Her eyes went to the majestic design of the Tubeline Bridge. Harsh sounds of trains echoed from below her feet. One hand moved to the back of her neck, fingers gently rubbing the sore parts of her muscles. “Okay then…” With a sigh breaking the silence around her, White dug her hands inside her satchel and took out the Light stone. It was still covered by N’s handkerchief, protecting it from dirt – but not protecting her from the friendly reminder.
A breath sharply taken through her nostrils, she removed the soft material and focused her attention at the Light Stone. “So…” Awkward buzzed in her tone as she tried to ‘speak’ with the orb. “Other than giving me a good bunk in the head that I can literally see the past, I don’t suppose you’re gonna tell me to how awaken you, huh?”
Its silence was an obvious answer. And she felt stupid nevertheless.
“Of course you won’t.” A disappointed smile was pulled over her sarcastic remark. A sigh was then blown. “Oh well, at least you’re not giving me any more medieval headaches-”
The second she heard a voice, White’s first reaction was to quickly hide the Light Stone back in her satchel in less than two seconds. Thankfully, the zipper was open, enabling the process to be swiftly done. Once assured that the item was tucked in place, White gave a turn on her right heel and looked at the person happily skipping toward her.
Her smile softened, more sincere the moment her eyes met hers. “Hey B.”
“Wow! You can literally see the trains below!” Bianca cheered gleefully as another set of trains zoomed below her. Arms a few inches apart and legs in a form of a march, she looked down and smiled as another train passed by. “This is really cool!”
White simply chuckled to see her friend’s antics. “Yeah. It is kinda cool to have heavy and dangerous transportation zooming under our feet.”
Bianca rolled her eyes at her clearly sarcastic comment. With a face that was basically the epitome of sunshine, she spun around and faced the starters that were following behind them. “Look, Cupcake! Trains are literally below our feet! Isn’t that cool?” Her voice reached a much higher pitch once another train passed by – even though her Emboar was just five feet away and the Pokémon could perfectly hear her albeit the loud noise.
Cupcake only chuckled and waved back. He watched as Bianca turned around again and walked forward, enjoying her time with her human friend. He then heard a snicker, making him look to his side and eye Isaac in curiosity. ‘What are you laughing about?’
‘Nothing-’ Although said, Isaac didn’t cease his chuckling, ‘-Cupcake.’ He then roared a hearty laugh. His front paws even tapped the thick metal plates, earning a good ‘cling-clang’ sound that resonated in unison with the train’s heavy tracks.
A long pout was pulled by the Emboar’s lower lip. ‘Laugh all you want, but I-’
‘Okay.’ Cutting him off, Isaac deliberately chortled louder.
Cupcake knew he did that just to piss him off. ‘Like I was saying,’ He gave the Samurott a good elbow on the shoulder, not enough to silence him but enough to lower Isaac’s laughter. ‘I love my name. Bianca gave it to me and my name is a sign of her caring about me.’ A snort was sulkily given. Arms crossed together and head cocked up high, Cupcake declared, ‘So if it’s anything, I’m thrilled I was given a name by my trainer.’
Although his laughter subsided, Isaac’s smile was present to hear his friend’s rant. ‘Whatever you say, Cupcake.’ He bit back another fit of giggles as the Emboar gave him a good push on the shoulder.
As the two starters enjoyed their friendly conversations, their two humans were enjoying their own as well.
Bianca’s excitement over the trains slowly decreased, bringing her to a calmer state as she walked beside White. Her eyes looked downwards. Her fingers twiddled with one another, fingernails creating little taps that was barely audible in anyone’s ears. “Hey, White?”
“Yeah, B?” White answered, unaware of her friend’s sudden soberness. Her arms were brought up and folded behind her head. Her eyes were darted forward, seeing nothing but a few humans and Pokémon walking around.
Eyes shutting momentarily and breath released through her mouth, Bianca asked, “Are you scared?”
That sort of question was expected ever since White agreed to do the task. And that sort of question was especially expected by Bianca. She kept her pace, but her arms dropped by her sides.
“Well, I would be lying if I said I’m not scared.” Her answer was given in a form of low chuckles. A pitiful smile tugged her lips. “In fact, you can say I’m scared shitless that, if you ask me again, I don’t think I can breathe properly just thinking about it.”
White knew her answer wasn’t probably the best in making Bianca feel any better. So, before the petite blonde could be in one of her famous ‘Totally-Concerned-Mother’ mode – which involved lots of panicking, thousands of questioning, and with a hint of crying – White immediately said, “But maybe that’s a good thing, ya know?” She looked at her friend, who seemed confused at her statement. “I mean, to be afraid is to realize what we’re going to face. And because of that, it helps me to be more prepared.”
Silence was Bianca’s reaction, and White wasn’t surprised about that. She eyed her again, who was now posing the silliest expression. To see such a face, she couldn’t help but laughed. “B, don’t look so shocked.”
Bianca’s baffled façade broke, instead now presented with a pout. “I’m sorry. It’s just that for a moment there, I totally thought you were Cheren in disguise.” That only made White laugh even louder.
“I’m pretty sure I have a more masculine look than your Cherry Berry.”
From behind, Cupcake could truly prove that Isaac took after his trainer as he saw White burst to a brash cackle while hitting her foot hard on the steel metal plates.
“H-h-he looks masculine sometimes!” Bianca stammered in complete abash. Her face only reddened when White’s laugh didn’t stop. And to make it even more embarrassing, it only got louder. “W-White!”
“Okay okay.” White took a deep breath as she tried to gulp down the remains of her laughs. She wrapped her arms around her aching stomach. “Cheren is just as masculine.” She turned to meet her gaze. A smirk was pulled by her lips. “That’s why you’re smitten by him.”
Oh how she loved to tease her beloved childhood friend.
“White!” Couldn’t take it anymore, Bianca shouted in embarrassment and threw little punches at her arm. “You are so mean sometimes…” Still pouting, she hid her face with her palms and looked away.
White lightly bit her lower lip, fighting back another urge to laugh in ticklish glee. “Oh and you just know about that today?” A single laugh slipped between her words. Giving Bianca a gentle pat on the head, she proceeded forward.
Bianca still followed her, but her lips were still pulled to a childish pout. Even so, she felt happy inside, knowing that White was back to her normal state. Both girls walked side by side, one happily marching while the other gave cute little tippy-tappy sounds with her shoes.
Suddenly, another question popped in her mind. “Um, White?” Bianca spoke carefully, the corner of her eye rolling to meet her face. “Can I ask you another question?” She saw as White gave a simple nod of response, all the while focusing her attention forward.
“Ask anything, B. You don’t need to ask for my permission to ask though,” White chuckled lightly to see her being rather cautious.
However, when the second the question was out, she then knew why Bianca was being cautious about it.
“Is there anything going on between you and N?”
Instantly her feet reached an immediate halt. Her fingers clenched out of reflex, then froze into mid-claws. Her head tilted an inch downwards, eyes wide and unblinking. Her body became ice. Her heart became the only organ that moved; beating, even accelerating its pace.
“You do, huh?” Bianca’s words rang louder in her ears, even swallowing the roaring sound of the speeding train.
“I…” White stopped; mouth agape and growing quite breathless. She turned to stare at her friend, who was patient for any answer – lie – that could be heard from her. “B…w-what are you talking about?” A dumbfounded laugh burst between her stammering words. But alas, Bianca didn’t return the laughter, instead pressing her lips to a stern expression.
“You know very well what I’m talking about.” Her full red lips were always perfect when in a form of a pout. Stomping one heel forward, she marched closer to her. “White, I know you very well. Even if you want to lie right now, it’s impossible and just plain mean because it’s as if you don’t trust me, your own best friend.”
White knew Bianca was trying to sell her out. And it was working.
Damn you for playing the best friend card. A long, exasperated sigh whooshed off White’s mouth. One hand moved to her hair, fingers untangling the rough lines. “Well…” She didn’t even know where to start. All this time, White had been avoiding the topic with anyone, even Cheren – even her Pokémon. But with Bianca, she knew there was no way out. “What do you wanna know?” Her eyes darted forward, not intending to meet Bianca’s anytime soon.
“Mmm…” Bianca tapped her chin with her finger, head cocked upwards in thought. “Well, anything, I guess. I mean, when I first saw you two at Chargestone Cave, I thought you two were like super close friends or something.”
A loud, ugly snort was out from White before she knew it. “B, we were bickering like Meowths and Growlithes. How is that super close friends?”
“You always bicker with Cheren. Besides, since it’s you we’re talking about, I figured bickering is a way of communication for you.” Bianca bit back a giggle when she shot a sharp glare at her.
“Ha, ha.” White retorted, her eyes rolled to the side. But the light atmosphere quickly thickened back, waiting for her to answer such a torturing question. “Well, to be honest, he’s…” Now Arceus was just toying with her, for memories of him began swirling in her mind like a movie. “He’s…just some guy I kept bumping into during my journeys.” It hit a good cringe on her jawline when the image of them dancing on the festival burned in her brain.
“Really?” Hands clasping behind her back, Bianca bent slightly and took a peek at her face.
“Yeah,” White looked away, averting her gaze. “Really.”
Bianca regained her straight posture, though eyes still on the slightly taller girl. She sensed the change of attitude in White every time she spoke of the mysterious green-haired boy. Whether it was an act of arms waving everywhere in panic, or the sudden slow tone of her voice, she didn’t seem like herself every time that name was brought up – a name that was literally a single letter in the alphabet.
She pursed her lips, teeth nibbling the insides. “You guys had an issue, huh?”
“Heh,” was all White answered. “If the issue is him awakening a powerful dragon and basically threatening the course of the future, then yes, there was an issue between us.” Her breath was cut short when she clearly remembered how Marcus was thrown against the wall by the fiendish legendary.
A guilty frown then formed her red cherry lips. “I’m sorry about that though.” Bianca apologized meekly, head down in shame for making her sad. She then felt a soft pat on the head, causing her to look and finally return White’s gaze.
“Nah. Don’t be.” The brunette flashed a sweet smile, hand still on her little hat. The other hand gripping her satchel, she continued – ironically – comforting Bianca. “That’s just the past and shit happens.” Although said, her heart still clenched at the thought of him. Sometimes, her mind would yell at her for creating too many memories with a boy she barely even knew.
The small, fragile ounce of assurance was enough to lift the smile on Bianca’s face. “Okay then. Just remember,” She took the hand that patted her head and gripped it with hers. “If anything happens, me and Cheren will always have your back.”
Now that actually brought an honest smile on White’s face. “Thanks, B.”
As the two girls talked, the starters were also holding a conversation of their own. But, unlike their trainers, their senses were keener and sharper, enabling them to see, hear, smell, and feel any danger that could be lurking by.
Especially if that danger was cladded in black and reeked of malicious intentions.
‘Hell no.’ Isaac quickly crouched forward. His whiskers frizzled like it had been electrocuted. His lips were pulled to a low snarl, fangs gritted tightly for anyone to see.
‘Who’s that?’ Cupcake asked slowly, eyes now on the four mysterious figures that were still far if it was from a normal human’s eyesight. The figures stood still. But their presences indicated that they were waiting for someone – for them. His eyes then went to the girls, who were still unaware of the threat that was coming toward them.
‘Isaac,’ he spoke, vision still on the humans – men – in front of them. ‘Should we alert Bianca and White? Or better, should we protect them before anything bad could happen?’
Isaac didn’t look at Cupcake. ‘We need to tell White.’ Before the Emboar had time to reply, Isaac quickly dashed toward his trainer and lightly pushed White.
Realizing that Isaac was nudging her left shoulder, White turned to see the water starter, eyebrow raised on her forehead. “What’s up, boy?” Her curiosity rose as soon as she saw distress on his face. Isaac began mumbling words that she clearly didn’t understand, which still frustrated her to this day – especially since the inability to talk Pokémon made her wish she had N by her side to help.
No. Fuck that. That was highly uncalled for. For Arceus sake, stop thinking about him and think about something else for a change. Like a haircut. Haircuts are a daily thought for someone her age. Yes, let’s go with that. Haircuts.
Another nudge cut her train of thoughts, once again letting her focus back on the Formidable Pokémon. The Samurott pointed the tip of his nose to the front, signalling her to look to where he was pointing. Quietly obliging, White looked forward.
Her fingers immediately clenched to see the people she absolutely despised to see.
“Shit.” A faint curse torn between sharp breaths. Why are they here? Why the hell do they have to be here? Damn it damn it damn-
Her head immediately turned to her side, seeing none other than Bianca’s face; coated with slight confusion – completely unaware of the peril that waited for them.
“Hey B,” White smiled, quickly hiding the caution and rage that started to boil her heart. “Do you have any Pokémon that can fly?” Her hands rested on her waist, head tilting to the left in a casual manner. Isaac only observed her in puzzlement. White, what are you doing?
Cupcake, who was standing beside Bianca, also eyed White in confusion. Didn’t she see the bad guys in front of us? “Well,” He then stared at his petite trainer, who had her head looking upwards in thought. “I do have Munny to teleport me to places.” She giggled bashfully at the absence of a flyer. “Guess I got too used to that method that I don’t need a flyer.”
“Well then.” Her eyes drawn to her satchel, White slid the zipper opened and dug her hands into it. “Can you do me a favour?” She took out a small heart-shaped box and handed it to her. “You see, my mom have been asking me to buy these delicious cookies that I bought at the festival. I’ve been meaning to give it to her after I bought it, but…” A sheepish chuckle and a hand scratched the back of her head. “I don’t have any Pokémon who knows how to fly or teleport. Besides, I’m kinda busy with the whole waking up a powerful dragon and stopping a horrible future and all so…”
Bianca blinked as she explained, then gasped out and understanding, “Oh, sure! I would love to help!” A smile beamed on her face to know that she was running an errand or a favour. Bouncing at the balls of her feet, Bianca took out a Pokéball from her purse and released Munny.
“Say hi to White, Munny.” She lovingly petted the fully-evolved Musharna. Upon realizing who her trainer was talking to, Munny couldn’t help but cooed in total joy. ‘Hello White! Hello Isaac!’
“Hey there, Munny.” White greeted with a soft pat on her cheek. Isaac merely smiled without a word for his attention was still glued on the danger out front.
“You sure you don’t wanna come along?” Bianca looked at her with a pair of innocent, gleaming green eyes. “Munny can teleport at most 3 living beings. You might feel a bit dizzy when you arrive. And maybe you might puke too just like Cupcake when he first tried teleportation.” A gentle laughed escaped her cherry lips as Cupcake’s loud groan emitted from behind. “But you tend to get used to it after a few rounds.”
A rejection was in a form of a soft smile – hidden with concern that thickened every minute, knowing that Bianca was a few steps away from a clan of deceit. “Nah. Maybe another time, okay?”
“Aww…” She saw a childish moan from her, but was then immediately removed by another fit of such darling giggles. “Okay then. I’ll tell your mom you said hi, alright?” With that said, Bianca returned Cupcake back into his ball for the sake of the Mega Fire Pig Pokémon’s stomach. Her eyes went to Munny and she nodded once.
Understanding the signal, the Musharna quietly expelled purple mist from the hole on top of her head. The mist swirled around the two females, elegantly dancing and covering them from head to toe.
Before the trainer and Pokémon could disappear into thin air, White saw her wave happily in her direction. “Bye White!”
“Bye B.” White waved back, her mouth forming the whitest, widest of smiles that were meant to be seen by the people she loved.
And just like that, they were gone.
And when they did, so was her smile.
Her enthusiasm faded like the dead wind. Her smile evaporated to a thin line, tightly pursed and pressed by her teeth. Her hand stopped, fingers clenched until they rolled into trembling fists. Her electrifying blue eyes lost its caring spark, instead dimmed to one of sheer loathe and intimidation. Not a word muttering from her lips, her vision shot forward.
They were still there, unmoving in the motioning crowd and waiting for their prey – for her.
Isaac took a few steps forward. Deep inside, he was relieved that White had decided to put Bianca and the others out of harm’s way. Even in his trainer’s recklessness, she still put the wellbeing of others first. ‘What now?’ he growled despicably, head lowering in a defensive crouch and claws scraping the metal plates below him.
“Get in the ball.”
Isaac almost tripped the second he heard that. ‘What?!’ His head was thrown upwards, neck snapped to his right and eyes widened in total disbelief at White.
White didn’t return his baffled gaze. Her eyes were still on the enemies. “I said get in the ball.” She shook the empty Pokeball of his in front of him. The center of the object was basically swaying between his eyes, ready to suck the Samurott in.
‘I- No!’ Isaac barked in denial, legs automatically retreating backwards in protest.
“Isaac, listen to me.” A growl of discontent escaped her mouth. The ball in her clutches tightened.
‘Do you even see what we’re dealing with here?’ He barked and growled his argument, refusing to obey to such unbelievable orders. ‘If I’m out in the open with you, I can protect you from th-’
He froze when her voice gave a whole different tone.
“Just…please…listen to me and get in the ball…” Her head was down, eyes hidden by the visor of her cap. The ball was now shaken in her grip, fingers still pressing hard against the smooth exterior. “Please, Isaac. I know what I’m doing.” She tilted her head upwards, then turned to face the stunned starter.
A sharp, choked gasp burst from his mouth to see the expression on her face.
The rage that boiled minutes ago diminished into a puddle of woeful mush. The eyes that burned like a thousand midnight suns dimmed to fade tears. Her lips, once thinned ever so tightly by her teeth, were now shaking, parting slightly to reveal the fright that she kept from the eyes of many.
“Please…” She begged again, voice hoarse by the sob that clung to her throat. Isaac merely gaped in shock, baffled that her trainer could be so desperate in the attempt of keeping him in his ball.
Bafflement replaced by worry, he finally released a heavy, defeated sigh. ‘Fine…’ He nodded once for her understanding.
A small, brooding smile pulled the corners of her lips. Mouthing a “Thank you”, she nudged the center of the Pokéball on Isaac’s nose, thus letting him be sucked into it. Once in, White minimized the ball and strapped it on her belt. A long breath was inhaled; kept for a few seconds and then she exhaled through her mouth. Her eyes darted forward, seeing no one but the dark trio and their evil old man in a stupid-looking bathrobe.
Fists clenched by her sides, fingers pressing against the soft skin of her palms. “Here goes nothing.” With the words slurred as harsh mumbles, she took a step forward – right into the face of danger.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Hero of Truth.” Sarcasm heavily dripped as he gave three slow claps. Ghetsis watched as White approached them, his eyes filled with disgust and loathe for the young trainer. “Congratulations on obtaining the Light Stone. Truly, you must feel exhilarated to have such a life-threatening responsibly weighing on your shoulders.”
She stood still in front of them, not uttering a word. Only her face screamed a thousand words. Her head cocked upwards in complete confidence, showing no hesitance or fear of his presence.
“Not saying a word, are we?” Ghetsis shook his head as if he was disappointed in being given the cold shoulder. “Pity. Here I am waiting to hear the words of wisdom from the chosen hero herself,” he jeered with a sly grin painting his foul lips. “It seems it is true what the king has told me.”
Even with the deadpan expression, Ghetsis could see the hint of shock in her eyes at the mention of the green-haired boy.
His smile only widened. “Curious, are we? How he said to me that you are nothing but a reckless girl. Anything that comes out of your mouth is filled with lies and hopelessness.”
Her anger boiled to the highest of degrees. A breath was clogged; forcefully hold it in to prevent the scream that hurled within.
“No matter.” Ghetsis casually waved his hand, dismissing the topic as if he just asked her about the weather. “Even with the Light Stone in your grasp, it seems that you gain no reaction from it. How unfortunate.” The growing length of his smile told the exact opposite of what he was saying.
Still, her lips were sealed shut. White let him deride her openly. She let him mock her in an attempt to rile her into frustration. Her body still shook, but she hid it with the tight clenches of her fists.
“What’s important now is that our king has revived the legendary Zekrom.” He laughed boastfully. “And once the world has seen the powers of what the king obtains, no trainer will have the power to resist us! It all goes as how I- we’ve planned.” He clapped once, the sound resonating into the clear blue sky. “First, a few gullible trainers will release their Pokémon due to the pressure. Then that number will become a hundred, then a thousand... “
She could actually hear the excitement that came out of his dirty mouth. “In no time, even the gym leaders and the champion will become unable to fight us. Having a Pokémon will be considered a bad thing!” He laughed again, ignoring the stares of passers-by around him. The Shadow Triad stood in silence; their faces empty from any form of emotion. White remained quiet as well, but her face was far from showing impassiveness.
And her very little patience she had finally dried up when Ghetsis sneered, “Even people like the sad little Bianca, whose Pokémon was stolen in Castelia, will be unable to face public opinion and will release their Pokémon! That's the kind of world we'll make!” He cackled raucously, his hands raised and head thrown backwards.
Her eyes were round as plates. Her pupils dilated. Rage took over her body from head to toe. Her arms trembled terribly, nails digging into the skin of her palms. “F-fuck…you…”
He kept laughing, unaware of the curse that slipped off her tongue.
Finally, unable to take it anymore, White shot a deadly glare at Ghetsis. “FUCK YOU!”
Well, that enabled him to shut up. “What did you say, child?” Ghetsis fumed, teeth now grinding to prevent the shriek that gurgled inside.
“Don’t you dare degrade Bianca! Don’t you dare mock her or any of my friends and family, you stupid dick!” White screamed at his face without any shame or fear. Rationalization slowly slipping from her brain, she pointed a finger at him and added, “And another thing, you can tell your stupid king that I will awaken Reshiram, and even though I’m reckless-” The word was acidly spat out like poison. “-I will stop him and I can stop him! And there’s nothing you can do about it!!” Her right foot slid forward, but her left gave a loud, stern stomp that shook the metals below them.
Sensing the threat that she was giving, the Shadow Triad assumed their positions; body lightly crouched and hands ready to reach out for their shuriken.
While for Ghetsis, he couldn’t believe the girl would suddenly snap out of the blue. “You think I cannot stop you?” He also couldn’t help but to laugh at the impossible possibility. “Child, you are definitely reckless and foolish. Of course I can stop y-”
“I said shut the fuck up, you fuckin’ dirtbag!!”
He was baffled that a human being not only cut him off, but ridiculed him in public with such rude words. “What did you s-”
“I said shut up-” She took another step forward, toes curled inside her shoes. “-shut up SHUT UP!”
“ENOUGH!” Ghetsis bellowed, now growing angrier.
“NO!” Unfortunately, White screamed back. “Fuck you! I don’t need this! I don’t need that stupid king of yours! And you-” She pointed again, right arm stretched directly at his face. “-better shut your trap coz you’re an idiot who’s going to go down and I will, oh I swear I will fucking stop you, you stupid. Mindless. Old. HAG!!!”
The second that order was given, the Shadow Triad reacted in a heartbeat.
In a blink of an eye, White suddenly felt her arms being gripped and pulled tightly. “What the-” She looked left and right, then gasped silently to see two ninjas standing between her. “Hey, let go!” She tried to struggle, but their holds were proven tight like a lock. It was worse when White couldn’t even reach her belt. “I said let go me go, you stupid-”
And just like that, her voice drowned in silence, for all five of them disappeared out of thin air.
The first second, she knew she was in Tubeline Bridge. The next, she felt her brain going dizzy and her stomach hurling in nausea. And then finally, she felt her body being roughly thrown backwards, her good shoulder hitting against a big tree. “Ow!” White hissed in pain, one hand went to her swollen shoulder and the other touching the bloody wound that decorated her left thigh.
Suddenly, she heard a sound of a Pokéball popping and saw something bright through closed eyes.
Next, she heard a fierce growl, one that sounded too close for comfort.
White opened her eyes and looked forward – only to see a huge Hydreigon hovering three feet away from her.
“W-what…” She stuttered voicelessly, mouth then hanging in complete stupor. Her eyes were drilled into the Brutal Pokémon’s hungry glare. His fangs were flashed before her face, drool dripping from his mouth as Hydreigon growled darkly.
She heard a laugh. “To be honest, at first I was thinking of sparing your life so you can ‘battle’ against the king, just to amuse him.” He mocked and spat at the thought. “But you leave me no choice. It is your fault to be born a brute. You shouldn’t have riled me.” Three slow ‘tsk’ sounds were given as well as a shake of his head. White remained motionless; rendered speechless as she gaped at the Pokémon.
His triad stood around their master, showing neither sympathy nor amusement at her oncoming death. Ghetsis ceased his laughter, but his smile lingered as he stared at White.
“How pitiful that the king couldn’t battle the Hero of Truth. And he was so excited for it too,” he chuckled sickly. “Oh well, I’ll be sure to give him the sad news.” He slowly raised his right hand, ready to give an order to his waiting Hydreigon.
“How ironic that the Hero of Truth, the possessor of Reshiram whose mastery is fire-” His smile grew wider. “-dies in a fire.”
With a bloodthirsty roar, Hydreigon lifted his head and exhaled a scorching gust of flames.