Hey, finally the conclusion of the battle. Been pretty busy, sorry for the millionth time being late.
Also, Volcarona and Zorua will have more than four moves, I realize that, but I just felt they should battle intensely like a champion's pokemon should. Don't hate.

"Heat Wave!"

"Dodge!" the fox burst into a sprint, dashing down the field and avoiding the attack. "Dark Pulse!" the fox opened its mouth, firing its chain-like attack and exploding on contact with its opponent. "Shadow Ball!"

"Flamethrower!" the bug released a stream of flames, blocking the sphere and fighting to overpower it, but exploded. Both pokemon moved back to their side, smoke pouring across the field. "Bug Buzz into Fiery Dance!"

"Be ready with Night Daze and listen for its wingbeat!" the fox nodded, wincing as she lowered its ears, enduring the screeching sound. Waiting, she heard the wingbeat get closer. She raised her small legs, crashing them together on the ground causing an explosion of dark energy. The bug grunted from the pain, being sent back in the air. "Now Dark Pulse!" the fox fired the chain attack, exploding on contact and creating smoke between them. The fox was surprised to see the bug quickly come back through the smoke, engulfed in flames. She jumped, the bug quickly chasing after her. "Hit a Shadow Ball with Dark Pulse!" the fox fired the purple sphere, quickly exploding it with the dark-type attack. She aimed her body down to fall faster, the bug bursting through the smoke above her. She touched on the ground, crashing her glowing paws onto the field, releasing a wave of dark energy. The bug disappeared within the energy.

"Volcarona, back to me!" the bug shot out the top of the energy sphere, returning to Alder's side. "They're quick on their feet, but I feel that wasn't Ash's decision..."

"Hey, Zo, at least give me a hint when you're gonna do a counterattack without my approval," Ash said sternly, the fox scratching behind its ear casually.

"What're you talkin' about?" she asked nonchalantly, the trainer giving a sigh.

"They're certainly...an odd pair..." Alder thought with a chuckle. "Volcarona, Flamethrower into Heat Wave!" the bug released a searing flame, quickly flapping its wings and making the flames glow, being sent across the field in the hot air faster.

"What now, genius master?" the fox asked sarcastically.

"Stay still."

"You're kidding, right?"

"No way, I want you to take the attack."

"Ok...Are you giving up? You wanna knock me out that badly?"

"Stop whining and trust me."

"Alright, fine..." the fox sighed, watching the flames get closer. Time seemed to pass slowly as the attack went across the field, the fox beginning to feel nervous. "...Can I please move now?"

"No. Remember what we practiced before the tournament?" he asked, the fox looking surprised.

"Really? You trust me already?" she asked, the trainer giving a slight nod. The fox shrugged, closing her eyes. She opened her mouth, a Shadow Ball appeared in front of it. But it looked different. Instead of the energy swirling in an enclosed sphere, the front appeared to be open and a swirling vortex, sucking in the air around it. The fox drew in a long breath, the sphere expanding enough to engulf the flaming wind. The sphere shrank around the attack, Zo opened her eyes again and brought her head back, throwing it forward across the field.

"Flamethrower!" the bug fired a stream of flames, but the sphere opened again and engulfed those flames as well. Shocked, the bug felt the sphere quickly explode on contact with it, receiving its own attacks as well as the shadow-type attack. "Volcarona!"

"Hey, check it out! I actually did it!" the fox jumped side to side happily, beaming with her tail wagging.

"Don't get too excited, it's far from over," Ash told her, the fox cracking into a grin as she stopped, standing defensively and watching the bug.

"Of course, otherwise this wouldn't be a champion," she stated, the bug glaring at her.

"Hurricane!" the bug drew its wings back.

"Get under it," the fox sprinted forward, moving rapidly as the bug flapped its wings, managing to resist the gust it caused. "Now Dark Pulse!"

"Bug Buzz!" the bug released a horrible screech, the fox stumbling as it fired its attack. The dark-type move grazed the bug's body, it looked down angrily at her. "Flamethrower!"

"Shadow Ball!" the fox intercepted the dangerous flames with a purple sphere, exploding on contact with the opposing attack. The fox jumped up out of the smoke, but the crowd gasped as the bug came bursting out after it, engulfed in flames. The fox looked over her shoulder, surprised. She turned around, rolling her body and curling herself into a ball, bracing for impact as the bug crashed into her.

"Split Flamethrower!" the bug thrust its head up, launching the fox into the air. It fired a stream of flames after the fox, as it split into two streams moving towards her.

"Intercepting with Shadow Ball is too risky in the air like that, not to mention two of them," Ash narrowed his eyes, watching the flames continue. "Double Team!" the fox flashed, a line of copies appearing on either side of her. Alder and his pokemon's eyes widened, watching the two flames pass through one of the figures.

"Knock them all out with Heat Wave!" Alder shouted, the bug bringing its wings back.

"Sucker Punch, now!" all the copies burst forward towards the bug at blinding speed, all of them disappearing but one on contact as the fox's foot pushed into the fire-type's body and sending it back. "Good job, didn't think you had it in you."

"Oh, please. When it comes to battling, I'm the best there is!" the fox smirked back. "You're gonna have to go faster to keep up with me."

"Oh, really?" Ash arched an eyebrow, the fox giving a nod looking back at her opponent.

"I'm thinking back to our training from all those different places...Remember how we battled against Heatran?" Ash nodded, looking at the fox curiously. "Well, figured we may as well put some of that training to good use, right? I mean we are dealing with a fire-type, after all," Ash looked back at their opponent, understanding her words.

"...I get what you're saying, but remember Volcarona is much more nimble and agile than Heatran. Just as easy to piss off, but a lot faster," Ash told her, the fox waving back at him as if dismissing his words. He sighed. "Fine, if you want to be stubborn..."

"Flamethrower!"

"Surround him with Double Team!" the copies burst into a line, dashing in a circle around the bug. It looked around, struggling to find the real one. "Constant Shadow Ball," the fox, hidden in the flashes of copies, fired sphere after sphere at the bug. Some it managed to intercept before they hit, some it couldn't, as they were fired quickly one after the other and each from a different direction.

"Spin with Flamethrower!" the bug released a searing flame, spinning its body quickly. The flames spread out, then they came back towards the fire-type and rose into the air, forming a flaming cyclone around it. "Now break!" the fire-type gave an echoing shout, the flames glowing and expelling in every direction around it. Bursting through each of the fox copies around it, Zo grunted as the flames pushed it back, dragging her feet along the ground. The bug stopped spinning, facing its opponent with a glare through the cinders floating in the warm air.

"Just like Heatran, always showing off with its flames..." Zo muttered.

"Fiery Dance!"

"Sucker Punch into Dark Pulse!" the fox burst forward in a shadow, its attack striking the fire-type along the side of its body. She turned around in the air, firing the dark chain attack exploding on its back as she grounded herself, stopping on her heels and facing it defensively. "Double Team with Shadow Ball."

"Heat Wave!" the bug released the heated wind, each of the copies firing the shadow-type attack before disappearing from the fire-type attack. Everyone gasped, seeing all of the copies disappear, leaving only one Shadow Ball moving through the air. But the real Zo was gone as well.

"What?" Ash blinked, surprised just as much as anyone else. He thought for a moment, looking closely at the Shadow Ball. "No way...She couldn't have..." noticing the peculiar detail about it, he couldn't help but smile.


Flashback

The fox panted, opening her eyes again from their training session. "Umbreon, Espeon, don't let up on her. Zo, you can keep your eyes open this time but don't get cocky," the small pair nodded, the fox giving a scoff.

"Bring it," she beckoned them to attack, so they did. They moved on either side of her, the fox taking a step back and trying to keep her eyes on both of them. They both fired a purple sphere at her, but she jumped and they exploded where she stood. Turning to the left, she saw a dark-type attack like her own moving towards her, spinning her body in the air and dodging it. Flipping around, she brought her front paws together and stopped the silver-gleaming tail of Espeon's coming down on her, the psychic-type drawing back. All three landed again, the fox smirking as she glanced back and forth between the pair.

"Espeon, close-range combat," the psychic-type nodded, its tail flashing silver again as it sprinted at the dark-type. She stood defensively, moving to the side and dodging the first swing. The cat came back around continuously, but the fox was able to avoid each strike effectively. Ash gave a nod to the dark-type standing by, who nodded back and fired a Dark Pulse at the fox. She jumped back to avoid the cat's tail, seeing the attack in the side of her eye and jumping over its line of fire, the attack passing under her as she attempted to strike the psychic-type but it dodged.
"Keep it up, you two! Espeon, keep her moving and Umbreon, aim for her next possible moves," the pair continued to attack the fox, who managed to hold off both of them simultaneously. Zo, beginning to feel bored with this, stepped in the opposite direction from the psychic-type as it lunged at her. Pressing off the ground, she back-flipped over the cat and fired a Dark Pulse at it, but her opponent saw through it and jumped back to Ash's side. Zo smirked, looking at the pair.
Glancing back, she noticed a purple sphere moving through the air towards her. Giving a scoff, she smirked as she stepped to the side and let it pass her. But the moment it was beside her, it burst, the fox feeling a painful strike to her back and being forced onto her stomach. She gave a cough, feeling something press onto her neck. Glancing up, she saw Umbreon smirking down at her, holding its paw on her neck. "What...?"

"Enough," Umbreon took its paw off her, allowing the fox to stand again. She winced, looking at the dark-type then to Ash. "You got overconfident again, so you couldn't see through it."

"But...How...?" watching the dark-type move to Ash's feet beside the psychic-type, she fit the pieces together in her mind. "...You hid in the Shadow Ball..."

"If you hadn't gotten cocky, you could have seen that coming. Your overconfidence is your downfall," Ash told her strictly, the pair at his feet giving a nod.

"But...But he couldn't have..." Zo stepped forward, wincing again.

"Using all knowledge and information about a pokemon, strengths and weaknesses, is a great benefactor in battle. If you were thinking properly, you would know that a shadow-type move like Shadow Ball wouldn't have any effect on a dark-type like Umbreon, so he could utilize that move for any purpose he wanted. Also, you never stopped to think Shadow Ball wouldn't affect you either if any of them had hit," Zo's eyes widened, realizing he was right. "Showing that you don't think properly. If you were, then you would have realized I was using Shadow Ball for a purpose other than damage," Ash turned away, the small pair following him at his feet. Zo looked at the ground, then followed after him quickly.

"I'll...I'll get better for next time..."


"A single Shadow Ball? They can't expect that to work," Alder thought, the bug looking at it oddly. "Volcarona, ignore it and try to sense Zorua," the bug moved out of the sphere's flight path, looking around for the dark-type. Ash crossed his arms, watching the sphere near its closest point to the fire-type. As it got the closest, it burst open. The bug looked back in surprise, greeted with a Dark Pulse to its chest. It hissed from the surprise attack, looking past it and seeing the fox floating where the sphere had been, smirking. The fire-type grew angry, charging a flame in its mouth. The fox burst forward in the air, striking its glowing paw into the bug's chest, pushing it back and sending it crashing into the wall. Bringing her paws into the air, they glowed in a dark mystical aura as she struck them against the wall above Volcarona's head, quickly pushing off the wall as the Night Daze exploded into a wave of dark energy, engulfing the fire-type. Zo landed safely again on Ash's side, turning on her heels and facing it defensively with a smirk, watching her opponent's body fall out of the energy wave and hit the ground.

"Zo...When did you...?" Ash was at a loss for words, his fox looking back with a smirk.

"You told me my confidence would be a downfall, and that's why I never saw through it when we trained that day. I figured they have just as much confidence as I did, so they wouldn't be able to see it coming either. Plus it has no effect on me, so use all my abilities in battle for maximum advantage, right?" in a few seconds, Ash found himself smiling again.

"...I'm proud of you. Never thought you would get that perfect on your own."

"Thanks for the praise. Could have done without that second part, but close enough," she looked back at the fire-type, who was getting into the air again.


"So Zo used the Shadow Ball like a Trojan horse!" Max exclaimed, excitement brimming from his eyes.

"Calm down," Brock chuckled, patting the boy's shoulder until he sat again. "But I'll admit, that is impressive."

"Only Ash would think of something like that," Dawn added with a smile.

"Can't help but agree with that," Paul stated, giving a smirk.

"Aww, look who's got a soft siiiide~" Dawn giggled, clutching his arm tighter. He sighed, leaning away from her but she continued to remain close to him.

"What a cute little couple..." Misty snickered behind the palm of her hand, looking slyly at the pair.

"Don't forget about the other two," Cilan added, his eyes looking at the Hoenn trainer and coordinator. "There is certainly a fragrance d'amour among us...~"

"I hate that stupid connoisseur talk, but can't argue with your point," Iris smirked, looking slyly at the two pairs. The four looked back at them, confused.

"So Zo's been keeping secrets of her own, even from Ash..." Hilbert muttered, noticing Hilda looking at him oddly. "What? I could tell by Ash's expression even he didn't know what was happening, so Zo must have never told him she improved on that. Ergo, she must know a lot more than we or even Ash knows," he explained, the brunette's confusion disappearing from her expression.

"Oh, okay. Thought you were talking crazy again," she replied, the man looking not amused.

"I thought you once said I was always crazy?"

"I say a lot of things."

"Oh, I know that for a fa- Owowow!"

"What was that?"

"Nothing, let go! Let gooo!"

"Man, and people say watching over one lovesick pair is tiring," Brock sighed, looking at the three pairs.

"Got that right..." Misty, Max, Iris and Cilan muttered.


"Alright, Zo, any other training techniques you perfected without telling me I should know about?" Ash asked, the fox giving a chuckle.

"Grab a paper and pen," she smirked, watching the fire-type move down the field towards her.

"Flamethrower!" the flames struck the ground where she stood, the fox airborne from her jump as the bug moved closer.

"Double Team," the fox flashed into a circle of copies around the fire-type.

"Spin and use Heat Wave!" the bug released a heated wind in every direction, each copy disappearing one after the other. "Hurricane!"

"On the ground, and wait with Shadow Ball," the fox touched down on the ground as the bug began whipping up a violent gust of wind, the fox waiting below it with a purple sphere prepared in front of its mouth.

"Reverse the attack, bring it in!" Alder commanded, confusing Ash. He watched the bug flap its wings rapidly, but in a seemingly different way. Instead of the wind continuing to be released away from its wings, it seemed to be drawn in. The dark-type was surprised instead of feeling its body be pushed, it felt the wind try to bring it up towards the bug-type.

"He's not releasing a Hurricane, he's drawing it in..." Ash thought, watching the fox continue to hold itself to the ground. Perplexed, he thought of something. "Zo, let that Shadow Ball go, and keep them coming," the fox nodded, releasing her hold on the sphere and continuing to form more. As each sphere moved through the air, it was caught by the wind, until in a few moments a small cluster of Shadow Balls were being dragged towards the fire-type.

"Volcarona, stop! Get away!" Alder shouted, but the bug couldn't react as the spheres already made contact, multiple explosions occurring in the air around it and releasing a cloud of smoke. The fox looked up, smirking satisfyingly.

"Not bad, using it against him..." she looked at Ash, who gave a shrug.

"Might as well, it was too good to pass up," the pair chuckled together, looking up at the cloud. "You should get in there with Sucker Punch, it's gonna get angry soon."

"Gotcha," she nodded, jumping into the air with a glowing paw, moving towards the cloud. Her eyes widened as a faint figure was seen in the cloud, bursting out towards her. The bug, engulfed in flames, was undoubtedly angry as it crashed into her and pushed her to the ground, creating a small crater. Zo coughed, stepping out. "Knew it...He's pissed..."

"Zo, pay attention!" the fox glanced over her shoulder, jumping and dodging a stream of flames, landing safely by Ash's side again. "I know you don't want to hear it, but you make it so hard not to repeat..." he sighed, the fox giving a scoff.

"Flamethrower!" the fox jumped to the side again, dodging the burning attack. She eyed it carefully as she watched it fade from the air, looking at the burned spot on the floor peculiarly.

"Hey, wait...That's like..." seeing the flash in the side of her eye, she jumped again and avoided another flame. "They're pretty much the same, just a different type. So I should be able to!" she exclaimed to herself happily, looking surprised as another flame moved past her.

"Zo! No daydreaming, Double Team!" the fox flashed into multiple copies, who all moved close together. "Wait, Zo, what are you doing? That's-"

"Don't worry, I know what I'm doing," she called back, Ash watching the group of copies carefully. He smirked, crossing his arms and watching.

"That only makes it easier! Flamethrower!" the bug-type released a wider flame, which quickly enveloped the entire group. But then a purple glow was seen within the flames.


Flashback

"Rotom!" Ash called out, the small pokemon buzzing happily as it moved rapidly through the air above the larger pokemon. "Look, it's good that you wanted to come see us, that's nice. But we need you to focus here, pal, not goof off," the small pokemon suddenly stopped, facing off against the larger pokemon. "Alright, thank you. Snorlax, sorry about the delay in your training," the large pokemon nodded, facing the small electric-type.

"You think this is really a good idea? Rotom is really fast, so I'm not sure it's the best opponent for Snorlax to train with..." Zo trailed off, looking at the distinct difference between the two.

"That's exactly why they're perfect to train together. The distinct difference between them, size and speed, they both have to learn how to fight in a situation like that," Ash told her, the fox giving a hesitant nod. "Rotom, Electro Ball. Snorlax, defend with ThunderPunch and absorb it," the lazy pokemon's fists crackled with electricity as the small pokemon fired an electric sphere, colliding with its fists. As the seconds passed, it slowly decreased in size until it disappeared, Snorlax's fists glowing brighter. "Perfect, that's great, big guy!" the normal-type smiled, pounding its fists together.

"Surprised Electro Ball didn't just explode like an atomic bomb with the difference in their speed..." Zo muttered, scratching behind her ear as she looked at Rotom.

"Okay, Rotom, you're gonna try a new defense technique. You're gonna use Electro Ball and get inside it, then I'm gonna tell Snorlax to use Hyper Beam."

"What? Are you crazy?" Zo exclaimed, looking at the man in shock.

"It will work. Rotom, you just need to focus your power into that Electro Ball and keep it powered as a barrier around you. With enough power supporting it, the Hyper Beam shouldn't even touch you," the pair nodded, Snorlax charging the powerful attack as the small electric-type disappeared into an orb of electricity. It glowed brighter, the normal-type releasing its attack. Zo cringed as the energy enveloped the sphere, but the golden glow could still be seen within the energy. "That's it, buddy! Now attack!" the golden sphere began moving through the energy ray, surprising Zo as it moved towards Snorlax. He raised his arms and crossed them in front of his head, the sphere colliding against them. "Alright, that's it!" the energy cut off, the smaller pokemon backing up and both looking at Ash. "That was great! Rotom, you nailed it on the first try!" the small pokemon smiled, buzzing happily.

"No way..." Zo stared blankly in surprise, Ash smirking down at the fox.

"If the power of the barrier's strong enough, then it can be focused to block and reflect any other type of attack. Unless the two types are incompatible, of course, like ghost and normal-types, then you wouldn't need to use this in battle," he explained, the fox looking at the small electric-type curiously.

"Huh..."


"So she really was learning..." Ash thought with a smirk, watching the purple glow within the flames move up the path towards Volcarona. The fire-type, surprised, felt an explosion hit its chest as its flames were cut off, the small dark-type bursting out of the Shadow Ball within the flames and touching back down on the ground.

"See that? I don't need you to train successfully," Zo called back to Ash, snickering.

"Too bad you wouldn't have gotten the idea if you never came along with us," he remarked, the pokemon glaring at him.

"Can't you let me have one moment...?" she muttered, the trainer crossing his arms with a shake of his head. "Jerk."

"Get over it, you're still in a battle," he told her, the fox shrugging and looking back at her opponent.

"Those two are way too relaxed in this battle..." Alder thought, a sweatdrop going down the back of his head.

"Alright, Zo, you should really be wrapping this up soon," Ash told her, the fox looking back at him not amused.

"Then why not give me some help on what to do?"

"What happened to little miss independent-genius-and-powerful from a few minutes ago?"

"She went for a nap."

"You really need more exercise..."

"And whose fault do you think that is?!"


"Are they...really fighting right now...?" Leaf asked, looking oddly at the pair.

"Yeah, looks like it," Hilda chuckled, the man beside her laughing as well.

"Those two can fight anywhere in any situation, they're like siblings," he stated, the brunette looking at him curiously.

"Like brother and sister? Why do you say that?" she asked, the man pointing at the pair on the field.

"Well, just look at them," the brunette looked at the pair continuing their exchange of words, both of them looking irritated on multiple exchanges of words. "I may not have seen a lot of siblings fight personally, but I could easily imagine it's like that. An exchange of joking words, they take it seriously and really fight for a little, then they're angry at each other," he explained, crossing his arms behind his head. "But then after a little while, they move on from it and they're close again. They move past the fight, and they're a brother and sister who love each other again. Now Ash would never admit that he loves Zo, but it's clear as day to see that he really does," he smirked, the two brunettes on either sides of him looking at him curiously.

"Why can't you be like that more often?" Hilda asked, the man casting a glare at her. "That was really nice and surprisingly sweet. Ash wouldn't send Charizard after you as often if you were like that more of the time."

"Yeah, that was really nice," Leaf added, the man giving a sigh.

"Don't ask me, I just do what I do without thought," he replied, Hilda crossing her arms and closing her eyes.

"So you're saying you're a pervert because you don't think before you do that stuff?" she asked, Leaf holding in her laughter.

"No, that's because I'm a man. You can't say you're a man if you don't aim for glory," the girls looked not amused at the man's words, who looked at them in confusion. "What? Oh, you're women, don't even try to understand. It's complicated."

"Like your feelings for someone?" Leaf asked bluntly, the man looking surprised. Hilda looked equally as surprised.

"What? What gave you that idea?" the Kanto brunette smiled, giving him an 'are-you-serious?' look. "Ash?"

"No, girls can see that like second nature. I'm especially good at it," she boasted, smiling as she pushed her chest out proudly. "Also, the ring on Hilda's finger made it obvious."

"W-What?" her words fumbled out, her hand instinctively hiding itself. "What makes you think this is related to him?"

"Really? You want to try to play another girl?" she asked blatantly, looking at her in question. The brunette bit her lip discreetly, glancing down at the ring on her finger. "Come on, Hilda, you know this can't get past me."

"You still didn't say why you thought it was related to me," Hilbert interrupted.

"So why are you defending her?"

"I'm trying to clear my name here!"

"As if you could do that, this ring is clearly showing something between you."

"Wait, what are you implying...?"

"I don't know exactly, I just know it's changed something. Maybe it's just from confession, maybe dating, engagement, marriage-"

"W-What?!"

"Don't act surprised, you'll be married soon enough," Leaf told them calmly with a smile, the pair glowing red in the face and glancing at each other nervously.

"W-Why would I ever marry him?" she asked, playing with her fingers.

"Yeah, what she said. She just beats me anyway, why would I want that?" he asked, feeling a fist connect with his skull.

"Well excuse me for giving you what you deserve!"

"Bickering like a married couple already...I guess it makes sense, that ring does look expensive..."

"Quiet, Leaf!"


"Volcarona, Heat Wave!" the fire-type released its attack, the opposing pair looking at each other.

"We'll continue this later," he told her, the fox giving a nod.

"Damn straight," she smirked, bursting into a sprint down the field and moving out of the attack's range.

"Now Dark Pulse," the fox fired the dark-type attack.

"Overheat!" Ash looked confused at the man's words, but was surprised to see the bug release a powerful glowing flame, quickly reducing Dark Pulse to nothing and exploding on the ground just beside Zo, who thankfully moved just in time. She slid back on her feet, surprised.

"But how? Volcarona used Overheat repeatedly when battling Pi. Even if it didn't work, the attack damage still should have went down from being used in the first place..." Ash pondered, only coming up with one conclusion. He gave a deep sigh, rubbing the arch of his nose between his eyes. "Volcarona's a source of thermal energy itself...Even with using Overheat again and again, its own energy source can replenish with time...Crap, that doesn't even sound right...Oh well," he shrugged, the fox looking back at him oddly.

"You gonna stand there in a daze all day or help me?" she asked, the trainer snapping from his thoughts and returning to the battle.

"Right, just thinking," he replied, the fox giving a non-amused look noticing a flame in the side of her eye. Dodging the Flamethrower, she faced her opponent again.

"Overheat!"

"Sucker Punch!"

"Change to Fiery Dance!" the dark-type burst forward in a flash for her strike, but the fire-type burst into flames. Surprised, she punched a layer of flames around her opponent, then was tackled mid-air from the living mass of flames. Landing again, she shook her head with a slightly dazed look. "Now Overheat!"

"Zo, dodge," Ash told her, but she only stumbled to the side in response. Ash noticed Volcarona about to fire its attack. "Zo, what are you doing?" she looked back confused, then noticed the attack coming towards her. She jumped to the side, barely avoiding it. "Man...Come on, Zo, don't space out on me now."

"Sorry, I just...that last hit was more than I expected..." she replied, surprising Ash with a quick and sharp pained yelp. She winced, her one leg starting to get shaky. She looked down at her leg, noticing a small burn just above her knee. "Well that's a downer..."

"Flamethrower!" she looked up, seeing the flames coming towards her.

"Zo, back!" the fox jumped back towards Ash, avoiding the flames. "You were dazed 'cause you got a burn, didn't you?"

"Huh? No way, how could I be slowed down 'cause of a little burn? Come on, look who you're talking to," she boasted confidently, taking a step to the side and wincing as her leg wobbled.

"Zo, don't do this. Not now. We can move around this and-" Ash noticed the fox shake her head, running towards Volcarona. "Or...Ignore me entirely..."

"Heat Wave!" the fox quickly jumped to Volcarona's side as it was about to launch its attack, throwing a purple sphere and exploding it on its side. It looked to the side angrily, seeing the fox flash into a line of copies. "Heat Wave again!" the fire-type quickly eliminated all the fakes, leaving the real one charging a Dark Pulse. "Flamethrower!" the flames and dark-type move collided, exploding in the center as the two were enveloped in smoke. "Fiery Dance!"

"Zo, get out of there!" Ash called out sternly, but she didn't come back to his side like she should have. An orange glow appeared in the smoke, moving quickly out of the smoke with the small fox in front of it, pushing her out and sending her tumbling across the field. "Zo, stop this. Don't get reckless now, we can't afford this-"

"No..." he stopped his words, seeing the fox stand again, stumbling before regaining her defensive stance. "This is nothing, I can handle it..."

"Zo, I'm not kidding. Don't do this," he said strictly, the fox looking at the ground.

"...I can do this...I'll take it from here, and I'll win...then..." she glanced back, the trainer starting to look concerned.

"Zo, stop."

"Then...You'll be proud of me..." she whispered, then her attention was brought back to her fire-type opponent, quickly running forward to engage in battle again.

"Flamethrower!" the fox's eyes flashed, the fire-type firing its attack and stopping Zo in her tracks. Alder and Volcarona smirked, then the image flickered. Confused, they saw that image disappear. Surprised, Zo was now in the air beside Volcarona, firing a Dark Pulse which pushed Volcarona into a wall. "But how...?!"

"Lesson one...Always use your pokemon's abilities to your full advantage..." Zo muttered, touching down on the ground and firing a purple sphere at the fire-type.

"Flamethrower!" the flames burst through the sphere, but the fox formed another sphere like earlier in the battle, the flames disappearing within the dark energy and becoming trapped, then thrown back at the fire-type.

"Lesson two...Never forget what you learn from others..." she jumped to the side, avoiding another flame from the angry bug after her surprise attack.

"Overheat into Hurricane!" the fire-type launched the brightly-glowing flames at the dark-type, who dodged but still felt some sweat go down her forehead from the heat. Then the bug whipped up a violent storm in the air, which made the fox eager to land again. Her feet touching the ground, she crouched and held herself down. "Now reverse and use Heat Wave!" the bug's wingbeats grew more rapid, the wind changing direction and being brought in instead of pushed out, orange cinders also floating through the air and heating it. The fox, surprised, felt herself lifted off the floor and raised into the air.

"Zo, spin with Dark Pulse!" Ash called out, the fox hesitating before spinning her body and firing the dark-type attack. With the wind bringing everything in, the attack began spinning through the air and circling Volcarona in multiple loops. "Now Shadow Ball!" the purple sphere moved through the air, hitting the attack and setting off a chain reaction, multiple small explosions occurring all along the Dark Pulse around Volcarona until it was completely hidden in a cloud of smoke. "Now wait on the ground with Night Daze."

"Lesson three...When in battle, worry about nothing else..." she muttered as she landed on the ground, her paws beginning to glow in a dark mysterious aura. Watching the cloud carefully, she waited for a sign of her opponent coming back. Hearing a sudden screech, she winced as she prepared to release her attack. Small green waves rippled through the air from the smoke, the dark-type nearly losing balance before regaining herself. The fire-type burst from the smoke, flames erupting around its body. She brought her paws up, crashing them back down and releasing the powerufl wave of dark energy. The fire-type crashed into it, pushing through it surprising the fox as she was tackled back within her attack. Being pushed out of her field of energy, she dragged her feet and stopped herself.

"Overheat!" the flames collided with the ground below the airborne fox, who fired a purple sphere at the fire-type which was shot down by more flames.

"Lesson four...remain cool at all times..." she took a deep breath, calmly exhaling again as she looked at the fire-type.


"You think Zo's going rebellious now?" Hilbert asked, Hilda smacking his arm.

"Way to have confidence in your friends, jerk," she told him, the man giving a sigh as he dropped his head onto the back of the seat.

"Jeez, what was I thinking asking you anything...?" he breathed, the brunette cracking her knuckles with a glare.

"Come on, stop flirting, you two..." Leaf chuckled, the pair glaring at her.

"Coming from you...You never leave Ash alone," Hilda replied, the brunette poking out her tongue.

"He loves the attention I give him," the Unova pair glanced at each other, giving a laugh at the girl.

"As if, I'm positive he would pass up on that if he could in a heartbeat. Not that you would listen, though," Hilbert pointed out, his friend giving a nod.

"No way, he wouldn't pass up on anything from me," she told them proudly. "I mean, come on, we're best friends. Me being a girl is only a bonus for him, and the fact that we're in love is definitely not coincidence."

"So, you're saying that it was...fate or something, that you were meant to be together?" Hilbert asked, giving a laugh.

"Of course. And besides, there's no way I'm letting him go, especially since he's seen my chest, even if it was by accident," she explained quickly, evidently without thinking before speaking.

"Wait, what?"

"When did he see your chest?"

"Wha- U-Uh, never! Y-You're hearing things..."


"Bug Buzz!"

"Sucker Punch!"

"Flamethrower!"

"Dark Pulse!"

"Alright, we have to finish this soon..." Alder thought, watching the two attacks explode.

"Zo, listen for a sec," the fox looked back at him. "Right now, we're finishing this. We are, so don't go off recklessly on your own accords," he told her, the fox looking at the ground for a moment.

"...Then let's do this," she hopped around, facing the fire-type.

"Alright, then. Circle around him with Double Team," the fox burst forward, circling him in a flash of copies. "Now Dark Pulse."

"Spin with Flamethrower!" the flames quickly dispelling the copies, the fox jumped into the air and fired the attack, but was cut off by flames. "Overheat!"

"Shadow Ball!" the sphere blocked the flames and exploded.

"Bug Buzz!" the bug readied the attack, but felt the dark-type's paw pressured into its chest.

"Now Night Daze!" the fox's paws glowed, bringing them back.

"Overheat!" the flames glowed in the bug's mouth, the fox striking her paws together on the bug's chest, the explosion of dark energy enveloping the pair. The pair fell through the bottom of the energy, managing to catch themselves before stumbling onto the ground. They both weakly got up, struggling with injuries covering their bodies, still staring each other down.

"Lesson...five..." Zo clenched her teeth, straightening her legs. "...Never...ever...give in...to your opponent..."

"Zo..." Ash looked at his pokemon -his friend- with concern.

"Anytime now, Mr. pokemon master," she told him sarcastically, the trainer's smile immediately disappearing.

"And there's the annoying Zo I'm used to, I was wondering where you went," he sighed, stuffing his hands in his pockets.

"I never left, I just took a nap," she told him, the trainer smirking with a shake of his head.

"You wish," the fox gave a nod, facing the fire-type again. "Alright, Dark Pulse!"

"Flamethrower!" the two attacks exploded, the pair moving quickly into the smoke. The cloud suddenly shook, then quickly split revealing the flaming bug clashed with the dark-type's glowing paw. Both of them were pushed back, sprinting forward again. "Overheat!"

"Shadow Ball!" the attacks exploded, both pokemon circling around the smoke. "Double Team!"

"Heat Wave!" the clones quickly disappeared, leaving the real one beneath the flying bug. "Flamethrower!"

"Sucker Punch!" the fox punched the bug's chest, stopping its flames and pushing it back. She jumped back across the field.

"Volcarona, focus your flames into a Fiery Dance," the bug's body began to glow orange, before bursting into flames glowing increasingly brighter.

"You know what to do, Zo," Ash told her, the fox giving a nod. She closed her eyes, several moments flashing through her mind.


Flashbacks


"Come on, Ash, I'm hungry toooo!" the fox complained, the man giving a chuckle.

"Alright, alright," he replied, finally giving into the fox. He held out a small granola bar, the fox not looking amused. "What? I told you we were getting low."

"You idiooot!"

"Hey, easy! Come on, down! Down, Zo!"


"Ash, can we take a break yeeet?" Zo whined, rolling onto her back with a sigh.

"Don't be lazy, Zo, you're already lacking in training compared to everyone else," he told her, crossing his arms. The fox glared at him.

"This is pokemon abuse, you know," she told him, the trainer giving a sigh. He sat down, stretching on his back.

"Fine, lounge around, nap, do whatever you want," he said, the fox looking excited. Ash closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Surprised, he felt something move close to his side. Glancing down, he saw Zo bringing her body close together against him. Unable to resist smiling, he reached his hand out and stroked the fox's fur. "Sweet dreams, Zo. While they last..."


"Zo, come on, get off me!"

"Admit it, you're ticklish!"

"No I'm not, you're wasting your time, now get off!"

"Well I haven't tried over here yet...!"

"Zo, don't you da- Agh, you little-! Stop it!"


"Come on, you're gonna freeze," he told her, taking the blanket off his legs and tossing it over the curled-up fox. She popped her head up.

"But this is your only blanket, I thought you tore the rest?" she asked, the man giving a nod as he closed his eyes, leaning back against the frozen cave wall.

"I did," he replied, the fox looking at the blanket on her body. Taking it in her mouth, she lifted it with her as she moved towards the man, crawling onto his lap and re-adjusting it.

"Well it would be pointless if I was okay and you weren't," she told him, the man arching an eyebrow. "Shut up, just accept the gesture."

"...You really are a unique pokemon."

"Damn straight, I'm awesome."


"Zo, what's wrong?" the man asked, crouching to the fox's level.

"I...I just can't beat him..." she replied slowly, the man glancing back at who she was referring to.

"Zo, only a few handful of pokemon have ever beat Charizard. It's not your skills, it's his. He's been in a valley surrounded by only his own kind for years, he's defeated legendaries. It's nothing you have to beat yourself up over," he explained, the dark-type looking surprised at him.

"But-"

"No buts," he stopped her, standing again and moving towards the large fire-type. Curious as to what he was doing, Zo quietly moved closer, hoping to hear them. "Charizard, don't make me ask again. just one time, that's all I'm asking."

"What...?" Zo wondered, the fire-type glaring at him with a snort of a small flame.

"Please, just let her get the edge over you. Battle when you're half-asleep, act, just do whatever to let her win against you. I don't want to see her like this, ever," the fox's eyes widened slightly, surprised at his caring words. But what came next didn't surprise her.

"Charizard! You said you would never burn me again!"


End Flashbacks


Zo opened her eyes again. Looking back at the trainer standing behind her, a warm feeling focused in her chest, spreading through her entire body. She looked back at her opponent, grinning. "This match is mine."

"Then let's get to it, Zo," Ash smirked, the dark-type enveloped in a warm pink glow. Both pokemon glowed brighter, grinning as they stared at their opponent.

"Fiery Dance, go!"

"Return! Show them what you're made of!"

Both pokemon shouted out, charging forward across the field and meeting at the center. Clashing violently, energy and flames emitted from the pair in high intensity, washing over the field and into the crowds. Neither sides showing a sign of backing down, their only choice was to push more and fight for dominance over the other. The crowd watched in anticipation and excitement as, the moment one side began to weaken, an explosion occurred between them. The pair disappeared in smoke, the crowd murmuring and whispering while eagerly awaiting the result of the final battle. Minutes passed as the smoke only moved around the field, everyone really starting to get impatient about it. Suddenly, the cloud split in two, parting from over the field and revealing the pair. Both on the ground.

"What...?" Ash felt a pull in his chest, his hand moving to it and gripping his shirt. He looked at the pair on the field, a flash of his memory showing the green snake and his electric mouse in the same situation from his past. "...No...Not again..."

"Volcarona, you can do this!" the fire-type's eyes opened slowly, its body shifting slightly, then slowly beginning to sit up.

"It's...It's just like before..." Ash winced, gripping his shirt again. Lifting his heart, he saw Zo begin to stir, attempting to maintain her weight on her front two legs. Shaky, she managed to hold her own as she slowly got up again. Across the field, Volcarona had not left the ground, but it had managed to sit up straight. "Serperior and Pi...Volcarona and Zo..." he clenched his teeth, his fist clenching at his side as well. "...Even after all these years, I still haven't changed..."

"...Ash..." surprised, he looked at Zo, who was looking back with a weak smile. "You know...that's not true...You're different...entirely..."

"Zo...How...?" he was unable to process words. "..How did...you...?"

"We're...We're friends, Ash...I can tell what's wrong...with you..." she laughed weakly, managing to hold herself up on all fours again. "...Don't ever...think...you're weak..."

"Zo, take it easy..." Ash told her, the concern becoming clear in his voice.

"Never...Put yourself down...You are..." the fox struggled to speak, nearly collapsing to the side. "...the...greatest trainer...there is..."

"Zo, seriously, just relax," Ash frowned, watching the dark-type try so hard to maintain herself.

"You're...the best...That's why, I want to..." Zo turned around, standing defensively again as she saw the fire-type in the air again, glaring at her. "...I will finish this..."

"Flamethrower!" the bug released a stream of flames, the dark-type countering with Dark Pulse. Both attacks exploding, Zo winced as she sprinted forward, flashing into a shadow as her paw glowed, striking through the smoke and into the fire-type's chest. It flipped backwards in the air, sending the fox into the air above it. The fire-type flapped its wings, flames catching in the wind as it moved into and past the dark-type, hurting her. She caught herself on the ground, firing a purple sphere at the bug, exploding on contact. A searing flame burst through and scorched the ground just in front of the fox, leaving light singes on her fur as she jumped back.

"I have to...do this..." the fox fired three purple spheres, the stream of flames bursting right through them. "...For my pride...and..." jumping to the side, she fired the dark chain attack, but the fire-type dodged. Both pokemon moved back to their sides, facing each other.

"Zo...?" Ash looked confused at the fox, neither pokemon moving an inch. Zo closed her eyes.

"This isn't just for myself..."

"Volcarona, Fiery Dance!"

"...This..." she opened her eyes, a powerful pink aura bursting from her body and surrounding her, glowing brightly. "...Is for Ash!"

"Do it, Zo!" Ash shouted, both pokemon shouting as they burst forward, crashing into each other with dangerous power. Flames burst off in every direction, the front-row spectators wishing they had different seats. But then, to everyone's surprise, one side gave in.

"Volcarona, no!" Alder shouted, watching the flames disappear and the fox pushing his pokemon crashing into the wall behind him with brute force. The fire-type snapped its eyes open, glaring down at the fox angrily. It opened its mouth, the orange glow within becoming brighter than earlier attacks. Ash's eyes widened when he noticed this.

"Zo, pull back!" he shouted desperately, but the fox remained.

"I'm finishing this...for Ash!" she thought, the pink aura glowing brighter. The bug, however, released its attack. The flames clashed against the aura, resisting a little before breaking through. The fox's eyes widened in surprise as the flames struck her side, breaking her concentration on her attack. The energy around her disappeared, her body violently pushed by the flames into the ground, crashing and dragging along the field, the force bringing up pieces of debris from the ground and leaving a destroyed trail. Ash was speechless as he watched the flames cut off, his pokemon motionless with her eyes close almost halfway across the field from where she had been attacked.

"...No...It can't be..." Ash's fists fell weakly to his sides, unable to find his voice. His spirit lifted as he noticed the dark-type move, weakly lifting its head.

"Wha...?" her eyelids opened slowly, wincing as she tried to stand on her legs again. Her vision blurring, she was able to make out the figure of her fire-type opponent. "..He's...still not down...? Damn, this...is annoying..." her knees shook as she stood slowly, nearly falling over.

"THIS IS AMAZING! EVEN AFTER BOTH THOSE INTENSE CLASHES, VOLCARONA AND ZORUA CONTINUE TO GET UP AGAIN! JUST HOW MUCH CAN THESE TWO TAKE?!" Goodshow's voice boomed, the crowd remaining silent as they watched the pair in anticipation. Zorua's vision faded in and out, trying to focus on her opponent.

"Volcarona, can you manage another attack?" Alder asked, the bug giving a nod as it began to waver in the air. "Alright, then Flamethrower!" the bug opened its mouth, the flames starting in its throat again. Ash froze.

"What...am I doing...?" he looked at Zo, who was shaking as she attempted to remain on her feet. "Zo doesn't deserve this...She shouldn't be hurt anymore because of me..."

"What are you doing? Snap out of it!" he blinked, looking confused and surprised at the fox, who glared at him. "Stop spacing out, we're still in a battle here!"

"Zo..." he opened his mouth to speak, but the fox looked away.

"Idiot, don't even start. I can tell you're about to make your little speech, and I for one do not want to hear it," she told him, surprising the trainer. "Get you head back in the game already!"

"Volcarona, fire!"

"Zo, Shadow Ball!" the fox winced as the sphere of energy grew in front of her mouth, shooting forward but wavering through the air. The sphere exploded on the bug before it could release its own attack, the fire-type giving a screech as its body turned in the air. It fired its attack in a last-minute attempt of reconciliation, before its body fell to the ground. However, the flames were no longer aimed at Zo. It was going towards Ash.

"Ash!" Zo gasped, looking back at the the man who stood still in shock. The crowd gasped, the man not moving from the oncoming attack. "Ash, move!" but the man didn't respond.

"...I can't...I can't do this, after all..." he blinked, noticing the flames coming towards him. He cringed, then relaxed as he closed his eyes. "...I don't deserve this..."

"Idiooooot!" surprised, Ash felt his body forced to the side, falling to the ground and rolling. He snapped his eyes open and looked back, seeing the fox in the air at the height of where he had been hit. She smiled, the trainer's eyes widening in horror as she suddenly disappeared within the flames. Her scream suddenly rang through his ear, the crowd gasping and murmuring about what they had just witnessed. Ash couldn't move, he couldn't speak. All he could do was stare at the flames, frozen in shock, unable to do anything about it.

"ZORUAAAAAAA!"

END

Firstly, don't assume that's how it ends. I'm not telling you he will win, I'm not telling you he'll lose, just saying not to think of it as over already.
Secondly; I'm so glad that's over. I'm not much of a drawn-out battle person, so that kind of pushed me, but it's still alright (hoping so, anyway). I hope you're still reading this at this point, if so then you are still a fan. That's a good thing, I appreciate anyone who has taken the time to read any of my story pieces. Truly.
Thirdly, there is only ONE chapter remaining. The next chapter will be the conclusion to this fanfic, unfortunately.

POLL: What was your favorite joke, comedic reference, or just the funniest part of this story? Please give your opinion!