“What kind of Pokemon have you always desired May?” Steven asks.
Before I could even answer him, he suddenly makes a sharp turn as we barely avoid crashing into a flock of Swablu. I squeeze his torso tighter which causes Steven to check on me concernedly. I get annoyed when he bursts out laughing from realizing the glare etched on my face.
“I apologize for the uncomfortable ride. Skarmory and I love speeding through the skies,” he comments. Steven looks ahead at the horizon, leaning down slightly in order to fly even faster.
“I noticed,” I reply. “Honestly Steven, I’m not picky about who my first Pokemon should be. I just want someone that I can mesh well with.”
“I understand. Well, I have an idea of who will be best-suited for you. But this particular Pokemon has to accept you too.”
I feel a glimmer of excitement in the pit of my stomach. I place my forehead against his upper back, chuckling for a bit.
“You make it sound like it’s a legendary Pokemon. He or she sure sounds powerful,” I say.
“I suppose you can say that. This Pokemon is not legendary, but it is quite powerful for someone so young. I’ve seen other trainers try to catch or befriend it; however, those attempts have never been successful.”
Skarmory cries out, descending toward a mountain range. I feel myself starting to sweat as we fly directly into clouds of thick heat. We eventually slow down even more as Skarmory gently lands on a plateau of red dirt and rocks.
Steven gets down first and helps me get off of Skarmory. Afterwards, I use this as an opportunity to scan my surroundings. All I can see are pretty red hills with vines and trees covering huge portions of them. On my left, I notice a few people boarding a gondola a few hundred yards away from us.
Whatever this place is, it is boiling out here.
I jog over to Steven who is giving Skarmory some water from his canteen.
“Where are we at? Is this a volcano?” I question him.
“Indeed,” Steven answers. “We are at the foot of Mt. Chimney, one of the hottest regions in Hoenn. This is where I train my Pokemon sometimes.”
I gape at Skarmory who yowls in acknowledgment. “Wow, that’s amazing! But wouldn’t Skarmory have a disadvantage against fire-type Pokemon? At school, my teachers always told us to use Pokemon that have a type-advantage against our opponents.”
Steven and Skarmory share a knowing look. My handsome-silver haired companion removes his jacket and ties it around his waist while beginning to speak again. I force myself to look away when I see some of his bare chest taunting me from underneath his dress shirt.
“Type-advantages are not everything May. The strength of Pokemon truly depends on the strength of their trainer. Come now, we must ascend to the peak.”
Steven leads me to an opening carved into the face of the mountain. Then he picks up a thick branch from the ground and examines it for a few seconds. He nods approvingly as we finally enter the cave.
It’s mainly dark inside except for some lava seeping from the cracks of the walls. I stay in the middle of the path, but Steven walks over to a wall and brushes the tip of his branch against the lava. It immediately creates a small fire, giving us a much brighter room of the cave.
“That’s smart,” I admit.
Steven’s smile glows in appreciation from the light flickering on his face. “Thank you. Mt. Chimney may be a tourist attraction, but it is best to exercise caution. Please stay close to me. I don’t want you getting hurt.”
“Thanks. I’m glad I have my handsome silver knight protecting me,” I say.
This makes Steven look down at the ground sheepishly as he places the back of his hand to his lips. I’m no genius, but even I can tell that he’s hiding a smile. Skarmory bawks loudly, which sounds like he’s laughing at his trainer’s reaction.
Steven gives me a sideways glance as we travel through the open path on the right. He exhales deeply before meeting my amused gaze.
“Have you ever had a significant other before? I noticed that you’re quite flirtatious. I almost envy your confidence,” he remarks.
This time, I couldn’t help but blush from his personal inquiry. I have not been asked that question in a very long time. He’ll probably think that I’m lame if I tell him the truth.
I decide not to answer right away as I wipe the sweat off my forehead by using the cloth of my headband. It’s getting hotter as we walk further into the mountain.
Steven probably notices the look on my face because he stops directly in front of me. I come to a standstill too even though my toes kinda hurt from curling a lot.
“I’m sorry if I crossed the line. I was merely curious,” he breathes out.
“Oh no you’re fine,” I say. “It’s just that I never dated anyone before. It’s kinda lame actually. Almost everyone my age has had at least one relationship.”
“I see,” Steven states as we begin to walk again. Neither of us say anything for about a couple of minutes until he breaks the silence.
“I don’t think you’re lame. Just because you’ve never been in a relationship before does not detract from your character. And besides, I’ve never had a significant other as well.”
I almost trip when I hear his last sentence. Steven gives me a small grin as he fixes his hair a bit.
“You really haven’t? But you’re nice! And hot!” I blab.
His grin becomes cheeky now as he obviously enjoys my compliments. “It’s true. I’ve never really set aside the time for romance since I’m constantly immersed in my studies. Many of the women who pursued me usually want to be with me because of my wealth.”
“I’m sure that’s a common problem rich people deal with. But even if you weren’t rich, I would still want to be around you. You’ve already saved me from those Taillow, got my wounds treated, and now you’re helping me get my first Pokemon. You’re really nice Steven. It’s very refreshing.”
“Refreshing?” Steven repeats. “Thank you. That is kind of you to say.”
I’m about to respond back, but a loud shriek pierces the air and cuts me off. As soon as we turn toward the sound, a ball of fire is hurled directly toward us. I try to duck but end up stumbling horribly, falling flat on my butt. Skarmory leaps in front of the fireball, swatting it away with one of his wings.
Steven extends a hand and helps me stand up. “Are you alright? That was a nasty fall.”
“I’m fine. But it sounds like a Pokemon is in trouble. We have to help it!”
“Very well. But stay behind Skarmory and me.”
Both of us nod in agreement before rushing over to the Pokemon’s cries. They get even louder, and it isn’t long until we see a small Pokemon struggling underneath a net laced with barbed wire.
I grit my teeth when I see the wire digging into the Pokemon’s skin, causing it to bleed in certain areas. I look to my right, seeing a large man wearing a weird red uniform growling at the captured Pokemon.
“Insolent creature! I swear I’ll make you pay for your foolish behavior!” he screams.
I see a young woman next to him who is also wearing a similar outfit. She pulls out a handkerchief from her small bag and hands it to the man. The man uses it to wipe the blood seeping from the open cuts on his arm.
“Commander, should I activate the Sondix Device?” she asks.
Steven and I look at each other warily.
The man shakes his head. “As much as I’d like that, our leader ordered us not to torture this one. I don’t see what’s special about this Torchic. We’re better off stealing one away from some greenhorn trainer.”
“You torture and steal Pokemon!? You guys are scum!” I yell.
Without even thinking, I run right in front of the small Pokemon and place my body in front. The small bird starts to calm down as it watches me cautiously.
This causes the pair to be surprised by my sudden action while Steven nervously stares at me. The red-dressed pair are now displeased from seeing me standing in their way, and the large man angrily balls his fists. He starts barking at the woman next to him.
“Myra, you told me that all of the tourists left! Why are there a couple of brats here!?”
Jeez, this guy has anger problems.
Myra shrinks under her superior’s glare. “I’m sorry sir! They must have arrived recently! I even made sure that the gondola malfunctioned as soon as the last set of tourists rode it!”
“This is unacceptable!” the man roars out as he looks between Steven and me. “I’ll be nice enough to give a warning this time. If you two don’t leave now, I’ll have my Pokemon brutally beat you.”
“We’re not going anywhere,” Steven coolly says. “In fact, I suggest you and your friend leave this place unless you want Skarmory to teach you what pain truly means.”
The man crosses his arms, staring down Steven with a conceited smirk on his chubby face. “Oh so we have a hero then? Fine. Don’t say I never warned you.”
He jabs a finger directly at Steven. “Camerupt, beat this pompous bastard and his girlfriend to a bloody pulp!”
The ground shakes viciously as a large tanky Pokemon emerges from underneath. It’s a giant camel-looking thing that spews out lava from the mini volcanoes on its back. His Camerupt roars in response to his trainer’s command as a layer of fire dances around it. It’s only seconds until the Pokemon charges toward Steven.
I feel ashamed for cowering in fear, but I force myself to drop down and use my body as a shield to protect the small bird Pokemon. I can still imagine the murderous intent in Camerupt’s eyes. His Pokemon is just as crazy as he is. This thing wants to burn us to death.
On the other hand, Steven only stares at the Pokemon with a small smirk of his own. Camerupt doesn’t get very far in his charge because Skarmory swoops right in front of us and slams into it straight on.
This sends the large Pokemon flying back until it crashes into one of the mountain’s walls. The man shakes and wails immediately when he sees his Pokemon slumped on the ground with one of its eyes partially open.
“Camerupt!” the man cries out. He waddles as fast as he can to his Pokemon, shaking its head a few times. The young woman follows him with her mouth wide open in shock.
Out of all the Pokemon battles I’ve ever witnessed, that’s the first time I’ve seen one that ended within seconds. His Skarmory is a beast.
“You monster! You killed my Pokemon!” the man yells.
This makes Steven laugh in response. “Oh please. Do not compare me to a thug like you. Although my Skarmory is more than capable of tearing your brutish Pokemon apart, it is merely unconscious. I do recommend taking your Pokemon to a hospital. Your Camerupt most likely has internal bleeding by now.”
Some tears spill out of the man’s small eyes as he looks down at his Pokemon. He appears to be lost in thought even when his subordinate Myra touches his shoulder.
“Commander, please let me handle it. I will fight in your stead,” she says.
Myra meets Steven’s now entertained face as she readies a Pokeball in her hand. She’s about to toss it until her boss grabs her arm, stopping her movement.
“Stand down,” the man orders.
“Stand down!” he repeats. He glares at Steven before returning his Pokemon to its ball.
“This is not an opponent you can defeat Myra. Your Pokemon might die if you decide to battle him,” he says bitterly.
Myra gulps from realizing how serious the situation is and takes a few steps behind her boss.
“What about our mission? This Torchic is important, is it not?” she stammers.
“Who cares!? I don’t want Camerupt dying because of this nutjob! Set a course for Lavaridge immediately!” he screams.
“Yes sir!” the woman responds shakily.
She throws two Pokeballs, and a pair of Pidgeot come out. She climbs onto the back of one of them while the other Pidgeot waits for the man.
The man furiously looks at me holding the netted Pokemon in my arms. The wires are starting to rip my bandages as I hold Torchic closer to my chest. He snorts before boarding the other Pidgeot.
The pair begin to fly off; however, the man stops a few feet away from Steven. Skarmory stands proudly in front of his trainer ready to give another thrashing if necessary.
“You may have bested me this round. But I will get my revenge if I ever see your face again brat,” he threatens.
“We’ll see,” Steven says. “I hope your Camerupt feels better soon.”
The man growls and sneers at Steven’s well-meaning remark. The pair immediately take off, and I sigh in relief once I see their figures vanish completely in the darkness.
Steven and Skarmory run over to me and Torchic. Skarmory waves a wing, cutting off the barbed net and finally freeing the little Pokemon. Torchic slowly shakes off the last remains of the net as it jumps around in joy.
The Pokemon chirps happily as it runs back and forth between Steven and me.
“I’m glad you’re alright Torchic,” Steven says. “I expected you to be in some sort of trouble as usual, but I never expected a couple of criminals to capture you.”
Torchic chatters in higher-pitched tones which makes it seem like it’s offended. Steven laughs and pats its head.
“Sorry, I am well aware of how strong you are,” he says heartily. Steven picks up the small Pokemon in his arms and continues talking to it.
“May I take you to the forest nearby? We must get your wounds treated. I also have a business proposition for you.”
Torchic only stares at Steven for a little while before slowly nodding its head a couple times. My heart gushes in admiration when I see Steven planting a kiss on Torchic’s head.
“Good. I’m glad we agree,” Steven says. He turns his attention to me.
Steven glances at Torchic for a second before looking at me once more.
“I would like you to meet my dear friend Torchic. Torchic I would like you to meet my lovely companion, May.”
Thanks for reading Red Silver Hearts!
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Disclaimer: The image above is only used to help the reader visualize what the chapter is about.
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