-Thanks, that BF team of mine is especially raised, with EVs focusing in Sp. Attack and HP. They won me the Tactics, Luck, Brave and Knowledge symbols, in that order. Funny to think that I can't get the symbol from the simplest attraction: the Battle Tower.
-I'd like to point out one of my own errors, since I can't edit the post without freezing my computer: Marco is supposed to be the name of Ash's final opponent. Yet he is referred to as Zane in the previous chapter. Sorry about that.
-All theories and speculations to Mask, or Giovanni, for that matter, to be Ash's father will be shot down after reading this one.
EF43: A Pokemon Story Never Told Before I
Jessie and James returned to the hotel, to tell Meowth of their plans. Without even saying anything to the others, the three left, to the Cianwood City hospital.
However, it seems that it just wasn't Drake who was waiting for them. Koga, Lucian, and Agatha were also there. And... Professor Oak?!
"Ack! It's the twerp's mentor!" Meowth exclaimed, at the sight of the Pokemon professor.
Oak cleared his throat. "Well, yes. I-"
"We're honest this time, for sure," Jessie continued Meowth's train of thought. "We just-"
"Yes, yes," Professor Oak repeated, interrupting them. "Drake already told me everything. Though I'm quite surprised that you are still following Ash and his friends."
Koga grunted. "I still think we can't trust Giovanni or these three. They're part of Team Rocket!"
Drake restrained Koga from blurting anything out more. "Let's all talk inside, not here." He led the group through the hospital lobby, to the elevators(they had to take two), and to the third floor, where Giovanni's room was. The hospital usually allows only two guests at a time, but this case was special.
Giovanni was asleep when they arrived. Drake took a seat beside his bed, Agatha next to him, Lucian sat on the wall couch, and Oak sat beside him. Koga preferred to stand by the window.
The ex-Rockets stood in the middle of the room, not sure what to do first. Drake then cleared his throat to get everyone's attention.
"Well, everyone's here, except for-"
"Ash can't make it. According to what I've heard, he's going to face Bruno tomorrow," Oak answered. "Besides, I think it's too early for him to learn everything right now."
"This concerns that boy as much as it concerns everyone in this room." Everyone hung their heads. "However, if Ash-"
"Hold on," Agatha said. "You are the one who put Ash through this whole challenge in the first place, if I remember it right. Mind telling everyone in this room why you placed such a bet on the boy?"
Drake smiled. "I thoughtfor sure that that would be the first thing you'd ask, old friend. You see-" Now all eyes are trained on him. "Ash is a not a boy anymore. He wishes to put his Pokemon on the line in pursuit of his dream, and I'm letting him." Drake's tone made everyone understand that he doesn't want to discuss it further.
When Drake finally cleared his thought, he stood, and walked to the window, right beside Koga. "It was roughly twenty years ago..."
The setting is the Indigo Plateau. Three friends are standing high above the stadium seats, right next to the large bowl that was to contain Moltres's flame. One is Drake, the other is Giovanni, both are fifteen years younger. The third is obscured from view.
"Another year, another adventure," Drake commented, inhaling the fresh air.
"It seems only yesterday," Giovanni added, "that we all came to this plateau to see who is the best of all three of us."
"How long has it been?" the third wondered. "Twenty years? And look at you guys. Drake, you're now a member of the Elite Four. Gio, you're now a gym leader. You've both gone a long way..."
"Don't be modest," Giovanni kidded, nudging his friend in the ribs. "You didn't do bad yourself, Mr. Ten-years running Champion."
The latter scratched his head in embarassment. "I had a hard time going against you guys in the finals. You know that. So I still am nothing compared to you guys."
The three kept exchanging friendly retorts at each other. As the sun sets behind them, the three said their goodbyes. "After fifteen years," Drake called over his shoulder to his departing friends.
"After fifteen years," the other two called back. As his friends disappeared, Giovanni's Pokegear rang. "Hello," he spoke into the phone.
"Where are you?" the voice on the other end of the line said. "The On'na Boss is looking for you." Giovanni scowled at the title given to his mother.
"I'll be coming over. So don't hurry me."
(END FLASHBACK 1)
"Next thing we know, Gio here is the new Boss of Team Rocket," Drake was saying. "He took that position when his mother stepped down.
"Five years later, I confronted Giovanni with his decision. It's not what you would call a happy reunion..."
This time we find Drake talking to Giovanni in his office in Viridian City. From the window of his office you could see the Viridian Gym just under construction. "You think that we'll let you get away with this?" Drake declared. "What happened to you?"
"It's none of your business, Drake," Giovanni said coldly. "Times have changed. Either we become victims of the cruel fate of this world, or we control it."
"That makes no sense whatsoever!" Drake countered, banging his fist angrily on Giovanni's desk. "You are a Gym leader! Going to a life of crime is unbecoming of a gym leader!"
Drake turned on his heels, heading for the door. As he clutched the knob hard, he canted sideways to look at his friend for the last time. "You've changed, Gio. What happened to the same guy who could crack a million jokes and hit it with the girls?"
Giovanni didn't look his friend straight in the eye. "That person is gone..."
(END FLASHBACK 2)
"As I returned to Evergrande City, I found out that the PLA has arranged a competition similar to the one right now. And guess who was the one who was first on the list?"
Only one person comes to the mind of everyone. Since the very Elite Four hosting the event 15 years ago, is standing in this very room.
"The man we now know as Mask," Agatha muttered.
Drake only nodded, as an ominous air filled the room. Oak cleared his throat. "I still can't see how a fine young man like that would become so heartless."
"Well, Sam," Koga told him, "like Giovanni said, time changes people."
"I still remember the competition, fifteen years ago," Agatha said absentmindedly.
"Shadow Pulse, Gengar!"
"Dodge it, Garchomp!"
The setting, this time, is at the basement of Lavender Tower, before it became the haunt of Ash's Haunter and his friends. This is the location of Agatha for her branch of the competition. Her opponent is none other than Mask.
Garchomp, the Mach Pokemon, used his sharp claws to dig into the ground, evading Gengar's attack. Gengar then levitated himself, trying to overlook the whoe battlefield so he can't be taken by surprise.
"From the ground, Garchomp. Crunch!"
From beneath Gengar, the ground exploded, revealing Garchomp! "Quick, Gengar, Shadow Ball!" Agatha ordered.
In a split second, the ghost-type fired negatiove energy from his hands to the target. Garchomp shielded himself with his blades, and then countered with a super-effective Crunch attack!
Gengar fell to the ground, unconscious. "Gengar is unable to battle. Victory goes to Garchomp!" the referee announced.
After the battle, Agatha gave Mask the MasterBadge(she was the first Elite on his hit list). "Congratulations. You've claimed a victory, but you still have a long way to go..."
Mask clutched the badge tightly. "I know. Thanks."
"So, where are you going off to now?" Agatha added, trying to be friendly.
(END FLASHBACK 3)
While the ex-Rockets visited Giovanni, Ash and co. are back in the hotel. Anthony and Rebecca are also there. Everyone is all for celebrating, but Ash isn't.
"I have to train my Pokemon against Bruno," was his reason.
Like Prima's Cup(and, Bertha's, even though it wasn't implied), Ash was given a flier showing ten of the Pokemon that Bruno is going to use. They are: Poliwrath, Machamp, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Hitmontop, Blaziken, Hariyama, Medicham, Toxicroak and Gallade.
The battle will take place back in the arena, but the battlefield would be widened, from 40x40 to 60x60. Aside from the same battle rules from Prima's Cup, the over-the-rope elimination from the P-1 was also included.
Ash already sent Feraligatr back to the lab(Tracey is the one who received the call), thinking that a good rest will make the Big Jaw re-learn Hydro Cannon. Ash is going to use Primeape, Heracross, Sceptile, Swellow and Torkoal for the battle.
Swellow is practicing his Aerial Ace, which he himself thinks is getting rusty. Primeape and Heracross are sparring, and Sceptile, this time inspired by Feraligatr's learning Hydro Cannon, is now exerting extra effort himself to learn Frenzy Plant. Torkoal is practicing Flamethrower and Heat Wave, helped by Charizard.
The training went from the early evening to late at night. After much effort, Sceptile was able to release thorned vines from the ground. However, they are completely out of control, managing to ensnare everyone present(even the flying-types) with the vines.
Charizard, his wings being pierced by thorns wrapped around him(Ack! This IS Frenzy Plant?! I didn't know they mean it literally?)
Torkoal, whose whole shell(he withdrawed) from over- to underside was wrapped around in thorns. you could hear laughing from inside(Wait! Stop! That tickles! ACCHOOOOO!) Smoke from inside the shell burst out.
As the vines finally withdrawed from suffocating everyone for the third time, Sceptile banged his fist on the ground in frustration. (I still can't get it right!)
Although they were almost strangled to death, the other Pokemon couldn't stop feeling sorry for Sceptile. After all, this wasn't the first time he had problems with his techniques. Ash placed a hand on Sceptile's shoulder sympathetically. "Don't overwork yourself. I'm proud that you managed to use Frenzy Plant. But maybe we won't have to use it for tomorrow."
Soon all six(trainer and Pokemon) are seen knocking heads together, asleep.
Charizard carried a sleeping Ash up to the balcony of his room, in his arms. Charizard lay his trainer on the bed, where May and Pichu are already asleep. Oh, wait. Scratch that. Pichu is still awake.
Charizard(He-he. Can't let your family keep waiting for you, now, can I?)
Only as Charizard lay Ash beside May and pichu did the latter give him a wave and a cheer before dropping to sleep. Charizard(That's it. You're suffering from super, uber, dooper, I've run out of words that end with -er, cuteness...)
As Charizard is now out the window, he turned back to Ash. (Good night, Ash.) And the Flame Pokemon took off.