Chapter 9: An Unmerry Unbirthday Party

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Chapter 9: Party Panic
That night, the group of first years settled into the Ramshackle Dorm nicely, though there was a bit of push back from the Pokémon at first. Right now, the group was playing cards and going through (Y/N)'s photo album. She had spent a good time telling them about her world' league circuits, her own journeys, and her rank as the Hoenn League Champion. Needless to say they were more afraid of Swampert when they found out she was considered to be one of the strongest trainers in the world.
"And this is when I got my first badge." (Y/N) explained, pointing at one of the earliest photos in the album.
(Y/N) was 11 when the photo was taken, and she was grinning widely as she held up her badge case, proudly showing off the Stone Badge. Both she and the then Marshtomp were covered in mud, but was also very happy with a dopey grin on his face. On both sides of the two were two adults. The one on (Y/N)'s right was a woman and on her left was a man. Deuce pointed at the older female.
"Who's she?"
(Y/N) smiled. "That's Roxanne, the Rustboro City Gym Leader. She's the one I had to beat to get the badge. It was pretty tough since it was a one on three since I didn't have any other Pokémon at the time."
Swampert huffed indignantly.
"Oh quiet you, I never doubted you could do it."
Grim then looked at the male in the picture. "And this guy?"
Her smile softened. "That's Steven. He was the champion before me. He's...well, you could say he's like my dad."
"Your dad?" Ace asked.
"I...never knew my birth father. He ran out before I was born, and my mom...." She dug her nails into her arm at the memories. Swampert let out a low rumble at the mention of that woman, before comforting his partner. She smiled sadly before hugging him. "My mom wasn't a good person. When I was 9, I met Swampert, of course he was just a little Mudkip then, and a few months later, I ran away. Steven found us, saved my life really, and he took us in. He treated us like family, and he made sure I was prepared for my journey."
"And you're sure you have everything you need?" Steven asked worriedly.
"Yup." (Y/N) responded curtly.
The young, newly licensed trainer was excitedly scooping up her stuff and practically bolting to start her journey.
"You have my number on your Pokegear?"
"Yes, and Wallace's number."
"And you'll call in case-,"
"In case of an emergency. I promise!"
He smiled at her. "Good."
Marshtomp was waiting at the door, just as eager to start as she was.
"And you'll be in Rustboro for our first gym battle, right?"
Steven grinned. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."
She nodded happily and opened the door. However, before she headed out, she spun around and hugged him, almost crying.
"Thank you, for everything."
He hugged her back. "I wouldn't have traded it for anything." He held her out at arm's length before smirking. "I'll be waiting for you at the end of the league."
She smirked back. "Enjoy your reign while you can, because Marshtomp and I will be taking your crown!"
"Mar!" The water/ground type cheered in agreement.
Steven laughed. "I'm looking forward to it."
She smiled softly at the memory before flipping through the photos of her first league circuit. Her victory photo in Dewford had her posing with the leader Brawly and his Makuhita, with Marshtomp and her freshly caught Golbat. The Dynamo Badge had her cheerfully standing side by side with Wattson, alongside his Manetric and her Marshtomp, Golbat, Trapinch, and Shinx. Flannery was next, and the two were sitting in the hot spring, surrounded by her Torkal and (Y/N)'s Marshtomp, Crobat, Vibrava, and Luxio. In Petalburg, she and Norman were nervously laughing at the newly evolved Swampert arm wrestling with his Slaking, while (Y/N)'s other Pokémon cheered. Her picture with Winona had the two racing on Skarmory and Flygon, while all her other Pokémon, including the new additions of Absol and Roselia, followed. In the next picture, she was in between Tate and Liza and their Solrock and Lunatone, while all her Pokémon laid in front of them, Luxray having evolved on the trip to Mossdeep. The last of the gym photos had her posing fabulously with Wallace and Milotic, her team now all fully evolved, thanks to the gym leader giving her a Shiny Stone for Roselia, having been impressed with how determined she had been in their battle.
She happily told the boys many stories about her adventures in home region: how she had found the injured, elderly Golbat and asked him join her; her utter shock at finding a Shiny Trapinch and him joining her because he felt bad that she twisted her ankle falling into his pit trap; Wattson's kindness during their battle and him helping her take the first steps in overcoming her fear of electric types by giving her Shinx (later); her apparent battles with two terrorist organizations (yeah the boys were dumbfounded by that little revelation).
The last picture she showed them was her favorite. It was her and Steven standing side by side as equals, all twelve of their Pokémon in the shot. It was her after she had defeated him, and his look of pride was something she'd never forget.
"You know, for someone without magic, you sure have a lot of crazy stories." Ace teased.
"Yeah, and that's just in the Hoenn region, I have a ton more stories from other regions, but I think I can tell you guys another time. It's getting late."
"What?" Grim complained.
"Come on, we can't be grumpy when Ace begs forgiveness tomorrow."
"I'm not begging!" He yelled back.
"Sure you're not."
As Deuce began to settle down, he smiled at her. "Your world sounds amazing. I'd love to see it someday."
She grinned back. "Tell you what, when I figure out a safe way to travel between here and there, I'll give you the whole tour of the Hoenn region, Champion's treat."
The group had all passed out and (Y/N) was fidgeting as she slept. She dreamed of the garden from the previous night. This time, there was a large, familiar looking woman in royal garb, wielding an entire rose bush against the cards and the girl from the previous dream.
"How dare you ruin my rose!" The Queen yelled. "Prepare yourself!"
"Queen, please spare me!" The 3 of Clubs pleaded. "It was him!"
"It wasn't my fault!" The 2 of Clubs cried, pointing at the Ace. "It was the Ace's fault!"
"Was it you?" The Queen growled.
"No, it was 2!"
"So, it was 2's fault?"
"It wasn't me! It was 3!"
"Enough! All 3 of you! OFF WITH YOUR HEADS!"
Red cards appeared and began to drag off the 3 cards, whistling morbidly.
"We don't have a choice, you got the color of the roses wrong. Mistaking white for red is a ridiculous mistake."
"All that for a mistake?" (Y/N) thought as the dream ended. "Why didn't anyone stop her?"
(E/C) eyes slowly blinked opened as the Pokémon trainer let out a yawn before looking around. They had all fallen asleep in the common room. Swampert was obviously her pillow, Ace was surrounded by the babies and once again cuddled up with Scorbunny, and Deuce had been welcomed by Ampharos. She stretched until she heard a satisfying crack and got up.
"Up and at 'em, boys."
Deuce yawned. "Oh, today is the Unbirthday Party. It's off with our heads if we're late."
Ace mumbled before an unconscious kick from the fire rabbit got him up. As the four prepped, there was a knock on the door.
"Hm? Is someone here?" Deuce asked.
Gengar raced inside with Cater right behind him.
"Good morning!" The senior greeted them. "Did you enjoy the sleepover yesterday? Did you fall asleep or did you play card games?"
Ace yawned. "Cater-senpai, good morning, we did play cards and got some story time. Grim didn't know the rules at all so he kept getting old maid."
"Damn it!" The cat hissed. "I didn't win at all!"
"When you pulled out the Joker, you couldn't keep a poker face." Deuce teased.
"Well then, shall we get going and apologize to Riddle with the tart we made yesterday?"
"We?" (Y/N) asked with a raised brow.
Cater nervously scratched the back of his neck. "A lot's been going on since yesterday. So, we need some more hands."
"More hands?" Ace inquired.
"No, it's nothing. Let's hurry and get to the Unbirthday Party! Let's go! But first."
Cater led the first years to the dorm which was decorated for the event.
"Alright, let's give this tart to the Dorm Leader and then apologize to him." Ace said optimistically.
"Hey! Finally, you're here! We've been waiting for you, me-kun!" Cater greeted in his PE uniform...even though Cater was standing next to them in his regular uniform.
Needless to say, the first years and Swampert wildly looked back and forth at the two.
"There are two Diamond-senpais!?" Deuce yelled.
"You're a twin?!" Ace asked.
The one in the regular uniform answered. "Oh no, I'm the only male sibling."
"Then why do you have a doppelgänger?!" (Y/N) yelled.
"This is my unique magic, Split Card. This magic allows me to make clones of myself."
Another Cater appeared, this time in the lab uniform. "Welcome back!"
And yet another one in the entrance ceremony robe. "Welcome you!"
"It was so difficult! You made me wait so long, Acey." PE uniform Cater said.
Ace moved back, alarmed. "There's more of him!"
"How many times did you clone yourself?" (Y/N) asked.
"By the way, I'm the real Cater." PE uniform Cater points to himself. "Cloning myself is pretty tiring, so I don't want to prolong this. In any case, it's off with our heads if we're late. I don't have enough hands so lend me yours. I'll take you to Riddle once we're done."
Grim heaves a sigh. "You're gonna make us paint roses again?"
"You're a really carefree guy, huh!" Ace crossed his arms with an angered look.
"All right, let's get started!" Cater said, ignoring him,
The work went quickly with the combined efforts of the three clones, the first years, and a full team of six Pokémon (Swampert, Glaceon, Roserade, Tropius, Beautifly, and Shaymin, Pokémon suited for a garden party for the most part). Deuce and Grim were on point with their magic, no fire or blue roses. There was a small incident when the Cater clones got close to (Y/N) and started to at flirty. Swampert chased them off angrily. The real Cater was quite pleased with the bashful girl's face.
"Heh! Your ears match the roses now! How cute!"
"I will have Glaceon freeze you solid this time!"
Eventually they finished painting the remaining white roses.
Deuce was heaving, exhausted. "We... We did better than yesterday."
"You did well! Oops, it's almost time! Me army, we're done for the day!" Cater announced.
"Aye aye, sir!" The clones responded before disappearing. He then led the team just past a lake and off on the side of the dorm's entrance in front of a tall gate. Past it, a tea garden was decorated with festive banners and lanterns hanging above it, with teacups stacked, confections on platters, and red roses surrounding the entire area. There was a blare of trumpets, which was then followed by the beat of a drum.
A Heartslabyul student cleared his throat. "Make way for our leader, the Crimson Ruler: Dorm Leader Riddle!"
"Three cheers for Dorm Leader Riddle!" The whole garden cheered as Riddle walked in with Trey.
"Yes, the roses are red, the tablecloth is white. A perfect Unbirthday Party." Riddle noted. "The Dorm mouse is sleeping inside the teapot as instructed, right?"
"Of course." Trey answered. "And the jam to put on his nose is prepared, if needed."
Grim looked impressed. "Look at their outfits! They look so cool!"
Cater grinned. "Heh heh. The Heartslabyul dorm uniform is cool, isn't it? It's totally fashionable and makes for great MagicCam! Which means it's time for me to change." In a flash of sparkles, Cater's black school uniform was replaced with the dorm attire, before turning his pen on the group. "Let's coordinate your clothes as a service for today!"
In a burst, everyone was changed into the dorm's uniforms, even the Pokémon receiving bows adorned with the dorm colors and symbol. As the boys oh and awed at their appearances, they were all struck by (Y/N), who was now in a female Heartslabyul uniform.

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