Red Eyed Master

A single unexplained incident changed Ash Ketchum's life forever. An incident that will shake the Pokémon world and bring forth a true Pokémon Master. Aura!Ash! Smart!Ash! Now Rated M - Just in case! Chapter 01 - Edited.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11071366/1/Red-Eyed-Master

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11. Chapter 11

Ash, again, watched the alarm clock hit 5:45am, he then got up and prepared his Pokémon team's breakfast then showered. He had decided against going on his morning jog as the elevation of the land as they reached Mt Moon was going to provide any exercise he needed for the day.

Turning off the shower he turned and grabbed the towel hanging on the rack nearby and dried himself off, perhaps it would be wise to meditate before leaving, his Aura had felt off lately and he wasn't sure what had triggered the change. Thinking about the issue hadn't yielded any answers but he was certain that he would discover the root issue soon; he always did after all.

Taking a moment to glance at his appearance, Ash automatically zoomed in on his face. 'I've gotten paler since I last observed myself … and my eyes have gotten sharper in both appearance and clarity; the glow is now a permanent feature … this cannot be a coincidence, the Legendary Pokémon that hijacked my body has left its mark; it's Aura and power were so strong that I couldn't even determine its origin.'

Snapping out of his thoughts and sighing to himself, Ash dressed himself in his usual attire and woke his Pokémon for their breakfast, while his team ate their breakfast he sat quietly on the floor and after taking a moment to observe his team happily interact with Shieldon, he closed his eyes to meditate. Feeling his Aura pulse and flow through his body, he gently guided it to calm its flow until he could direct the Aura any way that he wanted; he directed the now calm flow of Aura to his throat and felt the soothing waves ease the pain there; it wouldn't heal right away and Ash estimated that it'd be another 6 months or so before he could use his voice again without pain.

Ash snapped his eyes open to the sight of his Pokémon watching him in awe … was he unconsciously channelling his Aura; if that was the case then how could his Pokémon sense it? Perhaps it was the side effects of his Aura Massage … their sensitivity to his Aura had grown exponentially and it seemed that they could hone in on it; interesting … Ash had just found another branch to research in regards to his thesis on Pokémon and Aura.

That brought his thoughts to one Cynthia Shirona, he had to be patient for the information from Professor Oak but something inside him surged at the memory of the pretty faced blonde. Ash frowned momentarily … he simply couldn't fathom why he felt such feelings upon thinking about Cynthia; his age combined with his growth simply provided the conclusion that it couldn't be puberty as his interest in the slightly older blonde haired girl wasn't of a sexual nature, driven by hormones, therefore the only conclusion that he could draw was that he was either too inexperienced in the matter to understand the feelings or it required more time and research.

Ash's 10 year old mind decided that both of his drawn conclusions had to intersect with the other somewhere and it would take time to isolate the true reason for his feelings and form a rational and logical decision based upon said true reason.

Ash nodded mentally to himself and stood to gather the rest of his belongings, his Pokémon were still watching him and he knew that they were concerned for him; they'd acted like that since the previous day where they had felt the surge in his Aura when he had discovered Cynthia's identity and he was touched to know that they cared.

He reassured his makeshift family that he was fine and informed them of the plan and route that they would take in order to reach not just the Mt Moon Pokémon Centre but also Mt Moon itself, he described the training that they might undertake and his plans to concentrate on Pidgeotto as he explained in great detail about the rocky terrain and the strong air currents that would be perfect in refining the Flying Type Pokémon's evasion and ability to judge the currents for future battles. Pidgeotto acknowledged the benefits of such training and felt pumped up in anticipation for said training.

Ash nodded once more before the reminder to scan Shieldon flashed through his mind, it would be beneficial and prudent to do so now, so as to devise a suitable training regime for the Prehistoric Pokémon.

So taking out his Pokédex he aimed it at the curious Pokémon's face.

[Shieldon: The Shield Pokémon: It is outstandingly armoured. As a result, it can eat grass and berries without having to fight.]

[This Pokémon is Male. It has the ability Sturdy and the hidden ability Soundproof. It knows the moves: Headbutt, Rock Blast, Metal Sound, Ancient Power and Iron Defence.]

Ash stared at the Shield Pokémon, he hadn't predicted the irregularity in the Pokémon's level and he cursed himself mentally; how could he not have gotten such a simple detail? He would have to work on that as to never have such a lapse in his abilities again. Nevertheless, the anomaly presented a fortuitous opportunity; if the Move Set that Shieldon possessed was of any indication then he was already remarkably close to evolution and if he did, in fact evolve then it would only be a boon to his team and its potential, especially in regards to Vermillion City and its corresponding badge: The Thunder Badge.

Ash smiled and petted the Shield Pokémon gently whilst congratulating him on an excellent move set, Ash's Pokémon followed shortly after offering their own congratulations and Shieldon found himself blushing under the praise; he'd never felt so comfortable or happy before and he knew that throwing in his allegiance to Ash was the right move and he felt that he belonged to the makeshift family.

Standing back up, Ash returned his team and finished packing his various items into his backpack, he gave one last glance before nodding to himself, he hadn't forgotten anything so he turned towards the door and left the room. Ash blinked as he entered the main section of the Pokémon Centre; the lights were far brighter than the room, a preference that he had since the incident when he was 7 years old was that he preferred darker rooms to brightly lit ones, not completely dark rooms with no light … just dimmed light; it helped him to think without distraction.

He took a cursory glance to the Nurse's Station and spied Nurse Joy standing there with her everlasting smile and he made his way over silently. When he arrived he noticed that she seemed spaced out so he coughed to get her attention, Nurse Joy jumped and turned her gaze to him.

"Oh, I'm so sorry … Ash?" she promptly responded, slightly flustered "It's very early … are you alright?"

Ash tilted his head in thought before replying to the Nurse with a slight cough "I am fine Nurse Joy but perhaps you could do me a favour?"

The Pokémon Nurse mimicked Ash's action and tilted her head slightly before nodding hesitantly to his question. "Sure Ash … just what do you need?"

"Hmmm … on second thought two favours if you will?" Ash asked softly and upon her repeated nod he continued "Firstly, since the kitchen is currently closed at this hour … could I please request some tea for my soon to arrive companion and I and secondly; could you please contact the room of one Misty Waterflower to inform her that we shall be leaving soon?"

Nurse Joy blinked before nodding to both requests and dialled Misty's room, whilst doing so Ash pondered how long it would take Misty to be prepared; after all, his mother and other members of the female sex took far longer to prepare themselves and deem themselves presentable … unless of course you were Gary Oak.

Nurse Joy snapped him from his thoughts with a quietly murmured "She'll be right down"

"Thank you Joy, as always you've proven yourself most helpful" Ash responded equally as quiet.

Nurse Joy beamed at him before looking around to see if there was anyone else around … upon sighting no one she walked around her desk and enveloped Ash in a warm hug.

"Ash … take care of yourself … please" Joy pleaded "Mt Moon may be close but the amount of trainers that get injured along the route is staggering"

Ash smiled softly into her embrace before looking directly into her eyes "Of course … big sister."

Again; Nurse Joy beamed with a radiant smile before excusing herself to get the Tea for he and Misty. Misty arrived shortly after looking a little out of breath and glaring furiously at him.

"How dare you wake me up at this hour Ash Ketchum?" she hissed angrily whilst tying her hair into its usual side ponytail.

'Ah … so she's not a morning person … that will simply not do; I abhor tardiness ' he thought before responding rather monotonously "And a good morning to you Miss Waterflower … did I not inform you last night before retiring that we would be leaving at such an hour?"

Misty flinched at the greeting before sheepishly responding "Ash, please call me Misty and sorry; I guess I forgot … I'm not used to waking up so early."

Ash nodded almost imperceptibly before gesturing calmly to the returning Nurse Joy "Tea?"

Misty blinked before nodding her agreement, they both settled into the very same chairs that they'd occupied with Brock the previous day. Ash prepared her cup before doing the same for his own cup, he then popped the antibiotic capsule and poured the powder in and sighed deeply with a soft smile as he breathed in the smell … it was good tea if it had such an aroma … his big sister figures from Pewter City and Vermillion City always did spoil him with good quality tea; probably since they too, enjoyed a good cup or two.

Misty stifled the giggle that threatened to escape her as she watched the 10 year old that seemed so much older than his age drink his tea; it was like watching an old man. Ash raised an eyebrow at Misty in question but she waved him off and turned to her own cup.

..::..

Ash and Misty stood before an old but sturdy two story house, Misty glanced questioningly at Ash and he simply shrugged slightly at her before walking to the front door and knocked. Brock answered the door and almost jumped in fright as he came face to face with the softly glowing red eyes of Ash Ketchum.

"Good Morning Brock … I trust that you are prepared?" Ash greeted questioningly.

"Uh … yeah … I'm ready" Brock responded before a thought struck him and raising his voice nervously continued "H-How did you know where I live … wait; don't tell me … you discovered it by studying my movements!"

Ash tilted his head and grinned slightly "Actually … your Father informed me via Video Phone last night …"

"… … … that's actually an anticlimactic answer" Brock answered with a sweat drop.

Ash shrugged "You asked and I answered your question accordingly"

Brock nodded with an exasperated smile and a chuckle "At least our travels won't be boring ... I need to prepare breakfast for my brothers and sisters before we can leave though; please come in."

Ash and Misty nodded and they both entered to find a rather cosy looking lounge room, Ash sat on a chair and eyed the various children that bore a startling resemblance to both Flint and Brock. They stared right back and for a moment Misty, who was looking on; thought that Ash would scare them off. To her surprise he calmly but awkwardly asked if they wanted to play … they nodded enthusiastically and he set about entertaining the children with various fun facts about pokémon and their habits.

Imagine Brock's surprise when he re-entered the lounge room to see his siblings watching Ash with rapt attention as he explained how and why the Pokémon Ditto could change its shape and genetic makeup at will. He made it interactive to the children but still managed to keep his face clear of most emotion … in fact Brock had never seem his siblings react in such a manner when it came to lessons on Pokémon.

"B-Breakfast is ready" he stuttered; he gaped at the invisible power Ash had over his siblings as he heard them groan in disappointment. Ash raised an eyebrow and gestured firmly to the children to go and after a round of pouting from them they left to the kitchen.

Misty walked over and sat next to him "Who knew you were good with kids?"

Ash faced Misty with an unreadable expression before sighing and responding "I'm used to caring and babysitting baby pokémon so I just treated Brock's siblings in a similar manner."

Misty gaped at him for a moment before sighing "I shouldn't really be surprised should I?"

Ash just shrugged before turning to a corner of the room "Good Morning Mr Slate."

Flint chuckled at him before responding "You're just like your father … and I thought only he could be that scary."

In a moment faster than he could register Ash was in front of him with brightly glowing red eyes and an uncomfortable heaviness descended upon the room.

"What do you know of my Father? Have you had contact with him in the last 7 years, and if so …" Ash questioned with a dark tone before continuing in an Aura enhanced tone that sounded deadlier than anyone in the room had ever heard before "Where is he?"

Flint gulped nervously before responding in a shaky voice "I-I haven't seen or heard from him in 8 years … I swear it kid."

Ash narrowed his gaze on the man in front of him 'His pressure points and fluctuating Aura indicate that he's telling the truth as I doubt he has the ability to supress his body's indicators.'

"I believe you … I apologise for my actions Mr Slate" he responded with a disappointed sigh "I was overzealous as my father's disappearance is a sore topic of discussion … he has been missing for quite some time after all"

Flint nodded and gulped before turning and fleeing the room, leaving only Misty and Brock standing there nervously looking at Ash.

"I'm sorry Brock, Misty … I am usually far more composed in my actions … I need to get some fresh air" Ash softly commented "I will wait at the entrance/exit to Pewter City."

Brock and Misty watched sadly as he left; after all, they both understood the feeling of helplessness when it came to family. Approximately 30 minutes later Misty and Brock approached the entrance/exit to Pewter City and saw Ash seated in a meditative state, he opened his eyes and exhaled a deep breath before gesturing silently to the route; both Misty and Brock nodded and the newly formed team of three exited to make their way to the Mt Moon Pokémon Centre.

..::..

It had been a few hours since the trio had left Pewter City and already Misty was feeling exhausted, Ash had set a steady but tiring pace and she found herself struggling to keep up. She glanced at Brock and was surprised to see him keeping up with a smile on his face … wow she needed to get into shape. Ash suddenly stopped and glanced at the cloudy sky with a look of concentration, both Brock and Misty spotted the brief flash of red in his eyes before he murmured calculations to himself, he then turned to them with a look of contemplation.

"It's going to rain in approximately seven to ten minutes" Ash finally spoke "I expect that it will be a rather heavy downpour so I recommend that we find shelter soon; fortunately there are several uninhabited caves nearby"

Brock nodded in agreement "Yeah, the rain this time of the season can be quite heavy. I agree with you Ash, we should find shelter and soon."

Misty looked confused for a moment before shrugging and nodding herself "I have no idea about the weather but if you both suggest finding shelter then so be it."

Ash hummed in thought before he closed his eyes and gently touched the ground palm side down, an action that he was getting used to but he digressed; not one minute later he opened his eyes and pointed to a rocky outcrop further down the route.

"There is a cave and ridge that would suit our needs there" he said before coughing "It is large enough to house ourselves and our pokémon should you want to release them, I know that I shall as they have yet to experience rain … it would prove most effective as a training tool."

Brock adopted a look of deep concentration before replying "You know I've never thought about using rain as a training tool; I think it'd be perfect for conditioning my Rock Type Pokémon."

"And I'm positive that my Water Types will love the chance to enjoy the rain … well apart from Goldeen of course" Misty replied sheepishly at the end.

'So she possesses a Goldeen and this is a perfect chance to evaluate and assess her team … if my assumptions are proven correct then she won't have cross trained her team with type advantages and disadvantages. It would mean tipping my own hand but I'm confident that she'll be unable to formulate enough strategies to counter my own.' Ash though before he gestured for them to hurry; his two companions agreed and they all proceeded to rush off to the cave area.

They made it to the cave/ridge with less than a minute to spare before the rain started and true to Ash's and Brock's predictions; it was in in fact rather heavy. Ash withdrew his pokéballs and summoned his team with a simple "Come Forth"

Instantly his team materialised before the trio and for the first time both Misty and Brock were able to see his full team. Froslass, Torchic and Shieldon were automatically at him hugging or nuzzling against him whilst Seviper, Snivy and Pidgeotto stood at attention and finally Vespiquen and Mismagius watched on amused at the situation.

Brock was astounded by Ash's pokémon and the level of care taken into caring for them; they all looked in perfect health and he could just sense the difference in Ash's team compared to ordinary pokémon of their various species … the most evident ones being Vespiquen and Pidgeotto as they were obviously much larger than normal.

Similarly, Misty was also gaping in shock … these were Ash's pokémon? She felt a lump form in her throat and an uncomfortable heaviness appear in her stomach, despite not getting on with her sisters she suddenly felt concerned for them or more specifically the pokémon that she had raised and trained for them.

"Team … we shall be training lightly in the rain to condition you against the weather conditions as in Official League Battles, they do allow wet weather battles occur" Ash informed them before continuing via Aura "Now obviously Torchic will be training less strenuously as he is a Fire Type with no experience in fighting in wet conditions … Shieldon and Pidgeotto will work with me personally but I want you all to continue your resistance training … understood?"

His pokémon acknowledged his orders and immediately vanished from the immediate area so that Misty and Brock couldn't see their training methods while Pidgeotto and Shieldon stood at the ready in front of Ash with Torchic pouting and sulking behind his leg.

"Pidgeotto; there is an outcrop of jagged rocks that litter the area behind this cave, I want you to practice using Quick Attack and Aerial Ace whilst learning to switch between resisting and flowing with the strong air currents that blow through the area … when you feel that your able to smoothly switch between the two then add that to your attack training. It is this movement and evasion training that will enable you to control the power in your attacks more efficiently and eventually you won't need to use as much energy at all; conversely this training will assist you in learning stronger attack and evasion moves later. Now go!"

Pidgeotto nodded firmly once and he too vanished to begin his training, Ash turned to face Shieldon and spoke without Aura for the benefit of the others "I will assess your strengths and weaknesses by having you test your moves away from the cave"

Shieldon nodded eagerly and psyched himself up for training whilst Ash looked on with an amused expression; it wasn't until he felt a gentle tug on his pants that he turned his attention to Torchic.

"Torchic, you will follow me and we'll start off basic in getting you to run and jump around to test how you dodge in the rain so I can formulate tactics for any possible situations … understand?"

Torchic nodded happily and the red eyed trainer plus two pokémon soon left with a comment to Brock and Misty about how long he would be out for before returning; to which they both nodded and Misty went ahead and released her own pokémon team while Brock declined as he knew that his Geodude and Onix weren't particularly fond of the rain, so instead he busied himself with preparing lunch.

..::..

True to Ash's comment earlier, he returned several hours later with a gleam in his eye that sent shivers down both of Brock and Misty's backs.

"Training went well then Ash?" Brock questioned while he stirred the hot contents in the pot on the campfire that he had set up after spending a good hour trying to find dry wood for said fire.

"Yes; my team has accomplished much in our training so far and incorporating Shieldon into the team's dynamics was relatively seamless" Ash replied thoughtfully "I am slightly upset to note that my predictions to Shieldon's level were inaccurate … he is far more developed than I expected and is already bordering on evolution"

"Really, well isn't that a good thing though?" Misty asked with a frown

"I am not accustomed to making mistakes, therefore my predictions with Shieldon was a wakeup call for me" Ash responded promptly before firmly continuing with a simple "It will not happen again."

Brock hummed to himself as he heard the comment and decided to add his own piece of advice to the red eyed enigma "Mistakes are a part of growing up Ash … you can never be sure that they won't happen and when or if they do happen again; then learn from them."

"A sound rebuttal and you're correct Brock" Ash coughed out "I'm just unfamiliar with making mistakes and I'm not so pompous or proud to claim that it mightn't happen ever again, but rest assured that I am positive that a mistake such as this won't be among my future mistakes."

Brock nodded to Ash's answer in approval before turning to the bubbling pot "Lunch is ready"

..::..

By the time they reached the Mt Moon Pokémon Centre it was late afternoon bordering on early evening as the rain had delayed their journey's progress but that hadn't deterred the trio as they simply decided to spend a night at the Pokémon Centre and leave early the next morning; doing so would enable them to reach Cerulean City by mid to late afternoon, something that Misty was nervous about but her resolve was strengthened by not only the support of Ash and now Brock as well.

Ash proceeded to immediately take a pokéball tray and fill it whilst walking up nervously to the Nurse's Station, why nervously you ask? Well you see out of all the Nurse Joys in Kanto the most possessive of Ash just happened to work here, Ash's only comfort was that the Chansey partnered with her kept her in check … most of the time.

Nurse Joy appeared from the hallway where Ash knew held the Pokémon Child Care section of the Centre looking slightly frazzled … so there must've been a restless baby pokémon causing her trouble. She spotted Ash and instantly adopted a look of excitement that could've also bordered on insane … ash didn't know which when it came to this Nurse Joy but remarkably, he was saved by Brock who rushed forward and took the Nurse's delicate hand in his own.

"Nurse Joy my love" he blubbered with a strange tone that Ash couldn't quite place, he'd heard Gary Oak and a few other males use a similar tone before but to Ash it sounded like they were constipated as the tone they used sounded strained. Was this some sort of primitive mating action from those who couldn't control their base urges or was this an age limited action … he couldn't and wouldn't try to fathom the answer to such a question but one thing he was resolutely positive on: he'd never act like towards a girl that and the mere thought of acting in such a manner felt insulting.

..::..

Meanwhile in Sinnoh, a certain blonde haired beauty sneezed suddenly whilst during her battle against the first of the Elite Four of Sinnoh, thus causing her to slip up and her pokémon Gabite suffered the brunt of an attack that she should've seen and commanded a dodge.

Gabite was a medium-sized, bipedal dragon-like Pokémon that was primarily blue. Its underside was light blue, with red covering it from the middle of its abdomens to the bottoms of its jaw. Gabite had two appendages that resemble jets or plane engines extending out the side of its skull. Each appendage had a blue stripe. It had four fins, one on each arm, one on its back and another on its tail. It had spikes on its hind limbs, and sharp claws on its feet. Its eyes had black scleras and gold colored irises.

Cynthia cursed at the unlucky reflex and stared into the dust cloud that had kicked up when the attack had hit, she spotted Gabite still standing tall before she roared to the heavens and was engulfed in a powerful white glow, her form shifted and grew and soon, instead of a Gabite, there stood a proud Garchomp in all of her glory.

Garchomp was a bipedal, dragon-like Pokémon that was primarily dark blue, with a red underbelly that covered from the middle of her abdomen, to her jaws, and then to the undersides of her arms. Underneath the red was a gold diamond shape as well a gold cross on her snout. Garchomp had appendages that resembled a jet or plane's engines, giving her an appearance similar to a hammerhead. She had four fins, one on each arm, one dorsal fin and another on her tail that resembles a shark tailfin. She had spikes on her hind limbs and arms as well as sharper claws than her previous evolution. Her eyes had black scleras and gold-colored irises and her pupils had shrunk.

Cynthia smirked at her sudden turn in fortune as she quickly scanned her newly evolved friend with her own pokédex, once she'd done that her smirk grew into a full smile.

"Garchomp … use Dragon Rush … Full Power" she commanded and instantly her beloved friend was a blur, a minute later Garchomp was standing over an unconscious foe and Cynthia was on her way to face the Second Elite Four Member in a month's time.

Cynthia let her thoughts wander as she waited for her pokémon to be healed by the ever vigilant Nurse Joy. Eventually in her mind's journey she came to the thought of one Ash Ketchum. She had read his thesis and felt self-conscious in regards to her own thesis; this boy's thesis was simply amazing, it was like he knew the information and not just theorizing … she had to meet this boy, especially considering he was only two years younger than her.

Cynthia had never felt attraction on a deep level before, sure she had seen good looking men and women but nothing ever resonated with her so to the outside world she just appeared as something untouchable. She knew that she found both men and women equally attractive so that meant that she was bisexual but all that didn't matter as right that moment as her thoughts wandered to the incident in the ruins; all she could think about were the red eyes that haunted her dreams.

At first, her grandmother Professor Shirona informed her that the adrenaline from being there at the time caused her to hallucinate and that she hadn't seen any glowing red eyes but Cynthia just knew that someone or something was watching her as she'd felt adrenaline in rough or dangerous situations and if anything, it caused her to remember such events even clearer than normal, yes that made her a 'freak' in comparison to 'normal' people but it was made her such a prodigy in the Sinnoh Pokémon League plus according to the writings of her family's ancestors; they too possessed the genetic quirk that she was born with and that every one of her ancestors were protectors of the ruins of Celestic Town.

These thoughts however led her right back to the thought of those eyes; she didn't know how she knew they were there but they were and she wouldn't rest until she discovered why they were there and who those eyes belonged to but she now had a lead in Ash Ketchum. When she had been informed by her grandmother that a boy younger than her had released a thesis covering Prehistoric Pokémon and that the level of detail taken was even greater than even her own, she was in disbelief and all but demanded to know who the fraud of a child was but when her grandmother revealed his name something inside her, for the first time … resonated with her.

Cynthia spent the next seven days studying his thesis and learning all that she could about the boy … no; about Ash Ketchum, he was no longer just another boy … he was far more intriguing. Eventually that turned into finding out about his MIA father and still technically reigning Kanto Pokémon League Champion; at first she'd been sceptical about the lack of information on his father but after watching a pre-recorded battle between Red Ketchum and the current Johto Pokémon League Champion and now also the acting Kanto League Champion; Lance Blackthorn, she was completely astounded … two pokémon … the mere thought sent a chill down her spine but it only took two of his pokémon to crush six championship level pokémon and as far as she could see … Red Ketchum's two pokémon were still standing tall with very little damage done to them at all!

Cynthia shivered, if she could wish for any one thing in regards to the younger of the two Ketchum males; it would be that Ash didn't inherit his father's aptitude for battling.

'Though judging from the thesis and his other proven works I wouldn't count on it' Cynthia thought quietly to herself before a small but genuine smile took hold on her face and she spoke softly "Ash Ketchum … what will happen when we meet face to face I wonder?"

One thing was for certain … if she ever gained the Sinnoh League Champion's title, then she'd better train her arse off if she wanted to keep it.

..::..

In a darkened room located at the Pokémon League Headquarters in Kanto, four people sat watching a certain red eyed boy's battle to the ex-Pewter City Gym Leader. One of the watchers observed Ash's every move … it was terrifying, brilliant yes; but terrifying all the same that a boy of ten years old had this much potential. The watcher snapped out of their thoughts as the footage ended and the lights turned back on thus revealing the occupants as the Elite Four of Kanto: Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha and of course Lance. (As before I'm not going to describe characters unless I feel necessary so please just google them ^_^)

"N-Name?" Lance spoke calmly but the slight hitch was noticeable on the usually stoic man

Agatha frowned at the now blank screen … she could've sworn she had seen residual energy cause static but it could just be her years catching up with her at last, nevertheless she withdrew the dossier on the trainer in question and glanced at the name to reply but found herself gasping loudly.

Bruno's impatience got the better of him and he ripped the folder from Agatha's limp hands whilst Lorelei, despite her 'cold' nature tried to coax the older woman back into her chair, she was making progress when Bruno too dropped the folder as if burned and all but crumpled into his own chair mumbling nervously about impossibilities. Lorelei was the newest of the Elite Four Members and she was now burning with curiosity at what could cause such a reaction, so taking the folder she opened it and came face to face … relatively speaking anyway … with the red eyes of one Ash Ketchum.

Lorelei took a few minutes for her brain to catch up with her eyes and she immediately whipped her gaze around to the MIA poster on the wall of their still missing Champion … Red Ketchum. Lorelei glanced between the two pictures before gulping hard and rushing to the jug of water to take a long drink, it didn't help relieve the painful lump in her throat but she now knew whose picture was staring back at her from the dossier; Red Ketchum's only son … Ash Ketchum.

Lance watched the proceedings calmly whilst his mind was travelling a million different ways and while the other tree members were having their own panic attacks he slowly lifted the folder from the table and read the name. A shiver went down his spine … that was Red's son? He was even better than Red was at his age and he knew that for a fact as they were/are best friends, brothers in all but blood … hell; he was Red's best man at his wedding. A pang of guilt racked his heart at that thought, he promised to be there for his best friend's family should anything happen to Red, going so far as to swear it on the Dragon's Oath … a sacred oath known only by the Head and Elders of the Blackthorn Family. It was not to be taken lightly and yet he forgot his oath to his brother in all but blood, which certainly explained the look on his Dragonite's face once she learnt of his oath and lack of action once he'd been informed of the incident in Pallet Town … any Dragon Type could smell the oath on him if they tried and his lack of action as both a Dragon Master and an Oath Taker could be called into question; he could even be challenged by any other Main House Family Member that felt he should step down and there was nothing he could do to stop it, especially if the Elders found out that he had neglected to honour the only oath taken since the days of old.

Lance slumped back into his chair lifelessly before a look of determination took over on his face 'No longer … I will no longer ignore my duties; I must see Delia.'

Lance stood abruptly and swiftly turned with a hasty comment informing them of a task he had to accomplish, he almost bowled over Mr. Charles Goodshow, the President of the International Pokémon League as he fled the room and accidently dropped the folder in his haste. Mr. Goodshow blinked before carefully picking up the dossier and read the name that had caused his Elite Four Members of Kanto to fall apart.

"Ash Ketchum … that's the boy that Samuel is always going on about." He mumbled to himself "His thesis on Prehistoric Pokémon and other Research has done much for our understanding of the Pokémon World as a whole but I never put two and two together … to think that Samuel was talking about Red's son."

Charles Goodshow frowned as he stared at the blank faced child's picture that stared back at him 'I must be prepared for him to ask questions … questions that need to be silenced!'

..::..

"… … … right Ash?" Brock stated confidently to Ash who had only just snapped out of his thoughts, he glanced to Misty who was red in the face angry with the older male to his left before shrugging in a lazy manner.

"I'm afraid that you'll have to repeat any conversation that you've included me in for the last approximate …" Ash trailed off as he glanced at the clock nearby on the wall before continuing "… five minutes … perhaps six."

Brock instantly deflated and mumbled darkly to himself before giving Ash the quick version to what Ash assumed to be a rather lengthy speech while Misty seemed ridiculously pleased.

"I was just telling Misty that flirting is common from men to women and that ALL males do it ... even you." Brock announced rather loudly, thus drawing some slight attention from other trainers resting in the lounge area.

"And I was telling this menace" Misty retorted while jabbing her thumb in Brock's direction and huffing before raising her voice to match Brocks' tone "That not all males do it, that women don't like his idea of flirting and that you … you wouldn't flirt like that … would you?"

Misty whispered the last bit and Ash blinked, he then hummed thoughtfully before responding rather monotonously "I'm afraid that I am not much of an expert on the matter, nor do I have any experience in such matters however, what you are doing Brock is most certainly not flirting. Flirting is a common emotional response and a first course of action when one member of either sex finds attraction on any level higher than friendship towards one another. They express their feelings and hope that the other affected individual reciprocates those feelings … you however Brock push your feelings onto the subject of your … desire?" here Ash paused to cough and clear his throat before continuing "Should the object of your desire not feel the same, I can assume you believe that your attempt was not received properly and immediately attempt to repeat your actions in a stronger manner … such behaviour increases their discomfort and I find any further action to force your feelings onto the object of your desire repulsive in each and every way."

Ash took a deep breath and snapped his eye's gaze directly into Brock's own gaping expression before continuing "When one feels such an attraction, one should cherish that feeling and if the feeling is uncontrollable, like a fire that burns hotter than the sun then you should act, in one single attempt you let the other person decide for themselves and you place your everything into that one moment … let them feel the fire you feel in their presence and beyond all else, you show them that there is nothing more that matters to you than them."

Misty and many other trainers actually felt the temperature in the lounge area of the Pokémon Centre rise at Ash's passionate declaration and many of the onlookers and eavesdroppers blushed at the intensity in his tone and gaze.

"At least …" Ash began shortly after he believed that his point had been absorbed by the older teen across from him "That is the only logical conclusion that I can form based on the many pieces of literature and movies that I have read or observed … I personally have no intention to engage in such an act as I find attraction objective to change or delusion in many circumstances."

Misty, although she now firmly believed that her feelings were not of a romantic nature towards the usually emotionless boy sighed, as did many of the other trainers before she whispered out to Ash "That first part was beautiful Ash … who knew you had that in you"

Ash found himself also asking himself why he had spoken out in such a manner, it wasn't a logical emotional response and he had never felt the need nor desire to speak out as he had just done … his rapidly developing emotional capacity had to be controlled and Ash decided to conduct a personal study into why he was changing as much as he was …

Unfortunately during Ash's internal Q and A he had tilted his head out of reflex and shortly after doing so he found his thoughts interrupted by a tight hug and a loud squeal … ah; he had forgotten about Nurse Joy and he cursed himself for his inattentiveness.

"Oh my wittle Ashy" Joy squealed loudly "You're just so amazing and I've decided that you're too cute to not hug."

Ash's brain took exactly 0.24 seconds to reboot and he actually blushed minutely before forcibly removing himself from Joy's possessive grip "That won't be necessary Joy … oh; I see Chansey is back with my pokéballs; I'll just eat dinner with my … friends?" wow that word still felt foreign on his tongue but it filled him with a strange warmth … curious. "Yes; friends and then we shall retire, after all; we must leave quite early tomorrow morning to reach Cerulean City by nightfall."

Chansey rescued Ash further by personally handing the tray back to him and directing Ash and Co. to the cafeteria area. Chansey nodded triumphantly to herself before departing from the trio of trainers listening to Ash's quiet thank you.

Ash, Brock and Misty ate their fill and Ash took his antibiotics with some evening tea before they all parted ways for the night, though their plans to leave early had been bumped up slightly for the next morning. Ash remembered to call his mother and they chatted for an hour or so before they hung up the phone, he then treated his team to a relaxing round of Pokémassage before falling to the land of dreams.

..::..

As always, Ash watched the clock hit 5:45am and he got up to prepare for the day of travel. After showering, changing and feeding his pokémon; he meditated slightly longer than normal but as he did so he could feel the presence of a restless infant pokémon sneaking out of the care ward … should he pursue or not? After a minute or so of debate he stood and silently left the hidden room and followed the aura of the infant pokémon, he approached the origin and watched a tiny form struggle to escape the barred safety gate for the door.

Deciding to take pity on the poor baby pokémon he made his presence known my letting his aura flow out in waves of soothing energy, he instantly felt the baby relax and look to where he was located and waited for him to approach. Once Ash stood directly in front of the infant he immediately identified the tiny body's form; it was a Cleffa.

Cleffa was a small, pink creature that was vaguely star-shaped in appearance. Its ears were completely brown. It had two small black eyes, a small mouth, and it appeared to have a small, permanent blush on its cheeks. It possessed stubby, digitless arms and legs, which come to a point. It had a curl on its forehead and a curled up tail.

Ash gently smiled and eased Cleffa's nerves while observing the tiny Star Shape Pokémon; this particular infant was definitely female and she seemed completely at ease with him now that she could see him clearly … after a moment of staring at each other, the Cleffa hopped over to Ash and jumped into his chest, Ash on reflex caught the Cleffa and held her firmly so that she wouldn't fall from his arms.

"My you're an adorable little one aren't you?" Ash murmured softly while softly rubbing her curled forehead, she purred in delight and he found himself smiling again. "Are you hungry little one? I was about to get breakfast … you are welcome to join me"

Cleffa bobbed her stubby arms up and down in excitement and Ash took that as a resounding yes; so turning around he proceeded to walk back to the cafeteria. Once there he spotted a half asleep Misty and a wide awake Brock eating already and he sat across from them after obtaining his morning tea. He took his antibiotics and began to eat while carefully bouncing Cleffa in his free arm, she squealed happily and it was then Brock and Misty, who was now awake, spotted the infant pokémon.

"Aww; who's the little cutie?" Misty gushed in a babyish tone that had Cleffa chirping joyously in return.

"This is Cleffa, I found her trying to escape the Infant's Ward of the Pokémon Centre" Ash offered in between sips of his tea "She is clearly trying to find her way to Mt Moon for some reason but I have yet to determine why … it is my belief that she was brought here injured but is from Mt Moon itself."

Brock hummed in agreement "That's the logical conclusion … she must be trying to get home."

Cleffa nodded eagerly to the nice humans but snuggled into the warm arms of the Aura User holding her … he was nice; she could tell. Misty looked sympathetic to the infant pokémon before perking up and glancing to Ash, who had seen her look.

"Yes Misty, it is my assumption that Nurse Joy and Chansey will be more than happy than to allow Cleffa into our, well my care for the purpose of returning Cleffa home." He spoke and Misty giddily nodded; as long as they were going to help the baby pokémon return home, then she was happy.

As it turned out Ash was right and in a rare bout of complete seriousness the Pokémon Nurse had agreed to Ash's request but it was only because it was Ash that had asked that she had relented after having Ash promise her to keep Cleffa safe as Ash never broke a promise.

..::..

Ash, Brock, Misty and of course, they're latest addition Cleffa were walking towards the entrance to Mt Moon when they heard a loud scream for help; rushing forward quicker than Brock or Misty could react, Ash had already had a pokéball in hand as he burst into the small clearing before the cave's entrance, with a toss Vespiquen appeared in a flash with an unhappy grumble as she took in the sight of the man being attacked by Zubat.

"Vespiquen, please use Gust Attack to forcibly push the Zubat away from the man." Ash ordered swiftly and just swiftly she unleashed a powerful Gust Attack on the Zubat; it caused them to flee back into the cave except for one that was knocked by one of the bigger Zubat into the cave's wall, thus knocking out the poor Zubat. Brock threw a pokéball moments later and caught the Zubat so that he could treat the unconscious pokémon.

"Are you injured sir?" as enquired softly.

The man immediately jumped towards Ash shouting about amazing rescues but before he could grasp onto Ash's shoulders, he found himself forced face down into the ground … hard. Ash looked on blank faced as he planted the man into the ground before turning to a nervous Cleffa that now sat on his shoulder "That is how you handle unfamiliar pokémon or humans that attempt to harm you alright little one?"

The Cleffa's eyes shone with awe and she nodded quickly as she soaked in the new knowledge; Ash nodded once in pride and she beamed at him with a cry of her name … unfortunately the unknown man heard it and he was once again, in their personal space. Ash was about to react but was actually beaten by Cleffa who unleashed a strong but underpowered Magical Leaf Attack on the man; it caused him to fall backwards and blink as he looked towards the pokémon seated on the human's shoulder.

"Cleffa … Clef fa Clef Clef fa Cleffa!" she cried to the man and Ash chuckled creepily.

"She says that you don't have permission to touch her … if you attempt to do so again, her next Magical Leaf Attack won't be underpowered." Ash translated before adding "I will not stand idly by either Sir."

The man nodded slowly before standing abruptly and dramatically crying out "Never call me Sir! You may call me Seymour … Seymour the Scientist."

"Very well then Mr. Seymour" Ash sighed out tiredly "Do you care to explain why the Zubat felt the need to attack you so openly?"

After a lengthy explanation regarding someone using lights in the cave to disrupt the natural environment Ash was pissed … how dare the person or persons responsible cause such harm to a thriving ecosystem? He fed some of the surrounding, dehydrated pokémon and destroyed the lighting in the area … if he ever found the culprits; his thoughts were interrupted by the fearful cry of a Clefairy.

Clefairy was a bipedal, pink Pokémon with a chubby, vaguely star-shaped body. A small, pointed tooth protruded from the upper left corner of its mouth. It had wrinkles beside its black, oval eyes, dark pink, oval markings on its cheeks, two small wings, and large, pointed ears with brown tips. A tuft of fur curls over its forehead, much like its large, upward-curling tail. Each stocky arm had two small claws and a thumb on each hand, and each of its feet had a single toenail.

This was a Clefairy that Cleffa must've recognised as she pleaded for Ash to follow the cry … Ash instantly complied and slid into the next pathway to spot a man in a black uniform with a giant red R on the front and back; he had cornered the Clefairy and was advancing on the poor thing with an aura that radiated foul intention.

Ash silently slipped behind the oblivious man and hit the man's nerve cluster located on the back of his neck, causing the man to fall face first into the cave's floor. The Clefairy was about to flee when it heard the cry from Cleffa; it immediately turned and ran up to the Cleffa and rubbed affectionately against her. Ash observed the actions and concluded that the Clefairy was Cleffa's mother; he smiled to himself and suggested that they move to a better protected area to catch up, that way Ash could question and gather the information needed for what was happening.

Ash and Co. soon found themselves eating a lightly prepared lunch in a small clearing off the beaten track that was protected from view by trees and large boulders, there Ash silently questioned Clefairy and likewise, was questioned by Clefairy … it seemed that Cleffa spoke highly of him and Clefairy was desperate to help her fellow Mt Moon pokémon as she'd escaped some evil people dressed in black, so because Cleffa spoke highly of Ash, she trusted Ash and informed him of the situation.

'So Team Rocket has finally begun to move once more, but why now of all times? Could it be merely a coincidence or does it correspond with the newest Pokémon League Challenge … I'm inclined to believe the latter possibility so that leaves their objective. The only targets worthy of their elusive leader's desire would be the high level pokémon of the lower levels or …' Ash's eyes widened and stole a glance at Clefairy 'The giant Moonstone is the likeliest choice for a target … it was theorized that the larger the Moonstone then the more effective it would be in regards to pokémon evolution; conversely the giant Moonstone is rumoured to have unlimited power, unlike a common Moonstone that is only powerful enough to handle a single pokémon evolution … this is troubling indeed; I must accumulate more Data before acting, recklessly charging in against such a well-funded terrorist organisation is suicidal at best.'

Brock nudged Ash, thus breaking his train of thought but the concern on his face told Ash that he was worried for him, an act that warmed Ash on the inside.

"After analysis of the Data available and cross-referencing past incidents of such well executed and co-ordinated attacks, I can only conclude that this is the work of Team Rocket" Ash spoke to the group.

"A-Are you sure Ash?" Brock stuttered in shock "They've been dormant for nearly …"

"Six years and yes … statistically it is a 99.7% probability that Team Rocket is responsible as in the last ten years of crime, only Team Rocket has accumulated the funds or means to execute such an attack." Ash replied but not before spotting the change in demeanour in Seymour; he narrowed his eyes and extended his senses to get a read on the man's aura 'Tainted beyond redemption; I had hoped the man was just crazy but now that I think about it … it makes sense that they would have an early warning scout/sentry at the entrance to be safe.'

"Seymour … can I have a word with you please?" Ash asked calmly but Seymour seemed to catch on quickly and began to run away, though he seemed to forget why Ash had picked this particular clearing and less than a minute later he found an arm piercing his shoulder and pinning him into the mountain's rocky surface.

"I do believe that I asked for a moment of your time Agent Seymour" Ash spoke dangerously, he could hear Brock yelling at Ash to stop but Misty caught on to the situation and told Brock about the incident in Viridian City.

"You mean that was Ash?" he stuttered to Misty "He's the one who permanently crippled one and caused the other to be institutionalised?"

Misty nodded mutely and told him quietly why Ash had done what he did and Brock felt his respect increase exponentially towards the red eyed youth. Seymour however had heard Brock and now he was panicking … he was facing the monster that caused the Viridian City Pokémon Centre Incident. He gulped in complete fear, his body wrought with shivers and he started to sweat even more; why didn't he stay in the labs on Cinnabar Island? Oh, that's right; Master Giovanni ordered him to check the validity to the claims of the giant Moonstone; upon reflection … both bad ideas; maybe he should've called in sick or something.

Ash debated on what course of action to take in regards to the man in front of him; kill him after interrogating him or … yes, that'd work nicely. Donning a sadistic smile that he'd learnt from one of his honorary sisters' Ash pinched the man's nerve cluster, like the man before him and tied him up with the man, remembering to keep both hands tied separately then bound together.

He whipped out his phone and called Pewter City's Officer Jenny … she was more than happy to pick the two Team Rocket members up for interrogation; after all they were considered a hostile terrorist organisation, and that meant that they could practically torture them for information; he informed Brock and Misty of his intentions and they both sighed in relief as they wouldn't witness a blood bath.

..::..

Following Clefairy's directions it wasn't hard to locate the cavern that the remaining members of Team Rocket were occupying; Ash couched low and assessed the room's layout, along with the enemy's numbers. Surprisingly and stupidly for the various members scattered through the cavern, only two members carried pokémon … so this was clearly a forward research camp … but what for? Judging by the equipment they weren't just there for the Moonstone; perhaps fossils? Whatever the reasons were, they were going down.

Ash glanced at Brock and Misty and gestured to the cages of pokémon along the far side of the cavern; they both nodded in understanding and using the shadows they made their way over to the cages; Clefairy and Cleffa following to help keep the caged pokémon calm. Ash took a deep breath before pumping Aura into his legs and charging forward with a pokéball in hand. Ash slid under an outcrop of rocks before the first member saw him and seconds later, the member was down and unconscious by a well-executed pinpoint strike to the man's lower back's most sensitive pressure point and an Aura enhanced chop to the neck.

The plan of action followed similarly to the first, silent guerrilla tactics and stealth strikes … in other words; Ash ghosted the Team Rocket members; all but one. The final member was preoccupied with his laptop to notice his team being taken out but he was also out in the open with no chance of cover so Ash deliberately took out the stragglers in the group first. Ash hid behind the last outcrop for cover and signalled Brock and Misty, they acknowledged the signal and released the pokémon from their cages.

The final member spun around when he heard the happy cries of the pokémon being set free and he began to rush towards them when he was forcibly stopped by a boy no older than ten stepped out in front of him.

Ash stared the man down before letting Aura flood into his eyes, they glowed as a result and the man flinched but not before taking out his pokéball and summoning his pokémon; a Koffing, like James before him. This Koffing was in much better condition, though similar injuries or inconsistencies were visible to Ash, this pokémon would need rehabilitation but he would be fine.

"Come Forth … Torchic" Ash's hollow voice echoed through the cavern, the man chuckled and went to insult Ash's choice of pokémon when Ash commanded his first attack, "Focus Energy and then use Ember"

Torchic responded instantly and in an incredible show of speed appeared too close for Koffing's comfort and unleashed an overwhelmingly strong Ember Attack at point blank range. Koffing cried out in pain before recovering and unleashing a Gyro Ball Attack on Torchic. Torchic was flung back but recovered quickly.

Torchic was mad … that ball of gas was going to PAY! Torchic cried out loud and was engulfed in a powerful white light; his form grew and when the light died down an impressive looking Combusken stood in Torchic's place.

Combusken was a bipedal, chicken-like Pokémon. Most of Combusken's upper body was yellow, while most of his lower body was orange. An orange, pointed design adorned the center of his waist at the dividing line of the two colors. He had orange eyes, and short, wide beak. There was a feather crest on top of his head with three orange points. His tail was short and pointed. He had three, sharp claws at the ends of his long arms, and scaly, gray legs with well-developed thighs covered in shaggy yellow feathers

"Combusken!" cried the newly evolved Pokémon triumphantly and both the man and his Koffing gulped, they were not going to win this battle. Ash silently scanned Combusken and smirked viciously to the man "Use Double Kick"

Combusken dashed forward with twice the speed as before and Koffing had no chance before it was lodged into the wall beside his trainer "Now finish with Crush Claw"

The man blinked and watched in a fascinated kind of horror as Combusken took hold of Koffing's beat up body and squeezed … hard; Koffing was completely out and unconscious seconds later and the man only had seconds himself before darkness took over in his own world.

Ash used the distraction of the man watching Koffing fall and dashed forward, striking the man with an aura enhanced fist to the stomach and knocking him out with ease.

'It was lucky we had the element of surprise, or we'd have not done as good a job as this' Ash concluded "Excellent work Combusken, return"

Combusken was returned to his pokéball in a flash of red and Ash placed the ball back in its spot on his belt. He turned and watched happily as the caged pokémon began to make their way back home, he was glad that he was able to help them with Brock and Misty's help. He felt a weight appear on his shoulder and turned to see Cleffa smiling joyously at him.

Ash smiled softly and gently rubbed the curly forehead on her head and watched her turn into a purring mess on his shoulder, he was interrupted by a cry from Clefairy and he looked down to the nervous looking Fairy Pokémon. She spoke to him briefly and he blinked … turning to face Cleffa he raised an eyebrow and she nodded as well.

"If you're both sure" he murmured "When you wake up you'll be at a Lab in Pallet Town, the man there is called Professor Oak and he'll treat you kindly … I promise to call you soon okay?"

Cleffa and her mother, Clefairy both nodded and Ash took two empty pokéballs and tapped them to both pokémon's heads and in a flash of light both pokémon were added to Ash's makeshift family, he turned and saw both Brock and Misty smiling at him and they all set about tying the Team Rocket Members up for Officer Jenny.

..::..

Cerulean City, they'd finally made it and true to Ash's prediction it was nearly nightfall once they arrived. They were so tired that they decided to go straight to bed; they'd sort out their plans the next day.

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