§3: Who's That Chick?
Maylene has been to Hearthome City before, but she had forgotten how beautiful it is. She didn’t expect it to be this entertaining for someone who is more interested in battling, but the display of beauty and coordination in the contest excited her; it showed a whole new side of Pokémon to her.
She sat between Candice and some loud girl who booed Fantina, the Hearthome City Gym Leader, when she won with Loony the Drifblim. Candice walked out with the crowd and Maylene followed. She struggled to keep up with her, as it was very crowded, and no one seemed to notice a small girl amongst them as they bushed her around. Riolu clang on to Maylene’s right foot until they managed to get out, where Candice and Snorunt were waiting.
‘Did you like the contest?’ Candice started. ‘I loved it! It was so exciting. Did you see Fantina? I want to be like her one day! Strong and elegant!’
‘It was very good,’ Maylene said. ‘And fun. We should do this more often.’
Suddenly, an arm wrapped itself around Maylene’s neck. It was covered with a black sleeve and a green cloak; Maylene recognized it as the loud girl’s arm.
‘Some contest, right?!’ she shouted. ‘Though I didn’t like that Ghost Pokémon, even if it was Fantina’s.’
‘Who are you?’ Maylene said as soon as she broke out of her grasp.
‘I’m Gardenia,’ she said. ‘And I know that you’re Maylene; I saw you at the party a few years back. Wanted to meet you ever since. Punching a large body like that; you must be rebellious.’
Maylene had turned around and managed to attach a more accurate look to the name. Gardenia had short orange and black hair, and her clothing seemed to be a wild mixture of green, black and orange, with most of her midsection showing.
‘I’m Candice,’ Candice said. ‘A friend of Maylene’s. Nice to meet you.’
‘Where are you girls going?’ Gardenia asked. ‘If you have nothing important to do, we could have out little adventure together.’
Maylene glanced over at Candice who seemed to have surrendered the decision away. She thought it over for a few seconds. Her mother wouldn’t want her getting into any kinds of trouble, but she trusted Maylene, and knows that she can take care of herself. Crasher Wake on the other hand, would approve in a heartbeat.
‘Alright,’ Maylene said. ‘What kind of adventure?’
‘I’ll call it ‘The Quest to Find a Cute Boy’, and I know just the one. You guys just follow me.’
‘Where to?’ Candice asked, but Gardenia had already run off, and Maylene followed her. She sprinted after the pair, all the while questioning why they should trust this complete stranger.
Gardenia led them out of Hearthome City and into a cave that everyone in Sinnoh knew as Mt. Coronet. Maylene jumped over obstacles and looked as if she was a free running expert; why didn’t Crasher Wake train her here before?
‘Where are we going?’ Maylene shouted after the speeding Gardenia.
‘To Oreburgh City!’ Gardenia responded. ‘To the Gym Leader’s son!’
The group went through an exit, and ran across a long path, then down a slope, where Oreburgh City awaited them. Gardenia seemed to know her way around, while Maylene looked around in surprise; all the buildings, roads, people, they were all different from Veilstone, Hearthome, and Pastoria City.
‘What do you think of this city?’ Candice asked, breaking Maylene’s trance of awe. ‘I’ve passed it before, but never visited it fully. Now, it makes me happy to know that where we live has so many different cities.’
‘I like it,’ Maylene responded simply. ‘It’s different.’
The pair followed Gardenia to the Gym, where they met the famous Byron. He was a large man with scruffy purple hair and worn-out clothes. But his son, Roark, was who they came to meet. He had a different shade of his father’s hair, though it was obviously more taken care of. His eyes matched his hair, and his clothes seemed to be those of a worker. The final touch was a helmet with a flashlight.
Gardenia seemed to know them both before hand, and it didn’t take long for Roark to leave his father’s side and follow them outside. ‘This is Roark,’ Gardenia started the typical line. ‘These are Maylene and Candice, from somewhere and somewhere.’
‘Nice to meet you two,’ Roark said and tipped his helmet a little bit. ‘Are you friends of Gardenia?’
‘You could say that,’ Maylene laughed. ‘We’re recent friends.’
‘Let’s train!’ Gardenia exclaimed. ‘I know you want to become a Gym Leader, Maylene; I also heard that at the party. Roark wants to become a Gym Leader as well, so do I! What about you Candice?’
‘I haven’t given it much thought…’ Candice said. ‘I’m not very good at battling.’
‘Then you’ll train with us!’ Gardenia shouted.
One Year Later
‘Hello, Maylene!’ Crasher Wake kicked down Maylene’s door, much to everyone’s surprise. But Maylene didn’t care about the door; Crasher Wake was here!
He had left for some business in Johto a few months ago, and seeing her mentor for the first time in years brought more joy to Maylene then she could have imagined.
‘Huge man!’ she shouted and jumped towards him to hug him. As soon as her body collided with his, they were both sent tumbling back towards the wall, which suffered an obvious dent as Crasher Wake smashed against it. ‘I missed you, stupid person!’
‘I leave for a few months and Gardenia affects your speech this much?’ he laughed, and Maylene followed. By now, his accent has transformed completely and became undistinguishable from Maylene’s, and his trip to Johto wasn’t long enough to change it.
Maylene had also changed with time. She had grown a little taller, her speech began resembling Gardenia’s, who had become a close friend along with Candice and Roark, and her free spirit grew to become wilder than it was before.
‘What did you do in Johto?’ Maylene said. ‘Tell me all about it, person!’
‘The details don’t matter,’ Crasher Wake said. The pair had got off of the floor and sat of the bed. ‘I came back for a short time, I will go back to Johto in a few hours.’
‘You came just to visit me?’
‘That and something else,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘I have talked to a friend of mine. His name is Chuck, he’s a Gym Leader there and is currently training some boy named Brawly to become a Gym Leader as well. He accepted to train you.’
‘But I was happy training with you and my friends,’ Maylene’s tone dropped to one that resembled her former speech. ‘I didn’t even have much time to grow Strongest.’
‘You will meet them again,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘And you will make new friends as well. This will help you, Maylene. Your parents had already agreed on you going. Besides, I’ll be there as well.’
Maylene lowered her head and faced the sheets of her bed. She thought it over for a few seconds. Was she really willing to abandon her friends without a goodbye? What will Candice, her most trusted friend, thin of her? What about Gardenia, the one who taught her the tough attitude she built upon? What will she do when she realises that Maylene had left? And Roark, the cute boy she had a crush on. Would she have to forget him as well?
‘You can always come back at anytime you want,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘It’s just a short boat trip away. So, are you coming?’
Maylene sighed and looked up. Her eyes met Crasher Wake’s, her body filled with determination, and her hand reached for Riolu’s Poké Ball. She jumped onto the floor and ran out of the room.
‘I’ll race you there!’ she yelled back, even though she didn’t know which way to go. But it was a new adventure, and a new quest to make her the Strongest. Who knows, maybe this Brawly boy is cute enough to replace Roark.