This chapter was hard to write (I really don't know why). There was also a bit of chaos regarding everything going on in life.

I also tend to be a bit dramatic and depressing before my birthday and ecstatic and happy-go-lucky in the days following it.

(In other words, sorry for the three-week long break.)

Whew. If you're reading this, friends, thank you for that 'surprise' party. I named the Umbreon plushie you guys gave me "Kira" because Light Yagami.

Okay. Enough of personal stuff.

I finally have a cover page. Special thanks goes to Lillian Smith for it. Very nice, huh? I agree.

Okay, comment time!

Guest: Yep. I'll try. Stay tuned!

Lectori Salutem: If Ash didn't win, I'd be disappointed, to be honest. We all knew it would happen, but it's just fun to see the process, right? I really tried to make these battles interesting. Thank you.

Nam Chu: Uh, sorry? You'll have to live with it for a bit, I guess. My writing style is built off of cliff-hangers. :P

Yami-chan and the Unrealistic: Ash losing...yeah. I'd be so sad. (Like I was when he lost the Kalos League.) And I'm pretty sure Ash has broken the fourth wall before, right? Eh, I don't remember. I like how you mentioned Team Rocket when they actually aren't anywhere in this fanfic. Just saying. You wanna know why? Haha. Nope. (Misty is still awesome, though.) And you're right. Ash is no longer a bum...maybe.

ultimateCCC: I think Serena would be more embarrassed than anything, haha. There's a good fanfic by Tarem (I think that's his/her pen name) that addresses this.

mountainelements: Psh. Even I cheated when I battled Blue in FireRed. His Blastoise kept wrecking my team. (Hey, I was young back then. My training skills have definitely improved...maybe.) As for those strategies, I sorta got the idea from Volt Crash in Ashes of the Past, but I made it something that Ash would come up with from his past strategies. I almost didn't put in the bonus scene, by the way.

ElectraX12: Dude. As I stated before, I almost didn't put it in. It's okay, though. I like to keep the readers at the edge of their seats.

bladetri: xD like

narutoDkurosaki: just unwilling to accept that a cool, good-natured guy like Alain cheated with a powered Mega Ring or something like that. As for everything else, he just didn't notice it. Gary already told him that the Elite Four uses Full Restores, so he knew.

Noxlux013: I'm glad you enjoyed it. When I was writing that Kukui scene, I was smirking internally. Jeez. Everything would've changed if he'd just turned on the TV...

AgitatedDog9288: It has been a great journey. But it's not over yet! I have the arc planned in my head (it's going to be coooool) and am still going!

Lillian Smith: Thank you again for the cover picture. It took way too long, but I enjoyed writing it.

imnotraven16: Thanks. Hope you enjoy this one even though it isn't as fast-paced.

multyfangirl19: Me and my cliff-hangers, right? Ha. Happens all the time...

megacharizat: I'm glad you like it. The 'how old is Ash' gag is something that'll be revealed in time...maybe.

VeronMic: Thank you. It's been fun writing it. And as for the fan comic...that's a very good idea.

salasdaniel74: Yes. Good answer. Sure. (As for your question,) I'd say, yes. In my original draft, there were definitely characters from elsewhere. In a separate thing, Black (from the manga) was a main character, although I'm not sure I want to go down that arc anymore, especially with the manga updating more, now. And dead year is Junior year of high school...yeah.

Anak: Gracias. Enjoy!

"What?!" Daro (the Tauros) yelled, startling the little Pidgey he was talking to.

"Stop being so mean!" Pidgeot reprimanded her teammate, slapping his back lightly with a wing.

The flock of Flying-Types had gathered at the mouth of the cave system on Mt. Silver and were bidding farewell to the group of travellers.

"I'm sorry," the Wild Bull Pokemon apologized, bowing his head. "But what did you say, again?"

"There are giant machines in Route 1, sir," the Tiny Bird Pokemon replied, shivering a little. "That's why we left."

Infernape turned around at the sound of Pidgey's response. "Wait. I need you to describe them," he spoke up, crouching down to get a better look at the hatchling.

"Um, they were big, gray, and had red markings on them…and, and, and…uh, they were coming from the city!"

Pidgeot narrowed her eyes. "That seems like a problem," she muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear.

Torterra turned to the Normal and Flying-Type, addressing her. "Didn't you know what was going on?"

"I arrived at the peak a few hours before you all did," Pidgeot explained. "Most of that time was spent battling Moltres."

Noivern's eyes widened. "You battled Moltres?!" he asked. "So cool!"

Hawlucha reached up to tap his teammate's wing. "Remember, Talonflame did too."

"Oh. Right. But still!"

Daro huffed. "Back on topic, please."

"That's right," Infernape agreed. "Machines on Route 1…that's trouble."

"Make it double," Pidgeot whispered, snickering before a glare from Daro brought her back to her usual, dignified stature.

"But Pidgeot's correct, in a sense," Torterra spoke up. "Team Rocket has their sights on Pallet Town."

Swellow landed in the corral, huffing as he rested in the branch of a low-hanging tree.

He certainly didn't expect Bulbasaur to be there as well, using his vines as binoculars to scout something far away.

"Hi," the Seed Pokemon greeted him, his voice barely above a whisper. Noctowl, who spotted his fellow Flying-Type, waved as well with a sagely nod.

"What's going on?" the Swallow Pokemon asked. "Why are you in a tree?"

Bulbasaur immediately narrowed his eyes. "Shhh!"

Swellow brought his voice down to a whisper. "Oh. sorry."

"Hello," Leavanny spoke up, startling the Normal and Flying-Type. "We're hiding."

Swellow turned around to see the Nurturing Pokemon waving at him from a branch behind him. Said Bug and Grass-Type was sewing something out of a pile of leaves.

"Would you like a blanket?" the Unovian Pokemon asked.

"I'm good."

"We've spotted Team Rocket's machines," Bulbasaur explained. "That's why everyone's in hiding."

Oh. Now that he was thinking about it, the corral seemed much quieter than usual. Quilava would usually be chasing Buizel around, threatening to blow him up. Snivy (Servine, now) would be dragging Oshawott away from every female Pokemon he saw. Bulbasaur would be yelling at everyone, and Heracross would be chasing him.

Swellow suddenly missed seeing his teammates laze around at the ranch.

"Wait," he spoke up, addressing the other Pokemon in the tree, "has anyone told Ash about this yet?"

The Grass and Poison-Type groaned, turning his back away from everyone with a look of shame.

"I presume not. Do you want me to tell him?" Swellow asked. "I'm the fastest."

The Seed Pokemon nodded. "You should do that."

"Where is he?"

"Challenging the Elite Four. Uh, it should be over by now. I think. Maybe. I hope."


With a quick flap of his wings, Swellow had disappeared. Only a gust of wind was left behind as the Normal and Flying-Type flew off.

Infernape panted as his team raced down the mountain, disregarding the various scratches and blisters that seemed to mysteriously appear as the Fire and Fighting-Type led the group, using Flame Charge to boost his speed. Behind him, Hawlucha and Noivern had tucked their wings in, diving down until their figures were just a little more than a blur. Daro had used Rock Slide and was riding on one of the stone boulders he'd summoned.

At the rear, the Flame Pokemon could just barely see the form of his teammate, Torterra, who was using Rock Climb to propel himself down to catch up with everyone else.

"Hurry, guys!" he called out.

"That's right," Daro agreed, grunting as his boulder hit a particularly large chunk of ice, sending the Wild Bull Pokemon into the air.

"Don't you know Surf?" Torterra asked, running alongside his Normal-Type teammate as Noivern sped past them. Hawlucha followed, laughing boldly as he did so.

The group's mood seemed to lighten up as Daro's hooves began to spew water, pushing the Tauros into the air and starting a makeshift waterslide. Torterra used the slippery, recently frozen ice to speed himself up and enjoy the trail of water left behind by his leader's Flame Charge.

"It's time to see Ash!" he proclaimed.

Cheers reverberated throughout the mountaintops.

I'm hungry.

That was Ash's first thought as Dragonite collapsed.

It wasn't a very triumphant or victorious though.

Just the truth.

He hadn't eaten in the past...eight hours, was it? That seemed about right. The Elite Four challenge had pushed the teen to his limits. He was sure that he'd fall down if he even took a mere step forward.

The Trainer felt his Greninja's concern welling up from within. Even though the Ninja Pokemon was exhausted, Gallade had brought him an Oran Berry or two to eat earlier. It was a miracle that Ash was still standing.

With a huff, the Water and Dark-Type supported his Trainer by the shoulders, carefully resting the teen's weight upon himself as Ash's legs crumpled underneath himself, unable to support him anymore.

"Thanks, Greninja," he heard his Trainer's tired voice amongst the deafening crowd. The teen was smiling. Not in an arrogant or prideful way, but with pure gratitude, as if he'd forgotten about winning against Lance. Pikachu looked up at the two, shaking his head.

"Get up, idiot," the Electric-Type joked.

Now that he thought about it, the teen realized that his Starter's 'Pikapi' might have been 'idiot' and 'Ash,' interchangeably. Probably mostly the former, though.

"Shut up," he responded.

Gallade Teleported onto the field, bringing the rest of the team along with him. At the sight of the roaring crowd, he waved and bowed, transforming into Gardevoir in a flash of light.

"You're such a show-off," Charizard remarked, earning a light jab in the side from his Grass-Type teammate.

"You'd do the same if Charla was sitting up there, watching you," Sceptile quipped. "Oh wait…"

At his friend's panicked expression, Garchomp put an arm around the Fire and Flying-Type. "Think about it. Will she scold you for getting hurt or slap you for attracting fangirls?"


"Both, probably. Am I right?"

Vivi yawned, stretching her body as she did so. "Did I miss anything?" she asked, turning into Sylveon and using her ribbon feelers to block her ears from the thundering noise.

"No," Garchomp immediately answered, glaring at anyone who tried to become a bad influence for the young Fairy-Type.

"Okay! I'm glad!"

Ash smiled at his Pokemon. It was a rare sight: the Trainer hadn't physically battled, yet it was him who felt as if his body had refused to respond.

Charizard picked up the young teen gingerly like he was cradling a hatchling. "You okay, there?" he asked.

"I feel like I got hit by the Tauros herd," Ash responded groggily.

"Gallade knows Heal Pulse," Vivi volunteered her teammate, walking up to her Trainer. Next to her, the Psychic and Fighting-Type had stopped his fanservice and had rushed up to the teen. He promptly turned into Gardevoir, placed his hands on Ash's left arm, and used the Psychic-Type move. Everyone on the team immediately seemed to relax, feeling their vitality renewed exponentially.

Except Greninja, of course, but the Water and Dark-Type didn't seem to care much for it.

Ash lifted his head, feeling his neck pop with a satisfying sound. Lance was slowly approaching the group.

"You should go," Pikachu spoke up, silently giving Charizard an expectant look. The Fire and Flying-Type nodded, putting the Trainer down.

Ash stumbled a little as he supported his own weight. Vivi had to help, grabbing his wrist with a ribbon and bolstering the Trainer as he tripped and stumbled to meet the Dragon Master.

Alain stared down the forest path with weary eyes. He honestly wanted to watch TV, but Mairin was dragging him along for the trip and the teen couldn't really disappoint her.

The Trainer hoped he wasn't missing anything important.

Ash met the man in the middle of the torn, broken field. Scorch marks and mud littered the floor, but the Trainer didn't care much for it. Next to him, a smiling Sylveon guided the teen as if he was one of the elderly. On his other side, Pikachu trotted up to the Dragon-Type user before sitting down next to his Trainer.

"Congrats," Lance spoke up, holding out a hand amicably. Ash took it, and the two shook.

"It was a great battle," the teen replied, bowing slightly in respect. Sceptile had lectured him on the subject earlier: people would begin to look up to him. He'd have to start acting mature...or something like that.

Lance chuckled, crossing his arms and surveying the field. The sun cast long shadows as it began to set into the distance.

"I think we have a new Champion," he spoke up. "What do you say?"

"Aren't I a little young?" Ash asked.

"Hm." The Dragon Master stroked his chin. "You're ten, right?"

Ash stared. "What?" he asked, unsure whether he heard the man correctly. Next to him, Pikachu began to snicker in a very unsubtle way.

"You're definitely younger than I was. Actually, you're probably the youngest in a long time, but I don't really know the details."

Lance laughed good-naturedly, patting the teen on the shoulder. "I think you have an interview or five to get to. Am I right?"

As if she was cued, Reporter Sandy Spinner walked up to the two, smiling brilliantly. Ash could feel a sense of dread welling up in his stomach.

As the kid was dragged away, Lance looked behind him, seeing the rest of the Elite Four join him on the field.

"He battled well," Bruno spoke up, chuckling to himself. "I almost believed you won when his Pikachu supposedly fainted."

Lorelei shook her head. "I'm more interested in the fact that he didn't give a single verbal command until he battled you."

Agatha leaned on her staff, smiling slightly. "I'm just glad that the youngster wasn't that Oak spawn. That would've been embarrassing."

"He's a nice kid. Helped me stop Team Aqua and Magma back in Hoenn," Lance remarked, watching the teen disappear from view. "And his Pokemon are exceptionally strong. That blue one was something else."

"I searched it up," the Ice-Type Trainer replied. "It's a Greninja. Those are native to the Kalos Region, where Diantha is from."


"His Gallade and Eeveelutions are great strategies," Agatha added on. "I wonder where he got them."

Bruno shrugged. "I liked his Pikachu."

The crowd started to disperse as they realized that the young challenger wasn't coming back. People lined up, heading for the exits at the sides of the stadium. As the Dragon Master watched them leave, the realization that the Kanto Region was going to see some changes finally dawned on him.

"Now we can actually be a region with an Elite Four and a Champion. Lance won't have to play two roles from now on," Lorelei spoke up, looking around the ruined battlefield with a content look. "Isn't that nice?"

"I think he was pretty happy with that Champion title," Bruno teased, then followed his coworker's gaze. "The kid's grown, you know."

"I agree," Agatha added, fingering her Key Stone. "That Pikachu is something else."

The man behind the video camera held a thumbs up, smiling reassuringly at everyone in the room.

"What's your name?" Sandy Spinner asked a slightly disoriented Kanto Champion. After being chased by five other people carrying microphones and cameras, he had been led to a secluded room where he had finally been able to calm himself down. It was more or less a broom closet.

"Uh, I thought you already knew it."

"This is an official interview, thank you very much," the Reporter replied, looking a little miffed. The Trainer was reminded that the woman was a bit passionate about her job.

"Well then. I'm Ash." It took some effort to leave out the 'Ketchum from Pallet Town' part, but Sceptile had taught him to 'answer the question and nothing else' in interviews.

Ms. Spinner took out a notepad from one of the pockets of her skirt, jotting something down with a pencil. With her other hand, she moved her microphone closer to herself. "How do you think your battles went?"

"I felt like everyone on the team did their absolute best," the Trainer replied. "We all worked hard to get here."

"I see." Ms. Spinner's gaze fell upon the yellow Electric-Type who had poked his head out of the messenger bag his Trainer carried. "Is Pikachu your Starter?" she asked.

"Yeah," Ash answered with a small shrug, letting the Electric-Type climb out of his messenger bag and onto his shoulder.

"And you do come from Kanto, right?"


"If I have my facts right, you won the Indigo League a few years ago. Your team in the finals was," she looked at her notepad, "Pikachu, Glalie, Heracross, Sceptile, Infernape, and Buizel."

Ash nodded. "I'm surprised that anyone actually remembers. It was really anticlimactic."

"I see. How did you come up with your strategies? Some of your moves must've taken a bit of trust, especially since you didn't call out any moves."

"Mhm. There's not much to it, actually. A bond with your Pokemon is the best strategy there is."

Ash didn't remember how long he'd been in the broom closet. The cameraman and reporter gave no indication that their questions had an end. His sense of dread only intensified with every flip of the woman's notepad.

"And where did you get your Pokemon?" she inquired, staring into the Trainer's eyes with a deep interest.


At that moment, Gallade Teleported into the cramped room with the rest of the team. Fortunately, the broom closet was able to fit everyone even though they were leaning against each other in uncomfortable positions. Vivi transformed into Eevee and jumped onto Garchomp's head. At the sight of his Trainer, Charizard used Flamethrower to singe his Trainer's hair, leaving a burn mark in the wall and almost causing a fire.

"Hi, Ash," Sceptile greeted the teen. "Hey, Pikachu."

"Go away."

"Hi," the Trainer responded, glancing at the reporter nervously. "How did you guys know I'm here?"

"Intuition," Gallade responded, using Telepathy so Ms. Spinner could understand. "I'm a perfectly intelligent being."

"You're also interrupting an important interview," the reporter spoke up, annoyed.

"My bad," Ash apologized. "What was the question, again?"

"Where did you get your Pokemon?"

"Oh. I got Pikachu from Professor Oak as a Starter Pokemon," the teen explained. "Charizard was abandoned by his former Trainer and I happened to stumble across him during my first run through Kanto. Sceptile was a wild Pokemon in Hoenn and I got Garchomp in Sinnoh. He followed me around the region a bit before I finally caught him, though. Greninja…he kinda rolled his Pokeball toward me and told me to catch him when I first arrived in Kalos. Of course, this was when they were still in their pre-evolved forms."

"And your other two?"

"I got my Eevee in Johto," Ash pondered aloud, "and Gallade is definitely from—"

"I'm from Unova," the Blade Pokemon interrupted, leaning against a wall next to his Trainer.

"Wait, really?" the teen asked.

The Electric-Type on the Kanto Champion's shoulder tilted his head at his teammate. "You said you were from—"

"Shush, Pikachu," Ash whispered to his Starter when he realized that Gallade was trying to draw attention away from his region.

"Right," Sandy commented, taking notes. "So you're well-versed in many regions."


"Do you plan on travelling anywhere else?" the reporter questioned.

Ash took off his hat, placing it on his Starter's head, and ran a hand through his hair. "To be honest, I haven't thought about it. Maybe I'd like to go to some faraway region where no one will recognize me, but I have plans here as well—for the betterment of Kanto, of course. It depends."

"You're just saying that. We all know you're going to take me to another region," Pikachu remarked. "By now, we've all gotten used to your 'I need a vacation' grumbling."

"Will you take me?" Vivi asked, suddenly excited.

Garchomp shook his head. "He's never done that before. But in my opinion, we should all get another region since Charizard was used in five—six if you count the Battle Frontier—and Sceptile in two."

Said Fire and Flying-Type huffed. "First of all, the Orange and Decolore Islands don't count as a region and going through Kanto a second time isn't really—"

Sceptile interrupted. "I literally had one battle in Sinnoh. Why isn't anyone complaining about Pikachu?"

"I'm special," the Electric-Type announced.

Greninja tried to hide a snicker, retaining his stoic look in a split second. "Special enough to lose to Trip's Snivy in the—"

"How do you know about that?"

"Ash and I are one."

"You can look through his memories?!" Gallade asked. "I'm starting a book on Ash's crossdressing tendencies. Can you provide me with my blackmail material—ahem—resources so I can sell the book to Gary when he—"

"Please no," the Trainer groaned aloud.

"I'm neither confirming nor denying anything," Greninja responded, crossing his arms.


The reporter was confused as to why the teen's Pokemon had suddenly crowded around their Trainer, shouting at each other.

"Sorry Ms. Spinner," the teen apologized sheepishly, "I don't know what's going on, either."

"You're just saying that because the press is here," Charizard argued. "Back me up, Trainer!"

Dawn stood outside the stadium, watching as May dragged Serena to an open-air stand that was selling some kind of meat on a stick. Next to the Sinnoh Region Coordinator, Iris was leading Axew around, marvelling at every sign of movement around the area. The colorful shops that lined the road to the stadium were crowded with people and Pokemon who were playing arcade games and buying unhealthy food.

"Is Ash out yet?" she asked the Dragon-Type Trainer, who was trying restrain her Gible from chomping on a lamppost.

"Nah. The kid's probably screaming his head off somewhere. What an idiot."

Dawn didn't know how to respond to that.

Ash spent the rest of the afternoon running from people. With his newfound popularity, he'd instantly gained a bunch of fans that had begun a scavenger hunt to find him and his team. It was a bit of a mission for the new Champion of Kanto: find Lance and get away from everyone else.

It didn't help that there were newspeople running around with cameras and microphones that were beginning to get on the Trainer's nerves.

Gallade had gone missing—the teen suspected that his Psychic and Fighting-Type had gone off to sign autographs and take pictures—so his source of instant transportation was gone.

Maybe Gary would agree to teleport him instead.

But then again, that chance was too slim to be significant. The Gym Leader liked to see his friend suffer.

Ash looked up at the sky, seeing people come and go on the backs of their Pokemon. Would he get chased down if he was in the air? Was Charizard fast enough to avoid everyone? Or would Garchomp be a better choice?

Either way, there was a mob of people coming after him, and the teen needed to decide quickly.

"Charizard!" he called out, taking a Pokeball from his belt and throwing it lightly. The Fire and Flying-Type appeared in a flash of light, scorching his Trainer in a Flamethrower before actually bothering to look around.

"What's up?" he asked.

"Publicity," Ash replied. "Please help me find Lance."


"Fine. I'll ask Garchomp, instead."

As the Trainer put his hands on his hips with an expectant look, a group of teenage girls rounded the corner of a building and found the park Ash and Charizard were in.

"Ah! It's the Champion!" one of them shouted. "He looks so much better up close!"

"Is that his Charizard?" another asked. "Such bulging muscles…and what a hot figure!"

The Flame Pokemon sighed, looking clearly disturbed. "Alright. Jump on, Trainer."

"You're hopeless, y'know?" Charizard asked, flapping his wings to gain a bit of altitude.

Pikachu peeked out of the messenger bag. "I thought we knew that, already."

Ash sighed, looking behind him. His hat had fallen off in the midst of his steep ascension into the cover of the clouds. It was probably a lost cause getting it back.

A trail of flying Pokemon had begun to follow him. On the back of an Altaria, two girls were fervently chasing after him. Behind them, another group was catching up on various Pidgeot, Noctowl, and Fearow.

"Faster, Charizard," Ash urged his Fire and Flying-Type.

"I'm still tired, y'know? We haven't gone to the Pokemon Center to heal up. Plus, when's that award ceremony?"

"I think it's in a few days or something when they officially announce it. They have to go through my criminal record and everything."

"That's depressing."

"So are you," Pikachu quipped, smirking.

"I'm going to throw you off," the Flame Pokemon muttered.

The Trainer and his two Pokemon continued to outmaneuver their new fanbase and ended up on the roof of a large building.

"We need to find Lance as soon as possible," Ash decided. "There are things I have to ask him about."

The trio walked down the streets, looking for the fancy hotel that the Elite Four, Gym Leaders, and other people of note would usually stay in. Most of the people at the Indigo Plateau were at the other side of the city for an evening event, so Ash and his team were taking the time to scour the area.

"We should get to a Pokemon Center," Charizard suggested.

"But people are going to be there," Pikachu replied. "The publicity we're getting is terrible."

Gallade Teleported in, spinning in the air before landing with a frontflip. "Speak for yourselves. I just got an offer for a fashion magazine."

"You gonna take it?" the Fire and Flying-Type asked, not even fazed at the sight of his teammate.

"Aye, good sir. I wilt contribute to Ash's college fund."

"I'm going to college?!" the teen asked, surprised. "Who said that?"

"Sceptile," Gallade answered. "The gent wanteth thee to wend to Castelia."

"Well, there's no use in arguing against him…"

Pikachu jumped off his Trainer's shoulder, landing next to the Psychic and Fighting-Type. "If you make enough money, you could take us all on a tropical vacation."

"Concurred," the Blade Pokemon agreed, nodding his head.

"We can buy a giant mansion to train in," Charizard suggested.

"You'd break that thing," Ash spoke up, shaking his head. "Plus, if we really want to do that, all of you would need to get jobs, too."

"Nah," the Fire and Flying-Type replied, "We're good."

Misty walked around the plaza, followed by Brock.

"Where is he?" the Water-Type Trainer asked, annoyed. "He can't just disappear like that, even if he's the Champion, now!"

"He does it on a regular basis, anyway," the Pokemon Doctor-in-training replied, shrugging. "He'll show up, sooner or later. But for now, why don't we go find May? I saw her, earlier, but I don't know where she went."

Gary couldn't believe it.

The small, mouse-like Pokemon poked his head out of the young girl's yellow handbag. He'd never seen a Pokemon like it before.

Clemont was quick to explain. "Uh, this is my sister, Bonnie," he introduced. "And that's Dedenne, a Kalosian Pokemon."

The lemon-haired girl waved at the Researcher with an energetic grin and hand. Dedenne echoed her enthusiasm.

"Nene nene ne!"

Even without his magical Poke-translator, Gary was sure that the Antenna Pokemon was shouting out an amicable greeting.

Clemont gestured to the Gym Leader, facing his sister as he did so.

"This is Gary. He came from Pallet Town, just like Ash."

Bonnie's eyes widened in amazement. She spread her hands out, barely containing her excitement. "That's so cool!" she marvelled. "You like, grew up with him! When I grow up, I want to be a Trainer just like Ash!"

The Viridian City Gym Leader almost choked, disguising it as a cough. "You want to be like Ash?" he asked in a voice that was laced with a hint of disbelief and amusement. "That's great. I'd say that you just need willpower, strategy, and a bond with your Pokemon to reach the level that doofus is at."

"Gary Oak's the Viridian City Gym Leader," Clemont explained. "He's also a well-known Pokemon Researcher that has accompanied Ash a little throughout his journey."

Bonnie turned around, looking into the Kantonian's eyes. "Wow!" she exclaimed.

"Ha, it's no big deal," Gary replied. "I was Ash's rival for a while, too. The only time he beat me back then was at the League."

"Isn't that the only battle that actually matters, though?" the young girl asked.

Ouch. Gary would need a Burn Heal for that.

Swellow finally found him running down the street from a mob of teenage girls.

Truthfully, the Normal and Flying-Type didn't expect his Trainer to be this popular. He must've won against Lance or something. Bulbasaur mentioned something about that.

The Champion of Kanto took out a Pokeball and threw it in front of him. A Garchomp appeared, gazing around with a confused look as his ball expertly spun back to the Trainer, who caught it in one hand and used the other to propel himself onto the back of the Ground and Dragon-Type.

Honestly, the teen stood out. Mostly because he was the only Human Swellow knew that had such a distinct, messy hairstyle.

With a quick flap of his wings, the Swallow Pokemon readied himself and sped forward, catching up with his Trainer.

"Hey," a voice called out. Ash, who was tightly holding onto the back of his Garchomp, barely heard it.

"Sorry," Pikachu spoke up in a sarcastic tone, "we're not accepting autographs. Come again when it's important."

"Autograph my Thunder Armor!" Swellow huffed, speeding up so that he flew aside the Mach Pokemon.

"Hi, Swellow," his Trainer greeted him.

"Hey," Garchomp echoed. "Uh, I'm actually Gible, but evolved."

"I can see that. You've matured."

The Ground and Dragon-Type seemed slightly miffed at that comment, even as he was flying at high speeds through the air.

Pikachu looked behind him, and Swellow's gaze followed, seeing a mass of Flying-Types (and similar) trailing behind the Champion and his group of Pokemon.

"You're famous, Ash," the Normal-Type complimented his Trainer.

"Thanks. You too."

"By the way," Garchomp spoke up, "why are you here? I thought you were up at Mt. Silver."

"Oh, I was. I'm here to report on that, actually."

"Go ahead."

"Alright. It took a while to get up there, but we made it nonetheless. But we didn't find Team Rocket up there. Infernape and the gang stayed and explored a bit, but they should be down here soon," the Swallow Pokemon explained. "But there's something else. You guys need to get to the corral quickly."

"Why?" Pikachu asked.

"They've spotted Team Rocket's machines on Route 1. Bulbasaur is certain that they're targeting Pallet Town."

Done. Although that chapter was pretty short and sweet compared to the previous ones, I hope you enjoyed it. (Ok, those were battles. They tend to take up a lot of space.)

Ah. Just a quick question, but what Trainer Rank are you on Magikarp Jump? I'm at 53. Yes, I know I'm kinda obsessed. You don't have to tell me.

By the way, this is like my second hour of Pokemon XYZ background music. In other words, it's 2 in the morning. So...sorry for the grammar mistakes. I didn't really check my work, this time.

Oh. Another thing. If you look carefully at past chapters, Pidgeot left the group sometime close to when Ash went to storm Rocket Headquarters (I'm not going to check, to be honest). Coincidence?

Anyway, good night (morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you read this). I need to be awake in like, six hours.