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MATURE: The Wandering Teacher

Chapter 1:Buongiorno Enotria
Joined
Feb 15, 2024
Messages
10
Reaction score
18
Pronouns
  1. He/Him
  2. They/Them
Rated M For The Following: Themes of war, PTSD/trauma, alcohol consumption, and death.

Kalos
Shalour City, Hawthorne Pokemon Lab

Emile Hawthorne yawned as he looked in the bathroom mirror. His tongue felt as rough as sandpaper. His pale blue eyes were heavy with drowsiness, and had small dark bags underneath.

His long dark hair that reached his back was unkempt, and it was obvious it would need more than just a quick combing. He continued looking at himself, and as far as he was concerned, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, he had gained some weight, but it was barely noticeable. He was still as thin as a whip, and the scars he had on his arms from his younger years as a trainer still remained. If one looked closely, one could notice a scar or two trail underneath his Eevee tank top.

“Glace!” Emile heard from behind. He looked at his Glaceon’s reflection, waiting outside the bathroom door. His rhombus-shaped tail wagged swiftly and impatiently.

“What is it, Frère?” Emile turned his head.

Frère stepped towards Emile, looking at his trainer with a small smile before he suddenly spat cold water in his face. The Glaceon soon scurried away, leaving the bathroom and into the hallway.

Emile blinked in response, cold water dripped down his face as he looked at Frère. “Good morning to you as well,” he grumbled. He walked past his partner and into the hallway.

The Hawthorne Pokemon Lab wasn’t a large building; it was a rather small two-story building, three if you count the basement as a floor. The first story had clean, simple white walls and consisted of two rooms, one of which was Emile’s, and the other the bathroom. Leading to the second floor was a small staircase.

Emile walked slowly down the steps. Cold water dripped down his face upon each step he took. He had repeatedly wiped his face against his arm to remove it, but to no avail.

When Emile reached the second floor, he was greeted by a large laboratory. Originally, it was the kitchen and living room, but it had been renovated and remodeled years before he was born. The only thing that remained from those days was the small kitchen, but everything else had been replaced with tables and various bits of machinery that Emile didn’t know much about,

He looked around and covered his nose. Despite the lab's pristine, shining white walls and clean tables, the entire laboratory reeked of burnt, leathery tar.

“Ah, the young master is awake!” Emile heard from behind. The mere words mixed with the Galarian accent made his skin crawl with discomfort, and his face contorted with disgust for a brief second.

“Ninetales,” Emile turned around, his eyes settled on two figures. The first was a handsome young man with short blonde hair and crimson eyes wearing a black suit. Emile’s gaze didn't last on him for long, as his eyes soon met the red eyes of a Ninetales, whose golden fur glowed with life.

The man in the suit was merely an illusion. To put it more precisely, he was a mouthpiece formed by the Pokemon beside him. It was thanks to this that Ninetales was able to communicate properly with people.

“Your father’s waiting for you. He has another job for you,” Ninetales said. “It’s a bit of an important one. It's a delivery this time, not a pick-up.”

Emile raised a brow as he walked toward a table and picked up a towel. Odd, he had just come back from Kanto not too long ago.

“Where is he?” Emile dried his face with the towel while trying not to be bothered by the stench.

“He’s releasing a few Pokemon outside with Monsieur Teddy,” Ninetales replied.

“I see,” Emile said, putting down the towel. Then he looked around the lab. “Have you seen Frère? He ran down past the stairs.”

“He went through the door.” Ninetales pointed. “I believe he’s with your father as well,”

“Thank you.” Emile began to approach the door, but before he opened it, he turned his head back towards Ninetales and pointed at him. “And cut it out with that ‘young master’ crap. How many times have I told you not to call me that?”

“Seeing you irritated is funny.” Ninetales and his illusion both shrugged, a smirk on their faces.

Emile shook his head and sighed as he turned towards the door again and opened it. He took a deep breath as he could smell the dozens of flowers outside and smiled as the warm air touched his skin.

The Hawthorne Laboratory resided on a hill near Route 12 that overlooked most of Shalour City. To the north of the city was the Tower of Mastery, a large white tower guarded by large brick walls that overlooked the entire city and the seas. Truth be told, Emile thought it looked like a castle fit for nobility.

There was also a path to the tower, though the sea blocked it. People could only cross it when the tide was low.

Emile smiled faintly as he looked at the tower, though his gaze had lasted briefly before he turned his head and walked across the grass. His pace was slow as he wanted to take in the fields before he left for whatever job his father had to offer. There wasn’t much activity here, but the chirping of Fletchling and the scurrying of Bunnelby made him feel warm inside.

He thought it felt nice to be home, even if his stay was brief. For a second, he thought about visiting his other Pokemon, but…

But it wouldn’t be a good idea. Maybe another time, he thought to himself as he continued walking, drifting farther and farther away from the lab.

Emile’s drifting ceased when he encountered a man in a white lab coat covered with black stains. He wore a pair of glasses, and like Emile, this man had dark hair, though it was curly and reached only his shoulders. His physique was also more imposing, and he was bulkier than his son.

This man was Arno Hawthorne, Emile’s father, who ran the Hawthorne lab and specialized in research on basic Pokemon evolution. He was probably the only other well-known researcher in Kalos besides Augustine Sycamore, who specialized his research in mega-evolution.

The man was crouched down, and beside him were Frère and a Leafeon. Three Pokemon—Simisage, Simisear, and Simipour were in front of them.

This surprised Emile, as while those three weren’t rare in Kalos, it was strange to see them outside of Santalune Forest.

“Thank you very much for your help,” Arno smiled. “And please, when you return to your home, feel free to give these out,” he continued, giving them a small cloth bag.

Simisage took the bag, sniffed it, and smiled. Then he nodded to his fellow brethren before suddenly taking off, all three behind him.

“Giving out free evolutions again?” Emile chuckled.

The professor stood up tall. He was a foot taller than Emile, standing at around 6’0” and stretched briefly. He reached into his pocket, pulling out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

“Sort of,” he replied. “I found them pre-evolved wandering about Route 12… I took them while I had you do that job in Galar and I wanted to see if anything would react to them.”

“And did anything react to them?” Emile asked.

“Nope,” Arno replied, making a popping sound as he reached for a cigarette from his pack and put it in his mouth. “I was very interested in Pansage, as some recent findings by another professor showed Grass types do well with other TE-based items, but perhaps the results were falsified.”

“Where’s Teddy?” Emile asked.

“I sent him home for the day. Besides, I… don’t think he’d like what I had in mind for you,” Arno replied.

“Well, out with it. What is it that you had in mind?” Emile crossed his arms. “I find it weird that you have a strange delivery job for me right after I come home, too.”

“Ah, yes.” Arno clapped his hands. “Tell me, Emile. Do you know anything about Enotria?”

“They’re the boot of the world, the region of olives and wine, and they started the Protection War with Unova and then got beat by Kanto when they got involved,” Emile lazily rattled off.

“Correct. My job has you going there. You’ll be meeting the student of a recently deceased colleague of mine, Adalina Poplar.” Arno nodded. “And you’ll be delivering this.”

Arno reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a Pokeball for Emile to take.

“A Pokeball?” Emile grabbed the spherical device. “You’re not going to use the transporter?”

“No, I’m not,” Arno replied. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Enotria has a serious crime problem. The League there is inefficient. The level of crime isn’t as bad as Orre’s, but it's still quite high.”

“Ah, so my father is sending me on a dangerous job where I’ll get mugged and then stabbed by criminals.” Emile chuckled. “If you find my body, I want to be cremated, not buried.”

“You’re implying that you aren’t the one who competed in Kalos and reached the semi-finals in the League Tournament on his first journey. Let's not forget how you competed in Galar and Kanto and how you worked for Sinnoh’s ACE Department.” Arno shot back.

“I didn’t win a single one of those tournaments, and a 14-year-old girl pretty much wiped out Team Galactic on her own.” Emile wagged his finger in front of his father. “So, don’t give me that.”

“You did a good job regardless.” Arno stepped forward and reached into another pocket, pulling out a belt with six Pokeballs attached.

“How deep are those pockets?” Emile raised a brow as he took the belt. “And I’m not going to need six. Frère is all I need,”

“There’s a chance you might need six. Just take them, at least, so I know you’ll be safe there.” Arno demanded.

“Can you at least tell me who I’m bringing with me?” Emile threw the belt over his shoulder.

“Chevalier, Venus, Roi, Goyl, and Belle, who insisted on coming with you by the way. She’s missed you quite heavily.” Arno replied.

“You’ve kept me busy,” Emile said.

Arno finally lit the cigarette in his mouth and narrowed his eyes at Emile.

His son waved off the smoke and stepped away from his father. He didn’t want to smell that Arceus-awful stench again.

“Emile,” Arno took the cigarette out of his mouth, and his voice became stern. “We both know you could have at least brought them with you at any time… and you can’t keep blaming yourself for what happened.”

“I don’t deserve to be their trainer anymore,” Emile turned around. “It's a wonder they’re still around.”

“They’re here because they love you.” Arno placed his hand on his son’s shoulder.

Emile swallowed hard before he turned around and glanced at his father with knitted brows. “Is Epee’s grave being taken care of?” he asked his father.

“Yes.” Arno smiled. “You should go see her once in a while.”

“Maybe one day,” Emile replied. “When do you want me to leave?”

“This afternoon,” Arno said. The professor put the cigarette back in his mouth and reached into his pocket again, this time pulling out a single ticket. “You leave tomorrow afternoon on Le Gracieux Milobellus.”

“How much is the pay?” Emile turned around, took the ticket, and put it in his pocket.

“Double, and I’ll make sure to cover other expenses.”

A smile crept up Emile’s face as he heard, but it soon vanished when he saw his father’s eyes narrow again.

“No, I will not pay your bar tab this time.” Arno jabbed his finger into his son’s chest.

“Alright, alright. I can cover my drinks then.” Emile raised his hands in mock surrender.

“Damn well better…” Arno growled as he stepped past his son, the Leafeon, who was beside Frère, followed close behind the Professor, leaving Emile and his Glaceon alone.

“C’mon you. Inside,” Emile commanded his Glaceon.

The two soon walked back to the lab. The sounds of Fletchling chirping and Bunnelby scurrying through the bushes did not cease, and so Emile slowed down. He wanted to take every second he possibly could listening to them.

“Frère, I don’t think we’ll be home for a while.” he informed.

Glaceon appeared to shrug, which didn’t surprise Emile. He’d known his partner long enough to know that Frère didn’t mind traveling or staying away from home for very long. He was like his trainer in that regard.

Emile chuckled when he heard Frère sigh in disappointment. “Yeah, I know.” he said. “I wanted to stay a bit longer, too. Maybe next time.”

The two entered the laboratory, this time with the windows opened, and the awful stench of tar had faded away.

As Emile looked around, he noticed that his father was standing beside Ninetales, the illusion of a Galarian butler had faded away.

Emile left the two alone and began to climb up the staircase alongside Frère, heading into the small hallway they had left only about a few minutes ago. He turned towards the first door on the right that led to his room and opened it.

His room wasn’t that large. When he was younger, he had wished it was larger, but ever since he started traveling, he didn’t care. The room was big enough to fit him, Frère, and another one of his smaller Pokemon. It also had his bed, a dresser, a small trash can, and an old CRT TV that he hadn’t bothered throwing out. Why fix what still worked, right?

The trainer tossed the belt he had been carrying onto his bed, picked up an empty bottle of wine on the floor, and tossed it into the trashcan near his closet door.

“Frère, do you think we need a new place?” Emile turned his head towards his partner.

Frère shrugged in response.

Emile sighed and shook his head. Maybe he would be better off consulting someone else. Though it was nice staying here, as his father took good care of his Pokemon without complaint, and he didn’t like the idea of them being put on a ranch far away from him.

He opened his closet door, pulled out the black backpack near his old wooden dresser, and tossed it on his bed right beside the belt.

Frère hopped onto the bed and immediately bit into the zipper. Then, slowly unzipped the backpack, being careful not to tear the zipper off accidentally.

Emile looked up at his dresser. Three badge cases sat up top, each with 8 slots filled. The cases were Kalos, Galar, and Kanto, respectively, and each case had a photo of Emile and the team he had formed then.

He had ended his career after Kanto, it seemed right after all. Emile was certain he had reached his peak when he left home at 11 to take on the Kalos league.

“Those were good times.” Emile said to the photo behind his Kalos case. “Don’t you think so, Epee?” he quietly asked, this time his eyes focusing on the Beedrill beside his younger self.

“Glace!” barked Emile’s partner.

The sudden bark caught Emile off guard, and the former trainer cleared his throat and apologized. Then he began opening the drawers, throwing in various outfits and other essential items inside, and then zipped it up.

Emile left his room shortly after and began going down the hall but stopped midway. He turned his head to a single photo hung all on its lonesome.

It was strange to put it here, but Emile knew that his father was worried about potentially damaging this specific photo in his lab, and Emile didn’t judge him for it.

He walked towards the photo and lightly touched the glass frame, and a smile crept across his face.

In the photo, there were three people. The first was a much younger Emile. Behind him was his father, and right beside him was a woman.

Emile had to have been around 7 or 8 years old when it was taken. He couldn’t exactly remember when it was taken, but he remembered it as one of the happiest days of his childhood.

“Goodbye, Mom, I’ll be back soon,” Emile said to the photo, turning away. “Or maybe I’ll get robbed, stabbed, and potentially eaten by Frère and haunt Dad for the rest of his days.” He shrugged.

Frère barked again and shook his head at Emile.

“Oh, so you won’t eat me?” Emile asked his partner. “I knew you cared about me at least a little bit.”

Frère shook his head again and exhaled a light breeze of cold air.

Emile clapped his fist in his hand and nodded. “I get it,” he told Frère. You’re gonna have me around as a fancy ice sculpture, right? I guess I’d be good decor.” He continued, striking a pose for his Glaceon.

Frère shook his head again, this time with a contorted look on his face as he stared at his trainer with disgust.

“Wait… you’re not gonna use me as some sort of coat hanger, right?” Emile hesitantly asked as he dropped his pose.

Frère didn’t reply. Instead, he turned away from his trainer and walked briskly towards the stairs.

“Frère, you’re not gonna do that, right?” Emile followed after his Glaceon. “RIGHT?”

Frère, this time, took off, running down the stairs.

“Frère, we’re not done with this conversation!” he exclaimed and started to chase after his Glaceon, running down the stairs with his backpack in hand.

“FRÈRE!”

The Wandering Teacher

One Day Later…

Hell was an understatement to how Emile Hawthorne felt when he woke up at eight o’clock in the morning. The former trainer found himself in a dark bathroom, hunched over against the toilet, face to face with a disgusting bright orange liquid in the toilet bowl. His mouth tasted of disgusting, sour bile and his head throbbed and pounded as he tried to remember last night’s events.

He had arrived in Enotria rather late and decided to have a couple of drinks. Then that couple turned into a few more, and then even more.

Then, after that, he-

“Oh fuck me…” Emile muttered to himself as his stomach again felt uneasy, and that Arceus-awful liquid started to flood his mouth. Immediately, he bowed his head into the toilet, gagging on the liquid before he retched, unleashing last night’s contents into the toilet.

“Never… again!” he managed to breathe out haphazardly.

He heard a loud bark from behind, and Emile clutched his head as he experienced a brief jolt of pain. A pleading expression appeared on his face as he looked at the source of it all: his beloved partner, Frère.

“Please don’t do that…” he pleaded, though his voice came out weak as he spoke. “And please pass me my PokeGear.”

Metal slid across the floor as Emile watched Frère slide over a small green device. He grabbed it and flipped the top part up. The light emanating from the device stung, and it took Emile a second to adjust.

“Arceus, I’ve been up for an hour already.” he spat as he slowly got up, then turned to Frère. “C’mon, let's get ready.”

He walked into his room and recounted last night's events. Everything felt hazy…

“Where the hell did we land anyway?” Emile asked as he tapped away on the PokeGear. He was greeted with a world map, with a red dot pointing at his location.

He knew he was in Enotria, a large peninsula shaped like a strange-looking boot. The region wasn’t too far from Kalos or Paldea, and when he zoomed in, the image faded away.

“Bellissimo Mare.” he read aloud as he looked at the city on the map. It was located in the southern sector, far from his intended destination- the city of Florentina, the capital of Center Enotria

That’s right, Emile remembered. He remembered getting off the ship slowly and working through the city. It reeked of fish, which wasn’t surprising given that Bellissimo Mare was a port town. Normally, the city delivered passengers and shipped cargo to and from the Siculian Islands further south, but sometimes it took cargo and passengers from foreign lands.

Either way, he had made his way through the town and eventually booked a room in the Pokemon Center. After he took his team (aside from Frère) to the Nurse there, he left.

Emile groaned as he stepped towards his bed. His stomach still felt uneasy, but he didn’t feel like vomiting… so that was good. The fact he still tasted it didn’t make him feel much better, and he still didn’t remember the entirety of last night.

He laid down on his stomach, reached for his backpack, and unzipped one of the pockets. Emile’s eyes glazed over the various items, stopping at one, a small brown package, which he pulled out.

It was a small object wrapped in brown paper with a white string attached to it to hold a card in place.

It read, “For Professor Adelina Poplar of The Enotria Region,” and underneath was an address to the recipient.

“The Poplar Lab, huh?” Emile said as he carefully placed the package back in his bag. He groaned as he got up, took a quick look in the mirror, and sighed.

He looked pretty rough. His white button-up long-sleeve shirt was stained, though Emile wasn’t sure if it was alcohol or his vomit that stained it and as he took off his shirt he raised a brow at the sight of several bruises on his scarred chest and arms.

How did I get those? Emile wondered as he tossed his white shirt to the side and put on a black button-up shirt he pulled out from his bag, along with a pair of brown cargo pants and steel-toed boots. He normally wouldn’t wear them, but Enotria was a rather cool region, so dealing with heat wouldn’t be an issue.

Emile slung the backpack over his shoulder and started to walk out of his room, with Frère following close behind. He still felt uneasy, but he had a job to do, and not only that, but he also wanted to explore the region a little while he was on his way to Florentina.

“We have one stop to make before we leave.” Emile told Frère as he shut the door behind them. “After that, we’re on our way to Lantana,” he continued, checking his PokeGear’s map as he walked towards the nearby elevator.

Lantana wasn’t too far, according to PoryMaps. It was barely a day’s walk, meaning Emile wouldn’t waste too much time.

The courier looked deeper into Lantana out of sheer curiosity. According to the page, Lantana was a small agricultural town with around 5,000 people. Despite its small population, the town's farms employed thousands of workers, some of whom came from nearby towns like Bellissimo Mare.

Emile and Frère stepped inside the elevator and hit the large “1” on the panel.

“Going down from the… THIRD floor.” a robotic voice awkwardly informed from the elevator’s intercom.

“Hey, Frère. Do you know what I did last night besides drinking?” Emile turned towards his Glaceon. “I don’t really remember much…”

Frère shook his head, then raised a paw and pointed at his belt which had a single Pokeball attached to it.

“Oh, I put you in your ball?” Emile asked. “Sorry about that.”

Frère rolled his eyes in response and turned his head away from his trainer, letting out a loud “hmph!”

“I’ll make it up to you.” Emile said. “Hot chocolate?”

Frère raised his brows and slowly turned his head towards his trainer, but didn’t dare look him in the eyes.

“Fine, fine! Hot chocolate and PokePuffs!” Emile raised his arms

Frère looked at his trainer and smiled this time, then walked towards him so he could nuzzle against his leg.

“Yes, I love you too, little guy…” Emile kneeled down so he could pet Frère.

However, this was interrupted as Frère immediately bit onto his trainer’s fingers.

“Ack! What the hell, Frère!” Emile yelped in pain and tried to pull his fingers out of the vicious Glaceon’s mouth but to no avail

Frère merely growled in response, playfully pulling at his trainer’s fingers, then he immediately stopped and spat near the floor, making a loud “bleh” as he did so.

“Oh! First, you bite me, and now you don’t think I’m tasty? I’m offended!” Emile crossed his arms in mock anger.

DING!

“You have reached… THE GROUND Floor.” that same robotic voice awkwardly informed again as the door opened in front of Emile and Frère.

The two stepped out into the Pokemon Center’s lobby. It was larger than Emile was used to, which surprised him, especially since Bellissimo Mare was such a small port town. However, he assumed it was so big because foreign trainers picked the port city to start their journey.

Emile looked around. Two nurses were at the front, handling the Pokemon of various trainers, and Blisseys and Chanseys roamed left and right, carrying trays of Pokeballs. Some trainers were seated on a couch, watching the news, and others were at a coffee stand, making orders or chatting with one another.

Emile ignored the throbbing pain in his head that had increased due to the morning traffic and decided to approach the nearest reception desk. His eyes met the emerald gaze of the nurse who sat behind her desk and typed away behind her computer.

“Excuse me, miss. My name is Emile Hawthorne,” he said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his Trainer ID. “I’m here to retrieve the rest of my team,”

“Of course, Mr. Hawthorne.” The nurse took his ID and placed it in a nearby card slot. “We’ll have your party brought to you soon; it’ll take just one moment.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Emile said.

“By the way,” the nurse said as she typed away on her computer. “Do you happen to know any sailors? One came by looking for you… he seemed quite rude.”

Emile’s eyes widened as he heard that question, and suddenly, the memories of last night all came flooding back at once. As soon as his Pokemon were in the center, he explored some parts of Bellissimo Mare, and when night fell, he happily entered a nearby bar.

“Oi! Whose ugly cunt did you come out of?” a drunken sailor asked Emile that night.

Emile had been on what? His fourth or fifth drink? Regardless, after he drank it, he had gotten up and…

“Well, I know where the bruises came from now,” he whispered to a now-laughing Frère before he turned his head back to the nurse. “Yes, ma’am, I just… had a brief, unsavory altercation with him last night. Nothing important, but you didn’t tell him where I was, did you?”

“Of course not. We keep all trainers’ info safe and secure here as mandated by UR law.” The nurse smiled. “Though you shouldn’t get into fights, Mr. Hawthorne.” She narrowed her eyes.

Seeing that glare made Emile step back. He felt a shiver run up his spine as he looked at her beautiful emerald eyes. He learned the hard way never to piss off a Center Nurse, and he had zero plans to do it again.

“Of course, I understand!” He chuckled.

“Good!” The smiling nurse clapped. “And thankfully for you, I have your team! They’re in great shape, so please take care of them!” she continued, handing out a tray with five Pokeballs on it.

“Thank you, ma’am.” Emile swiftly grabbed the Pokeballs and attached each one to his belt then turned away from her.

“Have a great day and please, come again!” The nurse waved.

“Let's go, Frère.” Emile instructed and started to walk towards the Center exit. “I’d rather not linger about.”

As soon as Emile reached the door, a whiff of fresh air hit him. The breeze felt perfect against his skin, and even though the sun made his headache a bit worse, he would have happily taken this over vomiting every five seconds.

“Why, if innit the man of tha hour!” Emile heard someone call out.

The trainer blinked twice and looked around, a brow raised.

A group of sailors stood in front of him, their backs turned to numerous trainers who were glaring not at Emile but at the sailors' backs. The former trainer even noticed a young boy pushed onto the ground being picked up by one of his fellow trainers.

This was wrong, Emile immediately thought. While Bellissimo Mare didn’t have a gym, there should have been League trainers stationed here to protect the facility from stupid situations like this.

“Oi! I’m talkin' to ya!” Emile heard again.

This time, the courier turned his head. This time, the courier turned his head. His gaze met a husky sailor whose uniform looked like it barely fit him, as his shirt was so tight that a small fraction of his midriff was exposed. However, what caught Emile’s attention was the blood-stained bandage wrapped around his nose.

“Can I help you?” Emile asked the sailor.

“Can I help you?” mocked the sailor. “Why, you’re the bloody bastard who did this to me!” he pointed at his bandaged nose. “All because I asked a lil’ question.”

“In my defense, that is a sore subject for me.” Emile shrugged.

“Ya know, I looked into you, Hawthorne.” the sailor pointed at Emile. “I know what you are now, a washed-up professor’s kid who lost to-”

Emile gritted his teeth upon hearing the man continue to speak, and suddenly he found himself speaking. “Yes, and I’m sorry. Truly.” Emile raised his hands in surrender. “I should have never punched you. Instead, I should have hit you with a diet plan.”

“Oh, you think you’re funny now?” the sailor stepped forward.

“No, I think I’m too sober and tired to deal with some andouille and his army of branleurs.” Emile motioned towards the small group of sailors.

“Thats it! This ain't gonna be like last time. I’m gonna take you out, you and that lil’ frigerayta you got by your side.” cried the sailor who took a Pokeball off his belt.

“That right?” asked Emile who took another step back and looked at Frère. “You want this one?”

Frère looked at his trainer, then back at the sailor…, and then he looked back up at Emile again, this time grinning from ear to ear.

“Have fun,” Emile told Frère, then raised a finger. “No playgrounds, got it?”

Frère nodded and soon stepped forward. The Glaceon’s dark eyes were focused intently on the opposing trainer’s Pokeball and his tail wagged with impatience.

“You got some confidence, drunkard… but yer just a nobody.” The sailor smiled as he moved a foot forward.

“Are you going to keep talking or are you going to release that Pokemon you got there?” Emile asked.

The sailor gritted his teeth and threw his Pokeball, unleashing a Krabby onto the makeshift battlefield.

Both sailors and trainers stepped away to make room and to avoid getting hit by any potential attacks.

Emile eyed the Krabby. The opponent was a vibrant red, and it opened and closed its pincers swiftly. Along with that, its eyes were hyper-focused on Frère. Judging from these few things alone, Emile could at least tell that the water type was healthy.

“Bubble-beam.” the sailor commanded with a smile.

Krabby opened a pincer and aimed directly at Frère. Soon, it unleashed a stream of bubbles, all launched with the speed of gunfire.

Frère ran towards the bubbles and jumped over them, performing a graceful flip as he did so.

Emile stepped to the side, avoiding the stray attack, and watched as the bubbles impacted a nearby building, leaving large cracks in the exterior for all to see.

“Not my fault.” he quietly declared before he turned his head back to the battle.

Krabby violently thrashed out, swinging his claws like they were vicious hammers. However, he failed to hit Frère even once, and instead he either swung at the air or left cracks onto the concrete below him.

Frère danced around Krabby, moving from left to right. He chuckled and giggled as his opponent continued to fail at hitting him.

“Come on, hit the bloody git!” the sailor screamed.

Krabby growled and screamed, swinging his arm into the direction Frère was in in hopes of hitting his target.

Frère leaped into the air, once again performing another front flip. However, when he was close to landing, he immediately kicked at Krabby’s skull with his hind legs. Two loud thunks were heard as Frère’s feet impacted his target by all who watched. Then, he unleashed a final kick, this time to bounce off of his foe and land on the ground.

“Krabby! What the hell are ya doin?” The opposing trainer clenched his fists as if trying to strangle the very air. “Get your head out of your arse!”

Emile smiled. A familiar fire was burning within him, and he felt the urge to bark out orders, and he found himself thinking of every plan the sailor could come up with and ways to counter it. Bubblebeam? That was easy, Emile thought. Detect and lead in with Quick Attack, or better yet-

“C’mon boys!” the sailor shouted. “Bring all of yours out, we’re getting rid of this bastard!”

That got Emile’s attention. Frère might actually break a sweat now, he thought as he watched the sailors unleash their Pokemon, a Buizel and a Corphish, respectively. More and more thoughts came to the trainer’s mind.

“Water Gun and Bubblebeam again, countered by Mirror Coat.” Emile muttered as he scratched his chin.

“C’mon, Water Gun!” a sailor commanded his Buizel.

“Bubblebeam!” The pudgy sailor and his lackey both cried.

Frère smirked, and his body glowed a dark pink. Suddenly, a strange shield formed psychic energy coated the Glaceon’s body!

The opposing Pokemon all unleashed their various attacks. Water and bubbles covered the glowing Frère until the water turned against the attackers, easily sending them back while simultaneously covering the ground with water.

Emile bit his tongue and forced himself to stop thinking about how the battle could end. He knew damn well that there was no barrier formed, and while the observers had backed away, a stray attack could hurt or even worse, kill someone.

“Frère!” he shouted. “Lets wrap this up!”

Frère turned his head and nodded at his trainer, then redirected his gaze towards his foes. The ice type’s body began to glow a bright blue, and he took two steps forward.

The water-type trio circled around Frère and smiled as they realized they now held the advantage. Their opponent was just standing still. He was an easy target!

“Go in close! Now!” the burly sailor shouted.

All of the water types moved forward. This was it! Their opponent would go down, and their trainers would be proud of them!

At least, until Frère opened his mouth and exhaled, unleashing a gust of cold air from his mouth and entire body!

Emile stepped back, and he saw that the trainers who watched had also taken several steps back. It was clear that everyone could feel the freezing air emanating from Frère, and Emile had even watched as the water that was on the pavement turned to ice instantly.

Frère’s opponents were all sent skidding backwards, falling unconscious near their respective trainers.

“You… you fucking cunt! You won’t get away with this!” the pudgy sailor screamed and stepped forward. “I’ll get you for this, you hear me? I’m good friends with tha Legion!”

“I don’t care who you’re friends with,” Emile walked forward. You have every right to come at me for what happened at that bar, but blocking off a Pokemon Center wasn’t a good call.” He pointed his finger at the sailor.

The sailor gritted his teeth. “C’mon boys… let's leave.” He waved at his comrades, signaling them to follow him.

Emile watched as the sailors left, and soon, he started to walk away as well, though his eyes had gazed at the various trainers eagerly running into the Pokemon Center.

Frère immediately ran to his side, with a proud smile as he walked by his trainer.

“You really kicked ass.” Emile complimented his partner. “It… almost felt like old times.”

Frère nodded and let out a cheerful bark.

“But its better if we’re not battling, don’t you think?” Emile looked at Frère. “I don’t think I’m suited for that life anymore.”

Frère frowned when Emile turned his head. This time, he refused to meet his Pokemon’s gaze.

“I will say this, though: If this job keeps up like this, I might demand a little more money from the old man.” Emile sighed. “Let's hope for Arceus’ sake that the rest of our time here isn’t like this.”

The two continued to walk away from the Pokemon Center, but unknown to them… one boy had remained, and he had watched Emile and Frère leave.


AN: Many thanks to Tempera, Endgame13, and RaptorReads for beta reading. Your help has not gone unappreciated and I am forever grateful for it.
 
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Chapter 2: Vito Barone
Route 17

Vito Barone bounced up and down in his seat. The boy’s eyes were focused on his Poryphone, which played a video on its screen. Watching every second of it made the boy’s heart pound in his chest.

“And I am proud to announce that the 25th Enotrian Gym Challenge begins today!” an elderly woman’s voice played from Vito’s phone.

The elderly woman had gray hair wrapped in a bun and wore a blue dress shirt, blue slacks, and a matching overcoat. Beside her was a Wigglytuff with bright green eyes who let out a cheerful cry as her trainer spoke.

Vito, no, everyone in the world recognized the woman as Champion Sienna Amato. She was the second Champion to grace the region ever since the unfortunate passing of Silvano Vinci fourteen years ago, and she had kept the title ever since.

“I take it you’re excited, aren’t you, dear boy?” Vito heard from Giuseppe Armani who sat right beside Vito

The old man had wrinkles on his face and short gray hair. He wore overalls fitting for a farmer that showed his large, sun-kissed arms. In his hands, he held onto the reins of his Mudsdale that pulled them across Route 17.

“Definitely!” Vito turned his head after pausing the video, meeting Giuseppe Armani's gaze. “Today will be the day I become a trainer, after all.”

“Indeed… it's been five years since you started working on the farm with me.” the elderly man smiled as he held the reins for his Mudsdale, which pulled them through Route 17. “To think you are already 14.”

“Right? But I’m here thanks to you and Pikachu…” Vito said and turned his head to the left. The boy’s eyes widened suddenly when he realized nothing was there. He looked behind, seeing his little partner turn his head with wide eyes as he held an oran berry in his paws. “Pikachu!”

The little mouse let out a terrified squeak, dropping his half-eaten snack, and fell into the cart full of berries that the wagon was carrying along.

Vito groaned and put his phone in his pocket. He leaned towards the cart and reached out to take Pikachu’s paw. “Get in here, you!” he commanded.

The yellow rodent crawled and jumped out of the wagon, jumping onto Vito’s arm and crawling up his shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Giuseppe.” Vito apologized.

“Ah, don’t worry about it.” Giuseppe waved. “Take some berries, dear boy. You’ll need them for the journey.”

“Are you sure?” Vito leaned forward. “Won’t you get in trouble?”

“Do not worry, child.” Giuseppe patted Vito on the shoulder. “I can take care of it, but I don’t believe anyone will be aware of a couple of berries missing, and if they do I will simply pay what is owed myself.”

“Thank you, Giuseppe… really, I mean it.” Vito smiled. “I’ll remember this when I become Champion.”

“You better! I’ll need someone to take care of me, I’m an old man you see.” Giuseppe laughed, which turned to a brief cough.

Vito smiled and looked onward before his face contorted with repulsion. The stench of fish mixed with salt filled his nostrils, and that was enough for him to know that he wasn’t too far from Bellissimo Mare.

“Ah, you hear that?” Giuseppe asked.

Vito raised a brow and calmed his mind. He heard loud banging from the direction the port town was in and turned his head to Giuseppe. “What’s going on?” he asked.

“I believe they’re making some quick repairs to one of the ships.” the elderly man concluded. “More than likely, a foreign vessel came by.”

“That’s weird. Don’t foreigners come to Central or Northern districts?” Vito asked.

“Most of the time.” Giuseppe shrugged. “However, some tourists do come down here as well, and I believe I’ve heard stories of a few trainers from afar starting their journeys here.”

That brought out a smile in Vito. He would have loved to meet a foreign trainer, he could have only imagined the stories they had, the Pokemon they had acquired and how powerful they were…

“Ah, and we’re here!” Giuseppe cheerfully announced, letting go of the reins briefly so he could clap his hands.

Vito didn’t need to be told. He knew it as soon as he started hearing sailors barking out orders and when Mudsdale’s hooves started clopping against the pavement. He started to look around, smiling at the sight of Pokemon moving about while Mudsdale carefully navigated through the narrow streets.

Bellissimo Mare wasn’t a large city by any means, it was a small port town. There were barely any homes, and most of them were outside of the city. Most of the buildings were businesses that were so closely packed together that you would think they were all one building. Some of these places were bars, and some were motels. Of course, with it being a port town, the best job you could possibly get is either working as a sailor or with the harbormasters.

As Vito looked around, he saw Pokemon move about. Most were Machoke and Machop, who held large stacks of lumber with only one arm, along with Ratticate and Rattata, who moved alongside sailors. Despite the fact that the streets were densely packed with Pokemon and people, they all greeted each other and passed by with no problem.

“So, I believe this will be your stop?” Giuseppe asked Vito.

“Yup!” Vito confirmed. “I’ll walk the rest of the way back if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not. You’ll officially be a trainer after all!” Giuseppe declared as he pat Vito on the back. Be careful coming back, though, alright?”

“I will!” Vito cheered as he got off the wagon with Pikachu still on his shoulder. He looked at his partner and frowned. “Sorry, little guy, you gotta get back in your ball… I don’t wanna get in trouble, seeing as how I don’t have my license yet.

Pikachu let out a defeated squeak and his gaze dropped down, along with his ears and tail.

“Hey, it won’t be for long.” Vito said. “I’ll be up at the Pokemon Center for a few seconds, and we both know its not far from here.”

Pikachu raised his ears and nodded, though there was still a frown on his face.

“Don’t worry little guy.” Vito patted the mouse’s furry head. “This will be the last time you’re ever put in that thing!”

That seemed to raise Pikachu’s spirits as he finally smiled and nodded at his partner.

Vito unclipped Pikachu’s Pokeball and tapped the center button, bringing his partner into the ball. Then he reattached it and ran through the busy streets of Bellissimo Mare, a wide smile on his face as he navigated his way past the sailors and Pokemon.

It didn’t take long for him to arrive at the Pokemon Center. The large red building was one of the most noticeable landmarks. Per UR law, all Pokemon Centers had to be easily recognizable, but even then, this Pokemon Center was the only large building in the town. Everything else paled in comparison to it.

Vito stopped for a brief second. As soon as he came near the center, he saw a small crowd of people near the entrance. Not a single one of them moved into the building; instead, they stood in place, grumbling and conversing with one another.

He moved into the crowd, hearing various complaints amongst the people. He couldn’t make out most of what was being said, but he heard the name “Hawthorne” a few times, though he didn’t recognize the name.

“Back up, all of you!” a sailor shouted with a thick Galarian accent. “Da centa’ is closed for the moment. Back up!”

Vito stood on the tip of his toes and managed to get a somewhat decent look. He saw a rather pudgy sailor whose outfit barely fit standing in front of the crowd, with a few other sailors beside him. Vito surmised that that sailor must have been the one giving orders.

He once again moved through the crowd, making sure to gently push people aside so he could come face-to-face with this sailor. Perhaps he could get him to stand down and let him and this crowd through.

“Hey!” Vito called out to the sailor. “Come on! I gotta get my trainer’s license and these people probably are wanting one too!”

The pudgy sailor scowled and stomped toward Vito and pushed the younger boy!

Vito was taken aback as he fell on his rear and the back of his head impacted with the pavement.

“You’re not goin’, dumbass! If nobody’s going, you’re not goin’!”

Vito raised himself up and rubbed the back of his head. Thankfully he wasn’t bleeding, but his head still throbbed.

“Hey, he’s just a kid, you jackass!” someone in the crowd shouted.

More and more people came to Vito’s defense, screaming and hollering at the sailors.

“Oi! If you all keep on actin’ like this, then I think I’ll have some of our Leej buddies come in to perform some ‘riot control’.” the pudgy sailor declared. “We’ll even help!” he shouted, pulling a Pokeball off of his belt.

The other sailors did the same, showing off their Pokeballs to the crowd who took a step back.

The pudgy sailor had a wide grin on his face as he put his Pokeball back on his belt, but his gaze was still focused on the crowd.

Vito’s heart pounded beneath his chest, and he reached for his Pokeball. He wasn’t going to let these people get hurt, especially by such a disgusting man… but at the same time, he was terrified.

Non-trainers weren’t allowed to engage in battles. If the proper authorities got involved, Vito could be permanently banned from acquiring his license, and they would take Pikachu away… He couldn’t imagine a world without his best friend.

“Hey, are you alright?” a gentle feminine voice called from behind Vito, pulling him up. “You don’t look too banged up…”

The person from behind grabbed Vito by his shoulders and helped him upright.

“Stronzo,” Vito spat as he stood up. “Thank you.” He turned around and came face to face with a girl his age, with short dark hair that barely reached past her ears and she had bronze skin and emerald green eyes.

“No problem.” The girl smiled as she stepped past Vito and slowly grabbed a Pokeball from her belt. “These pigs aren’t gonna know what hit them.” she scowled.

Before she could do anything however, the Pokemon Center doors opened and now the sailors became quiet.

Vito looked and noticed a long-haired man step out with an ice-blue fox-like Pokemon by his side.

The man raised a brow and looked around, his pale blue eyes focused on the crowd and sailors before him. Vito could see that this man was puzzled by this strange occurrence.

A wicked grin appeared on the pudgy sailor’s face, and he turned around to meet the face of the other man. “Why, if innit the man of the hour?” The pudgy sailor spat.

The man continued to look around, pondering over this bizarre crowd and ignored the pudgy sailor.

“Oi! I’m talkin' to ya!” The sailor screamed.

The man finally turned around to meet the hostile seaman and spoke, but his voice was unable to be picked up by the observing crowd.

“Can I help you?” the sailor replied in a mocking tone laced with hostility. “Why, you’re the bloody bastard who did this to me!” the sailor pointed at his bandaged nose. “All because I asked a lil’ question.”

The man replied, and again, his voice could not be heard by the crowd.

“Who is he?” Vito murmured to the girl beside him.

“I don’t know,” she whispered.” He’s probably a foreign trainer, though. He’s got a Glaceon, and Eevee aren’t native to Enotria.”

Vito ohh’d and continued to watch the exchange.

“I looked into ya, Hawthorne.” The pudgy sailor pointed at the man. “I know what you are now, a washed-up professor’s kid who lost to-”

“Yes, and I’m sorry. Truly.” The trainer suddenly interrupted through gritted teeth. His voice was loud enough to be heard by the crowd. Yet, despite the sudden increase in his volume and tone, he raised his hands in mock surrender. “I should have never punched you. Instead, I should have hit you with a diet plan!” his voice boomed.

Vito noticed that the man’s accent was smoother than an Enotrian's, and his words were less stressed despite his clearly being enraged.

“Oh, you think you’re funny now?” The enraged seaman stepped forward.

“No, I think I’m too sober and tired to deal with some andouille and his army of branleurs.” The foreign trainer motioned towards the small group of sailors.

“Thats it! This ain't gonna be like last time. I’m gonna take you out, you and that lil’ frigerayta you got by your side.” The sailor cried and took his Pokeball off his belt.

“Hawthorne” spoke again, and his voice was quiet once more. Then he turned to his Glaceon and after a brief exchange, the trainer stepped back.

“C’mon, let's move, guy,” The girl beside Vito ordered, taking him by the wrist.

Both of them moved back, and so did the crowd. It was clear what was going to take place.

Again, Vito’s heart pounded, but not with fear. This was going to be his first-ever live battle! No streaming or TV was involved, and he would be close to it.

The ice fox stepped forward, glaring at the pudgy sailor as he waited for him to send out his Pokemon.

The sailor threw out his Pokeball, sending out a Krabby.

“Hey… Glaceon, that’s an ice type right?” Vito whispered to the girl. “I thought ice types don’t work well against water types.”

“You’ve been playing too many PokeClash games,” the girl smiled. “Types don’t decide everything. Just watch. You’ll get it soon enough.”

Vito turned his head to the battle, which soon began, and he couldn’t help but smile.

Krabby opened up with a bubble beam. The bubbles were fired at the speed of gunfire and all of them threatened to pelt the target.

Glaceon jumped into the air and performed a graceful front flip while doing so, avoiding the bubblefire coming in his direction.

Krabby barely had time to change his fire as Glaceon came in close, and so he resorted to swinging his vicious claws around like hammers. Sometimes he tried to pinch and snap at his target, but to no avail.

Glaceon kept dodging. He danced around the battlefield, treating this fight as a mere game for him, laughing and giggling all the while. He moved so fast that he was an ice blue blur of motion.

Vito found it difficult to keep up with Glaceon’s movements, and the boy’s mouth was held agape. He had tried to watch battles on TV when he had the time, but most of them were beginning battles, ranging from first to third gym battles.

This was different though. Vito had never seen a Pokemon move as fast as Glaceon, and he started to understand what the girl beside him meant when she said types didn’t mean everything.

Glaceon performed another flip, then landed on top of its target and landed a series of double kicks. Loud thunks were heard by the crowd as Glaceon’s feet impacted against Krabby’s shell.

The pudgy sailor cried and cursed, and when he saw Glaceon dance around the battlefield again, he demanded his cohorts to unleash their Pokemon.

“Hey, that’s not fair!” Vito spat as he reached for his Pokeball. He didn’t care anymore, he was going to get involved.

“Calm down, bud.” The girl said as she grabbed Vito’s shoulder. “I think he’s got this.”

Glaceon was soon facing off against a Buizel, Corphish and of course Krabby and once again, he danced around all of them.

The foes unleashed a series of ranged attacks, specifically, bubble beams combined with a water gun.

Glaceon smirked and soon projected a strange pink glow that soon turned into a clear coat of energy that coated his body like a suit of armor, turning his opponent’s attacks against them.

“Frère!” Hawthorne shouted. “Let's wrap this up.”

Glaceon- no, Frère turned his head towards Hawthorne and nodded, then redirected his focus to his opponents, who were now getting up. His body began to glow an ice blue and he stepped forward.

Vito suddenly felt the temperature drop. Goosebumps started to form on his bare arms and his eyes widened.

“Arceus… these guys never stood a chance.” Vito heard the girl say.

Frère then exhaled, and cryonic power was unleashed from his body and his mouth, blowing his opponents away.

Vito shivered. For only a brief second, the temperature had dropped low enough to where it could have been a winter wonderland.

“Holy crap, that had to have been Freeze Dry!” The girl said.

“You… you fucking cunt! You won’t get away with this!” the pudgy sailor screamed and stepped towards Hawthorne. “I’ll get you for this, you hear me? I’m good friends with tha Legion!”

“I don’t care who you’re friends with,” Hawthorne walked forward. You have every right to come at me for what happened at that bar, but blocking off a Pokemon Center wasn’t a good call.” He pointed his finger at the sailor.

The sailor fell silent, then waved at his colleagues, barking out orders for them to leave.

They returned their Pokemon, and soon the sailors stormed off, walking past the crowd.

Vito heard the crowd talking as they started to walk towards the Pokemon Center. He looked to his right, only to see the girl who had helped him before suddenly vanish.

“Well, that happened…” He remarked as he looked around and saw the mysterious “Hawthorne” walk away with the Glaceon by his side.

Vito started to walk back towards The Pokemon Center, thinking about the events that had transpired not too long ago.

The truth was, despite Vito's desire to be a trainer, he barely knew anything about battling. He knew the very basics, but what kind of kid didn’t know that fire burned grass or that grass could beat water?

But the trainer Vito observed had easily defeated those sailors, and his Glaceon treated the entire battle like a game, laughing all the while. This “Hawthorne” never gave a single order to his Pokemon, something that Vito had observed from the very few battles he had gotten the chance to watch.

As Vito entered the Pokemon Center, an idea began to form in his mind. It was stupid, but he couldn’t help but think about it again and again, the idea of going to this stranger and asking him for aid in becoming a decent trainer.

The northerners of Capitoline got that aid. They were all rich and could afford to go to Paradiso Academy, where they were taught more than just the basics of being a proper Pokemon trainer by professionals. Hell, each graduating student got a small pack of supplies as a gift for when they set out on their journey!

Each of those students had an advantage, and any of them had a higher chance than Vito did of becoming Champion, and he damn well knew it.

“Maybe I’ll do the same thing they’re doing,” Vito said to himself as he looked around the Pokemon Center’s lobby and began heading to the right, going up to the first available nurse, and was thankfully the one he had been looking for.

The nurse sat at her desk and organized various papers before she put them in a manila folder, then she looked up. Her emerald eyes met Vito, and the nurse lit up with a smile.

“Morning, Miranda!” Vito approached her. “I’m 14 now.” he announced as he reached into his pocket, pulled out his ID, and placed it on her desk.

“Oh really?” Miranda took the ID and briefly inspected it. “Well… I guess I can upgrade your ID.”

Vito reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, he was fixing to pull out his pay card

“Oh no you don’t.” Miranda waved her hand. “Put that back right now, mister.” she pointed at his wallet.

“I gotta pay for an ID, don’t I?” Vito asked. “I don’t want you to lose your job.”

Miranda leaned forward and flicked Vito on the forehead.

“Culo!” Vito winced as he rubbed his hand against his forehead. “What was that for?”

“There is no way you’re going to pay for an ID, and besides, Centers give out freebies from time to time, so don’t you worry about a thing.” Miranda explained as she placed Vito’s card in a machine slot near her computer.

“Oh… I didn’t know.” Vito said. “Thank you, really.”

“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.” Miranda smiled as her gaze focused on her computer. “By the way, did something happen? Giuseppe is normally here early…”

“We got here on time, but there were these sailors blocking the center.” Vito said.

“Did the League trainers get them to back off?” Miranda looked up at Vito.

“No, but there was this really cool trainer with a Glaceon! He beat them all in a battle, you should have seen it!” Vito exclaimed.

"Fottuta Legione." Miranda scowled as she glanced right back over to her computer. “Well, its a good thing that they were removed, I suppose.”

“Oh yeah! That trainer, did you happen to know his name?” Vito questioned. “They called him Hawthorne, but I’m not sure if that was his last name or his first name…”

Miranda sighed and she stopped typing for a moment. “Emile Hawthorne, probably. He was probably the reason why those sailors were screwing around.”

A wide grin crept across Vito’s face and he placed both hands on his desk. “Do you know where he’s going? He’s a foreigner right? C’mon, Miranda, you gotta tell me!”

“Woah, woah. Calm down.” Miranda waved Vito away. “I don’t know where exactly he’s going but… he did say something about going to Florentina, something about meeting with Professor Poplar.”

Vito smiled. If he was going to Florentina, then Vito knew exactly how he could find him! He just needed to get his trainer ID and he’d be all set-

“By the way, would you like a Pokedex or would you like the app installed?” Miranda asked.

Vito lost his train of thought and raised a brow at the question. He knew what a Pokedex was, but he didn’t know there was an app developed for it.

“The GlobalDex app was made recently,” Miranda explained as she saw Vito’s puzzled expression. It was made by some big brains up in Paldea, and then it got introduced in the Professor’s Assembly up in Ransei a couple of years ago. To keep it brief, it's an app that catalogs every Pokemon in the known world, and professors around the world constantly update it.”

“Ohh…” Vito replied, then immediately reached into his pocket for his Poryphone and placed it on the desk.

“Well, that answers that.” Miranda smiled and then took the phone and plugged it into her computer. “It’ll take just a tiinnyy bit longer.”

Vito couldn’t stop himself from bouncing up and down. He was grinning from ear to ear like an idiot, and how couldn’t he? He was not only getting his Trainer ID for free, but he found someone to help him be a better trainer!

He waited for a few more minutes and heard the sounds of machines whirring until finally, a loud click was heard from them.

“Alright!” Miranda said, moving her hand towards the machine and pulled out Vito’s ID and slid it back to him, then took his phone out from the computer.

Vito his ID first and smiled at it but his smile dropped when he saw that nothing had exactly changed. “I thought this was supposed to be my Trainer ID?” he turned his head towards Miranda.

“No, silly.” Miranda chuckled. “I needed your ID to be processed through official League and Ransei channels, and now that’s already done…”

The sound of loud whirring came from Miranda’s left and slowly, a small white and green plastic badge came out of a printer.

Miranda moved over to the device, pulled out the card, and then slid it over to Vito. “This is your official Trainer ID!”

Vito eagerly took it and inspected it. It was a simple ID that listed his name with a set of numbers underneath it and beside it all was a photo himself and the letters “EN” underneath that.

“Holy shit…” Vito breathed out with a smile as he continued to look at his badge. “Miranda, I can’t thank you enough.” he said to the Nurse.

“You don’t need to, brat.” She replied, reaching out to ruffle Vito’s hair. “Go out and kick some ass, and have fun, alright?”

“I will!” Vito replied. “Next time you see me, I’ll be Champion!” he loudly declared before he turned around and darted off.

As soon as he stepped outside, Vito released Pikachu from his Pokeball.

Pikachu took a deep breath upon being released and then exhaled loudly. The yellow mouse soon looked up and crossed his arms and his dark eyes glared at his trainer.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Vito apologized. “I didn’t mean to leave you in there for so long, but there were these sailors who were blocking the way and I saw an awesome battle!”

Pikachu’s ear perked up and his glare became a look full of curiosity as he eagerly listened to his trainer.

“I know what we’re going to do, Pikachu… but first,” Vito said before he cleared his throat. ATTEN-SHUN!”

Pikachu stood up straight and tall, pushing his chest out and made an attempt at crossing his tiny arms behind his back.

“Sergeant Pikachu, it will be a long time before we step back into Bellissimo Mare… and for our first mission, we’re going to find Emile Hawthorne!”

Pikachu tilted his head to the side, no longer keeping his soldier-like posture, and let out a squeak of confusion.

“Oh, right.” Vito said. C’mon, let’s go. I’ll give you the short version, little buddy.”

Emile Hawthorne was going to Lantana, meaning that he would likely take the quickest route there, and that was…

The Wandering Teacher

Route 17

Route 17 was quiet, Emile observed as he walked through the dirt road with Frère. Not much went on in the route, but the deeper he went in, the fresher the air became. No longer did he have to smell the salty sea; instead, he smelled the dozens of flowers and trees that surrounded the route.

From what he could tell, there weren’t that many Pokemon around either. There were Pikipek that pecked away at some trees, and if they didn’t do that, they would fly away upon noticing Emile and Frère.

“Welp, I think we’ve walked enough.” Emile sagely said as he clapped his hands together. “I think we should take a nice little nap!”

Frère groaned and turned towards his trainer. The Glaceon shook his head, displeased with the idea of napping.

The truth was, they hadn’t been walking for too long, but Emile still felt hungover. He needed something to eat and drink. Then after that, a nap.

“I could use a nice comfy bed...” The trainer remarked as he approached a couple of nearby trees and went underneath them to avoid the sunlight.

Frère joined his trainer underneath the shade, and as he did, he unzipped Emile’s backpack.

“Thanks, Frère.” Emile said as he reached into the pockets.

Arceus bless Silph technology. Emile thought as he rummaged through his backpack. After successfully implementing the Pokeball shrinking technology into things like backpacks and briefcases, life became very easy for trainers and people around the world. People could carry several outfits, enough food and water to last a month, and camping equipment all in a simple backpack, and that was just if you wanted to fill a small capacity bag up.

He would pull out a small bottle of water and a couple of Oran berries for him and Frère to snack on. It wouldn’t be a decent meal, but it would be enough for his Glaceon, and Emile had gone through worse situations.

“I should start letting a few of the team out.” Emile said as he handed a couple of berries to Frère. “Venus probably wants to sunbathe, Chevalier is probably paranoid, and Belle is… Belle.”

Glaceon began to eat the berries, nodding in response.

Before Emile reached for the Pokeballs on his belt, he heard the sound of rustling leaves and turned to his right and gazed at a moving bush. He stood still for a moment and observed three black Rattata move out from the bush.

“Well, I’ll be damned…” Emile remarked and he found himself smiling at the sight. He had never seen this breed of Rattata before and he reached into his pocket to pull out his PokeGear.

The Rattata had black fur and had a strange tuff of it under their nose that resembled a bushy mustache. There were three of the rodent Pokemon, and their red eyes were staring at Emile, or rather, his bag.

Emile loaded the PokeDex app from his phone and scanned the Rattata. He took a couple of photos of them through the app before he went to inspect a few details. He knew they were dark types and were commonly seen in Alola, but that was all he really knew about them. Seeing them for the first time was exciting and nothing was better than this-

“Glace!” Emile heard Frère bark.

The trainer raised his head and saw a group of the dark types rush towards him. His eyes widened but before he could move, one of the Rattata had jumped into the bag.

“Hey! Get outa there!” Emile demanded as he reached into his bag to grab the tiny rodent.

The Rattata in question did as Emile requested but had taken a small box wrapped in brown. The dark rat looked ridiculous as it held it in his arms, and he soon ran away with his group following close behind.

“Shit, Frère! Get the one with the package, but be careful not to damage it!” Emile swiftly ordered.

Frère didn’t need to be told. Instead, ice energy formed from his open mouth, and he blasted an Ice Beam at the rats. Unfortunately, though, the ice type had missed his intended target and hit another rat, slamming it into a tree head-first while his other compatriots ran away.

“Merde!” Emile cursed as he chased after the Rattatas.

Frère followed, but soon stopped as he looked at the unconscious Rattata. The ice type raised a paw and lightly tapped the unconscious rodent’s head.

It jolted awake, and after it stared at Frère for a few seconds, its eyes went wide and zoomed off past him and Emile.

“Run after it, Frère!” Emile commanded as he reached for a Pokeball on his belt and threw it.

The Pokeball unleashed a humanoid figure clad in shining dark armor. She had twin blades for arms that were coated in violet fire and burned as bright as her purple eyes did, and she stood at attention in front of Emile.

“Chevalier, I need you in my shadow now. Make sure nothing and nobody comes near us.” Emile ordered.

Chevalier sunk into the ground below, becoming a hazy figure of darkness that entered her trainer’s shadow.

Emile turned his head in the direction Frère ran off at and began to follow his Glaceon.

“I’m really starting to hate this region…” he told himself.

The Wandering Teacher

Route 17

Vito smiled as he scanned Pikachu on his PokeDex app. A second didn’t pass before the app started displaying information about his beloved friend, from the types of berries he liked to moves he could learn.

“Holy crap, this thing works well.” he remarked as he jumped off the app. “I gotta look at it later, we can do all sorts of neat tricks when we start building ourselves up!”

Pikachu cheerfully squeaked, a wide smile on his face as he rode on his trainer’s shoulder.

“Ya know, I am a little curious about this Emile Hawthorne guy,” Vito commented as he went through his phone. “I downloaded an app yesterday called TrainerDex. Apparently, people use it everywhere… I think it might have something on him!”

Vito scrolled through his phone and tapped on the app in question. It didn’t take long for him to get used to its rather dull, lifeless, and gray UI, but he supposed that shouldn’t have been surprising given that this was meant to catalog trainers.

“Hawthorne…” he loudly said as he typed and began scrolling through names. Several other names appeared as well. “I don’t know who Arno and Elena Hawthorne are supposed to be and isn’t Hawthorn Lowery in the Laurum region?”

“Pi!” Pikachu squeaked and pointed at the very top where the name “Emile Hawthorne” was displayed.

“Oh, thanks, Pikachu!” Vito patted his friend’s head with his free hand while he used the other to access Emile’s page, and his eyes widened in delight as he gained access to the information. “Wow… this guy was a real deal, I think.”

Emile Hawthorne became a trainer around the same time trainers like Red from Kanto and Brendan from Hoenn did, though not nearly as famous. After all, how do you top what they did? One defeated a criminal organization and defeated two Champion-tier trainers, and the other saved the entire planet from being destroyed by legendaries.

Still, Vito thought Emile was pretty cool. He had not only stopped a few small gangs in Kalos, but had exposed the crimes of a company dedicated to Pokemon Breeding and he reached the semi-finals of the Kalos League in his first year, and unlike Red and Brendan, he travelled the world.

“Let's see… Top 8 in the Galar Cup, went silent for a bit in Paldea, then he apparently became an ACE Trainer with Sinnoh when Dawn Berlitz got rid of Team Galactic.” Vito read off, then turned his head to Pikachu and asked, “Who’s Dawn Berlitz?”

Pikachu shrugged in response and so Vito simply went back to reading.

“Went silent for a while, and then he competed in the Indigo League and… nothing,” Vito said. “Why is there nothing?” he shook his phone. “That is dumb, this app is full of shit! Most accurate trainer database, my ass!”

Vito put his phone away and sighed. At least he got some info, though he didn’t bother looking further. He had gotten all he wanted from this.

Pikachu suddenly jumped off of Vito’s shoulder and sniffed the air, then he started to run again.

“Wait, Pikachu! Where are you going?” Vito chased after his partner.

The chase didn’t last long, as Pikachu ran to the right, going underneath a tree and squeaked loudly as he ran around a gray backpack that laid on the floor.

Vito raised a brow as he ran forward and approached the bag. It released different scents, ranging from earthly, sweet aromas to fresh, juicy scents. These were scents Vito recognized, and he swiftly zipped the backpack up.

“This thing’s full of berries, and Lupa knows what else.” He commented, then his eyes widened as he remembered something.

This bag looked a lot like the one Emile Hawthorne wore.

“He’s nearby!” Vito realized and began to look around.

Pikachu squeaked and tugged on his trainer’s leg, then pointed to the left where there were broken twigs mixed with ice that covered the grass.

Vito was surprised to see that it hadn’t melted, but these were signs that Emile and his Glaceon had come through.

“Come on!” Vito ordered and charged to the left, where the ice and twigs were. Pikachu at first followed but soon sprung onto his trainer’s shoulder.

The further Vito ran, the more he started to hear things. It was hard to pick up at first, but he realized he was hearing the sound of high-pitched barking and someone yelling.

“Oh, you wanna blame me for getting punked?” Vito heard someone cry.

“That must be Emile.” Vito commented as he continued to walk, this time passing by various trees as he continued off route.

Loud barking was heard again. Obviously, it was the sounds of some sort of Pokemon. Perhaps it was Glaceon, Vito thought.

“Yeah, laugh all you want. Hell, you can tell everyone else, and while you do that, I’ll tell you how you missed the easiest shot in your life!” Emile hollered. “Oh yes, the great Frère took on Team Galactic and Amadis and can’t hit a Rattata to save his bloody life!”

There was more loud barking, and then a loud, pained yelp came from the direction Vito and Pikachu were moving towards.

Vito swallowed hard and turned to Pikachu. “I don’t like this.” he told his partner.

Pikachu frowned and nodded his head.

“You wanna bite me? Alright then, lets go you overgrown ice cube!” Emile hollered out.

Another yelp was heard. This time, it was high in pitch and matched the barking from earlier.

As Vito drew closer to the source of all the chaos, his eyes widened at the sight of Emile Hawthorne biting on one of the hind legs of his Glaceon while the ice type was biting on his arm.

It was quite a strange spectacle, and Vito was about to comment on it until a Pokemon clad in black armor and violet flames appeared from the Earth below!

The Pokemon charged towards Vito, it’s flaming arms aimed directly at his throat!

Vito yelped and jumped, falling on his rear and crawling backwards to avoid the stranger. His heart pounded beneath his chest and he was full of adrenaline.

Pikachu on the other hand jumped off of his trainer’s shoulder and fired a small bolt of lightning aimed to disable and paralyze his foe!

The black knight, however, swatted away the bolt of lightning with its burning sword and glared daggers at both, Vito and Pikachu.

Pikachu landed onto the ground, meeting the knight’s glare with his own. He growled as static electricity popped and crackled from his crimson cheeks.

Vito recognized this Pokemon, it was popular in many stories in Paldea and Enotria. It was called Ceruledge and was from the Charcadet line, but what was it doing here?

Ceruledge was about to strike again. It stepped forward and pointed a blade at it’s intended target. The knight was going to cut Pikachu in two.

“Wait!” Emile Hawthorne shouted from afar. “Wait, wait wait wait.” he commanded, getting up from the ground and stepping towards Ceruledge. He placed his hand on its shoulder. “Calm down, Chevalier.”

“Wait, that Pokemon is yours?” Vito asked.

“Yes, she’s one of mine. I’m sorry, we had gotten punked by a couple of Rattata and I decided to let her out just in case. I didn’t think anybody was here.” Emile stepped forward and lowered his hand for Vito to take.

Vito happily accepted it, and Emile pulled him up.

“I’m Emile Hawthorne.” He introduced himself to Vito. He opened his mouth, but then paused as he looked at the young trainer. “You’re one of the kids who was at the port town.”

“Y-Yeah, I am.” Vito nodded. “You noticed me?”

“I saw you on the ground.” Emile replied. “Those sailors aren’t back, are they?”

“No!” Vito said. “No, I uh… I wanted to find you. Here’s your bag by the way.” he continued, holding out the gray backpack for Emile to take.

“Crap, I can’t believe I left it. Thanks, kid.” Emile took the backpack and swung it over his shoulder. “So, why’d you wanna find me so bad?”

Vito swallowed hard, this was it, he thought. It was now or never, the worst he could do is say no after all right? He fell silent and clenched his fists tightly.

“I want you to teach me how to be like you!” Vito finally declared after a brief second of awkward silence.

Emile raised a brow, then turned his head towards his Glaceon. He and his partner stared at each other briefly before turning their heads back to Vito, and then back to each other. Then they both looked at Vito again.

“Listen, kid. We’re a little busy right now… but if you can help us get a package back from some Rattata, maybe we’ll work something out.” Emile said.

“A Rattata?” Vito asked. “Can’t you take care of it though? I mean, you probably got a killer team with you, don’t you?”

“Sure.” Emile shrugged. “But those Rattata have something valuable that I’m trying to bring to Florentina. Not only that, but they’ve more than likely brought that thing to their nest, and if it's in there, I’ll have to get it out.”

“Yeah, but they’re Rattata. It wouldn’t be a big deal, would it?” Vito asked.

“Sure, if I didn’t care about destroying their homes and potentially damaging the ecosystem here.” Emile shrugged. “The team I have with me are of the ‘destruction’ variety, and are too big for a rats nest.”

“Ooohh… that makes sense!” Vito nodded.

“So you’ll take care of it humanely?” Emile asked.

“Yup! Just leave it to me!” Vito gave a thumbs-up and turned around. This was already going well, he thought. All he had to do was get this little package back, and there would be a chance that Emile would take him on as a student!

“C’mon, Pikachu.” Vito said to his partner. “Lets get the package!”

AN: Many thanks to Tempera, Endgame13, and RaptorReads for beta reading. Your help has not gone unappreciated and I am forever grateful for it.
 
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Chapter 3: The New Student
Route 17

Emile Hawthorne was a weird man, Vito observed as he ran his fingers over the grassy fields of Route 17. The trainer was clearly experienced, or at the very least more experienced than he was, and yet, he had gone from defeating two sailors with his Glaceon to biting on said Glaceon’s leg when he had met the two, and somehow they had been robbed by a group of fledgling Rattata.

“Do it humanely, kiddo,” Emile said before he hid under the shade of a tree, his Glaceon by his side. Every time Vito looked over in their direction, he could see that the two were conversing about something.

“Why can’t he do it?” Vito grumbled to Pikachu.

The yellow mouse shrugged, and both Pokemon and trainer sighed as they continued prowling through the grass, looking for any trace of the Rattata that had allegedly stolen from Emile.

Vito had dealt with Rattata before, both dark and normal forms. They were quite finicky creatures who would feast on crops and flee as soon as they were spotted, and their nests were difficult to find, but after working for Old Man Giuseppe for so long, Vito had learned how to find their nests.

Their nests tended to have plenty of berries and other vegetation stored, and if a Pokemon with a good nose was around, they could sniff the nests out with no problem.

Pika!

“Did you find it?” Vito raised his head to his partner

Pikachu nodded his head, and Vito followed his partner. They didn’t walk for long before Pikachu began running over a mound of dirt that had been freshly formed.

Vito smiled and patted his Pikachu on the head, then, he glanced in Emile’s direction. The trainer was still under the tree, and his Glaceon was curled up into a nice ice-blue ball beside him. The sight of it made Vito roll his eyes and groan.

“You see this shit, Pikachu?” He pointed at Emile and his Glaceon. “Lazy bastards, the both of em’.”

Pikachu nodded in agreement, his mouth curled into a look of contempt for the older trainer and his partner.

“Hey!” Vito called out

There was no response from Emile. For a moment, Vito doubted his desire to learn from this washed-up trainer, but he pushed his thoughts away. Perhaps, he thought, this would be worth it.

“We found the nest!” Vito shouted again, this time louder than before. “You just want the package, right?”

“Yup!” Emile shouted back, though he wasn’t as loud as Vito. “Make sure to get it back nice and easy; don’t ruin that nest!”

Vito rolled his eyes again. He heard Emile the first time; he didn’t need to be lectured about doing something he’d done for years before.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small plastic bag filled with pecha berries. Originally, he had carried them with him as a snack, but he also knew that these were a Rattata’s favorite thing in the world. They were attracted to them like a Cutiefly to honey.

Vito opened the plastic bag, and he couldn’t help but breathe deeply as the earthly yet sweet aroma of pecha berries filled his nostrils. He held the bag over the mound and gently moved his foot, slowly removing the mound of dirt. To his delight, he saw two red eyes looking at him.

Vito had done this a hundred times working for Giuseppe. The Rattata would spring out, craving the sweet delicacy, and Vito would throw the berries out while others would deal with the tiny rodents, though in this case, Pikachu would enter the nest and quickly take Emile’s package.

“C’mon out, little fellas,” he politely urged.

Vito’s heart was pounding beneath his chest, and an overwhelming sense of dread washed over him. Was it because he wanted to impress this trainer who watched him from afar? Was he afraid that something bad would happen? No, that was too ridiculous. What could possibly go wrong-

Skreeeet!

A loud, violent cry erupted from the hole. It sounded like a Rattata, but the pitch of its cry was much deeper and it rattled in his skull. Vito swallowed hard and jumped back on sheer instinct as he watched a giant Raticate burst from the ground like a missile.

Before Vito cursed himself for feeling afraid, Pikachu had sprung into action. Electricity crackled from his cheeks as he jumped in front of Raticate. The rat’s violent hissing then met the smaller mouse’s

Vito looked over Raticate. It was the evolved form of Rattata, and it was much larger, too. It had crimson eyes full of frustration and hunger, and its red eyes were full of rage. Merely looking at it made the trainer’s skin crawl, and he felt paranoid.

He wasn’t going to be afraid, not this time. Vito swallowed hard and soon, his glare met Raticate’s, and the trainer tried his best to match the Pokemon’s glare with one of his own. “Alright, Pikachu! This freak might be bigger than you, but you have the advantage in speed! Run and use Thundershock.”

That was how it worked, right? Vito thought to himself. He had seen plenty of battles where the smaller and lighter fighter would outspeed and defeat their opponent in many scenarios thanks to their sheer mobility. It should work in this case, judging how Raticate was a wild Pokemon and untrained.

Pikachu became a yellow blur of motion, glowing and crackling with electricity as he moved around Raticate and within a second, he unleashed a burst of lightning at Raticate!

The larger creature merely shrugged off the lightning bolt, the only sign of it ever hitting was its slightly scorched fur and then raised its arm. Its tiny claws were sharp, capable of tearing into Pikachu’s flesh with ease, and its small paw could crush his head like a grape.

Until the Raticate smiled, and it struck down at Pikachu’s location, almost as if it had known exactly where its smaller opponent would be moving to. Its claws didn’t pierce Pikachu’s skin, but they were doing a good job of holding him still.

No.

Nauseousness but he soon realized that the perfect plan was right before them.

“Get out of there, Pikachu!” he shouted. “Use your cheeks!”

It was a weird request, but Vito had spent plenty of time with his partner to know that a Thundershock was painful.

Pikachu raised a brow as best it could but decided to once again allow electricity to course through its crimson cheeks, then the yellow mouse nuzzled his cheek against Raticate’s fur.

This time, it let out a howl as it removed its hand from the yellow rodent.

Pikachu took advantage of the sudden pain that Raticate was in and retreated from the larger opponent

It glared at Pikachu with sheer hatred for not only wounding it but causing its arm to go numb.

“Hell yeah, good job!” Vito cried out. “Now then, Quick Attack!”

A grin crept across Pikachu’s face, and it turned into a yellow blur of motion again. It raced toward the larger opponent like a freight train, which was certain to leave an impact this time, unlike his Thundershock!

That’s what he was thinking until Vito watched as Raticate smiled and lifted its other arm, and this time it intended on delivering a fatal blow… and it was all being played out to the young trainer in slow-motion.

“Wait, Pikachu!” he cried, but he could only watch.

His heart pounded beneath his chest, and his stomach felt uneasy and sank as terrible thoughts raced through his mind. This would be Pikachu’s final moment in this world; Vito almost knew it. He had bitten off more than he could chew with this one and-

“Deploy,” an ice-cold voice from behind commanded.

As soon as he heard those words, Vito saw Pikachu knock into the back of Emile Hawthorne’s Ceruledge, who had appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

-oOo-

Emile didn’t have time to recollect what had happened earlier.

As soon as he saw Raticate raise its free arm, he knew that there was a good chance the yellow rodent would have been rat food.

“Deploy.” A single word spoken with machine-like coldness, caused Chevalier to arise from the shadows and defend Pikachu and Vito. Ceruledge stood before Raticate, her piercing eyes glaring daggers at the large rodent.

Emile narrowed his eyes as he observed Raticate. The Pokemon’s fur was darker than what he had gathered from online images and was noticeably thicker. These traits, along with its pale skin and longer-than-average whiskers, led the veteran trainer to conclude that the Pokemon had to be around 30-40 years old. More than likely, this Raticate was a denmother, he thought to himself before he turned his head to Frère.

Glaceon simply nodded his head, then turned his attention towards the uncovered hole leading to Raticate’s den.

Emile looked back at Chevalier and Raticate. The dark type bared its fangs and lunged forward until Chevalier disappeared.

No, not disappeared. She had merely dodged, stepping past the Raticate with her swift movements. Within a second, Emile watched two pink-colored square barriers form in front of his Ceruledge, which soon enveloped her armor. Her armor glowed pink for a brief second before fading away.

The barriers were known as Reflect and Light Screen, two moves that acted as defensive barriers to prevent the user from being damaged.

The Raticate hissed and growled before moving forward away from her nest. Her attention was now solely focused on Chevalier.

Emile smirked. The ugly rat was in for it now, he thought as he watched the battle unfold.

Already, Frère had left his trainer’s side and charged toward the hole, and Vito grabbed Pikachu and hurried to the sidelines, where he watched the battle unfold.

“Chevalier! Overwhelm and disable, but no more than that,” he commanded.

The Ghost type didn’t have to be told anything else. Instead, she lunged towards Raticate, who met her lunge with a powerful bite that threatened to tear apart Ceruledge’s armor.

Unfortunately, her teeth clamped down on nothing, and Chevalier was already ten feet in the air and dropping down fast.

Frustrated, the Raticate opened her mouth wide but not to bite. Instead, a ball of dark energy formed in front of her. It had barely appeared before the rat unleashed her attack, a violet beam of negative energy that was as fast as light. Emile barely had time to process the rodent’s attack but knew from the explosion it caused that it impacted Chevalier with the force of a freight train, leaving only a smoky cloud.

Unfortunately for the Raticate, Chevalier wasn’t defeated. Instead, she brushed away the smoke with her swords, and her blades began burning bright blue. With the force of a hammer, she brought an arm down upon the rodent! Raticate let out a high-pitched scream of pain, and Emile could see the burn marks on the obese rodent’s figure.

It wasn’t the end, though, as Chevalier soon darted to the left and swung her blades in a violent frenzy again before moving in another direction. The Raticate was too slow, and upon each slash, she started slowing down more and more.

She let out a violent scream again and began looking in all directions. Raticate opened her mouth wide, and Emile could hear the sounds of violent gurgling coming from Ceruledge's foe. For a brief moment, he raised a brow.

Then it hit him.

“She’s going to use a poison attack!” he alerted Chevalier.

As soon as those words were uttered, a vile purple liquid shot out of Raticate’s mouth. Looking at it made Emile cringe slightly. It looked a lot like vomit, and Emile was certain that Raticate used her own internal toxins to unleash the attack.

Chevalier merely raised an arm, and her sword began to burn so bright that as soon as the disgusting concoction grew close to her, it quickly evaporated, turning into a sick purple steam that faded away within seconds.

Raticate screamed fiercely and began firing out small, pellet-like shots of the same purple bile, but of course, Chevalier evaded. Her movements were now becoming so fast that she was leaving behind a dozen after-images, and each shot of vomit was hitting each of them.

Raticate was growing increasingly frustrated, but before she could even let out another loud screech, Chevalier jumped at her opponent and unleashed a devastating kick to the rat’s jaw that sent her flying across the field, where she then crashed onto the ground.

Emile cringed again as he watched the rodent be sent flying from the unexpected blow. He couldn’t help but imagine feeling her kick…

His eyes watched Raticate for only a few seconds. Her body twitched and rolled over, and it was clear to Emile that she was only rendered unconscious.

Chevalier appeared right before Emile, who smiled and gently touched the part of her arm that wasn’t a weapon.

“Man, do I miss watching you battle.” he complimented. “Good job.”

Chevalier simply nodded her head, then bowed gracefully before she disappeared into her trainer’s shadow.

“Now then…”

He looked towards the hole and already saw Frère out of it. The trainer’s eyes widened as he saw the package he had been carrying was torn… however, the contents inside of it weren’t damaged at all.

It was a good thing that they weren’t interested in Pokeballs, Emile thought as he walked towards Frère and kneeled, gently taking the item from his Glaceon’s mouth and removing the packaging, revealing only one single Pokeball in its miniscule state.

“Hopefully, nothing bad has happened to it.” He swallowed hard.

His father would kill him if it did, and Emile would want to kill himself afterward…

With the press of a button, the Pokeball enlarged itself to its normal size, and with another press, the ball opened up with a ray of light, unleashing a small figure with a large furry collar and a bushy tail. Emile could see more of the creature’s brown fur and bright brown eyes as the light dimmed.

The creature yawned before stretching its body, and as it looked at Emile, it smiled.

“Prriii!”

Then it walked towards him, nuzzling into his chest. The smiling trainer couldn’t help but lean into the creature’s warmth, and his hands gently pet the adorable Pokemon.

“Hey, little guy… I had a little adventure trying to get you back,” he greeted. “We’re in Enotria now,”

The Pokemon tilted its head, not understanding the words coming from the human’s mouth, but it didn’t take long for Frère to speak, which made the brown Pokemon’s eyes light up.

“Frère, can you let Eevee know that he needs to go back in his ball? We’ll be somewhere safe soon.” He looked to his Glaceon. “Now isn’t a good time,”

Frère nodded, and the ice type began communicating with Eevee. It was a brief conversation, but Emile watched as Eevee frowned and his eyes lowered, obviously displeased with the information he was receiving.

“Hey, hey. It’ll be alright, little buddy,” encouraged Emile, before going back to petting Eevee. “You’ll be in your new home shortly, I promise, and I’ll take care of you every step of the way.”

That seemed to brighten the fox-like creature’s spirits, and it let out a happy cry.

“Good boy.” He raised Eevee’s Pokeball and soon tapped the button, this time returning Eevee to the Pokeball.

Emile stood up, attached the ball to his belt, and sighed. He was tired; unfortunately, he knew he had one last thing to take care of. His eyes met Vito’s figure, and he watched the new trainer feed Pikachu a blue oran berry that he had pulled out from his pocket.

“Well, with the deal broken, I should take my leave no-”

He was interrupted by the stinging pain sensation on his leg, and he looked down to see Frère gently nipping at him.

“Hey! What the heck is that for?” He looked down at Frère.

Frère released his trainer but looked at him with narrowed eyes before he let out a single demand in the form of a bark.

“What? He’s already healed his partner,” Emile pointed at Vito, who was petting his Pikachu.

It took a few moments of staring. Frère’s blank expression didn’t change, and for a while, Emile was puzzled as to what his friend could have ever possibly been referring to… then it hit him. Frère remembered the previous conversation Emile had had with the fresh trainer.

“The answer is no.” He shook his head upon realization. “Absolutely not, never.”

Frère’s expression did not change, and he stepped forward, his gaze refusing to leave Emile’s face.

“You’re busting my balls, right?” Emile glared.

There was no sense arguing, Emile thought. He knew that when Frère narrowed his eyes like that and stared at Emile, the Glaceon’s mind would be set. Nothing would change it, and normally, his “opinions” on things were good, but in this scenario…

Emile couldn’t help but wonder if Frère wanted to mess with him some more.

“What are ya talking about?” He and Frère heard from behind.

Emile turned his head and looked at Vito for a moment before he sighed and raised his hand, motioning Vito to come forward.

“C’mon, numbnuts. We’re moving away from here and setting up camp…”

The Wandering Teacher

Route 17

Night had fallen over Enotria, and Vito’s heart pounded beneath his chest as he followed behind Emile and his Glaceon, he tried to stop himself from bouncing up and down from sheer excitement.

At first, he had his doubts about Emile, but watching his Ceruledge in action was amazing! At first, she was absolutely terrifying, but seeing her fight off that Raticate without breaking a sweat made the young trainer jealous. She was faster and stronger than the old rat and easily took it out simply by slashing it a little and kicking it in the face!

Eventually, they stopped in the middle of Route 17. They were farther than they had been earlier, but they were still a distance away from Lantana.

“We’ll make camp here,” Emile sat on a nearby stump. “I’m tired, and I wasted some time with the Raticate shenanigans.”

Their surroundings consisted of plain fields and plenty of trees surrounding them. If one looked closely, they could see the figures of Spinarak that crawled on various trees, looking for something to eat.

Thankfully, they didn’t bother humans, at least when they weren’t antagonized. However, if they were antagonized by someone or other Pokemon, then they wouldn’t have to deal with just the Spinarak but an Ariados or two as well.

Emile took his backpack off and unzipped a pocket, then pulled out a bundled-up tent designed to be carried in Silph Bags.

“So… when can you teach me how to be like you?” Vito couldn’t help but ask.

“What’s your name again, kid?” Emile sat the tent beside him and started to set it up.

“Hey! I’m not a kid, and my name is Vito Barone!” The younger trainer glared, before moving closer in an attempt to meet Emile’s gaze.

The older trainer ignored him and focused on his tent.

Vito groaned, frustrated at having his name forgotten so quickly. Surely, Emile could have at least tried remembering someone he had met only a couple of hours ago!

“Eesh, calm down.” Emile turned to meet Vito’s gaze with a sigh. “It's been a long day, I don’t exactly feel like remembering things at the moment,”

Vito was speechless by the calm reply, and instead of replying, he opted to sit on another tree stump near Emile.

“Anyways, as you know, I’m Emile Hawthorne. This guy here is my Glaceon, Frère.” he pointed at his silent partner, who bowed his head towards Vito.

“Oh… well, this is Pikachu!”

The yellow mouse who had rode on Vito’s shoulder raised his hand, greeting both Emile and Frère.

“A pleasure.” Emile softly smiled. “Now then, Vito. Why exactly are you chasing after me? Wouldn’t it have been more convenient to better prepare for your gym challenge?”

“Maybe.” Vito shrugged. “But the truth is… I don’t know what I’m doing,”

Emile merely raised a brow, but he didn’t say a word. Instead, he started to listen to the boy speak.

“I don’t have much experience doing anything as a trainer… normally it's best if you go to Paradiso Academy for trainer schooling, but that costs a lot of money, and it's located up in the north,” Vito explained. “And I had just enough funds to get my trainer’s license, though The Pokemon Center in Bellisimo Mare gave me a free one.”

“Paradiso Academy?”

“Yeah, it's sort of Enotria’s version of that one academy in Paldea, Naransomething. I don’t know if it’s good compared to that academy, but right now, Paradiso is the top academy in Enotria, and people go there if they want to be trainers, rangers, or whatever.” Vito shrugged.

Emile nodded his head, and Vito was compelled to go on further.

“I just want to be a strong trainer,” he confessed. “I just… don’t know how, so I thought maybe I could learn some things from you.”

“Listen, Vito.” Emile scratched his chin and sighed. “Back in my day, trainers never knew what they were doing when they started out. It's like that everywhere, fancy academy or no fancy academy. That being said, I don’t have a problem showing you a thing or two, but don’t expect yourself to be Champion your first year.”

A burst of adrenaline shot through Vito as he heard those words. Emile was really going to teach him-

“Ow!” he yelped; he had felt the sudden impact of Emile’s hand smacking him against the back of the head.

“That is for endangering your partner and yourself like that!” the older trainer scolded. “You’re supposed to lure the Rattata away from their hole; what were you even thinking?”

“That’s what the farmers I worked with did!” Vito swatted Emile’s hand away.

“Then they’re stupid!” Emile said. “Never do that again! You should have retreated when you saw that Raticate.”

Vito looked down, and he couldn’t help but think back about his brief “battle,” if one could call it that, and the image of his Pikachu being turned into Raticate food made his heart sink into his stomach.

“Listen to me.”

Vito looked up to meet Emile’s gaze and saw him gently hold Frère in his arms.

“Frère here is my partner; he’s been with me for as long as I’ve been alive,” he said as he rose his Glaceon up to meet Vito’s stare. “I wouldn’t know what to do if Arceus forbid, he died, and I’m sure you wouldn’t know what you would do if your Pikachu died, right?”

“Yeah…” Vito weakly said.

“Then, take care of your partner next time,” commanded Emile. “It's fine if you want to challenge yourself by battling a stronger Pokemon, but your little pal was close to being torn apart twice, first by Chevalier and the second by that Raticate. If you know that you don’t stand a chance, don’t battle. That’s one of the first rules to being a decent trainer,”

“Alright, alright. I got it,” Vito replied before he turned his head towards Pikachu. “I’m sorry, Pikachu.”

“No need to apologize to the little guy,” Emile said as he put his Glaceon down. “Just do better. You’ll have plenty of chances to do so, and both of you will.” He continued as he gently pet Pikachu, and his eyes looked up and down at the mouse’s body, nodding his head as he inspected him.

“Coloration isn’t bad, eyes seem OK, and he definitely is a speedy little fella. You’re at least doing a decent job with his diet,”

“Yeah, I looked online for a few things, and I kind of just let Pikachu eat whatever berries we could find when we were done working,” Vito replied.

Emile nodded before he pat Pikachu on the head one final time.

“There’ll need to be a slight change in his diet, nothing dramatic though, as far as I can gather. He needs a boost in his stamina; his electricity output could be better, too, but we’ll improve on that in training.”

Vito nodded; a smile had appeared on his face at the mere mention of training.

“Speaking of diet, who’s hungry?” grinned Emile.

Vito and Pikachu both smiled at the question, and the two raised their hands in response. Frère even spoke, letting out a bark to show his desire for food.

“Alright, but you two will help me prepare dinner… or is this technically lunch?” Emile asked before shaking his head and saying it didn’t matter

Vito and Pikachu began listening to Emile as he gave out his orders while he reached into his bag to pull out various ingredients.

Maybe, thought Vito, this journey was going to be alright.

The Wandering Teacher

It was midnight now, thought Emile as he stepped outside his tent with a large plastic bag in his hand. Route 17 was quiet, and the trainer could hear the calm singing of Kricketots a good distance away.

He turned his head back to the tent, it appeared that Vito was sound asleep, Pikachu right beside him. The Kalsoian thought it was a cute sight, bringing back a few fond memories.

“Do you remember when we were like that?” Emile whispered to Frère, who was by his side.

Glaceon nodded with a small smile as he followed his trainer, who walked away from the tent.

“Kid’s been fed, Eevee’s been fed, now we just need to feed everyone else,” he said. “I don’t want to introduce them to the kid just yet…”

There was nothing “wrong” with Emile’s team, but the veteran trainer didn’t think introducing him to everyone would have been best. Tomorrow, that would change, and he had begun thinking of a “proper” routine for Vito to follow.

“He’s a good kid, isn’t he? Reminds me a bit of us when we first started.” the trainer smirked.

Those were the days, thought Emile. He remembered his first days like they were yesterday; it had been October of ‘96, and he had left Shalour City, his home, with only Frère by his side. At the time, he didn’t have much but some money to get him by, his clothes and backpack, plus a few tricks he had learned from his father.

The trainer grabbed onto four of the Pokeballs on his belt. Chevalier was still in his shadow, so there was no need to grab onto her ball, and Frère was, of course, by his side.

He tapped on the center buttons twice, first to return the Pokeballs to their original size and then to release them, and soon, he saw the radiant figures of his team.

The first was Belle, his Gardevoir; like Chevalier, her body resembled a human’s. However, she was shorter than the dark knight, and her white body was much more slender and resembled a flowing gown. Her red eyes checked her surroundings before meeting her trainer’s gaze.

The next was Roi, his Golisopod, a large pale arthropod Pokemon who was hunched over. His body resembled the old Samurai of Kanto-Johto, with large plates of armor covering his arms, though he didn’t have anything covering his shorter arms in the center. Unlike Belle, he did not check his surroundings; instead, he bowed his head to Emile.

Then, there was Venus, Emile’s Venusaur, who rested on all fours. She had bumpy turquoise skin that was pale, signifying her as the oldest Pokemon on Emile’s team. The large flower on her back emitted a rather pleasing aroma, signifying that she was healthy, and her red eyes were rather calm, taking in the sight of Route 17 and her trainer.

Then, finally, there was Goyl, his Garchomp, he was the youngest of Emile’s Pokemon. He had large dark blue fins resembling a jet's wings, and the trainer knew he was just as fast, if not faster than the aircraft; along with sharp fangs that were vicious to those he bit down on.

Unfortunately, he appeared to be quite frustrated, unlike the rest of his teammates, as his yellow eyes were glaring at Emile like that of a predator finding its prey, and it caused him to take a step back, his brow raised as he was unsure why the dragon type was looking at him with such contempt.

“Sorry about keeping you all in,” he apologized to his team. “We’ve been having some problems,”

“What kind?” the voice of Belle rang in his mind. Her voice was calm and soothing, it was everything one could imagine a woman of nobility to sound like.

“Mm… a bar fight, then I lost the package, but some kid had managed to find it for me. That same kid is also traveling with us, and he’s a new trainer.” shrugged Emile. “In exchange for his assistance, he wants me to help him be a better trainer. Dunno why, given my history, but it is what it is.”

“I see.”

Belle didn’t sound pleased, but she also didn’t sound bothered. Her voice was completely monotone and devoid of emotion, and Emile couldn’t help but look at her briefly before his eyes met the gazes of the rest of his team.

“I’d like your help with the brat. We won’t be doing this forever, just until we get to our destination. After we get to Florentina and deliver our little guy, we’ll be on our way home and go back to the easy life.” he explained.

“Of course,” Belle said.

The rest of his team all let out their cries of approval, nodding their heads.

Venus appeared to smile; more than likely, she was pleased with the idea of training someone, but Emile couldn’t tell what Roi was thinking. However, he noticed a look of contempt on Goyl’s face, and the dragon type’s yellow eyes still looked at Emile with rage.

“Hey, what’s wrong, Goyl?” Emile moved to the dragon type. “Normally, you’re a bit more chipper than this… you’re not sick, are you?” Emile continued to question and reached his hand towards Goyl who started to growl and narrow his eyes.

Then Emile’s heart stopped. His Garchomp had raised his head and was about to bite his hand, but it was thanks to Chevalier’s swift intervention that he managed to keep himself from being dragon food.

What the hell!?

The rest of the Pokemon became completely silent for only a few seconds, looking at each other with wide eyes before they then growled and started to glare at Goyl, whose jaw was locked onto Chevalier’s burning blade.

Frère leaned forward and let out a spiteful hiss as he saw what had happened, and Emile could feel the ambient temperature plummet. He watched as Belle stepped forward, her piercing glare fixed on Garchomp and, with thought alone, wrapped him in psychic energy locking him into position.

Meanwhile, Roi had a sword made from water in his claws. He moved a foot forward, while vines suddenly appeared from Venus.

“Hey!” Emile called out. “Enough, all of you!”

“What?” Belle hissed as she took a step forward. “Emile, he just tried to-”

“I said enough, Belle.”

Chevalier turned her head towards Emile, she narrowed her eyes at Emile.

“Chevalier’s wondering if you’re certain.”

“I am.”

The team soon calmed down. The psychic energy that once held Goyl with a vice-like grip was soon removed, and Chevalier again descended back into the shadows. It didn’t take long for the rest of the team to calm down. Then, Emile swallowed hard as he looked at his Garchomp. The dragon had been a loyal member of his team ever since Sinnoh, and this was the first time he had ever acted like this since he had been freshly caught as a Gible.

Emile reached into his plastic bag, pulled out various large sandwiches, and looked at the rest of his team.

“I have food for all of you… I’ll let you all stretch your legs and get some actual shuteye,” he said, handing a sandwich to Belle, who eagerly began to eat it. “Tomorrow, Venus, Belle, and Frère, I want you three to help me teach the brat.”

Emile would make sure to give each of his team members sandwiches, but he was careful when he approached Goyl. He had made plenty for the dragon type, ensuring he could fill Goyl’s insane appetite.

He kneeled and placed four sandwiches down slowly before moving away from the dragon type.

This was going to be a troublesome journey…

AN: Many thanks to the people who beta read this chapter, your help is much appreciated and I am eternally grateful.
RaptorReads
Tempera
endgame13
 
Chapter 4: Training
8 Years Ago

Lantana

The child scurried into the halls of his father’s shop and hid behind a wall. Adrenaline flowed through his body, his heart pounded beneath his chest like a drum, and his breathing was heavy. The little boy slowly crept his head out from behind the wall he hid behind and looked at two men.

One man was dressed in a dark trench coat and wore a black hat that covered his bald head. His blue eyes were set in a terrifying glare, made all the worse by a scar that cut along his right eye. However, that's not what was most terrifying about this man.

What was most terrifying was how easily he held his father in the air, propping him against the wall with his hands holding onto his shirt tightly. He had shaken the father earlier and violently pushed him against the wall before he propped him up.

The father was slightly younger and thinner than the man in black. He wore a white button-up shirt and a pair of slacks. The man had a gruesome black eye on his face, and his once well-kept dark hair had dirt in it along with his clothes.

“What the fuck did you say?” the man in black spat. His Enotrian accent was pronounced as he shouted venomously.

“I… I don’t got it.”

“How the fuck do you not have my money?” the man in black violently shook the father again. “You make so much money from this shithole, and you’re telling me that you got nothing?”

“P-please, I have other things I have to pay off.” the father sputtered.

“Then you shouldn’t have gambled, you greedy motherless prick!” the man in black spat. “You know who I am? I was a soldier for this region, dammit, I fought and killed the degenerate bastards from Kanto and Unova during the war, and then I cleared out those Rocket cocksuckers when they entrenched themselves in the region like filthy rats so you could put up shop here, and you decide to fuck me over like this?”

The man in black removed a hand from the child’s father and used it to reach into his pocket. He pulled out a Pokeball and released a Houndoom, a vicious black dog that immediately bared its fangs and growled at the child’s father.

“Tear this place apart, Houndoom. Teach this prick what happens when he doesn’t pay up.”

Houndoom turned his head towards a shelf full of Pokemon food, and immediately charged. His body acted like a bulldozer as it easily tore through the wooden shelf, sending countless bags of food onto the floor. Some were ripped open, and the vicious hound happily gorged on the spilled contents.

“Wait, please!” the father pleaded.

The man in black replied with a kick to the father’s stomach.

Tears formed in the child’s eyes. This shop had been something his father had worked his entire life for, and now all he could do was watch as this cruel man dressed in black tore it down, piece by piece.

The Wandering Teacher

Now

Route 17

Emile Hawthorne raised his head from his sleeping bag and yawned before he scratched his chin. He narrowed his eyes as he realized he was starting to grow a stubble.

Gonna have to shave soon, he thought as he turned to Frère.

Glaceon appeared to be awake, curled up into a nice little ball beside his trainer with his eyes open. He yawned, and his black eyes met his trainers'.

Emile diverted his eyes to the left, seeing the sleeping Vito. Then he looked at Frère and pointed at the exit flap.

Frère nodded, and the two quietly crawled towards the flap, unzipping it and leaving.

“I had a weird dream,” Emile said to Frère as they finally exited his tent. His eyes stung as he was greeted with daylight, and he found himself letting out a soft yawn. “I found this amazing, handsome man, and we rode off to the sunset… but what was really weird was that you weren’t a pain at all.”

Frère replied by simply biting Emile’s leg, albeit playfully. Glaceon wagged his tail as he bit his teeth into his trainer’s ankle and growled as if intending to eat his partner.

“See, this is what I mean! You bite me, you wake me up with your cold breath, you are nothing more than a bother.” He knelt and began petting Frère, running his hand over his fur.

Frère’s fur was something Emile loved. When it was well kept, it was cool and soft as snow but never harmful. It felt so inviting… It made Emile wonder if he could occasionally use the Glaceon like a pillow.

Frère removed his fangs from his trainer’s ankle and looked at the Kalosian’s hand, and with a playful grin, he decided to bite his trainer again playfully.

Emile’s eyes widened as Frère lunged forward, and he instinctively pulled his hand away from his partner.

Frère’s eyes also widened, and he stepped away from his trainer. It was for a brief second, but Frère knew Emile’s heart rate had increased, and he remembered the events from the night prior.

I’m sorry.

Emile kneeled again and grabbed Frère, pulling his Glaceon into a tight yet gentle embrace.

“I’m a little on edge after last night,” he confessed. “I didn’t expect that from Goyl at all.”

Frère merely brought his face into Emile’s chest, nuzzling against the black tank top his trainer had on.

“Did he, by chance, say anything to you?” he asked his partner.

Frère frowned and shook his head no in reply.

Emile sighed and scratched his own head. “If he says anything, let me know, alright?” He petted Frère. “I love you, you know that, right?”

Frère barked, though this time being less loud, and he nuzzled into Emile’s embrace again… then lightly and playfully bit his arm.

“C’mon!” Emile laughed. “I try to have an emotional moment with you, and you do this to me? You’re so ungrateful,” He released his Glaceon and looked at the campfire they had set up. The fire had been put out, but the wood used to keep it going had remained.

“Breakfast?”

Frère smiled.

-oOo-

Vito Barone was not a morning person.

He hated waking early, especially after having a bad dream, so he wrapped himself and Pikachu up in the blanket Emile had lent him for the night and buried his face in the pillow. Emile had left to do whatever Emile did in the morning.

Shortly after, the tent filled with the wonderful aroma of cooked meat, and Vito groaned as he pulled the sheet over his head.

“Vito!” Emile called out from outside.

Vito on the other hand, still refused to get up.

“Viitoo!” Emile called again

Vito ignored Emile and rolled over, cuddling Pikachu in his arms.

He felt something cool rub against his body, what it was, Vito didn’t know. What he did know, however, was how cold it was in the tent, and in response, he simply curled up into a ball, hoping to be at least a little warmer. “What the hell!” Vito jumped out of bed as that freezing feeling crawled up to his neck. He looked downward, only to meet Frère’s smug gaze.

Glaceon smiled smugly and turned his head towards the open tent flap, then turned his head back to Vito.

“Was that really necessary?” Vito scowled.

Frère nodded with a chuckle, then began to walk out of the tent.

Vito gritted his teeth and he felt something push up against his chest. His eyes widened as he soon looked down, seeing and feeling Pikachu squirm in his arms. “Oh shi-”

Pikachu’s body soon emitted electricity and the yellow rodent delivered a light thunder shock to his trainer!

Vito screamed in pain and dropped Pikachu. The boy then collapsed and his entire body felt numb for only a few seconds.

Pikachu let out a low and quiet squeak as he approached his trainer. The mouse looked down in shame.

“It’s not your fault, Pikachu.” Vito gently pet his partner’s head. “But uh… get Frère’s ass for me, alright?”

Pikachu lifted his head high and raised a paw to his forehead, saluting his trainer before he immediately ran out the flap, letting out a loud war cry.

Vito grumbled as he stood up. Feeling returned to his body, but he ached everywhere from the sudden shock. The boy cursed Emile’s name as he put on his shirt and stepped outside, glaring at Emile and Frère, the latter of which was being chased by Pikachu.

“Morning!” The older trainer waved. “It is 9 AM,”

“Morning.” Vito sat down on a nearby tree stump. “Did you really have to wake me up like that?”

“You weren’t responding. It seemed like you were enjoying your sleep a lot.” Emile shrugged. “You slept well, I take it?”

“Not really.” The new trainer sighed. “Bad dream.”

Emile nodded his head, then held out a sandwich wrapped in tinfoil.

Vito took it and gave Emile a quiet “thank you” before he unwrapped it and found a toasted sausage sandwich.

“So, while we’re eating, I thought I’d go over a few things.” Emile started off. “While I know I said I’d teach you, I won’t stick around in Enotria forever. I said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’m merely here to deliver a package to Professor Poplar. After that, I’ll be leaving. Understood?”

Vito nodded as he bit into his sandwich. His eyes lit up as he bit into the hot sandwich, and he was surprised by how the flavorful meat paired with the buttery golden brown toast.

“Damn, this is good!” Vito complimented after he swallowed his food. “Where did you learn how to cook like this?”

“Paldea,” Emile replied. “I wanted to try and compete there but couldn’t. Unfortunately, only those attending Naranja Academy can compete in the Pokemon League. Anyways, speaking of cooking, onto my next thing. Food.”

“Food?” Vito tilted his head

“Food!” Emile raised his finger in the air. “I will teach you how to do some basics and prepare basic meals. However, you will buy your provisions, this also goes for clothes.”

“Wait, why clothes?” Vito asked after taking another bite of his sandwich.

“Because traveling in a white T-shirt and a pair of shorts isn’t a good idea.” Emile lightly tugged Vito’s sleeve. “You’ll need various pairs of clothes if things get either too hot or too cold, and Arceus forbid it storms or gets hotter than the Unovan deserts.”

“Ooohh…” Vito nodded.

“Also?” Emile pointed at Vito. “You are definitely getting a tent, I don’t intend to share mine with you forever. In fact, when we get to Lantana? You’re buying a tent,”

“Alright, alright! Tent and clothes, now when can we get to training?” Vito exclaimed.

“The moment you finish eating and introduce yourself,” Emile shot back.

“Introduce myself? You already know my name.” Vito raised a brow.

“That I do, but these two wonderful ladies don’t.” Emile pointed behind.

Vito tilted his head in confusion, but his eyes widened when he looked over his teacher’s shoulder and saw both a Gardevoir and a Venusaur.

“Holy crap… isn’t this overkill?” He turned his head back to Emile.

“These two, along with Frère, are going to hold back, and they are going to help condition Pikachu,” the instructor explained. “He’s an alright specimen of his species but not ready for a gym battle yet. The strength of his thundershocks appears to be average for his level, but the speed in which he generates them is too slow.”

“So, what are we gonna do?”

“We? No, you will introduce yourself to them first; don’t be rude.”

Vito put his sandwich down and walked towards the two, their red eyes were focused on him. Emile’s Gardevoir had narrowed her eyes, looking at Vito with what he assumed to be suspicion, while Emile’s Venusaur had a blank expression.

“Hello!” he said. “I’m Vito, and this is…”

He turned his head briefly, and upon realizing that Pikachu wasn’t by his side, he looked around the campsite until he saw his Pokemon chasing after Frère. The trainer shook his head and called out to his partner, signaling him to stop and greet the two Pokemon.

Pikachu obliged and ran to his trainer’s side. He jumped on his shoulder and let out a cheerful “Pika!”

Gardevoir bowed, though as she did, Vito heard a voice that wasn’t his own in his mind. Hearing it was like hearing static from a radio; he couldn’t decipher what it was trying to say. It was even worse when his brain felt as if something sharp was poking and prodding at it.

Vito clenched his head in pain and took a step back from Gardevoir as he looked at her eyes. “What the hell?” He gritted his teeth.

“Oh! Maybe that’s not such a good idea,” Emile called out from behind.

Gardevoir’s eyes widened, and she took a step back as she looked at Vito and held her hand to her mouth in shock.

On the other hand, Emile approached the two and gave Vito another pat on the back.

“You’ll have to forgive her; she’s been used to communicating with people via telepathy for years; she and I have forgotten how painful it can be at first,” he said.

“Telepathy…?” Vito rubbed his head, but it didn’t make the lingering pain disappear.

“It's something most psychic types can do,” Emile explained. “They’re capable of communicating through thought alone, though it doesn’t always end up well at first. So, I'll handle the introductions.”

He gently took his Gardevoir by her hand and gently pulled the psychic type towards him, and Vito saw the Pokemon give a small smile as her trainer took her by the hand.

“This wonderful Gardevoir here is Belle! She’ll be teaching Pikachu how to use his electricity better,” he explained. “And before you ask, yes, she is a Psychic type, but she knows how to mess with electric-type energy.”

“Type what-”

“And if you do anything mean to her, I will hurt you.”

Vito’s jaw dropped upon hearing those final, strangely stern words from Emile. He then watched as the older trainer released his Pokemon’s hand and approached his Venusaur.

“And this old girl here is Venus!” He patted the grass type on the head. “She’ll be uh… kind of creating a battle instinct for Pikachu if that makes sense. He’ll need to learn when he should move on the battlefield.”

Emile would continue explaining, but Vito tuned him out as his eyes were focused on the vine that appeared from Venus… which then smacked her trainer on the head.

He let out a pained yelp, and Vito chuckled at the scene.

“C’mon! What was that for?” Emile turned to his Venusaur

Venus merely replied with a grunt and turned her head away from her trainer.

“Hey, being old isn’t a bad thing, and you’re still a pretty girl!”

Venus uttered another cry and narrowed her eyes in her trainer’s direction.

“Alright, alright, fine! You’re the prettiest girl,” Emile raised his hands in surrender.

This seemed to please Venus, who went from grumpy to looking at Vito with a smile.

“You really have quite the team, don’t you?” Vito asked Emile.

Emile turned and smiled at Vito, and he looked at Belle, Venus, and Frère, then nodded.

“I really do.” Emile softly said. “you’ll meet the rest of them eventually, but for now, that little rat is going to be trained by these two and Frère, who will focus on Pikachu’s speed, and before we even do that… we’re gonna have a battle!”

Emile let out a sharp whistle, and Frère appeared by his side. His tail slowly wagged back and forth as his eyes were focused on Vito’s Pikachu.

“A battle? Here?” Vito questioned as he looked around the camp.

The encampment felt a little too small… they were surrounded by plenty of trees and forestation. A fight could potentially garner the attention of any wild Pokemon, Vito thought as he continued looking at his surroundings.

“A little further away from our campfire,” Emile replied as he started to walk away from Vito, heading deeper into the forest. “Finish eating, then we’ll start!”

Vito looked at the sausage sandwich he had partially eaten and immediately devoured it, not wishing to waste any time.

“C’mon, Pikachu!”

-oOo-

It didn’t take long for Vito to find Emile.

The trainer had been lying down on Venus, who didn’t seem to mind that her trainer was using her as a makeshift bed, and beside him was Belle, who had been tapping a finger against her trainer’s PokeGear. Then there was Frère laid on the ground peacefully. When the Glaceon took notice of Vito, his tail eagerly wagged as he stood up.

What did have Vito’s attention, however, was that dozens of trees surrounded the four. The trainers and Pokemon stood on a wide patch of grass that was big enough to be suitable for the “arena” that the two trainers would battle on, and looking at it reminded Vito of the various grass-type gyms he had seen on TV.

“It's about time you got here,” Emile said as he stepped off Venusaur and stretched his arms and legs briefly before taking a step forward. His eyes glanced towards Belle, who nodded her head and raised her arms.

Vito’s eyes lit up with surprise as he watched a strange pink light appear in the center of where he and Emile stood. Light began to spread, reaching the trees that surrounded everyone. Then it began to rise, and Vito realized that he, Pikachu, Emile, and his Pokemon were trapped in a strange box that vanished as soon as it was formed.

“Good job,” Emile complimented Belle before turning his head back towards Vito. “What we have is a nice barrier set up. We won’t exactly need it, but it's here, so we don’t potentially harm any wild Pokemon that may be nearby.”

“Oh… that makes sense.”

“Get to your position,” Emile commanded. “You know where that’s at, right?”

“Behind the Pokemon, right?”

“You want your Pokemon to be a meter in front of you.” Emile nodded.

Vito nodded as he began to take a few steps back and outstretched his arm. Pikachu, who had rested on his trainer’s shoulder, sprung into action. He crawled along Vito’s arm before he jumped onto the ground.

Frère, on the other hand, took two steps forward in front of Emile. His dark eyes were focused on Pikachu’s figure, and leaned forward. He moved a foot forward, and a smile formed on his features as his tail wagged slowly with excitement.

“You have the first move,” Emile coolly said.

Vito swallowed hard. His heart pounded like a drum beneath his chest, and his hands began to sweat; his mouth was dry, and his eyes were intensely focused on Pikachu and Frère. It was the same way he felt when encountering the sailors in Bellissimo Mare.

“Thundershock!” Vito commanded, but his voice came out weak and shaky.

Electricity crackled, and sparks flew from Pikachu’s cheeks. The mouse soon let loose a bolt of lightning that raced toward Frère with the precision of a bullet.

Frère tilted his head and raised a brow at the bolt of lightning, then inhaled for a moment before exhaling, breathing out a cold gust of air more akin to a heavy wind that diverted the attack off course, causing it to hit the barrier.

Vito gritted his teeth as he watched Frère divert the attack like it was nothing. He knew that the Glaceon would be stronger than Pikachu, but seeing just how much their strength differed was astounding.

“Thundershock again!” Vito roared.

Like before, Pikachu charged up his electricity and unleashed another lightning bolt. The electricity violently crackled as it prepared to strike its target.

Yet, Frère merely lifted a foot off the ground, and suddenly, he was meters away from his target.

“What the hell?” Vito shook his head. “Forget about special attacks, we’ll go for close quarters! Quick attack!”

Pikachu cried out as he sprinted in Frère’s direction, and within seconds, he became a yellow blur! Surely, the yellow missile would impact the ice type before him, Vito thought.

That was until Frère moved his body to the side, raised a foot, and dodged before the mouse got close. Pikachu could barely stop himself from hitting the barrier, tearing up the grass and dirt as he skidded to a stop.

The yellow mouse looked around and glared as soon as he spotted Frère.

The Glaceon wasn’t phased by his foe’s glare at all. Instead, Frère smiled before licking his paw, and his tail wagged with anticipation.

Damn Frère, Vito thought. If Pikachu was lightning, then Frère was light. His speeds were almost, no, they had to have been instant. There had to be a way to land a blow on this smug bastard!

“Ice Shard.” Emile commanded, his voice cool as ever.

Frère began to glow a bright blue, and suddenly, chunks of ice appeared out of thin air. There were five shards, all of which were reformed as soon as they appeared to be long and as sharp as knives. Each of them was launched at Pikachu at the speed of bullets.

Pikachu scurried about the battlefield, barely evading the shards that landed into the ground with a loud thunk. He zigged and zagged left and right, avoiding the fearsome ice knives that his opponent had developed.

This was going bad; if the battle continued like this, Pikachu would be skewered, Vito thought as he looked around. The trainer was panicking now, but as he looked around, an answer had hit him with the force of a freight train.

Belle’s barriers had reached the trees. Trees with branches that would potentially break if the likes of Frère hopped on them, but they wouldn’t break if Pikachu hopped on them…

“Give up?” a rather bored Emile asked. The older trainer scratched the back of his head, yawned, and looked at his Gardevoir, who sat on top of Venus, tapping away at her trainer’s PokeGear.

“Hell no, and screw you!” Vito shot back and soon turned his head towards Pikachu. “Go to the trees, now!”

Pikachu nodded at his trainer, and the electric type darted towards the forestry and started climbing up one of the many trees covered by Belle’s barriers.

“Up on the branch and Thundershock! Keep moving while you do it,” Vito commanded.

Pikachu obliged. As soon as he reached a branch, his body began to surge with electricity and, once again, unleashed a vicious thunder shock. The lightning bolt wasn’t as large as before, but it was delivered much more quickly, striking the ground near Frère, causing soil to erupt and stain his pristine fur.

“How do you like that?” Vito cried, a smile on his face. “Keep going, Pikachu!”

The tables turned, and Frère gritted his teeth in frustration over his now dirtied fur and swiftly summoned more ice shards, all razor-sharp icicles launched again. They impacted the trees and tore through the leaves, but none hit their target.

Conversely, Pikachu was moving through the trees, moving from branch to branch while unleashing Thunder Shock after Thunder Shock. Each jolt of lightning didn’t hit their now-moving target, but the electricity was getting closer and closer.

“Target the branches first,” Emile once again commanded. “Ice beam when he falls.”

Once again, more ice shards were formed from thin air, and each of them were launched. Frère’s precision was that of a sniper’s; each shard tore through the branches Pikachu was trying to use as vantage points, and it didn’t take long for the inevitable to happen, as a shard tore through a branch Pikachu had landed on.

The yellow mouse fell and let out a cry of anguish, it wouldn’t be long until Frère launched his ice beam.

“Regain your footing!” Vito cried. “Thundershock before he can use Ice Beam!”

Pikachu performed a somersault, and his yellow body began to light up. Sparks crackled and popped from his cheeks as he once again unleashed a Thunder Shock that was as vicious as his first one and faster than the bolts he unleashed upon Frère earlier.

Frère, on the other hand, unleashed a beam of ice from his mouth. The ice was akin to that of a laser, and despite being meters away from the Glaceon, Vito could still feel the cold that emanated from it.

Lightning soon met ice, causing a vicious clash of power that would turn any ordinary man to shreds. It lasted for only a second, until the ice that Frère had unleashed overwhelmed Pikachu’s electricity, landing a solid blow center-mass on the electric mouse.

Pikachu was sent flying from the attack, hitting the barrier and soon he fell onto the ground, beaten by Frère.

“Pikachu!” Vito shouted, who immediately rushed to his partner’s side. He reached into his pockets, hoping to find an oran berry, until he saw Emile standing over the two, a medium-sized spray bottle in his hand

“I got it,” he said as he kneeled and lightly sprayed Pikachu’s chest. The mouse growled at how the spray stung his body, but he eventually jumped out of Vito’s hands, the wounds on his chest now gone.

“You didn’t bring me here just because there was enough room for an arena, did you?” Vito asked.

“Nope,” Emile replied with a smile. “I’m glad you caught on.”

Emile placed his hand on Vito’s shoulder and guided him back to the arena. “Look around; what do you see?” Emile placed his hands on Vito’s shoulders, turning him around to look at the battlefield. “Rhetorical question, of course. Obviously, there are trees… but where there are trees, there is opportunity.”

“Like how I used them for cover?”

“Exactly!” Emile said. “Trees, rocks, and holes in the ground can be used for cover. A nearby river stream can be weaponized by a Pokemon that can manipulate the water, the arena can be your best friend and a Pokemon’s playground… if you know what you’re doing.”

“Yeah, but it woulda been nice if I had landed a hit.” Vito sighed

“A battle isn’t all about strength. Wit and creativity are just as important, and we’ll touch on creativity eventually… right now, you’re learning the basics.” Emile clapped Vito on the shoulder and chuckled.

“So, what next?” Vito asked.

Emile turned his head towards his Pokemon and whistled, and each turned towards him.

“Back to camp!” he ordered them all. “We’re gonna take a short break, and then we’ll start messing around with Pikachu. I think I know what he needs, but I’m not entirely sure if it’ll work… and then I’ll teach you about more of the basics.”

Emile led his student back to camp, and the teen couldn’t help but smile. Thanks to Emile, Vito would get stronger, so strong that nobody could beat him.

Not even the man in black.

AN: Many thanks to the people who beta read this chapter, your help is much appreciated and I am eternally grateful.
RaptorReads
Tempera
endgame13
 
Chapter 5:Balance
Route 17

Sparks crackled and popped from Pikachu as he launched a vicious lightning bolt at an energy barrier shaped like a large pink square. The bolt struck the square in the center, but when the electricity dissipated, there was no sign that the bolt had even struck the barrier.

Emile raised his head and watched as various flying types immediately flew from the trees and into the sky when they heard Pikachu unleash his electricity. They were likely terrified of the electric mouse, he thought as he rested his head on his hand.

“That time was faster.” Belle informed in her trainer’s head. “But not as-”

“Not as strong.” Emile cut off. “I figured… now I know I was right.”

“Do it again?” Vito turned his head towards Emile.

“No.” Emile stood up and grabbed his backpack.

The trainers had remained on Route 17 for a couple of hours. After a brief rest break, Emile had thought it best to test just how Pikachu controlled his electricity. Twenty minutes had gone by, and the electric type had electrocuted the same barrier formed by Belle’s psychic powers. There were two results after each test.

The first was that Pikachu’s delivery was slower than the average electric type at his level, and the second result was that Pikachu’s delivery was quicker, but the output was weaker. It was clear to Emile and Belle that the yellow rodent needed to find some balance.

“We’re going to play a little game,” Emile said as he slung the backpack over his shoulder. “C’mon, let's get moving.”

“Wait, where are we going?” Vito called out as he and Pikachu raced towards the veteran trainer. “Don’t we have training to do?”

“We do.” Emile replied. “We’ll do it along the way. Have Pikachu walk,”

Frère and Belle followed behind their trainer. Venus had been returned into her ball during Emile’s tests, leaving the other two Pokemon.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t adequate enough. Do you want me to return?” Belle asked.

Emile turned around, his eyes wide as he stared at Belle and the trainer felt his heart almost stop. "What?"

Belle stood still, fidgeting with her fingers as she looked down.

“Hey, what’s this all about? You’re doing just fine.” Emile chuckled as he approached Belle, lightly caressing her cheek. “Besides, you’re more than ‘adequate enough’.”

Gardevoir smiled and nodded her head, and that was enough to put a smile on her trainer’s face.

“C’mon, lets walk together. Like old times.” Emile took his Pokemon’s hand. “And I have another idea…”

“Which is?” Vito called out.

The group stood still and watched as Emile had comforted Gardevoir, before following him when he began to move.

“How did Pikachu eat?” Emile asked as he led the group through Route 17. His eyes darted between the many trees that surrounded them. “Did he go out on his own for food, or did you feed him yourself?”

“Uh, well… I fed him PokeChow.” Vito said. “Why?”

“You kinda screwed up there, not saying it's bad to feed your Pokemon, obviously.” Emile replied. “But Pikachu as a species develop their electric abilities by electrocuting the berries.”

“Oh… that uh. That explains a lot!” Vito lightly chuckled and scratched the side of his head. “When I first met Pikachu, he was trying to electrify some of my dad’s berries.”

Emile raised a brow. That was the first time that Vito had ever mentioned his family.

“You really don’t know much about Pokemon, do you?” Emile asked.

“Sort of… I farmed a lot. I know a lot about Mudsdales and the other grass-type species that I got to work with, but not much else,” Vito informed.

“Well, I guess it's up to me to fix that.” Emile smiled. “So! Let's get to training!” He clapped his hands.

“Yeah, you said that earlier, Emile. Just what are we doing?” Vito complained

A slight rustling was heard in the trees, and when Vito looked up, he saw a tree branch shake. As he looked closer, he saw that one of those branches held dark blue oran berries. They were fresh and ripe from what he could gather, judging by their shade of blue.

Then, those berries were suddenly plucked out of thin air by an unseen force. The berries slowly drifted across the wind until they were right in Vito’s face.

He turned behind and saw Belle’s crimson eyes glow.

“The goal is simple… Pikachu will find the right balance between speed and power in his output. It shouldn’t take too long, given how healthy and active he is. After that, its a matter of improving on that output.” Emile explained.

“So we’re doing this by shocking berries?” Vito asked.

“Correct, so, go at it!” Emile commanded.

Pikachu smiled wide and licked his lips as he saw the Oran Berry floating in front of him. Sparks began to crack and pop from his cheeks and he unleashed a bolt of electricity. Though he soon let out a disappointed squeak as the berry fell from the sky, its skin blackened and charred as black smoke wafted out into the path. The yellow mouse leaned away from it as they walked by.

“See? This will be berry useful.” Emile smiled.

Vito, along with Frère and Belle groaned as they walked,

“Please don’t,” Belle pleaded.

“What? Did my genius shock you?” Emile continued.

Frère growled and cried. The ice fox shook his head as he heard his trainer continue on with his pun-making.

“I’m about to shock you. Don’t think I’ve forgotten about how you woke me up!” Vito called out.

“Well! It sounds like I’m getting a rather Chilly Reception today.” Emile smirked.

Damn, am I on a roll today, Emile thought. It was even better when he heard everyone's simultaneous groans.

“You are not on a roll.” Belle declared as she pulled down two berries before Vito and Pikachu. “You should be ashamed.”

“I know, Belle. I’m such a genius!” Emile said as he stretched his arms out. “At least you respect my sense of humor.”

Frère growled and barked, then shook his head when he heard his trainer “brag” about how well-accepted his humor was.

“Frère disagrees as well. I can even let you hear his complaints, if you so wish.” Belle said.

“Pikachu, Thundershock!” Vito barked.

Pikachu unleashed bolts of lightning on both berries. He was much faster than before, and his bolts accurately met their targets. However, there was barely a mark on them. They dropped to the floor, but when Pikachu approached them, he seemed displeased and simply abandoned the berries in order to catch up with his trainer.

“Belle, take a look at Pikachu. Show him what he’s doing wrong,” Emile ordered. “I’m sure with your teaching, he’ll get a better grip on Thundershock.”

“Of course. By the way, are you certain I shouldn’t link us up?” Belle asked as she turned her head towards Frère and then turned back to her trainer. “It would make communication somewhat easier.”

“No,” Emile replied. “Your voice is all I need at the moment, and I need to put a lot of focus into getting the kid into top shape.”

Belle’s eyes widened at the response. She stood still for a second and swallowed hard before she went back to following her trainer.

“Very well then. I’ll… keep an eye here while coaching Pikachu.” Belle replied, her voice low and soft. “Do not worry about me.”

Emile turned his head back towards his Gardevoir. Everything appeared to be alright with her. She followed along, and her senses were attuned to the area around her. Yet, he felt uncertain if he should have said something.

Belle smiled, and it was enough to put Emile at ease, though that feeling of uncertainty never left his mind.

“Alright.” He said. “I’ll move up ahead and keep an eye on Vito… let me know if you need anything, alright?”

“Of course! I’ll be mindful of our surroundings.” Belle replied with glowing red eyes as she dropped a few more berries in front of Vito and Pikachu.

Emile snickered and moved forward, making sure to be at Vito’s left while Frère and Belle walked behind the two.

“Again, Pikachu!” Vito shouted.

Another jolt of electricity shot out of Pikachu. He targeted the berries and electrocuted them one at a time. Once again, they fell to the ground and the yellow rat went to sniff them, only to be disappointed with the result.

“You don’t have to yell, ya know?” Emile asked Vito.

Vito turned his head to Emile. “What do you mean?”

“You’ve been yelling out many of your commands,” Emile replied as he turned his gaze towards Pikachu. “Pokemon have better senses than humans. Pikachu could hear you if your voice were a whisper.”

“Is that not normal? You’ve done it too.” Vito said.

This time, a single berry floated in front of Vito and Pikachu as they walked on the dirt road, and with a single order, Pikachu electrocuted it and as the targets fell, Vito noticed that their blue flesh was a crisp brown.

“You’re doing better, Pikachu! C’mon, let's keep going.” Vito smiled as he rushed forward with his partner.

Emile smiled and followed, once again appearing by his side. “So, you mentioned your father. You have any other family members?”

Vito frowned as he walked. “My father’s not around anymore, unfortunately. He died when I was 8 years old.”

Emile’s eyes widened and his lips were pulled down into a frown. “I’m sorry to hear… I lost my mother when I was your age.”

“It is what it is.” Vito shrugged. “But thanks anyway.”

They walked together in silence, and Pikachu would go onto electrocute more berries. Some of them were like before, barely charred and avoided and some were becoming more brown.

“So hey, Emile… can I ask you something?” Vito looked over to meet the older trainer’s face.

“You just did.” Emile smirked.

“Seriously!” Vito smacked the older man on the arm, earning him a chuckle from the trainer.

“Alright, what’s up?” Emile asked.

“I looked you up on an app and uh… it didn’t show what happened after you went into the Indigo League. What happened?” Vito crossed his arms and turned his head away. “If you don’t care to talk about it anyway.”

“Let me guess, you used TrainerDex?” Emile asked, then sighed when Vito nodded his head. “The people who update that app will leave something vacant if they get bored of someone. I went into the Semi-Finals of the Indigo Conference and got beat. It had happened my last tourney and the one before that, and they didn’t like the stagnation I suppose.”

“Oh… so what happened after that?” Vito tilted his head quizzically.

“I retired right after the battle.” Emile said.

“So why did you retire?” Vito asked, until he was interrupted by a sudden berry pulled from one of the trees. “Pikachu, Thundershock.”

Pikachu electrocuted the berry again, and as it fell it was a perfect brown color. It smelled crisp and tender, and as he approached the fruit, a smile crept across his face and he soon lifted it up with his paws and began to eat at it.

Everyone stopped and watched as Pikachu greedily devoured his meal, the little rodent left no remains of the crispy berry.

“Oh, I think Pikachu’s done it!” Vito jumped with a grin on his face. “Fuck yeah!”

Emile turned his head and saw a smiling Belle, who he watched clap her hands at the sight of Pikachu eating the berry. He turned his head back and clapped Vito on the shoulder.

“You think you two can keep it up?” Emile asked. “It’s gonna get challenging from here on out.”

Pikachu squeaked and gave a thumbs-up.

“You heard him, we got this!” Vito cheered.

A smirk crept across Emile’s face. He put two fingers to his mouth and let out a sharp, high-pitched whistle.

Within seconds, Frère appeared and started to walk beside Emile. He looked up at his trainer with curiosity, and his tail wagged with anticipation.

“How would you like some snacks?” Emile asked his Glaceon.

A grin crept across Frère’s face as he licked his lips.

“Wait, what’s going on?” Vito tilted his head.

“We’re gonna have a competition.” Emile smiled. “Pikachu needs to keep this level of balance while acting faster than Frère.”

“Fine, we can beat him! Isn’t that right, Pikachu?”

A berry then floated in front of the group. It was yellow in color and somewhat larger than the oran berries that Pikachu had been electrocuting.

Pikachu smirked as he started to charge his electricity like before. His dark eyes were intently focused on the larger berry, and he was prepared to unleash another jolt of electricity. But, he was interrupted by a sudden ice beam from his left, which froze the berry.

“Hey!” Vito cried as he turned his head towards Emile.

“Gotta act quicker than that.” The older trainer shrugged with a grin on his face.

Pikachu’s eyes widened, and the electricity dissipated. He turned his head to the left and glared at Frère.

The ice-type merely smiled and strolled towards the berry. He picked up the frozen fruit with his mouth, and within two bites, he devoured it whole. Frère then turned his head towards Pikachu and smirked.

The electric mouse grit his teeth and growled before he ran to his opponent’s side. Small sparks of electricity crackled and popped to life as he walked alongside the smiling Frère.

Two berries were plucked from nearby trees and floated in front of the two Pokemon. They flew through the air, drifting in wide circles.

Frère shot out another ice beam, freezing one but before he could hit the second, a bolt of electricity was launched from his right and fried the berry. It fell to the floor, and a nice, crisp odor emanated from it.

Pikachu moved and devoured the berry for Frère to see, and let out a cheerful squeak in an attempt to rub his victory into Glaceon’s face.

Frère smirked and followed close behind his opponent, though his eyes were trained on the tree branches.

“I got your back, Pikachu!” Vito shouted as he moved forward, chasing after the two Pokemon.

A soft smile crept up Emile’s face as he watched Vito follow after the two Pokemon. He heard the teen cheer on his partner as golden streaks of electricity and beams of ice flew from their respective directions.

“You’re thinking again.” Belle commented.

“I’d hope so, I wouldn’t be alive if I wasn’t.” Emile smirked.

Gardevoir walked faster and soon caught up to Emile. “Do you miss journeying like this?” Belle turned her head to her trainer.

“A little.” Emile said aloud as he watched the light show coming from his Glaceon and Vito’s Pikachu.

Belle’s eyes glowed again. She reached out to the trees ahead of her and Emile with her mind’s eye.

The two witnessed a dozen berries being pulled from various trees. It was clear to Emile that Belle was plucking from different trees, trying not to disturb the ecosystem or harm the various Pokemon’s environments.

Once again, streams of electricity and ice were shot above, scorching and freezing various berries. The two Pokemon who were causing such chaos

“Maybe… maybe we don’t have to leave when the package is delivered.” Belle suggested, pushing her fingers together. “We could journey, just like before.”

Emile swallowed hard and scratched his chin as he pondered over Belle’s words.

“Of course, it’s up to you!” Gardevoir said as she stepped back from Emile.

“I’ll think about it,” Emile finally said. “Maybe a journey wouldn’t be too bad… but don’t expect any crazy battles. This isn’t gonna be like Sinnoh.”

“Well, I don’t see any Professors trying to convince you to be an ACE Trainer, and I don’t see spacemen wanting to rewrite reality.” Belle chuckled. “So, maybe we can have a relatively normal journey?”

“Arceus, let's hope so,” Emile said. “The only downside is that I won’t be catching any new Pokemon, given that father had given me a full party… but maybe that’s for the better. He has to spend enough taking care of everyone.”

“Right… I’d like that. It’d be us.” Belle replied.

“And Vito, maybe.” Emile shrugged again.

Belle’s eyes widened and she stepped closer to Emile. The Pokemon raised her green hand and put it to her trainer’s forehead. “Are you sick? You don’t look it… and I’m certain this is what you do when you’re checking if someone has a fever!” she commented.

“I’m just fine!” Emile raised his hands. “Why do you think I’m sick? You could tell if I wasn’t, right?”

“Of course, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure!” Belle huffed as she crossed her arms. “I’m just surprised you’d want to bring someone along, is all.”

“Kid’s got spirit. It might be fun having him around.” Emile smiled.

Loud shouting was heard from Vito, who was meters away. They were hard to make out, but Emile was certain the new trainer was cursing out Frère.

More than likely, Frère was smirking and chuckling as Vito ranted and cursed at him. Emile and Belle found themselves chuckling at the thought.

“I’m reaching out to Frère now.” Belle commented. “Vito’s, in fact, cursing him out.”

“That poor kid…” Emile shook his head.

They continued their pace, but soon stopped as Emile realized there were fewer trees in sight and the dirt road they had been walking on sloped downwards, and the treeline gave way to open grassy fields as far as the eye could see.

Emile blinked, and turned around, then turned his head back towards the slope. “How the hell was Bellissimo Mare above?” he asked.

“According to Frère, you went through a town called Savoy, which was above Bellissimo Mare.” Belle replied. “Do you… not remember?”

“Not really, I wanted out of that damn town after I dealt with those clowns.” Emile replied as he put away his PokeGear.

Unbelievable. He went through an entire town above and didn’t realize it.

“Hey, Emile!” Vito called out. “Come take a look at this!”

Emile perked up and turned his head toward Vito.

The trainer waved Emile and Belle to come forward, and pointed at what Emile perceived to be a large slab of marble.

Emile began to hurry, walking at a brisk pace down the hill with Belle by his side, a smile forming across his face as he moved. This was the first he’d heard about a landmark, and perhaps he could have learned something interesting from it, maybe something from the region’s “Dissian Era.”

“Whatcha got for me, Vito?” Emile asked.

“Look at the thing!” Vito pointed at the slab. “This has gotta probably one of the few interesting things we have down here.”

Emile’s eyes widened as they trailed toward the memorial. There was plenty of text on it that he didn’t understand, and not only that, underneath the monument were strange, long brown objects with oddly shaped black squares stuck inside them. The long objects in question stuck in the ground below.

It took a moment for Emile to realize that these strange objects were rifles. Weapons that hadn’t been used since The Protection War between Kanto, Unova and Enotria way back when. The Rangers used them to fire tranquilizer darts, but they were phased out for the “Capture Styler” five years ago.

“Incroyable.” He said as he stepped towards the monument, his eyes focused on the rifles. “I’ve only seen guns in documentaries… nobody ever really uses them. Kalos, Paldea and Galar phased them out centuries ago, and I only recall Unova and Enotria ever really using them.”

Emile traced his shaking finger over the first rifle, feeling the cool, smooth wood. Hee couldn’t help but smile, this was a piece of history, and he was able to touch it. The thought alone was insane.

“These are BM59’s, right? Right?” He turned his head back to Vito. “Unova only used these black rifles before Kanto basically told them they were useless way back in the day.”

“Oh, yeah!” Vito chuckled. The teen had a brow raised and observed Emile with curiosity. “Yeah, we used them during the war but they weren’t really effective…”

“Well, of course not!” Emile said. “I mean, imagine trying to shoot at a Pokemon. Most, if not all, can outspeed a bullet, and if they can’t, then they can just either redirect it or let it hit because it’ll bounce off.”

“Yeah, but you could shoot at a trainer.” Vito suggested.

“Sure, but a Pokemon will probably retreat and defend their trainer. That or find some way to quickly defend the trainer, though a trainer would have to be stupid to be out in the open on the battlefield like that.” Emile said.

“Do you know much about the war, Emile?” Vito asked. “I didn’t take you much for a history buff, no offense.”

“None taken,” Emile replied as he crouched down to inspect the rifle replica. “But to answer your question, I sort of am, but a lot of my history is narrowed down to the regions I’ve visited. However, just about everyone knows about The Protection War.”

“Well, yeah, it was the most ‘recent’ war, even if it did happen 25 years ago.” Vito said. “Though we call it The Island War here…”

“Protection War makes more sense,” Emile said as he stood up. “When Samuel Oak was still Champion, he had drafted up the Pokemon Protection Act, which was designed to limit or prevent colonization. Unova had signed it.”

“Sure, but that island wasn’t declared their territory at the time. It wasn’t declared that until after the war, and they advertised it as their ‘Nature Preserve.’” Vito shot back. “It was a war over the island, not protecting Pokemon.”

“The island was still near Unovan territories, they had a right to act the way they did.” Emile replied. “The old Enotrian Military would have ruined the environments of plenty of Pokemon.”

“I still don’t think it was worth fighting a war over.” Vito shrugged. “But, the old military was pretty messed up. I don’t think its bad that they got replaced with the League.”

“Trust me.” Emile said, patting Vito on the shoulder. “If you travel enough and do this as long as I have, you’ll think differently.”

“I suppose… anyways, have you read the monument yet?” Vito asked.

“Oh! I haven’t, actually. I was uh…” Emile stammered as he looked down and scratched the back of his head.

“Admiring the replicas?” Vito smiled, trying to hold back his laughter.

“Absolutely not!” Emile turned around and faced the marble monument and fell silent as he looked at it.

On it there were two lines of text engraved into the marble. He narrowed his eyes, attempting to understand the words engraved, but it was in Enotrian.

"Ai nostri eroi caduti." the first line of text read, and below read, "Possa tu riposare per sempre nell'abbraccio di tua madre."

“What does this mean?” Emile asked Vito.

“To our fallen heroes, may you forever rest in our mother’s embrace.” Vito translated. “Wanna guess who mother is?” he smiled.

Emile scratched his chin.

Mother could have meant many things. However, Emile didn’t know much about Enotria. The only plausible thing he could have concluded was that the text was referencing was the land itself. Perhaps “mother” in this case meant “motherland.”

“Enotria itself?” Emile finally asked.

“Nope!” Vito said. “Its referencing the Wolfmother, better known as Lupa. She’s a religious figure in Enotria, but people worship her a lot more in Graecia.”

“Graecia?” Emile asked.

“Its basically the name for the entire southern area.” Vito said. “Graecia for the south, Siena for the Central area, and then Gallia for the north. Word of advice? Don’t call the areas North, South or Center while you’re here. Call them by their names.”

“Who named em?” Emile asked as he stepped away from the monument and looked to the open plains behind. He observed that there was nothing nearby, aside from the trees to the left anyway.

“Marcus Capitoline, the son of Lupa.” Vito said.

“Should I form another barrier?” Belle’s voice rang in Emile’s mind.

“Nah. We won’t need one this time.” Emile telepathically replied before he turned back to Vito. “Do you know the story behind Lupa? I’d like to hear it.”

“Nahh, not really.” Vito chuckled. “You’d be better off asking the older guys, they’re more into the religion than anyone.”

“Unfortunate, but I can wait. Right now, we’re gonna get to the next part of your training,” Emile said. “After that, we’ll make our way down to Lantana.”

“Alright!” Vito pumped his fist into the air and watched as Emile threw a Pokeball, just far enough from the trees and far from the monument. The device soon released Venus and returned back to it’s owner.

The Venusaur stretched as best as she could and let out a loud roar. Her eyes intently focused on her smiling trainer who walked to the side.

“So, what’s next?” Vito asked as he outstretched his arm.

Pikachu jumped off of Vito, using his trainer’s arm as a platform and landed right in front of Venus with a smile.

Venus smiled at the yellow mouse, and two vines appeared from the vegetation on top of her body.

“We’re gonna whip Pikachu into shape!” Emile smiled.

This smile was replaced with a pained expression as one of Venus’ vines smacked her trainer on the head.

“I’m not sorry…” He groaned before he cleared his throat and turned his head toward Venus and Pikachu.

The two Pokemon were staring at each other. Venus had a rather calm expression, while Pikachu’s face was smiling and his eyes were narrow.

“Venus!” Emile’s voice boomed. “Prepare for close quarters!”

That wasn’t something he had gotten to say in a long time. It was nice to say it again, even if it was to train.

A colorful powder shower shot up from Venus’ flower. It was a mix of yellow and green, and it all fell onto Venusaur’s vines, making them look like a sickly mixture of colors.

“So, here’s the deal.” Emile explained. “Pikachu hasn’t battled much, and therefore doesn’t have much instinct beyond basic survival… I’m going to make sure that changes.”

“Okay…” Vito replied with a shaky voice. It was clear his focus was on Venus. “How exactly are we going to do that?”

“The idea is that you’ll be guiding him. Eventually, he won’t need it, but right now, he’ll need your help determining when you’ll need to dodge and when to counterattack,” Emile explained. “And if he gets hit, well… he’ll be feeling quite numb and sleepy.”

Emile watched Vito swallow hard, but the boy moved a foot forward and narrowed his eyes.

“Alright, Pikachu… lets do this!”
 
Chapter 6:Lantana New
To all Bulbapedia readers, I regret to inform you that this will be the final chapter posted on here until further notice.

I apologize for disappointing you all. If are still interested in reading this, you may find newer chapters on the following websites:
Fanfiction dot net
Archive Of Our Own
Scribblehub
RoyalRoad

Thank you and I hope you enjoy this last chapter and again, I apologize for disappointing you all.


Vito scowled as he walked down the hill. Three hours had been spent on the “training” Emile had put him and Pikachu through, but Vito wouldn’t have called it training. If anything, what had happened was more of a beatdown.

Pikachu let out a high pitch groan from Vito’s shoulder, and the yellow mouse squirmed and nuzzled against his trainer’s cheek.

Vito smiled as he felt his cheek briefly go numb and patted his partner’s head. “It’s alright, the soreness should go away soon,” he said. “Then we’re gonna get payback!” Vito looked back, meeting the gazes of Emile, Belle and Frère.

Emile raised his hands as he walked. “It was just training! Besides, some potions did the trick, did they not?”

“No spores next time. I still can’t believe Pikachu was paralyzed!” Vito complained.

“That’s because Stun Spore works differently compared to a move like Thunder Wave.” Emile chuckled. “Breathing in the spores can make your entire body go numb; it’s how some carnivorous grass Pokemon eat their prey. They use Stun Spore to paralyze them, and then they go for the kill.”

“More you know,” Vito grumbled.

“Hey.” Emile patted Vito on the shoulder. “After a long rest, you’ll start seeing some of the benefits, and you did improve during the training.”

Vito grumbled again but said nothing, his eyes intensely focused on the looming figure of home.

Lantana was just up ahead, and Vito could see many of his hometown's buildings. They were all closely packed together, businesses and apartments alike, and some of these places were one and the same.

Unlike Bellissimo Mare however, the streets weren’t as narrow, allowing the people of Lantana to move around as freely as they liked. Right now, though, Vito couldn’t see too many people roaming the streets, likely because they were at work on the farms, which were just to the west of Lantana.

Vito had lived in this town his whole life. Lantana was a lovely community; the people had taken him in as their own when his father had passed and helped raise him. Thinking about that time was enough to make him smile, but when he thought about the good of Lantana he also thought about the bad.

“Hey, Emile?” Vito turned back to face his mentor again. “Listen, there’s probably something you should know about Lantana…”

Emile raised a brow. “That being?”

“There’s a group of people here called The Legione Armata,” Vito said. “They’re, uh… they got a bit of a history. Stay away from em, don’t bring up the Kanto region or the war.”

“A bit of a history?” Emile asked.

Belle narrowed her eyes at Vito. The psychic type had a decent idea as to where Vito’s explanation was going to lead up to.

The hairs on Vito’s body stood up when he saw Belle’s features shift, and he felt his heart skip a beat, but he cleared his throat and met Emile’s stare with his own. “Basically, they’re a bunch of war vets. They acted as protectors for Graecia after the war which was a whole mess on its own and now they’re accused of working alongside The Enotrian Mob.”

“I see. Them being trouble doesn’t surprise me, the sailors I met yesterday claimed to be friends with this Legione,” the trainer replied. “Anything else I should know?”

Oh, they’re all absolute scum and they should go to Hell. Vito swallowed the words as they came to mind before taking a deep breath. “No, that’s about it,” he declared.

“Alrighty then,” Emile said. “Now, lead the way to the Pokemon Center my wonderful tour guide!”

“I don’t think you can call me a good tour guide,” Vito snorted. “But luckily for you, I know where it’s at!”

“I thought you lived here,” Emile commented.

“I do, but most of my time was out in the fields or at home asleep,” Vito replied.

The group was now down the hill. They stepped off of the dirt road and walked down a simple asphalt road, pale in color with numerous large cracks, but this broken road was narrow and the buildings that Vito had seen earlier now towered above the group, their closeness rather suffocating.

Some of the streetlights weren’t turned on even as the sun was fixing to set, and those that were on were flickering. Looking at them made Vito sigh before he turned his head back.

“Hey, come join The Legione!” A voice suddenly called out when they were near the town center.

“Fuck me,” Vito groaned as he grit his teeth and clenched his fists, before letting out a heavy sigh.

“No thank you,” Emile replied, which earned him a glare from Vito.

“Hey, mister!” The voice called out again. “Come here!”

“Please don’t go over there,” Vito pleaded.

“No, now I’m curious.” Emile stepped forward, walking to the center with Frère by his side.

Vito turned to Belle. “Does this happen often?”

The Gardevoir merely sighed as she nodded her head, then waved her hand forward, clearly urging them to follow.

“Dammit,” the student complained as he started to walk forward, moving quickly to catch up to his teacher, but stopped meters away as he glanced through the doorway and saw a figure clad in black, quickly flattening himself against the wall of a building.

Thankfully, the individual’s eyes were set on Emile and hadn’t even seen Vito.

At the town’s center, Emile and Frère encountered a boy who appeared to be as old as Vito, if not a little older. He wore a black outfit, consisting of a cap and a neatly pressed coat over his shirt, with a pair of matching pants and shining shoes.

“Hey, kid,” Emile greeted the boy. “What is it you’re offering?”

The boy raised a brow and looked at Emile, his eyes widening as he saw the Pokeballs on his belt and the Glaceon by his side. “Well, I didn’t think you were a trainer, mister!”

“Haven’t been a trainer in a while.” Emile replied as he outstretched his hand. “My name is Emile Hawthorne.”

“Pleasure to meet you!” The boy took Emile’s hand and shook it. “I’m Caporale Enzo Mancini, a recruiter for The Legione Armata. Would you like to join, Mr. Hawthorne?”

“Sure, give me a form to sign and tell me about you guys,” Emile said. “I’ve heard all sorts of things about your group, but it’d be real nice to hear from someone who’s in it.”

“Sure!” Enzo replied. “C’mere first, mister, I got some papers right here…”

Vito groaned and shook his head as he watched Enzo pull a piece of paper from his coat pocket and hand it to Emile.

“So, you don’t look old enough to remember- no offense,” Enzo said. “But when the war ended, we still had some issues… economy was in tatters, we barely had any Rangers, that sort of thing. Most of all though, we had Team Rocket.”

“Team Rocket?” Emile raised a brow. “Here in Enotria?”

“Yeah, crazy right? They were formed in Kanto, but their crimes started here… bribing politicians, taking over shops, Pokemon trafficking. They made things worse here in Graecia, and Gallia didn’t bother supporting us,” Enzo explained.

“Why didn’t Gallia support us again?” Emile asked.

“Because we’re Graecia!” Enzo shouted as he dramatically waved his arm around. “Gallia’s in the north, ya know? They don’t care about us. To them, we are degenera!”

“Alright, I get that.” Emile nodded his head as he looked the paper over. “So, uh… someone formed The Legione and started fighting back?”

“Exactly! While that bastardo traditore Silvano Vinci was up in Capitoline, enjoying the good life, we in Graecia suffered. They endured no crime or hardships while we and Siena did. But it wasn’t just someone who started it, mister. It was Salvadore Guerra and many other veterans of the war.” Enzo explained. “They not only pushed back Team Rocket, but they helped form businesses and started supporting people here in Graecia.”

“I see, I see…” Emile nodded, his eyes focusing on the lower part of his paper.

Vito had been internally groaning throughout the entire exchange. He had heard these kinds of speeches and explanations dozens of times as he grew up in Lantana. “Join The Legion” and “Fight for Graecia” all of it was propaganda, and all of it was bullshit.

“By the way, pal… it says on the paper ‘Where In Enotria Were You Born?’” Emile said.

“Uhuh, what about it?” Enzo asked, tilting his head with a puzzled expression.

“I was born and raised in Kalos. My dad’s a Kalosian and my mom’s Paldean-”

Enzo snatched the form from Emile and glared at the older man. “This organization is for Enotrians, specifically from Graecians only. I’m sorry, mister, but I’m gonna have to ask you to go away.”

“Damn, really?” Emile frowned. “Well, if you say so…” he shrugged and walked away with a heavy sigh.

Vito let out a sigh of relief and turned to Belle again. “Is he always like this?”

Belle turned towards Vito again, and her eyes began to emit a dim glow.

A familiar and awful pain flooded Vito’s mind, as if someone was stabbing his brain with needles, and he groaned and clutched at his head.

“Y35,” a voice not his own whispered into his thoughts, the noise the equivalent of cool liquid flowing through his head.

Belle’s eyes widened and stopped glowing before she took a step back, covering her open mouth with her hands. She was still very used to communicating via telepathy, and it had come almost instinctively.

“You’re fine, Belle!” Vito breathed out. “I… I think I almost understood you that time. Were you saying yes?”

Belle nodded her head and uncovered her mouth, a wide smile appearing on her face as she kneeled down and gently helped Vito up.

“That’s awesome! I mean… my head still kinda hurts, but I get to talk with Pokemon.” He beamed. “Can we try again sometime? I wanna talk to you more!”

Belle stood still. She stared at Vito’s smile for a few moments before giving a small smile of her own. Then she nodded in response to his question, her smile widening only somewhat.

“Awesome! You’re the best!” Vito cried. He outstretched his arms and stepped forward, but suddenly stopped himself.

Belle tilted her head in confusion as Vito immediately stepped back and scratched his head.

“Sorry, I’m used to hugging Pokemon. I didn’t really think.” Vito chuckled.

Belle smiled and stepped towards Vito, about to outstretch her arms until…

“Hey, is that you, Vito?” The two heard someone call out from afar.

“Cazzo.” Vito cursed and turned his head to the right, looking right into the face of Enzo. “Hey, Enzo!” He waved.

“Vito! I heard the good news, congratulations!” Enzo stepped forward, arms stretched out before bringing the other boy into a hug. “You’re a trainer now!” He clapped Vito on the back.

“Yeah, thanks Enzo.” Vito sighed, returning the hug.

Enzo reeked. The older boy probably had to have sprayed himself all over with cheap cologne. The smell was so awful that Vito forced himself not to cough as the stench burned his nostrils and lungs.

“So!” Enzo pulled away and smiled. “Have you reconsidered my offer? You and Giuseppe both would be great people for The Legion. Especially Giuseppe.”

“Mr. Giuseppe has done enough fighting for one lifetime, Enzo.” Vito frowned. “And I already told you that I don’t want to join.”

Enzo put a hand on Vito’s free shoulder. “C’mon, Vito!” He urged. “Think about the people in Lantana, in all of Graecia, they could use younger folks like you and I, and that old man fought against the Kantonians. We need you. You can still do your fancy gym challenge and all of that.”

“I said I don’t want to.” Vito growled as he slapped Enzo’s hand away from him. “I’ve made my decision, so please respect it.”

The reaction alone caused Pikachu to growl at Enzo, and while the yellow mouse wasn’t charging his electricity, he was still ready for a fight.

However, before anything could be done, Belle stepped in between the two boys and looked down, her crimson eyes glaring daggers at Enzo.

The recruiter slowly stepped away and raised his hands in surrender. “Alright, man… I get it. You don’t wanna join up.” Enzo turned his head, only to meet the nearby glares of Emile and Frère. The pair had come back for them.

“It’s looking a little late,” Emile remarked. “You should go home, kid.”

Enzo didn’t hesitate to run away.

-oOo-

“Would you care to explain why you went up to him?” Belle asked Emile.

Emile watched as Enzo ran away and turned his head back to Gardevoir. “This organization is heavily entrenched in the region. I wanted to see exactly what they were about, since Vito wasn’t able to give me much.”

“And did you gain anything out of that encounter?” Belle asked.

“Unfortunately not.” Emile replied.

“What the fuck?” Vito stomped forward, his face was red and hands rolled up into fists. He grabbed Emile by his shirt, and shouted, “What did I say, Emile? Don’t go near them!”

Emile had spent only a day with Vito, and he had quickly realized that he was a hothead. However, he was still surprised to see him act like this; hell, he was surprised that Vito had gotten so upset.

“I needed to learn about them,” Emile coolly replied. “If this group was really friends with those sailors from the other day, then I wanted to get a good eye on them.”

Vito took a deep breath and sighed. “Those stronzos wouldn’t have actually gone to them. If they did, The Legione would have told them to piss off, and that’s the least they would do,” he explained as he let go of Emile. “You’re fine.”

It was time to get to the bottom of this, Emile thought. He wanted to know exactly what was up with this Legione Armata group before going further.

“If I may ask,” Emile said, briefly pausing to collect his thoughts. “Why exactly do you dislike these people so much?”

“I don’t wanna talk about it,” Vito grumbled as he turned away. “C’mon, I need to take you to the center.”

“Wait a second.” Emile placed his hand on Vito’s shoulder. “Don’t you have family here?”

Vito paused for a second, then shook his head. “I do have someone here, though.”

No family, huh? Emile thought as he frowned. “Go see them, then. I can find the Pokemon Center myself, don’t worry.”

“Are you sure?” Vito asked, his voice quiet.

“Yeah, don’t worry!” The older trainer smiled as he pat Vito on the shoulder. “Go see your folks, twerp. I’ll be fine!”

Vito nodded and turned around, then started to walk away, but not before shooting one final glance in his mentor’s direction.

Emile had turned and was already leaving Vito behind, both Frère and Belle walking by his side.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” Belle commented. “He was scared.”

“Of the other kid?” Emile asked.

“No. He was scared of what would happen to you,” Belle sternly replied. “What were you thinking?”

“That I don’t want a repeat of Sinnoh,” Emile shot back as he pulled up his PokeGear and looked through the map. It appeared that he was getting close to a Pokemon Center, and knowing that made him smile. “And knowing that he was scared of what would happen if I encountered that guy makes me all the more concerned.”

“He wouldn’t have done anything to you,” Belle said. “I wouldn’t have let that happen.”

“He still would have done something. You saw it, he had no problem trying to grab Vito.” Emile spat. “That’s what matters.”

The thought of it made Emile’s blood boil. His heart pounded beneath his chest, and he could feel himself start to sweat. He tightly clenched his fists, and his breathing started to quicken, grow heavier.

“Emile,” Belle whispered into her trainer’s mind, hoping to pull him out of his fury.

“I won’t let Vito get hurt, and I certainly won’t let you or the rest of the team be put in harm's way!” Emile hissed out loud. “Not while I’m around, not again!”

“Emile!” Belle shouted.

Emile fell silent but continued walking.

Belle turned her head towards Frère, who simply shrugged and frowned, before turning back towards Emile.

Her trainer was hurting. Belle knew that, she had known that for a while in fact. However, these feelings that bubbled within Emile were ones she hadn’t felt in years. Anxiety, stress, and paranoia were only the tip of the iceberg.

She started to catch up to her trainer and Frère, but Belle’s eyes were focused on the back of her trainer’s skull as she secretly began to look into his mind. It was a rather simple yet excruciating task, but it was like that for most humans.

Humanity was strange, Belle thought to herself. They all were born with aura like certain Pokemon, and yet very few of them were born with the capability to use it; only three of these individuals lived, and yet, despite most of humanity being unable to use aura, it still protected their bodies and minds.

She diverted her attention back to her trainer, and as she looked into his thoughts, she saw with her mind's eye a mix of red and blue, but these colors were all different shades with their own meanings.

Rage, fear, panic. Then there was anxiety, sadness, regret. The former was brought on more than likely due to this “Legione Armata”, the latter emotions were either because of how his interaction with Vito played out, or because he was thinking about the past.

They all approached the Pokemon Center. Unlike most of the Lantana, the building wasn’t damaged but stood tall and proud. It wasn’t as large as Bellissimo Mare’s, but judging by the saturation, it had been repainted not too long ago.

The three entered the building and were greeted by a small lobby. There were only two nurse stations, and only one had a nurse sitting behind it, messing with her phone. Looking to the side, there was a large flat-screen TV mounted onto a wall with a few couches placed near and in front of it.

Emile marched to the nurse station and grabbed the Pokeballs that contained Goyl, Venus and Roi. “Hi, do you happen to have a room available?” he asked with a smile.

The nurse almost jumped out of her seat, and her eyes went wide. “Oh, yes!” she stammered, moving towards her computer and began typing away. “Can I have your name?”

“Emile Hawthorne,” he introduced himself before reaching into his pocket and putting his Trainer ID on the desk for the nurse to take.

She picked it up and inspected it briefly before raising a brow. “Kalos, huh? You’re far from home!”

Emile shrugged. “Yeah, just doing a small favor for my father. I’m heading to Florentina to deliver something and then I’m headed home.”

The nurse nodded as she ran Emile’s card through a scanner, before handing it back to him along with a single key. “Here you go, sweetheart. Your room is up the stairs and the first door on the right!”

“Thank you,” Emile said as he took the key and his ID and started to walk away from the desk. His team followed him as he went up the stairs and into his room.

“You’re not putting me in my ball?” Belle asked.

“No, I figured you wouldn’t have liked it.” Emile replied as he reached behind and grabbed his father’s package, or rather, Eevee’s Pokeball and released the tiny creature.

The brown ball of fluff shook his head swiftly and let out a quiet, high-pitched chirp before he turned towards Emile.

“Hey, little guy!” He greeted as he got on his knees and grabbed his backpack. “We’re staying here tonight, whatcha think?”

Pokeballs were wonderful devices, but they came with some serious drawbacks. Emile had once heard from Belle that it was like being asleep, and the outside world was like a dream. You could hear anything and everything from beyond, but you were unable to interact with it all, though you also didn’t need to eat or drink while inside of one.

That being said, if you kept a Pokemon in its ball long enough, it could potentially damage its mental health and they could come out insane, though this only happened if a Pokemon was locked inside their ball long enough.

Thankfully, Eevee was experiencing none of these symptoms from what Emile could gather, though he was rather wary of his surroundings. His beady brown eyes looked left and right and a frown was visible on his face.

“It’s alright,” Emile said as he began to pet the tiny creature. “Its just us, Frère and Belle over there.” he pointed behind.

Eevee slowly stepped forward and then jumped into his caretaker’s arms, letting out what Emile thought was a sigh of relief.

“There, there…” Emile said as he traced his fingers over that soft, velvety fur. “I’m sorry you were locked in there for a while, but since we’re in a safe place I think it’s fine for you to be out here for the night.”

Emile stopped petting Eevee and reached into his backpack, pulling out a food bowl and a pack of PokeChow, which he immediately poured into the bowl as soon as he placed it down.

Eevee barked in joy as he jumped towards the bowl, a wide smile appearing on his face as he began eating away at the food.

“Are you two hungry as well?” Emile looked towards Frère and Belle. “I think I might have something for you.”

“Not really,” Belle said. “Frère is, however.”

Emile nodded, put another food bowl down, and began reaching around in his backpack. Frère may have once been an Eevee, but he somehow gained his trainer’s enormous sweet tooth. How he chose to evolve into a Glaceon instead of a Sylveon baffled Emile to this very day, he thought as he pulled out a bag of Pecha-flavored PokeChow that he poured into the second bowl.

Frère jumped down, approached the bowl without hesitation, and started eating alongside Eevee, his face widening with a smile as he tasted the sweet food, mixed with Pecha juices.

Emile smiled again and watched the two, before he finally stood up and turned towards the door and grabbed the handle.

“Where are you going?” Belle asked.

“Out for a drink,” Emile replied. “Keep an eye on these two, it’ll be a while before I’m back.”

Emile opened the door and stepped out without another word.

-oOo-

Lantana
Worker District

Vito frowned as he walked alone through Lantana’s narrow streets. The “conversation” he had with Emile wasn’t something he was quite happy with.

Pikachu quietly whimpered as he rested on his trainer’s shoulder and nuzzled against his cheek, hoping to get rid of his trainer’s frown.

“Sorry little guy…” Vito softly said as he petted his friend’s head. “I just don’t like thinking about them.”

The fucking Legione Armata. Repelling Team Rocket, protecting the people, what a crock of Tauros shit! The only reason that group of power-hungry asshats did anything was to line their own pockets and stick it to the league. Who the fuck did it better when they burned down my papa's shop? Who!?

Calm down, Vito. They have eyes everywhere. Just calm down.

Vito took a deep breath as he continued walking. His eyes were focused on an old apartment complex that was about three stories high. Some windows were busted out, and there was spray paint on portions of the exterior and its pale coloration was making the building beg for a new paint job.

It was a run-down apartment for sure, but for Vito? It was home.

He opened the door to the complex and stepped inside, quietly shutting the door. A flickering light bulb dimly lit the interior, and nobody was around. There was no sign of the property manager either, which wasn’t a surprise. That old fart was barely around to begin with unless he was forced to collect rent himself.

Vito began to walk through the building, quietly going up the wooden stairs that creaked no matter how lightly he stepped on the planks. He kept his hand on the railing as he walked, hoping that none of the stairs would break under his feet.

“Might be a long time before we come back here.” Vito whispered to Pikachu, who nodded.

Though, if they ever did return, Vito would find a way to repair this old broken down home. Nobody deserved to live in such a broken-down apartment. The fact that the manager never even bothered to fix it was disgusting. Hell, he was sure he had seen roaches before he had left to get his trainer’s license.

As he walked up the stairs, he was led into a narrow hallway with dozens of wooden doors with numbers on them, and as he walked further he saw that a door on his left was almost torn off its hinges.

Vito shook his head at the sight and continued forward. The place he was looking for was the last door on the right side, Apartment 12B. A sense of bliss and warmth filled his mind and he smiled as he looked at it before finally knocking on the door.

However… nobody came to the door, peculiar given that the lights were still on, so, Vito knocked on the door again.

This time, it opened up to reveal a tall smiling woman with olive skin like Vito’s. She had emerald eyes and long black hair, and wore a white sweater and blue pants along with a pair of black boots.

“Miranda?” Vito’s eyes widened. “Why are you here? Is everything alright?”

“Everything’s just fine, come on in,” Miranda replied as she gently took Vito’s hand and pulled him inside, shutting the door behind the two.

“SURPRISE!” Vito heard from what felt like dozens of people, however as he looked around in the old kitchen, he was greeted with not just Giuseppe but three other people.

“Vito, il mio ragazzo!” Giuseppe approached and pulled Vito into a tight bear hug.

Vito already felt like he was suffocating. Giuseppe might have complained that he was an old man, but that “old man” was once a well-trained soldier with the most vicious bear hug known to man.

“Ack! Stop!” Vito managed to breathe out as he slapped Giuseppe’s back.

The old man released Vito and put his hands on his shoulders. “Look at you, you’re a trainer who got to experience his first night of camping!”

Vito chuckled a little. He had called Giuseppe some time before he fell asleep last night and informed him of everything that had happened, and while it wasn’t a big deal, he recalled Giuseppe saying, “Oh, already you’re having your first adventure!”

“Catch anything nice?” A burly man who Vito recognized as Lantana’s General Store Owner, Mr. Carlo, asked.

Vito shook his head. “I don’t have any Pokeballs yet, but I’ll make sure to buy some from you!”

“Nonsense!” Carlo laughed as he grabbed out a small box and placed it down on the table.

Vito turned his head towards the table and saw not only the box, but a couple of large bowls. The first was full of cheese, rigatoni, and sausage that was covered with marinara and the second was full of well-cooked Octillerly legs mixed with Slowpoke tails.

The smell of the cooked meat mixed with marinara and tomato sauce was enough to make Vito and Pikachu both drool.

“Vito!” Carlo said, pulling Vito away from his fixation.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” Vito apologized.

Miranda clapped him on the shoulder. “Ah, look at the poor boy! Went camping one night and he’s already dying for some actual food!”

The comment was enough to incite laughter amongst the group, but as soon as it ended, their attention was focused on the box.

“Are you sure about this, Carlo?” Vito asked.

“Aahh, don’t give me that young man! You’re a trainer, you deserve the gift!” Carlo declared. “Now, Adesso, fai presto!”

Vito grabbed the lid of the box with both hands and slowly lifted it. His eyes widened as he pushed the lid to the side and stared at the contents inside— twelve Pokeballs and five potions!

“Holy shit…” he said. “You’re fine with me having all of this?”

“Hey, now that’s not what you say!” Carlo wrapped Vito into a tight hug. “Of course I’m fine! I made sure these were delivered specifically by Silph! None of that third party manufacturing nonsense.”

Like with Giuseppe, Vito felt the air leave his lungs and the young man pounded his fist onto Carlo’s back, hoping to be released.

Carlodid so, laughing all the while before he clapped Vito on the back so hard that he visibly recoiled from the impact.

“Seriously… thank you, Carlo,” Vito said after he took a deep breath of fresh air.

“Ah, and don’t forget me!” Miranda called out as she showed off a small white backpack. “There was a discount on some Silph bags, so I thought I’d pick one up for you while I was in Bellissimo Mare.”

Vito immediately grabbed the bag; it was a bit rough to touch, but that didn’t matter. These bags were the best things a trainer could have!

“Thank you so much!” Vito beamed to the group. His smile was so wide that everyone could practically hear it.

“Hey, anything for you, Vito!” Giuseppe said. “I know how much you’ve been wanting this… just don’t forget us when you get to the big leagues, alright?”

“Don’t worry,” Vito said as he looked around, gazing at the faces of Giuseppe, Carlo and Miranda and smiled. “I won’t.”

His home might be a run-down apartment complex, and sure, things went to shit when he was younger, but… he wouldn’t have been here today if it weren’t for the people around him, and this was one of the very good things about Lantana— the fact that you could at least have family to count on.

“Now come on! Enough with the thank yous!” Vito suddenly cried.

Pikachu squeaked and cried out in agreement.

“Agreed, c’mon everyone! Let's eat!”

And family was all that mattered at the end of the day.

The Wandering Teacher

Lantana
Legione District

Caporale Enzo Mancini of the 19th Lantana Detachment screamed as he slammed the door to HQ shut.

Nobody was around, so it wouldn’t be a problem if he took out his frustration, right?

“Fucking pricks,” he spat as he grabbed a foldable chair and threw it against the wall in his rage! “Not a single one of them takes me seriously!” Enzo screamed.

Time and time again, everyone either passed him by or made a fool out of him. It was something he was used to, but to have some Kalosian make a mockery out of him? With him and that putanna Gardevoir of his and that ugly Glaceon?

It was enough to make him think nothing but violence, and the Caporale punched the wall with all his might. Punching the sheetrock hurt like hell, but he didn’t care. The sheer adrenaline was enough to dull his sense of pain, and he was going to do it again until—

“Hey!”

The raging fury inside of Enzo was replaced by the cold hand of death touching his shoulder, and for a single second he was sure his heart stopped as he heard the gruff, tired and most of all grumpy voice.

Enzo turned and stood at attention, coming face-to-face with Sergente Maggiore Aurelio Bernadi, a man dressed in the same black uniform but visibly older. He was in his early thirties, one of the first trainers involved with The Legione when it had been officially formed, and a rising star in Enotria’s Gym Challenge during those days.

Enzo swiftly saluted. “Sergente Maggiore Bernadi, signore!”

“Cut that shit out,” Bernadi waved off. “And get the hell over here. What the hell is wrong with you, kid?”

Enzo swallowed hard and slowly walked over to Bernadi, who had sat on a foldable chair. More than likely, Enzo thought, he had been sleeping in it. He was quite the odd man, Enzo had heard. Though, that didn’t matter.

Enzo took a seat right next to Bernadi,the young man’s heart pounding beneath his chest, hands quivering and shaking.

“Look at me, kid,” Bernadi ordered. “I want to know what the hell is going on. Why in Lupa’s name are you trying to tear apart the walls like a Vigoroth?”

Enzo swallowed hard, but didn’t respond. Fear kept him from speaking, even though his superior had ordered him to.

“C’mon, kid. I wanna know,” Bernadi demanded.

“Some Kalosian made an ass of me, sir,” Enzo meekly said. “He claimed he was all about The Legione and pretended to be one of us… then he sicced his Gardevoir on me when I tried recruiting another kid and Giuseppe.”

Bernadi raised a brow and leaned forward, looking at Enzo in his emerald eyes. “Kalosian, huh? What was this person’s name?” He asked.

“H-he said his name was Emile Hawthorne, but I’m not sure if it was real, sir.”

Bernadi narrowed his eyes and clicked his tongue once, then twice as he turned his head away from Enzo and rested against the chair.

Then the room fell silent.

“Sir?” Enzo weakly called out.

“Emile Hawthorne?” Bernadi asked as he turned back towards Enzo. “You’re sure about that?”

“Y-yessir.” Enzo said. “Emile Hawthorne.”

Aurelio leaned forward again and reached into his pocket, pulling out a small wad of PokeDollars.

“Get out of here, go get laid or whatever you kids do.” He handed Enzo the money. “But don’t ever do stupid shit like this again, hear me? If you do, at least do it somewhere you aint seen. Shit’s embarrassing for us and you alike.”

“Yessir! Thank you sir!” Enzo said as he took the money and swiftly turned and left HQ, quietly shutting the door.

Aurelio sighed as he grabbed his Rotomphone and opened up the TrainerDex App. The name “Emile Hawthorne” sounded very familiar to him… and he was fixing to find out why as he typed the name into the search bar.

He had heard the name earlier. Some of the Legione’s contacts from Galar bitched and moaned about him. Apparently, this ‘Hawthorne’ had punched one of them in the nose.

Aurelio, at the time, told them that it was their fault and they deserved it, then threatened to burn their livelihoods to the ground if they ever did anything like that again. Blocking off a Pokemon Center and claiming to be aligned with The Legione was bad press, and The Armata didn’t need any of that.

As soon as he pulled Hawthorne’s page up, he began skimming through it. He saw photos of this man competing all over the world when he was a child. This Hawthorne fellow was certainly the poster boy for Pokemon Trainers everywhere.

Then things got interesting the further he looked into it… worked with International Police in his first year, worked in Sinnoh’s ACE Department and helped combat Team Galactic back when that shit hit the fan.

Aurelio scratched his chin and nodded his head. Yup, he thought. This guy was going to be trouble.

“Call Capitano Greco,” he said to the device.

The Rotomphone’s screen lit up with a large thumbs up before the screen shifted to a black screen displaying the name “CAPITANO GRECO.”.

It rang once… then twice… then three times, and finally, an older man’s face appeared.

“Bernadi,” Greco grumbled. “Why are you calling this late?”

“Signore, I’m requesting use of our…” Bernadi paused, trying to find the right words. “Mike Uniform. I think we might have a problem.”


And thus the first arc kicks off in Lantana!

I want to thank the following for beta-reading

Casmii
Endgame13

And I wish to thank YemDM/Setsu for the cover!
 

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