Disclaimer: I don't own anything regarding Pokemon whatsoever.
Pokémon-The path to the Pokemon League
Chapter I: Bayleef's Shining Moment!
"Well, I think my Bayleef's a major leaguer." – Ash Ketchum
"Bay!" –Bayleef, Here's Lookin' at You, Elekid!
Last time, while on their way back to VermilionCity, Ash and Misty recollected what had occurred during their quick trip back to Johto concerning the shocking return of Misty's Psyduck as well as the controversial decision with Golduck. Now, with that adventure behind them, Ash and his friends prepare to embark on another adventure back in Indigo once more!
(Theme song; Fanfare starts as Ash says the name of the episode)
Ash: Bayleef's Shining Moment!
"Well, we finally made it-back to Vermilion City, and the site of a new beginning!" Ash declared while clenching his fist as they departed the S.S. Aqua when it had finally stopped at the Vermilion city port.
"Let's just hope this time, you don't earn all your badges by just having them handed to you." Misty advised, a teasing grin on her face.
"Hey!" Ash snapped irritably. "I didn't get all my badges like that! In case you forgot, I had to come back here and at Cinnabar twice just to get both of their badges!"
"Okay, okay!" Brock immediately got in between Ash and Misty only seconds before another fight was close to breaking out. "We've established that Ash doesn't always get his badges handed to him, and that he does work hard at earning his badges. Let's just go to the Pokémon Center and spend the night there, and tomorrow, we'll see about Ash getting his Vermilion Gym battle."
"Works for me." Ash admitted, pleased that another fight had been avoided so quickly, and without nerve-wracking pain.
"So-the twerps are planning to stay the night at the Pokémon Center, are they?" Meowth asked calmly, spying on Ash, Misty and Brock a distance or so away from them, on top of some boxes that had been removed from the ship.
"Well, there's an old sayin' that comes to mind right now-those who sleep at night end up losing some Pokémon-to Team Rocket, that is!"
"Waauugh!" Meowth nearly fell over in shock and surprise. "Where'd you come from-whoa!"
Thanks to Wobbuffet's added weight, the boxes ended up falling over anyway, sending them both to the ground and under quite a lot of boxes!
"Where's Jessie and James when I need 'em?!"
Nighttime had finally arrived at the Pokémon Center, and Ash found himself unable to sleep. Whether it was because of what had occurred a few hours ago between him and Misty before they'd arrived at the Center or not, it was keeping the young trainer up, and gazing at the stars, alone-at least, for a few minutes.
"Ash? What's wrong?"
Turning around in slight surprise, Ash allowed a smile to cross his face as Misty appeared in view, her hair not in it's usual ponytail style, but cascading down until it reached her shoulders; Ash found her to be extremely beautiful no matter if she kept it up or not.
"Nothing-I just can't sleep. Too busy thinking about what'll happen tomorrow when I get to the Gym, and start over again."
Sitting down next to her boyfriend, Misty gently took Ash's hand in her own and looked up at the stars with him, pondering over what he had just said to her.
"Someone I knew years ago once said that he would take on any challengers in order to become the greatest Pokémon Master, and started his journey with a disobedient Electric Pokémon. Do you know who I'm talking about?"
Perhaps it was because he was getting a bit tired, or maybe it was because he was admiring the stars-whatever the reason, Ash couldn't figure out who the person was, so he replied the same way he normally would: "Not really."
Stifling a light giggle, Misty playfully hit Ash on the back of his head while responding, "I'm talking about you, Ash! You started out with a disobedient Pikachu who, according to your own words, wouldn't help you capture a Pidgey on the day you began your journey to become a Pokémon Master, and look how far you've come since then-you're friends with all your Pokémon-including Charizard-you made it into the top 16 in the Pokémon League, managed to get in the Orange League Hall of Fame, and defeated your rival in the Johto League-toss in saving the world, protecting a time-traveling Celebi, and making friends with a Latias and Latios, and you've accomplished a lot for someone Brock mentions as the Pride of Pallet Town."
Ash smiled confidently when Misty was done with her explanation, and found himself staring into her eyes, with no intentions of pulling away. "Thanks, Misty."
Staring back into Ash's eyes, Misty found herself drawn into his gaze, and didn't want to be pulled away one bit. "You're welcome, Ash…"
Slowly, but surely, the two pulled each other into a gentle kiss that lasted for some time-until a certain Electric Pokémon chose to interrupt them.
"Pika pi! Pikachu pi! Pika, pika!"
Pulling away reluctantly, Ash laughed lightly at Pikachu, who was standing next to the opened door, a look of determination in his eyes.
"Hungry, aren't you, Pikachu?"
"Alright-let's go see if we can find something to eat, okay?"
Ash laughed as he headed after Pikachu, promising Misty he would be back as soon as possible. Misty, however, had a gentle smile on her face while watching him go.
"Everything we've gone through together, good times or bad…they're all reasons why I love you, Ash Ketchum…"
It was a good thing that Ash decided to go find Pikachu something to eat at a nearby restaurant at this particular time-if he'd waited longer, the restaurant probably would've been closed.
"Let's see-there's rice, curry, rice omelet…" Along the way to the restaurant, Ash realized that he hadn't eaten anything since being on the S.S. Aqua, so he figured he should get himself something, too.
"Of course, they'll have an endless supply of Pokémon food, right, Pikachu?"
"Pika!" The tiny Mouse Pokémon nodded in agreement as Ash headed toward the restaurant-until two people in uniform stepped in front of him.
"Hold it right there, twerp-I mean, young man!" Jessie demanded lightly, altering her voice a bit.
"Don't you know it's dangerous to be outside at this time of night, especially with only one Pokémon?" James asked, his voice effectively altered.
"Well, yeah, but I've been here before, and besides-my friends are waiting for me back at the Pokémon Center."
"Still, we'll need to examine this Pikachu for possible fever. How long have the two of you been outside?" Jessie quickly asked while taking Pikachu from Ash's hands.
"Only 3 minutes, but…hey, wait a minute! Pikachu was just checked a few hours ago, and according to Nurse Joy, he's fine! Who are you guys?" Ash suddenly demanded, having a sinking feeling he knew precisely who they were.
Quickly turning around, Ash noticed Misty and Brock coming out of the Pokémon Center and heading his way; apparently, they had decided to make sure he wasn't alone.
"Misty, hold on!" Brock said as they came to a stop next to Ash. "I smell trouble!"
Laughing evilly, both Jessie and James discarded their uniforms as their Team Rocket uniforms were revealed.
"Prepare for trouble, in the dead of night!"
"And, make it double, as we're sure to give you a fright!"
"To protect the world from devastation…"
"…to unite all peoples within our nation…"
"…to denounce the evils of truth and love…"
"…to extend our reach to the stars above!"
"Team Rocket, blasting off at the speed of light, late at night!"
"Surrender now, or prepare to fight, fight, fight, fight!"
"Meowth, that's right!"
"Team Rocket!" Ash, Misty and Brock chorused irritably.
"What are you 3 up to this time?!" Ash demanded, not in the mood to deal with them.
"What else are we up to-capturing your Pikachu and bidding farewell to you twerps after all this time! And, now that we have what we came for-" Jessie began, but Ash interrupted her.
"Pikachu, Thunderbolt attack!"
To the surprise of Ash, Misty, Brock and Pikachu, Jessie wasn't affected!
"Ha, ha, ha! We decided to protect ourselves from your shocks by wearing insulated gloves and boots!" Jessie explained calmly.
"So shock us all you want, but we aren't blasting off this night!" James added, a wicked grin on his face.
"You will after this! Totodile-I choose you!" Ash snapped while grabbing one of his Pokeballs and throwing it.
"Poliwrath, Politoed-go!" Misty yelled as she summoned two of her Water Pokémon with swiftness and ease.
"If it's a battle you twerps want, you've got one!" Jessie snarled while grabbing one of her Pokeballs. "Arbok-go!"
"You too, Victreebel!"
"Not me, you nitwit-get them!" James wailed irritably as the Grass/Poison Pokémon tried to swallow him once again.
"Arbok, Poison Sting attack!" Jessie demanded.
"Dodge it, Totodile! Then, use your Slash attack!" Ash yelled out confidently.
"Totodile!" As quick as possible, the Water Pokémon was able to avoid the attack and respond in kind by slashing Arbok's face, therefore sending him back into Jessie, who screamed loudly before tossing Pikachu into the air!
"Pikachu!" Running forward, Ash was able to successfully grab Pikachu, a smile on his face as he caught him securely in both arms.
"You okay, buddy?" Ash asked as the Electric type jumped from Ash's hands down to the ground.
"Victreebel, Razor Leaf attack!" James yelled out, before noticing Meowth standing around-sharpening his claws with a file! "Why aren't you out there?!"
"I'm busy-and, pay attention to your own battle, Jimbo!"
"Poliwrath, Dynamic Punch!" Misty smiled as her Water/Fighting Pokémon launched himself forward while rearing his arm back and-WHAM!-sending Victreebel flying into James and Meowth!
"See?! What'd I tell you? If you'd paid attention, you would've seen that coming!"
"And, if you'd been out there helping, we wouldn't be on the ground!"
"Triple Water Gun attack!" Ash and Misty chorused a second later, Team Rocket's wails sounding gurgled as they were all hit by three carefully aimed Water Gun attacks!
Despite the protection they had, after they'd been doused with water, Pikachu was able to fry them with ease, as expected!
"Why can't we ever catch a break with those twerps?!" Jessie screamed irately.
"Because they're the good guys?" James offered meekly.
"I plead the fifth!" Meowth protested loudly.
"Team Rocket's blasting off already…!"
"Nice job, you two!" Brock stated as he approached his friends while holding a bag of food in both arms, a confused look in Ash's eyes and an irritated look in Misty's.
"Wait a minute! Don't tell me while we battled, you went to get some food?!" Misty snapped heatedly.
Laughing lightly, Brock nodded. "Of course-I had to! It was the only reason Ash came out here to begin with. But, it was a good thing I did go get that food while you two took care of Team Rocket-the restaurant manager was able to fix something up quickly for us and Pikachu; he would've been closed if I hadn't gone in."
Ash smiled lightly while Pikachu had perched himself onto his shoulder. "Thanks, Brock. Let's chow down, get some sleep, then get ready for the Gym battle tomorrow!"
After a well-deserved rest, and a hearty breakfast, Ash and the others exited the Pokémon Center, Ash fired up to restart his journey one more time in preparation for the Pokémon League.
"Once again, Pikachu…our lucky star's shining this day!" Ash declared, a grin on his face.
"Pika!" The electric Pokémon nodded in agreement, until a light sweatdrop appeared on the side of his face. "Pika?"
"Where?" Misty asked, a smirk on her face; obviously, she was teasing Ash, since she had said this before. "I don't see any stars, Ash! How do you see stars at the beginning of a day?"
Falling over in irritation, Ash got up and snapped, "Misty, I didn't mean it was actually shining, and you knew that!" Groaning to himself, Ash quickly calmed down and said, "Let's win this, Pikachu!"
Remembering Ash's last two encounters at the Vermilion Gym quite well, Brock noted to Misty, "Sounds like Ash already has a strategy planned for this match, doesn't he?"
Also remembering Ash's previous encounters, Misty nodded. "Before he went to sleep, he was looking at his Pokeballs, and at Pikachu."
"He might be changing his strategy." Brock explained as he and Misty started running in order to keep up with Ash and Pikachu. "The last time, Pikachu had something to prove to Surge's Raichu. This time, Pikachu won't need to prove anything because he already defeated Raichu before; Ash might use one of his other Pokémon for this match."
"As long as he doesn't decide to use Charizard." Misty admitted, a concerned look on her face.
"Misty has a point. Despite the experience Charizard has, he's still susceptible to Electric attacks, being a Fire type and a Flying type." Brock silently agreed with Misty's statement as they caught up to Ash, who was waiting for them at the gates to Surge's Gym.
"Alright! The time to officially restart my journey to the Pokémon League begins now!" Ash said, that determined look still in his eyes, even as the doors creaked open at that second, the four of them walking inside.
"Lt. Surge! I'm Ash Ketchum, from Pallet! I've returned to earn another Thunder Badge for reentry into the Pokémon League!" Ash quickly announced, hoping that the Gym Leader would remember him.
"Well, well, well…look who we have here!" A voice from the shadows suddenly said, which startled Ash, Misty and Brock. Pikachu's ears, however, perked up, his sensitive hearing honing in on Surge's whereabouts.
"Pikachu! Pika, pika!" Pikachu wasn't about to let Surge bully Ash around again, like he had attempted to in their last bout. His cheeks sparking with electricity, Pikachu hopped from Ash's shoulder to the gym floor.
"I thought that was you, baby!" Surge exclaimed while appearing in front of Ash, grabbing his hand and shaking it, Ash feeling like his hand was going to be crushed at that second! "Welcome back to Vermilion, Ash!"
"Thanks…!" Ash stammered as he managed to pull his hand away from Surge's grip, and tried to get some feeling back into his hand again.
"He still calls trainers that?" Misty muttered irritably to Brock as Surge's other trainers appeared beside him.
"Apparently so. I've kept tabs on the Gym Leaders here since we went to Johto, and ever since Ash, not many other trainers have been able to beat Surge."
"Well, since you're here for a badge, let's get right to it. Oh-while you've built up your reputation, I managed to catch another Pikachu, but this time, learned from my past mistake and had him learn the speed attacks before evolving him!" As Surge spoke, he tossed a Pokeball, and within seconds, Ash and the others once again found themselves staring at a Raichu, who appeared ready to go!
"Don't worry-I still have my other Raichu with me. So, Ash-you ready?"
Holding out a Pokeball of his own, Ash nodded. "Yeah-I am. This time, I won't need to use Pikachu for our match. I choose you…Bayleef!"
"Bay!" The Grass Pokémon smiled as she exited her Pokeball, a determined look on her face as she found herself looking at a fully evolved Raichu.
"Hmm. Your Pokémon may not be a baby Chikorita, but I'll finally get to see what all the hype is about those Pokémon from Johto." Surge said out loud, eyeing Ash with a confident stare.
"Don't take Bayleef for granted, Surge!" Ash warned, his eyes narrowing lightly while staring back at the Gym Leader. "We've been through a lot together, good times and bad!"
The lights fully came on and the doors closed behind the others as Misty and Brock took their places, Brock holding onto Pikachu for Ash.
"The Pokémon battle will now begin. Only one Pokémon may be used. The Gym Leader, Lt. Surge, has chosen Raichu. The challenger, Ash, has chosen Bayleef. Let the battle begin!
At that moment, a bell rang, signaling the start of the match!
The two Pokémon headed toward each other, prepared to launch their attacks at their opponent.
"Alright, Bayleef-give Raichu your Razor Leaf!"
"Bayleef!" Bayleef fired off a few rounds of her Razor Leaf attack as quick as possible; Surge, however, had anticipated a move like this and was ready!
"Raichu, dodge that attack with your Agility!"
Ash, Bayleef, Pikachu and the others gasped in shock as Raichu actually dodged all the rounds with lightning-quick speed!
"I didn't think Surge's Raichu could be that fast!" Misty exclaimed.
"Surge did say he caught another Pikachu and made sure he learned the attacks before evolving him…Ash and Bayleef may need to rely on something more than having a slight advantage!" Brock replied, none of them noticing that Team Rocket was watching the match from the window again.
"That Raichu actually dodged the twerp's Pokémon's attack!" James responded in amazement.
"Obviously, James, that's a different Raichu than the other one." Jessie said while pushing James to the ground.
"No one asked about your choice in this matter!" Jessie snapped while recalling her Pokémon back to the Pokeball.
"That twerp's gonna need to rely on something else if he wants to win without Pikachu." Meowth noted.
"Right…because we're going to capture Pikachu here and now!" Jessie and James declared, wicked grins on both their faces.
"Well, actually…we have no materials to capture Pikachu now." Meowth stammered, laughing faintly while scratching the back of his head.
The two members of Team Rocket growled angrily while kicking Meowth right into a nearby tree after he'd made his statement.
"Raichu, Quick Attack!" Surge yelled out.
"Bay!" Before Bayleef could hear Ash's counterattack, she was knocked to the ground fiercely by Raichu! It took her a few seconds to get back up afterward.
"Bayleef! Are you okay?"
"Alright! Let's show Surge what we can do! Give Raichu your Razor Leaf again!"
"Bayleef!" This time, the attack connected, and momentarily stunned Raichu!
"It looks like Ash and Bayleef have figured out their strategy!" Misty commented to Brock, a smile on her face.
"Right. Bayleef may have an advantage over Raichu, being a Grass Pokémon, and Raichu may have Bayleef beaten in the speed factor, but sometimes, Bayleef's attacks will connect, especially if Ash and Bayleef can concentrate on what they'll do next and believe in each other." Brock explained.
Smirking, Surge noted, "That was pretty good, baby…but, see if your Bayleef can figure this out! Raichu-Double Team!"
"Raichu! Raichu! Raichu! Raichu!"
Within seconds, Bayleef found herself surrounded by an entire circle of Raichu!
"Bayleef, hang in there!" Ash yelled out confidently, Pikachu yelling out as well.
"Raichu-Dynamic Punch!" Surge demanded, the smirk still on his face as the Raichu had Bayleef momentarily confused.
"Baaaay!" Bayleef cried out as she was sent flying hard to the ground by the sheer force of Raichu's attack! Seconds after that attack, Bayleef was struggling to get to her feet, surrounded once again by that same circle of Raichu.
"Don't give in, Bayleef! Remember how we took care of that Scizor! Concentrate until you find the real one!" Ash insisted, closing his eyes at the same time as Bayleef.
"Bay!" Nodding, Bayleef closed her eyes and concentrated, listening until she heard the movements of the real Raichu.
"Give that Bayleef a Rollout attack, Raichu, and end the match!" Surge yelled, the smirk growing wider as he imagined Bayleef knocked out by just one hit.
Opening his eyes, Ash quickly yelled out, "Okay, Bayleef-send Raichu soaring with your Vine Whip!"
"Bay!" Opening her eyes, Bayleef released her vines and grabbed Raichu seconds before the attack would've connected, picked him up and sent him flying to the canvas almost instantly!
"That was a surprise." Misty admitted in amazement, not expecting to see Ash close his eyes like Bayleef had.
"It's a way for trainers to connect with their Pokémon-to feel what they feel during a battle." Brock quickly explained. "Ash did just what Bayleef did and listened until they both heard the real Raichu preparing to launch that Rollout attack."
Realizing that Raichu was having a hard time standing up, Ash yelled, "Bayleef-give Raichu a taste of your Body Slam!"
WHAM! The attack was a direct hit, knocking Raichu back down to the ground instantly. Smiling to herself, Bayleef hopped off Raichu's stomach and got back into position near Ash.
To Ash's surprise, Surge was laughing, even as Raichu was barely able to get to his feet.
"What's so funny?"
"Kid-I'll admit this to you. No one's given me this good of a match in quite a long time! You're probably one of a few who'll get to see Raichu's special move. And, it's not what you think it is, either."
Ash's eyes narrowed as he locked eyes with Bayleef.
At that second, the leaves around Bayleef's neck glowed brightly, as she powered up for her special move, one she hadn't used in quite a long time.
"Okay, Raichu-knock that Bayleef out with a Hyper Beam!" Surge demanded loudly.
"A Hyper Beam?!" Misty gasped loudly.
"That move is nearly unbeatable by any Pokémon who opposes it!" Brock managed to say out loud. "Didn't you tell me Pikachu was able to dodge it?!" Brock suddenly asked Misty, who nodded.
"He used his tail to avoid it when Ash faced the Orange Islands Gym Leader, Drake…"
"Now, Bayleef…Solar Beam!"
"What did those two say?!" Jessie stammered in shock as she realized, specifically, in what direction the two Pokémon were facing.
"Surge's havin' Raichu let out a Hyper Beam…" Meowth began.
"And that twerp's Bayleef is going to fire a Solar Beam!" James finished worriedly.
The two attacks soared toward each other with intensity and speed, connecting immediately and exploding fiercely, Team Rocket sent skyward by the blasts!
"Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again…!"
When the smoke finally cleared, both Pokémon were still standing, slightly dirty as a result of the attacks colliding, but determined looks on both of their faces.
As Ash, Pikachu, Misty, Brock, Togepi, Surge, his trainers and the opposing Pokémon all looked on, Raichu slowly, but surely, fell over and landed onto the ground, knocked out from the intensity of the Solar Beam.
Surge had a stunned look on his face, but a grin made its way across his face a few moments later.
"Unbelievable, Ash…! Simply unbelievable!"
"He did it!" Misty yelled out happily.
"Way to go, Ash!" Brock responded, a grin across his own face.
A smile appearing on Ash's face, the trainer looked on proudly at his Grass Pokémon. "We did it, Bayleef! We won this match together…!"
Ash was finally able to shake Surge's hand without feeling like it was being crushed.
"Congratulations, Ash! Your strategy in defeating Raichu's Double Team was brilliant, and having Bayleef use Solar Beam to counter Hyper Beam was astounding. You've earned another Thunder Badge from my Gym!"
Ash nodded and smiled wickedly as he looked at the badge, knowing his journey had started once again.
"Yeah! I earned the Thunder Badge!"
Misty smiled at Ash while they headed out of the Gym. "It looks like Ash's journey back to the Pokémon League has really begun now."
"Without a doubt, Misty." Brock agreed with Misty completely.
At that instant, Surge snapped his fingers and one of his trainers handed him something, which he handed to Ash.
"By the way, somethin' tells me you're gonna be needing this, Ash."
Ash's pleased look was now a confused one as he looked at a piece of paper. "What is it?"
"It's a list, informing you which Gyms you go to this time, since we've mixed them all up. Your first badges last time were at Pewter City and Cerulean, right? This time, you get your first badge here, and go to Saffron City to get your second. The list of Gyms is different for each trainer, so if you run into another one, you won't know where they're going unless they tell you." Surge explained.
"Right!" Ash nodded, preparing to put the list in his pocket, until Misty yanked it out of his hand.
"I think I should hang onto this, Ash."
"You heard me!" Misty retorted, eyeing Ash with a slightly irritated look. "If either you or Brock held it, the two of you would probably lose it!"
"No, I wouldn't!"
Laughing loudly, Brock pushed Ash and Misty out of the way of each other and turned to the female trainer, a light blush on his face.
"While those two settle their boyfriend/girlfriend dispute, perhaps you and I could go out for an early lunch, or you could give me your e-mail address and we could keep in touch and-"
Calming themselves down almost instantly, Ash laughed as Misty suddenly grabbed Brock by the ear and pulled him away.
"It's time for us to get going before something else keeps us here for the night!"
"Ow, ow-not the ear, Misty! Not the ear!"
Recalling Bayleef, Ash waved at Surge and the trainers while heading to the outskirts of Vermilion City.
"See you guys next time!"
"Until we meet again, my love!"
Despite some close calls, Bayleef managed to pull through with a surefire victory for Ash, which allowed him to once again recapture the Thunder Badge and start back down the road to the Pokémon League…
Somewhere in Viridian City, Giovanni, the head of Team Rocket, was in a meeting with someone who was widely known with an infamous reputation concerning Pokémon.
"You were able to capture this Pokémon, at least for a brief time?"
"Yes, sir-at least until this other Pokémon trainer prevented me from bringing him to you! I wasn't able to get his name, but I do have a photograph of him."
Studying the photograph closely, an evil smile crossed Giovanni's face.
"Wherever legendary Pokémon appear, this young man always has a knack for finding them!"
"Begin your search for him! Start in…Vermilion City. That's where all trainers go, since I'm certain he's returned to compete in the Pokémon League."
"Yes, sir. I shall not fail you."