12th July 2008, 03:00 PM
Actually, I'm Pikachu as well.
Originally Posted by Matkin22
I wouldn't bet on evil getting ultimate power, since there are other things that seem more probable to me.
Last edited by Amphlosion; 12th July 2008 at 03:02 PM.
21st July 2008, 11:41 PM
Religion is a club
After an exceedingly long delay, here is the next installment. There's a couple of surprises in here that you may not have expected, and a little twist at the end too. Hope you enjoy.
Chapter 33: Reclaim
As the flashlight beams broke around the corner James turned with a Poke Ball in hand, instinctively shielding his eyes when the light shone onto his face. He heard several intakes of surprise and so enlarged his Poke Ball, ready to fight his way out.
“James?” a pair of voices said incredulously.
“Cassidy! Butch!” he exclaimed, squinting past the light. “What are you doing here?”
“If you’d asked us a couple of days ago, the answer would have been to kill you,” Cassidy snarled. “As it is, we’re on a secret mission for Giovanni. I hope you’re not here to get in our way, for your sake.”
“What do you mean, ‘for my sake’?” James asked loudly, his hand clenching the Poke Ball tightly. “Are you threatening me?”
“You’d just better hope that you don’t antagonize me enough to start a battle,” she retorted. “You don’t want to end up the same way that Jessie and Meowth did.” James felt his heart pound at the names of his partners.
“What did you do to them?” he demanded. Cassidy’s earlier words came to mind, and for a minute he thought his heart had failed. “Don’t tell me that... they can’t be dead!”
“They almost were, until some punk kid stopped us at the end,” Cassidy growled. “Their resistance was absolutely pathetic. It was too easy to beat them. I can’t imagine you’d be any more difficult than them.”
“Let me guess, four Pokemon against two... or was it five on two? If it was an even fight you wouldn’t find Jessie and Meowth so easy to beat.” He snorted. “Good luck in trying to take me down, one on one!”
“For your information, it was two on three,” Cassidy growled, her eyes sparking dangerously. “And even when that punk kid interfered, he barely stopped us. It’s time for you to learn what true power looks like; maybe that will teach you some respect! Houndoom, Raticate! Destroy him!”
“Wheezing, Cacnea! Go!” James roared.
The four Pokemon stood stock-still, glaring at one another. The Houndoom took a step forwards, and James’s Wheezing instantly moved to protect his trainer. The tension in the air grew enormously as everyone waited for the other to make the first move.
“Stop this,” Butch shouted, pushing his way past Cassidy. “This tunnel isn’t designed for Pokemon battles; if you two start a fight, it’ll collapse on top of us.” He turned to James. “We’re on a mission for Giovanni; why are you here?” he asked. James looked at him strangely for a moment before answering.
“I’m here with Paul; Giovanni’s son,” he said. “Were both looking for an ancient object; I was told to search in the lab while he looked in Pallet Town.”
“Isn’t it just a little bit possible that we’re both looking for the same thing?” Butch asked.
“It’s possible,” James said after a pause.
“It’s possible, but that’s not the case, we’re not after the GS Ball” a tall stranger said as he stepped out from the darkness behind Cassidy, his slight accent amplified in the silent tunnel.
“You look familiar,” James said slowly, scrutinizing the young man. His unkempt blue hair hung down his back, and he wore his clothes in a completely carefree manner, a pair of sunglasses dangling from a gold chain around his neck. “And how do you know what I’m looking for?”
“Yeah, I’m sure you’ve seen me around at HQ before,” he said carelessly. “I’m Damian; Giovanni’s second son, which would also explain why I know what you’re after. And despite what this quick-tempered woman seems to think, we’re both on the same side.”
“Damian? Now I remember you!” James blurted. “Ten years ago you abandoned a Charmander in the forest!”
“What? That weak little thing?” Damian chuckled. “I can’t believe you actually remember something like that; I’d forgotten all about that weakling years ago. Now, are we gonna stand here jawing all night, or are you going to enter the password so we can get on with our searches?” James eyed the three warily.
“I want those Pokemon recalled before I turn my back,” he said. “I don’t trust they won’t attack me given our, ah, combative history.”
“Cassy?” Damian asked impatiently when she made no move to retrieve her Houndoom and Raticate.
“I’ve told you before; the name’s Cassidy, not Cassy!” she snapped.
“I couldn’t care less what your name is if you do your job. Now get those Pokemon back in their Poke Balls before the sun rises and we get caught by Oak and the rest!” Damian snapped back. Grumbling, Cassidy recalled both her Pokemon and James turned to punch in the code he’d been given.
“G...R...E...” he muttered, taking care each letter was in order, “L... O... W... Got it!” he said triumphantly as the keypad beeped, flashed green, and the pneumatic door slid open silently. Retrieving Cacnea and Wheezing, James stepped into the room, shielding his eyes automatically as a series of bright lights illuminated the dark room.
“Look!” Butch called from behind James’s shoulder, pointing at the far wall. “There’s one hanging on the wall!”
“This’ll be too easy,” Cassidy muttered, walking towards a large, spherical slab of stone and taking care to knock into James on her way.
James didn’t even notice the provocation; his eyes were fixed on the stone, his lips suddenly dry. It looked to be roughly two feet long and fairly thick; from where he was standing, he could barely make out an inscription on the deep-red surface.
“The Original One breathed alone before the universe came,” Butch read aloud, noticing James’s interest, before turning to the next. “The rightful bearer of a Plate draws from the Plate it holds.” James felt a slight shiver creep up his spine at the sound of that inscription. He was suddenly uncomfortably aware of the light green stone that was securely fastened inside his bag back in the field.
“Damian, there’s only fifteen plates here,” Cassidy reported. “We’re missing three.”
“Which ones?” he snapped.
“The Insect Plate, the Zap Plate, and the Unknown Plate,” she answered.
“Keep looking,” he said. “They may still be here, hidden away somewhere. James, if you see any stones like the ones on the wall hidden away while you look for the GS Ball, tell us right away.”
“Sure,” James replied, his mind still on the stone wrapped in with his belongings. For a few moments, all was silent as the four rummaged through the room. James found himself slowly gravitating towards Damian as the time passed, until they were standing only a few feet apart; he chuckled humourlessly.
“What?” Damian asked in obvious irritation.
“You were wrong, you know,” James said. “You were wrong about the Charmander.”
“Are you still strung up on that weak little thing?” Damian asked with a snort. “It’s been ten years; forget about it already.”
“Weak?” he asked. “That little Charmander became the strongest Pokemon I’ve ever had the misfortune to battle against. Five years ago, as a Charizard, it beat an Articuno in battle!” He eyed Damian coldly. “The only weak one is you for releasing it and not letting it grow with care.” He shook his head. “You’re just like your brother,” he murmured.
Anger flared briefly in Damian’s eyes, but he quickly masked his emotions. “You don’t say,” he said mildly. “Well if I ever have the opportunity to go against that Charizard, you’ll see just who the weak one is. Now if you don’t have anything worth saying, stand aside so I can get on with my search.” James opened his mouth to reply, but was halted by the sound of his loaned Poketch beeping.
“Paul?” he asked, flipping the device open and revealing the communication screen.
“Get back out here now,” Paul snapped. “The sun’s starting to rise; you’re wasting time in there. I found out from that idiot of a Professor where the GS Ball is, and we’re going to go get it now.”
“Where is it?” James asked quickly.
“Just get out here and follow me on your Wheezing. You’ll find out soon enough,” Paul said, before brusquely cutting off the communication. James stared at the blank screen for a moment before turning to the other occupants of the room.
“Good luck with your search; I hope you find that green plate of yours,” he said. His eyes rested on Cassidy, pure contempt radiating towards her.
“Next time we meet, you’d better be ready to beg for your life,” she growled.
“I can’t wait,” he said mockingly, exiting the room. Silence passed for several moments, and then Damian turned to Butch.
“Did you tell him what the Insect Plate looks like?” he asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Did you?” he asked Cassidy.
“No,” she answered slowly.
“Then how did he know what it looks like?” Damian asked. Realization suddenly hit Butch, and Cassidy began trembling with anger.
“You mean... you mean to say...” she growled, rage clouding every syllable.
“How do we get it now?” Butch asked.
“Easy,” Damian snarled, a shadow crossing over his face. “We follow him and take it from him. Looks like you get your chance to battle him after all, Cassidy.”
“I can’t wait,” she growled, punching a fist into her palm. “I can’t wait.”
Silver grinned at the sound of the security alarms going off. In the few days since his escape, he’d scoped out the exterior of the Team Rocket headquarters with the help of the baby Fearow. They’d quickly found a way of getting
inside, although it meant climbing several stories of the building that had been carved into the mountainside. It hadn’t bothered him unduly; he’d free-climbed both steeper and higher in his lifetime. What he hadn’t anticipated was the alarms going off when he broke through a window to climb into the building. Now he crouched almost panther-like, hidden in the shadows of the curving corridor, waiting. He didn’t have to wait long.
A Rocket Grunt trotted down the hallway towards the security room, on his way to see what had caused the alarms to go off. A thick, meaty hand clamped around his mouth and another round his neck. He was swiftly dragged back into the shadows and came face to face with the only person he had ever seen who rivalled Giovanni in size. But in a hand-to-hand fight with this man, Giovanni would lose. The Grunt had no doubt about that in the least. This man who held him in such a deadly embrace had a strength that Giovanni did not, and there was both rage and savagery in his eyes.
“Seen my Poke Balls?” Silver asked him softly, tightening his grip around the man’s neck ever so slightly. The Grunt’s eyes darted around the area, terrified. “It’s just you and me, kiddo,” Silver whispered. “We’re all alone here.” He noticed the fear in the Grunt’s eyes and chuckled.
“Don’t worry; I’m not going to kill you. No, I’m going to look into your eyes as you answer my questions, and if I see even an iota of deception in them, then my friend here,” he nodded at the baby Fearow perched on his shoulder, “is going to gore out your eyes with its Drill Peck. Understand?” The Grunt nodded as fast as Silver’s grip would permit, his eyes wide.
“Good. Now; do you know where my Poke Balls are?” The Grunt nodded. “Where are they?” he asked, taking his hand away from the Grunt’s mouth. The Grunt began shaking, and didn’t answer. “Where are they?” Silver demanded. Tears began leaking from the Grunt’s eyes, but still his mouth remained immobile. “I’m going to give you one last chance, and if you don’t answer me then I’ll make sure you never speak again. I ask you again; where are my Poke Balls!”
“In the security room,” the Grunt whispered, tears streaming down his face. Silver nodded, thinking, and then hit the man in the forehead with a swift rabbit punch. The Grunt collapsed, instantly unconscious.
“A loyal fool, but a fool regardless,” Silver grunted, stripping the man of his uniform. “He’d be much better doing something decent for a living; why people join these evil organizations when they’re treated like such scum is just beyond me.”
He dropped his coat to the ground and began trying to squeeze into the Grunt’s uniform. It was a tighter fit than he anticipated but he managed to get it on, although there were several inches of arm, leg, and his grey undershirt visible. He grabbed the black cap and placed it on his head, ensuring that his long grey mane was tightly rolled up underneath.
“Well, how do I look?” he asked the Fearow. It squawked in response and he smiled grimly. “It won’t be on long; once I’ve got my Chikorita and Salamence, no Rocket will be able to stop me. As for this man...” he said, looking at the unconscious Grunt with menace in his eyes.
The Grunt groaned, waking slowly from his unconsciousness. His head hurt like hell; no surprise really, not after a fast punch like that. He tried to get to his feet, but fell. He tried again, and again, each time with the same result. That was when he realized he was surrounded on all sides by thick, rough material. Squinting, he looked up and saw small peeks of sunlight poking through the rough knots. With fumbling fingers, he managed to untie some of them and pushed his head through the gap he’d created.
He got the shock of his life.
Cold wind rushed against his face, and when he looked down he could see both the forest and hard earth beneath him. He was trapped inside of a makeshift sack.
Tied to the mountainside that made up headquarters.
The gigantic man burst through the doors of the Pokemon Centre, eliciting shrieks of surprise from the few patrons who were still awake at this time. He immediately spotted Forrest sitting with Dawn in a far corner, and stormed his way over. A scared Rey skidded through the doors several yards behind him; spotting the man cracking his knuckles as he approached the Pewter City Gym Leader, she took off running, trying her best keep up with his long strides.
“Boy!” he roared. “I hear you’ve been insulting this girl behind me!” He jabbed his finger over his shoulder at Rey.
“I did,” Forrest admitted after some hesitation. “And I would have apologized if she hadn’t stormed off the way she did.” The man stooped low so that his face was eye-to-eye with Forrest.
“Please... don’t hurt him,” Rey whispered, her face white. It was obvious enough in her eyes that if these two fought, the gigantic man would snap Forrest like a twig. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it, and I said some nasty things too.” The man ignored her.
“I want a fight,” he growled, and the little colour that was left drained out of Rey’s face; she turned to Dawn, a sick expression on her face. Dawn ignored her, her eyes full of concern as she looked down on Forrest. The man noted the expression in her eyes; concern, to be sure... and something more, perhaps..?
“I guess I have no choice,” Forrest said slowly, meeting the man’s gaze. Rey gasped, and Dawn turned to the young Gym Leader.
“Don’t do it Forrest, you’ll be torn apart!” she begged.
“A Gym Leader never refuses a challenge,” he answered softly, refusing to look her in the eyes. “Shall we take this outside?” he asked the man.
“A great idea,” he growled, turning and storming back out the doors.
“You don’t have to do this, Forrest,” Dawn whispered.
“I’ll be okay,” he answered, giving her a quick wink. “Just you watch.” He turned and followed the man out of the doors. Dawn looked at Rey, gave her head a great shake of disgust, and walked out after him. Trembling and white-faced, Rey trailed miserably behind.
Ash sat next to May’s bed, unmoving. From where Brock watched at the doorway, he appeared to be asleep. But the breeder knew that he was not.
“Ash, you should get some sleep,” he said softly, approaching the trainer. “It’s 2 am. Paul can’t get here until tomorrow morning at the absolute earliest. You need to rest in case he arrives before we can leave.”
“I can’t,” Ash whispered hoarsely back, his voice thick with exhaustion. “She needs me here... I need to be here... I can’t sleep on her. What if something goes wrong?”
“Blissey is outside the door, and Nurse Joy’s office is just down the corridor,” Brock answered. “And besides, nothing will go wrong. The operation was dangerous, but the Heal Bell and Recover regenerated her blood and tissue perfectly. She won’t even have a scar. It took a lot out of her, and what she needs at the moment is rest to get back her strength.”
“I should be here for when she wakes up,” Ash protested stubbornly. Brock sighed, and knew his friend would not be persuaded otherwise.
“Alright Ash... try not to exhaust yourself too much. I guess we can always fly out tomorrow so you can rest then.” He clapped the trainer on the back and turned to leave the room. “Come on, Pikachu,” he said. “Let’s leave them alone for a bit.”
“Chaah,” Pikachu yawned, nodding in agreement. He sprinted up onto Brock’s shoulder and the two left the room, Brock shutting the door softly behind them.
Ash continued to sit at May’s side, his eyes unmoving from her face. Time lost all meaning as he gazed on her, her visage becoming his whole world. He did not notice his slowly diminishing range of vision, or the blurriness that accompanied it. He was not even aware of the darkness that claimed his consciousness as exhaustion and worry finally caught up to him.
His head collapsed onto the mattress, his face turned towards hers as the sleep he had been depriving himself of claimed him at last.
Dawn followed Forrest nervously as he went around the side of the Pokemon Centre. Her mind was filled with concern for the well-being of the slight, young Gym Leader. Several bright lights snapped on, and she winced as they scorched her retinas. Shielding her eyes, she slowly became accustomed to the glare and was both surprised and relieved to find herself standing on the sidelines of a battlefield.
“One-on-one okay with you?” the man shouted.
“I’m more of a two-on-two battler, but its fine by me!” Forrest shouted back.
“Great,” the man grunted. He turned to Rey, who was only just drifting into the field. “One-on-one okay with you too?” he asked. She blinked.
“What?” she asked. The man sighed.
“Seems to me as if there’s some real bad blood between the two of you,” he said. “I always find that the best way to get that stuff out of my system is with a good and intense Pokemon battle! It’s you against Forrest, so is one-on-one okay with you?”
“I guess,” she said, still a little confused.
“Good! Then get over to the battle box!”
“What about a referee?” Dawn asked.
“As the Vermillion City Gym Leader, I’m fully qualified as a referee,” the man answered, striding over to the halfway mark on the sidelines. “Now, choose your Pokemon!” he roared to Forrest and Rey.
“Steelix! Go!” Forrest shouted, releasing the gigantic and menacing snake-like Pokemon.
“A ground-type; alright!” Rey said, finally gathering her wits about her. “Then I’ll go with Venusaur!” The ground shook as the massive Grass-type emerged and roared in anticipation.
“Surge, this was what you were going for all along, wasn’t it?” Forrest shouted. Lt. Surge grinned.
“Seemed like you two needed some time alone to sort out your issues, and this is the best way to do it!” he shouted back, raising both arms in the air. “Begin!”
May’s eyes fluttered open. For a brief moment she couldn’t remember what had happened, but then the memories rushed back into her consciousness. She instinctively reached a hand to her breast and was relieved to find that, not only did it feel undamaged beneath her hospital shirt, but there was no pain either.
“Latias is an amazing healer,” she murmured, glad to know that her body was unchanged. She lay her arm back down and instantly jerked it back again when she felt it come into contact with something hairy. Turning her head to see what she had touched, she relaxed when she recognized Ash, his eyes closed, his breathing shallow, his face trained on hers in his sleep.
“You stayed by me, all this time when I was asleep,” she whispered, her heart melting at the realization. “Still... you really shouldn’t be sleeping like this.” Tentatively, she sat up, placed her feet on the floor, and climbed out of bed. She had to catch her balance quickly as a wave of dizziness crashed against her, but it quickly passed. Moving around the side of the bed, she felt suddenly pleased. Her balance seemed to have improved from the ordeal, and when she reached Ash and tried to lift him up, he felt much lighter than he ordinarily would have done.
She managed to get him into a fireman’s lift over her shoulder and carried him over to the door. Holding him carefully, she was able to squeeze the door open and slip through. “Which way to your bedroom?” she murmured to herself.
“B-54” he muttered, still fast asleep. Stifling a giggle at his automatic response, May set off in the direction of his room.
Silver strolled into the Rocket’s security room with the Fearow on his shoulder, holding his hands behind his back and whistling a jaunty tune.
“You’re late, S34,” a large, coarse man growled.
“My apologies, Mr... ah... Tyson,” Silver answered, reading the man’s nametag surreptitiously. “I was called in to see Giovanni while on patrol.”
“Well that would explain why the alarm went off in your sector,” Tyson grunted, before turning back to the rest of the security agents already gathered in the room. “Now, the alarm went off in Security Sector 34. We don’t know what caused it; the cameras shorted out only moments before the incident happened. What we can guess is...” he trailed off, realizing that Silver was still standing behind him, looking innocently around the room. “Back in line, S34!” he roared, flecks of spit shooting out and hitting him in the chin.
Silver casually wiped the spit off his face, flicking it to the ground, before responding “Yes, sir,” in a slightly insulting manner and moving into the crowd.
“What we can guess,” Tyson continued, ignoring him, “is that an unknown person or Pokemon broke into or out of the building. What they are or were after is anyone’s guess, but I want you all to divide up into teams of two. Sweep the building and outside perimeter, and report in at ten minutes intervals or when you’ve found something important. Go; S34, stay here a moment.”
Silver had lost the thread of the conversation from his scanning of the room. He winked at the Fearow on his shoulder and nodded in the direction of glass cabinet, the only storage area in the room under lock and key.
“S34!” Tyson roared, jerking Silver back into awareness.
“Yessir! Understood!” he said smartly, jerking into a rough salute. Tyson glared at him and waved the other agents out of the room.
“Sit down,” he growled. “I don’t appreciate your insubordination, S34. I don’t think you understand just how dangerous this situation is. A dangerous man broke out of here two days ago, and he could be after Giovanni. We need to find and contain him now. I have no doubt that he’s looking for the Poke Balls we took off of him.”
“You mean the Poke Balls in that cabinet over there?” Silver asked innocently. Tyson looked taken aback for a moment, and then suspicious.
“Wait a minute...” he breathed, ripping off the cap on Silver’s head. “Red alert, red alert,” he began shouting into the commlink at his belt. “Silver has broken in, I repeat; Silver has broken in. He-”
Silver lunged, ripping the commlink out of Tyson’s hands and smashing it against the wall. “Oh no you don’t,” he breathed, clamping an arm around his neck. “Fearow, go!” The baby Fearow leapt off of Silver’s shoulder and flew for the cabinet, its beak spinning and aimed at the lock.
“Red alert... red alert...” a cool, pre-recorded female voice spoke from the intercom on the wall. “Moltres is loose; Moltres is loose. Special Forces being deployed for retrieval; all others take cover. Red alert... red alert...”
Tyson struggled with all his worth against Silver’s grip. Silver winced as teeth dug into his arm, legs kicked at him madly, and his arms were scored with scratches. “Enough of this,” Silver growled, lifting Tyson with both arms and heaving him bodily against the wall. The Security Agent collapsed amid the debris that fell from the impact, unconscious.
The lock on the cabinet snapped open, and the Fearow squawked in triumph. Silver ran over and wrenched the door open, gathering up the four Poke Balls inside. The room shook violently, and Silver pocketed the Poke Balls quickly before calling the Fearow to his side. “Hold on kid, this is going to be rough,” he shouted as the room trembled more and more.
“There he is!” a voice shouted from the hallway; Silver turned and saw four of the Security Grunts. “Get him!” one of them shouted, and all four began charging towards him. The floor gave way beneath their feet, and all four screamed in shock as they fell. A massive blur of moving flame appeared from the gap and burst headfirst into the exterior wall. Silver looked to the window and grinned as he saw Moltres fly past, finally free from its imprisonment.
“You won’t... get away...” Tyson gasped, slowly coming around and crawling towards Silver painfully.
“I already have,” Silver replied, grabbing one of the Poke Balls in his pocket. He walked back a few steps and ran through the closed window, disappearing from sight amid the shattered glass.
For a moment, Tyson could barely believe what had happened. Then the massive shape of a Salamence swooped past the window, and he let out a howl of rage at the sound of Silver’s mocking laughter before collapsing into unconsciousness once again.
Outside, Silver held onto his Salamence tightly, revelling in the freedom that had been denied to them both for so long. He urged his Salamence on faster as he tried to catch up to Moltres, loving the feel of the wind in his long unkempt hair. “Let’s go!” he roared, the Fearow on one shoulder and his beloved Chikorita on the other.
An intense blast of yellow light smashed directly into Moltres from above, sending it screeching into the ground where it lay pinned under the Hyper Beam. Too far away to see what was happening properly, Silver was stunned when the Legendary bird glowed white and turned to stone. “What?” he shouted in disbelief.
“It’s been a long time, Silver,” a cold, calculating voice said. He looked up and saw a second Salamence slowly descending from the clouds, Hunter J standing calmly on its back.
“Cousin!” he said mockingly. “What a coincidence! You’re just in time to battle!”
May lay Ash gently on his bed before returning to the doorway. She stayed there a moment, watching him sleep silently. Warmth filled her heart as she thought about how he had been by her side from the moment she had collapsed. He had been with her when she was operated on, he had snapped her out of her delirium... he hadn’t even left her so he could sleep.
The thoughts flowed through her mind, preoccupying her so much that she didn’t realize she was slowly drifting towards him. She didn’t realize when he opened his eyes and whispered her name. She wasn’t even aware of kissing him on his forehead. But when he kissed her softly back, she regained her sense of reality and gladly slipped beneath the covers with him.
To Ash, in his sleep deprived and mentally exhausted state, she did not appear so much to be May as she did an ethereal Goddess. He was held by the spell of her tender beauty; by the way she locked her arms and legs around him; by the way their lips melted together, and they moved as one. Curious sensations filled them both as they lay together, slight gasping noises echoing around the room. There was a sudden surge and then May felt an intense, burning sensation of pain that was slowly replaced by a state of euphoria.
Exhausted and trembling, May rolled out of the bed and made her unsteady way back to her room on shaky legs.
“Bye,” Dawn called out cheerfully to Nurse Joy the next morning. “Thanks for everything!”
“Yeah, thanks a lot!” Ash agreed. ‘If it wasn’t for you we would have never been able to get that thing out of May. We owe you everything.”
“You owe me nothing,” Nurse Joy countered, smiling. “It’s my job to help out anybody who needs it, in whatever form possible.”
“Well, thanks anyways,” Ash said. “Things could have turned out a lot worse if you hadn’t helped us out.” Nurse Joy waved the thanks off and turned to Forrest.
“Are you going back to Pewter City now?” she asked. Forrest shook his head.
“I’m going to stay here and train with Lt. Surge for a while longer; he’s still got a lot to teach me about girls!” he said with a wink towards Dawn and Rey. Lt. Surge laughed and cuffed his head, while Dawn gave a little blush. Rey merely harrumphed in response. Her battle with Forrest had been a close one, but he beat her at the very end. Still, she supposed that in a way, Lt. Surge had been right. She may have lost the battle, but she didn’t feel nearly as antagonistic towards the young Gym Leader as she did before.
“Hey, Ash; I’ve got something for you,” Lt. Surge said, beckoning him over, a wrapped package in his hand.
“What is it?” he asked curiously, taking it from the large Gym Leader. Surge shrugged.
“Dunno. It’s something called a ‘Zap Plate’, but I have no clue what it does. It’s the traditional inheritance of a Vermillion City Gym Leader, and has been passed down for at least three hundred years. Professor Oak wanted to study it, so could you give it to him when you see him next?” Ash nodded. “Thanks, kid. Good luck in your rematch with Cynthia!”
“Thanks, Lieutenant,” Ash grinned. He turned to Forrest. “See you around soon?”
“You know it,” the Gym Leader smiled. “Bye everyone!”
“Bye!” Ash, Brock, May, Dawn, and Rey all chorused in returned.
“Pika!” Pikachu added.
As they walked down the road out of town, Ash dropped back a little to talk with May. Unlike her, he had no recollection of the night before, and so she seemed very quiet and subdued to his perception.
“Are you okay, May?” he asked. She smiled at him.
“Don’t worry, Ash, I’m fine,” she said. “I’m just a little tired, that’s all. Really.” Reassured, Ash nodded and increased his pace to catch up with Brock and Rey. May sighed as the stared after him. In reality, her hips ached, and there was a dull pain from deep within her body. But she didn’t care.
She had never felt more alive.
Well, I don't know if I got everything worded as well as I could have. The majority of this chapter was written in the last two days, so I'm not entirely satisfied with every little detail. Still, let me know what you think!
21st July 2008, 11:56 PM
A black and white world
Very cool. I especially like the stuff with Silver.
21st July 2008, 11:58 PM
Religion is a club
Thanks Blackjack; I think that Silver is my favourite character in this story at the moment. I'm definitely having a lot of fun with him right now, despite the fact that I've neglected his part in the story somewhat.
22nd July 2008, 10:35 AM
Where the miis are at.
One word to explain this:Awesome. Keep it up Matkin.
23rd July 2008, 09:57 AM
Great chapter. Can't wait for the next one! Weird, making J and Silver cousins. They have conflicting personalities - Silver is honorable, while J is dispicable. Also, there's 16 Plates - one for all types, except Normal. Why 18?
23rd July 2008, 10:26 AM
Religion is a club
I've taken the sixteen plates available ingame and added a plate for the normal-type, to make seventeen. In the Diamond and Pearl games, the data for Arceus has an ???-type sprite, although there is no plate for the ???-type either. So I decided to run with it and created a plate for this type, which I labelled the Unknown Plate.
Originally Posted by Bio_Warrior_3000
So the 16 plates, plus the two that I created for this story make up the 18 mentioned.
23rd July 2008, 10:28 AM
Thanks for the explination there, Matkin.
25th July 2008, 10:59 AM
Religion is a club
Wow. I am in shock. I think this is the fastest update I've done since last year. You must all be pretty surprised! I hope you enjoy it though! And the very next post will be the thread's 100th. Thank you all for reading and reviewing my story on here! It makes me incredibly happy and proud that you seem to enjoy my story so much.
Chapter 34: Plan
The blue creature padded softly through the forest. It was tired. It was hungry. It was lost, lonely, and it was scared. Thick tears splashed from its jagged eyes as it walked. Since it’s return to consciousness after being hurled away by the explosion, that was all it had done. It ate and drank what little it could find as it moved, and had not even stopped to sleep. It was desperate to find a hint, any hint, of civilization. Of humans.
For days now it had wandered in this dark, decrepit part of the forest, likely going around in large circles, but unable to do anything but. The thick foliage prevented it from using the sun or stars to navigate, and it had become so used to being airborne that it had forgotten what other signs it could look for. It stumbled briefly, tripping over a root. Only it’s sheer determination to find its trainer kept it from falling, although its movements were slowly becoming more and more erratic. It was in dire need of help.
Exhausted, starving, and dehydrated, it did not notice when it at last came upon what it had searched for all this time; a path, leading out of the forest. It did not notice the sudden spurt of heat from the sun that struck the top of its head, or the feel of the hard and dusty ground as it slowly collapsed, its strength and stamina completely gone. It did not notice when its vision flickered and faded, or when the pains that wracked its body came to a halt.
It did not know that it was dying.
Dawn noticed it first, a seemingly grotesque blue lump that lay in the shadows along the side of the path. It would have been unnoticeable had it not given a slight twitch, it’s colouring almost impossible to discern amid the darkness cast by the trees along the edge of the trail.
“What is that?” she murmured, coming to a halt. Rey, who had been chatting animatedly with Brock and not noticed that the Coordinator had stopped, crashed right into her, knocking them both down in a tangle of limbs. Brock sighed as he helped extricate them while Ash and the slowly-moving May caught up to them.
“What exactly was the whole point of that, Dawn?” Rey groused as she clambered back to her feet, her skirt now caked with dust. Dawn sighed.
“I asked what that thing was,” she said, pointing into the shadows, “but you were too busy yapping to hear me.” Rey opened her mouth to issue a sharp retort, but May was intrigued and cut across her snarky comeback.
“What thing?” she asked, peering into the growth. “I can’t see anything.”
“I can,” Brock said, suddenly sounding worried. He strode into the shadows on the opposite side of the path and let out an exclamation. “It’s a Wobbuffet! And it’s in really bad shape.”
“How bad?” Ash asked, running over.
“Critical,” Brock answered, checking the Pokemon’s eyes, heart rate, temperature, muscle response, and hydration. “It’s in worse shape than I’ve ever seen a Pokemon in my life. If we don’t get it to a Pokemon Centre now, it’s going to die.”
“What’s wrong with it?” Rey asked.
“It’s dehydrated,” Brock answered. “It looks as though it hasn’t slept in days either. It may be that its water source dried up for some reason, so it’s spent the last few days looking for a new one, without stopping to sleep.”
“How long does it have?” Dawn asked, a bite of fear in her voice. Brock did a couple more quick checks before answering.
“Hours, if that.”
“We’ve got water; can’t we just pour some down its throat?” Rey asked. Brock shook his head adamantly.
“It’s too far gone for that,” he said. “It drove itself so hard that it collapsed from exhaustion. The only thing its body can do now is breathe, which means that its epiglottis won’t function. If we give it a drink, the water will just run down into its lungs and it’ll drown.” May shuddered at the sound of that.
“Is it just me, or does this Wobbuffet look familiar?” Ash asked, leaning in for a closer look and frowning. “Could it be Team Rocket’s Wobbuffet?”
“You think it got separated?” Dawn asked, confused.
“Team Rocket have been blasted off so many times that I really wouldn’t be surprised if one of them were to get separated eventually,” Ash answered. Brock grabbed a Poke Ball from his belt, enlarged it, and gently tapped the Wobbuffet with the button at the centre. A red light formed over the Pokemon, but before it could get sucked into the Poke Ball the light disintegrated.
“Well, it’s not wild, whatever it is,” he decided. He closed his eyes and massaged his temples; what he had to say wouldn’t be received well.
“It’s impossible, Brock,” May said softly, and he snapped his gaze towards her, surprised. “You say the Wobbuffet only has hours to live. Vermillion City is over a day away now.”
“We deliberately went in the wrong direction and took a long detour around the city to try and throw Paul off our trail,” Brock countered.
“And it took us two days to do that; you won’t make it in time, especially not if ou have to carry it. And what if Paul is still there?”
“He’s looking for Ash, not me.”
“He heard you on the videophone with Oak; he knows that you’re travelling with Ash. And what if he tries to use you as bait to lure Ash to him?” Brock paced angrily, every one of his arguments being eroded.
“So what do we do?” he yelled. “Leave it to die?”
“No; we keep going to Anabel’s,” Ash broke in.
“That’s even further away than Vermillion City!” Brock shouted in exasperation. “How are we supposed to get there on time, hmm?”
“We’re too far north to go to Viridian City,” Ash answered. “The Vermillion area is too dangerous because of Paul, which leaves the Battle Tower as our only option.”
“You still haven’t said how we’re supposed to get there,” Brock growled. In response Ash tossed four Poke Balls into the air, releasing Charizard, Pidgeot, Latias, and Staraptor.
“We fly,” he answered.
Anabel wasn’t entirely certain when Ash and his friends would be arriving. With him, it could be anywhere between a couple of days and a couple of months. So she wasn’t exactly expecting it when, as she took a rare moment to relax on the Battle Tower, a Pidgeot appeared on the horizon, clutching something blue in its talons. She was even more surprised when it landed on the balcony and deposited what appeared to be a dangerously weak Wobbuffet at her feet.
“Hello,” she said, a little uncertainly. “Umm... I hope this doesn’t seem too rude, but why have you brought me a Wobbuffet?”
“I can explain,” Rey answered tensely, jumping from the back of a hovering Staraptor onto the balcony. Anabel almost had a heart attack. “I’m a friend of Ash’s,” Rey said quickly. “We were on our way here and found this Wobbuffet on the side of the road. It’s suffering from extreme dehydration and exhaustion. It’s almost dead, and may only have minutes left now.”
Anabel nodded and quickly called out her Alakazam. “Take this girl and Wobbuffet and teleport them both to the hospital wing. Now!” The Alakazam spared time for a quick nod before it vanished, taking the girl and the Pokemon with it.
The Salon Maiden held a hand to her heart and took several deep breaths, turning and leaning against the railing. The girl had given her a real scare, but it could hardly be helped. Besides, she was there on Ash’s behalf. And if Ash needed something done, she’d gladly do whatever it was. The realization that Ash was on his way made her groan inwardly. Pidgeot and Staraptor were incredibly fast flyers, but he wouldn’t be too far behind them.
“I won’t even have time to change, let alone clean the place up,” she moaned, keeping her face glued to the horizon. As anticipated, she didn’t have long to wait; in a matter of moments three shapes became discernable above the tree line. They quickly resolved themselves into identifiable shapes; a Charizard, a legendary Latias, and most bizarrely, what appeared to be a flying Sudowoodo.
“Good to see you all again,” she shouted as they came in to land, May and Dawn on Charizard closely followed by Ash on Latias. “Could you call ahead next time so I can clean up?” May slid off of Charizard and fondly embraced the violet-haired trainer.
“Good to see you too, Anabel.”
“Where’s the Wobbuffet?” Brock asked as he jumped off of Sudowoodo, not wasting time on a greeting.
“In the hospital wing with the girl who brought it here,” Anabel answered. “Here, I’ll take you down now.”
“Thanks,” Brock answered, the stress and worry evident on his face as he recalled his Sudowoodo.
“You all just relax up here,” Anabel said to Ash, May, and Dawn as she led Brock into the Battle Tower. “I’ll be back in a moment.”
“Sure thing, Anabel,” Dawn answered, still gingerly trying to get off of Charizard. Ash took pity on her and helped to lift her down before turning to Pidgeot and Staraptor.
“Thanks for bringing Rey and the Wobbuffet here so quickly,” he said, softly rubbing their neck feathers and causing them to coo with pleasure. “You guys may have just saved that Pokemon’s life.”
“Pigeoh!” Pidgeot nodded, closing its eyes in pleasure at the rubbing.
“Stahh, raptah stahh,” Staraptor said, gently knocking Ash with the blade on its head.
“I think Staraptor wants to do some training with you,” Dawn said mischievously, noting how eager the flying-type seemed to be at flying again. “It’s been a while after all.” Ash sighed and sat down.
“I know... I wanted all of my Pokemon on me for my Battle Colosseum challenges, but when it got destroyed I couldn’t exactly leave them at Professor Oak’s, could I? Mind, they could have stopped Paul threatening my Mom in a heartbeat...”
“You shouldn’t keep beating yourself up over that,” May said gently, taking his hands in hers. “It’s not something any of us would have expected. How could you have known that Paul would want the GS Ball, that he would track it from Johto to Pallet Town and threaten your mother over it? We don’t even know what he wants the GS Ball for, or what’s in it.”
“You’re right,” Ash muttered, “but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it. He’s after the GS Ball, and he knows...” His voice trailed off, his face contorting into an expression of inner torment. “He thinks you have it, May,” he whispered. “He’s after you.” May nodded her head.
“I know,” she said, “but I’m not worried about that.”
“Why?” he asked.
“Because you have it, Ash,” Dawn interjected. “Paul is an incredibly powerful and dangerous trainer now. There are only a handful of people on the planet who have even a chance of defeating him in battle now.”
“I don’t see how that helps us much,” Ash retorted.
“No?” Dawn asked. “You’re one of those people, Ash. And you’re also the only trainer in existence who Paul is afraid of.”
“Afraid of?” Ash exclaimed, jumping to his feet. “Paul’s beaten me in battle more times than I count.”
“And you beat him when it mattered,” Dawn countered. “He knows, deep down, that you are a stronger and more resourceful trainer than he is. He battles for his own arrogance; you battle for your Pokemon.”
The GS Ball has to stay with me, Ash realized, sitting down slowly. It’s too dangerous for anyone else to have it. Well, maybe Cynthia or Lance, but I don’t want to drag them into this too... He felt a tugging at his sleeve and saw Latias in her human form, holding his arm. There was worry and concern in her eyes, but there was trust there too. As he gazed into her eyes, he nodded slowly; he knew that he had to keep hold of the GS Ball, and by doing that protect his friends.
“I remember Paul,” Anabel said softly from the shadows, causing Ash, May, Dawn, Latias, Pidgeot, Staraptor, and Charizard to jump. “He came here after losing to you in the Sinnoh League. He was unusually harsh to his Pokemon, and I got a distinctly dangerous vibe from him. I was glad when he left. And now you say he’s after something called the GS Ball, which you have?”
“Yeah,” Ash answered.
“So the odds are good that he’ll track you here,” she stated. Ash laughed harshly.
“With Paul, this isn’t a question of whether he’ll track us here, but when,” he said.
“Hang on,” Dawn said suspiciously, “just how much did you overhear?” Anabel hesitated.
“Enough,” she admitted. Truth was, she had only given Brock directions to the hospital wing before returning, but she would rather die than reveal the jealousy she had felt from witnessing the slightly private moment between Ash and May. Ash got up from his seat and walked to the edge of the balcony.
“I’m sorry for bringing everyone here at such short notice,” he said to Anabel softly. “I’ll be out of your hair tomorrow though.”
“What do you mean?” she asked, surprised.
“I can’t stay here too long. Paul’s tracking me, and he won’t stop until he finds and battles me. I can’t put you, your staff, or my friends in danger anymore.”
“So you’re just going to go and run off?” Anabel asked, anger in her voice. “That’s a bit cowardly, don’t you think?”
“Not run away,” Ash answered quietly. “I’m going to challenge him.”
“What?” Dawn shrieked, jumping up.
“No!” May shouted.
“Are you crazy?” Anabel asked. “You don’t even know if Paul is alone. You may be able to hold your own against him, but you won’t have a chance if he’s got others on his side.” Ash was silent, digesting this possibility. Then, without a word, avoiding the heated and accusing glances radiating on him, he went to Charizard and climbed on the fire-type’s back, Pikachu leaping up after him.
“Where are you going?” May asked, moving to his side.
“To think,” Ash said after a pause. “I’ll be back in an hour or two.” The tone of his voice and his posture told May that there was no chance of changing his mind, or of going with him. She nodded, accepting his decision.
“Stay safe... don’t be too long,” she whispered, leaning up to kiss him on the cheek. He touched the spot where she had kissed him gently.
“I won’t,” he said, before taking off with Staraptor and Pidgeot in his wake. Anabel almost had another heart attack when Latias took a running leap off of the balcony, but her fright was quickly lost at the sight of Latias soaring up and joining the three Pokemon already in flight.
“This is so stupid,” Dawn groused, watching Ash fly away.
“He’s just doing what he thinks is right,” Anabel said, coming to his defence.
“No, no, no,” Dawn said, shaking her head. “You misunderstood me; I meant, when was the last time Ash ever did any serious thinking?”
The three women stared at each other a moment before bursting into laughter. They all knew that coming up with ideas was not Ash's greatest strength.
“How much longer da we hafta keep walkin’?” Meowth grumbled, pushing aside a fern that was obscuring his vision.
“As long as it takes,” Jessie answered. “We have to keep going for as long as we can. Once we reach the coast, we can catch a ferry to Sinnoh. Cassidy won’t follow us there, and we’ll be safe. We just have to avoid any known Rocket locations on the way.”
“Are ya sure we’re goin’ da right way?” Meowth asked.
“Of course!” Jessie answered, sounding insulted. “If my calculations are right, the north coast is only another day’s walk away.” She stepped out from behind a tree and saw Rocket headquarters in the distance.
“Oh no,” Meowth sighed. He looked up at Jessie accusingly. “Ya sure dem calculations are right?” he asked.
“I don’t understand where I went wrong,” she muttered. “I followed the sun; it sets in the north, so we just go towards the sunset.” Meowth groaned and slapped a paw to his face.
“Da sun rises in da east an’ sets in da west, you idiot! You bin leadin’ us back ta da base all dis time!”
“This is trouble,” Jessie muttered going pale.
“You’re tellin’ me!” Meowth shouted.
“No! Meowth, run!” Jessie screamed, pointing at the sky and backing up to the tree line. Meowth looked to the sky, squinted, and opened his mouth to scream, rooted in shock at the sight of a massive Salamence falling towards them at high speed.
“Too late,” he moaned, immobile.
“Meowth!” Jessie screamed, her face white as the massive dragon-type crashed into her friend, sending up a massive cloud of dust that hid the scene from her view.
In the air, Hunter J gazed from the back of her Salamence, her goggles easily piercing the dust as she searched for any sign of movement. There was none.
“Good,” she murmured to herself before raising her voice for the benefit of her computer logs. “Battle against Silver is a success. Subject terminated.”
Ash had been flying for no more than ten minutes before subconsciously directing Charizard to land by subtly shifting his weight forward. It was a technique that he had slowly honed since his victory in the Sinnoh League, directing his Pokemon through body language in addition to words. It had proven useful in his battles against the Elite Four, and it had in turn helped him to read the body language of his Pokemon better too.
Charizard landed gracefully in a small clearing and Ash slid off his old friend, giving him a grateful pat in the process. Pidgeot and Staraptor perched comfortably in two sturdy trees, and Latias hovered a few inches above the ground before melding into her human appearance and dropping lightly to the ground.
Ash stood in the centre of the clearing and, in one fluid motion, released all of his Pokemon. Floatzel, Grotle, Infernape, Gallade, Bulbasaur, Kingler, Muk, Tauros, Snorlax, Heracross, Bayleef, Cyndaquil, Totodile, Noctowl, Donphan, Swellow, Sceptile, Corphish, Torkoal, Gliscor, and Glalie. They arranged themselves into a circle around him and he stood there, looking each one in the eye, enjoying the friendship, the companionship, the deep bond and love they all shared with each other.
“I’m sorry. To all of you,” he said, looking each one of his friends in the eye. “I haven’t trained or battled with you anywhere close to enough recently. Since the Colosseum and Professor Oak’s lab both burned down, it’s been very tough to do any of that. As soon as I finish this last journey, we’ll get back to our usual schedule. But...” he let this hang in the air for a moment and then sighed.
“Some of you will remember Paul,” he said, and there was a chorus of cries in response. “He’s following us, trying to get something that we have: the GS Ball.” He saw the eyes of Bulbasaur, Charizard, and Bayleef widen with recognition as he placed the ancient Poke Ball on the ground; possibly Snorlax and Cyndaquil remembered it too, but Ash could never tell if their eyes were wide or not.
“He tracked it to Pallet Town and threatened my Mom over it,” Ash continued, “and no matter how much we avoid him, sooner or later he will catch up to us.” He looked each and every one of his Pokemon in the eyes. “I’ll need you, all of you, to help me fight him off,” he said. “We don’t know what he wants it for; as far as we know it’s impossible to open or transport. But if Paul wants it, you can bet it isn’t for anything good.” He looked up at the sky, closing his eyes in concentration.
I need your help, he thought. There was silence, and so he tried again. I know you can hear my thoughts; you told me so yourself. And I know that you’ve been following us from a distance these last few days. You told me that if I was ever in need of your help, all I needed to do was call for you and you would come.
I need your help now; will you come?
There was silence once more, and then a small object manifested itself in the sky. Slowly, it descended until its feet touched ground and it faced Ash.
You asked for my help and I have come, Mewtwo said. Do not explain the situation to me; I gleaned enough knowledge from your thoughts as you spoke. What is it you need for me?
“Your help in planning what to do with it,” Ash answered. “It’s only a matter of time before Paul catches me up, and I need to have a plan to deal with him.”
You need me for that? Mewtwo asked, his tone expressing slight cynicism.
“Mewtwo, we all know that I don’t plan very well,” Ash said. “I can do okay in the short-term, but in the long-term I’m hopeless. I need your help to come up with a plan on what to do with the GS Ball.”
The answer is simple, Mewtwo responded after only a moment’s thought. The GS Ball needs to be destroyed. Many of the Pokemon expressed surprise at this statement. It may not even be possible. But it’s the only way to make sure that Paul can never use it.
“Pheessh corphish cawr?” Corphish asked, waving one pincer questioningly. Ash shook his head.
“There’s nothing inside it,” he said. “If there was, we would have been able to call it out.” Coincidentally, at that moment the GS Ball twitched. They all stared at it a moment, before Mewtwo broke the silence.
You are wrong, he said. There is something inside this device. What that may be, I do not know. All I can tell you is that it is a being far more ancient and powerful than any creature alive today.
“You want to destroy the GS Ball when there is another creature inside of it?’ Ash asked, incredulous. Mewtwo was silent a moment.
I have a practical mind, not one ruled by emotion, he answered. I understand that the destruction of another creature is abhorrent to you. But know that evil of the darkest kind shrouds this device. Whether that comes from the device itself or the being inside, I cannot say. You must understand that if this device is ever opened, a terrible calamity shall befall the planet, and all who live on it. In the hands of one as our rival Paul, no good shall ever come from it. Destruction is the only option.
He turned and looked up at the sky. I must go, he said tensely. I shall be nearby if ever you need my help again.
“Wait!” Ash called, before Mewtwo could take off.
What? Mewtwo asked.
“I need to know,” Ash said. “Before, when you were levitating May outside of Vermillion City... You said that there was a dark presence around her that your powers could not touch. Was that caused by the GS Ball?” In response, Mewtwo held out a paw which began glowing lavender. The GS Ball glowed lavender in turn but did not move an iota, no matter how much Mewtwo tried to move it.
The darkness I sensed has left your young friend, Mewtwo answered. It is centralized here in this clearing and, when you next pick it up and carry it, shall transfer itself over to you. His eyes bored deep into Ash’s. This is a deadly device, he said quietly. Continued possession shall only lead down one path: death.
With that, the legendary psychic-type turned and launched himself into the sky. Ash stared after him a moment and then sat down on a fallen log between Latias and Noctowl, his head in his arms. Latias put her arms around him, nuzzling his cheek with the top of her head. He hugged her in return, glad of the comfort she provided. In turn, the rest of his Pokemon gathered around, doing their best to give one big group hug to Ash. They stayed that way for a long time, Ash and Latias in each other’s arms, and the other Pokemon giving what strength and reassurance they could.
Last edited by Every Breaking Wave; 25th July 2008 at 11:42 AM.
25th July 2008, 11:16 AM
Ahhhh....That's a sweet moment. And is Silver down for the count - pernamently?! What will be the outcome of the match between Paul and Ash? Will the Wobbuffet live? Will Jessie and Meowth live long enough to reach Sinnoh? Will Anabel confess? And what is the GS Ball's secret? All those questions will be answered in later chapters of Final Challenge!
25th July 2008, 11:19 AM
Where the miis are at.
i especially love how you bring everything possible into your fic. I laughed when Soodowoodo was flying.
25th July 2008, 11:22 AM
Both you and Matkin spelled the mentioned Pokemon wrong - it's SUDOWOODO!
25th July 2008, 11:44 AM
Religion is a club
Thanks Psychopath; I think that was my favourite part of the chapter actually. You've gotta love what Mimic can do!
And thanks for pointing that out Bio Warrior 3000; I've fixed those typos now.
25th July 2008, 10:00 PM
A black and white world
Oooh, very awesome. Although why can't Wobby survive in the wild?
26th July 2008, 08:46 AM
Religion is a club
Wobbuffet has been living among humans for years now; it's possible that it was even bred by a trainer, and so never learned how to survive in the wild. At this point, after being separated from it's trainer for several days, it's in bad shape. It doesn't know how to fend for itself, and barely knows how to navigate. The only source of water it had in that time was the morning dew, and that wasn't enough to keep it hydrated.
Originally Posted by Blackjack Palazzo
Some of you are going to have a heart attack at this though; two updates in two days, and three in one week! Well, this chapter is shorter than the last few, but it's as long as it needs to be. Hopefully you'll all enjoy it.
Chapter 35: Realization
Brock stepped out onto the balcony and slumped into a chair, exhausted. “It’s going to be okay,” he said, forestalling their questions. “We got an intravenous drip into its arm and started filling its body back up with fluids. It’ll take a day or two before it’s completely recovered, but it isn’t in danger anymore.”
“That’s a relief,” May said, letting out a held breath. Brock nodded.
“It’s all thanks to Rey, Pidgeot, and Staraptor that the Wobbuffet is alive,” he said. “If they hadn’t gotten here as quickly as they did...”
“You don’t give yourself enough credit, Brock,” Anabel said. “You were the one who knew that it was dying, and you were the one who managed to send Rey on ahead with it.” She frowned for a brief moment. “Where is Rey, anyways?” she asked.
“Downstairs on the battlefield,” Brock answered. “Her ego took a real blow when she lost to my brother; I think it reminded her a bit too much of the way she lost to Koga and ended her Pokemon journey.” He sighed. “I met her a couple of times in Pallet Town when I visited with Ash. She’s a nice girl – most of the time – but she can act very nasty towards people who she thinks are beneath her when it comes to battling.”
“Why?” May asked, confused.
“From what I understand, Koga was very harsh towards her,” Brock answered. “He ended the battle early and told her she would never be a great trainer. She was crushed, and her dreams of being the best died. Since then she’s resented trainers who she sees as weaker than herself, thinking that they’ll grow and go on to be far more successful than she ever was. It’s why she was so antagonistic towards Forrest; she couldn’t accept that someone so much younger than her could already be a Gym leader. And it took a battle with him to prove otherwise, and for her to respect him for his ability.”
“So she’s trying to get back some of her confidence,” Dawn said.
“That’s right,” Brock agreed. “That match was the first official battle she’s had in ten years. She was overconfident and lost because of it, but I think it relit a spark of ambition that’s been smouldering inside her all this time. She still wants to be the best, and now she’s been given a second chance. Emotionally, anyways.”
“Do you think she’ll compete in a League?” Anabel asked him.
“Gym badges never expire,” Brock answered. “She still has five Kanto badges registered to her, so she only needs three more. And she’s had ten years of training with her Venusaur, along with her other Pokemon. Anything’s possible, I suppose.”
Ash climbed up the stairs of the Battle Tower; he had flown on Pidgeot on the way back, but rather than landing on the balcony he had directed the flying-type to land at the entrance instead, preferring the extra time it gave him to think as he climbed.
He paused three levels up at the entrance to the battlefield. Inside he noticed Rey, her face red with exertion as she battled her Venusaur against a Xatu. He watched her a moment before making his presence known.
“Doing a little training?” he asked. Rey started and turned before nodding.
“Yeah,” she said. “It’s been a while since I got any serious training done, and Venusaur and Xatu both need the workout.”
“So this is your Xatu?” Ash asked, walking up to take a close look at the regal psychic-type. Rey nodded.
“I caught her as a Natu six years ago,” she said. “I’ve never really battled with her that much, but we’ve trained an awful lot and she evolved a couple of months ago because of it.” She sighed. “The only problem is, when I try to train her against Venusaur I’m commanding both of them. And because I do that, I know exactly what move is going to come next from both of them.”
“Why is that a problem?” Ash asked.
“Because I never let Venusaur lose,” Rey answered. “I’m biased in her favour because we’ve been together for so long; Xatu can never win.”
“Why don’t you train her against some of your other Pokemon?” Ash asked. Rey let out a bitter laugh.
“My training legacy,” she said. “I only have two other Pokemon, and they’re both too weak to battle Xatu.” Ash held up a hand, stopping her.
“Never call your Pokemon weak,” he said. “They may not be strong enough to defeat Xatu, but that doesn’t make them weak. It may not seem like there’s a difference, but there is. Saying that a Pokemon is ‘too weak’ just demoralizes them. And besides, how do you know they can’t defeat Xatu?”
“They never have before.”
“What happens before doesn’t matter,” Ash answered. “Every time a Pokemon battles they grow and get stronger, even if they don’t win. A newly caught Pokemon can defeat the strongest member on your team if they’re smart about it.”
“Really,” Rey said, and eyebrow raised and her hands on her hips.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Ash told her. “Why would I lie?” He suddenly smiled. “I remember when I caught my Bayleef; it was still a Chikorita, and it was the pluckiest little Pokemon you’d ever see. I got so frustrated with it that I sent out my Charizard.”
“Oh no,” Rey said, starting to grin. “Don’t tell me...”
“Yep,” Ash nodded. “That Chikorita took down my Charizard.” He clapped a hand on Rey’s shoulder and looked her in the eyes. “We all have room to grow,” he said softly. ‘There’s always time.” He turned and left the room, calling out four Pokemon as he did so; Floatzel, Staraptor, Totodile, and Noctowl.
“Why are leaving these?” Rey asked, confused.
“To battle,” Ash said. “Let them battle against your Pokemon naturally. Watch them battle and learn what strengths they need to improve. Venusaur and Xatu against Floatzel and Staraptor in a double battle, and your other two Pokemon against Totodile and Noctowl in a single. Sometimes the best way for a Pokemon to grow is to rediscover its own natural skills.”
And with that, he left the room.
Professor Oak sat at his computer and sighed, rubbing his temples as he waited for the analysis to finish. He gazed sadly around at his trashed lab. The fifteen valuable plates he had painstakingly collected and researched over the years had been stolen, and judging by the scattered papers and open cupboards, the rest of his lab had been ransacked as well.
“It must have been a two-pronged assault,” Tracey surmised from behind the Professor. “That one guy who came in and threatened Delia wanted you to tell him where it was, while another broke in here and searched the lab to try and see if you’d hidden it away.”
“That is what probably happened,” Oak agreed, “but then I don’t see why they would have taken the stone plates as well. It doesn’t make any sense... As far as I know, there’s no correlation between the two.”
“Did they get your research on either?” Tracey asked in concern.
“Luckily no,” Professor Oak answered. “So far as I can tell, the files on the GS Ball and the stone plates weren’t copied or downloaded. I don’t think my computer was even touched, to be honest.” Tracey opened his mouth to respond, but was interrupted by the computer.
“Analysis complete,” a cool female voice spoke.
“Ah, excellent,” Professor Oak said, turning back to the computer and rubbing his hands.
“Is that the sample of the pustule from May that Brock sent?” Tracey asked in interest.
“Yes; hopefully this will prove to Ash that it isn’t the Pokerus,” Oak answered. “Computer: identify.”
“Sample is a previously unknown virus. No known recorded cases have been diagnosed.” Professor Oak frowned.
“Well, at least it isn’t the Pokerus,” he muttered. “Computer: is there a documented virus of a similar genetic structure?” The image of the sample onscreen faded, to be replaced by an image that he knew all too well. “Oh no,” he groaned.
“Pokerus,” the computer answered. “A temporarily contagious disease that only affects Pokemon, causing a temporary state of insanity.”
“Computer: compare Pokerus with unknown virus,” Oak ordered. “Could unknown virus be created through a natural mutation of the Pokerus?”
“No,” the computer answered after a few seconds of calculation.
“What does that mean?” Tracey asked. A grim slash crossed the Professor’s face.
“Computer: could unknown virus be created through a synthetic manipulation of the genetic structure of the Pokerus?” he asked.
“Yes,” the computer answered.
“What does that mean?” Tracey asked again.
“Computer: define the predicted effects of unknown virus,” Professor Oak ordered, panic starting to set in.
“Effects unknown. For most likely scenario, please access Pokerus.”
“Professor?” Tracey asked.
“This unknown virus infected May and almost killed her,” Professor Oak muttered to himself. “Its effects are the same as the Pokerus...” He turned and looked Tracey in the eyes.
“There’s only one thing it can mean,” he said slowly. “Someone's made the Pokerus infect humans.”
Giovanni stood, surveying the damage. Hard lines of anger crossed his face at every turn. Steam rose from the centre of the room where the Moltres had been hit by the water attacks; the Heatran sagged immobile, still in its cage and critically injured; Grunts were scattered around the perimeter, many of them groaning in pain and the rest staggering around with bewildered expressions on the face. As for the reinforced glass which should have protected him...
“NAMBA!” Giovanni roared, the call echoing throughout the spacious room. Almost comically, Professor Namba’s head peeked around the blast doors that led to his lab. Disregarding the still smouldering shards of glass that clung resiliently to the window frame, Giovanni leaped through the hole and stormed over towards the cowering Professor.
“It’s not my fault!” Namba squeaked as he drew nearer. “That one fool tripped and let go of the cage! If he hadn’t fallen and knocked those other Grunts over the cages would never have collided, and the Moltres wouldn’t have been provoked!”
“Hang the man who tripped!” Giovanni growled, lifting Namba bodily by the neck and smashing him against the blast doors. “Your mutant virus is supposed to give you control over an infected Pokemon! Why didn’t you call it off its rampage?”
“I... I...,” Namba stuttered, and Giovanni’s lip curled scornfully.
“Oh, I see. Too scared to get involved? Pathetic,” he muttered in an eerie imitation of his youngest son. He dropped the terrified Professor and stalked away to the cage containing the Heatran. “Don’t just stand there!” he bawled at the Grunts. “Get this Heatran into the lab and get it healed now!” As the majority of Grunts leaped forwards to lift and carry the cage, he turned and walked over to the Grunt who had caused the situation by falling, and who actually appeared to be asleep.
“As for you,” he growled, leaning down to pick up the man by the neck. The response was immediate. The Grunt’s eyes snapped open and, with an unfocused gaze, leapt forwards under Giovanni’s guard and tackled him to the ground. Giovanni gasped in surprise as his back hit the floor, and then the Grunt’s hands were fastened under his neck and the life was being choked from his body. He writhed, trying to free himself from the deranged man to no avail, and then the man suddenly went limp and fell to the floor.
“Are you alright, sir?” Bashou asked, kneeling down to his side. Giovanni nodded and, taking a deep breath, clambered to his feet. He glared down at the unconscious man who had tried to throttle him and then turned back to Bashou.
“You stopped him?” he asked, and Bashou nodded silently. “Buson?” he called.
“Behind you, sir,” Buson answered. Giovanni looked at them both, sizing them up.
“You’ve both saved my life today,” he said quietly. “I do not thank people, but you both deserve recognition for what you have done. I’m doubling your pay.”
“Thank you, sir,” they both said.
“Sebastian?” he asked.
“Here, sir,” the senior Professor answered from the ground, where he was intently examining the unconscious Grunt.
“That man will die for strangling me,” Giovanni said, “why are you checking him over?”
“Because what this man did was not his own fault,” Professor Sebastian said calmly, straightening himself as he stood and looked Giovanni in the eye. “It was Professor Namba’s.”
“What?” Giovanni asked, dumbstruck.
“Not true!” Namba blurted out from where he stood, having crept near during the incident.
“Look at this man’s forehead,” Sebastian said. “See this lump above his eye? That is the reason he attacked, and I suspect the reason he fell in the first place.”
“Speak sense, man!” Giovanni said impatiently. “It’s a bump from when he hit his head after tripping. What does that have to do with anything?”
“It was not caused by his fall; his fall was caused by it,” Sebastian said an, noticing the expression on Giovanni’s face, he hurried on. “This lump, or pustule to be more precise, is a reaction from being infected by a virus.”
“From being infected by a...” the colour drained from Giovanni’s face; he could see what was coming next.
“Yes,” Sebastian said softly. “This man has been infected by the Perporus.”
“That’s impossible!” Namba shouted. “The Perporus is just a modified variant of the Pokerus, and that can only be transmitted between Pokemon!”
“As the senior Professor and scientist of Team Rocket, all research passes though me before it is approved,” Sebastian said, ignoring his quivering contemporary. “I saw the trials and read the research papers; this pustule matches those of the test subjects and is identical to the descriptions in the paper Professor Namba wrote up.”
“You are just trying to discredit me!” Namba shouted accusingly. “You are jealous of what I have come up with and want to claim the credit for yourself!”
“Professor Bamba, I can assure you...”
“It’s NAMBA!” he screeched.
“QUIET!” Giovanni roared, with enough fury to make even a nearby Blastoise quail. He turned to Sebastian. “Any more proof?” he asked.
“Bashou, Buson; hold him down,” Sebastian ordered, taking what appeared to be two stopwatches out of his pocket. “These are able to determine the genetic makeup of any disease or virus,” he explained. “This one on the left has already been tested with the Perporus; the same variant that was administered to the Moltres, if I am not mistaken.” He clicked a button and a small scraper appeared out the side of the device on the right. He quickly scraped its edge along the surface of the pustule and retracted it back into the device. The man moaned as his pustule was touched, but did not flail about. There was silence for several seconds while the device clicked and whirred.
“Analysis complete,” the device spoke. Sebastian flipped open the lids of both devices and compared them quickly before holding them out to show Giovanni.
“You see,” he said quietly. “They’re a perfect match.” Giovanni stared at the two and staggered back, his heart beating quickly.
“Then this means...” he began.
“Yes,” Sebastian agreed. “When Professor Namba mutated the Pokerus into the Perporus, he gave it several unique abilities. The virus will last until death, although its contagiousness still ceases after 24 hours. The effect of increased strength and power remains, but the one infected will actually listen to a command given by its master. One infected by the Pokerus would never obey commands. Unfortunately, it appears as if the human barrier has been removed also. While the Pokerus can only be transmitted between Pokemon, it would seem that the Perporus affects humans. That means...”
“Epidemic,” Giovanni whispered, his face pale.
“Sir!” Bashou shouted suddenly. “The Grunt... he’s dead.”
“What? How?” Giovanni asked. Sebastian knelt and examined the man closely.
“Fever,” he said eventually. “One of the symptoms of the Pokerus is a high fever. Pokemon have different body temperatures and higher tolerances than humans do. The fever caused by the Pokerus never causes any lasting harm to a Pokemon, but it seems that the Perporus is not quite as benign when it comes to humans.” Giovanni turned and advanced on Namba.
“This is all your doing,” he hissed menacingly. “You caused this!”
“I only did what you told me to!” Namba protested.
“I told you to mutate the Pokerus into something we could control!” Giovanni roared, flecks of spit flying into Namba’s face. “I didn’t tell you to make it infect humans too!”
“But... but...” Namba stammered, backpedalling. Giovanni’s cool finally snapped and he lashed out at the terrified scientist, sending him flying.
“Sebastian!” Giovanni snapped.
“Sir?” the senior scientist asked, hurrying forwards.
“You’re in charge of this mess now,” he said. “Find out the full effects of Namba’s Perporus, and reverse them if you can. Do a thorough investigation into where Namba went wrong, and mutate a strain of Pokerus into a form of Perporus that won’t affect humans. Understood?”
“Yes, sir,” Sebastian nodded with a salute.
“Target neutralized,” Hunter J’s cool, collected voice spoke through the building’s intercom. “Moltres has been caught.”
“Finally, some good news,” Giovanni groaned, placing his hands over his head.
Another quick update, and I hope you enjoyed it! Don't expect the next one so fast though.