Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon, but I did recently purchase a copy of Omega Ruby. I really look forward to writing Hoenn, the criminals there are real estate agents and pirates.
Author Note: Just a rundown on specific statements in reviews for the moment. There is not a level system in this fic, Pokemon learn some moves as a form of instinct, but others must be individually trained. Next chapter features the first of the submitted OC Trainers to show up, and more will appear as we continue. Shout outs are given in the chapter an OC I was sent appear.
Last time: Ash managed a lucky win over Brock, punched a guy in the face, spoke with his family, and gained a Charmander. He also discovered that Ethan is scary when excited.
Ash glanced behind him, wondering exactly what Brock's actual team was. They were mere minutes from the Mt. Moon cave system, the fastest and safest route to Cerulean City. Brock had not gotten the report from his Gym Trainers, the friendly young man bearing a stern look as he gazed ahead. The only thing Ash knew about Brock's actual team was that it included an Aerodactyl, it being his usual means of travel.
"Ash, I want you to be careful when we get inside. I know you're talented, but if my own Gym Trainers have been defeated as I fear, you have no chance. All of them hold at least the third level title, and one of them is a fourth level." Ash kept quiet and nodded, sending out his Charmander to provide light in the cave. He had decided to name him Red, after a legendary Trainer from Pallet Town. He had held the title of Champion during the Pokemon War, but had disappeared around its end, leading to Lance's meteoric rise.
"I'll do my best. I really don't want to run into whatever can stop the entirety of your combat force." That was the truth; Ash may have been confident, but he wasn't arrogant like Gary. "I really wouldn't mind getting some training in here under different circumstances. It's so… quiet." Ash's statement brought the bad feeling Brock had to the forefront of his thoughts. It wasn't ever this quiet in the cave, the Pokemon and trainers that spent all of their time in here provided a dull background that had been missing since he entered.
The next few minutes passed in the same near complete silence, the sound of dripping water being the only noise. "Hey Brock, wasn't there supposed to be an expedition for fossils in here? I haven't seen anyone else the whole time we've been in here." Brock nodded, his nerves getting worse with every step they took further into the cave.
"I really don't like this. Where are the other trainers? Or the wild Pokemon? My Gym Trainers are very capable, what could possibly be too strong for them to deal with?" He grabbed one of the Pokeballs on his vest, looking from side-to-side warily. A new sound got his attention, causing Brock to push Ash away from him. The light from Red's tail was enough to see the path in front of them, but there were alcoves in the walls that so far had evaded the two's scrutiny.
"GET DOWN!" A static rumbling sound came from close to where Ash had been previously standing, as the Electrode that had rolled to them quietly began to glow with a harsh white light. Brock freed one of his Pokemon, but Ash couldn't tell what it was as the Electrode's power blinded him. He began to run, covering his head before he was thrown to the ground by a mighty Explosion, consciousness leaving him soon after.
Ash rubbed his head, wincing as he felt his hand get wet when he touched his scalp. Red was sitting by him, only lightly injured by the falling debris. "Hey buddy, glad to see you're alright." Ash's throat was dry and his voice came as a croak, startling his second Pokemon. "Have you been watching out for me the whole time? Any sign of Brock?" Red nodded his head on both accounts, just as a rumble echoed from the other side of the fallen stone.
"I guess he's either trying to dig to us or attacking whoever made that Electrode try and kill us. Well, give me a minute to bandage my head and we'll get away from here. I don't trust this area after the explosion." Ash opened his pack and tore one of his spare shirts into strips, wrapping them around his head. He also sprayed a potion onto Red's wounds, and began following the Salamander down the path.
Now that he was thinking more clearly, Brock was far more likely to be stuck in combat with whatever person or group had caused this than be looking for him. He saw light further down the tunnel he was in and recalled Red, hoping not to attract attention to himself. Hushed voices could be heard from around a corner, their words barely reaching him.
"I didn't think I would ever be glad those weirdos from Sinnoh showed up, but we don't have anyone else here able to handle the Gym Trainers, let alone Brock. Not sure why the Boss thought they would be useful, but I guess that's why he's the Boss and I'm a Grunt." Ash froze, hiding himself in one of the alcoves along the side of the path. There was a group here committing criminal actions, and they apparently had contracted a group from Sinnoh for help. In Kanto, the only explanation for a group with the money to do that was Team Rocket.
"Yeah, of course if the Pyro of Johto had shown up alongside Brock, we would've been forced to retreat. Beating one guy holding a top title is hard enough, but two? Even worse, I heard that he lit Petrel on fire, burned him alive!" The last sentence hadn't been quite hushed, but if they were referring to who Ash thought they were it seemed unlikely. Sure, Ethan was scary and had ridiculously powerful Pokemon, but he was also friendly most of the time.
"Yeah, so did I. Apparently the only reason the League contracts him out is because they're afraid he'd turn and just start burning whole towns down to get at us." The conversation slowly grew quieter as the two Grunts walked away from Ash, him chancing a peak to watch them leave. He carefully snuck behind them, keeping a safe distance in case he needed to hide again. While he may be able to beat these two, he had no way of knowing for sure, and he wasn't about to be caught.
If he could make it the rest of the way through and get to Cerulean, he could convince one of the Waterflower Sisters to aid Brock. He almost wished he had a Psychic-Type right then, one strong enough to hide him from their minds. Ash made sure to glance back every once in a while, he didn't want to get blown up again. He stopped when his targets ceased walking, leading to a large room where many people in white coats were gathering fossils while Rocket Grunts stood guard.
A gasp from his right caught his attention, leading his view to a large number of cages, most filled with Pokemon, the rest with people. Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one to hear, and gazes fell to him. Ash started sweating as he slowly backed away, one hand on each Pokeball. He had already made a desperate plan when the Rockets began reaching for their own Pokeballs. He tossed both of his companions out, orders shouted while the shocked thugs were trying to figure out who'd found them.
"Red, Smokescreen! Clair, Dragon Rage!" Before his first partner could begin blasting at the Rockets, he waved in the directions of the cages from behind the smoke, whispering "free them" as Red continued to pour out the oily black smoke. A multitude of Pokemon cries came, both from the newly released Pokemon of the Rockets and the freed Pokemon of the captured trainers and the mountain itself. A horde of Zubat belonging to the Rockets flapped their wings in synch, blowing away Red's protective screen.
"Get that little bastard! Someone radio that Sinnoh freak, we're gonna need back up if the good trainers can get potions into their big guns!" A mass of Koffing, Grimer, Ekans, Rattata, Zubat, and even several Drowzee began advancing on Ash, while the Rockets began trying to herd the drugged Pokemon back to their cages.
Ash tossed some potions to the free trainers, who ran to their Pokemon as fast as they could. The Rockets began cursing as several of the Pokemon they were trying to herd turned on them, one of which must have belonged to a Gym Trainer. Ash could tell because it immediately used Rock Tomb, crushing one Grunt under the attack and catching several others.
He resisted the bile that tried to force its way out as he saw the man die, turning away to command his own Pokemon in a way that might let him survive the day. "Red, light the floor between us and them on fire! Clair, launch some Thunder Waves. If they try and smother the flames with wind like they did the smoke, fight back with Twister!" Both Pokemon followed orders admirably, doing their utmost to stave off the much larger force coming toward them.
"Well,well… What exactly is going on here? It seems you lot are really trying to force me to earn my pay." A tall man with turquoise hair wearing an outfit free of the large 'R' walked into the room behind Ash, an unconscious Brock tied up and being held by the Houndoom following him. "I just beat this talented young man, and apparently more of you are ready for your beating." Ash and the rest of the trainers paled, none of them expecting Brock to lose.
The ground rumbled once more, the newcomer glancing at the walls distractedly. "Unfortunately, a fight in here will lead to another collapse. Team Rocket, we are leaving. We already have everything your Boss wanted, and this one managed to alert the League during our fight. Unless we want to be caught between the Pyro of Johto and the entirety of the Waterflower Sisters, it's time to go."
The Drowzee's all began glowing, many Rockets grabbed onto either them or an Ekans they owned and either teleported or dug away. "Boy." Ash looked in fear at the man that had bested Brock, Red and Clair moving in front of him. "Take this one. I may be working for Team Rocket at the moment, but I am not on his side. What he does is nothing but chaos and selfishness. If I didn't need his resources, I would be gone already." The Houndoom dropped Brock at Ash's feet, the man sliding onto the back of the far larger than average beast and dashing away.
Ash and the rest of the Trainers all made for the Cerulean exit, all of them knowing that Team Rocket had won despite the retreat. It left a hollow feeling in the Dragon-specialist, but it was nowhere near as bad as Brock. After awakening, the youngest solo Gym Leader in Kanto had refused to speak to anyone. His loss to the mystery trainer was weighing heavily on his consciousness. If he could lose to him, that meant Team Rocket not only could find and pay someone able to beat the true team of a Gym Leader, but that there was a chance they could attain more.
The ashamed young adult grabbed Ash's shoulder as they exited the cave, calling out to everyone else that was leaving. "Everyone, check in at the nearest hospital or Pokemon Center, depending on whether you or your Pokemon are more injured. Ash, stay with me for a minute. I'm going to call the League, and I want you to give testimony first." Ash nodded, waiting for Brock's communicator to connect.
"Oh good, I trust you were successful Brock?" The hologram of the Champion frowned when Brock shook his head, but didn't give him a chance to speak. "Give me five minutes and I'll be there. I just finished a talk with Ethan about why he shouldn't light a fourteen year old's Pikachu on fire for messing up a Sudoku game." Brock and Ash both sweatdropped, though Lance seemed not to have noticed the teen's presence through the hologram device.
A high pitched whistling noise and a dust cloud formed next to them moments later, the caped Champion of the Indigo Conference landing twenty feet away. "Alright, now explain what happened. If there is any chance there are more Rockets, I want to know why you didn't capture or eliminate them." Lance was a fairly handsome man in his late twenties, his appearance only marred by the presence of stress lines around his eyes.
"Nearly halfway through the mountain, an Electrode used explosion and collapsed part of the main tunnel. Onix managed to protect me, but some guy with blue hair attacked me. His team was really good, his Gyarados even managed to beat Onix. He didn't win in a straight fight though, he had a Crobat use Supersonic directly on me and knocked me out. When I came to, the Rockets were retreating and he went with them." Brock frowned, keeping only to necessary details to make sure he didn't aggravate Lance.
"All you know is some guy with blue hair and some strong Pokemon beat you, but retreated afterwards? What else happened, there has to be something we're missing!" Lance had raised his voice in frustration, turning to glare at the entrance to the cave. Ash took a step forward, finally catching the attention of the man he wished to surpass.
"Champion Lance, sir, I can explain what I was able to gather, and I'm certain the Gym Trainers that were captured will speak to you when they are ready." Lance looked over at Ash, confusion seeping more heavily into his expression. He signaled for Ash to continue speaking when he saw Brock nod his head in approval.
"I can't say much about that guy save for he came from Sinnoh, but I figured out what the Rockets were doing in the passage. I'm not certain if anyone else noticed, but they were gathering fossils. I think that after the expedition discovered a massive fossil bed, Team Rocket thought to take advantage and begin work to resurrect their own fossil Pokemon." Lance pulled his his communicator back out, speaking to Ash as it looked up a contact.
"Tell me your name, I'm going to be writing all of this down soon." He nodded when Ash told him, tapping his foot as he waited for the person he called to answer. An image that stole Ash's breath away appeared in the hologram, earning him a poke from Brock as he stared. "Cynthia, I need records on any top class trainers with blue hair that have left Sinnoh A.S.A.P. One of the goons from your neck of the woods beat Brock and joined Team Rocket."
While the communicator didn't properly display color, anyone that spent much time using one discovered the way its shades worked. The woman displayed had very fair skin, shining blonde hair that went to the backs of her knees and covered one of her eyes, and wore a black outfit with a large lavender piece to bring attention to her cleavage. She also seemed to have some cosplay elements in her outfit, fur cuffs wrapped around her wrists and neck while her hair had two pieces similar to Umbreon ears tucked into it.
"Any particular shade of blue? Actually, are there any other distinguishing features? Not that I don't want to help you, but there are a lot of people with blue hair." Lance sighed, wishing that his Sinnoh compatriot wasn't so… flighty. The woman was very intelligent, and a fantastic battler, but she was also prone to bouts of forgetfulness and spent more of her free time than Lance considered healthy with her nose buried in a book. To go along with the rest of her personality, she would seemingly be pulled into random bouts of nostalgia for her beginning trainer days, which had only been five years ago!
Lance looked to Ash, motioning for the person to have gotten the best look at their opponent to describe him. Ash cleared his throat nervously, remembering an article from last year about a change in the ranks in Sinnoh. "His hair was turquoise, his eyes were blue, and he seemed to dislike whoever was in charge of Team Rocket. Said something about needing the resources." Cynthia put her left hand on her hip and tapped her right foot, before shaking her head.
"He actually sounds familiar, but I'm having trouble recalling a name. I'll go through the possible suspects myself and send a list of the most likely culprits to you. Don't hesitate to ask if you want some extra help, things seem to be all quiet here." Lance nodded, cutting off the call.
"Well, Ash, thank you for your help. If Brock is unable to remember the man after Cynthia finishes putting the suspects together, you will be notified. Farewell, the both of you." The strongest in Kanto, possibly in the world shook Ash's hand. He walked onto the back of his Dragonite and flew off once more, hoping that he would have news soon. Team Rocket had gone from a minor nuisance to a significant problem, one he couldn't wait to be rid of.
"That's the Champion for you, serious and seriously impatient. He's gotten worse as Team Rocket activity increases, but that doesn't really surprise me. I've known him for two years, and I think he really just cares too much. It's like every person they hurt or Pokemon they steal is his family." Brock had begun pulling Ash down the path to Cerulean, pointing out a large hospital where he could get his head checked.
After getting some low-level pain killers and a warning to avoid any high-stress situations, Ash fled the hospital. He was glad that the entire staff weren't Nurse Joy family members, but that didn't mean he enjoyed being there. No, now that he was in Cerulean it was time to get a fishing rod of some type and catch himself a third Pokemon. He also had to train more with Red and teach Clair how to use an Electric attack. He hoped to have a Charmeleon by the time he beat whichever one of the Gym Leaders in Cerulean wanted to fight him, and he needed something that would allow him to win in the stacked conditions of the Water Gym.
Come to think of it, he should probably call his mom and Professor Oak again soon. Just as soon as he was able to take off his head bandage. He was just glad that his hat hadn't been destroyed, it was literally one-of-a-kind. A bell rang as he stepped through the entrance of the town Pokemart, the always friendly cashiers looking at him in surprise.
"I need to replenish my stock of Potions, food, some new clothes, and a fishing rod. Can you guys help me?" One of the young men behind the counter vaulted over its surface, leading Ash to an area in the back that had the clothes and camping supplies. He pulled a rod off of the wall and handed it to Ash, before rifling through the clothes.
"I take it that you're a Pokemon trainer since you asked for Potions, so you'll need clothes for any weather conditions. I also see a large bandage under your hat, so I'll give you a bandana to cover that up. Any color preferences?" The cashier took a moment to realize Ash's current outfit consisted of nothing but black and denim, and sighed before grabbing a far larger variety of clothing and handing it to him.
"Despite your age, it looks like you're pretty new to this. That backpack doesn't have enough room for everything you need, not if you plan on carrying rain gear and cold weather clothing along with everything else you need. Here, this one is a lot sturdier and matches decently with your hat. This is a light rain poncho that won't take up too much room, and I grabbed a ski-jacket, gloves, thermal top and bottom, and a few bandanas. All of them are black, so you don't need to replace your regular outfit." The clerk was nearly out of breath as he handed Ash things the trainer hadn't figured to buy until shortly before he would need them.
"Thanks, but I don't know if I can afford all of that. I did get a decent amount of money from my win over Brock, but I've never bought that much at once before." The clerk seemed to ignore Ash's protest, ringing up the prices of everything that had been pulled out, including the cans of food and salted meat that Ash had grabbed himself.
"You're in luck, we're having a big sale today. It's called the 'help the people affected by Team Rocket in Mt. Moon' special sale. Brock already gave the store thirty thousand Poke, so you and the others that got hurt in the path get 75% off everything in the store. That'll be 3,000 Poke for everything." Ash was caught off guard when he heard that Brock had donated so much to the store, but he quickly realized this could be used as a tax deduction by the store for reducing prices so significantly. He paid the man and left moving to the bridge that led to the northern countryside.
Ash shouldered his new pack, gazing at the sparkling water under the bridge. He smiled, knowing his newest partner would be coming from there.
Omake: The Adventures of Gary Oak, Part 2
Mt. Moon had been kind to Gary, leaving him with a Dome Fossil and several Pokemon, even a rare Clefairy for Gramps to study. The Hikers running in fear of his Wartortle and Mankey had also been rather pleasing for what was looking to be a Training Prodigy. There had been something even greater than leaving his fellow trainers in tears, however. His Spearow had evolved into the magnificent Fearow, making it his first fully evolved Pokemon. He had celebrated the only way Gary Oak knew how: using it to destroy the Gym Pokemon in Cerulean.
Not all was good for our intrepid antagonist, for he had to deal with a completely new experience while in Cerulean. The youngest of the Waterflower Sisters had rejected him when he asked her out, his first time being refused for just about anything. She had also pulled a hammer out of nowhere and bashed it into the ground next to him when he began wheedling for just a chance. Gary had suffered what was to be his first loss, and he quickly thought up a scheme to make sure that his rival would suffer similarly.
"Just so you know, the second-best from Pallet Town will be coming by in less than a year. He's a total sexist and thinks that only men should be battling Pokemon. I just want you to be prepared for when you see him. He's Ash Ketchum, hope you can break him of his stupidity." Now, what Gary was saying was totally false, but the Waterflower Sisters had no reason to doubt him. Indeed, Misty was more willing to believe he had a sexist rival than that he wanted to date her. A wicked gleam entered the young woman's eyes, bringing some comfort to the rejected man in front of her.
Gary started walking on his path to stardom once more, whistling that same upbeat tune he had last time he set Ash an obstacle. Oh yeah, being him was the best.
P.S: PLEASE SEND TRAINERS IN A PM WITH "TRAINER" AS THE SUBJECT
Endnote: So, 200 follows at three chapters? And 150 favorites? Maybe I'm not as bad at this as I thought. Oh, on another note, 'Salamander' is a word for fire-dragon. I assume most people reading put that together in context, but I don't need people to tell me that Charmander isn't an amphibian. Besides, his name in English comes from 'charred-salamander'. The tune that Gary whistles in the Omakes is his own theme song from Gen I, just so you guys know what to imagine there.