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Valencia Destler

"There is a light, and I am simply happy to be her shadow."

0 · 130 views · located in Pokémon: Johto

a character in “Pokémon: Requiem”, originally authored by Verdandi, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description



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“Sometimes I wonder if we're living just to die.”
Imagine Dragons |: The Fall :|
Vienna Teng |: Eric's Song :|


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|:N I C K N A M E:| She gets both Val and V with some degree of frequency, actually. She doesn’t seem to mind either—her full name is, after all, a bit of a mouthful.
|:A G E:| 16
|:G E N D E R
:| Female
|:F A C ExC L A I M:| Sonohara Anri; Durarara!!

--» |:H A I R:|
Valencia’s hair is, she would point out, nothing especially interesting. Ink-black in color, a strong family trait of hers, she keeps it chopped quite short, not even long enough to quite brush her shoulders. It is straight and reasonably orderly by nature, tending not to tangle too much unless she is moving around a lot. It’s neither thick nor really thin, rather being somewhere in the middle, though one could say that the individual strands are fine rather than coarse, giving it overall a highly smooth texture. The shine is evidence of its health, though she doesn’t do much to it. Most of the time, maintenance is as simple as shampoo and the occasional trim, when it starts getting longer than she prefers it.

--» |:E Y E S:|
Her eyes are rather unusual in color, though perhaps not startlingly so. Their color is actually a deep, carmine red, one that tends to take on more of an iridescent ruby hue when properly illuminated by light. It can be quite an interesting effect, though she doesn’t take care to produce it, and obviously doesn’t really notice or think much of it herself. Her eyes are actually remarkably large in her face, ringed by very thick black lashes. She is nearsighted, and as such, requires vision correction, for which she wears oval glasses with very thin black frames.

--» |:H E I G H T t:|
5'7"

--» |:W E I G H T:|
Roughly 130

--» |:B U I L D:|
Once a very thin, coltish child, with a figure almost boyish in construction, recent years have conspired to change her. As anyone naturally does when growing, Valencia has built up a bit more muscle tone, filling her out so that her limbs are now merely thin rather than spindly or skinny. She would still, perhaps, qualify as reedy, were it not for the other ways in which her body has changed. Her hips are somewhat wide-set, which might be a little awkward but fine, save that they are balanced—kind of—by her bustline. Embarrassingly, she developed quite prominently in the chest area relatively early, and spent a lot of time figuring out how to minimize this with clothing choices. It is unfortunately still quite obvious, no matter how loose or baggy her shirts and sweaters, and so in recent months, she’s just gone back to wearing normal, if very modest, clothing. Overall, her figure is now quite hourglass, with a trim waist and long limbs. She’s never been one for attention, so she tries not to pay attention to anything like that one way or another.

--» |:M A R K I N G S:|
There is a star-shaped birthmark that sits on Valencia’s left hip, perhaps the size of the palm of someone’s hand. Though her complexion is rather fair overall, the mark itself is completely white, and does not tan even with sun exposure. Not that she exposes it, of course.


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|:P O T E N T I A LxI N T E R E S T:|
Well, this is awkward. And so is Valencia, really. The thing about her is, she’s paralyzingly shy most of the time, at least around anyone who isn’t Aria. And even with her best friend, she’s quiet and not very talkative. She can give off the impression of being unusually cold or distant from other people, but it’s really just because she doesn’t know how to socialize very well, or can’t bring herself to do it. Needless to say, her few experiences with the opposite sex to date have been… embarrassing, for one reason or another. Also, she has lingering body issues, because she was mocked a lot in her earlier teen years for developing unfortunately fast. (Get called a “slut” often enough and you start to avoid talking to people period, just to avoid the accusations.) That said, she is still a young woman, and though she isn’t really the sort to rush into anything or seek it out, even, she does hope to eventually find someone. She’s technically heterosexual, but open-minded.

|:S K I L L S
:|
--» Logical Reasoning || Valencia isn’t really the sort of person who usually lets her emotions run her life. Rather, she prefers to retreat into the comfort of logical, rational thinking, because it’s much easier to make sense of facts than feelings. She is and always has been quite intelligent, perhaps even in possession of a genius-level IQ, and because of this, she has learned to reason calmly and rationally whenever she needs to make a decision or decide what to say or how to advise someone else. It’s a natural compliment to Aria’s demeanor, too, which means that together, they cover most of the bases.

--» Gymnastics || In girlhood, her extracurricular activity was gymnastics, which she liked because it was a solo sport for the most part, and she didn’t have to interact with anyone but her coaches if she didn’t want to. She was quite good at it, and still maintains her flexibility and general sense of grace and balance, but unfortunately, her body type is no longer suited to competitive versions of the sport—she is both too tall and too voluptuous to do especially well at the uneven bars, for example.

--» Speed-Reading || Valencia has learned to read and retain a lot of information in relatively little time. There is a technique to this, one she started to learn about a year ago. She’s still not as fast or good at the recall as some people, but she’s practicing, and already considerably ahead of the average person’s reading speed and retention rate for information. This helps when she needs to do research or look through a lot of documents to find something in particular.

--» Singing || She’s been in a few choirs over her time at school and the like, mostly for fun. She doesn’t consider herself a professional-level talent, but she’s relatively untutored. In truth, her soprano has a sweet, clear sound to it, and while she doesn’t have the vocal style for something like opera, she can do quite well with popular or choir music, for instance. It’s not something she’s comfortable doing in front of other people anymore, and she quit choir at the age of thirteen.

--» Domestic Chores || Her parents are busy people, of course, and so oftentimes, Valencia has been left to look after herself for part of the day, or even a weekend. To make this easier, her parents taught her how to cook, clean, do laundry, and these sorts of things. She’s pretty good at all of them, and has also done research on accomplishing all of them while camping, information she thinks would be good to know before she and Aria set out on their journey.

|: Q U I R K S :|
--» Vocabulary || Valencia is a very well-read young lady, and to some extent, her choice of vocabulary reflects this. She’s one of those people who tends to think extensively before she ever speaks, and so her sentences are usually elegantly-structured and precise, assuming she isn’t too nervous, at which point she’ll stumble awkwardly over her words and make a mess of things.

--» Celebrity Knowledge || It’s really pretty stupid, and she knows it is, but Valencia is secretly a fan of celebrities and idol singers and the like. She doesn’t like to gossip about them or anything, but she’ll read all the interviews with the people she likes for fun, to learn more about the people that create her favorite television shows, art, books, and other things. Because of her skill at remembering things, she is a veritable encyclopedia of random pop culture knowledge, and just happens to know things like who is dating who, what town someone is from, information about childhood hobbies, and so on and so forth. She’s afraid that this will be interpreted as weird or creepy, so she usually doesn’t let on that she knows anything about the subject.

--» Blank Face || Unless flustered somehow, Valencia is not a particularly expressive person, and big smiles, full laughter, scowls, and the like don’t come to her naturally. Her face is usually unreadable, and if she does show her feelings, it is in small, understated types of ways. This matches her body language, which is generally neat, carefully-contained, and demure rather than expansive or excitable. It can be hard to tell what she’s thinking because of this, and some people aren’t sure she even has feelings, though of course she does. She can feel very deeply, in fact—it just won’t always be easy to tell by looking at her.

|:P E R S O N A L I T Y:|
Circumspect; watchful and discreet; cautious, prudent.
Astute; of keen intellect or discernment; sagacious.

Truly, Valencia doesn’t seem like much at first. The mousy girl in the corner, with the low self-esteem to match it. She feels perpetually overshadowed by her much brighter and more vibrant best friend, but she isn’t jealous of Aria for this. Rather, she is simply glad to be her friend, and have the privilege of her company. Always rather bookish and intellectual, she has the secret ambition to build the world’s first completely comprehensive pokédex. Thoughtful, considerate, and kind, she often finds herself blind to her own virtues, but not to the extent of extreme self-deprecation.


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|:F A M I L Y:|
Harvey Destler; Father; Alive; Engineer
Fiona Destler; Mother; Alive; Engineer

|:H I S T O R Y
:|
There is no especially riveting or tragic story to tell about Valencia’s life up to the present moment. It has certainly not all been roses and sunshine, but her problems, such as they have been, have been the sort of commonplace, if unfortunate, troubles that some people are forced to face when confronting adolescence.

She was born sixteen summers ago, to Harvey and Fiona Destler. She is and always has been their only child, though she was not doted upon as some only children tend to be. Rather, her parents were often busy with their work—both are engineers in the employ of Silph Company, on the cutting edge of technological research. Silph has a small lab in New Bark Town now, but still they frequently travel to larger cities, for meetings, conferences, and access to more sophisticated equipment. In a sense, therefore, Valencia raised herself. Or she would have, had Aria not been part of her life.

The two have been friends since they were old enough for playdates, and when Val’s parents were away, she often stayed at the Bell residence, letting herself be dragged along on whatever adventure Aria had planned for the day. Brilliant even as a child, she often knew the plans would get them into trouble, but always went along with them anyway, because Aria found it all quite fun, and she liked seeing her friend happy.

Her parents, distant as they were, always pushed her for intellectual success, and if she was ever not at the top of her class for anything, she was sure to receive a lecture. She worked ridiculously hard to be the best at everything she tried, hoping that eventually she would gain both their approval and their attention. She has since accepted that she likely never will—nothing is good enough for them, and she has to deal with that.

Adolescence has thus far been a trying time for Valencia. She physically developed early and prominently, and was subject to a lot of teasing from her peers because of this and her shy, loner’s demeanor. Her self-esteem, already pretty bad, tanked shortly after she turned thirteen, and she’s never really recovered. While others bloomed in that period, growing into themselves and learning who they wanted to be, Valencia remained tightly-closed off, a bud yet withdrawn from the world.

Her hobbies, aside from those she engaged in with Aria, were generally solitary, and in this time, she developed a love for all things pokémon, and, strangely enough, all things celebrity. These were her escapes from the real world where she wasn’t enough, and allowed her to forget the pain of that for a while. Naturally, when Aria decided she wanted to go on a journey, Valencia agreed to go with her. Not to become a master—she wouldn’t want to compete with her friend, and would probably lose if she did—but to fill a pokédex, to do something that had never quite been managed before.

It won’t be enough to impress her parents, but maybe it will be enough for her own confidence to recover.





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So begins...

Valencia Destler's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Valencia Destler
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“And that’s all for this morning’s forecast. After the break, we’ll have an update on the mysterious disappearance of celebrity idol Ezra Grey…”

Valencia shut off the television, sighing slightly to herself as she unfolded her legs from underneath her, stretching them out with a gymnast’s grace before setting them softly down on the ground and propelling herself upwards. Today was the day. No more lazing around at home watching celebrity gossip shows. No more studying any time her parents were around, just in case they checked in on what she was doing. No more feeling relentless pressure to do everything perfectly. Today was it—the day she’d been waiting for her whole life.

At least, in one sense. The opportunity was definitely one she’d been looking to seize, but the exact form of it was more Aria’s doing than hers. Her best friend wanted to undertake a pokemon journey, something that these days people were only able to do once they reached the age of majority. Since Aria was a little older, they’d had to wait for Valencia’s birthday before they could go, something she’d felt a little bad about. Aria had been waiting forever and a day to go on hers; Val felt like she was only going so that she wouldn’t have to live without her best friend—her only friend and the only reason she hadn’t buckled at the knees from all the weight of her parents’ expectations.

She wandered down to the kitchen, bag in one hand and shoes in the other, setting the latter down on the floor as she double-checked that all her survival gear was in place. It would likely be a while before they hit any major patches of actual wilderness, but even the route between New Bark Town and Cherrygrove City took the better part of a day, and she wanted to be prepared in case of emergency. Aria probably wouldn’t be, and one of them had to take care of the practical things.

Pursing her lips, Val added a few more meal bars to her bag and cinched it closed. Her parents wouldn’t miss them. She doubted they’d even really miss her. Perhaps once in a while, when they actually came home to the empty house. Pushing her glasses up her nose, Valencia sighed at the bitter direction of her thoughts and resolved to ignore them. There were more important things to be concerned about today than the fact that they couldn’t even be bothered to stop home for once to see their only child off on her way. She knew they didn’t approve of her decision, but the empty silence of her house stung in a way that she had not expected it to.

Hefting the bag over her shoulder, Valencia decided that she’d swing by Aria’s house on her way to the pokemon laboratory. Knowing how disorganized Aria was, she was probably still running around and trying to pack last minute necessities, and even then she’d forget something. Val had even backed an extra of a few really important things, just in case. Her bag was a little heavier than she would have liked, but she was sure she’d get used to it.

Stepping outside of her house, she turned around to lock the door, pocketing the key. Her parents had duplicates, and she didn’t want to just leave it here, in case of theft. Aria’s house wasn’t far away—just a few more down the same street. They’d grown up together, and never had they been far apart. It seemed… right, that they would do this together.

Mounting the steps in front of her best friend’s home, Valencia raised her hand and rapped sharply three times, just to make sure she could be heard over any possible chaos inside.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Valencia Destler Character Portrait: Aria Bell
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“And now we will announce to you, live today, the new Pokemon Champion! Here she is folks, Aria Bell, gracing us with her presence all the way from New Bark Town!”

Aria stepped up to the podium gracefully, smiling and waving at the cameras and adoring fans gathered around her. They spanned back as far as her eyes could see and much farther. A cheeky grin sprang onto her face as she looked at all of them. She began to wave at them once more.

The fans began to scream and jump in a mob of excitement, all reaching for her, screaming her name over and over. “Aria! Aria! Aria!”


“Aria! Aria! Aria!!”

The honey blonde girl jolted awake to the sight of her mother and her trusty side-kick lickatongue. Her mother stared at her with annoyed and expectant eyes. The lickatongue tried to mimic her jutted hip and crossed arms, but it looked ridiculous with its large tongue sticking out from its mouth.

“Whu..? Whu’ddya want?” She mumbled and tucked her head in between her fluffy pillows, truly aghast her mother would wake her so early from such a wonderful dream.

Aria’s mother, Mia Bell, was usually a calm woman, but when you ticked her off, she was a force to be reckoned with. With all the grace of a swanna, she swooped up one of the pillows over Aria’s bushy blonde hair and smacked it back down with the strength of a Rhyperior. Aria cried and sat up. “Okay! What is it?” She whined.

Mia groaned at her imbecile daughter. The small girl had been fluttering about relentlessly the past week, or maybe more, about this specific day… And now, on the very day itself, she forgets. “Aria, do you remember what day it is?”

Aria’s face became a blank slate as she mulled over the possibilities of what event today could hold that would anger her mother. Not Christmas, too warm. Not her mothers birthday or mothers day. Not her fathers birthday or any day they would take lickatongue to a vet.

Thats when it hit her.

“Oh Arceus! I’m going to be late! Val is gunna be gone already!” She yelled as she stumbled out of bed, tripping over her sheets in the process. She jumped up and went to her dresser quickly. She had been too busy daydreaming last night to even pack. In a rush, her backpack was shoved full with the essentials of clothing, toiletries and some food, though she forgot the most important survival gear. Had her best friend Valencia not been so responsible since they were kids, Aria was sure to be dead by now.

Aria was caught in her scramble when a very familiar knock came to her front door. “I got it!” She yelled and ran downstairs. Three even knocks, not too loud, but enough to be heard. Valencia Destler; Aria’s best friend and life saver.

The blonde girl opened the door with a cheeky smile. She was a dishevelled mess, but luckily Val had seen her in much worse conditions than she was now; puffy hair, unwashed face, fluffy yellow pyjamas with little pikachu faces on it. Valencia on the other hand was prim and proper as usual. She was tall and pretty in her own shy way with a womanly figure to boot. Aria had always been a bit jealous of the girl. Even though she was younger, Aria was much smaller and less grown in certain areas. This jealousy did nothing to make Aria dislike Val in any way though, like she knew other girls had when they were younger. No, Valencia was like the yin to Aria’s yang. They needed one another.

“I’ll just be a few more minutes?” She smiled and ran back upstairs to change into her adventuring clothes. She knew Val got along with her mother, as Mia had always wanted such a gentle daughter. Valencia had basically been adopted into their little clan.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Valencia Destler Character Portrait: Aria Bell
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“If you say so.” Valencia just barely resisted the urge to roll her eyes at her best friend. She had no doubt that Aria could be ready to walk out the door in a few minutes, but whether she would be properly prepared to do so was another matter entirely. Still, she supposed that was why she’d bothered to pack so many extra things herself. At least it wouldn’t all be for naught.

And really, Val wouldn’t change Aria for the world. She was irresponsible, brash, reckless, and loud, but she was also effervescent and bright and warm and any number of other highly enviable traits. Taken together, the good in her far outweighed the less-desirable, and honestly, Valencia thought it outweighed the good in most other people too. There was no one quite like Aria.

“Please tell me you packed an extra toothbrush.” That was Mia, Aria’s mother, and she looked vaguely worried. Valencia smiled softly and nodded.

“As well as several other things. Don’t worry, Aunt Mia; we’ll be all right.” She supposed it wasn’t easy for any parent to send their child off into the world like this, at any age, especially not when that child was scatterbrained enough to occasionally forget to do important things like eat or sleep. Still, they were technically adults now, by the local standards, though Valencia had to admit she didn’t feel that much like one. Then again, she hadn’t felt like a child in a very long time, either.

This was what she was supposed to be doing; she knew it was. She felt lighter than she had in a long time, even with the anxiety of striking out on their own looming above her. There were risks in any such endeavor, of course, which was why ten years ago, the legal age for pokémon journeys was raised to sixteen. It just wasn’t safe enough to send elven-year-olds out like that anymore, or perhaps it never had been. She was almost certain that if it hadn’t been raised, she’d have still needed to wait this long to go, anyway. There was simply no chance her parents would have approved if the decision had been up to them.

Valencia made small talk with the woman she called aunt as Aria finished her preparations. She herself had elected to wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath a vest, and simple denims with her hiking shoes—it was nothing fancy, but as with all of her clothes, they were neat, clean, and suited to the occasion. She had little need to do anything with her hair, as it was too short to cause her much trouble one way or another, but she did have a headband and a bandanna packed in with her spare clothes and the like, so she was prepared even for that.

When Aria at last reappeared, Val nodded, her expression serene, reaching over to smooth one of the other girl’s hairs to lay more properly on her head. “All right. I’ll give you a moment, and then we can head to the professor’s.” She knew Aunt Mia would want to say goodbye, after all, and probably her uncle, too, wherever he was at the moment. Giving the older woman a hug herself, Valencia stepped back outside, and awaited Aria.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Valencia Destler Character Portrait: Aria Bell
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#, as written by Arrow-
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Aria came down from her room dressed in a long sleeved orange top and blue overalls that were nice and form fitting to her small body. Aria wasn’’t good with flawy clothing. She was rambunctious and loved to frolic about, but she would always get caught by branches and the like. On her feet she wore comfy purple hiking boots. She wasn't exactly a fashion forward girl, and that had never been her forte. She had grown up more as a tomboy than a girly girl. She climbed trees, rolled in the mud, got scratches and burns… She didn’t care so much. Valencia was the more feminine of the two, but even then, Val wasn’t pompous enough to be a ‘girly girl’.

When she came back down, she smiled softly at Val who brushed her bushy hair into place. She wasn’t sure where she would be without her. Val was like her sister, best friend, soul mate and so much more. Before Aria could thank her, Valencia excused her self with a, “All right. I’ll give you a moment, and then we can head to the professor’s.” Aria knew that the taller woman saw the appreciation in her eyes.

As soon as she was gone, Aria sprung herself at her mother, cuddling her closely. Mia smiled softly at her daughter, eyes tearful as she kissed the top of her head and smelt her hair that held the sent of trees and lavender. “I’m going to miss you baby.” She whispered softly. “You make sure you call me, and Valencia too… I’m going to miss my daughters.” Aria smiled tearfully. Wherever Aria was going, Valencia was sure to be there too, and Mia knew this. ”I’m going to miss you too Mama… But I will come back and make you and papa proud.” Mia wiped the tears from her eyes. “Alright, you better go say goodbye to your father.” Aria nodded and after a brief goodbye to her father, who had been half asleep due to late night house work, she was on her front steps.

She looked at Valencia with bright eyes and a smile. ”Well… Let’s go get our Pokemon!” It was a nerve-wracking event, and her whole body shivered and tingled at the thought of it.

New Bark Town was one of the smallest, if not the smallest town in Johto. Since recent expansion, up to six families could live in the peaceful little valley between all the trees. The town itself wasn’t big enough to have a school, so they were either homeschooled or took lessons online or from TV. Even some of the adults helped teach the younger kids all they could. In one corner of the town was the Pokemon Lab where, one day, Valencia would hopefully be working. It was the girls dream to become a professor and Aria had every hope set out for the girl. New Bark Town, in the end, was all Aria ever needed and no big city could have been better to grow up in… But now that she was older it was time for her to explore the world and find out what she truly wanted.

In a few steps they would be going into the Pokemon Laboratory to get their first Pokemon and take one solid step towards their futures.

New Bark Town; A town where the wind blows and tells of impending change.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Valencia Destler Character Portrait: Aria Bell
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Valencia smiled at Aria’s obvious nervousness. She supposed that it really was one of those events in a life that had the potential to change everything, but she personally was trying not to look at it that way. If she considered all the possibilities, her head would start to spin, and so she chose to take it one step at a time. Today, she would meet her very first pokémon, and make her very first completely independent foray out of the small town she’d lived in all her life. That was momentous enough—there was no need to look even further beyond that yet, else she might lose her nerve. Already it was a major thing. Much as her parents tended to suppress her, she knew that they also provided a stability that she would now be without. She would have to make due for herself in the world, and that was no simple task.

Btu there she was, getting ahead of herself. One step at a time. Taking a deep breath, Valencia slowed her natural stride to match Aria’s much shorter, lively one. It was something she did automatically by now, without really needing to think about it. Given the size of the town, it wasn’t long before they were outside the lab, run by Professor Birch, an aging fellow well into his seventies. He had a lot more assistants these days than he’d used to, but he was still one of the foremost authorities on pokémon, and still published new research quite frequently.

Valencia was a familiar face at the laboratory, and so she saw no need to show special deference about entering, merely pulling opening the door and holding it open for Aria behind her before leading them both to the back, where she knew the professor would be.

A kindly old man, Professor Birch had a white beard and wispy white hair, a pair of reading glasses perched on his nose. As they entered, he looked up and smiled. “Ah, I see you’re both finally here. A little late, no?” He didn’t seem to mean it as a criticism, more an amused comment than anything. Val smiled softly at him, nodding a bit.

“Sorry, Professor.” She made no mention of whose fault it was that they were late—she saw no need.

“Quite all right, my dear, quite all right. Let’s see here…” he glanced back and forth between them, then took one of the four pokéballs off his desk. “This one’s for you, Miss Destler. I know you said you wanted to study pokémon evolution, so I put in a request with an old friend of mine in Cerulean city. She arrived just yesterday.” Valencia accepted the ball with a grateful look; she knew what would be inside if he’d asked Bill about it. Still, the fact that he had was a pleasant surprise.

“Thank you so much, Professor Birch.” There was a note of something approaching reverence in her tone, and he chuckled slightly.

“You’re welcome. And for you, Miss Bell, I’ve assembled a selection.” He nodded at the three remaining balls. “We’ve got a Chikorita, a Horsea, and a Vulpix.”

Both the professor and Valencia lapsed into silence. This was, of course, an exceedingly important decision, and they didn’t want to inadvertently make it more difficult for Aria to make. Her decision was her own, and it had to be. However many pokémon a trainer encountered and worked with, one’s first was always special, somehow. A lifelong partner, for most trainers.

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Character Portrait: Valencia Destler Character Portrait: Aria Bell
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“… For you, Miss Bell, I’ve assembled a selection. We’ve got a Chikorita, a Horsea, and a Vulpix.”

Never had Aria been faced with a more difficult question, and of all people it was posed to her by the spritely old Professor Birch, who was well into his years. She wasn’t as close to the old man as Valencia was, but she had hung around her friend in the lab when the weather was rainy and she couldn’t go off to climb trees or scavenge through bushes. It was like a whole different atmosphere; calm, calculated and the tiniest bit cold. She stuck out like a sore thumb, but she did see the excitement to working in a lab, finding out new discoveries with Pokemon. That route just wasn’t for Aria. Instead, she was off to pursue becoming one of the few elite Pokemon Masters in Johto. They needed to build teams of Pokemon to battle, and had to do so in the smartest way they could… Thus her hesitancy now.

Chikorita would be a good choice as grass types were calmer and easier to work with; easier to train. Grass type Pokemon also seemed to evolve faster when they were trained. Aria watched a documentary that had stated it may be due to how they are always absorbing sun and taking in the earths presence… The downfall was that they seemed to gain strength slower than other types. Aria was uncertain she would be good with a grass Pokemon to begin… She was rambunctious and they were certainly more of the calmer type, though there was always exceptions.

Horsea was a water type, and for the longest time she had thought she wanted one, but now faced with the decision, she was unsure what to choose. Strategically, a Horsea was the worst choice, as they had a certain need for water to be taken care of. At the early stages of being a trainer, she was unsure she could take care of a Pokemon that well, as she was inexperienced. She planned on attaining a Horsea in the future, but not now…

Lastly, the Vulpix… When Aria thought about this Pokemon, she almost got shivers. Fire Pokemon were mystical and beautiful in a certain aspect, being able to call upon the heat within themselves to cast fire moves. A Vulpix would definitely be a great choice for a starter, and Aria was beginning to lean in that direction. A little canine like Pokemon she could easily carry and have fun training… Plus, she herself was much alike to fire types; sporadic and hyperactive.

Aria blew out a puff of hot air nervously and reached over to the Vulpix’ Pokeball. She rolled it about in her hand, trying out the size and feel of it. She had held them before, but never had it been for one she was to be a Partner with. The ball felt warm to the touch, reminding her of what was inside. She smiled softly and looked up at the Professor. “I think I want this one.” She murmured happily and stared at the Pokeball with growing excitement. She looked over at Valencia and a large grin split onto her face.

Vulpix, her very first Pokemon, and more importantly, her very first Partner.

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Valencia returned Aria’s grin with a much smaller smile; still, it was completely genuine. She was happy for her best friend—and for herself as well. This was an opportunity for the both of them, and it was finally beginning to feel real to her. The professor flashed a grin at both of them, standing from his desk.

“Very well then. Congratulations, both of you. One more thing before you go, Miss Destler.” He moved to a cabinet in his office, opening one of the drawers with a certain degree of solemnity. From it, he drew out a small device, slightly larger than Valencia’s hand, and a dark purple in color. “It came in a few days ago, but I thought I’d wait to give it to you until now.” Still smiling, he held the device out, and she took it from him, gasping slightly when she recognized it as a pokédex.

She’d thought they were usually red, but it would seem that the professor had hers customized. She’d wondered about the reason for his interest in her color preferences several weeks ago, when they’d had a conversation about it that had eventually turned into a discussion about art. Well, there was the evidence. Pursing her lips, she looked up at the man who’d been her mentor for several years, and on impulse, stepped forward several hurried paces and hugged him. She was careful about it, considering his age, but surprised when he returned the gesture. Theirs had never been that kind of close relationship, mostly because she didn’t really know how to form them, and people were generally reluctant to touch her because she was reluctant to touch them, or for some other reason she could not discern. But the truth was that if anyone was a grandparent to her, it would have to be him.

“There, there. You have no need to cry, dear.” He patted her back gently, and she realized she was crying, just a bit. Nobody aside from Aria’s family had ever thought of her this way before, had ever done something a little extra or special just for her. It was a bit overwhelming, actually, and a bit sad that she took it to be such an extraordinary gesture. But in a way, it was.

“I’m sorry,” she pulled away, clearing her throat and wiping the stray wet tracks on her face. “It’s just, um…” She wasn’t really an emotional person, so she wasn’t sure how to explain it or react to it. Fortunately, he seemed to understand, and patted her shoulder genially.

“I know. But you shouldn’t linger here for too long, you know. That pokédex needs filling! And I expect regular updates on your progress, so don’t forget to call now and then.” Valencia nodded, the overwhelmed feelings of a few moments ago fading back behind her practiced coolness, and she half-smiled and turned back to Aria.

“Well all right then. Let’s go; or we’ll never make Cherrygrove before nightfall.”

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Aria watched the display of affection with soft eyes. Valencia wasn’t quite the touchy-feely kind with anyone accept for her, her family and the professor. She couldn’t blame her though, Birch was a very nice man, and had been one of the key pieces in her growing up. Aria was glad she had someone like him who could fill an almost family like role in her life. Aria herself had never been that close to the professor though, as she just wasn’t into his kind of work and was rarely around unless it had something to do with Valencia. She didn’t mind though, she wasn’t the kind of girl who needed to have all the same connections that her best friend did as well.

Once the taller girl had finished and said her goodbyes, Aria waved to the professor and headed out of the lab with her. The road to route 29 was short, and before no time they were standing at the edge of the treelike that acted like a bridge between New Bark and their new life. She paused and took Valencia’s hand. This way, they would be connected when they started their journeys. “Here we go…” She whispered and pulled Valencia along with her onto the route.

Route 29 was basically all forrest and high ledges that one couldn’t possibly climb up unless they had a ladder. It was filled with grass and flowers and trees that were probably prime Pokemon territory. It would take the greater part of the day to walk to Cherrygrove, but Aria didn’t mind. Maybe they would spot something new and exciting along the way. Just as she thought that, overhead flew a large swarm of Butterfree and Vivillons. She gasped and pointed at them happily, catching Valencia’s attention.

Long ago, Pokemon were only found in very specific regions and a Vivillon would have never been seen in Johto. Safari workers, as well as breeders and professors all came together many years ago to start rehoming abused and injured Pokemon who had fallen out of their packs, into new homes across land. Soon enough all the regions were blooming with new Pokemon to see and no one could really keep track of how many species there really were. Now, it was what Valencia aimed to do, track down all the Pokemon, input their data into her Pokedex and research them. Aria was willing to help as well.

“How long do you think this will take? Walking across the whole Johto Region… I mean, some of the kids who left a year ago still haven’t come back. As far as I know they haven’t even reached Ecruteak City.” She murmured and looked at her friend. Valencia was just better at estimation of time and numbers…. and just math in general.

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Valencia had to admit, she would never have thought of taking her friend’s hand as they crossed the threshold into the new phase of their lives, but when Aria did, she thought it an excellent idea. They were beginning this together, and with any luck, they would end it the same way.

The question brought up an interesting consideration. Val had given the matter some thought, of course, but it really did depend on how they chose to go about things. “It depends, I think, on how long we stay in one place, to train or research. I suspect that if we walked constantly, only stopping to sleep, it would take the better part of nine months, but… less if we flew on pokémon that knew how, more if we stop for any reason, which I suppose we will.”

That was true enough. Pokédexes did not complete themselves, and Gym Badges took time and work to acquire. “My best guess is around a year, perhaps a year and a half, but… I really couldn’t say for sure.” There were too many variables to have a reliable estimate. Plus, she had tried not to think about all of it too much—one of the dangers of planning that far in advance was getting stuck in the same way of thinking, or feeling disappointed when you failed to do things that weren’t that realistic to begin with. She didn’t really want to get caught up in that.

“But the nice thing is that as soon as we get pokémon that can fly, you’ll be able to visit home whenever you want to.” She chose not to include herself in that, since she couldn’t really see herself wanting to go home anytime soon. Perhaps her feelings would change, but Valencia liked to think of herself as realistic, and so she wasn’t holding her breath on that.

The two spent the better part of the afternoon walking, the early autumn air cool on their faces. It wasn’t cold yet, though, and proved to be an excellent temperature for travel. Valencia was patient as Aria took the time to search the surrounding areas for wild pokémon, but they seemed to be somewhat scarce at the moment. A patch of waist-height grass loomed ahead, however, promising better chances at success.

“I can wait around for a while, if you want to have a look,” she offered with a small smile. It was something every new trainer was eager to try, after all, and she doubted Aria would be different in this respect. “Oh, that reminds me…” opening the flap of her back, Valencia moved a few other items aside and came back with two empty pokéballs in her hand. “These are for you. I figured you might need them, so I picked them up from the lab yesterday.”

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