Heart Combination

AutumnLeafeon

Rookie Trainer
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
Join Date
Feb 21, 2019
Posts
25
AKA
Autumn
Gender
Female
Time Zone
Mountain
Thank you so much Typhlosion! For both enjoying the story as well as the congratulations! I’m not planning on putting the story on a permanent hold, but things have definitely slow down after our son was born. I have a couple more chapters I’d like to get up very soon that I found lurking in my word processor, so I hope you can look forward to those soon! :)
 

Typhlosion

Heart and Soul
Administrator
Rainbow Rocket Executive
Join Date
Oct 23, 2018
Posts
2,635
Location
The Field of Battle
AKA
Ben, A_T
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Male
Time Zone
US Central (GMT -6:00)
3DS FC
2724-0144-2557
IGN
Ben
She's back!! Hello again!

I can't wait for more chapters, but no rush. You've got bigger responsibilities now! I can use the time to refresh my memory of the story so far.

One thing I might recommend is:
using spoiler tags like this one! It makes the thread much cleaner and saves a lot of needless scrolling.
 

AutumnLeafeon

Rookie Trainer
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
Join Date
Feb 21, 2019
Posts
25
AKA
Autumn
Gender
Female
Time Zone
Mountain
That’s a great idea! Thank you! I’ve gone back over the chapters and put them in spoiler tags as well as edited the last chapter because of the spacing error that occurred when I copied it and pasted it here. That should look a little cleaner now. True, I do have a lot of responsibilities now. But maybe I can make him into a Pokémon fan? ;)
 

AutumnLeafeon

Rookie Trainer
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
Join Date
Feb 21, 2019
Posts
25
AKA
Autumn
Gender
Female
Time Zone
Mountain
This next chapter was bigger than I expected. I am going to have to break it up into separate posts.

Chapter Eight: Into the Woods​


As the quiet moment of happiness stretched out between the three trainers and their Pokémon, the silence was unexpectedly broken by a low gurgle of sound. All eyes turned towards the source of the interruption, even Salem, Who turned his gaze down to his stomach with evident surprise. Rin couldn’t help but release a short laugh at the expression, another bubble of laughter quickly escaping hot on the heels of the first as her own stomach gave a growl of its own.

“Well... I’d say that it sounds like Salem and I need to get some dinner.“ She finally managed to say as the laughter subsided, causing her Pokémon‘s head to quickly turn in her direction.

Elizabeth chimed in with a soft laugh of her own before she stood, collecting the Bellossom That had crawled onto her lap into her arms as she rose. “That sounds like an excellent idea. and...” she continued in a thoughtful tone, eyes trailing over towards Andrew before a slightly mischievous smile spread across her face. “ and I think you should have Andrew treat you, to make up for being rude.“

“What?” Rin and Andrew spoke simultaneously, the first in a squeak while the latter exclaimed in a shout. As one, they turned their heads towards each other, blinking at one another.

Elizabeth sighed patiently at the both of them, though it looked like she was trying not to roll her eyes at her brother. But before she could repeat herself, the Vaporeon still curled up in Andrew‘s lap trilled at him, stretching up so that she could look her trainer straight in the face with a serious expression.

“...What?” Andrew ended up repeating, looking confused as he shifted in his chair.

His Pokémon trilled again, pressing one of her paws firmly against his chest as she did so. She then very deliberately turned to look at Rin. Andrew followed her gaze, meeting a rather embarrassed Rin’s eye before a look of understanding abruptly blossomed onto his face.

“Oh... Oh! Hey, Al-...uh, Rin. Can I buy you and your Pokémon some dinner? To make up for being insensitive earlier.” He managed to ask, his own Pokémon looking relieved while Elizabeth really did roll her eyes behind him.

Rin was now looking rather flustered, her eyes traveling from Andrew to the Vaporeon, over towards Elizabeth and the excited Bellossom in her arms, and back again. “I couldn’t let you do that-“ she started to say, but was cut off as Andrew lifted one of his hands in protest.

“Mist is right, so is my sister. I was rude earlier and I’d really like to make it up to you.” He stated firmly, setting his Pokémon down on the floor where she proceeded to look pleased with herself. “ I won’t take no for an answer.“ He added, As if reading Rin’s thoughts.

Closing her mouth quietly, Rin quickly shifted her gaze towards Salem, The only one that hadn’t joined in on the conversation thus far. The Poochyena mix blinked his bright blue eyes at her as he gaged her mood, before he quickly licked the end of his nose and exposed his teeth in an approximation of a grin, adding a soft hiss of air between them and wiggling his long tail. He obviously didn’t entirely understand what was going on between the humans, but he had a good guess after hearing what the Pokémon had been saying. Besides, he had heard one of the words he did understand. Dinner.

“You want to come along too Lizzy?” Andrew then asked, Confident that he had backed Rin into a corner, and turned towards his sister as he stood.

Rin glanced up quickly as she heard this, hopeful that the situation she found herself and could at least be a little less awkward than it had been starting to feel. Unfortunately for her, Elizabeth released a sigh and gave her head a little shake that made her curls bounce.

“ normally, I would, but I’ve got a really sick Pokémon that I’m taking care of. I don’t want to leave her alone for too long.“ She admitted, a look of worry rising into her face. “ i’m not sure what’s affecting her yet... and I don’t want to get too far just in case she needs some immediate attention.“

“Oh, sure. That’s too bad. I hope she gets better soon.” Andrew responded with a look of concern, though Rin thought she caught an edge of nervousness in his voice. She didn’t know him well enough to know for sure. He turned back in her direction, giving her a crooked smile. “ looks like it’s just going to be us then.“

“ and our Pokémon.“ Rin added quickly, still trying to fend off the awkwardness. Looping the strap of the sling with the egg inside of it over her neck before picking up Salem in one arm and retrieving her backpack with her free hand, she stood as well.

“ of course!“ Andrew responded, sounding like he appreciated the addition. He then paused awkwardly for a moment before waving one of his hands. “Um... ladies first!“ much to his chagrin, his Vaporeon Took that to mean that he meant her and Mist trotted ahead of them, tail waving.

Rin, On the other hand, found the situation rather humorous, grinning to herself as she ducked her head and started forward after the water Pokémon. She caught Elizabeth‘s eye and almost let a giggle escape when she saw that the woman was shaking with suppressed laughter herself. Biting her lower lip, she quickly looked away again. No sooner had she reached the door however when she stopped as The Pokémon nurse called out to her.

“Hey, Rin! You’re welcome to leave your things in one of the rooms here. We’ve got half a dozen of them set aside for trainers to stay in when they pass through.” Elizabeth explain, her laughter finally under control.

“Oh, really? That would be great!“ Rin responded, Pleasantly surprised. She had been planning on tracking down a hotel she and Salem could spend the night in, but she liked this alternative better.

“Yeah. If you head down that hallway to your left, you’ll reach them. You’re welcome to take any of them.“

“ thanks! I’ll be right back Andrew.“ Rin returned another smile that Elizabeth gave her before glancing over at the woman‘s brother. When he nodded, she headed down the hallway and around the corner. Briefly glancing between the six different doors, she opened one of the nearest and took a moment to glance around the small but comfortable looking room before dropping her backpack on top of the bed pushed up against one wall. After a brief moment of hesitation, she decided to take the egg along with her. Settling the egg over her left hip, she slid her arm through the strap of the sling in order to give herself more room. Using her freed arm to hold Salem in a firmer grip, she hurried back out into the main room.

~~~

Standing now in a room full of the smell of baking bread, green eyes flickering over a menu hung on one wall, Rin wasn’t looking nearly as pleased as she had been just a short time ago. In contrast, Salem was looking thoroughly excited, his long tail swinging like a metronome beneath him as his nostrils dilated, nose twitching as he sniffed enthusiastically at all the different smells in the room. Rin shifted her weight from one side to the other before she glanced towards Andrew. “ they serve meat here?” She asked seriously, surprised to see such a thing on the menu. In her home village, she had never seen any meat at all, let alone tasted it.

Andrew pulled his own gaze away from the menu to give Rin a surprised look, his eyebrows lifting. “ yeah, they do. Why wouldn’t they?“

Rin furrowed her brow at him. “ because, isn’t it really expensive? And made of, you know... Pokémon?“ She whispered the last word, unable to help the look of disgust that wrinkled her nose.

Andrew blinked in response, his expression flickering from surprise to alarm and all the way to revulsion quickly. “What? Wait, no!! Ugh, no!” He spluttered, his face steadily growing redder by the second as he watched Rin maintain an unconvinced look. “Wow... Umm. The meat they serve really isn’t made from Pokémon. I promise. There are these animals that look like Pokémon, but they don’t have any intelligence or elemental powers. There aren’t many of them, but there are some places people have built where they raise these animals and sell them to people for food. I’ve seen them before, traveling around the region.“

Rin’s frown deepened as she considered the new information, glancing back towards the wooden menu hanging on the wall in front of them. True, she had never heard of a Pokémon called chicken or turkey, but she knew she couldn’t claim to have memorized all the species that were in the world. On The other hand, she hadn’t traveled much of anywhere in her lifetime. Starpointe Village and Timber Valley were all she had been exposed to up until earlier today. Perhaps Andrew was right and there were more than just Pokémon and people inhabiting the world... Biting at her lower lip, she once again glanced quickly at her companion.

“ all right, say these animals exist. Isn’t it still really expensive?” She pressed. Timberfall, After all, was nearly as out of the way as Starpointe.

Rubbing at the back of his neck, Andrew looked thoughtful. “ yeah, I guess it is. A little.” He admitted after a moment. “I guess they have been having some success with the increased traffic going to Starpointe, With Professor Pine living there now and all.”

“... I hadn’t considered that.” Rin hummed thoughtfully to herself for a moment before giving her head a shake. “ I guess it doesn’t matter in the end. I’m not having any, so why should I worry about it.”

“ maybe Salem would like something with a bit of meat in it. Poochyena are omnivores after all.“ Andrew suggested after a hum of thoughtfulness himself.

Rin hadn’t thought of that either. Blinking down at her partner, Salem glanced up at her and licked his lips. And even though she tried to fight the reaction for a moment, she ended up smiling at him in the end. “ fine. Just as long as I don’t have to touch it.“ She sighed.

~~~

After having payed for a sandwich for himself and Rin, three smaller sandwiches for each of their Pokémon, and a couple of bottles of apple juice, Andrew led Rin over to one of the nearby tables. Separating out the fishy smelling pokésubs, as the owners had nicknamed them, and putting them onto a paper plate, he then lowered the plate down to his Vaporeon, Who responded to the food with an excited trill. Laughing, Andrew then put Salem’s sandwiches on a separate plate, sliding them across the table to where the little Poochyena mix was watching him with great anticipation from his trainer‘s lap. He had gotten the Pokémon a variety to try and Salem excitedly began sniffing each one, trying to decide which to try first. While this was going on, Andrew passed Rin her own sandwich, a vegetable mixture in a cream sauce, and a bottle of apple juice, keeping his own turkey sandwich for himself.

“ thanks.“ Rin said, smiling as she grabbed a few napkins from the dispenser on their table.

“ welcome!“ Andrew responded in a slightly muffled voice, already having taken a big bite of his own sandwich.

Giving her head a shake, Rin twisted open her bottle of apple juice first, enjoying a mouthful of the sweet drink before she picked up her own sandwich and took a bite. She was pleasantly surprised how tasty it was. The vegetables were nice and crisp, the creamy sauce had a hint of something zesty to it, and the bread was soft and flavorful. Humming contentedly, she peeked over towards Salem, watching him nibbleAt one of his sandwiches in such a way that was quickly becoming familiar. Sure enough, the other two sandwiches also had bite marks on one end, proving that the Pokémon had been testing each flavor before really diving in.

“ so, which ones your favorite?“ The young woman asked as she watched him squint between the sandwiches.

Salem briefly glanced in her direction before poking his nose against The furthest sandwich, emphasizing the gesture with an enthusiastic lick lipping. Rin giggled at him, causing his tail to wag before he resumed eating.

“ I think that’s the chicken.“ Andrew commented as he glanced over, leaning in to get a better look.

“ and what’s Mist eating?” Rin asked curiously, glancing beneath the table at the water Pokémon. The Vaporeon had already finished her first sandwich and was quickly working her way through a second.

“Ah, That’s tuna. I don’t like it myself. It smells funny.” Andrew replied, giving his nose a wrinkle for emphasis.

Rin laughed, Straightening in her chair, and the conversation shifted into a friendly flow of stories about their Pokémon, their journeys, and their general likes and dislikes. Rin learned that Andrew had actually lived in Unova as a child, But had moved to Arion shortly before becoming eligible to travel on a Pokémon journey at the age of ten. The Arion laws stated that children couldn’t leave on a journey until the age of fourteen, so it had been a bit of a culture shock for him. He had his Teppig, A gift from his grandparents, but couldn’t go anywhere with him for quite some time.

They had just finished laughing at the retelling of Rin’s encounter with the eccentric Anna when the conversation fell into a comfortable silence for several minutes as the group enjoyed their dinner. Around them, people came or went, crowds fluctuated, and a few other Pokémon could be seen tagging along with their trainers. Rin watched this all passively, curious about the other Pokémon. She caught sight of a pikachu standing on someone‘s shoulder, an elderly gentleman with a Jumpluff floating dreamily around his head, and what she thought was a Torchic, But had only caught a hint of orange feathers before they had been hidden in a sea of legs. As she watched the people around her, she couldn’t help but smile slightly to her self. The meal alone with Andrew wasn’t turning out as awkward or uncomfortable as she had imagined it was going to be. Until...

“...Hey, Rin?”

Rin turned her focus on Andrew as his voice broke through her thoughts. “Yes?”

“i’ve only just noticed that Salem’s eyes are blue... I thought that all Poochyena had red and yellow colored eyes. Is that something that Professor Pine discovered through his research in Pokémon breeding? I’m assuming you got your Pokémon from him since he lives in the same town.“” Andrew said curiously, watching as Salem twitched an ear in his direction.

Sighing Saufley, Rin lifted her right hand to start running her fingers through her Pokémon‘s fur, brushing over the ridges on his back. “ I did get Salem from Professor Pine, but he isn’t the result of breeding. At least, not by the Professor.” She watched Andrew give her a confused look and she couldn’t help but frown. This wasn’t really something she wanted to go into in great detail with him, especially since he was still practically a stranger. “ Salem was rescued. He was badly hurt in the forest, somewhere near the village. The professor’s assistant found him. His blue eyes, as far as I know, are a result of his genetics.””

“ his genetics? You mean his parents somehow gave him blue eyes?” Andrew pressed, causing the young woman to wince slightly.

“ i’m not sure that’s what did it... Salem’s genetics are more of the result of someone tampering with his DNA.”

Andrew’s eyes widened with shock and surprise, his mouth instantly opening in preparation for another question, but Rin cut him off with a shake of her head. “ I really don’t know much about it Andrew. And it’s not really something I feel comfortable talking about right now...” She murmured, dropping her gaze to her lap. After a moment, Salem shifted into her line of sight and blinked up at her, clearly concerned. Rin gave him a small smile, but gently shook her head. He turned his ears back, But simply chose to press himself up against her stomach, leaning his head against her chest.

“... sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up a touchy subject again. I won’t ask anymore questions about it.“ Andrew said sincerely. “ it sounds like an interesting story though. I hope I get the chance to hear it one day.“

“ maybe.“ Rin responded simply, before they lapsed into silence once again. After a few moments, she sighed again. She hadn’t meant for their dinner to end on such a sour note, but she couldn’t really see how she could remedy the situation. Feeling the awkward parts of her personality kicking back into gear, she finally glanced up. “ i’m sorry. Thank you very much for dinner, but I think I am going to head back to the Pokémon center now. I’m pretty tired.“ with that, she stood, supporting Salem in her arms.

Andrew looked taken aback, but quickly masked the reaction with a gentle smile. “ sure. You’re welcome. It was nice to meet you Rin.”

Giving him a quick and slightly forced smile in return, Rin hurried out of the sandwich shop, steps turning back in the direction of the Pokémon center.

~~~

‘ I thought I had overcome most of my anxiety talking with other people, but it seems like I still have trouble when stressful topics come up. I’m afraid I didn’t leave Andrew with a very good impression of me... I hope I have the chance to make it up to him one day.’

Rin found herself pausing at this point, fingers hovering over the touch screen of her Pokédex as she wrote out a message to the professor, biting at her lower lip. She had hurried back to the Pokémon center, briefly spent some time chatting with Elizabeth before she had managed to escape to her room, where she had spent the last little while taking a hot shower in the small bathroom attached to her room, working out the knots of stress in her shoulders, and had sat down on the bed with Salem in her lap to send a message to the Professor. She was still feeling guilty over the way she had hurried out on Andrew earlier, about the way her anxiety had flared up, and her emotions had leaked out into her writing, though the message had started out positive enough. Rubbing her chin over the velvety fur of Salem as he sat perched in her lap, Rin continued writing her message, left hand quickly tapping against the screen in a practiced gesture as the Poochyena mix watched intently.

‘I do have some rather good news, just to make sure that I don’t focus on the negative for too long. Salem and I had our very first trainer battle! And we won! Salem is really remarkable, in so many ways. He’s been learning quickly in both strategy and his understanding of the human language. I am constantly surprised by his abilities.


He’s also starting to develop quite the personality. Looking back on the withdrawn and broken Pokémon that lay in the enclosure in your laboratory and comparing that to the Pokémon he is now, I can hardly believe they are one in the same. I’m really grateful for him. He’s a big comfort and is always making sure I’m happy.’

Again, Rin rubbed her chin against Salem‘s soft fur. He snorted in response, pushing up against her jaw. She smiled as she read over her words once more and couldn’t help but feel a surge of affection for the little Pokémon that sat with her. She didn’t doubt that Salem would do anything to make sure she was happy. He had proved that when he had cautiously crept into the shower after her, sensing her tension all the way from where he had taken up position on the bed. Rin had squeaked with surprise, he had panicked somewhat at the unexpected sensation of the water falling on him, and the two had spent some time crouched on the floor of the bathtub, huddled together. Things had gotten easier once they had both stopped shaking. Salem had even let Rin use some shampoo on him after watching with amazement as it had bubbled up in her hair. She had worried afterwords if the water had damaged him in some way, being part fire type, But he hadn’t shown any negative reactions to the experience aside from being tired. Part of her wondered if he was hiding any pain, protecting her, but simply had to except the fact that she didn’t know.

Resolving on using another potion on her partner before they both went to sleep for the night, Rin finally finished up her message, throwing in details of the battle and the experiences they had had with wild Pokémon. Signing her message with, ‘Lots of love, Rin’, she sent the electronic letter on its way and plugged in her pokédex and settled it onto the small table next to the bed. Yawning widely as her exhausted body cried out for sleep, she ignored the protestation just long enough to dig through her backpack and retrieve another one of her potions. Spraying The medicine over Salem’s body, she was grateful for her decision as she watched the little Pokémon visibly relax muscles she hadn’t realized he had been tensing. Rubbing the medicine down into his still slightly damp fur, she dropped the used potion into the garbage can beneath the table.

“Feel better?” She asked Saufley, receiving a somewhat guilty huff in response as Salem looked up at her. “ good. You don’t have to hide your pain from me, you know. If something hurts, let me know, and I can try to fix it.” She continued on seriously, hugging her partner closer.

Salem snuggled into the embrace, bumping his head once again into her chin. The young woman laughed Saufley before picking up the Poochyena mix and pulling the towel he had been sitting on off of her lap. Using it to rub him down One last time, she checked on her own hair, happy that it was almost completely dry, before she draped the towel over a nearby chair and settled back onto the bed. Humming contentedly as the mattress eased the sore spots she had gotten from sleeping on the ground, Rin closed her eyes, pulling The blanket up around her and Salem as they both drifted off to sleep.
 
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AutumnLeafeon

Rookie Trainer
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
Join Date
Feb 21, 2019
Posts
25
AKA
Autumn
Gender
Female
Time Zone
Mountain
The morning brought with it a howling wind that shook The Pokémon center and wove Into Rin’s dreams, drawing her back into consciousness. She groaned as the wind tore at any loose bit of the building, including the window shutters just outside of her room, and shook them noisily. Blinking open her eyes, she took a moment to frown at her ceiling before she sighed at the unavoidable awakening and slowly stretched out her limbs. At her side, Salem lifted his head from his paws and offered a muted bark in greeting.

“ hi Salem.“ Rin mumbled back sleepily, Reaching over and giving the Pokémon a scratch behind his ears.

Yawning, The young woman forced herself to sit up, rubbing at her eyes and face. Rin had never really been much of a morning person, but she had been trying to make an effort in light of her decision to travel on a journey. So with as little complaining as she could manage, she moved her self through the motions of getting up, making the bed, brushing her teeth, and getting dressed. Twenty minutes later saw her almost completely awake, dressed in a longsleeved blue shirt and her parka, and her backpack already settled on her shoulders. With one last glance around the room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything, Rin then settled the egg into place before picking up Salem. Heading out of her room and down the hallway, she turned her steps towards the main area of the Pokémon center and almost instantly received a greeting from Elizabeth.

“M-M-Morning Rin.” The nurse managed to say passed a huge yawn. She looked exhausted. “Oh, sorry. I’m just so tired.“

“ good morning. Were you up all night then?“ Rin queried, stepping over to the counter. Salem settled easily onto the surface, wiggling his tail at the other woman.

“Yes, unfortunately. But that’s what happens when you take the night shift.“ Elizabeth responded, stifling another yawn. “ my replacement should be showing up soon though. And I can go home and get some sleep.“

“ that should be nice.“ Rin said, petting the head of a Bellossom that had hopped over to her.

Elizabeth hummed in affirmation. “ no kidding! ...So are you heading out soon?“ She asked, glancing over Rin’s gear.

“Yeah. I’ve enjoyed it here, but it’s time I get moving.“ Rin said. And as if in response to her words, she suddenly itched to be heading out the door.

Elizabeth nodded in understanding, offering a smile. “ I get that. Be careful though, the weather says that a storm is blowing in.”

Rin couldn’t help but laugh as she responded. “I heard that.” The wind chose that moment to shake the building again, emphasizing her words perfectly. “But honestly, I’ll be careful.”

Blinking for a moment in contemplation, Elizabeth then circled around the counter, lifting up part of it to step through, and walked over to Rin. “ i’m glad I got to meet you. Maybe we’ll see each other again someday.“ She said gently, before wrapping her arms around the girl in a hug.

Taken aback, Rin hesitated for a moment before returning the embrace. “ i’d like that.“

The two held each other for just a second more before they parted, farewells were shared, and Rin collected Salem from the countertop and at last headed out into the wind. She had to brace herself for a moment as the wind immediately buffeted against her, but managed to move quickly down the street in a brief reprise between gusts. Squinting up at the sky, she caught a glimpse of scudding clouds hurrying to escape a distant bank of darker clouds before she once again lowered her gaze and hurried towards a distant building on the opposite side of the street whose walls were edged with blue.

Unlike the doors to the Pokémon Center, the single door of the Pokémart wasn’t automatic and Rin had a moment in which her arm was nearly torn off as she opened it just as a gust of wind hit. She struggled to keep the door from slamming itself against the building before the shop owner hurried over and helped her wrestle it closed again. They panted softly together for a moment before the middle-aged man gave his head a shake.

“ I hate it when the wind does that.“ He stated simply before walking back to his spot behind the counter. “ welcome to the Pokémart. Let me know if there’s anything I can help you find.“

“Thank you.” Rin responded, somewhat breathlessly, before momentarily brushing her hand over her braid to make sure that it was still in place before heading over towards the nearest shelf of products. Salem sneezed, voicing his opinion on the wind, before watching his trainer with interest as she inspected the various different items before her.

Rin picked up several different bottles of medicine, studied labels of vitamins, and even found a couple of boxes of technical machines. She was fascinated by the little devices, Having only heard of them but never actually seen how they worked. Apparently, they were supposed to be able to transmit some sort of signal that only Pokémon could hear that would teach them different moves and techniques. But while a few of the moves sounded interesting, she didn’t have nearly the amount of money that she would need to afford even one of them and still have a comfortable journey ahead of her. Instead, she picked out a couple of potions to replace the ones she had used, found a small container of Pokébites, and made her way towards the counter. Part of the way there, she found herself pausing at a section of specialized food specifically for newly hatched Pokémon. Biting at her lip as she considered the purchase, she picked out a jar of food and added it to her small pile. She didn’t know when the egg was going to hatch after all and she didn’t want to get caught off guard out in the wild. Better to be safe than sorry. Making it to the counter, she set down her purchases before reaching for a side pocket in her backpack where she kept her wallet.

“ looks like your total comes to 1000.” The shopkeeper stated after scanning in her items, dropping them into a bag.

Rin handed the man a couple of bills before excepting her bag. Giving the man a small smile and a word of thanks, she replaced her wallet into her backpack and added her new items as well. Turning back to the front door, she took a deep breath before stepping back out into the oncoming storm, glad when the door didn’t fight her this time. Twenty minutes later saw the trainer and her Pokémon finally heading out of town, some breakfast in hand and an excited attitude about the new area they were headed into.

On the other side of Timberfall Town, the Mountain landscape of rocks and pines gave way to an expansive forest of maple, birch, and oak called Misted Wood. Rin found the name to be rather odd, all things considered, but felt similarly about the names for the Silvered Mountain Range in the Silvered River that ran from them. Some of the more archaic names of the region‘s landmarks had been changed over time, but several retained the names that the original founders had given them.

“ and from what I remember, the road through the forest hasn’t been modernized either.“ Rin murmured to Salem some time later, Finishing off her breakfast burrito as she made her way beneath the first of the trees.

Salem, Who had finished his own burrito sometime ago and had been listening to some of the history his trainer had been telling him about, snorted as he looked around, more interested in the trees that carried leaves on their branches instead of needles. Some of the trees still had small buds instead of their proper leaves, but most had managed to regrow into their full springtime glory. Rin was enjoying the new scenery her self, especially with the slightly muted effect of the wind now that they were out of the canyon and had the trees to break it up. She admired the vibrant greens clustered on the trees and the bushes below, the splashes of red or yellow appearing as wildflowers, and the swaying blades of grass. As the pair headed deeper into the trees, the sunlight dimmed, Becoming green as it filtered through the ceiling the canopy created, and the wind became more sporadic, pushing at them at unexpected times and from unexpected directions.

Eventually, Salem asked to be set down and Rin willingly obliged, setting the little Poochyena mix on his paws. Unsurprisingly, he immediately began to investigate everything he could reach while remaining in his trainer‘s line of sight. He sniffed at one side of the path, then the other, trying to take in as much as he could. Rin watched all of this with great amusement, especially when he would sniff something so enthusiastically that he would end up sneezing, or be absorbed by a particular scent that he would fall behind, only to sprint as quickly as he could to catch back up to her.

Time passed easily enough, though Rin found the ever present wind wearing. She had stuffed her hands into her pockets as they grew numb and cold, The cold front pushed ahead of the storm making it self evident. But beyond a few shivers and her cold fingers, Rin found herself enjoying her time in the forest, even if, As she predicted, the path proved winding and slightly overgrown in places. She chatted happily to Salem, teaching him more about who she was in addition to improving his language skills, and began voicing some of her thoughts about the future. She wasn’t exactly decided yet on what kind of journey she wanted to have as of yet, only that her mother had wanted her to travel and she was fulfilling that desire.

After another hour or so went by and Rin had started to consider stopping for lunch, movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. It hadn’t been the twitching of leaves or the swaying of the grass or bushes that had caught her notice, she had grown used to that, but the movement of something bigger, moving contrary to anything rustled by the wind. Slowing to a stop, she flickered her gaze towards the gaps between the trees, searching. Salem took notice after a moment, trotting over to her side and taking a look around himself. As the wind blew into his face, the Poochyena mix abruptly stiffened, the hackles rising on his neck as a low growl slipped between his teeth. Rin was alarmed. He had only ever growled audibly at one thing before, but only because the Spinerak had attacked her first. Other than that, he had been quiet around strangers, human or Pokémon. Searching more intently now, she felt a thrill of surprise and fear jolt through her as a figure peered out from behind a nearby tree, their face covered almost entirely bye a ski mask. Their eyes, The only thing still visible, locked with Rin’s and narrowed.

“...H-Hello.” Rin tried shakily, struggling to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were wearing the mask because of the wind. But a split second later her voice caught in her throat as a jolt of horror clenched the muscles in her stomach as they lifted a gun and pointed it straight at her. She had no time to react beyond throwing up her arms as the weapon gave a soft pop, much quieter than she had been expecting, and a projectile came flying in her direction. There came The sound of metal striking metal and Rin blinked with surprise as a bright yellow tranquilizer dart ricocheted off her right arm and bounced into a tree. She was stunned for a moment, staring down at the dart, before the sounds of running footsteps made her head shoot up. The man, the shape of his shoulders and the grunt of effort that escaped him could only belong to a man, was hightailing it deeper into the forest, a bulging sack over one of his shoulders. The contours of the bag looked somehow familiar... Rin had one heartbeat in which she stared down at the Pokémon egg at her hip, mirroring the shapes in the bag, before she was unthinkingly sprinting after the fleeing figure.

She didn’t know why she was doing it, running after the man with a bag stuffed full of Pokémon eggs, butSomething inside her was screaming at her to stop him. Maybe it had something to do with poaching being illegal, the stealing of wild Pokémon eggs banned when it had started negatively impacting the population of the wild Pokémon in the region, or perhaps it was the feeling in her gut that was telling her that this man was somehow connected to the hurt and pain that had been inflicted on Salem. Whatever the reason, she had blindly started forward even though she was pretty sure that there wasn’t anything she could do to stop him, would’ve probably been better off contacting the authorities, but her mind had gone blank as soon as she had connected the shapes in his bag to the one in the sling around her shoulders.

As she ran, Rin dimly registered the steady drum of paws at her side, The growing stitch in her ribs, and the lack of wind as it began to die out. Her focus was on the man ahead of her, the dark color of his clothing, the bounce of the bag against his back, and a smaller pouch that swung at his waist. Her subconscious screamed at her as she focused in on the swinging fabric satchel, her mouth going dry as she made out the ridge of a back, the outline of a muzzle... As if her Focus had somehow loosened the cord holding the pouch in place, the bag suddenly fell from the man‘s belt, the drawstring jostled loose by their run, and the bag bounced across the ground. Rin stumbled and nearly fell as it came to a stop directly in front of her, falling partially open and exposing soft reddish brown fur. Skidding to an abrupt halt, Rin dropped to her knees, hands flying out to reach for the Pokémon in the bag.

“No!” The strangled cry was ripped from Rin’s throat as she cradled the little fox Pokémon, the body limp and cold. tears stung at her normal eye as she looked over what had once been a Vulpix, but who now bore The unmistakable signs of tampering to its DNA. Scales spread over its back, leathery wings sprouted from beneath its shoulder blades, small spikes protruded along its legs... Rin crumpled in on herself as shock and realization washed over her, her latent suspicion about the man confirmed. She stared at the sad sight of the dead Pokémon for several seconds before she slowly came back to herself.

‘He’s The one that almost killed Salem...’ The thought struck Rin like a lightning bolt and her head shot up, whipping around as she searched for the man. Setting The Pokémon she couldn’t help onto the ground, the young woman scramble to her feet and started running again, desperately searching for any sign of the stranger Who had almost murdered her partner.

She wasn’t sure how long she searched in the end. Long enough that the storm blew in and large cold raindrops started falling from the sky. Long enough that her muscles began failing, refusing to run another step. And long enough that Salem had to escalate his whine into an insistent bark before she pulled her self together enough to look at him. When she finally did look at him, she saw him shivering slightly, wet to the skin, with a worried expression on his face.

“Oh, Salem! I’m s-so sorry!” Rin gasped, tears still flowing down her cheek and mixing with the rain. “The rain is hur-hurting you!” With The realization came fresh tears and Rin quickly lifted Salem into a protective embrace, noticing as she did so that her robotic arm felt sluggish, twitching in ways she had never experienced at doing before. Pushing the matter to the back of her mind, putting it off as stress and anxiety, her head turned as she searched for cover.

Salem pressed reassuringly into her chest, both giving and receiving comfort in the touch. Rin brushed her left hand over the sodden fur of his chest as she stumbled forward woodenly, desperately scanning the forest for a place that would provide shelter. Heading towards a promising looking clump of young maples, she hesitated as she heard a sharp yip that rose above the noise of the storm. Watching Salem‘s ears perk and swivel to their left, she followed his gaze and saw something golden streaking in their direction. Squinting her eyes against the rain, they widened a moment later with surprise as she realized that a Ninetails was running at them, graceful paws flying over the ground. As soon as the Pokémon noticed her watching, it slowed to a stop before releasing a wavering cry, Swiveling around and starting back in the direction it had come from. After a few steps, it paused, calling out to Rin once more.

“ they... they want us to follow?” Rin blinked at the beautiful fox before a nudge from Salem had her looking down. When their eyes met, he deliberately pointed his nose after the Ninetails, looking back up at her for a moment before repeating the gesture. “ you think we should go with them?“ She asked hesitantly, receiving a gentle tap of his tail in response.

Drawing in a shaky breath, Rin buried her apprehension and misgivings before giving her head a nod and moving forward. The Ninetails flicked its pointed ears at her before starting off at a quick trot through the trees, leading the way. It led them towards a thick clump of bushes, pushing its way through the branches and disappearing on the other side. Not wanting to lose her guide, Rin hurried forward, shoving and struggling her way through the bushes until she unexpectedly stumbled out of the other side into a small clearing before the mouth of a low cave. Sitting in the entrance, the Ninetails regarded her with its crimson gaze before sweeping its tails in a gesture that beckoned Rin forward. With a relieved sob bursting from her, Rin staggered forward, collapsing onto the stone floor and setting down Salem. The Poochyena mix took a few steps away before vigorously shaking his body, the trembling motion traveling from his nose to his tail in quick succession. Then, fur sticking up all over his body sporadically, he moved back to his trainer‘s side, sitting down close enough to press up against her and giving her a concerned look.

“ i’ll be f-fine. I j-just need to warm up and take a m-moment to catch my breath.” Rin reassured, rubbing at her face. She then looked over towards the Ninetails and managed a small smile. “Th-thank you.”

The Ninetails blinked quietly at her before pointing its nose back towards the bushes, ears lowering slightly. As Rin looked too, she gasped softly. There, lying slightly under one of the bushes, was the body of the mutated Vulpix. Looking back quickly to the Ninetails, she met the Pokémon‘s gaze for a moment before it released a soft crooning noise, turning its head towards the back of the cave. Rin felt even more surprised as two young Vulpix hesitantly crept forward out of the shadows, their single tails tucked close to their bodies, each casting wary looks at her and Salem before running the rest of the distance to the Ninetails.

“...You were his mother.” Rin breathed in realization, her eyes trailing over the two huddled Vulpix, out to the tortured body of their sibling beneath the bush, and then up to the Ninetails again. “I’m so sorry.“ she whispered, reaching out to gently touch the fire fox’s shoulder.

Ninetails flinched slightly from the touch, but swiftly reached out after the hand as it was pulled away to gently lick the fingers with her tongue. She then met Rin’s gaze again for several seconds before she gracefully stood, shepherding her kits towards the back of the cave. Salem whined after her, adding a short yip as she paused to look back, before he distracted Rin by climbing into her lap and pressing himself tightly against her chest.

“ oh Salem...” Rin said as she wrapped The little Pokémon in a tight embrace, burying her face into the fur of his neck. “ I am so glad that you are alive.“
 

AutumnLeafeon

Rookie Trainer
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
Join Date
Feb 21, 2019
Posts
25
AKA
Autumn
Gender
Female
Time Zone
Mountain
Chapter Nine: Choosing Paths​


The rhythmic pounding of the rain hitting against leaves and dirt did little to cover up the noise of Rin’s sobs, the sounds amplified as they bounced off of the close cave walls, despite the fact that she had pressed her face into the soft fur of her Poochyena partner. Salem let her do it, pressing back against her cheek, needing the comfort almost as much as she did. Something about the stranger he and his trainer had met in the woods had set his teeth on edge, had made his fur stand on end, and then he had smelled The other Pokémon the man had been carrying. They had smelled wrong. And then he sensed anguish roll over Rin, nearly the same emotion she had felt on The day they had met one another, and his instinct to protect her had flared. So he let her cry herself out while she hugged him a little too tight, listening to the sound of the rain.

When her tears finally stopped flowing and her breathing was reduced to shaky pants, Rin at last lifted her head, sniffling loudly. “ sorry Salem. That encounter hit a little too close to home.“ She croaked, Her voice sounding scratchy and congested. He whined in response, nuzzling up under her chin in reassurance and giving his tail a wag.

Managing a weak laugh, Rin rubbed the spot just between his ears before relaxing her hold. Settling him onto her legs as she stretched them out. She grimaced at the ache in her muscles, Somewhat stiff after sitting for so long. As she readjusted, she finally noticed that she and Salem hadn’t been as alone while she had cried as she had thought they had been. But she now noticed that one of the baby Vulpix had made their way over to her at one point and had curled up next to her hip, laying a tiny paw on her thigh. Blinking with surprise, Rin tentatively reached out her hand to pet the little fire type’s head, the Vulpix responding with a squeak and a tiny shiver that might have been the start of a wag in her single White tail.

“ thank you little one. I’m feeling much better now.“ Rin whispered, rubbing The side of one of her fingers against the Vulpix’s cheek, offering a gentle smile.

At this point, Salem leaned in towards the Vulpix, bumping her with the end of his nose before he licked One of her pointed ears. She yipped, giving her head a vigorous shake that made her ears flap, Before another tremble wiggled her tail. The Ninetails interfered at this point, releasing a croon That had her kit springing up onto her paws and racing towards the back of the cave, heading for the soft nest of leaves her mother and sibling were laying in.

Rin smiled after the little Pokémon. She was feeling remarkably better at this point, still sad, still worried, but The emotional release of crying combined with the comfort emanating from the Pokémon around her eased those emotions into a more manageable state. She felt as if she could go on, instead of wallowing in grief. Shifting her weight again, Her legs protesting the action, Rin managed to slip her backpack from her shoulders, the bag falling with the soft thud to the cave floor.

“ I don’t know about you Salem, but I could really use some food. And something dry to wear.”

~~~



As expected, Salem had been thrilled by the idea of eating, but had inevitably grown restless when the food had proven as uninteresting to watch cook as it had been the first time. He had eventually drifted towards the back of the cave, Where he and the Vulpix siblings had started to play at one point, carefully watched by the protective Ninetails. Rin had pulled off her wet clothes, replacing them with her pajama bottoms and shirt after drying herself as best she could with a washcloth she had among her belongings, and had laid out her wet things to dry. She had set up her flashlight to reflect off the low ceiling and provide them all with light, had gotten the food cooking, splashed her face with some water to wash away the residue of her tears, And had spread out her sleeping bag against one wall.

Sitting atop her sleeping bag now, Rin was working out the last of the braid her hair had been in as she watched Salem get team tackled to the ground. She couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of the excited Pokémon enjoying themselves in their game and she caught Salem shooting her a triumphant look. She realized then that he had been hoping his and the baby Pokémon‘s antics would cheer her up. She grinned knowingly at him, but any reaction he would’ve made was covered up when one of the Vulpix landed on his face.

Eventually, the pot of food began hissing, signaling that it was ready by releasing the excess steam. Salem instantly scrambled to his paws and bounded over, tail wagging. In contrast, the Ninetails and her kits appeared startled, the Vulpix fleeing to hide under their mother’s tails. Ninetails sat up, a quiet growl issuing from her throat. Rin immediately lifted her hands in response, worried that her stove, or her self, was about to get a flamethrower.

“Wait! It’s all right! It’s just the food letting us know it’s ready to eat! I didn’t mean for it to startle you.“ She blurted, Hastily explaining.

The growling slowly stopped, but Ninetails still looked as if she were ready to spring across the cave and attack should that action be necessary. Eyeing Rin and the now quiet pot, she waited to act. Rin took several slow breaths, trying to decelerate the beating of her heart, and carefully reached for the lid of the pot, her every move being scrutinized. Salem pressed up against her knee, his own gaze locked onto the fire fox as she lifted the lid and set it aside. Immediately, the smell of tomatoes, cheese, and pasta wafted through the cave and the Ninetails reactively twitched her nose, sniffing at the air.

“See? Just food.” Rin murmured soothingly. “ I even made some for you and your little ones if you want it. To say thank you for letting us stay here.“

As Rin slowly separated out three bowls of penne noodles, she noticed with relief that the Ninetails seemed to be relaxing the longer nothing dangerous happened. By the time she carefully got to her feet with one of the bowls and approached the mother Pokémon, she even felt as if she wasn’t going to get attacked immediately. Not wanting to push her luck, she set the bowl down a few feet away before retreating back to her sleeping bag. Resettling herself, Rin offered One of the remaining bowls to Salem before picking up her own and collecting the fork she had set aside.

Spearing a couple of noodles on the end of her fork,Rin tried not to look uncomfortable under the piercing gaze of Ninetails as she placed the bite into her mouth. At her side, Salem still hadn’t shifted his own attention from the fire type, despite the fact that there was a fresh bowl of food in front of his paws. Rin gently nudged him, finally breaking his concentration, and pointed her fork at his food.

“Eat. The more normal you behave, the quicker she’ll relax.” She said, Taking another bite.

The Poochyena mix blinked down at the bowl as if surprised to find it in front of him. Glancing up quickly to make sure that his trainer was eating first, he then crouched low and licked up One of the noodles. He snorted once, giving his head a quick shake, before casting a sideways squint at Rin. Before she could question him, he had gone back to eating. Apparently, Salem wasn’t a big fan of tomatoes. Or cheese. She couldn’t quite tell which it was that he objected to.

On The other side of the cave, Ninetails had finally taken a tentative step towards the bowl Rin had left, sniffing carefully at the pasta. Apparently, if the strangers she had let into her home were eating it, it wasn’t going to hurt her. She took a small bite, Clearly hesitant, before that was followed by another, and another. She crooned to her kits after that, Calling them over to try some of the strange food, and Rin had The opportunity to enjoy the site of the little family excitedly eating the noodles together. They obviously didn’t object to tomato sauce. She turned a small smile on her partner that he never saw before returning to her dinner.

As the quiet sounds of eating filled The atmosphere, the occasional unexpected hard click or rattle of her fork against the side of her bowl gave Rin a few surprises. As her hand gave yet another involuntary twitch, making the fork poke painfully into her lip, she frowned at her robotic fingers as she ran her tongue over the sore spot. Setting the fork carefully into the bowl on top of the last of her noodles, the young woman held up her hand in front of her face, watching as small twitches and shivers passed through the fingers and down into the arm. She had thought that the involuntary movements had been caused by stress earlier, but with her emotions almost back to normal, she couldn’t understand why the shaking was still happening. Setting down her bowl, Rin started inspecting her artificial limb, running The fingers of her normal hand along the ridges and grooves. Salem took notice at this point, abandoning a half eaten noodle as he sat up, whining worriedly as he watched his trainer inspect her arm.

“...I don’t know. Not yet.“ Rin responded to his supposed inquiry, working her fingers further down the robotic limb. “ my arm isn’t acting right... I think-“ Her voice trailed off as her fingertips found a gap That shouldn’t have been there.

Twisting her arm over, she saw that a section near her elbow, on the outer edge of her arm where the ball joint fitted into the socket of her forearm, the metal had developed a small dent. Not only that, but the seam where the two pieces of metal met together in that area had partially opened up, exposing the wiring underneath. As she squinted at the deformation, she thought she saw a partially severed wire.

“...Which would explain the twitching.“ She murmured to herself, eyes growing distant as she thought over the last few days, trying to pinpoint something that had happened that would have resulted in damage to her arm.

Apparently growing impatient by the lack of information, Salem barked sharply to draw his trainer‘s attention to him. When she blinked at the sudden sound and looked down at him, he huffed, flattening his ears.

“Oh, sorry Salem.” Rin smiled apologetically, readjusting so that she could twist her arm over and give Salem a look at what she had discovered. “ I can’t be positive, but I think that when that man shot a dart at me earlier, it hit just the right spot to actually cause some damage.” She then pointed at the dent and gap.

The Poochyena mix growled at the memory of the stranger, briefly baring his teeth. He then gave Rin a concerned look, Grasping only that she was hurt in some way.

“ I’m fine.” She automatically responded. “Really.” She added as Salem continued to look unconvinced. “And besides, there’s nothing I can do about it right now. I don’t have the tools, or the knowledge, to fix it anyway. I’ll just have to get it checked out when we get to the next city.“

Sighing at the idea that she would have to wait until they reached Silverbank to get the involuntary twitching to stop, Rin then made a mental effort to focus her thoughts on something more positive. She didn’t like focusing on dark topics for too Long if she could help it, especially since she had developed the habit after the years of therapy she had faced.

“Do you remember me talking about what kind of future I wanted for this journey?“ Rin started, Hoping that the change of subject would help dispel the stormy mood around Salem as well. He did at least respond by lifting his ears from where they had been pressing against his skull, though he still looked somewhat sullen. “Well, I still am undecided about exactly which kind of battle challenge is the right fit, I’m pretty sure we won’t be dressing up for contests or start researching breeding, so we’ll be fighting more often.”

By this point, Salem was looking considerably more interested, Even though Rin could tell that a lot of what she was saying was still going over the Poochyena’s head.

“We need to train more. Not just to be better in battles, but if we run into another situation like we had with that man earlier. I need to stop dragging my feet over moving forward in this journey. I want to help you get stronger. I want- oof!”

Having a Pokémon jump straight into your stomach was quite an effective way of stopping any form of speech Rin found out as a rather excited Salem leapt into her lap, slamming into her diaphragm. And before she had caught her breath, he had already hopped back onto the ground and taken up a ready stance, looking at her expectantly.

“Okay...” Rin groaned as she massaged her stomach. “I’m glad to know that your tackle is in top shape. But how about we practice on something that‘s not me, since I’m assuming you think training is a good idea.”

Salem managed to look sheepish for a brief moment before his excitement won out once more, dancing on his front paws until Rin laughed.

“Alright! You’ve made your point.” She conceded, ruffling the fur on his head before pulling over her backpack and opening up the side pocket to retrieve her Pokédex.

Doing her best to ignore any twitches from her arm, Rin opened up the device, turned it on, and selected The option for team information and refreshed her memory on the moves that Salem Was likely to know. Chewing thoughtfully on her lower lip, she glanced up and around the cave, trying to decide the best way to handle training. There weren’t any convenience sticks laying around this time, nor was she going to have Salem attack the nearby wild Pokémon, and rocks didn’t seem like the smartest thing to try and bite... Digging around in her bag once more, she found the empty spray container of the potion she had used on Salem after their fight with Anna, Having forgotten to throw it away when they had been in Timberfall. It wasn’t the ideal training target, but it had to be better than a rock.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s what I have at the moment. You’re going to attack this empty potion.“ Rin instructed, getting up and putting the empty spray bottle in the middle of the cave floor, making sure to keep it away from Ninetails and her kits to avoid potential conflict. On her way back to the sleeping bag, she collected the bowls and set them out of the way. “I’ll try to find something better to attack in the future. For now, why don’t you try out scratch?” She mimicked a scratching motion with one of her hands to help get the point across.

Salem looked from her to the empty potion and back again before he finally lifted one of his front paws and copied her gesture, swiping his foot through the air. He quickly glanced at his trainer to make sure that he was doing it right, receiving an encouraging nod in return.

“Nnow try it on the bottle.”

Taking a hesitant step towards the potion, Salem once again lifted his paw and swiped at it. The empty bottle skittered across the floor and, encouraged by Rin, the Poochyena mix hurried after it, looking pleased with himself. There came another click of claws on plastic as Salem batted The empty container in the opposite direction. He then improvised tactics, pouncing onto the potion bottle, pinning it down with one paw and raking his surprisingly sharp claws across The surface with the other, leaving furrows behind.

“Now bite it! If we can practice getting your bites stronger, you can start making opponents flinch.” Rin instructed, once Salem had gouged several lines into the plastic.

Quick as thinking, the Poochyena leaned his head down and snapped at the empty potion. The first couple of bites glanced off of the irregular shape, but eventually he managed to fit his teeth around it, biting down as hard as he could. Getting into the training now, Salem dropped the bottle, leaped over it, whirled around to bat it away with another scratch, and then raced after the bouncing container and grabbed it between his teeth.

After a few more bites, Rin could hear the hard plastic starting to crack under the abuse, so she moved on to her next command. “Drop it and use ember.”

Obediently opening his jaws to let the potion clatter to the ground, Salem concentrated on building the fire in his mouth before shooting the flames at his target. The shot was a bit off center, but it still managed to blacken part of the container. Huffing slightly, Salem repeated the move, managing to hit more squarely the second time, and he snorted with satisfaction.

”That’s great Salem!” Rin grinned at her partner encouragingly, getting up from her spot on the sleeping bag and moving in for a closer look. “ I think we should work on cutting The time down next though. The more time you take building up your fire, the more Time your opponent has to react.”

With a quick nod of his head in understanding, Salem squared his little shoulders, Opened his mouth, and built up another small ball of fire. He scorched The bottle again, quickly licked his lips, and concentrated on going even faster. The second attack did manage to form a Little more quickly, however Salem still looked frustrated at the slow progress. But just as he had opened his mouth again, both he and Rin jumped with surprise as a light golden head moved into the space between them from behind.

Ninetails regarded their shocked expressions passively for a moment before giving off a slight air of amusement with a sniff. She then turned her focus towards Salem, addressing the Poochyena in a series of wavering notes and yips. And although Rin didn’t understand a word of it, she couldn’t help but feel as if the fire type had taken an interest in the training session and was offering some advice. A moment later, as if to confirm her suspicion, Ninetails opened her own mouth, quickly built up a small flame, and shot it out in front of her. Without giving them time to blink, she rapidly fired off three more embers, The flames flying through the air and out into the darkening rain. The entire process had only taken a handful of seconds.

Salem looked considerably impressed, and Rin even had to admit that she was a little awestruck herself. Then she smiled.

“Well, I think we just found you an excellent teacher.“

~~~

Together, the three of them had trained hard, until Salem could barely keep his eyes open and started stumbling every other step. Even Rin was feeling exhausted by the end of it, yawning every few minutes. Not wanting to make her partner train so diligently without putting in any effort herself, she had worked with Ninetails to try and teach Salem a move that normally Poochyena couldn’t learn, she had sprinted around the cave in tandem with the fire fox, holding out her robotic hand in several different places and trying to get Salem to dart around in order to tap a paw or his nose against her palm, or Ninetails‘s leg. In The end, they hadn’t been able to teach Salem The quick attack they had been going for, but it helped hone the Poochyena mix‘s agility and started the process of building up his endurance.

Body shuddering with a huge yawn, Rin gratefully climbed into her sleeping bag after going through the process of brushing her teeth and washing her face. Plumping the small pillow extension on the bag into a more comfortable position, she pressed her cheek into the soft fabric with a long sigh. With a yawn of his own, Salem wormed his way into the sleeping bag, curling up next to his trainer‘s chest, and dropped his head onto her extended arm like a pillow. Rin chuckled sleepily, Keeping her eyes open only long enough to turn off the flashlight before she put her hand on Salem‘s back, giving him a brief scratch before relaxing. His only response was to snuggle closer. And together, they drifted into the world of dreams.

~~~

The storm had finally died out in the early hours of the morning, The clouds breaking up just enough at the edges that the moon was visible as it started to sink below the horizon. By the time it was ready for the sun to be coming up, the dark mass of storm clouds had moved on, leaving behind their gentler, fluffier counterparts to blanket the sky and white. The sun barely managed to filter through the obstruction, bathing the Misted Wood in a grey, washed out light, but it provided just enough illumination that when it entered the cave, Rin stirred.

Moaning softly, Rin squinted at the mouth of the small cave, wishing she could sleep just a little bit longer. But now that she was conscious, her stomach protested loudly that it was being neglected, the late lunch she had eaten yesterday having been far too long ago. Closing her eyes again with a soft sigh, Rin mentally prepared herself to sit up, Before readjusting so that she could lift her self up on her elbow.

She almost wished she hadn’t.

It felt like every muscle in her body was protesting the movement, her legs stiff from all the running, her abdomen sore after the bout of crying, and her arm... She wasn’t exactly sure what she had done to make the muscles in her arm so sore, but she thought it might have had something to do with her run through the woods yesterday. Perhaps she had hit a tree... Biting her lower lip, Rin forced herself into a seated position, wrinkling her nose as she straightened out her legs.

Still partially inside the sleeping bag, Salem snorted as the movement roused him from sleep. He cracked open one eye before lifting his head and blinking groggily around. After spotting nothing of particular interest, he yawned, and squinted up at his trainer.

“Hey, Salem,” she rasped, Coughing to clear her throat. “You feeling yesterday’s adventure too?”

In response, Salem grunted before slowly sitting up himself. His nose similarly wrinkled as his own muscles protested, but with a grumble, he slipped out of the sleeping bag and started stretching his legs and back. Rin chuckled at him sympathetically.

“You know, that’s probably not a bad idea.“ Working her self out of the sleeping bag as well, Rin grimaced as she started stretching out her aching muscles too. After a little while, it even seemed to help. “I’m sure this will get easier if we consistently train.,” she groaned as she leaned over to touch her toes.

Salem didn’t offer any opinion as each of them continued to stretch, loosening up their muscles. When some time had passed and both were feeling considerably more limber, they sat next to one another on the sleeping bag as Rin sorted through some of her food supplies in her backpack.

“ I forgot I had packed some fresh fruit yesterday,” she murmured as she polled out a paper bag with a few pieces of fruit inside that she had purchased when she had gotten breakfast The day before. “I had been planning on having these for lunch yesterday... We’d better eat them now so that they don’t go bad.“

Paper crackling, Rin reached inside and pulled out a couple of oranges, a pair of bananas, and a small plastic container that had been in a bag of ice, but was now just water. Freeing the tub of honey dew, she shook off some of the excess water before she pulled out her last clean bowl and let the water from the bag out into it. Digging out her small pocket knife, she then went to work on removing the peels from the oranges..

Ninetails and her kits had woken up at this point and were watching curiously, the two tiny Vulpix energetically racing over to stand to either side of Salem. Apparently, the little family had completely accepted Rin and her partner at this point. Glad to be out of the threat of being burned, Rin willingly included the fire foxes as she divvied up the fruit. She also got out a couple of Pokébites for each of the Pokémon, which Salem was rather excited about.

Breakfast went by quickly, with a granola bar supplementing Rin’s portion, and the young woman had her things packed up and tidy, a fresh set of clothes on, and her hair in a ponytail a short time later. She stifled a grumble as she slipped her backpack onto her shoulders and her left arm complained about the weight, managing to put a smile on her face as she slipped the strap of the sling that held her egg over her head and headed out of the cave. For a moment, She wavered at the entrance, her smile faltering as she noticed the little body of the mutated Vulpix had been covered in a pile of leaves, Hiding it from view. Sucking in a deep breath to steady herself, She glanced over at nine tails, who had joined them at the entrance.

“ i’m sorry about your son,” Rin murmured saufley, hesitating for a moment before she crouched down and wrapped her arms gently around the fire fox. “Thank you for letting us stay here.”

Again, Ninetails flinched at the unexpected contact, but quickly relaxed once more as she pressed her nose under Rin’s ear. The girl giggled at the cold contact before squeezing tighter for one heartbeat and then retreating, wiping a tear away from her face. Salem darted in at this point, nuzzling up against the Ninetails and receiving a gentle swipe of her tongue across the top of his head before he said his goodbyes to the Vulpix siblings. Then, together, he and Rin turned and headed off into the rain washed forest.
 

AutumnLeafeon

Rookie Trainer
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
Join Date
Feb 21, 2019
Posts
25
AKA
Autumn
Gender
Female
Time Zone
Mountain
The rain had succeeded in making everything somewhat damp, but Rin had always enjoyed the fresh, clean feeling to the air that always followed after a good storm, so she was relishing the trek through the woods. The clean air was doing wonders for her anxiety, pushing them to the back of her mind with each lungful. By midmorning, she even found herself smiling more often than not.

Salem picked up on her improving mood and seemed to feed off of it, working himself up into a joyous state. He gamboled about frequently, took to trotting ahead to keep a look out for anything of interest he wanted to steer his trainer towards, and practically exploded with excitement when she brought up battling against some of the wild Pokémon they might encounter in the forest.

Struck with humor over the similarities of when she had brought up training the first time, Rin laughed as Salem once again started hunting around for any other Pokémon that he could locate, tail twitching with anticipation. Trying not to put a damper on his enthusiasm, Rin started looking around her self, attempting to sight any of the wildlife before her partner. Luckily, she spotted the Spearow pecking at the ground off to their left before Salem caught sight of it and inevitably would have gone hurrying over and gotten into a battle without her.

“Salem,” Rin started in a soft voice as she crouched down and stopped her partner by placing her hands on his sides, “I can see a Spearow we can fight, but I want to try sneaking up on it. Sometimes you need to be quiet when dealing with wild Pokémon, because they might run away otherwise.“

Salem quivered with excitement, twitching as if any moment he would shoot forward, but managed to hold himself back, impressing Rin. Both of them still had learning to do, but she hoped that with practice and maturity, she’d be able to train him not to run headlong into every battle they came across whenever she brought up training in the future.

“It’s to our left,” she then whispered, directing Salem‘s gaze with a point of her finger. “I’d like you to try getting as close as you can without letting it hear you. Once you’re in striking distance, I want you to tackle.“

Salem thought it over for a moment before he huffed in agreement, relaxing his muscles and crouching down when she finally let go of him. Slowly, he started forward, the end of his tail twitching along with his nose. A few Times, he had started to speed up, but caught himself mid stride and froze, collecting his excitement before starting off again.

Rin couldn’t help but bite at her lower lip as she monitored his progress from a spot behind a tree, almost as excited as her partner at the possibility of a battle. She saw him get within a yard or so of the bird before it suddenly lifted its head, squinting in Salem‘s direction. She hadn’t realized that she had been holding her breath until her Poochyena suddenly exploded out of the bush he had been crouched within, racing The last bit of distance and tackling the Spearow before it could take flight. But her breath escaped her now with a huff of relief as she hurried forward to get in on the action.

“Don’t let it get away Salem! Bite it!”

He responded quickly to her shout, lowering his muzzle and biting down on one of the Spearow’s struggling wings. It screeched angrily, pecking hard at Salem’s nose and causing him to yelp and release his hold. The Poochyena stumbled back a step, giving the Spearow The opportunity to wiggle free and hop away several steps before it turned back towards its attacker and glared. Salem flinched slightly, but bared his teeth in a silent growl in reply.

“Try and tackle it again! Pinning it down was a good idea,” Rin instructed, her heart pounding in her chest at the energy of the fight.

Salem shot forward, nails digging into the soft ground, and tried to tackle the Spearow once again. But it managed to step aside at the last moment, delivering a sharp stab with it’s beak on Salem‘s back. Luckily, the hit bounced off of one of the boney ridges he had there, causing the bird Pokémon to reel back with surprise. It recovered quickly however, flapping its wings furiously as it chased after Salem and started a barrage of quick pecks at every inch it could reach of the Poochyena. Salem grit his teeth under the assault, taking a few steps back, but released a defiant snarl and shoved his way forward, planting his shoulder against the bird‘s chest and knocking it off balance. With a look of triumph, he pinned the Spearow beneath his front paws and opened his jaws wide. Taking the initiative, he quickly built up and then shot out a small ball of fire That hit the Spearow directly in the face.

“Looks like it’s just about finished! Use bite One more time,“ Rin cheered, pushing back the instinctive worry for her partner at the idea of him getting hurt while battling. He enjoyed it, so she should support him.

Salem happily complied by opening his mouth wide once again, peeling his lips back from his fangs, and bit down hard on the Spearow’s other wing. The bird Pokémon squawked weakly in protest, squirming one last time in an attempt to wiggle free, but collapsed back into unconsciousness. There was a moment of stillness before Salem snorted loudly, jumping backwards off the Spearow and turning a toothy grin on Rin. He trotted over to her quickly, placing his front paws on one of her knees.

“You did it! I’m so proud of you,“ Rin crowed, Picking up her partner and hugging him close to her chest before spinning him around. Salem snorted happily in return at the praise, his tail wiggling fast enough that it was starting to go in a circle.

“Do you feel up for another battle?” Rin put the Poochyena mix back on his feet as she asked, ready to dive into more training now that her mind was made up, and he barked excitedly in answer.

~~~

As the day was starting to head into the afternoon hours, and after Salem had successfully come out on top in a battle against a Wurmple and a Hoothoot they had accidentally woken up, Rin felt her stomach starting to growl. Pushing aside a low hanging branch, she quickly glanced around at yet another small clearing and couldn’t help but sigh. She hoped they would come across the path soon. With the sun still hiding behind the clouds, she couldn’t tell which direction they were heading and her Pokédex didn’t have a compass installed on it. Making a mental note to get the program onto her device at the next Pokémon center, she started off across the clearing.

“If we don’t find the path in the next five minutes, we’re going to stop and have some lunch,” Rin informed her partner, glancing down at him as he walked beside her.

Salem glanced up with a hopeful expression. Rin noticed that he had started walking with a slight limp, Though she hadn’t remembered him getting hit on any of his feet. She supposed he could have gotten a bruise on his hip when the Hoothoot had barreled into his side before it had made an escape...

“And we can see if there are any oran or sitrus berries growing nearby. I think I remember them being able to help with speeding up healing. Or i’ll just use another potion,” she added thoughtfully, pausing to scoop Salem into her arms. He sighed gratefully, relaxing his head back against her collarbone. Rubbing at his chest fur, Rin started walking again.

But after nearly ten minutes had gone by, they still hadn’t found the path. Frowning to her self, Rin turned her steps in the direction of what she thought was water, a soft gurgling noise catching her attention. Stepping around a thick clump of bushes, she found herself standing at the edge of a small Spring fed pond, edged partially with bushes and flowers, nestled on one side of a small meadow. Her scowl turning into a look of happiness at the unexpected surprise of such a serene setting, she quickly headed over to the clear Area and set Salem on his feet, settling down next to the edge of the water her self.

“Well,” she said softly as she looked around, “I’m glad we found such a beautiful place to take a break. But... i’m sorry to say that we are definitely lost.“
 

Typhlosion

Heart and Soul
Administrator
Rainbow Rocket Executive
Join Date
Oct 23, 2018
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2,635
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The Field of Battle
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Ben, A_T
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US Central (GMT -6:00)
3DS FC
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IGN
Ben
Okay, I'm all caught up! I like the suspense of not knowing where the story will go next, and I can't wait to see how Rin and Salem continue to grow.
 

AutumnLeafeon

Rookie Trainer
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
Join Date
Feb 21, 2019
Posts
25
AKA
Autumn
Gender
Female
Time Zone
Mountain
Glad to hear you’ve been enjoying! Hopefully, the further things go, it won’t start becoming disappointing.

—————

Chapter Ten: Unexpected Capture​

“...You know, I wonder if anyone has figured out why some fire types are able to drink water, And yet it hurts them when it gets on their body.”

Salem lifted his head from the surface of the small pond where he had been lapping at the water and blinked at his trainer. He tilted his head for a moment before snorting and shaking himself off, droplets flying away from his muzzle. Rin squeaked in protest as she was sprinkled, Swatting playfully at her Pokémon. He danced out of the way with a huff, tail wiggling. The young woman shook her head at him, but the grin on her face proved that she wasn’t really annoyed. Resisting the temptation to chase after the Poochyena, Rin went back to scrubbing at her dirty dishes.

Lunch had been pretty simple in the end, but not for lack of options. Most of the cooking utensils had been in need of a good clean before they could be used again, so Rin had had to settle on eating something cold and washing the dishes afterwards. She had pulled out a couple of packages of granola that had been mixed with dried fruit and had collected some of the berries she had found on the bushes growing at the edge of the pond. None of them had any particular use in healing Pokémon unfortunately, but at least they weren’t poisonous. She and Salem had eaten their fill, enjoying the simplicity of the meal, and had spent some time laying next to each other in the grass, taking a little time to digest before they had to move again.

Making sure to dispose of the soapy water well away from the pond so that it didn’t become contaminated, Rin at last rinsed off the last bowl and set it aside to dry with a sigh of contentment. Happy with the work she had accomplished, the young woman found a spot near her backpack to sit down before she pulled it to her and unzipped one of the pockets. Now that the dishes were out of the way, she planned on sorting out the garbage she would need to get rid of when they reached Silverbank, Silently hoping that the Pokémon center would have a washing machine she could use as well. Pulling out the small bag of dirty clothes, Rin placed it behind her before she tackled the rest of the mess inside her bag. Ten minutes later, she was feeling pretty confident that she had almost everything organized, though most of it still lay on the ground around her.

Snapping her wallet shut now that she had placed the money she had one off of Anna into it, Rin then picked up the solitary great ball she had found and rolled The blue and white sphere between her fingers. Slowly, her gaze drifted towards Salem, who had curled up next to her, his chin resting on her thigh. His eyes were closed, one of his pointed ears twitching, and she couldn’t help but smile when she realized he had fallen asleep. After a moment of thought, she clipped his pokéball onto the first slot of her belt. Even if she never used it, it was safer to have the ball close at hand, just in case.

Picking up a small white box, Rin lifted the lid and glanced over the shiny set of empty pokéballs inside. Her mother had either gotten her a custom set or else she had found a special Collection when she had been shopping, because Rin had never seen pokéballs that looked like what she now held in her hands. There was one that was red and gold, another that was a soft green color, and one that was so darkly purple that it almost looked black. Running her fingertips across The top of one of the devices that resembled a Premier ball with a pale blue band instead of a red one, Rin found her mind drifting once again towards her plans for the future.

Yes, she was here, on a journey with a Pokémon, something she had never imagined herself doing. And yet, she had made that decision. After years of therapy and gentle coaxing from Friends and family, she had finally been pushed over the edge when she had discovered that note from her mother. But going on a journey was only half of the experience.

And yes, she had decided that her experience would include battling, she had come to that realization last night in the cave, but she still wasn’t sure about what kind of battling that would be. Did she want to become an ace trainer, raising a few strong Pokémon and challenging others she would meet? Or did she want to aspire to training a variety of Pokémon and establish herself as a challenge that others could come to? Or maybe she would travel along the more traditional path of overcoming challenges her self, collecting badges and special items.

Rin sighed to herself as she once again ran her gaze over the assortment of empty pokéballs. No matter what path she ended up choosing, each of them would result in her eventually needing to catch other Pokémon to travel with her. She wasn’t sure how she would handle that, Let alone Salem. He was so overprotective of her, she couldn’t see him allowing another Pokémon to get close to her easily.

‘He’s going to have to accept the fact that there is going to be another Pokémon once that egg hatches though...’ Rin thought wryly as her eyes fell on the Pokémon egg sitting nearby, nestled partially in its soft sling.

With a sudden snort that made Rin jump, Salem abruptly blinked open his eyes, looking around dazedly as if having forgotten where he was. She smiled at him when he squinted up at her, finally setting down the box of pokéballs to run her fingers through his neck fur.

“I hope you had a good nap,” she said, Receiving a sleepy wag of his tail. “Hey, listen. I need to talk to you about something,” she then started, glancing back down at the pokéballs.

But as Salem sat up, a curious expression on his face, she found that no words would come out. Her mouth Opened, but the air seemed to get stuck in her throat. Rin tried several times to push the words out, but eventually gave up with a resigned sigh. Bringing up adding other Pokémon to the team was just going to have to be a conversation for the future.

“We should be heading off soon, before it gets too late,” she said instead, Starting to pack up her belongings once again. “Would you like a treat before we head out?“

Salem’s confused expression melted away into one of enthusiasm as he saw Rin pick up the container of pokébites. But just as she started to twist the lid off, his attention snapped towards the trees just past Rin, his ears quivering slightly as they strained forward.

“...Salem?” Rin froze mid-action as she saw the Poochyena mix stiffen, his hackles rising.

Salem didn’t respond, but after a moment, Rin finally caught hint of The sound that had drawn his attention. Putting the jar of treats down, she pivoted around, coming up on her knees as she did so, and peered into The forest, trying to locate the source of the sound of pounding hooves. It didn’t take long for her eyes to fall on the hurried movement of several large brown bodies weaving their way between the trunks of the trees, each of them making their way steadily in her direction. She caught one glimpse of long, strangely curving horns before her eyes widened with first surprise and then alarm.

“Get out of the way Salem,” Rin cried as she hastily snatched up her bag and the egg before stumbling to her feet and managing to unsteadily run a few steps to the edge of the clearing. She tossed her bag ahead of her before glancing back, relieved to see Salem right behind her.

Just as she reached the first clump of bushes, the herd of Stantler exploded into the clearing, hooves thundering against the ground, bugles of alarm escaping them as they tossed their heads. There came a hollow clunk of wood and the sharp crack of plastic as the Pokémon sprinted through the clearing, trampling over the items that had been left behind. Rin gaped in amazement as the herd rushed by just inches away, but was driven to gasping as a second group of Pokémon ran into the clearing, clearly pursuing the fleeing Stantler.

For the last two months, before she had embarked on her journey, Rin had been closely following the endeavor of Alolan scientists as they worked with Professor Spruce and his assistants to introduce a new species into the Arion region. She had been fascinated by the lithe grace and beauty of the pack of Lycanrock they had been working with, the rock type Pokémon winning over her admiration quickly as they displayed a cunning nature and a fierce loyalty to one another. The scientists had chosen two sets of mated adults along with their young, a litter of four Rockruff. And here just feet away from her, was that self same pack.

Dropping quickly to one knee, Rin set the egg aside before reaching for her backpack, hastily unzipping the side pocket and pulling out her Pokédex. Twisting back around, she had just lifted the device and clicked it open when the last tail of the Lycanrock pack whipped out of sight into the trees. She groaned in disappointment, slumping back before abruptly jumping with surprise as the pokédex unexpectedly spoke.

“Rockruff, the Puppy Pokémon. This Pokémon has lived among humans since Times long past. Normally, they have pleasant dispositions, though they start to become moody and aggressive as they near evolution. When their affection is earned, they show their love by rubbing The rocks on their necks against the object of their affection. This, unfortunately, is rather painful.”

As the device chirped happily in her hands, Rin’s eyes had quickly flickered to the screen of the pokédecks before her gaze swept over the clearing, almost immediately focusing on a small figure that she hadn’t noticed before that moment. Unlike The photographed Pokémon’s happy expression, the flesh and blood Rockruff had his face wrinkled into a snarl, white fangs bared. His light brown fur seemed to bristle as their gazes met, his tail, which normally would have been curled tightly over his back, lashing as his button ears pressed back against his head. He growled low in his throat for a moment before abruptly launching forward, intent on his attack.

Rin nearly dropped her pokédecks in surprise, falling back onto her rump painfully as she instinctively flinched away. But just as she lifted her arms to protect herself, Salem had jumped forward, putting himself between her and the charging Pokémon. He was knocked back as the Rockruff barreled into him, both of them toppling onto The grass as they overbalanced. Salem managed to Kick the Rockruff away with his back paws before leaping a few feet to one side. The Rockruff snarled as he rolled upright, lunging towards Salem instead.

“Try to dodge Salem, then bite,” Rin instructed, her voice a little shaky with surprise. She hoped her partner could manage to make his opponent flinch, because she wasn’t sure if any move he had was very effective against the rock type.

Salem snorted in acknowledgment before attempting to jump to the side once again. The Rockruff just managed to clip his hip, causing the Poochyena to stumble slightly, though Salem adapted his trip to put his muzzle nearer to the rocky dog and consequently used this position to bite at one of his back legs. Rockruff yelped, sharply twisting his body around and pulling his foot free. He limped back a few steps before abruptly scratching at the ground with one of his front paws. It wasn’t obvious what he was trying to do until a small rock was unearthed and he abruptly kicked it towards Salem. The yelp that was elicited from Salem was piercing as the small rock struck him hard in the chest, causing Rin to gasp involuntarily and clap her hands over her mouth.

‘Of course! Rock is strong against fire! And Salem has enough fire type DNA for that to make a difference,’ Rin thought worriedly, watching the Rockruff warily out of the corner of her eye as she watched her partner cough from the impact.

“Don’t let him get the chance to find another rock Salem! You’ve got this,“ she encouraged, balling The hand that wasn’t holding her Pokédex into a fist.

But a few minutes later, it was obvious that the fight was going badly. For though Salem scratched, bit, and even shot flames add his opponent, it was clear that the Rockruff was doing much better off in the long run. Rin silently be rated her self for not using a potion when she had the opportunity as she watched Salem panting heavily, head lowered, clearly exhausted. The young woman imagined hurrying forward and scooping him up into her arms, making a run for it, but wasn’t sure she could outpace the Rockruff. The rock type seemed determined to come out on top. Just as she resolved her self to at least try, the tan canine leapt forward, landing next to the rock he had uncovered earlier with a triumphant yip, expertly launching the pebble towards Salem once again. The rock struck his ribs with a thud as the Poochyena attempted to step out of the line of fire, his sluggish steps not fast enough. With a whine, he wobbled where he stood before collapsing onto his belly, blinking dazedly. Seeing his opportunity, the Rockruff howled excitedly as he sprinted forward to land the finishing blow.

“No!” Rin lurched forward towards the Pokémon, not sure what she was going to do, but knowing she had to do something. Her gaze fell on the box of pokéballs, a couple of the metallic spheres strewn about in the aftermath of the stampede, and she instinctively, unthinkingly, picked up one of them, pressed The button on its side, and hurled it at the Rockruff.

The rock type stumbled with surprise as the ball hit him on the back of the head, but barely had just enough time to glance back over his shoulder with a blink before his entire body was engulfed in a bright red energy that shot out of the copper and orange sphere suspended in the air next to him. His entire body was quickly converted into the energy and sucked into the pokéball before he had time to even make a sound. The ball fell to the grass where it started wiggling and twitching, The captured Pokémon struggling for a moment, before slowly, gradually, the movement stopped and there sounded an audible click.

For several seconds, Rin simply stared at the now unmoving pokéball, shocked by what had just happened. She felt as if her mouth had suddenly gone dry. She had just caught a new Pokémon after having decided to wait to do that very thing. And not only that, she had caught one of the Pokémon that was part of a Scientific introduction of a new species into a region. She could just probably let him out, attempt to persuade him to go back into the wild, but there was every possibility he would start attacking her in Salem again...

“Salem!”

Rin’s eyes flew wide as her thoughts returned to her Poochyena partner, shoving her concerns about what to do with the Rockruff to The back of her mind as she quickly looked back towards where she had last seen Salem. He was still where he had been after his legs had given out, but had toppled over to one side, his eyes now closed. With a gasp, Rin scrambled to her feet, hurrying over and scooping up the little Pokémon in her arms. He was completely limp, unresponsive to her touch.

“Oh no, Salem,” Rin lamented, fighting back the impulse to start crying. She couldn’t shed tears every time something bad happened or she’d never be a good trainer. Still, this was the first time her partner had fallen unconscious. “I’m sorry,” she murmured after a moment, blinking furiously as she kept the tears at bay. “I should have used that potion sooner.“

Taking a deep breath until her lungs couldn’t hold any more air, Rin released a shaky huff before she gave the unconscious Salem a fierce hug, kissing The top of his head. Glancing around at the mess that was her belongings, she shuffled her way over to a potion bottle laying on its side. As she picked it up, she noticed that the clear liquid was draining from a deep crack on one side, rendering it unusable. Setting it back down numbly, she sorted through the mess until she located another bottle, this one thankfully intact. But just as she pulled the cap off the spray nozzle, she remembered that in order for the potion to work properly, the Pokémon needed to be conscious first. With a sigh, she looked around for her medicine bag, spotting it half hidden beneath one of the berry bushes.

Making her way over to the Crimson colored satchel, she leaned over to lift it from the ground, but ended up sinking into a seated position instead, her Energy abruptly leaving. Blinking against the wave of fatigue that assaulted her in the wake of the adrenaline rush, Rin settled Salem onto her lap before she began fumbling with the zipper of the bag, managing to get it after a couple of attempts. With a sweep of her eyes that took in paralyze and burn heels, awakening, and even an antidote, she saw a small container with a few reviving crystals inside. Pulling The box free, she struggled to remember how the pale yellow shards were supposed to be used before she sighed, turning the box around in hopes that there would be instructions somewhere. Luckily for her, there was a small label on the underside of the container. Reading over the small print quickly, she pulled the lid off the box, sticking a finger inside to fish out one of the yellow shards. Revive in hand, she put away the two remaining crystals before she turned her attention to her Pokémon, brushing her fingers through his fur. Working his mouth open, she placed the shard on his tongue, watching it begin to dissolve for a moment before she closed his muzzle once more. Idly, she wondered what someone would do if their Pokémon didn’t have a mouth to dissolve the revive. Perhaps there were different sorts... Salem stirring had Rin’s wondering’s pushed aside as she watched him snort and lift his head, blinking up at her dazedly.

“Oh Salem, i’m so sorry I didn’t heal you sooner,“ Rin said quickly, reaching out to give the little Poochyena mix a hug before she retrieved the potion and began spraying it over his body.

Salem squinted at her for a moment before sneezing loudly, clearly still struggling to catch up with what had happened. Giving himself a shake that was hard enough to make him grunt, he abruptly froze midscratch of one of his ears. Hind paw thumping against the ground as it was lowered, Salem whirled to face the clearing, hackles rising as he looked back-and-forth with a growl.

“Rockruff isn’t still attacking. I managed to stop him,“ Rin explained hastily, earning herself another squint from the dark type.

Salem had his head tilted to one side as he considered her statement, clearly thinking hard. But then he gave his head a brief shake before giving himself another smaller shake and hopping up onto her lap, putting his paws on her stomach, and giving her a lick on her chin to help cheer her up.

Glad he didn’t seem to be upset with her, Rin gave the little Pokémon another hug before she couldn’t help but release a sigh, slumping back against the bush, uncaring of the prickly support, and closed her eyes, needing a minute to recover. The last day certainly had not been what she had been expecting.

“Salem,” Rin mumbled quietly, beginning to slowly run her fingers through the fur on his back, “life sure is crazy sometimes.“
 

Typhlosion

Heart and Soul
Administrator
Rainbow Rocket Executive
Join Date
Oct 23, 2018
Posts
2,635
Location
The Field of Battle
AKA
Ben, A_T
Gender
Male
Time Zone
US Central (GMT -6:00)
3DS FC
2724-0144-2557
IGN
Ben
Oh, good, I was just hoping another chapter would be out soon. I only wish it didn't make me feel guilty about how infrequently I update my own story! Keep it up!
 
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