Chapter 37: To the Dark Side

Ash watched Will recall Blissey, a look of puzzlement on his face. Pikachu's most recent attack had looked very different from any other Thunderbolt Ash had ever seen. Taking his mind off the battle, he wondered, What just went on there? Pikachu had played ping pong once during its travels with Ash in Sinnoh, and it reminded Ash vaguely of Pikachu returning a serve.

After praising Blissey for its battling, Will looked at Pikachu with a puzzlement equal to Ash's. If he wasn't mistaken, he had just seen Pikachu pull off a move that was not used very much in this part of the world. In fact, the last time Will himself had seen that move was years ago, while participating in an inter-regional tournament in the faraway Littoria region. However, judging from the confused look on Ash's face, Ash hadn't expected Pikachu to use that move either. So since Ash was still conducting the battle as could be expected, Will opted to stay on course. Throwing his next Pokeball, he called out, "Jynx, ready yourself!" Again, the Human Shape Pokemon materialized on the field, raising its large hands in front of itself.

Snapping himself back to reality, Ash looked back at the field. His eyes fell on Jynx, then Pikachu. "You okay, buddy?" he called. Pikachu, though in pain and breathing heavily, gave its trainer a determined thumbs up. "Okay, Thunderbolt!" Ash commanded. However, only a few sparks flew from Pikachu's cheeks.

"Ash," Will called sternly, "I expected better of you. Leaving a Pokemon in a battle like this when it's low on energy can be both stressful and dangerous."

"But it was Pikachu's choice to stay in, not just mine!" Ash protested.

"Nevertheless, it is your duty as a trainer to protect the well-being of your Pokemon. Now, I know you like to save your strongest Pokemon until the very end of the battle, but I strongly urge you to give Pikachu a chance to recover its strength a little."

Ash paused on hearing this. Was Will right? He thought of Sceptile, gone because of a feeling of betrayal. Still, he just couldn't see Pikachu doing the same thing... but he had to make sure this was really what Pikachu wanted... "Pikachu!" Ash called. "You sure you want to stay in? It'll be okay if you want to take a break." Pikachu shook its head, then turned back to fix its opponent with a hard stare. "I'll take Pikachu's call," said Ash. "Pikachu wants to fight this battle out!"

Will gave a sigh. "As you wish, Ash," he said resignedly. "Ice Beam!" he ordered Jynx.

"Pikachu, Quick Attack!" called Ash. Avoiding the pale blue beam emanating from between Jynx's hands, the Electric Mouse ran at its adversary, barreling into its face. "Now use Iron Tail!"

"Doubleslap!" commanded Will. Pikachu flipped over in midair, ready to follow up on its previous attack, but Jynx sent it careening into the air with a slap. As soon as Ash's Pokemon had fallen within range again, Jynx slapped it with its other hand, knocking it back twenty feet.

"Pikachu, give it everything you've got and use Volt Tackle!" Ash shouted, worried. Getting up and gritting its tiny teeth, the Electric Mouse rushed its opponent again, electricity crackling around its body once more. However, Pikachu seemed to be slowing down... and the electricity was fading...

"Psyshock!" ordered Will. Bringing its hands together, the Human Shape Pokemon shot a mass of psychic energy at its incoming opponent. Pikachu was blasted into the air before landing on its back, unconscious.

"Pikachu is unable to battle!" the referee announced. "Jynx is the winner!"

"Pikachu!" called Ash, running onto the field. "You okay, buddy?" he asked, picking up his best friend. Pikachu, covered in burns and scratches, gave a weak smile. "You battled great, Pikachu," said Ash. "We wouldn't still be in this match if it wasn't for your hard work. Now, take a rest." After placing Pikachu gingerly on the edge of the field, he picked up his final Pokeball. It's time for you to show your stuff, Ash thought. You've got your work cut out for you; you're gonna have to beat three Pokemon for us to win. But I know you can do it! After taking a deep breath, he threw the Pokeball. "Tyranitar, I choose you!" Tyranitar's green and black forms burst out of the Pokeball; the Armor Pokemon gave a jubilant roar as its feet touched the battlefield, raising its muscular arms, ready for a real battle at last.

Although the crowd made noises of both excitement and shock, Will's face displayed only the latter. "But..." he muttered to himself. "How...? How did Ash get a Tyranitar without anybody knowing? I could have sworn he'd use Charizard for this battle... never mind." Shaking his head to clear his mind, Will sized up his chances. He'd put his lineup together expecting Ash to use Charizard; replacing Ash's usual power Pokemon with an unexpected Dark-type was an unpleasant surprise, to say the least. I have no idea exactly how strong Tyranitar is, Will thought. I'll try finding that out before I make a rash decision. "Jynx, use Ice Beam!" he called.

"Tyranitar, Rock Slide!" commanded Ash. Raising its arms into the air and accepting the pale blue beam on its chest, Ash's newest Pokemon caused nearly a dozen boulders to materialize above its adversary. They fell one after another, trapping Jynx beneath them.

"Break out with Psyshock!" shouted Will.

"Quick, Tyranitar, Double-Edge!" ordered Ash. Expending an enormous effort, Jynx shattered the boulders surrounding itself, then dropped to its knees from the effort. A moment later, Tyranitar crashed into the Human Shape Pokemon, sending it flying across the field.

"Aim a Psyshock at what's left of the boulders!" called Will. Another mass of energy collided with the remains of the rock pile, showering Ash's Pokemon with bits of rock. "Now, Signal Beam!" he ordered.

"Block it with Thunderpunch!" called Ash. Tyranitar crossed it fists over its chest, and they started crackling with electricity. Jynx did not let up its attack, but Tyranitar held firm. "Great job, Tyranitar!" Ash praised his Pokemon. "Now get in closer!"

"Break off the attack and use Ice Beam!" commanded Will. Stopping the Signal Beam, Jynx switched to a sub-freezing beam of light.

"Dodge it and use Crunch!" ordered Ash. Stumbling slightly, the armor Pokemon sidestepped the Ice Beam and charged forward at full speed.

"Look out, Jynx!" shouted Will desperately. "Use Doubleslap!" However, he knew that it would not be enough. Tyranitar barely felt Jynx's palms beating against its torso before clamping its jaws around its opponent's head.

"Thunderpunch!" called Ash, pressing the attack. Releasing Will's Pokemon from its mouth, Tyranitar swung its left fist into Jynx's face. "Now, Tyranitar, wrap this up with Rock Slide!" Ash commanded excitedly.

"Evade it, Jynx!" shouted Will as Ash's Pokemon conjured rocks right above Jynx. However, try as it might to dodge, the Human Shape Pokemon was simply too slow getting up. Two of the boulders trapped the helpless Jynx, who did not move afterward.

"Jynx is unable to battle!" the referee announced. "Tyranitar is the winner!"

"Wow," said Ash, watching Will put Jynx in its Pokeball. "Tyranitar could fight like that for all this time and I never gave it a chance before now... Hey, Tyranitar!" he shouted to his victorious Pokemon. "You were awesome right there! Keep up the good work!"

On the other side of the field, Will paused to take stock. For a newly caught Pokemon, Tyranitar was extremely powerful and well-trained. I wish Xatu was still in the fight, he thought. I could have used a Miracle Eye right about now... but Gardevoir will have to do for now. Making up his mind, Will threw his Pokeball. "Gardevoir, ready yourself!" he called. Emerging with an elegant grace, the Embrace Pokemon pulled itself upright, bringing itself to face its brawny adversary.

"Let's attack first, Tyranitar!" Ash called to his newest Pokemon. "Crunch!"

"Magical Leaf!" commanded Will. The armor Pokemon charged its new opponent, but ran headlong into a barrage of sharp leaves from Gardevoir. Tyranitar roared in pain, stopping in its tracks. "Now use Hidden Power!" Will ordered. His Pokemon sent orbs of white light at its adversary, who was still reeling from the last attack.

"Knock them away with Thunderpunch!" shouted Ash. Swinging its fists wildly, Tyranitar punched the glowing orbs as they shot in its direction, smashing them apart one by one. "Now, Rock Slide!" Ash ordered. Turning defense into attack, Tyranitar conjured a new series of rocks right above Gardevoir's head.

"Evade them!" called Will. Gliding gracefully one way, then, another, Gardevoir managed to avoid getting hit by any of the rocks, but Ash was already calling out his next move.

"Tyranitar, Double-Edge!" As the last of the boulders fell from the air, the Armor Pokemon charged right at its opponent, knocking it back into the pile of rocks. "Alright, now Thunderpunch!" commanded Ash.

"Evade!" ordered Will. Gardevoir rolled over, avoiding Tyranitar's crackling fist, which shattered the boulder underneath, and used the momentum to get its body upright again. "And now, Psychic on the rocks!" called Will.

"Tyranitar, use Thunderpunch to defend yourself!" shouted Ash urgently. His Pokemon started swinging its fists again, but as fast as its punches were, it could not avoid all of the chunks of rock closing in on itself. The Armor Pokemon tenaciously kept its stride, even as it winced whenever a particularly large piece of stone hit its body.

"Magical Leaf!" commanded Will.

"Go in for a Crunch!" ordered Ash, noticing that his own Pokemon was still close to Gardevoir. Crossing his fingers in his pocket, he watched with gritted teeth as Tyranitar fought the Magical Leaf with every ounce of its strength. Finally, the Armor Pokemon lunged forward, closing its jaws around the Embrace Pokemon's head. "Now, Tyranitar," called Ash, "Thunderpunch it right into the ground!" Letting out a triumphant roar and raising both its fists, Tyranitar released Will's Pokemon, who stood, hunched and cowering, right in front of it. Gardevoir could not even bring itself to dodge as its adversary's fists hit it in the shoulders, forcing it several inches below ground level. When Tyranitar stood up again, Gardevoir was completely immobile.

"Gardevoir is unable to battle!" the referee announced. "Tyranitar is the winner!" The second sentence, however, was barely audible. The crowd had started cheering louder than ever. Ash, after struggling through most of the battle, had finally managed to pull even. The only question on everyone's mind was which Pokemon would Will use for his final stand.

Will looked at the Pokeball containing his last Pokemon, his expression unreadable to most. Time to show your colors, he thought. I know we'll have to make a change of plans. You'll have to fight Tyranitar's full-on attacks rather than Charizard's speed. Still, you'll be fighting with a type advantage instead of a disadvantage, so I know you have what it takes. This is our year, friend! Casting the Pokeball in his hand, Will called out, "Bronzong, ready yourself!" What looked like a large, shiny, and old-fashioned bell materialized on the field. Its mouth gave a grimacing smile, while its red eyes narrowed as it spotted its opponent.

"A Bronzong, huh?" muttered Ash. "This is gonna be a lot harder than I thought." Ash sized up his opponent's, trying to think of what kind of strategy to use. Bronzong's defenses were much higher than Jynx's or Gardevoir's, so Tyranitar couldn't just muscle its way through this final round. Ash would just have to see what kind of attacks Bronzong had up its sleeve; a decently strong Steel-type attack could make his job very difficult. Making up his mind, Ash commanded, "Tyranitar, Rock Slide!" His Pokemon obediently raised its arms, producing rocks out of thin air directly above Bronzong.

"Use Gyro Ball!" ordered Will. Bronzong suddenly started spinning around like a top, smashing any rocks that would have scored a direct hit. Using its momentum, it barreled straight into Tyranitar. The furious Dark-type was knocked back several feet before getting back up, snarling.

"Tyranitar," directed Ash, "stay calm! Since we're up against a Gyro Ball, you'll need to play a little defense!" Tyranitar nodded in acknowledgment.

"Confuse Ray!" called Will.

"Dodge it, quick!" shouted Ash. Tyranitar jumped frantically to the side, evading the dark purple beams headed in its direction, but Will was already calling out his next move.

"Now use Ancientpower!" The Bronze Bell Pokemon timed its new attack excellently, banking on Tyranitar's inability to change direction quickly enough. Ash's Pokemon took the attack on its flank, stumbling backward again.

"Go in for a Thunderpunch!" commanded Ash, trying to gain control of the battle again.

"Gyro ball on the ground!" ordered Will. As its opponent closed in, its fists crackling with electricity, Bronzong started spinning around again, burrowing under the ground like a drill. Nearly an hour of intense battling had made its mark on the field; from the shock waves underneath the arena, Will's Pokemon was meeting less resistance than it otherwise would have as it tunneled under its opponent's feet.

"Tyranitar, you attack the ground too!" called Ash. Just as when it had defeated Gardevoir, the Armor Pokemon swung its massive fists directly downward. This time, with no adversary caught between the Thunderpunch and the arena's floor, chunks of rock and earth flew everywhere, slightly obscuring everyone's vision— but revealing Bronzong coming up again, taking aim at Tyranitar once again. "Yes!" shouted Ash. "Now, Crunch!" As Will's Pokemon broke the surface level, its opponent clamped its jaws around Bronzong's metallic arm. "Thunderpunch!" commanded Ash. Following up, Tyranitar punched Bronzong right between its eyes. The Bronze Bell Pokemon landed with a clunk six feet away.

"Time to strike back!" said Will. "Confuse Ray!" This time, Bronzong's aim was true; it succeeded in hitting Tyranitar with a beam of dark purple. The Armor Pokemon's eyes went red, just like its opponent's, and it began to dance as though dizzy.

"Come on, Tyranitar, shake it off!" yelled Ash loudly, now starting to panic. Adding confusion to Tyranitar's troubles was the last thing he needed. But Tyranitar did not shake it off. It continued to dance weirdly, starting to growl a tuneless song under its breath. "Tyranitar," ordered Ash, "pull yourself together and use Thunderpunch!"

"Gyro Ball!" called Will. Ducking under its opponent's arm, Bronzong slammed into Tyranitar's side with its latest attack. Having lunged so far forward to execute its own move, Ash's Pokemon felt itself flip over its opponent, landing hard on its back. "Now, Ancientpower!" Will commanded. Skidding to a halt, his Pokemon faced its adversary again, firing a new attack at Tyranitar's prone body.

"Tyranitar, roll over, quick!" shouted Ash desperately. By some miracle, the Armor Pokemon heard its trainer's voice clearly, and managed to get itself out of the path of the attack.

"Gyro Ball!" called Will again.

"Block it, Tyranitar!" commanded Ash, his voice still very loud. Raising its arms and no longer attempting to stand up again, the Armor Pokemon reached out, trying to intercept Bronzong's attack before it hit. However, Tyranitar, its thinking still clouded, stepped on a particularly unstable patch of ground, falling into a bow and taking the Gyro Ball directly to its head. Caught by surprise, the Dark-type landed a few feet away, struggling to stand up. "Get back up, Tyranitar!" shouted Ash, the encouragement in his voice marred by nerves and anxiety. "I know you can do it! Come on, let's finish this battle strong!" However, as he looked at his own Pokemon, using every ounce of willpower just to stand, and then at his opponent's, perched proudly on the spot where Tyranitar had been seconds before, he sized up his chances, his face falling. Tyranitar's really tired, Ash thought. But Bronzong's still got lots of energy... so... can we really win this? Ash stared at Bronzong, hoping against hope that he could find a weakness that Tyranitar could exploit, assuming of course that Tyranitar could stand up. His eyes moved back to the mouth of Bronzong's bell. Wait, he thought, that's it! "Get up, Tyranitar!" Ash called, his voice full of conviction. "This battle's not over yet!" Seemingly invigorated by its trainer's shouting, the Armor Pokemon summoned its strength, pushing itself upright with a roar, it's eyes back to its normal coloration. "Good going, Tyranitar!" said Ash. "Now, use Double-Edge!" Tyranitar charged forward, a determined look in its eyes as it glared at its adversary.

"Confuse Ray!" ordered Will.

"Quick, Tyranitar, drop and use Thunderpunch!" called Ash. Ducking a dark purple beam from Bronzong, the Armor Pokemon let itself fall to the ground, its fists crackling.

"Ancientpower!" commanded Will. However, this call proved to be ill-timed. As Bronzong was readying its attack, Tyranitar punched the ground as it fell. Cracks opened up, and the sandy floor beneath the Bronze Bell Pokemon's front gave way. Will's Pokemon fired its attack down instead of forward, blasting itself in the face. "It's fine, Bronzong!" Will encouraged. "Use Gyro Ball!" Spinning around, the Bronze Bell Pokemon went straight in for a fresh attack.

"Tyranitar, Crunch!" ordered Ash. Jumping into the air, the Armor Pokemon caught Bronzong in its mouth like a dog catching a frisbee. Plaintive metallic sounds emanated from the Bronze Bell Pokemon's body as it fought to break free.

Bronzong's at the wrong angle for a Confuse Ray, thought Will. I'll need to try this instead. "Another Gyro Ball!" he shouted.

"Flip it over!" called Ash as Bronzong's now-labored spinning started. Using the Steel-type's own momentum, Tyranitar jumped, doing a front flip in midair while it released its opponent. Bronzong slammed into the ground as Tyranitar was still up in the air.

"Use Ancientpower!" shouted Will, feeling the tide of the battle turning against him.

"Thunderpunch back-to-back!" commanded Ash. Tyranitar swung its massive fists as it closed in on Bronzong. The first punch deflected the Ancientpower, and the second hit Will's Pokemon squarely in the face.

"Gyro Ball, now!" ordered Will.

"Crunch!" called Ash. Bronzong was slower than usual in launching its attack; Tyranitar struck first, biting savagely a the yoke at the top of its adversary's body. When the Armor Pokemon released its grip, Bronzong fell over with a low thunk, unconscious.

"Bronzong is unable to battle!" the referee announced, his voice nearly drowned out. "Tyranitar is the winner! And the winner of this match is Ash from Pallet Town!"

"Wow," said Ash as the cheers redoubled. "I really did it. I won against an Elite Four member." Finally, not being able to contain himself any longer, he shouted, "YES! We're in the finals! Hey, Tyranitar, you're really awesome to fight like that in your first trainer battle!" Tyranitar lumbered back to its trainer, panting heavily, and bear-hugged Ash. "Tyranitar?" asked Ash, still having to shout because of the crowd's noises. The Armor Pokemon looked down into Ash's face. "I'm sorry I didn't let you fight in any battles before. I knew how strong you were too. I guess I needed something big like this battle to make me take a chance." Tyranitar growled happily.

"Ash!" called a voice.

Ash looked to see his friends and family half-running to congratulate him, Norman in the lead.

"Great battle, Ash!" exclaimed Norman. "I knew you could win it!"

"Thanks a lot, Dad!" said Ash. "I couldn't have done without your help!" After a pause, he continued, "Now the pressure's on you. You promised you'd beat Sabrina tomorrow."

"Believe me, Ash," said Norman, "I'm done breaking promises. We'll have our father-son full battle in the finals."

May suddenly pointed at a spot near the edge of the field and gasped, "Ash, look!"

Turning around, Ash looked around to see Will walking toward him, his crying four-year-old daughter by his side— and Pikachu in his arms.

Ash felt the bottom drop out of his stomach. Surrounded by his friends, he hadn't noticed that his best friend hadn't run up to him, cheering with everyone else. "Pikachu!" he yelled, running to meet Will.

"Ash," said Will sternly, "congratulations on winning our battle, but I did warn you to keep a closer eye on the needs of your Pokemon— even in the heat of battle."

"Daddy," said the little blond girl by Will's side, "is Pikachu gonna be okay?"

"Yes, Fallon," answered Will soothingly, "Pikachu will be just fine." Turning his head back to face Ash, he continued, "From your reputation as a trainer, this seems very unlike you. You always seemed to be the kind of trainer who cares for his Pokemon much more than this. I hope I am correct in guessing that this is an isolated occurrence?"

"Yeah," said Ash miserably. "I can't believe I did something so stupid." He held out his arms in time for Will to place the unconscious Pikachu in his arms. "Thanks a lot, Will."

"You're welcome," said Will. "But please be more attentive in the future."

"What's wrong?" asked Misty as Ash ran back to everyone.

"Is Pikachu okay?" inquired Delia.

"No," said Ash. "Pikachu got hurt a lot worse than I thought in that battle. Brock, can you tell how bad it is?"

"No," answered Brock, "but the only thing to do right now is get Pikachu to the Pokemon Center."

Everybody waited at the counter with bated breath. All present were waiting to see how long a recovery period Pikachu would need. Would it be a day? Two days? A week?

Finally, Nurse Joy came out of the back room, prompting a cascade of questions from Ash. "Nurse Joy, is Pikachu gonna be okay? Will it be out of here tomorrow? How are all those burns?"

"Please calm down," said Nurse Joy, not smiling. "Pikachu will recover. It's only a matter of time."

Ash sighed with relief. "So how much time, Nurse Joy?" he asked.

"As far as its stay here," Nurse Joy answered, "Pikachu will need to be in our care for about three or four days. But for a full recovery, I strongly recommend that you don't train or battle with Pikachu for three weeks."

"Wha— three weeks?" Ash spluttered. "But Pikachu loves battling! When I asked Pikachu if it wanted a break, Pikachu said no!"

"Then Pikachu probably contributed to its own condition," said Nurse Joy simply. "And Pikachu battled in every one of your Champions' League matches thus far, right?"


"Well, so many intense battles in such a rapid succession can take their toll on any Pokemon, even the toughest ones. Give it three weeks, and then Pikachu can battle again."

"Thanks, Nurse Joy... can I see Pikachu for a minute?"

"No, I'm sorry. Because of the treatment that Pikachu is going through at the moment, it can't get any visitors until tomorrow morning."


Nurse Joy left, leaving everyone relieved but still downhearted. Just as Nurse Joy had guessed and Ash had confirmed, Pikachu had been by its trainer's side throughout the Champions' League. Now, it would be sitting out the final match, and whether Norman or Sabrina would be facing him, he would be without the most reassuring presence of all.

Finally, Delia broke the silence. "This is all your fault!" she shouted, pointing an accusing finger at Norman. "See what I mean? This is what happens when all Ash is focused on is winning!"

"I thought you said you didn't like my advice because I was giving Ash 'unfair expectations' of defeating Will," replied Norman evenly. "Still, though..." Norman turned to his older son and continued, "Ash, if you interpreted my advice as anything that led to Pikachu being hurt, I apologize. I should have been clearer with what I was saying."

"You don't have to be sorry, Dad," said Ash. "It's not your fault." He took a deep breath before saying, "If it's anyone's fault, it's mine. I should have told Pikachu to get out of that battle so it wouldn't get hurt."

"But Ash—" started Misty.

"No," said Ash. "I know I can't stew in this forever, but... I know I could've done better to keep Pikachu safe." Feeling tears in his eyes, Ash said to everyone, "I need to be alone," and dashed to a table in the corner.

Indeed, Ash had hardly ever felt more alone. With all the calls he was making in his battles, he couldn't help but wonder who was next on his team. Sceptile was gone because Ash had told it to sacrifice itself... and now Pikachu was hospitalized, unable to battle for three whole weeks, because Ash had let it stay in a dangerous battle with a burn, its electricity drained, and a dangerous opponent in front of it. So who would be next? He suddenly imagined Infernape squaring off against a faceless Pokemon belonging to Paul before being forced underwater, letting the air out of its lungs in a scream of pain...

The others were still there but Ash paid them no attention. Their muffled talking was as meaningless to him as the noises of the medical machines clicking behind the wall he was facing. He just wanted to wait his friends and family out, hoping they would just go back to the hotel, and spend the night at the Pokemon Center, ready to apologize to Pikachu as soon as he was allowed. Ash vaguely heard the sound of a body hitting the floor, followed by what sounded like a groan from Brock, and then echoing footsteps, but paid them no mind. Whoever was walking toward him was not worth his time right now...

"Ash?" said a woman's voice. "I saw what happened to Pikachu, so I thought I'd pay a visit here."

Surprised, Ash looked up into her face, and his jaw dropped. "Cynthia?" Ash gasped. "Thanks for coming by, but Pikachu's not getting any visitors."

"That's what I heard," said Cynthia, sitting down, "but I really wanted to talk to you."

"Yeah. I know I messed up not getting Pikachu out of that fight earlier."

"Yes. It's an easy mistake to make in a battle."

"Huh?" Cynthia's remark caught Ash by surprise. After the tongue-lashing he'd gotten from Will, coupled with his own guilt, he'd half-expected more of the same from the champion.

"Plenty of trainers have been in your boat," said Cynthia. "In fact, the same thing happened with Garchomp and myself once."

"Really?" asked Ash, wanting to know more.

However, Cynthia never got a chance to give him more information. Another set of footsteps was running toward the table they were sharing, and a male voice was calling Ash's name. "Ash! Hey, Ash!"

"Reggie?" said Ash, surprised again, as he saw Paul's brother running toward him. "What's up? It's really not a good time. Pikachu just got hurt, and it's partly my fault. I'm trying to deal with it right now."

"I understand that," said Reggie, his voice permeated with urgency. "I'd just hoped to catch you at the stadium, but you'd already left."

Ash's eyes widened. "Why?" he asked.

Reggie looked down at the ground, apparently trying to calm himself down, before looking back up and saying, "Ash, you need to come with me. Paul's got your Sceptile."

Author's Note: Finished with another chapter! This one turned out longer and more complicated than I thought it would be. I didn't realize how long Pikachu's injury would make it. And to those of you who were just waiting to see Tyranitar battling, your wait paid off! Hope you liked it. :)

So Ash is through Pikachu is out of action for the final match, but before Ash could even come to grips with it, Cynthia shows up... and then Reggie breaks the big news to him about Paul and Sceptile. What will Ash do now?