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


34. 32-2

No, he was glowing! He was evolving!

His crow turned into a roar as the glow consumed him and then grew. Ash's eyes flickered blue for the tiniest moment as he watched Charmander turn into Charmeleon.

I did it! Charmeleon turned to face his comrades and trainers...

Only to be backhanded by Primeape.

That darn Charmeleon's back! Primeape shouted. Everybody get him!

Wait, wait, Charmeleon held his forelimbs in front of his face. It's me, Charmeleon!

Oh. Since when are ya Charmeleon?

Since just nowdidn't you see me glowing?

So that's what dat was, Primeape said, pounding the bottom of his fist into his palm.

You went through that yourself, remember, Charmeleon reminded the fighting type.

I didn't know dat's what it looked like on da outside.

While they had been fighting Charmeleon in back, up front Ash, Misty, and Brock had been dealing with the attack by Team Aqua. Staryu and Starmie had been putting their bodies between the water type attacks and Onix's body. Geodude had been acting as living armor for Tommy. The other humans had been trying to locate the points of origin for the attacks so that Pikachu could launch a counter attack.

Fry fishies! Electricity crackled. A pokémon screamed. Pikachu laughed manically.

Now if only there was a storm. I could bring down the lightning on them! Pikachu was dancing on Ash's shoulder.

Ash, when you get a chance remind him that he can't actually control lightning, Staryu said, swooping in to shield Onix's side from a water attack.

I hate to break it to you, but he can, Pidgeotto informed the water typecoming in to perch on Ash's free shoulder. Ash taught him to.

You crazy- I need to make sure Misty learns about this! Staryu said before spinning away to intercept another attack from Team Aqua.

"Charmand- sorry, Charmeleon, please don't do that to me again. My heart can't take it." Ash said.

"Aaron, if that charmeleon is gone, then could you please have Pidgeotto find their wingull?" Misty shouted. "You can bond with your pokémon when people aren't trying to kill us!"

"Right, sorry," Ash rubbed the back of his head. "Pidgeotto try and spot their wingull. Tell Pikachu where it is. Pikachu, don't hit Pidgeotto when you take a shot at them."

Don't worry, Pikachu reassured his trainer and comrade. The 'Lightning Zapper' never misses!


Is that what you're calling yourself? Pidgeotto couldn't help but ask.

"I thought you'd have made progress on the name", Ash whispered. He really shouldn't have done it so close to Brock and Misty, but he just couldn't resist in this case.

Oh shut up you two. I haven't had time to work on the name. Pikachu huffed and crossed his arms.

Pidgeotto took off again. Tense and tedious minutes passed as Ash and co. sought Team Aqua in the darkness, exchanging blasts of water and bolts of electricity. Onix twisted and turned, Brock trying to navigate an irregular course. World Burning Mother kept pace, crooning reassurances to Tommy.

And then brilliant orange flame bloomed within the darkness once more, a crimson and yellow flower of heat and light. Onix rose up to take the brunt of the flames on his underside, shielding his human passengers.

Water lanced out the night, swift and deadly. Instead of blasting Onix, it stabbed into the area where the blast of fire had come from. A Flame Burst soared into the night as retaliation, scattering fire over the location that the blast of water had originated.

Brock wasted no time.

"Onix, that way, full speed!" Brock ordered, pointing in the direction of Tommy's human parents. Everyone riding the stone serpent felt their bones vibrate as Onix made a sound of understanding and took off in the direction Brock had pointed.

Fire and water clashed in bursts of steam, the air was filled with firelight and the sound of hissing as Onix sped away. Team Aqua and Team Magma paid them no more attention. The only thing in their hearts was the annihilation of the other.

Brock wiped his brow and let out a breath, posture loosening as he relaxed.

"Aaron, get Charmander-"

"Charmeleon, actually," Ash said, correcting Brock.

"Get Charmeleon back in his pokéball, we're running dark again," Brock ordered.

Ash blinked in confusion and gave Brock a quizzical look.

"What does Charmeleon have to do with running in the dark?" The secretly pokéraised child asked.

"I said running dark," Brock informed him, giving Ash a look that clearly said 'I am unamused'. "That means we operate without lights."

"Oh," Ash said, understanding. "Right. First though-"

Ash beckoned Charmeleon over. The fire type swaggered over- or tried to swagger as well as one could while riding on the back of an Onix, while being tethered to a bulbasaur.

Ash grabbed his orange pokémon and hugged him tight.

Seriously, Ash whispered. Don't do that to me.

Don't worry Ash. Didn't you just see how strong I am?

I don't care how strong you are. I'd rather you be safe.

Ash hugged a confused Charmeleon tighter.

"Again, can you bond with your pokémon when we aren't in danger?" Misty asked him.

"Heh, sorry," Ash said sheepishly. Charmander turned into red light and then vanished into his portable home.

"It is as you suggested," the purple haired man dressed in the uniform of Team Galactic intoned unemotionally to the man with green hair.

"Yes. Let us all use the example of Team Aqua and Team Magma to remind us of the folly of emotions." The green haired man's speech was just as without feeling. "Having seen all their pokémon, do we believe we have the strength to take the child?"

"If we could stop them, it is probable that we could defeat them in their current state," the man with dark blue hair answered. "However I do not believe that we can stop them with our current strength."

Silence fell as the group tried to think of a plan. The black haired woman studied the scrying pool intently.

"I believe I have a solution," she said finally. "There has been enough blood of enough different kinds spilled here to fulfill the requirements for a spell that will fit our needs. However..."

"However what?" The man with purple hair asked.

"It will require a human sacrifice," the woman with black hair answered, her voice seeming as emotionless as ever. "I am unsure if that is the best use of our resources."

"If we can not stop them as we are, then any option that would allow us to complete our mission is a better use of our resources," the man with purple hair told her. "Remember that all is meaningless until the Mistake is corrected."

"Then who shall be the sacrifice," the woman asked.

"I will be," the man with purple hair told her. "My pokémon would be the least effective in this encounter. "

"Very well," the man with green hair said. "Do you require any help preparing the ritual?"

"I merely require my two pokémon," the black haired woman answered. White light blazed. When it faded a medicham and a clefairy stood at her side.

"Prepare the ritual to invoke Blood Wrath asura," the woman told her pokémon. Her pokémon nodded in acknowledgement, walking away from their trainer so that the three of them formed an equilateral triangle. The woman and her pokémon each drew threw runes on the ground, forming more equilateral triangles around them. Both pokémon closed their eyes and began to chant in the manner of their species.

"Will the sacrifice please step into the center," the black haired woman said while drawing a knife from its sheath.

"I am here," the purple haired man said as he complied. The action was almost as calm and emotionless as all of his previous actions, but a very astute observer could have made out the slight tremble in his legs.

The woman stepped forward and put her knife to his throat.

"Are you ready?" She asked him. The knife barely trembled.

"All is meaningless and condemned to suffer as long as the Mistake persists." The man's eyes were closed tightly and his hands were clenched into tight fists even as he spoke without emotion in his voice. "The only meaning one can have in this world is to correct the Mistake. I am ready."

A knife moved under the thinnest sliver of the moon. Silently, another life ended.

The woman stepped back and began to chant. The body fell to its knees and then tipped forward.

"ចង្អុលឲ្យដើរផ្លូវកណ្តាល មាគ៌ាត្រកាលអាចកំចាត់ ទុក្ខភ័យចង្រៃអោយខ្ចាយបាត់ អាចកាត់សង្សារទុក្ខបាន។" Red blood seeped into the earth.

Glowing red lines formed between the woman and her pokémon even as the three continued to chant, changing phrases and tempos several times as they did so. Blood began to seep out of the earth, gathering around the body. It came faster and faster, far more than one human body could have contained.

The man with green hair and the man with dark blue hair watched without emotion as a monster formed.

"We're three quarters of the way there!" Brock exclaimed happily. "Just a bit more."

"Are you sure we're going the right way?" Ash asked. "I mean you have enough trouble navigating during the day-"

"I think I can handle a short jaunt across the Safari Zone just fine, thank you very much," Brock snapped haughtily, looking down at Aaron.

"I just think that we should try and make sure that we're going the right way," Ash replied.

"If Jenny made it they might have some lights on," Misty butted in. "If we're even headed in the right general direction we should see them."

"I hope so," Ash said.

Their journey continued in silence for around another minute. Then they saw the thing appear before them.

Red light spilled into the night from the creature. Ash's first impression of the creature was that it was like a statue made of liquid. It was solid, defined, but it was translucent, and one could see the flowing and swaying inside of it. The thing looked like a cross between a heavyset man with the arms of a monkey, with fingers that were claws that could be called swords. Its belly was round and large, like it should belong to a fat and content man, but its face was hungry and cruel, twisted into an angry sneer. Black eyes ate away at the light given off by its body and exuded malice in return. It stood taller than a two-story house and cut the earth with its fingers as it walked.

"What in-" Brock began, but then the thing charged.

Onix bellowed a challenge and charged in turn. He lowered his head aiming his horn right for the red creature's chest. The two tore the earth apart beneath them as they rushed to clash together. The humans on his back clung tightly to the stone serpent.

Onix came in low and surged upward, catching the creature off guard and sending it flying. Its chest warped and rippled around the point of impact, like a plate of jello. When it landed on its back it shook the ground. The humans on Onix's back let out little gasps of pain as they were violently jarred by the clash.

"Staryu, Starmie, Ice Beam its hands and feet!" Misty ordered.

"Geodude, tackle its face to keep it down!" Brock joined Misty in ordering his pokémon to attack.

Two Ice Beams streaked out, blasting the downed creature's feet, encasing them in thick sheets of ice. At the same time Geodude quit shielding Tommy, and threw himself at the creature's face, keeping it down.

"Electivire Thundershock," a cold emotionless voice spoke up from somewhere in the darkness.

"Dodge!" Misty shouted. Her pokémon let up on their attacks and moved away from each other at the very moment they heard her command. Tendrils of electricity filled the space they had just occupied.

"Slugma, flamethrower," another voice ordered. Fire streamed out of the night, melting the ice. The creature surged back to its feet.

"Alright, everybody off," Brock said. "Aaron, have Bulbasaur get Tommy to Kangaskhan and then get ready to run when I say so."

"I'm not leaving you," Ash protested.

"Yes you are," Brock's tone brooked no argument. "Now get ready."

The humans and smaller pokémon slipped off of Onix's back. Bulbasaur handed Tommy to World Burning Mother who put him into her pouch.

"Go Magikarp. Go Squirtle. Go Charmeleon" Ash let out his two wounded pokémon. He was sure that they were going to need all the help they could get.

Primeape grabbed Magikarp by the tail even as he materialized, and Squirtle stood, a bit wobbly, but alert. Charmeleon stood tall and proud, tail flame blazing.

Onix bellowed and charged. The red creature stood its ground. They met in a clash that the others could feel through the ground. The mystic monster backhanded the stone serpent and Onix fell to the side, ruining and tearing the earth where he fell.

"Geodude, Rock Blast there!" Brock ordered pointing in the direction that the electivire's attack had come from. A volley of rocks shot into the darkness, eliciting cries of pain.

"Starmie, Bubblebeam!" Misty pointed to the area where the fire attack had come from. A stream of high velocity, high impact, bubbles sped into the darkness.

"Snover Razor Leaf."

No you don't! Hearing the enemy order Bulbasaur jumped in the direction the voice had come from and started firing off Razor Leaves. Slicing leaves slashed at each other in the air.

"Charmeleon help Bulbasaur with a Fireball!" Ash commanded. "Pikachu use Thundershock to show them to us!"

Aye aye! Three bolts of electricity speared upward from Pikachu and then arced downward, illuminating the attackers. The Razor Leaves being fired at Bulbasaur were consumed by Charmeleon's fire at the same time.

There was a green haired man standing by the slugma, with the snover standing several yards away. On the other side of Ash and his friends there was a man with dark blue hair standing by the electivire. They had been standing just outside of the red light generated by their monster. With their positions revealed, they stepped closer, into the red light.

"Snover, Cutting Cold Wind," the green haired man ordered. The snover took a deep breath and then blew forth a sparkling blue burst of air, with sharp shards of ice carried along by the wind. The attack sped towards Bulbasaur and Charmeleon.

Charmeleon unleashed a gout of flame, heat canceling out the chill, and melting the ice. But he was hit by several small blasts of water. His fire had canceled out part of the ice type attack, but it had turned the rest into a water type attack.

"Aaron, leave this to me," Misty told the human boy. "Staryu, Rapid Spin the snover. Starmie strafe and Rapid Water Gun the slugma."

"Razor Leaf and Evaporation Shield!" The green haired man ordered.

Another volley of leaves shot forth as Staryu spun towards the grass/ice type. Staryu jinked and dodged, making its way closer.

Slugma belched up a short but intense gout of fire. Starmie strafed around him, spinning and firing off a brief Water Gun when one of its tips was pointed at the fire type. Slugma turned to keep up with it, its flaming shield evaporating the water before it could come close.

"Geodude take out that electivire," Brock ordered while Misty dealt with the other member of Team Galactic.

On it! Geodude rushed towards the electric type, grass parting from the wind of his wake. He cocked one stony fist back to deliver the punch-

The dark blue haired man put his right hand's index and middle fingers on the side of temple, and his thumb on his cheekbone. He glowed purple for a moment and then thrust forth his left hand. Geodude was knocked to the side by a telekinetic blow.

"Electivire, kill the trainer," the man said as if he was ordering a soft drink. Brock threw himself to the side as a Thunder attack smashed down. He could feel all the hairs on his body stand up from the discharge.

Geodude was being held down by the telekinesis of the dark blue haired man. Zubat had been previously wounded. Onix was struggling with the strange creature. All that Brock had left was a Vulpix, a young pokémon that he hadn't had for very long.

"Go Vulpix!" White light blazed as Brock brought out his last pokémon. An adorable vulpix stood before him, head coming up to his shin.

Yes Brock? The small red pokémon looked up at her trainer expectantly.

"Agility and Fire Spin on that electivire," Brock told her. "Keep it occupied and don't get hit!"

He then ran off to the side as Electivire sought him out with a Thundershock. Vulpix blurred away and encased Electivire in a spiral of fire that turned into a hellish vortex of flame. Bolts of electricity blasted out of the fire, forcing Vulpix to keep moving.

Shouldn't we be helping? Pidgeotto asked, coming down to land near Ash.

You're right, Ash replied to her. "Pikachu-"

Don't, Bulbasaur interrupted him. We shouldn't go barging into someone else's fight. We don't want to hurt Brock or Misty's pokémon, we don't know their plans, and we don't know if there are anymore enemies out there. And that Charmeleon beat us up nicely. It simply ain't the time to be jumping in.

They all flinched as Onix roared in pain. He was suspended in the grip of the red creature, head held in one crimson hand, as the overlong claws of the other stabbed and slashed him again and again. The stone serpent tried to shield himself and strike back with his tail, but the creature was relentless, slapping away the tail again and again, and attacking the wounds that Team Aqua had inflicted earlier.

"Aaron, stay back and help Onix!" Brock shouted upon seeing his pokémon's situation.

"Pikachu, Thunder that thing!" A column of crackling, zig-zagging yellow power shot up and came down on the red thing. It coursed through the creature, yellow light mixing with the red. Small wisps of blood colored steam rose from the thing as Pikachu's electricity boiled it.

But the creature itself ignored the attack and its effects. It continued to tear at Onix as Pikachu electrocuted it.

"We're not done! Squirtle, Water Gun its elbow! Make it let go of Onix! Pikachu, quit Thunder and add a Thunderbolt to Squirtle's Water Gun! Pidgeotto and Charmeleon, Gust Bullet and Fireball on its near leg! Bulbasaur, Leech Seed its body and Razor Leaf its other leg! Primeape and Magikarp, if you see it stumble, try to knock it down!"

Water blasted away at the elbow holding Onix, slowly drilling into the creature, spreading ripples all over the arm. Electricity poured in again, making water and the red creature boil. Fire and wind mixed into a spiraling fire bullet, blasting bits of super-heated blood red substance off of the thing's leg. Slicing leaves cut through the other leg, entering with little resistance and exiting without doing much damage. Seeds sprouted and wrapped around the same leg, leafy tendrils greedily sucking away at it, stealing some of its mass.

Mass that was almost instantly replaced. The attacks of Ash's pokémon weren't even a nuisance to the thing. It was a thing born of mystic power and spilled blood, a potential created by battlefields and realized through magic, where humans and pokémon cursed their deaths, their killers, and even their allies in despair. It was collected psychic energy and magical mystery. Maybe if Onix had been fresh and unwounded he could've dispersed it, torn it apart with main strength, but that was not the case.

The attacks of Ash's pokémon weren't even at the level of a nuisance to the thing, but they could be called an annoyance. It turned to face Ash, still holding Onix. Ash and his pokémon were subjected to its cruel sneer, to the glowing black malice of its small eyes, before it flicked its arm and threw Onix at them.

How 'bout I help ya dodge! Primeape tackled Ash, using his strength to propel the human boy out of the way. Pidgeotto took wing and Pikachu used Agility. Squritle withdrew into his shell and blasted himself away with Water Gun. Bulbasaur lashed out with two tentacles, plunged them into the ground, and used that to yank himself away. At the same time, he wrapped two tentacles around Charmeleon and yanked him along for the ride.

They all barely avoided being crushed by Brock's pokémon. Pidgeotto was clipped by the edge of his body. Squritle's flight path was destabilized by the shockwave and he came down, plowing into the ground. Pikachu was sent flying by the shockwave, tumbling head over heels, and bouncing over the ground.

Bulbasaur and Charmeleon managed to escape completely, landing on their feet, and turning to face their enemy. Primeape landed on his feet, Magikarp still in hand. Ash landed on his butt, skidding backwards several feet, clutching his stomach. Primeape's method of getting him out of the danger zone hadn't been gentle at all.

"Onix! Aaron!" Brock cried out in dismay. The purple haired man took his distraction as a chance to psychically hurl Geodude at his own trainer. Brock folded around the point of impact and went flying backward.

Misty continued her battle. Unlike Brock the enemy hadn't been able to strike at her. She had been on the offensive the whole time, keeping the Team Galactic member on the back foot. She hadn't had to divide her attention, again unlike Brock. And she couldn't afford to now.

Even though they had probably just lost.

Brock managed to roll away from Geodude, before the dark blue haired man could renew his psychic hold on the rock type and use it to pin Brock as well. Onix was weakly stirring, struggling to pick himself up. The red creature was casually strolling over to finish off the large pokémon.

Bulbasaur cut at its eyes with Razor Leaf. Charmeleon blasted away at its center with an intense bar of fire that was almost solid. Primeape stood atop Onix with Magikarp, in a fighting stance, doing what little they could to guard the larger pokémon. Ash weakly gave orders as he recovered. The rest of his pokémon, crawled, stumbled, and dragged themselves back to him, slowly recovering as they went.

Vulpix was tiring faster than the electivire was going down. It was dispersing Vulpix's Fire Spins faster and faster each time, meaning that Vulpix was dealing less damage for the same amount of effort as time went on. Geodude was still pinned and the psychic showed no signs of tiring. Misty had her hands full.

Brock took out his mace. The situation was hopeless. His only option was to rush the psychic and hope to get in a lucky blow. But the odds were against that. The psychic would simply swat him away as soon as Brock got close, or simply hold him still so Electivire could kill him. Then the Team Galactic member would finish off Brock's other pokémon at his leisure.

"Run Kangaskhan!" Brock shouted. "Just get out of here! Take Aaron and run!"

"No!" Ash protested for the final time. "I'm not-"

Shut up and listen to him, kid, World Burning Mother said, running up and grabbing him by the back of his jacket. Tell your pokémon to follow me.

"Carnivine, Lairon, move in," the dark blue haired man called out to the darkness. From the darkness behind World Burning Mother the large steel type and the grass type emerged. World Burning Mother dropped Ash and whirled around to face them. The red creature reached Onix. Primeape jumped at it, raising Magikarp over his head to deliver a mighty blow.

The giant casually brushed Primeape aside, sending him flying like a grey-brown ball. He hit the ground and tumbled to a stop. Magikarp flopped down beside him. The fighting type unsteadily managed to regain his feet, grabbing Magikarp, and stumbling forward once more.

World Burning Mother backed away from the advancing lairon and carnivine. The red giant reached down for Onix again. Brock grunted as the psychic blasted him with pure force. Misty was silent as she kept fighting.

It didn't matter anymore.

It was hopeless.

Dawn didn't come. Golden light from the dawning sun didn't illuminate the battlefield. The sounds of morning pokémon, the chirping of the flying types didn't arrive. The warmth of morning didn't reach them.

Instead it was the white light of a floodlight. Instead of chirping it was the whirring of a helicopter. The warmth of morning didn't reach them because it was still night. Dawn didn't come for them, but something else did.

The red giant turned away from Onix, still ignoring the attacks of Ash's pokémon, and faced the newcomers. Everyone paused as blinding white light fell over them.

"Brock, is that you?" A high-pitched, cultured, male tone sounded out from the chopper.

"Yes!" Brock shouted, hope renewing him. Tommy's parents had arrived.

"Is our son with you?" 'Momma' asked, voice artificially amplified.

"Yes," Brock shouted again. "He's with the kangashkan."

The helicopter moved to a spot over World Burning Mother. A line fell from the helicopter and Ranger Jenny slid down. White light blazed and Growlithe rejoined the fight.

"We've got reinforcements incoming," the blue haired woman called out. "The Safari Zone Rangers are coming. The League has been informed. You can't escape! Make it easy on yourselves and give up now!"

"There is no need," the green haired man responded in an emotionless tone. "You do not have the power to beat us while the spell lasts. Your presence makes no difference. We can escape your reinforcements. We avoided the Kanto League on the journey here and we can do so again as we leave with the child. You may surrender the child now and avert further bloodshed."

"You're not getting our son! Tommy, grab onto the rope quickly!" 'Poppa called out from the helicopter.

"What about Momma-Kangaskhan?" Tommy shouted back. "I'm not going anywhere without Momma-Kangaskhan!"

The red creature surged towards the helicopter, but it shot upward avoiding the thing's grasping claws.

"We can't land and take her aboard," 'Poppa' answered his long lost son. "They'll destroy the helicopter if we try!"

"I'm not going anywhere without Momma-Kangashkan!" Tommy clung stubbornly to his pokémon mother.

Tommy take the rope! World Burning Mother roared, pulling him out of her pouch, and raising him towards the helicopter.

"I'm not going without you!" Tommy was crying now.

There was no safe way to get both the blue haired boy and the large pokémon up to the helicopter, not with Team Galactic ready to interfere.

The battlefield was silent. Everyone's eyes were on the child now, illuminated by the bright white light from the helicopter. Team Galactic had to wait for the right moment to capture him without hurting him. Ash and friends needed to wait to see how they would need to protect him, even if they couldn't.

Several heartbeats came and went in silence, save for the quiet sobs of Tomas.

"Tommy, look up please," 'Momma' said, her voice gentle.

The blue hair boy sniffed, wiped away his tears, and looked up.

'Momma' and 'Poppa' looked back at him, illuminated by the internal lights of the helicopter. For the first time in years parents and child saw each other.

'Momma' and 'Poppa' smiled. There were also tears in their eyes.

"It's so good to see you again," 'Poppa' said. "You look just like pictures of my father when he was your age."

"You've grown up nicely," 'Momma' said. "I'm so happy."

"I wanted to meet you!" Tommy. "I wanted to ask you questions! I wanted to live with you and Momma-Kangaskhan!"

"I'm sorry my boy," 'Poppa', replied, smile turning sad. "I'm afraid we're going to have to let you down there. But we've let you down in so many other ways already, so I doubt my apology will mean much."

"You're the one who found him?" 'Momma' called out to World Burning Mother. "You're the one who took care of him for us?"

I didn't do it for you, World Burning Mother called back, not caring that the human woman couldn't understand her. I did it for him.

"Thank you so very much," 'Momma' continued.

As I said, I didn't do it for you. But you're welcome anyway.

"I'm sorry there's so little we can do to repay you," 'Momma' said to her, the human woman's smile also turning sad. "There's only one thing we can really do. But we're going to have to make a selfish request first. Please take good care of Tommy for us?"

"What?"/What? Humans and pokémon spoke together in confusion.

"And can you make sure to get out of the way," 'Momma said, before ducking back into the helicopter. 'Poppa' followed her. The helicopter rose, and sped off to the east.

What's going- Oh! World Burning Mother stuffed Tommy back into her pouch and ran away from the red creature. Tommy tell them to get away from the red thing!

"Get away from the red thing!" Tommy relayed.

The helicopter turned around.

Ash, his pokémon, and Onix all moved away from the red creature as fast as they could.

The members of Team Galactic began to issue orders, but then the helicopter's floodlights shined into their eyes. The aircraft lost altitude and picked up speed.

"What's going on?" Tommy wailed. He leaned around World Burning Mother to get a better view.

"Goodbye son!" 'Poppa's' voice boomed out of the helicopter.

"Grow up to be happy Tomas Marshall!" 'Momma' called out.

The red creature lunged after the retreating kangaskhan and child. But its cause was hopeless. The wills that drove it were nothing compared to the wills that opposed it. The despair that gave it life was no match for parent's hope.

The helicopter slammed into the creature like a hero's spear, traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. Spinning blades chopped away at the body, eating away at it like fire burning paper. The main body of the helicopter crumpled in the impact but managed to pierce the chest. Sparks flew within the aircraft as it tore itself to piece, some reaching freshly exposed fuel.

A tiny dawn came in the middle of the night, announcing itself with an eardrum-rattling boom. Wisps of red and drops of crimson flew everywhere , dispersing in the air as the giant was torn apart by the explosion. The shockwave bowled people and pokémon over alike, wind flattening the grass for a hundred yards in every direction.

The light brought both grief and hope for Jenny, Brock, Misty, and Ash.

"Now Geodude!"

"Starmie Water Lance! Staryu Rapid Spin!"

"Charmeleon Flamethrower the newcomers!"

"Growlithe Flamethrower those two!"

The psychic was distracted and Geodude was free. Moving as fast as he could, he nearly flew to the electivire. His right hook smashed its face with jaw shattering force, sending teeth flying. He sent the electric type flying into the surprised blue haired man, knocking him over.

How'd you like it! The rock type shouted after them.

Starmie speared the slugma with a thin high-pressured stream of water, making it scream in pain. Staryu spun into the snover, sending it flying.

Charmeleon and Growlithe simultaneously launched Flamethrowers, the super effective attacks roasting the carnivine and overheating the lairon.

"We're not done yet! Pikachu Thundershock them all!" Ash bellowed, getting to his feet.

You're not wanted here! Pikachu threw back his forelimbs and unleash a Thundershock attack that was closer to simultaneous Thunderbolts than any normal Thundershock. Yellow light overcame the night. Crackling, twisting, bright yellow power sought out each of Team Galactic's pokémon. Super effective, not very effective, it didn't matter; everyone hit by the attack screamed in pain.

"Time to withdraw," the green haired man said without emotion.

Red light reached for pokémon as Team Galactic recalled every member of their teams that couldn't be ridden. Lairon sprinted around Ash's group, strides tearing out clumps of earth and grass. The green haired man and the blue haired one ran away, their paths and the path of the Lairon converging. They each grabbed onto a ridge and jumped onto the steel type. It may not have been that fast for a pokémon, but it was faster than a human could run, especially over a long distance.

Ash and his friends watched them run away in silence.

Dawn eventually reached them, golden light illuminating the wreckage of the helicopter. Tommy had cried the night away as he and his mother stood and watched the flames die down. Now they were silent.

Brock, Misty, and Jenny were talking among themselves as to what they would tell the other rangers and the League. Jenny had reported the situation as criminal organization entering the park for unknown reasons, leaving those who were in on the secret to connect the dots.

Not that there were too many of those left. A slaughtered patrol had been discovered in the same sector of the park where the herd had originally been when the whole situation had begun. They had meant to make sure that the boy was safe. Their efforts and deaths had been in vain.

Ash and his pokémon sat back and watched the dawn.

So did we win? Charmeleon asked Ash.

Ash looked over at the now silent Tommy.

I don't think so, he answered. But I don't think we lost, either.

Everyone was quiet again.

It was a good death, Magikarp spoke up. Sacrificing themselves to save their child. I'm envious, I wish I could have gone out like that.

Nobody had anything to say to that.

I wonder what Tommy and his mother will do now? Pikachu asked.

Probably rejoin their herd, Bulbasaur answered.

Will they be safe? Pidgeotto asked.

I don't know, Bulbasaur replied simply.

I think we'll probably leave the Safari Zone, everyone jumped when they heard World Burning Mother speak up behind them. The large pokémon hadn't made a sound when she approached. I don't know how they found him, but if they know we're still here, they'll just try again. We can hide in the wild, become just another kangaskhan herd.

Will the rest of the herd go along with that plan? Bulbasauar asked the mother.

Probably if it's for the sake of one of our children, World Burning Mother answered, gazing into the dawn. But we might decide that it's better for Tommy and I to leave. It'd attract less attention, but they might be attacked again anyway, and we don't like leaving each other. I just don't know how it's going to go.

At least you and Tommy are still together, Magikarp spoke up.

And in the end that's enough, the kangaskhan looked down at her child sleeping in her pouch. She looked at Ash. I've got you and your friends to thank for that.

Ash gave her a wane smile.

When Tommy wakes up I'm going to have to talk to them, World Burning Mother said with a sigh. But while he's asleep I might catch a bit of shut eye myself.

Ash's pokémon murmured their agreements. One by one they drifted off to sleep under the dawning light.

Ash though, Ash stayed awake. All the death, all the devastation, and all the grief he had seen was weighing heavily on his mind. His mind kept reverting to the field of dead pokémon of all types, including a dead weedle and a dead pikachu.

It had all been for a boy like him. All because the secret of a boy like him had somehow gotten out.

He couldn't let his own secret get out.

Ash couldn't.

Jessie, James, and Meowth sat back in their portable lawn chairs and watched the setting sun.

"I can't believe that a bunch of good guys managed to infiltrate Team Rocket like that," remarked Jessie. "We would've had to kill them all if Team Magma hadn't beaten us to the punch."

"Too bad about what happened to them and the other foreign teams," James said, sipping a fruity drink with a little umbrella through a straw. "I would've liked to try and recruit that mystic with Team Galactic."

"And it's too bad we can't try and recruit that kangaskhan kid," Jessie added. "Those good guys made a first impression for Team Rocket too horrible to recover from."

"Plus, I think he's been through enough today," Meowth put in his two cents, sipping his own fruity drink with an umbrella in it.

"True enough," James agreed, "But I would've really like to recruit those three kids in black who showed up this afternoon and killed the remnants of Aqua, Magma, and Galactic."

"Not that it was hard to kill Magma and Aqua while they were fighting each other," Jessie spoke up. "Galactic on the other hand, that was a good fight to watch."

"I've never seen the emblems that the three were wearing before," James told the other two. "You know, that strange shield with a blue letter on it."

"And I'm not sure if I've ever seen the power that they used before," Jessie replied. "And we've seen psychics, mystics, and other weirdos before. After seeing how they could fight directly alongside their pokémon I wouldn't mind having their power myself."

"I wonder why they just up and left after they won," Meowth asked. "Didn't even go near the rangers or the twerp."

James shrugged.

"Who knows why they showed up in the first place," he said. "Maybe it was just practice."

"Or a field test," Jessie suggested.

"Maybe they just wanted to make sure the kid was safe," James continued.

"Or maybe they want him to come with them willingly and left because they thought that was impossible today," Jessie shrugged and sipped at her own fruity drink, with its own umbrella and bent straw. "Though we might want to lay off the twerp until spring."

"After what he's been through today, that's probably a good idea," James agreed.

"The top cat's all for it," Meowth chimed in. "Now we just have to figure out what we're doing instead."

"But first we should decide what we're watching next Movie Night," Jessie said.

And the three of them argued about movie choices while the sun set.

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