Author's Note: Here it is the latest installment of When One Ends. I rise from the depths of the world to present you with the latest chapter of When One Ends. For those who have been with me from day one, thank you. For those who have just favorited and decided to follow. I say welcome. I will try not to disappoint you guys with long waits and lower quality. So enough of my rambling. Enjoy.
Summary: About 5 years have passed since the gang saw Ash, he reappears out of the blue in his hometown of Pallet much to the surprise of everyone. Ash decides it's time for him to settle down and open a gym in Pallet. What new trials and tribulations await our young hero? Rated M for adult situations that will occur later on in the story. AshxMisty,MayxDrew,BrockxSoldat. Takes place after the Sinnoh League
Disclaimer : Pokemon belongs to Nintendo and , I do however claim all OC's created by myself in this story
Please Read and Review, constructive criticism welcomed.
Chapter 32: Let Me Tell You A Story
"So it was about two, maybe three years back. Leafeon was still about this tall so I guess it was more like two since I could still pick her up." Ash then turned to Brock. " How long ago was it when I brought Evee to you?"
"About three years ago."
"And then she evolved shortly after that, so that would make it..."
"We get it Ash, about two or three years ago." interrupted Daisy.
"Fine, but any more interruptions and I won't tell the story" he teased but the glares he received showed that the joke was not tolerated by a select few at all.
*Ahem* "As I was saying, bout two or three years ago I had literally just touched into civilization for the past four months. Got involved with certain people in Ilex Forest and needless to say they didn't appreciate me foiling their plans too much. I was on the run, and they were some very persistent bastards I might add. So needless to say, four months of being on the run leaves your appearance not looking the best. My hair was a little bit longer than it is now, sprawling all over my face. My clothes were dirty, my Pokémon were exhausted from the constant battling. It had gotten so bad that I placed Pikachu back into his pokeball because his yellow coat just stood out too much when I was trying to hide in the bushes. It had come to a point where I just couldn't battle anymore. As I stepped on to Route 34, let's just say I got a few stares. I don't know if it was because of the disheveled look, the fact that my eyes had circles underneath them or the fact that I was basically trotting along like a zombie. It didn't even matter to me, I needed a Pokémon Centre and I needed one now. I finally trudged through the city and made it to Goldenrod. Let's just say Nurse Joy was a little bit startled at my appearance. Only thing I remember is handing her my pokeballs, walking to the couch in the foyer and flopping onto it. Those cushions felt like heaven as my body collapsed onto them. Keep in mind; I was sleeping on the forest floor for the past couple of weeks. They had gotten the drop on me while I was sleeping and my sleeping bag had to be left behind. So that normally ignored couch was like a golden cloud sent from the heavens and my body enjoyed its comfort.
Normally I would have slept until the next day, but my stomach woke me up to remind me that it had not been given its ritual daily offering. So with a loud yawn, that startled a few younger trainers I stretched and sleepily made my way through the town again. Thankfully, a PokeMart was not far from there and it was stocked appropriately. So i stocked up on a few things and stuffed my mouth, with bags in tow I returned to the Pokémon Center and that was when I saw an all too familiar insignia pass me by. The vehicle stopped right in front of the Pokémon Center, and it was shortly joined by two other cars coming from the other direction. Out of the cars emerged men dressed in all white suits, with dark shades. Fortunately for me, they had yet to spot me as I had darted to the side of a nearby store and was peering out from the wall. I was cursing to myself, here I thought that I was finally going to be able to get a good night worth of sleep but then these bastards show up. That was when my mind focused onto something more important, my Pokémon were still at the center. How things were now, I definitely would not have been able to just walk in. They were monitoring from across the street, right in front of the door and I'm quite sure they were watching from the inside as well.
*They had to leave eventually...* that was what I thought, but it definitely was not the case.
As the sun started to set, they did not even budge not one car left. They still stood vigilant, and to make things worse they seemed to be taking shifts. I was beginning to panic, I was really worried for my Pokémon if they found out which were mine they might hold them hostage. I calmed myself down as I knew Nurse Joy wouldn't hand them over, no matter who they were. Especially without causing a ruckus and by the looks of things, people were leaving and entering the center as if nothing was amiss.
*Now what the hell am I supposed to do now?* was what I was thinking, right before an ingenious idea came to me. I waited until Nurse Joy was asleep; well I assumed the time she would be asleep. That meant she would be going to her quarters in the center, and that would be to the back of the center. It might be guarded, but it definitely would be less than what was out front. The next problem was how do I make it to the back of the Pokémon Center without anybody seeing me. That was when I spotted a fire escape on the side of the building I was hiding behind. Taking to the roof, I jumped from building to building until I got to the roof of the Pokémon Centre, and as I thought two guards were standing by. To make things worse they were communicating by radio every 5 minutes. So in theory, I would have to wait for the call, knock them both out, find Nurse Joy get my Pokémon and be out in five minutes. Theoretically of course, but thankfully I didn't have to prove it. The roof to the Centre had a service access, to what I assumed was the roof. At that point in time I didn't too much care for what it was. All I knew was that I could get inside the building, hopefully. So without many options available, I pulled the service door, thankfully that wasn't locked. With a mental plan of what the inside of the center looked I traversed through the shafts. I honestly to this day, think it was sheer luck that I ended up right above the treatment room. Removing the vent with brute strength, I poked my head to look around then jumped down. This is where I ran into a major problem, the trays were stored numerically and I had no idea which number belonged to mine.
The plan had reached a kink in the fold; the only way to remove this was to find the person in charge. Now let's remember it was late at night, in the Pokémon Center where most trainers were already sleeping. Let us also take into the fact that I probably should have knocked instead of shaking Nurse Joy in an attempt to wake her. The scream that she made travelled through the quiet Center and that of course alerted my pursuers.
"My word, you scared me there."
"Sorry about that." I apologized, rubbing the back of my head while smiling. "I just need you to..." I then heard footsteps coming down the hall. "..Just pretend I'm not here." I said as I proceeded to hide behind her bathroom door.
Nurse Joy had a puzzled look on her face, but she caught on as soon as she saw the men appear by her door.
"Is everything alright Nurse Joy?" they asked.
"I'm fine, just had a horrendous dream."
"I see." replied the officer in charge. There was a look of skepticism on his face, as his eyes scanned the room.
"May I ask who you are again?"
"As I stated before, we are a part of Pokémon Investigation Bureau. We are on the lookout for a fugitive."
"That was indeed what you stated before, but you have yet to produce any identification as of yet. Has your shift not changed yet?"
The officer saw that it was not in his best interest to keep this going any further. An interrogation from her would not be best for either party. They had only come for me; eliminating Nurse Joy was not on their agenda. "Not as yet ma'am. We tend to go days without changing personnel. If you need us we shall be out front."
He then closed the door behind him and returned to his post. This officer would turn out to be more troublesome later on the line, but to tell you now would be jumping ahead of the story.
"They are gone." Nurse Joy bluntly said. With that I emerged from my concealed spot. "Now explain."
"Well, those guys are definitely not who they say they are. Part of the P.I.B, definitely not but they are indeed an organization. I don't know their ultimate goal, but they have their hands in a lot of shady and illegal activities. I don't want to go into any more detail, because they don't have any problem eliminating those in front of them."
"Ash, I tend to remember the outstanding trainers that pass through my Center. I will take your word for it, because I haven't heard anything contrary to your character from the first time we met. Now what was it you had to wake me up for?"
"Well, I need to get my Pokémon back. I already went into the treatment room but I have no idea which tray belongs to mine."
This caused Nurse Joy to chuckle. "You don't know your Dexter's registration number do you?"
"Dexter has that? I just thought he was a smart ass AI."
"Heavens no. He stores all of your personal information, your trainer number..."
"I have a trainer I.D?"
Nurse Joy just sighed. "How have you made it so far on your journey Ash?"
"I just waved Dexter around and that sort of took care of everything."
Nurse Joy sighed once again sighed. "This way Ash."
I followed Nurse Joy, my paranoia causing me to look behind to ensure that nobody was there. I kept having the sneaking feeling that someone was behind me, my nerves were giving me that impulse of caution. Nurse Joy turned into the treatment room, and as if she memorized all of the trainer numbers she pulled out my tray.
"This is yours Mr. Ketchum."
"Thank you Nurse Joy." I hugged her to show my appreciation, and quickly placed my Pokémon on inside of my jacket. I held Pikachu's ball and was about to release him from his confinement but those plans quickly changed.
"There you are Mr. Ketchum." I turned to the source of the voice it was the same officer who scanned the room. "We have been looking for you everywhere. If you would please come this way so that we can escort you to the correct authorities."
I began to take strides so that he was below the vent he emerged from. "I'm sorry. I'm going to have to turn down that offer."
"You don't have much of a choice." said the officer as he pulled back his jacket to reveal the handle of his firearm.
I gulped audibly at the time, this wasn't the first time I had seen a gun. Just the first time I was with someone else in the shooter's cross-hairs.
"There is always a choice available." I said with a toothy smile.
This seemed to confuse the officer temporarily and I took advantage of the situation. I pushed Nurse Joy out of my way and to the floor, and then leapt into the shaft. I could hear the officer curse, he then proceeded to shoot and thankfully for me he was a sore shot. I could hear him scream on the radio that I was in the building, be on the lookout on the roof. I emerged from the service access, fortunately it was just me. They had yet to make it to the roof, or so I thought. The sound of a bullet impaling itself into the steel wall next to me definitely made me aware I was not alone. They were coming from both sides, so with no other option. I just leapt off the side of the building, did a barrel roll on the floor and hopped over the fence. The two guards they had posted on the back entrance were no longer there so I was able to have a head start. Darting through the oncoming traffic and through this and that alleyway. I continued until I felt inside myself that they were no longer following me. At that time I realized that I had wound up on the most colorful part of town. This was the area that they did not advertise to you about Goldenrod and rightfully so. The pungent odor reeking through the area would be the starting point. Next would have to be the characters that adorned the streets as I walked. There were thugs hiding in the alleyways, staring at me, wondering who I was and what I came to this part of town for. One even offered me if I was interested in purchasing a prescription from him. He was a street pharmacist making his way up the corporate ladder. That was not the only offer I got as I walked, there were a few services thrown my way from some soliciting women. Then there was who I called the Raticate Patrol, I could have sworn one asked me for 'The set I am repping'. I just chalk it up to my exhaustion, but I knew I heard something.
After about an hour of walking, circling the streets to ensure that I was not being pursued. I decided to stay at this run down hotel. The sign was leaning to the side, and only one letter in the old neon sign even lit up. All I could think to myself is that the charges should definitely be cheap. As I opened the door I must say that I was rather shocked by how clean the interior was, the outside definitely betrayed the nostalgic feel. It was not sophisticated or pristine as the hotels on the strip but it had a slight homely feel.
"Can I help you young man?"
"Yes, I need a room for a few nights."
"A few nights? I will need something more specific." said the elderly lady. "But then again, not much of a demand for this place. There really isn't a waiting list to get into this place anymore."
"Just ignore the ramblings of an old lady reminiscing about the past."
I was a little bit intrigued. "So this used to be the spot in the early days?"
"When the strip was young and beginning to blossom. This was the place to be." she said with a sigh. She opened her window to reveal the neighborhood and beckoned me over. "See that vacant lot. That used to be the 'Bellagio', the club that never shut down. Parties raged from dawn till dusk. If you were a somebody, you were there." She then pointed down the road to an abandoned building. "That was Red's, owned by a vibrant young lady with the most beautiful redhead I have ever seen in my life. The diner served the most fantastic food in the entire city. There was always a queue to get a meal there. If she decided to charge people by the hour for waiting on the line, they would have gladly paid. Then over here we had the Goldenrod Theatre, where movies premiered and stars attended." She then walked back to her desk. "Then this, this used to be where they all gathered to rest their heads. Alas, those days are long gone."
"So what happened?"
"Well what always does, money comes in and builds up lavish sky scrapers and grand hotels and mega resorts. The family run businesses either left, were bought out or struggled until they collapsed from exhaustion."
"So you are still struggling along?" I asked out of curiosity."
"I own this place, well it used to belong to my husband and me but he passed away. I couldn't bring myself to sell this place or close it down. It holds too many memories to me. Our kids have no interest in running this place, so I just keep it open to past the time. Gives this old Lady something to do in her final days, I still get to meet a few interesting characters from time to time. Like you for example, my dear."
"Yes you are my dear. Despite your obvious disheveled look, your eyes have the glimmer of hope, success, hard-work and pride. You have accomplished a lot in your life and are bound to do many more things. Whether they are good or bad, I do not know. What I have known is that both good and evil find motivation in their goal and dreams." She then reached into her draw and pulled out a key. "Here you go young'un. This is our most luxurious room we can offer. It has hot water and a television." she said with a smile. "I will charge you the normal rate, when you wish to extend your stay just pay me for the rest of the time."
I couldn't help but smile. "Thanks Ma'am."
So after paying, I headed down the hall and into my room. I was once again surprised at how clean and organized it looked. It reminded me of those rooms you saw in old magazines. Locking the door behind me once again, I crashed on the bed and stared at the white ceiling. I reached into my jacket and released Pikachu from his pokeball. I received a joyous cry, he really hated being in there. All I remember is playing with Pikachu, flicking through the limited channels and then going to sleep. This routine continued for a few more days, the only time I went outside was to get something to eat. Then I would return to watch the window to see if I was indeed safe. Approximately a week had now passed, I needed to gauge if I was still being sought after with such importance. That and the cash I had at my disposal were definitely running low. I needed to use the ATM, I thought about just withdrawing a large sum. Common sense then took over, the kind of area I was in I didn't want to risk making a robber rich. I decided to remove enough for two weeks' worth of rent and food. Stashing it in my pocket I wandered into a convenience store and stared at the ATM I had just used. No more than ten minutes passed and a few cars bearing the insignia of my pursuers pulled up. They drove up and down the street slowly scanning the crowd and then dispersed, probably to search the surrounding area.
*These bastards just won't give up* was the thought that came across my mind. I needed to find source of cash in the meantime, enough to buy a new bag and supplies and then head out of town. That as well as covering the boarding fees at the hotel. I decided that I would only stay in the town for a month and then leave for the next town.
"Back from your errand I see Ash." asked the owner.
"Yes Mrs. Marcotti. Here is the payment for two more weeks."
"Thank you Ash, pleasure doing business with you." was her reply. I started to walk off but I turned around, it couldn't hurt to ask.
"Mrs. Marcotti, you don't anybody that is looking to hire someone on a temporary basis?"
She then rubbed her chin as she thought deeply. "Well, I can call my grand-child Ricardo. He works over by the Vista, and considering the season they might need some help to assist with the spring breakers. Hold on a minute." She then went to her phone, rapidly dialed an obviously familiar set of numbers and placed the receiver to her head.
"Ricky dear, I have a gentleman looking for employment. Any way you can help?...Uh huh...Uh huh...wait a second." she covered the microphone. "Do you mind janitorial work?" she asked me.
"Not a problem."
She turned back to the phone. "He has no problem...experience...I think he has cleaned a floor or two before...okay...in the morning...at 6...I will tell him." She hung up the phone. "Well they have an opening for a Janitor; their current hurt his back and will be out for a month or so. So since they are short-staffed you can fill in for him."
"Just show up at the front desk at 6 in the morning, ask for Ricardo. He will take things from there."
"Thanks Mrs. Marcotti."
"Just don't break anything or cause a nuisance that will cause him to get in trouble."
The following morning with Pikachu resting on my head I made my way across town and to the Vista. After convincing the doorman that I did have business inside, I was able to make it to the front desk. The attendant barely looked up from her screen, she was busily typing away on her computer.
AHEM, that didn't get her attention in the slightest. "Good Morning, I'm here to see a Mr. Ricardo?"
"Mr. Ricardo?" she snickered slightly. Still not looking me in the eye she grabbed the phone and dialed an extension. "Mr. Ricardo" she mocked "You have someone out here to see you." she then hung up the phone. "He will be with you shortly."
Shortly turned into almost half an hour, I was leaning against the front desk but out of the way of guests that were coming in. It was definitely their peak season. Even though it was not even 7 o clock in the morning guests were checking in and out. That was when I noticed activity behind the desk.
"Where is the gentleman Freya?"
The attendant pointed in my direction in response and the stranger made his way over to me.
"You are the guy my grandmother sent over?"
"Yeah, just call me Ash. You must be Ricardo, pleasure to meet you."
"Yes that's me. Now follow me."
I followed Ricardo through the service entrance, into the back room for employees and to the HR office. He told me to wait; he then had a conversation with those in the office and emerged with a badge in hand.
"This is for you; this will let you in and out of the building without getting harassed by the security. You also have access to all the floors because you could be assigned to cleaning either one of them. Down this hall you will find Alfred, he is in charge of all the cleaners. He will get you started and give you a uniform."
I extended my hand to show my gratitude but Ricardo didn't take it. Instead he just sighed heavily. "Just please don't get fired on the first day, my reputation is on the line here. I'm only doing this because my grandmother asked me and she doesn't ask for much."
"I will try my best."
So following his instructions I made my way over to the Janitorial Department, Alfred threw me a jump suit and then pointed to the floors that I would have to clean for the week. The other cleaners just seemed to give me a glare as if I had committed a crime. I found out after the whole fiasco that they believed I was replacing their co-worker. He was someone who they all enjoyed working with. I was nothing but a threat to the status quo at the time. The story itself from this point on was nothing spectacular. I came to work, cleaned, hailed politely those who I met along the way and kept mostly to myself. Pikachu was my main companion and of course Leafeon when she decided to come out and play. Thankfully she wasn't a large as she was because the beds she enjoyed jumping on would have crumbled under the treatment she gave them. When lunch time came I would keep to myself, eat by myself and then get back to work. Things went on like this for two weeks or so. That was until Sierra decided to change things. Sierra was the attendant who leapt over the counter when we checked in. As you can see she is a very friendly person and very curious as a matter of fact. One day at lunch, I was by myself as usual. That was until she came by.
"So new guy" she said sitting down on my table without invitation. Her ruby eyes just glaring at me, asking for me to reply.
"Yes?" I said in between bites.
"Why do you always sit across here by yourself? You never mingle with any from your department, or anybody for that matter. I mean you give us a polite greeting when we see you in the morning, so you can't be that mean of a person."
"I'm shy." I lied.
"With those muscles, you can't be shy." she said grabbing onto my arm suddenly.
I had a slight blush on my face, I could feel it. "What do muscles have to do with anything?"
"These are muscles built from helping those around you. I can tell, call it my women's intuition."
"I think you're wrong on that part. I just got like this from travelling."
"Travelling? I knew it! You aren't from Johto are you?"
"No I'm not, I'm from Kanto."
"Oh really? Which town?"
"From Viridian." I lied again.
"So what's your name?" she asked.
"Ash, just call me Ash."
"Ash, I'm Sierra."
"Really? How?" I just pointed to her name tag. "So you are very observant, or was it that?" she began to squish her breasts together. "You were just looking in a certain direction." I blushed again and this resulted in her laughing heartily at my expense. "Well Ash, sitting over here is no fun."
"I'm comfortable here..." It seemed that it wasn't much of an invitation but a demand as she grabbed me by the arm. With strength that surprised me she dragged me over to where her co-workers were eating.
"Hey everyone, this is Ash. He will be eating with us from today on. He is from Kanto so make him feel welcome."
I couldn't help but smile and greet everyone, I was completely playing at her pace and she seemed to love it. I ate faster than I normally would, in order to give myself an excuse to leave. With my plate now empty I got up from my seat.
"Sorry to dine and dash but I have a few floors left to clean." Everybody said their goodbyes, and as soon as I stepped away from the table Sierra called out to me once again.
"Wait a minute Ash." I was puzzled as to why she would call me.
As she approached me she reached into her pocket and pulled out a black band placing it in her mouth. She muffled something, but I couldn't hear exactly what she said. Instinctively, I lowered my head to be able to hear and it seemed that was what she wanted. With her hands she reached around my hair and gathered my sprawled out hair, she then removed the band from her mouth and wrapped it around the bundle of hair.
"There you go. Now enjoy the rest of your day."
The next few days went by in similar fashion. I did my duties and when I was in the lunch room I always met Sierra and as usual she would not let me stay by myself. The girls seemed to adore Pikachu as they would give him pieces of fruit; one even bought Poke-blocks just for him. They would ask me questions, the answers to some I fabricated. A few would say that my face looked familiar but I would always play it off saying that I hear that all the time. Then second to last week of my stay, was when it became interesting.
It was the peak of the spring break; guests were leaving in and out at an even more hectic pace. It was just about time to sign in, but that was when I noticed something strange in the lobby. Two men dressed in black, their hands kept touching their ears as if they were communicating with others. Naturally, that put me on guard but I was quickly calmed by Ricardo's explanation. He pointed to the group of girls behind them; they belonged to some of the more prominent members of Goldenrod. He then singled out a sapphire blue haired girl who stood in the center of them all, identifying her as the Vista's Director's daughter.
"So why all the security?" I asked. "Wouldn't they blend in with the crowd if their bodyguards weren't so damn close to them?"
"Beats me, I'm not a security expert. All I know is if I want to keep my job, not to piss off any of those brats."
"Well that's true." I just shrugged my shoulders.
I was mainly in the back so I doubt I would have any chance to interact with either one of them. I just slung my bag on my back and proceeded to the staff entrance. On the way I felt my foot nudge something, looking down it seemed to be a wallet. I picked it up with the intention of dropping off by the desk. That was until I felt a threatening presence behind me. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a hand reaching out towards me. Looking back at it, I really should not have reacted that way, but when you were being constantly ambushed and pursued a few habits were hard to break. I grabbed the outstretched limb, threw them onto the floor, wrapped their arm around their neck and pinned them to the floor. This action of course caused everybody in the lobby to pause and gaze in my direction trying to figure out what exactly happened. I looked at my assailant, he was dressed in all black and that rang a bell in my head. The other two rushing to the aide of their comrade confirmed my thoughts. He was a part of the same group of girl's security detail, the same group that I said I was going to avoid. Seeing as I was now the center of attention, I released the grip I held on the downed security guard and helped him up.
"Sorry about that." I said with a sheepish grin brushing him off. Needless to say he did not look at all pleased.
*AHEM* "I believe you found something."
"Found what?" he then pointed to the wallet in my hand. "Oh this, I just found it on the floor. I was about to give it to the Lost and Found."
"Hand it over, I shall return it to its owner."
I skeptically looked at him. "And who exactly would that be?"
He was about to speak but a very polite voice beat him to it. "I would be the owner of that wallet." As she stepped forward, I immediately recognized her as the Director's daughter. "If you do not believe me, just check the front of it. You shall see my School I.D and my Driver's License in the opposite compartment."
Eyeing her cautiously, I opened the wallet, examined the contents and it was exactly as she described it. "Well I guess it truly is you." I said through slanted eyes as if we were conducting a shady deal. My antics caused her to giggle slightly. "Here you go, take better care of it next time."
"Ash, just Ash."
"Ash, it is. Well I bid you farewell, I have a vacation I must begin to enjoy."
"I wish that you do." The guard continued to eye me as they left the lobby, still holding a grudge for getting flung to the floor so easily. *She wasn't that bad.*
Here I was thinking that would be the last I saw of them, but it was like the world had other intentions for me. Every day I checked in, I would see group of them, about four in total exiting the hotel. The guards of course still glared at me, all I did was shrug in return and carried on with my business for the day. Then it was the following Friday, I was working the late shift and that was when the place turned to all hell.
I was lounging in the cafeteria with Pikachu in my lap. I had already finished my designated rooms and decided to kick my feet up. Thankfully on the late shift, not many people even bothered to come in the cafeteria so for once the television was available. Little did I know that downstairs was about to turn into a hostage situation, something right out of the movies. The attackers weren't just random, slapped together mercenaries. They had to have been observing the hotel since the Director's daughter had checked in. This was evident because as soon as her guards went across the street for their normal three o clock break, in they swept. They came in three SUVs, each holding about eight members. Dressed in all black, they all covered their faces except two; they seemed to be the leaders of the squads. As they came in they closed the door and barred it to prevent entry. In tactical fashion they began to sweep the lobby, ordering anybody present to get to put their hands behind their heads and move over into the central area. Once that area was secured they brought the staff from behind the counter and to the forefront. Unfortunately for them, these men were not ones who were patient at all. They interrogated the staff, and those who did not provide the correct answer were gun butted. Their interrogation was only interrupted by the return of the guards. They attempted to force their way in, only to be sent back flying by the lead projectiles originating from the attacker's gun barrels. This resulted in them calling the local police, and thus starting the standoff. Like I stated before, the attackers were not the average low lives, they told the police if anybody entered the roof they would be blown sky high. If anybody came through the exits, they will be blown sky high. Anybody came through the windows; they will be blown sky high. To show that he was not bluffing, he then set off bombs he planted in the vehicles behind the police line. These guys definitely weren't anything to mess with.
The shock from the bombs shook the building, violently enough to stir me from my slumber. As I emerged into the hallway, it seemed like I wasn't the only one. Once sleeping occupants slowly filtered from their rooms, groggily trying to find out what was the problem. Knowing that the staff downstairs would be able to fill me in, I headed through the staff access and proceeded downstairs. As I walked through the hall, I noticed that Pikachu was beginning to tense up. Through recent times, I had used that as a sign that guns were in the area. Pikachu hated the scent of gun powder, and the past experiences of what came along with that scent made him even more anxious. I slowed my approach into the main hall. Creeping along I made it to the door, opened it slightly and peered through the crack. I was just in time for the main show to begin.
"For the last time my dear lady. Where in the hell is she?"
"I told you, she is in the penthouse suite." said the woman he was holding by the back of her hair. His back was turned to me, so adding that to my already limited vision I was unable to see who was being held.
"You will lead us to where she is! Now go!" he exclaimed.
The captive started to sob heavily. "I...I...I...I"
"Spit it out." said the blonde haired man as he clamped down harder on the locks of hair in his grasp.
"I can't!" she managed to sputter out.
"Now listen my darling, I don't think you want me to damage your face any more than I already have."
"She can't." came a voice from the side. I tried to scroll my vision to see who it was that spoke, but with them being on the floor my vision was once again impeded.
"The only ones with access to that floor are the occupants of the suite and the cleaners assigned to that floor."
The blonde haired man then threw his captive to the floor and turned his attention to the voice. He knelt down to meet her face to face, but I could still hear their conversation faintly.
"So, where are the cleaner's quarters?"
"There is only one cleaner on duty, and he probably has the keys."
"Well I guess it's about time for him to come and join us. What do you think?" He grabbed a full head of hair and then lifted her to her feet. With her arms still bound he threw her to one of his cronies.
"Take her with you, let her identify the cleaner. Get the keys, if he resists dispose of him."
Then another voice spoke, his confident tone meant that he held some authority. "Use that as a last resort, we get paid less for each person that dies. Plus no unnecessary blood needs to be shed."
"Why are you still here?!" barked the blonde, who obviously was not happy with his colleague for reminding him of the details of the job.
I closed the door slowly, not able to see what was going on any further. I leaned my back against the door and looked at my longtime companion.
"So what do we do now Pikachu?"
"Let's make a run for it."
"Pika..." Pikachu gave me a look that I knew all too well.
"I know, I know we just can't leave everybody like this. Plus I don't think I want to see what happens to that worker when they can't find me in the building."
"Pi pi, Pikachu chu."
"Here we go again huh?"
"Pikachu" my partner said with an excited nod. I only could rub his head as he seemed a little bit too excited to get into trouble again.
"Now the first place they will check is the staff room, just hope I can beat them there."
Jetting up the stairs, I was able to beat the pair to the staff room. All I had to do was now sit back and wait for them to arrive. In a matter of moments I could hear footsteps crossing the concrete walkway, and they arrived shortly.
"Is that him?" asked a gruff voice as they stepped through the double doors. His captive only nodded. "Oi! You over there, come here."
I was sitting in front of the TV; I just tilted my head back over the edge of the couch to look at them. "Me?"
"Yes you! Now get over here!" he barked.
I then turned my attention to the television and shooed him off with my hand. "Come back in 15 minutes when my break is over." I replied with a dry voice.
"Listen here you bastard."
"Yeah, yeah jack. I will pay attention to your wants in fifteen minutes. Now leave me alone."
"I don't think you understand your situation." He then grabbed the clerk by the head, causing her to scream.
"Ash, I'm begging you Ash."
"Like I said 15 minutes."
Starting to become infuriated, the guard threw his hostage to the floor and raised his gun to me.
"You really should learn to be patient." On cue Pikachu descended from the ceiling. Latching onto his shoulder, Pikachu bit into his exposed neck and unleashed a surge of electricity into his body rendering him unconscious. Happy to have done his job, Pikachu bounded to me and resumed its mantle on top of my head. With the cabling that was in the supply closet I bound the unconscious assailant. My next move was to release the clerk from her restraints. Throwing the limp body over my shoulder, I looked to the clerk.
"Follow me." In her stunned state all she could do was nod, after a few steps she seemed to regain her composure.
"Ash, how did you do that?"
"Not panic and scream when he pointed that gun at your face."
"Watched a lot of movies as a child." I simply stated. "Forgive me if I don't remember your name."
"Okay Roberta, here is the plan. First we head up to the pent house suite, and then we make up step two."
"You mean you don't have a plan?!" she shouted.
"Sssh" I instructed. "Not a single one, I never watched the end of those movies."
"We're all going to die." she said as she dragged her feet following me.
Using the elevator we used the access card to go to the top of the building, the penthouse suite. When the elevator doors opened, we were met with a surprise welcome.
"Get him!" the general screamed to her subordinates.
As commanded they began flinging projectiles at the elevator. With not much time to explain, I used the unconscious attacker as a human shield.
"Cease fire, cease fire! We come in peace!"
"Yes, Ms. Llorezo, it's me Roberta. Stop throwing things please!"
"Hold it!" came the order.
Seeing as it was safe to lift my head up I flung the dead weight to the floor.
"Ash!" came an excited cry.
"I'm here too as well." mentioned Roberta.
"Ah, you're the wallet girl. Where is the C.I.A?" as if on cue static noises interrupted their conversation.
"Ms. Llorenzo, we heard screaming are you alright?"
She then tapped the side piece on her ear. "False alarm Sergio, it was just two employees. They do have an unidentified male who appears to be rendered unconscious."
"Roger, roger. Please stay on high alert. If they somehow manage to get into the Penthouse before our team can arrive remember that each member is to hide in the closet and wait till they hear the all clear."
"Why does this not seem like your first time?"
"It's happened on a few occasion, but nothing ever to this level."
"I see." That was when slight groans started to come from the mercenary. "Pikachu." I called and as on command, he was zapped unconscious once again. "Ms. Llorenzo..."
"Cecile" she corrected.
"Cecile, let me speak to Sergio."
"Sure" she tossed the communication radio to me and motioned to the button to press.
"Come in Sergio."
"Who is this?"
"This is Ash, the cleaner from the lobby the other day."
"Why are you wasting our time again?" was his curt reply.
"I just want to know what's the plan and how long will it take. Those guys don't seem to be very patient."
"We're working as fast as we can, but the problem is the explosives he rigged to all the windows and entrances. The main problem is getting in, so for now we are entertaining their demands."
"So you basically do not have an ETA."
"Not at this time, still looking for alternatives."
"What about heading from under the building, through the sewers. Once you can at least get into the parking garage you could gain access to the service shaft. I don't think they were that thorough. It looks planned, but not that thought out."
Sergio went silent for a minute, and then spoke. "We will look into this, there are indeed pipes that run below the building but the access point is 10 minutes away by driving and to return to the point underneath the building would take 15-20 minutes by foot given the situation."
"So basically you need 30 minutes time to get in and subdue this place."
"That is correct."
"I can give you that. "
"Wait, I advise you to not engage these mercenaries. From their equipment I can see that they are not inexperienced."
"That's true, but the main one giving orders is a hot head and easy to provoke. The main problem is his support, he seems level headed and the kind that reasons. I'm not trying to take them all out. I just want to lead 'em on a wild goose chase for a while. Just hurry up and get in the building."
"Sir..." I turned off the radio and threw it back to Cecile. "So we have 30 minutes to stall for time. Firstly, you guys stay hidden. I am the only one who has access to this place for the moment so they won't be able to come upstairs. Secondly, Pikachu stay with the girls while I go downstairs. Just make sure that our guest over there doesn't come to. Thirdly, Roberta..."
"Don't do anything." She let it be known she didn't appreciate my humor as she gave me the one finger salute and sat down on the bed. "Now then."
I had a feeling that these guys had to have some sort of communication device on them. Feeling around my intuition paid off as I was able to obtain the compact ear piece that doubled as a receiver and transponder. Lifting it off his limp body I placed it in my ear, just in time to hear someone from his unit trying to get in contact.
"Eighty-nine! Eighty-nine! Respond!" ordered the person on the other line.
"Hello, hello. Who is this speaking? Eighty-nine doesn't seem to be able to speak with you right now."
"Who is this?"
"This is the cleaner; he told me that you needed a set of keys from me. I told him that as much as I would like to, that would not be possible. He then seemed to faint from disappointment and won't wake up no matter how much I nudge him."
The other line went silent for a minute and then a new, but recognized voice came across the radio.
"You are the cleaner correct?"
"Why yes, that's what they tell me."
"Listen, we have a lobby full of people here. Give us the key and they can go home. Don't give us the key and they all die."
"Not my problem."
My response seemed to startle him as he paused slightly. "You don't care if any innocents die because of your failure to comply."
"I don't know if they are innocent or not. I just started working here two weeks ago. I'm still on probation. I was instructed not to hand over the keys to anybody who is not on shift. You my friend, can I call you George?"
"No you may..."
"You George, are not on shift. Therefore I cannot give these keys to you."
"Listen you little bastard, give me the keys before I kill everybody here."
"You kill anybody, I will just leave. I will feel that I am not safe enough to work. I will just use the servant exit and go home. I'm sure you don't want all your efforts to be in vain, you have the police outside waiting on you. With no hostages I'm quite sure they will riddle your body with bullets."
"We have all the exits sealed; there is no way for you to get out."
"That's funny, because I used the servants exit just a few minutes ago to get something to eat. Then I came back to the staff room, which was where Eighty-Nine interrupted my lunch... It's not good to tell lies you know George." I bluffed.
The line went silent again, but only briefly as before.
"Listen, if you..."
"Listen George, I still have to clean the 14th floor, the 15th and the 16th. After that my shift is over. You can talk to the person relieving me if they want to give you the keys." I interrupted.
"Why you little fuc..."
"Bye George." and with that I turned off communications temporarily. "That went well."
"That went well?" said a puzzled Roberta. Cecile and her friends shared Roberta's expression as well.
"I'm quite sure right now, 'George' is planning to capture me. They will scour the floors I gave them, not find me, and then go back. That's where I have a little fun with them."
I looked at my watch and then turned the communicator back on. I could hear them all giving confirmations that I was not to be found on the floors. Then "George" gave the orders to keep looking, kick down the doors on the floor. Force anybody out and bring them downstairs to the lobby. Everything but lethal force was allowed.
"Guess it's time for me to go." I said.
I checked to see who I brought along with me to work and descended to the floors below. If they weren't successful on the 16th, they should at least be on the 17th going to the 18th. Luck was on my side, as I came out of the service access they poked their heads up the stairs. Using the master access card, I entered the closest room. The room was definitely not empty there were a few individuals doing certain activities. I told them that there was no time to explain, just do what I tell them and they will be okay. As expected they knocked on the door, looking through the peep hole I confirmed they were checking it individually. I motioned to one of the occupants to answer the door. She was roughly grabbed and pushed into the room, the assaulter asking if she was by herself. His question got answered as I used my fist to arrange a meeting between his face and the room's wall. Acting quickly I dragged him in, disarmed him, knocked him in his head once again to make sure he wasn't waking up anytime soon. I then bound his arms and legs. Removing the ammunition from his gun, I threw it to one of the occupants. I gazed into the hallway just in time to see the other leading a couple to the stairwell.
"Just make sure he doesn't wake up before the cops come back around. Lock your door and continue doing what you were doing."
I exited the room, covered ground as fast as I could. Thankfully the sobs of the couple, pleading that they not be hurt drowned out my steps. When they got within my reach I shouted out, he spun around and was met by a fist. Followed by another to the opposite side of his head and two consecutive to his stomach. Removed his firearm, threw out the ammunition. That was when I realized I made a mistake, there were three of them not two. It was a stroke of luck that I dropped the firearm as a volley of fire passed over my head. Coming from the opposite end was one more, I pointed the gun in his direction and he took refuge behind the corridors wall. Using this break I used the master swipe threw the couple inside and barreled to the end of the hall. I turned to the stairwell only to be greeted by three other mercenaries. They ordered me to halt, but I definitely paid them no mind and that was when they sent warning fire. I knew it was warning shots because the volleys were aimed at the walls. I hurdled the stairs; I still could hear the pursuit still behind me. I banked the corner, entering into the new hall way and there were two further down the hall. So the only thing I could do was continue upstairs. I ran across the hall's entrance and then turned around to see that nobody had yet to reach this floor. I swiped the card and got access to the room and rested against the door. I peered through the peep hole trying to see when they appeared on the floor. It didn't take long for them to catch up, and it seemed as if someone caught a glimpse of me coming back as they all seemed hell bent on this floor. I turned on the ear piece and I could hear the communication between the groups. They sent two up to the next floor, they returned to report that they were unable to spot the target. That was when an idea came to mind; I reached into my pocket and called out Leafeon. She was more than happy to see me as she licked my face, but I had to pull her off me to get her to work.
I placed my communicator on silent and then took it off my ear. I placed it next to Leafeon who sniffed it and knocked it out of curiosity.
"Leafeon, use Grass Whistle." I ordered. I placed turned the communicator back on and plugged my ears. Leafeon nodded and placed the leaf to her lips and began to blow the mesmerizing melody. I knew she was enjoying it as the leaf had a soothing green glow to it. With my eye peering out, I could see the looks of confusion in the group. They looked around to see where the source was coming from; their motions slowed and as soon as they realized where it was coming from it was too late. They were rocked to sleep by Leafeon's lullaby.
"Good girl Leafeon." I whispered to her and placed her back into her pokeball.
I cautiously opened the door, looked left then right and then I finally emerged. Grasswhistle had done its job as they all lay on the floor snoring. I did a body count of six, which was more than I expected. Not to waste time I bound them and then dragged them into the room I just exited. Placing the communicator back in my ear and turning it on, I could hear the impatient calling of the leader for his men. I looked at my watch to see that it should have been enough time for Sergio and his men to be here. Then, the building shook causing me to stumble and needing to use the wall to balance. Then that voice came over the airways.
"It seems that your bluff was called my friend." It did not belong to the impatient leader but to the most troublesome of the duo. "By the looks of it, you seemed to have tipped off the child's security team to the service access in the parking garage. As you felt, that was our insurance plan setting off. You see janitor, where I am not as rash as my friend here. I am definitely not one to waste time. We have a time limit, we have a mission to accomplish and you are allowing the time needed to complete this mission to go way over board. Now here is my proposition to you my friend, you give us the key in five minutes. Or we blow this building sky high, because you see not completing the mission tarnishes my reputation. With my word no longer a guarantee I might as well be dead. From my teams last communication you should be around the 20th floor of the hotel. This should give you ample time to reach this lobby. I don't care if you care for others, but I do know you care for yourself. The clock is ticking my friend." and with that he ceased talking.
So there I was, I could run upstairs and get Cecile and the others but that would leave the others in the lobby. I could of course escape by myself, but that would follow me to my grave. I could just hand the key to them, let them go with Cecile, move on with my life and worry about my own problems. I just didn't know what to do, it was check in this game we were playing and the wrong move would surely end it. So I moved the only piece that I could.
"Here I am." I announced as I came from the staff entrance behind them, startling them. "So let everybody go."
"It really isn't you that I want. It is what you have. Now do the smart thing and hand it over."
"Let some out of the door so that even if you don't honor your word not everybody dies today."
"I could just shoot you now and take it off of your lifeless corpse." he said and his colleagues eagerly pointed their guns at me.
"Then when you search and find that you have the wrong key. What will you do then?"
The calm gentleman started to laugh, it grew but then it quickly subsided and he regained his composure. "I like you janitor, you really have no weight here but yet here you are. Trying to force me to play a hand I really don't want to. But truth be told I admire your guts and bravado. I have lost communication with about one and a half of my squads. These weren't some incompetent brats; but seasoned veterans and somehow you were able to avoid having a bullet lodged in your cranium. I would say my word is gold, but since you don't seem to believe me. Why not give you a showing of good faith?"
He then motioned to a few of the guards and they in turn stood up some hostages and ordered them to walk to the door. Using the barricade they constructed as a shield, they allowed a few to exit but one rushed back to my direction.
"Well it seems that you did have some sort of relationship with your coworkers after all. Not every day does somebody relinquish freedom to return to captivity."
I looked down at Sierra and just shook my head, still being bound by her hands and gagged her eyes pleaded her case.
"Now that I have done what you have asked, please give me what I am after. I am not going to wait any longer."
"A deal is a deal." Reaching into my pocket I produced the key and threw it to him. He then threw it to the impatient leader and they were off through the hallway.
"Now how hard was that? Now that our business is over..." he pointed his gun towards me. "...I have no need for you. It's not that I don't like you, I just hate when people complicate my work for pathetic reasons such as chivalry." He was about to open fire until the bodies of his comrades flew from elevator and back into the lobby. He looked at me, and I had a grin on my face.
"Now!" I ordered, and right on command my Larvitar unleashed an ear drum rupturing holler. Since it was my plan, I had prepared for such methods, pulling Sierra down behind the counter I plugged my ears and went to work with the aid of Shelgon. He was the reason why the attackers could not get into the elevator and was surprisingly tolerant to Larvitar's wailing. With a combination of Zen-Headbutt and some right hooks the paralyzed assailants were not much of a resistance. With those still stunned I used the time to let in the correct authorities and let them handle the cleanup. That was the plan, but I was still treated as a suspect and promptly tacked to the ground and my arm placed in a very uncomfortable position. The rest of the story was pretty uneventful. The mercenaries got packed into the back of dark tinted vans. I was forced to sit on a curb in handcuffs while everybody was coming out of the hotel. I was only released because Sierra vouched for me, that and the fact Larvitar wouldn't stop crying until I was set free. I was glad to see that Sergio and his men were alright, they had triggered the explosion but nobody was severely wounded. They rushed in to take care of Cecile and her friends, ensuring everything was fine with them. Cecile came down and gave me a big hug, then a thumb up saying mission accomplished. Now with Larvitar in my hands, Pikachu on my head and Shelgon by my side I watched as the cops did the final checks. The bomb squad went through each section of the hotel ensuring that there would be no more surprises. That when I was joined by Roberta and Sierra, one on each side.
"Did it end like this in your movies Ash?" asked Roberta.
I gave out a light laugh. "Yeah, something like that. Bad guys are gone and nobody was hurt."
That was when Sierra just wrapped her arms around me and squeezed me. "Thank you, thank you, thank you Ash!"
"Sierra...my sides...crushing...them." I managed to get out.
"Oh sorry." she apologized letting me go.
"So do you think we still have to come to work tomorrow?" I joked, but was interrupted when a local news crew decided to interrupt.
"Here we have the brave hero."
Their bright lights shone straight into my eyes catching me off guard. I was a little stunned but the reporter kept on asking questions. As I regained my composure that was when it dawned on me. My face and location will now be transmitted throughout the entire city. This was bad, real bad. I had to leave and I had to get out of there now. Without saying a word, I recalled Larvitar and Shelgon, got up and headed into the staff room leaving those behind puzzled. Sierra was the only one to follow, asking me questions, questions that I ignored. I packed my things, and turned to exit the staff room but she blocked my way.
"What's the matter Ash?"
"I have to go now."
She looked into my eyes and saw the panic and fright. The same man who minutes ago bravely stood in front of armed men in an attempt to free people he barely knew. Now stood in front of her visibly shaking and obviously unnerved.
"You're not coming back are you?"
I breathed in deeply, avoided her gaze then exhaled. "No, this will be the last time I see you."
"Because of things I can't control."
"Is that all?"
"Yes, that is all. Now I have to go."
"Just answer me this, is Ash your real name?"
"Yes, I'm Ash Ketchum."
"So you were that Pokémon Trainer Mitzi said you looked like."
"Yeah, that's me."
"Well Ash Ketchum, I guess this is goodbye." She just pulled me in, placed a kiss on my lips and then parted. She moved out of the way and simply said. "Thank you."
That was the last time I saw her, well before meeting her again when we checked in. She was the girl that leapt over the counter and hugged me. I headed back to the hotel, packed my things, paid for an extra week and just left entering into the wilderness of Route 34 and into Ilex Forest once again.
Ash then breathed in and exhaled loudly.
"So there you have it. That was the extraneous circumstance that got me a free stay at the hotel. I was offered more but I tried not to impose." said Ash. He briefly looked around the car; everybody had a stunned expression on their face.
"Hands up of those who expected to hear that?" asked Forrest, and to his response everybody besides Brock had their hand up. He had heard about 'The Ordained' from Ash before so this was nothing new to him.
"And it's true, I just looked it up on my phone and here is the story. 'Unknown Hero Disappears', they have your photo but apparently nobody from the hotel gave your full name." said Daisy "I must say I'm impressed Ashy Boy."
"I live to hear your praises Daisy." said Ash sarcastically.
Misty then looked at Ash, her gaze told Ash that she wanted to ask him something but yet she didn't.
"What?" he asked but she just said it was nothing.
The rest of the journey was basically questions, and those mainly came from Drew who was dissecting every portion of the story. That was until May convinced him to leave it alone, especially since he enjoyed the rooms already. As they passed through Cerulean, Janine decided to disembark and to make her way to Fuchsia City via Saffron City and Celadon City. It seems that it was a last minute thought, as Forrest seemed stunned. That along with the fact that we had just left Saffron. The next stop was Pewter City, where Forrest, Brock and Solidad bid farewell. Solidad planted a huge kiss on Ash showing her thanks for the wonderful retreat. She then kissed Misty on the way out.
Her exact words being. "See one for you too, no need to feel left out."
Misty had taken up the wheel; Ash and co were now sleeping. The journey finally taking its toll on the others, mainly Ash as he drove from Saffron City. As Misty made her final turn, she pulled up in front of the Ketchum's and nudged Ash awake.
Ash rubbed his eyes and then yawned. "Huh?" he looked around. "Oh, okay" Ash then got out of the car and stretched. "Pop the trunk Misty."
As he went into the back he knocked on the roof of the car hoping to stir the passengers in the back. Mainly the men, so that they could unload their respective baggage. Ash with bags in tow opened the door.
"We're back" he announced.
"Pika!" was an excited cry as his longtime companion rushed towards him. Seeing his hands full he bounced up onto his frame and rested on his shoulders rubbing his cheeks against him.
"ASH!" came another cry, this one belonging to his diminutive blue haired assistant. She of course ignored the baggage he was struggling to bring in and leapt onto him. "Oh Ash! Oh Ash! I was so bored. Veronica and your mom only would tease me; Melanie didn't want to play with me. And Daisuke said I was too small to help anybody, now you are here. You can give me something to do!"
"I missed you too Kazia, and look at this I have something for you to do already."
"Really? What?" she said excitedly releasing her grasp.
"Here" Ash threw a few bags in her hands. "Put them upstairs will you."
She huffed and puffed her chest. "This wasn't what I was talking about." she grumbled as she made her way up the stairs.
"There is something in the blue bag for you."
"Yeah, it's in a black paper bag. You will know it when you see it." he shouted.
Relieved of his bags Ash made his way through the house looking for the owner, but to no avail. "Kazia?" he shouted.
"Where is mom?"
"She's with the Professor, they are by his place I believe."
"Oh" he sat down in the kitchen. 'Guess I will see her later tonight.'
Ash just leaned on the counter, scratching Pikachu's head much to his delight. He then felt a familiar presence behind him; he knew who it was so he didn't have to turn around. This was confirmed when he felt those slender arms wrap around his frame, and her head rest against his back.
"You're not tired?" he asked considering she kept his company while he drove and drove herself.
"Just a little bit, but I will wait until you're ready to join me."
"Okay then, I won't keep you up too long."
The couple just stood there in silence for a few minutes until Misty spoke.
"Who was it that you were talking about?" she asked.
"What are you talking about Misty?"
"When you were telling the story, and told Nurse Joy that they would not have any problem eliminating anybody in their way."
"What about it?"
"You had such a pained expression in your eyes."
"I will tell you about her later."
"Yes, her. Her name was Yuno. She took me in, harbored me and was..." Ash paused then with a sigh continued."... killed because of me." Ash body tensed as he spoke those words.
Misty tightened her embrace on Ash. "I'm sorry Ash. I didn't mean to bring up bad memories."
Ash then began to shiver slightly as a tear escaped down his eye. A tear that he quickly wiped away. He then breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly. "It's alright Misty; you were only concerned about me."
He then turned to face her and kissed her on her forehead bringing her in close to him. There they stood just enjoying each other's embrace. Until Dexter announced that Ash had an incoming call.
"Hey Wesley, my young grasshopper. Need words of wisdom from your master?"
"I need my teacher and his skills."
"Hmm? Explain my apprentice."
"They are having a tournament in Celadon; it's a tag team tournament."
"You're travelling with Jade still right?"
"Yes I am."
"So why do you need me?"
"Because I need someone over the age of 18 to pair up with. This is apparently a Generations Tag Tournament, where one contestant is under the age of 15 and the other over the age of 18. It's a pretty weird rule but it seems to be a big deal here in Celadon. A lot of teams are entering and I want to challenge them."
"You definitely are indeed my apprentice. When is it exactly?"
"A week from today, well tonight."
"Let me check my schedule." Ash started making noises as to say he was delving through his packed calendar. That was until Misty nudged him to stop keeping his apprentice waiting. "I should be able to make it." That was when it ran across Ash's mind. "What about Jade?"
"Well that was my next point."
"You need me to bring someone along to help her?"
"Yes if you knew someone."
"Give me a second." He then looked down at Misty.
"Sorry, I have to go back to the Gym next week. I could probably skip out to see you on the final day of the tournament. "She then added in jest. "That's if you guys make it that far."
'Hmmm, May is going to head back to do more contests. Daisy doesn't battle; Dawn is in Johto, which leaves...' Ash then covered the receiver. "Hey Kazia?!"
"Are you doing anything next week?"
"You know I don't have anything planned."
"Want to battle in a tag-tournament in Celadon?"
"Can we go shopping afterwards?"
"That was easy enough" said Ash to Misty. He then turned to Wesley on the phone. "That will be no problem, Wesley. I will bring someone along for her, and now that I think about it those two will probably get along."
"Thanks Ash, I knew I could count on you."
"What kind of Master would I be if I could not be aide my apprentice. We shall show these peasants the might of our school of battling."
"Yes Sensei! See you in a week Ash." he said excitingly as he bid farewell.
"Back on the road so soon Mr. Ketchum."
"The battle calls my name my love."
"You better make it to the finals, so I can cheer in your corner this time."
"Just like the old times huh?" said Ash as he kissed her gently. "Now what do you say we go upstairs and discuss 'strategy'." said Ash with a mischievous grin.
Misty returned his with a sultry smile of her own, the two brought their faces close to each other's until...
"Ash?! Where did you put my gift?" Kazia shouted from upstairs.
"Looks like we have to put off this strategy planning until you take care of your assistant." said Misty as she kissed Ash on his cheek and sashayed away, blowing him a kiss as she turned the corner.
"Ash?" Kazia shouted again.
"I'm COMING!" responded Ash out of frustration.
Author's Note: Well there you have it, this was definitely a different kind of chapter. Mainly because everything was from Ash's perspective. Writing from the first person was definitely a chore, I had to remind myself countless times. I'm pleased with the result, I think. That is until I look at this in a weeks time to review. As always feel free to express your opinions, it has been so long enough I can tolerate the flaming.