All Roads Lead to the Grand Festival

For my readers out there, this is somewhat of a continuation of the Valentine's Day MinamoShipping fic that I did entitled 'Giving of Yourself'. This chaptered story is more MultiShipping than anything else, and it centers around the Hoenn Grand Festival in Slateport City. Most of the ships that were mentioned in 'Giving of Yourself' will be featured in this story. Chapter one has Kelly and May going to Slateport City to sign up for the Grand Festival and having an impromptu meeting with another couple. In case you didn't know, this also has BelleShipping in later chapters. Enjoy my 25th fic, folks!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.

(Chapter 1- Signing Up in Slateport)

The signs on the highway make it easy as two plus two to navigate towards the ultimate coordinator's destination of Slateport City and the three day event that makes the city the focal point of the Hoenn region. With only one half of a kilometer to go before longtime girlfriends Kelly Cruz-Marin and May Maple make it to the main arena, they can already hear the loud, cheerful and festive sounds of the biggest gathering of coordinators this year.

From Valentine's Day in mid-February to right now on March 12th, Kelly has made it her mission to get her seventeen-year old girlfriend ready for the Grand Festival through intense training. Along with Norman and Max who both pitched in to help May in her battling skills, Harley and Caroline to assist in first round appeals and Kelly who made nutrition and athletic prowess a must, May has never been more confident than she is right now to hoist the Grand Festival Trophy above her head come Sunday afternoon.

As the two make their way to the entrance gate of the Grand Festival hand in hand, May turns to Kelly and smiles, saying, "I know I've said this before to you and everyone else several times, but…thank you for all of your help these past four weeks. I don't know if I've ever felt this good about my chances in the Grand Festival in…ever!"

"Well, clearly," Kelly says, in an almost bragging fashion, "I am biased this time, because I have my prized horse in the race." May laughs at the analogy before she gives the smiling dame a light shove on the shoulder. "But seriously," Kelly continues, "we all want you to do well here, baby. We've…covered just about everything. You have top-notch pokemon, a great strategy, a prime appeal for tomorrow, and everything is running in near-perfect harmony, but quite frankly, I still have a little issue. It has to do with your…competition."

"Competition?" questions the lady in red. "Girl, what are you talking about?"

The urban seventeen-year old wearing a black shirt and long blue overalls sighs as she stops in front of a few stands outside of the arena selling pokemon bobble heads, keychains and several other odds and ends and explains to May, "You know that both Drew and Dawn are gonna be competing at this Grand Festival, right?"

Looking at her girlfriend with a confused gaze, the bandana-wearing beauty asks her, "Who gives a crap, Kelly? I'm done with Drew, and have been done with him for a long, long time. Let the bastard and his little short skirt-wearing slut do whatever the hell they please."

"Okay, that's just it! Right there!" Kelly points out to the competing coordinator. She then prompts her bandana wearing girlfriend to come with her away from the throng of people.

Once the two are away from the glazes of the faces, Kelly explains to her sporty belle, "They make you mad, so they are getting under your skin!" Gently holding May's head in place, the gloved one explains to her, "All of us have been by your side these past several weeks because we feel that you are the one who deserves to win this year's Grand Festival. Harley, Max, your parents, heck even Ash and Paul pitched in some, and they did it all to help you. All we ask of you in return is to just be calm, cool and collected this weekend, May. If you have those two-timers on your mind at all, then you can't compete at 100 percent."

"Your mind will be wandering, and if you wanna win, you can't have that. You need to focus on the task at hand, and that's winning this Grand Festival. Like I told you, you need to be like the horse in the race wearing blinders. That's why I will be in the suite during the battle portion, because you have to drop all distractions. You have to drop the garbage with Drew, Dawn and everyone else, and just remember what everyone has taught you these last few weeks, and I know you'll be fine. Okay?"

May answers, "Okay," and Kelly gives her a kiss on the forehead telling her girlfriend that she loves her.

"I love you too, Kelly. Now let's get signed up."

The pair does not enter the arena lobby right away, as both Kelly and May are admittedly famished after such a long walk to Slateport City from the last pokemon center. The Petalburg City native especially wanted to get something to eat upon seeing all of the delectable goods in one place, and her belle had no problem treating her to something, reminding her that it is important for the brunette to not overindulge prior to such a grand event.

May agrees, playfully sulking for a second at the fact that she just can't have a little bit of everything. She finally decides on having a single ice cream cone with Kelly from a stand run by a long red-haired voluptuous woman, and a somewhat timid male of the same age. Both of them are clad in blue and yellow aprons, and off to the side promoting the stand is a little, talking mascot wearing a chocolate ice cream cone as his costume. While the pokeblock guru orders mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone, the girl next door takes some more time and finally makes banana sherbet her flavor of choice. She opts to have her treat in a sugar cone.

At the behest of the competing coordinator, both girls opt to enjoy their cones outside in the beautiful twenty-one degree Celsius weather with nary a cloud in the sky. They take less than 10 minutes to finish their respective cones before they make the much anticipated walk inside the lobby of the Slateport City arena.

As they already expected, both Kelly and May came face to face with very fervent activity taking place within the lobby as several coordinators and pokemon were practicing maneuvers, coming up with strategies and getting a look at their potential competition as they go through what amounts to final practice for Saturday's appeals.

Making their way to the registration lines, the pair only has to wait about twenty minutes or so before they come face to face with the attendant.

After they both greet the lady with a good afternoon, she does the same and she also accepts May's pokedex. Running it through the computer, she gets all the information she needs. "So, you are May Maple of Petalburg City. You won the necessary five ribbons for automatic entry. And is this your roommate for the weekend?" she asks, referring to Kelly.

"Yes, ma'am," answers May.

"Very well," the attendant responds. "May I see her ID, please?" Kelly has no problem with the security request, and shows the official her identification without another word.

After a few final instructions, designation of room keys and a temporary Grand Festival identification number of '253' for May, her attendant gives her pokedex back and wishes her good luck for the Grand Festival. The girlfriends thank their attendant and make their way back outside to check out a few more of the stands and vendors.

For about the next two hours, Kelly and May walk through just about every vendor situated around the arena and find numerous odds and ends being sold, including a silver-plated Grumpig key chain, which May bought for her short-haired counterpart. Not much buying of items was done; rather the two were much more apt to take in the atmosphere of this truly grand event. As the pair walked to yet another stand selling pokemon snacks, May comes across a younger boy and girl who have their arms draped across each other's shoulders as they look at the many options available.

Immediately recognizing the two, the coordinator calls out to them, saying, "Hey you guys! I thought you couldn't make it! What's up?"

A/N: May has apparently spotted some familiar souls, but who are they? Whoever it is, she likes the people, so it can't be Drew or Dawn. Find out next chapter! Until then, it's been Rave!

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