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Old 6 Hours Ago (5:13 AM).
BZRich64's Avatar
BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
The Mustachioed Machamp
     
    Join Date: Apr 2013
    Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
    Age: 22
    Gender: Male
    Nature: Quiet
    Posts: 131
    Chapter 122
    Spoiler:
    Ash made his way back out of the woods, walking around the tree he had climbed up to avoid the charging Tauros from earlier. Although it hadn’t actually been a Tauros but the Ditto that was no taking the form of an Arcanine and leading the way for Ash. It was hard for Ash to believe how much his situation had changed in just the past few minutes. Then again, he had been having a very eventful birthday, to the point where this wasn’t even the biggest change in circumstances that day.

    The red and white building that Ash had seen earlier was still in view, so Ash called his Ditto back into its Pokéball and made his way over to it. The building appeared to be an old, decrepit manor of some sort, which managed to remain bright and colorful despite the wear and tear that became more and more noticeable as he approached. As he approached the building, a rising feeling built up in Ash that is must have been abandoned long ago. It was unlikely that he would find any help here.

    Ash looked up at the sign hanging above the front doorway. ‘House of Imite’. The name didn’t sound familiar to Ash but he only had a moment to think about it before he jumped suddenly, startled as someone opened the door and walked out.

    It was a boy around Ash’s age, wearing a red and white jacket over a dark purple t-shirt and a dark blue pair of jeans. He had black hair that kind of spiked out a bit and there was a Pikachu resting on his shoulder, although that wasn’t what really caught Ash’s attention.

    “Oh, hi. Are you here to challenge the Gym Leader, too?” The boy asked when he saw Ash there staring at him.

    “There’s a Gym Leader here?” Ash was surprised to hear that.

    “Yeah. The actual Gym is still being built right now, so this place is being used until they finish with that.” The boy explained. “But isn’t that why you’re here?”

    “Um… no.” Ash smiled weekly in embarrassment. “Actually I’m kind of lost right now. I was just looking for someone that I could ask for directions.”

    “Where do want to go?” The boy asked. “I can probably tell you how to get there. I haven’t been in this area for very long, but I think I know the area well enough.”

    “Well, anywhere really.” Ash replied.

    “Well, Fuchsia City is just a couple miles west from here.” The boy pointed in the direction Ash had been walking. “I was actually just about to head over there myself so that I can challenge the city’s Gym.”

    “Thanks. Ash said as he started to notice the distant cityscape of on the horizon.

    “It’s really no problem.” The boy smiled and started to walk past Ash. “I always help anyone in need whenever I get the chance.”

    “One more thing…” Ash said before the boy could leave. “I just wanted to say that I used to have a hat just like that one.”

    “Oh?” The boy automatically glanced upward, towards the hat he was wearing, which looked identical to the one that Ash had just lost. “What happened to it?”

    “A Mankey stole it this morning.” Ash explained. “Took it right off my head and ran off before I could get it back.”

    “Well, in that case, this probably is yours then.” The boy said as he took the hat off and tossed it to Ash.

    “What?” Ash stared at the boy in confusion as he caught the hat.

    “Shortly before I got here I ran into a wild Mankey, which must have been the same one that you encountered.” The boy said. “Naturally, I sent out my Pidgeotto to attack it and then managed to capture the Mankey but then I sent it out to get a better look at my new Pokémon I realized that he was wearing this hat. I figured that it must belong to someone who lost it and that the best thing to do would be to wear the hat. That way, if I ever ran into the hat’s owner they would notice it and be able to tell me that it was there’s. It seemed much more efficient than just going around asking everyone I meet if they lost a hat, or something along those lines, and it would appear that I was right.”

    “Well, thank you. I didn’t think that I would ever get this back.” Ash could barely follow along with the boy’s story because he was talking so fast, but he thought that he caught the gist of it. He put his hat back and suddenly realized just how weird it had been not wearing it.

    “No problem.” The boy smiled, holding out his hand. “By the way, my name’s Satoshi. Satoshi Shigeru, of Viridian City. Most people call me Shu. What’s your name?”

    “I’m Ash Ketchum, of Pallet Town.” Ash grabbed Shu’s outstretched hand and shook it.

    “Small world.” Shu laughed. “My friends used to call me Ash when I was younger, short for Satoshi. Over time the nickname just kind of phased out though and people started calling by Shu, taking the ‘sh from Satoshi and the ‘u’ from Shigeru. Anyway, I should probably be heading off now and leave you to your own business. Catch ya later!”

    Shu waved as he left, heading up the road leading towards Fuchsia. Ash thought that Shu seemed friendly but he sure talked a lot. Ash felt like he still had the sound of Shu’s voice echoing through his skull as he stepped into the House of Imite.

    It was dark inside, but fortunately Ash had remembered to grab a flashlight while he was at home. He pulled it out of his backpack and used it to light the way. The building seemed abandoned as he wandered through the halls and he was starting to wonder if maybe Shu had lied about it being a Gym.
    “This place gives me the creeps.” Ash muttered to himself. “It feels like its haunted or something.”

    “Boo!”

    Ash jumped and nearly dropped his flashlight. He slowly turned around to see who, or what, was behind him and saw Hanami floating there.

    “You startled me.” Ash said, relieved that it was just her.

    “That was kind of the point.” Hanami smiled mischievously. “And everywhere you go could be considered haunted as long as I’m with you.”

    “I guess that’s kind of true. Although it feels like it’s been a while since you’ve shown yourself.

    “It’s only been around a day.” Hanami pointed out. “Don’t tell me you forgot about me that quickly.”

    “No, no!” Ash waved his hands nervously, not wanting to admit that he actually had forgotten about his ghostly traveling companion. “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to know if there’s anyone else in here besides us, would you?”

    “Are you talking about the Gym Leader that the boy from earlier mentioned?” Hanami closed her translucent eyelids for a moment, concentrating on something, and pointed towards a door leading out of the hall. “I sense someone over in that room. It must be her.”

    “Good.” Ash said. “I was starting to worry that I’d been lied to.”

    Hanami faded away again and Ash headed towards the door that she had pointed to. He opened it up to see that it led into a large room filled with chairs facing an elevated stage of some sort. Ash put his flashlight away as the lights were actually on in this room and looked around as he walked slowly towards the stage, but he couldn’t see any sign of another person in there with him. He stopped halfway along the walkway between rows of seats and closed his eyes, taking long, drawn-out breaths. He tried to remember what it had felt like back in Saffron City when he had started to see things when his eyes were shut. He had been under a lot of stress back then but something deep in the back of his mind told him that he would be able to do it again if he simply concentrated hard enough. He was right.
    It felt a bit different this time. Before, it had been like he was able to see what was in front of him when his eyes were shut and that he could look past what his eyes would normally have seen, even through solid objects and walls. This time it was more like he was feeling what was around him. Not just in the direction that he was facing but the entire room. The entire mansion, in fact. Every chair, every hallway, every speck of dust. It was all clear to him.

    After a moment of taking in the strange sensation, his attention focused on the area up above the stage. There was a person up there, a girl, who was waiting for him to get closer so that he could surprise him. He didn’t sense any ill will from her though, simply a desire for theatrics. Her presence reminded Ash of the Ditto that he had just caught.

    Ash opened his eyes again and everything returned to normal. Though a part of him could still feel the Gym Leader’s presence up above. He continued walking towards the stage and felt the girl drop down onto the stage, probably using a rope to control her descent. He climbed up onto the stage where he was greeted by… himself?

    “I’m here to challenge to challenge the Gym Leader. You wouldn’t happen to have seen here, have you?”
    Ash wasn’t sure what was going on. This person appeared to look just like him and was even talking in his own voice. It was as if he was facing himself but that couldn’t be. He could clearly sense that it was the girl he had felt.

    “But… aren’t you the Gym Leader?” Ash asked in utter confusion.

    Ash’s doppelganger mirrored his confused expression, staring at him for a moment. “Wow, hardly anyone ever sees through my disguises that quickly.”

    The lights suddenly turned off for a second and when they turned back on the Ash imposter was gone, replaced by a girl with bushy teal hair tied back in twin ponytails and wearing an orange shirt with a yellow star on it.

    “My name’s Duplica. I’m the Gym Leader here.” She said. “Now what are we waiting for? Let’s get this battle started.”
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