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

27. Fear and Fury

by CJWorthington 0 reviews

Chapter 27 of The Spirit of Alola

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Published: 2021-08-12 - Updated: 2021-10-29 - 4144 words - Complete

My sister had returned as my guests and I were sitting down to breakfast, having finished a long shift at the hospital on Akala. She looked very worn out, disheveled, and somewhat deflated. All the emergency surgeries would have been made by now. The patients from the accident would be recovering in their hospital beds or their own homes for the more lucky ones.

We offered to fix a plate for Anya, seeing as we had made more than enough food, but she refused, saying she was tired and just wanted to sleep.

I had given my twin a worried look, but the pain in her voice told me the whole story without her uttering a single word. She had been working on a child at some point and, judging by the sadness in her eyes, they must not have made it. The children were always the hardest for Anya. She would be holding her daughter extra tight while she slept this morning. My sister slipped off into the house after that, my neighbors staying knowingly silent as they watched her go.

Now, the sun rises over the tops of the trees. I bade goodbye to my neighbors as they headed back down the hill. After we had finished eating, we returned all our Pokémon to their balls. The younger Professors promised to stop back up the hill later that day to check on us, but I tried to tell them they didn't have to.

"I'm used to Kabir being in the hospital, and Anya certainly won't thank you if she knew you stopped up here because you were worried about her." I had told them, turning down their generous offer.

"You've got a point there," Kukui answers chuckling.

"Well, you have our numbers, and you know we're right down the hill. So if you need anything, even just to have a meal, feel free to come on over." Burnet adds in.

"Just open the door. No need to knock!" The young man jokes, referring to that morning's mishap.

Now I stand, leaning on my fence, Hop by my legs, watching them walk down the hill, talking happily to each other as they return home, Kukui holding Lei in his arms. The tiny red dot of the RotomDex floating beside their heads, growing smaller with them as they move further away.

I turn back to the west, the front door wide open, and head back into my own homestead.

The many Pokémon from last night's affairs were stored in their balls, and only Anya and Himiko remain, sleeping in the guest room upstairs. As a result, my home feels empty and overly spacious. Of course, the exception to this was Hop, who would probably flay me if I even showed the Delcatty her ball. I had also returned my husband's sweet Sylveon, who had been moping around, despondent and heartbroken at the lack of a job and her owner's presence.

When Kukui had returned that morning, he had also brought the Pokeball for Sam's Mudsdale with him, the giant human having been made to spend a few more hours at the hospital, on account of the broken ribs. Sam had promise to have the horse picked up later in the day, though. I didn't mind holding onto it for a bit. I have the space, and since the horse eats mud, I wasn't too worried about having an extra mouth to feed, even with as large as the steed was.

I walk downstairs to the lab, grab my most recent research book, and flip open to the page where I took my last notes. The handwriting scrawling across is my own, but it's sloppy and incomplete, falling off the pages at times or jumbling into unintelligible words, overlapping each other in a tangle. Even the reference pictures on the second page are incomprehensible. Usually, my notes are clear, concise, and carefully written.

The last time I wrote in this notebook was during the move. I had been trying to take notes that I had remembered as we bumped along in a taxi, heading to the airport in Johto. I was already exhausted then, and it showed in my jumbled words.

I squint my eyes at the notes, trying to force them into a more understandable language, but I can barely make the letters out. I think it was about the differences between Kanto and Alolan Marowak, but I can't really tell.

I close my eyes, laying my head on my arms on the table, and try to recall the day that started the move and what I had thought of that was so important that I had to write it down while in a taxi. But, instead of the memories I want, I hear a small hissing voice in the back of my mind.

It seems that old memory of yours is slipping again, dear one. It says with a cruel laugh. What use are you if you can't remember something you find so important just a few days after writing it down? And that scribble on your book. Wow. Talk about untidy. I don't think anyone would be able to make sense of that Torchic scratch. No matter, dear one. Your notes aren't really that important anyway—the voice whispers in my ear, soft, cold, and deep.

What have you contributed to your, can we even call them, "Fellow Professors" regarding the years you have studied? It mocked, emphasizing the words used to call my colleagues in a sardonic tone. Has any of it even been useful? Has any of it been helpful to bettering anyone's understanding? If it's research you've done on your own, I can't imagine it—

I'm ripped out of my thoughts by a sudden, loud pounding on the glass door leading to the backyard. I yank my head off my arms, a small puddle of tears shimmering in the lights of the lab, sitting on the table where my head just left.

I turn around swiftly to the door, just in time to see a dark shadow disappearing from the edge of the window. It moves with such speed; I have no hope of knowing what it was by the sparse glimpse I caught of it.

I stand to my feet at the sight so quickly that I knock my chair to the floor noisily, my heart pounding heavily against my chest. A pattering of feet comes down the stairs as Hop appears at the bottom, staring at me curiously. Then, seeing my fright, she switches from her happy curiosity to a fierce defensive stance, glancing around the room for what caused me to become so scared.

"Get upstairs to help Anya and Himiko." I try to tell the protective purple cat as I glance at the glass door several times. But, instead of returning to the main floor, the Delcatty trots over to my side and stands in front of me, refusing, once more, to heed my commands.

With a frustrated sigh from me, and a furious snort from Hop, we both start towards the door, her hissing defiantly, having found the place where my fright was directed. I clench my hands into balls as we approach, my arms shaking, and a nervous bead of sweat trickles down my face, mixing with the still fresh tears.

I don't see anything outside as we draw near to the large glass doors. I place my fingers on the handle and let out a long, scared breath, my Delcatty standing in front of my feet, nose jammed into the crack of the door, raring to get outside.

I steel myself with another shaking breath and yank the door open. Hop sprints outside with a snarl, head swiveling back and forth, ears twisting and turning to pick up the slightest sounds. I scan the yard with my own eyes, squinting into the corners, but see nothing.

It seems Hop's search turns up empty as well, as she begins sniffing furiously at the door, trying to pick up a scent trail. Pacing back and forth, she holds her tail perpendicular to the ground, bristling. She shoves her nose around for a few moments more. Then, having neither seen, heard, or even smelled any threat, Hop turns her eyes to me with a questioning gaze.

"Come on, Hop, let's get back inside," I say with a quiver. She huffs in anger at the backyard as if daring the shadows to step forward but follows me in.

"Hop, did you hear anything?" I ask her as I lock the back door and draw the curtains shut, but she stares at me with her purple eyes, confusion flooding in them. "Why did you come downstairs? Was it because of my chair falling over?" I ask her, remembering how she didn't seem on edge when she first came down.

Did I imagine that pounding? I question myself, remembering the dark figure I'd seen standing in my backyard just last night. When I told my guest, Burnet, she hadn't noticed anything then either. Am I actually losing it?
I shake my head to clear it, bringing my hand up to my face to wipe away the sweat and tears. Then, turning around to my chair, I grab it to set it back onto its wheels, but another, very real knocking, comes from the front door upstairs, causing me to jump into the air and drop the chair once more.

These new noises Hop does hear, and it sets her off. She spins on her haunches and sprints upstairs in a fury, ready to attack any would-be intruder. I hurry quietly to the corner and open a closet that held my sparring gear. I arm myself with my bo staff, far longer than I am tall, and slip up the stairs on my toes.

"Just be brave and defend," I whisper to myself, clutching the staff tighter and closing my eyes while leaning against the stairway hall. "Anya and Himiko are sleeping, and they need you to protect them. You've been training for nearly all your life. You know what to do. Just be brave and defend. Just be brave and defend. Just be brave…" I continue to repeat my mantra as I ready to round the corner into the living room. The front door will be in clear view then.

I poke my head around the corner, then pull the rest of myself with it. Someone's face appears in the window; a hand cupped around their eyes as they press their face against the glass. They move their head back in forth in front of the pane, trying to see inside, clearly looking for something. I feel my heart pounding so hard in my chest, I worry it will burst. Hop hisses angrily at them, an attack charging in her mouth and claws extended, digging into the wooden floor.

I sneak towards the door slowly, my mind working to come up with all the possible outcomes. My cheeks are hot as adrenaline continues to pump through me, and my arms shake as they grip my weapon. Finally, the person notices me creeping up to the door, their face becoming clearer as I approach. The look of their rising concern quickly diminishes, and they smile at me, looking relieved.

Confused by the expressions, I place my staff by the window, still within reach should I need it, and open the door slightly to find my friendly mail carrier, Sam, waiting on the other side.

"Oh, Arceus," They exclaim when they see me appear behind the door. "I thought you had fallen ill again when you didn't answer." They say, then, looking closer at my frightened, sweating face, tears still drying on my reddened cheeks. "Wait, are you sick? Should I get your neighbors?" They ask, their own fear beginning to mount. They back up slightly and make ready to sprint for help.

"No," I choke out, then clear my throat. "No, you just scared me, that's all," I say, hoping I sound more confident than my shaking body lets off. "You've come to pick up your Mudsdale, right?" I ask, changing the subject swiftly at Sam's unconvinced look. I open the door more widely and invite the young person inside.

"I've got its ball just downstairs in my lab. Go ahead and take a seat. I'll grab it for you." I say as I head towards the stairwell.

Sam steps inside, ducking slightly, to avoid hitting their head on the door frame. "Thank you." They say politely. Walking carefully to the couch, the unnaturally large person sits down with a soft grunt.

Hop, still next to me, growls at the newcomer, ears flat against her head. She follows so close to me now that I nearly trip on her as I navigate the stairs. I reprimand her gently when we reach the bottom, not wanting her to be rude to our guest, but also glad that she is so protective at the same time.

With the Mudsdale's ball in hand, I walk back up the stairs to find my massive guest had scooted over on the couch and was staring out the back window; the curtain raised slightly as they peered outside. They rise swiftly and politely to their feet when they notice my return. A look of pain crosses their face at the sudden movement. Their hand shoots to their chest, gripping at their rib cage, gasping in surprise at the pain.

"Hey, hey," I say, one hand raised and rushing over to the pained form. Setting my hand on Sam's arm, I push gently, indicating that they return to their seat. "Sit back down. Did you just get discharged?"

They nod their head, unable to answer yet, and sit back on the couch, slightly winded.

"I don't have any issues watching your Mudsdale for a bit. You didn't have to come here so quickly. In fact, I was told you wouldn't even be here until later in the day. So why on earth would you come straight over?" I scold them.

Sam's orange eyes flash in shame at my tone, and they lower their head, any confidence they seemed to have, vanishing at my reprimand. "I'm sorry, ma'am." They say quietly, sounding embarrassed. "I was just worried about it." They glance at the Pokèball, still in my hand, then the young person raises their eyes slightly but doesn't look me in the face.

"Your job isn't making you run your route today, are they?" I ask incredulously at the idea.

"No, ma'am. They told me to take a few weeks off to recover."

"Why didn't you have a family member come pick it up, then? I can't imagine any of them would want you traveling about in your condition." I say, dropping my scolding tone and speaking more kindly. They don't answer but instead duck their head, looking ashamed.

Ok. Maybe the family is busy, I think to myself, pondering their reaction.

I look into their face. Though they tower above the average man, their large body is already filled out with undefined but clearly powerful muscles. Even so, their demeanor tells of a much younger person than they appear.

"How old are you, Sam?" I say, unable to stop myself from asking the sudden question.

"Fifteen," They mumble, fingers clutching gently onto the Pokeball of the Mudsdale that I had placed in their hands.

I nod my head at the quiet answer. "Well, I don't think it would be wise for you to ride Mudsdale at the moment, not at least until you have healed up some," I comment. "How about we call your parents and have them come pick you up."

They flinch slightly at my words, and I squint my eyes as the teenager answers me quickly. "No, no. That's alright. I can walk. It's not too far." they make to stand, but I grab them, my hand small and weak against the Ursaring-sized shoulder.

"Sit down," I say, a bit more fiercely than I meant to. Sam obeys immediately and without hesitation. "At least stay here for a bit and rest." I soften my voice once more, annoyed at myself for speaking harshly again. I feel a small fire ignite in my stomach at their reactions to my previous questions.

Trying to think quickly, I pull a Pokeball from my belt and show them the red and white object. "I'm not sure if you know this, but I have a horse Pokemon as well. Her name is Sugar." I say. They nod their head but don't seem to take much interest in the comment.

"Did you know that my Sugar and your Mudsdale are already best friends?" I try.

This strikes a chord with the downcast person. They raise their head and look at the ball in my hand with interest now. "Really? Mudsdale has a friend?"

Encouraged by the improvement in their attitude, I continue. "Yes, how about we head outside, and you can meet her. She loves people too. We could let the two play for a bit before you leave if you'd like."

Sam nods their head, eyes starting to sparkle at the idea, their confidence returning once more. We make our way outside, and I let out Sugar, and Sam releases their Mudsdale. Seeing her friend, Sugar canters over to the large brown horse and nips it playfully on the flank, already excited to play a game.

"See? Best friends already, wouldn't you say?"

My guest laughs at the sight of the two pachyderms as they tag each other and then run off, enticing the other to catch them. Sugar, with her small stature, whose body is built for speed, slowing down her run so the massive workhorse could keep up. I smile at the swift change in attitude I see in Sam, pleased to have made such quick progress.

"Sam, Can you watch these two for me," I ask, turning and raising my head to look them in the face. "I'm going to put some tea out for us."

"Of course," They say, the smile on their face growing happily as they watch the crazy antics of the galloping horses.

I swiftly walk back into my home and close the door behind me. Then, snatching up my phone, I dial my neighbor's number. I can already feel a mixture of fear and fury rising in my stomach.

"Sashi," Kukui answers the phone. "What's up? Did you want me to bring you over some lunch?"

"Not now Kukui," I shoot the offer down quickly and a bit more harshly than I meant to. "I have Sam here right now, and we've just had a very worrying conversation," I say, the words tumbling out.

"Slow down." Kukui stops me, sounding slightly suspicious and apprehensive. "What did you two talk about? What's wrong?"

I take a deep breath, slowing down and calming myself to talk. "Sorry." I apologize quickly.

"Sam came here to pick their Mudsdale up. I mentioned that they shouldn't be wandering around injured as they are. Then I asked if I could call their parents to pick them up and, do you know what they did? They flinched. Sam flinched." I repeat the words in disgust. "I want you to tell me who Sam's parents are." My anger rises as I describe the events, fury mounting at the idea of the kind teenager being mistreated in any way.

"Woah, Sashi. Calm down." Kukui says with slight relief over the phone. "I think you've jumped to a conclusion here without knowing the full story."

"Oh really?" I ask, wholly unconvinced, still not ready to halt my desire to defend the teenager.

"Yes. Sashi, did you ask Sam about their parents, or just make an assumption." The line goes silent as my neighbor waits for me to chew on his words. Then he continues;

"Unfortunately, Sam's parents passed away about two years ago. The town has been taking care of them since then. They aren't in any danger, but they were probably surprised to have the question asked. Everyone here is aware of the situation, so it can't be very often that Sam meets someone who doesn't already know." Kukui says.

I stand, phone in my hand, and think about the life the poor teenager must have been through for a moment.

"So, how about that lunch? Do you want me to bring you up any food?" The man asks

"No, that won't be necessary. Thank you, though. I think I'll try to talk to Sam for a bit and maybe apologize." I respond

"Alright, well, give me a call when you're ready to eat then." He replies.

Kukui and I finish our phone call quickly, and I head to the kitchen and throw a kettle onto the stovetop to boil some water for tea. Then I stand back and lean against the counter.

I think about the polite nature of young Sam. They had always spoken to my husband and me in a very courteous manner. They were hardworking and devoted to their job, consistently delivering letters to mine and my neighbor's house. And always with a smile and good conversation, if they had the time. They had even offered to help with simple house chores, like when they helped Kabir and I clean our home before the movers arrived. Or, just the other day, when they offered to assist me in repairing the fence around my home.

My mind returns to my first morning in Alola. When I was poisoned, it had been Sam who had come into my home and carried me to the neighbor's house. Who's to know how long it would have been before Kabir made it back home then. Maybe I would have gotten sicker by the time he arrived. Perhaps I would have even become irreversibly ill. Either way, it's quite possible that Sam's actions saved my life that day.

A loud whistling pulls my mind back into the real world. The kettle was ready. I grab two cups from the cupboard and make Sam and me a steaming mug. Holding a tray, I throw some sugar and cream onto it, unsure of how the young person liked to take their tea. Then, with caution, so as not to drop the piping mugs on the tray, I pull the door to my home open and head outside.

Sam and I stay on the benches for a long time, talking and watching our horse Pokemon play. Finally, the sun reaches across the sky, sitting right above our heads before they announce that they should get back home.

"I should probably get some sleep." They say apologetically, all shyness from the conversation earlier that morning gone. Their orange eyes are alight once more with the contented happiness I have come to know.

"You're probably right," I answer. "But, let me call you a cab. You should try to limit your activity for now." I say, reaching for my phone in my pocket.

"Oh no, it's ok," They turn down the offer, their trash-lid-sized hands giving a slight wave in the air. "I like to walk."

"Sashi may not be a doctor, but she knows more about medical care than you." The sound of my twin's voice says, having emerged silently from the front door. She was standing behind us and had the look of a mother scolding a naughty child, arms folded across her chest.

"Please," they say. "I really don't mind walking. Besides, it's such a lovely day." The young person tries deflecting.

"I don't care if it's the nicest weather this world has ever seen; you aren't walking, and," she adds as Sam opens their mouth to protest. "You aren't riding that Mudsdale either. That's an order from a doctor." She finalizes with a shake of a finger and a squint of her eyes.

Sam merely gives me an amused look and shrugs but agrees with my sister anyway.

We call the massive teenager a cab and, when it arrives, we bade them and their Mudsdale, stored safely in its Pokeball, a good day.

"Come back anytime so our Pokemon can play again!" I call.

"I will!" Sam says, poking their head out the window and waving back.

"Well," Anya says, turning to me. "Himiko and I are going for a walk into town for lunch and a few errands. Did you want to join us?" She asks, indicating her daughter, who had been wriggling with impatience during the interaction.

"No, I need to get back to my research," I say, shaking my head slowly and thinking about my discarded work.
My sister squints at me slightly, but I turn around without comment and head back inside, Hop still standing closely, now constantly vigilant for any new sounds or sights.
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