AGNPH Stories

Luca - 1st Edition by Felix


Story Notes:

This is the first posted edition of my story Luca.
Luca is a special riolu who is given to the trainer Felix. Meant for each other, the two endeavor to make the best of their lives together. However, what is life without trials to make bonds grow stronger?

The Long Road Home

A short run later and Kail finally caught sight of me at the edge of a pond. I was staring down at the water in front of me as I sat sadly on the shore. I had only been there for a few seconds before I heard Kail stop at the edge of the woods, but I already had a dratini swimming around in the water in front of me, apparently trying to figure out what I was doing and why I looked so sad. I simply watched the serpent coil and slither about in the water while Kail approached me.

“Why didn’t you come back to the campsite…?” He asked sadly since he already knew the answer and was just glad I was still alive.

“I never thought it would happen… I must have done something really wrong for her to have given up on me…” I muttered to myself as I watched the dratini, though its motions never seemed to register with my thoughts.

“It’s not your fault, it’s Darkrai’s. Just come back to the campsite and show her. I’m sure she’ll come around.” Kail replied confidently as he came up behind me.

“I hope so, I really do…” I replied despairingly as I stood up and turned away from Kail to head back in the direction of the campsite. I just wasn’t sure of anything at the moment. The way Luca had looked at me, how she had put herself in her ball to escape me. Every one of her gestures ran through my mind and saddened me further. I simply wished I knew what I had done because I knew she would never have fallen for simple lies. There had to be something real, and concrete, for her to abandon me like this.

As we left the dratini popped its head out of the water and looked curiously at me then at Kail before disappearing innocently and swimming off.

“You’re not giving up on her are you!?” Kail said quickly with a surprised voice.

“No! I will never give up on her!” I snapped back as I spun to face him with an angry look, and he immediately stopped behind me as I stared him down. But seeing his expression brought me back down to earth.

“I’m sorry…” I said as I regained my composure and turned sadly away from him before continuing to walk and speak. “I will never give up on her, but I won’t stop her if she really wants to leave…”

“You can’t be serious. You can’t let her leave in her condition, she wouldn’t last a day.” Kail answered with a much calmer tone to avoid angering me again.

“I know, but what else can I do? If I try and force her to stay she’ll just resent me more.” I replied. I knew very well from her actions in the facility that if I tried to talk her into anything she would take on an obedient tone and obey her “master,” which is something I didn’t want.

“What if I tried talking to her?” Kail asked confidently, trying to give me a way out of my situation, but even then I knew that wouldn’t work.

“I don’t think that’ll work. If anyone tries to talk her on my behalf she’ll suspect I’m the one behind it… No, the best I can hope for now is that she realizes I’m not forcing her to do anything…” I answered as we kept heading towards the campsite.

“Come on mom we have to make sure dad’s alright!” Leo said unconsciously as Kail bolted off. He turned to run but realized his mother was frozen, just staring at the pillar of smoke.

“Mom…? Have you really given up on dad?” Leo continued as he turned back to his mother who quickly looked away from him and clenched her eyes.

“I don’t know! I just don’t know… I thought he had forgotten about me… I worked hard to get over him and now you come and actually rescue me!” She cried sadly as she hugged her arms and turned away from Leo, all as her tears started falling again.

“L-Luca…? Can I talk to you…? Alone…” A small female voice said as a pokemon timidly came out of the nearby crowd.

“Elli!? I’m so glad you made it!” Luca exclaimed, though her voice remained sad as she snapped her eyes open and rushed to the Glaceon to embrace her for the first time. Though Luca couldn’t see her expression Elli had locked eyes with Leo with a terrified gaze, obviously she was afraid of what Leo and the others might do if they knew she was the one who had convinced Luca to give up on me.

“P-please, let’s go somewhere else…” She tried to convince Luca who released the one friend she thought she had left, since Leo was defending his father…

“I-I’m sorry…” Elli said quietly to Leo before turning away and quickly leading Luca out of earshot.

“We’re not leaving are we?” Luca asked like a worried child, unsure of whether to go through with running away from home.

“L-Luca, please forgive me… I, I never thought he would actually come… Your trainer, Felix, he really does care about you…” Elli started with an out of character timidness as she sat before Luca with her ears back, head down and tail wrapped close to her side.

“What…? You’re defending him now!?” Luca answered sadly as she looked in disbelief at Elli.

“I’m sorry…! I hope you can forgive me…!” Elli yelled back as she started sobbing, then quickly turned and ran off into the brush.

“Elli…? Elli!?” Luca yelled after the glaceon as her tears started to well up again.

“Mom…? Who was that?” Leo said as he found his mother, who was now slumped against a tree sobbing quietly.

“I-I thought she was my friend…” She replied as she tried to wipe her tears away, only to have them replaced with new ones.

“What happened to you mom…?” Leo asked as he knelt sadly before his mother, unable to bear seeing her like she was and desperately trying to make her feel better.

“I don’t… I don’t know… Nothing makes sense anymore. Felix wasn’t supposed to care about me…” She said through her tears, but as she finished Leo wormed his way into an embrace.

“I’m sorry it took us so long mom…” Leo said lovingly as he nuzzled his mother’s fur and enjoyed her scent. Which, given that she hadn’t had the chance to bathe in a fairly long time, wasn’t the most pleasant smell, but Leo had missed his mother so much he didn’t care.

“It’s not your fault sweetie…” Luca said as she wrapped her arms around Leo and held him tight, all as she kept crying.

Kail and I continued towards the campsite silently, but as we came closer, a Glaceon suddenly ran from the bushes in front of us and skidded to a halt with an absolutely terrified look aimed up at me.

“What are you doing out here?” I said sadly and caringly as I knelt down and placed a hand on her head, but as I did so she cowered and I saw her tears wet the ground below. “It’s alright, I won’t hurt you. Why don’t you come back to the campsite? We’ll take you to a pokemon center; Joy will take care of you.” I continued as I rubbed her head, but she still only quivered below me. “Here… It’s alright.” I said as I moved to pick her up to carry her back. She struggled slightly to avoid my touch but relented and let me pick her up to carry her back though she was still crying slightly and was very tense. Of course this act of kindness only backfired because as we continued we unwittingly came across Luca and Leo…

I was watching my footing as we walked and failed to realize my son and mate were leaning against a nearby tree. Luca’s ears twitched as we came near and when we came into site she gasped lightly and gripped Leo a bit tighter, causing him to turn his head towards the sound.

“What are you doing to her…?” Luca asked me with a scared voice and an accusing look after her initial brief look of surprise coupled with the tiniest flash of relief in the expression.

“Nothing wh… why?” I replied sadly and frantically, but as I spoke the Glaceon wriggled and forced her way out of my arms causing me to pause, though she didn’t go far and simply sat in the middle of everyone with her head down.

Kail remained silent out of respect but as Leo saw me he released his mother and stood up, then helped her up as well. I don’t know if Luca thought I was lying, but she got a resentful look, turned, and started walking back towards the campsite.

I looked to Leo as she left without a word, but he only looked back with a surprised and questioning expression before walking over to me.

“Are you alright dad?” He asked with an obviously worried tone as he came near me.

“Yeah. I’m fine… Physically at least. What about your mother?” I replied, turning my hands over in front of him once to show him I was fine except for a good many minor cuts, scratches, and bruises, most of which I had sustained from blowing up the facility at such a close range.

“I don’t know. She didn’t say much.” Leo replied sadly, though I could tell he was relieved that I wasn’t seriously hurt.

“Kail, Could you take this Glaceon back to the site? And even If she won’t listen could you try to make sure Luca isn’t hurt?” I asked sadly, and with a nod Kail tried to pat the glaceon lightly between the ears. However, the glaceon cowered from Kail’s touch as well, and turned to me with tears in her eyes and began to speak.

There was a pause after she stopped speaking before Kail translated for me.

“She says she wants to talk to you about Luca…” Kail said in a somewhat bewildered tone. A bit stunned myself, I paused again and looked down at her for a moment before answering, “Alright.” and turning to Leo.

“Go with your mom… I think you’re the only reason she’s staying here. I hate to ask this of you, but don’t try to defend me, just be there for your mom and try to subtly convince her to stick around.” I explained with a serious but pained tone. I really did hate to put this on Leo, but he was the only person from her time with me that she would listen to. I had figured that out when we happened upon them and she let Leo help her up.

“Okay dad…” Leo said as he looked sadly at my feet with a tear in his eye and his long ears laid back.

“I know, it’s alright… Whatever I did to make her distrust me I’ll fix it buddy.” I said a bit more confidently as I laid a hand on his head.

“But…!” Leo tried to argue and lifted his head to look at me with his sad eyes. However, before he could argue I stopped him.

“Ah… Don’t worry. Just stick with your mom through this. I’m the only one that can really fix this, but I need your help to keep her around so I get a chance. Now get going, and remember, no matter what she says, I love you both very much.” I continued and smiled lightly, which got a sniffle and half a smile back from Leo as he turned and hurried off to catch up with Luca. After he was gone my expression shifted back to a depressed look and with a sigh I slumped against the tree where Luca had been, then asked the Glaceon, “What was it you needed?” in as much of a caring voice as I could muster. She simply looked at me with the same petrified look as before, but it seemed as though she was also a bit confused until Kail spoke up.

“I’ll translate for you.” He said reassuringly which got the jittery glaceon to look at him quickly. After another minute or two she finally collected herself enough to speak.

“Y-you’re Luca’s trainer, and her… mate?” She asked as she looked back to me and cowered in her place as I looked at her. Kail didn’t translate the stutters or the scared tone of voice but those were things I could observe for myself.

“Yes…” I answered quickly and sadly, which didn’t encourage the glaceon.

“Why did you stop me from leaving…?” She asked nervously, seeming as though she was still trying to get comfortable enough to talk to me about Luca.

“No offense, but you don’t seem like a wild pokemon. I don’t want another pokemon to get lost or hurt on my account, plus your trainer is probably looking for you. But the thing I don’t understand is why Luca reacted the way she did when she saw me carrying you…” I replied, feeling a bit more compassion for the glaceon, but I really did want to know everything she did about Luca since I thought it would help my situation.

“I know why… I was the only one she talked to in that facility…” She answered in an even quieter voice but my eyes only widened as I mistook her words for helpful ones.

“Then you would know what happened to her! What did they do to make her act like this!?” I said quickly, figuring if I knew that I at least knew where to start in trying to convince Luca to come back to me.

“… They didn’t do anything to her… She never let them get to her, and she fought them at every turn, no matter what they tried…” She said as she looked at the ground and seemed to shrink again.

“Then what happened to her?” I asked in a calmer tone. I didn’t like the turn this conversation had taken…

“I did.” Was her only response.

“I don’t understand…” I said with a confused look.

“I convinced her you didn’t care for her any more than my trainer did... And he abandoned me to Darkrai…” She said with a quivering voice.

“Y-you convinced her I didn’t…? N-no… She wouldn’t, she knows I love her, you couldn’t have…” I answered in an utterly bewildered tone. I simply couldn’t believe this… This glaceon was who I had to thank for Luca leaving me…?

“She told me all about you, but I was so blinded by what my trainer did to me that I couldn’t believe you actually cared about her… But when you actually showed up. And destroyed an entire facility solely to save her… I couldn’t believe it… S-so just kill me… I deserve it for what I did to you and Luca…” She admitted as tears formed in her eyes again and started falling to the ground she was still staring at.

Meanwhile I could only stare at the glaceon in front of me. She was still cowering from me, probably because she thought I would kill her for this… however, despite her understandable logic I couldn’t carry out her request, though the thought had lingered in my mind for far longer than normal… I could feel my tears welling up again with my anger and grief following suit as they showed in equal amounts in my expression. However, luckily for the glaceon, thanks to my outburst which destroyed the facility I no longer had the will to hurt others. I managed to avert my gaze with an upset sigh and simply got up, then turned away to walk in the direction Luca and Leo had gone.

“Just leave… I won’t hurt anyone else…” I said coldly as I left without looking back or even waiting for Kail.

I didn’t see anything else as I turned but as I did the glaceon whimpered and cringed in fear, but cracked an eye open when she realized the sounds of my footsteps were heading away from her.

Kail on the other hand simply froze as I moved since he didn’t know what I was going to do. He knew from experience that I was a forgiving individual, but with what the glaceon had said and with how I had been acting as of late, nothing I did was very predictable.

“What’s your name?” Kail asked sadly once I was gone.

“…Elli.” The Glaceon answered as she hung her head in shame once again.

“Would you like to know what I did to Felix when I first met him?” Kail continued without moving from his original spot.

“What?” Elli answered in a hopeless voice, yet still finding the courage to look up at Kail’s shins with a sniffle and her ears perked forwards to listen.

“I tried to kill Luca and Felix’s other pokemon, Lady.” Kail replied solemnly.

“Y-you what!?” Elli exclaimed, snapping her gaze to Kail’s face and finding him looking at the ground.

“I ended up turning on my Darkrai trainer and accidentally freeing myself. Felix was willing to sacrifice his life to save the ones he loved and if they hadn’t let me help by taking him to a pokemon center… He would have died by my hand… I honestly don’t think Luca or Leo will ever truly forgive me, let alone Lady, who still gives me quiet looks when I walk into the room. Felix however insists that he doesn’t hold anything against me. He is a very caring person, but with everything that’s happened… he’s changed… and with how Luca reacted to him I think he’s heart broken. The only thing that might renew his spirit is if Luca came around, but even then I wonder if they’ll ever be the same…” Kail explained remorsefully, which only made Elli feel worse, and she started whimpering lightly.

“Luca was my only friend in there, and all I did was ruin her life more… I should never have spoken to her.” She said, though more to herself than Kail.

“If you want to help them, stay with us. Luca probably still trusts you, so she might listen to you more than the rest of us.” Kail answered, though he wasn’t sure of how to keep Elli around with how Felix had reacted to her. But even if Felix didn’t like it there was a chance Elli could undo what she had done.

“But… Felix…” Elli responded with her watery eyes wide and looking Kail in the face. She somewhat understood why he would help her, but some details still escape her. He had done some terrible things in his life, and he had been given a second chance to do things right, to make up for his mistakes, and she figured he wanted to give her the same chance.

Kail also knew he was taking a risk in helping Elli, but he could tell she regretted what she did and wanted to make things right. Just as he once felt… Though he also knew why he was doing this. It wasn’t only that he desperately wanted to help Felix and Luca since he felt that he still owed them for everything they had done for him, no, he also knew what Darkrai’s facilities could do to someone and he saw parts of his old self in Elli’s previous actions and he wanted to help her just as much as he did Felix and Luca.

“He’ll leave you alone, just try not to impose. I think he knows if he does anything to you it will only push Luca farther from him. Other than that just be a friend to Luca, and both of you try to see Felix for who he really is. I’ve never seen a more caring mate and father, let alone trainer…” Kail said as he met her gaze for a moment before motioning for her to come back with him. His expression still showed he was depressed about the recent turn of events, but there was also a kind look in his eyes that showed he would try his best to help her.

Elli followed Kail back to the campsite slowly, with her body language showing her obvious shame and regret. Meanwhile, Luca had reached the tree where Lisa was resting, and where her own ball also lay with my pack.

“Kail…?” Lisa groaned through a headache as she started to wake up and noticed there was a Lucario form in her blurry vision. However, once her vision cleared and she realized the figure was female she continued.

“Oh! You must be Luca.” She said quickly and innocently, but with great respect in her voice as she tried to stand on her shaky legs. “I’m Lisa. It’s nice to finally meet you. Felix and Leo have told me so much about you.” She continued once she was standing on all fours and looking kindly up at Luca.

“You can have Felix… but stay away from Leo.” Luca answered coldly as her muzzle wrinkled slightly and a sad look flashed in her eyes as if she had been delivered an insult by the manectric. As she finished she shut her eyes tight and turned away without another word as she picked her ball up quickly and sat down at the base of a tree a short distance away.

Although Leo was still trying to catch up to Luca he came to the camp’s edge to hear his mother speak, and before Lisa could rebuttal with a scolding remark, she felt a paw on her neck.

“Just let her be… she’s not herself right now.” Leo whispered so softly that even his mother couldn’t hear him. Lisa looked up at him after he spoke, and held his gaze briefly before nodding and lying back down to keep an eye on the squirming throng of pokemon.

“Mom…?” Leo said sadly as he stood next to her. Given the situation he felt it was best to ask if he could join her.

“What’s wrong with me…? I told Elli if I got the chance I’d take you and leave. Why can’t I…? It’s probably this damn ball.” She said remorsefully as she started at the ornate pokeball I had “given” to her when she was a Riolu.

“Please don’t make me leave. I still want to help these pokemon and I…” Leo said sadly, deciding not to try convincing her that it was her heart that wouldn’t let her leave. Despite what she kept saying he had seen the horror in her eyes when the facility exploded and they didn’t know if I had survived. However as he finished speaking Luca noticed he seemed nervous, and was fidgeting with his paws with a hesitant look in his eye.

“You what…?” Luca responded with somewhat of a resentful tone assuming he didn’t want to leave his father. And yet, she still found she was proud of him for wanting to stay and finish what he had started by making sure the pokemon were returned safely.

“I don’t want to leave Latias and the others just because of dad...” He admitted, trying not to sound nervous but thinking of some truthful, yet not entirely revealing, reason to convince his mother to stay.

‘Latias…? Why did he name her specifically?’ Luca wondered idly to herself, but before she could speak Leo continued.

“Would you really leave behind everyone you know so easily…?” He asked in his sad tone, though his nervousness had disappeared completely.

“I-I don’t know… it would just remind me of your father.” Luca replied, caught completely off guard by her son’s words.

“Please stay with us… I promise I’ll make sure dad doesn’t force you to do anything.” Leo pleaded sincerely, though he knew his promise was a hollow one. He knew no matter how depressed or mad I got I would never think of forcing Luca or anyone else into doing anything if they didn’t want to. As he looked up at her for her answer Leo saw her sad pondering expression.

‘He’s right… Even if I’m upset with Felix it’s no reason to leave everyone else and drag Leo with me… right?’ She thought and actually smiled lightly as she hugged Leo and nuzzled him again as she answered, “Ok.”

“Thanks mom…” Leo answered happily as he returned her embrace.

As Leo replied I made it back to the campsite. Seeing the two embrace each other melted my anger away entirely as I leaned against Lisa’s tree and watched. Though my anger was gone, I now had a sharp pain in my heart as I thought how she would barely even look at me, much less let me touch her.

My tears started clouding my sight as I tore my gaze from them, moved around the tree to my pack and knelt to start gathering our things. At this point Lisa realized I was there and raised her head as if to remind me she wanted to help. I quickly finished packing what little we had out and managed to suppress my tears before turning towards Lisa and stroking her side lightly.

“Are you alright to leave?” I asked caringly, getting a nod in response before she stood up with only a hint of stiffness to show me she was fine.

“Ok. As soon as Kail comes back, help him round up the pokemon and we’ll start back towards the city.” I told Lisa who gave me a nod in response. I knew Lisa and Kail could handle the pokemon, which gave me a chance to try showing Luca I still cared…

I slowly and sadly turned towards my mate and son and walked towards them. As I moved Luca continued to hug Leo tight, only noticing me when I stopped close by. When I stopped both Lucario perked their ears and shifted to look up at me. Leo’s look was innocently questioning, and actually happy since he had his mother back. However, Luca’s happy expression faded into a sad stern look when her gaze came to rest on me.

“I just wanted to tell you we’ll be leaving soon.” I said humbly as I looked at the ground, waiting for a response before I continued.

“What did you do to Elli?” Luca asked with a rather cold tone, but of course I didn’t know exactly who she was talking about.

“Who…? You mean the glaceon?” I asked sadly, trying to suppress my anger and disappointment. Luckily I succeeded in keeping the emotions from showing in my expression, though I still didn’t look up at the two.

“Yes! What did you do to her!?” Luca yelled as she got upset about my hesitation.

“Nothing… She can stay if she wants, but I didn’t do anything to her.” I replied with a sad voice. I knew this conversation was only pushing her farther from me.

“Luca… Before I lose you entirely…Take this.” I said timidly as I carefully came closer, knelt down and reached for her paw. To my surprise she didn’t recoil from my touch, although I could feel how tense she was as I gently held her paw while I put my necklace, with her ball lock, in her palm and continued speaking.

“I won’t stop you if you do decide to leave, if that’s really what would make you happy, but this way no one can capture you…” I said sadly without lifting my gaze from her paw. My heart was aching as I stopped, I desperately wanted to pour my heart out entirely but I knew if I did that I would only scare her. So instead I caringly folded her paw around the necklace and released her without hesitation even though the way my hands moved showed I hated letting that paw go. Because for that brief moment when I felt her soft fur again I doubt even Leo could have known how good it made me feel.

As I released her paw I stood up and turned away to get everyone else together. As I moved I could feel my tears welling up and a tear ran down my cheek at the thought of her actually leaving me.

I wiped my eyes as I walked away, entirely intending to let Luca decide since I knew I couldn’t force her into anything, even if I wanted to. When I got back to my pack I saw Lisa sitting next to it with the pokemon ready to go.

“You do quick work.” I complemented as cheerfully as I could, and another few seconds later Kail emerged from the edge of the site. I looked him in the face with a sad look then another movement caught my eye at his feet. I looked down to see Elli the glaceon with her head hung, ears back, and tail down as she stopped beside Kail. My eyes narrowed momentarily as I glanced at her and my heart started aching again.

“Let’s go then.” I said in my now normal sad tone and turned from them as I picked up my pack.

“Right.” Kail answered and started helping Lisa to get the group moving as I walked the path alone, slightly ahead of everyone. Just before I left the clearing I looked one last time at Luca and Leo. They were watching as we left although they were now standing. Luca caught my gaze and gave me half a glare in return, and I had to wonder if I would ever see her and Leo again…

I did, however, catch a glimpse of Kail telling Elli something, though I couldn’t hear what it was and I was out of sight before the end of the “parade” so I couldn’t see what she did next.

It was an agonizing trip back to the city. Several miles of having nothing to think about except how I should have showed Luca more often how much I cared. And during the last mile I found myself thinking that I should have been more forceful and made her stay with me now so that I could have the chance to show her how I felt… but it was to late now, she had made her decision when we left and I didn’t even know what it was. I could only pray that Leo had succeeded in convincing her to stay and that at the end of this procession of pokemon were my mate and son.

Eventually we made it to the edge of the city where Officer Jenny’s station was. This time though, I wasn’t going to bother being secretive about returning the pokemon. Instead I simply waltzed through the front door with the pokemon following me. Some of the tiny pokemon had hitched a ride on a bigger pokemon, and those bigger pokemon ducked through the doorway as they followed me in.

Once again Jenny was amazed by the spectacle and tensed as she readied for a fight, thinking I was trying to take out the police force. However, unknown to me, this Jenny had a very good memory, but was notorious for jumping to conclusions…

“So you’re the one who’s been breaking into buildings and stealing pokemon! What do you want!?” She accused, though she was including quite a few more breaking and entering charges than I had actually committed…

“I’m just returning these pokemon to you. I don’t want anything.” I answered calmly, which was my first mistake.

“You’re under arrest for robbery! But thank you for turning yourself in.” She said with a smile as she clamped a set of cuffs on me when it was apparent that I didn’t intend to fight her.

“But those were Darkrai facilities! I didn’t…” I protested… mistake number two…

“Aha! So you’re with Darkrai! Thanks for telling me, although you just made things much more difficult on yourself.” She said before I could explain. However, even before she could read me my rights, the Nidoking that helped me before stepped in front of me with its arms spread as if to protect me. Even then I still didn’t get the chance to speak as a Gallade tapped me on the shoulder and in an instant, slashed the cuffs off my wrists once I was facing him.

“Jenny, if you would let him explain. We were stolen from our trainers BY Darkrai. Felix rescued us from their facility, and from what you’ve said this isn’t the first time he’s done this. We can’t thank him enough and we will never forget this act of bravery.” The Gallade said telepathically to Jenny and me as it gave me a thankful look and stepped around the Nidoking to face Jenny.

“Oh… I’m sorry, I didn’t realize. But, how did you manage to find the facilities? And how did you do this alone?” Jenny asked curiously, and I had already figured out why she wanted to know. I had found more Darkrai facilities in three months than the entire police force had in three years, at least judging from what I heard on the news.

“I’d rather not explain it… Let’s just say I did things the police couldn’t, and I did have some help.” I replied with a regretful and humble voice as the Nidoking and Gallade relaxed and moved aside as Kail and Lisa came up on either side of me.

“I see… Well, in spite of your clearly criminal acts… I thank you for your help…” She said, starting with a grimace, but ending with a respectful yet accusing smile. “You’d better leave; I’ll take care of the pokemon. Thanks again for rescuing them, and you have my word this will stay between us.” She continued quietly, as if someone else would hear when, besides the pokemon, we were the only two people there.

“Thank you Officer. I appreciate it. I’ll be sure to let you know if I find anything else out about Darkrai. Oh, there is this one office building you might want to keep an eye on…” I answered, and continued to tell her what I knew about the main Darkrai facility we found. With another nod from Jenny and a few thankful words from the other pokemon we headed to the exit. As I moved to leave though a sense of dread suddenly hit me. ‘What if she’s not there…?’ I thought as I reached the glass doors and failed to look through to the four pokemon outside…

With a heavy sigh I closed my eyes and pushed open the door, letting Kail and Lisa follow before allowing the door to close and my eyes to open. What I saw made my heart leap. A short distance from the building stood Luca with Elli sitting beside her, although the seemingly tormented glaceon now had a smile on her face and a happy tear in her eye as she and Luca watched Leo.

As I looked to Leo I found out why they seemed so happy. Leo was laughing while trying to catch an Eevee that was quite nimbly jumping and climbing across his shoulders and head. However, as Kail, Lisa and I came nearer the Eevee stopped, and so did Leo’s attempts to catch it, although the Eevee wasn’t done playing… because after it got a good look at Kail it relaxed again and chomped down on Leo’s ear. Leo yelped in surprise and brought a paw up to remove the Eevee but after the first bite the Eevee only nibbled at Leo’s ear lightly. Feeling this and actually not minding the lighter nibbles which actually felt rather good, Leo simply pet the Eevee and let it stay on his head.

“Why aren’t you with the others little one?” Kail asked kindly to the small Eevee, who seemed only to giggle a little and chew once more on Leo’s ear before letting go to speak happily to Kail. I came closer to the group but as I did I noticed Elli shrink with my proximity and saw Luca’s happy look fade into a serious one as she tried to avoid looking in my direction. Once again a happy moment eluded me as I was thrown back into disappointment, although… Luca hadn’t left… and I at least had that comfort.

“I see.” Kail said cheerfully as if he were talking to a child who was explaining some great adventure. He then rubbed the Eevee’s head lightly getting a happy, “Vee” from it as it went back to teasing Leo from atop his head.

“Would you like me to explain?” Kail asked me as he turned to face me.

“Not at the moment. Let’s just go home.” I said rather sadly and waited for everyone to agree before I turned and started walking down the path. However, as I turned I took a long look at Luca, which she actually met momentarily, and in that moment I saw her eyes soften briefly, as if something had occurred to her that made her think twice about what she had come to believe about me. Though as I sadly tore my gaze from her, her features hardened again and she resumed whatever thoughts she had been interrupted from.

We continued down the road towards home with our two clicks, Luca, Leo, Elli, and the Eevee walking a short distance behind Lisa, Kail, and I. I walked between Kail and Lisa as we had done for the past few months, but this time I had my head hung slightly as I ran every memory I had of Luca through my head to try and figure out what I had done wrong… Eventually I noticed my depressive look, and posture seemed to be bothering the two companions next to me, though I failed to notice that Elli was being affected by it too as she showed her shame in her posture too.

I don’t know why but I looked to Lisa as I walked and found she appeared to be deep in thought, and thoroughly confused. So I reached over and stroked her head lightly as I walked. I felt her jump slightly at my unexpected touch but luckily she didn’t zap me. When she looked at me with that same “I’m lost…” look I figured out what was bothering her.

“I know, she’s not what you expected, but believe me, when all this settles out you’ll see why I’m willing to risk my life to save her.” I said quietly which seemed to easy her mind a bit and she started walking with a bit more relaxed gate. Kail also seemed comforted by my words and relaxed slightly which in turn raised my spirits slightly as well. However, as with most everything I did in the past few days, this too would come back to haunt me. Luca had seen me try and comfort Lisa, and a glare flashed in her eyes even though she had told Lisa she could have me.

Later that night we started bedding down in a large grassy field. Once again we remained in our segregated clicks, but I had something I wanted to do… I started by unpacking the bed rolls I had. I handed one to Kail right off the bat, then pulled two more out and when Leo was near me I quickly tossed them to him. When he realized there were two he looked up at me with a worried look, as if asking what I was going to sleep on. But I only smiled warmly and pulled a fourth roll from my pack which got a smile from Leo as he nodded and went back to his mother.

Indeed I had planned this all along, I never once forgot that Luca would be joining us on the way home and had packed an extra roll for when we found her. I never let anyone else sleep on it, which at the moment I was thankful for, since she would have picked up the scent of whoever used it last… Kail looked a bit stunned but smiled and shook his head as he spread the roll I had given him. Lisa, however, gave me a teasing resentful look when she saw this, since I had been making her sleep on the ground during our travels.

“Sorry Lisa, you know how it is.” I said with a smile, which got a huff in response as she went over closer to Kail and lay down again. “Oh I see how it is.” I continued and laughed lightly then looked to Kail who was amused but slightly embarrassed. Once that little bit of fun was over and everyone had more or less settled in, including Luca on her mat, I hesitantly went over to Leo.

“Hey… can you get Elli to come talk to me? I’ll need you to translate, and promise your mother you won’t let anything happen to Elli. Oh, and bring your Eevee friend.” I whispered then stood up and took a step back. Leo turned to look at me with a questioning look as I spoke then nodded lightly to show me he would do what I had asked. Since we had left the facility I had more time to come to terms with what happened, and I felt like I was too hard on Elli. I was still mad at her and just the thought of her having ruined Luca’s trust in me made my heart ache, but it had also occurred to me that I hadn’t given her side much thought. In fact I couldn’t even remember if she had tried to defend herself. So I went a short distance away and sat down in the grass to wait.

A short time later I had the company I had requested, and while Leo walked normally with the Eevee on his head, Elli still acted like a whipped dog when she was around me.

“It’s alright; I’m not going to hurt you.” I said solemnly as she sat down a bit farther away from me than I liked. I then looked up at Leo who promptly sat down closer to me, and then I saw the Eevee’s curious look.

“I don’t think I’ve been introduced to you yet.” I said with a more cheerful voice and held my hand out for the Eevee to jump onto off of Leo’s head. Of course it did and started to quickly run up my arm. I smiled and let my arm fall from beneath the cute creature which, of course, threw off its balance and caused it to start falling. It cried out for the split second of freefall before I caught it in my arms and cradled it on its back. It stared at me with wide eyes as it took a few heavy breaths to ease its fear.

“A boy huh?” I said as I brought a hand up and rubbed the little Eevee’s chest getting a small murr in response as he relaxed in my arms seeming to forget my previous trick to get him in this position. After that quick rub I let him roll over and settle in my arms as I looked back to Elli, whom to my surprise was quivering in her place with her head down and tears falling from her eyes. ‘…? Oh…’ I thought as I looked to the Eevee and finally realized why we had this little addition… He was her pup… and at that moment I also realized what she thought I was doing and it made me feel absolutely horrible.

Without another thought I leaned over towards Elli to set her son down in front of her. The Eevee looked back at me with an innocently questioning expression before turning, nuzzling his mother’s fur and curling up between her front legs. At the soft touch Elli’s eyes snapped open in fear, but as she saw her son curl up at her feet she looked hesitantly up at me.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.” I said regretfully as I met her gaze and fell silent momentarily before continuing. “Is he you’re only pup?” I asked sadly and in a much more caring tone than the previous time I had spoken with her. I knew very well that even if it was her first pregnancy she would have more than likely had at least two pups, not just one.

“No…” She replied as she sulked again, which told me a bit more about her situation, but before I could continue she spoke again. “He had three other siblings, but they were all cyndiquil, and I think they went to other facilities since I couldn’t find them in the group...” Leo translated.

“I see… I’m sorry we didn’t come soon enough to save them. What’s his name?” I said sincerely, though I knew we couldn’t do much now. Eevee himself was already independent, and even if we did search for his siblings they wouldn’t need there mother by the time we found them. It was just nice to see that this Eevee recognized his mother and had decided to stay with her.

“Luca and Leo helped me. His name’s Adi, and It’s alright… I’m just happy I found him.” She replied as she bent down and nuzzled him lightly.

“Then why’d you stay with us? Why didn’t you and Adi stay with Jenny?” I asked seriously, but still holding my waning emotions back.

“K-Kail told me I should stay… and that I might be able to help.” She continued sadly and quietly as she seemed to shrink again since I sounded critical.

“Thank you. I don’t deserve this after how I treated you. I’m sorry.” I replied as I moved closer to her even though she still wasn’t sure I meant what I said.

“But, I…” She began again, though I interrupted.

“No… I shouldn’t have been so hard on you when I didn’t know your side. Would you mind sharing?” I replied humbly. I was still angry with her, but I had calmed down a great deal and had time to think things trough since the last time.

“I… Sure… B-but Felix, I… I really did blindly convince her…” She said depressingly as she lowered her head again and cowered.

“I…” I started, but had to clear my throat before continuing. “I think I understand, but I’d like to know why you did it… If you really were the type to spoil something just because you didn’t have it, you wouldn’t have stayed…” I answered, trying not to sound upset again.

“I-I guess you’re right…” She began and continued to give me a summery of her life story. By the time she started telling me about her time with Luca I understood why she was so bitter. It still made me mad that she would do this to Luca, but I could understand her situation and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.

As Elli continued to explain what happened during the three months Luca was with her I started feeling a bit better. She told me how devoted Luca was, and how strong she had been throughout her days there, but near the end Luca had started to lose faith in me when there was no word from outside her prison walls. Despite what many would think, Elli’s words actually comforted me. Luca hadn’t given up on me entirely; she let Elli talk her into this as a comfort for the pain she felt from thinking I wasn’t coming. All of this cut me deeply, but I understood… It had been three months with no information whatsoever. I knew I couldn’t expect Luca to be put through that torturous place and not end up blaming me at least a little for her time there when she didn’t know I was looking for her.

“Thank you Elli. I think I understand now, and I’m sorry I treated you so badly…” I said solemnly, the truth was, hearing her explanation had depressed me once again, but I would recover, I knew that much, and at least I knew a bit more.

“It’s not your fault… It’s mine… Felix, I know you can’t forgive me, but I want to help. Luca still listens to me; maybe I can get her to talk with you…” She replied seriously and I noticed then that she had changed from the beginning of our conversation. The more I thought about it, I realized she was simply acting more like her normal self instead of the scared pokemon I had come to know.

“Alright… I could use the help, but don’t force her. This is more between me and her, and I think I’m the only one who can really fix it… And Elli, I won’t ever hurt you or your son, no matter how upset I get. I give you my word, alright?” I replied sincerely and calmly, and as I finished I leaned over to rub her head. She flinched lightly at the touch and I could still feel her shivering lightly as I made contact, keeping my caress soft and caring, but something else caught my attention. Her fur was cold to the touch, which contradicted what I had come to know from encountering Silka’s glaceon. Despite this however I rubbed her head a few times and withdrew my hand.

It took me a little bit of thought but I soon realized her external temperature must have been a defensive reflex. She still wasn’t sure of my intentions so her body’s response was to deter my touch with cold. Frankly I couldn’t blame her, after all I had given her the impression that I would kill anyone that came between me and Luca, even though that wasn’t the case when that person wasn’t trying to hurt us or intentionally trying to split us up.

When I withdrew my hand Elli opened her eyes and raised her head to look me in the eyes, which was a rare action for her. I saw her visibly relax a second later as she gave her answer. “Ok…” She replied and with that I smiled lightly and stood up. I was soon joined by Leo who, about midway through Elli’s monologue, had picked up an uncomfortable Adi and let him fall asleep in his arms. Elli walked with us as we went back to the others to find all of them already asleep, but as I looked at Luca I noticed the fur around her eyes was wet… she had been crying…

“She cried herself to sleep a lot at the facility.” Elli whispered, which Leo soon realized on and whispered a translation to me as he settled down on his bed roll, letting a groggy Adi go over to where his mother had laid down near Luca.

I wanted so bad to simply hug Luca tight and be there for her, but I knew if she were awake she wouldn’t even let me get this close to her. So instead I remained where I was for a while as Leo and Elli fell asleep. I looked Luca over once, and found myself staring at her face, which was twisted into a light grimace of sadness. Once again my heart ached as I looked on, but something caught my attention as I started to look her over once again. It was barely noticeable since her fur covered it well, but she had a long thin scar on her right shoulder blade. I moved around behind her to get a better look and realized she had gotten the injury from the fight that separated her from me, and that’s where the blood on my shirt had come from.

“I’m sorry Luca… I couldn’t stop them…” I whispered as I lightly traced my fingers over her fur where the scar lay beneath.

“What should I do…? I still… does he…?” I heard her whimper in her sleep as she seemed to shiver and curl up slightly from my touch. Hearing her broken words nearly made me cry, but I managed to restrain myself and stood up to go back to my own sleeping arrangements as a few tears managed to escape my eyes.

“Well at least there’s a chance…” I muttered as a comfort to myself, taking her words to mean that she was only avoiding me because she couldn’t make sense of things. I fell asleep thinking only of her and how I might be able to convince her I still did care…

The next morning I woke up and while still groggy, sat up and looked over to where I had left Luca sleep, although, to my horror no one was there… no Leo, no Elli, nor Adi. I stared for a second in disbelief before noticing that the two bedrolls I had given Leo and Luca were left neatly rolled beside my pack.

“Kail!” I yelled as I rolled towards him and stumbled to my feet to quickly reach his side.

“Hmm…? What is it Felix?” He groaned as I shook him lightly in a panic.

“Where’s Luca!? Did Leo tell you they were leaving!?” I asked frantically with wide eyes.

“N-no. I…” He began and sat up quickly when he realized what I said. He looked around as he paused and saw I wasn’t joking, everyone else, except a slowly waking up Lisa, was gone… “Wait…” He continued as he closed his eyes and sniffed the air. “This way.” He said calmly and stretched briefly after standing up. He then started running at a brisk pace as his nose twitched every now and then while he followed a scent. Of course I followed quickly, but as we got out of sight of our campsite I worried about Lisa, though I figured she would at least know I wouldn’t leave our supplies for long.

It didn’t take long before Kail slowed to a stop and took a few more whiffs, as he did though we heard a light splash to our right. Kail’s ears perked as my head snapped towards the sound. I walked carefully towards the sound to see Luca and the others taking a bath. Leo looked rather embarrassed to be assisting the girls with their baths, but I couldn’t help but commend him for his efforts. I noticed they had found a bottle of shampoo from my pack and guessed Leo had put their bed rolls by my pack and taken the bottle. When we came upon them Leo was washing Adi while Luca helped Elli get clean. I could tell by the way Luca and Leo’s fur hung that they hadn’t had their turns yet, and from that I guessed they hadn’t been here long.

So knowing I had over reacted once again, I smiled at the happy look Luca wore and tried to sneak away unnoticed. To my knowledge I succeeded and rejoined Kail in walking back to the site. Although… I couldn’t help but laugh to myself once Luca was out of earshot.

Kail was right beside me as we came across the group, and on the way back I saw he was blushing heavily and trying to avoid letting me see it. Of course I knew why he was embarrassed… Even though Luca never wore clothes and we were used to seeing her without them, seeing her wet and bathing held a more private air, and Kail, being the same species, couldn’t help but “appreciate” her body. Of course when he heard my laugh he only became more embarrassed and tried to apologize, thinking I would be upset about him eyeballing my mate.

“Really, it’s no problem. Just don’t get any ideas…” I teased, causing Kail’s jaw to drop as he turned to defend himself, though no words came out. I smiled and laughed again at how I left him speechless, but as I kept walking my laughs saddened.

“She’s gorgeous isn’t she…? I’d give anything to have her back, yet I’m forced to sneak around and avoid her…” I said as I kept walking towards camp, but as Kail listened he calmed down and patted my shoulder in an attempt to console me.

“She’ll come around, like you said though, you can’t force her… You’re doing the right thing…” He offered calmly, which, even though it was only a small gesture and was somewhat clichéd, succeeded in helping me regain my composure.

“Thanks.” I replied after a heavy sigh and returned Kail’s shoulder pat.

When we made it back to the site Lisa raised her head to great us, but realized I seemed upset and whined sadly as if to ask what was wrong.

“It’s nothing Lisa… What do you say to some breakfast?” I answered and gave her a pet as I knelt at my pack to get some supplies out to get started cooking.

By the time Luca and the others returned I had our meal ready. I was by no means the best cook in the region, but I could fix a few nice dishes, and little did I know that Luca and Elli would be absolutely ravenous from having nothing but that gruel to eat for so long.

“Care for some breakfast?” I said loudly as I noticed the group getting closer to camp. Luca’s nose was twitching and I knew that gesture normally meant she would jump me to get her meal. I dished out a plate without getting up and looked up at Luca with a small, sad, pleading smile. She locked gazes with me for a moment as she took the plate carefully, and instead of moving away like I expected, she sat down a few feet from me and once I handed her a fork she started eating.

I didn’t know whether it was because she didn’t want to get her paws messy or what, but I was impressed that she retained her eating etiquette… well as much as she ever had… she was still eating like it was a contest, as she often did. Elli was a bit different though. Obviously she couldn’t eat like a humanoid, but as I set a dish in front of her, knowing it was safe for pokemon, she sniffed it curiously before licking it to taste it, after that she dug in with just as much enthusiasm as Luca.

As I was giving Elli her food, Leo decided to help and made a small plate for Adi. He however, wasn’t interested in his own dish even though it came from the same place. He was mesmerized by Luca and Elli gobbling down what they had, and he just had to know why theirs seemed so much better than what everyone else had. So he cautiously went over to his mother’s plate and sniffed it a few times. Elli continued to eat, but she slowed down to happily share her food to her curious son while the rest of us simply smiled at the scene and kept eating.

When the food was all gone, mostly polished off by Luca and Elli… Leo, Kail, and I cleaned up and we headed off towards home again. Having traveled so far in the past months it would take us two more days to get home, which, given how far Kail Leo and I walked, wasn’t too bad. Once again though, Luca avoided me as we traveled, however, she seemed a little less upset. She no longer glared at me if I looked at her, in fact if I hadn’t known better I’d just think I had gotten better at sneaking looks at her. Instead I think she simply wasn’t watching me with constant scorn, or she was ignoring me now… Either way I felt it was a small improvement.

That night we decided to stay at a pokemon center, though it did pose a slight problem… I requested two rooms, but Joy insisted that she couldn’t allow pokemon to have a room to themselves. Although she wasn’t being a jerk about it, instead she was being very apologetic, and seemed to be letting me argue with her as if waiting for me to come up with an excuse.

Eventually I caught on, and told her the room was for a friend of mine. Of course it helped that I hadn’t said who the room was for in the first place, and when I mentioned this Joy happily gave me a second key with a wink.

With that out of the way we left the center to go out for dinner. It was a bit more difficult than I remembered finding a restaurant that would allow pokemon in as well as humans. Of course I think the reason why was because I had six of my companions with me and it constituted a larger crowd than was normally tolerated. After a bit of searching though we found a place and sat down to eat. Luca and Elli were a bit more polite this time and didn’t ravenously gobble down their meals, though I could tell they were still deriving great enjoyment from the gourmet dishes, and as before… Adi was very interested in his mother’s food.

After our meal we headed back to the pokemon center and our rooms, and when we were away from any other trainers I turned to Luca.

“Here…” I said sadly as I avoid her gaze while holding her room key out to her.

“Thank you…” She replied in a similar voice and took the key gently from me. She then walked past me to the room next to mine and unlocked the door.

“Sleep well.” I managed sincerely to her as I forced myself to let my gaze focus on her. She seemed surprised as she looked back at me, but she didn’t smile and instead got a sad expression and looked down as she replied, “Thanks.” once again before disappearing into the room with Elli, Adi, and Leo entering as well.

Once they were gone from sight I opened my door and entered with Kail and Lisa in tow. It wasn’t long before my thoughts turned to Luca and, surprisingly, Elli and Adi. I started worrying about them and tried to think of a way to get them to see Nurse Joy for a check up. Living in that facility couldn’t have been good for their health in my mind.

Finally I decided to just attack it directly rather than be my usual scared self, and since Lisa had actually let Kail bathe her this time I had the perfect chance to. So I left my room and knocked on the door to Luca’s.

As I suspected Leo answered the door, so I quickly asked him if I could talk to the others. Not knowing exactly what to do, but still trusting me entirely, he let me in where I found Luca, Elli and Adi sitting on the bed. The girls looked at me with their normal looks, and I felt like I had interrupted their conversation, meanwhile Adi just seemed to be waiting for Leo.

“I know it’s not my place, but would you three mind seeing Nurse Joy before you go to sleep?” I asked humbly, hoping Luca would agree when she realized I was asking.

“Sure.” Luca responded after a pause, but I could see they weren’t going to until I left.

“Thanks.” I said as I gave them a slight head bow and turned to leave them alone, though Leo had remained standing next to me and at the door I whispered, “Please make sure they do. Just to make sure they’re alright.”

“I will dad, don’t worry.” He replied sincerely with half a smile then let the door close once I had left.

With that done I went to my room and flopped on the bed. Shortly after I returned Kail and Lisa came out, though Kail seemed wary of Lisa…

“Don’t be afraid of me for that! It was a warning that’s all.” She said as she came out and hopped up on my bed.

“Come on, it was an accident! Plus I know what comes after that crackling fur, and that’s not a fair punishment for an accident!” Kail said in defense with a burning blush.

“See that’s why it’s a warning. It works!” Lisa replied with a laugh, knowing she had Kail entirely embarrassed for no reason at all, since he had obeyed her entirely and avoided what she told him to without question.

“Let it go Kail. You can’t win there.” I said with a smile of my own, which got him to calm down now that he knew he didn’t have to defend himself in front of me. “And you…!” I continued as I nudged Lisa roughly with a foot. “Stop being such a tease! Kail won’t do anything you don’t want him to.”

Even though I couldn’t understand Lisa’s side, I could gather enough from Kail’s words to know what was going on, and to know that Lisa was being her usual difficult self.

“You want zapped too…?” Lisa answered with a sly look at me as her fur began crackling lightly. Immediately I withdrew my foot with mockingly scared “Eep,” which got Lisa to smirk and Kail to chuckle. At Kail’s laugh though, Lisa turned her look to him, which quickly shut him up with a gulp.

“I thought so…” Lisa said happily and lay down while still smiling.

With that little bit of fun out of the way we stayed up for another hour just talking amongst ourselves. Eventually the conversation turned to Luca which changed my mood drastically, but both Kail and Lisa kept telling me she would come around, and the fact that she was still here was proof enough.

The next day the three of us in my room got up and ready to leave. After that we went to Luca’s room to get them up, though once again, I got a scare… No one was in the room…

At our find I tensed up noticeably, but didn’t panic as much as before. Instead we went downstairs to find the other half of our group already eating, although, Luca looked rather tired.

We quickly joined the others once we had fetched some food ourselves, but I took the time to ask Joy if Luca and Elli had come down the night before. She told me they had and, since I was curious she explained their conditions. Thankfully it was all good news; they had no physical injuries and were in good health. She knew something was wrong emotionally, she was just that good of a doctor, but she didn’t press the issue, figuring I already knew from the way I was acting, and that I didn’t want to explain.

Once we were done we left the town as before, and stopped before night fell to set up camp. Things were pretty much the same as the first night with the two groups keeping to themselves, and after a while everyone had settled down… Well nearly everyone… I had found a tree to lean against and I was resting my eyes in an attempt to go to sleep but I kept finding I couldn’t. Eventually I opened my eyes and looked over my companions, and as I did so Luca stirred. She sat up and rubbed her eyes, but didn’t notice me. Instead she looked to the sky for some reason then sighed, got up, and walked out of the camp. I debated for a short time whether I should follow her, but since I had become tired of avoiding things the day before, it didn’t take me long to get up and walk in the direction she had taken.

A short walk later I found her sitting on a large rock near a small cliff that overlooked a long piece of terrain. When I caught sight of her I stopped and watched for a second before taking another step towards her. However, before I could say a word I saw her ear twitch in my direction, so I knew I had been discovered.

“Are you alright?” I asked softly as I continued towards her, stopping just a few feet behind her.

“Fine…” She replied sadly without turning around.

“Luca… can we talk?” I continued after a short pause and a pained heavy sigh.

“I can’t stop you.” She answered coldly.

“That’s not what I meant… Luca I… I have to know what I did to you.” I said as that reoccurring pain in my heart began to throb again. I paused to let her answer, hoping it would be that easy, but when I got no response I continued. “Please… I can’t go on like this.”

“I don’t know…” She said again with a small, sad and frustrated voice.

“You don’t know…? Did I hurt you? Were you unhappy being with me?” I pleaded quickly.

“I don’t know!” She answered back louder as she shook her head in frustration, but still didn’t look at me, though she now had tears in her eyes.

“I never meant to hurt you… Please…! I can’t lose you again! Whatever I did just tell me and I’ll fix it!” I replied despairingly, becoming increasingly frantic as I begged her for an answer.

“I don’t know!! You left me in that facility then you miraculously showed up and saved me, but you’d already replaced me with that manectric! I thought you loved me then Elli told me I was just a toy, and now she’s changed entirely! I can’t ask Leo to leave the only life he’s known! You keep trying to make me feel guilty about doing this to you! Just leave me alone! I don’t know what to think of you anymore! I don’t know what to do!! I just, don’t!!!” She yelled again but this time she stood up and turned towards me as she spilled her tormented thoughts. Her words stung and as I stood there I couldn’t help but let my eyes fill with tears at her accusations. However, seeing her expression and body language was much worse. Her tears were streaming as she yelled at me and swung her arms to accentuate her points.

Seeing Luca like this I couldn’t even bring myself to answer her, not that there was anything I could have said… Shame, fear, and heartbreak flooded my mind as I stood rigidly where I had stopped originally. I simply found myself staring sadly into her gorgeous red eyes which were still flooded with tears as she half snarled at me while she panted to catch her breath from her outburst.

After standing there for a short time I couldn’t restrain myself any longer. I unsteadily walked closer to Luca, who kept her glare on my face but didn’t retreat. When I was right in front of her I saw nothing had changed in her gaze, and her pained eyes caused another stab in my heart. Finally I lost my composure and embraced her as my tears started falling. As I moved she started to protest and put her paws on my chest to keep me away but I forced arms around her and hugged her tight as I quietly cried.

“I’m sorry… I wish you could believe me. I never meant to hurt you and I never once forgot about you…” I whispered with a wavering voice, but as I finished I was reminded of what I already knew, there was no chance I could fix everything so quickly… When I finished speaking I felt Luca struggling as her muzzle twisted into more of a sad, upset snarl and she tried to push me away with her paws, which were still on my chest.

“Let me go!” She cried as she pushed me away, forcing me out of my embrace as I half willingly released her. After she was free she stood there looking defiantly at me before I turned away from her to head in the direction of the camp with a single sad look as I turned. I sniffled and tried to wipe my tears away but they only kept flowing as I walked. Just before Luca was out of sight I heard her start crying, though from the sound I could tell she was trying to keep quiet so I wouldn’t hear. Hearing her only fueled my sadness and I kept walking towards camp.

On the way back I was dragging my feet slightly and tripped on a small root. I hit the ground with a sharp curse, but as I tried to get up I found I couldn’t. My legs had entirely given out and all I could do was prop myself against the nearby tree that owned the root, where I started sobbing quietly as I thought about Luca’s words. Eventually I passed out where I sat and stayed asleep for the rest of the night.

Luca didn’t make it back to the others that night either. She sat with her back to a rock as she hugged her legs and cried, eventually falling asleep from exhaustion as I had.

Of course the others worried about us when they realized we were missing the next morning. Leo panicked when he found both his parents missing, and, just like his father, jumped to conclusions, thinking Luca had left for good and I had gone to find her alone. Once Kail, Lisa, and even Elli were awake they took a quick look around but remained calm and eventually managed to calm Leo as well.

“It’s alright Leo, we’ll find them. Start trying to find their scents so we know which way they went.” Kail instructed calmly and comfortingly. With Kail’s sentiment Leo took a deep breath to calm himself and gave a nod in response. After he calmed down Leo started sniffing the air with Kail in an attempt to locate mine and Luca’s scents, unfortunately the trails had dissipated with the passing night and Leo was having little success. Being more experienced with tracking, Kail managed to determine the direction Luca and I had gone.

Once they found where we had gone Leo and Kail started in that direction, leaving Elli, Lisa and Adi to watch the camp. Lisa took the chance to get to know Elli a bit, which, admittedly, went much better than everyone else’s introduction.

As they walked it was obvious that Leo wanted to move much faster, but he kept his head and focused his energy into looking around as Kail continued to find slight lingering amounts of the scent paths.

“Dad!” Leo yelled as he spotted me ahead of them and rushed to my side. “Are you alright!?” He asked frantically as I started waking up to his cries.

“Hmmm…? Yeah, I’m fine… What about your mother?” I replied with a groan and rubbed my eyes as I stood up.

“We don’t know. Where is she!?” Leo asked in a more frantic tone. In surprise I snapped my gaze to him and quickly saw the panicked look he wore.

“She didn’t come back?” I uttered in surprise, but quickly realized she must have stayed where I found her out of frustration. “I think I know where she is… Follow me.” I continued as I calmed down and turned to lead the way. Leo was still frantic but he followed just the same.

A short time later I hesitantly stepped to where I was the night before, but as I looked around again my heart sank further… Luca wasn’t there, and I simply froze in my place as I finally thought she was gone for good.

“Mom…?” Leo whimpered on the verge of crying, but just before he lost his composure his nose twitched and his teary eyes snapped open. While practically tripping over his own paws, he ran to the rock where Luca had been and bolted around it to look on the other side. He gasped in delight as the terror left his expression and he disappeared behind the rock, his disappearing soon followed by a surprised yelp.

Upon hearing the yelp Kail leapt on top of the rock to see Leo hugging Luca tightly while pinning her on the ground with tears still in his eyes. Luca was smiling with tears of her own as she hugged Leo back, but when she noticed Kail her expression faded.

Seeing her reaction to him Kail bowed his head and came back to where I still stood. My mind raced when I heard the yelp, but I remained where I was. I remembered what happened last night and I couldn’t bring myself to go near Luca. From her words I still had hope, but her attitude reminded me I couldn’t force her to choose me or it would only make us both miserable.

I relaxed as Kail came back to stand with me, and shortly after, Leo and his mother stood up on the other side of the rock. Her gaze immediately focused on me and I saw the surprise flash in her eyes before she averted her gaze with her upset debating look as she rubbed Leo’s shoulder for her own comfort. Though I didn’t outwardly show it, I was greatly comforted by Luca’s behavior. I thought for sure she would have been angry with me like the night before, but either Leo’s presence or her indecision caused her to be a bit more hospitable towards me.

With only a somewhat relived sigh I turned to head back to camp. Kail followed right after I turned, as did Leo and Luca though a bit farther behind as I expected. We got back to camp, but I got a small surprise as I walked up. Elli and Lisa were laying down close together and talking like friends while Adi seemed to be having fun climbing over Lisa, exploring the much bigger pokemon, and trying to figure out how he could get to her head, but failing miserably.

As we entered Adi stopped his efforts momentarily to look at his with his head cocked to the side, and when he saw Leo coming after Kail and I he immediately leapt off of Lisa to run to Leo. Leo smiled and picked the little guy up, lifting Adi to his head which seemed to be Adi’s favorite spot. Luca let out an inaudible giggle as half a smile crossed her lips for an instant. I smiled too as I watched Leo but I quickly turned to clean up so we could leave. Lisa had gotten up and met me and Kail as we entered, which I was grateful for since I doubt it would have went over well with Luca if she had seen Lisa and Elli conversing.

Once everything was packed we set out again, just like the past few days. We only stopped once to get something to eat, though as we left that particular town I nearly started sobbing… We passed a small clearing off of the path and I couldn’t help but look to Luca. I hid my glance as best I could, but it wasn’t needed since I saw Luca was holding her arms tight as if she were trying to fight back her thoughts of this place, so to lessen the pain on both of us we kept walking and soon made it home.

I stopped in the front yard and sighed lightly as I looked over my home. Somehow not even that sight could cheer me up right now. After my pause we started towards the door, but I noticed Lisa seemed wary, and if I had looked back I would have seen Elli and Luca acting in much the same way.

“It’s fine Lisa. Felix’s family is really nice.” Kail offered as I continued and entered. Kail followed with Lisa at his heels, but the others didn’t come in so quick.

Leo realized Elli and his mother were hesitant about going in just before he reached the door. “Mom?” Leo asked as he neglected the door and turned to face the girls.

Unable to decide what to do, Luca froze as her thoughts raced. On one hand she wanted to see Lady and the pups, and she thought Felix’s mother might be able to help in one way or another, but… On the other hand, Luca couldn’t help but wonder if everyone would be against her, after all they were Felix’s family before they became hers… Luca looked at the ground as she tried to decide, but still found herself conflicted.

“Please mom? Give it a chance…?” Leo pleaded sadly, which got Luca to look solemnly at her son.

“Alright.” She replied with a light sigh of her own, and started towards Leo who turned again, this time with a smile, and held open the door. Luca entered slowly with Elli behind her, and the two girls waited in the empty kitchen for Leo to lead the way.

After entering I went straight to the living room as my mother asked who was at the door. I sadly walked into the living room and sat down heavily in a chair as my mother and father got stunned looks and fell silent momentarily before flooding me with questions. I couldn’t even get a word in as they expressed their concerns over so many topics at once, but they were quickly interrupted when Kail came in and sat down while Lisa stepped slowly and cautiously into the room.

Lisa froze in mid step as she noticed my mother and father were staring at her curiously, but just then the room gone more crowded and confusing. Lisa was just about to slink away from the looks when her attention snapped to the sounds of some thing, or things, running towards the living room from a nearby hall. To her surprise two Eevee rushed around the corner in a playful frenzy, but as they’re eyes locked on Lisa they skidded to a halt with wide uncertain eyes. Frozen in place the Eevee sisters just stared at Lisa while their brother walked out in front of his parents. Umbreon’s gaze snapped to Lisa as he noticed her and the Vulpix boy also stopped in place, but Lady smiled and cheerfully said, “Hi Lisa.” without even flinching.

“H-hi Lady…” Lisa said nervously as if she could feel the six sets of eyes still watching her.

“Kids, Honey. This is Lisa; remember I told you about her?” Lady said as she nosed the Eevee sisters to snap them out of their stupor. Still unsure of the newcomer the sisters walked cautiously into the living room while keeping an eye on Lisa as they passed her. Once they felt they were out of reach however, they looked around and saw Kail, whom they immediately jumped at to start their wild playing again. Kail just laughed and roughed the girls up a little to tire them out quickly so they curled up in his lap to rest.

“I’m sorry mom. This is Lisa. Remember I told you about her over the phone.” I said without knowing what Lady said and still with a somewhat depressed tone to my voice, as the Eevee sisters were calmed by Lady’s words.

“Oh yes! Lisa. I’m sorry I must have forgotten.” My mother replied and gave Lisa a smile which seemed to ease her anxiety quite a bit. However, my parents didn’t take the time to get to know her at the moment, and instead after they gave Lisa a kind look they returned to trying to get me to explain.

However, once again I didn’t get the chance as Leo rounded the corner to see Lady, Umbreon, Lisa, and Vulpix still sitting in the entry way. Luca and Elli were in tow and when Lady saw Luca she immediately cried out and went over to her to smother her with affections, though from the quick glance I allowed myself I saw they weren’t all accepted…

I knew Luca wouldn’t want a big deal made out of this with how she recently felt about me, and having the rest of us obsess over her might only make things worse. Luckily an idea quickly came to me and I caught Leo’s attention then pointed to his left and finally towards the ceiling. As he looked to his left he figured out what I meant, nodded, and when Luca managed to free herself and calm Lady down, Leo reminded her of the upstairs bedroom. Seeing the gesture as Leo’s doing Luca and Elli headed up the stairs while Leo focused on stopping Lady from following since the fox now wore a look of concern, and seemed to be wondering why Luca’s halfhearted greeting didn’t even sound sincere.

“Come on Lady. I’ll try to explain.” I said as Lady sat down and glared at Leo for stopping her pursuit. She looked at me and her ears went back after a second of holding my gaze. From my voice and how I looked she could immediately tell something was seriously wrong.

After I spoke everyone in the corridor came into the living room. Lady curled up with Umbreon and because it had been such a long time since I’d seen the pups I quietly beckoned Vulpix to join me. He happily obliged and got comfortable in my lap where I started stroking his fur lightly, getting him to completely relax. When Leo walked in though, the two resting Eevee sisters perked their ears, cocked their heads and looked at Leo’s head where Adi was still perched. When he saw the two sisters he too cocked his head to the side curiously. Surprisingly enough though, neither party made a move to meet the other at that point. Leo didn’t even notice the Eevee, and sat on the floor close to me yet still beside Kail.

Once everyone was settled I started explaining what had happened. It took quite a while to explain and longer to convince my parents that it all really had happened. Lady whined occasionally as I spoke and I knew she could tell how upset I was.

Having already been there, Leo and Kail remained reverent and simply watched the Eevee, who, being just pups became fidgety shortly after I started.

Aside from the occasional yelp or cry from the now playing pups my explanation was uninterrupted. When I finally finished I sighed heavily and relaxed in my chair and waited for my parent’s response. From the looks they were giving me I couldn’t tell who’s side they were on, mine or Luca’s, but seeing as how I had explained it to them and they were my parents, it came as no surprise when they favored me.

First came the “You didn’t do anything wrong.” speeches, then the “How could she do this?” I didn’t like listening to them attempting to consol me like that, because in my mind I had already accepted the fact that I had wronged Luca in some way for her to do this. But instead of arguing with them I nodded sadly and agreed as I resolved to speak with my mother later since she always helped me with these things before.

After all of that was over though I felt a bit better. Getting it all off my chest and having my parents agree, in a way, that we would get her to come around lifted a sizable weight from my shoulders. With that done and my raised spirits I took the time to introduce Lisa, but first I had her actually enter the room, seeing as she had lay down nearly where she had stopped before. I knew she was nervous so I had her sit in front of me as I pet her and explained her to my parents. When I finished I noticed my parents seemed a lot more hospitable towards her. Of course this was normal now, once I explained why I trusted someone so much my parents warmed up to them considerably.

Of course had my own catching up to do, and once I explained about Adi, and by association Elli, my parents told me how the pups were doing, though they weren’t in the room at the moment. The sisters had started their game again and after a bit of a rough meeting where Adi sounded like he was being killed as they pounced on him, they had run off with their Vulpix brother to continue their romp, and occasionally we saw a few of them run past the entrance to the living room, or actually in the room where a tussle would follow before they bolted off again.

Since I had left so long ago and hadn’t stayed long enough for Lady to fill me in the last time I had missed quite a bit. The pups were much bigger now, though still not fully grown, but most importantly they had names now. I smiled as mom shared what they had named them, and explained that Ashley had picked a name for one of the sisters. Their names were Psia, Zina and Jem, with Jem being Vulpix. It was fairly hard to tell the sisters apart, and my dad being his usual self… had suggested calling them by the same name… Thankfully though my mother had stepped in with a second name, and during the time she spent with them had found a distinguishing characteristic for the sisters.

Now that they had lost their baby fur it could be seen that the tip of one of their ears was pure white. For Psia her right ear had the white tip, while Zina had the tip on her left ear. I laughed through my pained heart at this but had to see it for myself so when one of the girls ran past my chair to hide behind it I reached down and picked her up. She yelped indignantly, but relaxed as I started petting her, after which she started trying to fight my hand and nip me playfully. I obliged and roughed her up a bit as I looked at her ear and determined it was Psia. After I had gotten my look I set her back down where she took off to play with the others since she hadn’t seen them following her.

Once we had finished catching up I had to think of what I was going to do about sleeping arrangements. I took a look in my sister’s room and found that Tarzan was napping on the bed. I smiled and pet him lightly, to which he raised his head to me and started purring, telling me he missed me. I intended to let Luca have the upstairs, and I figured Leo, Elli, and Adi could join her. Lady, Umbreon and the pups had their own beds so they weren’t a problem. Then there was Kail, Lisa and I. Ultimately I settled for the couch while Kail offered to sleep in Ashley’s bed until we could track her down and send him to her. Later I apologized to Lisa for not having something for her to sleep on, but she only smiled at me, said it was fine and that she would sleep in the living room.

With nothing else to do that night I decided to take a chance… I ascended the stairs to mine and Luca’s room and stopped in the corridor just before it opened up into the actual room.

“I guess I’m in your room huh?” Luca said in an upset voice, but through her tone I could hear that she had been crying again, though I didn’t know how long or how hard.

“No. I wanted to tell you this is your room, and ask if you’d mind Elli, Leo and Adi sleeping up her.” I said sadly as I watched her with sad eyes to match my tone.

“Wh… No, I wouldn’t mind…” In surprise she started to ask me why I would do this, but collected herself and said the rest normally.

“Alright, I’ll tell them. Good night.” I answered before turning and heading back downstairs, getting no further response from the girls.

When we actually did go to bed that night Leo went upstairs, but Adi had fallen asleep in a big pile of fur that now consisted of three Eevee and a Vulpix. Leo explained this to Elli who smiled happily and told Leo not to disturb him. I settled in on the couch where Lisa laid down on the floor near me, though Tarzan groggily walked out a short time later since Kail had kicked him off the bed. The big cat thought he was going to get the couch, but soon realized that wasn’t going to “entirely” happen. Before he hopped up on the couch to fall asleep on my legs though, he looked curiously at Lisa who had raised her head in surprise as well. I laughed and apologized for not introducing them and promptly did. Tarzan casually padded over to her and sniffed her a little before rubbing against her affectionately then hopping up on the couch and curling up. Lisa was thoroughly confused by this and tried to growl at him, but didn’t get the sound out before he relented. I simply reached over and pet her head saying, “He’s always like that. He’s just being friendly.” and with a brief questioning look Lisa shook it off and lay back down.

The next morning I woke up to the smell of breakfast and drearily walked out to find my mother. When I remembered how many of us there were I offered to help, which she eagerly accepted. Once we had things ready I took a few plates upstairs to Leo, Elli and Luca. They took them from me, but little had changed between Luca and me, and when I went to collect the plates a bit later I noticed that Luca had barely eaten anything.

Things went as normal as they could that day, but when I didn’t see Luca all day, even when Elli and Leo had come down, I started to get worried again, but I still knew there was little I could do. I knew my mother might be able to help though, so I managed to get her to sit down and talk with me. It was more of the same, but after I regained my composure I did feel a bit better once again.

With my mother’s advice in mind I went upstairs to try talking with Luca again. I sighed at the bottom of the stairs to calm myself and once I was at the entrance to the main room I found Luca curled up on the bed.

“Luca…?” I said softly, not wanting to startle her of wake her if she was sleeping. But when I spoke she tiredly rolled to look at me, though her gaze still showed her indecision and reluctance to listen to me since she wasn’t sure if I was trying to force her to be with me.

At her gaze my confidence shattered and I could barely bring myself to keep standing there, much less go through with what my mother had instructed me to. I sighed once again and collected myself as I moved forward towards her and sat cross-legged a few feet from the edge. Along the way I noticed Luca’s pendant lying on the nightstand so I picked it up and held it tight while I sat there. Luca however seemed hesitant to let me get to close again, but simply maneuvered to sit on the side of the bed and watch me as I started.

“Honey… Ah, Luca. I don’t want to force you to stay here if you don’t want to. I would never ask you to leave Leo, and if you two really do want to leave I can’t stop either of you… Could you unlatch this please…?” I said, ending by offering he pokeball for her to unlock as I looked up at her. She seemed tense and I saw she had her eyes closed with what looked like a frustrated look on her face as well as a few tears in the corners of her eyes. As I finished speaking though she opened her eyes and took the necklace, though in a somewhat rough fashion. When the ball was unlocked she set it back in my hand in the same rough fashion and hugged herself in some form of fear as she looked away from me with her eyes shut.

“Thank you… Luca I want you to know I really do love you… with all my heart, and it really hurts me to know that something I did made you feel this way about me. Before I do this I just wanted you to know I will always love you, no matter what, and that will never change… I can promise that much…” I continued sadly as that sharp pain in my heart grew with each word. I hated what I was about to do but it had to be done and there was no other way… So as I finished speaking I pressed the button on her ball to enlarge it then I twisted the silver ring a around the button half a turn and pointed it at her. Luca had remained silent through my words except for the occasional sniffle that she tried to hide, but she knew I was now pointing the ball at her and I saw her tense up in fear…

A tense second after I pointed it at her the ball opened quickly with a loud crack and I saw Luca’s entire body glow a light blue for an instant. I watched as she blinked her eyes open and looked at the open ball in my hand. She then looked me right in the eyes and I sighed lightly as I met her gaze, then closed the ball, reattached the necklace and set it back on the nearby nightstand before continuing with my heartfelt speech.

“You’re free. I don’t know whether that was what was keeping you here, but it isn’t anymore… Like I said sweetie… I will always love you no matter what, but I can’t and won’t force you to stay…” I finished and stood up slowly to walk away just as slowly. I again wanted so bad to hug her one last time. To feel her fur caress my bare skin even if it was only my cheek and arms that felt it, but I knew if I tried she would resist me entirely and I didn’t want that to be my last memory of her…

After that I left the room, but as I turned to descend the stairs I heard growls, crying and a few broken words from her. Nothing was actually meant for my ears, but from what little I did hear it sounded like my actions had upset her more and now she was even more conflicted than before. I silently hoped my mother was right and that telling her I still loved her and releasing her to show it would bring her around, but I just wasn’t sure…

The rest of that day went by agonizingly slow. Nothing could cheer me up and all I could think about was what Luca would do. I simply lay on the couch with the TV on for the rest of that day. There were a few news reports commenting on how the mysterious pokemon being left at the police station were in fact pokemon captured by Darkrai, and that if a trainer had lost a pokemon to Darkrai they were to go to the nearest station to see if their pokemon had been found with the most recent group. That little report made me chuckle sadly, but I was at least glad they were getting the word out to trainers.

Everyone in the house went about their day as normally as possible. Elli was acting very similar to how Kail did when I first asked him to join us. She was trying to keep to herself, thinking that if anyone knew the truth they would hate her. I kept her secret however, and encouraged her to meet the others.

I could tell Lady was skeptical, but for my sake she was nice to Elli in front of everyone. Umbreon was very shy around her though, and the first time she saw him she gasped and froze in mid step. Seeing her reaction to him Umbreon lowered his head and flattened his ears as he looked away. Lady noticed this since she was curled up with him at the time and nuzzled him lightly as if to ask him what was wrong. I don’t know why Umbreon acted like this and for that matter I didn’t know why Elli was so surprised to see him, but the more I thought about it the more I noticed this was the first Eeveelution he had encountered for any extended period of time since the island where we found him. As I thought about this I realized it must have to do with his coloring, which both Lady and I thought was beautiful, but apparently it was something to be ashamed of in the Eevee community. Determined not to do anything offensive though Elli tried to ignore his coloring and behave normally, which she succeeded in once the initial “shock” had worn off, but Umbreon remained skittish around her.

Everyone else didn’t seem to mind Elli though and my mother took a liking to her and Adi right away, despite the fact that Elli remained tense when anyone was paying attention to her.

Kail also seemed lethargic through the day with everything that had happened, but in the afternoon he had to do something and convinced a sad Leo to join him outside for some battle practice. This seemed to cheer Leo up somewhat and he and Kail spent a good portion of the afternoon exercising. Ashley called to check in with mother while Kail was outside, and after a long conversation and explanation we agreed to take Kail to a pokemon center the next day to reunite them.

Lisa also seemed reluctant to interact with everyone. Lady was the kindest to her and sparked a conversation between the two girls and Umbreon, who stayed near Lady pretty much all the time unless he was tending to the pups.

The pups went about their own business for the entire day. As soon as they got up they started their games, only to end up dead tired an hour later where they curled up with Tarzan who was enjoying lazing around all day. The pups repeated their cycle several times, only pausing to eat and recharge before tearing off to play somewhere.

For dinner that night I once again helped my mother fix the meals, but this time I had Leo take Luca’s meal upstairs. I didn’t want to seem like I was forcing her to stay, it had to be her decision.

When it got late we all fell asleep as we had the night before, but when Luca still refused to come down and only spoke to Leo and Elli I simply felt that I had to get out of the house. Staying there was just too painful, and I had one last thing I had thought to try…

So around noon I packed a bag and grabbed Kail’s pokeball, and offered to run Kail to the pokemon center. Of course my mother protested at first, but conceded quickly when I told her I had one last thing to try. Deciding not to push the issue her and my dad wished me luck as I set out with only Kail in the direction we had come home from.

“Felix, I don’t want to leave like this. There has to be something more I can do.” Kail said as we walked. I knew before hand that he didn’t want to leave until all of this was resolved, but I couldn’t keep him from Ashley, it wasn’t fair and I got the feeling that both of us knew his presence couldn’t help the situation anymore.

“It’s fine. I know you want to help, but I think the less people Luca has to deal with the better. I appreciate everything you’ve done Kail, I really do, and I don’t think Leo would be doing so well if it weren’t for you, but if my idea works everything will be fine. And if it doesn’t… well Luca will at least be happier.” I replied sincerely.

“What’s this idea?” Kail asked next, not entirely convinced with my excuse.

“I’d rather not explain… I’m just hoping it works. I have to find the only two people who might be able to really show Luca she’s wrong.” I replied as I lowered my head in thought. I knew what I was going to do, but I couldn’t help thinking it might not work.

“Who?” Kail asked, thoroughly confused as to who else would be able to assist me. Of course I knew he wouldn’t understand since he had never met the two I was looking for.

“Don’t worry. It’ll work, it has to.” I replied confidently, ending the conversation with a kind look that showed him how much I believed it would work.

“Alright, just take care, and don’t hesitate to ask me for anything. I owe you my life after all.” He answered, and stopped me from arguing with him.

With a smile he and I continued on and later that night we reached the pokemon center. We called the center where Ashley was staying, and after a bit of catching up with my sister, and promising a disappointed Latias that Leo would be there to talk to her next time…, I thanked Kail one more time before sending him to Ashley. After she received him she let him out of his ball to say our last goodbyes before we hung up.

It was very late by that point, but I left the center and started home. I knew I would have to spend the night on the path, but that had been my plan all along, and being alone for this let me think things through a little more without the worry of depressing others.

Along the path I found the place where I planned to stay. I set up my bedroll in the small clearing and started a fire as I lost myself in my thoughts, once again running through every second I could remember with Luca, trying to figure out what I did, and just hoping I could find the two people I was looking for, and that they’d be able to help… However, since it had gotten dark a long while ago I couldn’t stay awake for very long that night, and fell asleep praying this would work…

The next morning I woke shortly after the sun started to rise, but when I did I found two shadows standing over me in the morning light. I rubbed my eyes and stood up to greet the two of them once I was sure they were who I was looking for. Sure enough as my vision cleared I saw a cloaked man with his Lucario companion standing next to him...
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