She came in to find a bowl of Daikon rice on the coffee table. It had gone cold, and so had the lemon tea. She couldn't be bothered to microwave it. Carefully she placed the tubberware in the fridge, with a post-it note on it's lid; telling her mother to take it to work. Hopefully she would notice it. Meh she could always heat it up for herself. Mmm Sashimi. The lights were off upstairs, and all the sockets were removed. Such paranoia.
She eased a plug back into its socket, and the television flickered slightly before coming into focus. A news bulletin was displayed on the screen, and a little man in a suit and tie narrated the words on screen. Something about a new team making frequent appearances across the region, a big symbol with a P etched across it, a few lightening bolts? Meh. Probably football.
Unova sports, always a big let down. All there is...two courts in Nimbassa the size of dining halls, and all the athletes do is challenge spectators to Pokémon battles. No one runs, or to be honest, any sport of any kind. She'd been there once with her mother to watch her cousin play rugby against the Kanto Dragons. Disappointing, just one big Pokémon battle staged on court. You actually have to think about which is a gym and which is a tennis court now.
Damn it, the xtranciever. Who calls at half eleven? Oh right, probably Cheren about his bloody Stoutland again.
She reached into her bag to reveal a flashing metal contraption with a pixelated caller id displayed on the blue screen. Juniper? Seriously? Ugh probably wants mom to do something like brush her Mincinno's ass-hair or something. Well she'll just have to explain why people sleep at eleven and why her mother doesn't want to play the role of bitch slave anymore.
"Touko, is that you? God damn it..."
"Yes, its me, what the hell do you want Juniper."
"Nice to speak to you to-"
"Look, cut the crap. I asked you what you wanted, and the 'end call' button suddenly looks really appealing, all bright red and shiny..."
"You press that, I press another red button called 'cancel paycheck to Kosuke Mizushima." She whispered sharply, voice dripping with malice.
Ugh. Well, mutual hatred addressed, she was loosing her patience but had to remember the thin thread her mother hung upon in this conversation.
"Right, what can I do for you...ma'am."
"I need to speak with your mother. Immediately."
"And why is that."
"That is of no concern to you."
"Oh but it is, you tell me, you can speak to her without any more questions."
"You...value your mother's present career, correct? Then loose the cocky inquisition and pass the phone to your mother, if there is even a hope of her profession being maintained along with my research facility."
So many big words...she had been beaten. Not that she wanted her mother to work for the cow, but it was all the income they had, apart from her battle prize money of about a hundred Pokédollars per match with a hyperactive child around Striaton, it wasn't enough.
"Fine, I will."
Her mother was sprawled along the tattered mattress upstairs. Puzzle, her mother's Girafarig, lay peacefully by the headboard of the bed, stirring in the wake of Touko's footsteps. The light from the hallway bled across the floor, and upon contact with the pokemon, it sniffed and shuffled further towards the back of the room in it's sleep, it's tail snapping in a subcnscious alert. Carefully Touko brought herself level with her mothers tired face and began to ease her gently awake. She began to stir in protest, before her eyelids slowly lifted, exposing dark, and bloodshot pupils.
"T-Touko, your kidding me. I...work...half six...morning."
"Mom, Phone, It's..."
She shoved the phone speakers against a pillow.
Her eyes instantly widened in recognition and she bolted upwards, knocking the xtranciever onto the wooden floor. It made a little bzzt sound before it was hastily recovered.
"Y-yes Ma'am, w-what can I do for you?" Her mother said, voice light and honey coated. Hmph, she wasn't worth the kind efforts. Clearly she had made that apparent earlier. She smiled at the small triumph of making that so obvious.
A few sharp murmurs could be heard from the xtranciever, suddenly Kosuke's eyes widened, and immediately she ran into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. All Touko caught was a horrified glance sent her direction as the door quickly shut.
All I heard was...
"She came back, to your doorstep?"
Laying down in bed, she awaited her mothers return, her own inquisition burning brighter by every tick of the clock. She turned to one side, thinking about the television. Crap, she left it on. Allowing her breathing to quieten, she managed to make out the sound of the news being read by the same little man. She ran downstairs and turned off the television, almost making out something along the lines of...
Weird football name.
Back on the duvet, she thought about what went on that day. Why did Chilli decide to walk her home? Who were those characters he was talking to, or were there people even there at all...So many questions.
She was desperate to know the purpose of that phone call. After what felt like hours of sleepless anxiety, she eventually drifted off, dreaming of Sashimi and shadows.
She dreamt of a man, running through the forest, clutching blue paper. There was a Pokémon. A grey wolf-like body complimented with crimson and black accents. Deep blue eyes. It hid in the trees, watching her. She was stood there, looking across the landscape. Suddenly the Pokémon transformed into a beautiful young woman with flowing brown hair. The man carried on running, in the wake of a figure in a large robe stood poised before her, pointing a gun to her forehead. The trigger was released and the woman jumped in front of her, taking the weight of the bullet. She lay covered in blood. Touko screamed.
She awoke to find her mother cradling her upper-body softly, whispering kind words down to her, stroking her hair whilst being preoccupied with jotting notes down into the back pages of her agenda. Once she looked down to see her daughter awake, she put down the pencil and grinned halfheartedly. The tiredness was really having an impact at this point.
"Honey its okay, did you have a bad dream? You wouldn't wake up, and you were screaming an awful lot..."
"What was the phone call about?" Touko asked, desperate to evade the subject. At the mention of the phone call, her mother's eyes darted sharply to the left and then she shook her head, smiling back down at her daughter in a soft, somewhat maternal way.
"Ah, so you didn't forget about that huh, well I doubted you would have, little miss Inquisition. The lovely Miss Juniper rang me to say her sister came back from a long trek or something, hadn't seen her in oh...seven years?" She went on. Touko cast a shocked glance.
"Oh I know its a long time." Her mother confirmed, picking up her agenda from where she had left it, and checked through the notes. Touko looked over her shoulder to see a range of dates, contact details and a list of nearby youth hostels, she must have made them during their conversation. She recognized one in Accumula Town, a little hostel called 'Stoutlands Rest', where she had stayed the night when coming back from a summer camp with Chilli's family. Oh great, roll flashback.
Chilli and his parents had looked after her for two weeks, surviving the wilderness of Pinwheel forest. As a child she had always loved adventure, so this was a big step for both her and her best friend. They had taken an early service coach to Nacrene city, before making the short trek to the forest's entrance. Chilli's mother, Matsuko Daikokuya, had a part time job as a PRL (Pokemon Ranger group Leader) for a group of wilderness wanna-be Bear Grylls scouts, fortunately stationed in Pinwheel forest, which gave them access to the ranger-staff campsite located deep within the woods. They had to climb across logs and boulders to reach it, as it was a staff site the journey there didn't really account for child safety. Nor did Matsuko it seemed, thus she and Chilli had to manage it themselves, with the only aid of their minds, abilities and their Pokemon. Obviously this concluded in them being two hours late to the site and covered in Seawaddle excrement.
'It is a fun little test for you two." She said.
Although, she remembered Pansear getting some valuable experience due to its distinct type advantage over the countless bug Pokemon native to the area. Moss, a Snivy at the time in its pre-evolved form, had not, and ended up on the receiving end of countless bug bite and X-scissor attacks. Both had entered the camp entwined in string shot and seeking revenge on the bug type itself. Oh and she had Seawaddle on her massacre list.
After that, Touko and Snivy had spent most days asking Matsuko and other forest rangers to help her locate berries across the forest to cook meals for the Pokemon, whilst Chilli and his dad caught Basculin to use as a sushi base ingredient-deal with it, not all of Unova was veggie. Along the way to find berries the other PRLs had given her many tips for survival, as if they had just survived a plane crash and were trying to find food to sustain themselves in some hostile foreign environment, and were already downgrading to drinking their own piss and eating their Pokemon. Clearly the right thing to do despite the path being in plain sight, about eleven meters away in almost all cases. Realistic Advice. Well if she had Frills at the time she'd fail to see the consequences, lost or not.
Come on, the forest itself was about the size of two and a half playing fields tops, so any advice remained pretty useless. It was around midnight once they reached Accumula, and decided it had been to late to follow the route back to Nuvema to drop her off, so had searched for a place to rest. Touko initially thought they were down grading to park benches, though that wasn't entirely considered a down grade, after two weeks sharing a bed with Chilli in a Tent from IKEA that had the same chance of keeping them dry as a paper bag. Their Pokemon had been too tired to withstand battle against more wild native Pokemon, granted they were only shit little patrats and toilet brushes left, but hey...she herself had been to sleepy to re instate that fact.
'Stoutland's rest' was...yes... as shit as it sounded. EVERYONE HAD LILLIPUPS. EVERYONE. EVEN THE LILIPUPS HAD LILIPUPS. WHAT HAD CHEREN STARTED.
Back to reality.
"I think she wanted some temporary accommodation for me to sort out." Her mother said, scratching nervously at her fingernails.
"Oh really." Said Touko dryly.
"Juniper's sister...She came and said something about...meeting us." She whispered.
"How does she know about us?" Touko asked, scanning her mothers face for any signs of uncertainty. Kosuke avoided her glace, scanning out the window as if searching for something. Touko followed her mothers gaze to the double glazing, where she could barely make out anything but the outline of the neighborhood. Dark sheathed buildings and lone figures, Pokemon and human, making their way around town, far too late for a normal person.
Rain billowed down upon the ground like silver bullets, and the little town blurred significantly. Squinting, Touko managed to make out dark shapes... but nothing in detail.
Suddenly something made itself apparent amongst the cobbles of the street. A Pokemon. Looking closer, it was accompanied by a tall figure, indistinguishable in the darkness of the night. No one, other that herself it seemed, noticed the figure or the Pokemon. The figure lifted their head and dark green eyes met with Touko's. Immediately she flinched and hid behind her mother, head level with the windowsill. Kosuke looked down at her daughter inquisitively before scanning the outside once more. Shaking her head she nudged Touko to let go of her dressing gown before making her way across the room. She sat down upon the bare mattress and flicked through what looked like an agenda for work.
Touko slowly brought her head up to check once again for the figure. The figure had gone but the Pokemon remained, looking in the same direction of its master.
"I know that Pokemon..." Touko whispered, rubbing her forehead in attempt to recollect the memory...
She ducked down from the Pokemon's view, and crawled over to her desk on the opposite side of the room, avoiding crap that littered the floor. A pile of leather-bound books sat prominently in the center of the little desk, with tissues marking certain pages. She decided to go paperback, instead of using more modern technologies (i.e. her Pokedex) to identify anything about the Absol, in case it attracted the attention of its creepy owner if she were to scan it from the bedroom window.
Kosuke was still looking through her agenda and checking sites for each youth hostel, before writing booking prices down on to scrapped bits of paper. She met her daughters gaze, nodded before placing the pencil in her mouth. She chewed it for a while before finger combing her hair in effort to look presentable. She spat out the pencil and eased her tired muscles from the warm embrace of the mattress.
"I'm just going to go downstairs to use the xtranciever, I need to make a few arrangements." She explained.
Nodding, Touko brushed dust from the cover of a Pokemon encyclopedia as her mother closed the bedroom Door. Hmm this one was branded with a symbol she recognized...ah Striaton City Trainer Academy. Her mum trained there to become a laboratory apprentice, and had used in high school when studying type diversity for a degree in elemental studies. Fascinating flash back, best avoid that for now. It had long complicated records for all recorded Pokemon, labelled in different colors according to their native regions. Crap where did Absol fit?
Eventually she came to a section regarding the Pokemon in question, and began to read.