***This Chapter Has Been Revised and Edited!(First Full Revision)***

Summary: Join Ash and his friends, from all his adventures, on a journey that will test them like never before. They will grow and learn more about each other and themselves than they thought possible. The Pokemon League has announced a tournament and everyone is excited that someone may get the honor to battle the reclusive Master himself. The tournament will start as soon as the contestants can complete a task, to travel the world and come back to the Indigo League after a year to battle to the top, but something dark stirs beneath the surface as enemies old and new attempt to turn the Pokemon World on its head. Watch as the heroes try their best to accomplish their dreams and goals and conquer all the obstacles in their way, but will any of it come at a cost?

{NOTICE: I have decided to separate this story into Arcs. This book will contain the Introduction and Kanto Arcs respectively}


Ash: 18

Misty: 18

Brock: 23

Gary: 18

May: 18

Max: 13

Drew: 17

Dawn: 18

Paul: 19

Cilan: 22

Cress: 22

Chili: 22

Iris: 20

Ritchie: 18

The break between these two "groups" will be explained later in the story.

Clemont: 18

Serena: 18

Harley: 24

Solidad: 24

Zoey: 19

Barry: 19

Kenny: 18

Nando: 25

Stephan: 19

Bianca: 20

Cameron: 18

Trip: 18

Georgia: 19

Burgundy: 19

Various others:

Delia: 37 (based off her age of the novelization according to bulbapedia [29] + 8 years from the start of Ash's journey.

Giovanni: (Unknown) but in this story: 58

Prof. Oak: 64


Normal Talk


Lucario talking unless stated otherwise

Let the Journey Begin...


He was bothered. Normally it wouldn't be such a surprise, he always did this after an adventure and tournament... loss. Maybe that was it? Was he getting tired of losing? Maybe he wasn't cut out for it? Something inside him quickly fought back. So you're just going to give up? You can do this! Battling comes natural to you! You can't quit, not now, after all you've done! Yeah but what had he done? Sure maybe he was a decent opponent... He had received the Orange Island cup and completed the Battle Frontier...

He held up six small coins each about the size of a fifty cent piece. He had grabbed them from the small area by the fireplace where his mother stashed his awards. Each one had its own carving of a pokeball and a small inscription: Ash Ketchum, Indigo League Conference, Top 16, Ash Ketchum, Silver Conference, Top 8, Ash Ketchum, Ever Grande Conference, Top 8, Ash Ketchum, Lily of the Valley Conference, Top 4, Ash Ketchum, Vertress Conference, Top 8, Ash Ketchum, Renaissance Conference, Top 4. These six small coins were his prizes for getting as far as he did in each Conference. Every trainer who made it to at least the top 32 spot would get one. They were small and some would say pointless, but none the less, Ash valued them. A lot of memories in each of these coins... He noted he had done progressively better in each contest up until the recent Vertress Conference and then his debut in the Renaissance Conference was pretty good. Don't misunderstand, Ash was proud of what he had done. Many trainers might have given up by now, especially those who never had made it even as far as the top thirty two, but Ash had a dream... He wanted to be a Pokemon Master. To do that, he had to battle the reigning Master and win his title, at least that's how most saw it. To get the Master's attention though, he had to win Conferences, not just place highly in them... and then he had to battle the Elites... It just didn't seem like, at this rate, Ash would ever reach his goal. Maybe you need to go about this differently... Maybe you need to go find yourself, refocus? Ash thought to himself. Travel alone? He had never considered it. He enjoyed the company of friends as did his protective mother. Maybe though he needed this. He could go train by himself and grow strong; sure you need friends for that too but he was missing the part of him that needed to learn to rely on himself. I'm turning 18 in a couple months... surely mom will allow me... I'll go train and practice and gather everyone together again... I'm a good trainer and my pokemon are strong... maybe this will turn me into a great trainer.

Ash stroked the napping Pikachu as he lay there thinking. Soon he would tell him and the others of his plan.


1 year later…


Dear Trainers of exceptional or noteworthy skill...

Come to attend a tournament of grand splendor. Everything will be on the line. All of your skills and very beings, tested.

Come all those who train pokemon, whether for contests, leagues, or other goals. Let us see if a new Master shall be crowned...


A tournament was coming up soon, no, The Tournament. Every now and then the Pokemon League held it, maybe every decade or so. It was held in Kanto's own Indigo Plateau. To enter, you needed to have some fairly good achievements under your belt and then complete a secret secondary challenge, discussed during the opening ceremony. Veterans, coordinators, Gym Leaders, and rising stars of all kinds within the Pokemon World had heard and were coming to see what this contest had in store. A prize of a life time was at stake: A mystery pokemon egg and the chance to battle the Elites, Champions, and eventually the current Pokemon Master, if you could get that far. Truly it was a challenge of epic proportions. It was also an easier way to sift through all the trainers that had been training since the last decade and see which ones, if any, could possibly dethrone the Master.

A small group walked through the village in front of the Indigo Plateau. Misty, Brock, Gary, May, Max, and Dawn. They all looked some older and more traveled. Misty had her, now long, hair in a pony tail on the back of her head. She wore a yellow tank, jean shorts and still carried her Spheal bag. Dawn looked the same but no longer wore her cap. May wore her bandana on her neck and her hair was longer; she also had a larger backpack as she realized more now how important gear could be when traveling. Now a days, Gary wore a brown vest with some cream fur on the sides over his dark grey shirt; dark brown cargo pants and a large rucksack finished his look. Brock wore a light grey shirt with a dark navy vest; He had a blue duffel bag and light khaki pants with hiking boots. Max had changed the most, now being old enough to travel alone. He wore a brown t-shirt with a white pokeball pattern on it with jeans; he had a light green backpack with his glasses perched on his nose like always. Together they were talking, catching up on what had been going on with each person in their lives since they had seen or talked to each other.

Brock explained he had become a pokemon doctor like he wanted and had taken time off from his Breeding Center he founded to participate.

Misty had had the opportunity to go on a short adventure, away from her sisters and on her own, to catch some new water pokemon and switch things up at the gym.

Gary had begun to study hard with his gramps to become a higher licensed Researcher.

May had recently won the Hoenn Grand Festival.

Max had become a trainer and got in the top eight at the Hoenn League and the top sixteen in the Sinnoh League.

Dawn had been the runner-up for the Kanto Grand Festival.

All of them were really excited for the tournament. Each taking a guess at what the secret challenge was and what the mystery pokemon could be. Suddenly through the conversation, Max popped an important question,

"Hey where's Ash? How's he been doing?"

Misty frowned and, with help from Brock and Gary, explained to them what they knew.

"He came to the lab one morning and sat down with me and gramps," Gary began, "He seemed in deep thought and I was a little concerned since Ash really isn't the thinking type..."

After a hard glare from Misty, he continued-

"Anyways he asked my gramps if he was allowed to carry all his pokemon with him so long as he didn't enter any official pokemon League battle. Gramps of course asked him why he'd want to carry so many pokemon and Ash explained he wanted to go on a journey of a different kind."

Brock picked up Gary's story,

"He told us he was going to try and find what part of battling was unique to him alone. He said he was going without anyone. I was kind of nervous at first since Ash has always had someone traveling with him. Even in Unova, he had Cilan and Iris who are real nice people and in Kalos he had Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie, but Ash told me that was one of the reasons he had to do this. He said he needed to see what he could do on his own."

Misty finished up the story,

"He had trained in Kanto some by the time he showed up at my door. He asked me to help teach him some more about water pokemon. He stayed for a few weeks until he said he had to go. He went to Johto next and then headed through Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos again to visit some places to train and such. He told me he would see me again before I knew it, when I got scared that he was going alone. That's the last I heard from him, but his mom said he's been staying in touch with her at least..."

"Wow that's really different for Ash. I hope he found what he wanted," May said sadly.

"Yeah well, I just hope we see that dummy at this tournament," Misty said with irritation.

"He'll be here Misty," Brock said softly, understanding that Misty's anger was her way of being concerned, "If I know one thing about Ash, it's that he can't turn down a challenge!"

Suddenly they heard some people yell out in panic and they turned to see a man riding a Dodrio. He was wearing a very recognizable Team Rocket uniform and was holding a bag. He cackled as his flying type's feet pounded against the asphalt and kicked up dust when he passed. The group prepared to run after him, when suddenly they noticed something else. Another figure was closing in from behind, riding another pokemon. The Rapidash galloped rapidly past the on-lookers, tailing the Dodrio doggedly. The horse pokemon's rider caught Misty's eye. He looked… familiar. Everyone looked at each other and decided to help the new rider stop the Rocket, when Dawn turned to them,

"That rider... he... I think he had a Pikachu on his shoulder... You don't think?"

Misty said nothing as they all ran to the entrance of the stadium where a crowd had formed. On the ground was the Rocket, still clutching the bag. The Dodrio was out cold, sprawled out on the ground behind his trainer. The Rapidash stood behind its own master as well, the grayish flames of his mane and tail flickering and popping. The group realized immediately that Dawn was right.

Ash didn't look too different since only a year had passed. He did stand taller and seemed to have gained some muscle like most boys at eighteen do. His undershirt was black, he had a jacket over it that was short-sleeved, red and had a v-neck. Stripes of white ran around the bottom of his sleeves and jacket. He had his jeans on but they were less baggy than normal and his shoes were black with only a couple stripes of white and white laces. Finally, his hat was red with a white brim, a white half circle on the front and black in the inside of the hat and under the brim. On his shoulder was Pikachu, cheeks sparking, glaring at the man on the ground. The Rocket spoke up,

"Dumb kid!" the he yelled.

Ash simply smiled, "Hey, you're the one that lost to this dumb kid."

The Rocket's face turned red with fury, "You think you've got me huh, ya little smart-ass? well you're dead wrong!" and with that, he threw down a smoke screen. Ash didn't seem to flinch as the smoke surrounded him and the people nearby. Within moments there came a shout,

"See ya later you son of a- Akk!" the Rocket's voice was cut off. Ash's voice then rang through the crowd and smoke,

"Pidgeot! Blow the smoke away!" The pokemon appeared and obeyed the command. Soon, the area was clear again. Standing over the Rocket, holding his shirt collar, was a Lucario.

Speak such a way to my Master again and I may disregard his wishes not to harm you... Lucario spat at the Rocket causing some people to murmur. Suddenly a police car came over the nearby hill, blue lights roving about the area and flashing.

"Hey looks like your ride is here," Ash said simply.

A couple people exited the car. Jenny came up to the scene and marched towards the Rocket after Lucario backed away. Just as she was about to turn him over to cuff him, Ash moved.

He sensed the movement, the intention, the danger... as she reached over to turn the criminal around... he hoped his training would be good enough to stop him.

Suddenly Ash's friends saw something shocking. Ash moved towards Jenny quickly and pushed her slightly before giving the Rocket grunt a swift punch to the jaw. He collapsed unconscious and when he fell, a small knife rolled from his hand. People gasped and Jenny looked at Ash

"Sorry about the push Officer, I just didn't want him to get to you with that knife first..." Ash spoke as he slowly pulled himself back up to his full height.

Lucario walked up behind Ash and spoke, Master that was excellent, I didn't even sense the knife though I felt he was wanting to hurt her.

Jenny collected herself and turned towards Ash, "Thank you for your assistance. I'll take this scum off your hands." She turned to leave with the Rocket, who was now cuffed. Ash turned towards the Dodrio and noticed his pokeball on the ground,

"Lucario use Heal pulse on Dodrio."

As you wish Master.

"It's Ash, not Master! Oh nevermind just heal him."

Lucario walked over and placed both paws on the bird's chest. A few blue pulses of energy washed over the other pokemon and a couple minutes later, the bird stood. Ash walked over to the pokeball and crushed it with his foot; the sphere shattered, setting the pokemon free. He nodded to it and it nodded back before running off towards to woods, its three heads cackling and clucking the whole way.

He was quite grateful master.

"Our pleasure, right Pikachu?"


Slowly a young girl, whom had come from the police cruiser walked up to him,


Ash turned to her.

"Did... did he have my pokemon with him?" The young girl asked, appearing to be near tears. She had dirty blonde hair in a short cut and emerald green eyes. She wore a pink shirt and white skirt; brown shoes were her feet.

Ash put his hand to his chin and stroked a non-existent beard.

"Hmmm... you know I did find something... Do these happen to belong to you?" Ash finished his sentence with a smile showing her he had known what she wanted all along. Between his fingers were three shrunken pokeballs.

"Oh yes! Thanks you so much, Mister!"

"Hey no problem! Besides everyone was happy to help right guys?"




A joy, truly.

He passed the pokeballs to the girl and she thanked him once more by hugging him around the waist, before running off. The crowd then started to disperse. Ash returned Pidgeot and Lucario before starting to mount Rapidash, when a familiar voice called his name.

"Ash Ketchum! Where do you think you're going?" Misty yelled, stomping towards him, followed by the rest of the group.

Ash turned around and a happy smile adorned his face, "Guys! It's great to see you!"

"Pikachu Pika Chaaa!" Pikachu squeaked out happily. The mouse leapt from Ash's shoulder right into Misty's arms. The water trainer smiled and patted Pikachu's head, happily.

Ash held Rapidash's reins as they began to talk.

"Are you guys here for the Challenge too?" Ash asked all of them and they nodded their heads, "Awesome then we can hang out before the ceremony! I'm happy I'm done with my training. I've really missed you guys! I never knew how hard it is to travel alone." Ash looked over each face in front of him, Brock, Max, May, Dawn, Gary, Misty and sighed internally. Gosh I missed them all, even Gary, especially Misty. A smirk came to his face, before a thought occurred to him. Especially Misty? Where did that come from?

They started to walk towards the restaurant district of the Pokemon League Village to get some food, pelting Ash with questions along the way. Misty was surprisingly quiet though. After informing each other how they had been doing and laughing a bit, Ash started receiving more specific questions.

"Hey Ash! where did you catch a Pidgeot, Lucario, and a Rapidash? Why is that Rapidash a funny color?" Max asked excitedly, happy to see Ash again after so long. After such a time apart, Max knew he had really missed Ash.

"Hey Ash, that Pigeot is the same one as before, right?" Brock cut in afterwards. Ash then started his explanation.

"Ya Brock that was my Pidgeot from before. I finally came back to her and she joined back up with me." Brock explained to Max and the others about where Pidgeot came from and how she had left to defend a flock of Pidgeotto and Pidgey. Ash continued to answer Max's earlier question, "As for Lucario I found him north of Johto and it turns out it's the same Riolu that Hunter J tried to capture that one time." Again Brock explained to the group the history of Riolu and Dawn helped were she could. Then again Ash continued, "Me and Pikachu had to duck into a cave to hide from a big blizzard. That night I kept having real bad nightmares; I accidentally rolled over on Pikachu and he electrocuted me. That woke me up. I suddenly felt the need to walk outside and I saw a little Riolu face down in the snow. I pulled him inside and tried to warm him. I noticed he had some wounds and I didn't know how long we'd be stuck there so I took a risk..." Ash paused, a little unsure if he should continue. He eventually did, "I healed him a little with my aura... I've been practicing with it in my spare time this last year and I tried to heal him." Brock, May, Max, and Dawn explained to Misty and Gary about Ash's aura powers.

"Wait so you can manipulate Aura?" Gary asked and rose a brow in his rival's direction.

"Well, yeah," Ash replied a bit nervously, "At first I was watching my pokemon train and I felt bad that I was just standing there, so I figured if they were working to get better with their natural abilities, so should I. I trained on my own at first. Then when I met Riolu, we started training together."

"Hmmm…" Gary responded as though he was considering something. It sounded like he mumbled something under his breath about how it could be possible, before growing silent so he could hear the rest of Ash's story.

Ash continued his tale, "Finally we were able get to a Pokemon Center. Riolu got healed and told me he was actually looking for me when he passed out and the nightmares was him using aura to try to get help from someone. He told me that he had finished his training in the Kingdom and had begun to travel to grow stronger. He said he remembered me and that his elders told him to seek me out. They told him that for one to link auras with someone in this day and age was quite remarkable being that there are so few aura adepts left, so Riolu set out to find me. So he became one of my pokemon. As for Rapidash, I think he's a shiny pokemon. He was in a herd north of the Safari zone in Kanto but was being attacked by all but one of his group. They, according to Pikachu, thought that Ponyta's blue coloring meant he was born weak, that his fire was cold. I stepped in and told the mother, who was the only one protecting Rapidash, that I would take care of him and make him strong to prove the others in the herd wrong. I've traveled back recently to show her that Rapidash is much stronger now and will only keep getting stronger! Right Rapidash?" The pokemon responded by letting out a happy whinny and nuzzling Ash's shoulder.

"Wow you've been real busy Ash," Dawn said and gave a bright smile.

"I also noticed that Pikachu, Lucario, and Rapidash's fur is very shiny and clean and Pidgeot's plumage is soft-looking as well," Brock smiled and gave an approving nod.

"Yeah, since I was actually the one feeding and completely caring for my pokemon this time... I had to up my game. I figured since we were all traveling together it was a good way to bond too and really get to know each of my pokemon even better. I brushed everyone as often as I could, or waxed their shells and such if it was needed. Good food and a lot of sunshine too," Ash expressed.

"Well I'm glad you're back from training though Ashy-boy. I can't very well beat you in this tournament if you aren't here!" Gary said jokingly and gave a smirk.

"We'll see," Ash said with a confident grin, "Hey Misty, you okay? You've been quiet."

Misty had been staring at the snoozing Pikachu's form and snapped out of her daydreams with a blush at the sound of Ash's voice, "I'm fine! Can't I just be quiet and listen to your stories?"

"Sure, my bad Misty. I just at least wanna see you smile. Aren't ya glad to see me?"

Misty was dumbfounded for a moment. Did Ash just say he wanted to see her smile? She shook her head... This is Ash we're talking about.

She frowned in frustration, "Of course I'm happy to see you!" She let out a sigh to calm herself, "Sorry I was just thinking back to what Brock said about using aura like you did... That's dangerous Ash. You could hurt yourself!" Misty said worriedly. Ash then smiled that grin of his that for some reason caused something inside Misty to catch every time. She still, after years of knowing him, didn't know why it happened or truly what it meant.

"Thanks Misty for worrying, but I've gotten much better now! I was just starting to practice using aura when I met Lucario. Once we get the chance, I'll show you what I can do," Ash replied happily.

Ash returned Rapidash as they walked towards their destination. They found a new burger joint that they had heard had just opened up. They found the restaurant and entered. After getting seats and looking over the menu, each placed their order with the waiter. More serious discussions started as the group waited for their food.

"So we still haven't decided what we think the challenge is and what the prize pokemon is," Max started

"Well I don't know about the challenge... but I do know a way to know what the pokemon prize is," Ash spoke next, gathering the attention of his friends.

"How?" was all May could muster through her curiosity.

"Well I've been practicing one thing in particular with my aura above all else... My Aura vision and perception. I don't really ever wanna fight anybody with it unless I have to, but I was thinking that my aura vision could help me detect things quicker and make me more aware and alert. I've begun trying to memorize the aura of different pokemon species since every aura of every living creature is different. Though, my power can't penetrate pokeballs yet. Maybe their electronics or something make my vision fuzzy. Pokemon eggs though,that's a different story."

"Wow! you're serious? That's awesome!" Dawn said excitedly.

"Maybe when we get some free time we could test it out at the breeding center in Pewter I helped set up recently. I'd like to see how accurate you are," Brock spoke, interested in the implications of such a gift.

"Sure, no problem Brock-o," Ash answered.

Finally their food came, though that certainly didn't stop them from talking. Ash handed Pikachu a bowl of ketchup.

"Here buddy, you deserve it after taking down that Dodrio today," Ash praised. Pikachu had hopped out of Misty's arms when her burger had been brought. He cooed and ran over to the bowl next to Ash.

"Pikachu!" Pikachu replied, accepting his gift.

"Ha ha! Somethings never change," Brock laughed.

Misty saw Ash smiling with a goofy smile that almost always split his face in two,

"Yeah. I know what you mean Brock," Though it had been a few years since they had seen each other face to face and not just over the video phone, it felt as though he had never left her in some ways. His visit during his last year of training had also been nice; they had talked about the early days with him, herself, and Brock… It seemed like to her, a person like Ash left behind parts of himself that latched onto people. It was kinda a silly thought, but Ash touched the people he met.

"Do we know who else is competing?" Ash asked everyone suddenly.

"Cilan and Iris are coming," Dawn replied, "And I think Zoey, Kenny, and Barry were as well."

"Drew said he'd be there and Harley jumped in saying he'd be there to beat me," May replied with a roll of her eyes.

"I have a rival or two that are coming," Max answered with pride. He had his own rivals now.

"How about Paul, Trip, or any of the others?" Ash asked after looking at each person who had spoken.

"I guess we'll have to see since they travel alone mostly," Brock spoke out

"I imagine Clemont will be coming... since he's a Gym Leader... I wonder if Serena will be here too..." Ash pondered. Misty remembered Serena. She had known Ash from their kindergarden days. Though until two years ago, she had only seen him for a few days at the summer camp. Misty couldn't help but wonder if she liked Ash. She would of course never ask Ash that. She did know that Serena had tried to come back to Kanto with him when he had finished the Kalos League, but Ash had already started to plan his year trip for training by then and as everyone knew, he had gone alone. When Misty and Ash had talked about his travels in Kalos, he had laughed about how he hadn't remembered who she was at first. Misty frowned a bit and wondered why she was bothering so much. It had been four years or so since she had really spent a long period of time with him and one visit last year wouldn't change anything... Would it? Would the kind of feelings she still harbored for the boy she pulled from the river stay even after such a gap of time? He might not ever notice anyone's interest in him if he was too busy with training… What do you really want Ash? Do you even know?

They talked more about pokemon and training, catching up more, and finally how strong Ash's pokemon had gotten. They begged him to tell them more about them and he refused to speak.

"No fair Ash!" May whined.

"Yeah, Ashy-boy!" Gary agreed and leaned over the table slightly.

"Wait how come you don't know Gary? Wouldn't they be back at Professor Oak's lab by now?" Misty asked and cocked her eyebrow.

"Wait, yeah," Dawn agreed with a tiny frown.

Ash smiled wide, "Wanna see a cool trick?"

Everyone nodded, confused, and Pikachu snickered. Ash lifted up his jacket and showed them he somehow didn't have any pokemon on him even though they had seen Pidgeot, Rapidash, and Lucario earlier. Ash held out his hand like a magician...

"Get to it!" Gary said impatiently.

"Fine," Ash pouted. He held his hand out and a blue light started to glow in his palm. It quite quickly formed a solid red and white sphere. The pokeball expanded in Ash's hand and he released its contents.

"Hey Lucario." Ash said smiling, while his friends were gaping.

You summoned me Master?

"Just showing them my little pokeball trick," Ash replied, "Stop calling me master too, it's weird."

I am your Aura partner and apprentice. I must call you Master, Master.

"But we're friends Lucario, equals," Ash pleaded.

Sorry Master for upsetting you, I know we are equals, but I simply cannot comply.

"Alright... no problem. Continue your rest," Ash sighed, but returned to smiling.

Thank you Master.

Ash returned Lucario and then held the shrunken ball in his hand until it disappeared the same way it had come.

"That's so handy!" May exclaimed "I wish I could do that!"

"No doubt!" Max agreed and shifted his glasses that were on his nose.

"Where do they go?" Gary asked with intrigue. Again, the same analytical look from before came into his eyes. He was in Researcher mode.

"Lucario said they go to the Tree of Beginning. They can rest there like at the lab and no one will bother them. I can go in there now cause of this," Ash said and pulled out a necklace that was around his neck and hidden under his shirt collar. It had a small blue crystal pendant shaped like a pokeball, "I carved it from one of the crystals of the Tree when I visited last to meditate with Lucario. Mew told us how it would help the tree not think we were enemies and how I could store my pokemon in her home. She was happy with that since she's lonely there," Ash answered.

"You mean you met a living Mew?" Gary inquired, astonishment and disbelief plain on his face. Brock, May, Max then told Gary, Dawn and Misty the story of their first visit to the Tree of Beginning with Ash. After that story, they noticed it was getting late.

Everyone finished eating and paid. They left to go to their cabin on the other side of the League Village they were staying at, letting Ash join them. Sleep came easy to everyone since they were truly together again.