Chapter 1: Hearing the words of others
It was near noon at the small Kanto region town known as Pallet Town. The Pidgey were chirping and the wind was blowing gracefully through the air. Its townsfolk were going about their daily lives. Working in the gardens, exploring the nearby forests, children playing with wild pokemon and a certain Professor Oak was in his ranch studying pokemon that belonged to trainers.
On a dirt road, leading to Pallet Town from Viridian Forest, was a very special trainer who had a unique Pikachu on his shoulder. His name was Ash Ketchum and he was just coming back from competing in the Unova League in the distant Unova region. His efforts had placed him in a high position in the Top 8 when his partner and best friend got beaten by the newly evolved Lucario that belonged to Ash's rival, Cameron. It was a devastating loss for Ash, but he was still happy with the progress that he made.
"I can't wait to see Mom, Professor Oak and our other pokemon friends. Can't you, buddy?", asked the fifteen year old trainer to his best friend.
"Pika Pikachu." replied Pikachu with a reason that he was happy was because he hoped Ash's mom had some ketchup he could snack on. After all, it is lunchtime.
"Yeah, buddy," said Ash, "I hope Mom made a big lunch. I'm getting pretty hungry after all this walking." Pikachu sweatdropped at this comment. As they walked down the dirt road and into Pallet Town, some of its residents greeted Ash and congratulated him for getting so far in the Unova League.
"Hey Ash. Congratulations on the league.", said a man in his mid-twenties who was working on his fence.
"Thanks, Terrence.", replied Ash.
The town had changed in some ways while the duo were away. The buildings were repainted in a new layer of white, more paddocks were built for gardens and there was even a new Pokemon Centre.
At last, they had arrived at their destination. Ash's house. It was a small two-story cottage with white walls and a seemingly new coloured roof. There was also a garden surrounding the house, blooming with beautiful flowers of every colour imaginable. Also with the exceptions of a new sprinkler system that was installed.
Ash slowly walked up to the front door of the house, wanting to surprise his mother the moment he got inside. She didn't know that he was coming home today, and that is why he wanted to give her the surprise of her life by showing up unexpectedly.
"Are you ready to go in and surprise Mom, Pikachu?", asked Ash with a cheery smile. He was clearly eager to see his beloved mother again after traveling for so long in a distant regions and to once again, taste her famous home cooking. He could only imagine the look on her face when she sees her son without warning.
But before he could grab and turn the handle on the front door, our famous duo heard a series of familiar voices coming from the inside of the house. Ash decided to get a better hearing of to who those voices belonged to by pressing the side of his left ear to the door. The voices seemed to be talking at the same time, but Ash was able to tell they were belonging to separate people
After about a minute of hearing and thinking, Ash was able to match the voices to their respective owners. They belonged to Ash's old traveling companions. Brock Slate, the former Gym leader of the Pewter City Gym. Misty Waterflower, the fourth Sensational Sister of her family and the Cerulean City Gym Leader. May Maple, a Pokemon Co-ordinater who came from the Hoenn region and the daughter of the Petalburg City Gym Leader, Norman Maple. Max Maple, younger brother of May and a future Pokemon Trainer who looked up to Ash as an idol in their traveling days. Dawn Berlitz, another co-ordinator who is from the Sinnoh region and the daughter of famed former co-ordinator, Johanna Berlitz. Iris, a girl who came from The Village of Dragons in the Unova region and a person who wants to become a Dragon Master. And lastly, Cilan. He was one of the three Gym Leaders of the Striaton Gym in the Unova region and also recognised as an A-class Pokemon Connoisseur. Ash couldn't understand how Iris and Cilan got to Pallet Town before he did or why they were even here, because they went their separate way for the Johto region. However he couldn't hear his mother's voice, so that meant that she probably wasn't home.
At first, Ash thought they were here to congratulate him. But when he listened closer to their conversation, they were saying things that were more…horrible and hurtful about him. They were having a talk that would change his life for both the better…and the worst.
"It's a surprise that Ash didn't win the Unova League and ended up in the Top 8 as usual,", said Misty with a sneer, "He always has to use Pikachu as his last pokemon to battle."
"Come to think of it, didn't he use that little rat in the last few league battles before losing the whole thing?" asked May in return.
"You couldn't have been more right,", said Dawn," even though he did defeat that Latios belonging to Tobias, he was still a complete idiot to have used Pikachu against powerhouses like those legendaries. He always thinks that friendship is the most important thing about pokemon, but he still doesn't get that power is the key to winning a battle."
Ash was listening to every word. Tears began to form in his eyes. Tears of anger, sadness and betrayal. Pikachu, on the other, hand was getting so angry when he was being called a rat and that they were talking about his best friend in such a horrible manner. He tried to hold back the urge to charge into the house and electrocuting them all to death.
"I used to look up to Ash as an idol," said the voice of Max, "but I have decided to look up to a new trainer like Tyson or Cameron. I seriously doubt that Ash will win any more leagues. Even if he redone the leagues he already attended, that loser will still lose to someone who will always be more skilled and strategical. I mean, his Unova team weren't even that well trained than his Sinnoh team."
"Even if he does become stronger somehow," piped up Iris, "he won't beat any of us because we will train harder than he ever will. After all, he is and always will be a little kid. His pokemon will also stay weak and pathetic."
This time it was Cilan's time to talk. "I agree. The only reason that I decided to travel with Ash on his journey was to figure what kind of battle recipes he would use in any match, but they all started to become quite dull and flavourless since he kept on using some of them over and over again. He has become somewhat of a dull-tasting trainer."
Nobody in the room understood what the green-haired gym leader just said, but they all agreed with it nonetheless.
"Ash is supposed to arrive soon," said Brock with a sneering smile, "so I suggest when he comes home, we tell him to give up and quit his dream of becoming a Pokemon Master. I mean, there's no way he will ever achieve something like that in a hundred years."
All the others smiled wickedly. "Also, we should stop being his friends since he's been holding us back from our dreams." added in May. "I used to see him as a mentor when I first began my journey, but now I see him more as a failure of a trainer."
"Then it's all agreed. We'll give a warm welcoming and them tell him what we think of him." said Dawn.
"YEAH", shouted all the others.
Unknown to them, the raven-haired trainer was crying and making no sound. Pikachu tried to comfort him, until his buddy began to walk away from the house and towards Professor Oak's lab. He couldn't believe that his now former friends would say such things about him.
Charizard's pokeball was trembling slightly, signalling that he want to come out and burn those traitors to the bone. But Ash simply told him not to worry, and the pokeball suddenly stopped shaking as if Charizard actually heard his trainer's words.
As they walked down the road, a shadow cast over Ash's face and with tears still fresh on the cheeks, while Pikachu's cheeks were still sparking with anger.
"Pika Pika Pika Pikapi." said to Ash while pointing his tiny yellow finger back at the house.
"Don't bother, pal," replied Ash in a sad tone, "they're not worth our time or effort. Besides, we could get arrested by the police if we attack with force." The mouse's cheeks stopped sparking and relaxed, but an angry face was still present on his face.
As they walked up the hill to the laboratory, Ash decided to speak up. "Lets just hope the other pokemon don't think the same way those…people do."
They looked back to see if any of those other kids were watching them, but luckily, none were.
But unknown to them, the certain eyes of an Axew and Buneary have been watching the duo making their way to the lab instead of the house. The two young pokemon had sad looks and tears in their eyes for the unsuspecting trainer and partner. They felt sorry for them because they think that Ash is not an awful trainer and Pikachu was like a big brother to them. In Buneary's case, significant other.
But for Axew, Scraggy was his best friend and sparring partner. If Ash heard what the others had said about him, it will mean that Ash will never come back. And that meant Axew would never see Scraggy again.
They also felt anger towards their own trainers for rudely criticizing Ash and his pokemon. The two pokemon wanted to help Ash somehow, but they didn't know what to do. Until Buneary had an idea that was good…and somewhat crazy. They both decided to start talking quietly so the humans would ay no attention to their conversation.
"Axew, I an idea how we can be able to show Ash that not all of us agree that he is a bad trainer. And also a way I can be with cutie Pikachu." said Buneary to Axew.
"Ok, Buneary. What is it?" asked the dragon pokemon with much curiousity and confusion on the last part.
"I suggest that we both become Ash's pokemon." replied Buneary with determination.
This made Axew's eyes go wide with shock and surprise. "Are you crazy Buneary?! We already belong to our current trainers and we belong to them, no matter how much we hate them. If they find out we are missing, they will look for us no matter how long it takes and find us eventually."
"Yes, Axew, but I don't want to stay with my traitor of a trainer anymore." said Buneary, "You see the only reason I decided to become Dawn's pokemon was because when I first laid eyes on Pikachu, it was love at first sight. If I didn't come along with Dawn, I would never see Pikachu again. And I soon started to participate in Pokemon Contests to get Pikachu's attention, which was kind of reality, I loved Pikachu more than I ever loved Dawn. But now that THIS has happened, I might never see my sweet Pikachu again. So I am willing to take my chances and join Ash and Pikachu. So I ask you this, Axew, would you do the same thing for Scraggy?"
That question hit Axew right in the head. He couldn't believe that the rabbit pokemon would go through so much trouble just to be with her beloved. He thought on it for a few minutes. When Axew and Scraggy first met, things started off a bit rough. But soon they became the best of friends and sparring partners. Nothing could separate them. But when Iris referred to Ash's pokemon as weaklings, she also was talking about Scraggy and Axew knew that their friendship would be over. And if that got told to Scraggy, he would headbutt him to death the next time they met, maybe as a Scrafty.
"Looks like you have a strong point there, Buneary. I have decided to go with your idea and join Ash, but I'm also doing this for my best friend Scraggy." said Axew with his final decision.
"Nice choice. Now we have to figure out a way to get away from these horrible people and to Ash." said Buneary as they started to think. But that was soon interrupted when Dawn decided to butt in.
"Were you telling Axew about Pokemon Contests, Buneary, and what they are like?" asked Dawn to her rabbit. She received a nod a fake smile and some words that meant 'yes'.
"That's good, Buneary." replied Dawn.
"Hey everyone," called out Brock, "I'm gonna start making some food for us and the pokemon since lunchtime is beginning to pass. Iris, can you go get some berries from Viridian Forest, please? And if you see Ash, 'escort' him home." Brock ended that statement with an evil smile.
"Ok, Brock. Wanna come with me Axew?" asked Iris to her dragon. Axew shook his head in refusing. Iris then went out the door and into Viridian Forest.
"Brock, I think Max and I'll watch how you cook. It is very interesting." said May to Brock who nodded in response.
"I'll just be taking a nap on the couch if anyone needs me." said Dawn as she curled up on the couch and began to doze off.
Buneary and Axew couldn't believe their luck. The trainers were practically letting them go because their carelessness. They quietly took their respective pokeballs out of the bags of their trainers. They also managed to make the spheres minimize in size.
"Ok, Axew. We have to go out the open window very quietly so no-one can hear us." said Buneary.
"Got it. Lets go." replied Axew in a whisper.
They both jumped out of the window and landed on the grassy lawn with a small thump. They also took a few seconds in saying their final good-byes to the traitors. As they left the Ketchum residence, the two small pokemon began running at full speed towards the laboratory, each with a miniaturized pokeball in their hands.
'Ash, Pikachu, Scraggy. Please don't leave without us' thought Axew.
As Ash entered the laboratory door, he was suddenly greeted by a happy smile of Professor Oak. "Ash, my boy," said the elderly man, in a happy manner "welcome back. I see you have finally come back from Unova. Your other pokemon, especially Bayleef, and I have been worrying that you wouldn't come home.
"It's good to see you too, Professor." replied Ash in a simple and low tone, showing his sadness. This both startled and concerned the professor upon hearing this.
"Ash, is there something wrong, my boy?" asked the professor in a calm voice.
"I don't want to talk about it. I just want to be alone right now." answered Ash as he walked past the man and through the back door and into the ranches. He saw all kinds of pokemon roaming free in the fields, some flying-types were sitting in trees, and some others were swimming in the river.
Suddenly, he heard a deep rumbling sound in the ground. He quickly turned to the source of it and saw a huge heard of Tauros stampeding towards him. Those were his thirty Tauros that he caught in the Kanto region. He quickly stepped out of the way as the heard of crazy bulls ran past him. He didn't want to be disturbed in his time of depression.
He then released his pokemon that he had in his pokeballs. Out came Snivy, Oshawatt, Pignite, Charizard and Scraggy. They all faced Ash, but when they did, they were confused by his sad face, except for Charizard.
"You guys can meet the others. I just want to be alone for a while." said Ash to his friends. He then walked towards the nearby empty river. He then set himself down on a wooden log as if it were a chair. The others were still confused by their friend's actions, but Pikachu knew something had to be done about this problem.