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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14. Chapter 13 Part 2

Joe gulped, Misty growled and Brock snapped out of his dream like state.

Ash allowed his eyes to glow stronger and eyed the girl in front of him "A commoner you say? A graduate from this school is a commoner?"

Giselle huffed "Get real kid … like you could be a graduate from this school … only the best get in here."

Ash frowned "Very well then, how about an unofficial 1 vs 1 Pokémon Battle?"

Giselle accepted and they moved to the battlefield. The instructor that had been holding his tongue decided it was best to give Giselle a wakeup call, so he refrained from revealing who Ash really was.

"This will be an unofficial 1 vs 1 Pokémon Battle … standard Pokémon League rules apply … trainers, release your Pokémon."

"Go Cubone!" Giselle cried dramatically, aweing the masses of students with her 'flair'

Ash knew what a Cubone was but for the sake of the show, he scanned the pokémon in question.

[Cubone: The Lonely Pokémon: When it thinks of its dead mother, it cries. Its crying makes the skull it wears rattle hollowly.]

Ash hummed in response to the pokedex's entry … he could already tell that the pokémon was male but that hardly mattered at that moment in time. He could use Snivy to crush her but he thought of using one of his team that he'd been using a lot lately to encourage evolution.

"Come Forth … Shieldon." Ash intoned emotionlessly

The various students and staff that had become spectators, all gasped as Ash revealed his pokémon … after all, aside from the rarity of Shieldon, he was a prehistoric pokémon that most believed to be extinct. Giselle however decided it didn't matter and started off the battle.

"Go Cubone, use Bone Club." Giselle cried out while posing dramatically

'Seriously, what's with trainers and posing … Gary would get on famously with this girl' Ash thought, before ordering Shieldon through Aura "Shieldon … wait until Cubone reaches mid-field before using Headbutt, direct contact necessary … preferably head on."

"With pleasure" Shieldon responded promptly and as soon as Cubone reached the halfway point, he charged, little could stop the charging Shield Pokémon as he surged forward with almost impossible speed.

Mere seconds later, Cubone was sailing through the air back to Giselle, as if he'd been hit by a freight train … close enough, as he'd been hit full on by Shieldon. Cubone was out like a light, the single hit was enough to knock the poor Lonely Pokémon out.

Giselle screamed in frustration, she wouldn't allow this, this nobody to beat her. She screamed as she called her Graveler to the battlefield, completely ignoring the indignant cries of her classmates. Even they knew when a battle was over and Giselle's was most definitely over.

"Use Tackle Graveler" Giselle screamed "Show this nobody his place!"

Graveler surged forward, but both the Rock Pokémon and his trainer forgot one thing … Shieldon was still on the battlefield.

"This farce of a battle has gotten out of hand" Ash spoke to Shieldon, completely unfazed by the pokémon raging towards him "Enough of this … Shieldon use Metal Sound followed by Ancient Power … I know that both are rock type moves but charge forward when using both attacks, Graveler is too slow to dodge either and the Metal Sound will lower his defence enough to do some damage with the follow up attack."

"Understood Ash" Shieldon replied, utterly serious in the situation at hand and once again, he was a blur of speed. Shieldon was almost upon Graveler when something happened, both he and Ash weren't expecting it for some time but it happened nonetheless … Shieldon was engulfed in a brilliant white light that pulsed with power.

The next moment Graveler was being propelled backwards as if he were a pebble … for standing there was a mighty Bastiodon. Bastiodon roared with power and like a bull prepared to charge he kicked up dirt with his front leg.

Ash was actually shocked, once again he'd miscalculated and he was just a little frustrated at that thought. Nevertheless, Ash took out his pokédex and scanned the marvellous pokémon before him.

[Bastiodon: The Shield Pokémon: When lined up side by side, no foe could break through. They shielded their young in that way.]

[New moves learned: Protect, Take Down and Iron Head.]

Ash couldn't stop the almost savage grin that overtook his face, and that, added to his red eyes, caused the spectators to shiver. The staff members finally put the pieces together and they suddenly recognised the youth standing proudly on the battlefield … this could only end badly, as they'd followed the red eyed youth's progress as a Junior Pokémon Professor.

Meanwhile Ash was communicating with his newly evolved pokémon.

"How are you feeling Bastiodon? Any discomfort from the evolution process?" Ash asked with concern, concern that Bastiodon heard and it helped calm the adrenaline that surged through his system.

"I am feeling fine Ash, thank you for your concern." Bastiodon replied, his tone of voice deeper and gruffer than his previous voice "I feel like I can take on the world!"

The last statement was done with a tremendous roar that shook the trees and startled the local Pidgey, but that didn't deter the large pokémon in the slightest. His adrenaline soared, when a still standing Graveler rammed into him … though it looked as though Graveler was nudging him to the onlookers. Bastiodon turned his large head to Graveler and let off a Metal Sound, this caused Graveler to stagger backwards, and the next thing Graveler knew, he was being rammed away and knocked unconscious by a well-placed Iron Head.

Ash wasted no time in walking calmly towards the other side of the field, where a visibly shaken Giselle watched Bastiodon in fear … that pokémon was a monster, a monster that had tossed Graveler aside as if it were nothing at all. She heard footsteps and she glanced upwards to see Ash standing there, blocking the light of the sun and commanding a rather impressive visage.

Ash removed his hood and stared the trembling girl down, he turned his back to her in a sign of disgust, she knew she'd lost her temper and broken the sacred rules that had served as Law since the very first Pokémon League Tournament. She felt disgusted with herself, how could she attack his pokémon like that? True said pokémon was now a towering monster of a pokémon, but that still didn't give her the right.

"I'm sorry" she whispered softly.

Ash could tell that she meant it so he simply sighed "I should formally introduce myself"

Giselle looked up once more and blushed at the image before her, for the boy that had defeated her was still standing there, blocking the light of the sun. It caused his face to be shadowed and gave him a mysterious look … she almost fainted when he told her his name.

"I am Ash Ketchum … of Pallet Town" he spoke

Giselle bowed her head in respect and also shame but Ash gently lifted her head to face him "You are arrogant, rude and utterly condescending of others. But you have the chance to learn from this Giselle … learn well and treat others as you expect to be treated, that includes pokémon. Maybe then you can be as beautiful on the inside as you are pretty on the outside."

Giselle blushed so hard that too much blood reached her head and she fainted with a small smile on her face. Brock and Misty joined Ash as he rubbed Bastiodon's armored head; they congratulated him on his victory and for Bastiodon's evolution. They left soon after as they'd lost too much time at the school. The staff and students all cheering and wishing the trio good luck on their journey.

Later, when Giselle woke from her unintentional nap, she pondered the words of Ash Ketchum. She blushed once more at the fact that he called her pretty, she then decided … no one else would do … Ash Ketchum would be hers.

..::..

Ash, again, watched Seviper as he carefully guided the many younger pokémon around the little village that they'd stumbled on. While Brock and Misty were under the impression that Ash had gotten lost and led them astray from the path, they were dead wrong. Ash had gotten one of his damned gut instincts that led them to the village.

Melanie, the young lady in charge, was swamped by the various pokémon that they'd learned were abandoned and injured by their previous trainers. That was the least of Melanie's problems though, as an unknown virus had passed through the forest that the little sanctuary was located, and she didn't have the herbs needed to brew the antidote/medicine for the toxin. Luckily Ash was a hoarder when it came to herbs and medicines … using his large store of herbs, they were able to cure the infected pokémon.

Ash had discovered that the pull of his Aura was directed to a Bulbasaur, a Bulbasaur that had originally despised his very presence. Though after Ash's selfless actions in providing the ingredients for the cure, the Bulbasaur had warmed to his presence and followed after the red eyed trainer wherever he went.

But that led Ash to this moment, observing Seviper as he carefully watched over the various pokémon. Seviper had been acting strangely lately and Ash had taken the opportunity to observe the Fang Snake Pokémon whilst said pokémon was otherwise preoccupied. Ash watched as the usually grumpy snake pokémon carefully cared for the smaller pokémon, constantly using his tail to distract them from wandering too far from the village, or to stop them from hurting themselves near the water.

'As I thought' Ash concluded 'Seviper battles to get strong but only so he can protect others.'

"Seviper … can you please come over here?" Ash asked the pokémon through Aura, said pokémon was only happy to oblige.

"Yes Ash? Is there something wrong?" Seviper responded whilst he became alert to his surroundings a little more fervently.

"No Seviper … I want you to know that I've been observing you and I understand why you are so determined to get strong" Ash spoke, Seviper tensed but ultimately knew that it was pointless to deny anything.

"So you've noticed that I prefer to protect rather than to fight for fighting's sake?" Seviper responded quietly.

"Yes, I want you to know that as your Trainer, I want to make you happy, if you like I can transfer you to the Professor's Lab. You can take up the mantle of peacekeeper now that I'm gone … that way you can still hone your skills but for the reasons you want." Ash smiled softly as he offered his suggestion, Seviper would forever deny it, but the Fang Snake Pokémon actually shed a tear or two as he agreed fervently to the suggestion "Don't worry though Seviper, I promise to rotate you so that you will still travel on occasion, I won't abandon you … I swear it!"

Seviper wrapped his trainer up in a snake version of a hug but he instantly drew back when Ash nonchalantly added "Besides I saw how you looked and reacted to Ekans … you clearly wish to mate with her and I hope that she reciprocates, though your particularly strong show of power should be enough to prove that you are a worthy mate."

Seviper blushed, well as much as a snake could before bustling off to continue his vigilant watch over the younger pokémon once more. Ash pretended to not notice Bulbasaur as he talked things over with Seviper, after all, Bulbasaur wasn't doing a very good job of hiding but Ash waited patiently for the Seed Pokémon to approach.

"Why would you allow a strong pokémon like Seviper to leave your team?" the Bulbasaur asked, confusion marring his face.

"I won't force my pokémon to battle if they don't want to, besides, they can communicate with me at any time, and if they want to travel with me, I'll rotate my pokémon to suit their needs as much as my own." Ash replied easily "You know … you're a great pokémon Bulbasaur. You stayed and protected these pokémon without any regards to your own desires … I like that kind of loyalty in a pokémon. If you wish to, I offer you a place in my team and family."

Ash left the Seed Pokémon to his thoughts to check on the cured pokémon, they were still feeling weak but after witnessing Ash's actions and his team of pokémon, they were starting to question their reasons for staying in the village. They were supposed to move on once they were healed, but they grew lazy, they took advantage of Melanie's kindness and stayed. They took her focus away from the newly abandoned pokémon and they realised that their actions weren't acceptable.

Then they learned that Ash was an Aura Guardian.

He reminded them that there was a giant world out there filled with good trainers, there were bad trainers too, but not taking a step forward because of one bad trainer was a mistake, they needed to be brave and move forward and make a future for themselves. They took his words to heart and later they shared a sad but fond farewell with Melanie, when she told them of how proud she was; they knew that they were making the right choice.

Those that stayed decided to train with Ash's pokémon in order to allow Bulbasaur a chance to follow his own dreams … to be a strong Venusaur, the strongest there ever was, and with Ash, they knew that he could achieve that dream.

[I know that Bulbasaur never evolved in the original story but I've decided that he will in this story.]

Meanwhile Bulbasaur had already decided that he would leave with the Aura User and his team. He'd come to the same conclusion as the other pokémon, and he was prepared for the gruelling training that he saw the Aura User put his team through, but he could also see the happiness in their expressions as they achieved learning a new way to use their moves or when they perfected another … yes, this Aura User was the only human that he could pick to be his trainer.

Bulbasaur approached Ash while they were having their last breakfast with Melanie and the younger pokémon in her care. He walked up and simply used a vine to gesture to Ash's pokéball belt. Ash got the hint and smiled at the Seed Pokémon, the two shared a moment that would forever cement their bond as trainer and pokémon as well as friends. Bulbasaur didn't fight the capture and was genuinely happy to form an Aura bond with Ash.

Melanie was extremely happy for Bulbasaur, as were the pokémon that had decided to stay and protect the younger pokémon in his stead. Whilst Bulbasaur was making his final rounds and farewells, Ash scanned him.

[Bulbasaur: The Seed Pokémon: For some time after its birth, it grows by gaining nourishment from the seed on its back.]

[This Pokémon is male. It has the ability Overgrow and the hidden ability Chlorophyll. It knows the moves: Tackle, Growl, Leech Seed, Vine Whip, Poison Powder, Sleep Powder and Leaf Storm. It possesses the Egg Moves: Petal Dance and Sludge. Note that these egg moves are unusable until evolution.]

Ash whistled appreciatively at the move set for Bulbasaur, already planning the best way to train the Seed Pokémon. Said Seed Pokémon now stood in front of him, where Ash explained the various training methods that they could use, Bulbasaur smirked at the challenge and simply stated that he'd use them all if Ash thought it was necessary … Bulbasaur became the victim of one of Ash's infamous head rubs after that comment.

They all departed the hidden village with smiles on their faces and Ash with a new family member.

..::..

Ash and his companions were tired, it turned out that the detour to the hidden village had added several extra miles to their path towards the next Pokémon Centre. Despite the groaning, Ash took the time to call his pokémon out and train their stamina by walking with the group by foot, in order to strengthen their legs. Brock thought it was a brilliant idea and used the same method for Sandshrew, while Misty used it for Wooper. Both Brock and Misty soon discovered how far behind their pokémon were in comparison to Ash's team. Ash's team lasted five times as long as their team and they found themselves vowing to up their own pokémon's training.

They were close when Ash stopped suddenly. Brock and Misty looked to him in confusion and were instantly on edge by the contemplative look on his face … that look spelled trouble. The last time he had that look, he led them to the hidden village, where he 'forgot' to mention the traps that were scattered along the way, something that had amused Bulbasaur to no end apparently.

Nevertheless, there Ash stood, gazing intently towards an outcrop of rocks, close to a grouping of trees that appeared to house a flock of Spearow. Without any word, Ash walked towards the furthest rock and there, on top of said rock was a Charmander.

Charmander was a bipedal, reptilian Pokémon with an orange body, though its underside and soles were cream-colored. It had two small fangs visible in its upper and lower jaws and blue eyes. Its arms and legs were short with four fingers and three clawed toes. A fire burned at the tip of the Pokémon's slender tail.

This wasn't just any Charmander though; this Charmander possessed a yellow body as opposed to the original orange tint of the common Charmander. This indicated that the Charmander curled up on the rock was a Shiny Pokémon.

A Shiny Pokémon, like their name suggested, shone each time they were summoned to battle, and their colouration was always different from the common colouration, depending on the species. So in this case, instead of an Orange Charmander, this Charmander was yellow. Ash heard Brock and Misty approach, and then their gasps at spotting the unique pokémon.

"Why do you sit there Charmander?" he communicated via Aura "You appear dehydrated and your body is emaciated … if you have a trainer, then he or she is doing a terrible job."

"You know nothing Aura User" hissed the Charmander in response before his brain caught up with his mouth "Wait … an Aura User? Here in Kanto? How … odd"

Ash chuckled at the comment "Odd indeed, however I am here nonetheless no?"

"True, though I find myself curious … are you the one that was involved with the Spearow Incident near Viridian City?" Charmander enquired.

"Yes I was, in fact involved with that incident … the Spearow harmed an innocent" Ash responded "They reaped the consequences of their actions."

Charmander hummed but nodded all the same "All I know is about the incident was the whispered rumours that an Aura User had appeared in Kanto and was enforcing Arceus' Will. The Laws of the World have been ignored for far too long."

"You seem to know an awful lot about those Laws … I know that Pokémon are born with the knowledge of the Laws but rarely obey them." Ash responded with narrowed eyes "Though your thinly veiled attempt to dissuade my enquiries into your current predicament is a worthy attempt, it is also irrelevant … I wish to know why you are killing yourself by remaining on that rock."

Charmander sighed miserably "My trainer, Damian, he swore to return to me if I tested my resolve and stayed here until he came back … it has already been a week."

Ash's eyes narrowed once more "This trainer … is he a sanctioned trainer?"

At Charmander's confused look Ash immediately explained "That is to say, he has permission to be a trainer, he would require a permit and a sponsor … were you his first pokémon?"

"Yes, I was his first pokémon … I was given to him by one named after a type of tree" Charmander replied

Ash chuckled, "They all share names like that … do you mean to say the one from this region? He would be an older man with short, greying hair"

Charmander nodded to the description "Yes that fits the man's description Aura User."

Ash thought about the situation, on one hand he had a duty to care for this Charmander, but on the other hand, the Pokémon in question was there of his own free will. Sizing up the options he realised that he lacked the necessary data that he needed to make an appropriate decision.

"Very well Charmander" Ash finally spoke "I shall let you remain there, however I shall leave you food to eat. If something changes or I discover something is wrong, then I want your word that you'll obey my command to remove you from that stone and treat you at a proper medical facility."

Charmander acquiesced to the ultimatum and all but scarfed down the food given to him, he realised that the Aura User was the first human other than the old man that had given him to Damien that had actually approached him without ill intention. It actually puzzled the Lizard Pokémon; it was a completely foreign feeling to him.

Meanwhile Ash, Misty and Brock made it to the Pokémon Centre. Misty plopped down onto a chair and moaned with pleasure at sitting on a comfortable chair.

"My legs are so sore" Misty complained "I think they're going numb."

Brock laughed at the comment, but he too, showed signs of being weary as he sat next to her. They both glanced to Ash, expecting him to add his comment in but found him staring worriedly out the large, glass window of the Pokémon Centre.

"Ash, I know you're worried about Charmander" Brock spoke "But he chose to stay there on the rock waiting for his trainer's return."

Ash nodded quietly before he spun on his feet and approached Nurse Joy.

"Hello Joy" said Ash

Nurse Joy smiled at Ash "It's nice to see you again Ash. I would say that it's a surprise, but I'm afraid that Joy from Mount Moon has already advertised your journey."

Ash groaned softly, earning a giggle from the Nurse "Can I help you Ash? You know that I'm always ready to help."

"Yes, could you please check my Pokémon please?" Ash asked with a cough, it in turn worried Nurse Joy, but he reassured her that he had medicine for it and that it was getting better. Joy nodded and scanned his pokémon with her device.

"Your pokémon are in perfect health Ash" Nurse Joy chimed "Though, considering it's your team, I'm not at all surprised by it."

"Speaking of health … do you have any information regarding the Charmander located approximately a mile east of this Pokémon Centre?" Ash enquired

The question earned Ash a soft sigh from the Nurse, but she informed him that what information she had wasn't good. Apparently the Charmander had been tricked by his trainer, but as the trainer in question – Damien, had properly released Charmander, he wasn't able to be charged or arrested. The temperature in the Pokémon Centre suddenly dropped drastically as Ash started to shake with rage, though seconds later, it disappeared completely as Ash inhaled, then exhaled repeatedly. Nurse Joy recognised it as something that she and her sisters had taught him, proper breathing techniques to calm emotions and the heart.

Unfortunately, it was all for naught as a loud voice suddenly exclaimed "Wow Damien … you're the man! Look at all those pokéballs, how did you get so many?"

A horrible sounding voice replied "I'm just that good … with these pokémon; I'll dominate the Pokémon League."

Ash practically teleported to where Damien and his associates were laughing and disturbing the other trainers, Ash stopped his approach however, when the topic switched to the reason of Ash's temper.

"Hey Damien … what happened to that retarded sissy of a Charmander of yours?"

"I released the freak" Damien boasted "The little runt couldn't even beat an Oddish for Arceus' sake, so I made up some test to keep him occupied … I don't care, besides; he's probably dead by now."

Ash had heard enough and slipped into the centre of the group, it surprised them and they all fell back in shock. Ash gripped Damien's jacket and threw him like a rag doll onto the floor. His voice enhanced by Aura finally spoke "Your Pokémon is dying and you joke about it? Where is your honour Damien?"

"Y-You don't s-scare me" Damien stuttered, though the faint smell of urine coming from his pants said otherwise "And y-you can't prove a thing"

"Actually I can" Ash replied with his emotionless tone "I recorded the entire conversation with my pokédex."

Damien shivered but got up off the floor "Then I'll just take your pokédex so you can't report me."

Ash wasn't a fool, the moment Damien grew a spine, he'd already pulsed his Aura. He sensed the other two members of his crew charging him from behind and smirked at Damien.

'Judging from their speed, I predict at least one of them having formal training in defence, the second one has a heavier build so I estimate him to be the weaker of the two. Ah, the one on the left favours his left leg … old injury on his right leg perhaps? Likely conclusion based on the brief analysis: dispose of the heavier built male with a timed strike to the right leg, a downward strike will shatter the knee cap … his leg will heal, albeit painfully. The second boy will be harder to subdue, he shifts his weight evenly between the two … boxer then, brawler type though judging by his stance and the position of his arms. Most effective method of incapacitation will be his shoulders.'

The next few moments were a blur to onlookers. Ash slid his left leg behind into a spin, dodging Damien's wild swing in the process, using the spin to gain speed and power, Ash lashed out with a savage, Aura enhanced strike to the first boy's right knee cap. It shattered and the boy screamed in pain before he was brutally silenced by a follow-up strike to the stomach, the force of which slammed him into the ground.

Ash quickly leaned back to dodge the second boy, he threw his weight back and performed a back handstand, kicking the second boy in the chin, the boy staggered but recovered quickly, a testament to his training Ash thought. Ash was well aware of Damien's attempt to blindside him so while still in the handstand, Ash spun like a Hitmontop into a spinning kick that struck Damien's leg and hit the second boy in the stomach. In a show of strength, Ash pushed himself off the ground and flipped into a palm strike, one that hit the second boy in the chest and propelled him back into the wall, where Misty hit him with her mysterious mallet.

Damien pissed his pants again as Ash turned his gaze towards him "Do you know what I see when I look at you Damien?"

"Screw you … you don't know a thing about me!" Damien snarled angrily

Ash smirked viciously at the boy "Oh … is that so? Well let me see … your hair is dyed to be that hideous shade, the root colour doesn't match your eyebrow's tint. Your facial characteristics are indicative of bones that haven't healed correctly, and that is indicative of a violent upbringing, your reaction to confrontation leads me to conclude that it was likely a male figure in your life … father? No, you're father left you as a child, I can deduce that by the over compensation of your pride … a definite superiority complex tells me that you feel inadequate in real life situations because you held no power at all before becoming a trainer. Your accent is faked as your tone shifts too frequently to be genuine, that shows that you are trying to be someone other than your true self … … and finally; the revelation of your feelings of inadequacy in real life leads me to conclude that your 'testosterone filled' temper is another way you compensate for the fact that you have trouble acting out on your urges, you take that frustration out on your pokémon but that still begs the question of why? I can tell from the fear in your eyes that you want me to stop and I shall, but not before I conclude my final observation of the evidence … you are impotent, your feeling of powerlessness drives your anger and turns that urge into rage … so there you are Damien, can you now honestly say that I know nothing about you little boy."

Ash looked to continue before he was harshly slapped by a shaky Nurse Joy "That's enough Ash Ketchum!"

Ash blinked but nodded stiffly to the Nurse, he spun on his feet and stormed out of the Pokémon Centre, it was going to rain and he needed to get to Charmander. Meanwhile a stunned silent Pokémon Centre watched with baited breath as Nurse Joy contacted Officer Jenny, Damien hadn't stopped whimpering like a child, too scared to move, in case that monster came back … how did he know those things about him? Even he thought that he'd shed the truth about his childhood … that didn't matter now, it was out in the open and he was going to prison any way … the evidence recorded by that demon assured it.

Damien's last thought as Officer Jenny arrived and took him was 'At least I'm safer behind bars than out in the open … I hope to never meet or see or hear of Ash Ketchum ever again!'

Ash described the incident to Charmander, along with providing the Lizard Pokémon with the original evidence recorded on his pokédex. Poor Charmander was beside himself with despair, Ash comforted the fire type and they talked for several hours before the rain began to pour. Ash offered the exhausted fire type a place on his team, after Ash had discovered Charmander's goal of becoming the greatest Charizard to ever live. Charmander accepted easily, they performed the Aura bond and he was captured instantly without any fight.

When Ash stepped into the Pokémon Centre, he was soaked to the bone. He made no real effort to care for his predicament though, as he merely walked to Nurse Joy, offered her Charmander's pokéball and then headed towards his room, this Pokémon Centre didn't have access to the private rooms, so Ash had simply booked a double room to himself and his pokémon. He walked through his door, closed it softly and then locked it securely before he had a hot shower. He released his pokémon, fed them and then immediately went to bed.

His pokémon could feel his emotions through the bond, so the smaller pokémon jumped onto the bed and snuggled in next to him, the action provided Ash with enough supportive emotion to go to sleep.

The next morning Ash didn't feel like training, so he gave his pokémon the day off as well. He prepared their breakfast and then gave them their morning Aura Massage. As his pokémon talked amongst themselves, Ash spent some quality time with his pokémon egg, bathing it with his Aura and polishing it with tender, loving care. After he finished with his pokémon egg, he meditated to help calm his Aura and get control over his emotions once more; he wouldn't lose it like he had the day prior again. He knew that it was a hollow promise because he had the infamous Ketchum temper … it usually revealed itself when pokémon were involved but he still had it.

Feeling more in control then he had for a long time, Ash decided to leave to get human food. He returned his pokémon and unlocked the room to leave, the moment he did, he was face to face with a very angry Misty Waterflower.

"Well?" she demanded.

"Well what?" he countered.

"Do you have anything to say for yourself?" she continued. Ash spied movement and saw Brock standing to the side; leaning on the wall looking like he wanted to be elsewhere, he clearly didn't agree with Misty on whatever it was that had her so worked up.

"I have nothing to say" Ash shrugged "Is there something you want or can I please get breakfast … I used a lot of Aura this morning to meditate."

Misty did not like to be dismissed so quickly, probably due to her parents Ash realised.

"I want an apology" she roared.

"Why … did I harm you?" Ash countered.

"Well, no" she muttered.

"Did I insult you?" he pressed.

"No" Misty ground out.

"Then, in conclusion, I have nothing to apologise for" Ash resolved.

Brock looked to Ash in a curious manner; it seemed that more of the 'Old' Ash had resurfaced. His tight control of his emotion had returned and Brock sighed 'It seems that there was more to yesterday's episode than I thought.'

"Normal people apologise for showing a side of them like you did yesterday" Misty shouted, her face red "But I forgot … you're not normal are you Ash … sometimes I wonder why I put up with you and your freakish gift."

The moment she'd said it, she realised her mistake, Misty had a short fuse and it had been slowly burning for quite some time … and she'd just exploded at the one person that made her feel at peace with herself 'What have I done? I didn't even mean all that … of all the times to have one of my stupid 'speak first, think later' moments … Arceus why now and why to Ash?'

Ash stared blankly at the wall, his face shadowed by his bangs "Are you quite done Miss Waterflower?"

Misty and Brock flinched, Misty due to the empty way he'd said her name, and Brock because he could hear the tone as well.

"I need tea and food … but mostly tea" Ash stated firmly "Please excuse me Brock"

Brock stepped aside so the red eyed trainer could move down the hallway.

Ash muttered a "Thank you" before walking down the hallway in silence.

Brock watched as Ash silently went on his way. He sighed softly as he turned to face a visibly shaken Misty, he knew that she didn't mean the words that she'd spoken in anger, and Ash probably knew that too, he understood more than they could comprehend, but Ash was also emotionally stunted and didn't connect well with 'normal' people as Misty had put it. Ash had seemed detached but in truth he was pained by Misty's words … even Brock could see it on his usually impassive face.

Misty sniffled and Brock returned his attention the orange haired girl that appeared to be almost in tears "W-Why did I say t-that Brock?"

"I don't know Misty … we both know that you can blow up like that … Ash most certainly knows" Brock replied softly "But then again … he knows a lot."

The deadpanned way that Brock stated the last bit earned him a giggle from Misty.

"I should apologise" Misty spoke after a moment of silence between the two

Brock just hummed in agreement to her statement "You need to remember that Ash is emotionally stunted when it comes to human interaction … okay Misty?"

She nodded quietly before they both shuffled their way downstairs. The scene that they arrived to was a dead silent Pokémon Centre, the trainers were awkwardly navigating their way around Ash, doing their best to avoid getting too close to him … all the while Ash was calmly sipping his tea.

Though to Brock and Misty, they could see his irritation at the actions of the 'masses', they spied Nurse Joy as she made her way over and sat across from him. She was embarrassed and spoke a few words, before bowing her head slightly. Her face lit up when Ash responded with whatever he said and she left once more with a smile.

"You can come and sit down you know Brock, Miss Waterflower" Ash said out loud, it startled them but they proceeded to obey and sat across from him.

As Ash returned to sipping his cooling tea, they spotted two antibiotic capsules as opposed to the usual singular one.

"I rotated my pokémon team to make room for the newer members" Ash spoke, anticipating their thoughts "The Professor sent word to me that my doctor has doubled my medicine since my recovery is still taking its time."

"Really, your carry limit is what? 12 pokémon now right?" Brock asked

"Yes, I reached that limit when I captured Charmander last night" Ash responded blankly "I thought it best to leave a slot or two open in case I make further captures."

"Hmmm, good idea Ash" Brock replied sagely "With your current pace and tendency to catch pokémon with problems, it's also prudent to help them get comfortable with you as their new trainer."

"Indeed, I discovered that Seviper prefers to guard and protect more than to battle, so he has been sent to the Professor's Laboratory … he also wished to study Vespiquen and Bastiodon" Ash continued "I informed him that I intended to use Bastiodon for Vermillion City and he was more than happy to wait until later to study him. Vespiquen was also more than happy to be sent to the Professor."

"So that leaves you with two open slots then?" Misty finally spoke, though it was quietly

"Yes, something tells me that I will capture at least one more pokémon later and I'd rather be prepared for any eventuality" Ash replied

"Oh, I see" Misty murmured "Look, Ash I – "

"I know that the words spoken were out of anger and not at all what you intended or meant" Ash interjected "Please understand however, that I am not accustomed to the emotional, social and behavioural tendencies of normal humans. My inability to comprehend these three, apparently important traits leads me to be … difficult? Yes, difficult to get along with … I am making the effort to correct this particular fault in my personality, but I am still finding it a tedious process, trying to understand and communicate on such a … primitive level."

Misty couldn't stop the snort that escaped her at Ash's explanation. She was about to speak. But Ash wasn't finished.

"This being made relevant to the matter at hand, I am finding that it is a … challenge to break through the odd sensation that your words impacted upon me … until I have processed the data from this experience, I believe that I shall continue to remain … cross?" Ash trailed off as he thought about the last term "Brock, can you please clarify … normal people are cross, that is to say angry … when involved in a situation such as this? I'm well aware of the concept of anger, quite familiar in fact, but since this is a situation I am not familiar with, I should remain cross until I am 'over it' as a normal person would say … correct?"

Brock, despite the mood, chuckled "Yes Ash, most 'normal' people remain 'cross' until they get 'over it'.

"I see" Ash responded "Then I shall remain so until a later date, in that time please do not feel saddened by my referring to you as Miss Waterflower instead of Misty. It feels? Yes, feels appropriate considering the events."

Misty nodded in acceptance, she felt a little better now that Ash had explained it but it still saddened her to know that he was angry at her.

"We should leave once you've eaten breakfast" Ash interrupted "I will go and check on Charmander and resupply."

Brock and Misty nodded and left to get their food while Ash, true to his word, restocked his medical supplies and then proceeded to the counter where the Pokémon Centre's Chansey stood. He informed her that he wished to see Charmander and she happily led him to the allocated room.

"Good Morning Charmander" Ash greeted softly "Are you feeling any better?"

"Yes, thank you" Charmander replied with a happy tone of voice "But I know that I'll be perfectly fine when you're around!"

'Another clingy pokémon' Ash thought "That's good, I'm glad that you feel better, I wish to scan you so that I can determine an appropriately levelled training regime for you … do you mind?"

"Not at all Ash" Charmander responded.

Ash nodded and pulled out his pokédex to scan Charmander.

[Charmander: The Lizard Pokémon: The fire on the tip of its tail is a measure if its life. If healthy, its tail burns intensely.]

[This Pokémon is Male. It has the ability Blaze and the hidden ability Solar Power. It knows the moves: Growl, Scratch, Ember, Smokescreen, Dragon Claw and Dragon Rage. It possesses the egg moves: Dragon Pulse and Flare Blitz. Note that these egg moves are unusable until evolution.]

So Damien had attempted to train Charmander since Dragon Claw was taught by a Technical Machine or TM for short.

"So Damien taught you Dragon Claw via TM then?" Ash enquired thoughtfully

"Yes, but he expected the move to just 'work' … he never let me train to best utilize the move." Charmander sighed

"Very well, you should know that your move set is a brilliant starting point. I believe it would be best to hone your skills until you can perform them effortlessly. The simple act of having you master your basic moves will open the path for you to learn higher tier moves with ease upon either your evolution or your own natural ability to learn new moves. The mere fact that you can use Dragon Rage before your evolution to a Charmeleon is remarkable."

Charmander blushed under his new trainer's praise, it wasn't something he was used to after all, and he swore to himself that he'd obey Ash and serve him well. Ash smiled and reviewed his Charmander's medial sheet "You're fit to leave, but training will have to wait for a little while."

Charmander sighed sadly, but he understood. He needed to make a full recovery before he could properly train "Understood Ash."

Ash smiled and pet Charmander's head, using his knowledge of the Kanto starters to rub a pressure point that had Charmander relaxing completely under his hand's ministrations. Ash returned Charmander after a final okay from Nurse Joy, and he met his companions at the entrance.

"Let's go" he declared softly and they all proceeded down the route.

..::..

Ash leapt over the well-hidden trap, Misty and Brock however, did not. He heard the laughter that could only belong to a group of pokémon. Ash pulsed his Aura 'Water Types, five in total with one close to evolution'

"You can reveal yourselves water pokémon" Ash boomed through his Aura.

As he waited for them to realise who they'd messed with, he released Snivy and Bulbasaur and had them use Vine Whip to help Brock and Misty escape their temporary prison.

"I am in no mood for your games" Ash spoke, directing his gaze to the bushes in which they were hidden

The water types in hiding all realised that they were busted, so they leapt out of the bushes and posed dramatically, revealing them to be a gang of Squirtle, with the largest Squirtle acting as their leader.

Squirtle was a small Pokémon that resembled a light blue turtle. It had large brown eyes and a slightly hooked upper lip. Each of its hands and feet had three pointed digits and the end of its long tail curled inward. Its body was encased by a tough shell that formed and hardened after birth. This shell was brown on the top, pale yellow on the bottom, and had a thick white ridge between the two halves.

The interesting fact about this group of pokémon however, was that they were all male. That was uncommon since Squirtle were usually only led by one male, while the others were submissive to that male … these Squirtle however, were all dominating in personality. If that was the case, then their current leader was only leader because he was stronger than the others … interesting; he'd have to ponder the social ramifications of this quirk.

'So it's the leader that's close to evolution' Ash pondered, a smile making its way onto his face 'Interesting'

"You Squirtle have made the mistake of ruining my good mood" Ash commented offhandedly

The Squirtle all flinched as if struck, they knew they were in trouble … a pokémon did not simply attack an Aura User and leave unscathed, the Ancient Laws that governed their world was absolute on the matter … recompense needed to be paid for their mistake.

The Leader stepped forward; he removed his large, pointy sunglasses and bowed to Ash.

"On my honour Sir Aura Guardian, I swear that we did not intend to cause harm" the leader spoke "You can see that the shallow hole and its size negates the chance of permanent injury to those that fall victim … it was meant as a prank."

The last piece was said in a small tone of voice though, he knew for a fact that it didn't matter, prank or not; they set up the trap and it could still harm others.

"You know the Laws … unless you have just cause; you are not to harm those that aren't connected to said cause. My companions and I are most certainly not responsible for your troubles." Ash commented harshly.

The lead Squirtle nodded in understanding "In that case, I take responsibility for the actions of my squad and I."

"A noble action to be sure, but I wish to know how you intend to take responsibility" Ash countered smoothly.

The lead Squirtle actually paused in his response, how was he going to take responsibility … he didn't have much to offer in that regard. An explosion suddenly rocked the ground and Ash raised an eyebrow in question.

"The humans that live nearby belong to a mining settlement" Squirtle supplied "They've been going deeper into the nearby mountain recently by using explosives. It's the reason for our pranking … their actions forced us out of our home, as we lived in a nearby cave until they started to blow up the mountain."

"I see, and have you tried to peacefully resolve this?" Ash enquired

The leader shook his head exasperatedly "No, every time one of those humans spot us, they attempt to capture us. Of the five of us, I'm the strongest and the only one that enjoys a good battle. The others fight to protect them and theirs but I fight to defend them as well, it is my job as leader to protect my subordinates no?"

"Indeed" Ash replied "I propose a compromise … you wish to have a safe place to call home, somewhere where you will have regular meals and can be guaranteed sanctuary?"

"Yes, more than you can possibly imagine" Squirtle instantly replied. He turned to the other four and spoke with them briefly before turning back to Ash "We are prepared to hear your proposal, we owe you that much."

"Very well, I propose that I capture you all" Ash returned, he cut off their protests by continuing "Think about it before you decline … if I were to capture you, then you can't be forced into another's service. You'd receive regular meals from a place I'm sure you're familiar with: Professor Oak's Laboratory. I don't force my pokémon to battle, if you wish to, then by all means, I'll be more than happy to add you to my team's roster and train you to be the best."

The group of Squirtle pondered his words carefully, it sounded like a good deal. The leader added two further conditions though "We will agree to your offer on two conditions … these conditions are non-negotiable."

"They are?" he asked

"I will battle with you, I wish to be strong. The conditions are these; one – the other four won't battle … at all. The second condition is that we don't get separated, no trading, no transfers etc. etc." the Squirtle's leader stated seriously.

"I agree to your stipulations" Ash responded "Though you should be aware that my training will not be easy … I expect nothing but your best."

The lead Squirtle smirked confidently "Bring on your training Aura User … the deal is acceptable … capture us now and get this over with."

Ash nodded and took out his pokéballs, he caught them one by one, much to the shock of Misty and Brock, as they'd only just recovered from the pit that they'd climbed out of with Snivy and Bulbasaur's aid. The duo were still awed by Ash's ability to communicate so freely to pokémon … truth be told they were slightly jealous, but knew that Ash would explain the circumstances later.

Ash finished catching the Squirtle and used his pokédex to identify the Squirtle being sent to the Professor's Laboratory, making sure to keep the Squirtle leader in his party. He decided to leave his last spot open … just in case. He formed the Aura bond and then scanned his newest team member.

[Squirtle: The Tiny Turtle Pokémon: It shelters itself in its shell, and then strikes back with spouts of water at every opportunity.]

[This Pokémon is Male. It has the ability Torrent and the hidden ability Rain Dish. It knows the moves: Tackle, Bubble, Withdraw, Water Gun, Aqua Jet and Bite. It possesses the egg move: Muddy Water. Note that this egg move is unusable until evolution.]

"Well, that sorts that out" Ash commented 'And I just added a potential power house to the family. With access to one of his egg move Aqua Jet and the possibility of unlocking Muddy Water upon what I estimate to be his final evolution into Blastoise, his potential is incredible. He relayed that through the bond and was pleased to know that, like his other pokémon, he was humbled by the praise … it meant that his pokémon were well behaved and not at all arrogant.

He proceeded to explain the conversation and how he became the owner of five Squirtle. He knew that the Professor would freak out … Squirtle were rare as were the other Kanto Starter Pokémon. The chances of meeting either three out in the wild was nigh-impossible.

Ash returned Snivy and Bulbasuar and then took a deep breath "We should continue on … we need to at least reach the halfway mark on the map."

Brock straightened his back "Good point, we can talk about this later"

Misty nodded her agreement and they started to walk down the route, their goal: Vermillion City.

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