Disclaimer: Once again, I don't own Pokémon in any way, shape or form.

Hello, peoples! This is the sequel to my first fan fic, "A New Life", set six months after the end. Once again, spoiler warnings. If you haven't read the first one, this one won't make sense. But if you have, then Imma drop you right in!

Chapter 1: One Last Test

-Meowth's POV-

"Eh?! Graduation?!" I cleaned my ear out to make sure I was hearing right.

Chatot nodded, "That's right. Graduation from the guild! If you graduate, you can leave the guild. You'll be rid of the harsh daily training program too. Of course, that all depends on your passing the graduation exam."

"Hey, hey, hey! Chatot!" Corphish called out. "Hey, hey! We've been around a lot longer than those two. Hey, hey! Why do Rio and Meowth get to take the graduation exam before we do?"

"They've already proven themselves to be worthy many times over. And after all, Rio and Meowth saved the world. It's only natural that they've earned the right to be tested." He turned to us, "And that's how it goes. We will soon conduct the graduation exam. I expect you to be prepared for it!"

Everybody else turned to the back of the group. Sunflora said, "Loudred took the graduation exam last year."

"And promptly failed! Hey, hey!" Corphish added.

Loudred huffed, "G-g-get LOST!"

Rio looked to Chatot and Wigglytuff, "So… What are we supposed to do for this graduation exam?"

Wigglytuff stepped forward, "I want you to explore the depths of a wood named the Mystifying Forest. You should find a place called Luminous Spring there."

Rio tilted his head, "Luminous Spring?"

"Yup! It was where Pokémon once went to evolve. But maybe because of the time troubles we had… no sunlight shines on the spring now. Now nothing can evolve there." My ears perked up at the idea of evolving.

Huh, never gave it much thought, since I never could before… But… if my "potential" was reset… maybe, just maybe…

Chatot snapped me outta my thoughts, "We want you to travel to Luminous Spring and return with its treasure. If you can bring that treasure back to the guild, you pass the exam. You will then be recognized as a fully trained exploration team and graduate from the guild with full honors!"

Rio and I nodded. I said, "Got it. Sounds easy enough. You ready, Rio?"

"But…" Wigglytuff cut in, "you have to watch out for one thing." We turned to him and he went on. "There you'll find… a frighteningly strong enemy. The grandmaster of all things bad lives there."

Rio looked shocked, but I raised an eyebrow.

"The grandmaster is terribly wicked. It's a horrifying presence that no one would ever want to meet… So… good luck with that!"

Rio and I looked at each other before Chatot called out, "That will do for the morning briefing! All right, everyone! Let's get down to work!"


Everyone left for their posts and Rio and I started talking about plans. Rio seemed really worried. He said, "What are we going to do, Meowth? What if we run into the grandmaster of all things bad?"

I shook my head, "I dunno, Rio. Sounds more like 'boogeyman' material ta me. But, if it'll make ya feel better. Oy, Loudred!"

We walked up to Loudred while he was on his way to the sentry post. "Ya took the graduation exam last year, didn't ya? We got a question. What was the grandmaster of all things bad like?"

Loudred sweat a bit, "Ugh, I'm sorry, but I'm NOT allowed to talk about it. It's the guild rule. I CAN'T talk about it. But… I will tell you this. You're in for… a dreadful, terrifying time. What I went through…" He started shivering, "Even now, when I let myself remember it…" Then he ran away screaming.

I crossed my arms, "A gag order, eh? Hmm… What could they not want us to know about it…? Wouldn't dat make it dangerous for us ta go if we couldn't ask about da big bad wolf in da forest?"

Confused, Rio asked, "What do wolves have to do with any of this?"

Figuring out that I was thinking out loud, I said, "Nothin'. 'S a phrase where I come from. Anyway, guess we're going in blind on this one. Since we don't know what we might be fighting, we better be extra-ready for majorly tough opponents. Let's hit up Treasure Town and go get supplies. Might wanna give the dojo a visit too."

Always eager to go training, Rio nodded with a smile, "Good enough for me."

We went to the crossroads and, on the way to Treasure Town, we stopped at Spinda Café to let the others know that missions were on hold for today, since we had the graduation exam today. They all agreed, some less willingly than others (I'm looking at you, Savage.), and Rio and I walked into Treasure Town. On the way to Kangaskhan Storage to drop off our items before hitting the dojo, we ran into Teddiursa and Ursaring.

Teddiursa waved at us, "Oh, Meowth and Rio! Hi!"

I waved back, "Hey, guys. Whatcha up to?"

"We're going off to Mystifying Forest now."

Rio jumped, "What?! Isn't it dangerous there? The grandmaster of all things bad is supposed to be there."

They both tilted their heads and Ursaring said, "The grandmaster of all things bad? I've never heard of anything like that. You're sure you're not making a mistake?"

Teddiursa went on, "We go play in Mystifying Forest often. We've never seen or even heard of a grandmaster."

Ursaring waved his hand, "You must have misheard a bad rumor or something." He turned to Teddiursa, "Let's go." Teddiursa waved goodbye while they walked off.

Rio crossed his arms, "That was weird… If there really is a grandmaster, why don't they know about it too?" I thought about it for a bit, trying to put the pieces together

Hmm… Wigglytuff gives us a warning about a wicked, scary villain, but people outside of da guild don't know about dis "grandmaster". Could it be a hoax to try and scare whoever takes da graduation exam? Then again, Loudred seemed scared o'… something. Might as well continue with da old plan.

I turned to Rio, "Either way, nothing we can really do about it. Let's just carry on wit' da plan ta prepare for super-strong enemies.

"All right."

We dropped our items off in Kangaskhan Storage, and then headed off to Marowak Dojo. While we were in there, I learned Assurance and taught myself Dig since it seemed like a good idea for strategy. But Rio didn't learn any other moves. I'm starting to think that Rio can't learn any more moves right now until he evolves. But, either way, we both got stronger. Each time we finished a training session, Rio volunteered to do the shopping for items while I checked the mission floor for good missions.

"I need ya ta pick up some seeds. Ya read dat book I loaned you, right?"

"Yeah. I don't know all of them yet, but I learned the ones that are useful in battle first." He tapped the side of his head with his finger in an "I thought about it" gesture.

"Alright, then buy the ones that'll be useful on cutting down tough enemies then put 'em in storage. I'll check the mission boards. Don't wanna get behind in the times, after all. We'll be goin' back ta work after we graduate."

We trained at the dojo some more until we felt sure that we'd be able to hold our own. After that, we went back to Kangaskhan Storage and filled the Treasure Bag with items. I saw that Rio mainly picked out Blast, Violent, Stun, Totter, and Reviver Seeds. I packed two of each of the battle ones and packed four Reviver Seeds. Better safe than sorry. I filled more of the space with Oran Berries, Apples, a few different orbs and our scarves. There was still a good amount of space leftover for treasure, TMs and any other useful items we might find in the forest itself.

We wrote in the book at the Watering Hole to finish, and then set out for the Mystifying Forest. When we got there, I let out a whistle, "Looks pretty nice, as far as forests go. You ready ta ace this test, Rio?"

"As ready as I'll ever be."

"Then let's rock n' roll!"

As we moved in through the entrance, I thought about the two different information pieces we had gotten.

One says there's a big bad wolf; the other says there ain't one… Well, kiddy story or not, it doesn't change that we gotta get to Luminous Spring… Guess we'll cross dat bridge when we come to it.

Finally finished! I was sick for a while, and then there were still classes to deal with, but now I'm back for Spring Break! Please review to let me know how I'm doing and give suggestions or constructive criticism. See ya all next chapter!