Chapter 18: “Who Knows Me Better than Anyone Else”
Fan fiction inspired by Pokemon
Rating: Young Adult
Jun and I stood facing each other with only six meters between us. Jun’s posture went from a slouching, lazy appearance to the perfect upright position. I grinned, knowing that he finally showed his true colors.
“We will battle with one pokémon each,” I said. “The match will last only two minutes on my watch. Winner is determined when the other pokémon is unable to battle before time is up. If they’re both still able to fight after two minutes, then it’s a draw.”
“Fair enough,” said Jun. “So what do I get if I win?”
“The pride of a pokémon trainer, naturally, and the pride of one’s way as a college student. I will be choosing Vileplume for this battle. She’s my pride and joy, after all.”
Vileplume stood in front of me, ready to fight.
“Then I will choose my pride and joy also.”
Jun released his pokémon: an Absol. The pokémon crouched on all fours, with glistening white fur complementing his blackened face. A single bladed horn reflected the sun into Vileplume’s eyes.
I took a glance at my watch. The second hand reached zero, and the match had begun.
“Vileplume, use stun spore!” I commanded.
Vileplume released a shower of spores in the air in an attempt to paralyze her enemy. The enemy Absol rushed away from the radial attack as Jun planned his move.
“Absol, taunt her!” shouted Jun.
Absol let out a screeching howl and growled, provoking Vileplume. Vileplume stopped her attack and proceeded by charging at Absol directly.
“Perfect, now dodge that Vileplume with double team,” Jun said with his next command.
Absol moved at a much faster rate, leaving Vileplume confused when her opponent would be open for an attack.
“Vileplume, stop moving for a second!” I shouted.
Vileplume obeyed, knowing exactly what I was thinking. Absol still ran around Vileplume at blinding speed, creating afterimages of himself.
“Stay on guard, Absol,” said Jun. “They’re planning something, I’m sure. Slash her head!”
Absol jumped high in the air and aimed for Vileplume’s flowery head. Vileplume bent backward to look up since her petals blocked her upper peripheral vision. The Absol had an advantage over my Vileplume, and yet it was perfect timing for me.
“Vileplume, grab him now!” I commanded.
Vileplume reached between her petals and moved them aside. The moment Absol tried to slash Vileplume’s head, she got a hold of his claw and parried the attack. Jun stood amazed, but kept on his guard.
“Excellent, now use petal dance!” I shouted.
Vileplume threw Absol on the ground and began to pummel her opponent violently while shooting pink petals at him.
A crowd of other college students gathered around us as we continued to battle, whispering to each other in confusion. None of them could have possibly known who I was, but I guess they didn’t really know who Jun was either. He didn’t look like the kind of student who would make himself noticeable at school. Still, however, they were excited to see a pokémon battle unfold on their campus.
Once Vileplume finished off her angry rage, she was more confused than she was provoked. I congratulated her by tossing her a Persim Berry. She caught and swallowed it, instantly alleviating any dizziness.
“Absol, bite her while you have the chance!” commanded Jun.
Absol rushed in and bit Vileplume’s petals. Vileplume screamed in pain. She was unable to shake him off.
“Vileplume, recover from him using giga drain,” I said.
Vileplume gathered energy from the Absol that made contact with her. Absol’s energy had gotten weaker as Vileplume refreshed herself to continue battling. Still, however, Absol was willing to fight.
“Absol, slash your opponent again!” said Jun.
Absol took a swipe at Vileplume’s face, making a direct hit. Vileplume covered her eyes in pain, but continued to stand without disappointing her trainer. I noticed that Absol’s horn reflected on his opponent. I looked at my watch again. Only fifteen seconds left on the match. I had an idea to finish off this battle.
“Stand fast, Vileplume,” I said.
Absol continued to charge at his opponent, horn still facing Vileplume’s petals. Jun shrugged, assuming that I had passed the time idly as time was running out, yet he still knew that something was going on. Vileplume continued to stand still, taking a few tackles while absorbing the light reflecting from Absol’s horn. Five seconds left.
“Now, Vileplume, use solar beam!” I shouted.
Vileplume aimed the pistil on her head toward Absol and fired a violent ray of sunlight. Jun hesitated for his final move.
“Absol, dod–” but he couldn’t utter the words.
He noticed that more people circled around our match and didn’t want to hurt any of them because of it. Absol charged straight into the solar beam and got hit directly with it. Time was up.
Absol had been severely injured and unable to battle, right as the second hand on my watch hit the two-minute mark. Vileplume stopped her attack and relaxed as I stepped in the middle of the battle field we had just created. Jun walked toward Absol and patted his fur.
“Good job, boy,” he said. “Have some milk. You deserve it.”
Jun grabbed a bottle of milk and a saucer from his bag. As he poured the milk into the saucer, the injured Absol licked it. Vileplume, who was considerably healthier, walked toward us and grabbed my hand. I looked at her as she nodded to me in approval. I gave my Vileplume a thumbs up in agreement.
“That was a great battle, Jun,” I said as I put out my hand for him.
Jun obliged and shook it.
“You’re something else, Shuichi,” he said to me. “I can see why my cousin’s wife talks about you so much. She always told me that I should be more like this Shuichi guy who was studying at the University in Saffron. Now I see why.”
“You, be like me?” I shook my head. “No way, I’m actually impressed. I thought you were one of those college shut-ins, but I was wrong. You’re pretty sharp as a pokémon trainer.”
Jun shrugged, not knowing how to take my compliment. He sighed and returned to a slouching position.
“Well I still lost. I can’t keep up with such skill. Absol is my favorite pokémon. I kept him even after I stopped being an active trainer in order to pursue my college degree. Now I realize that you are better than me at both training and school.”
“That may be, but you still have to try your best to finish up, Jun. By the way, why are you in college in the first place?”
Jun continued to rub Absol’s fur.
“It’s simple, really,” he said. “I want to do something better for me and for Absol. When I first entered the Hoenn Pokémon League, I lost in the very first round. I was too scared to see my pokémon get hurt at such a competitive event, so one day, I just stopped training them. I released many of my pokémon, but Absol wouldn’t leave me, so I kept him around and continued to train him on my days off, so he wouldn’t get hurt as easily. I don’t like seeing people or pokémon get hurt, you know?”
“That’s why you wouldn’t let Absol dodge the solar beam, right?” I asked.
“With so many of my classmates around, I couldn’t risk them getting hurt because of our battle,” said Jun. “I don’t know them very well, but they’re still very important, if not to me, then to someone in this world. Absol’s the one who knows me better than anyone else, so he didn’t bother to dodge either. He took the blow without question. If we battled in a place where no one was around, I guarantee that wouldn’t have been the case.”
As Absol finished his milk, Jun picked up the empty saucer and held it high as he stretched his arms out.
“Anyway, I realized that I could learn to do something else with my life in college so I can help other people. That’s why I enrolled here at the University of Pokémon Studies in Slateport.”
“That’s a very noble ideal you’ve got there,” I smiled. “I guess I should tell you why I’m here then.”
Jun listened intently as he stood up straight again. He must have forgotten why I was here in the first place. He probably thought I came just out of the blue to meet and battle with him.
“There’s a person I’d like you to meet,” I said. “She’s a gym leader in my hometown, Celadon City. She’s asked me to help her look for a man to be her husband someday.”
“You don’t beat around the bush, do you?” he smirked.
I handed him a picture of Erika.
“I was never very good at sugar coating things. I’ve gotten a lot of poundings by the girls at the gym because of it.”
Jun and I laughed together awkwardly. He studied the picture for a while, as if seriously thinking about the proposal.
“She is pretty cute,” he said. “How old is she anyway?”
“She’s twenty-four now,” I said.
“A year older than me, huh,” Jun said, scratching his head. “Never would’ve guessed. What makes you think she’ll like a guy like me? Kosuke and Irene have been sick of me for being such a freeloader already.”
I smiled warmly. “Don’t worry about it, Jun. She will.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Jun came to visit Celadon City a weekend later. When I escorted him to meet with Erika, he felt extremely nervous. I almost wanted to punch him, but Erika wouldn’t have liked that. After all, I was normally the one being punched.
Then Jun came into contact with Erika. Their eyes met immediately and could not turn away.
I bowed formally to Erika and introduced her to Jun.
“Lady Erika, this is–”
Erika smacked my forehead with a closed fan in her hand.
“Not now, Shu-chan, I know who he is.”
“That Shuichi of yours is quite a good man,” said Jun. “I hope I may be as worthy of you as he is.”
“Who, Shuichi? No way, he’s terrible! I keep him around because he has such a funny face and I remember the first time he met us. I caught him peeping on the girls back then. It was hilarious!”
Erika and Jun laughed. Clearly they were making fun of me, so I felt out of the loop. Regardless though, the two hit it off pretty well and had started dating over the next year and a half when the two had time. Despite not having to look for any more suitable husbands for the time being, Erika continued to pay me a stipend and part of my semester tuition while doing other jobs for her, like filing papers for the Trainers Association or helping with the tea ceremony and poetry classes.
Erika and Jun got married after they had dated for a while. I was twenty-one years old and in my last semester in the undergraduate route at the university. But I didn’t attend the wedding at all, even though it was on a weekend. That day, I had to visit Mei Jia.