Chapter 6/Final: Tree of Beginning Ends No Romance

Ash was the battle of his life. Dialga and Palkia were drained, Cynthia was not by his side and Cyrus had gone off his rocker. After draining the energies of the titan Pokémon, Cyrus attacked Ash, being the only being that stood in between him and world domination. Despite taking powerful attacks, Ash was still standing, let alone alive. Right now, his eyes were glowing blue. He and Cynthia were bonded by Sight Sharing, a link where one is allowed to view the other's point of view. Cynthia knew that Ash was in trouble. Ash was fatigued, wounded, listless...yet he knew that surrender was not an option. "So you've got the powers of aura at your disposal," Cyrus groaned. "That won't mean a thing when I'm done with you." He forced a palm, releasing another Hyper Beam. Cynthia thought quickly.

"Safeguard!" she ordered.

"Lugia's Safeguard, coming right up!" Ash bellowed as he swung his arms out. The beam struck an invisible barrier and drifted into the cosmos. Ash charged in ahead. He wanted to belt Cyrus one. That's when a ghost of claws emerged. Cyrus got scratched heavily on that exchange. "Betcha that Dragon Claw stings." Cyrus shook the strike off.

'Don't get too cocky, Ash. There's still a lot of fight left.' Cyrus shook off the shot and attempted another Spacial Rend. Ash was surrounded by that same bubble.

'How does he recover so fast? Attacks like that should have the user spend a moment to recharge but he's already using the next attack without hesitation.' That's when he peered at the titan Pokémon, figuring that Cyrus had to be alternating Dialga's and Palkia's moves. 'Of course! He's switching between Dialga and Palkia in order to keep pressure on me. So next, he'll use that Roar of Time or another Hyper Beam to cause great damage. I've got a few tricks up my sleeve to stop that.' Cynthia heard Ash's plotting through the mental link. She had doubts about his strategy.

"Can you pull it off in time? He wants to use Dialga's Hyper Beam and those come in fast, though not as strong. But you're pretty much worked over and I'm not sure you can take another shot." She's right. That previous combination with Spacial Rend and Roar of Time opened heavy wounds with blood gushing out. That's the funny thing about youth. They know that they're mostly weak, they know that they're in pain, they know that they believe what they hear...yet sometimes, they don't care. Cyrus was ready to attack.

'Eat your heart out, Darkrai.' The Hyper Beam was shot out...and smashed into the Rend. Ash! The Beam passed, but Ash was nowhere in sight. Cyrus believed that this one boy defender was done for.

"So much for a wasteful aura user," he coldly coughed. That's when Ash appeared...behind Cyrus with a smirk. Cyrus sensed something behind him, not liking what it could have been.

"Peek-a-boo!" Ash landed a roundhouse kick, spinning Cyrus. He straightened out, firing another Hyper Beam. "Here's another spin to twist!" Ash spun another Aeroblast and charged at the Hyper Beam. That's suicide! Suddenly, the tunnel split into four half-sized tunnels in four perpendicular directions like the four main points of a compass. The tunnels came back together and caught the Hyper Beam in the cross.

"What the hell is that?!" Wouldn't you like to know? The straight Hyper Beam struggled with the four swirling winds. Finally, the beam broke apart, smashed into several clutters before fading to nothingness and the Aeroblast came together and blasted Cyrus, unable to defend himself. Aeroblast scored a hit while Hyper Beam failed. Cynthia was astonished with how Ash was able to deflect that Hyper Beam and get a shot on Cyrus.

"That's amazing," she complimented. "I've never seen Aeroblash used in that fashion." Ash smiled at Cynthia's awe.

'That you can thank Dawn for giving me the idea,' Ash suggested the reason. What was it? Ash raced after the stunned Cyrus, ready to end this battle. However, Cyrus recovered and screamed out the Roar of Time. "Bad move!" Ash managed to erect Safeguard once more...but then began to roll into the Roar of Time! Who exactly made the bad move? The Roar of Time held the rotating Safeguard in place as it gathered the Roar. This could not end well. That's when Ash popped out of the Roar of Time/Safeguard mixture untouched...and drop kicked the combination at Cyrus. Was that even possible? Cyrus, say hello to your thieving attack. He screamed in panic. Oh well. KABLAM! The explosion kicked up flames and smoke, including the concussive shockwave. When the smoke lifted, there was Cyrus...out like a light. Was he dead...or just suffering a KO? 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10! Ring the bell, it's a knockout, folks. It's over. Ash, weakened by the loss of blood, smiled, proud of stopping the leader of Team Galactic. He descended to the two weakened Pokémon. He placed his hand on the blue titan. "Allow me, Dialga." He closed his eyes and both human and Pokémon emitted light. After a minute, Dialga felt re-energized. Whatever Ash used, it aided Dialga. Next, Palkia. Doing the same thing, it had taken a moment to help Palkia recover. Both titan Pokémon were back to normal, roaring thanks for helping them out.

"Thank you, young warrior," Dialga praised...sounding like an shrewd man full of spirit. "Because you stopped the major threat to the galaxy, peace will be restored."

"Dialga and I will repair the fabric and omit you and the enemy for your kind to punish this fiend to your desire," Palkia acknowledged...sounding like an aged woman with major wisdom.

"Thank you, Dialga, Palkia," Ash accepted. Palkia launched another Spacial Rend...only Ash was allowing it to wrap him and the unconscious Cyrus. Ash knew that this was their trip home. The two vanished...and reappeared back at the Tree of Beginning where Cynthia and Pikachu were able to see him once more.

"Ash!" Cynthia cried in joy.

("You're okay!") Pikachu cheered. Cynthia caught Ash as he began to lose feeling in his body. Heavy fatigue. Yet he found the energy to chuckle.

"I think I overdid myself," he laughed. No one would argue that.

"Take a rest," Cynthia advised, sounding very motherly. "You earned it."

"Yeah, a few minutes should help." He closed his eyes. A well deserved rest indeed. Pikachu had brought Ash's bag which had a first-aid kit. Convenient to have around in case of battles like the one Ash fought in. Cynthia wiped the blood off of Ash's head with a cloth and dressed the wound in bandages. Easy work. The tree was being revived from its wilting state, blooming different flowers inside the tree. Mew showed up out of nowhere, getting a good look at the now-sleeping Ash. That's when it thought quickly and whispered into Pikachu's ear. Whatever Mew had planned, Pikachu liked the idea.

"What are you planning, Mew?" Mew placed a paw onto Ash and began to glow, as well as the raven-haired boy. A minute later, the glow stopped. "Recover...thank you, Mew." Ash reopened his eyes...which may have been bad timing. Cynthia began to embrace Ash in a heart-warming kiss...and she didn't want to separate from him...and neither did he. Ash wrapped his arm around Cynthia's head. Eventually, they broke apart, but they still enjoyed it. Cynthia thought back to the battle. "That was a remarkable battle you had with Cyrus. What was that you used with Aeroblast?" Yeah, we're all anxious to know what it was.

"I taught Counter Shield to Pikachu and some of my other Pokémon. I even used it on the Safeguard you reminded me about." Counter Shield? Nice. Ash was on his feet, a little unsteady but enough to walk. An hour later, they were out of the Tree of Beginning. Cyrus? J? Galactic? The Pokémon inside escorted them out as well, including Cyrus who was still out. Saturn and Mars got their unconscious leader into their airship and along with the rest of the squad, bailed out, possibly returning to Sinnoh. J's henchmen had also recovered to regroup in their airship. A total failure on each one's part. They had no Mew, no Pokémon to claim. They bailed, not acknowledging Galactic or Ash. All that was left was Ash, Cynthia and Pikachu. The tree was as beautiful as ever, the setting sun showing more brilliance to the giant monument. That's when a new airship was entering the sight. When this new ship landed, an elderly lady in a lab coat exited. Her grayish blond hair and wrinkles around the blue eyes told Cynthia that this was company she was not really expecting. Then again, who was expecting more company at this point?

"Grandma Carolina?" This was the other of Cynthia's grandmothers? It would make sense to have two, one from each family. "What are you doing here?"

"Cynthia, you expect me to stay calm when I got wind that you've left Sinnoh?" she explained. Secret's out. "And especially with the one trainer I wanted to beat you?" Ash and Cynthia nervously laughed, scratching their heads in embarrassment.

"It's a long story, Professor," Ash huffed. "Team Galactic and Hunter J wanted to raid the Tree of Beginning and we happened to stop them." That would be the short story or a summary of what happened.

"You mean you two bonded together to stop them and Team Rocket? I heard that they also joined you." Not quite. They're rotting right now in the Cerulean City Jail.

"Trust us. They would've done more harm than good." Well, maybe. Maybe not. That's when a caw echoed the ears on the ground. The group turned to see a giant red bird with blond hair on its forehead which curled on top. The wings, mostly red feathered, had green tips on its white feathers and white tips of gold feathers on its tail. The group was blown away with the appearance of this new creature but no more than Ash and Pikachu. "No way. Ho-oh?" The Ho-oh landed. Agatha dismounted from the ride eying Ash, Cynthia...and Prof. Carolina. Sister-in-law? "Agatha?" Agatha approached the team, smiling at Carolina mostly.

"It's been a while, Carolina," she greeted.

"Agatha," she scowled. Good point that she detested Agatha? "The last person I wanted to view."

"Nice to see you, too. You're still bitter about my victory those 50 years ago in front of Sam?" 50 years ago? These two were trainers before they were united as family by their offspring?

"Only you would resort to Ghost Pokémon in order to battle with me. I have yet to get redemption for that battle!" Sheesh. Anyone say bury the hatchet? "You're also the reason Cynthia was so overwhelmed with Pokémon and invoked a bad influence on her." Bad influence?

"Are you suggesting that me taking her to the Tree of Beginning was a bad idea? The Pokémon liked her back then." The growling from Carolina seemed to get under Ash's nerves. He wanted this to stop.

"Okay, you two, break it up," he scorned. Both elders were quieted. "Look, what happened in the past has nothing to do with what happened just recently, alright? Let's just drop the subject and think about resuming our normal lives." Carolina and Agatha couldn't believe the audacity of Ash's verbal action of ceasing the argument. However, they realized that maybe it would be the wisest idea at this point.

"I suppose so," Carolina acknowledged. "It's kinda pointless at this point." She turned to Agatha, calmer now. "One of these days, sister, I will beat you. Right now, it may be best to return to Sinnoh. Brock and Dawn may be wondering what happened to you." Ash had to feel guilty about leaving those two without telling them what occurred.

"Sure, Grandma," Cynthia accepted. "But...I would like to go back on Ho-oh's back." Ho-oh was amused with Cynthia's request. "If it's alright if you would join me on the ride, Ash." Aw. Ash instantly blushed, getting invite to ride along with Cynthia amongst Ho-oh. Even Ho-oh was nagging Ash to join. He surrendered to the pressure.

"Well, what can I say?" Ash stuttered as he walked to Ho-oh. It seemed that Ho-oh had read Ash's thoughts. Both were on the same wavelength as they both turned to Cynthia who came to Ash's side. Carolina had re-boarded her airship as Agatha came by Cynthia's side once more.

"That boy is more talented than what the most experienced trainer would expect," she advised. "I know that someday you'll lose the title of Pokémon Master and I may agree with Carolina that it may be him...but it may be best for the both of you. You two might as well watch out for each other." Cynthia accepted Agatha's words. If she was to surrender her title, it might as well be in Ash's hands.

"I will, Grandma Aggie," she trusted. On that note, Agatha began to walk off, aimlessly wandering off somewhere. Ash, Pikachu and Cynthia hopped onto Ho-oh as the airship took to the skies. Sinnoh, here they came. Ho-oh began to trail behind the airship. Ash and Cynthia sat side-by-side, their minds wandering back to the whole scenario. That's when Ash had a thought. There was something he wanted to address and now it seemed to be the perfect time.

"Cynthia?" he opened. "I heard what Grandma Aggie talked to you about. To be honest, I don't want you to withdraw your title." Ash didn't like the fact that Cynthia would submit her Master title to someone else, even to him.

"Ash, you know I can't remain Pokémon Master forever. One day, that person will teach trainers about the aspects of respecting Pokémon like the both of us." Reality. Sometimes you need to accept what events behold.

"Then even if I do beat you, can you still master, at least?" This was an odd request from Ash. He wanted Cynthia to remain Master for his sake, even if she was defeated by him. That's when she had a retort for him.

"Ash Ketchum, I would rather be your wife than your master." Cynthia leaned in once more and...well, they did say that love was in the air. When those two landed, there's a good chance that neither would want to stay away from each other. Two masters of Pokémon, the best match that can be offered. The future between those two looked very bright.

Meanwhile, in Cerulean City, Team Rocket was pleading to be released. "Let us outta here!" the redhead groveled loudly. "We didn't do anything wrong!"

"Those wanted posters are out of date!" the cat meowed.

"We're innocent!" the blue-haired cried. Oh, boy. Their shouting continued, most lost in the mix of the three yelling at the same time about different items. Finally...

"Looks like Team Rocket's incarcerated again!" they shouted in unison. Sucks to be them. They won't be released anytime soon. See you in 20 years!