In the last chapter, Erica had taken a dive into her mind to discover herself. With her resolve cleared, the rising trainer moved towards Victory Road. And that pretty much sums up what happened in the last chapter.
So maybe we should get on with the story.
Erica walked up the stone stairs slowly. She wanted to defeat the Pokémon League as soon as possible, but she also didn't want to tire out her friends and herself. Once she got to the top of the staircase, she was greeted with an interesting sight. Large stone walls and stone towers decorated the outdoor mountainous landscape.
"I guess that this was one of the places where the war took place." Commented Erica.
The blond protagonist continued to walk around and admire the ancient structures. As she did though, she couldn't help but think about AZ. A tinge of worry started in her heart as she still felt sorry for him.
'I wonder...where did he go off to?' Asked Erica in her mind.
Her trek would lead her past the ancient architecture, and into the next cave.
On the other side of victory road, Brett took his friend's advice and called Kate.
"So you've been doing well in Kalos?" Asked Kate.
"Yep, I think that I've broken my own personal record." Brett put his hand on his arm in a show off way, in return his girlfriend giggled at his behavior.
"You haven't changed at all." Commented Kate Brett decided to laugh back.
"Well you have, your hair is shorter. It looks nice on you." Pointed out Brett. Kate blushed with a smile. She stroked her hair at the mention of its length.
"Thank you." Suddenly there was a bit of a screech on the other end of the line. The black haired champion was a little worried now. His girlfriend turned around to give a sudden waving of her hands. "Well I've gotta go now. I'll try to call you later." Kate winked and the screen shut off.
He thought deeply into the problem. There wasn't really anything that he could do, but he was still a little worried. But he stayed in the same spot for more than a couple of seconds.
'Crap I'm bored again.' Soon after he noticed Keith on a nearby couch.
Running over Brett pulled out a pokeball. He failed to notice the clipboard and pencil that his rival was holding. The analytical trainer noticed his friend dashing over and retained his composure.
"Keith battle us!" Demanded Brett.
"Sorry Brett, but I'm too busy trying to figure out this equation." Responded Keith.
"Come on!" Yelled Brett. To satisfy the curiosity of the audience, Keith was trying to use the power of physics to figure out how Dugtrio can weigh over forty times more than Diglett. Even for Keith that wouldn't be easy.
Erica burst out of the cave quickly, and her Greninja was not far behind. Both the pokemon and trainer started to catch their breath.
"I never..'pant'...knew that...'pant'...people could be so persistent." Said Erica as she caught her breath.
Her ninja pokemon nodded as it too attempted to catch its breath. Erica looked down to her partner. In her mind she became very grateful that she ever got to meet this pokemon, much less that he agreed to be her partner.
"Thanks, you know that I never would've gotten this far without you." Thanked the protagonist.
Jirai nodded. Erica was about to continue, but she failed to notice a pokemon above her head. It was the steel-flying type, Skarmory. The armor bird looked down and noticed the pink on the ground.
Erica was about to continue walking. And then the Skarmory swooped down and snatched her hat right off her head.
"Hey my hat!" Yelled Erica. She chased after the bird pokemon for a bit, and the she came to the edge of the cliff. Quickly, Erica waved her arms about in circles to avoid falling down. Jirai jumped in on instinct and pulled his trainer back.
'Crap, and that was my favorite hat too.' Thought Erica glumly.
Suddenly, a thought popped up in her head. Erica quickly undid the small ponytail at the end of her hair and redid it to become a normal ponytail.
"Alright, survival style." Stated the blondie. Her starter pokemon sighed, he did love being with his trainer but this wasn't exactly much of being a survivor.
Back on the other side, Brett and Keith were waiting silently for their friend outside the Pokémon Center. One of them playing catch with their pokemon, the other trying to solve an equation. You get three guesses and the last two don't count.
"She has come pretty for hasn't she?" Asked the black haired teen.
"Yeah I guess she has." Answered the brown haired genius.
They both reflected on their own challenges up till now. And their adventure with her.
"Child prodigies must be a thing now." Whispered Keith.
As Erica continued her trek throughout the difficult cave when she suddenly sneezed. "That was a little more than weird."
About thirty minutes later found Erica with nearly any progress. It seemed more like she was walking in circles. Needless to say, this lead our protagonist to frustration and confusion.
"How are we ever gonna get out of here?" It seemed that Victory Road was famous for being to difficult (for anyone who didn't know or doesn't notice it).
Erica continued up some stairs to get to higher grounds, at this point she figured out that Victory Road is conquered by reaching the top. Once high enough, she found there to be an exit to her left. She walked towards it. But suddenly, without warning, the ledge that she was walking on collapsed.
"Oh crap!" Screamed Erica as she grabbed onto the remaining parts of the ledge at the last moment.
Erica struggled to keep her hold. The situation was made worse by the fact that she could not reach for any help from her pokemon. If she took one hand off of the edge, there would be no question to the rest.
"Come on. I can't just stop here!" Grunted the protagonist as she struggled against gravity. It took about half a minute, but she managed to pull herself back up.
The next couple of minutes passed by with Erica holding her heart. At this point, it seemed like Victory Road was beating her down. The blonde picked herself up and decided to give her friends a quick rest. She placed out individual bowls of food for her pokemon. All six of them quickly ate, which surprised Erica.
"Don't you guys want to take some time to rest?" In unison, they all shook their heads. Time wasn't needed as the trainer quickly understood what this was about. They shared the determination too.
Once she retrieved her pokemon, she continued towards the exit of the cave. And she was greeted with a slightly purple sky upon exit.
"I was really in there that long?" She looked towards a nearby edge to realize how high up she was. "And did I really climbed up that high?"
Trying to steal her nerves, Erica continued forward. After all, who'd want to be stuck in a place like victory road for the night. And she seemed to be in luck, with only one more cave to go.
"I have to cross water this time?" Asked Erica. She conceded and called out her Dragalge to ride across the cave waves.
But sadly, as she crossed the water on her dragon, her clothes got even more messed up by the water. As she got to the other side, Erica hung her head down. She was depressed solely by how much her clothes had been ruined.
"Why does this keep happening?" Whined Erica.
Dragulong tried to cheer up his trainer, as best as a poison dragon could. And luckily, Erica was responsive.
"Don't worry, I'm sure that I can get some more any other time." Erica pulled out her pokeball and recalled her pokemon.
And with the majority of Victory Road cleared, all Erica had to do was reach the top and exit. Unfortunately, there were plenty of pokemon blocking her path.
'No way am I gonna let this stop me.' Thought Erica as she pulled out several pokeballs.
On the other side of the exit, Keith was watching the sunset along the horizon.
"So many wonderful sights of this world." Commented Keith.
He turned back to notice that somebody was coming out of the victory road cave.
It was Erica, but her clothes were ruined. Her appearance was even more damaged because her hair was both messed up and poofy. Keith quickly ran down to check on her, and to congratulate her at the same time. All the while, holding back a little laughter.
"Erica are you alright?"
"Yeah, but I do have one imperative question." Muttered the girl silently.
Keith analyzed her for a few seconds before he caught on to what she wanted to ask him.
"Yes, the pokemon center has a shower." Erica just ran into the center after that.
Keith pulled out a watch to take a look at the time. "Five hours and twenty minutes."
After a long shower, and some pokemon healing, the trio was reunited. Erica felt proud of herself, proud enough to challenge the pokemon league.
"So do you guys think that I'm up to it?" Asked Erica eagerly.
"No." Said both the champions in unison. Erica twitched in surprise, she expected some kind of support.
"Shouldn't you guys be supporting me?" Asked Erica a little desperately.
Brett and Keith looked at each other, it was like they were having a mental discussion. Erica watched on, wishing that she could understand what they were doing. Keith turned back to face his pupil.
"You are without doubt strong, but these are some of the strongest." Erica was starting to catch on to what he was saying. "You'll need at least a little more training than what you've got now."
Erica gripped her fists and looked down to the floor. She seemed a little upset at this reaction, but she rose up with a serious, determined look coloring her face.
"Ok, I'll be back soon for the challenge." She took her fully healed pokemon and went back to the victory road cave.
Both of the champions felt like they were just looking into a mirror.
A couple of hours later, Erica walked back into the pokemon center. She looked like she had run a 5k, and somehow she had her hat back. Her friends quickly rushed to her side.
"You ok?" Asked Brett.
"You should see the other guys." Laughed Erica. "I think I'll take the challenge now."
Brett grabbed her shoulder and stopped her before she could continue. "You need to rest."
Erica was about to protest. But, her stomach growled, and her eyes were weary. "Fine."
However, as she was about to find a place to rest, a familiar sight greeted her.
"Hello sweetie." The blond turned around at the sound of the familiar voice.
"Mom?" Her mother ran up and hugged her tightly.
"Oh I'm so proud of you! You've done really great in this journey! And now you're challenging the Pokémon League." Her daughter struggled out of the vice grip and caught her breath.
"Thank you Mom, but we are going to take some time to rest before that." In response her mother shook her head, still with a proud smile.
"That doesn't matter to me. I am just so proud of how far you've come from being afraid of the rest of the world. I'll be cheering you on sweetie." Promised the mother as she left.
The grateful smile on Erica's face couldn't have been bigger. She was so happy for her mother's support and how that woman didn't try to hold her back in any way. A mother happily accepting and supporting her child's dreams and potential.
In the night sky, a Charizard was leading both Keith and Erica's mother towards Vaniville town. It was actually Keith who had helped her get to the Pokémon League. And he also vouched to get her back home.
"Keith, I have a question for you." He turned around to give her attention.
"Will Erica continue to adventure like this?" He felt it only necessary to give an appropriate answer.
"That is up to her to decide, I can't answer that." They landed in Vaniville town and Keith dropped her off before taking back on his pokemon. The mother stood outside for more than a couple of seconds.
"...That's good then..."
The coming day, Erica woke up from her nap and ate a healthy breakfast. Walking over to where Nurse Joy was, she picked up her full team of six. She looked around to see if Brett and Keith were waiting for her, but found no sign of either of them. As she was about to leave, she could feel something in her pocket. A hand-written note.
'We will be waiting for you on the other side.'
'-Brett and Keith'
Erica silently nodded and left the center. To be the very best was her next stop.