch on the boy’s shoulder.
Taking one last glance around the kitchen, Aidan quietly said his last goodbyes. However, as he reached the doorway, he hesitated. Timidly, he cast an uncertain glance over his shoulder.
<Aidan? You okay?> Olive cocked her head curiously.
He didn’t answer, but stared for another second down the dark hallway leading into the house.
<Oh…> the Eevee caught on. <Um… I don’t think you need to say goodbye to… her.>
“She’s… my aunt.”
<She’s also a headache when you wake her up before noon. It’s… not worth it.> She jumped in place, encouraging him forward. <Besides! We’re running late! We need to hurry!>
Deep down, Aidan was glad Olive had come up with an excuse. He really would rather not speak to his aunt… at all. Closing the door with finality, Aidan turned his back to his home and sped off towards the school.
Aidan slipped into the cafeteria in time to witness Markus’ ranting. Apparently, the DM had arrived late as well—much to Aidan’s relief. The white-haired boy slipped in to the back of the room, trying not to draw any attention. After the ranting was finished, the DM—Max—gave them the rundown. Aidan listened intently, but his attention wandered as he glanced around at the other trainers. They all seemed older than him—except for one of the girls, the one with the bulbasaur. Aidan hadn’t really met any of them before, but he wondered what they were like. Markus seemed like he might not be so friendly… Aidan couldn’t help but wince every time the kid cussed.
He hoped he wasn’t like that for the whole trip. Swear words really made Aidan uncomfortable…
Towards the end of Max’s speech, one of the teachers came in and respectfully interrupted the veteran. Both of them abruptly left the students to themselves. Aidan stared down at the food presented on the table, wondering if he had time to eat.
Something suddenly seized his mind, freezing him from within. Chills ran up his spine as a familiar voice whispered a thought to him…
<Aidan! Come here! Now!>
The boy gasped as he was abruptly released, eyes flying to the door. Olive glanced at him in concern, oblivious to what just occured; She tried to reach out to him, but received no response.
The instructor who had interrupted Max came back into the cafeteria, making a beeline for the girl with the Charmander. While everybody was distracted with him, Aidan quietly stood and slipped out from the cafeteria, unseen and unheard.
Olive flicked her ears in anxiety as they entered the halls of the school. <Aidan, what are you doing?> she tried contacting him again.
“She’s here,” Aidan mumbled.
<Your aunt?> Olive jumped in alarm. <What the heck is she doing here? And this early in the morning?>
The boy kept silent, only because he didn’t know the answer. He could feel her presence here in the school, just as he could feel Master Max’s. As he rounded a corner, coming to a vacant hallway, he finally saw her. Aunt Kara.
She had an expensive taste in clothing, and today her lavish wardrobe featured a long, billowing dress in tones of purple and black. Above her platinum white hair, she wore an impressively large hat, decked with long raven feathers. The pale skin of her face was plastered with excessive make-up, with purple eye-shadow beneath her arching eyebrows. Aidan suppressed a shudder as he thought about how much she looked like an actual witch.
“Aidan, darling!” she waved a hand extravagantly. “Don’t tell me you were planning on taking off without saying good-bye to me?”
“No, ma’am,” Aidan mumbled, keeping his head down. He always felt intimidated around Aunt Kara—even during his training sessions. He sensed that there was something about her that just wasn’t right. The woman told everybody that she was a Light Mage, but she didn’t always act like it. Aidan wasn’t raised around other Mages, however, so he tried not to judge her too rashly. Still, he couldn’t help but feel… frightened at times.
“I thought so,” the woman tilted her chin back condescendingly. Striding forward, she grabbed Aidan around the chin and squished his cheeks. In a baby voice, she clucked, “After all, you wouldn’t want your Auntie to be disappointed, would you?”
<She is so disgusting> Olive made a face. Fortunately for her, Aunt Kara wasn’t tuning into the Pokémon’s thoughts.
“Speaking of which,” Aidan’s aunt straightened. “I wanted to make sure you were… capable enough to go through this journey. Remember, you’re representing all of us on this trip. You wouldn’t want to let us all down, right?”
Her sick little giggle made Aidan’s stomach churn. He gulped, bracing himself for whatever his aunt might throw at him. As she continued smiling facetiously, she withdrew from her robes a metal spoon.
“Let’s run through this one last time,” she held it out before her, winking. “For old time’s sakes.”
“N-now?” the boy squirmed, glancing back down the hallway. He needed to get back to the others.
“No, in five minutes,” she rolled her eyes. “Of course right now! Now be a good little nephew and bend the spoon. Don’t make Auntie lose her patience. Not this early in the morning…”
Aidan sighed in submission. He had better do what she wanted—or else she wouldn’t leave him alone otherwise. If she didn’t get what she wanted… Aunt Kara could do terrible things to people… Taking a deep breath, the boy cleared his mind and called upon his powers. Not a second later, the spoon in Kara’s hand quivered and bent backwards.
“Good,” the corner of the strange woman’s mouth quirked. Without warning, she chucked the useless utensil at her nephew. Aidan had suspected that she would try something like this, and stopped the spoon in midair with his hand outstretched.
“Return it to its original shape,” she ordered, placing her hand on her hip expectantly.
Obediently, Aidan brought forward his other hand. In response, the spoon straightened out.
“That’s my boy,” Aunt Kara gushed before holding her hand out to retrieve the spoon. Just like that, the utensil shot out from Aidan’s control. “Now, let’s try something a little harder…”
Her eyes fell on one of the lockers nearby. She waved her free hand, which caused the door to burst open. A myriad of objects floated out, from books to pencils to a pair of sunglasses. Aunt Kara studied them with vague interest before settling on one of the heavier textbooks.
“Ah, this should do,” she waved the book forward, and it chased after her like an obedient dog. Plucking it out of the air, she held it out to Aidan. “Hmm… Pretty thick volume. Let’s see if you can levitate it.”
Aidan groaned inwardly. Couldn’t she just be happy with the spoon? As painful as this was, he swept the complaint from his mind. He would need all his concentration to accomplish this simple task, since he wasn’t quite as skilled as Aunt Kara. Reaching out with his mind, Aidan willed for the forces around him to lift the book from her hands. Almost immediately, he was met with resistance, and it placed great strain on his mind.
He fought against the stubborn forces of gravity, continuing to extend his powers towards the book. Just as the text twitched, however, a foreign surge of power ripped through his subconscious. He staggered under its might, losing focus and causing the book to fall to the ground.
Aunt Kara frowned down at the fallen text, but turned her attention to the hallway behind Aidan.
“Hmm... I forgot… That DM is a Light Mage…” she voiced her thoughts as she pondered what had just occurred.
Aidan panted, trying to catch his breath after both the strain and shock. “W-what… is he doing?” he asked innocently, surprised by Max’s apparent expanse of power.
“Being reckless, that’s what,” his aunt huffed, not impressed at all. Turning back to Aidan, she strictly lectured, “Listen to me, Aidan. Don’t listen to anything that man tries to teach you—especially about your powers. You are a Fletcher Mage, and you will only learn from Fletcher Mages, understood?”
The boy blinked at her, not sure if he did understand. What was so wrong with learning from Max? He supposed to help the team get through their journey. If the school trusted him, then Aidan thought he could trust him as well. But, to please his aunt, he nodded his head. He had no intention of actually following her advice, since he couldn’t see any reason why his training had to be so exclusive. What was so great about being a Fletcher Mage, anyway?
Clearing her throat, Aunt Kara stared down at the book by her feet meaningfully. “Aidan, dear… You haven’t moved that book.”
<Aidan… you don’t have to put up with this anymore,> Olive said kindly, glaring at her master’s relative. <You’re tired. Let’s just get out of here.>
<I can do this,> he directed his thoughts to his Eevee. Severing their connection before she could object, Aidan concentrated with all his might on the abused textbook. All Olive could do was watch as her master struggled both mentally and physically to complete Kara’s task. Sweat beaded down his forehead before the book finally lifted itself up from the floor. Sluggishly, it drifted through the air, back towards the locker it came from. Once he released it from his control, the boy let out a gush of pent-up air.
“Hmm,” Aunt Kara stuck her tongue in her cheek as she considered his performance. “A little shaky there at the beginning, a little too slow, but I suppose that’s good enough. Now, how about something a little heavier?”
Olive let out a squeal as she was suddenly swept off her feet.
“No!” Aidan exclaimed, his voice rushing out weakly. He tried to grab her back, but his aunt quickly whisked his Pokémon from his reach. Voice cracking, he begged, “Let her go!”
Kara only laughed. “Did your voice just crack? That was kind of cute. Anyway, don’t worry. I’ll let her go—but you’ll have to catch her.” She raised Olive higher and higher off the ground. “Falling from great heights won’t be good for your little creature, eh? Oh, wouldn’t that be a horrible start to your journey?” She grimaced mockingly.
“Aunt Kara, don’t!” he pleaded, watching Olive’s ascent with alarm. “I… I can’t do it… She’s too big for me.”
“Oh, pish posh,” his aunt dismissed with a flick of her wrist. “If I can do it, so can you.”
“I… I’m not strong enough!”
“Then get stronger,” the wolfish smile faded from her fair face. With a snap of her fingers, she released Aidan’s Eevee from her control.
Aidan’s heart leapt as he watched his partner fall from the ceiling. He tried to summon his powers, tried to stop her, but he was still feeling faint from his earlier attempt. Giving up, he dove forward and caught Olive right before she landed.
<Are you okay?> he asked, holding her tightly.
<I’ll be fine,> the fox-like Pokémon shakily responded. A tiny growl vibrated at the back of her throat as she recovered. <That witch! If I had hands, I would strangle her!>
Smiling in relief, Aidan relaxed his hold on her and let her leap off of his lap.
“Well, that was rather disappointing.”
The boy fearfully glanced up to see his aunt glowering over him, arms crossed and foot tapping impatiently.
“I… I’m sorry…”
“Quit your mumbling and speak up, boy!” she snapped.
Aidan flinched, gaze darting back down to the tiles on the floor.
“If you’re going to be a Mage, then you better work harder at it! That was a disgrace! Don’t give me your excuses!” she cut him off before he could object. “You need to apply yourself, boy! If there’s one thing I hope you get out of this journey, it’s this—good things come to those that work for it! Gah, now you’ve done it,” she rubbed at her temples worryingly. “You’ve made me upset!”
Aidan stood cautiously as his aunt fought to contain her temper. He could feel the weight of her harsh words on his shoulders, bearing down on him. His other lessons with Aunt Kara had gone just like this one—usually ending with her yelling at him and telling him how incompetent he was. His mother told him not to let the things Kara said eat at him, but it was hard. He was a smart kid, and excelled in school. So why did she make him sound like such a failure?
“Whatever,” the witch grunted. “Look, there’s just one thing I want to test you on, then you can go off on your little adventure. Aidan!” a shadow crossed her expression. “Defend your mind!”