Disclaimer: I don't own pokémon, nor do I own most of the ideas presented in this story

Legend:

"Pokémon Speech"

"Telepathy"

Thoughts

"Normal speech"


Phoenix

The flames swirled around Ash, blinding him temporarily before the sudden heat vanished, leaving Ash blinking as he tried to clear the spots from his eyes.

"We're here." A feminine voice said, startling Ash at the sudden sound.

Ash squinted to see in the dark after the fire display previously, and spoke, "Who are you?"

"I am the one you seek," she said, invoking Ash to wonder about her telepathic abilities. He could faintly see the outline of the pokémon, if she were a pokémon, in the faint reaches of the darkness.

'The one I seek?' Ash wondered, trying to recall any previous moments when he'd sought for a pokémon. Especially one that could speak telepathically.

A blue flame lit up right in front him, highlighting everything around it in a bluish hue. Ash had initially leapt back in fright but paused when he sensed no heat emanating from it. Leaning closer, he was able to discern the pokémon from the bluish abyss surrounding him and her. A golden beak, glinting from the bluish flame, and a bird-like body—

"Boo!"

"Ahh!" Ash leaped back in fear while the legendary in front of him chortled, which sounded a lot like a bird choking on its food. Pikachu, who was quiet all this time, joined in the laughter.

"Ho-Oh!?" Ash questioned loudly, while the legendary's laughter died down.

"Indeed," the legendary said as she shuffled a bit so all of her face was illuminated by the glowing flame.

Ash said something extremely unintelligent then, for he was too shocked at the moment, "Oh."

The last thing he remembered was that the police were chasing after him for a crime that he didn't do. For a crime that his 'friends' accused him of—or at least provided direct evidence for. He was surrounded by police then, back in the forest, so how had Ho-Oh rescued him? And why?

Ho-Oh, sensing his question—Or she's reading my mind, Ash mused—started to speak, "I sensed your aura awakening and your cry for a change of fate, so I brought you here."

Where am I anyways? Ash wondered as he took in the rest of his surroundings for the first time. When he looked questionably at the phoenix in front of him, he got his answer.

"This is the Tree of Beginning, where you will learn to harness your aura and begin your destiny." The majestic bird appeared all sagely and spoke in a soft, yet commanding way.

"Aura?" Ash wondered about that for a moment before he said, "But I can already detect Aura! I used it to save a Riolu!"

"Yes, but that is only the innate sense of Aura anyone trained can sense that, but you were simply more sensitive to that than others. No, your true aura has only begun to awaken."

Ho-Oh spoke in a way the made little sense to Ash, so he only mumbled an unintelligent "Oh."

The phoenix chortled at the bedazzled look on the young trainer's face, and this time, Pikachu didn't join in because he had no idea what was going on either.

"Come on, Ash," The legendary finally spoke, breaking Ash out of the trance that he was in, "I have someone for you to meet."

Ash stood up, still pondering about what Ho-Oh had said earlier. He waited until Pikachu leapt onto his shoulders before following after the giant bird. Despite Ho-Oh's awkward gait that came from walking with two claws as opposed to two feet, the legendary still moved at a surprisingly fast pace so Ash had to jog to catch up.

Once he did, he followed the phoenix through a series of caves and tunnels that constituted the Tree of Beginning. Really, this tree wasn't really a tree at all, but rather a bunch of rock formations with trees covering the top, Ash mused. He'd been here before, but at that time, he wasn't really exploring but rather searching for Pikachu.

"Hey Pikachu, you remember this place?" Ash asked once they reached a cavern that seemed familiar.

"Pika pikapi kachu!"

"Yeah," Ash fondly remembered that Lucario. He was the first one he'd met, and they had often gone into arguments regarding the relationship between humans and pokémon. It was too sad that he was gone, Ash grieved a bit at the lost of his old friend.

Friend.

That word caused him to falter for a moment and he tripped as he recounted that the journeys through this cave had been with his friends. And May, a sadistic voice inside of him whispered. They had gone and left him to his own fate at the hands of the police. Now he was without friends...

"Pika pikapi!" Pikachu's eyes were filled with concern for him when he looked up.

No. He still had friends in his pokémon. Ash slowly pushed himself up and dusted himself off.

Ash grinned, "Nothing Pikachu. I just tripped over a rock or something."

At Pikachu's suspicious look, Ash quickly said, "Come on, Pikachu! Ho-Oh's already ahead of us!"

The two followed the bird into the central chamber of the tree, where Mew would normally reside, except the pink Legendary was nowhere in sight. The crystals there remained a healthy green, meaning that the tree thought that they posed no threat to itself, or they were already part of the tree's immune system, considering that Ash had once donated his aura to the tree.

"We are here," Ho-Oh stopped and turned to face Ash, who figeted nervously, wondering why he was brought here of all places.

"And it looks like we meet again, Ash," A second voice ringed in his head, this time male and also filled with a wisdom that only experience could bring.

Ash whirled around and came face-to-face with—

"Mewtwo!?"

~oOo~

The pinkish feather-whistle hybrid twirled in Ash's hands as he stared out into the night. Dawn was approaching, yet Ash's mind was still whirling at a rapid pace. Despite Ho-Oh's deeper explanation on this 'true aura', Ash still didn't have a very good sense on the ability.

"Couldn't sleep?" Ash didn't have to turn around to recognize that it was Mewtwo speaking.

"Nope, too much on my mind," Ash sighed, one of the many times that he'd done so that night.

"Can't sleep or won't sleep?"

"Won't." That was true, Ash could probably fall asleep and not worry about any nightmares for the time being with Cresselia's gift in his hands, but he wanted to think some things through for once.

"The others have already fallen asleep."

He was talking about the rest of Ash's pokémon that he wasn't carrying on his person, "I know."

Ash still couldn't believe what his friends had done, or at least what Officer Jenny had said they'd done. Yes, he had reacted strongly to her words, but his entire day had been so messed up. Not to mention, Ash had a strong suspicion that Officer Jenny was right, that they had at least betrayed him, or had simply chose not to hear his side of the story first.

Another sigh.

"Don't let the other humans get to you. They are your friends no longer, you now have us."

"I know, but—"

"That is what makes you, Ash. You have always lived by the code that friends are everything. Now, it's time to let them go and let them pay the price."

That was always the problem. Letting his friends go. They'd been through so much together, that such a simple thing seemed impossible.

Well, not exactly impossible... Ash mused as he recalled Officer Jenny's words.

Just as the sun's rays began to strike the earth, Ash stood up from his perch. "It's time." He didn't have to add the next few words after that. He'd forsakened his old friends. It was time to move on.

Mewtwo wordlessly nodded, leaving for the interior of the tree.

Ash stared at the sunrise for a few moments before turning and heading back inside.

Next time we meet, it won't be as friends, nor enemies, but as strangers.

~oOo~

"You know, I've always wondered where I'd end up. Being stuck up a tree in the middle of nowhere was not one of them."

Ash glanced downwards and gulped when he saw the several hundred feet drop into the oblivion. That would not be a fun journey.

He stood up and moved back away from the branch he was just sitting on and towards a safer, rocky ledge. Of course, he could just trip, but that was not going to happen.

Yup, not going to

"Boo!"

"AHHHHH!" And so Ash only got to see the pink face of the argh-troublesome legendary before he started to plummet the several hundred feet fall to the ground. The rocky terrace of the ground appeared closer and closer by the passing moment and Ash prayed whatever deity out there that he'd not end up what Pikachu's ketchup breakfast usually ended being—one big bloody mess.

When he was about to smash into the ground, Ash shut his eyes and bounced.

Bounced?

Ash opened his eyes a crack and found himself enveloped by a pink substance. He blinked and realized that Mew had saved him from his death fall. Saved me and initiated it is more like it, Ash groaned.

The bouncing eventally came to as stop when the bubble hit a particularly large rock and Ash tumbled to the ground.

"So Ash, how was it!?" The pink legendary asked curiously while Ash ate the dust.

"Ugh... Don't ever do that again..."

"Aww..." the feline bemoaned, "But it was soo fun. Even Ho-Oh agreed!"

Ash cursed under his breath at the Rainbow Pokémon. Who knew that legendaries would be so playful at times? It seemed like Mew was not the only one that liked to fool around.

Speaking of her, Ash turned around and nearly fell down in tears as he realized that he was in for another of the pink feline's accursed games. Who in the name of Arceus fed her into sugar-high this time!? Ash bemoaned.

Mew was currently holding a baseball bat that she'd probably filched from the town of Rota nearby. She said sweetly, almost sadistically, "It's play time!"

With horror plastered all over his face, Ash tried to run into the safer confines of the innerworkings of the tree, but an enormous pink bubble surrounded him, before shrinking to just the right size.

"Batter up!" Mew raised her bat and—

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

The pink ball that contained Ash soared towards the unknown while Mew flew around in circles, chanting, "Home Run! Home Run!"

"Mew? Where did Ash go?" Mewtwo asked the excited legendary.

"Uh..." Mew stopped flying around and tried to hide the bat behind herself, "He flew off?"

"I can see that you know..."

"Aren't you supposed to be uh... torturing Ash's pokémon?"

"Stop diverting the question," Mewtwo kept a hold on the pink feline with his Psychic so that she couldn't escape like every other time.

"Somebody help me!?" Ash's voice could be heard all the way from across the canyon, albeit very faint.

"You stay here, I get Ash..." Mewtwo groaned; he could feel another headache coming up.

Mew stared at her bat for moment before dropping it. "Aw... No home run this time. Well, better luck next time!"

~oOo~

A year had passed since he'd supposedly vanished. Although Ash wasn't sure that people were still searching for him, he doubted that the news of his disappearance had reached past the four regional territory. The four regions—Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh—were all connected by their short distances, and most investigations of the region stayed in these regions. That was why Team Rocket strived to set up so many connections in the area. Control over all four regions meant control over that entire territory. There were other regions out there, but they were too far away to send help in the four regional territory.

So, although Ash guessed that news of the gym's burning would've reached farther places, the part about his supposed involvence wouldn't reach there. And he wanted to venture out from his current area.

And although Rota was considered a soverign state, it was still linked to the land mass that was Kanto, so he couldn't just walk into the city for a cup of tea with the queen or anything. No, he was quite stuck where he was at the moment.

"I need a vacation," Ash said to his all time companion, Pikachu.

"Probably..." Pikachu said before continuing to lick his fingers with ketchup on them.

That was another thing. His true aura was growing, and now he could hear what his pokémon were talking about. Although he still couldn't wield it as a weapon yet, like Sir Aaron could, he was still a pretty special person. And if he concentrated hard enough, he could sense the aura lifeforce of all organisms, not just a Lucario or Riolu.

Ash slumped back, "Where do you suggest we go?"

"I don't know," Pikachu gobbled up some more ketchup, "Maybe we should go visit Lugia and his family?"

"Ho-Oh still has a grudge against him for some reason, so no."

"Girantina? Arceus?"

"They're probably too busy."

Pikachu too another long gulp of the deliciously viscous liquid, before saying, "How about Latias?"

"Altomare?" Ash considered it for a moment, "Sure, I don't think anyone will recognize me there. It's time to bring the whole gang along."

Ash jumped up and started to head into the central cavern, where everyone usually stayed. Pikachu stared between his ketchup bottle and the vanishing figure of his trainer before coming to a decision. Holding the ketchup bottle between his teeth, he chased after his trainer, "Hey Ah, 'Ait Uh!"

"Last one to the center has to play with Mew for a week!" Ash called out from behind him.

Pikachu panicked and dropped the ketchup bottle. Even that wasn't worth becoming Mew's play toy. He bounded into the central canal, hoping to beat Ash. There was no way that he'd want to end up being Mew's play toy...

"Hey, I'm not that bad!" Mew's voice rang out.

~oOo~

Alto Mare, the city of water and where the annual Tour de Alto Mare took place. Of course, there was a deeper secret to the city of canals, but no one needed to know what the Eon Guardians were guarding and why.

Except Ash. He was visiting an old friend, and that guranteed that he'd be doing something the normal everyday citizens would definitely not be doing.

As Charizard swooped down towards the ground, Ash thought he saw flash of blue that disappeared into the alleys of the city.

I wonder what that is about, Ash wondered before he leapt off of Charizard. His cloak whipped around in the wind, ellicting a scowl from the young trainer. He didn't like wearing it, but he supposed that it was necessary to keep his identity hidden.

"Return Charizard," Ash said while Pikachu leapt onto his shoulder. "Come on, Pikachu. Let's go find Latias."

"Aw... I wanted ketchup..." Pikachu stared longingly at the bottle of ketchup in the display window of a hot dog stand.

"We'll get ketchup later..." Ash paused when Pikachu made begging faces at him, "...Fine, we'll get your ketchup first, and then we visit Latias and Biana and Lorenzo."

The yellow mouse didn't even reply, he simply dashed to in front of the hot dog stand, panting eagerly for the ketchup.

Ash slapped his hand to his forehead, ashamed to even call his friend a pokémon, before following along and bargaining with the vendor to buy the man's ketchup bottle. As Ash was doing this, he peripherally noticed some eyes poking out from behind an alleyway, watching his moves. Smiling to himself, Ash quickly handed the ketchup bottle to his pokémon before walking towards the alleyway.

"Come on Pikachu, I think I see her."

Pikachu, carrying the large bottle of ketchup, slowly waddled towards where Ash was peeking around.

Ash looked into the alleyway and saw no one, but he whispered anyways, "Hey Latias, its me. Ash."

When no one responded, Ash muttered to himself, "So you wanna play this the hard way, huh?"

Focusing tightly, Ash tried to open his eyes into the world of aura. When he did so, everything was highlighted in an intense shade of blue, and Ash could see some bright life forms behind the trash can. Slowly walking towards the trash can, the life forms shrunk, as if they were trying to hide in the corner.

Ash stopped concentrating and moved the trash can aside to see two small balls of brown fur, hiding amonst the shadows.

Frowning, Ash reached his hand out to the pokémon, and if it were even possible, they shrunk even further. Well, they're not Latias, but I wonder why they are hiding.

As Ash watched, one of the pokémon poked its head out and stared at his outstretched hand curiously before the other followed.

Eevee! Ash gasped quietly before realizing how thin the two were. He immediately reached for his box of pokémon food when the two Eevee's tried to leap away from him.

"Relax guys, I just have some food for you." Ash said as he pulled out the container and dropped some into his palm. "See, food."

The two Eevee's stared cautiously at his hand before the brave one quickly reached forward and snatched one. It gobbled it up before gesturing to the other to have some as well. They ate directly out of Ash's hand, and Ash's other hand reached out to pat the two on the head. The braver one ignored it for the food, but the other shrank away from his hand.

Ash kept smiling, wanting to appear friendly for the sake of the two pokémon. When he saw that the braver one was trying to grasp some in his paws and mumuring, "Gotta save some for Meema," Ash poured some more into a bowl and handed it to the Eevee.

"Here's some more for your Meema."

The Eevee mumured his thanks and began carrying the bowl away, with his sibling trailing after him.

Ash stared for a while before turning around to head out of the alleyway. Before he left, however, he heard a soft whisper of "Thank you," presumably from the other Eevee. When he turned around, they were gone.

Pikachu dropped the empty ketchup bottle down in front of him and asked, "Did anything happen while I was gone?"

Sighing, Ash simply said, "Nope, its just that I had to turn down an offer to buy a company that manufactures ketchup.

"WHAT!? Come on Ash, you should've bought it..." Pikachu went into a dreamy state as he imagined what he could've done in such a factory.

"Nope, now let's meet Latias."

"Fine," Pikchu pouted and followed after his trainer.

They stopped in front of a blank wall right behind an archway. Ash took a deep breath and said, "Well, here it goes." They walked straight into the wall, and a tingling sensation passed through his body, interfering with his senses.

On the other side, they saw found the detecting instruments starting up while the legendary they were look for was no where to be seen. Ash, however, was immediately pinnned to the wall by a Psychic attack, along with Pikachu.

Pikachu wiggled a bit before sighing in defeat and perking his ears up, listening for the elusive legendary.

Ash concentrated on his aura, and entered what he dubbed as Aura Sight. Scanning around, he found a bright life form in the shape of a latias hiding behind some trees, peering curiously at himself and Pikachu. What was surprising was another bright life form right in front of him, looking like a Latios or Latias, and glaring sternly at him.

Shocked, Ash quickly lost his focus and was met by the glare of a Latios. Right, I forgot that legendaries don't typically like humans intruding, Ash absentmindedly mused as he peered at the Latias hiding behind the tree line.

Pikachu simply murmured, "Did we die? I thought Latios was dead... Unless this is a new one."

Ash sighed at his friend's lack of tact, "Nope, I'm hoping that Lorenzo or Bianca would be able to explain this better. But first, we need to get out of here and get in the right way."

"Got that right..." Pikachu cautiously looked at the Latios before muttering, "This is going to hurt..."

A yellow flash appeared briefly, following an explosion of dust right at where Pikachu was. The two intruders used this time to break free of the Psychic and leave the secret garden.

The two looked at the gateway for a long second before Ash commented, "We should get going."

Pikachu agreed and the two headed for the proper entrance, or through Lorenzo's cabin. They hoped that there would be someone they'd recognize there, and wouldn't be blasted apart by Latios or Latias.

*Knock* *Knock*

The door opened to reveal a brunette with a white beret, whose hairstyle held some resemblance to Latias' head. "Hello?"

Ash spoke softly, in a hushed tone so as to prevent passerby from hearing, "Hey there, Bianca. It's me, Ash."

Bianca narrowed her eyes at the cloaked figure, and asked cautiously, "If you say you are who you are, then what happened to Latios."

Ash raised an eyebrow, wondering what the other Latios must be then. Probably from a foreign land, Ash mused before answering, "While I regret that Latios turned into the Soul Dew after the Annie and Oakley event, I must wonder who's the new Latios."

Bianca smirked, before allowing him to come in and closing the door behind her. "That Latios is currently courting our Latias, and won't let any one go near her, so I'm afraid we can't do anything about that."

"Courting?" Ash asked confusedly, not to sure what the term meant.

"Yes, courting," Bianca repeated, pouring some tea for the two of them as she did so.

At Ash's still confused look, she said, "You know, in order to find a proper mate?"

"Oh, I know that. Isn't it called breeding?"

Bianca snorted, "Pokémon breeders do their job alright, but natural reproduction happens through courting first. Shouldn't you know this already, being sixteen and all?"

"Uh..." Ash responded lamely, "No."

Bianca peered at him with shock before quickly shooting a glance at the yellow mouse at her lap, "Pikachu, didn't Ash have the Talk?"

The yellow mouse shrugged his shoulders, "He's not a pokémon. My teaching him it won't help. Plus, I thought he already knew about sex."

Ash paused for a moment, before turning beet red, "Oh... That's what you are talking about."

"Took you long enough," Pikachu muttered while Bianca sighed in relief, she didn't have to make Lorenzo give him the talk.

"So..." Ash paused for a moment for consideration before continuing, "Latias and Latios are mating back there?"

"Oh no, that's the fifth one that came so far," Bianca muttered, "Latias is apparently very picky about who to mate with."

Ash's eyes widened and he was about to say something when the signature cries of Latias rang out from the backyard, along with some a few explosions.

The two rushed outside to find a black helicopter slowly hovering away, and attached to it was a multicolored cube that contained Latias. She was calling for help while the Latios from earlier pelted at the cube and helicopter with attacks to no effect.

"Come on, Pikachu!" Ash immediately said while he ran towards the helicopter, chasing after it.

The individuals inside, also known as Team Rocket, simply sped up, bringing Ash almost right to the water's edge.

Right before the copter got out of range, Ash's call rang out, "Pikachu, use Thunderbolt and then Electro Ball!"

"Gladly!" Pikachu somersaulted into the air before releasing several streams of electricity—many of which served to herd the helicopter straight into the path of the speeding electric ball. They never even saw it coming. It clipped the tail fin of the heliocopter, causing it to veer out of control. The passengers inside briefly considered continuing to carry the luggage, before releasing Latias and trying to land safely.

Unnoticed, two brown eyes watched the whole event in awe of Pikachu. Their owner wondered what it be like if she were that strong, and how she would become that strong.

Ash smiled and waved his hands in the air, "Hey, Latias! Remember me!?"

The Eon Pokémon took a moment to register who he was, before darting towards him. She slammed into his body, cooing happily as she greeted him.

"It's so great to see you again!"

"It's great to see you, too!" Ash said, "How have you been?"

"Great, well..." Latias saddened a bit, "I'm fine, but it's been so hard with him gone. I miss him."

"We all do," Ash comforted her before trying to brighten her up, "So what's changed in Altomare?"

His efforts worked, it seemed, because Latias immediately grabbed him by the hand and said, "Come on! There are so many new things here!"

Ash laughed at her antics before letting her lead him along. He was here on a vacation after all.

~oOo~

She was ready, or so she hoped. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, and she would be stupid not to take it. Although she tended to stay away from strangers, something radiated from him that drew her in.

"Meema," She said to her mother, who was licking her paws from her most recent meal: some leftovers from a trashcan.

"Yes dear?" Her mother asked, looking at her curiously with her head tilted to the side—an effect ruined by the slightly drooping ears.

"Can I go on a journey?" She asked hopefully.

Her Meema's expression turned serious, "How are you going to be going on a journey?"

Almost afraid to speak it, the Eevee uttered softly, "With a trainer..."

As expected, her mother scowled and Eevee couldn't blame her. She had often been told tales of her mother's capture and her being used to accomplish ridiculous and malicious tasks, including one harming the Eon Guardians of the island. Since then, her mother had avoided humans as much as possible, only going into their way to provide necessary food for her family. Even then, interaction was kept at a minimum so that she would not be caught and be used again.

"No," Meema said curtly and turned around, as if the discussion were over.

Eevee's face fell, she'd desperately wanted to leave this city of water. Yesterday had shown her exactly what benefits of being under a trainer like him would be like. That Pikachu was incredible; even though she had a limited experience with battling, she could tell that those attacks were beyond normal.

The only problem was her. She didn't like to associate with others, preferring to keep herself safe from a city fraught with danger for any pokémon in a similar situation like hers.

Dejectedly, Eevee wandered off, sighing every so and often as she saw every familiar sight in the city. Despite her rather young age, she was a curious young pokémon; granted, she wasn't a very brave one, but she was curious nonetheless.

She stopped by the Eon Guardians' garden and looked longingly at the raven haired individual there, having fun with all of his pokémon. I wonder what it would be like to be with him...

Days passed, and Eevee kept longing, but didn't want to embarrass herself for asking. She had worn her mother down with her constant asking, but she was too scared to go up to him. She was scared that she wouldn't be accepted among the other stronger pokémon of his. Finally, she was scared of him, that he would turn out to be like her Meema's old trainer was still a very scary prospect.

When she heard that the raven-haired trainer was leaving, she started to panic. It seemed that she had to make a decision very quickly, or else her chance would be gone forever.

Eventually, she abandoned all thought and decided to just go for it, and ran into the secret garden to find it empty.

Distressed, and thinking that he might be leaving right now, Eevee rushed to the shoreline as quick as she could, to where she'd first seen the man.

A charizard was just starting to flap its wings for takeoff when Eevee leapt into her own takeoff and landed on the Charizard's back.

A gust of wind rushed through her body as the Charizard flew off at an incredible rate, departing Eevee from her homeland.

Eevee whimpered as she felt herself beginning to slip. Gripping on a rounded tail while travelling at a very fast speed did not spell well for her.

Suddenly, a hand grabbed her abdomen and she found herself being lifted into the lap of the trainer she'd been following.

"Well, hello again." He smiled warmly at her, "What were you doing back there?"

Eevee muttered something like "I wanted to travel with you..."

The trainer apparently heard, because he said, "Welcome to the family then."

The Pikachu curled up next to her and said, "You might want to sleep for now, this journey is going to be quite long."

Eevee was confused, albeit only for a moment, before shrugging it off and curling up as well and falling into sleep.

~oOo~

"Try to catch me," were the only instructions that Riolu had before the training session began, with his new trainer forcing him to endure the mess of attacks that his other pokémon were working on. The canine could've sworn he dodge the same hydro pump at least three times—all of them in three separate locations.

Not to mention, getting to Ash required that he dodge all this and catch him—all while Ash was getting farther and farther away.

Riolu panted from overextertion after reaching what he deemed as a safe area, although attacks could still hit him at any time.

This training was rather crazy, Riolu thought as he began moving again. Although, he couldn't complain, based on what some of the stories from the older pokémon. They used to have Mewtwo as their tutor, and some of what Riolu had heard made him thank all the deities out there that Mewtwo had taken in Espeon as a apprentice. He would rather endure this

Two razor sharp leaves sailed over where his head had just been while Riolu slided along the floor.

—than to suffer at the hands of Mewtwo.

Riolu headed towards Ash, intent on catching his trainer, when Mewtwo suddenly appeared.

Ash's call for everyone to stop drew everyone's attention to the two, and they listened in closely.

Ash was saying, "...should probably check it out. I mean, how often does a psychic boom that powerful occur?"

"If my predictions are correct, then it will take a legendary like Mew or me to have that much raw power."

Ash paused for thought for a moment before asking, "When can you do something that powerful."

The gears in the psychic's mind seemed to be turning as the legendary suddenly said, urgently, "Then we must head there as soon as possible. If I am to be correct, then we may have another one of me on our hands."

Ash's eyes widened: he certainly hadn't expected that.

"Charizard, we're going to have to fly there immediately!" Ash called out to the orange reptilian pokémon. Pikachu leapt onto his shoulder, ready as always. This time, however, like every other time, Espeon joined him on Ash's other shoulder. Ever since the shy Eevee had joined the family, she was like Ash's shadow, almost always nearby. She took to Ash like Pikachu took to ketchup, with near constant craving...

Ash shouted a few last commands to his remaining pokémon, telling them to continue their training before they shot off like a rocket, following behind Mewtwo.

An explosion rang out, along with a spiraling beam of light that shot straight up from a nearby island. They didn't even bother thinking, flying straight into the area.

What they found confirmed Mewtwo's suspicions, another Mewtwo had be made.

The newer Mewtwo stood tiredly on the ground, glaring fiercely at the black aircraft in front of it. Ash saw the large red 'R' and cursed soundly. He should've known that it was going to be them. They were the ones responsible for the creation of the original Mewtwo, of course they would end up making the second one.

Ignoring the stiff figure of Mewtwo, Ash told Charizard to dive down behind a bush so they could hear the conversation.

Giovanni was saying, "... teach you how to use your power. What do you say? Are you going to come and join me?"

That is never going to happen, Ash thought as he watched Mewtwo edge closer to the scene, having finished revisiting his memories.

Surprisingly, the new Mewtwo spoke to all the individuals in the area, including the hidden ones. "No, I simply want to live my own life. I have no use for you humans."

A female Mewtwo!? Ash was shocked.

"Very well. You have made your choice." For a second, it seemed that Giovanni had given up before he began to speak menacingly, "Then I will simply have to make you work for me."

Mechanical launchers began to spring out from their hiding places on the aircraft, and began firing huge nets.

"You dare defile me!?" Was all Mewtwo' said before she shot into the sky. A purplish orb began to surround her body before it expanded outwards, destroying all the nets shot her way.

Ash was nearly knocked down by the force of the Psystrike and raised an arm over his head in an attempt to block the wind from blowing dust into his eyes. Wow, that was some Psystrike... Glancing over at the Team Rocket aircraft, Ash was surprised that it was largely unaffected.

Mewtwo was unfazed as he watched Mewtwo' launch a Psyshock at the aircraft, which was only repelled as a forcefield went up.

"Well, that simply shows how little you know of your power. I am making you one last offer, join me and I will teach you how to use it." Giovanni held out a hand, as if he were physically giving a gift. When Mewtwo' responded with "No, I will not," Giovanni swung his arm back down.

"Very well," Giovanni gave a cold smirk, "I will simply force you to join us."

More mechanical launchers appeared, and started firing dark orbs rapidly. When Mewtwo' shot Psyshocks at the attacks, the dark orbs simply absorbed the attacks and continued on their way. Ash guessed that they were probably dark-type attacks of a sort and was proven right when Mewtwo' got critically injured after a few dark orbs. As she plummeted to the ground, Ash whispered furiously to Mewtwo, "Come on, let's help her."

The legendary finally seemed to snap out of his memories and nodded to Ash. He raised his arms and right before Mewtwo' hit the ground, she stopped in midair.

"Ash, I want you to destroy the engines of that ship. We can't allow them to follow us all the way back to the Tree." Mewtwo said privately to Ash before he stepped out of the shadow of the trees.

Ash returned Charizard before beginning to creep towards the aircraft, and using the time and distraction alloted by Mewtwo's sudden appearance. There wasn't any time for any games—he had to get in, blow up some engines and get out. Ash watched curiously as Mewtwo stepped in front of Mewtwo' and rapidly fired some Shadow Balls. They simply collided with the dark orbs, and caused various some small explosions. Ash gritted his teeth and focused on the task on hand. He was getting distracted.

Silently, he opened a latch that he found along the bottom of the aircraft and entered. The inside of the ship was very cool, since the air conditioning was running. Good, Ash mused, The A/C will conceal some of my movements.

Ash toured throughout the ship, heading for the posterior where he assumed was where the engine room was going to be. Several times, he had to hide as groups of grunts headed one way or another. Ash assumed that they were under Giovanni's orders to maintain the launchers or some other thing needed to man this hunk of metal.

When Ash finally found a door that said "Engine Room" on it, he nearly cried out in glee.

He pulled the door open and came face to face with a Rocket grunt. They stared at each other for a moment before the Rocket grunt began to holler at the top of his lungs, "INTRUDER AL-"

The Rocket grunt fell down, out cold by knock from Ash's fist. "Sorry bud."

He walked into the Engine Room and was met by two massive pieces of machinery that was turning and twisting in such a way that only an engineer would understand. Shrugging, Ash said, "Pikachu, Espeon, find me a large piece of metal so I can chuck it into this machine."

Ash heard the sound of footsteps approaching and hissed, "We have to hurry!"

Espeon levitated a giant screw into the engine. A sharp screeching sound was produced as metal gnashed against metal. Cringing, Ash pulled out Charizard's pokéball, "Come on, let's get out of here!"

As Charizard burned a hole on the side of aircraft, the door bursted open and several grunts poured in, surrounding Ash and his pokémon. Ash quickly leapt onto Charizard, Espeon and Pikachu right behind and flew out. As the grunts reached the hole, Ash gave them as goodbye present.

"Pikachu, Thunderbolt!"

Out of the corner of his vision, Ash saw that Mewtwo had looked in his direction. Ash nodded once and gave the thumbs up.

Mewtwo' was levitated towards him, while Mewtwo prepared to launch one of his strongest attacks, Psionic Blast.

As soon as Ash saw the purple orb forming in Mewtwo's hands, his eyes widened. He had to get out of here, and fast. Quickly scooping up the unconscious Mewtwo', Ash urged Charizard to go faster so they'd be out of range of the attack.

"Mewtwo's using that move! We have to get out of here!"

Charizard needed no further urging, and they dashed towards the Tree as fast as they could. It seemed that it wasn't fast enough, however, as they soon felt the shockwaves of the attack rocking them and nearly knocking them out of the sky.

"Oh boy, here we go again," Ash sighed loudly while Espeon, Pikachu, and Charizard grew exasperated. The tumultuous winds soon struck and they were forced to land. It would be a long trek home.

Ash's belly rumbled, and as everyone bar Mewtwo' turned to look at him, he said, "What? I'm hungry again..."

~oOo~

Ash fingered the golden feather as he tried to come to a decision. Ho-Oh said that it was time to leave, but the Tree that he'd called home for the past three years was too much to leave behind. He sighed; he always hated making big decisions like this.

"Hard time deciding?" N asked him from behind him.

Ash sighed again, "Yeah."

They'd met nearly half a year ago, when Zekrom had somehow arrived in the area while Ash was training Pikachu. They were both sort of refugees, one was accused of a crime he did not commit, while the other was manipulated into controlling a legendary. So they related to each other and eventually became friends.

N stayed silent, which was how he usually was when he was thinking. Ash was also thinking when N spoke, "I think you should go."

Ash looked at him sharply, and waited for him to explain.

"You've always wanted to be the greatest of them all. Now's your chance to make your mark on the world."

Ash was surprised, he always thought that N didn't really appreciate pokémon battling, simply for the fact that pokémon sometimes got hurt. Although Ash could sympathsize, he enjoyed the thrills of battling and becoming stronger much more.

Ash fingered the feather in his hand repeatedly, still considering everything.

It was N's next few words made the decision for him, "You can still call this place home, even if you were to go, you know."

Home. Ash realized that was what the Tree had become to him over the past few years. And it would still be that, for the years to come, even when he was done with his journeying. Ho-Oh had wanted him to return to the past, when he was just another person starting on his journey, but that was impossible now. All he had left was the present and the future and he had to make the best of it.

Returning to the life of Ash Ketchum was impossible, because he was too changed now.

Glancing at feather in his hands, he recalled at how he'd received it.

Flashback

"The decision is yours," Ho-Oh said calmly to Ash, who was still stunned at her last statement, "But I wish to give you my blessings."

Resting her beak on Ash's head, Ho-Oh closed her eyes and a golden feather materialized out of her chest, landing into Ash's outstretched palms. He grasped the feather, and gasped at the warmth that emanated from it.

"I wish you the best of luck now," Ho-Oh said before disappearing in a column of fire, the sacred ash scattering in the wind.

Flashback End

Ash came to a decision, "Hey N?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm going to Unova, so can I borrow Zekrom?"

N was glad that Ash was going to take control of his life again and allowed him permission, "Sure, Ash."

"One more thing," Ash said, recalling that he still probably had a wanted sign on his head, even though the story was probably long dead by now, "I need a new identity."

"Who do you want to be?" N questioned, thinking furiously of an alias that Ash could use.

Ash smiled ferally, and spoke one word.

"Phoenix."


A/N: And I am done with this rather long chapter. I will eventually have to go over this to fix some things, but I am going to need some reviews first, especially since this was composed of many varying parts. Maybe some scenes may seem uncompleted, but I think I left them that way simply because I couldn't type any more without revealing the future. If you've read the previous version of this story, then you guys are in for a treat, because you already know some of the stuff, and are just enjoying new things. I'm sorry I didn't post this last week like I should've but I was constantly hitting writer's block as soon as I finish one scene and was about to move on to the next. Whatever, you guys can be happy now, since this is one of my longer chapters.

And before I forget; why do some people want this to be advanceshipping so much? I mean, I explicitly put somewhere that this is Rayshipping, yet there are still some guest reviewers who want me to change that... Well too late, Cynthia's coming in a few chappies :D

Story Notes:
(~) The concept of phoenix fire for teleportation was borrowed from Harry Potter, just like the bluebell flames were. In another situation, the four region idea was a version of PrimodialSoul's and Mew's incredibly sadistic nature comes from DarkFoxKit's story. The courting before mating comes from Mekon's The Black Latios, I believe. There are probably a whole bunch other idea-copying here, but these are just a few. Again, most of this stuff, I don't own; I simply use to make a story.

(~) The Latios that was courting Latias is a valid idea. In the english dub (for those of you who watched the english dub and not the original), there was a scene that explained the origin of the Soul Dew. During that explanation, it is also revealed that Latios and Latias quite frequently visit Alto Mare, although only some will end up guarding the Soul Dew. That's why Latias has been courted too many times. Also, Ash and Latias have a purely platonic relationship, just in case you though it was otherwise. I cut out their days together because I didn't know how to make it purely platonic...

(~) Psionic Blast is a modified version of Psystrike. While Psystike hits everything around the user, Psionic Blast is simply a ranged version of the attack. The sphere can be thrown and can be controlled by the mind if the user is skilled enough. The simple reason that Ash was frightened by Mewtwo's usage of the move is because Mewtwo does it twice. One inside the other. The one inside explodes, while the one outside implodes, resulting in a magnification of the explosion. Yup, very overpowered, but this will be one of the very few times that the move will be used.

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