Chapter 14

After a few hours of walking, Matt's legs were starting to ache. Sure, the view was nice. He was enjoying the open fields and all the trees speckled throughout the route, and even the sight of Pokemon roaming the wilds—it was all wonderful. But damn was he tired. Matt found himself slowing down, with Emie being the one to say something.

"Are you not feeling well?" Emie spoke up. Craig was still lifting the ammunition boxes like weights, despite the pop-up screen on Matt's Holly-Band displaying that he was "Exhausted!"

The four of them stopped in the middle of the road, taking a minute to catch their breath.

"I feel fine," Sissy mentioned, wagging her tail. The outfit she picked for their walk was unlike her normal kimono. Jean shorts and a white tank top looked good on her, Matt thought, though he had to admit it showed more of her body than he was used to her displaying. Although he couldn't have cared less about what she wore, and supported her choice no matter the attire, something about the outfit seemed like an intentional decision.

It was only when they decided to walk towards a tree for shade that he then realized. With Sissy taking the lead, Emie and Matt walked behind her. Both found each other looking at Sissy's butt, not saying a word about it. Craig was too busy doing lunge exercises behind them—off in his own little world. He finally caught up to them, dropping the boxes down, letting out a huff of air. His arms raised, flexing.

"Sandslash!" Craig announced.

"Good work," Sissy said, smiling as she sat beside Matt underneath the tree. She wrapped her arm around her Trainer, nestling her head into his neck.

"What'd he say?" Matt asked, rummaging through his backpack. He handed Sissy a bottle of water, who kindly declined it with a wave of her hand.

"He beat a personal record for lunges," Sissy translated.

Emie found a relaxing spot to rest on a branch not too high above. Effortlessly, she leaped towards it, a single hand catching the branch. With a twirl of her body, she was laying on it, in a matter of seconds. She leaned back, arms behind her head as she stretched out.

"We may want to stay here," Emie mentioned. "It's going to rain soon."

"And?" Matt asked, taking a drink of water first. "You afraid of getting wet?"

"I'm not…." Sissy whispered in Matt's ear. He shivered.

"Bullshit, you're a fire type," Matt coughed, knowing full well that wasn't what she meant. A joke seemed fitting for such a strange, unexpected advance from his Pokemon.

"I wasn't talking about rain," Sissy added, nibbling on his ear.

Emie was saying something—the reason for why they should stay, but Matt was too busy fending off Sissy. He pulled away just enough to see her frown. That too was overplayed.

"What?" she pouted.

"You're really playful today," Matt mentioned to her. "You good?"

"What's wrong with being playful?" Sissy asked him, her tail wagging as she moving onto his lap, straddling him. "You like my outfit?"

"Your butt hangs out of it, so yeah," Matt laughed.

"Not because it's cute?"

"Well, yeah, but-"

Matt was cut off by a kiss, Sissy holding his face. She pulled back, hands laying on his chest.

"Are you okay?" Matt asked her, feeling her forehead. It was hot, actually burning him a little as he pressed into it. Sissy's temperature seemed to raise, with her eyes looking deep into his. She bared her teeth a little into a hungry smile. Matt pulled his head back, bumping it into the tree. Again, she kissed him, hands on his face, practically shoving her tongue down his throat. Matt pulled his head to the side, getting her to stop, more concerned than before.

"The fuck got into you?" he asked her. Sissy started pouting again.

"Well…." her shoulders began to slouch. "I just wanna keep you wanting more…. I couldn't sleep last night, and used your phone. I went online and started looking up how to get a Trainer to like you more. Don't look at me like that, I'm already embarrassed…. I just read that some Trainers like it when their Pokemon are more…. aggressive with things."

Matt blinked.

"Sissy, I've known you for a long time," Matt expressed. "You should know that I'm going to love you for you. I mean, I think it's sweet that you wanted to make me happy, but I'm already happy with you."

Sissy lowered even more, laying against Matt as he leaned back into the tree.

"But I'm grumpy…."

"Not always…." Matt assured her, petting her head, as if she were in her beast form. Her hands were wrapped around his torso, clinging even more.

"Emie's got a lot more going for her than I do," Sissy confessed. "I've been living with Mom for years, having accomplished essentially nothing since you've been gone, and now Emie comes back even more incredible than she already was…."

"What good is it to compare a Persian to a Growlithe?" Emie spoke up, still relaxing on the tree branch she had picked. Sissy's ears folded down.

"You can do flips and shit," Sissy huffed. "I burst into flame when I'm upset."

"And each would have an advantage," Emie added. "You already know this, but you seek validation from Matthew because of your own insecurities and abandonment issues."

Matt felt his heart stop for a second, terrified Sissy was literally going to burst into a ball of flames from the sharp remark. But no explosion of any kind came. Sissy simply sat there, staring at Matt's chest. There wasn't anger.

There was emptiness instead.

"I don't feel as accomplished as you," Sissy spoke, voice directed at Emie. "I'm sorry, but that's how I feel. I'll…."

Sissy stopped speaking, hugging Matt.

Rain began down pouring all around them.

In the field doing exercises, Craig thrashed about, surprised by the sudden rain. He unleashed a cry as he sprinted for the cover of the tree. Craig dove, nearly slamming into Matt and Sissy. The tree shook a little from the impact, but other than that, everything was alright.

Except, the rain was dumping buckets of waters—some of the heaviest rain Matt had ever seen. Not since their first time in Pewter, really.

"Let's just give it time to pass," Matt told them, somewhat annoyed. "Guess you were right about the rain, Emie."

"It was just a feeling," Emie mentioned, still relaxed on the branch that supported her. "I have come to trust my instincts."

Craig was wiping his hands across his body, desperately trying to get the water off. Matt reached into his pack, pulling out a towel that Mom had packed. Matt proceeded to dry his Sandslash, who settled once the water was no longer covering his body.

The four of them sat beneath the large tree as rain continued to fall. Surprisingly, the tree managed to keep most of the water away from them, being thick branched and full of protective leaves. The waters slid right over them, creating a sort of dome of water around their makeshift sanctuary. With nothing better to do, Matt stretched out his legs, feeling Sissy cuddling into him.

Thirty minutes pasted.

Then an hour.

Then two hours. The rain refused to let up.

The crew ate the food Matt had packed, silently eating sandwiches. Matt couldn't help but feel a sense of having done something similar in the past. He glanced over to Emie, who had joined them on the grass below the tree, enthralled by the peanut butter and jelly sandwich Matt had offered her.

"All that's missing is pink panties," Matt joked aloud, getting Emie's attention.

"It is hard for me to imagine being defeated by the offering of a sandwich," Emie mentioned, somewhat saddened by the fact. "But I have grown wiser."

"If you weren't swayed by sandwiches," Matt told her. "We would have never gotten to know you."

"You make a considerable point, Matthew."

"Okay, why do you keep calling Matt, Matthew?" Sissy finally spoke up, having finished her sandwiches before anyone else. "What happened to you? Like, I love you, but you're all kinds of weird now. Wait, that came out wrong. What I mean is, you're…."

"Different," Emie finished for her. "The weight of the world, Sissy, is what changed me."

Matt and Sissy said nothing; Craig was going for a forth sandwich, still devouring their lunch. With peanut butter on his face, Craig munched, listening to the drama unfold before her.

"What happened?" Matt asked. "Where did you go exactly?"

"To teachers," Emie began. "To those in need. To quiet places. To the worst of what this world has to offer. I've protected. I've killed. I've conquered. Not only those who stood before me, but my own soul which was lost and now is found."

Matt scratched his head.

"Like, you found religion or something?" he asked her, leery of his own question.

"I found myself," Emie concluded.

There was fifteen minutes of uncomfortable silence, with only the rain around them. Seeing that it didn't look like it was going to let up any time soon, Matt began fiddling with his Holly-Band once more. His finger slipped, finding an application he didn't realize was on his device.

There was static. Matt began tapping the screen, scanning through the radio stations that his Holly-Band was able to pick up.

Fizz….

Fizz….

"-Come on down! We've got the wettest Vaporeons! We've got Machokes that'll make you-"

Fizz….

Fizz….

"-Which is entirely uneducated. Did you know, that in terms of breeding-"

Fizz….

Fizz….

"-Yeah!" a radio announcer screamed through the Holly-Band. "96.1! Viridian Verified Radio, live on the air! I hope y'all are kicking some ass out there, Trainers! We've got some classics coming up, but before we do, we've got a bit of an advertisement. I know, I know—lame! But the studio needs to make some money, and there's nothing worse than being broke!"

Matt curiously continued to listen. Something about the radio announcer's voice brought him in, and kept his attention locked. Sissy's ears perked, staring at the screen Matt had been fiddling with, curious just as Craig was. Craig was chewing, his feet kicking happily as he listened along too. Emie seemed lost in thought, being the only one not drawn into the announcer's spiel.

"I've got a cool dude in the studio, if it makes it any better!" the announcer went on to say. "Joining us on this rainy day is Kane Hagwood! Give it up for the hag-man!"

There was canned cheering being played.

"That's a weird coincidence," Sissy mentioned, thinking of the only Kane she knew, having bumped into him from time to time.

"What the fuck kind of name is Hagwood?" Matt scoffed. "Wait a second, is this-"

The broadcast kept going after the canned cheering had stopped.

"It's a pleasure to be here," a familiar voice said over the airwaves. "Although, I'm not sure how I feel about 'hag-man.'"

"It's all said in love, brother!" the pumped up announcer assured. "Now, tell me about this new book you got published!"

Matt's eyes widened. How the fuck did this guy get around so much? Emie had now grown invested by the sound of Kane's voice, the four of them listening with intensity.

"I know I'm mostly known for my old work, Flame of Life, following the icon Matt V around Kanto," Kane explained. "But I'm happy to announce I published my first novel."

More canned cheering.

"And what's this novel called, my dude?"

"The Magicians of Yeto-Ben," Kane responded.

Matt laid a hand on his face, tempted to change the station. But a part of him felt as though he couldn't. Although annoying, the curiosity got the better of him.

"And what is this book about, home slice?"

"Well, it's set in a fantasy world with guns, magick, and various different races of denizens," Kane went on to explain. "A strange band of heroes are hell bent on taking down a cult and their leader, with the world around them just as dangerous as their opposition. It's full of humor, action, and even a little something hidden in the book, for those smart enough to find it."

"Something hidden, huh?" the announcer questioned. "Like, what?"

"My lips are sealed," Kane chuckled. "All I will say is that my book 'The Magicians of Yeto-Ben' is something I'm incredibly proud of."

Matt shook his head. Was he really sitting through an advertisement? His hand went to change the station, but Sissy stopped him.

"I kinda wanna hear about it…." she murmured. "Sorry…."

"It's not like we have anything better to do," Matt sighed, nodding his head.

The radio commercial/interview continued.

"Now, where can these fine folks find your book?" The DJ asked him.

"Well, in Kanto it'll be pretty easy to spot. It will be sold in stores, just about everywhere. However, for the Old World people, the only place you'll find it is on Amazon."

There was a pause from the DJ.

"Amma-what?"

"Yep, that's right," Kane casually continued. "You'll find 'The Magicians of Yeto-Ben" on Amazon. Just use the "Books" filter to find it. And if you're still having issues, go ahead and just shoot me a message and I'll help you find it. Writing is my bread and butter, and the more books I sell, the more I can focus on continuing the second act of Flame of Life."

Matt was scratching his head, unable to figure out how the hell Kane had beat them to Viridian—where the broadcast was taking place.

"Well, uh, thank you, my dude!" the radio DJ rolled with it. "Thanks for joining us in the studio!"

"Thank you very much for having me," Kane thanked.

"Well you heard it here, folks!" The DJ finished off. "Go buy The Magicians of Yeto-Ben and help a fellow dude out!"

"It would seriously be appreciated," Kane chimed in once more.

"Next up, we've got Hank And The Pidgeys with Peck And Pop That Booty. Only on 96.1—Viridian Verified Radio!"

A bunch of effects played on the air, with the most ridiculous song following. With the rain still falling down around them as they huddled beneath the tree, the song began playing through Matt's Holly-Band. It had a "funky" sort of beat, with a man humming, and a bunch of Pidgeys harmonizing their on name.

"Let me peck and pop that booty, baby!" the singer sang, putting their whole heart into the song. "Just wanna peck and pop that-"

Matt turned off the radio.

"Hey, I was listening to that," Sissy pouted. Matt looked her over, seeing her embarrassment. "I…. uh…. I really like that artist. I used to dance to it while cleaning the kitchen back home. What?! It's a good song!"

Defeated, Matt turned the radio back on, playing the song Sissy loved so much. Her head bopped from one side to the other as she started singing along, with Craig doing a little dance to it. Emie clapped her hands, laughing as she watched the Sandslash get into it.

"What a fucking day," Matt laughed to himself, leaning back into the tree, watching the rain continue to come down.

The rain had to stop sooner or later.