§11: A Long Time Ago
To Maylene, it was absolutely amazing how a small command like ‘rebuild the Gym’ would cause those who were in the storm with their Pokémon and on the brink of death to actually rebuild the Gym, with their own hands, nonetheless. They grabbed the blanks of wood, held them against the borders of the Gym, and in the silliest manner Maylene had ever seen, used duct tape.
‘That’s not a solution,’ Brawly muttered before raising his voice. ‘Chuck, that’s not a solution.’
‘Yes, it is,’ said Chuck. ‘And when did you start calling me Chuck?’
Candice scoffed at the pair’s jokes and irritating laughs. She looked down to see Snorunt, who was walking beside her, but keeping her distance. Candice observed her Pokémon; it seemed to be rejecting her, and rightfully so. She had ignored her for a long time, and completely rejected Gardenia from her life soon afterwards. She became a cold person, as opposed to the warm girl who embraced life.
Looking back, Candice saw Maylene and Riolu, who were walking together, and playing some sort of ‘hit my hand with your paw’ game. Maylene held one hand in Riolu’s face, and kept the other underneath him as he sat on it; it must be some form of training that, although seemed to work, looked ridiculous. But that wasn’t what Candice was focused on.
Maylene and Riolu were still friends; they cared about each other, interacted, and actually enjoyed each other’s company. Of course, they weren’t always that close, it seemed like only moments away when Riolu’s best friend was Snorunt, and Candice was Maylene’s; why couldn’t that split have brought Candice and Snorunt close as well?
‘Very well then,’ bellowed Chuck, causing Riolu to fall off of Maylene’s hand. ‘Ever since you got here, Maylene, we’ve had problems piling up.’
‘Yes, Chuck, I caused the storm,’ sighed Maylene, before realising what she did. ‘Oh, I-’
‘That’s what happens when she spends just a few moments with Gardenia,’ said Candice. ‘She becomes rude like her.’
‘I think it’s called sarcasm,’ laughed Brawly. ‘I’m not sure, though.’
‘Are you kids done?’ Chuck sat in the puddle of water just in front of the waterfall. ‘I’m not going to send you back home, Maylene; you’re training under me, and I never give up on anyone, especially if they have the potential you have. I just want to tell you that I understand if you wanted to go back home. You were seriously hurt in that mountain accident, and that wasn’t your fault, it was mine. I failed to protect you.’
‘I-It’s not your fault,’ laughed Maylene nervously. ‘You didn’t cause that rockslide.’
‘And neither did you,’ said Chuck. ‘But let’s not dwell on that.’
‘Yeah, bad memories,’ said Maylene. ‘Of the rocks hitting me.’
She couldn’t control a small shiver that went through her body as she remembered the man she couldn’t land a hit on, and not because of the pain he caused her, but because he humiliated her.
‘Candice, I’m not sure why you want to stay in Cianwood, but you’re more than welcome to stay in the Gym,’ said Chuck. ‘I understand you’re a friend of Maylene.’
‘I don’t plan on staying here,’ replied Candice. ‘I will leave.’
‘Where to?’ said Chuck. ‘You don’t know any place in Johto.’
‘I’ll just go back to Sinnoh,’ said Candice. ‘I came here on my own, and I can go back on my own.’
‘I was hoping you’d stay here, Candice,’ said Chuck. ‘You’re a mature person, especially for your age, and Maylene would surely need you.’
‘Maylene doesn’t need me, and I’m sure my family is worried about me.’
And with those words, Candice turned around. She walked back from where they came, and Snorunt followed her. She was determined to leave, and no one can stop her. Her footsteps echoed out of the Gym, and Maylene felt abandoned again.
Crasher Wake, who she could call her true father, and even wished he were sometimes, had left Cianwood, and her mother followed him, and now her friends, Gardenia and Candice. It seemed as if home left her, and not the other way around.
This couldn’t happen again.
Her legs carried out her actions; she ran after Candice, and like her, said no word to the unsuspecting males. The hallway out of the Gym was a long way filled with turns, and Chuck was covering the waterfall, so she couldn’t go through it. Only one solution remained. She jumped to the side, tackling a wall that fell apart with a ripping sound. The Trainers and their Pokémon stares at her as the chain reaction started, and eventually, the Gym needed rebuilding again.
Shouts and protests and pointed fingers; Maylene destroyed their hard work, and they couldn’t stand building it again. Riolu finally reached his trainer, who was still on the ground, turning her head rapidly while the other Trainers surrounded her. But to her, all that mattered was that Candice was nowhere in sight, but a second ice trail was.
Her instincts took over again, and she ran for the trail. Those who tried to stop her were either kicked away or punched, with Riolu mimicking her actions for the Pokémon who tried to stop him. The mud under her feet slowed her down, but she soon found it helpful as she jumped onto the trail.
Riolu tried to comprehend what Maylene just shouted in the middle of their adrenaline rush, but he soon realised it. Due to his size, his entire body was covered with mud, and that gave him, and Maylene’s feet, a great speedy start. But he soon lost his balance.
His face crashed onto the ice, and his entire body flattened. Riolu’s own jump, and temporarily running across the ice, created a momentum that sent him flying through the trail, still spinning. He crashed onto the unsuspecting Maylene, and knocked her onto her back.
The mixture of the ocean water and the cold ice was almost nostalgic for Maylene. She couldn’t help but laugh as she lost complete control over her body, and trusted fate to carry her to wherever the trail of ice ended. The cold feel of Sinnoh, and the salty water of Johto; for a moment, she had it all.
Just for a moment, she had it all. Frozen in time, and in the two places she wanted to be, but the familiar sands ended that dream. They flooded around her and Riolu, and informed her that her fun was over. Riolu helped her up, and they exchanged looks before observing their area. The sand around them, and the sea with the ice trail behind them, and her friend in the distance.
‘Candice!’ Maylene called out desperately. ‘I need you to stay!’
Candice slowly turned around. There stood Maylene, panting and desperate, walking towards the only friend from Sinnoh that can stay with her, and with a smile, Candice walked towards her. ‘Maylene, I knew you’d follow me,’ said Candice. ‘I was counting on it. I will still get on the ship back to Sinnoh, though.’
‘W-What?’ Maylene’s fatigue slowly settled in, but it was nothing compared to Candice’s words.
‘I tried to be your friend, but you ignored me, and then left for Johto,’ Candice continued. ‘I already told you that I’m tired of being nice to others. I’m going, Maylene, just like you did. Goodbye.’
‘B-But, we’re friends,’ pleaded Maylene. ‘Why are you rude?’
‘I’m not rude!’ beamed Candice. ‘I’m not Gardenia! You’re not my friend!’
Candice’s arms shot out and pushed Maylene to the ground, sanding a cloud of dust up around them. Riolu, seeing how his friend was treated, turned to Candice. He didn’t care that they once were friends, and with a quick movement, sent his fist flying through the air to meet Snorunt. With a cough, and a gasp from Candice, she fell to the ground as soon as Riolu’s hit landed. He shot his eyes up at Candice, and walked away towards his trainer.
Snorunt’s eyes started tearing up as her former best friend rejected her, just because Candice rejected Maylene. And as soon as Riolu took Maylene’s side, Candice walked away, towards the ship back to Sinnoh. Snorunt glanced at her trainer, then back at Riolu; she knew where her loyalty was, and she didn’t like it. Candice has changed, and not for the good, but she was still her trainer, and she had to stick with her.
With a sad glace, Snorunt followed Candice, while Riolu remained with Maylene.
‘She was nice,’ Maylene spoke to Riolu. ‘Thank you, Riolu, for taking my side. I don’t have anyone left.’
Riolu lowered his head, before sitting on the sand next to Maylene, and patting her as if she were his Pokémon. ‘We should go back to Chuck,’ said Maylene. ‘Just across the… ice…’
The pair exchanged looks; it certainly was unfortunate. Melted ice could get them nowhere across the ocean, and Maylene couldn’t help but think that Candice had intended for this to happen. Everything was fine for a moment, but not now.