Chapter 18: Farore’s Kiss

They sure were different. Yumin—brave and somewhat hotheaded, Bambi—curious and rash, Zakana—helpless and literally as useful as a Magikarp on your elbow . . . though definitely not afraid to speak his mind or do what he wanted. Maybe this is what they had in common—they did what they wanted. Farore had heard of Kirish, but didn’t know her personally. If she was holding down the Orange Islands like the news going around said, she definitely had some fire in her. Maybe they weren’t so different.+

Farore knew most things that went on, but she couldn’t figure out why this family was so important. So important to these Viterals. A Professor, a Town Council Leader, a studly trainer, a Master Pokémon Breeder and Trainer combined, a child prodigy, and then . . . Zakana. They didn’t mention him. They mentioned every other Hayline except for Zakana. Maybe it wasn’t so strange.

These are the things that Farore thought about as she locked down their new place of respite. Isaque was a help. Even if he was working with Team Rocket. She knew, but she wouldn’t break it to Bambi and most definitely not Zakana. He was a temperamental fire-type just waiting to Camerupt!

She saw the tattoo—the stylistic ‘R’ imprinted on every member, usually on the back of the leg (where Isaque’s was) or upper arm. To be honest, Farore didn’t care much about the politics of the Rockets, the Magmas and Aquas and the Crimsons. They all had their positives and negatives. The Rockets were mostly crooked and greedy but they had done good things. Maybe. What did she know?1

“Everything’s been secured,” Isaque said, “from the windows, to the hatches, to the doors.”

Farore surveyed the place, noticed how eerily quiet it was. Soon, they would come. But when?

“We need a dark Pokémon. We need to seal every part of this place so Psychics and Ghosts won’t be able to pull trainers in with them. My bugs can only do so much.”

Isaque shrugged. “Bambi’s Umbreon?”

“Ah right,” Farore clicked her tongue. “I don’t know if she has the move set yet. Or the energy since the pregnancy. Hey Bambi, come here.”

Farore looked at her Pokegear, saw that it was nearly sunrise. A famous time for first strikes. She was used to this, leading. She knew her underlings back at the gym and how they responded positively to her reinforcements. She would have to do the same thing here.

Bambi trotted up, smiled through her fatigue. “Oh, yeah. Hey, what’s up?”

“Your Umbreon. Does it know any dark type moves?”

“Dark moves? You mean like bite or something?”

“Yes. Like bite.”

Bambi nodded earnestly. Her eyes dazzled from this talk about moves and Pokémon, Farore could tell. It was just like her girls back at the gym. All fit trainers, every single one of them. Suddenly she wondered of their state since she left. What was happening back there? And had the Viterals struck there as well? Farore counted her priorities, tried to determine which was more important. When she found Bambi and Makua in the forest on her way to meet Glaukus, she never thought things would become this complicated. Still, her girls weren’t threats. They were merely watching after the gym in Farore’s absence. What could the Viterals do about a thing like that?

“Well. It just evolved into Umbreon so it doesn’t know much yet. But it did learn bite as an Eevee.” Bambi released it from its Pokeball. “Kappa, hey are you okay?” She looked up at Farore to see if there would be any more questions.

Not right now. Farore needed more. One single dark move wasn’t enough. Bambi’s Houndour was further along in its training it seemed. Maybe together, they could keep out the spirits and ghosts that would try to press themselves in. Like kneaded bread, they would form and reform and squeeze themselves in until they were all surrounded. Farore saw how it would end.

They took inventory. Without any Pokémon Centers and a dwindling supply of berries, potions and powders, they would need every able Pokémon they could if they wanted to get out alive. Farore had a full line up of six, and surprisingly they were mostly untouched. Isaque was fully stocked as well, and according to him, other than his Magneton, his other five were in Hitmontop-shape.

Bambi’s lineup consisted of: Umbreon, Houndour, and Bayleef. It would help, especially with the two dark types, but it still didn’t seem enough. And when Farore got a good look at Zakana’s line up she almost lost all hope entirely. Not that she had any hopes on Zakana to begin with, but still, she expected something . . . a little more . . . adequate.

He had a Slowpoke, who tended to try and swipe at its own tail, which was impossible given the things genetic make up and general slowness, and also a Happiny—a baby Pokémon that couldn’t really fight until it evolved into its next form, Chansey. Then there were the baby Eevee, one that Farore watched over and one that Zakana watched over. Making their protection team arrive at a grand total of 19 Pokémon!

It was inconceivable. Seeing how many men were outside, and how they could, (if the rumors were true) just run to the nearby Pokémon Center and heal their Pokémon right back up, if something didn’t go their way. This wasn’t like a battle back at the Gym. This was an army against a small rag-tag team of Farore, a Team Rocket member, a student who’d been using Pokémon for less than a year and a man-boy who probably didn’t even know where to begin when it came to type weaknesses.

They all looked at her for answers, as those seconds passed into early morning, minutes morphed into worry, and doom.

She thought of The Federation. Gym Leader Challenges were fast approaching and new, spunky, know-it-all trainers would be gunning for Farore’s spot. 17-year old Farore and her infamous rise to power at age 14, dropping out of the Academy to become the biggest and baddest hotshot fighter in all of Kanto was a spot every trainer in the Universe wanted to topple. (The Pokémon Herald’s words not hers). Who would be the first 13 year-old to become a gym leader? A 12 year-old? 11? Farore studied Bambi, and wondered if she looked at her and thought of such a challenge. She was exactly the kind of spunky trainer she’d seen, but without the Machamp-sized ego.

“So what are we gonna do?”

The questions couldn’t stay away forever. Farore looked at Isaque. He wasn’t her friend in this fight, but he wasn’t her enemy. If he could help in what was to come, then she’d owe him. And in that moment she knew she couldn’t have done this without him.

“What’s the status?”

Bambi and Zakana shuffled into view.

Isaque pointed this way and that. “All the windows and doors have barriers and protection fields around them.” He spoke in a professional tone, as though giving reports was something he did in his sleep. “We’ll station Bambi’s Houndour at the main entrance, in case Psychics or Ghosts try to get in that way.” Isaque pointed to the other end of the warehouse. A clean line devoid of boxes and machinery had been cleared. Aisles existed where there was once chaos. “Umbreon will be on the backend.”

“Bayleef’s aromatherapy has Kappa feeling much better,” Bambi said. “She has that old spark back in her eyes.”

A black, silky smooth Pokémon sat guarding the back door dutifully, its two babies circling it like Ring-Around-The-Roserade players.

“Windows?” Farore asked.

“Yes.” I can’t think of any other way to get in,” Isaque replied, truly stumped.

And Farore began to think: If Glaukus were here, we would never lose. Where was he? Farore couldn’t go to his gym because they had to look for the ultimate risk to their safety, Zakana. His eyes, his face—they were slowly gaining their color and it seemed he would be back in the land of the living soon. Farore had to admit, given his complete and utter disregard for the beauty of Pokémon and his general bad attitude, he was at least handsome. His exhaustion peeled away his layers and seemed to make him more so.

Hah! She laughed to herself. Not the time to be thinking about boys.


The pipes had been blocked. Feraligatr had it under control.

“Steel types? They could simply peel back or crash through the metal.”

Magneton had ionized everything. If anyone touched the outside or inside of that place, they’d receive a shock that would keep them out of commission.1

In this way, the great metal place would work to their advantage. They were insulated, protected.


“They can burn a hole through this place,” Isaque said, “but most of its platinum. It will take a long time.”

“I don’t think time means anything to them,” Farore said.

These Viterals—how great were their numbers?

Unlike usual, the answers did not come easy to Farore. She knew, felt in the bottom of her bug-loving heart that something was missing. It was a puzzle she needed to figure out. Like in her gym—there were puzzles that challengers needed to pass in order to get to her. Perhaps this was no different. Night came and everyone went to sleep except for Farore. She sat there, leaned against an old fridge because it was cool and she felt hot. Spring was well on its way and even though the metallic floor was cold, Farore was burning up.

Bambi and Zakana slept nearby, and Isaque somewhere else on the other end of the warehouse. This was fine in case there was a break in. What were the men outside waiting for?

For them to run out of food? The fridge behind Farore wasn’t stocked but it could last them a week at least. The only problem was the Pokémon. And move sets. They’d run out of their PP for their moves if they weren’t careful.1

“Why did you come running from the forest that night?”

Farore looked up startled. She saw Zakana. No longer did he wear a collection of blankets around a once sagging frame. He stood tall and straight, hair combed to one side, his bloodshot eyes focusing on Farore in that dimly lit plot of warehouse. To Zakana it probably looked fine and dandy but to Farore it looked like trouble. His voice was clear, but curious.

“The Pokémon were going crazy. I couldn’t attempt to make it through without getting seriously injured.”

Zakana moved directly across from Farore and sat down cross-legged, as though they were about to have a long-awaited reunion.

He hung his head and in a way Farore felt sorry for him. Something stirred inside his confused little mind. On the outside it came as a sigh and a shrug. “Why do you like them? He hesitated, unable to actually say the word. “Bugs. Why do you only have bugs?” He spat out the final word like it was poison and in that darkness Farore saw his tongue fork.1

She had always gotten this question, but it was always for interviews and for breaking down the formula of success that was Farore. This was the first time it came from an entirely unknown place. “I guess I’ve always loved them. They’re so versatile and beautiful—”


“I think so.”

“They have all those beady eyes that are colored unnaturally, and pincers and claws, and gosh knows what else! How can any of that be beautiful?”

Farore stilled her mind. She wanted to lash back and give Zakana a good verbal whooping but she held it in. “It’s beautiful because it’s different. And misunderstood. Bugs are the ultimate underdogs in any fight. They are weak to more things than almost any other type. Easily squashed by rocks, susceptible to ice or fire, or things that can fly, but they are strong too. Strong against Psychic and Ghosts and just . . . oh Zakana . . . I’m sorry. I think they are beautiful.”1

For a moment an understanding passed between them.

Zakana said: “There is a disturbance there. In those woods. I think it’s because of the Safari Zone.”

Farore stared at Zakana. “What do you mean?”

He shook his head back and forth, winced his eyes. “I don’t know. I saw it in a dream. There’s craziness going on outside. The herds and flocks moved to the city and are causing a ruckus.”

“In a dream?”

Farore was gone. She left Zakana alone there and studied the scene outside, with help from Scizor and Heracross, through the windows. Something had certainly changed. The Viterals hadn’t attacked because they were busy. Probably trying to throw all their clamp balls at the wild Pokémon. Was it true? Was that swarm of Pokémon from the forest from the Safari Zone? It did make sense. It could make sense. By Jirachi, it was sensible!

Without waiting for permission, Farore decided to leave. She would take her Shedinja, her ghost-bug wonder, as a way to cloak herself and go directly to Glaukus for help. There was no other option now.

When she got to the door, Zakana was there again.


“I’ll be back by morning.”

“You’re leaving again?”

“Yes, but this time I’ll bring help.”

“You aren’t going to tell Bambi and Isaque the new plan?”

“They’ll only try to stop me. You can tell them.”

Zakana considered this in the darkness. He seemed uneasy. “You know she really looks up to you.”

Farore knew it but she wondered how Zakana had seen it. He literally only talked about going home or about himself.

Without knowing how or why Farore crossed the space between them, and kissed Zakana on the lips. It felt right in that moment.1

He touched the spot where Farore’s supple lips fell and looked back at her still unsure of what to do.

“I know she does. Protect her while I’m gone, okay?”

Slowly, Zakana nodded. And as the lights came back on for him, they went out for Farore, as she left the warehouse and stepped into that cool, crisp, tasteless air.