The next morning, Haku and Neru ended up sleeping for longer then they had planned to.
It was finally Haku's mom who came in the room and prompted them to wake up.
"Haku, honey! I thought you wanted to become a trainer!"
Haku sat up weakly on her bed, still half-asleep. Then she suddenly remembered...
"Ah! Oh yeah!" She suddenly felt a burst of energy surge through her and wake her right up. "Neru! Wake up! It's time for me to start my adventure!"
"Five more minutes, mom..." Neru grumbled and mumbled while half-asleep.
Snowbell happily trotted in and began to lick Neru's face.
"Gyaaah!" Neru jolted right up. Haku laughed.
"Snowbell used lick attack!" Neru said. "Gee, now I understand how it can paralyze a foe..."
"So Haku, while you were asleep, I was getting all the necessary things ready for you." Haku's mom said. "Here's a big backpack, a change of clothes, some potions, a digital map, Pokémon food, lots of Poké balls, bandages and gauze, medicine, and extra snacks in case you get hungry, dear."
"Gee, thanks!" Haku felt astounded looking though her stuff. Carrying a heavy backpack full of things, she began to feel like a real trainer. Yet the backpack was designed to be nice and compact, fitting things in conveniently without taking too much space.
"You're welcome!" Haku's mom said, "Now stay safe, and don't forget to visit!"
Haku tied on her favorite pair of running shoes, adjusted her backpack, and alongside Neru, took the first few steps of her biggest real adventure.
After a few more steps, Haku looked back to see her mother looking sentimental.
"Adventure is the biggest part of our lives, and why we live." Haku's mom said, "Have fun on yours! I love you sweetie!"
Haku ran back to hug her mother one last time. This time, Haku was officially setting out.
After a small bit of walking, they crossed paths with Professor Birch.
"Ah, it's Haku and Neru!" He said, "You know, I forgot to give you these yesterday."
Professor Birch handed out two red rectangular electric devices.
"These are Pokédexes." He said. "It automatically records data of every Pokémon you encounter. Therefore you can learn more about them and how to battle them!"
"Oh thanks! I needed one of these!" Neru thanked the professor.
Haku opened hers up, and held it close to her Eevee.
"Wow... all this information about Eevees popped up!" Haku said.
"I told you, it's really convenient." Professor Birch said. "Well, I have to get going for work-related reasons, but have a great adventure, you two!"
"Bye!" Haku and Neru said.
Once they got to the edge of the town, scattered with rural farmland, Haku felt a triumphant thrill fall over like no other. She was now so far way from her little house, possibly the farthest she's ever been. All she had to do was step over the boundaries and she would officially be on the adventure of her life.
"I'm in a place I've never been before..." Haku said, marveling the sights. The hills of orange dirt were gently rolling, fading away in the distance due to the ash in the air. Tall trees were scattered around, mostly evergreen. They were currently in the countryside, and small farm buildings and flat pastures were scattered about as well.
"Doesn't it feel good to see the world?" Neru said.
"Yeah!" Haku replied with a burst of energy.
They walked even further until the tilled farmland all turned to red, rocky wilderness. A large, jagged cliff loomed above them. In a large pond nearby, slippery eel-looking Pokémon were swimming in mineral-rich water that was barely clear.
Haku took out her Pokédex and pointed it to the Pokémon.
"Barboach, the whiskers Pokémon..." Haku read along to the Pokédex entry that appeared. "It's whiskers are a superb radar system... It's covered in a slimy film as its defense..."
"Well, why don't you try and catch one?" Neru asked. "You have Poké balls, right?"
"But wouldn't it need water to survive?" Haku asked, concerned.
"The inside of a Poké ball provides a perfect habitat for whatever Pokémon that happens to be in it." Neru said. "So don't worry!"
"Oh, alright..." Haku said. "I've... never caught a Pokémon though."
"Well first, you should battle with it to weaken the Pokémon so it won't escape." Neru said.
Suddenly, one of the Barboach jumped out of the water and squirted water in Haku's face before returning to the pond with a splash!
Haku squealed and shook herself dry.
"Haha, maybe it wants to battle with you!" Neru said.
"Oh... okay!" Haku summoned her courage.
"Snowbell!" Haku called up her trusty Eevee partner. "Time to battle a Pokémon!"
"Vee!" Snowbell shook with jest.
"Alright, Snowbell! Tackle!"
Snowbell stood her ground, waiting until the Pokémon jumped out of the water to jump up and tackle it. But to small Eevee's surprise, the Barboach shot another stream of water from its mouth, knocking Snowbell back!
"Don't give up, Snowbell! Um... dive into the water and bite it!"
The little Eevee jumped in the water with a splash, and bit the Pokémon. Then to Snkwbell's surprise, the Barboach slid out between Snowbell's teeth unharmed. Snowbell tried to bite down harder, but the opponent was just much too slippery!
Only a small scratch was left on it as the Barboach quickly swam away with the rest of its fellow species.
"Oh... I couldn't catch that one." Haku got to her knees and gave a heaving sigh.
"But you still did good for a first-timer." Neru said. "Plus you learned something. Barboach are really slippery and use it to their defense!"
"Yeah... Well, good job, Snowbell. But now you're all wet..."
"I have a towel you can use to dry Snowbell!" Neru said.
Neru mentioned that if they kept heading down the increasingly lush path, past a cavern known as Meteor Falls, they would then reach Rustboro City. The tall ledges up ahead would make for a one-way trip, and they would have to take a long and treacherous alternate path to ever get back to Fallarbor Town.
"Wow... I didn't realize how hard it would be to get back home..." Haku said. "I don't want to turn back now, but..."
Haku felt a pang of emotion imagining that her home was now so far away.
The two walked down the sparsely-populated path even more, until they came across the sight of another trainer.
"Another trainer!" Neru said.
Haku suddenly began to feel shy.
But when they watched closer at the other trainer, the black-haired trainer released one of the Zangoose they had back into the wild. It rain away disdainfully. This piqued Neru's curiosity.
"Why did ya just release that Zangoose?" Neru asked.
"Because. It was weaker than the other one I just caught." Said the trainer, rather nonchalantly.
"Huh? But that's kind of unfair!" Neru said. "I wouldn't get rid of my Pokémon, no matter how weak they are."
"Not me." The trainer said. "I only work with strong Pokémon that are worthy of my time."
This struck a nerve inside Neru.
"That's... so closed-minded of you!" She rose her voice suddenly.
"Psh. I have no time for this." The other trainer huffed and began to walk away. Neru didn't let them escape.
"Listen, you." Neru angrily followed behind her. "All Pokémon have what it takes to be strong. A GOOD trainer should be able to bring out the strength in ALL Pokémon!"
"Go away." The trainer said.
"You just don't want to admit that you aren't a very good trainer. You only use Pokémon that are strong from the start so you don't have to put effort in raising them."
"My gosh. Will this brat ever shut up?" The trainer said again.
"Admit it, you're a lousy trainer and your Pokémon probably don't like you." Neru said.
"Well, would a lousy trainer have four Hoenn League gym badges?" The female trainer took out her badge case and practically rubbed her shining symbols of achievement in Neru's face. "So how many badges do you have, entitled brat?"
Neru became furious and steam practically came from her ears, like a Torkoal that was ready to attack.
"Don't you dare try to push others down just because you have more badges!"
"Heh." The trainer smirked. She turned around and looked Neru in the eye. She had really piercing, amber-colored irises.
"Listen, you're not better than me for preaching your nonsense. Only elite trainers who use strong Pokémon become champions. That's just how it is."
The trainer turned around stoically and trailed off into the distance with a pristine gait.
"Oh... I hate people like her!" Neru stomped the ground once to calm herself down. It hurt her toe, which she didn't want to admit.
"Neru...?" Haku said softly.
"Yes..." Neru grumbled.
"Uh... You might not have any Hoenn badges now, but didn't you come in third place in the Johto League?"
Neru suddenly made a fantastic face filled with shock and mild horror.
"HOLY DIGLETT!" She yelled. "I forgot! Darn! Darn it! I could have obliterated that argument if only I remembered!"
Haku pat Neru on her head to calm her down.
"Anyway, sorry you had to witness that, Haku." Neru sighed.
"It's okay..." Haku said, "I agree with you too. Because... Because if I had given up on myself because I was weak, I wouldn't be out here right now..."
"That's right!" Neru said, "You shouldn't give up on your Pokémon if they're weak either. Anyway, let's take a break. I think there's a rest stop up ahead."
Once they got to the rest stop, they ordered sandwiches for lunch. Neru went to the PC and logged in, to see that she had a message from her father.
"Hello Neru, how are you doing? I heard you started a second journey in Hoenn. I wish you good luck! Anyway, as I was all the way in Kalos, I caught an interesting sort of Pokémon. I thought you would like to have it.
Love, Dad. Take good care of Eos!"
"Eos?" Haku and Neru said together.
A little while after reading the message, a Poké Ball materialized inside the ball slot.
"No way, dad set me a Pokémon!" Neru said.
The technology of recent days made it so that Pokémon could be stored inside the PC, become data, and materialize back into the real world when they are taken out.
Neru took the Poké ball in her hand. The round capsule opened, emitting a white light. The white light then took the form of the Pokémon that was waiting inside the ball.
The Pokémon looked at Neru, then Haku, then all around the rest stop. It was mostly yellow, with a lizard tail, floppy black ears, and large eyes.
"Oh... wow! What kind of Pokémon is that?" Neru pointed her Pokédex to the creature.
"...It's a Helioptile! They generate energy from basking in the sun!" Neru read.
"Helio..." The Pokémon cried, seeming overwhelmed by its new environment.
"It's saying 'helio' to you!" Haku said, making a (really bad) pun.
"You must be Eos." Neru spoke to the new Pokémon, smiling and reaching out her hand. "I'm Neru! Would you like to join us on our adventure?"
But to Neru's surprise, the Pokémon grew a surprised expression and hid itself away shyly. Neru and Haku glanced at each other.
"Don't be shy." Neru said again to the Pokémon. "I'm going to take good care of you."
"Helio?" The Pokémon squeaked again, peeking its head from behind the desk.
"Don't worry!" Neru said.
The Helioptile took small steps out from the desk. Snowbell began to approach the new Pokémon and sniffed it.
"Eev!" Snowbell squeaked in a welcoming way.
"Lio?" Eos seemed a tiny bit more comfortable now.
"Don't worry, I think she'll get used to us soon." Haku said.