Re: Survival Project
The human sounded so sure of himself, but I wasn't sure at all. This would mean leaving my clan. Not that they wanted me, but I was convinced that they still needed me. All of them. They just didn't know it. I couldn't leave and come back to find them maimed or eaten or burned to the ground with the rest of the forest or anything else. The blame would go to me—again. No, no, no. And who was Senori? Clearly, it was me, but that wasn't my name. I had never heard it before in my life, but there it was, directed at me, as if I had possessed it my entire life. But the finality of his words almost made my heart stop. Almost made everything seem okay and... real.
I decided to start with the idea that was most likely to help me keep my sanity.
"Um... I'm sorry, but that's not my name. I'm usually called—"
"I don't care what anyone's called you. Your name is Senori," he interrupted, his gaze focused on me once more.
"Fine. It doesn't matter, because I'm not going anywhere with you." I paused for a moment, realizing my quick temper toward him could get me into more trouble if I wasn't careful. He didn't reply, just smiled slightly, as if what I was saying meant nothing. After a few moments, I smiled, too, and continued, "You didn't even catch me in a pokéball. All trainers get their first pokémon in New Bark Town, anyway, which is very close to here. I don't know who helps you start out, really, but I'm sure you can ask around."
The human's eyes widened, as if what I had said now was some kind of revelation that needed to be made known to the entire world. "But that's not what they told me to do. I just listened. I just listened..." His voice trailed off, and he appeared to be lost in thought before he came up with what he thought was an appropriate response. "You're coming with me, and I'll get a pokémon in... New Bark Town, too. That way, I'm doing it right for everyone."
I wondered why this boy didn't know how to start his own pokémon journey properly. Every child that passed by my clan always talked on and on about how they imagined their first day as a trainer ever since they learned about the idea of going out, raising all of their favorite creatures and making friends, and becoming so free, so independent, so strong. I started to think that, maybe, his parents kept him sheltered from the idea... but I didn't see how that was possible. There was no way that he would not have heard the fact that he could leave for his journey at the age of ten. Maybe his parents forbade him to go, but he went anyway, and he didn't want to talk to whoever gave out starting pokémon, and he was feigning innocence, but...
I was getting nowhere with these senseless thoughts. That was my problem: I thought too much, and I knew next to nothing. All I knew was that I wasn't leaving with him, and that I would have to get him away from me and out of this forest somehow. Someone else would have to take care of him. There's always someone who wants nothing more than to hold someone else's hand until they know it's time to let go.
"Okay," I said, and realized it was the wrong thing to say when his eyes brightened, just a little bit. "Um... I'll go with you to New Bark Town and see what I can do about helping you get that real first pokémon in your first real pokéball. But then I'm out of here. I have family and friends that I need to stay with."
In response to the last sentence, the words stuck in my throat while his face contorted with fury and he clenched his fists again. "You can't go," he said firmly, looking down at the ground. "You can't ruin this for me. You can't."
"Ruin what? Your journey? There are plenty of other sentret on the other side of Cherrygrove, if you really want one. Just... It can't be me."
"It has to be you. There is no one else but you." He stopped, reached into his pocket and I could feel myself tense up quickly. He pulled out a small object shaped like a cube. It had smooth, rounded corners. It was white with a varying amount of black dots placed randomly on each side. I didn't know what the black parts meant, but it seemed harmless enough, so I relaxed and settled against the tree once more. I remained calm even as he forcefully handed the object to me.
"What's this for?" I asked, struggling to hold it in my rather diminutive paws.
"It's a standard six-sided die. Roll it."
"Excuse me? Roll it?"
"I don't know what you mean..."
"Just roll it. Throw it. Whatever. I can't do it for you or it won't mean anything."
"It's been with me for years. It lasted all this time, survived all the obstacles thrown its way, only to end up in your hands. Only you can roll it." He pushed the paw holding the die toward my chest, causing me to feel a pressure similar to when his foot was pressed against my body. My bones ached, and somehow, I felt my heart when I thought that it was gone. "There is no one else but you," he added, placing emphasis on each and every word.
"What happens when I roll it?" I asked, not quite ready to give in. I was never sure of others unless I knew them personally. I was always careful to not get caught up in someone else's lies or bad intentions. I was sure that there was some good in everyone, but this belief couldn't make me any less wary of him. I didn't trust him and I kept wanting to ask and ask and ask, which made sense, but I wanted to learn more and I didn't know why.
"You'll see that I am right."
I couldn't gather the courage needed to ask anything else. I thrust my paw forward, releasing the object, my eyes never leaving it. It rolled around in the grass before determinedly landing on the side with a single black dot on it. I didn't feel a thing, but his smile was so, so wide, and I was more interested in the object after seeing him like that.
"See? You're number one. There is no one else but you. Even if that pokémon from New Bark Town is supposed to be my first, it won't be. It never will be." He reached forward and grabbed the die delicately, as if he was scared that it might break if he wasn't careful. He held it up high, toward the small amount of sun that was able to pour through the tree canopies. "I'll keep it in my pocket so that you'll always know, Senori. And so everyone else will know. Let's go. Now."
I was reluctant, I swear. I always wanted to be loved, needed. I couldn't help it. I was especially desperate since that terrible incident. And being called number one, well, that fit right into my desires. But I wanted to be loved by the family that I grew up with. The members that I swore to protect from the moment they were born. But they weren't there when this human came to me and they weren't here now and who was I to say that they would definitely be with me at any point in the future? This was my chance. My opportunity. Not theirs. Never would it be theirs. I knew all of this, but I still didn't want to go.
"...Okay. Let's go. But, um... I'm sorry, but I don't know your name." I paused. Stay optimistic. Stay happy and believe in fate. For them, forever and always. "Should I decide it for you?"
And I started to think that, maybe, I was unsure about him and didn't want to leave because—
"My name? My name is Sai."
—I just didn't want him to be right.
We started walking, away from the site of the attack and away from my clan. But I didn't say good-bye. Not yet. We'd have to turn around and come back, and then... Well, I didn't know what I would do then. I tried to turn around to look back, as if it really was my last time seeing this place, but Sai was blocking my way.
"I'm carrying you because it will go faster," he said, annoyed by my constant movement. "From here on out, you could just walk and suck it up."
I wanted to protest and say that he was the one who had caused the pain to begin with, and that if he hadn't come along and ruined everything, then I'd be just fine.
"So... why can you understand me already?" I asked instead.
"That doesn't matter. Are we close yet?"
"It sounds to me like you just don't know. You don't have any kind of explanation, do you?"
Sai stopped walking abruptly and turned me around to face him, obviously not caring about causing further wounds. He was frowning and his eyes seemed even darker than before, and I thought that he was going to explode and attack me again, but he didn't. He set me down on the ground quickly and ordered me to keep walking.
"You can suck it up now rather than later, then. Don't complain. It was your choice," he said, and then waited impatiently for me to start moving.
I took a few steps and realized that I couldn't quite walk straight. I wondered how Sai ended up by me and still didn't know how to get to the two closest cities. I wondered if I was even taking Sai down the right path toward New Bark Town, because if I wasn't... He got angry fast. Real fast. And I didn't want that.
"So what starter pokémon are you thinking of choosing when we get there, anyway?" I asked, trying to distract myself from that thought.
"I don't know. Does it matter?" he asked curiously.
"Well, yeah. They're different types, all with different strengths and weaknesses. Some specialize in attack while others specialize in defense. There's a lot of things to consider."
Sai didn't say anything for the longest time, and I shrugged it off, thinking that he was just daydreaming about what he'd get. I didn't know then that he had no idea what starter pokémon were even available. I never thought that his lack of knowledge could go this far.
"And you're going to help me, right?" he finally said, throwing me off guard when I was already dizzy to begin with. I almost toppled over, but regained my balance and absorbed his words.
"Help you do... what?" I asked, thinking about the last time we talked about helping each other through lack of communication. The conversation didn't look too hopeful.
"You'll tell me about each of them. The pokémon. And then I'm going to watch them and I'll decide from there. The one with the most potential will join us."
"The most potential for what? Actually, nevermind that! You can't just... watch them!" I cried, stopping and nearly falling over again. He stopped, too, and once I knew I was holding his attention, I continued, "Most trainers just walk in, knowing who they want, and they take that pokémon along with any other items the person gives them, and that's that. They're so excited about it and they blabber on about it for hours when they pass this forest. It seems like it's all a part of the journey. Why are you making this so complicated? Why are you the only one who doesn't know what to do?"
Sai paused. "As long as I get the pokémon, it shouldn't matter, right?" he said slowly. "It's still starting out the correct way."
"I suppose that's true," I said quietly, reluctantly, unsure of whose rules he was so determined to follow until the end.
"And you're going to help me, right?" he repeated with that same hollow and childish voice. Like he was embarrassed to ask for my help but he needed it more than anything else in the world so he gave in and asked anyway. And I didn't know why he needed this help. I wouldn't know why for a very long time. Once, I thought that I accepted once more because of my penchant for taking care of others. I thought that it was because he both wanted and needed me, unlike my clan. Or it was because I was afraid of what he'd do to me if I didn't. It would take time until I realized how wrong I was.
"Don't worry. I'm going to take care of you," I said.
My voice was so, so cold.
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Last edited by diamondpearl876; 04-19-2012 at 10:23 PM.