Categories > Anime/Manga > Pokemon > The Spirit of Alola

10. To the City With Friends

by CJWorthington 0 reviews

Chapter 10 of The Spirit of Alola

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2021-03-30 - Updated: 2021-10-29 - 4939 words - Complete

I feel Rebel get to his feet underneath me as I settle onto his bare back. Sugar trots up beside us with Sashi, and she attempts to get us moving.

"Hold on a moment," I say, holding up my hand and turning Rebel towards my wife's large cat Pokémon.

I can hear Thunder shaking his head and rattling his reins, small, deep grunts of protest escaping his throat. We had to buy a new headstall for him before moving here, so this will be his first time using it. They don't exactly make riding equipment for Luxrays, so we had this one specially made. I reach my hand down and feel him push against it pleadingly. Locating the buckle, I loosen it a bit.

"Any better?" I ask.

He gives his head another shake, then pushes against my hand once more. I pull on the straps and buckle one more time.

"How about now?"

Yet another experimental shake, but this time he seems satisfied, giving out a happy "Ray" in his deep voice, purring and rubbing his head against my leg in gratitude.

"Is everyone ready?" I call out. A chorus of voices, Pokémon and my wife, confirms. "Sashi, are you ready?" I ask her directly, still worried about her health, thinking about her most recent fumbles just a few minutes earlier.

Though her naturally graceful movements and sharp mind have finally begun returning, they are doing so rather slower than I would like. She has never been one to prefer sitting quietly during a busy afternoon, but I found her doing just that, a few too many times for normality, while we were staying with our neighbors.

Ever since we were children, she has always loved music and the times when she wasn't singing were often few and far between. It's not been that way as of late, though, and instead, she sits, quiet and unmoving.

It's like she has something on her mind that's frequently distracting and upsetting her, but she won't discuss the issue with me. It's very abnormal for us to keep secrets from each other, which has made her choice to avoid the conversation about her off behavior all the more concerning to me.

I've thought about using my abilities to probe her mind a little, but I know that would only upset her more. We have discussed, at length, that I was to only use my ability on her very sparingly, if at all. She is fully aware of my lack of control at times, though, so she understands if I use them by accident. As well, my powers aren't very strong, and I've only been able to feel the emotions of other non-psychic beings, not read thoughts, as the more powerful Psychics are able to do.

We aren't drawing apart, are we? I ask myself as worry at the idea of my constant friend growing weary of me and wanting to leave begins to eat at my stomach.

"I'm fine," she answers, still sounding excited about going into the city and unknowing of my worrisome thoughts. This pulls my mind back to the real world. "I'm just a bit tired, but that's to be expected."

"We've already had a fairly busy morning. How about you stay home and try to get some rest instead." I attempt.

"Kabir," she responds. "Love, you know I can't do that. I need to get out of the house. I need to move about."

"Alright," I give in, "but, please, promise me you'll take it easy today. You haven't fully been yourself lately, and that concerns me." I plead with her.

"I know." Her voice is soft now.

I squeeze my knees, spurring my mount forward, not wanting to linger on this conversation and working hard to keep my powers away from her mind. "We shouldn't leave our neighbors waiting," I say with a sigh.

"You're right," She responds without emotion. "It's very kind of them to help us out so much." she moves on, attempting to sound cheerful and alert.

"They're our friends," I say. Slowing Rebel to a stand, and I hear Sugar's hooves stop as well. "Good friends help each other out, and that's exactly what they're doing."

Though my spouse has always been a popular person, she's found it hard to make real friends. As a child, even with her many "friends," when times were tough for her, she'd find the ones she thought she could trust were really just ghostly connections of the actual word. The kids would claim a "friendship" with Sashi, simply for the fact of calling themselves "in line with a cool kid."

She hated being used like that, so even though she seems genuine and kind, she has a rather hard time truly opening up to the people who would be real friends. I've spurred her on to make these connections many times, knowing that having only me and her family to talk to in difficult times was not a healthy mindset. Still, she has only allowed these shallow connections herself now, refusing to let anyone get close.

Without speaking, I hear her reins snap gently, and her tongue click as she pushes Sugar forward.

"Let's get going." Her voice is flat and tired now. I sigh in frustration at myself for bringing up the sensitive subject but push my own mount forward as well.

It's comfortable riding on Rebel. Since day one of my journeys as a Trainer, he and I have been together, and he knows how to keep me mounted, should I slip. He's also highly intelligent, being a Psychic Pokémon, so he knows how to lead himself and communicate any questions or thoughts. I usually allow him to lead and relax on his back, enjoying the ride. The psychic connection we share also means I can see the world around me, to a certain degree, with the unfortunate trade-off of increased headaches.

This connection I share with Rebel is one I have with all Psychic Type Pokèmon and one that many humans with Psychic powers are able to use with me. However, using only my powers, I cannot converse with other Pokémon or people, only push desired emotions, like calming in stressful situations or comfort, when working with nervous creatures. Still, I cherish the small amount of power I hold, even knowing the strength of which some people have and the consequences I face when using my own.

I feel a push on my mind as we trek downhill, a solid feeling presented by Rebel.

Run, it says.

I gather my thoughts into a firm, No. A flash of annoyance flickers across my mind as Rebel jerks his mane.

Run, the idea pushes again.

Fine, trot, I answer, rolling my eyes, in both annoyance and amusement, a small smile pushing my lips up at his antics. He pushes back with his own irritation once more but switches smoothly into a trot without any more complaint.

I hear Sugar next to us, trotting with Sashi. Billy takes up the rear, and Thunder glides quietly between them. In truth, I can't hear the large feline at all, but I know he's there because Rebel does.

We arrive at our neighbor's place quickly, the trot downhill speeding the process.

"Who's that with you?" I hear Kukui call to us as we draw near.

"Thunder the Luxray and Billy the Gogoat," I answer.

"We thought it would be quicker if we all rode, but it's a bit much to carry a load of shopping, plus two grown adults for the Rapidash's, so we called the others out to help." Sashi continues, in sync with my thoughts. "Thunder is my Pokémon, and Billy is Kabir's," She adds.

"You can tie on your packs to whomever you choose to ride," Sashi continues, dismounting her own horse with a soft thump in the grass. "Seeing as I am the smallest in the group, I'll take Thunder, though," She states truthfully.

She's not wrong in her comment either. My wife is relatively short and slender, even with her hardened muscles from years of martial arts training. So it would make sense for her to ride the smallest Pokemon.

I find myself wishing away my blindness, sometimes, if only to see the sight of me, tall and gangly, with my gray hair and aged face, "appearing older than I am," as my wife puts it, and Sashi, with her short, strong, healthy body and soft young skin. It truly must be a hilarious sight to any passerby. Especially when they find out we are married and are the same age as well.

"Are you both okay to ride bareback?" She continues once more to the neighbors.

"Of course," Kukui responds. "We wouldn't be very good islanders if we couldn't do that! We use ride Pokémon a lot here in Alola."

Thunder starts purring as Sashi's feet approach him. I hear his huge feline paws tearing at the grass as he kneads it in happiness and excitement as my wife talks to him and starts giving his cheeks a scratch.

"Will you give me a ride?" Burnet asks Sugar, standing beside me. The fiery beast lets out a small, happy snort as I hear the headstall rattling. I can only assume Burnet has already begun making fast friends with the gentle horse Pokémon.

Kukui asks Billy if he could ride him a bit further over, and I hear a strong, confirming response. My Gogoat is confident, maybe even a bit dramatic about his stoicism, but he's kind and likes to be helpful, and I've never known him to refuse a ride before.

Sashi giggles on my right at the sight of the neighbors and Pokémon meeting. The sound of clicking buckles and shifting fabric can be heard as the two professors tie on their packs.

Slow, Rebel pushes impatiently, yanking at his reins. I feel his hooves shuffle underneath me irritably.

"We'll move when we are all ready." I scold him quietly.

The shuffling has stopped, and I say out loud once more, "Is everyone prepared?" The calls of confirmation push us all into a walk. Rebel and I take the lead as we head out.

We walk down the path leading from the house. I feel us turn east as we leave their property and enter the road. Rebel flicks his head and smacks me with his tail. I push back with a feeling of irritation at him and move his reins closer to my body.

This is an empty path. Swift creatures surround us. The thought calls, referring to the Pokémon in our party. Run! He commands, flashing his frustration at me.

I push it down with difficulty, his feet stomping and tail swatting angrily as we walk.

"Is everyone comfortable on their mounts?" Sashi calls, a little bit behind me.

"Oh yeah! As sturdy as an Avalugg!" Kukui says enthusiastically.

"Of course," Burnet answers as well.

"What would you guys say to a bit of a run?" My wife asks. I know she can see how irritated Rebel is from behind. You don't need to be psychic to notice that.

"Sounds like fun!" The young man says. Burnet murmurs her own, eager agreement at the same time.

Run? The question pushes again, excitement overtaking all annoyance.

Run, I answer, my on eagerness mounting with his as I squeeze my knees to his sides.

Rebel throws back his head and raises himself onto his hind legs, giving a loud whinny of delight. His back legs push off the ground, propelling us forward in one smooth, powerful motion. Someone behind us gasps at the sudden movement, but through Rebel, I can sense that no one has fallen.

"Don't lose the group," I say out loud. He pushes an acknowledgment through me but doesn't slow his excited gallop.

We rush down the road. The wind whips through my hair and presses my clothes against my body. I feel well-placed, solid hooves, push confidently against the ground. The world around flashes by in a blur of sounds and smells.

With Rebel's help, I notice a large, healthy forest spreading far and wide to the south. A great, expansive mass of shining water stretches across the land to the north. Bird and bug Pokémon soar happily overhead.

In actuality, I can't truly see the Pokèmon and forest, but with the help of Rebel's powers, I am able to notice the orb-like masses that make up all living things, like the creatures, humans, and even trees.

The sparkling orbs of the land and water Pokemon shimmer across my mind as I try to count their multitude. It's of no use, though. It would be like counting the grains of sand on a beach.

The group pounds away behind me, keeping up with my horse's quick speed. Then, all too soon, I sense Hau'oli city ahead, with its many bodies of people and Pokemon coming in faster than I want. I wish we could keep running like this forever, but instead, I feel Rebel's pounding gallop slow to a canter, a trot, then a walk.

We dismount as we enter the city. I take Rebel's reins and throw them over his back.

Too many people. His thought pushes against my mind. He snaps his head around and snorts. His hooves clatter anxiously against the ground. I know how much he hates crowds.

"It'll be fine, bud," I say, patting his neck. "I need you to be on your best behavior while we are here. Do you understand?"

Instead of answering, I feel him smack me in the back with his tail. I let out my breath slowly, trying to push down not only my own emotions now but Rebel's as well. I turn around to hear the sound of rustling packs coming from Thunder.

"I planned on having Kabir, and I split up the shopping to speed it up," Sashi says. I feel her slip a thick bit of paper into my hand. I unfold it and read her carefully mapped Braille. "This is your list." She says, still a bit breathless from the run into town. We agree on a time to meet back up at the entrance when we finish.

"How about we divide; boys and girls," Burnet suggests. "Kukui and I know all the shops here, so we can help speed the process even more if we split up like that. We should even have time for some fun, too, if we move quickly enough. I know this great shop that has some adorable new dresses!"

"That'll be fine, but you should know, I'm not much for girly things, and I really don't like wearing dresses," Sashi replies with truthful embarrassment. "I would be more than happy to join you, though, if you want to clothes shop for yourself."

"That's alright; we'll find something for you," Burnet answers kindly, undeterred by the swift rejection.

I sure hope the girls have a good time today. I think to myself. Sashi really could use a close friend out here. Will she be okay, though?

Now my mind flashes to thoughts of her breathlessness when she walked up to me with the list. Before my mind can pursue this question further, though, I'm pushed back into the real world by a bump on my shoulder.

"Guess that leaves you and me," Kukui says, beside me now. "We should get going, though, or the moving party is going to start before we make it back."

I run my fingers down the list and read that she has us picking up fruits and vegetables and a few odds and ends. That's clever of her, as I'm usually better at picking out the freshest produce. Though, with the fertile lands of Alola, I can't imagine there will be any spoiled foods to avoid.

I pull a second bit of paper from my pocket that I grabbed inside the house before we left. I read the transcribed directions from the cabby, Berns, left us. Sashi had taken the time to map this down for me a couple of days ago. Then, realizing I won't need the directions with my new friend here, I stick the second paper back into my pocket.

"Looks like we'll be grabbing the produce," I comment, only half paying attention now.

I hear Sashi and Burnet already leaving with their mounts. A twinge of concern passes through me as I think about her wandering the streets while still weak from her poisoning.

I hope she'll be okay. I think again, anxiously. I know she's been getting stronger since her fever lifted, but I can't help but feel worried for my wife.

A slice of pain flashes through my head. Unfortunately, I've been doing too much with my own psychic abilities and know that this ensuing headache is caused by its continued use, even with the help of Rebel's powers.

"Kabir," Kukui's voice sounds next to me. "You ready to go?"

"Uh-huh," I murmur, still distracted, trying to strain my ears to hear my wife's fleeting steps.

I take a few steps forward of my own. My head is pounding with the sounds of the noisy city life. My mind swirls with all the thoughts running around. Worry for my wife, Rebel's impatience and anger at being in this crowded city, and the fleeting time limit all vie for my attention. Couple that with the pulsing headache, and I find it hard to focus on anything around me.

I don't notice Tinsel trying to pull me over to the side as I continue to walk forward. My foot catches on a crack in the road, and I feel myself begin to stumble. Rebel, with his long nose, Billy, with a horn, Tinsel, with her ribbons, and Kukui, with his arm on my shoulder, are all by my side before I fall and holding me up, having watched my distracted movements.

"You okay?" My friend says, his hand firmly gripping my arm now, leading me around to a smooth surface.

I pull my mind to the tasks I should be focusing on now. Then, giving my head a quick shake, I answer. "Yes. Guess I just wasn't paying attention!" I say, laughing in spite of myself, hoping to deflect any more questions, "I'm fine now, thank you."

Come here and ride on my back. You are too clumsy. You will get hurt. Rebel commands with a push, ramming his head into my stomach in annoyance. I place a hand on his nose and shake my head.

I feel Billy push against my arm, offering to give me a ride as well, concerned for my safety too. I pat his horns and murmur a few encouraging words to him softly.

"Come on," I say. "We should get a move on then,"

"Okay," Kukui sounds skeptical but continues anyway. "Well, I know a great fruit stand."

We move into the city, but I feel people's stares bore into our group, their eyes following us as we walk down the street. My ears burn, and I feel Rebel snort angrily at them. I fall back and place a hand on his neck while we walk, psychically pushing a feeling of calmness and assurance towards him.

"What are people looking at?" I ask Kukui as he slows his own pace to match mine.

"You're Pokemon, of course." He says as if it's an obvious thing for people to do. Then he continues, once he sees me not comforted by the idea. "It's not every day people around here see Galarian Rapidash's. Plus, your Sylveon's coloring isn't the same as a normal one either, so they are a bit excited.

"But, don't worry. People are respectful here and won't pester us if we seem too busy," He adds, seeing my concern increase. He can probably see the aggravation in Rebel, too. He's proven himself to be the kind of person to pick up on the emotions of Pokémon quickly.

We get our shopping done swiftly, and without interruption, as he predicted, filling the packs on the backs of our mounts with the freshest fruits and vegetables I could pick out and some smaller trinkets I knew we would need for around the house.

"It's a good thing you guys came along," I comment to Kukui as we make our way down the edge of the walkway, where the crowds seem to be less dense. "I would not have been able to get this done so quickly. Plus, having your added packs will ensure we have bought more than enough food. We weren't counting on having you and friends joining us too, so we need to overbuy," I say, chuckling.

The shopping had done more than enough to take my mind off my worries. Though my head still pounds mercilessly from the noisy streets and Rebel's insistence to keep a psychic connection, I found myself enjoying the afternoon with my new friend.

I run my finger down the list one more time and count off the items in our packs. "Looks like we have everything," I comment.

"Well, guess that means we have a bit of free time on our hands. We could head back to the city limits." Kukui says, jokingly. He knew the answer.

"There'd be no point in standing around the entrance," I reply, laughing as well. Rebel isn't pleased with my comment and whips me in the back with his tail, but I ignore his push of impatience.

"All this shopping has made me thirsty." The young man says. "I know a great drinks shop. It's in a quiet corner of town," He adds, addressing my irritable horse. "How about we head there?"

"Good idea," I fall into step with my friend, Tinsel walking on my other side to make sure I don't run into him or anything else, and the two mounts taking up the rear.

Rebel throws his annoyance at me that we didn't leave the crowded streets, even with Kukui's compromise. He would have liked to return to the front either way.

"Do they have treats for Pokémon at this shop?" I ask, thinking of my creatures' hard work today and wanting to reward them too.

"What kind of drink shop would this be if it didn't have items for our Pokémon?" He asks with a chuckle as if the idea of a shop without this would be ludicrous.

After a while, I take a deep breath of air as we make our way down the street. We must be getting close, I decide. The smell of warm drinks, like coffee and cocoa, fills the air, as well as the refreshing scents of cold berry juices and baked goods.

We order drinks and treats for the Pokémon and us, picking up a few extra nibbles for when we meet back up with the girls. I stop just outside the shop, though, not sitting in the seats Kukui tells me about. A thought crosses my mind. I ask the young man to watch the purchases for a moment and head back inside the fragrant building.

"Is there something wrong with your order, sir?" The gal at the counter asks, sounding concerned at my return.

"Oh no, not at all!" I say, holding my hands up, hoping she takes it as a kind gesture, "I wanted to ask if you had any sugar cubes I could buy for my Rapidash?"

"Rapidash?" I hear someone else call from behind the attendant. "You have a Rapidash?" The excitement mounts in the voice of this new person.

"I do, but he's not the most friendly of creatures," I try to gently diffuse.

"Let's make a deal; I give you some sugar cubes for free if you allow me to meet your Pokémon." She suggests, undeterred by my comment.

"How could I say no to a deal like that?" I say with a laugh. "I'll do you one better. If I can convince him, you can give him some of the cubes yourself and maybe even a pat."

I know my mount isn't one for stranger interactions, but with the right treat, he may be willing to accept it this time. And sugar cubes are usually the perfect treat for just such a bribe.

I hear a clatter from behind the counter. "Molly, calm down," The first attendant exclaims in surprise. "You see Rapidash nearly every day. You live near a farm of them."

"But this one isn't on the farm! This one I can feed and touch, right now!" Molly responds in excitement, her clambering, not ceasing at the words of the other attendant.

I laugh at the commotion and feel someone hurry to my side breathlessly. "I'm ready," she says, her voice filled with happiness and barely suppressed excitement.

"He's just outside," I laugh, growing rapidly fond of this excitable young worker. I lead the eager girl outside, who follows close behind me, then she gasps in pure excitement.

"Hold on," I say, grabbing her arm as I feel it shoot past me before she can get too close. I can already feel Rebel pushing back at the thought of what's about to happen next. He knows why she's out there.

"Rebel," I say out loud, so Molly can hear, "If you let this nice young lady pet you, I'll make sure she gives you a sugar cube," I say enticingly.

I feel his mind flicker. The annoyance that has been building all day from being near so many people and stared at, washing away at the idea of getting rewarded with his absolute favorite treat.

Sugar cube? He ventures, walking up to me and nibbling gently at my arm as if expecting my shirt to be made of the sweet treat.

"Sugar cube," I repeat the words with more allure.

He stands for a moment considering this, smacking his lips, his tail flicking thoughtfully.

Deal, He pushes finally. He's annoyed at being tricked into accepting pets from a stranger, but seeing the sweet cubes in Molly's outstretched hands, persuades him.

"It looks so different from the Rapidash near my home. Why is that?" Molly queries, having fed him a cube after I gave her the all-clear. She now stood by his neck and was running her fingers through his fluffy mane.

I explain to her that Rebel comes from the Galar region. I start telling her details about regional variants, happy to be spreading my knowledge. I stop short, though, when I hear a sudden gasp from her.

"What? What is it?" I ask, confused and slightly concerned.

"It's the girls," Kukui says patiently. "They have seen us and are coming over now. I think Molly is happy to see another Rapidash." He laughs at her excitement and, I hear the attendant jumping up and down.

"Molly is actually a friend of my little sister's," Kukui explains his surprising amount of knowledge to me.

"They both go to the Pokémon school together. And as she probably mentioned, because she can't seem to not tell everyone otherwise," He laughs, "she lives next to a horse farm that has Ponyta and Rapidash on it. And yet, she can never get enough of seeing them. The farm owners actually like to joke that they may just as well give the farm to her when they are too old to take care of it. Though, if you ask me, that joke might become a reality if she stays this enthusiastic."

"Hey, Kabir!" Sashi calls to me when they are near enough, "check out what I bought!" I hear her footsteps approach quickly, excitement making her feet move fast.

"Miss," Molly interrupts, "Can I give your Rapidash a sugar cube?"

"No, sorry, sweetie. No sugar for Sugar here." She answers, embarrassed by having to reject the young girl. I reach into my pocket and hand Molly a few pellets. "But you can give her some of those treats." My wife says in time with my action.

We all laugh as the young girl switches in between the Pokémon, giving the two Rapidash pats and carefully approved treats, but soon it's mentioned that it's time for us to go. It's a good thing too. Rebel was beginning to push back in annoyance again, his sweet tooth satiated, and his dislike for all people that aren't Sashi and I, returning.

We head back to the front of the city, talking and laughing with each other. We still have plenty of time before the movers are scheduled to arrive, so we decided to set a slow pace.

I can feel weariness begin to drag at my feet as we move, my head pounding more and more as the day drags on, and, apparently, Rebel notices as well, for he pesters me without stop until I climb onto his back.

I convinced Sashi to ride alongside me with Sugar, telling her it would make talking to each other easier if we sat at the same levels, but also wanting her to rest a bit too. She agrees without much complaint, saying it would be nice to give her feet a break before the craziness of moving starts.

With our packs loaded down with food and trinkets, and one of Sashi's other Pokémon, Sardee, gliding gracefully beside the other two Professors and their mounts, presumably carrying something that needs to be kept cold, we set a nice slow pace and begin to make our way back up the path to our home.
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