Re: Survival Project
“Ah… Vermilion City,” Sai said, rubbing his arm.
“That’s a bit far, huh? I can’t think of why you’re here, then…” Professor Elm said, more to himself than anyone else, I guessed, since he was starting to pace back and forth, and he wasn’t making eye contact with anyone in the room.
“I happened to be passing by,” Sai repeated, more confidently this time.
The professor ignored him. Eventually, he stopped pacing and looked at me. He looked sort of sad. His eyes told me that he shouldn’t be giving me to a trainer who now looks extremely suspicious by showing up to a random town without any sort of identification. But I wanted to go. I didn’t care who this trainer was. If he was a bad trainer, then the legendary pokémon would punish him accordingly, and my fate would be decided by them. He had to let me go. I briefly wondered what this meant for his job should anyone discover that he gave me away like this, but I found that it didn’t matter to me. I had to leave.
“I assumed that you would have had a trainer’s card already since most people come to this town to get their first pokémon. I will give you a trainer’s card so that you may travel the region of Johto with pokémon. If you want to travel in Kanto, however, you will have to get a new trainer’s card, even though that’s where your hometown is. Understand?” Professor Elm said, looking directly at Sai. The boy nodded, and followed the professor to the back of the room. I was told to wait where I was, and so I did.
It was the first instruction given to me as a pokémon who was owned by a trainer.
When they returned, Sai was holding a small item that I assumed was his new trainer’s card. In his other hand was what I recognized as my pokéball. We were not put in our pokéballs very often, but the experience of being in one was unique, and so I had never forgotten it.
When it was time to leave, the professor walked in front of me, and knelt down so that we could see each other face-to-face. He was smiling again, yet looked sad at the same time. I wondered why this was, since it seemed to be part of his job to say good-bye to all of the pokémon he raised. Shouldn’t he have been used to it by now? Maybe you never got over some things. As I thought of the other pokémon that were still in the backyard and myself, I hoped that that wasn’t true.
“Well, this is what you’ve been waiting for, so I hope it goes well for you, of course...” He sounded wary, and I knew that it was because of the trainer. He didn’t sound as nervous as before, though, so hopefully he had come to trust the trainer more after being together in the back of the room. “Don’t forget anything you’ve learned here, okay? You’re a good pokémon, and I’ll miss you,” Professor Elm said quietly, petting me on the head. I winced, not knowing what to say. I almost felt guilty and believed that I should stay, but it was too late now. And I didn’t truly want to stay. There was nothing to stay for. The professor would have to go on without me.
After what seemed like forever, the professor stood up and shook Sai’s hand, wishing the two of us the best of luck. Sai merely nodded and started walking to the door. I started to follow him. It felt right and odd at the same time. When Sai reached the door, he stepped out into the sunlight, holding the door open for me to walk out, too. Before I did, I looked back at Professor Elm one last time, seeing him wave with one arm, with the other arm tucked behind his back. I waved back for a brief moment, turned, and left. I wondered if I would miss the professor, whatever that meant.
When I stepped outside, I realized that I also had never been in any other part of the town. Flowers were blooming everywhere. There had once been flowers in the backyard of Professor Elm’s lab, but they were quickly burned by the cyndaquil, so he stopped trying to plant them and take care of them. He had enough to take care of, anyway.
I could also see a ton of water to the right. It seemed endless, and I wondered where it led to. Instinctively, I started walking in that direction. As I did, I continued looking around. There were several more buildings, and inside I knew that there was more to see—it was just being hidden from me. Only the determined and curious could be able to see what was inside.
I kept stepping forward toward the water, the only familiar things being the sun, the sky, the grass… They were important, of course, because the legendaries created them, but the rest of the town was why the legendaries had put so much effort into creating such sustainers of life.
I was stopped dead in my tracks, however, when I bumped into something in front of me. I fell backward and looked up. I saw a creature that was standing on its tail, making it taller than me. Its brown fur had felt soft, so I wasn’t hurt too much. I recognized the creature as a sentret, since a few of them had snuck into the professor’s backyard to play around.
“I’m sorry,” I mumbled, getting back to my feet.
“That’s a good way to meet each other, I guess,” Sai said, walking up from behind me.
I looked back and forth between the two of them, wondering how they knew each other. Surely, it couldn’t be Sai’s pokémon… I was a pokémon for beginners, after all, and the boy just got his trainer’s card…
“I guess so! We’ve spent a while trying to get you, and now you’re here. That’s all that really matters,” the sentret said happily.
I blinked. “This is your trainer?” I asked, dumbfounded.
“He’s yours, too.”
“I was his… first pokémon…” the sentret said slowly, “but he insisted on getting a true starter pokémon. He wanted the strongest out of what he could get. He’s been watching you for a while… and he finally said that you were the right one. He got what he wanted, so we can finally get out of here and—”
“Why would he need me if he already had a pokémon?” I asked, slightly upset. It seemed silly to want to be the trainer’s first pokémon when I really just wanted to travel and see the world, but I had put in all of that work only to be second best. I still felt glad, though, that I was chosen at all. I deserved it, after all, and I had wanted this for a long time.
“I wish I knew. Ask him,” the sentret said. But Sai didn’t answer, though he seemed to be paying attention.
“We can leave in a moment,” he simply said after a few moments. Instead of walking like I expected him too, however, he reached into his pocket, and pulled out another object that I had not seen before. He knelt down to see me, just as Professor Elm had done, and handed it to me.
“Did you get this from the professor?” I asked, taking it in my hands. It was warm, but it didn’t look like anything a pokémon could use. “Is it mine?”
“Nope. I got it a long time ago,” Sai explained. “I want you to roll it…”—he glanced at the sentret before looking back at me—“or throw it… or whatever. Please.”
I immediately did as I was told. I threw it on the ground, even though I wasn’t sure why I was doing it. The small, white object revealed two small, black dots when it was done rolling on the ground.
“Your name is Kuiora,” Sai stated after staring at the item for a moment.
“My name?” I didn’t see the correlation.
“Your name is Kuiora, yes.”
So pokémon even got their own names from their trainers. The sentret must have a name, too, then. I would have to see if it was the same as mine or different.
“Kuiora. My second pokémon,” Sai stated. “As I expected.”
“Yeah… I thought we had that established already,” I said, distracted from the name thoughts already.
“I wanted you to know,” he replied quickly, picking up the item and putting it back in his pocket. “I wanted to make it official for you. I made the right choice. And now we can leave.” He stood up, and turned toward the direction I supposed we would be heading in.
I still didn’t fully understand, but at least he hadn’t said I was second best. I had no idea how tough the sentret was, but I was obviously still special to this boy for some reason. And that was fine. Though I was impatient, I knew that I would have to wait to learn more as time would go on.
“Let’s go,” Sai said. He started going in the opposite direction of the town, and I followed. I wondered why we didn’t explore the rest of the buildings, but I had to obey. It was what I was born to do. The legendaries put me with Professor Elm to learn this, and so I could reflect on myself, what I needed, what my destiny was. I was destined to travel, to become stronger, to become special to the legendary pokémon somehow, someway… I would have to find a way to make the best of this all on my own. I was nothing if not the sum of the parts that I had made for myself and for the legendary pokémon, after all.
I thought one last time about the pokémon still in the backyard before leaving the town. They were completely oblivious, and had no idea what they were missing. I hoped that they would know someday. Until then, I would fear well for them. I would fear well for my one and only home.
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