OOC: Well, whaddya know, we managed to line up Christmas after all.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Ellen sat at the edge of her bed, much like she had the night before. Moonlight poured in through the window, illuminating her room in a soft glow. Chrono was snoozing in a dark corner, while Solo and Artemis sat around Ellen, looking anxiously at their trainer.
"I don't know what to do," Ellen sighed as she stared into her shadow cast by the moonlight.
That's what you said last night, Solo frowned. Too bad Entei isn't here this time.
"Yeah," Ellen nodded, remembering what the Legendary Beast had told her: When the time comes, I am sure you will make the right decision, little one. "I guess I do know what I have to do," she admitted. "But I'm scared to actually do it."
Whatever you decide, Ellen, you can know that we'll back you with full support, Solo said. Artemis nodded in agreement.
"Thanks, guys," Ellen smiled. "This is a crazy idea -- I can't believe I'm seriously considering it -- but the more I think about it, the more it feels like the right decision."
Don't just not act because you're too scared to take a stand for what you believe in, Solo said wisely. I know you'd like to remain neutral, but you'll have to pick a side sooner or later.
"You already know what I'm going to do, don't you, Solo?" Ellen asked.
I have an idea, the Solosis said slyly. After all, great minds think alike.
"Well, if there's one thing I've learned on this journey, it's that the world isn't just black and white," Ellen said. "At first I thought Maddison Hayes was strictly the 'bad guy.' But I've seen that although her actions are evil, her motives are good. In fact, she truly believes that she's doing the right thing. And then there's Team Plasma. Many people, Daddy included, disagree with their stance of pretending the war doesn't exist. But at the same time, the Sages believe that they're doing the right thing in keeping the public from panicking... just like Daddy kept the war a secret from me. I don't know much about why Team Rocket and Team Liberty are fighting, but each side believes they are right."
Whoever it was that said that good and evil are in the eye of the beholder sure knew what he was talking about, Solo said.
"And then there's Ray," Ellen continued. "Sure, he acted like a ###### and just left us in the middle of the Christmas party, but I can tell he just wanted to keep me -- and everyone else -- safe."
You've always had a gift for seeing good in everything, Solo noted.
Chrono made a snickering sound from his spot in the corner. Ellen could tell what the Purrloin was implying: it was this "gift" that had been driving her crazy.
"You said I should stand up for what I believe in, but first I need to know what I believe in," Ellen said. "Out of all these different sides, the one I agree most with is Ford. This war has to end -- especially before it spreads to regions like Unova -- and yet Team Plasma's feigning ignorance isn't doing anybody any good. However, I disagree with Ford’s actions. There must be a way to end the war that doesn't involve blowing up cities. There has to be a way where we can all live happily ever after."
Solo stopped bouncing up and down for a moment. So what you’re saying is…
"I understand that Daddy wants me to stay safe," Ellen pointed out. "And it's obvious that Ray wanted that, too. But like you said, I can't just sit around and do nothing. That's why I'm going to regroup with Ryan, Sonja, and the others. As I've said before, that group has a mix of both Liberty and Rocket members, plus Evan from Team Plasma. And what they're doing right now -- tracking down Black, investigating 'dimensional disturbances,' and doing something about those Darkrai -- that stuff actually makes a difference. I agree with both their actions and their motivation."
That's what I thought you’d say, Solo grinned.
"I don't like the idea of leaving home right after I've gotten back," Ellen frowned. "And it will certainly be dangerous. But Entei said that I would know what to do, and I'm certain this is the right decision."
Not to mention, there are many stories of Pokemon Trainers who have started their journeys at the age of 10, Solo added. You won’t be 10 for a few more months, but I don't see why you couldn't start now.
"Especially if I'm in a group of experienced trainers," Ellen agreed. Standing up, she went over to her desk, pulled out a pad of paper, and began to write a long note to her parents, explaining her decision. "Daddy's already made it clear that he wouldn't want me to do this," she told Solo and Artemis. "So if we're really going to do this, we'll have to sneak out tonight." Turning to the next page on the pad of paper, Ellen drew a quick sketch of the Unova Region. "Ray said they were headed to Dragonspiral Tower, which if I remember right, is here," -- she drew an X at the appropriate spot -- "and Village Bridge is right here. The route looks simple enough." Tearing that page out of the notepad, she folded her hand drawn map and put it in her pocket. Next she grabbed a backpack and started filling it with supplies: extra clothes, berries, a few empty Pokeballs, and a handful of snacks for the road. Finally, Ellen took the note she had written to her parents and placed it on her bed. "I really hope they understand," she said sorrowfully.
If they did, you wouldn't have to sneak out, Solo reminded her.
"You're right, but I do hope that they can at least see my point of view," Ellen sighed. She stared at the note a little longer, wondering if it would be enough. Finally she tore her eyes from it and, grabbing her backpack and the jacket and scarf her aunt and uncle had given her, Ellen headed out of her room. She paused at the door and glanced back inside. "Coming, Chrono?" The Purrloin shrugged, figuring he didn't really have much of a choice, and silently followed Ellen down the stairs.
In the living room, Ellen found Terry, sleeping next to the new chew toy Santa had brought. "Hey, Terry," she whispered, shaking the Herdier awake. She briefly explained her plan and her reasoning behind sneaking out. "You can come with me if you want," she concluded. "Or you can stay here. It's up to you."
Terry looked at Ellen curiously. While Solo, Artemis, and Chrono were all Ellen's Pokemon, Terry was the Burks' family pet; he had been around since before Ellen was born. He had accompanied Ellen on her trip to her aunt and uncle in Accumula Town, and had been tasked with protecting her during her journey. Mr. Burks was his master, and if he were to abide by his master's wishes, he would stop Ellen from sneaking away. Surely Ellen must have known that, and yet she still confided in him.
Terry weighed his options. Ellen was determined to go, and Terry could certainly see her reasoning. There was no way he could stop her, so the best option would be to join her. At least then he could still fulfill his duty of protecting Ellen.
Terry nodded before getting up with a yawn. He started to follow Ellen to the door, but turned back to grab his chew toy.
"Yes, we can bring that, too," Ellen laughed, placing the chew toy in her backpack as Terry wagged his tail in excitement.
With her hand on the door, Ellen took one last look at her home. The Christmas tree was still in the corner of the living room, but the lights had long since been turned off, leaving it a dark shadow. The only light came from the digital clock on the microwave, which displayed a time well past midnight and bathed a portion of the kitchen in a melancholy blue. The entire house was silent, which seemed to magnify the tiny ticking of a clock and the steady sound of her father's light snoring.
Taking a deep breath, Ellen inched the door open, careful not to make it squeak, and slipped out of the warmth of her house and into the bitter cold of the outside world.