"Oh, hey." Tracey said, checking the news. "That's not changed. Prima's going to give a lecture on the island."
"Who?" Ash blinked. "Is that the person who does all those strategy guides?"
"Yeah." The artist shrugged. "It's been known for years that Prima is a pen name used by Lorelei, but that's only really among the people who follow the scientific literature. She prefers to keep her scientific life separate from her life as an Elite Four member."
"That sounds nice." Misty said. "Is it soon enough we can spare the time?"
"Let's see… yep. This afternoon."
"Short notice…" Ash muttered.
"Well, she's a busy woman. And this is the largest of the Orange Islands, so there should be enough of a local audience."
Analyzing… interesting. 'Prima' has given lectures here at a minimum of six times a year for the last decade.
"That can't be right." Tracey said, surprised. "That's a lot of lectures…"
This might explain it. Dexter's projector lit. She was born here. There are newspaper articles from a few decades ago about her.
"So this is her home island? Wonder how she avoids being recognized."
Misty shrugged. "She might not bother. It's not as if it'd be a disaster for her."
"True. Well, it'd be interesting to attend."
"Ah, Ash Ketchum. Can I have a word?"
Ash turned, seeing 'Prima' standing in the corner of the Pokémon centre. "Oh! Of course."
"Thank you. Now, I am in need of someone to help me demonstrate. Since you're in the area, I was wondering if you'd be available."
"Sure!" Ash said enthusiastically. "What kind of help?"
"I normally lecture on a specific topic, complete with examples. The topic I'm going to look at this time is the topic of Type Advantage. Would you be able to bring a highly varied team, please."
"That's my normal team, actually…" Ash said.
"Should be fun." Pikachu contributed. "At least this won't be quite as high powered as the battle we had with her last time."
"There's a living audience." The Electric type deadpanned.
"Excellent." Prima nodded. "Backstage in two hours or so, please."
"Now," the Elite Four member said. "I am a user of Ice types. This is often considered to be the best offensive element, and the worst defensive element. If you would send out a type weak to Ice?"
Ash nodded. "Pidgeot!"
"Now," she continued. "If the enemy Pokémon has a weakness to one of the types that your Pokémon has, then you should exploit it." Palming a Poké ball, she threw it. "Swinub, Ice Beam!"
Pidgeot shot upwards, not waiting for a command, and the beam of ice splashed over the stage backing instead.
"An important point, here. Type advantage means nothing if an attack doesn't even connect," Prima pointed out. "This is especially important for facing down more mobile opponents. Which is why one move that Ice types know is so useful. Hail!"
Ash looked up into the sudden snowstorm, which was an astonishing sight on a subtropical island like this. Pidgeot seemed fine, though…
A vacuum wave shot out of the cloud, but accumulated snow on the way and landed as a slushball.
"A Fighting type move," Prima noted. "One thing to remember is to never assume your opponent can not have a move of any type. Even if the Pokémon does not normally learn a move of the appropriate type, there is always the technique known as Hidden Power. Swinub, use Smack Down!"
Pidgeot pulled up into a highly unusual move, almost turning upside down while still moving forward. The Smack Down missed, and she regained speed by diving before the second shot could connect.
"Your Pidgeot is a truly remarkable specimen." Prima nodded to Ash. "I did not know that was possible."
"Neither did I…" Ash muttered.
The manoeuvre is called a cobra. Dexter put in quietly. Often used in fighter aircraft which are supermanoeuverable.
Though it took several minutes, during which Swinub regularly used Dig to keep out of Pidgeot's firing arc, eventually the cold slowed her enough that Swinub connected with an Aurora Beam.
"A marvellous demonstration," Prima announced. "The advantages and disadvantages from fighting with an offensive type disparity were well shown. Now, if you would be so kind as to send out a Pokémon who has a move advantageous against Ice?"
Ash nodded. "Let's see…"
It was actually a fairly tricky question. A lot of his Pokémon were either weak to Ice, or their effective-against-Ice move was the same type as they were…
Oh, who was he kidding. "Pikachu!"
"I was starting to think you'd forgotten all about me…" Pikachu grumbled good-naturedly, jumping forwards.
Prima frowned. "Let's see… Glalie, I think."
Another Poké ball flashed, and produced a floating-head thing.
Ash felt a stab of nostalgia, remembering his own Glalie. It was still a while before they could meet up…
Pikachu's feet skidded on the floor, then steadied as he produced a pair of aura pads on his feet. Spikes on the underside let them dig into the surface of the stage and keep him on his feet.
"Interesting…" Prima muttered, watching intently.
Pikachu's paw glowed blue, and he launched himself straight at Glalie in a prodigious leap.
Light Screens formed, and promptly shattered as Pikachu rammed the shield-breaker Aura move through them. The other paw flashed with electric light, which blazed into the ground before leaving a clear, shining blue light.
Then he slammed a Force Palm straight into Glalie.
Prima looked disappointed as her Pokémon flew over the retaining wall and out of sight. "Well, so much for dynamic examples… okay. When fighting a Pokémon with a neutral type, then the main issue is going to depend on the type of your own Pokémon. Obviously, a move which has the advantage against the opponent will be preferable in most cases, but with a Glalie – for example – his Ice type moves may well be preferable, since an Ice type's Ice moves are more potent than what little Ground type moves he has. Were it not for that Pikachu apparently being a Riolu in disguise-"
"Hey!" Pikachu said, paws on hips. Riolu stuck his tongue out, and Ash facepalmed.
"-then I would expect him to follow the same approach. This is more true for a Pikachu than for other Pokémon, since they can use a Light ball – which makes electrical moves far more potent."
"She's right," Pikachu nodded along. "I like my Light ball."
"Super Effective moves are better, of course. And when a Pokémon has a double weakness, such as a Weavile to Fighting, they are always the superior option."
She paused. "Now, though it fills me with no little trepidation…" the audience laughed at that, and she went on, "Please send out a Pokémon with a type advantage against Ice."
Ash already knew who to use. "Charizard!"
"Hell yeah!" Charizard roared. "Time to rock! Only, more like… time to fire."
Prima sent out a Dewgong.
"No fair!" Charizard yelped, taking to the air just ahead of a blast of water.
"If your enemy is strong against your type, try to have a counter to the conter," Lorelei said calmly. "In the case of Ice, their commonly paired type Water is useful for this purpose – as are the Water moves many Ice types can learn."
Charizard ascended as Aqua Jets crisscrossed the stadium, then enveloped himself in a Fire Spin as hail began once more.
"Ah – this is interesting." Prima adjusted her glasses. "This is a form of shield technique, which is often useful in reducing or negating the effects of an attack. It can – depending on the situation – be a useful way to mitigate a type disadvantage. Though, of course, a water shield would have to be fairly unusual to negate an Electric attack – for example."
"When using double-typed Pokémon to cover for a weakness, a major factor must be that no double-typing will be perfect. While there are some which are better than others, in almost all cases an attack strong against one type will still do normal damage."
As she spoke, a Fire Blast speared out of the sky, and she withdrew Dewgong just ahead of the explosion.
"My thanks, young trainer, on an excellent set of demonstrations."
There was a smattering of applause.
"Okay," Ash said, pointing to Meowth. "What are you up to?"
Meowth waved a pad of paper. "I wanna get an autograph, 'cuz Prima's work saved me a whole load'a trouble. What's it ta you?"
"Fair enough." Ash shrugged. "Sorry to bother you."
"Oh, this…" Ash put his head in his hands. "Two Pokémon trainers who hate each other, with Pokémon who are in love. How did we sort this one out again? I forgot."
Misty flashed a grin. "Just leave it to me!"
"Actually, that sounds like a bad plan." Tracey flinched as Misty rounded on him. "No, really! Remember what happened last time?"
"No, actually." Misty admitted. "But how hard can it be?"
"Don't say that!" Ash said quickly. "Things always go wrong when someone says it!"
"Okay, I'll bite." Tracey shook his head. "How?"
"Easy." Misty pointed at the two Nido's. "I taught them both Helping Hand, and pointed out how popular Double Battles are getting to their trainers."
"You are far too lucky."
Misty shrugged. "Well, all's well that ends well."
Ash dove for cover.
When nothing continued to happen, he poked his head back up warily.
Tracey and Misty shrugged and walked off. After a moment, Ash followed, still looking around for the random Legendary or airship crash or something.
"Well…" Jenny pulled out a municipal map. "There's hundreds of miles of sewer underneath this city."
At the incredulous expressions of the trio, she gave an awkward gesture. "What can I say. The city planners loved sewers. And this is the largest settlement on the island."
"Which gives it a population of not-enough-to-need this," Misty said, then sighed. "Ah well. I always wanted to spend ages in a sewer."
Dexter formed, settled to the ground, and emitted a faint rumble. Inverting. Ah, there it is. Follow me.
"We so should have had you last time," Pikachu said.
A tentacle lashed out of the water, aiming for the group.
Ash grimaced, double-checked that he was wearing rubber gloves, and grabbed one tentacle as it went past. His boots flared, anchoring him to the floor, and he pulled.
In a splash of foul-smelling water, a huge Bulbasaur came flying into the air and landed with a splat on the walkway.
"…huh," Riolu said, frowning. "Didn't know they got that big…"
"Usually they don't," Tracey said authoritatively. "This is a Giant one, which is an unusual kind of Pokémon condition. The jury's out on if it's genetic, environmental, or a mix."
Ash sent out Ivysaur. "Hey, can you speak to 'im?"
"Well, yeah. The issue is an answer." Ivysaur walked forward, closing up his fronds to keep them from getting splashed.
"So!" Jenny scowled. "He was going to make us do his dirty work for him, and cover up a serious crime on his part. Well, so much for that mayor. Abandoning a Pokémon is a serious crime…"
"Out of curiosity…" Ash raised a hand. "If he'd sent in a SWAT team like he was threatening, what would they have used?"
"Sandslash, Wartortle, Alakazam and Tangela." Jenny rolled her eyes. "It used to stand for something else, but someone got confused somewhere."
"Huh. Okay, I always wondered what that stood for…" Ash said, nodding to himself.
"Finally!" Ash said, and spread his arms. "Trovita Gym!"
"Which one was this?" Tracey asked.
Misty scowled. "I remember this jerk."
"Jerk?" Ash paused. "I actually don't remember…"
"He was too busy getting an eyeful of me to pay attention to his job." Misty shook her head. "I don't like that."
"So, you have to hit all the floating targets if you want to challenge me!" Rudy said, not quite focusing on Ash.
For some reason, his gaze kept wandering a little towards where Misty was.
"Right…" Ash said, reaching for a Poké ball, then paused. "Can I check something?"
"You just need all the targets to be hit, right? Doesn't matter how?" Ash shrugged. "I mean, there was this other gym leader who made it have to be a Water type…"
"No type chauvinism here." Rudy flashed a smile. "In fact, that's half the point of the main battle section. Anyway, if your Pokémon doesn't have the range to hit them from the shore, you can just ask and I'll take you out in my speedboat."
"Cool." Ash raised a Poké ball. "Snorlax, body slam!"
"Wait, what?" Rudy blinked.
Then he, and everyone else on the waterfront, got wet.
"I think that went well!" Ash said brightly, as Charizard blew hot air to dry them all off.
Rudy just grumbled something about tidal waves.
"So, the main battle?"
"Right." The Gym Leader pushed himself up. "Okay, I actually do have a normal Pokémon battle section."
"For this archipelago, that's kind of daring…" Tracey commented.
"I know. I've got letters asking why it isn't a skydiving contest or something." Rudy tapped his foot. "Anyway. Pick three of your Pokémon, and I'll match their type. Best two of three same-type matches wins."
"That's interesting." Misty grinned. "I certainly got Ash the same way back in Cerulean."
"You mean you sent out a Chinchou and absorbed basically everything Pikachu had." Ash shook his head. "Still, at least honour was restored."
Misty blanked for a moment, then tried to strangle Ash. He dodged her lunge and fled with a laugh.
Rudy pointed after them. "Does this…?"
"All the time." Tracey shrugged. "You get used to it. I'd say it'll be twenty-three minutes before you can start your battle."
Twenty-two minutes and fifty-three seconds later…
"Round one!" Rudy said into a microphone, and the crowd roared.
Well, more like purred. There weren't that many of them.
Ash threw his first Poké ball of the match. "Pidgeot!"
"Oh." Rudy said, releasing his own Pokémon. "When you said Flying type…"
"Huh." Ash looked skywards, at the two almost-identical Pidgeot. "You too, huh?"
Rudy shrugged. "They're very good Pokémon."
"I know." Ash cupped his hands around his mouth. "Get 'em, girl!"
"You know it!" Pidgeot replied with a coo, and then shot skywards with mighty beats of her air-augmented wings.
The other Pidgeot looked up, apparently at a loss.
"…I knew I should have focused on training him for dogfighting…" Rudy rummaged in his pockets and pulled out a tape recorder. "Let's see…"
Putting it up next to the microphone, he pressed play.
"What's that music?" Misty asked, looking up as she tried to remember. "It's familiar, but…"
Identifying… identification complete.
"Wait." Tracey pointed at Dexter. "You can do that?"
Yes. What? I'm a Pokémon and an AI, not a dishwasher.
Tracey shrugged helplessly. "Okay, what is it then?"
The Dambuster's March.
Ash's Pidgeot slashed out of the sky, moving at her attack speed of nearly mach three, and cloaked in dynamically unstable air to aid her terminal attack.
The other Pidgeot did an aileron roll and slid away from her, so she converted the speed of the attack into a lightning-fast partial roll of her own and circled to get behind him.
Air cutters rolled off her Tailwind and stuttered forwards, spraying a cone in front of her which was where she could aim best, but he evaded her with a dodge of his own and tried for an Aerial Ace.
"Not gonna lie, this is pretty cool," Pikachu said, watching the contrails cross and spar across the sky.
"Yeah…" Ash agreed, squinting up. "Problem is, I've completely lost track of which is which."
"…oh, right." Ash closed one eye. "Yeah, that's better. Whoa!"
"What?" Pikachu extended his electrical sense. "I missed it."
"She just pulled a Kulbit. He nearly hit her and she shed a lot of speed, but it means she's behind him again. But he just Cobra'd, and… I can't talk fast enough!"
Then the sky erupted with light as a Sky Attack hit… something.
Ash's hand snapped out. "Charizard, catch them!"
Charizard beat his wings strongly, heading out over the water towards the twin specks plummeting out of the sky.
He was sure he could catch one. Two, on the other hand, might be a little more tricky.
Then one of the two Pokémon pulled out of its dive. The resultant flight path was wobbly, but serviceable.
Well, that simplifies things…
The Fire type matched speed with the falling bird, and caught it gently in both arms.
"So…" Ash said, looking the Pidgeot up and down. "Which one are you?"
It promptly stole his hat.
"Okay, I was joking!" The hat fell to the floor, and Ash retrieved it hastily. Then he slapped her on the wing-base. "Good work, girl. Get some rest."
"Your second type?" Rudy asked.
"Let's go with… Bug! Butterfree!"
"Venomoth," Rudy countered.
The moth didn't waste any time, firing a Supersonic and a Disable. Butterfree tried to resist them, but wasn't strong enough to handle both and was temporarily immobilized.
He shook it off in only a couple of seconds, but by then Venomoth had delivered a dusting of shed scales with a Toxic wrapped up in them.
"Damnit!" Butterfree shook his wings, trying to dislodge the spores, but could already feel the effects starting to bite.
"Well, if I'm going down, I'm not going alone. Confusion!"
Venomoth flinched back as the Psychic attack washed over him.
Butterfree slashed in, the tempo of his attacks increasing. The poison was weakening him by now, accelerating as the reactive poison of the Toxic adapted to his defences…
But he was good.
A final, risky wingover slammed into Venomoth, and the other Bug type finally fainted.
Butterfree floated above the arena, holding his wings steady despite the burning poison, until his opponent finally hit the arena floor.
Then, and only then, did he let himself go down.
"All right!" Ash said, grinning, as he gathered up the falling Butterfree and sprayed some Antidote on. "So, what now?"
Rudy rummaged in his pocket and passed something over. "Now you get the Spike Shell badge."
Ash blinked. "Pardon?"
"Two wins. I can't make that good, so you win."
"Hold on a second!" Ash's face fell. "You mean you don't do a third match in this situation?"
"Well, I don't…" Rudy shrugged. "Sorry."
"Awww…" Riolu muttered.
"Well, that went well!" Misty said brightly.
"Speak for yourself…" Ash replied, sulking.
"Come on, Ash!" Tracey said. "So you only had two battles. Isn't that still okay?"
"I can't believe you would even ask that question." Ash turned away from Tracey with a hmf.
"What's that place?" Ash said, pointing over the port bow. "It looks kind of…"
That is Fairchild Island. Known for lush and verdant forests, the remnants of a volcanic plug, and giant Pidgeot and Rhydon.
"Oh, that place." Pikachu looked around. "Hope I don't get tied to Meowth.. again…"
One of Ash's Poké balls erupted in light.
"I fancy having a look over there, actually," Pidgeot said casually. "I want to see if they have anything to teach me."
"Oh! Well, sure," Ash said. "Just, come back soon, okay?"
"Sure thing, Ash." With a wash of air, Pidgeot took flight.
"Hmmm…" Tracey consulted a nautical chart. "According to this, there's a strong current in the area. I wonder what that could mean for the local Pokémon…"
"It's making it very hard going!" Lapras interjected. "I don't mind all that much, but…"
"Not much else we can do…" Ash said. "Though, if Charizard and Pidgeot don't mind, we could use their help for a bit."
"No, I'm fine." Lapras shrugged his head. "Don't mind me."
"If you say so," Ash said, shrugging.
Then there was an explosion to the southwest.
"Whoa!" Ash shouted, looking off in that direction. "What happened?"
Specks of colour danced against the blue sky, and flashes of heat lightning or momentary clouds flashed for almost a full minute. Accompanying it, at a delay of about ten seconds, was a series of rumbling booms.
Eventually, it died away. A few seconds later, a familiar shape came skipping over the sea.
Pidgeot flared her wings, beat them once to cancel most of her momentum, and settled into a low orbit around Lapras. "Ruffians!"
"I… take it that it didn't go well?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Land ahoy!" Tracey said, looking through his binoculars.
"Where?" Ash asked, shading his eyes.
"East, mostly." Tracey pointed. "At least… I think that's east. Pikachu?"
Pikachu hummed, focusing on the magnetic field of the earth. "…yes, you're right. That's east. Are we off course?"
"Must have been the current…" Misty said,
We are indeed off course, Dexter supplied, rising into the air. That is not the deserted Berna Island. In fact…that is Shamouti.
"…oh, great," all three humans chorused.
"Well, this should be… 'fun'," Ash added with a sigh.
Lapras coasted into Shamouti bay, which was fairly empty of boats on that particular day. Only a few ferries were docked, and most of those were riding high on the moorings.
"Looks quite empty, actually…" Misty said, looking around. "Wasn't it really busy last time?"
We are one day earlier than we were last time, Dexter said helpfully. The festival begins tomorrow evening. I suggest getting a good rest.
"Yeah, sounds like a plan," Ash said, hopping off Lapras as they reached the beach. "Thanks, Lapras. I think we might be able to give you a rest for the next leg."
"Okay. Just be careful, okay?" Lapras craned his neck back to check everyone else was off, then nodded to Ash who returned him.
"Ohhh, that was good…" Tracey said, lying back on his bed in the hotel. "This place has such nice food…"
"It is a tourist centre," Ash replied. "I've never seen so many elaborate and vaguely silly bird costumes."
"Hey, don't knock it," Riolu warned from the window. "I love this kind of thing."
Ash nodded. "Me too, actually. Doesn't stop me making fun of it." He rummaged in his pouch, and pulled out Sir Aaron's complete wardrobe. "These tomorrow, I think."
"Good idea." Pikachu rubbed his paws together, then brought out his Light Ball to check before reabsorbing it. "We'll need all the help we can get."
Riolu turned from the window and sat on the dresser, crossing his legs and settling into a meditative posture. "I agree."
At ten minutes past midnight, four silvery shapes dropped through a cloud layer and sped south and west. Something flashed pale blue behind them, and orbs of light dropped through the cloud layer in a steady stream.
Shapes and orbs alike were headed on an arrow-straight path to Fire Island, most south-easterly of the three sacred islands.
"I still don't see why we couldn't do this yesterday," Hunter J said with a scowl. "As it is, we're taking far too long."
"The Beast of the Sea must be tamed on the day of the festival," Lawrence said calmly. "The festival begins today; so must the taming begin. And why so anxious, sister?"
J strode over to one of the display screens. Tapping on the controls with quick, sure strokes, she brought up a recon image of Shamouti Island. "This is going to be densely populated on the day of the festival – it draws people from all over the Orange Islands to see it. We might be found out."
"Dear me, sister," Lawrence said with mock surprise, "is this you I hear worried about being found out? Aren't you the one who dares the police to do what they can?"
"That was when I had a battleship," she admitted, though she'd never breathe it to someone who wasn't family. "And you know as well as I that the new one is still months from completion."
"That's as may be," Lawrence shrugged. "But we do have a battleship. A great citadel of the skies!"
An attention signal chimed.
"Ah, the Titan of Fire has emerged from the volcano." He spun his chair to the controls, and began entering commands. The ice cannon shifted, targeting the blazing streak of fire in the night, and opening up.
"Using ice weapons is foolish," J muttered. "Moltres is Fire type, and Fire is strong against Ice."
"As Flying is weak," Lawrence countered. "Besides, to capture a Pokémon one must weaken it before using the Poké ball."
More ice shots slammed into the Legendary, and after a further moment laser fire danced out from the four pinnaces. Moltres snarled, turning to face them, and took a bolt square on the back.
"Now, I think." Lawrence stabbed a key.
Four metallic circles dropped free, homing on the Legendary Pokémon. It took a few blasts and even hit one with a Fire Blast which blew it to smithereens, but eventually the attacks overcame it and it was captured in a forcefield by two of the circles.
"You should paralyze it. Maybe even lock it into stasis."
"No." Lawrence spun to face his sister. "The Titans must be brought together, but their powers must be combined to tame Lugia. I cannot do that if they are unable to use those powers."
Hunter J stared at him, then nodded grudgingly. "Fine. If any of this is going to work the way you want it to, then we have to follow the instructions…"
"My thoughts exactly." Lawrence brought up a map. "Now, perturbing the balance of the Titans by removing the Titan of Fire should lead to a reaction from one of the others. Let us see which it is…"
Yes, I know it's been a while. I've been busy, okay?
And please don't nag me over things. I know that for the person sending it, it's only one message, but I get all of them. I've already addressed this on my page - I don't know what I'll write until I do.
Wow, there's been a lot more, er, Pokémon World revealed since last time I wrote on this fic.
Suffice to say, I'm going to invoke cosmic retcon for Fairy types. And I have an entirely different plan for the other new thing, Mega-Evolutions.