Shaman of Blue Flame

This is the second book of the Aura Rising Trilogy, called Shaman of Blue Flame. This takes place in a more exotic locale, and involves many more subplots, including romance among other things, since it seemed that the first book was far more direct, in order to establish a base line. As you read the first book, you were probably wondering 'why isn't Paul in the story?', 'why is it cavaliershipping instead of the usual ikari?' Well, because Paul is a jerk. While Paul might respect Ash, there would be no way that he would follow him around and become BFF's for life. If some other author can pull that off, then fantastic...I can't lol. And also, Leaf/Green/Blue/I-have-no-idea does not exist in the anime-verse; she exist only in the games, so why cross breed the universes? Logic FTW.

And the Isshu/Unova storyline and the Best Wishes Series does not exist in this universe, so you could say that the story is now an AU :). Unova exists though.

Here are the ages and the following pokemon of the main characters:

Ash 18: Charizard, Buizel, Pikachu, Torterra, Gible, and Noctowl.

Misty 18 ½: Gyarados, Politoed, Psyduck, Corsola, Azurill(kept in a pokeball), and ?(Yes, Misty has a surprise new Pokemon and its not from Unova)

Brock 22: Steelix, Toxicroak, Crobat, Marshtomp, Sudowoodo, and Foretress

May 17: Blaziken, Glaceon, Beautifly, Venasaur, Wartortle, and Skitty

Drew 17: Flygon, Roserade, Absol, Butterfree, and Masquerein

Max 13: Treeko, Poochyena, Ralts and ?

Dawn 16: Piplup, Mamoswine, Togekiss, Quilava, Buneary and Pachirisu

Gary 18: Umbreon, Electrivire, Nidoqueen, Arcanine, Blastoise, and Skarmory

Blaidd(now back as a Lucario): Aura Sphere, Psychic, Earthquake, Protect. He can use Aura in various ways though, as exhibited throughout the previous book.

In addition, there are OCs, numerous OCs that play a part in the story; however, they will not dominate the story, nor will they become M-S's, they are just there to expedite the story along.

The streets of Viridian City were all but silent at this time of night. A faint, late summer wind blew through the streets, blowing trash and debris about. The citizens of the city were in their homes, for no one wanted to be out in the oppressing heat. The wind, unfortunately, did not do much to alleviate the August heat. Ratatta and meowth scampered about the streets, seeking sustenance to satisfy their growling stomachs. One troop of Ratatta were fortunate to discover an upturned trashcan near an abandoned warehouse on the western side of town. They rummaged through the garbage, eagerly devouring anything remotely edible, until a scream tore through the night, shattering the silence and scattering the rattata.

The warehouse was once a factory that produced paper products; now, it served as an empty refuge for shady characters and Giovanni's temporary headquarters. Since the downfall of Team Rocket, Giovanni had been forced to fade into the background. His gym was now run by associates, while he pulled the strings, the proverbial puppet master. He did, however, run into a string of good fortune, beginning with the capture of a defector. He did not look too kindly to those who abandoned his enterprise.

A warehouse light dangled by a thin wire lit the room. Giovanni hovered over the defector, who was tied to a chair. Giovanni wore a black button down shirt with a pair of black slacks. Blood stained his brass knuckles. "Tell me," he snarled. "What were you after? Why were you here!" His Persian echoed his sentiments, growling low at the back of her throat. She was sitting nearby, licking her paw slowly and deliberately as she listened in.

"I don't know!" The defector sobbed, bleeding from a cut on her cheek. Her dirty blond hair hung lank and limp around her face. "I was only told to-" she broke off from her statement, trembling.

Giovanni leaned in. "Told to what?"

"Nothing," she grimaced. "And that's all you're getting from me."

"Such a change in attitude," Giovanni leered, tipping her chin and forcing her to gaze into his eyes. "I wouldn't expect no less from you, Mia Santos, or should I say, the Black Rose." He pulled away and struck her again. "I can break your body just as easily as I can break your will. Traitor." he hissed. He struck her once more. "Tell me!"

"No," Mia spat, spitting out a glob of blood. "And Archer was more of a leader than you ever were."

Giovanni stepped back. "Very well then. I admire your pluck, but like I said, I can break you, just as I made you, Black Rose." he pulled out a single pokeball from his belt. "Nidoking, poison sting."

And Mia finally did scream.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A flock of pidgey flew away from the noise, distracting James momentarily as he sat by the entrance of the warehouse, fiddling with the collar of his white uniform. "I don't see why we decided to stay Jessie," he drawled. "I mean, we could have packed up and split too, maybe done something perhaps a little more constructive."

"That had to be the most idiotic thought I've heard from your mouth since who knows when," Jessie snorted. "With Rocket agents leaving the Boss and heading to this 'Archer' guy, I don't want to end up at the bottom of the heap of some new guy and his organization."

"I don't mean join them," James amended. "I mean just doing what we want. You can do your coordinating and Meowth and I can do, well, whatever."

"What if we get caught, then what James? Do we end up like that poor sap inside?"

"Besides," Meowth piped up. He was perched on the lid of a trashcan, kicking his feet idly. "If we stay on, then we're the top cat, since we're the most experienced."

"And the only ones left," James added. "Well, pretty much the only ones left."

The trio went back to their vigil, silent. Jessie spoke up after a few moments. "Do you know who The Boss captured?"

"Something 'bout a "Black Rose" or somethin'," Meowth shrugged.

"The Black Rose was once one of the Boss's best assassins," James explained. "She had some special ability or another that allowed her to sense the presence of her targets. Then she dropped off the radar nearly seven years, with no trace or sign of her since."

Jessie whistled. "Impressive, to avoid the Boss after so long. So, the Black Rose joined up with this Archer guy then?"

James ran a hand through his hair, green eyes contemplative. "That's what it sounds like." The air was pierced with another scream, until it died off in a gurgle. "Literally." he shuddered.

Jessie's face was a pale shade of green at the sound, imagining Giovanni torturing the woman. "I've never seen the Boss like that before. He's pissed."

"Yeah," Meowth replied. "But bad guys have to start from somewhere, right?"

"Let's hope this doesn't happen often at headquarters."

James laughed bitterly. "What headquarters? We're now at some warehouse in the worst side of town, tons of agents left Giovanni-"

"Including Cassidy and Beef," Jessie added.

"You mean Butch," Meowth corrected.

"Yeah, that one."

"Ahem," James coughed. "As I was saying, pretty much Team Rocket is down to nothing, save maybe a handful of us who decided to stay. There's nothing left. Heck, we haven't even seen the twerp since the Lily of the Valley Conference."

"Good point," Meowth grabbed the lid of the trash can and rocked back and forth. "But at the least, we stayed behind. Maybe we'll get something from it. Maybe a pay raise or somethin'."

"Technically we got a field promotion," James chuckled. "Since there's no one left."

"Still counts."

Jessie looked skyward, at the faint twinkling stars. There had been a meteor shower a few nights before, and the trio had been lucky enough to view it outside of city limits. It was also the night that Giovanni—with some help from James, Jessie and Meowth—captured Mia, i.e, The Black Rose. She had been fleeing something, garnered from her exhaustion and the fact that she barely put up a fight when captured. They found her outside the limits of Pewter City, clinging onto her Dodrio for dear life. "It's awfully quiet out," she said softly. James and Meowth nodded.

"You know," Meowth began. "I was just thinkin'-"

"Gee that sounds difficult," Jessie said sarcastically.

"Quiet or I'll use my 'fury swipes on youse," Meowth warned. "Anyways, you know how we haven't seen the twerp in like forever? I was just thinkin', maybe the twerp and this Archer guy are connected somehow."

"And how would that be?" James asked.

Meowth shrugged. "Heck if I know, but it seems like a huge coinkidink, don't you think?"

"That's ludicrous," Jessie scoffed. "That's even dumber than what James said earlier."

"Hey!" James shouted.

"I'm just sayin'," Meowth trailed off.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Mia slumped forward in her chair, straining against her bonds, utterly defeated. It had to have been her luck to run into her former employer during her flight and to be captured by him and a few of his lackeys had been embarrassing. She did have to admit though, that Giovanni was a master at his art, a twisted art, but his art nonetheless. "Fine," she rasped. Giovanni's Nidoking had sent poison into her system, not enough to kill her, but enough to cause excruciating pain, like her insides were burning. "Archer sent us to hunt down this boy. His name's Ash Ketchum. He was heading north, this Ash kid, until a skirmish forced us to split up."

"Who's us?"

"Me, Stella, Eldrin and another, but he died. I guess Eldrin's dead too, no one could have survived that fall. Stella was forced to leave," she paused. "I'm the only one left."

"Good, good," Giovanni turned away from Mia. "Looks like I won after all." He wiped his hands on a handkerchief. "Why? Why does Archer want this Ash?"

"To turn him into a weapon, to take down this empire built on lies and falsehoods. To usher in a new age," Mia laughed. "Kill me now if you want, but we already won. We beat you Giovanni, you and Team Rocket."

This time it was Giovanni's turn to chuckled. It was a dry sound that sent shivers down Mia's spine. "?You haven't won quite yet. You gave me everything I need. Unfortunately for you, I have no more use for you at this point. It's a shame though, you were once one of my best spies and assassin. Had I been in a 'lighter' mood, shall we say, I would have spared you, with a bit of "reeducation" along the way. However, you decided to align yourself with someone who tried to kill me and take over my enterprise, one that I have worked so tenderly on for a very long time." Giovanni ushered for Nidoking to come to his side. "I most certainly hope that Archer doesn't miss you that much." He snapped his fingers and walked away, turning his back on her. "Finish her Nidoking." The bulky pokemon leered, baring its fangs as he lunged forward.

Giovanni didn't look back when her heard her screams. "And so the Black Rose withers away," he said softly to himself.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

"...And I'm saying that that made no sense," James argued. "What did that have to do with your theory?"

"Lookie here Jimmy," Meowth pointed one clawed finger at the blue haired man. "The twerp disappears after the competition. And I mean the 'Poof!', kind of disappeared. Then this Archer guy comes along, demands the Boss to hand over his shipping fleet, and then HQ blows up. Boom! Just like

that."

"That still makes no sense," Jessie countered.

"Then where did the twerp and his Pikachu go?" Meowth demanded. "Huh?"

"I would hate to interrupt this engaging conversation of yours," Giovanni began as he exited the warehouse, hands resting behind his back. Persian was at his side, limping slightly as she padded along. The explosion had broken one of her legs. It healed quickly, thanks to Giovanni's connections to hospitals, but she was left with a limp because of it. "What do you know about a certain Ash Ketchum?"

Jessie and James swallowed nervously. Meowth crossed his arms. "Told ya so," he smirked.

Giovanni flashed a winsome, slick smile. "Ah, so you do know something then."

James blanched. "Well-well, not that much," he stammered.

"But surely you know something," Giovanni insisted. The tone in his voice reminded James of a snake oil salesmen.

"He's a trainer," Jessie said. "A really good one."

Giovanni nodded. "So there is a reason that Archer is after him then. Well then, this makes my plan a little bit easier."

"How ya gonna do that Boss?" Meowth asked.

"Simple. One of the goals of war is to deny the enemy of his resources. This 'Ash' is what Archer wants," Giovanni explained, as he would to a child. "Deny Ash to Archer and he falls."

Jessie bit the inside of her cheek, thinking. She prayed that Giovanni wasn't planning on doing to Ash like he did to Mia, the Black Rose. She sensed that those screams would linger in her dreams for a long time. "Of course, Ash is much more useful to me alive then dead. He is valuable to Archer and therefore, valuable to me." Jessie breathed in inward sigh of relief.

Confusion clouded Meowth's face. "So, are we going to like, kidnap him or something?"

"That would be far too simple. Instead, we're going to hit two pidgeys with one stone and humiliate Archer. We're allying with the boy."

"Oh," Meowth scratched his head, the gold coin flashing in the streetlight. "How are we going to find him then?"

Giovanni placed an arm around Jessie and James's shoulders. "That is where you come in. Find him, then report to me, or you will end up like the Black Rose. Understand?" he hissed, his voice cold.

Jessie, James and Meowth nodded vigorously. "Yessir!"

"Good, you start tomorrow." Giovanni turned back inside. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some business to take care." Giovanni went back into the warehouse. Jessie, James and Meowth peered inside after him.

"I wonder what business is he talking about?" James wondered.

"Probably to get rid of the Black Rose," Meowth replied.

Jessie shuddered as her mind supplied gruesome images. She looked down at the ground, watching a piece of trash blow by. The wind had picked up, yet it still didn't provide relief. "How did we come to this?" she asked quietly as she shivered, despite the heat.

She felt something settle over her shoulders and she finally noticed that James had taken off his jacket, revealing his black shirt. "I'm not sure," he answered softly. "But we'll get through it together like we always do, okay Jessie?"

She nodded. "Okay." She still felt uneasy, unsure of herself and the world.

"Well, at the very least, we can try to steal the twerp's Pikachu!" Meowth said, interrupting the somber moment.

"We're trying to work with him, not steal from him," James remarked acidly.

"Worth a shot," Meowth shrugged.

The trio went inside, Jessie still wearing James' coat.

The first pawn has moved in the game. A game of chess when you cannot see your opponent, hidden by the veil, and you can only hope that he makes a misstep. It is no longer a game though. The fires of war are being stoked and in the end...

...It will burn everything it touches.