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ZeldaFan20
23rd July 2005, 1:46 AM
Pokémon: Evil’s Awakening



Prologue



For countless centuries, since the days when magic and myth were as real as life itself, many ancient legends have struggled to survive on the breath of the winds of Time. Many tales speak of mighty kings, far away lands, victorious battles - and heroes. However, there are also tales that take on a much darker shade; they tell of plague, war, tyranny, famine - and a lust for Power.

One legend in particular is just one of many that the people of a certain region still speak - a legend that nearly goes back to the centuries following the birth of our world:

In those days, there existed a great and beautiful kingdom, which was ruled by a wise and just king. This man was fair and gentle, and unsurpassed by anyone when it came to battle. His kingdom was well protected on all sides from his enemies: surrounded by dense forests, deep waters, immense mountain ranges, and vast deserts. However, this beautiful land was located so far away from the rest of the world that the creatures we call Pokémon were neither seen nor heard of within its boundaries.

In this great land many different races lived in harmony. They worked together, and helped each other, in order to maintain the peace that they thrived on. All who lived within this rich land were very happy and content, and felt certain that no harm or misfortune would ever overtake them.

But...these gentle and happy people were wrong...

One ill-fated day, a fell wind swooped across this peaceful kingdom: an evil man of great and terrible power had appeared. The full extent of his dark ambitions was not known, but it was written that he had come in search of a power far greater than his own - a power that was entrusted to the good king’s ancestors by the very gods who had created this wonderful kingdom.

With great cunning and falsehood, this evil man had managed to acquire this omnipotent power. With it at his command, the dark one overthrew the Royal family and plunged the land into darkness. Towns and villages were destroyed, millions of innocent people were killed without mercy, and monstrous creatures roamed free among the destruction. The people were in despair, and all hope of regaining their peace seemed to have died right there and then.

It happened, however, that a mysterious young child stepped forward, as if from nowhere, and declared that he would vanquish the Evil One. The boy had within his hands a brightly shining blade - a blade that, as it was also written, was forged by the very same gods who had given this stricken kingdom life.

The Evil One was amused with this child’s boldness; how could a mere boy possibly hope to overthrow a man who had the Power of the Gods at his command? As the battle raged on, however, the tyrant was shocked and enraged to discover the incredible strength and courage the child possessed. When the battle was finally over, the Evil One had been defeated; he had been sealed away into the very darkness he had hoped to bring to the world.

Everyone rejoiced for the child who had given them back their freedom and peace. The Royal family was overjoyed beyond measure, and sent for the boy in hopes of rewarding him for the brave deed, but it was discovered that the young hero had mysteriously vanished. In great distress, the king had every inch of his kingdom search for its nameless savior, but it was all in vain - their hero was gone.

For generations, the boy’s tale was passed down within this newly prospering kingdom...

Unfortunately, the people were once again unprepared for what lay ahead...

The green fields suddenly split apart into a deep crevice. Out of this crevice emerged a monstrous shadow-like figure, surrounded by fire and legions of horrific entities on all sides. The people were thunderstruck; no one believed it could be possible...the Evil One had returned!

In the guise of a terrible monster, the Evil One spread his terror throughout the land once more. This time, however, the destruction came down in a red wrath, and absolutely no one was safe from his dark power.

Despite the tragedy, everyone believed that the young hero of legend - or someone like him - would come to their aid...but, to their dismay, a hero did not appear.

The people were faced by an onslaught of the Evil One’s wicked reign, and were unable to do anything but appeal to their gods. In their last hour, as doom drew close, the people left their destinies in the hands of Fate.

Even to this day, none remain who know what became of that ancient kingdom...

None...that is...except...



Several hours to the south of Hoenn, there lay a vast sea. Scattered across this sea were a large number of various islands: large, small, some with one or more small islets, a few even had different shapes - stars, moons, etc. On one of these islands - almost directly in the heart of the whole archipelago, things were not what they seemed to be.

Along the shores of this island was a fairly large city; a mixture of traditional and modern architecture lined the suburban roads, along which the street lamps burned brightly during the late hours of the night. The only other lights at that hour came from the flashlights of night watchmen, who were busily making their rounds at the local museums and office buildings. Suddenly, twelve chimes disrupted the silence that night; the large bell at the local church was signaling the midnight hour.

The church doors opened at the same moment the bell stopped chiming, and a tall figure wearing a long hooded robe stepped quietly out onto the street. Another hooded figure came out of a house two blocks away; one came out of an apartment building; a fourth emerged from the house next door to the first; two more silently left their home - across from an elementary school. These six figures walked with hurried steps as they made their way to the center of town, all the while keeping under the cover of night.

They all gathered at a set of gates, which led straight to the town cemetery. After making sure everyone was present, one figure unlocked the gates and began to usher the others within. Once the gates were relocked, they all continued down a dirt path, passing stones of various sizes, sculpted angels, private mausoleums; many of which dated back more than hundreds of years. Upon reaching the end of the path, the group saw a door-sized stone archway at the base of a hill, the opening blocked by a thick wooden door. The same figure unlocked it too, and saw that everyone had made it through before entering also.

Within the hill was a long tunnel made entirely out of earth and rock - possibly hand-carved by islanders years before. In single file, these strange people made their way down the tunnel for what seemed like five minutes. Soon, the group had reached their destination.

At the end of this tunnel was a large inner chamber, also carved out rock and earth. A big bonfire had been lit in the very center of the floor, and yet they could plainly see that there was nothing to keep that fire burning - no wood, no oil, no coal, no anything. Still, no one had a chance to ask questions:

Standing opposite the new arrivals was another hooded figure; they knew it was a man because his snowy white beard was clearly seen in the firelight. He raised an arm, and beckoned them to approach.

All seven people gathered closely around the fire and removed their hoods. They were all elderly men and women, ranging from around seventy- to eighty-years old, only the seventh member seemed to be much older. He surveyed everyone present for a little while without speaking a single word.

“Well met, brothers and sisters,” he said finally.

“Well met, Milord,” was the response.

“I trust that all preparations for the event have been completed?”

“Yes, Milord,” said the bald, clean-shaven man to his left, “just as you’ve requested; everything is ready for next week.”

“Excellent,” the leader said pleasantly, “Now, the guests will be arriving in exactly three days time. Upon their arrival, I do not wish for them to know the real reason behind it. Once it begins, all must be played out to the very end; no exceptions will be permitted.”

Just then, an old woman directly across from him spoke up, “Then, it is true, Milord - you have made your decision regarding the young Lady?”

Everyone was silent following the question, both hoping and fearing that their leader would give an answer. When it did come out, he was straight and to the point:

“I have.”

There were worried looks all around the circle as they exchanged glances at one another; this decision was what they have all feared since the last time they had gathered together. The man looked at them and smiled gently,

“There is no need to be so grave; I assure you that this is absolutely necessary. It is true that the young Lady is well prepared politically, but she is still unskilled in her own heritage, and I do not have much time left...”

“Milord!” a man on the right - this one with a gray beard and bushy hair - instantly exclaimed, “Milord, please don’t say that; it is too soon to...”

The leader raised his hand for silence, still retaining his gentle smile, “I appreciate your patronage, brother, but I know more than anyone that my time in this world draws to an end. When that time comes, you must all give the Lady your full support and council.

“In the meantime, we must all concentrate on the event that is to take place next week. As I have said, it is absolutely necessary if we are to secure the future of our region as well as that of the Lady. I would not be telling you all this if I was not serious.”

Everyone bowed their heads with much sorrow in their hearts; they all knew that what he said was the truth. However, they also knew it would be very hard to say good-bye to a dear friend, even after so many years. Before the meeting was called to an end, however, another old woman, who was literally bent over with age, decided to speak; her wrinkled face lined with hope as she did so:

“Do you truly think the prophecy will come to pass, Milord?”

All the members were raising their hoods as the question was asked. The man stopped and looked into her face: he knew which prophecy she was talking about. His eyes were totally fixed on the dying flames as all hoods were raised completely.

“I have no doubt in my mind,” he said.

“But how will we know?” the first woman asked.

Once again, the leader did not answer right away; he bent down, took some water from a nearby bucket in his cupped hands, and sprinkled it over the fire. They all watched as the last remaining flames died, and the entire chamber was slowly engulfed in the silent darkness.

“You will know.”

ZeldaFan20
9th August 2005, 4:24 AM
Chapter One



“Can’t you guys run any faster?” May yelled frantically, “The boat’s going to leave without us!”

It was a bright summer’s day in Slateport City; Wingulls flew across the blue sky in large numbers, and the beach was already filled with people and Pokémon, some of whom were watching the fishing boats that were just leaving the harbor that morning. The marketplace was alive with activity as well: Tourists, local residence, and even Trainers crowded the streets as they browsed the various booths and stalls to check out the latest bargains.

Ash, Pikachu, Brock, May and Max were not in town to admire the scenery, however; in fact, they were currently in too much of a hurry to catch their boat to take even the smallest glance.

“Five minutes!” Max announced after looking at his watch, “The ship leaves for the Great Sea in five minutes!”

“Aw, man,” Brock exclaimed, “we’re not gonna make it in time!”

May started to panic, “Ugh, that’s the last time we stay up past midnight before a trip; we are so late!”

“Don’t remind me!” Ash cut in before turning his head in Brock’s direction, “Why didn’t you wake me up earlier, Brock?”

“What are you talking about?” Brock panted, “I tried six times, and you said you were getting up each time!”

“And you actually believed me?”

Brock hung his head and sighed. “Why do I even bother?” he thought to himself.

“Pika pi…” Pikachu groaned.

“There it is, guys!” Max suddenly pointed ahead, where Slateport Harbor was seen clear as day. The sounds of bells, whistles, horns, and announcements over the loudspeakers were more than welcome to their ears. Hundreds of people were already either boarding or getting off the many different ships and ferryboats.

“Quick, Ash, where’s our boat?” May asked.

“Don’t worry,” Ash said confidently, “the ticket said that it’s leaving from Dock Seven; it’s supposed to be called the HMS Zephos.”

“The HMS-what?” Brock inquired, “I’ve never heard of that ship.”

“I did some research on it yesterday,” Max explained, “It’s supposed to be the fastest boat in the world - even faster than the S.S. Aqua in Johto.”

“Now that’s fast - hey, there’s Dock Seven!”

Ash was right: they had just reach the dock where there ship was supposed to be. Thankfully, the ship hadn’t left yet, and the boarding line was very short - there were at least six people left who were just starting to walk up the gangplank.

The boat itself looked more like an enormous luxury liner than a simple ship, and was painted entirely white. Multicolored flags decorated all three of its decks, and the name HMS Zephos was written close to the nose of the ship in large fancy gold letters.

The entire gang wasted no time in sprinting up to the attendant.

“Are you children off to the Great Sea too?” the young woman asked with a smile.

“Well, I know they are,” Brock said dreamily as he took both the attendant’s hands in his own, “but I’d be more than happy to stay here and give you a helping hand; you’ve obviously had a long day.”

“That’s nice of you, but my shift actually just started,” she responded, letting out a confused giggle.

Brock gazed further into her eyes, “Even a few minutes can feel like an eternity - believe me, I…UGH! Hey, what’s the big idea?”

Max, as well as everybody else, was always frustrated with Brock’s constant pursuit of every pretty girl in the universe, and today he had no time to watch his long-time companion crooning over another pretty face. Like he did every time, Max grabbed Brock’s ear and pulled him away.

“We don’t have time for flirting, Brock,” he growled.

“I agree,” May said, “The boat hasn’t left yet, so let’s get on before it does.”

“Hang on a minute,” Ash exclaimed suddenly, “What are we gonna do about Max? The letter I got with the tickets said that I can only bring two people - and there’s four of us!”

Max quickly put on a secretive grin, “That’s not a problem; I gave Mom a call back at the hotel yesterday, and she said she’d talk to Professor Birch.” Just as Max finished talking, two young boys casually walked up to them.

One boy looked to be around the same age as May; his hair was white, and the clothes he wore were mostly black and red. The other boy seemed almost Ash’s age; he had brown hair, a clean white T-shirt, and denim jeans.

The older boy went up to May and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around, and laughed when she saw whom it was, “Brendan!”

“Hey there, May!” the boy said. Ash and the others watched in utter confusion as the two friends locked in a big hug.

“Uhh…May,” Ash began to ask, “Do you know who this guy is?”

“Oops…sorry, everybody: this is Brendan Birch; he’s my best friend and neighbor from Littleroot Town. We’ve known each other since Max and I first moved to Hoenn.”

Brock suddenly pricked up his ears upon hearing Brendan’s last name. “Wait a sec…you mean you’re Professor Birch’s son?!”

“Yeah,” Brendan answered, looking a little embarrassed, “Ever since I was a kid, Dad was always a workaholic when it came to studying Pokémon; I often helped him out with the research - that’s basically how I got interested in Pokémon Training.”

“Wow, it must be cool to start learning about Pokémon at such a young age,” Brock wondered out loud.

Brendan started to scratch his head, “I guess so…”

Soon the whole group was climbing the gangplank onto the ship. Just as they showed their tickets to the attendant on the boat, Brendan managed to get a good look at May’s friends, “Hey, aren’t you guys Ash and Brock? May’s been telling me all about you these past few months.”

“That’s us,” they both said together.

At that moment, the younger boy who was traveling with Brendan gasped; his eyes began to shine with excitement. He raced forward, and cut right in between Ash and his companion.

“Really? Ash Ketchum – the Ash Ketchum? Wow, this is incredible! It’s a pleasure to meet you; I saw you at the Johto League Tournament - your battles were the best I’ve ever seen, and I can’t wait to see you in the Hoenn Tournament. My name’s Wally Johnson, by the way, and I’m working hard to become a great Trainer, too…”

No one could believe how fast this boy was talking - he never even stopped to take a breath! The whole time, he was endlessly pouring out praises to Ash: congratulating his many victories, asking questions about his adventures, even asking for a few pointers.

“Boy,” Brock whispered to May, “this kid’s even more excitable than Max, isn’t he?”

May nodded, “Yeah, he is - then again, Brendan says he’s always been like that.”

“Huh?” Brock was even more confused, “You and Brendan know that boy?”

“Sure do,” Brendan spoke up, “Wally’s mom is an old friend of my mom, and so our families are pretty close. The Johnsons live in Petalburg City, but Wally was visiting relatives in Verdanturf Town when I invited him to come on this little trip.”

Ash, despite Wally’s excessive enthusiasm, had heard everything his friends were saying. He took the boy’s hand and shook it, causing the child to finally stop talking.

“It’s nice to meet you, Wally; I’m glad Brendan was able to bring you with him.”

“Me too,” Wally said with awe. Then his eyes became focused on Pikachu, who was sitting on Ash’s right shoulder, “Wow, I love your Pikachu: it looks so strong!”

“Thanks,” Ash said as he gave Pikachu’s cheek a gentle rub, “It was my very first Pokémon; now, it’s my strongest - as well as my best friend.”

“Really? I have a strong Pokémon, too: my Kirlia, Mystique. Brendan helped me catch her back when I was just starting out, and she’s my best friend, too.” Suddenly, Wally’s eyes began to glitter even more, “Say, Ash…could we…maybe…have a match? It’ll just be Pikachu and Mystique: I wanna see how my strongest matches up to yours.”

Brendan’s face turned a bit pale when he heard this. “I don’t think that’d be such a good idea,” he said hurriedly, “Ash has a lot more experience than you do - he’s been doing this for a couple of years, and you’re just starting. Don’t you want to wait a while before you start challenging a pro?”

“It’s okay, I don’t mind,” Ash interrupted, “If Wally’s training for that big event next week, I’ll be happy to help him practice.”

“That’s not exactly what I mean…”

“Hey, people, can we discuss this after we get some breakfast?” Brock butted in, “We never got to eat at the hotel and I’m starved.” Everyone agreed, and they all headed off to find the ship’s dining area.



While they all sat down and waited to order, Brock noticed that Max was reading a small pamphlet with great interest; on the front cover, he saw the words Islands of the Great Sea.

“That looks pretty interesting,” Brock said.

Max jumped; he’d been so absorbed in the book’s contents that the sound of Brock’s voice startled him. “Oh…uh…yeah, it is,” he said, “it tells you all about the islands of the region. Did you know that there are at least forty-nine different islands - and only three are populated by humans?” Reaching into his backpack, Max pulled out a fairly large map. He opened it up, and laid it out on the table for everyone to see, pointing to the three islands one at a time.

“See, there’s Outset Island, to the South; it’s populated by a small fishing community. Up here, in the Northeast, is Dragon Roost Island; many Pokémon Trainers (especially Dragon Trainers) go there to train every year. And this,” he pointed to a decently-sized island, which was almost in the heart of the entire map, “This is Windfall Island - where we’re going. The city there is very large; it has markets, museums, hotels, beaches…practically everything.”

“What’s this island over here?” Ash asked, pointing to an island at the very top-left corner of the map.

Max read over the description carefully, “Hmm…that’s called the Forsaken Fortress: it was apparently used by pirates to protect themselves - and their treasures - from enemies, but it was abandoned more than a hundred years ago after a mysterious fire wrecked the place.”

“If it’s been empty for that long,” Ash said hopefully, “I bet there’s a lot of good Ghost Pokémon inside.”

“Even if it did, you’d never get the chance to see any,” Brendan cut in, “I’ve heard that they tried to turn that place into a historic museum back in the seventies, but constant repairs and frequent accidents cause the King to have the whole place condemned; now it’s off limits to the public.”

Ash was clearly disappointed: he hadn’t had a Ghost on his team since his Gym battle against Sabrina, the Saffron City Gym Leader, years before. It was a real shame; he really wanted to catch some more Pokémon on this trip, but how could that happen if all the really good habitats were closed down?

Still, something didn’t seem to make much sense to Ash. “Wait, did you say that this region has a king?”

“Yup, the Great Sea Islands have been ruled by a king for centuries; even though they were colonized by the Japanese in the eighteen-hundreds, the people still managed to form their own personal government.

“Anyway, back in those days, Pokémon didn’t exist in that region. It wasn’t until the current ruler - Lorenzo Hylas - ascended the throne sixty years ago that Pokémon were first introduced there.”

“Lorenzo Hylas,” Brock muttered audibly, “that name rings a bell; Ash, take out that letter you received with the tickets.”

Ash did as he was told; he reached into his pants pocket, pulled out the letter, and began to read - all heads crowding around him in the process:



Greetings to the Honorable Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town, in the Kanto region of Japan;

Allow us first to extend our heartfelt congratulations on your victory in the Orange Island and Johto Pokémon League Competitions. We have, from all quarters, received news of your many achievements, as well as those of many other promising Trainers - all of which are widely mentioned with the greatest interest.

When the remarkable creatures you call ‘Pokémon’ were first brought to us, our wish was to bring a new Pokémon League to light in our region. Regrettably, a great number of our islands were discovered to be unsuitable for the construction of Gyms and Centers, so our dream was unable to be realized. Despite this, it is our hope that our people of the Great Sea will procure the opportunity to travel and train these wonderful creatures as well.

In hope of the realization of this venture, we cordially invite you to attend a Grand Tournament to be held on the Island of Windfall in the region of the Great Sea, on the Twentieth day in the month of June, in the year of Our Lord Two-thousand-and-four.

This tournament will require skill and knowledge - to be demonstrated by the Trainer as well as his or her partners. During the course of three days and nights, all trainers will compete in predetermined battle challenges - the opponents will be selected in a random fashion on the previous night of each day. The victor of this Tournament will be awarded The Grand Prize, which will be announced following the end of the final challenge.

Enclosed with your invitation are three tickets to board our vessel, the HMS Zephos. You are encouraged to allow two companion - family, friend, or otherwise - to accompany you to our Tournament. The vessel will set sail from the Seventh Dock of Slateport Harbor in the region of Hoenn exactly seven days prior to the Tournament. We greatly anticipate your arrival, and wish you well in our humble event.

May the winds of Fortune continue to lead you to Victory.



His Esteemed Majesty, Lorenzo Hylas the First, High King of the region of the Great Sea.

Long Live the King.



“Whoa…” was all Ash could say. Everyone else was as thunderstruck as he was; a personal invitation from a king was the greatest honor a person could ever receive! It was enough to make anyone nervous, but Ash began to feel more than that: he’d never did anything for a king before - actually, the only king he’d ever met was the King of the Mirage Kingdom, back in Hoenn.

“I got the same letter last week,” Brendan confessed as he read his own letter over, “Old Lorenzo sure has a fancy way of writing.”

“Maybe it’s a style of writing commonly used by the nobility in the Great Sea during ancient times,” Brock commented, “I’ve heard of many kings who still practice the ways of their ancestors.”

“This ‘Mystery Grand Prize’ certainly caught my attention,” remarked a grinning Wally, “It could be a million dollars, our own private oasis in the tropics…hey, he may even give us anything we want!”

“Let’s try to focus on getting there first,” May pointed out, “I just hope we’ll be able to see all these islands before the Tournament…”

“We’ll have more than enough time,” Max announced, trying hard not to sound too excited, “One of Windfall Island’s main attractions is a boat tour of the entire Great Sea: they take you to see all the islands, explain their history, and even let you explore some of them!

“I personally want to see this island down here,” he then pointed to an island in the bottom-right section of the map, “This Island is supposed to be a kind of oasis for Grass and various other types of Pokémon - as well as a lot of exotic plant life.” Max’s voice suddenly lowered to a whisper as he continued, “They even say that there’s a natural spring on the island that can cure almost any kind of illness.”

“That’s amazing,” Wally exclaimed, “I bet any doctor who had that water would become very famous.”

“Pi pika chu!” Pikachu chirped, nodding its head in agreement.

“Yeah,” Max went on, “but this island is surrounded by three islets (or smaller islands), and the one that’s supposed to have the spring has no entrance from the sea, so no one can get to it.”

“Sure they can,” May joked, “if they sprout wings and fly.”

Everyone laughed at May’s remark, until the waitress came over and took their breakfast orders. As they continued talking, excitement and fear over this new venture grew even more. However, one thought remained stuck in Ash’s mind: how was he ever going to manage a Pokémon battle in the presence of royalty?

ZeldaFan20
13th August 2005, 3:06 AM
Chapter Two



Nearly two hours after the HMS Zephos embarked on its scheduled route, all the early morning activity in Slateport City seemed to calm down a bit. The ticket sellers were able to relax more easily, people were no longer in too much of a hurry, and even the marketplace crowds came in smaller quantities.

In the shipyard, the sailors, engineers, and even the cleaning staff finally found the time to talk and laugh with each other while they worked. As a matter of fact, two husky-looking sailors who were sweeping up near the front entrance were talking loudly at that moment:

“So, anyway,” one sailor was saying, “I asked her, ‘how can you call it a living room when the only people who hang around in there are ghosts?’ But then she says, ‘how do you call yourself a sailor when you’ve never even seen the inside of a ship in your life?’ I mean, c’mon; how did that old hag know I haven’t been on a ship yet?!”

The young man he was talking to gave a hearty laugh before answering, “I guess that’s why they call ‘em ‘psychics,’ huh?” Both men laughed even louder, until a third person was seen walking slowly in their direction.

It was a fair-haired young man; he was tall, well built, and looked to be in his early thirties. As he came up to the two men, he took out a pair of glasses from the front pocket of his lab coat, and put them on.

“Good morning, boys,” he greeted the sailors.

“’Morning, Captain Stern,” the first man answered.

“Heading off to the harbor again today?” asked the second.

Captain Stern nodded cheerfully, “I have to make sure that the final preparations on the sub are ready before we start the exploration tomorrow.”

“Aw c’mon, don’t tell me you still believe that old wives’ tale,” the first sailor chuckled.

Stern just gave a hopeful smile, “Hey, you guys can laugh all you want, but I just know it exists - and neither you nor anyone else can make me believe otherwise.” He then walked right passed them and headed for the door, “I’ll see you at lunch later.” As he walked, Stern could hear them calling.

“Well, good luck tomorrow!”

“Yeah - heh heh heh - maybe you’ll get lucky and find a mermaid, too!”

Captain Stern just smiled and shook his head as they laughed. What he was hoping for was the biggest find since the discovery of Pokémopolis - and absolutely no one wanted to take him seriously! However, the intelligent young man knew that their rude comments would never make him give up his dream…no matter how incredible it sounded.

No one was around when he finally reached the Harbor Marina, where the submarine Explorer 1 was docked. Still, he was used to working alone in a quiet environment, so it didn’t really bother him much. Stern walked up happily to the large, bright and shiny sub that was sitting in the churning salt water.

“Good morning, old friend,” he said, giving the sub’s smooth side a pat, “What do you say we get to work?”

Stern picked up a clipboard from a nearby table and began to look over its contents, unaware that somebody was slowly creeping up behind him. By the time he finally realized that he wasn’t alone, a heavy blunt object had smacked him right in the back of the head. With a huge rush of pain, he fell to the floor in a daze.

“Sorry to intrude, Cap,” sneered a man’s voice, “but we’ve got use for your little toy here.”

“Can it, would ya!” snapped a second voice - this time, from a young woman, “The Boss said to grab this loser as well as the sub, so let’s get him on board and get out of here!”

Despite the pain, Stern was able to keep his senses for a little while longer. He could feel his hands being tied behind him, and his ankles were tied also. Before blanking out, Stern was able to take one glance at his captors: he couldn’t make out the faces, but he did remember seeing two black suits - each bearing a large red “R”…



“Please, Brendan,” Wally wailed, “I really want to battle!”

Brendan was in a real jam at that moment: he didn’t want Wally to enter a tough Pokémon battle against Ash, but he also didn’t want the boy to be heartbroken by his refusal.

“I…I still don’t know, buddy…”

“Pleeeeeaaase? Mystique and I’ve gotten much stronger since the last time we battled, and I really want to see how strong Pikachu is.”

“Look, no offense, Wally, but have you forgotten that one little detail that nearly prevented you from battling at all?”

The child’s face fell when Brendan finished speaking. “No, I haven’t…but why did you have to bring that up?”

“Bring what up?” Ash asked as he walked up them. May, Max, and Brock were following close behind, and Pikachu was still on his shoulder. “Is something wrong, guys?”

“Well, as a matter of fact…” Brendan started to say, but then Wally popped up between him and Ash.

“There isn’t; everything’s fine.”

“Wally…”

“Please, Brendan? I promise I won’t overdo it.”

Brendan only stared at Wally; he could see that this kid really wanted the chance to prove himself in front of his friends. He let out a long sigh, knowing only too well that he was going to regret it later.

“Promise to keep your backpack with you the whole time?”

Wally smiled, and gave an Army-like salute, “Scout’s honor!”

“Then…” Brendan sighed again before continuing, “…okay.”

“YIPPEE!” Wally hollered. In his excitement he grabbed Ash’s hand and started running off with him, “C’mon, Ash, the arena’s downstairs!”

“Whoa! Okay, okay, but calm down!” Ash said, half-laughing and half-stammering, “We’re in no hurry, remember?”

“Hey, guys, wait for us!” Max yelled as he and the rest of the gang ran to catch up with them.



The entire area around the ship’s arena was pretty crowded: Trainers and Pokémon of all shapes and sizes were eagerly preparing for the practice battles they hoped to get into. One battle was already taking place in the arena: a very energetic Charmeleon was Slashing away at an Ekans (who appeared to be quite out of breath).

“Man, look at all these trainers!” Brock exclaimed, “I have a feeling Ash and Wally will be waiting a while before they get a chance to battle.” It was then that he saw Brendan wipe his brow, looking very relieved.

Standing next to him was a young girl trainer: she wore a white jacket and shorts, a pink top, and a pink PokéGear around her neck. A small white cap covered her blue hair, which was in two pigtails. She turned to look at Brock after he’d made his observation.

“Don’t be so sure,” she said smiling, “Many of us are just here to watch this battle - too bad it’s almost over. I’m mostly saving my Pokémon for the Tournament on Windfall Island myself.”

May looked surprised, “Oh, were you invited to compete too?”

“Uh-huh, me and my friend, Yoshi, both got invitations; he’s gone to get some sodas. My name’s Marina, by the way.” She held out her hand, and shook everyone else’s.

“Nice to meet you, Marina,” Ash said, “I’m Ash, this is May, her brother Max, Pikachu, Wally, Brendan, and Brock.”

“Hi!” they all said together.

“Pika pi!” Pikachu chirped.

Once the introductions were finished, Marina took a closer look at Ash, and gasped, “Of course, you’re the one who battled Vincent at the Johto League Competition! It’s great to finally meet you!”

“Huh?” Ash looked puzzled, “You know Vincent?”

Marina gave a half-hearted chuckle, “For as long as I can remember. Actually, the guy’s had a huge crush on me since we were kids, but he just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

“Believe me,” May said, “I can definitely relate.”

Ash and Wally watched in bewilderment as the two girls laughed - Brendan and Brock only grinned at each other.

Just then, the entire crowd started cheering. The match was finally over - Ekans had managed to pull off a win by surprising Charmeleon with a Dig attack! As the two combatants walked off the stage, Ash took Wally by the hand.

“Well, looks like it’s our turn; you ready?”

Poor Wally had been anxious to battle a few seconds ago. Now, after seeing all these trainers who would be watching their every move, he suddenly had a funny feeling in his stomach.

Max noticed the nervous look in his eyes, “What’s the matter, Wally? Don’t tell us you’re getting cold feet already.”

Hearing this remark, Wally shook his head violently, took a deep breath, and put on a determined grin. “Me? No way; nothing’s going to stop me from proving that I can reach the top, too! I’m going up on that stage, and I’m going to battle!”

“That’s the spirit,” Ash said proudly, “Now, let’s get up there and battle!”

For some reason, a simple practice match can attract just as much attention as an actual Pokémon tournament. Every person in the room began to cheer and chatter to each other as Ash and Wally made their way to the arena. Many of these trainers had already known about Ash - either by watching TV or attending the Johto Championships - and were really excited about seeing him battle; those who didn’t know about him got the info from somebody else.

To be perfectly honest, Ash was just as nervous as his young challenger upon hearing a couple of audience members talking about him. His cheeks turned a slight shade of pink as the two of them climbed the steps and headed for their battle stations - Ash went to the right; Wally to the left.

“You gotta be kidding!” someone shouted from the crowd, “This little kid’s challenging Ash?! He looks like he’s barely outta diapers!”

Wally frowned as the sound of light laughter flowed in his direction, but maintained his determination as Ash sent Pikachu out to the center of the arena.

“Come on, buddy,” Ash called to him, “let them all see your strongest Pokémon!”

Instantly filled with a new surge of confidence, Wally took the Poké Ball from his belt and threw it. “Okay…I choose you, Mystique!” A beam of red light shot out from the Ball, and the Pokémon materialized into full form.

Mystique was about the same size and appearance as a small girl - especially since her bright green hair was done up in pigtails. The white wide-rimmed skirt and the graceful way she pranced on her toes mimicked those of a prima ballerina. Aside from her elegant exterior, Ash could sense that this creature possessed incredible experience and Psychic power; in fact, she almost looked like she was about ready to evolve!

What followed Mystique’s entrance was even greater - and louder - laughter. To them, this Pokémon looked more babyish than intimidating.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha, what a joke!” laughed the same snide voice, “Is that a Pokémon or a ballet dancer? This is a Pokémon battle, not a recital!!!” More mocking laughter followed the voice, causing poor Wally to blush as red as a moss rose.

Ash searched the crowd until he found the one responsible for the cruel teasing. In the front row was a very cocky-looking young man; he had long red hair that stopped at the shoulders, a black long-sleeved shirt, and purple pants. The boy suddenly looked startled upon the realization that Ash was glaring at him, but only smirked back.

“Okay, Wally” Ash said as he turned back to his challenger, “you’ve got the first move! Let’s show them what you can do!”

Hearing this, Wally eagerly wasted no time. “Mystique, let’s start off with a Calm Mind!”

“Kirlia…” Mystique said as she closed her eyes and stood perfectly still. A bright blue aura surrounded her entire body - she was obviously powering up for a Psychic attack.

“Pikachu, it’s our turn: use Thunder Wave!”

The instant the order was given, sparks of electricity erupted from Pikachu’s cheeks and surrounded the Kirlia, causing her body to go totally rigid.

“Alright! Great job, Pikachu…huh? Pikachu?” Ash stopped celebrating and gasped; the electric rodent had suddenly gone rigid as well! “What happened? How did you get paralyzed?”

Wally leapt into the air with glee, “Yes, the Synchronize ability works every time!” he shouted as Mystique swallowed a Cheri Berry she was holding, enabling her to shake off the paralysis.

Ash then remembered what he’d learned about abilities back in Hoenn: each one had its own beneficial effect in a battle. The affect Synchronize had was that it gave the opposing Pokémon the same condition (like Poisoning or Paralysis) as the creature that was inflicted! Realizing this, Ash instantly turned pale.

“Gosh,” Ash thought to himself, “these guys have more skills than I thought!” After giving Pikachu a Full Heal he had saved, both combatants were soon ready for the next attack. What he almost didn’t notice was that no one in the audience was laughing or making jokes anymore - everybody was eagerly watching the fight with silent awe.

“Okay, Pikachu, use your Quick Attack!”

“Mystique, Teleport!”

Pikachu made a fast dash towards the graceful Kirlia, but she had disappeared in a flash before the impact. As the mouse searched the entire arena for her in amazement, she suddenly reappeared right behind him.

“Pika…chuuuuu,” Pikachu growled as Mystique giggled with humorous delight.

“Nice work, Mystique,” Wally cheered, “Now, use your Double Team!”

Neither Ash nor the other onlookers could believe what they heard; after hearing her trainer’s command, Mystique had immediately created a large number of identical replicas of herself, all of which surrounded Pikachu in a close circle. Pikachu looked from one replica to the other, trying to figure out which one was real.

Ash’s mind raced, “I can’t use an Electric attack on her; if she gets paralyzed again, Pikachu will be the same way. Also, we can’t touch her when she’s using Double Team…unless…” Ash then had an idea: if Kirlia was anything like the whole Abra-line, then that meant…

“Pikachu, use Iron Tail on all of them!”

“Piiii…kaaaa…CHUUUU!” In a blur of incredible speed, Pikachu came at each image; his tail pointing at them like a sharp dagger. Each strike flew smack into an image, making it disappear. Soon, all except one of the images had disappeared: the one who was standing right next to Pikachu’s left paw, and was currently staggering from the force of the blow.

Wally began to panic; Mystique was now a sitting duck! What was he going to do now? Then again, Pikachu was supposed to have terrible Special Defense stats. If that was true, then he had nothing to worry about!

“That was a great shot, Pikachu!” Ash said, now entirely focused on winning the match, “You’ve got that Kirlia on the ropes, now let’s finish the job with another Quick Attack!”

“Mystique, time for Psychic!”

Ash gasped as Pikachu charged at the Kirlia again. Just as he knew about the Psychic-types’ low physical Defense stats, it was obvious that Wally knew about Pikachu’s low Special Defense! He gulped slowly, but still managed to keep a straight face.

Pikachu was halfway towards his target when Mystique’s eyes suddenly turned a bright blue. A huge surge of purple energy radiated from her body in the direction of her opponent. The impact of the attack not only stopped Pikachu from finishing the Quick Attack, but it also knocked him backwards across the stage - landing him just three inches away from Ash’s feet!

“Gotcha!” Wally cried.

“Pikachu, are you okay?” Ash asked, anxious to see if his partner was still in the match. Before he could take a step forward, however, Pikachu let out a low moan as he pushed himself to stand up again. After a minute or two of grunting and struggling, everyone in the audience cheered as Pikachu finally got back on his hind feet.

By now, both Pokémon were almost completely worn out: their fur looked a little disheveled and they were breathing heavily. It soon crossed everyone’s minds that the very next move would undoubtedly determine the winner. But then, as Ash and Pikachu turned to face their opponents, something happened that made the entire match come to a complete stop:

Across the arena, Wally was breathing just as heavily as the Pokémon. He looked incredibly pale, and had put a hand on his chest. Since the room had suddenly grown very quiet, Ash was able to make out a whistling sound coming from every breath the boy took.

In a split second, Ash realized what was wrong. He gasped and ran right over to his friend, who had sunk down to his knees at that moment.

“Don’t worry, Wally,” Ash said, trying to keep his cool, “just try to stay calm.” He then turned to Mystique who, despite her present condition, had suddenly become very alert to what was going on, “Mystique, get me his backpack over there.”

The Kirlia ran over to where the backpack lay without hesitation, picked it up, and brought it back to the two humans. Ash began to rummage through the bag’s contents the minute it was in his hands. Finally, he managed to find what he was looking for - an inhaler - in the front pocket. After reading the instructions Ash placed the mouthpiece into Wally’s mouth, pressed down on the pump, and instructed the child to take slow deep breaths.

While all this was happening, Brendan, May, and the others looked up at the arena to see how the battle was going (they had mostly been too busy talking with Marina to watch the entire match). Upon seeing Wally gasping on the ground, Brendan’s eyes grew wide with fear. With the others following close behind, he pushed his way through the crowd to get to his friends. By the time they arrived, Wally’s breathing had slowed down, and the whistling had subsided.

“That’s it,” Ash said, “breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out…”

“Wally!” Brendan called as he and the gang ran up to them, “Is he okay, Ash?”

Ash nodded seriously, “I think he’s okay, but he still needs to see a doctor…just to be on the safe side.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Marina cut in, “The ship has an infirmary on the second-floor deck; there’s always a doctor on duty.”

“Is it safe to just let him walk all that way?” Brock asked, “What if he collapses again?”

“Maybe, if we go slowly,” Ash suggested, “I think he’ll be okay - as long as there’s someone supporting him.”

After recalling Mystique to her Poké Ball, Brendan placed Wally’s right arm over his shoulders as Ash held the other. The entire group then began to slowly lead Wally down the arena stairs and up to the main deck. About halfway to their destination, Ash looked at Brendan with inquisitive eyes - to which Brendan gave a melancholy nod of the head.

During the whole trek, both boys felt like kicking themselves: Brendan kept thinking that he shouldn’t have given in to letting his charge go into such a tough Pokémon battle, knowing all too well that this kind of episode had a good chance of happening. Ash fared no better; he hated himself for actually agreeing to a battle without realizing how sick this boy was - as well as not listening when others tried to warn him about Wally’s condition.

“I sure hope we get to Windfall Island in time to find Wally a real doctor,” Ash silently thought as they made their way through the infirmary doors.

WaterTrainer243
13th August 2005, 3:17 AM
Didn't you already start this fic? What happened to the first copy?

indigestible_wad
15th August 2005, 6:16 PM
Now that I've read the prologue again, I can tell that you got very much from it from the wind waker. I'm surprised that you let this fic stay so long that you had to let it die twice. Hopefully this time you won't leave it.

FlamingRuby
15th August 2005, 6:33 PM
Yay! You brought this back!

I think the farthest I got was ch. 9...

::hopes to see a gag involving the Ocarina of Time::

ZeldaFan20
15th August 2005, 6:39 PM
Yeah, it got deleted; but this has been a busy summer for me - I'll spare you all the details. Don't worry, I'm not abandoning this fic until it's done!

FlamingRuby
15th August 2005, 7:03 PM
I'll resume at chapter 10, since 9 was as far as I got...

ZeldaFan20
19th August 2005, 2:32 AM
Chapter Three



Nearly fifteen minutes had passed before Wally was considered strong enough to leave the infirmary. The doctor said that all the excitement of the Pokémon match had over-exerted his lungs. The young boy needed to be watched carefully, but he was going to be just fine - at least, physically.

Ash and Pikachu were on the main deck, watching the waves churning in the bright sunshine. Beneath the crystal-clear surface, they could see a variety of creatures: a pair of Horsea chasing each other, a couple of Tentacool floating gently along with the ocean current, and there was even a Qwilfish sampling a few food scraps that the cook had thrown out of the galley porthole. The mere sight of the frolicking Pokémon was more than enough to temporarily sponge away the worry he had been feeling for the past forty-five minutes.

During this tranquil moment, Pikachu was the first to notice that Brendan and May had come up onto the deck and walked up to them. May leaned on the railing to her friend’s left and watched the Pokémon play as well; Brendan stood to his right. Ash was too preoccupied with his own thoughts to acknowledge them. Suddenly, May took a deep breath of the fresh sea air, and let out a long, soft sigh.

“How’s Wally doing, guys?” Ash asked, not even wanting to look up and face them.

Brendan smiled, “Well, he’s feeling a lot better now…but he’s a little upset with himself - doesn’t even want to come out of the infirmary.”

“I can imagine how he’s feeling,” May thought out loud, “collapsing during a Pokémon battle in front of hundreds of people is enough to embarrass any Trainer.”

“That reminds me,” Ash said, turning his head towards the boy on his right, “why didn’t he want me to know he had asthma? I mean, it’s nothing to be that ashamed of, isn’t it?”

“What?” Brendan asked, sounding very surprised by his new friend’s question, “How did you know…”

“I have a friend back in Pallet Town who has asthma,” Ash interrupted, grinning, “We’ve known each other since we were really small - and he’s had quite a few of those attacks, so I pretty much know all about it.”

“Really?” May asked, “You never told me and Brock that.”

Ash spun around and leaned his back against the railing before responding, “There’s a lot of things about me that people don’t know.”

“I guess that means you’ve battled other wimps before, eh?” snapped a voice from behind.

“Pika?” Pikachu asked in confusion. He and the three humans (with the exception of Ash) turned around to face the speaker; all were wearing startled expressions.

Standing just a couple of feet away was a young boy. Ash didn’t need to look twice to know who it was: he recognized him - by the dark clothes, long red hair, and bad attitude. He then gritted his teeth and frowned at the newcomer.

“Hey, you’re that jerk who was teasing my friend during our battle!”

The boy only sniffed at Ash’s remark, “You mean that weenie little baby Trainer was your friend? HA! Weak little sickies like him shouldn’t even be allowed to train Pokémon.”

Brendan scowled, “Hey, bud, why don’t you cut Wally some slack? He’s actually been doing really well since he started his Pokémon journey back in Hoenn.”

“And I suppose that this was the first time he almost suffocated during a match?” the stranger sneered sarcastically.

“Now just a minute!” May shouted angrily, “I don’t know who you are, but exactly how sick our friend is doesn’t mean a thing to anybody - least of all you! And who are you to judge which people are capable of becoming Trainers?” May was so busy scolding the unwelcome guest that she failed to notice Brock and Marina walking in their direction; each holding a slightly nervous Wally by the hand.

Standing next to Marina, however, was a boy neither Ash nor his friends had ever met before. His age and height seemed to be level with Brendan’s, but the black-and-yellow cap that covered his dark blue hair almost made him look like Ash. Only the rest of his clothing was very much different: a long-sleeved red jacket and yellow shorts.

No one seemed surprised that this person didn’t shout back - it was almost like he enjoyed getting on the bad side of others. The only response he gave to May’s outburst was a mere wave of the hand, all the while maintaining his rude grin.

“Chill out, Sweet Cheeks,” he snickered, “All I’m saying is that it’d be good for your friend’s health if quits right now. Besides, no Pokémon in its right mind would ever want a Trainer who can’t even take care of himself.”

“I thought that was you, Tyler!” Marina suddenly cut in from behind.

“Yeah,” added the boy next to her, “who would’ve guessed you’d be here?”

Upon hearing those two voices, Tyler’s expression changed. The once haughty and careless expression melted away into one of pure shock - and even that didn’t last very long either: the eyebrows lowered to the point where they could’ve touched his nose, his teeth clenched tightly, and even his face grew redder and hotter than a Charmander’s flame. It was clear to Ash that this boy was not too happy with the two Trainers who were addressing him. After a few seconds of silent fuming, however, Tyler regained his composure; without taking a glance, he turned to the right and started walking casually away.

“See you losers later,” he called to them before disappearing around the corner, “I’d stick around longer, but all this ocean air makes me seasick.”

Marina directed an uneasy smile at the trio, a drop of sweat falling down her face, “I see you’ve just met Tyler.”

“Hmph…I wouldn’t call that a meeting,” May retorted, “Who was he?”

“Tyler’s just a local punk around the Johto region,” the other boy explained, “Officer Jenny’s still chasing him because he stole a Pokémon from Professor Elm a while back. Claims all other Trainers are weak, but he refuses to admit that he needs more training himself.”

Marina suddenly spoke up at that moment, “I’m sorry, you haven’t been properly introduced: guys, this is my friend, Jimmy - he and I both started our Pokémon journeys back home in New Bark Town. Jimmy, these are May, Brendan, Ash, and Pikachu.”

“Oh yeah; Marina, Wally, and Brock told me about you,” Jimmy said pleasantly as he shook their hands, “It’s great to finally meet you all.”

“Right back atchya, Jimmy,” Ash replied, “So, I guess we’re all going to be competing in the Tournament, huh?”

“Yup, and I can hardly wait to get there and start battling. King Lorenzo invited the best Trainers from all the different Leagues to compete in this event. Just think: all those tough young men and women, and their incredibly strong Pokémon…”

“I know what you mean,” cheered an ecstatic Ash, “I haven’t felt this excited since the day I started competing in the Kanto Indigo League!”

“Oh no,” May said melodramatically, slapping a hand against her forehead, “Now we have to put up with two eager-beaver Trainers.”

Ash and Jimmy turned bright red as their friends burst out laughing - they couldn’t help sharing the same enthusiasm for Pokémon Battles and competing in League tournaments. The two boys just stared at each other for a few seconds before finally giving in and laughing themselves.

While all this was going on, Max came running up to the group. Despite the heavy panting, he had the widest and brightest smile imaginable on his face.

“Hey, everybody,” he yelled, “I just saw it; we’re almost there!”

Brock gave him a puzzled glance, “Saw what, Max?”

“Windfall Island; it’s only a few minutes away! Come look!”

In a flash, all eight Trainers (Pikachu remained on Ash’s shoulder) raced over to the front of the ship. Hundreds of other passengers and Pokémon were already crowding onto the deck in order to catch their first glimpse of the island. Ash and his friends had to make it through all the pushing and shoving of those around them before finally reaching the guardrail. They were all completely breathless at the sight of what lay before them.

The large island stood proudly upon the ocean’s surface. Houses and buildings of every shape, size and color lined the shores and streets; their many windows reflected the rays of the morning sunshine, making them look like sparkling gemstones from so far away. The lush green grass and multicolor flowers of a park could be seen near the western tip of the island. Ash guessed that there was a beach on the opposite end because he could see a long strip of sandy shoreline on the eastern side. Everything was almost too beautiful for words, but the one object that really caught their attention was the biggest building, located in the heart of the entire city:

An enormous castle, nearly twice as big as any Pokémon stadium on Earth, towered majestically over every square inch of the island. Every brick, from the courtyard to the blue-roofed towers, was made of fine white stone - though not smooth enough to be marble. The brilliant red flags that billowed from the tops of the towers, as well as the front gates, bore pictures of lions embroidered with gold thread. From the battlements and arched windows were hung great blue banners that were also accented with gold. Everyone agreed that this was truly a sight to behold!

While the passengers remained wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the great city, the HMS Zephos slowly pulled into the overly crowded marina. Staff members grabbed the ropes that were thrown to them from the ship’s crew, and tied the ship down securely. A pair of muscular-looking sailors pushed back the onlooking people as they prepared the gangplank. During this time, the announcer’s voice echoed from the many loudspeakers around them:

“Attention, attention: the citizens of Windfall Island are pleased to welcome the passengers of the ‘HMS Zephos’. We hope you enjoy the wonderful sites our people have to offer. If you would like information about upcoming events, tours, and shows, brochures and calendars are available at the Service Desk in the main building. The snack bar and restrooms are located to the right, and the Red Lion Rental Station is to the left. Once again, we hope you enjoy your visit to Windfall Island. Have a nice day.”

“Red Lions?” Wally asked, looking at his friends with a baffled expression, “What are those?”

Max took a quick look in his guidebook before answering; “Red Lions are the traditional sailboats of the Great Sea, they’re very decorative. In fact, you can see them sailing in the harbor right now.”

Everyone looked to the left as Max pointed. Scattered across the waters of the harbor were many little red sailboats, their white sails swelling as the wind carried them around. Unlike most common boats, these were made entirely of wood. Carved into each fore (that’s the boat’s “nose”) was what looked to be a Chinese-style lion head, highlighted with both white and gold paint.

Ash leaned farther over the railing as he stared at the small boats, “Wow, I’d sure like to ride one of those.”

“Me too,” May squealed happily, “they’re so adorable!”

By now, Ash was leaning so far that he came quite close to falling overboard. Without warning, a strong hand grabbed the back of his shirt and pulled him to safety before anyone had a chance to react.

“Waaah!” Ash yelped as he felt himself being tugged back onto the deck, “Hey, who did that?” He spun around to find out who was responsible.

Standing behind him was a large, muscular man. He seemed to be around thirty years of age, and had a dark tan. Although the black hair and beard on his tough-looking face made him seem quite intimidating, the light-brown business suit told everyone that he was not as scary as they all thought. With a playful grin, the man gave Ash a light pat on the back.

“Careful there, youngster,” he said, “You don’t want to end up fish bait.”

The man then walked away from the astonished group, and joined four other strange men near the ship’s exit. Taking a megaphone from a short man with buck teeth, he cleared his throat hard and put it to his mouth:

“Ladies and gentlemen, Trainers of all ages, may I have your attention please?”

All the chattering passengers suddenly fell silent to the man’s voice, and gathered closer to hear the announcement.

“Welcome to Windfall Island, home of the Great Sea’s Tournament of Champions! My name is Senza; my friends here and I will be your chaperones for the next two weeks. We will show you the sites of the city, take you on tours of the surrounding islands, and we will be your coaches while you prepare for the coming Tournament next week.

“Now, before we get started, we need to go over a few simple ground rules:

…One: No fighting of any kind in the streets - King Lorenzo is very strict about public safety in this region.

…Two: When touring or going out with a group, you are encouraged to stay with that group; we don’t want our competitors getting lost before the big event.

…Three: Smoking, drinking, drugs, thievery, or any other kind of unsanitary activities are not permitted. If any Trainers have one or more of these problems, they will NOT be allowed to participate in the Tournament.

…Four: All participating Trainers - and their Pokémon - must agree to a full physical examination before entering; failure to do so will result in immediate disqualification.

…Five: Meals, important events of the day, and bedtimes will be kept on a strict schedule. Missing even one of these will result in a warning; earn three warnings, and you will be put on restriction for one whole day. In other words, you will stay in your assigned room while your comrades get to go outside and have fun - even if it’s between Tournament hours.

“There will also be rules concerning the Tournament that the King himself will go over with you later on. In the meantime, as your prepare yourselves, we encourage you all to have a wonderful stay on our beautiful island.”

Senza paused as the audience gave enthusiastic cheers and claps. As they gradually began to quiet down, he picked up a clipboard full of papers, and raised the megaphone again.

“Alright, let’s get started by sorting you all into your tour groups. As you can see, there are five chaperones all together: each one will be leading a group of Trainers - and their escorts - who are currently training for a certain League. For instance, if you’re going for the Kanto League right now, you will be with Mako over there.” He then pointed to a short young man in an orange shirt and pants, and a pair of nerdy glasses. Several Trainers had already started moving towards Mako as Senza watched.

Jimmy immediately tapped Marina on the shoulder as the crowd thinned from the departing kids, “Come on, let’s go,” he said.

The young girl nodded as they moved away from the others.

“Where are you two going?” Brock asked, causing them to stop.

“That’s us,” Marina replied, “We were training for the Kanto League when the invitations came.”

“Oh,” May said, trying not to sound disappointed, “I was really hoping we could all spend the day together.”

“Sure we can,” Jimmy observed, “All we’ve gotta do is get settled in first, then maybe Mako and whoever your leader is will let us all hang out.”

“We’ll see you later then,” Ash said. They all waved and said good-bye as Jimmy and Marina followed their group down the gangplank.

Senza then paired up two more guides with their Trainers (both groups were from Leagues neither Ash nor his friends had ever heard of before). One group went with a short, dark-skinned man named Zuko; this guy wore a blue summer shirt, green pants, and had a look of sheer boredom on his face. The other set was turned over to Nudge, a tall light-skinned man dressed all in gray - except for his yellow sunhat. Senza continued as the two groups filed off the ship…

“Hoenn Trainers, Niko will be your guide from now on. The rest of you - the Johto Leaguers - you’ll be coming with me.”

“Well, guys, that’s our cue,” Brendan announced.

The six friends soon started tailing the other Hoenn Trainers. As he walked on, Ash happened to notice Tyler out of the corner of his eye: the young redhead just stood there, wearing that same smug look as before.

“Something wrong?” Brock asked when he noticed Ash’s scowl.

“I just saw Tyler,” Ash answered in a low voice, “I guess he’s staying with the Johto group.”

Brendan thought for a second, “Yeah, that is weird: Marina and Jimmy are already training for the Kanto League; so why is Tyler staying here? Shouldn’t he be on an equal level with those two?”

May huffed at the mere thought of that stuck-up creep, “If that’s the case, then he must’ve lost terribly at the Johto Competition.” They all covered their mouths so that no one would hear them giggling. Luckily, Tyler was now too far away to hear, but he did frown at the sight of them leaving together.

“What a bunch of children,” he thought silently, “They won’t be so cheery once I get into the ring.”



In a matter of seconds, over a dozen Hoenn Trainers were gathering around the buck-toothed little man. Despite his size, Niko looked very much like he knew how to handle such an assignment: his face glowed with a proud sense of duty as he surveyed the children crowding around him.

“Ahoy there, swabbies!” he shouted, trying his hardest to sound like a military officer, “As of today...EH-HEH-AHEM...I am your superior, Niko, and I’ll be your buddy during this little shindig so you do as I say, OK? Right, now those rules Senza read to you have been approved by the Great King Lorenzo, so don’t get any funny ideas.

“The first stop for the day will be the palace, where you will be briefed on the coming Tournament, review the daily schedule, and get settled into your living quarters. Your Pokémon are more than welcome to join in...as long as you keep them under tight control. And, most of all...” here, Niko began to eye them all seriously, “you’re all to be on your absolutely best behavior: remember, His Majesty is a real King, and he won’t tolerate any crude remarks or foolishness of any kind.”

Niko took a deep breath after that speech before resuming; “Now that that’s all been taken care of, are there any questions before we move on?”

Ash instantly raised his hand with great curiosity; he was hoping to clear up something that Niko had just said...

“Yes, you...the one with the Pikachu...(gosh, I really need to take a role call when we get on the bus)...what’s your name, Junior?”

“Who, me? Um...Ash.”

“Okay, Ash, you have a question?”

“Well, sir...uh...it’s about what you said about us ‘getting settled in’ at the palace: does that mean we’re all going to be staying there?”

Ash’s question triggered a lot of loud gasps from the other Trainers. Everyone expected to be living in a hotel, not a castle! The very thought of taking up residence in such an extravagant building was more than overwhelming...even Pikachu gave a soft “Kaaa” in surprise.

Niko seemed stupefied by Ash’s question. “This kid wasn’t exactly the pick of the litter, was he?” he thought to himself, but then he cleared his throat lightly and replied, “Why of course, young man; His Majesty has provided all the necessary accommodations for the competitors. But don’t start thinking that getting the star treatment will get you off the hook for any rule breaking: all rules for this Tournament will be strictly enforced, so I strongly urge you guys to...”

Apparently, not many people heard Niko’s last sentence: there were hoots and hollers all around as the Trainers celebrated their great luck. The girls proved to be the most excited of all as they started gabbing about the beautiful clothes and jewelry that royal ladies always wore, elegant balls, gardens, and all that gorgeous furniture. The only thing that turned the boys on was the prospect of eating some of that fancy cooking at the castle.

What snapped everyone out of his or her daydreams was an ear-piercing blast from Niko’s whistle. The chatter abruptly stopped, and they stared directly at him.

“That’s better,” he snorted, “Now, let’s get on the bus and get this day started. Forward march!” Only too eager to get to their destination, Ash, Pikachu, Brock, and all the other Trainers followed Niko out of the marina to the bus stop with eager steps.



Five average-sized buses were standing in wait along the curb of the street. One bus, obviously filled with Trainer already, was just pulling out when Niko’s group arrived; Zuko and Nudge were in the process of ushering their herds onboard. Niko took a piece of paper out of his pocket as he walked up to the door of an empty bus.

“Alright, guys, each of you will get on the bus with your parties as I call your name - that way, we’ll know that everyone’s here: Jenny Arrgus, Ronald Baker, Amy Benson, Brendan Birch...”

Brendan took Wally and Max by the hands, and they followed the others onto the bus. Many more Trainers boarded as well; some brought two people, some had one, and there were even a few who came alone. As the bus seats slowly filled up Niko began to hope that there would be enough room for everybody.

“Anthony Harris, Megan Jacobs, Ira Johanson, Brad Karson, Ash Ketchum...” With Brock and May in tow, Ash wasted no time in climbing the steps of the vehicle.

The many soft padded seats were big enough to fit only two people. The three friends just stood there for a few seconds, trying to figure out what to do. It was then that Max signaled to his sister from near the back that the seat next to him was open; Brendan and Wally sat in the opposite row. As May walked over to join him, the two boys found seats on the left side and sat down. More kids filed onto the bus while they fastened their seatbelts.

“Isn’t this exciting, Ash?” Brock asked. “We’re actually going to be staying in a real castle!”

Ash’s face beamed with anticipation, “Yeah, and I really want to check out the Colosseum when we get there; I bet it’s gonna be huge!”

Brock nodded, “It must be, by the size of the courtyard; that’s probably where the Tournament will take place.”

Just as the last of the Trainers sat down, Niko suddenly boarded the bus too. He gave the okay to the driver, and they were soon on their way. Everyone gazed out the window as the large white ship slowly disappeared from view, and images of boats, docks, and queues of people passed by as well.

No one knew what the next two weeks would bring as they continued to watch the world go by outside, but they were more than certain that they would be the most memorable weeks of their entire lives.

ZeldaFan20
1st September 2005, 6:51 PM
Chapter Four



Every Trainer on the bus seemed mesmerized by the scenery outside their windows as the bus drove along the avenue. The part of town they were currently traveling through made every person think that he or she had traveled back in time. Old-fashioned iron lampposts lined each side of the busy street. Many of the houses and shops looked to be either made of red brick, plaster, or wood; flowers and baby trees revealed their colors to the world from the planters in which they resided.

Along the street was just as much activity as anywhere else. Hundreds of people walked up and down along the pavement; many either went into or came out of some of the buildings, and others (mostly young people) just hung out with their Pokémon: sitting on benches, eating ice cream, and doing the occasional trick or two. As the bus passed, a small number of the townsfolk started waving excitedly - they obviously knew whom the children riding it were.

“I guess everyone in town’s heard about the Tournament,” Brock observed out loud as he waved back over Ash’s shoulder.

“Sure looks like it,” Ash agreed, giving Pikachu’s head a friendly scratch.

“Kaaa-haaaa…” Pikachu sighed in contentment.

“Hey, look,” a girl’s voice suddenly squeaked from behind, “It’s just like the Marketplace back in Slateport City!”

Ash and Brock (along with everyone else) pressed their faces against the glass to see. Sure enough, parchment-like tents of various sizes lined the street. On small tables, they all caught small glimpses of brightly colored pottery, toys, paintings, fruits and vegetables, etc.

“Good thing Misty isn’t here right now,” Ash chuckled as he watched most of the marketplace fly by, “She’d probably spend all of our battle money shopping here!”

“Yeah,” Brock laughed back, “Remember the Princess Festival back in Kanto? Nearly half of our Potion and Antidote money was wasted on clothes and perfume!”

Both boys laughed behind their hands; despite being a strong-willed and tough Water Pokémon Trainer, Misty was still a girl in every way - no matter how uptight and grouchy she got. Ever since she decided to return to the Cerulean City Gym, however, their little traveling party somehow didn’t feel complete. Realizing this, Ash and Brock’s laughter quickly died.

“Let me guess,” Brock inquired, “You miss her too, right?”

Ash nodded slowly, “Yeah…” Then he turned to face his friend, and quickly added in a low voice, “but don’t you dare tell her I said so.”

“Hey, slow down there,” Brock replied hastily, “I’m good at keeping secrets, so don’t worry.”

All five buses zoomed down every street as they made their way uphill towards the castle. Every child onboard watched as they passed various kinds of houses, schools, playgrounds, other shops, a church - Ash shivered slightly as he eyed the large cemetery behind it, and (to everyone’s delight) an enormous park; sparkling blue ponds, tall, majestic trees, and many beautiful flowers were spread out over miles of green grass.

In half-an-hour’s time, the Trainers stared in awe as they approached the gigantic archway that separated the enclosed structure from the outside world. Everything, from the brightly polished golden gates to the neatly placed marble bricks, and about a dozen flags fluttering in the wind, was enough to take anyone’s breath away: even the many heavily armed guards in their silver-like armor, standing sentinel all around, were truly a sight to behold.

The driver of the first bus - which was way out in front - leaned out of his window and handed a piece of paper to the guard on the left. After what seemed like forever, the gilded gates slowly parted, giving them leave to enter. As they passed through, however, no yells, hoots, hollers or delighted squeals were heard from any of the guests...they were far too entranced by the startling beauty of what lay ahead of them.

The entire structure of the palace was exactly the way everyone had seen from the HMS Zephos, except that everything looked so enormous up close! Surrounding the palatial building were acres and acres of emerald lawns and multi-colored gardens. In the very center of the front garden - through which they were currently driving - was an elegant looking fountain; crystal-clear water filled the circular base from a large urn, which was held by the statue that stood in the center.

Such a statue perplexed Ash: it was of a young girl, carved from an odd, bright blue stone, but unlike any he’d seen before. She wore a long thin dress that entirely covered her feet, and her long straight hair stopped between her knees. The most noticeable feature about her, however, was her ears; they were large and appeared to be finned...almost...fish-like!

One-by-one, the buses stopped, and each chaperone began to guide his group onto the white gravel path.

“Watch your step, guys,” Niko instructed as he ushered Ash and the others off the bus, “That’s it, single file...don’t push, don’t shove...one at a time, that door’s only big enough for one...”

“My gosh,” May exclaimed as she stepped onto the soft grass, “have you ever seen anything so glamorous?”

“I know what you mean,” Marina replied as she and Jimmy walked up to meet their friends, “This whole thing must’ve cost zillions to build!”

Brendan walked over to them, holding Wally by the hand. Upon closer inspection, they all noticed that the boy looked a little green in the face.

“What’s the matter with Wally?” Ash asked with concern.

“He got a little car-sick on the way here,” Brendan answered as he patted his companion on the back, “It’s nothing to worry about.”

Suddenly, Pikachu ran in the direction of the fountain.

“Pi pika chu!” he called, pointing.

“Pikachu, what’s up?” Ash wondered, until he saw what his rodent friend was pointing at, “Oh no...Brock...”

Everyone looked, and instantly saw what Ash was groaning about: Brock was standing in front of the fountain, staring right up at the statue. He wore a big dopey smile on his face, which was also as red as the flame on a Charmander’s tail. Ash, Pikachu, May and Max all sighed; it was the same look Brock always put on whenever he met a pretty girl.

“C’mon, Brock,” Ash said as he walked over and grabbed the love-struck teenager’s hand, “we’ve gotta stay with the group. Do you want to get us in trouble?”

“Haaaaaaa...” Brock sighed dreamily, “She’s so beautiful...”

“Brock, are you listening?”

“I’d swim all the seven seas to be with such a divine creature...”

“Funny you should say that,” Max interrupted, quickly popping up between Brock and the fountain. He was flipping through the pages of his guidebook, and adjusted his glasses, “According to this, that’s a statue of Nayru, the ancient Goddess of Wisdom. She was believed to be the creator of the seas, and she gave law and order to mankind when the Earth was first created.”

“No kidding,” Brendan said, “I guess these people never heard of the Sea Guardian, Kyogre.”

“Hey,” Jimmy broke in, “I thought Lugia was the Guardian of the Sea.”

“Uh-uh,” Ash answered, shaking his head, “Lugia’s the guardian of the entire planet, not the...Waaah!”

Ash’s explanation was cut short; a white pebble had suddenly whizzed by his left cheek, and bounced off the statue’s stomach, resulting in a freefall right into the clear water. Following this outrageous display was an amused - not to mention familiar - snicker. Turing their heads, everyone ducked as two more pebbles flew by; both met the same fate as their predecessor.

“Knock it off, Tyler,” Ash shouted angrily at the young man standing behind him, “you could’ve hit one of us!”

“Chuuuuu...” Pikachu growled in unison.

“Then how about you dorks get out of my way and let me have some fun,” Tyler sneered as he bent over and scooped up a handful of rocks.

“What are you doing?” Wally asked in alarm.

“Whatta ya think? I’m trying to see how many I can get into that chick’s pot.” As he finished, Tyler held up another stone and prepared to throw it.

“Stop!” Brock cried defiantly, “Don’t you know it’s an insult to treat a goddess like that?”

The annoying redhead frowned, “Psssh, don’t be an idiot; everybody knows gods and goddesses are nothing but kiddy stories.”

“I agree with Brock,” Marina joined in, “This statue is way too pretty to throw rocks at. Besides, we’re guests here, and I don’t think the owner would want anyone to ruin his property.”

May then stomped over, and slapped the pebbles out of his hand, wearing a glare that even made Tyler’s hair stand on end. “So why don’t you do yourself - and us - a favor, and back off!”

Surprisingly, instead of walking away, Tyler gave her a smug little grin, “You know, you look really cute when you’re angry.”

Everyone in the background groaned as they suddenly collapsed to the ground. What on Earth was up with this guy?!

May, however, didn’t notice their confusion. This punk’s last remark made her so mad that little wisps of smoke could be seen coming out of her ears. She was just about ready to lay a well-aimed punch right on his nose until Jimmy chose that moment to step in.

“Listen, Tyler, unless you really want to get yourself kicked out of this Tournament, could you at least try to behave while we’re here?”

Casting quick glances between Jimmy and May, Tyler lowered his eyebrows and walked off in the opposite direction. “Humph...spoiled sports,” they all heard him grumble.

As she watched him leave, May turned even redder in the face. However, her anger quickly turned to shock as a sudden cold - and wet - sensation broke against her.

“YIKES!” she screamed, completely surprised by the cold water. Wiping her eyes, she saw Max standing in front of her, his hands soaking wet. “Max, what was that for?”

“Sorry, sis, but I had to cool you off. Any redder and you’d probably turn into a Torkoal.”

The entire party couldn’t help but laugh; seeing one person help another in that fashion seemed so funny. After wringing out her brown pigtails, May started laughing herself.

WEEEEEOOWEEEEEP!

A loud blast from behind caused them all to jump. Ash and the others turned to see that all five groups of Trainers were lined up behind their chaperones, and obviously anxious to go inside. What really caught their attention was the fact that everyone was staring at them.

“Hey you!” Niko called gruffly, “You guys think you’re special or something? Get over here!”

Realizing that they were holding things up, Ash, Brendan, and their friends made a beeline for their group; Jimmy and Marina didn’t waste time getting to theirs, either. Once all the Trainers were assembled, Niko and the other four men began leading their groups through the open front doors...into the palace.



Meanwhile, in the clouds high above Windfall Island...

As the excited populous talked excitedly about the upcoming Tournament, no one seemed to notice a small object flying high above them across the sky.

Slowly making its way towards the castle was a hot-air balloon, apparently built to resemble the head of a large grinning catlike creature - a Meowth, to be exact. Riding in the small basket below it were three small figures: a tall woman with long red hair, and equally tall man with blue hair, and what appeared to be a Meowth. All three of them were leaning over the side, staring intently - if not wearily - at the magnificent palace.

“I wonder how long it’s been since we last had a decent meal?” the young man wined, “I wouldn’t even mind a small spoonful of caviar.”

“What are you complainin’ about?” asked the Meowth, “I’m dyin’ ta know what kind o’ fish dey have around here.”

“Oh, stop wining, both of you!” said the woman, giving her two cohorts a whack in the head with a big white fan, “You know that the only way we’re ever going to get paid is to bring the Boss some rare Pokémon.”

“But Jessie...” the man lamented, “We can’t even bring him one measly Pikachu, let alone any kind of Pokémon.”

“James’ got a good point, dere,” Meowth added, “I mean, danks to those twoips, we’ve never had any luck in capturin’...”

“I KNOW THAT!” Jessie screamed, but then she regained her composure, “That’s why I’ve come up with a brilliant plan to get back in favor with the Boss.”

James and Meowth laughed with delight and stepped closer to hear her plan.

“Well, don’t just stand dere; tell us.”

“Yes, I’m all for anything to please the Boss.”

Jessie silently mused over the supposed brilliance of her plan before turning to her companions. “It’s very simple; some of the islands in the Great Sea region are only populated by Pokémon - the only people on those particular islands are there to either help or observe them.”

“Yes?”

“Yeah, so what?”

“Well, all we have to do is find these islands, wait until no one is around, and then...”

“POW!” cried Meowth, “We’ll have more dan enough Pokémon to keep the da Boss happy for a long time.” Meowth’s eyes watered happily as he added, “I’ll be top cat again for sure!”

“And we’ll finally be able to stuff our bellies and our pockets! Jessie, you’re an absolute genius!”

Jessie giggled lightly at her friend’s compliment, “Tell me something I don’t already know.”

Suddenly, a small videophone that was sitting on the floor of the balloon’s basket began to beep loudly:

Beep-beep---Beep-beep---Beep-beep...

“Huh?” Jessie wondered, “Who could be calling us?”

“Go on, Meowth,” James ordered, “See who it is.”

The small cat huffed at the notion of being bossed around, but that attitude didn’t last very long as he pressed the button and the screen turned on.

Once the static had cleared from the screen, all three were able to identify the person on it. Although silhouetted in surrounding darkness, it was clear that the person was a man. He had piercing brown eyes that could send chills down anyone’s spine, and a conniving smile that made stomachs churn. Jessie, James, and Meowth didn’t have to look twice to know who it was, and immediately jumped to attention.

“B-B-Boss!” Jessie stammered nervously, “This is a surprise; to what do we owe the honor?”

“Why, we were just talking about you, sir,” James said, “I was telling them what a generous and dignified employer you...”

“And a very good-morning to you, as well, my agents.”

The three Rockets were certainly taken by surprise; Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, had never greeted them in such a pleasant way before...in fact, he’d never given them any greeting whenever he called. It was astonishing to see their leader in such a mood; there wasn’t a trace of anger or disappointment to be seen anywhere on his face.

Frightened as he was to do so, Meowth cleared his throat, and began to speak:

“Hey...uh...Boss, is anyting da matta? You ain’t usually in such a good mood.”

Giovanni chuckled and pressed his fingers together, “Yes, you’re correct, Meowth; it is only on rare occasions that I can be so pleased. The truth of the matter is that we’ve had a mission successfully completed in Slateport City - a mission that plays very well into my plan.”

“Plan?” they all asked together.

“Uh, what kind of plan, Boss?” James inquired.

“Now, now, my friends, I don’t intend on revealing my genius just yet. I will say this, however: this plan will most definitely ensure Team Rocket’s domination of all the Pokémon in the entire world.”

Jessie and James were enthralled; they felt that their Boss’s plan would mean huge promotions for them.

“What ever this plan of yours is, Boss, I like it!” Jessie squealed with delight.

James’ eyes sparkled as he thought out loud, “Imagine; Team Rocket will become famous all over the planet. We’ll be famous!”

Meowth, however, was a little skeptical; he knew that Giovanni wouldn’t be so enigmatic when it came to a plan.

“Hang on a second,” the Pokémon observed, “what’s at Slateport dat’s so important for your plan, Boss?”

“Patience is a virtue, Meowth, I will reveal all to you when I arrive.”

The two humans stopped swooning over their good fortune and resumed their puzzled faces.

“Boss,” Jessie asked, “You’re not actually going to come to this place, are you?”

Giovanni nodded, “I am; the King’s so-called ‘Tournament of Champions’ intrigues me, so I will be making arrangements for travel to Windfall Island on the next available boat - which is three days from now. You three are to wait for my arrival, at which time you will be given further instructions.”

“I suppose dis all has ta do wit your big plan, right?” Meowth asked.

Before disappearing off the screen, Giovanni let out another soft chuckle;

“Indeed it does, my friends...indeed it does.”

indigestible_wad
1st September 2005, 8:21 PM
Wow, it's been so long since I've read this. I remember my fist comment here. Hopefully you don't, but that's beside the point. I am geting so much new informatino reading it again after so long. Keep up the good work.

ZeldaFan20
13th September 2005, 6:21 PM
Thanks for the thumbs-up. Actually, I don't think I remember it, but I bet it was very much appreciated. I'll do my best to keep the story entertaining.

ZeldaFan20
13th September 2005, 6:23 PM
Oh, before I forget, here's the next chapter!






Chapter Five



Niko, Senza, and all the others led their groups straight into the Great Hall. Naturally, they weren’t entirely surprised to hear the Trainers talking in whispers as they marched on - and the reason was all around them.

Once everyone was assembled, they all stood stock still on the red velvet carpet, which was so rich and soft that many wanted to take off their socks and shoes (considering how much traveling they did, who could blame them?). At the other end of the hall, another carpet ran up two sets of stairs, one to the left, and one to the right of the door. Both flights led up to the hallways of the second floor, which surrounded the Great Hall on the remaining three sides and, like the lower floors, were guarded by heavily-armored men. Elaborate red and blue banners hung over the railings, stopping just a few inches below the buttresses; the red ones were embroidered with golden lions while the blues bore ruby-red phoenixes.

Also on the opposite side, the second carpet when down another set of steps, which was divided into two smaller sets by a large stone pedestal. Standing upon the pedestal was a tall statue, made from a kind of rock that almost looked black; it was of a young man, his leftmost hand raising a sword high above his head, and a shield held in the other. As the Trainers walked down the stairs to the main hall, many of the girls couldn’t help but notice how handsome the youth looked; even some of the boys were impressed by his bold and courageous air.

Within the center of the brightly-polished marble floor was a large mosaic; an enormous light-gray circle bearing three golden triangles - arranged in the form of a pyramid – borne atop the back of a great phoenix. Only the chaperones seemed brave enough to walk over the mural as they gathered around the floor; it was so beautiful that the children thought it would be awful to leave even a small scuff mark anywhere on it.

“Can you believe this place?” Brock whispered to Ash, “And those triangles look like they’re made of solid gold.”

“That’s nothing,” Ash whispered back, “get a load of that statue; a guy like that could become the greatest Pokémon Master of all time.”

“Err...I don’t think so, Ash,” Max stated, “Remember what Brendan said; about how Pokémon didn’t exist in this region until about sixty years ago?” He then started pointing to various areas on the statue, “There are cracks, chips, and even some signs of breakage on the arms, legs, and torso. It’s clear that this statue is centuries old.”

“In other words, it’s just garbage,” snorted Tyler, who had managed to get behind them despite the crowd, “Why would anyone leave a big hunk of trash for everyone to see?”

“Because,” Marina responded harshly, “that hunk of trash happens to be a piece of history. It’s like all those statues they keep at the Lilycove Museum, back in Hoenn.”

“Junk,” Tyler huffed before walking away, “anything that old belongs in a dump.”

May bared her teeth and growled at the boy as he left, rubbing her knuckles in the process. “Oooo...one of these days, I’d like to dump that guy in a dump.”

Brendan came up and laid a hand on her shoulder, “Forget about him, May; he obviously has no taste in art.”

Just as he finished, the sound of heavy doors closing echoed through the room, stunning everyone into perfect silence. Coming down the rightmost staircase from the second floor was a tall, tan-skinned gentleman. Although this man was dressed in a clean and well-pressed suit, every Trainer noticed that he was incredibly muscular (although no quite as muscular as Nudge). The red hair that covered his head was a similar color to that of a Magcargo, but his stern face seemed to warn them that he was not one to try and hide anything from.

The man cleared his throat (he had a deep, burly voice) before making his announcement to the crowd of trainers:

“Friends, Pokémon Trainers, it is my pleasure to present to you our wise and most beloved leader, your esteemed host, His Imperial Majesty, King Lorenzo Hylas the First.” The man immediately stood to the left and bowed. Everyone looked up as the King himself descended.

Although quite tall in his own right, King Lorenzo appeared to be a few inches shorter than his announcer. His long white hair and beard reached just above the knees, but the hair was tied behind his head. The long white robe he wore was as white and clean as snow, but the outer mantle that covered it appeared to be a bright, springtime green. His heavenly blue eyes were filled with a proud majesty, but never inflicted pain and gave only pleasure to anyone they looked upon.

While he continued to walk slowly down the stairs, Ash and Brock happened to notice a couple more things about the old King. Upon reaching the bottom of the first flight, they could see that the elderly man was being supported on both sides: to his right, a very cautious looking Blissey was guiding him by the hand as they began their descent down the second flight; on the left, Lorenzo was leaning on a cane, which looked to be made of solid oak, with a pure silver sculpture of an owl to serve as the handle. Speaking of his hands, they were incredibly withered, and shook frequently, as if he were having a difficult time holding on to his supports - not to mention the joints of his fingers appeared to bulge out a bit.

“He must have an awful case of arthritis,” Brock whispered to his friends as the King got closer to the ground floor.

“It’s never a good thing for someone that old to have arthritis,” Jimmy said truthfully, “My great-aunt has it real bad; she can’t even lift the morning newspaper.”

“Uh, guys,” Max suddenly asked, “does anyone know if we’re supposed to bow?”

Nobody needed a verbal answer: just as the King reached the floor, all five chaperones got down on one knee and hastily motioned for the Trainers to do so. A great number of boys and girls removed their hats (or any other head coverings) in the process - Ash, Jimmy, May, Marina, and Brendan included.

“Arise,” the King said pleasantly.

Once everybody was standing again, the well-dressed man (obviously an attendant) brought over a richly carved wooden chair padded with fine red velvet. He placed the chair right in front of the statue’s base and helped the king sit down.

“Thank you, Gonzo, that will be all.” The man bowed when he heard the order, and walked back up the stairs to the second floor. The door at the top closed, and everyone stood quiet as mice for what seemed like forever.

“Children,” the old King said finally, “Welcome, all of you, to Windfall Island; and welcome to our humble home.”

Marina tried to hide a giggle at the king’s remark. “Humble?” she whispered, “If this is humble, I’m Suicune.”

“Yeah,” May nodded, “this place is definitely no grass shack.”

King Lorenzo continued to speak, putting on a very kind smile, “I am very much aware that you are all eager to get settled in and explore the island, so I will attempt to make the first order of business as brief as possible.

“Within the palace are five tower dormitories where you will be spending your nights: the Northern Wind Tower, Southern Earth Tower, Western Fire Tower, Eastern Water tower, and the Central Light Tower - which is located several floors above us. Each tower has different accommodations for men and women; bathrooms, bedrooms, fitting rooms, and a main common room for your leisure hours.

“Now, there are several rules I wish to go over before we begin the day’s activities…”

“Aw man,” Wally moaned quietly.

“I knew there would be,” Brock whispered.

“First,” Lorenzo continued, “I ask you to treat our daily routines within the castle with the utmost respect; meals are held precisely on schedule, and bedtime curfews are strictly enforced. Those who fail to keep these times in their memory will be given warnings from their supervisors. Whosoever receives three warnings will not only remain in their rooms for the day, but will also answer to me.”

Only a couple of people were heard giggling in the crowd. Ash and the others all looked at each other as if to say, “We’d better watch it here.”

“Second,” said the King, whose face suddenly turned very serious, “It is my sincerest wish that, when walking around the grounds, visiting the city, or training on our many islands, you all remain in groups. The reason being is that there have been several strange disappearances during the past few months; if any of the competitors were to be among them, it would cause great trouble for us all.”

Everyone suddenly felt a little uneasy by what the king had told them. Disappearances? What in the world could’ve been the cause? At that point in time, no one was sure that they’d want to find out - in fact, a small number were beginning to have second thoughts about staying for the Tournament.

King Lorenzo then regained his smile, “Third, my advisor, Lady Impa - whom you will meet later on - has asked me to remind all of you that the Western and Northern wings of the castle are off limits: they are the Royal Family’s living quarters; no one is permitted within their boundaries unless they obtain special permission from myself.”

As the king began telling them which team would go where, Ash suddenly felt something small rub against his right leg. Without looking down, he gently pushed whatever it was away with his foot.

“Cut it out, Pikachu,” he whispered, “I’m trying to hear.”

“Something wrong, Ash?” Brock asked quietly.

“Nah, Pikachu was just tickling my leg, that’s all.”

“What are you talking about?” May interrupted, “He’s been with me since we came in.” It was true; as everybody saw, Pikachu was currently sitting on May’s right shoulder, and giving Ash a very confused look.

Ash’s body went rigid, “But then, if Pikachu’s up here, then…what’s…”

The eight young Trainers slowly looked down at the boy’s feet, and were very surprised by what they saw.

Gently making its way back to the boy was, in fact, a Pikachu. It wasn’t unusual for them to see a lone Pikachu - especially since they were among nearly a hundred or more Pokémon Trainers. What was surprising, however, was its coloring: it basically had the same markings as any normal Pikachu, only they were much darker than their original shade: its fur was bright orange instead of yellow, and the circles on its cheeks were bright red. Also, tied around the creature’s neck was a soft pink ribbon, with an elegant bow arranged neatly on the back.

“I guess that ribbon means it’s a girl,” Brock observed as Ash bent down and picked her up.

May’s face brightened when she saw the small animal. “Hey, you’re cute,” she cooed softly.

Pikachu leaned closer to the newcomer and took a quick sniff. Deciding that everything was okay, he smiled and gave a polite, “Pika pika.”

“Pi pika chu,” she replied pleasantly.

While gazing at this remarkable creature, Max happened to notice something hanging from her ribbon.

“Whoa,” he whispered, “check out this medallion she’s wearing.”

“Hey, is that real gold?” Ash wondered as he looked at the small metal circle.

Brock held the object in his hand, “No, it’s not heavy enough to be gold; it could just be made of brass. But look at this; it’s engraved with three triangles shaped like a pyramid - just like that mosaic over there.”

“I think you’re right, Brock,” Brendan cut in, “Maybe she belongs to the King.”

“Do you think we should return her to...” Marina’s question was instantly cut short by the sound of moving feet. They looked around to discover that all the children were being led upstairs. The King, who remained sitting, gave them each individual smiles and greetings as they passed. Two groups went up the left staircase while two more went up the right.

“We’d better get back to our group,” Jimmy stated when he spotted Mako, the Kanto chaperone, leading his team up the left side of the palace, “or we’ll be getting our first warning.”

“Let us know how it turns out,” Marina said as she followed her friend to their group.

“Bye, you guys,” Wally called, “See ya later.”

Noticing that Niko was gathering his team to go upstairs, Ash and Brendan led their friends in a brisk walk to catch up with them. Niko was giving them instructions when they arrived.

“Okay, swabbies, listen up,” Niko began, “as His Majesty said, you will be staying in the Earth Tower. Most of the time we like to call it Farore’s Point because Farore, the ancient Goddess of Courage, was also said to have created all living things - plants, animals, people, you name it. Anyway, once we get there, you’ll have exactly two hours to get settled in. After that we will head back to town; your Pokémon will all be taken to the Pokémon Center for their check-ups (they’ll be picked up tomorrow, so make sure your Poké Balls are labeled), and then we’ll head for the clinic so you can get started on your physicals. Remember, both these things are necessary for all competitors; anyone who fails to do either will be tossed out of the Tournament faster than you can say ‘Boo’. Everyone got that? Good, now let’s get to it.”

“Um, excuse me, sir,” Ash said, just as Niko began ushering them up the stairs.

“Huh, you again?” Niko asked when he saw who it was, “Well, what’s the matter with you, Sonny?”

“This Pikachu came up to me while the King was talking,” Ash held up the female Pikachu for Niko to see better, “We think she may belong to...”

“Marin?” Niko exclaimed at the small creature, “What are you doing here, you little scamp? You’re supposed to be outside with the others.”

All six children were confused by their supervisor’s statement. They all looked from one person to the other, wondering what was going on.

“Does she belong to the King?” Ash finally inquired.

“Well, not exactly,” Niko responded, “she actually belongs to His Majesty’s granddaughter, Princess Celia.”

Brock’s eyes instantly began to sparkle, “You mean there’s a real princess living here, too?”

Niko eyed him amusingly, “Calm down, boy, Her Highness is neither your age nor your type.”

“So, is it okay to give her to him?” Brendan asked, glancing sympathetically at a dejected Brock.

“Sorry, Munchkins, but no one is to speak to or even go near His Majesty without an invitation. I’ll tell you what, though; once we get to the tower, I’ll be happy to deliver her for you…”

“That will not be necessary, Niko,” King Lorenzo cut in; despite his old age, it clearly did not affect his keen sense of hearing, “Let them come to me.”

“Ye...yes, Milord,” the buck-toothed man stammered; he then led his young charges over to where is employer was sitting.

Although the old King gave them a very friendly smile, everyone - including Ash - felt an incredible sense of fear crawling all over their bodies. Their mouths became dry almost to the point where talking was impossible, and Ash’s hands started to shake while still holding little Marin.

“What is your name, young man?” he asked.

For a few seconds, Ash struggled to get the answer out of his mouth, which was not easy considering his nervousness; “Um...I...I’m...my name’s Ash...Ash Ketchum...sir.”

“I understand that you have found my grandchild’s little friend - or, rather, she found you,” Lorenzo said, giving a friendly chuckle.

“Um...yes, sir,” Ash replied, but then he remembered the others, “Oh...uh…these are my friends: May, her brother Max, Brock, Wally, and Brendan.”

“Hello, Your Highness,” they all greeted together.

“It is an honor to meet you all,” the King answered, “I trust you are enjoying your visit to our region so far?”

“Windfall Island is so beautiful,” May agreed.

Max nodded, “Yeah, and I can’t wait to see all the other islands; I bet they’re just as great.”

Lorenzo’s smile widened, “I can certainly guarantee that you shall not be disappointed.” Then, he held out his wrinkled hands, “Come here, Marin.”

With a happy squeak, Marin hopped out of Ash’s arms, climbed nimbly up Lorenzo’s robe, and settled down on his lap.

“I had forgotten to mention, Ash, that my granddaughter is quite an admirer of yours; she has enjoyed seeing all of your League Battles on the television, and I’m sure that she will be very pleased to hear that you are participating in our Tournament next week.”

Hearing this, Ash felt most of his nervousness fly out of him. This new sensation he felt was like a combination of relief and embarrassment. Not even he would’ve guessed that he had a royal fan.

“Niko, my boy,” Lorenzo instructed, “I believe that my guests would like to get settled in quickly, so I shall not keep them waiting any longer. Marin will be returned to the Princess the moment she arrives.”

“Yes, Milord,” Niko said before hustling them to the staircase. Ash and his friends said their good-byes and followed their team leader up the stairs.

aznpoke
14th September 2005, 6:36 AM
Thumbs up!

indigestible_wad
16th September 2005, 2:14 AM
You make my job difficult. I have a very hard time finding spelling mistakes or even that you're not describing things right. Except for that first time. Anyways, you have described the castle magnificently, you can completely tell that it's from zelda. It's also amazing how much you use from the wind waker.

Thumbs up!
Next time you reply to a story, try to give a better review than that. Two words does not help the writer find out exactly what's good about the story and what's not. I hope you put more thought into your next reply.

ZeldaFan20
11th November 2005, 10:30 PM
Chapter Six



Niko led the astounded Trainers up the many richly-ornamented corridors to the Southern Tower. As they walked along, everyone couldn’t help but stare at the many works of art lining the walls. There were paintings of fields, mountains, rivers, gardens, and people robed in royal attire; all were displayed in beautifully crafted frames decorated with gold and silver. Other pieces they passed included vases made of delicate porcelain, intricately carved busts of famous men and women from around the world, and rich tapestries depicting fierce battles dating long before the Middle Ages. One picture in particular that caught everybody's eye came up just as they were halfway to their goal.

This painting was big enough to cover one wall of an average sized room, and was framed in pure ebony highlighted with golden leaves on the corners. The painting itself seemed to represent a large city, surrounded on all sides by forests and mountains. A beautiful blue river ran right through it, giving it the appearance of a large piece of jewelry. What really caught their attention was the castle overlooking the city in the picture; it was exactly like the castle they were currently walking through in every respect, right down to the many blue-roofed towers!

As Ash, Brendan, and the other Trainers stopped to gaze at this beautiful picture, Niko turned back around to see what all the gawking was about.

“I can’t believe it,” May wondered in awe, “it’s the same castle.”

“Hmm,” Brock said, rubbing his chin, “Maybe King Lorenzo used the one in the painting as a model for this one.”

For some reason, Ash didn’t think this was true. Taking a closer look, he could see small, calligraphic letters written in the bottom right corner of the canvas.

“Hyrule,” he read softly.

“So,” Niko suddenly interrupted, “I see you’ve found the Great Sea’s old portrait.”

All the children just looked at him as if he was speaking another language, but it was Max who broke the silence.

“Was this kingdom close to this region?” he asked.

To their surprise, Niko only chuckled before answering, “That kingdom is this region.”

“WHAT?” they all screamed in surprise.

“Well,” the young guide began as he motioned for them to keep walking, “the story goes that, a long time ago, a great and terrible evil overpowered the ancient kingdom of Hyrule. The people believed that a legendary hero, known even further back as the Hero of Time, would come to save their land. When he didn’t appear, the people begged the gods for help.

“Hearing the cries of the people, the gods sealed the Great Evil away within his own power. Then, with a torrential downpour of rain that lasted for many days and nights, they sent the land of Hyrule to the bottom of the sea.”

“That’s awful!” May exclaimed.

“Did everyone die?” Ash asked.

“I’m getting to that, hold your horses. Anyway, the gods knew that to seal the people away with the kingdom would mean making the Evil One’s wish for total destruction of the land come true. So, they commanded those who would create a new land to take refuge on the mountaintops.”

Brock added, “And I’m guessing that those mountaintops became these same islands?”

“You got it.”

The Trainers were even more amazed than ever; none of them had any idea that an ancient civilization was lying right below them. The whole concept was mind-boggling!

“After King Lorenzo ascended the throne,” Niko continued, “he financed many underwater expeditions to visit the Lost Kingdom of Hyrule. Thousands of artifacts (many of them housed in this very castle) were brought up from the ocean floor. In fact,” he then paused and spread his arms out, spinning around twice in front of his staring charges, “this entire castle was once fathoms below the sea.”

Ash’s already wide eyes growing even wider, “Are you joking?!”

“Do I look like I’m joking?” he replied with a teasing glare, “My grandpa, as a matter of fact, was one of the many seafaring men assigned to that project. The King had the whole castle brought up and rebuilt on this island stone-by-stone.”

“Wow, no wonder the guy needs to sit down all the time,” joked one boy near the end of the line. Many of the others joined in laughing; only Niko, Ash, Brock, May, Max, Wally, and Brendan didn’t think it was very funny. Come to think of it, May actually felt pity for the aging King.

Once the laughter had quieted down, everyone resumed their journey to the Southern Tower. Within a couple of minutes, they came to the double doors of the tower, which were made of cherry tree wood and lavishly decorated with carved birds and trees and bordered with ivy. Niko laid his hand on the brightly polished silver handles and pushed the heavy doors open.

For one fleeting moment, everyone in the group got the impression that they were walking into a forest. Baby trees in large earthen pots stood against the walls, which had lifelike trees and shrubs (every leaf and branch expertly accomplished) painted all over them. Directly across from them were the large glass windows; the bright green curtains were held back by plastic ivy vines, allowing the newcomers to view both the southern part of town and the open sea. In the center of the wooden floor was a wide dark green carpet, upon which stood a large table made of oak, two long sofas and at least three chairs (one was a rocker); each seat was cushioned in luscious green velvet, and small pillows embroidered with various animals. A big fire was already burning in the stone fireplace, giving the entire room a warm, homey feeling. On either side of the fireplace was another set of doors, and two other sets stood right across from them: Ash and his friends guessed that these led to other rooms.

“Now then,” Niko began as he trotted to the center of the room, “as I’ve said before, you guys have exactly two hours to prepare for the day: choose your beds, put your stuff away, get the Pokémon ready...you get the idea. The rooms to the left are for the ladies, and you fellows get the right. The doors right here” (he pointed to the ones closer to the main doors) “lead into the bathrooms. Be advised that they can only hold so many people at once, so don’t come crying to me if somebody used up all of your favorite shampoo or whatever. The bedrooms are on the second floor of the tower,” he stopped and opened the left doors near the window, revealing a set of steps, “Just head up the stairs, you’ll find ‘em easily.”

Without waiting for anyone to ask questions, Niko walked past the Trainers and headed for the main doors.

“I’ll be back in two hours to fetch you guys,” he told them, “I expect you all to be ready to go by then; if not, then that’s your problem.” Niko then pulled the doors closed, and left them.

While all the other visitors wandered around exploring the rooms, Ash, Pikachu, and Brendan just stood there wearing disapproving looks on their faces. Apparently, they were not impressed with the seemingly uncivil manners of their guide.

“Man,” Brendan asked aloud, “is he really supposed to be our group leader?”

“Chu, chuu,” Pikachu grumbled irritably from his master’s shoulder.

“I don’t know,” Ash answered, “but he has about as much manners as Team Rocket.”

Both boys and the Pokémon couldn’t help but laugh this time. Ever since Ash could remember, Jessie, James, and Meowth always had a habit of showing up at the most unexpected (and sometimes unwelcome) times. Even after all these years, he still hadn’t figured out why they didn’t quit chasing him and his friends long ago. Were they really so obsessed with capturing his Pikachu? Well, whatever the reason, Ash knew that he wasn’t going to let this trip be wasted on trying to anticipate those clowns’ next ambush.

“C’mon,” he said to his companions, “let’s put our stuff away and get ready.”

“Right,” Brendan agreed as they headed upstairs.



Exactly two hours later, Niko was once again leading his group down the stairs towards the Great Hall. All the girls were talking amongst themselves about what they were going to do when they got to town. Many of them talked about shopping in the marketplace, while the rest felt like taking a walk in the park. The boys, by contrast, were eager to get theirs and their Pokémon's examinations over with, so that they could start training for the upcoming Tournament.

Looking down from the second-floor balcony, they could all see that Mako and Senza’s groups had already assembled in the hall. Ash waved down to Marina and Jimmy, who smiled and waved back the minute they saw him. With another quick glance he spotted Tyler, who just stood there with his arms crossed and looking completely miserable.

“What’s the matter with him?” Ash inquired.

Brendan looked at Tyler and shrugged, “Don’t know; maybe he got his first warning.”

“Or maybe he got all three,” May grinned.

Brock looked uncomfortably in her direction, “Uh, I don’t mean to butt in, but don’t you think you’re being a little hard on the guy? I mean I know he’s a jerk and all, but perhaps if you were a little nicer...”

“He’s more than just a jerk,” May cut in venomously, “he’s arrogant, rude, stingy, uncaring...and those are his good points.”

“I’m with May on this one,” Wally added timidly, “I don’t like that guy.”

“If he’s that bad with people,” Max observed, “I’d hate to see him in a Pokémon battle.”

The six friends all nodded in agreement; they knew from experience that such a person obviously had a lot to learn about how to properly train and take care of Pokémon. As they reached the main floor of the hall, they were able to speak to their two friends from Johto.

“So,” Marina proceeded to ask, “what’s your room like?”

May spoke up before the others had a chance, “Amazing; the whole place looks like the forests back home. I almost felt like Little Red Riding Hood walking through it.”

Jimmy stepped in excitedly, “If you think that’s something, you should see the Eastern Tower sometime: the whole common room looks like an aquarium!”

Marina instantly described the features, “Plastic seaweed curtains, aquariums swimming with tropical fish on every wall, seashell decorations everywhere...oh...it’s like a dream.”

“I’m beginning to wonder if the other tower rooms look just as good as ours,” Brock asked himself.

“Hey, Tyler,” Ash called over to the sulking red-head, “what’s yours look like?”

Tyler only frowned at them, as if completely disgusted with their meaningless prattle about bedrooms and decorations. Just as he was turning his gaze away, they managed to hear him mutter, “Psh, too much red.”

“Too much red?” Brendan echoed.

“I guess his group is in the Western Tower then,” Ash said. Suddenly, he saw the expression on Tyler’s face change; his face blanched, and his cocky air was replaced by both shock and disbelief. Within two seconds, the now anxious Trainer began edging his way to the very back of his line.

“What’s he so scared of?” he asked, causing the others to look in the same direction.

Max, eager to know himself, took a quick look to see what Tyler was staring at.

“I think the answer is right over there,” he declared. His seven older friends turned to where he was pointing, and could see that this was certainly no lie.

Stepping through one of the lower doors and walking toward them, was a young girl - apparently about the same age as Jimmy and Brendan. Her bright red hair was tied up in a ponytail high on her head, and was held together with a shiny brass headpiece that shone like gold. The modest necklace and bracelets she wore were also gold-colored, and they really seemed to set off her deeply tanned skin. If it weren’t for her serious yet carefree manner, her red eyes would’ve seemed quite intimidating.

“I see I’m just in time to meet some of the competitors,” she said. Many of the boys melted at the sound of her voice; it was not all that deep - like that of a fully grown woman, and was smooth and slightly musical.

“Din, what are you doing here?” Niko said, obviously addressing the newcomer, “I thought you were supposed to be with Her Highness.”

Din just smiled pleasantly and waved away the remark, “Don’t worry about Celia, the other girls are with her. I just came to let you know that they’ll be returning to the castle in half an hour.” She then turned to the many boys and girls and gave them a graceful bow.

“My name’s Din,” she introduced herself, “I’m one of Princess Celia’s attendants. Are you all enjoying your visit to the Great Sea?”

All the Trainers gave their answers in a variety of delighted whistles and shouts. Din stood there with a proud smile as she observed them, and a look of pure satisfaction across her face. Five minutes passed before Nudge and Zuko came down with their groups. Zuko blankly announced that the buses were all ready for the trip to town, and the children were soon being hustled to the front door.

When they got outside, Ash, after letting Pikachu stay with Brock, managed to sneak over to the crowd of Johto Trainers. For some reason, Tyler had regained his composure and was wearing that same haughty smirk as before. Ash quickly tapped him on the shoulder, only to receive a cold stare in return.

“Something I can help you with, Mouse-boy?” Tyler asked in an annoyed tone.

Ash lowered his eyebrows, “I just want to know if everything’s okay, that’s all.”

“Heh, ’course everything’s okay; why shouldn’t it be?”

“It’s just that, when we first saw Din inside, you looked like you’d seen a ghost or something. Do you know her? Was she an old girlfriend?”

Tyler looked at him even harder, “What are you talking about? I’ve never seen that chick before in my whole life.” He then turned away and quickly walked over to the bus before Ash could ask anymore questions.

As he sat on the moving bus, Ash wondered why Tyler reacted in such a way. He knew that he wasn’t imagining it; he knew that something about Din had made the spiteful Trainer nervous. Ash didn’t say anything about it to Brendan and the others, because he didn’t want Tyler to feel embarrassed about it - no matter how much of a jerk he was. Despite these thoughts, the bus ride to town was a pleasant one, and the eight friends soon began making plans for their visit that afternoon.

indigestible_wad
11th November 2005, 11:38 PM
The thing I'm wondering is, why are you putting so much time inbetween these chapters? I know you've got atleast one more chapter done after this. Why are you waiting two months inbetween? I don't see any difference in the chapters now and then.

ZeldaFan20
24th November 2005, 2:15 AM
I'm sorry. It's just that this semester has been really difficult (especially around mid-terms). Now I've got finals coming up, and I haven't had much posting time. Cheer up, though, I'll post another one this weekend; and once Christmas Vacation comes along, I'll have more than enough time to spare :).

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

FlamingRuby
24th November 2005, 2:19 AM
Are you going to have Ash (or Brock) attempt to play the Ocarina of Time?

ZeldaFan20
24th November 2005, 2:52 AM
I think I can work that somewhere in future chapters. Nothing's definite, though. Of course, I'm not going to give away any secrets ;).

WaterTrainer243
24th November 2005, 6:03 AM
ZeldaFan, you have GOT to inform me whenever you update your stories!

ZeldaFan20
26th November 2005, 9:27 PM
Told ya I'd have another one up this weekend. Enjoy!






Chapter 7



“YEOWCH!”

Ash tried very hard not to jump off the table, but the feeling of a sharp needle piercing his skin was more than he could bear. As he took slow deep breaths, his eyes wandered around the medical room he was currently sitting in. The finger paintings done by past young patients were quite amusing, as were the seagulls flying around outside the window. What took all the cheerfulness away was an open drawer filled with unused syringes and test tubes.

Even more than losing Pokémon battles, Ash absolutely hated shots. His mother, Delia Ketchum, had often made jokes about the times he would hide under her bed, or in one of the closets, in order to avoid his yearly boosters. Many of their friends and neighbors thought this funny; but to Ash, every shot felt like a death sentence.

“There we go,” the doctor said as she clipped the needle of the syringe and threw it into a red box. The young blue-eyed brunette caught his look of relief as she put the bottle of vaccine back in the cupboard.

“I know it’s no picnic getting these,” she chuckled, “but your records did say that your next Hepatitis B shot was a little overdue.”

Ash smiled sheepishly as he put his shirt back on and grabbed his sneakers. “I guess I never had much time to see a doctor during all my Pokémon journeys.”

The doctor gave him a keen glance, “Well, just be sure that you keep seeing one every six months - especially since you’ve done so much traveling.” She then picked up a clipboard and proceeded to look over it, “Let’s see; height, weight, heart, blood pressure…allergy and drug tests came up normal…excellent reflexes…eyes, ears, nose and throat are all clear…no sign of lice, and you’ve just had your HB shot. We’ve got nothing else to check, so I guess you’re done.”

Delighted that it was all over, Ash thanked the doctor and left the room. Many other Trainers were scattered around the waiting room when he arrived; reading magazines, playing card games, looking at the paintings on the wall. A couple of girls were also returning from their check-ups, and the doctors were calling for their next “victims.”

“Ash,” May called from the far end of the room. Walking in her direction, he could see that all his friends were sitting around a table, comparing stories and battle strategies.

“Pi pika pika,” Pikachu squeaked as he jumped happily onto his Trainer’s shoulder. Ash gave his friend a gentle scratch under the chin, receiving a pleasant coo in return.

“How was your visit?” Brendan asked, “Mine came up clean as a whistle.”

“Yeah, mine too,” Ash replied, not even wanting to mention his reaction to the shot.

Brock stood up at that moment, “C’mon, the Pokémon Center is right across the street. Let’s get the Pokémon over there and go have some fun in town.”

“Hold the phone, guys,” Max intervened, “we can’t just go off like that.”

“I know; do you think I’d forget to mention our plans to Niko?”

Max frowned, “No comment.”

The six humans soon located their guide and talked to him. However, their hopes for fun in town were shattered.

“No can do, swabbies,” he declared, “No one goes anywhere until much later. What do you expect to do in town without any money?”

Ash looked baffled, “What are you talking about? We already have money.” He then pulled the all the bills and change he had and showed it to Niko, who only shook his head in response.

“Hate to break it to ya, but we have a different currency here in the Great Sea. Right after we drop off your Pokémon, we’re all making a stop at the bank to convert your cash.”

Max suddenly slapped himself in the head, “That’s right, I forgot; you only use rupees here, don’t you?”

“Yup.”

“Uh, what are rupees?” Wally asked timidly.

Niko cleared his throat before explaining. “Err-he-hem, rupees have been our region’s currency for thousands of years. Ever since the days of our ancestors, we’ve used different colored gemstones to determine various rupee values. For example, a green rupee equals one rupee, a blue equals five, red equals twenty, and purple equals fifty. Long ago, a silver rupee was worth one-hundred while a gold one was worth two-hundred. Today we don’t use gold rupees anymore, so the silver rupee’s value was elevated to two-hundred, even though they’re not as commonly used as the others.”

May was intrigued by what Niko said about gems being used as money. In school, she’d heard of other cultures using things like shells and rocks as money. Perhaps, she thought, the ancient kingdom that these islands used to be was just like any other country during its time. Her train of thought was then interrupted by Niko as he was directing the last few kids to line up by the door.



A few minutes later, Ash and the other Trainers were at the Pokémon Center, checking Pikachu and the rest of their Pokémon in. While it was only those competing in the Tournament who were required to have their creatures checked, many of the others saw the opportunity and jumped at it. Nurse Joy was only too happy to take care of the Pokémon - even if there was such a big load on her shoulders.

Once their business at the Center was done, Niko led them all to the Windfall Island National Bank. The teller lines were all crowded with Trainers that day as everyone had their money converted. When Ash and Brendan’s turns came, they were amazed to discover that the amount of money they received in rupees was 2˝ times greater than it was previously. It wasn’t just them either; everyone was excited to get so much. Niko had to warn them all that to spend all that cash so fast would be an invitation for disaster, although he had a feeling that none of them heard a word he was saying.

Just as Ash and the others left their line to join up with Niko, they spotted Marina and Jimmy coming in through the door. The friends clustered together like a swarm of bees.

“What’s taking you guys so long?” Marina asked, “I want us to go into town together.”

“We’re waiting for Niko to give the word once everybody else is done,” Max replied, “Didn’t you two get your money changed yet?”

Jimmy nodded, “Right after we did, Mako let us all go off on our own. We have to be back to catch the buses at four-thirty, though, so we’ll be on time to get ready for dinner.”

“I hope we don’t have to dress up for it,” Ash said nervously, “I didn’t bring anything fancy to wear.”

The other guys looked at each other; apparently, no one thought about bringing formal clothes.

“Relax,” Niko said from behind, “the last thing His Majesty wants is for his guests to be uncomfortable on their first night. So, dinner tonight is going to be informal.”

The whole group was relieved to hear this, and even more when Niko gave them permission to go.

“However,” he added, “the buses are going to be waiting in the center of Town for us. We all have to meet in the square by four-thirty this afternoon. If you’re late, you’ll be looking for a motel room for the night, and you won’t see me in a happy mood the next morning. Got that?”

Ash and his friends gave their promise, and were out the door faster than a hair being pulled out of the dough. Once outside, they all began talking about where they wanted to go first.

“I want to check out that massage parlor we passed a little while ago,” Marina suggested, “Crazy Tracy’s Health Spa, I think it’s called.”

“Sounds great,” May chimed, “I could use a massage after being in that crowd.”

“Maybe,” Brock said, “but that Potion Shop down the street looked interesting; I’d like to see what kinds of Pokémon Potions they have.”

“There’s a Shooting Gallery a couple of blocks away that uses bows and arrows,” Jimmy cut in, “I’ve always wanted to try that.”

“Did you see that Happy Mask Shop a while back?” Max asked Wally excitedly.

“Yeah,” Wally exclaimed happily, “I’d really like to buy a mask for my uncle; he collects them.”

Ash and Brendan, in the meantime, stood back and watched as their friends’ suggestions slowly became quarrels; each person wanted to see something, and wanted the others to agree. They both looked at each other and shook their heads; neither of them wanted this trip to begin with fighting. Finally, Brendan brought two fingers to his lips, and blew. The sound of the loud whistle instantly brought the argument to a stop. With apologetic eyes, the children looked at their friends.

“Listen, people,” Ash began, “we have the whole trip to see all these places, but we can’t see them if we’re fighting over them. Let’s just look around town first, and see what else is here. I’m sure that there’s tons of stuff to do.”

“Here’s a suggestion,” Brendan added, “I’m sure we’re all pretty hungry, and I remember seeing a café during our ride up from the port. Why don’t we grab something to eat first, and then explore the city?”

Everyone agreed to this, knowing that Brendan was right about them being hungry. In a flash, they all set off down the street to find the café. Along the way, they were greeted warmly by a number of the townsfolk; many of the children even asked for Ash, Jimmy, Marina, and Brendan’s autographs.

“Oh great,” May muttered under her breath, “now their heads are going to swell up even more.” She said nothing aloud, however, and their trek continued.



The walk took them to the center of town, where a large clock tower stood sentinel over the whole area. A small group of people (Brock guessed that they were carpenters from the tools they used) were building another, much smaller tower in the very heart of the square. Other people were busy hanging streamers, wreaths made of fragrant flowers, lights, flags, masks, posters, and other decorations.

“Wow, look at all this,” Ash said in awe, “Is this all for the Tournament?”

“Probably,” Jimmy answered, “but it might have something to do with that banner they’re putting up.”

He then pointed to a large red banner, which was being pulled across - and over - the street by two men. Gold letters on the banner formed the words:


Come one, come all, to Windfall Island’s Annual
Carnival of Time!
June 31st; beginning at midnight.
Come celebrate the past, present, and future together!

“YAY, A CARNIVAL!” Wally and Max cheered as they took hands and danced around in circles.

“And it starts right after the Tournament,” Brock observed, “It must be to honor the winners.”

“But it says they have it every year,” Marina pointed out, “It can’t be just for the Tournament.”

“You’re right,” said a voice from behind.

Everyone turned around to see who spoke, only to come face-to-face with a young girl. She was tall, slender, fair-skinned, and looked to be around eighteen years old. Her long blue hair flowed gracefully in the wind behind her, and the light blue sundress she wore made her look even more becoming. Before anyone else could speak, Brock swiftly clasped the young girl’s hands, his face turning as bright red as a burning coal.

“Hello, young lady,” he said hastily, “My name is Brock, and my friends and I were just pondering the meaning of all this festive preparation. Of course, I’m sure a pretty little thing such as yourself would be more than willing to…”

“HEY, YOU!”

While everyone else was casting disapproving looks at their friend’s advances, a young boy shot right up to them. Like the girl, he appeared to be in his late teens, but his bright red hair, jeans, and leather vest made him look less appealing than his predecessor. What really caught them off guard, however, was that he immediately laid a well-aimed punch right on Brock’s nose!

Brock fell into a sitting position on the pavement, covering his face with his hands and wailing like a baby. Ash and the others clustered around him, anxious to find out if their friend was badly hurt. Completely offended by this unprovoked attack, Ash stood up and faced the newcomer.

“What did you do that for?” he demanded, “All he was going to do was ask this lady a question.”

The angry boy took no notice of Ash’s declaration, but only snorted at Brock, “Maybe that’ll teach you not to mess around with Nayru like that.”

“Stop it, Ralph,” the young girl said, casting a horrified expression towards the puncher, “That was completely uncalled for.” She then turned to the astounded group, “Please pardon Ralph, he always gets this way when it comes to my safety. By the way, my name’s Nayru, and I hope your friend isn’t badly hurt.”

Brock stood up and assured her that he was fine, despite the fact that his nose still ached like crazy. “I didd’t dow you had a boyfriedd,” he said, holding his nose.

Nayru laughed lightly, “Believe me, he’s not my boyfriend, even though he does tend to think differently.”

Ash proceeded to introduce himself and his friends, all the while casting wary glances at Ralph. Despite the fact that his actions were obviously in the best interests of his friend, Ash was sure that the young man had a serious problem with managing his temper. With this in mind, he decided to redirect the conversation to something a little more pleasant:

“So, Nayru, what exactly is all this for?”

“The Carnival of Time,” Nayru began, “is a festival that has been held in this region since before the legends of the Hero of Time first began. It was originally held to honor the very gods who created our world. As the years passed, however, the Carnival became a way of paying homage to the four elements that keep our planet in perfect harmony: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. Either way, it is the most festive time of the year; with colorful masks, games, music, dancing, and feasting…”

“Speaking of music,” Ralph interrupted her, “remember that you’re supposed to meet the band for rehearsal this evening.”

Nayru smiled at her friend, “Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten.”

Wally suddenly walked forward, “Oh, you’re with a band? Do you play any instruments?”

“Only a small harp that my grandmother gave me,” Nayru replied, “but I’m actually going to be singing in place of the band’s lead singer; she was among those who have been mysteriously disappearing these past few months. It’s been really hard on her fellow members - especially since they were invited to perform at the Carnival this year.”

“Which band are you singing for?” Max inquired.

“Have you ever heard of the Indigo-Go’s?”

Before anyone had a chance to think, the surrounding murmurs of the townsfolk were completely drowned out by the sound of screaming. May and Marina, apparently oblivious to the amount of alarm being created, were currently shrieking at the tops of their lungs, and jumping up and down in the air like two overly excited children.

“OH MY GOSH, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!” Marina yelled.

“THEY’RE HERE,” May added, “THE INDIGO-GO’S ARE ACTUALLY HERE!”

“Hey, knock it off, you two,” Ash managed to cut in. Once the noise level had lowered somewhat, he was able to take his hands off both ears and look his friends in the face. “Now, who are the Indigo-Go’s?”

Ash’s question seemed to cause great alarm for the two girls; they just stood there, looking at him, with wide eyes and even wider mouths.

“Who are the Indigo-Go’s?” May echoed in disbelief.

“You’re kidding, right?” Marina included, “They’re only THE greatest rock-and-roll group in the history of the entire world! They’re the poets of our generation!”

“And they’re actually going to perform right here after the Tournament!”

“Oh, I swear I’m going to faint!”

“Please,” Nayru shouted over the girls’ screaming, “there’s no need to get so excited; I mean it’s not like they’re any different from the rest of us. I’ve met them myself, and every one of the band members is quite charming.”

“Except for Evan,” Ralph muttered under his breath. Nayru quickly jabbed her elbow into his ribs, causing him to grunt in pain.

After getting the two girls to calm down a second time, Brendan turned to the islanders again, “Sorry about May and Marina, I guess they’re just so excited to be here. Anyway, did you happen see a small café somewhere around here? We were looking for it when we ran into you guys.”

Nayru nodded pleasantly, “You’re talking about the Crow’s Nest Tavern; it’s a very popular hangout for the local sailors. Just keep going down this street until you see a shabby gray building; the tavern is right across from there.”

“Awesome,” Jimmy said, “Let’s go, I’m starved.”

Brock made his way back to Nayru, “Would you care to join us for a simple meal, my fair lady?”

“Back off, Buster,” Ralph growled.

“Thank you anyway,” the young woman replied, “but I’m afraid we have a lot to do before this evening.” As the two of them walked off, she added, “I hope we’ll see each other again soon.”

“Bye,” Ash waved, “and thanks.”

Soon, the small group of Trainers was once more on the march, and no one could wait to finally get some food in their stomachs. Luckily, the quaint little restaurant wasn’t that far away, and its timeless, rustic appearance was actually very appealing.

“Wow,” Max observed, “it certainly looks like a good place to get some lunch.”

“Let’s go,” Wally declared, and the eight children began climbing the wooden stairs towards the main entrance.

Before his feet even touched the first step, Ash chose that moment to glance behind him. Across the street, just barely noticeable because of the crowd, a strange man had slinked into a nearby alley. Even though the distance between them was too great to memorize any features, Ash was sure that the man had been carrying something on his back. Seeing that everyone else had gone inside, he headed for the crosswalk and carefully reached the opposite street.

The alley turned out to be right next to the gray building. It looked so old and rickety that Ash found it hard to believe that anyone would want to hang around such a place. To his surprise, however, he heard the light whistling of a human further down the alley. Taking cautious steps, Ash quietly made his way down the filthy path. Trash cans, bags of garbage, two alley cats and a rat were all he came across at first. Suddenly, he stopped and dashed behind a large cardboard box: the strange man - a tall, bald man wearing a wide grin - was knocking on what appeared to be the back door of the building. He didn’t speak a word until a small slot near the top of the door slid open.

“What’s going on?” Ash thought to himself.

“It’s me, Borlov,” the man said, “Got a real bargain for ya.”

No words came from inside the dwelling, but a lock clicked and the door creaked open. The grinning man cheerfully pranced inside and the door closed behind him. After waiting a minute or two, Ash stalked up to the door and turned the knob, only to find it locked.

“I wonder if the front door’s open,” Ash thought as he walked back toward the street. Upon reaching the main entrance, Ash casually walked up to the door and tried it. To his delight, the door opened with ease. No one on the crowded sidewalk seemed to take any notice of a young boy walking into the old building.

Ash had to pull his shirt over his nose; age-old dust covered everything in the main room from top to bottom. Piles of wooden crates filled every corner, with cobweb curtains lining them all. Occasionally, a spider would come down from one of the old shelves on the walls. From the looks of the old countertop and the dust covered antique cash register, Ash guessed that the building used to be a store.

“One-hundred,” said a voice from the back. Ash nearly jumped at the sudden noise.

“Don’t be such a rupee pincher, you miser,” said another, “Two-hundred.”

Ash looked around; he could see a light shining through the crack of a rear door. Walking on tiptoes, he stole quietly up to it, and slowly opened the unlocked door just enough to see who was inside. Sitting at a fairly new table was the grinning man, the bulging sack he carried in the street lying in the center of the table. Across from him was another man, the sleeves of his blue shirt rolled up over the elbows.

“That’s gotta be Borlov,” Ash guessed.

“You don’t really expect me to pay that much for this junk, do you, Sakon?” Borlov asked indignantly.

“You gotta be kidding!” Sakon exclaimed, “Do you realize what this is? If that old koot knew about this, he’d have it locked up with the rest of his private collection.”

“That’s enough! It’s not wise to be slanging His Majesty in such a way. Anyway, I’m doing you a favor by paying you less. If this isn’t another one of your cheap tricks, how’d you like if I told him about you?”

Sakon frowned, but then nodded. “Okay, fine, I’ll take it, but you’re guilty too.”

Borlov slammed his hand angrily against the table, nearly causing Ash to fall into the room. “Hey, I know nothing! If it comes to me, I buy it. My Curiosity Shop is a charitable organization that helps people in need!”

“Yeah, right,” Ash thought, wrinkling his nose in disgust.

“I…I understand,” Sakon stammered, “then the total is…”

“It’s fifty now,” Borlov announced, passing two red rupees and two blue ones across the table, “There ya go.”

“WHAT?” Sakon threw up his hands in shock at the even lower amount of payment, “But I thought you said one-hundred!”

Borlov crossed his arms, “Oh, so I guess you don’t want me to take it off your hands.”

Fear seemed to cross Sakon’s face for a moment, but then it twisted and contorted with rage.

“Darn right I don’t!” he bellowed, “I come to you with THE best find in history, and you repay me with a mere pittance?”

“You call it a pittance, I call it sympathy, and it’s the only kind you’ll ever get from me today!”

“Keep your sympathy for all I care, I don’t want it!”

Sakon reached for his sack, Borlov reached for his money. Both men stood up so hard and fast that the table knocked over in the direction of the door, causing the two of them to start throwing fists at each other.

While the two were occupied, Ash happened to notice that the bag had almost gone through the door. With a steady hand, he pulled it closer and reached inside.

The object looked to be about the size of a sweet potato, and was so covered in dried coral that Ash figured it was under water at some point. At first, he thought this thing was too worthless to keep, but the shiny crystalline rock that formed around the coral convinced him that it would look beautiful enough to the right people. A gradual decrease in the level of shouting warned Ash that it was time to leave. He carefully pushed the bag back into the room, and stealthily made his way back to the door.

Once outside, Ash could hear the steady chimes of the town clock. Clutching the strange object inside his pocket, he ran across the crosswalk back to the café without looking back. Upon reaching the beginning of the steps, he stopped to take a breath; he pulled the rock out of his pocket and chuckled to himself.

“Boy, I only just got here, and I’m already having adventures.”

Still amused by what happened, he walked up the stairs and headed into the tavern.

FlamingRuby
26th November 2005, 9:34 PM
Could Ash have found the Ocarina of Time? ::nudge nudge::

ZeldaFan20
27th November 2005, 8:18 PM
You'll have to find out later in the story. In the meantime, here's the next one:






Chapter 8



Ash walked up another flight of stairs before actually reaching the tavern. The room itself didn’t look as small as it seemed from the outside, but it was very busy. Every rustic-looking wooden table was packed with people and plates of food – steamed lobster, barbecued shrimp, hamburgers, and even fresh baked bread rolls. The young waitresses (there were only five in number) were busily walking between tables; some took orders, others had large trays of food balanced on their heads.

“Over here!” Marina called him over to their table, next to a window that had a magnificent view of the harbor and its many boats. As he began to sit down, a young red-headed waitress walked over.

“Good day, everybody,” she said cheerfully, “My name is Anju, and I’ll be your waitress today. Are we going to start with drinks and appetizers, or do we need more time?”

Ash quickly glanced over at Brock, waiting for him to start advancing on the lady. To his surprise, however, the young man turned his face to the window, wearing a dejected expression.

Max, who was sitting across from Ash, leaned over, “Brock already tried when we first walked in, only he found out she was married.” Both boys tried hard not to laugh in front of their friend; they had a feeling that his crush on that girl, Nayru, wouldn’t last long.

“I think we’ll just start,” Brendan answered as he folded his menu, “I’m going to have a Cuckoo Salad Sandwich on rye, with a cup of Outset Island Clam Chowder to start.”

Marina spoke up next, “I’ll have the same, but on white bread, and with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.”

Ash almost laughed out loud upon hearing what they ordered. He’d never heard of cuckoo salad before. In order to keep himself from looking like an idiot, though, he succeeded in keeping his mouth shut.

“Cuckoo Noodle Soup for me,” May instructed.

Anju smiled and nodded as she wrote down the order, “Would you like a small salad with that?”

“Please, and with French dressing.”

“Wally and I will be sharing the Jumbo Fried Shrimp Platter,” Jimmy said, “and can we have some extra dipping sauce?”

“Sure thing.”

“I’ll have a child’s order of Greatfish Sticks, please,” Max requested.

Brock gave his order blankly, “Headstone Island Steak…no sides.”

Ash was still looking over the menu when his turn came up. He was sure that the dishes mentioned were just like those he had back home, but the weird names really confused him: Bomb Island Beef Platter, Romani Ranch Chops, Zora Fish and Chips…

“Do you need a little more time?” Anju interrupted gently.

“Huh?” Ash looked up and saw them all looking at him, “Uh, no, I’m good. Let’s see, I’ll have the…uh…”

“If you’ll pardon me again,” Anju said, “I’d recommend the Dragon Roost Ribs; they’re very popular during the summer, and Cajun-style is a frequent request among the tourists.”

Ash smiled as he folded his menu, “Sure, I’ll try that. Thanks.”

Anju was about to collect the menus, but then stopped, “Oh, you children never ordered anything to drink.”

“That’s okay, we forgot,” Brendan said, “Just bring me a Root Beer.”

“Me too,” Wally said.

“Me three,” Max cut in.

“Four,” Brock droned.

“I’ll have some green tea, please,” said Marina.

“Sounds good; I’ll have that too,” May mimicked.

“Orange juice for me,” Jimmy ordered.

“What’s this Chateau Romani Shake?” Ash inquired

“It’s basically a milkshake,” Anju explained, “but it’s made of the finest milk in the region. I admit it costs a tad more than a regular shake,” she paused, then put on a dreamy smile, “but once you taste it, I assure you – it will be worth it.”

Ash grinned, “If it’s that good, I’ll definitely try it.”

“Any specific flavor?”

“Chocolate Double Mint,” he replied after glancing at the many varieties on the menu.

“Excellent choice.” Anju collected the menus, told them that their orders would be ready very soon, and headed off to the kitchen.



Two hours later, the group headed back out into town with full bellies and bright smiles. Before separating, they all agreed to meet in the town square in time to catch the buses back to the castle. The two girls went to check out the health spa, while Brendan and Jimmy headed for the shooting gallery. Max reluctantly followed Brock, who had spotted another pretty girl and was currently heading off to greet her.

“Let’s go see that mask shop,” Ash said after he and Wally were left by themselves.

“Great!” Wally cheered with delight, “I want to see what kinds of masks they have here.”

“And you said your uncle collects them, right?”

“Right.”

Luckily, the Happy Mask Shop – as it was called – was over on the next street, and since the front looked almost like a large masquerade mask, it wasn’t all that hard to find. Filled with excitement, Wally ran up to the clear glass front door. Before he could open it, however, Ash pulled him away, just as another young boy burst through it and ran into the crowd.

Ash stared after the boy: he seemed to be no older than he was. Besides his long purple hair, he was dressed entirely in black…right up to the long cap on his head. Ash had only those few seconds to observe this.

“STOOOOOP, THIIIIEEEEEF!”

Turning back to the door, the newcomers saw a tall, rather scrawny-looking man – possibly the proprietor of the shop - standing next to them. He had a look on his face that was a mixture of distress and anger. If he was shouting after the boy who just left, he must’ve taken something that was very valuable. Without thinking, Ash suddenly took off after the accused thief.

“What are you doing, Ash?” Wally asked in a frightened tone.

“Stay here, I’ll be right back!” Ash ordered as he plunged into the crowd.

The street was packed with tourists and shoppers, so Ash found it very difficult to get around. After a few dozen ‘excuse me’s and ‘pardon me’s, he finally found himself in open space again. He took a hard look at the people as he walked along the street, and even asked some about the whereabouts of the strange boy in black. It took a long time but only a few people had seen him, and Ash was directed to a section of town with many alleys and side streets.

Ash felt very uncomfortable about being in this particular neighborhood. Back in Pallet Town he and his neighbor, Gary Oak (Professor Oak’s grandson), were often warned about such areas being haunted by thieves and ruffians: people who would be willing to cut one’s throat if they wanted anything from them. All Ash could see, though, were bags and cans full of garbage, and an old man dressed in rags sitting on the sidewalk. His fears changed slightly when the man declared that the “young feller in black” had been seen running straight down the street. Thankfully, Ash pressed four red rupees into the man’s hand and headed off in pursuit once again.

The street was quiet, and Ash was about ready to give up after a few minutes of walking. “Besides,” he thought, “I left Wally alone with that shopkeeper; he’s probably worried about me.”

Just then, Ash was startled by the sound of crashing cans coming from the left. In a flash, he darted towards the sound into a rather dirty alley, which ended with a very high stone wall. Sure enough, at the end of the alley, Ash could make out the figure of a person. Walking cautiously, he was soon able to identify the thief who had run out of the Happy Mask Shop. He was crawling around on his hands and knees, as if searching for something. From the toppled trash cans nearby, Ash figured that the boy had tried to climb over the wall, fell, and accidentally dropped the thing he stole; which would explain his frantic searching.

The boy in black chose that time to look up. Upon seeing Ash, he forgot his search and scrambled to his feet. His cheeks were sweaty and pale, and his breathing heavy. It was clear that this young man was terribly frightened.

Ash spoke calmly, attempting to ease his quarry’s fear, “Take it easy, I’m not here to hurt you. Listen, if you’re in some kind of trouble...”

“STAY AWAY!” the boy screamed when he saw Ash take a step forward.

“Okay, okay,” he replied, taking a step back, “I just want to help, that’s all. Look, if that shopkeeper wrongfully accused you of stealing, we should go back and try to straighten it out.”

“NO!”

Ash was thinking that these negotiations were going to take a while. Lowering his eyes, he then caught sight of a parcel wrapped in brown paper. A corner of the package was ripped, so he was able to see a rounded edge of wood lined with spikes, and painted in various colors. From the shape of the rest of the package, he concluded that it was some kind of mask – probably from the mask shop. Happy to recover the stolen item, Ash bent down to pick it up...

“DON’T TOUCH THAT!”

The boy made a fast dive for the package, but Ash pulled it away quickly and his opponent dove right into some more cans, causing the whole alley to echo with more racket than before. Worried that the boy might be hurt, Ash ran over and asked if he was okay. The strange child was dazed, so he couldn’t answer right away. Ash pulled off the hat to check for a bruise or a fracture. After doing so, however, he gasped in total shock:

This boy didn’t have the same small, rounded ears as any normal human being; instead, he had long pointed ears!

After slowly coming around, the boy became aware of what was happening. With another scream he shoved Ash to the ground, grabbed his cap - totally forgetting about the mask, and jumped onto a large overturned terracotta pot.

“You can’t climb that wall,” Ash grunted standing up, “it’s too high.”

Ignoring this remark, the child slammed his hat back onto his head, paying special attention to cover his long ears, and uttered something Ash couldn’t understand at all:


Onjalla, manjalla, CHO-WAY!

Almost immediately, the spot where the boy stood was surrounded by a bright blue light. It was so bright that Ash had to shield his eyes. The brightness lasted only a few seconds, though, and he was finally able to see clearly again.

“Huh? What the...?” Ash just stood there, completely dumbfounded. The wall was still too high, and there was not enough room in the alley to try and pass him. Yet, where the strange young boy in black should have been...there was nothing.



Later on, the shopkeeper was giving his statement to Officer Jenny in front of the store. Wally then spotted Ash walking up to the building, carrying something under his arm.

“Ash!” Wally cried happy as he ran over and gave him a squeeze.

“Hey, Wally,” Ash greeted him with a smile, “Sorry I scared you like that.”

“That’s okay, I’m just glad you’re back.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re not hurt,” Officer Jenny told him when she walked over, “That thief could’ve been dangerous.”

“Speaking of which,” Ash related, “he got away; but I did manage to get back what he...”

“My mask!” the shopkeeper exclaimed with joy as he snatched the package from Ash. Then he happily grabbed his shoulders and shook him hard, “Oh, bless you, dear boy; you have no idea how much it means to have this back.”

“I c-can onl-ly im-mag-gine,” Ash stammered dizzily before being released, “I’m glad I could help you after that episode.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” the man kept praising him, “I’ll see to it that you receive a proper reward.”

“Gee, sir, you really don’t have to...”

“Oh, I insist; I’m going to let you and your little friend have any mask you want – for free!”

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” Officer Jenny interrupted, “but I’d like to get a description of the suspect first.”

Ash thought carefully, “Well, all I remember was that he had long purple hair and was dressed in black. I’m afraid I didn’t get a good look at his face.” He failed to tell the policewoman about the boy’s long ears, or about him vanishing into thin air in the alley. These details, he though, would probably make him appear a little looney.

She then turned to the man, “How about you, Maestro?”

The two boys looked at him, “Maestro?”

“Ah, yes,” the man said as he bowed gracefully to them, “Maestro Masque, world famous collector and salesman of masks from far and near, at your humble service.”

Jenny cleared her throat impatiently, and the Maestro gave his account:

“You see, Officer, I was just putting this mask in the back room when that boy came in. I tried to compliment him on his costume, thinking that he might be preparing for the Carnival of Time. Still, he seemed more interested in my mask that in my compliments; he expressed a desired to purchase it and kept asking how much it was.

“I told him that this mask, among a few others, was to be donated to the House of Wealth for their auction this weekend, and that it wasn’t for sale. After storing it, I offered to show him more exotic masks I had just brought over from India. I only had my back turned for a second, but he slipped into the back room – quiet as a mouse I might add – grabbed the mask and bolted out the door.”

Partially satisfied with his account, Officer Jenny said she would keep an eye out for the thief and that she’d be in touch. After she left, Maestro Masque eagerly ushered the two boys into his shop.

The man certainly wasn’t kidding when he said he collected masks “from far and near.” Everywhere Ash and Wally looked there were masks: on the walls, the shelves, the doors, the windows, even hanging from the ceiling were a multitude of masks. They were all made from various materials: from common things like paper, plastic, and plaster to more exotic ones like ceramic, wood, brass, and even some made of real ostrich feathers.

“Wow,” Wally breathed, completely awed by such a collection, “Uncle Charlie would feel like he’d died and gone to Heaven in this place.”

“Look at all these faces,” Ash marveled.

“I used to have many more in stock,” Maestro explained, “but with preparations beginning for the Carnival of Time, I will soon be sold out of my precious little beauties.” He began dusting a Grecian lady’s mask made of brass-colored ceramic and decked with costume jewels.

“Do people always wear masks to the Carnival?” Wally asked.

“Of course, my child, it has always been a tradition to bring masks to the Carnival. They have always played an important role in the ancient customs of our people.” He then lowered his voice to a mysterious whisper, “Legends even tell us that the Hero of Time himself used the powers of rare and magical masks to protect our world from a great disaster.”

“I’m guessing it wasn’t the flood,” Ash remarked.

“Oh, no no no no, this happened centuries before the Great Flood that locked away the Ancient Kingdom.” Then he turned the subject over to Wally, “Now then, I understand that your uncle is a mask-enthusiast, correct?”

“I’ll say,” Wally agreed, “his whole house is full of masks; every time he sees one at the mall, he has to buy it.”

“Then I have just the thing for you.” Reaching up to one of the top shelves, Maestro Masque brought down a medium-sized cardboard box. Inside were two very interesting masks: one was larger, and painted in many different shades of yellow, orange, and gold. The second was smaller, but was white, and had a large half moon painted in silver on the upper-right corner of the face.

“Now then, these masks are supposed to be a pair, so I’m offering them at the same price as a single mask.”

Wally stood goggle-eyed at the two brilliant faces, “They’re beautiful.”

“Ah yes; these specific masks were often the symbols of unity during ancient times – especially around weddings. It was said that, any young couple to be married at the Carnival of Time was to each bring a mask as a sign of their union. By exchanging these masks, the couple was promised a happy and prosperous life.”

“So these are wedding masks?” Ash chuckled politely.

Maestro nodded, then turned to Ash, “And for you, dear boy, I have the perfect mask.” The shopkeeper danced, almost marionette-like, to the far side of the room. He dusted off an old ebony trunk, opened it and took out a very strange mask.

To Ash, the mask looked like a skeleton face: its large mouth was bearing teeth made of something like gold. Come to think of it, except for its deep blue eyes, the mask itself seemed to be made of gold. Though he couldn’t explain it, Ash could feel a small surge of energy in his fingertips as he touched it. The feeling was exciting, but a little scary as well.

“The Hero’s Charm,” Maestro began, “is an ancient mask worn only by those who have demonstrated true bravery and courage during the days of the great warriors of Hyrule. Wearing it, they say, allows one to see the very life force of his opponents. However,” he lowered his voice to a warning level, “it cannot be worn by just anyone. As I’ve said before; only one with a virtuous heart and a strong sense of justice can be able to unlock its magic. I trust you will find proper use of this mask before the Tournament Finals next week.”

Suddenly, Ash snapped back to reality, “The Tournament!” He quickly glanced at his watch, “We have to be at the town square in fifteen minutes or we’ll miss the bus. Thanks for the masks, sir, and I’m glad I could help you.”

“Good luck!” Maestro called after them as they streamlined out the door hand-in-hand. As he watched them through the glass, he chuckled lightheartedly to himself, “...and have faith.”

indigestible_wad
28th November 2005, 3:38 AM
Well, I would guess that that's the skull kid's mask, but I'm not too sure. It is also apparent that the mask trying to be stolen was another powerful mask. Which one is a mystery, since I never played majora's mask.

I do have one thing of concern. THe fact that you use actual countries and continents for your story. It's not a crime to use them, but if you you basically have to change the whole story to fit the fact that pokemon are in places taht we already know firsthand. And taht's all I really have to say.

WaterTrainer243
28th November 2005, 8:25 PM
Interesting chapter. I'm guessing that person Ash ran into must've been a Shiekah.

ZeldaFan20
29th November 2005, 2:11 AM
indigestible_wad: Sorry, I intended them as examples. Don't worry, all I want is for my readers to enjoy it. I managed to take out all but one the countries. Hope it looks better.

WaterTrainer243: Err...close, but still way off. Cheer up, you'll see him again later...and in a very surprising way ;).

Enix
11th December 2005, 3:30 PM
Wow, I love this story. It shows so much detail, I can literally imagine an Anime Movie based on these events! I like how you have merged Zelda games with Pokemon Anime, nice concept. Is Team Rocket going to play an important role, or are they going to be behind the scenes or what? Anyways, reading this has inspired me to write my own Fanfiction, but I need to finish the other chapters, get research correct, correct grammar, etc. This is one story I'll be paying very close attention to..........

ZeldaFan20
12th December 2005, 12:43 AM
Glad you think so. Yes, TR will play a role in the plot - but I won't say how important. You're writing you're own story? Good luck with it.

Anyway, let's get back to our little tale, shall we? Enjoy!






Chapter 9



Ash and Wally had a hard time hanging onto their new masks as they ran through the crowd, trying to make it to the bus in time. Both boys promised each other not to mention what happened to their friends, no matter how exciting it was. By the time they got there, nearly everyone was all set to go, and their bus was almost completely filled with passengers. Niko was jotting down the names of those who were getting aboard. The two boys finally made it to the end of the line just as the last Trainer was getting on. Niko eyed them sternly as they climbed up and sat down, but not a word came out of his mouth.

“That was invigorating,” May cheered as the buses headed up the hill and out of town, “I’m going to recommend Crazy Tracy’s Health Spa to everyone back home.”

“You boys should really stop by for a massage,” Marina said, “Tracy’s a genius.”

“Man, how does anyone hit those targets?” Jimmy asked forlornly, “I couldn’t even hit one.”

“It’s like Pokémon Training,” Brendan explained, “All it takes is a little practice.”

Max then spotted the masks in Wally’s hands, “Wow, those are cool; did you get those at the mask shop?”

Wally smiled, “Awesome, huh? And it was a two-for-one deal, too.”

“Yours looks a little expensive, Ash,” Brock said.

Ash held up the Hero’s Charm for his friends to see, “Not really; Maestro Masque actually gave me a good price for it.”

May couldn’t help making a face at the sight of such a mask, “It looks weird – almost like a skull with big eyeballs.”

While everyone laughed at this remark, Ash glanced out the window. The bus stopped at a red light and people began to cross the street. Out of the corner of his eye, Ash thought he saw a familiar face in the crowd. Squinting, he was able to get a better look, and nearly jumped.

On the side of the road, where he was looking, stood the same young boy dressed in black. The two boys locked eyes on each other; the stranger staring intently at him. Ash felt a little uncomfortable and tried to turn away, but the unknown boy’s stare seemed to force him otherwise. Suddenly, for the first time, he actually noticed the eyes: first, they were a deep purple, then gradually turned dark red the longer he stared.

“Ash?”

With a start, Ash pulled away from the window. He sank back into his chair, relieved to finally be free of that boy’s hypnotic gaze.

“Ash, you look like you saw a ghost,” Brock said with curiosity, “Everything okay?”

“Yeah,” he replied forcing a smile, “It’s just that I thought…” Ash stopped. He’d turned back around to show them who he’d seen, but the boy had vanished once again.



Back at the palace, everyone headed to their rooms to put their purchases away. Ash took special care to hide his new mask under the mattress. Other kids were putting away more clothes and stuff in drawers and closets. All the while, their conversations kept revolving around the Tournament and how many Pokémon they would be allowed to use.

The mention of Pokémon made Ash feel a little unhappy. His friends – including Pikachu – had always been with him since he started his journey. Being without them, whether it was for an hour or a few days, made him feel somewhat incomplete.

“Hey, guys,” he said as he stood back up, “I’m going to take a walk around the palace for a while. Anybody interested?”

Max looked at him and said, “We just got back from town, Ash. Don’t tell me you want some fresh air already.”

“Nah, I just want to see more of this place, that’s all.”

“Sounds good,” Brock said, “Maybe I’ll come too.”

The two boys left the tower and started down the stairs. On the way they took another look at all the beautiful paintings and statues. The old painting of Ancient Hyrule fascinated Ash a lot more than any of the others; it was hard for him to believe that such a beautiful kingdom would end up buried at the bottom of the ocean for nearly a thousand years. At the end of one corridor, they came to a large wooden door.

“It’s not locked,” Ash said as he tried it, “let’s look in here.”

“Uh, I don’t think we’d be allowed,” Brock said cautiously.

“There’s no ‘Keep Out’ sign, so it can’t be off limits.”

“Good point,” Brock confessed. Feeling curious, they pushed it open and walked inside.

Ash and Brock found themselves in a medium-sized room. The stone walls were lined with glass display cases, each one filled with different kinds of weapons. Swords, spears, shields, and daggers used by ancient knights were the most prominent artifacts. There was even a case that contained boomerangs of various sizes. According to the description card, some were children’s toys, and others were used by hunters and warriors.

Soon, Ash came to a case with three curved swords inside it. The weapons themselves, he thought, couldn’t have come from Hyrule because they didn’t match the style. But then the description on the card caught his eye:


Gerudo Scimitars (2000-3000 years old)

The Gerudo, a fierce tribe of warrior women, hailed from the deserts west of Hyrule. Proclaiming themselves as “chivalrous,” they never stole from women or children, and held a high regard for life.

According to Gerudo lore, only one male child was born within the tribe every one-hundred years. The child, considered to be a blessing from Din - the Goddess of Power, was taught the ancient secrets of the tribe, and trained to be their king and protector. This might also authenticate the myth that all masonry work in the tribe was done by women. Buildings, temples, and bridges of Gerudo origin were never made by a single man, and the tribal women would never let outsiders within their boundaries.

It was also said that anyone who wished to become a Gerudo, or young tribal girls who came of age were required to go through rigorous training and complete dangerous challenges. Punishment for failure varied through the ages: ranging from either banishment, wandering through the desert, or death.

“Sound like a pretty strict bunch,” said Brock, who had come over and read the card over Ash’s shoulder.

“Yeah, I think Misty would feel right at home with those girls,” Ash quipped. The two boys were so busy laughing that they didn’t hear the door slowly creak open behind them. Instead, they kept walking to the back of the room to gaze at more of the ancient weaponry.

“Look at these,” Brock pointed to a case in the far back, “weird, huh?”

Ash, who was just staring at an old suit of armor, walked over to the case. Inside were four strange objects. They were strange contraptions indeed: ranging from small to large size, and appeared to contain chains and springs. The boys were about to read the card when they suddenly became aware of a presence behind them.

“Grrrrrrrrr...soooooolll...”

Although nearly frozen with fear, the two of them slowly turned around. Their eyes widened when they found themselves face to face with a mean looking creature. It was almost completely white; its claws, tail, face, and one large horn were bluish black. The creature looked menacingly at them, its teeth bared and the fur standing on end.

“What’s an Absol doing in a place like this?” Ash whispered frantically to his friend.

“I don’t know,” Brock replied nervously, “but I don’t think it wants us here, either.”

“Yeah, let’s get out of here.”

“Walk slowly; any sudden moves might cause it to attack.”

Ash and Brock made slow steps towards the door, being careful not to make the Absol even angrier. They had just come within a foot of the exit when Brock’s elbow unintentionally grazed a spear, causing it to fall over. Ash quickly grabbed the artifact before it hit the ground. However, the Absol’s eyes blazed and it howled with terrifying ferocity.

“Oh great, now I did it!” Brock said through clenched teeth.

“Quick,” Ash instructed, “let’s run out and shut it in!” He grabbed the door knob and yanked it open, but stopped dead in his tracks.

Standing in the hallway was a young girl, no older than Ash and wearing a light pink summer dress. She had golden hair that reached the middle of her back, bright blue eyes, and rosy cheeks. The girl shouted in surprise when the two of them nearly ran into each other. She was just about to speak when the Absol’s growls reached her ears.

“Sheik, sit,” the girl ordered, walking over to it. The Absol, recognizing the newcomer, sat obediently on the floor and sadly hung its head.

“Naughty boy, you should know better.” She then turned to the boys, “I hope he didn’t scare you.”

“Us?” Brock said, “Nah, I knew he wouldn’t hurt us.”

Ash grinned at him, “Oh yeah, then how come your knuckles were so white?”

The girl giggled cheerfully and walked back over to them, “I’m sorry, Sheik gets a little protective around strange people. Once you get acquainted, though, he’s actually very friendly.”

“Well, glad to meet you, Sheik,” Brock said, putting his hand out to the creature’s nose. Sheik returned the gesture with a snarl, causing the teenager to jump back. Ash, however, received a cautious sniff and a friendly lick when he tried.

“I guess it’s our fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Ash explained, “We were just looking around and couldn’t help walking in here.”

Still the girl smiled, “Yes, my grandfather has a strong interest in ancient weapons; he says that it gives us insight into how our ancestors struggled to survive their hardships.”

Brock nodded, “Interesting philosophy...wait, your grandfather?”

Suddenly, the young girl gasped, “Oh, that’s right; it is always proper for a young lady to introduce herself to her guests.” She curtsied modestly to them and said, “I am Celia, Princess of the Great Sea.”

Ash gasped himself; so she was King Lorenzo’s granddaughter, the owner of that Pikachu he found in the castle’s main hall, and the one who admired him. His mouth began to feel dry again, what would she do when she found out who he was? Maybe she already knew – and she had him cornered! How was he going to get out of this situation?

“My name’s Brock,” his friend spoke up, “I come from Pewter City in Kanto, and I’m learning to become a Pokémon breeder.”

“It sounds very interesting, Brock, and I wish you well in fulfilling your dream,” Celia commented politely before turning back to Ash, “And you are?”

“Uh, me?” Ash stammered, “well, uh...I’m...uh, that is, I...”

“This is Ash Ketchum,” Brock cut in, “He’s from Pallet Town, that’s in Kanto too. But you probably know a lot about him already, Your Highness, considering...”

“Brock, stop!” Ash exclaimed, trying to clamp a hand over his mouth and looking very embarrassed.

“It’s alright,” Celia said, “Not many people are permitted to be in the presence of royalty. Yet, it is also rare to find one’s self in the presence of a well-known Pokémon Trainer.” She curtsied to Ash again, “It is an honor to finally meet you, Mr. Ketchum.”

Ash’s face reddened, but he tried to be as polite as possible, “Please, Your Highness, call me Ash; I mean, we’re all friends here, right?”

“Of course,” Celia replied with a friendly giggle, “and you many call me Celia. Like my grandfather, I don’t care for flattery - except on occasion, and I prefer that people say what they think.”

“Well, I think we’re going to get along great,” Ash announced.



A few minutes later, Celia and Sheik walked with the two boys to the Southern Tower. As they walked on, Ash began to tell his new friend about some of their sillier adventures: like the time they helped try to catch a Sudowoodo to determine whether it was a Rock-type or a Grass-type. Brock just smiled as he listened; it was always nice to make a new friend, royal or otherwise.

Brock was the first one to go through the tower doors when they arrived. Ash was just about to turn and say good-bye when Celia suddenly took him aside.

“Forgive me, Ash, but I must ask you something.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Could I ask you to meet me in the garden tomorrow afternoon? I want to discuss something important with you.”

“Sure, but why not now?” Ash asked.

“I will explain everything when you come. And here,” she gave him a folded piece of paper, “If any guards try to stop you, show them this letter; they will not hesitate to let you pass.” With that, Celia turned and walked quickly down the hall with Sheik following close behind.

Ash just looked on as she disappeared from view. What could be so important that she couldn’t tell him right then and there? While he pondered this, everyone began filing out into the hallway. Niko was in front ushering them into single file when he spotted Ash.

“So there you are,” he said gruffly, “and where have you been?”

“Talking with the Princess,” Ash replied as he stuffed the letter into his pocket, “she just left.”

“Well the next time you go running off by yourself, at least take a tour guide with you; maybe then you won’t get lost. Now, get in line with the others; it’s almost dinnertime, and we don’t want to be late.”

Ash glanced at his watch and saw that it was only 5:30, “It’s a bit early for dinner, isn’t it?”

“That’s enough excuses, now scoot!”

Ash joined his friends among the crowd and they all headed downstairs. Everyone wanted to know what the Princess was like and kept bombarding him with questions. The overwhelmed boy didn't answer them, and soon they all turned their attention to dinner and their empty stomachs.

FlamingRuby
12th December 2005, 1:20 AM
Nice work...my only nitpick is you spelled Gerudo wrong.

::awaits the Ocarina gag::

ZeldaFan20
12th December 2005, 1:45 AM
No I didn't. I spelled it exactly as it was spelled in the game.

FlamingRuby
12th December 2005, 1:46 AM
Oh okay...it just looked like it was mispelled.

WaterTrainer243
12th December 2005, 2:58 AM
Another good chapter ZeldaFan. So now Ash has met the princess and has already made friends with her. I wonder what she wants him to meet her in the garden for?

Enix
12th December 2005, 9:32 PM
Nice Chapter, Finally met Celia..... Hmmm, isn't that from the New game? Just wondering. About the hypnotic boy, I still can't figure out who he is. XD
Post another chapter soon! PLEASE, I LOVE IT!

indigestible_wad
13th December 2005, 3:40 AM
Ash and Wally nearly dropped their new masks several times trying to make it to the bus in time.Nearly dropped their masks several times? They either did or didn't. Which was it?

The girl shouted in surprise when the two of them nearly ran into each other.Who's them? Don't use pronouns when they're not refering to the subject of the sentence.

Neither one received an answer, and soon turned their attention to dinner and their empty stomachs.Neither one? I thought it was the whole group that was asking.

Short chapter it seems. I think that there is a small romance budding, from what I can tell, but there is one thing I need to say. It doesn't seem to me that Ash's character is realistic to the anime. He likes the attention. Here, he tried to stop Brock from saying who he was to the princess, and also, he wouldn't be so embarrassed in front of anyone, even the princess.

ZeldaFan20
13th December 2005, 6:36 PM
Thanks for the pointers; I didn't notice those mistakes. I managed to fix them; and, if you remember the earlier chapters, Ash was feeling nervous about being in the presenc of royalty :).

ZeldaFan20
6th May 2006, 4:09 AM
Hello, readers! Sorry I haven't written in a while...okay, a looooong while. I'm having finals this weekend, but I did make some adjustments to the previous chapters: I updated the names of a couple of characters, for starters. Once summer officially begins I'll have plenty of time for writing.

Catch'ya later!

WaterTrainer243
6th May 2006, 5:39 AM
It's ok ZeldaFan, I can wait till then.

babowonsuni
9th September 2006, 3:19 AM
bump to update? :)

Demy
9th September 2006, 9:21 AM
This is a really intersing PkmZealder Fic did it use to have another name?
I like the way the story flows and there are not too many spelling mistakes either.
is TR coming onto the sceence soon?

rating 4/5

Demy

Artemis Ignitan
4th November 2006, 12:43 AM
Hell-ooo thar, new reader speaking. I found your fic on fanfiction.net and upon reading the reviews, found that it was also posted here. Hence the post.

I love the way one event flows into another and how one answer brings up so many new questions. It's quite a shame that this thread is starting to die, and I don't want to see great works lost. I would really like it if this story were to be continued, but I understand what you are going through and will be patient.

I also don't understand much about the Zelda games since my mom thinks video games severly cut my chances of getting a scholarship, thus the only games I or my brothers have are Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh games. Can someone explain to me about the "Ocarina of Time"?.