Mismagus Michief

Author - Ri2.

Disclaimer: All characters save one are owned by the Pokemon company, or Game Freaks, or Nintendo, or Japan, or 4Kids, or whoever's in charge of that sort of thing. The other character's all mine.

"Garchomp, Hyper Beam!" Cynthia commanded.

"Pikachu, Thunderbolt!" Ash called out.

"Gyarados, use Hyper Beam too!" Misty ordered.

"Sudowoodo, use Mimic to copy Garchomp and also use Hyper Beam! If that gorgeous Cynthia chose it, it must be good!" Brock gushed.

"Blaziken, Overheat!" yelled May.

"Piplup, Bubblebeam!" cried Dawn.

"Garchomp!" The shark-like dragon fired a powerful golden energy beam from her mouth.

"Pi-ka-CHUUUU!" Pikachu lit up with a blinding flash of electricity as he hurled a lightning bolt.

The serpentine Gyarados roared and fired a beam just like Garchomp's from its mouth. The tree-like Sudowoodo flashed briefly, then fired a similar energy beam.

"Blaziken!" The giant flaming chicken Blaziken expelled an incredible burst of flame from its beak.

"Piplupluplupluplup!" The adorable little penguin Piplup spat dozens of explosive bubbles at his target.

"Wahahaha! Haven't you learned by now that you can't beat us, twerps?" Jessie taunted from the cockpit of Team Rocket's latest giant robot. "Wobbuffet, do your thing!"

"Woooooobbuffet!" I'd better get hazard pay for this… moaned Wobbuffet, wearing a football helmet and quite a lot of padding as he popped out of the robot's chest in the grasp of an extendable metal claw, glowing blue as he summoned a Mirror Coat. The half-dozen attacks struck him and were repelled by the Coat, deflected right back at the Pokemon and their trainers, who had to quickly scramble out of the way to keep from getting blown apart by the power of their own special attacks. The energy blasts exploded all over the shrine, shaking it and causing columns to collapse, walls to crumble, and parts of the ceiling to cave in.

May shrieked as a piece of rubble dropped down nearby, almost crushing her. "Yikes! That was a close one!"

"That defense is too powerful! How are we supposed to get through it!?" Max wailed.

"That's the point, you can't!" James boasted. "Our Super Nincada Robo is totally invincible!"

"It had better be, for what we paid for it!" Meowth commented.

It certainly did seem as if Team Rocket's latest robot, which looked like a giant Nincada, was pretty much undefeatable thanks to their creative usage of Wobbuffet as a shield. By deploying the blue blob, the villains were free to use the Super Nincada Robo's drill claws to chip away at the stone clamps holding the Twilight Stone, a mysterious cloudy diamond-shaped purple jewel with what looked like an archaic Pokeball buried in its core, in place. Within moments, the clamps would be broken, and the incompetent thieves would be able to liberate the Twilight Stone, unleashing untold destruction and chaos in the process.

Ah, but perhaps I should back up a bit. You must certainly be wondering how our heroes had reunited with Misty, May, Max, and Cynthia, and wound up in an ancient shrine, trying to stop Team Rocket from stealing an ancient and powerful relic. It all started earlier that day, when the trio of Ash, Brock, and Dawn had arrived at Solaceon Town while continuing their journeys to become a Pokemon master, breeder, and coordinator, respectively. They had been very surprised to run into a few of their old friends there.

Ash and Brock's good friend and former traveling companion Misty, leader of the Cerulean City Gym, had been there, supposedly because she was searching the Sinnoh region for a new Water-type Pokemon to add to her team, but actually because she had gotten fed up with her incompetent (but sexy) sisters' laziness and self-indulgence so ran away (again) to teach them a lesson and also to rejoin Ash, whom she knew she belonged with. Not that she would ever tell him that, of course.

May just happened to be in town, allegedly because she was collecting ribbons so she could compete in the Sinnoh Grand Festival, but also because she was lonely and depressed after utterly failing to win the contests in Johto by herself so came looking for Ash so she could be with him and mooch off him and eat Brock's cooking and put off being independent for a while longer. And Max was there because his parents made him go, much to his annoyance.

The beautiful, intelligent, talented, and all-around cool Cynthia, unsurprisingly, was the only person who was there for any reason other than to be with Ash. (Though Brock had hoped she was there to be with him.) As the Champion of Sinnoh and mythology buff, she had come to Solaceon Town to investigate a legend about some of the nearby ruins. There was a shrine in the woods outside of town that had supposedly been constructed millennia ago to protect the Twilight Stone, an artifact said to be the prison of an incredibly powerful and unimaginably evil Pokemon that had almost destroyed the world eons ago. Team Rocket, who had naturally been eavesdropping since they had no lives and nothing else to do with their time but stalk the 'twerps', had eavesdropped on Cynthia telling the gang the legend of the Stone, and naturally the idiot trio decided to steal the Stone and use the Pokemon inside to further the goals of Team Rocket.

The Rockets beat the good guys to the shrine in their Super Nincada Robo and immediately began trying to break the Stone out of the stone-cold grip of the eerie statue holding it. The heroes had caught up to them and tried to defeat the robot, but Wobbuffet's defensive abilities had made it impossible to make even a scratch on the mecha's hull, and most of their Pokemon had been knocked out by the ricochet caused by the deflected attacks. Not even Cynthia's ludicrously powerful Pokemon team seemed to be able to do any damage! (Although to be fair, they weren't exactly in peak condition. They hadn't been treated at a Pokemon Center in over two weeks, and Cynthia hadn't had the chance to take them to the one in town before the Rockets started attacking the shrine. Also, they were rather tired from their activities over the last few days, such as annihilating several packs of thugs that had attempted to violate their trainer's virtue, putting out a forest fire, defeating the wicked Hunter J, sending a Team Galactic assassination team packing, stopping an avalanche from crushing a defenseless mountain village, putting a rampaging Groudon with a hangover back to sleep, saving an entire alternate dimension from being nullified, and thwarting an alien invasion. After all that and only a little rest in between adventures, it's understandable that they might have a little more difficulty than usual fighting enemies as easily beatable as Team Rocket, whether they were hiding behind Wobbuffet or not.)

However, just because Cynthia's Pokemon weren't in top condition didn't mean her brain wasn't as good as ever. "Ash, Wobbuffet can only deflect one kind of attack at a time, normal or special. If we try hitting it with both at once…"

"Then it'll only be able to counter one of them, and the other'll put it out of commission!" Ash realized.

"Wow, that's a great idea!" Max enthused.

"Cynthia's as beautiful as she is brilliant!" Brock cried, eye-slits turning into hearts…which were abruptly replaced by a look of pain as Croagunk hit him in the back with a Poison Jab, paralyzing him. "Ack! No…why…I wasn't even hitting on her…yet…" Brock protested as the poisonous frog dragged him away, croaking to itself and causing its orange cheeks to bulge and shrink.

"Wow…I have to learn that trick…" muttered an impressed Misty. "Could really come in handy…"

"Doing what?" asked May.

"Oh, all sorts of things…" Misty said, giving a sidelong look at Ash, who didn't notice. Everyone else sweatdropped.

"And she's Ash's girlfriend?" Dawn whispered to May.

May flushed. "She is not!" She hissed back.

Dawn blinked in confusion. "Really? But Brock said she was…and I think your brother did, too…" May's eye twitched, and she glared at Max, who started whistling nonchalantly and trying not to meet her eye.

It was at that point that, with a great crack, the stone hands tightly grasping the Twilight Stone shattered from the steady drilling of the Super Nincada Robo's claws, which immediately stopped spinning and caught the jewel before it could fall to the ground.
"Mwahahaha! At last, the Stone is ours!" Jessie cackled.

"The boss is gonna love this!" James said happily.

Meowth nodded eagerly. "Yeah, I can just picture it now…he'll be sitting in his office, looking at all da paperwork and reports he's gotten from operatives dat have failed their missions around da world, and he'll say, 'Oh, dis is terrible! How'm I supposed to take over da world with Team Rocket facing setbacks at every possible opportunity?' And den he'll remember the Twilight Stone we sent him and say, 'Aha, dat's it! I'll use the super-powerful and super-evil Pokemon Meowth and his friends sent me to dominate the globe!' And den, once he's conquered the world with da evil Pokemon's power, he'll say, 'For giving me dis extraordinary Pokemon and allowing me to take over da world, I'll give Meowth and friends a continent to rule! One for each of dem, because dey certainly deserve it!'"

"A continent each? Oooh, I call dibs on Europe!" James said eagerly.

"What?! Darn, I wanted Europe," Meowth complained. "Oh well, I guess Asia'll do…"

"And I'll take North America! Everyone knows that's where the real money and fame are!" Jessie said gleefully.

"Oh no, they've got the Stone!" cried Ash in alarm.

"Quick, we have to stop them before they get away with it or accidentally break the seal on that ancient Pokemon!" said Cynthia. "Ash, everybody, do what we were just talking about earlier! Garchomp, use Dragon Rush!" Garchomp growled and lunged towards the Super Nincada Robo, her body surrounded in a pink aura with crackling yellow energy bolts swirling around it.

"Pikachu, use Thunderbolt, again!" ordered Ash. Pikachu nodded and fired off another lightning bolt.

"Gyarados, Dragonbreath!" commanded Misty. The sea serpent hissed and breathed out a tongue of green flame at the robot.
"Sudowoodo…Headbutt…Croagunk…Poison Sting…" gasped Brock from where he lay twitching on the floor. The fake tree charged towards the robot, while the blue frog spat several glowing purple needles from its mouth.

"Blaziken, use Blaze Kick!" May declared. The fighting chicken leaped into the air and shot towards the mecha with a flying flaming kick.

"Piplup, use Whirlpool!" Dawn cried. The little penguin pointed its head up into the air and spat out an enormous waterspout which it somehow managed to balance on its beak before hurling it towards the robot.

"Man, why can't I have a Pokemon?" Max complained. "I'd have gotten my first by now and started on my journey if my stupid parents hadn't made me go with stupid May on her stupid contest tour to not-so-stupid Sinnoh."

"Ha! That won't do anything! Wobbuffet, use Counter!" Jessie ordered.

"But Jessie, that'll only deflect the Dragon Rush, Headbutt, Poison Sting, and Blaze Kick, the others can still hit us!" cried an alarmed James.

"What?! Er…cancel that, Wobbuffet, use Mirror Coat!" Jessie quickly countermanded.

"But den we'll get hit by Thunderbolt, Blaze Kick, and Whirlpool!" Meowth yelled.

"Gah! Why didn't you say so in the first place?! Wobbuffet, forget that, use Counter…no, Mirror Coat…no, Counter…no, Mirror Coat…no, Counter...no, Mirror Coat…no, uh…Mirror Counter!"

"Jessie, that's not a move," James pointed out.

"Well, it SHOULD BE!" Jessie screamed.

Wobbuffet, very dizzy and confused from Jessie's inability to pick a technique, tried using both at once. Predictably, it failed, and he just wound up using nothing at all, meaning he, and the robot, got hit by the full force of all six super-powerful attacks. There was a tremendous explosion, and the Super Nincada Robo was blasted out through the back wall of the shrine, still clutching the Twilight Stone as it skidded across the ground and smashed through several trees before crashing to a halt against a very large rock, causing severe damage to the mecha's chassis and tearing off two of its legs. "Ow…" moaned the trio.

"Wooobbuffet!" "Screw this, I quit! I'm going into show business!" Wobbuffet wrenched himself out of the broken claw, exchanged his helmet and padding for a wide-brimmed hat and suitcase, and quickly skedaddled out of there. "Hollywood, here I come!"

"Come back here, you traitor! Nobody leaves Team Rocket!" Jessie screamed angrily.

"What about Weezing? And Arbok? And Victreebel? And Chimecho? And Cacnea? And Likitung?" James pointed out.

Jessie's face turned as red as her hair. "DON'T CORRECT ME!" She started hitting him repeatedly with a large paper fan. It hurt, a lot.

Meowth sighed. "It's times like dis dat I wonder if I should have stayed a blissfully stupid alley Meowth…who didn't walk on two legs or speak human…yeah, dose were the days…"

"Aaaaaaahhhhh! I thought you-ow! Ooh! Aah!-hated that life," James pointed out as Jessie beat him.

"Huh, oh yeah, dat's a good point," Meowth admitted. "Well den, I guess my life just plain sucks. Dat work for you?"

"I suppose so. AIIIIEEE! Jessie, please no, no more, I beg of you, have mercy!" James wailed pathetically.

"DIE, DIE, DIE!" Jessie shrieked as she throttled James.

The heroes quickly caught up to the wrecked robot, having run out through the gaping hole in the back wall of the shrine and followed the trail of destruction it had left behind to find it. "Okay Pikachu, finish it off with a Volt Tackle!" Ash commanded.

"Wait! Ash, I'm not sure that's a good idea-" started Misty.

"You might damage the Stone!" agreed an alarmed Cynthia.

Ash blinked. "Oh…oops."

Unfortunately, it was too late, Ash had given the order, and Pikachu was already running towards the wrecked robot at maximum speed, practically a yellow blur as an electrical corona flared up around him. He leaped into the air, sailing towards the robot…

When suddenly the Super Nincada Robo's remaining front claw sparked and broke off, falling right into Pikachu's path…and causing him to collide headfirst with the Twilight Stone. He only had a split-second to think, Oh, fuck, right before he blacked out due to slamming into the jewel at close to a hundred miles per hour.

And, naturally, this had a detrimental effect on the Stone as well. As everyone watched, eyes wide with horror, a single small crack appeared on the Twilight Stone, a crack which grew larger and branched and spread out in all directions to cover the jewel's entire surface. And then…as everyone waited with bated breath.

The jewel shattered. Or rather, it broke apart with an incredible explosion and a blast of bright purple energy which washed out to engulf them all, and draw them into the darkness of unconsciousness.

Oh, and send Team Rocket blasting off, but that was a given.

Several hours later, the group was still unconscious, lying in the smoking forest crater that had been formed by the release of energy caused by the Twilight Stone's destruction. All that remained of the jewel were chips and fragments of broken purple crystal…and an obsidian-black Pokeball with strange glowing runes lying in the center of the pile of shattered gemstone. As a large cloud passed across the sun, momentarily dimming its light and casting a shadow over the clearing, the runes began to glow brighter. With a snap and a flash of light, the ancient device abruptly popped open, releasing its occupant in a burst of energy.

And suddenly, a Mismagius was in the clearing, floating over the remnants of its prison. But this was no ordinary Mismagius, not by a long shot. The witch-like Ghost Pokemon's skin, rather than being purple, made it look as if the Mismagius' body was a gateway into the depths of space. Stars, comets, and even planets could be seen drifting through the stellar void encompassed by the ghost's body. The cloak-like parts of the spirit's ethereal form looked oddly regal and more cape-like than that of a regular Mismagius, with swirling nebulae lining its edges. The three elliptical pearls placed on the ghost's chest glowed very brightly, with what looked like miniature suns contained within their jeweled forms. Her witch's hat had many spiraling points tipped with stars that made it look oddly like a crown. A ring of glyphs writ in flame circled the peak of her witch's hat, creating a burning circlet. She looked out at the world around it with puzzlement in her large blue eyes, understandably confused and slightly groggy, since she had just awoken from a very, very long slumber, so to speak.

The ghost flinched as the cloud overhead drifted away from the sun, allowing its light to shine down on her. She had no fear of the light of day, like many other, weaker Ghost Pokemon, but she was only freshly awoken, and so not quite ready to deal with the sun just yet. So, with a simple spell, she turned day to night, exchanging the brilliant light of day for the velvety darkness of night, a darkness which she was most particularly fond of. After all, it was her element, her dominion. She was Phantasma, Queen of all Ghosts, and had at one point controlled all spirits and creatures of the night, ruling the dark with the spells and enchantments of which only a sorceress supreme was capable of conjuring. Until her betrayal and imprisonment, of course.

But now she was free to dance beneath the light of the moon and the stars and drink in the sweet embrace of the night. Her night, for it truly belonged to her and none other. Why else would the shadows reach towards her, and the moon sparkle down on her, and the cool evening winds swirl about her so? The night was hers to rule, and it was happy to be under her control once again. And all this had come to pass because…

She frowned suddenly. How did her new and long-awaited liberation occur? It was clear that someone must have broken the stone that had imprisoned her, but who or why?

It was then that she noticed the unconscious humans and Pokemon lying scattered about the clearing, and she knew at once that they all must have played some part in her freedom. Extending tendrils of darkness from the voluminous folds of her robe, she probed the minds of the sleepers around her to ascertain the events that had led up to her release.

What she found was not much to her liking, however, and it took all her control not to accidentally tear the poor mortals' minds apart with her fury. She wasn't upset that she'd apparently been imprisoned for almost fifty thousand years, she was immortal and so time meant little to her. She was not particularly bothered by the fact that humans had achieved more dominance over the world than they had in her age, considering how deeply their culture revolved around Pokemon she had no doubt which species was truly in charge. She was not even angered that her palace had fallen into disrepair and most of her homes in the other regions had fallen into disarray and were now occupied by all sorts of layabouts and squatters, her palace could easily be rebuilt and the vagabonds evicted. No, what really got her ire was how the people of this time (those who had her of her at all, that is) seemed to be under the misapprehension that she was evil. She, Phantasma, ruler of Ghosts, nightmares, and the dark, evil! The people who freed her had apparently not even meant to do so, her release was a happy accident that came of them trying to stop some other idiots who were actually evil (and thoroughly incompetent) from freeing her. It made her nonexistent blood boil to think that if these heroes had had their way, she would have remained imprisoned for many more centuries, due to their misguided attempts to keep her 'evil' from spreading out across the land.

Okay, so she was a little mischievous. She was a Ghost-type, that was to be expected. And she had caused all sorts of frights and terrors and horrible mind-scarring nightmares…but hey, her lord Darkrai had done worse, and people still worshipped him…though mainly to keep him away from them. And maybe one or two villages had been driven insane…and some people changed forever by her magic…but still, evil! Honestly! Of all the nerve!

Of course, she knew whose fault it all was. Those blasted self-righteous Psychics and Sages who had sealed her away had smeared her name and spread tales of her 'evil' deeds in the years after her imprisonment. History was always written by the victors, after all. Well, at least she had gotten the last laugh, she had outlived all of her captors…and she bet that nasty little parting curse she had inflicted on them just before she had been locked up had expedited their end as well.

But that was neither here nor there. As upset as she was that her rescuers had not meant to free her, they had been responsible for her liberation, and they were good people at heart. She knew she owed them deeply, and fully intended to reward them for the great service they had rendered unto her.

Her eyes narrowed, and the shadows nearby deepened and darkened, yielding the unconscious forms of Team Rocket. She intended to give them exactly what they deserved as well, for planning to exploit her for evil (and stupid) means. Extending more dark tendrils, she probed their minds, weighing their characters and memories and trying to discover their heart's desires. These desires she would grant, to the best of her very formidable abilities…

Except those of Team Rocket's, whom she intended to cruelly dash and rend beyond repair. She would enjoy that immensely.

Within moments she had taken the measure of her saviors and would-be 'masters' and learned their true characters and their heart's deepest desires. Some of them were touching and noble, others were somewhat selfish and greedy, and still others…were just plain bizarre.

Ash Ketchum, the trainer of the Pokemon who had freed her, wanted to be a Pokemon Master. She wasn't entirely sure what that was, and Ash himself didn't seem to be completely positive either, but he seemed to believe it meant being widely acknowledged as being a great Pokemon trainer with lots of badges and Pokemon who had won many tournaments. She could do something about that.

His Pokemon, on the other hand, had a rather wide assortment of desires. The bird Staravia wanted to evolve into Staraptor, which should be simple enough. The Turtwig desired to be cooler, for he looked up to Ash's other supercool Pokemon Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charizard, and Sceptile, and did not think himself nearly as awesome and sexy as they, especially since his evolved forms were, in his mind, kind of ugly. She could do something about that as well. The arrogant and fight-hungry Buizel wanted a battle against a truly powerful opponent instead of the 'lame-o's' he felt he was being wasted on all the time. She could certainly grant him that, and put the egotistical hothead in his place in the process. Ash's new Chimchar…wanted to violently kill his former trainer, Paul. This disturbed her at first, until she saw just what kind of person Paul was from everyone else's memories, and decided he most certainly deserved to die.

Pikachu, her true savior, on the other hand…he was a tricky one. She found herself blushing as she looked upon the sleeping mouse. He was a very handsome Pokemon, who seemed to care little for himself and would do everything he could to help his friends. He was selfless, heroic, powerful, compassionate, and seemed to desire nothing more but to keep fighting on with his friends. He was a truly noble individual. For a moment, in an odd and uncharacteristic moment of infatuation, she considered making him into her Consort…

But no, she doubted he would be happy leaving his friends, who would certainly miss him deeply. And alas, it seemed another one of the group's Pokemon was already deeply in love with the Pikachu, and while Phantasma was somewhat jealous, she was not petty enough to let her own desires interfere with true love. Well, unless she was playing matchmaker, which was an entirely different matter altogether. She giggled mischievously as all sorts of diabolical plots on how to couple up the group's many oblivious lovers filtered through her ancient and complex mind.

Putting aside the issue of Pikachu's reward, which would have to be much more considerable than any of the others seeing as how he was the one who physically destroyed her prison in the first place, she moved on to the matter of what to do for Brock and his Pokemon. The young man had many admirable qualities; he was responsible, a good friend, skilled at cooking and caring for other people, excellent at treating and helping Pokemon, an aspiring breeder…and also, sadly, a bit of a lech. Well, okay, maybe that was a bit of an understatement. All the images of naked dancing women in the young man's head almost made Phantasma sick. She immediately decided on what she would give to Brock, something that both fulfilled his desire…sort of…and taught him a lesson, to boot.

The desires of Brock's Pokemon were much less disgusting, and granting most of them would fit in well with what she had in mind for their trainer. Sudowoodo just wanted a girlfriend, Happiny wanted a mother…or father, since she wasn't sure what gender her 'parent' Brock was, and Croagunk wanted…

She burst into malevolent laughter. Oh, that was just too funny. She just knew she was going to enjoy granting these wishes.

The young girl Dawn wanted to be a top Pokemon Coordinator. Phantasma didn't think that would be a difficult wish to grant. Her Piplup, envious of Dawn's rival/friend Kenny's Prinplup, wanted to be an Empoleon. That wouldn't be hard to bring about, either. Dawn's Buneary was the one who was deeply in love with Pikachu and, while Phantasma couldn't help wishing it were otherwise, she knew she was obligated to bring the two together. The hyperactive Pachirisu wanted a mountain of Poffin (something she wasn't sure would be very good for her health, but she'd give it to her anyway), and the monkey Ambipom wanted…Ash Ketchum's hat. And to be ruler of a small village for a year, because she thought she deserved it and had been cheated out of her rightful crown. Phantasma sweatdropped at this, but supposed she could arrange for this to take place.

The young boy Max was a bit more complicated. He either wanted a Pokemon so he could be a trainer, wanted to be a Pokemon, or…wanted to become a baby again so everybody would be forced to take care of him and give him everything he wanted so he didn't have to grow up just yet? She sweatdropped initially, but then realized a way she could fulfill two of these three desires while at the same time granting the wishes of some of the others as well…killing several Spearow with a single Shadow Ball. She giggled nefariously as she plotted out all the details.

Max's sister May wanted…oh dear. Here was a problem. She also wanted to be a top Pokemon Coordinator. But that was what Dawn wanted. And Phantasma couldn't make both of them top Coordinators, could she? Well…perhaps, but from what she saw in both girl's minds, each of them wanted to be the best, not just one of the best. If she was going to grant both their wishes, she was going to have to do something pretty crafty…but that was no big deal, craftiness was something she was good at.

As for May's Pokemon, the majority of them had simple, easily-granted wishes. Blaziken wanted to pursue romance, hopefully with a male who had enough fighting prowess to keep up with and spar with her so she didn't have to keep doing contest battles all the time, Eevee wanted to evolve into something big and strong so everyone stopped treating him like a baby, Munchlax just wanted lots and lots of food, Squirtle wanted more of a backbone, Skitty wanted Pokenip, and Beautifly just wanted to be used more. All those desires would be fairly easy to fulfill, and in Blaziken's case, she'd be granting someone else's in the process. It would be so much more efficient that way.

Misty…she was an interesting character whom Phantasma immediately liked and felt sympathy for. She had two heartfelt desires warring in her heart: one was to become beautiful, because she didn't believe she was; her self-esteem in tatters due to a lifetime of living under three gorgeous sisters that constantly mocked her for being younger, scrawnier, and less attractive than they; while her second desire was…for Ash to love her. Much as Buneary had deep feelings for Pikachu, Misty was deeply in love with Ash, but he didn't notice, being too dense and oblivious to recognize that he liked her that way. Well, Phantasma knew at once she had to do something about that, she would grant both of Misty's desires in one fell swoop. She had to, in the name of love!

Plus, it would be fun to do.

As for Misty's Pokemon…the little Azurill, child of another trainer's Marill, wanted to know who its father was. Phantasma could provide that information. Misty's Gyarados wanted…to eat Misty's sisters without penalty. Um. She'd have to think about that…Psyduck wanted to be a movie star, Politoed wanted to be the leader of a cheerleading squad, and Corsola…didn't seem to want much of anything other than for Psyduck to either die or learn how to swim.

The last of her rescuers was the Pokemon trainer and Sinnoh League Champion Cynthia, whom Phantasma immediately found herself liking. She was strong intelligent, and didn't seem to want much more than to keep living an exciting and adventurous life, and to learn all there was to know about history, mythology, and legendary Pokemon. Her own Pokemon, on the other hand, didn't really want anything more than to get some rest, because they were flat-out exhausted from all the fighting they had done over the last few weeks. They didn't seem to have much in the way of individual desires other than staying with Cynthia and getting some rest and something to eat, Cynthia pretty much took care of all their needs. Well, other than her Spiritomb's desire for freedom so it could unleash mayhem and destruction on the world, Gastrodon's crush on Milotic, Roserade and Milotic's infatuation with Lucario, Lucario's infatuation with Cynthia…Garchomp's infatuation with Cynthia…oh dear. This was certainly a very complex love…hexagon? Polygon? She wasn't sure what kind of shape it was, and even less certain of how to resolve it without breaking a lot of hearts. Maybe she'd just leave it alone…

In any event, she had an idea of what to give Cynthia, too. She intended to set the woman straight on several of her misconceptions on ancient legends (such as her own), for one thing…

And then…there was Team Rocket. She cackled malevolently, the darkness pulsing around her as her eyes fell upon the incompetent trio. She had very, VERY wicked plans for them…but not really for their Pokemon, other than Meowth. They hadn't really done much wrong, in her opinion. In fact…they might actually get something good out of their trainer's torment. Mwehehehehe.

Her eyes glowed and the darkness thickened around her and the sleepers as she began incanting words of power, the glyphs around her head circling faster and faster as she cast her spell. Dark tendrils reached out from her once more to connect her to the trainers and their Pokemon, allowing her to influence them through their dreams…the perfect medium she had chosen to grant their wishes.

She giggled mischievously. This was going to be so much fun…

"Ash, honey, it's time to get up!"

Ash groaned and rolled over in bed, away from his mother, pulling his pillow over his head. "Mmm…ten more minutes, mom…"

Delia Ketchum frowned. "You don't have ten more minutes, young man. Today's your big day!"

"…Zzzzz…" Ash snored.

Delia frowned. "Hmmph! Oh well, I suppose I have no choice. Pikachu, you know what to do!"

"Yes, I certainly do. KACHU!" Pikachu hit Ash with a lightning bolt, causing him to leap out of bed wailing and convulsing and shaking all over as electricity coursed through his body.

"Gyayayayayayaya…ugh…" Ash groaned, smoking and twitching slightly. "I've gotta get a better alarm clock…."

"You can do that later, Ash, you need to get up and going, now! Everyone's waiting for you at the stadium!" Delia said, hands on her hips.

Ash stared at her blankly. "…Stadium?"

"Yes, today's the day of your big battle! You know, the absolute biggest battle of your entire life to prove you're ready to be a Pokemon Master?" Delia reminded him.

Ash's eyes bulged out of their sockets. "What?! Gyah! Why didn't you say so!" He lunged to his feet, raced to his dresser, and frantically started whipping out clothes. "Why didn't you wake me up sooner?!"

"We tried to," Pikachu said flatly. "You yelled at us to go away and threw pillows and knickknacks at us until we retreated."

Ash, head sticking out of the wrong end of a T-shirt, looked around and noticed how much messier than usual his bedroom was. "Oh…uh, sorry…"

"No time for that now, you need to get going!" Delia said, helping Ash dress himself in three seconds flat, like any good mother can. "Since there's absolutely no time left for breakfast, you'll have to make do with this." She shoved a stack of pancakes right down Ash's mouth, nearly choking him. As Pikachu helpfully whacked him on the back several times to help him swallow the food, Delia handed him his hat and some clean underwear. "Don't forget this, dear!"

"Moooom!" Ash cried, totally embarrassed.

"This is why I'm glad I don't have to wear clothes…" Pikachu muttered, shaking his head in bemusement.

"Hey, Pikachu, how come I can understand what you're saying?" a confused Ash asked his partner Pokemon.

"Because this is a dream, of course," Pikachu explained.

Ash blinked. "It is?"

"Certainly, why else would you not be wearing pants?"

"Huh?" Ash looked down and cried out in horror when he realized he was, indeed, not wearing pants.

"That's what the underwear's for, dear," Delia reminded him. "Oh, and these." She handed Ash his usual jeans, which he quickly put on. Then he took them off to put on his underwear, and then put the pants back on, looking very embarrassed all the while. "There's no time to go downstairs, so you'll have to use the window," she said, pushing Ash towards the open window.

"Huh? Wait, that doesn't make any sense!" Ash protested.

"Of course not dear, it's a dream," Delia said, shoving Ash out the window and causing him to fall several hundred stories towards the ground far below. "Have fun, dear!"

Ash landed with a thud on a bench in a locker room, very dazed and confused. "What took you so long?" asked Pikachu, who was sitting right next to him.

"Huh? What…what the…how'd you get here before me?!" asked a very bewildered Ash.

"Oh, I took the elevator," Pikachu said nonchalantly, pointing to one in the corner. "Ready for the big battle?"

Ash blinked a few times. "Um, I guess so…ack! Wait, where're my other Pokemon?! Which ones am I using?!"

"We're right here," said Ash's Sinnoh Pokemon, who were right behind him.

"Oh…sorry," said an embarrassed Ash. "Okay, we have Pikachu, Staraptor…wait, Staravia, when did you evolve?"

"Just now," said the large and impressive black and white bird.

"Oh, okay. Buizel, Chimchar…"

"Ha, this is gonna be awesome!" Buizel boasted, punching at the air. "I'm gonna get to fight the greatest opponent of all time, and prove that I am the MAN! Er, MON! Ha, no more lame Contest battles, Team Rocket members, or wussy Gym Leader Pokemon, now we're fighting for the TITLE! This is gonna be so sweeeeeet!"

"Um, yeah, I hope so…" Chimchar said timidly. "Um…A-Ash…what's gonna happen to me i-if I lose?"

Ash blinked in puzzlement. "Um…nothing, we'll just fix you up at the Pokemon Center, get something to eat, train some more, and try harder next time, why?"

"No reason…just checking…" the fire monkey said, relaxing a little.

"Hey wait, where's Turtwig?" Ash asked, realizing someone was missing.

"Over there," said Pikachu, pointing to Turtwig, who was in the middle of a circle made up of Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charizard, and Sceptile. "Your uber-cool Pokemon are inducting him into their ranks."

"Oh," said Ash. "Wait, then why aren't you there with them?"

Pikachu snorted and preened himself. "What, me? Please, I outrank all of them by a factor of a hundred. Well, okay, maybe not that much…"

"We of the Brotherhood of Badass hereby invite the neophyte Turtwig to join our number," Charizard said, holding the sacred Book of Badass in his claws. He flipped it open to an empty page and held it out to the small grassy turtle. "Do you solemnly swear to uphold the tenements of the sacred Book of Badass and live the lifestyle of the ultra-cool, shedding all traces of lameness and frailty to become a badass sexy bastard like the rest of us handsome bastards?"

"I so swear," Turtwig said solemnly, placing one of his paws on the page and leaving a footprint on its surface.

Charizard lifted the book into the air, displaying Turtwig's footprint to the heavens. "Then by the ultra-sexy power invested in me by all the really cool legendaries, I, Charizard, leader of the Brotherhood of Badass, hereby induct you into our ranks! A new legend of coolness has been born, and his name is Turtwig!"

"Here, here!" the other three cool Pokemon cheered.

"Now, brothers, adorn our newest member with the accoutrements of his newfound coolness," Charizard told the other Pokemon.

"I, Brother Squirtle, bestow upon you these sacred shades," Squirtle said, placing a pair of sunglasses over Turtwig's eyes. "They're not mine, but they're still badass. And sacred and stuff."

"And I, Brother Sceptile, bestow upon you this sacred twig, which I just plucked off a tree this morning," Sceptile said, sticking a twig into Turtwig's mouth. There was still a leaf attached to it.

"Cool--YEEEOOOUUUCHHH!" Turtwig screamed, spitting out his new twig as Bulbasaur pressed a red-hot brand onto his backside, burning the image of a skull and crossbones onto his hiney.

"And I, Brother Bulbasaur, bestow upon you this sacred branding, to show to the world that you're bad to the bone," Bulbasaur said, tossing the brand away and dumping a bucket of water onto Turtwig to cool him off.

"Owowowowow…wait, why don't the rest of you guys have a brand like that?!" Turtwig moaned.

"It's a new rule," Sceptile said.

"Plus, it's the only thing I could think of to give you," Bulbasaur grumbled. "Since I don't need items to look cool." Sceptile and Squirtle glared at him.

"And finally, I bestow upon you this sacred flame, so that you may burn with manliness and coolness and stuff and show all the world how awesome you are," Charizard said, raising a torch.

"Wait, but I'm a Grass-type-" Turtwig began to protest just before Charizard lowered the torch and lit the turtle's head twig on fire. He immediately burst into flames. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH ARCEUS, IT BUUUUURRRRNNNNNSSS!"

Charizard sweatdropped as Turtwig ran away, screaming, "MY HEAD IS ON FIRE MY HEAD IS ON FIRE MY HEAD IS ON FIIIIRRRREEEE!"

"Uh, oops," Charizard said sheepishly as the rest of the brotherhood glared at him. "Guess I should have thought that part through a little more…"

Ash's other Pokemon sweatdropped. "Oy…uh, don't worry, he'll be okay," Pikachu reassured Ash as Squirtle and Sceptile grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed it all over Turtwig, putting out the rogue flame and covering him in foam.

"Is it too late to get different Pokemon for the team I'm using in the big fight?" Ash asked desperately. "Or can I at least use one of those guys instead?"

"Sorry Ash, no can do, I'm not actually here, I'm just a figment of your imagination," Charizard said apologetically. "Only the Sinnoh guys and Pikachu are really here in your dream, since they're dreaming it too. Me? I'm in the Charicific Valley having sex with Charla."

"And I'm having sex with Bayleef on Oak's Ranch," Sceptile spoke up.

"And I'm boning May's Bulbasaur in the same place," said Bulbasaur.

"And I'm…uh…damn, I need to get a girlfriend," Squirtle grumbled.

"We're all rooting for you, though, even though we're not really real," Charizard said cheerfully, punching Ash in the arm and nearly breaking it.

"Ow…thanks…I think…" said a thoroughly confused Ash.

"Ash, my boy, are you ready for your greatest challenge yet?" Professor Oak asked, walking into the room.

"Professor Oak! What're you doing here?" asked a surprised Ash.

"Why, I'm here to see you battle, of course, just as I've come to see you fight in all your other big League finals! With your mother," the famous scientist pointed out. "After all, it's not like I don't have anything more important to be doing, back in my lab…anyway, I'm here to send you off with one of my patented Pokemon poems!"

"Yay?" Ash said uncertaintly.

"Ahem. 'Winners come and go, legends fade and are forgot, nothing lasts for long,'" the professor recited.

"Uh, was that supposed to fill me with confidence?" Ash asked.

"Hmm? No, I was just pointing out that fame is fleeting. Oh yes, all your old rivals came with me, they wanted to say something to you," Oak said as some young men entered the room.

"Ash, I just wanted to tell you that you're the best. You've come farther than I ever could, and all I can say is: congrats. You've done well and I know that whatever happens next, you deserve to win," Gary, the Professor's grandson told Ash, shaking his hand.

"Yeah, what he said," Richie commented, patting Ash on the back.

"Wow…thanks, guys," Ash said, rather touched.

Next was Harrison, who had defeated Ash in the Silver Conference, looking uncomfortable. "Ash, I…have a confession to make." He sighed and closed his eyes. "I cheated in our match."

Ash and all his Pokemon gasped. "WHAT?!" he screamed in disbelief.

"I gave Blaziken super-hot chili before our match so his fire would be really stoked…if it weren't for that, your Charizard would have won," Harrison told Ash.

"Aha! I knew it! I knew it!" Charizard roared triumphantly in the background.

"I'm really sorry, Ash. This has been weighing on me ever since that day. If I hadn't immediately lost to some other trainer in the next round, I would have given you the prize I might've won," Harrison lamented. "I hope you can forgive me for the victory I stole from you, the victory that was rightfully yours."

Ash narrowed his eyes angrily. "If it weren't for the fact that you just told me you CHEATED and kept me from being in the Top 4 of the Silver Conference, I might've. Charizard, kill!"

"With pleasure!" Charizard roared, descending on the screaming Harrison like a flaming angel of death.

"Uh, Ash…" an uneasy Pikachu said as Charizard proceeded to burn Harrison alive.

"What? It's just a dream, so I can get away with something like that, can't I?" Ash pointed out.

"Huh? Oh…yeah, I guess that's a good point," Pikachu admitted.

"Uh, then maybe I shouldn't mention that I also cheated in our match and gave my Meowth steroids…" a nervous Tyson said, edging towards the door.

"WHAT?!" yelled Pikachu, cheeks sparking and electricity flaring up all around him. "Ash…"

"Kill!" Ash ordered, pointing at Tyson, who screamed and ran but couldn't escape Pikachu's lethal electrocution. The enraged mouse poured volt after volt into the cheater's body, causing him to shriek and convulse in agony as his clothes and hair burst into flame until he finally died, a blackened and sizzling form.

Sceptile nodded to himself. "Now it all makes sense…there's no way a Meowth could ever have beaten Pikachu! He had to have been cheating!" He shrugged. "Or at least that's what you and Pikachu think deep down, anyway, which is why this is occurring in your dream. Same with Harrison and Charizard. Just an interesting psychological tidbit."

The purple-haired Paul was next. "Ash, I know I may be a jerk, but I want you to know I never cheated. So-"

"DIIIIIIIEEEE!" Chimchar, eyes red with foam and spittle flecking from his lips shrieked as he pounced on Paul and proceeded to light him on fire and crap all over him with flaming poo and chew his face off.

"Oh my, why are you letting him get away with that? He said he never cheated," said an alarmed Professor Oak. "Or even abused his Pokemon!"

Ash shrugged. "Yeah, but he was an asshole who treated his Pokemon like tools and threw them away when they didn't do as well as he wanted. And nobody likes him anyway. And besides, this is a dream, right? Not like that's the real Paul."

"Er, dream Paul, right…" Oak said nervously, his eyes shifting about. "Anyway, you should probably get going now, your battle will be starting any moment."

"Right! Thanks, Professor! Let's go, everyone!" Ash said, running out of the room. A still-sparking Pikachu, Staraptor, Buizel, a damp Turtwig, and a Chimchar with blood dripping from his fangs and fingers ran after him.

Professor Oak chuckled as he began stuffing the three corpses of Ash's rivals into lockers. "Such a nice boy, isn't he Delia?"

"Oh yes, the best!" said Ash's mother, who was helping to clean up the mess.

As Ash and his team were running down the corridors of the stadium, they turned a corner and abruptly ran into Dawn and May and their teams. (Not literally, thankfully.) "Hey, May, Dawn, what're you guys doing here?" asked a surprised Ash. "And why're you wearing those costumes?"

"Oh, we're both here to enter some big Contest tournament that's conveniently being held in the same building as your Pokemon Master bout to determine who the world's greatest Pokemon Coordinator is," said May, who was wearing a dress that made her look like a Roselia.

"And we're wearing these costumes because the judges said we had to," said Dawn, glancing down at her own outfit, which made her look like a Buneary. "You don't think this is too skimpy, do you?"

Ash shrugged, being too oblivious (as always) to notice anything like that. "It's fine, I guess. If you like that kind of thing."

Blaziken tapped her trainer on the shoulder. "May, we have to hurry, or we'll be late and can't compete. And I want to get this over with quickly, I have a rendezvous with a blind date at six."

"Will there be food?" asked Munchlax.

"Yes, but you can't have any," Blaziken said sternly. "It's a date, which means just two people, not three."

"Okay," Munchlax said with a shrug. "Could use something to eat before the big fight, though." He glanced at Eevee, who squealed in alarm and quickly hid behind May's leg.

"I actually feel ready for this!" Squirtle said bravely. "I feel like I have a whole new backbone, and drank a big steaming vat of courage! Bring our opponents on, I'll take em' all on, with one arm tied behind my back!"

"That's the spirit!" Buizel said, admiring Squirtle's newfound courage. "Hey kid, wanna go one-on-one after I'm through trashing whatever loser we have to fight to be recognized as Pokemon Masters?"

"Sure, why not? I feel like I can take on the whole world!" Squirtle boasted, puffing out his chest.

May glanced at the turtle anxiously. "I'm not sure that's a good idea…"

"Who cares! At least I'm finally being used again, after being dumped at Petalburg Gym for months on end!" Beautifly squeaked happily. "Isn't it great, Skitty?" Skitty was too busy brainlessly chasing her tail to reply. So was Pachirisu, for that matter. Chasing her own tail, that is, not Skitty's.

"I feel ready for this too! Especially now that I've evolved into an all-powerful Empoleon!" Dawn's starter Pokemon, who was no longer a scrawny Piplup, boasted as he flexed his flippers.

"Yeah…how'd that happen, anyway?" Dawn asked Empoleon, who just shrugged.

Buneary nibbled on her fluff a little, pulled it up to hide how red her face was, and tiptoed over to Pikachu. "Um…Pikachu…you'll wish us lots of luck, right?"

"Huh? Um…yeah, sure…of course…" Pikachu said awkwardly, edging away from the bunny a little. Buneary's rather obvious affection for him made him more than a little nervous at times. "I'm sure you guys will do great."

Buneary turned her back to Pikachu for a moment so he couldn't see how giddily happy his comment made her. When she regained some control over herself, she turned back around and moved a little closer to Pikachu. "Th-thank you…and…and I know you'll do great, too…after all, you're…you're the greatest Pokemon in the world…" Much to both their surprise, she leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.

Pikachu started, and his cheek sparked up, and both of them yelped and jumped away from each other. "O-oh gosh…I'm sorry," Pikachu stammered, a horrified look on his face as Buneary cringed away from him, face buried in her fur. "Did-did I hurt you? I'm so sorry, I didn't mean…you just surprised me, and I…"

"N-no, it's okay," Buneary said quickly, looking back up at him. "I shouldn't have been so forward, I just…I…" She swallowed, licked her lips, and looked away. "Actually, I…I kind of liked it…" Pikachu stared at her, eyes wide. She blushed and looked back at him. Their eyes met, and they stared silently at each other for a moment.

Until Buizel started obnoxiously singing, "Pikachu has a girrrlfriend, Pikachu has a girrrlfriend, Pikachu has a YEEEAAAAGGGGHHH!" He was cut off when Pikachu, without even looking, blasted him with several hundred megawatts of electricity. However, even though the otter/weasel thing was shut up, he had reminded the two Pokemon that they were in public, and they both blushed heavily and quickly retreated to the safety of their own trainers, who blinked and gave each other dumbfounded looks, unsure what to make of all this.

In that moment of confused silence, Dawn's Ambipom, who had at one point been Ash's, chose her moment to strike. "Yoink!" In one swift move, she had yanked Ash's hat off his head and ran down the hallway with it on her head, chittering and hooting excitedly. "At last, I shall be QUEEN! Hoohoohahahaha!"

Ash's eyes widened. "Hey…HEY! COME BACK HERE WITH MY HAT!"

"And just come back here, we have a contest to perform!" Dawn added.

"We don't have time to go after her, the competition starts any minute! Dawn, we'll just have to go on without her!" Empoleon said to his trainer, urgently pulling her away.

"But…but…oh, darn!" Dawn sighed, giving in. "Ash, I'm really sorry about this, I promise I'll get you a new hat, but…I have to go!" She and her Pokemon quickly ran off down the hall.

"I sort of have to go too, Ash. Goodbye, and good luck! Sorry about your hat," May said apologetically, as she and her Pokemon rushed off as well.

"Oh damn…Ash, we need to get moving, too!" Pikachu said, tugging on his trainer's hand.

"But-but my HAT!" Ash protested, trying to run down the hall after Ambipom. "I can't go out there without a hat, everyone will see my hat hair and compare me to Goku!"

"Nah, Goku's more of a man than you are," Buizel said derisively.

"Doesn't Goku get bossed around by his wife all the time?" Turtwig asked Buizel. "Just like Ash gets bossed around by Misty?"

Ash's face turned red. "SHE'S NOT-"

"Ash, now's not the time for denial, we have to go, or you'll automatically be disqualified!" Pikachu yelled.

"But my HAT!" Ash cried.

"Oh, here you go, honey," Delia said, handing Ash his very first hat, the one that he had gotten in the mail and that Mankey had stolen at one point, which led to Ash capturing a Primeape. "This one should do. I think you look better in it, anyway."

"Huh? Oh, thanks, Mom! You're a real lifesaver!" said a relieved Ash, putting his hat on, marveling at how familiar and right it felt sitting on his head. "Hey, wait, what're you doing here?"

Delia smiled. "Oh, I'm just a handy plot device to keep the story running. Now you'd better get going, it's time for your big match!"

Ash nodded. "Right, thanks Mom! Come on Pikachu, everyone, let's go!" They hurriedly ran off.

"Such a nice boy," Delia said cheerfully.

After spending a few more minutes running down identical corridors, Ash and his team ran out into the open, finding themselves on an enormous Pokemon battlefield sitting in the middle of an absolutely gigantic stadium, the biggest they had ever been in. The seats were packed with thousands of people, many of whom a surprised Ash thought he recognized as having been people he had met over his many travels. "Whoa…"

"Pretty big, huh?" Pikachu agreed.

"The perfect audience to see me in action!" Buizel said eagerly.

Slowly, almost reverently, Ash stepped into the trainer's box on the end of the field closest to him. As he did, the thousands of spectators immediately began shouting something all at once, and after a few moments of deafness Ash realized that it was his name. "ASH! ASH! ASH! ASH! ASH! ASH! ASH! ASH!" Some people tore their shirts off, revealing that they had painted the letters of his name on their chest. Other people were holding up pictures of his face and waving them proudly in the air.

However, Ash wasn't the only one being cheered for. An equal, if not greater, number of fans on the other side of the stadium were screaming, "PIKACHU! PIKACHU! PIKACHU! PIKACHU!" Dozens of people had painted themselves yellow with red cheeks, and had actual Pikachus with them. A whole block of spectators had small panels that they flipped over which combined to form a giant portrait of Pikachu that loomed down over everyone.

Ash frowned at Pikachu. "What? I can't help it if I'm popular," Pikachu said, somewhat embarrassed.

"That should be my face up there," Buizel fumed.

"Why don't they mention the rest of us? We're here too…" asked Turtwig, disappointed that his initiation into the Brotherhood of Badass hadn't appeared to increase his popularity at all. Staraptor shrugged. Chimchar licked Paul's blood off his fur.

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!" the announcer cried. "WELCOME TO THE ULTIMATE CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE TO DETERMINE WHO WILL BE POKEMON MASTER OF THE WORLD!" The crowd cheered very loudly. "IN ONE CORNER, WE HAVE OUR CHALLENGER, ASH KETCHUM OF PALLET TOWN AND HIS POKEMON TEAM, INCLUDING THE AWESOME AND EVER-LOVABLE PIKACHU!"

"WHOOO! YAAAAAYYYY!" the crowd cheered, as Ash and Pikachu waved.

"You can do it, honey!" Delia called out from her seat next to Professor Oak somewhere in the stands.

"PIKACHU, HAVE MY BABY!" some people yelled, causing Pikachu to flinch and stare at them in disbelief.

"BOOOO! YOU STINK!" yelled the spectators seated in a rather large and exclusive stadium box directly opposite from Ash. Ash was startled to realize that all the people in that box were, in fact, Pokemon. And not just any Pokemon, but legendary Pokemon!

"What the…what're they doing here?! And why aren't they cheering for me?!" Ash demanded.

Pikachu shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe they favor the defending champion."

"Oh. Wait, who is the defending champion?" Ash asked.

Pikachu paused for a moment, a puzzled look on his face. "You know…that's a good question…"

"AND IN THE OTHER CORNER, THE REIGNING CHAMPION, THE CREATOR OF ALL LIFE AND UNQUESTIONABLE RULER OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE…ARCEUUUUUUUS!"

The majority of the spectators abruptly stopped cheering, stunned looks on their faces.The Legendary Pokemon burst into raucous applause. Ash was just confused. "Arceus? A Pokemon?! But Pokemon can't be Pokemon Masters!"

"Uh, Mewtwo?" Pikachu pointed out.

Ash blinked. "Oh, right. Wait, who is this Arceus, anyway? I've never heard of him…"

Pikachu facefaulted. "Ash, first off, you need to pay attention to the world around you more. Second…I think we're completely and thoroughly fucked."

There was a rumble of thunder as storm clouds gathered in the skies above, blotting out the sun. The clouds swirled ominously, causing darkness to fall over the stadium as everyone watched with fear and trepidation. Lightning bolts shot down, crashing down all over the battlefield and causing minor explosions that hurled turf and bits of rock and dirt everywhere, some of it hitting Ash in the face. Without warning, the center of the clouds irised open, allowing a beam of pure light to shine through from above and touch down on side of the field opposite from Ash. And then, as everyone watched in amazement, a single figure began to descend from the clouds, riding down the beam of light to the stadium below.

Trumpets played. Angels sang. (Well, actually, it was just Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, Shaymin, Cresselia, Uxie, Mesprit, Azelf, and, oddly enough, Heatran.) Dialga and Palkia roared. The figure touched down gracefully, and the beam of light faded, though the clouds remained, as did an odd, ethereal radiance emanating from the just-arrived Pokemon, one Ash had never seen before. It was an equine being with a white body, a gray underside, and four pointed feet tipped with golden hooves. It had long mane extending back from its head and its oddly nondescript face, featureless save for two great green eyes. A golden cross-like wheel was attached to the Pokemon's waistline, changing colors rapidly. Even though it was only ten feet tall and all the way on the other side of the stadium, Ash could not help but feel as if it was right in front of him, and bigger than the entire universe. A chill ran down his spine. "Wh-what is that thing?!"

"God," Pikachu said flatly.

"Oh crap…i-is this blasphemy? Are we going to be sentenced to damnation or something for going against Him!? I don't wanna go to Hell!" Turtwig wailed, panicking.

"Wow! This is an even bigger battle than I ever imagined! I get to fight the master and creator of all existence! Now I can REALLY show my skills!" Buizel boasted foolishly.

Ash quickly whipped out his Pokedex and pointed it at Arceus, wanting to know more. His handy device beeped and said, "Arceus, the Alpha Pokemon. It is described in mythology as the Pokemon that shaped the universe with its 1000 arms and was said to be born before the universe existed. Legend says that it created all life, matter, and reality itself, so is the Ultimate being and Godhead. Anyone who even thinks of fighting it or trying to capture it, therefore, is a complete and utter idiot. Nice knowing you."

"Hey!" Ash yelled angrily. "I am not an idiot! And He doesn't have 1000 arms; I only see four legs…" His Pokemon facefaulted.

"Wooooo! Go Arceus! Crush that puny human!" Groudon, seated in an extra-large seat with a baseball hat that had holders and straws for beer cans feeding directly into his mouth and a giant foam hand proclaiming Arceus as number one, yelled enthusiastically.

"Ar-ce-us! Ar-ce-us! Ar-ce-us!" Kyogre bellowed fanatically, her big blue body tattooed to say "I LOVE ARCEUS."

"Eat his soul! And if You don't, can I have it?" Giratina asked hopefully.

"Defend the honor of legendary Pokemon!" Ho-Oh cried.

"Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!" screeched Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno.

Regigas, Regirock, Regice, and Registeel, flashed something on their many eyes that essentially translated to, 'Annihilate the tiny fleshling.'

"Looks like we'll be getting some company soon," the ghost of Latios said to the ghost of Lucario, both of whom were wearing 'Arceus is the Alpha and Omega!' T-shirts.

Lucario nodded. "Indeed. Can you pass the popcorn?" Latios did so.

"Sorry Ash…but I'm gonna have to root for Arceus instead of you. He's family, after all. Really sorry," Latias said apologetically. She snuggled up against Rayquaza, who was waving a large pennant with Arceus' face on it.

"Yeah, me too…" Lugia sighed. "Sorry. You're still my Chosen One, though. No hard feelings?"

The cute Legends, (and Heatran) waved around pompoms and did a cheer, led by Mew, who was wearing a T-shirt with a big heart and a picture of her and Arceus' faces in it. "Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? Which universe did He create? Of all the gods, only He is Great! Oh yeah, go Arceus, Arceus, the Origin of All! Hooray!"

"Bah, he's not so great…" Mewtwo grumbled, which resulted in him getting booed and pelted by everyone else's popcorn, hotdogs, soda, beer, and other snacks.

"I say, isn't this a marvelous dream, dearest?" Darkrai, wearing a monocle, top hat, tuxedo, and bow tie asked his beloved.

"Indeed, it is," Cresselia, wearing an elegant gown, pearls, and opera glasses agreed. "But Darkrai…why are we speaking in British accents?"

"Because it's fun! And you can get away with saying ridiculous things like pip-pip and cheerio without anyone looking at you funny!" Darkrai said cheerfully, ignoring the weird looks everyone else was giving him.

Cresselia sweatdropped. "Ah, yes…of course…"

"Young one, are you prepared to battle?" Arceus asked Ash. His voice wasn't telepathic, yet Ash could have sworn he heard it in his head…as well as right beside his ears…and just about everywhere else, too.

"Um, I guess so…" asked Ash, starting to get a little nervous.

"THE WINNER OF THIS BATTLE WILL RECEIVE THIS COMMEMORATIVE BADGE," the announcer declared as one of the giant electronic screens all over the stadium turned on to display the image of a small red heptagonal badge with a golden center and a big P in the middle. "AND BE RECOGNIZED AROUND THE WORLD AS BEING A POKEMON MASTER!" The crowd cheered, and the Legendaries booed.

"Ash, are you sure this is a good idea?" Pikachu asked, getting a little anxious. "I'm sure there's gotta be a better way to become a Pokemon Master."

"No, I'm not afraid," Ash lied, staring down Arceus and trying not to tremble. "I can do this! We can win! Everybody's counting on me, so there's no way I can lose!"

"Try not to lose so badly, dear!" Delia called to Ash, causing him to facefault. "You'll only humiliate yourself!"

"Great…glad to see everyone believes in me…" Ash said sarcastically. He glanced around. "Where are all my other friends, anyway? Where's Brock, and Max, and Misty, and Dawn, and May?"

"They're all in their own dreams," Pikachu explained. "Dawn and May are having a contest, remember? And Max is probably watching them or doing something else. I don't really know what everyone else is dreaming…"

"What, we couldn't get Tracey here to sit nearby and offer some encouragement? Or maybe even Todd?!" Ash asked, getting frustrated.

Pikachu shrugged. "I guess not. Sorry."

Ash sighed in exasperation. "Glad to see my friends know where their priorities are…"

Pikachu glanced around. "Well…Politoed's over there. Does that count?"

"Huh?" Ash looked where Pikachu was pointing.

Misty's Politoed and Togetic (as well as Ash's Donphan) were dancing around with fans and kimonos, leading Gary's old cheerleading squad in a cheer for Ash. "Go go Ash, give 'em a bash, let's get started on a monster mash! Oo-rah, sis-boom-bah, put up a fight so we can go rah-rah-rah! Woo, Ash! You've gotten in, though you probably won't win, but that's okay, to us you'll never go in the garbage bin! Goooooo Ash!"

Ash sweatdropped. "Is that supposed to make me feel better?"

"At least somebody's cheering for you," Pikachu said.

"They're acting like I'm going to lose!" Ash protested.

"Well, that's because you probably are…" Pikachu admitted reluctantly.

Ash glared at him. "Don't you mean 'we'? You're fighting to."

Pikachu's ears sagged. "Oh great. Thanks for reminding me…"

"This is gonna be the greatest battle ever!" Buizel cheered.

"We're so fucked," whimpered Turtwig. "We're all gonna die."

"Well, I'd rather go out with you guys than a jerk like Paul, anyway," Chimchar said. "Speaking of which, if this is the end, I'm glad I got to kill him before it was too late."

"NOW, LET THE BATTLE BEGIN IN 3…2…1…GOOOOOOOOOOO!"

And then the most important Pokemon battle in Ash's life began.

Meanwhile, May, Dawn, and both their teams had made it to the contest stage, a platform resembling a Pokemon battlefield in the center of an open stadium not too different from the one Ash was currently in. The hundreds of spectators in the stands cheered wildly as the girls and their Pokemon entered the arena, much to the two coordinators' surprise. "Wow…they really like us, don't they?" asked an awestruck Dawn.

"I guess so," said May, with a big smile on her face as she waved at the crowd. "I guess they're expecting us to put on a great show!"

"Go May! We know you'll do great!" May's mother, Caroline, called from the stands.

"Yes, you'll be the best, honey! All of us from Petalburg are rooting for you!" May's dad, the famous and super-cool Petalburg Gym Leader Norman, added.

"WOOO! GO, NORMAN'S DAUGHTER! WIN, WIN, WIN!" cheered the rather large membership of Norman's fan club, arrayed around the Gym Leader's seat.

"MARRY ME, NORMAN'S DAUGHTER, MARRY ME!" One crazy fan screamed.

May sweatdropped. "My name is May, not Norman's daughter…"

Max, sitting beside his parents, looked bored. "Big whoop, yet another big coordinator battle. This'd be, what, the fourth championship thing May's been in? Bet she'll lose it just like she did the last three."

"Max, that's no way to talk about your sister!" Caroline scolded Max.

"Yeah, well it's the truth," Max said bluntly. "I see no reason to watch her fail again, I lost interest in Pokemon Coordination after watching her do like a million contests and watch the tapes from the ones she's been in over and over and over again, supposedly to do better, but really because she wants to watch her 'boyfriend' Drew in action. I'd rather go watch Ash's big battle over in the arena next door, even if he's pretty much lost more big championships than May, at least it was more interesting. And his Pokemon were cooler. Especially his Pikachu. I wish I were a Pikachu, they're so cool."

"That they are, son, that they are," Norman agreed. "Why, I'd get a Pikachu myself, if it didn't conflict with my Gym theme." There was a pause. "Oh, and those were very nasty things to say about your sister. You should be ashamed of yourself. No ice cream or dessert for a week, young man."

"Oh no, whatever will I do," Max said sarcastically. "No ice cream or dessert? The horror…"

Dawn's mother was there too, sitting in a different area, and was cheering for her daughter. "Dawn, this is it, the big time, what you've been working so hard for! Whatever happens here today, you'll always be my winner!" Johanna called to Dawn.

"Mine too! Even though you've only gotten one ribbon, despite being in like half a dozen different contests…" Johanna's Glameow muttered to herself.

As the two Coordinators and their Pokemon approached the stage, a pretty woman standing nearby, in front of three people sitting behind a set of podiums, waltzed out onto the field and waved to the crowd. "Hello, everyone! Welcome, coordinators and spectators alike, to the Supreme Festival! Here, today, the greatest Pokemon Coordinator in the world will be chosen from among the ranks of all the brave men and women who have struggled so hard to make it to this point! I'm Marian, your Emcee, here to announce and comment on the day's events to all our viewers!" As the crowd cheered, Marian turned around and gestured to the three people behind her. "With me are our three judges, the Pokemon contest director, Mr. Contesta; the head of the Pokemon fanclub, Mr. Sukizo, and our very own Nurse Joy!"

"Hello everyone, I think we're going to have a wonderful round of battles today!" said Mr. Contesto.

"Remarkable!" said Mr. Sukizo.

"This should be a contest to remember!" Nurse Joy said cheerfully.

"And now, I'd like you all to welcome our top Coordinators!" Marian said, turning to May and Dawn…and hesitating, a look of confusion on her face. "Wait. Why are there only two of you?"

May and Dawn blinked. "Um…why shouldn't there be?" asked May.

"We were just told to dress up in costumes and come over here, we didn't know anything about any other people," said a puzzled Dawn.

"But…there's supposed to be twenty-four of you! Twenty-four of the world's top Coordinators, competing against each other for the grand title of the world's best! Where're the other twenty-two?!" Marian demanded. It was at that point someone ran over to her from the sidelines, handed her something, then ran back. She quickly glanced at it, did a double-take, and read it carefully. Then she sighed and looked up. "Everyone, I'm afraid we have a bit of a dilemma. It seems that the bus transporting the other Coordinators here from their hotel drove into a space warp and is now lost in some other dimension."

"WHAT?!" cried a horrified Dawn, May, the judges, and just about everyone else.

In said other dimension…

"Well, this bites," Drew grumbled, looking out of the window of the bus at the psychedelic colors, random Unown, and the occasional Deoxys floating by. "I'm trapped in another dimension, missed out on a chance to beat May again…" He turned around and glared at the person sitting next to him. "And I'm stuck here with you."

"Well, excuse me for being here, I'm not particularly happy about this either," Harley huffed, crossing his arms and pouting. "I was looking forward to beating May into the ground, too! Oh well, at least this gives us some quality time together." Drew's eyes widened in horror, and he edged as far away from Harley as he possibly could.

"So, Kenny, right?" the red-headed Zoey asked Kenny, Dawn's childhood friend and semi-rival. "You know Dawn too?"

He nodded. "Yeah."

"Who do you think she likes more, me or you?" Zoey asked. Kenny blinked and stared at her.

Back at the stadium…

"How're we supposed to compete if everyone else is gone?!" May demanded of Marian.

Marian frowned thoughtfully. "Well…that's a good question. Judges, what do you think? Should we just postpone this until our other contestants find their way home…which, realistically, might never happen…or should we try and go forward anyway, even with just two contestants?"

"Hmm…well, we went to all the trouble of organizing this, it would be a shame to end it just because we're missing a few contestants. Why not just have these two fine young ladies duke it out to the title? It would have come to two people fighting for it anyway, this way we can skip straight to the finals without all the other preliminaries!" suggested Mr. Contesta.

"That's a remarkable idea!" said Mr. Sukizu.

"Well, all right, why not?" said Nurse Joy amiably.

"There you have it, ladies gentlemen! These two contestants, May from Petalburg and Dawn from Twinleaf, will fight each other for the title of world's greatest Coordinator!" Marian declared, causing the crowd to cheer. "The winner of this contest will receive a special commemorative ribbon…" One of the giant television screens displayed a magnificent ribbon with a golden heart-shaped badge with sparkling wings, a crown, and a glittering diamond set in the middle with beautiful rainbow-colored ribbons artfully growing out from and around it. "As well as a lifetime supply of Poffin and Pokeblock!" The screen changed to show twin mountains of Pokeblock and Poffin. Munchlax and Pachirisu started drooling. "Not to mention a complete set of Pokemon evolutionary items!" The screen changed to show a box with a plush interior holding a Fire Stone, Water Stone, Thunderstone, Leaf Stone, Moon Stone, Sun Stone, Dawn Stone, Shiny Stone, Dusk Stone, Oval Stone, Protector, Magmarizer, Electrizer, Metal Coat, King's Rock, Dragon Scale, DeapSeaScale, DeepSeaTooth, Reaper Cloth, Upgrade, and Dubious Disc.

Eevee gasped. "Wow! If I get one of those, then I can finally evolve and stop being treated like a baby all the time!"

"Wow…that's a lot of prizes…" said an amazed Dawn.

"Yeah, but you're gonna have to beat me, a much more experienced Coordinator, to get them! Think you can do it?" May taunted Dawn.

"Uh…" Dawn uneasily glanced at her team, which was indeed less experienced and also smaller than May's. "I don't know…but I'm certainly going to try!"

"Not just try, we're gonna WIN!" Empoleon boasted, pointing a flipper in Blaziken's face.

She smacked it away. "We'll see about that, marching-boy. We're gonna rip through you guys and still have time for me to get to my blind date! "

"And then I'll evolve!" declared Eevee.

"And I'll eat!" Munchlax said happily.

"And I'll actually get to do something for a change!" Beautifly said ecstatically.

"And I'm going to catch my tail!" said Skitty. She noticed her tail wagging out of the corner of her eye, squealed, and started chasing it. Everyone sweatdropped.

"I have to win…" Buneary murmured to herself. "So I can show Pikachu that I can fight and take care of myself, just like he can!"

"And I'll fight, too," Pachirisu squeaked. "So I can have all that Poffin! It'll give me enough juice to run around the world! Fifty times! Maybe more!"

Dawn gave the squirrel a wary look. "Will we ever see you again, after you've eaten all that candy?"

"Probably not. I think her heart would explode at some point, from all the energy she'll get…she's already way too hyperactive as is," commented Empoleon. "Even worse than that Skitty."

May sweatdropped, glancing at her Skitty. "Seriously?"

Dawn nodded morosely. "Yeah, at least your Skitty doesn't randomly blast people with electricity when it gets too excited…which is pretty much all the time."

"Yeah, like right now!" Pachirisu cried enthusiastically, blasting everyone with blue electricity. "Because I'm soooooooo stoked about this contest, and the Poffin I'm going to get! I'm just a bundle of nerves! Weeee!" She started running in circles, discharging even more electricity and zapping Marian and the judges.

"Remarkable!" a blackened and sizzling Mr. Sukizo said brightly.

Marian, her hair smoking and pretty much ruined, coughed and weakly raised her microphone. "Koff Let's just get this show on the road, before anything else happens…" The microphone exploded in her face, covering it with soot. Her eye twitched. "Dammit…"

Brock blinked, looking around in confusion. "Huh? What am I doing here? Why am I wearing a tuxedo? Why am I standing at the altar in a church?" He gapsed. "Ohmigosh…I must be getting MARRIED!"

"That's right, Brock, you are," Brock's father Flint, also wearing a tuxedo, said proudly to his son. "Congratulations!"

"I can't believe my little boy is finally getting married…" Brock's mother, Lola, sitting with the rest of Brock's family in the front row of the groom's side of the chapel sobbed.

"Yay, I'm going to get a new mommy!" Happiny said happily, clapping her hands together.

"Wow, this is so cool! I never thought my big brother would actually get married! I figured he's be a bachelor (and virgin) forever!" commented Brock's brother, Forrest.

"Same here…all of us figured Brock'd never find a girlfriend," commented Geodude.

"Yeah, considering how socially awkward he is, plus how he always loses his mind and goes gaga whenever he sees a pretty woman," added Steelix.

"And since he always gets cut off by Misty…" started Crobat.

"Or Max," said Forretress.

"Or Croagunk," said Ludicolo. "Oh, and occasionally Bonsly."

"He's very rarely gotten the chance to finish flirting with someone," said Marshtomp. "Probably for the best, otherwise Brock'd have a ton of sexual harassment suits on his hands."

"Definitely," all of Brock's Pokemon agreed.

Brock sweatdropped. "Wow, glad to see how much my Pokemon really care…"

"Don't worry, Brocko, alla that's behind you now!" said Sudowoodo, smacking Brock on the back and almost knocking him over. "Just look, now that you're getting married, all the other women that've turned you down or ignored you desperately want you! You've become a hot commodity!"

He gestured with an arm to a window, through which Brock could see Soledad, Cheryl, Sabrina, Erika, Janine, Whitney, Jasmine, Clair, Roxanne, Flannery, Winona, Gardenia, Greta, Lucy, Prima, Achiko, Madison, Alexa, Arielle, Arisa, Bailey, Calista, Cassandra, Chigusa, Queen Eileen, some electrician babe, Latoya AKA Gligargirl, Grace, Hinata, Iya, Izuna, Janet, Julie, Kakuri, Katrina, the Kimono Sisters, Lokoko, Lara Laramie, Lilian, Lily, Lisa, that other Lisa, Luka, Madeline, Mariah, Melanie, Michelle, Momoko, Rita, Nicole, Neesha, that Princess from the Mirage Kingdom, Pietra, Rochelle, Bianca, Samantha, Shinobu, Stella, Sunrisa, Suzie, Tammy, Temaku, Trinity, Trixie, Tsuguyo, Wilhemina, Yoko, Honoka, Rhonda, Florinda, Olesia, Miki, Dr. Anna, Andrea, Krystal, Naomi, Dr. Abby, Millie, Professor Sarina, Katie, Rhoda, her sister Rhonda, Yuma, Clara, Halie, Oralie, Theresa, Forsythia, Haru, Natsu, every Officer Jenny, every Nurse Joy, and…well…pretty much every other girl Brock has ever fell in love with, which is quite a lot. "WAAAAHHH! BROCK, WE LOVE YOU! SAY IT ISN'T SO!" they screamed as they pressed against the police line (noticeably absent of Jennies) that was trying to keep them away from the church.

"Whoa," said the amazed Brock.

"I know, impressive, isn't it?" said Flint. "But they can't have you! That ship has sailed, because now, on this day, you're about to be united with your one true love in holy matrimony!"

"Uh…" Brock glanced at the bride's side of the chapel and noticed there was absolutely nobody sitting there. "Just who am I getting married to, today?"

Flint laughed and smacked his son on the back, almost knocking him over. "Oh, you kidder! You know who it is! There's nobody else it could possibly be!"

A terrified expression formed on Brock's face. "Oh no…don't tell me it's….PROFESSOR IVY!"

"No, she's dead," said Sudowoodo.

"Oh." Brock sighed in relief. "But then who…"

He was interrupted when the Bridal March began playing on the nearby pipe organ. "No more time for that, Brock, your future wife is coming!" Flint said, patting Brock on the shoulder. "Good luck!"

"Yeah…and if I'm lucky, I might be having a wedding of my own soon too. Apparently your luck with women is rubbing off on me, I have a blind date at six, right after the wedding reception is over!" He winked at Brock and elbowed his trainer. "If I play my cards right, neither of us will be sleeping alone tonight, if you get what I mean, heheheheheh!"

"Uh, yeah, I think I do…" Brock said. He'd probably be more enthusiastic about the prospect of getting laid if he had any idea just who he was doing it with. He honestly had no idea who he was supposed to be getting married to today! It made him wonder how the heck he had agreed to have a wedding if he didn't even know who his bride was in the first place…

The big doors at the other end of the church opened, and the bride entered, wearing a beautiful white dress with a veil going down over her face to hide what she looked like. This made Brock even more nervous. Now, not only did he not know who his future wife was, he didn't even know if she was pretty or not! For all he knew, she could be butt-ugly! Or even worse, she could be shudders Jessie…

"Here she comes," Sudowoodo whispered, giving Brock a good squeeze on the shoulder…despite not having any hands. "Time for your big moment! It's showtime!"

"Yay?" Brock said uncertainly.

Elsewhere…

The hazy air of the casino was thick with tension as two archenemies stared each other down from opposite sides of a table, poker faces on and cards held tightly before them. One of them was an evil mastermind, about to unleash his ultimate plan, while his foe…was possibly the only man who could save the world. The hero's lover and the archfiend's minions watched with trepidation from the sidelines as the two nemeses faced off, well aware that the results of this final hand could very well decide the fate of the free world.

Slowly, a cold smirk formed on Giovanni's face as he stroked the Persian in his lap with a free hand. "Well, Agent 054…this has been a long and exciting game, but I'm afraid that it must come, at last, to an end. Your luck has finally run out!" His smirk widened into a grin as he lay the cards in his hand onto the table. "Behold! I use the Spell Card Fusion Evolution to combine my three Blue Eyes White Dragonites to create the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragonite! Then I play another Spell Card, Megamorphosis, which boosts my monster's life points to 8000, more than enough to crush your Pokegyptian God Cards!"

Giovanni's minions oohed and awed at their boss's move, while the hero's girlfriend squealed in fright, certain that her lover was doomed. Agent 054, however, retained the same vacant expression on his face he usually had, not in the least bit worried. "Duck. Psyduck duck." He laid a few more cards down, and then made a shocking play.

The minions gasped in astonishment, and Giovanni sharply inhaled, a horrified look on his face. "No! It can't be!"

"Wigglytuff!" the hero's girlfriend cried joyfully, bouncing up and down with glee.

"No way! By sacrificing Rayquaza the Sky Dragon and Winged Groudon of Ra, Agent 054's increased Kyogre the Tormentor's power to infinite levels!" cried one of the minions.

"More than enough to defeat the boss's Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragonite!" added another minion.

Giovanni's face turned red with rage, and his Persian yowled in alarm as the crime boss abruptly rose to his feet and knocked all the cards off the table with a sweep of his hand. "Curse you, Spy Duck! You may have beaten me at my own game, but I shall still win in the end! Attack him, my ninja minions!"

Instantly, about a dozen ninja henchmen and ninja Pokemon (Venomoth, Golbat, Ninjask, Shedinja, Scyther, Scizor, etc) appeared out of nowhere to surround Psyduck while Giovanni and his goons quickly escaped through a back entrance, dragging Wigglytuff with them. "WIGGLYTUFFTUFF!" Wigglytuff shrieked in alarm as she was carried off, reaching desperately for Psyduck as she vanished through the door.

Psyduck's eyes narrowed slightly. Then they went vacant again and he held his head, tilting it to the side and going, "Psy-ai-ai-ai-ai!" A laugh track played. Then the ninjas attacked.

"Hello, and welcome back to Who's Your Daddy, the world's premiere show for helping illegitimate children reunite with the parents they never knew!" said a Kadabra wearing a cheesy suit and an even cheesier toupee. "I'm your host, Chet Dabra, and now that that lovely commercial break is over, we can introduce our next guest, Azurill from Cerulean City!" A spotlight switched on and shone down on the nervous and slightly scared Azurill, sitting in a chair on a stage before a live audience, who all clapped and hooted and cheered as they saw her. "Azurill, tell us why you're here today!"

"Umm…" Azurill fidgeted nervously. "W-well, I don't know who my daddy is. My mommy had me, and I was given to the Gym Leader Misty as a gift by her trainer Tracey Sketchit, but I have no idea who my daddy is. And…and I really wanna know…" She sniffed and started tearing up. "B-because all of Misty's sister's Pokemon pick on me for not knowing who my daddy is, and call me names, and…and they're really meaaaaannn!" She burst into tears, and the audience made noises of sympathy.

"Well, that's very sad, Azurill…but you have nothing to worry about! Today, we're going to find out who your father is!" The audience cheered. "Now, let's introduce our first guest, your mother, Tracey's Marill!"

Another spotlight switched on, revealing a Marill, sitting in a chair several feet away from Azurill's. (To avoid lawsuits and vicious on-stage fights. Not that those didn't happen anyway.) "Huh? What am I doing here?" asked the confused Marill.

Azurill gasped. "Mommy?"

Marill blinked. "Honey? What's going on?"

"Ms. Tracey's Marill, we've brought you here today to answer a very important question…who is your daughter's father?" Chet asked Marill, thrusting a microphone into her face.

Marill started. "W-well…"

"Come on Mommy, tell me! You've never said before, but you have to now!" Azurill insisted.

Marill flushed. "Well…you see…I'm sorry honey, but the reason I've never told you before is because…I honestly don't know!" There were several gasps from the audience, and Azurill.

"What's this? You don't know?!" asked Chet, feigning surprise.

"No…you see…" Marill flushed. "I've never told anyone before, but…the night I conceived Azurill was the night of Ash Ketchum's return from the Johto League, and we had a big party at Professor Oak's lab to celebrate him making it into the Top 8 of the Silver Conference. I…had a little too much to drink, and, well…I slept with a few Pokemon. One of them must be Azurill's father, but…I honestly don't know which one! I was drunk, and there were so many of them…" She gave her daughter an apologetic look. "I'm sorry, honey…I never wanted you to know, because it shamed me so and I didn't want you to feel the same way…I'm really sorry!"

"…Mommy! How could you!" Azurill squeaked loudly. "I thought you were a fine, upstanding Pokemon, not a…not a woman of loose morals!" The audience gasped, and Marill cringed.

"Whuh-oh, looks like we've got a little familial dispute here! Good thing their seats are far apart…" Chet muttered. "But this still leaves the question of who is Azurill's father! Fortunately, our team of forensic experts, reconstructionists, and snoops, through painstaking and invasive research and investigation, have managed to identify the three people Marill slept with on the night of the party who could potentially be Azurill's father, and brought them here today! Now, while we wait for the DNA testing we're doing through samples we took without anyone noticing to come back and tell us without a doubt who the father us, let's introduce Azurill to the three men who may or may not be her daddy!"

"Wait, why can't you just wait until you get positive results on the DNA test then introduce us to the one man who's my baby's father?!" asked an alarmed Marill.

"Because this way will eat up time and give us more ratings. Now! Introducing father candidate number 1…Ash's Totodile!" A spotlight turned on, illuminating a chair on the opposite side of the stage which a rather nervous Totodile was sitting in. For once, he was not jumping or dancing for joy.

"Um…hi…" he said quietly.

Marill gasped. "You?! Wait…yes…I remember now…you were there, weren't you? And you…" She gasped again. "You gave me a drink! Did you-"

"No!" Totodile protested. "I-I didn't slip you anything! You had already drank a little, and…well…I didn't know that a little more would put you, you know, over the edge."

Marill frowned. "Then…you didn't take advantage of me?"

Totodile smiled faintly. "Ha! If anything, you took advantage of me…you were coming onto me, very forcefully, might I add. But, well…I didn't mind terribly…I've always had a sort of soft spot for Marills…" He blushed and looked away, embarrassed. Marill fidgeted, also looking embarrassed.

"You know, I always thought it might be you," Azurill commented, bouncing happily on the ball of her tail.

"Don't be so sure it is, though," Chet said warningly. "Remember, we still have two more candidates, and those DNA tests haven't come back yet…now, let me introduce the second potential father, Ash's Bulbasaur!"

A second spotlight came on, illuminating a chair right next to Totodile's. Ash's Bulbasaur was sitting in it, looking anxious. The audience gasped, as did Totodile, Marill, and Azurill. "You?!" Totodile cried in astonishment. "But you're in a relationship with May's Bulbasaur!"

"Uh, actually, I didn't meet her until later…" Bulbasaur pointed out.

Totodile blinked. "Oh, right."

"You and I…we…" a shocked Marill inquired.

Bulbasaur fidgeted. "Well, the thing is…I've…always admired you…ever since we met and fought alongside each other for a while with our trainers in the Orange Islands. And then, when Ash left me behind at Professor Oak's to keep the peace among the Pokemon there, I had a chance to get to know you better, and…" He flushed. "Well…I kinda started to like you. So, at the party, I took a chance and started talking to you. And…you seemed pretty receptive. Moreso than I thought. Than you started coming on to me. Then…well…you know, one thing led to another and we slept together." He looked at the ground. "I…didn't know you'd been drinking a lot. I guess I had had a little too much too, and…my head wasn't on straight. I'm really sorry."

"…I'm sorry, too," Marill said, not sure how to feel about this.

"Man, May's Bulbasaur is gonna be pissed if she finds out you already have a kid with someone else," Totodile said half-jokingly.

"You're right, I am!" May's Bulbasaur yelled from the audience.

"Oooohhh," the spectators went, anticipating a fight.

Ash's Bulbasaur went very pale. "Oh, shit…"

"Well, looks like we have some relationship strife, folks!" Chet said, looking way too amused about all this. "But let's forget about that for now since we only have a couple minutes left before the next break, and introduce our final candidate…" A third spotlight switched on, revealing…Manaphy?!

The audience gasped, while everyone else just gave the Prince of the Sea confused looks. "Uh…who the hell is that guy?" asked a bewildered Bulbasaur.

"I'm Manaphy, Prince of the Sea!" Manaphy declared proudly. They stared at him blankly. "You know, the Legendary Water Pokemon!" They stared at him blankly.

"Don't you mean Kyogre?" asked a confused Totodile.

"No, no... That'd be Lugia," an equally confused Bulbasaur noted.

"What?! No, that's…ugh, never mind," Manaphy grunted in exasperation.

"I don't remember sleeping with you…" said a puzzled Marill.

"Uh, no, you probably wouldn't…" Manaphy said uneasily, eyes darting about.

"So, Manaphy! Care to explain how you could have slept with Marill since you weren't even born up until a few months ago?" Chet asked, shoving the microphone in Manaphy's face.

"Wait, what?!" Marill shrieked.

"How the…the hell? How's that work?!" cried Bulbasaur.

"If they did sleep together, wouldn't that be statutory rape?" asked Totodile.

"No, that only counts for humans," said Bulbasaur.

"Oh, okay."

"I'm confused…" complained Azurill.

Manaphy fidgeted. "Uh, well, you see…yeah, I was just born a few months ago. Or reincarnated, or whatever. But how I got to that party…well, kind of a funny story. You see, it just so happens that a few weeks ago, the Legendaries were having a party for something…somebody's five billionth birthday, I think…and I got a little sloshed and started hitting on Celebi. But she didn't take to that very well, and…kinda sorta threw me into a time warp. And I popped out at Professor Oak's party. And I was pissed and all, but figured, hey, a party's a party, so I tried to mingle, ran into Marill, who was really sloshed, so much she barely knew up from down, and had just gotten done with both Totodile and Bulbasaur, and she was willing, so…"

"You took advantage of me?!" shrieked Marill.

"Um. I guess that's one way of looking at it…" Manaphy said quietly. The audience booed and would have thrown garbage at him if they hadn't been forced to leave all throwable objects at the door when coming in to see the show. Another precaution against lawsuits.

"You scum!" Bulbasaur snarled angrily.

"That's just wrong!" said Totodile. "I mean, you were even younger than Marill when you did that!"

"My species matures pretty fast…" Manaphy said, by way of explanation. "And I was drunk, and so was she, and we were both willing sexually active Pokemon, so…"

"You're disgusting," Marill growled.

"I really hope he's not my daddy…" Azurill whimpered.

"And on that discordant note, it's time to go to commercial!" the Kadabra said cheerfully. "When we get back, the results of the DNA test will be revealed, and we'll finally learn who Azurill's father is! No way you'll wanna miss that bit of family drama! So, stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of this episode of Who's Your Daddy!"

Misty Waterflower was not having a good day.

Her Psyduck had run off to be a famous movie star. Her Azurill was on television trying to learn who her father was. Her Politoed was off forming a big cheerleading group. Her best friend and crush, Ash Ketchum, was having some big match to see if he was the world's greatest Pokemon Master and he hadn't invited her, Brock was having a wedding and he also hadn't invited her, she was stuck at Cerulean Gym having to fight wannabe trainers all day…

And her sisters were being as huge a pain as ever.

Misty slammed a tub of cleaning supplies on the kitchen table, grabbing the attention of her three gorgeous and completely brainless sisters, Daisy (who had been chatting on the phone with someone while doing her nails), Violet (who had been chatting on the phone while doing her nails and reading a stupid fashion magazine), and Lily (who had at one point been chatting on the phone while doing her nails, combing her hair, and reading a stupid fashion magazine, but had stopped at some point and started staring at the fluorescent lights in the ceiling for the last several minutes.) "Daisy. Why have you been giving out free badges again, despite my telling you repeatedly that it's a very, very bad thing to do? Violet. Why haven't you fed OR cleaned your own Pokemon, like I've told you you need to several times? Lily. Why haven't you cleaned the pool, and why the HELL are you just staring at the ceiling?!"

Daisy pouted. "Like, I always feel so bad for the little things. I mean, to get here most of them had to come through that icky dark dank Mt. Moon or walk through forests full of disgusting yucky gross Bug Pokemon, and then a lot of them just get creamed by your super-tough Water Pokemon and have to go to the Pokemon Center, so why not give them a break and let them get an easy Badge without fighting for a change?"

"I was going to do it, but then I got a call from my girlfriend, who had, like, this totally wicked gossip to tell me about her sister's second cousin's hairdresser's ex-husband's girlfriend's boyfriend's mother's niece's pet's sitter's doctor's Pokemon which I just HAD to listen to, and then I, like, realized my nails needed a touch-up, and there was this totally scandalous article in Lives of the Elite and Famous about how Lorelei's been cheating on Lance with Bruno and Agatha's shagging up with Koga, and…I dunno…I sort of, like, lost track of time," said Violet with a carefree shrug.

"And I was going to do it, but I was talking to one of my girlfriends, and fixing my hair, and trimming my nails, and reading a mind-blowing article on hairdressing, when I looked up at the ceiling and thought, whoa, how do those fluorescent thingies work? They're so long and bright and waaaayyy differenter than regular lightbulbs, and they're so shiny and stuff, so I just started looking at them and wondering and…uh…" Lily trailed off as she stared back up at the lights again, hypnotized by their luminance. She started drooling a little.

Misty's eye twitched. She was very, very close to losing it and murdering her sisters. "Okay, first of all…Daisy, if you keep giving out free badges, the Pokemon League will shut us down for not following proper procedure. That's something I've told you, like, a dozen times now. Violet, taking care of your Pokemon is much more important than all that other stuff. And Lily…STOP STARING AT THE CEILING LIGHTS!"

Lily started and almost fell out of her chair. "Huh? What?"

"The three of you can't keep acting like this!" Misty yelled at her sisters. "You're grown women! It's not right for you to pile all the work you don't want to do on me!"

Daisy yawned. "Don't have such a Miltank, Misty…"

"Yeah, why should we waste our time doing that stuff when you're perfectly willing to do it for us?" asked Violet. "If we did all that work, we wouldn't look nearly as pretty, we'd be as plain and dull-looking as, well, you." Misty's teeth ground together.

"And besides, there's nothing wrong with this arrangement. Like, remember those three absolutely drop-dead gorgeous sisters whom everybody loved and adored, and they had a younger and less prettier sister they hid from public who did all the chores and housework and stuff? They all lived happily ever after, didn't they?" Lily said.

Misty stared at her clearly brain-dead sister in incredulity for a moment. "…That's a fairy tale, Lily. Plus, Cinderella, the younger and less pretty sister, wound up marrying a handsome prince, while the three beautiful sisters eventually starved to death because they were too brainless and lazy to feed themselves."

There was a long, uncomfortable pause. "Oh…um…" Lily fumbled, not sure what else to say.

"Well…that could never happen to us! I mean, we're way too pretty to, like, just starve, I'm sure we could find somebody to mooch off of or something," Violet said quickly. "I mean, everyone loves us, we're the Sensational Waterflower Sisters."

"Yeah, that's why they always come to our shows and stuff!" Daisy agreed.

"Shows…right…speaking of which, when's the last time you three put one on?" Misty asked coolly.

The sisters paused. Gave each other uncertain looks. "Umm…"

Misty nodded slowly. "Yeah, that's what I thought. You haven't put on any shows lately because it's been easier for you to just coast along, do nothing, and let ME do all the work!"

"Well, why should we work?" Violet argued. "I mean, it'd just, like, totally make us ugly and plain-looking." They shuddered at that thought. "It's way easier to just let you do all the work. Or, if it's such a big deal," She rolled her eyes to show that she clearly thought Misty was making much ado out of nothing. "We can just clear out, find some rich boyfriends, get married, and live the rest of our lives as gorgeous trophy wives who never have to do anything but look pretty for the camera and spend lots and lots of money on fantastic and totally expensive outfits, beauty products, and other extravagant junk."

Misty gave her sisters a disgusting look. "…And that's all you want out of your lives? To be trophy wives?! That's your entire ambition?!"

The sisters looked at each other for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah, sounds right," said Lily.

"Pretty sure that's what we want," agreed Daisy.

"It's certainly easier than doing work and getting a job or whatever sort of dull lifestyle you'll wind up with, little sister. I mean, look! You already have tons of calluses from all that 'hands-on, physical labor' you do," said Violet.

"And you'll get even more from all the drudgery and housework and stuff you're gonna do when you get older and (maybe) get married," added Lily. While Misty was extremely insulted by this, she found herself oddly impressed that Lily even knew a complex word like 'drudgery'.

"And then you'll get crow's feet."

"And, like, split ends! And gray hair!"

"Oh, and don't forget the wrinkles. Ewww." All three idiot siblings made faces at that concept.

Misty raised an eyebrow. "And what makes you think you won't get those, too? Every woman does, it's a process of something called 'aging' which nobody is immune to."

Daisy shrugged carelessly. "Yeah, but we're gonna be rich enough to afford plastic surgery and, like, you're not. So we'll stay young and pretty-looking forever while you just get old and ugly and bitter because you're not as beautiful as we are and nobody will love you."

Misty's temper was rising. She only barely managed to reel it in. "You're assuming two things. One is that you'll actually manage to land your dream marriages of being rich indolent trophy wives. The others is that I'll never get married. What makes you think I'm never going to get a husband?!"

The sisters gave Misty pitying stares. "How many invitations to go on dates have you received this week?" Violet asked.

Misty started. "Wh-what? What does that have to do with anything-"

"We've had ten," said Lily.

"Each," added Daisy.

"Well, actually, I got twelve, but yeah. And how many did you get, little sister?" Violet asked Misty.

Misty's face paled. "Well…maybe one, but, what does that have to do with-"

"I rest my case," Violet said.

"We're not going to have any trouble getting married," Daisy said happily.

"But you?" said Lily. "Well…good luck, little sis, like, you'll need it."

And then they started laughing. It was an ugly, stupid, brainless laugh, the kind of mindless tittering only utter ditzes like Misty's sisters could pull off. She had heard it all too often in recent times, and hearing it now, on top of everything else that was wrong that day, caused her to decide that she had finally, finally, had enough. "You know what? Fuck you three. Beauty's only skin deep, and I bet that your new boyfriends or husbands or whatever will only have to spend a day with you to realize how disgusting and shallow and totally, totally empty you are inside. I, on the other hand, actually have a chance of more than a one-night stand since there's more to me than just a pretty face, even if it's not quite as pretty as you three. I wish everyone could see what the three of you are really like inside, because then you might have to actually work for a living and a boyfriend just like the rest of us!" Misty felt particular relish in saying that last bit. It was her second-biggest desire regarding her sisters, the first biggest being that Gyarados ate them.

So, imagine her surprise when all three of her sisters abruptly transformed into fish Pokemon. Lily was suddenly a large and vaguely humanoid Relicanth, flopping on the floor while her mouth gaped open stupidly and her eyes stared vacantly at the world, Violet was a big and ugly Remoraid, writhing out of her clothes and trying to clamp onto something to protect her with her oversized jaws so that she wouldn't have to fend for herself, and Daisy was a wriggling, slimy Barboach with long and unfeminine whiskers. Six disgusting blobs also lay on the floor, and it took Misty a moment to realize that they were her sisters' silicone implants, apparently rejected from their bodies due to their abrupt piscine transformation. Certainly there was no room on those fishy bodies for oversized breasts!

Misty stared at them incredulously, her jaw dropping. "What the…no way…" She abruptly started laughing. "Ha! Shows you three right! About time…huh?" Her body started feeling very strange. "What…ugh…what's happening…"

It was at that point that her skin peeled off and her hair fell off, and she started screaming. Flesh and fragments of skin flaked and shredded off her body, falling to the floor like large bits of dandruff and leaving hard, ugly tan scales with random brown spots in their place. Her hair abruptly fell out, leaving her completely bald, as a trapezoidal blue dorsal fin abruptly sprouted from her back, tearing open her shirt. Her hands and feet turned blue and fanned out, becoming more like fins as well and ripping open her shoes. However, they were ragged, tattered fins, and so almost useless (much like what was left of her clothing). She gasped in pain as gill slits cut into her waist, causing her to scream in agony as her internal organs violently shifted about so that her lungs were now of a different shape and position and drawing air from her abdomen rather than her mouth. Her nose and teeth shriveled into nothing (along with her breasts), and her eyes recessed into their sockets, becoming larger and plainer and losing their lovely blue hue. Her mouth widened and her lips swelled up. All in all, she had transformed into a rather unattractive Feebas Pokemorph.

She started screaming, while her sisters laughed on the floor. At least, she thought they were laughing. They might have been gasping, she couldn't really tell, and at the moment didn't really care, what with having abruptly transformed into an absolutely hideous creature. "I-I don't understand…why am I…what did I do to deserve this?! Is this what I get for wishing bad things on other people! If so, I'm sorry!" She started weeping big, fishy tears.

However, Misty had forgotten something very important. Namely, what Feebas evolved into…as she was soon about to discover firsthand, when her body started glowing with a radiant white light. "Huh? What…what's happening now?!" Her sisters gawked. Well, it's not like they could do anything else, anyway.

Misty's evolution was swift, and the changes almost immediate. Her rough tan and brown scales shed off and were replaced by sleek, smooth yellow skin covering her upper body and sparkling blue and pink scales on her lower. A long tail, also covered in sparkling blue and pink scales, grew from her rear, ending in four large overlapping scales at the tip spread out to look like a fan. Her feet were now fins that looked similar. Her tattered blue fin-hands were replaced by immaculate, almost frictionless yellow fingers that tapered into mildly sharp points. Her bust grew back, much to her relief, and became a bit…larger…around the size of her sisters' (when they were human), if not larger, and was all the better for being completely natural. A pointed crest grew from the top of her head as her hair grew back, now a little pinker and much more softer and luxuriant than ever before, draping down the sides of her head in two fin-like masses almost reaching to her knees. Her eyes grew smaller and popped back out into her face as they regained their blue iris, a blue much more vivid and jewel-like than ever before. Long, thin, arcing antenna sprouted from her eyebrows and arced over her head to form a vaguely heart-like shape. Her lower face grew out slightly in the form of a petite snout and muzzle, giving her a vaguely snakelike mouth. She was breathtakingly beautiful, and a calming aura was exuded by her statuesque form. "I have to go now," she said to her sisters, a sort of farewell. "There's somewhere I need to be."

She left the room. Gyarados slithered into the kitchen a few minutes later and ate the three large fish flopping about helplessly on the floor, though he nearly gagged. They were much bitterer than he had expected.

Jessie was absolutely miserable.

It had seemed, at first, as if she was on top of the world. She was free of Team Rocket, and had finally lost those idiot hangers-on James and Meowth, and become a wealthy and famous superstar and supermodel, appearing in the best fashion shows, movies, and television specials worldwide. She had legions of fans around the world, almost limitless money, flawless beauty, and dozens of suitors fawning over her and obeying her every whim and wish. Her life had been absolutely perfect.

And then…IT had happened. The accident. She had been testing a new beauty lotion on her skin, but found out, too late, that she was terribly allergic to the ingredients and had an unbelievably violent reaction to it. Her entire genetic structure had mutated in response to the toxic substance! And now…she was hideous. Absolutely, completely, and totally UGLY.

Her skin had peeled off, only to be replaced with thick, ugly dark purple and black scales and spines. Her legs had withered away and melded together to create a long and twisted tail bristling with angular scales and spines and horn. Her fingers had fused together, leaving her with three awkward, bulky claws per hand, each digit ending in a long, thick, serrated nail. Her beautiful hair had fallen out completely, leaving her totally bald as her head was covered in ugly dark scales with horns and spikes sprouting everywhere and gruesomely disfiguring her features. It hadn't helped when her nose had bulged out into a reptilian snout and fangs had sprouted from her jaws, filling her mouth and making it harder to talk. (It didn't help that her tongue had elongated, flattened out, and become forked at the end.) Her eyes had become slitted and an ugly shade of yellow.

And, worst of all, her chest had become completely flat. Her beautiful chest!

She lost everything. Nobody wanted a hideous snake-like creature whose very touch was almost lethally poisonous around! All her contracts were torn up, her shows and appearances cancelled, her sponsorships retracted, her money withheld, her friends and beaus disappeared…

And now she was out on the streets, living in abject poverty and filth, shunned by all. She was even worse off now than she had been when she was a child, or working for Team Rocket. Even her Pokemon had left her (Wobbuffet and Dustox ended up getting their own wildly popular shows, a talk show and a sitcom respectively), save for her Seviper, probably because he no doubt thought she was beautiful now that she was a disgusting serpentine creature like him. Well, she though sullenly, at least somebody does.

"At leassst you will never leave me…" she hissed to Seviper somewhat deliriously.

The poisonous snake sitting next to her fidgeted nervously. "Um…about that…"

A very familiar Arbok wearing a white tuxedo and carrying a bouqet appeared at the entrance to the alley they were slumming in. "Hello, lover!" the Arbok called to Seviper. "Ready for our big day?"

Jessie's jaw dropped. "Wh-what-"

"Your old Arbok and I have fallen in love and we're going to run off and get married," Seviper said hurriedly. "I didn't know how to tell you…sorry."

"You-you mean you're ABANDONING ME?!" Jessie shrieked. "Ssseviper, how could you?!"

"Well, to be honessst, we talked about letting you move in with usss," Seviper said. "But the landlord for the place we're getting sssaysss no petsss are allowed, essspecially disssgussstingly ugly poisssonousss onesss like you. The neighborsss would complain."

"And we were lucky enough asss isss to find a place willing to leassse to a gay Pokemon couple," Arbok said apologetically. "Ssso we didn't really want to pusssh it. Sssorry, Jesssie."

"But don't worry, I'm sssure sssome homelesss ssshelter sssomewhere will let you in," Seviper said reassuringly. "And if not, there'sss alwaysss the zoo."

"The ZOO?!" Jessie screamed.

Seviper nodded. "Yesss, I hear they're alwaysss looking for new and exotic Pokemon."

"Actually…" said Arbok sheepishly. "I kind of already sssold her to the zoo. In advance. It wasss the only way to get enough to money to afford the rent on the place we're getting, and to find a priessst willing to marry usss. Sssorry."

"You never mentioned that," said an alarmed Seviper.

"It jussst came up. Sssorry," Arbok apologized.

"You sold me to the ZOO?!" Jessie repeated, infuriated.

"Yeah, but don't worry! You'll be famousss again!" Arbok reassured her. "People will come by to sssee you every day! And you'll get three sssquare meals a day, and a warm place to spend the winter! It'sss way better than the deal you have now."

"Hmm, I sssuppossse that'sss true," Seviper admitted. "Well, all right then."

"You're going to let him get away with thisss?!" Jessie demanded.

"Well, I'm in love with him," Seviper told her. "What elssse can I do but forgive him?"

"The zoo people are on their way here," Arbok said. "And we have to get going right now or we'll never make it to the church in time!"

"Oh! Well, in that cassse, let'sss get a move on," Seviper said, shaking out his coils so he could get up. "Goodbye, Jesssie. I promissse we'll come and visssit you at the Zoo ever weekend."

"And we'll bring picturesss, so you can sssee how our wedding went," Arbok promised. "Ssso long!"

"No…WAIT! COME BACK!" Jessie screamed, struggling to unravel herself as the two snakes slithered away. "Don't leave meeeeeee!"

They left her. A moment later, some people from the Zoo showed up, netted her, stuffed her in a van, and drove off.

She really wasn't having a good day.

James wasn't having a good day, either.

Much like Brock, it was his wedding day.

James didn't want to get married. Especially not to Jessiebelle, who looked exactly like Jessie except she was rich and, as impossible as that seemed, even eviler and nastier.

However, he didn't really have a choice. He had somehow been abducted and brought back to his childhood home, and was now being forced to go through with the wedding ceremony. To make sure he couldn't run off, his parents had also bound and gagged him, so he couldn't move an inch from where he stood next to Jessiebelle, before the altar. His father also had a shotgun pointed at the backs of James' knees, just to dissuade any thoughts James might have had of not going through with the marriage when the time came. James personally thought it was a little much, but clearly his father felt otherwise.

"Dearly beloved," rasped the Archbishop of Kanto, whom his parents had managed to get to perform the wedding so that it would be legally binding and completely unbreakable by anything short of one spouse dropping dead. (James had no illusions about which of them would be the first to die.) "We are gathered here today to unite these two young people, James Morgan and Jessiebelle Jessiebella, in holy matrimony. If anyone objects to this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace."

Nobody said anything. That was probably because James, Jessiebelle, James' parents, and Jesseibelle's Vileplume were the only people there in the garden attending the ceremony. James' Pokemon had all been locked up, along with his old friend Growlie, to keep from interfering. James started wriggling frantically, trying desperately to indicate to the Archbishop that he really, honestly, did not want to get married, but then he heard his father undoing the safety of his shotgun and quickly stood still.

"Isn't this wonderful, Jimmy?" Jessiebelle whispered to James in her Southern accent. "Soon you and I will be married! Won't that be fun?" Recalling the S M dungeon Jessiebelle had transformed the mansion's basement into, James sweatdropped, certain it would be anything but fun.

"If there are no objections, then I see no reason these two cannot be wed. Jessiebelle Jessiebella, do you take James Morgan to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

"I do indeed!" she said happily.

"And do you, James Morgan, take Jessiebelle Jessiebella to be your lawfully wedded bride?" The Archbishop waited a moment. James said and did nothing, because he was bound and gagged and had a shotgun pointed at his knees. His father prodded him with the aforementioned gun, and he nodded frantically, sweat rolling down his skin. "Very well. I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride." Jessiebelle squealed with delight and turned to James, puckering him. James' eyes widened in horror, and inside he screamed and screamed and screamed…

And suddenly, his bonds broke, and his clothes shredded off, and much to his and everyone else's surprise, he was a blue-haired Cacturne. Jessiebelle screamed and stumbled back, her lips bleeding from where they had gotten pricked by James' new cactus thorns. "W-well I never!"

"Oh my," said a surprised James' mother. "What's all this, then?"

"My son has become a Cacturne!" James' father cried. He shrugged and holstered his shotgun. "Oh well, guess the wedding's off, then."

"WHAT?!" Jessiebelle shrieked, as her Vileplume cried out in alarm. "What do you MEAN it's off?!"

"My son is a Cacturne," James' father explained. "There's no way he can possibly marry you if he's a Cacturne."

"Yes, it just doesn't make any sense," James' mother agreed. "Completely preposterous!"

"But…but…" Jessiebelle protested.

"It's against the law, too," the Archbishop agreed, clapping his hands. "Very well, then, I declare this marriage invalid. James is a free man, or Cacturne, as it were."

"Woohoo! Even though I'm a Cacturne…" James cheered.

"Noooooooo!" screamed Jessiebelle, running off in tears. Vileplume looked around in confusion, shrugged, then ran after her.

"James, since you're a Cacturne and no longer getting married, I suppose we can release your Pokemon! And here they are!" James' father said.

James' Pokemon appeared out of nowhere and…well, pretty much attacked him. Victreebel swallowed him from the waist down, Cacnea hugged him and dug her thorns into his skin, Chimecho wrapped his tail around his eyes so he couldn't see anything, and Carnivine bit his head. Mime Jr. stared at him for a moment, then wisely decided to keep a safe distance. "I'm happy to see you all too," James said, his voice muffle due to his head being stuck inside Carnivine's mouth.

"My, it looks like your Pokemon like you quite a lot. I see no reason not to mass-marry you all right on the spot! I hereby declare you Cacturne and large group of Pokemon!" the Archbishop said joyfully.

James' mother blinked. "Wait, are you allowed to do that?"

"Fuck that, I'm the Archbishop, I can do whatever the hell I want," the priest said, puffing on a clove cigar.

"Um…I'm married…Yay?" said a confused James.

"Yaaaaaayyyy!" his Pokemon cheered ecstatically.

"Oh look, and here comes your Weezing, back from Hoenn!" James' father said, pointing to a large and rather morose-looking two-headed grotesque purple floating ball of gas.

"Weezing," Weezing groaned, sounding like it was going to drop dead at any moment.

James gasped with delight. "Weezing! You've come back to me! Come give us a hug!" He rushed towards his old friend and wrapped his arms around the big purple vaguely spherical thing in a hug…

Puncturing Weezing's sides with the many thorns on his arms and causing Weezing to deflate rather rapidly. "Weeeeeeeeeeeeziiiiiiiiiing!" Weezing wailed as he arced into the air, gases leaking from the many holes in his sides to propel him up and away, his body quickly losing its spherical shape and starting to look more like an empty hackeysack.

"Weezing! Oh no!" James cried in horror.

"Well, looks like he's blasting off again," James' father said pleasantly.

"Oh look, and here's your even older friend Growly!" James' mother said as Growly the Arcanine came bounding happily towards James, barking and trailing embers with every step and leap.

"Growly!" James cried happily, momentarily forgetting about Weezing and hopping towards his childhood friend. (He would have ran, but Victreebel had swallowed his legs.) "Come give us a hug!"

"Dear, aren't Grass-types weak against Fire-types?" James' mother asked his father.

James' father thought about that for a moment. "You know, I do believe you're right."

James' eyes bulged and he stopped in his tracks. Growly, on the other hand, kept charging towards him, flames billowing off his form. "Ah, Growly, I think we should think about this for a minute-"

Growly breathed fire on him, his way of saying 'hello'. James burned. It was very painful. He screamed in agony, as did the Grass Pokemon clinging to his body, also burning.

"It would seem our son is on fire," James' father commented, watching James run around screaming.

"Yes, what a pity," James' mother agreed. They both laughed. James continued to burn. Neither of them made any attempt to put it out. Growly panted and drooled, his saliva lighting the grass on fire. Mr. Mime sweatdropped, thinking, This is incredibly fucked up.

And so it was. And so it was.

Following the same theme as the other Team Rocket dreams, it was only inevitable that Meowth would have a bad dream, right?

And what a dream…

"Waaaaaaahhhh! Boss, why're you doing dis to me?!" Meowth screamed as he ran desperately against the flow of the conveyor belt in the nightmarish factory, trying to avoid being sucked into the demonic-looking machine it fed into.

Giovanni, who was standing on a catwalk overlooking the conveyor stroking Persian, laughed nefariously. "You have failed me for the last time, Mewoth! So, I am giving you the punishment you deserve…sending you to the violin factory! I happen to be quite the proficient violinist myself, and look forward to hearing what sort of tune your intestines will make when they're turned into strings! Wahahahahaha!"

Persian stuck his tongue out at Meowth. "Better you than me, loser! Muhahahaha! Loser! Loser! Loser!"

"Damn you, Persian!" Meowth screamed. "Dis is why I'm never gonna evolve into you?" He gasped suddenly, seeing a female Meowth join the boss and his pet on the catwalk. "Meowzi! Is dat you? Did you come here to save me?!"

"Actually, no, I came here because Giovanni's Persian is my boyfriend and I'm expecting," his old flame told him as she nuzzled Persian affectionately, causing him to purr. "Oh, and I hate your guts and think you stink, just so you know."

"AAAAARRRRGGGHHH! I HATE EVERYONE!" Meowth screamed as he succumbed to the pull of the conveyor belt and was finally sucked towards the monstrous catgut processing machine behind him.

"That's the spirit!" Giovanni called after him. "That hatred should make for absolutely delightful strings…I look forward to playing them, Meowth! How fitting that, in death, you will finally do something satisfactory for a change!" He laughed again.

"Bite me!" Meowth yelled, giving his boss the middle finger, before he was consumed by the infernal device.

Elsewhere…

Cynthia took a sip of tea from her cup and looked across the table at the oddly-colored Mismagius sitting on the opposite side from her. "Well, I must say, I appreciate you taking the time to explain all this to me…and am relieved to know you're not evil…"

"Thanks," said Phantasma.

Cynthia frowned. "But I'm afraid I still don't understand a few things. You wanted to reward us for inadvertently releasing you from your imprisonment…so you're doing things to our dreams because…?"

"You were all unconscious, so I decided, dreams would be the perfect media through which to grant your desires," Phantasma explained. "Since most of you were already dreaming about what you wanted anyway. I just tweaked them a little. Well, a lot."

"So you're rewarding us by giving us what we want in dreams? That's very sweet of you, but what happens when we all wake up?" Cynthia asked.

Phantasma smirked. "You underestimate my magic. I'm no ordinary Mismagius, I'm Phantasma, Queen of Ghosts and the greatest sorceress on this planet. When they wake up, what I have given to them in dreams will be their new reality."

Cynthia raised an eyebrow, impressed. "So you have the ability to change real reality by altering a dream? That's very impressive."

"Why thank you."

"I suppose I should probably be a bit more distressed about this, but…other than the changes to the individual lives of the dreamers, will this new reality be very different from the old one?" Cynthia asked.

"Not especially, no. Nobody else's lives will be drastically or negatively affected by my spell," Phantasma explained. "None of the 'dream deaths' of other people that have occurred so far will transfer to reality. I'm not a murderer." She considered for a moment. "Well, except maybe Paul…what?" she protested when Cynthia glared. "You know as well as I do he didn't deserve to live! I know you have to find the best in everyone, but honestly, he was just plain bad through and through!" Cynthia glared. Phantasma rolled her eyes. "But fine, if it's such a big deal, I can make the real Paul still alive…geez."

"What about Meowth? Is he going to actually become a violin?" Cynthia asked.

Phantasma smirked. "No, that's just me having a little fun. Punishing him and those other two for planning to use me for evil means. I actually have other plans for him. Nothing fatal, I assure you."

"All right. What about the people in that village Ambipom took over?" Cynthia asked.
Phantasma grimaced. "Well…"

They both turned to look at the giant wall screen nearby, which Phantasma had been using to show Cynthia the dreams she had crafted for her saviors (and Team Rocket). Automatically, it changed channels to display a small and oddly Grecian-style village somewhere in Kanto, where Ambipom sat on a throne atop a very tall stone dais, wearing a toga, Ash's hat, and a crown over that hat. A malevolent expression was on her face as she ordered the villagers about, her will enforced by very burly and cruel-looking Mankey, Primeape, Aipom, Ambipom, Vigoroth, Chimchar, Monferno, and Infernape. In the village square below, Ambipom's new suspects were toiling under the watchful eye (and whip) of the cruel monkeys as they were made to construct a giant statue of their new ruler. "Faster! Tell those slaves to work faster, I wish to behold my beautiful statue before the week is out! It must be as tall as this dais, no, taller, so that everyone for miles can see my image and know that I, Ambipom, am the undisputed Queen and master of all that I survey!"

One of her new slaves, Hank, who had been the village's former king but was now just another common laborer, desperately beseeched his mistress. "Your Majesty, please! My people need sleep, and food! They cannot keep working at this breakneck pace unless you give them a chance to restEEYYYYAAAAGGGHHH!" He fell to his hands and knees as one of the nearby Monferno lashed out with a whip, cutting open his back and adding a new scar to the many others already there.

Ambipom waved one of her tail-hands dismissively. "Tell the slaves that if they do not finish the statue within the week, they will receive no food…AT ALL. That should be enough incentive to make them get the job done." She glanced at Hank, who was lying sobbing on the floor as her monkey guards stomped on his injured back. "Take that slave away, flog and beat him thoroughly, then lock him in one of the public hanging cages as an example to the others of what happens to those who defy my authority."

"No…not that!" Hank gasped, realizing the Queen was talking about the very cramped cages she had set up after her first few days on the throne that hung in public places with the prisoners whom she was especially displeased with trapped inside. The cages had spikes on the insides and offered no protection from the sun, so the occupants were as likely to die from exposure and exhaustion and starvation. "Please, anything but that!"

Ambipom shrugged. "Well, if you insist, we can throw you in the dungeons, torture you, rape you, then chop you up and make you into food for the other slaves to eat."

Hank sweatdropped. "Er, on second that, I'll take the cage, please."

"That's what I thought. Take him away! And somebody bring me more bananas!" Ambipom shrieked as they dragged Hank off. She giggled malevolently and rubbed her paws together. "It looks as if a new age is dawning…soon my dream of making the Planet of the Apes a reality shall come to pass! And where are those bananas, dammit?!"

Phantasma sweatdropped. Cynthia took another sip of tea. "Okay, that dream I'm definitely not going to make come true…I swear, I didn't know she had this kind of plan in mind when she wanted to be Queen."

"All right," said Cynthia. "What about Brock's dream? I don't think he's going to be happy when he finds out who he's getting married to."

"I did that because I thought it would be funny. And to keep him from being such a horndog all the time," Phantasma admitted.

"Couldn't you just lower his testosterone level?" Cynthia asked.

"I was going to do that too," the Mismagius said. She shrugged. "To be honest, I can't help playing matchmaker when I see two people who are obviously perfect for each other but just don't realize it. It's the mischievous part of me. I suppose a case could be made saying that's part of why those idiots sealed me away to begin with…"

"I don't really object to the matchmaking," Cynthia commented. "However, one thing I really don't understand is…why the transformations?"

Mismagius shrugged. "Seemed like a good idea at the time."

Cynthia frowned. "Will those transformations be permanent?"

"Only if they want them to be. Well, except for Team Rocket. They don't really get a say in that." She grinned evilly.

"All right," said Cynthia. She took another sip of tea, then put her empty teacup on the table between them. "That just brings me to my final question."

"Yes?"

"Where do I fit into this? No offense, but you haven't really done much to bring any of my dreams true so far."

"That's partly because there isn't really much else you want from life," Phantasma explained. "You're already living a lifestyle pretty much as close to your personal ideal as you can get."

"I suppose that's true," Cynthia admitted.

"However…you are rather passionate about studying old myths and legends, aren't you?" Phantasma asked. Cynthia nodded. "And…I just so happen to not only be one of those legends…but knew the subjects of quite a few of the others bantering about now quite well, back in the day."

Cynthia raised an eyebrow. "Is that so?"

Phantasma laughed. "Oh, the stories I could tell you…"

"Well, if you're offering to tell me those stories…" said Cynthia, a smile growing on her face. "I'd be more than happy to listen."

"Excellent," said Phantasma. She decided she'd wait to ask Cynthia if she'd be interested in becoming her Consort later. "However, before that…there are a few other things we need to attend to."

"Such as?" Cynthia asked.

"Such as your Pokemon…and what they desire." Phantasma and Cynthia both turned to look at Cynthia's Pokemon, who had at that moment been in the middle of a four-way match of Super Smash Bros Brawl while Milotic watched and Spirittomb stirred bitterly since it didn't have any arms. The six Pokemon stiffened, realizing their trainer and her host were looking at them. "Spirittomb wants to be freed-"

"Never going to happen," Cynthia said at once.

Phantasma nodded. "My thoughts exactly. However, as for the others…Gastrodon's in love with Milotic, Milotic and Roserade are in love with Lucario, and Lucario and Garchomp are in love with…well, you."

The five Pokemon's faces went white with horror as the secret desires of their hearts were revealed for all (and their trainer) to see. Cynthia's eyes widened. Spirittomb laughed evilly, greatly amused. "Oh…my," Cynthia said after a moment, for once at a loss of words. "I think…we all need to have a little chat…trainer and Pokemon…" Cynthia's Pokemon swallowed and glanced away from each other.

Phantasma sighed. "Yeah…this is going to take a while…"

"Okay, Arceus is a Normal-type…I think…so He should be weak against Fighting-types!" Ash sweatdropped. "Except that I don't really have any…so…Staraptor, go!"

"Okay!" Staraptor squawked, flying out onto the field.

"Why's he using Staraptor first instead of someone totally awesome like me?" Buizel asked Pikachu.

"Because Ash's birds are usually the first to get knocked out in battles, so Ash probably figures it'd be a good idea to get Staraptor's inevitable defeat out of the way early, hopefully doing some damage to Arceus in the process," Pikachu explained.

"Hey!" Ash said angrily. "That's totally not true! Now, Staraptor, use Aerial Ace!"

"Right!" Staraptor flew straight towards Arceus, who didn't flinch or react in the slightest. Before he could reach the god, Staraptor suddenly ascended high into the air. His wings started glowing white, and he dove right towards Arceus, intending to hit the deity with them. He drew back his wings, preparing to hit his target…

And missed. Somehow, at the absolute last second, Arceus had shifted just a few inches to the side, and was now completely out of range of the attack. Or had Staraptor somehow miscalculated his angle of descent just a little, and Arceus hadn't moved at all? It was so hard to tell…

Startled, Staraptor, lost control of his dive and crashed to the ground, tossing and tumbling about in the dirt for several feet before coming to a rather awkward and painful stop, shed feathers drifting through the air behind him. "Ow…" He looked up and saw that Arceus was staring down at him rather impassively. "Oh crap…"

"Staraptor, get out of there!" Ash cried in alarm.

Desperately, Staraptor tried to do just that. Unfortunately, Arceus' eyes glowed as He used Gravity, abruptly causing the bird to weigh five times heavier than he usually did and become completely unable of moving. Arceus then raised one of His hooves into the air and brought it down on Staraptor's head with a stomp which, while not looking like much, was apparently so powerful that it drove Staraptor right into the ground, leaving a very large and very deep hole behind him.

"Wow," said Chimchar.

"We're fucked," whimpered Turtwig.

"Eh, he's not so tough," Buizel said carelessly.

"Staraptor!" Ash yelled.

Without warning, Staraptor, body oddly hot and steaming, fell out of the sky behind them and hit the ground with an earth-shaking crash, creating a small crater on impact. "What the heck?!" cried a startled Pikachu.

"Staraptor! Are you okay?" Ash asked, running into the crater to pick up the unconscious bird…only to yelp and drop him, because he was much too hot for human hands to touch.

Not too hot for Chimchar's though. "How'd he get in the sky?" the fire monkey wondered, poking his knocked-out teammate.

"Yeah, didn't he get driven into the ground?" Turtwig asked.

"He was," Arceus said, causing them all to yelp and jump because it sounded like He was right behind them, even though He was in actuality still on the other side of the arena. "However, I stomped on him a little harder than I intended. So hard, in fact, that he was driven straight through to the other side of the planet, where, due to his increased gravity and the force of my stomp, he broke free from the planet's atmosphere and gravity field and flew off into space, circumnavigated the entire universe, then found his way back to our solar system and crashed here. I shielded his body so it wouldn't be affected adversely by the vacuum of deep space, or the heat of reentry, or torn apart by its own velocity."

"Oh," Ash said faintly. "Um, thanks?" The crowd cheered.

"Ash, I really think we're out of our league here," Pikachu said anxiously.

"On the plus side, Arceus has proven He's a loving and caring God, who doesn't seem to hold the fact that we're fighting Him against us," said a relieved Turtwig.

"I wonder what Staraptor saw out there, in the depths of space?" Chimchar asked curiously.

"Stars…" Staraptor rasped. "It was full…of stars…"

"STARAPTOR IS UNABLE TO BATTLE! ARCEUS IS THE WINNER!" the announcer declared. The crowd cheered.

"And so another Flying type bites the dust, proving its skills were covered in rust! That's okay, in Ash we trust, remember that it's victory or bust!" Politoed and his cheerleading squad sang. "Gooooo Ash!"

"Staraptor, you deserve a good long rest. Return!" Ash said, calling the bird back to his Pokeball. He swallowed and looked at his remaining team, getting the sinking sensation that they just weren't ready to face an opponent like this. "Great…who's next?"

"Let me do it! I can take Him!" Buizel said brashly.

Ash privately doubted it, as did everyone else, but if he wanted it so badly. "Okay, Buizel, you're up!"

"Woohoo! Finally, I get to face an opponent worthy of my mad skillz!" Buizel boasted, running out onto the field before Ash. "Let's get 'im!"

"Well, okay…Buizel, Aqua Jet!" Ash ordered.

"Booyah! Take this, Arceus!" Buizel declared, surrounding himself in a shell of water and launching himself at the deity like a torpedo. "This is what I think of You and Your stupid religion and the stupid people who worship You!"

"Hmm." Arceus' eyes glowed. Abruptly, the water around Buizel froze solid, encasing him in a block of ice. The sudden change in weight caused the projectile to fall to the ground, skidding in the dirt and coming to a stop some distance from Arceus.

"Cool," said Turtwig. "Literally. Can't say he didn't deserve it, though." Pikachu nodded reluctantly. Chimchar shivered as his teeth chattered together, more sensitive than the others to the abrupt change in temperature.

"Whoa!" cried an astounded Ash. "How'd Hhe do that?! I didn't even see Him use an Ice attack?!"

"I withdrew all the heat from the air and water molecules surrounding Buizel, making it cold enough to freeze," Arceus explained. A rather large ball of fire appeared over His head. "And this is where it all went." The fireball hurtled down towards the frozen Buizel, exploding and shattering the ice block. Buizel flew through the air, wailing, before landing hard on his head right before Ash and passing out. "Tell him when he wakes up that all braggarts are eventually hoisted on their own petards, and that I don't force anyone to worship Me, it's their choice and their choice alone. That's why I gifted people with free will, so they could make decisions on their own."

"S-sure thing," stammered Ash as he returned Buizel to his Pokeball. He wondered idly what the heck a petard was.

"BUIZEL IS UNABLE TO BATTLE! ARCEUS IS THE WINNER!" the announcer declared.

"ARCEUS! ARCEUS! ARCEUS!" the crowd cheered.

"He's the best god ever! He smites blasphemers justly, but is compassionate enough towards His foes to give them advice on how to live a better life even while He kicks their ass!" Mew said happily. "That's why we love Him!"

"Bah, he's not so great," Mewtwo grumbled, which resulted in the other Legendaries booing and throwing stuff at him.

"And so Buizel lost his game! That's all right, he was really lame! However, just the same, keep fighting Ash, or you'll wind up just like your name!" Politoed's squad cheered. "Goooooo Ash!"

"Okay guys, I know things look bad…" Ash said, trying to give his team a pep talk.

"You think?" Turtwig asked dryly.

"Just for that, you're up next," Ash said crossly.

"Crap," muttered the turtle as he reluctantly walked onto the field. "Wait, what am I worried about? I'm a member of the Brotherhood of Badass now! There's no way I can lose and let my Brothers down!"

"Hey Rookie, when you lose, try not to make the rest of us look bad!" Charizard yelled from the stands.

"Yeah, lose with dignity, or something like that! Or at least make it look like you put up a fight!" Sceptile added.

Turtwig sweatdropped. "So nice to see how much they care for my well-being…"

"Seeking to impress others only leads to humiliation and a feeling of emptiness inside," Arceus advised Turtwig. "Most of the time, the only person you need to prove something to is yourself."

Turtwig blinked in surprise. "Really? You think so? Huh, I guess that makes sense…thanks, Arceus!" He paused. "Uh, does that mean…"

"You still have to fight me."

Turtwig winced. "Aw, fuck. Er, I'm not in trouble for cursing in your presence, am I?"

Arceus shook His head. "No. You'd be surprised how often I'm tempted to profane as well, usually when one of my children do something incredibly foolish."

Immediately, everyone in the private legendary seating area looked at Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Groudon, Kyogre, Palkia, Dialga, Darkrai, and Giratina. "What?!" they yelled, rather miffed.

"Okay, Turtwig, direct physical attacks clearly don't work on him…so let's try something different! Use Razor Leaf!" Ash commanded.

"Okay!" Turtwig fired several dozen spinning razor-edged leaves at Arceus.

All of them missed. Or did Arceus dodge? It was very hard to say. Turtwig could have sworn every single one of them was aimed on-target, but each leaf seemed to miss the deity by just a fraction of a millimeter. It didn't look as if Arceus had moved even slightly from where He was standing, but…

Either way, none of the leaves hit, and they tumbled to the ground, their purpose in life at an end. "Fuck," Turtwig said again.

"Use Energy Ball!" Ash cried.

"I haven't mastered it yet!" Turtwig shouted back, panicking.

"Yes you have, you're in the Brotherhood now, there's no move you can't pull off!" Sceptile called to Turtwig.

"Wait, didn't you get complete move amnesia that one time and forget all your attacks?" Squirtle pointed out. "And didn't you have trouble learning Bullet Seed, too?"

Sceptile smacked him with his tail. "Shut up."

"Well, okay…if you guys say so!" Turtwig opened his mouth, drawing on power from the nature all around him…and…

A green energy ball formed in his mouth! The turtle was so excited he almost lost focus and caused the energy ball to dissipate, but he quickly caught himself and kept a grasp on it. With a cry of joy, he spat it towards Arceus, who…

Just looked at it, and it disappeared. Turtwig's jaw dropped. Then, Arceus put one hoof on the ground, as His hooves, underside, wheel, and face turned a light brown…

And the earth beneath Turtwig exploded as Arceus used Earth Power, sending Turtwig flying. "LOOKS LIKE I'M BLASTING OFF FOR THE FIRST TIIIIIIME!" He screamed as he vanished over the horizon.

"TURTWIG IS UNABLE TO BATTLE! ARCEUS IS THE WINNER!" the announcer declared. The crowd cheered.

"And just like that he's blasting off, up, up and away, like David Hasslehoff! While things look bad, there's still no reason to scoff, we all know Ash can pull it off! Goooo Ash!" Politoed's squad cheered.

"Turtwig!" Ash cried.

"Oh well, guess we'll have to kick him out of the Brotherhood," said Charizard with a sigh.

"Wait, I don't think you're supposed to send Pokemon all the way out of the stadium…isn't that illegal?" Pikachu asked suspiciously.

It was at that point that Turtwig, still screaming, came flying in from the opposite end of the stadium, arced over the wall and the Legendary Pokemon, and crash-landed right behind Ash, out cold. Ash and his Pokemon sweatdropped. Pikachu sighed. "Don't tell me…You accidentally hit him so hard that he flew ALL THE WAY around the Earth and back, right?"

"Essentially, yes," Arceus admitted, as His hooves, underside, wheel, and face momentarily turned red.

Pikachu groaned and rubbed his forehead. "Figures."

"Well, at least he didn't blast off into space," Chimchar pointed out. "That's something."

"Chimchar, you're up!" said Ash.

"Crap," said Chimchar. "Wish me luck."

"You'll need it," Pikachu agreed as the fire monkey walked out onto the field.

"Hey, Arceus, um, before we start…am I damned or anything for killing Paul?" Chimchar asked timidly.

"No, if anything your entry into Paradise is guaranteed, I was going to get around to punishing him anyway," Arceus said.

"Oh, good."

"Chimchar, use Flame Wheel!" Ash commanded.

"Okay." Chimchar started somersaulting towards Arceus, flames forming around him to create a flaming wheel as he rolled towards the god.

He never made it. A crackling ball of energy appeared out of nowhere and slammed into Chimchar from the side, extinguishing the flames and promptly knocking him out. "I said you weren't damned, but I didn't say you weren't going to be punished," Arceus said sternly. "While Paul will not be missed, I cannot allow my children to go around killing people without consequences. It sets a bad example for everyone."

All the Legendaries looked at Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Groudon, Kyogre, Palkia, Dialga, Darkrai, Giratina, and Mewtwo. "WHAT?!" they yelled in frustration.

"CHIMCHAR IS UNABLE TO BATTLE! ARCEUS IS THE WINNER!" the announcer declared. The audience cheered.

"Okay, he lost pretty fast…but that's okay, you've saved the best for last! Now it's Pikachu's time to shine, with him on your side you'll soon be on cloud nine!" Politoed's squad cheered. "Gooooo Ash!"

"Chimchar, return!" Ash yelled, recalling the fire monkey to his Pokeball. He smiled sadly. "You did great, buddy…" He frowned. "What attack was that, anyway?"

"Future Sight," said Pikachu. "He must have invoked it after defeating Turtwig, so it would hit Chimchar right away."

"Seemed kinda mean how He just knocked him out right away after saying nothing bad would happen to him for killing Paul…" Ash muttered.

"No, He said Chimchar wouldn't be damned, He said nothing about not being punished," Pikachu corrected him. "Arceus is a just and caring god, and while He may respect and even agree to an extent with Chimchar's actions, that doesn't mean He can just let him get away with killing Paul without facing the consequences for it." He sweatdropped. "Which…probably means I'm going to get punished for killing Tyson, aren't I?"

In the crowd, Charizard paled. "Oh shit, I'd better get out of here before something happens to ME for killing Harris-" A frying pan fell out of the sky and bonked him on the head, knocking him out. His Brothers sweatdropped.

"Well, I suppose that's one way to discourage murder…" Squirtle said doubtfully.

"Pikachu…you're all that's left…" Ash said, looking at his first Pokemon and oldest friend.

Pikachu nodded uneasily. "Looks that way, yeah…"

Ash hesitated for a moment. "Pikachu…I know the odds don't look good against us, and I know you don't feel fighting your god-"

"EVERYONE'S God," Pikachu corrected sternly.

Ash rolled his eyes. "Whatever. You don't feel fighting Him is right. So…if…" He swallowed. "If you think we should walk away…I'll do it. Right now. We'll walk away, and won't look back, and…and we'll try again another day. When we're stronger, more ready. So…so just say the word, and we'll leave, now, if you want to."

Pikachu was stunned. "Ash…are you saying you're thinking of forfeiting the match? Just so you won't have to see me get beaten up by Arceus?"

"Pikachu…" said Ash.

"Ash…" Pikachu said. "That's…I think that's one of the most considerate things you've ever said. But…there's no way I can accept. Even if it means I'm going to get hurt, and am kinda blaspheming, there's no way I can just walk away. No way WE can walk away. We haven't made it as far as we have by backing down from a challenge. So…so even if, in all likelihood, we're going to lose this and lose badly…bring it on! I'd rather lose fair and square than just quit any day!"

Ash smiled, tears welling up in his eyes. "Pikachu…thanks."

The audience went 'awww.' Well, not all of them. Groudon and Kyogre gagged, Palkia and Dialga rolled their eyes, Darkrai and Giratina pretended to vomit, the three idiot birds burst into laughter until Lugia smacked them, the Regis' beeped in annoyance, and Mewtwo snorted and said, "Sentimental bullshit." That caused everyone else to pelt him with garbage.

"Now, let's go lose this!" Pikachu declared.

"Right!" said Ash. He pointed dramatically at Arceus. "Pikachu, I choose you!"

"Okay!" Pikachu ran out into the field, facing down the god. "Okay, Arceus, bring it on!"

"Very well." Arceus began gathering power as He changed back to his original color.

Pikachu froze, suddenly realizing the full immensity of what he was doing. Wait a minute. What the hell am I doing? I'm going up against Arceus. ARCEUS! I'm gonna get killed! I've gotta get out of-

A pillar of white light shot down from the heavens and slammed down on Pikachu as Arceus used Judgment, shaking the arena. The pillar retracted as quickly as it had appeared, leaving behind a totally black and sizzling Pikachu. "Ow," he said. Then he passed out. Ash's jaw dropped in disbelief.

"PIKACHU IS UNABLE TO BATTLE! THE WINNER OF THE MATCH, AND STILL-REIGNING POKEMON MASTER OF THE WORLD, IS ARCEUS!" The crowd cheered. Even Ash's friends and family in the audience cheered for Arceus.

Politoed glanced at his squad. "You got anything?" They shook their heads. "Yeah, me neither. Guess we have to throw in the towel, then…oh well."

"That…that's it? I lost?!" Ash asked incredulously, looking at the unconscious Pikachu in disbelief. Some part of him had believed that, as long as Pikachu was still standing, he still had a chance of actually WINNING the fight. That part of him was now completely destroyed. Arceus had defeated Pikachu, his strongest and oldest Pokemon, in less than a second. Ash had thought Pikachu might have actually been able to last a little longer than that, but he was clearly wrong about that, and a great many other things. "N-no…it can't be…that can't be the end…"

"Ha ha! You lose! Let's all laugh at the loserpants and make big 'L's on our forehead!" laughed Groudon, making a large 'L' on his forehead with his claws. He glanced at the others and noticed that only Registeel was mimicking him. Regigas smacked Registeel, making him lower his arm. Groudon stopped laughing. "Huh? Why aren't the rest of you doing it?"

"That would be because we either don't agree with your sentiments…or don't have enough fingers that are flexible enough to do it," Kyogre said sullenly. The three elemental birds nodded in agreement.

"Oh," said Groudon. "Darn. Well…Darkrai, what about you? You think he's a loserpants, don't you?"

"No, not really," Darkrai said. "Sorry, my good chap, but I find him quite endearing."

Cresselia gasped. "Darkrai, I'm delighted to hear that!"

Darkrai nodded. "Yes, I look forward to giving him nightmares. His screams of terror are simply delectable, and his mind is so delicious in its…unique brand of innocence. Or is that ignorance? Same difference" Cresselia gave him a disgusted look and sighed.

Groudon huffed and crossed his arms. "You guys suck."

"No, you do," Mew said sternly. "Sit down and shut up."

Groudon stuck his tongue out at her. "You're not the boss of me."

"Yes I am," Mew pointed out, causing Groudon to sweatdrop.

"As am I," growled Rayquaza. "Now sit down and shut up before I pound you."

"Me too," added Latias.

"And I as well," said Lugia.

Groudon yelped and cowered in his seat. "Sourpusses," he muttered in his breath.

"We heard that!"

"Ack!" Groudon cried. Mewtwo pointed and laughed. For once, nobody threw anything at him.

Arceus graciously bowed His head to Ash. "Ash Ketchum, I congratulate you for making it this far, and apologize for having to end your ambitions so swiftly. Perhaps you will have better luck next time. I look forward to seeing you again." He began to turn away…

Until Ash interrupted. "WAIT!"

Arceus glanced back at Ash. "Hmm?"

"This match isn't over yet! I've only used five Pokemon, and I can use a maximum of six, right?!" Ash asked desperately.

"Yes, but you only had five," Arceus pointed out.

Ash shook his head. "Wrong! I have one more! MYSELF!"

Everyone stared at him. Groudon and Mewtwo pointed and laughed, until the others threw garbage at them. Professor Oak sighed and shook his head. "Oh dear, the boy's lost it. He must be so upset by his defeat that he's gone totally mad!"

Delia shook her head sadly. "My poor, insane son…"

"Ash," Arceus said patiently. "You are a human, not a Pokemon. There's a rather large difference."

"Or IS there?" Ash asked.

"…Yes. Yes there is."

"Ha! That's what YOU think!" A rather disturbing look in his eyes, Ash took off his hat and threw it behind him. Then he removed his shirt and vest and cast those off, too, so everyone could see his skinny chest. Then he clenched his fists and started straining with every muscle in his body. "Gnnn…" he grunted as he gritted his teeth and screwed up his face and in general made himself look very, very constipated.

Arceus stared. The audience stared. Even Groudon and Mewtwo stopped laughing, finding the whole thing more embarrassing and awkward and just ridiculously sad than funny. Professor Oak put his face in his hands. Delia wept. Ash continued clenching and grunting and straining and making a fool out of himself. Arceus coughed, and started to say something, when suddenly…

Ash turned into a Machamp. His muscles bulked up considerably, his pants and shoes shredded, leaving him wearing only the underwear his mother had made him put on (thankfully), bony disk-like crests grew from his head, and a second set of arms sprouted out from his sides. "Hooooaaaaaahhhhh!" He flexed his muscles, punched at the air, thrusted his pelvis outward. "I am…POKEMAN!" The unconscious Pikachu woke up briefly, stared at his trainer in disbelief, shook his head, and passed out again.

The audience gaped. "Oh my," said an astounded Delia.

"This-this is impossible! It defies all the laws of science! A human cannot spontaneously transform into a Pokemon, on his own, just because he wants to!" Professor Oak shrieked, tearing out his hair.

"…Well, that was unexpected," a stunned Sceptile said.

Arceus blinked, looking rather disturbed. "…Not even I saw this coming."

"Wtbloodyf?" Darkrai cursed in a bizarre mix of chatspeak and faux British.

Everyone instantly looked at Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, Mewtwo, the psychic trio, and Palkia. "We didn't do it!" they protested.

"Yeah, we would've done something cooler than a Machamp, anyway," Jirachi added.

"It doesn't really make a difference, Arceus'll still cream him anyway," Mewtwo griped. "This is just a stupid plot twist meant to make the whole stupid thing drag on longer. Like in Dragonball Z." He was right, and nobody threw garbage at him. Well, except for Groudon, who apparently liked DBZ, and Darkrai, who thought it would be fun to throw things at Mewtwo. It was.

"ER…LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IN AN UNUSAL TWIST OF EVENTS, IT SEEMS THAT ASH KETCHUM HAS…SOMEHOW…BECOME HIS OWN SIXTH POKEMON, AND THEREFORE CAN COMPETE IN THE BATTLE! THOUGH I'M PRETTY SURE THAT'S AGAINST THE RULES…OH, WHATEVER. THIS IS THE MOST BIZARRE POKEMON BATTLE I'VE EVER SEEN," the announcer complained.

Politoed's squad quickly got back in formation. "We have no idea what's going on, because now Ash Ketchum's a Pokemon! Even so, we'll cheer him on, it's what we do, he's our number one! Goooooo Ash!"

"Well, this is most unusual," Arceus murmured. "But…since you have somehow managed to produce a miracle, Ash Ketchum, I shall battle you."

"All right!" Ash bellowed. He immediately ran towards Arceus, drawing back two of his four fists to deliver a powerful double punch. "Haaaaaaa…."

Arceus opened His mouth and spoke a single word, in His true voice, not the one He had been using to talk throughout the battle. (Of course he has many voices, he's God. Duh.) The earth quaked. Reality trembled. The stadium shook. Everyone went deaf for a few seconds, and even when their hearing came back, it took several more minutes for their brains to start working again. Pretty much the entire battlefield was completely destroyed, save for the spot Arceus was standing on and where Pikachu was lying. Ash, still a Machamp, was plastered against the stadium wall opposite Arceus. Or rather, he was buried about six inches into it, creating a large Machamp-shaped hole. Arceus' Hyper Voice attack packed a very heavy hit.

Arceus frowned at Ash. "Hmm." He looked down at Pikachu, and suddenly the electric rat was awake and completely healed.

"Huh? What just happened?" asked a confused Pikachu.

"I just defeated your trainer," said Arceus. "Please fetch him out of the wall. I would have words with him."

Pikachu glanced over at the wall, then gave Arceus a blank look. "Uh, that's a Machamp. Not Ash."

"Actually, that is Ash," said Arceus.

Pikachu blinked. "Huh? How'd he become a Machamp?"

"That's a good question," Arceus admitted.

Pikachu sweatdropped. "Something even YOU don't know? Wow, this really MUST be a dream…okay, hang on, I'll go get him." He turned around, looked at his knocked-out trainer, and sweatdropped. "Despite him being several times my size and weight…oy."

"UM…IS THIS THING ON? SORRY, HARD TO HEAR AT THE MOMENT…ASH KETCHUM, WHO SOMEHOW BECAME A MACHAMP, HAS BEEN DEFEATED, AS IF WE ALL DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING. ARCEUS IS THE WINNER! BIG SHOCK," said the announcer, whose voice sounded oddly tinny and pathetic compared to the unarguable Voice of God. The crowd, still somewhat out of it from hearing aforementioned Voice, clapped a little. They mostly just wavered about in a daze.

"Yay, Ash lost!" Delia said giddily.

"I think the brain cancer I didn't even know I had just died," Professor Oak burbled. "Whoopee!"

"He lost?!" Politoed asked incredulously, he and his squad crestfallen. "But how? He had us cheering for him!"

"I always hate it when He speaks in his Big Voice," Celebi complained as she (and pretty much all the other Legendaries, save Palkia, Dialga, the psychic trio, and Mew) were still having trouble hearing and many of their heads were ringing due to Arceus' Hyper Voice attack. "The world feels all wobbly afterwards, sometimes for days on end."

"Oh, it's not so bad," Mew admonished. "Well, other than Groudon going temporarily deaf."

"WHAT?" Groudon yelled very loudly. "DID SOMEBODY SAY SOMETHING? I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING! I CAN'T EVEN HEAR MY OWN VOICE! MY HEAD FEELS FUNNY!"

The other Legendaries groaned as Groudon's overloud shouting assaulted their brains. "Somebody shut him up," moaned Mewtwo. "He's even more annoying and obnoxious than usual." Rayquaza wrapped his tail around Groudon's neck and squeezed…and squeezed…until, face blue due to lack of oxygen, the dinosaur passed out. Everyone sighed in relief.

"Hey, how come you're not hurting like the rest of us?" Shaymin complained to Mew. "I can understand Palkia, Dialga, and those three diaper-headed weirdoes-" Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie glared at her. "-Being immune, since they were like the first of us or something. What's your excuse?"

Mew stuck her tongue out at Shaymin. "Because I'm Mew, byatch."

"I hear dat," Jirachi seconded. Shaymin fumed.

Pikachu dragged Ash over, somehow. "Uhhh…did I win?" Ash moaned, his head spinning and his eyes unable to focus.

"No," Pikachu gasped, setting Ash down. "Arceus, you're heavy…uh, My Lord, I'm not in trouble for using Your name in vain, am I?"

"No, you're good."

"Oh, thank goodness," Pikachu said, very relieved.

Arceus looked at Ash, and suddenly he was fully healed. The Machamp blinked. "I lost?"

"Yes, I'm sorry to say," Arceus said apologetically.

"But-but I transformed and everything out of sheer will and determination and stuff! You mean I didn't even land a hit?!" Ash cried, looking very upset.

"I'm very sorry, but no," Arceus apologized. "But…repeat that. You said you transformed out of sheer will and determination? Could you clarify that for me, please?"

Ash frowned. "Huh? Well…I was just horrified that I had lost, I guess. And I didn't feel like I'd done everything I could. So…I resolved to try harder. And I did. I tried with every fiber in my being, and…and I transformed."

"Just like that?" Arceus asked.

"Yeah, I think so," said Ash with a nod.

"So, you're saying you transformed by willing yourself to transform?" Arceus pressed.

"I…guess so," Ash said, not really seeing where this is going.

Arceus nodded. "Fascinating. If that is the case, then I believe you deserve this more than anyone else."

And suddenly, Ash was holding the Pokemon Master Badge. He gasped. Pikachu gasped. His mom and Professor Oak gasped. The Legendaries gasped. Kyogre inhaled too much soda by accident and started choking. "Wait…what?! But…but I lost…"

"You did indeed," Arceus agreed. "But you did something that no human has ever done, ever. Two somethings, actually. One: you surprised Me. Arceus, who knows all and sees all. The last time I have been surprised was…well, a very long time ago, and not by a human. The fact that you could do this is truly something commendable and worth recognizing. Of equal import is the fact that, through determination, stubbornness, and sheer force of will, you were somehow able to channel your desire to win into changing your entire species…under nothing but your own brainpower! No human in this universe has ever managed to attain such a feat! This speaks volumes for the kind of person you are, and for what lies inside your heart." He looked kindly into Ash's eyes. Ash saw…entire universes in the god's eyes. "While you may have lost, the level of dedication and determination to yourself and your Pokemon which you have demonstrated today is truly equal to that of the greatest of Pokemon trainers. While you may have lost, what you have done proves, beyond all doubt, that you are truly a Pokemon Master. And so, I bestow upon you this badge. Take it and honor it, Ash Ketchum, for you have truly earned it."

There was a long moment of silence as everyone processed this. And then…

The audience started cheering. The Legendaries started cheering, even the ones who had been against Ash.

Well, except for Mewtwo. "Wait, so He's giving Ash the badge because he made a good try?! That's bullshit! He's just getting the badge out of charity, like how he got half the badges in Kanto, and one or two in Johto-" He was silenced due to being buried underneath an enormous amount of garbage.

"Then…I'm a Pokemon Master? I'm really a Pokemon Master?" whispered an astounded Ash. "After all this time, I finally did it?!"

"That's right, Pikapi! WE did it! And about time, too! I half-expected to be dying of old age by the time we made it!" Ash frowned at him. "That wasn't a disparagement of your skills, just an observation. You know, since I have a shorter lifespan than you do."

Ash blinked. "You do?"

Pikachu rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I'm a rodent. Duh."

"Actually, your lifespan is quite a bit longer than you might expect," Arceus interjected.

Pikachu blinked. "It is?"

Arceus nodded. "Let us just say that you are a…very special Pokemon.

"YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! ASH KETCHUM OF PALLET TOWN IS NOW THE YOUNGEST POKEMON MASTER IN WORLD HISTORY! LET'S GIVE IT UP FOR HIM!" The crowd cheered and applauded again, and Ash truly understood then that he was victorious.

"Way to go, honey!" Delia cheered from the stands.

"Yes, even though you earned it by breaking the laws of science and biology and basically getting Arceus to feel generous towards you, well done!" Professor Oak added.

"Ash, Ash, you're our man! You do the stuff that nobody else can! In losing, you got a big sweet badge! Who else can say they…um…cadge? Hey guys, what the heck rhymes with badge?" Politoed asked his squad. They shrugged.

"Wow…" a stunned Ash whispered, looking around to see everyone, millions of people, most of whom he didn't even know, cheering for him. There was only one thing missing from this scene to make to absolutely perfect…

"Ash?" a familiar voice inquired.

Ash turned around. His eyes bulged as he saw the very…shapely new form of Misty Waterflower. "Misty?!"

"Congratulations." She drew him into an embrace and a very long, passionate kiss.

The audience went 'awww.' People drew closer to each other, touched by the moment. Couples kissed and hugged. Palkia and Dialga glanced at each other, raised their eyebrows, then shrugged and shuffled a little closer to each other. Kyogre glanced at the unconscious Groudon and rolled her eyes. The legendary birds looked like they were going to kiss, but then decided to beat each other up instead. Regigas grabbed his little buddies and hugged them tightly, much to their discomfort. Latias kissed Rayquaza, who blinked in surprise and pleasure. Mew hugged and kissed Celebi…and Jirachi…and Azelf and Mesprit and Uxie…and Lugia…and Mewtwo, who screamed in terror and ran away as fast as he could. Darkrai kissed…Giratina?

"What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?!" Cresselia shrieked, irate.
"Being random and spontaneous," Darkrai told her, letting a horrified Giratina go. The pure evil ghost dragon proceeded to throw up. "It's my hallmark."

Pikachu rolled his eyes. "FINALLY!"

Arceus nodded in agreement. "Yes, it's about damn time. I thought they'd never get around to doing it."

Ash was not the only trainer about to win a great victory or undergo a startling transformation. May and Dawn were in the middle of their big contest battle, and their emotions were flaring high as they put everything they had into commanding their Pokemon to do their fighting for them in a stylish and pretty manner. And, since the judges had spontaneously decided to make it a double contest battle, that meant the two Coordinators had to stretch their minds to the limit to think of techniques and strategies to use that fully relied on both their Pokemons' abilities.

And so they faced off, May's Blaziken and Beautifly against Dawn's Empoleon and Buneary. Those were the only Pokemon either trainer could use, since Pachirisu, Munchlax, and Eevee had vanished mysteriously, Squirtle had chickened out at the last minute and run away to cry in a corner because he was afraid of all the people in the stadium, and Skitty had passed out from exhaustion due to chasing her tail in circles so much. They were far from evenly matched, though; May's Blaziken was the most experienced and powerful Pokemon on stage, whereas her Beautifly was kind of weak and out of practice due to hanging out at Petalburg Gym with May's mom for the last year or so. However, they were both more experienced than Dawn's Pokemon, who were still relative newcomers to the Contest world. It didn't help that Empoleon was still fairly new to being fully evolved and had little idea of what he was doing or how much power he had, but at least Buneary seemed to be on her A-game since she wanted to win or at least do really well in the Contest to make her trainer proud and maybe even impress Pikachu.

The fight had already gone on for two minutes, with three remaining, and their scores were surprisingly even. (May would have had more points, but her Beautifly messed up a trick since she wasn't used to fighting again, what with being stuck in Petalburg Gym for the last year or so, and wound up getting wrapped up in her own Silk Shot string.) That meant either Coordinator still had a chance at winning the title. "Empoleon, use Aqua Jet on Blaziken! Buneary, use Ice Beam on Empoleon!"

Empoleon covered himself in a shell of water and shot towards Blaziken. "Ha! This'll turn out much better than when that jerkass Buizel tried it! Since I'm a penguin, I've got no problem with cold!" His boast seemed to prove true, when Buneary hit him with her blue-white Ice Beam and froze him solid, he continued hurtling forwards like an icy torpedo, rather than passing out and falling to the ground like Buizel did when Arceus froze him.

"Blaziken, melt that ice missile with Overheat! Beautifly, use Silver Wind to fan the flames and make a stronger attack!" May countered.

Blaziken's wrists burst into flame as her face turned red, and she spat out an unbelievably powerful stream of fire. Beautifly swooped down over the firespout and beat her wings rapidly, firing silver energy blades into the flames and causing them to become more powerful, with the edge added from the Silver Wind to boost the damage it could cause. The flames engulfed poor Empoleon, immediately melting his ice shell and causing him heavy damage as he was burned alive and bombarded with Silver Wind blades.

Dawn gasped. "Oh no!"

Johanna groaned and put her face in her hands. "Oh dear…I knew I was right to worry…"

"Go May!" Norman cheered.

"Way to go, honey!" Caroline added.

"YAY, NORMAN'S DAUGHTER!" Norman's fanclub shouted.

"Meh, nothing we haven't seen before," Max said, rather bored.

The giant television display showed Dawn's points going down significantly. "Uh-oh, it looks like Dawn's in some serious trouble! And more to the point, so is Empoleon! Can anybody say, 'roast penguin'?"

"AAAAAHHHHH HOT HOT HOT HOT!" a severely burnt Empoleon screamed as he ran about with his tail on fire, flapping his flippers frantically. Mercifully, Buneary put out the flame with another Ice Beam, bringing the poor penguin some relief. "Ah, thanks."

Much to both Coordinator's surprise, May's points went down a little. "Huh? Why'd I lose points?! I pulled off a successful attack!" May cried.

"True, but the way Dawn's Buneary put out the fire was very stylish!" explained Mr. Contesta.

"Yes, it was remarkable!" agreed Mr. Sukizo.

"A fine example of how a Pokemon's attack can be used in a functional manner," Nurse Joy added.

May's eye twitched. Norman's fanclub booed. Johanna sweatdropped. "Wow…the judges were a lot tougher back in my day."

Marian sighed. "Wow, sure is easy to impress the judges…er, I mean, a brilliant performance from Dawn!"

"Huh? Oh, uh, I mean, thanks!" Dawn said, waving at the judges and audience, slightly confused.

"I'm the one who thought of doing that, don't I get any credit?" Buneary asked bitterly.

"Well, I thought it was pretty good," Empoleon said. He glanced mournfully at his tail, which was still burnt and shorter than it used to be, which had been pretty short already. "Even though my poor tail will never be the same…"

"Blaziken, let's try and keep from losing any more points! Use Blaze Kick and Fire Spin to create a spinning flaming drill kick attack!" May commanded. "And Beautifly, use Gust to send your Stun Spores over to the other side of the field to paralyze Empoleon and Buneary!" Beautifly shook her wings, causing some of her scales to fall off in a glittering yellow cloud, then flapped her wings to blow them towards a worried Buneary and Empoleon. Blaziken leaped into the air and shot down at her opponents with a flaming kick, which she powered up by exhaling a spiral stream of flame which wrapped around her body and caused her to start spinning and throwing off embers. The judges (and Norman's fanclub) 'oohed' and 'aahed', and Dawn's points went down. The young Coordinator's face paled, the attack hadn't even hit yet and it was already costing her!

"Buneary, quick, use Ice Beam to freeze the Spores! And Empoleon, use Whirlpool!" Dawn ordered.

Buneary spat her Ice Beam at the cloud of Stun Spore, literally freezing it in its tracks and causing it to rain down on the battlefield like a sparkling shower of diamond dust. The judges liked it a lot. May's points took a hit, though she didn't lose as much as Dawn had to Blaziken's spinning Blaze Kick. Meanwhile, Empoleon raised his head and managed to form a giant spinning waterspout over his head, which he threw at Blaziken. "What, trying to put me out? My Blaziken's way too hot!" May taunted, not actually sure if this was the case.

Dawn smirked. "Put you out? Oh no, that's not what I'm going to do…Buneary, use Ice Beam on the Whirlpool!" Buneary immediately complied, and the big waterspout froze solid…and Dawn's points went down? "Huh?! What'd I do?!"

"You used Ice Beam three times in a row," Mr. Contesta complained. "It shows unoriginality and a lack of imagination."

"Most unremarkable," Mr. Sukizo agreed.

"Can't you use something else, for a change?" Joy asked. Dawn facefaulted.

Johanna shook her head in exasperation. "Those idiots…"

However, it was quickly proven that Dawn had known what she was doing. The flaming spinning Blaziken shot into the whirlpool…and, rather than shattering it like she had expected, found herself sliding around the interior, caught up in the frozen waterspout's inner curve. "What the…whoooooaaaa!" she cried as she slid around and around. Her heat and flaming aura caused the ice to melt around her the faster she spun, but that didn't stop her from sliding around in circles and making May's points just keep dropping and dropping, causing the Roselia-attired girl to scream in dismay. It kept going like this until finally the frozen whirlpool melted completely and collapsed upon itself, dousing Blaziken and putting out her flame. "Uhhh…dizzy…" the damp and dazed chicken moaned.

"Ha! Take that!" Dawn cried as May's points decreased further, until they were lower than her own, which were pretty low to begin with.

"Nooo! Blaziken!" May cried.

"Oh dear…" murmured Beautifly.

Caroline gasped. "Oh my!"

Norman shook his head. "This doesn't look good…"

"Wow, that was cool! Er, I mean, oh no, poor May…" Max said without emotion.

"NOOOO! NORMAN'S DAUGHTER!" Norman's fanclub screamed.

Johanna sighed in relief, and nodded. "Well done, Dawn…"

"Well, it looks as if Blaziken is out of the running! With that brilliant maneuver, Dawn may have just pulled off the winning move in this high-stakes battle!" Marian exclaimed.

"Simply spectacular!" said Mr. Contesta

"Remarkable!" added Mr. Sukizo.

"I hope that poor Blaziken will be all right…" said a concerned Nurse Joy. "They don't like getting wet, the sweet dears."

"It can't end like this," May said desperately, noticing that her time was almost up. "I can't lose, not again, not again, NOT AGAIN!"

And then, without warning, in a flash of light the Roselia costume she was wearing became the real deal. She was a humanoid Roselia. Her skin was green, her nose had vanished, three giant thorns were sprouting from her hair, her feet had shriveled away to nothing and left her legs as curvy, delicate roots, her clothes had turned into a leaf blouse and skirt, and big red and blue roses had budded up around her wrists. Everyone gasped. May looked down at herself and screamed. "What…WHAT'S HAPPENED TO ME?!"

Beautifly's eyes bulged. "Okay, maybe I've been eating too much nectar…"

Dawn's jaw dropped, and her Pokemon gaped. "Whoa…"

Norman's fanclub fell upon itself in confusion. Some of its members cheered awkwardly, not sure what was going on, while others immediately decided to form a May fanclub, since she was now apparently hot and wore less clothing than before and was therefore more deserving of a fanclub than she was before.

"Our daughter's…a Roselia?!" Norman cried out in disbelief. Caroline's eyes rolled up in her head, and she fainted.

"Wow, that was unexpected…hey, why am I a Pichu?" asked Max, noticing that he was, indeed, a Pichu. Norman noticed this as well, gasped, and fainted. Max sweatdropped.

"Well…this is a surprise!" Marian stammered finally, as stunned as everyone else. She glanced behind her. "And it looks like it's had a negative affect on Dawn's score!"

Dawn gaped as she watched her points dwindle away to almost nothing. "Wh-WHAT?! NO WAY!"

Empoleon and Buneary's jaws dropped. "Holy crap."

"Why am I losing points?!" Dawn demanded of the judges.

"She transformed into a Pokemorph before our eyes! We've never seen anything like it before!" Mr. Contesto explained.

"Yes, it's remarkable!" Mr. Sukizo agreed.

"And a miracle…or impossibility…of biology! I find myself fascinated, and want to know May's secret! How did you accomplish this transformation?" Nurse Joy asked.

May sweatdropped. "Well, I don't actually know…but however it happened, now I'm going to win! FINALLY, I'm going to win!" She laughed a little crazily.

"Nooooo!" Dawn cried, stamping her feet in dismay as she looked desperately at the clock. "I was so close! SO CLOSE!"

"Muhahahahaha! Better luck next time! Or the time after that, or the time after that, or the time after THAT…" May giggled, nearly drooling with joy at how close she was to victory.

Johanna sighed and shook her head sadly. "I'm sorry dear, but that's just the way it is…you work as hard as you can to win, but then your opponent pulls off something impossible and ridiculous that immediately wins the judges over, and that's curtains for you. Pokemon Contests can be very dark and gritty and disappointing, beneath all the ribbons and color and glitter…"

As Dawn sagged, noticing that she was almost out of time, and she began to despair, something amazing and unexpected happened. Well, okay, you probably saw it coming, but regardless…

There was a sudden flash of light, and her costume became reality too, and Dawn transformed into a humanoid Buneary. Her feet had become long, flat, and yellow, (splitting open her shoes and socks) her legs were brown, shapely, and heavily muscled (ripping open her pants—though thankfully, there was a big mass of fluff covering her stomach and nether regions that looked almost like a skirt), the rest of her body was covered in brown fur, her chest size had increased (though thankfully, her shirt was still intact, if a bit ruffled, wrinkled, and stretched out), her eyes had become big and brown, her nose had shrunken to become a pink button on her furry face, and a pair of long brown bunny ears with fluffy tips poked out of the top of her blue hair. In other words, she'd become a bunny girl…though thankfully, without the scanty clothing. (Well, aside from the lack of pants.)

There were more gasps of shock and disbelief from the audience, as well as a couple of nosebleeds due to her pantlessness. Johanna stared incredulously, equal parts amazed and appalled (she had never thought her daughter would become one of those women you usually saw in dirty magazines!). Empoleon fainted from amazement, while Buneary glanced back from her trainer's figure to her own, and fumed somewhat enviously. Max wolf-whistled, for she did indeed look a little like the women he had seen in the magazines he wasn't supposed to know about stashed away in his family's attic.

May's eyes shrunk, and every muscle in her body stood out as she tensed significantly. Her reason why could be seen if anyone pulled their eyes off Dawn and looked at the scoreboard, May's points had gone down now, and she and Dawn now had the exact same equally low score! "NO! YOU RIPPED OFF MY MOVE! YOU SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED FOR THAT!"

"I-I didn't mean to!" Dawn stammered. "I'm just as surprised as you are!"

"Well, this is certainly something I've never seen before," said a stunned Marian. "TWO Coordinators just transforming for no reason in the same battle?!"

"May didn't lose as many points as Dawn did when May transformed because we've already seen this move before," Mr. Contesta said dismissively. "While it is rather impressive, I'm not that impressed by copycats."

"It is quite remarkable, though," Mr. Sukizo pointed out.

"Yes," Nurse Joy said, a greedy look in her eyes. "I'd love to look at them back at my Pokemon Center to see how they both did that…"

"Do something! Quick! Change back!" May yelled at Dawn.

"I can't! I don't know how!" Dawn protested.

"Then we're BOTH going to-" May started to say when the clock ran out and a loud buzzer rang throughout the stadium.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we've run out of time! And, since both our Coordinators have the EXACT same score due to this astounding physical transformation…this match ends in a draw! Judges, do you have any idea on how to break this deadlock?" Marian asked the judges.

The judges glanced at each other. Shrugged. "Bikini mud wrestling?" Mr. Contesta suggested. He received quite a few death glares at that, although a rather disturbing amount of the audience seemed to agree with him. "It was just a thought…"

"It would have been remarkable, though," Mr. Sukizo said wistfully. Marian's eye twitched, as did Nurse Joy's. Johanna put her face in her hands. Max found himself concurring with Mr. Sukizo.

"Well, in that case, I guess BOTH coordinators are the winners, and have won the title of World's Finest!" Marian declared. Rockets streaked up into the sky and exploded into beautifully colored fireworks as the very confused audience cheered and random confetti started raining down on them. "Congratulations, May and Dawn! You are the greatest coordinators in the world, and the youngest to ever win this competition! Well done, the both of you!"

Max clapped eagerly. Johanna glanced at her Glameow, shrugged, and clapped as well. "Well, at least she didn't lose…"

May and Dawn looked at each other in horror. "YOU MEAN WE HAVE TO SHARE THE TITLE?!" they both screamed.

"And the prizes!" Marian said cheerfully as a large platform with a big something covered under a shapeless tarp was wheeled over. "Don't worry, I'm sure it'll all divide evenly! Though I guess we'll have to cut the ribbon in two…" May and Dawn both groaned miserably at this. "In any event, here are your prizes! The commemorative ribbon, the lifetime supply of Pokeblock and Poffin, and the complete set of evolutionary items!" Marian whipped the tarp off the platform to reveal…

An extremely fat Snorlax, snoozing happily and covered with crumbs, an open and very empty case that had once contained something, a charred blast mark on the ground, and a Glaceon. Everyone gasped. "Wh-where are the prizes?!" Marian cried. "And who let that Snorlax and Glaceon in here?!"

Dawn groaned. "Oh no…don't tell me!"

"MUNCHLAX! Er, SNORLAX! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!" May screamed at the Snorlax, who promptly woke up.

"Huh? Oh, hi," Snorlax said with a yawn, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes…not that you could tell. "I miss something?"

"Yes! Like the whole damn CONTEST! And me turning into a human Roselia for some reason…" May complained. "Explain yourself! How did you evolve? Where are the prizes?! And is that Eevee over there? How did HE evolve?!"

"And where's my Pachirisu?" Dawn demanded.

"Oh. The prizes. Um…I ate them," Snorlax confessed.

Everyone's jaws dropped. "ALL OF THEM?!" May shrieked.

"What? No, just the Pokeblock. And the evolutionary items. And the ribbon." Snorlax smacked his lips. "They were delicious."

"He ATE the ribbon?!" Marian cried in disbelief. "This has never happened before!"

May groaned. "You've never met my Snorlax…"

"Yeah, it's a good thing I managed to snatch up one of those items to use on myself before he ate them all," Glaceon groused. "But at least now I'm a super-cool Glaceon! Isn't it awesome?"

"You weren't supposed to use any of those until AFTER we won the contest!" May yelled.

Glaceon shrugged. "Yeah, but we didn't know you'd win. Figured it'd be safer just to go out and take them while they were still available, rather than wait to see if you won or lost."

"You didn't wait to see if…don't you guys have any faith in me?!" May demanded.

"No," said Snorlax.

"Not really," said Glaceon.

May facefaulted. Max laughed. Beautifly sweatdropped. "Oh dear…"

"But that still doesn't explain WHAT HAPPENED TO MY PACHIRISU!!!" Dawn yelled.

"Oh, she exploded," said Snorlax.

"She EXPLODED?!" Dawn screamed.

Snorlax nodded. "Yep, she ate all the Poffin, and got so excited and energized and hyperactive that she lost control of herself and…well, popped."

"It was really freaky," commented Glaceon. "She was squealing at an incredibly high ear-splitting pitch and vibrated like crazy…then she vibrated faster and faster and faster until…well, she went pop in a flash of light and was gone."

"Yeah, a real shame," Snorlax commented. "I'll miss the little guy. She could eat even faster than I could. And she looked tasty, even if she was kinda scrawny."

"I don't believe this!" Dawn cried.

Buneary shook her head. "I always knew she needed better control of herself…too late now."

Marian sighed. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, I guess this contest battle ends with a downer…with no prizes to commemorate our coordinators, it's like they didn't win anything at all! Like this whole thing was just a big waste of time!"

"Don't you at least have some prize money to give us?" May begged Marian.

Marian glanced at the judges, who shook their heads. "I guess not. Sorry."

May slid to the ground and moaned. "This sucks! I'd almost rather lose than win like this…"

Dawn joined her on the ground. "We got nothing for our troubles other than a random transformation, and now my Pachirisu is dead! How could this possibly get worse?"

Naturally, it did. Snorlax belched, and several colored energy beams shot out at odd angles and struck random members of the audience, causing them to transform into humanoid Pokemon in flashes of light. "Whoops, sorry," he apologized as the audience screamed, scratching his tummy. "Been getting weird gas ever since I ate those evolution thingies." He belched again, and more beams shot out and struck Marian and the judges. "Oops, there I go again. Sorry."

"AAAHHH!" Marian screamed. "I'm…a very beautiful and attractive Gardevoir. Okay, this actually isn't so bad…"

"Well, I suppose this explains how May and Dawn were changed into Pokemon creatures in the first place," Mr. Contesta, who was now a Mr. Mime, deduced. "Consuming all those evolutionary items at once must have not only triggered Munchlax's own evolution, but created a chain reaction in his stomach which makes him evolve, or rather 'transform', random people into Pokemon-like creatures every time he burps!"

"I'm not sure that makes any sense at all, but it's remarkable all the same!" said Mr. Sukizo, who was now a Swinub.

"Does this make me look fat?" asked Nurse Joy, who was now a Chansey, glancing down at her very stretched-out dress. The other judges wisely did not reply.

"Well, I guess that's how things can get worse," Buneary said as her trainer panicked. "Hmm, if I get hit by one of those beams, do you suppose I'll evolve? Or get the same figure Dawn has?"

"Could work," Glaceon said, trotting over. "Could also turn you inside out…maybe. Who can tell?"

Snorlax belched again, and more people transformed. The audience was screaming and scrambling out of their seats for their exits, shoving and pushing each other over in their frantic flight, and causing many injuries to themselves and each other. And, naturally, since everyone was moving towards several small points (exits) from just about every direction in huge masses, they got bottlenecked and didn't move very much. It only got worse when Snorlax kept burping. "URP! Sorry. URP! Sorry. URP! Sorry."

"Snorlax, cut it out!" May yelled.

"Sorry, I-URP!-can't. This stuff's really not-URP!-agreeing with me. Ugh…looks like I'm never eating this junk ever again. URP!" He turned green. "Ooohh…I don't feel too good. URP!"

May immediately backpedaled away from her giant Pokemon. "If you're going to throw up, do it away from me!"

"Sorry, but-URP!-I think it's coming out the other end." He bent over, sticking his rear into the air. Everyone screamed and tried to run away…and then…

PHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There was an incredible burst of Technicolor light in all the hues of the rainbow, covering the entire stadium.

There was also a very disgusting stench.
After that, there was only silence.

Brock fidgeted. His bride, clad in a beautiful white dress but still a complete mystery to him, stood only a couple of feet away from him. "So," he said awkwardly. "Um…could you take your veil off for a second? You know, so I can see your beautiful face before we…" The bride shook her head. "Oh. Never mind."

"Don't you know, son, you're not supposed to see the bride in her dress before the wedding!" Flint reminded his son.

"But…this is my wedding," Brock pointed out.

Flint thought about that for a moment. "Oh. Good point."

The Archbishop of Kanto ran into the room, nearly tripping over his robes in the process. "Sorry I'm late, everyone, I was ministering a wedding in another dream and things ran on a bit longer than I expected."

"Um, it's okay…" Brock frowned, looking at the odd bloodshot look in the priest's eyes. "Are you high?"

"What? No, don't be preposterous, I'm the Archbishop of Kanto! And if you ever suggest such a thing again, I'll excommunicate you," the Archbishop threatened. Brock swallowed and shut up. The priest took his position before the couple. "Ahem. Dearly beloved…wow, pretty small crowd here. Where's the bride's family?"

"Couldn't make it," said Sudowoodo apologetically. "The bus they were taking broke down and sunk into a bog."

"Oh, that's a shame," said the priest, not looking like he really cared, while Brock wondered why the bus would have been anywhere near a swamp. "Oh well. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join these two lovers in holy matrimony."

"Um, sorry to interrupt, but…just who am I marrying, exactly?" Brock said anxiously.

Sudowoodo laughed and punched Brock on the shoulder, nearly breaking the young man's arm. "Don't be silly, Brock, you know exactly who it is!"

"Ow," Brock whimpered.

The Archbishop continued. "Brock Slate, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, through sickness and health, through good times and bad, till death do you part?"

"Well, I guess I would, if I knew who she was…" Brock said uneasily, glancing at his bride with trepidation.
"She's the love of your life, your soulmate, the most beautiful woman you've ever known, etc, etc, typical stuff," Flint told him.

"Oh, really?" Brock asked, perking up. "Well, in that case, hell yes!"

"And you, young lady, do you take this ridiculously horny man here to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, through sickness and health, through good times and bad, till death do you part? And just so you know, that doesn't give you license to kill him if he cheats on you. Not that I wouldn't blame you for doing it, but the law tends to frown on that sort of thing." Brock gulped, but his bride took it in stride and nodded. "Does anybody here see any reason these two should not be wed?" Geodude raised a hand, and the Archbishop scowled. "It was a rhetorical question."

"But if Brock gets married, he won't be a swingin' bachelor like us anymore!" Geodude protested.

"He'll also never get laid," Steelix reminded him.

"Oh, good point. Never mind then."

The priest rolled his eyes and tried to finish the ceremony. "Then I declare you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride."

The bride turned to him. Brock slowly leaned towards her to remove her veil…

When suddenly the chapel doors slammed open, nearly giving Brock a heart attack, and the bride's family came in. "Sorry we're late, everyone!" a very large Toxicroak said as he walked into the room with a big fat Politoed at his side. "The bus broke down, so we had to hop it here, so to speak!"

"I hope we didn't miss anything!" the Politoed said as she and the Toxicroak moved up the aisle, followed by a very large procession made up of dozens of Poliwag, Poliwhirl, Poliwrath, Croagunk, one Seviper, a gang of Muks, a giant Venusaur and a bunch of Ivysaurs and Bulbasaurs, a few Beedrill, some Krabby, a few Woopers and Quagsires, a bunch of Mudkip, Marshtomp, and Swampert, a couple of Lotads, and a pair of very, VERY large Feraligatr with smaller Totodile and Croconaw hanging onto them. "We brought the whole extended family, the neighbors, and a few friends of ours to see this, our dearest child getting married."

Brock turned pale. "Wh-what the heck?! Who're they?!"

"Why, they're the bride's family, Brock, who else would they be?" asked a puzzled Sudowoodo.

"Yeah, who were you expecting, some ugly-ass humans?" asked Marshtomp. "Speaking of which…some of those Pokemon over there look pretty hot…" He made suggestive eyes to some of the Marshtomp sitting down across the aisle, and they giggled. "Rowr!"

"We are pretty ugly, aren't we?" Forrest asked thoughtfully.

"Yes, dear, you are. It's your father's genes," Lola said apologetically, patting her son on the head. Flint scowled at this.

Brock's face paled. "But…but wait! If THAT'S your family, then you must be…"

The bride nodded and lifted her veil, revealing…Croagunk. "Yep. Expecting somebody else?"

Brock started screaming. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO—wait, how'd you fit into that dress? You're kind of short…"

"I'm wearing very high platform shoes," Croagunk explained.

"Oh, all right. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

"Wait…I'm confused," said Forretress. "I thought you were a guy! Does this mean…gasp you're GAY?!"

"And does this mean I have two daddies?!" asked a very disturbed Happiny. "That's kind of weird…"

Croagunk shook his/her/its (?) head. "No, I can change genders at will. It's an amphibian thing. And a frog thing."

"Ohhh," everyone on Brock's side of the room said.

"That—that's even grosser than the possibility of you being gay and in love with me! Wait, which are you now?" asked Brock desperately.

"Can't you tell?" Croagunk asked. Brock flushed, reluctant to admit that he indeed could not. (Well, it's not like there's much sexual dimorphism in Croagunk, or most other Pokemon for that matter, anyway.)

"This is all very lovely, but could you two kiss already? I have another wedding I need to get to in half an hour," the Archbishop said, glancing at his watch.

"But-but I don't want to kiss or marry Croagunk?!" Brock protested.

"Of course you do. I'm your soulmate. And one true love," Croagunk croaked.

"You're a POKEMON!" Brock pointed out.

"So? Since when does your soulmate have to be of the same species as you?" Croagunk pointed out.

Brock hesitated. "That's…actually a good point, but doesn't that generally just apply to different kinds of Pokemon? I mean, marriage—er, mating—between two different species of Pokemon is fine, but...a Pokemon and a human? That seems kind of…icky…"

Croagunk nodded sagely. "Ahhh, then you mean you didn't feel attracted to any of the Gardevoir, Jynx, or other attractive female humanoid Pokemon you've come across?"

Brock sweatdropped. "Um…not so much, no…" He was lying, and they both knew it. "I didn't even know you liked me, to be honest."

Croagunk blew out his…her?...cheeks and stared at Brock. "Why do you think I attacked you and dragged you away every time you started hitting on another woman? I didn't want anyone but me getting a piece of you."

Brock's eye twitched. "That's…equal parts flattering and totally disgusting."

Croagunk shrugged. "I suppose it is. Now pucker up and kiss me, loverboy."

Brock grimaced. "Do I really have a choice?"

"Well, you already said you would marry me, but if you're that much against it, I suppose I could let you back out. My family will probably eat you, though," Croagunk said wistfully.

Brock's face paled. "E-eat me?!"

"Yes, they're wild swamp Pokemon, and back in the bayou it's customary to eat any human stupid enough to wander in or piss you off-"

Croagunk was interrupted midsentence when a terrified Brock kissed him/her/it. Both their families cheered. Flint started sobbing big unmanly tears of joy, causing the Rock Pokemon to flinch and edge away from him so they didn't get eroded to death by his weeping. "At last, my son is a MAN!"

"And at last, my kid's married too! Hoo-wee! Looks like this calls for a hoe-down!" Croagunk's Toxicroak parent pulled out a banjo as some of his relatives and friends took out other makeshift remedies and started playing a bizarre tune which had all the marsh Pokemon dancing and shouting and passing around drinks while everyone else gave them confused looks.

Brock broke the kiss first and stumbled backwards, a stricken look on his face, and then collapsed on the ground, trembling all over and pretty much totally paralyzed. "Well, that new wife of Brock's is one hell of a kisser!" Lola said with a laugh.

"Actually, Mom, I think he's been poisoned…" Forrest corrected her. "He DID just kiss a venomous frog, after all."

Lola frowned. "Oh…that's a good point."

"He'd better get used to it," Geodude quipped as Croagunk shed his/her/its platform shoes and dress and dragged Brock away by the leg to begin their honeymoon out back. "There's going to be a lot more of those in his future."

"Aw, that's so sweet…well, time to go on my blind date!" Sudowoodo left the church.

"Some guys get all the luck, right Ludicolo?" Forretress asked the dancing pineapple. There was no response. "Ludicolo?" The weird barnacle creature turned around to see that Ludicolo, Marshtomp, and Crobat had joined in on the crazy dancing and already seemed to be cozying up to some of the more attractive members of Croagunk's extended family. Forretress fumed. "Figures. Those guys get all the women."

"Yeah, why isn't anyone ever interested in us?" Steelix, the giant socially awkward very loud metal snake with bad breath asked.

"And wasn't Brock supposed to transform into something?" Geodude asked.

"Huh? What gave you that idea?" Forretress queried.

Geodude shrugged. "Dunno…was just a thought."

Steelix shook his head. "That sorta thing only happens in lousy fanfics."

"This was not the wedding I had expected," Happiny complained. "Nothing like the ones on TV. Oh well, at least I have a new mommy…or second daddy…or something. That's better than nothing." She looked thoughtful for a moment. "I wonder what my new brothers and sisters will look like…" Everyone nearby started wondering the same thing, and gagged at the imagined possibilities.

One of the Feraligatrs ate one of Brock's myriad siblings when no one was looking, figuring nobody would miss the kid. It was right.

The Archbishop sighed and started taking big puffs off his freshly lit cigar. "I'm getting too old for this shit."

After valiantly defeating the ninjas, Spy Duck waddled at his fastest speed, which wasn't very fast at all, through the door after Giovanni and his beloved. After taking out a few more of the crime boss's heavily armed goons, the secret agent found himself in a huge silo that had apparently been annexed to the casino when nobody was looking. The silo contained, not a missile, not a spaceship, but a giant robot! (Which probably could shoot missiles and fly into space, so he supposed it counted for all three.) Giovanni, Persian, and a goon clutching a struggling Wigglytuff were entering the robot through a hatch in the side of its head, accessible by a scaffold which…collapsed the instant the villains were inside the mecha and the machine roared to life.

"YOU'RE TOO LATE, SPY DUCK!" Giovanni's amplified voice boomed from the robot's speakers. "MY ULTIMATE WEAPON, THE ROBO-ROCKET MK XXIX, HAS BEEN COMPLETED! AND WITH IT, I SHALL DESTROY THE CITY, THEN THE WORLD! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Rockets ignited in the robot's feet and metal wing-like protrusions, and it blasted off, rising out through the opening at the top of the silo and into the night sky. "WIGGLYYYYYYYY!" Wigglytuff screamed, also through the speaker, as the robot flew off.

Spy Duck stared blankly after the robot for a moment. Then he held his head in both hands, tilted it to the side, and went, "Psy-ai-ai-ai-ai!" Canned laughter played. Then he leapt into action. He jumped into the air, a streaked dramatic background rolling behind him, and flung off his tuxedo, revealing that underneath it he was wearing a spandex gaily colored costume. He made a series of complicated hand movements, and suddenly a visored helmet with a shiny angular crest dropped out of the sky and clamped down over his head. High-pitched voices were singing a god-awful melody in the background reminiscent of old Super Senshii transformation sequences while this was all going on. "MEGARANGER SPY DUCK!" a random voice bellowed loudly when the 'transformation' was done and Spy Duck struck a stylish pose.

"Duck!" Leaping impossibly high into the air (or was he being lifted by a cable?) Spy Duck jumped out of the silo and landed on top of a nearby skyscraper just in time to see Giovanni's Robo-Rocket Mk XXIX begin devastating the city with its advanced flashy weaponry, which caused cheesy overexaggerated explosions as they blew apart the oddly flimsy-looking buildings.

"MUHAHAHA! NOTHING CAN STOP ME NOW!" Giovanni bellowed madly from the controls of his robot.

Spy Duck made a series of dramatic hand motions, then pointed an arm straight up into the air. His super-cool Spy Gizwatch (which would be retailed, mass-produced, and sold to kids all around the world as cheesy, poorly-made toy watches with functions that didn't work and had the potential for causing lead poisoning) flashed, and an even super-cooler giant robot that looked like a Golduck) wearing shogun armor (which would also be retailed, mass-produced, and sold to children all over the world as cheesy toy robots with flashing lights and spring-loaded missile launchers that could poke somebody's eye out) swooped down out of nowhere and landed right next to the building Spy Duck was standing on, shaking the pavement. Spy Duck leaped impossibly high into the air and somehow landed in the cockpit of his robot. Making some more dramatic hand motions, the secret agent took the controls of the mecha and started it stomping towards Giovanni's Robo-Rocket Mk XXIX.

Giovanni paused in his rampage when he noticed Spy Duck's mecha. "What? Spy Duck?! Is that you? In the legendary Kaiser Quackquack robot, no less! Incredible!"

"Wigglytuff!" Wigglytuff squealed, overjoyed to see her lover had come to her rescue.

The Robo-Rocket Mk XXIX flexed its arms, and Giovanni laughed. "Your robot may be powerful, Spy Duck…but its might pales in comparison to mine!" Persian hissed.

Spy Duck quacked, unimpressed. "Psy."

Giovanni scowled. "Is that all you have to say? Well, then, let us do battle…and I'll show you firsthand why Team Rocket will rule the world!"

One five-minute long super-flashy robot battle with tons of special effects that took place in a big foresty area out in the middle of nowhere, rather than in the city, for some reason…

"Ugh! Aahh! Noooo!" Giovanni cried in dismay as his robot thrashed and shook about, wracked by explosions. "Curse you, Spy Duck, you've defeated my robot!"

"WIGGLY!" Wigglytuff cheered, clapping with joy, ignoring Persian's annoyed snarls.

"Psy-ai-ai-ai-ai-duck!" Psyduck quacked triumphantly as his robot struck a stylish pose.

"Don't think this is over…" Giovanni growled. "If I'm going down, I'm taking you with me!" He thrusted his mecha forward, causing it to charge across the battlefield and wrap its arms around the startled Kaiser Quackquack, holding it tight in an ironclad grip.

"Wiggly!" Wigglytuff gasped.

"Psyduck?" Spy Duck asked blankly.

"Once I activate my robot's self-destruct, it'll destroy both of our machines, and you and your girlfriend as well!" Giovanni explained, laughing maniacally.

Wigglytuff cried out. "WIGGLYTUFF!"

Giovanni's minion gasped. "But boss, that'll kill us, too!"

"Of course it won't, I have an ejection seat!" Giovanni argued.

"But I don't!" the minion protested.

"So?" Giovanni asked with a casual shrug. He pressed a button, causing the lights to dim to red, klaxons to blare, and a timer to start counting down. "In fifty seconds, you'll be history! What do you have to say to that, Spy Duck?"

Spy Duck held his head in both hands, tilted it slightly, and stared blankly at Giovanni. "Psy-ai-ai-ai-ai!" Canned laughter played. Then Spy Duck leaped into action, literally, smashing through one of his mecha's eyes and flying across to Giovanni's, breaking through the Robo-Rocket Mk XXIX's visor and landing in Giovanni's cockpit!

The evil mastermind gasped. "What?! NO! STOP HIM!"

"I'll get him, boss!" the minion said, lunging at Spy Duck. The secret agent ducked, and the minion flew out the broken visor and plummeted to his death. "WAAAAAHHH!"

"Don't think this is over, Spy Duck!" Giovanni exclaimed, as Persian leaped into his lap and the villain triggered his ejection seat, which launched out of the cockpit through a hole in the ceiling and rocketed off into the distance. "We will meet agaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiin!" He and Persian vanished in a twinkle.

"Wigglytuff!" Tears streaming from her eyes, Wigglytuff ran towards Spy Duck in dramatic slow motion as romantic music played.

"Psyduck." Arms spread wide, Spy Duck waddled towards her.

They accidentally ran past each other, fumbled around, tripped a few times, then managed to join together in an embrace. Well, Wigglytuff embraced Psyduck anyway, very tightly to her chest, his arms didn't reach very far and he was sort of plastered against her bosom. (Not that she had any.)

"WARNING. THE ROBOT WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN TEN SECONDS. WARNING. THE ROBOT WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN TEN SECONDS," a loud computer voice said, snapping them out of their reverie. Spy Duck grabbed Wigglytuff and leaped out of the robot, landing on top of a nearby clifftop just in time to turn around and watch it explode spectacularly, sending up streamers which exploded again and created beautiful fireworks in the sky.

"Wiggly," whispered an awed Wigglytuff.

"Psy," Spy Duck agreed.

Slowly, with the fireworks and a big bright full moon serving as a backdrop, they turned to face each other. Even more slowly, they leaned towards each other and melded into a kiss…

Or tried to. Spy Duck's beak got in the way.

That didn't stop Wigglytuff from ripping off Spy Duck's spandex outfit and having her way with them then and there, much to the disgust and horror of Spy Duck's boss The Chief, the gadget guy Agent 69, Spy Duck's receptionist Miss Hunnybunny who was madly in love with him, and Spy Duck's young ward Jimmy and his pet Mankey Mr. Bojangles when they came by a few hours later to find out why Spy Duck hadn't reported in after defeating Giovanni.

"Oh my," gasped The Chief. "I…really did not have to see that."

"Woo! Way to go, Spy Duck!" Agent 69 cheered.

"Oh, SPY DUCK! WHY?!" Miss Hunnybunny wailed as her heart was broken for, like, the 758th time.

"Mr. Bojangles, what are they doing?" young Jimmy asked innocently. Mr. Bojangles shrieked with rage and viciously attacked him. "AAAHHH! NOT THE FACE, NOT THE FACE!" Screaming as Mr. Bojangles clawed and bit at him, Jimmy staggered backwards and fell off the cliff to his death, screaming all the way down. Nobody noticed or cared. Wigglytuff and Spy Duck continued having hot, steamy, very intimate sex.

Spy Duck looked up from his lovemaking long enough to stare at The Chief blankly, hold his head in both hands, and go, "Psy-ai-ai-ai-ai!" Canned laughter played. Then the credits rolled.

The lights came on in the theater, and the audience to the very first Hollywood screening of ultrafamous movie star and action hero Psyduck's latest picture, Quack Another Day, produced by Clevon Schpielbunk, who had exclusive rights to making all movies starring Psyduck, burst into applause. Psyduck, sitting in the front row next to the pearl-adorned Wigglytuff, quacked and held his head, which throbbed as everyone clapped and clapped and clapped. Wigglytuff, his costar and actual girlfriend, purred and snuggled up to him, clearly amorous after watching herself have sex with Psyduck on film (Something that, freakily enough, they had not faked for the camera, they had had actual sex during that part. Schpielbunk would have cut it out, but they didn't have any more film and were already seriously over budget, so he had no choice but to run with it anyway and use creative editing to make it not look so bad. That, along with lots of bribery and begging, had been all that got the movie aired at all rather than canned for violating FCC regulations.) and in the mood for more of the same. Psyduck, whose head was hurting already, wasn't sure if he was in the mood for that.

To make matters worse, an obnoxious reporter appeared and stuck a microphone in his beak. "Psyduck, your latest movie in the Spy Duck series may be your best yet, according to critics! Not only that, it's predicted to make you a net of fifty billion dollars once it's viewed by the rest of the public! Not only that, we hear you and your long-time girlfriend Wigglytuff are finally getting married! What do you have to say to all your fans around the world for this momentous occasion?"

Psyduck's eyes started glowing an ominous blue as his headache reached its peak. "Duck." Everyone and everything in the room (except for Schpielbunk and Wigglytuff, who had buckled themselves into their chairs just in case something like this happened) was abruptly lifted off the ground and hurled about. There was much screaming and defecating a breaking of bones, but when it was over and everyone was lying on the ground moaning in pain Psyduck felt a lot better…and naturally, didn't remember anything he had just done. Wigglytuff sighed and shook her head.

Schpielbunk got out of his seat, walked over, and sighed as well. "Psyduck, bubby, you know I love you and respect you and all, but you've really gotta stop doing that. It's bad for business, and we get more lawsuits that way."

Psyduck stared at him blankly, held his head in both hands, and tilted it to the side. "Psy-ai-ai-ai-ai!"

Canned laughter played, and Wigglytuff and Schpielbunk laughed as well. "Oh, you crazy duck, you," Schpielbunk said fondly, wiping away a tear. "That's why we love you! Nothing can beat that brilliant charm and sparkling wit of yours."

"Duck," said Psyduck, picking his nose.

Sudowoodo tapped his foot as he waited patiently. He was sitting at a table in an outdoor cafÈ, waiting for his blind date to show up. He checked his watch. Frowned. Started tapping a little faster. His date was late. Very late, in fact.

He sighed, his frustration giving way to disappointment. It figured. Of course he'd get stood up. He was Brock's Pokemon, after all. Then again, Brock had just gotten married a little while ago, and some of the other Pokemon had looked like they were going to score with some of Croagunk's relatives…

But nevertheless, his date was very late, and he was starting to think she wouldn't show up. With a weary sense of resignation, he slid his chair out and started to get up…

When Blaziken showed up. "I'm very sorry I'm late," she panted, sitting down opposite from him. "Something really nasty happened at the arena, and I had to shower and preen multiple times before I thought I smelled good enough to make it. I almost didn't come at all, but May and the others encouraged me too, so…"

Sudowoodo was surprised. He sat back down. "Blaziken? You're my blind date?"

"Apparently. And you're mine," Blaziken agreed. "Certainly wasn't expecting you, no offense."

"None taken, I wasn't expecting you either," said Sudowoodo. He glanced around and signaled a waiter to come over and take their orders. "So, now that you're here…I hope you don't mind explaining what happened to delay you? Sounds like a rather interesting story…"

Blaziken shook her head ruefully. "You have no idea. You have no idea…" She told it to him, as they waited for and received their dinners. Sudowoodo's reaction to the whole thing was hilarious. Then they started talking about other things; their trainers, their hopes, their dreams, their personal lives, etc. And, after a while, they realized they were enjoying themselves.

They certainly wouldn't mind seeing each other again in the near future.

"And now, after that ridiculously long commercial break, welcome back to Who's Your Daddy!" Chet Dabra said, giving the studio audience and viewers around the world a winning smile. The audience cheered, and canned applause played. "When we left off, Azurill and her mother were confronted with the three men who may or may not be Azurill's father! Now that the break's over, we've gotten back the DNA test results which will tell us conclusively who the father is!" He turned to the three males, who fidgeted in their seats nervously as spotlights focused on them. "Who could it be? Is it…Ash's Totodile, a fine young reptile with a penchant for dance who's apparently had a crush on Marill for quite a while?" Totodile and Marill both blushed. "Or perhaps it's Ash's Bulbasaur, a legendary peacemaker currently in a long-term relationship, though maybe not for much longer if he really IS Azurill's father!" May's Bulbasaur glared at him, and Ash's Bulbasaur gulped. "Or maybe it's the legendary Manaphy, Prince of the Sea, who nobody's heard of before now!"

"Bite me," Manaphy said curtly.

"No thanks, I'm allergic to seafood. Now!" Chet said, as a stunningly lovely assistant handed him a sheet of paper. "The test results are in! And the father iiiiiiis…." He glanced at the paper. Did a double-take. Looked at it again. Frowned. Coughed. "Manaphy, who cruelly took advantage of an already inebriated Marill at a party out of frustration for being banished to the past (briefly) by Celebi!"

The audience, and everyone else, gasped.

"Well, at least it isn't me…" said a relieved Ash's Bulbasaur with a sigh.

"Oh no…" whispered Totodile, looking horrified.

"I'm the dad? Huh. Didn't see that coming," a surprised Manaphy said.

"No! Not you! I didn't want it to be you!" cried Marill, starting to tear up.

"Me neither! I don't want you to be my father!" Azurill yelled.

Manaphy shrugged. "Too bad, kiddo, genes are genes, there's no arguing about it. Well, guess I'm going to have to take you away to my underwater Temple of the Sea now, since you are my kid and all…"

Marill gasped. "What? But I don't wanna go with you! I want to stay with Mommy, and Misty!" Azurill protested.

"You don't really have a choice here, kid. Those broads aren't fit for you. Especially after I turn you into the Phione you're supposed to be, rather than the freaky-looking Azurill you are now," Manaphy said.

More gasps. "A Phione?!" Marill shrieked.

"I don't wanna be a Phione! I'm happy as an Azurill!" Azurill protested.

"Wait, can you do that? Actually turn her into a Phione?" asked a startled Chet.

Manaphy grimaced. "Well, not transform her so much…I don't have the ability to do that, that's more Mew or one of the other bigshot's province. But I can use my Heart Swap ability to transfer her consciousness into one of the mindless Phione husks I have wandering around all over the temple—kids from previous, ah, engagements that didn't quite work out—and then she'll be a Phione and we'll live together, just the two of us, father and daughter."

The audience gasped. "That's disgusting!" Bulbasaur shouted.

"No way!" yelled Totodile.

"I don't wanna switch bodies!" cried Azurill.

"I'll never let you do that to my daughter!" Marill said determinedly.

"I don't think you really have a choice here, babe. I am the father, after all. And a Legendary Pokemon, at that! The others'll back up my claim on Azurill, sure enough!" Manaphy sneered.

"You mean the same Legendaries who did nothing to stop Celebi from sending you back in time for hitting on her lewdly?" Chet asked.

There was a pause. Manaphy flushed. "Yeah…well…fine, then we'll take it to court, have a big custody battle! I can afford the best lawyers in the world with all the money I got lying around in my temple, what've you got? A no-good idiot wannabe artist of a trainer who barely has two cents to rub together working for an aging, nearly senile Professor? It'll be easy to prove that I have the kid's best interests at heart, and can provide for all her needs, so I deserve custody of her!"

"Wh-what?! No…no judge would ever let you have my daughter!" Marill said angrily.

Manaphy laughed. "Oh yeah? You pay attention to the news at all? You'd be amazed the kinds of people who win custody battles these days…and besides, if I don't get her, who's gonna provide for everything she needs? She has my DNA in her too, you know. When she evolves, if I'm not there to help, weird things are gonna happen to her. You think you'll be able to take care of that on your own? Without somebody who has the slightest idea what's going on, who can keep your precious baby from getting hurt by the changes her body will put her through?"

Marill paled at this. Azurill glanced at her anxiously. "Ch-changes? Hurt? Oh…oh dear…"

"Yeah, that's what I thought," Manaphy sneered. "You don't have a clue what to do! If I don't help the kid out, who will?"

"I will!" Totodile yelled suddenly, startling everyone. He stood up from his seat, looking more serious than anyone could ever recall seeing him. "I'll…I'll do it! I'll take care of them! I'll help Azurill through whatever changes she's going through! I'll be there for her and her mother, because…because I love them both, and I'll do anything to help them!"

The audience gasped. Chet raised his eyebrows. Bulbasaur was impressed and privately relieved he didn't have to do anything. Marill gasped and looked at Totodile with new eyes. "Totodile…"

"I always wanted him to be my daddy," Azurill confessed.

Manaphy laughed. "Oh, give me a break? You? Your trainer's even stupider than Marill's, and probably even poorer! You don't have a clue how to take care of a kid, let alone one who's going to be going through the changes Azurill will! You're gonna come crawling to me, begging for help before all this is over!"

"No, I won't!" Totodile shouted. "You're right, I may not have any idea what I'm doing, but I love and care about them, something you could never do, so that'll have to count for something!" Totodile pointed at himself with a thumb. "I'll take care of them! I'll be the husband and father they need! And you…you can just go crawling back to whatever pond scum you spawned from!"

The audience 'oohed', and then burst into applause, heartily approving of Totodile's determination and decision. Manaphy bristled, clearly displeased with how this was going. "You wanna make a federal case outta this? FINE! I'll see you in court! My lawyers will eat whatever attorneys you can scrounge up for breakfast! And then, the kid'll be all mine-"

He was interrupted when an anvil fell from the ceiling and crushed him flat. There were a number of gasps from the shocked audience. Marill, Azurill, and Totodile stared at the anvil covering all that was left of Manaphy in disbelief. Bulbasaur edged away, terrified by how close the weight had come to falling on him. "Oh my! What a TERRIBLE accident!" Chet cried, not sounding very worried or surprised at all. "Who could have foreseen that that anvil would fall right where Manaphy was sitting just as he was about to make his exit and ruin this new family's life? Certainly not I!" He surreptitiously threw a pair of scissors he was hiding behind his back away. "But, now that he's dead, it looks as if there's no obstacle to this family having a happy new life together! Congratulations!"

A spotlight shone down on the startled and confused Totodile, Marill, and Azurill as the audience applauded. "Um…Manaphy's dead…yay?" said a confused Totodile.

"Yay! My old daddy is dead! Now I can have a new and better daddy!" Azurill squeaked, bouncing on her tail.

"Totodile…did you mean what you said back there? About how you cared about us and would take care of us?" Marill asked the blue lizard.

"Of course I did," Totodile said softly. "How can I not? You have to know by now how I feel about you, and Azurill too. I'll do everything in my power to protect you. I promise…"

Marill teared up again. "Oh…Totodile!" Bursting into tears of joy, she hugged him. The audience 'awwed'.

"Isn't that wonderful, folks? And to help this little family start their new life, they will receive one million Pokedollars, a mini-yacht, and a lovely villa on the beach where Azurill can grow up in safety and happiness!" Chet announced.

"We will?!" Marill cried happily.

"Sure! You'll have a little place of your own! It'll be great!" Chet promised.

"Uh, do I get anything too?" Bulbasaur asked as the ecstatic Water trio celebrated.

"Are you somebody's father?" Chet asked him.

"Uh, no."

"In that case, no. Get out of here." Bulbasaur scowled and walked away as Chet addressed the audience. "And so it looks like everybody gets a happy ending! Well except for Manaphy, and that Bulbasaur guy. But if you think this was a great show, wait'll you see next episode, where we resolve once and for all to discover the truth of Ash Ketchum's parentage! Was he created by a Legendary Pokemon? Is he a Team Rocket experiment? Is his father Professor Oak, or Giovanni, or Lance, or Bruno, or any other number of trainers who we have and have not heard of? Is he, in fact, an alien? Find out next time, on Who's Your Daddy!!!"

The audience cheered, the lights dimmed, and the show came to a close. All in all, it had been a good episode, even though they'd probably have to explain to the other Legendaries why, exactly, one of their own was now dead. But it's not like they really cared much anyway. It was only Manaphy who died, after all. Not like anyone'd miss him, right?

Phantasma smiled and nodded. "Well, I think I like the way this has all turned out. Now…time to wake them up and let them see how all their dreams have come true!"

And so the spell was broken, and the dreamers awoke.

When Ash woke up, he found himself staring into Misty's beautiful face. "Hello," he said.

"Hi," she said back, smiling peacefully at him.

There was a moment's bliss. And then…

"AAAHHH! YOU'RE A MILOTIC!" Ash screamed, recoiling from Misyt.

"AAAHHH! YOU'RE A MACHAMP!" Misty screamed, recoiling from Ash. Their screams woke everyone else up, and caused them to yell as well as they recalled their dreams and saw their new reality.

"AAAHHH! I LOST TO ARCEUS!" Buizel wailed.

Ash's other Pokemon sweatdropped. "You say that like we should be surprised…" Pikachu muttered.

"Do you think Paul's actually dead? Or did I just dream-kill him?" Chimchar wondered.

"Let's hope it was just a dream, I think they put down Pokemon who murder their trainers…" Turtwig said nervously. "At least, that's what I hear. Hey, do you think I'm still in the Brotherhood of Badass?"

"I don't think such a thing exists," Staraptor said apologetically.

Turtwig sighed unhappily. "Yeah, you're probably right."

"AAAHHH! I ATE MISTY'S SISTERS AND THEY TASTED AWFUL!" Gyarados bellowed tearfully.

"Big shock…" grumbled Corsola. "At least you remember having a dream, I don't think I had any at all! Other than something about Psyduck and a movie…"

"Psy?" Psyduck asked, looking at her blankly and looking oddly dapper in his tuxedo.

Corsola sweatdropped. "No way…"

Politoed glanced around. "Hey, where'd my cheerleading squad go?"

"AAAHHH! MANAPHY'S MY DADDY!" Azurill screamed. "…But he got squished, and I have a new daddy now, so I guess everything's okay."

"AAAHHH! I'M A ROSELIA!" May screamed as she woke up. "AND I DIDN'T BECOME THE WORLD'S TOP COORDINATOR, AND MY SNORLAX ATE ALL THE PRIZES, THEN FARTED ALL OVER US!"

"AAAHHH! I'M A BUNEARY!" Dawn screamed as she woke up. "AND I DIDN'T BECOME THE WORLD'S TOP COORDINATOR, AND MY PACHIRISU EXPLODED, AND THEN MAY'S STUPID SNORLAX ATE ALL THE PRIZES AND FARTED ALL OVER US!"

"Sorry…" Snorlax mumbled. "I'm feeling better now, though."

"That's wonderful," Glaceon said sarcastically. "Well, at least I'm still a Glaceon."

"I was a total wuss back there," Squirtle whined. Then he noticed he was a Wartortle. "Huh? How'd this happen? Cooool…"

"It looks as if Snorlax's fart released a blast of evolutionary energy strong enough to make all of us evolve," Skitty, who was now a Delcatty with much-increased brainpower, speculated.

"Cool!" said Beautifly. "Wait, it didn't affect me at all…oh yeah, that's because I'm already fully evolved. Darn."

"Hmm…almost a shame I evolved before the contest, then…could have gotten that free boost," Empoleon said. "Then again, I already got a free boost, somehow, so…why bother complaining?"

"Certainly not me," whispered Buneary, or rather Lopunny, as she looked over her gorgeous new form with amazement. "Wow…what'll Pikachu think of this?"

"My hat! Where'd my hat go?! And my crown?! MY KINGDOM?!" Ambipom shrieked. "NOOOOO! DON'T TELL ME IT WAS ALL JUST A DREAM!"

"AAAHHH! I HAD A DATE WITH SUDOWOODO AND ENJOYED IT!" Blaziken shouted. She blushed as everyone stared at her. "Er, whoops?"

"You say that like it's a bad thing…" Sudowoodo muttered, insulted.

"AAAHHH! I'M MARRIED TO CROAGUNK!" Brock screamed as he woke up. Everyone stared at him. "What? I am! See, I have a wedding ring and everything…wait…AAAHHH! YOU GUYS HAVE TURNED INTO FREAKY…and oddly hot…monsters?" He blinked, and took another good, long look at Misty, May, and Dawn. They glared back at him, and then Croagunk Poison Jabbed him, causing him to collapse in a paralyzed heap.

"Honey, no looking at other women now that we're married," Croagunk croaked to him, a wedding ring quite visible on one of its fingers.

"Yes…dear…" Brock gasped, twitching.

"AAAHHH! CROAGUNK'S MY MOTHER, ER, SECOND FATHER, ER…What the heck are you?" Happiny asked timidly.

"Your parent of indeterminate gender," Croagunk said.

"Oh, great, that's a big help," Happiny said sarcastically.

"AAAHHH! I'M A HIDEOUSSS MONSTER!" Jessie screamed as she woke up. "AND SSSEVIPER'S GAY!"

"Well, excussse me if that'sss a problem," hissed the offended serpent.

"AAAHHH, I'M ON FIRE!" James screamed, waking up. "Oh, wait, I'm not…but…AAAHHH, I'M A PLANT-THING, AND THE ARCHBISHOP OF KANTO MARRIED ME TO MY POKEMON!"

"We love you, James!" Carnivine, Victreebel, and Cacnea all said as they hugged and/or tried to eat him.

"Chiiiiii!" chimed Chimecho.

"This is so weird…" murmured Mime Jr.

"AAAHHH, I BECAME A VIOLIN, AND THE BOSS PLAYED BEAUTIFUL MUSIC ON MY INNARDS!" Meowth shouted as he woke up. "Oh, wait, I'm okay…but…AAAHHH, JESSIE'S UGLIER DEN USUAL, AND DA TWERPS HAVE ALL CHANGED INTO FREAKY STUFF TOO!"

"Hey!" the twerps in question yelled back at him, offended. Jessie burst into tears, or tried to, but she no longer had tear ducts so just sat there looking miserable.

"AAAHHH, I'M A PICHU!" Max yelled. He paused. "Wait, what the heck's a Pichu, and why am I surprised to be one? For that matter, who am I? Where am I? How did I get here? Who the heck are you weirdoes?"

May groaned. "Oh great, and now my brother's lost his memory! How could this get any worse?!"

Phantasma sighed in exasperation and rolled her eyes. "Wow, all of you seem to be pretty good at whining…if I didn't know better, I'd say you were unhappy or something to be getting your heart's desire!"

There was a pause. Everyone stared at the oddly-colored Mismagius with the unmistakable aura of power that they had only just noticed floating nearby.

"AAAAHHH! MONSTER!" Team Rocket screamed, hugging each other in fright. Or at least they did until Jessie's poison spines pricked them, and they yelped and let go of her. Phantasma's eye twitched.

"Oh great, this explains everything…" Dawn groaned.

"Huh?" said a confused May. "What do you mean?"

"The last Mismagius we ran into trapped us in a dream world and tried to give us everything we desired…until we tried to wake up, and then it attacked us," Ash explained.

"And then it turned into a Rayquaza/Mismagius fusion, which was…pretty cool, actually," Empoleon confessed. "And it chased us around."

"And then we somehow became giant Pokemon and defeated it," Pikachu finished. "And it let us wake up."

"Ah," said Misty. By the confused looks on her face, May's face, and pretty much everyone else who hadn't run into that Mismagius' faces, they hadn't quite gotten it.

"Man, that was a nice dream," Brock said with a sigh. "All those Joys and Jennies in love with meeeEEEAAAUUUGGHHH!" he screamed as Croagunk Poison Jabbed him.

"No thinking about other women, sweetie, we're married now," Croagunk croaked.

"Yes…honey…" Brock gasped, twitching in paralysis.

"Dawn and Ash are right, I am behind this," Phantasma said. "Let me explain. I happen to be the Mismagius trapped in the Dark Stone you were all fighting over earlier…"

"What?!" At that, all the good-guy trainers and their Pokemon were up on their feet. "Then if you're that evil Pokemon, we have to stop you!" said Ash.

"Yeah, from destroying the world, or…something!" said Dawn.

Phantasma sweatdropped. "Er, wait a minute…"

"Or from throwing everyone into a horrible nightmare world like the ones you flung us into!" May agreed.

Phantasma's jaw dropped at that. "Nightmare world?! Why I never-"

"And we have to catch you, for the boss!" James cried, pointing dramatically at what he thought to be Phantasma…and instead poking Jessie in the eye.

"OW! Jamesss, why'd you do that?!" she hissed angrily.

"Oh, sorry Jess, I can't really see anything that's going on with this Chimecho over my eyes," James apologized.

"Chiiiii!" chimed Chimecho.

"I have absolutely no idea what's going on…" Max complained.

Phantasma's eye twitched. "Dammit, I'm not-"

"Pikachu, use Thunderbolt!" Ash commanded. "Buizel, Water Gun! Staraptor, Aerial Ace! Chimchar, Ember! Turtwig, Energy Ball!"

"Gyarados, use Hyper Beam! Corsola, Politoed, Water Gun! Psyduck…uh…just stand there and do nothing, I guess," Misty sweatdropped.

"Psyduck," Psyduck said, nodding decisively.

"Blaziken, Overheat! Glaceon, Delcatty, Ice Beam! Wartortle, Water Gun! Beautifly, Silver Wind! Snorlax, Hyper Beam!" May ordered.

"I'm really not in the mood right now," Snorlax said, lying down. "Think I'm gonna take a nap…"

May facefaulted. "SNORLAX!"

"Zzzzzz…" Snorlax snored.

"Empoleon, Bubblebeam! Bun—I mean, Lopunny, Ice Beam! Ambipom, Swift! Defeat that thing, for Pachirisu's sake!" Dawn cried.

"But I didn't even do anything to-" Phantasma protested.

"Seviper, Poison Tail! Dustox, Psybeam!" Jessie commanded.

"Everyone, get off me and attack that thing!" James yelled. Reluctantly, they did so.

Meowth cackled and rubbed his paws together gleefully. "With all dis firepower, dere's no way we're not nabbing dat evil Pokemon!"

That was the last straw. "FOR THE LAST F-ING TIME, I'M NOT F-ING EVIL!" Phantasma bellowed as she lost her temper, pulses of magical energy washing off her and repelling the attacks coming towards her as the darkness writhed angrily behind her. "IF I KNEW THAT THIS WAS WHAT I WAS GOING TO GET FOR TRYING TO BE NICE AND GIVING THE PEOPLE WHO F-ING LET ME OUT OF THAT DAMN PRISON IN THE FIRST PLACE, THEIR HEART'S DESIRE, I'D HAVE JUST GOTTEN THE HELL OUT OF HERE AND LEFT YOU ALL TO YOUR STUPID, UNALTERED DREAMS!" They stared at her, terrified, as her eye twitched, a vein throbbed on her head, and dark flames burned all around her. "WELL? ANYONE ELSE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT HOW EVIL I AM?!"

"Ahem," Cynthia said, putting her hand on the Mismagius' shoulder (?) and breaking through her rage. "Would you mind if I handled this? They might be a little more responsive to a familiar face."

Phantasma sighed and backed off. "Fine. Go ahead. Lousy ungrateful little…" she grumbled under her breath.

"Yay, it's Cynthia! She's here to save us-AAGGHH!" Brock gasped, as Croagunk Poison Jabbed him again. "I wasn't…hitting on her!"

"No, but you were thinking about it," Croagunk pointed out.

"Wow Daddy, looks like your marriage is going perfectly, it's just like Uncle Brock and Aunt Misty's relationship!" Happiny chirped.

"WE'RE NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP!" Ash yelled reflexively…and noticed Misty wasn't echoing him. She was glaring at him, in fact. "Er…wait, are we? Sorry, I'm kind of new to this…"

"Yeah, it's rather telling…" she said coolly.

"Okay, let's take this from the top," Cynthia said, trying to calm everyone down. "Phantasma, here, despite what the stories say, is not an evil Pokemon."

"She's not?" everyone asked.

"No, I'm fucking well not!" Phantasma yelled, frightening them. "My good name was besmirched and maligned by the idiots who locked me up because they thought my brand of ghostly mischief and pranks had malevolent and malicious intent, when all I was trying to do was have a little fun and make people happy! Or scare them a bit. Depending on whether I liked them or not."

"Well, if your average prank was anything like this, no wonder they thought you were evil…" May muttered.

"WHAT WAS THAT?!" Phantasma bellowed, her head ballooning up to gargantuan proportions and thrusting into May's face. She screamed and fell over. Buizel laughed. Team Rocket would have, too, if they weren't terrified.

"Phantasma, you're not helping," Cynthia warned the Mismagius.

"Oh. Sorry." Somewhat embarrassed, the ghost resumed her regular size.

"Right. Anyway, Phantasma was released during your battle against Team Rocket by Pikachu…" Cynthia continued.

"Something for which I will be eternally grateful," Phantasma told Pikachu, who blushed, causing Lopunny to get a little angry.

"And she decided to reward everyone who had played a part in her release by granting them their heart's desire. And, since all of you were sleeping, she figured the best medium to grant those desires would be through your dreams," Cynthia finished.
"Ohhh," everyone said, finally understanding. Or at least, they thought they did.

"Wait, but I didn't want to be a Machamp, or get beaten up by Arceus," said a confused Ash.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure none of us wanted to get beaten up by Arceus," Pikachu said. The other Pokemon nodded. "Well, except maybe Buizel."

"No, I wanted to beat Arceus," Buizel corrected. Everyone rolled their eyes.

"I guess I did want to kill Paul, though," Chimchar admitted.

"And I wanted to become a Staraptor, and that came true," agreed Staraptor.

"But I didn't want to become a Milotic," commented Misty.

"And I certainly didn't want to become some weird Roselia thing!" May agreed.

"Same here!" said Dawn. "We both wanted to become the world's greatest Coordinator!"

"And I most definitely did not want to marry Croagunk!" Brock said, holding up his ring finger and displaying the wedding band on it.

"I wanted to marry you," Croagunk croaked.

Brock sweatdropped. "That's…great Croagunk, really it is."

"I didn't want to become a monster!" Jessie shrieked.

"Me neither!" added James.

"And I didn't wanna become a violin!" Meowth wailed. "It really hurt, ya know!"

"And I didn't…um…actually, I have no clue what I wanted, because I can't remember who I am," Max complained. "Can somebody help me out here, please?"

"I granted essentially what all of you wanted, give or take a bit here and there, with some modifications…" Phantasma explained. "I mean, it was hard to cram everyone into the same dream and get everything they wanted without a little conflict or spillover. That's why all of Ash's Pokemon and Ash himself were beaten by Arceus, because Ash wanted to become a Pokemon Master and Buizel wanted the strongest opponent there was."

Ash's jaw dropped. "Wait, then you're saying…if Buizel hadn't wanted to fight someone strong, we might've gotten to fight someone who wasn't as tough that didn't beat us all into the ground!?"

Phantasma nodded. "That's right."

Buizel sweatdropped and laughed nervously as Ash and all his Pokemon gave him death glares. "H-hey, cut it out you guys, how was I supposed to know that would happen? And hey, why didn't I get to beat Arceus? Wasn't that part of my heart's desire too?"

"Yes, but if I made you defeat Arceus in a dream I crafted using magic, the real one would be very displeased," Phantasma explained. "Plus, I thought you needed a lesson to deflate your ego." Buizel blanched. "That's also why you couldn't defeat him either, Ash. I would have gotten in trouble. And realistically, there's no way you could ever, ever defeat Arceus, no matter how strong a trainer you become. He's God, after all."

"Amen to that," Pikachu agreed.

"Oh," said a disappointed Ash. "Wait, does that mean my fight with him didn't mean anything, since it was a dream?"

"You still have your badge, don't you? Then it counted for something," Phantasma explained.

"Sweet!" Ash cried, holding his badge in the air. "Now I'm a Pokemon Master!"

"Yeah, by losing a match to Arceus, who felt sorry for you and gave it to you out of pity," Buizel said sourly.

Ash's face fell. "It wasn't like that."

"Suuuure it wasn't," Buizel said sarcastically.

"Uh, am I still part of the Brotherhood of Badass?" Turtwig asked hopefully. "I mean, I'm not sure it actually exists…"

"It does now," said Phantasma.

"BOOYAH!" Turtwig cheered.

"Hey, one other thing. Why am I a Machamp?" asked Ash.

"Only way to impress Arceus," said Phantasma.

"Oh. Okay."

"Um, not that I'm complaining, but why am I a Milotic?" Misty asked.

"You wished to be beautiful, and to be with Ash. I granted both desires," Phantasma explained. Ash and Misty flushed, and everyone else snickered at them.

"She wished to be beautiful? How shallow," Buizel sneered.

"Oh shut up, nobody cares what you think," Pikachu said to him. The otter scowled.

"I ate Misty's sisters. Did that actually happen?" Gyarados asked.

"No, they're still alive…though they'll have nightmares of being digested by you," Phantasma told him.

Gyarados nodded. "Okay. I can live with that."

"Does that mean Paul will have nightmares of me taking bloody vengeance on him, too?" Chimchar asked. Phantasma nodded. He grinned evilly. "Excellent."

"Wait, will Tyson have nightmares of me killing him?" Pikachu asked uneasily. "And…did he really give Meowth performance-enhancing drugs, or…"

"No, that's just you and Ash's subconscious explanation for how you were beaten by a Meowth, just like how that dream version of Harrison represented Ash's subconscious explanation for why he lost the Johto League," Phantasma explained.

"Ah," said Pikachu.

"Oh," said Ash, fidgeting uncomfortably.

"Is Manaphy really my father?" Azurill asked the ghost.

"Manaphy's your father?!" May cried.

"Yeah, but he was a jerk, and got squished by an anvil," Azurill said.

As May stammered in disbelief, Phantasma said, "Yes, he is your father, but I don't think he'll be causing you trouble anytime soon. And the prizes you received on that talk show were real too, and you, Marill, and Totodile may use them as you wish."

"Yay!" Azurill cheered, bouncing on her tail happily.

"Talk show?" asked a confused Misty.

"It's a long story," said Cynthia.

"Where's my cheerleading squad?" Politoed demanded. "I distinctly recall having them to cheer Ash on, but now…"

"They'll all wake up tomorrow morning with a deep desire to form a team under you, and travel to find you," Phantasma said.

"Oh. Sweet."

"How come I didn't dream of anything but going to see Psyduck's stupid move premiere?" asked Corsola.

"Psyduck had a movie premiere?!" everyone cried.

"Yes, he's a big star now. That was his wish," Phantasma explained.

"Duck," Psyduck said smugly to everyone's gaping stares of astonishment.

"And as to why you were there, Corsola…well, the only desire I could find for you was for Psyduck to either learn how to swim. Or die. That's pretty much all you wanted, since you seemed rather content with your life as is," Phantasma continued.

"And how does seeing that movie grant that desire?!" Corsola demanded.

"He swam in part of it. Remember? The bit where he needed to dive down to find Giovanni's undersea base?" Phantasma reminded her.

Corsola paused in thought for a second. "Ohhh…now I remember. I thought that was a stunt double."

Phantasma shook her head. "This is Schpielbunk Productions we're talking about. They don't have the money for stunt doubles."

"Point." Corsola was mollified, but still a little miffed. It was understandable, nearly everyone else had gotten great wishes granted, all she got was to see Psyduck swim.

"Why didn't I get to become the world's greatest Coordinator, though? And why am I a Roselia?!" May demanded.

"And why didn't I become the world's greatest Coordinator, and why am I a Buneary?!" Dawn demanded. "And why is Pachirisu dead?!"

Phantasma rolled her eyes. "You both wanted to be the world's greatest Coordinator. There couldn't really be two, so I had to…fudge it a little to make the compromise work. Now you two share the title."

"But we don't even have the ribbon to show for it!" May protested.

Snorlax burped and suddenly spat up the special commemorative ribbon. "Well, it's there now, if you want it," Phantasma said.

May and Dawn sweatdropped. "Um, no thanks, we'll pass…"

"But you still haven't explained why we're Pokemon-things!" Dawn exclaimed.

"Oh, and what happened to my brother? Why can't he remember anything?!" May demanded.

"I'm your brother?" said a confused Max. "But you're not even of my species…I think that guy is. Hey, are you my dad?" Pikachu, to whom the question was being addressed, sweatdropped.

"Blame Snorlax," said Phantasma. "He wanted a big meal, and he got it. How was I supposed to know he'd eat the evolutionary items, causing a metabolic reaction that gave him the power to make people 'evolve' or 'transform' through burping?" May and Dawn glared at Snorlax, who grinned sheepishly. "I'm afraid that it's also his fault Max is like this…one of his initial burps transformed him from a human into a Pichu, but that giant bout of…indigestion he had released an incredible burst of evolution radiation that would have evolved him into a Pikachu…if his father, Norman, hadn't transformed into a Slakoth and fallen on top of him, absorbing the brunt of the explosion and causing the rest that filtered through to…well, wipe his memory completely."

"What?!" May cried.

"Oops," said an embarrassed Snorlax.

"I was a human?" asked the confused Max. "Wait, what the heck is a human anyway?"

"Is something like that even possible?" Ash asked doubtfully.

Phantasma shrugged. "Looks that way."

"Can't you change him back?!" May begged the Mismagius.

She sweatdropped. "I'm…not sure that would be a good idea. I could turn him into a human, sure, but…his wiped mind only knows how to be a Pichu now. He would be unable to survive as a human."

"Then why don't you just restore his memory?" Misty asked.

Phantasma sweatdropped. "I'm…not very good at reconstructing memories," she admitted. "Reading them, yes, altering them, maybe, making new ones? I…never got around to learning that before I was imprisoned." Everyone facefaulted.

"Well, that's okay, I like being a Pichu. I don't really remember, but I think I wanted to be one anyway," Max said pragmatically. "So this must have been my heart's desire or something. And now I can have that super-cool Pikachu for a father!"

Pikachu sweatdropped. "But…I'm not your dad."

"You are now! I love you, dad!" Max said, hugging Pikachu. Everyone sweatdropped. "Now if only I had a mom…"

"Will I suffice?" Lopunny asked, hopping over.

"Sure!" Max said, hugging her too. "Dad, don't you think she'll make a great Mom?"

Pikachu stared at Lopunny, who had to be the absolutely most beautiful Pokemon he had ever seen for a long moment. "Guh!" His brain hemorrhaged and he passed out, blood gushing from his nose.

Everyone sweatdropped. "Pikachu!" Ash cried, starting towards his friend.

"No, Ash, it's all right, that's a typical male reaction to an exceptionally beautiful female," Brock told him.

"Oh, okay," Ash said, calming down but still looking very confused.

"Oh my…" whispered an embarrassed Lopunny, flushing.

"I think we're going to be a very happy family, aren't we Mom?" Max asked Lopunny.

She smiled at him. "Yes dear, I think we are."

"Awww, isn't that sweet?" Phantasma cooed.

"Yes, it is, except THAT'S MY BROTHER! WHAT'M I GOING TO TELL MY PARENTS WHEN THEY ASK WHERE HE IS?! THAT HE WAS TURNED INTO A PICHU, LOST HIS MEMORY, AND DECIDED TO ADOPT PIKACHU AND LOPUNNY AS HIS PARENTS?!"

"Oh, no problem, I'll just give you a replacement brother!" Phantasma said.

And in a puff of smoke and a flash of light, Meowth became an exact replica of Max. Well, Max as a human, anyway. Team Rocket and everyone else gasped. "Aaaahhh! My eyes! I'm blind!" Meowth shrieked.

"That's because you're not wearing your glasses," Brock said helpfully.

Meowth put them on. "Oh, thanks--AAAHHH, I'M A HUMAN! WHAT'D I DO TA DESERVE THIS!? Well, except for that one thing…and the other thing…and…um…I'll shut up now."

"That'sss…that'sss horrible!" Jessie cried.

Empoleon shook his head sadly. "Yes, being turned into a human…what a horrible fate for a Pokemon." All the humans and former humans glared at him. "What?"

"Why did you make him look like Max?!" May demanded.

"So he can be your replacement brother," said Phantasma.

"…For one thing, that's just sick. And for another, my parents will never fall for it!" May insisted.

"Yeah, and I don't wanna be her brother!" Meowth complained.

"You'll get three square meals a day, a roof over your head and a family to care for you," Phantasma told him.

"I love you, big sister!" Meowth cried, hugging a disgusted May, who shoved him off.

"This is still wrong! And I repeat, it'll never work!" May repeated. "He doesn't know a thing about being Max! He doesn't remember growing up with me or our parents or anything! He can't be my brother! My parents will never believe he's Max!"

"They will if you tell your parents that he got brain-blasted by a really powerful Psychic Pokemon and so doesn't remember anything, which is why you had to send him home to be taken care of by your parents," Cynthia suggested.

"Hey, that sounds good! I like that. Let's do it that way, sis!" Meowth said eagerly.

"I'm not your sister! And even if that DID work, I refuse to do it that way! It's a perversion of everything that Max is or was!" May protested.

"I'm okay with it," said Max.

"Of course you're okay with it, you don't remember anything anyway, so you have no problem giving up a life you have no memory of!" she shouted at him.

"Yeah, that sounds about right," he agreed. "But look, girl who's supposed to be my sister, what alternative is there? I can't go back to the way I was before, Phantasma said so. If Meowth doesn't become me, then what're you going to tell your—our parents? That I'm dead? That I became a Pichu and abandoned them? At least this way, they'll still have something they think is Max, that's better than nothing at all, right?"

"But it'll be a lie!" May protested.

Ash nodded. "Yeah, and all lies are bad!"

"Like the lie you told your mother when she asked if you'd been changing your underwear regularly the other day?" asked May.

"Er…"

"And the lie you told Professor Oak about how you really liked his latest haiku?" Dawn added.

"Uh…"

"Or when you told May and Dawn that you thought Pokemon Contests were really cool?" Misty said.

"Wait, that was a lie?!" May and Dawn shrieked angrily.

"Ulp!"

"And when you told Misty that that new dress she got didn't make her look fat?" suggested Brock.

"WHAT?!" Misty howled, eyes red with fury.

Ash squealed with alarm and hid behind a tree several meters away. "I think I'll just shut up now."

"Come on, big sis, it won't be so bad," Meowth said, tugging on May's arm. "In time, I'm sure you'll forget all about me not really being Max, especially if someone brainwashes you!" Phantasma shook her head. "Oh. Um…well, at least you'll still have a brother then. Who looks like Max. Or something. And that's gotta count, right? Maybe?"

May looked at him for a moment. She sighed, giving up. "Does it have to be Meowth, though?" May complained. "He'll probably rob my parents or something…"

"Hey!" Meowth protested.

"It's either him or Buizel," Phantasma said. Buizel's eyes bulged out in horror.

"I love you, little brother!" May cried, hugging Meowth. Everyone sweatdropped.

"Meowth, why are you abandoning us?!" Jessie cried.

"Yeah, they're twerps, and we're your teammates!" James added.

"Screw you guys, I'll take three square meals and a roof over my head to Team Rocket any day!" Meowth shot at them over his shoulder. Their faces fell.

"That's all very nice, but WHAT ABOUT MY PACHIRISU?!" Dawn yelled.

"And my Pokenip!" Delcatty whined.

"And my courage!" complained Squirtle.

"And my kingdom?!" screeched Ambipom.

Phantasma sighed. "Okay, first off, Pachirisu's not dead."

"She's not?" said a surprised Dawn.

"Taurosshit, I saw her explode myself," protested Glaceon.

"No, that's what you thought you saw. In actuality, her metabolism was so jacked-up from all the Poffin that she ate that she was able to vibrate her body fast enough to pierce the barrier between dimensions and escape into the multiverse," Phantasma explained.

"Oh," said Dawn. "So…she's in another dimension!? But how'll she find her way back?!"

Phantasma shrugged. "Interdimensional travel's not really my field of expertise. You'd have to ask an Unown about that. But wherever she is, I'm sure she's fine."

Elsewhere…

"Honey, why are you hiding in the closet?" Linda West asked her husband, who was indeed cowering in the closet, looking rather ridiculous in his red body-tight outfit. "You're setting a bad example for the kids."

"Because it's out there," her husband, Wally West, also known as the superhero Flash whimpered. "You should come in here too. And the kids. It's not safe out there."

Linda rolled her eyes. "And that would be because…"

"Because of the squirrel," he hissed, eyes darting about fearfully.

Linda stared at him, wondering if her husband had finally gone insane due to all the crazy stuff that happened in his everyday life as a superhero. "A squirrel."

"Yes," he said, nodding fervently. "Just this morning, I felt a disturbance in the Speed Force, so ran out to investigate. And when I got there, I found it…some kind of a hyperactive mutant squirrel, blue and white and capable of generating electricity, running all over the place at several times the speed of light and causing all sorts of crazy havoc around the world. So, naturally I started chasing after it, but…I couldn't. It was…it was so fast…so fast that I couldn't even catch up to it! It ran around the world ten times, zigzagging, in the time it took for me to do four loops, straight!"

Now Linda was starting to get worried. "That is pretty fast," she admitted. "So…why aren't you out there trying to figure out a way to capture that thing?"

"There's no way to," Wally said, shaking his head. "It's hopeless. I've given up and am waiting for the world to either end or for the thing to go away. Not even the Justice League can stop this creature. Superman tried, and is now in the Metropolis ICU for severe rabid squirrel bites capable of penetrating his skin. Batman tried, and nearly got eaten alive. He looked more scared than I've ever seen him before, which is, like, never. Green Lantern tried, but they overwhelmed his ring and nearly drove him insane. We're all doomed."

"Wally, don't you think you're overreacting?" his wife asked, a bit doubtfully.

"Linda, right before I gave up and hid in here, I watched the thing devour all the caffeine in every Starbucks in America," Wally said flatly. "After that, it became so fast that not even time itself could contain it properly, and there were multiple electric squirrels running about and screaming, each one just a living 'second' or 'instant' of the original squirrel! And then they ran off to devour every other Starbucks and coffee place in the world. And that's when I hid in here."

Linda's eyes widened in horror. "It's becoming faster, and eating all the caffeine on Earth, which will increase its speed even further."

"Yes."

"And we haven't evacuated to the Moon because…"

Wally shook his head. "It's there too. I checked. I have no idea how, but it's on the Moon too. No place is safe. So we might as well just hide in here and wait for the inevitable."

"I'll get the kids," she said, running out of the room.

"And bring back some chips, I'm getting hungry in here!" he yelled after her.

Back with our friends…

"Okay…well…as long as she's not dead, I guess I'll just have to wait for her and hope she'll find her way home," Dawn said finally, unaware that her little Pachirisu was at that very moment growing into a threat to the entire multiverse.

"But what about my Pokenip?" Delcatty asked again.

"I don't do drugs," Phantasma said flatly. "So, I helped you evolve and become smarter and prettier, which I figured you'd like just as much."

"Oh, okay," Delcatty said, mollified.

"Drugs?" asked a confused May.

"And my courage?" Squirtle asked.

"You got your courage. You felt confident enough to go out there on the big stage," Phantasma said. "Unfortunately, your stage fright was greater than I thought…sorry."

Squirtle sighed. "Great…so I'm still a wimp."

"You sure are!" Buizel barked, until Pikachu whacked him on the head. "Ow!"

"And what about my kingdom?!" Ambipom shrieked.

"You'll never have it," Phantasma said flatly. "Other than in the world you see when you close your eyes. You can still have Ash's hat whenever you want, though."

"Hmm. I suppose that's true," Ambipom admitted. She pounced on a startled Ash, who was returning from behind the tree, grabbed his hat, and ran off with it into the forest. "Yoink!"

"Hey, come back here with my hat!" Ash bellowed angrily, chasing after her. The others sweatdropped.

"Well, she's sure entertained easily…" Misty said after a moment.

"Are there any other questions you all have about the dreams I gave you?" Phantasma asked.

"Um, yes actually. Why exactly did I get married to Croagunk?!" Brock shouted. "I certainly never desired that!"

"Actually, you desired to be a top Pokemon Breeder with a harem of gorgeous women who loved you completely and obeyed your every whim and gave you incredible sex," Phantasma said coolly. All the girls in the group glared at Brock, and he swallowed. "So, I decided to compromise by pairing you to the one female in the world (aside from your mother) who loves you unquestionably and needed little coercion to marry you, thus preventing such a horrible future from ever coming to pass."
Brock stared at Croagunk. Croagunk stared back. "Uh, but Croagunk isn't a woman…"

"I can be when I want to be," Croagunk croaked in reply.

Everyone stared at the frog, a little disgusted. "O…kay…" Brock said after a moment. "But…even so, you're a Pokemon and I'm a human! That sort of thing isn't done!"

"Really?" asked a surprised Phantasma. "That sort of thing was actually pretty common back in my day…" Everyone else sweatdropped.

"I'm pretty sure this is illegal nowadays…" Brock complained.

"Not anymore!" Phantasma said cheerfully. "The Archbishop of Kanto did it, so that set legal precedent! Or is it religious precedent? Eh, something like that."

"But it was a dream Archbishop who married us!" Brock protested, again.

Phantasma shook her head. "He'll remember it pretty vividly when he wakes up tomorrow. And the records showing he performed the wedding will remember it too, as will your family, who witnessed the whole thing. That makes it legally binding. Now any trainer who wants to can marry their Pokemon! Isn't that great?"

There were more sweatdrops all around. "Can I get a divorce?" Brock asked hopefully.

"No," said Croagunk, Poison Jabbing him.

"So, any other questions about the gifts I've given you?" Phantasma asked perkily.

Ash, coming back into the clearing dragging Ambipom by her tails and wearing his hat again, raised a hand. "Yeah, why are we still Pokemon-things again?"

"Oh, I thought it'd be neat." They facefaulted. "If it's that big a deal, though, you can switch back and forth between your regular human forms and your current appearance at will."

Relived to hear this, Ash, Misty, May, and Dawn immediately changed back to normal. Unfortunately, their clothes didn't change with them, leaving Ash only in his underwear and hat, Misty almost naked, May was actually naked, and Dawn didn't have any pants. They looked at each other, screamed, and quickly ran for cover, while Brock passed out with a heavy nosebleed in combination with Croagunk Poison Jabbing him again. Phantasma sweatdropped. "Whoops…"

"Methinks you should give them some clothing," Cynthia said. Phantasma nodded and quickly conjured up fresh duplicates of the humans' regular attire, which the four kids eagerly changed into.

"I don't get what the deal with humans and clothing is," Sudowoodo complained. "Wouldn't they be better off in the buff like us Pokemon?"

"No, then they'd freeze to death in the winter," said Blaziken. "And they'd cut up their fragile little feet on the tough ground walking everywhere barefoot. They're not nearly as resilient as we are, and their skin is much thinner and weaker."

"Ah," said Sudowoodo. "How'd they become the dominant species on this planet again?"

"Opposable thumbs?" Blaziken suggested. She looked down at her claws. "But a lot of us have them too…hmm. That's a good question."

"Through cheating and technology, which is also cheating!" said Buizel.

"No it isn't, technology's very nice and useful. It gives us great food, makes transportation between places easy, and also allows us to watch television," Pikachu pointed out.

"Mmm…television…" all the trained Pokemon drooled.

"Wait, if it makes transportation so easy, why do we have to walk everywhere? It takes us forever to travel from city to city that way!" Turtwig pointed out.

"Yeah, it would be much faster if you could all fly, like me," Staraptor said, spreading his wings.

"Or if we took a car, or a train, or a bus…" muttered Empoleon. "Or even a boat! Why the heck don't we ever do that?" This last was directed at the human trainers, who glanced at themselves uncertainly.

"Uh…" said Ash.

"It's more interesting to take the scenic route?" Cynthia suggested.

"Yeah!" The others agreed quickly. Their Pokemon frowned, not entirely satisfied with that answer.

"Hey, why couldn't we change back?" Jessie and James complained.

"Because I despise you," Phantasma said plainly. "And now I'm going to send Jessie to the zoo and James back to his parents' house."

"Ha ha!" Meowth laughed, pointing at his horrorstricken teammates.

"No! I don't want to go to the zoo!" Jessie screamed.

"But Jesssie, you'll be famousss and tonsss of people will come from everywhere to sssee you," Seviper hissed, playing to his ex-trainer's ego.

"They will? Oh, all right then. If I mussst. The things I have to do for my public!" Jessie cried melodramatically, striking a ridiculous pose. Everyone else sweatdropped.

"Um, my parents won't be able to marry me off to Jessiebelle if I go home, will I?" James asked anxiously.

"No," said Phantasma. James sighed in relief. "You won't be able to escape from Growlie's affections, though."

James' eyes would have widened by horror if they weren't stuck behind Chimecho's tail. "WHAT?! No, wait, don't-"

It was too late. He, Jessie, and all their Pokemon were teleported away. "Well, that takes care of that," Phantasma said, looking pleased with herself. "And I even managed to find something for Dustox and Seviper, too…Seviper will join Arbok in a new apartment, and Dustox will go on to play a starring role in a great new sitcom called 'Uptown Cowboys', a show about a pair of cattle ranchers trying to raise a herd of one in an apartment in a big metropolitan city."

"A herd of one?" asked a skeptical Misty.

"Oh come on, how many do you really think could fit in an apartment in those cities? And besides, there've been worse concepts for sitcoms." They had to admit that this was indeed the case.

"One other question: Cynthia, what did you wish for?" Dawn asked the League Champion.

"That's something I'd like to keep to myself…and my Pokemon," she said with an enigmatic smile.

"Oh," said Dawn.

"And with that, I am afraid it is time for me to go, for I have dallied here too long,"
Phantasma said, somewhat apologetically. "It is my hope that we shall meet again…and that all the gifts I have given you will give you the happiness you deserve, as awkward or inconsequential as some of them may seem at the moment. And those who didn't get quite what they wanted…hopefully they've learned their lesson and will not do it again. Buizel and Brock, I'm looking at you." They both glared at her. She glared back. They whimpered and hid their faces. "So, farewell, my good friends, my saviors. It is my fondest hope that we shall meet again. Especially you, Cynthia, if you know what I mean." She and the trainer exchanged winks, much to everyone else's confusion. Phantasma prepared to leave, paused, and then smiled at Pikachu. "Oh, and Pikachu? I hope you enjoy my gift most of all." With that, she vanished, before anyone could ask any more questions.

Soon after, the sun came up. It was a very lovely sunrise, and the start of a beautiful new day for everyone.

Ash enjoyed being the world's youngest Pokemon Master for three weeks until, exasperated with the constant stream of challengers he was receiving, he forfeited the title willingly. He was surprised by how bad he didn't feel about this, now he had a chance to train harder and try to earn the title back for real, rather than have it given to him as a gift.Misty was, naturally, instrumental in Ash's recovery, and continued to travel with him, becoming a stronger trainer as well and getting closer and closer to Ash with every day they were together.

Staraptor was…Staraptor. Nothing interesting happened to him.

Turtwig strived hard to be cooler, and managed to succeed, and remained a proud member of the Brotherhood of Badass. He was never as cool as Sceptile or Charizard, of course, but that goes without saying.

Buizel challenged Ash's Machamp form to a fight, confident he'd win. Naturally, he got his ass kicked, and his head was hit so hard he actually decided to change his ways and become a nice guy.

Paul had constant repeating nightmares of himself getting violently torn apart by Chimchar which so unnerved him that he got no sleep and started losing constantly. When he inevitably ran into Ash again, the sight of his old Chimchar smiling at him, the same smile he had seen in his dreams on the face of the maniac killing him, drove him completely insane, and he had to be locked away in an institution for the rest of his life. His Pokemon were all released and wound up either becoming Ash's or returned to the wild, living happier and healthier lives from that point forward.

Misty's sisters, terrified by their nightmare of becoming Gyarados' supper, strived to become better trainers with much more personality and smarts. They succeeded, and became fairly competent leaders of Cerulean Gym, much to Misty's relief.

Politoed joined up with his cheerleading squad, but were forced to leave Misty, since she was worried Ash would get a big head if he had a whole bunch of people cheering him all the time. They found employment with the Pokemon League and were rented out to cheer at big battles and sports events.

Psyduck married Wigglytuff, made many more movies, got involved in countless scandals, broke up with Wigglytuff, married her again, joined a ridiculous faux religion made up by a sci-fi writer, and in general did all the stupid things a celebrity does that constantly fascinate the media and the public.

Corsola…didn't really do much of anything.

Azurill, Marill, and Totodile moved out to their new villa on the beach and lived happily ever after. Until Manaphy led an army of sea creatures to try to take his daughter back by force, but that's another story for another day.

Brock remained married to Croagunk, much to his personal displeasure and his family's happiness. In time he admitted to himself that it wasn't so bad being married to a Pokemon, even if its gender was never very clear and it attacked him whenever he had any girl fantasies or started crushing on a more beautiful woman. And he was building up an intolerance to poison, which was also a plus. Now, if only he could shake off the fear that he was going to be the father of a race of horrible frog-people which would overrun the Earth… (They turned out to be a race of quite friendly and benevolent frog-people, but that didn't stop Brock from getting a heart attack when he saw how many eggs his wife had laid, or the bigger one he had gotten when Croagunk announced he/she/it was pregnant.)
Happiny became satisfied with Croagunk as a parent, and eventually grew up to be a lovely Chansey helping out her father at the Breeding Center he eventually opened.

Sudowoodo continued dating Blaziken, they grew closer together, and they eventually got married, or as close to married as most Pokemon get. Naturally, Brock's Breeding Center was where they laid their first egg and raised the child that eventually hatched from it.

May and Dawn argued a bit over who should get the ribbon, battled over it, tied, couldn't resolve anything, and are still trying to decide to this day who the world's best Coordinator is, as are all the confused people also trying to get that title. May also got into a relationship with Drew, and Dawn with Kenny, but you don't want to hear about that.

Glaceon, Empoleon, and Delcatty were all happy as fully evolved, powerful, and attractive Pokemon, and lived happily with lots of opportunities for contest and regular battles. They became pretty close, since their trainers were always fighting each other.

Beautifly got to be used more, which is what she had always wanted.

Snorlax always got lots to eat, and so was content.

Now that he was evolved, Wartortle was much more courageous, and fought in many battles bravely.

Ambipom always bitterly resented the fact that she never got to rule her kingdom of apes, so took it out on others by stealing their hats and hoarding them for herself.

Pachirisu…some things are better left unsaid.

Jessie lived unhappily ever after at the zoo. While everyone did come from far and wide to see her, they were always screaming and throwing up and talking about how ugly she was. Some jerk kids threw stuff at her. It was almost enough to make you feel sorry for her…almost.

Seviper and Arbok had a much happier time in their apartment. They had to face some harassment, being a gay Pokemon couple in the big city, but they strived in spite of it and loved each other no matter what anyone else said.

Dustox's sitcom got cancelled after five episodes. He wound up getting work in B-rated monster movies instead. Occasionally, he costarred with Psyduck.

Wobbuffet returned to the wild lands of his birth and lived happily ever after as well.

James and his 'harem' lived fairly happily at his family estate, except for the times when Growly happily tried to burn him alive, or Jessiebelle tried to murder him, or when his spouses kept trying to eat him…still, he thanked every day he got to live this life, because it was much better than it had been being a member of Team Rocket.

Mime Jr. eventually left James, feeling his lifestyle was too hectic, and became a soap opera star. He was pretty good at it, too.

Meowth enjoyed being a human and the son of Norman and Caroline eventually. He grew to love them dearly for the care and kindness they showered upon him, and even came to like May and the other 'twerps' to some extent. Only rarely did he think back to his time as a Meowth and wish he could still be a Pokemon, who didn't have to wear pants.

Pikachu, Buneary, and Max had a happy family life too. Pikachu wasn't pleased about how he had been essentially shanghaied into being a father and husband, but he was a good and caring person, and it didn't take long for him to get close to and love his new family very much. They had yet to discover Phantasma's gift to Pikachu, and when they did they would certainly be very surprise: she had bestowed immortality and almost godlike power onto the little mouse, power that would spill over onto his family and loved ones and increase their strength and longevity as well. If he lived long enough, they might even evolve into legendary Pokemon. Phantasma was looking forward to seeing that.

And speaking of the sorceress, she swiftly retook her kingdom and reshaped the ghosts of the world, who had grown rather lax, rowdy, and all sorts of stuff in her absence. She reconstructed her palace, much to the uneasiness of the nearby town, and turned Lavender Town into a summer resort for her and her court to go to to relax. The townspeople there weren't happy either, but they weren't really given a lot of choice in the matter.

Cynthia visited Phantasma frequently to learn more of the lore and knowledge the ancient ghost possessed, and the two became very good friends. Some thought that they were more, but there was little solid proof to back these rumors.

And as for how Cynthia resolved the complex love polygon she and her Pokemon had gotten themselves into…well, that would be telling, wouldn't it?

THE END