In a different life Ash Ketchum looks upon his world from an unique perspective.


21. 20-2

Sabrina sat crossed legged in the middle of the large, carpeted gymnasium. She still had on her white tank top, but had traded the jeans for a pair of comfortable sports shorts. These sessions didn't always make her sweat, but it was better safe then sorry.

Two alakazams, and two mr. mimes sat in the corners of the gym, all covered in a faint purple glow. Above the heads of all four pokémon numerous lead bars, each one about as large as a small car, bobbed up and down, one at a time per pokémon, in perfect synchronicity with the other three psychic monsters. Seemly at random they would change up the patter, sometimes several times over a couple seconds. But it was in no way random, rather it was at Sabrina's telepathic command.

A bit further a way from the edge the gym trainer's and their pokémon also practiced. Psybeams shone, hundreds of spoons bent themselves into unique patterns, heavy weights rose without any physical contact, beings teleported, and people and pokémon practiced communicating without words. Some trainers were psychic, others merely had a connection to their chosen pokémon type.

In the center, closest to Sabrina, sat abra's, hoothoots, a butterfree or two, a couple of slowpokes, and some young looking Mr. Mimes. Sitting among the pokémon were the novice psychics, such as Brittney. The humans had their faces scrunched up in concentration as they tried to build a small house of cards in front of them with their minds. The pokémon focused on trying to lift heavier weights as a group, struggling with a nearby giant lead bar.

|That's good|, spoke a voice in the heads of the novices. |Remember to be gentle with the force of your mind|, Sabrina lectured them. |Don't try and do it all at once. Doing it one card at a time is hard enough.|

|But-brina-bor-|, came the garbled response.

|But it will help you with the big stuff later|, Sabrina gently chided. |Would you like to try and do it by hand first?|


|Then concentrate. And after this we're doing telepathy drills.|


Sabrina smirked as she continued to mentally coordinate her four heavy hitters. She might be needing them soon, there had been reports of criminal activity in the area. Plus Team Rocket had been acting bold as of late...

She could worry about such things later. Right now she had to immerse herself in a mental landscape, an expanse colored with an otherworldly palette, an alien representation of the room she was sitting in. To an outside observer there was nothing that could be recognized as part of the room, but to Sabrina it was clearer then seeing it with her own flesh and blood eyes.

She focused in on her venomoth circling above, even as she relayed commands to her pokémon in the corners. Her mind touched her pokémon's and the link was made. They couldn't communicate with words, they thought in two totally different languages, and only the pokémon could understand what the other said. But they could exchange feelings, parts and pieces of concepts, images, urges, sights, memories, and other things that didn't didn't need words. It was the closest thing to understanding what they were saying that any human could come to.

This sort of connection with her pokémon was the thing Sabrina treasured the most. The gym leader wished that all trainers could have this sort of connection with their pokémon. That was why she helped Silph Co. with their research into psychic technology, to help spread the gift of that closeness. Without her assistance, the furthest their research had gotten was some sort of telepathic amplifier that was both extremely dangerous and difficult to use. It was kept in one of their high security rooms.

But until the day that modern science granted everyone the ability to connect telepathically with their pokémon, Sabrina would have to settle for teaching psychically gifted humans how to use their talents.

Speaking of gifted humans, what was Britney... doing!

|Brittney!|, Sabrina mentally shouted. The pigtailed girl had gotten up after completing her card structure and walked away from the rest of the novices. She joined the nearby pokémon in lifting the lead bar and was standing right under it, staring intently as it hovered a yard above her head.

It was wobbling and bobbing uncontrollably as the pokémon and the human tried to keep it up. As soon as Sabrina shouted some of the pokémon lost their concentration. The giant bar would fall and crush Britney the next second.

Sabrina wouldn't be able to get a good enough grip on the bar before it hit her novice, or grab the novice either. She could blast it away, but then it would probably someone else. She couldn't project a shield over someone else in the limited amount of time left to her. And it would take too long to perform the teleportation calculations for a second party. There also wasn't time to teleport over to Britney, grab her, and teleport away.

What she did have time for...

It was incredibly dangerous, but the choice between it and her little sister getting hurt was not a choice at all.

In what appeared to be a single action Sabrina rose and and initiated a small explosion of telekinetic force behind her, launching herself like a rather fleshy spear towards the imperiled novice. Her arms wrapped around Britney just as the psychic hold on the weight broke and its descent began.

Everyone could feel the floor vibrate from the sudden impact, but that only mattered to those who somehow managed to miss the thunderous boom , causing everyone in the gym to pause what they were doing and look. All the nearby pokémon and trainers were looking at the weight in horror. A couple looked down in horrified fascination as they waited for the blood to start flowing.

"Move out of the way!" One of the senior gym trainers called out, rushing over. "Get the healers over here! I'll lift and-"

"That was the new pokémon's exercise as I recall", Sabrina's voice sounded out from up above the crowd. Eyes turned upward and took in the sight of Sabrina sitting cross legged on empty air, holding a pale and shaking Britney in her lap. The gym leader gently stroked the novice's hair and whispered calming nothings to the child.

"I think that's enough for today," the gym leader said to novices and new pokémon. "We'll be talking about safety tomorrow." She looked down at Britney in her arms. "I think it's time for bed now."

They awoke shortly after dawn. Butterfree had slept outside his pokéball in preparation for the day and thus woke up when he felt the sun warming his wings. Brock made them all breakfast and after they ate, the group headed back to the cliffs. They rented their hot air balloon for a second day and then prepared to take off.

"Before you go," Brock began, taking out a piece of yellow cloth, "you should probably accessorize." He knelt and tied the scarf around Butterfree's neck.

Isn't this a bit gaudy? Butterfree asked, twisting and examining himself.

Nah, Pikachu assured him from on Ash's shoulder. You look fine. Besides it'll help the two regular humans tell you apart from the other butterfree.

It makes me feel cheap.

It shows that you're valued. You can always take it off later if necessary.

Alright, Butterfree gave in.

"Go win some hearts!" Misty cheered the bug type pokémon on. "Remember that love's a battlefield."

"Never surrender! Never retreat!" Brock told Butterfree.

I'm not sure I want their advice on romance, Butterfree said to his trainer. If love's a battlefield, then Brock's the worst general ever.

And Misty has thus far demonstrated horrible taste, Pikachu said to Ash's confusion.

"Not listening to those jokers," Aaron said, kneeling down and putting a hand on Butterfree's shoulder, "just go out and do your best. I hope you find a pokémon out there."

Thanks. And I will. Butterfree reassured his trainer. I'm off! And with that Butterfree beat his wings and took to the sky.

He looked around the flock, aimlessly searching for something to catch his eye. Butterfree saw a pink form and perked up. Without thinking he adjusted his course and soared through the ever moving flock, homing in on a spot of pink.

Sky! He called out, pulling up to her. How's it going?

It's going- is that clothing? Asked the female butterfree. Why are wearing clothing?

My trainer's two human friends gave it to me. It's supposed to make me look better, but I think they only did it so they can keep track of me better.

Ahh, Sky Painter said in dawning comprehension. Crafty of them.

Found anyone yet? Butterfree asked.

Nope, still looking. You?

Today's going to be my lucky day! Butterfree declared. I'll definitely find a mate today!

Well I can see your self confidence isn't lacking, Sky remarked. Remember to leave some for the rest of the males.

Won't be a problem.. Good luck on your end, Butterfree wished Sky, before winging away.

It was just past noon when they heard the noise. Neither Butterfree or Sky had found anyone by that time, despite the hours of effort they had put into their searches. Butterfree still hadn't found anyone interesting enough and Sky still hadn't found a male that fit her tastes. Butterfree was fluttering above the majority of the flock, trying to think of a solution. Sky hovered above the waves. Brock was taking notes on the courtship rituals, Misty was eating lunch, and Ash was secretly trying to hold conversations with the passing pokémon without success.

But everyone looked up from what they were doing when they heard the fast paced rhythmic beating. The movements of the flock below, which had once been an ever moving pattern of seeming chaos, became united.

"Helicopters," Brock hissed. "Lots of them."

Ash called Aaron nodded to hide his confusion. He hadn't recognized the sound.

"There! At three o'clock" Misty called out pointing. Ash turned to look, somewhat befuddled by her words. He thought the time was still around one.

There was a line of sleek, black, military looking helicopters speeding along the coast. Each of them carried a large amount of netting that hung from their undersides, with openings at the top. Each of the copters had short, stubby wings, with a large canister and a row of rockets under each. There was some sort of red mark on the sides.

"What are they doing here?" Brock growled. "They should have picked up the flock on their radar..."

"Binoculars," Misty commanded. Brock dug in his pack for a moment and pulled out a pair, which he handed to Misty. She took them and then used them to peer at the helicopters.

"It's an R! They're Team Rocket!" Her shout carried over to the other balloons, and to the flock around them. A chorus panicked shouting from the humans and frantic trilling from the Butterfrees then ensued. The flock turned into a chaotic mess of scared pokémon and the balloons began to drift back towards land.

"Dammit, I'm no good here," Brock cursed. Rock types were useless around the ocean, especially hundreds of feet above the ocean. He hadn't bothered training for this sort of situation. "Misty you're in charge."

Everybody, get away from the helicopters! Pikachu shouted to the nearby Butterfree. They're very dangerous!

"Aaron, I need you to run ariel interference," Misty commanded. "Staryu and Starmie can't deal with fights in this altitude. I'll take the ocean and try and ambush them when they go low."

"Ariel interference?" Ash asked confused.

"Bother them in the air to stop them from doing stuff," Brock explained. "I can have Zubat help with that."

"Alright. Pick me up after the battle." Misty took out two pokéballs and released her pokémon. In a blaze of light Staryu, Goldeen, and Starmie appeared on the edge of the hot air balloon's basket. Misty grabbed onto her evolved pokémon and then the three of them jumped out of the balloon.

"Our turn," Brock said. "Go Zubat!"

More Rockets? Let's go! The bat like pokémon cried out upon his release.

"I'm not letting them do what they want!" Aaron declared, turning his cap backwards. "Go Pidgeotto!"

Team Rocket's going to pay the price for intruding on Butterfree's mating rituals! Pidgeotto angrily screeched as she burst from her ball.

"Pikachu, do you think you can hold on to Pidgeotto well enough to ride?" Ash asked.

Of course! Pikachu replied nodding.

"Here's the plan. Pidgeotto, use your best Gusts to mess them up. Pikachu, scramble their electronics with your electricity. Don't blow up their helicopters."

Fine. Ready bird brain?

Course I am. The question is can you keep up with me?

Why don't we find out!

Pikachu and Pidgeotto sped off in a flurry of wings, the yellow pokémon holding on the the flying type's back.

Everyone, get over land! Butterfree shouted to his fellows, as they panicked and raced about him, an wild portrait of wings and colliding bodies. His shout went unheard over their din.

Get over land! Ash's pokémon shouted at the top of his lungs. But once more his warning went unheeded. Chaos still ushered his kind towards danger.

He could not get them away from the approaching danger. So there was only one thing to do. Get the approaching danger away from them!

He dove, angling his wings for every bit of speed he could manage and rushed towards the oncoming helicopters.

Sky Painter looked up from below the flock. There were so many panicking pokémon that would be defenseless before the evil humans. Her gaze became resolute. She would do her best to protect them. She rose, her wings beating faster than her heart.

The helicopters were getting close to the flock. The line broke. Some helicopters rose, and some dropped down to near the ocean, pushing a white ripple forward on the ocean before them.

At some unseen signal, numerous zubats, around one hundred pokémon, were released nearly simultaneously. The helicopters slowed down enough for the flying types to form a screen in front of them. At the same time the canisters fell apart and odd looking turrets lowered themselves from the wings.

The turrets began to track and then they started to fire. It was not automatic fire, nor were they firing bullets. Butterfrees cried out in pain as the projectiles tore into the flock. The ones that were hit could see that the projectiles were darts of some kind. The ones that were hit also began to feel dazed and tired. Their movements became lethargic and they lost altitude.

"Sedatives," Brock growled. "They're trying capture the entire damn flock."

Pidgeotto used her eyes, the eyes of a hunting bird, to pick out what was happening. She relied the information to Pikachu even as she thought of the most obvious counter.

Hold on tight! She cried out to her passenger, who tightened his grip in response. The bird like pokémon turned over, dived, becoming a brown and yellow blur across the backdrop of butterfrees, leveling out in front of the helicopters.

Pidgeotto pulled her body perpendicular with the ground, wings outstretched, darts whizzing all about her. Her wings flapped, once, twice, thrice, and she unleashed her Gust attack. The column of swirling grey wind touched neither the clouds above, nor the sea below, fading away before it passed the edges of the flock. It sped forward, twisting the air as it went, sucking up some darts and deflecting others.

Darts quit flying and the zubats swarmed forward. They all opened their mouths in unison and unleashed a combined sonic attack. Their voices distorted the air, causing it to ripple like disturbed water as the waves went forward.

Wind and sound met and the wind wavered and was overcome. Pidgeotto's attack burst, and the sonic attack continued forward.

Pidgeotto had dove as soon as she had unleashed her attack and so the sonic assault passed over her and Pikachu. The zubat's attack cut through the flock, disorienting the butterfrees caught in it's wake.

I got this! Brock's zubat called out. He swooped down into the attack and opened his own mouth. His own sonic attack sang out, carefully constructed to counter the enemy's assault. Zubat couldn't stop it all, but he provided a safe zone to rally behind.

The turrets once more started to track and fire, computers in the helicopter automatically compensating for the disturbances in the air. Butterfrees were once more struck by the darts. Others were confused by the sonic disturbances that Zubat couldn't stop.

Fry you flying rodents! Pikachu shouted as tendrils of electricity sprung from his back. Zubats screamed and thrashed at the unexpected electric attack that was far stronger then what the Rocket's projections had predicted. The yellow power took many from the sky, the singed blue pokémon falling towards the ocean below. But it barely made a dent in their number.

Looks like we've got our work cut out for us, Pidegotto remarked, letting loose a number of smaller Gust attacks.

Not like we haven't been trained for it, Pikachu said before letting lose another Thundershock.

A lance of purple psychic energy dropped down from above the highest group of helicopters. It smashed through a tail rotor with a small explosion, and continued through the tiny cloud of smoke until it faded against the ocean below. The helicopter that was hit started to trail smoke and spun out of control. Several men jumped out, opening parachutes when they were far enough away from uncontrollable craft.

Butterfree didn't pay attention to the results of his handiwork as a small number of zubat detached themselves from the rest and came after him. Ash's pokémon marshalled his concentration for several precious seconds as the group closed in, and then let loose a wide area Confusion. A faint purple glow came over the Rocket pokémon as they were assaulted by waves of telekinetic and telepathic force. The attack was super effective against the poison types and they were all knocked out.

Butterfree turned his attention back to the helicopters below. His mind retracted in on itself, focusing to a point. It felt like the inside of his head was being sucked down a drain. And then the sensation stopped.

Another Psybeam lanced from in front of Butterfree's face, speeding towards another Helicopter. His attack struck true, snapping off a multitude of blades from the propellor. His attack continued onward, racing towards another Rocket aircraft. But it struck a wall of light that sprang up out of nowhere. The attack broke and dissipated.

A group of three helicopters from speeding towards the flock from on low. Side doors slid open, and platforms slid out. On each platform stood a Rocket trainer and an abra. Their intent was obvious. Use the abra to psychically grab the drugged butterfrees and stuff them in the nets. It was likely that most of the helicopters would be carrying an abra or some other psychic pokémon.

But before their plan could go into action, the ocean below erupted as Misty ordered her pokémon to use Surf. A large wave sprung up and engulfed the copters, slamming them down into the waters below. At least one exploded as it the water at high speed.

Pidgeotto and Pikachu continued their efforts, dodgin and dancing through the sky. Columns of wind roared and electricity crackled as they sent attack after attack out towards the Rockets. But the zubats were wising up. The Gusts were dispelled quicker and quicker each time and Pikachu's electricity missed again and again.

Butterfree fired off another Psybeam, chipping away at the Light Screen protecting the helicopter. The defense cracked, but Butterfree was forced to fly away as the turret on the helicopter started to track him. He looked out over the battlefield.

More and more butterfree were falling to the darts. And the Rockets were closing in, staying just out of the reach of Misty's pokémon. Helpless bug/flying types were being stuffed in the nets.

It was likely they could fail.

Butterfree could not accept that outcome.

He forced his mind into overdrive even as he pumped his wings harder then he ever had before. Once again he began to fire off Psybeams. But this time he was doing his best impression of a machine gun. Beam after beam lanced out, hitting Light Screens as he strafed by, chipping away and through the defenses to blast the machinery underneath. He danced within the group of helicopters, always moving, always firing. Turrets tried to track him, but he was too close, moving too fast, and he always got out of range before they could get an accurate lock on him.

More helicopters fell, trailing smoke and bits of burning machinery. Men jumped and fell.

Butterfree felt like his head was on fire. He could feel every major blood vessel in his head throb painfully, expanding beyond their safe limits. His wings and lungs burned with each beat and breath. But he was Ash's pokémon. He pushed through the danger and the pain, and continued to defend his kin.

Pidgeotto and Pikachu were trying to get close enough to the helicopters collecting the butterfree to disable them without hurting any of their captives. Pidgeotto wove through the sky, avoiding darts and zubats. Pikachu protected her rear, letting loose yellow tendrils of power to dissuade zubats from following.

Shit! Pidegotto swore. She could see that one of the turrets had a good lock on her. It would be difficult to avoid it...

And then the problem was solved. Gobs of white silk splattered over the turret, and then the windows of the chopper. A pink blur sped underneath the blinded helicopter and the netting was cut loose.

The turret gone, Pidgeotto flew in close to the aircraft.

Get out of here! Pikachu shouted, letting loose with a moderate Thunderbolt to the cockpit. His training allowed him to control the flow of his electricity when it the Rocket craft, directing it through some of the EMP defense and into the controls. Consoles sparked and exploded as the helicopter started to spin.

Nice one, someone remarked nearby, startling both Pikachu and Pidgeotto. They both turned to see a pink butterfree flying alongside them.

I assume that was your handiwork, Pidgeotto stated.


Thanks for the save then.

Anytime. Let's get the next one. Cover me while I go in!

On it! Pidegotto and Pikachu replied in unison.

Another Psybeam pierced a Light Screen, cutting off the tail of a chopper. By now the helicopter had started to spread out, moving away from Butterfree. It was an action that would make it harder for the bug type to continue his assault. Butterfree just wanted to rest. But the flock was still in danger, so he forced himself to keep aloft.

One helicopter, a sleeker model then the others, broke away from its brothers, homing in on Butterfree. Ash's pokémon fired off another series of Psybeams against the Light Screen that would no doubt be protecting it. But instead of breaking on the screen, the attacks were deflected, doing much less damage to the defenses then earlier.

A door slid open and a platform extended. On that platform stood a kadabra, glaring at Butterfree as the helicopter moved closer.

|Fool!| A voice cried out inside Butterfree's head. |Playing with forces you cannot understand. For your arrogance in using psychic power in such a manner, I will crush you like the worthless worm you are!|

Telekinetic force gathered and Butterfree rolled to the side. Purpled light sped inwards, a crushing attack that would have killed Butterfree if he hadn't dodged. Butterfree responded with another Psybeam, aimed at the Kadabra. It glanced off the light screen.

|Did you really think you could harm me with that amount of power!| The voice in Butterfree's head taunted. A wave of purple light sped forth from the kadabra. The attack covered to great of an area for Butterfree to dodge. Like a bird on a windshield Butterfree was caught on the attack and carried away by it. It was a full body impact, like being smashed with a giant sandbag. 

Butterfree let himself fall to avoid the next attack, but a wave of panic rushed through him when he saw the purple light appear above him. He fired off a quick Confusion, and twisted his body into position to dive. His meager psychic attack didn't even delay the kadabra's attack, breaking into pieces that were carried on by the kadabra's attack. Butterfree was barely able to dodge to the side to avoid being smashed by his opponent.

He fired off another two Psybeams and then a third attack. The kadabra watched the beams fail against his light screen with a haughty expression. He turned his head to taunt Butterfree once more, only to be hit right in the face with a String Shot.

Sky, Pidgeotto, Pikachu continued to attack the helicopters trying to collect butterfrees. Zubat continued to counter the enemy's sonic attacks, but his voice was starting to give out.

Damn! Pikachu exclaimed when he looked over to where Butterfree was fighting. Butterfree's making us look bad.

Wait, you know Butterfree? Sky asked, also looking over. She could see the parachutes and smoke trails from the helicopters he had taken down. And she could see a black speck dance around in the center of the enemy formation, dodging unseen darts and seen waves of purple psychic blasts. Oh, wow, you're right. He is doing good. But it also looks insane.

Yeah, well, Pidgeotto said to the pink butterfree, it sort of comes with being one of Ash Ketchum's pokémon. Helping people and doing crazy things are the norm.

Really now... Sky mused.

Butterfree did a barrel roll, avoid the painfully bright Psybeam that ripped through the space he used to occupy.

|You will pay for this.| The kadabra telepathically growled, as he sought to rip off the sticky silk on his face. |When I catch you-|

|So this is how you use telepathy to actually talk! Thanks for the free lesson!| Butterfree punctuated his response with another stream of silk.


Butterfree saw the turrets tracking him, even as another hammer of psychic force grazed by him. Evidently the humans piloting the helicopter were getting impatient with the fight and were taking matters into their own hands. Butterfree fired off three String Shots in rapid succession, one for each turret and one for the cockpit. The sticky silk engulfed the nozzles of the turrets and covered the cockpit, rendering the operators blind.

|I will crush you!| Declared the kadabra. Butterfree dove and the space above him was filled with converging waves of telekinetic force. He pulled out of his dive, wind whistling in his ears, body protesting the strain he was putting on it, only to see a large Confusion rushing straight at him. The bug type pokémon forced his abused mind to gather its concentration and counter with his own Confusion. His attack was small compared to the waves of telepathic and telekinetic force warping the air as they sought to take him from the sky. But it was enough to open a small safe zone for Butterfree to shelter in.

|You cannot dodge this| the kadabra told his opponent. Small globes of purple light filled the clearing in the formation where esper and flier fought. Butterfree assumed they were some sort of aerial mines and started to weave between them. He was caught off guard when he passed close by one and a Psybeam lanced forth.

The attack clipped him, sending him tumbling out of control and adding another injury to his abused body. Another beam appeared, one which he dodged on instinct, flipping and spinning in midair. The beam would have taken off his wing had it hit.

More and more beams were launched until the sky around the two pokémon and the helicopter was more purple then blue and the light of the sun began to be drowned out by the light of the attacks. Butterfree twisted his way through them, his training with Pidgeotto and Bulbasaur paying off.

|I see you now!| Guessing what was coming next Butterfree threw himself into a loop, making sure to line up with another helicopter in the process. An enormous Psybeam, nearly as large as Butterfree himself, sped past, giving Butterfree the impression he had been missed by a freight train. It struck the other Rocket helicopter in the middle, killing a couple occupants instantly and igniting the fuel. Before it had time to fall the helicopter exploded in a brilliant orange fireball.

Ash couldn't complain about that, after all it had been kadabra's attack that blew it up. And besides, Butterfree thought, it wasn't likely that he had seen what had happened anyway. And there was no way for him to prove that Butterfree had planned for that to happen...

Absent mindedly he shot off another String Shot to cover the psychic pokémon's face once more.

|Again you do this! I will peel off your wings for this outrage!|

|Are you sure we couldn't quit fighting?| Butterfree asked telepathically. |I'm pretty sure you've already taken more casualties then you expected.|

|Thank you for speaking. It makes it so much easier to find you and kill you!| An explosion of telekinetic force erupted next Butterfree, batting him upward.

|You're welcome,| the dazed pokémon replied on instinct. He shook his head and managed to regain his bearing just in time to dodge another crushing attack. As he spiralled downward he noticed two helicopter breaking away from the formation surrounding him and the movements of their turrets. That could be problematic...

Pidgeotto flew into the center of the flock of zubats, the flying type doing her best to shake off their sonic attacks. Pikachu jumped off her back and scrunched up his cheeks. Electric charge gathered as he rose.

Is this the fate of most Rocket pokémon? To be so weak! Pikachu cried out as he reached the peak of his leap Pikachu unleashed his gathered charge and used Electric Rain.

Thundershock after Thundershock sought the surrounding zubats, bolts flying forth like raindrops. Each tendril that hit knocked out a zubat and there were too many bolts to be avoided. For an instant in time Pikachu stood on empty air, singed and falling zuabts all around him, glowing with yellow power. And then he started to fall.

Pidgetto swooped in and Pikachu landed on her back.

Did I get em? Pikachu asked panting.

Most of them. The ones that are left are retreating. Pidgeotto flew up to take position in front of the center of the flock once more. And now there's nobody left to stop me!

Ash's fired off another Gust, scattering darts and disrupting the flights of helicopters. Pikachu sighed a breath of relief and rested on his comrade's back.

Butterfree's problem was solved when a series of four String Shots hit the turrets from below. With the turrets out of the equation he was able to focus on the kadabra's next attack, another burst of telekinetic energy.

Looks like you could use a hand, a familiar voice told him. Butterfree turned to see Sky Painter coming in on a parallel course.

Watch out! Butterfree shouted, but his warning was not needed. Sky was able sense and dodge the Psybeam that kadabra launched at her on her own.

Woohe, that coulda been bad, remarked the pink pokémon.

If you want to help keep the other choppers off my back, Butterfree told her, monitoring the kadabra for the next attack.

Heh, should be easy. No way they'll be able to keep up with my flying! Sky declared. In a single fast and graceful action she reversed changed course and corkscrewed towards the nearest helicopter. She began to engage in complicated maneuvers, flying gracefully through the hail of darts and choppers, shooting off String Shots all the while. It was a beautiful sight to Ash's pokémon. Butterfree watched with an appreciative eye before turning his attention back to the fight.

|Is that your mate? Coming to assist you? How touching. I'll remember to rip into decorative pieces before I finish you!| Another large wave of purple light and telekinetic force burst forth from in front of the kadabra. It rushed forward like a tsunami, building up a wall of wind in front of it. But Butterfree was ready to enter the endgame. He called upon the last of the reserves and charged the attack.

He marshalled his own power into a smaller and more concentrated wave in front of him. The two attacks met and Butterfree's attack cut through the other, Butterfree following in its wake. He went into a large loop, letting his attack splash over the kadabra's Light Screen.

|Finally ready to die?| The kadabra asked as Butterfree charged down. Butterfree's only response was a series of probing Psybeams, each hitting and glancing off the Light Screen at different spots. The Rocket pokémon could have told him that it was useless if he so choose; his shield had no weak spots to speak of.

Butterfree focused. Ash had barely trained him in the use of this attack, but it was mainly done on instinct anyway.

|Let's end this.| With a wave of his hand the kadabra summoned forth a band psychic power, glowing purple. He launched the arc forward, forcing Butterfree to pull up or be smashed to pieces. The Rocket pokémon smirked, preparing a series of attacks designed to force Butterfree into a position where he could not avoid the final attack. But before he could begin he noticed a glimmer of silver.

Arcs of powdery silver scales followed Butterfree's former trajectory, cutting through the psychic attacks and defense like they were never there. Butterfree had stealthily used Silver Wind as he dived, letting the momentum he gained from his dive drive the attack rather than launching it before him. He had hid it behind his body to stop the kadabra from finding a way to counter it.

The silver arcs pelted the kadabra, hitting all over his body. One hit him right between the eyes, knocking him senseless. It disrupted whatever method he had been using to stay on the platform and sent him tumbling into the air.

Butterfree dove down and used Tackle, smacking the dazed esper down faster. Ash's pokémon then used all his speed to overtake the falling pokémon and attach a String Shot. He began to roll, tethered foe in an up and down circle as they fell. Then he changed the direction so that he was spinning the kadabra in parallel to the ground. Ash was against killing and Butterfree was still his pokémon. For now.

The bug type slowed their descent, but kept up his whirling. When they were just high enough that a fall wouldn't be lethal, Butterfree tilted his body, spun one final time, and release the String Shot. The kadabra was hurled like a stone at the water below. He skipped, once, twice, and then skidded across the surface of the water before sinking below the waves.

Butterfree hovered over the waves, panting in exhaustion and scanning the area to see if the kadabra would be getting back up. He doubted it, and even if it did, it was in Misty's turf now. For a brief moment he he saw something yellow and brown move beneath the water, but then the wave grew wild and frothy, obscuring the depth below. It looked like there was a struggle going on and the kadabra was on the wrong end.

Butterfree! The bug pokémon looked up when he heard Sky Painter's shout. They're charging!

The original plan had been to hover at a distance and shoot the flock with darts from afar and then have a few helicopters move to collect them at first. When all the ammo was exhausted most helicopters were then expected to help with the collection. But that had been before they had run into stiff resistance. As it stood, they were likely to get no pokémon out of this encounter using their first strategy. So they decided to rush the flock. It would waste more darts to fire at pokémon from within the group, as the computer would have a harder time hitting the bodies of the butterfrees rather than their wings. But there was no time for that now. Even if their accuracy was reduced to a tenth of what it used to be, even if they put themselves in risk from the flock, it would still be a better payoff then being picked apart by a pink butterfree, a trained butterfree, a zubat, a pidgeotto, and a pikachu.

There was no way to get them all. Not unless he could get the flock to work together. But they couldn't hear him over their own din, as every butterfree panicked and looked out for themself and their mate...

He could try something other than shouting.

|Listen up everyone!| His telepathic message sounded in the heads of all the pokémon and Ash. |I know a way to stop Team Rocket! But I'm going to need your help. Everyone who knows Whirlwind get to the front of the flock.|

Butterfrees instantly leapt into action at his sudden command, many without realizing what they were doing. Ash's pokémon had unwittingly picked up a couple tricks from his trainer when it came to leading pokémon. The movements of the flock became ordered once more. One stream of buttterfrees headed for the rear and another to the front.

|Alright, everyone. On my count we use Whirldwind and then we keep it up. Ready? Three, two, one!| At his signal thousands of wings flapped in unison. A solid mass of wind blew, carving a white frothy furrow in the ocean below. It roared, a sound loud enough to drown out thought, thrashing like an invisible snake in the claws of a hawk. The helicopters were caught in it and were helplessly carried away, like toy boats on the ocean. They tumbled and spun wildly, some colliding, others being thrown into the ocean, and the rest were flung far away from the flock.

Arceus's shit! Sky exclaimed, as Butterfree pulled her down and away from the attack. The two of them dove into the water and descended as far as they could before the wind reached them. Sky saw the water above them deform and heard the roar through the water. The combined attack continued for around half a minute before letting up.

Sky Painter broke the surface of the water and started gasping for air. She looked around. There wasn't a Team Rocket helicopter in sight.

We did it! You did it! Sky turned to Butterfree. But he was nowhere to be seen. Sky Painter realized that he must not have come up. He had been exhausted before entering the water and must have passed out after they entered.

Before the pink butterfree could dive back down for him several more being broke the surface. A red haired human girl, a staryu, a goldeen, and a starmie carrying a limp Butterfree between its tongs.

"Good work back there you two," the human said to the two bug types. "That was some impressive flying."

Sky ignored her and swam over to Butterfree.

You okay? She asked the tired pokémon.

Butterfree looked up and gave their species's equivalent of a smile.

Of course! I did my best and won. Why wouldn't I be?

Not what I meant, but I'll take it, Sky replied.

"We did it! We won!" Ash exclaimed, jumping up and down, pumping his fist in the air.

"Aaron, being careful, you're rocking the basket," Brock told the boy, hanging on to the edge for dear life. Ash ignored him and jumped on his back.

"We did it! Yay!"

So this is goodbye then, Ash said, kneeling down and putting a hand on Butterfree's shoulder. The sun was setting, painting the entire sky with streaks of pink and orange. Brock and Misty were off down the path, returning the balloon and observing the flock. This left Ash and his pokémon alone with Butterfree and Sky.

Yeah, everybody wants to go in case Team Rocket shows up again, Butterfree replied. Funny thing is, most of them were coming to me in groups to ask when and where we should go.

He's been made the unofficial leader of the flock, Sky Painter said from beside him. He impressed everyone by fighting off those helicopters and the kadabra, and then he managed to get everyone to work together. They don't even realize what's happening.

Well I knew you were strong since our days in the Viridian Forest, Ash told the first pokémon he caught. This doesn't - he started to choke up - surprise me at all.

Ash, what's with the long face? I know I'm leaving your team, but its not like we won't see each other again.

Sure, Ash said, wiping away a tear, we'll see each other again. Right. He could lie to himself.

Pikachu's right. You really can be an idiot sometimes. Let me put it this way: I'm the psychic leader of a nomadic flock of flying pokémon and you're a human that can talk to pokémon. If I ever want to find you I can just look around the region I'm in to see if there's any talk about a human who can understand pokémon.

Ash opened his mouth. Ash closed his mouth.

You didn't think about it at all, Butterfree accused his trainer.

Well, no, I thought-

I can't believe you of all people weren't working on some sort of plan for us to keep in touch.

Well sorry! I've had a lot to deal with, you know with an attack by Team Rocket and one of my friends leaving me.

In that case I guess I can cut you some slack, Butterfree replied. Pikachu, Pidgeotto, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander. It's been great travelling with you guys.

Right back at you. I'm glad I didn't eat you when you were a caterpie, Pidgeotto told her friend.


It won't be the same without you, Bulbasaur told the bug type. Thanks again for helping to save Melanie.

You already said that, Butterfree pointed out.

Just making sure you know.

If you ever encounter the Squirtle Squad during your wanderings, you can tell them that Squirtle says you're an honorary member! Squirtle declared.

Thanks. I'll tell them you said hi.

I'd like to thank you for helping me train, Charmander shyly informed Butterfree.

It was fun. You're going to be a really strong pokémon someday, so perk up.

It's been an honor, Pikachu held out a forepaw and Butterfree shook it. Don't worry about the idiot, I'll look after him.

See that you do. Butterfree looked at the setting sun. It looks like it's time for us to go.

Have you picked out a mate yet? Ash asked curiously.

Not yet. We've decided to continue the rituals while we travel since today was interrupted, so I still have some time. But... His voice dropped to a whisper. I sorta know who I want to give a dance.

Pikachu gave Sky Painter a sly look. She had tilted her head and was giving Butterfree an odd look.

I think you might be getting one first, Pikachu whispered back. Butterfree blushed.

Well I wouldn't have traded our time together for anything, Butterfree told the group. Until next time friends!

Bye, bye, Butterfree! Ash and his team called out as the bug types took off to join their brethren in the sky. They continued waving to the two until they lost them among the other pokémon.

Ash wiped a tear from his eye and smiled as he turned and walked away.

The meeting took place. The sun was nearly under the horizon by now, and only a little bit of light peaked over to illuminate the assembled parties. There were two groups of three. One was a group of men, and the other consisted of a man, a woman, and a meowth.

"You got the package?" One man asked. He was a large brown haired man in a white shirt and khakis.

"Of course," James replied. "We stashed it at this location, as per our instructions." He held out a piece of paper.

"It was a fun job for once. Quite challenging since we couldn't knock out the guards." Jessie said to the men. "You'll be happy to know we didn't leave a trace."

"That's good to hear," the large man told her. "We've had failures on other fronts. We were going to round up a bunch of butterfrees to act as cheap psychic muscle, but our guys got beaten back. We lost a bunch of equipment and didn't get any pokémon."

"That's too bad. Maybe we can get some psychic pokémon for you." James suggested.

"Nah, its okay. There's no time and we've got more than the minimum required."

"Alright. Then I guess we'll be off." Jessie told the other group. "You know how to contact us if you need anymore help."

"Thanks for your hard work," said the man in the white shirt.

"Anything to help Team Rocket," James said with a salute, before he, Jessie, and Meowth turned and walked away.

The large man looked down at the piece of paper.

"After we get this set up," he said to his companions, "Team Rocket will be one step closer to taking Saffron City."

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