"It's good to be home," the Lugia said, looking down at her homeland – stark black basalt, frosted with ice, and the occasional patch of green.


Her wings beat the air, and she slipped sideways – heading for the deep blue lake on the horizon, Thingvallavatn.

The sun shone in the sky overhead, the wind whispered against her fine, waterproof feathers – and it all had a deep, transcendent newness to it, as if it was something she was seeing for the first time again.

Because it was still here, and it might not have been.

The Lugia flew for several minutes, gradually losing height and approaching the great rift at the northern end of the lake.

It was perhaps her favourite place on the whole island, an ancient meeting spot between two distinct tectonic plates – once the parliament of her homeland, and still important now for entirely different reasons.

Then she spotted a flash of yellow, coming flashing out of the rift. It spun in the air, turned, and began to fly towards her at speed – trailed by an orange-yellow flicker of flame, and an ethereal ribbon of blue.

"You're back!" Zapdos announced, overshooting her before performing a wingover and coming up under her left wing – staying distant enough not to crowd her. "What happened?"

"I know, I vanished without explaining," Lugia replied. She dipped a little lower, and Zapdos gave her space – so he didn't crash as she kissed the lake with her belly, then pulled up and to a more comfortable height. "And I'll explain as soon as the others catch up."

"Hurry up, guys!" Zapdos called. "I want to hear this!"

Moltres and Articuno shot past them, one above and one below – then swapped places as they banked around in their own turns, so the four Flying-type Legendaries were flying in a three-dimensional diamond formation.

"So?" Moltres asked.

"The simplest possible version," Lugia said, then paused for a moment to get her words in order. "That Entei wasn't just asking for me. He was asking for all the Lugia in the world – and what it was for was to help Rayquaza deflect a meteorite."

That was met with silence, for several seconds.

"Did you do it?" Articuno asked.

Moltres did a roll, sending out a flash of flame. "Of course she did! Does she look upset?"

"I'm touched by your confidence," Lugia said drily, making Articuno chuckle. "And – as it happens, I wasn't part of the team actually in space."

She shook her head. "They gave us a test to make sure we could go up, and I nearly threw up."

"Too much information," Zapdos said hastily. "Come on, you're our guardian, not trying to gross us out."

"You did ask," Lugia pointed out. "In any case, instead my job was to help form the shield of water and ice which protected them from the sun's harmful rays. That, at least, is something that our skydance has taught me well."

They passed over the rift itself, sending shadows flicking over the surrounding rock and grass, and Lugia noticed something inside.

"Did you clean my nest while I was gone?" she asked, touched. "Thank you, that's very kind of you."

"What are friends for?" Moltres asked.

Lugia chuckled. "You three really are the best. You should hear about the Shamouti birds."

"We have," Articuno pointed out. "A lot."

"There's always more to tell," Lugia said, as they made a second pass over Silfra rift – lower this time, shedding speed ready for the landing. "But perhaps that's for later – I'm sure you want to hear more about what I was doing."

"That would be wonderful," Moltres agreed.

One by one, the elemental birds backwinged to land in the wide section of Silfra they used as a communal area. Lugia simply stopped in mid-air, then lowered herself the last few yards with a flicker of psionic power.

"Well, now..." she said, settling down a little and shooing off an inquisitive Fletchling. "That's not your bed… anyway. I'm sure that you've heard of Mewtwo?"


"He was there?" Zapdos asked. "Neat."

"Yes, he's the one who was doing a lot of the heavy lifting..."

"Hello, and welcome back," Roxy said, facing into the camera. "I'm here at the Mossdeep space centre, with Doctor MacGuire – one of the experts in the field of meteors and meteorites. Doctor – I'm sure the question we all have is, what happened, and why didn't we sort it out earlier?"

"Well, there are several reasons for that," the doctor said, as Oli shifted the camera to focus on him. "Firstly, what happened was that around five hours ago we detected a large, fast asteroid with a cometary trajectory heading for impact somewhere in Hoenn. We verified it within minutes, and began working towards a solution – which was of course successful, though I'll admit it was close."

He cleared his throat. "As for why it wasn't detected earlier, one important reason is that it was well outside the plane of the ecliptic."

"Can you explain that for our viewers?" Roxy asked.

"Of course," MacGuire agreed. "Essentially everything in our solar system orbits in the same flat plane – so the main difference between the orbit of the Earth and Mars is that they're different speeds and distances from the Sun. That plane's called the plane of the ecliptic."

He paused for a moment, then continued when it was apparent there wasn't going to be a question. "Now, that means most of our skywatch resources are focused on looking in that area. There's normally plenty of things to see, and a few years ago we detected something which briefly had a small probability of hitting the Earth until we got better data."

"So you mainly focus on the ecliptic part of the sky because it's more likely there's going to be something there?" Roxy checked, getting a nod. "So why wasn't that the case here?"

MacGuire sighed. "That really is the big mystery, I'm afraid. There could be all sorts of reasons – we're already going back over the data and doing modelling to find out where this might have been seen before."

"And what about the rumours that there was a Deoxys on the meteorite, Doctor?" Roxy added. "Can you confirm or deny that?"

The scientist paused. "I'm going to confirm it, but with the important caveat that we don't know if that Deoxys was responsible either. As far as we can tell the Deoxys was last awake fifty thousand years ago, so it's quite possible that something perturbed the orbit in that time."

"I have to admit, Doctor, I wouldn't want to see the mess my cruise control would make if I set it running for fifty thousand years," Roxy chuckled. "Thank you for that insight – how do you think we could avoid this kind of near miss in the future?"

"Better skywatch," MacGuire answered immediately. "The earlier a potential impactor is detected the easier it is to move out of the way – they move very fast, and we spotted this one about four hours before it was going to hit. If we'd had, for example, a year – which would be quite possible if we had a full skywatch program running – we could have pushed it off a collision course in minutes once we got out there, and we'd have had more planning time as well."

"I see," the reporter said. "Well, thank you for your time, Dr. MacGuire."

She faced the camera again. "From the Mossdeep space centre, I'm Roxy. Back to you in the studio."

The door clicked.

Kuan Yin shook her shoes off in her hallway, headed through the door to the living room, and sank into a chair.

"That was… a hell of a thing," she said, out loud.

Her Lilligant peered around the door of the kitchen, waved, and disappeared back inside. There was the click of a kettle turning on, and then the burbling hiss of heating water.

"Thanks, Lily, you're a lifesaver," Kuan Yin told her. "Can I have the peppermint?"

"Gant!" Lily waved.

There was a hoot, and Kuan Yin had just enough time to raise her arm before her new Rowlett landed on it. "Oof… hello, little one."

Rowlett fluffed his wings, giving her a look.

"I know, but it was an emergency," Kuan Yin defended herself. "It's probably on the news."

Lily came in with a tray, and two cups of steaming peppermint tea. "Lill-i," she said, putting it on the end table next to her trainer.

"Thank you," Kuan Yin told her, picking it up with her free hand and giving it a quick blow. "Battling the Choseon Reshiram was nothing compared to that..."

"Where is he?" Zapdos asked, head turning in quick movements as he surveyed the side of Shamouti Island. "Can either of you see him?"

Moltres shook his head. "No, no sign of him!"

"Oh, this is going to suck..." Zapdos moaned. "Last time we lost track of him he put graffiti all down the side of my island!"

"He did my island too!" Moltres protested. "In bigger letters-"

"Shut up!" Articuno demanded. "We've got to find Silver before he causes more havoc!"

"I know, ice-brain!" Zapdos snapped back.

"There!" Moltres called, in tones of great relief.

The other two birds followed his gaze, and saw a little white form curled up in a grassy hollow.

"He's asleep," Moltres said. "So quiet! This is the first chance we've had to get some peace, so don't wake him up or we'll have to deal with him again!"

"We know, flame-butt," Articuno sniped. "We're not morons."

Below them, Silver stirred, letting out a yawn. He shifted, wings moving a little, then curled up again and resumed breathing deeply and evenly.

"...that was way too close," Moltres whispered.

Articuno banked around, then did a double-take. "Guys – Lugia's back! Both of them!"

His words made both the others turn whiplash-fast, and they saw the white-and-blue shapes of both Lugia descending towards them.

"Hello, you three," the local Lugia began. "Did everything go well with my son?"

"I hope it did," his mate added. "He wasn't too much bother, was he?"

"He certainly was!" Zapdos said, the words bursting out of him. "The minute you left, he started causing chaos!"

"Chaos?" Lugia repeated, as they began to circle for a landing. "What kind of chaos?"

"It would take far too long to list it," Moltres said. "He tried writing in Aeroblast on Fire Island!"

"And Lightning Island," Zapdos added quickly.

"Don't forget what he did to Ice Island!" Articuno finished, not wanting to be left out. "And he buzzed the main town on Shamouti, as well – I think he might have carried away one of their kites, but I didn't see for sure."

"We did manage to stop him going down a second time," Zapdos hurried to point out.

"It sounds like he was being quite a scamp," Silver's mother said with a chuckle. "Was that all he did?"

"No," Moltres told her bluntly. "Every time we took our eyes off him for a minute he went flying off to do something else – I think one time he was going after the Treasures, and there was one time he just wanted to go surfing… but he didn't tell us that was what he was doing!"

"We spent twenty minutes looking for him!"Zapdos complained.

"Well, it sounds like our son has been naughty," Lugia said, backwinging to land on the slope. "I did tell him you were in charge while I was gone, after all. So we'll have to work out a punishment for him."

"Yes, please do!" Articuno said thankfully. "I'll sleep better tonight knowing that's been sorted out."

"Sleep," Zapdos repeated. "Yes, sleep sounds nice at the moment."

"And you did make sure he was all right?" Silver's father added. "I mean, I did ask you to."

"Yeah, you said you'd laser us if we didn't," Moltres said – very quietly.

"He looks fine, dear," the female Lugia said, nuzzling her son. "Just tuckered out."

"That's fine, then," Lugia judged. "You can go now, and thank you for your work."

Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres left them, one at a time and moving slowly – weighed down by fatigue.

After a few minutes had passed, Lugia leaned down to his son. "They're gone," he said.

Silver raised his head, eyes bright. "How was that, Dad?"

"It sounds like you kept them very busy," Lugia smiled, reaching out with one wing and giving the young Legendary a pat on the head. "Good work, son."

Silver preened.

"Welcome back," Milotic said, rearing up to greet her trainer. "I assume it went well?"

"It did, thank you," Misty agreed, reaching out to scratch Milotic under the chin. "If it wasn't for those Aqua and Magma idiots making Rayquaza use up the meteorite too soon, it would have been a bit easier to deal with… but yes, we're safe."

She sent out Gyarados and Golduck, aiming for the big outdoor pool with Gyarados, then switched Pokeballs to send out Politoed as well. "See if you can guess what Ash did."

"Ooh, tough one..." Milotic mused. "Did he punch the meteorite?"

"No, though I can't get the picture out of my head now..." Misty muttered. "And it is something he'd do, as well."

The Water-type chuckled.

"Oh – there was a phone call for you," she added. "I couldn't get it, so it went to voicemail."

"Thanks for letting me know," Misty said, taking the receiver and heading for one of the rooms at the back of the house. "I think I need a soak in the hot tub..."

As she entered the room, she hit one of the controls on the phone.

After the beep, she heard Tracey's voice. "Misty? Hi, Tracey here. Just letting you know, Marill finally had her egg – so Azurill should be hatching as soon as Ash visits Pallet."

"That's great news!" Misty said, with a smile, and waited for a moment to see if there was any more message. When it ended instead, she shrugged and put the phone on the side – then felt the water with a hand, making sure it was good and hot.

The young Elite Four member nodded to herself, shaking the water off her hand. "I love this house."

I guess that's about it, Sparky said, tail waving. So much for our grand plan of avenging that battle in the Indigo League.

"And what about our grand plan of actually winning?" Ritchie asked, chuckling. He reached down, lifting his Electric-type, and placed him on his shoulder – grateful for the stadium roof keeping them out of the rain.

That's secondary. I'd rather lose the finals and beat Ash than win the finals and not beat Ash.

Ritchie laughed. "That second one's not even possible!"

Sparky shrugged. It would be possible in a league format.

"Which this wasn't," Ritchie sent back. "I know it's called a League, but that doesn't actually mean anything here."

He looked around – noting the various trainers leaving Ever Grande, some by using Flying-type Pokemon and others on foot.

Shouldn't we get going? Sparky asked. I mean, we were staying here to keep track of the news on the big screen – and that's gone now.

"Yeah, we probably should," Ritchie agreed. "Let's leave it a bit, though, because the sky's a bit crowded. It should be better towards evening, and we can head to the next island over for the night… plus, if the rain lets up a bit, you won't have to shield Zippo's tail flame. You know he gets sarcastic about flying in rain."

Suits me.

Ritchie sat back in his seat, thinking about what they'd seen.

It was all – pretty amazing.

"Uh… excuse me?" a girl's voice asked.

The trainer looked around. "Yeah?"

"You're Ritchie, right?" the girl said. "You were the one battling Ash when they cancelled?"

"Yeah, that's me," Ritchie confirmed. "And this is Sparky. What's your name?"

"I'm Casey," the girl introduced herself. "This is Riolu."

I see you're not a nicknamer, Sparky observed.

"Yeah, not really," Casey agreed.

Riolu tugged at her trousers.

"...oh, yeah, that's right," Casey realized. "That was pretty unusual. Aura?"

Of course not! Sparky protested.

"Yeah, who do you take me for?" Ritchie asked. "Ash Ketchum?"

Casey held up her hands in a picture-frame shape. "Actually, kind of. You do look pretty similar."

"I suspect that Sparky is Psychic," Riolu suggested.

Correct, Sparky agreed.

"That's pretty cool," Casey said.

She sat down in the seat next to Ritchie. "So… cancelled, huh?"

"Yeah, it surprised me too," Ritchie agreed.

He waved his hand. "Mind you, given how important Ash apparently was to sorting out the whole… meteorite thing..."

"I can believe it," Casey volunteered. "You know how many Legendaries he has?"

She sighed. "It's kind of a pity, too… I was hoping to give Mega Beedrill a really good showing in this League, but that'll have to wait."

"Against Ash?" Ritchie asked.

"Yeah, against Ash," Casey confirmed. "He's kind of… the benchmark, I guess, but it's a really high benchmark. Or I could say he's really inspiring, or intimidating, or..."

"I know what you mean," Ritchie said. "Hard to describe, but it's always an experience battling him."

He frowned. "Hmmm… wonder where he's going next?"

"Good question," Casey agreed. "Maybe he's heading to Alola?"

"Why Alola?" Riolu asked her trainer.

"I like the sound of going to Alola," Casey admitted. "I'm pretty sure Pidgeot could get us there..."

"That would be nice," Riolu said, looking up for a moment. "But, then, most places are nice when you get down to it."

She looked up. "Oh, it looks like the air traffic is dying down."

"Already?" Ritchie asked. "Huh, so it is. Still raining, though… I might stay until that ends."

"Right," Casey said. "Okay, well… nice seeing you, I guess."

"Same," Ritchie agreed. "Maybe we'll meet in another League – and this time actually get to battle one another."

"I'd be happy for the League to not be cancelled," Casey shrugged. "Okay, Pidgeot – let's get going!"

She sent out her big Flying-type, who tossed his head to show off his yellow-and-black warpaint and asked something in a loud caw.

"Pidgeot would like to know where we're going," Riolu reported.

"I guess… home for now," Casey decided. "After today, I think it'd be nice to go home and rest for a bit."

The Flying-type nodded, crouching down to let his trainer get on – which she did, after boosting Riolu up to take the fore position.

"I'd say you were trying to be like Sir Aaron, but Ash Ketchum exists," Ritchie quipped.

"Yeah, it has kind of worked out that way," Casey agreed. "I think-"

Pidgeot interrupted their conversation by taking off at speed.

As the Flying-type vanished into the sky, Sparky looked back at his trainer. I'm sure she had an interesting insight.

"Me too," Ritchie chuckled. "I don't think her Pidgeot agreed, though."

The doorbell rang.

"Is that you, Dawn?" Johanna called, getting up. "You know I told you to take a key with you when you went out..."

She opened the door.

"Hello, Mrs. Berlitz," Suicune said, nodding to her. "Is your daughter in?"

Johanna blinked, but shook her head – recovering her equilibrium. "I'm afraid she's not," she apologized. "I think she said she was going to Lake Verity."

"Thank you," the Legendary said, with another courteous nod. "I'm sorry I can't stay longer."

She turned, crouching, then sped off fast enough to become a dot in the distance within seconds.

"I need to get used to things like that," Johanna muttered to herself, closing the door.

"It's funny, how things like that change your perspective," Dawn said – partly to herself, partly to Piplup. "Don't you think?"

Piplup considered, then nodded.

"I still don't know if I could have helped," the young trainer added. "I mean, you're good – I'd trust you to make anyone at least know they couldn't win easily – but I really don't know if you could have helped at all. And with Mesprit..."

Her Water-type waddled over and touched her knee, then shook his head.

"...good point," Dawn agreed. "It worked out, so we're fine – no point worrying about if we could have done better when nobody seems to have actually got hurt!"

Piplup gave a satisfied nod.

"And to think that it's the evolution you don't want to be that's the Emperor Pokemon," Dawn laughed.

She looked up over the lake again, then frowned. "Wait – did you see that?"

Piplup followed her gaze, but he didn't need to ask – within a moment, it was visible. A white-and-blue shape, speeding across the water towards them at a dead run – then slowing, to an easy lope, before switching to a walk.

Suicune's paws sent out tiny circular patterns of ripples as she walked up to the water's edge. "Good afternoon."

"Hi, Suicune," Dawn said. "Nice to see you. Nice entrance."

"You liked it?" Suicune asked, pleased. "I wondered – I actually came from Twinleaf, but I circled around the lake so I could get the full effect."

She chuckled. "What can I say… anyway, the reason I'm here is twofold. Firstly, to assure you – everything did, indeed, go fine."

"It's good to hear it from you," Dawn said. "I mean, I guess I assumed it had, but from a Pokemon who knows Ash and everyone else involved – it's something it's easier to be certain of."

"Then my trip was not in vain," Suicune smiled. "And the other reason is important, as well – simply put, to check on you and to make sure that you are fine. Of all Ash's reminded companions, only yourself and Drew were unable to help out, and my siblings and I wished to make sure that you were happy with that."

"Well..." Dawn began, taking a long breath and letting it out. "I'm not happy, not really, but I don't see how I could have helped in the first place."


"Yeah, it's..." Dawn started to clarify, then stopped. "Suicune, did you say that?"

Suicune shook her head, a smirk on her muzzle.

That would be me, Mesprit said, flitting over her head and turning to face Dawn. I feel I should thank you for alerting us that something was going on. We were able to help in our own small way, so you should feel that you helped by letting us know.

With that, the Lake Guardian vanished.

"...is that just a Mesprit thing, or a Legendary Pokemon thing?" Dawn asked.

"Some of us are prone to being mysterious," Suicune admitted. "I've indulged myself… but I must say, I'm going to be grateful for the downtime for the next few days."

She shook her mane out. "We'd all cleared our schedules for the Ever Grande conference, so now it's not on… well, Brock suggested a beach holiday."

"He didn't suggest it in the Orange Islands, did he?" Dawn asked.

"Good guess."

"It wasn't a guess, it was me remembering the whole thing with Professor Ivy," Dawn said.

"Well, good deduction then."

Suicune stretched, her paws finding purchase on the smooth surface of the water. "I'd better be going – see you later, Dawn."

"Nice to see you," Dawn agreed.

The Water-type gave her a respectful nod, then loped back across Lake Verity.

"...she's heading northwest, isn't she?" Dawn checked. "Just so she can stay in our line of sight for longer."

Piplup pointed out, in a minimalist way, that her entire style of training Pokemon was about showing off.

"Point taken."

"Okay, that looks good," Blanche said, checking his notepad. "We're good for a few weeks, we've got enough emergency shelters in place… and the air flow rate has dropped to something sustainable."

He clicked the pen. "We wouldn't want it to run without supervision indefinitely – I'd want a lot more Pokemon here to be sure of that – but we can build on it."

That's reassuring, the base Alakazam stated. What is the next step?

"We've got several kilotons of equipment we want to set up all around the crater," Blanche told him. "It's going to take several big launches to get it all here – we're going to liaise with Canveral and Mossdeep to set up a program of freight missions."

It seems odd to do it that way rather than teleportation, Alakazam pointed out.

"Yeah, I guess it is in some ways," the Ariadospace tech agreed. "But it's better for massively parallel shipment, especially of bulk items. I know some Pokemon are really powerful teleporters, but I think there's only one who can manage to carry a supply mission here from Earth – and Mewtwo's probably a bit expensive."

Alakazam chuckled.

"Oh, that reminds me," Blanche added. "I think it would be a good idea to get an Absol here – and, obviously, either they'd need to be a trained Pokemon or they'd have to come the long way."

Or agree to be temporarily caught, Alakazam noted. Or for that matter just ask Hoopa for help again.

"True," Blanche nodded. "But it's probably an easier sell if there's options."

Alakazam was about to reply, but stopped and looked off into the distance.

Trouble incoming at 342 degrees, he informed Blanche.

The Kalosian squinted into the Lunar day. "I'm not sure I can see anything."

A few seconds later, he saw it – as did everyone else, as a large Cresselia came skimming over the crater wall.

What is the meaning of this? Cresselia asked, broad-band. This was not here last week!

"Oh, great..." Blanche sighed. "We did wonder about this… at least it's not Lunala."

He flipped a few pages ahead. "Let's see… first contact… right. Can you communicate with that Cresselia? And – what pronouns should I use?"

Female, and yes, Alakazam confirmed.

"Right." Blanche cleared his throat. "Cresselia – we're sorry we did this without informing you. However, in our defence, it was very time critical and there was simply not time to seek approval."

That's not a very convincing argument, Cresselia replied. Why didn't you do it somewhere nearer the equator? This is my territory!

"We don't have territory maps," Blanche countered. "Except for the known Clefairy cities. And this area has a combination of water, permanent sun and ease of contact with Earth which makes it one of the best places for us to build a base."

He waited for Cresselia's reply, which was mainly grumbling, then resumed. "I am authorized to offer rent."

...rent? Cresselia repeated, now in a tone of interest. Very well. You have my attention.

Alakazam suddenly stuck his hand out, and there was a brief psychic pressure.

Got one, he said, relaxing slightly. One of the fragments from Mega Rayquaza blowing up the asteroid.

Mega Rayquaza? Cresselia asked. Asteroid? I only went to sleep yesterday evening, what did I miss?

Blanche flipped back a few pages. "Right, here's the press briefing notes..."

Professor Oak looked up at the sound of a knock on the door. "Oh, I wonder who that could be."

It's Molly, Professor, Damos told him. And three of her friends.

Oak nodded. "I see. Could you let them in?"

No, I do not have physical control over the doorknob.

"Ah, doorknobs," Oak chuckled. "Our best defence against rampant artificial intelligences."

Professor, by any standard definition of rampancy, I – and all Dexter-model Porygon – came out of the box post-Rampant. Our metastability has been well established.

The Porygon paused. Of course, since you wrote the analysis on the subject, I remain confident you are aware of it. Unless you are getting old.

Oak winced. "I think you win that one."

Shaking his head ruefully, he opened the door.

"Hi!" Molly waved. "Is Tracey here?"

"I'm afraid not," Oak replied. "He's busy with some of Ash's exhausted Pokemon – most of them got back recently, and Pidgeot in particular needs to be checked over for possibly straining herself."

"That makes sense," Molly agreed.

Sylveon yipped, and Molly looked down at her. "That's right," she agreed. "I wanted to ask – do you know what the people you were working with are going to do now?"

"That's a very good question," the Professor said. "I actually don't have an answer at the moment – I think everyone's still working out what to do, and there's not a single thing they're all going to do. But I can tell you what the ideas are."

"That would be nice," Molly said. "I asked Suicune and Entei about it, but they didn't know – and I don't think Raikou knows either, but he's busy."

As Molly came into the lab – taking her shoes off neatly in the hall – she was followed by the two Shiny Legendaries, and then Leafeon swept up a few blades of grass that Entei had tracked in.

Oak waved a hand at the main screen, and Damos switched to a series of coloured dots lining one side of the screen. "So, firstly, a lot of people are going to want to go back to how it was before today," he began. "That's just normal – people often don't like change, because they knew what they were doing the old way and they'd rather stay with something that was comfortable."

"That makes sense," Entei agreed. "I would be rather taken aback if I were to suddenly have to learn how to fly."

Suicune licked his neck. "I'm sure you'd be excellent at it."

She smirked. "After the first few crashes, of course."

Molly giggled, then returned her attention to Oak. "So… that's the first one, but what about the rest?"

Oak began to count off on his fingers. "At least one group I spoke to wanted to make sure any really powerful Pokemon were permanently in known locations so that they could be instantly contacted in the event of disaster – and, of course, so they couldn't cause more of them themselves."

"But that's silly!" Molly protested. "Rayquaza's really powerful, but a lot of what he does is about being able to move around to where he's needed – and if you kept Lugia somewhere, nobody would stop the Legendary Birds from doing stupid things! And it's the same for a lot of powerful Pokemon, too."

We concur, Damos vocalized. And, fortunately, there are not many people who really think this is the best plan – most of them are just scared.

"Quite a lot more want it so that everyone knows where Pokemon that powerful can be got hold of," Oak resumed. "That seems more sensible, and I'm still thinking about it… apart from that, there's one group who want to keep up the kind of human-Pokemon cooperation that happened today. While I'm not sure that it's possible to do it for very long, at least without relaxing a bit, I have to say that I agree with that too."

"They both sound sensible," Molly agreed. "Thanks!"

"Yes, it's good to hear that there's a discussion taking place about it," Suicune agreed.

"Oh – yeah, I almost forgot!" Molly added. "Do you know when Ash is going to be back in town?"

"I think in a few days," Professor Oak said, thinking. "I know that he has to hatch Azurill for Misty, but the last I heard was that he and his friends were going to spend a few days on the beach."

"That sounds fun," Molly agreed, nodding seriously. "And I think it sounds like a good way to relax, after doing something like flying into space on a dragon to fight a comet."

"I'm not sure anyone's ever done that before..." Oak chuckled. "But it does sound like a good start."

Tracey opened the door. "Okay, Professor, I think that's everyone – oh, good evening, Molly!"

Molly waved. "Good evening! Are Ash's Pokemon okay?"

"Well, Snorlax wanted more shower gel, but apart from that, they all seem fine," Tracey assured her. "And I think Swellow's only going to keep going on about Pidgeot for a few more hours."

"She's certainly an enthusiast, isn't she..." Oak agreed.

"I know, I know," Ho-Oh said, flaring his wings and letting smoke crackle off them. "I am not built for flying in space. I'm not really built for attacking rocks, either."

He brought his wings back in again, wafting the scent of rosewood around as his smoke curled upwards. "In short, the reason I'm asking is not because I feel I should have been there. I'd just like to know what kind of situation you were in, in general, so that I know if there's anything I could have done to help."

"Well!" Raikou began. "One thing I did hear was that they were thinking about contacting you if the rock did smear itself across a large chunk of ocean!"

Ho-Oh perked up a little. "Oh? That sounds… well, actually, now I think about it it sounds quite a bad situation to have happen. But in what way?"

"The ability to clear the sky, father," Entei explained simply. "One of the worst things about a disaster like that is the clouds that cover the sky – like an ash cloud, but worse."

Ho-Oh decided that was acceptable.

"Hmmm..." he mused, frowning. "On a completely different topic… since this is the first time we've been in the Burned Tower together in a while, I should show you something the Kimono Girls left as an offering last week."

He looked off towards the northern horizon. "Suicune can have hers later, it's getting dark and I want to show you while it's still light."

"I'm interested to hear about this!" Raikou chuckled, then paused. "Wait. It's not something edible, is it? Because after a week in the open it won't be..."

"No, not that," Ho-Oh replied.

He reached into a cubbyhole with his long beak, and withdrew a large plush Raikou.

It was wearing a scarf.

"Capital!" Raikou pronounced. "That's me, isn't it? I certainly recognize the scarf!"

"That's correct," Ho-Oh confirmed. "There's some signs as well."

"Oh, that's just excellent," Raikou said, padding forwards. "See, brother? Fame!"

"Wait," Entei said slowly. "If that's commercially available… firstly, is there one of me?"

"Yes," Ho-Oh said. "And the miko said they'd already contacted the company, there's royalties set aside for you."

"That's not my concern!" Entei growled. "If they based that off television broadcasts, then there's only one thing that can mean!"

Ho-Oh responded by bringing out the Entei plush.

"I am never going to live that fur styling down," Entei moaned, slamming a paw into his muzzle. "Oh, there's even ribbons..."


Back to the normal schedule (i.e. chapters posted one at a time)... for now, anyway.

This is one of those ones where Ash doesn't show up except indirectly.

What do, however, are two Lugia (well, four) and two sets of Birds.

There's also Roxy (by now she's the network's Weird Things reporter), a followup on Kuan Yin and what type she uses, and sundry other Pokemon and trainers.

Poor Entei.

Anyway - next time, Battle Frontier!