A large green serpent is coiled on the ground, but he raises part of his body to greet you. You ask, "There is something you wanted to tell me?" He had been eyeing you warily for a while now, but he had been friendly. Much to the surprise of his owner. Apparently Thyme wasn't known to be openly nice to many people.
"I think it's time I explain Cilan's fears and why he has them," Thyme states firmly while searching your face. "You've proven your trustworthiness, and, hopefully, knowing what's going on will help you know how to handle him and avoid raw spots."
You nod, but you already suspect some things. It's hard not to notice how afraid he is around adults, and how poorly he handles failure. Especially around said adults.
"To put it mildly, Cilan Maize had a shitty life that only improved with the apocalypse," He starts. That makes you stare with a feeling of dread. "He and his brothers were born in Striaton to two parents who should have never had children. They didn't see their kids as people so much as toys to play with or, in Cilan's case, something to show off when he did something they thought was worthy of it. He did what they wanted, and didn't fight back, so he became their... " favored" child." The sarcasm is easily noticeable in that last statement.
"The bad thing was, he wasn't exactly what they wanted. He was too quiet, and his interests didn't line up with what they thought would be proper for their star son. He had an obvious affinity for plants, and they only allowed him to pursue that since it could be useful. No flowers though... Which he loved..." Here Thyme sighs. "If he even toed the line of what they wanted from him... They... Well, his father, would hit him, " Thyme starts speaking angrily.
Your eyes open wide in horror. This had been what you suspected, but hearing the confirmation still hurt. Thyme notes your reaction, and approving of this, he further explained, "It was bad, too. That jackass would beat Cilan until he was black and blue." You bring a hand up to your face to cover your mouth, and you feel a mix of heartbreak for Cilan and sheer anger towards his parents.
Thyme shakes his head to focus, "I should tell this story from beginning to end. Sorry, I have some strong feelings on the matter, and I got distracted." You nod for him to continue, and he looks away while he tries to figure out where to start again. "Anyway, the parents were controlling bastards, and they even tried to convince Cilan and his brothers not to go on journeys. Sage, Angel, and Parasol were given as gifts to try to convince them. Fortunately, the three of them still wanted to travel Unova, and Cilan chose me to be his starter. This is also when Cress got Froaklie and Chili got Macaroon."
"Poor Sage didn't know that what was going on wasn't normal, " He mutters. "I didn't know what was going on until the first time I met the parents. Cilan visibly shrank, and the other two acted differently. I almost attacked the father the first time he raised a hand to Cilan in front of me, but then he threatened Cilan with taking me away. I... didn't know what to do. If I was taken away, I couldn't protect him if they did something worse... But it was wrong to let them do what they did.." He sighs and curls back up on the floor.
"Despite being allowed to go on their journeys, they were still very much under their parent's thumbs. Cilan was called back home randomly as if to further enforce the idea that he was theirs to do with as they wished," he darkly comments.
"Cilan had an obvious connection with grass types, and he accidentally ended up with a team of them. He got Parsley as an egg from the daycare couple in Unova. Rosemary joined the team in Pinwheel Forest..." He then asks, "Did you know there was a hidden garden in Castelia?" He doesn't really stop to listen to your answer before continuing, "Apparently it was how that huge city started. Of course Cilan somehow managed to find it one day, and that's where he met Clary." His expression turns pensive, "Then there was Spearmint who we met in Chargestone Cave..."
That last name surprises you, "Spearmint?"
"Oh... Basil wasn't part of Cilan's original team," Thyme explains. "Spearmint was his Ferrothorn. Well, he got him as a Ferroseed, but you get the point. I'll get to what happened to him later. If you don't mind." You shake your head to indicate that he can continue.
"Well... You've seen Rosemary, Parsley, and Clary. Their species are... effeminate in appearance, or at least that's what Cilan's parents believed. Of the four pokemon he picked up on his journey, his parents only approved of one. They made fun of him for it at first, and then they turned more malicious. Fortunately for Cilan and the girls, he was a good trainer, and despite our typing having a lot of disadvantages, he managed to progress through the gyms without too many issues. His parents couldn't deny that he was doing well, so they let his choice in Pokemon slide."
"Chili and Cress were also doing well, and eventually, the three of them were approached to be gym leaders. Since their type specialties were the usual starter types, they could be a good way to show new trainers how type advantages worked. Of course they agreed, and they doubled their gym up as a restaurant. The parents did approve of this, and things were okay for a while. The three of them were allowed to move out of the house, but the parents loved to barge in whenever they damn well pleased, " it isn't hard to hear the bitterness. "Cilan tried raising flowers since he wasn't constantly under surveillance. Unfortunately, father dearest found out and trampled the flower patch. Oh wait no, he trampled half of it and then made Cilan trample the other half," Thyme hisses out.
"Why would he do that?" You ask feeling outraged and horrified.
"Too girly," he curtly states. "Not useful. I think that bastard called it gay, too, and considering he was a huge homophobe, that was a threat as well as an insult."
"Cilan was beaten over that of course, and once again, I couldn't do anything," he angrily mutters. "I think that was the worst thing to occur while they were still running the gym. Then that bullshit with Team Plasma happened, and Cilan, Chili, and Cress missed the call for the gym leaders to come help at the league. They already felt pretty bad about that, and then these three ninjas come out of nowhere to challenge them to a battle with their real teams. We were steamrolled..." he adds sadly. "This shook their confidence to the point that they decided to give up their gym leader status. They were able to keep the building as a restaurant, though, so that was good."
"However, the parents were livid at this loss, and they blamed Cilan's loss on his Pokemon. They became more belligerent about it, but," Thyme has a note of pride in his voice, "Cilan refused to." He then looks away, "Unfortunately, this defiance utterly pissed them off, and the beatings got worse. They were so mad that their little obedient puppet would dare deny a request of theirs," he says bitterly. "This pretty much continued until the epidemic happened."
He starts laughing at this, and you feel unnerved. What happened then that he would sardonically laugh? You soon get an answer to your unasked question when he says, "The parents? Just up and left without telling their kids. You know, the children that they brainwashed to not be able to function without them."
"Yup. Just gone without even a note saying where they went. This terrified Cilan, and I almost had to drag him away. He was somehow convinced that they were coming back, and they would be mad that he wasn't there." He meets your gaze, and you almost flinch at the fire in his eyes. "He was more afraid of them then the fucking undead."
He continues, "Thankfully, Sage and I were able to make him move and helped him quickly pack up to survive in the wild again. With his brothers, he did well, and things went smoothly. Then there was a major disagreement between Chili and Cress. Chili exploded and stomped off into the dark, and Cilan ran after him to try playing peacemaker. Chili ended up snapping at him, and a horde suddenly appeared. They had to run, and they were separated in the confusion. Chili somehow managed to grab Cilan's bowtie before they split..."
He sighs sadly as he explains the next part, "After a lot of fighting, running, and hiding, the undead finally left us alone, and we found our way back to the camp. There was no sign of Chili or Cress beyond some items that it looked like Cress just left behind. Cilan was a wreck after that, and I ended up taking charge of our party. He was too emotionally compromised to do much, and that was the first time in forever that he had truly been on his own when it came to humans. We managed, and we did our best to protect him from undead and those that would kill him only for his stuff."
The pensive look returns again, "Now it's time to explain what happened to Spearmint. I don't even know how it happened, but one day we realized that one of his wounds was turning purple." You accidentally gasp in response. You know what that means. "Yeah... He got infected..." Thyme quietly affirms. "We didn't have anything on hand that could kill him, and Cilan... couldn't bear the thought of killing him. He kept putting it off until it was too late. Spearmint turned one night, and none of us could fight him without serious injury or chance of infection. It was only thanks to Basil suddenly appearing that we got out. He shot Spearmint with a move that kept him following us, and we ran. I don't think we stopped for a long time, and despite being exhausted, Cilan couldn't sleep that night. We had to resort to sleep powder for a few nights to make him sleep, and if he had nightmares, Clary had Heal Bell to wake him up."
"Poor Cilan..." Hearing about how the boy had struggled, and then about how one of his own Pokemon tried to kill him, hurt so much.
"Yeah... It was rough for him, and us..." He mutters. "To continue this story, Basil decided to stick around, and he liked Cilan enough to want to tag along. It really helped to have another Pokemon who could carry Cilan, and the fact that he could fly helped traveling a lot."
"That was fortunate, at least."
"Yeah... but our fortune couldn't last forever. Let me tell you about the fiasco at Reversal Mountain..."