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.


9. Thunder Part 2

A little over a week later Ash and Pikachu entered Vermilion City. The past week had gone by quickly as they prepared for the upcoming gym battle. Eevee and Dratini could now use Iron Tail to nullify electric attacks instantaneously. They were each successful in mastering the moves they were trying to learn, something Ash was incredibly happy about.

The first thing Ash did the morning after Abra evolved was to have Kadabra teleport him to the Saffron City pokemon centre. Once there, he was surprised to see Nurse Joy give him a package. Inside the package was a silver spoon. When questioned, Nurse Joy said that Sabrina had left it with her telling her that Ash would come and collect the package soon. Marvelling at Sabrina's powers, Ash had Kadabra teleport him back to the clearing they stayed at last night. Now, he spent his days between learning how to walk, practicing Iron Tail, honing his recently learnt Confusion, reading books and meditating. While only recently evolved, he was already showing signs of becoming a very powerful psychic pokemon.

Walking into the Pokemon Centre, Ash was surprised to see it so full. Walking to Nurse Joy, he asked her for a room as he gave her his pokemon for a quick check-up after recalling Pikachu to his pokeball. It didn't take long for Nurse Joy to declare them in perfect health. After all, they just had a mild training session in the morning and reached Vermilion a couple of hours later. As Ash clipped the pokeballs on his belt and released Pikachu, a young trainer rushed up to the counter. He had an injured Pidgey in his arms.

"Nurse Joy, can you please heal my pokemon?" he asked frantically. Rather than admonishing a trainer for getting his pokemon this injured like Ash expected her to, she just sighed and went about doing her job. Once done, Ash finally decided to satisfy his curiosity.

"Excuse me. Why is the Pokemon Centre so full? And why didn't you admonish the trainer here?"

"The S.S Anne is to take off on her maiden journey tomorrow. It's the most luxurious ship made to date. To promote it, the League has instructed Lt. Surge to give free tickets to any trainer who defeats him. All these trainers are here for that."

"And what is so special about the S.S Anne to make a trainer challenge a master of electric-type pokemon with a Pidgey?" Ash let a bit of the disgust he was feeling creep into his voice. Getting your pokemon this injured to satisfy your own desires? Even when it had no chance of winning?

"There's a pokemon tournament to be held on the ship. The free ticket is for that. Various prizes are to be won in the tournament. A lot of League officials will be there to officiate the tournament as well as scout out future potential."

"That's amazing! When's the S.S Anne leaving?" Ash asked excitedly.

"Tomorrow morning."

"What do you say Pikachu?" Ash asked his starter. "You up for the gym battle today?"

"Pika, Pika!" came the reply as Pikachu pumped his tiny fists excitedly. He was curious to see how he fares against other electric-type pokemon.

"Nurse Joy, can you give me a room for the night?" Ash asked. On receiving the key to his room, he made his way to the small field outside the centre. He wanted to ask his pokemon's opinion before he challenged Lt. Surge. If they were not comfortable with fighting today, he would not. The cruise could wait.

When he asked his pokemon the question, it was Kadabra who asked why he wanted to battle today. When Ash told them the reason, they all had an excited gleam in their eyes. The tournament the next day proved to be very tempting and all of Ash's pokemon agreed with challenging for the badge today.

As Ash neared the gym, he was disappointed but completely unsurprised to see a long line in front of the gym. Bored, since even Pikachu was in his pokeball for the upcoming battle, he fiddled around with his pokedex as he tried to finalize a training plan for Kadabra. Since he had gotten used to his evolution by now and had some experience with psychic-type moves in Confusion, Ash could move on to other moves.

Hardly any time had passed when Ash reached the front of the queue. He expected to wait for an hour or two, not fifteen minutes. Just showed how weak the opposing trainers were. When Ash entered the gym, he was greeted by a huge man with a buzz cut.

"Want to challenge for a ticket?" he shouted out loud.

"Umm," Ash hummed confused. "Not really. I want to challenge for the Gym Badge."

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA." A booming laugh came from within the gym as a giant man came into view. He looked to be around seven feet tall and his body appeared to be chiselled from granite. He wore a sleeveless army-green muscle tee a cargo pants. Accompanying that was a pair of black army boots.

"I like that answer, kid. You've got balls. This match may actually be fun. Arceus knows when was the last time I had a proper challenge. Most of these wussies lose in one attack. You want to challenge for the gym? What's your name? How many badges have you got?"

"My name is Ash Ketchum. I have two badges so far."

"Ash Ketchum?" Lt. Surge asked out loud. "You're the trainer recommended by both Brock and Misty so far, right? This challenge has just gotten more interesting. Come in, let's start our match."

Lt. Surge lead Ash to the battlefield where a referee was already there. Ash went and stood in the challenger's box as the gym leader went and stood in his box.

"This is a gym battle between Lt. Surge of the Vermilion City Gym and challenger Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town. This will be a four-on-four battle and only the challenger is allowed to substitute pokemon. The trainers will now release their first pokemon."

Lt. Surge smirked and released a Magnemite. Ash though of his options before finalizing a plan. Unlike the previous two gyms, he didn't know his opponent's pokemon. He was only guaranteed to face a weaker team. This was another idea by the League to gently ease the trainers into actual gym battles.

Selecting a pokeball from his belt, he pressed the release button as he said, "Let's do this, Dratini." He released his dragon-type first as he had Ember, a move that is super effective against steel-type pokemon.

"Oho!" Lt. Surge boomed. "A Dratini? You are seriously starting to live up to my expectations. Let's start this. Magnemite, Thundershock."

"Water Pulse!" Ash countered immediately. While he could have neutralized the electric attack, he wanted it use it later for Lt. Surge's stronger pokemon. Both pokemon dodged the attacks with ease.

"Sonic Boom!" Magnemite covered himself in a bubble as massive waves were sent towards Dratini.

"Counter with Twister!" the two wind attacks, one sound based and the other filled with draconic energy met each other in the middle of the battle and cancelled each other out. So far, both trainers were just testing each other's pokemon out.

"Shockwave!" a brilliant wave of electric energy made its way towards Dratini and Ash knew that Shockwave was one of those moves that can never be dodged, only countered. So, that's what he did.

"Meet it with Thundershock!" the two electric-type attacks met each other in mid-air and once again, they cancelled each other out.

"Not bad kid!" Lt. Surge exclaimed. "Your Dratini is not half bad. But let's show you real power. Magnemite, Electro Ball!"

As the magnet pokemon concentrated on its attack, Ash quickly decided to match power with power. "Dratini, blast it with Dragon Rage. Finish it with Ember." Ash was pretty sure that when it came to pure power, his Dratini was much more powerful than the Magnemite.

"What?!" Lt. Surge shouted as Ash's analysis rang true. The powerful dragon-type attack tore through the yellowish ball of electric energy and went on to hit Magnemite.

"Magneee!" it shouted but it had no time to recover as powerful flames hit it next knocking it unconscious.

"Magnemite is unable to battle. The winner is Dratini!" the referee announced.

"Great job, Dratini!" Ash smiled. But he was not relaxing. Dratini was one of Ash's most powerful pokemon and Lt. Surge had just sent out his weakest so far. The battle was far from over.

"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Ash looked over to see Lt. Surge laughing his ass off. This confused Ash immensely since his pokemon had just fainted. Once he recovered himself, he saw Ash's confused expression and decided to elaborate.

"Do you know what this Gym is supposed to teach? Power! It is supposed to make trainers realise that there are opponents who can defeat their pokemon in a single attack! But you don't need that! Your Dratini can do that itself!" he returned Magnemite and took out another pokeball. "And this has me fired up! FINALLY! A challenge! After so long!"

He then released his next pokemon. Ash watched as the pokeball released what looked like a bigger pokeball. Only this one had a face and didn't have the button in the middle. Voltorb.

"Voltorb vs Dratini. Begin."

"You've already shown me your power. Now, let's see how you fare when the roles are reversed!" Lt. Surge exclaimed ominously. "Rollout!" the Voltorb immediately started rolling towards Dratini at a high speed as it looked to smash against the Dragon pokemon.

"Iron Tail!" Ash countered.

As Dratini's tail glowed silver and was about to crash into the approaching Voltorb, Lt. Surge decided to change strategies. "Jump above the attack and stop yours!" He boomed in his loud voice.

Seeing that this was an elaborate strategy to get Voltorb close, Ash decided to counter before his opponent could finish his plan. "Dragon Rage!"

"This won't work again! Say bye-bye to your Dratini!" Lt. Surge had a wicked smile on his face, one that Ash didn't like a single bit. "Voltorb! Self-Destruct!"

Ash's eyes widened as he yelled "Get out of there!" but it was for naught as the area around the Voltorb exploded violently as if a bomb had gone up there. When the dust cleared, it showed both Dratini and Voltorb unconscious.

"Dratini and Voltorb are both unable to battle. This round is a draw. Since the Voltorb is the first to faint, the Gym Leader will send out his next pokemon first," announced the referee.

Ash returned Dratini to his pokeball with a grimace. He never imagined Lt. Surge would do something like that. "Good job, Dratini. I couldn't be prouder of you." He told the dragon pokemon.

"Now that such a powerful pokemon of yours has been knocked out, let's see what you're made of, kid!" Lt. Surge exclaimed haughtily as he put his Voltorb's pokeball back in his pocket. It seemed like even the Gym Leader was talking to his pokemon after its defeat. Ash felt anger rising in him at the Lieutenant's words but forced it down. He would not let his opponent rile him up. So, taking a deep breath, he looked back with a hardened expression, his eyes full of determination.

"I like that look, kid!" Lt. Surge laughed again. "Let's see what you make of my next pokemon!" with that, he released his third pokemon. The pokemon that appeared from the pokeball was a canine, quadruped pokemon. The body was primarily blue and it had a spiky, yellow mane on its head and yellow fur on its haunches and its front feet. It had red eyes and holes at the side if its head. Maybe they were ears? Ash mused to himself. But that was not the important part. The important part was that Ash recognised this pokemon. And it was not from the Kanto region.

"Is that a Manectric?" he asked incredulously.

"So you recognise him?" Lt. Surge asked in amusement. "Yes, this is a Manectric. With so many regions open to us Gym Trainers, did you honestly think that we would have pokemon only from the Kanto region?"

"Now that you put it like that, I guess not," Ash admitted grudgingly. "But you're not the only one with a pokemon from another region! Go, Floette!" he released his fairy-type pokemon. He had to see what Manectric was capable of and Floette was his best bet to do so.

"HAHAHAHAHA! You're full of surprises, aren't you? Since I like you, I'll give you a warning. You better be prepared, Manectric is much more powerful than my previous two pokemon. I've seen your Dratini's power, now it's time for you to see my pokemon's."

"Thanks for the warning," Ash smirked. "I'll make sure you regret giving it to me!"

"HAHAHAHA! YES! Show me! Make it more fun!" he boomed as both fighters got ready for the battle.

"Manectric vs Floette! Begin."

"Spark!" immediately, Manectric used the speed most electric-type pokemon were known for as it charged at Floette, its body coursing with electricity. Fortunately for Ash, his starter was an electric-type as well so both he and his pokemon knew what to expect.

"Double Team!" Ash immediately countered. Instantaneously, numerous copies of Floette filled the room. The Floette Manectric attacked disappeared and another one took its place straightaway. Soon, Manectric was surrounded by replicas of Floette from all sides.

"Great work, Floette!" Ash said with pride. They might take longer, but Ash's belief that a pokemon should master a move always paid dividends later on. This was one such instance. "Now, Razor Leaf!"

While Ash had taught Pikachu Double Team as a means to dodge an attack, he taught Floette that move not only to dodge but to attack as well. He had spent the last few days with her to help her use other moves while still using Double Team. As a result, multiple razor-sharp leaves descended on Manectric from all sides as the small fairy-type combined Double Team with Razor Leaf.

"Manee!" the Discharge Pokemon shouted in pain as small cuts appeared over its body from the numerous leaves.

"Manectric!" Lt. Surge shouted. "Use Quick Attack to dodge! Then find the Floette by using Shockwave!"

While Manectric could have easily dodged the attack, seeing the attack approaching it from all sides caused it to panic. His trainer's advice steadied him as he used his speed to his advantage to easily weave out of the attacks. The time it took for Floette to redirect her attack was all the time Manectric needed as he sent a powerful bolt of electricity at one of the copies. It magically redirected itself in mid-air and honed in towards the single bloom pokemon. it would have struck her too if Ash didn't know of the dangers of the attack.

"Counter with Fairy Wind! Don't let the Shockwave hit you!" A gale was blasted out of Floette's flower as it hit the Shockwave and neutralized it. While it may have given away her position for a second, she resumed her Double Team as soon as the attack was over.

"Almost got her there! Use Shockwave again!"


Once more, the two moves cancelled each other out leaving both back where they were in the beginning. But Lt. Surge could be called many things, patient was never one of them.

"This is getting old! Manectric, let's show them why you're called the Discharge Pokemon! Vaporize that damn fairy!"

"Protect!" Ash yelled immediately. He didn't know what Manectric was going to do but if Lt. Surge gave an instruction called vaporize, Ash knew he had to take precautions. A couple of seconds later, Ash was glad he did as the entire battlefield was lit up with a powerful electric attack. Ash didn't know what it was, but he was guessing it was Discharge.

Once the attack died down, Ash gaped at the aftermath. Huge cracks lined up the floor of the battlefield looking like jagged scars. All copies of Floette had disappeared as well leaving the original standing behind a protective layer, unharmed. Knowing that using such a powerful attack would leave the Manectric vulnerable for a split second, Ash moved to capitalize.

"Slam it!" Ash shouted urgently. Floette took heed of her trainer's words as vines immediately came out of the flower she uses and wrapped around her opponent. Once secure, she lifted him up and smashed him into the ground.

"Manectric!" the lieutenant shouted, a hint of urgency creeping into his tone as well. "Use those vines as a conductor! Thunderbolt!"

Already expecting that attack since he would do the same if the positions were reversed, Ash shouted "Keep slamming it! Try to ignore the pain!"

Floette trusted her trainer as she followed his instructions. The Thunderbolt slammed into her but its powers were weakened slightly as grass was a poor conductor of electricity. The battle soon turned into one of attrition as both pokemon were getting damaged continuously.

"Keep at it!" Both trainers tried to encourage their pokemon as the battle continued and they were weakening continuously. Not wanting to give up, both pokemon continued as long as they could. In the end, Manectric won as Floette was forced to retract her vines due to the pain but the damage had been done.

Both Manectric and Floette glared at each other as they huffed and tried to remain standing. Lt. Surge smirked seeing Floette in a much worse shape than his Manectric. He was about to taunt his opponent but stopped short at seeing his smirk.

"What?" he asked dumbfounded. "Why the hell are you smirking? Your pokemon is on her last legs and is about to lose."

"Is she?" Ash taunted. "Floette, Wish!" the small fairy started glowing a soft golden colour as her injuries started healing. The slouching pokemon started to stand straighter as she recovered energy. A few seconds later, she was ready to go another round, almost as good as new.

"What?" Lt. Surge growled. "She keeps knowing one annoying move after another! Manectric, enough of this battle! Vaporize it! Thunderbolt!"

A massive bolt of electricity (Ash mentally made a note of how much bigger the attack was than his Pikachu's) arced its way towards Floette who nimbly moved out of the way of the attack and retaliated with a barrage of leaves. Manectric tried dodging as well but the leaves followed him and struck him causing him to cry out in pain.

"Argh! Again with the annoying attacks! Manectric, get in close! Quick Spark!"

Guessing what the attack would do, Ash instantaneously countered. "Protect!" Manectric, moving at an extremely fast speed slammed into a barrier completely disorienting himself. Seeing the opportunity, Ash instructed, "Slam it as hard as you can. If it is still conscious, Magical Leaf till it is knocked out!"

As Floette wrapped Manectric in her vines and carried him up as high as she could, Ash made a mental note to teach her some powerful moves. She just had a glorious chance to finish the battle with a single attack but didn't have any move powerful enough to do so. Another thing to work on after the battle, he mused as he winced subconsciously when Manectric was slammed into the ground with force from more than ten feet high.

Floette withdrew her vines as soon as she could so Manectric couldn't use them as before while everyone waited for the dust to settle. Once it did, they saw Manectric lying down with swirls in its eyes.

"YES!" Ash exulted. "That was brilliant, Floette!" before he stopped and looked at the referee as he remembered the mistake he made in the last match. He need not have worried as the referee raised his flag towards Ash.

"Manectric is unable to battle. Floette wins."

"Well, well." Lt. Surge commented as he withdrew his Manectric. "I didn't expect that. I expected Manectric to defeat at least one of your pokemon. Your Floette is much stronger than I expected. And deceptive too. Who would have thought such a tiny thing would be able to withstand that much damage? Credit to you as a trainer. I can now see why Brock and Misty have recommended you." He praised, none of the haughtiness he had been using thus far present in his voice.

"Thank you, but credit goes to Floette, not to me."

"Yes, a truly marvellous pokemon. I have seen enough to recommend you for a multiple-use TM. Your Dratini had power, your Floette has the ability to wear a pokemon down and defeat them. But, I can only give it to you if you defeat me. You have done well so far, but can you defeat my strongest pokemon?" he asked as he released his final pokemon.

His final pokemon was familiar to Ash. It was a bipedal, rodent like pokemon. it had orange fur with a cream belly. It had bifurcated ears, brown on the outside, yellow on the inside. It had familiar electric sacs on its cheeks and a lightning-bolt shaped tail. Raichu, Pikachu's evolved form.

"You ready for another round?" Ash asked Floette. She just gave him a determined nod and tensed her body in preparation for the upcoming battle. She had no doubt it would be a tough one.

"Raichu vs Floette. Begin."

"Vaporize it! Thunder!" Raichu was surrounded by a circle of electric energy which it then released in the form of a massive bolt. The attack was so large that it was easily two feet wide. Ash didn't have to say anything, Floette swerved away from the attack as fast as she could. Numerous leaves erupted from her flower and honed in on Raichu and struck it.

Unfortunately for Ash and Floette, it didn't have the effect they wanted it to. Instead of showing pain, it just growled in annoyance as it tried to swat away the leaves that were leaving small scratches on it.

"Burn them! Shockwave!" To Ash's and Floette's surprise, instead of a bolt of electric energy, small electric currents came from Raichu. Each current struck a leaf and burnt it thereby nullifying the attack. Ash knew Raichu was powerful, but he didn't expect such control from it.

"Surprised?" Lt. Surge questioned. "While I give importance to power, even I know it is useless without control. Raichu, finish this. Quick Spark!"

"Fairy Wind! You know when!" Ash countered. Not for the first time in the match Ash counted his lucky stars that his pokemon had experience battling a Pikachu in training. While using Quick Attack, he can dodge a majority of the attacks thrown at him unless they are ones that can never miss like Swift, Magical Leaf, etc. The trick to hitting him in such an instance is to wait till the last possible second to attack. It had taken days if not weeks for all his pokemon to get used to Pikachu's speed at the beginning but it was paying off now. Just as Raichu was about to hit Floette, she blasted him back with a powerful gale. While the attack may have been very weak when Ash caught her, she had trained it enough to cause real damage with it now.

"Rai!" the mouse pokemon screamed as it flew back before rolling on the ground a few times. It got up on all four limbs and shook its body before glaring at the fairy pokemon who had wasted no time in sending more razor-sharp leaves at it. Ash had instructed her not to use her vines. He had seen what Thunder could do - the deep gouge in the floor was proof of that – he didn't want Floette to be hit by that and she wholeheartedly agreed.

"Not bad!" Lt. Surge laughed. "Not many pokemon have managed to do that to Raichu. But it ends now. Mega Punch!"

Knowing the same trick won't work twice and the fact that Floette was much slower than Raichu wad would not be able to dodge, he yelled out "Protect!" But Protect was a move that failed if used multiple times in a battle as proven when Raichu continued on to Floette unhindered and easily smashed it away.

The fairy was sent flying away in pain and had no time to even think before she was hit by a bolt of electricity sending her to unconsciousness. Ash was just glad the Raichu had not used Thunder again.

"Floette is unable to battle. Raichu wins."

Ash withdrew Floette and heaped praises on her. She had taken out one of Lt. Surge's stronger pokemon on her own and he could not be more delighted with her. Clipping her pokeball on his belt, he contemplated his next move. Two of his pokemon at full strength against Lt. Surge's strongest pokemon who was damaged slightly by the various Magical Leaf and Fairy Wind attacks. He was fairly confident of his chances.

Unclipping the pokeball of his next pokemon, he pressed the release button. "Let's do this, Eevee!"

"Vee, Eevee!" she yipped in excitement as she experienced her first gym battle.

"Be careful, Eevee! The Raichu is powerful!" Ash warned her. She nodded her head in acknowledgement.

"Raichu vs Eevee. Begin."

"Thunderbolt!" Lt. Surge shouted immediately.

"Quick Tail!" Ash countered.

As Eevee zipped away from the approaching attack, Lt. Surge countered as well. "Meet it with Mega Kick!"

Eevee's tail, hardened to feel like steel met with Raichu's kick which was glowing white. Ash expected that with the speed of the attack and the power behind the Iron Tail, Eevee would win that little battle. But, Raichu was so powerful that its Mega Kick met Eevee's Iron Tail with equal power. Both pokemon glared at each other as the attacks stalemated.

Both pokemon zipped away at high speed as they attacked each other at high speed turning the battle into one of pure speed and tenacity. Both pokemon were blurs to the eyes of their trainers as they battled each other out.

"You're pokemon are impressing me more and more!" Lt. Surge laughed! "To be able to keep up with Raichu in speed is unbelievable!"

Ash let the praise slide off him. He knew that Eevee will not be able to keep it up for long since it was her competitive spirit that made her match Raichu's speed currently. This meant Ash and Eevee had to be the ones to break the current deadlock.

"Eevee, use Swift!"

"Blast it away!" Lt. Surge shouted. The glowing star-shaped rays were blasted away as Raichu's Thunderbolt arced towards Eevee. However, both Eevee and Ash expected this and Eevee deftly dodged the approaching attack with ease once again.

Ash knew that long-range attacks won't work on either of the pokemon because of their high speed. He also knew that Dig, Eevee's best hope, would never hit Raichu unless he generates an opening. And Ash had an idea in his mind. He would get one chance to damage the Raichu. He would have to take it.

Quickly starting the plan since he could see Eevee starting to get tired due to the high-speed battle, he instructed, "Eevee, Sand Attack!" she immediately stopped her battle as she used her paws to send sand at Raichu. The attack was non-damaging. At most, it would blind Raichu for a few seconds, something Ash could use.

"Futile!" Lt. Surge yelled as Raichu dodged the attack effortlessly. "Now's our chance! Raichu, vaporize it!"

While Lt. Surge thought Ash had made a mistake, the rookie trainer just smirked. Hook, line, and sinker. "Take it!" he yelled to the Evolution Pokemon.

Lt. Surge's expression changed from triumphant to confusion and settled on utter disbelief as the powerful bolt of electricity released by his pokemon failed to affect his opponent. He rubbed his eyes and stared at Eevee again and saw it to be true. She didn't have a single scratch on her.

"Now's our chance!" Ash yelled jubilantly. "Shadow Ball! Follow it up with Dig!"

As Eevee charged up her ghostly attack, Lt. Surge noticed Eevee's tail was glowing slightly and it was stuck in the ground. 'That cheeky bastard! He used Iron Tail to ground his pokemon thereby completely neutralizing electricity. For a rookie trainer, it is nothing short of brilliant!' he mused as Raichu faced the full brunt of Eevee's attack. With the small distance between the two – something I only created- he mused wryly – his pokemon had no chance to dodge the attack. As he was sent flying back, he saw Eevee dig a hole in the ground. Two seconds later, it sent his Raichu flying again as it struck from the ground.

He smirked as he felt adrenaline pumping again. This really was a fun battle. He looked across to the challenger's box to see Ash excitedly yelling at Eevee to finish the match. 'So, you think the match is over? Can't blame you. Unfortunately for you, I don't go down so easily.'

"Not bad, Ash. I never expected you to force me to use this move. But, this battle is over. Raichu, Volt Tackle!"

"Eevee, get out of there!" Ash shouted desperately as he saw Raichu give a smirk eerily similar to the one Lt. Surge's face. Its entire body got covered in electricity as Eevee drew away from her opponent and started moving around erratically to confuse the Raichu. It was for naught as one second Raichu was across the field, the next second Eevee gave a shout of pain as she was blasted back before falling unconscious. Ash could just stare in shock. All he saw was a yellow flash and that was it. Raichu covered almost fifty feet in one second, it was that fast!

"Eevee is unable to battle! Raichu wins!"

"Let's see what you have in store next!" Lt. Surge said. He shook his head before mumbling to himself, "And to think that Eevee pushed Raichu this far!"

However, Ash heard him as he looked at the Raichu. Its entire body was shaking as it heaved in giant gulps of air. Bruises littered its body due to the damage caused by the Shadow Ball and the Dig. The recoil from Volt Tackle damaged it worse. In all, it looked to be in pretty bad shape. He smirked before recalling Eevee. She may not have won the battle but she damaged the Raichu quite significantly. And if she was able to do this to Lt. Surge's strongest pokemon, she definitely earned the praise Ash heaped on her as he recalled her.

Knowing the battle was reaching its climax, Ash withdrew his final pokemon and sent it out. "We're almost there. Let's do this, Pikachu!"

As Pikachu appeared on the battlefield, Lt. Surge took one look at him and burst out laughing. "So, this is why you know how to battle electric-pokemon so well!" he commented once he regained control over himself. "I must admit, this Pikachu is strong. You've done a brilliant job raising him. You've had him for long?"

"He's my starter," Ash said proudly.

"Starter, eh?" Lt. Surge smirked. "Well, we have something in common then. Come, boy! Show me how you've trained your Pikachu!"


"Raichu vs Pikachu. Begin."

"Thunderbolt!" Ash baited Lt. Surge and Raichu. It took the attack head on as Ash expected it to and was blasted a couple of feet back.

"Not bad! Now Raichu, show it a real Thunderbolt!"

Raichu's attack may have been three times the power of Pikachu's but Ash's starter didn't budge an inch. Instead, both trainer and pokemon had identical smirks reminiscent of their opponents a few minutes ago.

"What?" Lt. Surge asked before realisation struck him. "Ah, I see. Lightning Rod."

"Correct! Thanks for the energy boost" Ash smirked. "Quick Tail!"

Pikachu disappeared from naked human eye as it zipped towards Raichu. His opponent, unfortunately, was as fast as him and was able to match Pikachu blow-for-blow. Since electric attacks didn't really damage either of the two, the battle was now fought with fists and tail. Mega Punch met Brick Break, Iron Tail met Mega Kick as both pokemon were equal in power. Ash and Pikachu were fortunate that Raichu was already injured and weak because if it was at full strength, Pikachu would have lost. Even now, Pikachu was just able to keep up with it.

Seeing this go on for a minute, Ash got frustrated and he shouted, "How is this your weakened team? Your Raichu should not be this powerful!"

"That's because he's not!" Lt. Surge laughed. "Because the League didn't want any wussies to get into the tournament on the ship, I was permitted to use one of my pokemon from my actual team. Raichu may not ne my strongest pokemon, but he is definitely right up there!"

Ash growled in return. No wonder his team were having such difficulty in defeating the Raichu. "Pikachu, Brick Break!" he shouted, hoping the outcome would be different this time. It was, just not how Ash was expecting it!

"Catch it!" Lt. Surge ordered. As Pikachu's fist descended on Raichu, the evolved one of the two absorbed the blow as he caught Pikachu's hand and trapped it. "Now's our chance! Slam it!"

"Brick Break with your other hand!" Ash ordered immediately. Lt. Surge's eyebrows shot up as Pikachu and Ash once again reversed a troublesome situation to their advantage, with Pikachu's other fist slamming into the Raichu. As he was sent tumbling back, Pikachu quickly sent it into the air with a combined Quick Attack and Spark and used the time Raichu needed to descend to the earth to charge up his most powerful Iron Tail.

His tail smashed into his evolved form's body powerfully as the Raichu hit the ground with a thunderous crash. Unbelievably, he was still trying to get up. But before he could stand upright, Lt. Surge interrupted. "Raichu, enough." When the orange-coloured mouse pokemon looked at his trainer confused, he gave a wry smile and continued. "That Pikachu is almost fresh while you are standing on your feet through sheer willpower right now. There's no need for you to get more injured, buddy."

Raichu stared at his trainer for a couple of seconds before he sent him a small smile and promptly fell down, probably unconscious.

"Raichu is unable to battle. Pikachu wins. The winner of this battle is the challenger, Ash Ketchum." The referee announced.

It took a couple of seconds for the announcement to sink in before Ash and Pikachu started to celebrate. "Not bad, kid. You'll have to come back some time and face my actual team. And come back when that Pikachu of yours is more powerful. I want to see what you are able to do with it once it has grown more." Lt. Surge said as he stood in front of Ash with his hand extended, Raichu on his shoulder at the exact spot where Pikachu normally sits on Ash's shoulder.

"Of course!" Ash confirmed as he took the outstretched arm and shook it. "You can count on it."

"Good," the Lieutenant smirked. "Here is the Thunder Badge. And here's your ticket to the S.S Anne. I better hear that you went far in the competition, kid. You understand?" he warned jokingly. At least, Ash hoped it was jokingly.

"Done," Ash confirmed. He was excited about the tournament, it would be a good experience for the League. The prizes and possible recognition were good motivators as well.

Lt. Surge smirked again as he saw Pikachu jump up and settle on Ash's shoulder, reminding him of himself as a teen. He then took rummaged around his desk before holding out a CD for Ash to use.

"I'm sure you know what this is by now?" he asked.

"A reusable TM?" Ash questioned in turn.

"Yes, this is a TM for Shockwave. I know your Pikachu already knows Thunderbolt, but it is a powerful move in its own right. You can teach it to other pokemon as well. Your Dratini comes to mind for one."

"Thank you!" Ash smirked at the possibilities of the TM. Not only Dratini, but Kadabra could learn the attack as well. And with Pikachu to guide them, they could master the move quickly as well.

"I know that look," Lt. Surge laughed. "But you can plot later. For now, let's get our pokemon healed."

Ash nodded in agreement as both left the gym. Near the entrance, Lt. Surge stopped to address a man. "John, you're taking over the gym till I come back. If there are any serious contenders, stall them till I return. Blast the rest."

"Yes, sir!" the man saluted in return.

As they left the gym, both saw that the line outside had already magnified. It seemed like their battle had gone on for longer than they thought. Everyone in the crowd started whispering to each other as they saw the Gym Leader with another kid. Both Ash and Lt. Surge ignored them as they made their way towards the gym while discussing their recent battle.

During a small pause in their conversation, Ash reflected on the events of the last hour. While it had taken the combined efforts of Floette, Eevee, and Pikachu, Ash had managed to defeat a pokemon from the Lieutenant's main team. In a way, it was good. Ash now had an idea about how powerful these pokemon were and could prepare for the rest of the challengers accordingly. But, for now, he had a tournament to look out for!

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