The “famous” Torchic happily bounces in circles around Steven after he finishes treating its wounds.
The four of us are now relaxing in a forest at the base of Mt Chimney. Luckily, we haven’t seen any sign of that red-dressed man and his lackey. They must be long gone by now.
Steven only chuckles in response as he places the mini first-aid kit back in his satchel. Skarmory caws in joy too. I smile when Skarmory picks a berry from one of the trees before feeding it to Torchic.
“You know Steven, you must be a really powerful trainer,” I comment.
He drinks from his canteen before wiping his lips with the back of his hand. Steven tilts his head, flashing me a sly smirk.
“What made you conclude that Miss May?”
I almost shake my head at his teasing tone. “You and your Skarmory beat that man’s Camerupt in a second! I’ve never seen a Pokemon battle end that fast before! If I had a Pokemon, I would wanna battle you!”
Steven’s cheeks flush from my praise, and he drops his head slightly to hide his face. He takes a deep breath before speaking to me again.
“It would be my honor to battle you someday May,” he starts. “However, you and your Pokemon have to become strong before I could even consider you as a worthy opponent.”
“You make it sound like you’re royalty Steven,” I say. “But yeah, you’re right.”
My eyes drift toward Torchic who is now refusing food from Skarmory. Skarmory decides to gulf down the rest of the berries himself since Torchic already ate its fill. Torchic notices me staring at it because it chirps at me excitedly.
“Torchic,” Steven says. Torchic immediately directs its attention to the silver man.
“Would you like to become May’s Pokemon partner?” Steven pauses for a bit before continuing.
“You’ve always rejected everyone else who sought you. And I understand why. You wish to be unencumbered by unworthy humans. But I assure you May is different from the others. She’s never had a Pokemon before. She wishes to travel the world, but she needs a strong Pokemon such as yourself to accompany and protect her. Would you like to see the world as well?”
Upon hearing this, Torchic is now silent as it thoughtfully examines me. After about a minute, Torchic gives Steven a curt nod which makes him clap his hands in relief.
“Oh that’s delightful! I didn’t expect you to agree so quickly,” he says.
Torchic squawks at Steven, then proceeds to shake its head. Steven’s expression falters while I frown too.
“Wait, is that a no?” I question. “You don’t want to be my partner?”
Torchic hops around a few times before coming across an exposed spot of dirt. The tiny Pokemon uses its foot to draw a line across it. Then Torchic runs a few feet away from the line, squats slightly, and then rushes toward the line. Afterwards, it looks up at me in anticipation.
Steven crosses his arms, furrowing his brows. “Pardon me. I don’t comprehend what you’re trying to portray here Torchic.”
“Can you do that again please?” I ask.
Torchic nods, repeating the action once more. It’s just running to a line like the marathoners Mom watches on TV sometimes. I freeze when I realize what Torchic is trying to tell us.
“I think I got it,” I declare. “You’re saying you want to race me. And if I win, you’ll agree to be my Pokemon.”
Torchic chirps approvingly, nodding ecstatically. Steven shakes with laughter as he looks back and forth between me and my new opponent.
“I must say, this is a pleasing turn of events,” Steven states. “This is the first time I’ve seen a Pokemon challenge a human to a race. I knew Torchic wasn’t going to let anyone capture it. In fact, I was expecting a rather difficult Pokemon battle. Not a race.”
“Hmm. Fine. I accept your challenge,” I tell Torchic.
I stand up, quickly scanning the perimeter. Since we are in a forest, the environment looks pretty similar all around. I stop my search when I spot a pretty tree with pink flowers about a mile or so away.
“Do you want to race to that tree and come back to that line you’ve drawn? We can have Steven and Skarmory be the judges and tell us who finished first.”
Torchic glances at where I’m pointing, then turning to me again. The Pokemon nods and jogs over to the line. Torchic drags it foot across the dirt, creating a longer line. It chirps at me and readies it squat.
I walk over to Torchic’s side, slightly squatting as well. Steven taps my shoulder which makes me tune in to him.
“Don’t underestimate this Pokemon May. Torchic is very confident that he can win against you. Torchic often battles with other Pokemon whenever I’ve gone to Mt Chimney.”
I look down at Torchic who appears to be smirking at me through his eyes. I stare straight ahead, zeroing my gaze upon the pretty tree.
“Thanks Steven,” I mutter. “I finally have a chance to have my first Pokemon partner, and I’m not going to let this go to waste.”
“Very well,” he replies. “I shall count to three, and you two may begin once I say go. May the best runner win.”
Steven steps away from Torchic and me until he reaches Skarmory’s side. He gives us one last glance before starting his countdown.
“Three,” he says.
Torchic chirps, sharpening his focus.
I swallow the lodge in my throat.
Alright. I gotta win this.
Oh please be on my side today Arceus.
“Go!” Steven shouts.
Torchic and I take off about the same time. Out of the corner of my eye, I see flames being dragged from the bottom of Torchic’s feet as it proceeds to dash even faster. It’s only been like two minutes, and this tiny Pokemon is already ahead of me.
I grit my teeth when I see Torchic effortlessly jumping over rocks and boulders that were obstructing his path. Ugh Steven wasn’t kidding when he said Torchic is used to playing rough.
A yelp comes out of my mouth when I stumble over a fallen branch. Luckily, I didn’t fall but it definitely slowed me down even more. My lungs are now burning up, along with my legs feeling sore.
I really regret slacking off in P.E class back when I attended the Academy. I’ve done short sprinting for soccer, but I’m not used to running a mile in one go.
A tear slips from my eye when I see Torchic finally reaching the tree. I groan when the Pokemon touches the tree with his feet before leaping off of it in one go.
I try to run even faster now, despite my jelly legs wanting to give up. I see Torchic narrowing its eyes at me after watching me put more effort.
Just as I touch the tree with my left hand, I retract it immediately when a ball of fire lands directly on the tree’s leaves. I turn back in newfound anger when I see Torchic chirping in amusement. The sneaky little Pokemon then turns away, continuing his race to the finish line.
“Oh so that’s how you want to play,” I mutter.
I run over to an apricot tree a couple feet away, grabbing some fruit. I stop harvesting the fruit as soon as I have about 6 apricots tucked in the crook of my left arm. Then I resume running.
I’m definitely not going to let him get away with his dirty trick. Fortunately, I start to pick up more speed, and I smirk as I near Torchic. Steven’s face crinkles in amusement once he notices I’m carrying something in my arms.
When I get a few feet closer to Torchic, I pick up one of the apricots and raise my arm. So far, he seems to be oblivious to what I’m about to do. I steady my aim for a little longer and then launch the fruit toward the Pokemon.
I meant to target his face, but I chucked the fruit at Torchic’s feet. He cries out from the unexpected hit before tumbling uncontrollably on the grass. The tiny Pokemon is horrified from what just happened, and I laugh when I finally take the lead.
My shit-eating grin grows larger when I hear Steven and Skarmory cackling loudly in the distance.
Torchic recovers quickly while the flames beneath him grow even larger. My eyes almost bulge out of their sockets when I see his feet levitating a foot from the ground. He’s not even running anymore at this point. He’s just using the fire as fuel to launch him like a rocket.
“Oh shit!” I yell.
I toss the rest of the apricots to the side so that I can start running with my full might. Nervousness seeps into my bones when I feel Torchic is right behind me. I continue running for about a minute more, and the finish line is now a hundred feet away.
Torchic appears directly beside me, but there’s no way in heck I’m going to let him win. I extend my left arm out, pushing the Pokemon back. Torchic squawks in surprise when he notices my final dirty trick.
I jump toward the finish line, landing roughly about 5 feet away. I groan when my body flops forward, and some dirt goes in my nostrils. Torchic also lands beside me yet with more grace.
“The winner is May!” Steven announces. “Torchic, you were very close. However, May is still victorious. Congratulations on your win.”
Skarmory caws, confirming he also agreed with Steven’s decision.
I roll onto my back, and my silver friend comes over to help me up. Wiping the dirt from my face, I smile widely at Torchic who is now glaring at me for his loss.
“May, I didn’t expect you to utilize shady tactics in order to win. Is this even a legitimate competition?” Steven remarks.
I flail in frustration, feeling the need to smack him for his taunts. “What!? I still won! The winner is whoever goes to that tree and reaches the finish line first! We never set any rules on how to race!”
I gesture to a sulking Torchic and the crispy tree up ahead. “And besides, he started it! Did you not see how he tried to burn my hand off earlier!?”
Torchic chirps in delight after hearing my last sentence. This makes me roll my eyes.
Wow, I’m glad to know he finds it funny.
“Well I suppose that’s a valid point,” Steven admits. He turns to Torchic.
“Torchic, May won the race. You need to uphold your end of the bargain. It’s only fair.”
The little Pokemon proudly stands up taller, nodding in agreement. Steven then reaches into his satchel, taking out a black and yellow Pokeball. He takes one of my hands, placing the ball upon my open palm.
My hearts beats faster when Steven gives me a gentle smile. “Go on May. Aim the Pokeball at Torchic and tap on the circle in the middle. You’ll then be connected with him.”
I exhale a deep breath before doing exactly as he commands. A red light flies out from the open Pokeball, encasing Torchic. It glows for a couple of seconds before disappearing completely.
Torchic gives himself a once-over before rushing over to me and jumping into my arms. I slip the Pokeball in my fanny pack. He licks my cheek, causing me to giggle.
“I’m really happy we’re partners, little buddy,” I whisper to Torchic. “Thank you so much.”
I hug my new partner tighter, and tears shed from my eyes. My lifelong dream has finally been realized. After years of trying, I’ve finally befriended a Pokemon.
I feel much more alive now. Torchic and I are going to see the world together. Maybe we’ll take on the gym challenge together. No matter what happens, I’m going to love this Pokemon forever.
I’m distracted from my own thoughts when Steven wraps his own arms around me and Torchic. I look up to see him gazing sweetly at us.
“I’m truly happy for you two,” Steven says. “May, you finally have your first Pokemon. And Torchic, you have a human partner who will love and take care of you. Please treat each other well.”
Torchic hums in agreement, snuggling closer to me. Then we hear Skarmory caw before nearly crushing us with his steely wings. Steven and I laugh when Torchic angrily bickers at a sheepish Skarmory.
We all hug for about a minute more until Steven and Skarmory finally let go. As for me, I keep holding Torchic who relaxes in my arms.
“Thank you for helping me Steven. This is the best day of my life so far. I’ve waited so long for this moment.”
“You’re welcome May. I’m happy that you’re happy. Did you want to give Torchic a name?” Steven asks me. “Sometimes I call Skarmory Skar whenever I feel playful.”
Torchic and I meet each other’s gaze. I think about his question for a bit until a grin curls my lips.
“Yes actually,” I say. “I’m going to call you Blaze-Blaze. Or Blaze for short.”
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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