Ash vs Nico! Battle for May!!
The heat of the sun on Pikachu's fur began to slowly intensify as morning gave way to afternoon. The Electric-type creature glanced up towards the bright, blue sky, admiring the clouds as they floated serenely above the group of Pokemon trainers who continued to attempt to devise a strategy for gaining access to Drew's mansion.
"Pika..." Pikachu squeaked, made slightly uncomfortable by the large amount of humidity which seemed to hang in the air.
Ash was equally uncomfortable, though for an entirely different reason. He was frustrated by what he perceived as a lack of power. He knew that May was somewhere in that estate, and he knew that he had to get her back, but he had no idea how to get to her.
At last he decided, his face brightening up and a renewed determination burning in his eyes. Standing around formulating a plan wasn't going to help matters; it was time to take things into his own hands.
"Give me a boost, Brock." Ash exclaimed, not waiting for Brock's reaction as he wandered over to a section of the large, brick wall which was outside the security guard's field of vision.
"What are you talking about, Ash?" Brock asked, following his friend over to where he was heading. "You can't just jump over the wall and expect to do anything!"
"Pika!" Pikachu agreed from atop its trainer's hat, clearly worried by Ash's rash decision.
"It's better than sitting around here, Brock!" Ash insisted, glancing up at the height of the wall before him. "I'm going to rescue May right now, and nothing's going to stop me."
Brock looked at the boy closely. He had that same confidence and commitment that Brock usually only saw when he was about to face a Gym leader. He knew he was serious, and if there was one thing Brock had learnt during his adventures with Ash, it was that when he became serious no amount of reasoning could stop him.
"But, Ash..." He began, but was suddenly interrupted by a large flash of green and purple lights from a few yards away which caught the attention of the entire group.
The lights slowly faded into nothingness as they spun rapidly in a spherical motion before finally revealing the slender form of Nico's Gallade and the struggling figure of May which it held tightly within its grasp. Ash, Brock, Dawn, Paul, and Alisa all watched in puzzlement at the creature which stared back, its cold, green eyes showing nothing but apathy as it surveyed the silent humans which stood before it.
"Huh?" Ash stammered as he realised that May was now in front of him, fighting to free herself from the grip of the Pokemon that had just teleported outside. "May!"
May stopped struggling for a moment and turned her head to see the young Pokemon trainer, confused but relieved to hear his comforting voice and see his dark eyes which exuded a love and care that only he could display.
"Ash?" She cried, stretching out her hand in an effort to reach him, though he was several yards away. She didn't care how far he was - she just wanted to feel the strong, protective grip of his hand on her own; the hand which always made her feel warm and safe and loved. "Ash! Help me!"
"I'm coming, May!" Ash yelled, wasting no time in dashing towards the Pokemon which frowned and surveyed the boy in a calm, machine-like fashion. In its vision Gallade could see Ash moving in slow motion, as if he was struggling to dash through thick syrup. Pikachu leapt from the boy's cap and also began to break into a sprint towards the Psychic-type, its eyes filled with the same determination as that of its trainer.
Suddenly a flash of light engulfed the immediate vicinity of the gate, causing the group to shield their eyes as it slowly receded into the form of an enormous, snake-like Pokemon which towered above even the colossal brick wall that surrounded the Blackthorne Estate. Its metallic body glistened like silver under the light of the afternoon sun, several sharp protrusions jutting out from it at irregular angles. Its huge, fearsome eyes stared down at Ash and Pikachu with a terrifying hunger as the creature shook its sharp tail menacingly, like a Seviper that was about to strike the finishing blow to its weakened prey.
"Sorry, Ash," the voice of Nico chuckled as the young Pokemon trainer walked into view, his hands resting comfortably in his pockets, "but you're not going to play the hero today."
Everyone stood in silence for a moment as they watched Nico slowly emerge from the cover of the trees across the street, a confident smirk covering his face. The young trainer eyed the group before him, then glanced over towards his Gallade which continued to hold the struggling May as it hovered above the ground, patiently awaiting its trainer's next command. He had finally done it.
"Nico!" Ash growled, clenching his fist and glaring straight at the boy.
"Pika!" Pikachu squeaked as menacingly as it could, mirroring its trainer's movements as warning sparks began to erupt from its red cheeks in preparation of an electric attack.
"Nico!" Alisa called out, taking a step away from the group. Her expression was one of both anger and disbelief, though it also undeniably contained a hint of sadness and disappointment at the boy's actions. "What are you doing? You have to let May go right now!"
Nico took a moment to look at the girl, reflecting on his past experiences with her. She had been his closest friend for much of his life, and the only person he had ever really grown to trust. She was undeniably a good person, always looking for ways to improve her father's carnival and bring in as much money as possible in a legitimate way. It was truly unfortunate that Kendrick treated her so poorly. Lies and deceit were something Nico hated above all else, and yet he had to live a lie when it came to Alisa. She couldn't know what her father was really like - it would devastate her in every way to know that the man she had so much respect for was little more than a street thief in a fancy hat.
"This doesn't have anything to do with you, Alisa." Nico replied calmly, looking straight into her passionate, determined eyes. "This is something I have to do."
"We're not going to sit back and let you take away our friend!" Dawn threatened, the small, blue penguin beside her chirping in agreement with an angry look on its face.
"She's right, Nico!" Brock added, detaching a Pokeball from his belt in preparation of releasing the creature that lay inside. "If it's a fight you want, we'll give it to you!"
"Stop!" Ash turned to his friends, who looked back at him, confused. "Let me handle this."
Dawn raised an eyebrow at the boy, but Brock nodded, unable to help but smile. This was something Ash had to do by himself, after all.
"You're so predictable, Ash." Nico chuckled, redirecting his attention to the young trainer with the Pikachu by his side. "But my fight isn't with you; it's with Drew."
Ash frowned, his fists loosening slightly as he listened to his opponent.
"Wh-what do you mean?" He asked with a puzzled tone of voice.
Nico smirked, running his fingers through his jet-black hair as he gazed idly up at the blue sky above them.
"Think about it." He explained casually. "What am I going to do with May? Kidnap her and live happily ever after? We all know that's not going to happen."
"You've got that right!" May growled, still squirming between Gallade's arms as she attempted to free herself.
"You know, you're even cuter when you struggle, May..." Nico chuckled, flashing the girl a grin which resulted in a retaliatory scowl from her. "I'm not stupid enough to believe I can pull something like that off."
"Then let her go!" Ash demanded, clenching his fists once more. "Right now!"
"Pika!" Pikachu agreed, coiling back on its hind legs in preparation for a well-placed Volt Tackle.
"Let her go?" Nico forced a laugh. "And then what? Just watch as you let Drew carry her back off to his castle? It's your fault that he managed to bring her all the way back here, Ash."
Ash paused, the colour suddenly fading from his face.
"Don't listen to him, Ash!" Brock yelled. "He's just trying to trick you!"
"If she meant anything to you at all you wouldn't have let her out of your sight after I took her away." Nico continued, smiling at the young Pokemon trainer as he did so, well aware that his words were inflicting far more pain on him than any attack could ever hope to.
"But, I..." Ash stammered, his eyes widening as his mind replayed the events of May's kidnapping in the forest outside of Canalave City. Those memories were so painful; the loss of May and the worry that he might never see her again. He wished he would never have to feel that pain ever again. "I..."
Nico's face grew more stern as he focused all of his attention on Ash, clenching his fists tightly.
"You're just as bad as Drew!" He snarled.
An uncomfortable silence penetrated the area for a moment as Nico's words echoed in Ash's mind. Ash stared down at the ground, not entirely sure how to react. He was angry and wanted to lash out, yet he was also saddened by what Nico was saying. Was it possible that he was right? Was Ash really just as bad as Drew? If he were in Drew's position, would he have taken the same actions and believed that he was justified for them?
"Pika..." Pikachu did its best to comfort its trainer, wandering over to Ash's shin and nuzzling it. "Pika Pi!"
"Pikachu..." Ash whispered.
"Ash!" May's cries suddenly snapped the boy out of his daze and he looked up to see her reaching out towards him.
"May..." Ash breathed.
Suddenly a wave of energy began to course throughout the boy's entire body. He clenched his fists, feeling as though electricity was pulsing through his veins. Nico was wrong, and he would prove it right now.
"This is getting boring." Nico sighed, snapping his fingers and looking over towards his Steelix which continued to glare down at Ash and Pikachu. "Since I have time to kill, I'll just have to use you for a warm-up. Steelix! Iron Tail!"
"Pikachu, look out!" Ash yelled, diving down and picking the small creature up in his arms. Steelix's tail slammed into the road, churning up several chunks of debris and concrete as it did so, though it just narrowly missed its target.
"Pika Pi!" Pikachu cried, looking up towards its trainer with concern.
"I'm okay, buddy." Ash replied, smiling confidently before getting back up to his feet. "Now, are you ready for a battle?"
"Pikachu!" Pikachu squeaked, looking over towards Nico's Steelix which was still recovering from its last attack. "Pikachu Pika!"
"Alright, then!" Ash declared, twisting his cap around so that its peak was now jutting out behind him as he readied a Pokeball from his belt. "I hope you're ready, Nico, 'cause you're going down!"
"What a joke." His opponent chuckled to himself, folding his arms confidently. "Let's make this quick. I don't have all day."
"You won't last five minutes!" Ash exclaimed, launching his Pokeball into the air and watching proudly as it split apart, ejecting a plume of white light onto the road in front of Steelix which slowly faded to reveal a green, humanoid Pokemon standing just under six feet tall. Its elbows ended in several sharp, leaf-like blades, and on its back were numerous yellow seeds which seemed to absorb the energy of the burning sun above. Its long, green tail was shaped like the branch of a palm tree, and in its mouth was a small twig that the creature chewed idly whilst surveying the enormous Steel-type that stood before it.
"What in the world is that Pokemon?" Dawn marveled in amazement at the creature, removing her Pokedex from her bag to analyze its information.
"I see..." Brock mused knowingly. "Ash must have switched out some of his Pokemon while we were at the Pokemon Centre here. He must be serious if he brought out Sceptile."
"So you actually have a Pokemon that isn't shorter than you are." Nico insulted Ash from the opposite side of the makeshift battlefield. "That's quite impressive. But let's see how it handles my Steelix!"
Nico pointed his finger towards the green Pokemon that stood confidently before the enormous Steel-type, idly watching the creature in anticipation of its first move.
"Iron Tail, Steelix!" Nico bellowed. "Take it down!"
"Dodge it, Sceptile!" Ash yelled.
Nico's Steelix slammed its tail down into the ground once again, kicking up dust and debris as its metal body swept across the road, the enormous Pokemon's heavy, ominous breathing sending a chill down everyone's spine. The cloud of dust billowed slowly up into the air, obscuring the vision of the battling trainers as they eagerly searched for the location of Ash's Sceptile, which was nowhere to be seen.
"Leaf Blade, Sceptile!" Ash commanded.
Suddenly a green blur flashed from the safety of the trees that lined the roadside as Ash's Sceptile dashed from shrub to shrub, the leaf-like blades on its elbows glowing brightly in preparation for the creature's attack.
Before Steelix could react Sceptile had already struck the Pokemon in the back of the head, causing the enormous worm to let out an ear-splitting roar which rocked the air for miles around. Steelix angrily lashed out with its spiked tail, trying desperately to land a hit on the agile Grass-type that evaded its every move, though it was no use.
"Ha, I knew it!" Ash cheered, pumping his fist as he watched Sceptile dodge the creature's attacks effortlessly. "You're way too fast for him, Sceptile! Keep it up with another Leaf Blade!"
"I don't think so!" Nico countered, waving his hand in the air to attract the attention of his enraged Pokemon. "Steelix, use Rock Polish, now!"
"Rock Polish...?" Ash repeated the strange name of the move that was completely unfamiliar to him. "Be careful, Sceptile!"
Nico's Steelix raised its body up to its full extent, casting an enormous shadow that engulfed the road on which they were battling. Suddenly the individual metal orbs which made up its Steel body began to spin at a steadily-increasing rate until they started to gleam in the light of the midday sun, forcing Ash to shield his eyes from the glare.
"Now use Dig!" Nico ordered.
"Use Leaf Blade before it can get away, Sceptile!" Ash countered.
Immediately Sceptile leapt into action, readying the blades on its arms for a quick and powerful strike. Within an instant the Grass-type had reached the point where Steelix had once been standing, only to find itself striking at thin air above a large gash in the asphalt below.
"What!?" Ash stammered, looking around the area and doing his best to detect the vibrations in the earth as Nico's Steelix circled the arena from below. "How did it get so fast!?"
"That's crazy!" Dawn commented from the sidelines as she watched the battle take place. "It was moving so slow just a second ago!"
Brock nodded in response, a nervous frown taking over his expression.
"Rock Polish is a move that greatly increases a Pokemon's speed." The young trainer explained to the inexperienced coordinator at his side. "Nico just neutralized the major advantage Sceptile had in this battle with just one move!"
"Come on, Ash!" Dawn cheered, prompting Piplup to do the same as it jumped up and down. "You can do it! Don't let him get to you!"
Ash ignored the cheers that were erupting from his friend on the sidelines. It wasn't that he didn't appreciate her concern, but he had to focus all of his attention on this battle. He may well have underestimated Nico, but he and Sceptile had come through plenty of battles before, and this would be no exception.
"You've got quite the cheerleader over there, Ash." Nico chuckled confidently from the other side of the arena, causing Ash to clench his fist angrily. "I'll tell you what - why don't you keep her and I'll take May off your hands?"
"Why you-!" Ash began, but was quickly cut off as Nico issued his next command.
"Steelix, rise up and use Dragonbreath!"
As soon as the orders escaped the young trainer's lips his Steelix shot up from underneath Sceptile, forcing the creature to lose its balance and begin to tumble in the air. As Sceptile tried desperately to grab on to the Steel-type Pokemon's body in an attempt to reverse the situation, Steelix quickly spun around, slamming the side of its sharp, iron tail into Ash's Pokemon and sending it crashing down into the rubble below.
"Sceptile, no!" Ash cried, but before he could issue a counterattack the wounded Pokemon was engulfed in a sea of navy-blue flames which scorched the entire area, causing Ash's vision to blur from the immense heat of Steelix's Dragonbreath attack.
"Sceptile!" Dawn gasped, covering her mouth in shock as she watched Nico's Steelix land with a crash, its titanic body uplifting large chunks of cement and debris upon impact.
"Nico's a lot tougher than any of us thought he'd be!" Brock exclaimed through gritted teeth. "Come on, Ash! You've got to pull it together!"
"Sceptile!" Ash called over to his Pokemon, but there was no response. The creature lay motionless amidst a heap of rubble whilst Steelix glared down on its prey victoriously.
Ash returned Sceptile to its Pokeball, a red beam of light emitting from the device and retracting the creature into the safety of its confines. Ash looked down at the Pokeball in his hands for a moment and smiled before placing it back on his belt.
"Thanks, Sceptile. You did great." He said as he removed another ball from his collection before hurling it out into the arena. "Glalie! I choose you!"
Ash's Pokeball sailed through the air for a moment before splitting apart and revealing a torrent of white light which slowly formed into the image of a large, floating creature with a spherical body and two sharp, pointed black ears that jutted out from the sides of its head. The Pokemon's white, crystalline body floated above the ground, its bright, icy-blue eyes watching Steelix cautiously from across the ruined stadium.
"So you have a Glalie too, huh?" Nico noted, remembering the Ice-type Pokemon he had used during the carnival's contest. "Bad move; you should have known that you'd have a type disadvantage against my Steelix. Steelix! Use Dig now!"
"Same old trick, huh?" Ash smiled to himself as he watched Nico's Steelix once again burrow its way into the ground beneath their feet.
"I don't need to make an effort against you!" Nico laughed in response. "Rise up and use Iron Tail, Steelix!"
"Double Team, Glalie, now!" Ash commanded as soon as he heard Nico's latest command.
Just as Steelix broke through the concrete above which Glalie hovered, Ash's Ice-type Pokemon split into several forms which scattered around the edge of the makeshift arena and began to circle the enormous Steel-type which was now frantically swatting at the images with its tail in an attempt to find the real Pokemon.
"Icy Wind, Glalie!" Ash commanded.
"Use Dragonbreath!" Nico countered.
The two attacks collided in mid-air, pastel-blue shards of ice crashing into a stream of navy fire. Ash and Nico both shielded their eyes as the flames of Steelix's Dragonbreath attack lashed out towards the edge of the stadium, singing everything in its path.
Eventually Glalie's Icy Wind gave way to the Steel-type's more powerful move which quickly engulfed the battlefield. Steelix began to slowly advance, continuing to spew harsh, ethereal flames of energy from its mouth before it was suddenly hit from above by a powerful stream of ice.
Steelix let out an immense roar of pain before looking up towards the sky to see Ash's Glalie descending upon the creature.
"Steelix, Dig!" Nico commanded. "Get out of there!"
It was too late for Steelix to escape Glalie's attack, however, and soon both Pokemon's faces were mere inches from each other before Glalie summoned its energy to launch another powerful Ice Beam directly at the Steel-type. The air shimmered from the intense cold of the attack, sharpened fragments of beautiful, crystalline ice scattering throughout the area as the sheer force of the Ice Beam thrust Steelix's entire body across the road and into the wall that surrounded the Blackthorne Estate. The wall quickly crumbled under the intense weight of Steelix's metal body and Glalie floated down towards the centre of the road once again, its eyes now shimmering with even more intensity than before.
"Steelix!" Nico cried in disbelief, dropping the Pokeball he held in his hands. "That's impossible!"
"Awesome, Glalie!" Ash cheered, jumping on the spot and pumping his fist.
"Pika!" Pikachu added, beaming over at Glalie, who remained as focused and serious as ever.
Nico silently returned Steelix to its Pokeball, gritting his teeth as he did so.
"Fine!" He barked angrily, replacing Steelix's Pokeball for another on his belt before throwing it out into the arena to meet Ash's Glalie. "So maybe you're not as pathetic as I thought..."
The projection of light emitted from Nico's Pokeball quickly began to recede, revealing a large, bulky Pokemon with purple, armour-like plates covering its body. The creature stood just under five feet tall, its dark eyes glaring at Ash's Pokemon from across the road, a large pile of rubble marking the halfway point of the makeshift stadium. Its most striking feature was the large horn which rose up from its forehead, and it possessed two large, curved ears which twitched casually in the breeze. The Pokemon swung its large, thick tail back and forth, occasionally slamming the ground in an attempt to intimidate Glalie.
"But let's see how you handle my Nidoking." Nico snarled. "Nidoking, use Earthquake!"
"Glalie, dodge it!" Ash cried in response.
Nico's Nidoking slowly raised one heavy, powerful foot before slamming it back down into the ground and immediately causing a huge tremor to rock the area. Pikachu quickly climbed up onto Ash's shoulder to gain some stability, though this proved rather futile as even he was having difficulty standing against the powerful waves which reverberated beneath his feet.
Glalie quickly raised itself higher into the air, narrowly avoiding a sharp outcropping of debris which burst out from the ground underneath it. As soon as the tremors began to diminish Nidoking was hurriedly chasing after the floating Ice-type, spinning its body to gain force before slamming its muscular tail into Glalie's side and causing the Pokemon to careen into the ground below.
"Glalie, no!" Ash called out to his Pokemon as he watched the creature desperately plummet into a huge pile of rubble. "Counterattack with Ice Beam!"
Almost as soon as the commands were issued, a large beam of ice shot out from the ground where Glalie now lay and slammed into Nidoking, knocking the creature out of the air and back down to the ground with a large thud. Slowly the two Pokemon climbed their way back into their fighting poses and glared at each other once more, both creatures breathing heavily as their trainers considered their options.
"Not bad..." Nico acknowledged, his voice little more than a growl as he spoke.
"Let May go right now!" Ash demanded, but Nico simply smiled.
"I don't think so." He replied calmly, standing tall and looking over at the girl who was still trapped within Gallade's grasp. She had been watching the battle as it continued to unfold, every so often attempting another effort to break free of the Psychic-type Pokemon's grip but proving unsuccessful every time. "You see I still have some time before the curtain falls on this show, Ash. Nidoking! Megahorn into Iron Tail!"
Nidoking let out a mighty roar before charging headfirst towards Ash's waiting Glalie, the sharp horn on its head almost appearing to glow as it prepared to strike the enemy.
"Glalie, float up and dodge it!" Ash exclaimed, prompting the Ice-type Pokemon to quickly rise up and away from the oncoming Nidoking. "Now use... Huh!?"
Before Ash could realise what was happening he watched as Nidoking began to climb up one of the mountains of debris that had been formed from the previous Earthquake attack before launching itself right into Glalie, its horn penetrating the creature's thick, icy hide with a loud crack that could be heard around the entire stadium. Ash flinched as he heard the sound, hoping that Glalie was okay, but he knew that now was the time to counter; the opening from Megahorn to Iron Tail would be a brief but vital opportunity.
"Ice Beam, Glalie!" Ash yelled.
"Iron Tail!!" Nico retaliated.
Just as Nidoking's heavy, glowing tail made contact with its target, a large stream of ice emerged from Glalie's mouth and engulfed its assailant. The force of the attack thrust the two battlers apart, sending Glalie careening into the wall of the Blackthorne Estate, whilst Nidoking tumbled into the ground right beside where Nico stood.
Nico stared at the unconscious Pokemon that lay before him, his hand idly throwing its empty Pokeball into the air and catching it as it fell back towards him. He had to admit that he was quite surprised by Ash's strength; perhaps a book really couldn't be judged by its cover, after all.
The young trainer idly returned Nidoking into its Pokeball before choosing another of the small capsules from his belt and twirling it on his finger with a bored look on his face. Ash frowned slightly, not entirely sure what to make of his opponent's demeanour. He had expected Nico to be angry and frustrated, and yet he didn't seem to be fazed at all by Nidoking's defeat. Perhaps he was giving up? Or did he have some sort of trump card up his sleeve?
"Two down and two more to go." Nico commented, a sly smile appearing on his lips. "I should be thanking you, Ash. I haven't had this much fun in a battle for a long, long time."
Ash smiled back. Though he was of course worried about May and knew that this battle was a serious one that he couldn't afford to lose, that simply made the competition even more exciting to be a part of.
"But you won't be taking down any more of my Pokemon from here on out." Nico continued, pressing down on the central button of the Pokeball that lay in his hand before throwing it out into the centre of the devastated arena. "Blastoise, I choose you!"
The crowd of spectators watched as the Pokeball ejected a huge beam of light which slowly faded away to reveal a bulky, turtle-like Pokemon with a dark-red shell and blue body. The creature stretched out its short arms, taking in the sights and sounds of the area, two large, cannon-like protrusions emerging from above its shoulders. Its tail was short and thick, and it stood upright at a height of about five feet, its shell brightly shining in the light of the midday sun.
"No way..." Alisa breathed, her eyes widening as she examined the Pokemon that now stood before Nico. "It can't be..."
Brock and Dawn both glanced over at the girl, their eyebrows raised in unison as they wondered what was the matter.
"Alisa?" Brock asked, concern evident in his voice. "Is something wrong?"
Alisa took a moment before replying, her mind not entirely able to analyse the scene that she was seeing. Was Nico really using his Blastoise after all this time? Was he really that serious about winning this match? Or, perhaps he was just enjoying this match for what it was? Was the old Nico finally returning after so many years away?
"Alisa?" Dawn repeated Brock's words. "Are you okay?"
"Ah, yes," Alisa stammered, snapping out of her daydream and turning to face Brock and Dawn, "yes, I'm fine. It's just that that Blastoise..."
Paul cast a quick glance towards the girl who was standing beside him, though he said nothing, his attention mainly focusing on the battle between Ash and Nico.
"That Blastoise was Nico's first ever Pokemon." Alisa explained. "He got it when it was just a Squirtle back when he first came to live with our travelling carnival."
"Is it strange for him to use Blastoise, then?" Dawn inquired, still confused by Alisa's reaction to the Pokemon.
"Nico hasn't used Blastoise in years." Alisa explained. "Not since he started working more closely with my father. I haven't seen it in so long that I used to wonder what had happened to it... It's like a part of his childhood that he never brings up."
"So that means..." Dawn muttered as she look back over towards the battlefield. "That means that Blastoise could be his strongest Pokemon! Be careful, Ash!"
Ash and Nico watched each other closely. Ash's heart was racing. It had been a tough battle so far and from the looks of it Blastoise would be no pushover. He had already returned Glalie to its Pokeball and wasted no time in selecting his next battler.
"You ready, Pikachu?" Ash asked the small, yellow creature beside his feet.
"Pika!" Pikachu nodded eagerly, bounding out towards the edge of the road where Blastoise was confidently awaiting its arrival. "Pikachu!"
Nico and Blastoise surveyed the Electric-type which stood defiantly before them, sparks flickering from its cheeks as it prepared itself for battle. Nico smirked, his arms folded confidently.
"Let's make this a battle worthy of your return, Blastoise." The young trainer declared, suddenly pointing directly at Pikachu. "Flash Cannon, go!"
"Pikachu, use Agility!" Ash countered.
Blastoise snarled loudly, ducking its head as the cannons on its back began to target its opponent that had already begun to dash around the entire arena, springing from debris to debris like a blur of electricity. Once its attack was fully-charged, the Water-type let out a roar before firing an enormous burst of grey energy into the centre of the arena, ripping apart mountains of rubble and sending chunks of concrete flying in all directions.
"Pika!!" Pikachu cried as it lost its footing and was flung towards the other side of the road, the violent gusts of wind that Blastoise's Flash Cannon had whipped up acting like a miniature tornado that was scattering everything in its path.
"Pikachu, use the debris to regain your balance!" Ash instructed.
Ash and Pikachu's bond was an instinctive one; almost telepathic in how they seemed to sense each other's thoughts and predict their movements. As soon as Ash had announced his strategy the small Electric-type Pokemon felt a great sense of relief and confidence fill its body. Immediately Pikachu glanced around, quickly surveying the surrounding area as it continued to sail through the air. Sure enough, there were several large scraps of rubble nearby, and Pikachu quickly used its tail as a spring to land on the closest piece before leaping away from it and back towards the enemy, large currents of electric energy beginning to accumulate inside the creature.
"Now use Volt Tackle, Pikachu!" Ash commanded, pumping his fist as Pikachu's fur itself seemed to ignite into a sea of electricity.
"Volt Tackle!?" Nico gasped. "Quick, Blastoise, Withdraw!"
Blastoise quickly retreated into its large shell just before Pikachu's Volt Tackle made contact with the Water-type creature. Sparks flew in all directions as Blastoise's large shell deflected much of Volt Tackle's power, prompting Pikachu to fall back slightly and retreat towards the safety of its trainer. Slowly Nico's Pokemon began to reemerge from its shell, and although it had managed to avoid a direct hit, the attack had clearly dealt some significant damage to the creature, which was now breathing noticeably heavier than before.
"Great job, Pikachu!" Ash complimented his Pokemon. "Just keep it up! We're definitely the ones with an advantage here."
"Blastoise, let's finish this!" Nico ordered, raising his hand into the air. "Swamp the field with Surf!"
"Blastoise!" Nico's Pokemon bellowed, re-aiming its cannons towards the centre of the arena once more and quickly flooding the road with gallons of clear, blue water.
"That's a clever move!" Brock exclaimed from the sidelines, prompting Dawn to look at him curiously, her expression demanding an explanation from the young Pokemon breeder. "By first clearing the battlefield of debris with Flash Cannon, Pikachu had nowhere to hide from Blastoise's attacks. And now with the battlefield flooded, Pikachu's speed will be entirely negated! Ash will need to think this through carefully. It looks like Nico isn't one to go into battle without a strategy."
"Nice try, Nico," Ash complimented his rival with a confident smile on his face, "but maybe you forgot that water conducts electricity! Pikachu, use Thunderbolt, now!"
Ash chuckled to himself as he watched Pikachu begin to charge up its energy, releasing it in an enormous burst of electricity which illuminated the entire ground like a sudden bolt of lightning in the darkest thunderstorm. His old friend Misty had always hammered that simple scientific fact into his head back when he had first started training Pokemon, and although he would have never liked to admit it to her back then, it had certainly helped him throughout his career.
"How predictable." Nico smirked. "Blastoise, aim your cannons down to the ground and use Aqua Jet!"
"What!?" Ash gasped, watching as the large, turtle-like Pokemon fired two streams of water from its cannons with such force that its entire body was hurled up into the air, completely avoiding Pikachu's wave of electricity just in time.
Everyone watched in silent awe as the silhouette of Blastoise's shell blocked the light of the sun for a moment, spinning rapidly from high up in the air before falling back down with an intense speed.
"Nowhere to run..." Nico whispered to himself with a smile, his eyes meeting Ash's just before his opponent could realise what his plan was.
"Huh!?" Ash gasped, his eyes widening. "No way! Pikachu get out of there! It's going to land on top of you!"
"Pika!?" Pikachu squeaked up in surprise, quickly coiling its back legs in preparation to dash away, but the water was slowing it down, and Blastoise was falling far too fast for the Electric-type to retreat in time. "Pika Pi!!"
"Pikachu!!" Ash cried, watching helplessly as Blastoise slammed on top of the creature, trapping it under its large, powerful foot.
"Blastoise..." Nico's Pokemon sneered, the cannons on its back retargeting their aim once more, this time locking onto Pikachu at point-blank range.
"Not even a Ghost-type could escape this..." Nico spoke with a grin on his face, his arms returning into their confident, folded position now that his victory was assured. "Now, Blastoise! Hydro Cannon!"
"Pi... Pika...!" Pikachu squeaked nervously at the sound of Blastoise's cannons whirring into position.
"Pikachu, no!!" May called out, struggling once more against Gallade's grip, but Nico's Pokemon was not about to let go. She knew she couldn't do anything, but yet she still wanted to break free and try. She couldn't watch Pikachu go through all this pain, and she felt even worse knowing that she was the cause of this battle. She had to do something to stop this.
"Pikachu!!" Ash yelled, dashing forward to stop the battle, but just before Blastoise could launch its attack, a vivid beam of green energy shot past the road, slamming into Nico's Gallade and sending it crashing into the trees nearby.
"Blas?" Blastoise asked, lowering its cannons as it, Pikachu, and everyone gathered outside the Blackthorne Estate looked over at the source of the mysterious attack to see Drew and his Roselia standing on top of the ruined wall that surrounded the mansion's extensive gardens.
"Ash!" May coughed, slowly getting to her feet now that she had been released from her captivity and dashing over to where the young trainer stood.
As she approached the boy Ash instinctively opened his arms and felt her run into them before he wrapped them around her and brought her into a tight embrace. For a moment time seemed to stand still as he felt the gentle impact of her body pressing against his own, her face burrowing into his shoulder. Suddenly all thoughts were lost on him; all he wanted to focus on right now was being able to hold her like this forever.
May was delighted, yet did her best to hold back tears. Ash could hear her sniffling into his jacket but she simply didn't care - for so long she had wondered if she would ever get to be this close to him again, and for a while she had thought it would never happen. But she was wrong, and she couldn't have been happier about it.
"Don't leave me..." She whispered into his chest, her voice barely audible to the boy, yet somehow he could hear her words. "Don't ever leave me again, Ash..."
"I won't, May..." He breathed, pulling her closer to him as he too fought back tears of relief and joy. "I promise you, I won't."
"Drew!" Brock exclaimed, prompting both Ash and May to wake up from their daydream and glance up at the young Pokemon coordinator standing above them.
May gently broke away from the hug, though she kept her right hand on the boy's chest whilst her other hand held his own, partly for stability and partly because she wanted to continue to feel his warmth against her body.
"So," Nico smirked, his arms remaining folded across his chest as he looked up at the boy with the lime-green hair who was glaring at Ash, "you've finally arrived."
"You..." Drew growled, his attention now focused on Nico as he clenched his fists in both anger and disgust. "So you're the one who took her..."
"Now the party can really begin, Drew." Nico laughed, rubbing his hands together with glee. "Now I finally have an audience that will see how much more pathetic you are than this humble carnival boy."
Drew continued to glare at Nico, his rage building more and more, but Nico just seemed to become more amused with every passing second. Ash wondered what the boy could be up to, but it just didn't seem to make any sense.
"Ash..." May spoke softly to the boy, her voice as gentle as a whisper on the breeze. "Be careful, Ash."
Ash looked at the girl, taking a moment to admire just how beautiful her bright, sapphire eyes were before nodding in response.
"Don't worry, May." He reassured her. "I won't let anyone come between us ever again."
Big chapter! I loved writing this one; lots of action, and I even managed to sneak some fluff in at the end. I'm surprised it didn't spill out into two posts.
Thanks a lot, Agustus ^^ It's always great to hear that I'm keeping the canon characters in-character, and I'm also glad that my original characters have been so well-received. I like to imagine that they're like characters from the Pokemon movies; they have significant development and screen time, but don't ever steal the limelight from the canon characters or detract from the story itself.
This fanfic, coming from someone who's been around, is one of the best I've read in a long time. Your chapters are always well written; you have an ability to keep things short, yet also manage to capture everything that the reader needs to know in order to visualize a scene. The way you write all of the pre-existing characters captures their personalities extremely well, however, your original characters are all complex and interesting; you add personalities that allow for a more fascinating story to develop, making this fic not only enjoyable from a shipper's perspective, but from an ordinary reader's. I look forward to seeing the next chapter, and hope that updates become a more regular occurrence in the future.
It makes me happy to know that this fic stands on its own in your eyes despite being a shipping fic, since shipping fics tend to not be categorized as being as equal as regular fics, so thanks a lot for your review, and I hope you'll keep reading! ^^
I've lost a lot of my regular readers since my hiatus, but even without reviews I still plan on finishing this fic. I even started formulating a few ideas for a potential sequel, but let's just focus on getting to the end of this installment, shall we? Thanks to everyone who continues to read! I'm glad you're still enjoying reading the story as much as I enjoy writing it.