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

0Likes
0Comments
4952Views
AA

11. Kanto 4 Part 3

The first wave of matches was rather entertaining. Ash had watched nearly all of his unknown adversaries in action, and his verdict was that most of the trainers seemed to be on a relatively equal playing field. There were a few lopsided battles, but the ten-year old boy had honestly only witnessed two trainers that outclassed him. Most of the competitors were relatively young, just like him.

The S.S. Anne wasn't necessarily brimming with talent, like Lt. Surge had suggested. But there were still a handful of good beginners and a few seasoned veterans. Ash assumed that the slim collection of trainers that were able to get a ticket by beating Surge, were mostly rookies with less than three badges. Not too many people in the region could defeat Surge's real team — the lieutenant was just too damn powerful.

The rest of the passengers aboard the S.S. Anne were mainly rich businesspeople, who barely qualified as trainers. A lot of Kanto's upper class citizens got their trainer's license just so they could own a pet, or two. Rich people didn't usually adapt well to the affliction of travel — which was where the majority of good trainers found their team and honed their skills.

...The truth is, in the field of battle, there's only so much that money can achieve on its own.

Skill is learnt…not bought.

Ash's first match in the acutely built arena was the final battle of the round. He stood patiently in his designated trainer box, mirroring his serious looking opponent.

The dark-haired boy embraced the atmosphere, as the skinny referee began to commence the battle.

"This is a one-on-one battle between David Ensign of Vermillion City, and Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town! The battle will be called once a pokemon has been knocked unconscious! Trainer's prepare for battle!"

Ash reached for Bulbasaur's pokeball, as he briefly examined his opponent. The boy was about his age, with short red hair and a thin face clustered with freckles. The boy's dark-brown eyes glared menacingly at Ash in attempt to intimidate him.

...It didn't work.

"Begin!"

Without a word, Ash hastily released Bulbasaur. The saurian zoned out the crowd, as he zeroed in on his opponent. The grass-type protruded his vines, letting his adversary know that he was ready for battle.

The freckled boy simultaneously released a foolhardy beedrill. It rapidly flapped its rounded, veined wings, as it hissed out of its pointed mouth. The bipedal poison-bee leered at Bulbasaur using its large red eyes. It grated its massive, poison coated stingers together, creating a despicable chirr.

"Beedrill use poison sting!" commanded the red-haired trainer, while he folded his arms arrogantly.

The action began as the bug-type secreted a poisonous substance from its abdominal stinger, before ruthlessly attempting to stab Bulbasaur. The grass-type tactfully dodged, careful not to get struck by the fully-evolved insect. Even though Bulbasaur's secondary typing was poison, he frantically avoided Beedrill's flurry. Regardless of the toxins, poison sting was bound to inflict damage. The sheer size of Beedrill's stinger was indubitably impressive, and it would without a doubt create some type of painful wound if it landed.

In attempt to disrupt Beedrill's assailment, Bulbasaur retaliated with a lone lashing of one of his whip-like appendages. The saurian barely connected, just making enough contact to throw Beedrill off. The seed pokemon proceeded to expel a quick burst of blue powder — it whisked through the air expeditiously, shimmering throughout the process.

Ash crossed his fingers, as he watched the newly mastered sleep powder briskly travel through the air like a cloud of smoke. Beedrill reacted hastily, using his fast flapping wings to avoid the enfilade of powder.

Ash cursed under his breath — the bug-type's speed posed a serious problem. The grass-type was unable to activate chlorophyll, on account of the enclosed setting — which put him in an adverse circumstance in terms of speed. Not to mention the fact that Beedrill had a significant type advantage over Bulbasaur. Beedrill technically had a double advantage, due to the fact that Bulbasaur was both a grass and poison type. Hitting Beedrill with sleep powder was one of Bulbasaur's only logical options. Unfortunately, landing it wouldn't be easy.

Beedrill suddenly used the joust-like stingers connected to his forelegs to try and pierce Bulbasaur. Ash gritted his teeth nervously, as Bulbasaur dodged jab after jab. His stingers glowed with a slight greenish-tint. Ash recognized the ferocious technique as twineedle — a bug-type technique infused with poisonous properties.

"Hurry up and hit it, Beedrill!" shouted the arrogant boy with a scowl. "You've got it on its heels!"

Bulbasaur took a marginally painful graze to his side, as he reloaded his sleep-powder's secretion sac. In order to slow it down, the saurian fired a quick array of leech seeds at Beedrill's striped abdomen. The bug-type effortlessly avoided the barrage, using his wings to jet out of the way.

Ash could hear the crowd howl in the background, while the battle continued to unfold at a tremendous speed. Every once in a while, he would notice the sound of Ariana's amplified voice, as she attempted to announce every bit of action that took place. He tried not to get too distracted though, Bulbasaur needed his full attention against a speedy foe such as Beedrill.

"Try and catch it with vine whip!" commanded Ash, as Bulbasaur dodged another surge of twineedles. "Be careful of its stinger!"

In attempt to grab hold of one of Beedrill's legs, the grass-type swiftly reached out with one of his vines. His first attempt was to no avail, barely missing the bug-types segmented extremity. Beedrill remained in close enough proximity for a second attempt though, so Bulbasaur subsequently stretched out with his other vine.

Ash internally celebrated, as Bulbasaur barely latched on. The poison-bee pokemon frantically tried to shake the saurian off, but had no such luck.

"Sleep powder now!" howled Ash, while Bulbasaur finally created an opening.

"Shake it off!" yelled the freckled boy in an edgy-tone.

Beedrill tried to break free, but Bulbasaur's grasp was too strong. The saurian impelled another bluish powder. It enveloped the bug-type; concurrently penetrating its lungs and bloodstream. Bulbasaur's vines no longer felt a resistance, as Beedrill went limp under anesthesia.

"Slam it to the ground!" yelled Ash. "And finish it with takedown!"

Bulbasaur swung his vines powerfully — he could hear the crowd roar as beedrill painfully collided with the ground. Bulbasaur didn't give the bug-type an opportunity to wake-up, barreling across the arena with violent intent.

"Beedrill, wake up!" screamed its trainer, before Bulbasaur closed the distance in a flash.

The outcry was useless, as Bulbasaur recklessly pulverized Beedrill with his body. The bug-type momentarily jolted out of its slumber, before subsequently folding under the pressure of unconsciousness. Beedrill were known for their speed and attack power, their feeble bodies didn't provide good endurance against physical attacks. The battle was over as soon as Beedrill had been caught.

"Beedrill is unable to battle!" announced the referee. "Bulbasaur is the winner! The battle goes to Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town!"

"And that's it folks!" announced Ariana, as Ash gestured Bulbasaur back over to his side. "Our last match of the round has been decided! Ketchum wins with a decisive vine whip/take-down combination!"

As Bulbasaur approached Ash, the ten-year old boy could see the scarlet red-light of Beedrill being returned in the background. He serenely smiled at his grass-type, crouching down once Bulbasaur was within arms-reach. The dark-haired boy leaned over, getting close enough that the saurian could hear him over the sound of the cacophonous audience.

"Good job buddy," praised Ash. "Sleep powder was just as potent as we'd hoped."

Bulbasaur's smile happily stretched from cheek to cheek, as he soaked in his trainer's kind words. The saurian's expression only became more vibrant, as he felt a warm energy seep out of his core.

Ash brightened up, while he watched Bulbasaur's body expel an incandescent white light. His memory instantly shifted back to Mt. Moon, where he watched a similar scene unfold under the influence of the primordial moonstone. The radiant white light expanded in scope, as the enshrouded being grew from within. The ten-year old boy clenched his fists in excitement, as evolution finally revealed itself amongst his team.

The crowd boisterously erupted, as the white light gradually fizzled out. Ash tranquilly smiled at the result of the brief, refulgent display. Standing in the aftermath of the resplendent outburst was a new being. It resembled its previous form in a lot of ways, but its body was slightly bigger and its features had flourished. Bulbasaur's bulb had bloomed into a pretty pink bud — the base of the bud was surrounded by four leafy, green fonds. Its' complexion had darkened considerably and its countenance was much more fierce. The anatomy of Bulbasaur had changed; Ivysaur now stood before his trainer.

"What a treat," announced Ariana's disembodied voice. "We've been honored with the opportunity to watch a live evolution. Give Ivysaur a round of applause for its wondrous display!"

The arena echoed, as the audience cheered for the saurian.

Ash gleefully laughed, while an excited Ivysaur affectionately nestled his head into Ash's chest. His grass-type may have evolved, but his essence had stayed the same.

XXX

Ash made his way back to the trainers' box, as he mentally prepared for his next battle. He was still getting over the excitement of Ivysaur's evolution. However, he suppressed his emotions in order to focus on his next opponent. He was facing off against a girl named Ally. She had shown formidable skill in the first round, using a rash poliwhirl to win her last battle.

The rough looking brunette enlarged her selected pokeball, while she focused her eyes on the battlefield. Ash handled one of his automated spheres, as he settled into his designated zone.

The crowd got quiet, while the referee prepared to initiate the match.

"This is a one-on-one battle between Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town, and Ally Stork of Saffron City! The battle will be decided once a pokemon has been rendered unconscious! Trainers prepare for battle!"

Ash could feel the tension in the chamber, as the encompassing crowd was about to ignite.

"Begin!"

Once the heavy dose of bright light ceased, Ash's giant Pidgeotto dwarfed a rambunctious mankey.

The fighting-type bounced around on its two-toed feet. Its round, shaggy fur shook wildly and the nostrils on its pig-like snout flared, while it psyched itself up for battle.

Pidgeotto leaned over with a hellish expression, severely pissed off by the small mammal's arrogance. He gratingly squawked, emitting a sound that portrayed malicious intent.

Ash gulped — this could turn out ugly.

The crowd had yet to erupt. They were currently entranced under the sheer size of the colossal Pidgeotto. The beast raised itself into the air, requiring only two thrusts of its wings to propel itself off of the ground.

Ash watched, as Ally Stork's countenance shifted from confident to fearful — a common reaction after witnessing Pidgeotto's abnormal immensity. Her mankey obliviously strengthened its mind with focus energy, too focused on itself to recognize its disadvantage.

Pidgeotto glared down at the fighting-type, spreading his wings in preparation for twin-tempest. The avian didn't care how immature his opponent was, he'd been itching to use his signature technique in battle once more. The immense flying-type slowly formulated two howling tempests. They circulated in the air, spewing draconic energy in every which direction. The two full-power twisters remained separate — a byproduct of Pidgeotto's powerful exhalation.

For the first time, Mankey appeared to grasp reality, as it looked up in the air with fearful eyes. It watched while Pidgeotto palpitated his' wings, before unleashing the devastating attack. Ash felt kind of bad for the fighting-type. It was stuck — frozen by its own despair. Not that it mattered anyway — it took a pokemon of tremendous size and strength to break free of twin tempest's gravitational pull. Mankey's evolved form, primeape, would probably have enough strength in its legs to escape the technique at this juncture. But a mankey of this level stood no chance. Its fate was sealed upon release.

The explosion that triggered when twin tempest clashed with the ground was ruinous. The sound of Mankey's cry was easily drowned out by the infernal shrill of twin tempest, while it shred through the rocky terrain. Ash covered his eyes, as the dust from the blowout settled. The encompassing crowd was silent, utterly shocked by the devastation of the attack. Left in twin tempest's furrow was a blacked out mankey — it laid on itsback erroneously, unaware of its surroundings.

"Mankey is unable to battle!" declared the official. "Pidgeotto wins! Victory goes to Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town!"

"Well that was fast!" announced Ariana, while everyone in the arena held their tongues. "Ketchum's Pidgeotto wins with an overwhelming variance on twister!"

The delayed reaction of the audience subsided, as Pidgeotto landed smoothly next to his trainer. They broke out into an uproar, cheering for the battling duo. Ash had to admit it was a pleasant feeling. The sudden burst of adoration he received from the spectators was spine-tingling.

His flying-type didn't seem to recognize the cheers though. He gently squawked, as he waited for Ash's praise.

The dark-haired boy reached up and scratched behind Pidgeotto's wing, causing the avian to softly croon. Ash understood that he was the only being capable of drawing out this side of Pidgeotto. It made him feel special — the ordinarily sadistic flying-type had a soft side after all, he was just extremely selective about who he showed it to.

Ash and Pidgeotto's moment was interrupted by their defeated opponent. She repetitively tapped Ash on the shoulder, making it absolutely impossible for him to ignore her.

"Yes?" questioned Ash, as he turned his attention away from Pidgeotto. "What is it?"

Her countenance was wry, as she held out her hand. "Good battle…"

Ash awkwardly grasped her suspended extremity — sportsmanship for the most part had been absent throughout the tournament, so he wasn't exactly expecting kind words from someone he had just decimated.

"Thank you…" replied Ash to the rough looking girl, as he forced a smile. "Um… good battle to you as well."

Ally's expression softened, while she lightly chuckled under her breath. "It could have been better. I should have known Mankey wasn't ready for competitive battle."

Ash curiously raised an eyebrow. "New capture?"

"Might as well be," replied Ally. "She hatched from an egg a couple of months ago. She's still young."

"Gotchya," muttered Ash. "If I would have known, I would have told Pidgeotto to–"

"Don't say it," interrupted the brunette. "Compromising a battle isn't a good way to gain experience. I'm glad she got crushed — maybe she'll take her training a little more seriously, now that she knows she's not as tough as she thinks she is."

Ash scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "You're right…I don't know what I was thinking."

"It's fine…well anyways, good luck in the next round," she said, as she gestured to the encompassing crowd. "I think they're starting to get impatient."

Ash looked around at the mass of irritated spectators, before hearing Ariana's voice.

"I hate to break up this honorable exchange," said the woman's smooth, sultry voice. "But, we still have two more matches left in the round. So, if you could wrap things up it would be nice."

Ash laughed, as he recalled his gargantuan avian. "Nice meeting you Ally. See you around the ship."

The rough looking brunette gave Ash an abbreviate nod, before heading back to her spot in the crowd.

Ash followed suit; plodding his way over to his seat, before anxiously awaiting his next match.

XXX

Up to this point, Ash had skated through the competition relatively untested. He had battled a few trainers that were decent. But for the majority of today's campaign, the boy had been in control from the very beginning of each match.

…That was about to change.

Ash had watched his upcoming adversary steamroll his opponents in the previous two rounds. The powerful trainer was in his young teens. The boy exuded confidence...and his experience was more than evident.

In the first round of the top sixteen he used a stout marowak. In a matter of seconds, the fully-evolved ground-type utterly destroyed the opposing opponent's weepinbell — despite the grass pokemon's type advantage.

In the top eight, the well-defined teenager battled utilizing a menacing pinser. At the time, Ash's mind was immediately taken back to his battle against Samurai in the Viridian Forest. However, once he watched the confident teenager's pinser battle; the familiar memory was quickly discarded. Unlike the specimen Pidgeotto had beaten, this pinser was a monster. It handily defeated a boy's staryu as if it was a newborn magikarp...

…Ash had reached the top four of the S.S. Anne's tournament — the competition was about to beef up considerably...and he knew it.

Ash faced off against the elder boy, as he handled Pidgeotto's pokeball. The flying-type hadn't taken any damage in the last battle, and more than likely offered him the greatest chance of victory.

The chiseled faced teen looked at him with a smile. His countenance depicted that of a genuinely good guy — Ash could tell that he wasn't the type to intimidate through any means other than his pokemon. The teen's short, gelled, dirty-blonde hair stayed stationary, as he seemingly shook out the butterflies before the match. He rolled up his green, long-sleeved shirt that almost matched the color of his verdant, hazel-green eyes.

The skinny referee cleared his throat, before raising his arm to commence the battle. "This is a one-on-one battle between Austin Turner of Fuchsia City, and Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town! The last trainer with a pokemon standing wins! Trainers prepare for battle!"

The young teenager detached a pokeball from his belt, before bellowing across the battlefield. "Give me your best kid!"

Ash nodded, before enlarging Pidgeotto's pokeball.

"Begin!"

Pidgeotto appeared in a flash of light, leering at his opponent with dangerous eyes. The flying-type carefully watched, as the subsequent array of bright light faded to reveal an experienced looking fearow.

The angry specimen stood a little bit shorter than Ash's avian. However, once it showed off its lengthy ailerons, Ash could tell that its wingspan exceeded Pidgeotto's. The decorative, red coxcomb on top of its head quavered, while it fiendishly thrust its bayonet-like beak forward. Fearow emitted a discordant squawk, before looking at Pidgeotto peculiarly.

Pidgeotto's eyes turned savage and his primordial instincts took over. Ash squinched his face in anticipation — this was going to be a vulgar one.

The last millennium of both of these species existences had been painfully intertwined. In the skies of Kanto the pidgey evolutionary line had won the battle for dominance. This truth only enraged the spearow — which gradually led to a genetic corruption of their personality. Spearow were crude, devilish creatures; their fully-evolved form fearow was even more murderous.

Fearow and Pidgeotto simultaneously thrust their powerful wings towards the ground, before they took off into the chamber's available sky. They both emitted resonant battle cries, while they effortlessly ascended, collecting a plethora of gasps from the enthralled crowd.

The avians skillfully weaved around each other, while they promptly neared the arena's roof. They created a visual draught, before concurrently opening their wings like a parachute. The resistance yielded their momentum, before eventually bringing them to a bona-fide halt. There was a momentary gap in the action, as both birds circled each other like some sort of aerial gambol.

Ash took his eyes off of the two avians for a split second, when he heard a cheerful laugh derive from his opponent. Ash watched, as the teenager looked up with gleeful eyes, while the two flying-types prepared to engage each other. It was obvious that the chiseled faced teen was enjoying the display.

The dark-haired boy shifted his attention back to the battle. Pidgeotto and Fearow were feinting in and out of their aerial dance, as they beckoned one another to commit to an attack. In attempt to sharpen his view, Ash squint his eyes. He hadn't seen Pidgeotto battle this precariously in a long time — which meant his foe was either of equal or stronger stature.

Pidgeotto was the first to commit to an attack, as he vehemently used his wings to conjure up a flurry of gusts. The Fearow took the first one head on, due to its close proximity, before jetting out of the way of the enfilade.

Ash watched Fearow enhance its speed, as Pidgeotto continued to throw gust after gust. The menace darted back and forth throughout the air at an expeditious speed, becoming harder to follow with every passing moment. Ash recognized the technique as agility — a speed boosting move that literally enhanced the rate of motion of every individual cell in the user's body.

Pidgeotto treaded in the air, as he watched the enemy birr throughout the chamber. He whipped up a whirlwind with intention to draw the fearow in. The enemy briefly revealed itself, before performing a sortie with dark-energy. Pidgeotto had little experience with the dark-element — his only familiarity involved Growlithe's rudimentary bite.

Fearow's assurance sliced through the formulating whirlwind, like a knife cuts through butter, before colliding with the confused Pidgeotto. Ash witnessed, as his avian contorted, painfully invaded by the crepuscular wave.

"Shake it off!" howled Ash. "Create distance with quick attack!"

Pidgeotto responded sluggishly, using his wings to initiate the rapid movement. He threw himself through the air, while continuously feeling the internal strife that Fearow's dark-energy was inflicting.

The affliction finally came to an end, as Pidgeotto gathered himself amidst the air. He spread his wings, quickly absorbing the atmospheres draconic energy in order to manipulate a twister.

Twin-tempest wasn't an option — the enemy was too fast.

The lone twister roared like a freight train, while it stirred into its expansive form. Ash watched the purple draconic energy overflow within Pidgeotto's wings, as Fearow stalled his movement intriguingly. The devilish scavenger waited until Pidgeotto unleashed the cyclone, before showing his cards. The enemy instantaneously manipulated a twister of its own — equal in size to Pidgeotto's.

Ash scoffed; twister wasn't in a fearow's learn-set. Either Austin had taught Fearow twister through a TM (an artificial move-tutor that instantaneously installs a technique into a pokemon's intelligence), or the avian was using mirror-move. Probability had the answer leaning more towards the ladder.

The two purple-tinted twisters met in a flash, stimulating an outrageous uproar. The grating noise they created, as they merged together, had every person in the vast room covering their ears. Ash grimaced, as fearow's copy-cat twister took the advantage, pushing Pidgeotto's authentic cyclone back towards its creator.

Ash had never seen such an expression on his flying-type's face. Pidgeotto appeared to be flabbergasted, as the "twin-tempests" fused together on their way to swallow him.

"Get out of there!" howled Ash, while the augmented twister promptly closed the distance between itself and Pidgeotto.

Pidgeotto didn't stand a chance. The pull of the gargantuan twister was too powerful for him to overcome. Pidgeotto tried to fight his way out of the elemental vacuums range, but it was to no avail. He venomously scowled, as he was sucked up into his own attack.

Ash cursed under his breath, as Pidgeotto painfully squawked from within the powerful tempest. The crowd roared, while Fearow fiendishly belted a shrill of superiority. The massive, draconic infused whirlwind spiraled aimlessly for an abbreviate moment, before spitting out a battered Pidgeotto right before it dissipated.

The king of Pidgeotto heedlessly plummeted through the air, conscious, but completely unaware of his surroundings. Fearow chortled, as it used agility to initiate its steep, high-velocity decent. It rocketed through the air like a nuclear missile, shackling its wings in attempt to catch up to Pidgeotto.

Ash's stomach dropped, as he continued to watch the powerhouse of his team get humiliated by its natural rival.

Pidgeotto suddenly expelled his damaged wings, attempting to slow down his meteor-like fall. The giant sifted through his available techniques, desperately trying to come up with a counter to crush the puissant Fearow.

He had none — absolutely nothing — the enemy was more experienced; the Fearow was stronger...

…He'd lost.

Fearow performed an intricate aerial display, as it briskly piloted itself through the air. The scavenger disembogued a victorious squawk, before using its beak like an auger to strike Pidgeotto's back.

The ten-year old boy recognized the technique as drill-run — a move typically learned by ground-types. Unfortunately, Fearow had the ability to learn the devastating technique as well — able to use its long, sharp beak as a substitute drill.

Pidgeotto succumbed to comatose in mid-air. The impact of drill-run was too overwhelming to endure, especially after taking the full brunt of two combined twisters.

Ash expelled an exasperated sigh, as he returned Pidgeotto right before the avian collided with the ground. There was no reason to risk Pidgeotto's health. He had lost — there would be no comeback.

"Pidgeotto is unable to battle!" announced the referee. "Fearow is the winner! The victory goes to Austin Turner of Fuchsia City!"

The crowd went wild, as Ash self-reflected over the defeat.

He wasn't necessarily disappointed. Ash had a feeling he would be outclassed before the battle even started. His opponent was a veteran, and the teen's pokemon were well-trained. The ten-year old boy had a long way to go before he could defeat a trainer of this caliber…Regardless, it was good experience — Pidgeotto would learn from his defeat.

The ten-year old boy watched, while Austin congratulated his fearow. The teen gently stroked the scavenger's red coxcomb, receiving a soft hum from the typically torturous avian. Ash faintly smiled; the relationship that the teenager had with his fearow, resembled the precious affinity he shared with his own flying-type.

The moment was interrupted by the resonation of Ariana's amplified voice. "With a convincing aerial victory against Ketchum, Turner moves on to the final round!"

Ash took the announcement as his cue to congratulate the victor. He made his way over to the other side of the arena, catching the attention of the teen and his fearow. Once Ash was close enough, he politely reached out his hand. "That was a good battle. You handle your fearow well."

"Thanks kid," answered Austin, as he returned the affable gesture. "That Pidgeotto of yours will be a beast before you know it."

"We've definitely go a lot of work to do," replied Ash.

"Eh, don't sweat it," retorted Austin. "How long have you been training it for?"

"A little over a month," said Ash with a shrug. "Not too long."

"Damn…only a month," replied Austin. "I've been training Fearow for a couple of years and your Pidgeotto was able to fly with him. That's pretty impressive."

Ash scratched the back of his head bashfully. "Well…when you put it like that–"

Austin glanced down at Ash's xtranceiver, before interjecting. "That's one of those new mobile video phones the League's coming out with, right?"

"Yeah…" answered Ash. "Why?"

"I won't ask how you got one of those…but I'll tell you what," orated the teenager. "I'll give you the number to my pokegear, so that you can call for a rematch when you think your birds ready. What do you think about that?"

"That would be awesome!" replied Ash.

"Cool, find me after the tournament and we'll exchange numbers," said Austin, as he returned his powerful Fearow. "I gotta hurry up and get ready for the final round."

"Okay," replied Ash with a nod. "Good luck in the final, you better win!"

The teen chuckled, as he began to walk back towards his spot in the stands. "Oh I'll win. No doubt about it."

Ash briefly followed, before finding his own spot in the first-row of the bleachers. He was a little bit upset that he wouldn't get a chance to battle in the final. However, he was still proud of himself for making it to the top four. Hopefully, his new acquaintance Austin would win. That way he could at least say he lost to the guy that won the whole thing...

XXX

Ash anxiously stood out in the middle of the arena. The ten-year old boy waited next to Austin and two pretty teenage girl, while Ariana finished giving out the prizes to the competitors that had placed below them. The winnings at this point had been a lot better than Ash had expected.

If you made it to the top sixteen, you received one-thousanddollars cash in addition to a couple of great balls…

For those that happened to get eliminated in the top eight, they won three-thousand dollars cash and five great balls...

After handing over the prizes to the last standing competitor of the top eight, Ariana raised her microphone to her lips. "For the competitors that made it to the top four, each prize varies in value. We'll start with the fourth place winner."

What was left of the crowd focused in, as they awaited the unveiling of the earnings.

"In fourth place, we have Alexia Fuller," informed Ariana, as she kindly shook the blonde's delicate hand. "Congratulations on making it to the top four."

Ariana walked over to a temporary display table that acted as a pedestal for all of the covered prizes. It had been quickly set up after the final match between Austin, and the other teenage girl. The voluptuous emcee unveiled the prize situated under a dark article of cloth. It was set apart by a propped up sign that read: 4th.

The well-endowed beauty carried two, stacked, decorative cases over to the pretty-faced teen; along with a thick roll of cash. Before she handed the boxes over, she spoke into her microphone.

"The boxes are sealed, so I'll just announce what is inside," said Ariana, before continuing. "Our fourth place winner gets to leave here with: five great balls, a box of full-restores, and four-thousand dollars cash!"

The pretty-faced teen gave the crowd a joyful smile, as she gratefully took hold of her winnings.

Ash's excitement heightened, as Ariana strutted her way over to him.

"Our third place winner is Ash Ketchum," announced the burnished haired goddess, while firmly shaking his hand. "Good job young man, you battled splendidly."

She subsequently swaggered over to the prize table, before pulling the black-sheet off of Ash's earnings. Much like she did with the fourth place winner, Ariana picked up the collection of spoils, before carrying them over to the ten-year old boy.

"Our third place winner has earned himself: two extremely rare ultra balls, two boxes of full-restores, and eight-thousand dollars cash."

After receiving the small fortune, and the collection of valuable items, Ash sunk into a bewildered daze. He spent the entirety of the second-place giveaway inside his mind palace, telling himself that this wasn't a dream. The cash and full-restores were two amazing prizes in-and-of themselves — but ultra balls...they were practically priceless.

Ultra balls were a product developed by the League's partner Silph Co. — the company responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of the world's pokeballs, in addition to many other exclusive items.

Some would even go as far say that Silph Co.'s inclination even surpassed that of the leagues, primarily because of their international influence. Every single region in the world relies on Silph Co. to supply them with pokeballs, potions, repels etc. It is one of the only functioning world-wide monopolies allowed to freely maintain power.

Silph Co.'s current CEO, Robert Montgomery (Bill Montgomery's father), is indisputably one of the richest men on the planet. His generosity is equally as big as his wallet, making him one of the most beloved people in the world. The Montgomery family gives away more than half of its incredible revenue to charity — doing whatever they can to help the less fortunate.

Robert Montgomery was the sole designer of the Ultra Ball. Word is...he had spent years creating a capture device more potent than the great ball. Ash remembered reading somewhere that he finished it a couple of years ago, but was still debating whether he would approve it to be sold to the public. Apparently, the League had already given their consent. However, Mr. Montgomery was still up in the air about it...and unfortunately, he wasn't willing to disclose why.

Ash wondered how the cruise liner could possibly get a hold of such a prize. Nevertheless, the fact that Ash was able to win two of the unissued ultra balls was astounding. He definitely wasn't about to complain.

Ash's internal rumination was broken, as Ariana approached Austin. The chiseled faced teen had won the final in a close battle — just like he had said he would. He had defeated the other pretty-faced teenage girl — who was probably just as strong, but had a bad matchup. She summoned an elegant rapidash, while Austin called upon a nasty Golduck with insane psychic capabilities…

"Our victor of the tournament is, Austin Turner!" announced Ariana, with a cheerful intonation.

The audience happily cheered, as Ariana simultaneously took Austin's hand within her own, before raising it in the air. Ash could see the apparent blush on the young teenager's face, as the gorgeous woman grasped his hand. The dark-haired boy internally chuckled, the teen looked like an electrode on the cusp of detonation — that's how ridiculously red his face was.

Once the crowd finally settled down, Ariana headed over to the prize table one last time. Laying on its surface was one last pile of earnings. It was covered by a golden cloak, intentionally setting it apart from the rest of the prizes. Just like the other winnings, it was labeled by a numbered sign that read: 1st.

She dramatically removed the cloak, unveiling two elaborately designed boxes and a fat wad of cash. She swaggered her way back over to the teen, catching the eyes of just about every guy in the arena.

"As a reward for your victory in the S.S. Anne's 50th anniversary tournament," spoke Ariana. "the The Indigo League, Silph Co., and the S.S. Anne staff; shall present to you your prize."

Austin held his hands out, as Ariana handed him the bundle of goodies.

"I have here fifteen-thousand dollars cash, four ultra balls, and well…the last ones a surprise — I'll let you open it."

With a smile on his face, Austin undid the seal and opened up the medial-sized, elaborately designed box. Inside was a beautifully crafted gold-plated pokeball. From Ash's vantage point, he was unsure whether its foundation was that of a pokeball, or one of the pricier upgraded capture devices.

"Go ahead, press the release button," said Ariana, as she looked at Austin expectantly.

The teenager gave her a brief confused look, before catching on. "Wait there's a pokemon in here?"

Ariana laughed, along with most of the encompassing crowd, before answering. "Well of course there is. The pokeball's merely gold-plated — hardly suitable for a grand prize, don't you think?"

The chiseled faced teen scratched the back of his head, while he replied. "Well I don't know about that…I think the golden pokeball's pretty damn sweet. But now that I know there's a pokemon inside, it's even sweeter."

Ash laughed at the goofy teen's comical behavior, as Austin pressed the release button.

The golden pokeball emitted a vibrant surge of white light, before unveiling a cute little eevee. The small brown kit wagged its' tail in the air, as it looked carefully for the human that had released it. Austin gently reached down and held his hand out to the evolution pokemon, letting it explore his scent.

Ash smiled at the sight; it made a lot of sense why the ship would choose an eevee as a grand prize. The evolution pokemon's relatively easy to get along with, in addition to its numerous evolutionary possibilities. Even if a trainer happened to already be in possession of an eevee, they could always evolve a second specimen into something else.

One of the biggest issues with giving away a pokemon as a prize is that the host of the competition is unaware of the contestant's current pokemon. However, an eevee is a great way to disarm that issue —since it's highly unlikely that a trainer is in possession of every single known eevee evolution.

Austin spent a few minutes joyfully playing with the young eevee in front of the crowd, before returning it. With Ariana's final permission, he attached eevee's gold-plated pokeball to his belt, antecedent to returning to Ash's side in the center of the arena.

As Ariana thanked the audience for sitting through the tournament; the teen turned around and whispered to Ash.

"Pretty damn sweet, right?" said the teen quietly, as he held on to his wad of cash like it was a new-born baby. "You better be careful with your winnings, Ash. You never know who might have an eye on them."

"Good point," said Ash, as he held on tightly to his earnings. "I won't let them out of my sight."

The dark-haired boy chimed back into what the beautiful emcee was saying, as he heard the most heavenly word in the world — food.

"Since most of the trainers probably haven't had any time to eat," informed Ariana. "At nine-thirty we will be hosting a banquet in the A wing's dining hall. I know it's kind of late, but we would love for you to come get a nice gourmet meal before you hit the sack. My watch says nine o'clock, so you have thirty minutes until food is served. Thanks for watching the tournament. I hope you had as much fun as I did. Enjoy the rest of your stay aboard the S.S. Anne!"

After the tournament's award ceremony was finally over, Ash pulled Austin off to the side in order to plug the teen's pokegear number into his xtranceiver. After the exchange had taken place, the two new friends engaged in a quick session of small-talk, before going their separate ways. Austin wanted to drop his winnings off in his room before the banquet, while Ash headed straight towards the A wing — just in case there was a line for the food. The boy was as hungry as a munchlax, and didn't think he could withstand the sight of watching other people eat, while he waited in a line...

The dark-haired boy reflected on today's events, as he made his way through the ship's extravagantly decorated corridor. He had to admit, a lot of good things happened today…

Growlithe battled well, manipulating his inner-flame like a veteran. He maneuvered his flame-wheel even better than he did against surge, and took bite/ember combo to a new level.

Pidgeotto would probably be extremely upset about how he faired today…but Ash wasn't. The avian executed twin-tempest perfectly against Ally's mankey, and managed to keep up with Austin's seasoned fearow — even if it was only for an abbreviate amount of time. Either way, in Ash's opinion the loss would probably turn out to be a good thing. Over the past couple of weeks Pidgeotto's arrogance had spiked. The avian needed to be reminded that he wasn't the strongest flying-type in the skies, yet.

Clefairy and Charmander both had good showings. Although their adversaries were weak, they made quick work of them — which was all you could ask for in a tournament setting.

Bulbasaur had evolved into Ivysaur — which was something that Ash had yet to really process. The dark-haired boy planned on spending a lot of time in the battle facilities the next couple of days with his grass-type. Evolution usually took a while to get the hang of. Ivysaur would probably need to spend some time to get used to his new body, before he could be completely comfortable in live battle again.

Furthermore, Ash wanted to spend some quality time with Ivysaur as friends. Melanie had warned him that the grass-type's suppressed memories were more likely to surface, as he grew. He didn't notice any changes in Ivysaur during their brief moment together — after the evolution — but then again he wasn't a psychiatrist. He would like to spend a good chunk of time making sure Ivysaur was mentally stable, before proceeding in his training.

Words couldn't explain how relieved Ash was that Squirtle had obeyed him in their very first battle together. Insubordination was something he had been worried about ever since he caught the cold-blooded turtle pokemon. Ash just hoped it lasted. It wasn't rare for evolution to initially cause pokemon to rebel. Since Squirtle was bound to evolve at any moment, this was a legitimate worry of Ash's.

…On top of all of the experience his pokemon got, he had earned some priceless items and a large helping of cash.

The full-restores would come in handy during his long stints on the road. The dark-haired boy wasn't quite sure how many full-restores the two boxes contained, but nevertheless they should help free up his training a little bit. He wouldn't have to worry so much about getting caught in the middle of nowhere with an unconscious pokemon. A full-restore was even more potent than Nurse Joy's restoration machine — capable of healing even the most devastating of injuries. He'd be careful not to waste them. The miracle concoctions were high-end Silph Co. products, he'd have to be an idiot to use them as carelessly as a mere potion.

Ash wasn't quite sure what he'd do with all of the cash. Even before the tournament, his trainer account was relatively well off. The ten-year old boy had accumulated quite a hefty sum of money from all of his battles on the road. Maybe he'd send some home to help out his mom.

Ash had absolutely no idea when he would use the two ultra balls. All he knew was that the pokemon he caught with them would have to be special. Ultra balls were highly potent. He wouldn't use them unless it was necessary. As a matter of fact, it was probably about time he restocked on pokeballs and maybe bought some great balls. He had the money, he might as well.

…Ash's intramural reflection was interrupted by the obnoxiously loud growl disembogued from his stomach. The dark-haired boy sighed, as he longed for sustenance. The boy hadn't eaten since breakfast. The remainder of his reflection could wait until there was food in his stomach.

XXX

The food was consummately delicious. Ash was currently waiting on his third helping of gourmet ramen, as he engaged in a pokemon related conversation with Austin.

"My starter's my meganium," mumbled Austin, as he took a bite out of his bread roll.

The dirty-blonde haired teenager swallowed his food, before continuing. "I wanted a charmander, but I slept in...Chikorita was the only pokemon left when I showed up to Professor Gould's laboratory. I was pretty bummed at first…but it ended up being the best thing that could have ever happened to me. She's been like a sister to me ever since. What about you? I heard Professor Oak still issues bulbasaur every once in a while. You must be one of the lucky few?"

"No, I actually caught Ivysaur in the wild," said Ash. "My starter's a growlithe."

"Hmmm...childhood pet?" asked Austin with a curious expression. "Or, maybe a special request?"

"Yeah…a special request just about sums it up," replied Ash. "I just wanted to start my journey with something different, you know?"

"Was it the right choice?"

"Absolutely," answered Ash with a smile. "Growlithe's one of my best friends — right up there with my childhood friend Gary. Honestly, Growlithe's probably the best thing that's ever happened to me."

"That's all that matters," retorted Austin, with an earnest smile. "Make sure you always cherish your starter. They're the only pokemon you'll ever have that has known you since you were nothing."

The older trainer had a good point. Ash had never thought about it like that. Growlithe had known him since before he was even a trainer. The moment they had shared at Professor Oak's lab was the prologue of their conjoined story. No matter how far his adventures would eventually take him, he could never change his roots. No matter how many pokemon he added to his team, Growlithe's position as his starter would always remain untouchable.

Ash nodded, before changing the subject. This topic had gone deep enough for now. Ash didn't know what else to say, other than that he agreed. "So where does your journey have you right now? Are you planning on battling at this year's tournament?"

"Not the Indigo League — nope," sputtered the chiseled faced teen, as he shook his head. "I'm taking on the silver league this year — trying to see the world a little bit, you know?"

Ash looked at him in a confused manner. "Shouldn't you be in Johto then? Why are you here?"

"I'm here for this obviously," said Austin, as he gestured around the room. "I was doing a transfer with Professor Gould, when he told me that Lt. Surge was giving away free S.S. Anne tickets to anyone that could defeat him. I obviously couldn't miss out on a chance for a free vacation. So I hopped on Fearow back in Goldenrod City and flew straight to Vermillion."

"Jeez…" said Ash. "How long did that take you?"

"Eh, like a day and a half…" said Austin. "The only rough stretch is passing over Mt. Silver. The rest of the ride is relatively smooth."

"I bet..." muttered an astonished Ash, as he processed the feat. Mt. Silver is one of the largest mountains in the entire world. The colossal, hallowed mountain stands more than twenty-five thousand feet tall, and stretches over more than one-hundred miles in between Kanto and Johto. Flying over such a humongous landmark wasn't easy — the accomplishment only made Ash respect the older trainer even more.

"What about you, Ash?" asked Austin, changing the focal point of the conversation. "You're taking on the Indigo League, right?"

"Yup," replied Ash with a nod.

"How many badges do you have?"

"Only two," answered Ash. "I skipped the Pewter Gym. At the time I only had Growlithe and Pidgeotto."

"Smart move — Brock isn't easy...especially if you don't have a type advantage," replied Austin. "So you have the Thunder Badge, and…?

"Cascade Badge," retorted Ash.

"Who'd you battle?" asked Austin with a raised eyebrow. "All three of the sisters are pretty good…"

"I battled the youngest sister, Misty," replied Ash. "Apparently, she's the best battler out of all of them."

"Misty, eh?" questioned Austin. "Must be the little girl that was running around the gym when I battled Daisy — so she's taking on gym leader duties now…interest–"

"Do you mind if we join you?" interrupted a familiar, elegantly-toned voice.

Both boys shifted their line of sight towards the pair of newcomers.

Ash instantaneously recognized the man that had spoken as Wallace. The champion of Hoenn was dressed in the same extravagant, white suit that he had worn during his speech that preceded the S.S. Anne's top sixteen.

The man accompanying Wallace looked familiar as well. But Ash couldn't quite figure out why. The wealthy looking older gentleman wore a finely made, black sports coat over an off-white, dress-shirt. His unwrinkled, black slacks were a slightly lighter shade than his sports coat, creating a peculiar contrast within his outfit. His facial features were craggy and lived-in — the man's visage looked to be that of someone that had lived an interesting life. He had a neatly groomed, curly, brown mustache that matched the color of his fading hair, and wore a pair of fancy framed bifocal glasses.

"Not at all," answered Ash, as he tried to descry the identity of the wealthy old man, while concurrently flashing a friendly smile toward Wallace.

Austin just sat there dumfounded, unable to formulate words. Ash could tell he was star struck — the ten-year old boy would probably be reacting similarly, if he hadn't already met Wallace.

"Nice to see you again Ash," said the comely champion, as he sat down next to the ten-year old boy; prior to gesturing in the direction of the older gentlemen. "This is my friend Mr. Montgomery."

The luminous lightbulb went off in Ash's head, as the elder man sat down on the opposite side of the table. The iconic, CEO, of Silph Co. cleared his throat, before introducing himself. "I'd prefer it if you called me Robert. It's nice to meet you two lads."

It took just about every ounce of strength in Ash's body to remain seated. How had he not recognized him from the beginning? He was sitting across from possibly the most influential person in the world — Bill's father — Robert Montgomery.

Ash and Austin simultaneously answered — nerves slightly noticeable in their inflections. "Nice to meet you Ro-ro-bert."

Wallace quickly changed the subject. Ash could tell that he picked up on the two boy's nervous dispositions. "You two battled great today; it was a lot of fun to watch. That pidgeotto of yours is a talented specimen, Ash."

Wallace pivoted his gaze towards Austin. "And you're Austin Turner, right? I was especially impressed with that Golduck you used in the final."

Both trainers scratched the back of their heads bashfully, as they received the flattering compliments from one of the strongest trainers in the world.

Austin suddenly turned to Ash curiously. "How do you know Wallace Mikari?"

The dark-haired boy shrugged, before answering. "We met on the first day aboard the ship."

Wallace interjected. "Ash and I had a pleasant conversation about life during the ship's departure."

Austin's eyes lit up, as he turned to Ash. "So you're the one he was talking about during his speech."

"Yeah…kind of," said Ash, as he sheepishly scratched the back of his head. "But I had no idea who he was. I just thought he was some nice, rich guy that was obsessed with the ocean."

In response to the comment, the table broke out into laughter. Robert was laughing especially hard — Ash had a feeling that he had explained Wallace a little too well.

Once the laughter had finally subsided, the billionaire CEO spoke up. "So Ash, my son Bill has spoken very highly of you over the past couple of weeks. I was bloody surprised to find out that you were onboard the S.S. Anne."

"Bill told you about me," replied Ash. "What'd he say?"

"Ah...he just told me to keep an eye out for you," replied Robert. "Said you'd be something special. I'm a bit of a battle fanatic. So I'm always on the lookout for rising, young trainers to follow."

"If you don't mind me asking, how'd you find out I was onboard the ship?"

"I saw your name in the tournament committee's system," said Robert. "I donated all of the prizes. So they let me take part in the match-up process."

"Makes sense," said Ash

"I would have recognized your bloody Pidgeotto either way," replied Robert with a shrug. "Bill's been raving about how your bird has the blasted king's nature."

"What's the king's nature?" asked Austin.

"In a nutshell, it pretty much explains the whole giant pokemon phenomenon," explained Robert. "My son's been doing research on it for years. Nothing's been published about it though. My boy needs to gather a little more proof, before it can be counted as a credible theory."

Austin raised a curious eyebrow, while Ash simply nodded along in agreement.

Wallace had an interested look on his face as well. Ash wasn't exactly sure, but judging by his expression, it looked as if the champion wasn't previously aware of Bill's theory.

"Why didn't the tournament committee have some kind of big introduction for you, Mr. Montgomery?" asked Austin boldly. "You're even more famous than Wallace."

Ash noticed the offended expression on Wallace's face, as Robert answered the question hesitantly. "I don't really fancy public speaking. I try to avoid it if I have the choice."

In response to Mr. Montgomery's rather honest answer, both boys nodded their heads.

The rich old man's mustache wiggled, as he proceeded to lean across the table with a funny expression. "Besides, if you couldn't tell by his heart-felt speech, my friend Wallace here absolutely adores the spot light."

The two young trainers chuckled, as the Champion's face turned bright-red due to embarrassment.

To Wallace's benefit, one of the ship's food runners interrupted their conversation, as they finally arrived with Ash's third bowl of ramen. Wallace asked the flustered food runner to send over a waiter, before tactfully changing the direction of the conversation. "So what are your plans for this season boys?"

Ash and Austin quickly gave Wallace and Robert a brief synopsis of their personal agenda's for the upcoming year. Both influential men listened attentively while they ate, briefly interjecting every once in a while to ask a question. Their conversation went on for nearly an hour, until everyone was beginning to drift in and out of the chat due to exhaustion.

"Well, I fancy I should probably be hitting the kip," said Robert, as he stood up from the table with a yawn. "It's been a bloody long day. See you tomorrow Wallace — nice meeting you two lads."

"Nice talking to you Robert," said both boys simultaneously, as their eye lids grew heavy.

Wallace was the next to stand up from his seat. He adjusted his coat, as he politely shook Mr. Montgomery's hand. "See you tomorrow Robert. What time do you want to meet?"

"Just meet me at that café in the C Wing around nine," replied Mr. Montgomery. "We'll talk over some latte's and breakfast sandwiches."

"Sounds good to me," replied Wallace. "Nine o'clock it is."

Mr. Montgomery proceeded to groggily stumble out of the dining hall, as Ash and Austin stood up to say goodbye to Wallace.

"It was nice to meet you, Wallace," said Austin, as he shook the champion's hand.

"Yes, it was a pleasure," replied the champion with a smile. "See you around the ship.

The teen proceeded to shift his attention towards Ash. "See you later Ash. Hit me up tomorrow if you want to train or something. You've got my number…just hit dial."

"Will do," replied Ash with a friendly smile.

The chiseled faced teen subsequently exited the dining hall, leaving Ash alone with the champion.

"Before I go back to my room…I gotta ask, why didn't you tell me that you were the champion of Hoenn?" asked Ash.

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...