Yay go Ash I know you'll be as right as rain in time for your big battle with Lance. :D
Yay go Ash I know you'll be as right as rain in time for your big battle with Lance. :D
Damn, I'm excited for the battle. The little detail about Dawn painting the names of Ashs Pokemon on the pokeballs was so cute at the end of this chapter. It's just the little details like this that I love about this story!
The Misty vs Dawn rivalry is pretty entertaining as well.
I bet we see Glalie in the battle against Lance. Even Ash wouldn't ignore the fact that he's got a 4x type advantage over most of Lance's dragons, will he?
I really love this fic. Its amazing.
Dawn's being a bitch of-sorts.
I liked the chapter. I still can't understand what Dawn's bitching about so what if Misty hasn't seen him she didn't have to almost blow up on her face for that. I can't say I wasn't expecting Lance but whatever.
Anyways, I was wondering if you were gonna use any of the Pokemon Ash currently has on his team, you know like Gible (or it'll probably be a Gabite or Garchomp by now), Quilava and Infernape or even Torterra.
Now for another thing I wanted to point out, you've always tell me that a long chapter justifies if it has a lot of action or entertainment, the chapter was good but sometimes it dragged out and I actually noticed how long it was instead of just reading through it and be amazed when I was done already.
I think some readers mistake lack of explosions and battling for 'dragged out.' I thought the personal and intimate nature of this chapter, especially the way we truly see how close Ashs friends are to him is great. A different kind of chapter than the battle sequences, but awesome nonetheless!
No I liked that, I liked how good he showed the relationship between Ash and his friends but at some points in the chapter I don't know there's just something that got me bored for a few minutes.
Pokemon Ash should use against Lance:
Official Staff Bishonen. Author of Bulbagarden!
In fearful day, in raging night; With strong hearts full, our souls ignite
When all seems lost in the war of light, Look to the stars, for hope burns bright
I want to see Ash use some Sinnoh pokes. Torterra and Gliscor maybe?
BONUS CHAPTER! Chapter 13 - Two Evils Unite
As always, please take a few minutes to share opinions and COMMENT about the chapter after reading! It is much appreciated (and if you're an author, I'll def return the favor!)
The enormous flat-screen television hummed faintly and emitted a soft, luminous radiance from its hanging position right above the brick-lined fireplace. Its roaring orange and yellow flames mixed vibrantly with the pearly white light of the T.V., casting the entire otherwise dark room in a soft ambient glow. This more than made up for the lack of natural light coming in from outside.
It was Monday afternoon now, but outside the shrouded warehouse, the gloomy forest was as dark as ever despite the time of day. Virtually no sunlight was able to make its way from the sky past the ceiling of thick treetops overhead.
Inside the luxurious office, its owner was still wearing his crisp, black business suit and had returned to his comfy leather chair behind his desk. He was now reclined with his feet up, watching and listening to the television news coverage from Sapphire City intently.
“In a matter of hours, the second round of the Pokémon World Champions League Tournament will commence,” the woman on the news announced.
“Thirty-two of the original sixty-four trainers remain, and there is little doubt that the headlining match of the day will be the much-anticipated bout between the defending world champion, Lance of Blackthorn City, and young Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town…
“…The fifteen-year-old Ketchum has definitely endeared himself to many fans over the past week with his miraculous and inspiring recovery from the horrifying attack following his last match. And now, just days after sustaining several life-threatening gunshot wounds and undergoing major surgery, Ketchum has decided to continue his run in the tournament. His amazing heart and determination have quickly made him one of the most popular trainers left in the tournament…”
The T.V. shot to a scene of many screaming fans – most of them, young girls – outside of Sapphire Stadium, apparently waiting to purchase tickets to Ash and Lance’s battle. A group of a half-dozen teenage girls in front of the mob were posing for the camera wearing white t-shirts with Ash’s face on the front. Others held signs reading things like, “We Love Ketchum!” and “Marry Me Ash!” and “Ash Ketchum: Miracle Healer!!”
Next, the on-scene reporter was seen interviewing one of the screaming Ash fan-girls who was wearing his face on her shirt.
“All right, we’re talking to one of Ketchum’s young fans here today,” the reporter said and then turned his attention to the teen. “Young lady, it seems like there’s quite a following here for Ketchum. What is it about him that you and all these fans seem to love so much?”
The girl looked incredulously at the reporter and said in a very valley-girlish tone, “Oh... my... god, I’m Ash’s number one fan! Everyone saw what that sore loser, Zak Seabrook did to him!” The girl’s face turned rather twisted with hatred when she mentioned Zak’s name, but it quickly changed to a look of admiration as she continued on about Ash.
“… We love Ash because he's just so tough! Everyone who saw him get shot thought he was dead for sure… It really is a miracle that he’s okay and is well enough to battle today! It’s pretty amazing! And he’s soooo hot too! And he’s the youngest trainer ever to be in the tournament, you know. Oh my god! We‘re just so glad Ash is okay and is going to be able to battle tonight!!”
The girl being interviewed looked like she was about to hyperventilate while listing all of Ash’s great qualities; she fanned herself wildly with her hand while her friends continued to scream and applaud in agreement with everything she had said.
“WE LOVE YOU ASH!!!” the girl shrieked into the microphone, turning to the camera as the reporter thanked her for her time. Again, the entire group behind the girl echoed her loudly.
“There you have it. It appears as though the young man from Pallet Town has made a lot of fans here this week with his amazing comeback to competition,” the reporter said as he tried to wrestle away his microphone from the rabid fans. “Reporting live from Sapphire City, I’m Darren Michaels… now back to Angela in the studio.”
“Thank you, Darren,” the anchorwoman said when she had reappeared on the large T.V. screen. “Well, it seems pretty clear who those young ladies will be rooting for tonight when Ketchum battles Lance live from Sapphire Stadium…we‘ll have all the exciting action--”
The television shut off and the huge rectangular screen was now dark. The man grunted as he pulled his feet off the desk and sat straight up. He brushed a bit of dust from his black blazer and sat back in his chair for a moment, apparently deep in thought about what he had heard on T.V.
“I... can’t believe it,” the man said to himself, sounding pleased. “Now, I remember where I’ve heard your name before, Ketchum.”
The man still had his mind on the fifteen-year-old boy when the intercom on his desk started beeping, alerting him of an incoming call.
“Yes?” the man asked after he pressed the answer button.
“Boss!” the scratchy male voice on the other line shouted, sounding a bit out of breath. “Are you watching the news?! That Ketchum kid… the one I saw get killed and come back to life…he must have done it again!”
“Yes, Agent Cortez, I saw,” the man replied coolly. “And I saw the replay of that Seabrook guy shooting him the other day... Crazy fucker. At any rate, it does seem rather strange that the boy would be battling so soon after something like that, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, Boss. Like I said before, there’s something strange going on with that kid! It's like he's immortal or something...”
“I agree, Cortez. I believe you now.”
“Yes, I didn’t think of it before, but I remember this kid's name from the past… well, not his name exactly… but I remember the name, Ketchum, from a long time ago.”
“Okay... But sir, what does that have to do with this kid? And what does it have to do with our mission?”
The man in the suit paused for a moment, stopping to stare off into space silently before he finally replied.
“It might have everything to do with him…”
“Huh?” was all Cortez could utter on the other line.
“Agent Cortez, I want you to bring me that Ketchum boy as well. If I'm right about what I think I know... then this boy will be of great use to us.”
“What use is that, Boss? What do you mean, if you're right about what you think you know?”
“I did not ask you to question my motives, Agent!” the man roared. “Just do as I say and capture the boy when you and your men attack the stadium!”
“I-I apologize Boss, but it might be difficult to snatch the boy along with the others,” Agent Cortez said, his gruff voice sounding rather concerned. “When the strike occurs, we’ll only have a limited amount of time to capture all these trainers… I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get them all.”
“Just do the best you can, Agent,” the boss said with a sneer. “If the other trainers resist too heavily, just kill them… Our goal is to let the public know how powerful we are. But Ketchum… no, I need Ketchum brought to me alive!”
“Forgive me, sir,” the agent said, sounding afraid to question his leader again, “But how are we to ensure this kid is even at the stadium on the day of the attack? Surely you don't expect him to keep winning and make it all the way to the final.”
“Don't worry about that, Cortez,” the man replied with a sinister chuckle. “I have a plan in mind to keep him at that stadium even if he loses tonight! But your only concern at the moment should be your current mission... to unleash utter destruction and terror upon Sapphire Stadium... and bring me that boy and any other trainers you can manage to capture!”
And with that, the boss clicked off his intercom and sat back again in his leather desk chair. He looked extremely pleased with himself as he poured himself a celebratory glass of scotch from the bottle he kept in one of his desk’s drawers. But as he took his first sip of the warm brown liquid, his intercom rang.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
The boss was mildly irked at again hearing the shrill tones of the intercom interrupt his peaceful drink.
He angrily punched a button on it and bellowed, “Damn it, Agent Cortez! I’ve already told you everything! What do you want now?!”
“Uh… sorry, sir,” a slightly frightened female voice replied on the other line. “This isn’t Agent Cortez… it’s Johnson… I’m standing guard at the front door.”
The boss glanced at the security camera monitor on his desk, and sure enough, he could see the female guard at the warehouse’s front entrance with a walkie-talkie to her lips.
“Yes, what is it, Johnson?” the boss asked impatiently.
“Well, sir… uh… it seems as though you have a visitor. He says he wants to speak with you,” she replied in a confused tone of voice.
“What?!” the boss said and squinted at the grainy security monitor even more closely. There was a disheveled-looking figure standing near Johnson and the other guards. The guards all had their weapons drawn and were pointing them at the mysterious visitor, who had his hands up in the air.
“Who is he? How did he find this place?! What the hell is he doing here?!”
“Umm… he won’t say, sir. All he says is that he knows about your plan and he thinks he can be of great assistance to you.”
The man’s eyes grew big. He paused for a moment to ponder what he had just heard. How in the name of Arceus could this intruder know of his great plan? How could he have found the secret headquarters hidden deep within the forest? Who in blazes was this man?
Finally, the boss answered. “Very well. Escort our visitor up to my office, Johnson.”
“Copy that, sir. We’ll be right up.”
The boss was still skeptical about the intruder’s claim that he could be of some help, but he wanted to see who this man was for himself. And if he seemed like a threat, the boss wanted to be able to dispose of him rather than allowing him to leave for fear that he might alert someone about existence and location of the warehouse.
A few moments passed, and there was a knock on the door.
“Enter,” the man commanded firmly from behind the desk.
Agent Johnson, a uniformed masculine-looking woman, came walking into the room followed by the mysterious intruder. He was an incredibly beaten and battered-looking man with wildly messy gray hair and a long, unkempt beard. He was wearing a dirty orange jumpsuit which was torn and ripped almost to shreds. The intruder’s face was bloody and scarred; it was clear that someone or something had beaten this man up pretty badly.
The boss stared at the bearded man in disgust. Four other agents followed the intruder into the room with their automatic rifles cocked and pointed at the man’s back.
“First of all, who the hell are you?!” the boss shouted and pointed at the man, trying to sound as intimidating as he could.
The intruder didn’t answer. He just gazed back at the boss with a sleepy look in his eyes and gave him a crooked smile.
“Maybe you didn’t hear me,” the boss bellowed, even angrier now that he was apparently being ignored. “Who the fuck are you and how did you find this place?!”
Still no answer. The bearded intruder simply brushed back a snarled tangle of long gray hair from his face and continued to smile creepily back at the boss.
“Fine! If you have nothing to say…” the boss stood up and gave the man a cold stare. “Take him to the dungeon and shoot him.”
The guards started to grab the intruder when he finally spoke.
“I know what you are planning to do here. I know that you have assembled an army. I know you are seeking great power and ownership over the world… and I can help you.” The man spoke quietly, but something in his voice made him sound oddly sure of himself.
The boss was rather taken aback by how this strange and mangled man could have possibly found out about his plan to take over the world by force. But, unwilling to show weakness or fear, he scoffed at the man and continued to shout.
“How could you possibly be of any use to me?! Look at you!! You’re a fucking mess!” the man seated at the desk sneered.
Suddenly the boss noticed the small patch on the front of the man’s orange jumpsuit. It was barely visible through all of the mud, but it was still readable.
“Blackburn Island Prison…” the man read out loud, sounding very quiet all of a sudden. “You’re the prisoner that escaped the island?! You are all over the news! No one in history has ever been able to escape that place! How… how in the world did you?!”
The intruder chuckled softly. “That’s not important.”
This mysterious convict had the man's attention by now. He adjusted the collar on his black business suit and sat down at his desk. He offered the prisoner a chair.
“Please, sit down.”
The intruder obliged and limped over to the chair that one of the guards had placed down in front of the man's desk.
“Now,” the boss spoke more humanely to the convict now, obviously interested in how he had managed to escape a maximum security island prison and learn about his army and plan. “You said you thought you could be of some assistance to me, did you?”
“Oh yes,” the intruder smiled although it was barely visible past his thick beard. “I’ve heard all about your plan to attack Sapphire Stadium and capture all of the world's top trainers… I know all about your plan to scare the entire world into making you their leader… and I think I have something that could be of great help to you.”
The suited man cringed. How could this unhealthy-looking prisoner who had been locked away for years have heard everything? Most of his own army didn’t even know the entire plan. But the boss hid his concern with a sinister smile.
“Well… I’m listening,” he said. “Why don’t you tell me how you can help me?”
“It would be easier to show you,” the convict whispered and he took the filthy brown backpack off his back and began to unzip it.
The guards instantly pointed their guns directly at the convict when they saw him do this.
“Careful,” the boss warned. “I wouldn’t try any funny business… or you’re dead.”
The convict just chuckled again but moved more slowly as he unzipped the bag and pulled out a large roll of paper from it. He unfurled the roll of crackly, brittle parchment and held it open so that he could read from it.
“An old, rolled-up piece of paper?” the man scoffed. “That’s what you think can help me?!”
“Well, obviously paper itself can be of little use to someone in your position,” the convict retorted calmly. “But it is what’s written on the paper, that I think you might find interesting…” He gave the boss a little wink and smiled at him knowingly.
Without waiting for the boss to answer, the frizzled man began to read from his scroll out loud.
“Ahem,” the man cleared his voice. “To he who unearths this ancient scroll, the opportunity for unworldly power you hold within your own hands…
“… For hidden deep within the darkest depths of this young planet… are THREE MYTHCIAL CRYSTAL ORBS… each holding it own unique powers and secrets…” The convict looked up and made sure the boss had heard the part about the three crystal orbs before he continued.
“… But for he who discovers and unites these three crystals from their earthly burials will be granted unparalleled power… the power to lay claim to all that exists!” The man’s voice again intensified as he went on.
“… The quest in acquiring these three will be arduous and unyielding, but the fruits of this labor will be more glorious and valuable than comprehension!”
The boss paused to let his mind absorb what he had just heard. He stared calculatingly at the escaped inmate as the wheels in his brain turned. So many questions came to mind.
How in the world did this prisoner escape from one of the most heavily guarded facilities on the planet?
How did he figure out the warehouse’s secret location, and how did he make it here?
What was this strange scroll he had just read from?
Where did it come from?
Did its words speak any truth?
Was it possible that this crazy-looking maniac was for real?
And these ‘three mythical crystal orbs. Could they possibly be real?
The boss instantly began thinking of the glowing crystal orb that Professor Moss had made the life source of his magnificent killer pokémon …the same crystal orb he and his men had discovered many years ago buried deep within Mount Yoshii.
Could it possibly be one of the three crystals which this scroll spoke of? Would he really be granted ‘unparalleled power… the power to lay claim to all that exists' if he were able to capture the two remaining ones?’
The boss remained silent, trying to gauge the amount of truth behind what the prisoner had just read to him. Finally, still making sure to sound skeptical, he replied.
“So… let’s just say for a moment that I believed everything you just said to me, which I don’t… but if I did, how would anybody be able to locate and find these three crystals? What you read said nothing about where these orbs are located!” The boss sounded almost as if he had talked himself out of believing the scroll as he said this.
The prisoner just smiled. He slowly flipped the scroll over to its other side, revealing a hand-drawn world map. Most of the more recognizable countries and regions were easily discernible despite how primitive the map looked.
“Whoever drafted this scroll,” the prisoner explained, “must’ve known exactly where to look.”
The man almost fell out of his chair when he saw the map. He saw three dark ‘Xs’, which undoubtedly signified where each crystal orb could be found, and sure enough… there was an ‘X’ drawn over what looked a lot like Mount Yoshii, the very place where the boss had discovered his crystal years ago.
This sealed the deal in his mind. He was holding onto one of these mysterious three crystals. Right away, he knew he must not reveal this fact to the man with the scroll. Afraid that the inmate might see his knowing look, the boss abruptly spoke again.
“Well… you can see why I’m still a bit skeptical can you not? Your story is beyond far-fetched,” the boss said, trying to sound unbelieving. “And tell me… if this precious scroll of yours really is the key to unlocking such power… why in the world would you bring it to my attention? Surely you would much rather keep such a secret to yourself.”
“Indeed, but as odd as it sounds,” the convict answered with yet another devilish grin, “I have no desire for the incredible power that this roll of parchment promises. My only wish is to use these orbs to seek revenge over those who have damned me to a lifetime in that wretched prison.
“And to do that, I need your help. I know you have assembled a sizable army of very able soldiers… you have considerable monetary assets which I do not, and therefore you have the resources necessary to find these three orbs. All I ask for in return is the opportunity to inflict pain on my enemies.”
“So you would honestly allow me to collect the three orbs and the alleged power that comes with them as long as you get your revenge?”
“Precisely!” the inmate croaked excitedly.
It was clear now that the boss was considering this. He scratched his chin thoughtfully with his index finger. He thought about the one crystal sphere he already had and the incredible power that it possessed. It was more than enough for the boss to accomplish his goals; his unbeatable beast had already proven itself capable of destroying anything in its path. But what if he ignored this unexpected bit of knowledge and opportunity to collect two more of these crystal orbs? What if someone else managed to discover the remaining two spheres?
Suddenly, the boss felt a pang of fear tingle throughout his body. Would it be possible for someone to thwart his plan for world domination? With a feeling of decisiveness, the boss determined that yes, he must pursue the remaining orbs if for no other reason, to make sure that no one would ever be able to become more powerful than him.
“All right… I must say,” the boss finally said to the convict, “your claims still seem a bit unbelievable, but intriguing nonetheless. However, I have one question before I agree to assisting you.”
The scraggly fugitive said nothing, but looked as though he was listening.
“Tell me, what is to stop me from killing you right now, taking your scroll and going after the orbs by myself? You have stated that you need me… but who is to say that I need you?” The boss had a crooked smile on his face.
The convict again said nothing and looked unaffected by the boss’ threat. He simply smiled. Suddenly, the scroll he was holding in his hand ignited and burst into a huge orange flame. The man had swiftly set it on fire with a lighter he had been hiding in his opposite hand.
The ancient sheet of parchment had been so old and dry that it combusted very quickly. The prisoner dropped the flaming piece of paper to the floor where it continued to burn away into nothing but black, dusty ashes.
“You fool!!” the boss bellowed, revealing how much he now cared about the scroll’s legend and that he now believed the convict’s claims.
“Now you need me,” the prisoner said with a smile and pointed to his head. “I’ve got the entire map memorized. So… now that the scroll and map are gone… do we have a deal?”
The boss was so enraged at being outsmarted that it took every ounce of strength in his body to keep from ordering his guards to shoot the man dead right then and there. But he restrained himself, knowing that keeping this convict alive was now the only way he’d ever be able to obtain all three of the crystals. Plus, he took comfort in the fact that this prisoner had no idea that he already owned one of the three. So after the last two were discovered, the fugitive would still believe that there was one left to find.
Finally, the boss smirked grudgingly at his new partner (at least for the time being).
“Very well. I accept the terms of the deal. I will agree to designate a team of soldiers and scientists to accompany you in your search for the remaining… I mean, the three crystal orbs. But be warned, any funny business and you have my promise that you will be killed.”
“Understood, sir,” the convict said with a grin. “Oh… and one more thing. Call me Sai.”
“All right, Sai. You may simply call me ‘Boss.’”
“Mom! I’ve told you like a thousand times! I feel fine!”
“Are you absolutely positive? Does your head hurt? How does your stomach feel? Come here, let me feel your forehead!” Delia Ketchum grabbed her son and slapped her hand onto his forehead. “You feel warm, Ash! Maybe you shouldn’t battle after all!”
People all around the Sapphire Stadium Pokemon Center were stopping to stare at them, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed to Ash.
“Mom! Come on, cut it out! People are staring,” he hissed, trying to pull himself away. “And besides, you already signed the liability waiver thingie to clear me to battle!”
Fortunately for Ash, a tournament official came walking up and interrupted the two Ketchums.
“Excuse me, Ash? It’s almost time for you to start. Your six pokémon are all registered… here you are.” The tournament official handed Ash’s belt holding five pokéballs back to him and smiled. “We need you on the field now… if you’re indeed going to go through with the battle.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll be right out, just a sec,” Ash said. The man nodded and walked away before the boy turned to his mother again.
“Mom,” he said in a more civil tone. “I promise I feel okay, and I promise that I’ll be careful out there. Now please, stop worrying about me, and go back to your seat with the others... please. I gotta go out to the field now.”
Delia’s eyes twinkled as she gazed at her son. She knew full well that she was not going to be able to convince him to sit this battle out. She knew that look of determination and tenacity so well. Finally she just smiled and wrapped him in a tight hug.
“All right, Ash. But remember, be safe out there!” Delia said sternly. She pulled away from the hug and gave Ash one last look over before kneeling down before Pikachu.
“Pikachu, you make sure he doesn’t do anything reckless out there,” she said, petting the pokémon on the head gently.
“Pikah Pikah!” Pikachu cried out over its shoulder as it scampered after Ash who had already started to walk towards the tunnel leading to the field.
“Oh, and sweetie!?” Delia called out.
“Ugh, what!?” Ash stopped in his tracks and turned towards her.
“Kick some butt out there!” She smiled sweetly and turned to return to her seat in the crowd.
Ash’s mouth dropped when he heard this. Pikachu let out a sound like sounded like a giggle.
Ash and Pikachu heard and felt the rumbling of the gigantic stadium as they made their way through the dark tunnel. The boy noticed that his heart was pounding in his chest, which was still heavily bandaged underneath his clothes. He was rather thankful to be feeling anything at all after his most recent battle, but he shook those thoughts out of his head.
He was a bit nervous about the battle, having again left the mysterious coin back at his room. Ash figured Lance wasn't a likely candidate to inflict violence on him as Zak Seabrook had done. Plus, Ash wanted to measure his skills against Lance, and cheating by using the gold coin didn't seem right.
Ash felt like he was gambling with house money. He had been given a second chance. A second chance on life and a second chance in the tournament which he had spent years training for. He smiled to himself realizing that he had absolutely nothing to lose this time.
As the bright light from the end of the tunnel drew nearer, Ash heard the stadium announcer introduce his opponent, Lance.
He had idolized 'The Dragon Master' ever since the day he had met him and watched as he single-handedly destroyed Team Rocket’s machine and laboratory at the Lake of Rage all those years ago. Ash remembered wanting to help Lance defeat Team Rocket, but was told that it was too dangerous for someone his age.
The way Lance had handled himself in the face of danger inspired then-ten-year-old Ash. It inspired him to work and train hard so that one day, he might be as good a trainer as his idol. Ash would fantasize about someday, becoming good enough to help save the world… to make a real difference just like his hero. And now here they were, both battling each other in the most prestigious tournament in the world.
Ash felt the prickling of goose-bumps on his arms and neck. He knew he still had a long way to go before he could consider himself in Lance’s league as a trainer, but tonight… if only for one night, or until Lance defeated him, they were equals.
Ash and Pikachu finally reached the end of the tunnel. They squinted as the blinding lights from the stadium bared down upon them and thousands of flashbulbs exploded from all around the stadium. It was an awe-inspiring sight. The lights seemed brighter at night, and the crowd seemed bigger.
It was a clear evening and Ash gazed up through the bowl of the stadium at the millions of twinkling stars in the sky. The Millennium Supernova was still visible too. Somehow, all the celestial objects in the beautiful night sky made it seem like there were millions of additional eyes watching him tonight from above.
With a deep breath, Ash stepped out of the tunnel’s end and walked out onto the field. Almost instantly, two huge spotlights struck him and he heard the public address announcer’s voice boom and echo from the stadium’s speakers.
“… And opposing Lance tonight, the fifteen-year-old trainer from Pallet Town… Aaaaaaaaaash Ketchuuuuuuuuum!”
Ash felt the usual jitters when he heard his name called out over the loudspeaker, but something new was happening… something that hadn’t happened during his previous three matches. He looked up at the many thousands of people in the stands. He slowly turned his neck from left to right, surveying the entire stadium.
Everyone in the arena was slowly rising to their feet. The applause was like an explosion that detonated at the precise time that the announcer had said Ash’s name. The noise felt like it was a hundred times louder than it had ever been when Ash had been introduced earlier in the week.
Back then, Ash received a polite smattering of cheers as a relatively unknown. Tonight, there was absolute pandemonium inside the massive stadium. People were on their feet, screaming his name, holding up hand-made signs with words of encouragement on them, and making noise louder than anything Ash or Pikachu had ever heard. The two Pallet Town natives were in absolute stunned-silence as they made their way towards the center of the field where Lance was already standing.
“KETCH--UMM! KETCH--UMM! KETCH—UMM!” the crowd was chanting. The chants were raining down from the seats loud enough to be heard over the blaring music that was now being played.
“You’re quite popular tonight, aren’t you, Ash?” Lance chuckled as soon as Ash and Pikachu had made their way to midfield to meet him. “Listen to this crowd!”
Ash shook Lance’s hand without saying much. He was still dumbfounded by the crowd. “You… you mean they’re cheering for me?!”
“Well of course they are, Ash!” Lance laughed, obviously amused by the boy’s amazement.
“Pikah!” Pikachu cried out in agreement. It jumped up onto Ash’s shoulder and rubbed its head against Ash’s cheek affectionately.
“I still don’t get it,” Ash said, never taking his wide eyes off the thousands of fans surrounding him. “You're the champion, Lance... you're the one they should be going nuts about.”
“Nonsense, Ash,” the older trainer said. “You have shown guts and valor like no one has ever seen in this competition. And everyone's just showing you their appreciation. You are truly a remarkable trainer...”
“The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here!” the announcer bellowed before Ash could respond. “Trainers… To your positions!”
“Well, have a great match, Ash. It’s a real honor to battle you. Good luck to you!”
“Thanks, Lance. You too!” Ash said as he walked over to his side of the field, still mulling over the fact that Lance had told him that it was an honor to battle him.
“Wow, the crowd loves Ash!” Max yelled over the continued roar of the stadium from his front-row seat. He had been raucously joining in on the ‘Ketchum’ chants with glee.
“They sure do! The whole stadium’s shaking!” Brock, who was normally pretty even keeled (unless he came across a pretty girl), was noticeably giddy with excitement in the seat next to Max.
“This is so exciting!” May squealed, craning her neck to look all around the stadium. She became more than slightly annoyed when she heard a group of teenage girls seated behind them screaming about how ‘hot’ Ash looked down on the field. May looked over to Dawn to gauge her reaction to the fan-girls, but she wasn’t paying much attention.
Dawn had a dreamy look in her eyes as she gazed down at Ash on the field from her seat in between May and Johanna. Her face was emotionless for the most part, and she looked deep in thought.
“Dawn? What’s wrong? The match is about to start.” May leaned over and tried to speak loud enough so that Dawn could hear her over the roar of the crowd, but not loud enough so that the others could hear.
“Huh? Oh… yeah. I’m fine,” Dawn said and smiled weakly. “I’m just… I’m just glad that Ash is still… you know, able to battle tonight.”
“Well, yeah. We all are. And knowing Ash, there really wasn't any doubt that he was going to be out there, was there?”
“No,” Dawn said, trying not to cry. “But, I mean… I’m just glad that Ash is… still alive.”
“Oh. Me too, Dawn,” May said. She obviously felt very much the same way, but didn’t want to reveal to Dawn how she truly felt about Ash after seeing how Misty had been received.
“I mean, just a few days ago he was lying in his bed in the hospital… dying,” Dawn continued, her voice cracking. “I… err… I mean, we were so close to losing him.”
Dawn wiped a tear from her eye and rested her head on May’s shoulder. May didn’t say anything; she just patted Dawn on the forearm.
“I think I’m in love with him,” Dawn said quietly as if it were some sort of secret.
May, not sounding surprised at all, smiled to herself when she answered, “I know, Dawn.”
The referee announced that the battle between Lance and Ash would be a six-on-six battle in which either trainer could substitute their pokémon at any time. As he asked both trainers if they were ready, Johanna looked around with concern.
“I wonder where Delia is? She should be back by now. The match is starting.”
Suddenly, a voice shouted over the crowd from next to them.
“Ms. Ketchum is on her way back at the hotel.”
“Misty!” Brock and Max both exclaimed out of surprise.
“What are you doing here?” Dawn’s head shot up off of May’s shoulder, and she gave Misty a cold look. “Why is Ash’s mom back at the hotel?”
Misty smirked, looking much more confident and comfortable than before. She walked her way down the row and plopped down in the seat between Brock and May before she answered.
“Well, I met her in the Pokémon Center just a few minutes ago. I had hoped to catch Ash before he went down to the field… but I was too late.”
“Big surprise there, isn’t it?” Dawn said sarcastically.
“Dawn!” Johanna scolded.
Unaffected by the insult, Misty continued, “Ms. Ketchum saw me right away and gave me her ticket. She said that she wanted me to be here to root Ash on… and that she thought he would want me to be here too.”
Dawn opened her mouth to respond, but Misty cut her off.
“Look Dawn, you were right. I know I haven’t been the greatest friend in the world to Ash lately, and I know I’ve been out of his life for a long time now… but that stops now. I was in my hotel room packing up my stuff to head back to Cerulean City, but I realized something.
“I realized that just because I’ve made mistakes in the past and haven’t always shown Ash how much he means to me… that doesn’t mean I should give up. He means the world to me… surely you know how I feel, Dawn… and from now on, I’m gonna be here for him!”
Misty smiled triumphantly, looking truly happy. Then she stood up, cupped her hands around her mouth, and screamed at the top of her lungs.
“WOOOO!! GO ASH!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!”
Several people seated in front of her turned to look at the screaming girl, but Misty didn’t care. She was grinning from ear to ear. And as she sat back down, she couldn’t resist giving Dawn a quick wink.
There it is, the bonus chapter 13! LANCE VERSUS ASH is coming up next!!!
Please comment, and maybe Chapter 14 will be up sooner than later ;)
Last edited by Legacy; 7th August 2010 at 02:10 AM.
You got a reader, Legacy. Intense chapter, even though I haven't read diddly squat of this stuff yet.