The following morning, Serenity and Rose woke up much like any other day. Rubbing her eyes and looking around, the former noticed the rabbit by her side and gave a nudge, the later groaning and rising with a groggy sway. With a stretch upward of her arms, Serenity let out a yawn as Rose recalled the night before and flushed, her eyes widening before quickly looking down warily. Noticing the behavior, Serenity asked what the problem was, causing the rabbit to jolt and fidget. Glancing toward the suspicious companion by her side, Rose thought of how Serenity had clung to, and groped her after what she'd done. Using that as her excuse, she point out what the later did and told of how it made her embarrassed, causing Serenity to glance away and scratch her cheek with an apology. Explaining she went to bed agitated, she offered a theory about how it must have made her clingy in her sleep before waving her hand and assuring it wouldn't happen again, causing Rose to nod and agree while in her own mind thinking that what she'd done wouldn't be repeated a third time. Making her way out of the bed and looking around, Serenity muttered about how Chris hadn't come to bed, and likewise their slithering companion making the Pokemon scowl, her agitation from the night before returning. Pointing out how the two were still on the couch when she'd come up, Rose suggested the two had likely fallen asleep together downstairs, causing an envious Serenity to twitch an eye given how Alicia had already had so much of Chris's attention and now managed to sleep an entire night alone with him. Making her way to the door, Serenity asked the rabbit if she was going to follow, getting a quick nod before Rose crawled off the bed and made her way out as well.
Heading down the stairs, the two were greeted by the sight of Chris and Alicia, the both of them sound asleep and snoring together as his head lay back on the rear of the sofa while the snakes head dangled off the arm of the couch. Showing a second scowl, Serenity was about to snap the two from their slumber when the sound of his Pokedex ringing chimed into the moment, shaking on the floor as it vibrated in unison with the noise. Failing to wake the two, Serenity rolled her eyes with a sigh and went for the device instead, picking it up and looking at the number displayed. Though she didn't know their meaning, she held the device toward Chris's ear, thinking it'd wake him as Rose approached as well. Pointing out how deep in slumber he was, the rabbit blinked in surprise until he finally winced and let out a groggy groan, stirring slightly before his eyes slightly, a barely conscious glaze over them as he let out a tired "wha...?" in response to the ringing in his ear. Beginning to raise his head several inches, as Serenity backed away and Chris let out a yawn of his own, the group heard a sudden knocking at the door, one that wasn't invasive or threatening, but was still firm and loud nonetheless to call their attention. Jolting from the noise, Serenity and Rose turned to the door as the former took a defensive stance, seeing figures standing via their shapes through the curtains as the sunlight shone through. Standing in silence for a moment, the figures pounded on the door again, this time harder with a more firm intent to call attention. In her hand, Serenity nearly dropped the Pokedex at it began ringing and vibrating a second time, making the Pokemon panic as she reached out and gave Chris a shake, sternly calling his name.
Coming to all the more, he let out a bewildered and repeated "eh?" noise before suddenly hearing the next round of knocking at the door himself, the figures outside suddenly calling out his last name making his conscious snap to. Panicking in response to all the commotion, he reached out and fumbled trying to take his device from Serenity, looking at the number ringing away for a third time before looking toward the door as his nae was repeated. On top of him, Alicia began to stir as well, letting out noises of her own half-conscious confusion as he tried to shoot up, only for the snakes weight to pin him down. Asking for aid, Chris had Serenity lift Alicia off his lap with her Psychic abilities, the sudden movement making the snake come-to herself and flail about, finding herself in mid-air as Chris hurried from the sofa toward the door, adjusting his clothes while struggling to manage both, the noise at their door and his blaring Pokedex as he asked who it was. Looking at his device, he answered with a nervous "H-Hello...?" as the figures outside revealed they were agents from the Yule House, making him quickly open the door as the Mayor shout for him on his device, asking where he was and pointing out the group was starting to run late. Looking at the time on the Pokedex, the realization of having overslept hammered into Chris's mind as he motioned for the agents to wait, assuring he'd be along shortly as he ran past the girls, rushing upstairs making Serenity turn and watch, releasing Alicia from her ability in the process causing the snake to crash on the floor before the sofa with a panicked shout, groaning from the impact as Rose let out a quiet "whoopsie..." from their tardiness. Looking at the two agents at the door, a man and a woman, the rabbit waved with a nervous smile, getting a slight nod from the two in response, their eyes shielded by shades.
Hearing him making noise above their heads, the girls looked at the ceiling as Chris rushed about in the bedroom. After several minutes, he finally returned without a top on, having hurried back in a new pair of pants while holding a fresh shirt and his coat in his hands as he made his way to the bathroom, assuring the agents he only needed to wash his hair as the girls looked at one another. Pointing out rarely seeing him in such a flustered frenzy, Alicia shook her head when Chris tripped over his feet and stumbled into the bathroom, closing the door before the sound of the sink pouring water echoed toward them. Once he was ready, Chris hurried back out while donning his coat, pulling it on his arms as his Pokedex rang again. Answering and assuring he was on his way, he turned his attention to the girls and asked if they were ready to go, causing them to look at one another and point out they had yet to even eat, let alone make other preparations. With the Mayor hurrying him over the line and the agents growing impatient at the door, Chris hurried into the kitchen and returned with what scarce remnants of leftovers they had from the night before, apologizing to the group before insisting they had to leave as the Mayor point out the press was already organized and ready to meet on his device. Repeating that they were on his way, Chris coaxed the girls out the door after helping Alicia don her collar and locked the cabin behind them before making way toward the garage, opening it and allowing the girls to take their places on and inside the carriage as he readied Rapidash for their trip back to the Yule House, the agents that had been sent to retrieve them entering a black limo type of vehicle while pointing out they would lead them to their destination as to avoid being any later.
Giving the startled stallion an apology for the sudden excitement, Chris gave Rapidash the order to begin pulling them along, with the Pokemon slumping and letting out a sound like that of a groan from such an abrupt start to his day. Nonetheless, he began his task as requested and followed the vehicle before them at a brisk pace, trotting forward until they reached the streets, causing the agents within the vehicle to turn on its flashing lights.making their way along, the crisp air wafting by helped wipe away what fatigue the group still from their eyes, the girls munching on the scraps they were given as they went through block after block. Eventually reaching the plaza and likewise the center of the city's festivities, other agents from the Yule House had already insured the circular path surrounding the border of the area was clear for passage, motioning for them to proceed while at the same time clearing stragglers trying to move their merchandise away. Heading around the plaza, they made their turn-off along the street that led to the Yule House itself, beginning to find media vehicles lining both sides of the street before arriving at the plaza between the Yule House and the Capitol Building, filled with all the more vehicles engulfing the area. With a space reserved for them, the limo parked along the curb while the group halted their carriage behind, looking around as Chris thought of how many people could have came from each vehicle, making him tug at his collar as the agents stepped out of their vehicle and approached. Assuring the group they would be protected along their walk to the House, it was a statement that had Serenity raising an eyebrow, asking "What that mean?" in an agitated tone.
Pointing out the enthusiasm of those waiting to meet the group, the agent affirmed it was normal procedure for such events, especially given the amount ready to see them as security from the entrance gate approached and waited. Making their way down, Chris then helped Alicia out of the carriage before stepping away and finding those who'd been waiting already surrounding them like a wall, making Serenity all the more agitated while Rose inched behind Chris in a wary manner. "Th-This makes it seem dangerous..." she muttered. "I not like being crowded. We handle selves just fine. Anyone get close I take care of without help." Serenity assured. "Lets just... Remember to keep it low-key." Chris reminded with a nervous smile. Looking at him with a raised eyebrow, the Pokemon thought back on the speech he'd given her at the pizzeria before lowering her head and taking a breath. "If say so..." she agreed, looking around at the security before they began making their way toward the Yule House, with Chris carrying his staff in hand as Rose kept a grip on his coat for reassurance. Getting ever closer to the structure itself, there wasn't a reporter to be seen until they finally entered the building, after which they were startled by a swarm of men and women who'd been struggling with staff in waiting. Trying to steer them all into the press room, what was already to little avail was made pointless as they took notice of the group and became all the more energized, making the security surrounding them tighten together and work to resist everyone who wanted to be the first to get a word out of those they'd waited for. Clinging to Chris all the tighter, the riled crowd made Rose tremble at the knees as their heckling voices were made all the louder by her sensitive hearing.
Struggling to clear a path, the security around them were able to inch the group along nonetheless, with Chris having to squeeze Serenity's hand as her eye twitched and the Pokemon struggled to resist retaliation against those trying to pressure their way into speaking with them. Having mics and cameras pushed toward them between the security didn't help either, though much to her relief Alicia was out of the way of having the objects shoved in her face thanks to her height, a benefit she couldn't help but smirk about until the flashing of cameras began, many pointed up at her making the snake jolt wide eyed and attempt to shake off the dots in her vision, only to be met with more flashes forcing her to lower her head into the swarm of mics and lenses crowding the others, a situation akin to the lesser of two evil's. With reporters filling the lobby and the halls they traveled, it was akin to pushing a needle through a hole already far too small to fit, though somehow the security managed to get them to Holly's office, the group essentially popping in like a cork from a bottle as they stumbled forward together leaving the security to fight back the crowd and work to close the straining doors behind them. Even with the doors securely shut and locked, it did little to stop the excited outlets from getting as much content as they could, with much of the crowd surrounding the windows of the office further tormenting them with camera flashes as Holly sat at her desk, resting her chin atop her hands with her own eyebrow twitching until letting out a profane "Shut the damned curtains!!" order to her own guards, making the two jump and quickly do as ordered as she reached out and, albeit in a shaky manner, tilt a bottle of alcohol into a shot glass.
Taking a moment to give Chris a stern glare, the Mayor tilt her head back and took the shot in a single swallow before hitting the glass on her desk, making the group jolt as her teeth grit. "Three... Hours..." she growled, making Chris tug at his collar warily. "For THREE... Hours..." she repeat, keeping her face lowered. "We had everything set up... Everyone calmly did as told... The room was ready, the press organized, everything was just as planned..." Holly continued before slowly rising. "And then... Lo and behold, the most important cog in the system had to turn up MISSING!!!" she snapped, glaring at Chris again with her hands smacked down on her desk. "We went through all the work to set this up... I went through all the work!" she emphasized. "And what happens? Ten minutes pass. A half hour, then two hours... Do you have ANY idea what my staff has gone through trying to contain all these people?! They're ready to destroy my home... Hell, possibly the CITY to reach YOU!!" the Mayor frustratingly lectured. "It has taken every ounce of manpower we could muster to keep them contained!! Do you have ANY idea what could happen if all those people and vehicles out there rushed my city?!" she went on. "I-I think I get it... You're a sadist. You actually LIKE doing this to people." Holly laughed and slumped in an exhausted manner, plopping back onto her chair. "I've dealt with the press for years... I've dealt with issues you wouldn't even want to discuss. But this... Hoo ho ho. This takes the cake." she point out. "These bastards are ready to go through hell itself to get to you... My God." she groaned, rubbing her temples. "Look... I apologize... But you've REALLY put us through hell being late." the Mayor sighed.
"Told you should have let me take care of... Even Mayor human not stand them." Serenity point out. "I dunno if this is a good idea anymore if they're like THAT out there..." Rose added. "My word, a bit of patience shouldn't drive anyone that mad." Alicia chimed in. "W-Would saying we're sorry help any?" Chris laughed nervously. "I kind of let time slip past me... I was up all night practicing for today and uh... Well... We were all a little late to bed. And with, er... Everything that happened..." he added, clearing his throat with another tug of his collar as Holly gave him another stern look. "Yes... I know..." she assured, referring to the fight in the city. "I-I promise I'll make up for it though!! S-Somehow...?" Chris smiled warily with sweat showing on his face. "You can make up for it by dealing with these people about to destroy my home." Holly scowled, waving her hand so her guards would open the blinds again, causing the endless flashes to return from the media as countless people knocked on the window and shout for the group through the glass. "R-Right. Will do." Chris assured as the group shielded their eyes from the lights. Turning back to the door, he asked if they could get everyone back to the Press Room to get the meeting started, only for Holly to look at him and raise her hand. "Just a moment." she insisted, making the group pause as she point toward a nearby door. "In that room... I went out of my way to find you something a bit more suitable to wear for this. It's on a manikin... Put it on." she instructed, making Chris blink in response. "For me...? You didn't need to. Isn't this... Okay?" he asked, looking himself over. "Would you rather look like a typical bum or would you prefer to look like a man who went all out to impress and improve the perception of those watching?" Holly scowled, catching the group by surprise before giving another apology.
"I-It's frustration talking..." she assured. "I put in the effort to pick it out for you. I'd just appreciate if you gave the outfit a try." the Mayor point out. "Well... Guess looking good for this kinda thing is important..." Chris nodded. Heading to the door as told, he instructed the girls to wait while he entered and changed into the outfit waiting in the next room, leaving them to remain in Holly's office as reporters could be heard going on about how they had finally arrived and everyone was now waiting to begin the event. After a moment, Chris finally returned donning the new suit that had been chosen, one featuring various patterns of blue and purple, with a string of gold across the chest of the outfit that gave him a regal, somewhat judicial type of look as he pulled on a pair of brown gloves that came with it, looking his hands as well as the rest of himself over while the girls approached and gave him an inspection of their own. "It not bad..." Serenity admit. "Interesting how you look so well in what others pick for you... Makes one feel like giving you a new look of their own choosing." Alicia smirked. "Awful fancy looking." Rose point out as Holly stood and approached, examining him herself. "Had to guess the size... Feel alright?" she asked. "Actually... Yeah, not bad." Chris nodded. "I worked in retail for years, after so long, some people can start figuring out the size a person wears pretty well by close enough inspection." the Mayor revealed before they heard a commotion outside as staff began herding the reporters back to where they're meant to wait, the group watching them slowly inch along among one another. "Once they're under control again you need to get out there. I don't think anyone can handle a second onslaught from those people." Holly warned.
"I wouldn't want to put anyone through it either... I'm real sorry about being so late." Chris apologized. "You just worry about taking care of them. Do that, and we're even." Holly affirmed. Nodding in response, after several minutes security came through the entrance doors, assuring everything had settled and the media was ready to meet with the group. Reminding it wouldn't take long for them to get excited again, they asked the group to hurry along to the Press Room while the situation was maintained. Nodding, Chris and the others followed while Holly put a hand on his shoulder, giving a "good luck" comment as she and her guards followed behind. "It's an impressive number of people... I'll enter with an opening statement first to give you a chance to breathe and get your thoughts together. Is there anything you'd like me to tell them? Some form of questioning you want avoided?" she asked. "I... Don't think so... Hopefully we'll do fine." Chris smiled nervously. "If you tell them something's off the table, they'll be that more desperate to grab for it anyways." he point out, getting a "true" response and a nod from the Mayor as they neared their destination. Once they were at the rear door of the Press Room, one of the agents opened it to show a curtain along their path, followed by a podium on a stage while the sound of their swarm of reporters within chattered and echoed. Nodding back at the group, Holly entered first while they remained behind the curtain, the Mayor calling for everyone's attention before giving them a speech revolving the typical thanks for them coming to the event and apologizing for their wait. Setting his staff aside and reaching into a pocket of his new suit, Chris took a moment to don the medal given to him by Rostron.
Suddenly, the anthem for the Arcticu region began playing making the group jolt as Holly waved to the crowd and gave her final thanks before leaving the stage and returning, affirming the time had come as Chris nodded with a "Here we go..." response. Taking a breath, he straightened himself as Rose clung to his vest, letting out a wary sound while Alicia held her head high and Serenity shrugged with a "Get over with" remark. Finally stepping forward, Chris and the girls made their way out from behind the curtain as he waved at the crowd, cameras going off once more while he approached the podium, running his hand along it before slowly stepping up behind and looking at everyone before him, the sight making him stiffen as Rose's legs wobbled as she peeked out from behind him. Keeping her head high and eyes closed, Alicia maintained a regal appearance while Serenity winced and growled from all the cameras. Going through a momentary bout of stage fright, Chris was finally able to set his staff against the podium and raise his hands, giving a "C-Cameras, please" remark into the mic which in turn made the crowd finally cease their onslaught of flashes. "Th-Thank you." he nodded, lowering his hands and gripping the podium. "Ladies and, er, gentlemen. Thanks for... Coming here, today. I ask that you b-bare with me during this event. I'm uh, not exactly used to this sort of thing, so... I'll do my best, and as things progress, I just ask for a little patience. Y-You've already shown plenty of that though! I apologize for the tardiness but... I'll do everything I can to answer anything you want to ask, that's a promise on my part." he nodded, glancing toward Holly as she gave a nod from behind the curtain, security on standby alongside her.
Returning his focus to the crowd, Chris then gave an "I-I'll take your questions now. Hands, please?" he smiled warily before nearly everyone who wasn't holding a camera raised in response, many calling his last name as he blinked in surprise. "Y-You there in the front, the blue suit... R-Red tie." he point out, signalling a woman. "Thank you!" she replied, making sure her aid was recording. "Our audience wants to know. What went through your mind on the Guardian when you took it upon yourself to incriminate the CEO of Platinum Star and his co-workers? Do you feel like citizens have a right to take the law into their own hands? And do you feel how you did so was too violent, thinking back? Is that how the law should be handled?" she asked, tossing hard balls off the bat causing Chris to show a look of surprise before looking down for a moment. "Well..." he hesitated, thinking his words over before taking a breath and returning his focus to the reporter. "What went through my mind..." he paused. "Fear... Regret... Self loathing... But at the same time, excitement... In a moment like that, your adrenaline just kind of kicks in. You feel so many negative things at once, you hate what you're doing, hate yourself for it... Your body does what it has to do in order to help you through something, even if it's what you really don't want to do." Chris began. "For your second question... No." he shook his head, causing a sudden round of flashes as reporters jot down his response. "And... Yes..." he admitted, causing all of them to freeze and look at him silently, Holly raising an eyebrow as she stood with arms crossed, the girls giving him curious looks as well. "I believe we have law enforcement for a reason. The men and women who serve, it's what they're here for. It's what they do." he affirmed.
"It's not our right to attack anyone, for any reason. We have systems, processes, so we can be the civilized society we know we can be. That we have a responsibility to be. Fighting evil with evil... Hate with hate... Violence with violence... That's something that only leads to an endless cycle of pain for everyone involved, I think." Chris went on. "We don't have a responsibility to assault people... But we do have a responsibility to help the law by making reports on wrongdoings. There's also a thing called a community arrest that's kind of in a grey area... I guess that's the angle I was going for but... Carried too far in the end." he confessed, looking over the crowd. "The men who I took it upon myself to... Expose, we'll put it that way..." he paused, looking down as he thought over more words. "Not everyone in their families played any part in it, I'm sure many, maybe even most were unaware of what was going on... But for one hundred years, they'd used Platinum Stars to set up cruises they could make a fortune from. And not through any legitimate services, but through phony insurance frauds. And sadly, at the cost of who knows how many lives over the span of those many years since their families acquired the company." Chris point out. "It wasn't an inheritance of a business, but of blood that slipped between their hands as time went on." he stressed. "I... Took the actions I did because these people had all the cards in their deck to continue committing the same crimes without end. When you really think about it, for, again, one HUNDRED years, these people destroyed, and likewise killed to reap a fortune, and throughout that time-frame not one single charge was brought against them." Chris explained.
"If there were any, they were dropped, or settled out of court. And so, it was a moment where I balanced the risks of what I did, and decided even if it was at my expense, what I did was worth it to prevent anyone else from being needlessly killed, just so those people could make another fortune." he went on. "So... To give you a better answer... We don't have a right to take the law in our hands by killing anyone... But we do have a responsibility to help make the truth clear when we're certain we have the proof, the evidence to back ourselves. If we're always afraid of the consequences of taking action, then the suffering of others might as well be on our own hands. For instance, think of people like Marvin Luror... He took it upon himself to stand up to entire races, the entire government of his time for the sake of others, and thanks to him, millions, billions even benefited from his efforts by having a more free, peaceful, and equal future... Maybe what I did was more violent in that moment than how he did things, but think of all the people who found peace, who found justice from what I did. Who can now live with the truth out, and know that nobody else will suffer at the hands of those men and their descendants in the future." he argued. "And please remember this... I knew when to stop. I only wanted confessions, and after they were given, I turned the situation over to law enforcement, and likewise turned myself over to them." Chris reminded. "...Think of how personally their deeds could have affected you. As my own question, a show of hands, who still have parents alive today?" he asked, the reporters looking at one another as many raised in response. "Alright then..." Chris nodded.
"Many elderly citizens love spending their retirement seeing the world. Going on road trips, and likewise... Cruises... With that thought in mind, what, or who, was stopping them from getting on a Platinum Star cruise, with the people who are now in jail in charge? What, or who, was stopping them from being murdered so those people could profit off the death of YOUR loved ones...?" he point out, causing wary expressions in turn as he made it a more personal issue. "What I did on that cruise... Might have even saved the lives of YOUR family members, your friends... I ask everyone to keep that in mind when thinking about what I did, and why." he nodded. "To finish your questions, I do think it was extreme... At the same time I didn't want to give them the chance to cover things up, so I admit I took more upon myself than I should have... Believe it or not, I spent a lot of time sick to my stomach after what I did. I hated myself for it... Please believe me when I say actions like that really aren't a part of my nature. I do regret WHAT I did... But not WHY it was that I did it. Finally... No... I think it's our responsibility to avoid physical responses as much as possible." Chris shook his head, finishing with her questions before pointing out another reporter, a man donning a black suit and blue tie, getting thanks in response. "Mr. Nakazaki, just now you spoke of Marvin Luror... Would you mind telling us where you stand on such social issues?" the man asked. "Huh... Well that's an easy one." Chris smiled in a bit of relief. "I don't really think anyone is above anyone else... Be it race, or gender." he affirmed. "Or... Well... Even species." he added, looking at the girls with a smirk, getting smiles back in turn.
"When it comes to issues with society... I don't believe in calling anything a men, or women's issue. I don't believe in calling things a black or white issue, but rather... A people issue, a human issue... I think when we give problems a label attached to specific folks, it causes others to think it's not their problem in turn. And when we focus on a specific race or gender too strongly, it can make others feel ignored, unimportant... I think that helps breed animosity between folks." Chris explained. "I think it's up to all of us to help each other equally... Our focus shouldn't be about WHO has the issues, but WHY there are issues to begin with, and by that token, work together to resolve them." he nodded. "No matter what color of skin you have, what gender you are, it's the unhappiness I think is key, not who it is with that unhappiness. I don't believe in labels when it comes to the suffering of people, but the fact there's suffering at all. We're all living beings, we all have hearts, the same blood, we have the same emotions, same tears... We all deserve the same freedom and opportunities in this world." he affirmed. "It doesn't matter the race or gender of the people suffering... It's the fact that people suffer period, and it's up to all of us to resolve that without labels, and to remind ourselves it's not anyone's problem in particular, but it's an issue for all of us to fix, together... Hand in hand regardless of who's hand we're holding." he finished, raising a fist proudly while Holly nodded in a "not bad..." manner. "Next question... Y-You, over there." Chris added, pointing at another reporter in a more confident manner. "You're in your... Mid 20's at this point, correct? Most have their journeys at a much younger age... Could you explain why you waited until this point to travel?" he asked.
"Ah... Well, okay then." Chris smiled with a nod. "I uh... Don't think there's any specific age a person has to be in order to travel. In my case, I waited until now because I had a responsibility toward everyone who raised me, to take care of them. A long time ago, my parents had to..." he paused, looking down for a moment before looking over the crowd again. "When I was real little, my folks gave custody of me to my gramps and a bunch of his friends in this village down south. They felt he and the others would be more capable of preparing me for what life would have in store, so... In return for them taking responsibility for my upbringing, I did all I could for them in turn." he explained. "Shortly before I left, my gramps passed away." he revealed, taking his staff in hand and holding out the end with the Pokeball attached. "Right in here is where his ashes were placed, in the Pokeball that belonged to his own first Pokemon from his days on the trail. So now, I take him with me everywhere I go. When he left us, the other elders insisted I leave... They wanted me to live a little on my own, see a bit of the world, so... That's when, how and why my journey began." Chris nodded, putting his staff back against the podium before selecting another reporter. "You've already obtained three of this regions badges... Are you on your way to becoming the champion?" she asked. "Me...?" Chris replied, pointing at himself in surprise. "Well... I don't know. That's a hard one to answer." he confessed. "Starting out, I thought about going that route. But as time went on and I met the girls, going to gyms and all kind of took on a different meaning, a different purpose... I personally don't have any intentions of doing that anymore." he explained.
"The gyms we went to, each battle was for their sake. To help them grow, overcome things... The only difference being the gym back in Millennium, where the girls fought to protect me instead... I guess if fate has that in store, it's possible someday, but I don't have any real intentions of reaching the top. I just wanna reach the next destination and see the world. Whatever happens along the way is just meant to be, I guess." he shrugged before letting another reporter speak, this time asking where the group would go after the festival. Thinking it over, Chris responded with "not sure", pointing out they decide things day-by-day and not so much ahead of time. "Really we just kind of go with the wind... Or the voice in our heads, so to speak." he added, subtly referring to Ninetales while pointing out someone else. "On that note, about your travels... We have countless reports and recorded proof that you have remarkable... Powers... How exactly did you come to have them?" the man asked. "Guess everyone's curious about that one." Chris replied, scratching his cheek. "Also, what do you have to say to people who are afraid of you? Is it justified? What determines how and when you use it?" another asked, butting in on the question, drawing his attention in two different directions. "W-Well, uh..." Chris muttered, scratching his cheek with slight sweat showing. "For the first question... A long time ago, while he was still traveling with his own Pokemon, my grandfather crossed paths with a Ninetales that was caught off guard by a hunter. I don't know who that hunter was, but he cornered them near a cliff." he began. "Funny story, it seems cliff problems run in the family." he laughed nervously, looking at the girls.
"Anyway, the man hunting Ninetales blew her off the cliff trying to capture her. In order to save her, my grandfather was able to catch her by grabbing hold of her tails. In the end, he managed to ward off the hunter, from my knowledge, but... Even though he did it to save Ninetales, my grandfather still grabbed her by the tails." Chris affirmed. "And so, as-is in line with their legend, she placed a curse for doing so... Because he grabbed her tails in order to save her life, Ninetales cursed his descendant to spend his life helping and saving others in turn." he revealed. "As you can tell, I was the one the curse affected... Back when I was a child, I was strongly compelled to help Pokemon in particular. It was... As though I literally couldn't help it. Because of this, there were many times I was injured, and because of that, my parents grew more and more concerned, and likewise began... Arguing... More and more, about my well-being." Chris continued as the girls looked at him. "Eventually, it's as I said, they gave custody of me to my grandfather and his friends, who knew what was happening to me and had prepared for it. I guess at some point Ninetales must have told my gramps, that part of the story isn't something I know much about though." he confessed with slight sweat showing. "For many years, I always felt compelled to help folks. It was like there was a radar in my head telling me... "Go here... Go there... You're needed..." basically. I spent a lot of time helping and raising Pokemon around the village I grew up in, and likewise helping the elders looking out for me. Most of the Pokemon there now were brought and taken care of by yours truly over the years." he smiled. "And uh... And then the journey I'm on now started." Chris point out.
"Along the way, I met Serenity and Alicia here, the Gardevoir and Serperior, respectively." he noted, both nodding in response. "As many of you should already know, but for those out there who don't, we were attacked just as we reached Millennium City, the night before getting to its border. A pack of Houndoom, and their leader who'd somehow Mega Evolved, tried to kill these two, and sent me flying in the process. In order to save them, almost as if I went back in time and replaced my grandfather, I had to jump from a cliff, catching them both and taking on the brunt of the fall with my own body. I could have died that night but... Ninetales came to my rescue." he revealed, showing a smile while looking down before facing the reporters again. "It turns out, when I was chosen for the curse at birth, Ninetales put a part of herself inside of me. Something like... Half of her soul, I guess. When she stepped up to save my life, using her powers on me to do so, something changed, and from then on, I started being able to use her abilities, kind of like a missing piece of a puzzle was put in place." Chris tried to explain. "I guess, in a way, I'm kind of half human, half Pokemon, like a missing link." he laughed nervously, scratching his cheek, watching as reporters busily jot down what he'd said while giving them a chance to catch up on everything, cameras getting pictures making him raise a hand and wave. "Is uh, everyone ready for me to go on?" he asked, looking at the crowd as though it was a class, noticing them halting their writing until they were watching him again, nodding as he cleared his throat. In response to this, a member of the staff brought a small pitcher of water and a glass, setting it on the podium. Giving his thanks, Chris poured himself a drink and sighed in relief.
"For the people that are afraid of me..." he paused, taking a moment to think his words over once more. "...I want to say I understand your fears. You have rights, and... Reasons... To be afraid." he admit with a nod. "It's a fear that, believe it or not, I share toward myself. I've used my powers to do great things for people, and yet, at the same time, I admit I haven't been the best at controlling them. As many know, and have seen, and for those who don't, or haven't... Back in the city, Millennium that is, I did lose control against the trainer that had abused Rose, the Lopunny here by my side..." he point out, causing her ears to droop. "That was the first real instance of the powers I have coming to light. Then, there were two instances at sea, one at the bottom of the ocean during a fight, and another in a second fight that followed with Gyarados that had tried to kill us... I'll confess to letting what I can do slip out. But... I want people as a whole to know that I'd never use the abilities I have on the innocent." he assured. "I love being around others. I don't have any ill will toward anyone. I swear to you, it's not in my nature to hurt folks. The times I have... It's only been for the most extreme of circumstances, and I hope what has been covered by the media proves that. For everyone out there, for the people in this city... Please feel assured that I have no intention of harming anyone. I was given these powers to help people, to make wrongs right, to benefit people and Pokemon alike... I just hope the good I've done can, somehow, bring peace to the minds of any and all who fear me." Chris affirmed, lowering his head in a slight bow. "I'll never lay a hand on innocent people... Well, asides from a handshake maybe." he added, raising his head with a smile.
"I... Might seem scary sometimes... I'm not a monster though, and if nothing else, my priority is to prove that, if folks just... Open up a little, and give me the chance to do so." he nodded. "For instance... Many, especially in this city, saw how I was able to help that little girl, and... I did that without even using any powers. I hope that works as a testament to the fact that I don't just use my abilities to solve all the problems that come peoples way." he reminded. "The thing that decides whether I use the powers I've been given really just depends on the severity of the situation. I mean... If it was a choice between someone dying or not, of course. Luckily for that guy who tried to kidnap the kid, it didn't come to that... Though uh, I guess that may sound contradictory to my previous statements..." Chris admit. "...Even if a part of me is more like a Pokemon now, most of me is still human, and as such I'll make mistakes, as most, if not all of us do at some point... I just ask for the same patience and forgiveness is all that we, likewise, give fellow people. I do mean what I said about where we stand and what our responsibilities are, how we shouldn't harm others, and I do my best to practice what I preach." he finished, unsure of how the masses would react to his opinions given it was true that he'd gone against his morals several times, helping himself to another drink of water. Looking at the crowd, Chris could tell there were skeptics among them, causing him to tug his collar slightly until a hand suddenly raised from the midst of the reporters. "Pardon, but I actually have a range of questions pertaining, not so much to you, but those by your side... Mind if I take over for a moment?" the owner of the hand asked, a feminine voice coming from a woman topped with blonde hair, hidden by the shadow of her bangs and a pair of shades combined as the journalists looked back and moved aside.
"A-Ah... Sure...? I don't mind... I kind of have all day so everyone has plenty of time." Chris nodded as the woman approached as though strutting down a runway, donning a peculiar outfit who turned out to be accompanied by a woman in a purple sweater of sorts, walking in a much more reserved manner and having donned a pair of shades herself. "Let me start off by saying I can... Relate... To your circumstances with the Ninetales you spoke of." the blonde woman point out. "At one point, I was merged with a Pokemon myself, though it wasn't one of this world. It even affected my mind in a similar manner to what's happening with your own... So know I understand your situation." she nodded. "When you're bound to a Pokemon, many things can happen. Some intentional and expected, other things not so much... I'd wager both you and the Ninetales have come to notice that?" she asked, causing Chris to blink in surprise and nod. "Y-Yeah... Who...?" he began to ask, only for the woman to put her hand up and shake her head. "Unimportant... More-so is the Ninetales issue, and the Pokemon you have there... While most here have you in their sights, I'm much more intrigued by other matters." she affirmed, looking at the girls with a smile. "I own a business that makes it a... Priority... To keep an eye on as many Pokemon related issues as possible, so naturally given how all over the place you've been in the media, my curiosity has peaked greatly. You there... Serenity, was it?" the woman called out, standing with her hand on her hip while Serenity took the same stance, scowling with a "Yeah?" and a raised eyebrow in response, the reporters blinking in surprise. "Oh come now, it's telepathy... Are you amateurs?" the blonde woman asked, glancing back in agitation as the crowd looked at one another and prepared to take notes.
"You my darling have some impressive capabilities... I find the concept of a Shadow Hybrid fascinating to say the least. The original Shadow projects in the Orre Region sickened me to death, and we play a big part in healing the damage done to Pokemon there to this day. You however... Made the conscious decision to fall into that state, and then you were freed from it before it was too late with the help of another... I share a similar story with you as well. My heart pours out to you sweetie, truly it does." the woman assured with her arms open, causing Serenity to wince an uncomfortable eye with a drawn out "O-oka-ay..." in response. "Why I always get weird ones...?" she whispered toward Chris, leaning closer to him while doing so, causing him to shrug and shake his head with his hands up slightly. "Knowing how I feel for you, I hope you will indulge me a bit. And that goes for the rest of you lovely Pokemon as well. I'll start with a simple question or two, and go from there... After all, surely it doesn't seem fair to focus on one person when so many are on stage before us?" the woman paused, crossing her arms. "Starting with you, Serenity... This goes in line with what I was just talking about." she affirmed. "By now, many know you have a bit of Shadow Pokemon in you. Somehow, you've managed to maintain your sense of self while also taking advantage of the power that darkness holds... Please dear, tell me... How does it feel? Does it ever... Bother you, having that darkness within? Is it ever hard to control?" she asked, making Serenity raise an eyebrow before looking at Chris, getting a nod from him. "Go ahead... We're here to answer stuff. Be honest." he affirmed, causing her to nod in response before focusing on the woman.
"I try not to think about it. I know it inside me, can feel it. But for most part, I ignore. Only time it a problem is when I get too angry... Then it kind of grow inside. Take over." Serenity replied. "It feel... Cold, like something in mind telling me do things. When it take over, it feel like body tied up. At same time, I know it bad, but power also do good. It help when need most. In way... It like having other person inside." she tried to explain. "I-If I may..." Chris intervened, causing the woman before them to turn her face in his direction, albeit with a scowl making him pause before clearing his throat. "As far as Serenity's power is concerned, from what I can tell it's not so much energy, as it is its own person... When she was becoming a Shadow Pokemon and I stopped her, something happened and she split into two people... I think you could best describe it as a personality disorder, like having a siamese twin buried inside her body. Serenity and, some call it Shadow Matter, they work separate from each other. Like they both have their own minds." he explained. "...Interesting..." the woman in the purple sweater muttered, both returning their focus to Serenity as the blonde one smiled once more. "Is that what it feels like dear? Does it feel like there's someone else inside you?" she asked. "I-I guess... It sound about right." Serenity nodded. "...Does it ever feel like a threat to you? Are you afraid of it?" the woman pressed. "Not afraid of... It make nervous maybe? I not think about it much, like I say. It power only use when have to. When push too far... In way, it make me a lot like him." Serenity point out, looking at Chris as he smiled and nodded. "Nothing wrong with having stuff in common I guess." he chuckled.
"Power inside me... It not threat long as not forced to use." Serenity finished. "Very well... Then answer this..." the woman paused, turning his attention toward Chris with another frown. "Do you intend to purify this Pokemon, to get rid of the darkness within her?" she asked, causing him to look down for a moment before shaking his head. "I won't." he answered. "This thing that's inside her... In its current state, it's alive. It has its own conscious, even if it's in an early stage of it. Getting rid of it would be like killing a living being, and... I can't bring myself to do it. As she mentioned, it helps us from time to time. When our power isn't enough, it has been able to save the day. If we were to get rid of it, that'd be no different than killing ourselves... I think." Chris insisted. "Captain Rostron and his officers can testify to this. When we were attacked on the bridge by a Mega Gyarados, her Shadow Matter kicked in and put up a barrier that not only protected us, but used the attacking Pokemon's power against it." he reminded. "So you're saying this... Darkness... Willingly defends others?" the woman in a purple sweater asked. "Yes and... No... I believe it was a matter of the time and place. I think it kicked in to try and protect me, and since the Captain and his men were with us, they were saved as well. We've been able to discover the Shadow Matter has some kind of bond with me as well, it's attached itself between the both of us in some way, and when one or the other is in enough danger, it... Reveals itself... Like it doesn't want us hurt." Chris affirmed. "In its own way, it cares, I believe... And that's why, in turn, I think it too should be protected." he finished. "Considering it affects her, shouldn't it be her right to decide?" the blonde woman asked sternly.
"I... Uh..." Chris tried to respond, looking at Serenity as the Pokemon faced down, thinking the statement over before stepping up. "It decision we both make. I admit it make nervous, and at first, I want to get rid of. But we face danger so much, if not have power, not know what happen without. So it my choice to keep too." she affirmed. "I do wonder..." the woman replied, looking between her and Chris before showing a smile and shrugging. "Let me move on then..." she paused, turning her attention to the girls before focusing on Chris again. "Having watched your journey as closely as anyone, it seems you've taken it upon yourself to have a unique type of relationship with these Pokemon, and knowing of their origins as many do thanks to what you've revealed in the past... Someone like myself can't help but wonder, have you been taking advantage of them?" she asked, causing Chris to show a surprised, and somewhat insulted look as the girls eyes widened as well. "Wadaya mean... Advantage?" he asked. "Using them, Mr. Nakazaki... Have you been using these Pokemon in an inappropriate way?" the woman asked more clearly, causing him to stiffen while Holly looked between him and the woman. "There are trainers in this world who develop closer relationships with their Pokemon than others. Some think it's natural, I often think of it as stockholm syndrome. I believe your relationship is potentially a little more twisted than that. Have you ever heard of rebound?" the woman pressed. "There are many in this world who find an opportunity for the affections of another and take it, even through means such as suffrage. There's no doubt that you helped these Pokemon, but... Do you think you took advantage at the same time?" she finished.
Standing in a blindsided manner for a moment, Chris finally managed to ask if she was serious, only for the woman to cross her arms in a stern stance with a "dead serious" remark in response. "You could have tended to them, and then after, simply released them. Let them live natural lives, free in the wild... Instead it seems you've gotten something interesting out of helping them. Wouldn't you call that taking advantage...?" the woman point out. "Now you see here." Alicia finally spoke up, making her way in front of Chris while looking down at the woman. "There's no need to turn a question into an attack of character. It's true that he aided us in our time of need, and it's true we have a... Unique... Relationship as a result, but rest assured it was nothing we were pressured into. There was no manipulation, nothing underhanded... And if you must know, he has tried to send us away, to return us to the wild, if you will. And he has done so out of concern for us, and yet despite his worries, we've made the choice to remain with him. If nothing else, I'd say we were the ones who developed affections and had to put in the work to make him feel the same. You dear lady have the situation both, reversed and mistaken." the snake lectured, her use of telepathy suddenly making the woman smile from ear to ear. "Fabulous!!" she replied with her arms out once more. "Sharing such an ability... Hearing about it is one thing, but to experience it... And what a refined voice you have." she giggled, causing Alicia to respond with a "wha...?" and slowly raise herself back, turning to Chris with an "Is this one alright...?" question of discomfort. "I do apologize... I simply care for Pokemon, and in a way, see myself as a mother figure for all of them. My questions were only out of concern." the woman assured.
"Your concern is kind of uncomfortable... Could you tone it down?" Chris asked, causing the woman to take on another agitated stance. "First, I'd like to thank Alicia for stepping up. I now know what I want to say in response thanks to the time she gave me with my own thoughts." Chris added, nodding at the snake as she backed away. "It's like she said, I didn't manipulate anyone. I didn't force anything on anyone. Time and again I've thought to myself... "What if they weren't with me? Would they be happier? Safer?" he affirmed. "There have been times when I've openly talked with them about leaving me, for their own well-being. Because of my curse, I'm always heading toward danger it seems, and I hate having them in that position. But the more I've tried to push them away, the closer it seemed to make them. I genuinely care about them, genuinely love them... These girls are my family, I'd even say my life... I don't appreciate being made out to be someone who'd abuse folks that way. We've fought for each other time and again. And as you can see, stand up for each other, learn from each other... We're proud of each other." Chris insisted. "I don't think a lot of folks would appreciate you diagnosing them with a mental issue either." he went on. "People and Pokemon, together they've coexisted in many ways since the dawn of time. If you want to call having relationships with them inappropriate, what do you have to say about people with different sexualities?" he asked, sending a bullet of his own back resulting in a hot-topic statement that had the reporters attention all the more as he looked at the girls, getting nods from them. "I don't have any issue with that." the woman assured, shrugging in response. "Humans aren't my priority, Pokemon are." she added.
"If you care about them, you should respect them instead of assuming relationships are from some kind of disorder. There's many, I'd like to think a majority of Pokemon out there who voluntarily travel with the humans they're with. And more-so of them who wind up in relationships with who they're with out of something genuine. I don't know who you are lady, but if there's one thing I've learned, it's that Pokemon have much more than just hearts of their own, they have minds of their own. And I'd like to say, from my experience, they're a lot smarter than you or I could ever hope to be." Chris went on. "You try to spin it like I'm a guy who found a bunch of girls in need and manipulated them... The truth is, it IS thanks to them that I became a man. And not through means you shouldn't even be poking your nose into, let alone in public, but because of everything they've taught me that helped me grow to the point I'm at. If you ask me, people in relationships with their Pokemon have an understanding, a level of acceptance that everyone should be envious of." he affirmed. "Everything that has been said so far on my part... It's thanks to these girls I have the responses I've given, it's thanks to the lessons both, they and Ninetales have taught me... I know it's not appropriate during a moment like this, but I'll be damned before I let anyone, man, woman, human or otherwise try to make me out to be some punk womanizer. I owe my life to these girls, my own freedom to them. Each day I spend every waking moment thinking of how I can give them a life worth living by my side, how, even for just a second, I can see another smile on their faces, especially after all they went through before we met and the way they've changed my life after. That's not out of reasons you seem to think, but because it's what they deserve. They're not just Pokemon, they're people, and to hell with anyone who'd ever think I'd use someone that way regardless of who or what they are." Chris point out.
Hearing this, the crowd before him remained silent with their mouths slightly open, the two women before him remaining just as silent until a reporter nearby raised her hand. "C-Can I ask a question, to the Pokemon?" she requested. "Y-Yes! Here as well!" a man agreed, raising his own before more in the crowd started riling up again. Looking before him, the two women suddenly showed a smile as the blonde one relaxed, placing her hand back on her hip. "I believe I'm done... Thanks for your time." she nodded, making Chris and the girls raise an eyebrow as she and the woman with her made their way off. "By the way..." the blonde woman paused, looking back and lowering her shades slightly to expose her green eyes. "Your answers aren't bad... Just work on your self control." she smirked. "Those like you can change things... However, you'll ruin the possibilities that could lie ahead if you can't handle tough situations with others... Aether is watching, darlings." she giggled before heading off, raising her hand with a "ta ta!" as they exit the room. "O-Okay..." Chris muttered, looking at Holly and shrugging before focusing on the crowd and picking another reporter. "This is actually for the Pokemon to answer... Out of curiosity, and maybe to give you a break from questions of the previous sort... What does it feel like to wear clothes commonly used by humans? We often like to dress up Pokemon in various things but... What is it like for you, personally? We know you wear them from time to time yourselves." the woman asked. "I not mind... It feel weird in a way but it not bad, long as like what wearing. If like, not problem. That how it work for humans too, right? You like, you wear." Serenity replied.
"I don't wear much. Given my form, what you wear doesn't exactly suit me. In my previous form, I wore what you call kimono's tailored by this one here." Alicia point out, using the end of her tail to tap Chris's head. "I never minded much... Strange sensation, but not bad. Now the only thing I wear are accessories, scarves mainly. As long as it's suitable, I don't mind." the snake nodded. "I-I don't mind... Same as them. A-As long as I think it's nice..." Rose chimed in meekly, poking her head out from behind Chris warily. "Really it's not much different whether you're a human or Pokemon, everyone has stuff they prefer to wear." he shrugged. "You... Over there." he point out. "I'd like to ask... What did evolving feel like for each of you?" a man questioned. "That hard to answer..." Serenity replied. "First time I evolve, it kind of feel like... Way it feel when you wake up and stretch. It kind of tingle, joints pop... Second time I evolve into form I have now, it hurt lots... Body cut all over, that because I kind of force self to evolve. My body not ready, so it did number on me, but okay in end." she shrugged. "A similar experience for me. Well, as far as how it feels like stretching after a good rest." Alicia nodded. "M-Me too." Rose agreed before Chris chose another reporter. "I'd like to focus on a more serious issue for a moment... As we all know, the R.M.S. Arceanic was lost to the world for a hundred years, until the actions of the Guardian crew and yourself resulted in its discovery... What did it feel like for you personally when you saw it...? Also... You were actually given OWNERSHIP of the wreckage... What does that mean to you? Another issue is... Why isn't its location being shared with the world? When will you reveal it?" a man asked.
Looking at him, after a moment Chris lowered his head, taking a breath before nodding. "Everyone was terrified over what was happening... The ship was sinking to the bottom of the ocean, and we were kind of wrapped up in that. When the wreck came into view, for some it was awe, others it was grief... It really tore up Mr. Smith the most, I think... Thanks to Ninetales, after our ship settled on the seafloor, I was able to go onto the Arceanic and explore it top to bottom... Initially it was kind of fun, I thought, getting to hang around something so old, a place nobody else had touched since it sank. But, as I continued through the ship, found remains of folks, and learned what happened to them... I wasn't excited about it anymore. I wasn't proud of finding it, wasn't happy..." he confessed. "I think when all was said and done, it hit me, maybe even harder than it did Mr. Smith since I was able to experience what happened to the wreckage first hand." he point out, a reporter asking what he meant. Telling everyone the details of how he was able to go into the original Smith's memories and live the sinking as a result, by the time the story was finished Chris could be seen shaking to a degree, his hands gripping the podium before him until helping himself to another drink, apologizing as he took a breath and continued. "Since the incident, I honestly can't tell you how many times I've lost sleep, having nightmares about it all... I wake up, some nights, gasping for air, stuck in a cold sweat. Wondering if we're really still alive... To go through an attack like that, to sink to the bottom of the ocean, to explore a wreckage, and go back in time to experience that wreck all in one instance... I'm still dealing with it, in ways." he admit.
"As far as how I feel about owning the wreckage..." he paused, glancing back down. "I'd hoped to get the rights to it for one reason alone. To preserve it, and that also answers why the location of the site is being kept secret." he added. "If everyone suddenly knew where the Arceanic was, scavengers would loot the ship from top to bottom. Visitors could start swarming the area, leaving who knows what kind of littler and pollution there. And then there's the fact that it's still a dangerous Gyarados territory... The decision was for the safety of the site, but also the safety of people everywhere." Chris explained. "One day, the location will be shared. But not until the right measures have been taken to preserve the site and insure it's safe for passage." he affirmed. "As the owner, anything that happens to that site is my responsibility. And likewise I feel responsibility toward folks who'd go near it. I don't want anyone needlessly getting hurt just for a quick buck or curiosity. I feel a huge weight on my shoulders to respect, to honor both, those who lost their lives, and their families alive today. It's a weight I'm proud to carry, that I volunteered to carry. And with the location in my name, I and hopefully the families involved can be at peace knowing... Nobody will touch that place. Nobody will nose around it, steal from it, crowd it... Nor' will any business that could have gotten it, gut it for a quick profit." he nodded. "For instance, since word got out that the ship was found... How many of you have already thought... "What if we raised it? Could we raise it?" Chris asked, looking at everyone as they paused and glanced at one another. "...Exactly, and that's why I own it. I won't let that happen." he affirmed proudly.
"In honor of everyone who saw me as the one they wanted to watch over that wreckage, I won't let it be defiled. Not by criminals, nor' those who just happen to be a little curious. This isn't something taken lightly on my part, and everyone should feel the same sense of responsibility to protect the wreckage, and the same respect not to invade the sight, even if it's just to satisfy ones intrigue." he finished, moving onto another reporter. "Going back to the topics you just covered with that reporter who left moments ago... Whilst some are accepting, others uncertain and some against it... Are you afraid that your relationship with these Pokemon will be seen in a negative light? How do you plan to combat the criticism that will come from those that view this relationship as unethical, or... Immoral?" the man asked, the remark making the girls look at one another, each wanting to respond for Chris only for him to raise his hand, wanting to reply first as he looked at everyone. "Alright... Then let me go back to my own previous statement... How do you feel about people with different sexualities?" he replied, getting silence in response. "And let me remind you of another thing I said... Pokemon have more than just hearts, they have their own minds... Judging people for their relationships, thinking of it as a disorder... I do believe I made an argument against that as well." Chris reminded. "For all the hate, all the skepticism people who are in a... Different... Type of relationship get, as was said before, it's those people who go through all of that who, more often than not, are more tolerant, more understanding than most others you would find." he affirmed. "I'm proud of what I have with these girls, just as anyone who's different should be proud of what they have with somebody." he added.
"So often, and we have research from Professors all over the world to back this, Pokemon tend to have a level of conscious, of understanding, a level of awareness on par with humans, sometimes even greater than we have. To say Pokemon are just creatures, or maybe to some, just animals, to think they're just here for capture, for training and battle... Or to work for us for nothing... And to think loving them, that having a relationship with them is wrong despite all that... How is that any different than saying that's what a minority is there for? How a minority should be treated? That we shouldn't love someone who's not our own color?" he went on, pushing the topic into a more intense issue. "Throughout our existence, we've carried this complex that somehow, in some way, we are above another. And we all know that goes far beyond a mindset toward Pokemon alone, it's one we've held... Even against each other..." he reminded, looking down for a moment as Holly lowered her crossed arms nearby. "Whether you're black or white, whether you're straight or gay, whether you love a human or a Pokemon, what does that matter?" he asked sternly. "It goes back to my arguments against putting labels on peoples problems... Why should we label love? Why do we even have to call it straight, gay, interracial..." he paused, looking at the girls again. "...Interspecies..." he added, looking back at the crowd. "Why bother calling it different? Just call it what it is. One simple little world... Stick with love, because as long as that's what it is, as long as it's real, genuine, strong and true... Then love is a universal word. It's not any more special, nor' any different, than the love anyone else feels for another... To think our love is better, or more important than someone else's... To think your way of loving is better than mine, that your way is right and mine is wrong... That's just being selfish... It's being cruel... It makes people argue and fight for the dumbest reasons." Chris insisted.
"If I may join in here." Alicia chimed in, slithering up making him pause and look up at her while the reporters did the same. "You humans have so many problems among yourselves, I don't see where you have any right to judge or criticize anyone, let alone put yourselves in a position where you think you should judge or involve yourselves with how our species do things when your own species is so shattered." she point out. "For instance, you asked how we felt about wearing clothes... Long ago, when I was traveling alongside another human, we once came across a... Peculiar... Looking male of your kind. This male was wearing clothes one would normally only see on your females. Now, while it appeared peculiar, I still thought nothing of it really. To each their own, as your kind puts it. It was... Different... Yet refreshing. Perhaps bold... In its own way. It certainly had me thinking... "What an interesting kind... These humans..." However, next thing I knew, other males of your kind attacked the human who'd dressed differently... Rather horrid sight that followed until others stepped in... It wasn't until further watching you, seeing what you call news, that I learned of the reasoning behind the brutal act." Alicia revealed. "I've seen what happens to these humans you call... "Gay"... And the like as well. None of them have it particularly easy at all... And it's not so much a fault of their own, but rather outside sources trying to involve themselves when they needn't." the snake affirmed, getting a nod from Chris before he continued. "We always talk about how we should... Care... About each other. How we should... Love... And support one another..." he point out as Alicia backed away to her former place.
"And yet... Whenever someone finds love... The very thing we tell everyone to strive for... That person is all too often attacked for it. And why?" he asked, looking at everyone. "Because the person he, or she, chose to love... Doesn't fit the "standard" of what love is, what it should be. And even then, when the love we find is considered "normal" it still faces challenges, because friends and family don't like the person involved with that love." Chris continued. "How can we tell each other to love, to seek it, strive for it, and then when someone finally does find it, we start putting rules on it? We start saying it's wrong because of this or that reason? If a man loves a woman, fine! If a man loves a man, there a problem?" he paused, looking at the girls. "If a man loves a Pokemon, what's the issue?" he asked, looking back at the crowd. "You can't tell people to love... And when they do, start telling them it's wrong. Telling them how to do it right... Telling them who and how to love." he insisted. "Love is a natural thing... The only thing that ever makes love unnatural is when WE try to change how it should or shouldn't work, how it should or shouldn't be accepted... As long as it's between consenting adults, is it really any of your business who..." he paused, returning his focus to the girls. "Or what that love is directed toward?" he asked, showing a smirk as they gave the same look in response. "Pride as a man... Pride as a woman..." he continued, looking at the reporters. "Proud to be straight... Proud to be gay... Proud to be white... Proud to be black... Why do we have to be proud of these things?" Chris point out. "I'll tell you why... Because we all want a pedestal. We all want to be important. And things have happened to us, between one another, to make us feel like we have to emphasize what and who we are, we have to emphasize it's okay, fight to make it okay." he affirmed.
"If we focused on respecting one another, on respecting our boundaries. If we didn't put our noses where they don't belong... If we just let people love who they want, if we just accepted folks for who and what they are... We wouldn't have to have all these labels, not for race, not for sexuality... If we coexisted on this Earth the way we know we should, the way we know we can, the only thing we would have to be proud of is simply being human, regardless of anything else." Chris nodded. "I'm not saying you shouldn't be proud of who or what you are... But we shouldn't be at a point in this modern day where we have to fight with one another over who can shout that pride loudest. We shouldn't fight over who's pride in themselves is greatest... That's just arrogance on all of our parts." he finished. "I'm just a random country boy from a secluded village in a bunch of mountains, so maybe my thoughts, maybe these opinions don't matter much to the masses... But it's a good start, I think, to conversations we all need to start having, together... A world I want to live in is one where we simply love who we love, without any judgement or fights, and we can be proud of each other, we can be proud of just being human." he nodded before having another drink as the crowd before him murmured among themselves, seemingly rethinking the direction to take the interview as Holly showed a smile on the corner of her mouth, giving a nod of her own as the girls kept their eyes on him. "To... Steer towards a softer topic for a moment..." a woman spoke, raising her hand. "This one is for the Serperior there, Alicia..." she added, looking at the snake. "None of you have been inside a Pokeball since traveling with Mr. Nakazaki, how is it you travel so freely in a region you'e weak to?" she asked.
"Ah, quite simple really." Alicia nodded, using her vine to pull her scarf down. "This trinket is able to control the heat throughout my body. I don't feel much asides a slight nippiness from time to time. I'm actually rather comfortable so long as I have this on. It was given by an acquaintance of ours." she explained. "I have a question for the Gardevoir, Serenity there." a man chimed in, his hand raised making the Pokemon raise an eyebrow. "It's fairly commonly known you have a strong... Dislike... For humans... Can you tell us how our kind could change that? And... Does this dislike ever affect your relationship with Mr. Nakazaki as well?" the reporter asked. "It hard thing to do. If humans want me to like, they have to get act together. It like Chris say a minute ago. You humans have too big of ego. You too fast to jump to conclusion. You too quick to attack and hurt. You fight, you shoot, you threat, you kill. It never stop with you humans. You clean up act, I think about liking. THINK about it." the Pokemon affirmed. "It not affect how I feel about him much. We have moment sometime when fight, yell at each other... You humans see that other night at food place. But in end, it not change how much I love, it not change how much want to protect." she assured with a nod before waving her hand with an "That all have to say" remark. "I have a question, anyone can answer it." a woman spoke, her hand up as the group turned to her. "What made you become... Attracted... To one another? Considering your treatment from other humans, what did he do that earned your trust so strongly despite that? And given there are three females and one man... Does it ever bother you... I mean... Sharing him?" she asked.
Looking at one another, Chris looked at the crowd and scratched his cheek with a nervous laugh as the girls thought over their responses. "I-I don't mind..." Rose chimed in first, warily stepping out from behind him and fidgeting with her face lowered. "I like them... S-Serenity and Alicia, we're friends, f-family, actually, s-so... I don't mind... Sharing." she added meekly, glancing up at the crowd and showing a nervous smile. "Chris earn trust by being what rest of humans not be. You hear what he say. And before this, you see what he do. I not see humans do things he do. I not hear them say things he say. He help lots. Save lots. Not matter who. Not matter if human or Pokemon, that what make me love at least." Serenity affirmed. "He not put self before anyone. He always go head first into problem for others. He risk life for life of other all the time. Even if it worry me... He die for stranger if have to... I not know human who have same way of doing things he have. Not see humans willing to do what he do. Chris type of human who call his curse blessing in past, and not hesitate to say it. That how much he love everyone, how much he want to help everyone. He have heart so good, he think curse that put his life on line for others a good thing... That courage." she went on. "He not complain about hard life. He not regret life. He might worry for us, but that part of having good heart. He..." she paused, looking at him and his blind eye. "He sacrifice, more than any human I know..." she affirmed, looking back at everyone. "I'll admit, Serenity here gets on my nerves rather frequently, and we tend to bicker among ourselves often..." Alicia chimed in. "But as Rose here said, we are family nonetheless." she agreed.
"Sure we have our squabbles, but in the end, I feel we appreciate one another in our own ways, for our own reasons... One could say we depend on each other. As far as "sharing" him as you put it, I think we can all admit there have been times of stress at some point or another for having to do so, a little internal annoyance, yet by that same token, we all know what he has done for each of us. We know where we may have been without him. And we know where he could be without us. He said he owes his life to us, it's the same the other way around." the snake went on. "Perhaps at first there was some feeling of debt... But as time went on, as we witnessed his deeds for our sake and others... Just as he said, a natural affection took hold, and the more inspiring he became, the greater that love grew in turn... He's a hero to countless, but none more-so than to us, I believe." she smiled, Chris going wide eyed from the remark. "And forgive me for perhaps being a tad inappropriate, but I think many a lady can agree with me when I say the libido of a man can be hard to deal with. Consider it a situation that balances things out and keeps the beast tame." she added, causing him to flush. "H-Hey!! N-Not in a situation like this!!" Chris panicked in a hushed tone, beginning to sweat as the reporters took notes. Assuring him she was going somewhere with her remark, Alicia returned her focus to the reporters. "That topic in mind... Humans have a bit of a problem with infidelity, do you not?" she asked, causing the crowd to pause and look up. "I suppose some would see it as questionable for so many to be with a single male, but in the grand scheme it works in our favor. There are three of us who can keep him under control..." she paused, looking back at him. "And keep our eye on him." she grinned, causing the reporters to look at one another and jot things down.
"So... You're saying this situation is more favorable to the women?" a reporter called out. "I think so. I like to picture the situation as a Rattata in a corner, surrounded by Persians ready to pounce should that Rattata misbehave." Alicia chuckled. "He's been a good boy so far though." she assured, suddenly giving Chris a pat on the head with her tail. "H-Hey..." he groaned, hiding his head between his shoulders slightly. "That true. With three of us, he know better than to do stupid thing. He ever did..." Serenity added, giving her knuckles a crack with a grin while looking at him as Alicia loomed over his head. "I-I'm not that type!! C-Come on!!" he panicked, causing Serenity to place a hand on his shoulder. "He good boy." she smirked. "N-Not a dog..." he murmured. "We keep on tight leash. When it come to that, it good to have spare eyes. How often you see him without us?" Serenity asked. "I'm definitely feeling choked at the moment... Cut it out." Chris complained in a hushed tone. "Th-They do love him but... I kinda think they might kill him if he cheated." Rose point out with a nervous laugh. "I don't know about going that far." Alicia replied. "I might..." Serenity cautioned with a dark grin, making Chris turn slightly pale. "D-Don't joke like that." he panicked. "So your species wasn't an issue at all? What about humans being incompatible with Pokemon as well? Isn't it impossible to have children? Would you want them?" another reporter boldly asked. "Ah... About that..." Chris replied, scratching his cheek with a shy smile. "Actually, we found out it might be possible, to have kids, I mean... Thanks to Ninetales, turns out my DNA is a little different now too, so it's actually something that could happen..." he revealed as the girls flushed and fidget in their own ways.
"The odds are apparently still a little on the low side, but it's not impossible... Being honest, if it does happen, I've thought about submitting myself for research... If there's a way for me to have kids with the girls, it might be possible that, through me, somehow others could too who have similar relationships." Chris nodded. "If we can tap into the parts of my DNA that make it possible, if it actually happens, maybe we can come up with some kind of shot or... Something... That can make it possible for others to do the same! I'm not sure how it would work but... No harm in trying to find a way to help folks out." he affirmed. "I do believe the point was already made about species but... No... I suppose one can admit to ones own imagination from time to time, but him being human holds no relevance to our feelings." Alicia assured. "You mean you think of me as a Serperior...?" Chris asked before grinning slyly. "Do I look cool...?" he asked, leaning toward her with a nudge making the snake blush. "Hush you." she scowled, keeping her focus forward. "That not matter to us." Serenity shrugged. "I um... Actually prefer him being human... There's some benefits..." Rose admit, using her hands so hint at his endowment by spreading them in front of her. "R-Rose!!" Chris panicked with another flush. "Ah! S-Sorry!! Sorry!!" she panicked back, sweating with a nervous laugh as the reporters looked at one another and quickly jot more down. "Rabbit bold..." Serenity muttered. "You girls are gonna get me in trouble..." Chris groaned, glancing toward Holly behind the curtains as she cleared her throat with a slight blush of her own. "Do you ever worry about enemies you've made coming after you?" a reporter suddenly asked, making the moment freeze before the group looked at the crowd and found a man with his hand up.
"Anyone come after him, I kill on spot." Serenity suddenly exclaimed, her fist hitting against her palm, making Chris jolt. "I highly doubt any could get near him with one such as myself by his side. I'm not concerned." Alicia added proudly with her head high. "I-I don't like fighting... But... I will f-for him." Rose agreed, nodding in both, a confident yet nervous manner. "We keep him safe. Not worry about that." Serenity affirmed. "A-And I won't let anyone kill anyone!" Chris assured, sweating from Serenity's remark after trying to affirm they were peaceful before taking a breath and nodding. "If anyone who... Dislikes us... Tries to do anything, to any of us, we'll defend ourselves, and I'm confident the law will do its part as well to make it so nobody hurts anyone." he insisted, causing Serenity to look at him with a scowl before another reporter asked to speak. "Every day young trainers start their journey... Anything you'd like to say to them? Any advice or wishes? Secondly, there are many Pokemon likely seeing this right now as well who have been, or are being abused... Do you have any advice or encouraging words for them?" a woman asked. "Huh... Good question..." Chris replied, nodding and thinking his response over, the girls doing the same. "For trainers just starting out... I'd say try to keep in mind what I've said. Pokemon are more than just animals... They're as smart and self-aware as you and I are... You don't have to force them, capture them, to get one to follow you. From my experience, a Pokemon can decide, all on their own, if you're worthy or not. If you are, then you're in luck, but if a Pokemon rejects you... Don't push it further than that. Respect its decision and move on, because there will be Pokemon who will like you, and they'll be more devoted to you than any Pokemon you force to follow." Chris explained.
"After all the coverage, you've seen what these girls can do... That power didn't come from me forcing them to travel with me. It didn't come from beating them, and likewise making them beat others... Pokemon grow in power based on the support and understanding of their companions... That's why people who respect Pokemon and treat them as people, as equals, always reach the top, and those who don't, never do." he affirmed. "All of the elites in the world, all of the champions, even most gym leaders out there... It tends to be a pattern revolving how they talk about Pokemon, how they hold them in high regard... That's what gave them the chance to get to where they are today. Do you ever see an elite or a champion taking credit for their positions?" he asked. "Pokemon grow in power when their desire to protect their companion is strongest. And likewise when the support toward them is at its peak. We as humans are the same. When there's someone we love that needs protection, we feel courage and power well up from deep within... When we feel someone is worthy of our support, we go all out to prove it... Remember that, and I've no doubt most, if not all who heed these words, will reach the top and become elites, maybe even champions themselves one day." Chris smiled with a nod. "Respect them, honor them, cherish them, and the Pokemon that choose to follow you will rise to the highest clouds in the sky... Maybe even the stars." he assured. "As far as wishes... Let this next generation of trainers be the one to live by the example those like I, these girls, and all who are like us try to set... May the trainers to come have the compassion, the understanding, the heart and the respect no other before them can match." he finished.
"Far as Pokemon being abused..." Serenity stepped up. "You not have to take. Pokemon far stronger than humans. We let them have run of world, but not mean you have to. Not have to let them step on. Use power you have to teach lesson, and if not want to, then use power to run. You can crush Pokeball that tie you down and escape." she insisted. "Quite right. To say a human can't harm another human, yet allow a human to harm one of our kind, is ludicrous. If none will come to your aid, it's your responsibility and likewise your right to defend yourself. Is there any human in this room now who will say that act of self-defense is wrong?" Alicia asked, the crowd remaining silent. "M-Maybe you shouldn't h-hurt the human abusing you... N-Not kill them... J-Just try to get away...? Um..." Rose struggled, wanting to help yet not call for violence. "I-If you have to fight to get away... If it will save your life... I-I guess you kinda have to do something though..." the rabbit admit. "That's actually helping to bring up an excellent point for the previous question." Chris point out with a nod. "To the trainers out there, both current and new, if you see Pokemon being abused, don't be afraid to step in. It's our responsibility to make the world of man and Pokemon one of peace for us all. Nobody, human or Pokemon, should ever be put through torture, and it's up to everyone to make sure those who have no place being a trainer are weeded out. I've had my portion of bad ones locked up, their Pokemon stripped away and given better lives... You can do the same, and you'll be making many lives better for it because not only will you put an end to the abuse of the Pokemon currently with the person hurting them, you'll save all the Pokemon who could have been trapped with them and hurt in the future." Chris affirmed with his fist raised. "With citizens and the law working together, we can all do our part to put an end to the suffering, both among our own kind, and all the Pokemon out there too." he assured.
"That's the thing about stopping bad people... We tend to think we're helping those targeted in the moment... And forget all the lives we might have saved in the future too... Always keep that in mind." he finished. Following this, reporters continued asking questions of every kind, giving the group little time for a pause as minutes turned into hours while the sun slowly rose and passed the Yule House above...