I thought I was used to being shuffled all over the place. One minute I was in the bustling city of Castelia, full of people in suits and tall buildings, the next, I was back in the laid back Kalos, on our way to Laverre. We spent the three day trip there in a RV that looked like a plain white semi-truck on the outside and a luxurious mobile home on the inside.
Laverre was an ancient city, untouched by the rest of Kalosian culture. The architecture reminded me of Sinnoh, the way the buildings had large shingles and arched beams going to the corners of them. The people seemed pure Kalosian, with pale skin, large eyes, and dark, blonde or red curly hair. Some wore what Kalosians wore, and some wore kimonos. I even saw a few lolitias which struck my fancy.
The streets were too narrow for the large RV to park anywhere, so we dumped it at a park and left a note saying, “We don’t know where to put this.” And then we walked to the ryokan we were going to spend the night at.
“So, when we get there, you guys better be super polite to everyone,” I said.
“How come,” Jamie asked.
“Because I said so. That’s why.”
“What he means is that people here probably have a certain way of acting,” James said.
Jamie folded his arms, and sighed.
“Alright, anything we should know, boss?”
“When we get in, take your shoes off. There should be a shelf where we can grab slippers from.”
“Then what do we do with our shoes?”
“Oh, I dunno. Carry them,” I growled.
“You say that you should be polite, but you really aren’t setting an example,” Jack said.
“Riiiight,” Jamie said, smiling at Jack.
I glared at Jack over my shoulder. Just like him to try to start a fight right as soon as we got into a new city. I ran into Si, knocking him over. I turned around to see everyone had stopped walking and were looking in the same direction. A bunch of pale ass freaks with short orange hair shaped in a flame with matching leather suits and sunglasses had also stopped to stare at us.
I clutched my bag, thinking about drawing my gun. They called themselves Team Flare and they were the source of our problems for the past year. I thought about last year when we first met those guys stealing electric type Pokemon and forcing them to extort their electricity for some reason. And then last March when they tried to steal a large pearl to power a sword called “The Sword of Space.” Both times they tried to outright murder us when we stepped in to stop them.
They mutter amungst themselves and continued on their way.
“Shouldn’t we go after them,” Si asked James.
“Nah, we’re here to vacation. We’re going to relax and not care about that sort of thing,” James said.
“Sounds like a good idea.”
“Welcome to our hotel and spa,” The clerk said, bowing, “Please take off your shoes and use the ones we have to your left. There’s yukatas in your rooms, so please use them while you’re here. Please enjoy your stay.”
“Thank you for having us,” I said, bowing back.
They only allowed two people per room. James took it upon himself to assign everyone their rooms. Jack and I were the last ones left, so we got the short end of the stick. We walked in silence to our room. As I went in, I noticed there wasn’t a lot going on besides a table with stuff for tea on it and a TV.
“Que? Where’s our beds,” Jack asked.
“In a closet,” I said, opening on that was right by a sink. “Ah, our yukatas are in here.”
I threw one at him and told him to put it on. I put on mine, hoping he would pick up what I was doing.
He had only folded it over himself before he got lost. Jack was looking at me helplessly.
“Oh my god, do I have to do it for you,” I said. “It’s like I’m taking care of a child here. You don’t even have it folded right.”
“It matters,” Jack asked.
“Well, we aren’t going to a funeral.”
“You’re acting like there’s about to be one.”
I looked up at him. His bright blue eyes were as vacant as his head. I jabbed him in the stomach.
“Okay, you’re free now,” I said, going to search for another closet.
Jack immediately tripped and fell as soon as I broke eye contact with him. He got up like nothing had happened and went to the bathroom. I sighed and shook my head. Even his own father had no faith in him. I wonder how he’s gotten this far in life, it’s pathetic. This was going to be a long two days. I found another closet and it had some futons in it.
“Ehhh,” I heard Jack say.
“What’s wrong now,” I asked.
“The toilet’s weird and the...uh, banera is too tall and it has a door.”
I wanked into the bathroom to have a look at what Jack was bitching about.
“It looks like a normal bathroom to me,” I shrugged.
“Yeah, but the thing you use to shower yourself is way too low.”
“Oh, Jack,” I chuckled. “It’s called a shower head and you use it like this.”
I grabbed the shower head, aimed it at him and turned it on. Jack jumped about five feet away. I laughed at him.
“Ya basta,” Jack snarled.
“So, we still have quite a bit of time before dinner. What do you want to do?”
“Did you find the beds,” Jack said, still taking a defensive pose.
“Yeah, they’re in there,” I said, pointing at the closet.
“Ehhh? They’re these things rolled up like sleeping bags? Aw, I wanted to sleep in an actual bed!”
“It is a bed,” I said.
“I mean like one that’s off the ground, Seviper.”
“Why? Do you need me to show you how to set up the bed too?”
“What about you,” Jack said, ignoring my question.
“I’m going to the onsen.”
“It’s like a hot spring.”
“Ah, gotcha...What do you mean by hot spring?”
I took a bath before going into the onsen. It was a public bathroom. It was a large room with a tiled floor. One one side of the room were a bunch of shower heads lined up with and small stools to sit on while you washed yourself. There was soap and shampoo to use for free with every shower head.
Once I was done, I went outside into the onsen. The spring was surrounded by rocks leading to a tall fence which separated the boys side from the girls. I sat in it and spread out my arms among the rocks. I sighed. The water was nice and hot. It felt good to finally relax after what seemed like a long time of traveling around.
I rolled around and rested my head on my arms. Someone poked me in the face with their foot. I looked up to see David with a towel wrapped around his waist and his hair tied in a man bun. He threw his towel on the ground, and took the tie holding up his hair out, tying it on his wrist. He got into the middle of the onsen and crouched down, his long hair spraying everywhere.
“I was hoping I was going to be alone for a while,” I said, poking him in the forehead.
“Hmmm,” he hummed blissfully.
“It’s nice though, isn’t it?”
David nodded. He was everything I wasn’t. Skinny, good looking and knew when to shut up. As far as we know, I’m the first person he met way back when we were 10. As hopeless as he was back then, I don’t think he remembers anything before that. But it’s not like I could as him about it.
As rotten as I was back then, and as much as I swear I’d never treat him badly again, there are times where I can’t help it. He still had his eyes closed. I clasped my hands in front of his face and squirted water at him. He shouted in surprise, jumping backwards. I laughed at him. David growled at me and threw his hands up.
“H-Hey,” I shouted as he splashed me back.
He scoffed and stood up.
“Is it time to go already,” I asked.
“Ah, I want to stay here and bathe a bit more. Hmmm, do I want to eat or stay here?”
David grabbed my arm.
“Okay, fine. I’m coming,” I said, getting up.
David and I got dressed and headed to the area where we were going to eat. It was a private room with a long table. When we got there, everyone else was already there. The table was filled with rice, different types of tempura, vegetables and in the middle, a giant crab.
“Bout time you got here, I’m starving,” Jack said. “James made us wait until everyone was here.”
“You guys really didn’t have to wait for us,” I said.
“That’s what I said!”
“So, that everyone’s here, let’s get started,” James said. “Let’s eat!”
No one moved. We all stared at the crab.
“Well, we have a problem,” Tommy, the youngest member of the group said. “There’s 10 of us and only 8 legs.”
“You don’t have to worry about me,” Jamie said. “The crab here sucks.”
“You’ve never eaten crab here before, haven’t you,” Jack said.
“Yeah, once in Cyllage. It doesn’t compare to the crab in Hoenn.”
“Is that why you never cook crab for us,” Jhon asked.
“Nah. It’s too expensive and it’s too much effort for what little you get.”
“We sorted that well, then,” James said. “I wasn’t going to have a leg either. The head is where it’s at.”
“Oh, really? Do you mind sharing some with me,” Jhon asked.
“Go ahead,” James said. “What about this sake? I ordered it, but it wouldn’t be good if I just drank it all.”
“What does it taste like,” Jamie asked.
“It has a really strong taste of alcohol. You wouldn’t like it, Jamie.”
“I’ll have some,” I said.
“Me too,” Jhon said.
“Jhon, you’re not 16 yet,” Si growled.
“James, you’re the adult responsible for us, what do you think?”
“You can do what you want,” Jame said, nodding.
Si threw his hands up in frustration while Jhon grinned at him. I took the shot of sake. It burned my throat as it went down. I cringed at the bitter taste. Then, I felt a warming sensation, spread through the middle of my body. I waited for James to pour another drink before asking for more.
“See? What did I say? It feels good, right?”
“Sure does,” I said, leaning over Jamie to grab the bottle.
As I was pouring my drink I glanced over and saw Si struggling to pick up a piece of fried shrimp with his chopsticks. He held his breath with deeply concentrated stare, grabbed the shrimp, and dropped it halfway to his mouth. He sighed.
“I don’t get how to use these,” Si whined, waving his chopsticks around.
“Me neither,” CG said.
“You hold them like this,” Jamie said. “Then you just pick them up and eat them like so.”
“I am doing that,” CG said.
“Here, you have more grip if you don’t hold it so close to the front end,” Jhon said, grabbing CG’s hand and moving it further back.
“You certainly aren’t struggling,” CG said.
“Um, I guess it’s from all the anime I watch,” Jhon said. “Maybe I picked it up from that.”
“Jhon, you fucking weeb!”
“What about you, Jack,” Jamie said.
“I’m doing just fine,” Jack said, failing to pick up some rice.
“If you’re having a problem, then tell us,” Si said.
“I can do it myself,” Jack insisted.
“If you say so.”
We ate and drank to our hearts content. Jack continued to struggle and eventually gave up on using chopsticks, resorting to using his hands. It took only two shots for me to feel completely buzzed. By the end of the meal, my body was really warm, I could feel myself starting to nod off. James tried to tease me about me being a lightweight, but Jhon was quick to point out how shitfaced he was. I was so out of it, I kept bumping into everything on the way up to my room. Jack followed me just to make sure I could find the room.
I rolled out a futon next to where Jack put his and crawled in. It was warm and comfy. Before I could finish that thought, I was asleep. I dreamt that I was standing in hallway with my mother standing at the end of it. She was wearing her long leather coat and glasses. As I approached her, I was looking up at her instead of down. She pushed me backwards into the room filled with Pokemon encased in a temporary frozen state. I turned to her and ran. She smiled at me and closed the door on me. I shouted at her, begging her to open the door. Somehow I knew what was going to happen next. I felt like I was falling as water began to fill the room. I held my breath as the water completely filled the room. I’ve been in this situation before, but where and when. Wasn’t this a dream?
I woke up with Jack holding my wrist and a gun in my hand. My heart was racing and I was completely covered in sweat. Jack let go of me and I sat up.
“You were holding your breath,” Jack said.
I rubbed my forehead, still trying to catch my breath. I pounded my fist into the ground. I got up and opened a door leading to an outside porch. I leaned up against a wooden beam and curled my knees to my chest.
“That dream again,” Jack asked as I started to cry.
“Why does this keep happening to me,” I said between sobs. “It’s been eight years. Just when I think I’ve moved on, I have that dream again! Why won’t my brain let me move on?”
“I understand how it is,” Jack said, sitting next to me. “I still dream about what happened to my parents too.”
“But your parents are still alive.”
“I wonder if it’s okay if they ended up like that.”
“Don’t say stuff like that,” I said, shoving him.
Jack held up his hands and went back inside. I could hear the soft ting of a wind chime as the wind gently blew. I put my legs on the edge of the porch and closed my eyes. Maybe I was just drunk, but I got over the horrible dream rather quickly. I stared up at the moon and the few stars that shown through the city lights. The reason why I’m here is because I still belong here, I told myself. It’s what I’ve been told before, and what I keep telling myself, hoping one day I’ll actually believe it.
There was a word for this stillness in life, but I couldn’t remember for my life what it was.