Re: Survival Project
“Was there a reason you had to go and catch me like that?” Senori asked when he finally saw me. We had been standing in the line of the gym.
“Yeah. You didn’t think I could do it. So I did it,” I replied, smirking.
“You knew I was joking. But at least I’m not tired anymore,” Senori said softly, already seeming to give up on the scolding. He just didn’t have the heart to be angry at anyone, I realized.
“Why didn’t you just break out of the pokéball? You were tired, yeah, but it should have been easy.”
“I didn’t want to make Sai mad at me for wasting it.”
And then we were quiet and watched Atis, who seemed naturally quiet unless coerced into speaking. I had no idea how he accomplished such a thing, but he did.
Violet City. The place wasn’t violet, but I got to train, Senori got to rest, Atis got to leave his home, and Sai learned an awful lot in order to earn his first gym badge at the end of it all.
When we were leaving Violet City, the lady from behind the counter at the Pokémon Center was outside, unlocking the doors for the day. She shouted to us, saying that there was a Center in every town, but Sai ignored her. He hadn’t even brought Atis there to heal after his battle, but he hadn’t sustained many injuries, so it was understandable. And when we passed by the school, Atis peered into the windows one final time, but he didn’t seem to need a good-bye like Senori did. I wondered why, but I didn’t question him. I would have to earn his attention through strength in the future, since he was so strong himself.
Unlike the trip to Violet City, we ran into quite a few pokémon trainers and more wild pokémon on the way to the next town. Atis destroyed all the pokémon in one hit, wild or not. Senori and I had a bit more trouble… which I guess was to be expected. It was also difficult when Sai didn’t know attack names when trying to command the both of us (though he let Atis do what he wanted). He just gave us general commands and thought that we should be able to comprehend and act on them in a matter of seconds, but sometimes, we couldn’t. How was I supposed to know what “ram your body into it” meant? I told him that he must be talking about the body slam attack… which I didn’t know anyway, I had to admit. Someday, I’d learn how. Or someday, Sai would learn how to win (or lose) battles like a normal trainer. By the end of the day, I didn’t care which came first.
The hardest part about the traveling trip was the cave that we came across. The cave was old, we could tell. Wild pokémon were even afraid to come out at times since rocks were falling from the ceiling pretty much everywhere. Other trainers didn’t want to take the time to battle. Senori voiced his concern about us getting squished to bits, but Sai didn’t seem fazed. He walked where he wanted and rested where he wanted, with the rest of us being separated while trying to find somewhere safe, somewhere where no other trainer or pokémon was already occupying. I didn’t know how long it took to get through that cave, but it seemed like way too long after being paranoid about rocks and having your life end before you really got anywhere.
Senori was the first and only to be endangered. He had picked an obviously bad spot, and a trainer noticed. The rest of us were resting. We were too far away to look out for him or notice what was going on.
“Watch out!” said an unfamiliar voice out of nowhere, and Senori’s ears perked up. He looked above him and went to move out of the way, but no one would ever know if he would have been too slow or not. The trainer crashed into him and the two went careening away from the rocks, which promptly fell as soon as they were out of the way. I could hear Senori screaming in surprise, not from pain—a good sign.
Sai didn’t react to the situation until after Senori had screamed, until after the trainer pushed him out of the way, and until after the noise of rubble and failure from the rocks subsided. The trainer got up and helped Senori to his wobbly feet. He dusted Senori off and then himself, then stomped angrily over to our trainer.
“You should really watch your pokémon more. Return them to their pokéballs or something. I came in here not long after you, so I’ve seen you this entire time. I feel sorry for your pokémon,” the trainer said.
Sai stood up from his resting spot, and stepped in front of the other trainer so that their faces were inches apart. “I’m sorry that happened, and thanks for saving him. But don’t tell me what to do with my pokémon. I have enough orders without you butting in to my life.”
“A trainer makes his own rules, but should be careful with the rules he makes,” the other trainer said, backing away from Sai, but still looking just as angry.
“You don’t know anything about me. I’m as careful as I can and want to be.”
“Again, I feel sorry for your pokémon. It was none of my business, but if I hadn’t stepped in, your sentret would be dead. Let that sink in,” the trainer said, and then he walked away, stopping only to scratch Senori behind the ears for a few moments of reassurance.
Before Sai let him get away, he yelled, “How long have you been following us, anyway?”
“I’m not following you. But we’ve all been in here for two and a half weeks now, which makes us all even more lucky that no one’s been killed yet,” the other trainer answered, not bothering to turn around.
“Two and a half weeks,” Sai murmured, making his way over to Senori. He bent down to see him face-to-face. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. Let’s just get out of here.”
Senori could only nod, still confused and shocked and full of dirt.
“Do any of you want to go in your pokéball?” Sai asked loudly, clearly, looking around at the three of us.
“No,” Senori said quickly. “Who will protect you, then?”
“…Fine,” Sai said. “And you two?”
Atis agreed to go in his ball, but I wasn’t about to give up possible training time. I was younger and more alert and stronger; I could handle whatever came my way by myself. I also thought that I could use this incident to tease Senori, but I would have to wait until later.
When we started to make our way through the cave again, Sai took the time to process just how much time had passed. He became increasingly furious with every passing moment. He started sacrificing resting time just to travel more, and all he kept murmuring about was how much time had been wasted here. No more time could be spent here. If we were hungry, we ate and walked at the same time. If we were thirsty, we had to take a drink from the ponds quickly for fear of being left behind, which was a risk we had to take since the availability of water was few and far between. If we were tired, we went in our pokéballs (at which point Senori actually half-heartedly thanked me for catching him and giving him a place to rest). I even saw Sai fight some pokémon himself, even the rock-types, and I made a mental note to myself so that I could see just how strong he was sometime.
It took us three more days to get through the cave, Sai announced later. Somehow, he had been carefully keeping track of time. It was nighttime when we reached the outside of the cave, but Sai didn’t want to stop and rest there. Being near the cave was dangerous, he said, and being in the actual town would make him feel better. That night, we slept in the pokémon center, with the boy making it very clear that he would be taking his pokémon with him into the room. The pink-haired lady behind the counter was confused by his apparent hostility, but she agreed and gave him a room nonetheless for a certain number of pokédollars. The boy didn’t sleep much, but we certainly did. And we took every drink and piece of food offered to us by the people who came by the room and knocked cheerfully.
We had finally reached Azalea Town, where I got to train some more, where Senori realized just how weak he was, where Atis apparently learned how to speak, and where Sai went crazy for the first time.
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