"They always told us
that there was nothing we could do with our lives.
They were wrong."
AUGUST . . .
ALL SHE HAD to do was catch a boat to Akala.
That was it. Nothing more to do. No schedules, no lists. Nothing else besides things on her own agenda.
Of course, for sixteen year-old Mina Pua, this was normal. She had all the time in the world for things like this. Sure, she was a Trial Captain and all, but it wasn't as if Poni kept things in order.
Poni Island, she thought. The universally declared hell-hole.
And, for most people, this rang true to them. Poni had only one official house, and that was near destruction itself. The rest of them were nomads, traveling amongst the open sea. They always had to leave for food, because they couldn't actually afford to have it imported.
They had nothing.
Except, well, a mystical water deity and lots of nature.
Mina often trailed off when it came to her thoughts. They never seemed to stay in one place for very long. In the past years, her parents had been okay with this. Their reputation wasn't being damaged, and so they didn't have much to worry about a teenage airhead.
She didn't know when that changed. But, of course, it did.
That was how she wound up living in a canyon for three years. And Kanto, for that matter, but that wasn't anything anybody needed to talk about. That was years past.
"Don't mind me, Rika," she was snapped out of her reminiscing by the woman with the boat. "But if you're gonna talk, ya might has well do it now. I don't need lines of other people at this hour."
"It's Mina," she stated, noticing the tree in the center. She really had to re-paint that soon. "Not Matsurika."
"Ya sure, missy?" The woman leaned in closer. "You look mighty distracted. Got somethin' on your mind?"
"Nothing, nothing." Mina repeated herself, attempting to take her attention away from the tree. Had it grown taller in the past year? "I'd just like-"
The strange woman nodded, as if things had finally made sense to her. "Ah. I see it, now. You got a lover!"
Mina flustered. "No. I don't. And, besides, didn't ya say you didn't want anyone waitin'?"
The woman considered this offer. "Fair enough."
Mina handed out some Pokedollars, about 2,000 of them. She had waited for this moment for quite a while. "I'd like a trip to Akala, please."
The woman shook her head. "No can do, missy. I mean 'bout the money, not the trip. I know your face 'round these parts, and your type of folks don't make much. I'm doing ya a favor here." She leaned in a bit more, and lowered her voice to a whisper. "Just make sure ya come up with a trial soon. I got a daughter who's ten, and she don't need a disappointment when it comes to this island. You got that?"
Mina nodded, but she was staring at the boats at that point. She recognized the grand majority of them. The Huntail, the Wailord, and even the Steelix. They were the places to go when you wanted to talk to someone. Mina had always liked talking to Gemma, the daughter at the Huntail, and Kira, the little girl at the Steelix. She hadn't known them for long, but she still hoped them well, in a way.
And then there was the Whiscash. Her home turf. The place that she never wanted to face again, not for as long as she lived. If her parents didn't accept her for the way that she was, then they didn't need for her to stay.
"Ya ready, Ina?" The woman brought the attention back to her.
Mina somehow found a way to grin. "As I'll ever be."
The ride to Akala wasn't actually that exciting.
Well, maybe it was to someone like Mina. She had her sketchbook to use, and that sunset sky was damn beautiful! It was almost as if it stole her breath away.
She moved the pencil back and forth, hatching and crosshatching across the paper. She held Deena's fluttery Pokeball near her, wondering once more what defined Pokemon capture. They weren't being abused, but they never asked for this. Why should they be captured by a random teenager in the wild? Why should they be forced to bond with humans? What about those Pokemon who just wanted to live out their lives?
Did their opinions even truly matter?
Mina knew that her Pokemon wished to cooperate with her. The five of them had stuck with her for ages, through thick and thin. Sure, they had lost some faces along the way, but at least they could continue onward.
Because the past never mattered in the long run.
(Oh, how wrong she was.)
"Ya sure you got it from here?" The woman asked her as she left the boat.
"I'm fine," Mina said. "She's waitin'."
She scurried away from the woman, staring at the sky while she was at it. She wondered if the clouds could have emotions. Did they feel anything at all? Did being non-living affect them in any way?
Well, she was human and she wasn't dead, so she wouldn't find out anytime soon.
Mina didn't actually know where she was going to end up after death had passed. She didn't have a clue of what was out there, waiting for her . . .
She preferred to just wait for it when the time came.
She spotted Lillie at Dimensional Research Lab, and she yelled for her attention. "Alola!"
Lillie looked over to her, grinning. Her blonde hair was as stylish as it had ever been. The white dress made her look fragile, yet all the more unexplored. Her bag was quiet for once, and those eyes.
Mina had always liked green eyes, but she never knew how much that she loved them until she met Lillie.
"Sorry I took so long," Mina said. "Poni Islanders always ask questions."
"Well then," Lillie looked to Mina with curiosity. "I can see they don't know everything yet."
Mina laughed. "Oh, you should see 'em! They practically should start runnin' a lab by this point!"
A commotion was being caused in the street, and Mina looked over to see a few children screaming at a game of tag. She looked away, bored out of her mind. She didn't understand why people playing tag was so interesting. Sure, it was fun, but only if you had friends to do it with you. What if you were alone? Wouldn't everybody be sendin' ya to a mental ward?
"Maybe?" Lillie replied, and Mina realized that she had said this all out loud.
She shrugged in response. "I just like to speak my opinions sometimes. How 'bout you?"
Lillie sighed. "Only when I'm brave enough to say them."
The two remained in silence for a few moments, before Mina decided that she had a question to ask. "Where to?"
Lillie replied almost instantly. "I was thinking of Royal Avenue. That sound good to you?"
Mina replied with a nod.
And off the two of them went, across the remaining land of Heahea. Through Route 6. They made their way to the Avenue as if it meant nothing at all; a normal walk between two friends was what it would appear from the physical view.
The two eventually made it to the Avenue, where Mina spoke up once more. "How about we sit on one of them benches?"
Lillie shrugged as a response, which Mina hoped meant that it was fine to her.
The two made their way to the fountain of petals, the Akala atmosphere seeming almost foreign to Mina. She was used to places of life and nature, not silence and melancholy. The night had come upon them, so hardly anybody had remained outside.
They sat down-Mina sat just after Lillie did-and looked at the sky.
"You okay?" Mina asked, concerned.
Lillie sighed. "You know the drill. School. Humans. Burnet."
"You don't have to talk to me if you don't want to," Mina put a hand on Lillie's shoulder. "I wouldn't mind."
Lillie shrugged. "No, it's okay. I just . . ."
Mina took a minute to grasp what Lillie meant, but it came to her rather quickly afterwards. "Aether?"
Lillie sighed, taking another glance at the fountain. "I know my brother's still out there somewhere, and people know where he is. I know they do. I see the way that they look at me in the halls as if I'm scum, and I know what they mean. And it's hard, Mina. I know you understand on a runaway standpoint, but you don't when it comes to other people. You get to ignore them and their thoughts on your identity, but I have to see them every day. And I'm pretty sure Burnet's figured it out already, and she's not looking at me the same way again." She took a deep breath. " And I just . . . I want it to get easier, you know?"
Mina nodded in response. "Yep. I get that part."
The two looked at the fountain again, their hands growing closer together as they did so.
Mina grinned. "This feels so cheesy, ya know?"
Lillie smiled, a wide one. "You said it. It's kind of like . . ."
"Like what?" Mina was curious now. Lillie was always one to keep her grounded on situations.
"Like . . ." Lillie looked wistful. "One of my mother's movies. She always used to put on these really crappy Diantha films, and they always had some super sweet scene at the end where the characters got together and lived happily ever after. It's ridiculous, right?"
"Yeah," Mina somewhat agreed on the matter. "Kind of is, to be honest."
The two looked closer to the petals in the fountain, or at least Mina did. She liked to think that Lillie did, too. Art was something that could be universally appreciated, no matter what.
"This would make a really great painting," Mina stated.
"Yeah. It would." Lillie spaced off for a minute, before Mina noticed that she quickly came back to reality. Mina had seen such a thing too many times to count at that point. "Though, kind of hard envisioning Alola getting an art gallery, though."
Mina groaned. "You tell me about it. Especially true for Poni. What'd you think would happen? Ya think it'd get flooded?"
"To be perfectly honest?" Lillie asked. "Yeah." She quickly realized her mistake. "No offense, by the way."
Mina laughed. "None taken!"
Lillie grinned along with her. "I fricking love you, Pua."
"Same to you," Mina said. "Miss Acres."
"You ready?" Lillie asked.
Mina knew what she was asking by that point, and she nodded all the same. She imagined people taking photos of this, the sappy romance people creating soap operas and other stupid things out of it. What were they, a dramatic filled show?
And as the two's lips met, as the thoughts went through their heads, one clear thing in Mina's overshadowed the rest.
She's the best fucking girlfriend I could ask for.
Some people out there believed in a world of flowers. Where each soul belonged in one. Where each one of them thrived.
In the summer, Mina Pua's began to bloom even brighter than it ever had before.
In the fall, the petals grew delicate and normal. The color mildly faded, but it always did around that time of year.
In the winter, the petals took on an icy exterior. It wasn't as if she was in a bad place, which she was, but it never meant that anything had ended, either.
But with an accidental fall, everything went wrong.
Grounds shook. Dimensions rattled. Trial Captains scattered. People feared for what would become of their lives.
Life as they knew it, had changed forever.
For in spring, the flower of Mina Pua permanently wilted.