Chapter 5

"The National Park"



Our trip is almost completely silent. I try my hardest to stare straight ahead, and not even acknowledge Dean whatsoever. However, he's being so quiet, I can't help but to glance over every couple of minutes.

I look over there now. He's staring straight ahead, his face relaxed and calm.

He must feel me looking at him, because he turns his gaze to me. I look away quickly. He doesn't seem to notice, turning his attention forward again.

We've been traveling for a few hours. I took the lead at first, secretly hoping to leave Dean behind, but to no avail. Eventually, I fell behind him and let him lead us toward the city.

I close my eyes and lean back, trying to forget the rest of the world for a little while. However, I can't even think about resting. I open my eyes again and sigh. "Do you want to stop for lunch?" I ask.

Dean glances over at me. He says nothing, but frowns.

"What, do you not eat or something?" I ask.

He smiles a little bit before realizing that I'm serious. He shakes his head. "No... It's just that we're almost there, and I don't want to stop until we get there."

I frown, glancing around at the woods surrounding us. I don't recognize any of it, and the air smells purely of forest. "Dean... We're not even close..."

For a second, both of us stare at each other, extremely confused. Then, after a moment, he smiles. "Oh, no. I'm not talking about Ecruteak. I'm talking about the National Park."

Absol stops in his tracks, and I'm sure his shocked expression matches my own. "W-What?" I demand.

He frowns, pulling Arcanine to a halt. "Well, you see, National Park isn't very far out of our way, and..."

"Dean!" I yell. "I told you to lead us to Ecruteak City, not to some stupid park! How could-Why did-Ugh!"

"Calm down, it's just-"

"Just what, Dean? You know what? Our deal is off. I'm going to Ecruteak. Come on Absol," I growl, steering my partner away. Dean flinches and I can tell he isn't used to being insulted. We walk away quickly.

"...Caitlyn," the silver-haired trainer sighs. I ignore him. "Caitlyn, wait, please." Straight ahead. Straight into the forest... "CAITLYN!"

In a flash, Dean and his Arcanine are in front of us, blocking our path. I hate it when they do that. "Move," I command.

His hard gaze softens a little bit. "Caitlyn... Just hear me out, okay? When was the last time you and Absol stopped, and just had a day to yourselves?"

"You don't get it, do you? I have to deliver this package, so I can put food on the table. Absol understands," I mutter.

Dean sighs. "I'll pay for food all day today, it won't cost you a dime. Come on, please?"

I grit my teeth and stare at him. His expression is begging and just a little bit worried. "Okay." It takes me a few seconds to realize that I was the one who had spoken. I blink in surprise. Why did I just agree to that?

"Alright! Thanks!" He turns his Arcanine back to where he was going before and trots ahead, smiling proudly to himself.

I groan. "Oh Absol, what are we getting ourselves into?" I ask quietly. He replies with an annoyed glance over his shoulder.

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