Anyway, I hope that you've been enjoying the story so far. It's very rare to have a viewer that comes here through the link in my sig.
Well, after over five months of waiting, here's another chapter of "The Truth Beneath the Iris." I could go on about what you can expect in this chapter, but who wants to hear me ramble after not making any updates in months? Chapter 9, everybody.
“Iris, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about this earlier.”
“I already know that you’re sorry, but it still doesn’t change the fact that you still did that and didn’t even bother to tell me!”
These were the first few sentences to grace Deino’s ears as she remained hidden from Ash and Iris’s sight behind the aged remains of a brick wall. Although it was something that would normally be considered rude, Deino could not help but follow Ash and Iris and eavesdrop on their conversation. It was a bad habit that seemed to plague her, but it was one of the few hobbies she had that managed to keep her constantly entertained. Even though the feeling was common for her, Deino could not help but feel nervous about the idea of being caught. If only to calm these nerves, she would occasionally remind herself that even if she does get caught, she could simply scare her pursuer and run away just as easily. Finally feeling free enough from her own insecurities, Deino continued to listen to the argument, making sure not to get caught in the process as she interpreted who was speaking.
“But it’s not that big of a deal, is it? You never got this upset when you found out that I caught Palpitoad,” Ash complained, his voice sounding shaky as if to signify his own fear and confusion.
“Not that big of a-,“ Iris shouted, but quickly caught herself before she went any farther. With nothing more than a short sigh and a burst of inaudible muttering, The young Dragon Trainer quickly regained her composure and continued to speak. “Palpitoad was a wild Pokémon that was more than capable of defending himself at the time, but Deino was an injured Pokémon that just came out of the Pokémon Center, and even now, she may still be suffering from her previous injuries. You can’t just capture a Pokémon when it’s in that condition to begin with!”
Even in spite of the seriousness of the conversation, Deino could not help but laugh silently to herself as she listened to Iris’s strained attempts to stay as calm as possible. At the same time, however, she also felt somewhat happy. It was the first time that a human ever showed concern for her own well-being, and even though this feeling of importance was alien to her, it was a feeling that she enjoyed even more so than the ones she got whenever she was spying on others. With another glance towards the tent behind her, Deino once again focused her attention towards Ash and Iris.
“Trust me, Iris. I didn’t want to catch her that way either, but I didn’t have any other choice at the time,” Ash said with feelings of irritation.
“Huh?” Iris quickly responded, making both Ash and Deino realize his sudden slip-up. “Did something happen to Deino while I was gone yesterday?”
“No, nothing important happened,” Ash lied in a vain attempt to cover up his own mistake.
“Don’t try to cover it up now. Your injuries yesterday clearly said something else.” Iris pointed out, asserting the fact that she still did not forget the events of that day. “Now, tell me. What happened yesterday while I was away?”
“Well, I guess the secret is out now,” Deino thought to herself after hearing Iris’s solid attempts at interrogation. “Ash is going to tell Iris what I did, and then she’s going to hate me, too. I guess I should’ve figured that this visit wasn’t going to last long,” Deino continued with a sad expression as she began to take another look at her surroundings. “But, this trip hasn’t been too bad. A few things might’ve happened, but I got to meet some good people and Pokémon, especially-,” But before she could complete this thought and start her long walk back home, she heard something that baffled both Iris and herself.
“…I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you that, Iris.” Deino could only give a look of surprise after hearing these words. She was not listening hard enough to discern who exactly said these words, but she already had a good idea of who said them.
“What was that, Ash?” Iris said, feeling equally surprised, but angry as well.
“You heard what I said, and I mean it. I can’t tell you what happened yesterday,” Ash asserted with the fear that was in his voice before suddenly gone.
“What are you doing, Ash? You’re just going to make things worse for yourself,” Deino thought as she slowly walked towards the end of the wall and look behind it to see Iris’s face, which only seemed to express more and more anger over time.
“Ash, I’m just trying to figure out what happened on that day while I was away so that I can help, but you’re not making this any easier,” Iris said, still struggling to contain her own anger as she continued. “I’m asking you one last time for both Deino’s sake and your own. What. Happened. On. That. Day?” The Kanto Trainer could only offer one last moment of silence before he gave his answer.
“I understand how you’re feeling, and again, I’m very sorry, but I made a promise to a friend, and I intend to keep it no matter what.”
“I- Is he serious?!” Deino thought with what could only be described as utter shock on her face. “He’s really willing to go that far for me, a dragon that has only caused him nothing but trouble?!” For once, Deino had reflected upon her own actions, but that time became short-lived when she began to hear a shout of anger.
“I don’t care what kind of promise you made to that jerk, Vincent! I’m worried more about Deino’s well-being!” Iris yelled as she approached a now frightened Ash as if ready to hurt him. Deino could only stand speechless as she watched her trainer back away from an enraged Iris and eventually stumble to the ground with a short wince of pain.
As Deino continued to watch, she began to feel a mixture of different emotions welling up inside of her. Was it anger? Fear? Sadness? Whatever emotions they were, she did not like them, and they only continued to build as she continued to watch Iris prepare to injure Ash even further in front of her very eyes. Unable to take these emotions any longer, she soon found her own mind going blank as she began to run out of hiding.
“Stop!” Deino shouted, not thinking of what she was doing as she bared her fangs. After hearing Deino’s shout, Iris quickly stopped her progression and both she and Ash, who was now sitting a short distance away from the formally enraged girl, focused their attention towards the nearby Deino. Almost instantly, the first thing that the two children noticed was the poignant aura that seemed to emanate from her very being. Although they could not actually see her aura, it was very clear to them that Deino was feeling distraught. Being the first to recover from this shock, Iris began to slowly calm down as she watched Deino run in front of Ash, ready to fight if necessary.
“A- Ash! I’m so sorry!” Iris quickly apologized with a hand toward her own mouth after realizing what she had done. “I wasn’t thinking straight when I did that! Are you hurt?”
“Don’t worry, Iris. I’m okay,” Ash responded as he attempted to hold in the pain he was feeling right now. “You were just concerned for Deino’s safety.”
As the two children continued to share their concerns with one another, Deino began to slowly calm down as well and regain awareness of her surroundings. With the tension finally clear, there a short moment of silence, and Iris began to speak once again.
“Ash, I know that you made a promise, but can you please tell me what happened while I was gone? I want to help as much as I can with whatever the problem is. I’ll promise not to get mad or tell anyone else. Just…tell me.” For a moment, both Ash and Deino began to share deep gazes with one another after hearing Iris’s request. Iris could only wait in anticipation as Ash and Deino continued to look at one another, but after what felt like a century, the twosome broke their gaze with one another and Ash began to speak.
“I guess we don’t really have much of a choice now, so okay. It all started after I got Deino back from the Pokémon Center…”
Ash could remember it all quite clearly, and as he recounted the previous days' events to Iris, it was almost like seeing them as if he were there again...
The Pokémon Center was in quite a bustling state for being located in a village so remote. It was a small village, too, also adding to the oddity of the diner-like noise level. Then again, there was a popular local tournament about to take place, which might explain the number of young native trainers present. Ash was sitting away from it all, elbows rested on his knees and chin supported in his hands. Pikachu was with him, but Ash was currently not paying him much attention. The simple fact was that Cilan and Georgia had duped him into taking that Deino from the Pokémon Center when he would much rather be taking a walk around the village. At least Iris wasn't around to embarrass him further.
“Why do I have to be the one that has to pick up Deino from here?” Ash mumbled to himself as he continued to wait in a chair for Nurse Joy to call him to the counter nearby. “I really wanted to wander around the village and maybe battle a few trainers so that I could prepare for the tournament, but now I’m stuck here as a babysitter.”
“You could’ve just said no and have Cilan go. It’s not like he has anything important to do most of the time,” Pikachu commented, feeling somewhat irritated by his trainer’s complaining as he attempted to relax in the seat beside him.
“I know I could’ve said no, but…” Ash trailed off as he attempted to gather his thoughts. “But once Cilan started talking about how happy Iris would be if I did this for her, I couldn’t help but say yes. I’m just doing this for a friend, but since when did I suddenly care so much about what she thinks?”
“Ash Ketchum, please report to the counter immediately. Your Pokémon is ready,” the intercom rang, snapping Ash out of his train of thought.
“Let’s go, Pikachu,” Ash said as he rose from his seat and walked towards the counter, his partner following closely behind him as he continued to talk to himself. “Well, it’ll be nice to learn more about Deino, and even while I’m taking care of her, I can still get some training in, so I guess it’s not a total loss. Who knows? Maybe she’ll become close friends with us and the other Pokémon.” Ash could only continue to talk about these ideas before he eventually decided to look up and focus on the real world before him; although, all he could really see that caught his attention right now was a Nurse Joy that seemed to be eyeing him with suspicion and pity and a Deino standing on the counter that seemed to be scanning the entire room that she was in.
“…Well, anyway, I’m happy to tell you that Deino has fully recovered from her injuries,” Nurse Joy said with a straight face that slowly formed a small, but noticeable smile as she continued. “And don’t worry. Most trainers do that all the time when they travel by themselves.”
“Umm, thank you, Nurse Joy,” Ash said as he reached out to grab Deino, only to be scared away by Deino’s sudden reaction to his motion towards her.
“Don’t touch me,” Deino snapped, her full attention towards the startled trainer as he took a step away from the wary dragon. For a moment, there was silence between them, but once Deino felt safe, she slowly lowered her guard, and with a quick hop, left the counter and landed by Pikachu’s side. Ash could only watch her with astonishment and maybe jealousy as she began to socialize with his partner Pokémon.
“Hey, Ash,” Nurse Joy called.
“Yes?” Ash responded, his attention shifting away from the two Pokémon beside him and towards the pink-haired nurse.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you before about where you found Deino earlier. Was she somewhere nearby?”
“Yeah,” Ash answered. “My friends and I found i-…her near a rock that was close to the village.”
“Hmm, if that’s where you found her,” Nurse Joy said, putting extra emphasis on “her”. “She probably came from that place.”
“And ‘that place’ is…” Ash asked out of curiosity before Nurse Joy continued.
“A bit of a distance away from here, there’s a nest where many Deinos and Zweilous’ can be found. Every once in a while, a few of them will travel to the village, but…”
“Well, what is it?” Ash asked, unwilling to wait through the suspense.
“Oh, sorry, but…” Nurse Joy said before looking towards Ash’s feet, much to his confusion. “Weren’t Pikachu and Deino right beside you earlier?”
“What?” Ash said, quickly succumbing to shock before he turned to see that, like Nurse Joy had said, Pikachu and Deino had disappeared. “Where did those two go?!”
“There’s no need to panic,” Nurse Joy told Ash before he could get too loud. “Those two should be okay so long as they have a Poké Ball to go back to; but considering where you found Deino and…” she trailed off after seeing how much more troubled he looked as she continued. “Yeah, we should probably go find them now. I’ll go look inside the center while you look outside.”
“Okay, I’ll go look for them now,” Ash responded before making a beeline for the exit.
“Wait!” Nurse Joy commanded, stopping Ash in his tracks before he could turn the knob. With a swift movement, an agitated Ash turned around to look at Nurse Joy once again before she continued. “If I find them here, I’ll send an Audino out to find you. Oh! And if Deino is from where I think she is, then whatever you do, do not frighten her in any way.”
“Thank you, Nurse Joy,” Ash quickly responded before opening the door and leaving the building.
“It’s very important that you-“ but before she could finish, the door had already closed and taken Ash out of earshot. She knew that there was something more pressing to tell him, but she knew her responsibilities at the Pokémon Center were more important. With nothing more than a look of regret, she returned to the room behind the counter, ready to search for the lost Pokémon.
No sooner than he exited the Pokémon Center, Ash had already started his search for his partner Pokémon and the wayward Deino. With his Unfezant soaring overhead, Ash began his search on the ground. He started his search by asking the villagers about the whereabouts of Deino and Pikachu, but with each question he asked, he was constantly met with nervous reactions and general cluelessness. It troubled Ash to see that his efforts to find the two Pokémon were fruitless, with the only sigh of relief coming after the return of his Unfezant, who appeared to feel proud and useful at the moment. Ash took this as a sign of success on her part and eagerly followed the unmasked bird to the apparent location of the missing Pokémon, but all he found was disappointment when all he was led to was a tall tree inhabited by a few Pidoves.
“…I don’t see Pikachu and Deino here at all,” Ash said to his Unfezant as she hovered near her trainer.
“I could’ve sworn that they were here just a minute ago,” Unfezant complained with a sad expression on her gray, unmasked face as she lowered herself to the ground.
“Don’t worry, Unfezant,” Ash said as he crouched down to comfort Unfezant. “It was your first time doing this, so don’t feel bad. We’ll find them.” Unfezant could only give a small groan before being returned to her Poké Ball in a red flash of light.
“Well, that didn’t work as well as I thought it would,” Ash thought to himself as he sat cross-legged in the grass beside the tree. “Then again, it’s only worked on Team Rocket before. Everyone else is busy, so what do I do now?” Ash could only continue to think of a new plan as the Pidoves in the tree continued to chirp. The soft melodies they created easily matched the laid-back nature of the village, and eventually, they made Ash nod off once or twice. They gave him some peace of mind, and soon afterward, an idea.
“That’s it!” Ash shouted as he sprung back to his feet and reached inside of his coat pocket to grab a Poké Ball. “Oshawott, come on out!” He shouted again with enthusiasm, and with a throw of the inflated sphere, a bright, white light burst forth from it to reveal the sea otter, who appeared to be stretching out as if to grab something.
“Whoa!” Oshawott quickly shouted in surprise before losing his balance and falling head-first into the grass at Ash’s feet. As he stumbled back onto his feet, his shock quickly turned into confusion when he looked up to see Ash. “Where did Pikachu go?” he asked before Ash spoke once again.
“Oshawott, I need your help. Both Pikachu and Deino are missing, and-“
“And now you need my expert skills in order to find them,” Oshawott interrupted with a confident grin before walking towards the tree with his scalchop in hand. “Well, I have an idea or six about where those troublemakers ran off to, but before we start searching…”
Ash felt a little offended by Oshawott’s sudden interruption, but he quickly forgot the display of ignorance when he noticed the small otter sketching something into the tree. For a minute, he was clueless about what Oshawott was planning, but the idea became a little bit clearer to Ash when Oshawott finished the picture and stepped away from it. The picture looked very similar to the same scalchop that was used to carve it. Even the size and curves were pretty accurate, but there was little time to marvel at the art as the creator ran off past him.
“Come on, Ash! We have a village to search, and there are some great places that I want to check out!” Oshawott shouted in the distance to get Ash’s attention. Ash was still a bit confused about what Oshawott’s plan was, but with no other ideas left, he decided to simply trust Oshawott’s judgment and follow him to wherever he was going. They were back on the search for Pikachu and Deino.
With the search for Pikachu and Deino underway once again, Ash eagerly followed his Oshawott around the village in the hope that he would at least have some idea of where the missing Pokémon would run to next. It seemed like a good idea to Ash at first, but over time, the search itself began to feel more like a tour. Both Ash and Oshawott got to see many wondrous sights from the many Axews and Fraxures that rested on the patches of grass that were spread throughout the village to the strange, yet breathtaking drawings that decorated almost every home; unfortunately, Ash could only admire these things half-heartedly as Nurse Joy’s warnings continued to ring in his mind. Unwilling to bruise the ego of his cherished Oshawott, Ash remained patient and continued to follow the sea otter around the village; however, even Ash could not ignore the absence of progress forever.
“Oshawott, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Ash questioned as both he and Oshawott continued down the brick road.
“Don’t worry, Ash. Everything will be fine” Oshawott reassured his trainer as he turned his head towards him with a smile, but as he turned back to see the road in front of him, his expression quickly changed to one of worry. Whether it was because of how the mood felt or because Oshawott did not hide it well, Ash could easily tell that his Pokémon was now feeling a bit insecure. A small moment of silence went by as they continued down the brick road, but soon, Ash began to speak once again as he reached into his coat pocket.
“It looks like you’re having trouble, Oshawott. Maybe I should just send out Unfezant and-”
“What?!” Oshawott quickly shouted before turning towards Ash and stumbling onto the ground in the process. Ash could only stop in his tracks as Oshawott hastily got back onto his feet and continued speaking. “You don’t need to send anyone else out to help. They’ll just get in the way.”
Ash could only stay silent as he attempted to interpret what Oshawott was saying, but sadly, he could not understand what he could saying and continued to rummage through his coat pocket, prompting another shout from the nervous otter.
“Stop that!” Oshawott cried before throwing his scalchop at Ash.
“Hey! What was that for?” Ash cried in retaliation to having his forehead assaulted by what felt like a rock. When he looked down to see who threw the object at him, he took notice of a teary-eyed Oshawott and the scalchop at his feet. There was a short silence between them, and during that time, all Oshawott could do was sit on the ground beneath him with a depressed expression.
“So you’re really feeling that much pressure.” Ash thought to himself before kneeling down to grab Oshawott’s scalchop. As Oshawott continued to sit down and mope, Ash decided to take the time to examine the shell. He was unsurprised to see that it didn’t have a scratch on its smooth surface, but somehow, the shape seemed familiar to him.
“Hey, Oshawott,” Ash called softly.
“Y-Yeah,” Oshawott said with a sniffle before Ash continued.
“You don’t have to try so hard to get my attention and praise. So what if you can’t find Pikachu and Deino, and I don’t care if you like to wander away a lot, even though that was kind of the reason why I chose you for this search.” Oshawott could only give a soft sigh at this comment. “Regardless, I still care about you as much as all of my other Pokémon, and nothing will ever change that.”
In spite of what Ash had told him, Oshawott still felt skeptical about how honest his trainer was being. He knew that Ash had put up with him for a while, but still, he couldn’t shake the idea that Ash was simply being considerate. He was almost on the verge of crying until he felt something hit his chest. With a quick gasp, Oshawott looked down to see his scalchop on his chest again and a pair of hands straightening it. He was still a little puzzled, but his worries slowly floated away when the hands moved away from his scalchop and one of them rested upon his head.
“You need to take care of your scalchop, right?” Ash asked with a cheerful grin as he petted Oshawott. When the young otter finally looked up to see his cheerful trainer, he had wished that the moment would linger, but such moments never last long. As the sound of small explosions in the distance filled his ears, he felt his trainer’s attention quickly shift away from him and towards the direction the sounds came from.
“What was that?” Ash wondered before hearing another explosion. When he finally honed in on where the explosions were coming from, he began to see lightning and Pidoves spreading from one area across the village. “Could that be…it is!” Ash continued before running away from Oshawott and towards the source of lightning.
“…Ash,” Oshawott thought with a small grin before running after Ash.
Running as quickly as they could, both Ash and Oshawott soon drew close to the source of the lightning. As they continued running, they encountered several small Pokémon that were either scurrying away from the event or lying on the ground in an injured state, but not one of these sights stole their attention for long until they looked ahead to see a injured blue dragon walking jaggedly in the distance.
“Deino?” Ash thought to himself before making his way to the dragon’s side with Oshawott right beside him. Surely enough, it was Deino, but Ash could only worry when he heard Deino’s heavy breathing.
“Deino? Are you okay?” Ash asked as he bent down to care for Deino, who could only continue to stagger as she struggled to speak.
“…Stay…away from…me,” Deino managed to get out, but her voice was easily drowned out by another small explosion and what could only be described as the sharp clang of metal. Ash only glanced up for a short second, but very quickly, he could notice two small, moving figures clashing with each other.
“Hey, Oshawott,” Ash said after turning his head towards the Sea Otter beside him. “Go on ahead to see what’s going on. I’ll catch up with you soon.” Oshawott only gave an energetic cry and a sudden slap of his shell before running ahead of his trainer towards the apparent battle. With a short grunt, Ash lifted Deino onto his shoulder with little resistance and ran towards the battle as well, his speed somewhat hampered by the extra weight he had to support.
I hope you all enjoyed that chapter. I would apologize for making you all wait for so long, but let's face it. I would probably do it again anyway, especially with college and VGCs in the way. I've been thinking about giving some of these chapters some actual names, but I'm not really good in that department. If it's no problem, I would love to hear some idea for chapter names. I hope you enjoyed the newest installment, and don't forget to leave a comment.
Great, now I sound like some guy making a Youtube video.
Thank you for the new chapter.
Wow! Things are going better! Ash decides to trust Iris and tell her why he has captured Deino. Er... I have a question: Will Ash use Deino or Oshawott in the Tournament?
Well, that's a good chapter you came up with.
I love your story and I hope you do more on it