Essence

Ash has always wanted to be a pokemon master. When the time comes for him to pick out his first pokemon, he shocks Professor Oak with a peculiar request. One thing leads to another, and he ends up with a loyal Growlithe. How will this unique situation affect the boy's destiny?

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11113835/1/Essence

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3. Kanto 2 Part 1

The day and a half of travel, from Pewter City to Mt. Moon, was excessively eventful. The route was flooded with several trainers itching for a battle.

Ash took the opportunity to let Growlithe and Pidgeotto get some needed experience. The dark haired boy figured he might as well, after spending a good portion of his earnings on potions. His back ached, because his bag was holding so many of the pocket-sized miracle concoctions. Ash didn't want to risk the chance of being stuck in a cave, with one of his pokemon rendered unconscious.

Unfortunately, buying so many potions came at a high price. Before he set off from Pewter City, his trainer money-management account was rather sorry. Having to restock on several essentials, like food and potions, was a much bigger hit to his account than he would have liked. He threw the receipt away the moment he left the shop, that way there would be no going back. It did however, give him one more reason to accept every challenge along the way. The boy desperately needed to earn some money.

He managed to accomplish both of his goals...

Growlithe and Pidgeotto were able to touch up on a lot of their current move set during the short trip.

Growlithe's internal flame was beginning to grow. His ember was much stronger than what it was when they first met. Also, the puppy pokemon's jaw was starting to strengthen from all of the trainer battles. His bite was becoming much more formidable. Ash looked forward to the day that Growlithe would be able to use an authentic fire fang attack. Nothing against his makeshift bite/ember combination, but fire fang would be an even greater asset.

Pidgeotto demolished nearly every pokemon that he was summoned to battle against.

The giant had a single rough outing against a trainer that used a tank of a Graveler. But Pidgeotto still gave it a pretty good fight for having a tremendous type disadvantage. Ash was slightly bummed that his undefeated record had been blemished, but that wasn't what it was about anyway. His two pokemon had acquired some priceless experience, which in the long run would be worth a lot more than a silly record and some cash. Besides, he had won enough battles to make up for all of the money he had spent in Pewter City the other day. And the pressure of being unbeaten was finally off of his shoulders.

During the trip, Ash also managed to squeeze in a training session. With the help of his pokedex as a resource, Ash started to work on teaching Pidgeotto and Growlithe a couple of new techniques.

Growlithe, managed to learn helping hand in one night. The pokedex said that it was usually a pretty tricky skill to iron out. It relied on a powerful desire to help either trainer, or teammate. In Growlithe's case his innate devotion to those he cared about quickened the process. It was easy for him to transfigure his respect for Pidgeotto, and loyalty to Ash, into energy that raised the strength of Pidgeotto's attack power.

Ash thought that helping hand would be a perfect move for a place like Mt. Moon. Although Pidgeotto wouldn't be able to use its wings to freely fly within Mt. Moon's passages, he could use his impressively large wingspan, to blow away any pokemon living within the caverns. Ash ruminated that a gust or whirlwind, powered up by Growlithe's helping hand, should be able to chase off any aggressive pokemon living within the mountain. Not to mention, it would benefit nicely if Ash ever decided to take part in a double battle.

The attack he worked on with Pidgeotto was a lot more strenuous. Ash wanted Pidgeotto to learn the move twister. Twister was difficult, especially for pokemon that didn't classify as dragon-types. Twister was an enhanced and damaging version of whirlwind, that could channel draconic energy.

Sadly, Pidgeotto didn't naturally produce draconic energy like the rare dragon-type. This made the attack twister much more difficult to learn. What Pidgeotto had to do, was rely on his ability to sift through the properties of the air around him. He had to figure out how to absorb the congenital layer of draconic energy, that the earth's atmosphere naturally emits. By the end of the training session, Pidgeotto was able to extract a minuscule amount of dragon-like energy from his surroundings. He had a long way to go, but Ash believed that Pidgeotto would get the hang of it eventually.

Mt. Moon was colossal. Upon arrival out front of the giant pillar of earth, Ash returned Pidgeotto. He would call on his friend when necessary, but didn't find it beneficent to make the flying-type walk the whole way through the caves.

It was late afternoon. Ash pondered setting up camp that way they could get a fresh start in the morning, but decided against it. It wouldn't matter what time it was once he entered the mountain, regardless it would be dark, and he wasn't tired.

Besides, the pokemon he was searching for was nocturnal by nature. There wasn't a ton of information on the scarce pokemon, but researchers believed that they were most active at night. Ash took his heavy duty flash light out of his backpack. It was one of the several essential items that he had packed, before leaving from his home of Pallet.

He bent down and patted Growlithe on the head before moving forward. With his partner by his side, the boy entered the mountain fearlessly.

XXX

Ash's flash light did a fairly decent job of lighting up his surroundings. He had only been inside of the mountain for about a half-hour, and was surprised by how vacant the caves were. The only signs of life, were another traveling trainer the boy shortly passed by, and a curious yellow mouse pokemon with a cream colored belly. The pokemon Ash recognized as a sandshrew, had only briefly poked its head up from its burrow, before going back underground. Ash tried to record the sighting of the sandshrew in his pokedex, but the little ground-type was long gone by the time Ash had unsheathed the tiny device.

Ash definitely could appreciate the setting. This was the first time that he had ever been inside of a mountain before. It was an invigorating experience. The quietness of the caves was peaceful. Ash found it kind of nice traveling in silence, with the only sound being Growlithe and his footsteps. The earthy smell of the mountain was stimulating. The subtle drafty breeze being conveyed throughout the tunnels felt nice and refreshing. Ash had to admit, besides the lack of light, he could see why so many pokemon made the mountain their home. But then again, a lot of the pokemon that were indigenous to Mt. Moon were sensitive to light. So although the darkness didn't quite agree with Ash, it was probably the main attraction for the pokemon that lived there.

Another uneventful half-hour went by, before Ash came up with a theory that explained the lack of activity. He felt like an idiot for not figuring it out earlier. The Pokemon that lived within Mt. Moon knew the habitat unlike any human ever could. Ash was traveling through a plotted out path. The route through the mountain was carefully marked with signs directing a safe and accurate way to Cerulean City. It made perfect sense that the mountain's wild pokemon would steer clear of the human's main course of travel, unless they were interested in finding a trainer to get stronger. Otherwise, there was a seemingly endless amount of off-path tunnels for wild pokemon to occupy.

Realization struck Ash. If he wanted to leave the mountain with the mysterious and rare pokemon clefairy, he would need to explore the unknown. Ash had no problem going off trail. None of the pokemon listed on his pokedex as being native to the mountain, were typically dangerous. And if at some point he felt like he was in danger, he had pokemon repellent. The stuff cost him a good bit of money back in Viridian City. He thought he would need some back when he was traveling through the Viridian Forest. Fortunately, he never had to so much as crack the seal of the canister. Having Growlithe around while trekking through the forest did a good enough job of scaring off the bug-types.

The problem with going off path was that he could very easily get lost. In fact he was pretty much guaranteed to get lost. It wasn't like going off trail on the surface; there were no landmarks. If he didn't have a sure fire way of finding his way back, he wouldn't even consider exploring the depths of the mountain. Fortunately, his Growlithe had an otherworldly sense of smell.

His plan was to leave something on the main path that was distinct. Once Growlithe smelt something, the scent would be forever embedded into his memory. It was one of the exclusive abilities that only the species growlithe, and its evolved counterpart arcanine, possessed. It took Ash a while to think up the perfect thing to leave behind. But, once he thought of it, he was positive that it was the perfect choice. The boy detached Pidgeotto's pokeball and released him.

"Pidgeotto, do you have any loose feathers?" asked the boy.

The raptor like avian looked at Ash mockingly.

Ash rolled his eyes. "Don't give me that look I have a perfectly good reason."

Over the last few days, Ash had started to get a much better feel for his flying-types personality. And what he'd learned was that the behemoth had a twisted sense of humor. The avian pretty much coasted through life waiting for his next battle, while trying to lighten things up in a semi-sadistic sort of way, which was a surprise to Ash. After their first encounter in the forest, Ash was really expecting to have to work on getting Pidgeotto to open up. That obviously wasn't the case.

Pidgeotto trilled something along the lines of laughter, before quavering off of its body a surplus of molted feathers. Ash proceeded to pick up some of the feathers and spread them out strategically. That way he wouldn't have to worry about some traveler, or pokemon, picking one of them up out of curiosity. He even buried a few underground, just in case something picked up the feathers on the surface. Growlithe's supreme nose would most likely still be able to pick up the scent underground.

Ash had Pidgeotto use a light gust to spread out the rest of the feathers, before he returned the flying type. He then communicated to Growlithe that they should be all set to explore.

Unexpectedly, before they moved on, he had another idea...

"Growlithe is it possible for you to pick up a clefairy's scent?" asked Ash.

Growlithe looked a bit lost.

Ash scratched the back of his head. "Sorry, I guess you probably don't know what a clefairy is."

Ash reworded his question. "Can you try and track down the most unfamiliar scent in the mountain?"

Growlithe nodded and paused. The pup drew a large breath through his nose, while accessing the full extent of his aromatic awareness. He evaluated the scents.

The first course of action was to filter out the familiar. Ash, Pidgeotto, sandshrew, human, something like a zubat, human, geodude, zubat, unfamiliar bug-type, something close to a sandshrew, two kinds of nidoran, and others reminiscent of both.

After discarding the known, he sorted through the unknown. There were seven distinct scents. Three were stationary and stiff, Growlithe figured them to be non-living. Two of the three were remains, they were once alive. They had an ancient scent, and had been dead for a long time. Growlithe neglected them, labeling them as obsolete. The other non-living scent was almost intoxiscating, it was large and powerful. Ancient, but different; it was extremely alien, unlike anything he had smelt before. He abandoned it for now because it wasn't alive. But even if he wasn't a Growlithe he could never forget the provocative scent that it gave off.

He moved on.

Four were active. Three of the four fragrances were a multitude; there was several of the same scent. They were slightly alien and similar to each other, as well as semi related to the large rousing non-living scent. But they were living, and much less pleasurable.

The last scent was dark and it was alone. It reeked of disaster. Growlithe wanted nothing to do with it. He deserted the scent and tried to forget, there was no way that Ash was intentionally looking for such a creature.

Growlithe brought his attention back to the three living redolent scents. They were together; he figured they were various forms of one evolutionary line. Growlithe locked on, they had to be what Ash was looking for. He eyed his trainer and beckoned him to follow.

Ash followed Growlithe. He could tell his companion had found something. The puppy pokemon at first took him further along the main path. He skipped a few diverting paths before picking one. The pathway was dark. Ash pointed his heavy duty flash light into the abyss, illuminating as much as possible. As he took his first couple of steps out into the new passageway, he paused, at the sound of Growlithe's bark.

The puppy pokemon without command fired an ember out into the darkness. In its wake a bevy of shrieking blue and purple bat-like pokemon, flooded out of the dark, and whizzed past Ash out onto the main trail. The trainer covered his face in protection, but felt nothing. His heart beat frantically from the sudden scare. By the time he uncovered his face to look, the zubat were out of sight. Ash could hear there boisterous shrieks, somewhere down the main trail, west towards Pewter. He calmed down and continued down the new path, following his buddy Growlithe.

A few sandshrew and geodude showed themselves every once in a while, but backed off when they realized that Ash wasn't a threat. After about an hour of following Growlithe deep into the mountain, they stumbled upon something pink, peeking out from behind a medial-sized rock. He recognized it immediately. It wasn't exactly what he wanted due to its inability to learn its natural move set post evolution, but it was close enough to get him excited. He slowly pulled out his pokedex, being careful not to scare off the extremely rare pokemon.

Dexter intelligently identified the four foot, pink, vaguely star shaped pokemon. "Clefable- the fairy pokemon- Clefable moves by skipping lightly, as if it were flying using its wings. Its bouncy steps let it even walk on water. Its hearing is so acute that it can hear a pin drop a mile away. It is rarely ever seen, and typically runs away the moment it senses a human."

Ash was amazed. There were very few documented sightings of wild clefairy and clefable; as well as only a tiny fraction of trainers that had actually managed to capture one. The pokemon was a species that Ash found essential to the team that he was trying to build. They were the only pure fairy-type pokemon that could be found in all of Kanto.

Ash had wanted one ever since he started studying for the qualification exam. They were powerful pokemon, and their reservoir of potential was seemingly limitless. Their outer appearance might not suggest it, but they were fantastic battlers. The few trainers that had a clefairy of their own were usually extremely skilled. Their typing was also one of the biggest wild cards available to a trainer. This is what fueled Ash's desire to catch one. Fairy-type pokemon were immune to dragon type attacks, making them the perfect counter to some of the most powerful pokemon in the world.

They were essentially born dragon killers.

But fortunately for dragon-types, a pure fairy-type was excruciatingly hard to find. That's what made this sighting so extraordinary to Ash. So many trainers had searched for the clefairy that were rumored to live deep within the depths of Mt. Moon. Almost all of them had been unsuccessful. Not only was the pokemon scarce, but like Dexter said, they have incredible hearing. If they didn't want to be spotted, they wouldn't be. But one thing that was consistent in every situation he had researched, where a clefairy or clefable was caught; was that the pokemon had chosen the trainer, the trainer did not choose the pokemon.

Ash knew beforehand, that he didn't have a chance of actually tracking down a clefairy on his own. But maybe, if he showed up and put forth some kind of effort, a clefairy would track down him. Ash loved pokemon, and he knew that he had the heart to take care of a rare pokemon such as clefairy. He just hoped that like what had happened to the few trainers before him, he would be hand picked by the species to train one of their kin.

Ash approached the clefable slowly, not wanting to frighten the fairy oval eyed creature confidently stepped out from behind the rock and analyzed the human. This surprised Ash; most people assumed that the species was timid in the wild. He wasn't anticipating this sort of behavior.

The clefable pointed at Growlithe and then towards his pokeball.

"You want me to return Growlithe?" asked Ash skeptically.

The clefable shook his head affirmatively, clearly understanding Ash's words.

Growlithe snarled disapprovingly. He did not like the idea of leaving his trainer alone with such an alien like being.

The clefable's eyes turned blank in response to Growlithe's defiance. The gravity around them instantly got heavy, trying to force Ash and Growlithe to the ground.

Ash struggled to turn his attention to Growlithe. "Growlithe cut it out now!"

The puppy Pokemon seized its grumbling, folding under his trainers stern request. The heavy pressure subsided, and the clefable's oval eyes returned to their natural form. The fairy pokemon pointed once again at Growlithe's pokeball, requesting the canine's concealment.

This time Ash bent down to comfort Growlithe, before they got themselves into a recurring situation. "Do you trust me?"

Growlithe's mind instantly went back to his first day with Ash. The memory of the first time his trainer had asked him that question recoiled in his mind. Growlithe submitted, understanding the predicament. Ash knew what he was doing; if he didn't he wouldn't risk returning his canine pal.

The dark haired boy smiled at his starter, before recalling him. He turned his attention back to the patient clefable. "Why did you show yourself to me?"

The clefable's eyes went back into catalepsy alarming Ash. Next thing he knew he was clutching his head, as a flood of intrusive images entered his mind unannounced.

Large mystic stone, evolution, parting, pokeball, father, mother, battle, glory; various forms of these images buffeted against the boy's psyche, before abruptly coming to a halt. While in a daze, Ash shook the unpleasant feeling off. "I don't understand. Show me what it all means?"

The clefable held out its three fingered hand, waiting on Ash to grab hold. The boy picked up on the gesture and met the clefable's hand with his own. The world turned black for a split-second, and then he was elsewhere. His stomach felt nauseous. The clefable had teleported him. His surroundings were different, but he couldn't quite make them out yet do to dizziness. When the world stopped spinning he came face to face with a tired, ancient looking clefable, different from the one he had met moments earlier. It sat in a noble looking portable stone throne, decorated with all kinds of gorgeous gems.

The Pokemon looked Ash in the eyes, judging his very existence. Encompassing Ash was a multitude of fairy pokemon. There was several of each evolutionary stage, scattered around the dark haired boy, observing his every move.

The clefairy were significantly smaller than their evolved form. Their ears were stubbier than clefable's, and their wings were tiny in comparison.

The cleffa were even tinier, which was expectant of a baby pokemon. Ash had to admit they were cute; most of them clung to their evolved forms.

Behind the aged clefable was a massive glowing pink and blue stone, the same one the clefable from earlier had shown him in the vision. Above Ash was the open sky. It was dark, and the stars were shimmering marvelously. Ash wondered how a place like this could remain hidden from human eyes. His answer was provided, when he saw the goliath black piece of carrying slate wedged up underneath the stone.

They had moved it. Ash assumed that the cleffa evolutionary line must conceal the giant mystical stone deep within the mountain for extended periods of time. And on special occasions they move it, most of the time probably to this open location. Ash wondered what the special occasion was. The young boy brought his gaze back onto the ancient looking clefable. By its risen position Ash assumed that it was probably the leader.

Its eye's, glowed a vibrant purple. Ash's mind was invaded. He could feel a harsh scrape flipping through his memories like a used magazine. It didn't damage his mind, it just simply observed, everything. When the clefable was finished, Ash took a deep gasping breath. Sweat had formulated all over his body. The uncomfortable mental experience had caused an obvious physical reaction. Its eyes turned a translucent blue, as Ash heard a male emotionless voice reverberate within his mind.

"Welcome, human Ash, my kin and I have awaited your arrival for quite sometime," said the Clefable. "You have been selected to take part in our sacred evolution ceremony."

Ash, squinted his eyes. The telepathic link he now shared with the clefable was painful to the point that he couldn't even react to the fact that a pokemon was talking to him. "Thank you for being so kind by letting me take part in it. But what does it all mean?"

"Those of my kind evolve once every ten years, thus obeying the will of our mighty moonstone," it replied. "But, maturation for our species comes at the price of an unimpaired sacrifice," said the clefable.

Ash was starting to match what this ancient clefable was saying, with the subliminal images from earlier. It was starting to make some sense.

"Why me?" asked the boy.

The clefable's long pointy ears twitched as it answered. "We always choose a youngling. You have yet to settle into your identity. Right now you are pure, with an interest in my kin. You have good intentions, and seek potential. You are not soft, but at the same time you are the farthest thing from cruel. You are the perfect candidate."

Ash was flattered; he had never thought of himself in those ways before. He felt like he had a good heart, and he desired good things, but he never would have considered himself pure. Nevertheless, he wasn't going to argue with the wise old sage.

"What happens next?" asked Ash. "When does the ceremony start?"

The clefable's eyes flickered as it continued the telepathy.

"Just sit down and watch human, we shall begin shortly," said the Clefable, as it signaled for Ash to sit down by its side.

Ash asked if he could release Pidgeotto and Growlithe so that they could watch the ceremony, but the ancient clefable refused. The elder explained that the ceremony was for its kin and the chosen human's eyes only, thus reinforcing the rule that its envoy had put in place earlier.

Ash just waited. The elder paid him no further attention; it seemed preoccupied by the upcoming events. The dark haired boy sat in wonder, curious of so many things. Abruptly, the myriad of fairy pokemon stopped what they were doing and circled around the large sovereign stone. The ceremony was beginning. Ash watched intentionally waiting for something to happen.

All of a sudden, the clefairy and clefable's many eyes simultaneously began to glow a luminous pink, as they each individually raised their arms up above their head. Like clock-work, they swayed their arms back and forth, while chanting their name. Ash was not quite sure what they were doing, as they pulsated. After a few minutes they stopped. Ash turned to find now that the elder clefable's eyes were glowing pink. The sages eyes locked on to the prodigious rock. The momentous crag responded, oscillating between the vibrant colors blue, pink, and purple. Ash felt himself getting caught in a hypnotic trance, an after effect of the moon stones activity.

The moon stone proceeded to convulse, seemingly shaking the entire mountain. Ash broke from the trance and latched on to the leg of the ancient clefable's throne. Ash's pokeball's shook sensing that he was in danger. The boy grasped them, doing whatever he could to let them know that he was alright.

An explosion occurred. A fragment of the moonstone had separated itself from its primordial base. The newly separated fragment condensed itself, blanketed by an array of different colors. It erupted into several more small fragments, that shot up into the night sky. They then sprinkled down like a meteor shower, landing upon the heads of several of the clefairy. Ash couldn't tell if it was a selection, or if it was completely random. He watched, as the clefairy that were touched by the fragments were set ablaze by a powerful glistening white light. Through the incandescent bright lights, Ash could slightly make out the changes in shape.

It was evolution.

Ash let go of his hold on the throne and just watched. It was his first time ever witnessing a live evolution before. He whispered a thankful prayer to an unknown higher power. He could not have asked for a better situation in which to experience evolution for the first time. When the bright white lights finally faded, numerous new clefable appeared. The new fully-evolved fairy pokemon all cravingly examined their new body's, clearly pleased by their enhance forms.

Ash turned to find the elder standing from his throne for the first time. The clefable began to speak to its kin in its native tongue, while doing Ash the service of translating telepathically at the same time. "All hail the mighty moonstone!"

The numerous fairy pokemon echoed it passionately back in the native tongue. Ash did not understand it; only the elder's thoughts were translated to him. But he figured they were repeating what the elder said.

"In obedience to the stone, we shall advance into the ceremonies second stage!" continued the elder clefable.

All of the clefairy that did not evolve stepped forward; there were about fifteen of them. They organized themselves into a single file line, positioning each other shoulder to shoulder facing the elder. The elder responded by holding out its arm. It used some kind of telekinetic power and drew a lose fragment from the original moonstone. The fragment pulsated between blue, pink and purple as the sage held it in its hand.

"The selection process will begin. One of you shall be selected to become the chosen human's companion. This is an honor stowed upon you by the moon stone itself. Accept your fate," said the elder.

Ash got butterflies. He couldn't believe what was happening. It was surreal. Although, it had been what he wanted. He expected nothing when he decided to search out the clefairy of Mt. Moon. But he was chosen to train one of their species. He didn't know if there was a greater feeling than this. Being picked by a mysteriously scarce species was the greatest honor he had ever received.

The ancient clefable walked down the line of clefairy, with the pulsating stone in hand. "The stone shall choose which of you is to represent our species."

As he made his way through about a quarter of the candidates, there had yet to be a reaction. Ash was nervous; one of these clefairy would be chosen to leave with him. In a few seconds he would have a new friend.

Somewhere around the middle of the line, the stone exchanged its indecisive colors with a firm consistent electrifying green. The selection had been made. The clefable held the stone above the chosen clefairy. The chosen clefairy stepped forward and made eye contact with Ash. Ash could see the determination in its eyes. It wasn't afraid. Ash could see that it had accepted that this fate could be a reality a long time ago. Either that or it had desired it all along.

The elder clefable nodded its head in approval. "The moon stone has made its decision. You shall accompany the human until death," it then brought its attention to Ash. "This member of our kind is now your responsibility to help flourish human. I'm sure that someone the moonstone elected will have no problem bearing this responsibility."

Ash stood up and stoically nodded.

"No problem whatsoever," Ash shifted his attention to the chosen clefairy. "What about you? Are happy with this?"

The clefairy smiled, touched by the human child's act of consideration. It nodded, affirming Ash's belief that he was doing the right thing. The clefairy walked over to its new trainer and stood by his side. It then turned around in the direction that Ash was facing to acknowledge the elder. Clefairy stood in anticipation for the closing acts of the ceremony.

The clefable walked over to Ash, and handed him the palm-sized fragment of moonstone that was used for the selection. "And with this final gift the ceremony is over. I trust that you will know when the right time to use it is. Just keep in mind that my kind comes into its own during our clefairy stage. Evolution enhances our power greatly, but without knowledge the pIower is wasted."

Ash thanked the clefable, and put the evolutionary stone in his backpack. Depending on where his new friend was already at in development, he didn't plan on using the stone for a long time. Regardless of how long it would take. Ash was thrilled over the stone. He now contained all of the tools to sculpt clefairy into an extraordinary fairy-type.

With the elder clefable and his new clefairy's permission, Ash handled one of the empty pokeballs he had just detached from his belt. The clefairy looked up at its elder for assurance. The clefable muttered something in its native tongue, while signaling to the clefairy that it was safe.

Before the young clefairy could do anything, it was met by two clefable that had walked out from the rest of the crowd. They fulfilled two more of the prophetic images that the clefable envoy had shown him earlier. The two clefable enacted the images consisting of a mother and a father. There was a heart felt goodbye, understanding that this might be the last time they ever saw each other. Tears were shed. But neither side seemed upset by the circumstances. Both the clefairy and its parents seemed to know that this was for the best. It wasn't only what their sovereign moonstone desired. But it was what clefairy desired. Clefairy wanted to get stronger. It yearned to see the world. And going with this human boy would actuate both of those goals into reality.

After one final goodbye the two clefable beckoned their child forward. The clefairy eyed the pokeball, while Ash pointed towards the button in the center of the contraption Ash decided that since the species had selected him to be there chosen human. He would feel more comfortable with the young clefairy capturing itself, and forfeiting over its allegiance under its own terms.

Clefairy lightly tapped the pokeball's capture button. The clefairy was cloaked in an ambient red light, before being sucked into the confines of the pokeball. Unlike Pidgeotto's capture, the pokeball didn't shake once, which meant that Clefairy did not struggle and instantly submitted into suspended animation. Ash smiled and stared at the pokeball. Realization occurred that he had caught his third teammate and had made a new friend. Clefairy would be an important piece to Ash's puzzle.

Ash could not wait to unlock its anti-dragon-type abilities.

The internal moment was interrupted by the elder clefable. "Human, please take good care of the child. Clefairy are loyal, she will do nothing but hold up her end of the agreement."

Ash smiled at the elder clefairy. "Don't worry, I'll take care of her," he internally recognized that for the first time he was aware of his Clefairy's gender. She would be his very first female pokemon. He chuckled slightly curious as to how she would mesh with Pidgeotto and Growlithe.

The clefable breeched Ash's mind once again. "While sifting through your mind earlier, I found that you are on your way to Cerulean City."

"Yup, that's where I'm headed," replied Ash

The elder gestured in the direction of a slightly familiar looking clefable. "My envoy can take you as far as the eastern exit of the mountain. I cannot risk him being seen in the city. Is that okay with you human Ash Ketchum?"

Ash's face lit up. "Are you kidding me? That would save me so much time! Of course I'm okay with it!"

The clefable's face showed emotion for the first time, as he smiled. "Very well then, I look forward to maybe one day seeing you again. And I remind you please take good care of the child."

As the elder finished its sentence, its eyes focused on something right behind Ash and it nodded. Simultaneously Ash felt something gently touch his back. Everything went black; and once again he was somewhere else. Just like the first time he had been teleported, his eyesight was slightly out of focus. By the time everything around him looked stable and clear, the clefable envoy was gone. Ash was on the outside of the mountain and his surroundings were unfamiliar. The scenery was much greener than the other side of the mountain. He could smell the crispness in the air, that only existed when close to a large body of water. Thus proving to Ash that the elder clefable had done as it said it would. He he had arrived on the other side of the mountain.

Tomorrow morning he would journey the rest of the way to Cerulean City ahead of schedule. It was late and Ash was tired. Mt. Moon was an unbelievable experience, one that Ash would never forget. He was hungry, and still had to introduce his new comrade to his other friends. But all of that could wait till tomorrow. He was too exhausted to prepare any food and introductions didn't need to be immediate.

The young boy found a safe spot to set up his sleeping bag. He released Growlithe, not feeling comfortable enough to sleep under the stars by himself.

Growlithe was confused at first as to why they were on the outside of the mountain. Then he was eager to be filled in on what exactly had happened after he was returned to his pokeball, back inside of the mountain. But the pup could see that his best friend was exhausted. He figured any questions that he had could remain unanswered until the morning.

The trainer and his pokemon fell asleep together under the starry sky. It had been another wild day, the two of them quietly drifted off into their own individual dream worlds.

XXX

Introductions had gone well. Growlithe and Pidgeotto both seemed to like Clefairy. Growlithe was a little bit more welcoming than Pidgeotto, taking his role as leader seriously.

Clefairy was at first sort of confused by the other two pokemon, but didn't take too long to get a grip over the situation She acquainted herself with the orange and black canine, along with the raptor-like avian. Ash took into account that this was possibly Clefairy's very first time seeing other pokemon outside of her own kin. Regardless, she was kind. She treated Pidgeotto and Growlithe respectfully, discerning their importance to her new trainer.

The official convocation had taken place over breakfast. Ash used the meal as an opportunity to share his aspirations with the fairy-type. Just like when he had first talked to Growlithe and Pidgeotto, he wanted Clefairy to have a clear picture of the kind of person he was and what his expectations were.

Clefairy attentively listened to everything Ash had to say. She was impressed by the human. He was passionate, intelligent, courageous and inspirational; which were all qualities that she admired. In Clefairy's mind, the moon stone had selected right. She was a perfect match for the chosen human. Most of their ideals aligned perfectly.

The fairy-type also had thoroughly examined her new trainers other two companions. They were well kept and trained properly. They were on the right path to unlocking their potential. She held the one Ash had introduced as Growlithe in high regard. She could tell that between Growlithe and Pidgeotto the orange and black canine assumed leadership. In her eyes, that made him her superior.

The one known as Pidgeotto was powerful. She could tell that the avian oozed potential. Her parents had told her all about different kinds of flying-type pokemon. Based on the references she had, Clefairy was able to tell that this one was blessed with an uncanny reserve of latent power. But after spending merely five minutes with the pokemon, she could tell that he was a sadistic buffoon. He played with his food and made all kinds of rude remarks. Regardless, he had been around longer than she had. She would treat him as her higher-up, for now.

While they were eating, Ash picked up on Clefairy's first noticeable quirk. The fairy-type was overly obsessed with the protection of her food. She huddled next to Ash as she wolfed down her sustenance. Ash had a feeling it wasn't because she was overly affectionate either. His guess was that she chose to stay close to him because he had no interest in the pokemon food. The fairy-type hastily funneled the small brown nutrient filled pellets into her mouth. All the while never once did she take her eyes off of Growlithe and Pidgeotto.

Ash found this fairly entertaining. When he first gave pokemon food to Growlithe and Pidgeotto, they were both fairly indifferent towards it. Growlithe barely reacted, probably because the professor had already introduced it to him. Pidgeotto on the other hand, only ate the stuff because of the nutrients. The first time Ash served Pidgeotto, the bird looked somewhat dumfounded. Ash assumed he'd much rather hunt.

Clefairy however, loved the stuff. Ash had to cut her off after a bowl and a half in fear of her overeating. Ash couldn't help but wonder what she ate while she lived in Mt. Moon. Whatever it was, Ash had a feeling it must have been repulsive. Because standard issued pokemon food wasn't necessarily known for its taste.

Once everyone was finished eating, they packed up camp. Before they left to trek the remaining distance to Cerulean City, Ash wanted to fit in a training session. He found it important that he had at least a small understanding of Clefairy's capabilities, especially since he was going to have to use her at the Cerulean gym. He didn't necessarily like the prospect of relying on a freshly caught pokemon. But he didn't really have all that much of a choice.

Growlithe would be at a major disadvantage. There was no way that Ash could use him at a water-type gym. As a matter of fact, Ash was still trying to come up with a way to break the news to Growlithe. The puppy pokemon was reasonable. Ash had no doubt that the canine would understand. Regardless, the fire-type was his starter, Ash expected him to be at least a little disappointed by the circumstances.

Ash sent Growlithe and Pidgeotto off on their own to spar, while he pulled Clefairy off to the side for some one-on-one training. Before they could start though, Ash needed to know her current skill level.

He activated Dexter. "Clefairy-The Fairy Pokemon- It is said that happiness will come to those who see a clefairy under a full moon. The moonlight that it stores in its wings apparently gives it the ability to float. This Clefairy is female. Current move set- disarming voice, encore, pound, sing, double slap, defense curl, and wake-up slap. Ability-cute charm.

Ash had to admit, she was a lot further along then he would have guessed. He didn't recognize disarming voice, but other than that he was familiar with the rest of her learn-set. The dark haired boy started their training session by having Clefairy showcase her attacks. He needed to know if all of the the moves were stable.

She had good control over all of the techniques that Ash had the ability to judge. He didn't necessarily have the aptitude to evaluate her sing and wake-up slap combination, or her encore. But given the fact that Ash did not fall asleep when she sang, he apprehended that she had pretty good control over at least part of the combination.

She had a decently powerful pound attack, and her double slap reminded Ash never to make a girl angry. Disarming voice was an interesting capability. The pokedex explained that it was a charming cry that never missed. Apparently it did emotional damage to the opposing pokemon. Ash wasn't quite sure what the effects would be like in an actual battle. But when he watched her perform the technique, he wasn't quite sure how it could possibly cause emotional damage to anything. The vocal tone she emitted was actually rather cute in his opinion. Maybe it had a different effect on pokemon, or maybe he was just reading the definition wrong.

Clefairy's ability cute charm was highly underrated. Immobilizing a pokemon by attraction was something that, if done correctly, could be demoralizing. Unfortunately, the abilities probability of enacting was something that you could not control. It was an ability that took effect at random, and only during physical contact. It also only worked when battling a pokemon of the opposite gender. So, although it was a handy ability, it definitely wasn't something that he could rely upon when coming up with a strategy.

Now that he had a pretty good idea of Clefairy's capabilities, Ash signaled for Growlithe and Pidgeotto. Both pokemon made their way back over to Ash. They only looked slightly tired. Ash didn't get a chance to observe the intensity of their sparring, but he figured they had taken it relatively easy.

After a short break, he sent Pidgeotto to go work on twister. The avian needed the extra work on the draconic based attack. Besides, he would only need one other pokemon for the next part of Clefairy's training. Growlithe was the better choice; Clefairy seemed to respond better to him.

The dark haired boy positioned Clefairy and Growlithe for a mock battle. He needed a feel for how Clefairy would apply her techniques to actual combat. Once Ash signaled for the two pokemon to begin, they charged towards one another head on.

Ash could tell by the look of dauntlessness on Clefairy's face, that this was where she was most comfortable. Even though the prototypical stereotype for clefairy was that they were a timid species. Ash was glad to know that he didn't have to worry about lack of courage when it came to his fairy pokemon. So far she had shown Ash nothing but firmness and bravery.

XXX

The ten-year old boy fell in love with the seaside aroma that trickled in from the north, as he and his growlithe tried to track down the Cerulean City gym.

Growlithe was use to the capricious scent by now. He had picked it up at some point during the journey to Cerulean. However, he adored the sensation of the appeasing wind, as it grazed through his fur and lightly brushed up against his skin.

They had already visited the pokemon center to get refreshed. The team was all ready for their first gym battle. They saw most of the city on their way to the pokemon center. Even so, the scenery was still new enough that it continued to gratify both trainer and pokemon, while they sought after the gym.

Cerulean was the largest city Ash had been to so far. The boy also felt that it was by far the prettiest. Most of the buildings were alluringly constructed. They appeared to be much more cultivated then the other cities he had been to. A lush green landscape complimented the large city buildings and suburban neighborhoods. The plant life was well taken care of. And the roads, along with the city lights, didn't derange the gorgeous scenery.

The people were diverse and friendly. For the most part they seemed to love interaction. There were markets on just about every street corner. Ash could overhear various conversations that involved haggling. Ash tried not to appear interested though. After his display at Flint's rock shop back in Pewter City, he had come to the conclusion that he wasn't good at dealing with items that didn't have a set price.

All together, Ash was really taken back by Cerulean City. But what stood out to him the most, was the massive collection of extravagant ponds and man-made waterfalls, scattered throughout the entire city. As well as the magnificent scenic view of the northern sea inlet; it was breathtaking as you entered the city for the first time.

Cerulean City was most definitely worthy of its namesake.

With the help of a couple of likable civilians, Ash finally stood out front of the Cerulean gym. The gym was excruciatingly bizarre looking. It was shaped like a dome, with the roof being colored by alternating pink and yellow stripes. The roof's edging resembled identical recurring white waves. Located in the center of the roof's trim, above the two large glass doors, were azure letters that spelled out 'Cerulean Gym'.

"Well I guess this is it," muttered Ash. "Kind of strange looking, don't you think Growlithe?

The puppy Pokemon nodded his head in agreement.

A massive ugly wooden cutout of a seal was positioned right above the dome's wavy trim. It definitely gave off some tacky vibes. Ash tried not to develop any preconceived ideas about the gym leader based on the appearance of the gym. He wended his way forward and wedged open the heavy glass doors.

The lobby was quiet. The interior of the foyer was somewhat bland. Especially if you compared it to the building's outlandish exterior. The walls were painted a creamy-beige. They were embellished with various framed pictures of water-type pokemon, as well as live shots of different kinds of water themed performances. Ash thought that they looked to have taken place somewhere in the gym.

To Ash's right was the lobby desk. Standing behind it was a gorgeous blonde haired girl. She looked to be at least sixteen-years old. She briefly eyed Ash with her vibrant green eyes, before bringing her attention back down to the magazine she was currently skimming through.

"Are you here for a gym battle kid?" asked the beautiful girl.

Ash walked closer to the desk. "Yeah, I am. Are you the gym leader?"

She looked up from her magazine and gave Ash a smile. "I'm one of them, but lately my little sister has been taking all of the challenges."

Ash remembered that Cerulean City was home to the only gym in all of Kanto that had multiple certified gym leaders.

He blinked a couple of times, before replying. "Why's that?"

"Ehh, it just works out better that way," she shrugged. "Misty handles the battles. Lily, Violet, and I bring in the cash with our performances."

Ash left it at that. For the most part it all made sense to him. He assumed Lily and Violet must be the other gym leaders. "Well can I get a battle with Misty then?"

"Sure thing, I'll page her that she has a challenger," she readjusted the pretty pink flower in her hair. "I'm just going to need your name and how many badges you have?"

Ash scratched the back of his head. "My name's Ash, and this will be my first gym battle."

She reached out her hand welcomingly. "Nice to meet you Ash, I'm Daisy. Thanks for picking the cerulean gym as your first gym challenge."

Ash shook the girl's hand, before reciprocating a smile. "No problem, thank you for your hospitality."

"Alright Ash, so just sit down in the waiting area and I will intercom Misty," she pointed towards a comfortable looking couch that Ash had failed to notice when he first walked in.

The dark-haired boy nodded his head and sat down. Growlithe followed and lied down by Ash's feet. Daisy noticed the fire-type canine for the first time while Ash was sitting in the waiting area. Before pressing the button on the intercom, she raised a question to the boy.

"You're not planning on using a fire-type, are you?" She raised an eye-brow. "Most of the battlefield is a pool."

Ash shook his head. "No, I figured as much. I have other pokemon that i'm going to use."

Growlithe dejectedly pouted. The subject was still sensitive to the pup. Ash patted Growlithe on his head with care. Ash had shared with the fire-type his plan to use Clefairy and Pidgeotto for the gym battle, during the walk from Mt. Moon to Cerulean City. Growlithe understood; he didn't necessarily like the idea. But he trusted Ash, and wouldn't disrespect his trainer's decision. Although, that didn't mean he wasn't slightly depressed over it. He cursed the Kanto gym-circuit for their ploy to crush his morale.

Ash listened, as Daisy reached out to Misty over the buildings intercom. "Misty, you have a challenger named Ash. This is his first gym battle, so use the league registered team."

Ash had done his research. Cerulean gym's beginner team consisted of a goldeen and a starmie. They were both water-type pokemon obviously. Starmie was the evolved form of staryu, the starfish pokemon, while Goldeen was a fish-like pokemon that was in its primary stage.

It took a few moments, but Misty replied, accepting the challenge. "Sounds good, give me like five minutes."

There was a slight pause before she chimed in again. "Maybe ten, I've got to prepare the battlefield."

She sounded young over the loud speaker. Ash's guess was that she was probably around the same age as him, maybe a little bit older.

"Alright I'll bring him over in ten," answered Daisy.

The ten minutes went by quickly. Daisy kept him busy by explaining what the gym's performances were like. Almost all of them were either plays or ballets. Apparently, the water flower sisters were famous around most of Kanto. Ash had never heard of them before. But then again, he wasn't really all that into theatrics.

The research he had done on kanto's gym leaders was pretty limited either way. There were a few special cases, but for the most part he only knew a couple of cities registered pokemon. He knew what league registered pokemon the gym leaders in Pewter, Cerulean, and Vermillion City had. He wasn't originally planning on skipping Pewter. Therefore, he would have to figure out what registered pokemon Sabrina uses in Saffron City. As Ash thought about it, he figured it was probably a good thing that he skipped Brock's gym. He had heard that Sabrina, next to the gym leader in Viridian City, was the strongest and most ruthless gym leader in all of Kanto. He would rather battle Brock at full strength, than Sabrina. Once a trainer had three badges, all bets were off. Gym leaders were allowed to use whatever pokemon they wanted. Most would still give you a fair battle, but you couldn't count on anything.

Ash followed Daisy out of the lobby and down a linear hall. As they reached the end of the hallway, the corridor gradually got wider until it opened up into a large indoor natatorium.

The first thing Ash noticed was the battlefield. It was a swimming pool; he assumed that it was probably Olympic-sized. The boundaries floated above water, sort of like the lanes in a racing pool. They were tied down in such a way that they swayed a slight bit on the surface. It would be near impossible to get them to stay completely still. Water wasn't something you could unconsciously control. Both the gym leader and challenger trainers boxes, floated buoyantly on opposite ends of the pool. Ash was curious as to what the two blue drifting platforms were made out of. They were light enough to float, while being sturdy enough to support a person. There were also two smaller yellow platforms at an equidistant, floating about in the centermost part of the pool. Ash was pretty sure that the inner platforms were for pokemon that needed to battle above the water.

To his left and right were bleachers. Ash figured that the small stadium could probably seat about five hundred. After taking a second look, it was definitely the same place that the elder Waterflower girls held their performances. Ash recognized the arena from the pictures hung up on the lobby walls. The natatorium apparently served as both the gym and the performance hall.

Over on the far end of the pool, opposite of Ash, sat a young girl on the edge of the gym leaders' trainer box. The redhead, that had to be Misty, was dangling her feet in the water. By the smug appearance on her face, it was obvious to Ash that she had been waiting for him. Ash's hypothesis from earlier was correct. She was definitely around his age. Her fiery red hair was cast to the side of her head in a springy pony tail. She was pretty. Ash wouldn't say that she was on the same level as Daisy, but then again as far as he could tell, she wasn't really trying. The red head wore a tight yellow sleeveless shirt. Lying over her shoulders were thick red suspenders that connected to her jean shorts.

"You must be Ash!" bellowed the girl from across the pool. "I'm Misty, the Cerulean City gym leader!"

"She's definitely the loudest of us sisters," whispered Daisy, as they approached the pool.

Ash held back laughter in response to Daisy's comment, while he answered. "Yeah I'm Ash Ketchum I've come for a battle!"

"Where ya from Ash?" asked Misty deafeningly. "I like to know how far of a trip my challengers have to go, before I send them home crying!"

Daisy turned and whispered to Ash again. "She's also the most arrogant."

Ash couldn't help himself this time. He chuckled a little bit under his breath, before replying. "I'm from pallet town!"

He turned his hat backwards and bravely leaped out onto the blue drifting platform. "Now let's do this!"

Ash signaled Growlithe to stay at the edge of the pool. He didn't want to disrupt the large platforms buoyancy with a second body.

Misty dragged her feet out of the water and stood up on the platform.

"As you wish!" she hollered.

She removed two pokeballs from the red drawstring bag hanging from her back, and prepared for battle. "Do you know the rules of the gym?"

Ash detached a pokeball from his belt. "Nope, could you fill me in?"

Misty sighed. "It's a two-on-two battle. Once a pokemon has been called on, it can't be returned."

"Sounds good to me!" howled Ash.

"Let's get started then!" shouted Misty, as she heaved one of her two pokeballs out above the water.

Ash mirrored Misty by casting a pokeball of his own out onto one of the two yellow platforms.

The two fulgent white lights dissipated simultaneously. Whatever had been released from Misty's pokeball submerged itself underwater instantaneously. Ash wasn't able to make out if it was her starmie, or goldeen. The boy tried to use his eyes to figure out the form at the bottom of the pool, but the water wasn't clear enough. Ash was curious if the gym used some type of chemical to darken the fresh water.

Atop the yellow dais, Clefairy was revealed. In wake of the unveiling of an extremely rare pokemon, Ash heard a couple of feminine shrills of admiration coming from somewhere to his right. He swiveled his head briskly to find Daisy, along with two other attractive teenagers, gawking over his newest pokemon.

He quickly brought his attention back to the pool. Ash could tell after taking a slight glance at Misty, that she was holding back a similar reaction. Misty's first pokemon had yet to show itself. Ash was beginning to get slightly impatient. Misty most definitely had a set strategy for dealing with pokemon that couldn't battle in the water. It was the dark haired boy's assumption, that Misty's goldeen was the pokemon immersed within the depths of the pool. He didn't have any solid proof. He just figured that she would save her strongest for last. And unless Misty's goldeen was some kind of special specimen, starmie was a much greater threat.

The first move was finally made. A white fish-like pokemon with orange markings exploded from the water, looking to make contact with a horn attack.

"Jump!" bellowed Ash.

Clefairy was already in the air by the time Ash had opened his mouth. The fairy pokemon's reaction time was pretty impressive, as she narrowly avoided the goldeen's menacing horn. The after effect was a tiny splash, as the goldfish pokemon skillfully dove back into the water. Once Clefairy landed back on the platform, she squint her eyes. The fairy-type scanned the water in attempt to locate the orange and white fish.

The goldeen reemerged on the side of the pool that Clefairy wasn't analyzing, and fired a pulsing blast of water. The water pulse caught Clefairy by surprise, but she managed to avoid most of the attack by skating to the edge of the dais. She was slightly grazed, but there wasn't enough contact to cause legit damage.

Ash racked his brain in attempt to come up with a strategy. He had Clefairy's sing/wake-up slap combination, but he would have to time it while goldeen was out of the water, which was very difficult. The thick wall of goldeen's natural element would disrupt the alluring sound coming from Clefairy's vocal chords.

Misty's goldeen emerged on the other side of pool this time. The fish fired a second water pulse, this time trying to hit Clefairy head on.

In response, Clefairy jumped just high enough to clear the attack.

"Another one while it's in the air!" shouted Misty.

Goldeen fired a consecutive water pulse in attempt to belt Clefairy while she was defenselessly suspended in the air. With nowhere to go, Clefairy used defense-curl to lessen the damage. Ash doubted that that the water pulse had actually caused any significant harm. But fretted at the fact that the pressure behind the pulse had knocked Clefairy's curled up body into the water.

"Go get it with a horn attack!" commanded the fiery redheaded gym leader.

Ash frantically sifted through possibilities, as Clefairy surfaced and goldeen rapidly closed in. He panicked and just blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "Try and grab its horn!"

The fairy Pokemon felt the presence of the approaching fish, as she figured out a way to carry out her trainers order. She accessed a tiny fragment of the stored moonlight in her wings. The fairy-type used the lunar based power to slightly raise her-self above the water.

The goldeen burst out of the water in pursuit.

Clefairy's unique physical ability to float had thrown off Goldeen's projection. Misty's goldeen whiffed, narrowly missing Clefairy from underneath. Clefairy used the opportunity to let go of the power in her wings; she grabbed hold of the goldeen's horn. Goldeen flailed frantically, trying to shake Clefairy off.

The fairy Pokemon used one of its arms to clutch Goldeen by the horn. She followed this up by using pound with her other fist, to ruthlessly try and batter the goldfish pokemon into submission.

Goldeen eventually managed to fend off Clefairy, but not before accumulating some heavy damage. During the water scuffle, Clefairy had managed to guide the goldeen's convulsing body within arms reach of the opponents yellow dais. She reached out to latch on to it, while simultaneously being struck in the side by an exhausted and beat-up goldeen's horn attack. Clefairy winced in pain, while she threw her body up and over the edge of the platform. Goldeen tried to jab Clefairy with a peck attack, but due to weariness, couldn't muster up enough momentum to get out of the water.

"Take a break underwater!" shouted Misty.

Clefairy reflexively reached out into the water, grabbing the fish-like pokemon by the tail, before it got a chance to escape. The fairy Pokemon dragged the goldeen's agitated form up onto the yellow platform.

"Goldeen get away!" yelled Misty.

The small pink fairy pokemon emitted a strange bewitching cry that caused goldeen to go slightly limp, before using her tail to forcefully pound the fish-like pokemon into the dais. Goldeen drifted into a state of unconsciousness, by result of Clefairy's disarming voice/pound combination.

"Great job Clefairy!" clamored Ash triumphantly. The ten-year old boy threw his fist up in celebration. Round one had gone relatively well. But the dark-haired boy was fully aware that things were about to get much more challenging.

"Good job Ash," said Misty as she returned goldeen. "That pokemon is tough. I was under the impression that clefairy were supposed to be timid."

Clefairy shot Misty a glare, in response to the slight insult to her species.

"That was supposed to be a compliment," said Misty as she scratched the back of her head. The gym leader proceeded to reignite the battle by throwing out her second pokeball.

Clefairy and Ash watched the red and white contraption, as it aimlessly floated in the air. Right before it hit the water, the pokeball split open, revealing a bizarre looking starfish. Starmie drifted on its back, showcasing its ruby red jewel. The gem was stunningly fixated in the center of its core, surrounded by a star shaped golden formation. The rest of starmie's body consisted of ten violet pointed 's jewel unexpectedly began to pulsate between multiple different colors. Ash was instantly reminded of the goliath moon stone back at Mt. Moon. Just like the starmie's core, it beautifully fluctuated between colors.

After a brief light show, the starmie submerged itself under water. Clefairy sighed, as Starmie started to play a game of submarine, just like the female human's other pokemon. The starfish pokemon repeated a cycle that consisted of continuously diving and emerging. When it would surface, it fired one of three distinct long-ranged attacks. A quick and accurate water gun, a wide spread bubble beam, or a sharp hard hitting array of stars packaged together in a swift attack.

Clefairy managed to skillfully dodge the multiple water guns and swifts. But opted to stay on the dais and use defense curl, when dealing with bubble beam. Starmie's bubble beam was too commodious to avoid, while remaining planted to the platform. After going airborne against Misty's goldeen, Clefairy was reluctant to try it again.

The repetitive dodging, as well as enduring the numerous bubble beams, had worn Clefairy down drastically. She was on her last leg. If the fairy Pokemon didn't find a way to retaliate soon, she would fall victim to exhaustion.

"Rapid spin!" shouted Misty from across the pool.

The violet colored starfish pokemon erupted out of the water. It spun horizontally at an incredible rate, resembling the propeller on a helicopter. Starmie expeditiously advanced, hurling its body in the direction of the fairy pokemon.

"Sing!" beckoned Ash.

Clefairy wisely followed her trainers' orders by vocalizing an enchanting lullaby. The fairy pokemon watched as Starmie slowly came to a gradual stop, still creating enough propulsion to remain airborne. Starmie had fallen asleep, slipping into dormancy by result of Clefairy's alluring song. The fairy Pokemon pushed off the ground, using her small lunar permeated wings to effortlessly hover over to Starmie. Starmie would be passing into a descent soon, and she didn't have the means to finish the combination if the water-type hit the water, before she reached it. She closed the distance quickly, positioning herself above and parallel to the conked gyrating starfish pokemon.

The fairy-type closed its fingers in preparation to strike.

"Wake up Starmie!" cried Misty, aware of what was about to take place. Starmie's slumber was too heavy to be broken by a mere human plea.

Clefairy enacted the final part of the combination, by using its closed palm to fiercely slap Starmie. The water-type plummeted harshly into the water, producing a copious splash.

"Starmie!" squealed Misty as she watched her pokemon suffer a laden blow.

The water-type rebounded quickly. Starmie briskly splurged out of the pool, propelling itself once again in the direction of Clefairy. There were evident signs of blemish, but it was obvious that Starmie still had plenty of fight in it. One of the drawbacks to wake-up slap was that it obviously woke up the previously inactive pokemon. Wake-up slap was also categorized as a fighting-type attack. Since Starmie was partially psychic, it didn't cause the normal amount of damage. Either way, it was Clefairy's only move in this situation. The gym's battlefield had her at a huge disadvantage from the beginning.

Starmie made contact with its rapid spin this time, knocking Clefairy higher up into the air towards the ceiling. Ash could see that Clefairy had already slipped into comatose, by result of the impact. He returned Clefairy before she collided with the gyms' roof.

"Well done Clefairy, you were amazing," whispered Ash to Clefairy's pokeball.

The dark haired boy turned his attention back to Cerulean's gym leader. "Well played Misty."

The redhead placed her hands on her hips. "Finally, that Clefairy of yours is quite the battler."

Ash smiled at the comment.

"Yeah, I would definitely say that's an accurate statement," the dark haired boy proceeded to propel his second pokeball up into the air. "She's not quite as adamant as this guy though!"

Misty watched, as Ash called upon the largest pidgeotto she had ever seen. It was probably close to six feet in height, which was about twice the size of the average specimen. As it spread its massive wingspan above the pool, the raptor-like avian expressed its battle cry.

Starmie wasted no time. It emerged from the water, firing multiple water guns in attempt to knock the flying-type out of the air. Pidgeotto fluently evaded the attempts. He proceeded to fire a barrage of long-ranged attacks of his own, using his wings to throw multiple gusts of wind at the starfish.

Starmie buried itself back under the water, avoiding the blasts of powerful air. The water-type once again reemerged, this time on the other side of the pool. Its top-most appendage produced an array of stars that were hurled in the direction of Pidgeotto. The bird pokemon once again evaded, while flinging more blasts of air at Starmie. Pidgeotto managed to connect with one shot, before Starmie was able to dive once again.

"Draw it out with whirlwind, aim at the water!" yelled Ash.

Pidgeotto produced several funnel shaped accumulations of wind, and released them into the water. The result was multiple reverse whirlpools. They interacted in a peculiar way, working together to retrieve anything existing beneath the surface.

Ash had to crouch down to re-gather his balance, as the blue platform swayed back and forth violently. He peered across the pool to see Misty, following his lead. The girl's platform was moving just as sporadically.

Just as planned, one of the reverse whirlpools spit out Starmie. Pidgeotto didn't sacrifice the golden opportunity. He used quick attack to crash into Starmie; the force behind the attack was strong enough to drive Starmie back into the depths of the pool. Pidgeotto sadistically observed the crazed pool of water, waiting for the next place that Starmie would surface. The battered starfish surfaced for a second time in a different location. This time it looked to use the momentum from the reverse whirlpool to its advantage.

The water-type approached Pidgeotto at a high velocity, in the form of a spiraling disc. Pidgeotto was startled by the high-speed counter, and couldn't dodge. He took the attack head-on and endured the blow, taking damage for the first time in the battle. The arena had finally calmed down, as Starmie tried to conceal itself back in the water.

"Recover!" ordered Misty.

Ash reacted hastily. "Catch it in a whirl-wind; it can't heal if it's not stationary!"

Pidgeotto regathered himself just in time to respond. He created another whirlwind and catapulted it where Starmie was going to land. The miniature tornado caught Starmie by surprise, enveloping it in its elemental grasp. The whirlwind redirected the water pokemon back towards Pidgeotto.

"Its weak use gust, aim for the platform!" commanded the young boy.

Pidgeotto used the strength of its immense wing to forcefully will Starmie to the challenger's yellow dais. Pidgeotto was successful, as Starmie collided vigorously with the platform. Starmie laid on its back helplessly as Pidgeotto descended into his finishing blow.

Misty hollered for Starmie to dodge, but there wasn't enough time. Pidgeotto used a quick attack/tackle combo, while crashing into Starmie at a horrifying speed. After the collision the bird pokemon ascended back up back up into the air. He shook off his slightly wet feathers, causing a tiny shower to fall from above. The yellow platform, which had been submersed under the water after the impact, floated to the surface carrying Starmie. The water-types core was dark, signifying that it had been forced into unconsciousness.

The battle was over. Ash had won.

Ash burst into a joyful laughter, as he leaped off of the blue dais, and celebrated outside the pool with Growlithe. "We got our first badge!"

Pidgeotto landed next to his trainer. The flying type puffed up his chest with pride, receiving a smile of appreciation from his trainer.

Growlithe simply nodded, acknowledging his comrades fine display.

Misty returned her unconscious Starmie with a sigh, and walked around the pool to congratulate her opponent.

"Well I got to say Ash, I wasn't expecting that," said Misty.

The redhead smiled and held out her hand. Lying on her palm was a small blue trinket, shaped like a drop of water. "You're the first rookie this season to beat me on their first try."

"After battling you I can see why," said Ash, while picking up the cascade badge from Misty's hand. "Thank you for the great battle. I'd love to have a rematch sometime."

"We can arrange that," smirked Misty. "Except next time I'll use my real team."

Ash gave Misty a look of determination. "Count on me to stop by sometime after I get my eighth badge."

"This will be fun," said Misty excitedly. "By the way don't forget to thank that Clefairy of yours, your pidgeotto was strong, but Clefairy had some real guts."

Ash grinned, just thinking about her performance. "No reason to worry about that. She'll be given as much pokemon food as she can eat as a prize."

Misty gave Ash a look of confusion, before deciding to ignore the puzzling comment.

"You better be careful what you ask for Ash," said Daisy, as she and the other two Waterflower sisters approached the scene.

The pink haired girl chimed in on the conversation. "Yeah, like our gyms' pokemon are no joke kid."

Ash scratched the back of his head. "I'm sure their really strong," the boy smirked. "But by the time I return I'll be ready for them."

Misty reached her hand out. "I accept your challenge, and look forward to our battle."

Ash mirrored the Cerulean City gym leader. "It'll definitely be one to remember."

Ash returned Pidgeotto, and said goodbye to the Cerulean sisters. He planned on staying the night at the city's pokemon center. As he exited the gym and headed towards the pokemon center, the boy reflected on how much fun his first gym battle was. He couldn't wait for the next one.

Tomorrow morning he would set off for Vermillion City, the location of his next challenge.

XXX

"Good job Pidgeotto," said Ash, as he brushed his fingers through his flying-types plumage.

Pidgeotto enjoyed the attention. He loved being pampered by his trainer, almost as much as he cherished the look on Growlithe's envious face.

They were about five miles southeast of Cerulean City. They had traveled for a couple of hours before Ash decided that it was time for a training session. During the training period, Ash primarily had worked with Pidgeotto. Clefairy and Growlithe were asked to spar on the side.

The central focus of the session was to work towards mastering twister. Pidgeotto had been working on the move for a couple of days now, and Ash figured it was about time they made some real progress. After about an hour of non-stop grinding, Ash and Pidgeotto had developed twister into a discernible attack. It was weak and somewhat unstable, but progress was most definitely evident.

While Ash was working with Clefairy the other day, he didn't really get an opportunity to witness Pidgeotto's work. Apparently, during the previous session, the flying-type had gotten a semi-decent hold on deciphering draconic energy. So the whole point of today's training was to facilitate that energy into the equilibrium of his whirlwind. The bird had made some considerable progress.

The only problem left had to do the attacks perpetual endurance. Pidgeotto's whirlwind could only carry the draconic energy if it was compromised. He had trouble at its core. He could only draw on enough draconic energy to balance out a small whirlwind. But he didn't have enough experience with the foreign power to facilitate it evenly throughout his typical-sized attack.

But that would come with more time. Ash was just happy that Pidgeotto was making progress.

His friend seemed to be enjoying the challenge. In the Viridian Forest, Pidgeotto was at the top of the ecosystem's hierarchy of power. Even though he desired to grow into a powerful pidgeot, he didn't quite know the steps he had to take. Ash was creating a map for his growth, and Pidgeotto could see that. Twister was just one of the stops on the way to Pidgeotto's ultimate goal.

As Ash ran his fingers through Pidgeotto's feathers, the avian locked onto a new desire within himself that had developed only since he was captured. Pidgeotto felt a deep adherence of accountability towards Ash. His greatest desire was still to become a dominant pidgeot. But this new developing area of aspiration seemed to form a new exhilarating outlook on his original goal.

He no longer craved the desire to become the strongest Pidgeot in world for his own appetite. Instead, he wanted to do it for Ash. Ash was the kind of human that deserved him. Pidgeotto had always mocked captured pokemon's brain-washed devotion to their idiotic trainers. But Ash was different. The boy was worthy of his respect. He did not ask Pidgeotto to change, instead he desired for him to grow. That alone was enough of a reason for Pidgeotto to yearn for Ash's success.

The other reason was that before Ash, Pidgeotto's desires seemed like a dream. He knew he was blessed by the creator. Ever since he was a hatchling he was different. He was born nearly twice the size of his brothers and sisters. Within his family it was a curse. His mother and father put him on a pedestal. His siblings envied him.

When it was time to leave the nest, he ostracized himself. The heavy expectations of his parents and the jealousy rooted hatred felt from his siblings, created a bastardized craving for power. Not to fulfill his parents expectancy and not to spite his disgusting siblings, but to rebelliously prove his worth to himself. Ash was becoming the light to his dark perverse greed. He was the antidote to all of the poison that had been injected into his character throughout his childhood.

He had never been congratulated for a win. He had never been praised for his hard work. Pidgeotto had never had allies that shared similar goals. He had never been cared for by someone else. From the day he was born, until he met Ash, he had felt alone. The flying-type had mistaken the empty feeling of loneliness as inadequacy. But it wasn't until he had spent a few days with Ash, that he realized that what he really needed was a friend.

Sure, the flying-type knew that he would probably always have his barbarous character flaws. But now that he had someone to be accountable to, someone that could pick out his strengths and diminish his weaknesses day-by-day. He felt at ease.

He also felt that he had two new siblings, in Clefairy and Growlithe. Siblings that he could rely on to help wash away the sinful hatred he had developed for his biological brothers and sisters. He knew he would probably drive both of them nuts at times. His sadistic nature was hard to suppress. But one thing he was certain of was that he would protect what was important to him. And this was the closest to a real family he had ever been.

Ash playfully scratched his flying-type's wings as the bird zoned out into deep thought.

Growlithe jokingly snarled, slightly jealous of the tender loving care Pidgeotto was getting. He was also still trying to shake off the annoyingly sadistic look his feathery friend had given him earlier.

Clefairy sat and admired Ash for his thoughtfulness. She was starting to feel much more comfortable around her trainer.

They got back to work. Ash wanted to make a little more advancement with Pidgeotto's twister, before they got moving again. He also thought that it would be a good idea to get Clefairy and Growlithe to start working towards their next skill. He wanted to lay the foundation for teaching Clefairy how to minimize herself. As well as teach Growlithe his next elemental attack, flame wheel.

Once Ash was satisfied with their advancement for the day, they would hit the road again.

XXX

The blonde haired boy returned his unconscious mouse pokemon. The naturally angry looking rat lied on its back feebly, after the convincing defeat.

"Wow, you're pretty strong! Do you have any trainer badges?" asked the boy, as he returned his raticate.

Ash scratched the back of his head sheepishly, before calling Growlithe back over to him. "Um… just one."

"Which one?" asked the boy inquisitively.

Ash raised an eyebrow at the nosy kid, but replied. "I got the cascade badge a couple of days ago."

The kid's expression lit up. "Can I see it please?" The boy jumped up and down excitedly. "I've never seen an official league badge before!"

Ash sighed, after that reaction he would feel bad if he didn't show the kid. "Sure, just let me get it out."

The dark haired boy reached into his back pocket, pulling out a polished black wooden badge case. He had bought it right before he left Cerulean at one of the markets. He undid the golden latch that locked the symmetric sides in place and flipped it open. The inside of the case was coated with soft red velvet. Sitting securely in one of eight molded slots, was the azure colored, rain drop shaped, metal emblem.

"That's so cool! I bet you could take on A.J.!" shouted the boy enthusiastically, while clenching both of his fists.

The boy had Ash's attention. "Who's A.J.?"

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