The Year of Rocket's Revenge
Session: July Once Again, Part 7 (07.11.06/07.11.10)
Ash and Pikachu growled as Mark and Absol walked towards them.
"I'm glad you made it this far," Mark smirked. "It wouldn't be right to hear that you've met your demise... unless I was the one responsible for it!"
"I can't believe you turned on the Pokémon League the way you did!" Ash shouted. "Being the Junior Master meant upholding the ideals that..."
"The only thing the title of Junior Master meant to me was that there was no kid or teenager that could beat me! I had no intention of being a model for others to look up to! It was all for the glory! Mine, and that of Team Rocket!"
"That's right. For Team Rocket. I didn't let Giovanni sponsor me in the tournament because he wanted to see if I was worthy of being a part of the organization! The truth of the matter is... I had already joined beforehand, and the tournament was my first assignment as a full-fledged member!"
"If you were part of Team Rocket, then how did the League allow you to compete?"
"Simple... no criminal record. I hadn't done one thing against the law until after the tournament. Why would there be reason to believe I was a member of Team Rocket? It's not like I paraded around the tournament wearing my uniform!"
"So if you weren't a bad guy before... why did you join Team Rocket?"
"Why else? Celebi-rus Syndrome!"
"Yes. I had come to them, wanting to get rid of this vile curse. But instead, they showed me how to harness my powers and to use them to get what I want! Now I don't want to give them up... they're my ticket to being the greatest trainer in the world!"
"But... but back at the prison you said..."
"I told you what you wanted to hear. As if I had a reason to tell you the truth. But enough small talk..."
Mark clapped his hands twice, and all the lights in the lobby came on at once. Mark then turned around, and headed past the front desk and down the hall.
"Hey! I thought we were going to have a battle!"
"We are!" Mark said, stopping in his tracks. "But such a grandiose battle requires a grandiose stage."
Mark then resumed walking, and Absol bounded down the hall after him. Ash and Pikachu had no choice but to see where they were being led.
Pinsir was using Vicegrip over and over, trying to ensnare Golduck in his pincers. But Golduck dodged every one. Meanwhile, Geodude utilized Rock Throw to keep Kabutops on the defensive, as the latter had its pincers raised to deflect the rocks away.
Even Pidgeo was getting in on the action, as he tried to go after Charizard himself. But Bulbasaur, despite being at a type disadvantage, was keeping the rotten Pokémon at bay with a combination of Vine Whip and Razor Leaf.
Jane and Calamity were continuing calling out commands, trying to gain control of the battle. Misty and Brock, on the other hand, were watching silently, trusting in their Pokémon to make the right call themselves.
Or was there another reason?
"I feel like this power is trying to pull out my soul," Misty grimaced as her cerulean aura started to leak away from her body.
"I know," Brock agreed, experiencing the same with his brown aura. "But we can't let it happen."
"Right. We spend all that time training with Wallace just for such an occasion. To prevent our souls from being transferred into our Pokémon for a third time."
"Just keep fighting. 'Cause if it happens this time, we're not coming back!"
Ash and Pikachu stood in awe as they looked around the room where Mark and Absol had taken them too. They were inside a small battle arena, with a small set of bleachers on either side of the battlefield, which was in the center of the room. The field was also surrounded, on the sidelines, by statues of different Pokémon... some of which Ash didn't recognize.
"To be considered a Pokémon Master," Mark explained, "one must defeat all four members of the Elite Four! So it's only fitting that we do battle in the arena of the Elite Four's highest-ranking member, Lance!"
"We're in Lance's own battle arena?"
"Yes! And now it's time for our one-on-one showdown. You and Pikachu against me and Absol! The winner can truly call himself the Junior Master... merely a small step to becoming Pokémon Master, but an important one nevertheless!"
"Heh..." Ash let out a chuckle, almost excited at the prospect of a battle that meant more than just fame and glory. And the loser?"
"Oh, that's simple. The loser... DIES!"
Before Ash could object, the blood red aura around Mark's body spiked as it moved from Mark to his Absol. Once all of the energy was transferred, Mark's limp body fell to the floor. As it did, Absol immediately charged forward using Quick Attack. Pikachu didn't expect it, and he was knocked to the ground.
Absol continued the assault, this time using Slash. It was a direct hit, sending Pikachu sliding a feet back towards Ash.
"Get up, Pikachu!"
Ash felt the black aura from earlier generating around him once again, as Pikachu hopped up to his feet just as Absol went on the offensive again. Absol tried to use Bite this time, but Pikachu jumped up and over the attacking Pokémon.
Now in between Ash and Pikachu, Absol took a second to look directly at Ash.
"What are you waiting for?"
Ash shook his head. Did that question come from... Absol?
"Do it now!" the words audibly came out of Absol's mouth, in plain English. "Transfer your soul into Pikachu!"
"It is you!" Ash exclaimed. "But how..."
"I'm so strong of a trainer that I'm able to keep in full control of Absol, rather than us sharing it! I'm sure you can do it, too... if you put your soul into Pikachu."
"I can't! If I do that, I won't be able to return to my own body! I'll die!"
"This is a one-on-one battle to the death! Not one-on-two. But if you wanna watch as I kill your Pikachu..."
Absol charged towards Pikachu again. But Pikachu was already charging up electricity for a counter-attack.
"Pikachu!" Ash called out. "Thundershock!"
Pikachu let loose an electric attack, but Absol had another trick up his sleeve as he used Double Team. The attack destroyed one of the copies, leaving the real Absol to use Quick Attack to land another blow on Pikachu.
"Keep fighting, Pikachu!"
Ash's black aura began to spike some more, the glow now almost completely enveloping his entire body.
Down in the basement, Lorelei, Bruno, and Lance were still hard at work on Team Rocket's laundry.
"Say..." Lance wondered out loud, "anyone know where Agatha ran off to?"
Suddenly, a Gengar appeared in the open doorway. Agatha was right behind her, and she had three belts full of Pokéballs draped over her left shoulder. A fourth, the one with her Pokémon, was already wrapped around her waist.
"What are you lazy slugs still sittin' round here for?" she asked, annoyed. "The building's been practically empty for half an hour!"
She threw the belts onto the floor and headed for the stairs. Her Gengar stuck her tongue out at the other Elite Four members before falling her master out.
Pikachu continued to battle with Mark, in Absol's body, as Ash tried to guide Pikachu while fighting the urge to let his soul be transferred out because of the Celebi-rus Syndrome.
"Agility!" Ash yelled out.
Pikachu complied, using Agility to increase his speed and making harder for Absol to connect, even when using Quick Attack. But Ash's black aura began to leak away from his body, trying to pull itself towards Pikachu.
"There's gotta be a way to fight this," Ash thought to himself as the struggle was taking a toll on his body. "There's gotta!"
"Golduck and Geodude won't last much longer," Misty observed.
Sure enough, the two Pokémon were tiring out, and Pinsir and Kabutops were starting to score hits while dodging attacks thrown at them. The same was holding true for Bulbasaur, whom Pidgeo began to toy around with.
The auras around Misty and Brock were also reaching their limit. If their souls weren't allowed to be pulled out of their bodies by force, the strain was going to tear them apart anyway.
"Remember what Wallace... geh... told us?"
"I... ugh... think so!"
"We can control our aura... if we can control our emotions! We have to think happy thoughts!"
Misty and Brock closed their eyes and tried to dream of a brighter day. They pictured what it would be like in a world where Team Rocket didn't exist.
Suddenly, their auras not only began to settle and dim in brightness, but they also started to change color. As it did, the new color started appearing around Golduck and Geodude. After a few seconds, Misty, Brock, Golduck, and Geodude were all glowing a soothing white.
"Wait," a confused Jane thought out loud. "The breeder is inside the Geodude? Wasn't he in his Vulpix the last time?"
"Yeah," added Calamity, "like we saw the redhead in Golduck, but I heard she was once within her Vaporeon!"
"They must have control over which Pokémon their souls are moved to!" Pidgeo deduced.
"Eh," Misty shrugged her shoulders. "Something like that."
"Go Golduck and Geodude!" exclaimed Brock. "You can do it!"
With renewed vigor, Golduck and Geodude went back on the offensive...
Back indoors, Ash was trying to do the same thing with his aura. But he was having a lot more trouble, and the fact that Pikachu was getting beat down by Absol wasn't helping.
"Is that the best you can do?" Absol asked.
Pikachu was on the ground, struggling in pain to get back to his feet. Absol laughed before glancing towards Ash again.
"There's only one way to win this, Ash Ketchum! And I suggest you do it now, because Pikachu's body won't hold out much longer."
Ash tried to voice a response, but he could only scream out in pain as his volatile aura started ripping at his body.
"And neither will yours."
Ash began to feel the inevitable grip of death wash over him...
As Ash hovered between the living world and the after life, he began to hear voices all around him.
"I'll pray for all of you to succeed!"
"I guess this is it."
"There's no turning back."
"It's time to take down Team Rocket."
"We intend to survive this day too... and you'd better do the same!"
"When we tell you to get a move on," Brock grunted, "we mean move it!"
"Don't worry about us," Misty looked back at Ash, flashing a fake smile. "This is our destiny. Yours still awaits."
"Everyone," Ash thought aloud. "Everyone's rooting on me to win. They want me to win. I know I can win. I just have to believe. I have to be confident. I have to trust in Pikachu. I have... I have to trust in myself!"
The aura around Absol had darkened from blood red to black as he approached Pikachu, ready to deliver the final blow. Pikachu was back up on all four legs, but he didn't have the energy to fight or defend himself anymore.
Then, a yellow aura began to glow around Pikachu's body. Absol snickered, believing Ash had finally submitted to his request.
"Now it can truly be a one-on-one fight to the death!"
"I wouldn't be too sure about that, Mark."
Absol turned his head back towards the trainer's box, and to his surprise, Ash was conscious and still standing tall! The fight against his powers had left his body in bad shape. He had a number of cuts all over his body, arms, and legs, many visible thanks to numerous tears in his clothing. He also had no feeling in either of his arms, but even Ash couldn't tell as the white aura surrounding him seemed to numb all the pain out of his consciousness.
Absol looked at Pikachu, then at Ash, and then back at Pikachu.
"How is this possible?"
Ash smiled as he moved his arms around as if the battle had just started, free of injury or exhaustion.
"All that training with League Champion Wallace really paid off!"
Pikachu's aura then began changing colors again, this time from yellow to white, to match Ash's. Pikachu also began to feel the pain from all the hits he had taken numb away. His energy level also restored itself, making Pikachu feel like he could go a few more rounds with Absol.
"I don't know how you did it... but you're still not going to win. I'm determined to see to your end, Ash Ketchum!"
Absol used Swords Dance to raise his attack power. Absol then used Bite, in order to inflict the most pain in the shortest amount of time. But Pikachu used Thunderbolt to stop his attack cold.
Ash observed as Pikachu then fled to the opposite end of the field. Absol gave chase, the black aura around his body getting stronger with each passing second.
"Stand still, you little runt!"
Pikachu skidded to a stop, then reversed direction. He used Quick Attack to strike Absol before he could complete a move to counter it. Absol dropped to the ground, but he had no intention of giving up.
"It'll take more than that to defeat me..."
But as Absol was about to get back up, he felt a surge of electricity rifle through his body.
"Argh! What the..."
During the last attack, Pikachu's skin had brushed against Absol's, and some of the natural electricity that flowed through his body had managed to transfer over to Absol. As a result, the disaster Pokémon had become paralyzed.
"This can't be... THIS CAN'T BE! ARGH!"
To make matters worse, his black aura was now spiraling out of control as it began to tear his body apart.
"His body!" Ash realized as he saw Absol start to cough up blood. "We have to end this now or he won't make it!"
Pikachu charged in for one final attack, as his tail started to glow white, matching the color of his aura.
"Pikachu, Iron Tail!"
Pikachu jumped up in the air and curled into a ball. He rotated on the way down, and timed it just right so that his tail would come down right on Absol's head! The blow knocked Absol to the ground, head-first, knocking him out instantly.
Upon losing consciousness, the black aura disappeared from Absol's body. Seconds later, the white aura faded from around Ash and Pikachu. Pikachu collapsed almost instantly from exhaustion.
Ash was about to call out to Pikachu, but then all of his excruciating pain returned, and he fell to the ground, landing on his stomach. He was unable to move any part of his body below his neck. All he could do was lie there, unable to check on his best friend to see if he was okay.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Absol awaken and, very slowly, get to his feet.
"Crap..." Ash cursed, "he's not... out..."
Absol started to look around the arena, as if it were surveying what had just transpired.
"What the hell happened here?"
Ash heard the voice, whom he didn't recognize, and he didn't have the strength to turn his head to see who it was. But, for whatever reason, Absol could see... and it was frightened. Absol ran toward Ash, leaped over him, and raced out of the arena.
"Was that... an Absol?"
Another voice came from behind Ash. This one he easily recognized to be...
Seconds later, he got a confirmation.
"Ash! Oh my God, Ash!"
Misty made her way to Ash's front, where she could see him.
"Ash! What happened to you?"
"Mist... I can't move a-a-any part of my... body."
Misty moved to try and get him up, but...
"Stop! Moving him might exacerbate his injuries!"
Misty backed off as Clair came in.
"Who are you?" Ash asked.
"Clair, the gym leader of Blackthorn City, and leader of the Dragon Clan."
"With the help of Clair and the Dragon Clan," Misty explained. "We won! All of Team Rocket's Pokémon have been knocked out and all of the agents have been rounded up!"
"That's great news!"
Misty then turned around and saw Pikachu lying on the ground.
She then turned her attention towards the other trainer's box, where Mark lied face up. But there were four adults surrounding him... adults whom Misty instantly recognized.
"The Elite Four! And they're around Marco... I mean, Mark. But then that was his Absol that ran past me..."
"Hey! Is anybody still alive in there?"
"You promised us you'd still be alive!"
"We're taking dat Pikachu if you aren't!"
"Guys! Not funny!"
Ash smiled as he recognized all the voices.
"Jessie, James, Persian, and Brock! You're all alive too!"
The four of them walked in, but because of his injuries, Jessie and James were holding Brock up by having him draped his arms around the back of their necks.
"Man..." Brock said as he looked around the arena, "what the heck happened here?"
The Elite Four walked over, with Agatha in front, to talk to the group.
"Your competitor there is no longer among the living," Agatha stated bluntly.
Ash saddened. "I... I figured as much..."
"Such incredible power," a flabbergasted Lorelei could muster.
"Truly a struggle of immense strength took place," Bruno noted.
"I hear you all are responsible for this strike," Lance said with a smile. "I would've never imagined we still had trainers out there capable of stopping Team Rocket."
"We're not out of the woods yet," Misty told him. "Our attack was all for naught if either Team Rocket HQ or the invasion force in Saffron City are still standing."
Ash then heard a beeping come from his pocket. Persian quickly fished out the object that was sounding off, which was Ash's Pokédex. He got it open, and the Poké-Com function immediately booted up.
"Hey, dere's a message here! It... it's from a guy named Wallace."
"The Hoenn League Champion?" Lance wanted to make sure he was hearing Persian correctly.
"The same," Brock confirmed.
Persian first read the message himself, and then read it out loud, happy as could be.
"He says they've retaken control of Saffron City! And that Gary and Cassie have reported in, saying Team Rocket's headquarters is no longer standing!"
Everyone started to rejoice, Team Rocket's seemingly done for and the Kanto region free. All except.
"Knock it off, all of you!" Agatha yelled. "There's still one person unaccounted for."
Ash immediately knew whom Agatha was talking about.
"He must still be in the conference room," Lance stated as he took one of his Pokéballs from his belt. "If we hurry, we can get him before he tries to escape."
"There's no need," Agatha told him. "He's no longer here."
"No longer... here?" Clair asked.
"Does that mean the ex-boss is..." Jessie and James thought out loud.
"NO! If he were dead for whatever reason, I'd still be able to sense his body, wherever it was!"
"Then that means he somehow escaped during the escalating battle," deduced Bruno.
"We must find him," deadpanned Lorelei.
"We need to round up any able bodies and start searching the entire city!" Lance declared. "He couldn't have gotten far!"
"But first," Clair said, "we have a lot of injured trainers and Pokémon to take care of."
"Right," Lance agreed. "Someone get in touch with Indigo General, as well as the Pokémon Center..."
As Lance began barking orders to his fellow Elite Four members and Clair, Brock was placed down on the ground next to Ash, so that their heads were near each other. Misty sat down by them.
"We..." Ash said to them. "We did it."
"Team Rocket is gone," Brock smiled.
"And we're free again," Misty sighed.
With that, the trio enjoyed some peace while they waited for medical personnel to arrive on the scene...
Three days later, at Indigo General Hospital...
Someone opened the door to Room 303, carrying a bouquet of flowers with her as she entered. The two patients she was visiting brightened up as she entered.
One of them was Brock Slate. His right arm was in a cast, which sat in a sling to keep Brock from moving it while it healed. He sat up at the sight of the girl who had come to see them.
The other was Ash Ketchum. He was in a large cast that ran from his shoulders down. But he could move his head and neck freely, and a smile spread across his face when he saw who had entered.
The visitor? Misty Waterflower, who was wearing a black strapless short sleeve shirt, a white pleated skirt, and a black choker around her neck that had a small Pokéball facsimile charm hanging from the front.
"Well, look at you!" Brock smiled as he admired Misty.
"What do you think? Daisy bought it for me as part of 'Celebrate Freedom Day.'"
"It looks cute on you," commented Ash. "Very, very nice."
Misty blushed before remembering she hadn't come alone.
"Oh... I brought someone with me!"
"Pika pi!" chirped Pikachu, running into the room.
"Ahhh... Pikachu!" Ash shouted with glee.
Pikachu jumped up onto the bed and onto Ash's body cast, before formally greeting Ash by rubbing his cheek against Ash's.
"Wow, you're all healed already? Man, Pokémon get better than faster than us humans do!"
"Speaking of which..." Misty transitioned, "what are the doctors saying about you two?"
Brock uses his left hand to point at his right arm.
"Fractured... gonna be in this cast a minimum of three weeks. But, the doctor said he'll let me go home tomorrow if there aren't any more complications."
"Speaking of casts... how did you end up in THAT?"
Ash chuckled hesitantly. "I didn't break any bones, but I had cuts and bruises everywhere on my body. They made me put this cast on last night after I refused to stop picking at my scabs."
"They're still giving me pills and ointments, though. Every few hours, I flare up in pain."
"How long do you think you'll be in here?"
"At least a few more days. And you, Mist... lucky enough to actually not be stuck here!"
"Yeah... I got treated for slight dehydration. As for the bump on the back of my head, no brain damage... it went away after having ice applied against it for a couple hours."
"So..." Ash continued to talk, "your sisters are all okay?"
"Yep," replied Misty. "Jane and Calamity only left a small group at the gym so they could come up to the Indigo Plateau to try and stop us. Agent Orino and his team were able to help take back the gym shortly thereafter."
"Where is Agent Orino now?" Brock asked.
"In Cerulean. He's assisting my sisters in the recovery and rebuilding effort. They also figure, since the Pokémon Trainers' Association no longer has the resources to continue functioning, they've given up trying to keep it alive and now most of them have signed on to help the Pokémon League restore the region."
"Speaking of... how are Arius and Cassie?"
"I'm not sure..."
"I know," Duplica shouted, spooking Misty as she appeared behind her. "That's right!"
"Duplica," Misty sweatdropped, "how long have you been standing..."
"Not long. Anyway, I got a call from Cassie this morning. She told me she just got home to Poli Town. She's nursing Arius back to health, with the permission of both of their parents."
"Wait..." Ash thought out loud. "You mean..."
"Uh huh, they're back together," Gary stated, having slyly slipped in without anyone noticing. "And they have me to thank for that."
"When did..." Misty wondered.
"The nurse let me in."
"But isn't there a limit to how many visitors a person can have at one time?"
Apparently not, because the door swung wide open as Giselle made her grand entrance. She was wearing a brown baby tee that had the words 'You're Not Number One' in white letters across her chest, and a pair of hip white-colored jeans.
"Never fear... because Giselle is finally here!"
Richie and Chuchino quietly came out from behind her, waving shyly.
"Speaking of unwanted guests," Misty said under her breath before addressing Giselle in a normal tone. "I'm happy that you're alive and all, but who invited you?"
"Actually," Ash began to spoke up, but was quickly quieted when Giselle shouted back at Misty.
"Watch it!" I'll have you know that, if it wasn't for me waking up, Erika would be dead. For real this time!"
"Glad you could make such a worthy contribution to our little conversation, but there's only so many visitors allowed at once and we're a couple over."
Misty started trying to push Giselle out of the room, passing by Richie and Chuchino, the 'I am' on the back of Giselle's shirt now visible.
"Uh... does that mean we have to go too?" Richie meekly asked.
"But I come bearing good news about Ash's Charizard!" argued Giselle.
"Good news?" Ash brightened up.
At the sound of this, Misty stopped pushing Giselle, allowing her to walk over to the beds to explain everything.
"At Ash's request, I dropped by the Pokémon Center on the way here. Nurse Joy said Charizard should make a full recovery in a couple weeks!"
"Ha! That's great news! Did you hear that, Pikachu?"
"You could've told me to drop by there instead of her," Misty mumbled under her breath.
"Someone's jealous," Duplica whispered to Richie.
"I have even more news!" Giselle announced. "Erika returned home to Celadon City yesterday, for the first time since word spread Friday night that she was alive! Everyone was so elated... especially the girl that had been running the gym in her absence. I heard she regrets having convinced the League she was capable of running the gym."
"Sounds like things went over smoothly there," stated Gary. "In fact, for all of the doom and gloom there was, the region sure got back in line quickly. No one's blaming the League for letting Team Rocket take control anymore. They're just glad Team Rocket is gone, and that all the gym leaders and Elite Four members are able to resume their duties."
"What of Team Rocket themselves?" Brock asked. "They all locked away?"
"Oh yeah," Gary reassured him. "But it's going to take the Elite Four and the legal system months to prosecute them all. The highest-ranking agents and most dangerous threats are being sent to maximum security prisons. Some of them might actually be shipped out of the country."
"And Giovanni?" queried Ash. "Did anyone find him?"
"No. He's gone missing."
The room went dead silent at that bit of news.
"Technically," Giselle noted, "even if he does come back, he would have to start over from scratch. No base of operations, no operatives to do his dirty work, no scientists to create those nasty cross-bred monstrosities... nothing."
"And I'm sure the League and the police will be keeping an eye out for him if he ever does reappear," added Brock.
"Hmmm..." Ash hummed, deep in thought.
Everybody looked at Ash, wondering what he was thinking of.
"Now that Team Rocket isn't a problem... where do we go from here?"
Everyone in the room started to think. After a few minutes of silence, they all came up with their answers.
"I've decided to retire from Pokémon training full-time," Gary answered first, to a few gasps. "I'm going to follow in my grandfather's footsteps and become a Pokémon researcher!"
"Well," Brock explained, "when I get out of here tomorrow, I'm going back home to help my dad and siblings rebuild our gym for the second time in six months. Hopefully better than ever this time! Then I have to help get all of Pewter back on its feet."
"I'm opening my new theme show on the 25th," Duplica told all, "so I have to go back and finish putting it together. It's called 'Friends Forever.' Oh, and you're all invited to opening night! And I'm not taking no for answer!"
"Well," Giselle smirked as she held up a poster, "the League announced today that the Second Annual Pokémon Junior Master Tournament will take place in Goldenrod City in the Johto region in two months! And there's no way I'm missing this one, because I intend to show everyone what they missed not having me in it last year!"
"Wow!" exclaimed Richie. "That sounds so much better than what I was planning to do! We should enter that competition too, right Chuchino?"
"Pika pika!" Chuchino nodded in agreement.
"I..." Misty started, "I actually don't know."
"What?" Ash guffawed. "You don't?"
"You see, after everything that's happened, Daisy, Violet, and Lily have decided to get serious about running the Cerulean gym like it should be run, so they're planning to take a six-month gym leader re-certification class run by Agatha. I might have to run the gym the first three months of the class because they're required to be here at the Indigo Plateau full-time..."
Misty stopped when she heard her Pokédex ringing. She pulled it out, accessed the Poké-Com function, and answered the call.
"Misty? Like, this is Daisy. Agatha was being a hag, so we, like, quit on the first day! We'll see you back at the gym, k?"
Misty groaned as she annoyedly hung up the phone. She then sighed as she tried to regain her composure.
"Well then... now what?"
"How about you travel with me and Pikachu?" Ash asked. "Once I'm able to move around without this cast, we're heading out on adventure! My only problem is that there are so many choices. I could go back to Hoenn, as I have three badges. I've hear good things about the Johto gyms. Though it is summer... and I heard the Orange League is on the rise..."
"You know what?" Misty said as she squatted down next to Ash so that their heads were at the same level. "I'll go wherever you want to go. Because I just realized the only thing I want right now... is to be with you!"
Misty turned Ash's head towards her and kissed him hard on the lips. Everyone in the room cheered as they embraced.
"Hey!" Misty yelled after breaking off the kiss and glaring at everyone. "This is a private moment!"
Everyone apologized and started to file out of the room. Richie, Chuchino, Gary, and Giselle left the room immediately, while Duplica dragged Brock out of his bed and pulled him out as well.
"No fair... this is my room!"
Pikachu hopped off of Ash and was the last to leave. Once they were sure everyone was gone, Misty turned to look at Ash.
"Shall we pick up where we left off?" Misty asked.
"I think I need a reminder of where we left off," smirked Ash.
Misty locked lips with Ash again, both of them glad to be together once again... and they hoped that this moment would last for the rest of time.
End Session: July Once Again
Author's Notes for 'Session: July Once Again':
So, after five long years, 'The Year of Rocket's Revenge' finally draws to a conclusion... and this comes ten-plus years after the start of 'The Adventures Series,' the series that started this spin-off from the anime in the first place.
Before we finally bid adieu, some notes for this final session.
Show of hands... before the reveal at the end of the previous session, how many you actually suspected that Erika had survived the assassination attempt at the end of 'Session: December?' Come on, be honest! If you paid close attention, there were a few clues pointing to that revelation coming over those six sessions. Besides, how could I really completely get rid of a beloved gym leader like Erika?
One of the hints was that, during Ash and Misty's training with Pokémon Champion Wallace, they learned for the first time that Erika had survived the explosion when she came up to Mt. Pyre to check on them for her research on the Celebi-rus Syndrome. I was going to have that explicitly stated in the story, but I forgot upon writing the first chapter of this session, and I didn't have any room to put it anywhere else. So I thought I
just mention it now just to clear up that point.
Brock, Cassie, and Giselle are also among the first of many characters who had disappeared for awhile but returned for the finale. Each had an important role to play, as you all saw.
It's weird inserting a 'who decides if someone who can be put on life support to sustain their life can decide when the plug can be pulled if the victim can't decide for himself/herself.' I think it just worked in this context, and provided one last tug by me to provide a little more tension before Duplica and Cassie finally make up and become friends again. Sorry if anyone thought the scene in question was too heavy-handed and political.
Fun 'answer if you want' question: If you were in Ash's situation, sleeping in a cabin full of girls, would you act like Ash did or like Brock might have if he was in Ash's place?
Speaking of people who Cassie didn't get along with... Gary Oak. I couldn't resist the opportunity to pair Gary and Cassie together for the final battle. Still, the results turned out decidedly different than you might have expected given their history together... but all rivalries don't have to be as mean as theirs used to be, right?
I brought Richie back because I needed one more 'leader' in the final battle. He doesn't do anything special, but at least he gets time in the spotlight! (Take that, Tracey, who ended up not appearing in the finale.)
If you're paying attention, I accidentally make a mistake in regards to Cassie's line-up. Seven show up in the finale despite not having time to go to a Pokémon Center. It was actually eight originally, as I caught the first one... there was a Bellsprout that was playing with her Ivysaur and Ledyba... and took it out. But now, I realize that she also used Skarmory to fly her and Gary to Viridian City. Astute people note Skarmory was not
present in the scene later on when Cassie is digging out Arius. I'm only noticing this mistake now as I write the author's notes, and there's no way to change it now without having to do a bit of creative rewriting.
Since I mentioned Tracey, let's talk about Stephanie and Amber, Gary's two cheerleaders. The assumption Cassie makes during the
flight to Viridian is that Gary is together with Stephanie, and as you may remember, that love is totally one-sided. The reason I bring them up now is that they, along with Tracey, were all going to appear in the epilogue. They were all unfortunately cut, because the story was already running too long to put them in.
For the curious... Tracey finally leaves Pallet Town and Professor Oak and resumes being a Pokémon watcher; Stephanie and Amber both finally leave Gary for good, with the two girls now together on a soul search to find their true calling in life...
For reference, if you read "Unhappy Anniversary," which was released way back in 2003, and is currently only available on my website, you'll notice that the events of the destruction of the PTA Headquarters are slightly different. The biggest reason is because in "Anniversary," Arius and Cassie never broke up like they did here in "Revenge," so they were together in Viridian City, on their own, in a situation that had nothing to do with the
eventual rebellion strike to down Team Rocket.
One thing that I do have to mention from that special which wasn't mentioned here because I didn't have time but did happen... was that Patti Masters, the young woman who was Arius and Cassie's superior while they were in the organization, was among the many killed in the blast.
As for anyone wondering what happened to AJ... he happened to be 'conveniently away' from the PTA on a solo mission at the time of the destruction... so he survived.
And I hope I'm not overexplaining that entire sequence, but Team Rocket is responsible for destroying the PTA. What I left open for debate is whether the PTA agents who were thinking about going back to Team Rocket helped in setting up the explosives and/or were killed in the ensuing destruction.
Back to 'conveniently written out' characters: Angela and Tomiko. They save Brock, reveal Erika's alive, and then they disappear for the final battle! Again, just didn't have a place for them.
Giselle's arousal... has changed several times over the planning of this series. The original plan was that Giselle would be at the Indigo Plateau with Ash and company and help with the final battle. Then it became Giselle would have no part of the final battle, and would wake up from her coma in the epilogue. Then I jumped back to the first option, albeit a bit modified, with Giselle showing up later in the battle, like Jessie, James, and
Persian do, in a support role.
Then it changed to the final result when I decided that I wanted to bring Domino back for one last battle. So the idea came up... why not have Domino battle Giselle? I thought that would be fun to see, so that ended up being what happened.
Figuring out what to do with Elite Four after their surrender to Team Rocket... yeah, I don't know what I was thinking there. I just needed them to be in a 'right place, right time' situation for the very end...
Thinking of the final batch of cross-bred Pokémon was not easy. Especially given that I limited the selection to Kanto and Johto Pokémon only. Some of the combinations sound really kooky, and almost all probably would not look good if there were visual representations of them. But eh... they get the job done.
Yes, I know the entire Dragon Clan flying in on Dragonite is cheesy... but hey, that's practically the only choice in first- and second-generation air transport for dragon-types. Then again, you're not allowed to mock them when they somehow kept from being killed by both Domino and Marco/Mark.
Oh... and look who else came back for the finale! Jessie, James, and Persian! I definitely wanted to bring the old trio back to help out... especially to show their changed ways. Hopefully, after this, they're on the good side for good.
Yes, even in this life-or-death final struggle, I had to do something that hadn't been done in this story in quite awhile... and that was to have somebody recite their version of the Team Rocket motto.
The Indigo Plateau works differently in the anime compared to the games, and here's a friendly homage to the latter, as Ash and Mark fight their final battle in the room most people know as where you fight Lance as the final Elite Four member (the original Red/Blue/Yellow or the remakes FireRed/LeafGreen).
I apologize for the huge information dump of an epilogue, but I was already one chapter over originally planned, didn't want to have to devote another full chapter to cover a more fleshed-out epilogue, and I was already out of time. Hopefully it tied up all of the loose ends. If it didn't, though, feel free to ask away in your review or by PM (at Fanfictiondotnet), or by e-mailing me if you're reading this on my website.
Thanks again for all of you who've stuck with me on this long journey, and I'm glad to finally have this done. This is the last time I will be writing anything in relation to pre-Hoenn Pokémon (with some exceptions as will be seen in future chapters of the currently running story 'May's Expedition 2: Dawn's Choice'). It's been a pleasure, and this is my official send-off to Misty and many of the minor and one-shot characters that all of us who were fans from the start of the show will remember no matter how long the anime runs.
I hope you enjoyed the story! Until next time!