§1: A Father Figure
It was another rainy day in Route 212. The water smashed against the mud and caused everything in close proximity to be covered in it; Riolu and Floatzel were no exception.
The orange Pokémon with the two tails, an inflation device around his body, and fins attached to his hands covered his body with a great mass of water and jumped seemingly an impossible distance for such a Pokémon. His tails began spinning as he descended, causing the water covering him to spin as well, and he launched himself at an unmatched speed before he hit the ground. His tails were spinning more rapidly with every second and increasing his speed, and the water around him left a straight trail behind him that collided with the ground as he went forward.
The Floatzel smashed against a small blue and black Pokémon. The Riolu had red eyes, long arms compared to his size, swift black feet and a singly blue tail. The small Pokémon tried to hold Floatzel from connecting with his body, but his attempts failed. As soon as Floatzel’s Aqua Jet connected, the water exploded forwards and covered Riolu. Floatzel’s head pushed Riolu back a few paces and eventually flew him away towards his trainer, who jumped forward to catch her Pokémon.
A slightly older Maylene with a band-aid on her nose held her Pokémon in her arms and rubbed his bruised belly. ‘We didn’t lose,’ she said after Riolu looked at her with obvious concern in his eyes. ‘There’s no win or loss in training.’ Riolu smiled and she smiled back. Her head rose up to see her opponent.
Floatzel was looking with a different kind of concern in his eyes when his trainer, Crasher Wake, approached him and petted him. ‘We didn’t go too hard on you guys, did we?’ He said. Crasher Wake had lived enough time in Sinnoh for his accent to become faint, but it was still clear at some points.
‘We’re as strong as before!’ Maylene said excitedly. ‘We will even become strongest than this!’
Crasher Wake laughed and returned Floatzel to his Poké Ball, while Maylene carried Riolu in her arms. She followed her mentor through the rain as he talked. ‘You’re old enough now to know the difference between Strongest and Stronger!’ He laughed. ‘About time to say it the correct way, eh?’
‘Strongest is my catch phrase!’ Maylene shouted over the rain, even though it wasn’t necessary.
‘It’s a word, not a phrase,’ he laughed again, only harder this time, which also seemed unnecessary. ‘You’re a real fighter!’
Maylene grinned and let out an excited ‘Yeah!’ that Riolu helped her with as they both raised their right fists. By then, the group had reached Pastoria City, a city full of trees and fresh grass due to the close proximity it had with the rain. Crasher Wake opened the door of his Gym for Maylene and they walked to his room at the far end of the Gym. Crasher Wake had to press a few buttons to reach the Gym Leader spot, and a few secret buttons to open a door in the wall behind him that led to his room.
Maylene sat on one chair and let go of Riolu, who sat down on the floor quietly awaiting food. Crasher Wake noticed him and grabbed a small bag of berries; he handed it to Riolu. ‘Don’t eat too fast,’ he laughed again. ‘And don’t finish it. Keep some for your trip back to Veilstone City.’
He then grabbed his own chair and dragged it to sit in front of Maylene, who was rubbing mud off of her bare feet. ‘How are your parents?’
Maylene kept rubbing at her feet as she answered. ‘They’re fighting again,’ she sighed. ‘I don’t know why. They always go to their room and fight and think I can’t hear them. But I do and I sometimes hear ‘Money’ and they get too loud and I go outside and train and…’ She paused to catch her breath before continuing again. ‘And then I go outside and train and then come here when and train with you. Dad knows I come here to you sometimes, but mom always worry about me being alone outside. Do you have food?’
Crasher Wake got up and grabbed a microwaveable berry pie from his fridge. He stuck it in the microwave after removing the wrapping and setting it on a plate. ‘Just remember that you can always come here whenever you want to,’ he said. ‘You know that, right?’
‘I got mud on the floor,’ Maylene said even though the mud was visible ever since they had entered the Gym and she was just stating the obvious. ‘Do you clean?’
‘I just clean this room with Floatzel, but the rest of the Gym I just flood to clean!’ He laughed again and produced a fresh-looking pie from the microwave. The smell of berries overwhelmed the room and Riolu almost abandoned his food for this new meal. The purple pie appeared to shine as Crasher Wake carried it underneath the white lights of the room. He handed it to Maylene who almost jumped into it. ‘Your hands are muddy!’
She let out a sigh of frustration and got up to wash them. Crasher Wake dragged a table and set it between their chairs, put the pie on top of it, produced some utensils from a nearby drawer, and pushed it all to Maylene as she returned to her seat.
The utensils proved useless as Maylene dug into the pie with her hands and shoved large quantities into her mouth. Crasher Wake laughed while Riolu looked on in regret; Maylene destroyed a perfect pie! The Pokémon returned to his own food before the back of his head received what seemed like a ball of pie that pushed his forward and onto the floor. Maylene laughed as Riolu got up and threw some berries back, and soon enough the pair had ended up with one quarter of the pie on the floor, half the berries smashed against the walls, and the remaining divided between their stomachs.
Crasher Wake was worried at first when he saw Maylene eating berries as they were usually only eaten by humans, but throughout his time with her, he learned that she was no ordinary girl. There was no female in all of Sinnoh that was even slightly similar to her, not in the entire world either.
‘Are you ready to go back home?’ Crasher Wake said. ‘I want to visit Veilstone again, so I’ll come with you.’
‘We can train on our way back!’ Maylene jumped up in excitement and Riolu copied. ‘Come on! Let’s go! Run run run run run!’
Maylene punched the door open and jumped head first in to the waters of the Gym while Riolu jumped from one platform to the other. She eventually reemerged from the water and walked out of the door. She shook her entire body and splashed water all over Riolu. Crasher Wake appeared through the door behind them and grabbed them both. He put Maylene on his left shoulder while Riolu sat on his right. ‘We’re not training! We’re running! Are you ready?!’ He shouted.
‘Yes!’ Maylene shouted in happiness as Crasher Wake ran forward through the city aiming to reach Veilstone City quicker than ever. The wind caused Maylene’s pink hair to fly behind her in the same manner as Riolu’s ears.
For a few moments, Maylene forgot about her worries. She forgot about her parents, about becoming the strongest, about taking her father’s position as a Gym Leader, about one day defeating Crasher Wake, and every other bit of information that ever crossed her mind throughout her life. Her entire concentration was on the wind. At that moment, she became carefree again, just like the time where she received Riolu as an egg from Crasher Wake.
She didn’t know what the future held for her nor cared. It was all about her having fun with her life. She wrapped her arms around Crasher Wake’s neck as he began to pick up more speed. The receptionist at the Hotel Grand Lake shouted at them as they ran past; Crasher Wake had apparently knocked a few items and people down, which made Maylene give out her childish laughter. They ran through Route 214 and stopped as soon as they reached Veilstone City.
Crasher Wake panted heavily as he put the pair down. ‘I shouldn’t be this tired!’ He said and stood up straight. ‘I am strong!’
‘But I am Strongest!’ Maylene grinned and punched Crasher Wake, and he acted as if she threw him back a few paces. ‘Let’s go! Mom has dinner for sure!’ She grinned again and ran towards the Gym. Riolu ran after her and Crasher Wake followed. She burst through the door of the Gym, jumped over a few obstacles, evaded a few punches, and finally reached the Gym Leader spot, where she began to hit a few secret buttons.
‘Why did they try to punch you?’ Crasher Wake asked and looked at the other Trainers in the Gym. ‘Do you want me to punish them?’
‘I told them to do that!’ Maylene laughed. ‘I told them to help me become the Strongest! They said yes, and now I have to not get hit by them!’
‘What if one of them actually hits you?’
‘Then I hit back!’ Maylene grinned and punched Crasher Wake, something she got used to doing. ‘Just like you let me punch you to train! I let them punch me to train!’
‘Maylene, is that you?’ A delicate female voice came from the other side of the door and it slowly opened up to reveal her mother. ‘Crasher Wake, what a nice surprise. Please, do come in.’ She held the door open for the pair, and picked Riolu up as if he was am infant.
‘What’s for dinner, mom?’
‘Honey, I can smell the berry pie. You also have stains; so don’t deny it, you already ate’
Maylene and Crasher Wake exchanged laughs. ‘I’ll go catch up with your father!’ He said and walked away to her parents’ room, while Maylene followed her mother to the kitchen, where she was cooking, as far as Maylene was concerned, food.
‘How was your training today, Maylene?’ She said as she stirred something that was cooking on the oven.
‘Very good,’ Maylene smiled. ‘I’m sure I’ll become the next Gym Leader! You will give me food, right?’
‘I’m sure you will,’ she said. ‘You’re a very strong young lady, you can become the next Gym Leader. But honey, why don’t you aim higher? I’m sure you’re strong enough to become the Champion. Cynthia is young, and she managed to do it. You can do it as well. You can defeat her.’
‘Cynthia is a cool person,’ Maylene responded. ‘I liked watching her battle. I really like her hair.’ Maylene’s mother almost burs into laughter at the last statement, as Maylene was never the type of girl who took an interest in these issues, and hearing it just seemed odd. ‘I can defeat her,’ Maylene continued. ‘But I don’t want to! I want to make daddy proud by taking his position!’
Maylene held her fists up and crossed her arms to shape an X in front of her chest. ‘I will also become an Aura Master!’ She shouted and stretched her arms out, as if she was firing some sort of an aura attack. She then stood normally again and smiled at her mother. ‘You are giving me food, right?’
‘Sure thing, honey,’ her mother laughed and walked towards her. ‘I will feed you until you become the Strongest and even after you become all grown up.’ She flicked at Maylene’s forehead and smiled. ‘Because even when you grow up and become the Strongest, you will still be my child.’