B1 — 4. First Pokémon!

POV: Rhea Everhart (our 17-year-old protagonist about to start her Bronze-tier journey)

Recap:  We learned a lot about Pokemon battles, Moves, and more about what it takes to be a Master-tier Trainer.

Rhea got a bunch of pictures of her brother and got to have a fun time with her Auntie Cynthia, dad, brother, and neighborhood friends.  Cynthia got on with her daughter, Bianca, to walk her through cooking as Rhea helped on the Kanto side.

After their meal, which Sabin’s Mismagius, Luna, shared half of with her Trainer (pity for Sabin), the boys had a water fight, invoking the imperial wrath of Melina, Cynthia’s 50”11 Milotic, when they got her Trainer involved.

Finally, with everyone going home after a fun day, Rhea went to bed with her two eggs, ready for her first Pokemon in the morning.  Let’s see what they are!

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A hot puff of air passed through Rhea’s lips as she moaned, relishing the light burn passing through her muscles while stretching under her sheets.  Mind still rousing, she noticed a cold and fluffy pressure against her abdomen that shifted with her movements.

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Swallowing the small pool of saliva in her mouth, she cleared her throat while twisting her hips a little.  Opening her pearl blue eyes, her dully lit room came into focus; the sun was creeping past the large forest trees, and she could hear flying Pokémon communicating with one another outside.

A small smile brightened her cheeks as a sharp edge pressed lightly against her belly; the eggs hatched.

She scooted back, pulling the blanket aside to get her first look at the newly hatched Pokémon.  Her lips tilted with curiosity upon seeing them; the mystery egg finally revealed their contents.

Rhea studied the sleeping baby Pokémon.  It wouldn’t take long for them to start growing once they ate; it was rare for most people to see infant Pokémon in person, especially if you didn’t live close to a breeder.

She recognized both upon sight, but her mother’s gene manipulations and the exhaustive breeding program had caused quite a few noticeable changes that made Rhea want to coo with a spiking sugar rush; they were so cute.

From her classroom experience, she could tell the Eevee was a female by the more narrow-angle of her skull, giving her a more elegant facial-shape.  Her primary fur color was a soft snow-white that almost glowed, unlike any Eevee she’d seen online.

Her tiny paws, tail tip, mane, and the inner section of her long ears were a sleek night black, contrasting the alabaster hue of her fur.  Several other features caught Rhea’s attention as she worked her eyes over the girl.

Her tail was a bit longer than expected, and her fur was smoother than the puffy mess she’d seen on other Eevee.  Instead, the mane was less billowy, acting as seven thick, neatly groomed locks of hair gave her a more mature appeal than other Eevee.

Rhea smiled, reaching down to scratch the base of her ears where three flaring patches of fur branched out.  The silky locks were softer than her own hair, and she was warm, releasing a precious moan in her throat as she cuddled closer to the Fairy-type Pokémon beside her.

She’d been right about her mother’s direction; the mystery Pokémon nestled beside her Eevee made Rhea insides shout for joy.  She won the bet, which meant extra funds!

Rhea shifted her ponytail to the side while staring at her baby Mawile, and just like Eevee, there were a few oddities about the Steel/Fairy-Type Pokémon, but Rhea wasn’t too familiar with Mawile in general to catch everything.

She wasn’t versed enough on the famous Hoenn Pokémon to tell if it was a boy or girl, but the cool color-scheme caught her attention.

Mawile’s normally mustard-colored body had taken on a shiny black tone while its black was replaced by a gleaming, metallic white.

Its large, second mouth was a bit longer than its entire body, and the extension also changed its standard chromatic design.  The white outer shell was somewhat malleable, based on the tension the Mawile desired it to have, and the ordinarily yellow-colored dot was a shiny black.

The Pokémon’s massive mouth was lulled open, showing a white tongue and black gums.  Its razor-sharp pearly whites were huge compared to its size, half of them protruding when it closed its mouth to blend into the glossy ivory outer shell.

Mawile’s long, bang-like strips could be tensed to provide defense but were currently draped loosely across its arms and the sheets, making its cuteness factor skyrocket as it slept.  The Pokémon’s white metallic hair covered more of its forehead than normal Mawile, branching down into a W-shape with a small reverse V between its closed eyes.

Rhea wracked her brain, searching for everything she knew about the Pokémon while smiling at its cute white feet, poking out of its jet-black dress-like pants.

From what little she recalled about Mawile in school, her focus naturally slid to the deadly yet cute open jaw, showing its knife-like teeth.

Mawile may have a massive second mouth-like appendage, but it wasn’t meant for eating large chunks of food; the powerful jaws did have a link to some kind of saliva gland within its head, but at most, it could only swallow liquids.  It was primarily a weapon.

It was also a very slow Pokémon, meaning that in the wild, it would hide in bushes, releasing a sweet smell to attract animals and possible nearby threats, attacking while their foe’s guard was down, which gave it the name The Deceiver Pokémon.

Still, in terms of early Type advantage, the Steel-type was considered one of the best from the bits of commentary she’d followed during past Bronze Leagues; although she rarely finished them since most of the time those kinds of weak battles bored her; growing up watching so many high-tier matches between Masters made her desire more from the competitions.

Knowing newly hatched Pokémon needed their rest, Rhea conscientiously slid out of bed, carefully gathering all the eggshells to set aside for Janice to make medical concoctions; she was glad her bed didn’t squeak like her parents’.

Setting the pieces on her desk, she snatched the velvety black bag from her desk and her phone from the wireless charger, remembering her mother’s plea in yesterday’s letter.  She paused, debating on taking her wireless headphones for a few seconds before pocketing them.

She snuck one last fond look at her adorable little creatures, quietly opening the door, and left it a crack just in case they woke up and went exploring.

Rhea passed the upstairs bathroom on the way to the stairs; the shower was on, meaning Sabin was getting ready.  Her father’s door was still shut, which was a bit odd for him; she was used to him getting up around the same time as her, being downstairs cooking breakfast by the time she was done freshening up.

Proceeding to the living room armchair that faced the stairs, she rubbed her shoulder as a shiver passed through her body; it was a little chilly for the morning, and her dad always turned off the HVAC at night to lessen the strain on the remote village’s electrical grid.

Dumping the contents out on the table, she frowned, eyes sliding between the five objects; there were four glowing stones and a shielded data cube inside.

“Huh…”

Rhea leaned forward, pressing her phone against her left thigh while studying the luminous gems.

One radiated between dozens of hues, showing every color she could imagine, ping-ponging inside the crystal shell as if trying to escape.  Two were almost identical, emitting a faint white light, and the last one could have shared an abyssal link with her aunt’s Spiritomb, pulling in the surrounding light into a fathomless singularity.

Being careful not to touch any of them, she slid the data cube away from the rest, popping the small protective case open.  Shaking out the complicated piece of technology, she set her phone on the table and placed it on her device before inserting her headphones.

Her blonde eyebrow rose as a program seemed to auto-unpack, running through a swift list of commands before the screen released a small three-dimensional image of her mother.

Rhea twisted the rectangular machine to the side, so her mother faced her.  Sitting back with a little surprise, her mom decided to send the message in one of the breakthrough technologies she’d been working on with Silph.

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Her mother’s shining, healthy face told Rhea that this was probably recorded well before Christie had gone on her sleep strike for research.

“Rhea, Honey!”  She said in a peppy voice.  “Isn’t this interesting?  It shouldn’t be long until projection-type technology becomes standard practice … uh, three years, maybe?”  She giggled, scratching her neck.

“Anyways, umm, this is a bit of a serious message, so I’ll be quick; there’s a lot of sensitive information I’ll be explaining that I don’t really want to get out, which is why it was shielded, and I sent it through teleportation … you might have thought that was weird, hehe.

“Eh … so, pause this when you need to … just tap anywhere on the hologram because once this message ends, it’ll self-terminate.”

Rhea’s lips pulled in, vision sliding to the gems before returning to her mother.

Yeah, okay … this sounds a bit on the legally gray side of her research.

Sure enough, Christie continued while shifting a bit.  “Your Pokémon technically aren’t legally able to be bred in Kanto or Johto … quite a few places, actually.  Politics within the Kanto and Johto League … Breeders United lobbyists, to be specific,” she sighed, rolling her eyes.

Before the question even fully formed in Rhea’s mind, her mother added, “That doesn’t mean they’re illegal to have!  You know, they wouldn’t discriminate against a Pokémon after it was born,” she mumbled with a sly sidewards smile.

“No, you’re perfectly fine using them, and here is where we get into the troubling part of this whole situation … okay, it’s going to be a rough transition for you, but I’ve had your father do his best to prepare you!

“I want to talk about how cute and unique your two new lovely babies are … I bet they’re sleeping soundly in your bed, but I’ll be able to do that when I see you at the ceremony.

“First, those two adorable little monsters … they’ll die soon if they’re not able to transition properly by feeding off of a Trainer’s fortitude.”

Rhea’s blood went cold, and her concern grew as her mother continued.

“They have so much natural power after everything I’ve done that it requires an anchor for it to fully stabilize within their bodies, and that’s going to be demanding on your own three fortitudes.

“Now, hold up!” Christie warned, holding up her hands with a forced smile; Rhea had scooted to the edge of her seat.  “They’ll more than likely survive several hours after hatching, and before they’re awake, I need to warn you about a few things.

“The Eevee … adorable; I’ve bred her to temperamentally be an absolute angel!  She’s Docile natured, which means she’s an excellent Starter.

“You see that multi-colored gemstone?  Yeah, that’s … let’s just say this research has made me a target of many evil people, and not for this particular end product I’m giving you … lots of terrible things you can do with this stuff.  Once it’s used, those types of people won’t bother with the results, though, but other small-time criminals might be interested,” she noted with a slight frown.  “It’s the result of having something unique.”

“In short, that stone will stabilize your Eevee’s natural instability, making it so … you guessed it, transform into every Eeveelution!”

Rhea’s mouth dropped open, heart palpitating with the mic her mother was dropping.

“That’s right; no more gut-wrenching decisions to make!  It will be a bit rough on your first journey for her to transform multiple times in a day … I suggest choosing one evolution a day to be safe as you build up your fortitude.

“You naturally have a very high fortitude, extremely high like your aunt’s … well, in potential, but it will take time to reach it; that’s why I can give you these types of Pokémon, and you’ve had Franky around you almost all your life to help with your resilience to internal high-pressure energies.”

Rhea pressed her tongue against the side of her teeth, muscles tense as she listened to her mother unravel her plan.

Sabin came out of the bathroom, and he must have noticed her door a crack because he checked it before heading downstairs with a towel around his neck, hair still damp as he grinned.

“Yo, Rhea,” he said with a soft voice.  “You won the … woah, wait … is that live … Mom?”

She held up her hand, still watching her mother as she went on, feeling her worry rising.

Sabin worked his jaw around, glancing toward the kitchen.  “Huh … alright, uh … I’ll snatch you a water real fast.”

Rhea barely heard him, trying to focus on her mother.

“The Mawile, on the other hand, will be a challenge … oh, not really with her personality, well … not entirely.  I can see her being a bit rebellious … eh, but not really in a bad way … kind of like a teenage way.  Oof,” she winced.  “Yeah, you were kind of a handful when you were thirteen.

“Anyways, with the modifications and breeding I’ve done … the Mawile will not be like normal Mawile … no, she’s … kind of a savage, Adamant natured, and very competitive.

“The Eevee is your versatile supporter while Mawile is your bruiser; she’s basically your shield and heavy club.  You’ll have to watch her, or she might take battles too far … just a quick warning.”

Rhea caught the information quickly; both her Pokémon were female, which was essential to breeders if she had so many genetic moves, many of which couldn’t be learned any other way than selective breeding.

“Pokémon see you as their human,” she giggled, “yup, you’re their human, and if a Trainer has many Pokémon, then they’ll also want to establish a pecking order within that group … that’s just how competitive linked Pokémon can be.

“Esfforia, your aunt’s Garchomp, is without a doubt, the big sister of her Pokémon, with your aunt seen as somewhat of a mother figure.  Pokémon are eager to form relationships within their internal community, and they can communicate with one another through a Trainer’s own connection, acting as a nexus hub … your aunt says hers can communicate with those in her box, but … I’m skeptical.”

Her eyes turned suspicious.  “Sometimes my sister plays with me on those types of topics.  Of course … the connections or synchronization must be strong with both the other Pokémon and you, but that won’t be much of a problem with what I have in mind!”

Her mother giggled.  “You’ll find an exciting dynamic unfolding as you get new Pokémon, and they start taking on different roles within your personal little community.  They can be funny and even help a lot with training … in fact, they’ll be huge supports with training new additions.  Oh, I need to be quick!”

Rhea glanced at the open doorway to the kitchen as her brother walked out, sitting across from her and setting a bottle of water across from her, waiting for her to be finished.  He watched their mother’s silent motions and extravagant gestures with a soft smile.

“Now that some of that’s been said, let’s get to those stones!

“The two shining ones will eliminate the need for your Pokémon to have any type of Sync-Stone or crystal.  Don’t worry; they’re attuned to each, so you can’t mess up.

“The black, honestly scary looking one that you might think will pull you into the Distortion World or Shadow World, but no,” she said with a tinkling laugh, “no, it’s an evolution stone for you!”

“Huh?”  Rhea couldn’t help but react to the statement, glancing down at the gem, and Sabin followed her gaze with a slight frown.

“What’s up?”

“Nothing, uh … just don’t touch those,” she mumbled, leaning forward again to listen.

“Okay, mysterious,” Sabin chuckled, sipping a cup of hot berry cider.

“This one is a bit of a new creation of mine!  It will take the place of a Z-Power Ring, Mega Device, and Sync-Tech; your father and aunt have been my guinea pigs on the matter.  I had to start off with separate stones, hehe, but I perfected it!

“Oof, your father got pretty sick one time when I messed up the strength, but we got over it!  Your aunt’s usually the final test run before I decide it’s safe, and then a few other Masters volunteered for a few more extra bits of data.  It’s completely safe, though!”

Rhea recalled her Aunt Cynthia’s aura when using Syncro-Burst; she hadn’t seen it often but just chalked it up to it being her aunt, and now that it was mentioned, she didn’t recall her wearing any type of advanced evolutionary device.

“I’ve been working with Silph on this one, and I gave them the formula for the Mega Evolutions … hey, when you have expensive experiments that might not pan out, you tend to waste a lot of money, and you gotta get it from somewhere!

“Basically, it eliminates a Trainer’s need for a harmonizing keystone and stabilizing device … eh, it’ll put some products out of business, which means there was obviously opposition from a few industries, but with Silph’s support, I had everything I needed to advance my ideas in this area.”

Rhea was still a bit leery of any object that would be absorbed into her body, but a smile brightened her cheeks at her mother’s lengthy explanations; Christie’s mind would often jump between points, trying to explain things because she thought others would get excited by the details.

Her rambling gave Rhea some confidence in her mother’s plan; it showed her that Christie had gone through fairly exhaustive testing.

“Finally, we’ll wrap everything up with those pokéballs I gave you … eh, they aren’t very legal, but not exactly illegal…”

Sabin’s stomach shook as he laughed.  “That expression on her face … she’s done something shady, hasn’t she?”

“Yeah, somethin’ like that…”  Rhea mumbled, watching her mother explain herself.

“Those pokéballs have a 100% catch rate for a reason … the deal is just too good for any sane Pokémon to pass up.  It came as a result of Silph trying to enhance synchronization rates.

“Umm … I mean, I know you understand the basics of pokéballs, but it’s kind of necessary in this explanation.

“Pokéballs are the advanced form of … from what we can tell, meaning scientists, a very long-standing practice of fashioning devices that can link Pokémon and Trainer.  There are many types of devices, but they all … most … there was one incident about a human being able to be trapped inside one in historical accounts from Pokélantis, but that’s still a heavily debated topic … no, no, I’m getting off track.

“Uh … Ultra-type pokéballs have the highest possible sync-rate of allowing Pokémon and Trainer to share their energy, and yes, a Pokémon could share their fortitude with a human, but it’s really not all that effective in most cases … those Martial Artists like to give it a try, though … it’s just way more efficient to provide it to a Pokémon.

“The pokéballs I gave you are called Master-type pokéballs, and … well, that’s for a reason.  They aren’t on the market because they allow a Pokémon to forcefully take energy from a Trainer, allowing the Pokémon a lot of split decision reactions that could drastically change a match’s outcome, but at the expected price of the Trainer naturally feeling much more drained.

“Normal Trainers just can’t handle their Pokémon constantly demanding more power when in the heat of battle, and it can negatively affect the Trainers.  Now, it’s not like the Pokémon can kill you with it, but it can put you in bed for a few days if the Pokémon is reckless.  

“However, this is the only method that will allow you to give those baby Pokémon the energy they need to survive as a Bronze-tier Trainer.  I hope that makes sense,” she sighed, running her left hand through her blonde hair.  “I tried to think of an alternative, but there just wasn’t any.

“What will this mean?  It means you’ll feel sore and tired for a few days as you acclimate, and your Pokémon stabilize; not very different from all the new Trainers in Pallet you’ll meet, but it shouldn’t be near as bad for you.  So, like I said, you might not want to have Eevee evolve too often until your three fortitudes expand.  I mean, one of the reasons the age restriction has been pushed up so far is the health concerns discovered when children bond with Pokémon through pokéballs.

“Sure, in the extremely rare minority … less than .05% of those children will age slower, gain extraordinary health benefits, and in general become superhuman … we’re talking about Master-tier and above here.

“The unlucky ones … not so good.  While 67% of Trainers do fine … the other 32.95% have underdeveloped fortitudes, causing damage, which results in health concerns for the Pokémon and Trainers.  It’s a gamble that many are willing to take, but with that alarming discovery, plus the resulting knowledge, our population is low because of it … rules change when science finds answers.

“So, in conclusion…

“First, touch the black stone to evolve!  Hehe, yes, your mother created the first human evolution stone!  Oh, it’ll go down in the history books in the next few weeks as companies start rolling out the low-tier stuff I gave them.

“Second, use those pokéballs to wake your Pokémon up and keep them alive.

“Third, use those three stones … uh, the colorful one first on Eevee!  It will drain you a bit with the sudden spike in stabilization, but the other two, you shouldn’t feel a thing.

“Fourth, name and love them!

“Finally, make sure they eat every single one of those little treats I gave before eating anything else!  It shouldn’t be hard for them to finish it in one sitting.  EVs are crucial to maximizing their potential before random battles and food mess everything up … more than 80% of trainers fail at EV training.

“Now, if you have any more questions, then just ask me when you see me next.  In five seconds, this message will self-terminate.  I love you!”

Easily remembering everything said, Rhea let the hologram fade, and the message went through the zeroing process.

Mom, Mom, Mom … I haven’t even been registered as a Bronze-tier Trainer, and you’re sending me illegal Pokémon and all this other crazy stuff … a stone of strange energy that’ll literally make me a walking sync-stone!

Her vision fell to the gems again, glinting on the table.

Still … she spent so much time preparing to help me … no … hold-up.  You did craft some of this stuff for other people, but it was intended for me.  So, I’m a part of some big experiment … Mom said she’s been combining everything she knows, meaning there’s a big stake in my journey, and what path I choose after the Bronze League since this part is mandatory.

Mom … what are you up to?  Well, at least I have an adorable Eevee that can be any Eeveelution!  Man, that’s awesome…

Her smile fell a bit, watching her phone restarted after the data cube was wiped.  Sure enough, once checking it, it was blank.  Sighing, she tossed it on the table, staring at the stones beside it while her brother quietly watched her internal debate.

I can’t really say no, and it would really help me out on my journey.  I mean, I can say no, but … I can’t.  Mom’s tried so hard.  All the time she’s been away, working tirelessly, and it was all for this, which is the final test run while molding her dream around my journey.  Plus, I can’t let those Pokémon die … I’m locked in.

She smiled a little, leaning forward to stare at the black crystal.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained … who even said that … Ethan?  Probably Ethan.

Tapping the object with her index finger, she was a little surprised as it stuck to her finger like glue, melding into a black smoke-like substance that weaved into her skin.

Well, that’s not…

“Rhea?”  Sabin asked, sitting forward a little.

Her throat constricted, saliva drying up in her mouth as a tightness gripped her chest; it was like a feather was moving through her body, touching every cell.  It only lasted a few seconds, but the sensation left her speechless.  Afterward, she didn’t feel any different.

Is this what it feels like for a Pokémon when it evolves … I just evolved…

“Uh … yo, Rhea, you’re kind of glowing?  Should I go grab Dad?”  He tentatively asked, glancing down at the other stones.

“No, no,” Rhea chuckled, glancing down at her hand as it faded.  “I just evolved!”

“Ah … come again?”

“Mom made a stone that makes it so I don’t have to use any sync-devices.”

Sabin’s eyes widened with wonder as he pieced it together.  “Woah, wait … you mean … huh … just like the stone Mom gave Fabio, and … she made one for humans?  That’s awesome!”  He gave her a light glare.  “Yo, where’s mine?”

“Hey, hey,” Rhea giggled, holding up her hands.  “I’m just the recipient here!  Take it up with Mom.”

“I’m gonna have to,” Sabin muttered with an impressed smile, “‘cause that’s OP!  Those things are so expensive, and if they get damaged … oof.  What other awesome things did Mom send you?  Wait, does that mean those are like … combined sync stones?”

“Hehe, mhm!”  Rhea grinned, showing a peace-sign.  “Mom decked me out, didn’t she?”

“What’s this about your mother?”  Their dad asked, yawning while walking down the stairs.  In one of the rarest of circumstances, she saw both Franky and him trudging down the steps like they’d gone through a life and death battle.

“What happened to you?”  Both children asked with stunned expressions.

“Clean-up,” he mumbled, heading to the kitchen to grab some coffee.  “Ugh … clean-up…”

Franky made similar guttural sounds while following him.

“Oh, uh … so, how’s the Pokémon?”  He asked from inside the kitchen, rummaging through the cabinet to get a cup as he started the automatic machine.

“I won!”  Rhea cheered, aiming a toothy grin at her brother.

“Yeah, yeah,” Sabin sighed, “I’ve got enough cash saved up, but I bet Kate will give me those big eyes, and I’ll get her food for the next few weeks.  Oh, Dad!  Did you know about Mom’s evolution stone?”

Keith popped his messy blonde hair back around the corner, showing a tired smile.  “Ah, Rhea broke the big news?  Man, felt like food poisoning times five when your mother gave me that supercharged one!”

“Wha … yo, Dad, hook a son up!”  Sabin moaned.

“Oof,” he disappeared again, going after his coffee.  “Aye, you’ll need to talk to yer mother about that one!  I’m just the test dummy … dummy being the keyword in that statement … ugh, the things I let your mother do to me…”

“Yeah, okay,” Sabin sighed with a weak laugh, “just change the subject on me.”

“Hey, no, for real, kids!  She’s got this trick she does … gah, I just can’t say no to that woman.”

Rhea’s lips fell a little as she glanced at the wall.  “Yeah, I get what you mean, Dad … Mom’s got a way of getting what she wants.”

“Oh, so we goin’ up to meet your new Pokémon, Rhea?  How’s that Eevee and Mawile look, pretty wild with the gene modification?”

“So, you did know,” Rhea mumbled.

“What, you thought I was lying?”

“Well,” Sabin gave her a look, “sometimes … yeah, you kind of skirt the truth a bit.”

“Ouch!  Okay, okay, I do a bit of embellishment sometimes, but only to tell a good story.  I can say with confidence that I have never lied to Rhea before.”

Sabin’s brow furrowed, head darting to the kitchen door.  “… Never lied to Rhea?  Hold up…”

“So,” Keith chuckled, coming back in with a beanie and a big mug in hand; Franky was beside him sporting the same attire, “we goin’ to check out these princesses?”

Her brother’s tone was still suspicious.  “How do you know they’re female?”

Their dad just wore a smug grin, shrugging his shoulders.  “Eh, whi-dunno … are they?”  His blue irises slide innocently to Rhea while sipping at his cup.

“… Yes…”

“Cool.”

Rhea and Sabin gave him a watchful stare, Franky loudly slurping his cup of joe, big eyes darting between them.  After a moment, Rhea and Sabin turned their gaze to the ghost.

““Franky…””

“Geng?”

“Hmm?  We’re just sippin’ our coffee,” Keith replied, hiding his lips again and purposefully taking a very long, slow drink.

Franky gave a similar shrug, mirroring his Trainer.

Rhea released a long sigh.  “Always keeping your sources hidden.  Huh, Dad?  You know … maybe it was Frisky … where is that shy Medicham, hanging out in the attic listening?  Hmm?”  She asked, directing her sly glare at the Gengar, far easier to crack than her father.

The ghost broke under her stare, swallowing the rest of his coffee too quickly.  He sheepishly chuckled, pointing at the cup before retreating back into the kitchen.

Her dad shifted his shoulder against the kitchen door frame, glancing back at his Starter.  “Franky … you gotta get better, my man.  I swear, she’s breaking you quicker and quicker every year!”

Franky’s depressed tone returned while refilling his pot.

“Knew it!”  Rhea snickered, glancing up at the high ceiling overhead.  “Feeling too shy to meet my new Pokémon, Frisky?”

She heard the soft moan from the above floorboards, making Sabin chuckle.

“You know Dad’s Pokémon better than I do!”

“Well, they’ve been all up in my business most of my life … right, Franky?”

The ghost popped in for almost two seconds before her words sent him retreating back into the kitchen.

Her dad just silently laughed, still somehow slipping his first cup of coffee.

“Gah, alright,” Rhea mumbled, brushing her bound hair back over her shoulder while gathering up the remaining three stones.  “Let’s get this over with.”

They made their way upstairs, Franky doing his best to hide behind his Trainer.

“Man, Kate would be freaking out … no, wait…”  Sabin snickered, taking out his phone to snap a picture of the two Pokémon.  “And … send; expect her over in like five minutes, top!”

“Heh … which means Jason will be with her,” Rhea sighed, glancing over at her wall mirror to see her morning look.  “Fine, whatever.”

Walking over to the pokéballs on her desk, she pulled back her braid and activated the ball.  Leaned forward, she pressed one against the Eevee’s head.  The Eevee entered with a red flash of light, transforming into energy.

Rhea paused; it felt like everything was tingling as something warm nestled next to her heart, but she knew it was only in her head since there wasn’t a specific spot the bond was attached to.  “Wow…”

She could sense the Eevee’s consciousness stir inside the pokéball as her heart palpitated.  It really felt like the phantom of another mind in her head, a body held in her hands, and an unseen personage closeby.

Sabin walked up to comfortingly rub between her shoulder blades.  “Yeah, it’s a bit overwhelming at first.  I’ve seen a few Bronze-tier Trainers get theirs in the wild, and some break down crying.”

She smiled softly, pressing her hand against her chest, black tingling with her brother’s touch.  “I don’t know about that, but … yeah, it’s certainly something … I think I’ll need to get used to it.”

Activating the next pokéball, she added the Mawile; she could instantly sense the difference in her two Pokémon.  If the Eevee was a calm, running brook, willing to twist and turn, Mawile was a ball of molten steel, ready to slam into someone’s face.

Rhea hadn’t even realized Franky rapidly changing positions, snapping photos; she doubted any of them would be good, but he was trying, and at least the ghost was a lot less depressed.

Releasing the two Pokémon, a force constricted her chest, causing her to wince.  “Mmh … what’s that?”

“Oof, Honey,” Keith muttered with a forced smile, “two Pokémon at once … eh, you’re taking it better than I thought, but there’s a reason Trainer’s start with one and work their way up over at least the next few days … even for Master’s kids.”

Rhea did her best to smile.  “No, it’s just … just a little tight around my chest, but I think it’s getting better.  Mom wanted me to train a little.”

She laughed internally at the thought of her Pokémon training her by just being out.  The Mawile and Eevee blinked, glancing between them before settling on her with happy chirps.

“Hey,” Rhea giggled, stepping forward to rub their heads.

The Mawile was smooth as metal, but since she wasn’t prepared for a fight, her super fine hair melded between her fingers like butter.  It made Rhea ponder what would happen if the fiery Pokémon was suddenly spooked, deciding not to test the theory.

She knew what her brother and father were going to ask next and beat them to the punch.  “I think I’ll call you Maya, nickname … Mya,” she said, stroking the top of Mawile’s closed second mouth, “and you, “… how about Novie, mmh, no, Nova!”

They both made soft sounds, rubbing against her head, but they soon caught sight of the floating ghost above, both eyeing him suspiciously.  Franky snickered, likely communicating with them.

“Aww, they’re adorable,” Sabin cooed, bending in closer to study them.  “Nice names, too!”

“Thanks,” Rhea smiled, walking back to grab the stones.  “Okay, Mom said to do this as soon as possible … colorful one on Nova first.”

“Huh…”  Sabin stood back to observe while their father silently watched from the door, arms folded with a smile on his lips.

“Okay, just hold still, Nova,” Rhea prompted.  “These will make you really strong … wha?”

She jumped back with everyone else as Nova began to glow, swapping over a dozen forms, many of which Rhea hadn’t seen before, but she could only catch the illuminated shape before it quickly became something else.

Rhea’s chest burned as a weight passed through her muscles; it was as if she’d been doing a light workout, and by the time the Eevee returned to its original form, she was left breathing a bit harder than usual with sticky saliva in her mouth.

Maya tilted her head to both sides, mumbling something as Nova stood in a stunned state, blinking after a moment before responding.  Franky made a few comments, which the two Pokémon paid close attention to, but Rhea cut into the conversation.

“Hey, are you feeling okay, Nova?”

She chirped, cutely tilting her head.

“Aww,” Rhea laughed, still feeling the stress on her body.  “Well, we’re not finished, one more time…”

She used the next two stones on Maya and Nova, but it didn’t seem to have any adverse effects like her mother had mentioned.

“Well, Nova … you’re a special Eevee!”

Her brother cleared his throat.  “… I was going to say, uh … can she change between all her evolution forms?”

Rhea gave him a quick peace-symbol.  “Hehe, that’s what Mom said; yes, praise Nova for her amazing talents!”  She cooed, presenting the girl.

Nova blinked with confusion but soon puffed up her chest, looking proud of herself, and Mya giggled softly.

“Okay,” Sabin chuckled, slowly clapping his hands, “consider me impressed.  What’s next on the trick list?  I’m guessing they have a ton of breeding Moves if Mom bred them.”

“Uh…”

Her father came to the rescue.  “C’mon, Sabin, remember the first battle you ever had?  Did you have two clearly top-tier Pokémon out?”

“Ah, haha, no, I guess I didn’t,” he chuckled sheepishly.  “I’m just a bit excited.  So, did Mom say anything else?”

Rhea glanced over at the small bags of food, smiling while opening them.  “The last thing was that I can’t feed them anything but these until they’re gone … EV food and all, I guess.  Hmm, I’m guessing the one with the Eevee looking symbol on it is simple enough … wow, I can’t believe I didn’t notice that for the bet…”

She tugged open the bag and made sure both ate the proper one.

“Well, you guessed right,” Keith winked.

Her brother’s face drained of color.  “Shoot … I’m gonna have to tell Kate when she gets here … she’s gonna break down crying,” he mumbled with a forced laugh.  “Yeah … any minute now … Franky?  Ah, she’s coming … oof, okay…”

Rhea gave her brother an encouraging smile while passing through the door, trudging off as if marching for a war he knew was already lost.  “Hehe, my first official bet, and I’m one and zero!”

“Yeah, mmh,” Sabin smacked his lips, heading down the stairs, “you’re off to a good start, and you’ll need it!”

“Alright,” her dad clapped his hands as her two new Pokémon hastily feasted on the food Rhea presented.  “Let’s get you ready to head out.  What do you gotta do?”

Rhea glanced down at her fashionable lightweight black tote backpack with a white bottom and straps to tighten if needed.  The front straps were designed to offer the best support if needed while also giving the option for a more casual city-style use.  It had a few compartments inside that were intended for Trainer’s basic needs.

“Umm, shower, get ready, double-check my supplies, and that’s about it.”

Her dad stretched out.  “Sounds good!  I’ll get one more cup of joe and ready up myself.”  He gave her a wink.  “You know I gotta be lookin’ fresh for your mom!”

“Dad!”  Rhea sighed while shaking her head.  “Just get out … I’ll be ready soon.”

They both chuckled when the downstairs door opened, and Sabin broke the news to a thrilled Katelin; the silence that followed could be felt before her panicked voice carried upstairs.

“What do you mean we lost?  No … I’m thin enough!  Look at me, Sabin … I’ll starve!”  

Jason’s laughter could be heard from Rhea’s room.  “C’mon, Sis, don’t be dramatic!”

“You have no idea how many calories I burn a day,” Katelin moaned.  “My Pokémon are savages when it comes to training!”

“I’ve got ya, Kate, I’ve got ya…”  Sabin assured.  “Hey, look on the bright side, you’ll be spending a few weeks with me!”

Rhea rolled her eyes as that instantly shut her up.  Not wanting to hear anymore, she closed the door, turning to her two curious Pokémon.  “Okay, you two can chill.  Hang out with everyone until I finish getting…”

She paused as they both hopped off her bed, running up to her.  “Oh … you both want to shower with me?”  At their bright chirps, Rhea giggled.  “Okay, well, I guess you’ll get a taste of your first bath!”

Her brow lifted with question as she glanced up to find both Pokémon bags were empty.  “Holy Miltank!  You two can scarf it down,” she chuckled, thinking back on Katelin’s cry and started to get a glimpse of what she meant.

Rhea rolled her left shoulder, groaning a little as she felt a bit of the soreness her mother warned her about hit, and knew it would get worse as the day went on.

She grabbed her bikini bandeau, giving it a rueful study to distract herself; it would be her underwear of choice for a long time.  It had long been common knowledge that swimsuits were far more practical on a Pokémon journey than underwear, and the bandeau-style was the most comfortable for her.

Besides that, she wasn’t into the whole romper-themed outfits that Katelin was into.  Instead, Rhea opted for short black yoga shorts, black tank-top, a long-sleeve navy blue shirt, and a white and dark blue striped skirt.

For rougher terrain, she had Trainer-style’s Elite 4 TX2 black and white shoes that provided comfort and fashion for the slopes while everyday activities were left to her white and black Trainer-style Cloud 12 hiking sandals.  She’d tie the shoes to the straps of her backpack.

Franky seemed to be teaching the newborn pair something important by his expression, while both Pokémon looked at him like he were Arceus.

She prompted them to join her in the shower, and they swiftly followed; before entering, she called out.  “Hey, Kate, Jason, I’ll be down once I finish getting ready!”

“Take your time, girl!”  Katelin called back.  “Your brother’s telling me about all the nice places he’s gonna take me, hehe.”

“Wait, what?”  Sabin asked with a bit of panic.  “Hey, yo, Kate, I haven’t saved up that much!”

“Ooh,” Jason breathed with awe, “aye, I can’t wait to check out some of those big-city restaurants!”

“Yeah, Sabin,” Katelin goadingly chuckled, “all those big-city restaurants!”

“You know we gotta feed all our Pokémon if we go to one of those … we can’t just leave them out, Kate,” Sabin said, forcefully returning the laugh.  “You know how expensive it gets … how much Pokémon eat after training.”

Rhea ducked into the bathroom, mouth filling with saliva upon the mention of big-city restaurants; she’d seen in video.

The last bit from Katelin made Rhea a bit jealous.  “Oh, c’mon!  Just once?  Pretty please, Sabin?  I know you’ve got some solid wins recently!”

“Okay, okay … once!”

“Hehe!  Knew you’d break!”  She cheered.

Rhea ruefully shook her head, but her mind was lingering on the online footage Katelin’s plea had brought back.  All of the kids that grew up in the village dreamed of the big-city and its glories, but like a carrot at the end of a stick, the adults refused to take them so they could experience it the first time on their journey.

The adventure lit a fire in Rhea’s chest, and she quickly got ready, giggling while teaching Nova and Mya to wash themselves with the products.

Dressing up, she took care of the morning maintenance, preparing her hair for a ponytail.  Getting out, she put her hiking sandals on, already broke in a week earlier, and checked her pack.

Every available item inside was held in waterproof, airtight ventable dry sacks to help her organize and reduce weight.  Not one object was any heavier than it needed to be, all sporting light to ultralight labels.  Taking out each item, she checked them off the list.

Inside Rhea’s backpack:

  1. Ultra Lightweight, 4-Seasons, 2-man tent (less breathable but with better insulation; sadly, there’s no perfect tent)
  2. Lightweight mummy-bag, labeled for sub-zero conditions
  3. Lightweight, well-insulated sleeping pad
  4. Lightweight inflatable pillow
  5. Collapsible cooking, eating, and washing gear
  6. Clothes/Accessories
    1. A dry set of clothes (changeable)
    2. Second pair of bandeau-style swimwear (to wear if washing the previous pair)
    3. Ultra Lightweight rain jacket that provides protection and breathability
    4. Insulated pokéhat
    5. Hiking shoes (fashionable and practical!)
    6. 2x Pair of Gloves (fingerless and full; both comfortably fitted)
    7. Aviator sunglasses (let’s be honest, mainly for the fashion!)
    8. Flying goggles (that wind can hurt!)
  7. Basic first aid
  8. Attachable headlight (solar/electric charged)
  9. Phone (solar/electric charged)
  10. A filter water bottle (fill on the go or with a water-type Pokémon)
  11. Biodegradable toiletries and hygiene (soap/toothbrush/lip balm/deodorant/small mirror/etc)
  12. An acceptable amount of preparable food for a week (seasoning can be found in the wild)
  13. A standard fishing pole with a lure line (father made her take it since it saved his life once when stranded on an island)
  14. A lightweight wind-up power charger in case of emergencies
  15. A lightweight rope with belt attachment

Once she finished going over her stuff, Rhea went downstairs to introduce her new Pokémon and get ready to leave for the Oak Starter Award Ceremony.


Artwork:  I commissioned Robbuz for this; you can download the full resolution for free –> here <–

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