Ash's Just Reward Chapter 47
"Entire sentence." = Normal talking.
"Entire sentence." = Psychic talking.
"Entire sentence." = Powerful being talking.
'Entire sentence.' = Person's thoughts.
Mewtwo sighed quietly to himself, as he tried to focus on his meditation yet again, only to find that his mind was aswim with endless thoughts of doubt and guilt, all of which prevented him from achieving the equilibrium needed to balance his aura.
Opening his eyes again, he gazed over the large horde that made up Ash's extended family, turning this once quiet field into an endless abyss of noise and activity. Pokémon and people from across the globe were all gathered in this one garden. Several groups had formed, each being varied in Pokémon type and region of origin, each with their own goals. Some were training with one another, improving, and honing their strength in preparation for the coming conflict that they could feel coming deep in their cores, lingering at the edge of the jovial atmosphere like a hazy fog. Others were interacting, satisfying their need for social activity after the strenuous few days they had been put through, enjoying the brief reprieve as best they could. And others still were… playing games that Mewtwo could only guess as to what they were or how they were played.
Rolling his neck, Mewtwo unfolded his legs and allowed them to fall back to the earth, ceasing his efforts to levitate his body as he turned toward a figure who had also chosen to stay at a distance from this mass of activity, an individual who was the source of much of Mewtwo's inner turmoil; another version of himself.
To Mewtwo's utter shock, there was another like him, a clone of the ancestor of all Pokémon Mew. A fact which should have been impossible. When he first awoke in the facility of New Island all those years ago, he had been under the impression that he was the first succession clone they had bred, a fact that the scientists who created him had been very proud of. And, by his own hand, he should have been the last, as he had wiped that facility from the face of the earth, leaving nothing but rubble and flame as remnants of his birthplace.
He should have been the last. Apparently not.
Which opened up a number of questions to which he had no answers. Who created this alternate Mewtwo? With what means? Was Team Rocket and Giovanni behind this? If so, how did they get around his mindwipe? If not, who would try and repeat the process that created him? How? For what means?
There were so many questions swirling in his mind, and he couldn't find an answer to a single one, which was causing his mind to throb in frustration. His brain was powerful enough to rival a supercomputer, akin to an Alakazam, yet he couldn't seem to even dent the mystery, let alone crack it. A wound to his pride that was even more painful in his current guilty state.
A guilt that had been forcibly brought to the surface by this other Mewtwo, who had undone his mental mind wipe that he had used on Ash, an attempt to ease the boy's pain and to obscure his own heinous actions, an act he deeply regretted even despite the situation he found himself in. Everything that had happened since had been instance after instance of knocking him down, both in terms of his pride and ego, and despite the tight gnawing he felt in stomach, he felt he deserved it. Ash didn't need to endure what he had, both before and after the mind wipe, and Mewtwo was responsible for all of it. So the painful punishment he was enduring was justified in his mind.
That didn't make it any less painful.
Mewtwo sighed again, cracking his knuckles and causing them to pop satisfyingly. Things weren't as dire as they felt in his mind, as Ash had already gone out of his way to forgive him, a fact he was immensely grateful for. Even Pikachu, someone who was pretty open about his newfound disdain for him, was being civil, so even though the guilt was still very much present, he knew he needed to do something to start making amends. And he was also locked in thought about this other Mewtwo, taking up much of his mental capacity as he pondered about their existence. Should he inquire with the other Mewtwo about their origins? Inadvisable, since he knew very little about the personality and viewpoint of this other Mewtwo, and trying to find out more might elicit a negative reaction from them, potentially starting a brawl. The last thing he wanted to do at the moment was to start another fight after having had one not too long ago with some of Ash's Pokémon.
Taking a deep breath, Mewtwo shook his head to himself. He had nothing, and the indecisiveness was exhausting him.
His eyes suddenly snapped open, as he felt two presences startlingly close to him suddenly pop up on his psychic radar. Whether they had snuck up on him or he had had a momentary lapse in his awareness was a matter for later, as he charged up a Shadow Ball before spinning round to face these potential adversaries.
He quickly allowed the attack to dissipate once he saw the two with his own eyes, silently cursing himself as he realised who they were. The Eon duo, Latios and Latias, both of whom were hovering nearby, slight sparks of energy lingering around them as they both shifted from their humanoid disguises, a psychic trick that Mewtwo found rather impressive. He didn't know whether or not it was a psychic feat or one unique to their species, but nonetheless he couldn't deny its worth. But that wasn't important, he reminded himself as he shook the thought clear, directing his full attention to the pair as they looked at him with eyes filled with a mixture of apprehension, doubt, and hopefulness.
A combination that could only leave Mewtwo wondering as to what it was they were after. He hadn't interacted with Latias much after he had first made contact with the court of Arceus, and Latios had long been dead by that point in time, so he did not know either of them particularly well. Regardless, he was sure that they were here for a purpose, one that involved him specifically.
His scientific curiosity had him hooked, a fact he made great efforts to conceal that as he looked at them impassively.
"Latios. Latias," he greeted, his tone measured as he tried to gauge their reactions for any hint of their intentions. Alas, he couldn't find any, so he continued with his greeting. "How may I help the two of you?"
The pair shared a look with each other, with Latias slowly nodding while Latios seemingly composed himself before speaking.
"Well, I was… sorry, we were wondering if we could ask something of you. A favour if you will. If you're willing of course, we wouldn't want to bother you," Latios said, slowly starting to ramble as he thumbed his claws together. Mewtwo, doing his best to suppress a smile, crossed his arms.
"Oh? And what favour would that be?"
"Well… we were wondering if you'd be willing to train us to hone our psychic powers."
"…" Mewtwo would never admit it aloud, but he hadn't been expecting that. It threw him for a loop, and he was ashamed to admit that he couldn't hide it as his mouth hung slightly agape in shock.
Which unfortunately for his pride, they noticed.
"Is that alright? You can say no, if you don't feel up to it, we just thought we'd ask since you were quite strong with your psychic powers and wanted to learn a thing or two," Latios mumbled, knocking Mewtwo out of his stupor and allowing him to compose himself.
"Nonsense, I was just… surprised is all. Though I must inquire, why are you coming to me with this request? While I am certainly very well versed with psychic abilities, I am not exactly known to be a teacher. Or patient. Meanwhile Ash is more than willing, as both your trainer and friend, to help you with any and all aspects of training that you may desire. So why have you turned to me?"
Latias then started waving her claws around, as she spoke for the first time.
"Well, it's not that we don't want to train with Ash, far from it! It's just… with everything going on, Ash has his hands full," Latias started, causing Mewtwo to raise a brow as he listened intently. "There's so much going on at the moment for Ash, with a lot of Pokémon having joined his team, a lot of gifts being given to him, and the entire Ultra Beast problem going on, he's got his hands full. And we know he wants to train us, but he just doesn't have the time. We were talking amongst ourselves, and we decided that, to do our bit to help, we would pursue our own training."
Mewtwo couldn't help but smile as he connected the dots.
"Which led you to me, an incredibly powerful psychic type with experience with honing it to make it stronger. I see," Mewtwo started, folding his arms behind his back as he looked at the two, who was staring at him expectantly. After a few seconds of basking in their silent awe, he nodded.
"Very well, I suppose I can help you in this matter. I must warn you though, I am not patient, and my methods are, to put it mildly, intense, and gruelling. If you are really dedicated to this, I will be happy to train you, but make sure you heed my words before you decide."
Truthfully, despite his tone being anything but inviting, Mewtwo secretly hoped that they would accept regardless. While not a social creature, being excluded as he had been was excruciating, and helping these two young Legendaries should hopefully improve his standing with Ash's more standoffish Pokémon.
That, and the idea of teaching these two sounded, for lack of a better word, fun.
Fortunately, his worries were quickly brushed aside as the two nodded fiercely, any lingering doubts they may have being absent from their steely eyes.
"Very well. Let us begin."
Lusamine watched with apt interest as the boats that had just arrived were unloaded by her men, the massive cages within their cargo hauls being lifted onto transport vehicles by massive cranes that were built into the dock itself, designed to lift much larger and heavier Pokémon than the ones currently being unloaded.
Though these Pokémon were much more valuable.
Three Pokémon in total, one of them being what Lusamine specifically wanted, with the other two being welcome but unexpected additions. Giovanni would be pleased.
As she typed a few notes onto her holographic pad, she made a mental note as someone entered the balcony area she was situated in, walking up to her with a swagger that she detested. She bit her tongue however, since in this situation the man guilty of this definitely earned it, so she allowed it for this specific instance.
"Sup boss lady, you like my gifts?" He asked loudly, his loud and boastful tone causing her eyebrow to twitch before she suppressed her urge to lash out at the attitude to address him more courteously.
"I'm very pleased with them Guzma, thank you very much. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting such a successful first mission. The Tapus are usually solitary creatures, so there being other Legendaries present is an unexpected development. I trust you can fill me in on the situation some more so I can understand how this outcome came to be."
Guzma shrugged as Lusamine lowered her tablet, hands stuffed deep into his pocket as he joined her at the balcony, watching as his boys began to pour out of the boats as well, causing minor disruption as they went, much to his amusement.
"Well, I'll say this, planning ain't me and my boy's strong point, but any plans we did have were binned almost immediately. It's a good thing ya gave us so many of those high-tech thingamajigs, otherwise the whole thing woulda been a dud."
Lusamine frowned at this, crossing her arms as she listened.
"Oh, how so?"
"Well, for one, there were two Tapus who showed up, not one. And those other Pokémon, there were three of 'em, and we weren't able to get one of them. Same with the Tapu. We got the three ya got now, but the others made a run for it."
Lusamine could feel her jaw go slack, as she could feel her blood pressure steadily increase and her eyes go wide. Her tablet, which she had been holding pretty loosely when Guzma had walked in, slowly began to crack under her tightening grip, the shards of glass causing thin trails of blood to drip down her fingers.
"What?" She asked silently, causing Guzma to turn to face her with a look of amusement at her building anger.
"Yeah, it was weird. Nearly had them as well, but they darted before we could nab them. Still, three out of five when we were only expecting one, not too shabby. That's how Team Skull rolls, we'll always come out on top!"
Lusamine did not seem very impressed.
"You mean to tell me that the Tapus know about our plans to capture them? YOU IDIOT!" She exploded, dashing the broken tablet at Guzma, who calmly weaved out of the way of the improvised projectile as she began yelling in his face.
"EVERYTHING WE'RE DOING WAS RELIANT ON THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE! IF THEY KNOW WE'RE COMING, WE WON'T BE ABLE TO CAPTURE THEM. NO TAPUS, NO POWER SOURCE. NO POWER SOURCE, NO PORTAL! GIOVANNI WILL KILL US IF WE CAN'T DELIVER!"
Guzma chuckled at this, turning his gaze back to the boats onto three figures who were bumbling about by themselves.
"You mean Team Rocket? Not gonna lie ta ya, I ain't impressed. If they're who Team Rocket sends to watch my boys, they ain't all that. But don't ya worry ya pretty blonde head, Guzma has this under control."
Lusamine, her breathing still slightly ragged from her outburst, said nothing, waiting for Guzma to explain.
"I may be the big boss of Team Skull, but I ain't the only competent boss. My right-hand lass has texted me ta tell me that she's just so happened to see on the news that there's two more Tapus on Melemele Island, and, with ya generous donation of machines, has set up an ambush for the Pokémon there. They've just had a big ol' fight with another Pokémon I don't really know, so the Tapus and all their allies are proper tired, easy pickings for my boys. And she texted me just a few minutes ago ta tell me that the ones that escaped my ambush have now shown up for hers. She's just waiting for the right moment to pounce."
Lusamine stared at him blankly, before a wide grin began to form on her face, the smile looking unnatural and horrifying as her eyes began to sparkle with an eager and malicious energy as she began to giggle maniacally to herself.
"Guzma, you never fail to deliver. Keep me updated on their results."
"Damn straight," Guzma muttered, before Lusamine lifted a finger at him.
"Let me make one thing clear however, I expect results. If you report back to me with anything less than more successful captures, you'll find that I have ways to make you suffer. And nothing on this Earth, no Legendary or mob boss, will be able to stop me."
She then stormed out, leaving Guzma alone to digest her words, as he began biting his lip in frustration, running a hand through his hair as he looked at his boys, only now realising how they were surrounded by Aether Foundation grunts and Pokémon, being outnumbered at least four to one. Causing him to sigh to himself as he dropped his head.
"Guzma, why do ya do such stupid things?"
"So you guys really don't hate me?" Ash asked sceptically, to which Poipole bobbed her head around, causing his head to do the same as she clung to his scalp.
"Well, yes and no. We hate the Great Defender, since we kinda link that title with Arceus, who we do hate, so yeah. But since the battle you had with Mr Buzzwole, he seems to think you can be our friend. And if you can be our friend, we can't hate you."
Ash chuckled at this, the friendly energy that Poipole exerted somehow managing to make the undertones of what she was saying seem not so severe. Something that wasn't true for Pikachu as he frowned at the purple Ultra Beast.
"You realise that this 'Mr Buzzwole' tried to kill us, right? Kinda seems like he hates us."
"Oh, that was before the fight. He changed his mind after you, which is why he sent me on this secret mission to befriend you."
Ash and Pikachu shared a look at this, both noticing the description she used immediately.
"Secret mission?" He asked, to which Poipole nodded.
"That's right. He made a big point of making me keep this secret. Only me and him know about this, so we can't tell any of the other Ultra Beasts. Shh."
Pikachu facepalmed at this, as Ash simply frowned.
"So he wants to know if we can be friends, why?"
"I dunno, he didn't really explain it to me. All I remember is him saying that 'we're not the bad guys' and that we can be friends. Not sure why we'd be the bad guys, unless it was a game. Are we playing a game?"
Ash clicked his tongue as he contemplated that tidbit of information. The Ultra Beasts didn't see themselves as the bad guys. If Ash had heard that a few days ago, he'd off brushed it off since, of course they were the bad guys. They had attacked him unprovoked with a small army, how could they not be? But now, he knew better. Things were much more complicated than he first thought, and now he was being dragged into a massive feud that was too big for him to properly understand.
Now he was unsure what to do, with an Ultra Beast apparently awaiting his reaction while they geared for a fight with the Legendaries, many of whom were literally in his general vicinity. He had a growing feeling that, even if he tried to extent the olive branch, he was still going to end up fighting someone. Which was the last thing he wanted right now.
"Well, if its any consolation, I'm happy to be friends. I've had enough fights for now," Ash added, causing Poipole to beam happily at him while Pikachu just sighed.
Doesn't mean he couldn't try.
Prison was such an undignified place for someone as regal as himself.
Having spent the last year and a half in prison having been foiled in Unova, Ghetsis had seethed silently in his cell, not uttering so much as a word throughout that entire time. Not to the guards. Not to his fellow inmates. Not to a single soul.
Something which had massively affected his men who had been imprisoned with him.
Shortly after he had been incarcerated by Looker, the rest of Team Plasma soon found themselves joining him, with his missing leadership leading to their ruin. The remaining Sages were unable to prevent this, and were soon caught themselves, with the majority of their grunts accompanying them. They soon had an entire prison block dedicated to the imprisonment of Team Plasma, and while at first there had been a boost in morale when they had seen him, it quickly died again when they saw his despondent attitude.
And while all this happened around him, Ghetsis could do nothing but think of two things: his traitorous son and that damnable boy who had defied him. No other thought permeated his mind, not unless it related in some way to those two and his defeat.
Today was just another day to him, and he planned to spend it isolating from the rest of his group by reading or meditating in his cell, when suddenly the deafening silence was interrupted by a few loud bangs on the cell door.
"Package for you," the guard shouted before pushing a small cardboard package through the slot in the door, before wandering off and leaving Ghetsis alone again.
For a brief moment, he considered just throwing the package away, having little interest in the contents or its bearing on him. But yet, a small part of him was curious. Not once in his entire time here had he ever received a package, since there was no one who would send him one. N wouldn't have sent him anything, and Team Plasma was all incarcerated along with him
So who had sent him this?
Deciding to let his curiosity rule his mind just this once, Ghetsis opened the package on his thin mattress, finding a small tablet. Flipping it over, he couldn't help but marvel at the lack of any branding on the back, just a basic tablet with nothing to trace it back to a company or individual.
After a moment of observing the tablet, the screen began flickering to life, seemingly triggered by his touch. Flipping the screen to see what would show up, he was surprised to see a face he was vaguely familiar with.
"Ghetsis." The Team Rocket boss replied, smirking as he observed the sage. "I must say, it's strange to see you out of those robes. And that's something I never thought I'd say honesty, since those things looks downright ridiculous and out of place."
Ghetsis grunted, letting the barb pass over his head. He held little love for the man, but he was willing to hear him out. Giovanni did not seem like the sort of man to act sporadically or without reason, and this fact simply had him intrigued.
Seeing that he wasn't going to get a more elicit response, Giovanni dropped the humorous tone and brought his hands together.
"Straight to business then? Fine by me. I have a proposition for you, Ghetsis, one that I feel you won't be able to refuse," he started, leaning back into his chair as he spoke. "I've been researching your organisation and the work you've accomplished. And I must say, I'm rather impressed. Managing to shackle a Legendary like Reshiram to your will is a marvellous feat of technology, one that I feel you should make use of again."
Ghetsis narrowed his eyes at this, as Giovanni began gesturing with his hand.
"Granted we did obtain some of the data for the machine ourselves, allowing our scientists to reverse engineer the process and apply it to other research accomplished by others with similar goals, I feel that there is a different application of this machine that could be used, by the right mind of course.
"Tell me, do you recall your personal research on a Pokémon known as Kyurem?"
Despite his best efforts, Ghetsis could feel his body tensing up, causing Giovanni to smirk.
"I'm glad you remember. Because I've taken a great interest in it. The suspected shell of the single Pokémon that Reshiram and Zekrom used to be when combined, a Pokémon that has since taken its own form and now exists within our world. A curious specimen. And one I feel merits further exploration. Now, I'm a busy man, too busy to let such a whimsical idea take up too much of my time. The results such research could garner potentially make it a worthwhile investment, especially since your research includes a theory that Kyurem could be fused with either Reshiram or Zekrom to create a form reminiscent of their original form. Which brought me to a startling realisation: I don't need to waste my time. Not when I have you."
Ghetsis crossed his arms, baring his teeth slightly at the man as he began smirking.
"Here's my offer: I'm willing to bust you and your entire team out of prison and return them to their former glory. In return, Team Plasma will answer to myself and focus its efforts on securing this unknown Legendary. When the time comes, you'll be ready to unleash your might and restore Team Plasma. And to really entice you, since I know this is what you're most interested in, you will be allowed first crack at Ash Ketchum, the boy who stood beside your surrogate son in defiance. Do we have a deal?"
Ghetsis pursed his lips, for a moment, before he finally showed a brief crack in his stoic look. A small grin.
Giovanni nodded, pressing a button just off screen before gesturing toward Ghetsis' cell door.
"Very well, welcome to Team Rainbow Rocket. In sixty seconds, an explosion will blow a hole in the main mess hall for you to escape through. Twenty seconds after that, the electronics will cut out, opening the door to your cell, and your subordinates. You will then have five minutes to organise them and escort them to the vehicles that have been arranged to take them to your old base of operations. The rest I leave in your discretion."
As soon as Giovanni finished, an explosion rocked the building, causing Ghetsis to drop the tablet and leap to his feet, before Giovanni chuckled.
"I look forward to hearing from you again in the future," He remarked, before the screen cut off, leaving Ghetsis alone to watch with wide eyes as the doors suddenly popped open, the electronic lock no longer keeping it shut.
Stepping out of his cell, he could see that, true to Giovanni's word, there was now a gaping hole in the mess hall, and his numerous grunts were now roaming free, confused and hysterical as they shouted amongst themselves. Looking down at them from the floor above, Ghetsis could see that they were aimless, leaderless, and hopeless.
They needed him.
Stepping to the edge of the platform, raising his hand in the air, waiting patiently as they all finally noticed him and began to silence, he felt his chest swell up with pride that he had long thought lost.
"My followers, hear me! I have returned! I bring freedom. I bring perfection! I am Ghetsis, ruler of Team Plasma, herald to a new world, and you will heed me!" He beckoned, causing the mass of grunts below to cheer and scream in jubilation at his return.
His revenge was at hand. Nothing would get in his way. And once he had dealt with those two brats, Giovanni was next.
Ash flipped his Pokédex shut as he sighed deeply, slapping the device against his hand as he mused about the issue at hand.
Amongst many issues that he had at the present moment, the one that Ash was trying to resolve currently was the new Pokémon companions who had joined his group because of Mewtwo. The eight Pokémon, who at first had seemed to be perfect new additions to his, rapidly, growing family now seemed to be a source of contention due to the recent revelation with Mewtwo. As the truth behind their creation was revealed, everyone had begun to distance themselves from the clones, forcing them to be an isolated group away from everyone else.
While Ash had repaired his relationship with Mewtwo, somewhat, he still needed to do something to help these Pokémon fit in again. They didn't deserve the scorn that they were currently getting, being victims of the situation just as much as the rest of them had been. He just needed to remind the others of that.
Shooting a glance over at Rotom-Dex, he let out a small sigh. He had been pouring over the scans of these Pokémon on his old Pokédex, making note of any interesting details that it pointed out, and he felt glad that he had decided against asking the possessed device against helping. It was well meaning but it had a tendency to be overbearing, and the last thing he wanted right now was for the ghost type to rush over and be insensitive about their biological makeup as clones.
Ash nodded to himself, as he decided on what he was going to do. He had decided on this a short while ago, and he was now just working up the courage to do it.
Slapping his legs, he pushed himself up and started digging through his bag, grabbing what he needed and making his way over to the groups, a smile slowly growing on his face.
"Hey guys, what's up?" He yelled, grabbing their attention immediately. Ash nearly faltered as so many large and powerful Pokémon suddenly started gazing at him with expecting eyes, but he brushed it off almost immediately. They were his new friends, and he needed to remind them of that.
"I know things have been pretty manic recently, and I'm sorry for not coming to speak to you earlier, I've been pretty busy. But, I'm here now, so let's get started."
The Pokémon shared a look with one another as they pondered what Ash was going on about.
"Erm," the recently evolved Raichu said hesitantly, "start what?" But Ash just smiled at the evolved electric mouse as he revealed the items he had gotten from his bag.
"Training of course! You guys are part of the team, and I'm guessing you've never done proper training before, so I'm going to help get each of you started," he said jovially, showing the Pokéballs he held tightly in his hands. Much to their joy as all eight of them began grinning ecstatically.
Which caused Ash to relax internally, as he checked that off his mental list of things to sort out. One down, Arceus knows how many left to sort out.
'This place is a damn maze," Lucario cursed to himself mentally, as he stalked down the dimly lit hallway, doing his best to avoid the gaze of the wandering operatives.
After the worrying display that he had witnessed ICOP perform when addressing the Champions, a lingering sense of dread had settled into his mind, seeping so deeply into his very core that he could feel it throwing his aura off centre. The last time such a feeling had made itself known was before the Kingdom of Rota had joined the war all those centuries ago.
Suffice to say, it didn't leave a feeling of confidence in Lucario.
The first chance he got, he had slipped away from the gathering of regional Champions and green suited agents, leaving the protection of Ash's companion in the hands of his other Pokémon, specifically Torterra. The Pokémon was just as suspicious of the group as he was, and Lucario trusted his abilities enough to entrust him with the still recovering Serena. The others listened to him and he was enough of a powerhouse to deal with any potential threat for long enough for him or one of the Champions to aid him.
Leaving him free to explore this island base that ICOP had based themselves on. Although he did find himself with an unexpected companion.
"What exactly are we looking for?" Servine whispered, using a vine she created to push a camera to the side gently, giving them a clear run to cross into another corridor unseen.
"I am not too sure. Anything that will shed some light on this organisation and their ethos. I need to know for sure what this group's intentions are."
Servine nodded at this, as they darted to another corner, Lucario's outstretched paw signalling the grass type to stop. As they waited, Servine looked up at the ancient Fighting type, marvelling as he stood there with his eyes tightly pressed shut.
There was something strange about someone being able to see without their eyes, using a sight that was apparently better than what their normal vision could make out. It didn't instil much confidence in her, to rely entirely on some force she didn't really understand, but despite her doubts, it seemed to be working. More than once already they had managed to avoid being seen by agents just out of sight due to this ability, so she was willing to push her scepticism aside and put her faith in Lucario.
After some more exploration, they soon found a massive room which looked like the centre of a temple, with an alter in the middle and several rows of pews circling around it. The air was filled with the burning essence of various different incense, with some of the fragrances that Lucario could identify being the scent of freshly cut roses, the salty air of the sea, and the dust of a deep cavern. Most peculiar.
Carved into the wall around them were depictions of, what Lucario could only describe as, events of cataclysmic disaster, each with some form of Legendary being the centre of the piece. And sure enough, for each disaster that was depicted, a lone human stood ready to help. One depicted a region being frozen over, by a husk of a Pokémon if the illustration was any indication. And standing against it, armed with nothing but a torch and a fire type, stood a lone boy in a cap and a small Pokémon on their shoulder. Another had a rather worryingly accurate portrayal of a portal, with several creatures pouring out of it, only to be met by a small army of Pokémon led by… the same boy with the cap and small Pokémon on their shoulder. And then there was one with three elemental birds circling around what could only be described as a great beast of the sea, with the same boy in the cap and companion Pokémon holding three orbs marked with the same elements as the birds.
The two Pokémon stared in wonder, though Servine couldn't help but screw her face when she looked at one illustration.
"Hold on," she muttered to herself, catching Lucario's attention, "I was there for that."
Looking over to see what she was commenting on, Lucario began appraising the carving she was staring at. The depiction was novel in that it had another human being present, though this one seemed much more villainous with how their robes and cane were carved, being much more angular and exaggerated compared to everything else. It seemed to have a Legendary shackled, if the lines coming from the machine behind the man were any indication, and the creature was roaring into the air. And off to the side, yet again, was the same boy in the cap.
"You were there?" Lucario asked slowly, eyes never leaving the depiction as Servine nodded.
"Yeah. That's Reshiram. Team Plasma tried to mind control it and use it to take over the world. Ash stopped it with Pikachu after damaging the machine that was controlling it. I'm sure that's what this is showing us."
Lucario looked at Servine for a moment, before turning to look back at the other illustrations, looking intently at all of them. And with every passing second, he became more and more concerned.
"These are all events that've happened to Ash?" He asked, to which Servine shook her head.
"Not all of them, or at least I don't recognise them. They might have happened to Ash, but I'm sure I'd know about all the times he's dealt with Legendaries; we keep each other up to speed on these things."
"Unless they haven't happened yet," Lucario commented as his eyes fell on the largest illustration of them all. It didn't depict much in terms of environment or scenario. All there was shown was a single towering monstrosity of a Legendary, towering above everything else with ease. Despite the illustrations being clearly exaggerated for artistic purposes, there was still a sense of scale between the Chosen One opposing them and the Legendary. And the human standing before this monstrosity was miniscule, as if they were standing in front of a mountain.
"We need to warn Ash. Now!" Lucario said hoarsely, fear gripping his heart for the first time. But before they could move to the exit, the door slammed shut, leaving them trapped with a familiar figure, the preened peacock who called himself the leader of ICOP.
"So, you've found the sanctum. I wonder, do you have any implication of what you've discovered?"
Brock smiled as he finished his drink, looking over the large group of old friends that he was with. When he had been practically kidnapped by Ash's Pokémon, a surprising but not unexpected outcome considering it was Ash who was involved, he hadn't been expecting to see some of his oldest friends. Being able to reunite and catch up with Misty, May, Gary, and even Anabel was a welcome change of pace to his duties as a Gym leader. Though there were a few faces he hadn't expected to see.
For one, Paul was present. Why? He wasn't sure. He didn't seem to be as antagonising as he had been in the past, even being quite friendly by his standards, at least enough to exchange pleasantries with. Which was an interesting development to say the least. But more interestingly, there were some new faces that he didn't recognise, at least not by looks. He knew who they were, but only because of Ash's descriptions.
Which, to put it lightly, was very underwhelming. Ash wasn't exactly the best with words.
They were his new friends he had made while in Alola, something that Brock knew from his various letters that he had received from the boy over the last few weeks. Ash made a point of keeping him up to date with everything that happened to him. He may not have been the best at explaining things clearly, but he was more than capable of keeping in contact.
A fact that Brock was very grateful for.
And looking over this new group of friends, he could see the makings of some great trainers in them, which was one of the few things that Ash had adequately got across to him via his letters. He could see their potential as caring, determined, talented trainers burning deep within, waiting to be awakened by whatever shenanigans that Ash would inevitably get himself into (this current one included), but there was something else that he could see, something that Ash hadn't noticed consciously but Brock could spot from a mile away.
They reminded him of how Ash used to be.
Lillie seemed determined to overcome her shortcomings, slowly pushing through them and bettering herself as a person. Brock had been told about her phobia of Pokémon, but even now she seemed to be content to gently brush the fur of her Ninetales, the white complexion being a strange sight alone, while she slowly familiarised herself with other Pokémon from a distance. It reminded him of how Ash used to try and power through with his Pokémon no matter what stood against him, be it a stronger evolution or a type disadvantage, he kept pushing till he overcame the challenge.
Lana was, on the other hand, completely relaxed around Pokémon, having an easy going and calm nature around them that made it very easy for her to befriend them. She may have also reminded Brock of Misty due to her favouritism towards Water types, but her temperament reminded him more of Ash.
And Sophocles was the most interesting. On the surface, they seemed completely opposite to one another, with Sophocles being obsessed with the stats and numbers behind Pokémon battling and being just as comfortable behind a computer as Ash would be on the field. But he shared Ash's endless energy and excitement when it came to Pokémon, becoming giddy over the smallest things, something that never left Ash. Brock had seen Ash get excited over new Pokémon time and time again, and Sophocles seemed to be just the same.
Which left Mallow and Kiawe, who Brock noted weren't present yet. They must have been elsewhere due to Hoopa, a Pokémon that Brock was thankful he was never pranked by. He looked forward to meeting them in person, to see what hidden similarities they shared with Ash, and what potential they had hidden deep within themselves.
Hey everyone, it's been a while.
I'm sorry this took a while, I've not really got any profound excuse or reason this time, I've just been busy and my time management is kinda whack. I got sucked up in my own book I've been working on, as well as my other projects, and I've been busy with work as well. Also, I may or may not have had a mild obsession over completing Age of Calamity. Good game, time consuming.
So yeah, I've got another chapter for all of you. Like I said in the last chapter, I'm not pushing for the story to move into act 3. Team Rainbow Rocket is now almost fully in motion, Mewtwo and the clones have been absolved, Lusamine is enacting her plan, ICOP is about to reveal some big information, and all of it leads to the final act. Hopefully you all enjoy it.
Now, things have been pretty manic in this story, as a lot has changed character wise. So I've decided to update the group list. I think I've included everyone since the last list, but I might have made a mistake. Please let me know if I've made a mistake. I'll probably reformat it soon, but for now it will do. The groups currently look like this:
Group 1: Ash, Anabel, Sophocles, Misty, Brock, May, Paul, Gary, Lana, Iris, Lillie, Pikachu, Espeon, Absol, Buizel, Snowy (Lillie's Alolan Ninetales), Lycanroc, Kingler, Torkoal, Steenee, Sceptile, Blaziken, Greninja, Primeape, Latias, Mewtwo, Lapras, Totodile, Goodra, Quilava, Tyranitar, Mawile, Meganium, Ralts, Leavanny, Scrafty, Togedemaru, Pidgeot, Rotom-Dex, Unfezant, Snorlax, Staraptor, Butterfree, Noctowl, Gigalith, Corpish, Azelf, Mew, Poipole, Charizard, Eevee, Krookodile, Dewott, Muk, Latios, Talonflame, Heracross, Rowlet, Bulbasaur, Honedge, Gliscor, Infernape, Raichu, Meowthtwo, Ninetales, Scythertwo, Rapidashtwo, Seadratwo, Hitmonleetwo, Gyaradostwo, Brionne, Suicune, (other) Mewtwo, Delia, Looker, Professor Kukui, and Professor Oak
Group 2: Torracat, Lugia, Garchomp, Squirtle, Swellow, Glalie, Emboar, Seismitoad, Hawlucha, Kiawe, Dawn, Max, Hoopa, Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Fini, Red Genesect, Genesect, Genesect, and Lunala
Group 3: Lucario, Servine, Donphan, Torterra, Noivern, Serena, Mallow, Cynthia, and Tobias
Group 4: Tauros Herd and Pichu Bros
Other than that, I've not got much more for you. The next chapter will be me tying up more set ups for the final act, and I don't know how long that'll take to write. Thank you all for being patient with me over these long months, I realise that it has been a looong time. I really appreciate the support and hope this chapter is what you all want, but that's it for now. I look forward to reading all of your reviews.
I'll see you all in a bit, thank you for your patience, much love and peace – TWoS.