NCO Drabble: In Between Rounds
July 13, 2012. Evening, Pokéathlon Dome lobby
"OK, team, according to the schedule, our next event is bright and early tomorrow morning: the Relay Run!" I smiled. Allen and Charlie's faces lit up in confident grins, while Ayumu tripped over nothing and fell on her face. "What's wrong, Ayumu? You were so happy before Circle Push," Charlie asked kindly.
"Because Machop are built for physical power. Ever seen a Machop try to sprint?" Ayumu replied, slightly muffled by the floor. "Trust me, my primate friend; we have stamina, but not the speed to complement it. Evolving doesn't help matters at all." She pushed herself into a kneeling position. "And keep in mind, even if I were speedy, all the Johto contestants are more experienced! They could run laps around us ten ways to Sunday!"
I heard a faint pop, and then a fizz like when you open a soda can. A Kadabra wearing wizard's robes and carrying a beautiful crystal-topped staff materialized behind the coffee table. "Don't say that so loud, you might give them ideas," he chided. Charlie and Allen involuntarily moved backward and tried to appear nonthreatening.
Ayumu's reaction was amplified due to her nervous state of mind. "Geez! First a race, now a Psychic-type?! I don't think I like inter-regional travel!" she cried. She quickly stood and made a Beedrill-line for the door. "I'm going outside where everything makes—!"
She was cut off by an unexpected tough-looking trainer. "What the—how the hell did a Machop crash into my legs?!" she cried, glaring down at her. Ayumu seemed to lock up, and she uttered a single terrified squeak. Charlie dashed for his friend. Allen and I followed—he can be a bit overzealous.
"Ma'am, I can explain everything!" he panted. "Ayumu—the Machop—she's nervous about the Relay Run, and that Kadabra in the wizard costume Teleporting in out of nowhere kinda freaked her out a little. So, uh, please don't hurt her!"
The woman chuckled. "Oh, is that what happened? I probably shouldn't have yelled, then. Hey there…" She knelt down to Ayumu's eye level and patted her on the head. "Everything's cool. Wizard didn't mean to scare you. He just forgets that not everyone likes Pokémon Teleporting into conversations."
I stared at her in awe and a bit of fear. She had bandages wrapped around her lower arms and wore all black except for her blue headband. A simple ankh pendant hung around her neck, and her green eyes shimmered behind her glasses. Clearly someone who wouldn't be averse to destroying you in instants…but she understood Pokémon, and wasn't averse to trusting a stranger's Monferno.
"Er…excuse me, ma'am?" I ventured. "I, uh, I overheard you…You can talk to Pokémon?"
"Yeah," she responded, casually getting up. "It's getting to be more and more common among trainers. Maybe it's natural selection at work or something. And please, call me Arcadia. Age 17 is not old enough to be called ma'am!"
I took her hand, trying not to react too strongly at her bandages. "Force of habit. My name's Allison. You've met Ayumu, the Monferno is Charlie, and the Zubat on my head is Allen."
The Kadabra casually floated over to Arcadia's side. "Making friends already, Master?" he asked. "Commendable." To me, he said "Allow me to properly introduce myself. I am Wizard, of Kanto Route 25." Two Poké Balls opened of their own accord to reveal a Charmeleon in a bowtie and a Beedrill. "The Charmeleon is Lachlan, and the Beedrill—" he coughed as though a carrot stick were stuck in his throat "—goes by Veyron." "I believe I'm supposed to compete against you in the Relay Run tomorrow," Arcadia grinned. "I look forward to—"
A burst of microphone feedback over the PA. "Your attention please. The Relay Run scheduled for tomorrow will be held instead on the twentieth. It rained very hard this afternoon, you see, and the track is little more than mud. In its place, we'll have a game of Goal Roll. Thank you." The two of us and our athletes looked at each other.
"Goal Roll? That's like soccer, isn't it?" Arcadia asked.
I shrugged. "Whatever it is, it sounds cool. See you tomorrow!"