The pitiful island that was the habitat for my old life didn't escape my sight until it completely disappeared, becoming more and more of a spec in the dense fog that surrounded us once again. As I had resolved before, and had just taken the first steps toward my said promise, I had left my old life in place of a new one. One that was unknown and waiting for me.
I just wished Applejack hadn't made me feel so guilty about doing so…
____ * ____
____ * ____
I kept my head down as I scanned and navigated the deck, but my eyes were looking up for Prezzi. My ridiculous bangs protected them from the slight sting of the dew in the air, manifested by the fog all around the ship I boarded. An enormous green carpeted walkway almost greeted me at my hooves. It was roofed by a slab of thick concrete supported by many blue pillars that were very close to each other. It went on until about a foot before the walkway ended to the outside area, whereas the other end led to a wide sliding glass door into the interior.
On each side, and in front of its end, were an array of activities. There was a gigantic gated pool dead ahead of me. It was in the shape of a huge and simple circle, and it looked like the deep ends of it went down pretty far. To the left of it were closed-in tennis courts will the balls scattered in an almost curious manner, and to the right of where the pillars ended was a wide line of chairs where ponies could just sit down and relax—take a good look at the scenic diorama they would traverse across.
The parallel east and west ends of the body came together at the north, hosted by a lifelike statue of what I believed was that of a Pokemon. It was a serpent-like creature, and it's coat of scales represented a rainbow, and it shined as brightly as the fog would allow it to. Adult-sized rails bordered those edges of the deck and drew the line from where you could lean and sightsee. The shimmering colors gave off the slight sight of a rainbow or two, as all the colors pierced though the thick moisture in the air:
And that very sight was what led me to him.
I finally found my father on the enormous deck and started heading toward him immediately, smiling as the iridescent gleam flashed my gaze goodbye. He was to the left, where another break area—more chairs—area was, and he had his head leaning out toward the ocean view, his upper body weighed on his forelegs, also weighed upon the railing in which he gripped it.
"There you are!" I called "This thing... it's huge!" I had never been on a ship as big as this one; not in my lifetime. Until now.
"Isn't it? It's all that remains of my pride and joy...after you, of course."
I knew he meant well, and I always feel so incredible when he tells me stuff like that, He didn't sound too confident with his words, but I didn't think much of it. "Thanks, dad. Are you feeling okay?" It was a clear sign that something was up.
"I'm sure I feel fine, Fluttershy. Are you okay?"
He used my actual name, almost casually and without thinking. "Missing mom..?
"No." He dodged my question. More signs. "The question here is if you're okay. I don't know about you, but you have the kind of face that you get when we run outta decaf. I'm wondering if you have the mood to match."
Oh gosh, it was true. I was a little addicted to coffee. And despite that, I decided to drop my investigation due to my father's shell hardening. "Hehe, yeah I'm fine. But it's just a little sad because I had to tell my best friend that I'd never see her again."
"Well, I didn't tell her that, exactly-"
I shut my mouth. My father was the best person for adolescents like myself to talk to for advice and stuff. But if he ever interrupts you like he just did me, then you'd better listen the heck up.
"Hm?" No doubt my ears were open. "Lecture time?"
"Heh, yeah, it is."
Not ironic at all—and actually quite poetic—he kept his ocean gaze as his long mane lightly swayed in the cool winds. The breeze was so brisk, he had to close his eye, and his left was the only one I could see. He looked like he was meditating or something. "I don't know what it's like to be a brand-new teenage girl with a father that gives her everything she could ever want." I giggled because that part was actually true, "But I do know, or actually believe, you did the right thing back there."
"I'm seriously going to write to her every day."
"And I don't doubt it at all!" He blushed just a bit, maybe remembering how he was in his past.
"I'll make it a habit, like brushing my teeth. All I need is twenty-one days." Prezzi and I laughed at the possible coincidental thought of me writing a letter while brushing my teeth that clearly showed off my love for coffee.
Now how in the hay would that work?
"I don't see her around a lot. Applejack, right?"
"Mmhmm. She lives in Camphrier. In the berry fields right by the town."
"She must be a hard worker then."
"Oh yeah. I've seen her work... "
After a while, my father gave me a smuggy kind of half-grin and his ears perked up suddenly. "So you two have something really special, I know and respect that. But is she your girlfriend or something?" I wondered if he was thinking about my relationship with Applejack during the whole silence spent watching the
Heh. "Maaayybeee..." I was obviously apprehensive to flat out tell him I had a crush on her. There's nothing I needed to hide from him; nothing to fear.
"Cuz that'd make even more sense since you kissed her."
I blushed and turned a little."You saw that?" I instantly forgave him with a flustered turn of my face as I pretended to look out at the gentle waves the ship was carving its way through. In the end, I joined him in actually taking a good look at that very sea we were crossing over. But then, and almost so suddenly, the blanket of fog around the ship ceased its honestly annoying presence and exited into beautiful weather, similar to Northwestern Kalos— especially Shalour City.
Speaking of Shalour City, there was a time when me and Applejack took it upon ourselves to take a tour all the way up the Tower of Mastery, just to have something to do-and when we made it up to its apex, the sun turned in for the day, and it's rays bounced and distributed along the ocean so beautifully.
That was when I told Applejack how I felt about her...
Prezzi and I both felt the ship catch up on its speed as the sun warmed our coats. In the distance ahead of the ship's front, we saw some sort of movement in the water, as the shallow waves on the surface proved it was something big.
"Do you think that could be a Pokemon?" I asked him. "Like, an actual Pokemon, dad? "All he did was keep his eyes on the water as he spoke back.
"That's a pretty big one if it is!" He was clearly impressed; the details he provided told me so. "Looks like it could be a lot of them instead of just one big fish." With that, I started to look in other directions to try and spot some other similar happenings.
Trust me, I was very excited.
"Fluttershy look at this!" Prezzi called out at the scene he was witnessing, and I looked into the same general direction he was. I don't know how I missed it. "It's..."
It was so beautiful.
In the distance, both just past the view from the rails and farther, there was a vertically arched family of manta rays leaping out of the water and diving back in. It didn't look like they would have been able to fly as they were, however briefly, but I suppose that a valid explanation was because they were Pokemon, and they were magical.
Underneath either one of their wings was another smaller, different looking creature that nuzzled its protector close. They were both so happy together, with their cries of happiness and appropriately assumed smiles on their faces. The droplets of water they let off bent the sunlight and resulted in a small rainbow for as long as they were above the surface of the ocean. Prezzi took a well-timed picture of this and showed me as soon as it was developed through the cameras auto printing feature. Quite handy, really.
But the picture, sorry to say, couldn't compare to the real thing.
"This is incredible!"
I was able to see many reflective rainbows behind the first one, according to my view of the phenomenon. Copious amounts of moisture still floated in the air, assisting in the immersion of the gorgeous scene. Seconds later, all around me and my father, ponies came out from the inside of the ship's lobby to witness the happening with much greater clarity. Children cried out in awe as they looked up and pointed at the sight and either just let their jaws hang or hugged their parents in a dose of overwhelmed emotions that they could even understand clearly.
I certainly wasn't the first to conform with their actions, or the creatures', far from it. I happily embraced the moment and reached over his back, resting my head on his shoulders, still watching them. "Thanks dad."
I'll also happily admit that I started to tear up again. It was from both the thrill of seeing real Pokemon for the first time, as well as the symbolism in their actions however everyday they were for them. those Pokemon had just then given me. "Thanks for taking me on this trip with you..."
"Fluttershy..." He feel quiet until he leaned his head against mine, the two of us taking every bit of this wonderful scene in our memories forever.
"I wish mom was here, so much," I said, low. This real, moving image was symbolic to my memory of her—she would take a photo of anything beautiful. She was able to see the beauty in life.
"She is, Fluttershy," he told me. "She is, and she loves you."
I sniffled. "Oh dad..." And then I let loose and cried into his coat.
I was the type who would, unfortunately, let my insecurities get in my way...
"Mmm, that'd sure be...nice. Appletree, I choose you..."
I had fallen asleep with my face—and my speech words—muffled in my dad's super warm coat. I awoke only for Prezzi to tell me I was only out for three hours. I was sitting down now, all curled up in a chair. "What'd I miss?" I asked. "Where is Bloomberg?"
"The tree. You know. You were there." I slurred in my speech as I was still majorly groggy. Whatever I was dreaming about, it involved AppleJack again.
"Well, you haven't missed much. They stopped a few minutes after you fell asleep, and then I took you over here to sit us down. But I think you should catch up on your sleep if you can."
"But I'm comfy right here," I teased.
I sure was lovable back then...
"I have a weird feeling we'll be there at noon tomorrow. Not sure why, but maybe I'm just itching as much as you are."
"You know it," I mimicked.
"Okay. Inside, then." His coat may have been as soft as a thin fur pillow, but it wouldn't smell very comfortable if it was wet. Heh.
When we approached the motion-sensored glass doors, they opened for us, and when we started hearing our hoofsteps on the bright yellow carpeting underneath us, so did my eyes.
The tower-like hub looked incredible from the outside, but it's interior obviously didn't need to compare. The golden carpet encompassed a center pedestal that praised a pillar reaching all the way to the top of the tower. From there, the floor was raised by five steps, and in three compassed directions were different service departments.
There was a wide-open dining area to my left, a very expansive souvenir shop to my right, and quite a distance from where the merchant stood was the lengthy base of the fantastic spiraling staircase that surrounded the great pillar. And all around, everything seemed to glisten under the many chandeliers and luminescent, holiday-style lighting that adorned the fronts of every counter and the end of every hallway, and the middle of every conversation, in an essence. The ponies here weren't stuck up like I imagined they would be, like in any stories, or even in my own mind, given my experiences with society.
I'm sure there was even more than my eyes met. But ahead of me, mostly diverting my attention, was the call of my father's name:
"Prezzi?" the stallion said, sounding very surprised. "Why, what are you doing here, of all places?"
"You can call it one helluva coincidence," my dad responded. "It's so nice to see you again!"
"Quite a surprise, sir!"
Prezzi met the strange elderly stallion to the left of the room and gave him a brohoof. His acquaintance slower, but succeeded. I hesitated to follow behind, but I did so with a smile on my face, awed by absolutely everything. "Indeed it is. How've you been?" he continued.
I wasn't shy enough to the point where I would isolate myself from life itself, but I had that potential inside me. Deep within me.
"Oh, nothing other than the usual. You know, surviving and such." The two of them chuckled briefly, and then Prezzi introduced us to each other.
"Rowan, this is my daughter, Fluttershy." I pretended not to notice my dad smiling at me as I walked up to him as he did me, and extended a friendly greeting, as well as a hoof. He took it and held it tightly for a while before letting go. Gotta be confident in myself.
He was a slightly shorter adult than what I was used to seeing. He had a very light blue coat, and on his right flank was image of three red and white objects that resembled common fishing lures. The color from his short mane and short tail had been aged out, but his mane, more than anything else, was ruffled beyond initial understanding. But it didlook awfully stylish, anyway, all rigid the way it was in a few areas.
"Another young one, I see. It's really nice to meet you, Fluttershy. Truly!"
"Fluttershy, this is my old teacher before he became a professor of Pokemon, Rowan. He used to teach biology in Geosenge town. Still would be grounded there if he hadn't taken that up as a hobby instead."
"Oh, Hi..." I blushed when that last part registered, but I also became anxious and excited. "Oh, hi!" It must have been the mention of Pokemon again.
"Well, hello again!" Rowan laughed once more.
"So...are you coming back from your research in Kalos or something?" I asked, my question not exactly following the logic of the situation I had just overheard. Again, I'm sure I was excited because I was going to hear more about Pokemon. I was sure that was it.
"I'm actually coming from Unova, from the past route this ship took. When I heard there was a rare occurrence of DNA splicing between two legendary Pokemon, there was no way I could pass up the opportunity to bring the study back to the northern regions. But yes, research!"
"That sounds awesome!" I squeaked.
"I heard about that too, with Unova right next to us and all. It froze about half of the region over!"
"Eheh, let's just say i'm glad my work there is done. Even though that has been remedied, It's going to be nice to be back home for a while."
"You deserve a break," I said, still intensely excited. "You have no idea how much I admire guys like you!"
"Fluttershy's never seen Pokemon before. You know how Kalos is..." Prezzi made a quick frown, but retaliated with a confident smile. "But the two of us are going to start the greatest adventure of our lives there in Sinnoh."
"There's nothing not dislike there. I know you two will love it!" He gave a comforting smile as well.
"Hm..." Prezzi was thinking out loud, with vocals. "Do you think you could help her start off when we get there?" Professor Rowan gave a wide smile at him.
"Of course! That's part of what I do." He then gave me the same look. "In fact..."
At that moment, the bottom of the central pillar shed three outer sheets of its structure to the left, sliding around to the back. Inside the core laid three of those similar circular looking objects; the red and white ones. Also, at that moment, the waiters in the dining area and the mare at the souvenir shop, and anyone else with almost nothing to do, both with nothing to do, watched the scene in front of me, hooves at their sides, almost entranced by what was transpiring.
"I can give you one right now if you'd like! Professor Juniper over in Unova took the liberty of breeding the three starting Pokemon of the region for me, and I'd be more than glad to let her know that one of her Pokemon is out on an adventure with you, Fluttershy. Serving a great cause, it would!"
My heart sunk. It seemed like Rowan was putting on an act, but still, my heart...
I had no idea what to do or what to say, or how to do it or how to say it, whatever I would have said at the moment. I only knew I couldn't be happier, and I would definitely agree. But I had so many thoughts reigning my mind at once.
There were three of them, after all.
"Holy--wow!" Prezzi held his breath but filtered his shout of excitement for me through his lips. "Fluttershy, this is incredible! Thank you, Rowan!"
"Heeeeeyyy." Rowan's modesty concealed his pride. Maybe he was a little embarrassed by such praise that we were both giving him "I'm taking her under my wing, aren't I? Kind of?"
"Yeah." I think it was the same for my dad. He had no words also.
"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my GAAAWSH!!"
Professor Rowan suddenly swung his head gently to his left, and a white lens flew in front of his right eye. Underneath his crazy mane, the was a compact headset-looking device that consisted of nothing more than the lens, the clip that swung all around his right ear, and a microphone that curved in front of his mouth at its anatomy's end. Nothing could be seen at the opposite side of the lens that I saw. He then looked at the objects inside and merely said a single word.
"This is Snivy." A transparent hologram then appeared in our circle for me and Prezzi to see. It was the image of what appeared to be a bipedal snake or lizard. Rowan read from his eye lens. "Snivy is the Grass Snake Pokemon. Intelligent and composed, they photosynthesize by bathing their bodies and tails in sunlight, and when they aren't feeling well, their tails droop."
He then looked at another one of the objects and spoke again. The hologram that appeared was of a pig with ears in the fashion of a tied resembling a 'V'. It had the curly tail like a pig, too.
"Tepig, the Fire Pig Pokemon. It can deftly dodge its foes attacks while shooting fireballs through its nose. When afflicted by a cold, its fire becomes pitch-black smoke instead."
Once more he read. The third image was of a cute otter Pokemon with a seashell clipped to the thin fur on its chest. I was looking all around me, at everyone who was watching the presentation. Then I took a good look at the digital Pokemon showing off its moves.
"Aww!" It was so adorable.
"Oshawott, the Sea Otter Pokemon. It fights using the scalchop on its stomach, made from the same elements as claws. It removes it to retaliate quickly by slashing."
"Wow..." I mumbled out loud. "They're all so..."
"Cute? Aren't they?" said Rowan, now with all three miniature holograms displayed in a triad shape.
"Yeah!" admitted my I-don't-ever-think-anything-is-cute kind of father. But, again, this is all-new for him, too. I was in his exact shoes. "I like them all."
"They're all so great! And adorable!! And they all sound so awesome!!"
"Of course, we'll be arriving tomorrow afternoon, so you can think about which one you want overnight." The five-layered opening in the base of the central pillar suddenly closed.
"I think I'll do that, yeah" I said. My heart was still racing tens of times each second.
"I'll see you in the morning then, in case I forget to tell you later." Rowan started to head up the glimmering stairway. Prezzi and I followed. "I was thinking we could use this opportunity to catch up, Prezzi. Maybe tell Fluttershy a bit of our history, yes?"
"Did you see all those Pokemon outside earlier?" He had to open with that. Hell, though, I would too.
"Yes I did. The Mantine Migration is always as beautiful as the first time I saw it."
"Whoa." I thought; the only one I could muster. "You mean you've seen it more than once?"
"But it does have a tendency to make its witnesses feel a little sleepier than normal.. I assume that's why you're so tired?"
"Her sleep habit has been off for a while now. But I believe you," said Prezzi. He put his hoof on the staircase rail and yawned. "I'm definitely feeling it, that's for sure."
"I've just been looking forward to this for a long time, ever since we started talking about this whole trip, really." I felt exactly as I had described, and I honestly doubted I was going to sleep easy.
"It's a real pity that your father has lived his whole life without these wondrous creatures. And you, as well. You're still young, but you could perhaps do what most other Pokemon Trainers do when they start out and challenge the Pokemon Gyms. Given, after they make a few friends along the way, of course."
"And hey, look at this!" Prezzi piped up." We'll be right next to each other!"
"Oh that's so cool!" I could only keep myself from exploding for so much longer
"Yeah, it is!"
At the topmost level the stairway took us, the wide circular floor held only three rooms, with the walkway circumventing the sights when you were to look down, which I had done. I wasn't sure how high we had gone, as I was growing ever more tired and paying less attention to much else, but I could still see some passersby.
There was one room for me and Prezzi, one for Rowan, and the last would be unoccupied. Dad had already insisted upon sharing one of the rooms with me, as he teased me: 'I'm not gonna let you sneak out and get a head start. It was getting too dark to see anything except some lingering gray clouds below, as I glanced out the window.
"Well again, this was quite a surprise to see you, Prezzi. And it's still surely nice to meet you, Fluttershy."
"I'm so glad. Thanks for showing us the Pokemon too!" I tried to hold in a yawn while speaking. "I know I can't sleep tonight," I literally talking through it, "with how excited I am!"
"Me too, thanks teach!"
I'm sure your dad will make sure you're all rested up for what's to come tomorrowI'll see you two in the morning, then!" Another quick glace back, accompanied with a wide smile, and he slowly closed his door behind him.
"Good night!" Me and Prezzi spoke in a choir almost perfectly as we spoke and headed to our room.
I knew one thing for certain. Once my Prezzi's head hit the pillow, he instantly knocked out. He started gently snoring about four minutes afterward. It was quiet and tolerable, but I ended up staying up for another hour before I gave in myself. I thought about everything; from those three Pokemon and the fact that I'm still going to Sinnoh, all the way to the reason why I felt so tired so in first place—the Mantine Migration. But most of all, with all this, I knew I was trying in part to repress my feelings without Applejack.
And at the very end of the day— the twenty-third hour—I ended up crying for the half of it, and then I just nuzzled my the plush version of myself, pretending it was either a Pokemon, or her. I told myself that it wouldn't be so bad, and I did my best to stop thinking and just go to bed. I had worn myself out with all the spastic celebration I was making after Prezzi fell asleep.
Success took another half-an-hour. But, just before I fell fully asleep, I heard a quiet sound against the door; I was sure of it. I couldn't do much though, as I was caught in the clutches of my drowsiness. The sound continued for another few seconds after it paused, and then it was gone.