§2: Childhood Friends
Crasher Wake left back to Pastoria the next day after spending the night telling stories of his wresting matches to Maylene. It took her some time, but she eventually fell asleep. Her mother insisted on Crasher Wake spending the night in the guest room, as it was too dark outside, which seemed absurd considering that Crasher Wake could take care of himself.
‘Good morning, sleepy girl.’
‘I dreamed that I kicked Crasher Wake all across Sinnoh,’ Maylene said while rubbing her eyes. Her mother let out a fragile giggle and shifted her attention back to making breakfast. ‘I also became very strong and made a new city called MayleneWorld. I became Gym Leader and very strong. Everyone loved me because I was strong.’
‘That’s sweet,’ her mother said. ‘Come here and have breakfast.’ Maylene walked up to a small chair and pulled it to the kitchen, where her mother had made something edible. She began munching away at it while her mother talked. ‘I also got a call from dad’s friend in Snowpoint, Candice is going to come to Veilstone. Isn’t that exciting? You haven’t seen her in a long time!’
‘Yeah!’ Maylene exclaimed. ‘But what do I do? She likes clothes and hair and makeup and looks and beauty and I don’t.’
‘But you’re still friends.’
That was partially true. Maylene and Candice weren’t close friends at all; everything that happened between was awkward and their conversations were shallow. Maylene didn’t like hanging out with Candice, but she has proved to be a good battler who was always willing to learn from Maylene, as well as teach her some skills.
‘I guess I can go play with her,’ Maylene said as she took the last bite of what she finally recognized as a sandwich, though the ingredients were still unknown. ‘When will she be here?’
‘In a few hours,’ her mother answered. ‘But I don’t want you to just spend your time battling; get to know each other.’
‘I will, mom,’ Maylene said, got up and ran to hug her mother. ‘Thanks for the food. I will go outside now!’
Maylene ran off before her mother could finish her generic ‘Be careful!’ sentences. She flung the door wide open and ran through the Gym. She jumped over obstacles, avoided a few kicks and punches, and got out of the Gym.
It was as sunny as ever. Maylene looked at her hometown and couldn’t help but feel proud. The future for Sinnoh was looking bright. Many greeted her as she walked around the town. After years of walking barefoot, she learned to ignore the pain, and slowly her body became accustomed to it.
She walked towards the meteorites that rested on the eastern side of the city. The four shiny rocks glittered under the sunlight, the gray reflecting on the small craters surrounding them, and the wind moving some of their dust around. Maylene was mesmerized by the sight, and reconsidered the differences between her and Candice; she obviously cared for beautiful things.
‘Maylene,’ a male voice called out to her, but the meteorites captivated her too much for her to notice it. ‘Maylene!’ He said again and she immediately recognized the voice.
‘Daddy!’ she jumped up and turned to see her father standing with a Poké Ball in his hand. ‘Good morning!’ She ran up to her father, and in a swift movement jumped up to kick him. Her foot connected with his chest, and the pair fell to the ground.
‘I just wanted to bring Riolu to you,’ he laughed. ‘You should really stop kicking me whenever you see me. I was young when I told you to start, but I’m not anymore.’
‘You’re still young,’ Maylene said. ‘Your hair is not white yet.’
‘Here’s Riolu,’ he rolled the Poké Ball over to Maylene and got up to dust himself off. ‘Have fun with Candice, and be careful.’
‘Sure thing daddy.’ Maylene wanted to talk more, but her father had already turned his body away from her and walked off. She sighed and looked down at the Poké Ball that was sitting in front of her.
She grabbed it and got up, dusted herself off in the same manner as her father, and sent out her Riolu. The Pokémon formed and yawned for what seemed like aged. ‘Are you ready, Riolu?’ Maylene asked excitedly and Riolu looked at her with a confused look. ‘Candice is coming!’
Riolu smiled and let out a cry of excitement as well. Maylene began running and he ran behind her. The pair seemed to just want to run around the city in circles, which was another form of training they would do. He feet made light sounds against the ground beneath her, her hair started flying farther behind her as she increased her speed, and a smile spread across her face as she saw Riolu beating her.
‘You’re getting faster!’ she shouted. ‘But I am getting faster too!’ She increased the speed in which he legs moved, and took even longer steps. She looked as if she was jumping from one point to the other. Her feet made louder sounds whenever she hit the gravel, her body started tiring, but she managed to run past Riolu.
The Pokémon copied her actions, and slowly started catching up to her again. Maylene looked back at the Pokémon with another wide smile, unaware of the Department Store in front her. She began laughing and closed her eyes, which made Riolu’s frantic arm waving for her to look forward useless. She opened her eyes after a few seconds to see that her surroundings has changed. The horizon lost the trees and adapted walls, the ground felt softer, and a faint sound of music surrounded her. She realized that she had gone through the automatic doors, which meant that she was heading for the counter.
But he realization came too late. Before Maylene could even think of slowing down, her legs hit a hard surface and her body flipped upside down. She could see the other end of the counter attached to the roof and everything else hanging upside down. Her back smashed against the opposite side of the counter, and she let out a scream of pain before falling to the ground.
A few people ran up to her and gasped as they realized that she was Maylene, the Gym Leader’s daughter. Riolu ran up to her and pulled her head, which seemed odd at first, but her body slowly moved after the Riolu. Her legs fell to the ground, her body straightened, and after Riolu jumped onto the side Maylene crashed into, her body became in a sitting position.
A few seconds later, she opened her eyes to hear gasps of relief. ‘I’m not that hurt,’ she said. ‘Just a scratch, it’ll go away.’ More gasps of relief, followed by a few people leaving the scene. ‘Sorry about that,’ she chuckled nervously. ‘Didn’t want to make problems. Riolu, let’s continue training!’
She jumped up and over the counter. Riolu followed her through the door and back outside. ‘How long have we been running for?’ She asked, even though she knew that Riolu wasn’t able to answer. The light of the day changed since she last remembered it; she never gave attention to her surroundings while running. ‘Candice should be here soon, I think.’ Riolu nodded and the pair walked back to the Gym, where, as expected, Candice was waiting.
She was as tall as Maylene. Candice had black hair tied into two braids the extended out, which matched her brown eyes. She wore a white shirt and a short orange skirt that was the same colour as her shoes. She had a blue sweater tied around her waist and a blue bowtie that matched her striped socks.
Beside her was a round black Pokémon covered in a yellow and orange triangular cape. She had small blue eyes and round feet and hands. The Snorunt noticed Maylene and pulled at Candice’s socks slightly, which cause her to turn her head a little and shift her attention from Maylene’s mother to Maylene.
‘Maylene!’ the smile on her face broadened. ‘I just got here! How are you?’
Maylene’s mother walked out of the scene after finishing her talk with Candice and went to watch a show about berries. Candice walked up to Maylene and shook a little, confused as to whether or not to hug her.
‘I’m good,’ Maylene responded. ‘How are you?’
‘Just feeling a little hot,’ she laughed. ‘You don’t have the snow that we have in Snowpoint.’
‘Yeah, we don’t,’ Maylene laughed as well. ‘What made you come here?’
‘I was going to Hearthome to see a Pokémon Super Contest! Why don’t you come with me?’
‘I’m fine with you going,’ her mother added. ‘I talked with Candice about it before you came here. You can go if you want, just be careful while on the road.’
Candice reached out and grabbed Maylene’s hand. ‘We will have fun!’ she said and dragged Maylene behind her. ‘Let’s go, Snorunt!’
Snorunt followed them, and Riolu was the last to leave the house. Candice let go of Maylene’s hand, and the pair began running through Veilstone, towards Hearthome. She couldn’t understand why she was going with Candice. Maylene has never been interested in these types of contests; she preferred battling. But having no friend but a foreign wrestler who is old enough to be her dad didn’t seem enough.
Candice was always warm and friendly to Maylene, who she didn’t object to that. Even though it was awkward and weird, she still appreciated their shallow friendships, and hoped that the contest would strengthen it.
Before realising it, she was already in Hearthome City. ‘We really ran fast,’ she said. ‘Is that even possible?’
She turned around to see that Candice wasn’t there, but Riolu was. ‘Were we too fast for them?’ Maylene laughed. ‘Let’s go back to join them again.’ Riolu nodded and turned around, ready to run back towards wherever they left Candice and Snorunt.
A beam of ice suddenly drew itself from the horizon and towards Maylene’s feet. A small dot began approaching them, and it was soon evident that it was Candice and Snorunt. The Pokémon skidded across the ice, with Candice right behind him. She looked as happy as Maylene was when Crasher Wake ran with her on his shoulder. Her hair blew back the way she came, and her smile was wide.
Maylene remembered the time when she was careless for a few moments in time, and relived it. She smiled and jumped onto the ice. The force made her skid across it towards the approaching Candice. Snorunt jumped off of the trail to avoid being crushed by the two girls.
‘I won’t get off!’ Candice shouted. ‘You should give up!’
‘I never give up!’ Maylene shouted back. ‘You’re the one who should get off of the ice.’
‘We’ll crash into each other!’
Candice bent her knees a little, which seemed to increase her speed. Maylene struggled to stay on the ice, but she didn’t want to fall off and allow Candice to win this. The girls approached each other. Candice flowing elegantly across the ice, one leg in front of her and the other bent awkwardly behind her.
‘If you don’t get off I might knock you over!’
The distance became shorter. Candice’s right foot was mere meters away from Maylene’s. Panic overtook the latter, and before she knew it, she was on the grass again. Candice passed her, laughing childishly as she waved for Snorunt to jump back onto the ice.
It was at that moment that Maylene realised something; she can’t be the Strongest without learning from Candice.
Their friendship was just starting.