Chapter 7: Memories of Celadon
Fan Fiction inspired by Pokemon
Rating: Young Adult
It happened in Celadon, seventeen years ago. That is when I met Nathan; or rather, that is when he met me.
Nathan was the coolest of all the boys. He got good grades in school, he was athletic, it was even rumored that he had already been selected as a member of some pokémon gym. Not Celadon Gym, of course. Ever since Lady Erika became the leader, only girls were allowed to be members of that gym. Nonetheless, some of the boys and I from our elementary school loved to play around in the city once we got out of school. Naturally, Nathan was our leader.
“Hurry up, guys! This way!” said Nathan.
We ran toward the Celadon Gym. Since we were naïve children who have not hit puberty yet, we were planning to sneak a peak at the girls.
“Oh, I’m gonna love watching all those girls battle,” squealed one of the boys.
“I’m wanna see what they wear at the gym!” said another.
“Then let’s get going, faster!” shouted Nathan. “I know of a really good hiding spot just outside the garden.”
“I heard today some of the girls are basking in the sunlight in their swimsuits,” grinned another boy.
“You know they’ll be lying outside,” said another.
About seven boys, including myself, followed Nathan to the coveted hiding spot. We arrived at our destination: the gardens outside of Celadon Gym. Around it were some tall, dark green hedges, thick enough to keep people out.
“Over here,” whispered Nathan, leading the way. “Single file, and don’t make a sound.”
I headed into the hedges first and five other boys followed. Nathan took the rear. We crept around the hedges, carefully making sure we didn’t say or do anything that would startle the girls. At the end of the path, we reached a wall where we could no longer crawl around. There was a small opening in the hedge in this corner of the garden, but enough for all seven of us to see what was going on at the gym. I peeked through the hedges.
It was poetry day. The girls were outside writing, humming, even meditating as they communicated their feelings to words. Most of the girls wore their school uniforms, since school was out and they came to the gym immediately after. Some of the older girls who did not have to go to school were dressed in yukata, worn beautifully on such smooth skin.
The other boys gawked and sighed.
“Maybe not swimsuits, but those girls are definitely cute,” said one of them.
“Hey, keep it down or they’ll hear us,” warned our leader.
Then one of the boys let out a sneeze. Everyone, including the girls in the garden, froze in place.
“Who’s there?” said one of the older girls. Without giving any more thought, Nathan dashed away from the hedges and back the way we came.
“Let’s follow him,” said one of the boys in a panicked whisper.
We all fled the scene in a frenzied rush. As I tried to move ahead with them, one of the boys pushed me back. I fell to the ground, butt-first, making a small, but loud utterance of pain. I covered my mouth and stopped moving, but it was inevitable. I knew that I was caught.
“Ivysaur, use vine whip to catch that intruder!” shouted the senior girl.
She released a terrifying lizard-like grass pokémon with a small flower bud growing on its back. The Ivysaur extended its vines from its back and used them to grab me. It raised me from the hedges above the garden and released me high in the air. I screamed as the pokémon dropped me from about two meters to the ground!
I hit the lush lawn of the gardens. Despite being softer than I had expected, I still made some embarrassing noises from aches, kneeling face down on the ground. A shadow that grew in size came closer to me. I couldn’t move.
“You there, who are you?” asked another angry girl.
I stuttered in fear and in pain. “Shuichi Oda, ma’am,” I stuttered in fear.
“Well Oda-kun, you should know this is an all-girls pokémon gym. The only boys allowed here are challenging trainers and members of Lady Erika’s family. You, of course, are neither one!”
I cringed without even looking at the girl. Her voice and tone alone scared me.
“Tell me, what were you and your friends doing in our garden?” she questioned again.
“They were peeping!” said one of the younger girls.
“Yeah! Those filthy boys would do anything to see us!” said another.
As the other girls continued bickering and suspecting what we were doing, I assumed a kneeling position. My parents taught me that if I appeared formal and balanced, I would be taken seriously.
“It’s true, those boys wanted to peep on you,” I began, “because you are all so pretty. But I came along with them for a different reason.”
“Oh really?” said the first girl who found me. “Then why did you come here?”
I bowed in my kneeling position as low as I could possibly go. My waist felt tight and my butt still hurt from the fall earlier; but I had to say something.
“I came because I want to join your gym!” I lied desperately, hoping that my punishment would not be as harsh.
The girls grew silent. They couldn’t believe what I had said. The second senior girl acted astonished.
“And what makes you think you, a boy, can just become a member of an all-girls gym?”
I carefully thought about my answer. Then I remained staring at the ground while kneeling as I spoke.
“My mother works at a cafe in the department store. She’s famous for making delicious sweet tea for their customers. I heard that there is a tea ceremony class at the Celadon Gym, so I thought I could learn how to make delicious sweet tea, too!”
“Is that so?” said a much calmer, more radiant voice in the crowd.
The girls stepped back and made a path for her. I turned my head up, just to see who it was.
Lady Erika. The heir to the wealthiest family in Celadon. She wore a bright golden kimono with a red obi. Her sandals appeared heavy, but she stepped lightly and gracefully. She was slender and, if I do say so myself, still underdeveloped. A red headband protected her poised face from her silk-smooth black hair and occasional perspiration. She was only 16 years old, and at the time, she was the youngest gym leader in the Kanto region. I expected her to scold me after that display of angry girls, but she gave a warm smile to me instead. I knelt straight up again, continuing to show perfect posture to the girls’ leader.
“I know of your mother,” she said. “She does make delicious tea. Mrs. Oda must really know how to brew it, and you wanted to learn how to make it too, didn’t you?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said, tightening my chest.
“Well I’m sure you’re aware that the tea made in tea ceremonies is very different from the tea your mother makes, right? It’s green tea and it’s not very sweet at all.”
“But it’s delicious, isn’t it?”
“Why would you want to learn to do the tea ceremony here then?” she asked, changing the subject.
“Because I like delicious tea! I especially like drinking it!”
One of the senior girls leaned over to Erika’s ear.
“You do realize he’s probably making this up,” she said. “He’s wearing the same uniform as that boy who’s been spying on us. Besides, I thought this was supposed to be an all-girls’ gym. Where is your dignity?”
Erika shook her head and waved the senior member away. Then she walked toward me and patted my head.
“That’s a great idea,” said Erika with a charming smile. “Shuichi was it?”
I was surprised. Lady Erika, the gym leader, was willing to accept me?
“Alright, Shu-chan. As of today, you are a junior member of the Celadon Gym. You will be enrolled in our tea ceremony class which is held every Thursday after school gets out. Be here punctually, please.”
The girls gasped in surprise. I was just as surprised as they were. I did not think the gym leader would be so cool. I did not think she would accept me even though I was peeping with the others. I did not think she would address me informally so easily either.
“But Erika, why would you just let him join so quickly and without question?” asked one of the girls.
“Because I think it’s wonderful that a boy would finally have the desire to learn how to do what we do,” said Erika. “Besides, we need a boy’s perspective on how well you girls make your tea. Cindy, please escort Shu-chan to the exit and give him the paperwork for his parents to sign.”
The first senior girl I had encountered acknowledged Erika and helped me up from the ground. I brushed myself off from the excessive dirt that was caked onto my clothes. Mom is not going to be too happy about that. And dad is probably not going to be too happy that I joined a girl’s pokémon gym. Guess I’ll get an earful when I get home.
“Give your parents my regards, Shu-chan,” said Erika as I passed by. “You know, you’re kind of small for someone your age.”
“Yeah, and you’re kind of flat for someone as old as you.”
The girls grew silent again. Cindy and I stopped in our tracks before we headed toward the door back into the gym. Erika kept a calm, poised face, while holding back a great deal of anger as her face turned as red as her headband. And in just a second, she pounded my head with a strong fist! I could not believe such power came from such a small, almost fragile girl. I held my head and screamed in pain. Her smile, once calm and beautiful, changed into the wrathful countenance of an ogre.
“Watch your mouth, boy, or I will kill you myself!” said Erika.
“Shall we just let him go and not join the gym after all?” asked Cindy calmly.
“No!” interrupted Erika. “I will teach this boy proper manners or kill him trying!”
And that was how I became a member of the Celadon Gym.