From Everland to Reborn ~ Episode 77
Things I could've done:
Have the Gym battle be on this chapter
Not end on a cliff hanger
The reaction from Adrienn upon our entering xyr gym was just as I had hoped. Xyr face contorted when xe saw with whom I was entering.
“You really know how to get on one’s nerves,” xe said to me.
“Oh, no no I wouldn’t want to get on your nerves,” Sandy said. “I only want a tiny amount of your time. I have so many ideas to share with you to help Reborn’s wildlife.”
“I did my due, 10 volunteers. We can battle now, can’t we?”
“Sure, give me one second.”
Adrienn proceeded to give Sandy instructions as to what xe needed her to do. Something about mopping the floors and checking the turbines in the Water Treatment Center. Sandy heartily agreed to do the job and ran out of the gym.
“Shall we?” xe bobbed xyr head to the stairs that led to his overly-perfumed flowery field.
For this battle, I didn’t have many pokemon I could rely on. Fairy type was a pain because I had no poison types, and the steel type I had, Golden Key (klefki) was not an offensive player. Thus, I chose my team to play head on, neither of us having type advantage over the other. However, even knowing that I wasn’t going to have an easy battle wasn’t enough to prepare me for the challenge I was facing.
“This can’t be. My luck must’ve been uncommonly bad this time,” I said when I lost. “I request a rematch.”
“You can go change your team or train and come back, you know,” my opponent said.
However, I shook my head. I fathomed I hadn’t considered xe would change the field from Misty Field to Fairytale Field mid-battle, and that was why I had lost. Now that I had also ran an eye through the Fairytale Field field notes, I was sure I could use it to my advantage too.
Yet, when the battle concluded a second time, the result was the same.
I gritted my teeth. Out of all people I could lose to, Adrienn was second to Fern in making me feel humiliated. I was supposed to win and laugh at xem for ever thinking me capable of dishonesty… and here I was, having my ass handed to me.
I begged for a rematch one more time, before Adrienn told me to breathe and relax, because me getting worked up was visibly inhibiting my performance.
“Your pokemon are well-trained,” xe said. “They all have great skill, and you have good strategy. I’m honestly surprised that you excel in that, since I’ve always thought of you as an impulsive person. You are a great trainer, Vanilla.”
“What do you mean to tell me?”
“There’s always something you can improve on, and in this case I think that you should focus on building a stronger bond between you and your pokemon. Friendship, if you’d like.”
“I’ve already strengthened the bond between us. I’ve trained these pokemon pretty much since they were hatched.”
“Sure, they must have taken a liking to you because of that, but you could definitely build upon that strong bond. Have you spent time brushing their fur? Have you ever patted their heads when they won a battle? Pokemon are interesting creatures, and research shows they react positively to such things. Candy is a master of that. She should’ve guided you more.”
“I have strengthened a bond. Our trust I’m sure is unbreakable. However, I don’t believe in making friends with one’s comrades. How can you train them with exhausting workouts if you are partial to them like that? I’ve only experienced battling alongside a friend once, and that didn’t turn out well.”
I said this remembering the impact Wolfie’s death had on me.
“Perhaps it’s difficult to battle alongside friends, because there is a greater risk of emotional injury. However, it is also the only way to reach a team’s full potential, I believe,” Adrienn said. “Vanilla, why don’t you allow your mimikyu to fight? From the looks of it, you wouldn’t have to become friends with him because he already is. It’s scary how much potential I see in him, and it’s not because I’m biased towards fairy types.”
Pikachu tilted his cloth head at suddenly being addressed.
“I have trained hard for a very specific purpose, Adrienn,” I said. “And that purpose is one that I wouldn’t want to involve Pikachu in. That’s why I don’t wish to train him up.”
“Whatever your purpose, I think Pikachu would enjoy reaching his full potential. I’m sure the greatest happiness for a pokemon is to get stronger with their trainer. Do sleep on that thought, alright?”
At that moment, a person wearing a helmet bursted into the Gym and requested that Adrienn go check the Water Treatment Center immediately. Apparently, Sandy hadn’t taken to simply following xyr orders. Thus, any further gym rematches were called off for the day, and xe rushed out of the Gym, not before returning once to give something to me.
“Ah, here, you might need this,” xe said and put a round thing on my palm. “And if you do decide to train your mimikyu, you should ask Candy or Cookie for pointers. Their breeding shop requires training pokemon to hatch healthy and strong babies, you see.”
What Adrienn had given me was a Friendship ball.
“So, Adrienn says you’d make a good addition to my team. What do you say to that?” I asked Pikachu.
Instead of an answer, he stretched his arms to get a hold of the pokeball I was holding, so I had to pull it away from him. That is, until he got hold of it and then we were tugging the small orb, carefully avoiding pressing the button that would open the ball.
“I was asking a question, Pikachu. But I’m not sure that’s the way,” I said, pulling strongly.
In the end, I had to give in and Pikachu went into the pokeball. I picked it up and released him again.
“Listen. I must learn from past mistakes. I can’t let you battle with me... not when I know the pain of battling alongside a friend and losing her. It’s too much of a risk for both you and me.”
Pikachu seemed to think about this for a moment, but not long enough to give up apparently. He formed his hands like the head of a dinosaur or monster and moved them in a chomping motion. It seemed as though he was alluding to Solaris’ garchomp, for he then fell to the ground, playing dead.
“Yeah, that was one such instance that I regretted bringing you with me,” I said. “Thanks for bringing that traumatic memory up.”
He then pointed to the Friendship ball and shook his finger. It took me a while to understand what he was trying to say, but in essence, it appeared that he was telling me that whether or not he battled as part of my team, the fact that we walk a dangerous path together wouldn’t change.
Pikachu then hugged me, and I reckoned he wouldn’t let me go unless I agreed to have him join my team. A sly trick, if you asked me.
“Alright,” I said. “I hope I don’t have to regret this decision.”
I placed the empty pokeball in my backpack’s pocket, and headed out of Adrienn’s gym.
As per Adrienn’s suggestion, I went to Candy’s daycare. More than for training, I went there to have a place to rest for the night. The city had changed so much and the lodging was so scarce that I figured it would be best to stay with her for the time being.
When I entered Candy’s shop, only her husband was inside. He was cooking something, so he said “Welcome back” without realizing to whom he was speaking. When he rested his spatula on the range and looked at me, he jumped a little but tried to carry a natural conversation with me.
“It’s been a while since we last saw each other. How are you, Vanilla?”
“If you’re looking for Candy, I’m afraid she isn’t here at the moment. She went out in the afternoon and hasn’t come back yet.”
“Where has she gone off to?”
“Well,” he said, looking a little embarrassed. “We had this pokemon recovering from dehydration and starvation upstairs, but early this morning I found that he was gone. I couldn’t go search for him myself, because I was taking care of the daycare, but Candy’s gone to look for him.”
I remembered Candy mentioning something about a rowdy pokemon. It seemed that the pokemon had given as much pain in the neck as Candy anticipated it to give.
Adrienn had said that Cookie could also help with Pikachu’s training, but I wasn’t particularly fond of him, so instead I asked him if they had some space I could borrow to spend the night.
“The spare room we had is a little messy right now because that’s where we were keeping the zorua,” Cookie said. “I could clean it up for you but it might take a while.”
“No, don’t bother. I only need any place with a ceiling to stay in. I can clean up, too, since you seem busy.”
Only when I said this, Cookie noticed that whatever was in the pan was starting to smell like it had burnt. He quickly mixed the food with the spatula, and laughed as he told me to make myself easy upstairs.
The room that didn’t contain a king-sized bed was indeed in quite a disarray. There were books, papers, blankets, pokemon food, all scattered about on the carpeted floor, so that I couldn’t step inside without stepping on at least one of those things. However, there was a sofa bed, and that was all that I needed.
“Let’s clean up a bit, Pikachu. I think Candy would appreciate that.”
I started picking up the books and placing them into the book shelf. Pikachu moved the blankets over to the corner, which had a fence, probably meant to keep the pokemon within it but failing terribly at it. While he picked up the pokemon food- probably sneakily eating some himself in the process- I gathered the papers and envelopes. On one such instance, I caught a peculiarity on one of the envelopes. I thought I recognized the seal on it, but had to really make sure it really was what I thought it was. However, there was no mistaking what had always sealed several of the envelopes on my dad’s work desk.
I forgot all social decorum about not opening envelopes that aren’t addressed to me, and took out the letter. It was dated a couple of weeks ago, and the royal insignia that matched the seal adorned the top of the page.
“Dear Candy Leiderhosen,” I read aloud.
“Greetings. I hope this letter finds you well.
My motive for personally addressing a letter to you is as follows.
It has come to my attention that the Reborn region where you and your cousin Vanilla currently reside is under looming doom due to a power that seeks to rewrite the very essence of the universe. The details escape me at the moment, and though I believe it is founded on falsehood, I have reached out to you to be my ambassador to prevent calamity if it turns out to be true. I wish to assign you the task of speaking to the commander of this power, and to request that Vanilla not be harmed. Tell her that if she does not comply with my request, I shall not hesitate to wage war on Reborn.
I trust that you will obey my order, for our interests must be aligned on this front.
Do not tell Vanilla of my involvement in her affairs, but do store this letter. I know why I instruct you thus.
Yveneas XXXIV, Queen of Everland”
“What can be the meaning of this,” I said, barely able to contain my bewilderment. “Candy received a letter from the Queen. That is unbelievable enough. Then, there’s the content of it.”
I re-read the 1-page long letter once through again.
“The Queen knows I’m in this region. I shouldn’t be surprised about that, for I’m sure Aladdin’s hasty plan must’ve had something give it away. But what could she mean by requesting that I not be harmed? She must know by now that I was part of the Defiance group that her men captured... or could her detectives and policemen be that incompetent?”
Whatever the reason for such an odd request, Candy must have complied with the Queen’s orders. It coincided too well with what ZEL had been instructed to do, or not do. By extension, it also made sense that Lin would have me gassed to sleep in the fake Devon corp building, and later have me enclosed in a cage that did not have any nasty tricks to it.
I read the letter once more for good measure, and tried to think of a reason the Queen would take the trouble to send a letter to Candy in order to save me from Lin.
“If she didn’t know that I was a criminal under her law, I could easily comprehend that she was acting on behalf of my aristocratic parents. However, I’m convinced she must know. There just isn’t a chance, for I surely left enough evidence in my base to make it quite obvious.”
Maybe Candy knows, I heard my voice whisper on the back of my mind. My stomach sunk at the thought that this may not be the only letter she had received from the Queen. Could I be so insensible to the years we spent together, as the family member whom I could trust the most, as to suspect her of colluding with my enemy?
I shook my head.
I wouldn’t jump to conclusions this time around. I had too high an esteem for my cousin as to do that without hearing her defense.
VANILLA RATES: REBORN CHARACTERS