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Flannery in Reborn - The Tale of a Firehead [Last defeated: Dounia]

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Looking forward to Flannery stepping on Reborn soil- hope old Reborn City won't shock her too much after spending so much of her life in the pretty landscapes of Hoenn 😄

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ALL RIGHT!!! Flannery is going to reborn tomorrow ヾ(≧▽≦*)o I wonder what is her first impression of Reborn like.Also Flannery and Winona BROTP d=====( ̄▽ ̄*)b

I bet that halfway through the game Winona finally found a reserve and come visit Flannary for a while ( •̀ ω •́ )✧

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18 minutes ago, Angelkitsune said:

ALL RIGHT!!! Flannery is going to reborn tomorrow ヾ(≧▽≦*)o I wonder what is her first impression of Reborn like.Also Flannery and Winona BROTP d=====( ̄▽ ̄*)b

I bet that halfway through the game Winona finally found a reserve and come visit Flannary for a while ( •̀ ω •́ )✧

No! Wish against that! That's usually when the best friend gets axed! Dx I'm not sure if that's really gonna happen but you know. Lol.

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Thank you all for your feedback! 😄 

Yes, Flannery risks to be a bit disillusioned once arrived in Reborn. Finding how she could keep in touch with Winona as well as getting a general agreement from the other Gym Leaders were probably the most difficult things to detail in this arc, especially if she struggles with separations. We will certainly continue to hear about what becomes of Winona further in the story, and the fact that she could go to Reborn later might be a possibility too. But for the moment, the story will essentially focus on Flannery and what will go on inside of her head once there. The verdict of the council is quite explicit in the end. Torkoal and Vulpix will be the two Pokemon who will accompany her when she'll leave Hoenn~

 

PS: I just noticed that we've reached the cap of 4k views despite the story has not even start in Reborn yet! This is really cheering, I appreciate the interest you've paid for the story until now 🙂

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Spoiler

It was the end of the council. While Jacques and Ame were heading back to Lilycove City to clean up some business in private, Flannery who had just been named ‘Ambassador of Hoenn’ was about to appreciate her last afternoon in the region with great passion by going to Rustboro City, accompanied by Winona and Roxanne. Since they were both aware of the new position of the redhead, they decided to escort her to Lavaridge Town at the end of the day. Thus, Flannery could quietly make an inventory of what was going to be necessary during the journey, so she would not find herself in setbacks upon arrival. The train to Reborn was going to leave at 10:15AM tomorrow in the morning. Consequently, Flannery had to be provident and well-prepared. Meanwhile, the hope of finding back long-lost sensations was flooding the heart of the young ambassador. Today, it’s morning in Lavaridge Town. Rays of sunshine pierced through the window of Flannery’s chamber. Awakened by the light on her sweet face, the youthful woman got up progressively, regaining senses little by little. After a small time of recuperation, she sat on the edge of her bed, dressed in a green nightgown.

 

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Flannery: “Fwaaah! What a night! It’s been a long time since I didn’t sleep well like that.”

 

Then, after having done some stretches to get back into shape, she quickly realized that the day of her departure for Reborn has finally come.

 

Flannery: “Oh God! I almost forgot. It’s true that I’m supposed to take the train for Reborn today. I wonder what time it is.”

 

Caught up by great enthusiasm, she looked at the clock on the wall. Fortunately for her, she didn’t wake up too late. She remembered the departure time of her train in Fallarbor Town.

 

Flannery: “9:00AM, all right! We should be good, I still have some minutes left to finish my preparation before Sapphire arrives. This is incredible when I think about that, I’m going to leave! It’s still hard for me to realize what’s happening. I’m so excited!”

 

The desire of leaving for adventure has gotten to Flannery. She felt on cloud nine just by rethinking of it. Then, she immediately snapped out of the daydream by shaking her head. She took a deep inspiration to better control the torrent of energy inside of her.

 

Flannery: “Well, you’ll be fine Flannery… everything will be alright. I have faith in this. I just need to prepare myself a little more. I’d better dress myself right now. Sapphire will be here very soon and I can’t afford to make her wait. I have to get ready before she comes.”

 

The feisty redhead left her bed to move toward the wardrobe in her room hastily. But contrary to her recent habits, she opened the drawer of the lower part of the wardrobe. Inside, there were long simple blue jeans neatly folded as well as a black tee-shirt with a red pattern of flames on it. It was Flannery’s standard attire. She used to wear it at the very start of her career, since the day when she got the official title of Gym Leader in Lavaridge Town. She decided to adopt this dress style shortly after having defeated Mura Moore in single battle seven years ago, her grandfather. It was intact, perfectly preserved, and didn’t seem to have been used for a while.

 

Flannery: “So many years have passed. And yet, I still have those clothes with me. I remember the time when I used to buy them. It was… a good time. Almost everything in the house could remind me.”

 

She stared at the clothes at length before to grab them.

 

Flannery: “But despite all these hardships, I’m still myself. And today, it starts up again. Let’s remake it from the beginning. That will certainly be better this way!”

 

She undressed herself, replacing her nightgown with her outfit of novice Gym Leader. A wind of nostalgia was blowing in the air, but melancholy was inexistent. There was nothing but pride and joy of experiencing strong sensations in a new light.

 

Flannery: “Here we go! Time for rebirth is now! Citizens of Reborn, get ready!”

 

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The lovely red-headed woman was on fire just by looking at herself in the mirror. She felt strong and confident.

 

Flannery: “But first things first! I didn’t take my breakfast yet, and I just can’t leave with an empty stomach. Let’s get to it. Sapphire will be here soon!”

 

Aware of the short time available, Flannery raced to the first floor, running down the stairs four at a time. Once in the living room, she moved to the cupboard in the kitchenette to take her favorite cereals as well as a small bowl. She filled it to the brim and boiled some water to prepare a full cup of ash flower tea. When the hot drink was ready, she displayed it all on the dining table in center of the room. But it was not the same daily ritual today. Before starting the meal, Flannery picked up the portrait of her grandfather in the drawer on the right sight of the stairway, and placed it on the opposite of the table on which she was about to eat. While she was in the middle of the breakfast, she confessed herself to him as if he was alive.

 

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Flannery: “Grandpa! If only you could see me through this portrait, so you’d admire the woman I became today. There’s nothing that could make me think otherwise. The little girl that I used to be in the past is now Ambassador of Hoenn. Today will be a wonderful day, I’m sure. I would so like to have you by my side, just to get back the taste of the comfort you gave me when I was a child. Everything is still so present in my memory, I will never forget this time when you left for Johto shortly after I became your substitute. And now, this is my turn to leave for adventure. I swear I’ll honor you in my feats like I always did, and I’ll be back victorious. I’ll do everything in my power to make it possible. Good appetite, grandpa!”

 

The single fact of expressing herself was a relief for Flannery. She could feel the blood of her grandfather boiling inside of her, she needed to travel the world just like Mr. Moore would have liked to do himself. Then, she continued to eat her breakfast. Once she was done with the meal, she cleared the dishes from the table by putting it in the sink, and put the portrait of her dear grandfather back in its place, inside of the drawer. Also, because she would have never accepted the idea of missing her train, Flannery pulled her PokeNav out of her pocket to check the time.

 

Flannery: “It’s 9:25AM, perfect. I should normally be in time. Normally. But… let’s just check if…”

 

The redhead hurried to go outside of her residence to see if Sapphire or Winona were not arrived already.

 

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Flannery: “Hm. There’s nobody on sight.”

 

But nobody came. At least, not for the moment. Taking advantage of this short time of absence, Flannery returned home and went upstairs to her bedroom to be sure to not have forgotten anything important to put in her bag. The headstrong ambassador has rose the bar very high regarding the preparation of her trip in Reborn.

 

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Flannery: “Everything looks good. Anyway, I don’t even know how I was supposed to organize myself better. Well. Now that it’s done, I think I’ll just get some air and wait for Sapphire to show up.”

 

That’s what she did. Without further ado, Flannery put on her back and went downstairs quietly to get out of her house once and for all, locking the door behind her. Henceforth, she was about to make a fresh restart with her former life to put herself in the shoes of a pure Pokemon trainer again. While she looked at the sky lazily, lined up on the wall outside her place, she let Mag and Meg go out of their Pokeballs. Since Sapphire wasn’t here yet, Flannery decided to kill some time by talking with her Pokemon.

 

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Flannery: “Hello you! How are you today?”

 

Mag and Meg answered to their mistress by moving slowly but surely toward her with a cheerful expression.

 

Mag: “Maaaag!”

Meg: “Maaaaa!”

Flannery: “Haha, I’ll take that as a yes. I’m glad to see you!”

Meg: “Maaaaa!”

Mag: “Maaaag!”

 

They both looked at her with a tender gaze, her presence reassured them. For Flannery, it was the same. Along the years, she has developed a very deep connection with them. Needless to say, she was the only one to really understand them. The redhead said the following words to them.

 

Flannery: “Mag… Meg… I wanted to say… thank you. Thank you for everything. I am… very proud of you. You and me, we have surmounted so many adventures and challenges. I owe you so much for all these moments spent together, as well as for all those great fights we led until now.”

 

The Fire Pokemon reacted serenely to Flannery’s praises. They seemed to really love what she said and shared her happiness.

 

Mag: “Gooooo!”

Meg: “Sluuuug!”

Flannery: “Yes. This is mad, I still have memories of you when we met each other for the first time on the road to Fallarbor Town with grandpa. You were so isolated, so shy. And look how things turned out today. We came a long way together, and it’s mainly thanks to you that I learned how to gain confidence. Thank you so much for this!”

Mag: “Maaagcaaar!”

Meg: “Sluuuuuug!”

 

Suddenly, while Flannery was showing her gratitude to her magmatic partners, all were interrupted by the unexpected appearance of a gigantic Tropius in the sky. It was hovering above the trees of the forest from the south of the town. By squinting her eyes to the winged Pokemon, Flannery saw Sapphire on its back. The brunette was finally about to come in Lavaridge Town.

 

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Flannery: “She’s here.”

Mag & Meg: “Ma?”

 

The successor of Flannery was preparing her landing. However, as opposed to Winona who was a natural master of aviation, the movements of Sapphire’s Pokemon were more abrupt and less elegant. On the other hand, it was understandable. Pokemon are a reflection of their trainers, and Sapphire was kind of a go-getter. She landed on the ground in her own way and greeted the redhead warmly after she sent back Tropius into its Pokeball.

 

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Sapphire: “Hi Flannery! How are you this morning? Ready for a new start?”

Flannery: “Greetings Sapphire! Yeah, couldn’t be better. I packed my bags and my will is good. But I could ask you the same thing. How does that make you feel, Sapphire, knowing you’re now the new Gym Leader of Lavaridge Town?”

Sapphire: “Well… let’s say that it’s going to be a great change. To be honest, I’m mostly accustomed to field studies, and have been for years now. I say that in all modesty, I’m certainly one of the most talented in my field. But I’ve never been the leader of any group myself. This thought never even crossed my mind before.”

Flannery: “There’s a first time for everything. And, between you and me, you’re not only a trainer of exception, but also a trustworthy and respectable person. You and Ruby are the only one I know who have proven worthy in holding that job for me.”

Sapphire: “You’re probably right.”

 

While the two women were discussing with each other, Mag recognized Sapphire quickly enough. Distant memories of the fight against the brunette’s Combusken resurfaced in the mind of the Lava Pokemon. He uttered a long and loud cry, catching the attention of Flannery who turned back.

 

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Mag: “Magcaaaargo!”

Flannery: “Hm? Oh yes, that’s true. Mag, this is Sapphire. You already met a long time ago. I’m sure you recognize her.”

Sapphire: “Hello buddy! Do you remember me?”

 

Mag, who was still very impressed, nodded timidly. However, Meg stared at the young trainer with a bewildered expression. It was the first time she saw Sapphire in her life. As a matter of fact, she looked a little bit disturbed.

 

Meg: “Sluuuug?”

Sapphire: “So, Flannery? I see that you let your Pokemon out before I come. You tell them about me?”

 

Flannery, who tried to keep her thoughts straight, explained herself.

 

Flannery: “Um… in fact… that’s what I was going to do some minutes ago. Don’t you mind if I stay with Mag and Meg, just one more time. I would like to say ‘Good bye’ to them.”

Sapphire: “Of course, that’s absolutely not a problem for me. It’s an important moment and I fully respect it. Just pretend I’m not here, I promise not to get in your way.”

Mag: “Mag?”

 

Then, Flannery moved to Mag and Meg. Even though she didn’t feel very comfortable at the mere idea of abandoning them, she knew it was one of the last steps to take to live out her goal. A solemn confession was about to be done between the redhead and her dear Lava Pokemon.

 

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Flannery: “*Sigh* Okay. Hm… Mag… Meg… I think we should talk. I didn’t have time to tell you and I really hope you won’t take it badly, but… I… I have to… I have to go.”

Mag & Meg: “Maa?!”

Flannery: “I know. This is hard. Hard for you… hard for me. I did not even know how to tell you that. And frankly, I would have liked to make you know in a better way. You have to believe me!”

Meg: “M-maa?”

Flannery: “I am leaving for another region and it’s very important to me to go there. But I had choices to make, and unfortunately, I can’t take you with me. But don’t worry. Mummy will be back home very soon. Until then, it’s Sapphire who will take care of you.”

 

It took some time for Flannery’s Pokemon to get the point, but in the end, they appeared to be understanding toward their mistress. They came a bit closer from the redhead, animated by all the love they had for her. Even without any physical interactions, they felt carried away by affection.

 

Mag: “Goooo.”

Meg: “Sluuuuug.”

Flannery: “Awww… I love you so much. Just keep in mind that none of you is more loved than any other. We all belong to the same family, and in my heart, you are and you’ll still be the same for me. This is why I can’t leave you alone as if nothing was the matter. Sapphire is a good friend of mine as well as a model trainer. She’ll know how to take care of you in the best way. You can definitely trust her. Am I right, Mag?”

 

The volcanic gastropod agreed by nodding slowly. And without knowing why, Meg began to feel reassured too.

 

Mag: “Maaaaagcaaaaaar.”

Meg: “Sluuuuuuugmaaaaa.”

Flannery: “That’s it. I have all the good reasons to think that you’ll get along well with her. Have faith, everything will be alright.”

Mag: “Maaaag.”

Meg: “Maaaa.”

 

Not wishing for this harrowing scene to last any longer, Flannery pulled her two Pokeballs out of her pocket with the heavy heart.

 

Flannery: “*Snif* My darlings… I love you.”

 

Shortly after having said these words, she called back the two Fire Pokemon. They both disappeared in a strong red light, returning inside of the Pokeballs held by Flannery. For them, it was the end of their last goodbyes. The redhead remained silent like a stone, looking at the ground with the Pokeball in her hands.

 

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Flannery: “Done.”

Sapphire: “Will you be alright?”

Flannery: “Yes.”

Sapphire: “Tell me if you don’t feel alright, okay?”

Flannery: “Okay.”

 

The silence was long. Then, the fiery ambassador turned to Sapphire, giving her the Pokeballs she had in her hands, as well as the magnetic card of the gym wistfully. Nevertheless, she planned to keep the Pokeballs containing Torkoal and Vulpix with her to be sure to enjoy a decent start in Reborn. And that’s precisely what she did.

 

Flannery: “Here it is Sapphire, the gym is yours. I gave you everything you’ll need. You’ll find the badges inside of the room dedicated to battles.”

Sapphire: “Thanks Flannery. I don’t know what to say. Um… you’re sure you have no regrets?”

Flannery: “Actually… no. Not really. As I said before, I believe in you, Sapphire. You’re a good friend and I know it. Additionally, it’s not as if I owe you several debts since the first time we met. Accept this opportunity to replace me to better let erupt this river of boiling energy inside of you. We’re not that different from each other, you and me. And the day I’ll be back, we will be even stronger than we are now. Both of us.”

Sapphire: “I have no doubt about that. Some days ago, I would have never imagined to maintain a gym like this myself. It will be a considerable change for me too. But still, that sounds so unusual. It seems like we’ve decided to swap roles with each other.”

Flannery: “So true! That’s such an unexpected wind of change!”

 

All of a sudden, while Flannery and Sapphire were disserting together next to the residence located at the edge of the woods, Winona showed up, flying through the sky on the back of Skarmory, hair in the wind.

 

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Sapphire: “Hey! Look up!”

Flannery: “Where? I don’t see anything.”

Sapphire: “Behind you!”

Flannery: “Ah! That’s Winona! With Skarmory!”

 

The aviator was more determined than ever to escort her friend to the railway station in Fallarbor Town this morning. She reached the ground in front of the two women swiftly after having executed a perfect landing. Then, the elegant damsel spoke to them by greeting them.

 

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Winona: “Good morning Flannery! Good morning Sapphire! How are doing?”

Flannery: “Hello Winona! I’m fine. I’ve just handed over the Pokeballs of Mag and Meg to Sapphire as well as my gym card. Otherwise, my preparation is over. I’m ready to go with you!”

Sapphire: “Hi Winona! Yeah. As Flannery said, everything is going perfectly. I don’t have anything special to add myself, except maybe the fact that separations with her Pokemon were relatively… intense.”

Winona: “Really?”

Flannery: “Hm… I can’t hide anything from you, Winona. Yeah, she’s right. Nevertheless, I fully assume my engagement.”

Winona: “I told you it wasn’t that simple. That’s something you should have expected to. But so be it, we have already discussed about this long enough yesterday. What really matters is that you don’t have any regrets about your decisions.”

Flannery: “I kinda agree. But don’t worry for me either, I can deal with the consequences. Anyway, if I had to put each of my goals in question everytime I have a choice to make in my life, so I would not stop living in doubt and fear of what might go wrong, and that way, I would end up doing nothing. That’s not the life I chose. I don’t want it!"

Sapphire: “That’s a very good statement. And somehow, that’s a thing I can understand. I tend to identify myself in your words, Flannery. You’ll see, I’m convinced that this travel will be an unforgettable experience for you.”

Flannery: “Thanks Sapphire! I really appreciate your support. In any case, I promise you all to send you some regular news when I’ll be there.”

Sapphire: “No problem for me. I trust you!”

Winona: “That’s a good point. Don’t forget us, Flannery.”

Flannery: “Keep cool Winona, that won’t happen!”

 

In the middle of the discussion, Skarmory began to scratch the ground frantically with his claws to remind Winona and the others girls that time was flying.

 

Winona: “Yes, Skarmory? What do you n… ah yes, that’s true. Flannery, I think we should leave now. The morning is going quicker than I expected and it would be bad for you to miss your train.”

Flannery: “You’re right. We have to go!”

 

In the process, Flannery turned to Sapphire and made a suggestion to her.

 

Flannery: “So, Sapphire… do you want to come with us and follow us to Fallarbor Town? Or would you rather stay here?”

Sapphire: “Well… this is… this is very kind of you, Flannery. But go ahead. I would like to stay on spot. Don’t take it against you, it’s just a matter of finding my bearings. Not because I forgot how Lavaridge Town looked like these days, but it could provide me some comfort to better know what’s awaiting me since I’m the new Gym Leader of this town.”

Flannery: “Okay. If you say so.”

Winona: “Do what you feel is right, Sapphire. After the departure of Flannery, I’ll be probably back here to coach you and help you to familiarize with your new job like I did with her.”

Sapphire: “Why not? You already offered me your services to improve my fighting techniques in the past. So, I’m sure your knowledge will help me just as much for this.”

Winona: “Ahah, absolutely. I don’t have any doubt about that!”

 

After this brief girl-to-girl interlude, Winona finally jumped over Skarmory with Flannery behind her. It was time for them to leave and join Jacques and Ame at Fallarbor Town.

 

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Flannery: “See you, Sapphire! Adventure is calling me. Take good care of Mag and Meg for me!”

Sapphire: “They’ll be fine, you can count on me. Have a nice trip! And don’t forget to turn up the heat for me!”

Winona: “Here we go!”

Skarmory: “Skaaaaarmoryyyyyyyyy!”

 

Shortly afterwards, Skarmory flapped his wings vigorously to rise up into the air, gaining altitude and flew straight in the direction of Fallarbor Town to the North. Sapphire, who have chosen to stay in the village, watched them moving far away from Lavaridge Town. Meanwhile, the two damsels were hovering peacefully above the large forest who was bordering the Mt. Chimney on the west side. By chance, there wasn’t any ash falling from above in this area at this moment. The tranquility of the flight immersed Flannery deep in sweet waking dreams.

 

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Flannery: (Those landscapes… everytime I see it, I get this feeling building up inside of me like a geyser. Grandpa… you who had beautified my childhood… you who made me the woman I am now… you who had always wanted to explore the world one last time… today, I’ll do as if it was the day of us. I know you can still read my mind from somewhere, just as you can still see my feats. I swear to stay strong and honor your memory, even beyond our boundaries. I take an oath on it!)

 

The redhead was galvanized like never before. For her, this travel was going to be more of a personal experience rather than a competition officially organized by any federation. She was the first Gym Leader to break the rules in Hoenn, her passion and her taste for dares were about to take her far beyond her homeland frontiers. This was still very different from the day when she had to go for Unova. Then, in just a few minutes, the two women managed to discern the lands of Fallarbor Town which appeared on the horizon. It did not fail to impress Flannery who have not seen time passing by. Jacques and Ame were standing near the gate of the railway station down below by awaiting the arrival of the ambassador.

 

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Winona: “We arrived, Flannery! The town is under our feet.”

Flannery: “Yes, I saw it. Good job! Hm… would this not be Jacques with Ame down there?”

Winona: “Seems so.”

Flannery: “Excellent! I feel like we’re just in time. At least, it was quick. You’re getting better at this every day, Winona.”

Winona: “Thank you Flannery. Serving you is always a pleasure to me. I intend to enjoy it till the end.”

Flannery: “Haha, you’re so right to do so *Wink*”

 

Without further ado, Winona leaned over Skarmory, ordering him to reach the path leading to the railway station of Fallarbor Town. The metallic bird obeyed and bowed diagonally to get closer from the ground, preparing his landing. As always, the Gym Leader of Fortree City knew how to control her Pokemon, making the arrival of the two girls flawless and sweet. Once on the ground, Winona brought Skarmory back into his Pokeball and moved alongside with Flannery to the place where Jacques and Ame were waiting. The two hosts saw the ambassador and greeted her as she deserved for her punctuality.

 

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Ame: “Hello you! Did you have a good trip?”

Winona: “Greetings Ame! Yes, everything is going as planned, we’ve met Sapphire this morning.”

Flannery: “I can confirm it myself. Me and her have concluded some formalities in Lavaridge Town before I go. She’s now an integral part of the Hoenn League. Aside from that, I’m doing well.”

 

As opposed to Ame, Jacques was standing back. The young man looked shyer than the other times just by looking at Flannery’s new outfit. Then, he tried to express himself in turn.

 

Jacques: “Well… hello ladies! That’s a… that’s a pleasure for me to meet you that early. I feel… coddled by your presence.”

 

The redhead replied enthusiastically.

 

Flannery: “Hahaha, me too, Jacques! Yeah, you’ll notice that we have anticipated things the best way we could to not miss that train. I don’t like to deal with unintended events.”

Jacques: “And yet, you don’t exactly know what’s awaiting you in Reborn. Ironic, isn’t it? But… all right, I know what you’re getting at. By ‘unintended events’, I suppose you mean ‘being late’.”

Flannery: “Got it, that’s actually what I meant. I love challenges and adventures, and I would feel bad to get around it. Also, that’s not worthy of an ambassador to be late.”

Winona: “You can say that again.”

Ame: “Absolutely! This is why we’ve decided to leave the premises earlier as well. Before you arrived, we were about to go in to buy boarding passes.”

Flannery: “Sweet, you really thought of everything as I can see. Can we leave now?”

 

Winona felt her heart bumping into her throat just by listening to these single words. Jacques was well aware of it, he used this opportunity to jump on Flannery’s comments.

 

Jacques: “Hum… are you really sure that leaving now is what you want? There’s no train in the station for the moment, so we can’t board yet. Furthermore, I presume Winona would still like to spend a little more time in your company.”

Winona: (How perceptive of him… I wonder if he’s not reading my mind sometimes.)

Ame: “He’s not that wrong. Don’t forget, Flannery. This entrance is the last thing standing between you and Reborn. When our decision is taken, we don’t go back. If you leave now, you risk to not return to Hoenn for a while. So, what are you going to choose?”

 

For a minute, Flannery was uncertain. But somehow, she knew herself that the time for departure has not yet come. Thus, she gave the following answer.

 

Flannery: “You’re probably right. I would certainly regret to leave this place so hastily and experiencing something new with discomfort is not what I want. Otherwise, I fear that it wastes my journey in Reborn. As you said Jacques, it would be wiser to proceed step by step.”

Jacques: “Yes, that’s exactly what I said.”

Flannery: “So be it. Go ahead! I would like to stay outside with Winona for a moment.”

Winona: “Thank you Flannery.”

Ame: “Very good! We’ll do it that way. However, since a picture of you is required for the validation of your boarding pass, we won’t be able to take yours for you. Go to the counter after you’ve arranged things with Winona. For my part, I’ll do my best to explain your situation to the teller, so you’ll have access to the front of the line when you’ll go in for your ticket. After that, come find us to the train platform. We’ll wait for you there.”

Flannery: “No problemo. Put like that, we should be good! See you!”

Jacques: “See you, Flannery!”

 

Without further debate, Jacques and Ame entered the railway station in order to purchase their own respective passes at the counter while Flannery and Winona took both advantages of this last instant together to say ‘Goodbye’ to each other. It was an emotionally charged moment. The two girls often used to get around together for years. Obviously, none of them was left insensitive to the context of this separation. Flannery spoke first. In fact, she didn’t really feel at ease, fearing of being considered irresponsible by a longtime friend.

 

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Flannery: “So… that’s it, Winona. I believe the time has come for you and me to go our own way. Once again, I hope you… um… I hope you won’t be mad at me for this.”

 

Winona reacted quickly to Flannery’s concern, trying her best to reassure her. For the aerial woman, it was a golden opportunity to express her true thinking about the departure of the firehead.

 

Winona: “Seriously Flannery, do you really think I would be mad at you simply for being happy and enjoying life?”

Flannery: “Hum, what?”

Winona: “The more I look back on this, the more I wonder if you were not right all along. It was stupid from me to stay confined in my dark thoughts, always fearing the worst for you. Don’t you agree? If you’re well accompanied and assisted during your stay, and if all the conditions have already been fulfilled to grant you the possibility to wander freely out of Hoenn, so in the end, I have no reason to feel sorry for myself anymore. That was selfish of me. All this time, I’ve fallen over my personal vision of what was better for you, at a point where I’ve been blinded by my own anxiety. I should be happy for you instead.”

Flannery: “You don’t have to blame yourself for this, Winona. There’s no shame in being afraid for me. But I don’t want you to get sick over the fact I’m leaving either. Together, we’ve already saved the world twice! Therefore, it’s not a little trip in a town I’ve never seen that is supposed to intimidate me.”

Winona: “Yes, you’re right. But this word, ‘together’… it won’t appear in your story this time. This is why I want you to be on your guard as long as you can. It would have taken me more than the council of yesterday to make me forget that Reborn is a dangerous place to visit.”

Flannery: “Oh, this! Please, we actually talked enough about that.”

Winona: “But on the other hand… you’ve already proved the extent of your skills more than necessary to convince me of your tenacity. More than a fighter, you’re a warrior. I have faith in you and your success, Flannery.”

Flannery: “Yay, I kinda agree! A pure warrior who’s not afraid of anything, haha. Nevertheless, my heart is tender than it looks. I can’t deny it.”

Winona: “I’m sure you couldn’t. And don’t let anyone in Reborn mess with your mind or blind you to your origins. Never forget who is your true friend.”

Flannery: “Of course, she’s in front of me. You’re everything to me, Winona.”

Winona: “I am sure of it. Even if these persons… Jacques and Ame have popped up from nowhere and have entered into your life the last few days, I don’t want anyone to ruin our friendship. Make sure you remember that, Flannery. You’re the most precious thing I have in this world. I will always love you more than them, or anyone else, ever could.”

Flannery: “Your empathy goes straight to my heart, Winona. Thank you. And keep relax, you know well that nobody will ever repla… uh? Winona?”

Winona: “…”

Flannery: “Why are you making that face?”

Winona: “…”

Flannery: “Something’s not right? Hey, Winnie? You hear me?”

Winona: “…”

Flannery: (*Gulp* Why do I feel uneasy now?)

 

While they were in the middle of a conversation, Winona remained motionless in a very disturbing silence. Flannery, who was standing in front of her, was almost horrified by the change in the facial expression of the angelic girl. Winona looked like she was caught up by a sudden chill. Her eyes became as round as the Pokeball she had in her pocket, and the colors of life seemed to fade on her skin, as the surprise was huge. The redhead had never attended such a show during her lifetime. Winona could barely speak.

 

Winona: “Be… hind… behind you!”

 

Behind Flannery was standing the source of Winona’s terror. It was a long black silhouette dressed in a dark raincoat and a big hat, surrounded by a red flaming aura which gave it a sort of demonic aspect. The Flying Gym Leader could not even see its face since it was covered by the hat. The silhouette was floating next to Flannery above the railway station… imperturbable… quiet… cold.

 

Flannery: “What’s happening? What is behind me!?”

Winona: “Don’t… look…”

Flannery: “Eeh!?!?”

 

AJU2MCc.gif

 

But at this very moment when Flannery turned back, the silhouette disappeared suddenly without leaving a trace. There was nothing but the hall of the station behind the former Gym Leader. Winona tried to regain her sanity back, she was still in shock for having seen this strange creature popping out of nowhere.

 

Winona: “I-I think that… I think that… I think I’ve never been so frightened in my life.”

Flannery: “You’re sure you’re right? It was just like you saw a ghost. You had one of those faces!”

Winona: “You might think I‘ve gone nuts for saying this, but… it was the case.”

Flannery: “What!?”

Winona: “Or at least that’s what I think. I don’t know anymore. There was a kind of big guy dressed all in black who was levitating behind you. He appeared and disappeared all at once without warning.”

Flannery: “Seriously!? Be that as it may, there’s nothing behind me, but hey! You looked so confused! That’s the first time I see you like this!”

Winona: “And there is a reason for my reaction. I swear, Flannery. My eyes don’t lie, and I only believe what I can see.”

Flannery: “Well… if that’s the truth… ghosts? Are you really sure about that?”

Winona: “I don’t exactly know what it was. All I can say is that… it was really chilling. It looked like a being from another dimension… as if it was born through a dark realm… or… a nightmare.”

 

Flannery was perplexed. She didn’t know what to think concerning this situation. Since she didn’t notice anything abnormal, she began to suspect something from Winona.

 

acS5tGg.png

 

Flannery: “Winnie. What are you trying to do? Are you really so determined to keep me there? I would have largely preferred you to do it another way.”

Winona: “Wh-What!? What do you say?”

 

The redhead seemed to be disappointed. She who had blind faith in her partner started to question her impartiality for the first time.

 

Flannery: “This is not by making up bedtime stories that you’ll manage to dissuade me. This is too late, and you know it well! I can understand why you’re so possessive with me, but my choice is done. You have to deal with it now.”

 

These insinuations didn’t fail to disrupt the lavender-haired woman. Flannery was incorrectly thinking that Winona told her wrong information just to prevent her from leaving at the last moment. Not wanting to offense her friend, Winona tried to talk with her peacefully.

 

Winona: “Wait! Are you supposing that I’m lying to you?”

Flannery: “That’s the impression I have. If you really want me to stay, at least, have the decency to say it loud and clear. But please, stop scaring me like that. Acting by making me think that danger is threating me is not a good thing. I don’t like it at all, and even more so when it comes from you, Winona.”

Winona: “But Flannery, I…”

Flannery: “Please, stop!”

 

Silence was absolute in the central quarter of Fallarbor Town. Winona felt totally distraught and disoriented. Then, after the outburst came sorrow. Nobody talked anymore, and Flannery stressed again. She felt very discouraged by Winona’s attitude, and whined.

 

CW0pIbl.png

 

Flannery: “Why are you like this? All I wanted to do was just to be free and discovering the world like in my old days. Why won’t you support me till the end?”

Winona: “Oh… sorry… please be okay. That’s not what I wanted.”

Flannery: “If I believe in you, so why won’t you believe in me? It seems to me that I already told you that I was able to cover my back like an adult. Please, understand me. Just trust me!”

 

Flannery’s angst had awakened once again. Yet, Winona was the only one to understand her. She could feel her desperation, so she moved to Flannery to ‘apologize’. She tried her best to be reassuring and placed her hand on the left shoulder of the fire girl. The very thought of wasting Flannery’s journey was about to set her in a rather uncomfortable situation.

 

Winona: “You… you’re right Flannery. I was a fool to act like I did. That was stupid and not worthy of me. I did not mean to… um… I’m ashamed of myself. It’s just that…”

Flannery: “…”

Winona: “…it’s just that I want to continue to live with you. Away from you, I’m afraid to not feel like a complete being anymore. Your smile, your cheerfulness, your kindness… I’ll miss all of this. I wouldn’t know what to do to stop paying attention to this chapter of my life. Everything would turn dull and bleak.”

Flannery: “…”

Winona: “Without you… I feel like a prisoner of the void.”

 

Immediately after the Flying Gym Leader had said these words, a tear in her eyes, Flannery placed her hand on Winona’s shoulder in turn.

 

Winona: “Hm?”

Flannery: “Winnie.”

Winona: “Yes?”

Flannery: “I…”

Winona: “…”

Flannery: “… I forgive you.”

 

In an instant, all the tensions disappeared.

 

6t8aBql.png

 

Winona: “R-Really? After everything I’ve said and done?”

Flannery: “Yes, and I say it without ulterior motive. You’re the jewelry of my life, Winona. Without you, there will be like an empty case in my existence as well. You’re the only one who can occupy it. Make no mistake about my reactions. I may occasionally be impulsive, for me, you are the one who worked the hardest to make me happy… at least, more than my parents. And that’s priceless to me! Just for that, I feel extremely indebted to you, and I will probably be until my very last breath and beyond.”

Winona: “Thank you Flannery! Thank you for considering me as such! I’ll never pull a trick like that on you again, I promise. For the sake of our friendship!”

Flannery: “For our friendship!”

 

Aware of the passage of time, Flannery turned her head backward, looking at the hall of the railway station. She still had a lot to do and said goodbye to the elegant lady once and for all.

 

Flannery: “But I can’t stay here indefinitely. The time for leaving has come for me. Jacques and Ame are waiting for me inside.”

Winona: “All right then. Go in and join them. I swear I’ll do my best to get over it. After all, there is no separation without a sense of loss. That’s what life is made of.”

Flannery: “You can do it Winona, I am sure. I may be a warrior myself, you are the true ruler of the Hoenn League among the other Gym Leaders. You proved that more than once, they are all counting on you. Keep an eye on them. Take care of Lavaridge Town for me. Take care of Sapphire. And more importantly, take care of yourself!”

Winona: “I won’t forget it. And don’t worry for me. Even if it will take time, I will adapt to my new life.”

Flannery: “That’s what I was hoping you were going to say. In any case, I really appreciate it. Come on, let’s do this! Goodbye Winona!”

Winona: “Goodbye Flannery! May the victory be yours in Reborn!”

 

Thus, the discussion was over. While Flannery, who was delighted to have made ends meet with Winona, penetrated inside of the station to purchase her boarding pass, her friend remained quiet and motionless. Winona was observing the redhead moving to the counter from her position. Deep down inside, the angelic damsel knew what was good for herself… just as she knew what was good for Flannery.

 

N1ZJvaI.png

 

Winona: (So she did. Gone. Let’s hope she won’t regret her decision… but I’m not a fool. I know I saw something. This creature… it looked so real. At least as real as me or anybody else living on this earth. But still. Was that… only… a man? Did this entity has a connection with Flannery’s departure? Or maybe… Flannery’s family? Such occurrences don’t happen for no reason. Why am I seeing this kind of thing?)

 

Then, in a moment of extreme lucidity, Winona replied the following sentences to herself in a low voice.

 

Winona: (Flannery… this is not the last time we see each other. I know what I saw, and I know the truth. Someday, you’ll find it out by yourself. And when you do… you’ll remember me and what I told you. If you’re ever in danger or need help, I swear I’ll be the first to be informed. You’ll see. This isn’t over yet. One way or another, I’ll have an impact on your story. It will be ours! By then, may the chance be with you. See you soon, Flannery!)

 

Before to go, the loving lady said a last prayer by crossing her arms on her breast as a sign of good fortune for Flannery. Having nothing more to add, Winona left Fallarbor Town by riding on the back of Skarmory, the heart pounding in her chest. In the meantime, Flannery was standing nervously next to the ticket counter of the railway station to get her precious pass.

 

mA0UINT.png

 

Flannery: “Hello mister! I need a one-way ticket to Reborn City. Can I have one?”

Teller: “Ha! Glad to see you, Miss Moore. Yes, people told us that you’d come this morning. They sure have been pushing that new league. We have a special boarding pass on sale just for you. Please fill out those fields. We’ll take care of your ID photo thereafter.”

Flannery: “OK, that’s all right!”

 

The teller gave Flannery something to write on. She hurried to complete some personal details about her before to return the pass to the man behind the counter as well as his pencil. The latter reviewed the document.

 

Teller: “Hm… well. That looks good. Now don’t move from here, I need you to stay still for the photo.”

Flannery: “No problem, we can start whenever you want.”

Teller: “Okay. You see the camera over there? Focus on it and be neutral, please.”

Flannery: “Understood. I’m ready!”

Teller: “Excellent.”

 

In fact, there was a camera mounted in the left corner of the office. Flannery turned to the camera with a natural expression, ready to be photographed. She looked quite relaxed. Once the process was over, the young man quickly printed a copy of the picture representing the foxy firehead and attached it to the boarding pass. Everything was ready for use. The train number and the seat number of Flannery were both assigned by the teller as well.

 

bMyce5e.png

 

Teller: “There, all set.”

Flannery: “Yay! Thank you, mister! That’s so kind of you.”

Teller: “That’s okay, that’s okay. After all, I’m just doing my job. But let’s be honest for one sec. Just between you and me, I heard that Reborn City was kind of a dump. Why anyone would want to go there is beyond me. And yet, bunch of Trainer-type folk have been heading out in droves.”

Flannery: “For real? We’re really that many to go there!?”

Teller: “Well… let’s just say that considering the total number of passes I sold this week, there are 4 out of 5 which are one-way tickets for Reborn, no less. By the way, I wonder how and why a talented Gym Leader like you can show interest in such a filthy place.”

 

Not knowing what to reply, the ambassador answered by putting herself on the defensive. She was not often in the habit of being put into question by someone else, and she didn’t like it either.

 

Flannery: “Everything I do is my business.”

Teller: “Oh, really? If so… sounds like we’ve nothing else to say to each other anymore. Except maybe that your train is stopped alongside the platform. I wouldn’t wait too long if I were you. You have ten minutes left to board, so you’d better go now.”

Flannery: “Well. Thanks, I guess.”

Teller: “My pleasure.”

 

After she was done with this boring conversation, Flannery put her pass in the bag, went through the gate which separated her from the platform, and joined Jacques and Ame who were both waiting for their dear ambassador to come in.

 

cAoWGJk.png

 

Flannery: “Hello you, I’m back!”

Ame: “Ah, hello again Flannery. Well, that means that you’ve finally got your boarding pass. Wonderful! We’re more than honored to have you among us, you know.”

Jacques: “You’re just in time, Flannery. The train had just arrived at the station. I hope that you and Winona had left on good terms and that you didn’t get messed up with this man at the counter too much either.”

Flannery: “No worries, I convinced Winona not to ask herself more questions than necessary. That’s not something I’m worried about, she’ll probably return to her little daily routine like she always did. However, this guy who gave me my pass was quite a nuisance as we might say. It was just like he enjoyed trash-talking Reborn behind your back. I didn’t really appreciate his comments.”

Ame: “Ah this… I guess you couldn’t miss that information before to come anyway. After the last fall-out, many people abandoned the region. For them, Reborn is considered as a region ravaged by impurity. That’s why we’ve decided to re-open the League, in order to make a name for us again. Needless to say, Pokemon themselves are kind of a scarce in there. So obviously, there will always be people trying to tarnish the image of Reborn.”

Jacques: “Actually, I think we already talked about that two days ago.”

Flannery: “That’s it. But all of this doesn’t scare me. Unlike some other folk, I have no prejudices against Reborn. That’s mostly for challenging and taking on the league that I decided to go. And if there’s a way for me to improve my techniques under pressure, so that sounds even better to me.”

Ame: “What a determination! Good, if that’s what you want, I’m sure you won’t get disappointed. In any case, if you really want to know what Reborn looks like, you’ll first have to discover it by yourself.”

Flannery: “Exactly, I’m so hyped to be there. Can we go now?”

Ame: “Certainly.”

 

The enthusiasm was so high that the red eyes of the charming Fire Type trainer were shining out.

 

Flannery: “Waw! So, let’s have some adventures now!”

Jacques: “Hehe! I don’t know why, but I have a very good feeling about this trip. This will be a great homecoming. By the way Flannery, without being intrusive… what’s the number of your seat?”

Flannery: “Hold on, I’ll tell you right now.”

 

The redhead hurried to look through her bag to pull out her pass and inspect it.

 

oLVuxDm.png

 

Flannery: “It’s written ‘Train: 8R750, Seat: 5D’.”

Jacques: “Ah marvelous! Mine is Seat 5F. You’ll be sitting right across from me.”

Flannery: “Great! At least, I won’t get bored with a stranger on this trip, haha.”

 

Just after saying this, the feisty redhead winked at Jacques. The Reserve Gym Leader saw it and felt pampered by the attention given by the ambassador.

 

Jacques: “That’s so nice from you to say it. You and me will have plenty of time to pursue our conversation together on this train. Plenty of time.”

Flannery: “Yay! I have no doubt about it. That will definitely be a great opportunity for me to learn more about Reborn even before I see the city with my own eyes. I feel so good right now! Thank you all!”

Ame & Jacques: “You’re welcome, Flannery!”

 

Immediately after these last exchanges of compliments, Flannery, Jacques and Ame boarded the train for Reborn. This time, it came true. The fate of the redhead was sealed. Without even realizing it, Flannery was about to become the sole master of her own destiny. The firehead had finally managed to get what she wanted. She was leaving the station platform of Fallarbor Town, animated by her passion for dares, the heart filled with hopes and joy. The desire of discovering new lands had taken over her. An unpredictable adventure awaited the granddaughter of Mr. Moore. Thus, the great journey for Reborn began!

 

iUEe3W5.png

 

QUICK LINK TO NEXT EPISODE

 

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Yes! She finally has gone to Reborn! I've been waiting for this moment. Feels great to see it finally see it happen. Getting better and better my friend.

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Yeah, she did! And the arrival will be something really original as well. I'm glad to be done with the Pre-Reborn seasons. Now, serious things will begin! I particularly enjoyed myself when I made Shade's scene. It's like we'll still hear about Winona even in Reborn. In fact, I can possibly have some plans for her too 😉

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I've almost finished reading. It feels like things will be a lot faster now that she is in , or rather on, the way to Reborn. Also, as Hoenn is now outta the way, editing will probably be less tiring.

 

A quick question: which starter will Flannery choose/obtain?

 

If it is Fire, she should probably go for something like Torchic, Chimchar, or Fenniken. She won't probably have Litten for a Fire type with Dark typing, as she will get a Houndour (It's a must!).

 

If it is any other type, I've got no idea as of now. For, she won't be making the mistake of having a full Fire team 🤣 it is not so predictable. Though, it is highly likely for her to think of having different types, other than just Fire.

 

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Posted (edited)

Wait, I finished reading, and I have a question; is Jacques gonna die in the train explosion? Or be lost in the desert?

Edited by Lost Swordsman

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Alright! Finally the prologue is over now we can get on with the story φ(゜▽゜*)♪ kinda surprised that Shade got an early cameo in there but I bet he enjoys freaking people out ψ(`∇´)ψ also I'm curious how Ame can save two person at the same time...hopefully Jacques will not die that early (っ °Д °;)っ sorry for the late reply ⊙﹏⊙∥

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@Angelkitsune I figured it out. It is probably gonna be like this that Ame saves Flannery, then Jacques saves Audine (Auduin? Audino? I'm not sure, check it in @Q-Jei 's status updates; the latest one, I think) or vice versa.

 

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This is so heartwarming to see all your messages of concern about Jacques's fate, thank you all! And that's justified, something terrible will actually happen during the train trip, and it will heavily affect more than one character of the story. I can't tell you more about this, cause it's precisely the fact of not knowing all the details of this accident which keeps the surprise real. Concerning Flannery's travelling companions, I already slept some indications in the chapter number 13, but it's also planned that she will get a starter in the Grand Hall. A poll has been opened to decide who would be the choosen one a few months ago, you can check this thread if you're interested. Otherwise, this story being based on a monorun, all the members of Flannery's team will have Fire Type. It's not entitled 'The Tale of a Firehead' for nothing 😉 (Which means that I'll have to defeat Amaria with a full fire team later as well, pray for me ಠ益ಠ)

 

On 1/2/2019 at 5:29 PM, Angelkitsune said:

I'm curious how Ame can save two person at the same time...

 

You got a point there. Ame can't throw two people through the window that easily. Obviously, things will happen in an unpredictable way this time. In fact, it's quite entertaining for me to see people imagining various scenarios about this accident at Grandview Station. And you don't have to complex on a late reply, being more or less easy-going myself, that's not a problem at all 🙂

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On 1/4/2019 at 12:53 AM, Q-Jei said:

This is so heartwarming to see all your messages of concern about Jacques's fate, thank you all! And that's justified, something terrible will actually happen during the train trip, and it will heavily affect more than one character of the story. I can't tell you more about this, cause it's precisely the fact of not knowing all the details of this accident which keeps the surprise real. Concerning Flannery's travelling companions, I already slept some indications in the chapter number 13, but it's also planned that she will get a starter in the Grand Hall. A poll has been opened to decide who would be the choosen one a few months ago, you can check this thread if you're interested. Otherwise, this story being based on a monorun, all the members of Flannery's team will have Fire Type. It's not entitled 'The Tale of a Firehead' for nothing 😉 (Which means that I'll have to defeat Amaria with a full fire team later as well, pray for me ಠ益ಠ)

On 1/4/2019 at 12:53 AM, Q-Jei said:
On 1/2/2019 at 10:29 PM, Angelkitsune said:

I'm curious how Ame can save two person at the same time...

 

You got a point there. Ame can't throw two people through the window that easily. Obviously, things will happen in an unpredictable way this time. In fact, it's quite entertaining for me to see people imagining various scenarios about this accident at Grandview Station. And you don't have to complex on a late reply, being more or less easy-going myself, that's not a problem at all 🙂

Good Luck against Amaria! Just, don't screw up too bad.

 

Also, if Ame was not able to/can not save two people together, was my guess correct?

On 1/3/2019 at 11:27 AM, Lost Swordsman said:

@Angelkitsune I figured it out. It is probably gonna be like this that Ame saves Flannery, then Jacques saves Audine (Auduin? Audino? I'm not sure, check it in @Q-Jei 's status updates; the latest one, I think) or vice versa.

 

 

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Another thing, you had mention in the thread that there is going to be a Grand Hall event or something. Does it mean that Flannery/'s Torkoal will be in the secret room to interrogate the Team Meteor Grunt Bomber/Team Meteor Bomber Grunt who blew up the station using the train?

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On 1/5/2019 at 5:42 AM, Lost Swordsman said:

Also, if Ame was not able to/can not save two people together, was my guess correct?

 

Nice try, but what will happen in the future shall be quite different. The only thing I can reveal about the next chapter is this:

Spoiler

All the important characters who have boarded the train were Flannery, Jacques and Ame, which means that Dounia is not supposed to show up. Her role is somewhere else, and it has a critical importance in the story. To be honest, Flannery's trip in Reborn would turn into a living nightmare without her intervention, so she shouldn't be underestimated.

 

Regarding the special event in the Grand Hall, there's nothing about Flannery's Torkoal torturing the Meteor Grunt. The interrogation will be done with a different Torkoal, the one of the Grand Hall we all see when we leave the said-place for the first time. Let's just say the train accident may not be the only mishap encountered by Ame and her staff once arrived.

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WvPLatu.png

 

Spoiler

Time of departure had finally come. The train was speeding away from the railway station of Fallarbor Town progressively, putting Flannery into a state of absolute cheerfulness. The gorgeous ambassador was travelling in first class with Jacques by her side. Both of them were sat opposite each other inside a sumptuously decorated wagon of rustic style. The floor was made of wood, and the red seats on which the travelers were seated were cushioned, providing maximum comfort during the whole train ride. Also, there was a couple of other people inside the wagon as well, probably some trainers looking for adventure in Reborn. In the meantime, Ame was comfortably settled inside the adjacent wagon, savoring the result of her short and yet fruitful days in Hoenn with satisfaction. All of them were about to disappear into the dark jaws of the mountain in direction of Grandview Station, completely relaxed. As the journey had only just begun, Flannery could not resist the urge to express her gratitude to Jacques once again. She talked to him.

 

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Flannery: “How lucky I am! What is happening to me is just too good to be true, I still find this hard to believe. I can finally put my activities on standby and discover new places to challenge a league I’ve never heard of before. And that’s all thanks to you, Jacques. Thank you so much for this, I’m really pleased to have met you.”

 

Flannery’s gratitude went straight to the heart of the Reserve Gym Leader. He complimented her in return, just like the gentleman he used to be.

 

Jacques: “It’s a pleasure for me, Flannery. I too am very pleased to have met you in Hoenn. In fact, I don’t think I could have wished better for a first meeting.”

Flannery: “I believe you. By the way… I have to say that when I think about this again, the conditions in which it happened were quite unexpected in the end. You gave us quite a scare to me and Winona two days ago in Fortree City. You went white as a sheet!”

Jacques: “And I had my reasons to do so! I would have never imagined seeing my two favorite Gym Leaders of all time standing behind me as I was buying an ice-cream. My heart was racing so much that I felt like a part of my soul had left my body. But don’t mistaken with what I’m saying, that was probably one of the best days of my life. On the other hand, such combinations of elegance and strength can only exist in Hoenn. Well… this is my opinion anyway.”

 

Such declarations did not fail to charm the friendly redhead. Flannery reacted positively at Jacques’s comments and blushed.

 

Flannery: “Aww, how sweet you are! Thank you for this compliment, this is really touching. You seem to be very interested in me, am I right?”

Jacques: “And how! Initially, I was mainly interested by Hoenn in general, and have been for years. Since it’s the second closest region to Reborn after Orre, that’s quite easy to understand. Then, I heard about the importance of the role played by the Gym Leaders living there during the awakening of Kyogre and Groudon. Obviously, as I was curious, I could not resist to know more about you all, until this day when I discovered that your grandfather was a member of the Elite Four. This information had particularly hit me. If the granddaughter was as skillful and talented as her grandfather, so I felt it was a duty to me to deepen my knowledge about you. Your involvement into the championship in Unova, your contribution in the destruction process of Grand Meteor Delta… it makes so much feats accomplished by the same individual. Inevitably, I ended up getting attached to you through your stories.”

Flannery: “Your humility is a thing I really appreciate, Jacques. You sound sincere in your words. You’re not saying this to please me, do you?”

Jacques: “I don’t. Actually, I always considered myself as a forthright and very expressive person. If I’m afraid, I scream. If I’m sad, I cry rivers. Therefore, it’s harder than it looks for me to find my balance, but I know I’m getting better over time through life experiences. But yeah. Aside from that, I have a question for you, Flannery.”

Flannery: “What do you want to know?”

Jacques: “Your grandfather… what was he like before, when you were younger? Was he… a nice man?”

Flannery: “…”

Jacques: “Of course, you have the right not to tell me about him. I do not wish to feel impertinent or invasive because of it.”

 

This time, Flannery did not intend to mince her words to praise her grandfather. In fact, that was a good opportunity for her to confess to someone other than Winona about this sensitive subject. The Dark Type Gym Leader was ready to listen to her attentively.

 

Flannery: “My grandpa… he was without a doubt the best man of the world. Beyond the fact he was famous for being a powerful trainer, he was above all a natural leader, a very nice and peaceful person, as well as a listener of the earth, always attentive to both people and Pokemon. He took me under his wing when I was eight, and he cared about me just as if I were his own daughter. At this time, I was just a little girl, full of innocence and curiosity, but I already had the fire of passion in my heart. He was the first member of my family to have felt it inside of me. Afterwards, he explained me how to make good use of this fire, teaching me the fundamentals of Pokemon training and Lavaridge traditions. He even brought me with him in the wild to catch my first Pokemon. Needless to say, he had played a major role in my childhood to make me the new Gym Leader of the town by then. I’ll never be able to thank him enough for everything he’s done for me. And if you want my advice, all the family men should be like him.”

 

All the attention of the dark-haired boy was focused on the story of the young lady, he seemed really admirative. Not wishing to stand on tenterhooks, Jacques also avoided questioning Flannery about her parents and the death of her grandfather. Instead of it, he wondered about the Pokemon she took with her for her trip to Reborn.

 

Jacques: “That sounds beautiful. So he must have clearly been an exceptional man. Described this way, I would have loved to know him in person.”

Flannery: “Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that it’s a little late for this. That being said, I appreciate your concern, Jacques. Your empathy is precious to me.”

Jacques: “You’re welcome, Flannery. Please, excuse me if I’m drifting from one subject to another, but have you thought of picking some Pokemon with you before to leave?”

Flannery: “For sure I thought of it! You did not expect me to jump on this train empty-handed, did you?”

Jacques: “Um… no, of course not. I was just afraid of forgetting to tell you about this. Since Reborn is not very accommodating with strangers, I just hoped you remembered to… um… prepare yourself before your departure.”

Flannery: “Be reassured, that was the case. I thought of everything. Indeed, me and my Pokemon, we are three!”

 

Feeling the need to share her cheerfulness, Flannery slipped her hands into the pockets of her pants, and pulled out one of the two Pokeballs she kept with her this whole time.

 

Flannery: “Great. I suppose there’s no rule forbidding a Pokemon to go out of its Pokeball on this train. Am I wrong?”

Jacques: “As long as it doesn’t make a mess in the wagon and as long as it stays close to you, that shouldn’t be a problem.”

 

Flannery smiled at Jacques as a response to him. Aware of what she did, the impetuous redhead used this opportunity to send out Vulpix. The small Fox Pokemon took form inside the wagon, just between Flannery and Jacques.

 

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Vulpix: “Vulpiiiix!”

Flannery: “Hello honey!”

Vulpix: “Vulpix?”

 

Vulpix turned toward her mistress. She realized quickly enough that she wasn’t in Lavaridge Town anymore, so she took a look around, seeing the tall man sat in front of Flannery. Curious, she moved to him and smelled his pants.

 

Vulpix: “*Sniff* *Sniff* *Sniff* *Sniff* *Sniff*”

 

Then, she stared at the trainer with the brown coat from the ground without blinking an eye.

 

Flannery: “Did you see? This is Jacques, a friend of mine. He’s a Gym Leader just like me. We’re travelling together.”

Vulpix: “Pix?”

 

Jacques was quietly sitting on his seat as he was looking at the adorable Pokemon of Flannery. He remained silent, greeting Vulpix with one wave of the hand and a smile on his face. Suddenly, Vulpix stood on her hind legs to lean against the knees of the young man, the nose up in the air. Then, she slowly put her muzzle on his thighs. Flannery had fun just by looking at them both.

 

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Vulpix: “Vulpix!”

Jacques: “Wow! He seems to really like me indeed.”

Flannery: “She’s a female. And you’re right, she looks like she’s doing well in your company. I think she wants to be cuddled by you.”

Jacques: “B-by me? Really?”

Flannery: “You heard well, by you. Vulpix loves cuddles, she’s very sensitive. When I’m sad, she feels it and she’s always here for me to cheer me up. Her faithfulness is one of the main reasons why I've decided to take her with me. There’s no way I could have accepted to abandon her just like that.”

Jacques: “You know what? I’m taking your word for it. She looks so harmless… so quiet. It makes you want to protect her.”

 

Without further discussion, Jacques leaned over Flannery’s Pokemon, placed his hands softly on her back and stroked her. There wasn’t any sudden move. Just love and joy of doing good for the others. The comes-and-goes movements of the young man’s hands on Vulpix’s back seemed to really appeased the Fire Pokemon who let herself go. Jacques had almost a tear in the eye, he was so happy to have transfer some of his energy to such a lovely creature. He seemed to really love Vulpix. As a spectator of this moment of happiness, Flannery herself could feel her heart pulsing in her chest.

 

Vulpix: “*Purr* *Purr* *Purr*

Jacques: “She’s sweet.”

Flannery: “For sure she is. She’s always been very close to people, except those who have bad intentions, of course. She’s a pure ball of love! Also, I have to say that you look kinda cute together.”

Jacques: “Hm… love. I believe it’s without a doubt the biggest force weighing on this earth. I don’t know why, but I bet Vulpix is not the only member of your team to experience it, is she?”

Flannery: “Absolutely not. You can always say it to my Torkoal if you want to.”

Jacques: “So, that should confirm the thread of my thoughts. Your Pokemon are happy with you, and it shows. There’s a lot of love inside of them. And you can be sure that sooner or later, in one way or another, the fruit of all this love will be sent back to you.”

Flannery: “Ah, if you ever knew how often they gave it back to me. I don’t even know how they can show me their affection more than they already did.”

Jacques: “If you say so. I trust your word, Flannery. You’re definitely not like these brutes who haunt the streets of Reborn. Naturally, I’m talking about those who like to catch Pokemon just for money and power. Unlike them, you know what is important. By the way, all this is reminding me of a quote of another very well-known Pokemon trainer. It said: ‘Strong and weak Pokemon are only the selfish perceptions of people, and truly skilled trainers should be able to win with their favorites.’ I think it’s from Karen, the Dark Type Member of the Elite Four in Johto.”

 

Rapidly making the link between Jacques’s last words and the purpose of her journey, Flannery remembered that she still had a lot of questions to ask him about what was awaiting her in Reborn. So, she tried to learn more about the identity of the active Gym Leaders in this region while Jacques was still stroking Vulpix.

 

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Flannery: “Dark Type… oh yeah, that’s true! Thank you again for these declarations Jacques, it’s always a pleasure to me, and I agree with you. But now that you mention it, I just realize that I still had a few questions to ask you concerning Reborn and the Gym Leaders living there. So, while we’re talking about the Dark Type, would you be kind enough to tell me who is the true Dark Type Gym Leader in Reborn City, please?”

Jacques: “Of course Flannery, I’ll tell you anything you want! The Dark Type Gym Leader of Reborn is actually a young teenager named Luna. She must be around 15 years old, easy.”

 

Obviously, the age of the girl Jacques was talking about didn’t fail to impress Flannery.

 

Flannery: “What? Only 15 years old? Really?”

Jacques: “That’s it.”

Flannery: “That sounds interesting. I myself was not recognized as such when I was her age. Could you give me more information about her?”

 

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Jacques: “Well, as I said, Luna is the official representative of the Dark Type in Reborn. She may not be very communicative with the other members of the league, she’s still astonishingly brilliant and talented for a child. She spends most of her time in Iolia Valley to train herself, a place worthy of a fairy tale where crystals are sprouting up like mushrooms.”

Flannery: “Excuse me? Crystals that sprout up like mushrooms? What the hell are you talking about?”

Jacques: “Very simple: I’m talking about a little piece of paradise on earth. Proximity to river waters and scarcity of sunrays in this area have both worked in favor of the formation of multiple colorful crystals all around the valley. Even better, these same crystals can interact between each other as if it was living beings. If I know it, that’s because I’ve already been there myself. Just because of the view on the river with all the waterfalls in the background, that’s worth visiting. This is a natural show you have to attend on at least once in your life!”

 

Simply by imagining what the Iolia Valley could look like, the eyes of Flannery were shining with stars of delight.

 

Flannery: “Waaaah! That sounds totally amazing! In that case, I hope I’ll get an opportunity to fight Luna as soon as I arrive in Reborn.”

Jacques: “Um… actually, it risks to be more difficult than it seems. The valley itself is dominated by a huge castle uphill, also known as Vanhanen Castle, within which resides Radomus, its owner. He’s reputed for being the Psychic Type Gym Leader of the region, as well as for being the number one of a long series of victories at chess tournaments.”

Flannery: “Okay, another Gym Leader! A chess player, you said? The way you talk about him, I would not be surprised if he was a sort of strategist or something like that. But what has he got to do with Luna? Are they both the same age?”

 

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Jacques: “Not at all. Radomus is a man, a grown-up adult to be precise. His main Pokemon is a smart-mouth Gardevoir who’s known to be the star of Reborn’s news network. People call her Gossip Gardevoir.”

Flannery: “No way! You have a Pokemon as a TV star? And it speaks? That sounds so wacky! If so, that Radomus guy must be more influent than he seems.”

Jacques: “Actually, he is, but not as influent as Ame is. Anyways, he’s not the type of person to get ignored easily. By the way, the last few times I saw him, I was forced to admit that he had very varied tastes concerning his… wardrobe. As for Luna herself, she seems to have great respect for him. She and Radomus live in the castle together. I also heard that she was working there as a servant for him, no less. Consequently, if you ever want to have a word with Luna, you’ll have to go through Radomus first.”

Flannery: “Seems logic! But if it’s not Luna, so who? Who should I battle first in Reborn to get my first badge? Do you have some names in mind?”

Jacques: “Of course I have. Your best starting point would certainly be Julia, Julia Wilde. In addition of being the rising star of Reborn in terms of Electric Pokemon, she’s also in charge of the Neo-Circuit Power Plant, the principal electricity transmission facility of the town.”

Flannery: “All right, an Electric Type specialist! Sounds like she’s quite an important person as well. And you recommend me to battle her first. Why her and not someone else?”

Jacques: “Believe me Flannery, I would have not mentioned another name if I hadn’t any real reason to do so. The power plant owned by Julia also serves her as a gym, you can access it by walking along the streets of Peridot Ward, the first part of the town you’ll see when you’ll arrive in Reborn. That’s generally where the newcomers go when they try to prove their worth to the local folk for the first time.”

 

Always in need of useful information, Flannery wanted to discover what kind of person Julia was. Fascinated by Jacques’s speech, she leaned forward in his direction just as if she was hearing a story told by her grandfather.

 

Flannery: “I take note of that, thank you. But I want to know more. What else can you tell me about Julia? Since she’s managing a whole power plant by herself, she must certainly have an authoritarian personality.”

 

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Jacques: “Well… I don’t think it’s very good to rush to judgement like this, Flannery. Don’t mistaken about Julia, this girl is by far one of the most endearing, hyperactive, and friendly persons you can find in Reborn. She’s a pure bundle of energy herself, and knows how to keep everyone’s spirits up. These being said, I’d rather be her friend than her enemy. Ever since that day when she was dumped by her boyfriend, her behavioral traits have become more accentuated. This came to a point when she got obsessed with explosions. Of course, everytime she’s seized by the desire of making some ‘boomings’ as she says, that’s always all in fun that she did. It’s perfectly safe, I assure you.”

 

Despite the description made by Jacques who hesitated to go further in details, the personality of Julia seemed to please Flannery a lot. Her eyes went wide and a huge smile had formed on the face of the firehead.

 

Flannery: “Haha! She seems to be a nice and dynamic girl in the end! I like that! Since I consider myself as someone who loves having fun in any way possible, I’m sure we’ll get along well together.”

Jacques: “Hehe, why not? I have no doubt about that. Fire of passion combined with shock waves of madness is likely to result in quite an explosive combo, huh.”

 

Once again, the Ambassador of Hoenn had difficulties in remaining serious at Jacques’s puns and giggled. The boy let himself go as well. He burst out laughing with her.

 

Flannery: “*Pfrrtrrrr* Hahahahahahahah!”

Jacques: “Hehehehehehehe!”

Vulpix: “Piiiiiiiiix!”

Flannery: “Yes, Vulpix? What do you want? You want to come to me?”

Vulpix: “Piiiiiiiix!”

Jacques: “That sounds like a yes.”

Flannery: “Good girl. Come here!”

 

Immediately after this moment of euphoria, the small Fox Pokemon turned to redhead playfully and jumped on her thighs, asking for more hugs. She curled up in a ball to better get pampered by her loving mistress who couldn’t prevent herself to snap for the cuteness of her longtime partner.

 

Vulpix: “*Purr* *Purr* *Purr*

Flannery: “Good gracious! Are you happy to see me? Oh, my goodness!”

Vulpix: “*Purr* *Purr* *Purr*

Jacques: (This is too beautiful to see. A charming young lady and her Vulpix joined together. Such a scene of love should be immortalized in a portrait. I love my life!)

 

Then, after this short but yet intense moment of gentleness, Vulpix left the thighs of Flannery to get some sleep on the seat next to her. Afterwards, Flannery used this opportunity to ask Jacques one last very specific question about the age of the youngest Gym Leaders in Reborn.

 

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Flannery: “She’s wonderful! So wonderful that I wonder if I could not give my life to protect her someday.”

Jacques: (…!)

Flannery: “But hey. What if we get back to the topic?”

Jacques: “I’d be glad to!”

Flannery: “Good. Sorry if I’m a bit too curious about Reborn and its inhabitants, but I would like to know something else.”

Jacques: “There’s no problem about it, Flannery. I’m actually more than delight to talk with you. It’s been a long time since I didn’t have the opportunity to satiate someone’s curiosity like that. In truth, I love it.”

Flannery: “Well. If so, would you be kind enough to tell me who is the youngest Gym Leader of Reborn?”

 

The boy took his time to reflect on it to answer Flannery’s interrogations. He tried to sort his mind with faces he already saw, and names he already heard.

 

Jacques: “Okay… so… the youngest Gym Leader of Reborn. This is… quite a difficult question you have there.”

Flannery: “Don’t try too hard to remember either. If you don’t know, don’t tell me. There is no shame in not knowing.”

Jacques: “And indeed, I don’t know the answer myself. Thus, I prefer not to say anything. However, I know it’s not Luna.”

Flannery: “What!? Are you serious? There is a Gym Leader even younger than Luna in Reborn?”

Jacques: “In fact, there should be at least three members of the Reborn League who are younger than her.”

 

Staggered by this revelation, Flannery almost fell from her seat. There was definitely no age to make a name for oneself as a Gym Leader in Reborn. The redhead was in total confusion.

 

Flannery: “Seriously?! This is insane! In that case, they must be more talented than I expected! To think I pretended to be the youngest Gym Leader, all regions combined. My pride is taking a hit!”

Jacques: “What can you do? The pace of our learning is unique to each of us. Precipitation can only lead you to disappointment. When I said that Reborn was populated by child prodigies in Pokemon mastery, it wasn’t a lie. However, since I almost never saw them with my own eyes, you risk to have some difficulties in finding them.”

Flannery: “Why? What’s there to stop me?”

 

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Jacques: “Indeed, most of these children don’t have parents anymore, so they live in the orphanage of the town. Additionally, the master of this place, Dr. Sigmund Connal, doesn’t like visitors, which makes these kids even more difficult to approach. Therefore, I can’t tell you a lot about them.”

 

For obvious reasons, this information didn’t fail to shake Flannery up. Also, something in this story was upsetting her.

 

Flannery: “That’s not convenient for me. How am I supposed to take on the Reborn League altogether if this individual, Dr. Sigmund Connal, keeps me away from these leaders?”

Jacques: “From what I understand, those who are working in this orphanage are currently building and implementing a special room dedicated to Pokemon battles. But unfortunately, I have no idea how long the construction period is. A lot of decisions are taken internally there, and until now, only a negotiation between the doctor and Ame would allow you to access this place to confront these children. Since they first belong to the orphanage, that could explain why there’s no Reserve Gym Leader assigned to them. At least not for the moment. Maybe they will.”

Flannery: “I hope so. Anyhow, they would have never pushed the Reborn League as much if there wasn’t a way to get all the badges already.”

Jacques: “Correct! And seen from a different perspective, I could almost understand the need behind the measures put in place in this orphanage.”

Flannery: “What would it be?”

Jacques: “Security, probably. As anyone will tell you, Reborn can be a dangerous place, both for men and Pokemon. Purposely letting a child wander freely in the streets of the town just as if nothing mattered would not be a good idea. And in the case of an accident, it would cost a lot to all of the orderlies working there, and I’m not even mentioning what could happen to the doctor himself. He would be dismissed from his post if this came to happen, purely and simply.”

 

Memories of Flannery about Ame’s warning concerning the degradation of the city soon resurfaced in her mind after the little talk with Jacques. Perplexed, the ambassador decided to pick up some extra pieces of information from the Reserve Gym Leader related to the misery which was blighting the city.

 

Flannery: “Put like that, it makes more sense to me. But I wasn’t expecting the situation to worsen that much for the Pokemon themselves though. It seems to me that Ame had said something about that before boarding. Is that true, Jacques? Is that true that the quality of life has become more than bad for everyone in Reborn, men and Pokemon?”

Jacques: “Hm, I have nothing to hide. So, I won’t lie to you, Flannery. The situation has fallen into pieces there, both on the economic plan and on the ecological one. But I guess you know that already. Don’t you remember? We’ve already talked about the same subject in Fortree City during the festival.”

Flannery: “Yes, I knew it. But to make Pokemon suffer and prevent them to grow in their natural environment… What can we do about that?”

Jacques: “If I had any answers, we wouldn’t be in this mess at the present time, I assure you. There’s nothing we can really do to prevent the phenomenon to expand for now. And for my part, I’m starting to feel like an insignificant Combee who struggles for survival against an invasion of giant Beedrill.”

 

Flannery insisted, she begged for Jacques to reveal to her everything that she did not already know.

 

Flannery: “What phenomenon are you talking about? Please Jacques, tell me everything! I got to know! All this is starting to make me nervous.”

Jacques: “To summarize, numerous local places like Azurine Lake have been affected by a high level of pollution along with the water distribution network of Reborn, which resulted in the extinction of all the Magikarp in the region. Even in downtown, the situation itself has deteriorated. Pokemon have become so rare than most of them are either auctioned on the black market or used as winning prizes in the casino of Onyx Ward. Those who haven’t yet been targeted by human activity are either looking for refugee in the slums of Obsidia, or have managed to flee to what’s left of Malchous Forest or Rhodocrine Jungle. Unfortunately, many of them are not used to live in there, and the predators that tend to patrol those wild spaces could easily trigger the extinction of weaker Pokemon species on their own simply because of it.”

 

Flannery was desperate. She who had been born with a great sense of justice was feeling down, crushed, smashed, and powerless against the scenario described by Jacques. She wasn’t expecting life to be so cruel with Pokemon in Reborn. She clenched her fists and looked at the ground, shattered from the inside out.

 

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Flannery: “No… this can’t be possible… this can’t be possible…”

Jacques: “I never said it was easy to take. It’s just… reality.”

Flannery: “ENOUGH!! That makes me sick! I’m feeling mad just by hearing about it. Why does nobody do anything? This is unfair! THIS IS UNFAIR!!”

Jacques: “Please calm down, Flannery! Solving all these issues is already part of Ame’s major project. She wishes to enable the development of several preservation centers and has recently undertook to reintegrate multiple Pokemon species habituated to human presence in Reborn. But the lack of financial resources and people’s bad will actually make these tasks almost impossible to achieve.”

Flannery: “This is disgusting! The more I think about it, the more I realize how lucky I was for having lived all this time in a region like Hoenn. I even wonder if this story would not give me the blues at some point.”

Jacques: “Hm… you know. I feel the same way as you do. Personally, I am among those who wish to turn things around and put them back the way they were, just like before. But with distance and hindsight, I’m starting to wonder if this descent into hell couldn’t be something else than the result of some tragic destiny.”

Flannery: “Eeeh? What makes you say that?”

 

Flannery began to feel puzzled. As the discussion progressed, there was like a wind of mystery which was about to get blown out by the Reserve Gym Leader. Then, trying his best not to be heard by the other passengers, Jacques talked in a low voice.

 

Jacques: “Listen to me, Flannery. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to talk about this, here and now, but…”

Flannery: “Why are you speaking so softly?”

Jacques: “Chhhht! If anyone overhears what I’m going to say, that could start panic in this car. Before to leave to Hoenn, I’ve conducted my own inquiries in the city, and… you’ll think I’m paranoid, but whatever… I now have all the good reasons to think that there’s something or someone out there that is responsible for the suffering endured by Reborn.”

Flannery: “What!?!?”

Jacques: “I know it’s not the best thing to hear before arriving there, but yet, I’m convinced that everything that happens to us is more than just bad luck. Haven’t you heard what I said? The lake is completely polluted, our financial resources have melted like snow in the sun, the number of wild Pokemon keeps decreasing considerably, and crime rates are skyrocketing… it’s just too much to be qualified as ‘simple misfortune’. So now, I firmly believe there is a kind of negative and unknown force that lives in secret just before our eyes, as if it was trying to clandestinely become more organized and probing the city for weaknesses.”

Flannery: “Wait. Are you insinuating that there might be something intelligent behind the misery of Reborn?”

Jacques: “Actually… yes. Although I’m not 100% sure of it, those thoughts have become too oppressing for me, and I had to confess to someone.”

 

Surprised by this late announcement, Flannery felt particularly disoriented.

 

Flannery: “And you’re waiting until now to tell me?! You should at least have told me about this before leaving.”

Jacques: “I know. Please forgive me. But I didn’t know what to say. Because of those suspicions, I had difficulty to be at peace with myself, and I haven’t managed to find an appropriate time to discuss of it. I mean… come on, try to understand. You’re not supposed to talk about scheme and conspiracy during a party or a council, and even less if you have no factual evidence to back up your accusations. Don’t you agree with me, Flannery?”

Flannery: “Well, if you say so, but still. I hope it’s nothing more than theories. Don’t forget that I have initially left from Hoenn to challenge the Reborn League, not to risk my life dealing with some random criminal organization.”

Jacques: “Don’t worry about this. As long as I am on your side, nothing can happen to you. Your protection is part of my commitments. And at worst… even if it had to happen… at least, don’t forget that you already saved the world twice. And as we might say, things always do come in three. We will always be stronger together if we had to deal with such a danger someday.”

 

The boy winked at Flannery in turn to reassure her. As she could not deny the facts, the ambassador had to recognize that the Reserve Gym Leader was not entirely wrong. Furthermore, there was something warm and comforting behind this blink. Proud of what she was, the redhead regained self-confidence quickly, focusing on her last accomplishments. Then, she was quiet and calm again.

 

Flannery: “You’re not wrong! After all, we can say that I’m used to it. And between you and me, danger has often been part of those things which kept me on my toes for a while. I may be a pretty damsel on the surface, but I know how to defend myself. If people want to come after Reborn, you, or myself, let them try it. I’m not afraid of anyone.”

Jacques: “Hm, how brave you are! You know what? I like this trait of character you have. It suits you well. You’re not the kind of person who lets others walk on her feet as if it didn’t matter. That’s one of your charms indeed.”

 

Jacques wasn’t realizing he let another compliment come out of his mouth, which seemed to please Flannery a lot. She smiled at the young man while looking at him for a few seconds before to blush. She answered to him timidly then.

 

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Flannery: “Oh! T-This is… um… sweet. Thank you.”

Jacques: “And very spontaneous. If your elegance is equal to your strength, so there’s no doubt that more than one will bow before you in Reborn. All of them will know what a true woman is with your profile. Nothing can get over pure, flaming power like yours. I can almost touch it. You feel it in yourself too, do you not?”

 

Controlling every sentence and every word to perfection, Jacques managed to make it sound convincing to Flannery, and reassured her quite easily. The fact that someone told her how strong she was supposed to be was enough to make the heartbeats of the ambassador accelerate. She didn’t cease to hold the dark boy in high regard.

 

Flannery: “Awww, Jacques! Thank you so much for your support! You have no idea how much that means to me to hear this. That’s precisely for this reason that I continue to train myself every day, to defend this image of me.”

Jacques: “You’ll be successful Flannery, I’m sure.”

Flannery: “Thank you for believing in me. I too am certain that you’ll be a great Gym Leader by then. And if I remember well, it seems to me that we still have a private match to do, right? I can’t wait to get to this step someday, hahahahahah!”

Jacques: “Sure, I haven’t forgotten. Anyway, thanks for the reminder, heheheheheh!”

 

Jacques and Flannery were both in ecstasy, the enjoyment of the journey was real. For him and for her, this hilarity was going to mark the beginning of a great adventure. Progressively, nobody was talking anymore. Not even the other passengers in the car. Silence was absolute. Vulpix was still sleeping next to the sweet ambassador. For a moment, the two travelers gazed at each other without saying a word. Seconds became minutes, minutes became hours. Then, seized by shyness, Jacques turned his head slowly toward the window on his right. The mere presence of the redhead was still something rather intimidating to him. Flannery understood, and turned her head to the window as well with a dreamy smile. They both remained deep in thought separately.

 

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Flannery: “…”

Jacques: “…”

Flannery: “…”

Jacques: “…”

Flannery: “…”

Jacques: “… Flannery?”

Flannery: “… Yes, Jacques?”

Jacques: “You’re all right?”

Flannery: “Yeah, I’m doing fine. I feel… in shape.”

Jacques: “I wanted to know something, Flannery.”

Flannery: “What do you want to know?”

Jacques: “Uh… I don’t think it’s a subject of discussion you’ll like, but… I wanted to know if you’ve already experienced… um… loneliness.”

Flannery: “Loneliness? Jacques… why are you asking me this question?”

Jacques: “For nothing really important. It’s just that… I… please, forgive me if it was intrusive. I am aware that I can be a bit clumsy in the way to express myself sometimes.”

Flannery: “You don’t have to get down on yourself for so few Jacques, I would hardly blame you. And yes, I know what it feels like to be alone, and it already happened to me more than once, if that’s what you’re getting at. But you got it right, this is an unpleasant sensitive topic and I prefer not to talk about this anymore. But still, why do you ask?”

Jacques: “So you know what it’s like to become a recluse little by little… to feel this need of catching people’s attention without getting harassed from left to right either… to live in semi-darkness, scared of losing this capacity to be loved forever.”

Flannery: “Hm… maybe that’s just me, but I feel like you’re talking about it just as if it was something you’ve already been through yourself. Am I right?”

Jacques: “Uh, in fact… that’s the case.”

 

The redhead could feel Jacques’s uneasiness growing inside of him. She looked away from the window to better pay attention to the potential problems faced by the young man. Actually, Flannery seemed to worry for him.

 

Flannery: “Oh, Jacques. What’s wrong?”

 

After having taken a breath choked by silent sorrow, Jacques decided to finally confess to the pretty Fire Type trainer. She was ready to listen to him and comprehend him.

 

Jacques: “This is… so hard to describe. After everything I’ve been through… Reborn… Orre. All the most intense events of my existence… I feel them merging, scrolling, and intersecting in my head at this very moment.”

Flannery: “You’re sure you’re right? You don’t seem like yourself.”

Jacques: “Can you keep a secret, Flannery?”

Flannery: “You can have faith in me, Jacques. I will never betray you. That’s not what I do to my friends, anyway.”

Jacques: “Thank you for considering me as such, Flannery. This is really… um… good to be called ‘friend’ by someone like you.”

Flannery: “You’re welcome.”

Jacques: “Well. So, this secret… this is my own story.”

Flannery: “Your story?”

 

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Jacques: “Yes, my story. My past, to be exact. Originally, I’m not from Reborn. I was born in Orre, and I grew up within a well-to-do family. My parents used to have sound knowledge in human medicine. They were doctors, just like their parents before them. The day I came into this world, my future was already mapped out. At least, that’s what my father said. He was convinced that I was predestined to become like him.”

Flannery: “Oh, I see! And you weren’t interested in that?”

Jacques: “That’s totally it. At the age of 5, my parents and other doctors have detected symptoms of early brain development in me, as well as a different way to perceive the world around me. The diagnosis wasn’t lying, I was what they thought I was. However, it didn’t mean that they always listened to me and what I wanted either. For my parents, I was nothing more than a puppet. Over time, I knew they enjoyed pulling my strings to their personal satisfaction, when they discovered that people like me were known to be particularly easy to manipulate.”

Flannery: “Yikes, I think I know what you mean by that. That doesn’t sound nice of them. So… you didn’t have good relations with your parents by then, I guess.”

Jacques: “To tell you the truth, I would even say that our relations have degenerated, and even more through the course of my student life. I could feel I had natural talents for specific things myself, and I knew I could use them in more captivating areas. But that was not the view of my parents. After they noticed that my results for the baccalaureate were approaching the excellence, they decided to send me to one of the most prestigious academies of medicine in Orre. I was, so to speak, the youngest student of my class at this time.”

 

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Flannery: “Really!? This is incredible! That means that you clearly have a huge potential! If only I could have had some of your brain cells some years ago, so I would have probably got my degree in Pokemon Trainer’s School more easily.”

Jacques: “Who knows? You were a student at Pokemon Trainer’s School, Flannery?”

Flannery: “For sure I was! However, my educational background was quite tedious at certain times. I finished my last year in Rustboro City not without difficulties. Without my grandfather and Winona to encourage me, it would have been a different kettle of fish to me.”

Jacques: “I understand… sounds like you had good people around you at this time.”

Flannery: “You can say that again! There only were well-intentioned people by my side. They knew what was good to me, and I needed them to move forward.”

Jacques: “How envious I am. I wish I had your chance. Actually, the reality is that I didn’t succeed till the end, you know.”

Flannery: “What?”

Jacques: “Then comes the darkest period of my life. While I was about to put an end to the penultimate year of my studies in medicine, I actually realized that I’ve reached my limits. That I was acting against my will. I realized quite late… that I was… lying to myself all these years. Thus, I decided to… interrupt my studies.”

 

At this moment, Flannery was flabbergasted by discovering the truth told by the young man.

 

Flannery: “You what!? You really did it?”

Jacques: “I know, this choice tends to surprise everybody every time. The reactions of people around me were all the same. Even people who claimed to know me best were either dismayed or shocked by my willingness to stop it all, especially my father. And then came denial.”

Flannery: (Oh no. I fear the worst.)

 

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Jacques: “As soon as I explained him what I really wanted, he erupted in anger just in front of me. That was definitely the most traumatic experience of my entire life. Even today, I can still hear him shouting at me by proclaiming that I don’t deserve to be of the same blood as him. That I’m doomed to failure, no matter what happens in the future. That I don’t have sense to finish anything. That I’m nothing but the ‘third chromosome of society’.”

Flannery: (Oh my God!!! If that really happened, so my childhood was clearly happier in comparison to his. That’s absolutely appalling! No parent should be allowed to insult their children like that!)

Jacques: “Honestly, I’m not the type of person who likes to play the victim, and I hate it. But yet, that’s what happened to me in the end. It only took some confessions to make my family situation worse. Having a Pokemon Trainer as a son would have been the very last thing wished by my father.”

Flannery: “So, that was your main motivation all along! You were interested in Pokemon training, and not by medicine.”

Jacques: “Absolutely. Yet, I tried to reason with my father by telling him that there are things for which we are made, and things for which we aren’t. For 20 years, I lived my life reluctantly, just for the beautiful eyes of my parents, to make them proud and become like them. Today, I simply wonder if I haven’t wasted my youth.”

 

In response to this issue, Flannery expressed her compassion toward the dark boy. She told him there was nothing to be sorry for.

 

Flannery: “In any case, I’m on your side. If it can reassure you, I also had a difficult childhood myself. You know, there also was a time for me when it wasn’t easy to make myself heard at home when I needed it. My father, for example, also tended to be impulsive, mostly. As for my mother, she couldn’t do a lot but accepting his wrath and saying ‘yes’ to each of his decisions. In the end, it looks like there was no rosy childhood for us.”

Jacques: “I’m sorry for you, Flannery. I can understand what it feels like. Today, the mere mention of bad parenting just turns my stomach.”

Flannery: “Same here. Stories like these still piss me off as well! But hey… what did you do then?”

 

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Jacques: “I’ll try to summarize what happened next as best I can. After the dispute with my father, I told my parents that I was leaving for Reborn, where the best Pokemon trainers of the world are coached and trained. Additionally, since my mother’s mother was tired of living all alone in Beryl Ward, away from the rest of the family, mom didn’t have any objection against it. In contrast, my father told me that if I left, he and mom wouldn’t be at home anymore when I come back. I’ve never checked whether it was the truth or simply another machination of my father to dissuade me.”

Flannery: (Interesting! It seems like we have more things in common than I hoped. So, Jacques left his parents and lived with one of his grandparents in the process to turn into a Pokemon Trainer. He and I are more alike than anything else in the end.)

Jacques: “At least, I’m sure of one thing. When I got there, I’ve undergone an accelerated training program at the Trainer’s School of Onyx Ward. My interest for this discipline as well as my patience and perseverance were enough for me to get my degree in just two years.”

Flannery: “Wohow, nicely done! You’ve been faster at this than I was.”

Jacques: “Really? At what age did you study Pokemon training?”

Flannery: “My grandpa used to teach me the fundamentals of training when I was only 8 years old. After some times spent together, he sent me to the Pokemon Trainer’s School of Rustboro City where I studied for three years. I was 12 at this time.”

Jacques: “Well done, Flannery! Since you said you had a hard time to keep the pace with courses, so that’s even more honorable. You can be proud of yourself!”

Flannery: “Thank you, Jacques! *Wink*”

 

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Jacques: “You’re welcome! Well. As I said, I’ve studied Pokemon training and fighting arts for two years in Onyx Trainer’s School and eventually managed to obtain my degree. At this moment, the degrading and humiliating remarks of my father were already long gone. I may have been an adept in the mastery of the Dark Type, I felt like I was shining like a richly decorated Christmas tree among the other students when I got this physical proof of my success. Kind of ironic, don’t you think?”

Flannery: “Haha, beautiful contrast indeed! And you became a Reserve Gym Leader immediately after that?”

Jacques: “No. Ame granted me this favor only two years later. But I can’t blame her for so few. Honestly, I was not expecting such a thing to happen to me someday. These being said, I may have been considered as a new element of the Reborn League, there’s still one point that this title of Reserve Gym Leader had not changed in me.”

Flannery: “What is it?”

 

The young man answered in a low voice, he looked tormented again.

 

Jacques: “Loneliness. In spite of my success, my difficulty for integrating Reborn’s society remained the same after that. No matter how hard I tried, I just felt like I didn’t belong to it. And I’m not talking about the death of my grandmother that had occurred in the middle of my training period. It didn’t help me either.”

Flannery: “Ow… that’s not cool. Sorry for your loss. How did she die?”

 

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Jacques: “She died of old age. The day I arrived in the region for the first time, she already was among the oldest citizens of Reborn. I still have a lot of good memories of her. She was a passionate bookworm. When I had free time, I often used to spend it to accompany her in the library of Beryl Ward. She loved to tell me urban legends and old tales of Reborn. Oh, grandma…”

Flannery: (That’s getting very curious. It’s as if me and Jacques were both gone through the same hardships. Is that really just a coincidence? In all cases, resemblances are more than real.)

Jacques: “But all this belongs to the past now. Today, I keep to myself in what’s left of her property. When none of your family members are here to back you up, you just feel like everything starts to shut down around you. This sensation of loss is an anvil that weighs heavily on me. And yet, I was convinced that I got rid of all my troubles once and for all. I was wrong. And I don’t wish this on anyone.”

 

As Jacques was visibly grief-stricken by his turbulent past, Flannery was showing compassion to the boy of darkness. She wanted to be reassuring for him.

 

Flannery: “I’m really sorry for your grandma, Jacques. I admit I can’t do much at the present time except encouraging you to relativize. Try to focus on what you have left instead. You’ll see, you’ll feel better then.”

Jacques: “Thank you Flannery, that’s very kind of you. Over time, I regain faith in the future, little by little. Although my current lifestyle tends to be a bit repetitive, I’m holding on.”

Flannery: “Glad to hear this! Hey! While we’re on the subject, can we talk about your hobbies? What are you doing besides Pokemon battles to take your mind off things these days? Do you have a pastime or an activity you like to do?”

Jacques: “Hm… that’s a question that not many people in Reborn have been asking me. Yeah, there is indeed an activity I’m passionate about. And fortunately, it’s more than just roaming into Beryl Library down the street, even though I still like to go there sometimes.”

Flannery: “If you say so. And what is this activity you’re talking about?”

Jacques: “This is actually something very specific. So specific that I doubt you’d understand a single word of it. My pastime is to work on sequencing massively-compressed poly-phase structures by computer, and I use software that allows this sequencing to generate custom sampling systems for all the DJs who specialize in musical composition of ultra-high-speed rhythms.”

 

The terms used by Jacques were totally foreign to Flannery who was trying hard to pay close attention to the passion of the young man for programming.

 

Flannery: “…?”

Jacques: “Simply put, I’m a programmer in my spare time, and I create virtual musical device used by the DJs of the town. That’s a good way for me to make some money. For example, the owner of the Reborn Nightclub, DJ Arclight, is my most important client.”

Flannery: “Ah okay! Put like that, it’s easier to understand to me! Aaaaand… you said there is a nightclub in Reborn?”

 

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Jacques: “Absolutely! The Reborn Nightclub is a very exclusive place located in Obsidia Ward. This is essentially reserved to the local Gym Leaders and to those who have managed to overcome the Reborn League at least once.”

Flannery: “No less! Well, sounds like they won’t let simple people go in. At least, that’s gonna be one extra motivation for me to take on this league. By the way, can you tell me what it looks like inside?”

Jacques: “Unfortunately, no. As a supplier of technical device, I’ve only set foot there a few times myself and that was always in Arclight’s company. By convention, I’m not allowed to reveal what’s there to those who are not considered members of the club already.”

Flannery: “That makes sense. But still, that should be really exciting! Personally, I wonder how good I could be on a dancefloor. The truth is that I never entered a nightclub before.”

Jacques: “For real? Well… there’s a first time for everything after all. Anyway, I keep my fingers crossed for you Flannery, and I hope your adventure will be successful. I’m sure it will be a nice opportunity for a first time, if you beat the league of course. Additionally, Arclight always had good taste in music, so you won’t get disappointed.”

Flannery: “Haha, I don’t doubt it! Thank you for believing in me, Jacques. I promise we’ll go there together if everything goes well for me by then.”

Jacques: “The pleasure is mine, Flannery, hehe!”

 

The Ambassador of Hoenn and the Reserve Gym Leader were both happy on the train. In the end, the two passengers had realized they had several things in common with each other, which seemed to strengthen their relationship even more. The discussion stopped as soon as Flannery yawned. She was exhausted by this endless conversation.

 

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Flannery: “Fouaaah! I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired from all this talking.”

Jacques: “That’s all right. Do you want to take nap? This train will not reach Grandview Station for quite a long time and we still have a long way to go before getting out this tunnel.”

Flannery: “It depends. What do you think of it, Vulpix?”

Vulpix: “Zzzzzzz… Zzzzzzz… Zzzzzzz…”

Jacques: “Hm… I think she says she wants you to join her in Dream Land.”

Flannery: “Haha, very funny, Jacques! Well, I suppose that must be it. I believe that this departure has played a lot with my emotions since I’m awake. Even if I had a good night, I can feel tiredness growing in me again.”

Jacques: “If that’s the case, feel free to rest as you like. When you’re young, it’s important to listen to your body. That’s what grandma always told me.”

Flannery: “My grandpa also did. Okay, so be it. I count on you to keep an eye on me and Vulpix. I can’t resist to get some sleep anymore.”

Jacques: “Do as you wish, Flannery. I swear to look after you in all circumstances.”

Flannery: “Hihihi, you’re so sweet!”

Jacques: “You’re welcome, it’s always a pleasure for me.”

 

Thus, Flannery fell asleep on the train. She stretched out her arms backwards chest up, yawned a second time, and then leaned comfortably against the red seat behind her. She slowly closed her eyelids and exhaled before letting herself slip on her ride side lazily. Her face was turned toward the drowsy Vulpix. Then, in an instant, silence was complete. The darkness of the tunnel combined with the gentle lights in the wagon helped a lot to appease the ambitious spirit of the young firehead. Jacques, for its part, stared at the sleepy Flannery for quite a long time. He who almost never had an opportunity to familiarize with women seemed fascinated by the natural grace of the ambassador.

 

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Jacques: (She… she is… she looks so innocent. Brave and intrepid of course… but so innocent. How could I not be sensitive to such a pure and seducing creature? This face, this hair, these legs, these hands… you’re a jewelry for yourself, Flannery. I am… more than pleased you have me by your side. If only you were able to read my mind, so you would have sensed my feelings for you.)

 

The lover of the dark side was totally hypnotized by the beauty of the Fire Type specialist. The mere thought of ensuring her protection and escorting her through Reborn City was filling him with indescribable joy. The throat of the young man was getting tighter and his mouth started to dry up as his admiration for Flannery was true.

 

Jacques: (Flannery… you’re my light… the sun of my days. I’m so… so happy to be with you. In your presence, I feel like I’m free from these shadows that haunted me for all these years. With you, I feel attracted by life more than I ever was. With you, I feel like a different man. With you, my days in Reborn have still a chance to be more beautiful. Whiter. With you, I feel like I’ve found a purpose to my existence that I thought was aimless. Now that you’re here, this purpose is clear. To keep you alive, I’m ready for everything. I’ll use my own life to preserve yours. You’ll stay in this world, Flannery. No matter how hard and numerous the hardships awaiting you will be, you’ll remain among the living as long as I’m still breathing. That’s the reason why our paths have crossed. You’ll see, I’ll be the moon of your nights.)

 

Then, progressively, slumber overtook the Reserve Gym Leader as well. Just before to sleep, Jacques took an oath to the beautiful redhead.

 

Jacques: (I swear… I… I swear on everything that’s left to me in this world. I… I will do it. I... I must… protect… Flannery… Moore… zzz… zzzZZZ… zzzZZZ… zzzZZZ…)

 

The young computer scientist couldn’t be happier at this moment. Unable to stay awake any longer, he fell asleep peacefully. His throat was almost completely dried up by the emotion that overwhelmed him. The desire of proving his worth to the fiery ambassador mingled with hopes of having a better life in Reborn were pulling him into sweet poetic dreams. Flannery, Jacques and Vulpix were finally gone for Dream Land together. Meanwhile, only the train remained unstoppable. It still had a long way to go before reaching Grandview Station. Obviously, since everybody was asleep, it was as if the sense of time had faded out for them. Without even realizing it, they were travelling several hundreds of kilometers. By then, the train had already left the underground tunnel and went through a multitude of various different areas: verdant plains, muddy bogs, dry canyons… It’s only after three hours of train ride that Flannery had awakened. The sun was at its highest, its light had rapidly put an end to Flannery’s sleep. She came back to her senses progressively while doing some stretching, the arms behind her back and her chest thrust forward.

 

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Flannery: (Fouaaah… that was quite a nap! I would have never imagined sleeping that well inside a train.)

 

While Flannery recovered, she noticed that Jacques was sleeping as well.

 

Flannery: (Hihihi… I knew he couldn’t resist too long either. It’s amazing how soft these cushions can be. It’s just like they were made to drain souls.)

 

The redhead glanced at Vulpix who was still snoring next to her.

 

Vulpix: “Zzzzz… Zzzzz… Zzzzz…”

Flannery: (Aww, how cute you are! Hm… I wonder where we can be right now. How long have we been out this tunnel? I’d better look out the window to find out.)

 

And as she turned to the left to look through the window, she realized quickly enough that she wasn’t in Hoenn anymore. The landscape was unlike anything she had seen before. The redhead didn’t see anything but an infinite expanse of sand with some cactus and palm trees which were passing by view in the distance occasionally. That way, Flannery rapidly understood that she was in the middle of a desert.

 

Flannery: (Wooaaah! This is incredible! We’re clearly not in Hoenn anymore! Even the desert near the Mt. Chimney is not that big in comparison. I really wonder what time it is.)

 

Immediately after those words, she gazed maliciously at Jacques who was still sleeping soundly. She smirked.

 

Flannery: (You, you must probably know.)

 

Not wanting to awake him too abruptly, Flannery gently patted his right thigh. Then, Jacques came back to his senses in turn, slowly but surely. He stretched out himself in his own way by spreading out his arms, and yawned.

 

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Jacques: “Fouaaaaaaaaaaaaah! What’s happening here?... Oh Flannery, it’s you!”

Flannery: “Yes, this is me.”

Jacques: “Oh god! I’m sorry, I dozed off. Please forgive me if I let my guard down.”

Flannery: “It’s no problem, Jacques. In the end, this ride was quieter than I thought. In fact, I would like to know what time it is.”

Jacques: “What time it is? Hm… I’ll check it out.”

Flannery: “All right.”

Jacques: “The boy pulled up his left sleeve to check the time on his watch. He was quite surprised by what he saw.”

Jacques: “By Arceus! It’s currently 1:45PM.”

Flannery: “What!? Really!?”

Jacques: “Yes, really!”

 

To prove Flannery he wasn’t fooling her, Jacques stretched out his arm toward the redhead to show her the time displayed on his watch.

 

Flannery: “This is insane! If I’d known… that’s just crazy how time goes fast when you’re asleep!”

Jacques: “You can say that again! Apart from that, where are we?”

Flannery: “In fact, I have good reason to believe that we’re crossing a desert.”

Jacques: “A… a desert?”

Flannery: “That’s what I said, a desert! You can always check it out yourself if you want.”

Jacques: “Hmmm…”

 

The Reserve Gym Leader looked through the window on his right. He and Flannery were definitely in the middle of a desert. But somehow, this landscape was relatively familiar to Jacques. Without further ado, he made it known to the ambassador.

 

Jacques: “I know this place.”

Flannery: “For real?”

Jacques: “For sure. We’re actually going through Tourmaline Desert, the largest wild area linked to Reborn.”

Flannery: “What do you mean ‘Linked to Reborn’?”

Jacques: “…”

Flannery: “Wait! Are you telling me that…”

Jacques: “Yes, that’s exactly what I want to tell you! Reborn is situated at the other end of this dryland. Therefore, if you look a little further ahead, you must be able to see a huge wall appearing from where you are.”

Flannery: “Really? Well, I’m gonna check it out.”

 

On the advice of Jacques, Flannery shifted her attention toward the horizon. After waiting a few seconds, the wall mentioned by the smart boy began to show up in the field of vision of the redhead. At the same time, she felt like her heart was jumping out of her chest.

 

Flannery: “It’s over here! I see it, Jacques! I see it!”

Jacques: “Huh? For real?”

Flannery: “I wouldn’t say if I didn’t! Oh, my God! I can’t believe it finally happened.”

Jacques: “Great! This train ride had to come to an end sometime. Anyway, that’s very good news.”

Flannery: “And I’m not thinking less of it. There’s no word to tell you how much I’m looking forward to see this city closer. I can already feel adrenaline taking over me like a raging inferno at this very moment. My goodness, I’m so hyped for this! Thank you, Jacques! Thank you so much!”

Jacques: “Hehe, I’m glad to see you’re that enthusiastic to arrive there. You’ll see, you won’t regret this.”

 

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The joy of the journey had reached its apogee. The story of Flannery in Reborn was going to be written for good. Then, all of a sudden, Jacques started to cough. His voice was hoarse, he seemed completely dehydrated.

 

Jacques: “Harr… my throat… *cough**cough**cough*”

Flannery: “Are you okay, Jacques? What do you have?”

Jacques: “Don’t bother with this, Flannery. It’s just that I had not drunk one single drop of water since I left Lilycove City. I think my throat is irritated… *cough**cough*”

Flannery: “Oh, man! Wait, maybe I can help. I’ll check if have some water in my bag.”

Jacques: “Thank you Flannery… *cough**cough*”

 

Helpful as always, Flannery wanted to do Jacques a favor by giving him something to drink. But unfortunately, there wasn’t any water bottle in Flannery’s bag.

 

Flannery: “…”

Jacques: “Have you found something?”

Flannery: “Um… sorry Jacques, but… I don’t have water on me.”

Jacques: “Oh. Too bad… Hey! I’m sure there must be a dining car around here. At worst, nothing prevents me to have a drink there.”

Flannery: “Yes, probably. Do you want me to go with you?”

Jacques: “That’s kind of you to offer. But I think I can take it over myself. Don’t worry about me, I won’t be too long. Also, Ame should be coming around soon to announce our arrival. If you go now, she will be wondering where you are.”

Flannery: “Yes, I understand. That’s certainly better for me if I stay here so.”

Jacques: “Certainly. I’ll come back as soon as possible. Don’t move from here, okay?”

Flannery: “It’s fine. I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere.”

 

Thus, Jacques got up and left his seat to move toward the wagon in which Ame was in order to solve his throat problem. Minutes went by. Meanwhile, Vulpix woke up next to her mistress who was still waiting for her guide to come back.

 

Flannery: “Hm… the least we can say is that he’s taking his time. But hey, as long as we land at Reborn together, it’s all good to me. Don’t you agree with me, Vulpix?”

Vulpix: “Vulpix!”

Flannery: “Haha, I knew you’d say that!”

 

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Since Jacques was still not back, Flannery tried to kill time in company of Vulpix. There was a true harmony between these two beings. Flannery cuddled her tenderly until this moment when Ame showed up in the wagon to announce the imminent arrival of the train at Reborn. The manager of the Reborn League caught the attention of all the passengers aboard.

 

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Ame: “Hello everyone! May I have your attention, please? This train is about to reach Grandview Station. Make sure you haven’t left anything on the train and keep your ticket on you in case of an inspection. We hope you all had a pleasant trip and would like to thank you again for having chosen our company. Have a good time in Reborn!”

 

After this announcement, Ame stepped up to the seat occupied by Flannery and sat down in front of her at the exact place where Jacques was settled. She wanted to chat a bit with the ambassador.

 

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Ame: “So, Flannery! How do you feel? I hope this train ride wasn’t too long for you.”

Flannery: “I’m doing fine, thank you! Actually, I’m glad to know we’re close to the end. I was asleep for quite a big part of the trip, so I’m pretty relaxed for the moment.”

Ame: “Great, that’s good to hear. Hm… can you tell me why Jacques is not with you?”

Flannery: “Jacques? He said he was thirsty, so he went to the car behind to get water. Didn’t you see him come in?”

Ame: “Ah okay, that must be it. No sorry, I’ve missed him. But that doesn’t surprise either. For all the times I was with him, I must admit that he has always been very discreet.”

Flannery: “Really?... Well. Everyone is unique. We have discussed together earlier, and I have to say that he’s rather a cultured person. And, just between and me… he’s pretty handsome as a boy, isn’t he?”

Ame: “Haha, yes. We can say it that way, I guess.”

 

Shortly after this girl talk, Ame noticed that one of Flannery’s Pokemon, Vulpix, was standing right on the seat beside hers. The manager of the Reborn League asked the redhead to make the fiery fox return within its Pokeball, and at the same time, she complimented her for her taste in Pokemon. Once it was done, Ame continued her speech by reminding Flannery the next procedural steps to take in order to get registered as a pure Pokemon trainer in Reborn.

 

Ame: “So be it, we’re almost at Grandview Station. After we disembark, just follow me to the Grand Hall. There, I’ll give you a starter Pokemon to really kick off your adventure in Reborn as stated during the council of yesterday. Sounds good?”

Flannery: “And how! I personally think that a new member would be much needed for my team. Although I already have two allies on whom I can rely, I’m sure we’ll be more effective as a quartet. Thank you again for reminding me, Am… uh… Ame?”

Ame: “…”

Flannery: “Ame? Are you alright? Why are you making that face?”

Ame: “…”

Flannery: “Ame? What are you looking at?”

Ame: “…”

Flannery: “Hey! You’re listening to me or what?”

Ame: “…”

Flannery: (Please don’t tell me I’m going through that again! Seriously, what’s wrong with you all today?)

 

vgVUkSP.png

 

While Ame was just about to resume her discussion with Flannery, the two women were both interrupted by the stealthy and unexpected appearance of a shadowy individual dressed all in black. The same creature seen by Winona near the railway station had taken shape behind Flannery once again. Ame, who was more or less surprised, remained silent. But for Flannery, it was one time too many. She knew something strange was happening and wanted to find out the truth about it.

 

Flannery: (It’s just too weird to be a coincidence. This time, I won’t let anything surprise me! You won’t get me on it!)

 

But as Flannery was turning around to see what was behind her, the creepy entity had already ceased to exist.

 

bRsZxTV.png

 

Flannery: (…Really? I mean… Are you kidding me?)

 

Since there wasn’t anything behind her, Flannery began to ask serious questions to herself. She felt like something particularly abnormal was about to happen.

 

Flannery: (*Gulp* This is getting very oppressive. I don’t know why, but I don’t feel very comfortable anymore.)

Ame: “Um… yes, Flannery. What you said?”

Flannery: “What? Uh… I think that… hm… I forgot. Sorry.”

Ame: “Ah, really? If so… may your memory come back to you soon.”

Flannery: “That’s it. Thanks, Ame.”

Ame: “You’re welcome.”

 

Shortly thereafter, Ame looked through the window to see where the train was heading. At this same moment, growing anxiety was surfacing on the face of the white-haired lady. Flannery glanced at her, she asked Ame if everything was fine with her.

 

Flannery: “You’re sure you’re right? You look worried.”

Ame: “Something’s not right. Shouldn’t we be decelerating already?”

Flannery: “Huh?!”

Ame: “…Oh no! Look!”

Flannery: “Eeeeh!?!??”

 

MXaSacP.png

 

The leader of the Reborn League was right to be concerned. She, Flannery, as well as all the other passengers had actually just left the desert, and the train had already reached the heart of Peridot Ward, one of the main districts of Reborn City. Despite this, however, the train speed remained unchanged. Flannery was gripped by fear while she saw buildings passing before her eyes.

 

DrWUZZM.png

 

Ame: “LEAAAAAVE THEEEEE TRAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIN!!!!!!”

 

Then, in record time, panic and confusion found their place in the heart of everyone aboard.

 

???: “What!?”

???: “Leaving… the train?”

???: “But why!?”

???: “Oh my God!!”

???: “What’s happening here?!?!”

 

No time could be wasted, Ame got up quickly and ordered Flannery to do so. The situation had become critical.

 

RAvQTwV.png

 

Ame: “That wasn’t supposed to happen! Hurry! We can’t stay here anymore!”

Flannery: “Eh?! But… what are we going to do?”

Ame: “There are no two ways about it. We must get out of here as fast as possible. When I tell you, follow me and charge into this window with me!”

Flannery: “What!? A-And Jacques!?”

Ame: “This is too late for him. Jacques won’t come back. If we wait for him, we’ll both die here.”

Flannery: “But…”

Ame: “WE HAVE TO GO NOW!!!”

 

Unable to bring herself to leave Jacques to his fate, Flannery answered to Ame.

 

Flannery: “…no.”

Ame: “What?”

Flannery: “Forgive me, Ame. I can’t.”

 

Suddenly, in the heat of the moment, Torkoal went out of his Pokeball on his own. The Coal Pokemon appeared before Flannery, glaring furiously at her.

 

XySi8Ek.png

 

Torkoal: “TOORKOOAL!!!”

Flannery: “Torkoal! What are you doing?!”

Torkoal: “TOOOOORKOOOOOOAL!!!”

Flannery: “AAAAAAAAAAHHHH… *Sound of breaking glass*”

 

At the last moment, while the train was about to sink whole into mayhem, fire and destruction, Torkoal took his courage in both legs and launched himself toward Flannery by charging her at full power, ejecting his mistress out of the train in order to save her from a tragic accident. Thus, the redhead and her faithful ally both came out through the window which broke under the violence of the impact. They were followed closely by Ame. The manager of the Reborn League threw herself through the exit created by the brave Coal Pokemon in turn right after them. But such an act of heroism was not enough to keep the rest of the passengers alive. In one second, a loud sound of detonation could be heard near our heroes, and the ambient temperature rose instantly because of the fiery explosion. Flames had swallowed up each of the wagons, one by one. Sadly, all those who did not succeed in leaving the train in time were perishing in fire altogether. The deafening sound of havoc combined with these nightmarish visions were the last things perceived by the poor fire girl before she hit the ground floor backward violently. After that, everything turned black and cold. Lying motionless on the ground, Flannery lost consciousness.

 

Spoiler

tK2laBl.png

 

QUICK LINK TO NEXT EPISODE

 

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Love how smoothly you introduced the Reborn Gym leaders and those pics are 10/10!

Would comment of Jacques' fate, but I smell something and prefer to wait until the story unravels.

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Well... Was not expecting all of that. This is probably my favorite episode so far. Was not expecting the very last picture though. Damn. That's gruesome. Haha.

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Wow I haven't comment on any of these stories for so long but anyway THIS IS A GGGREAATT chapter!!!!!! I love how this chapter has 1/3 of Flannery and Jacques flirting , 1/3 of angst and 1/3 of other scenes, and OH MY GOD the edits....it is very detailed and well done, I can even see the expression on their faces. I also love how you gave some early cameos to the gym leaders. So sad that Flannery can't save everyone on the train though Alice....JACQUESSSSS WWHHYYYY!!!!????!?!?!?! thank you for the Awesome chapter Q-Jei.

 

Ps:did Jacques met Hardy and Fern in the Onyx Trainer School or did he enroll in a different year. Also Luna is confirm 18,the same age as Bennette and Laura...just so you know.

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if you said Luna was 15 because I made her 15 in my story and thus misinformed you, then my apologies owo

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1 hour ago, Angelkitsune said:

Wow I haven't comment on any of these stories for so long but anyway THIS IS A GGGREAATT chapter!!!!!! I love how this chapter has 1/3 of Flannery and Jacques flirting , 1/3 of angst and 1/3 of other scenes, and OH MY GOD the edits....it is very detailed and well done, I can even see the expression on their faces. I also love how you gave some early cameos to the gym leaders. So sad that Flannery can't save everyone on the train though Alice....JACQUESSSSS WWHHYYYY!!!!????!?!?!?! thank you for the Awesome chapter Q-Jei.

 

Ps:did Jacques met Hardy and Fern in the Onyx Trainer School or did he enroll in a different year. Also Luna is confirm 18,the same age as Bennette and Laura...just so you know.

1 hour ago, Candy said:

if you said Luna was 15 because I made her 15 in my story and thus misinformed you, then my apologies owo

 

Ehh. Not that big of a difference. I mean she kind of does look around 15 anyways. Also, I do not believe that Jacques is dead! I think it's too soon for him to be dead.

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Wohow! So many warmly comments! Thank you all for the feedbacks 😄 I would be glad to exchange more about the main points of this chapter with you.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 6:03 PM, Candy said:

Love how smoothly you introduced the Reborn Gym leaders and those pics are 10/10!

Would comment of Jacques' fate, but I smell something and prefer to wait until the story unravels.

Thank you Candysama 😉 

Yeah, I wanted to add more depth to the Gym Leaders before Flannery meet them and gave her a foretaste of what's awaiting her. To be honest, Julia's picture is the one I'm the most proud of. As for maboi Jacques, we know him better as well. But his fate is kind of darkened now. I like to compare his situation to Aladdin's current status. We have no proof he's alive, but we have no proof he's dead either. Everything will be clearer once the next episode will arrive. It's probably too soon to talk about what's left of him for the moment, so you're right! But still, I feel bad for him. His life was about to get better until the accident happened 😥

 

On 3/16/2019 at 8:09 PM, J-Awesome_One said:

Well... Was not expecting all of that. This is probably my favorite episode so far. Was not expecting the very last picture though. Damn. That's gruesome. Haha.

Glad you enjoyed it. As Jacques said, Flannery's Pokemon have ended up proving their loyality toward their mistress more than they ever did. And I kinda understand your point of view about the final picture. Sometimes, I wonder if I didn't go too far with gruesomeness with this one. But I don't know why... I regret nothing ^~^ Btw, Vero never looked that hotter.

 

On 3/16/2019 at 9:31 PM, Angelkitsune said:

Wow I haven't comment on any of these stories for so long but anyway THIS IS A GGGREAATT chapter!!!!!! I love how this chapter has 1/3 of Flannery and Jacques flirting , 1/3 of angst and 1/3 of other scenes, and OH MY GOD the edits....it is very detailed and well done, I can even see the expression on their faces. I also love how you gave some early cameos to the gym leaders. So sad that Flannery can't save everyone on the train though Alice....JACQUESSSSS WWHHYYYY!!!!????!?!?!?! thank you for the Awesome chapter Q-Jei.

Looks like I achieved my goal 😄 And it's not over yet! Indeed, Jacques had feelings for Flannery, and she also kinda appreciated his company. Sharing their own stories, fears, expectations and supporting each other was a way to kill some time during the train ride (And I'm not talking about sleeping!) I also wished to focus on their states of mind by making it visible enough on the pictures. I thought playing with characters psychology was a way to keep them attractive, and make the reader more attached to them. And I share your sorrow about Alice and the others. Jacques premonition came true in the end 😥

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Good news! Everything is done with the content of the next episode! This one will come out soon, very soon. But before to upload it, I would like to precise something about two points mentionned in the last comments.

 

Point N°1: Luna's Age

I referred to this page when I was quoting the age of Luna.

During my writing sessions, I assumed that she might be around the same age as Charlotte. In her mid teens. Then, the age of Reborn characters has already been discussed and debated several times, so I would like to apologize if this detail has irritated someone. Anyway, I wanted to find a subject of discussion to make Jacques and Flannery killing some time, and in this story, Flannery was introduced to Pokemon battles at a very young age with her grandfather. Therefore, making some subtle comparisons with the age of the other Gym Leaders was something I wanted to try, so she could get impressed by how skilled the new generation is on Reborn lands 😄

 

Point N°2: Jacques' associates in Onyx Trainers' School

This question deserved more attention from my part (Sorry for the late reply @Angelkitsune 🙏)

 

Actually, this was already precise earlier, and there is one thing to know about Jacques' relationship in Onyx Trainers' School: he was a recluse. Also, if you look carefully, you can notice that there was only one bed in his room, which means that he was all alone in the same working space for two years, only animated by his desire of knowledge and experience grinding. All this time, Jacques felt forced to become a sort of better version of himself to flee what he was in his past. In fact, he has always preferred to see himself more as a spectator of his previous life than as the main actor. Additionally, it would appear that Jacques has started his formation right after the end of Hardy and Fern's study period. At this moment, there already were lots of graduates from this school who were then nominated Gym Leader and they all turned into popular figures of the region later. All this explains why in spite of his talent, Jacques has only received the title of Reserve Gym Leader. To conclude, the only person we know who had heard the most about Jacques is clearly Florinia since she was like the main teacher for almost all the students of the school, Jacques included. Hopefully, Flannery can get some extra info about him thanks to her in the future...

 

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well tbf I decided to totally ignore the canon ages and made Kiki an old woman, Luna also around 15, and maybe others who I don't recall at this moment 😛

it's fanfiction, you're already changing a lot of the plot of Ame's story so like, age shouldn't be a huge deal as long as it's not lewding minors uwu

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