Sheet Shrouded Heart - A Pokémon Story
Epilogue - The Secrets We Keep
'Now… how do I do this?'
With a large glass jar almost the size of his tail clasped in his paws, Sitrus brought himself to attempt running through the forest pathways with just his hind paws.
It didn't go so well.
The struggle of not being used to his lower body strength caught Sitrus' legs off guard once more, making him trip. As he fell face-first onto the grass, his paws lost grip of the glass jar, allowing it to roll away during his plummet.
Sitrus sighed into the grass.
He got up with a jerk, instantly landing on his feet with a displeased look on his face. "I know you're hiding somewhere in the bushes, Sunny!" He cupped his paws near his mouth and continued yelling. "Come on, stop it with the Grass Knots already!"
The Pikachu was met by a response, but only by the wind. A response that was a mere passing breeze. No rustling whatsoever.
He chuckled to himself. "Silly me. Sunny wouldn't be out here trying to trip me up. She was the one who sent me out here to help refill her jars."
It was true that the Raichu wouldn't dare try to play such a trick on her loyal little errand runner. For the past few days, Sitrus tried his very hardest to help Sunny with whatever requests she had for him. Granted, this was already his usual routine for quite a while, but this situation was different. The Pikachu couldn't waste time wondering if his Raichu friend really was playing around with him.
Sitrus quickly scrambled to where he dropped the jar and picked it back up, attempting to press it against his chest.
'Okay… let's try taking it easy…'
He continued heading forward through the forest path, waddling with the glass jar one slow step at a time.
With a thump, Sitrus carefully placed the large water-filled jar he was just carrying onto the grass. He wiped his brow and sighed. "Okay… I got the lake water like you asked… Boy, carrying that got me tired…"
Sunny merely stood in front of the jar with a confused expression on her face. "Sitrus, it took you this long to come back and yet you only brought it back half full?"
Sitrus merely chuckled as he brought himself to sit down onto the grass. "Weird… it was full when I carried it. Well, at least it's better than being half empty, right?"
Rather than receiving a chuckle in return like Sitrus expected, Sunny merely sighed. "Remind me to make sure I refill it when we get to the next the clearing."
With a sigh of relaxation, Sitrus slowly leaned back to let his back press against the grass, but before he could do so, he found himself being levitated back to his feet.
Sunny gave him an accusatory glare. "Come on now Sitrus, we don't want to be left behind, now do we?"
The Pikachu raised an eyebrow. "Did everyone else leave already?"
In response, Sunny levitated Sitrus so that he faced the rest of the clearing. The whole site appeared barren as if it were nighttime, except that the faint sunlight shining through the leafy ceiling indicated otherwise. It was probably just because everyone took down their huts to mere leafy piles, making the clearing look much less crowded, the Pikachu supposed.
After Sitrus' brief moment of staring, he was promptly levitated back to meet with Sunny's expectant stare, a gentle tone in the Raichu's voice. "Aren't you going to bring anything?"
The Pikachu shrugged, a sheepish smile on his face. "I don't really have any stuff to bring. I'll just get the straw for my bed from my hut on the way out."
Sunny paused for a second. "Okay. Just making sure nothing gets left behind." She proceeded to levitate Sitrus back onto the ground. "I'll just continue packing up my own stuff. Give me a second."
"Alright! I'll be waiting!"
As Sunny levitated back towards her still-standing hut, Sitrus decided to use this time to continue taking in the view of the calm clearing around him. His time on the cliff by the plains made him quite the one to indulge in the scenery.
'... the cliff…'
Sitrus' eyes darted to a familiar-looking pile of leaves some distance away, a pile of straw sitting right on top of it. Past the pile atop pile was the grassy pathway to the very place he just thought of.
'If only I spent more time there…' He chuckled. 'Well, what can I do? At least I can smile that I actually have memories at that place.'
For a brief moment, Sitrus sat and stared at that very pathway, finding himself indulged in a moment of reminiscing. The sights there were mostly what dotted his memories, but he vividly remembered spending most of them by himself.
Except for those few nights.
The Pikachu's attention then swept over the rest of the clearing, his gaze scanning over all the other piles of what were once huts. Then, standing rather modestly in between some dismantled piles of logs and leaves stood the very hut Sitrus' attention focused on.
The very thought of the name left Sitrus staring longingly at the untouched hut. Memories of someone who was once his friend started flooding his mind. Yet, as bittersweet as those memories felt to him, Sitrus' couldn't bring himself to frown while thinking of her. As far away as Mimi was now, she was still one of his closest friends. Regardless of what flaws she had in her background, it was their friendship that mattered.
"You know Sitrus, I almost forgot her hut was still there."
Sunny's voice made Sitrus turn around to see her with her satchel slung over her shoulder, piles of leaves and logs levitating behind her.
He almost held his mouth open at the sight. "That's… a lot of logs."
Sitrus' reaction elicited a giggle from the Raichu. "What? I really liked how my hut turned out here. The logs were surprisingly good around this part of the forest. It'd be a shame if I just left resources like these destroyed here." Her gaze lifted from Sitrus to look past his shoulder. "And speaking of leaving resources here, what do you think we should do with Mimi's hut?"
"Hmm…" Sitrus quickly turned around once again to stare at the lone hut once more. "Can we leave it as is? You never know… maybe some other wild Pokémon in need of a shelter might find it. Now that I think about it… maybe I should leave something as a sign of Mimi so that anyone who comes across it knows who to thank…"
A giggle came from Sunny. "Even when she's not around, you still can't bear any animosity towards her, can you?"
"Of course!" Sitrus quickly turned on his heel to face Sunny with a determined smile. "She's my friend! We went Berry hunting together… talked about some stuff together… did I mention that I know her favorite Berry?"
Sunny smiled back, her grin appearing warm. "Don't worry. I vividly remember you telling me that." Her smile slowly drooped. "But… you still don't mind that she kept a lot of secrets from you?"
"Secret keeping?" Sitrus paused for a second to think. His ears drooped with his expression. "Oh. About… my parents, right?"
"Actually…" Sunny hesitated. "... you do know that she's not actually a Pikachu, right?"
"Wait… are you saying she's not an armless Pikachu? Is she just… a really tall armless Pichu then?"
Sunny paused again, but this time with a look of disbelief on her face. "The point is… she kept a lot of dark secrets from you. I understand that she is forgivable to some extent, especially since it wasn't my parents that were murdered. But… didn't you hate her even a little for keeping this kind of important stuff from you?"
"Oh…" Sitrus took a second to let Sunny's words sink in. He quickly shook it off with a chuckle as his ears slowly raised. "Well, like I said, I still understand her situation completely."
Sunny raised an eyebrow. "Wait… what do you mean by that?"
Sitrus' chuckle continued, his tone slowly breaking into one of forced enthusiasm. "Mimi wanted to keep her dark secrets… well, secret. Obviously if anyone found out about it she'd be in at least some sort of trouble."
Once the Pikachu's chuckling stopped, he couldn't help but notice Sunny's confused look as the Raichu slowly backed away. He didn't blame her.
He still continued, his tone completely drained of his usual cheerfulness. "All that stuff about keeping those dark secrets hidden in fear of others finding out… I perfectly understand that." To emphasize his point, Sitrus narrowed his eyes, his sneer aimed right at Sunny as a devilish smile came across his face.
Sitrus stepped closer to the now-quivering Raichu. "After all, I should know."
Sheet Shrouded Heart - A Pokémon Story