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Thread: Final Challenge - Advanceshipping, T

  1. #26
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    Chapter 18: Conversation

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    "If she'd only gotten a little closer to the trees. We could have grabbed her!" Cassidy complained to Butch. He peered nervously out from behind the bushes and motioned for her to lower her voice before answering.

    "At least we know that our guess was right; she is following those kids. All we have to do is follow them, and she'll turn up eventually."

    "I wonder where James and that Meowth have gone," Cassidy frowned. "It's weird that she was working with that green-haired kid instead of her partners. Do you think something happened to them?"

    "I hope so," Butch muttered, his head turned away. "I still don't think I could kill them."

    "Neither do I, Butch," Cassidy said. She grabbed his arm and forced him to meet her eyes. "But we've got to. If we don't, it's our own necks on the line. Now come on, let's keep following these kids. It looks like their going to Viridian City, but I don't want to risk beating them there only to find out that they've bypassed it."

    "Sure. Whatever," Butch answered unhappily.

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    Rey watched curiously out of the corner of her eye as May ran off, followed quickly by Dawn.

    "I wouldn't worry too much about it," Brock said before she could ask. "I'm sure Dawn will sort it out."

    "She seems very, ah, emotional," Rey said, looking directly at Ash. He hesitated for a moment.

    "Good to see you again, Rey," he said weakly, spreading his arms wide. She looked at him, completely unimpressed.

    "Don't try and pull the innocent act with me, Ash Ketchum," she said. "Maybe I haven't seen you for a couple of years, but we were best friends growing up and I know you a lot better than you realize." She stepped close until her face was right in his, and lowered her voice to a whisper. "I know what it feels like; I've been there. I also know what it feels like to be treated badly. You'd better treat her right, or I'll be coming after you."

    As Ash began to sweat, Rey stepped back and spoke normally again. "Even Masters get caught up in their training," she said to him. "Just try to remember the people around you too, 'kay?"

    Ash stood still, a little unsure of what to do as Rey turned and greeted Brock. "I guess she doesn't know me a well as she thinks she does," he muttered under his breath, beginning to wish that he'd run after May instead of Dawn.

    "So, Brock, do you remember our battle?" Rey asked. He laughed.

    "Do I ever! That was one of the best battles that I ever had as gym leader! I thought I had you beat easily when Geodude took out your Rattata in one attack, but your Bulbasaur was fantastic; I still can't believe that you combined Razor Leaf with Petal Dance to make a Leaf Storm, even though your Bulbasaur didn't know the attack. Using Petal Dance to create a cloud of leaves, and then using Razor Leaf to propel it into Onix was just fantastic. I still haven't seen anything like it since."

    Rey laughed. "How'd Ash do against you?" she asked.

    "Well, he won the second time, but it was kind of a fluke. I actually ended up just giving him the badge because he walked out in the middle of the battle."

    "What?" Rey asked, completely shocked. "Why would he do that?" Brock smiled, remembering the first time he'd battled the fourth trainer from Pallet.

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    The Gym was dark; as usual, Brock kept his eyes partially closed. Over time he had discovered that this helped him to sense both his and the opponent Pokemon's movement in battle. It was a technique that he would adapt for life, although he did not know it at the time.

    The heavy stone doors slowly creaked open. Brock stirred on the hard, granite seat; he could only assume that this was the fourth and final beginning trainer from Pallet Town. He was determined to win this match, feeling mortified with himself for losing three in a row against rookies.

    "I'm here for a Gym Battle," the trainer declared boldly, stepping forwards. Brock made out a Pikachu at his side and grinned inside. If this trainer was using a Pikachu, the battle should be a piece of cake. The lights snapped on and Brock vaulted from his chair, landing neatly on the gym floor. He recited the rules of the Pewter Gym and Ash sent his Pikachu forward.

    Moving back to his battle box Brock decided to end the match right there and then, sending out his Onix. The Pikachu shot out a weak electric attack which did absolutely nothing to the rock-snake. One quick Bind attack from Onix, and the match was over. He watched as the young trainer ran from the Gym with the Pikachu in his arms, feeling a little sympathy. He could only imagine how humiliating it must be to lose so badly...

    He was surprised the next day when the trainer returned, looking more confident than ever. They began the rematch, with the trainer sending out a Pidgeotto and Brock choosing Geodude. It didn't take long for the flying-type to be knocked out, but Ash stunned Brock by choosing his Pikachu as his final Pokemon. He was stunned again when a much more powerful electric attack than the one used the day before knocked out his Geodude cleanly. A grudging respect began to grow for the young trainer; even though both of his choices were at massive type disadvantages, the trainer refused to give up and found ways to win. Brock could see raw talent, and he admired the boy for it.

    He knew that the match was his to win though, and he sent out his Onix for a rematch of the day before. He watched grimly as the rock-type used a Bind on the Pikachu again. The young trainer shouted out an attack command desperately but the electricity had absolutely no effect, deflecting off of Onix to smash harmlessly into the ceiling. Brock knew that he'd won again.

    Then Onix roared out in pain; Brock gasped in shock as the sprinkler system, razed by the electricity, short-circuited and sent torrents of water downwards, drenching everything on the field. He didn't see what happened next but a blinding flash lit the Gym and Onix crashed to the floor, releasing the Bind as it moaned in pain.


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    "Wait, let me see if I've got this right," Rey interrupted. "Ash won the match because the sprinklers went off?" She roared in laughter, causing Brock to frown.

    "In our first match I could see that the Bind attack was really hurting Pikachu, and it was in no state to fight. So I called the bind off. Ash forfeited the match and took his Pikachu to the Pokemon Centre. In our rematch, it was Onix who couldn't fight anymore, because of a fluke more than anything else. The water combined with the electricity to do what electricity alone couldn't do. But Ash called off the match again. He knew that winning because of malfunctioning sprinklers wasn't really winning at all. He just walked out of the Gym, there and then."

    "So why'd you give him the badge if he didn't beat you?" Rey asked.

    "A gym badge signifies a trainer's skill; defeating a gym leader takes lots of hard work to do. But what happens if a trainer comes close to victory and just can't quite pull it out in the end? Ash may not have had the raw power or the right strategy, but he proved that he had the right heart. That's why I gave him the badge."

    "Wow," Rey said. "I didn't realize that there was more to gym battling then just beating a trainer. So how come you decided to leave the gym and follow Ash?" Brock chose not to answer straight away, diverting his gaze instead to the large Venusaur that stood nearby, eyes closed as it rested in the sun.

    "So, I'm guessing that this evolved from your Bulbasaur?" he asked her. She nodded proudly. "Yup, the same. I've kept her with me all of this time, even though I never actually competed in a League."

    "Why not?" Brock asked, surprised. "You did a fantastic job against me, and I've always thought that you could get into the top eight." Rey shrugged.

    "It just never worked out for me," she said. "I was doing really well at first, but by the time I got to the sixth gym I'd just worn my Pokemon out. I was travelling so quickly that I never trained my Pokemon properly. I never did beat the sixth gym, or any other gym for that matter. I just wasn't strong or smart enough to realize that I had to train my Pokemon before I could battle with them." Ash finally snapped out of his thoughts and wandered over.

    "What other Pokemon do you have, Rey?" he asked, looking at her Venusaur.

    "Take a look!" she smiled, throwing two more balls into the air. In the familiar burst of red light, a Farfetch'd and a Xatu appeared.

    "Awesome, a Farfetch'd and Xatu!" Ash said, gazing at the two Pokemon. "You must have had a hard time catching them, they're both really rare!"

    "It's easier than people think," Rey smiled as Dawn reappeared in the group.

    "She's on her way back," she said to them. "I think she's okay now." Rey looked uneasily in the direction that May had run.

    "Do you think I should go ahead?" she asked them.

    "No," Dawn said, shaking her head. "I think you should be here; I kind of got the feeling that she wanted to talk."

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    I hope you liked this chapter even though it was short and mostly filler.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  2. #27
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    Sorry for the consistent long waits between chapters; I seem to have a hard time accessing this forum on a regular basis (it rarely loads properly for me).

    Chapter 19: Lessons


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    Dawn stopped and stared at the sight that spread out before her. A wide grin split her face and she dashed back to where Ash, Brock, May, and Rey were resting.

    "Guys, it's just up ahead," she said excitedly. "It's Viridian City!" Rey jumped to her feet and looked north eagerly.

    "Then let's get moving!" she said. "We've gotten here a lot earlier than I thought we would. Come on guys, if we hurry we can get some good room at the Pokemon Centre!"

    "The Pokemon Centre!" Brock exclaimed, a goofy smile beginning to spread over his face. "What are we waiting for then?" Without looking back, he tore off down the path. Rey stared after him open-mouthed and looked sideways at Ash.

    "Is he always this, uh, enthusiastic about going to a Centre?" she asked uncertainly.

    "Let me put it this way," Dawn intervened, a wicked grin on her face. "His goal is to become the world's greatest breeder."

    "Oh, that would explain it," Rey said, failing to noticing the double entendre as she began walking down the path with Dawn right behind her. May and Ash both rolled their eyes at each other as they followed, Pikachu on Ash's shoulder as usual.

    "How long do you think it will take for him to get to the Centre?" May asked Ash.

    "Probably about a minute," he answered with a laugh. He turned a corner and saw Dawn and Rey frozen in shock. A Rhydon stood in the middle of the path, Brock just in front of it. It snorted at them and flexed it's arms menacingly when Brock shuffled slightly to the side.

    "Rhydon," a voice called out, "I told you to stop them, but you weren't supposed to scare them." The Rhydon turned and they saw Noland walking up the path towards them, a cheery grin on his face. "Sorry about that," he said as he recalled his Pokemon. "We've had a devil of a job trying to find you. All of the press are still here believe it or not, and we've been hard pressed to keep them away from Pallet Town."

    "You mean the other Frontier Brains?" Ash asked. Noland nodded.

    "That's right. It's been a couple of days since that Rayquaza attacked and vanished, but because you went straight back to Pallet Town everyone still wants to know what happened to you. Half of the planet seems to think that you just disappeared into thin air!" Ash felt a sudden guilty surge.

    "What about Cynthia?" he asked. "I can't believe that I don't know this, but did she get out okay?"

    "Yeah, she's fine," he said. "She left the Colosseum when her last Pokemon was taken out by the Rayquaza, so she got out before it collapsed. She came straight to Viridian City. I can tell you that it's been a couple of very trying days for her; the press won't stop asking her about where she thinks you are, how she feels the match was going, etc. She's only stayed here as long as she has because we were all waiting for you to show up, and none of us knew how long that would be."

    "Why not just call his house?" Brock asked. "That would have been the easiest thing to do."

    "We tried, dozens of times," Noland explained. "The line was disconnected; we think that the Professor probably did that so that the press couldn't call, just to give you a couple of days peace from the media."

    "So how come you've all been looking for us?" Dawn asked.

    "Well, only Anabel, Lucy, and I have actually been trying to find you," Noland said. "Greta, Tucker, and Brandon have all been handling the press with Cynthia." He laughed. "It's a dream job for Tucker, I can tell you that! You know how much he loves the limelight. At the rate he's going, he'll have a talk show on every channel before the month is out!" His face grew serious. "But as to why we've been looking for you, it's so that we can get you into Viridian City as quietly as possible. I know it isn't ideal for secrecy, but the Pokemon Centre is the only place that we were able to book rooms at."

    "So how do we avoid the press?" Ash asked, frowning. He loved being a League Champion, but he absolutely hated the constant media coverage that seemed to follow him from town to town.

    "There's a passageway nobody knows about that goes straight to the Pokemon Centre. We'll use that so you can get there without anybody noticing. Tomorrow we'll call a press conference for you, and that will hopefully be the end of it."

    "Brilliant," Ash muttered. "More time to embarrass myself on camera." Noland laughed.

    "Don't worry, we'll keep it brief," he chuckled. "And we'll make sure that they all understand that you aren't going to let yourself be followed by news crews anymore." He casually threw a Poke Ball into the air, causing a brilliant green light to shoot straight upwards. He caught the Ball and laughed as he saw them all shielding their eyes.

    "That's just to let Anabel and Lucy know that I've found you," he explained.

    "How did you do that?" Brock asked curiously. "I've never seen a Poke Ball let out a green light before." Noland just shrugged.

    "You'd be surprised what Poke Balls can do," he said. "The technology behind them is incredible. How can such a small device hold something as large as a Gyarados or as heavy as a Snorlax without getting bigger and heavier? How come they can catch some living things like Pokemon, but not others like humans? How can a Poke Ball tell the difference between sending out a Pokemon to battle and sending out a Pokemon to be permanently released? How can they be transported over the Internet to another location with the Pokemon still inside?" His eyes gleamed.

    "Technology is incredible if you just take a look beneath the surface. I'm examining Poke Balls now. I've even been in contact with Silph Co, although they actually don't know that much about Poke Ball technology themselves. They were amazed when I told them my discovery about the green light. Imagine inventing something and not knowing how it worked, or what it's capable of doing!"

    "Scott really made the right decision when he made you the head of the Battle Factory," May laughed. Noland grinned.

    "What can I say? The man knows what makes people happy. Oh, hi Lucy."

    The Pike Queen stepped sedately out of the bushes, brushing a stray leaf off her tube top. She nodded to Noland and looked around the group. A very slight smile crossed her lips when she Rey, but she was distracted when Brock bounded forwards and clasped her hands as he bent on one knee.

    "Lucy, the days since I last saw you have seemed as barren as the surface of the moon. I've waited day and night to be at your side once again!" Lucy looked down at him, small red patches on her cheeks. "My Queen," he began, "I-" He let out a high-pitched scream and collapsed, twitching.

    Lucy stood rooted to the spot in surprise as the Pokemon that had just materialized behind Brock lowered it's arm, the purple palm fading back to the usual black. It looked at her and let out what sounded like a short chuckle before turning, grabbing Brock by the shirt, and dragging him into the bushes.

    "Croa... croa... croa..." it muttered as it re-emerged from the undergrowth.

    "Ummm, what was that all about?" Rey asked, feeling a little creeped out.

    "I told you that his goal was to be the world's greatest breeder," Dawn said with a wicked gin. Rey's eyes widened as she realized what Dawn had meant earlier.

    "So... he doesn't want to be a Pokemon breeder?" she asked faintly.

    "Oh, he wants to be that too," Dawn assured her. "He just wants to find a girlfriend first."

    "And you feel safe around him?"

    "Croagunk keeps him under control," Ash chuckled. "Besides, it's more of a personality quirk than anything else. Every time a girl has actually fallen for him, he realizes that she isn't the one for him."

    "So he just goes around falling in love with every girl he meets, hoping to find the right one?"

    "Yeah, that sounds about right," May laughed. Rey looked as if she was about to be sick; noticing this, May hastened to reassure her.

    "Don't worry," she said, "you get used to it pretty quickly."

    "Get used to what?" Anabel asked as she came around a corner in the path.

    "Brock," May answered, seeing Ash open his mouth to respond and feeling a twinge of jealousy.

    "He is a little unusual," Anabel laughed. "But you're right, you do get used to him quickly. You know, I was always a little offended that he never fell for me like that."

    "Well, that is because we all thought you were a boy," Ash laughed. Anabel winced, although only May and Lucy noticed it.

    "Yeah, no kidding," she muttered, looking down at the ground. Lucy quickly intervened.

    "Are we ready, Noland?" she asked.

    "We sure are," he grinned. "Dugtrio!" In a flash of red light, the ground-type appeared. "Dugtrio, we need you to dig us a way to that tunnel we found earlier."

    "Trio!" the Dugtrio acknowledged. It dug downwards and was quickly lost to view.

    "Wow, that Dugtrio's fast," Ash said admiringly.

    "It's still a fairly new capture, so it needs some training," Noland said. "It's definitely fast, but the attacks just aren't strong enough yet."

    "Here, you should try giving it some of my homemade Pokemon food," Brock said, reappearing suddenly in the midst of them and in perfect health. Everyone jumped at his appearance. "It's a recipe I started with my Onix and Geodude, and when my Mudkip evolved into Marshtomp I was able to perfect it. It's made specially for Ground-types."

    Recovering quickly from his shock, Noland reached out and took a proffered piece. He popped it into his mouth and chewed gingerly for a few moments. He swallowed and beamed. "That stuff is fantastic!" he exclaimed. "Brock, I think that food would be perfect for my Dugtrio. How much do you want for a bag of it?"

    "Take it, it's a gift," Brock said. "I don't make Pokemon food to make money; I do it because I know that the Pokemon enjoy it. I don't have any more of it on me, but as soon as we get to the Pokemon Centre I'll make a batch for you."

    "Thanks, Brock," Noland said, clapping him on the back gratefully.

    "Do you have any food for water-types?" Lucy asked, smiling at him. At the sound of her voice, Brock seemed to go into a dreamland.

    "Croa... croa... croa..." Croagunk exhaled as she raised an arm, the palm glowing purple. Brock started and moved smartly out of the way, fishing in his bag for a sample of the water-type food to give to the Pika Queen. Anabel rolled her eyes as the Dugtrio came barrelling back up the tunnel.

    "Trio!" it said proudly to Noland.

    "Great job, Dugtrio," he said, looking at the ground-type fondly. "Lead the way for us now."

    The Dugtrio moved down the tunnel, followed by Noland, Rey, Dawn, Anabel, Ash, Pikachu, May, Brock, a watchful Croagunk, and Lucy. The passageway sloped steeply downwards and they all had to move sideways to try and prevent themselves from falling over. Dawn stumbled and almost collided with Rey, but a watchful Anabel managed to steady her just in time.

    "We're here," Noland called, what seemed like hours later. He jumped down from the tunnel that Dugtrio had made and looked back; Rey was peering nervously downwards, looking too scared to move. "It's easy," he said to her reassuringly. "Just crouch when you land."

    "It's a ten foot drop," Rey said flatly. "There's no way that I'm jumping from something this high." Noland sighed and released his Venusaur.

    "Use Vine Whip to help her down," he said.

    "Saur," the Venusaur nodded, sending out a solitary vine which wrapped around Rey's waist. She gave a little squeal of shock as she felt herself lifted off of the ground.

    "No, no I don't like this! Put me down, put me down!" she began to scream hysterically, struggling so hard against Venusaur that it was forced to send out another vine to secure her. The moment her flailing legs came into contact with the ground they buckled and she collapsed, shivering, her eyes wide and unseeing.

    "Venusaur, help the rest of them down," Norman said as he hurried over to Rey in concern. Dawn looked at Rey curiously as she was lifted down with Anabel; the ride didn't seem that bad to her. She watched Noland speaking to Rey quietly as Ash, Pikachu, May, Brock, and Lucy were all lifted down.

    "Where are we?" May asked. Dawn tore her gaze away from Noland and Rey and realized that they were in what seemed to be a large stone tunnel. The passageway was fairly wide, but the air seemed slightly dank. She reached out to touch a wall and found that it was damp with some kind of moss.

    "This is a tunnel. It was built many years ago," Lucy said. Seeing the confusion on everyone's faces, Anabel decided to elaborate.

    "It was built by the Kentou forces during the last of the Cyas Wars," she explained. "You all know about those, right?" The group looked at each other and shook their heads simultaneously. Anabel sighed.

    "The Cyas Wars involved the armies of four regions," she said. "Kentou, Shannah, Gotou, and Whoeen. All four were fighting for one goal; not for land, or money, or slaves, but for a Pokemon so strong it was said to be the ultimate Pokemon. Few had ever seen it, and yet everyone was convinced of it's existence. It's name was Cyas. Every region wanted to be the one who possessed this powerful Pokemon. And so they all declared war on each other, under the impression that whoever won the war would be able to control Cyas.

    "It was the bloodiest set of wars that the world had ever seen," she said, shaking her head. "There were three of them; each time one region was defeated one war ended and another began. The first region to be defeated was Whoeen. They were said to have the strongest army, but Kentou, Shannah, and Gotou signed a truce that would last until Whoeen was defeated. When that region fell the truce ended, and they turned on each other again.

    "Shannah was the next region to fall, defeated violently by the Kentou forces. At the conclusion of the second war, though, Kentou had lost a considerable amount of it's army. Gotou seized it's chance and invaded the Kentou region. They had thousands more fighters than the Kentou army, and drove them back. Somehow, they managed to separate the Kentou forces into two separate bodies; one fled north to defend the home of their ruler, Cameron Castle. The other was forced south to Veredeen.

    "In the battle to the north, the red Kentou forces did their best to hold Cameron Castle from the green Gotou army. Despite a moment of friendly-fire in which some of the red forces accidentally attacked one of their own who was clad in the blue-black tunic of Shannah, they managed to hold off Gotou. Still, the Kentou forces were about to fall when in the distance a magnificent light arose and spread over the battlefield; believing it to be the wrath of Cyas over their actions, both Kentou and Gotou dropped their weapons and walked away in peace.

    "The light did not spread as far south as Veredeen however; here the Kentou army was badly outnumbered. To compensate they built tunnels for cover in a attempt at defeating the enemy through a hit-and-run tactic. The tunnel plans succeeded, and many Gotou lost their lives. Suffering from a heavy loss of life, and having just received word from the northern body of the mutual surrender, the Gotou forces retreated from Veredeen.

    "The Cyas Wars ended with no victor, and Cyas itself was never seen. As time passed and language changed, most names were altered. Kentou was what is now Kanto; Gotou was Johto, Whoeen became Hoenn, and Shannah changed to Sinnoh. Having never been seen since the Wars, the legend of Cyas faded into obscurity. This tunnel was one of those built by the Kentou army. Professor Alden, a renowned archaeologist, discovered it a couple of years ago."

    "Wow," May said. "I never knew that Hoenn used to be at war with Kanto. Does that mean that Ash and I are natural enemies?" Anabel couldn't help smiling.

    "Only if you want to be," she chuckled. "The Cyas Wars were the last in our world's history, and they ended over 500 years ago. There's been peace ever since."

    "Come on guys," Rey called, seemingly recovered from her fright. "Let's get going, this tunnel is giving me the creeps."

    "Where does it go anyways?" Brock asked as they set off, with Noland in the lead.

    "It actually goes into the basement of the Pokemon Centre," Noland said. "Just before Professor Alden was called in, Nurse Joy found out that the basement floor was sinking in one spot. She called in Flint from Pewter City to repair it, and that was when they discovered the tunnel underneath. At that point, Nurse Joy called in Professor Alden."

    He stopped in what seemed to be just another stretch of tunnel and looked up, where a thin square of light filtered down. He turned to his Venusaur and nodded. The Venusaur reached up with another Vine Whip and knocked the square aside.

    "Who's first?" Noland asked.

    "I'll go," Brock volunteered, and he was quickly hoisted up by Venusaur.

    "Rey?" Noland asked.

    "Not me!" Rey yelped, backtracking into Ash.

    "You have to go up sometime, Rey," Dawn pointed out. Rey's eyes were wide with fear again.

    "I thought there'd be stairs, and I'd rather stay down here if there aren't any," she murmured, beginning to shake. Noland sighed and looked at his Venusaur.

    "Use Sweet Scent," he said. Seconds later Rey relaxed and slumped against Ash, her eyes half-closed as her head lolled against his chest.

    Ash was glad that the darkness shielded the glare from May that he could feel on his back. He breathed a silent sigh of relief when Venusaur lifted her up and Brock had dragged her from the vines into the basement. Ash volunteered to go next, and was surprised to see that Rey had already recovered from the calming scents.

    At last they were all in the Pokemon Centre's basement; Noland recalled Venusaur and carefully pushed the floor square back in place. "Lead the way, Lucy," he said. The silent Frontier Brain nodded her head and lead the way up to the main floor.

    She looked around for a moment, trying to find the hallway she wanted. She then quickly led them down one hallways, around a corner, through the emergency room which held a badly injured Meowth, down another hallway, and finally into the lobby.

    Lucy stopped short in surprise at the scene before her. Curious about what was happening, they all filed out behind her and gaped.

    An enraged Tyranitar stood by the counter, blood on it's arms and a discarded Poke Ball at it's feet. Nurse Joy stood in between it and it's trainer, trying to stop the massive Pokemon from attacking the young man.

    "Tyranitar, please stop," she begged. The Tyranitar simply roared and tried to slash over her shoulder at the trainer, who dodged backwards.

    "Cruz, stop!" he pleaded. The Tyranitar lunged again, forcing it's trainer back again; this time he hit the wall. He looked for a way out but realized that he was trapped. Visible hate shone out from the out-of-control Tyranitar's eyes as it knocked a desperate Nurse Joy across the room. She screamed in pain as she slammed against the wall and fell, motionless.

    Ash reacted without thinking; in a flash, Sceptile had been called out and a devastating Leaf Blade connected with the back of the Tyranitar's head. Distracted, the larger Rock-type whirled and slammed a surprise Dynamic Punch into Sceptile's throat. The grass-type screeched as it flew backwards, barely managing to land on it's feet.

    "Bullet Seed and then Leaf Blade again!" Ash roared.

    Sceptile unleashed a barrage of glowing seeds as it began to run towards the Tyranitar; Growling viciously, the Tyranitar conjured up a Stone Edge; the series of small stones burst form under the floorboards and soared towards the Bullet Seed where it collided. Both attacks shattered on impact, unleashing clouds of dust. Through it Sceptile leaped, it's left arm blade elongated and glowing bright green. It connected with the Tyranitar's defensive Dynamic Punch; both Pokemon held their positions, glaring into each other's eyes.

    The Tyranitar balled it's other fist and swung again; Sceptile countered by using Leaf Blade with the other arm. Again, both attacks collided and the Pokemon held their positions. Sparks began to fly from the first impact as both Pokemon had their energy drained from the fused attacks.

    "Pound attack!" Ash shouted. Sceptile wrenched it's right arm free and twisted his body; the Dynamic Punch whistled past Sceptile's ear. The grass-type kept turning and felt his massive tail connect with Tyranitar's head. The rock-type crashed to the ground face first.

    "Leaf Blade again!" Both arms began glowing again and Sceptile leaped into the air above Tyranitar. The rock-type turned, just in time to see two streaks of green lights slash over it's face. With one last final grunt of pain, the Tyranitar fell still. Sceptile landed awkwardly on all fours, just beyond the downed Tranitar.

    "Sceptile!" Ash yelled, running over to the injured and exhausted grass-type. "Sceptile, are you okay?"

    "Tile," Sceptile reassured him, reaching over to a nearby plant pot and snapping off a twig to place in it's mouth.

    "Nurse Joy!" Brock shouted, running over to the slumped woman. She moaned slightly in her unconsciousness and her head dropped another inch. Croagunk burst from it's Poke Ball, ready to stab Brock with a Poison Jab; seeing the situation at hand, it halted the attack and jabbed at a Poke Ball on Brock's belt instead, recalling itself.

    Dawn marched over to the Tyranitar's stunned trainer, glaring daggers at him.

    "What's wrong with you?" she shouted. "Can't you even control your Pokemon?"

    "I don't know how it happened," the trainer protested. "I found a Meowth in the forest that had been hurt real bad. I caught it and asked Tyranitar to bring it here. It didn't want to, but it took it here anyways. As soon as I came in, it just started to attack me!"

    "That still doesn't explain why you can't control your Pokemon!" Dawn yelled. "Just look at all of the damage it's done!" She gestured around the ruined reception area; the desk was broken in half, and the damaged computer was sparking menacingly. There were scorch marks on the walls, and the floor was ripped open, revealing dirt and rock from when the Tyranitar had used Stone Edge. There were even a few cracks in the wall from when Nurse Joy had been slammed into the wall.

    "What kind of trainer are you?" she screamed, working herself into a real fury.

    "Dawn, that's enough," Ash snapped. She stopped her tirade, surprised at the harshness of his tone. Then she glared at him and vented some of her fury out on him too.

    "No, it's not enough!" she burst out. "You don't even know what you're talking about, you've never had a Pokemon ignore you before! I have with Buizel, but I learned how to control it after a couple of days; this thing evolved into Tyranitar and it still doesn't listen. The trainer doesn't have an excuse for-"

    "The trainer has every excuse!" Ash retaliated angrily. "When a Pokemon evolves it's personality changes. It can go from respecting it's trainer to hating it's trainer in a matter of minutes! That isn't the trainer's fault."

    "How would you know?" she yelled. "You've never been in that situation! You've never had a Pokemon hate you! If the Pokemon suddenly hates the trainer, then it must be because of what that trainer did to the Pokemon before it evolved."

    "Charizard!" Ash yelled, throwing his Poke Ball. The fire-type roared as it appeared, looking for it's opponent. "Use Flamethrower on the hole in the floor!" Ash ordered. Charizard blinked in confusion but followed his directions without question.

    "Now use Steel Wing on that plant to slice off a twig for Sceptile to use!" Ash told it. Again, Charizard was confused but he used the attack readily. "Good," Ash said. "Thank you, Charizard." He turned to Dawn.

    "What does that have to-" Dawn began, but Ash interrupted her.

    "I caught a Charmander that had been abandoned by it's original trainer. As time passed Charmander got stronger, and we became incredibly close. When my Charmander evolved into Charmeleon, it wouldn't do anything I asked," he said. "It got even worse when it evolved into Charizard. I treated it as well as I could, but for some reason it just suddenly hated me. I lost in the Indigo League because of it, and it even let Team Rocket kidnap Pikachu just because it was hungry!" Charizard looked uneasily down at the ground, scuffing it's feet. Dawn stood there with her mouth open, her face reddening in embarrasement.

    "I know exactly what this trainer is going through because it's happened to me too," Ash continued. "It's happened three times in fact, and one of the other two was Pikachu!" He looked sideways at the Tyranitar's trainer. "The trainer can't be blamed if the Pokemon suddenly hates it; but the trainer does have to realize that it's their responsibility to get the Pokemon to trust them." The trainer took this as his cue. He stood up and proffered a hand to Ash.

    "Good to see you again, Ash," he said. "I haven't seen you since we were both in the Whirl Islands."

    "Hello, Ritchie," Ash said unsmilingly.

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    So this chapter had a freaked-out Rey, Croagunk, a history lesson, Croagunk, Ritchie, and Croagunk. Not too bad for one chapter I guess. How many of you realized that the mystery trainer in Chapter 11 was Ritchie? And I wonder what Cyas is...
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Canada
    Posts
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    To make up for the long delays, I'll update now while I can; enjoy the previous chapter, this chapter, and the next (even though its a triple post)!

    Chapter 20: Recapture


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    400 years ago...

    The man stared at the cowering peasant that lay in front of him with his forehead touching the ground. Pure anger shone from his eyes as he looked disdainfully down. His guards on either side both shifted nervously as they felt his dark aura pulsing. It had not been long since their king came to power, but already the evil that corrupted his heart was beginning to lay claim over the castle courtyard.

    "Rise," the king commanded, his voice filled with menace. Trembling, the peasant slowly stood, looking into his lord's eyes. Any hope of forgiveness was vanquished the moment that he stared into those soulless orbs. The king smashed the back of his hand against the peasant's face, his bejewelled fingers scoring deeply against the flesh. The peasant reeled momentarily but kept his position.

    "Please, my Lord..." he whispered. "Please... I have done my best..."

    "You have done nothing but fail," the king snapped. "Your time here is over. Guard!" The man on the left snapped to attention and saluted the king. "Take him to the Stark Pit!" the king commanded. The guard paled, but he saluted again and dragged the stunned peasant away.

    The king swept around and walked back to his throne. Settling himself imperiously upon it, he glared majestically down at his court. Not one of them managed to suppress a shudder as his eyes swept over them. Seeing them flinch, the king grinned to himself. As it should be, he thought.

    "What news of the war?" he asked casually.

    "My Lord," one man said, stepping forwards. "I bring news from the north. Cameron Castle was successfully defended by the Kentou forces."

    "Damn them!" the king gritted, smashing a fist onto his chair arm.

    "The Gotou army and the Kentou forces both surrendered to each other. The word is that a Ho-Oh passed over the battle, spreading a light as it passed that prevented both armies from continuing the battle."

    "HO-OH!" the king roared, leaping from his seat. He strode forwards, grabbing the hapless man by the neck of his tunic. "Are you sure that it was Ho-Oh?"

    "My Lord, I can only report what others have t-"

    "Was it a Ho-Oh or wasn't it?" the king shrieked.

    "It was, my Lord," the man gasped. The king dropped the man and paced angrily across the room, muttering darkly to himself.

    "Ho-Oh again. It always appears to destroy my plans, the moment when they are about to come to fruition. No, this is the last straw! I will not take this anymore!" He whirled and the court fell back as they felt his evil spirit seem to flow across them.

    "I want Ho-Oh found and captured!" he ordered. "Bring it back here, and we shall see just how powerful it is. Ho-Oh will regret the day that it crossed the king of Pokelantis!"


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    Present Day...

    Paul peered through the thick brush of Petalburg Forest, trying to spot a sign of his quarry.

    "Come here Celebi," he hissed quietly as he spotted a shadow moving slowly along the forest floor. He smiled as he realized that there was no Pokemon on the ground; this could be either a flying-type... or a Celebi. Without taking his eyes off of the shadow, he reached down to his belt and drew out a ball.

    "Paul, just what's the big idea?" James demanded as he came crashing through the underbrush. "I asked you if we could have a quick break five minutes ago and you said no, but now you're just sitting in the bushes!"

    "Idiot!" Paul roared as he bolted towards the shadow.

    "Wheee," the surprised Wheezing moaned as it turned to see the angry Paul charging right at it with James following close behind. The moment that he caught a glimpse of the Pokemon, Paul threw the ball in reflex. It smashed into the Wheezing, enveloping the poison-type in red light. The light shattered and the ball rolled away, coming to rest at Paul's feet.

    Paul looked down at the Poke Ball, feeling simultaneously furious and relieved; furious that he had accidentally grabbed a regular Poke Ball instead of the Dark Ball, and relieved that he hadn't wasted his only Dark Ball on the Wheezing. He snorted as he stooped and picked up the Poke Ball, looking at the Wheezing in distaste.

    "Only a Wheezing... what a waste," he muttered, turning away. "Come on, James."

    "Sure," James said, following Paul slowly but looking over his shoulder at the Pokemon.

    "Wheezing whee," the Pokemon called, floating after them. James stopped moving and Paul turned in frustration. He was stunned at what he saw. The Wheezing had approached James and actually appeared to be trying to hug him with it's gaseous body, tears streaming from its four eyes.

    "I... I don't believe it," James whispered.

    "James, move it," Paul repeated impatiently, but the blue-haired trainer didn't seem to hear. Gritting his teeth in frustration, Paul walked over the grabbed James by the arm. "Leave it. You saw what happened, my Poke Ball bounced right off. It belongs to someone else and can't be captured. My father may be the head of Team Rocket, but I don't steal other people's Pokemon. Now let's go, we have a Celebi to catch."

    "But," James began. Paul's temper snapped.

    "But nothing!" he roared, spraying James with flecks of spit. "It can't be captured. You want to see the Poke Ball fail again? Watch!" He snatched a random Poke Ball from James's belt and threw it hard at the Wheezing. The ball made contact and a red glow spread over the poison-type. The Wheezing was called inside and the ball bounced back to James. Paul stood rooted.

    "What just happened?" he asked quietly.

    "Wheezing," James whispered, his eyes shining. "Wheezing, it is you!"

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    "Oish! Ready for the conference, Ash?" Greta asked with a grin.

    "No," Ash replied, rolling his eyes.

    "Hey, don't let Tucker hear that! He'll try to answer every question himself," Greta laughed.

    "I wouldn't mind that," Ash muttered.

    "Oh, I doubt that very much," Cynthia said calmly, striding towards them.

    "Cynthia!" Ash yelped in surprise.

    "Good to see you, too," Cynthia grinned. "Now look, I know that you really don't want to do this interview, but the press won't leave you alone until you do it. At least here the Frontier Brains and I will be able to do it with you."

    "She's right, oish!" Greta agreed. "Now come on, the press is waiting."

    "Where are the other Brains?" Ash asked.

    "They're already in the conference room," Cynthia answered. "All of your travelling companions are with the public, behind the press."

    "I guess we should go then, huh?" Ash asked, looking at Pikachu who was perched on his shoulder as usual.

    "Pika," Pikachu agreed, nodding his head.

    Cynthia smiled at the pair and then moved to the side to let Greta through. The Champion followed the Arena Tycoon, and Ash fell in step behind them. He blinked as dozens of bright lights suddenly flashed in front of him, and the accompanying clamour of voices each trying to make themselves heard made his ears hurt. He turned his head away slightly and followed Cynthia to his chair. He sat down with Cynthia on his left, and he looked to see Anabel on his right.

    "Good to see you again, Ash," Anabel smiled, patting his arm. "I heard about that battle in the Pok-"

    She was interrupted by a relative flurry of flashes; Ash groaned inwardly as he saw the reporters in the very front row pushing forwards, taking seemingly endless amounts of pictures, and all trying to make their question the one that was heard. Just behind them Ash saw the second row of reporters shaking their heads disapprovingly at the ones in front. "Paparazzi, lowest of the low," Ash lip-read one of them muttering as they looked down at their notes.

    "Ketchum! What is your relationship with Salon Maiden Anabel?" one of the paparazzi yelled.

    "Mr. Ketchum, how long has this been going on?" another shouted.

    "Mr Ketchum! Mr. Ketchum!" more clamoured. Ash sat there dumbfounded, Anabel clearly embarrassed, neither of them knowing what to do or say until...

    "CHUUU!" Pikachu roared, a massive burst of electricity erupting skywards, where it hit the roof and dissipated. The paparazzi were silenced immediately.

    "Yes, well," Brandon coughed, leaning into his microphone. "This conference has been called to deal with any and all questions that the press has regarding the events of the battle that was interrupted, and only this event." He glared at the paparazzi and even the most defiant were cowed, although several still wrote quickly in their notebooks.

    "Ash and Cynthia will answer any questions that you direct towards them, as shall the Frontier Brains. At the conclusion of this conference, neither Ash, Cynthia, nor any other involved party expects to be questioned about the matter any further. Now, without further ado, I would like to call forwards our moderator, for lack of a better term. Dome Ace Tucker, if you please?"

    "Thank you, Brandon," Tucker grinned as he leapt forwards. He paused for emphasis and the audience leaned in expectantly. "Any questions?" he asked and the audience sagged with disappointment, having expected him to make some sort of shocking and sweeping statement.

    "Mr. Ketchum, we all saw your first few Pokemon choices; what others had you selected for the battle?" one woman asked, taking advantage of the lull.

    "That's not something I can answer," Ash said. "I'm sure you can understand, since my opponent is sitting next to me. When we schedule a rematch, you'll see what they were."

    "Do you plan on using the same Pokemon?" a man asked.

    "That depends on how we do the battle," Ash answered. "If it's a fresh start then probably not. If we just go from where we left off when we were interrupted, then yes I'll use the same Pokemon."

    "Cynthia, same question?" the man asked.

    "My answer is the same as Ash's," Cynthia responded.

    "What's your opinion on how you were faring in the battle?" a woman asked Cynthia, who shrugged.

    "Every battle creates different situations," she said evasively. "Ash certainly had the upper hand at one point, but several of his Pokemon had been badly hurt. I don't want to sound vain, but it probably wouldn't have taken much effort from a fresh Pokemon to knock each of those out to even the battle score."

    "Ash, what will happen to the Battle Colosseum?" another woman asked.

    "As a Frontier Brain, I really hope that it'll be rebuilt," Ash answered. "I'd like it if the rematch could be held there too, but that all depends on how quickly it gets rebuilt."

    "What are you going to do in the meantime?" a newspaper reporter asked.

    "I'll be training with my Pokemon in the field," Ash answered.

    "Where?" one paparazzi demanded. Ash eyed him.

    "Anywhere that isn't close to a member of the paparazzi," he said coldly. Several newspaper and television reporters laughed appreciatively.

    "What's your relationship with Anabel?" the paparazzi pressed.

    "This is not relevant to the conference," Lucy interjected.

    "It's relevant if I say it is," the paparazzi snapped insolently. "Well?" he demanded aggressively. Without bothering to respond, Ash lightly threw two Poke Balls into the air. In twin bursts of light, Gallade appeared alongside a tall simian that was wreathed in flames and appeared to be dressed in war paint; Infernape. Without waiting for a command from Ash, they both headed towards the paparazzi member, grabbed him by the arms, and dragged the struggling busybody from the tent.

    "Any more questions?" Ash asked calmly.

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    Paul gritted his teeth and threw his Poketch to the ground in fury.

    "That... pompous... arrogant... son of a..." he ranted. James watched in surprise.

    Moments ago, Paul had gotten a call from his father (James had ducked out of the video screen's sight as a precaution). Paul had spoken briefly and then tuned in to a wireless TV channel that was broadcasting the twerp's press conference, live. Watching it, James thought that the twerp had handled himself maturely; apparently Paul thought differently.

    "What's the big deal about the twerp?" James asked. "Why do you hate him so much?"

    "Because he's WEAK!" Paul shouted angrily. "Someone like him should never have gotten where he is today! I beat him every time we ever battled! Every time! And then he manages to beat me once, and the press are all over him and he's hailed as some sort of 'master'." He roared and smashed his fist into a nearby tree angrily. Dislodged by the impact, a light green stone fell from the branches and landed at his feet.

    "What's that?" James asked curiously as he looked at the stone, noticing that it was a perfect rectangle.

    "I- I don't know," Paul answered as he stared down at it. The stone was fairly large, about two feet long and over an inch thick. He reached down and picked it up, wiping off some moss that had grown over the surface. "The rightful bearer of a Plate draws from the Plate it holds," he read aloud. He snorted and dropped it, trudging off again.

    "Come on, James," he said. "We've still got a Celebi to find and catch." James hesitated for a moment before picking up the plate. He was surprised at how light it was considering it's size. He tucked it under his shirt and ran off after Paul.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    102

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    I hope that you all enjoy this chapter, my last update on here for today; I think it's my favourite so far (but not because of the Advanceshipping at the end)

    Happy Holidays!

    Chapter 21: Beginning


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    His eyes snapped open. They roved around the room, taking in the clean stainless steel surfaces and the comfy beds of varying sizes. He sniffed the air in trepidation and scented disinfectant. A Pokemon Centre, he realized.

    He sat up and swooned almost immediately as waves of dizziness and nausea crashed through his brain. "Ouch," he moaned as ripples of pain shot through his body.

    "So, you're finally awake," he heard a voice say. He turned and saw who had spoken; a trainer dressed in the most ludicrous green outfit that he had ever seen.

    "How long have I been out?" he asked the trainer. The trainer jerked back in surprise.

    "You can talk! Wow, I can't believe it, a talking Meowth!"

    Meowth glared at the trainer. "Hey! Maybe I kin talk, but dat don't mean I like bein' ignored! Who are you, and how'd I get here?"

    "My name's Ritchie," the trainer answered. "I was walking through Viridian Forest when I found you. You were out cold and really badly hurt. You were alone, so I thought maybe a Fearow had attacked you or something and your pack had abandoned you. The only way I could get you here on time was by capturing you." Meowth's eyes widened in horror.

    "You... you caught me?" he asked faintly. Ritchie nodded.

    "Yeah, and my Tyranitar brought you here."

    "No way, nuh-uh, I ain't no Pokee-ball Pokemon!" Meowth snapped. "You gotta let me go!"

    "Let you go?" Ritchie asked, completely taken aback. "Why would I do that? You could be a great member of my team; maybe you'll even evolve into a Persian!"

    "I ain't ever evolvin'," Meowth shrieked. He broke down into tears. "What'll Jessie n' James do widout me? I can't be a Pokee-ball Pokemon, I can't!"

    "Jessie and James?" Ritchie said slowly, screwing up his face in concentration. "Wait, I remember some people with those names. They were from Team Rocket and tried to capture a Lugia. And..." his voice trailed off and he looked at Meowth with a hard expression. "And they had a talking Meowth," he finished.

    "Dat would be me," Meowth glared back. "We didn' even want dat Lugia, we just didn' want Cassidy n' Botch ta steal it foist."

    "Well that settles it," Ritchie declared. "There's no way that I'm going to release you. Not until I teach you how to be good, anyways."

    "Dat's inhuman!" Meowth shouted angrily.

    "Good thing you're a Pokemon, then," Ritchie said bluntly. He raised a Poke Ball.

    "Don't you dare," Meowth warned.

    "Meowth, return!" Ritchie commanded, pressing the button in the centre. A red beam of light shot out from the ball and collided with Meowth. He screamed as the paralysing effects of the beam enveloped him and he was drawn back into the Poke Ball.

    Ritchie lowered his arm and stared at the Poke Ball clasped in his hand. He felt sick inside, and his heart was pounding. He delicately lowered himself into a nearby chair, never once taking his eyes off of Meowth's ball. What have I done? he wondered. Is... is this why Cruz refuses to listen to me, why it attacks me? What right do I have to keep a creature captive if it wants to be free?

    He shuddered, but placed the Poke Ball on his belt. Even though Meowth clearly didn't want to be a part of his team, he would work with the Pokemon until he came to accept Ritchie as his trainer. He knew that all of those years in Team Rocket must have corrupted the Pokemon somehow, but he felt confident that he could reach the good in it's heart. He'd start in Pewter City.

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    Ash stepped outside of the conference building and took several deep breaths. He felt distinctly glad that he'd asked Gallade and Infernape to remove anybody who was causing a problem at the conference, but he felt a little ashamed too. Did he really have to resort to using his Pokemon as bodyguards?

    "Ash?" he heard someone ask. He turned and saw Anabel standing at the doorway uncertainly.

    "Oh, hey Anabel," he said. "Man, those paparazzi really get annoying, huh?"

    "Tell me about it," Anabel said, shaking her head ruefully. "It didn't stop when the conference ended either. All of the paparazzi surrounded me the second that you left and started asking me the most ridiculous questions you can answer." Ash shook his head in disgust.

    "I guess some people have nothing better to do than spin lies about other people's lives," he said bitterly. "All my life I've wanted to be a Pokemon Master. I've caught, trained, and become friends with my Pokemon, all just to follow my dream." He gestured back in the direction of the conference room. "My dream never involved that."

    "There are always a few hurdles in our paths," Anabel said. "Being a Frontier Brain doesn't get you as much publicity as a League Champion, or even a Gym Leader if you consider Juan, but there's enough of it to make your life stressful. We all handle it in different ways. Tucker can't get enough of the media attention, that's why he asked Scott to build the Battle Dome in a city. But on the other hand there's me, and I just can't stand the publicity. That's why I built the Battle Tower as far into the wilderness as you can get."

    "You prefer the wild to civilization?" Ash asked mischievously. Anabel smiled impishly.

    "Maybe, but I'm not a total outcast! I just prefer the quiet of the forest."

    "I hear that," Ash said quietly. He looked around at the sight of Viridian City in distaste. The air seemed to cling to the skin and felt gritty, not fresh. Several pieces of litter dotted the area; as he watched, a passing teenager threw a half-empty water bottle carelessly at a garbage can. It clanged off the side and rolled to a halt at Ash's feet. He watched as the clear liquid seeped out onto the pavement and turned a deep shade of brown as it collected all of the grime stuck to the street.

    "Give me a forest or a field any day," he muttered.

    "Now that you've spoken to the press, where are you planning on going?" Anabel asked.

    "Vermillion City, I think," Ash said. "Brock's brother, Forrest, is there training at the moment, and I think that Rey wants to have a practice battle with him. After that we can catch a Vermillion ferry to Canalave City in Sinnoh. How about you?"

    "Oh, I was just going to head home to the Battle Tower," Anabel said softly. Ash looked at her curiously. She seemed almost disappointed about something, but he couldn't think why. "You know," Anabel began, "Tohjo Falls actually runs north to the ocean. There's a little port town up there that almost nobody has heard of, and it's a quick ferry ride from there to Canalave. It'll probably save you quite a bit of time since you won't have to circle Kanto, and it's really untamed wilderness up there with lots of strong wild Pokemon."

    "Thanks Anabel," Ash said, "but I think I'm still going to go to Vermillion City."

    Anabel looked at him, crestfallen. Her heart pounded, but she didn't know what else she could say to try and change his mind. She would never admit it out loud but she really did care about Ash, in a deeper way than mere friendship. She knew that several people including Brandon (and probably half the planet now that the paparazzi had gotten involved) had guessed her feelings, but she did her best to keep them under wraps.

    Ash looked at her carefully. Although she had never said anything, he had long ago guessed her true feelings. He knew that she couldn't help it, and inwardly he admired her ability to hide how she felt. Of all the Frontier Brains, Anabel was the one he felt closest to. And maybe, in an alternate timeline, he'd have felt something more for her than he did, but...

    But he loved May. It had taken him several years to realize it, but now that he had he couldn't stop thinking about her. He wanted to be with her, not Anabel. He knew that it would destroy Anabel if he openly mentioned this to her, so he had tried to keep some distance between them recently.

    Too much distance, he realized. I haven't spent any time with Anabel for a couple of months. I could blame that on all of the training, but it's no excuse to shun her. Heck, I've been with Scott more often than Anabel, and he's been in Johto for two months now. He looked down at the ground uncomfortably. Anabel spent a lot of time at the Battle Tower, but the Battle Frontier didn't exactly get a lot of challengers despite it's prestige. Most trainers were too obsessed with the more famous regional leagues to spend any time challenging other championships. She must get really lonely out there, he realized, and he felt even more ashamed.

    He knew that Anabel considered him one of her closest friends, more so than any of the other Frontier Brains. He also knew that it was probably all down to an age difference, since the other five Frontier Brains were all at least ten years older than Anabel. It's more than that, he thought. I don't have any issues connecting with the other Brains, but Anabel does. He sighed. It was all down to personality; where he was outgoing, she was introverted. She couldn't connect to the others because she was just too shy with the age difference.

    She doesn't have many friends, and one of the only ones that she does has been shunning her. I feel so angry with myself because of that. Keeping a safe distance is one thing, but ignoring altogether... He looked up at Anabel. She was staring at a fixed point in the distance unblinkingly. Ash felt sure that she was holding back tears. It would make her so happy if we just spent one night at the Battle Tower, he thought. I can't deny her that.

    "Tell you what," he said, breaking the long silence. "I'm still going to go to Vermillion City, for Brock's and Rey's sake. Plus, there's a friend there that I want to check in on too. But I promise this; once we're done in Vermillion City, we'll come back and go to Tohjo Falls. I just can't resist the chance to see all of those wild Pokemon." Anabel looked at him in surprise.

    "Really?" she asked.

    "I can't miss the chance to spend some more time with one of my friends, can I?" Ash grinned. Anabel smiled, and Ash realized just how long it had been since he had seen her so happy. Inside, he still felt horrible about his recent treatment to her, but he was glad that he still had the chance to mend any damage he had done.

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    "At last!" Paul shouted triumphantly, bursting from the shrubbery. The Celebi whirled in surprise. It eyed the lavender-haired trainer in puzzlement. Then it's eyes fell on the black sphere in the trainer's hands; they widened. That ball was all too familiar to Celebi. It turned and made to escape, but Paul was ready.

    "Mismagius, Mean Look!" he shouted. The Mismagius emerged from the shadows; Celebi was flying straight for it and had no chance to avoid looking in it's eyes. Twin pupiled purple orbs floated through the air from the Mismagius and sank into Celebi's eyes. The legendary Pokemon desperately tried to teleport away, but to no avail.

    "Dark Ball! Go!" Paul barked, throwing the ball at the Celebi. Celebi screamed as the ball made contact and it was sucked inside by a navy light; the ball rolled once and then clicked. Paul then did something very rare for him. He laughed. From the nearby bushes, James shuddered at the sound. He had never heard a laugh sound so cold-hearted and evil before. Still, he had to admit; Paul's strategy of sending out Mismagius ahead of time in anticipation of Celebi trying to escape had worked wonders.

    "James!" Paul barked, halting his laughter abruptly.

    "Yes?" James asked nervously, moving into the open. Paul's eyes bored into him coldly.

    "We're finished here," he said. "It's time to go back to Rocket Headquarters." James paled.

    "Will... will the boss let me live?" he asked hesitantly.

    "Who knows," Paul said, shrugging uncaringly. "That's for him to decide. I'll put in a word for you, but to be honest, a couple of days work doesn't exactly make up for ten years of incompet-." He paused as his Poketch vibrated in his pocket. Grimacing in annoyance, he fished it out and punched in a few buttons.

    "Text message," he muttered as he read the screen. His eyes narrowed and he stuffed the Poketch back into his pocket, along with the Dark Ball. "Right, change of plan," he said, stretching his legs. "We've got a stop to make on the way back."

    "Where?" James asked.

    "Azalea Town," Paul answered. He set off at a run through the forest. Sighing, James shifted the plate under his shirt so that it rested more comfortably against his stomach, and then followed Paul into the undergrowth.

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    "So you're telling me that instead of travelling on a luxury cruise ship, we have to struggle through a heck of a lot of untamed wilderness, fighting off all of these wild Pokemon?" May asked, her arms crossed and her foot tapping the ground as she leaned against a wall.
    "Uh.. yeah, that's pretty much it," Ash said from his bed with a nervous grin.

    "And why exactly do we want to do that?" she asked. Ash sighed and looked around the Pokemon Centre bedroom where Brock, May, Rey, and himself were staying, trying to come up with an answer.

    "It's been a long time since I was in the field; and I mean actually out training where there aren't many people. I'm tired of being stuck near cities and being mobbed by the press and hundreds of fans. It won't be any different on the boat than it is here in Viridian."

    "At least on the boat you have a shower and a bed," May pointed out. "Besides, what's wrong with training in the forest on the way to Vermillion?"

    "It's still too close to the city," Ash said. He paused and tried to think of the best way to word how he was feeling. "It's not... it's not pure enough," he finished.

    "Pure enough?" May asked. "What do you mean by that?"

    "Vermillion's only a day or two away from Viridian. The route's pretty busy, and you're never far away from all of the city grime, even if you take Diglett's Cave. I want to feel a clean breeze. I want to walk through forests, not parks. I want to see clear streams, not sewer lines." His voice had a pleading note in it, and May sighed relentingly.

    "Okay then, Ash, it's fine by me if we go north through Tohjo Falls." Then she smiled. "I can understand how you feel. I love the city, but after spending so much time travelling I just get urges to spend some time away from the cities too."

    "Thanks, May," Ash smiled back, giving her a quick hug. There was a shattering sound and Ash and May leapt back, their faces both scarlet. Dawn looked back at them, a broken glass of juice at her feet.

    "Oops," she said, beginning to blush. "Umm, sorry... I think I'll just go over here now," she indicated, pointing in the direction of the lobby. Ash groaned and held his head, collapsing back to his bed.

    "Brilliant," he muttered. May giggled, and he turned to look at her in exasperation. "What?" he asked.

    "Your face,' she grinned. "You look so embarrassed!"

    "I'm not surprised," he muttered. "Now Dawn's going to think that there's something going on between us."

    "Maybe there is," May said without thinking. A full ten seconds of silence passed in which Ash and May just looked at each other. As she realized what she had said, May's cheeks began to resemble the shade of ripe tomatoes. She felt sure that somebody could have toasted bread on them if they wanted to at that moment.

    "Do you... do you really mean that, May?" Ash asked quietly.

    "Well... yeah. I wouldn't have said it if I didn't, Ash," she responded.

    "Wow, this is kinda awkward now, huh?" he said after another brief silence. May knelt down next to him and looked him in the eyes.

    "Only if you make it that way," she said quietly.

    Ash gazed into her eyes, losing himself in the deep sapphire pools that radiated light, joy, compassion, and love. He didn't know how it started, or who began it, but when he regained some semblance of organized thought he realized that he and May were locked together in a tight embrace with their eyes closed, their lips glued together, and their tongues on fire.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  5. #30
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    Happy Boxing Day everyone! It's time to forget the shipping for a moment. After this chapter, I only have three more until I'm caught up with Fanfiction.net and BMGF!

    Chapter 22: Loyalty


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    Jessie grimaced as she stretched, and her back twinged painfully. It always hurt to be blasted off, but the effects from landing had never gone on for this long before. She leaned heavily on a tree for a moment, waiting for the pain to abate.

    "Where are James and Meowth?" she muttered. "I've been looking for them for days, but I haven't seen any sign of them at all. And Wobbuffet's still missing too..." She sighed and slumped to the ground, suddenly overwhelmed by a huge sense of loneliness. She felt her eyes begin to prickle, and she struggled to hold in the tears that threatened to break out.

    She had the bushes in front of her rustle; she raised her head hopefully and found herself staring into the cold, merciless eyes of Cassidy.

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    Ritchie trudged through Viridian Forest slowly, staring at the Poke Ball in his hand that contained Meowth. He sighed and threw the Poke Ball upwards, releasing Meowth in a beam of red light.

    "It's about time ya let me outta 'dere, twoip," Meowth grumbled, rubbing his eyes.

    "Let's get one thing straight," Ritchie said, frowning down at the Pokemon. "I caught you and got you healed. I'm not 'twerp' to you, okay? I'm your trainer, and you'd better show me the respect that I deserve."

    "I tink I'm bein' very generous on respect at da moment, considering my predicament," Meowth sniffed. "I got blasted off by a Rayquaza, smashed into a tree, and den captured by some twoip who don't seem to realize that Pokemon have feelings too."

    "You were hit by the Rayquaza's Hyper Beam?" Ritchie asked in amazement, remembering when he'd seen the attack on the TV. Meowth's eyes teared up as he relived that frightening moment.

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    "The twerp's doing really well against Cynthia," James said, watching as Ash and Cynthia both took to the battlefield as the intermission concluded, and completely unaware of the small girl nearby trying to buy a chocolate bar from him.

    "I'm not that surprised, considering how many times he's had us to practice on," Jessie said, serving the little girl with a kind smile on her face. Then she turned and smacked James in the back of the head. "We're working so that we can pay back the boss all of the money that we've borrowed in the last ten years," she snarled. "We're here to sell refreshments, not watch a battle!"

    "Right," James said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "Hey Meowth, how much longer do we have to work until we can pay the boss back in full?"

    "Coupla months if we keep dis up," Meowth answered. "It'll be a nice surprise for da boss to get all o' dat money back in one go. Maybe he'll even reward us!"

    "We're at the bottom of the boss' list," Jessie snorted, handing over a soda to an immensely fat man dressed in a flowery blue shirt. "We'll be lucky if he doesn't lynch us when he sees how much we've owed him all of this time."

    "Better get out dose umbrellas, Jim," Meowth said as he felt a drop of rain splatter onto his nose. "We don't want all dat popcorn gettin' soggy."

    "Roger that," James said, pulling a small pink and green parasol from his belt that covered the popcorn perfectly. Jessie frowned as the slight drizzle suddenly halted.

    "That's weird. Maybe just a sun shower?" she asked as James took the parasol off again.

    "Nope, definitely rain!" he responded, hastening to put the parasol back on as the downpour restarted. It stopped again.

    "What da heck's goin' on?" Meowth asked, looking quizzically into the sky. Someone nearby screamed, jumping up and pointing towards the far end of Colosseum. A massive yellow beam shot through the sky at a speed that made the air sizzle. Pandemonium erupted, and as the spectators all tried to escape the Colosseum Meowth was knocked through a railing to the level below.

    "Meowth!" James shouted, dropping his refreshments and struggling to lower himself down to his friend, Jessie right behind.

    "Augh! It's a Rayquaza!" Meowth screamed as the green dragon began to circle the battlefield, firing off a deluge of Hyper Beams.

    "I've got you, Meowth!" James shouted as he reached his comrade.

    "For a cat, you really don't have much in the way of a sense of balance," Jessie said, shaking her head in relief that her friend was okay.

    "Look out!" Meowth screamed to Jessie and James as a Hyper Beam was fired in their direction. They managed a half-turn before it connected with them. There was a dazzling light, a blinding blast of pain, and then nothing.


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    "Next ting I know, I'm lyin' in a Pokemon Centre wid no friends in sight, and some twoip's tellin' me that I belong to him," Meowth growled. "So excuse me if it don't seem like I'm treatin' you wid any respect!" Ritchie opened his mouth to respond, but a nearby scream broke out first.

    "What was that?" he wondered aloud.

    "Dat sounded like Jessie!" Meowth said, his fur turning even paler than normal. Without waiting for Ritchie, he ran off in the direction of the sound. Ritchie hesitated for a moment and then followed the Pokemon.

    They burst through the bushes at the same time and skidded to a halt, stunned at what they saw. Jessie stood against the tree, shuddering in pain, one arm lacerated deeply. Her Seviper and Skorupi stood in front, desperately trying to protect their trainer from an attacking Houndoom.

    "Seviper, Poison Tail! Skorupi, Knock Off!" Jessie shouted. Her Seviper lashed it's glowing tail out at the Houndoom, while the small Skorupi scuttled in close, it's tail raised and gleaming black.

    "Fire Spin, Houndoom!" a trainer commanded. Ritchie turned to see a golden-haired woman standing a little way behind the Houndoom. "I hope you enjoy your last moments of life, Jessie," she taunted. Ritchie felt frozen. This woman wasn't battling Jessie; she was trying to kill her.

    "Skorupi!" Jessie screamed as the poison-type rolled backwards, burned and completely out of the battle. She knelt by the little Pokemon, holding it tenderly. "You tried your best," she whispered. "Thank you. Seviper, you're all I have left. Use Poison Fang!" Seviper slithered in swiftly towards the Houndoom, fangs extended and gleaming purple.

    "Faint Attack," the blonde woman ordered. The Houndoom turned and vanished as Seviper launched itself at the fire-type. Seviper crashed into the ground head-first as the Houndoom reappeared behind it. It jumped towards the dazed poison-type and slashed at it with it's claws. Seviper screamed as it was lifted into the air and thrown into a tree.

    "Seviper! No!" Jessie screamed.

    "Sehhh," it hissed, struggling to get upright. It collapsed. Jessie quivered as the woman strode forwards and grabbed her by the injured arm. Jessie yelped as she was forced to stand.

    "What do you want from me? Why are you attacking me, Cassidy?" she asked helplessly.

    "I want you dead," Cassidy growled back. "If I don't kill you, I'll be the one who's killed. And I love life too much to let that happen." Jessie stared into the eyes of her nemesis. Her look grew hard and she spat at Cassidy defiantly.

    "Go on then," she taunted, "give it your best shot!"

    "Raticate," Cassidy called, sending out the normal-type. "Use Super Fang on her neck."

    "Rah?" the Raticate asked in surprise.

    "Do it," she hissed, "like I told you earlier."

    "Raticate cate," her Raticate refused, shaking it's head from side to side.

    "Now!" Cassidy roared. With a look of apology at Jessie the Raticate lunged forwards, mouth opened and the sharp fangs gleaming. Jessie let out a scream and Meowth rushed in towards the leaping Raticate, claws unsheathed.

    "Rahhhh," the Raticate screamed as the Fury Swipes connected devastatingly with it's flanks.

    "Meowth!" Jessie shouted in surprise.

    "Perfect, two for one," Cassidy smirked. Then she turned back to the bushes. "Anytime you want to help me out, Butch," she called. Muttering darkly to himself, her comrade emerged from the bushes. "Houndoom, use Flamethrower on Meowth!" Cassidy commanded. Meowth stood frozen in the face of the powerful attack.

    "Sparky, Thunderbolt that Flamethrower away!" Ritchie shouted, throwing his Poke Ball automatically.

    "Chaa!" the Pikachu cried, unleashing a quick Thunderbolt that barely managed to deflect the Houndoom's Flamethrower.

    "What?" Cassidy whirled in disbelief at Ritchie's appearance.

    "I've got the kid," Butch said, stepping in hurriedly, "you take care of those two. Go, Mightyena!" Sparky cringed as the large wolf-like animal materialized, snarling viciously.

    "Thunderbolt!" Ritchie ordered.

    "Shadow Ball!" Butch countered. Sparky unleashed a series of electrical attacks at the Mightyena. It held it's ground and shot a massive dark ball of energy at the Pikachu. The Shadow Ball crashed into the Thunderbolt and broke through the attack easily, dissipating the electricity on either side. Ritchie gasped in horror as it smashed directly into his Pokemon, knocking it into his arms.

    "Sparky," Ritchie whispered, stunned that it had been taken out in only one hit. "Rose, let's go!" he shouted, sending out a Swellow. "Use Wing Attack!"

    "Stand your ground!" Butch shouted. The Swellow dove down, wings glowing; they smashed into the Mightyena, knocking it back several steps. Butch smiled ferally. "Payback!" he ordered. With a snarl, the Mightyena lunged forwards, colliding with a surprised Swellow and knocking it to the ground.

    "Rose, no!" Ritchie shouted as the Mightyena began clawing viciously at the flying-type. "Return," he called in desperation, unable to bear the sight of the attack anymore. "So that's what Payback looks like," he muttered.

    "Payback is a fantastic move," Butch grinned. "It's perfect for a dark-type. It hit's the opponent with twice the usual power if it's already been attacked."

    "Payback this!" Ritchie shouted. "Go, Zippo!" In the burst of red light, a massive Charizard appeared, glaring down at Butch and the Mightyena. Butch's grin vanished.

    "Flamethrower!" Ritchie ordered, and the Charizard unleashed a barrage of sizzling flames.

    "Payback!" Butch shouted. The Mightyena took the attack with difficulty and then sprang at the Charizard, it's eyes glowing viciously.

    "Oh no you don't," Ritchie snapped. "Zippo, use Iron Tail!" The Charizard whirled, it's entire tail glowing white save for the flames. It smashed into the Mightyena in mid-air and the Pokemon was sent flying backwards, screaming in pain.

    "Return, Mightyena. Cloyster! Go!" Butch shouted. "Use Withdraw, Hydro Pump, and Explosion!"

    "Zippo fly in close and use Dragon Claw!" Ritchie ordered.

    "Now Cloyster!" Butch called as the Charizard came in close. The Cloyster exploded, sending a powerful burst of frothing water in every direction. The Charizard had no chance.

    "Zippo," Ritchie whispered as he recalled his defeated starter. He looked helplessly around the clearing. Butch was recalling his Cloyster, and Meowth and Jessie were cornered against a tree. They were being attacked by the Houndoom and Raticate, as well as a Sableye. There was nothing he could do, nothing except...

    It was a slim chance, but it was a chance that he had to take.

    "Cruz, I choose you!" he shouted. The Tyranitar emerged in a burst of light, eyed the attack on the Jessie and Meowth with minimal interest, and looked down at the trainer disdainfully.

    "Cruz, use Stone Edge!" Ritchie ordered. The Tyranitar yawned and turned away. Ritchie looked up at the Pokemon helplessly and sagged. It was over.

    "Houndoom, Bite!" he heard Cassidy order. He turned and saw the Pokemon lunging for Jessie's vulnerable throat. Without thinking, he ran towards the Pokemon and jumped, smashing into it with his shoulder and knocking it away. Reflexively, the Houndoom twisted it's neck and bit deep into Ritchie's shoulder. He screamed in pain as he felt his skin rip and warm blood begin to seep into his clothing. The Houndoom swung around and released Ritchie, sending him crashing to the ground.

    Ritchie coughed hoarsely and watched helplessly as the Houndoom approached snarling, jaws wide open. A massive green fist swung from above and smashed into the Houndoom's flank. The fire-type instinctively released a Flamethrower at the source, and Cruz responded with a massive Hyper Beam. The two attacks collided and exploded. While the Houndoom was knocked backwards Cruz stepped in front of Ritchie, absorbing the brunt of the force.

    "Cruz," Ritchie whispered gratefully.

    "Sableye, Faint Attack on Tyranitar! Raticate, use assurance!" Cassidy yelled. Cruz let out a massive roar that caused everyone to cringe. The Houndoom, Sableye and Raticate all retreated to their Poke Balls, as did Meowth, much to Ritchie's surprise.

    Cassidy and Butch took one look at the burning rage in the Tyranitar's eyes and did the only sensible thing they could; they ran. Cruz gave them one last Hyper Beam as a parting shot, causing both of them to soar up into the air with a scream.

    The Tyranitar turned to its trainer, and Ritchie flinched in reflex. The Tyranitar halted and looked down at him, and Ritchie forced himself to look into it's eyes. They were full of compassion, contriteness, and loyalty.

    "Thank you, Cruz," Ritchie whispered. The Tyranitar gave a surprisingly melodic cry and sat down on a nearby stump.

    "Hey kid, listen," he heard Jessie say. "Thanks for helping me, but I need to know; why did Meowth go inside one of your Poke Balls when the Tyranitar used Roar?"

    "I'm the Meowth's trainer," he said. Jessie was appalled.

    "You caught Meowth?" she reiterated.

    "Yes, but... it's not right. I can't keep him as my Pokemon when I never even battled him for that right. I treat my Pokemon as my friends, but this Meowth is more sentient then a lot of humans that I've met." He sighed and shook his head. "I can't keep him. Not when one of his friends is right here, and needs him a hell of a lot more than I ever will." He grabbed Meowth's Poke Ball and tossed it high into the air. In a flash of blue light, Meowth was released. Ritchie stood up, leaning on Tyranitar for support.

    "See you around sometime, maybe," he mumbled, beginning to head north again.

    "Hey twoip, wait," Meowth called. Ritchie turned and looked back at the Pokemon. "I know I never treated you wid respect, but you did save me. Thanks." Ritchie smiled briefly.

    "No problem. Take care of yourselves." He walked away into the bushes, leaving Jessie and Meowth alone in the clearing.

    "What was it like being caught?" Jessie asked as she began to walk south, holding her arm awkwardly.

    "Trust me, you don' ever wanna be in one o' dem Pokee-balls," Meowth answered.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He awoke. The nightmares, and the pain, were finally subsiding, but he knew it was no longer safe here. In his delusions he had screamed, and he knew that people had heard. He had to move on.

    He stood up, shaking a little in his weak state. Taking several deep breaths, he gathered his mind together and concentrated. In a rippling flash of light, he vanished.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  6. #31
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    And it looks like the reviews have fallen through again...

    Chapter 23: Hunter


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    400 years ago...

    "My Lord, I have crafted it," the short, humpbacked man said, bowing reverently before the King of Pokelantis.

    "Where is it?" the King demanded, gripping his armrests more tightly. "Better yet, what is it, and how will it work?"

    "Forgive me, my Lord, but it shall take time to explain how I created the technology needed for this," the man said, licking dry lips in fear at the insane King's response. The King looked at him impassively for a moment, and then nodded.

    "Make it brief," he growled.

    "Yes, my Lord," the man said, the relief evident in his eyes. "You know that I recently travelled to the city of Pokemopolis to exchange apprentices. While there, I found out that the smith of Pokemopolis has discovered a way to trap both people and Pokemon within objects!"

    "Trap the Pokemon?" the King asked, interest beginning to glitter in his eyes.

    "Yes, my Lord. The smith would not tell me how he accomplished this, but he demonstrated it by trapping and releasing an Alakazam within a spoon."

    "A spoon?" the King asked, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "Do you seek to mock me with this lie, smith?"

    "No, my Lord, I swear it is no lie!" the smith protested, beginning to perspire.

    "What significance could a spoon possibly have?" the King sneered. "No ruler would use an object that can not be construed as powerful!"

    "M-my Lord," the smith said hurriedly, "the spoon is the symbol of Alakazam. It could be that by trapping it within a spoon, it heightens the Pokemon's own powers! And if the city were to be attacked and looted, the spoon would remain safe. What warlord would want to claim a spoon as the symbol of his victory? The Pokemon itself would remain safe in case of invasion!"

    "Y-e-e-e-e-esss," the King hissed, stroking his chin in thought. "That makes sense..." He suddenly snapped to attention and glowered at the smith, making him recoil. "If the smith of Pokemopolis refused to reveal the technology, how did you obtain it?" he demanded.

    "I used my Haunter to hypnotize him, Lord. While under the spell, he revealed to me every detail of the process," the smith answered.

    "And you have used this information to craft an object of your own that can trap a Pokemon?" the King asked.

    "Yes, my Lord."

    "How long will it be trapped for?"

    "Until it is released by the bearer, my Lord."

    "Where is the object?" the King demanded. The smith turned and beckoned towards the doorway. From it, the smith's new apprentice appeared, carrying a silk-lined tray covered by an elegant blanket. The apprentice bowed once he reached them and knelt, proffering the tray high. The King leaned forwards expectantly as the smith swept off the blanket. His face fell.

    "Smith," he growled dangerously.

    "Yes, my Lord?" the smith asked.

    "Where is the object? I did not ask for two rocks!"

    "These rocks are the objects, my Lord," the smith began.

    "Rocks," the King repeated.

    "Yes, my Lord."

    "Why rocks?" the King asked.

    "A rock is easily mistaken for another, my Lord. These rocks have been shaped into perfect sphere to distinguish them. If a thief were to look for the objects, he would never suspect a rock, and thus they would be left alone."

    "What does the sphere represent?" the King growled. The smith felt himself begin to shake as he heard the danger in the King's voice.

    'It represents the world, my Lord," he said, licking dry lips, "and your eventual conquest of it." The King looked at the smith for a long moment. Then he began to laugh. The smith was stunned. He had never heard the King laugh before, not even when he was a child.

    "Very good, smith, you have evaded the Stark Pit for now," he chuckled. "Tell me though, why have you brought me two?"

    "If my Lord desires a second, or a third, Pokemon captured, he will be ready," the smith answered. The King chuckled again and waved his hand in dismissal. The smith almost tripped over himself in his haste to leave, his apprentice following behind.

    The King clicked his fingers and a guard appeared at his side. "Bring me the Claydol," he ordered. The guard nodded and vanished, returning moments later with a Pokemon. The King looked at it momentarily and then picked up one of the two stone spheres. He held it carefully, noted the small square hole at one end and then turned back to the Pokemon.

    "You will be a gift for my brother in Whoeen," he said. "Serve him well." He raised the sphere over his head, pointing the hole towards the Pokemon and waited. A light tingle began playing over his fingertips and he closed his eyes expectantly. There was a rushing sound, and when the king opened his eyes the Claydol had vanished. He immediately put his eye to the hole and grinned as he saw a purple energy swirling inside.

    "Excellent," he murmured. "Ho-Oh will soon be mine..."

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    Present Day...

    Giovanni marked his page carefully and closed the book, placing it back onto his desk. He turned and looked out of his office window thoughtfully. He had read it several times, and he knew that every word of it was true. One of his undercover agents had discovered Pokemopolis almost a decade ago, and accidentally released the Alakazam from the spoon. A few months ago a team had uncovered what they believed were the ruins of Pokelantis, nearby Pewter City. While exploring its many secret tunnels, they had come across a gigantic hole in the ground that was covered in scorch marks. They had deduced that this must have been the Stark Pit, once home to the legendary Pokemon Heatran. Giovanni grinned.

    Heatran was, of course, no longer there. It had long since made it's home in the far north of Sinnoh, before it's capture only a couple of hours ago with a Dark Ball. Mentally he counted off all of the legendaries that they had managed to obtain. Heatran; Uxie; Raikou; Suicune; Regirock; Regice; Registeel; Rayquaza; Zapdos; Articuno; Mesprit; Groudon; and now Celebi thanks to Paul, although it still had to be brought back to HQ. He frowned in thought; he was sure that there was one that he was forgetting... There was a knock at the door.

    "Enter," Giovanni called neutrally, still looking out the window. The door opened and closed quietly, but the footsteps that approached his desk radiated confidence.

    "I've captured the remaining Sinnoh legendaries," a woman said in a sleek voice that made the hair on Giovanni's neck stand up. He turned slowly and watched impassively as she emptied a small bag of Dark Balls onto his desk.

    "All?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. She smirked.

    "I have to say that your assignment was unusual," she said. "My clients normally ask me to look for rare Pokemon, not legendaries. And I've never had to capture them with a Poke Ball after petrifying them before."

    "I prefer the convenience of a Poke Ball," Giovanni replied coolly. The woman shrugged.

    "We all have our preferences," she said. "I must admit though, your collection intrigues me. Why do you want to collect all of the legendary Pokemon?"

    "That," Giovanni stated coldly, "is my own business." The woman stared back at him unflinchingly, challenge in her eyes. "You can collect your fee at the front desk," he said, dismissing her. She looked at him disdainfully for a moment, and then turned on her wheels and walked towards the exit.

    "Oh, and J," Giovanni added, causing her to pause. "Did you find Latios?"

    "The last Latios died in Alto Mare City several years ago," J answered without turning around. "There are none left alive for me to capture."

    "I see..." Giovanni sighed, disappointed. "Don't go too far, J. I may need your services again."

    "I'm a Pokemon Hunter," she said coldly. "I go where my clients are." She walked out of the room, her head held high, although she was inwardly seething that Giovanni had come out of the confrontation with the advantage.

    Giovanni sighed and sat in his chair. [i]So, Latios is gone after all,]/i] he thought dully. Paul was right. This was all for nothing. Damn that Namba for mixing up the tracks of Latios with the last Latias! Damn Annie and Oakley for killing it! He smashed his fist angrily onto the top of his desk. A concealed drawer popped open and hit him in the stomach. He roared and wrenched the drawer out of the desk throwing it across the room where it smashed.

    He stood and glared around the room, his chest heaving with rage. A glitter caught his eye from the ruined drawer and he walked over to it curiously. A smile lit his face. "Of course," he muttered as he delicately lifted the object from the wreckage. "I stole this from the President when I took over Silph Co..." He strode quickly back to his desk, jabbing his finger on the intercom button.

    "Namba, get up here now!" he roared into the speaker.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    James crumpled, shivering, the moment that Wheezing passed over Ilex beach. Paul snorted disdainfully as he leaped gracefully off of the back of his Magnezone, recalling it as he landed.

    "Don't tell me that's the first time you've ever had Wheezing fly you around," he said cuttingly.

    "Yes, actually," James gasped. "It's the first time I've crossed an ocean by dangling underneath a Pokemon too, and the first time I've ever hung in midair in the middle of a storm above a bunch of whirlpools!" Paul shook his head and began to walk up the beach towards the nearby trees. James struggled to his feet and staggered after him, Wheezing tagging behind.

    "Hey, where are you going? Where are we?" he asked.

    "Azalea Beach," Paul called back. "To get to Azalea Town we have to pass through the edge of Ilex Forest up ahead."

    "And why exactly are we in Azalea Town?" James panted, struggling to catch up.

    "Kurt," Paul replied.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ash and May lagged a little ways behind Brock, Dawn, Pikachu, and Rey as they walked towards Vermillion City. It was early evening, and both of them were feeling a little awkward from revealing their feelings the night before. May looked at Ash, blushed, and quickly turned away. Ash looked at May, tripped, and fell to the ground face-first. Dawn looked back at Ash and May, rolled her eyes, and kept on walking. May sighed and helped an embarrassed Ash to his feet.

    "Thanks, May," he muttered, brushing off some dirt.

    "You know Ash, you don't have to act different just because we kissed," May said. "You've barely said anything to me all day." Ash looked at her in surprise.

    "I thought that you were the one acting different," he said. "I've been waiting for you to say something to me for hours!" May sighed.

    "I think we need to work on this a little," she suggested.

    "Guys!" Rey shouted from up ahead. "Look, it's Vermillion City!" Ash and May ran up to where Brock, Dawn, Pikachu, and Rey stood waiting at the top of a slight incline. Together, the six of them looked down upon the pristine city, and the glittering bay as it lapped gently against the pure silver beach.

    "I'd forgotten how beautiful it was," Rey whispered.

    "Pika.." Pikachu agreed, perching on her shoulder. Rey gave a sudden grin and began to run down towards the city.

    "Catch me if you can!" she called. "I can't wait to try out that beach!"

    "Rey, wait for us!" Brock shouted after her. He began to run after her, followed closely by Ash, May, and Dawn. The run soon turned into a race to see who could reach the city first. Rey began to laugh when she realized that she was well out in front. The laugh turned into a scream of fear as a narrow tyrian beam of light shot down from the sky, impacting the ground just in front of her. The beam began to widen and turn, transforming into a vortex, and a dark shape began to materialize within it.

    "Bayleef!" Ash shouted, throwing a Poke Ball and running towards Rey. "Use Razor Leaf!"

    "Bayyyy," Bayleef nodded, twirling her head and sending a flurry of viciously-sharp leaves towards the mysterious shape still hidden in the vortex. The figure crouched and extended one arm; the razor leaves hit a thin barrier projected by the arm and shattered into dozens of pieces.

    "Vine Whip!" Ash ordered. Bayleef extended her vines and shot them towards the figure, but it twirled it's hand once and the vines circled backwards, slamming into Bayleef instead.

    "Bayleef!" Ash shouted as the grass-type was thrust backwards, screaming in pain. "Pikachu, try a Thundershock!" He reached Ray as Pikachu unleased the electric attack and began to drag the seemingly frozen trainer backwards. He gritted his teeth and looked towards the figure as it easily deflected Pikachu's attack and the vortex began to disintegrate. The figure crossed its arms and from within the dying cyclone it's eyes began to glow a neon blue. It suddenly uncrossed both arms, and the vortex burst apart completely.

    May, Dawn, and Rey stood immobile as they looked upon the strange creature. Ash, Brock, and Pikachu all gaped at it as it levitated slightly in front of them, taking in it's feline shape, and shuddering as it's cold personality washed over them. It's cape fluttered slightly as a light breeze began to blow towards them.

    Ash looked into his cold eyes, and saw them soften slightly with recognition.

    So, after all of these years we meet again, the caped figure said telepathically. Ever since you saved my life in Johto you have never been far from my thoughts, and I have often wondered if I would cross your path for a third time.

    "Mewtwo..." Ash whispered.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  7. #32
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    Sorry Advanceshippers, but there is some Contestshipping in this chapter, so I hope that you all remember who Drew is (and Silver too)!

    Chapter 24: Theft


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    May turned in her sleeping bag, her mouth opened slightly in her sleep. She breathed slowly and heavily, her chest rising up and down in a steady motion. From the nearby fire Drew sat watching, his face partially hidden in shadow from the blackness of the night.

    He watched her quietly, observing the counters of her body and her slight motions. His gaze lingered for a moment on her soft lips, and he felt a stirring in his chest. He let out a small sigh of pleasure and contentment and lay back on his own sleeping bag, staring upwards at the clear sky.

    Tomorrow, they would arrive in Mahogany Town where May was planning to enter the Pokemon Contest being held two days after. He grinned and patted his pants pocket, feeling the ribbon case press into his thigh; he already had his five ribbons, so he didn't need to enter.


    I'll tell her after the contest, he decided. After she wins, I'll tell her how much I want to be with her. With a sizzling hiss, the fire burnt itself out and Drew closed his eyes, feeling the comfortable warmth of sleep steal over him. Three days, he thought, the words echoing inside his head. Three days, three days, three days, three...

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He awoke, the tears flowing thick and heavy down his face. He sat up, struggling to contain his emotions, but to no avail. The tears continued to leak from his eyes, and eventually he just gave up and let them overcome him.

    Those dreams were just memories; memories of a near forgotten time when the difficulties of life seemed no greater than earning that next ribbon. Those times were gone now, and no matter how much he regretted his mistakes, no matter how much he wished that he had chosen differently, no matter how much that he tried to fix what had happened, he knew that those times would never be back. They were little more than dreams, faint traces of the person that he used to be; of the person that he wished he still was. A person who knew success, and friendship.

    A person who knew love.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The young Fearow sat despondently on a low branch, barely hidden from view by the foliage. For days now, it had sat there, waiting. The Fearow was still small, barely old and large enough to have left it's nest. Yet now it lived alone, parted from the one who had saved it from certain death. It let out a melancholy croak and shivered against the bark.

    When it's trainer had been captured, and his Pokemon seized, only the Fearow had escaped; the Team Rocket grunts had failed to notice the small flying-type hidden in the trees. It had followed them to their base, and had seen it's trainer forced roughly inside. It had not seen him since.

    The Fearow's attention was distracted by the sound of shouting coming from the Rocket base. Curious, it poked it's beak through the foliage for a look. A tall, muscular man with long, spiky, steel-grey hair emerged from a door, running hard and panting heavily. Three Team Rocket grunts were hard on his heels, and reaching for their Poke Balls.

    Flapping it's little wings, the Fearow emerged from the tree and flew straight towards the four quickly-moving people. The man being pursued saw the quickly-approaching Fearow and let out a yelp of surprise, ducking his head instinctively, and tripping. The Fearow swept past him and took aim at the lead grunt, it's beak beginning to spin. The grunt let out a yell as the Drill Peck connected and he was driven back into his two peers. The Fearow's temper began to rise as it saw the black uniforms emblazoned with the big red 'R', the sign of the ones who had taken away it's master.

    It let out an enraged squawk of anger and began to launch a series of sharp and well-placed Pecks at the three Rocket Grunts. They yelled in pain at the assault, and began to beat a hasty retreat. Silver climbed to his feet and proffered an arm to the flying-type.

    "Looks like we've got ourselves a common enemy," he said as the Fearow landed on his arm. "What made you hate the Rockets so much?"

    "Fee, fearow row fee," the Fearow croaked. Silver raised an eyebrow.

    "Sorry to hear that, kid, even though I don't really understand what you were saying. Still, any enemy of the Rockets is a friend of mine!"

    "Fee?" the Fearow asked, and Silver's gaze darkened; the Fearow's question was obvious.

    "The Rockets have done nothing but interfere with my life, ever since I was a kid. They stole my father's prize Parasect, they used me to try and capture Moltres, but worst of all, they killed my brother. His son never even found out who he was." He gritted his teeth and clenched his fists angrily, swallowing hard against the rage that threatened to seize control of him. The Fearow croaked sympathetically and Silver jerked his head, coming back to reality.

    "We'd better go before some more competent grunts show up," he said. "Lead the way, kid."

    "Feee," the Fearow agreed, sweeping it's wings and soaring into the sky. Silver noted it's direction and began to follow, never once taking his eyes off of the Pokemon.

    "There's something funny about that bird," he muttered.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The old man made his final careful adjustment and leaned back with a sigh. His arthritic fingers were aching worse than ever, but he had finally completed it; what he knew would be the last Apricorn Ball that he would ever make.

    The door smashed open, and Kurt whirled around in surprise. Paul stormed inside, his Magnezone close behind. He slammed the door behind him, and stared at the ancient smith for a moment before walking quickly towards him.

    "What?" Kurt managed to get out before Paul grabbed him by the collar and lifted him against the wall. Kurt floundered helplessly against his grip.

    "Where is it?" Paul hissed.

    "Where's what?" Kurt asked in fear.

    "The GS Ball! I know that you have it here somewhere, and that you've been studying it for nine years. Where is it?"

    "G-gone," Kurt spluttered, his face beginning to turn purple.

    "Where?" Paul roared.

    "K-Kanto," Kurt wheezed. "I gave it a young woman who knows Professor Oak. She'd been asked to take it by him. She was supposed to give it to him. She took off on her Pidgeot straight after I gave it to her, I swear!"

    "When?" Paul breathed menacingly. "When?"

    "Only a couple of days ago," Kurt whispered. Paul relaxed his grip and allowed Kurt to slide to the floor. He turned and began to walk towards the door, pausing only briefly to pocket the Apricorn Ball that Kurt had so lovingly crafted.

    "Magnezone, Thunder Wave him," he ordered. Kurt let out a cry as the electrical jolt shook through his system, paralysing his stiff old joints. His eyes watered in pain and shame as Paul and his Pokemon left the house, unable to move even a muscle.

    "Why..." he managed to wheeze before the pain became too much and he lapsed into unconsciousness.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As ever, please review. I'm beginning to get discouraged about postingon here again.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  8. #33
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    I'll put this in a spoiler since i will reviwe your last chapter on ff.net

        Spoiler:- Reviwe:
    Without soccer and girls life is wasted!!
    Liverpool, Rosenborg and Rangers is my heart and soul

    | | | | | | |
    Credit to Misty-Fan-Forever for making the banner | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | May/Haruka<3

  9. #34
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    Thanks for the review on that Chapter, Mayziken.

    Quite honestly though, I think that this will be my last Final Challenge update here on Serebii. I know that I only update every couple of days, but that's still a long time for people to read this. It's been a full-week and it's still on the full page, so people aren't overlooking it. I'm just not getting the reviews that I need for this story on here. For those who are actually reading and enjoying this, don't worry, I'm not discontinuing it altogether. I will still be updating on Fanfiction.net and BMGF whenever a new chapter is finished. You'll have to look for it on one of those two sites. My username is Matkin22 on both if you decide to do a search for it.

    Chapter 25: Presence


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    ''There are several more specimens that I require,'' Giovanni said, looking out of the window at the mountainous landscape before him.

    ''They are?'' J asked coldly.

    ''Kyogre, Manaphy, Jirachi, Latias and Deoxys,'' Giovanni responded. ''We've located the positions of all but Latias.'' J raised an eyebrow.

    ''Impressive,'' she said sleekly. ''However did you manage to do that?''

    ''Kyogre is currently nearby the Sea Temp-''

    ''A myth,'' J interrupted, waving a hand dismissively.

    ''A fact,'' Giovanni responded coldly, turning to face the tall, slim Pokemon Hunter. ''I've known of the location of the Sea Temple for a long time; we infiltrated the organization of a man known as the Phantom several years ago. He has tried several times now to steal the Temple's riches, but has been defeated each time by the Kyogre, along with many other water Pokemon. The Kyogre now seems to live at the Temple permanently as it's protector.''

    ''Manaphy?'' J asked.

    ''Also at the Sea Temple,'' Giovanni responded.

    ''Jirachi?''

    ''Why don't I just download the information into your Poketch?'' Giovanni suggested. ''I'm a busy man, and I don't have time to personally tell you every location.'' J glowered at him, but then nodded.

    ''Oh, and I also require a Soul Dew,'' Giovanni said lightly.

    ''I don't suppose you'll tell me why?'' J asked dryly. Giovanni smiled, his demeanour turning from jovial to menacing.

    ''You don't suppose right,'' he said. ''Don't take the whole thing, that will only cause a disaster. All I need is the core.''

    ''What about my fee?'' she asked.

    ''After these five Pokemon and the Soul Dew, I will only need Entei, Moltres, Mew, and Ho-Oh,'' Giovanni said. ''Consider your payment double what it was for all of the Sinnoh legendary Pokemon.'' J grinned.

    ''Deal,'' she said. The door burst open and a Grunt ran in, panting heavily.

    ''Sir,'' he gasped. ''There's been an incident; Silver's escaped!''

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ''What the hell is that thing?'' Rey shrieked, regaining her senses at last.

    ''Oh no...'' Brock muttered, covering his eyes.

    Thing? Mewtwo demanded of Rey. Thing? I walk under the same sky, I breathe the same air, I drink the same water as you, and yet you call me a thing? Mewtwo glared at all of them, his personality cold and hostile once more. [i]Humans are all the same, he muttered. They care only for themselves.

    ''Mewtwo, you know that's not true,'' Ash said. ''You remember what happened in Johto. Not every person in this world is like Team Rocket.''

    Those who aren't are too few and far between to bother spending any thoughts on, Mewtwo retorted.

    ''And just a couple of minutes ago you said 'I have wondered if I would cross your path for a third time','' Ash said softly.

    Mewtwo glared at him, but was quickly distracted when he realized that he was in an open field. Why am I here? he demanded suddenly.

    ''The same as any of us, I guess,'' Brock answered. ''To live.''

    If this is your attempt at humour... Mewtwo growled. I meant why am I here in this field? I was supposed to materialize directly in Vermillion City.

    ''Oh, well, you didn't miss it by much,'' Brock answered, pointing. ''It's just down this hill.''

    This is... disquieting, Mewtwo muttered. I know of nothing that can interrupt my teleportation and lead me to land elsewhere. He turned suddenly to May. You, he growled. There is a dark presence overshadowing you; you bear evil's mark.

    ''M-me?'' May squeaked, trembling as Mewtwo's cold personality washed over her. Mewtwo raised a paw and twisted it slightly. A dark purple aura enveloped his paw and began to glow brightly; May gasped as the same aura surrounded her, causing her to levitate.

    ''Hey, what are you doing?'' Ash yelled as she soared higher, jumping to try and drag her back down. Mewtwo ignored him, twisting a paw and causing her to rise even higher above the ground.

    I can't get it, he growled angrily, more to himself although everyone could hear him. I can feel it but I just can't grasp it!

    ''Mewtwo!'' Ash shouted. Mewtwo jerked around and glared at him.

    [i]What? he demanded.

    ''Please, bring her down,'' Ash begged. ''She's too high, and she could be hurt if she falls!'' Mewtwo gave one last surge of energy, but when the dark presence refused to be dislodged, he relented, returning May to the ground.

    Your presence endangers everyone here, he growled to the coordinator. I don't know what it is that you carry, but only an object crafted from darkness can resist my Psychic powers.

    ''Hey!'' Ash shouted, stepping in front of May protectively. ''Stop saying that! May is the purest person I know and she would never hurt anyone, let alone put anyone in danger by carrying a dark object! I think all those years of solitude have damaged your mind, clone!''

    ''Cool it, Ash,'' Brock snapped, jumping in between the two. Ash glared at Mewtwo menacingly, who stared back coldly.

    You are indeed unique among humans, and yet unnervingly similar, Mewtwo stated; everyone shuddered at the tone of his words. You do not hesitate risking your life to save others, but at the same time you jeer at those same people with barbed words designed only to hurt. You are wrong; humans are all the same; they care only for their own kind.

    His eyes stared into May's, glowing a bright blue for a moment. Don't be so sure of your own assertions, human. She is not so pure as you think. Where she travels, hurt and despair follow. Whether she is willing bearer of her burden, or aware of what harm it causes, I do not know. But she carries evil with her, and it is an evil that is best left hidden again for eternity.

    Mewtwo turned and vanished. With his disappearance, May collapsed into Ash's arms, shivering uncontrollably, her eyes wide and staring.

    ''May,'' Ash whispered softly. As he cradled her gently, a voice flashed through his mind; a voice that he recognized as Mewtwo's.

    Whether willing or not, we are irrevocably and eternally linked to one another, he said. I can hear your thoughts just as easily as you can hear mine. Anger does much to alter one's personality; I, of all creatures, understand this most. I know that in your heart you regret your degradation of myself.

    Through our link I can sense how much you care for this girl, and I know that it is this caring that sparked your outburst. Such feelings are beyond my comprehension. However you did save my life once, and of all of the creatures on this planet you are the closest there is to a friend. For this I forgive your outburst, although I shall not forget it.

    We are permanently linked by our thoughts; we are one, but we are not the same. In times of danger, we have to carry each other. If ever you are in need of my help, simply call for me and I shall come. I know that you shall do the same, friend.


    ''Mewtwo,'' Ash whispered, his emotions filled with regret, shame, and worry.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Giovanni slammed his hands onto his desk, cracking the wood.

    ''What do you mean Silver's escaped?'' he demanded.

    ''Somebody left his cage door open, and he escaped the building,'' the grunt babbled, backing towards the door.

    ''Now wait just one minute!'' Giovanni roared. ''Why was his cage door open? Who opened it? How did something so big escape without any alarms being raised?'' The grunts face blanked for a moment and then he let out a little laugh of relief; a mistake. Giovanni strode around his desk and grabbed the grunt by the throat, lifting him into the air.

    ''Now,'' he said in a deceptively calm voice, ''I want you to explain this to me like we're not faced with a potentially critical situation!''

    ''Wrong Silver...'' the grunt gurgled, slowly beginning to turn blue. ''Hostage... escaped... Fearow helped...'' Giovanni released the gasping grunt, unnervingly calm again.

    ''Ah, you mean the prisoner,'' he said with a slight smile. ''Send out Grunts, six groups of four. Have them search the perimeter and report back every 90 minutes. Use the Zubat and Golbat to search the trees with their supersonic. Put the stolen Poke Balls under lockdown; we don't need him retrieving his Salamence. Place teams of three at every entrance and exit, and double the security for Namba's lab and the legendary room.''

    ''Sir!'' the Grunt saluted, running out of the room.

    ''Impressive,'' J drawled. ''You strangle the man, and he still obeys you without question. That is some impressive loyalty.''

    ''Are you still here?'' Giovanni demanded. ''I hired you to hunt, not to offer advice! Get after those Pokemon, now!'' J looked at him impassively and then walked towards the window. She stopped at the large pane of glass, and then turned to face the leader of Team Rocket.

    ''Salamence, Dragon Claw,'' she said calmly, pointing a Poke Ball behind her. The massive dragon-type materialized and shattered the window with one fierce slash. It swooped outside and J followed, jumping lightly onto it's back. ''Silver isn't the only one with a Salamence,'' she said coldly to Giovanni. ''I suggest you keep that in mind; you don't want me as your enemy.''

    ''Nor you, I,'' he whispered softly as she swooped out of sight, fingering the precious trinket in his suit pocket.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thanks to the six or seven people who reviewed the first 24 chapters here on Serebii.net. I hope that you will continue to read when I update on Fanfiction.net
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  10. #35
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    As I said I've read all of your chapters up to the point of where you are at on ff.net. The reaseon for me to not review here is due to that and to the fact that these forums have a love for not working when I want it to... >_>

    Either way, love your story and I'll continue reading it on ff if you quit updating here. Do know that even if you haven't gotten all that many reviews you still get a lot of hits, when I'm writing this they just passed 1100.
    National dex 477/493
    Still looking for: Magmarizer/Magmortar, Reaper Cloth, Porygon-Z/Dubious Disc
    Things for trade: Zapdos, Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza, the Regi's, all starters, most breedable pokes and so on...

    FC: 0860 0211 8494

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pors View Post
    As I said I've read all of your chapters up to the point of where you are at on ff.net. The reaseon for me to not review here is due to that and to the fact that these forums have a love for not working when I want it to... >_>

    Either way, love your story and I'll continue reading it on ff if you quit updating here. Do know that even if you haven't gotten all that many reviews you still get a lot of hits, when I'm writing this they just passed 1100.
    I know that people have been reading this story, Pors; that's not the problem. The problem is that I need feedback, and I'm just not gettting that here. I know that some people have been reading on Fanfiction, but not every one of those 1100+ hits has.

    I need the feedback. Without feedback, how can I ever expect to improve? A quick review isn't a big thing to ask for, is it? The trouble is that the majority of readers seem to think that an author will just keep on writing and posting until the story is over. And that's not the case. I, along with many other authors, spend hours pouring everything I have into my stories. People read them, people like them. But when it comes down to an actual review, people don't give them. How can I know what I'm doing right? What I'm doing wrong? How to improve both my story, and myself as an author?

    It may sound greedy, deciding not to post here anymore because of the lack of reviews when on Fanfiction I have over 150 just for this one story. But the reason that I posted it on here (and on BMGF) in the first place was to gain as much of an audience as possible, so that I could gain as much feedback as possible. This simply hasn't happened. 1100+ hits is good, I can't deny that. But having so many hits with so few reviews is just disheartening and demoralizing.

    Some people seem to think that it's a right that they'll have stories to read. It's not a right at all. Authors spend hours and hours on their works for two very important reasons. They like writing, and they like sharing their stories with the world. My greatest pleasure comes from knowing that I've given others some enjoyment. I have ten responses on 1142 hits here on Serebii. That's 0.8%. It really just all boils down to one thing:

    If people can't be bothered to spend five minutes of their time to give me any feedback, why should I waste my time catering to them? An honest, simple, heartfelt review doesn't take a long time to write and post. I don't think five minutes is too much to ask for, when I've spent hours, sometimes days, on every chapter. I don't think it's too much to ask for at all.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  12. #37
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    I don't think you're greedy, not at all. I fully agree with you when you say that a short review is not much to ask for. I think that the problem people have with reviewing is that they don't really know what to write. At least that is what's holding me back, I mean I could point out spelling errors (which I haven't seen any btw) or discuss the plot. But then again I already know what's going to happen in the next chapter so it would feel wrong to me to either discuss where you are currently at here or discuss where you are on ff.net since you're not that far here either.

    ^This is not an excuse btw, just trying to explain how I see it.

    Either way, I'm just going to give you a few comments on the story thus far.

    I love how you have several stories going on at the same time, they always make me want to know what's going to happen next and keeps pulling me back to the story. Also, as a fan of "Plotholes-begone" as I'd call it I can only applaud you for bringing an end to some of the ones from the anime (such as your Rey character, the Rayquaza etc.).

    All in all I can see nothing less of an epic story going on here. If I ever take the time to put my own thoughts into words you'd be happy to know (or maybe you won't, I've never written anything before ) that you were one of my big inspirations.
    National dex 477/493
    Still looking for: Magmarizer/Magmortar, Reaper Cloth, Porygon-Z/Dubious Disc
    Things for trade: Zapdos, Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza, the Regi's, all starters, most breedable pokes and so on...

    FC: 0860 0211 8494

  13. #38
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    I've done a lot of thinking recently. I know that there are lots of people on here who enjoyed Final Challenge before I decided to discontinue it. And in all honesty, I do understand that most of the people who read it on here also read it on FF.net, and that they do review it on there.

    So why should I force them to review it twice?

    I feel bad about my previous decision. I don't think it was right to abandon my readers on here; a good author should never do that. You all know my opinions on feedback, as stated above, and my feelings on that stand. But, like Pors said, perhaps the number of hits that I have gotten is feedback enough. And heck, there have been several good reviews on SPPF too. As of this post, over 1400 people have looked at this story, and it has a perfect 5-star rating.

    I apologize for abandoning you all. I apologize for my incessant demands for reviews, and I apologize if I alienated any of you through my words, and my actions. Getting reviews isn't what this is about. Enjoying being able to write, and knowing that people enjoy what I write should be enough.

    I've given a lot of thought towards what writing means to me recently, and I've realized that my values had changed while writing this story. It used to be about just enjoying the time I spent doing it. But as it progressed, I lost that joy. My values changed, and not for the better.

    In the two months since my last update here on SPPF, I've only put up three chapters on FF.net. Why? I'd lost the joy of writing for myself, and didn't want to write anymore. Oh, I kept telling myself that I would start the next chapter soon, but soon never came. I realized a little while ago what I had done, and so I spent some time to look over my priorities.

    I still want to write. I don't want to lose the joy that comes with each completed chapter, the pleasure from knowing that I have done my best and the happiness that comes with the knowledge that people like what I have done.

    And so, this is my apology. I have failed myself, I have failed my story, and most importantly, I have failed you, my readers. I am genuinely sorry for that.

    But even in failure, there can be success. I will tell this story the way it should be told, and I can promise you that I will make it a story worth telling.

    Once again, I apologize for my actions, and thank you to all those who will continue to read.
    Last edited by Matkin22; 22nd March 2008 at 6:39 AM.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  14. #39
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    Chapter 26: Defeat

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    It soared freely through the air. It's long, perfectly streamlined form allowed it to move at speeds that made it almost invisible to humans. As it moved through the skies, it briefly contemplated it's past on the planet. The memories of the burning cold that had encased it for years upon years still hovered in it's mind. Even now, the effects of it's long trip to the planet were felt on it's body. No matter how many hot lands it travelled to, it never truly felt warm. But still... at least now it was free to roam the globe, meeting as many new Pokemon as it possibly could.

    It flew through the sky with unrivalled confidence, outstripping the Wailord in the water, the Rapidash on the land, and even the Pidgeot which shared the air. Revelling in it's freedom, the Deoxys let loose a foghorn blast and swooped down towards a small valley in the midst of a mountain range, feeling a hunger in it's belly.

    A sudden confusion ran through the Deoxys' body. Drawn unexpectedly to the right, it bypassed the valley and headed for a tall waterfall in the distance. Lances of pain suddenly shot through it's body as it drew closer, but the Pokemon was unable to resist the attraction of the waterfall. Blackness covered it's vision, and the Deoxys dropped swiftly to the ground, losing control of it's speed and direction. Desperately trying to shield itself from the unexpected pain which had overcome it, the Pokemon morphed into it's secure Defense form, but the pain was unavoidable. It crashed heavily to the ground.

    It heard hurried footsteps approach, the creature snapping branches without care as it approached. The Deoxys attempted to stand and escape, but it swooned as the pain hit once again; it fell to the ground, completely disoriented. The footsteps halted, and reaching out with it's Psychic nature, the Deoxys realized that the creature was standing only a few feet ago.

    Help me, I am in terrible pain, the Deoxys tried to say, but only an unintelligible stream of alien language poured from it's mouth.

    "Deoxys, Defense form," it heard a voice say, although it could not understand the human language.

    "Do we have one yet?" another asked.

    "No," the first replied, "this is our first Deoxys. You radio to base; I'll get it with the Dark Ball."

    "Rocket HQ, we have located a distressed Deoxys in its Defense form," the second voice said. "Capturing is underway, and the Pokemon will be relocated to base immediately." There was a burst of static, but the Deoxys heard neither HQ's response, nor the cry of triumph as the Dark Ball was thrown. It heard only the mad thoughts that began to swirl through it's head as pain and confusion took over it's world.

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    Professor Namba grumbled sourly as he climbed the elegant spiral staircase that led to Giovanni's office. A very frightened Cassidy and Butch followed, seeming shrunken and diminished. No semblance of life existed in their wasted faces. They had failed in their mission; they were as good as dead. Namba glared back at them, his cruel face showing no sign of pity.

    "I hope you're satisfied," he growled, stopping in font of an imposing set of double doors. "Since I have to report at the same time as you, I'll be shouted at too! All because of your failure." Cassidy and Butch looked at each incredulously. Did this man care more about whether he was shouted at than two lives? Giving them each one last sour glance, Namba turned and knocked lightly on the doors.

    "Enter," Giovanni's cold voice said.

    "Sir, you wanted to see me?" Namba asked, pushing open the doors and striding into the room quickly, Cassidy and Butch slinking through before they closed.

    "Ah, Professor Namba. Yes, I wanted to clear up a couple of things regarding your research and your schedule," Giovanni said, stroking his Persian delicately. "First off, you successfully mutated the Pokerus to create the Perporus, correct?"

    "The Permanent Pokemon Virus? Yes, I did," Namba answered, slightly confused.

    "And you injected it into a test Raticate, where the Pokerus effects were permanent?"

    "Yes, the Raticate continued to be infected after 24 hours, and all of the Pokerus's effects remained, including its contagiousness. The specimen also responded to all commands given by it's trainer, so we concluded a 100 loyalty rate, which sets it apart from the Pokerus."

    "Very good," Giovanni said with a slight smile. "Now, I have one last question to ask. Once a Pokemon has been infected with Pokerus, it can never catch the disease again. Can a Pokemon that has recovered from Pokerus be infected with the Perporus?"

    "From our experiments so far, yes," Namba answered, puzzled. "After the test with the Raticate, we tried it with the Rayquaza that Attila and Hun captured. As you know, it was suffering from Pokerus when it went on that rampage that was caught on TV. The Rayquaza showed all of the same signs that the Raticate did." Giovanni stopped stroking his Persian and stood, beckoning Namba forward.

    "Earlier today, two of our grunts radioed in to say that they had seen a Deoxys fall from the sky. They located the Pokemon and caught it with a Dark Ball. The Pokemon was heading in this direction when it crashed, and it was suffering from the Perporus."

    "But how could they tell? How is it possible?" Namba demanded.

    "They could tell from it's reactions," Giovanni said. "Both are part of your lab team, and just happened to be walking through the forest at the time. They were lucky enough to see it crash. As for how it became infected, I had hoped that you would be able to tell me."

    "I know of no way for the disease to spread," Namba said, gritting his teeth. "I do not know how it can be caught without direct physical contact. That numbskull Oak does, but I have never been able to steal that part of his research data. The Perporus has never left the lab, and the Deoxys has never been in the lab. There must be some sort of connection between the Deoxys and Rayquaza, but I do not know what it is."

    "Investigate it, Namba," Giovanni ordered. "You have both specimens; do whatever it takes short of a potentially deadly surgery to figure it out! The Deoxys was heading directly towards us. If this connection can be discovered, we may not need Hunter J to capture them for us, we can attract them ourselves!"

    "I will examine them both," Namba agreed. "If I may ask, what form was the Deoxys in?" he asked.

    "It was trying to shield itself from the virus in Defense form," Giovanni replied.

    "So we still need three more specimens for our experiment," Namba mused, bowing and walking out of the room. Giovanni sat down with a smile, one hand resting unconsciously on an ancient tome that lay on his desk. His gaze roamed around the room, freezing on Cassidy and Butch as he saw them still standing there nervously.

    "Can I help you?" he asked. Butch swallowed before answering.

    "Sir, you wanted to see us," he said.

    "Cassidy and Butch?" Giovanni asked. They both nodded. "Ah, I seem to remember telling you both that if you failed, you would be killed. Is that correct?"

    "Yes, sir," Cassidy whispered almost inaudibly, her red lips barely moving.

    "Where are they?" Giovanni asked, spreading his arms. "I don't see them here. Why is that?"

    "Because we... we failed in our mission, sir," Butch answered. Giovanni nodded approvingly and leaned forwards.

    "You're not trying to excuse what you did; good. Lets discuss your fate."

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    May glared across the Contest field at a smirking Harley. She only had four ribbons, and needed this win to enter in the Johto Grand Festival. This was the final Contest before the Festival at Mount Silver, and it was a double battle, something May had never truly been comfortable with. To make matters worse, the moment he had learned that she needed this ribbon to qualify, Harley, in his typical nasty fashion had entered it, even though he already had his five ribbons.

    She gritted her teeth and stepped forwards as she was announced. She knew that somewhere in the audience, Drew was watching, and at the thought of his name her heart fluttered. "I won't lose," she whispered to herself. Harley gave her a cheerful little wave as he too was announced by the special guest MC, Hoenn's Vivian.

    "Get ready," he said with a wink. "I'm going to blow you away."

    "In your dreams, Harley," May shot back as the clock started. "Blaziken, Ledian; take the stage!"

    "Let's go Octillery, Magcargo, it's time to shine!" Harley called, throwing forward his own two Poke Balls. The four Pokemon materialized simultaneously on the field, each one quickly trying to get comfortable with the layout of the field.

    "Blaziken, Fire Spin! Ledian, Silver Wind!" May shouted. A powerful, flaming vortex left Blaziken's maw, and it speed was quickly increased by the Silver Wind which rammed it from behind.

    "Too easy," Harley snorted. "Magcargo, stop that Fire Spin with your Lava Plume; Octillery, hit Blaziken with a Wring Out!" A solid stream of fire was aimed at the Fire Spin by Magcargo, halting the attack completely.

    The two flames fused and exploded, and through the smoke clouds Octillery charged forwards, taking both Blaziken and Ledian by surprise as it materialized completely unexpectedly. It leapt into the air and wrapped it's tentacles tightly around Blaziken's throat, spinning around the tall fire-type in a perfect U-turn before releasing it's grip and vanishing back into the slowly clearing smoke. Blaziken dropped to it's knees, one clawed hand painfully massaging it's damaged throat. May looked up at the score clock in disbelief, seeing her points drop first from Magcargo's deflection, and again from Octillery's Wring Out.

    "Ledian, use Hidden Power on Octillery, and Blaziken, you use Ember on Magcargo," she shouted.

    "Octillery, use Octazooka and Magcargo, counter Ember with your own!" Harley ordered. Ledian whirled it's wings at a high speed, forming several green spheres which it then flung at Octillery. The water-type retaliated by shooting several black pellets from it's mouth, deflecting the grass-type Hidden Power back at Blaziken on ricochet. May's starter, still on it's knees, unleashed a barrage of red cinders at Harley's Magcargo, but the attack fizzled out before the counterattack even hit. Blaziken was slammed head-on, first by Magcargo's Ember, and then by the deflected Hidden Power.

    "Blaziken!" May screamed, beginning to realize that Octillery's earlier Wring Out had actually done some serious damage to Blaziken and was preventing it from being able to use any fire attacks effectively.
    That was a good move, she realized. Now I'll have to fight in close, but that won't work well for Ledian. He's forcing me to use two different attack methods. Well, I've still got some moves in store for him!

    "Blaziken, Sky Uppercut on Magcargo!" she shouted, and her starter managed to climb to it's knees, although it ran more slowly than usual and breathed harshly.

    "Reflect," Harley said with a smirk, and a brilliantly-shining barrier was conjured in front of his fire-type; Blaziken, both fists glowing, smashed directly into the defensive barrier. It bent under the impact but rebounded; Blaziken was thrown backwards, taking on the damage from the Sky Uppercut itself. "Now use Rock Tomb!" Harley ordered and his Magcargo reared up before slamming itself into the ground, causing a massive pillar of rock to enfold May's Pokemon; the powerful fire-type struggled but it was completely trapped and unable to move.

    "Octillery, Water Gun on Blaziken!" Harley commanded.

    "Ledian, block that with Aerial Ace!" May shouted desperately.

    "Knock Ledian away with Yawn, Magcargo!" Harley countered. Octillery shot a powerful burst of water at the helpless Blaziken. Ledian swooped down, streams of air plying around it's speeding form as it smashed directly into the attack, deflecting the damage away from Blaziken. Magcargo yawned powerfully, and a massive bubble floated gently towards Ledian; it never saw the attack through the gush of water, and fell to the ground, sound asleep. With no obstacle in the way the Water Gun regained it's course, smashing straight into the Rock Tomb and Blaziken. It shuddered as the attack sapped it's strength.

    "Now, let's finish this up!" Harley said with a grin. "Magcargo, use Overheat!"

    "Blaziken, I know you're hurt and that your fire attacks aren't working. But I know that you still have strength left, and I believe in you! Brick Break and then Overheat!" May shouted. Blaziken eyes glowed fiercely as it's body was enveloped in a shining red aura. With a massive effort, it smashed both arms against the sides of the Rock Tomb, breaking free from the attack before jumping high into the air to avoid the Magcargo's attack. It aimed and unleashed a sizzling barrage of intense flames that shone far too brightly for anyone to look at. The attack smashed through the Reflect with ease, destroying it, and hit Magcargo point-blank. Three red X's appeared on the judges scorecard, and Harley's remaining points were halved. He gritted his teeth angrily; now he and May were almost even.

    "No matter," Harley muttered as he recalled his exhausted Magcargo. "Octillery has the type-advantage, and Ledian's still sleeping. Octillery, use Fire Blast on Ledian!"

    "Ledian, wake up!" May pleaded with her sleeping bug-type as the powerful fire attack bore down on it.

    "Leh... leh..." Ledian breathed gently, still asleep on the battlefield.

    "Blaziken, Sky Uppercut that Fire Blast now!" she shouted. Blaziken charged forwards, fists glowing again. It swung powerfully at the centre of the attack, smashing straight through. Ledian awoke just in time to see the two attacks collide and explode; the force drove Ledian backwards into the wall, where it collapsed. Blaziken was also thrown backwards, although it was able to stop short of the wall. May and Blaziken both glared through the smoke, trying to see Octillery. It slowly became visible, dancing gently inside of a Protect; it hadn't been damaged from the explosion at all.

    "No way," May whispered.

    "Blayy," Blaziken groaned, all of the battle damage finally catching up. The red aura faded and it slumped to the ground, completely immobile.

    "Blaziken, stand up!" May shouted.

    "And Blaziken is unable to battle!" Vivian announced. "That means the winner is Harley! We'll be awarding him momentarily with his incredible sixth ribbon! Folks, this more than qualifies him for the Grand Festival, which will..."

    May withdrew both Ledian and Blaziken, her eyes downcast. Only one thought reverberated through her mind. I lost... I didn't qualify... It's over... She began to trudge back to the dressing rooms, pausing to look back only briefly. Harley, holding his new ribbon, caught her eye and winked.

    "Better luck next year, hun," he mouthed.

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    Drew leaned against the doorframe, waiting for May at the entrance to the dressing rooms; he was the only person there, everyone else having left to congratulate Harley on the field. He watched as May's figure approached slowly out of the dim hallway, moving slowly and without any real sense of direction. She stopped in front of him and looked up from the floor, her red-rimmed eyes meeting his.

    "I've never lost so badly to him before," she whispered, the tears still streaming down her cheeks. "It's all over; I didn't qualify."

    "You know why you lost, don't you?" Drew said. May shook her head wordlessly. Drew sighed, looking away for a moment as he tried to think how to best word how she had lost her disastrous battle.

    "You went into that contest to win a ribbon. There was a lot of pressure because it was your last chance to qualify for the Grand Festival this year. But then you found out that Harley was entering too, just to try and stop you from qualifying. So what did you do? You played right into his hands.

    "You went into the appeals trying to win a ribbon, but you went into the finals trying to beat Harley. You started off in the right way by combining Fire Spin and Silver Wind, but then Harley blocked both attacks perfectly and countered with that Wring Out. When that happened, you stopped trying to win a ribbon. All that you wanted was revenge for that surprise attack."

    "He hurt Blaziken!" May protested. "It could barely breathe, of course I wanted to get him back for that!"

    "In a Contest Battle you don't get revenge by trying to overpower the opponent!" Drew shouted. "You get revenge by beating them tactically. Harley didn't break any rules, and you were lucky that Blaziken wasn't taken out in that first attack!" He paused a moment, striving to calm down.

    "You didn't battle with your head," he said, more gently. "You battled in desperation, and that stopped you from seeing Harley's game plan. He focused all of his attacks on your Blaziken, because he knows that it's your strongest Pokemon and Ledian is still inexperienced. He double-teamed Blaziken because then it would have been easy to take down Ledian. Why do you think he deflected Hidden Power at Blaziken? Why do you think he trapped Blaziken in a Rock Tomb and then ordered both of his Pokemon to concentrate their attacks on it?"

    "I... I didn't realize that," May whispered softly, her eyes staring in recollection of the battle.

    "Of course you didn't," Drew said, slightly exasperated. "You battled like it was a regular trainer battle, forgetting that you lose points if your attacks miss or are blocked. You tried to take him down using pure power, not strategy." He chuckled humourlessly. "It's all the fault of Ash and Brock," he said. "Maybe they're your friends, but the last thing a Coordinator needs is to associate with a regular trainer. The battle style are just too different. You got influenced by them too much. You can make your attacks flashy during appeals, but you've never learned how to do that in the battle rounds."

    "Ash and Brock are my friends," May said quietly, her face hardening. "I learnt more from them about battling and raising Pokemon than I ever could have on my own. I owe everything that I've done to them."

    "Relax," Drew said, holding up both hands. "I wasn't putting them down, I was just saying that you've been influenced by their battle styles so much that it makes it difficult for you to battle in a Contest style. It's not a bad thing because it throws off people you've never battled before. But when it comes down to facing somebody who's seen the way you battle countless times, like Harley, it just makes it easy to take away your points." May sighed.

    "You're right," she said, collapsing into despair again. "I've done everything I wnated to avoid by coming to Johto." Drew sighed as he watched her pretty face contort with sadness. He hadn't planned on asking her like this, but...

    "May," he said, "I have something really important to say, and I'm not quite sure how to say it."

    "What is it?" she asked.

    "It's, well..." Feeling suddenly awkward, he reached for the back of his belt, drawing out a beautiful rose. "We've travelled for a long time, and been rivals even longer," he said. "It took me a long to realize it, but I... I've gotten feelings for you."

    "Feelings?" May whispered, her heart suddenly pounding.

    "Yes," Drew said, his confidence surging when she didn't draw away. "May, I... I love you, and I want you by my side. I want to travel around the world with you, going to new places , and meeting all sorts of people and Pokemon."

    He continued talking, but May had stopped listening, her mind wandering. She remembered all of the times when Drew had been there for her; encouraging her Beautifly; warning her about Harley's deceitful ways. In the shadows of her mind, there was a slight stirring of guilt for a trainer who she had travelled with and grown close too, but when Drew clasped her hands between his it vanished.

    "May, will you be my girlfriend?" he asked. She thought for a moment, her eyes searching his carefully.

    "Yes," she answered, the look of misery from her loss fading into a small smile. "Definitely." Drew grinned widely and embraced her tightly. His heart jittered briefly when he felt her chest squashed against his, but with a massive effort he forced himself not to think about the sensation.

    "Thank you, May," he found himself saying. "But now I have some good news for you!"

    "Isn't a new boyfriend good news?" May asked with a slight laugh.

    "Yeah, but this balances out losing to Harley," Drew said. "There's actually one more contest left. It's in Blackthorn City in two weeks." May stiffened and stepped back from him.

    "I thought you said that this was the last contest of the year," she said quietly. Drew shrugged.

    "I lied," he said simply.

    "Why?" she asked, hurt evident in her face.

    "Because," he said, "Soledad is entering the Blackthorn contest, and I figured that you could do without the pressure of having to beat her to enter the Grand Festival. Now come on, let's get out of here. We can ride Flygon to Blackthorn City and be there with lots of time to spare for practice." He stepped forwards, gave her a quick kiss on the lips and then grabbed her by the hand before dragging her towards the building's exit. She didn't resist, not completely aware of what was happening as she tried to sort through the whirlwind of emotions that had assailed her in the last few minutes.


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    Hunter J stared disdainfully at the green-haired teenager that lay in her way, fast asleep on the path. She snorted slightly and stepped forwards, bending down next to him. She quickly grabbed a Poke Ball from his belt, giving it a quick sniff. Sensing the aroma of a Roselia, she grimaced and dropped the Ball back next to the sleeper. She repeated her motions, leaving the second Ball when she scented Masquerain and pocketing the third when she realized it was an Absol.

    "This is too easy," she muttered, reaching for the last Ball on his belt. "I don't even need to use Drapion or my Capturer for this." She froze suddenly when she felt the green-haired teenager move under her touch. Her eyes wandered to his face, and met his narrowed gaze.

    "And what exactly are you doing?" Drew asked icily. J grinned at him.

    "Stealing your Pokemon, what does it look like?" she retorted. Drew turned quickly, drawing back both his legs and arms before shooting them straight into J's chest. She flew backwards, landing hard on the ground. "Why you..." she growled, climbing swiftly to her feet. "Salamence, let's go!" Drew grinned as her massive dragon-type appeared.

    "Finally, a real opponent," he said. "Flygon, I choose you!" The two Pokemon hovered in mid-air, sizing each other up as their trainers did likewise.

    "Salamence, Dragonbreath!" J shouted.

    "Flygon, counter with Flamethrower!" Drew ordered. Green flames collided with red as the two attacks met and exploded in mid-air.

    "Even," J growled, contemplating what attack to use next. She glared at Drew, hatred in her eyes when she saw that the stolen Poke Ball was resting at his feet. He noted her gaze and smiled, retrieving it and pocketing the Pokemon.

    "Your move," he said.

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    "And I thought that Mewtwo had mellowed out after Johto," Brock muttered, sitting in Viridian City Pokemon Centre's bedroom that he and Ash had rented. "I mean, at least his attitude to us was a little warmer after you helped to save him. But now it seems that he's even colder than he was on New Island. I don't get what could have changed."

    "All of those years alone, without any contact with other people or Pokemon I guess," Ash shrugged. "I'm guessing that he kept moving around every couple of days to stay undetected. That doesn't exactly give him a lot of time to make friends, or keep those friends. Mewtwo still cares, all of that isolation has just his personality colder."

    "I guess so," Brock sighed. "At least he trusts us enough to not remove our memories of New Island again."

    "Have you been able to get in touch with Forrest yet?" Ash asked, changing the subject.

    "Yeah, he's coming over after he's finished training with Lt. Surge. You know, he's still trying to teach his Raichu those speed attacks that you beat him with. I'm glad that Forrest agreed to help him out with that," Brock answered. He glanced towards the door. "How's May doing?"

    "She's still pretty shaken up from meeting Mewtwo. Nurse Joy won't let me in to see her, but at least she keeps on giving me updates."

    "I don't understand why she hasn't been taken to a hospital," Brock said, frowning. "I mean, she just collapsed when Mewtwo vanished and she hasn't been properly awake since." Ash grimaced.

    "You know how the hospitals work these days," he said. "If there isn't a broken bone or infection they just get a Pokemon to use Heal Bell or Refresh. I just want to know why she collapsed."

    "Do you think it has anything to do with that 'dark presence' Mewtwo mentioned?" Brock asked.

    "We've both seen 'dark presences' before, Brock," Ash said, shaking his head. "Remember when I was possessed by the King of Pokelantis? I don't know what Mewtwo was talking about, but May definitely doesn't have any 'dark presence'. I think it was something that Mewtwo did to her. But I can't shake the feeling that I've seen her symptoms before."

    "Same here," Brock muttered. "I wonder why..."

    "I wonder too," Ash said softly, staring out of the window at the bright sun.

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    Nurse Joy watched May, worry on her face. Underneath the heavy blanket she continued to shiver, her face pale and sweaty. The thermometer beeped and Nurse Joy quickly took it from May's mouth. Her eyes widened when she saw that it was at 105 degrees.

    "You're burning up," she said softly, wetting a cloth and placing it on her forehead. May moaned at the contact, shifting slightly under the blanket. "I keep calling the hospitals, but no matter what I tell them they keep saying that they won't accept you. I don't know what else I can do; I'm trained to heal Pokemon, not people."

    She sighed and sat down in a chair placed close to the head of the bed, watching May carefully. "I've tried everything I know; Refresh, Softboiled, even an Alakazam's Recover. Nothing's worked, and if the fever doesn't break soon..." She bent her head, tears leaking to the ground. She had never felt so helpless before. "All I can do is try to make you as comfortable as possible if worst comes to worst."

    At the far side of the room, completely escaping the notice of the distraught Nurse Joy, something in May's discarded travel pack began to glow...
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  15. #40
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    Chapter 27: Disease

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    Rey stood stiffly in the trainer's box, her hand clenched so tightly that even her short fingernails drew blood. Her jaw worked vigorously as she tried to figure a way out of the situation. Her Rattata kept dodging the Venomoth's attacks, but it was moving more and more slowly. Across the battlefield, Koga watched her impassively.

    "Venomoth, enough," he said abruptly. The Pokemon ceased it's attack and turned to it's trainer expectantly. "Let's go," he said, motioning towards the trick wall.

    "Hey... wait a minute! We didn't finish our battle!" Rey protested. Koga stopped, but did not bother to face her.

    "This is a four-on-four battle. You are on your third Pokemon, and my first has not been touched by any of your attacks. Now, you are not even issuing any attacks. Your skills don't measure up to the standards of this Pokemon Gym. Our battle is over."

    "You can't do that!" Rey shouted. "How can the battle be over? I haven't won or lost!"

    "It isn't victory that gives a person the right to a badge," Koga stated. "A Gym Leader has the right to refuse to issue a badge if the victor's skills are not up to a certain standard. A win is just that; a win. The challenger has to demonstrate their abilities to be worthy of badge. You have only demonstrated incompetence."

    "That's not true!" Rey shouted, beginning to break down into tears. "I've won five badges!"

    "I hope that count does not include the Cascade Badge," Koga said icily. "A Gym Badge demonstrates the skill of the bearer. There is no skill in just having the badge given away."

    "They said that all of their Pokemon were being treated at the Pokemon Center!"

    "Yet they were able to use those same Pokemon in a performance only a few hours later?" Koga turned and looked at the tearstained face of the girl. "You are not ready to face me," he said softly. "Go away, train hard, and try again another time." He sighed and shook his head. "I expected better from a Pallet trainer," he murmured, walking through the trick wall.

    Rey stood, staring at the wall. "Rattata, return," she whispered, as she turned and slowly trudged out of the Gym. Her head bowed in sadness, she looked back at the Fuchsia Gym despondently, at the four walls that had for so long held her dreams of the future. Now, they held only despair. She choked back a sob and ran into the nearby Fuchsia Forest, trying to put as much distance in between her and Koga as was possible.

    Branches tore at her face, slapping her cheeks with harsh stinging blows as she pushed her way through them. She breathed harshly through her mouth, her muscles screaming at her to stop and her brain ignoring them. At last she tripped, her feet caught underneath a large root that lay hidden in her path. Halted at last, she finally gave in to her emotions, her chest heaving spasmodically.

    She lay there for a long time, accompanied only by the fat tears that dripped slowly onto the bracken below.


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    The glow from May's pack vanished, completely unnoticed by the distraught Nurse Joy; her hands trembled as the thermometer beeped, indicating that May's body temperature had gone up yet another degree. The sick trainer from Hoenn moaned again, her body shuddering more and more uncontrollably. A small amount of froth began to collect at her mouth, which Nurse Joy tried to wipe away. The soft cloth touched her lips, and May suddenly jerked forwards, her jaws snapping shut on the place where Nurse Joy's wrist had been only moments earlier. She yelped in surprise and jumped backwards.

    "What was that for?" she yelled. May simply moaned and collapsed backwards again, shivering and unconscious. Nurse Joy sighed and, keeping a wary eye on May's movements, straightened the blankets. The thermometer beeped again, and Nurse Joy groaned. Her temperature was now 107 degrees, and quickly reaching the body's mortal limit.

    "There's nothing left that I can do," she whispered. "The fever just won't go down. I have to let your friends know what's happening. They need to be here to... to say goodbye." Tears began to prickle in her eyes, and she wiped them away quickly.

    She stood and went to the door, taking one last look at the dying girl in front of her. She frowned as she saw, for the first time, a lump on May's chest. She went back to the bed quickly, lifting up May's sickbay gown to see what it was. Her eyes widened when she saw that a lumpy grey-green pustule had formed on one of May's breasts.

    She carefully reached out and touched it lightly with one finger. May let out a high-pitched scream and began thrashing on the bed. Nurse Joy drew back her finger quickly with a squeal of surprised pain. She instinctively wanted to place the finger in her mouth, but common sense warned her against it. She examined her finger and was surprised to see that it had been burned. As the thermometer beeped again, May collapsed once more, drenched in soaking sheets of sweat. Nurse Joy leant in cautiously for a closer look at the throbbing pustule on her chest.

    "What on Earth could that be?" she murmured. She was so engrossed in her examination that she saw never saw May's pack begin to move. Slowly, quietly, the zipper began to open...

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    Ash glared out the window, his gaze burning across the landscape. Behind him, Brock and Forrest chatted quietly, both realizing that Ash, through his worry for May, had turned into a raw nerve. The sun was slowly crawling down towards the horizon. As the shadows lengthened, Ash's eyes began to burn more and more fiercely.

    "I know that I've seen it before," he muttered. "But what? And where? She just collapsed and began to tremble..." Brock looked over at his younger brother and nodded. He walked over to Ash and laid a hand on Ash's shoulder. As he had expected, the trainer jumped.

    "Come on Ash, you need to rest. Your eyes are exhausted, and you must be hungry," Brock said. Ash shook his head.

    "Do you think I could eat or sleep knowing how sick May is?" he asked.

    "It's shock from Mewtwo, Ash," Brock said. "I'm sure of it."

    "Well, I'm not!" Ash scowled. "I know that I've seen this before, and I know that's it's a lot more serious than shock, or a cold, or..." He trailed off, his jaw slowly opening. Brock and Forrest looked at each other in concern, but Ash didn't notice. His thoughts whirled as he thought again of May's symptoms and connected them inexplicitly with the image of a deranged Rayquaza firing a Hyper Beam towards a Safeguarded Latias.

    "It can't be...!" he breathed, jumping to his feet in anguish.

    "Can't be what?" Forrest asked. Ash ignored the question and began to pace instead.

    "It's impossible... But it's the only thing that fits. I have to go and check..." He looked up, his eyes clear and focused. "Forrest," he said, turning to the Pewter City Gym Leader, "you get Dawn and Rey and keep them away from the emergency room!"

    "Why?" he asked, completely perplexed.

    "Just do it!" Ash shouted, running out the door. Forrest looked at his older brother, who sighed and began to follow Ash.

    "I'll go after him," he said. "You go tell the girls." With another sigh, Brock left the room and followed after Ash.

    The trainer from Pallet ran on through the Pokemon Center, oblivious that both Brock and Pikachu were hot on his heels. Only one thought was on his mind as he hurtled towards the emergency room, towards the dying girl that he loved.

    I know what's wrong... I know what's wrong... I can save her...
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  16. #41
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    After another long delay, I bring you all the next installment!

    Chapter 28: Farewell?


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    Max stood at the summit of one the foothills of Mount Silver. He stood almost perfectly still, his only movement the flickering of his eyes as he scanned the sky. A look of anxiety creased his face as the day dragged on, and the brilliant blue of the sky began to fade to a dusty blue. He was waiting for an old friend, a friend that was already several hours late.

    "It can't be lost," he muttered, biting his lip in worry. "This is where we met last time, and it's internal compass never lets it forget where a place is." His hand loosely fingered the five Poke Balls that lay attached to his belt; the usual sixth now safely back at Professor Birch's lab, courtesy of the nearest Pokemon Centre.

    "Claydol, I need you!" he called, grabbing one of the Poke Balls and tossing it high into the air.

    "Nyen," it hummed, revolving slowly in the air as it descended to within a few inches of the ground.

    "Deoxys is late. We were supposed to meet here at noon, but the sun is setting now. I need you to use your Psychic to try and see if there are any Pokemon in the sky nearby that I can't see. Can you do that for me?"

    "Nyenn," his Claydol nodded, closing it's multiple eyes. Max watched, fascinated, as the air around his Pokemon began to glow a bright blue. Humming, the Claydol began to spin, slowly at first but picking up more and more speed with each revolution. It began to levitate higher off the ground, glowing tendrils from the Psychic spurting off in all directions as the Pokemon spun at a rapid rate. And then the revolutions began to slow, the blue aura dissipated, and his Claydol dropped back to Earth.

    "Anything?" Max asked anxiously.

    "Nyen," Claydol nodded, pointing an arm and slowly turning in the direction of Mount Silver. Max looked with narrowed eyes towards the mountain. A small, dark shape slowly became discernible as it appeared from behind one of Mount Silver's rocky slopes. Max breathed a sigh of relief, but the sigh was quickly cut short when a second shape appeared from behind it. A faint roar came to his ears, and he cringed unwillingly from it's sound. The two shapes circled around each other, passing in front of the dying sun. He squinted his eyes and was able to make out the sight of two tiny pricks of light, one red and the other green, colliding with each other.

    "What on earth is that?" he muttered.

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    Drew grinned, holding on tightly to his Flygon with his knees. It rolled in mid-air to avoid a Dragonbreath from J's Salamence, and then flipped over backwards to dodge a powerful Dragon Claw. J cursed inwardly as the larger but more manoeuvrable Flygon avoided every attack thrown it's way.

    "Fall back and use Dragonbreath!" she yelled, leaning along her Salamence's neck to make sure it heard her.

    "Climb and counter it with a Flamethrower!" Drew shouted. He gripped more tightly as his Flygon soared upwards, twisted around, and shot straight back downwards, intense flames spewing from it's mouth.

    J's Salamence let out a blood-curdling roar that halted Flygon in it's tracks. It charged up towards it's opponent, scarcely noticing the force of the Flamethrower as it charged through the heart of the attack. Drew gaped in surprise as the dragon-type burst out of the Flamethrower, dispelling the flames entirely. At full-speed, it smashed itself into the lower-jaw of Drew's Flygon, sending it reeling backwards in pain. Stunned and disorientated, the Flygon didn't realize when J's Salamence got above it.

    A devastating Dragon Claw crashed down onto the top of Flygon's head, causing it to let out a shriek of pain. The Salamence quickly followed up by spinning, and mercilessly smashing it's thick tail against Flygon's neck, knocking it unconscious and flipping the Pokemon upside-down. At the sudden, violent twisting apart of the world, Drew lost his grip. With a scream of fear, he plummeted towards the foothills that stretched out far below..

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    May moaned as her temperature rose even higher, now at 109 degrees. Nurse Joy looked through her medical equipment frantically, knowing that if it rose just two more degrees, May would die. She grabbed the instruments she would need and darted back to May's side.

    The door to the emergency room smashed open and Ash, Brock and Pikachu burst into the room, all three panting heavily. Nurse Joy shrieked with fright at the sudden intrusion, dropping her instruments on the floor in the process.

    "Nurse Jo-"

    "There's no time for this now, Brock!" she screamed, forestalling the love struck breeder. "If I don't get this lump on her chest removed, she'll die!" Ash stopped cold at the sight.

    "I knew it," he muttered.

    "Knew what?" Joy shouted, stooping to pick up her equipment with fumbling fingers. Ash hesitated a minute, trying to think of how to say what needed to be said.

    "We know that it's impossible for the disease to be transmitted between Pokemon and humans, but Ash thinks that May has somehow been infected with the Pokerus," Brock said baldly. Nurse Joy stared at them both, her mind racing.

    "I have a Pokemon that was infected with the Pokerus before," Ash added. "It had the exact same symptoms, and it had the same growth that may does too." Nurse Joy made a snap decision.

    "Brock, there's a videophone in the corner. I know almost nothing about Pokerus, but there is one person who knows a hell of a lot. Call Professor Oak. His number is -"

    "Professor Oak's lab was destroyed," Ash interrupted. "He's staying at my Mom's house until it's rebuilt. You should try there instead."

    "Got it," Brock nodded, running over to the corner. Nurse Joy turned back to May, a scalpel clenched tightly in her hands.

    "Ash I need you to hold her steady. I tried to touch the growth before and she attacked me," she said as she lowered the instrument to within an inch of the pustule.

    "Delia, we need to talk to Professor Oak right away. It's an emergency; is he there?" Ash heard Brock say as he strode quickly up to the bed, trying to avoid looking at the growth for reasons of modesty. Nurse Joy took a deep breath, moved the scalpel in close and dropped it with a shriek of surprise as the thermometer beeped once again. The instrument fell onto the growth, and with a yowl of pain May lunged forwards, her eyes staring madly as her hands closed around Joy's throat.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Forrest knocked nervously on what he hoped was Dawn's and Rey's bedroom door, hearing the chatter within cease abruptly. He had never been very good when it came to dealing with girls, especially the pretty ones. His training with Lt. Surge had been more of a joint deal than anything else. He was going to help Surge with speed attacks, while Surge helped him cope with girls. He hoped that Surge's coaching would pay off now.

    "Who is it?" he heard a clear voice call, and his knees trembled slightly. This was definitely a girls room.

    "Umm, my name is Forrest. I'm Brock's brother." There was a pause and then he heard footsteps approach the door. Nervously, he stood up as straight as he could as the door opened. His knees melted away as he found himself staring into two of the most beautiful blue eyes that he had ever seen.

    "Yes?" Dawn asked him quizzically.

    "I... my... ahh..."

    "Oh, wonderful," a second voice said from behind Dawn sarcastically. "He's as lovestruck as his brother."

    "Rey!" Dawn shouted, looking back over her shoulder at her roommate, her cheeks turning crimson. She turned back to Forrest and her eyes softened as she saw how nervous he was. "What's the matter, Forrest? Where are Brock and Ash?" At the sound of Ash's name, something in Forrest's brain clunked into place.

    "Oh, uh, Ash wanted me to keep you two away from the emergency room because of how bad May is." Dawn stared at him for a moment, and then Rey shoved her way into the doorway. Forrest gasped, almost falling over at the sight of her sparkling emerald eyes and luxurious long brown hair.

    "Well, that was a pretty stupid thing to say," she said sarcastically as she forced her way past Forrest into the hallway. "If you tell us not to go somewhere, we're obviously going to anyways." Forrest stared after her, his brain not really working.

    "She has a point, you know," Dawn said kindly as she squeezed past and walked down the hallway too. Forrest watched them both walk towards the emergency room, a sinking feeling in his stomach.

    "I guess Lt. Surge still needs to teach me a bit more," he mused, before the reality of what had just happened sank in. "Hey, wait!" he yelped after them, only to realize that they had turned a corner and vanished.

    "I guess I should have tried to keep them away by not mentioning it at all," he muttered, starting off after them.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The next few moments were a blur of confusion for Ash. The thermometer beeped, Nurse Joy yelped, and May leapt forwards, trying to strangle her. There was a lot of yelling coming from the direction of Brock and the videophone, and then the breeder ran forwards, trying to prise her May's hands away from Nurse Joy's neck. May backhanded him in the gut with one arm, doubling him over onto the floor with pain.

    As he reached over May's shoulders with both arms, the door burst open and Dawn, Rey and Forrest fell into the room, skidding to a halt as they saw what was happening. Dawn screamed at the sight of May strangling the Pokemon Nurse, and May recoiled at the sound, letting go of Nurse Joy as she clamped her hands to her ears. At the foot of the videophone, May's pack burst into flames, unobserved by all but one. "What's happening?" Professor Oak shouted from the videophone, unable to see anything that was happening from the smoke.

    Ash wrapped his arms tightly against May, trying to prevent her from harming anyone else in her incapacitated state. May let out a high-pitched scream of fright and turned, trying to claw her attacker. Unfocused blue eyes met worried black eyes that were filled with worry, concern, and love. Ash continued to hold onto her protectively, never once blinking or looking away from the Coordinator. Slowly, miraculously, she relaxed, her arms snaking around him in turn and her head gently coming to rest on his chest.

    As Nurse Joy climbed unsteadily to her feet, Ash held May tightly. He could feel her fever even through his shirt, and tears began to cloud his eyes. The thermometer beeped one final time, and May's sapphire eyes turned glassy, the last sparkle slowly fading. Her tight grip on Ash turned limp, and her breathing steadily slowed until it halted altogether.

    "Ash..." she whispered.

    Tears began to stream down his face as the girl whom he loved moved no more, her light frame resting on his. His body shook and convulsed as he fought back the sadness, staring into two sapphire eyes that had always seemed to be full of joy, to be full of life. He slowly lifted off his necklace, half-a-ribbon dangling from the end. Tenderly, he put it around May's neck before kissing her gently on the forehead.

    "May..." he said softly. "I... I'm sorry..."
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    Chapter 28.5 (April Fools): Fight

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As her body cooled, Ash looked at her with tears in his eyes. She was dead. There was no doubt about it. Her eyes were glazed over and the spark had left her irises. The girl whom he had travelled with, trained with, and fallen in love with had left him forever. Dawn crept forwards slowly and sat on the bed next to him.

    “Ash,” she whispered, “I’m sorry for this. She shouldn’t have died this way.”

    “No,” he answered hoarsely. “She shouldn’t.”

    “But… life goes on, right?” she continued. “You can’t grieve for her forever and, well, now that she’s out of the way, I think you should be with me.”

    “Huh?” Ash, Brock, Forrest, Rey, and Nurse Joy all said in unison.

    “I mean, she’d be dead now anyways thanks to the Egg Bomb that I put in her pack a couple of days ago, but at least this way it’s Mewtwo’s fault and not mine,” she went on.

    “So that’s why her bag exploded and there was all of that smoke,” Professor Oak said thoughtfully from the video screen. Rey rolled her eyes and turned of the monitor.

    “You put an Egg Bomb into her bag?” Ash said blankly. “Why?” He frowned. “Come to think of it, how?”

    “Oh, you silly boy,” Dawn teased. “You two were all over each other, and I had to get rid of her somehow so that we could be together. As for the how, I just borrowed it from Rey’s Exeggcute and slipped it into her bag.” Rey gasped.

    “So that’s where my Exeggcute’s other egg went!” she exclaimed. Then, her eyes narrowed. “Wait a minute, what do you mean so that you could be together? Now that May’s out of the picture he’s mine. I’ve known him longer.”

    “I know him better!” Dawn retorted.

    “Back off, Missy,” Rey warned.

    “Just toddle on off and accept that he’s mine,” Dawn snorted back. In a burst of light, Latias released herself from her Poke Ball and assumed her human form. She draped her arms across Ash’s shoulders and began to yell at Rey and Dawn silently.

    “Wow, lucky Ash getting all of that attention,” Forrest remarked to his brother as the girls continued to argue.

    “It must be nice to be so popular,” Brock moaned, twiddling his fingers.

    “Ladies, ladies, please!” Nurse Joy shouted, stepping into the centre. “This is a Pokemon Centre! There’s a time and a place for something like this, and that would be in five minutes out back. I have a special pitch set up for this kind of thing, and you can fight over Ash there… in bikini’s.”

    “Say what?” Dawn and Rey yelped (Latias mouthing the words in her own surprised manner).

    “Well, the boys and I have to get as much entertainment out of this as possible,” Nurse Joy blushed.

    “The bikinis are fine by me,” Dawn declared.

    “They’re fine by me too,” Rey agreed. Latias looked sad, gazing down at her own clothed body.

    “Umm, Latias doesn’t have a bikini,” Brock said. “She’s never really needed one before.”

    “She can borrow one of mine,” Rey offered.

    “Your bikini will be too big for her,” Dawn objected.

    “Hey, I’m not complaining,” Brock muttered, earning himself a smack on the ear from Dawn who had overheard.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “The fight between Rey, Dawn, and Latias is about to begin!” Referee Joy declared officiously. “The winner will be the last girl left able to fight on! Extra points may be awarded for ripping off an opponent’s bikini! The winner of the fight gets Ash Ketchum! Begin!”

    With a screech, the three girls launched themselves at Ash simultaneously. They bounced off the ropes that surrounded the pitch and collapsed into a heap, before struggling to untangle themselves and hit one of the others with a punch, kick, bite, or scratch.

    “Hey, Ash, how are you taking this?” Brock asked, keeping his eyes firmly focused on the battle and enjoying the sight of clothes flying everywhere. “I mean, ten minutes ago May was alive and now you’re being fought over.” Ash shrugged.

    “I miss May, but this is the next best thing to being with her,” he answered with a sly grin.

    “It is pretty fun to watch,” Forrest admitted.

    “No kidding,” Ash said. “I mean, come on; what guy wouldn’t want to see three girls in a catfight over him?”

    And they all lived happily ever after.

    Well, except for Rey and Dawn, who lost the catfight to Latias. And May, because she was dead. But everyone else was pretty happy after the fight (especially Brock. Hooo boy, was he ever!)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, and as I'm sure you've all guessed... April Fools!
    Last edited by Matkin22; 23rd April 2008 at 5:44 PM.
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  18. #43
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    Great April Fools Chapter, it had me going for a second... and then the bikinis somewhat clued me in =)

    Any whoo, I enjoy your story and can't wait for the next one
    Garden Gnomes are evil, they use their innocent faces to lure us into a false sense of security and then they kill us in our sleep! HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

    Golbat, my first and only shiny

    Credit to Arbok for my Water team
    Credit to Milotic111 for my other Card.
    (suicune pwns all)

  19. #44
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    Well, these next two chapters are, quite possibly, the two most important to date. I've introduced so many different plot elements and it's time some of them were wrapped up. There's lots going on, and we'll find out the answers to some of the oft-repeated questions.

    I'd intended to make this a double-update and have it up... two days ago, actually. Well, that didn't happen so you'll have to settle with a single-update for now!

    Before we get into this chapter, I just want to thank everyone who nominated my work in the 07-08 SPPf Shipping Oscars. It means a lot to me to have my work thought so highly of, and I want to thank everyone who nominated me for the awards.

    Now, on to the chapter!

    Chapter 29: Egg


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    Tracey stretched his back, groaning as he felt the stiffness. Still, as he worked his shoulders in an attempt to relieve a knotted muscle, he had to admit that the strain and back pain was definitely worth it. Rebuilding the lab would take time, but it was going much more quickly than any of them had anticipated.

    We were very lucky, he reflected. The Rayquaza had destroyed most of the lab, but the foundations weren’t damaged. That alone had saved them a month’s work. Professor Oak had also been very cautious when he had originally built the lab. The basement, where he kept his research and backed-up computer data, had been reinforced by two-inch steel walls during it’s construction. It meant that months, years of research was safe from harm. It meant that all of the decades Professor Oak had put into studying his unpublished data, and that the millions of yen he had spent on ancient Pokemon artefacts was not a waste.

    Tracey turned and surveyed the land. In just a few days they had already finished reconstructing the skeleton of the lab, and they would soon be able to start on the more solid constructions. The extra hands they had to use was a huge bonus. Caroline had returned to Hoenn, but Norman had volunteered to stay and help rebuild. Gary had decided to postpone returning to Sinnoh, and Rey’s parents had also volunteered their help. Even Delia was chipping in, in her own way of course. Each night the workers would troop down to the Ketchum residence and be greeted by a massive spread. It was the perfect way to relax and unwind after a long and hard day of work.

    He had to admit, though, that as welcome as all the unexpected help was, the biggest factor had been Ash’s 29 Tauros. Usually, they were filled with energy and rampaged around the lab’s grounds completely carefree. Now they were, well, filled with energy, and their strength and eagerness to help was the main reason why the skeleton had been erected so quickly. Lots of other Pokemon, including Gary’s Blastoise, Nidoking, and Nidoqueen, as well as Norman’s Vigoroth and Slaking, had also been a huge help, but there was no doubt that it was because of Ash’s Tauros that the first stage of work had been completed so quickly.

    “Hey,” a voice called out from behind him. Turning, Tracey was surprised to see that only a few feet away, a dark-haired young man stood casually with his hands in his pockets, an expression of polite interest on his face.

    Wow, he’s quiet. How’d he manage to get so close without me hearing him? he wondered. “Hey there,” he said aloud with a friendly grin to the man. “Come to help with the rebuilding? You’re a bit late for today’s work, everybody’s just finishing up. Want to join us for supper? We’ll be heading down the hill in a mi-”

    “Thank you, but no,” the stranger interrupted. “I’m not here to help rebuild. I’m looking for Professor Oak.” Tracey frowned.

    “You do know that we’re in the middle of a huge reconstruction, don’t you? The Professor really doesn’t have any time to spare for journalists, or to answer any trivial questions.” The stranger’s eyes gleamed curiously.

    “I’m well aware that you’re in the middle of rebuilding the lab,” he said softly. “I’d have to be blind - and deaf - not to have realized it by now. As for my question…” He smiled slightly, and a sudden shiver ran down Tracey’s spine. “I can assure you that it is a matter of vital importance.”

    Tracey eyed him. “The Professor left for a phone call about half an hour ago,” he said. “He’s taking it at the Ketchum’s house. Go down the hill towards Pallet Town and turn right. It’s the third house on the left. There may be a Mr. Mime sweeping or gardening outside.” Without a word, the stranger nodded, turned, and left. Tracey watched him go, apprehension flittering around his gut. Danger hung around this person. He could see it as clearly as a Lucario could aura. He could feel it. Something bad was about to happen. And if it did, the Professor was much better equipped to handle the situation than he was.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Kurt!” Professor Oak exclaimed, his eyes racing across the screen; he could hardly believe what he was seeing. “What… what happened to you?”

    “I was attacked,” Kurt answered quietly. “Somebody stormed into my workshop, stole my last Apricorn Ball, and paralysed me.”

    “Kurt, you need to see a doctor right away,” Oak said, eyeing the injuries on Kurt’s face and arms.

    “It’s not important,” Kurt said roughly. He fixed the Professor with a watering, aggrieved eye. “Professor. Sam. He wanted the GS Ball.” Professor Oak went cold.

    “Did… did he get it?” he whispered, almost afraid to ask. Kurt hesitated before answering.

    “No,” he said finally. “But he knows that you have it, Sam. I’m sure he’s travelling to Pallet as we speak.” Professor Oak paused.

    “What do you mean ‘he knows that I have it’?” he asked. “I thought you still had it.”

    “I gave it to that girl with the Pidgeot, like you asked,” Kurt answered. “What was her name… May. Didn’t she give it to you when she arrived in Pallet?”

    “No,” Professor Oak said in a strangled voice. “She arrived the morning of Ash’s match, and then what with the Rayquaza attack… I’d almost forgotten about it until now.”

    “Then you're both in danger!” Kurt shouted. “He’ll get to Pallet and search you out, and when he finds out that you don’t have it he’ll start to track her down too!”

    “May is travelling with Ash at the moment; she’ll be safe enough with him,” Professor Oak said slowly.

    “And what about you, Sam?” Kurt asked. “This guy is ruthless. Once he found out I didn’t have the GS Ball anymore, he used his Pokemon to knock me out. He won’t be afraid to do the same, or worse, to you.” At this Oak grinned, and there was no fear in his gaze.

    “I don’t like his chances, facing off against me, Gary, and Norman,” he said, a hint of steel in his voice. “Now tell me: what did he look like, and what Pokemon did he have?”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Immediately after his video call with Kurt, Oak dialled up Professors Elm, Birch, Ivy, Rowan, and Aspen to see if any trainer had recently exchanged their Magnezone for a held Pokemon. After hearing a chorus of “no’s”, and gaining their assurances that they would contact him straight away if any such exchange was made, he slumped at the table feeling mentally exhausted.

    “Dinner will be ready in a moment, Professor,” Delia whispered as she passed by him, a massive salad in her arms. That’ll wake you up a bit.”

    “I really hope so, Delia,” he sighed, rubbing his eyes. “There’s just so much going on; I feel as if my mind is about to explode.”

    “Oh, it’ll sort itself out soon enough,” she smiled. “Then you’ll wonder what there was to be so stressed about.” He nodded absentmindedly as she bustled back off to the kitchen, his mind filled with worry. He was jerked out of his stupor by the sound of the phone ringing. It stopped abruptly on the third ring and he heard Delia’s voice.

    “Oh hi, Brock. How are you all? Where are you calling from?”

    “Delia, we need to talk to Professor Oak right away. It's an emergency; is he there?” Brock asked, ignoring her questions. A sudden flitter of apprehension ran through Oak’s body. He stood quickly and made his way to the videophone as Delia turned towards him.

    “What’s the problem, Brock?” he asked as soon as he reached the monitor.

    “May’s ill,” Brock said. “There’s a pustule on her chest, and Nurse Joy needs you to help guide her through the operation. We think it might be -” Professor Oak stared over Brock’s shoulder at the scene playing out in front of him, oblivious to the tail-end of Brock’s sentence.

    With an inhuman screech, May lunged from the hospital bed and fastened her hands around Joy’s throat. There was a moment of surprised thrashing, somebody off screen screamed, and then a burst of acrid, black smoke drifted upwards, completely obscuring the screen.

    What’s happening?” he yelled. But there was no response, save for a scream.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The rushing noise of the wind blowing past his body stopped. This is it, he thought calmly. I’m dead. I can’t hear or see anything. The world is black. It’s just me and my thoughts. Alone, forever. Something suddenly tickled his nose. Grimacing in irritation, he tried to brush it away but found his arms were unresponsive. Strange, he thought. Why would my nose itch if I were dead? Drew opened his eyes.

    The ground hovered in front of him, mere inches from his nose. A stalk of grass was rubbing against his nose, quivering from a very slight breeze. He squeezed his eyes shut tightly before opening them again. The ground was still there. But why am I floating? he wondered. I fell thousands of feet. Why aren’t I dead? That was when he noticed his vision was tinted violet.

    It’s a Psychic, he realized. Somebody stopped my fall using Psychic.

    “So, it’s you,” he heard a familiar voice say. Then came a snort. “I wouldn’t have stopped you if I’d known who you were.” The purple haze in front of his eyes vanished, and he dropped. Grimacing and rubbing his nose, he twisted his neck and saw a person whom he had sincerely hoped he would never have to see again.

    “Max,” he said with a curt nod, scrambling to his feet. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his Flygon held in place a foot or so above the ground, contained in another Psychic. It was still unconscious. He turned his gaze back to Max and immediately recognized the two Pokemon he had called out; Claydol, levitating in slow circles around it’s trainer, and Gardevoir, her body glowing violet and her eyes closed as she concentrated on keeping Flygon in the air.

    “Think you can let my Flygon go now?” Drew asked the younger trainer. Max shook his head, an ugly look on his face.

    “No. Not until you explain to me exactly why you did it.”

    “Did what?” Drew asked, playing dumb. Max’s expression got even uglier.

    “You know exactly what,” he hissed from between clenched teeth. “You betrayed my sister. You broke her heart and chased her out of Johto. I want to know why, and I want to know now!” Drew shook his head scornfully.

    “I don’t have to explain myself to you,” he said. “Wait until you grow some stubble on your chin before you even think of having the audacity to interrogate me.” He grabbed Flygon’s Poke Ball and withdrew his Pokemon, the red beam easily piercing through Gardevoir’s Psychic. “I’m out of here,” he sneered, flicking his hair out of his eyes as he turned to walk away.

    His body froze and his mouth opened in a soundless scream as his entire body was assailed by a fierce burning sensation. His vision turned purple again, although this time it was a darker, more menacing shade. Slowly, against his will, his body turned until he was facing Max once more.

    The young trainer ignored Drew and crouched to the ground, watching at his Gardevoir with an expression of slight interest as she held the Coordinator in place.

    “Being a Gym Leader’s son, I’m privy to some information that you would never find in any textbooks or PokeDex’s,” he said softly. “For example, did you know that there are actually three variations of the move Psychic? Every trainer knows about Stage-2 - that’s the kind used in battle to halt and damage an opponent. You’re experiencing it right now. Most trainers know about Stage-1 too, the painless variation that can be used to get fruit from a tall tree… or stop somebody from falling. But almost nobody knows about Stage-3.” Here he rose and turned his attention back to Drew, who tried not to wince as the pain wracked his body spasmodically.

    “Stage-3 Psychic is a blast of intense pain. It generally takes years of dedication and practice before a Pokemon can use it effectively. Even those who do know about it rarely try and teach it to their Pokemon; it just takes too long for them. But if a Pokemon does learn how to use it…” He paused. “It’s strength is equal to that of a Legendary Pokemon’s Stage-2 Psychic. It even affects dark-types.” He looked for a moment at the setting sun before returning his focus to the helpless Coordinator.

    “So tell me, Drew,” he said. “Are you prepared to experience Gardevoir’s Stage-3 Psychic?”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ash hugged the limp body of the Coordinator to his chest fiercely, hot tears cascading from his eyes. He was oblivious to the movements and words of his companions, his gaze fixed on the girl he had loved; the girl he loved still, even in death. Oblivious to the heat of the fever that still burned through her clothes, he rocked gently back and forth, unable to accept the fact that she was really gone.

    Something clunked gently against his foot. Surprised, he automatically reached down and picked the object up, staring at it uncomprehendingly. He didn’t understand why this, of all things, would be here in a Pokemon Centre.

    “Char!”

    Everyone started at the sound, and as one their eyes sought the source. Standing in the shredded and charred remains of May’s knapsack was a small Charmander. It ignored them all, it’s gaze fixed sorrowfully on the prone body of May as it moved towards her on somewhat unsteady legs.

    “A Charmander?” Rey asked. “Why did May have a Charmander in her bag?”

    “Liza gave me an egg that Charla - Charizard’s mate - had laid before I battled Cynthia,” Ash said softly. “I gave it to May just before we left Pallet Town. I… I guess it must have just hatched.”

    “Char!” the little Charmander squealed, trying to scrabble it’s way onto the bed. Dawn came forwards and gently lifted the newborn onto Ash’s lap. The Pokemon hummed, curled itself up comfortably, and reached out to touch May’s body with it’s snout.

    A blinding orange glow cascaded through the room, forcing everyone to shield their eyes. The light was almost unbearable, amplified by the whitewashed walls and colouring every inch of the room in an orange tint. Rising high above the shouts of shock was the sound of the Charmander humming, a long, loud drone that reverberated throughout the room, it’s body the source of the light. Slowly, the intensity of the glow faded, although the people and walls were still painted in an orange light.

    “No… It’s impossible!” Professor Oak shouted from the screen as the light became bearable and he beheld the Charmander. “I-It’s impossible!

    “What’s impossible?” Rey yelled above the humming.

    “What the Charmander is doing!” Brock shouted.

    “I don’t get it!” she screamed as the Charmander’s humming stopped. “There, that’s better,” she sighed. “Why is what the Charmander doing impossible?”

    “There are three criteria for a species of Pokemon to be selected as a starter-type in a region,” Professor Oak explained. “It has to be a grass-, water-, or fire-type, have two evolutions, and have one of three abilities. For a fire-type, that ability is always Blaze. But what this Charmander is doing now is not Blaze,” he said, gesturing at the still-glowing Pokemon.

    “What is it doing then?” Dawn asked.

    “It’s Flash-Fire,” Brock answered.

    “Yes, Flash-Fire,” Professor Oak agreed. “When a Pokemon has the Flash-Fire ability, it absorbs any fire-type attacks that are targeted at it to power up it’s own moves. To be more precise, it absorbs the heat of the fire and makes it’s own moves hotter. Because the heat is absorbed, it makes the actual fire-attack useless. A flame with no heat has no power; it’s the heat that does the damage in an attack, not the actual flames themselves.

    “When a Pokemon has used Flash-Fire, the power of it’s attacks will remain the same, but the intensity is increased. And because it’s the heat from the fire, and not the fire itself, which activates the ability, Flash-Fire can occasionally be activated without needing a fire-type attack,” he concluded. Realization dawned on Rey’s and Dawn’s faces.

    “So… you mean that this Charmander is trying to use Flash-Fire to absorb the heat from May’s fever and bring down her temperature?” Rey asked in disbelief.

    “Exactly,” Professor Oak confirmed. Then his face fell as he looked back at May’s body, still held in Ash’s arms. Ash himself was still staring at the Charmander with a look of pure astonishment on his face, not having heard a word that the Professor had said.

    “But I’m afraid it may be too late,” Oak said softly. And that was when they heard a sound that gave them all hope.

    Beep…

    Beep…
    Last edited by Matkin22; 23rd April 2008 at 5:59 PM.
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    well i started reading this about 3 days ago and only just cuaght up, pretty good so far. I like the idea of paul being geovani's son. Now that you've mentioned it he's almost a perfect match to the rival in G/S/C personality wise and clothing kinda matches too, plus they have similar hair (appart from colour). in Fr/Lg some random scientist said he was geovani's son so that works well imo.

    I like how you've set up so many angles for this story, can't wait to see everything come together.

    Something that is bugging me though is the idea of a baby Fearow. shouldn't that be a spearow.

    Just to warn you though, i pretty much never review any of the fics i read so don't feel put down if no'ones reviewing here cause i'll be reading and i'm sure plenty of people who are lazy like me are too

    Good stuff
    Last edited by Caesar; 26th April 2008 at 2:12 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Romke View Post
    Mmm, its a sandstorm based team and I dont know if spirittomb works well. I keep that 1 in mind Thanks! What about shedinja?

  21. #46
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    Gosh, nice Fan-fic, Matt. {Yeah it's me, I didn't want to post till I change this stupid username xD} but seriously, it's very interesting. I'm wondering what's going to happen next.

    And while re-reading this fan-fic, I got fooled by the April Fool's chapter...again. XD
    Ignore the guyish username, I'm a girl using my bro's account. =P

  22. #47
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    Thanks for the reviews everyone. This is my longest chapter yet, and it was going to be even longer still. But you know, it's a month overdue and I figured that to make it any longer might kill some of the moments in this. So, here it is (at long last). I'll try to start updating more than once a month from now on.

    Chapter 30: Hostage



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    Giovanni watched, impassive, from behind foot-thick walls and glass as twenty men struggled to carry a massive cage - and the legendary Pokemon within - through the blast doors leading from Namba’s lab. It’s long, sinuous neck darted in every direction as it let loose a screech of rage, jabbing its beak at the men that transported it. The pecks collided against the bars with an incredible force, sending sparks cascading downwards.

    “You did very well,” Giovanni said softly as two figures, both almost as tall as he was, approached from the dark recess by the door.

    “Thank you, Boss,” said the first, a broad-shouldered man with spiked yellow hair that was swept over to one side.

    “First the Rayquaza, and now Moltres,” Giovanni continued. “Every Pokemon you capture is one less Pokemon that I have to pay Hunter J for. And by capturing the Moltres you’ve already done more than those idiots Cassidy and Butch could hope to accomplish.”

    The second, lither man nodded, his long steel-grey hair shining slightly in the dim light of the room. “I will admit that the Moltres caused us some trouble, but not as much as we had feared.” He paused for a moment. “With the modifications made by Professor Sebastian to the Miracle Crystal, we can use it to attract any Pokemon, not just electric-types. It worked well with Moltres, and if two or three more could be constructed…”

    “We could get the last legendaries much more quickly,” his partner interjected. Giovanni bristled and turned to face them.

    “Do you have any idea what it would cost to make more Miracle Crystals?” he demanded. “The prototype - which was destroyed when you attempted to capture Raikou - was a small fortune, and the one you used to capture Moltres cost twice as much!”

    “It’s not really my place to say,” the smaller man said carefully, “but, knowing the cost of both a Miracle Crystal and of Hunter J’s service, it would seem to me that a small fortune could be saved by building, using, and reusing the Crystal’s, rather than relying on Hunter J’s service for each individual Pokemon capture.”

    Giovanni frowned, deep in thought. “Buson, get Professor Sebastian,” he ordered the first man. Nodding, Buson turned and quickly left the room. “How many Pokemon can be contained within a Miracle Crystal, Bashou?” he asked the second man. Bashou opened his mouth to respond, but was forestalled by an almighty crash and unearthly scream from the room beyond the thick walls and window. Giovanni whirled and was, for once, rendered speechless.

    A cage, supported by 40 grunts and containing a Heatran, was passing by the Moltres cage as it was taken to Namba’s lab and the Moltres was returned to the storing hold. One of the men had abruptly let go of the cage and fallen, tripping up three other carriers as he went down. With the support of four men missing, the strain of the cage and the heavy Pokemon within became too much for the others. As they shouted warnings to each other, the imbalanced cage began to slope at a dangerous angle. Those closest to the imbalance began to panic as the weight became too much for their shoulders to bear and, fearing they would be crushed, jumped to safety.

    The Heatran cage tipped, the corner becoming lodged within the bars of the Moltres’s cage. For a moment, all seemed frozen as the Moltres and the Heatran stared at each other, separated by mere inches of steel and air. With a shriek, the Moltres began to glow orange, reared back its neck, and shot forth a sizzling burst of the most powerful and intense flames that had ever been seen.

    The steel bars had been specially crafted to resist any impact, temperature, or Pokemon attack. It was no match for the raw power of an enraged legendary Pokemon.

    The flames disintegrated the cage bars easily. All of the grunts ran for cover from the intensity of the attack, and the heat could be felt even through the foot-thick and reinforced glass that protected Giovanni and Bashou. With a guttural roar the Heatran charged towards the legendary bird, its head glowing silver, seemingly unharmed by the attack. The Moltres flapped its wings to gain what little air room it could, and shot forwards towards its opponent in a blazing orange blur. The Heatran stumbled and collapsed with a grunt of pain as the Sky Attack hit its mark.

    Moltres screeched at the collision with Heatran’s heavy armoured head, bouncing away almost comically. It quickly corrected its balance and wheeled around to face the Heatran. The injured Pokemon twisted its head and shot forth a powerful burst of flames at the flying-type. Moltres reacted in kind, its attack easily disrupting Heatran’s flames and powering through to completely envelop the weakened Pokemon. Ordinarily, Heatran would not have been affected by any type of fire, even those from another legendary. But the Moltres had been infected with Namba’s mutant virus, the Perporus, powering it up to unnatural levels. What’s more, the sheer force of the Sky Attack had actually caused a small crack on the steel helmet of the Heatran. Flash-Fire was no protection against this.

    “Get armed grunts in there now!” Giovanni ordered through an intercom. “Take down that Moltres immediately!” One man, sensing the chance of promotion, leaped out from behind a stack of crates and threw the first thing that came to hand into the remnants of the cage; a wrench. It clunked against the Moltres’s back, serving only to irritate the legendary Pokemon further before it was incinerated by the sizzling heat of its body. The Moltres wheeled angrily and unleashed a blistering fire attack. The man had time only for one quick, agonized scream before his body and life was consumed by the flames.

    Bashou turned, covering his mouth at the sight of the man’s blackened corpse smouldering. Not even Giovanni was immune from a fleeting urge to vomit. Several more grunts dashed into the room, followed by a horde of Blastoise, Vaporeon, Swampert, Pelipper, Poliwrath and Feraligatr. They stopped short at the sight of the dead man’s smoking body and then bravely began to inch their way around the room, trying to surround the Moltres.

    “Everyone in position?” one man yelled. “Hydro Pumps and Hydro Cannons on the count of three; one… two… three!” Numerous powerful jets of water blasted across the room, each one aimed directly at the Moltres. The Moltres let out a screech and began to glow a deep red. Giovanni watched, a grim smile on his face as each water attack impacted the legendary Pokemon, immediately covering the room in thick, billowing steam. Not even a Moltres could stand against this.

    “Well Bashou, it would appear that we shall need another Moltres,” Giovanni said, turning to face him. Bashou did not answer, his gaze riveted on the window over Giovanni’s shoulder, his mouth slightly gape. Frowning, Giovanni turned his gaze back to the holding room, noticing that it was still swathed in steam. A faint orange pinprick of light was visible in the centre of the room. It quickly grew much larger and brighter. “No… It’s impossible!” he breathed, rooted to the spot.

    For the remainder of his life, Bashou would be unable to explain where the sudden surge of energy came from. Snapping out of his astonishment, he realized that the approaching light would mean both their deaths if they stayed watching. Neither could they run out the door. That left only one option.

    Grabbing Giovanni by the back of the neck, he somehow managed to force his superior’s considerable frame to the ground. Seconds later, the light resolved into an immensely powerful Flamethrower that easily blasted its way through the reinforced glass. Giovanni instinctively covered his eyes, and when he dared remove his arm he found himself staring into face of Moltres. The Pokémon’s eyes were tinged with hatred, insanity, and something altogether more human than he had suspected. For the first time in his life, he felt a gut-wrenching, tingling sensation that he realized must be fear. The Moltres opened its mouth and Giovanni lay there, frozen, the realization that his life was about to end blocking out all other fault.

    And then, inexplicably, the Moltres hesitated. It let out a screech that reverberated within his very soul and then, glowing orange once more, shot upwards through the ceiling, paving its way to freedom with Sky Attack.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The thermometer beeped. For a brief instant, they didn’t realize what was happening. And then the implications struck.

    “She’s alive!” Brock shouted, running towards the bedside; Nurse Joy quickly grabbed the thermometer before he could accidentally knock it away.

    “110... 109... 108... I don’t believe it, Flash-Fire is actually taking the fever out of her body! I’ve never seen anything like it in my life!” she exclaimed.

    “Brock,” Professor Oak cut in from the video screen, “you said something about a pustule on her chest?”

    “Uhh... right!” Brock said, snapping back to the situation at hand. “We think it may be the Pokerus.” Professor Oak paused for a moment.

    “That’s impossible, Brock,” he said. “The Pokerus can only be transmitted between Pokemon. Humans are immune to the disease.”

    “Professor, May had all of the same symptoms that Latias did when she was infected. You saw how both she and Latias reacted to high-pitched noises as well. I know it seems impossible, but there’s nothing else to explain the infection,” Brock replied. Professor Oak contemplated this silently.

    “I need a clear shot of the pustule on her chest,” he said. “If you’re going to try and cut it out, wear gloves before you touch it and vacuum-seal the pustule in a lab container. Send it to me through the transfer machine below this screen and I’ll examine it with Gary. I don’t think its Pokerus, but it could be a related disease that’s known even less.”

    “Got it,” Brock nodded. He turned to Rey, Dawn, and his brother. “You’d all better clear out of the room,” he said.

    “What?” Rey protested. “But... why?”

    “Because this could be dangerous, and we don’t need any distractions,” he answered.

    “So why are you and Ash staying?” she asked with narrowed eyes.

    “I’m staying to control the Professor’s viewing screen so he can guide Nurse Joy through this,” he said.

    “And Ash?” Dawn asked.

    “Ash is staying because, for some strange reason, he actually seems to be able to control those suffering from Pokerus. He was able to calm Latias down when she was infected, and he did the same with May a few moments ago. Besides, it’s only right that he, of all people, be allowed to stay here for this.” Rey’s eyes narrowed.

    “So you’re saying that Ash is somehow superior to us and therefore allowed to stay and watch?” she asked.

    “I’m saying that given the depth of his, ah, friendship with May, he has the right to be here with her as she undergoes a painful surgery,” he answered calmly.

    “He’s right,” Forrest said quietly, his mouth dry as he backed his older brother up. “We’d only be a distraction. And do we really need to stay and watch somebody’s chest get cut open?” Rey’s mouth worked for a few seconds, but no sound came out. At last, giving up, she turned and left the room without a word. Dawn and Forrest followed her silently. Once outside, however, Rey abruptly turned and pushed Forrest against the wall.

    “Rey!” Dawn gasped, shocked.

    “Don’t you ever dare do that again,” she seethed, ignoring her. Forrest looked up at her in amazement.

    “Do what?” he asked.

    “Go against me like you did just now. I’m trying to offer my support, and then you make sure that support is rebuffed,” she snarled, punctuating each remark with a jab of her finger to his chest. It suddenly struck Forrest how much taller than him Rey was; his eyes narrowed.

    “Is it really May that you’re worried about in there,” he asked. “Or are you only concerned about Ash? Would you really be that upset if May suddenly died today?” Rey reeled away, looking as if she’d been slapped.

    “Get away from me, you squint-eyed freak,” she growled, turning and storming away. Dawn stared after her roommate, open-mouthed. She thought about running after her, then, changing her mind, turned to Forrest instead.

    “Are you okay?” she asked in concern.

    “I guess so,” he answered. “We Rock-type trainers are pretty tough, you know.” But behind his bravado and eyelashes, Dawn could see a glimmer of tears.

    “What she said... it was uncalled for,” she said uncomfortably.

    “It was the truth,” he said simply. “Maybe not the way you or I saw it, but to her perception it was. She was offering support, and I did go against her.”

    “Not in the way she made out.”

    “Did I do any better?” Forrest asked. “I accused her of having a crush on Ash, and I insinuated that she wouldn’t care if May died because it would give her a chance with him. Her feelings must have been really hurt by that; you saw the look on her face.”

    “I guess you were both a bit out of line,” Dawn said, still feeling uncomfortable. “I don’t know Rey that well yet, but I know her well enough to be pretty sure that she’ll be feeling really bad about the way she just acted towards you... and what she called you.”

    “Both sides feel bad after an argument. It makes me wonder sometimes why we have them, when all it causes it grief. My guess is because everything has to have an opposite, and it’s an opposite to love.”

    “Most people would say that hate is the opposite to love,” Dawn said.

    “Hate is usually spawned from conflict,” Forrest answered. “The schoolchild hates his bully; the oppressed hate the oppressor; and in an argument, both sides will hate the other, even if it’s only for a brief moment.” Dawn looked at him curiously. He resembled his older brother in so many ways, but he was surprisingly philosophical for a love struck teenager. There was something very intriguing about him...

    “Why do you and Brock have such squinty eyes?” she blurted. His mouth dropped and she winced, mortified that she had actually asked that. Then, to her complete surprise, he laughed.

    “I can open my eyes as well as the next person,” he chuckled, demonstrating. “It’s not a genetic deformity; it’s a training tactic that my brother discovered.”

    “Huh?” she asked, surprised that he wasn’t offended, and that there was actually an answer.

    “Just after Brock became the Pewter City Gym Leader after, well...” his face darkened momentarily, “he began to do some serious training to make sure that he’d be a good Gym Leader. During a power cut, he accidentally found out that by closing his eyes almost all the way, it helped him to sense where his Pokemon was on the field. After a little extra practice, he could sense his opponents Pokemon too.

    “It got to the point where he could predict how his Pokemon and its moves could be affected by the terrain on the battlefield. So, to help him develop the technique, he began to keep his eyes mostly closed all the time. He kept crashing into things at first, but over time he was able to sense everything around him, no matter where it was; a parked car, a bicycle that would suddenly cut in front, even a toy shovel left on the ground by one of my sisters. And that meant that he could use his Pokemon more effectively at any location, not just the Pewter Gym.”

    “So you decided to try it too?” she asked. Forrest nodded.

    “Yeah, and all my brothers and sisters too. Even my Dad started doing it when he was selling rocks on the outskirts, although my Mom always said that she’s never seen the point. It really works though; I’m not as good as Brock is at it, but then he’s had so much more time to develop it. You have to really know your Pokemon for it to work though; you should know it as well as you do yourself.”

    “That’s amazing,” she said.

    “It really makes me respect my brother,” he said. “When you think about how many Pokemon he has, and how quickly he bonds and battles with them... most of the time he’s unappreciated for what he brings to Ash’s group.”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rey stormed out the doors of the Pokemon Centre, her fury so great that she didn’t even feel the cool night air as it brushed against her body.

    “That... love struck... perverted... squint-eyed... bast...” she muttered, spitting out each word harshly as she moved, completely unaware of where she was going. With a great clang she reeled backwards, clamping her hands to her mouth in pain. “Ow... tha’ hurh,” she moaned, looking to see what had smacked into her face. With intense embarrassment, she realized that she had gone into a park just across the road from the Pokemon Centre and walked straight into a swing set.

    She sat down in the swing, feeling her jaw gingerly. One side of her mouth was slightly warm and sticky, and she realized that she must have split her lip. Grumbling under her breath she rummaged in her bag, trying to find something to wipe away the blood.

    “Here, take mine,” a massive man said, offering her a clean cloth. She shrieked in surprise and fell backwards off the swing, sprawling on the ground with her legs still tangled in the seat. She hadn’t even noticed him sitting next to her.

    “Thith jush ishn’ ma day,” she moaned.

    “It sure looks that way,” the man agreed. “That was quite a spectacular crash you had with the swing. I tried to warn you, but you didn’t seem to hear me even though you were only a couple of feet away.” He then averted his eyes. “And I’d suggest that the next time you decide to fall over like that, you wear a longer skirt.”

    “Well don’ jush wook,” she shouted.

    “I’m not,” he protested. “That’s why I turned away.”

    “Ib behah shay a’ way,” she warned, struggling to get back up. It only took her a few seconds to realize that her legs were tangled, rendering her hopelessly overbalanced. “I’m shuck,” she complained. “Hewp me up?”

    “You’ve got to be kidding me,” the man sighed. He reached out a hand, grabbed Rey by the arm, and pulled her up effortlessly.

    “’Anksh,” she mumbled. “I’ shawee; I shpli’ ma lip on sha poe’.” The man squinted in the dim light, examining her mouth.

    “Yup, you’ve got a mighty fine fat lip there already; here,” he said, offering his cloth again. This time she took it with a minimal amount of drama, and gently dabbed at her bleeding lips.

    “Anksh,” she said again.

    “No problem,” the man replied as he sat down on the swing again; it creaked under his weight. Rey suddenly realized just how large this man. Not fat, just... big. Even in the dark she could see his muscles straining against the fibres of his shirt. She was no slouch when it came to height, but he was also a good foot taller than her.

    “Something wrong?” the man asked pleasantly, noticing her staring at him. She looked away before he could see the red tinge creeping up her cheeks.

    “Ah... no,” she managed to say. He nodded towards the Pokemon Centre.

    “I’m looking for a guy named Forrest,” he said. “Do you know if he’s in there?” Her eyes narrowed.

    “Fowesh ish ah weashon I’ ou’ ‘ere wi’ a bweedin’ mou’,” she growled. The man looked surprised.

    “Really?” he asked. “May I ask why?” And so Rey launched into a full and vociferous tirade on just why she was out here with a bleeding lip, and why she hated Forrest so much. In the end, it was the need to take a breath of air that caused her to stop ranting, a pause the stranger quickly took advantage of.

    “Right, I think I’ll go and have a talk with this Forrest,” he said, standing from the swing and cracking his knuckles menacingly. Rey paled.

    “You... you won’t hurt him, will you?” she asked, completely unaware that she was talking properly again. The stranger noted the concern in her voice and smiled slightly to himself, an action completely obscured by the darkness. His reply, however, was gruff with a hint of danger in it.

    “I let my Pokemon do the talking for me, Baby” he said, striding off towards the Pokemon Centre. “I have a score to settle with him, and this only makes me want to do it more.”

    “Baby? I’m not a baby...” Rey stared after him for a few seconds before she realized that this man was quite possibly on his way to beat Forrest to a pulp.

    “Wait!” she shouted, tearing off after him. “Wait!”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Brock, can you adjust the screen a little?” Professor Oak asked. “I need to get a closer shot of that pustule.”

    “Sure thing, Professor,” Brock nodded from off-camera, zooming in on May’s chest.

    “Brock... I need to see the pustule, not her breast,” Oak sighed

    “Sorry Professor, I don’t have an external screen to go on. Can you tell me where to shift the lens?”

    “Left... down a bit... a bit more... left... left... okay, hold it there!” He took a close look at the pustule, noting its colour, contours, and size. “It does look a bit like the Pokerus,” he admitted grudgingly, “but we won’t know for certain until I can examine it here.”

    “How will you be able to do that?” Brock asked. “Your lab was destroyed.”

    “My house was destroyed,” Oak answered, “but my lab and research storage room were kept safe because they were built underground and reinforced for safety. All of my equipment is still there, so I should still be able to examine it.”

    “Professor,” Delia called, coming down the hallway. “There’s a nice young man here who would like to help you out with the rebuilding effort.”

    “That’s very nice, but I’m a little busy at the moment,” Oak said, barely glancing away from the screen.

    “I’m so sorry,” Delia said, turning to the new arrival. “Would you like some dinner? It’s just out of the oven.”

    “I’d love some, thank you,” he answered politely, flicking away a strand of dark hair that was straying into his eyes. “I’ve come a long way to get here, and a home cooked meal would certainly be a nice change from the typical travelling fare.”

    “I’ll be right back with your plate,” Delia promised, heading into the kitchen.

    “Joy, make an inch-long incision just below the pustule. Brock, make sure that you pad the area thoroughly with the absorbent foam; we want as little spillage as possible. Hold her head steady, Ash, we don’t want her to start thrashing around again,” Oak directed, his eyes focused on the screen and completely unaware of the man standing behind him. The front door burst open and Tracey and Norman walked into the room, chatting light-heartedly. Tracey’s smile froze and fell as he beheld the young man standing nearby the Professor.

    “Oh, so you found the house okay I guess,” he said. The man smiled, once again sending shivers down Tracey’s spine.

    “Yes... Your directions were exemplary, right down to the Mr. Mime,” he said softly. Norman, although not affected by the smile, did not like his tone, or the look in his eyes. He took a step forwards.

    “Who are you?” he demanded. “I’m sure I’ve seen you somewhere before... What do you want here?”

    “Norman!” Oak called, the sound of his voice causing the Professor to realize his presence. “Norman, I’m on the line to the Vermillion City Pokemon Centre; May’s very sick, and she’s being operated on right now.”

    What?” Norman shouted, his face pale as he dashed forwards towards the screen.

    “Here’s your tray,” Delia sang out, backing out of the kitchen with a heavily laden dish. The stranger moved faster than any of them could follow. Delia shrieked and dropped the tray as the cold, hard blade of a Scyther pressed against her neck, released from the stranger’s Poke Ball. He ducked behind his Pokemon and hostage as Professor Oak and Norman turned to the commotion and Tracey started forwards.

    “Nobody move,” he growled. “My Pokemon are trained to kill if necessary; this Scyther’s blades are sharp enough to cut right through her neck if I give the order.”

    “Professor, there’s too much bleeding; there isn’t enough foam to absorb it,” Brock shouted from the screen, his panicked voice sounding tinny to their ears.

    “Answer that and this woman dies,” the stranger growled.

    “But... it’s my daughter who he’s trying to help,” Norman pleaded.

    “Professor Oak, are you there? She’s beginning to thrash around again, Ash can’t hold her. She’s losing too much blood, we can’t stop it!” Brock shouted again.

    “Her life doesn’t concern me,” the stranger answered. “Give me what I want and you can save two lives tonight. If you don’t, this woman and your daughter will both die.”

    “What is it that you want?” Oak asked, comprehension beginning to dawn as Kurt’s words came back to him. "This guy is ruthless. Once he found out I didn’t have the GS Ball anymore, he used his Pokemon to knock me out. He won’t be afraid to do the same, or worse, to you." He remembered Kurt’s description of his attacker and inwardly cursed; this man was identical to him in every aspect. How did he get here from Johto so quickly?

    “I want the GS Ball,” the stranger said simply.

    “I don’t have it,” Oak said simply. “The girl who took it from Kurt never delivered it to me.”

    “Scyther!” the man ordered, and the Pokemon put more pressure on the blade held against Delia’s neck. She turned white as it bit through her skin and a little spurt of blood began to pool on the blade. “You’re lying,” he hissed. “Kurt told me that he gave it to a girl on a Pidgeot, who then gave it to you.” Norman gasped as the realization struck him.

    “She forgot,” Oak said, forcing himself to keep calm.

    “Then where is it?” the man growled.

    “It’s still with her, Paul,” Oak said, looking him straight in the eye. If Paul was surprised that Oak knew his name, he didn’t show it.

    “And where is she?” he asked. Oak hesitated before answering, turning instead to look at Norman. The Gym Leader’s face was tortured. His whole world rested on this one pivotal answer. If it wasn’t given, May would die, and Delia along with her. If it was given May could still die, but...

    But she had Ash to protect her. And he would know that Paul was coming.

    His eyes closed, misery and pain still etched into his face, he gave an almost imperceptible nod. Oak closed his eyes and answered.

    “She’s his dying daughter,” he said softly.

    Paul looked at them incredulously and swore. “It can’t be,” he said. “It’s with her, and she's with...”

    “Professor!” Brock screamed from the videophone. Oak took the chance.

    “Brock, trust me when I say this is a matter of life or death,” he snapped. “Does Ash still have the GS Ball?”

    “What?”

    “Does Ash still have the GS Ball!” he roared.

    “Of course he does, who else would have it?” Brock shouted. “She’s dying Oak!”

    “You have your answer,” Oak said softly, looking at Paul with an expression of pure loathing on his face.

    “Honchkrow; through the glass!” Paul shouted, unleashing the dark-type and jumping on its back. There was the sound of shattering glass, a streak of red light as Scyther was recalled, and then nothing. The stranger was gone. Shivering, Delia collapsed to the ground in a state of shock, her eyes wide and blood still flowing from the cut on her neck.

    “Tracey, help me with her!” Norman shouted. “Sam... you can still save my May.” His words were lost on deaf ears, the Professor already intent on the screen, explaining to Brock why he would explain his disappearance later.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's it for this chapter. Hopefully the next one will be up (relatively) soon.
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

  23. #48
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    No, another long wait... please hurry, i desparatly want to read more of this
    Quote Originally Posted by Romke View Post
    Mmm, its a sandstorm based team and I dont know if spirittomb works well. I keep that 1 in mind Thanks! What about shedinja?

  24. #49
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    plz plz post in the next chapter! i want to know what happens.

  25. #50
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    Wow. I think this is by far the longest one I have written so far, almost double the length of any other. It's worth it though, since we get some nice plot resolutions, a few unexpected twists, and (I hope) an overall enjoyable read. I apologize for the delay in this update; I'm going to try and update more frequently from this point on, perhaps bi-weekly.

    Now, before we dive into this latest installment, I just want to thank everyone who voted for me in the SPPf Shipping Oscars. It seems as if I'm a better PearlShipping author than AdvanceShipping, as you voted Searching for Truth the best
    PearlShipping Fic and myself the Best PearlShipping Author. You also voted me Best Other Pokemon Shipping Author, and Final Challenge into a tie with Artemis Ignitan's A Whisper in the Wind for the Most Dramatic Shipping Plot. Thank you all! I wasn't expecting that kind of recognition, and I was pleasantly touched that you've all enjoyed my work so much.

    But I digress; on with the chapter!

    Chapter 31: Heartbreak


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    It was dark. Very dark. Even the moon was obscured by low-lying clouds, and there was not even a breath of wind that threatened to disturb them. He trained his eyes on the Poketch that Paul had loaned him for this one mission. His pulse began to quicken as the minutes and seconds counted down. At last, it was time.

    Getting to his feet with as much stealth as he could muster, he slunk off down the hill as quietly and as invisibly as possible. For the first time in his life, he wished he wore the standard black uniform instead of the shiny white he had adorned for years. Still, he managed to make it down the hill and onto the field with minimal problems, although he had to admit that it was more due to the town being on the other side of the hill than his own mediocre stalking skills.

    Once back on level ground, he abandoned caution in favour of speed. If the hills didn’t keep him hidden from view at this point while he travelled across the field, no amount of stealth could help him. Speed was of the essence for this particular task. Still, he made it a point to run as quietly as possible so as to avoid any undue attention. Many of the Pokemon had run off after the attack, but some might have returned since then. The last thing he wanted was to disturb and anger a Nidoking or Rhydon in the darkness.

    While his sight and other senses may have been hindered by the night, he was profoundly grateful that he had been ordered to complete this task under the cover of darkness. For one thing, while he could barely see anything, it meant the chances of his being seen were also reduced. And for another, the night hid the ravaged land from his view. Had he started his task at dusk the mighty scars would have been all too visible, and he doubted that his already strained courage could have taken that frightening sight. But while he could not see the remnants of the Rayquaza’s attack, nothing could prevent him from hearing it. The dead and charcoaled grass crackled underneath his feet with every step, making him wince. In some ways, it made the scene more eerie than the sight of those scars did. He breathed a silent sigh of relief when the crackling sounds stopped and he felt a mixture of gravel and concrete under his feet instead.

    Knowing he was close bolstered his tattered courage. Slowing down, he tried to gather his bearings. He had been here many times before, but never inside the actual building. Still, he knew the rough layout of the construction from his visits prior to the attack and his brief observations earlier in the day. Skirting a few girders and a half-completed wall, he quickly saw what he had been looking for; a doorframe with intricate stone steps beyond that led into the ground. He was surprised. He had not expected to find it so easily.

    His confidence growing by the second, he made his way through the doorframe and carefully descended down the steps. He was expecting them to lead belowground, but was surprised when he saw that at the bottom of the steps, there was a tunnel curving its way through the rock. Once inside, he felt safe enough to turn on his flashlight for the first time since starting out. His breath caught in his throat at what he saw.

    Ancient carvings, scripts, and archaeological treasures decorated the curved walls and ceiling of the tunnel. Only down here had Professor Oak’s massive collection been spared any damage. Pausing briefly to examine the tunnel walls more closely he realized all the priceless artefacts were not hung from the walls and ceiling, but rather contained behind it. Rapping his knuckles gently against the sides, he saw that they were all covered by a clear and seemingly durable clear alloy. He wasn’t sure exactly what the material was, but it had been enough protect the Professor’s collection from the Rayquaza.

    He bent his nose close to the wall, examining one of the ancient tablets with interest. He breathed in sharply at what he saw. The paint was faded and in some places chipped away altogether, but there could be no doubt about what had been painted.

    A man stood alone, his back to the painter. Surrounding him on the ground were 18 tablets, each one a different colour and with a different symbol carved into the top. Facing the man in the distance were what appeared to be the legendary Pokemon Raikou, Moltres, and Regice. The sky was dark at the edges, a violent shade of purple. Closer to the center, however, it took on a whitish tinge, the edges of the thunderous closer becoming more visible. At the center itself, the white clouds swirled into a dangerous looking vortex, coalescing into a white and violet orb that hung low over the man’s hand. From the man’s stance, it seemed apparent that he was sneering, his arms raised in defiance, a golden and silver Poke Ball clutched in his hands; the GS Ball.

    The GS Ball... That’s what I’m here for, he thought. But... why is it here, in this ancient painting of all places? Is it the same one? If it is, how can it possibly have lasted for so long without being aged or damaged? He was startled from his thoughts by the worst sounds he could have possibly heard; voices and footsteps.

    Panicking, he covered the beam of the flashlight with his hand and ran as swiftly and silently down the passage as he could, hoping against hope that he was imagining it, or if they were real that they would just pass the tunnel by. He reached the pass coded door and began fumbling with the keypad, mistyping the several password possibilities he had been given in his haste. He heard several footsteps approaching from within the tunnel, and stopped trying. It was useless. The people were close enough that they would hear the door opening, and even if they didn’t it would not take them long to find him in the lab.

    As a flashlight beam broke around the final corner, he turned to face them, calm etched onto his face and a Poke Ball clenched in his hand. James was ready for the battle of his life.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “This is going to be very tricky,” Professor Oak said, forcing himself to speak calmly. “We’ll need Blissey, Sudowudo, Bayleef, Totodile, Sceptile, Gallade, Glalie, and Latias. Joy... you’ve done enough for now.”

    “I can do more!” she protested as the eight Pokemon were released. “I should have done more...”

    “You’ve given her a fighting chance,” Oak answered. “But your hands are trembling and time is running out for May. What we need now are bandages, and foam pads. I need you to get as many of those as you can, okay?”

    “Okay,” she whispered before running out of the room.

    “This is going to be unpleasant for every one of the Pokemon,” Oak said, returning his attention to Brock and Ash. “None of them are trained for medical surgery, but they are the only chance we have to save May.”

    “They’re ready... aren’t you, guys?” Ash asked, receiving a chorus of calls in response.

    “Pi-Pikachu, pika!” Pikachu called, waving his arms anxiously at the screen.

    “I know you want to help Pikachu, but there’s nothing you can do here,” Oak answered. “But if her heart stops... we’ll need you to restart it.”

    “Pika,” the electric-type nodded, retreating closer to the bed.

    “Bayleef, you have to hold May steady with your Vine Whip. Be sure not to compress her chest too tightly; that could just squeeze the blood out more calmly. She may get agitated again, so you have to aim your Sweet Scent directly at her nose. Be careful with your aim; we don’t want our surgeons getting too relaxed while they work.”

    “Surgeons?” Brock asked.

    “Sceptile, Totodile, Gallade, and Glalie,” Oak replied. “Glalie, use your Icy Wind to cool May’s temperature. Her blood flow will slow down, and it’ll buy us some time. Totodile, use your gentlest Water Gun to wash the blood away from the pustule. The last thing we need is clotting hindering our cuts, or a pool of blood to stop us from seeing what we need. Ash and Brock, one of you needs to tilt May a little to one side so that the blood and water can drain away. ”

    “Tile,” Sceptile sighed, seeing where this was going and powering up his Leaf Blade.

    “I know you don’t want to Sceptile, but you and Gallade are the only ones who can do it,” Oak said, sensing the grass-type’s mood. “The accuracy of a Pokemon is much greater than that of a scared human, and you’ll have the advantage of being able to feel the pustule as you work. Are you ready?”

    “Er!” Gallade nodded, his face a grim slash of determination as his arms began to glow black from a Night Slash.

    “Good, then get started! Totodile first, then Glalie, Sceptile and Gallade.”

    “To-to-to-to-to-to-da,” Totodile mumbled, spewing out a light stream of water into the bloody opening around the pustule. As the water-type Pokemon worked Ash, Brock, and Bayleef gently lifted May up, allowing the liquids to flow away from the wounds. Calculating both the power and spread necessary, Glalie began to exude a cold blast of air on May’s body, cooling her temperature and restricting the flow of blood. Sceptile’s and Gallade’s eyes met; nodding briefly, they turned to May and positioned their blades.

    Trying his hardest not to wince, Sceptile concentrated and carefully focused the power of his Leaf Blade; focusing the attack narrowed the blade, making it more accurate to work with in delicate situations such as this, but the power became much more concentrated. One slip could be fatal for May.

    “Lade, erlade er,” Gallade urged the grass-type, his Night Slash also narrowed.

    “Scep,” Sceptile nodded, lowering his arms and gingerly worrying the Leaf Blade through May’s cold flesh. A spurt of blood instantly rose to the surface, and was quickly washed away by Totodile’s Water Gun. Glalie spat out a cold lump against May’s chest, lowering the temperature even more and causing the blood to congeal slightly beneath the flesh. Gritting his teeth and trying to ignore the blood that slowly welled up around his Leaf Blade, Sceptile continued to work the blade through May’s breast, gently scissoring muscle and tissue apart as he tried to manoeuvre beneath the pustule.

    May moaned and began to twitch as consciousness crept in. Sceptile froze and halted the Leaf Blade, worried that it might slice through something he didn’t intend. Her brow furrowed in concentration, Bayleef wafted a Sweet Scent towards May. May continued to move for a moment and then relaxed as the overpowering fumes reached her brain and she fell back into unconsciousness. Bayleef let out a silent sigh of relief and nodded towards Sceptile.

    The large grass-type stepped back, breathing nervously. He had done all that he could with his blades, and he feared that by continuing he might cut right through her breast and puncture a lung, or even the pulmonary artery. It was time for Gallade, with his smaller and more accurate blades, to take over.

    The Psychic-type worked quickly and effectively. Where Sceptile had worked vertically, his cuts were horizontal. With minimal blood leakage, he was able to slide his Night Slash through the fatty tissue without much difficulty. Angling his blades diagonally upward Gallade completed the cut, slicing the pustule away from May’s body. Brock quickly wrapped his hand in a plastic glove and reached down to grab the pustule. He expertly removed his hand, turning the glove inside out, and tied it tightly. “I have it,” he announced.

    “Perfect,” Professor Oak replied. “Put it in the transfer station and send it here immediately; I’ll send an empty Poke Ball in return.”

    Joy rushed back into the room, her arms filled with foam pads and bandages. “I brought all that I could find,” she panted.

    “Start padding the area, get rid of the excess blood,” Oak ordered. “This next part is especially tricky, and we need the opening as clear as possible.”

    “What do we need to do?” Brock asked as he initiated the pustule’s transfer.

    “Blissey has to place both arms inside the wound and use Heal Bell,” Oak answered, reaching down to his own transfer and holding the tightly wrapped pustule up to his eyes. “We need Sudowudo to do the same with Mimic. That should hopefully seal it up. Then we need Latias to use Recover; that will hopefully regenerate the flesh and restore the blood. ”

    “Is that even possible?” Brock asked, awed.

    “Heal Bell is a technique that seals flesh wounds,” Oak answered. “It’s difficult to use in surgery at the best of times, and your Blissey isn’t trained for this kind of operation. That’s why I want Sudowudo to help her out with Mimic.”

    “I meant Latias’s Recover, being able to regenerate all of that tissue and blood... this isn’t a surface wound. There’s a lot more at stake here than flesh and capillaries, Professor. If the Recover only repairs the flesh, it could cause May long-term health problems.”

    “I know that, Brock,” Oak snapped. “When a Pokemon uses Recover, it repairs all of the damage done to their body. All of it. It will be tricky for Latias to direct it into May, but it will heal her.”

    “Will Recover be enough?” Nurse Joy asked quietly. “It’s a technique we have to use from time to time on severely injured Pokemon, and it doesn’t always work that well.”

    “I know... I have to use it occasionally too,” Professor Oak answered. “But remember that Latias is a legendary Pokemon; her capture by Ash doesn’t lessen her strength. Her Recover will be incredibly powerful, far more so than that of an Alakazam, or even a Metagross. If any Pokemon can heal May, it’s Latias.”

    “Can you do it, Latias?” Ash quietly, unheard by Brock, Oak, or Nurse Joy. “Can you really heal May like that? Professor Oak only has his theories, but if anyone knows, it’s you.” The legendary Pokemon gazed at him for a moment, her deep eyes clouded in contemplation. They cleared abruptly and she gave a light chirp, nodding her head in reassurance. Ash nodded back, not feeling himself able to speak.

    “Blissey, Sudowudo; are you ready?” Nurse Joy asked, continuing to sponge up the blood leaking from May’s breast. Both Pokemon let out affirmative cries and took a step forward. “Then let’s get started,” she said.

    “Ash,” May moaned, her eyes flickering open. For a moment, nobody moved. Then Ash quickly knelt down by her side.

    “I’m here, May,” he whispered softly. “I’m here for you.” She grimaced and reached for her breast, but Ash caught and stayed her hand.

    “...Hurts...” she mumbled.

    “I know, May, I know. Blissey, Sudowudo, and Latias are going to take the pain away. Stay calm, it won’t take long.”

    “Char,” the baby Charmander added, reannouncing its presence from underneath May’s bed.

    “Char?” she murmured.

    “That’s right May; your egg hatched,” Ash said, leaning down to pick up the Charmander. He placed it on the bed, where it nuzzled against her cheek affectionately. He stroked her bangs for a moment and then looked at Bayleef meaningfully. “You have a new friend,” he continued quietly.

    “New friend... Char...” she whispered, smiling faintly. Her eyes closed as Bayleef’s Sweet Scent took hold of her mind again, sending her back into sleep.

    “Sweet dreams, May,” Ash murmured quietly as Blissey and Sudowudo approached. “I hope that when you wake up, this whole ordeal will be over for you.”


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He writhed in agony as the pain hit him, obliterating all else. His vision was dark, his hearing nonexistent, his touch gone. All that there was, all that there ever had been, was this pain. It was an agony he had never felt before, one that was both physical and mental. He could not think, he could not breathe; all he could do was writhe and wait for death.

    And then it was gone. He lay on the ground, heaving in great gulps of air, sweat cascading out of every orifice in his body. He felt incredibly weak and vulnerable. He squinted as a dark shadow fell across him, and made out the figure of Max kneeling at his side. Hatred and fear rose in his throat; he wanted to run, but he knew that he didn’t have the strength to even stand.

    “She wanted to die, Drew,” Max said softly, tracing patterns into the dirt with a finger. “She wanted to die, and it was because of you. I think a part of her did die, actually. She changed inside.”

    “I’ve never done anything I’ve been ashamed of,” Drew managed to croak. Max’s gaze shot from the dirt to his eyes, and in that one moment the Coordinator realized just how much the younger trainer despised him.

    “She loved you,” he spat. “She loved you; she gave her heart to you...” He stood angrily, punching his fist into an open palm. “You betrayed her,” he hissed. “You took her heart and threw it away as easily as you do a rose... You deserve this pain.”

    “No... Don’t... I can’t ...”

    “It’s a fraction of the pain you caused when you ripped her world apart,” Max retorted. “Gardevoir!”

    Drew’s spine arched agonizingly as the burning pain of a Stage-3 Psychic assailed him once again. He contorted into impossible positions as the pain enveloped him, filled him, consumed him. But through it all, a memory appeared at the forefront. And as the memory, the source of this agony, took over his consciousness, a single tear of regret rolled down his cheek.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “A perfect landing again, Flygon!” Drew said happily, stroking his dragon-type on the neck. “You’ve really gotten fast; we made it to Blackthorn City in no time at all!”

    “No kidding,” May said, looking around curiously. “Hey, where’s the Contest Hall? I want to enter as soon as possible.”

    “It’s only a couple of streets away, next to the Blackthorn Gym,” a young woman with carmine hair said from behind them. Drew kept his cool, turning around quickly to see who had spoken. May wasn’t quite so composed, leaping up in the air with a shriek of surprise only to land and trip over Flygon’s tail, sending her sprawling on her back in the dust.

    “Oops,” the girl said, giggling and holding out a hand to help her up. “Sorry May, I didn’t mean to startle you like that.” Grudgingly, May took her hand and clambered to her feet. “How do you know who I am?” she asked. A shadow of disappointment crossed the girl’s face.

    “You don’t remember me?” she asked. May studied the girl carefully; the style of her short, reddish hair was familiar, as was the yellow tank-top that she wore. Realization began to dawn as a Masquerain and Vibrava appeared from behind her, and she looked at the girl’s face more closely. Yes, it was a face she knew well, although it had filled out and matured well since she had last seen her all those years ago. Speaking of filling out, she wasn’t sure where this chest that rivalled her own in size had come from; but there was no longer any doubt in her mind.

    “Brianna?” she asked at last. The girl gave a huge grin and threw her arms around May.

    “I knew you’d remember me!” she laughed, “I knew it! How have you been? Still doing Contests, I guess?”

    “I’ve been great,” May beamed. “Drew and I are together now, and yeah I’m still doing contests. The first three ribbons came by really easily, but the fourth one took a while. Now I’m on my last chance to get a fifth before the Grand Festival. How about you? Finally travelling around to become a Contest Master?”

    “Hmm? No...” she said slowly, a shadow across her face. “I tried it out for a little while, but I realized while I love watching Contests, I don’t actually enjoy competing in them that much. So I switched to Gyms. I decided to try out Johto before going back to Kanto, and now I only need one more badge. I’ve been to the Gym once today, but Clair wasn’t in; she’s supposed to be one of the toughest Gym Leaders there is, mostly thanks to her Dragon-types.” Drew’s eyes lit up.

    “She’s a dragon trainer?” he asked with interest. Brianna turned to him, her face suddenly a bright crimson.

    “Yeah, that’s right. I think she gives out badges after a three-on-three battle. Why, are you interested?” Drew shook his head.

    “Not for a badge,” he chuckled. “I’ll be a Coordinator my entire life; I love it too much to give it up. But I would like to challenge her to a one-on-one match with my Flygon; Dragon-types are really hard to raise, and I’d like to see what she thinks about mine. If anybody knows how good a job I’m doing, it’s her.” He eyed her up and down quickly, his eyes lingering at certain points. “It’s been a while since I last saw you too, Brianna,” he said softly. “You’ve grown up a lot; and I mean grown up! You’re looking really good.” She blushed in response.

    “I’m not the only one,” she murmured, feeling tongue-tied. “Want to go check out the Gym now then? I’m sure she must be back by now.”

    “I’d love to,” he grinned, recalling Flygon. “Show me the way!” May cleared her throat noisily as the two started off towards the Gym.

    “What about me?” she asked, as they paused and turned. “What am I supposed to do?”

    “The Pokemon Centre is just over there,” Drew said, pointing to the side. “Why don’t you book us a room for tonight and give your Pokemon a check-up?”

    “Oh... okay... I guess,” she said quietly as they turned and walked off once again.

    “Bye May!” Brianna called cheerfully over her shoulder. “See you later, okay?”

    “Yeah... whatever...” she muttered, watching them walk away. With a sinking feeling in her heart, she turned and moved toward the Pokemon Centre.

    “I mean, we’ve only been together two days, but I’ve liked him for so long. I was really happy when he asked me, but things just... they don’t seem right to me, Brock,” May complained into the videophone.

    “Why do you say that?” Brock asked.

    “Well, before my last Contest he’d told me that the one in Ecruteak City was the last of the region. Then after I lost there and he asked me out, he told me that he’d lied and the last Contest was here in Blackthorn. He said that it was to try and take the pressure off, since Solidad is entering the Blackthorn Contest. But that just adds more pressure to me, you know? And it really hurts that he’d just lie so easily to me.”

    “It’s a small thing, but if he bothers to lie about something so small... it really brings up an issue of trust,” Brock mused.

    “Exactly! I mean, why even bother lying? There was no reason too... And now he’s just left me alone while he goes off to the Gym with Brianna...”

    “Brianna?” Brock asked, frowning in thought. “You mean that girl from Kanto who had a crush on Drew?”

    “Yeah, that’s her,” May groused. “They just took off for the Gym without inviting me. Would it take so much to be polite?” She sighed. “It just hurts... Drew and I are supposed to be together, but it feels like he’s treating me worse than he did when we first became rivals.”

    “Well...” Brock said, hesitating. “Give it time. This whole relationship thing is new to both of you; maybe he just needs time for it to sink in.”

    “Yeah... maybe...” she said quietly. “Thanks Brock.”

    “No problem, May. Call me any time you need,” he said.

    “I will... How’s Ash doing?” she asked.

    “Oh, he’s doing great! You know he won the Sinnoh league a couple weeks ago, right?”

    “I didn’t!” she said, surprised. “I’ve doing a lot of travelling recently. When I was in Ecruteak, it was the first time I’d been in a town for a month.”

    “Well, it was really close in the end. And he beat his rival Paul in the finals, which made the victory even sweeter. Now he can take on the Elite Four challenge. If he beats a member from each region, as well as the Elite Champion, he’ll be recognized as a Pokemon Master. His first match is against Agatha of Kanto. He knows she’s a Ghost-type trainer, so he’s been spending a lot of time thinking about what Pokemon to use against her.”

    “That’s really great,” she said, trying to be enthusiastic. “Give him my congratulations and wish him luck from me, okay?”

    “Sure thing,” he said, before hesitating again. “Are you sure you’re okay, May?”

    “I’ll be alright,” she said evasively, disconnecting the call. Sighing, she got up from the videophone’s desk and threw herself backwards onto the bed. Closing her eyes, she immersed herself in thoughts and memories. She wasn’t sure exactly how much passed, but it was a good while later when Drew finally let himself into their room.

    “How was your battle?” she asked without opening her eyes.

    “I lost,” he sighed. “Her Dragon-types are incredibly powerful. I’ve never seen those kinds of moves used so effectively. Flygon didn’t last more than a couple of turns; even my Contest techniques didn’t faze her. But on the plus side, I learned a lot. Maybe one day Flygon will be able to give a good match to even a Salamence. I should visit Gyms more often... Try and work their strategy into mine for Contests...”

    “How did Brianna do?” May asked, sitting up.

    “Her match was close, but she lost too,” Drew answered. “She’s gonna try again in a few days, and give her Pokemon some rest time until then. We’re going to take a look around Blackthorn City tomorrow, and maybe spend some time in the Ice Cave too.”

    “That sounds like fun,” May said, forcing herself to sound cheerful. “I can’t wait to take a look around the Ice Cave either.”

    “Well... The thing is,” Drew began haltingly.

    “You don’t want me to come along,” May said, dropping the happy tone and crossing her arms.

    “It’s not that we wouldn’t you like to come with us,” Drew said quickly. “It’s just that, you know, your time would probably be better spent training. There’s just over two weeks left to go until the Contest; don’t you think your time would be better spent spending that time training if you want to beat Solidad? You both have four ribbons; one of you is going to miss out on the Grand Festival. If you want to beat her, you’ll have to train as much as possible.”

    “So you don’t think I’m good enough to beat her?” May demanded, her temper flaring.

    “No,” Drew said, choosing his words carefully. “I’m saying that since you know Solidad will be training her heart out for this competition, so you should be too.” May sighed, giving up the argument.

    “Fine, whatever; I’ll spend all day training tomorrow.”

    “Great,” Drew smiled, getting into his bed. “You should spend some time with Ledian; she’s got a nice array of attacks and she combines them well, but she just isn’t strong enough for this level of competition. If you really train her, she’ll be ready in time for the competition.”

    “Maybe... I’d been planning on using Munchlax and Bulbasaur though,” May answered.

    “Whatever you want,” Drew shrugged, “it’s your choice. Goodnight.”

    “Goodnight, Drew,” May said quietly.

    And so it continued. For the remainder of the week, May spent each and every day training the Pokemon she had on hand. They worked on movement, their speed and the timing they needed to execute a perfect dodge. Attacks were refined as they focused on making each attack as quick as possible, and improved their accuracy. Blaziken even managed to use two attacks simultaneously, a technique that was almost impossible to pull off because of the amount of willpower required.

    But while she spent those days working hard with her Pokemon, Drew was nowhere in sight. Each and every day, instead of helping May with her training and giving her the encouragement she needed, he chose to spend his time with Brianna. She wasn’t exactly sure what they were doing; Drew tended to be rather vague about that. She could only assume that they were exploring Blackthorn City, the surrounding area, and in Brianna’s case, rechallenging the Gym Leader.

    “Bulbasaur, combine Razor Leaf and Vine Whip!” May ordered.

    “Saur!” Bulbasaur grunted, trying to combine the two attacks with all of her might; only a single vine extended and hit the target. “Bul...” Bulbasaur said sadly.

    “It’s okay, Bulbasaur,” May sighed. “I know it’s hard, but it’ll be worth it in the end. It’s really difficult for any Pokemon to escape a dual attack; you’ll get it soon.”

    “So, you’re trying to teach your Bulbasaur how to do a dual attack?” an unfamiliar voice asked from behind her. Jumping a little, May turned to see a tall, lithe woman dressed in a tight form-fitting blue suit that had a black-shoulder trim and a dark red cape. Her long blue hair was tied into a tight ponytail that snaked partway down her back. The only word May could possibly use to describe her was “stunning”.

    “Uhh... yeah, I am,” she answered. “My Blaziken can do it, so now I’m trying to teach it to my Bulbasaur too.”

    “Mind showing me your Blaziken’s dual attack?” the woman asked with a raised eyebrow. “I’d like to see it.”

    “Sure, I guess,” May answered, calling out the massive fire-type. “Blaziken, use a Fire Spin and Mega Kick combo!”

    “Blaze-ah-kehn!” the fire-type roared, spewing out a jet of streaming fire while running towards the flame with its feet glowing blue. Moving quickly and without warning, the woman stepped forward, directly into the path of the attacks.

    “No!” May screamed. “Blaziken, stop!” It was too late; the Mega Kick smashed directly into the woman at full force, knocking her backwards into the flame. Fearing the worst, May ran towards her Pokemon and the woman, berating herself for allowing Blaziken to show off the attacks so close to the strange woman. Her worry was completely unfounded, however, as the woman stepped forwards from the smoke, casually brushing some dirt off of her short sleeves, completely unharmed.

    “I see,” she said, eying May’s Blaziken. “Your Blaziken may be able to launch two attacks at once, but there is no power in them.”

    “What?” May asked, open-mouthed. “That’s ridiculous!”

    “I should have been hurt by those attacks,” the woman replied. “But I wasn’t. You don’t have to believe what I say if you don’t want to, but you can’t deny what your eyes tell you. Now, I can teach you about dual attacks, if you like. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know more about them than most people.”

    “Why would you want to do that?” May asked suspiciously.

    “Because,” the woman replied patiently, “I’m a teacher... of sorts. I enjoy helping others, and if I enjoy making people into stronger battlers. I don’t want to sound vain, but there aren’t many people who are at my skill level when it comes to battling. It gets boring, demolishing one opponent after another. I want to help improve people’s battling skills, because then my own battles will become more enjoyable. So, would you like me to tell you?”

    “Uhh... Sure, I guess,” May answered.

    “Excellent. Now, I’ll start with a little background knowledge which everyone should know, but few actually do. Pokemon are not the same beings as humans. They are composed of a myriad of different elemental types; humans are not. This elemental composition means that all Pokemon have a fairly unstable genetic coding. Some, such as Eevee, have more unstable codes than others.

    “There are eighteen different elemental types that a Pokemon can be made up of. Each element is found within a Pokemon’s genetic code, although only one or two are dominant in a species. Grimer, for instance, has the Poison element as its dominant type, while Blaziken has two dominant elements; Fire and Fighting. The ability for a Pokemon to use attacks is dependent on the elements that they are composed of. Bulbasaur, a Grass- and Poison- type Pokemon, is best able to use Grass- and Poison-type attacks. Even though it contains the Water-type element in its genes, it cannot use Water-type attacks such as Bubble or Hydro Pump. Are you following me?” May nodded.

    “Good. Now, on some occasions a Pokemon can be tricked into using an attack that it shouldn’t be able to learn naturally. A Starmie using Thunderbolt is one example, and a Blastoise using Earthquake is another. This takes a lot of time to teach a Pokemon because it requires physical manipulation of the environment, as opposed to naturally using the elements for your own advantage.”

    “I don’t really understand,” May said.

    “When a Pokemon uses an attack, it is manipulating the elements for its own use,” the woman explained. “It’s important to remember that every attack requires energy. In their most simple form, attacks
    are energy. A Flamethrower and an Ice Beam are really the same attack; it’s just different Pokemon using the same energy, and manipulating it into their own predominant element. Pokemon also only have a finite amount of energy that can be used. In battles you often find that as the Pokemon gets weaker, so do its attacks.”

    “I think I get that now,” May said, comprehension dawning on her face.

    “Good, now we can move onto dual attacks,” the woman said. “It’s relatively simple from here on in. When a Pokemon begins to use double attacks, the attacks become much weaker. To use an attack, a Pokemon must use the energy stored in their body. Two attacks require twice the energy of one, and that is impossible for a Pokemon to do. What happens is that half the energy goes into one attack, and half the energy into another; this makes both

    attacks half as powerful as they would be when used as a standalone move. For your Blaziken to use a dual Fire Spin and Mega Kick with the same power as one alone, it would have to be twice as powerful as it is now. And if you did that, just one of its attacks would be twice as powerful as it is now.”

    “So you’re basically saying that teaching my Pokemon to use dual attacks is a complete waste of time,” May sighed. The woman raised an eyebrow.

    “And when did I say that?” she asked. “There is no doubting that a single attack will always be more powerful than a dual attack. But dual attacks can be very useful, depending on the situation. You can trap a Pokemon and attack at the same time, for instance. And when a Pokemon uses dual attacks, it grows stronger much more quickly than it would otherwise. No, there are definite advantages to using dual attacks; it just depends on where and how you use them. Keep working at it, and keep it simple too. Instead of calling for a dual Mega Kick and Fire Spin, for example, try calling it a Mega Spin, or a Fire Kick. It makes it easier for the Pokemon by doing that too.”

    “Thanks,” May said gratefully, “I will. Thank you for teaching me all of this.”

    “No problem at all,” the woman said, holding out her hand. “I’d love to battle you too, once you’ve practiced some more. Are you entering the Contest?”

    “Yeah, I’ve already registered and everything,” May said, shaking the woman’s hand. “If I win, it’ll be the last ribbon I need for the Grand Festival. Are you entering?”

    “I might,” the woman said, flicking a stray strand of hair away from her eyes. “It depends on how busy my battle schedule is. I tend to get challenged more often this time of year. In fact, I have a rematch lined up in twenty minutes.”

    “I guess lots of people like challenging themselves against a tough wandering trainer like you, huh?” May asked.

    “Wandering trainer? Oh no,” the woman answered laughing. “My name’s Clair, and I’m the Blackthorn City Gym Leader. And I’d better get moving or I’ll be late for the match. See you later!” Humming to herself, Clair walked off quickly, heading in the direction of the Gym. May stared after her, almost in shock.

    “No wonder she knew so much about it,” she murmured. “I just got taught by one of the most powerful Gym Leaders in the world, and I didn’t even realize it!”

    Drew entered the room grumpily, slamming the door on his way inside.

    “Everything okay?” May asked.

    “No, it’s not,” Drew growled. “We both lost to that damned Gym Leader again. Brianna did even worse than last time. It’s ridiculous.” There was an uncomfortable pause for a moment before he began speaking again. “May, I have something really important to talk to you about,” he said.

    “What’s that?” she asked.

    “It’s over,” he said flatly. “It’s over between us. I thought we had something special, but we don’t. I can’t be with someone I don’t feel anything for anymore.”

    “What? But... it’s been so long!” she said, tears rising in her eyes.

    “We’ve only been together a week.”

    “We’ve only been in a relationship for a week! We’ve loved each other for years!”

    “I thought I did... But I confused love for lust. May, I only loved you because of your chest,” he said bitterly.

    “Drew... please, don’t do this,” she begged. “I love you...”

    “Well I don’t love you!” he shouted, his temper rising. “We don’t connect, May! We have nothing in common besides Contests and a love of roses! So don’t even try pleading me to change my mind with your sad, big eyes, because it won’t work! I don’t love you, May; I love Brianna.”

    “No... It’s not true,” she whispered. “It can’t be true.”

    “It is true,” Drew said coldly. “Now get out of my room; Brianna’s sleeping in here with me tonight. I’m sure she won’t mind if you take hers.”

    Sobbing, May ran out of the room, out of the Pokemon Centre, out of Drew’s life. She moved blindly, her hands covering her face in a vain attempt to prevent tears leaking from her eyes. She didn’t know where she was going; she didn’t care. Her heart burned painfully, and it wasn’t from the exertion of running. She would never have guessed just how much a broken heart could hurt. She ran and ran until at last, her muscles screaming with agony, she collapsed.

    As the sun dropped below the horizon and the stars came out, as the moon moved across the sky, she stayed there unmoving, unable to concentrate on anything except for the pain in her heart. Lost in her misery, she was unaware of how much time passed before she was roused by a tap on the shoulder? Tears blurring her vision, she groaned as she saw one of the last people she wanted to see at that moment.

    “What’s the matter, Hun? Sleeping rough tonight?”

    “Go away, Harley,” she growled. He frowned, seeing the sadness in her eyes.

    “What happened?” he asked, kneeling down beside her. She hesitated a moment before answering.

    “Drew split up with me for another girl,” she answered, fresh tears coming to her eyes. She half-expected him to make a snide remark in reply, or jump around shouting with joy. She was surprised.

    “Do you want to talk about it?” he asked gently.

    “What is there to tell?” she asked. “I loved him, he didn’t love me. All he wanted were my breasts. When he couldn’t get those, he threw me aside like I was a piece of rotten fruit and went on to somebody who would give him what he wanted.” She looked bitterly at the ground. “I gave him my heart, Harley, and he threw it back in my face.”

    “Every bright cloud has a silver lining,” he said gently. “Right now you’re in a lot of pain, but you’ll come out of this as a stronger and better person. You’ll see, May.”


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One week later...

    “I finally beat her, Drew,” Brianna said, a tight smile on her face. “I finally beat Clair and won the badge.”

    “That’s great, Brianna,” Drew replied, lounging easily on the bed, his hands behind his head and his shirt discarded on the floor.

    “Drew?” she asked.

    “Hmm?”

    “I, uh... I have something really important to talk to you about.”

    “What’s that?” he asked.

    “It’s over,” she said flatly.

    “What?” he shouted, jumping to his feet.

    “I’ve had a crush on you for a long time, and I thought it was love. But... it wasn’t,” she said. “I’ve found someone better; someone who really knows how to handle me.”

    “Who?” he whispered, feeling crushed. She turned and looked back into the hallway.

    “You can come in,” she called with a big smile. Drew’s eyes grew huge as he saw who it was.

    “No way,” he whispered.

    “Hey, Honey-bun,” Harley said jovially as he walked into the room. “How are you doing today?”

    “Brianna... How could you possibly pick Harley over me?” Drew shouted. “This is a joke, right? Right?”

    “This is no joke,” Brianna said, looking at Harley lovingly. “He’s everything I’ve ever wanted.”

    “But... why?” Drew asked, desperation tinged in his voice. “Why would you fall in love with Harley, of all people!”

    “Well, like I said before,” Brianna said with a slight blush. “He really knows how to handle me, if you know what I mean. And the way he dresses like a Cacturne is so adorable! But now we should probably go; I’m sure you’re upset and we don’t want to bother you.” Harley looked at Drew as Brianna walked out of the room, the smile gone from his face.

    “And now,” he said, barely constrained rage evident in his voice, “now you know how May felt.” He gave the stunned Coordinator a supremely disdainful look before turning to follow Brianna. Only one word that he’d said appeared to register with the native of Larousse City, however.

    “May,” he whispered. “I’ve got to go after May...”

    “I need you back, May,” he pleaded to the stony-faced Coordinator. “I made a mistake, and I admit that. I should have never broken-up with you like that over something this silly. Please say you’ll take me back, May. Please.” May sighed.

    “I can’t take you back,” she said softly. “How can I when you’ve hurt me so badly? If I were to take you back, I would be living with the fear that you’d leave me again for the rest of my life. I can’t do it; I just can’t.”

    “You’re making a mistake,’ he warned.

    “My only mistake was in letting myself be deluded by your claims of love in the first place,” she snapped angrily.

    “If you leave me here, I won’t stop following you until we’re together,” he retorted, a dark look in his eyes.

    “Good luck with trying to do that,” she said, standing up. “You have a Grand Festival to compete in; I don’t. Goodbye, Drew.” She stormed out of the room, leaving him standing there feeling slightly dazed. He didn’t think it could have possibly gone worse.

    Standing in turn, he began pacing the room. As the memory of recent events began to assail him once more, he realized just what he had lost. He’d lost his friends, his rivals, and the people he loved. This was not something he could casually shrug off. This would haunt him forever. When the enormity of his actions struck him, Drew lost his mind.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Drew!” May screamed, waking from the nightmare of her past. She bolted upright, her eyes wild. “Stay away from me!” she screamed. “I’ll never go back to you, never!” Two strong hands clamped around her arms, holding her in place for a moment before leaning her gently backwards.

    “It’s okay, May,” Ash said reassuringly. “You’re safe now. We got the pustule on your chest out, and you should make a full recovery. You could have died if it wasn’t for our Pokemon, including your new Charmander.”

    “I have a Charmander?” she asked blankly. Ash frowned.

    “Do you remember anything that’s happened, May?” he asked in concern.

    “I remember running down a hill and a Pokemon that I’ve never seen before,” she said slowly. “Then the next thing I remember is waking up just now.”

    “Well, everything’s that happened is a really long story,” Ash said. “After meeting Mewtwo, you got sick. We don’t know what it was, but we think it may be a variant of the Pokerus. Whatever the disease was, it caused a pustule to form on your chest. We had to dig it out or you would have died, and during this whole ordeal the egg that I gave you evolved into a Charmander.”

    “Wow,” May said after a moment’s pause. She looked down at her chest and frowned. “How come there’s no mark or scar?” she asked.

    “Blissey and Sudowudo used Heal Bell to regrow your skin, and then Latias used Recover to regenerate the tissue and blood that was lost. It was incredible the way it reformed; I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    “Ah,” she said, and yawned. “I’m really tired,” she said softly. Ash immediately lowered her down gently onto the bed.

    “Sorry, May,” he said. “We’ll let you sleep.”

    “Thanks,” she said, and then after a moment’s pause, “Ash?”

    “Yes May?”

    “How come nobody put a shirt on me after I was healed?” Ash blushed.

    “I’ll get you one now,” he said hurriedly, stepping out of the recovery room and into the room where May had been operated on.

    “Ash,” Brock said sombrely when he saw his friend enter. “We’ve got a major problem.”

    “What’s that?” Ash asked, bending to pick up May’s discarded shirt.

    “You remember how Professor Oak wasn’t answering when May was losing all of that blood?”

    “Yeah...”

    “Paul was in your house. He wanted the GS Ball and was threatening your Mom with his Scyther. Professor Oak couldn’t talk to us because he was trying to stop Paul from hurting her.” Ash froze, his heart thundering in his chest.

    “And... and does he know that we have it?” he asked.

    “He does,” Brock said, and hesitated. “I told him when Professor Oak asked whether we still had it; I didn’t realize he was there.”

    “Does he know where we are?” he asked, a dry fear in his throat.

    “He does,” Brock answered. He stepped forward and looked Ash straight in the eyes. “Ash; he knows where we are and he knows that we can’t go anywhere because of May. He’s already on his way.”

    “We’re in danger,” Ash muttered. He looked up, worry in his eyes. “Maybe I should just give him what he wants,” he said quietly. Brock looked at him, aghast.

    “You can’t!” he said.

    “It’s just an old Poke Ball,” Ash protested.

    “You and I both know that’s not true,” Brock snapped. “There’s more to this than what we know at the surface. Mewtwo said that May had a dark presence around her. I don’t know why that is, but I’m guessing it was the GS Ball. And what would Paul want with a 400 year-old Poke Ball anyways? It doesn’t add up, Ash. Paul was always nasty towards you, but by the time your rivalry finished he was just dark. I don’t know why he wants the GS Ball so badly, but the last thing we should do is give it to him.”

    “So what do we do?” Ash asked hopelessly.

    “If I know Paul, he’ll use his Pokemon to get the GS Ball for him,” Brock said, pacing. “We could get in touch with Lt. Surge, but I don’t think he and Forrest combined could hold Paul off for more than a couple of minutes. The only person who has a chance of beating him is you.”

    “So you think I should battle him for it,” Ash said.

    “Your Pokemon are the strongest around, and unlike Paul you have more than six with you thanks to your Ex-Dex. And you’re the only trainer Paul has ever been afraid of.”

    “Paul, afraid of me?” Ash snorted.

    “It’s true, and you know it’s true,” Brock said quietly. “It’s obvious from the way he treated you at the start.”

    “I don’t believe it, but you’re right that I’m the only one who has any real chance at beating him,” Ash said. He sighed and looked down at Pikachu, sleeping next to the baby Charmander in the tattered remains of May’s backpack. He slipped a hand inside his pocket and clenched the ancient GS Ball tightly.

    “Looks like we’re in for a real battle,” he murmured.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Max looked down at the prone, unconscious body of Drew disdainfully. Dirt matted the Coordinator's once immaculately clean face, and tears coursing down his cheeks had carved deep rivulets in the skin. He looked dead, but the steady rise and fall of his chest revealed the life that remained within.

    "You killed her, Drew," he whispered. "She gave you everything, and you gave her Hell."

    A great shudder ran down the young trainer's body. Tears sparkled in his eyes, clouding his vision and causing him to take great shuddering gasps. A torrent of unchecked emotions ran through his mind, and he dropped to the ground next to the half-dead man he hated.

    "What have I done?" he whispered into the wind. "What have I done?"
    My fanfictions
    Advanceshipping: Final Challenge
    Pikashipping: Raikou's Test, Emotions
    Pearlshipping: Searching for Truth
    Other: Reaching Out, Welcome Home

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