I didn't say anything when I reached the Chairman; just looked up at him grinning harder than I could remember in a long while, expectant. The Chairman fulfilled my wishes, placing a hand on top of my head and ruffling the white curls that could be found there. "That was fantastic! Most Trainers would have given up in your situation, you know."

I pushed up into his hand for a moment, finding myself squeezing Hatenna tighter to my chest, before relaxing. "Well, I've read a lot about Pokemon battling!" I side-eyed the boy who was now attempting to tend to the Nickit, trying to direct the Chairman's eyes to him. "Between you and me, the other kids aren't actually interested in battling. They just wanted to do it for fun."

"And you didn't?"

I curled my lip, quickly becoming angry. "Obviously not!!"

Hatenna cried out suddenly, and I blinked, looking down at her. I remembered what I had read about Hatenna not liking strong negative emotions, so I took a quick breath, then sighed, trying to accommodate myself to her, before speaking again, still very clearly frustrated, "I'm serious about this, you know!"

The Chairman tilted his head, raising an eyebrow, his expression still having that distant quality to it that it always did, that was so difficult to place. "Mm... And this facility here does not offer you a chance to have a Pokemon?"

It wasn't completely honest, but I shook my head 'no'. As I was now, despite being of the age to be able to have a Pokemon, I couldn't get one. If I wanted one, I'd have to buy Pokeballs, and, since the orphans didn't get money for doing chores and we couldn't get jobs to make money until we were much older, I was stuck until I could get a job.

The Chairman tilted his head backwards at that, crossing his arms and humming, before settling back into a standing position, with one hand in his pocket. "How about this?"

He reached out and put his free hand on my cheek. Cupping my face. I looked to his hand, then him. This felt odd, somehow. As if I didn't want the other children to turn around and see it. But I began to lean into it after just a moment, closing my eyes and sighing happily.


It was as if my reaction to that was the deciding factor for him. He snapped his hand away fast enough that it made my head fall, and he announced his decision, with another clap of his hands.