Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon, though a few OCs will pop up throughout in supporting roles.
A Fallen God
1. For the Want of a Kingdom…
It had happened. It had finally happened. Everything he had ever worked towards had paid off; his dreams had come true. Except now he was no longer a boy and now he no longer had to strive forwards to obtain his lofty goals.
Life was good.
"Mr. Ash Ketchum, everyone!"
And now the crowd was on its feet; screaming, cheering, chanting his name…
A proud grin stretched across his face as he waved to his enraptured audience. Pikachu leapt onto his shoulder and surveyed the spectators smugly, flourishing his paw at whoever glanced his way.
It was perfect.
"And now," the commentator was announcing, "Mr. Ketchum makes his way to the Stairway of Honour, ready to take his place as a member of the Elite Four!"
More wolf whistles, more yells of support. Ash adjusted his cap, heard his best friend squeak his consent, and set off up the long flight of stairs. Each step took him closer to the best moment of his life. His faithful Pokémon, who had battled so hard for him, joined the procession to the top one by one, nervous yet exalted. Ash flashed a smile over his shoulder. None of this would have been possible without them.
At last he reached the platform at the top, where his new comrades greeted him: the slightly clumsy Charlotte; the cool Andrea; and their leader, the silent Mark. Ash shook hands with each of them in turn, unable to stop beaming.
"We need a photo of you," Andrea said, gesturing casually to a man who was waiting by patiently, camera held aloft. "You know, for the Hall of Fame, to prove that you're a member. Okay with you?"
"Er…okay," Ash said stupidly as his team gathered around him. He tried to pose nonchalantly but failed miserably; after all, it wasn't every day someone broke the record for the youngest ever person to be admitted into the Elite Four! Everywhere he looked, cameras were flashing in his direction, every single member of the audience desperate for a souvenir of their day. His Pokémon stood around him: Sceptile and Tauros on his left; Quilava and Feraligatr on his right; Swellow hovering by his head; and Pikachu peeping over his hat.
"Follow us," Mark said shortly.
Obediently, Charlotte and Andrea pursued him through the exit to the stadium.
"Pi, Pika!" encouraged the electric mouse, patting Ash on the back. Ash pulled out his Pokéballs and recalled his team.
"Thanks, guys," he muttered under his breath, before stowing them on his belt. Taking one last glance at the well-lit stadium, Ash turned and trudged after his new colleagues.
The sound of the crowd was instantly muffled as he stepped out into the surprisingly cold air.
"I can't believe it, Pikachu!" he told the mouse. "It's all over! We've made it!"
"Chu!" the electric type agreed happily, clinging to the young man's black tresses.
"Yo, Ash!" Charlotte was waving frantically at him from the threshold of a nearby building.
On closer inspection, Ash realised it was a Pokémon Center, though a far superior one to the sort he was accustomed to. He shoved his hands deep into his pockets and watched his fellow Elite Four member.
"So…congrats again, Ash," Charlotte said after a short pause.
"Yeah, thanks," Ash nodded, stroking Pikachu's head absently.
"Mark and Andrea are waiting inside," Charlotte supplied. Ash was glad for it—he was so overwhelmed that he didn't think he'd be able to hold a coherent conversation for some time. "C'mon."
He traipsed after her, and was immediately engulfed by warmth. Mark and Andrea were deep in conversation when Charlotte and Ash walked up.
"You'd better give your Pokémon to Nurse Joy," Charlotte said brightly. "I'm sure they're tired after that battle."
"Okay," Ash said awkwardly, pulling out his five Pokéballs. Pikachu leapt onto the desk beside him, awaiting the nurse.
"What an honour it is to meet you, Mr. Ketchum." Nurse Joy bowed her head slightly as she made her appearance. She gave him a grin as she placed the balls onto a tray. Pikachu transferred himself onto the woman's shoulders.
"Thanks," Ash rubbed the back of his neck modestly, gave the nurse one last smile, and turned his attention back to Mark, Andrea, and Charlotte.
"You're expected in a news interview tomorrow," Mark warned him as he opened his mouth to speak. "Around ten I think, with PokéWorld TV."
"Right." Ash was a little nervous. After all, he was no longer the cocky, self-absorbed child he had been at one time. He had matured a lot since the beginning of his journey, and felt he had become a much nicer person for it.
"They'll also want you to give a demonstration of your powers," Charlotte added excitedly. "It's a wonderful experience!"
"So all we do is battle other trainers who challenge us, right?" Ash asked.
"For the most part, yeah. But if there are problems we go and sort them out, because everyone looks up to us and relies on us," Andrea complied.
"What, like problems with Pokémon?"
"Sometimes, and sometimes we have to deal with Pokémon thieves."
A strong image of the bumbling Jessie, James, and Meowth sprang to mind. "Like Team Rocket?"
"They're the biggest offenders," Charlotte winked cheerfully. "But we put a stop to their work pretty quick. Anyway, you don't want to be thinking about that tonight. It's time to celebrate your victory, kiddo!"
Ash smiled. That was right. He'd done it. He was now a proud member of the Elite Four.
He was part of the greatest kingdom ever.
Unknown location, Flaviaosa.
The figure in front of the desk quivered slightly, his fear showing. The man behind it waved him away, barely containing his anger. Relieved, the agent fled, leaving the man alone. He hurled his glass of brandy across the room, where it smashed against the wall and dripped onto the floor like droplets of blood. His fists shook with the effort of keeping his temper under control as he stood and stormed over to the window, wrenching open the curtains. The setting sun glowed on the horizon, and the man turned away, disgusted. They'd failed him. He'd lost the kingdom he had been hoping to gain.
They'd pay in time, he reassured himself. They would. But for now he needed to come up with a plan to counter the…unforeseen circumstances of the boy's admittance. It would take careful planning. Not one detail could be rushed if he wanted to succeed in this.
But, the slower the preparation, the sweeter the vengeance would be in time when he defeated the runt and claimed custody over the entire planet.