Here we are for the latest chapter of Red Eyed Master. I'm surprised that no one picked up on my play on the original episode with the Slowpoke and Slowbro. In the actual episode, there was a Slowpoke that evolved into a Slowbro because he was lazily fishing with his tail.
Meh, it was actually a last minute addition anyway. Several reviews were not answered, and for that I apologise. I was, once again, in hospital.
Please know that I will never consciously abandon my stories. I may go dark with my health and whatnot, but I'll be still doing my best to update. ^_^
That is all … please enjoy the chapter.
I DO NOT OWN POKÉMON.
"Hello" – Speech
'Hello' – Thoughts
"Hello" – Pokémon speech/Aura/Psychic communication
'Hello' – Pokémon thoughts
[Hello] – Pokédex Entries
Flashes of pain echoed in his mind.
Visions of a tank. Memories that weren't his own swam freely in his mind.
It was … chaos. His mind was in turmoil as these foreign images and feelings clashed with what he knew was real and genuine to him. The confusion and dissention it forcibly pushed onto him was … unfathomable, and his original thoughts, feelings and memories struggled to sort through the invading chaos – to combat the invader.
Ash gasped and sat up in a single fluid motion. He grasped his head as whatever had occurred had created a throbbing in the deepest parts of his mind.
"W-What was that?" he asked himself through gritted teeth. He shook off the shiver that traversed down his back, despite the pleasantly warm, if not slightly humid weather of the wilderness that surrounded him.
Ash concentrated on clearing his mind using his Aura, but all he achieved was to create more throbbing. He felt like his mind was being dragged through a cloudy mess. Grunting in effort, he stood to move to the small stream of fresh water to wash his face … only to fall to his knees.
His body felt slow … sluggish and heavy.
'It has to be from overexerting my body and Aura yesterday,' Ash thought, though even to his mind, he knew it was a lie. He didn't understand why he felt the way that he did – and it was frustrating. In fact, he felt a kind of … disconnection with his Aura. He took a deep breath to centre himself and brought himself up to his full height on shaky legs. He managed to make it to the stream and gathered some of the cool water to wash his face.
'I have to get to the Pokémon Centre as soon as possible,' Ash thought tiredly.
Ash struggled, but managed to feed his pokémon and then pack up camp. He ignored the contemplative look shot at him from Mismagius and returned his pokémon as soon as they were ready to depart.
It irritated him to no end as his progress was very slow. Every step was as if he was wading through thick mud.
He still didn't notice that the same Slowbro was trudging after him.
Ash barely managed to hand his team over to Nurse Joy before he was collapsing from the effort of his journey. Instead of hitting the cold floor however, he found himself being caught by a pair of sturdy arms. Glancing to his left with blurry eyes, he spotted Brock looking at him with equal parts anger and relief as he held Ash.
"We will be talking about what happened," Brock bit out – his fury temporarily held back by the state of which Ash appeared.
Ash sighed. He figured that he'd have to explain himself to his two companions/friends … it was still an odd concept to him, after all. Brock never got the chance to continue his statement as Ash passed out completely.
It was a tense two days later that he woke. Misty was the sight that greeted him once he could make out the blurs.
"You had a fever," Misty simply informed. "Brock and Nurse Joy think that you may have eaten something toxic, but I know that you're better than that … to eat something poisonous is not something that you'd deliberately do."
Misty gently tipped a glass to Ash's lips and let him sip the water inside the glass. She then placed the glass on the bedside table and sniffed at his prone form. She looked to want to say something to him, but simply frowned and stormed out of the room.
Ash blinked blearily at the encounter. Misty was furious … that much was certain, but why? Ash couldn't understand why Brock and Misty were angry with him. He had saved their lives, hadn't he? A frown marred his face as a particularly intense chill overcame him. Gritting his teeth, Ash fought the emptiness that seemed to affect him so powerfully.
"Damnit," Ash croaked. "What in the name of Arceus is wrong with me?"
"That's something that I've been asking myself since the incident all those years ago," a warm, tired but angry voice chimed to his left. Ash silently cursed. 'How the hell have I slipped so much that I can't even sense my surroundings?'
He recognised the voice, of course. Steeling his resolve, he turned to the stoic face of his mother, Delia. She looked dishevelled and tired … guiltily, Ash realised that it was most likely due to his actions that his mother looked so worn out. Ash moved to speak, but his mother cut him off.
"No," she sternly admonished. "Whatever that brain of yours is thinking of saying to try to calm me down … just don't say it."
Ash winced at her almost broken tone. "You scared me Ash. I felt like I was going to lose you for real, this time. You had an intense fever, you were shivering and clammy. I will ask you this once, and once only … your answer will depend on how we continue to see each other."
Ash nodded tiredly at his mother to continue.
"Have you taken any drugs?" Delia was visibly preparing herself to her son's reply – though without realising it, her eyes had already condemned Ash. Ash realised that she actually believed that he'd taken something.
Ash felt like slapping himself though … why he hadn't connected the signs himself was … maddening. That in itself was alarming … he had never been so quick to anger. 'The shivering, fever, feeling of emptiness … it coincides with side-effects associated with being addicted to something powerful.'
"N-No," Ash tried to keep the tremor from his voice, but failed. He understood his mother's reasons for asking, but the fact that she'd felt the need to ask was painful – she had more trust in him than that … right? His mind flashed to her earlier look and his face lost all its emotion … Delia knew then that whatever had descended on the room was not something that'd disappear soon.
Delia visibly relaxed, but still appeared hesitant as she responded. "I believe you."
Ash highly doubted that.
A thick tension permeated the suddenly small medical room. That single moment in his life had severed something unseen between the two family members. Delia seemed to realise the newly developed tension and what she'd asked him finally registered. That realisation turned to horror and her apology was caught in her throat … how could she ask her son such a thing? Yes, he showed the signs of withdrawal from an addictive substance, but she shouldn't have automatically jumped to conclusions.
She and Misty had questioned Brock and Nurse Joy's original thoughts on poison, and she and Misty jumped the gun by thinking the worst in someone who'd been a sturdy presence in both of their lives. Brock had remained stubbornly adamant on his refusal to think of Ash as an addict of anything, and she'd only just realised her folly in thinking any less of her son.
The silence grew worse as Ash's understanding, but betrayed look cut Delia deep in her heart. Delia coughed awkwardly and muttered about getting Nurse Joy and Brock to tell them that he was awake.
The moment that Delia left the room, Ash all but ripped the tubes out of his arms and the cables monitoring his condition. HOW DARE HIS MOTHER … HOW DARE MISTY? Forcing himself to breath, Ash stumbled to his pack and hastily packed everything. Luckily, his Pokémon were already in their pokéballs and sitting beside his pack and torn hoodie. Grimacing in pain as he slipped his sleeveless hoodie back on, he looped his trainer's belt through his pants and managed to only stumble once as he slung the pack over his shoulders. He quickly wrote a note addressed to Brock – as the only one that hadn't jumped to the wrong but slightly right conclusion – Brock had just jumped to the top of his trusted people list, along with Professor Oak. It pained him to have to remove his mother from that list, but she shouldn't have thought the worst in him so quickly.
Ash stealthy made his way down the hallway and out the hidden back door to the Pokémon Centre.
By the time those in the Pokémon Centre returned to his room, Ash was long gone, and Brock narrowed his eyes as he read the note. It basically explained what had happened from his point of view – using as much evidence and logic as he could manage. Brock swallowed and levelled a disappointed look to the girl that was dear to his heart … Misty didn't need Ash's gifts to know what the look meant.
She'd screwed up … big time.
Ash changed to his identical set of clothes and sighed. He glanced down at his MP3 Player and frowned. Music had always been with him … keeping him company when everyone was through pretending that he was welcome. Pallet Town hid it well, but if they weren't idolizing him, they were whispering about his oddities. Music was unbiased, it was constant, and it was important to him.
'So why have you not needed it?' his mind asked him … in a voice he didn't recognise.
The answer was obvious. With Brock and Misty around, he hadn't felt the need to use his music to escape. The realisation urged him to scratch the itch … so to speak. Ash clipped his headphones on and ignored the world around him as he stuck to the wilderness instead of the roads … his destination: Celadon City.
He'd try to calm his raging emotions and Aura on the way.
High above the world, a man with red eyes watched the world unblinkingly through the snowy haze – a Charizard to his right.
"And now," the man whispered to the breeze. "Now, your true test begins, my son. Balance is key."
The Charizard growled and gestured to the world below.
"Yes, Charizard," the man nodded. "Yes, I could help him personally. His progress is about to reach his limit … but it is by hitting that peak and finding it impossible to just break through, that one grows and learns to reach for a higher level. Ash needs to learn what took me a long time to learn … he needs to lose and not just a simple loss, but to be ruthlessly crushed by a far superior opponent."
Charizard grunted and crossed his arms – leaving the man to chuckle.
"Yes," he nodded. "We could be that someone, but you know as well as I, that we must remain hidden … for now, at least."
Charizard grunted some more and the man blinked. "You're right, actually. We can still aid him."
He pondered silently before shifting his gaze to the electronic device attached to his wrist. A smirk graced his face and he unfastened it. "He should be a day away from Celadon City, Charizard. His Aura feels similar to mine, but purer … drop this off will you?"
Charizard grinned and nodded.
"Let's see what happens when we introduce a seed of my continued existence into the complacent world below," the man hummed as he watched his old friend fly away. "Let's see who will take the bait first."
A swooping of wings woke Ash from his nap … he hadn't slept since the encounter with the strange pokémon on the St. Anne. A quick, and mostly reliable scan told him that, despite the noise, he was alone. A blinking light drew his attention and Ash directed his gaze to an electronic device on his lap.
'How did this get here?' he thought warily. It looked like a Pokétch, but the glaring difference was that the screen was far larger than that. He belatedly remembered the P*DA Device from the Orre Region. It looked like a very high-tech combination of the two. Ash took out his Pokédex to compare the two and connected them to analyse the device. He pressed the blinking light on the screen and watched as it beeped. Unfortunately, his Pokédex was woefully under powered and couldn't process anything from the device. Then the device blinked.
[Do you wish to synchronise these devices?]
Ash pondered the ramifications of pressing yes. 'I don't know what will happen, but I can't access the device any other way.'
Pressing the 'yes' button, Ash watched in fascination and then horror as it started erasing his Pokédex. He tried to stop it, but the new device was clearly far more powerful than his Pokédex. He grumbled as he fingered the new device, but then blinked in shock as the same voice from his Pokédex spoke from the new device.
[Synchronisation of DATA complete, Mr. Ketchum. Greetings, I am a Prototype Poké-P*DA. You have been successfully registered as this device's Primary User … do you wish to erase the Previous Owner's User DATA?]
Ash was about to press yes, when the blinking name of the previous user registered to him … he felt like someone had stabbed him in the chest as it blinked on the screen innocently.
His father had owned this device?
He wasted no time in practically slamming his finger down on the 'no' button. He shakily fed his pokémon and awkwardly massaged them with his disconnected Aura. Once he was finished, he spent the next 30 minutes just staring at the new P*DA. He ran through the device's functions and raised a brow. [AN1]
"So it can be used as a Pokédex as well as a private terminal," Ash hummed to himself.
Ash played with the P*DA and felt frustration bubble within him as he realised that despite his father owning it, there was no useful DATA that could pinpoint his location. Sighing, he strapped it to the underside of his left arm, so the screen was sitting on the underside of his wrist. He returned his team and flicked the MP3 Player on as he continued trekking his way towards Celadon City.
Lance Blackthorn was not a happy man. He'd heard the accounts of what had occurred on the St. Anne, and had read the official reports … but the accounts weren't adding up.
"A Psychic Pokémon attack caused this?" Lance raised a brow at Agatha.
"Without a doubt," Agatha readily agreed. "The only unknown element to this tale … is the Red light that the witnesses and crew mentioned. I can only think of three possibilities."
"And they are?" Lance questioned – irritation clearly evident on his face.
Agatha swallowed. "Well the residue suggests … Aura. Furthermore, it cements my theory."
"Theory?" Lance sighed. "Will you care to enlighten me?"
"That boy," Agatha retorted sharply.
"We agreed to simply observe him." Lance hissed.
"I don't give a damn what we agreed on," Agatha snapped back. "He has to be an Aura User … just like …"
"Just like Red," Lance finished for the suddenly drained older woman.
As if a divine sign from above … a sudden and loud alert beeped on Lance's terminal. Lance practically ran to the terminal … there was only one reason that alert would go off.
"Red?" Lance croaked quietly.
Clearing his throat, he continued as the remaining Elite Four members rushed in demanding answers. "Red Ketchum's P*DA was just accessed near Celadon City."
That one statement created chaos.
"Why?" Bruno barked. "Why would he reveal himself now?"
"I don't know," Lance returned. "I think that it'd be best for me to confront him."
"I don't know about this," Agatha answered with a narrowed gaze. "There is no advantage to him in revealing himself now … this could be a trap from our elusive Team Rocket leader."
"I will handle it, Agatha," Lance firmly ordered through clenched teeth.
"Fine," Lorelei snapped – breaking the palpable tension. "But perhaps we should contact the President?"
"... No," Lance hurriedly stated. "I will personally inform him should it prove to be Red."
'I will find out why you simply disappeared, old friend,' Lance thought.
Giovanni grinned in a bloodthirsty manner as the notification beeped as clear as day on his personal terminal.
Red Ketchum's P*DA was active once more. Contrary to the thoughts of the Pokémon League and its Elite Four, Giovanni knew that Red was too clever to make a mistake.
"I see you've finally reached out to your son," Giovanni chuckled. "Let the Pokémon League follow your breadcrumb trail … I will wait."
Two purple eyes snapped open from the Laboratory that he currently occupied. Memories and feelings that weren't his own were invading his thoughts.
"Why?" he questioned. "Why do I feel empty?"
I know it's VERY short. It's all I had to get out. Please don't make a hassle out of this. Some of you may not be able to update, as I deleted the AN that was chapter 10. Sorry.
AS ALWAYS: PLEASE READ AND REVIEW.