B1 — 48. Surprise Fright


1:  Rhea (Our MC)

Pokemon Map: 

I loosely follow this map as a visual guide; the creator made it in paint?!?!  It’s insane!  Some errors here and there, but I follow its design for the most part.  Areas can be further apart, some cities are in the wrong places or not listed, and the regions aren’t nearly so close.  The best map I’ve found, though!


We learned about some crazyy things dealing with Extraterrestrial Pokemon and the Clefairy’s planet—our space Pokemon host stronger base stats and have been abducting top scientists around the world.  Giovanni’s funded research to bring them closer to space travel, considering Rocket is in their name, I makes sense.  Could this mean space exploration is in the future for our girls?  We’ll have to see!

Now!  Let’s get back to the journey!

I’d like to thank my patrons for continuing to support me:

Davvy Chappie, Bret Cole, Viedu, AmberStar, AbrecanGhoul, Brimils, LukerBelow, Drehaszar, Merpmerp, Brian, Lars Sprenger, and my other Patrons!

6:02 A.M June 26, Friday, 106 PH (Post Hoopa Event)

Events:  The Preliminaries for the Joint Kanto and Johto Indigo Summer League have concluded; 105 Trainers and their Pokemon have advanced from Bronze to Silver.  The celebrations finish tomorrow when the Summer Round Robin Cup will begin, to crown the best of each Tier among those that advanced.  Rhea started her journey on the 9th of June—she’s been a Trainer for 18 Days (17 Officially;18 since getting Maya and Nova).

Stretching out in bed, Rhea yawned, feeling Mya’s cool head resting next to her.  Gently pulling her leg out of Nova’s loose grip, she was surprised when the girl didn’t latch on.

In a surprise twist to start the day, she discovered Amira still in bed, full lips hanging open as her chest rose and fell with Amber by her side and Holly wrapped around her uncovered left foot.

Rhea pulled the sheet back over Mya with a light giggle, figuring most of the Pokemon and Amira were still tired after Umi and Mimi’s stories.  Alice, Nova, and Mya certainly seemed to be talking up a storm when she fell asleep, and she figured the others had been just as antsy.  The redhead had probably spent most of the night fangirling to her Pokemon.

Rubbing her throat and getting up to stretch, Rhea took a bit more time than usual getting ready since they were likely going to be running on their Viridian schedule today with Amira; it was the only experience Rhea had of the redhead oversleeping, which Mallory would more than enjoy.

Blinking to adjust her eyes, she saw the purple-haired girl had been as restless as usual, spread out across her bed in all directions with Roxie curled up by her armpit and Miky lying atop her stomach.

Rhea had been the last one to put her clothes in the overnight dryer, so she extracted them, got her replacement Bandeau bikini, and went to prepare for the morning.

Nova woke up shortly after she started the water, swiftly rousing Mya to open the door for her; the sleepy Mawile slowly slid out of bed and trudged over to the door to carefully twist the knob with her big jaws, allowing the Eevee to run in.

Rhea dubiously watched the endearing moment, bending down to pet Nova as she happily jumped into the spray and used it to try and clean herself.  Mya debated going back to bed before deciding she was up and came inside to join them.

Since she was usually the middle shower girl, and knowing Lori had to have her warm water, Rhea rarely had the chance to take her time in the mornings.  Taking the extra time as a treat, Rhea helped teach Nova how to open one of the hotel’s products that were included in the Trainer package.  In no time, Mya and Nova were using the products themselves.

Getting out of the bathroom at 6:26 A.M, she was a little surprised to see Mallory had swapped positions; she now was hugging Roxie close to her chest as Miky leaned against her lower back with his tongue hanging out.  As usual, her left bikini strap had fallen off during her movements.

Holly slowly unwrapped herself from Amira’s leg and stretched in the air.

“Heh…”  Rhea shook her head, giving her companions a small smile; Lori likely noticed Amira still in bed and took it as a pass to sleep in as long as possible.

Motioning to Holly, Rhea went to the mirror to comb out her hair; she couldn’t put it in a ponytail until it dried more, and Amber finished blowing it out.

“Hey Holly,” she whispered as the Posy Picker Pokemon smiled and waved while floating to her right.   Mya and Nova gave their own greetings.

Rhea maneuvered around the bed, giving the redhead a fond look; they were growing closer as friends, and that tickled her.  “I think your Trainer will be dead to the world for another hour or so … Want to grab breakfast for everyone with us?”

Holly’s lime green eyes sparkled as she nodded.

“Cool.  Just let me finish combing my hair out, and we’ll head out—we just gotta be quiet.”

Even after brushing out her wet hair as best she could, the thick locks did exactly what her aunt’s did, curling out near the bottom, and without her high ponytail, it fell to the back of her knees.

Throwing on her dress and putting the previous day’s clothes in the washer, setting it on silent mode, Rhea happily left the room with her phone and keycard.  Holly took on the job of forming around her hair to keep Rhea’s bangs in check and her wet locks from folding around her front as they walked.

They walked slowly so as not to rush Mya.  Nova led the conversation with her fellow Pokemon about the stories they’d heard; from what Rhea understood, there was a tale about Clefairy warriors, fierce battles, and a love triangle of sorts.

Stopping off at a 24-hour restaurant, Rhea ordered what she’d seen her friends like; a cappuccino for Amira, an expresso for Mallory, and she got a honey almond milk flat white for herself.  Of course, all of the items had some bizarre alien theme to them.

Nova, Holly, and Mya picked something out from the specialty Pokemon menu for the other Pokemon that they might enjoy.  Alice was still fast asleep, still taking a long time whenever she did knock out, which seemed to be caused by her still growing after hatching, so Nova selected hers.

Pulling her damp hair over her shoulders to sit, Rhea guided them to a corner table to be out of everyone’s way and looking out at the slowly bustling city while awaiting their order.

The extraterrestrial enthusiast city appeared to still be mostly comatose at this hour after last night’s celebrations because the only people out seemed to be the early-morning workers, and of course, the cafe was many peoples’ first stop for the day.

She saw Pidgey and Pidgeotto working together as they delivered the mail for the businesses; the Pidgeotto carried a big, organized bag that the three Pidgey swooped by and took each separated area to their designated location.  It was interesting to see the next set of letters pushed forward after the Pokemon pulled it out.

Squirtle and Wartortle seemed to be employed by the city to spray down the streets because they were moving down lanes and cleaning them off while Butterfree pushed the liquid toward the storm drains.  They all wore yellow vests while their Trainers directed traffic away from the work effort.

A well-dressed, blonde-haired young woman wearing an Alolan floral dress and bowler hat paused after walking beyond the automatic doors.  A beautiful Alolan Ninetails and Vulpix walked beside her.

Rhea couldn’t help but stare at the pair but soon noticed the woman was staring back at her.  Locking with the woman’s blue eyes, Rhea quickly averted eye contact, trying not to be rude.

The woman smiled and walked over to her corner, drawing Rhea’s gaze again.  “Excuse me, but … are you one of those Oak Starter girls?”

Mya, Holly, and Nova greeted the Ninetails and Vulpix.

They appeared to have a similar conversation to Rhea as she nodded.  “Yeah, I’m Rhea.  Is … there something you needed?”

The woman shook her head.  “No, nothing like that,” she laughed, gesturing to the seat.  “Actually, I saw your match at Pewter Gym the other day and was blown away by your performance.”

She stepped forward to hold out her hand.  “My name’s Malia; do you mind if I sit?”

Rhea shook her head.  “No, umm, go ahead.  Heh, eh, we did our best,” she mumbled as the young woman pulled out a chair to sit across from her.  “It was a pretty rough match, but Forrest gave us a chance to win—like he said.”

Malia hummed, leaning to the side while crossing her legs and placing her hands in her lap.  “I’m from Alola; my cousin, Kalani, is taking part in the International Cup with you.  He’s trying to explore the mountainside of Mt. Moon,” she giggled.  “He’s had some tough calls on the slope and gets in trouble with the Rangers, but he likes to go places he shouldn’t.”

Her lips fell a bit as she sighed, looking down at her two Pokemon.  “The Gym was a new experience entirely from the Island Challenge, and I was shocked at how strong some of the Kanto Trainers are … Umm, you’re from Kanto, right?”

“I am … Why’s that?”  Rhea replied, straightening a little; she didn’t expect to get into a conversation with a stranger, and it seemed so random.  “Is there something you wanted to know?”

Malia sucked in a short breath before letting it out.  “Kind of … I, eh, heard that some parts of Mt. Moon are dangerous, and I don’t really know many people here—I don’t know, maybe it’s stupid, but I just felt like I could talk to you.  Maybe it’s because … Mmh, well, I’ve seen you battle so hard in the Gym—and you looked like you knew a lot about this stuff.”

Rhea actively tried to look at the woman’s aura; it took some effort at her current stage, but she hadn’t practiced in a while; Malia certainly was genuinely nervous.

She was a little taken aback that Mya was roughly on the same level as the Ninetales, energy-wise, but that put Malia at low Silver-tier, and even if she wasn’t the best at gauging auras below Platinum, she was confident in her observation.

“I mean, I can try to help.  What’s the problem?”

She smoothed back her bangs and looked out of the window.  “My cousin’s  … he’s been … Arceus … He’s been somewhat obsessed with this idea of some Legendary Pokemon named Articuno that he’s heard rests on the upper half of Mt. Moon somewhere…”

“Uh … Woah!  Woah!  Woah!  Calm down!  What’s going on?”  Rhea stammered as the girl began to word vomit.

“His whole party was put to sleep by some—some Wigglytuff or something—when he started to climb, and they were tied to a branch and slapped a bunch of times by all of the Jigglypuff that followed it.”

Rhea grimaced.  “Ugh … Sounds like a territorial dispute—Pokemon that deal with humans a lot usually humiliate or do things like that in Kanto to warn them to get lost, but umm … What the Muk does that have to do with an Articuno?”

Malia shook her head and then nodded, seemingly unsure of what action to take.  “That’s what the Ranger that saved them said—a Pidgey saw it all and reported it to him or something … I don’t know, a Rotom phone would have helped,” she grumbled.  “How does this whole system works in Kanto anyway…”

“Heh…”  Rhea folded her arms, looking at the counter to see where the staff were on her drinks; they seemed to be understaffed and were dealing with many call-in orders that people were coming in to pick up.  “Rangers in Kanto befriend Pokemon and give them rewards for spying, I guess you could say; if a human’s in trouble, then they’ll report back, which means most Silver-tier Pokemon tend to be somewhat tolerant; since they know, there are spies.”

“Oh … I suppose we have a similar system in Alola,” Malia mumbled.  “I’m just kind of worried about him because he’s not backing down … The Ranger even warned him that if he defies the safety regulations, he could be deported, but I’m just worried about them getting hurt.”

Rhea’s lips tightened as she remembered her encounter with the Nidorino.  “I’m sure it can get dangerous in Alola, too, but Kanto’s big…”

Malia laughed nervously.  “Big?  It’s huge!”

“Yeah … Pokemon around certain areas have barely any human interaction and are very territorial; Mt. Moon especially, and the Articuno that lives up there isn’t … I don’t know exactly which one it is, but if it’s the second-oldest—she’s very aggressive.  There’s also the Shinjoh Pokemon that were pushed south, and if he ends up in the wrong area, then yeah, he could die.”

Malia nibbled on her lip and fidgeted with her hands pressed against her abdomen.  “Thanks, umm … I saw your battle with that High Master Gym Leader … Forrest, right?”


“I … think you actually inspired him to want to push forward and get the Legendary Pokemon to beat the Gym Leader … It’s stupid, but, yeah…”

Rhea opened her mouth, but nothing came out as she looked at Mya, returning the confused look.  “Wait … what?  My battle inspired him to go after … a Legendary … a Legendary, as in Articuno?  If it’s the one I’m thinking of—the one that takes High Masters to just calm down?”

“Ooh … Muk,” Malia mumbled, running her fingers through her hair.  “Umm … yeah, sorry … What should I say?  He won’t listen to me … Kalani and his friends think they’re like our Guardian Deities, and they’ll just help him out if he proves he’s brave enough to seek them out.”

“Uh … no.  No, no, no,” Rhea’s hair shifted against her front with her protests.  “He needs to not go anywhere near the higher points of Mt. Moon!  Articuno is…”

Rhea rubbed her arm, remembering the stories she’d heard about the Masters that encountered the Articuno; her brother was one thing, but he was Platinum-tier.  “Articuno is the type of Legendary that likes to be left alone, which is why they chill on top of big mountains.  I’d be more worried if he gets into a Gold-tier area, though … From what Masters tell me, Gold-tier Pokemon on Mt. Moon will jump a Trainer on sight to just prove their strength.”

Malia pulled out her phone, biting her lower lip and tapping the table.  “What do I tell him?”

Rhea’s legs tightened.  “Uh, he’s being stupid—really, incredibly stupid.  I … still don’t know how I inspired him to try and get help from a Pokemon that would literally kill him for even trying to bond with.”

A groan rolled through the woman’s throat.  “Bond with!?  Our Guardian Deities won’t bond with people but just help them with what they need … he thinks they’re like that—we don’t know anything about Kanto, and I’ve already told him he’s being stupid!”

Taking in a deep breath, Rhea let it out with a slow shake of her head.  “I don’t know what to tell you.  Did he think Forrest would go as hard on him as he did on me—is that why he wants to get a strong Pokemon … And why go straight for an Articuno?”

“I can’t tell you his thoughts,” Malia mumbled, unlocking her phone and looking at the screen with a blank look.  “He just was talking about the matches your team had, and now he needed something even flashier to knock everyone’s socks off.”

Rhea closed her eyes and rubbed her eyebrow; a vibration from her phone probably meant Amira or Mallory had gotten up.  “Wait … so he just thought we outclassed him, and no one would pay him any attention?”

“I guess?”  She leaned back, making a sound while sucking in air through her teeth.  “I just—I don’t want him to die with all of his friends.”

She couldn’t think of a single response that would get through to someone like that—in fact, it reminded her of Blue in a lot of ways.  Blue was a clout chaser, and the backlash to his alcoholism only worsened it for a while.

“Umm … I don’t know what to tell you—I really don’t.”  She gestured to the glass.  “You can talk to a Ranger about it and have him watched for reckless endangerment of his party.  I know he’ll probably hate you for it if he finds out, but his plan isn’t just stupid—it’s suicidal.”

A long puff of air shot through Malia’s lips.  “That might be my only option … anyway, thanks for talking with me; I know you must be busy … sorry…”

Rhea held out a hand and forced a laugh.  “No problem … If you want, tell him you met me, and you challenged me on his behalf.  See if he’ll come looking for me.”

“You really think that will work?”  Malia asked, hesitantly taking it as they both got to their feet.

“I don’t know?”  Rhea chuckled.  “Maybe.  Let him know we’re going downriver to Rifure Town.  If he wants clout, then be the first person to beat me one-on-one.  I mean, we’ve only lost in a Contest and Gym Battle; both of the events got huge publicity for me—which I didn’t really want,” she grumbled.

A thankful smile brightened Malia’s face.  “That means a lot, Rhea.  I feel bad for putting my worries on you, but—heh, not that bad if it’ll get him off this crazy mindset he’s in.”

Rhea slowly walked toward the counter as they called her name; Holly, Mya, and Nova followed behind her.  “Don’t worry about it; if he wants to battle, then I have a new Pokemon he hasn’t seen.  He could be the first to face her if he’s fast enough and thinks he’s got what it takes.”

Mya laughed, internally glaring at the sleeping Bunny Pokemon; she really needed to nip this growing dislike the two were developing in the bud.

“Thank you … really, thanks, Rhea,” she restlessly mumbled, stepping away with her hands raised before returning to pick up her forgotten phone on the table.  “I really think that might motivate him … oh, I’ll let you get on with your day … Rifure Town, right?”  she asked, fingers tightening around her device.

“That’s the place,” Rhea grinned, handing Mya one of the trays to carry with her large mouth and another one for her hands while she took the last carrying case for their drinks.  “If he wants to get there quickly, he should use the river and hurry after us; we’ll be taking it slow.”

“I’ll let him know!”

Having already paid for the coffee and food, Rhea left, balancing the tray in one hand to wave the woman goodbye.  They left the business, returning to the room while getting out her phone to text Mallory back; somehow, the girl that could sleep through a siren was up before the early bird.

Rhea glanced back, looking past the growing crowd going about their daily tasks.  “Well … that was weird.  What do you think?”

Mya, Nova, and Holly gave a similar response; apparently, even the Pokemon acted somewhat funny.

Hmm … I don’t know, Mya, Amira would be super suspicious about something like that, but I didn’t sense any deception or anything from her aura.

Mya lifted an eye, trying to balance the drinks in her hands.  She didn’t have to say anything; Rhea felt it.

I know I’m not the best at sensing that stuff!  I’m not the worst, though … Aura Control was my highest class … I just failed all the easy tests but aced the big ones.

Nova snickered, whispering to Mya that mirrored her.

Rhea’s lips parted in disbelief, giving her two Pokemon a dirty look.  You two are just rubbing it in … It’s super hard to do aura stuff, okay?  I bet I’m better than Mallory and Amira!  Eh…

She grimaced as they challenged her to prove it, and Rhea was starting to wonder if they were trying to train and motivate her after finding out a weakness she had.

 Maybe … We’ll see, Rhea mumbled.  Still, Malia just randomly finds me and starts talking about how I’m the reason her cousin’s on a suicide quest?  Too weird…

Holding the coffee in one arm, she pulled out her phone and glanced at the holographic screen.

7:46 A.M. Mallory:  Yo!  I got up, and you’re totally MIA!  Holly seems gone, too!  Guess you guys went out.  I’m gonna get ready.  Heh =P Amira’s still fast asleep!  I win!  It’s like … 1 vs. 16; I’m on her butt now!  Anyway, give me a heads up.

Clearing her throat, she spoke to the phone to activate the voice command.  “Kelly, text Mallory … On our way back, period, Got coffee…”  she listened to the simple message repeat itself.  “Send.”

Putting away her phone, they finished the trip back.

Mallory was still in the shower, leaving the door ajar; by the steam billowing out and fogging the mirror, she was doing her thing.

Amira stretched out with a yawn when she opened the door, rubbing her eyes.  “Oh … thanks, Rhea,” she mumbled, taking the cup she offered.  “Mmh … so good.”

Glancing down at the alarm by her bed, she groaned.  “Umm … Wow, did I sleep through my alarm?” 

Rhea shook her head, sitting down in a chair beside her bed to drink her own coffee.  “I don’t think you set it; I didn’t hear it.”

“Huh,” Amira scratched the top of her head before moving to pet Amber.  “I guess I did have a hard time getting to sleep.  Anything new?”  she asked, scooting against the headboard for Amber to sit on her lap.

Telling her about her encounter with Malia, she judged the girl’s reaction to a T; Mallory exited soon after she started, listening in to the conversation while finishing her morning prep.

“Yeah, that sounds sus as Muk,” Amira mumbled, absently drinking from her cup as the other Pokemon took turns out of their pokeballs to have their own.  “It could have been bait—a super strange way of going about it, though.  A stupid cousin, chasing fame…”

Mallory cut in with an impish grin.  “Unless…”

“Unless?”  Amira repeated.

Knowing Mallory, Rhea finished where her mind would likely go.  “Unless she’s interested in one of his friends, and she’s worried he’s going to get them killed?”

“Bingo!  There it is, girl!  Heh, I can’t believe your mind went there.  Uh, yeah, I mean, the way you’re describing it; she’s totally into one of them.”

Amira’s lips tucked in with a short hum.  “I suppose that does account for her mentioning them and that he’s likely going to get them killed … I just can’t get over the stupidity of it all, but I suppose he does come from a different Pokemon culture in Alola.”

Rhea shrugged.  “In the end, if he comes looking for me, we’ll battle, and that will be that.  I’m not too worried.”

Amira and Lori’s silent stares drew her eyebrows in; Amber seemed more focused on her still somewhat damp hair.


“Girl,” Mallory got up to put her dress on, moving Rhea’s garments to her messy bed, “you’ve been growing!  I remember when you’d be so nervous about battling.”

“Gyms do give you a new perspective,” Amira groaned, getting up to stretch her hips and arms from side to side.  “Well … you two ready for a Splash?”

Lori shivered while throwing her damp hair out of the back and sitting on the bed for Amber to happily dry it out.  “Ugh … not really lookin’ forward to getting wet … while I’m wet.”

Rhea gave her a thumbs up.  “Don’t worry; I’ll help you out!”

“I’ll need it … just don’t let me drown!”  Lori chuckled bitterly.  “I’ve never been on a river.”

“Never?”  Amira questioned, bringing her own replacement garments into the bathroom.  “Too busy partying?”

“What else?”  Lori laughed.  “Ugh … yeah, I was always more of a city-girl—goin’ wild in the night; you know me,” she shrugged.  “So … you’ll need to hold my hand through this one and guide me in this dance, girls.”

“Not really a dance,” Amira chuckled, “but I get it.  We’ll take it slow.”

Amira finished a cold shower and was ready far quicker than Mallory, almost completely packing her backpack before the other.  Disposing of their empty cups, the three helped one another tie their hair into buns before making their way to the gorge facility.

Mya returned to her pokeball, not thrilled about the water in the least, and decided to take the night shift, getting rest when she could throughout the day.  Alice and Nova were more than happy to accompany her on the water.

Counter to Rhea’s expectations, Amber wanted to ride in Amira’s lap with Serenity exploring the river as training.

Water sources were usually reasonably safe for most Fire-Types since the natural Water-Type energy inside most rivers, lakes, and the ocean was very minimal; long-term exposure would undoubtedly affect their defensive matrix, but overall, it was more of a phobia Fire-Types had to the element itself.

Of course, Gables would be sticking with Serenity and providing emotional support for Mallory, and Roxie was on board with the whole training arc with Amber.  Miky seemed to be sleeping again, in any case.

The Unovan girl grew more and more flustered as they neared the boating house, asking a ton of questions, but Rhea told her they’d go over the simple basics when they arrived.

She was blown away by the light blue color of the river as they made it to Kayak Gorge.  The sides had been smoothed out along the city and sprayed with environmentally safe protective coating to keep it from eroding, but she was sure the beauty of the natural cuts in the walls would soon become visible as they left the metropolis.

Walking down the winding pathway to the docking area, they found the attendant sitting outside in a foldable chair with sunglasses; he was somewhat muscular and appeared to be in his mid-twenties.

By the tone of his voice, he’d likely seen them on the News or in one of their competitions; he scratched his forehead, vision sliding between them.  “Hey, uh, got the…”

Rhea bounced forward, stomach swirling with excitement while taking out her phone to show him the reservation.  “Right here!”  she chimed, holding up the holographic display and catching sight of his name tag.  “Thanks, Tucker.”

His eyebrows rose.  “Woah … fancy phone.  Uh, yeah … Looks good, and it says you have someone new to the activity?  I can…”

Lori swiftly shook her head.  “No, I think I’m good!  Rhea’s going to teach me,” she flatly refused, and if Rhea didn’t know any better, she’d say the girl was embarrassed.

“Are you sure?”  Tucker asked, glancing at Rhea.  “I mean … you paid for the insurance, but I’m supposed to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing…”

Rhea waved her hand.  “We’ll be fine; thanks, though!  I’ve done this loads of times.”

“Okay…”  He hesitantly opened the door for them to go through, seeming conflicted on if he should press more.  “By the way … I saw your matches on last night’s special.  It was intense!  I’ve never seen Bronze matches like that.  And Sandstorm?  Crazy.”

“Yeah, it was like that.”  Mallory nervously chuckled, “Eh, so … no Pokemon are going to, you know, flip me over?”

Tucker laughed.  “It really doesn’t happen as often as you’d think, but I have heard stories about that—just don’t litter or antagonize the wild Pokemon, and you should be fine.”  Catching her tight lips, he added, “Hundreds of people go through the main pass every day without issues—if you stay on the designated route, there wouldn’t be any problems.”

“Right…”  Mallory swallowed, giving Amira a frightened look.  “We’re…”

“Going to be going down the proper path,” the redhead cut in; clearly, she didn’t want to let on they were going to be taking a side route.  “Nothing to worry about, Tucker; now … where are our kayaks?”

“Umm … over here,” he whispered, motioning for them to follow him inside.  “The towing gear you rented are inside, as well.  The paddles are strapped on it, as you can see…”

“Great!  Thank you,” Rhea said, putting a hand on the small of Mallory’s back and guiding her forward.  “Okay, let’s take this slow first…”

Amira had already removed her dress and was packing it into her bag.

Mallory’s shaky hands moved to her skirt, folding it down.  “Umm … Right, we’re going in bathing suits … I didn’t think about that.”

“No big deal,” Amira casually replied as if she’d done this a thousand times, picking up the life vest and strapping it on.  “You got it, Rhea?”


Rhea followed suit, helping Mallory with her own; Tucker looked away, finding a lot of interest in the wooden walls.  “Here we go … slide your arms through there … oof…”

“I know it!  My chest is too big!”  Mallory moaned, rubbing her neck and trying to step away, but Rhea followed, fidgeting with the straps.

“It’s cool … I just need to pull it out more.  We need to adjust it anyway to fit you.”

“I’m totally a Miltank!”  Mallory cried, causing Tucker to shift uncomfortably.  “Look at me, Rhea?  I’ll sink to the bottom!  I can’t swim!”  she huffed, chest starting to heave in panic.

Gables rubbed her leg, assuring her that he’s there for her.

“You have me here—Gables, Serenity, and Amira!  I passed water rescue with flying colors in school!”

“What kind of messed-up school did you go to?”  Mallory groaned, tucking her lip under as Rhea found the proper length to tighten her jacket.  “It—it feels loose … no, t-too tight!”

Rhea giggled, pulling it in more before releasing it a tad.  “I think this is the first time I’ve seen you freaking out.”

“I said I can’t swim…”  Mallory cried, actually looking like tears might leak out of her eyes.

Taking a deep breath, Rhea stepped back, giving her a compassionate smile.  “Do you really not want to do this?”

Mallory’s jaw snapped shut, rubbing her left arm while trying to get used to the bulk of the life vest across her bust.  “I mean … no, I’m just … dude, go away…”  she groaned, taking out her fear and frustration on the man.

He held up his hands.  “Going—I’m going…”

Shutting the door behind him, Mallory scratched the side of her head.  “Muk … sorry, I’m just nervous…”

“You’re fine,” Rhea said, looking over to find Amira already expertly entering her own kayak.  “Ready to continue?”

“Let’s … do it, I guess,” she hissed, plucking at her vest.  “It does feel a little tight, but … I’m scared it’ll come off…”

 Rhea helped her adjust it a bit more.  “Feel better?”


“Okay, now, paddle over your head—In the center!”

Mallory gave her a dirty look.  “Huh?”

“Really!  Just hold it above your head,” Rhea urged.

Lori shook her head while complying.  “It feels silly … you’re making fun of me.”

“Form right angles with your elbows—c’mon … Now keep them straight … Yup, that’s where you want to hold them.  Now, your thumb and forefingers together … Just like that!  I think we’re ready to get in!”

A quiver ran down Mallory’s frame as Gables tapped the side of the boat with a smile.  “Already?”

Getting down on one knee, she motioned for her to follow her; Mallory’s was green and white on the bottom.  “It’s not as hard as it looks.”

“Okay…”  Mallory’s scared eyes moved to her cheering Pokemon, trying to give her strength.  “I need to do what again?”

Rhea guided her paddle while guiding her through the process.  “Alright, here, take the paddle … and place it behind your seat—the other side on the dock, so you have stability … That’s it…”

Amira shoved away from the dock with Amber on her lap and Serenity hovering above the water.

Mallory’s hands were shaking in Rhea’s as she continued to guide her.  “I … I feel like I’m sinking!”

“No, no, you’re fine!  Just don’t panic … Keep holding my hand…”

“Like I’d let go!  Muk … Muk, Muk … this thing doesn’t feel stable at all!”

Rhea was a bit surprised at how terrified this was to her, considering how cool she’d been about going on the trip.  “You’re fine!  Adjust the back to how you like it—keep yourself stable with the paddle on the dock and your kayak like I showed you…”


Mallory pulled her hand close to her chest in sudden panic.  “D-did something press up against the bottom?  I want to get out…”

“You’re fine; it’s fine!”  Rhea reassured her, readjusting her kneeling position to give herself more balance.  “You’re already inside!  Look at you—you’re doing it!”

“What do I do, though?  What am I doing?”

“Take the paddle … mhm … now, keep a good posture,” she mumbled, pressing a hand against her chest and back to get her into the proper position.  “Okay … here’s the scary part.”

“I don’t like … What do you mean this is the scary part?!  This is all scary!”  Mallory snapped, fingernails digging into her hand a little.  “What?”

“Keep your head, chest, abdomen, hips, and rear-end evenly aligned.”


Their focus moved to Amira as she wiggled in her kayak, pushing water back and forth.  “Keep your hips loose, allowing your boat to rock under you.”

“Yeah!  No!”  Mallory gasped, expectantly waiting for Amira to flip into the water.  “No … How are you not falling over?”

“It’s designed to be like this,” Amira returned; although, Amber looked somewhat terrified by her Trainer’s actions, dropping to her belly to hug Amira’s legs.

Rhea got the feeling Amira was stonewalling her emotions a bit; there was something important on her mind that likely involved where she was taking them, but Rhea decided to let her open up in her own time.

Slowly, they got Mallory used to the process, and eventually, they moved on to strokes, and within thirty minutes, they were out on the water.  Serenity had stayed above the surface the entire time, and once they moved out, she dove in.

Rhea grinned as the soft breeze blew over the gentle waves, and the current pulled them downstream; she towed Mallory along, helping her get used to the motions, but she was still struggling with her fear.

Alice was balancing on the front, doing flips to train herself while Nova stayed safely on Rhea’s lap.  Yes!  We’re out on another adventure!  You know … Maybe Nova can work on her transformations while we’re out here.

SME’s Request:

I hope you’ve been enjoying the free entertainment!  The internet is divided into different echo chambers; you have a specific group that only hovers around specific sites/content.  So, by recommending my serials to others, you give it more exposure to different echo chambers and help it grow.  Ratings are excellent, Trending is terrific, but it only will appeal to a specific echo chamber.  If you like my content, then please share it in your own unique way.

Thank you!  ^_^7

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