(Announcer) "With another loss in another tournament under his belt, Ash and his friends Brock and Pikachu, have moved on to bigger things than the Hoenn League. Like... this mountain for example."
"You mean we have to climb this thing to get to the nearest town?" Ash asked Brock, hoping desperately for some other way to get to another town. Pikachu, perched on his shoulder, muttered "Chu... Pika chu!" which seemed to be something to the same effect that Ash was saying.
The mountain in front of them was huge, a giant compared to anything else they'd ever seen - and the trio had seen more mountains than an average person would see in a lifetime. Rocky and muddy, the flat peak was just above tree line.
"Well, that's what the map says... unless I'm holding it upside down. No, but then..." Brock trailed off, looking pretty frustrated with the map in his hands.
"The only thing scarier than stampeding Mightyena... Brock with a map," Ash told Pikachu, who nodded in agreement.
"No! Geodude! Wait up! Don't leave me here! Come back!" a voice yelled from somewhere down the path, attracting Ash and Brock's attention.
"Forget the mountain for now," Ash said, beginning to jog down the path, "I think someone's in trouble!" He grabbed a Pokeball off his belt, "Tailow! Go find whoever's yelling and make sure they're on the path so we can find them." A red beam of light appeared and then Tailow was there, listening to his instructions.
Tailow flew off toward the sound as Ash and Brock ran as quickly as they could down the gravel road. About a quarter mile down, they found a seven-year-old blonde boy yelling at the woods. Tailow was perched on his shoulder and once it saw Ash, it retreated to its Pokeball.
"Are you okay?" Ash called, even though he was still at least five yards away.
The boy looked up, noticing Ash and Brock, and replied in a holler, "My Geodude ran away! I think he's heading for Eclipse Town at the top of Lunar Mountain!" Ash and Brock reach the boy and he demanded, "You guys have to help me get him back! My mom is gonna kill me if she thinks I lost him or something!"
"Okay, okay, we'll help you, don't worry," Ash replied, "I'm a trainer too! I'm Ash Ketchum! I bet you've heard of me, right?"
The boy blinked in confusion and easily replied, "Nope, never. Besides, that's a weird name. I'm Andy." Ash twitched at the comment and Pikachu jumped off his shoulder and scampered around Brock's legs so someone would be in between him and his trainer. Brock just ignored Ash though.
"I'm Brock," he said, "It's nice to meet you. Where do you live around here? The closest town is at the top of the mountain, right?"
"Yeah, but my family lives in a cottage my dad built! It's really awesome!" he said, "There aren't many other kids around but I've got Rocky! He's my best friend!" He suddenly looked sad. "But now Rocky ran away and I have to get to the top of the mountain to rescue him."
"Alright then!" Ash said, pumping his fist into the air, "I'll show you how awesome of a trainer I am by going up there with you and getting back your best friend! Besides, we have to get up there too and you can show us the way, right?"
"Sure!" Andy said, light dancing through his eyes, "This is so cool! The not-so-famous Ash Ketchum is helping me!"
"Just stick with Ash, alright?" Ash told him before pointing up the mountain, "Eclipse Town, here we come!"
The boys started down the gravel road leading to the mountain Andy had called Lunar Mountain. He said that the reason it was called that was because once a year, the moon shone down on one part of the town at exactly midnight and a Pokemon egg appeared. Everyone in town believes that if the Pokemon inside the egg is allowed to be born, a miracle will happen. But the eggs have never survived that long before dying. The entire town on top of the mountain had amazing history too.
By the time Andy finished telling the first of his stories about Lunar Mountain and Eclipse Town, they had reach a fork in the path, right in front of the mountain.
"Which way to go?" Ash asked, glancing over at Andy.
"The left path!" Andy replied, nodding.
Brock glanced around though and noticed something, "There's a sign over there. Shouldn't we check it?"
Andy shook his head, "It's just a notice about avoiding rampaging Houndour. Don't worry about it. I don't even think Houndour live on this mountain in the first place. It's just a folk tale." Brock and Ash exchanged wary glances anyway and Pikachu shuddered and climbed back up to Ash's shoulder.
From there, a thick jungle of trees stopped the gravel road and this trek upward began. The only chattering that happened was when Andy attempted to tell them which way to go, even though at least three times, his directions led them to a mudslide where they were forced back and turned out muddy. Only halfway up the mountain, Ash began to realize there was so much mud on his jeans that he could feel it sinking through the material and against his skin. Pausing, Ash took off his hat and tucked it away so that it would be safe.
At last, they reached a small rocky outcropping where they could rest. Andy looked perfectly fine if you ignored the mud on him, but Brock, Ash and Pikachu could not have looked more disgruntled.
"Are you sure this was a good idea, Ash?" Brock muttered, glancing over at Andy who was looking around to see where he should lead them next, "Rampaging Houndour? Mudslides?"
"We can't stop now..." Ash moaned, dropping to the ground and staring at his sore feet. He didn't even have the energy to take his shoes off, "We'll have to go back down again if we do..."
A growling sound interrupted the whispered conversation and all three boys and Pikachu glanced to where it had come from. On the rocks just below them, a pack of Houndour looked awfully angry.
"Those don't look like folk tales to me!" Ash yelled and Brock grabbed a Pokeball from his belt, "Zubat! Use your Supersonic on these guys!" Zubat appeared and opened his mouth, letting out sound waves. The Houndour pack cried out in pain, attempting vainly to cover their ears.
"That should buy us some time," the older boy said, "Let's go!"
"It's this way!"
Both of the boys gestured to their Pokemon. Zubat followed after Brock and Pikachu quickly climbed to Ash's shoulder.
"If you see the Houndour chasing us, use your Thunderbolt, okay Pikachu?" Ash told his friend and was answered with a quick nod. He then followed after Brock, Zubat and Andy, climbing as fast as he could.
"Pika... CHUUUU!" Ash heard and felt a slight sting on his shoulder as Pikachu attack but the electric mouse still held tight.
There were three more of these attacks and then, panting, Pikachu stopped. Risking the time it took to pause and look back, Ash was relieved to see that the Houndour were no longer following after them, even though they were howling angrily at the three boys and the two Pokemon.
Reaching yet another outcropping, the boys stopped for a moment so that Brock could return Zubat to its Pokeball and so Andy could check that they were going in the right direction. When Ash looked down he was pleased to see they had climbed so far, even if it was a pack of Houndour that had been their incentive to climb so hard. They were past the tree line and it appeared to be a short climb to the top.
"Folk tales?" Ash said glaring at Andy.
The little kid grinned and didn't replied as he got a firm grip in the rocks and began to climb again.
In just fifteen minutes, they finally reached the top and Andy helped the other two over the side of the mountain onto the large flat top where just a few building were on the rock.
"This is a whole town? Eclipse Town? The one you said had such awesome legends about it?" Ash asked.
"Most of the town is built underground, in the rock," Andy explained exasperatedly, "They cut out a bunch of rooms below ground and eventually it became an entire town cut into the rock. There are only four building up here. The first floor of the Pokemon Center, two above-ground entrances to the actual town and-" The blonde boy never got a chance to say what the last one was because he was cut off by a voice much louder.
"Andy!" a girl's voice called and Ash and Brock were shoved out of the way by a brunette even shorter than Ash. She crouched down and began to reprimand the boy loudly about letting his Geodude run off all the time.
"Aw... But Carla, I didn't mean to let Rocky out again! It was an accident," Andy sighed, glancing up at Ash and Brock for help.
They, however, stared at him. "You mean... this always happens?" Ash asked.
"Of course," Andy replied, as if they should have known it in the first place, "Once a month, Rocky runs up Lunar Mountain to Eclipse Town. I always have to come up the mountain to get him back, but I don't mind because I get to see lots of awesome Pokemon and, sometimes, really nice people help me, like you guys!"
The girl didn't bother to look up at who Andy was talking to before she replied, "Why couldn't you have just taken the cable car this time? Your parents are going to start thinking I make you roll around in mud before I send you home." She sighed, shaking her head softly.
"There's a cable car?" Brock asked reluctantly, not really wanting to know the answer. On the ground next to Ash, a soot-covered Pikachu began to spark with a small "Pika..." in a whining tone.
For the first time, the girl stood up and glared up into the face of Ash and then Brock. "Yeah! The Lunar Cable Car Company runs the car up and down the mountain every half-hour. It's much faster than climbing the mountain, and in most ways safer." Surveying the dirt covering both boys, she added, "And a lot cleaner. Everyone in a fifty mile radius of the mountain knows about it. The building is hidden by a bunch of thick trees, but there's a sign that clearly points it out... unless stampeding Houndour got to it again... I thought they were checking that..."
"Why did we go up the mountain on foot if we just could have taken the cable car, Andy?" Ash asked, looking somewhat dangerous to the little boy. He, Brock and Pikachu were suddenly all looking a little more dangerous, in fact.
"I forgot?" he asked nervously, with a tiny laugh.
Suddenly, the short girl in between the three boys and the Pokemon forgot what she was puzzling over and smiled cheerily, "You guys should get cleaned up! There's a Pokemon Center down the street where you guys can use the showers and I think that they'll clean up your clothes for you too. When you're done, I can show you to wherever you guys need to go." She crouched down in front of Max again and stuck her tongue out. "You're lucky this time, buddy. Rocky is already at the cable car station, waiting for you to come. Try to get home and into the shower without your mom finding out what you've been doing all day, okay?" Max grinned and began to race away, stopping once to turn around and wave.
"Ash, Brock, Pikachu!" he yelled, "I promise that I'll see you guys again! And when you see me, we can have the really awesome Pokemon battle you promised me, my Geodude against Pikachu! Bye!" The little boy turned around and disappeared into the one building he didn't explain, the cable car station.
"So..." the girl said softly, turning back to Ash and Brock, frowning, "I guess you guys are going to need my help while you're in town. If you didn't even know about the cable car, I'd hate to know what else you'll get into." She smiled, sticking out her hand for everyone to shake, ever bowing to shake Pikachu's paw, "I'm Carlina Maple, but everyone calls me Carla. I'm your guide, at least for as long as you're in Eclipse Town."
"I'm Ash and this is Pikachu," Ash introduced, grinning and wiping his hand across his face, accidentally getting dirt all over his nose, "I'm gonna be a Master Pokemon Trainer!"
"And I'm Brock," Brock added, "I'm planning to be a World Famous Pokemon Breeder."
"Alright! So, Master Pokemon Trainer and World Famous Pokemon Breeder, let's get you guys cleaned up and then I'll show you the town!"
(Announcer) "So, with a promise for a Pokemon battle in the VERY distant future and a friendly face to guide them, what new adventures await Ash, Brock and Pikachu in Eclipse Town? Find out next time on Pokemon!"
A/N: In case you were worried or anything, this is taking place just after the Hoenn Region thing and May and Max (that is the little kid's name, right?) have gone home or whatever. Brock, obviously, stayed with Ash and the whole 'where are we?' thing will be explained in the next chapter/episode.
Please review, 'cause it makes me happy and keeps me writing! Anything you guys say or comment about will be taken into consideration for the rest of the story, I promise. So, please, please, please, review! Especially if you have an idea for an episode or an idea for a trainer I can put into an episode!
- Roby Carr