CHAPTER 1

It was a clear beautiful day in Veilstone City. The streets were filled with locals, tourists and trainers from all around the world; all here to attend a festival that is to take place during the weekend. Booths were being setup up and down the main street, and the gym was being used as a large cafe for the guests. Everyone was excited for the upcoming festivities, especially the trainers who arrived for the department store and the rare items that would be sold at the different booths. As everyone was still making their way into the city, one trainer named Paul decided to arrive using the mountains as a way to avoid the large crowds of people. His purple hair swayed in the wind as he overlooked the city from a distance. He saw buses, cars and even the ferry make their way into his homeland. He frowned at the busy streets.

"It's that time again," he scoffed.

After taking a deep breath, he continued his way down the rocky mountain side. As he got closer to the bottom, he found a small familiar path, indicating that he was almost home.

"Finally" he sighed.

He continued on the small grassy path until he reached a field where a large yellow house sat. The front door faced his direction, along with two large windows on each side. Paul's expression never changed as he made his way to the door.

"I'm home!" he announced.

"Hey! You made it!" Reggie greeted with a smile.

"Made it?" Paul asked.

"Yes. The festival starts tomorrow, and I signed us up to run a booth this year," Reggie explained.

Paul groaned.

"You have got to be kidding me!"

"Nope!"

Reggie tugged some of his long purple hair behind his ear and turned to a cabinet. He opened it and pulled out a black shiny case. Paul narrowed his dark eyes at his brother before turning away to the dining room table. He placed his dark backpack into the wooden surface and sat down in front of it.

"Are those what I think they are?" Paul asked without looking at his brother.

"Of course! You've become very popular during your 5-year journey. Especially after the recent tournament. You got 2nd place!"

"I'm aware of that, Reg," Paul droned.

"So having you sign autographs for your fans wouldn't hurt,"

Reggie put the black case down onto the table next to Paul's backpack and chuckled.

"I know you said you didn't want that kind of attention- "

"I still don't" Paul interrupted.

"BUT I warned you that it was inevitable for Pokémon trainers," Reggie clarified, "and so here we are, little brother. Famous as ever. You should be proud,"

Paul scoffed and stood up.

"I'm going to get some air. Don't wait up,"

"Oh! The food stands are already set up so if you go there, bring back some of those small cakes with the jelly filling!" Reggie called out.

Paul said nothing as he exited the house. He walked down the driveway and immediately heard some of the festival music playing. The smell of various foods began to fill the air and the chatter of many people started to grow as more people made their way to the gym. Paul sighed and continued walking, but not towards the festival. He turned north where the docks sat. He knew it was not going to be quiet when he got there, but the ocean sound always made him feel at ease regardless of the crowd of people that would be there. He walked down a narrow path that passed through backyards and an empty small park where the docks sat. Sure enough, it was filled with people either getting on or off the ferry and tourists exploring the small booths already set up for the busy crowd. Paul shuttered at the scene, but he noticed that the west side of the beach was empty. Since it was getting dark now, he decided to walk down the shore until he felt he was far enough from the docks. He then pulled out his poke balls, opened them one at a time and let his Pokémon out. The first one, Torterra, let out a loud roar and playfully started digging in the sand. His second Pokémon, Drapion, ran out into the water to splash around. Gliscor and Honchcrow flew in the air and glided over the ocean. Ursaring ran down the shore a bit to find a place to dig in the soft sand, and Aggron stayed by Paul's side, unsure of what to do. Paul sat down on the shore and just watched the sky slowly get darker. His Pokémon seemed to enjoy the free time they were permitted, and Paul did not react to their creative antics. If anything, his mind was deep in thought about the festival… and his brother's sudden plan to make him be part of the festival.

He knows I hate the idea of being part of a festival. Why would he make me do this? I would rather be trapped in a mountain than be sitting at a booth all day.

The cool breeze waved through his thick purple hair and against his face and bare hands. The rest of him felt none of the gentle breeze because he still had on his dark purple jacket, matching pants and shoes. The smell of the salt water and the sound of the ocean surrounded him like a comforting blanket. It allowed him to ignore the world around him, so much so that he failed to see what was approaching him that very moment.

"We will now be docking into Veilstone City. Please make sure you have all of your belongings before exiting the ferry. Thank you and enjoy your visit!" the intercom in the ferry announced.

A young brunette trainer with a red bandana, red and dark blue shirt, white skirt with dark blue shorts underneath, and matching shoes, stood at the railing of the ferry. Her blue eyes glistened as she watched the sunset sky slowly turn dark. She reached into her yellow pouch and pulled out a photo of her and Ash that was taken a year ago. She hasn't seen him since. Realizing this, her small smile turned into a sad frown and sighed.

"I hope you're doing okay out there," she whispered. "I haven't heard anything about you for almost 5 months now,"

She put the picture back into her pouch.

"Hey! It's May!" a little girl shouted.

"Huh?"

The young trainer turned around and saw a little girl running towards her.

"It is you! It's May!"

The little girl grasped onto May's waist to give her a hug. May was unsure about what to do.

"Uh… Hey," the trainer stammered.

"Rosa! Rosa get back here!"

A woman in a yellow flower dress ran over to May and the little girl.

"I'm so sorry," the woman apologized, "My daughter is a huge fan of coordinators,"

"Can I take a picture with you, May?" Rosa asked.

"Rosa stop. Leave May alone, she's probably busy," the woman tried to pry her daughter away.

"No, it's fine. I can take a picture with her," May insisted.

"Are you sure?" the woman asked.

"Yay! Yay! I get a picture with May!" Rosa cheered.

May chuckled and posed for a picture with the little girl as the mother pulled out her camera. As soon as the woman and her daughter left, the ferry began to dock. Everyone started making their way to the exit. May stepped onto the wooden platform and glanced around. The crowd of people were making their way down the wooden path into the city. May let out a deep breath and walked to the edge of the docks. She leaned against the railing and continued to watch the colorful sky slowly turn into a starry night. The wind began to pick up, but the chill didn't bother her. She listened to the waves beat against the shore underneath her and took in the smell of the salt water. Something about the ocean always made her feel at ease. Maybe that's why she liked traveling by boat than by airplane or train. Her thoughts went back to when she traveled with Ash years ago and she felt a bit sad. She missed those days. Most of all, she missed being able to talk to Ash whenever she needed to. He is her best friend after all, even after all this time she felt closer to him than anyone else. Including Drew, her rival and… potentially more if she continued traveling the same route as him, but she felt like she needed to get away from him, for fear of her stunting in her training, much like how she felt about traveling with Ash except… it hurt more to leave Ash than Drew.

A sudden gust of wind blew by the shore and it was strong enough to pull May's bandana off her head.

"Ah!" May gasped.

The bandana flew west of the shoreline and started to make its way to the sand.

"Oh no!"

May hurriedly ran down the dock steps and followed the bandana. It fell to the ground but began to roll down the shoreline.

"Hey! Stop!" May shouted, as if the bandana would just stop on its own.

More wind blew past her and continued to push the bandana away from her.

"Seriously?!" May shouted.

She was so focused on the bandana that she didn't see another person on the shoreline until the bandana flew upwards. It was aiming straight for the other person.

"Hey! Look out!" May called out while waving her hands in the air.

The boy seemed to not notice or hear her until it was too late.

Paul was staring hard at the horizon when something landed against his face.

"Argh!" he let out, snatching the red material off his face.

"That's mine!" someone called from his right.

Paul quickly turned his head and saw a female teenager running towards him. A few seconds later, she stopped beside him and tried to catch her breath.

"S… sorry," she exhaled, "That… that's mine,"

Paul looked down at the bandana and realized how tight of a grip he had on the headpiece. He cleared his throat, unclenched his fist and handed it back to her.

"Th-thanks," she breathed.

"No problem," he stated.

Paul looked back at the horizon, but he watched the girl from the corner of his eye. He wasn't sure what he was expecting, maybe for her to just leave so he can be alone again, or maybe for her to make small talk while she caught her breath. He wasn't sure what he wanted to happen.

"Are these your Pokémon?" the girl asked.

Paul forgot about his Pokémon running freely on the shoreline, but he kept his composure and answered without looking at her.

"Yes,"

"Wow! They look amazing!" she complimented.

Paul scoffed and stood up.

"Yeah they do,"

The girl looked taken aback as Paul began to retrieve his Pokémon.

"I'm sorry if I disturbed you, mister?"

"Just call me Paul" Paul answered.

"Paul. Sorry for disturbing you. My name is May, I'm here for the festival,"

After Paul retrieved all his Pokémon, he turned back towards May and nodded.

"Have fun at the festival," he stated before making his way back home.

"Hey wait!" May called out.

Paul stopped for some reason. He normally would keep walking ahead but something about being called out like that made him want to hear her out.

"W-will you be at the festival too?" May asked.

Paul scoffed.

"Unfortunately," he responded.

Paul finally felt like he could move again and so he did. She did not call out again, which gave Paul the chance to escape her presence. He was happy about being alone, but that very small feeling of loneliness crept back inside him. As he walked down the narrow dark path, he thought about how these feelings began. A year ago, while traveling through Indigo, he noticed more teenagers traveling in pairs and he started to ponder the idea of traveling with a partner. Not a romantic partner, but just a partner. A friend or someone going in the same direction as he. That is when the small feeling of loneliness started to kick in. That and… his tiny curiosity of girls in general. He never had an interest in romance or the opposite sex but lately he started to see them a bit differently than before. They don't really seem like a nuisance now compared to years ago. Like when he met Dawn, who sort of amused him but annoyed him at the same time. He was glad to leave her behind, along with his rival. Now, if he ever saw her again…

"Hey Paul!" Reggie called from the bottom of the driveway.

Paul sighed and waved to his brother.

"I got those cakes! Want some?" Reggie asked.

"Sure" Paul replied.

Both brothers made their way back into the house. As the night carried on, Paul found himself exhausted from the traveling he did today. He said goodnight to his brother and got ready for bed. After a quick shower, Paul plopped himself on his bed and stared at the dark ceiling. The familiar smell of his room put him at ease, and he closed his eyes, listening to the air conditioner and wild Pokémon settle in for the night. The very faint sound of the festivities taking place caught Paul's attention and he rolled to his side with a frown.

"It's just for the weekend… just for the weekend," Paul assured himself as he drifted off to sleep.

"Welcome to the Warm Comfort Lodge," the front desk clerk announced, "Your luggage is already in your reserved room. I'll have your key ready in a few moments,"

"Thank you," May replied.

May glanced around the small homey lobby. It looked like a large wooden cabin with beige fluffy sofas and marble flooring. May let out a sigh of relief, knowing she can now relax and get some much needed sleep for tomorrow.

"Here you go, May,"

The woman handed May a key card.

"Enjoy your stay!"

"Thanks! I sure will," May stated with a smile.

May grabbed the key and want to the elevator. She pressed button number 3 and yawned.

"Oh boy, I really must be tired," she sighed.

The doors opened and May exited.

"311. 311. 311"

May walked down the hall and found her room at the end of it. She opened the door and gawked at the room. A queen-sized bed sat against the right-side of the wall with a nightstand on each side of the bed, a television angled toward the bed and a balcony across the front door. The bathroom was on the left side of the room, which had a jacuzzi. May stretched and decided to unpack. She did not have much but that is because she was hoping to do some clothes shopping and pack them into her suitcase when she was ready to leave. For now, she was going to test out that jacuzzi.

30 minutes later, May was tucked into the bed, ready to sleep. She was so exhausted, but her excitement for tomorrow kept her awake. Her thoughts ran rapid, mostly about her past travels, her upcoming shopping spree and the boy she met earlier. He seemed familiar to her, at least his name did, but she could not remember where she heard it from. He is not a coordinator, so he must be a trainer. His Pokémon really did look amazing too. They looked strong, regardless of how playful they were acting.

"He must be very proud," she commented, "I wonder if we ever traveled the same region and just… never noticed,"

She rolled to her side and stared at the white wallpaper.

"Maybe we'll run into each other tomorrow… maybe,"

A slight amount of hopefulness started to make its way into her being.

"I don't know why but… it would be nice to see him again,"

She closed her eyes and listened the lively city outside. A small smile formed on her lips and she slowly drifted off to sleep while thinking of the possibilities for tomorrow.