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Pokemon: Black Awakening

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"Yes, of course, I understand. I will, right away. Thank you."

With the click of the receiver, Nina set the phone down. Heaving a heavy sigh, she store blankly at the phone for a few minutes, her dark hands practically white-knuckling the inanimate object within her grasp. Releasing her hold upon the receiver, her hands rested heavily upon the object while she collected her thoughts, quelling her heart and telling herself that this must be done. It was the right thing to do, the only course of action to take. Although she knew this fact, it didn't make her task any easier.

Giving another sigh, she brushed some of the sun-bleached bangs from her eyes and told herself that it was now or never. Nina had an obligation - and now, so did her daughter. It had to be done, it must be done.

Glancing off to the side table beside the phone, Nina store at the Pokéball resting upon the wooden table. This was it, the object that would cause this life to end, and a new life to begin. After studying it's smooth, glossy surface for a few moments, she took the sphere in her hands and gave a small nod. This was right, it was time. But it didn't make letting go any easier.

Turing on her heel, Nina proceeded to the back door, opening it and stepping outside into the cool, crisp early spring air. The sky was clear and a gentle breeze brushed across the back lawn, rustling the budding leaves in the enclosure. She scanned the area, spotting several of the Dragon-types she tended to milling about, but she didn't see her daughter.

"Tanis!"

Nina's voice cried out, echoing across the empty area. Her voice piqued the interest of the Pokémon going about their daily lives, but she didn't see any other movement from the area beyond. The enclosure Nina maintained was quite large and her daughter could be anywhere right now, even as far as the back woods that surrounded it.

"Tanis!" Nina called out again, hearing her voice echoing loudly. She knew that she was loud enough to be heard from most of the enclosure, and if her daughter didn't hear her, one of the Pokémon would've and would go find her. She looked over in exasperation towards the nearest Pokémon, a Dragonair, who merely gave a small shake of it's head. Nina sighed and put her hands on her hips, wondering where on earth that girl had gotten to.

Nina opened her mouth and called out again: "Tan--"

"Jeez, I heard you the first time!"

Nina closed her mouth and looked off to her right, seeing Tanis approach her with a rather perturbed look on her dark features. Her pants were clamped up above her knees and she wore wet work boots, her long dark brown hair tied tightly back in a pony-tail and was covered in water and soil. Char - her ever-faithful, yet somewhat of a handful Charmander, which had just recently evolved into a Charmeleon last week - was following at her heels, also covered in dirt and looking supremely cross. Well, more then he usually was, that is. His temperament had only gotten worse when he evolved, but Tanis still was able to keep him in line. Usually.

Nina straightened up and looked down at her daughter, who had obviously just broken away from tending to the Pokémon in the enclosure.

"There you are!" Nina exclaimed, crossing her arms over her chest. "Where were you?" Tanis, in typical teenaged fashion - though she was a legal adult now - rolled her eyes dramatically and sighed in exasperation.

"Sorry for not having the speed of an Arcanine, Mom," Tanis muttered her apology half-heartedly, casting her raspberry eyes off to the side. "I was waist-deep in old Hilda's mineral bath," She looked back up after she said this, giving a glare at her mother, "You know, the one we give her every Friday for her arthritis?" While speaking, Tanis made sure to enunciate every word of the phrase.

Under any normal circumstance, Nina would be scolding her daughter for her sass, and was about to open her mouth to do so, but swiftly closed it when she realized. Damn, during the phone call and her own deliberations, she had totally forgotten that it was Friday. Which meant she forgot about the drawing the bath for the old Dragonite was an extremely taxing, very much 2-person job.

"Oh shit, I totally forgot about that!" Nina groaned, putting her face in one of her hands.

Tanis crossed her arms over her chest, clearly un-amused. "Oh, so that's why you left us high-and-dry and Char and I had to do it alone. You 'forgot!'" She snarked with another dramatic roll of her eyes. Char gave a disgruntled huff and crossed his arms as well, donning a pose eerily similar to his mistress. "I bet Char is so thankful that he, a fire type, got to play in the water for a change!" To this, the large, dark-skinned Charmeleon gave an angry snort and a short nod of his head.

Nina gave a sideways, awkward grin down at him, "Sorry, Char. I normally wouldn't leave you hanging, you know that." Char, however, didn't seem impressed, giving a huff of smoke in response.

"Eh, he'll live." Tanis snorted with a grin, only to receive a glare from her companion. She looked down at him and smirked, "He's one tough SOB, I'll give him that!" Char gave a snort of approval at this, followed by another short nod of is head. Looking back up at Nina, Tanis raised a skeptical eyebrow. "So anyway...what's up? It's not like you to up and forget about routine or our Pokémon's needs..."

Brought back to the situation, Nina pursed her lips together, looking beyond Tanis briefly and to the Pokémon wandering about behind her. She spoke in a low, soft voice, "Will Hilda be alright for a bit?" She asked.

Tanis blinked and glanced behind her, "Err, yeah? You know how she is, she tends to soak in the bath for a good hour or two...sometimes we need to go prod her to make sure she doesn't fall asleep." Turning her attention back to Nina, she furrowed her brows together. "...What's going on, Mom? You're acting kind of weird..."

Sighing, Nina returned her attention back to Tanis, "I'll explain. Won't you come inside with me, Tanis? You too, Char." The young woman and her Pokémon glanced at each other, Tanis raising an eyebrow down at him. He looked equally perplexed and shrugged his shoulders. Upon looking back at Nina, she gave a short, apprehensive nod of her head.

With her free hand, Nina gestured towards the back door. Tanis brushed past her and opened the door, entering into the kitchen, Char following close behind her. She quickly deposited her mud-soaked boots on the landing, so as not to track it all over the nice, clean house.

With them inside, Nina closed the door behind them and lead the duo out of the kitchen and into the dining room, signaling with her head for them to take a seat. Tanis took her usual seat beside the head of the table, plopping down rather unceremoniously down into the wooden frame. Char climbed into the chair beside her, careful not to wave his tail too close to the wood, as he always made sure to do. With them seated, Nina sat down at the head of the table, carefully placing the smooth, unused Pokéball in front of her.

Tanis gave a sideways glance down at the Pokéball, but quickly looked back up to her mother. "So...what's this about?" She asked tentatively, shifting a bit in her chair. Char watched quietly, careful not to place his claws on the table and mess up the finish, lest he get kicked out of the house again.

Taking in a slow, deep breath, Nina closed her eyes for a few seconds. When she opened them, she looked over at Tanis with a solemn expression in her eyes. "I have an important announcement for you."

Char gave an excited growl, smirking, but he was quickly swatted by his trainer to tell him to shut up. "Quiet!" She hissed between her pursed lips, which caused him to give a roll of his eyes, crossing his arms. Tanis looked back up to her mother with a bright smile, like this didn't just happen.

"You've had Char now for a few years, and when he was old enough to protect you, I gave you an unofficial trainer's license." Nina continued, giving Char a scolding glance that caused him to instantly stop smirking and straighten up. She gave a small nod of approval when he did this. "You know that it means you're allowed to keep him with you and train him and other Pokémon, but you can't take on a salary or challenge Gym Leaders with that level."

Tanis raised a cautious eyebrow at this. "Uh, yeah? I think I know this already." She shifted more in her chair, leaning over the table as a sign of her agitation. "Why bring that up now...?"

Nina gave a wan smile over at her. "I've decided to upgrade it...to a full trainer's license."

Tanis' jaw hit the table.

Char almost fell forward and almost hit it, but managed to stop himself before he damaged it, grabbing onto his knees instead.

The silence was so thick one could cut it with a knife. Tanis couldn't even formulate words right now; though it wasn't surprising to Nina. What was more surprising that this was happening at all. She never thought the day would come when she would be sending her daughter out on a Pokémon journey. But it was happening right here, right now, and she was almost...excited for it, even if it meant she'd have to let Tanis go. Letting go...yes, this meant it was time to let go...not just of her daughter's life, but of her own past.

Tanis managed to collect her jaw from the floor and continued to stare at her mother in disbelief. "W-wha...what are...y-you saying...?"

"I'm saying it's time for you to move on with your life, sweetheart," Nina responded coolly, "You don't need to be chained to me forev--"

"Not that!!" Tanis abruptly cut her off, putting a hand on the table and rising to her feet, "I mean, giving me a full trainer's license! Me, being a Pokémon Trainer!! This is so not like you!"

Nina sighed and shook her head, "Tanis, I want you to go."

"Why?" Tanis said sharply, plopping back down to her seat. She shot a cool glance over at her taller mother, "Mom, you gave up training after what happened to Dad! I thought you swore it off completely, and hated it after the accident!!"

"Tanis, that happened 14 years ago--"

"You've always told me training brings nothing but pain and suffering to Pokémon! That it brought all sorts of sorrows upon trainers, too!! So why did you suddenly change?" Tanis continued to protest, continued to bring logic into the situation. Nina could only purse her lips together and swallowed the truth, only to come up with the lies.

She gave a sigh, looking down at the Pokéball sitting before her on the table. "I know this seems...sudden, but this is something I have been debating for almost a year now," She raised her hand to silent Tanis' protest, looking up to gaze over at her firey daughter. "But you're young, bright, and brilliant with Char. Most rookie trainers couldn't handle a Pokémon like that. You are my daughter, Tanis, I know you want to do something more then just sit around all day and tend to my Pokémon and my livelihood. You deserve to go out there, seek adventure, and make your own path. I don't want to control what you become because of what has happened in the past."

Tanis slumped in her chair and looked down at her feet. "But Dad--"

"--Would have wanted you to not be chained down by the past and to find your own way," Nina said, clasping her hands together over the wooden table. "I might have given up training because of what happened, because of my grief - but I found my own path, what I truly love doing...breeding and tending to Dragon Pokémon. He would be at peace knowing that. And you won't know what to find in life until you go out there and do something about it."

Tanis looked up at her mother with a distraught, conflicted look. Nina knew that all of her daughter's life, she had believed that training Pokémon was what killed her father, even though it was merely an accident. But, she knew her daughter well, knew that she was antsy and itching to go out...and Char was equally restless. Charmeleon's would eventually evolve into Charizards, and those Pokémon couldn't ever contain their desire for adventure, combat and the search for strength. She gave a small smile over at her.

"Sweetheart, this is what's best for you. I know it's difficult leaving this life, but you are of my blood. Thirst for knowledge, exploration and adventure are second nature to you," She tilted her head to the side before continuing, "I will be fine on my own, I'll find someone to give me a hand. I want you to live, Tanis."

"But...I..." Tanis sighed, looking down at Char, who gave her an expectant look. In fact, he looked about ready to burst from his chair and drag her down the road himself, if it came to it. Just seeing his expression made Nina chuckle, reminded of her own path to adulthood all of those years ago in Johto.

Giving another sigh, Tanis looked up at her mother, but found herself unable to keep the grin down. "Alright, fine! I'll go on a 'Pokémon Journey,' or whatever it's called." She stood up after saying this, placing her hands on the table. "But only because I'm pretty sure Char's about ready to kill something if we don't get out of here soon." She smirked down at Char, who gave an enthusiastic nod of his head, followed by a wide, fangy grin.

"I figured as much," Nina chuckled again, smiling over at her daughter. "I already took the liberty of packing for you, Tanis."

Tanis raised an eyebrow. "Wow, so eager to kick me out, huh?" She muttered sarcastically.

Nina gave a short laugh at this, smirking up at her, "I just figured you'd say yes, so I went ahead and did it for you." She leaned forward and rested her chin in her hands, "Besides, I figured you'd be so excited to leave you'd forget something crucial, like your toothbrush or clean underwear."

"Yeah, yeah..." Tanis muttered, giving another roll of her eyes. Char made a smart snort in response, only to get swatted by his trainer again, giving a huff and a snap of his jaw. "Let me go change out of these work clothes, okay? And, err...what exactly do I do as a real-McCoy trainer, anyway?"

"Well, you'll earn a bi-weekly salary, for starters," Nina informed with a wave of her hand, "Which increases with the level of your registered Pokémon - you register them at the Pokémon Center - and Gym badges. You do need to hand over half of said bi-weekly earnings whenever you're defeated, though. Oh, and you get a registration card," As she said this, Nina withdrew the digital card from her pocket, which was held in a fancy case with the Pokémon League logo on it. "This also holds your gym badges along with your trainer information. You'd need something separate for Pokéballs, but I'll give you some money to buy things like those and potions until you get your first salary payment."

Tanis took the case and examined it, giving a nod of her head before putting it back on the table. "Got it. Anything else before I go change?"

"Mmm, just the rules, but you know those already, right?" Nina said, Tanis giving a nod of her head in response. She went to head upstairs to her bedroom, but Nina held a hand out, "Just a moment though, there is one more thing." Tanis turned back to her and raised an eyebrow, Nina picking the Pokéball off of the table and handing it to her. "I want you to have this."

"A Pokémon?" Tanis muttered, taking the sphere and eyeing it. "I already have one, Char. Why do I need another, since I'm just starting out?" She looked back down at her mother skeptically, Char giving a nod of his head.

Nina smiled knowingly. "Call it...a gift."

Tanis hit the button on the front, which showed an electronic display of the Pokémon inside of it. "Female Dratini with Extreme Speed...I don't recognized the ID attached to it...huh, this doesn't sound like one of yours, Mom..."

"It's not."

"Eh?" Tanis looked back down at the display on the Pokéball, "If it's not yours, where did you get it?"

Nina rested her elbows on the table, raising her hands to her chin. "An interested party." She informed coolly, "But the Dratini is yours, Tanis; it's registered to your name and your trainer ID. Feel free to nick name it, too!"

"Oooookay..." Tanis looked a little leery at the Pokéball, but decided to roll with it. Giving it a gentle toss, the ball hit the ground and released the Dratini...whose color was a little off. Tanis blinked her eyes when she noticed the pale pink-purple coloration in the Pokémon, especially since Dratini were normally a very light blue. "...She's...shiny..." She gasped in surprise, squatting down to the squiggly thing as it looked up at her with curious eyes.

The shiny Dratini gave a happy squeak and slithered over to her, rising up to a taller height to look Tanis in the eye. Tanis gave out a chuckle, holding her hand out for the Pokémon to sniff. The Dratini did so, and upon inspecting the hand nuzzled her cheek against it.

"Wow, she's adorable!" Tanis laughed, petting her on the head. Behind her, Char gave a disgruntled snort. "I think I'll call you Ciela, how does that sound?" The Dratini gave a happy nod in response, still nuzzling her new trainer's hand. "Haha, I need to go change, so I'll be right back, okay?" The newely-dubbed Ciela nodded her head, settling back down on the carpeting, watching Tanis head towards the stairs and go up to her room.

Nina smiled, though there was some sadness in her eyes as she did so. Despite the fact that Tanis would be leaving, Nina wondered what she wound uncover upon her journey, and what path she would take...but she knew one thing for certain:

Her daughter was growing up.



----



Route 1 seemed different now.

Tanis stepped outside of her house, taking in the crisp spring air. Although she had walked this route many times, going between the two towns her mother's house rested between, suddenly it looked and felt different then it had before. It was like she was seeing it, truly, for the first time in her life, despite having spent 13 years in this one house.

It was exhilarating, but also a little frightening.

Turning north and towards Accumula Town, Tanis took her first step in her Pokémon adventure. With Char at her side and her new Pokémon, Ciela, in her arms, she took a deep breath and calmed her nerves.

This was it, the start of her new life. And she wasn't sure what she'd expect.

"This feels...weird," Tanis noted while she walked down the path from her home and towards the main road. Char looked up at her with a quizzical expression, Tanis meeting his gaze. "I don't know, I just never thought that I'd be doing this...I mean, I've traveled to both towns on my own before, but never as a full-blown Pokémon Trainer." She gave a hollow chuckle at this, looking up at the clear blue sky. "I've never even been in a trainer battle before! Sure, fighting wild Pokémon is one thing, but trainers...I have no idea what to do!"

Char gave a dismissing wave of his hand, Tanis rolling her eyes at it, "Of course you think we'll be fine, you arrogant ass," She commented dryly, though received a steely look and a confident nod in response. "No one stands a chance against the Almighty Char, King of all Charmeleons! The world will tremble in terror as they face his firey wrath!" Although she was being utterly sarcastic and a bit melodramatic, Char puffed his chest out and gave a small spit of flame in response, obviously gloating. Tanis groaned in response, looking down at Ciela.

"At least you're pretty sane." She commented under her breath, Ciela tilting her head. If she had arms, Tanis was pretty sure the Dratini would be shrugging right now.

Turning onto the main road, Tanis was about to talk a bit more to her two Pokémon, but stopped when she saw to familiar figures along the path, conversing to each other. Raising an eyebrow, she quickened her pace and fell into line beside them.

The girl, who was blonde and wore a very large green hat, gave a startled gasp and practically tripped over herself in surprise. "T-Tanis! What are you doing here?" She squeaked, causing the black-haired boy she was walking with to look over.

"Walking, of course," Tanis said sarcastically, cocking a grin, "I should be asking you what you guys are doing here, Bianca, Cheren. You know it's not safe without Pokémon on these roads!"

The pair were from the town to the south on Route 1, Nuvema. Although they were a bit younger then Tanis was, she did talk to them fairly frequently whenever she or her mother would head down there to talk to the region's resident Pokémon expert, Professor Juniper. Both of them were fascinated by Pokémon, Bianca in particular always had a thousand questions about training and raising them whenever Tanis would show up. Though they weren't especially close, Tanis knew them well enough by now.

"We do actually have Pokémon now, Tanis," Cheren noted calmly, reaching to his belt and withdrawing a Pokéball from it.

"Yeah!" Bianca chirped, holding her arms out, where she held a Snivy, who looked up at Tanis and Ciela with curiosity. "Professor Juniper asked us to help her with the Pokédex here in Unova! So she gave us some Pokémon to start our own journey! Isn't that right, Vivi?" She nuzzled the grass-type Pokémon with her chin, who let out a happy squeaking noise.

Ciela made some noises over at Bianca's Snivy, who responded back, the two striking up what seemed to be a pleasant conversation. Tanis grinned, "That's great! Mind if we travel together to Accumula Town?" Bianca gave an enthusastic nod of her head.

"Sure!"

"Maybe we'll learn something by watching you battle some wild Pokémon, Tanis," Cheren said with a small nod of his head, replacing the Pokéball on his belt. "Speaking of...that Dratini is new, isn't it? I haven't ever seen one in that color before."

Tanis looked down at Ciela, who was laughing at something Vivi had just said, "Yeah, she is. I got her as a present for starting out on my own Pokémon journey and--"

"What?!" Bianca squeaked, looking up at Tanis with wide eyes, "You're on a Pokémon journey too?!"

Tanis gave a sideways grin, "Err, yeah?"

"I thought your mom was against you training!" Bianca gaped, her eyes still wide, "I-I mean, she never seemed keen on training in-general so...why now?"

"Beats me," Tanis admitted with a shrug her shoulders, "Just out of the blue she said she upgraded my license to a full one, and more-or-less kicked me out of the house." She cocked another grin after saying this, looking down at Char beside her, "Besides, I think any more sitting around would have resulted in Char burning the house down, and we don't want that." Char gave a disgruntled huff at this, crossing his arms. Bianca couldn't help but to giggle.

"That is a little odd," Cheren noted, raising an eyebrow, "I wonder if it's because she wants you to go your own way, now that you're 18."

"Probably," Tanis shrugged again, "But you know my mom. Sometimes she won't give you a straight answer."

"I guess so--oh look, a wild Pokémon!" Bianca stopped mid-sentence, pointing as a Lillipup came out from the tall grass, sniffing the dirt road. "Ohmygosh, it's so cute!"

"Why don't you try catching it?" Cheren suggested, looking down at his friend. Bianca gave an enthusiastic nod, hurrying over to the dog-like Pokémon and placing Vivi on the ground.

While she challenged the Pokémon, Char gave a small huff of dissatisfaction. Tanis glanced down at him and quirked an eyebrow. "Bored already?" He rolled his eyes and looked up at her and grumbled to himself. "We'll have plenty of time to test your oh so high-and-mighty powers, Char. Let them have some fun, too." Char groaned and popped his neck. Ciela gave a small sigh and squiggled out of Tanis' arms, curling up at her feet.

"So, have you guys fought many wild Pokémon?" Tanis changed the subject, looking over at Cheren.

"A few here-and-there, but you know this route is pretty quiet." He noted, crossing his arms, watching Bianca chuck a Pokéball at the Lillipup. "I think things get a bit more intense the further we go, right?"

Tanis gave a shrug, "I haven't really been very far from Accumula Town, but Pokémon get stronger and tougher the further you go into Unova. So I hear, at least." She noted. Bianca gave a jump into the air and whooped loudly, scurrying over to the Pokéball and grasping it. Excitedly, she returned to her two friends.

"I caught it! My first wild Pokémon!! I'm so excited!" She cheered, hugging the Pokéball to her chest. She then reached down and scooped up Vivi and also hugged it. "Great job, Vivi!" The Snivy gave a contented coo and grinned.

"Awesome, congrads," Tanis said with a grin. "We should probably get to Accumula and rest at the Pokémon Center soon." Bianca gave a nod of her head and put the new Pokéball at her waist. Cheren gave a nod of approval as well, the trio continuing up the road.



---



After conversing and traveling into the late-afternoon, as well as encountering some other wild Pokémon, the trio finally entered into the town. Considering how close her mother's home was to the town, Tanis visited it often for supplies and other things, such as school, it felt like coming home just as much as going to her actual home. Tanis directed the two new trainers to the Pokémon Center, as she didn't need it considering neither Char nor Ciela had done any fighting. She had to let the other two have a crack at it, right?

Once their Pokémon were healed, Bianca and Cheren came back outside, Bianca releasing her new Lillipup to walk with her - who she had nick-named Terry - they went to hit the road again.

"I haven't ever been here before!" Bianca chirped excitedly, looking at the staircase that lead to the upper portion of the city. "This is so exciting!"

"There's no gym here, though," Cheren said dryly, eyeing the surroundings. Bianca made a face at him when he said this, but didn't respond otherwise to it. He merely gave a shrug of his shoulders, "I think we should move on, maybe get some training--" He stopped when he noticed a crowd gathered in the center square. "Huh, what's that?"

He pointed towards the gathering of people, who were looking about and whispering amongst each other. Tanis raised a skeptical eyebrow, marching forward and towards them. Beyond the group of people gathered, a bunch of men and women wearing strange white outfits had gathered on a hill, surrounding an older man with pale green hair, who wore an elaborate robe of sorts. He appeared to be giving some kind of a speech.

"-- Pokémon liberation!" He exclaimed loudly, waving his left hand about dramatically, causing the crowd to hush and look at him. "I know some of you like to believe that you live in harmony with your Pokémon partners, but how do they truly feel? Is it really their ideal way of living, to be confined into Pokéballs and be forced to battle each other for our amusement? Have you even considered that, perhaps, this is our truth we force upon them because we do not care to listen?"

The crowd began to whisper amongst themselves at this point. Tanis exchanged a glance with Char, who shrugged his shoulders at this. Cheren leaned over to Tanis and whispered to her.

"Do you have any idea who that guy is?" He asked, as she had been to the town many times before.

"Never seen the raving lunatic before in my life," Tanis responded under her breath, returning her gaze back up at the green-haired man.

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, let me ask you: would you like to be subjugated to be crammed inside little Pokéballs or be forced to battle for the enjoyment of others? I'm sure you all are thinking 'no, of course not!'" The man continued dramatically, "It is no different for Pokémon! They will never be able to achieve their perfection while confined or forced to bow down to our beck and call! So we, Team Plasma, are working towards the goal of liberating all Pokémon so that they may achieve this perfection! Then, and only then, will we humans and Pokémon truly be equals." His eyes swept the crowd, who were beginning to whisper more amongst themselves. "I end today to implore you to consider your relationship with your Pokémon, and the correct way to proceed. We sincerely appreciate your attention." He gave a small bow and backed up into the sea of the weird-costumed men and women, they walking off and heading towards Route 2.

People began to whisper in dissent about the display. Bianca looked nervously over at Tanis and Cheren.

"I-is what he saying true...? Are we really that cruel to our Pokémon?" She asked in a low voice, looking over at her two companions.

Tanis gave a shake of her head, "Don't listen to them. There's always been outspoken people against training Pokémon, they don't realize that they're as much your companions as they're your friends. Giving them up is like giving up part of you," She encouraged, placing a steady hand on Bianca's shoulder.

"Do you really believe that's true?"

The trio looked up to see the crowds disbursing, leaving behind a young man with long, pale green hair and a baseball cap. He approached them, his hands in his pockets and standing before them. Tanis slowly blinked and quirked her eyebrow up again.

"Do your Pokémon think that they're your friends and would feel lost if you released them?" He asked again in a strange accent, though he spoke so fast it was difficult to make out what he was saying.

"Whoa, slow down there, buddy," Cheren said, "You're talking too fast!"

"Am I?" The young man asked, a bit slower then before.

"Err, yeah..." Tanis glanced down at her Pokémon again, then looked back up, "Look, you probably shouldn't listen to what those creeps were saying. They're obviously a few bricks short of a shithouse, if you get what I'm saying." When she said this, the young man raised his brows and blinked in confusion a few times, but didn't respond otherwise. She gestured down towards Char and Ciela, "My Pokémon are my friends, and some raving lunatics aren't going to change how I feel about that." Char slid defensively in front of her, obviously not liking this stranger one bit.

"Is that so? You have quite strong beliefs, don't you?" The young man questioned, though he still spoke rather quickly. "We'll see how they feel in time." Giving a small incline of his head, he turned on his heel and proceeded towards the exit of the town.

Tanis breathed out a ragged breath, "What the hell was up with that guy?" She muttered, more to herself then to anyone else.

"Must be taking what those goons said a bit seriously," Cheren sighed, scratching his head, "Though it's a bit hard to understand what he's saying..."

"What if they're right, though?" Bianca asked tentatively, looking a bit uncomfortable about the situation. "What if we're being cruel to Pokémon and not even realizing it?"

Tanis sighed, "While battling them can be cruel, can you honestly imagine a life without Pokémon beside you?" She asked, looking over at Bianca, "They help us with our lives and we form strong connections with them. My whole life has been shaped by them, and just ask your own Pokémon...would they rather be by you or on their own?"

Bianca looked down at her two Pokémon. Vivi came up to her and shook her head, confirming that she would rather be with Bianca at this point. Although she didn't know Terry long, the Lillipup still remained close to her, giving a yip in response. Smiling, Bianca bent down and gave them both hugs, sighing.

"Y-You're right! I can't imagine being without them." She admitted, kissing both of their heads. "I won't listen to those guys anymore!"

"That's the spirit," Tanis said with a thumbs up, grinning. "But I get the feeling that this won't be the last time we see this 'Team Plasma.'"

"Agreed, but I don't think they're much of a threat," Cheren added, giving a short nod of his head, "They're probably like the others you've mentioned, though it seems...odd they've formed a group."

Tanis shrugged, "Eh, whatever. No use worrying about them now, I really doubt they'll be doing much to 'liberate' Pokémon as they say." She turned on her heel, "Anyway, let's move on! I'm curious to see what the world has to offer us!"

Bianca grinned. "Yeah! Let's go!"

The trio headed towards Route 2, pressing forward to their adventure.

And for the first time, it felt like the world was waiting for them.