A/N: Horray! I've finally gotten it done! Sorry for the long wait, but Robotics and procrastination got the best of me and I haven't had much time to write lately. Which is why this is going to be the last chapter of this story that I write ofr a while.
That's right, I'm taking a break from writing. At least until the Robotics build season is over. After that, I plan on trying my hand at another story that I came up with on my own.
Also, this is the last chapter in Book One of what I'm going to call the Chronicles of Fate. The next book will be written as a different story in FanFiction. Expect the first chapter in a months time or so. But don't get your hopes up; I'm still prone to procrastination. Anyways, on to the story! And don't forget to review!
Part Sixteen – The Diagnosis
Sometimes, when one really needs it, when someone out there wishes for something to happen hard enough, things happen. Wishes get granted, dreams come true, and things that would be naturally impossible happen. However, those wishes may be granted in ways that the wisher didn't expect…
The room was absolutely huge. I mean huge. It dwarfed any room that the five had seen before. It was bigger than Professor Oak's lab, bigger than Brock or Misty's Gym battle fields, and definitely bigger than a high school gymnasium. That's how big it was.
And to add to the wonder of the room, almost each square inch of the room had something in it. It even had different fake environments for all different types. It was arranged into three sections running the length of the room. There was a mountainous area with peaks covered in fake snow and fake caves dotting the sides on the left side, a grassy wooded area with trees and other vegetation that, upon inspection, proved to be real in the middle, and a desert-like area with real sand and the occasional tumbleweed and cactus on the right. The ceiling was extremely high and painted to simulate a clear sunny sky.
The five of them stood there in the entrance and gawked. This stuff was definitely not toy sized. The mountains actually reached up to the ceiling, and the forest was fairly large. The desert seemed never-ending and it even shimmered with heat, just like a real desert.
"Holy crap this place is big!" Carol said.
"Congratulations, you win a prize for 'Most Obvious Observation'!" Tyler joked, acting like a TV game show host. Carol glared at him, but Tyler just ignored it.
"Not to mention 'World's Biggest Understatement'," Brock added. Carol's glare broke away from Tyler and resettled on Brock, who also ignored it, too busy looking at the room.
"How the heck are we supposed to find our Pokemon now?" Misty whined. "They could be anywhere!"
"Well, my guess is that they'll be staying close to each other, but trying to keep close to their favorite areas, and it seems that all of the areas meet at a lake on the other side of this room," Delia stated.
"How do you know that?" Misty asked.
"This map," Delia said, pointing at the small picture of the room on the wall. "It also says that there should be a trail leading from here to the lake going through the woods."
"Yeah, I see it," Brock said, "it's right there." Brock pointed to a spot a few feet to the left and ahead of him. Sure enough, there was a little dirt path jutting out from the woods.
Delia studied the map a little more. "Hmm, that's strange," she said.
"What's strange?" Carol asked, walking over to Delia and the map.
"Well, it almost looks as if there's an entrance over by the lake, in the mountains, and in the desert," Delia said, pointing to each door in turn.
"If there is, then it just means that we won't have to come back here to exit, and we can just leave by the lake area," Tyler said.
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Misty said, taking off down the trail.
"Misty, wait up!" Brock yelled, hurrying after her. Tyler, Carol, and Delia quickly followed.
The run through the forest was fairly uneventful. There were various vines and tree branches above the path, and a few lower ones that had to be pushed aside. Many different kinds of bushes ran along the pathway, helping to define the trail. A few fallen logs were noticeable just a small distance away from the trail, and many of them were hollowed out. It took only a minute or so to reach the other side of the forest and find the lake. And boy was it a big lake.
It had two parts to it, one that backed right up to the desert area creating a beach, and one that bordered the mountains and forest, creating a valley lake. In-between the two sides, there was a thin river that was straddled by a bridge that reached over to the other side of the water and led straight to a door.
Of course, that wasn't all that was there. All of the Pokemon were here and accounted for. Lanturn and Espeon were playing on the lakeshore with Raidon, Mika, and Megumi. Shinichi, Hoshi, and Youko were in the water, swimming along, playing what looked to be a game of underwater tag. Tsubame sat near Raidon with his continuous stupor ever present as always. Kane, Mitsuko, Hana, and Kiyoshi were chasing each other through the woods in their own game of tag. Razor was sitting on one of the lower peaks of the mountain, jumping and running across the mountains, seemingly training himself to be faster. Shou and Yasuo were flying around in the sky, and Daichi and Katashi were relaxing in one of the lower caves.
Before the group had a chance to take any of the scene in, Kane accidentally ran right into Carol's leg while he was chasing Mitsuko and was knocked down. He looked up to see what he ran into and saw Carol, who was looking down on him.
He barked happily and quickly stood up. Carol kneeled down and scooped him up. He proceeded to lick her face continuously. If her face wasn't clean before, it sure was now.
Kane's bark got the attention of the rest of the Pokemon. They looked up from their various activities and noticed the group of five standing at the end of the trail. Recognizing their trainers, each Pokemon quickly ran/flew/swam to them. Misty rushed over to Megumi and picked her up, cradling her in her arms. Hoshi and Youko hurried over, and Tsubame basically just sat there and did nothing, just like always. Carol stayed where she was, holding Kane in the air as Mika teleported next to her, and Razor appeared seconds later. Carol embraced all of them in a hug. Brock quickly ran towards Mitsuko and crouched down next to her. He stroked her head while Daichi and Katashi ran over. Well, Daichi slithered and Katashi kind of hovered, but you get the idea. Shou flew down and hovered next to Brock. Tyler ran over to the lake where Lanturn and Espeon were sitting and was promptly tackled by both of them. Yasuo did what he does best and glided down until he was circling insanely fast over Tyler's head.
The only Pokemon that seemed to stay fairly stationary were Raidon, Shinichi, Hana, and Kiyoshi. They all gathered in a spot fairly far away from everyone else and seemed to look at them with sadness. Delia was the only one to spot them, as everyone else was preoccupied with either being liked to death or embracing their Pokemon. The six oddly colored Pokemon noticed as well and followed her.
They didn't notice as she walked over and crouched down next to them. She spoke, saying, "Hey, guys, how are you doing?"
The Pokemon jumped and whirled around to see what had snuck up on them. When they saw that it was just Ash's mother, they relaxed. Then they saw the six oddly colored Pokemon and quickly greeted them.
"So, I guess that we're all in the same boat here," Delia said. "We've all lost Ash."
The Pokemon looked down with various hints of sadness in their eyes. Raidon seemed to be taking it the worst, seeing as he'd been with Ash for the longest. Delia noticed this and patted him on the head.
"Don't cry Pikachu, Ash wouldn't have wanted that," Delia consoled the saddened electric mouse. He looked up at her for a second and nodded, wiping a tear away from his eye.
"If all else fails, remember this, you've got your friends and me," Delia said. "I've always got room in my house for all of you."
The Pokemon nodded thankfully, and they suddenly looked less gloomy. They began to converse among themselves, and Delia stood up, pleased that she was able to pull that off. It had always worked on Ash, but she had never tried it on Pokemon.
She walked across the bridge and studied the area near the door. It was mostly bare, painted to match the theme of the room. The only thing that did stand out was the large blue square hanging from the wall next to the door. She walked closer, and as she did, she began to make out more details. It was a navy blue color, and it appeared to be made of some type of fabric. There were numerous pouches in them, some occupied, some empty. She quickly realized that the items in the pouches were Pokeballs, and she put the pieces together. It was a Pokeball storage hanger.
"Hey, guys, I think that I found everyone's Pokeballs!" Delia called out across the river.
Everyone's attention went straight to her as they located her. They all got up and ran over the bridge (minus the water Pokemon, who swam under it and got to the closest point that they could. The only one who remained where he sat was Tsubame, who was still doing absolutely nothing what so ever.
Everyone quickly located their Pokeballs, and Delia noticed that there were still nine left. She figured that four belonged to Ash's original Pokemon, while the remaining five belonged to all but one of the six oddly colored Pokemon. Delia grabbed them and held them in her hands.
Just then, the moment was disturbed as the door quickly opened and a male nurse stepped in. "Hey everyone, time for another checkup!" he said, sounding awfully cheery for a nurse working so late at night. Then she saw the large coffee cup in his hand.
Unfortunately, so did Yasuo. And he knew exactly what was in it. He swooped down and snatched the cup and glided down a few feet from the group.
"Yasuo, don't drink-" Tyler started, but before he could finish, Yasuo tipped the cup up and chugged the entire cup down. He sat there for a second or two, a blank look on his face. Then, a huge smile spread across his face and his eyes grew huge.
"Crap," Tyler muttered. "Everyone duck and cover!" he shouted, jumping to the ground and covering his head with his arms. With the look on Yasuo's face, everyone predicted what was about to happen and hit the deck as well.
Yasuo then shot up into the air like a bullet, at speeds that would put said bullet to shame, and he rocketed around the room at top speed, screeching at the top of his lungs. He zipped around in the air, pulling off so many aerial acrobatic stunts that no fighter pilot in his right mind would even think about attempting.
When he gained enough height that nobody below was in any direct danger of being hit, everyone stood up. Tyler watched Yasuo with amazement.
"Wow, he's never been that fast when he drank coffee before," Tyler remarked. "What was in that?"
"Expresso," said the nurse plainly.
Tyler nodded, and everyone stood there watching Yasuo for a minute or so. Then Delia remembered the reaction that the previous nurse had when she saw the six oddly colored Pokemon. Delia quickly grabbed the Pokeballs and figured out which ones belonged to which Pokemon. It was easier since Ash had a habit of carving the initials of each Pokemon's species on the bottom of the ball. It seemed that Lucky was the only one that didn't have his own Pokeball.
She quickly withdrew them and stashed the balls in her purse. Then Delia forced Lucky into her purse as well. He protested, but gave in shortly when Delia motioned to the nurse. She looked back up at the nurse, who was still watching Yasuo. She snapped his attention back to reality by saying, "So, why are you here?"
"Oh, I was here to do a little checkup on the Pokemon here, but now that you are here, I suppose that I should get the forms that would allow you to withdraw them from the hospital's care," he explained. "You are the trainers of these Pokemon, right?"
"Yeah, we are, but this here is the mother of the trainer of some of the Pokemon here," Misty explained, motioning at Delia.
"Well, that's fine," the nurse said, "any blood relative of the trainer can withdraw his or her Pokemon."
"What about Pokemon that don't belong to anyone?" Brock asked, obviously thinking about Grom.
"The people who brought it in can take it out at any moment after it has been fully treated."
"OK, then we'd like to withdraw the Tyranitar that was brought in with us," Brock said.
"Alright, then, let me just get the paperwork out and you guys can fill it out," the nurse said, flipping through papers on his clipboard. "Aha!" he said, pulling out a few sheets of paper. "Here you go."
He handed one sheet of paper to each of them, and two to Brock, one for his Pokemon, and the other one for Grom. Then the nurse took out a few pencils from one of his pockets and handed one to each of them as well.
The paperwork was surprisingly easy to fill out, and it only took a minute or so for everyone to finish. They handed the paperwork to the nurse, and he put it back on his clipboard, and he took back the pencils and returned them to his pocket.
He thanked them and turned to leave when Carol spoke up. "Wait, sir!" she said, causing the nurse to stop.
"Yes?" he said, turning around.
"Can you tell us the fastest way to get to the ER? Our friend and her son is in there, and we need to find him," Carol asked.
"Well, if you go down the trail in the forest, a little ways in, there is a trail on the right that leads into the mountain area. Follow it and it will take you to a door. That door leads straight into the ER hallway," the nurse explained.
"Thank you," Carol said as the nurse turned and left. She looked away from the door and looked at the rest of the group. She thought that it seemed a little bit smaller for some reason, but she couldn't place it. Brock, however, could.
"Hey, where are Lucky, Chill, Flare, Fright, Leaf, and Switch?" he asked.
"Oh, I put them in their Pokeballs when the nurse came in," Delia stated. "I didn't want him to freak out like everyone else."
"Nice thinking," Tyler commented. Then, out of nowhere, Yasuo flew straight into the ground in the center of the group. The impact kicked up quite a bit of dust, and when it cleared, everyone could see a small impact crater that the Gligar had made upon landing. In the center of it lay a very unconscious Yasuo.
Tyler sighed. "This is why I never give him any sugar or caffeine, ever," he said, recalling Yasuo. "He goes insane with energy, and then he crashes in the end."
Ignoring the pun, whether it was intended or not, everyone recalled the rest of their Pokemon, leaving only Raidon, Megumi, and Razor for some reason. Raidon took a spot on Delia's shoulder, just like he always rode on Ash, Megumi was in Misty's arms, and Razor was just standing next to Carol.
"Why aren't you returning him?" Tyler asked.
"I kind of want to get to know him, seeing as I only met him just a few hours ago," Carol answered. Tyler nodded, and off they went.
They hustled down the path and headed straight towards the door that they came in. Arriving there, they ran right through the open doorway and straight across the hallway, into Grom's room.
Inside was the same type of room that the four had been in when they woke up. White walls, white floor, and white bed. The only color was the green of the single Pokemon that was lying on the bed.
"Grom!" Carol shouted, running over to the bed. He was looking well, with only a few bandages on his arm and body. Other than that, he looked perfect.
"Grom?" Delia asked.
"Um…" Carol said, looking at Brock, Misty, and Tyler for support. They just shrugged. "About that, when we met Grom, we called him Tyranitar because we didn't know his name. He finally got tired of it and wrote Grom into the dirt on the ground. We guessed that it was his name."
"Oh, I see," Delia said, buying the lie.
Tyler leaned over and whispered, "Nice save."
By now, Grom had stood up and was looking down at Delia.
"Oh, hi there," Delia said, looking up at the six foot tall Pokemon. She suddenly felt extremely scared for her life. "I'm Delia Ketchum, Ash's mom."
Grom nodded, and then turned to face Brock and the others. He seemed to have a question dancing in his eyes, and it was all too obvious what it was.
"Follow us, we know where he is," Tyler said.
Grom nodded once more, and just as quickly as they entered, they left once again.
The group of what was now nine followed the path through the forest area and into the mountains. However, they were no longer running. Carol asked that for the sake of getting to know Razor that they walked instead. So the nine calmly walked down the trail, enjoying the scenery. Razor was walking right next to Carol as she talked to him and told him some of her stories. Razor took particular interest to the story about how Carol lived in the park for around three years.
Everyone else was admiring the large variety of trees and other plant life along the path. Delia especially enjoyed looking at the flowers and other colorful plants, recognizing most of them and taking the liberty of pointing out the name of each.
"OK, that one there is another tulip," she said, pointing at a yellow flower on the ground, "and there's a white rosebush…"
"And there goes my enjoyment of this walk," Tyler whispered to Brock, mocking Delia by pretending to be pointing out another flower. Brock laughed.
"Well, if you don't like it, then just ignore me," Delia said, never looking back at either of the two.
"How did she hear that?" Tyler whispered.
"It's called years of practice with a son," Delia said, still concentrating on the trail.
Misty was currently feeding Megumi and gently rocking her. Raidon was following behind her talking with Grom. They decided that knowing all of the different types of flowers that grew along the trail wasn't very important.
Lucky, however, didn't have that option. He was stuck in Delia's purse listening to her blabber on and on about the flowers. Poor, poor him.
They finally came across the intersection in the trail that led into the mountain trail. It wasn't much of a trail, more of a flat path weaving through the multiple peaks and valleys. The group turned down the trail and followed it all the way down. The only change in the group was the fact that Delia stopped talking about things along the trail.
"Finally, some peace and quiet," Tyler whispered to Brock.
"I'm going to ignore that rude comment," Delia said, still never looking back.
"How?" Tyler yelled out. "How can you do that!?"
"I already told you, years of practice with Ash."
Tyler sighed and returned to walking. Brock shook his head, laughing to himself at Tyler's frustration.
The journey through the mountains took only a few minutes. Grom looked at the mountains in amazement. He felt a wave of nostalgia wash over him as he remembered his old home when he was just a child.
They quickly found the door that led out of the room and walked through it. The mountains immediately dissolved into the plain white hallways of the hospital and the dirt path into clean tiles.
Of course, it wasn't too hard to figure out where Ash was being held. Just look for the huge conglomeration of doctors and nurses. They were rushing around like bees in a hive, going in and out of one of two rooms. One belonged to Giovanni, according to the label next to the door. The other room had no visible label, but the group knew who was in it without needing one.
Many of the doctors and nurses ignored their presence; many just looked up, saw them, and walked past. Only one doctor actually approached them. He was short and stocky, but despite the fact that it was near four in the mourning, he seemed very cheery.
"Hello," he said, "you must be the four that were found in the warehouse."
"Yeah, that's us," Misty said.
"And this must be the Tyranitar that was found with you," he stated. Grom nodded.
"Well, it's nice to see that you all are feeling fine," said the doctor. "And you might be?" he added, looking at Delia.
"Oh, hello. I'm Delia Ketchum, Ash's mother," said Delia. "Nice to meet you."
The doctor shook Delia's outstretched hand. "Well, Mrs. Ketchum, it's nice to meet you too. My name is Richard Howle. But please, just call me Rick."
Everyone nodded and gave their individual introductions. Rick nodded to all of them and shook each of their hands.
"Now, I suppose that your all here to see Ash, right?" Rick asked.
"Yes, we are," Carol said, nodding and looking at the room where she figured Ash to be in.
"Well, I'm sorry to tell you this, but unfortunately, you can't."
"Why not?" everyone yelled.
"The truth is, we've made a discovery," Rick said. "Ash still hasn't shown any signs of movement or breathing, but it seems that a weak pulse has returned to his body."
"What!" shouted Misty.
"Yeah, that's right," said Rick. "Ash is showing signs of being alive."
"How what now?" Delia said. Tyler smirked, and Delia looked back at him with a scolding face. His smirk was wiped away in an instant.
"Ash was previously showing signs of both being in a coma and being dead. He wasn't breathing, wasn't moving, and had no pulse. But his pupils dilated like normal, his skin still had color in it, and he had no signs of cuts or wounds," Rick explained.
"Right," Brock said.
"Well, just a few minutes ago, we discovered that Ash had a very weak pulse that had remained fairly constant for the past few minutes. With this development, we believe that he might actually just be in a coma," Rick finished.
"Really?" Misty said, looking up suddenly. Megumi cried happily at the idea of her daddy living. Raidon and Delia had a look of surprise mixed with extreme happiness on their faces. So did pretty much everyone else, including Razor, who only barely knew Ash.
"Yes, really," Rick said. "That's why it's so crazy around here right now. And why we can't let you see Ash. All of the doctors here are super busy trying to figure out how to get Ash out of this coma that he's in."
"I see," Delia said.
"Don't worry, you can stay here and whenever we can find the time to let you see him, we will tell you right away," Rick promised.
"Oh, thank you so much!" Misty said, still extremely happy.
"It's no trouble at all, miss," Rick said. "Just follow me to the waiting room."
The group nodded, and Rick led them down the hallway.
He watched the group being led down the hallway and out of the room. He wished with all of his heart that he could walk up to them, and he thought back to the first voice he heard while he was in that strange place. It had told him to go back and continue life as it used to be. His voice had sounded so strange, like it was hypnotizing him.
But then he remembered the second voice that had forced the first away. It was sweet and kind, and it sounded as if it really cared for him. It told him that he couldn't go back just yet. It had told him that he had something to do first.
And that's the voice that he obeyed. He turned away from the group and walked the other way. It was lucky that everyone else was busy with the emergency in the ER. Nobody saw him as he left.
He navigated the halls, moving past nurses and Pokemon alike. At one point, he saw a Nurse Joy leading one Tyranitar and one Larvitar down the hallway.
He finally made it to one of the back exits. He managed to push it open and walk out into the night. He quickly found the north exit to the city and made his way out. As he walked down the path that led towards Ecruteak City.
Whoever that voice was, it said that it needed help. He needed to get to the Burned Tower to free it, whatever that meant. But he knew that this was real, and it needed help.
He looked up and out towards the route. It would be a long walk, but he knew he had to go. If he ever wanted to get back to the way things were, he had to.
He shook his head, freeing his mind of these thoughts. He walked forward on his tiny Larvitar legs. With these short limbs it would take him forever. But he was determined to get this done. Which was no different than normal, since this is Ash that we're talking about.
End of Part Sixteen
End of Book One