Road to a Master

What if Delia had stepped in and made sure that Ash was prepared for his journey? After all, what kind of woman will allow her only son to travel a dangerous world ill-prepared? Smarter Ash, more prepared Ash. A mix of the games and the anime. WARNING - Chapter 5 is M-Rated for violence and mentions of rape.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11863977/1/Road-to-a-Master

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4. Cascade Part 1

Ten days have passed since Ash beat Brock to win his first badge. Ash and Brock had an amicable discussion on Pokemon in the Pokemon Centre while they were waiting for their pokemon to heal. It turns out that Brock never wanted to be a Gym Leader, but wanted to be a Breeder. He was, however, forced to become one as his father abandoned him and his siblings to pursue his dream of becoming a master of rock-type pokemon.

Ash had empathized with Brock's plight since his father had also left him and his mother to become a pokemon master and had never returned. His mother had to give up her dreams to take care of Ash and Ash knew that he could never repay his mother for everything she had done for him.

Other than bonding over their similar abandonment issues, Ash also asked Brock for tips on how to better raise his Pokemon. Since Brock was not only a Gym Leader but also an aspiring Breeder, he would be extremely knowledgeable in taking care of and raising all types of Pokemon. According to Brock, Ash had done a good job in setting the foundation for all of his Pokemon. Now, he had to work on increasing the power behind his pokemon's moves. He also had to start letting his pokemon fight independently with Ash guiding them, instead of commanding their every move.

And Ash had taken the advice to heart and started training his pokemon accordingly. To help increase the power behind their moves, Ash had them use their attacks repeatedly till they got tired. Their special attacks were like a muscle, they became stronger the more they used them. Not only would this increase the power behind their current attacks, it would also train their bodies to learn more powerful attacks.

The rest of their training proceeded as before. After ten days, Flabebe was close to mastering Magical Leaf. She was able to produce the leaves and guide them to her target. The only thing she needed to work on was the number of leaves she produced and the strength behind the attack. The confidence boost she got from her Gym Battle was rather telling as she started to breeze past her opponents in battles. Her tail had started to expand outwards and her ears started to grow bigger, a sign that she was close to evolving. Ash was quite excited to see that, it would be the first time one of his pokemon evolved.

Dratini had mastered Dragon Rage and was starting to show why dragon-type pokemon are revered in the pokemon world. Very few pokemon were strong enough to still be conscious once hit by Dratini's Dragon Rage, and the ones that managed to do so were too injured to fight for much longer. Ash decided to increase Dratini's versatility by having him start learning Thundershock from Pikachu. Ash was hopeful that it would not take too long since Dratini knew how to conduct electrical energy, already knowing Thunder Wave.

Ash had Pikachu start learning Spark, which was, essentially, an electrified Tackle attack. Pikachu charged his opponents while covering his body with a layer of electric energy. It was proving to be difficult for Pikachu so far as till now, Pikachu used electric attacks while standing in one place. Now, he had to concentrate on two things, the first being to charge at the opponent with a Tackle attack and the second being to release a continuous stream of electrical energy while doing so. While struggling right now, Ash was sure that it would not take Pikachu long to master this move. These ten days had allowed him to learn the basics, now he just had to keep practicing till he got it down. Anyway, this move is a must for Pikachu to master as it would provide the basis for learning his egg move, Volt Tackle, later on.

Eevee was still stuck with Shadow Ball and was getting frustrated with each passing training session. While she could successfully isolate ghostly energy in the atmosphere, she still could not control it enough to produce a ball bigger than a tennis ball. Any larger and the ball would destabilize and explode in Eevee's face. The only good part was that since Eevee was a normal-type, she was immune to ghostly energy, and thus, the destabilized ball never hurt her.

As a result of the failed training sessions, Eevee was getting more and more upset. Ash was always there to cheer her up after the training session, but even he could see that it was working less and less every day. To compensate, Ash had her battling more, but her lack of any noticeable progress in learning Shadow Ball was affecting her confidence to such an extent that she started losing battles that she should have won. She started trying too hard resulting in her making silly mistakes leading to a loss. And each loss had a compounding effect on her general mindset making her lose more matches. Ash was just not sure what to do to help her. He resolved to let Eevee work out what to do herself while he supports her the best he can. If it continues after two weeks, the estimated time it would take him to reach Cerulean City and win his second badge, he would have to force her to stop learning this attack and move on.

Ash was harshly brought out of his reverie by an electric shock going through his body. It was not powerful enough to hurt or even paralyze him, but it made every hair on his body stand up. He turned to Pikachu on his shoulder and gave him an annoyed glare as the mouse pokemon snickered at Ash.

"What?" he asked irritably. Don't get him wrong, he knew it was a prank, but who did not get annoyed after receiving an electric shock?

"Pika Pika!" replied his starter as he pointed ahead.

Ash turned to see what Pikachu was pointing at, and was awed by the site of a huge mountain jutting out above the trees. The peak extended till the clouds in the sky and the entire view looked magnificent. Being from a small town like Pallet, Ash had never seen mountains, let alone such a huge one. And it seems like Pikachu had not either, as they both stared at the mountain with a spellbound look.

Ash quickly released the rest of his pokemon so that they could also see the site for themselves. Living a sheltered life in the Safari Zone, Ash was sure they too would love to take in this site. Once released, they all looked around for opposing pokemon to battle before looking at Ash with an inquisitive look on their faces. Ash just shook his head to let them know that there was no imminent battle taking place.

On receiving confirmation that there was no imminent battle, they did what they always do. Flabebe zoomed away to look at her surroundings inquisitively and Dratini settled down near Ash content on keeping an eye on the ever curious Flabebe. He had taken the role of watching over the rest of the members in his accepted family, especially after learning Dragon Rage and becoming a more powerful battler. Ash didn't know why Dratini did this, he just assumed it was a trait of the Dratini family.

Eevee on the other hand jumped up and settled in Ash's hands and barked, "Vee, Eevee!" letting Ash know her intentions. She wanted to be petted and pampered. Ash really thought that she was too pampered at times. Ash got the attention of his pokemon while softly petting Eevee's head.

"Look at that guys," he said while pointing at the mountain a little further away. "That is Mt. Moon. We will be reaching there in an hour or so and will be crossing that to reach Cerulean City. It looks amazing doesn't it?" he asked to receive a general cry of approval from his pokemon. After basking in the glory of the huge mountain, Ash withdrew his pokemon and continued on to Mt. Moon.

About an hour later, Ash saw the Pokemon Centre that was at the base of Mt. Moon. It was set up so that trainers could heal their pokemon before starting their journey in Mt. Moon. While the path to Cerulean City was small and mapped out, Mt. Moon itself was huge and filled with powerful Pokemon. While Ash would love to explore the mountain, he knew that his Pokemon were too weak right now to go up against the more powerful pokemon in the area. Ash resolved to come back to this place after winning a few badges to thoroughly explore the area.

As Ash was closing in on the Pokemon Centre, he heard his name being called. He turned around to see Jonathan waving at him.

"Hey, Jonathan!" Ash exclaimed as his childhood friend caught up to him. "How are you? What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be close to Cerulean City by now?"

"Hey, Ash," Jonathan replied. "I'm good. I decided to stop and train before the first gym battle since Charmander is weak to rock-type pokemon. I'm guessing you did the same considering your starter is Pikachu?"

"Hahaha, yep. And it was so worth it when I got my first badge!"

"Oh, so you won the badge as well? Awesome! Seems like we are at the same stage in our journey then, but I'm just better than you," said Jonathan with a grin on his face.

"Oh, yeah!" said Ash as he too replied with a grin on his face as he saw where Jonathan was going with this. "Care to prove that?"

"Anytime! How about a three-on-three battle? It will be good practice for our upcoming gym battle."

"You're on! Be ready to eat your words, Jonathan. You're going down!"

The beginning gym battles were meant to prepare you for future gym battles. So while the battles started off with two-on-two battles, they then became three-on-three battles and finally the third gym is a four-on-four battle, similar to the remaining gym battles, but with weaker pokemon. Since Ash and Jonathan were challenging for the second gym badge, they both would be up against a three-on-three battle and as Jonathan said, it would be good practice for the upcoming gym challenge.

Ash and Jonathan separated to start the battle. While Jonathan threw the pokeball containing his first Pokemon, Ash asked Pikachu to battle. Out of Jonathan's pokeball came an avian pokemon covered in brown feathers. It had a pinkish-red coloured crest and an alternating set of red and yellow coloured feathers at its tail. A Pidgeotto, the evolved form of Pidgey.

"You're starting with Pikachu?" questioned a surprised Jonathan. "Damn," he cursed. "Come on Pidgeotto. Even if they have the type advantage, we can win! Let's start with Quick Attack!"

"Thundershock," replied Ash calmly.

Pidgeotto dived down towards Pikachu in a streak of light which he dodged with ease, using his own Quick Attack. He sent a bolt of electricity at Pidgeotto who flew high into the air to avoid the attack. Pidgeotto angled towards Pikachu again but it was for naught as he was faster than the bird pokemon and was dodging the Quick Attacks with ease. He didn't counter with Thundershock for he knew that Pidgeotto would just fly out of the way of the attack again.

Ash frowned as he came to the same conclusion as his starter. His frown deepened as realised that this was a ploy by Jonathan to tire out Pikachu, for even he knew that unless Ash and Pikachu made a mistake, the first round would go to Ash. Not wanting the match to drag on further, Ash decided to take the initiative in the battle for the first time.

"Get ready to evade. Angle the landing on your opponent's back. Shock it," he commanded. He deliberately worked on using one word instructions so that his opponents had a lesser idea about what his plans were and could not come up with an effective counter. Of course, he had spent time making sure his Pokemon understood his one-word instructions.

Evade was code for dodging by jumping into the air, whether by use of tail or Vines or anything else. And that is what Pikachu did as he used his tail as a springboard and landed on Pidgeotto's back. As both trainer and Pokemon let out a surprised sound at what Pikachu did, Pikachu had already charged a powerful Thundershock and sent it at the bird pokemon. Pidgeotto let out a pained scream as it was electrocuted and fell down unconscious a few seconds later, not able to contend with the super effective move.

"Pidgeotto!" Jonathan screamed as he immediately withdrew him back into the pokeball. "Get some rest, I'll take you to the pokemon centre as soon as we are done here." He then turned his attention to Ash and said, "Your Pikachu is strong. To be able to take out my Pidgeotto with one attack is amazing. No electric pokemon has been able to do that till now."

"Thanks," grinned Ash. "We trained hard."

"I can tell. This is turning out to be more fun than I thought. Let's do this, Nidoran!" with that, Jonathan released a pink-coloured rodent type pokemon. Its horn and its ears were slightly bigger than average, and the purple patches on its skin showed that it was close to evolution, something Ash commented on.

"Your Nidoran looks on the cusp of evolving. How much did you train it?" Ash was slightly questioning his training methods considering that Jonathan's Pidgey had already evolved and Nidoran was close to doing so. Going by this evidence, Ash was sure that his Charmander was close to evolving or had evolved as well. Here, only one of Ash's pokemon was close to evolving. And his Eevee was struggling. So Ash was second guessing his abilities.

"Yep," came the flippant reply from Jonathan. "The second gym is of water-type pokemon. Charmander will be at a huge disadvantage here. So I'm training Nidoran and Pidgey as much as I can so that they can get a victory for me."

"Hmm," Ash hummed in reply.

"Let's start, shall we? Nidoran, Poison Sting!"

"Use Iron Tail to block the attack. Follow it with Thundershock." The thin pencil-shaped strings of light bounced harmlessly off Pikachu's tail after which he sent a powerful bolt of electricity at the Nidoran. The Nidoran was aware enough of his environment to dodge the attack without any prompting from a shell-shocked Jonathan.

"Hey! What the hell! Why is your Pikachu not poisoned?" he cried out.

"Umm, you do remember that poison-type attacks do not affect steel, right?"

"Oh, ohh…." Jonathan rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

"Yeah," Ash smirked. "Pikachu, stun it."

"Dodge whatever it is and use Tackle," shouted Jonathan having learnt from the previous battle to take Ash's cryptic commands seriously. And it was a good thing too as stun was a code word for using Thunder Wave. Nidoran nimbly dodged the Thunder Wave and charged at Pikachu with its full speed.

"Dodge it Pikachu. Do NOT get hit by the Nidoran as even a slight touch is enough for you to get poisoned!" Ash exclaimed. Pikachu heeded his trainer's advice as it went into a burst of speed, leaving a yellow flash, and avoided the attack.

"Quick Tail," Ash called out. Quick Tail was basically an amalgamation of Quick Attack and Iron Tail, where his pokemon used the speed generated by Quick Attack to hit harder.

"Meet it with Double Kick!"

Both Pokemon jumped into the air to use their moves. One's tail glowed silver while the other's feet shone brightly as both Pokemon crashed into each other. The impact was great as both of them flew back with a cry of pain and collided harshly with the floor. It was obvious that both Pokemon took damage from that collision as they shakily got back onto their feet. Unfortunately for Ash and Pikachu, Nidoran made it to his feet first.

"Awesome, Nidoran! Now's our chance! Use Poison Sting!" shouted an exuberant Jonathan as he sensed a shift in the momentum of the battle. By the time Pikachu regained his bearings from the collision, numerous needle-shaped streams of energy full of poison struck him all over his body.

"Pikaaa," Pikachu shouted in pain as he glowed a slight purple signifying that he had been poisoned.

"Alright! Great job, Nidoran! Let's finish this. Full powered Tackle attack!"

"Blind spot! Electro Ball. If it is still conscious, shock it," Ash commanded a bit forcefully as he realised the severity of the situation. Pikachu now had a race against time, considering that he was poisoned. Pikachu quickly regained his bearings as he saw Nidoran approach him. Blind spot was a command for using Quick Attack and using the speed to go behind the opponent and attacking from their 'blind spot' so that they had lesser time to react. And that is what happened as by the time Nidoran realised what happened and turned around to face Pikachu, a circular orb of electric energy slammed into him.

Nidoran screamed in pain due to the powerful attack, but had no time to recover as he was hit by a powerful bolt of electricity. The Thundershock was powerful enough to finish the fight as Nidoran fell down with swirls in his eyes.

"Nidoran!" shouted Jonathan as he fumbled around for a pokeball. "You did great buddy. Return." Turning to Ash, he continued, "Wow, Ash. That Pikachu of yours is turning out to be even more powerful than I thought. But let's see how he fares against my starter. Go, Charmander!"

Out came a bipedal reptilian pokemon that was primarily orange-coloured but had patches of crimson on its body showing that Ash's earlier assumption that it was close to evolving was correct.

"Be careful, Charmander! That Pikachu is powerful and has already taken out Pidgeotto and Nidoran," cautioned Jonathan getting a grunt of acknowledgement from his starter.

"You okay to continue Pikachu, or do you want to rest and sit this one out? You've done enough already and the poison must be hurting you," Ash asked his starter in concern.

"Pika Pi," came the immediate reply from Pikachu as he affirmed his choice to fight.

"Alright, Pikachu, if you say so! Then let's start this with Electro Ball!"

"Counter with an Ember barrage. Don't let it get a moment's rest, Charmander. It's already poisoned."

The orb of electricity sent by Pikachu was hit by a small ball of flame that immediately destabilized the attack causing it blow up midway. The barrage of flames continued on towards Pikachu who immediately started dodging the attacks that flowed him wherever he went. Ash frowned as he realized that Pikachu could not keep dodging forever as the poison will cause him to stop at any time.

"Quick Tail!"

As Pikachu picked up the pace and his tail started glowing brightly, Jonathan countered, "Block it with Metal Claw!"

The hard-as-steel tail collided with the hard-like-steel claws of Charmander causing both pokemon to go into a stalemate as they tried overpowering each other unsuccessfully. Suddenly, Pikachu's cheeks started sparking which was the only warning Charmander got as it was struck by a Thundershock causing him to cry out in pain as it was sent stumbling backwards.

"Awesome, Pikachu! Let's finish this with an Electro Ball!" Ash cheered. However, before Pikachu could begin charging the move, he grimaced in pain as poison shot through his body again before he suddenly fell down, clearly unconscious, the poison taking a toll on his body. "Pikachu!" Ash cried out as he ran to his starter and picked him up. He quickly went back to his backpack as he gave him a Full Heal, and commented, "You were absolutely brilliant, Pikachu. You managed to defeat two of his Pokemon that were very well trained and even managed to land a blow on his third. I could not have asked more from you. Get some rest, buddy. You deserve it."

"Pika, Pikachu," came the murmured reply from his starter as he quickly fell asleep. Ash smiled as he petted Pikachu on his head before turning back to the battlefield. He tossed the pokeball onto the makeshift battlefield as he said, "Let's do this. Your opponent is already weak." In a flash of light, Eevee stood on ready to fight.

"Eevee, huh? Interesting. Ember barrage!"

"Quick Attack!"

In a streak of white, Eevee disappeared, dodging the numerous balls of fire shooting towards him, as he tackled Charmander at full speed. Charmander just growled as he kept getting hit from all sides by Eevee darting around. It kept shooting bursts of fire and tried to hit Eevee with its Metal Claw, but Eevee was too fast, too nimble as it kept whittling away at Charmander.

"You're doing great, Eevee," Ash encouraged. "Keep at it." Eevee needed the boost and she needed this win desperately, considering her recent slump in matches.

"Charmander, you have to get out of there!" Jonathan exclaimed. If this continued, Charmander wouldn't last long as it had already taken some damage from Pikachu. Jonathan was starting to lose hope after a few more seconds of this continuing before Charmander let out a roar and the flame on its tail started growing hotter and started turning white. It rose a few inches as Charmander activated Blaze, an ability of some fire-type pokemon where their fire attacks became much more powerful.

"Eevee, get out of there!" Ash exclaimed as he finally realised what was going on since this is the first time he had seen a Pokemon entering Blaze, but it was too late as Charmander surrounded itself in a huge circle of flame that finally managed to impact Eevee, who was sent flying back in pain.

"Woohoo! Way to go Charmander! Finish this with Ember!"

"Evade!" Ash shouted frantically, but it was for naught as Ash laid witness to the effects of blaze. What was first a tennis-ball sized burst of fire was now the size of a truck as it barrelled towards poor Eevee who was a sitting duck for that attack.

"Return," Ash shouted as he managed to return Eevee safely to her pokeball before she got damaged from that powerful Ember attack, as Charmander roared victoriously. "You did well, Eevee," Ash tried to reassure her. "You had Charmander on the ropes and would have won if not for the sudden activation of Blaze. I'm proud of you, Eevee. That Charmander was powerful, on the cusp of evolving. You are stronger than you realize." With that, he put her pokeball back on his belt, not knowing that Eevee had gotten a tiny boost of confidence from that. The thought that she was not a weakling like she had started to think of herself over the last week was planted in her mind.

Ash turned to Jonathan and grimaced. "Okay, I did not expect that. I thought Eevee had that for sure."

"So did I. But Charmander was awesome!" Jonathan grinned in reply. "It looked doubtful that Charmander would be able to beat three of your pokemon considering how powerful your Pikachu was and how Eevee was defeating him, but with Blaze, I'm sure that I will be winning this," he boasted.

"Oh, don't get ahead of yourself. This match is far from over. I'm still confident in my victory. Let's do this." With that, Ash tossed out Dratini's pokeball. He chose Dratini over Flabebe as all of Flabebe's grass-type attacks would be burnt out by Charmander's Blaze, leaving only Fairy Wind. Ash made a mental note to increase Flabebe's versatility so that this never happens again.

"What the fuck!" exclaimed Jonathan. "Where did you catch a Dratini? How? When? What?" Ash loved the reactions he got from people when he sent out Dratini on to battle. Their flabbergasted expressions were so worth recording and Ash did just that as he used the camera feature of the PokeNav to take Jonathan's photo. He would so circulate that to everyone back home!

He put aside his PokeNav and decided to get serious. "Dratini, be careful of the Charmander's flames. They are hotter than they normally are."

Jonathan shook his head comically as he tried regaining his bearings. "Even if you have a Dratini, Charmander will defeat it. Charmander, use your Ember again and finish this match."

"The same trick won't work twice!" Ash exclaimed as Dratini used his dexterity to dodge the towering ball of flame. "Let's finish this match, Dratini. Dragon Rage." An equally large attack, this time made of draconic energy struck Charmander who was too tired to move. Charmander was damaged enough that another attack should have been powerful enough to take it down, but since Dragon Rage is such a powerful move, the result was a foregone conclusion as Charmander emerged from the powerful shockwave with swirls in its eyes.

"It seems like I need to work harder," said a dejected Jonathan as he withdrew his Charmander. "You've trained your pokemon well, Ash. If not for Pikachu getting poisoned or the sudden activation of Blaze, I don't think my pokemon would have been able to beat a single one of yours."

"Hehe, thanks." Ash muttered as he rubbed the back of his head nervously. Praise never sat well with him. "But my Pokemon deserve all the credit. They've done all the hard work."

"That's not true! My pokemon work hard as well, but I think that I have not trained them properly. I had grown complacent. But I've realised that now. And things will change. And next time we meet, it will be I who will beat you!"

"We will see," smirked Ash as he was lovingly petting Dratini's head as he was cooing in contentment. "Come, let's get our Pokemon healed." With that, both childhood friends started walking to the pokemon centre.

XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX

Ash had just finished a conversation with his mother when Nurse Joy announced on the speaker that his Pokemon were fully healed. Jonathan had already taken his pokemon and left, saying that he intended to cross Mt. Moon and train for the upcoming gym. It turns out that a Pokemon takes longer to heal if it has been poisoned which is why it took longer for Ash's Pokemon to heal.

Ash wasted no time in collecting his Pokemon. He wanted to cross Mt. Moon today, and it was already afternoon. He released Pikachu, whom he had put in his pokeball to be in stasis till he was healed, while clipping the rest of his pokeballs on his belt.

"Hey, buddy. How are you feeling?" he asked Pikachu as the mouse pokemon bounded up his shoulder.

"Pika Pi! Pi Pikachu!" he exclaimed happily.

"Good to hear that. You were excellent in the fight today. You deserve a treat for that," Ash smirked.

"Pikaaa," came the shouted exclamation from his starter as he anticipated getting his favourite treat.

"Yes, Pikachu," Ash said in good humour. "You'll get ketchup with dinner tonight." Ash had discovered this crazy quirk in his starter a while back when they had eaten food in a restaurant in Pewter City to commemorate their first gym badge. Pikachu LOVED ketchup. He could guzzle down an entire bottle of ketchup at a time. After that, Pikachu had begged Ash for more ketchup every time he could, but Ash always stood firm. Ketchup was not healthy, so Pikachu was restricted to having ketchup once in a while. Which explained Pikachu's over the top celebration as he literally started twirling around like a ballerina in celebration to having his favourite food, causing Ash to sweatdrop.

"Alright, buddy," Ash stopped any future celebrations from the tiny mouse-pokemon. "We need to get going." Ash shook his head at Pikachu as he continued dancing around as they left the pokemon centre, Ash waving a goodbye to the kind Nurse Joy.

Mt. Moon was a quiet place. The League had dug tunnels through the mountain to make a path for trainers to reach from Pewter City to Cerulean City. Ash and Pikachu were looking around the place in awe, having never been in the inside of the mountain. Stalagmites and stalactites littered the place. Lights were put up at the top of the tunnel sporadically to make sure that trainers didn't lose their way. They shined on the boulders that were visible everywhere, making them shine as if covered by moss.

Once Ash got over the excitement of being in a new place, he realised something was wrong. Mt. Moon was the home of a multitude of pokemon, and while all of them were not visible to trainers who took the main path from Pewter City to Cerulean City, enough were visible to stand out. In particular, the path was supposed to be full of Geodudes and Zubats, but they were not visible anywhere. In fact, Ash could not hear the high pitched sound that Zubats make as a means of travelling, something that should be obvious in a place that is home to entire colonies of Zubat.

"Be careful, Pikachu. Something is not right here," Ash warned his starter.

"Pika, Pika," Pikachu nodded in agreement.

Ten minutes were spent walking in a similar, cautious way when they came across the source of the trouble in the cave. And trouble it was in the form of a man and a woman. The woman had long, red hair while the male had blue-coloured hair. In the middle of the duo was a Meowth standing on its legs. As soon as they saw Ash, they started…singing?

"Prepare for trouble," started the woman.

"And make it double," continued the man.

However, before they could continue further, Ash took a glimpse at their t-shirts which had a bright R printed in bold on it.

"Hold on, you're Team Rocket. What the fuck are you guys doing here?"

"Oh, so the brat recognizes us?" taunted the woman.

"This makes it easier for us," continued the man. 'Seriously, do they always complete each other's sentences? This is creepy,' thought Ash.

"Since you know who we are, you know what we can do." This was the woman.

"Give us all your pokemon, and we won't hurt you." Again, the man finished the statement. 'Creepy. Wait, what did he just say?' thought Ash. 'He did not just say that he wants me to give them my pokemon!' there were generally very few things that pissed Ash off. Pokemon thieves was one of them.

"Like hell I'll give you my pokemon! Go fuck yourselves!" Ash shouted indignantly.

"We can do this the easy way," started the woman.

"Or we can do this the hard way," finished the man. 'Seriously, what is with the twin speak. It is starting to get annoying!'

Both members of Team Rocket released their pokemon as they finished their last statement. The woman released a purple, serpentine pokemon with a large mouth. The other pokemon released was spherical, with vacant eyes. This pokemon also had a large mouth and had several crater-like protrusions that were releasing a yellowish gas.

Ekans and Koffing, two poison-type pokemon native to Kanto.

"Pikachu, you up for it?" he asked his starter. In response, Pikachu got into a fighting stance, his cheeks sparking. Ash palmed another pokeball and pressed the release button, sending out Eevee.

"Vee?" asked a curious Eevee on seeing Pikachu already in a battle stance.

"This is Team Rocket, Eevee. You remember me telling you about them?" asked Ash. He had spent some time explaining to each of his pokemon about Team Rocket and the dangers they pose, not only to humans but to pokemon as well. All his pokemon were justifiably horrified and angry when Ash told them some of the things Team Rocket was said to have done to the pokemon they had kidnapped.

On seeing Eevee's expression change from curious to ferocious, Ash continued. "They want to steal you guys from me. This is one battle that we cannot afford to lose. Eevee, Pikachu, go all out. Destroy them." Ash exclaimed angrily.

"Look at that," the woman laughed.

"The brat thinks that he can defeat us."

"Let's show him how wrong he is!" The Meowth finished.

Ash, Pikachu, and Eevee blinked in surprise. A talking pokemon? The hell? They were brought out of their shock by the duo giving commands to their pokemon.

"Ekans, use Poison Sting on that Eevee."

"Koffing, use Smog on that Pikachu."

"Quick Tail," Ash calmly countered.

Both Pikachu and Eevee shot forward in streaks of light, easily dodging the attacks sent at them. Their tails glowed silver as they slammed into the poison-type pokemon, sending them careening back in pain.

"What the hell? Ekans! Shake it off, and use Bite," shouted the enraged woman.

"This brat may have some talent. Better for us when we steal his pokemon though! Koffing, use Tackle!"

Again, their attacks failed and the result was the same as the last time as both poison-type pokemon were batted aside by twin glowing tails. Meowth took out his claws and pointed them at Ash's pokemon, and said, "If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself!" with that, he charged at Pikachu at an extremely slow pace.

"Let's finish this. Eevee, use Helping Hand on Pikachu. Pikachu, take the boost and shock them!" A multi-coloured energy came out of Eevee and went into Pikachu, who shouted his name and send out three bolts of electricity at each of the opposing pokemon who shouted in pain before falling unconscious.

"What the hell?" shouted the woman.

"This brat is too powerful!" exclaimed the man.

"We need to get out of here!" They finished in sync.

"Where do you guys think you are going?" Asked an angry Ash. "You think you can come here, threaten to steal my pokemon, and just leave? You must be out of your mind! Pikachu, paralyze them!"

A thin stream of electrical energy went from Pikachu and struck the two humans, who immediately collapsed. They twitched as electricity coursed through their bodies. While Ash was normally against having pokemon attack humans, once you threatened his pokemon, all bets are off. Ash called out Flabebe and had her use Vine Whip to tie up the Team Rocket members. He also took their pokeballs and put them in his bag, not willing to take any chances.

Once he was sure that the Team Rocket members were secure, he found an alcove to hide in. When he was sure that he was relatively safe and his pokemon would alert him to any incoming threats, he took out his PokeNav and looked up a number and clicked on the video call feature. He took a moment to thank Mew that there was enough network deep inside the tunnel to make a call as the call was answered and a holographic screen popped up in front of Ash, showing the smiling visage of the person Ash had worked so hard to defeat ten days ago.

"Hey, Ash. I didn't expect you to call so soon," Brock started cheerfully. He was about to continue in a similar vein when he saw Ash's unusually serious expression. "What happened? I can tell from your expression that something is wrong."

"Sorry to disturb you, Brock. I didn't know who else to call though. I came across a situation here, and I do not know what to do."

"What is it? Tell me." Brock's face was as stern and hard as the pokemon he specializes in. Ash nodded in reassurance and started telling him everything he had seen since entering the cave from the lack of wild pokemon to the battle against the Team Rocket members.

"I'm afraid that the disappearance of the wild pokemon is related to the presence of Team Rocket here. And the two members I faced are amongst the lower barrel of grunts as they are hardly worth talking about. I know all this is conjecture on my part, but if it is even remotely true, then..."

"Don't worry, Ash." Brock reassured him. "You've done the right thing. Go back to the pokemon centre and leave this to me. I'll speak to Lance and we will decide our move. But we'll be there in half an hour at most, that I can assure you."

"I can't do that, Brock!" Ash exclaimed. "I'm going to check this out and try to help!"

"Don't be stupid, Ash!" Brock cut in once again, his face showing the disapproval his voice was not. "You have heard the stories of what Team Rocket can do, and these stories are just the milder ones released to the general public. You have no idea what they are capable of, this is way out of your league. Just go back, Ash."

"I can't! One of my closest friends left for Mt. Moon a few minutes before I did. I have to see what happened to him."

"Do not! Leave it to us. We will be reaching there soon. Let us do what we are known for. We will save him!"

"I can't wait that long." Ash shook his head. "Who knows what will happen to him in that time? My pokemon will protect me."

"Your pokemon are nowhere strong enough to do this, Ash." Brock warned him. "They'll be slaughtered."

"They won't. I'm confident in them. And even if they do, I can distract them long enough for you guys to show up."

"Pika, Pika," shouted Pikachu as he got Ash's attention. He pointed at the end of the tunnel where voices could be heard from.

"I've got to go, Brock. Someone is coming."

"Wait, Ash." Brock tried to reason with Ash some more, but Ash had already cut the call. Brock cursed and immediately called Lance to inform him of what was going on in Mt. Moon.

Meanwhile, Ash had shut his PokeNav, fearing that Brock's voice would alert the incoming people to Ash's presence. Ash's pokemon huddled together near Ash to avoid detection. Their paranoia payed off as another member from Team Rocket came strolling in.

"Where have those two idiots run off to? I swear, if they're doing something stupid, I will personally whip their asses." He muttered as he passed by the area where Ash and his pokemon stood, huddled together. The Team Rocket member continued to mutter expletives under his breath as he voiced out what he would do to 'those idiots.' Ash breathed a sigh of relief as the Team Rocket member disappeared from view.

He sat down, trying to think of a plan. While he may have told Brock that he is confident in his pokemon, he was not stupid enough to charge in blindly. He needed information, not only for himself, but to pass onto Brock when he came here with reinforcements. An idea came to his mind and even he acknowledged that it is extremely dangerous. He turned to Flabebe and said, "Flabebe. I have an idea, but it is extremely dangerous. Tell me if you think you can't do it, no one will think less of you if you." He tried to reassure the fairy.

"Bebe!" she replied, wanting to go through with Ash's plan. All his pokemon knew off Team Rocket and shared the hatred for the criminal organization. Ash, because of his love for pokemon. The very thought of what Team Rocket did to pokemon made his heart pound and grit his teeth in anger. As for his pokemon, Ash told them about what the organization did to kidnapped pokemon. Their hearts went out for the pokemon and a hatred grew in them because of the atrocities committed on their kin. So, Flabebe wanted to do her part in foiling one of their plans.

"Alright, here it is. You can say no if you want to," Ash stressed again. He really was not confident in his plan. "When the Team Rocket member returns after not finding these two," here, Ash pointed at the two people he had beaten some time back, "I want you to leave your flower and hide on that person's body. Go to their base and find out what is going on. Can you do that?"

"Fla! Flabebe!" she nodded uncertainly. Flabebe are very attached to their flower and are very reluctant to leave it. But she could understand Ash's point. Going with the flower would make it difficult for her to be inconspicuous.

Before Ash could once again tell her that she can say no to the plan, they heard the same Team Rocket member coming back, his mood worse than what it was when he left. Before he could leave, Flabebe floated over to the Rocket's cap and steeled down behind it. The Rocket continued on to his base, none the wiser.

As soon as they left, Ash started pacing. In hindsight, it was a stupid idea. Why didn't he listen to Brock when he told Ash to wait? Oh, yeah. Because Jonathan had left for Mt. Moon before Ash and he might be in danger. Ash felt like cursing his childhood friend. If only he waited for a few more minutes, the two of them could have left together. Then Ash would not be in this mess. Ash continued pacing for another fifteen minutes as Pikachu and Eevee curled around him, hoping to give him some comfort.

It was then that Pikachu's and Eevee's ears perked up and they immediately pointed to the end of the pathway where they could see Flabebe floating towards them. Ash almost ran out to greet her, but sense prevailed, and he waited for Flabebe to reach them. Once close by, Ash immediately pulled her into a hug.

"Thank Arceus that you are alright, Flabebe! I was so worried."

"Bebe!" she exclaimed as she went back to her flower and sighed in relief. She then produced a vine and started making some patterns on the floor.

"Oh!" exclaimed Ash as he suddenly remembered what he had sent Flabebe to do. Stupid worry, making him forget stuff. "What did you find Flabebe? Did you see how many trainers are captured by Team Rocket?"

Flabebe drew a straight line with her vine.

"One?" Ash asked.

"Fla!" Flabebe exclaimed as she then drew tow circles, one below the other.

"Eight?" Ash asked, now confused.

"Fla! Flabebe!" Flabebe exclaimed, sounding pleased with herself.

"So are there one or eight?" Ash inquired. When Flabebe shook her head, Ash's confusion grew. "Wait, there eighteen trainers captured, aren't there?" Ash suddenly understood what the fairy was trying to explain.

"Flabebe!" She exclaimed, again sounding pleased with herself.

"Okay, how many members of Team Rocket did you see?"

Flabebe mimed drawing two half circles, again, one below the other.

"Three?" Ash confirmed.

Flabebe nodded and then drew an oval with her vine.

"Zero?" Again, Ash confirmed.

On Flabebe's cheerful nod, Ash asked the answer with some trepidation. "Are there thirty members of Team Rocket there?" when Flabebe nodded again, Ash bit out a curse. There were a lot more members than what he was expecting.

"What about the trainer's pokemon? And idea where they are kept?"

"Flaa," Flabebe shook her head, dejected. Ash just petted her on her head a couple of times and told her that it was ok, she had already done a good job.

"What about the wild pokemon?"

Here, Flabebe mimed drawing a rectangle, and then drew a couple of vertical lines in the middle of the rectangle. She repeated this for a few seconds as Ash thought on what it could be.

"A cage?" he asked tentatively.

"Flaa," Flabebe once again hummed happily as her trainer understood what she was trying to say. Ash took this all in before making a plan. He first switched on his PokeNav and saw some missed calls and messages from Brock. He ignored them and sent a message with the details Flabebe found out to Brock and turned it off again. He then called out Dratini and gathered his pokemon together and explained to them the plan.

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John and Leroy were bored. They had gotten the shorter end of the straw and were stuck with guard duty. Guard duty in a tunnel barely wide enough for three people to walk comfortably. And one where it was too dark to see more than ten feet. A job they had been doing for the past hour. Needless to say, they were bored. So they passed the time talking about what pokemon they wanted rather than doing their job, which was to provide a look out.

"I can't wait to break in a Geodude!" John was telling his partner. "Once I have him for long enough, he will evolve into a powerful Golem and help me advance to the level of an Executive!"

"Not if I get there before you," Leroy taunted him. "I want a Nidoran and then I'll evolve him into a Nidoking. And my Nidoking will kick your Golem's ass."

"Haa, you wish! Your Nidoking will not even be able to put a scratch on my Golem. He will use his Roll Out and flatten your Nidoking to a pulp!"

"Oh, yeah! Well, my Nidoking will…"

Their ground breaking and important conversation was halted when they spotted a Pikachu between them. The three looked at each other for a few seconds, the two humans staring in shock. They were broken out of their reverie by a cheerful "Pika" from the Pikachu as a wave of electricity hit their bodies, freezing them completely. They could not move as a young, teenage boy came and pettted the Pikachu's head. They could not move as the teenager took their pokeballs and put them in a bag. They could not move when a weird, tiny ball of light on a white-coloured flower used Vines and tied them up. And they could not move when the trainer withdrew both his pokemon and waltzed past them into the very chamber they were supposed to be guarding.

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Ash crept into the chamber where Team Rocket were conducting their operation. Team Rocket members were spread around, ambling around the place as if they owned it. Ash felt a spike of rage as he saw some of them abusing the wild pokemon in the cage. He forced his irritation down and turned to the captured trainers bound together in front of him. Ahead of them, he could see a few more members of Team Rocket around a giant drill, being directed by a man whose white uniform made him stand out from the rest of the people dressed in black. Even if it was not for the different uniform, his green hair would definitely make him stand out.

Ash searched around for Jonathan and found him conversing with a purple-haired woman wearing all black. He crept up to them and got Jonathan's attention.

"Ash!" he exclaimed in surprise. "They got you too, huh?"

"Not really. The ones I came across were pathetic to the core. I came to see you. I was worried."

"I'm fine, physically. Bastards stole my pokemon though."

"Any idea where they are? I can get them and we all can fight back."

"That's one suggestion I'm up for!" Cut in the woman who Jonathan was speaking with. "Name's Janine." She introduced herself to Ash, holding out her hand to shake.

"Ash Ketchum, it's nice to meet you," Ash politely shook her hand. "So, any idea where your pokemon are?"

"You see that tent over there?" Jonathan asked, pointing to a tent between where the captured trainers and the apparent leader stood. "They're all over there."

"We were going to go," said Janine. "But the Rockets will see us and we have no means of protecting ourselves against their pokemon."

"I can solve that problem," Ash smirked. The other two smirked as well. They quickly spread the knowledge of the plan to all the trainers who were held against their will with their pokemon captured. They all got ready as Ash, Jonathan and Janine ran towards the tent, throwing away all caution to the wind. Team Rocket would know that they going to fight back in seconds, anyway.

Their run went unnoticed for the first few seconds, as none of the Team Rocket members were paying attention to them, thinking that the trainers must be too terrified of Team Rocket to do anything. By the time one of them saw what was going on, processed the information (no one ever said that the Team Rocket grunts were the brightest tool in the box) and shouted out loud to warn the rest of his teammates, it was too late. Janine and Jonathan took their pokemon and started distributing the rest to their new comrades.

The green-haired man looked at all this amused, not a hint of worry on his face. "Look what we have here. A brat trying to ruin our plans. What to do, what to do? Should I let you go? A reward for your efforts? Yeah, let's do that! Go on." He made a shooing gesture. Everyone looked at him in shock for a few seconds, no one moving. "Well? Go on. Why won't you leave? We won't do anything to you guys if you go."

A couple of trainers started walking towards the exit and still no response came from him. Seeing that, other trainers started leaving as well. However, before anyone could leave the cavern, the leader spoke again.

"HAAA! Just kidding. Did you really think that I would let you guys just go? Nah! Of course not! Time for introductions, isn't it? My name is Executive Archer and I will be your host for today. I can promise you entertainment, blood flying around, lives being lost. Sounds like fun, right?" He asked cheerfully as everyone stared at him in shock and fear. "Well, what are you waiting for?" he asked his underlings. "Destroy them." He finished with a large smile, his eyes closed in his cheerfulness.

The cavern was then filled by the lights and sounds of pokemon being released by the Team Rocket members as the trainers were too shocked from the speech given by the Executive to react. The sheer insanity rolling off of him was ridiculous.

Janine was the first to break out of her shock, as she shouted. "Don't just stand there gawking. Fight back!"

The trainers let out a war-cry and released their own pokemon to fight back. The next few seconds passed in complete disarray as pokemon were fighting each other everywhere. Ash had an extremely difficult time keeping a lookout for his pokemon as they fought the horde of Team Rocket pokemon. he had already told his pokemon that he would not be able to direct them for this battle, something that he had been training his pokemon to do since the battle against Brock. This would be the ultimate test of the ability of his pokemon.

He saw Pikachu hit an Arbok with a massive bolt of electricity that caused it to faint immediately, something that surprised Ash since his pokemon are nowhere close to beating pokemon of that calibre. Yet. He smiled as he saw Flabebe and Eevee work in tandem to defeat a Graveller as Flabebe wrapped it up in her vines and Eevee darted around slamming it with Iron Tail. Ash shouted out a warning that he knew was too late as a Golbat swooped in to attack Flabebe, but he need not have worried as the Golbat was smashed into the wall by a bluish ball filled with draconic energy as Dratini glared at it angrily.

Ash sighed in relief as his pokemon stuck together, covering each other's backs. Ash saw Flabebe hurl an entangled Golem into the path of Dratini who caught the Megaton pokemon in a massive whirlwind of draconic energy that severely damaged it. A double Iron Tail from Pikachu and Eevee took care of it as it fell down with swirls in its eyes.

But the tides quickly turned against them. While Ash had prepared his pokemon for this battle, the other trainers had not. They were being pushed back, the quantity of the team Rocket pokemon overwhelming the trainer's pokemon. They needed to do something, and they needed to do it fast. Otherwise, this battle is lost to them.

It seemed like Janine had come to the same conclusion as she came close to Ash to say something. "We need to do something. We're getting overwhelmed."

"I know. Do you have any ideas?"

"What about the wild pokemon? They can turn the tides in our favour."

"Do you think that they'll help us? They could just run to safety."

"They won't." Janine's grim statement sent a chill down Ash's spine. Suddenly, he wasn't sure if he wanted to hear the rest of her statement. She continued regardless of Ash's sudden inner turmoil. "You didn't see the things the Team Rocket members were doing to the pokemon, Ash. They will fight back. They'll want revenge."

Ash turned to Janine to ask the obvious question, but her expression said later. Ash nodded and asked, "So how will we get the wild pokemon free?"

"I'll clear a path. Your pokemon can break the cage." Ash nodded in agreement, as Janine shouted out to her pokemon. "Nidoking, clear a path to the wild pokemon! Don't hold back."

Nidoking bellowed as he ran towards the cage. Any pokemon in his path were sent flying back with impunity. A Kangaskhan stood in front of the Nidoking to stop his rampage, but it was suddenly unable to move as a thin stream of electricity coursed through its body originating from Dratini. A massive punch from the Nidoking sent the Kangaskhan flying back, leaving the path to the cage free.

"Flabebe, Razor Leaf at the cage! Pikachu, Eevee, smash it aside with Iron Tail!" Ash shouted. His pokemon shouted their names as razor sharp leaves originated from Flabebe's flower and started cutting the bars of the cage. Pikachu and Eevee the used Quick Attack to get to the cage quickly and smashed their tails at the exact spots where Flabebe had cut the bars using her leaves. The bars quickly broke and the now freed pokemon let out a roar as they charged at the Team Rocket pokemon.

As the tide of battle changed one more time, Archer took part in the melee for the first time since his speech.

"Oh, you should not have done that. I'm really starting to get annoyed at you, brat. First, you free these prisoners, then you free the wild pokemon to battle against my comrades. It seems like I'll have to handle you on my own. My, what a pleasure. Your screams will be delightful to hear."

With that said, he took out three pokeballs and tossed them into the air. Out of the first pokeball came a massive Houndoom, out of the second came a Victreebel, and out of the last one came an Electabuzz. Ash gulped at the powerful pokemon in front of him. He knew that his pokemon had no chance against them. Before he could say anything, Jonathan and Janine joined him in facing against the Executive.

"We'll each take one opponent," said Janine.

"I'll take the Victreebel," said Jonathan. "My pokemon are best suited to fighting against it."

"Done. I'll take the Houndoom," answered Janine.

"Which leaves me with the Electabuzz," finished Ash.

The trainers called their pokemon to them to fight the monster pokemon of the Executive. They split up so as to not distract each other in the upcoming fight. They knew that any distraction would be costly.

"Pikachu, I want you to take all the electric attacks the Electabuzz shoots at us. Eevee, keep using Helping Hand to assist your teammates. Dratini, Flabebe, you know what to do."

His pokemon nodded as Flabebe sent a blast of wind at the humanoid pokemon. The Electabuzz took the attack on without flinching. In fact, it looked like the attack did no damage from that attack. The Electabuzz grinned as electricity charged between its antennae and an absolutely massive bolt of electricity raced at Flabebe. Pikachu disappeared in a flash of yellow as he reappeared in front of the attack and absorbed the electricity due to his Lightning Rod ability.

Eevee, meanwhile, had sent a stream of multi-coloured energy into Dratini, who used the boost to shoot a highly compressed ball of draconic energy right at the Electabuzz who took the attack once again. The only difference is that this time, it roared in pain as it was pushed back a few feet. In return, the Electabuzz angrily whirled its arms and a bigger bolt of electricity originated from its antennae and rushed towards the dragon-type pokemon. Once again, Pikachu absorbed the attack.

Multiple leaves hit the Electabuzz next, leaving small cuts all over its body. It was not given a moment's rest as it was caught in a massive hurricane sent by Dratini. The Twister did more than just cause damage as the Electabuzz suddenly flinched and its limbs seized up. Ash took notice of that immediately and shouted, "Quick, this is our chance. The Electabuzz is unable to move. Hit it with your most powerful attacks!"

The Electabuzz was blasted back by a blast of silver-coloured wind from Flabebe. Hardly a second later, Pikachu and Eevee hit it with a twin Iron Tail attack that sent it a few more feet back. The combo ended with Dratini smashing another Dragon Rage into the staggering Electabuzz, causing a huge explosion.

Ash and his pokemon waited with baited breath for the smoke to clear up. They hoped the battle was over, but could not predict anything as they did not know how powerful the Electabuzz was. The suspense ended as the smoke was cleared revealing the Electabuzz down on one knee with bruises all over its body. The last combination had definitely damaged it, but Ash knew that it had a lot more fight left in it.

"Electa….Buzz. Electaaa! Buzzz!" it shouted out loud in anger as its body started glowing yellow with a massive amount of electricity being generated. The electricity was so much that the hair on Ash's body stood up from the static and he was quite a few feet away from the pokemon.

"Watch out, guys!" Ash shouted. "Take cover!"

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