Author's note: The Red portrayed in this story is a composite character of Ash, PokeSupe Red, and game Red. Please don't tell me it contradicts one version, because I already know that.
Life in Mount Silver was freezing and isolated, and Red liked it that way. His pokemon were divided on it: the Espeon he had rescued as an Eevee from Team Rocket was even more content than he was, and his Pikachu and Venusaur had loyally followed him to the ascetic life atop a mountain. Yet many of his pokemon, even the Poliwrath with whom he had begun his pokemon journey, had balked at the thought of such a lonely life, and were instead placed in the care of Professor Oak.
Some days, a visitor braved the maze of caves, the powerful wild pokemon, and the snow to visit him. Often it was old, half-abandoned friends wanting to check up on him – Blue and Green were amazing trainers, after all, and they could make it through and have a friendly battle. Other times it was new trainers. Some of them were hotheads who boasted before the battle, who thought that beating Lance meant they stood a chance against a trainer who was arguably the greatest in the world. (Arguably, for rumor held that Sinnoh's champion, Cynthia, was every bit his equal, although others claimed Cynthia had refused to challenge him because she knew she would lose.) Others did not expect victory, but wished to test their strength all the same.
Today was one of those days. A visitor walked towards him across a frozen cliff towards the makeshift outdoor arena Red had set up for the slow yet steady stream of challengers. The visitor was wearing a rainbow cape and a shining golden cloak which had become wet from the snow. The visitor's face was somewhat feminine, yet not quite female, their voice high-pitched, yet it was hard to tell if it belonged to a woman or simply a tall boy, its figure obscured by its cloak.
"I challenge you, Red," the trainer shouted, a voice echoing across the mountain.
Red said nothing. He could say nothing. His vocal cords never quite developed right, and he had not spoken a word since birth. All he did was nod and gently toss his Pikachu's pokeball upwards, allowing the rodent to materialize in the icy arena before he caught the open ball in his hand.
The opposing trainer smiled. "Still with Pikachu, I see. Even the Spearow couldn't break your bond... so why would any mountain?" The trainer stepped forward, hood falling off in a fierce gust of wind, revealing gray hair and yet a young-looking face, with a large nose of a type rarely seen in this part of the world. "Suicune, go!"
The wind which knocked the trainer's face off turned into a small cyclone, then was canceled out, as a powerful gust whipped across the mountain from the north side of the arena – the challenger's side. Red's pikachu dug its feet into the snow to maintain its footing, as a great blue beast emerged, as much canine as feline, who slid effortlessly across the ice when it moved.
"Suicune, surf." The great beast stood over eight feet tall, and probably at least forty long – and yet even this was dwarfed by the height of the enormous wave it soon rode the small electric-type's way. Rather than run or jump or even thunderbolt, Pikachu whipped its body and face around, looking for a signal from its trainer.
Red was mute, but far from dumb. He had developed a sign language at a young age, which was at first known only by his parents, but as he played with a few neighborhood children in the small, pristine hamlet of Pallet he called home, they slowly had learned to understand him; Blue and Green could sign as quickly as he did. The local wild pokemon had always taken a liking to him, and he seemed more able to communicate with them than with people; then again, pokemon could only say their names, and did the rest through intonation and signs themselves. Perhaps this had strengthened the bond he shared with his own pokemon, perhaps it had allowed him to reach the tallest heights of any trainer.
But there was no denying that it was also a weakness. His pokemon had learned how to turn around quickly, but ears, unlike eyes, can hear in all directions. When Pikachu received the signal, it barely had time to process its orders – especially orders as crazy as these.
It did it only a split-second before the wave hit. In a way, Red's orders were genius; Pikachu could not outrun it, especially with nowhere to run, and by turning around it had no time to burrow. Instead, its cheeks glowed a bright red, and it filled the fifty-foot tall wave and sky alike with lightning and Thunder.
When Suicune landed, it was at the edge of the battlefield, panting desperately and struggling to stand. If Pikachu were to have landed, it would probably be at the base of Victory Road, a small patch of yellow blasting off in a twinkle like the most incompetent of Team Rocket. Red held his pokeball aloft, a laser firing at the Pikachu as it plunged out of the mountaintop, and it returned to its pokeball, safe, sound, and even capable of fighting again if things got desperate enough.
Red hoped his teammates could take care of it. Anyone who lead with a Suicune had to be good. He said nothing as he hurled his second pokeball – not a light vertical toss, but a fastball thrown into the snow. Its position was designed to corner Suicune the moment it appeared – after all, the pokemon inside wasn't known for its speed.
The mountaintop slowly rumbled as the Venusaur emerged, the enormous flower on its back bombarded by a sudden hail. It dug its feet into the snow, slowly steadying itself as it turned to Red for orders.
"Suicune, ice beam." A beam as narrow as an icicle sped towards the blue-green beast, who sliced the attack with a flurry of razor leaves. This defense was only good for changing the form of the attack, for instead of a solid beam, Venusaur's side was pierced by a hail of icicles. But it was not for nothing. The leaves which sliced through the ice beam continued into Suicune's nose, and the legend of the north wind fell into the snow.
"Suicune, return," the grey-haired trainer said with a smile. "But much as I hate to say it, Suicune's probably the weakest of my pokemon. Entei, however, is undefeated." The trainer tossed a ball gently into the arena, ignoring Red's piercing, angry glare, and a great, maned red beast materialized where it landed.
Entei did not dig in like Venusaur, nor did it need to. The moment it appeared, all the snow within a thirty-foot radius not only melted, but evaporated instantly, and Entei instead dug its claws into wet rock, opened its mouth, and threw a towering flame Venusaur's way. Venusaur, on Red's signal, dug its vines into the snow, then answered the flames with a towering snowball.
"Don't let up!" Hearing its trainer's command, Entei shot another flamethrower into the cloud of mist where Venusaur had stood – there couldn't be much snow left there, after all.
It was completely unprepared for one thousand pounds of Venusaur rising from the very ground on which it stood, slamming into it with a devastating force.
Its trainer was equally shocked. Not having to shout commands certainly had its advantages.
As it regained its footing, Venusaur attempted to rope the legend in with its vines, hoping to grab its legs while it was disoriented, only for the vines themselves to catch fire when they touched the great beast. While Venusaur hurriedly vine-whipped the snow in agony, the flares surrounding Entei raged as it regained its footing and charged the half-plant creature like a football player running a blitz.
And this blitz was a sack, for Venusaur crashed helplessly into the now-exposed (albeit wet) rocks of Mount Silver, still breathing, but unable to even stand.
Red gulped, his face betraying his nervousness as he retrieved his pokeball and a bright light called Venusaur back. Who was this opponent? Could he really lose? He had one pokemon left good for more than a sudden, desperate strike, and he wondered what any psychic could do against the mind of a god.
At least it could read his mind, so it wouldn't have to waste time turning around. And this fact had made it his trump card for so many battles. Snow was slowly replenishing on the part of the field where Entei no longer stood, but it and Venusaur had melted most of it from the actual battlefield, and Red shielded his eyes as he opened his pokeball without even a throw, and an Espeon emerged from the light, standing atop mud without sinking in.
The Espeon glanced at the opposing trainer in the gold cloak and rainbow cape, then fell back with sudden shock – more shocked than it was from even facing an Entei! It said nothing of this to Red, however, for it did not wish to trouble him; after all, in battle they were only a trainer.
It did communicate that the last pokeball on their belt contained a Raikou, but Red suspected that already.
"Entei's weakened," Red thought-spoke to Espeon. "Probably enough that another attack will take it down, though it's never really that easy."
"So what do you think I should do? Use psychic, or..."
"Do exactly what you think I'm thinking of. It's risky, but it's our only option..." Red thought with a nervous smile, as Espeon glowed a bullfighter's red and its eyes met Entei's.
And suddenly Entei forgot it was on Mount Silver. It forgot the cold air, the still-falling snow, the rocky ground, and the Espeon attacking it. It was still at its home in the basement of an enormous tower, some smaller pokemon; it didn't remember what, in that manner of a strange dream where some of the details were forgotten.
And it was on fire. And it burned.
Entei's fire surrounded it in a terrifying inferno, its red fur engulfed in flames as it charged wildly, coincidentally in Espeon's direction. Espeon, seemingly too terrified to move, charged back towards the safety of its trainer, a small, pink blur running towards Red, chased by an enormous fireball.
Red knew what to do. So did his opponent. Both trainers opened their pokeballs, two red lasers shot towards the two pokemon, but Red's had not nearly as much need to travel. When Espeon was engulfed, Entei kept charging, while Red himself ran to the left in terror.
When the light hit Entei, it was at the precise moment that Red had counted on; a split-second too early to crush him, yet a split-second too late for his golden-cloaked opponent. Entei had stepped out of the arena, and in a pokemon battle, that was as good as fainting.
Espeon, on the other hand, was unharmed. But it was illegal to return it without sending out a new pokemon. So as Raikou emerged from his opponent's pokeball, crackling with electricity and towering over both trainers, Red had to send out his badly wounded Pikachu to face that great tiger of lightning. And he had to leave it in long enough to face an attack.
It didn't stand a chance.
Pikachu didn't even turn around for instructions. There was only one thing to do. One thing it could do before fainting. And it wasn't very useful, but maybe every little bit would help. Running across the light, renewed cover of snow, it quickly attacked Raikou's foot, in an attack the great beast barely even noticed.
There is a reason mice usually hide from cats. On its trainer's order of "Crunch," Raikou lowered its head to the ground to pick up the small yellow rodent by its sharp, white fangs, then carefully bit down. It was careful to avoid vital organs – attacks like these were how many pokemon lost their lives in battle, but this beast had eaten so many Pikachu over the years that it knew exactly where to bite. And where not to bite.
Pikachu was alive. It was, however, unable to battle, so Red returned it to its pokeball.
"So we're down to one pokemon each. Say Red, what about a wager on this battle?"
Red smiled, hoping his face would reveal what his words could not; he wanted to hear more. "We've both been gone from the world for some time... and there are people waiting for both of us. What do you say to the loser having to return from exile?"
Red gulped. It was a terrifying thought; he had been on the mountain for so long that it had become his home. He was facing legends, and it had taken everything he had just to defeat two of them – and he didn't have all that many tricks up his sleeve left. Then again, if he was no longer the world's greatest trainer, what was the point of secluding himself to begin with? And if his opponent was who he suspected, and he won, his own legend would only grow.
And then he nodded and summoned Espeon once again. The pink, forked-tailed cat materialized from its pokeball, then faced the maned tiger without a touch of fear in its eyes; more than either trainer could claim.
"Psychic?" it thought to its trainer.
"Psychic," Red confirmed. The jewel on Espeon's face glowed a bright red, its blue eyes staring an intense diagonal upwards at its foe. The Raikou's trainer looked a bit confused, wondering if the battle had started; there was no visible attack.
And then a loud, growling "Raiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" of pain shook the mountain with its noise.
"Shadow ball." The challenger commanded, and the purple hairs on the Raikou's back stood upright, like five new limbs taller than even its legs. Fighting through its searing headache, it opened its mouth wide, absorbing its own shadow, then spat a swirling black ball twice the size of Espeon at its psychic foe.
When the ball slammed into Espeon, it did not move an inch; it was, after all, shadow. It did look visibly pained, however, and its concentration was broken as the sky began to clear.
"Quickly! You can win this!" Red thought-spoke excitedly, as giddy as when had first beaten the elite four as he pumped his fist in the air. "Morning sun!"
"Not so fast," his opponent answered; the rainbow-caped trainer was getting into the fight too, lifting a golden hood to cover grey hair once more. "Rain dance!"
For a moment, the cleared sky and completed blizzard brought sunlight to the mountain, although with the battlefield having only a thin cover of snow, it did not shine with its usual brightness. Espeon stood in the center of the sunlight, stealing the sun's rays to rejuvenate its own health.
And then suddenly, the clouds which had taken most of a battle to clear up returned with a vengeance, yet they poured down not snow, but a rare, freezing rain which sparked as it hit Raikou's fur. Espeon abruptly stopped its recovery; hopefully, it had regained enough.
There was little else it could do. Its jewel began to glow again.
"I don't think you can take another thunder. Strike hard and strike first. Psychic." The jewel glowed again for another invisible attack, and Raikou roared once more with renewed pain, barely able to stand as Espeon braced itself for the inevitable Thunder.
Barely able to stand was still able to stand. This battle was all but over.
"Wild charge," The challenger ordered. Red's mouth fell agape in shock as he signed furiously at his opponent. And the great beast, surrounded in crackling lightning, charged. Two pokemon collided. Both fell.
The challenger, in a golden cloak and rainbow cape, walked across the wet rocks of the makeshift arena, battered by a fierce rain. Lifting a pokeball, the trainer recalled Raikou and stretched a hand outwards.
"Espeon have high special defense, and yours was still doing quite well for itself. I didn't throw the match."
Red returned his own Espeon, then shook his head. It didn't make sense. Why would he order a rain dance? Why would he not let Suicune take advantage of rain dance, if he was going to? His opponent, whoever it was, had thrown the match – he'd call it a loss, his first loss, even if it went down officially as a tie.
Red reached out and shook his opponent's hand. "Let's go home," the challenger said, and Red nodded in agreement.
A brilliant flash of rainbow light enveloped the "person" he was challenging; their face morphed into one with a beak, while the cloak unwrapped itself into brilliant golden wings, and the cape became a rainbow emanating out from those wings.
"Ho-oh," it spoke, lowering a wing to the ground. Red climbed onto the great bird, who flew down from the mountain, headed for Ecruteak City.
Their exiles were over.