Our Souls Ache to Travel
It was a sunny summer afternoon in the port town of Vermillion City, the ocean was glistening, the clouds were low and rolling in, and the breeze held the faintest scents of salt and rose. The large city was often abundant with sailors or trainers so when Mela Uede saw someone of interest, she often had to tell herself that they were probably just traveling through. Mela was twenty-two and hadn't tasted freedom yet. She worked in a small cafe as a waitress, it's all she ever did since she turned fourteen. Unlike most of her friends, she didn't decide to take on the Gym Leader Challenge. She didn't see much of a point when the chances were low of even getting very far. She had grown up in Vermillion City her entire life and never ventured outside of it. Many of the sailors who stepped into her cafe told her daunting tales about ghosts and other things that lived outside of the city. They were enough to stunt her interest for a few years while she just lived a dull life of working, eating and sleeping. When she was sixteen she got her first pokemon from a passing sailor, a corsola. And then when she turned twenty, she got a growlithe. They both served as more pets or friends than tools to battle with. Whenever someone saw her belt which was decorated with pokeballs, they would offer to battle with her, to which she would usually decline because she didn't get a lot of joy out of it. And she didn't think her pokemon did either. Sometimes they would spar one another and that was fine with her, but she just didn't trust strangers to battle fairly against her and her friends.
"Hey! Uede-san! Table four needs a refill on chilled sake." Her manager barked.
"Oh, sorry." The blond turned around from the window she was gazing out of. More often than usual, she found herself looking out and daydreaming. Even though she had been working at the cafe for many years, she still hadn't gotten a promotion or anything. Her manager said she lacked the focus or drive needed but she always said there was something more out in the world for herself, even if she didn't know exactly what it was. No one understood that while she hated her job, for now it was all she had. Since she didn't spend a lot or travel, she had plenty of money saved up but had no interest to travel on her own, especially after the heckling the local sailors gave her from time to time. Mela rushed over to the table and took the empty bottle and set down a new one. "Enjoy, sir." She put on her plastic smile and trotted back behind the counter. Grabbing a wash cloth, she began to wipe up the counter and sink. She looked around, yet before her green eyes could attach themselves to anything noteworthy, her boss called her back into his office. There, she had a long talk with him about the upcoming events which would bring in a lot of traffic to the area. He wanted her to work long shifts and when she began to protest, the old man pointed out that she didn't do anything else anywhere, had no other place to go. Mela flushed and just stormed out of his office. "How much abuse can I handle?" She grumbled as she saw a customer trying to flag her down.
Her white skirt waved in the breeze as she moved to the outside patio to where the couple was waiting for her. "Yes, how can I help you today?" She managed to ask, while trying to lower her climbing temper. The couple made their order and Mela sighed and went inside and placed it and doubled out the back door. The day was lovely, near perfect. Just as she was about to shirk the rest of her tiresome shift, her boss caught her and told her that the next cruise was coming in and that she should take their cart down to get some business. Rolling her eyes, she grabbed the small cart and rolled it around the cafe and down towards the pier. Her heart was unable to stand much more of the stifling environment. It was too much, she was unhappy and barely had time to spend with her beloved pokemon as it was. Could she possibly reach out to an old childhood friend and see if she could meet them somewhere? Mela wasn't sure. As she stopped the cart by the harbor, she opened the red and pink colored umbrella and took out a soda and opened it. Unprofessional? Maybe. But she was hot and in a bad mood and what better to quell it with a cold bubbly drink? Looking around, she sighed and ducked her head under the small amount of shade provided and waited as the large ship finished docking up. It looked so grand, almost intimidating. The people who usually took that route were rich folk, usually older than most people Mela felt like associating herself with. Since no one was watching, mainly her boss, she took out her two pokemon.
"You guys should enjoy the day, I'm sorry we haven't been able to get out lately." She apologized to them as she took a drink and bent down to pat the hard pink pokemon and the fluffy red one.
Cale made a point of disembarking as soon as humanly possible; being stuck in the midst of a crowd as it slowly trickled off of the huge boat was not a very fun or inspiring experience. Unless he thought to write a book about the onset of claustrophobia, which was most likely already written several times, ten years ago. Even then, thrillers and horror stories were hardly on the wannabe trainer’s list of favorite writing genres. It was never worth the effort to slog through all the muck that had been hastily written over the course of a day, just to find a single good read that would last him an afternoon. Most importantly, getting ahead of the crowd would afford him an easy view of Vermillion as he descended towards the pier. The city’s blocks impressively stretched up a broad, gentle hill, mimicking a bird’s eye view for the first few steps.
“Hey Cale, wait up! I think that agility idea of yours is worth a shot!” A voice called from the top of the off ramp. Cale looked back to see a man in a trench coat waving at him. He bit his lip as he waved in acknowledgement to the acquaintance and stood near a decorative anchor to wait in the bright sun. His dark clothes were already starting to warm up—an effect he hadn’t quite thought of when he set his mind on just how cool his threads were.
The young man had fallen in with a few pro circuit trainers during the cruise and spent much of his time in their company. He whiled away the hours dreaming up battle tactics and discussing mechanics, side-stepping every offer to test his theories in battle. He made no effort to advance towards his potential career of the pro circuit, locking himself into what he was already good at. Cale was many things, but a brave soul unafraid of failure? Not so much. All that he knew about Pokémon was just that—knowledge. He was a cartoonish wannabe, dressed in the regalia of a trainer, but with almost none of the qualification—almost as if to make a statement. If the outcome is unclear, it’s better to not even take the risk.
“I don’t have the kind of pokémon to do that. Venipedes aren’t that quick.” Cale said to the trainer beside him, running his fingers through his hair, grumbling when he noticed a few flakes on the shoulder of his jacket. He would need a wash later. He turned back to the middle-age man beside him, patting the sleeve of his trench coat. “You have the number to my pokégear—we’ll keep in touch, Jansen.” In short order, the advancing crowd swallowed them both, like a loud, fancy amoeba, separating the two to go their separate ways. It took a considerable amount of wading, but Cale was able to escape the flesh sea, emerging near a cart. With a single glance over his shoulder, he stepped up and bought himself a drink. Then began to wait. “So,” he began, scanning the passing crowd briefly, before turning back to the young woman on the other side of the cart. “How long’ve you been here?”
Rising back to her feet, she quickly finished her drink and tipped her head backwards just in case any drops had escaped her tongue. A couple had stopped to share a drink which were a few years younger than her. Mela resisted a roll of the eyes and thanked them for their patronage and continued to help anyone who wandered over to her small humble cafe on wheels. She could have been passing out coupons but in the back of her head, she only knew about a small percentage would follow through and give them more business. She rubbed her eyes and allowed her corsola to play in the water for a little bit, just as long as it stayed within eyesight. Her growlithe lingered nearby the cart and just watched people coming and going. Not before long, Mela was about ready to head back and get out of the heat when a guy came up and ordered a drink. She pulled out a plastic cup and filled it with ice. He then asked how long she had been here. "Too long." She replied and realized he was likely talking about the cart position. "Oh, not that long." But still, too long in her mind. Mela handed him his drink and quickly called her pokemon back to their balls so she could head back up to the cafe overlooking the ocean. "Anyway, you don't seem like the kind of guy who goes on a lot of cruises." She commented.
He was either stupid or loaded with cash, that was for sure. Big bad trainers or old rich folk often took the cruise to train or rest their feet, ironically enough. She realized she was probably taking up the guy's time. "Anyway have a great stay in Vermillion." She gave a slightly more sincere smile and started to pack up. "Here, take this." She handed him a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream up at their cafe. And with that she started to head back to their main site. She pushed the cart back around to the back of the shop and unpacked anything that was left over. Luckily for her, it seemed her boss had stepped out to take his lunch break which meant she couldn't take hers. Mela moved around and worked at the register while the other waitresses and waiters took care of the rush that was coming in, just like clock work. The weather was just the icing on top of the cake that was her life and it was the worst cake in the world. By the time her boss came back after eating, he said it was too late for her to eat. That had been the last straw and Mela knew just how to end it once and for all. She asked to talk to him and pulled him into the front of the store. That would be the perfect place to quit and let everyone else know how much of a slave driver the guy really was. "Do you know how horrible it is to work for you?" She glared. "I've been working here for nearly eight years and yet I'm still in the same low paying job even when I do more than what's required."
"I've shown plenty of initiative and drive and you've never once thought about promoting me." Mela carried on. "Even my peers have recommended that I become manager at the very least." She huffed. "I'm tired of being treated like a child, being pushed around and abused. All I do is work for you and so you'd think it would be some kind of enjoyable experience. But it isn't. I haven't had a life, I missed out on dating and pokemon training and traveling. I feel like I have to stay here till I'm your age before you cut my any kind of well deserved slack!" Mela exclaimed. By this time, many people and patrons were watching the scene play out. Even some of her co-workers stopped to watch. "I get all the tough shifts and have to train anyone new, shouldn't that warrant some kind of promotion? You're getting away with murder and I can't stand it any long. Don't eat here, it treats its employees horribly!" She waved her arms. "And whatever we call homemade is a total lie." She added and quickly stepped back before the old man could smack her with his dish rag. Mela untied her apron and tossed it at the man who caught it. "I quit." She said and then it hit her, everything hit her like a tsunami. "I quit haha. This is great!" She laughed and looked around. "I guess this means I can sit down and finally get a victory meal." She then walked up to an empty table and sat down. Slowly one of her now ex-co-workers approached her and silently handed her a menu, clearly shocked but not at all disgusted by her display of overwhelming confidence.
"Heh, I'll take a nice banana split please." She smiled and sat back in her chair and put her arms behind her head, life suddenly felt great, the heat suddenly seem so oppressive.
Well, there were worse ways to reject a man. Cale mumbled a bit to himself, reading off the coupon. He didn’t much like them—whenever he had decided they were worth using, the reward would always be a few nasty looks to go with his savings. Interestingly, the coupon was for a restaurant of all places. Even if it was just some free ice cream—something he probably could’ve gotten with his pocket change—it was worth checking out and hoping the lunch was edible. The writer hadn’t eaten since breakfast several hours ago. Wading back into the somewhat thinning crowd as the girl and her cart drifted off, he held his bag in his hands to keep curious fingers out of its pockets. “Too long, huh?”
It didn’t take too long to find the café mentioned on the coupon—which he had walked past at least once, finding it on his second lap around the block. His attention had only been significantly drawn to it by the sound of a rather frustrated woman’s shouting coming from behind a wide open doorway. Coincidentally (or maybe not so much) this shouting woman was the same girl that had given him his dinky coupon for a whole free scoop of ice cream. Cale stood back with a couple other bystanders, shifting his lower jaw from side to side. As he listened, he crumpled up the coupon and shoved it in one of his knee-height pockets, slowly stepping forward as he sensed the conflict winding down. His intuition wouldn’t stop nagging him about this girl, especially not after what just happened. He worked as smoothly as he could manage, adding an order for, “something with berries,” to the waitress as he passed by. Cale pulled off his gloves and stuffed them in the pockets of his hoodie as he waved to his target.
“Have you considered theater?” he said, sliding into a seat across from her. “I hear the ability to project is highly sought after.” The young man shifted a little. “With that outburst you must’ve put a ding in this place’s business for…” His nose scrunched up as he thought for a moment, returning eye contact, the side of his mouth rising. He was probably ruining a genuine moment of happiness, whether he meant to or not. “About a week. Depends on how long the bloggers talk about it.” Cale shrugged, leaning back in his seat and holding his hands out defensively. “But hey, whatever makes you feel better about working in a place like this for eight years.” To him, the idea that any person could work the same job so long without ever seeing a promotion was a foreign concept. Then again, his experiences in actual business other than, ‘buy this stock, sell that stock, hope it makes you money,’ weren’t particularly rich or comprehensive.
The eyes were still on her, she could feel them but she didn't care. She had done what needed to be done, the quitting was long overdue and her point had been made, loudly made. Mela looked up when the same man from before took a seat at her table. She knew there were a few other spots available so she wasn't sure why he picked hers after grabbing her attention weakly. "Huh?" She then understood due to his secondary comment which almost made her smile. Acting wasn't hard to do, it was a skill she had to use on a daily basis but by now it was getting pretty damn old. Of course Mela had a feeling the male was joking as he then continued to consider how much damage she had done to the place. She arched a brow and folded her arms, her shoulders released a shrug. "Good, a week is the least they owe me, so any dent in the old man's profits is just fine with me." Of course if she had thought about it a little more instead of fantasized, she likely could have done something more outrageous and could have shut the place down for good. But she didn't want to be that spiteful, even if she wanted to be. Of course she wasn't too thrilled about the company but it wasn't as if she wanted to shoo him away just yet, even if he was something like a wet blanket on her parade.
"I don't know why I didn't quit sooner to be honest but..." She paused because she wasn't sure how true that statement was. She unfolded her arms and waved a hand. "The point is I quit and now I need something to do so I don't come crawling back to this place." She could contact a friend but she didn't want to admit that she didn't think the plan through very well because if she joined one of her friends, they'd probably bring up her little breakdown every time something went haywire but Mela was sure she had made the right choice, even if it would be hard to justify it when she didn't have a job or any real current direction. When their order arrived, she glanced at the item he had picked for himself and reached over and snagged an oran berry from the top and then popped it into her mouth. "So what's your deal then? Did you come here to challenge Lt. Surge?" Mela asked him as she picked up her own spoon and took a bite of her own chilly treat. She didn't think the guy stood much of a chance since he didn't seem to have a lot of pokemon on his team, though they could have easily been placed in his pockets or something. "Or are you here visiting a girlfriend?" She grinned, just teasing of course. "But...if you need a free tour guide or something, I could probably help ya out." Mela offered. She had enough money saved up so that she wasn't trying to squeeze the life out of someone else's wallet.
And it was clear that in a tourist destination such as Vermillion, the tours could be pretty pricy for stupid reasons. The blond went back to her banana split and cut up the banana and took a bite. It seemed the commotion she had caused, had died down but she was sure it wouldn't be forgotten just yet. Perhaps if she stepped back in a day or two, and looked at how poorly she handled the situation then maybe...just maybe she would feel a little bad. But hopefully not bad enough to go back and beg for her crummy job. That was why she needed to find something to do with her and her pokemon. Perhaps if the odd guy sitting across from her was a trainer, she could see if he needed a companion for his journey because traveling alone wasn't appealing at all. "If you're a trainer or just someone who doesn't want to waste all their savings here, I can totally point out good cheap places to check out." She commented as she paused and gestured to her snack and wondered if he wanted any since she had taken a berry of his, she saw it only fair if he wanted some of her banana or something. If she didn't find anything to do, due to her low level of real world confidence, she considered taking a new job which would allow her to travel with some kind of makeshift purpose. It would do right?
Cale dismissively waved off her offer. It was her food, not his. If anything, he had only made an order to have a reason to chat with the star of the show and not look like a bigger creep than he probably already was. “If I were looking for gym badges, I would’ve taken care of that in Johto.” As he spoke, he began mashing up his berries and vanilla ice cream with a broad spoon, slowly turning the dish into a bowl of orange and deep blue slush. He looked up from beneath his brow at the girl across from him. “To be honest, I’m just a watcher and maybe a consultant.” This wasn’t far from the truth. Many trainers seemed to have trouble thinking beyond, ‘hit them until they can’t hit back.’ Cale made a sweeping gesture as he added, “I do the thinking, basically. I’m just coasting off of inheritance and stock with no real day job. Closes thing I have is writing those cheap paperback fictions you find in the airport.” The young man grinned and blew air from his nose in a silent laugh. Easy, low-paying work and not much else. It was fortunate he didn’t even need the money. “But, I’ve always wanted to do something more. Y’know, get an award or something, and writing campfire kindling won’t get me any of that.” For folks like Cale, it wasn’t about retaining money or getting more than they already had—it was about getting their existence validated. His head bobbed a bit as he stuffed a spoonful of icey berry mush into his mouth. “I’m just in Kanto to travel around and get some inspiration. Leaving home’s a great experience. Explains why some parents send their kids off at such young ages.” Cale’s eyes narrowed as he thought back to how many traveling trainers he’d seen that hadn’t even finished high school. He brightened and straightened his posture a little.
“So…since you’ve been out of a job for the past, say, two, three? Minutes, you may as well zig-zag across the region with me. No skin off my back, no dent in my wallet.” Cale’s face went blank for a moment before he snapped back to reality. “Besides, you probably know this place better than I do.” After all, it was quite easily common knowledge between the two of them that he wasn’t the one who had been living in Vermillion for almost a decade. “Totally in an innocent way, I mean.” The dark-haired man wet his lips as he did his best to preemptively salvage the sudden turn he had put the conversation into. “It’s just that, it’s really not too safe to go traveling out on the road alone. Not on foot, anyway. The number of actual trainers getting robbed roadside is actually quite high.” Suddenly, he came to a realization. “I haven’t even introduced myself, either. Great. Th’name’s Cale Seabrook.” Followed by a routine extension of the hand for shaking.
The guy was fairly interesting. The more he talked, the more she actually felt inclined to listen. She was a bit surprised to hear about his current lot in life, that he was skating buy on funds not really earned by himself and that he was writing such low level scriptures and the like. It was interesting, he was interesting. He was honest and didn't sugarcoat things which was one thing Mela could totally respect him for. It sounded like he needed some direction in life like she did and then he went out and said it. He said they should team up and head around Jhoto together. At first she wanted to outright flat out deny him the pleasure of her agreeing with him. But she restrained herself and thought about the idea a little more. She closed her eyes and tried to picture the two of them in cartoon form trying to hop around from town to town doing whatever it was fabrications of her mind did on make believe heroic journeys. He then added that he meant it in an innocent way and she opened her emerald eyes and rolled them. It wasn't like she assumed he would try anything funny. He was a funny looking guy but she could beat of the creeps just as well as the next waitress or school girl. "Hmm..." He went on to point out that it wasn't safe for either of them to go out alone on foot. Again he was right. Urgh.
"Alright alright." She held up a hand after he introduced himself. "My name is Mela Uede." She shook his hand. "And sure...let's go on a super cheesy adventure and spread magic to the world." She smirked a little. She did have a lot of knowledge about the land, despite never leaving home. She had a lot of schooling and had to learn about the history as well as geography of the areas around them. She was most interested in seeing Goldenrod, truth be told, she wanted to do some heavy duty shopping with her heavy pockets of cash. "I wanna to go Goldenrod City, maybe even meet Professor Oak or something." She said like a child proclaiming their whims like it was nothing but a simple sigh that humans just did. Of course she left out the shopping but to her that went without saying. "Hmm..I also want to travel to Kanto sometime so if we ever end up back here, you owe me a tour of Kanto if my tour of Jhoto is good, okay?" Mela asked him. In her mind, she was ready to go at that very moment. Sadly it wasn't as simple as quitting your job in front of the entire world and some other nondescript alien planets. She would have to pack, gather supplies and money and they would have to at least settle on a route. Planning the whole trip wouldn't be necessary but it would be nice to have an idea for now.
Mela looked around and just finished her banana split in an alarming rate of time and puckered her face at the brain freeze. "We probably shouldn't leave today though...how about tomorrow morning?" She asked, hoping she wouldn't suddenly cower out of it if she had a good night's rest. "If you need a place to stay and the Pokemon Center is full, along with all the other hotels around here, you could stay with me." But she did rather that he didn't. If they were going to be traveling together, they should probably savor one last night without the company of another human being.
Spread magic to the world! Cale thought to himself, mentally rolling his eyes behind his mask of a slight smile. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to mention his penny fiction novels, especially if it brought references to magic and token heroism at every turn of his trip. He wove his fingers together and tapped his thumbs against each other as he listened. He didn’t want to say to her that the chances of meeting a radio personality nowadays were slim, no thanks to terrorism a few years back—best not to dash the hopes of your soon-to-be traveling partner. It took a special kind of bumbling to lose a partner you haven’t even fully acquired yet. Although it was a pokémon professor that Mela was speaking of. Busy as they are, they do tend to drop by schools, talk shows, and other public appearances quite often. All thinking about it did was make Cale want to meet one of the professors himself. Maybe they’d inspire him to pursue a worthwhile profession other than being a bum.
More importantly, maybe all this travel really would be worth writing about as nonfiction. Maybe it wouldn’t be. Though, the journey mattered more than the end in Cale’s case. So what if he’d traveled across the world? What good was that to him if he never found the inspiration to write a book that could salvage his name and prove that he, Cale Seabrook, was a writer of respectable skill. Not the best by a long shot, but somebody whose work was worth reading. Maybe an award, won from the grasping hands of a sea of amateurs. Hell, maybe he’d get his own public book signing. This would all be worth it, to prove not to him, but to all the others that he was more than a man who sat at his desk and wrote whatever came to mind. He knew how to tell a proper story, how to keep a reader, how to pace his writing…he wasn’t bad at all. Not the best, maybe, but good enough. He just needed that little boost, and having a second character to interact with would make his job that much easier. The thought turned his mask into a genuine smile.
“Thanks for the offer, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find a room, especially for just a single night,” Cale said as he took in a scoop of ice cream berry soup. “ Towns like this place aren’t necessarily short on accommodations,” he commented with a mild shrug, dropping his spoon into the half-eaten and now fairly melted dessert. “As for your proposition, I suppose it wouldn’t kill me to take a trip around Johto. It’s not like I ever saw much worth doing outside of Goldenrod’s outer limits.” The writer hooked an arm over the back of the bench he sat at, his layers of clothing quite visibly stretching as much as they could to stay with him. He held a couple fingers to his cheek as he looked off into a blank distance. “Though, I suppose that’s how it always is for a local.” The thought slipped out as he indiscriminately pointed into the air. He shook his head. “People are always so impressed by the radio tower. Which reminds me that I forgot to get an extension card for Kanto’s broadcasts. ” With a soft ‘hrm’ Cale stood, half squatting between the table and the bench. “Check please!” He called out, holding his hand up. The young man came back to rest in his seat, brushing his hair back as he turned to Mela. “So, I was thinking we’d head to Lavender from here. I haven’t really been too far outside of large developments like the city we’re in,” he commented as he held his hands out. “I hear the air’s fresher where there are more trees than people. So what do you say to that, Mela? Meet at the pokécenter around eight?”
The idea that they would hit the town of Lavender first didn't really sit well with her because it sounded more like a depressing location than the exciting ones she wanted to see right away. In the end, she knew they would have to start somewhere so why not pay their respects to the town and try some good seafood while they were around? Mela got over the hang up of their first destination fairly quick and just shrugged. "That's fine with me." She replied. "It should be nice this time of year." Then again which area would be horrible in such a warm season? She didn't think it would be fun to travel in the winter but maybe it could be fun as long as they prepared for it and had warm clothing. And with her fire pokemon, they wouldn't ever be too cold when it came to camping between towns and cities. She saw a waiter come around after he had finished serving an elderly couple. The check was placed down and she picked it up. "Eight is totally fine with me too." She agreed once more, already thinking about what they could get around the city in order to hold them off for a while. Some sandwiches, cans of soda or bottles of water, bags of chips, some bags of rice which they could cook on the road with other food, they couldn't pack too much but just some staples and things they could eat sooner rather than later. Standing up, she looked out at the view and then back to Cale. "If you stand me up tomorrow, I'll hunt you down." She laughed and headed off, jumping over the bushes down to the pathway.
Mela's mind was quick to make plans so she wanted to get to the store and the pokemart sooner rather than later. After about a ten minute walk, the blond arrived at the corner store close to her place. She headed inside and grabbed some basics: white rice, instant hot cocoa mix, dry packets of fruit and berries, a jug of water, some beef jerky and some root vegetables that would hold up during travel. Mela then headed out and dropped off her things and hurried off to the pokemart to pick up some potions, antidote and repel and some rope for when they came across caves or ledges. Then she picked up some treats for their pokemon. While she wasn't sure what Cale's own pokemon were like, she just got something all types would enjoy. By the time she was done, it was almost time for dinner. She got back to her place and made a simple meal of rice and grilled chicken and let her pokemon out to tell them the news that they would all be off in under twenty-four hours. The two small creatures seemed to understand the change and were happy, as their human companion seemed much more energetic than she had been recently. After she finished eating, she gave her pokemon something to eat while she went and packed. The woman gathered her old green sleeping bag, four changes of clothes, some sunscreen, a journal, a paid of boots, her wallet, and the food. Overall her pack only weighed about twenty or twenty-five pounds. She added some toiletries and was ready for bed.
Her pokemon rested at the foot of her bed as she tried to get some sleep. When morning came, she grabbed her pokegear she had bought used a year or two back. She saw she had enough time to grab something at the cafe before heading to the pokemon center. Mela put her pokemon away and slipped on her backpack and headed out. She locked the door behind her and suddenly found herself hesitant to leave the front door. She knew it would a long time before she would sleep in her own bed again, see the beautiful city lights on the water at night. Vermillion was her home and while she couldn't describe herself as really happy, it was still something, the only thing she really knew about. She gritted her teeth and trudged over to the cafe where she saw her boss opening shop. He wished her good luck and handed her a paper bag with some sandwiches and bottles of water and cookies. "Thanks." Mela smiled sincerely and made her way up towards the large beacon for pokemon trainers around the world: the pokemon center. She arrived about five minutes to eight and sat outside on the bench and set her pack down. Now a new feeling was flowing through her veins, it was excitement. Looking around, she checked her pokegear again and let out a small sigh. Since she hadn't had much of a breakfast, she looked over at the vending machine and wondered if she should get an energy bar or some fruit.
The last thing she wanted to do was waste time complaining about food on the first day and make her only possible friend ditch her on the road.
Could have sworn it had only been one day since you posted. .-.
Cale smiled and raised an eyebrow at that—what reason could he possibly have for standing somebody up? It wasn’t as if he had anywhere to be or any business to attend to. “Right back atcha,” he called after Mela. “Honestly,” he grunted, turning back to his ice cream—now a thick, sugary milkshake in a bowl. The man furrowed his brow as he remembered exactly why he hardly ever ate ice cream. Confections, on the other hand, were quite resistant to melting into puddles. With a sigh, Cale did his best to dispose of the vanilla-berry soup, taking a peek at the bill in front of him. Cheap ice cream. Glancing about, he wiped off the bottom of the bowl with a napkin and left an unnecessarily generous tip underneath it before slipping out of the café. The sunlight reflecting off of the city’s hard surfaces momentarily blinded him as he strolled to the nearest bench he could find. Under the shade of a tree, Cale pulled off his backpack and knelt down in front of the bench, opening the bag to check its contents. He was met with rows and rows of labeled capsules using poké ball technology to store items. He was only missing a few things, mostly snacks or, “cheap,” doodads he had given away during his time on the cruise from Johto to Kanto. Although, he was a bit low on Celia’s preferred flavors of pokémon food.
With a few mental notes of what he did and didn’t need to restock, Cale scanned the skyline and questioned a few passing pedestrians to locate the local pokécenter. Cale was no local of the region, but he was acutely aware that it took him far longer than it should have to find his way to a building with a massive red dome on its roof. Suddenly remembering his pokégear, the wannabe trainer pulled back his sleeve as he stood outside the building. The device looked like a large, black and white watch with a cover over the screen. “I should use this thing more,” Cale muttered as he marked the pokécenter on the map application. If he had to stay somewhere else, he didn’t want to try and recreate his search in the early morning. With his navigational incompetence remedied, he stepped into the building and his face scrunched up as it met the familiar, but unwelcome smell of medicine. The pokécenter was strangely vacant, considering the ship full of passengers that had just arrived not much more than an hour ago. His quick footsteps could be heard against the smooth, tile floor. “Hey Nurse Joy,” he chimed at the woman behind the counter, waving his hand. Her pink hair bounced a little as she smiled at him. “Are there any free rooms?”
“Let me check,” Nurse Joy grunted reflexively as she pulled open a drawer beneath the desk, tilting her head to get a better look. “It’s really strange, there’s almost nobody here,” she said as she picked a key from a peg in the drawer. “I thought the S.S. Anne pulled into harbor today?” Cale reflected the nurse’s sentiment as he took the key she held out to him. He examined the orange dongle on it to find that he was in room number fifteen.
“Yeah, I just got off it an hour ago; I thought this place would be packed.” He stuck the keys in his pocket. “So I came here first, instead of the pokémart.” He shrugged and tapped a finger on the counter. “Speaking of, I should get on that shopping before I forget about it. I’ll tell you if I find anything out, later Joy!” The two exchanged temporary goodbyes as Cale backed out of the building. He spun on his heel as he exited the sliding glass doors, en route to the ‘mart. A few trainers in the specialty store were both impressed and curious of his comparatively tiny backpack. It served as an unintentional advertisement for the Silph Corporation, no matter how quickly Cale made his escape from the spotlight.
That morning, Cale sat on the edge of his bed, a premier ball in his hand. “Well, Celia—we’re gonna be on the road with friends today,” he said to the venipede nearby. “You’ll behave yourself, won’t you?” His mouth curled into a lopsided smile. “I only have so much antidote.” The bug pokémon grunted a reply that satisfied the writer enough, as he tended to his own breakfast: a helping of dry cereal and some juice, courtesy of the still rather vacant pokécenter. When the two had finished their morning routines, Cale stepped out of the pokécenter, holding the collapsed premier ball between his fingers as he took a look around the area. “Hey there, uh…” His voice trailed off as he looked to the girl from earlier. “This is gonna happen a few times, sorry. What’s your name again?”