"I do not think I am going to like the next leg of our journey," Zygarde said, rolling their neck and yawning. "It is going to be cold. There is a cold mountain in the way."

"You've got that warm clothing from Sinnoh, though, right?" Ash asked.

"It is the principle of the thing." Zygarde sniffed.

"I guess that makes sense," Bonnie decided. "When it's cold you can snuggle into warm clothes and still feel cold! And when it's really hot you always feel it no matter what you do to try and stay cool, even if you're actually colder than you'd be on a normal day you still know it's hot."

Zygarde nodded. "Exactly. I may have cells all over the world including in some very cold places, but that does not mean that I enjoy it."

"We could always skip the mountain," Ash suggested.

Zygarde looked tempted, then shook their head.

"I will Endure it," they stated. "Though I hope it will not be cold enough to reduce me to needing to use Endure."

"We can still make sure we do it in the middle of the day, when it's not going to be as bad," Ash suggested. "And with Rayquaza's help, we can be sure there won't be a snowstorm, as well."

"That would be agreeable."

"Speaking of which, how far are we from the mountains?" Clemont asked. "I can see them, but that could mean it's a big mountain a long way away or a small mountain close up."

Ash checked Arc. "Let's see… oh, there's a Gourgeist Festival in the town a mile or so up the road."

He looked up. "What's one of those?"

"Don't ask me," Serena replied. "We're from Kalos, but there's a lot of Kalos. If it was about Rhyhorn racing I could tell you."

"I wonder if Geodude could do Rhyperior racing," Pikachu said, out loud. "You know. Load them into the Rhyperior arm cannons, open fire, and whoever hits the finish line first wins."

"We don't have a Gourgeist, do we?" Bonnie asked. "Is that a problem?"


It turned out that it wasn't a problem, no. The Gourgeist Festival was actually all about dressing up, with humans pretending to be Pokémon and Pokémon pretending to be other Pokémon, and after getting the full information from the local Nurse Joy the friends started making plans.

"Hmm," Pikachu said. "What about this?"

He made his tail bend a bit so it curled like a question mark, flattened his ears against his head, floated into the air, and giggled.

"I could do Mew?" he asked.

"That would be fun," Ash said. "But what about if you be a Ditto?"

"You mean… oh, actually that would work, yeah," Pikachu agreed.

He took on a slightly dopey expression, and began posing as first one Pokémon and then another.

"That's really impressive," Serena said. "What about you, Clemont? And your Pokémon? I don't need to ask Ash because I know what he can do, he could bring an entire team that can be in disguise without wearing anything."

"Well," Clemont began. "I was thinking of getting out the Relatively Artificial Rapid Interactive Tailoring Yuppie and setting it to 'cosplay', and then seeing what I end up as."

"I'm going to wear my Tyrunt pyjamas!" Bonnie declared. "And Dedenne could be a Pawmi or a Raichu!"

"It's going to be a difficult decision, but I'm sure I'll work it out," Dedenne declared. "With help from Bonnie for ideas, of course."

"And Hoopa will join in too!" Hoopa said, appearing through a Hyperspace Hole. "Hoopa is already ready, and Hoopa has also gone the extra mile of not merely being dressed like a Pokémon but being dressed like a specific Pokémon!"

They looked at Hoopa.

"Hoopa," Lokoko began, not unkindly. "You realize that there's not much that's very impressive about being a Pokémon that looks like the same Pokémon?"

"And Hoopa is not!" Hoopa replied, folding their arms. "Hoopa is dressed as a specific other Pokémon that is not Hoopaself."

"Did your process of dressing up essentially amount to dipping yourself in a pot of gold paint?" Pikachu asked.

"Yes," Hoopa answered.

"You're dressed as Gold, aren't you?"

"Yes."

"Since that Pokémon didn't even exist until two days ago, don't you think it might end up being a bit difficult for people to realize what you're trying to be?"

Hoopa unfolded their arms, so they could fold their arms again but more so. "Hoopa does not think that that is in the rules anywhere."

They pulled a ring off their horn, and flung it into the middle of the room, which prompted N to fall through.

"Ow," he said, shaking his head, and rising to all fours. "Why is Hoopa gold now?"

"Hoopa is not Hoopa!" Hoopa said. "Hoopa is actually Gold, and you should not be able to tell that Hoopa is Hoopa because this is what Gold looks like."

N considered that, at length, and while he was doing that Pikachu coughed.

"Have you not changed back yet?" he asked. "I'm fairly sure you're meant to be human?"

"I never seem to get around to it," N replied.

"Hoopa actually summoned you to ask about rules!" Hoopa resumed. "What is the rule about dressing up?"

"There's several," N answered, thinking to himself. "There's… I think Unova Dress Up Rule 14 might apply?"

"Unova Dress Up Rule 14," Arc said promptly. "My Bouffalant needs to stop it. I do not think that is either relevant or jurisdictional, given that we are in Kalos."

"It does show more of a sign than normal of being written by Alder," N admitted. "And if we're in Kalos then I actually don't know the rules. I didn't memorize all of them."

"In that case, want to join in a dress up event?" Ash asked.

"That would be nice," N agreed. "Hoopa, can you get me a portal back home so I can bring someone else through? I should ask Zorua, Pidove and Reshiram…"


"How do I look?" Ponyta asked.

"Meta," Serena replied. "That's probably the best word for it."

She stepped back, looking at Ponyta, then nodded. "Yes, the colour on your coat is looking about right, and the flames are working fine too."

"It does feel quite strange to be on fire," Ponyta said. "It's not as hot as I would have expected, all things considered. I'll have to make a note."

"Just let me know if it gets too uncomfortable," Braixen told her, before putting her wand away to improve the impression of being a Lucario. "I know it sounds weird, but making the bit of the spell that handles cooling slightly weaker than the rest means that it'll get uncomfortable before there's any risk of the rest of the spell breaking."

She smiled. "You've actually got one of the better costumes, since even speaking won't truly give you away, except for that Galarian accent. But I think I can match you there, at least with humans. Watch."

Braixen put her palms together. "If history fish wildly?"

There was a silence for a few seconds.

"That was weird," Pikachu said.

"Was that some kind of philosophical point?" Clemont asked.

He was having a bit of trouble balancing, since his outfit-making Gear had given him a Honedge costume and his arms were mostly pinned to his sides.

"Translation complete," the Translation Gear said, heedless of Clemont having added a mute slider the previous day. "Something Wise."

"Actually I was just saying Lucario," Braixen replied, switching back to her normal dialect and incidentally using the Braixen word for Lucario. "Did Lokoko actually translate it?"

"You did produce something that, with generosity, can be construed as a complete sentence," Lokoko replied.


"So, they dressed as each other, huh?" Zoroark asked, currently in the form of a Golurk. "Did they actually coordinate this, or…?"

"Not really, no," N replied. "That's just how they are."

"That's the Tao Pokémon for you," Grovyle agreed. "Unless they're in the same Pokéball, in which case they tend to be in a super position."

Reshiram and Zekrom continued their bickering overhead, which was actually very in character.

"I wonder if they give prizes for the best costume," the fauxlurk asked. "I think I've got a chance for a good score on both accuracy and ambition!"

He posed. "I can do anything a real Golurk can do!"

"Can you fly right through that building?" asked one of the Pidove on N's back.

"Zorua," N chided.

As he watched, though, Zoroark took off, did a loop with one fist out in front for a flight stance, and flew right through the tower without hitting it.

"Um," he began. "I think that's a violation of something, but I can't decide if it's topographical or the laws of physics."

The fauxlurk flew around in a circle, then touched down again next to him.

"Yeah, we're not sure what it is," he said, cancelling his Illusion for a moment to show how his colours were all unusual now. "It happened a bit after I evolved, it seems to be a bit like going Mega only not really but it means my Illusion can copy over some type traits too. It means I have a very good disguise."

"That seems to sort of go against the whole point of a Zoro illusion, though," Zorua replied. "If you're not able to ambush a Pokémon by not having the type chart combination they were expecting…"

"Yeah, until someone tries punching you and you go intangible," Zoroark replied. "It's hilarious."


"How exactly are you doing that?" Dedenne asked. "I'm aware in a general sense that it involves sound in some way, I'm just interested."

"Oh!" Noibat replied. "Well, there's two parts to it. The first is that I'm essentially weaving together sound into something that's got a consistent form, and then flying inside it."

He made the tendrils of his misty Frillish illusion wave back and forth. "It's not very opaque, because it's mostly just made out of dubstep with a bit of glitter in it, so I have to pick a Ghost type. But it's not bad, right?"

"It's actually better than I'd expect," Dedenne agreed. "But you said there were two parts to it, is that both of them?"

"No, that's only one," Noibat answered. "The other bit is that I'm encouraging myself! It's well known that you can use music to help a Pokémon train, or to encourage them, and as a specialist in manipulating sound then I can use that to make myself be better at manipulating sound, including to encourage myself."

"That sounds like a feedback loop," Dedenne said. "Is there any danger of a loud squealy noise?"

"Nope!" Noibat replied, then stopped and thought about that. "Not unless someone bumps into my sound cloak and disrupts it, then some of the dubstep might leak out… um, maybe don't do that?"

"I'll do my best not to," Dedenne replied.


"You know, Luxray, I'm sort of surprised to see you dressed up as Raikou," Chespin began.

"I'm interested in the admittedly forlorn hope that what the Pokémon I know actually do with their abilities and training makes sense," Luxray replied, picking up a breadstick and biting into it. "I'm not a complete killjoy."

"Fair point," Chespin conceded. "Now, can you help me get hold of another set of balloons? I could keep just being Pikachu, but I'd prefer being Flying Pikachu and I burst one too many balloons with my quills…"


"You know, I had a good time there!" Serena said, smiling. "People liked our costumes, we got to do magic, I got to do magic in costume as a Delphox, there was only that one slight problem when Aten tried to assassinate that dessert… it was a nice festival."

"It was not my fault," Aten complained indistinctly. "It challenged me to a battle to the death."

"I don't actually think the death in death by chocolate is literal," Ash told him. "It's figurative."

"It was still a challenge," the Ghost-type replied.

"Speaking of which, if it is a battle to the death, didn't you lose as soon as you started?" Pikachu asked. "You are, technically, dead."

Aten twitched.

"And how's that book working?" Serena added.

"Well, I tried a couple of messages, and it seems to work," Ponyta answered. "Thank you both."

"It's yet again our favourite principle of magic, sympathy," Braixen said. "Two identical notebooks with mirrors on the front so they reflect, link them together so whatever's written in one is written in the other… done."

Her tail flicked to the side. "I'm still not entirely sure why you and N decided to become pen pals, though. Not complaining, just surprised."

"He was interested in research notes," Ponyta replied. "And something about using a magic book to send messages via mirror to a prince seems… right?"


AN:


Team Plasma's organizational structure is complicated, but they probably have a rulebook somewhere.