The next day started easily enough, my alarm clock woke me to the sun filtering through the lone window in my room. I remember breakfast being an even more awkward affair then the night before, my mother having cleaned up and it appeared she had bought a new outfit just for the day. Breakfast was okonomiyaki though true to form my mother’s legendary inability to cook shone through and what could have been a good breakfast to leave on ended up burnt on the bottom and soupy on top. The culinary nightmare was accompanied by a slew of rapid fire question and answer style tirades from my mother, quizzing me on all the things she thought I’d need to be a good trainer and thus making an already unpleasant breakfast nearly unbearable. More mail came for me, I guess the good Doctor had decided to make this event even more public and humiliating then it already was. When the news that Akiyoshi Mayumi’s heir was taking his journey hit the airwaves fans of my mother went ballistic. Little did I know that for the past three weeks my mother had been receiving mail almost every day which I was certain put the local postal office through their paces. I suspect it was one of the many reasons she kept me locked up in the house for as long as she did. It was mostly letters though from the looks of it money had been a big portion of the gifts from her adoring fans judging from the new outfit she wore.
But someone had also decided a cruise was what my mother needed to celebrate such a happy event in her life, I could see the gaudy red and blue tickets from the breakfast table, sitting on the kitchen counter like some obnoxious chatot that refused to shut its trap. The only reason I’d noticed them in the first place was because they were sitting under my backpack which to my surprise was stuffed to bursting just from the look of it. It seemed my mother had been quite busy in the early morning hours, and while I’m sure the pack wasn’t filled with anything terribly useful it saved me the trouble of getting food and supplies for the first leg of my journey. The other object that drew my attention was a large suit case with the good Doctors insignia, and while I could guess as to what was inside I didn’t dare investigate for fear it would fuel my mother into some scheming rant on how I should take the entire case and leave my friends in the dust. After all, she’d spent hours telling me how as soon as we hit the road we’d never be friends again. She told me of my Aunt, her sister, and how they hadn’t spoken for almost twenty years because of their journey. She of course went through the whole song and dance of betrayal and revenge against one another as they vied for the Champion title but in the end it seems neither one of them won it. Instead the title went to a man named Adeku, a name that was spit forth with such venom and hate I feared the words would take form and puncture my chest like a blade of grass in a tornado. Little did my mother know I’d actually met my Aunt several years back just as my father was leaving for Johto, though I can’t say she made much of an impression, the meeting was fairly icy all around.
She didn’t say a word about the tickets or the pack, cleaning and humming about the room from the night’s tirade and subsequent throwing match versus the wall. I lent a hand just to speed the process up in silence, even if it was the happiest day of her life all it meant for me was a forced march across the country against my will. I had convinced myself over the weeks that at the very least it was a paid for road trip that would let me see some of the places I wouldn’t have had a chance to, and of course an excuse to get as far away from Nuvema Town as possible. I took my pack and the suit case up the stairs, trying to tidy my room idly though I honestly don’t know what possessed me to do it. It wasn’t like I was coming back an time soon, and even if I did I could always room with Cheren and his folks. Regardless of what was running through my mind it carried me to the afternoon swiftly and before I knew it Cheren had arrived. He played a little wii and talked idly but it was clear his excitement levels started to peak as he eyed the suit case. Cheren was hard to read sometimes, he was usually so quiet but when he got excited everyone knew instantly. Despite his level of eagerness Cheren was nothing if not honorable so we waited for Bel to arrive. Unfortunatly she always managed to slide in late to anything ever in her life and today was no exception. She came bursting into my room with a hail of apologies and bowing, her face flushed and her clothing muddy. No doubt she ran all the way here in her excitement and managed to trip in a mud puddle. By this point I no longer cared about the state of my room, a little mud no longer bothering me though had it been any other day I think I’d honestly have been a little irritated at her. Thankfully my mood had shifted because what came next would have pushed me over into a rage.
I opened the suitcase, three pokeballs sitting on a velvet mat, cradled delicately by the soft fabric like new born babes. A picture of each of the Pokémon sat on the other half of the suit case, hanging over the pokeball they were held in. The three were Oshawott, Snivy, and Tepig, I’d heard these were the most common starting types given to fresh trainers, but thought nothing of it until now. The three formed a perfect triangle of strengths and weaknesses. Snivy was a grass type Pokémon which was strong against Oshawott which was a water pokemon, which in turn was strong against Tepig which was a fire type. The triangle was finished in that Snivy was weak against Tepig. Cheren had suggested I get the first pick since we were doing this in my house, but I think he suggested it because he knew unlike himself and Bel I had no real desire to be doing this in the first place. I really didn’t care which I picked, the Pokémon was just an animal after all. I closed my eyes and picked at random, and I can honestly tell you now that I tell you this in shame. I ended up with Snivy but before I could investigate my new pokemon Bel powered through and grabbed a ball of her own. I guessed she’d go for the Oshawott, the thing was admittedly pretty cute and she was a sucker for sad looking animals but I felt bad Cheren didn’t really get the option to decide on his own. He said he wanted the Tepig from the start, and while I didn’t think he lied I think he’d wanted one of the other two as well and he’d not decided at the start. With our Pokémon chosen we went about calling them out of their balls, investigating them and fussing over them. Despite my mother’s teachings on what Pokémon were for, I felt a tug at my heart strings even then at the anctics of my new “friend”. The thing was inquisitive, searching around the room swiftly and tearing apart my hard work in a minute or less. Sadly his rash attitude seemed unable to keep his energy up and he swiftly hid under my bed. Bel had taken to her Oshawott like a fish to water, already crying out for a battle. I tried to persuade her to fight Cheren first but she was adamant that her Oshawott wanted to fight my Snivy. I had to fish the thing out from under my bed to find it snoring loudly, just to keep her quiet.
After he woke up, my Snivy seemed fairly in line with the others in the room, posturing and strutting about with a swagger in his step. The fight was swift to say the least, Bel spending more time fussing over her Oshawott’s fur after each attack from my Snivy then commanding it to retaliate. Once our battle was finished Cheren tended our Pokémon’s bruises, but the fight stirred in him the urge to fight as well and as he released his Tepig it seemed the fight in the air was infectious. Our battle was more fitting for the word, his Tepig was strong and for a minute there I thought I was honestly going to lose. My mother would have had a heart attack on the spot and it was no small consideration toward that end that I almost threw the fight. But in the end my Snivy was victorious in its first two combats. It would have celebrated more I think but it passed out on the floor. I returned it to its ball before surveying the damage to my room. Both fights had made what was an immaculate cleaning job into a disaster zone. My bed was broken in two by Cheren’s Tepig, and I could swear before we all left I saw a chair hanging from my ceiling fan. Cheren being the person he was wanted to inform my mother about the mess, at this point I could have cared less.
We ran into my mother at the foot of the stairs where she spied on the whole fight. She patted Cheren and Bel on the head and sent them on their way, the three of us agreeing to meet at the good Doctors later. My mother seemed near to busting, congratulating me on my victories. She handed me my x-transceiver and told me she’d clean my room while I was out. I didn’t waste time, moving through the small town to the Doctor’s lab. Most of the time it was empty, the Doctor was a bit of a jet setter, traveling around the world with her research. She was a bit of a hometown hero for most and even I had to admit she was quite the celebrity when she did come home. When I arrived at her door I was met with only Cheren, Bel had rushed home for something and hadn’t come back. It fell to me to go and get her, and as I trudged off again I heard a snap, my Snivy seeming to have figured out how to get out of its pokeball. I tried to return it but it seemed fairly content to walk, or at least until it got to tired and tried to sun itself on a rock despite it being the start of winter. I quickly retrieved it and placed it on my shoulder where it seemed happy enough, curling up and trying to keep warm. The scene at Bel’s house was less pleasant, her father finally breaking his silence in a serious way. Bel sat near to tears as I walked into the house, her father’s face the color of a beet as he ranted and screamed incoherently. What little I caught made it sound like he wasn’t happy about his daughter’s decision, though her mother stood up for her when she spotted me and ushered us out the door. Bel’s parents were nice folk, simple farmers that had made a small fortune after finding a diamond mine on their property which the Isshu government bought off their hands. We walked together, the silence between Bel and I punctuated by her soft sobs. I transferred my Snivy to her shoulder which seemed to perk her up, the little things were important. Cheren had remained at the door, waiting for us to reach him before opening the door. The Doctor was waiting, pacing the floor nervously though perked instantly when she spotted us.
She assaulted us with questions and her vivacious actions, Bel’s already fragile state cracking fully into tears. I had to explain the situation though the Doctor assured us she’d handle Bel’s father. Cheren leapt to the chance to answer the Doctor’s questions while I stood in silence, taking in the room. Machines blinked and whirred loudly, the laboratory air hot and dry. A small house was built into the laboratory, fully furnished though quite small compared to the other homes in the town. I faded out in all the action, coming to as my Snivy nuzzled up against my cheek and crying out softly. Doctor Araragi was waiting patiently, smiling knowingly at me…that smile bugged me then and bugs me now. The woman may have been a vibrant beauty with a mind filled with knowledge unknown to the world, but she was also a few crayons short of a full box. She asked what I wanted to name my Snivy, her tone noting it was probably not the first time she’d asked. I blushed then as a mix of embarrassment and shame filled me, getting scolded was always bad but to be scolded under hand and by a woman who couldn’t have been much older than me stung a little. I hadn’t thought of it in all honesty, in the whirlwind of events and the lack of food and sleep, the idea of a name for an animal seemed like a luxury. I asked for some time, which the good Doctor gave of course, seeming more interested in explaining how the pokedex operated. It was a miniature wireless computer that detailed information on pokemon through a scanning tool built into the device itself. It catalogued it’s cries and gave as much information as it had complied each time you accessed a picture. We scanned each other’s first Pokémon though the information was fairly sparse. With our business concluded we decided to go out and learn how to catch some Pokémon of our own at Route 1, the good Doctor accompanying us to give us some pointers. My mother way-laid us on our walk, no doubt spying on us, which I was quite certain she would do as long as she could stay within a reasonable distance of the house. She thrust a more complete and current map of Isshu at us, giggled and ran off. The whole event was a little perturbing and I think even Cheren and Bel who were used to my mother’s often times manic episodes walked away feeling a little uncomfortable. My mother was not in the habit of giving gifts even to me, so it came as a surprise she’d gone out of her way to get them maps of the region as well. Added to the fishy event was my knowledge of how she felt about them now that they were my “rivals” though I kept that worry to myself. I wouldn’t have put it past my mother to sabotage their maps and I’d turn out to be correct though that’s a story later on with little to do with the events that unfolded after running into her in town.
The Doctor got ahead of us swiftly as he talked about everything we’d learned up to this point, Cheren mostly acting as “tutor” for the most part and before we knew it we’d hit Route 1. Bel got it into her head we all had to step out onto the Route together as a group to which we complied. Doctor Araragi caught a Patrat though released it on the spot after her demonstration, handed us some pokeballs of our own and headed off to the next town over, leaving us to look out at the expansive Route all on our own. I stared up into the slate gray sky, feeling my Snivy crawl under my shirt for warmth as a cold wind started to blow, leaves dancing in the air like so many dreams long since gone in the wake of a destiny I didn’t want. It was a clarifying moment as I looked up at the clouds, a single word coming to mind as I fished out my Snivy from my shirt.
“Haiiro…Your name will be Haiiro.”
The words didn’t seem a great revelation to him as he crawled back up my sleeve into the warmth. What little I knew then, that one statement can shape the foundation of the world around itself, and my sentence spoken out of an innocent attempt to clarify this moment, to steal it from everyone else that had thrust it upon me, had consequences I could never see coming.