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Old March 10th, 2018 (7:22 AM).
BZRich64's Avatar
BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
The Mustachioed Machamp
    Join Date: Apr 2013
    Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
    Age: 23
    Gender: Male
    Nature: Quiet
    Posts: 146
    Chapter 47
    "What was I doing?" A channeler wondered aloud as she picked herself up off the floor, looking over to see Red and Yellow standing in front of them along with Red's Charmeleon."

    "You were possessed," Red explained to the woman.

    "That's right." A sudden look of recognition crossed over the channeler's face.

    "The others that we've been able to free are gathering down below to try and expel the Ghost Pokémon from the tower. You should probably go join them."

    "Of course." The woman walked away hurriedly, being cautious not to accidentally trip over a gravestone or encounter another Ghastly before she made her way to the others.

    "How many more do you think there might be left?" Yellow asked Red as they continued making their way up the Pokémon Tower.

    "I don't know." Red answered honestly. "In fact, I've lost track of how far up we are right now. I don't know how much longer we have until we reach the top."

    "I kind of regret coming up with this idea. But at least we're helping people." Yellow paused for a moment in thought as the next staircase came into view. "I wonder what the others are doing right now."

    "I don't know." Red said as he started to ascend the staircase up to the next floor. "But I guess we'll see after we make it to the top."

    * * *

    Ash and his group reached another level of the Pokémon Tower. To their surprise, the floor wasn't covered with the same purple fog as the floors below it had been. In fact, the room was filled with a bright, white light. Ash looked over to see a group of women gathered in a circle a little way off from where they were.

    "What's going off over their?" Ash wondered aloud.

    "It looks like they're probably trying to get rid of the ghost infestation." Carmine whispered to him. "It would probably be best not to interrupt them."

    "I agree." Brock chimed in.

    "Hey, Ash, what happened to your Ghastly?" Misty asked quietly.

    "I don't know." Ash said as he looked around some more, just noticing that the Gas Pokémon wasn't there anymore. "He was just behind me a moment ago."

    "Pika, pika." Pika said as he and Volty both motioned down to Ash's waist, where his Pokéballs were resting. Ash held up Ghastly's Pokéball and saw that it was full.

    "If the ceremony that they're casting over there is meant to get rid of the wild Ghastly, then it's probably having a negative effect on yours as well." Carmine pointed out. "He probably had to retreat because of that."

    "Right, that makes sense." Ash put the Pokéball away and started walking ahead again. "Why did we even agree to come to this place, anyway?"

    "We?" Misty asked. "What do you mean 'we'? This is all on you."

    * * *

    After Daisy finally made her way to Celadon City, she made a quick trip to the Pokémon Center to heal her team and set off to find the local Gym. It didn't take too long for her to find the Gym and she walked in eager to earn her next badge.

    The interior of the Celadon City Gym was filled with bushes and flowers that formed a maze. Daisy had to make her way around without any idea of where she was going for several minutes before she finally made her way to a large open area within the maze. A young woman with shoulder length dark hair stood at the other end of the area in front of a small table with several pictures on it. She seemed to be staring at one picture in particular.

    "Ahem." Daisy cleared her throat to draw the woman's attention. "Are you the Gym Leader?"

    The woman slowly turned towards Daisy. "Oh, uh… yes. I am Erika, Gym Leader of Celadon City. Sorry about that. I was just lost in thought."

    "Then I'd like to challenge you to a Gym Battle." Daisy said.

    "Yes. Of course." Erika reached absently for a drawer under the table behind her. "How many badges do you already have?"


    "Then this will be a three-on-three battle." She pulled a set of Pokéballs out of the drawer. "We will start when you are ready."

    Daisy pulled a Pokéball out of her bag and held it out in front of her. "Alright, girl. I know I just caught you, but do your best."

    Vulpix sprung out from the Pokéball and landed gracefully on the ground in front of Daisy. Meanwhile, Erika called out her first Pokémon, Tangela. Tangela stood cautiously, waiting for Vulpix to make the first move, while the Fox Pokémon sat back and looked at her opponent smugly, as if daring the ball of vines to try anything against her. After a moment, Erika finally gave her Pokémon an order.

    "Use Poison Powder!"

    Tangela spread a wave of poisonous spores through the air in Vulpix's direction, but eh Fire-Typ seemed unfazed. Rather than dodging the attack, Vulpix instead shot forth a blast of fire from her mouth, incinerating the powder before it could even reach her. She then followed by sending the blast further away, hitting Tangela head-on. Tangela then used its Ingrain move, sending some of its vines down into the ground below it to absorb nutrients and restore its health. This gave Vulpix enough time to use another Flamethrower before Tangela could try and attack. After taking the second hit, Tangela tried to use Growth to increase the power of its next attack.

    "Now finish it off with another Flamethrower!" Daisy ordered her Pokémon.

    Vulpix opened its mouth and, rather than sending forth another stream of flames, let out a load Roar that seemed at odds with the Pokémon's small stature. The force of the Roar sent Tangela flying back and it was sucked back into its Pokéball, with Erika's Weepinbell taking its place.

    "What?" Asked Daisy, confused. "That's not what I said to do."

    "You said that you just caught that Vulpix, correct?" Erika asked.


    "Sometimes Pokémon will not instinctively follow your orders and choose to do what they want to instead, until they have learned to trust your commands and leadership."

    "I guess that makes sense." Daisy said. She then held out Vulpix's Pokéball and the Fox Pokémon was pulled back inside. "I guess I'll use Butterfree for now, then."

    Daisy tossed another Pokéball into the battle and her Butterfree flew out of it. Or at least, it appeared to fly at first, but quickly fell to the ground, soundly asleep.

    "Oh, right." Daisy muttered to herself. "I forgot about that. I'll guess I'll just have to make due."

    * * *

    "It looks like the smoke is finally starting to clear away now." Yellow observed as she and Red made their way up another flight of stairs.

    "Yeah, I guess the channelers are making progress with getting rid of the Ghost Pokémon." Red said back.

    "I'm starting to get tired." Yellow said. "Can we take a break?"

    "You don't have to ask me twice." Red said as he sat down on the cold tiled floor. "I've completely lost track of how many stairs we've gone up."

    The two sat there in silence for a while, but that silence was broken by the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs behind them.

    "Gary?" Red asked as the other trainer's spiky brown hair came into view.

    "What, did you losers give up already?" Gary asked back as finished climbing the stairs, clearly exhausted himself. "Well, if you're not going any higher right now, I might as well wait a while."
    Gary sat down next to them and the three all waited there for a moment before more footsteps could be heard. Ash walked up to them, followed by Brock, Misty and Carmine.

    "Hey, guys." Ash said. "Are we all taking a break? I'm fine with that."

    "Actually," Yellow said as Ash and the others started to sit down as well. "I think I'm ready to go now."

    Yellow got up and started walking towards the next staircase, with Red following her there. As they went, however, a sudden chill wind suddenly passed through the room.

    "Maaaaarrooooo…" Came a harsh moan echoing throughout the tower.

    "What was that?" Misty asked aloud.

    "I don't know." Carmine said.

    "Be gone…" The voice came again. "Intruders…"
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    Old March 11th, 2018 (8:28 AM).
    BZRich64's Avatar
    BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
    The Mustachioed Machamp
      Join Date: Apr 2013
      Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
      Age: 23
      Gender: Male
      Nature: Quiet
      Posts: 146
      Chapter 48
      Erika ordered her Weepinbell to strike Daisy’s sleeping Butterfree with a Vine Whip. The attack struck the Butterfly Pokémon against the back of her head, but was not enough to wake her up. Erika then followed up by having her Pokémon increase its offensive power by using Growth to increase the size of its vines and strike with another Vine Whip, right across Butterfree’s back. This time Butterfree was snapped awake by the blow and hazily flew up into the air.

      Weepinbell launched a Razor Leaf at the Bug-type before she became fully aware of her surroundings, but was too late. Butterfree effortlessly dodged the attack and retaliated by using its Psybeam attack, sending a wave of psionic energy at her opponent. The powerful attack caused Weepinbell to be sent flying back and crashed into a nearby Oran Tree. Weepinbell lifted itself up from the pile of scattered pink leaves that had been left from the impact and as it hopped away it noticed a small blue object that caught its attention. It quickly swallowed the Oran Berry and was partly revitalized by it. The now reenergized Weepinbell leapt back into battle and grabbed Butterfree with its vines, tightening its grip into a Wrap attack.

      As Butterfree struggled to break out of Weepinbell’s grasp, she fired another Psybeam at her opponent. Weepinbell was stuck by the blast again but was able to hold its ground this time. It slammed Butterfree hard into the ground before she could fire another attack at it and then followed up with another Vine Whip attack. As its mighty vine dropped down where Butterfree laid, the Bug-type quickly rolled out of the way of the attack and took to the air again. Butterfree began flapping her wings hard and created a gust of air laced with powdery scales and blew the Silver Wind attack straight at Weepinbell, who took the brunt of the attack head-on.

      Butterfree felt a surge of energy course through her as Silver Wind’s secondary effect kicked in and she gained a temporary boost to her speed, power and defense while Weepinbell collapsed onto the ground. Erika returned Weepinbell to its Pokéball and sent out her third Pokémon.

      “Gloom, come out and finish this battle.” She said as the blue Weed Pokémon came out of its Pokéball.

      * * *

      “Leave this place.” A ghostly haze of purple mist materialized in front of Red, blocking the way to the next floor of the Pokémon Tower.

      “What’s going on?” Yellow asked, fear imminent in her voice. “What is that thing?”

      “It’s probably just a Ghastly.” Gary said. “I noticed a few of them on my way up here.”

      “That can’t be.” Carmine pointed out. “All of the Ghastly should have been driven out by the banishing spell that just passed through here.”

      Ash looked around at the others as they reacted to the ghostly apparition, when he heard the voice of the Maiden pass through his head.

      “That’s not just a Ghost-type Pokémon.” She said. “It’s an actual ghost. I’m going to see if I can force it to take its true form.”

      “Hey, wait a minute,” Misty then said, “it looks like it’s doing something.”

      The purple mist suddenly started to pulse and there was a sudden flash of blindingly bright light. It took a moment for everyone’s eyes to readjust themselves, but when they could see again, the mist had been replaced by a Pokémon.

      “That’s a Marowak.” Brock muttered in shock.

      Standing at a little over three feet tall, the Bone Keeper Pokémon hovered just above the ground, its toes almost touching the cold tile floor beneath it. It held a single bone firmly in its right hand as it stared furiously at the humans who had dared to invade this place.

      “Well, I don’t care what it is.” Gary said as he took a step forward. He held up an empty Pokéball and through it at the Marowak, who didn’t react as the ball passed harmlessly through it.

      “What?” Red wondered aloud in astonishment.

      “No problem.” Gary said slyly. “Obviously I just need to weaken it first. Go, Wartortle!”

      Gary held up his starter Pokémon’s Pokéball and waited for Wartortle to come out of it. Nothing happened.

      “I said go!”

      There was still no reaction. The others started to check their Pokéballs as well and quickly discovered that none of them were working.

      “That ghost Marowak must be interfering with the Pokéballs’ internal systems somehow.” Brock suggested.

      The Marowak suddenly let out a roar and assumed a battle stance, holding tis bone club behind it, ready to attack.

      “Great. That leaves us with no way to defend ourselves.” Red sighed.

      “Don’t be too hasty.” Ash said. “even if Pokéballs aren’t working, I’ve still got two Pokémon ready to fight.”

      “Pikachu!” Pika jumped off of Ash’s shoulder onto the ground, ready to defend everyone if necessary.

      “Chu, pika.” Volty did the same.

      “Oh, great.” Gary said sarcastically. “We have two Electric Pokémon to fight off a Ground-Type. However could this go wrong?”

      “Don’t worry about that.” Ash said. “I can just have Pika use Brick Break. It’ll be super effective.”

      “No good.” Carmine pointed out. “That thing’s a ghost, which means Normal and Fighting type attacks won’t effect it either.”

      ‘I didn’t think about that.”

      Marowak then let out another roar and charged forward to attack.

      “What do we do now?”

      * * *

      Erika’s Gloom released a Sweet Scent from the flower atop its head which spread throughout the area. Butterfree noticed the scent and became enamored by it, stopping what she was doing and leaving her open for a spray of Acid. Butterfree snapped back to its senses after being hit and started flying circles around Gloom, still experiencing the boost that Silver Wind had given her. Gloom tried to launch another spray of Acid at Butterfree, but missed. Butterfree stopped flying behind Gloom and hit it with a Psybeam. Gloom was knocked flat onto its face by the force of the blow. Before it could get back up again, Butterfree hit it with another Psybeam and then another. After the third hit, Gloom didn’t get back up again, so Erika had no choice but to recall Gloom back to its Pokéball.

      “Yeah!” Daisy shouted in excitement. “We win!”

      “Not yet, you still haven’t defeated my Tangela yet.” Erika said as she called her Vine Pokémon back into battle.

      “Oh, right. I forgot about that.” Daisy said, embarrassed. “But it’s already been weakened, so this should be a piece of cake. Butterfree, use Silver Wind again!”

      Butterfree began flapping its wings heavily like before, but before she could launch the attack, Tangela hit her with a spray of Sleep Powder and Butterfree almost immediately fell to the ground, sound asleep.

      “Oh, bother.” Daisy sighed as she lifted up Butterfree’s Pokéball. “Well, you did good while you were still awake. Now it’s time for Bulbasaur.”

      Daisy was just about to call out her starter Pokémon when suddenly Vulpix came out of its Pokéball. The Fox Pokémon let out a howl as her feet touched the ground and let out a spiraling stream of fire from her mouth. The Fire Spin attack hit Tangela and formed a burning ring of fire around the Grass-type. The move proved too much for the already weakened Tangela and it fainted.

      “Now you've won.” Erika said as the flames died down and she called her Tangela back. “Congratulations.”

      Daisy walked up to Erika, who handed her a Rainbow Badge.

      “Thank you.” Daisy said as she took the badge.

      “You know,” Erika said. “You remind me a lot of an old friend of mine.”


      Erika turned to the picture she had been looking at when Daisy arrived, and Daisy took a closer look at it. The picture showed a younger Erika with another girl, with chestnut brown hair and strikingly blue eyes.

      “Who’s she?” Daisy asked.

      “Her name is Karla. Her parents used to serve my family and we grew up together. We were as close as sisters when we were younger.” Erika gave a depressed sigh. “Though, I haven’t heard from her in years. I have no idea what’s become of her.”

      “That’s sad to hear.”

      “Never mind.” Erika turned back to Daisy. “Anyway, congratulations again on earning the Rainbow Badge. I wish you luck as you continue to make your way through the Pokémon League.”
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      Old March 12th, 2018 (6:32 AM).
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      BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
      The Mustachioed Machamp
        Join Date: Apr 2013
        Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
        Age: 23
        Gender: Male
        Nature: Quiet
        Posts: 146
        Chapter 49
        Wes was washing his hands in the Adonis Detective Agency’s bathroom when he looked up at the mirror in front of him and stared at his reflection. Recent events had caused a lot of bad memories and old resentment to start bubbling back up inside of him.

        “Why did she have to get involved in all of this?” He muttered to himself. “Just when I thought I was finally moving on with my life and put the past behind me.”

        He studied the details of his face. It was the face he had always had and yet right now he couldn’t even see himself, only his mother. Sure he had brown eyes rather than her blue, but the details of his face her nearly identical and he had inherited her silver hair as a painful reminder of his background. Even his deep tan from living his whole life in the harsh desert of Orre was steadily fading away. The tan line left after he removed the reflective tape he used to wear across his face to keep the desert sunlight out of his eyes had become only faintly visible.

        Wes placed his hands on the sides of the sink and clenched his fists tightly shut. He closed his eyes and relived the events of his mother’s departure when he was just a boy. This didn’t last long, however, as he was suddenly snapped out of it by a knock on the door.

        “Are you okay in there?” Rui asked from outside.

        “Yeah, I’ll be right out.” Wes called back as he put his gloves back on and opened the door. “What’s up?”

        “Oh, not much.” Rui held her hands behind her back and moved her left foot lightly across the floor beneath her. “I was just wondering if you wanted to go out and do something. Maybe go get dinner?”

        A faint smile slowly creased Wes’ lips. He had done a lot of bad things in his life, made a lot of mistakes, but joining up with Rui was not one of them. The girl always knew how to cheer him up. It probably had something to do with her powers, now that he thought about it, but that wasn’t important right now.

        “Sure.” He said. “I could go for some food.”

        “Great!” Rui beamed. “Let’s go find someplace good!”

        Rui turned around and left, Wes following close behind. They made an odd pair, but they were a pair nonetheless. Wes wouldn’t trade their friendship for anything in the world. Maybe his past wasn’t so bad, Wes thought, if it’s what eventually led him to her.

        * * *

        The members of Team Rocket’s Elite Squadron sat around the long table situated in the main conference room of the organization’s headquarters. Giovanni stood at the end of the table, ready to give them their new orders.

        “I’m sure you are all wondering why I have called you here.” He said as he pushed a button on the table in front of him. The room went dark and an image lit up on the table showing the S.S. Anne shortly before it had set off for its final voyage. “As you all know, this ship sunk just recently under mysterious circumstances. Every passenger and crew member washed up on shore with barely any injuries and yet no one has any recollection of what actually happened. In fact, most of you were there at the time as well and yet none of you have been able to shed any light on the subject. However, we now finally have a lead on what happened aboard that ship.”

        Giovanni pressed another button and the picture of the ship was replaced with an aerial view of the ship surrounded by a pack of Gyarados.

        “It took a lot of resources to get this satellite video feed of the ship’s destruction and even more to make sure that no one else was able to access this same information.”

        Everyone watched as the pack of wild Gyarados surrounded the ship and then as they stopped. A dark figure flew over to the ship and there was a mild commotion before there was a flash of white light and the feed cut out.

        “We do not know for sure what that thing was, but we have reason to believe it has something to do with one of the old Team Rocket’s plans: Project ReBirth.” Giovanni glanced over to Jessie to see the look of recognition pass over her. “Yes, I’m sure that name would be very familiar to you.”
        “But that project never went anywhere.” Jessie pointed out. “My moth-, er, Agent Myra Starr and her team were never able to find what they were looking for, so the project was never able to move forward.”

        Giovani gave a sly smile. “Yes, that’s what you were told. But you have a much higher clearance level than you’ve ever had before. I think it’s time for you, and everyone else here, to learned the truth. While it is true that the scout team never returned from their expedition, they were not emptyhanded. They were able to send back precisely what was needed and the project was carried out in the utmost secrecy on a small island to the southwest. Only a small group of scientists were allowed in on the project and even fewer knew of our involvement. The entire project was then thought lost after an ‘accident’, but it would appear that not everything was as it seemed.”

        “I’m confused.” James interrupted. “What are you talking about?”

        “Oh, yes.” Giovanni turned to him. “You wouldn’t be familiar with this. Then allow me to go into further detail on the subject.”

        * * *

        The Marowak ghost threw its bone club towards Pika and Volty. The two Pikachu jumped out of the way as the bone spun furiously past them and nearly hit Ash who has standing behind them. The bone then curved around the room and everyone else had to duck as it went soaring over their heads and straight back to the Marowak, who expertly caught it.

        “What do you want?” Misty cried out to the ghost.

        “Leave this place.”

        “Sounds good to me.” Gary quickly made his way towards the staircase leading back down. Suddenly the ghost disappeared for a second and reappeared in front of him. “Hey, I thought you wanted us to leave!”

        “I don’t think it meant for us to leave that way.” Carmine said.

        “Well, what other way is there… oh, wait.” Gary’s face gained an expression of horror at the realization of what he meant.

        Marowak tossed its bone again and Gary had to dive out of the way. The bone arced its way around the room as before and smacked Yellow in the back of her head, knocking the girl unconscious.

        “Yellow!” Red cried out as he grabbed her before she could fall onto the ground.

        “That’s it!” Ash cried furiously. “You’re going down! I don’t care if you can’t be hit by physical or electric moves, Pika, Volty, take that ghost down!”

        The two Pikachu nodded at their trainer and faced their opponent. Volty charged forward with a Quick Attack while Pika jumped up high in the air and came falling down with a Brick Break. Both Pokémon passed harmlessly through the ghost and crashed into each other.

        “That’s no good.” Brock said. “You need to come up with some other strategy.”

        Marowak swung its club down at Volty, who managed to dodge out of the way. The Marowak then threw its bone again.

        “That’s it.” Ash muttered to himself, then turned back to his Pikachu. “Aim for the bone!”

        The two Pikachu both looked at him in confusion and then fired a twin Thunderbolt at the bone as it arced back. The blast knocked the bone off course and it slammed into Marowak’s head, knocking it down.

        “Way to go!” Misty cheered.

        “It’s not over yet.”

        The Marowak grabbed its bone off of the floor and used it to pull itself back up onto its feet. It looked over to Ash in fury and swung its club up, scraping the ground as it went. A huge storm of dust filled half the room and when it faded way everyone that was caught inside was gone, leaving only Gary, Red and the unconscious Yellow alone with the ghostly Marowak.

        “Well, that’s not good.” Gary said bluntly.

        “You think!” Red snapped back at him.
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        Old March 13th, 2018 (7:48 AM).
        BZRich64's Avatar
        BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
        The Mustachioed Machamp
          Join Date: Apr 2013
          Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
          Age: 23
          Gender: Male
          Nature: Quiet
          Posts: 146
          Chapter 50
          “Now, off we go.” Daisy said to her Cleffa as she set out from Celadon City and onto Route 16. “At this rate, we might actually be able to pass the others and reach the Pokémon League first.”

          “Cle.” The pink and green baby Pokémon giggled back at her.

          “Oh, that’s right.” Daisy said absently. “You haven’t even met the others yet. I can’t wait until I can show you off to them.”

          “Well, well, well, who do we have here?”

          Daisy turned around to see Giselle walking over to her. She had a smug confidence to her posture that Daisy thought reminded her a lot of her brother Gary.

          “It looks like we meet again.” Giselle said.

          “What are you doing here?” Daisy asked her.

          “The same thing as you. Or so I would imagine, anyway. I’m making my way to the next town and with it the next Gym. Unfortunately, the way is blocked from here. Unless you have a bicycle, Route 17 is completely off limits and this place is little more than just a dead end.”

          “Oh,” Daisy looked down shyly at the ground. “I wasn’t aware of that. I guess I’ll have to find another way.”

          “I see that you’ve been busy since we last met. You even managed to get yourself a baby Pokémon. Those aren’t exactly easy to come by.” Giselle bent down slightly to get a closer look at Cleffa. Suddenly the smugness of her expression faded. “Wait, hold on a minute. Is that a shiny?”

          “No, she’s a Cleffa.” Daisy pointed out.

          “I know that.” Giselle said angrily. “I was asking if she was shiny Pokémon?”

          “I don’t know what you mean.” Daisy said, confused.

          Giselle sighed. “How do you not know what a shiny Pokémon is?”

          Daisy shrugged her shoulders.

          “I shiny Pokémon is a Pokémon that has a different coloration than normal. For example, Cleffa normally have brown ears, not green.”

          “Really?” Daisy held up her Cleffa to take a closer look at the baby Pokémon. “I didn’t even realize that.”

          “Shiny Pokémon are, like, extremely rare. How did you even manage to get one?”

          “She hatched from an egg I was given by a Clefable in Mt. Moon.” Daisy explained as she lowered Cleffa back down into her arms.

          “Fine, if you don’t want to tell me, then don’t.” Giselle sighed.

          “But it’s the truth!”

          “Yeah, whatever. Anyway, I know we’re rivals and all, but since we both need to head back to Celadon and find a different Route to take, would you mind if travel together for a bit?”

          “Um, sure.” Daisy answered, surprised by the question.

          “Normally I wouldn’t ask for something like this.” Giselle tried to defend her own ego. “But it gets kind of boring traveling alone all the time.”

          “I know that feeling well.” Daisy added.

          With that, the two girls turned around and headed back to Cerulean. This was definitely an unexpected setback, Daisy thought, but at least she had a bit of company for the time being. This also gave her a chance to get to know her self-proclaimed rival a little better.

          “So, where are you from?” Daisy asked Giselle.

          “Don’t push it.”

          Then again, getting to know her might be a harder challenge than Daisy thought.

          * * *

          “What are we supposed to do now?” Gary yelled at Red. “We’re being attacked by a ghost that won’t let us leave, we can’t call out our Pokémon and the others are just… gone.”

          “I am well aware of the situation!” Red yelled back as he lifted Yellow’s unconscious body onto his back. “Just give me a little time to think.”

          “We don’t have time!”

          The Marowak ghost slowly walked up to them, holding its bone club high above its head ready to strike. Gary tried to call out his Wartortle again, but his Pokéballs were still inactive. Marowak struck down with its club, but both trainers were able to dodge out of the way of the blow.

          “Hold on!” Red suddenly shouted. “I think I have a plan.”

          “Good, now would you mind sharing it with the rest of the class?” Gary asked sarcastically.

          “There’s only one ghost, but two of us. If we both head in opposite directions, it won’t be able to stop us both from leaving.”

          “Well, I guess that’s better than just standing around and waiting to get hit.” Gary said as he started running towards the stairs leading back down the tower. “Smell you later!”

          Marowak turned back and forth between Gary and Red as they ran in opposite directions away from it, unsure of what to do. After a moment, it made a decision and bolted straight for Red. Fortunately for him though, he had enough of a head start to reach the stairs and make his way up. Marowak did not follow him.

          When Red had safely made his way to the next floor of the Pokémon Tower and was sure that the ghost was no longer followed him, he gently set Yellow down on the tiled floor and sat down beside her.

          “I don’t remember the last time I’ve been that scared.” He whispered to himself. “But at least we made our way out of that. Now I’m only worried about how we’re supposed to make our way back down from here.”

          Red then looked up to see if he could at least find the staircase leading to the next floor and to his surprise he wasn’t able to find one anywhere. He gently nudged Yellow in an effort to wake her up and after a moment the girl’s eyes finally flickered back open and she sat up.

          “Good to see you’re okay.” He said to her.

          “It depends on what you mean by ‘okay’.” Yellow groaned. “You wouldn’t believe the headache I have right now.”

          “Getting hit in the back of the head with a bone will do that to you.” Red replied. “Anyway, it looks like we’ve finally made it.”

          “Really?” Yellow stood up excitedly and looked around. “Oh, wow. I was starting to think we’d never make it up here. Where are the others?”

          “Well,” Red wasn’t quite sure what to say. “Gary had to make his way back down so that we could get up here and I don’t know what happened to everyone else. They just kind of… vanished.”

          “What do you mean by-” Yellow’s question got cut off as they heard a yell echo across the room. Red and Yellow both looked around to see where it came from and noticed for the first time that they were not alone up there.

          At the other end of the room, an old man lay on the floor, backing away from three men dressed in black uniforms that had a very familiar design to them.

          “Team Rocket.” Red growled. “What are they doing here?”

          Red called out his Charmeleon and Paras, glad to see that his Pokéballs were working again, and they ran over to help the old man.

          “Stay here.” He told Yellow. “This might be dangerous.”

          “Come on, old man.” Said one of the Team Rocket grunts, distinguished by his long, blonde hair tied back in a rather unkempt ponytail. “Just give us the information that our boss wants and this will all be over. No one needs to get hurt.”

          “Hey, who are you?” Another grunt asked as he noticed Red’s approach. This one had short, black hair with large sideburns.

          “Leave him alone!” Red demanded.

          “Look, kid.” Said the third, brown-haired, grunt. “I don’t know who you think you are or how you even managed to get up here, but you should just leave now. A kid like you has no business interfering with Team Rocket, isn’t that right, Ken?”

          “That’s right, Al.”

          “I’m afraid you’re wrong about that.” Red said. His Charmeleon let out a small breath of flame to show that they were serious. “I’ve beaten your kind before and I can do it again.”

          “Alright then.” The blonde grunt sighed. “It’s your funeral. Which is kind of ironic, given where we are right now.”

          “I’m not sure that would actually be considered irony, Harry.” Al replied.

          “Yeah, whatever. Let’s just get this over with.”

          Harry called out his Muk while Ken sent out his Tauros and Al sent out his Hypno.

          “Face it, kid. You’re clearly outmatched here.” Al said.

          “Yeah? Well, we’ll see about that.”
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          Old March 14th, 2018 (6:32 AM).
          BZRich64's Avatar
          BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
          The Mustachioed Machamp
            Join Date: Apr 2013
            Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
            Age: 23
            Gender: Male
            Nature: Quiet
            Posts: 146
            Chapter 51
            “Where are we?” Ash wondered aloud as he, Pika, Volty, Carmine, Misty and Brock woke up in a long, dark tunnel.

            “And more importantly, what’s that smell?” Misty asked, plugging her nose.

            “It sounds like there’s water flowing by us.” Brock observed. “Could this be some kind of underground river?”

            “That, or it could be a sewer.” Carmine said. “I’m inclined to think sewer.”

            “Well, how are we supposed to get back out of here?” Misty asked irritably.

            “I guess we should just pick a direction and walk until we find a way out.” Ash suggested.

            “If we’re doing that, we should probably make sure that we can see where we’re going first.” Carmine pointed out. “Otherwise we could easily end up falling straight into a river of raw sewage.”

            “Yuck.” Misty made a disturbed face, not that anyone noticed it.

            “Right.” Ash said. “Pika, Volty, I think you’ve got this handled.”

            The two Pikachu both let off a series of sparks from their cheeks that dimly lit up the area.

            “Yep, definitely a sewer.” Carmine commented.

            “How do you know?” Misty asked him teasingly. “Have you ever been in one before?”

            Carmine gave a menacing glare in Misty’s direction. “And why are you still here, again? I thought you just came back for the cruise and that’s already over.”

            “I… I just felt like tagging along for a bit longer.” Misty blushed and quickly glanced at Ash for a fraction of a second, though the poor lighting made it almost impossible to notice.

            “Alright,” Ash tried to ease the growing tension. “I guess we should get going now. The less time we spend down here, the better.”

            With that, Ash turned around and walked along the narrow pathway that they were standing on and the others quickly followed after him.

            * * *

            “Alright,” Squirtle said to the others as they huddled behind the Mossgreen Gym. “From the looks of it, I’d say this place specializes in either Grass or Bug types. Charmander has the type advantage, either way, so he’s our best bet. Are you up to it?”

            “Definitely.” Charmander declared proudly.

            “Okay then. Now that that’s settled, it’s time to go in. Is everyone ready for this?”

            Charmander, Bulbasaur and Zoroark all nodded back at Squirtle and Zoroark walked around to the entrance of the building with the others following close behind her. They entered the Gym and found the leader picking some herbs growing off to the side of the room. She didn’t notice them as they approached, so Zoroark had to clear her throat to draw the Gym Leader’s attention.

            “Oh, sorry about that.” The Gym Leader said as she stood up and turned to face Zoroark. “I didn’t notice you over there. I’m Cassandra, the local Gym Leader. Are you here for a Gym Battle?”

            “Yes.” Zoroark answered. “My name is Zahira and I already have one badge.”

            “Okay, let’s not get wait any longer then.” Cassandra and Zoroark each walked over to the opposite ends of the battlefield. Charmander readied himself while Cassandra sent out her Paras. “Let the battle begin!”

            Paras sent a spray of Stun Spore in Charmander’s direction. The Lizard Pokémon blasted a hole through the spores with an Ember and unleashed an intimidating Growl. Paras retaliated with a Scratch but was unable to put its full strength unto the attack due to the effects of the Growl and Charmander countered the attack with another Ember, forcing Paras to take several steps back.

            Paras shook itself back to its senses and released a spray of Poison Powder at Charmander, inflicting him with poison. Charmander used Ember again but Paras was able to dodge to the side in time to avoid the attack and hit Charmander with an Absorb, draining some of Charmander’s health. Charmander then struck Paras with a Scratch attack and knocked the Bug-type onto its back. Paras tried to roll back up onto its feet but before it was able to, Charmander hit it with another Ember. Paras flailed its legs out widely for a moment before it gave up and passed out.

            “That went by faster than I thought it would. You must be an exceptionally good trainer.” Cassandra commented as she walked over to Zoroark. “Then again I don’t really have much experience with this. Anyway, here you go. You’ve earned this Mushroom Badge.”

            Zoroark took the badge and nodded before placing it inside the badge case tucked inside of her ‘pocket’ before she turned around and left.

            “Well, she’s not very talkative.” Cassandra muttered to herself as she returned to picking herbs. “But I guess it doesn’t really matter.”

            * * *

            “Woohoo! Made it out alive!” Gary cheered himself on as he took his first steps outside of the Pokémon Tower. He turned around on the off chance that Red was behind him. “Well, I hope they make it out, but there isn’t really anything I can do to help them.”

            “Well, I definitely didn’t think you’d be out of there so soon.” Gary jumped as Kat walked up to him. “I guess you probably didn’t make it all the way up to the top of the tower, did you?”

            “N-no.” Gary admitted reluctantly. “But that doesn’t matter right now. I just want to get out of this crazy place as soon as possible and get back to sanity.”

            “That’s kind of a strange thing to say.” Concern showed in Kat’s voice. “What happened up there?”

            “I do not want to talk about it.” Gary’s turned absently off to the side as he spoke.

            “Alright then, but are you really sure you want to be leaving so soon?”

            “I am very sure of that, yes.” Gary turned back to his cousin.

            “But what if I told you that there was a Gym on the outskirts of the town?”

            “I… wait, what?” Gary was caught off guard by this.

            “Yeah, the Gym Leader here is kind of a recluse, so not very many people even realize that she’s here, but I do know where her Gym is.”

            “Why didn’t you say something earlier?” Gary screamed angrily.

            “I was waiting for a good time to mention it.” Kat shrugged.

            “Well, ‘a good time to mention it’ would have been when we first got here! Or even before that!”

            “Fine, fine.” Kat raised her hands in a motion for Gary to calm down. “I guess I should have mentioned something, but I had no idea you’d act like this.”

            “Wait a minute.” Gary said as he started to calm down and take things in. “Where are the others?”

            “Back in the Pokémon Center. I just came out here to stretch my legs and maybe see when you got back.”

            “Oh, whatever. Let’s just check out that Gym.”

            * * *

            “That’s two down already.” Bulbasaur said excitedly as they walked away from the gym. “We’re making great progress so far.”

            “Let’s just hope that we can keep it that way.” Squirtle commented.

            “We’ll do fine.” Charmander added. “No one can stop us!”

            “I’m just worried about how long we can keep up this masquerade.” Zoroark said. “I’ve only used my human disguises for short interactions or in large groups where everyone’s attention is divided away from me, using personalities I specifically use to try and make people not want to talk to me for very long. I’m not sure how long I can keep this up, though I will do my best.”

            “I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Bulbasaur tried to comfort the Dark-type. “You’ve been able to do a good job so far, after all.”

            “True.” Zoroark muttered.

            “There is no obstacle big enough to get in our way!” Squirtle announced loudly. “If we put our minds to it, anything is possible! That’s my guiding philosophy and the principle upon which Team Pokémon stands!”

            “Team Pokémon?” Bulbasaur questioned.

            “That’s the name I have chosen for our group and soon everyone will learn to hold that name and all that it stands for with only the highest of honors!”

            “I guess that works.” Charmander said.

            “I think it sounds stupid. I mean what, just because we’re a bunch of Pokémon we should be called ‘Team Pokémon’? What kind of logic is that?” Bulbasaur complained.

            “I like the sound of it.” Zoroark argued. “And being Pokémon is what sets us apart from everyone else.”

            “Exactly!” Squirtle said matter-of-factly. “So then we’re all agreed on the name?”

            “No, we are not.” Bulbasaur said.

            “Perfect!” Squirtle ignored him. “Then onward we go, Team Pokémon! Our destinies await!”
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            Old March 15th, 2018 (8:42 AM).
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            BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
            The Mustachioed Machamp
              Join Date: Apr 2013
              Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
              Age: 23
              Gender: Male
              Nature: Quiet
              Posts: 146
              Chapter 52
              “Well, that was anticlimactic.” Red said as the three Team Rocket Grunts ran away from him in defeat.

              “Yeah.” Yellow agreed as she walked over to him. “I thought for sure they would at least be a challenge. There Pokémon looked strong, at least. But on the bright side, it looks like Paras is evolving.”

              Sure enough, the Grass and Bug-type Pokémon glowed bright white and grew slightly larger, the two mushrooms on its back combining into a single large mushroom.

              “Neat.” Red called both of his Pokémon back into their Pokéballs and turned his attention to the old man the Rocket Grunts had been harassing. “Anyway, are you alright?”

              “Yes.” The old man responded. “Thank you very much for saving me from those ruffians.”

              “Wait a minute…” Said Yellow, “They just ran back down the tower, but isn’t the ghost still there? In fact, how are we supposed to get back down?”

              “Don’t worry about that.” The old man said as he gestured towards a differently colored tile off to the side of the room. “We had this installed just recently. It’s a state of the art teleport tile, straight from Silph Corp.”

              “Wow!” Red did nothing to hide his surprise. “I’ve heard of these things but I’ve never seen one in person.”

              “Follow me.” The old man walked towards the teleport tile. “I have something I want to give you as a thank you gift for saving me.”

              * * *

              “Well, this is it.” Said as she and Gary stood outside the Lavender Town Gym.

              Gary hesitated before entering the light purple colored decrepit old building that looked like it hadn’t been used in a very long time. To his surprise, the Gym’s interior was lit entirely by candlelight and he could faintly see the form of a short old lady standing in the center, keeping herself propped up with an old, gnarled cane.

              “I had a feeling someone would be challenging me today.” The old woman said as Gary cautiously approached her. “I am Agatha, the Gym Leader here. And who might you be?”

              “I-“ Gary’s voice cracked as he spoke. “I’m Gary Oak.”

              “Ah, yes.” Agatha muttered to herself. “Oak. I used to train with your grandfather, you know. Sam and I had a rivalry that drove both of us to our limits to try and outdo each other. But that was a very long time ago. Your grandfather decided to pursue a more academic lifestyle, leaving me to train alone. Now, let’s see if you have even half of the battle prowess that Sam had at your age.”

              Agatha tapped her cane against the floor and the shadows around her twisted and turned as a Ghastly rose up from them. Gary grabbed a Pokéball from around his waist and called out his Nidorina. Ghastly’s eyes lit up as it used Hypnosis to try and lull Nidorina to sleep, but Nidorina was able to look away just in time and avoid the effects of the move as she rushed forward and used Bite. A dark aura surrounded her jaw as she clamped down her teeth hard on Ghastly’s face, which allowed the attack to effect the Ghost-type, who flinched, leaving it open to another Bite.

              “If only I could have done this against that ghost.” Gary muttered to himself.

              Ghastly was able to back away from Nidorina before being hit by a third Bite and attacked with Nightshade. A dark flaming wave of energy radiated from the Gas Pokémon and knocked Nidorina back. Ghastly then sped towards Nidorina to try and use Lick on her, but she was able to prevent it by using another Bite just as it reached her. Ghastly flinched again and Nidorina was able to finish it off with one last Bite.

              “Very good.” Agatha said as she recalled her Ghastly to its Pokéball. “But just using the same move over and over again isn’t a very good strategy in the long run, is it.”

              She pulled out a black and green Dusk Ball and called out her second Pokémon, a bluish gray ghosy with a string of red pearls around its neck.

              “Hey!” Gary called out in anger. “I thought Gym Leaders could only use Pokémon native to the Kanto Region!”

              Agatha chuckled back at him. “It is a common mistake to think that Misdreavus cannot be found here, but the truth is that a Ghost can be found anywhere if you know where to look.”

              “Yeah, whatever.”

              Misdreavus opened with an Astonish, fading out of view and and reappearing in front of Nidorina with a terrifying face. Nidorina was caught off guard by the attack and was stunned long enough for Misdreavus to follow it up with a Psywave, blasting Nidorina back. Nidorina quickly got back up to its feet and launched a Poison Sting from its mouth. The tiny purple dart struck Misdreavus right int eh center pearl of its necklace inflicted it with poison.

              Misdreavus tried to use Astonish again, but this time Nidorina was prepared and used Bite as it appeared in front of her, leaving Misdreavus stunned long enough for another Bite. Misdreavus backed away and started floating in circles around Nidorina.

              “That Bite of yours is becoming quite the nuisance.” Agatha said. “Let’s fix that, shall we? Spite!”

              A shockwave flew out from Misdreavus. At first it didn’t seem like the shockwave did anything, but then Misdreavus flew back within Nidorina’s range and she tried to get it with another Bite, but the dark aura didn’t appear and her teeth passed harmlessly though Misdreavus and her jaw clamped together as if there were nothing there.

              “What will you do now?” Agatha taunted Gary.

              “More Poison Sting, obviously.”

              Nidorina launched another purple dart from her mouth which stuck Misdreavus exactly where the first one had. The Screech Pokémon was now showing signs of fatique, which Nidorina took as an opportunity for another Poison Sting. As the dart hit Misdreavus’ pearl, it began to crack and Misdreavus fell to the floor.

              “That was better than I was expecting, but there is no way you will be able to defeat my final Pokémon.”

              “We’ll see about that.” Gary remarked.

              Agatha recalled Misdreavus and sent out a Haunter. Meanwhile, Gary swapped out his own Nidorian for his Wartortle. Haunter attacked Wartortle with a Sucker Punch, its hand moving through the air independently from its body and striking Wartortle right in the face before he could react. Wartortle shot a furious look at Haunter as the evolved Gas Pokémon’s hand returned to it and used Bubble. A stream of water bubbles shot out of Wartortle’s mouth and struck Haunter, slowing down its movements. Haunter tried to swoop in closer to hit Wartortle with a Shadow Punch, but just as it was about to get in range, Wartortle jumped up and used Bite.

              “You just love that move, don’t you.” Agatha said bitterly.

              As Wartortle fell back down to the gorund, he retreated into his shell with Withdraw. Haunter hit the shell with Shadow Punch, but was unable to do much. As Wartortle hit the ground, a Water Gun shot out from his shell and hit Haunter, causing it to drop down closer to the ground and leaving it open for Wartortle to jump forward and get it with another Bite. Haunter flinched, leaving it open to another Bite, and the battle was won.

              “You did a lot better than I was expecting.” Agatha said. “Perhaps there is still hope for the Oak family after all. Take this Spectre Badge. You’ve earned it after all.”

              Gary took the badge, which resembled a dark gray Yin-Yang symbol.

              “Thanks.” He said as he turned to walk away. As he left the Gym with Kat, he turned to his cousin. “Did you know about her and Grandpa?”

              “No.” Kat answered. “I’ve never actually met Agatha before and I’ve never heard Grandpa mention him. It was definitely news to me.”

              “Huh.” Gary shrugged. “I mean, I knew he was a trainer at one point, but I’ve never really thought about it before. I wonder if he had any other rivals.”

              “Who knows? Maybe we should ask him when we get the chance.”

              “No thanks. It’s not really all that important.”

              “Yeah, you may feel that way, but I want to learn more. I’m going to get Grampa to tell me about his time as a trainer whenever we finally get back home.”
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              Old March 16th, 2018 (7:02 AM).
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              BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
              The Mustachioed Machamp
                Join Date: Apr 2013
                Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                Age: 23
                Gender: Male
                Nature: Quiet
                Posts: 146
                Chapter 53
                The Teleport Tile sent Red, Yellow and the old man directly to the first floor of the Pokémon Tower and from there the old man led the two kids to a nearby building.

                “This is the Volunteer Pokémon House.” The old man said as he opened the front door. “I opened this place up many years ago as a place to take care of abandoned Pokémon.”

                Several Pokémon were scattered around the house, enjoying themselves. On the far side from the entrance, a girl around Red’s age was tending to an injured Cubone.

                “This is Reina. She’s our only volunteer here at the moment, but she does more than enough work to make up for that.”

                “Thank you, Mr. Fuji, but I just do what I can.” Reina blushed as she accepted the compliment.

                “Though I suppose you two would be more interested in hearing about Cubone. You see, that Cubone is the son of the Marowak ghost that you encountered up in the tower.”

                Red and Yellow weren’t sure what to make of this revelation.

                “Not too long ago a group of evil-hearted Team Rocket members attacked and killed Cubone’s mother. When we found them shortly afterward, we took Cubone in and made sure that Marowak had a proper burial in the tower, but then her spirit started to haunt the floor she was buried in and attacking everyone in sight. I went up there to try and calm her down, but then those three you fought showed up and only agitated her spirit further, trapping us on the top floor.”

                “Wait, you were attacked?” Reina gasped.

                “I will explain later.” Mr. Fuji told her before turning his attention back to Red and Yellow. “Now I’m afraid I will have to go up there again to calm her down, but in the meantime, I wanted to give you a gift for saving me.”

                Mr. Fuji walked over to a nearby set of drawers and picked up a small case and some sort of wooden flute. He then walked back to them and handed the flute to Yellow.

                “This is a Pokéflute. They say that the sound it makes is capable of waking up any sleeping Pokémon.” He then turned to Red and handed him the small black case. Red opened it up to find a small black bracelet and some sort of marble that shone blue and yellow as light reflected off of it. “I don’t know for sure what this is, but I feel that it will come in handy for you at some point.”

                “We can’t take these.” Red insisted.

                “Nonsense! I’m giving them to you because I want you to have them. Are you really going to turn down an old man’s generous offer like this?”

                “I-I guess not.” Red said.

                “Good. Now, I wish you the best of luck in your travels!”

                * * *

                Daisy and Giselle were just reaching the outskirts of Celadon City when they found their path blocked by two men on motorcycles.

                “Now what do we have here?” One of the men mockingly asked the other. He was a thin man with a spiked Mohawk and a brown leather coat. “Yo, Cue Ball, what do you make of this?”

                “Looks like a couple kids trying to make their way past our turf.” The other man said. He was a very heavyset man with a black vest and his head was cleanly shaven to the point where light reflected off of it as if his scalp were made of glass.

                “That’s what I thought.” The first biker said. “But surely no one would be that stupid, right?”

                “Not unless they want a beatin’.” ‘Cue Ball’ agreed.

                “Get out of our way.” Giselle ordered the two bikers.

                “Oh, this girl thinks she can just go and order us around like we’re her servants or something. Well, guess what, girlie: The Gyarados Gang down’s take orders from nobody!”

                Giselle smirked. “That’s a double negative, which means that you do take orders from somebody. And I guess right now that somebody would be me.”

                “Why you little-” The first man said, gritting his teeth. “Come on, Cue Ball, it’s time we teach these two a lesson on respecting their elders.”

                “I guess this will be our first team battle.” Giselle said to Daisy. “Two rivals teaming up to fight off a common enemy. It’s almost poetic, don’t you think.”

                Daisy, who had been looking on in horror as Giselle had somehow managed to make a bad situation even worse for them, meanly sighed as she pulled out one of her Pokéballs.

                * * *

                “What do you think it does?” Yellow asked Red as the made their way out of Lavender Town. Red had put the bracelet on his right wrist and was examining it closely.

                “I’m not sure.” Red answered as he pulled out the marble-like object. He held the strange gemstone up to the bracelet and noticed there was a small opening just large enough to put the marble in. He inserted the marble into the bracelet and found that it fit perfectly.

                “It looks good on you.” Yellow smiled.

                “Yeah, but I’m sure there’s more to this thing than just a fashion accessory. Oh, well. We’ll figure it out eventually I guess.”

                The two continued walking in silence as they made their way along Route 8 until eventually Yellow turned to Red.

                “I think someone’s following us.” She said to him.

                Red turned around and saw that there was indeed someone following them. A young woman with long purple hair that Red recognized as the woman that had been asking Yellow about ghosts yesterday.

                “Can I help you with something?” He asked her.

                “No, not really.” She replied.

                “Then why are you following us?”

                “Oh, no reason. I was bored and thought you looked interesting. I thought that if I went with you for a while, something might happen.”

                “Well, you can’t just follow someone around without their permission.” Red said.

                “Alright then. Can I go with you for the time being?”

                Red thought for a moment, but couldn’t really think of a good reason to say no. “Um, sure, I guess. At least until we get to Saffron.”

                “Oh, good.” The woman clapped her hands together.

                “I’m Yellow and this is Red.” Yellow greeted the girl. “What’s your name?”

                “You may call me Sable.”

                * * *

                “How much longer do we have to go?” Misty whined as she, Ash, Carmine and Brock continued to make their way through the sewer tunnel they had become trapped in.

                “Who knows?” Brock answered. “We don’t even know where we are right now. We might not even be in Kanto right now.”

                “In fact, it was a ghost that sent us here, so for all we know we’re actually stuck in the Distortion World for all eternity.” Carmine joked.

                “That’s not funny.” Misty said angrily.

                “I’m just messing with you. According to the map on my Pokégear, we’re somewhere between Lavender Town and Saffron City, heading towards Saffron.”

                “Wait, you’ve had that the entire time?” Misty asked. “Why didn’t you say something earlier?”

                “No one asked.” Carmine replied. “Besides, it’s not like this thing will tell us where the sewer exit is. I can’t make a call from down here.”

                “But can you at least tell us how far much longer we have to go until we reach Saffron City?” Ash asked. “There should be some way out over there.”

                “It shouldn’t be too much further. Although it’s hard to tell because I lost the signal for the map a little while ago.”

                “Well, this is just great.” Misty said, “Just when we get some sort of hope about knowing when we’re getting out of this stupid place, it just goes away. We’re going to be down here for the rest of our lives, aren’t we?”

                “Don’t be ridiculous. There was to be a way out somewhere and we’re going to-”

                “Going to what?” Ash asked as Carmine didn’t finish his sentence. When no reply came, Ash turned around to see Carmine, Misty and Brock all standing still. Something seemed off about their eyes. Ash started to walk back to them, but just as he took the first step, suddenly a loud chattering sound echoed through the tunnel and he, Pika and Volty all had to cover their ears to try and block out the horrible noise. He tried to yell over the deafening noise, though of course no answer came. Ash turned around again and saw ten glowing eyes come into view ahead of him as the shadowy silhouettes of some unknown Pokémon made their way closer to him.
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                Old March 18th, 2018 (8:19 AM). Edited March 19th, 2018 by BZRich64.
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                BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                The Mustachioed Machamp
                  Join Date: Apr 2013
                  Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                  Age: 23
                  Gender: Male
                  Nature: Quiet
                  Posts: 146
                  Chapter 54
                  Daisy and Giselle stood with their Ivysaur and Cubone, respectively. Across from them, the two bikers had sent out a Grimer and a Weezing. Daisy waited for their opponents to make the first move so that she could counter them, but Giselle was the first to act.


                  Cubone tossed its bone club at Weezing. The impact of the attack knocked Weezing to the ground where was then hit by a Vine Whip from Ivysaur. Grimer tried to help its ally by distracting Cubone and Ivysaur with a Sludge attack, launching a poisonous blood from its mouth at Cubone. Cubone dodged to the side and tossed another Bonemerang. This one struck Grimer head-on, but the bone became stuck in Grimer’s gooey body, making Cubone unable to retrieve it.

                  “That was a miscalculation.” Giselle said as she bit her thumb lightly in frustration.

                  “Hold on, I have an idea.” Daisy said to her. “Ivysaur, use cut on that small tree over there!”

                  Ivysaur looked over to where Daisy was motioning and saw a small sapling growing out of the ground. She launched a Razor Leaf at the base of the tree which cut cleanly through it. Giselle was confused by this at first at first but quickly realized what Daisy was doing and ordered her Cubone to retrieve the fallen sapling. The baby tree was larger and heavier than the bone it was used to wielding, but that did not stop Cubone from putting the makeshift weapon to good use. Cubone smacked Weezing back into the ground just as the Poison Gas Pokémon had lifted itself back up. Ivysaur Tackled Koffing and sent it rolling straight into Grimer, knocking Cubone’s club out of its ooze. Cubone grabbed its club off the ground and used Focus Energy before smacking Weezing with both weapons. The force of the blow shook through Weezing and into Grimer, knocking them both out.

                  “Well, well, well.” Giselle said tauntingly at the two bikers. “And who was supposed to be teaching whom a lesson here?”

                  “Why you little…” Cue Ball started to say before his speech gave haw to unintelligible angry gibberish.

                  “You may have gotten lucky this time,” the other biker said, “but if we ever see your faces around these parts again, you will rue the day you ever messed with the Gyarados Gang!”

                  The two recalled their Pokémon and rode off furiously.

                  “And here I thought they’d at least be a challenge.” Giselle said before turning to Daisy. “Nice thinking, with the tree club idea. I hate to say this, but it looks like we actually might make a good team after all.”

                  “Wait, does that mean you didn’t think we’d work well together?” Daisy asked.

                  “Not at all. Now come on, let’s go.”

                  * * *

                  Ash took several steps back as the heavily shadowed figured continued their approach towards him. He didn’t know what they were and he wasn’t particularly interested in waiting around to find out, but he wasn’t about to abandon his friends either. Carmine, Misty and Brock remained motionless as if being held in place by something and Ash quickly realized that Pika and Volty had frozen up now as well.

                  “Now what do I do?” Ash asked aloud.

                  “That’s up to you.” Ash jumped as Ghastly suddenly appeared next to him but before he could say anything else, the creatures came into view.

                  “Are those… Raticate?” Ash wondered in surprise.

                  “Don’t be fooled.” Ghastly said. “They may look like normal Raticate at first, but they are more than that. That’s a Raticate King.”


                  “When a Raticate’s tail gets tangled up with another’s, their minds become momentarily linked until they can be separated. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but when five Raticate manage to get their tails together at once they become what is known as a Raticate King. Legends say that they gain powerful psychic powers in the process and no longer have the ability to be safely be removed from each other.”

                  “I’ve never heard of that before.” Ash said as the Raticate King came closer. Ash could now see the knot in their tails that connected them.

                  “I’m not surprised. To my knowledge, a Raticate King has not surfaced in hundreds of years. This is a troubling turn of events indeed.”

                  “So are they preventing the others from moving?”

                  “It would look that way. I appear to be unaffected due to my Ghost-typing, but I have no idea why you are not affected by their control.”

                  “Well, we don’t really have time to think about that right now. Use Shadow Ball to fend them off.”

                  “I’m afraid I haven’t fully regained all of my energy from the banishment spell earlier.” Ghastly said. “I don’t think I have enough strength for that right now, but I’ll see what I can do.”

                  Ghastly spread its gaseous body towards the Raticate King as it approached. The Raticate King stopped as it inhaled the poisonous fumes, coughing violently. Ash tried to come up with a plan while it was distracted but could only think of one thing to do.

                  “Pokéball, go!” He tossed the small red and white ball at the Raticate King with as much force as he could muster, but the Pokéball merely bounced harmlessly off of it.

                  “That won’t be nearly enough.” Ghastly explained. “A Raticate King isn’t going to be captured by just a regular Pokéball.”

                  “Noted.” Ash said, looking around desperately for something else as the Raticate King resumed its steady approach towards them. After a moment, he ran up to Carmine and started rifling through his bag. He pulled out what he was looking for just as the Raticate King finally caught up to him and pounced. There was a flash of yellow light and the Raticate King was gone, leaving Ash lying on the floor, clutching an Ultra Ball tightly in hand as the others regained movement around him.

                  “Guys!” He yelled at them. “You’ll never believe what just happened!”

                  “We already know.” Carmine responded. “And I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t go through my stuff without permission.”

                  Ash blushed as Pika and Volty hopped back up onto his shoulders. “Sorry, it was the only thing I could think of.”

                  “I know. That’s why I’m going to let you keep that thing.”

                  * * *

                  Gary walked into the Lavender Pokémon Center after defeating Agatha. Mal, Ciel and Sue were all still sitting in the lounge area as he approached the front desk.

                  “Hello and welcome to the Lavender Town Pokémon Center!” The nurse said joyfully. “May I heel your Pokémon?”

                  “Yeah, sure, whatever.” Gary said unenthusiastically as he placed his Pokéballs on the tray she was holding out to him. He turned back as she put the tray into the healing machine beside her. Kat walked in after him and met up with the others. Meanwhile, a strange woman with bushy purple hair walked up to Gary.

                  “Do you believe in ghosts?” She asked him.

                  “Yeah, why?”

                  “No reason.”

                  The woman left without another word as Gary turned back to the nurse to get his Pokémon back.

                  “Here you go. We hope to see you again!”

                  Gary gave the nurse a half-hearted grin as he walked left to go meet up with his cheerleaders. The strange woman had walked over to the opposite side of the Pokémon Center and was staring at Gary. He gave her a sour look before turning to the others.

                  “Alright, I’m all done here. Let’s get going before we all get haunted or something.”

                  “Sounds good to me!” Mal said as she stood up. “Come on girls, we’re finally getting out of this place.”

                  “You know we haven’t been here for more than a few hours, right?” Gary pointed out.

                  “And that’s still too long.” Said Ciel. “This place gives me the creeps.”

                  “Where are we going next, anyway?” Sue asked.

                  “I say we head north to Rock Tunnel.” Kat suggested.

                  “Why would we go that way? Gary asked her. “Wouldn’t that just take us back around to Cerulean? Why would we want to go back there?”

                  “Because there’s another Gym Leader there.” She explained. “Like Agatha, he tends to keep to himself so most Trainers don’t realize he’s there, but it’s not that far, so you might as well challenge him and get another Gym over with.”

                  “I guess I can’t argue with that logic.” Gary said, then realized something. “But wait a minute, don’t all Gyms need to be in a city or town?”

                  “That’s a common misconception. Most Gyms are in major settlements to make them more accessible, but it’s not actually a rule. It’s one of the major reason most trainers don’t realize this Gym Leader is there.”
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                  Old March 19th, 2018 (7:15 AM).
                  BZRich64's Avatar
                  BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                  The Mustachioed Machamp
                    Join Date: Apr 2013
                    Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                    Age: 23
                    Gender: Male
                    Nature: Quiet
                    Posts: 146
                    Chapter 55
                    Ash stared at the Ultra Ball in his hand as he continued to make his way through the sewers. The others followed him closely, ready to finally find the exit and make their way back to the surface.

                    “What are you going to do with that thing anyway?” Carmine asked Ash.

                    “I’m not sure. I don’t know if the Raticate King counts as a single Pokémon or five. For all I know, just having this thing brings me over the maximum Pokémon Team limit and I can forget actually trying to use it in official battles.”

                    “If you were able to catch it with just the one Ultra Ball, then it counts as only a single Pokémon, somehow. Although I’m not sure if I’d want to use that thing if I were you.”

                    “Why not?” Ash asked as he put the Ultra Ball back along his belt.

                    “I’ve dealt with powerful and unusual Pokémon like that before.” He absently held up a Heavy Ball from his own belt and stared at the gray and blue sphere. “From what I’ve seen, the best thing to do is to simply make sure that they stay under control. When you become a powerful enough trainer, you should be able to train it but even then it should probably only be a last resort.”

                    “Wait, what Pokémon do you have in there?” Brock asked curiously.

                    “It’s none of your business.” Carmine put the Heavy Ball back down around his waist.

                    “I think I see an exit!” Misty yelled excitedly, pointing over to a hatch on the ceiling just ahead of them with a ladder leading up to it. “We can finally get out of this stupid place!”

                    * * *

                    “Celadon City!” Squirtle shouted out dramatically as the city’s skyline came into view. “Or at least it should be, anyway. I’m not sure where else it would be.”

                    “You know, this is going much faster than I thought it would.” Zoroark said.

                    “That’s probably because we haven’t really been doing anything else. If we were actually training between Gym battles or even just had other stuff come up, I’m sure this would take much longer.”

                    “We’ll train when we need to train!” Said Squirtle. “But for now we seem to be doing fine without it.”

                    “But how long do you think it will take before we reach that point?” Charmander asked.

                    I’d say right after this Gym, actually. Once we have three Gym Badges the Gym Leaders are going to start using three Pokémon each, which will make things much harder for us.”

                    “Well, we have three Pokémon ready to fight, so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.”

                    “Yes, but we have to keep type matchups in mind. Also, it will get even harder once we get to the point where the Gym Leaders will be using full teams of six Pokémon.”

                    “Wait, what?” Charmander was thrown off guard by this. “How are we supposed to put up with that?”

                    “That’s actually rather simple, my friend. We just have to get that strong. After all, the whole point of our mission is to prove ourselves as the strongest this land has ever seen.”

                    “I thought we were just proving that we don’t need trainers.” Bulbasaur pointed out.

                    “And looking for my son.” Zoroark added.

                    “Okay, so I guess we each have our own personal reasons for doing this, but the point still stands. If we do not become strong enough to do this, then we will never be able to accomplish our goals. Except you, Zoroark. Strength shouldn’t have anything to do with finding your son.”

                    “But we’ll need to fight that monstrous woman who kidnapped him.”

                    “I stand corrected. Anyway, onward towards our next victory!”

                    * * *

                    The roads of Saffron City were uncharacteristically quiet as a lone manhole cover was lifted up from the ground and Ash, Misty, Brock and Carmine crawled up onto the empty street.

                    “Finally!” Misty said with a sigh of relief as she laid back onto the cold, hard pavement. “I never want to see another sewer as long as I live.”

                    “We do seem to have a strange habit of ending up stuck in dark confined spaces.” Brock pointed out.

                    “Well, I guess we should head over to the nearest Pokémon Center and rest up, right Carmine? Carmine?” Ash looked over at the older trainer and saw that he was looking around at the surrounding area. “What’s wrong?”

                    “We’re in the middle of a road in the largest city in the region in the middle of the afternoon.” Carmine muttered. “This whole area should be teaming with people, which brings up the important question, where is everyone.”

                    “He’s right.” Brock said. “I can’t see anyone around here.”

                    “Maybe it has something to do with why the city has been blocked off for so long?” Misty suggested.

                    “But that just brings us back to why the entire city would be shut down. That’s not something that just happens unless there’s some kind of major disaster going on.”

                    “Okay, let’s just keep calm and head to the Pokémon Center.” Ash said. “If there’s someone there, we can ask them what’s going on. If there isn’t for some reason, we can at least rest for a bit.”

                    “I’m up for that.” Misty said as the group began making their way down the road. “I feel like we’ve been walking non-stop for hours now.”

                    “That’s probably because we have been.” Carmine sighed.

                    * * *

                    “Well, it looks like we’re taking the Underground Tunnel to Celadon.” Red said as he, Yellow and Sable stood outside the closed off gateway leading into Saffron City. “I really thought they’d be open by now. How does an entire city get shut down, anyway?”

                    “Something dark is stirring in there.” Sable said ominously. “It’s for the best that we don’t enter there.”

                    “Okay…” Red wasn’t sure how to respond to that. “Anyway, let’s head back to the tunnel.”

                    “We can use Abraham to get through it quickly like we did last time.” Yellow said as they turned around and started heading over to the entrance way they had passed by just a few minute earlier.

                    “Although it is starting to get dark.” Red noticed. “We should probably camp out here for the night before we head down there.”

                    “Sure!” Yellow said cheerily. “That sounds like a good idea.”

                    “Whatever you say.” Sable said dryly. “Though I was hoping we’d be able to do something more interesting.”

                    “Like what?”

                    “I don’t know, just something.”

                    “Well, we’re camping for the night outside the entrance to the Underground Path.” Red said. “And then in the morning, we’ll use Teleport to get across to Celadon as quickly as we can. If you want something to do, there should be plenty available there.”

                    “I guess that works.” Sable relented.

                    “Great. Although I just remembered that I still only have one sleeping bag.”

                    “That’s fine. I don’t really need one anyway.”

                    “And here we are.” Yellow said as the three walked up to a small building along the side of the route.
                    “I suppose we should set up camp now, then.” Red pulled out his sleeping back and handed it to Yellow, who laid it down on the ground. “I’m going to go gather some wood for a fire. Do you want to help, Sable?”

                    The strange woman was looking off into the distance, up at the treetops. “What? Oh, no. I’m good.”

                    “What are you looking at?” Yellow asked her.

                    “Nothing. I just thought that I… uh… heard something. It’s nothing.”

                    * * *

                    “Finally.” Pikachu thought to herself as she once again felt Yellow’s presence nearby. “I thought I had lost her for good, but now she should be just up ahead.”

                    Pikachu jumped from treetop to treetop as she felt the presence grow closer and closer. Soon she felt Abraham’s presence enter her mind as well.”

                    “What took you so long?” She asked him.

                    “Sorry. I’ve just been distracted lately by stuff that’s happened. I’ll give you the details later.”

                    “What kind of stuff.”

                    “We had a run-in with a ghost and now we have a new person with us.”

                    “What?” Pikachu couldn’t hide her shock.

                    “Yeah. Not really sure what to make of her, though. She’s been acting kind of off and she seems to be able to shield herself from my telepathic abilities so that I can’t read her mind. But at the same time, she hasn’t really done anything yet to suggest she’s hostile or dangerous and there’s something about her that just seems… familiar.”

                    “What do you mean?”

                    “I’m not sure how to explain it, but I guess you’ll see what I mean in just a moment.”
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                    Old March 20th, 2018 (7:57 AM).
                    BZRich64's Avatar
                    BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                    The Mustachioed Machamp
                      Join Date: Apr 2013
                      Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                      Age: 23
                      Gender: Male
                      Nature: Quiet
                      Posts: 146
                      Chapter 56
                      “Hello?” Ash called out as he walked into the Pokémon Center, which seemed to be as deserted as the streets outside. “I guess there’s no one here, either.”

                      He headed over to a coach situated on the right-hand side of the room and sat himself down, relieved to finally rest for a while. Misty and Brock both sat down as well. Carmine, on the other hand, walked straight to the counter where a nurse would normally be standing by to heal trainer’s Pokémon.

                      “I’m going to see if I can find any clues as to what’s going on.” He said as he hopped over the counter. “Stay there until I get back.”

                      “That shouldn’t be a problem!” Ash yelled back to him.

                      “And for the love of Lugia, keep your voices down. We have no idea what could be listening.”

                      Carmine walked back and knocked lightly on the first door he passed before checking to find nothing but empty rooms. Eventually, he reached the last door and knocked on it. He thought he heard a faint shuffling noise come from the other side. He opened the door slowly and immediately had to duck down to avoid an Egg Bomb aimed directly at his egg.

                      “S-stay back.” A panicked-looking nurse sat on the floor on the opposite end of the room beside an angry Chansey that was ready to toss another Egg Bomb.

                      “I’m not here to hurt you.” Carmine said a reassuringly as he could while holding his hands up to show his lack of violent intent. “I just want to know what’s going on here.”

                      “How could you possibly not know that?” The nurse asked, surprised.

                      “My traveling companions and I have just arrived here.”

                      “That’s impossible. The entire city is blocked off.”

                      “I know. We had an unfortunate trip through the sewers that lead us just a few blocks away from here. If you don’t believe me, then the smell should probably be enough proof.”

                      Both the nurse and Chansey took big sniffs and immediately recoiled.

                      “Now,” Carmine continued, “What exactly is going on here.”

                      “They took over the city.” The nurse said frantically.

                      “Who took over the city?” Carmine asked.

                      “They blocked off all the exits and forced everyone into their homes.” The woman was becoming more and more panicked as she recalled the events of what happened, not even hearing Carmine’s words. “All communications have been cut off so that we can’t get help.”

                      “But who did this.” Carmine grabbed the nurse by her arms and held her tightly, trying to snap her out of her panic.

                      “T-Team… Team Rocket.”

                      Carmine released his grip and both he and the nurse slumped down onto the floor.

                      “Team Rocket did all of this?” Carmine asked absently.

                      “Yes, but they weren’t alone. They had help.”

                      “From who?”


                      * * *

                      “Welcome to the Celadon Gym. My name is Erika and I am the Gym Leader here.” Erika introduced herself as Zoroark and Charmander approached her.

                      “I’m Zahira,” Zoroark said, “and I’m here to challenge you to a Gym Battle.”

                      “Very good then.” Erika smiled. “I’ll just pull out my Pokémon then, shall I?”

                      Erika grabbed a Pokéball out from underneath the sash of her kimono and called out her Tangela as Charmander readied himself for battle.

                      “Let the battle commence.” Erika said as Tangela lifted up a pair of dark blue vines from its body in preparation to attack.

                      Charmander let out an Ember as Tangela’s vines swung down, forcing the Vine Pokémon to abandon its Vine Whip attack and use Ingrain instead, growing roots down into the soil below to steadily regain health. Charmander charged toward its now immobile opponent and hit it with a Scratch attack. Tangela retaliated with a Vine Whip, knocking Charmander back, but Charmander hit Tangela with an Ember as he fell and caused some of Tangela’s vines to catch on fire.

                      Tangela started flailing itself around in an attempt to put out the flames, leaving itself open to another Ember, which caused Tangela to fall over. The flames were put out as Tangela hit the ground but it also severed the roots of Tangela’s Ingrain. Charmander hit it with another Ember as Tangela got back up and then slapped Charmander hard with a Vine Whip and knocked him down. As Charmander got back up onto his feet, Tangela grabbed him with its vines and tightly squeezed him with Constrict.

                      Charmander tried to hit Tangela with another Ember but was unable to take a deep enough breath to launch the attack. After a couple minutes, Tangela released its grip and slammed Charmander into the ground. Charmander forced himself up with great effort and let out one final Ember, which hit Tangela but was not strong enough to defeat the Grass-type.

                      Both Pokémon were now physically exhausted and the battle has no a matter of seeing who would land the next blow. Tangela sent out one of its vines to his Charmander again, but Charmander was able to use Scratch to stop the vine before it hit him. Tangela tried again several more times, but Charmander was able to stop the attack each time until finally Tangela’s strength gave out and it collapsed.

                      “Congratulations!” Erika said as she recalled Tangela and walked over to Zoroark. “Here’s your Rainbow Badge!”

                      Zoroark took the badge and picked up Charmander, heading out of the Gym. When she exited the building, Squirtle and Bulbasaur were there waiting for them.

                      “How did it go?” Bulbasaur asked.

                      “We won, just barely.” Zoroark said as she lowered Charmander onto the ground.

                      “I’m surprised I even managed to hold out as long enough to win. If the battle had gone on just a few seconds longer I probably would have lost.” Charmander said as Squirtle handed him an Oran Berry that he accepted graciously and downed in one gulp. “Oh, that’s much better. I can already feel my energy coming back.”

                      “Well, it sounds like we should probably start training now to make sure we can stand up to stronger opponents.” Squirtle said. “It will only get harder from here and we can no longer rely on just our base strength.”

                      “Weren’t we just talking about that this morning?” Bulbasaur asked.

                      * * *

                      “Sabrina?” Carmine tried to make sure that he heard that right. “You mean a Gym Leader has joined forces with Team Rocket?”

                      “Yes.” The nurse confirmed. “Well, sort of.”

                      “What do you mean?”

                      “I didn’t witness what happened first hand, so I only have rumors to go off of. From what I’ve heard it sounds like Sabrina confronted Team Rocket when they arrived but was defeated and knocked unconscious by a mysterious woman who wore a white mask over half of her face. Team Rocket then took her away, only for her to come back several days later working for them. No one knows why he would have joined them.”

                      Carmine remembered their confrontation with the masked woman back in Mt. Moon. He hadn’t noticed anything particularly off about her besides the half-mask, but Ash had seen something about her which was enough to make Looker worried. He still wasn’t sure what that meant, but it couldn’t be good.

                      “Well, there’s nothing we can really do about that now. Is it okay if my companions and I stay here for a while to freshen up before we head out?”

                      “Uh, of course. This is still a Pokémon Center after all.”

                      “Thank you. I’ll let them know and we’ll try to see if there’s anything to do to help.”

                      With that, Carmine left the room and headed back to the entrance, leaving the nurse and Chansey behind. He wasn’t sure what to make of the current situation. A hostile takeover of an entire city seemed wildly out of character for Giovanni, so what was he planning? And how did they manage to recruit a Gym Leader? Carmine tried to push these thoughts to the back of his mind as he made his way back to the front counter.

                      “There’s a lot we need to talk about.” He said as he hopped back over the counter. “Team Rocket is here and-”

                      The nurse walked up to the counter in case anyone needed to heal their Pokémon, just in time to see Carmine clench his fists tightly as he looked angrily at the empty couch.

                      “Is something wrong?” She asked him.

                      “I told them not to leave.” Carmine said behind gritted teeth. “So what did they do? They left, of course.”

                      “Oh no.” The nurse gasped.

                      “It’s all right.” Carmine turned back to her. “They should be able to handle themselves for the time being so long as they don’t draw attention to themselves and I’m going to go find them.” He took a brief sniff. “Right after I take a quick shower.”
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                      Old March 21st, 2018 (6:16 AM).
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                      BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                      The Mustachioed Machamp
                        Join Date: Apr 2013
                        Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                        Age: 23
                        Gender: Male
                        Nature: Quiet
                        Posts: 146
                        Chapter 57
                        “This is it.” Kat said as Mal pulled up the car outside the southern entrance to Rock Tunnel. “The Gym Leader should be right in there.”

                        “What kind of Gym Leader operates from inside a cave?” Gary asked her as he got out of the car. “Is there even an actual Gym here?”

                        “There used to be one right over there, actually.” Kat pointed to the nearby cliff face. “It was destroyed in a landslide not too long ago. It was just a few weeks after I came here during my Pokémon journey, actually. I haven’t heard when they plan on rebuilding it but the leader has been staying in the cave for now.”

                        “You do know that there’s a difference between a tunnel and a cave, right?” Ciel asked.

                        Both Gary and Kat glared at her, causing Ciel to back away behind her sister, Mal.

                        “Anyway,” Gary said. “Let’s get going.”

                        Gary walked over to the tunnel entrance and stepped inside. It was dark inside Rock Tunnel but enough light filtered in through the entranceway that he was able to see. Kat, Mal, Ciel and Sue all went in after him so that they could cheer him on during his battle.

                        “So where is this supposed Gym Leader supposed to be, anyway?” Gary asked, seeing that the tunnel appeared to be completely empty.

                        “He should be in here somewhere.” Kat said.

                        Gary sighed and leaned against the wall of the tunnel, hoping that this wasn’t just some wild Farfetch’d chase. He thought that the wall seemed unusually cold and smooth, almost like metal when suddenly it began to shake. Gary had to back away from the wall as it shifted and began sliding rapidly along. It continued moving for several minutes before finally the disappearing and revealing the small candle-lit opening behind it. A large highly-muscled man with long, dark bushy hair sat there, deep in meditation.
                        Gary took a cautious step towards the man, who immediately stood up onto his feet. The large man towered over Gary and the others as he opened his eyes and looked down at Gary.

                        “You are here for a Gym Battle.” It wasn’t a question. “Come, we shall do battle outside.”

                        The man walked right past Gary towards the entrance to the cave and motioned over his shoulder for Gary to follow him. Gary did so hesitantly and they all exited the cave.

                        “I am Bruno.” The large man said as he turned around to face Gary. “I am the Fighting-type specialist of the Kanto Gym Leaders and member of the Elite Four.”

                        “My name is Gary Oak.” Gary said, is confidence returning as the shock of the cave moving and Bruno’s sudden appearance wore off. “I’m an up and coming trainer who already has five badges and I’m about to earn my sixth.”

                        “Very well, then this will be a six-on-six Pokémon battle that will begin… NOW!”

                        Bruno suddenly tossed a Pokémon to the ground, sending out his first Pokémon, Primeape. Gary barely had time to react by sending out his own Pokémon, Exeggcute. Gary had just recently added Exeggcute to his team and had not had time to properly train it, or rather them, yet but the six egg-like heads that formed Exeggcute were part Psychic-type, giving them a type advantage against Bruno’s Fighting Pokémon.

                        “Primeape! Use Crosschop!”

                        The Pig Monkey Pokémon charged up to Exeggcute with its arms crossed in an X-shape and swung them together, hitting Exeggcute from both sides. The six heads were scattered around by the attack, making it so that Primeape wasn’t sure which one to target with its next attack, giving Exeggcute enough time to attack themselves. Each of the heads pelted Primeape with a barrage of Bullet Seeds, hitting it from every direction. This proved to make the Primeape angrier as it used its Rage attack to increase its attack power with every hit. As soon as it found an opening, Primeape charged one of Exeggcute’s heads and hit it with all of its strength. The other five heads didn’t like to see one of their own get attacked and switched up their attack pattern, blasting waves of Confusion at it instead. The Psychic attacks were Super Effective against Primeape, who was knocked out.
                        Bruno recalled Primeape as Exeggcute regrouped and gathered themselves back up together. Bruno sent out his next Pokémon, Hitmonchan. The boxing Pokémon assumed a defensive position as Exeggcute started spitting Bullet Seeds at it. After blocking the seeds with its boxing-glove-like hands, Hitmonchan dashed to the side and came up close to Exeggcute, hitting them with a Fire Punch. Exeggcute retaliated with Confusion but it was not enough to defeat Hitmonchan, who knocked Exeggcute out with another Fire Punch.

                        Gary recalled Exeggcute back to their Pokéball and sent out his next Pokémon. Growlithe was another new addition to his team, but he had it for a little longer and was confident in its abilities. The Fire-type puppy Pokémon have a small howl as it Leered at its opponent, causing Hitmonchan to lower its defense slightly as Growlithe ran up to it and bit Hitmonchan in the leg with its Fire Fang move. The attack burned Hitmonchan who knocked Growlithe away with a Close Combat attack. Before Growlithe could pick itself back up, Hitmonchan hit it again with Mach Punch. Growlithe then used Flame Burst, launching a large fireball from its mouth which split apart midair into several streams of fire that struck Hitmonchan and the area directly around it. Hitmonchan used Mach Punch again, quickly striking the Fire-type before it could react and knocked it out. But before Gary could send out his next Pokémon, Hitmonchan collapsed as well due to its burn.

                        Gary sent out his Nidorino while Bruno called out a Hitmonlee. The Kicking Pokémon leaped high up into the air as soon as it touched the ground and came falling back down with one of its coiled up legs outstretched to his Nidorino with a High Jump Kick. Nidorino was able to side-jump out of the way just in time, however, causing Hitmonlee to injure itself as it crashed into the ground. Nidorino then rammed into Hitmonlee with a Peck attack, followed up with a Poison Jab. Hitmonlee stood back up with great effort and hit Nidorino with a Double Kick, knocking him onto his side, before using High Jump Kick again and this time hitting Nidorino with enough force to knock him out.

                        Gary recalled his Nidorino and sent out his Nidorina, who immediately hit Hitmonlee with a Double Kick of her own and following up the attack with a Poison Sting. Hitmonlee tried to hit Nidorina with a Mega Kick, but missed and opened itself up to another Double Kick, knocking it out.

                        Bruno then sent out his fourth Pokémon, Hitmontop, who spun around on the point on top of its head and knocked Nidorina down with a Triple Kick. Unfortunately for Hitmontop, it happened to hit one of her poisonous spikes in the process and was inflicted with Poison. Nidorina got back up again and hit Hitmontop with a simple Scratch attack, which was enough to knock Hitmontop off balance and make it fall down. Nidorina then hit Hitmontop with a Double Kick before it could get back up again and was able to dodge a Close Combat attack from Hitmontop before it jumped back onto its head and started spinning again. Nidorina tried to dodge another Rolling Kick, but was unable to get out of the way and was struck by the attack. Before Hitmontop could follow up with another attack, however, Nidorina was able to hit it with another Double Kick which, when combined with the damage it had already taken and the poison slowly sapping away its health, was enough to knock out Hitmonchan.

                        Bruno was down to his last two Pokémon now, while Gary still had three, placing him in the lead for the time being. Bruno sent out his second-to-last Pokémon, Machoke. The Superpower Pokémon stared down at Nidorina while flexing its massive muscles. Its biceps were thicker than Gary’s head.

                        “You are doing very well so far.” Bruno said to Gary. “Certainly better than most who try to face me, at any rate. Keep this up and you should be able to defeat me without any problem.”

                        “Yeah.” Gary replied. “Like there was ever a problem to begin with.”
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                        Old March 25th, 2018 (8:23 AM).
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                        BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                        The Mustachioed Machamp
                          Join Date: Apr 2013
                          Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                          Age: 23
                          Gender: Male
                          Nature: Quiet
                          Posts: 146
                          Chapter 58
                          “Machoke! Use Seismic Toss!” Bruno ordered his Pokémon.

                          Bruno’s Machoke grabbed Nidorina and lifted her up. Nidorina tried to use Fury Swipes to get Machoke to release its grip but struggling only made it squeeze tighter. Machoke then jumped up into the air and did a backflip before slamming Nidorina into the ground. Nidorina got back on her feet as Machoke landed back on the ground, holding onto its left arm, which had been scratched by one of Nidorina’s spikes. Machoke gave out a howl as its arms suddenly glowed green and he hit Nidorina with a Dual Chop. Nidorina retaliated by jumping at Machoke and using Bite on its leg, holding on with its teeth as she then used Double Kick on the other leg, knocking him down.

                          Machoke looked furious as it kicked its right leg out in a Low Sweep attack and knocked Nidorina over. Nidorina then used Toxic Spikes, sending out a spray of poisoned bards around the battlefield. Machoke stood back up again as Nidorina charged towards it for another attack. Just as Nidorina was just about to hit with another Double Kick, Machoke assumed a defensive position and started to glow yellow. After the attack hit, Machoke’s glow disappeared and he hit Nidorina with a powerful Revenge attack. Nidorina tried to get back up after the hit, but it proved too much and she collapsed.

                          “Good job, Nidorina.” Gary said as he recalled her back into her Pokéball. It was unusual for him to compliment his Pokémon but she was growing on him and had become one of his favorite members of his team. “Alright, now let’s finish this Wartortle!”

                          Gary’s starter Pokémon emerged from its Pokéball ready to battle. Machoke ran up to the Turtle Pokémon, ready to hit him with a Karate Chop but before he could get in range for the attack, Wartortle sent out a Water Pulse which disoriented Machoke and caused him to trip and fall to the ground. Wasting no time, Wartortle sprayed a blast of Water Gun at Machoke, knocking it out.

                          Bruno recalled Machoke and sent out his final Pokémon, Machoke’s evolved form, Machamp. The four-armed musclebound gray Pokémon landed straight onto the Toxic Spikes that Nidorina had left behind and became inflicted with their poison. Wartortle then jumped up and used Withdraw to retreat into its shell before it slammed into Machamp’s chest with a Rapid Spin attack. Machamp used a Karate Chop to smash Wartortle into the ground, but it didn’t do very much damage because Wartortle was still inside of his shell.

                          Wartortle flipped itself forward and sprayed a Water Gun straight into the ground, sending himself flying upwards and then crashing back down right above Machamp’s head. The attempt at a makeshift attack failed, however, as Machamp easily caught Wartortle with two of its hands. Machamp’s two free hands then lit up green and he hit Wartortle with a Dual Chop before jumping up and using Seismic Toss. Fortunately for Wartortle, he was able to use Protect to avoid taking any damage from the Seismic Toss. Wartortle finally got back out of its shell and stood up, spraying another Water Gun at Machamp. Machamp was ready for the attack, however, and used Revenge, glowing bright yellow as the attack hit and the immediately punching Wartortle with its full strength.

                          Wartortle was sent flying towards the nearby cliff face. Wartortle used Withdraw again before he hit the wall and ricochet off of it, straight into Machamp’s head. The Superpower Pokémon was knocked down onto its back by the force of the unexpected blow and fell onto the Toxic Spikes still on the ground. Wartortle took this opportunity to come back out of its shell and blast another Water Pulse at Machamp before following it up with a Tackle, knocking Machamp out.

                          “Very good.” Bruno said as he recalled Machamp back into its Pokéball. “You were able to defeat my entire team before you were even left down to your final Pokémon, earning this Valor badge.”

                          Bruno held out a shield-like badge colored yellow on one side and orange on the other, handing it to Gary.

                          “There is also something else I would like to give you as a reward for your victory.” Bruno continued as Gary took the badge. “Steelix!”

                          The ground around them shook violently as a massive metal snake Pokémon burst out from the mountain which Gary realized must have been the metallic thing he had leaned against earlier. Steelix lowed its head above Bruno and dropped what appeared to be a couple rocks into his hand. Bruno then held the gray-colored rocks out to Gary.

                          “These are Moon Stones.” He explained as Gary took the rocks from him. “They are formed from a rare mineral with special properties that allow certain Pokémon to evolve such as your Nidorino and Nidorina.”

                          “Um, thanks, I guess.” Said Gary, who was not used to being given things and felt there must be some ulterior motive. But Bruno gave no indication of such, so Gary simply turned around and started to walk back to the car.

                          * * *

                          Looker’s team had still gotten no closer to finding any new leads on Team Rocket’s actions, so Wes had decided to take a walk around Viridian City to stretch his legs a bit. He was getting bored with waiting around and doing nothing and was considering entering the Pokémon League to alleviate some of that boredom, but figured that the moment he started with that things would start happening with the Team Rocket case and he would be pulled away from it.

                          “Maybe next year.” He muttered to himself as he walked by an empty alleyway.

                          Or at least the alleyway appeared empty at first. A flash of movement caught Wes’ eye as he went by it that caught his attention. Wes turned around and walked down the alley to see what it was just in time to see something crawl up along the wall and out of sight.

                          “Wait a minute, wasn’t that…” Wes trailed off as he noticed light reflecting off of something nearby. He turned to see what it was and recognized it instantly. “Ariados.”

                          Wes approached the cluster of webbing latched onto the brick wall and pulled it off. There was a silver envelope inside the web with a golden “J” emblazoned on it.

                          “What does she want?” Wes growled as he glared at the envelope before opening it up and reading the letter inside. “Well, this is interesting.”

                          * * *

                          “So this is the Gym, right?” Ash asked Misty and Brock as they stood outside the Saffron City Gym.

                          “Yes.” Brock answered. “But are you sure we should be here? Carmine said we should wait in the Pokémon Center.”

                          “Oh, what’s the worst that could happen?” Ash tried to reassure him.

                          Ash rested his hand along the six Pokéballs around his belt. Two of them were empty, as Pika and Volty were resting on his shoulders like usual, while the other four contained the remaining members of his team.

                          “Hey, wait a minute.” Ash just realized something was off. “Where’d the Raticate King go?”

                          “You already have six Pokémon.” Misty pointed out. “So it would have been sent to your PC automatically.”

                          “But I had it when we were still in the sewers.” Ash pointed out.

                          “Your Pokédex might not have been able to get a signal down there so it wouldn’t have been able to transport until we got back up to the surface.” Brock said.

                          “Oh, yeah. I guess that makes sense.” Ash turned back to the Gym. “Anyway, here we go!”

                          The inside of the Saffron Gym was dimly lit by torches set on stone pillars around the sides of the room. Ash could just barely see a chair on the other side of the room with what appeared to be a woman sitting in it.

                          “Hello?” He called out. “Are you the Gym Leader?”

                          “Something doesn’t feel right about this.” Brock muttered under his breath.

                          The woman stood up and started walking slowly towards them. Ash squinted and tried to make out what she looked like but she was still too far away to see clearly in the torchlight.

                          “I don’t remember this place being so dark.” Misty commented.

                          Pika and Volty fidgeted slightly as the woman continued walking slowly. Ash decided to walk up to try and get a better look, but his legs wouldn’t cooperate.

                          “Guys,” He said. “I can’t move.”

                          “Neither can I.” Brock realized.

                          “What’s going on here?” Misty screamed, which was the last sound any of them made before Sabrina came into view and they blacked out.
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                          Old March 26th, 2018 (6:40 AM).
                          BZRich64's Avatar
                          BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                          The Mustachioed Machamp
                            Join Date: Apr 2013
                            Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                            Age: 23
                            Gender: Male
                            Nature: Quiet
                            Posts: 146
                            Chapter 59
                            Carmine ran out of the Pokémon Center, his dark red hair still dripping yet. He looked around and saw no indication of where Ash and his friends had gone, so he ran off in a random direction, prepared to search the whole city if he had to.

                            “If Delia finds out about this, she’d kill me.” Carmine said to himself as he checked street after street. “And I wouldn’t be able to blame her.”

                            As he ran by the entrance to the Gym, he remembered what the Pokémon Center nurse had told him about Sabrina having apparently joined Team Rocket. And if the rumors he had heard about her psychic abilities were true then that Gym was probably one of the most dangerous places anyone could possibly be right now.

                            “So naturally that’s probably were they went.” Carmine sighed.

                            Carmine looked around. Going in there without a plan would be suicidal, so he needed to think of something quick. His attention was quickly drawn to the building next-door to the Gym. It looked like some sort of old, run-down dojo but that wasn’t what caught his attention. Situated just above the entranceway to it there was a faded old sign to a Pokémon Gym.

                            “What’s that about?” Carmine wondered to himself. “I suppose I might as well check it out since I don’t have any other options at the moment.”

                            He walked up to the dojo and opened the sliding door leading inside. To his surprise the place was actually quite lively. Martial artists and Fighting-type Pokémon filled the main hallway training themselves to the absolute limit of what they could do. Carmine’s jaw dropped as he saw the various feats being performed in just the first few seconds after he got there. One man broke through a pile of wooden boards with a single chop while a girl near him was going pushups with another man on her back and a Machamp over in the corner was practicing using Fire Punch, Ice Punch and Thunder Punch all at the same time.

                            “Greetings, brother.” A man in a white gi said to Carmine, startling the veteran trainer. “Can we help you with anything?”

                            “What is this place?” Carmine asked in awe.

                            “This is the Fighting Dojo.” The man explained. “It is a place where people and Pokémon come from all over to test and train themselves beyond their physical limits.”

                            “But the sign outside said this was a Gym.” Carmine pointed out.

                            “Yes. We got that old sign years ago after the master of this dojo beat Bruno in a fight and took the sign off his Gym barehanded. Oh, that was a sight to behold.”

                            “But aren’t you worried about drawing the attention of Team Rocket?” Carmine asked.

                            “Oh, no. We don’t have to worry about them. So long as we don’t go outside they don’t seem to care. Besides, the only one we really need to worry about is Sabrina, because her psychic powers and Pokémon have the advantage over us, but even then we have ol’ Joe over there to help with that.”

                            The man pointed off to the side of the dojo, where an angry looking man in a battered old sea captain’s uniform was sitting back-to-back with a foreign Pokémon that Carmine recognized as the Fighting and Dark-type Pangoro.

                            “Speaking of which,” the man continued, “how did you get here, anyway?”

                            “Never mind.” Carmine answered as he turned around to leave.

                            Carmine was mentally kicking himself as he left the dojo. How could he have forgotten such a basic part of type match-ups? Dark-types were immune to Psychic, which meant all he had to do was send Sneasel into the Gym to scout out the building. It just seems so simple now.

                            * * *

                            “Wake up, Mr. Sleepyhead.” The voice of a young girl roused Ash from his sleep. He opened his eyes to see the source of said voice standing in front of him.

                            “Who, who are you?” He asked hesitantly.

                            “My name is Sabrina.” She said happily. “Who are you?”

                            “I’m… I’m Ash.” Ash tried to stand up but found that his arms and legs were tied to the chair he was sitting in. He looked around and found that Misty and Brock were tied to chair behind him as well, still unconscious. There were no signs of Pika or Volty. “What’s going on?”

                            “You were caught snooping around the Gym, so she knocked you out and had the bad men take you away to here.”

                            Ash tried to wrap his mind around what the girl was saying. “Who’s she?”

                            “Sabrina, of course. Silly boy.” The girl giggled.

                            “I thought you said you were Sabrina.”

                            The girl smiled. “Would you like to play with me?”

                            Ash stared at the girl in confusion. “No, I want to get my friends and get out of here.”

                            “To bad.” The girl said as she shrugged and turned around. “I would have let you go if you had said yes.”

                            “Wait!” Ash called out to the girl as she walked away. “I’ll play, I’ll play!”

                            The girl turned back to him. “Too late.” Then suddenly she disappeared into nothingness.

                            “What?” Ash stared at the space where the girl had just been in confusion. “Wait, was she another ghost? Wait a minute… Hanami!”

                            “Oh, so you finally remembered me, did you?” The ghostly maiden materialized in front of him.


                            “Oh, I’m just messing with you.” Hanami laughed. “No, that girl wasn’t a ghost. I’m not sure what she was, but she definitely wasn’t a ghost. And before you ask, no, I can’t help get free. I can’t interact directly with the material world.”

                            “I guess I’ll just have to think of something else then.” Ash muttered as he tried he get loose of his bonds.

                            Unfortunately for Ash, the ropes tying him down proved too thick to break free from.

                            “Sacred Fire.” Ash muttered.

                            “You should watch your language, young man.” Hanami said in a mock scolding tone.

                            “I guess I’ve been hanging out with Carmine too much.” Ash joked. “Wait a minute, Carmine!” He’ll come get us, right?”

                            “Assuming he can even find you.” Hanami said. “You’re not in the Gym anymore. The men in black that tied you up dragged you away and brought you here. We’re in the basement of the tallest building in the city.”

                            “Hm…” Ash tried to think of another plan. “What about Ghastly?”

                            “They took away all of your… what do you call them… Pokéballs? Yes, Pokéballs! They took all of your Pokéballs away and I don’t know where they put them, so you won’t be able to rely on your Pokémon for help.”

                            Ash sighed and tried to see if he could knock his chair over, but it was tied to Brock and Misty’s chairs in a way that made that impossible.

                            “You know, back in my day we used acorns to catch Pokémon.” Hanami mused.

                            Ash tried to ignore the absurdity of that statement as he worked out a way to get free. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, concentrating on trying to think of another way out. After a moment he opened them back up again.


                            “Did you see that?” Ash asked Hanami.

                            “See what?”

                            “Everything just went all bright and colorful.” Ash explained.

                            “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Everything seemed normal to me. Or at least as normal as it can get when you’re a centuries-old ghost, anyway.”

                            “Hold on.” Ash said as he closed his eyes again. “They’re not lights, they’re… people? I see people.”

                            “There’s no one else here.” Hanami pointed out, starting to get worried.

                            “No, not here.” Ash tried his best to explain. “Up there. It’s like I can see everyone in the building above us.”

                            Hanami looked at Ash in bewilderment.

                            “But they’re not just people.” Ash continued. “They’re all lit up in different colors. Its’ like, it’s like I’m seeing their souls or something.”

                            “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Hanami said.

                            “No offense, but you don’t really seem to know much for an ancient ghost.”

                            “Well what do you expect?” Hanami asked defensively. “I’m not some wise scholar or anything. I’m just a poor village girl who’s spent her entire afterlife up until point waiting around in a statue.”

                            “Sorry.” Ash apologized.

                            “No, its fine.”

                            “I’m still no closer to finding a way out of here though.” Ash sighed and closed his eyes again, looking down at his hands. They were yellow, he noticed, and it seemed almost as if he were made from electricity. “This is really weird.”
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                            Old March 27th, 2018 (7:22 AM).
                            BZRich64's Avatar
                            BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                            The Mustachioed Machamp
                              Join Date: Apr 2013
                              Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                              Age: 23
                              Gender: Male
                              Nature: Quiet
                              Posts: 146
                              Chapter 60
                              Mallory sighed and put the phone she was just talking into back onto the receiver. Giovanni wasn’t going to like the information she had just been told, but she had no choice but to tell him. She sighed and walked over to the entrance to Giovanni’s office, knocking on the door. When there was no response, she opened the door and found that the office was empty.

                              “Even worse.” She thought to herself.

                              Taking a deep breath, she walked across the empty office to a door on the far end. She opened that door and stepped into Giovanni’s private training room, where she found him sparing with his Hitmonlee. What had once been nothing more than his daily morning exercise routine had been steadily been taking up more and more of the man’s free time. He may not show it to the rest of the world, but Mallory knew him well enough that this was a sign he was worried. Current events were not going as expected and as much as he tried to hide it, Giovanni was slowly losing control. And he was a man who needed to be in control.

                              Giovanni did not notice Mallory enter as first. It was only when his Persian, who had been laying down lazily near the doorway noticed her and gave a loud meow to announce her presence that Giovanni glanced over in Mallory’s direction. He deflected one last blow from his Hitmonlee before bowing to his sparring partner, who returned the bow and walked away to get a towel for him. Giovanni turned to Mallory and started unraveled his hand wraps as he walked over to her.

                              “What is it?” He asked angrily.

                              “Sir!” Mallory stood at attention. “We have a report that several individuals have somehow made it past our defenses and infiltrated Saffron City.”

                              “How?” Giovanni asked as his Hitmonlee returned with a small white towel, which Giovanni took from it and started to wipe off his sweat with.

                              “We don’t know for sure yet.” Mallory answered him. “But reports say that there were four people who made it in, three of whom have already been captured and are being held in the lowest basement level of the Silph Corporation building. These three individuals have been identified as the Gym Leaders Brock Takeshi of Pewter City and Misty Sensational of Cerulean City, as well as a young trainer whose identification lists as Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town.”

                              “Ketchum.” Giovanni repeated to himself as he handed the sweaty towel back to Hitmonlee and went to put his shirt back on. “Why does that name sound familiar?”

                              “I cannot say, sir.”

                              “And what of the fourth?”

                              “We have not been able to confirm his identity, but early reports suggest that he’s… well…” Mallory trailed off, not sure how to break the news to him.

                              “Well, who is it?” Giovanni asked, already suspecting what her answer would be.

                              “It’s… Carmine Noir, sir. The fourth intruder is suspected of being Carmine.”

                              Giovanni glared at Mallory as he finished buttoning his shirt. “And how, may I ask, was he able of getting here without our knowledge?”

                              “We don’t know, sir. Our last report of his whereabouts showed him entering the Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town.”

                              “Hm…” Giovanni thought for a moment. “Didn’t Silph Corp. recently install a teleport pad there? Is it possible that they were somehow able to hack into it and redirect it to send them here?”

                              “That is a possibility, sir, though unlikely.”

                              “It doesn’t matter anyway. What’s important is that he’s here and he’s a serious threat to our plans. Alert all higher ranking members of the situation. I’m authorizing a city-wide manhunt on Carmine Noir.” Giovanni put on his jacket and walked back out to his office, Mallory and Persian both following him out. “Is Elite Squadron still here?”

                              “Yes.” Mallory answered. “They are waiting for a lead on where to start looking for the one who destroyed the S.S. Anne.”

                              “What about our executive members?”

                              “Archer, Ariana, Proton and Petrol are all away on various other assignments.”

                              “That is unfortunate timing, but with any luck, we shouldn’t need them.”

                              “He is only one man.” Mallory pointed out. “How much of a threat can he really be?”

                              “Carmine is one of the strongest and most resourceful trainers I have ever known. But, truth be told, he’s not the one I’m worried about.”

                              “What do you mean?” Mallory asked.

                              Giovanni looked Mallory dead in the eyes. “If I’m right, then you’ll be finding out very soon.”

                              * * *

                              “Okay, Sneasel, I just need you to go in there and find the others. It should be a piece of cake.” Carmine told his Sneasel as he stood underneath an open window behind the Saffron Gym. “Come back here as soon as you find anything.”

                              The Sharp Claw Pokémon nodded in confirmation and climbed up the side of the building, sliding through the window with ease. The inside of the Gym was dark, but that was no problem for Sneasel, whose eyesight was naturally adapted for low-light environments. He looked around the deserted Gym but wasn’t able to find anything. He was just about to head back to his owner when the front door opened and Sneasel quickly ducked behind one of the support pillars lining the room and climbed up to the ceiling.

                              Sneasel watched as Sabrina walked slowly across the Gym. When she had made her way halfway across to her chair her Pokégear rang and she stopped to answer it. She didn’t say anything at first, instead listening to whoever was on the other end of the call.

                              “Understood.” She said, at last, turning in the direction where Carmine was waiting for Sneasel to return. “I know exactly where he is.”

                              Realizing what was going on, Sneasel suddenly jumped over to the window, using Double Team to create several false duplicates of itself to act as distractions, buying enough time for him to get back outside.

                              “So, what did you find?” Carmine asked the frantic Sneasel.

                              Sneasel waved its arms around, wishing he had a way to directly communicate to his trainer. Fortunately, Carmine was able to understand the gist of what he meant and recalled Sneasel back into its Pokéball before running away.

                              “Now what?” He asked himself. “This bad situation just keeps getting worse.”

                              He ran several blocks before turning back to see if he was being followed. No one was there so he sighed and turned back around.

                              “Hello!” And suddenly he felt like he was about to have a heart attack due to the sudden appearance of a young girl. “Would you like to play with me?”

                              * * *

                              “It’s starting to get dark.” Daisy noticed as she and Giselle were walking through the streets of Celadon City.

                              “Yeah, I suppose it is.” Giselle put her hands behind her head as she looked up at the sky.

                              “Should we stop somewhere for the night?”

                              “We could, but I’m sure someone like you will probably be staying at the Pokémon Center, right? No way I’m lowering myself to that.”

                              “Actually, I was thinking about the Pallet House.” Daisy reached into her bag to pull something out.
                              Giselle looked at Daisy in surprise. “That’s definitely a bit richer taste than I was expecting from you. Sure you can afford that?”

                              “Yeah, the Pallet Houses in larger cities like this are definitely a lot larger and more expensive than the one back home, but at least I can still use this thing at them.” Daisy pulled out her VIP card.

                              “What, what?” Giselle stared wide-eyed at the card. “I thought you were poor!”

                              “No.” Daisy looked at Giselle in confusion. “What made you think that?”

                              “It’s just… everything! Everything about you just screams ‘I don’t have money’.”

                              “My family’s pretty well off, actually. Although this was actually a gift from my neighbor, Mrs. Ketchum, who owns the entire chain.”

                              “I must admit,” Giselle said. “I had you all wrong. I think we may be more alike than I thought, which makes you all the better as my rival.”

                              “Thanks, I guess.” Daisy wasn’t sure of that supposed to be a compliment or not. “Although I’d say you’re more like my brother than me.”

                              “Really?” Giselle sounded surprised. “I guess I’ll need to meet him so I can make him my rival as well.”

                              “I’m not sure if I want to see that meeting.” Daisy shuddered. “Either you’d really get along or it would be a horrible clash of egos.”

                              “What was that?” Giselle asked almost threateningly.

                              “Nothing, let’s just get going.”
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                              Old March 28th, 2018 (7:52 AM).
                              BZRich64's Avatar
                              BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                              The Mustachioed Machamp
                                Join Date: Apr 2013
                                Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                                Age: 23
                                Gender: Male
                                Nature: Quiet
                                Posts: 146
                                Chapter 61
                                Ash resumed trying to break free of his restraints, this time watching the yellow energy that seemed to flow through his body as he did so. He still had no idea what it was or how it worked, but he noticed that it seemed to flow into his hands as he tried to break out of the ropes.

                                “I think I have an idea.” He said.

                                “What?” Hanami asked him.

                                Ash concentrated on the yellow energy. It was apparently a part of him, or so he assumed, so he guessed that if he focused hard enough he should be able to control it to some extent. Sure enough, after some effort, he could feel it flow into his arms. It felt almost as if his strength was leaving the rest of his body altogether and reside solely in his arms. He tried lifting his arms up to break through the robes and was able to put so much force into it that the ropes practically disintegrated as they burst apart.

                                “How did you do that?” Hanami asked in awe.

                                “I’m not sure, but, uh… I can’t seem to move now.” Ash held his arms straight up as he waited for the energy to flow back down and spread throughout his body again. “I can’t say that I ever want to experience this feeling again.”

                                Ash slowly stood up. It felt like his legs were asleep as he tried to take a step forward and immediately fell down.

                                “Oh, right.” He muttered as he picked himself back up. “My legs are still tied.”

                                Ash sat back down and bent over to untie his legs from the chair. Once he managed to get that done, he stood up again and took a step forward and away from the chair. He turned around and scanned the room, not surprised to learn that whoever had captured them hadn’t left their stuff inside the same room as them.

                                “Let’s see…” Ash said as he reached around to check what all they had taken from him. In addition to his Pokéballs and backpack, it appeared that his captors had also felt the need to deprive him of his jacket, gloves and hat. He then looked over at Misty and Brock. “Should I wake them up and then untie them, or untie them and then try to wake them up?”

                                “I’d suggest untying them first.” Hanami suggested.

                                “Yeah, that makes more sense.”

                                Ash knelt down in front of Misty and started untying her first, before moving on to Brock. Just as he finished with the last knot, the two started to wake up. Hanami faded away again before they fully regained consciousness, not ready to reveal herself to anyone else yet.

                                “Wha…what’s going on?” Misty asked weakly as her eyes fluttered open.

                                “I’m not entirely sure.” Ash answered. “We got captured somehow and we’re being held inside of a basement somewhere.”

                                “Captured by who?” Brock asked as he stood up.

                                “I don’t know for sure, but if I had to make a guess I’d say Team Rocket.” Ash answered.

                                “What?” Misty practically screamed.

                                “Keep your voice down.” Ash told her. “Someone could hear you. Now come on, we need to find our stuff and get out of here.”

                                “It looks like there’s a way up over there.” Brock pointed to a small staircase in the corner of the room that led up to a door and started walking towards it.

                                “Hold on.” Ash held out his hand for Brock to stop then closed his eyes and looked up at the door to see if there was anyone on the other side. All he could see was the rocky brown of Brock standing at the base of the stairs. “Okay, it’s clear. Let’s go.”

                                “What are you talking about?” Misty asked, puzzled by his behavior.

                                “I’m not sure.” Ash said. “It’s like when I close my eyes I can see… people. I think it’s their life energy or something. I’m not sure how to explain it.”

                                “Since when can you do that?”

                                “It just started a few minutes ago. Now come on, we need to get out of here.”

                                * * *

                                “Who are you?” Carmine asked the young girl that stood before him. The girl’s long dark hair that covered her eyes contrasted greatly with her pale skin and faint pink dress, giving a creepy and almost ethereal vibe to her. There was also something familiar about her, as if he had met her somewhere before.

                                “My name is Sabrina.” She answered him. “Would you like to play with me?”

                                Carmine face turned to an expression of horror then to confusion as he turned around. Sabrina was the corrupt Gym Leader he was running from, wasn’t she? Did this girl just have the same name as her or… “No.” He thought to himself. It had to be a coincidence. Carmine turned back to the girl and looked at her more closely. It was then that he realized that the girl’s hair wasn’t covering her eyes. Her eyes were cloaked in shadow.

                                “What are you?” Carmine wondered aloud with thinking.

                                The girl smiled and tilted her head to the side. “Now that’s a smart question.” She said in a teasing manner. “Play with me and I might just tell you.”

                                Carmine checked behind himself again, took a deep breath and turned back to the girl. “Fine. I’ll play.”

                                Sabrina opened her mouth in a big smile. “Yay!”

                                There was a bright flash and suddenly Carmine found himself in the city of town, but something seemed… off. Not only did Saffron seem as empty as it had before, but there was something different about the town itself. Some of the buildings were different, some weren’t there at all and everything seemed slightly larger than it should be. It felt almost as if he had just stepped back in time. In fact, now that he thought about it the city looked almost exactly like it had when he had first visited the city over a decade ago during his first visit to the Kanto region.

                                “What’s going on?” He wondered aloud.

                                “You sure ask a lot of questions, Carmine.” He heard Sabrina’s voice as if it here reverberating through the city itself.

                                “How do you know my name?” Carmine asked her accusatorily.

                                “You told it to me.”

                                “What?” Carmine was more confused than ever. “When did I tell you that?”

                                “You don’t remember me, do you?” Clouds suddenly formed overhead and rain began pouring down over the city. “Oh, I know! Why don’t we act out when we first met? It all happened 15 years ago.”
                                Carmine had no idea what she was talking about. He couldn’t remember having ever met her before and there was no way she was old enough to have been around 15 years ago. But that would have been around the time he had first passed through Saffron City and now that he thought about it, something had happened when he was there. But what was it? He couldn’t remember.

                                Not wanting to get any wetter than he had to, Carmine ran over to store that had a canopy above its window so that he could get out of the rain for a moment. He happened to glance at his reflection in the window and was shocked by what he saw. It was certainly his face looking back at him, but it was not a face he had seen in a long time. Carmine was staring at a reflection of his teenage self and quickly realized that it wasn’t just his reflection. Carmine had somehow been physically regressed back to his early teens.

                                “15 years ago.” Carmine muttered to himself. “I would have been 14 when I first got here. This is what I looked like back then, isn’t it? What the Aeroblast is going on here?”

                                He backed away from the window and back into the rain. He wasn’t going to be getting any answered just standing around here, so he decided to start searching around. He turned a corner onto a side street and started walking down it. As he went by an alleyway he happened to turn and look down it. He saw Sabrina run by on the opposite side and he was suddenly pushed back by a strong blast of air that flipped him over in midair before he landed on his face.

                                “Ow.” Carmine said as he pulled himself back up. “What was that?”
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                                Old March 30th, 2018 (6:42 AM).
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                                BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                The Mustachioed Machamp
                                  Join Date: Apr 2013
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                                  Chapter 62
                                  Ash led Misty and Brock through the building they were trapped in using his newfound abilities to make sure that they didn’t run into any members of Team Rocket and get captured again. The building’s layout was simple enough on its own but having to avoid the various guards turned it into a maze.

                                  They made their way along an empty hallway when suddenly Ash stopped right before walking in front of an open doorway. He held his hand up to signal that the others should stop as well, almost hitting Misty in the face in the process. Ash gazed through the wall at the cloudy lavender aura of a Team Rocket Grunt who standing alone in the otherwise empty room as he waited for the man to turn around so that they could get by. After a moment that felt much longer than it actually was, the man walked over to a chair facing away from the door and sat down. Ash put his hand down and the trio hurried past the doorway. They made their way further down the hallway when Ash saw an icy-blue aura coming around a corner up ahead and they had to duck into a custodial closet.

                                  “This is starting to get frustrating.” Misty whispered just audibly enough for Ash and Brock to hear her.

                                  “I know, but’s all we can do right now.” Ash responded to her in a similarly quite fashion, still watching as the person walking down the hallway got closer to where they were hiding.

                                  “Do we have any plan about how we're going to find our Pokémon and our stuff?” Brock asked.

                                  “Not yet.” Ash admitted. “Hopefully we’ll be able to find them as we make our way out of h-” Ash suddenly stopped talking as the door to the closet creaked open and Ash, Misty and Brock found themselves face-to-face with a member of Team Rocket.

                                  After several painstaking seconds of utter silence, the Team Rocket grunt sighed, rolled his eyes and grabbed a broom that was hanging from a hook on the wall. “They don’t pay me enough for this.” He muttered as he closed the door again.

                                  “What just happened?” Misty asked in shock.

                                  “I don’t know but I guess we should consider ourselves lucky.” Brock answered.

                                  “If we were lucky, then we wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with.”

                                  * * *

                                  Rain continued to pour down as Carmine ran down the alleyway he had just been knocked out of. He was starting to remember now. Fifteen years ago he had visited Saffron and gotten lost in the large unfamiliar city, wandering around aimlessly when he had seen a young girl run by and was shoved back by some unseen force like he had been just a moment ago. He remembered chasing after the girl, but that was as far as his memory would take him. What had happened after that? He needed to know and finding out was likely the only way he would be able to get out of wherever he was trapped right now.
                                  Carmine turned the corner onto a larger road just in time to see the girl run out into another alley. He ran through the steadily increasing rain as he chased after her. When he reached the alley and turned into it he found a dead end, with the girl sitting curled-up against a wall at the end of it, crying.

                                  “What’s wrong?” He called out to the girl as he approached her.

                                  “Go away!” The girl screamed. A massive shockwave blasted out of her and sent Carmine flying back several yards.

                                  Carmine pulled himself back up to his feet and approached the girl again. “And leave a girl to cry alone? Never.” Carmine had forgotten how noble he had been in his youth. Or stupid, he wasn’t sure which this was right now. Either way, he found himself filled with more determination than he had felt in a very long time.

                                  “Leave me alone!” The girl screamed.

                                  “Not until you tell me what’s wrong!” Carmine was able to brace himself for another shockwave, only being sent back a few feet this time and he was able to stay on his feet before running up closer to her.

                                  “Don’t come near me!” The girl started crying even harder now. “You’ll get hurt! Everyone gets hurt.”

                                  “Don’t worry about me.” Carmine said with a smile. He had managed to catch up to the girl now and knelt down in front of her. “I can take anything you can throw at me.”

                                  The girl looked up at him with bloodshot eyes. “You aren’t afraid of me?” She asked.

                                  “Of course not.” Carmine laughed. Something he would never do in the present. “Why would I be?”

                                  “Because…” The girl stared at her knees. “My powers hurt people. Even the other psychics are afraid of me. Even my parents…” The girl’s words became unintelligible through her massive sobs.

                                  “It’s okay.” Carmine tried to comfort her. “I know what it’s to hurt people, too. It’s pleasant, but running away will only make things worse. You need to face your fears and take control of yourself.”

                                  The girls looked up at Carmine again, stood up and suddenly hugged him tightly. Carmine returned the hug and picked the girl up, holding her in a warm embrace.

                                  “Now come on, let’s get you out of this rain. I’m sure someone is worried sick about where you are right now. My name’s Carmine by the way, what’s yours?”


                                  Carmine could remember everything about that night now. He had taken Sabrina to a nearby Pokémon Center after that before getting her to tell him where she lived so that he could bring her back home. As Carmine had suspected, her parents were terrified by her running away and were relieved to see her home safe and sound. Now that he thought about it, he wasn’t sure how he had even managed to forget that night.

                                  Carmine now found himself standing in a white void with the young Sabrina standing before him.

                                  “The night we met you helped me more than you could ever know.” Sabrina said. “But I’m afraid I have to ask you for your help again.”

                                  “Sure.” Carmine said. “Anything you need.”

                                  “When Team Rocket attacked the city I was defeated and knocked out.” Sabrina explained. “When I had awoken they had done something to me. They somehow locked my heart away so that I couldn’t feel anything. I’ve become little more than an emotionless slave to their evil ways. But my powers have been able to protect me somewhat, projecting that part of me that had been locked away as this vision of my younger self that you see before you now.”

                                  Carmine stared at Sabrina in stunned silence, unsure of what to say to that.

                                  “I need you to rescue me, Carmine.” She continued. “I don’t know how, but I know you’ll be able to find a way to undo whatever it is that they’ve done to me. Please, Carmine.”

                                  “How could I possibly say no to that?” Carmine said at last. “Of course I’ll try.”

                                  * * *

                                  “Outside the northern entrance to Diglett’s Cave.” Wes said to himself as he looked around. “This is the place she said she wanted to meet and yet she’s nowhere to be seen. Typical.”

                                  Wes crumpled up the letter he was holding and shoved it in his pocket. His mother had gone through all the trouble having her Ariados send him a letter asking to meet him and when he went against his better judgment and actually went there, she wasn’t there. In many ways, Wes felt that this situation served as a parallel to his relationship with his mother as a whole. He began walking away but quickly had to jump back to dodge a sudden stream of flame that erupted in front of him.

                                  “What was that?” He looked up at where the fire had come from to see an Entei standing on top of Diglett’s Cave, staring down menacingly at him. This Entei was different than the one he himself had, however. Its fur was a different shade of brown and the red sections of its face-plate were gray rather than the normal red. Not that anything was ever truly normal about legendary Pokémon.

                                  Wes felt his hair start to rise as a bolt of electricity flew by him and struck the cave. He turned around to see a Raikou walking out of the forest. Its fur was more of an orange color than the yellow that his Raikou had and the cloud on its back was yellow rather than purple.

                                  Wes knew that if an Entei and a Raikou were here, then that would mean that a Suicune was as well, and sure enough, he saw one walk up to him as well so that the three legendary beasts had him surrounded. Like the others, this Suicune was different than his, being a lighter shade of blue and the cape-like mane that flowed from behind its head was dark blue rather than purple.

                                  “Do you like my beasts?” Hunter J stepped out from behind a tree next to Suicune. “I caught them in Crown City, in the Sinnoh region. Although from what I understand, you have a set of your own, don’t you? You are my son, after all. Collecting rarities like these are in your blood. Although I must say, these beauties are probably a bit more ‘special’ than the ones you have.”

                                  “What do you want, Mother?”
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                                  Old March 31st, 2018 (6:50 AM).
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                                  BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                  The Mustachioed Machamp
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                                    Chapter 63
                                    “Now, now. Is that any way to treat your dear old mother?” Hunter J asked Wes in a mocking tone.

                                    “What do you want?” Wes repeated himself.

                                    “Fine, if you want to be like that.” Hunter J sighed. “I’m working on building up a new Cipher and I was hoping that you’d join me in it. With your skills as a trainer and as a ‘collector’ you could easily serve as my second-in-command. It would also allow us to finally be able to bond as mother and child.”

                                    “Yeah, that ship sailed a long time ago.” Wes glanced around at the Legendary Beasts surrounding him. “Though it doesn’t look like you’re giving me much of a choice on the matter.”

                                    “Oh, the choice is yours to make.” Hunter J reassured him. “Thes boys are just here to make sure that you don’t try anything… reckless. Though before you say no, there is something you should take into account.”

                                    Hunter J turned to Suicune and reached for something on its back, hidden under the Aurora Pokémon’s mane. Wes’ eyes widen as she pulled Rui off of the Pokémon, with her wrists bound together and a gag around her mouth.

                                    “I found this one following you here.” She said. “You really should keep better track of your friends, Weston, or they could get hurt.”

                                    “Let her go.” Wes ordered Hunter J.

                                    “Oh, I will. Just as long as you agree to join me, that is.”

                                    The muscles in Wes’ arms tightened as he clenched his fists. “Fine.”

                                    Hunter J released her grip on Rui and shoved the girl forward. Rui stumbled up to Wes, who caught her and helped her stand up straight.

                                    “Or at least that’s what I would say she was really here.”

                                    Wes suddenly punched Rui in the gut, breaking the Illusion as the Rui suddenly vanished and was replaced with a startled Zorua. The Tricky Fox Pokémon ran off back to Hunter J and jumped up into her arms.

                                    “Very good.” Hunter J said, bemused. “What gave it away?”

                                    “That Pokémon of yours needs to work on its disguises.” Wes answered. “It may have been able to look like her, but it wasn’t able to match her more subtle movements. Body language is important.”

                                    “Hm. Yes, I suppose I should work on training him on that sort of thing a bit better. Though I suppose I must have underestimated your bond with that girl if you were able to notice it so easily.”

                                    “Also,” Wes added, “you forgot to take that Sooth Bell off from around its neck. I could hear it clinging around as it moved.”

                                    Hunter J looked down at the Pokémon she was holding in her arms. “Oh, yes. That’s what I get for coming up with that idea at the last moment, I suppose. I’m trying to work up my relationship with him. He’s almost like the son I was never able to have.” She glared at Wes.

                                    “I don’t believe that for a moment.” Wes retorted. “Or else your memory’s fading, because you were the one who abandoned me to be raised by a bunch of common criminals while you went off to join your precious Cipher. And then you abandoned them while I took down the entire organization.”

                                    “I was moving up in the world and Cipher was just my ticket up to bigger and better things.” Hunter J said defensively. “For both of us. I would have come back for you if you had just been a little more patient.”

                                    “And yet somehow I don’t believe that, either.” Wes shrugged.

                                    “Fine, then be that way.” Hunter J said mournfully as she grabbed a Luxury Ball from her belt and recalled Zorua. “But just know that I really didn’t intend for it to be like this.”

                                    Hunter J snapped her fingers and the three Legendary Beasts all attacked Wes at once, Entei with a Flamethrower, Raikou with a Thunderbolt and Suicune with an Aurora Beam. He had been prepared for this, however, and was able to react quickly. All three attacks exploded around him, creating a thick blanket of smoke and steam around the area. After a moment the air cleared to reveal Wes standing, unharmed, between his own set of Legendary Beasts.

                                    “Well,” Hunter J muttered to herself, “I can’t say that this is a surprise. Still, it should be interesting.”

                                    * * *

                                    Carmine found himself back in Saffron City, sitting on the dry grass where he had been just before he left. Although, he thought to himself, he probably never left that spot. The events that had just occurred probably happened within his mind.

                                    He pulled himself back up to his feet and wiped the grass off of his pants. He needed to come up with a plan and fast. He didn’t have any time to spare. But he was already too late, as Sabrina walked up to him from around a corner.

                                    “There you are.” She said in a dead monotone.

                                    Sabrina raised her right hand up towards Carmine, apparently about to blast him with a psychic attack. Carmine wasn’t sure if she actually needed to raise her arm for that, but he thought that maybe it was her younger self altering her actions just enough to buy him a split second to react. And react he did, in the only way he could think of. He hugged her.

                                    “What are you doing?” Sabrina asked as Carmine held onto her in a tight embrace.

                                    “It’s all right.” Carmine said quietly. He wasn’t sure if this was really going to do anything, but it was the only thing he could do right now. “You’re safe now. Just relax and try to fight it. Fight the control they have over you.” Carmine couldn’t help but mentally groan at how sappy he sounded.

                                    “Let go of me.” Sabrina said, though she made no effort to escape from Carmine’s grip.

                                    “No. I’m not letting go while you still need my help.” Carmine felt Sabrina’s weight shift as her knees gave out and he could hear her faint crying as he knelt down on the ground. He rested his chin against the teenaged psychic’s forehead as continued trying to comfort her. “That’s it. I know you can break out of this.”

                                    After a moment, Sabrina spoke again. Her voice now sounded more normal than before. “Thank you. You’ve saved me again.”

                                    “Don’t mention it.” Carmine said jokingly. “It was nothing.”

                                    “No, it wasn’t. Also, you can stop hugging me now.”

                                    “Right.” Carmine let go and leaned back away from her, slightly embarrassed.

                                    “Why do you keep saving me?” Sabrina asked. “You don’t even really know me.”

                                    “I don’t know.” Carmine shrugged. “I guess you kind of remind me of my sister or something. As her older brother, it was my duty to protect her, but I failed. I guess I just don’t want to fail anyone like that again. Or maybe I just don’t like seeing others in trouble so I help them out of the kindness of my heart. Could be either, or neither, I don’t know.”

                                    Just then, several members of Team Rocket arrived, no doubt drawn in by the commotion.

                                    “I’ll handle them.” Sabrina said as she stood up to face Team Rocket. “You need to rescue your friends.”

                                    “How did you-”

                                    “Psychic.” Sabrina pointed out. “Also, I’m the one who captured them. They should be held in the basement of the Silph Building, although…” She paused. “It looks like they’ve escaped and are trying to find their way out.”

                                    “Right.” Carmine said. “Be safe, and if you need any help, I’m pretty sure the guys over in the dojo next to your Gym should be willing to lend a hand. Just watch out for the Pangoro.”

                                    “What was last part?”

                                    “Bye!” Carmine ran off without answering her question.

                                    * * *

                                    “I feel like we’re going in circles.” Misty said. “Are you sure you know where you’re going?”

                                    “Not really.” Ash replied. “But we’re bound to find our stuff eventually. Hold on.” Ash raised his hand again for the others to stop as he looked up.

                                    “What is it?”

                                    “I’m not sure. There’s something in the room right above us. Like some kind of large rock or something.”

                                    “I thought you could only see people and Pokémon with your… whatever’s going on with you right now.” Brock asked.

                                    “I know, that’s what’s odd about it. It doesn’t look like any kind of Pokémon, but its glowing bright orange. There’s also some kind of darkness coming from it that seems familiar somehow. I think we need to check it out.”

                                    “That doesn’t sound like a good idea.” Misty said. “We need to be working on finding our Pokémon and then the way out of here.”

                                    “But what if our Pokémon are up there with it?” Ash pointed out. “It doesn’t look like I can see Pokémon if they’re in their Pokéballs, which means they could be just about anywhere.”

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                                    Old April 1st, 2018 (10:59 AM).
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                                    BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                    The Mustachioed Machamp
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                                      Chapter 64
                                      “What’s going on?” James asked groggily as he was forced out of bed by the other members of the Elite Squadron.

                                      “Intruders have infiltrated the city.” Attila said angrily. “Get your uniform on, we’ve got to catch them. What were you doing in bed already, anyway?”

                                      “Nothing was going on, so I thought I’d go to bed early.” James wasn’t sure why he needed to explain this. “Now would you all get out of here so that I can get dressed.”

                                      After the others filtered out of James’ room he went over to his closet and pulled out one of his new uniforms. While the lower ranking members of Team Rocket all shared the same basic uniform with a black shirt with a red “R” emblem over the chest, a pair of black pants or a black skirt, white boots and gloves and a black hat. Higher ranking agents, however, had custom uniforms that varied in design depending on what squad they were assigned to. When James had been a part of J Squad, his uniform consisted of a white pair of pants and a white jacket with the R symbol on it over a black shirt, with black gloves and boots. James had grown fond of that uniform which made adjusting to his new one even harder.

                                      The uniforms that all members of the Elite Squadron wore were similar in design to the basic Team Rocket uniforms, but with a black jacket over a white shirt. Instead of having a large red R emblem on the front, the jacket had a smaller one on the left side of the chest with a larger one on the back. Thin red stripes ran up the sides of the sleeves and pant legs, going up to the elbows and knees, respectively.

                                      When he finished getting dressed, James sighed and opened the door to join the others. To his surprise, only Jessie and Meowth were waiting for him there.

                                      “Where are the others?” He asked as the trio started walking down the hallway.

                                      “Dat Masque lady left wit’ Butch an’ Cassidy without sayin’ where’s they was goin’.” Meowth started to explain.

                                      “And then Attila lost his patience, so he and Hun went off ahead.” Jessie finished. “We should probably go catch up to them now.”

                                      The trio stopped just outside of an elevator and Jessie pressed the button to go down. They waited for a moment for the elevator doors to open then got in.

                                      “How many intruders are there?” James asked.

                                      “It sounds like dere should be’s four of dem.” Meowth answered. “But apparently threes of dem have already been caught.”

                                      “But that means there’s only one left.” James pointed out. “Why would they need all of us to catch one person?”

                                      “We don’t know.” Said Jessie. “But he’s supposed to be that guy that beat us back in Viridian.”

                                      James shuddered, remembering how Carmine had defeated him easily with just his Sneasel. “But we’re a lot stronger than we were back then. He couldn’t be that powerful, could he?”

                                      Jessie shrugged. “I don’t know, but we have orders to capture him, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

                                      After a moment, they finally reached the first floor and the doors slid open again. Carmine was standing there and quickly stepped inside. “Going up?” He asked as he pressed the door close button. Jessie, James and Meowth stood there in stunned silence, unsure of how to react.

                                      * * *

                                      Ash stood just outside the closed door that led into the room containing that the strange orange crystal was contained in. Now that he was closer to the crystal he could feel a strange pulse coming from it that almost felt like a heartbeat.

                                      “Okay, it looks like there’s one person in there with it.” Ash whispered to Misty and Brock. “But he’s facing away from us, so if we’re quite we should be able to sneak in.”

                                      “Why are we even doing this?” Misty asked.

                                      “I don’t know.” Ash answered as he grabbed the doorknob and slowly opened the door. He watched the dark metallic aura of the man inside, who seemed to be busy working on something on the table he was sitting at. When the door was fully open, Ash opened his eyes so that he could see with his normal vision.

                                      The room looked like it was some kind of lab. Strange machines lined the walls and the few tables scattered around were covered in what seemed like junk to Ash. The orange crystal was sitting inside of some sort of containment unit on the back wall that was hooked up to several other devices. The crystal seemed to glow just as brightly as it had when he was looking at it through closed eyes. If anything it was even brighter since he could no longer see the dark fog that covered it before.

                                      Ash glanced over at the man seated at one of the tables. He was dressed strangely, wearing a spiked red jacket and some kind of golden helmet. Ash could see over the man’s shoulder that he was fiddling with some strange black Pokéballs of a design he had never seen before. Ash figured there was nothing he could actually do here and was just about to leave when he saw something in the corner of the room that caught his attention. His, Misty’s and Brock’s bags were propped up against a wall with their jackets in a pile next to them and their belts, with Pokéballs still on them resting on the edge of a nearby table.
                                      Ash snuck over to the corner and grabbed his belt off the table, putting it back on around his waist. He was just reaching to grab his jacket when the man sitting at the table swore loudly and Ash froze. He turned around slowly to see the man standing up now while a small plume of smoke drifted up from the black Pokéball he had been working on.

                                      “Not again.” The man growled. “And I was so close.”

                                      Ash knew that there was no way he would be able to get out of this situation without the man noticing him, so a confrontation was inevitable. Rather than run the risk of the man getting the upper hand, Ash chose to make the first move. He reached down to his belt and grabbed two of his Pokéballs, sending out Sandshrew and Krabby to attack the man. Sandshrew used Rollout to knock the man off his feet and Krabby used Mud Sport, knocking the man out. Misty and Brock both peered into the room to see what just happened.

                                      “What’s going on in here?” Misty asked as she saw the unusual scene before them.

                                      “Never mind that.” Ash pointed to bags sitting in the corner. “Now grab your stuff and let’s get out of this place.”

                                      “But didn’t you want to find out what that crystal is?”

                                      “I just had my Pokémon knock a guy out. I’d rather not stick around long enough to have to do something like that again.”

                                      * * *

                                      Wes and Hunter J stared each other down intensely as they both waited for the other to make the next move. All six legendary beasts stood at attention, ready to make a move as soon as the order was given. Sparks threw through the air, literally due to the two Raikou and figuratively from the sheer tension that had formed between mother and child. Wes’ contempt for his mother had been steadily building for as long as he could remember, and at last, he could finally vent his frustration against her. Hunter J, on the other hand, felt angry and a little betrayed that her son refused to see things her way.



                                      The two Jaegers both shouted to their Pokémon at once. Clouds filled the sky as the winds howled and rain, snow and hail fell from the sky in a mighty storm the likes of which Kanto had not seen in living memory. Bolts of lightning struck down from the sky accompanied by deafening thunder, while fire and lava sprung forth from the ground.

                                      A single Legendary Pokémon was a force not to be reckoned with, with powers far beyond what most mortals could ever dream of having. Even the Beasts, among the lowest of the Legendary hierarchy, barely above the level of regular Pokémon, could leave behind great devastation in their wake if they so choose. And there were currently six Legendary Beasts locked in battle.
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                                      Old April 2nd, 2018 (7:13 AM).
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                                      BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                      The Mustachioed Machamp
                                        Join Date: Apr 2013
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                                        Chapter 65
                                        Giovanni sat at his desk waiting for some word from the agents currently scouring Saffron City for Carmine. He didn’t show it, but the leader of Team Rocket was starting to get nervous. A red light started flashing on Giovanni’s desk and he turned to Mallory, who had been standing beside him. She nodded back to him and quickly walked out of the room. Once Mallory shut the door behind her, Giovanni pressed the button underneath his desk.

                                        Nine large screens slid down the wall in front of Giovanni and the center screen lit up. The Foundation’s President and Chairman of the Council stared angrily at Giovanni. Giovanni noted that he appeared to have gained several pounds since the last time they had spoken. Giovanni knew the man well enough to know what that meant.

                                        “You’re worried about something.” It was a statement, not a question.

                                        “Of course I am!” The President could barely contain his frustration. “There’s been a lot going on lately.”

                                        “Oh, that reminds me.” Giovanni said nonchalantly, not willing to show the President any sign that things weren’t going well on his end, either. “Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. I hope you liked my gift.”

                                        “My wife wanted to burn it as soon as she saw it.” The President said. A small smile started to break up his look of discontent as he recalled the memory. But the smile quickly vanished as soon as it appeared. “But that’s not why I called you.”

                                        “I would assume you’re going to tell me when we’re having the meeting to vote on who should take Evice’s seat on the council.” Giovanni said.

                                        The President glanced to the side nervously. ”I’m afraid we’ve already held that vote.”

                                        Giovanni absently clenched his fists tightly as he tried to keep his composure. “Then why wasn’t I informed?”

                                        “Well, you see…” The President tried to find a good way to tell him. “I’m afraid I don’t have time to say right now. Our next meeting is just about to start.”

                                        The President pressed the button on his desk that sent out a summons to all of the members of the council. One by one the other screens lit up as the council members answered the call.

                                        * * *

                                        The ferocious battle continued to rage on around Wes and Hunter J as their Legendary Beasts unleashed all of their power against each other. In order to avoid harm from the raging storm the battle brought, Wes called his Suicune over and hopped onto its back, ducking under the cloud-like mane for protection. As he did so he saw that his mother had the same idea, climbing onto her own Suicune’s back as well. It pained Wes to know that they thought so much alike.

                                        Unfortunately, Wes could no longer see the battle going on around him, which meant that he could not direct his Pokémon. He trusted that they could take care of themselves, however, so he clung on tightly to Suicune’s fur in an effort not to fall off of its back as Suicune continued to fight.

                                        After a few minutes, Wes could no longer hear the battle going on and Suicune seemed to stop moving around. He cautiously climber back down to the ground and looked around to see that Hunter J and her Pokémon had apparently fled the battlefield. Wes’ Suicune, Entei and Raikou were now calmly tending to their injuries.

                                        “Well, that was short.” Wes commented, trying to figure out why she would just suddenly leave like that. He looked around at the area around them and saw that the battle had completely reshaped the surrounding landscape. “We’re going to get in so much trouble for this.”

                                        * * *

                                        Hunter J climbed off of his Suicune as soon as she was sure that Wes wasn’t following her. She would have liked to finish their battle, but she knew enough not to refuse a summons from the council, as inconvenient as the timing may be. She sent out her camera drone to get a good picture of her and tapped a button on the side of her visor. Several panels popped up along her visor showing the silhouettes of the council members. She knew, of course, that she would not be permitted to see the council members themselves until she was officially inducted into their group.

                                        “Now that we’re all here,” said a man who Hunter J knew must be the council’s chairman, “I call this meeting of the Council to order. We are here now to discuss the results of our last meeting, where we voted on who would take the open seat on the council. At that meeting it was voted for the new council member to be… Greevil Verich.”

                                        Hunter J felt like the whole world stopped for a moment. She had been so confident that she would be the one to join the council. She had been working towards this for years. How could she possibly have lost?

                                        “In addition it has been agreed that one of our number shall be taken off the council due to resent events.”

                                        Hunter J perked up at this. If someone was leaving the council, then that would mean that there was another seat available. She still had a chance.

                                        “Giovanni Rozzo has been voted off of the council and Jael Jaeger has been voted to take his place.”

                                        * * *

                                        “What?” Giovanni yelled furiously. “This is an outrage! You can’t do this to me!”

                                        “I’m sorry, Giovanni. But the vote was held. You are no longer a part of the council.”

                                        Giovanni raised an accusative finger up to one of the screens, showing a man with short spikey blue hair. “You’re the one behind this, aren’t you Cyrus? You’ve always had it out for me!”

                                        “It doesn’t matter who suggested you be removed.” Cyrus said as cold and emotionless as ever. “You were voted out, which means that your exclusion was the will of the council.”

                                        “And can you really blame us?” Asked the man with long bushy green hair. “Considering how erratic you’ve been lately and how much damage your organization has caused.”

                                        “Oh, like your one to talk, Ghetsis.” Giovanni said. “We all know how crazed you can get on a bad day.”

                                        “That’s enough.” Said the chairman.

                                        “And you!” Giovanni turned his attention to his old friend. “Are you really going to go with this, Mohn?”

                                        “I’m sorry, Giovanni, but it’s not up to me. A vote was held and it was decided that you should be removed from the council. Now, without any further ado, this meeting is closed.”

                                        Giovanni tried to object further, but Mohn pressed the button on his desk and the line was cut. The wall of screen retracted back up into the ceiling. Giovanni sat back in his chair and stared wide eyed on the wall. First the intruders and now this. He wondered if things could get any worse for himself, but immediately regretted the thought as the door to his office has flung off of its hinges with Mallory and Agents Jessie, James and Meowth all being thrown into the room. Giovanni tried to regain his composure as a Feraligatr walked in with its trainer right behind it.

                                        “Hey, Giovanni.” Carmine said with a false cheer. “Long time, no see. You haven’t happened to have seen an obnoxious ten year old and a couple of Gym Leaders, have you? It’s kind of in your best interest that I find them safe and sound.”

                                        * * *

                                        Hunter J raised her fists in the air triumphantly. Years of working her way up in the world had finally payed off. Having a seat in the council meant that she was now one of the most powerful people in the world. Nothing could take this from her.

                                        Her victory was cut short, however, when she then received a call. She answered it and the image of a short, jolly looking bald man popped up on her visor.

                                        “Hello!” He said cheerily. “You must me Miss Jaeger. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

                                        “Who is this?” Hunter J asked.

                                        “Oh, right. I haven’t introduced myself. How rude of me. You can call me Mr. Verich, Grand Master of Cipher and, along with you, one of the newest members of the council. I just called to let you know… that I will destroy you.” The man’s cheery façade gave way for a second before he resumed his false cheer. “Anyway, congratulations on this great achievement.”

                                        Mr. Verich hung up, leaving Hunter J to ponder his words.

                                        “What the Distortion World?” She muttered. “Who does that guy think he is?”
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                                        Old April 3rd, 2018 (7:15 AM).
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                                        BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                        The Mustachioed Machamp
                                          Join Date: Apr 2013
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                                          Chapter 66
                                          The Iron Masked Marauder slowly stood up, trying to clutch his head with one hand, though his helmet got in the way.

                                          “What hit me, a Rhydon?” He muttered to himself as he looked around at his lab. He didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary at first until he realized that the items confiscated from the intruders were missing. “Oh, bother. They must have escaped and knocked me out to get their stuff back. And their Pokémon were going to make such perfect test subjects for my Dark Balls.”

                                          The Iron Masked Marauder looked over to the black Pokéballs he had been working on earlier and sighed. He was going to pull out his radio and give an alert about the intruders but then decided on another idea. He reached for one of the six black and yellow buttons on the red jacket he wore over his Team Rocket uniform and pulled it out. The Ultra Ball grew to full size as he pressed the button on its front and his favorite Pokémon materialized from the yellow energy released from it. Dark Scizor kneeled before its master, awaiting an order.

                                          “Find those brats and capture them. I think they’ve just earned themselves the right to be turned Dark. It’s what they get for defying me.”

                                          Dark Scizor glided out of the room in pursuit of its targets so fast that the Iron Masked Marauder could barely follow its movement. The dark red Pincer Pokémon dashed through the empty hallways of the Silph Corp. building before quickly catching up to Ash, Misty and Brock. It raised back its right pincer as it closed the gap between them and let loose with a Bullet Punch. The attack was just a warning, however, and Scizor used the momentum of the attack to go between Ash and Brock, passing the trio and blocking their way.

                                          “Where did that Pokémon come from?” Brock asked in shock.

                                          “It doesn’t matter.” Ash reached down to his belt. “It looks like we’ll be fighting our way out of here now.”

                                          * * *

                                          “Is that any way to greet an old friend?” Giovanni asked Carmine mockingly as he walked around his desk so that they could face each other directly.

                                          “We were never friends.” Carmine growled.

                                          “Oh, you’re right.” Giovanni corrected himself. “We were something more than that, we were family.”
                                          Jessie, James and Meowth all looked at Giovanni in confusion as they stood back up, unsure as to what he was talking about. Mallory, on the other hand, knew exactly what he was referring to.

                                          “Speaking of which, where is your sister, anyway?” Giovanni continued. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen Scarlet.”

                                          “DON’T YOU DARE SAY HER NAME!”

                                          Without thought or hesitation, Carmine suddenly lost all composure and decked Giovanni in the face. Giovanni’s Persian lept up from its resting place and charged at Carmine to protect its master, but stopped as Giovanni held his hand up to it.

                                          “And why shouldn’t I say her name.” Giovanni taunted, Carmine fist still pressed hard against his cheek. “She is my wife, after all.”

                                          “Ex-.” Carmine corrected him.

                                          “What does that matter?” Giovanni asked, then knocked Carmine’s arm away and punched him in the gut.

                                          Carmine took a step back from the force of the blow and blocked a left hook from Giovanni by ducking down and charging at Giovanni, crashing into the desk. Giovanni slipped out of Carmine’s grasp and rolled away towards the large window on the southern side of his office. Carmine chased after him and the two exchanged several more blows before Carmine was able to pin Giovanni against the window by pressing his elbow up against Giovanni’s neck.

                                          “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t just toss you out there and let you fall.” Carmine said furiously.

                                          “Because-” Giovanni started to say, before kicking Carmine in the shin, causing Carmine to release his hold and allowing Giovanni to grab Carmine by the through and shove him against the window. “That’s what I was going to do to you.”

                                          Giovanni kicked Carmine in the stomach with as much strength as he could muster, breaking the window and sending Carmine hurtling down towards the streets below. Giovanni backed away from the window and wiped the back of his hand against his mouth. Jessie, James and Meowth stared at their boss in stunned silence, while Mallory simply smirked.

                                          “It looks like I’ll be needing a new suit.” Giovanni remarked. “This one’s stained now.”

                                          Giovanni suddenly stumbled back several steps while the others were knocked to the floor as a sudden earthquake shook the area. Giovanni turned around to look out the broken window in horror. A giant red eye stared back at him and a deafening roar echoed through the area.

                                          “Arceus!” Giovanni swore. “I knew he had it.”

                                          * * *

                                          Dark Scizor backflipped out of the way of Pika’s ThunderShock and landed on the wall, which it then jumped off of to avoid a Water Gun from Misty’s Starmie. The Bug-type then charged forward between the two Pokémon and head-butted Brock’s Graveler with an Iron Head attack. The Super Effective attack knocked the Rock Pokémon back so that Ash, Misty and Brock had to press up against the walls to get out if its way. Dark Scizor then chased after Graveler and did a mid-air spin as it reached the Rock-type in order to build up more momentum for a Bullet Punch, sending Graveler crashing through the wall.
                                          Pika and Starmie chased after Dark Scizor, who in turn followed Graveler though the newly created hole in the wall into a large empty room full of cubicles. Starmie tried to hit Dark Scizor with a Water Gun as soon as it spotted the Scizor, only to find that it was only a Double Team copy. The copy disappeared as the attack passed harmlessly through it and hit Graveler instead. The real Dark Scizor was hiding behind the now-unconscious Graveler and hit it with another Bullet Bunch to send Graveler flying into Starmie, pinning it against a wall, leaving Pika as the only one of the three Pokémon still able to battle.
                                          Knowing that he wouldn’t be able to defeat Dark Scizor in a head-on battle, Pika used Discharge to release his electrical energy around himself, destroying the surrounding cubicles and sending various documents and papers flying through the air. Dark Scizor used Double Team, falling right into Pikachu’s trap. The papers flying around the room were filled with a static charge from Pikachu’s attack, which caused them to cling lightly to the real Scizor while simply passing through the doubles, allowing Pikachu to easily identify which was the real Scizor.

                                          Pika used a Double Team of its own as a distraction so that Scizor would go after the duplicates, allowing Pika to easily sneak behind Dark Scizor and hit it from behind with a Brick Break. All of Dark Scizor’s doubles vanished as the Pincer Pokémon crashed into the carpeted floor, which was filled with even more static. This made it slightly harder for Dark Scizor to get back up, creating just enough extra time for Pika to hit Dark Scizor with a Thunder Wave, followed by another Brick Break. The Bug and Steel-type was now rendered Paralyzed by the Thunder Wave, providing Pika the chance to hit it with two more Brick Breaks before Dark Scizor finally collapsed.

                                          Now that their opponent was defeated, Pika ran to the massive hole in the wall that led back out into the hallway and signaled to Ash and the others that it was now safe. Ash, Misty and Brock hesitantly walked into the room and Misty and Brock recalled their fainted Pokémon.

                                          “Good job, Pika!” Ash said as the yellow rodent climbed up to his shoulder. “And look, that wall is made out of glass.”

                                          “Those are windows.” Brock pointed out.

                                          “Whatever, it still takes up the whole wall. All we have to do is break through it and we can fly down with Fearow.”

                                          “That means we can finally get out of this stupid place!” Misty said excitedly.

                                          “That’s right. Now we just need-”

                                          Ash was cut off as a flash of blue light came from outside and a sudden earthquake hit. Ash, Misty and Brock were knocked down to the floor. When they got back up, all they could see outside the windows was blackness as a horrifying roar filled the air.

                                          “W-what’s going on?” Misty asked, terrified.

                                          “What… is that thing?” Brock said as he cautiously approached the windows.

                                          “I’m not sure.” Ash answered them both. “But… I think I have an idea. There’s something that I used to hear stories about when I was younger, but I never thought I’d ever see it myself. A monstrous Pokémon that ravaged Johto before I was even born, but was stopped by my dad and Carmine: The Cianwood Tyranitar.”
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                                          Old April 4th, 2018 (7:11 AM).
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                                          BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                          The Mustachioed Machamp
                                            Join Date: Apr 2013
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                                            Chapter 67
                                            “That’s it, I’ve had quite enough of this.” Giovanni said as he turned his back on the Cianwood Tyranitar. “Initiate Operation Pay Day.”

                                            Mallory pulled out her Pokégear to send the order out for him but was interrupted, as a shard of ice shot past her hand. Giovanni turned around to see that the black Tyranitar had lowered its head to reveal Carmine kneeling there with his Sneasel beside him, ready to launch another attack if necessary.

                                            “Belay that order.” Carmine said as he jumped back into the room.

                                            “Come back for more?” Giovanni asked him bitterly.

                                            “Not exactly. You see, I have a bit of a…” he paused, trying to find the right word, “proposition for you.”

                                            “I think you mean ultimatum.”

                                            “Yes, well, you’d be the expert on that, wouldn’t you?”

                                            “Just get on with it.”

                                            “Fine, fine.” Carmine shrugged. “What I’m offering is a battle, one-on-one. If you win, I’ll stop going after you. From that moment on, I promise never to get in your way again so long as you stay out of Pallet Town.”

                                            “And if I lose?” Giovanni asked, intrigued that Carmine would be willing to make such a huge gamble.

                                            “You’re still the Gym Leader of Viridian City, right?”

                                            “Yes.” Giovanni had no idea where Carmine was going with this.

                                            “If you lose, then you will shut down everything involving Operation Payday and remove all of your operations from Saffron City. In addition, the winner will be rewarded with an Earth Badge.” Carmine turned to leave back out the window.

                                            “Why would you want an Earth Badge?” Giovanni asked him.

                                            “On the roof, five minutes. If you don’t show up, well, my Tyranitar out there can easily take down this whole building with you in it if I give him the order. I’d suggest you show up.” With that, Carmine jumped out onto Tyranitar’s head, leaving Giovanni to ponder his options.

                                            * * *

                                            “Brock, can you have one of your Pokémon break through the window so that we can get out?” Ash asked Brock.

                                            “Are you crazy?” Was Brock’s response. “There’s a monster out there.”

                                            “It’s okay, that thing’s on our side. Now, can you break the window or not?”

                                            “Fine.” Brock relented. He pulled out one of his Pokéballs and called out Rhyhorn. The gray Pokémon smashed through the windows with its horn, it’s tough armor protecting it from the broken glass.

                                            “All right!” Ash yelled excitedly before jumping out the window into the open air, falling between the building and the black Tyranitar.

                                            “Ash!” Misty screamed, running up to the window. She immediately had to take a step back, however, as Ash’s Fearow fly up, with Ash riding on its back.

                                            “Come on, grab onto his legs.” Ash called out to Misty and Brock. The two hesitated, but knowing that they had no other options, they both jumped out and held desperately onto Fearow’s legs. The large bird Pokémon dropped down briefly before flying up even higher.

                                            They flew up above the Cianwood Tyranitar’s head, where they found Carmine standing on the flat of its head above its eyes. After circling around a couple times, Fearow landed atop the Tyranitar and the three climbed off of the Beak Pokémon.

                                            “Are you okay?” Ash asked Carmine, noticing the injuries from his earlier brawl.

                                            “I’m fine.” Carmine answered without turning around to face them. “What about you?”

                                            “We’ve been better, but we’re alright for now.”

                                            “Good. And what about your Pokémon?”

                                            “They should be fine. Why?” Ash asked, confused.

                                            “Because you’ve got a battle coming up. Now follow me.” Carmine lifted up an Ultra Ball and a Skarmory flew out. He grabbed onto the Armor Bird Pokémon’s legs and it flew him up to the roof. Ash and the others followed on Fearow.

                                            “What’s going on?” Ash asked Carmine as he recalled Fearow back into its Pokéball.

                                            Carmine finally turned around to look at the others as he recalled his Skarmory. “You two.” He pointed at Misty and Brock. “You’re Gym Leaders, right? What do you know about the Viridian Gym Leader.”

                                            All three kids looked at him in confusion.

                                            “Uh… well, he’s supposed to be the Ground-type specialist of the region.” Misty said hesitantly.

                                            “We’ve never actually met him.” Brock explained. “In fact, I don’t think anyone’s ever seen him in years. Why?”

                                            “No reason.” Carmine turned around again to face the roof access doorway just as it started to creak open. “Oh, look. He’s here already.”

                                            Giovanni walked out onto the roof, accompanied only by his Persian and looking surprisingly calm given the situation. “Let’s get this stupid game of yours out of the way, Carmine. Who is it you want me to beat.”

                                            “I believe you mean, ‘who do I want you to be beaten by?’.” Carmine mockingly corrected him, placing a hand on Ash’s shoulder.

                                            “Oh, you’ve got to be joking.” Giovanni let out a chuckle. “A child? You do realize how much you’re putting at stake with this battle, right? You do know what Operation Pay Day is, don’t you?”

                                            “Oh, of course I know. But I know how much you enjoy talking about that master plan of yours so why don’t you explain it anyway, so Ash here knows what he’s dealing with.”

                                            Ash looked back and forth between Carmine and Giovanni, having completely lost track of what was going on. Misty and Brock were similarly confused.

                                            “Alright then.” Giovanni turned his attention to Ash and pulled something out of his pocket. “Can you tell me what this is, boy?”

                                            “T-that’s just a coin.” Ash answered nervously.

                                            “Yes. Specifically, it’s the kind of gold coin that the Pokémon known as Meowth keeps on the center of its head. Humans have coveted these simple golden coins since time immemorial, even going so far as to use them as a form of currency, one that is still widely used today. Meowth and their evolved form, Persian, are capable of creating these coins using their special attack, Pay Day. The reason these coins are able to be used as a proper currency even though they can easily be created from almost nothing is because many of these coins are removed from circulation for one reason or another, be they lost, damaged or otherwise just neglected. The number of new coins created remains relatively close to the number of those lost, allowing us to use them as money without worrying about too many being created, which would cause them lose their worth and destabilize the economy. However, if someone were to, say, gather thousands of Meowths and Persians and have them all use Pay Day as much as they can, it wouldn’t take more than a few days before they could completely devastate the economy and if you were to equip them all with Lucky Coins, which double the number of coins they can make, then you could do it only half the time. Operation Pay Day is exactly that. If I give the order then I have operatives all over that will order their Pokémon to create as many coins as they can. By the time the sun rises tomorrow morning, the nation’s economy would be left in ruins. By the end of the week, the entire planet would be left in utter chaos. And once I beat you, boy, I will give that order.”

                                            Ash stared at Giovanni in horror. He wasn’t able to fully grasp all of what he had been told, but he knew it was bad. He turned to Carmine to see that the man looked perfectly calm.

                                            “Oh, you won’t be giving that order, Giovanni.” Carmine said. “You see, Ash isn’t just a kid, he’s the son of Graham Ketchum.”

                                            Giovanni’s smile faltered as he recognized that name. “What does it matter who the boy’s father was? I will defeat him all the same.”

                                            “I’ve been training Ash personally ever since he started his Pokémon journey. He may have started off rough, but he’s come a long way since then and I’ve seen in him the potential to be even greater than his father was. It’s true that I’m putting a lot at stake in this battle, but that’s only because I have every confidence in Ash. He can defeat you, Giovanni.” Carmine turned to Ash and smiled. “I know you can. Now give him everything you’ve got.”

                                            Ash stared at him, unsure of what to say. Carmine just nodded at him and Ash turned to face Giovanni, who pulled out an Ultra Ball and held it out. A beam of yellow energy shot out and from it materialized the large, imposing form of a Rhydon.

                                            “Come on, boy.” Giovanni said. “Show me what you’ve got.”
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                                            Old April 5th, 2018 (7:22 AM).
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                                            BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                            The Mustachioed Machamp
                                              Join Date: Apr 2013
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                                              Age: 23
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                                              Chapter 68
                                              Ash inhaled sharply as he tried to build up his courage. Just when he was thinking that this night couldn’t get any worse, he somehow got roped into a Pokémon battle against the leader of Team Rocket himself. Ash felt that he was woefully unprepared for this, but he had no choice. Taking another breath, Ash reached down to grab his Krabby’s Pokéball and wishing that he had taken his training more seriously and evolved the water-type already so that it would be able to stand a better chance against the powerful Rhydon that served as their first opponent.

                                              “Metal Claw!” Ash yelled as he threw the Pokéball.

                                              Krabby emerged from the Pokéball, leaping towards Rhydon, his right pincer shining a bright silver from the energy of the attack. Rhydon tried to defend against the attack by crossing its arms in a defensive stance, only for Krabby to switch the attack to its other pincer at the last second and hit Rhydon in the stomach with it. Rhydon was forced to take a step back from the attack but quickly regained its balance. It closed its eyes for a second as two rings of glowing white energy surrounded it. Krabby tried to attack with a Bubble Beam but Rhydon’s eyes suddenly flashed as its Stone Edge attack was ready and rocks started launching out of light rings, popping all of the bubbles in Krabby’s attack as they flew right towards Krabby. Krabby was expecting this, however, and was able to dodge the attack by side-jumping out of the way and he launched another Bubble Beam. Rhydon, furious, tried pelting Krabby with another volley of Stone Edge while preparing its next move Horn Drill.

                                              Rhydon took several steps back and leaned forward to brace itself on its forelegs, assuming a charging stance. Krabby was too busy trying to avoid the Stone Edge to get out of the way of the attack, but to both Krabby and Ash’s surprise, Rhydon didn’t charge. Instead, Rhydon Pokémon lept forward, spinning in midair so rapidly that it looked as if the Drill Pokémon had become an actual drill. Krabby didn’t have time to dodge the attack and there was no way it would be able to take the full force of the blow, leaving Krabby with only one option. If his timing was even a fraction of a second off, then it would be the end for him, but this was no time to second-guess himself. Krabby raised its pincer, which glowed silver in preparation for another Iron Claw. Just as Rhydon was about to reach Krabby, the River Crab Pokémon was able to strike it with Iron Claw, knocking the Drill Pokémon off its projector and knocking it into the floor. Ash and the others had to dodge the debris that flew everywhere as Rhydon crashed through the roof and fell into the building below.

                                              Krabby’s whole body began to glow, a sign that it was evolving. Giovanni sent out his next Pokémon, Golem, and had it us Rollout in an attempt to hit Krabby before he could finish his evolution, but was too late. Instead, Golem crashed straight into the newly-evolved Kingler’s Metal Claw. The boost in power it gained from both its evolution and its now enlarged left pincer allowed Kingler’s Iron Claw to hit even harder than it had against Rhydon, causing Golem to be sent bouncing back in an almost comical fashion, cracking the roof each time it landed before it was able to get back onto its stumpy feet. Kingler sprayed a Bubble Beam from its mouth at Golem. Golem took the attack head-on before retracting its head, arms and legs into its rocky exterior and rolling towards Kingler. Kingler prepared to hit Golem with another Iron Claw, but as soon as the attack landed, Golem used Explosion. Kingler was sent flying into the air before crashing back down next to Ash while Golem was sent rolling out of control, nearly falling off the edge of the roof before Giovanni recalled it.

                                              “Good job, Kingler.” Ash whispered as he recalled his Pokémon back into its Pokéball. He was feeling much more confident than at the start of the battle and was beginning to think that he might actually win this.

                                              “Don’t let this go to your head.” Giovanni warned him. “Just because it seems like your winning now doesn’t mean that I will allow you to make any further progress in this fight. I underestimated you, or rather, I underestimated your luck. I will not make that same mistake again.”

                                              Giovanni tossed another Ultra Ball, revealing his next Pokémon to be a Nidoqueen. Ash considered which one of his Pokémon to use next and decided on Sandshrew, hoping that the Ground-type would be able to evolve like his Krabby had. The moment Sandshrew set foot on the roof, however, Nidoqueen launched an Ice Beam at it. Ash hadn’t been expecting the Poison and Ground-type Nidoqueen to have any Ice-type moves and was thrown off by this, but fortunately, Sanshrew’s small size had it easy to dodge out of the way. Before Nidoqueen was able to fire another Ice Beam, Sandshrew used Magnitude, sending a shockwave through the floor beneath him which caused the section of the roof between the spots that Golem had cracked earlier to collapse under Nidoqueen’s feet. Nidoqueen tried to jump to safety, but Sanshrew jumped up and slammed into Nidoqueen with a Rapid Spin, causing Nidoqueen to fall below like Rhydon had earlier. Sandshrew began to glow like Krabby had and, sure enough, evolved into a Sandslash.

                                              Giovanni clenched his fists tightly. “It would appear that I was wrong. Apparently I was still underestimating that luck of yours. But we’ll see how long that lasts. Blizzard!”

                                              Giovanni sent out a Nidoking, whose horn began to glow light blue as the winds around them started to blow around violently and the temperature dropped substantially. Snow and ice began shooting out of Nidoking’s horn and was blown around by the wind, pelting Sandslash mercilessly and not providing any way for him to escape the attack. By the time the Blizzard stopped, Sandshrew had fallen unconscious.

                                              Ash’s confidence was beginning to waver again, but he was still winning. Unfortunately, he was running out of good Pokémon to use. Ghastly was his only real option at this point, as Fearow would fall to Nidoking’s Blizzard attack as easily as Sandslash had, and Pika and Volty would both be almost useless against Giovanni’s Ground-type Pokémon.

                                              It was at that point that Ash realized something. Right before the battle started, Carmine had asked Misty and Brock knew about the Viridian Gym Leader. It seemed random at the time, but Misty had said that he was a Ground-type specialist and so far all of Giovanni’s Pokémon had been Ground-types. Did that mean…

                                              “No.” Ash told himself. “That couldn’t be. But still, it would make sense.”

                                              “What are you mumbling about?” Giovanni asked angrily. “Have you realized that you have no hope of defeating me?”

                                              “No.” Ash said as he grabbed Gastly’s Pokéball off of his belt. “I was just wondering how you can still be so full of yourself when it’s so obvious that you’re going to lose.”

                                              “Funny, I could say the same thing. Now, are you going to send out your next Pokémon anytime soon, or are you just going to admit defeat?”

                                              “Yeah, yeah. Hold your Ponytas.” Ash said as he tossed Gastly’s Pokéball. The black and purple Gas Pokémon floated in the air in front of Ash with a confident smile that mirrored Ash’s own.

                                              Nidoking took a step forward, but he was too close to the damaged section of the roof, which started to crack beneath him, causing Nidoking to have to step back. This distraction proved disastrous for Nidoking, as it gave Gastly enough time to use Hypnosis. Nidoking was lured to sleep, which allowed Gastly to bombard Nidoking with Nightshade. Nidoking awoke quickly, but Gastly immediately used Confuse Ray, creating a ball of light that flew into Nidoking and inflicted it with confusion. Nidoking’s horn started to glow as it tried to use Blizzard again, but due to its confusion, the attack backfired and Nidoking knocked itself flat on its face, causing the roof to collapse underneath him.

                                              “That’s an interesting strategy you have.” Giovanni said, sounding almost impressed. “With each one of my Pokémon you defeat, you manage to take out more and more of the battlefield, making it harder for my Pokémon due to their large size and heavy weight. Unfortunately, that strategy won’t work any longer, as my last two Pokémon are both quite nimble and light on their feet. Now! Go Hitmonlee!”

                                              “A Fighting-type.” Ash muttered to himself. “So I was wrong, after all.”
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                                              Old April 6th, 2018 (6:39 AM).
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                                              BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                              The Mustachioed Machamp
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                                                Chapter 69
                                                Giovanni’s Hitmonlee emerged from its Ultra Ball and landed safely on the damaged rooftop. The Kicking Pokémon’s extendable legs allowed it to easily avoid the many holes that littered the area. Despite this, Ash remained confident that at the very least, he had the advantage in the current match-up in that his Gastly would be immune to Hitmonlee’s Fighting-type moves. His confidence soon began to waver again as Hitmonlee opened with a Blaze Kick, the flames of the attack being able to burn Gastly, but he held fast.

                                                “Gastly, use Night Shade!”

                                                The Gas Pokémon let out a wave of spectral energy that knocked Hitmonlee back, almost knocking it into the hole behind where it had been standing. But unfortunately for Ash, Hitmonlee proved that its arms were just as stretchy as its legs and it was able to catch itself, dangling from all for limbs over the hole leading down to the floor below. Not wanting the battle to go on any longer than it had to, Gastly decided to use Curse, sacrificing his own health to cause a dark aura to surround Hitmonlee and quickly sap away its remaining health.

                                                “I think we’ve had enough of this.” Giovanni said calmly. “Foresight.”

                                                Hitmonlee’s eyes suddenly flashed brightly as a strange glimmer passed through them. It launched up into the air and struck Gastly with a High Jump Kick, despite the fact that the move shouldn’t have had any effect on him. Knowing that something was wrong, Gastly used Night Shade again in the hopes that it, along with the effects of Curse, would be enough to finish Hitmonlee off. Unfortunately, it was not and Hitmonlee struck him with a Mega Kick. Ghastly didn’t have much longer before he would pass out, so he used Lick on Hitmonlee in the hopes that his paralyzing saliva would prevent HItmonlee from attacking again. It didn’t seem to have any effect though, as Hitmonlee leapt up into the air for another High Jump Kick. However, Hitmonlee’s joints froze up mid-kick, allowing Gastly to hit it with another Night Shade and Hitmonlee was knocked down into one of the holes and crashed into the floor below.
                                                “Hah, take that!” Ash taunted Giovanni. “You’re down to your last Pokémon!”

                                                Giovanni smirked. “Are you sure about that?”

                                                Suddenly, Hitmonlee jumped back up and hit Gastly with a Mega Kick, knocking the Gas Pokémon out cold. Ash begrudgingly had to call Gastly back into its Pokéball and send Fearow out into the battle. The large Beak Pokémon fly imposingly over the battlefield as Hitmonlee assumed a crane-stance at it awaited Fearow’s first move.

                                                “Use Aerial Ace!” Ash ordered his Pokémon.

                                                Fearow flew up high and then dove back down towards Hitmonlee. Hitmonlee’s eyes glowed menacingly as Fearow approached it and suddenly dodged out of the way at the last second, avoiding Fearow’s move.

                                                “Wait, what? But Aerial Ace can’t be dodged.” Ash pointed out in confusion.

                                                “Not under normal circumstances, no.” Giovanni laughed. “But with Detect, any move can be dodged. A rare move for Hitmonlee to have, yes, but one that has come in handy a lot over the years.”

                                                Ash swore under his breath. “He is good. But I can still win this.”

                                                Fearow turned around in the air and flew towards Hitmonlee for another Aerial Ace. Hitmonlee tried to use Detect again but wasn’t fast enough. Fearow hit its target squarely in the chest and knocked Hitmonlee onto the ground. Hitmonlee was able to use its momentum to get back up again immediately, however, and hit Fearow with a Mega Kick, knocking the large bird to the ground in the process. Fearow lifted itself up and used Pluck, striking Hitmonlee in the arm with his beak. Hitmonlee winced and tried to hit Fearow with another Mega Kick, but Fearow was able to fly back into the air and dodge the attack before swooping back in for another Aerial Ace. Hitmonlee stumbled back from the blow and walked straight into a hole, falling back down to the floor below. Ash and Fearow both waited for Hitmonlee to jump back up again, but it never did, so Ash looked over at Giovanni who was smirking again.

                                                “Retaliate!” Giovanni yelled as he pointed his finger at Fearow. His Persian, which had been standing idly at his side since he came out onto the roof, suddenly pounced into action, slashing at Fearow with its sharp claws and knocking him out.

                                                Ash held out Fearow’s Pokéball and recalled the Beak Pokémon before returning the Pokéball for his belt. His only remaining Pokémon were Pika and Volty. The two were similar in power, with Pika being slightly stronger while Volty was faster and more agile. He wasn’t sure which would be the better fit for this fight, but he had to make a decision.

                                                “Pika! Volt Tackle!” He said as he pointed at Persian the same way Giovanni had pointed at Fearow just a moment earlier.

                                                The Electric Mouse Pokémon eagerly ran along Ash’s arm and jumped off, surrounding himself in electricity as he hurtled through the air like a rocket and crashed head-first into Persian. The Classy Cat Pokémon stumbled back as the electrical current continued to flow through its body until it dissipated thanks to Persian’s Limber ability. Persian’s right paw then began to glow with purple energy as it lashed out with a Night Slash. The attack struck Pika across the face, but Pika didn’t let it faze him. Instead, he jumped up into the air and hit Persian in the back with a Brick Break. Persian let out a roar and used Feint Attack, disappearing for a second before reappearing behind Pika and hitting him in the back. Pika then used Discharge and jumped up into the air again to hit Persian with another Brick Break. Persian tried to dodge the attack, but the Discharge slowed Persian’s reaction time so that it was unable to get out of the way in time and took the full force of the attack.

                                                Persian quickly whipped around and smacked Pika across the face with a Tail Whip followed up with a Bite. Pika tried to use Discharge to force Persian to let go, but instead, the Classy Cat Pokémon tightened its jaw, squeezing Pika even harder. Knowing that there would be no other way to escape, Pika tried one last plan. He let loose a Thunder Shock, aiming straight down Persian’s throat and electrifying its insides. This proved to be enough to force Persian to loosen its grip just enough for Pika to force himself out of Persian’s mouth and smack Persian in the head with one final Brick Break. Pika retained a defensive position as Persian slouched onto the ground, ready to fend off another attack. But that attack never came.

                                                “I… I don’t believe.” Giovanni’s face had a look of utter shock as he dropped to his knees. “I was beaten… by a child…”

                                                “And of course you remember our agreement.” Carmine said.

                                                Giovanni glared at Carmine as his anger returned to him and he got back to his feet. “Of course I do. It will take some time, but all of our forces will be out of Saffron by this time tomorrow. It will be almost as if we were never here.”

                                                “And?” Carmine egged him on.

                                                “And I disband all teams assigned to Operation Pay Day. If one day, the economy lies in shambles due to a glaring flaw in the system, it will only be due to the inevitable and not by my hand.”

                                                “I believe there was one more thing.”

                                                “Fine.” Giovanni growled as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small object which he tossed at Ash, who caught it reflexively. “The next time we meet, I will make sure to repay you all a hundred-fold for this humiliation and you, Ketchum boy, will regret the day you ever dared to face me.”
                                                With those final words, Giovanni recalled his Persian into its Ultra Ball and headed back into the building the way he had come out. Ash held out his hand, staring at the small object he now held.

                                                “I was right after all.” He muttered to himself before turning to show it to Misty and Brock.

                                                “Wait, that’s an Earth Badge. Why would he…” Misty didn’t need to finish her question.

                                                “Giovanni was the missing Gym Leader.” Ash turned to Carmine. “And you knew this whole time.”

                                                “Of course I did.” Carmine shrugged. “Why else would I have arranged for you to fight him instead of beating him myself? You’re probably the first person in years to earn that badge. And that wasn’t even a Gym Battle, you beat him head-on in a full-on battle. Admittedly, he only had a few minutes to prepare, so those were probably just the Pokémon he had on hand and not his real battling team, but still. You did good kid. Anyway, we should probably get going now. It wouldn’t be a good idea to stick around here for much longer.”
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                                                Old April 7th, 2018 (6:33 AM).
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                                                BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                                The Mustachioed Machamp
                                                  Join Date: Apr 2013
                                                  Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                                                  Age: 23
                                                  Gender: Male
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                                                  Posts: 146
                                                  Chapter 70
                                                  The lush, dark green grass of Route 7 waved gently as it was blown by the night’s wind. The sound of flapping could be heard getting closer and closer as two large birds flew in and landed on a small hill across the road from the entrance to the Underground Path. Carmine and Brock climbed off the back of Carmine’s Skarmory while Ash and Misty climbed off Ash’s Fearow.

                                                  “Now what do we do?” Brock asked as the two bird Pokémon were recalled by their owners.

                                                  “We wait.” Carmine answered. “An old friend is going to meet us here.”


                                                  “That would be me.” Brock, Misty and Ash all turned around to see who had spoken and started to panic as they saw Sabrina slowly walking up to them. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to attack you again. Carmine was able to reverse the effects of Team Rocket’s brainwashing.”

                                                  “What?” Ash asked in confusion. “Brainwashing?”

                                                  “It’s a long story.” Sabrina said in place of an explanation. “One which I won’t go into detail yet because I’m sure that Lance the other Gym Leaders will want to learn of the events that have transpired tonight. I’m already sent a message to Lance and I’m sure he will be calling an emergency meeting very soon. In fact, we might as well head over to the Indigo Plateau right now. My Alakazam can teleport us all there right now.”

                                                  “Then what are we waiting around here for?” Carmine asked impatiently. “Let’s get going.”

                                                  “Wait!” Ash shouted without meaning to. Everyone’s eyes focused on him, making Ash a little uncomfortable, but he continued. “I want an explanation. What’s been going on? Why is the leader of Team Rocket a Gym Leader? Why did you put so much at risk to have me fight him? Why do I suddenly see people’s spirits when I close my eyes?”

                                                  Carmine and Sabrina both opened their eyes wide in surprise when they heard that last question.

                                                  “What do you mean by ‘see people’s spirits’?” Carmine asked Ash, with a worried tone to his voice.

                                                  “I don’t know.” Ash said. “Whenever I close my eyes I see… colors… where people should be. I can even see through solid objects with it.”

                                                  Carmine and Sabrina turned towards each other, both recognizing what Ash was describing.

                                                  “He can sense Auras.” Sabrina confirmed. “I can feel it in him.”

                                                  “Oh, Lugia.” Carmine swore. “And I was so sure he hadn’t inherited that.”

                                                  “What’s going on with me?” Ash cried desperately.

                                                  “I have good news and bad news.” Carmine said as he turned back to Ash. “The good news is that you have a power that very few people in this world have and that will no doubt come in handy countless times as you head into the future. The bad news is that it comes with a great burden of responsibility as well. Your father had, no, has that power and it was the reason he was always going off to help out whenever people were in need before he disappeared. It wasn’t just because he was the strongest trainer around and felt he should help people. I mean, it was partly that as well, but the main reason was because it was his duty as an Aura Guardian.”

                                                  Ash stared blankly into space as he tried to take in what he had just been told. His father had this ability too? Why hadn’t anyone told him? “Wait… but does that mean…” Ash started to ask.

                                                  “No.” Carmine answered before Ash finished his question. “Your father would have gone to investigate Celadon Cave even he didn’t have those powers. He still would have disappeared. Anyway,” Carmine tried to change the subject, “We should probably be going now. We can figure out what to do about this later.”

                                                  * * *

                                                  Red slowly woke up and opened his eyes. It was still dark out, so he tried to go back to sleep, but it was too late. He was already awake now. He stretched and sat up, looking around. Yellow was still sound asleep in Red’s sleeping bag. He really needed to get a new one for her, so that he wouldn’t have to keep lending her his bag. He was getting kind of tired of having to sleep on the ground. Red then looked over to Sable who, to Red’s surprise, was still wide awake and staring at the campfire, which she must have re-lit after Red went to sleep.

                                                  “What are you still doing up?” Red asked the mysterious woman.

                                                  “I can’t sleep.” Sable replied. “But it would appear that I am not the only one with that problem right now.”

                                                  “I guess not.” Red said and he got up and walked over to sit by her.

                                                  “Where do you come from?” Sable asked Red as he sat down.

                                                  “I’m from Pallet Town, over in the western part of the reason.”

                                                  “And now you are here, far from home and having to spend your nights in the wilderness. Why is that?”

                                                  “I’m on my Pokémon journey.” Red explained. “I’m traveling the region to train and earn Gym Badges so that I can enter the Pokémon League and become the Champion.”

                                                  “But what about her.” Sable gestured to Yellow. “Is she also on a Pokémon journey?”

                                                  “No, that’s a bit complicated. Yellow has no memories of who she is or where she came from so decided to travel with me in the hope that she will be able to find some clue of who she is or someone who knows her.”

                                                  “But you haven’t been able to find anything, have you?”

                                                  “Not really.” Red admitted. “She has been able to get back little bits and pieces of her memory, but it’s mostly just random facts that she knows and nothing that can really help us find out who she is.”

                                                  “Well, I hope you find something soon. I would like to know why she exists as well.”

                                                  “What-” Red started to ask, but Sable cut him off.

                                                  “Thank you for answering my questions, but I think it’s time that you go back to sleep.”

                                                  “But I’m not… tired…” Red suddenly slouched to the side, resting on Sable’s shoulder and fast asleep. The fire blew out as Sable continued to sit there. She stared at Yellow for a moment, before looking up at the treetops nearby, where she was being watched from.

                                                  “I know you’re there. You may not want to make yourself known just yet, but I know you’re watching her. Just like me.” Sable didn’t say a word and yet the Pikachu was still able to hear her speak. “I’m curious about you, too, but I am willing to wait.”

                                                  * * *

                                                  Gary found himself standing on the beach. The sun shone brightly overhead while the roaring blue waves splashed against the golden sand underneath him. Gary turned around to try and figure out where he was, but then suddenly he felt himself being dragged into the sea by some unknown force. He fought against it but was quickly pulled in under the waves. The force that was pulling him down went away, but Gary was no falling down deeper and deeper into the dark ocean. He tried to swim up, but couldn’t move his arms or legs.

                                                  Suddenly a massive stone structure came into view and he landed just in front of what appeared to be some sort of ancient temple or palace. He walked through the entrance way into the temple, not paying any attention to the fact that he could suddenly move again. Statues of various Pokémon lined the ornate hallway that led deeper into the temple. The end of the hallway opened up into a large chamber with a throne sitting at the other end, behind which was a giant statue of some ancient king. Gary felt drawn towards the throne and sat down in it. The same mysterious force that had pulled him beneath the waves before suddenly returned. Gary let out a scream and watched as the air bubbles streamed from his mouth.

                                                  Gary closed his eyes and opened them to find himself back in his dad’s car. Kat and Sue were sitting to either side of him while Mal was in the front passenger seat and Ciel was driving. He looked up at the sky to see that the sun was just starting to rise above the horizon.

                                                  ‘Was that just a dream?’ Gary thought to himself. He couldn’t remember having a dream that vivid before, but there was no way it could have been real. He wondered briefly if it could have meant something, but quickly put that thought behind him. That was silly, it was just a strange dream, nothing more.
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                                                  Old April 8th, 2018 (8:37 AM).
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                                                  BZRich64 BZRich64 is offline
                                                  The Mustachioed Machamp
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                                                    Chapter 71
                                                    Wes made his way back to the Adonis Detective Agency just as dawn was breaking. To his mild surprise, Rui was waiting for him just outside the front door, leaning against the doorway. Her Pichu was resting lazily on her shoulder while her Riolu appeared to be having some sort of sparring match with its own shadow against the wall.

                                                    “Where have you been?” Rui asked as Wes approached her.

                                                    “Out.” Was Wes’ reply.

                                                    “Out where?”

                                                    “None of your business, mom.” Wes said sarcastically but then froze as he realized what it was that he had just said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to compare you to that woman.”

                                                    “It’s fine.” Rui replied, apparently not having even realized the connection until he pointed it out. “I knew what you meant. Anyway, Looker wanted to see us. He said it was important.”

                                                    “Then I guess we better not keep the boss-man waiting much longer. But before that…” Wes walked up to Rui, reaching his hands into his pockets as he leaned up close to her with a sly smile. Rui backed up against the wall and closed her eyes, but nothing happened. She opened her eyes again to see Wes handing Pichu a small treat, which the baby Pokémon accepted greedily. “She looked hungry.”

                                                    Rui glared at Wes with an expression he couldn’t quite read as he stepped away from her.

                                                    “What?” He asked.

                                                    “Nothing.” Rui replied a little too quickly.

                                                    “Eh, whatever.” Wes stuck his hands back in his pockets and headed inside.

                                                    Rui sighed and brushed off the newly-formed pile of crumbs on her shoulder before heading in after him. Pichu squealed in protest as she was going to save those crumbs as a snack for later. Meanwhile, Riolu remained oblivious to everything around it as it continued its impromptu training session.

                                                    * * *

                                                    “It’s good to see that you are finally here.” Looker said as Wes and Rui each took a seat across from him in his office. “Where is it that you have been all night?”

                                                    “Oh, I’m sure you’ll find out soon.” Wes said as he leaned back in his chair. “So where are Lance and that blonde girl?”

                                                    “That was certainly an ominous answer.” Looker replied uneasily. “Lance is currently on route to the Indigo Plateau for an emergency meeting with his fellow Gym Leaders regarding a number of urgent events that have transpired last night. Apparently, there was some sort of commotion regarding Team Rocket in Saffron City that resulted in massive property damage and there are reports coming in of some kind of massive storm along Route 2 that has completely reshaped the terrain to an almost unrecognizable form.”

                                                    “What?” Rui gasped.

                                                    “Now that is news.” Wes said, not yet willing to admit his involvement in the second of those two events.

                                                    “Lance will report back to us after the meeting to give us more details about what has happened and what they plan to do about it. As for agent 009…” Looker suddenly lowered his voice. “I have sent her away for the night to gather information about a possible Team Rocket sighting. I do not think she will be able to find any information on it, however.”

                                                    “And why is that?” Wes asked, intrigued.

                                                    “Because I have sent her after a false lead.” Looker’s explanation caught Wes’ attention even more. “You see, I think that we may have a Diglett in our organization.”

                                                    “What?” Rui gasped again.

                                                    “I have had my suspicions about agent 009 for some time.” Looker went on. “At first I thought it was my investigative instincts making me distrustful of those around me, but the facts just don’t seem to add up and last night’s incident in Saffron has proven to be the last piece of evidence I needed.”

                                                    “I don’t follow.” Wes sat up in his chair. “Isn’t 009 the one who finds most of our intel on Team Rocket’s plans? Why would she keep giving us information about them if she’s working for them?”

                                                    “I thought the same thing. But it has always felt to me like we were missing something. 009 has never revealed to me where she gets her information and what she gives us always feels like it is just a small part of their true plans. It feels as if we are being fed only the information that Team Rocket wants us to know as a form of misdirection. Moreover, during our search for possible leads into Team Rocket’s whereabouts, 009 was insistent that she search Saffron City alone and that she found nothing even remotely suspicious there. That itself was cause for concern, being such a large city and the center of commerce for the entire region it seemed out of place that Team Rocket would not have any sort of base there, but based off of what I have now been told it sounds as if the entire city has been under Team Rocket’s direct control for some time as their base of operations.”

                                                    “What?” Wes and Rui both asked in astonishment at the same time.

                                                    “Yes, it is very shocking news. I still don’t know all of the details as reports are still coming in, but it appears as if they have had the entire city in lockdown several months now and have been operating out of the Silph Corporation headquarters.”

                                                    “But isn’t Silph Corp. the largest company in the area?” Wes asked. “How could they possibly pull that off?”

                                                    “Exactly. We should have heard of this sooner. It would appear that the former CEO of the company recently retired and moved away to the Alola region after some sort of corporate buyout. No one was sure who had bought the company from him, but current evidence suggests that it was none other than Giovanni himself.”

                                                    “This is a lot to take in.” Rui commented. “But if this is all true and it turns out that 009 is a traitor, then what do we do now?”

                                                    “I am not sure.” Looker answered honestly. “For now, we should all just pretend that this conversation never happened. We act as if we know nothing of what happened in Saffron City and do not let her know that we suspect her until we have solid evidence that she is working for Team Rocket so that we can arrest her. Also, in the increasingly likely case that she is working for Team Rocket, 009 would not be a traitor. It would mean that she has never been on our side to begin with.”

                                                    “I have a question.” Wes said. “Why are you letting us in on this? How do you know we’re not working for them, too?”

                                                    “Wes!” Rui yelled, startled by his question.

                                                    “No, he is right.” Looker said to Rui before turning his attention to Wes. “The truth is that I don’t know for sure that I can trust you and I am taking a considerable risk in telling you all of this. The two of you did take down Cipher last year, but they could have been seen as a rival organization to Team Rocket and Team Rocket seems to have benefited greatly by their downfall, taking a lot of the resources that Cipher left behind as their own. You, in particular, have an extensive criminal record that makes you a difficult man to trust.”

                                                    “We’re not with Team Rocket.” Rui was on the verge of tears. “We could never align ourselves with a group like them.”

                                                    “That may be the case for you, but I did work for a group like them.” Wes pointed out. “I was a member of Team Snagem for most of my life. I was raised to steal Pokémon and take whatever I want from others.”

                                                    “Exactly.” Looker said. “So, what argument do you have that I can trust you?”

                                                    “All you have is my word.” Wes answered sincerely. “I left Snagem because I’ve come to view my former life as a disgrace. I will never return to thievery and I will never associate with criminals like that again. I’ve seen the kind of corruption that infects people like Team Snagem or Team Rocket and I no longer want anything to do with it. If the word of an ex-thief can mean anything to you, then you know that I am not with them. Also, Rui here is too much of a goodie-two-shoes to even consider it.”


                                                    “What? That was a compliment.”

                                                    “Thank you.” Looker said solemnly. “I already knew that I could trust you, but it means a lot to hear you say it with such passion. That is why I have chosen to confide in you.”
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