Chapter 23: “Ready to Share Her Life with You”
Fan Fiction inspired by Pokemon
Rating: Young Adult
I spent the next few weeks training to be a pokémon warlord while still fulfilling my duties to protect Brian. Due to this whole Prof. Sakura incident, I felt it was unwise to try and continue research. Any attempts at experimentation can and will be used against me if the Board of Professors ever tried to investigate my involvement in the case. I decided to help train Brain instead.
“Emolga, attack Muk with discharge!” commanded Brian.
Emolga obeyed and let out a terrifying wave of electricity which hit my Muk directly. Muk endured in this battle since he was used to defensive tactics; but still, it would take a long time to make him use offensive moves without my command.
It’s like Erika said: most pokémon warriors only had one or two vassals. Vileplume has always been fine with me not having to tell her what to do all the time, but Muk was very different. Muk normally doesn’t respond to me unless I am direct and authoritative. Muk has always shown kindness to my other pokémon, but if I ever showed kindness to him, he saw it as either my weakness or pity for him. Of the four pokémon I had, he was definitely the most like me: proud, protective, but most of all, very stubborn.
“Muk, fire a sludge bomb at Emolga,” I said.
Muk let out a ball of sludge, which Emolga had dodged using double team.
“Now Emolga, hit him with an electro ball,” said my opponent.
Emolga let loose a frenzied ball of thunder and threw it at Muk. Muk’s energy was consumed by such a quick force and was no longer able to battle. Admitting my own defeat, I returned Muk. Brian cheered as his Emolga flew around him in circles, happily.
“It’s about time I finally beat you, Prof. Ginkgo!” he said joyously.
“Based on the type advantage and my current four pokémon, using Muk was perhaps the smartest option for me,” I calculated. “However, this has proven that your bond with Emolga has gotten stronger than my bond with Muk. This is quite a milestone in your training with him.”
“That, and I think Emolga’s gotten a lot stronger. I have you to thank for that, Professor.”
Brian laughed for the first time since I had met him. I know that Muk had lost due to my inexperience as a trainer, but I was not sad at all. To see Brian and his pokémon with so much joy and trust in each other; this must be the satisfaction a pokémon professor experiences as he takes a young trainer in as a student.
“We’ll let Emolga rest up for a bit. Next time we’ll have him challenge Vileplume again.”
“No way, Professor. Emolga softens up against her and I don’t even know why. Besides, that Vileplume is really strong. I might have to become the Pokémon League champion before I can have a one-on-one match against her!”
Moments like these were very happy times, despite Brian’s and my current situation.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Unlike matches with Brian, warrior training on Sundays always felt different. Each day she and I would spar, my Vileplume and I versus Erika and her Tangela. My other pokémon were not willing to be vassals of mine yet and thankfully, neither were Erika’s. Either way, I always had them all on standby in case any one of us got hurt.
Tangela pushed me to the ground one more time as Erika pulled back one more arrow at me, point blank! I admitted defeat by dropping my weapon and Vileplume had rested from her combat position. Both of us knew that I would be killed if either of us made any sudden movements that would provoke a veteran warrior.
“That’s your fifth loss today, Shu-chan,” said Erika. “Let’s break for lunch.”
One of the attendants provided some sort of meal for plants like Vileplume and Tangela as Erika and I ate in her den. The attendant had already prepared boxed lunches for us. Erika forgot to provide something to drink, so she asked me to serve us some green tea. She hadn’t tasted my tea in a long time, and I hadn’t made tea since my days as a clerk at the department store café. Nonetheless, I stirred some green tea for the both of us.
“Your recipe and technique are excellent as always, Shu-chan,” said Erika as she sipped her cup.
I nodded with gratitude. That was probably the first compliment I’ve heard from her since she began my warrior training.
“You told me once that making tea is an art that expresses one’s feelings for another,” I said. “I couldn’t possibly forget such feelings after all those years.”
“Oh, please don’t flatter me,” said Erika. “You know I’m married now.”
“But your husband is never home. Jun’s always been so wrapped up in working that he takes business trips all the time.”
Erika sighed. “That’s true, but still, I will love him. Besides, even if I didn’t, you would never satisfy me as his replacement.”
“That’s disappointing, yet disturbing at the same time,” I muttered.
“Speaking of love, I don’t think you’ve ever told me whether you have decided to settle down, now that you’re back in Celadon City for a while.”
I nearly choked on my food.
“Erika, you know I don’t have time for such trivial matters. Not when I have to watch out for Brian now. Besides, I still have–”
“Yes, I know. You still have feelings for her, don’t you? Tell me, what was Mei Jia to you anyway?”
I paused to think about it, and then I spoke.
“She may have been quite a handful when she was younger, but she was kind, beautiful, and she had this warm aura around her, even ’til her death. There isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about what it would be like if I was still with her and she with me. In short, Mei was the love of my life.”
I shoveled a little more food in my mouth, still thinking about Mei.
“I never even got a chance to confess my love to her. Tell me, Erika, did you know how Mei felt about me?”
Erika smiled as she put down her chopsticks.
“Even at such a young age, Mei Jia was ready to share her life with you. Even if your physical appearances changed drastically, even if you decided to love another girl, even if you denounced her as a friend, she wanted to remain by your side. In my thirty-three years of wisdom and experience, I have never felt a stronger love than hers for you.”
“At such a young age? How long ago?”
“Perhaps the very first time she poured tea for you in our class. Couldn’t you tell? All the other girls tasted the bitterness of the contents she had placed because they were still immature in experiencing the love and art that goes into making tea. And yet you tasted the most perfect tea despite the physical ingredients found in your cup.”
“Yes, but I didn’t appreciate the love and art in tea making back then either. My technique was terrible.”
Erika gently smiled and rested her hands on her lap while looking in another direction.
“Love is a strange thing, isn’t it, Shu-chan? It transcends its feelings to even the most ignorant of us to convey the message of the one who wants to share it. It is the most powerful idea that crosses language and cultural borders, and yet can fade away in an instant in our very lives.”
I listened in awe of Erika’s words. She was always so profound.
“And don’t worry about not being able to confess your love to you after all these years, Shu-chan. The truth is, you never had to. Your actions and your kind spirit say it for you. Trust me, she could tell.”
“I guess you’re right. She always thought of me as her ginkgo, even before I became a pokémon professor and used that as my alias.”
“The ginkgo tree is a very special symbol of beauty and love to Mei Jia,” said Erika. “Do you remember that pendant she gave you during the senior member exam?”
“The chain broke off and could no longer fit around my neck. I converted it to a lapel pin and keep it on the left shirt pocket of my lab coat, which is hanging at home right now.”
“Mei Jia told me that the pendant was made to remind her of the peaceful times she had during her childhood, long before she was taken away from her abusive parents and lived with Amy’s family. When the time came, she figured you would find the same strength and resilience in it as she did. It seems that remains true, even now.”
“So that’s why Cindy prepared Ginkgo no kusari just for me? But I thought such weaponry took years to craft.”
“Cindy’s father actually worked on designing Ginkgo no kusari almost eight years ago, intending it for Mei Jia to use. Unfortunately her father, my uncle, passed away before he could start working with the metal itself and I’m sure you already know what happened to Mei Jia. Even so, Mei Jia asked me one very specific request the last time I spoke with her.”
I listened to Erika attentively, for clarity more than curiosity, among other things.
“She wanted to still be with you even after her death, protecting you on your journey through life. I saw no other way fit to answer that request for her than by having Cindy create the weapon her father designed, originally intended for Mei Jia, so that you would be able to use it. So long as you hold Ginkgo no kusari in your hands, Shu-chan, she will always be with you.”
I glanced at the item ball on the floor next to me, holding inside it the weapon made intended for Mei, now especially for me. As I finished my meal, I thought about Mei’s love for me and regained my strength.
And with that, Erika and I continued our training.