479 Chapter no.467 Cynthia and Austin

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Cynthia Shirona often considered herself a patient person, but lately, her patience was wearing thin because of one boy—Ash Ketchum, whom she affectionately called Austin.

It was somewhat endearing that only she and a few close friends used that name; it made her feel special.

This was a comforting thought, especially since she hadn't had many friends growing up, during her Pokémon journey, or even now as the champion of Sinnoh.

"We had our special times, right? Sunday nights, talking for hours," Cynthia mused sadly, sitting in front of a board adorned with pictures of Kanto and the recent havoc wreaked by a hero known as "Ashura."

What intrigued Cynthia wasn't just the mystery, but the similarities she noticed.

She had watched the video of the lightning bolt striking the Silph Co. building countless times, and each viewing reminded her of one thing: Rajin's Descent.

"You are Ashura, aren't you? Austin," Cynthia whispered to herself.

She had aided Austin in his plans to harness nature's power—a bold strategy and theoretically possible, something she had guided him on towards the end of their training.

"It looks like you've mastered it on your own and used it to protect Kanto. Is this why you've been so absent every time we called? Were you busy with your whole Team Rocket destruction plan? You could have told me. I would have loved to help you... to be beside you," Cynthia murmured, her voice tinged with sadness as her eyes began to sting.

Just then, the lights flickered on, pulling her from her thoughts.

"Stop being this lovesick Growlithe, Cynthia," an old voice chided.

"Hello, Grandma. Weren't you asleep?" Cynthia asked, turning to see a short, elderly woman looking at her with a mix of concern and annoyance.

"I can sleep when I'm dead," Grandma declared crisply, prompting Cynthia to respond with concern, "Gran-gran, don't talk like that."

"Stop dodging the topic. Why are you behaving like a lovesick Growlithe?" Grandma probed, her eyes narrowing slightly as she observed Cynthia's flushed face.

"I am not," Cynthia protested weakly.

"Really? And I'm the one who was thinking about why my friend confessed to me," Grandma countered, her tone both teasing and sharp. This only made Cynthia's face turn an even deeper shade of red.

Cynthia's spirits lifted slightly at these words.

"But why is he denying it?" she asked, still confused.

"Feelings are complicated, Cynthia. Maybe he hasn't realized it yet. As I said before, you both are young. There is a lot of time for these things to sort out, but the question is, what do you want to do?" Grandma probed.

"I want my friend," Cynthia responded quickly.

"Not a lover?" Grandma teased with a wink.

"That can wait until he realizes his feelings," Cynthia replied, her cheeks flushing with a blush.

Grandma snorted in amusement.

"Good luck."

"Thank you," Cynthia smiled, feeling a bit more reassured. Grandma shook her head slightly, knowing well that boys could be oblivious to these matters.

Just then, the PokeNav rang, flashing Austin's number on the screen.

"Try to take it slowly, Cynthia. No need to rush it; you know how things get if you rush them," Grandma advised before leaving the room.

"Yeah," Cynthia murmured, her mind drifting to her early days as a champion, how quickly she had rushed into the position, and how everyone had underestimated her. Would something similar happen if she tried to force this relationship to work?

"Yeah, gran-gran is right, I need to be patient with this," Cynthia concluded.

The PokeNav flashed on, revealing Austin as he fiddled with his camera settings.

"Yo, Cynthia, wait, I just need to adjust this camera."

"Hello to you too, Ashura," Cynthia replied with mock seriousness, trying to keep the tone light.

Austin paused for a moment, absorbing her words, then returned to his task.

"Come on, you can give me a better reaction than that," Cynthia chided playfully.

"I figured the genius Cynthia could probably figure out my identity," Austin said with a smirk, finally getting the camera angle right.

Cynthia blushed and shot back, "Don't butter me up."

"You're right, I should use butter ice cream instead," Austin joked.

Cynthia snorted but then pondered his suggestion.

"Is it salted butter or...?" she asked, playing along.

"Don't tell me you're actually going to make butter ice cream," Austin said, noticing Cynthia's intrigued expression as she pretended to jot down the idea.

"Don't eat the butter ice cream," Austin teased further.

"I am not," Cynthia replied quickly, before curiously asking, "Salted or...?"

"Garlic butter," Austin quipped, eliciting a disgusted look from Cynthia.

"Now you're just teasing me," Cynthia pouted.

"More like saving your life," Austin replied, his tone shifting to something more serious.

"Sorry about Yellow and the others," he added after a brief pause.

"What was that about?" Cynthia inquired, genuinely curious.

"They wanted you to convince me that I needed to go to therapy," Austin explained, his voice tinged with slight irritation.

"Why?" Cynthia asked, her interest piqued.

"They thought I would listen to your words better," Austin said, rolling his eyes, which made Cynthia feel a tightening in her chest. The idea that the girls who fought alongside Austin believed her words carried more weight was surprising.

"I think they are idiots. I would have been convinced if they told me to go to therapy," Austin said, inadvertently raining on Cynthia's parade.

"At least let me stroke my ego a little bit," Cynthia complained.

"Don't feel like it," Austin retorted, his expression deepening into something more thoughtful.

"You want to say something," Cynthia observed, sensing his hesitation.

Austin scratched the back of his head, seeming to grapple with his thoughts.

"Do you know of any good therapists that can help me?"

Cynthia studied Austin with a deep concern in her eyes, a mix of pity and a strong desire to help evident in her gaze.

"What happened?" she asked, her voice steady but filled with care.

Austin looked down, his voice quiet and strained.

"I... I can't move on from Raticate's death," he confessed.

Cynthia sighed softly, her expression understanding.

"I don't think you will ever move on. I could never move on from my parents' death, but I learned how not to let their deaths become chains on me, rather a coat of paint."

"What?" Austin asked, puzzled by her analogy.

"To me, life is like a blank canvas, and every experience, every moment, is a stroke of paint I can use to make my life into a masterpiece. But things like death, loss... they are mistakes on the canvas. Rather than letting those mistakes stop me, I try to move forward. I don't erase those mistakes, I don't forget them, I don't move on; rather, I embrace those mistakes, those deaths, those losses to grow further," Cynthia explained, hoping to impart some of her own coping mechanisms to him.

Austin smiled faintly.

"When I asked for a therapist, I didn't mean you," he joked lightly, trying to lift the mood.

"Don't worry, I have a therapist who can help you, and the funny thing is that you know her," Cynthia said, a knowing look crossing her face.

Austin frowned, curious. "Who?"

"The therapist is Caitlin of the Elite Four of Unova. She was the one who gave you your Munna... sorry, Musharna," Cynthia revealed, connecting the dots for him.

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[Omake Paragraph]

Much in the literal way that a Hariyama's powerful slap can wake even Snorlax from their dreams, Hariyama slaps are said to metaphorically "wake" people from being wrapped in their own world. The effectiveness of this is disputed, for a Hariyama slap is not effective treatment for those truly lost in delusions. Yet it is often used on television as a quick resolution for a character's detachment or selfishness, and it is common in Hoenn for people to send out or even hire a Hariyama as a last resort when someone they care for is acting in a similar way.

It is a last resort because a Hariyama's large size, strength, and enormous hands can cause injury even when they are being careful, and many Hariyama, trained to use these slaps in battle, are not particularly careful. These pokemon rank among the most common cause of concussions in humans and knock more teeth loose than the average hockey player. There are even peoplen left comatose when Hariyama hit them in the wrong spot.

Some of these comas are ended by another wake-up slap – these pokemon are still on the whole a boon to medicine, no matter how many extra cases they provide - but remain the same, as though they were never slapped. Others have alienated so many people that they can not find a Hariyama willing to wake them, so they spend years comatose - yet when they wake up, they have changed their ways for the better! Because at times, a Hariyama slap even works. And to most of Hoenn, this is worth it; it is quite telling that while assault by humans or other pokemon is illegal, there are no laws whatsoever in all of Hoenn against sending out a Hariyama to slap someone.

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