28th June 2014, 7:28 AM
Settling Old Scores
Author's Note: I didn't know whether to fit this story into the end of the Unova region or the Kalos region, seeing how the X & Y series seems to have only started recently. In any case I didn't keep up with Pokemon after generation III so I won't be including any of the newer Pokemon in the story. Also I'll be ignoring the time freeze in the anime as I want to try to develop the characters more and realistically as well.
The ship's horn blared. My heart skipped a beat when I heard it, Pallet Town was just up ahead! Oh, Pallet, Pallet. That name has such a sweet ring to it. It sounds like, home... I've been to many places and many landmarks were breathtakingly beautiful, but nothing can beat sitting on the couch at home with the smell of mom's cooking wafting all throughout the house. I just couldn't contain myself.
"We're almost there!" I nearly shouted, but managed to keep things down. Don't want to disturb the passengers that's for sure.
"Man, I'm excited to see all of them again. I bet you are too huh Pikachu?" Turning my head from the window, I saw my best buddy, all yellow and fluffy, sitting on my shoulder. Pikachu was my first Pokemon. Bringing him around was like bringing a piece of home with me.
"Pika!" Pikachu smiled, punching a little paw into the air. He's so adorable.
Travelling's great, but really tiring. I've worked so hard these 5 years, sometimes I feel like I've lost out on my teenage life. Could have been playing video games all day at home instead. Cramming for a test the night before and running all around town with a few best friends. There's just something about being able to screw up and not have to worry about it that's so... wonderful. Although, that's exactly what I did wasn't it. Iris was always telling me what I a kid I was, heh.
Yet, to think that I only managed to get into the top eight of the Unova league. It's an enviable result, but I've gotten to the quarter-final's three times already! Although I did win in the Orange league, and that was the one time when I didn't switch out my entire team for new ones. Maybe, if I had stuck with the same Pokemon all the way I could have won. But then again, I would have had the experiences that I did with Swellow, Ambipom and so many other
Pokemon if I did that.
Ok, so I wouldn't have done that differently. But I would like to be more skilled at handling Pokemon. It's fun when I get in the swing of things, but even though I'd never admit it to anyone, I really admired the way Paul battled. Of course, I would never treat any of my Pokemon the way Paul did. It's just the way their attacks flow so smoothly one after the other. It was all so calculated and planned out. Imagine combining my power with Paul's wits, we'd be unstoppable. I'm sure Misty would be impressed. Oh yea! It's been a really, really long time since I've last seen her. I wonder how she's doing.
Man, I'd like to battle her again just to show her how strong I've gotten. I can't believe that in our two years across Kanto and Johto that we only battled twice! And they weren't even real, complete battles. But I can't let my guard down if I ever go up against her again, she actually managed to raise a Gyarados, and teach it flamethrower! I'll never forget that!
"Pika?" Pikachu tilted its head to look at me with a perplexed look. I realised that I'd been spaced out for awhile in my thoughts.
I smiled, it's always easy to smile at Pikachu.
"Nothing Pikachu, I was just thinking," I said as I put one hand around Pikachu's back.
"about our old friends..."
28th June 2014, 7:34 AM
1. A Straw Hat, A Fishing Rod and A Lake
It's dark... Oh, I'm asleep. Ahh... my bed's so warm and comfy. Hmm? What's that thing that's prodding me. Go away... I wanna sleep...
Something kept poking me on the cheek as I laid in bed. I detected the faint scent of damp grass. Whatever it was, it wasn't going to leave me alone. I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn't go away. So I relented. I sat up while rubbing my eyes and stretching my back, and felt something crawling off my belly onto my legs. Then I heard a croaky, but gentle voice.
I opened my eyes, and there he was, Bulbasaur! I was so happy to see him again that I didn't know what to say! I must have sat there smiling like an idiot for like ten seconds or so but Bulbasaur sure didn't seem to mind it. In fact, he was smiling back!
"Aww man! Bulbasaur I'm glad to see you!" I said as I scooped him into my arms.
"Bulba!" I don't speak Pokemon, but I'm pretty sure that meant "Me too!" His petals were soft, smooth and cool to touch. This was home alright.
I'd just arrived home at Pallet Town yesterday after a really long journey from Unova. I fought the sleep monster as I said hi to Professor Oak and all the other people in town. It was still six in the evening when I finally got home but I was so tired I think I past out the moment I crashed into my bed. My floor looked cleaned though, Mr Mime and mom must have kept my stuff for me. A smile crept onto the side of my lips as I thought about how Mr Mime picked up my bags and clothes while going "Mime! Mime!" It was amusing and heartwarming all at the same time.
Bulbasaur and I cuddled for awhile, then I got down from my bed, letting Bulbasaur jump back onto the ground. I ran to my clothes drawer and started rummaging through the piles of clothes in search for something that I had been dying to try on for a really long time. I gasped when I finally saw it. Under an entire pile of T-shirt was the black one that I wore throughout my entire journey in Kanto. Yes I did wash them, I had several. I don't know why, but I just had such a strong desire to put on my old clothes. It took awhile, but I soon found my blue coat, light blue jeans, black and green gloves, and my Pokemon Expo Hat which I won by sending in a million postcards. Man did I have a lot of time back then.
The clothes were too small to fit me now though, which was to be expected. I'm 15 now, I've grown taller and packed on some muscle after travelling so much. So, I guess this was good for me. Still, what a bummer. My shirt couldn't even reach down to cover my belly. I caught my own eye in the mirror and was taken aback. The old Ash was staring right back at me. I looked like I had grown a few years younger just by changing back into my old clothes, which was the effect I was hoping to achieve. But no way I was going out in these. I changed into a large pale grey T-shirt that allowed me to move comfortably and baggy blue pants that reached up to my knees. Then I completed the look with my old straw hat before heading out.
"Aaaaaash! I made breakfast for you!" My mom sang just as I was at the door.
"Uuuahh! Mom! I'm going out!"
"What? Aren't you going to eat first? And what about seeing all your other Pokemon? I'm sure they're looking forward to meet you." My mom had a concerned look on her face. Trust your parents to know that something's amiss. The old Ash would have loved to wolf down mom's cooking and meet all my old pals. Don't get me wrong, the smell was awesome, but I had a lump in my throat and somehow I just knew that I wasn't going to be able to swallow my food.
"Well, uh, I need to get something done, I'll be back soon. Leave some for me ok mom?" And then I bent down to speak to Bulbasaur.
"Bulbasaur you stay here and play with Pikachu ok?" I said as I lowered my cap to cover my face and rushed out of the door before my mom could say speak further.
I arrived at that place. That place where Gary and I fought over that Pokeball. We had so much energy back then, making every little thing a competition just to prove that we were better than the other. Speaking of which, I wonder if he kept the half that I gave him.
The river water's rush was really melodic. I could hear Pidgey chirping in the distance. Sitting on the grass, I threw my head back and closed my eyes to take it all in. For once, for once in a really long time I could sit back and relax. Not worrying about collecting badges in time for a Pokemon League or catching up with rivals.
"Well, well, well. Fancy meeting you here!" I heard a sharp, familiar voice. Don't tell me...
I opened my eyes, and sure enough, it was Gary.
"Hiya Ash, I didn't know you were in town. What are you doing here?"
"I... just finished competiting in the Unova league, I came back for a break. And aren't you supposed to be in Sandgem Town doing research for Professor Rowan?" I asked, pointing a curious finger at him.
"I came back for a break too. Researching was really tiring, even more so than compared to being a trainer. We had so many accidents and the other experiments that didn't blow up in our faces ended up being a complete waste of time. I was getting sick of all of it so I decided to come back for awhile."
Gary too? I guess I'm not the only one who's stuck in a rut then. But Gary could just be taking a regular old break. Me, I have no idea how long I'm going to be here. I didn't know what to say in reply to him, and he continued to talk.
"To think we had so much fun as kids, watching Pokemon battles on television and getting all excited about getting our starters on our tenth birthday. I felt for sure that battling was what I would be doing all my life, and then when I discovered my love for researching I thought that that's what I would stick to for the rest of my life, too! Now it seems like my passion for studying Pokemon is flickering, just like how it was with battling! Life sure knows how to throw curve balls at you huh Ash?"
"Yea, I know what you mean."
"Ha! I had a hutch that something was up with you."
I gulped. Man Gary sure was sharp as ever. "H-How could you tell?"
"I wasn't sure exactly, but wearing that old straw hat, and coming to the place where we fought over a Pokeball before we started out our journey? I thought you might be just thinking about the good ol' times, but now it seems to me like you wanna go back to those old times! I'm guessing that the Unova League tournament wasn't great for you?"
"Well, not exactly. I did well, but..."
"You're not happy with doing well? How far did you go?"
"Top eight," I said, and then looked down to the ground.
"Again." And sighed.
"Top eight's pretty good if you ask me! There will always be more tournaments to compete in y'know." Gary smiled as he patted my shoulder to reassure me. But I was having none of it. "Pretty good", "You're still young", "Try again". I've heard it all before, and I was sick of it.
"No Gary! You just don't get it do ya?" I cried, slapping his palm away.
"Huh? Ash what's gotten into ya?" Gary looked really perplexed.
"Don't you know how tiring and disappointing it is to travel miles and miles to another region, train so hard with your Pokemon, fight countless of battles, just to get to yet another Pokemon League and not win? I've been doing this for 5 whole years Gary, and it doesn't look like I'm going to become a Pokemon Master any time soon. Sure I can always 'pick myself up and start over', but I'm tired! I'm so tired of failing and I just don't wanna do this any more!"
I was starting to choke up, which was really embarrassing for me especially in front of Gary. I think I really shocked him because he certainly wasn't expecting a reaction like that from me. His jaw was left hanging for awhile but he soon composed himself.
"Hmm. Well Ash, I'm certainly not going to tell you what to do. It's your life so you figure it out yourself. But we all need a little break sometimes."
Thanks Gary. I thought, but held the words in.
"Tell you what Ash." His eyes lit up and that a familiar smirk came back to his face. "Let's go mountain boarding!"
That sure lifted my spirits. Mountain boarding... Just like old times...
"Alright Gary, you're on!"
"Yahooooooooooo!" This was exhilarating. Travelling down the mountains at a breakneck's pace, feeling the cool wind rushing across my body. I felt free. Nothing could compare.
Gary came from behind, expertly maneuvering his wooden board to get around and then in front of me.
"Last one down's a rotten egg!" Gary cried out. Darn it, I sure didn't want to lose to him! Hey, wait a second. I was here to get my mind off competing.
"Aww C'mon Gary, let's just have fun! I don't wanna race ya!"
I think I caught him off guard again. "Huh? Man Ash, you really have changed, oh well, suit yourself!" He smirked and sped off. It did suck to be left in the dust like that, and my competitive streak did rise up in me a little. But I wasn't going to go back there again. No way. I'm done with putting pressure on myself.
I must have let my mind wander off again. Because before I knew it I was about to smash into a rock.
"Arcanine go!" Gary was already at the base of the hill. He threw a Pokeball into the air and there was a flash of light. Arcanine was fast. It managed to run up to the hill and tackle me out of the way just before what might have been an ugly collision occurred. I landed on my back and rolled down the hill a little, but managed to slow myself down by digging my heels and hands into the soil. Then I ran down to meet up with Gary and Arcanine did the same.
"Hahaha! Man what a klutz! You sure scared me there for awhile. Just like that other time when we were training for the extreme Pokemon race!"
"Oh yea! I remember, and I remember beating you in that race too!" Screw being laid back, rubbing past victories in Gary's face felt good.
"Yea? Well if Arcanine and I hadn't stopped you from falling back then you would have ended up with a broken leg and wouldn't even have had the chance to be in the race, Ashy boy!"
Argh, there's that name again. I was wondering when he would say that since he showed up. I was already beginning to think that he'd outgrown that tired old phrase. Still, it did bring back some memories.
"I guess you're right, I owe you one then." I chuckled, scratching my hand against my back in embarrassment.
Gary laughed too, and for once in a really long time he wasn't laughing at me, but with me.
"Wanna go again? I'll race you to the top!" Gary said, picking up his wooden board.
Well, I guess a little friendly competition wouldn't hurt.
"Sure!" I raced ahead of him, picking up my wooden board that was stuck at the base of the rock that I nearly crashed into earlier.
Just running around playing in the sun with one of my childhood friends. I could get used to this.