The small kitchen was full of the smells of warm bread, cinnamon, cooking eggs,, and syrup as Alarin sat at her kitchen table, small seven-year-old legs pumping rhythmically as she kicked her bare feet back-and-forth. She was currently occupied by stuffing bite after bite of sticky cinnamon raisin French toast happily into her mouth, making wonderful content sounds of pleasure as she did so. She was getting syrup all over her face in the process of eagerly taking each bite, much to her mother's chagrin. With a soft click of her tongue, she moved over to the kitchen sink, letting the current slice of bread continue to cook on its own while she ran warmwater over a washcloth. Stepping lightly over to her daughter, she began to clean the sticky mess from her cheeks and chin, smiling down at her little girl with a look of playful exasperation in her eyes. Grinning cheekily up at her mother, Alarin attempted several times to put another piece of French toast into her mouth whenever the damp cloth was moved away for any length of time. When this would happen, her mother would use her other hand to move the fork away, say softly, "I don't think so," gently tap the end of her nose, and continue to clean her face.
They looked very similar to one another, this mother and daughter. Both were slightly short of stature, with slender limbs and torso, covered in unblemished skin that was all cream and roses. Their hair hung straight and thick to just between their shoulder blades, perfectly framing faces that were thin and angular, a light corn silk blonde in color. Their eyes were a beautiful bright green of fresh grass with circles of Caramell around each pupil. If Alarin was just a few years older and her mother didn't have so many laugh lines around her eyes, they probably could have passed as twin sisters.
Catching the last bit of syrup deftly with her damp washcloth, Irelia Clover quickly turned back to the stove to save the piece of french toast in the frying pan before it could be burned. She used a fork to quickly and skillfully hook the edge of the bread and move it over to a covered dish that would keep it warm. Lifting the glass lid, she set it inside and covered it up again. Alarin sat watching this for several minutes, a silly grin playing on her face.. About the same time that she started to eat her french toast again, her mother turned off the stove with a click and began to clean up the mess from the countertops.
"Hey mama?" The little blonde haired girl abruptly asked around a very full mouth, rosy cheeks bulging slightly. She then proceeded to state a question which was unintelligible past the french toast, causing her mother to turn with her eyebrows bunched together and a frown tugging down the corners of her mouth. Abruptly, the girl Started to work on swallowing her mouthful, clearing a path for her voice.
Irelia gave her head a gentle shake that made her cornsilk hair sway slightly, moving the frying pan over next to the sink and filling it with soap and water before collecting the covered dish and bringing it to the table. Setting it down with a soft sound of glass on wood, she took her spot across the small round table and began to serve herself some breakfast. "You know speaking with your mouthful isn't very polite Alarin," she said after moment, lifting her eyebrows as she poured syrup onto the slices of sweetened bread.
Tucking her chin against her chest, Alarin's cheeks flushed a soft pink of embarrassment before her voice came again, softer than before. "I'm sorry..." At this, her lower lip popped out in a gentle pout. Her mother hesitated for a moment, considering the protruding lip before she broke into a tender smile, reaching out to gently brush her fingertips along her daughter's cheek and gently pushing back in her pout. "I'm not angry sweetie. Put that away and ask me your question."
First, Alarin made sure that her mother went back to focusing on her breakfast, watching her until she had taken a few bites of french toast. Then the child nodded her head in satisfaction, opening her now clear mouth to once again ask her question in a more understandable fashion. But before she could even make a sound, they both heard something that made their bodies freeze, heads tilting at exactly the same moment as if they both were trying to hear the sound better. It was almost as if someone had a television on in another room, the door shut and only the sound of muffled voices barely distinguishable by their base only. After a moment, the sound vanished, leaving them to wonder if it had ever happened.
A slightly confused look blossomed onto Irelia's face, drawing her eyebrows together and creating a small crease in her forehead. After a moment, she looked towards her daughter. "... What's that sound?" As She received a slight shrug of shoulders from Alarin, the slender woman got up from the table, quietly walking over to the kitchen sink and leaning up on her tip toes to peer outside.
"... I guess it was noth-" she started to say, but her voice was abruptly cut off by the sound repeating itself. This time, it was much closer and clearer than it had been the first time. As she listened, she realized it was the sound of someone screaming, frantic and urgent. She listened again, trying desperately to make out the words.
"Irelia! You have to take Alarin and run! You have to get away!" The voice was abruptly saying as it received clarity, becoming louder as it continued to grow closer and closer, as if the person were running at full speed.
Alarin frowned with confusion as she realized it was the voice of her uncle that was screaming. Looking quickly over at her mother, she got down from her kitchen chair and slipped her small hand into her mother's, receiving a gentle and reassuring squeeze in return before beginning to be gently tugged towards the front door of their small cottage. She followed as quickly as she could, Her bright green eyes turned to look up at her mother's face. "Mama, what does uncle Joshua mean?" She asked in her small piping voice, feeling the slight stirrings of fear blossoming into her stomach and making her body quiver.
Giving her daughter's hand another squeeze of reassurance and doing her utmost to hide the fear that was starting to tug at her own body, Irelia looked down at the little girl holding onto her hand with a gentle smile. "I'm sure it is nothing too serious Alarin."
But as they finally reached the front door, it became evident that that it was quite serious. As her mother reached her slender fingers for the doorknob, it was suddenly twisted from the outside and wrenched open quite violently. On the other side of the door stood a man, his face flushed and sweaty with pieces of his blond hair sticking to it, breath coming out in pants and barely able to speak. There was a soft gasp of surprise and Alarin glanced up in time to see her mother cover her mouth with one hand for a moment before she reached for the man, gripping his shoulder.
"Joshua! What's the matter?" She asked in a voice that slightly trembled, clearly frightened by the sight of her brother in such a state.
Shaking his head vigorously, Joshua took the hand from his shoulder and gripped it tightly, using it to start tugging them away from the house. Almost incomprehensible in his state of panic, he was almost unintelligible as he said between gasps of air, "We have...to run! It's... it's terrible!" As he spoke, he continued to tug them along behind him. Struggling not to trip and fall to the cobblestone street, Alarin felt her eyes widen with panic and she tried to blink, but found it nearly impossible. Green eyes flickering around her in an attempt to see what had scared her uncle so badly uneasiness making her body tense. She did notice smoke in the air, drifting lazily towards the sky in dark clouds, floating between the screams of what seemed to be many people. "Joshua! Tell me what's going on!" she heard her mother ask shrilly, her fingers tightening painfully around Alarin's. She could tell that she wasn't going to admit to the fear that was inside of her, striving to protect her daughter from it. But Alarin could sense it and it made her want to scream.
Slowing only very slightly, Joshua cast a panicked look over his shoulder at his sister and niece, "... Attacking the village.... there is a... a Kang-" His voice was effectively cut off by something very large and heavy landing on the cobblestone street in front of them with a heavy crunch.. All three of them instinctively ducked, cowering away from the massive creature that had landed in front of them. Peeking out from between the fingers of her hands that she had thrown up over her face,, Alarin felt her breath catch in her throat and her heart begin to pound against the inside of her chest in a way that was more strong than fast.
Standing in front of them was a massive Kangaskhan, her white and tan body tense as she stood with her muscled arms slightly held out from her body, mouth open partially as she sniffed heavily at the air. Her golden yellow eyes were nearly obscured by her wide dilated pupils as she stared one by one at each of the humans in front of her. Quite suddenly, without any warning or indication that it was going to happen, she swung one of her heavy arms through the air, slamming her clawed paw into the side of Joshua's head. The force of the blow lifted his body and Alarin watched in horror as he flew through the air, slamming into the house next to their's. His body hit the ground with a hollow sounding thud and didn't so much as stir.
"No! Joshua!" she heard her mother scream, watching as her body lurched upwards, pulling herself to her feet and placing herself between the attacking creature and her daughter. Whimpering, unable to keep her eyes from returning again and again to the body of her uncle, Alarin forced her knees to unbend, unconsciously moving her body forward and gripping at her mothers apron strings with trembling hands. She could feel through the fabric of her mother's t-shirt that she wasn't the only one trembling.
She wasn't entirely sure what happened next, but Alarin was first aware of a buildup of sound from the Kangaskhan that suddenly tore from her body in a roar so loud she felt it vibrating in her bones and making her teeth chatter. She had just thought about covering her ears, even going so far as to lift her arms to do so, when she was suddenly assaulted with a different sensation: pain. It started on her forehead and flashed in quick succession across her right eye and cheek, down her throat and onto her shoulder, finally ending at the lower part of her ribs and onto her hip. As she fell to the ground, she was dimly aware of her mother screaming, of the fact that she could only see from her left eye, the stain of blood, her blood, on one of the Kangaskhan's paws and arms, the same arms that were wrapped around her mother, crushing the life out of her body... Vision growing dim and gathering darkness on the edges, she watched as the Kahngaskahn opened her mouth once again to shriek, dropping the lifeless form of Irelia from her bloody arms. "...Mama...," she whispered, just as the shrieking started.
With the strangled gasp that threatened to become a scream, seventeen -year-old Alarin Clover's eyes flew open quite suddenly. For several long minutes, she simply stared unblinkingly up at the low ceiling above her bed, barely aware of the fact that her hands on either side of her body had twisted the blanket into unmoving fists. Her heart was pounding, much like it had been that day and her mind was struggling to comprehend how she came to be here, when seconds before she had been crumpled on the ground, bleeding and in so much pain...
The sudden loud beeping somewhere to the left of her head finally broke passed the fuzzy barrier and made her start painfully, a small cry of alarm managing to squeak out of her throat as she sat up suddenly, moving her eyes quickly to locate the source of the sound. Their bright green fell on the small black box sitting innocently on the nightstand, next to her bed, proudly proclaiming it was7:30 in the morning by wailing in ever increasing volume. For a moment, she didn't quite understand and instead cast her eyes around the room, blinking owlishly.
"... It was... just a dream." Rin whispered softly to herself, rubbing her left hand across her eyes and down her cheek, sighing heavily as she silently told herself that it had also been a memory.. That didn't make it any better.
Before she could let herself be absorbed by thinking about the past, she made herself methodically pull the blanket off of her body, placed her bare feet onto the wooden floorboards after swinging her legs over the edge of the bed, lift her hands high over her head to stretch, and cheerfully say to the sunlight peeking in through her window, good morning!"
It seemed to help a little bit, even bringing a small smile to twitch up the corners of her mouth. Not wanting to let this new energy die off, she quickly pushed off of the bed with a soft creak of metals springs and began to prepare for one of the biggest days of her life.
"Starting with the alarm clock." she said as she happily bent down and tugged the cord out of the wall, the alarm dying out with a piteous wail.
But as she pulled a comb through the thick blond strands of hair on her head, removed every spec from off of her teeth, and pulled on a comfortable pair of jeans and a soft green t-shirt, Rin found that she couldn't help but think about it. Every now and then, she caught herself staring down at the right side of her body, or touching her right cheek, and especially staring at her right arm. For a long moment, she looked at her reflection in the mirror, contemplatively studying the pinkish white trio of scars that ran down the right side of her face, across her eye and vanishing beneath the neck of her shirt.
Silph Co. had made extraordinary progress in technology since it's humble beginnings in Kanto. They had gone from creating pokeballs that could store the energy of creatures within small spaces, make lenses that would allow humans to view invisible Pokémon, and had recently been perfecting the art of robots. After the devastating attack of a half mad Khangaskhan on their village, the doctors had swarmed in to rescue the little girl who had lost not only her mother and uncle, but her right arm, eye, and hip. Using never before seen technology from the large corporation, they wired both the new arm and eye to the girls brain, miraculously giving her both her sight and mobility once again. They then left it up to the doctors to give her an artificial hip and stitch her back up.
"If only they had been able to fix the scars..."With a heavy sigh, Rin, The child that had been in the spotlight,, carefully picked up her backpack and slid it onto her shoulders. With it's comforting weight settling into place, she made her way into the kitchen, grabbed the last of the apples, headed out the front door and carefully locked it behind her. Pausing to look out over her village, the spot where her mother and uncle had been killed, she said softly under her breath, "happy birthday mom..."
Without another word, she lifted her chin and squared her shoulders, taking her first steps on a journey that would come to be known as one of the most life-changing Pokémon adventures in history.