The line was terrible. Countless trainers were waiting for their turn to the ticket booths, as countless other came from other regions. They were decided to leave their homes, to go to other regions. Some were in groups, some were alone. But they all shared a similar goal - a new life. I look at my pocket watch. Its 23:04. I’ve waited almost 6 hours. Finally, it’s my turn.
Cashier : Another one for Reborn city, huh? They sure have been pushing that new league. Let’s see... Which one of these was it?
The cashier’s desk was full of tickes. Many wanted to leave. In that mess, I somehow managed to find my ticket. It only had my picture, the rest was blank.
Cashier : This is you, huh? Certainly looks like it. And what was your name again?
I’m thinking it’s weird. I’ve always wanted to leave this place. And now, it seems surreal. Seeing my ticket, with my name and picture. It’s actually happening.
Cashier : Got it.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, swoop.
Cashier : Then, just to be sure, for “Gender” I should put…
Jack : Male, of course.
Cashier : Right.
Tick, tick, tick, tick.
Cashier : One sec, I’ll handle the rest of this.
Tick, swoop, tick, tick, tick, tick
Those infernal sounds were driving me nuts. I know electronic devices were replaced by old mechanisms, but honestly!
Finally, it was done. My ticket was complete.
Trn - 8R750 Seat - 5D
ARR : Grandview Station
Adult : ONE Type : SGL
Cashier : There. All set.
Cashier : Just between you, me, and the ol’ battered fence post, I heard Reborn City’s kind of a dump. Why anyone would wanna go there is beyond me. And yer, buncha you ambitious Trainer-type folk have been headin’ out in droves. But off you go now. Train’s leaving any minute. NEXT!
I leave, and think about what that old man told me. I know Reborn is pretty bad. It is a new region created by survivors from every region. Couple of years ago, strange disasters happened, screwing the city preety bad. From news reports and newspapers, the region was affected by murders, thefts, riots and all sorts, but it endured. I stopped and waited, as I remembered I wasn’t alone. I look to the booth, and there he comes. My old friend.
Jack : Done?
Kaz : You know it. Let’s get in the train. It’s almost departure time.
Kaz is my childhood friend. When we were young, we entered all sorts of problems due to our shenanigans: my short temper and his carefree personality. We always ended up caugth, but he always sweet-talked our way out of punishment. I still own him some favours.
As we finally departed on the train, I took one last look outside. I saw all those youngsters still waiting for their turns at the booths or waiting for the trains. I pity them. In the cabin, I fell asleep due to waiting in that damn line.
It’s 16:30. A new day. The train kept going for a day straight. We passed through some sort of dessert. Outside, I could see remnants of train hulls, or locomotives. I wonder what happened. The dessert also looked … off. Like something isn’t right. How the hell did these trains ended up out here? I also felt something… odd. Like someone… or something was near us. In the train with us. Kaz belived it was just the sickness from being in the train for so long and reckoned it was due to the heat that I had that feeling. All I had was my trusty trench coat, with a black t-shirt, grey jeans and some sturdy leather boots. Kaz weared his white jacket and jeans with a black t-shirt and sneakers. We didn’t exactly packed new clothes, due to the rush we had to leave, also not having anything else to take with us. Still, I felt … uneasy.
I became more startled after looking out the window. An Absol on a small hill, close to the tracks.
In Hoenn, there is an old legend. Absol is considered bad omen. It’s presence symbolises death and the loss of life. When you see an Absol, it’s considered you, or someone near you, will die. I’m not one for the legends but, … Damn thing … It seemed like it stared right at me and kept looking as we took a corner and it disappeared behind some rock, and I could still feel as he was watching me. Gave me the chills.
Then again. Ever since I boarded this train… I felt something was off. But I blamed my imagination.
??? : Okay, thank you very much! I’ll see you when we get into the city.
A voice of a woman came from the seats next to us. I was still thinking about that damn Absol, and her abrupt voice startled me.
Next thing we knew, in front of us sat the young, silver-haired woman. It looked better dressed than the most of us. I remembered that I saw her before. She is Ame, the manager of the Reborn League.
I thought to myself that it was weird she was traveling in the same train with us. Being the manager of a region, you think you’d have some private way of transportation. I guess not.
Ame : All right, hello there! Your turn now; sorry for the wait. My name is Ame. I’m the manager of the Reborn League.
Kaz : Nice to meet you. I’m Kaz and this is Jack.
Jack : Hey.
Ame : Good to meet you as well. You were also looking to sign up for the League as well, right? It would be great if so! We’re finally just getting things off the ground again. Truth is, after the incident a few years ago, the whole region was almost completely abandoned… even by the Pokémon.
Kaz looked a bit startled, as he aimed to become a Breeder. I wasn’t. I knew for some time the situation in Reborn. But it was my ticket out of Hoenn, and I wouldn’t change it.
Ame : ...Uh, but! Don’t let that worry you! It might not be an ideal place, but our gym leaders are like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and I think you’ll find Reborn to be a region like no other too! I’m coming back from some business out of town, so I figured I might as well introduce myself early and get a head start on everyone’s registration.
There were a lot of Trainers in the train. Many, from different regions, so I could only imagine the amount of applications for Trainer Cards. All the better. I aim to become the best trained, not a Champion, but stronger, maybe on par with the Elite Four
Ame : Could I see your boarding tickets please?
Kaz handed both of them. I was still wondering… what could’ve made that Absol show up. From what I know, Absols are pretty damn rare. The fallout killed a lot of Pokemons and Absols were on the watchlist to avoid extinction. One appearing so sudden, both amazing, and creepy.
Ame : Okay, I’ve got you down. We’re almost at Grandview Station, so after we disembark just follow me to the Grand Hall. There, I’ll give you a starter Pokémon to really kick off your adventure in Reborn. Sound good?
That’s something we both forgot. Which Pokémon do we want as starters. We were waiting in this train for so damn long, just dreaming at the moment we will get of this thing.
Ame : Then if you’ll--
She had this grim look on her face. Like she saw a ghost, right above us. Sure enough, when we raised our heads, we saw just for a split second before it was gone…
Ame : Something’s not right…
We both started to get worked up. We looked around and we noticed it.
Ame : Shouldn’t we be decelerating already?
True enough, we should have. The locomotive was steam-based. It takes some time to gain speed, but it it won’t fail you. The only problem? The brakes are weak. At this speed, we would slam into the station.
Ame : Oh no --- move!
Ame jumped and pushed us out the window.
I woke up in the middle of a blazing hell. Me and Kaz were inside the station. It was crumbling down. I managed to drag Kaz, still knocked unconcious, outside. I saved his life.
Soon after, I passed out as well.
...y, are you okay?!
As I woke, I see Ame standing in front of me. We were outside the station. It was destroyed.
Kaz was next to me. He was awake, but still a little shocked from the explosion.
Ame : … Thank goodness, you two are alive…
The train exploded right as we pulled into the station.
I’m just glad I could get us out of there in time, but everyone else---
Jack: They died in the explosion?
Kaz: Not all. T-They...the lake...
Call it dumb luck, or fate. I was glad we made it. A part of the trainers died in the actual explosion. I believe they were the lucky ones. The others were trapped in the cabins when the train fell into the lake. They were unlucky. The water here was pure toxic. Boats would melt when in contact with the water. I’ve never seen anything like this. Some drowned while others…. melted.
I quickly dragged Kaz away from the edge. He saw enough.
Ame : Well… there’s no use thinking about that now. Why did this have to happen…? Who would even--
??? : Hihi!
Ame : ...Julia.
I disliked the way she said that. Down the street came this woman dressed in a yellow cheerleader uniform.
Ame : Julia, what did you do?
Julia : Whaaaat? I didn’t do anything! I was at the gym-gym and then suddenly BOOOOM, so I came running! Cuz you know if things are exploding, I gotta be there to see it. It’s so cool!!!
As they talked I went to check on Kaz. Sure enough, he recovered a little, but was still affected by the sight. It wasn’t pretty. It reminded me of the day we lost our parents, in a civil riot. We were living in Rustboro. My dad was an officer, so he was in the front line. Got killed when a punk with a Voltrob tried to blow up the hospital. My mother was a nurse and tried to help my father, but they both perished. It was bad for a child at the age of 10 to see the bodies of his parents. I still remember that image.
Jack: Are you ok, Kaz?
Kaz: Yeah. You?
Jack: Could’ve been better. At least we made it out.
Kaz: Can’t say the same thing for the others. Jack...there were children onboard. I saw them getting in when we departed from Slateport.
Jack: Kaz, no. You couldn’t do anything. What’s done it’s done. Stop thinking about it.
Ame : Well, you’re not wrong. But this isn’t the time to be admiring their work. Whoever was behind it could still be monitoring from nearby… I’ll have the perimeter locked down. There’s a chance we could catch the perpetrator before they get away.
Sorry Jack, Kaz, but I have to go. Catch up with me later. Until then…
Mm, there should be another trainer who can meet you to show you around. Find her in front of the Grand Hall. It’s just down this road; you can’t miss it.
Jack: Don’t underestimate my ability of getting lost - I told her, trying to light up the mood.
Even now I can still crack jokes. But from the looks of Kaz and Ame, it wasn’t the time. At least Julia cracked a smile.
Ame : And uh, don’t wory about all of this. I’ll handle it.
And off she went. I got an earry feeling about the way she said “I’ll handle it”. She meant business.
Julia: So you’re Jack and you’re Kaz ? I’m Julia, captain of cheer and pep, and all things bubbly and bright.
Kaz & Jack : Riiiight…
Julia: Oh, Pop Quiz! Are any of you two going to take on the Reborn League?
Jack: I will. - I told her determined. It was my goal. I nearly died for it, as it is.
Julia: Correct! Then I’ll be seeing you very soon, because I’m also the Electric Gym Leader! I’ll be looking forward to your challenge, so go on, get down to the Grand Hall already!
And off we went.
We didn’t had to go to far to see the true face of Reborn City : streets filled with litter and cracks, ransacked and abandoned houses, and many drunks and homeless on the street, women willing to sell their bodies for some money. A hellhole.
The Grand Hall was easy to spot. It was the newest building in Reborn city, surrounded by trees and plants. The only nice thing you could see. The police blocked the roads, so we went straight to the Hall. Sure enough, at the top of the stair, stood a girl. I deduced from her attire that she must be a Battle Girl, a Trainer-Class that is specialised in Fighting-, Fire-, and Steel-type Pokémon.
??? : Hey, are you Jack and Kaz? I’m Victoria.
Kaz : Nice to meet you.
Veronica : Likewise, it’s a pleasure to meet you, but is everything ok? I heard something happened at the station…
Kaz wanted to tell her, but I stopped him. No need to startle her.
Jack: Just a small technical problem, nothing to worry about.
Victoria : Well, you’re here, so I guess you’re all right. Ame asked me that I bring you in for registration too. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t take long. Let’s go inside.
Following her, we went inside the Grand Hall. The room was filled with people, mostly trainers and visitors. It had a PokeCenter and a PokeMart too, so it was well equiped. Must’ve costed a fortune.
At the main desk, we found Ame. She was still bothered by the events. I don’t blame her.
Ame : You’re here already. Good. And our part went smoothly as could be hoped for. We caught the suspect almost immediately. He’s being interrogated downstairs right now.
Victoria : Suspect? You mean about the station?
Victoria then gave me a look. She knew I was lying about the technical promblem.
Ame : Yeah. And it seems it’s not working alone. But that’s not important. It’ll be taken care of. So you’re all here to get signed up for the Reborn League, right?
Victoria : That’s right! Kiki said that it would be good for my training ,also, if I started over completely! So she asked if I could get a new Pokémon too!
Ame : Normally, we reserve them strictly for newcomers, but I suppose we can make an exception on Kiki’s request.
Victoria : Oh, thank you!
Ame : However, Jack will have the first choice and Kaz the second.
Victoria : That’s ok. I don’t mind at all.
Ame gestured to me to follow her. We went to the second floor of the building.
There were three large tables : green, red and blue, each with
Ame : These Pokémon are all set aside for new trainers to choose from. The tables go from top to bottom in order of Grass, Fire, Water and the Pokémon are arranged from left to right in the order they were discovered.
So the worder would be Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos and Alola. Sounds logical.
Ame : Go ahead. Take any one you like.
I stood in front of the Fire category. I always wanted a Fire type. Now, the trick was to choose one. It came down to two favourites of mine. In the end, I chose a Chimchar.