A Trial of Shadow.

(Or, this is getting annoying!)

Julie was getting seriously fed up of being in this situation. She glared at the Cipher peon, glared at his Charizard, and was pretty determined not to fight. As she spread her wings to fly away from it, the Charizard hit her with a fire blast and she dropped. As she lay there barely conscious, she saw an all-too familiar flash and realised that once again she was on the wrong end of a thrown pokéball.

"Oh no, not again! I'm sick of being in this position!" she cried, just before she was swallowed up by the pokéball.

Lawrence was concerned. Julie had nipped out to stretch her wings for a bit, and she had now been gone almost an hour. With all the goings on with Cipher in the last couple of years, he had gotten jumpy, but decided not to panic until she had been missing for longer. After all, perhaps she had stopped off to natter to a friend and forgotten the time. Julie had a lot of friends on Shamouti island, among them George, John, Martin, Paul, Donna, Rachel, Keith and Fiona.

Two hours later and several phone calls later, he was definitely concerned. None of their friends had seen her, except for flying around the sky. She had headed for the mainland of Kanto, a trip she could complete easily in an hour, and return in two. He wondered then if she had maybe visited the Ashes, who lived in Pallet Town. It was conceivable, but wouldn't she have phoned by now? He sighed. It was his last option. He stretched out his hand to the 'phone and as he did, it rang. He snatched up the 'phone with relief. This was probably her now. He had gotten too jumpy, seeing Cipher agents hiding in every alley. They needed to move on from the recent events.

It wasn't Julie, but Male Ash.

"Uhh, Lawrence, we've got Julie here." He said.

"Thank the Guardian!" cried Lawrence, who had fallen into the islanders mode of speaking. "I was getting worried!"

"Um……I think you should come here. We were attacked by a Cipher agent who had her on his team-we only just managed to Snag her-it was lucky I was giving Professor Oak a practical demo of how the mechanism works, so was wearing the portable Snag machine." Lawrence groaned.

"And she'd been Shadowed-again!"

"I'm afraid so." said Male Ash.

"I'll get the machine powered up. Could you start de-Shadowing her while I get there?"

"Sure thing." Said Male Ash. "I'll see you when you get here then."

Lawrence stopped off only to inform his friends of where he was going, and to pick up Rachel and Cyril, who could both see Shadow Pokémon, an ability nicknamed Shadow-sight, just in case. After making sure he'd re-stocked, they boarded and Lawrence flew to Kanto.

It was a rather turbulent journey as the weather was beginning to turn wintry, so Cyril spent most of the journey worshipping the porcelain. He only came out once Lawrence's machine was safely landed, his face as green as the right leg of his current favourite trousers (the left leg was neon pink, and Rachel had confided that she'd 'lose' them as soon as she could). Once Cyril had returned to a more natural colour, they went to the Ashes house.

Neither of Pallet's Gym Leaders was in, but Male Ash's mother was.

"I've been expecting you two." she said. "You've brought your friends I see?" she said, wincing at Cyril's trousers and the neon orange top Rachel had not managed to persuade him not to wear. "My son and his wife are at Professor Oak's lab, waiting for you."

They hurried there, Lawrence having a sinking feeling that something was very wrong. As he walked in, he saw Professor Oak analysing what looked like an ordinary pokéball, and the two Ashes standing by Julie. Her eyes were glazed and showed no recognition of either the Ashes, or of them. Lawrence's sense of wrongness increased. She should be at least half de-Shadowed by now. The Ashes had had plenty of experience of de-Shadowing Pokémon and now had it down to a fine art. She should be at least partly de-Shadowed by now.

"She's totally Shadowed still." Said Cyril beside him, as if reading his mind, and Rachel nodded her agreement. At their voices, the Ashes and the Professor turned.

"Ah Lawrence!" said Professor Oak. "It appears we have a problem here. Ash was de-Shadowing your wife, and put her back in the pokéball to take her for healing at the Poké Centre. When they got her out to fight again-well, you can see for yourself. All the hard work they'd put in was undone, so they brought her, and the pokéball, here to me, to see if I can find out what had happened." His face turned grave. "It appears Cipher have overcome the problem of inadvertent purification while fighting. A Pokémon caught in this "Shadow-ball" as I have nicknamed it, is returned to a fully Shadowed state each time it is returned to it's ball."

"What am I going to do then?" asked Lawrence. "I'm not leaving Julie in Shadow for the rest of her life!"

"If we take her to Orre, stock up on revives and potions, and gather some Leppa berries, we can work on de-Shadowing her there." Female Ash said. "If we can beg, borrow, or steal some Elixers and Ethers too, that would be a help."

"I have some of those you can have." Professor Oak declared.

"My father works for Silph." declared Cyril. "If we go there, I can ask him to help with a donation or discount…though I'd better wear one of my more sombre outfits for it."

"Well it's a good thing I brought a sombre change of clothes for you then," said Rachel, and handed him a small knapsack. "Bottom pouch." Cyril headed into Oak's office, and came out in a soft blue top and a pair of black trousers.

"When you get her to Orre, bring her out and break the poké ball so she cannot return to it." said Oak. "From then on, you'll have to use your restoratives, berries, and Ethers and Elixers to restore her. Without the pokéball, the Poké Centre will not be an option. Neither can you get her in another pokéball until she's been fully purified."

They returned Julie to the pokèball for the trip to Saffron to visit Cyril's father. He was in a generous mood, handing over ten free samples of every restorative, plus ten more ethers and elixers. He wished Lawrence and the Ashes the best of luck, and gave Rachel a fatherly hug.

When they got to Orre, they headed for Pyrite and Duel Square. The two Ashes, Cyril, Lawrence, and Rachel had come fully prepared. The three men and Female Ash each had a pokèball containing a big, juicy, fully enhanced and powered-up Charizard in the first spaces on their belts. Lawrence also had a Blastoise, whereas Rachel had not only a Cloyster and a Charmeleon, but also a powerful Venusaur on her. This had been given to her three years ago by Cyril as a Bulbasaur. Female Ash also had a faithful Gengar and an evil-looking Scyther with her. Cyril had brought along his Jolteon and Vaporeon, his recently acquired Houndoom, his Pikachu (that had evolved from a pichu) and his faithful Murkrow. Male Ash, in addition to his Charizard, had brought his Noctowl, his Feraligater, his Bulbasaur and his faithful first ever Pokèmon, Pikachu. Lawrence had taken a full set of five eevee evolutions with him, plus a space on his belt for Julie's pokèball.

They released Julie from the pokèball, and then Lawrence took it, and stamped on it with his size thirteens, breaking it into splinters. They approached the first battler, and began.

Once they tired of Duel Square, they went up Battle Mountain, Lawrence taking the easy, early levels for de-Shadowing purposes, and the two Ashes going on to the more difficult levels, toasting everything they came across. Cyril and Rachel stayed on guard down below, just in case.

It was a long and arduous process, and very expensive in terms of items, but eventually Julie was de-Shadowed enough to know where she was, and to desire purification. They took her in the machine to Agate village, and took her to the Relic Stone. There they Purified her, and she looked relieved to be back to herself. She flew up in the air, balling her feet into fists. She began swearing, loudly and inventively. She managed to continue her tirade of swearwords for an impressive two minutes without repetition of a single one.

"Right!" she said, her voice dripping with fury. "Where are those Cipher swine! They are going to pay for what they've done to me!" She looked at the Ashes, Cyril, Rachel, and Lawrence.

"Come on, let's find them. We have some Cipher butt to seriously cream!"