Dad and I walk to opposite ends before we face each other. His Slaking strolls until he stands next to him. My dad crosses his arms as he waits for me to get ready.
Blaze jumps down from my shoulders, staring up at the gigantic Pokemon bravely. Taillow nods at me and then lands right next to Blaze. I smile at the extra set of hands.
“Thanks Taillow,” I say. “I owe you one.”
“Hmph,” Dad mutters.
Steven walks toward me, placing a hand on my back. “May, I appreciate the valiant effort. However, please cease this. I do not want to be the cause of animosity between you and your parents.”
Mom chimes in, voicing her concerns. “This is getting way out of hand. Norman, let’s just get May and leave. You don’t need to fight our daughter.”
“I need to do this,” I say to everyone. “I stand by what I said earlier. About school. And especially about Steven. I’ll prove you wrong Dad.”
Dad closes his eyes for about a minute. When he opens them, he displays a small smirk.
“Fine,” he says. “Show me what you’ve learned if you believe Steven is that great.”
His head quickly nods toward Blaze. “Slaking! Take out that Torchic first!”
Slaking pounds his large hands against his chest while crying out ferociously. Then he charges toward Blaze immediately.
Steven and Mom quickly get out of the way. I stand my ground, pointing directly at the giant.
“Blaze! Taillow! Use Quick Attack to dodge!” I command.
Both Pokemon nod as they speed toward Slaking. Slaking tries to punch both of them with its large hands. Blaze leaps out of the way, landing clumsily on the grass. Taillow flies farther into the sky so that it’s out of harm’s way.
Slaking notices Blaze trying to get up because he curls his right fist in frustration. My dad’s Pokemon raises his arm in the air, gathering light around its palm.
Shit. Blaze will be a goner once that hits.
“Blaze! Use ember on Slaking’s fist! Full power!”
Blaze locks onto Slaking, shooting streams of fire against Slaking. Slaking appears to not be affected by the fire for the most part. The good thing is that he stopped charging energy and lowered his arm down.
“Taillow! Get Blaze!” I yell.
Taillow swoops right into the scene, evading Slaking’s attempts to swat it down. It sinks its beak into Blaze’s back, carrying him into the sky.
“Clever,” Dad admits. “It’s a shame this fight is still useless.”
I try to ignore whatever Dad said and focus my gaze onto the two bird Pokemon flying hastily away. Slaking seems to be eying their movements carefully.
For about a minute, Dad merely continues his stance as he assesses the situation. Slaking pensively waits for his next order. A smirk creeps up on my Dad’s lips as he slightly tilts his head.
“Slaking, use Yawn!”
I grimace. If any of them get hit with that move, they won’t be able to do anything afterwards.
Slaking digs his fists and feet into the ground, using it to propel himself forward. Sweat breaks out upon my forehead while I think of my next move.
Taillow acts quickly as it lifts Blaze and itself higher into the sky. I guess they should be okay as long as they’re out of harm’s reach.
I’m proven wrong when Slaking jumps onto the trees, swinging effortlessly upon the branches. Because of the newfound height, Slaking is now considerably closer to the pair.
I take a deep breath as I clear my mind. I won’t be able to win if I doubt myself.
Slaking takes one more swing before launching himself toward Blaze and Taillow. I see fear written all over their faces while Slaking opens his mouth and bellows a bloodcurdling roar.
“May!” Steven shouts.
An idea pops in my head. I point at Taillow as if some confident spirit possessed me.
“Taillow! Use growl! As loud as you can!”
Taillow lets go of Blaze and releases an ear-piercing screech. Slaking is caught off guard for a few seconds until he resumes his tirade. Slaking is only a couple feet away from reaching Taillow.
“Blaze! Use growl! Make sure he doesn’t touch Taillow!”
Blaze jumps up from the tree he landed on earlier. Flames shoot out from the soles of his feet, making Blaze jump continuously in the air. As soon as Blaze is near Slaking, he lets out his inner roar which finally makes Slaking stop his attack.
“Hit him with a quick attack!” I command.
Blaze and Taillow lean their bodies toward Slaking and proceed to slam into the giant Pokemon with full force. Slaking is knocked backwards until he lands clumsily onto the ground, causing a small crater to form.
Blaze and Taillow land gracefully on the grass hundreds of feet away. I smile while both of my Pokemon catch their breath.
“Not bad,” Dad remarks. “But don’t think you have the upper hand. Slaking, use Faint attack!”
Slaking seems to almost take his time recuperating from the fall. However, once he’s back on his feet, I see Slaking take one step before he completely disappears.
“What!? Where’d he go?” I say.
I receive my answer when Slaking suddenly shows up in front of Blaze and Taillow. He uses his curled fists to punch their faces, causing the pair to crumple to the ground.
“It’s over,” Dad says.
“No!” I yell. “Get up now!”
It’s no use though. Blaze and Taillow are already unconscious. I run toward them immediately as tears stream down my face.
Slaking moves out of the way. I kneel down, pick up the two Pokemon, and cradle them gently in my arms.
“I’m so sorry,” I tell them. “I’m really sorry. I was in over my head.”
I hear footsteps behind me. Through a teary gaze, I look up and see my Dad staring down at me.
“May . . ,” he starts. “I must say-”
“Yes I know,” I interrupt. “I’ll go back to the stupid Academy. And become a boring Pokemon trainer that way.”
I probably sounded extremely bitter. But I can’t hide my disgust about going to school. I was really looking forward to traveling with Steven and having my own adventure.
Dad sits down next to me. “What I was going to say before you rudely interrupted me, is that you and your Pokemon did excellent for your first battle.”
I’m almost speechless from hearing his unexpected praise. I’m even more surprised when Dad pets both Blaze and Taillow’s heads.
“But I lost,” I mutter. “Slaking knocked out both of my Pokemon with one attack.”
Dad chuckles. “You’re missing the point. I learned that you have the makings of becoming a powerful Pokemon trainer. You and Blaze are already in sync with each other, and Taillow willingly chose to fight by your side. I rarely see wild Pokemon go out of their way to defend humans.”
I hug both Blaze and Taillow closer to my chest. “That’s nice and all. But I still have to go back to the Academy, don’t I? And do I also have to be separated from Blaze? I know the Academy doesn’t want its students to bring Pokemon from home.”
Dad sighs, realizing the full extent of my distress. “Don’t worry about the Academy anymore. I would never separate you from your dear Pokemon. I was surprised at first to see you with Blaze. There aren’t many trainers who can catch Pokemon without going to school. But Blaze is your partner. I’m not going to come between that.”
I crack a small smile. “Thanks Dad.”
Glancing at Steven and Mom who are only a couple feet away from us, I finally talk about the elephant in the room.
“Does this mean I can’t see Steven anymore?” I tentatively ask. More tears spew from my eyes as I think about the worst case scenario.
Steven kneels down, placing his hand over mine. “Everything will be alright. This will not be the last time we meet.”
I can tell by his gravelly tone that Steven doesn’t seem too sure, but he’s trying to comfort me anyway.
Dad’s gaze burns holes at the side of my head. He clears his throat, causing the rest of us to pay attention to him. Dad warily meets Steven’s gaze.
“I have every right to be concerned, but I can tell you care about my daughter a lot,” Dad states.
Steven nods. “I do. May has potential, and she even risked her life to save Blaze. How could I not care for her?”
“Then I trust you will protect May. Make sure no harm befalls her and that she accomplishes her dreams. I want my daughter to be as great or even stronger than the champion himself.”
I feel Steven clutching my hand a little tighter. He closes his eyes for a few moments while some tears accidentally escape. Steven opens them so that he can contentedly smile at Dad.
His next words make my heart beat faster.
“I promise. I won’t let you down, Mr. Maple.”
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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