Chapter 12: Dark Petal Dance
Fan Fiction inspired by Pokemon
Rating: Young Adult
I waited in the hospital lobby for Brian to recover. In the meantime, I used the video phone to call someone back in Celadon City.
“Greetings, Lady Erika,” I said over the video transceiver.
Erika was dressed casually today because it was Tuesday. Poetry class never required kimonos, except for senior officers instructing it, of course.
“Oh, Shu-chan, I keep telling you to drop the formalities,” she said. “Just call me Erika.”
“Forgive me, ma’am. How are you and the girls doing at the gym?”
“Everything has gone very well. No trainers have challenged me lately, which gives the girls more space to focus on their talents in each of our classes. We do miss your Vileplume in the battle training class, though. How are things on your end, Professor?”
“Yes, about that. I will actually be returning shortly from my trip.”
“Have you already found what you needed?”
“No unfortunately. Something else came up, so I had to come back home immediately.”
There was so much I wanted to tell her, but I did not want to make her worry so much. I held back as much detail as I could.
“I will also have a boy with me, so could you please just let me lay low for a bit while I’m back in town?”
“Of course not, Shu-chan! You know that the girls and I enjoy your company. Besides, you’ve been gone for so many months now and we’ve missed you. If the boy is up to it, he can join us so long as he doesn’t disturb the girls’ activities.”
“Certainly, I’ll come by when I can.”
I paused and stared at the video display blankly, lost in thought about all the recent events that have happened to me so far.
“Shu-chan, is something else on your mind?” asked Erika.
I guess there was no use in hiding it. I recalled some of the events that happened to me earlier.
“I saw it,” I said. “The dark petal dance technique.”
Erika smiled in astonishment, but she had also read my grim expression and grew solemn.
“A Vileplume with the dark petal dance technique? I haven’t seen one of those in years.”
“Yes, and this one was controlled by a very powerful trainer.”
The dark petal dance technique is called such because violet or black petals appear from the petal dance attack. The Vileplume that uses this attack looks exactly like other Vileplumes, and there is no way to tell the difference between one with or without the technique, even as a Gloom or an Oddish. Finding a Vileplume like this is extremely rare and up to chance alone and cannot be learned by practice; it can only be done if the technique was given to the Vileplume at evolution or at birth, but no researcher has found solid evidence for either case. What they do know, however, is that a Vileplume with the dark petal dance technique is at least five times stronger than a normal Vileplume.
“The last time I saw such a Vileplume, I was but a little girl,” said Erika. “I only saw it in a dream, but I remember it so vividly, and how beautiful its petals were in comparison to the typical pink petals a normal Vileplume would produce.”
“That may be, Erika, but this one is real, and it was truly terrifying. My Vileplume fought with it and had no chance against any of its abilities. I fear that I may have to face that Vileplume again someday.”
“You could always use one of your pokémon with a type advantage, like your Skarmory.”
“Maybe you’re right, but I don’t want to; or rather, Vileplume wouldn’t want to. She’s very competitive, you know. This is her fight, and I want to give her the tools to take on the Vileplume on equal grounds.”
Erika smiled cheerfully as she put her hands together.
“You trust your Vileplume so much,” said Erika. “And that is why she puts her trust in you. I was right to choose her as your partner after you completed the senior member exam.”
“Of course, Erika. I know that all too well.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A few days passed after the incident with Jared and Machoke. Lady Erika asked me to speak with her in private to discuss some of my options, now that the Pokémon League would not occur for quite some time.
“I’m surprised, Shu-chan,” said Erika. “After the Pokémon League, I was sure you would go off to train for the next tournament like Amy has. And yet here I find you lounging around at the gym almost everyday. Have you decided to refine your tea serving skills again? Or maybe take another class here?”
“With all due respect, Lady Erika–”
“Please, just call me Erika.”
“Right. I’ve been thinking that I want to do something else with my life.”
“Really now? That sounds wonderful! What are you thinking?”
I did not want to see another trainer act like that again to a pokémon. Especially not a champion, one whom others look up to like a hero.
“I’m thinking that I would like to go back to school, actually.”
Erika looked at me inquisitively with a surprised look on her face.
“That’s interesting. Most people your age enjoy the freedom they get from being a pokémon trainer, never having to think about school again. Why the sudden change, Shu-chan?”
“I want to work hard and study to become a teacher. An adviser. You know, someone who can make a difference in the lives of others.”
“I like that idea, Shu-chan. But why the sudden change in your goals?”
I looked down as I thought about what had been happening so quickly.
“Amy has gone to train her pokémon for the next tournament. Nathan has decided to travel west to compete in the Johto League championships. Mei, of course, is starting her journey pretty soon as well, I think.”
“Mei? You must mean Mei Jia. She never told me what her plans were ever since she became a senior gym member.”
I forgot that Mei does not like when she is called that among others. Still, she lets me call her that. That made me feel a little special.
“Regardless, I feel as though my friends are doing great things because they have a dream. I wish I had that dream too, but I fear that I might end up just like Jared, the last champion. I just couldn’t bear the thought that I would want to hurt my pokémon just to earn the title of Pokémon Master. And then I realized that Nathan is following in his footsteps. I want to prevent that from happening. I want to protect him, but in my own way, for his sake.”
“And so you decided to pursue teaching to inspire a new generation to be better trainers?”
“I want to make it so that people and pokémon can understand each other at a much deeper level. Just like Gloom and I have done after training for so long.”
I stroked my Gloom’s head, as she had sat next to me. Erika paused and gathered her own thoughts.
“It’s a mysterious yet beautiful thing, isn’t it? The lives of people, despite their individuality, would choose to live their lives for the sake the ones they love and cherish. It is for this reason that I remained a pokémon trainer at your age and became Celadon City’s gym leader. I wanted to teach young girls the value of traditional methods, not because it is part of my history, but because the fundamentals that are learned from refining oneself are the most important lessons of all. And here you are, going down a different path for this same goal, or shall I say, ambition.”
“You’re not making a lot of sense,” I said as I got lost in her prose. “Since when does making tea refine a person?”
Erika took a closed fan in her hand and smacked the topside of my head with it. The sting wasn’t nearly as painful as all the pounding fists I used to get, but I reacted to it the same way out of habit.
“Serving tea is an art form that allows the recipient to enjoy it with all five senses,” she said. “I went over it during the tea ceremony class several times!”
I stayed silent until Erika managed to calm herself down before I continued our conversation.
“Anyway, I know that maintaining my pokémon while going to school and studying for colleges later on will be difficult. I already released most of them to the wild.”
“That’s a shame. But it looks like Gloom has remained faithful to you?”
“She wouldn’t leave me, even if I tried to let her go, Erika. She’s become very attached to me, and it would be very lonely for me to try and study without a good friend along the way. My Poliwag also gets along very well with her, more than any of my other pokémon. I decided to keep him too, so she wouldn’t get so lonely.”
Erika smiled warmly.
“You have such a beautiful soul, Shu-chan. You may deny it sometimes and try to find an easy way out, but you are very kind to your friends and to your pokémon, and you always consider their needs before your own. This is a wonderful trait, but it can also be very dangerous to your well-being. Just be careful as you continue your journey in education, okay Shu-chan?”
I bowed to Erika and thanked her.
“Well, so long as you’re studying, Shu-chan, I recommend that you take another class at the gym as well to refine your skills,” said Erika. “I think poetry would be the best fit for you.”
“Of course, Erika,” I said. “Please don’t let the girls hate me this time.”
“You don’t have to worry about that,” she assured me. “We never have.”