Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon

The air was weighty, a thick palpable tension drowning out all sound in the atmosphere as though we had just stepped into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. A singular calm breeze contrary to the intense standoff drifted between Minnie's and Scyther's stare-off. I could even hear the lass's gulp echoing in the void; such was the deafening silence this mere bout between two heavy hitters had created.

I drew, "Minnie, Thunderbolt."

"Raiiiiiii," A shroud of golden lightning coated her body, pulling square chunk sizes of the very ground around her feet as though she was powering up, wrapping an aura around herself. A streak of bright yellow lightning pierced the skies, brewing a fierce storm before ferociously arrowing back down and plummeting over scyther with unforgiving force, "Chuuuuuuuu!"

"Scytherrrrr!" He screeched in agony, and the ground erupted beneath his floating feet, scorching the grass.

"Whoa," The lass breathed.

"Very good, Minnie. Next, increase your evasion. Double team." She strafed side to side with rapid speed, creating two near-image mirages of herself flickering in and out like a bad tv reception on both her sides. Double team, while nowhere near as disgustingly overpowered as the anime misrepresented it to be, still had its uses.

…Such as making it easier to evade mighty air strokes that looked like they wanted to rearrange the map. Scyther crossed a bladed, glowing arm over his shoulder, belligerently flinging it outward, and another powerful shockwave resembling Ichigo's Getsuga Tenshō blasted through Minnie's mirage and split the ledge in two.

The poor weedles and caterpies had a frightening brush with death, almost being carved by a pulverizing flying-type attack. They gawped, terrified, and scurried away for dear life.

My instincts were on point when I heard the girl's swoon because I turned in time to catch her just as her knees gave out, "I gotcha," I said, relishing the feel of my hand cupping the curve of her hip and the smell of her lovely perfume wafting into my nostrils, 'Ooh. She smells good.'

"…So strong," She droned, dazed.

"Tell me about it, but," I flicked the tip of my nose with my thumb, "So are we. Right, Minnie!"

"Chuuuuuu!" My unharmed raichu threw her arms up, confidence flowing.

"Right answer, sweetheart. Now, Thunderbolt, again!" I ordered, thrusting my arm forward emphatically.

"Raiiiiiiiii!~" Vibrant thick sparks of electricity encircled her body as though she was ascending into the level of a Super Saiyan 2, substantially merging and consuming her and becoming an aura of thunder, "Chuuuuuuu!" A beam of electricity skyrocketed from her, piecing the heavens again like it was making a special delivery on god's very doorstep and he immediately began cooking something good.

The wild scyther gawked up at the rumbling sky in fright before desperately trying to move out of the way of the incoming blast.

"Good luck with that, bro," I taunted.

Minnie's bolt of supreme thunder crashed down on scyther with all the force of god's fury, scorching the ground beneath him.

"Scyther!" He bellowed, in sheer unbelievable agony. The round of magical electricity only lasted approximately 2 seconds, but I was sure to him, being part-flying type and all, those 2 seconds probably felt like 2 hours. "Scy… ther," He panted in visible exhaustion.

"Still standing, huh?" I mused pensively, "You're still a tough S.O.B., ain't you?" He smirked, y'know, 'Prideful, too?'

"Scy," He tried lifting a bladed limp but froze instantly. I furrowed my brows in bemusement for a brief second until yellow sparks began flickering off of him, "Scyther?"

"Ah, nice! Landed that 5% paralysis chance!" I crowed, fist-pumping the air, "You're as good as mine now, buddy!" I rolled my bag off my shoulder, prying an empty poke ball from the front compartment just in time to see scyther close his eyes with a bubble forming from his nostrils, "Hm?"

"Zzzzzzzz." He snored.

I smacked my forehead, "He knows Rest. Seriously?" I shook my head in mild annoyance, throwing my ball toward him anyway, "Oh, well. Putting Pokemon to sleep does make it easier to catch them, after all." It rebounded off his green head and opened, disassembling him into a silhouette of crimson light it sealed up tight. The ball dropped to the ruined earth with a glass thud ringing.

"Booyah!" I may have celebrated too soon, but I quickly realized once the unstable ball began vibrating like a washing machine, "Oh, right." I locked up my breath, hearing my heartbeat pounding against my chest, 'C'mon!' I said to myself, trying to will it to completion, 'Just stay inside.'

"Rai," Minnie murmured.

The spherical orb halted and my heart stopped, though the button never flashed white.

An eruption of silvery-light burst upwards like a broken pipe spraying water, forcefully prying the ball open as scyther rematerialized, even waking up on the spot.

The tension leaked from my body in disappointed waves, "Ah, man!"

"Chu," Minnie sighed.

"Scyther!" A ray of brilliant crimson erupted around his feet, and a gale of purely visible air-pressure brought about his own power flew off his form.

"What, is it second phase time, bitch?" I quipped heatedly, still managing to issue strategic orders like a war sergeant running defense from the enemy's incoming onslaught, "Light screen, Minnie!" These eyes of mine narrowed in focus, intently anticipating Scyther's next move, 'If this is anything like Legends Arceus, then that aura stuff was probably signifying his enraged state, and if that's the case, his stats have definitely doubled.' Light screen was a security measure if nothing else.

"Rai!" She empathically lifted her arms up as though she were celebrating my boy Ronaldinho soloing the opposition and scoring on his ones. Three rectangular mirrors with purple tint slightly taller than Minnie herself materialized closely in front of her, camouflaging themselves from view.

They wouldn't outright negate any special attack unlike how the anime had foolishly depicted, but it would severely limit the attacking potency of scyther's moves.

Scyther's response was to power up further, forming four glowing orange swords around his head, "Scyther!"

I scowled, "Shit. Swords Dance." I grimly realized, "Use Double team!"

Two more Minnie mirages flickered into existence, replacing the one that scyther had dispersed earlier, "Rai!"

Foresight was a wonderful thing I would never take for granted again and you would see why in a minute.

He charged, a sickly acid-green glow shrouding his crossed blades that formed an x, and from them ferociously flew an absurd X-Scissor that hammered toward Minnie like any such obstacles didn't exist. Speed, power, and size; all remained the same as the blast torn through Minnie's sacrificial limb of an afterimage, continuing on behind her and exploding on the ledge and the two roads.

A massive X-shaped scar ended up being carved into the ground.

"Venonat!" Venonat shivered behind me.

"…What?" I gawked at his handiwork, bewildered, "Why didn't Minnie's Light screen have any effect…? Unless." It hit me like a pile of bricks, "Don't lie. X-Scissor's a fucking physical, isn't it?" The one thing Light screen wouldn't affect in any way, "Well, that sucks."

It felt like the girl in my arms had become a vibrator, shuddering so uncontrollably, "A-A-A-Ah! …W-What is a Pokemon as strong as this doing out here! It's really scary!"

"Your guess is as good as mine," I grumbled, though my irritation was overridden like an old software program being replaced by my competitive nature. "That being said," Minnie felt it, too, the desire to test our strength against a strong opponent, "We're gonna win!" Two adrenalized, identical smirks on each of our faces recharged our batteries and then some.


"Thunderbolt!" She delivered another parcel of enormous lightning on god's doorstep and the great one thundered it back down on scyther, further decimating the ground and bringing an ear-screeching cry of pain from him, "Double team again before he can recover, chop-chop!"

"Rai-rai!" Another pair of afterimages phased into existence like the virtual bodies of Sonic's friends in Sonic Frontier.

"Scyther!" A second or a third Moon-Fang Heaven Piercer-like sharp beam of air pressure was venomously released from his blade, cutting through Minnie's clone-like mirage and burrowing into the X-crevice carved into the ground, turning it into a starmie somewhat.

I bet Misty would love that.

I ran the Thunderbolt and Double team strat a further two times, successfully frying scyther's ass and protecting Minnie from his landscape-changing X-Scissor and Air Slash both times, vindicating my choice to keep Thunderbolt and dismiss Thunder when Minnie wanted to learn it. Thunder was hot garbage and always had been as far as I was concerned. Sure, it may've been more powerful than the former, but its abysmal seventy percent accuracy meant it was missing half the time anyway.

It certainly felt that way, anyway. I would miss a shot of Thunder, then land one in the games. It was incredibly aggravating.

Nah, not for me. I would sacrifice less power for a hundred percent accuracy any day.

"Scy… ther." I bet our opponent had wished I had chosen power over accuracy, given that he was a sitting duck each time Minnie electrocuted him. He tried initiating another recovery power nap, for all intents of the word, but got locked up again by another fortunate paralysis on our part. Sparks encircled him, restraining his every move like a strait jacket, "Scyther!"

"Not this time, bro!" I roared tauntingly, "Minnie, knock him down with Focus Blast."

"Raiiiiii." The luminosity of Minnie's power illuminated the horrified wonder in scyther's eyes, staring his defeat down; watching the incoming spherical missile closing him down like a Hadoken helplessly. I imagine from his perspective, it probably felt like the orb Minnie cannoned toward him was eclipsing his body, "Chuuuuuuu!"

It struck his stomach with a sickening thud, knocking the wind from his sails and detonating on impact. He flew a few feet back with a startled cry, landing unforgivingly on untouched grass.

"Alright!" I sat the lass down on her knees, plucking another poké ball from my trusty magical bag of ultra-convenience, "Welcome to the team."

An abrupt feeling of dread crept into my nerves, feeling oddly familiar in its annoyance.

"You there!" Sandaled feet bravely approached the battlefield with presence and poise, and the unease and exasperation I felt only grew stronger. "Are you the one who happens to go by the name Ace Freedom? If you do identify as Ace Freedom, then I formally request a duel with thee immediately."

Brave of the weeb to demand a fight from someone in the midst of catching a powerful, rare spawn, but I shouldn't have expected anything less. He pulled the same bullshit on Ash when he was about to catch a weedle and even had the audacity to criticize Ash's failure when he clearly distracted him. I recognized his unmistakable voice and archaic dialect from the very first word that left his lips. Credit to the writing team for making him memorable, even in a negative way.

"I'm busy, bro," I told him and apparently, that was enough of an answer.

"So, you are Ace Freedom!" I legit cringed. This guy's whole persona was nauseating. He was still sticking to that dorky samurai cosplay shit he rolled with in canon, even going as far as to try and sell an 'honorable' warrior act. What a nerd. "Very well, then. We shall duel, right now. Send your best warrior and mine shall overcome them in a matter of seconds!"

"Bro, did ya not hear what I said?" I scowled darkly, enlarging my ball, "I'm busy. Get in line and wait your turn. Man will be happy to put you in the grinder right after." I felt the cold tip of steel landing on my shoulder, intent clear. My expression turned outright murderous. That sword was actually real? Fucking psycho, "I'm going to ask you one time." I pronounced very slowly, disguising my lethal intent with deceptive calm, "What do you think you're doing?"

He humphed, y'know? This little shit.

"As I've been informing thee since seeking thee out at last, I've been requesting a duel." He sounded like one of those pseudo-intellectuals on the internet that thought they were smart because they spoke fluently and used fancy words. He couldn't be more pretentious if he tried, "But it appears thee comes from an uncivilized background if thy foul language and crude manner of speaking is anything to go by."

I stand corrected.

I turned, viciously driving my fist into his eye and slamming him down hard, knocking his weeb samurai headgear off of his shaved head. He even seriously shaved off his hair just to play into the role. Sheesh. How sad could one motherfucker get?

"Ouch!" He whined, shielding his stricken right eye from his backside. I genuinely wanted to barf just looking at him. He was rocking the full Sengoku-era armored set just as he did in the anime. His whole shtick had aged exactly like milk. I probably found him amusing at one stage and… Wait, did I ever actually find him entertaining? I couldn't remember in truth. I hadn't seen the OG series in years, dating back to my past life.

Still, I couldn't feel any lingering nostalgia looking at him now; although considering he was just supposed to be some one-off filler character it went without saying I was never going to build-up any attachment to him, even during Pokemon mania. That wasn't even mentioning how outright antagonistic he was to Ash, too, and sure, they were cool with one another by the end of the episode, but that still didn't give him the right to be a dick.

I had half a mind to tump him up again.

"Why'd you hit me for!?" He demanded. I answered by driving my fist into the ground between his legs in calm aggression carrying a palpable threat of violence. He squealed, scooting several feet back from my buried limp wedged into the damaged hole of its own making, an uneasy, nervous laugh escaping him, "Hahaha. I see you're a good fellow, after all."

My head turned, a malevolent dim sheen glistening over my eyes, "I won't tell you again. Wait. Your. Turn." He nodded rapidly, and my irritation began to wash out of me with a breath, "Good. Say less." A tap on my leg left some residue annoyance in, though. "What?!" I snapped, immediately feeling remorseful when it turned out to be the lass, "Oh, sorry, gyal." I caressed the side of my neck, laughing sheepishly, "S'up?"

She hesitated, slowly giving me a smile back, "Um, Ace?" I nodded blankly, "The scyther's flying away."

"…What?" I hastily turned back to our previously downed adversary, who was indeed doing what she said he was doing and using the window of opportunity to bounce. "Hey, where the fuck're you going, pussy?" Apparently, he had swallowed his pride, realized he wasn't going to triumph against my cheese tactics, and chose to bail when he saw the chance to. Well, I wasn't letting him, "You're not going anywhere!"

In hindsight, maybe I shouldn't have shouted my intentions like that since I just ended up giving him ample warning of the incoming orb I ferociously hurled toward him like a missile. He turned and effortlessly reflected it back to me with a swipe of his bladed arm, continuing to drift further and further away.

"What?" I gaped, catching the strike on instinct, 'He still had enough strength to bat away a poké ball?! What a chad.' And I couldn't have him. "Noooo!" I drawled in despair, feeling hapless as I watched the wild scyther become a twinkle in the sky, reminiscent of Team Rocket blasting off. "Goddamnit!"


"Rai," Minnie murmured, patting my leg with fallen ears of despondency. I laid a comforting hand upon her head, gentle eyes gazing at her with warm appreciation. It wasn't any fault of hers that we had lost such a catch; it was that douchebag's.

"Um." Speaking of that douche.

My affection gaze frosted over like an angry, darkened blizzard, "Got anything to say for yourself?" I looked over my shoulder, at least finding him in the appropriate apologetic position of head and hands both pressed into the flat earth in front of his knees. Humph. He wasn't that humble after causing Ash to miss out on a weedle, but then again, Ash never decked him out either.

"I offer my sincerest apologies," He said genuinely, "I see now catching Pokémon means a considerable deal to thee. Had I not gotten in thy way, thy would have succeeded in capturing that foul beast." He pressed his head harder into the ground, "Please accept my most humble apology, sir!"

I appraised the sincerity of his apology with cool indifference and turned away, "Whatever," Giving a virtual shrug, I continued, "I'll find another one eventually. Now, about that match you wanted. If I'm game if you are. Need to blow off a bit of steam anyway."

"If thee would be so kind as to accommodate this lowly, humble samurai."

"Sweet. Beating the bullshit out of you sounds downright therapeutic at this point. Send out your best Pokémon at once." I pulled up my phone, benching Thunderbolt in favor of another.

A pause.

"As you wish."

The sound effect of Pokémon being released from their shells whistled throughout the distant air.



I didn't even turn around, "Minnie, one-shot them with Discharge please."


And that was all she wrote.


Well, at least I managed to salvage something out of this colossal failure; smooching the hot babe I would've initially battled had scyther chasing that shiny venonat not derailed that course of action. She wanted the shiny and since I had no use for a venonat on my party, I did what any self-respecting preteen kid with a healthy libido would and bargained it for a kiss from a sexy lass like her, just because I was a shitbag like that. Yeah, you remember that thing I mentioned about not ogling her because she was like Orihime; innocent and all that? Yeah... I take it all back.

She was sexy, 18, and in college.

I would be insane NOT stealing a kiss from her, really.

Thus, here we were, erotically clashing lips under the darkening woods; my hand running up and down her smooth leg curled against my hip and my other one slithering along her curvy back like it was on a slide, landing on her bubbly rear end. I breathed deeply into her like an inhaler, savoring the bouncy feel of her scrumptious ass in my five fingers, jiggling and smacking it audibly. She gasped, a surprised noise echoing down my throat.

Our lips stayed connected, continuing our dance of tongues until the need for air became too great and we parted, exhaling mightily.

"…Oh, wow." She breathed, face flushed red beneath mine. She laid a dainty hand upon my cheek, probably to confirm if mine was as hot as hers. It wasn't. After stealing Jessie's first kiss (apparently), the hottest girl in the world, I felt like nothing could faze me. "You really don't hold back, do you?"

"Nope!~" I sassed, raising her up to her full height after leaning her down so I could initiate a passionate make-out session. She, of course, towered over me. I hated being twelve. "I could show you all the ways I 'don't hold back' if you're interested, Orihime?" She wasn't named after a princess; I was just ironically being a weeb after criticizing Samurai.

God, I was such a hypocrite.

"Hmmmmmmm!" She pressed an index finger into her cheek, drawling out long hums just for dramatic effect. It worked as intended on me, keeping me on the edge of my seat. Then, she cheerfully answered, "Nope!~ No thank youuuuu!~" Zealously crushing my hopes.

My petrified face fell, "What?! Why?"

She wore an expression of sympathy, "No offense." Aw, shit. When someone said "no offense" that usually meant they were about to say something you could take offense to. I was pre-emptively dreading her honest opinion, "…You're like, um, the worst person I've ever met!~"

The worst person?!

"Aw, c'mon!" I flung my arms up in comical frustration and fisted my hips after.

Her look of consideration increased, but honestly, after hearing her truthful take on me, it felt backhanded, "Sorry."

"Meh." I shrugged. "Guess I kinda deserved it." I did bribe a kiss off her, after all, and even took liberties groping her rear.

She held back for my sake and instead asked, "Can I take the shiny now?"

"Yeah, sure." I turned to the blue-eyed venonat waiting by Minnie who didn't seem best pleased by my actions, "Venonat." I murmured and kneeled by its side. It peered up at me. "This is your new trainer. She'll take good care of you, making sure you never run out of food and keeping you safe from jerks like that scyther who attacked you."

"Venonat?" It softly replied with a curious tone.

I nodded, "You'll be happy with her," I stroked its fuzzy head, giving it my best award-winning smile, "I promise."

"Venonat." It said brightly.

A nod, "Go on." I whispered, easing it forward to the waiting lass. Venonat prodded forward, glancing back at me as if looking for moral support. Another nod lent it the strength to push forward, toward its new trainer who squatted slightly to greet it.

"Hi ya, venonat!" The glow of a warm spring day surrounded her, "I'm Jasmine! It's nice to meet you! Let's be friends!"

"Venonat!" Venonat gave her its blessing and the lass whose name I finally realized was Jasmine removed a shuriken poké ball from her glorious bosom and returned it to full size, gently petting venonat's head with it. The ball parted and the dematerialized shiny swirled neatly inside. It didn't even shake in her hand before the button instantly flashed white to signal capture.

"Thank you, Ace." She bowed gracefully.

"No worries, Jazz." I turned to continue on my way, "Take care and look after your new shiny."

"I will!"

We ambled on along the path we were taking before stopping, though the further away we got from the lass, the more apparent Minnie's displeasure became until she was outright pouting grumpily, inflating a cheek. "Rai."

"S'up, Minn?"


"C'mon! Don't tell me you're mad at me for what I did back there. Man has his needs, y'know!"

She adamantly shook her head, glaring, "Rai-Rai!"

I scratched my cheek lightly, "You're not mad at me?" She shook her head once more. "So, then…" My lips parted, bidding farewell to an exhale of realization, "Ah, I see. You're mad at that girl for smack-talking me, huh?"

She beamed, breaking out into a happy dance on the spot, "Raichu!" Although remembering she was supposed to be angry halted her celebrations, renewing her adorable scowl, "Raiiiii."

I chuckled, crouching down and scooping Minnie up who blinked in surprise, "Thanks, Minnie." I mumbled gratefully, kissing her head, "I can always count on you to back me even at my worst."

"Rai." She cooed, stretching her arms up and wrapping them around my neck.

"Let's go set up camp now. I'm sure you've worked up an appetite after a workout like that, huh?"


Winning in Another Life









The Joys of Camping

I adored Laid-Back Camp and really, any series in general that encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and embark on adventures outdoors. There was just something magical in its mundanity about camping outdoors in the wild, surrounded by an abundance of nature and clean air that smelt natural and fresh. Crickets and birds, or what amounted to such other-world animals whistled throughout the area at a volume neither too quiet nor too loud, creating a perfect harmony of steady sounds that helped you to relax. It practically implored you, too.

The best part was, my discovery of Viridian Forest's outdoor toilet cubicles and shower enclosures, utterly saving me from the potential horror of pooping on a tree or bathing in the lake like a caveman. I screamed when I saw a cubicle on the app map on my phone and basically creamed myself when I found a shower enclosure nearby, too. As if camping in the woods couldn't get any cozier, it went and outdid itself.

I, of course, set up camp right by the modern everyday conveniences of life; setting out a folded table resembling a tablet from the comfort of my backpack. These bags truly were god's gift from above, shrinking everything down to penny sizes for ultra-favorable travel purposes like a discount capsule from Dragonball.

It was no wonder Brock could fit all that stuff ranging from cooking and cleaning materials he carried in his bag in canon.

I patched poor Jerry up first before getting started on dinner using a portable double hot plate occasionally powered by Minnie's electricity whatever the batteries needed juicing and an old pink rice cooker of Mama's. I also had a kettle laid out on the table to brew up some tea.

"Nothing like cooking in the great outdoors, huh?" I smiled, turning over three of the tofu steaks I bought before setting out on my real-life Pokémon journey. 'All them years training,' A wistful sheen partly shone over my eyes, 'It all led up to this.' Standing by Mama's side as she showed me the fundamentals of cooking step by step. I wasn't proud to admit that I failed more than a few times, even making Minnie barf when she taste-tested for me.

Cooking was never my forte in my original life. The only things I could say I could confidently whip up were Jamaican chicken soup, ackee and salt fish, sardine and noodles, and spaghetti Bolognese. Everything else I tried my hand at usually ended in disaster. Hell, even the four meals I had quote-unquote perfected were polished in my own personal touches, so I couldn't truthfully say they were for everyone.

My little brother did always like my sardines and noodles, though, so there was that.

Learning how to cook required me to dedicate half of my second adolescence to mastering the basics, but I could proudly say it was most certainly worth it; oh, good god it was.

I couldn't really rely on winging it like Ash. Netting myself a goldmine of a travel companion like Brock could only be described as the devil's luck and pure plot armor.

I doubted I would be that lucky, especially considering I used much of my fortune encountering two shinies and kissing two older women.

Any more luck would surely be unreasonable.

I had to go with the mindset of "fending for yourself" here.

I poured in some veggies in between our tofu steaks, turning the heat on low and sauntering over to my bandaged sandshrew resting on his stomach on a spare futon in front of our triangular dark-green tent. It didn't feel right allowing him to nap on his previous unsealed wound, but he insisted he felt the most comfortable napping on his stomach. I gave him a potion so he should've been healed up most of the way, to be fair.

"How're you feeling, buddy?" I murmured, crouching beside him.

"Sand," He rose a digit on a single paw.

"That's good," I continued softly. A single hand draped itself across his lime-green bricked skin. "Sorry you had to go through something like that. I underestimated that guy because he was a bug-flying type and didn't take his insane level into account." Minnie getting hurt by wild Pokémon when she was a pichu gave me a better appreciation for the anime's 'fixation' with Tackle, even using it on Pokémon like Jessie's Ekans/Abrok that couldn't learn it. Seeing Pokemon maimed and bloodied wasn't a pretty sight for young eyes.

Tackle was basically their go-to way out of avoiding that grim possibility, and couldn't knock it considering the Pokémon anime was, and possibly always would be, a kid's show.

"Shrew," He wiggled his hand in a disagreeing motion.

I smiled warmly, "Thanks for that." The sizzling sounds of our frying meal filled the nightly air, illuminated around our campsite by a lantern and a fire I made first above all else, enveloping Jerry and Minnie in its warmth. "Don't worry, you're gonna get so much stronger guys like that won't be able to even faze you. Hell, so strong in fact even a blastoise won't be able to take you down!"

He pushed himself up, gazing at me and my confident smile hiding the pain of our defeat with interest, "Sandshrew?"

"Raichu!" Minnie hopped off her camp chair, backing me up with an animated expression, "Rai-Rai!" She flexed her arms, indicating her own growth under my watchful eye. "Raichu, raichu!" If I could become this strong, driving that jerk that hurt you away, then you can be strong, too; I was positive she was saying something to that effect.

"Sand?" He cocked his head inquiry.

"Rai," She nodded with full assurance, patting him on the shoulder.

"Sand," He smiled with relief, laying back down.

I grinned, stroking Minnie's head. She was going to be the glue that held this team together, I just knew it.

I returned to the stove, nearly jumping out of my skin when a loud grumble thundered through the woods, "…The fuck was that?" I exhaled, calming down my suddenly accelerated heart rate. The groaning echo had Minnie on edge, ready to go on the defensive at a moment's notice until the bushes parted, revealing a sheepish Ash and Pikachu. "Ah, it's just you guys."

"Got room for two more?"

"Pika, pika."

I stared blankly at the two caressing their crying stomachs with some shame at least before cracking a wry smile, "Shoulda figured." I laughed, ushering them over with a motion of my hand. "Of course there is. Pull up a couple of chairs."


Pika pi!"

They crowed, galloping up to the picnic table. It was fortunate the picnic set I bought came with four stools, similar to Scarlet/Violet's picnic mechanic. Pikachu leaped up onto my shoulder, gratefully nuzzling my cheek with his red pouch and I chuckled heartily, "Chaaaaa."

"Thanks, Ace," Ash said with full appreciation, "We owe you one."

"No worries," I assured, rustling Pikachu's fur hair and pulling out a second frying pan along with two more packs of frozen tofu, "I shoulda asked if you had any food before shooting off, still."

"Yeah," Ash awkwardly rubbed the side of his neck, "I totally forgot I didn't have any food on me when we left Viridian City."

"I get ya." Jerry's clean sweep of Pikachu and Pidgey likely contributed to Ash forgetting to run to the store and pick up a whole heap of rations and Pokémon food to live off for the four-day trip through Viridian's forestry maze. "Just chill for a sec. Dinner'll be ready in a bit." I propped the pan on the second stove, drizzling a generous amount of oil on it and turning the heat up.

"Got it!" He grinned as Pikachu hopped off my shoulder and ran off to greet Minnie and Jerry.



Ash goggled, a drip of drool pooling from his mouth at the three succulent pieces of juicy substitute well-done meat steaks surrounded by asparagus, carrots, onions, and other such veggies. I wasn't sure if Jerry liked his steak well done or not, but tough, he was getting it browned anyway.

I chuckled fondly at Ash's Goku-like affection for all things edible in the world, "How would you like your steak, bro?"

"Medium rare!" He answered brightly without missing a beat.

"Coming up!" I announced like an S-class chef at a five-star restaurant, "I'm assuming Pikachu would like the same?"

"Um." He contemplated, "Hang on. Lemme check." He shifted on his stool, turning his gaze to his starter, "Pikachu, how would you like your steak, buddy?"

"Pika, pika!" He cried out in alarm.

"Hey, what's wrong?" He queried. Pikachu gestured to Jerry's bandages, causing Ash's eyes to dilate, "Hey, what happened to Jerry!?" He stood.

"He got hurt pretty bad earlier on by some chad scyther," I answered, pinching two wrappers apart and dropping the contents on the heated oil below the second pan. The oil sizzled angrily, erupting briefly in the air like Blaze's hazardous Gym. "I poured a bit of potion on his wound; he'll be alright after a good night's rest."

"Oh, I see." He settled back down. "That's a relief. Still, that must be one tough Pokémon if he could hurt Jerry like that." He scrunched his face up contemplatively, whipping out his dex, "Scyther, huh?"

"The sharp scythes on its forearms become increasingly sharp by cutting through hard objects."

"Tell me about it," I remarked, pulling out another onion and peppers to chop up, "He absolutely destroyed Jerry in one-hit."

"One-hit!" He gaped.

I chopped off the sides of the onion and peeled it within seconds. I began cutting it up instantly, "That's what I said." I calmly clarified, squinting my watering eyes from the onions I started slicing, 'Fucking onions, man.'

He continued to stare openly at me as if trying to discern any playful lies, eventually conceding with a shiver, "Geez. I'm glad I didn't run into that guy," He admitted, lightly scrubbing his cheek with his index finger, "He must've been strong if he beat Jerry in one-hit."

"Yup," I said, blinking and lifting my sunglasses to rub the tears from them.

"So, what happened in the end?" An eager smirk curled his lips, "You caught it, right?"

I snorted, "I wish." I turned over his and Pikachu's steaks, turning off ours, "Some dickhead detracted me right when I was about to catch him after Minnie owned his ass, then he dipped when my back was turned."

Ash's face fell, "No way."

"It is what it is," I lifted my bag.

"Well, that sucks." He commented, swinging his arms behind his head. Optimism flowed back into him as easy as breathing, "Oh, well. I'm sure you'll catch one eventually, Ace."

"Meh, well; I know where to find them," I laughed, drawing one from him too. I took out several flavors of Pokémon food, laying them out before him, "Here. Use any of these to feed your other Pokémon."

"Oh, thanks," He said, navigating through his dex app and mumbling to himself, "Now, let's see.-"

"Need any bowls?" I inquired, taking out one for my pidgeotto.

He looked up and smiled, "Nah, I'm good. My mom packed six for me before I left Pallet."

"Sweet." I picked up a pack of bitter-flavored food, pinched it open, and poured the contents inside.

When Ash was finished looking up what types of food his Pokemon enjoyed eating from the convenience of his device, he curiously selected three packets; one mild and two sweet seasoned, "C'mon out, everyone!" He called, hurling a trio of poke balls from his waistbelt up in the air, materializing into the shapes of Pidgey, Caterpie, and… Weedle?

"A weedle, huh?" I cocked my head, setting Zoey's bowl down.

Ash held his head high with glowing pride, "Yeah! I caught him just after you left." He turned an affectionate gaze to the needle-headed creature, "Isn't that right, Weedle?"


'Interesting. I take it he didn't run into samurai boy, then.' Probably because I was here and the other Pallet Town residents, namely Gary, that defeated him told him about me and not Ash, leaving Ash free to catch the bug Pokemon to his heart's content. "Nice. Good going."

He rubbed the underside of his nostrils, "Thanks."

I released my pidgeotto from her cage, "Dinner time, Zoey."

"Geotto," She fluttered her wings, awarding me a delighted smile before digging into her meal.


Every muscle in our weary bones from the day's events visibly untensed, inhaling the relaxing air carrying away the aroma of our delectable meal.

"That hit the spot," Ash remarked, leaning back slightly on his stool and massaging his satisfied stomach, "Thanks a bunch, Ace."

"Pika pi!" Pikachu sung appreciatively, cuddling a bottle of ketchup I handed him; contrary to Minnie who loved chili sauce and anything spicy like me.

"You're welcome," I smiled, turning my warmth to Jerry sitting on my lap, "What about you, Jerry? Did you like the food?" I fed him since he wasn't used or adapt to using cutlery just yet like Minnie and Pikachu.

He gave a nod of affirmation before a wide yawn pried his mouth apart, "…Sand."

"Sleepy, huh?" My grin softened. He nodded once more. "You can go lay down. I'll come join ya after cleaning up."

One last nod preceded him sliding off my knee and ambling over to his futon.

"I guess eating makes him sleepy, huh?" Ash declared with warm amusement.

I tittered, "Seems like it." I folded a leg horizontally over the other, "So, how's Iron Tail and Steel Wing coming along?"

"Pretty good," He assured, entwining his fingers and swinging them behind his neck; a confident motion if there ever was one. "Pikachu and Pidgey almost have it down now. They just need to learn how to control them and they'll be good to go to take on Brock!" A smirk took shape across his face as he gazed down at Pikachu sitting next to him, "Right, Pikachu?"

"Pika-Pika!" He beamed.

I closed my eyes, smiling in relief, "Good shit."

"Oh, yeah!" I quickly blinked my eyes open at Ash's tone of recognition. "I was looking up what other attacks Pikachu could learn on the Pokémon guide on the internet and I found out he can learn Brick Break."

"Pikachu can learn Brick Break?" I blinked owlishly.

"Yeah!" He confirmed excitedly, "Didn't you know, Ace?"

"Eh. Mighta slipped my mind." I briefly recalled being able to teach your Pikachu starter such attacks by TMs if I wasn't mistaken on Let's Go Pikachu, but that was so long ago, the details were fuzzy in my mind. What did I look like here? A Pokémon encyclopedia page. My mind discarded most of everything and retained only the essentials, like finding gardevoir and lurantis to… no-no-no-no-no-no! Repress, repress, repress!

"Guess there's things even you don't know, huh?" My childhood friend quipped, grinning cheekily.

"Guess there isn't," I laughed vacantly, dropping my leg from my other knee and abruptly standing, "Alrighty, then. Time to clean up. Got a long day ahead of us, after all. We should continue traveling together, at least until we reach Pewter City. Bruddas can stock up on supplies there, still."

He stood, too, grabbing his plate and Pikachu's and laying them on top of the frying pan used to cook up their steaks, "Lemme help. It's the least I could do for letting us stay with you until we reach Pewter City, then."

I smiled with gratitude.

"Won't turn down the help. Let's go."

Ace's Party


Species: Raichu - Gender: Female - Level: 56 - Ability: Lightning Rod - Nature: Adamant - Moveset: Thunderbolt - Double Team - Light Screen - Focus Blast


Species: Sandshrew - Gender: Male - Level: 18 - Ability: Sand Rush - Nature: Bashful - Moveset: Rollout - Defence Curl - Bulldoze - Iron Tail


Species: Pidgeotto - Gender: Female - Level: 18 - Ability: Tangled Feet - Nature: Docile - Moveset: Gust - Quick attack - Whirlwind - Sand attack

Ash's Party


Species: Pikachu - Gender: Male - Level: 29 - Ability: Static - Nature: Hasty - Moveset: Brick Break - Thunderbolt - Iron Tail - Quick attack


Species: Pidgey - Gender: Female - Level: 16 - Ability: Keen Eye - Nature: Serious - Moveset: Sand attack - Gust - Quick attack - Steel Wing


Species: Caterpie - Gender: Male - Level: 8 - Ability: Shield Dust - Nature: Jolly - Moveset: String Shot - Tackle


Species: Weedle - Gender: Male - Level: 8 - Ability: Run Away - Nature: Timid - Moveset: Poison Sting - String Shot

And we'll end things there. Sadly, no scyther this time. This chapter was basically made to establish one very important fact; and that is, Ace - or, me - isn't - surprise-surprise - perfect. I know, right? Shock horror. I'm just such a fine specimen of a man; the perfect paragon of one really. Haha. Nah, I'm just playing, but yeah, it was important to establish that Ace is flawed; that he's not just the author-inserted god that knows everything and gets everything he wants. He'll make mistakes like not realizing X-Scissor is a goddamned physical move, not a special, thus Light screen wouldn't affect its potency. He'll get called out for being a horny degenerate asshole and not everyone will like him for it. But hey, even if no one likes him he still has his Minnie Mouse and she'll always brace him.

In other news, I really loved Scarlet and Violet in spite of its... many shortcomings. Hell, I enjoyed Scarlet so much I went out and picked up the other version Violet just to get more of it. Exploring Paldea has really given me the Pokemon adventure I've always wanted. It's just so much fun.