Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon.

"Speech"

'Thoughts'

"Telepathy"

Author Notes: Chapter 13. Here it is, enjoy! Special thanks to my beta reader fatescanner for providing very good feedback and several valuable contributions to the chapter.

Chapter 13 – Shedding Old Lives


The sun had already risen above the horizon, spreading its warm daylight over the vast forest of Petalburg. The arrival of the morning filled the forest with life, as sounds of varying types and natures echoed from all the Pokémon that made their home in the forest.

Ash and his friends had long since departed the Pokémon center after bidding their farewells to the Nurse Joy that had been very kind and hospitable to them over the past days. The group's intended destination was Rustboro City, the place where Ash's next Pokémon challenge resided. However, they weren't the only ones going about in the forest. In a rather small area between the shades of many trees, two humans dressed in white and a feline Pokémon were slowly settling down.

"Mmm, all this looks so delicious! We should definitely consider stopping at Pokémon Centers to eat more often!" Jessie beamed happily, glancing at all the food they had laid out on their outstretched red and white square-themed blanket. Prior to their departure from the Pokémon Center the day before, the two had managed to convince Nurse Joy to let them take some food and general provisions with them until they reached the next city.

"This is the best breakfast we've had in a while," James commented in agreement, eyeing the food containers laid out before them hungrily. He frowned after a couple seconds of thought. "Why didn't we do this before?" he asked curiously, glancing at the other two members of his group for an answer.

"Because we were part of a criminal organization and it was dangerous for us to just run into Pokémon Centers, since they'd call the police as soon as they saw us?" Jessie answered with a rhetorical question. "But now that we've decided to leave Team Rocket and ditch the uniforms, that's over! We can eat in Pokémon Centers because we're technically still trainers. All that's due is a change of clothes now." She glanced at their clothes, which were rather tattered and beaten from the unpleasant happenings of the previous days.

"Especially for James, da clothes change is urgent," Meowth recommended as he examined Jessie and James' ruined uniforms. "We'll get new ones next city," he added. "Times like dis I'm happy I don't need ta wear silly clothes."

James rolled his eyes at the talking normal-type's comments, but nonetheless expressed his own joy. "I'm just glad to put Team Rocket behind me now." Meowth nodded in agreement.

The three hummed softly as they thought of the group decisions they had taken the night before. After the tough experience the formerly villainous group had gone through with Pokémon Hunter Rico and the painfully truthful words Brock had lectured them with, plus a mostly sleepless night contemplating their future along with all the deeds and mischief they had done so far in the past several years, Jessie, James and Meowth realized that it was true. They didn't enjoy the feelings that came about from having Pokémon stolen from their beloved trainers and as a result, the trio had decided to abandon Team Rocket forever and leave the organization behind them, not to mention being criminals in general.

"So, now dat we've left Team Rocket, what are we gonna do now?" Meowth asked, glancing at his two human partners.

"…That's a good question," Jessie admitted, and then pouted slightly when nothing bright occurred to her after several seconds of thought.

"How about deal with all the things abandoning Team Rocket leaves us with?" James suggested. "Like paying off all our debts to Team Rocket so we aren't chased, and find a way to get around the criminal records and similar stuff being part of Team Rocket has left us with?"

"Eh, we'll just think about that later," Jessie said, waving her hand to brush off the topic. "Something's bound to come up soon. My hunger is more important now."

"Let's feast! I'm starving," James agreed eagerly.

"I second dat! Time ta dig in!" Meowth yelled happily as he began to stuff his face with food. Jessie and James mimicked his actions soon after, enjoying the first decent meal they had had in a while.

A few moments later, the bushes to their side began to rustle slightly. The three ex-Team Rocket operatives turned to investigate the source of the rustles, tensing slightly and preparing for anything that might emerge. They relaxed visibly when they noticed a small Pokémon that looked like a green-colored, round cactus with dark green spikes and a small yellow crown on its head hop out of the bush. The Pokémon's eyes lightened up when it saw all the food scattered around Team Rocket's blanket and began to walk forward, letting out joyous chirps.

"Hey! Dat's our food, so get outta here!" Meowth rudely demanded, his claws stretching out of his paws as he took on a menacing stance. The Pokémon, a young female Cacnea, squeaked in fear and backed away, not wanting any aggressive confrontation.

"Meowth! You're scaring it away!" James reprimanded, glaring at the feline Pokémon. "It's just a hungry, defenseless wild Pokémon. Be nicer!" The blue-haired young adult picked up a sandwich and walked to the Cacnea, kneeling beside it gently and in a friendly manner. "Here little buddy, have a bite," he offered kindly.

"Thanks!" Cacnea beamed, gleefully grabbing the sandwich and then took a bite out of it. While it wasn't exactly composed of things she was used to eating, it wasn't that bad at all.

James smiled at the fact the Pokémon seemed to appreciate the meal. "There, eat up," he spoke up nicely.

"James, what are you doing?" Jessie asked with a puzzled look.

"He's bein' a softie as usual," Meowth remarked, rolling his eyes as he took out several bites of his own food.

"Duh, what does it look like I'm doing, Jess?" James answered sarcastically. "We're not bad guys anymore, so we have to try and be nice from now on. I'd expect you two to do the same thing," he said, turning around and shooting a pointed look at Jessie and Meowth.

Jessie sweatdropped at his comment while Meowth face-pawed. "Just because we abandoned Team Rocket doesn't mean we have to feed every poor wild Pokémon we run into. We barely have food to feed ourselves, most of the time!"

"Plus, we've seen trainers dat while not bein' criminals, were worse dan us," Meowth added with skepticism. "So, leavin' Team Rocket doesn't mean we instantly have ta be as good as dem twerps."

James rolled his eyes at his partners' opinion, but admitted he didn't expect anything else from them. "Alright, we'll stop stealing, and we can try to be nicer. Though I guess you do have a point." He paused and glanced as the Cacnea finished eating the sandwich. "But, this little Cacnea is so adorable!" He picked her up, being careful to avoid her thorny spikes.

"Cute? That thing looks like a torture device in green paint," Jessie said flatly. Her comment earned her a glare from the Cactus Pokémon.

"Don't say that," James reprimanded her. He smiled at the Cacnea and lifted her up slightly. "Don't listen to those two, they're just being mean."

The Cacnea smiled back at James. "You're nice," she stated, slowly developing a liking to the blue-haired human.

"What did it say?" James asked, glancing at Meowth for a translation.

"She says you're nice. And dat's corny if ya ask me, I've heard better come-on lines from a Trubbish," Meowth said, translating the Cacnea's speech, snickering loudly at the end.

"She? Oh," James muttered, although his words went unheard as the Cacnea turned her attention towards Meowth.

"Hey!" the Cactus Pokémon shouted indignantly. "I wasn't coming on to him, whatever that means! All I said is that I think he's nice!"

"Yeah, suuuure ya were, lady," Meowth teased sarcastically, before letting loose another fit of loud snickers.

Cacnea growled angrily at the Scratch Cat Pokémon, as unusually pleasing thoughts of jabbing her spiky arms into his rear end accompanied by his subsequent yowls of pain filled her mind.

"Oh, don't mind him, he's certainly one to talk about etiquette when talking to a lady. Remind me, how long ago exactly was it that you last saw Meowzie, Meowth?" James asked, pointedly turning to face Meowth.

Almost immediately, Meowth's mirth seemed to deflate. "Low blow, James," he said glumly, as he turned his eyes towards the ground with a melancholic expression on his face.

"So," began James as he turned back around to face the Cacnea. "As a good gentleman is required to do when meeting a lady, allow me to introduce myself. My name is James, very pleased to meet you, milady," he said with a courteous smile on his face.

"You do know you're introducing yourself to a wild Pokémon and not a human, right? Why the fancy talk all of a sudden?" asked Jessie as the Cacnea giggled and blushed slightly at James' words. "Did leaving Team Rocket end up screwing your head or something?"

"Well, it was the way I was taught to introduce myself back home," explained James.

"I don't seem to recall you introducing yourself to me that way when we first met," Jessie said skeptically.

"He was introducing ta ya and not someone else, you're no lady," Meowth joked, laughing afterwards. His laugher turned to a yelp when Jessie hit him in the head.

"Well, to be fair," James began, causing Jessie and the hurting Meowth to turn his attention to him. "I was trying my best to disassociate myself from those courtesies ever since I ran away. I figured it would be a dead giveaway for anyone looking for me if I continued to talk like a noble. However, seeing as we're trying to turn over a new leaf and be good, I figure some of those courtesies will help in making me seem good to other people we meet. Same thing with Pokémon," he elaborated, giving Cacnea a good-natured grin at the end, causing Cacnea to giggle again and smile back.

"Well, that makes good sense, I suppose, but aren't you still worried your family and Jessiebelle are still looking for you?" Jessie asked, a trace of loathing entering her voice as she spoke James' erstwhile fiancée's name.

James, too, shuddered slightly at the mention of her name. "Well," he began after a moment of contemplation. "We are a couple regions away from home. I doubt they'll be looking for me in Hoenn. And besides, it's not like I plan to talk fancy all the time, just the basic courtesies, nothing more than that."

"They're super rich, and have houses everywhere," Jessie pointed out. "They could be living here in Hoenn as we speak."

James winced in horror, seeing as Jessie was potentially right. Suddenly, the young grass-type froze in his hands, making James frown and detach himself from his trail of thoughts about his rich family. "What's wrong?" James asked, tilting his head.

"She looks like she saw a ghost Pokémon," Jessie commented idly, as she returned to eating her food.

"Run!" Cacnea suddenly screeched in terror, frightening everyone slightly as she hopped out of James' arms. "She's gonna kill you, run for your lives!" Without an instant to lose, running as fast as her short, stubby legs would allow, the Cacnea dove into the bushes and disappeared.

The three Team Rocket agents blinked and glanced in the direction the grass-type had left. "What was dat all about?" Meowth asked, confused. "She said somethin' about running for our lives."

"Poor girl," James mumbled, concerned. "We should go after her… or get away. I don't feel comfortable staying here after what she said."

"Huh, did ya guys hear dat?" Meowth whispered. His ears twitched several times. The two humans and feline Pokémon then heard the distinct sound of something big slithering across the grass, followed by an extremely intimidating and menacing hiss.

"Oh, hello there," hissed a dark, feminine voice. "Thanks for serving the meal for me." The three turned around slowly and paled at the sight of a very large snake-like Pokémon slithering her way to them. She was mostly a dull black in color with bright yellow hexagonal markings lining her body and a few blurred violent markings adorning it. Her face was pointed with two sharp, red eyes surrounded by a yellow hexagon and her mouth had two very large, bright red fangs that protruded from her upper jaw. The Pokémon's long tail ended in a very long and sharp red-tipped blade, making it look like it was permanently coated in blood. The Seviper was very large and had a deathly look to her as several scars could be seen on her scales along several segments of her long body, including a very long and distinct double-lined scar running across her right eye, starting at the top of her head and ending around her jaw. The eye seemed okay and functional thus giving her glare a very terrifying impression.

"Wh-what is that?" Jessie stuttered, frightened by the appearance of the Pokémon. "I… I think I remember seeing some of these at Rico's cage…"

"That's a Seviper!" James said, recognizing it instantly.

Seviper glanced at the leftovers of the food containers at the blanket, and reached forward with her tail, picking one up and greedily devoured its contents before casually tossing the empty container aside. "Not the best stuff I've had, but it'll do for now," she commented idly before reaching for a second container.

"Hey, that's our food, stop eating it!" Meowth screeched, glaring at her angrily.

Seviper glanced at him uninterestedly as she gulped down the contents of another food container. "Make me," she said simply once she had finished. She casually tossed the plastic container towards Meowth, hitting his head with it.

"Ow!" Meowth screeched, holding his head with his paws. "Get her!" he yelled.

"No one eats my food like that!" Jessie screamed, grabbing her Pokéball. "Go, Arbok!" she yelled, tossing the red and white sphere forward.

"You too, go Weezing!" James shouted after her, tossing his own Pokéball. Both devices popped open with two bright flashes of white light, releasing their own poison-types.

Seviper glanced at them for several moments and then faked a yawn. "Pathetic," she commented, her gaze reflected her lack of interest in the battle or in the Pokémon sent out against her. Another of Team Rocket's food containers was rapidly emptied by the Fang Snake Pokémon, who greedily consumed its contents.

Jessie growled at the taunting yawn, even if she didn't understand what Seviper had said afterwards. "Arbok, use Poison Sting!" she ordered. Arbok nodded and open his maw, releasing a barrage of bright purple-colored glowing needles towards the other poisonous serpent. Seviper didn't look alarmed at the attack one bit and just lifted her tail, holding her blade in front of her face. The venom-coated Poison Stings bounced harmlessly off the large blade of her tail, the rest that managed to find their mark on other areas of her body didn't seem to have bothered her at all.

"Weezing, tackle it!" James commanded, pointing at the Fang Snake Pokémon. The Poison Gas Pokémon released a mighty battle cry and lunged forward.

Seviper glanced at the incoming Pokémon, slowly slithering backwards and closer to the creek nearby. Once the Weezing came a couple feet within her, the serpent's tail lashed out at lightning speed, coiling around the tubes that united Weezing's two heads and third sphere together. The very powerful muscles in her tail easily pulled the Weezing behind her and then plunged him into the river, and once most of his body was submerged, she tightened her muscles, forcing her victim underwater. Immediately, Weezing started thrashing hard as he tried to break free, terror filling him at the very vivid treat of drowning. "Jessie, do something!" James cried in horror.

"Arbok, use Bite on it!" Jessie yelled desperately. "Quick!"

"Let him go!" Arbok demanded, lunging at Seviper while his fangs began to glow white and lengthened.

"Okay," Seviper responded flatly. Using her powerful tail, she pulled Weezing out of the water and then swung him forward like a round battering ram. Before the Poison Gas Pokémon could breathe with relief, a splitting pain rattled through his body as Seviper smashed him into the incoming Arbok. Both poison-types screeched in pain at the collision Seviper had caused and were sent tumbling into a tree on the side. They crashed on it, shaking its leaves and making a couple branches fall off. "Eh," was Seviper's only comment about the battle as she slithered back to the blanket, eyeing the food avariciously.

Jessie growled angrily when she saw both of their main Pokémon be taken out rather effortlessly. "Meowth, do something!" she ordered, using her foot to lightly kick Meowth in front of Seviper. "Use Fury Swipes or Scratch attack or anything!"

"Hey!" Meowth yelled in annoyance at being kicked, but then froze in sheer terror when he saw he had landed a few inches in front of the rather powerful and mean Seviper.

The Scratch Cat Pokémon shivered in fear, knowing he was absolutely no match for Seviper if she had dealt with Arbok and Weezing so easily, defeating both of them with just her physical strength and not needing to use an actual attack at all. Seviper stared at him sadistically, waiting for him to make a move. "Well, are you going to whimper all day long or are you gonna fight, kitty?" Seviper asked impatiently.

"Uh, h-how 'bout we t-t-talk dis out so no o-one is h-hurt?" Meowth suggested hopefully while doing his best to not stutter too much, putting his paws together while making a nice smiling face, temporarily suppressing the fear trembles. Now he understood why Cacnea had fled in fear at the arrival of the Seviper. It was clear that the Fang Snake Pokémon was a very recognized and feared Pokémon in the local woods due to her foul attitude and sheer strength.

"No," Seviper answered flatly. She moved her tail forward and then began raising her blade above Meowth menacingly.

Meowth screeched in fear and ducked, putting his paws over his head. "Don't kill me! I'm a special Pokémon… uh, I can talk human! I surrender! Please don't hurt me!" He begged pathetically. He closed his eyes, shaking with helplessness while waiting the inevitable pain to come from his attacker's toxic-imbued blade. Several long seconds passed and nothing happened, the agonizing pain never came. He slowly opened one eye and saw Seviper slithering past him. "Huh?" he muttered, confused.

"You're definitely not worth the little effort it takes me to swing my tail to hit you. At least the others tried to defend themselves. You are pathetic, kitty," Seviper hissed coldly as she passed by, answering the Scratch Cat Pokémon's doubts. As she passed by her supposed victim, she let the long, sharp blade of her tail brush the Meowth's cheek, making him shiver at the faint sensation and the undertone meaning of what she could have done to him if she wanted to. "Stay safe, coward," she added.

Meowth released the breath he didn't know he had been holding once Seviper's blade was away from him. He winced at her words, but as much as it pained him, he knew it was true and that as a fighter he was completely hopeless. "Ugh," he said in discomfort at the harsh truth, however, he was glad the stroking gesture with her tail hadn't cut him. It had just been a gentle pass. Now was not a good time to be poisoned.

Jessie and James stared wordlessly at Meowth's pitiful performance. "That... was bad," Jessie commented. "It was almost depressing. Well, it's not like we could have expected anything else from Meowth, I guess."

"So, what do we do now?" James questioned urgently as Seviper slithered closer and closer each second. "It already took out all our Pokémon." He glanced up, seeing Weezing and Arbok still struggling to recover, and Meowth didn't look like he was willing to even be within a dozen feet of the black, bladed-tail snake.

Seviper hissed angrily, making the two former thieves jump back. "I'm a she, not an it, you stupid humans." She glared at the two. "Move away before I move you myself. I'm hungry and your food is mine."

"Uh, what did it say?" Jessie asked, confused. "It certainly didn't sound happy one bit." Seviper rolled her eyes and cursed human's natural stupidity under her breath.

"I don't know. I don't talk Pokémon," James answered. His face lit up when he remembered something important. "And we do have one Pokémon left, your Wobbuffet!"

"Right!" Jessie exclaimed, remembering the Patient Pokémon. She reached to where she had his Pokéball and pulled it out. However, before she could even release her Pokémon, Seviper was already on her.

The bladed snake's tail lashed forward, slapping the Pokéball away from Jessie's hand in a very swift motion and before the human could react, the large blade on the tail pressed to her neck threateningly. Jessie froze at the sensation of the very sharp tail-blade on her. It was like her breath had all caught up in her throat. "I'm not in the mood to deal with more weaklings. So just leave already before I lose my patience for real." The poison-type's tone was very intimidating and threatening. Seviper waited for them to react or give any response for several seconds, but then hissed in annoyance when the two humans didn't move and just stood there, frozen in place. "Ugh, why must humans be so stupid that they don't understand simple speech?" she questioned drily.

The bushes beside them rustled several times, making Seviper glance at them. Suddenly, a round, green-colored Pokémon jumped out of them, flying through the air several feet off the ground from the mighty leap. The Cacnea, the very same one that James had kindly offered food to her earlier, gave an impressive battle cry as she lunged at Seviper, rearing one spiky arm backwards as it began to glow brightly in a green-colored veil of natural energy. Cacnea was nervous to attack the infamous Seviper head on as she had originally thought about leaving and staying out of her path. After seeing this nice group of humans and Pokémon in clear danger, she decided it was worth it trying to defend them from the devilish female marauder of the forest. "Take this!" she yelled mightily, throwing her Needle Arm attack forward, taking aim directly towards Seviper's head.

Seviper didn't look the least bit alarmed at the sudden ambush aimed at her. The Fang Snake Pokémon's tail quickly moved to intercept the grass-type, having left Jessie's neck without harming her. Instead of hitting the Cactus Pokémon directly, Seviper dipped the tail underneath Cacnea. Seviper smirked, and then tossed her tail upwards with a lot of strength, using it like a catapult to hurl Cacnea upwards. "Bye!" she called out mockingly as Cacnea screamed, soaring through the air like a cannon ball.

A splash was heard as Cacnea landed in the river. Jessie and James took the opportunity of Seviper being distracted in her dealing with Cacnea to get to a safe distance. They both ran to the side, with Jessie heading towards her discarded Pokéball. "No," James told her once he noticed she was getting ready to release the psychic-type. "We kinda lost this one. Seviper's beat us."

Jessie growled in indignation as Seviper resumed eating all their food greedily. "That little…" muttered in indignation at their defeat.

The sound of desperate pleas and wild splashing got James' attention, as he saw Cacnea struggling to remain afloat while flailing her arms wildly on the river's surface. James' eyes widened at the sight. "Cacnea can't swim…" he muttered in realization. "Hold on, Cacnea!" he yelled encouragingly as he ran towards the creek, rushing into the water and helping the diminutive Pokémon out.

"Thanks," Cacnea said gratefully as James carried her out of the creek, relieved. She relaxed visibly and pressed to the nice human's chest, glad to no longer be in threat of drowning.

"Ow! Careful, I'm hurt there," James told her, wincing as the pressing of Cacnea made the wound he had sustained from Rico's Absol sting. Cacnea immediately pulled back slightly, glancing up at James with an apologetic look in her eyes. James smiled in response. "It's okay, you're really nice."

Seviper hummed in satisfaction once she was done eating all of Team Rocket's leftover food, and glanced around. She frowned, still feeling somewhat hungry. "Oh well, might as well find some more food to pillage," she said to no one in particular. She slithered out of the clearing, her forked tongue slipping out of her mouth every few seconds to scent the air for more potential victims.

Meowth sighed sadly as he watched their ruined picnic in disdain. "Aw, da first time we get a complete meal for free and dis happens… we got rotten luck…" he commented sadly, on the verge of breaking out in tears.

"I guess this is further proof to us how bad it feels to be mugged..." James mentioned cheerlessly. "I regret being a criminal now..."

"What do we do now?" Jessie asked, looking at everyone around her. Weezing and Arbok had recovered and glared at the direction Seviper had left.

"Let's go and get her!" Arbok said angrily.

"I agree! Let's teach her a lesson!" Weezing bellowed eagerly, echoing the Cobra Pokémon's thoughts.

"What did they say, Meowth?" James questioned, glancing down at the feline Pokémon.

"Dey wanna head for Seviper and get payback, and I kinda agree with dem! She caught us by surprise! Dis time we'll be da ones to attack her!" Meowth said determinately. "No one gets away with stealin' our food!"

Jessie grinned sinisterly, agreeing with her friends all too ready for some payback. "It's time for revenge!" She bellowed mightily.

James smiled down at the Cacnea in his arms and set her down in the middle of the clearing. "You stay here, this will be dangerous."

Cacnea blinked up at him. "Okay?" she responded, not entirely sure if she really wanted to go with them and help defeat Seviper. She knew just how terrifying the Fang Snake Pokémon could be sometimes.

James didn't answer her, and along with Jessie, Meowth and all their Pokémon, headed in the direction that the daring thief that had stolen their lunch had left.

Jessie, James and Meowth, along with the rest of their Pokémon rapidly caught up with Seviper, finding her confronting another Pokémon in a different clearing. The clearing was much smaller than the one they had been ambushed at. "Wait, wait," James said, motioning his friends with his arm and bringing them to a halt. He used his arms to indicate them to hide behind some bushes and trees as they watched the scene unfold before them.

"What is that she-devil up to now?" Meowth wondered, eyeing the poison-type terror with a small pang of fear.

"She? That Seviper is female?" Jessie asked, rather surprised at the revelation.

"Yeah," Meowth answered in confirmation. "I forgot to mention."

"First, let's see what she's up to and then we will make a move," James announced, narrowing his eyes. Everyone else nodded at him.

"She's powerful. We need to be careful," Jessie said in agreement, watching the Seviper intently with a piercing glare.

In the clearing, they saw the same Seviper that had badly mugged them earlier confronting a much smaller Pokémon. It was a bipedal, reptilian Pokémon with a vivid green coloration and a dark forest green-colored tail as well as a reddish brown underside. It had yellow eyes with black slit pupils. Its hands and feet had three round digits. The Pokémon also had a small twig in its mouth with a single leaf on it. The Pokémon, a young male Treecko, was sitting down in the shade of a tree while eating some berries he had gathered.

"Those are some really tasty-looking berries you got there," Seviper remarked as she approached, her forked tongue slipping out of her mouth to scent the air. "Good thing that they are mine now. So leave and I won't have to hurt you while I eat them," she warned sharply.

The Treecko snorted, shaking his head as he rose to his feet, tossing the remains of a berry into his mouth and then munching on it while not even looking alarmed at the Seviper's clear threat. "No," he answered simply, much to the Seviper's surprise. "I've heard of you already, Seviper. You are quite infamous around here, but I don't care about that."

Seviper stared at the grass-type, and then laughed raucously in amusement. "Oh, we got a feisty youngster over here!" She cackled in delight. "How nice," she added slowly, her glare reflecting glee. "I love it when they resist. It is more fun that way!" She paused, shaking her head a couple times. "I'm very surprised a little youngster like you has it in him to actually stand up to an adult like me," Seviper sneered, restraining a throaty chuckle.

"I'm surprised an adult like you has to find 'youngsters' like me in order to get a daily meal, you must be so brave if you don't attack Pokémon your own size and age instead," Treecko taunted back, and then smirked at the infuriated look that immediately appeared on the large Seviper's face.

"You're gonna eat those words!" Seviper shouted, lunging forward with her jaws wide open, deadly venom-dripping red fangs ready.

Treecko skillfully jumped over Seviper's offensive maneuver and twisted midair, using a Pound attack to smash his large, thick tail into the back of her head roughly, causing Seviper's head to crash into the grass, making her fangs dig into the grass and dirt deeply. Treecko landed behind her gracefully, smirking at the downed bully. "I didn't eat my words. Instead, you ate dirt," he mocked, a grin tugging at his lips, making his twig twitch slightly. Back in the bushes, the former Team Rocket agents couldn't help but stare in surprise at the skilled display that was put forth by the grass-type.

Seviper slowly undid her fangs from the ground, shaking her head to clear them of all dirt and grass. Without turning around or giving any indication, her bladed tail lashed out at the Treecko behind her in a stabbing motion. She growled in frustration when she heard the distinct sound of a leap, and the fact her tail didn't connect anything. "I have to admit, you're not as helpless as I suspected at first," Seviper commented, slowly turning around. "Not sure if that's good or bad."

Treecko charged at her, running on all fours. "And I can do more than that!" he shouted bravely as he ran at her. His eyes narrowed, focusing on Seviper's main two weapons. It was something easy, as both the large blade on the end of her tail and her large, ominous fangs were a bright shade of red in color, making them easy to track. 'If I can avoid both of them, I can hit her constantly until she decides to abandon this battle and admit defeat. My speed is the key,' he thought, knowing that defeating her was going to be anything but easy due to the vast odds stacked against him. Seviper was older, a lot more experienced, clearly bigger and stronger, and on top of that had a decisively big type advantage.

"Unlike the first group of morons I attacked today, I guess I'll actually have to attack you for real. Consider it an honor, you poor kiddo," Seviper warned calmly, eyeing the incoming grass-type judgingly. She opened her maw as an orb of concentrated dark energies in the shape of black and purple rings began to form rapidly, emanating an eerie aura.

Treecko gasped, recognizing the attack. He took a mighty leap using his powerful back legs just as Seviper fired the potent Dark Pulse towards the spot he had just been. A large blast of darkness followed by an explosion echoed in the forest, causing all the leaves on both trees and bushes rustle forcefully for several instants. Treecko glanced at the spot that she had hit from the safety of a high branch of a tree. 'This... is gonna be harder than I thought...' Treecko admitted. 'All those stories I heard from locals about how strong Seviper was weren't wrong after all,' he thought, narrowing his eyes as he watched his opponent carefully.

Seviper stared up at him, a pleased look on her face as she noticed his obviously worried expression. "I'm way out of your league, kiddo. Don't try something stupid just for a few berries."

"It's not completely about the berries," Treecko answered, his face changing from worry to defiance in an instant. "I'm good at finding them, seriously, I can just go and gather more in a few minutes."

Seviper blinked, staring at Treecko as if he was dimwitted, which she did think he was. "Then just do that before I kill you."

"No. I'm going to teach you a lesson!" Treecko declared determinately. "I know of you, even though this is the first time I've met you. You're no better than the leader of the Taillow flock that's on the southern part of the woods. You're a bully of the worst possible kind. Someone needs to shove a lesson into your thick skull. Someone needs to show you that you can't just go and steal anything you want to just because you're strong. Someone needs to show you the consequences of it. And I believe I'm good enough to be that someone, on behalf of all those you've terrorized, which includes some members of my former community."

Seviper stared at him for several long instants before exploding into laughter, making the Wood Gecko Pokémon growl in anger at her disrespecting gesture. "That's noble of you, I'll admit." She narrowed her eyes. "However, you're not strong enough to do that. You can't match your sorry Pound and Tackle attacks against my Dark Pulse, or some of my other attacks. You need to go through two evolutions and several years of training to even come close to my level. So, just go and gather more berries." She glanced at the small pile of berries that Treecko had been eating in front of the tree behind her and used her tail to lightly skewer one of the fruits to pick it up. Bringing the berry up to her face, she shoved it in her mouth and ate it greedily. Enjoying the sweet aftertaste of the fruit, she hummed in delight. "You're good at picking the tastiest berries," she complimented, which Treecko didn't exactly appreciate coming from her.

Treecko leaped from the branch he was on, landing on the grass perfectly. "I've trained ever since I left my community. I'm strong, and I definitely can do more than just Tackle and Pound. Like this!" Treecko ran towards Seviper head-on again, taking careful aim as he did so.

"Oh, are you going to super tackle me or something like that?" Seviper questioned sarcastically, rolling her eyes with disinterest. She opened her jaws as the red fangs began to glow an eerie, oozing purple color as she readied a Poison Fang attack.

Treecko took a deep breath and then used Bullet Seed. Massive barrages of seeds coated in a yellow energized light were fired in a very rapid succession towards the Seviper. The poison-type was surprised by the long range attack, and thus was unable to avoid the barrage of small, stinging projectiles that hammered her body. Despite the type resistance, she winced at the very numerous amounts of stings that rang across her entire body. The attack made her lose concentration, cancelling the Poison Fang attack she had been preparing. "Got you!" her attacker exclaimed triumphantly, taking a mighty forward leap and as he did so and he swung his body sideways, making his tail arc towards Seviper's head in another powerful Pound attack.

The deadly serpent released a grunt of pain at the very potent impact, which was strong enough to knock her head sideways. Treecko landed beside her and without wasting a moment, he continued his assault. He knew that if he was going to get an upper hand against the superior opponent, he needed to keep up his offensive without any mercy and remorse. His body generated a glow of intense green as he prepared to use the best attack at his disposal. The green light surrounding Treecko expanded into an emerald-colored vortex of natural energy that surrounded Seviper, but remaining connected to Treecko with a small green thread.

"What!?" Seviper questioned in shock as her vision was bombarded by blinding lime-tinted light, forcing her to close her eyes. She then let out a wince as she felt pain rattle her body, and her power being sucked from her. Treecko grinned, feeling fresh energy pouring into his body from his Mega Drain, which zapped energy from Fang Snake Pokémon and transferred it to him.

The cyclone of green power died down, absorbing itself into Treecko's body, along with the strength it had drained from Seviper. "Still thinking I'm all Tackles and Pounds, Seviper?" Treecko asked tauntingly, his voice brimming with confidence. Seviper shook her head a couple times to regain her senses, and began to quickly recover her composure over the barrage of attacks Treecko had managed to surprise her with.

Back in their hiding spot, Team Rocket couldn't help but stare in awe. "That Pokémon is good," Jessie commented in pure wonder. "What is that again?"

"That's a Treecko," James answered. "And I agree. I've never seen a Pokémon so badass! Look at that twig! He's so cool!"

"And he's also tirin' her out so dat when dey're done we can move in and finish dat she-devil off!" Meowth squealed in delight at the opportunity, even if it was a cowardly strike.

"…Should we feel bad a tiny Treecko is giving her a lot more trouble than all of us did?" Jessie wondered. Everyone winced and didn't answer that comment at all.

Back to the battle, Treecko began yet another attack. He charged at Seviper, once again keeping careful tabs on the movements of her armed head and tail. Seviper's tail began to glow in an eerie amethyst shade of light, as the poison dripping from it seemed to turn itself into vile energy, coating the blade in potent, energized toxins. Seviper swung her Poison Tail attack at Treecko, who skillfully dodged it with an upwards leap. As he landed, he tackled Seviper roughly at her upper neck, pushing her back slightly. Seviper rapidly brought her tail upwards to try and hit the Wood Gecko Pokémon with it, but again the smaller Pokémon proved far too agile for that as before the tail could draw itself anywhere near him he had long since leaped away. "Ugh, stay still!" Seviper hissed in frustration.

"Not so cocky now, are we?" Treecko questioned back, a smirk tugging at his lips, making the twig he permanently held at his lips twitch slightly.

"We'll see about that," Seviper replied, narrowing her eyes as she slowly devised a trap in her mind. It had not escaped her that Treecko always paid very close and special attention to her tail and her fangs. And she knew she could use that against him. Again, her tail began to ooze poison, which began to empower itself into bright energy until it coated her tail in a bright purple glow. "Bring it on, kiddo," she dared, smirking.

"Oh, I will!" Treecko bellowed back, charging at Seviper yet again. He took aim and then fired a barrage of Bullet Seeds aimed directly at Seviper's head. However, the serpent dodged them with a fluid undulating motion of her long body. The Poison Fang Pokémon then swung her tail forward, intent on smashing the Poison Tail attack directly on the grass-type.

Just like Seviper, the Wood Gecko Pokémon made an opportunistic dodge, acrobatically jumping to the side to make his opponent's Poison Tail attack contact the grass without harm to him. Seviper then lunged forward, her mouth wide open and her fangs dripping with poison, going for the spot Treecko had dodged to in an attempt to use his dodge against him. However, the snake had no intention of hitting Treecko. Instead, she made her attack come off a bit to the side, to invite the unknowing Treecko to dodge towards the center.

Treecko's eyes widened when he saw Seviper's wide-open mouth lunge at him, and when he noticed Seviper's attack was a bit off to the side, he moved inwards, dodging the attack easily. "You got to aim better than that!" he taunted.

"You lack experience," Seviper said darkly as she sprung her trap. With Treecko's initial dodge of her Poison Tail and her second feint attack with her mouth, she had put Treecko in a position between her tail and neck, with the rest of her body arching in front of him. Knowing that Treecko would pay attention to her weapons, Seviper had instead decided to use the rest of her body as an improvised offensive asset to catch him by surprise as he would pay less attention to it, and with a lighting fast tightening of her muscles. Seviper coiled inwards, rapidly trapping the young grass-type inside her great coils.

Treecko's gasped as the squeeze seemed to draw all air out of his lungs. "It… it… wa-was a trap!" he stammered, eyes wide in realization. Treecko's mind unconsciously registered the fact that his twig had fallen out of his mouth when he had gasped, and even as he was being squeezed by the Seviper's powerful coils, Treecko made a small mental note to remember to check the area around him after the fight was over. That was, if he was still alive at the end of it.

"Yes, it certainly was," Seviper replied, her mouth curled to a pleased smirk. "I told you I was out of your league. I do admit you're a tough opponent. Much stronger than the previous ones I faced. However, you dared to taunt and make a fool out of me. And you'll pay for that, dearly," she snarled angrily. Slowly, she began to shift on her coils, moving Treecko along her long body, while being sure to keep him tightly pinned.

Seviper restrained Treecko tight with two coils of her body, one binding his legs and another holding his arms above his head tightly, stretching him out so his stomach was exposed to her. "No one taunts me like you did and lives to tell the tale. I'm gonna enjoy this," Seviper said darkly, her voice icy. Slowly, her bladed tail inched closer until she rested it at the grass-type's outstretched body.

Treecko growled defiantly at her, glaring at the blade lying on his stomach. "I'm not done yet!" he exclaimed courageously, struggling against his bonds as best as he could. Seviper chuckled at his defiance, and used the status move Toxic. Slowly, her tail began to secrete thick, oozing, violet-colored venom. She lifted her bladed tail and forced him to watch while her tail danced along his belly tauntingly, slightly cutting it. Just barely drawing drops and lines of blood as she traced his stomach, and once Seviper felt the torturous show was enough, she slowly and agonizingly sank the first inch of her tail into his gut, being sure to do it in a place she was sure wouldn't injure anything important in his body. She didn't want the fun to end just yet. Treecko let out a growling scream of pain, but clenched his eyes shut, refusing to give Seviper the pleasure of his suffering. The blade sank very slowly, an unhurried torturous move that burned with every push into him. The sickly-purple oozing poison of her tail felt like searing heat on contact with his skin and even worse was the feeling of it starting to race through his body, entering into it through the stab. She held the first inch of her tail inside for an agonizingly slow minute before suddenly tearing it out fast and hard. Treecko let out a pained gasp when that happened.

"I told you to just give your berries," Seviper said in a cheerful sing-song tone, which came out very twisted coming from her. She let the grass-type fall down to the grass. "I might just eat you for dessert after your berries," she commented idly, as she slithered away from Treecko and back to the pile of berries. She reached down and took one into her mouth.

"I… am… still…not… done…" Treecko whispered, slowly rising to his knees. He noticed his twig, and reached over to it. He grabbed it with his three-fingered hand and picked it up, swiftly placing it back into his mouth. With all the strength his body had remaining, he rose to his feet. He winced at the enormous pain the action brought to him, one hand coming down to clutch the wound Seviper had inflicted. He felt nauseated and dizzy, as the poison in him began to do its deadly work.

Seviper turned to look at him, very surprised. "You're too stubborn for your own good," she said in shock. "Not sure if you're brave… or just plain stupid."

Treecko rasped a dry chuckle. "A very old Sceptile in my ex-community used to say that there was always just one step between stupidity and bravery," he replied with a small grin. "You injured me, you poisoned me." Treecko winced, but rapidly gathered his strength to keep talking as steadily as he could, without showing any weakness. "But I told you I was gonna teach you a lesson about not being a bully to everyone. I can get rid of the poisoning eating a lot of Pecha Berries."

"If you are strong enough to get one," Seviper said back to the grass-type. "And I highly doubt that. Anyways, you've gained my respect," the Fang Snake Pokémon admitted. "Too bad you won't live much longer to enjoy that. Guess I'll have to break one of your legs so you finally decide to stay down once and for all and let my poison do its work." Seviper turned and began making her way towards the wounded Wood Gecko Pokémon.

Treecko growled rebelliously as he saw Seviper slithering towards him menacingly. However, as hard as he tried to get ready for another of her assaults, his vision began spinning and his head throbbed in sharp pain. His body ached badly, and he could feel the poison searing its way across his diminutive body. He tried to take a wobbly step forward. "You… won't win…" he rasped slowly, his voice growing weaker each passing instant.

"Where did all the bravery go?" Seviper asked tauntingly as she raised her tail above him. With a bright glow, it began to harden to steel-like properties as she used Iron Tail. She took aim for one of his legs. "This will make you stay still. Permanently."

"We gotta do something!" Meowth cried out, pointing at the two battlers. "The Treecko lost!"

"I don't know, I don't wanna receive the same treatment it got…" Jessie murmured, shivering at the coldness the Seviper was capable of. She turned to look at Arbok, who gave her a determined nod. "Alright…"

James growled, glaring at Jessie. "Now's not the time to be afraid, the Treecko needs us!" They came out of their hiding spot, rushing to the Treecko's aid desperately.

However, they were too slow to assist the grass-type. Like a lightning strike, Seviper's tail bolted down. However, a deafening clang of steel against steel was what echoed, not the sound of the tail smashing Treecko's leg. Pikachu clenched his teeth at the effort it took to hold the clash strongly, his own Iron Tail attack stopping Seviper's tail dead in its tracks. His cheeks began to sparkle as he prepared a potent electrical attack. Seviper gasped at the sudden interruption and immediately pulled away, effectively preventing the direct contact electric shock Pikachu had tried to do. "This stops now," the electric-type stated firmly, standing in front of Treecko protectively. "I don't know what the entire of story going on here is, but you're not harming this Treecko anymore."

"Oh, great," Seviper complained in annoyance. "More obstacles," she said cheerlessly.

Treecko panted softly, looking at the yellow back of his unexpected savior. "Th-thanks," he said gratefully.

"What's her problem?" Pikachu asked, his gaze fixed on Seviper as he stood protectively between the two combating Pokémon.

"That she's crazy," Treecko answered flatly, making Pikachu sweatdrop.

"Pikachu!" Ash called out, running out from between a couple trees. "Don't run off like that... huh, what's going on here?" he asked as the rest of his friends came out behind him.

"Obviously some kind of fight," Brock answered, glancing around at the damage clearly evident on the clearing. "Oh, no! That Treecko's injured!" he exclaimed the second his gaze fell on the Wood Gecko Pokémon, he rapidly went to the grass-type's side quickly, crouching down beside him while evaluating the Pokémon's injuries.

Latias frowned at the injury Treecko had, as did the worried Bianca. "We should take him to the shade, and away from that Seviper," Latias suggested. At Brock's nod, she used her psychic powers to levitate Treecko and move him to a safe distance behind the entire group and towards the shade of a large tree. Brock quickly followed, and Latias too went along with him as she too was very concerned for the wellbeing of the young Pokémon.

Seviper hissed angrily. "Hey! He's mine!" she demanded as she glared down at Pikachu and then lifted her head to glare at the rest of the newcomer group.

Pikachu's cheeks sparkled dangerously with electricity, forcing Seviper's glare to fall down on him again. "Just try to take him from us," he dared, challenging her.

Seviper let out a low growl. The way the Treecko was levitated away meant they were accompanied by a psychic, and while she knew she had several powerful dark-type moves in her arsenal to fight it, that would still mean a very complicated battle. Plus the Pikachu was strong enough to know Iron Tail and match it with her own, indicating he was highly trained and of a very respectable level. "Eh, whatever, you can keep him," Seviper said suddenly, turning around and slithering away casually, her attitude suddenly careless. Whatever she had to gain from fighting them was not worth the effort of the very hard battle they could give, a battle she knew she'd most likely lose.

Pikachu blinked at the Fang Snake Pokémon's sudden decision to abandon the encounter. "Wait, where are you going?" he questioned, confused. "Isn't this the part where we battle and I kick your tail?"

"No, this is the part where I'm going to eat. I'm still hungry," Seviper answered casually. "I don't like to battle if I don't have anything nice to gain from it."

"I'm confused," Ash said, blinking. "Wasn't she gonna battle us?"

"I have no clue what's going on," Bianca added, shaking her head a couple times. "I want to understand Pokéspeech too."

Latios glanced at his sister and Brock, who were tending to Treecko several dozen feet behind them, under the shade of some trees. "Probably has to do about something between them?" Latios wondered. Ash and Bianca shrugged, equally answerless. "At least she's abandoned her desire to harm him, which is what matters."

Pikachu growled at Seviper, who was still carelessly leaving. "You still hurt Treecko, though," he stated at her, and only got angrier when she didn't seem to bother paying attention to him and just continued slithering away. "At least I'm gonna make sure you learn it's not okay to just harm others. Let's see how you enjoy taking pain." His cheeks sparkled violently with electricity as he prepared a Thunder attack as a form of retribution for Seviper.

At his actual offensive action, Seviper turned her head to glance at him, and narrowed her eyes in annoyance. She knew she didn't have the speed needed to dodge that attack. However, she could at least make him regret attacking her in the first place. She lifted her tail slightly as it began to glow in a deep blue light, humidity beginning to surround it densely. Just as Pikachu was releasing the powerful Thunder attack, Seviper swung her Aqua Tail-infused bladed tail forward and smashed it into the grass in front of her, while aiming at Pikachu's direction. Immediately after that, a large splash of water followed, soaking Pikachu and his friends.

With all the energy required to successfully execute a Thunder attack already amassed and ready to be released barely a second after Seviper's Aqua Tail had splashed them, there was nothing Pikachu could do to stop it once he had realized the cunning poison-type's defensive maneuver. Seviper, Ash, Bianca and Latios all screamed as Pikachu released the potent bolt of electricity and fried them all as a result. The water generated by Seviper's Aqua tail had acted as a conduct to also shock Pikachu's friends plus the attack's original target. Pikachu winced and stopped the electrical attack as fast as he could. "Sorry! Sorry!" he squeaked at his friends, turning around with an apologetic expression on his face.

"What was that for!?" Ash demanded irately, looming over Pikachu.

"Yeah! Aim at the Seviper, not at us!" Bianca followed, glaring at Pikachu in irritation.

"That was on purpose, wasn't it!?" Latios questioned angrily. "…Well, at least against me."

Pikachu cringed and took a step away from his three angry friends. "I said I was sorry! It was Seviper's fault! You saw her soak you all!"

"Yes, but you didn't try to stop!" Ash snapped back.

"Yeah! You could have cancelled it before shocking us, not after shocking us!" Latios roared, agreeing with his two human companions.

"I swear, I couldn't even if I wanted to! I was all charged up!" Pikachu argued, almost wanting to shrink under the glares.

Seviper chuckled at her handiwork as she slithered away. "That was almost too easy," she muttered under her breath. However, she felt the distinct feeling of exhaustion slowly accumulating on her body. So many conflicts one after the other were starting to take a toll on her, and Pikachu's Thunder had inflicted a very large amount of damage to her. "I'll just eat these berries and find a nice place to nap," she whispered quietly to herself, eyes shining in glee as she arrived at Treecko's abandoned berries. Selfishly, she began to eat them.

"Hey, you!" an annoyingly familiar voice called from behind her, interrupting the Pokémon's snack.

Seviper sighed in exasperation, shaking her head a couple times. "Can't a lady eat in peace!?" she yelled irately at the direction of the newcomers. "Didn't I already deal with you idiots?"

"We never give up!" Meowth screeched determinately.

"Weezing, use Sludge Bomb!" James ordered.

"Arbok, use Poison Sting!" Jessie commanded, pointing at Seviper. Arbok and Weezing both shouted mighty battle cries, spitting a barrage of energized poison needles and a very foul-smelling glob of unsanitary sludge, respectively, towards the Fang Snake Pokémon.

Seviper winced as the attacks hit her head on. Being a poison-type Pokémon herself, like both attacks she had just sustained, the venomous snake was able to shrug them off easily. "This… is pissing me off," she warned darkly.

"Hey! Team Rocket!" Ash called out, glaring at them. "What do you think you're doing!?" he questioned angrily. "I thought you had given up Pokémon thieving already, and now first time we see each other again you're attacking that Seviper!"

"Considering how bad that Seviper clearly is, I'm not sure that's all that bad," Bianca commented offhandedly, making Ash face-palm. "But I do agree on his point, I thought you three had seriously considered abandoned Team Rocket!" she finished, glaring at Team Rocket.

"We should let them steal Seviper, I'm okay with it, for once," Latios commented in amusement. Pikachu nodded in agreement.

"Ugh, we did leave Team Rocket!" Jessie shouted back, clearly annoyed. "So quit bugging!"

"Shut your yappin' for once, you twerps! We decided to abandon Team Rocket last night!" Meowth added, echoing Jessie's thoughts.

James nodded in conformity with his teammates. "Don't jump to conclusions just because we're battling a wild Pokémon."

Ash blinked. "Oh… " He was completely speechless.

"Wow, I'm surprised," Bianca admitted, raising an eyebrow. "I thought you three were seriously incapable of change."

"If you left Team Rocket, why are you attacking Seviper?" Ash asked curiously, crossing his arms.

"That's because she stole our food!" Jessie replied furiously. "We're getting payback! We're not trying to steal her or anything."

"Plus," James added, his voice calm and reasoning, unlike Jessie or Meowth's. "Even if we left Team Rocket, we're still trainers. So technically, all of us fighting a wild Pokémon would be something perfectly valid and legal, and not a crime of any sort. We're doing normal Pokémon Trainer activities."

Ash paused, opened his mouth to speak, and then closed it again. "Uh…" he said after a long awkward pause.

"They do have a point," Latios admitted with a shrug. "Eh, let them be. They'll handle Seviper. We'll just worry for Treecko," he said, turning around to fly to his sister and Brock.

"So, now that the topic's out of the way, time to get revenge on Seviper!" Jessie announced dramatically, returning her glare to the spot Seviper had been… only to find she was no longer in sight. "Hey! Where is she!?" she questioned angrily. Jessie and James' entire group looked around to see if they could find traces of Seviper.

"She ate the remaining berries and then slithered away while you three were arguing with us," Bianca answered flatly before turning around and heading towards the Eon siblings, not having anything else to say to the former criminals. Pikachu pointed in the direction Seviper had left. After he noticed Team Rocket had followed his pointing, he turned and walked towards Treecko, and soon Ash followed. Jessie and James, along with all their Pokémon, rushed to chase Seviper yet again.

Ash made his way towards the rest of his friends, completely forgetting about Seviper for the time being. "How's Treecko?" the young Pokémon trainer asked as he leaned down besides Brock, his longtime friend. He hoped that the former Pewter City Gym Leader would be able to nurse Treecko back to health, or else they'd have the make awkward return to the Pokémon Center they had just left that morning.

"I wonder if that's the reason all Nurse Joys say something like 'come back soon' every time we leave a Pokémon Center," Latios commented, earning him a glare from Bianca that he failed to notice.

"Thankfully, he was poisoned very recently," Brock began, ignoring the blue dragon and catching the attention of the entire group. "It wasn't even ten minutes ago, so the poison hasn't had much time to take effect on him. And the wound on his chest didn't hit anything important or vital," Brock answered, applying some antidotes and potions on Treecko's wound, letting them slowly seep into his system and reverse the effects of the poisoning. "So, we can cure him here with common medicines, without needing advanced equipment from a Pokémon Center."

"That's great! I'm happy to hear he'll be fine," Ash said in relief, smiling down at the young grass-type Pokémon.

"Back," Latias suddenly announced, flying down to the group from over the treetops while carrying several pink berries in her claws.

Bianca blinked in surprise, recalling that she hadn't seen Latias leave at all or even notice that she had been away. "Where did you go?" she asked curiously.

"Brock sent me to fetch some Pecha Berries. Those berries naturally fight off many kinds of poisons and toxins. So that added to the antidotes will make sure Treecko heals fine and suffers no lasting effects from the poison," Latias answered, smiling softly at her friend.

"Thanks, Latias," Brock said gratefully. "Now, can you grind them so Treecko can eat them easier? He's still weak."

Latias nodded once. "Sure." Her eyes began to glow faintly, levitating the few berries from her claws. With ease, the berries were crushed midair, but, not a single drop of their rich juice fell to the grass as all of it remained firm in Latias' mental hold. Once she had reduced the berries to soft and juicy mush, she used her mental powers to grab a big enough leaf from a nearby tree and then held it in front of Treecko's face, depositing some of the grinded Pecha Berries there. "Eat up," Latias instructed kindly. Treecko slowly struggled to sit up, and then leaned forward to begin eating at the grinded berries the dragoness was offering to him.

"…This is making me hungry," Ash commented idly.

"Ash, you do realize we ate before we left the Pokémon Center this morning," Pikachu said flatly. Ash flushed in embarrassment, while Latias and Latios chuckled in amusement.

Treecko hummed once he was done eating the grinded Pecha Berries offered to him by Latias. "Thanks a lot for saving me, to all of you," he said slowly, genuinely grateful as he glanced at the group surrounding him. "Thanks for driving that Seviper away."

"Hold still," Brock said as he leaned down and started cleaning Treecko's wound in preparation to bandage it and allow it to heal without any complications.

"Why did you fight her in the fight place?" Latios asked curiously, tilting his head as Treecko turned to gaze at him. "She has a type advantage over you and was clearly stronger, not to mention older."

The young grass-type took several long moments to calm his breathing and let his body relax and accept the feeling of the medications slowly beginning to alleviate him, so he could regain his breath and with a clearer head, speak as fluently as he could. "I fought her in an attempt to teach her a lesson that she really had coming. You see, she's a mean gluttonous bully who often steals others' food instead of looking for her own. I fought her to try and teach her that she couldn't just steal food from anyone that crosses her path," Treecko explained, his gaze low. "I honestly thought I could do it. I was confident that I was strong enough to deal with her, but I didn't expect to lose…"

"That makes me think of Taillow," Latias commented, frowning at what she was hearing about the poison-type that they had let go a few minutes ago. "Should we go and teach Seviper a lesson too?" she asked, glancing around at the group.

"Nah, let Team Rocket handle her, she's their problem now," Pikachu answered, shrugging. As the talk between the Pokémon was occurring, Latios made sure to translate it entirely in Bianca and Brock's minds, so that the two humans didn't feel left out.

Ash laughed. "I wonder if they'll chase her for two years trying to capture her," he joked, earning a chuckle from most of the group at the mental image the joke provided.

After the group was done sharing their good natured joke, which Treecko didn't understand at all, he continued speaking while being careful to remain still so Brock could patch him up. He could already begin to feel the burning sensation of the poison disappear, leaving just a dull ache. "How is it that you were able to stand up to her so easily? Most trainers that pass through here are very weak… very easy victories for someone like her," Treecko asked curiously, glancing at the group surrounding him.

"We're no beginner trainers," Ash replied, grinning at the proud feeling that statement that brought. "At least for me and Brock, this is our third region traveling together. My name is Ash, by the way. I'm aiming to be the world's best Pokémon Master. The guy tending to you is Brock, who I just mentioned. He wants to be the world's best Pokémon Breeder."

Brock gave Treecko a kind smile in introduction. "Almost done, by the way."

Ash then turned to indicate Bianca standing behind him. "This is Bianca. She's from the island city of Alto Mare. She's traveling with us to see the sights of Hoenn."

"And to draw them, as well. I'm an artist, after all, Ash," Bianca reminded Ash with a small chuckle. "…And recently became a trainer myself."

"Oh, right, sorry, heheheh," Ash laughed embarrassedly.

"It's okay, Ash. Very pleased to meet you too, Treecko," Bianca said kindly.

"Alright, next up, this little yellow guy next to me is my first Pokémon and best buddy, Pikachu," Ash continued, giving Pikachu's head a good rub.

"Hey," said Pikachu by way of greeting.

"And finally, these two over here are the Legendary Pokémon Latias and Latios. They're also from Alto Mare and have traveling with me since the Johto League Championships," Ash said, pointing to the respective twin as he said their name to differentiate them. Latios gave a simple courteous nod towards Treecko, while Latias gave a kind, caring smile.

"Legendary Pokémon?" Treecko said in awe, looking at the two Eon twins. "They really travel with you?"

"Yep, have been for a couple months now," replied Ash with a smile.

'I've never seen or even heard of a Trainer with a Legendary Pokémon. And he has two traveling with him! He really must be as strong of a trainer as he claims,' Treecko thought to himself, staring interestedly at Ash.

Brock smiled as he finished bandaging Treecko up and applying the necessary curing aids to his wound. "There, all done," he informed, pleased with his medical work. "The potion will make the wound heal fast and nicely. Thankfully, while it's a bit deep, it made no serious damage. And the antidotes plus the Pecha berries will help remove all traces of Seviper's poison from you. You're lucky that we were nearby. A couple days of rest and you'll be in acceptable shape."

Treecko gave a slight grin, clearly glad to hear that he would be okay. However, he frowned after the grin had made him notice the distinct lack of a familiar item in his mouth. He ran his hand over his mouth for a second, and immediately stood up. "My twig!" he exclaimed, glancing at the spot Seviper had poisoned him at. He remembered picking it up after she had poisoned him, but didn't remember losing it. He figured he must have dropped it when he was carried away from Seviper.

"Your twig?" Latios asked, confused.

"Yes, my twig," Treecko said drily, slowly walking to the spot he had been poisoned. His steps were a bit shaky and slow, but he felt much better than before. His eyes lit up in delight when he saw the twig lying on the grass. He picked it up and placed the iconic item, at least to him, at the corner of his mouth, where it rightfully belonged.

Latias clapped at the sight. "Hey, you look very awesome like that. Very interesting addition," she commented.

"Huh, he looks cool," Pikachu admitted. "Never knew a twig could make such a nice impression."

"Hey, perhaps I should try it," Latios said, using his psychic powers to cut a similar twig from a nearby tree. He swiftly placed the twig at the edge of his mouth. "So, how do I look?" he asked excitedly, hoping to entice some positive responses from his group.

Everyone stared blankly at him without a word for several seconds. "I'll admit…" Pikachu paused. "You look bad," he replied sincerely. "Take it off. Only looks cool on Treecko."

Latios growled in irritation. "It doesn't look bad!" he argued.

Latias' eyes glowed, plucking the twig out of her brother's lip, snapped it in half, and then tossed each half a good distance away. "It looks terrible on you. Plus, be original! Don't copy others' methods for awesomeness," Latias scolded.

Treecko stifled a small laugh. He had to admit, not only was this group strong and very nice, as proven by them scaring Seviper away and their caring of him, but also possessed a very friendly and humorous atmosphere to them. "Sorry, twig's my style it seems," Treecko said apologetically to Latios, who rolled his eyes in exasperation.

"Why do you use a twig on your mouth all the time?" Latias asked curiously as she wondered why the object seemed to have such a high value of importance to the grass-type.

Treecko frowned softly, gazing down at the ground. Latias winced at the negative barrage of emotions that immediately radiated off the Wood Gecko Pokémon the instant she had asked her question. "I do it because I look cool with it," Treecko answered simply, suppressing his feelings.

"What's wrong?" Latias asked, grimacing at the negative feelings she had sensed.

"Nothing," Treecko said back, clearly lying. Latias tilted her head, intrigued by the Wood Gecko Pokémon's reaction. However, before she could dig any further into the situation, Latios lightly bumped into her side, drawing her attention. He shook his head once, telling her to drop her questioning on it. Latias pouted, but complied nonetheless. A rather awkward silence filled the group afterwards, which Treecko was sure to end fast. "Thanks a lot for saving me, I'm in your debt," the grass-type said, genuine gratefulness in his voice.

"It's okay, helping others out is what we do best," Ash said. He grinned, as an even better idea crossed his mind. "Hey! How about you join us in our journey?" he asked eagerly. Ever since he had seen a Treecko at Professor Birch's place, he had been interested in catching and raising one.

Treecko blinked in surprise at the trainer's proposal, and then fell silent in deep thought. "Hmm…" the grass-type hummed softly. These humans and Pokémon were clearly a very kind and nice group with amazing friendliness and compassionate interactions between all of them, and they were clearly very positive and chivalrous as proven by their helping of him in his dire hour of need. Treecko took a couple steps away from Ash as everyone watched him intently.

Latias frowned at the saddened emotions she picked up from Treecko. "Something's clearly wrong with him," Latias said telepathically, being sure to restrain her telepathy so only Latios heard it. "Should we try to help?"

"No, Latias," Latios answered with equal telepathic privacy. "I don't know what's wrong with him either but it's clear that it's something very personal, if his earlier lie is anything to go by. Ho-Oh's always told me that a mind is a sacred place that we shouldn't invade for little reasons and without permission. You know that already very well. Let Treecko be for now. Once he trusts us more, assuming he joins, we'll learn more when he's ready to tell more," the older dragon said, his voice firm. Latias nodded unhappily but complied with her brother's answer.

Treecko stared wordlessly at the forest all around him. Ever since the very painful incident that ultimately made him decide to abandon his colony on his home-tree's dying days, he knew that he wasn't the same and that this forest was no longer a joy or a home to him. It was only a place of saddening memories. The thoughts of leaving had crossed his mind, but the means had not being presented to him, at least not practical ones. And now, through this nice and friendly trainer and group, the means had been laid out before him neatly. He had a chance to try something different with his life and leave the painful tomb of sad memories that this forest was. Plus, his defeat to Seviper had proved him that he still needed a lot more training to become stronger. There was no argument his best bet to become stronger was indeed traveling with a competitive trainer. And the ones that saved his life seemed the perfect option to go with. Treecko was pleasantly surprised by how excited he felt at the prospect of traveling and seeing many different parts of the world. "I've made my decision," Treecko announced at last, making Ash stare at him eagerly. "I'll go with you."

"Yes!" Ash yelled happily. "I got a Treecko!" he announced cheerfully, startling Treecko slightly.

Bianca and Brock smiled slightly at the childish trainer's antics. "But Ash," the older male interrupted, making Ash pause to stare at him. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you already have six Pokémon on you. Your Team at the moment is Latias, Latios, Pikachu, Larvitar, Phanpy and Pidgeot. You'll have to drop one of them to be able to carry Treecko around. Tough pick, if you ask me."

Ash winced when the painful truth of Brock's statement crashed into him. "Well, I can catch him and have him sent to Professor Oak's for the time being, while I decide how I'm gonna free a space on my team for him," Ash suggested.

"Best bet apparently, not like we can do any team swapping in the middle of the forest," Latias added.

Treecko blinked. "I'll be sent where?" he asked, confused.

"Don't worry," Pikachu began, patting the taller grass-type's back. "It's a really lovely place. Look for Ash's Bulbasaur, Noctowl or Bayleef. They'll guide you around and take care of you. They're equally nice just like our trainer, so you'll have no worries!"

Ash nodded. "My friends will take care of you in the meantime. Don't worry, I promise that I'll free up a space in my team very soon. I'll find a way, okay?" he asked, as Treecko nodded once. He wasn't entirely sure about being sent elsewhere, but it didn't seem like he had much of a choice.

"Also," Brock began. "Sending him to Oak's for the time being will allow him to finish healing and recover from his wound. It's a good place to rest up at. And, Oak himself can further evaluate Treecko's condition."

Bianca nodded. "Very good thing, then," she commented.

"Yep," Ash nodded, agreeing, as he reached into his backpack and rummaged around inside it for a few seconds as he searched for a spare Pokéball, and he grinned when he finally found it and grabbed it. "You ready?" he asked as he looked down to glance at the grass-type.

"I guess," Treecko answered uncertainly, a hand slowly brushing the bandage over his wound. Ash gently tapped the Pokéball to Treecko's side. The spherical device opened and sucked Treecko inside with a flash of red energy, and the button at the center of the ball beeped for a few times until it fell quiet, signaling that Treecko had been captured successfully. "Yes!" Ash suddenly yelled, startling everyone. "I caught a Treecko!" he announced proudly, posing dramatically while holding Treecko's Pokéball in an outstretched arm.

"That's getting old," Latios commented in boredom, making Ash glare at him. The Pokéball in Ash's hand beeped several times, making everyone turn their gazes to it. Suddenly, the Pokéball began to glow brightly, and then vanished in an electronically induced teleportation. "Cool," Latios said, vaguely surprised. "Those little things can do a lot."

"But, we got a new friend," Ash reminded him, his voice joyous. "My first Hoenn Pokémon… and I got a very awesome one!"

Meanwhile…

Seviper calmly slithered across the forest, her belly was delightfully full and her face reflected a content visage. "Now, time to find a good place to rest up," she suggested in a murmur to herself, glancing around to find a nice place she could spend the rest of the afternoon at and get a good nap. She felt rather tired, having spent most of the day fighting numerous battles against Ash's group, the former Team Rocket group and the tough Treecko. It made the exhaustion pile up on her rather badly, both mentally and physically.

The large poisonous serpent paused for a few instants and then scented the air with her forked tongue several times. "Oh, not them again," Seviper muttered, her face reflected weary annoyance.

"Now!" Jessie's voice suddenly rang through the air. Suddenly, from the branches in the trees high above her, Weezing and Arbok descended at her, both of them letting out loud battle cries as they both attacked.

"Oh, please," Seviper said, rolling her eyes at the attempted surprise attack mounted against her. Seviper's tail began to glow a bright white as she prepared an Iron Tail attack, and then swung it above her in a sideways motion. However, she did it with the flat side of her blade, not intending to cut them just yet.

Weezing bawled in pain as the iron-hardened tail crashed into him, and sent him straight into Arbok, making both of them tumble midair and crash pitifully beside Seviper. "Ugh," both poison-types moaned in pain.

"Seriously, can't you guys call it quits? This is annoying. I've left you alone yet you troupe of clowns don't seem to understand that definition. I'm starting to seriously consider just poisoning all of you to death like I almost did to Treecko." She paused and glanced at the two Pokémon she had just knocked away. "Or in these two's case, by bleeding them to death. Slowly," Seviper threatened. From her glare and tone of voice, it indicated that she wasn't kidding.

"We're experts at never quittin' no matter what, you silly garden Ekans!" Meowth yelled at her, coming out from behind a tree that was in front of Seviper, followed by Jessie and James. "A certain Pikachu can vouch for dat. You ate all our good food so we're gettin' payback!"

"And you expect to get payback how? You can't beat me at all," Seviper pointed out, not feeling in any kind of potential danger by the fight brought to her. "And my patience with you guys is running thin. I've been really nice about not poisoning or badly hurting any of you. My goodwill has limits."

Meowth smirked. "You're tired, and you just ate, you're weak!"

Seviper cackled, making Meowth growl at her. "Really?" she asked. "That's all? You think you can triumph because I'm weakened? Please." She shook her head. "You'll need years of training and hard work before that happens."

Jessie, once she saw Arbok had stood up, immediately ordered an attack. "Arbok, use Acid!" she commanded.

"Weezing, follow up with Sludge Bomb!" James called out after her, backing up Jessie's move.

From beside her, both poison-types attacked the strong Seviper directly. Weezing spat a large glob of vile and unsanitary sludge while Arbok ejected large stream of bright green acid. Seviper rapidly turned to face the attackers, her maw opening as a ringed orb of purple and black appeared in it. With a mighty cry, she fired a very powerful Dark Pulse, which easily tore apart Arbok and Weezing's attacks and smashed into them in a powerful blast of darkness. Jessie, James and Meowth were forced to cover their faces with their arms at the potent blast, and when they opened them, saw Arbok and Weezing lying down on the grass, completely unconscious. They were both knocked out.

Jessie growled at the rapid loss their two main Pokémon had suffered, but her face still reflected determination to keep on fighting. Continuing the battle, she grabbed a Pokéball. "Meowth, our plan! Now!"

Meowth nodded. "Right! You're going down, Seviper!" he yelled mightily, his claws extending as he charged head on at the large poisonous snake.

"Oh, so the kitty finally grew a spine?" Seviper taunted, smirking at the Cat Scratch Pokémon's sudden bravado. "This is gonna be fun." Her tail began to glow as she prepared another Iron Tail attack. "Lights out for you, kitty!" she bellowed, swinging her powerful tail forward.

Jessie smirked once Seviper had launched her attack. 'She fell for it!' she thought excitedly before tossing Wobbuffet's Pokéball forward. "Use Counter!" she commanded.

Meowth rapidly skidded to a halt using the claws on his feet paws to brace himself with the grass to stop completely just as Wobbuffet materialized right in front of him. Immediately he made a military-style salute and began to glow a bright red, as he used the dreaded counterattack move.

Seviper's eyes widened in surprise, and knowing how dangerous Wobbuffet's counterattacks were, immediately halted her attack. Her powerful muscles tensed, stopping the swing of her tail inches in front of Wobbuffet's face. Calmly, she pulled it back and coiled on herself. "That was an impressive tactic, I admit," she commented. "If I was a bit more careless, I'd have taken a very painful counterattack."

James growled in dismay. "Damn it! She avoided falling for it!" he cried out in frustration.

"No problem, though," Jessie said, pleased. "She can't beat Wobbuffet at all!" She grinned confidently.

Seviper laughed the instant she heard the human's absurd claim. "I have two ways to beat your blob easily, dumb human. I can just use Toxic to poison him until he's knocked out. After all, Counter and Mirror Coat don't block non-attacking moves. Or I can just take advantage of a fatal flaw in Mirror Coat." She opened her maw, and began charging another Dark Pulse.

Jessie smirked, having not understood anything Seviper had said, and so was completely unaware of the snake's intentions. "Wobbuffet, use Mirror Coat!" she yelled. Wobbuffet saluted again, and began to glow a bright purple as he activated the counter-move designed to reflect special attacks.

Seviper tossed her head forward, releasing the ringed beat towards the psychic-type. Jessie, James and Meowth watched in horror as the dark-type attack smashed right through Wobbuffet's Mirror Coat with ease and in a single powerful blast of dark energies, knocked out the blue psychic Pokémon in a single potent strike.

"Wh-what!? That's impossible!" Jessie cried out, shocked, as Wobbuffet collapsed to the grass, his eyes crossed out and completely unconscious.

"…I get it…Mirror Coat is psychic-type attack…so Dark Pulse, a dark-type attack, was immune to being countered…it just completely ate up the the psychic energy making up the Mirror Coat and broke through…oh no," James said in realization, gulping. "That was our best plan to beat her!"

Meowth gulped as Seviper approached him and the downed Wobbuffet. "So, will you continue attacking me, kitty?" Seviper questioned darkly, her voice sinisterly creepy. She already had a good idea what he was going to answer.

"No! I surrender!" Meowth answered cowardly, running behind Jessie and James to hide. The two humans rapidly recalled their defeated Pokémon back to their Pokéballs.

Seviper snorted in amusement. "Thought so. Now, where were we?" she asked before deciding to finish what the intruders had started. She opened her maw and began charging another Dark Pulse, making Jessie, James and Meowth quiver in fear as the savage poison-type prepared to attack them directly.

The bushes behind Seviper rustled slightly, and to the former Team Rocket agents' delight, Cacnea leaped from them yet again. "Leave my friends alone!" she bellowed angrily.

James smiled in delight at their sudden rescuer. "It's Cacnea! She's come to save us! She actually came back for us!" he cheered happily.

"Hooray!" Jessie squealed in equal joy. "She'll be of great use, as we're out of usable Pokémon."

Cacnea roared angrily, the spikes on her arms glowing. She held her arms forward as vivid lashes of bright energy were fired from them in the form of Pin Missile. Seviper closed her maw, cancelling the Dark Pulse, and braced herself for the rain of energized needles that exploded across her body, making her wince. Cacnea smirked as her attack took effect, and then charged at Seviper, preparing a powerful Needle Arm.

Seviper's eyes narrowed, rapidly gauging Cacnea's position through the smoke the Pin Missile blasts that had racked her had generated. And once Cacnea was close enough, Seviper then casually swung her tail while using Iron Tail, using the cover of the smoke to catch Cacnea completely by surprise. Seviper smashed the flat edge of the blade onto the incoming Cacnea so hard she was knocked out on the spot and wasn't aware to feel her harsh crash against a tree on the far side of the poison-type. The Cactus Pokémon slid down the tree bark, coming to a half at the base of it while leaving a large spiky indentation at the place she had collided. "Eh," Seviper offhandedly mused, before glancing again at Jessie, James and Meowth. The three froze in horror at how easily she had dispatched their potential savior. She opened her maw again, resuming he original attack.

Jessie trembled, weighting her options, and with all of their cards exhausted, she decided to use her very last trick. "Wait!" Jessie called out, surprising everyone. Seviper halted her attack out of mere curiosity and glanced at her, wondering what was up with her now. Jessie began to walk towards Seviper.

James gasped. "Wait, no!" He grabbed Jessie's arm.

"Shh, quiet!" Jessie snapped, slapping his arm away.

James recoiled back, and stared at her in surprise. "Have you gone mad? She's gonna kill you!"

"I know what I'm doing, relax," Jessie answered back and then resumed walking towards Seviper. She stopped once she was a couple feet away from the very large serpent. "Hi…uh, I know we started out very roughly, but I want to propose you something," she began.

Seviper stared at her dumbfounded. "What the hell is wrong with you, human?" she questioned impatiently.

"Just continue," Meowth urged Jessie, not entirely sure what she was up to, but made sure to make known to the female human Seviper's obvious impatience.

The red-haired young adult smiled warmly, almost invitingly. "Would you like to join us?" she offered. The entire place became awkwardly silent for several very long seconds.

Seviper stared at Jessie as if she had sprouted an extra head. "…Did I happen to hit your head too hard back there or something?" she asked, her tone rather flabbergasted.

"Are you crazy?" James asked, shocked.

Jessie growled. "I'm being serious!" she snapped towards James, before turning back to the Seviper. "As you've seen, we're trainers. And well, I'd like it if you joined us on whatever journey we decide to be on. You're a very powerful Pokémon, and we'd definitely welcome someone like you to our team. We really need it."

"No," was Seviper's flat response to her proposition.

Meowth rapidly translated. But Jessie smiled, and then revealed her trump card. Having seen the Seviper's attitude all day long, she knew exactly how to convince her. "We'll make sure to give you free food daily if you do so. I'll make sure you always have all you want to eat readily served to you," she offered, hoping it would appease the nasty Pokémon.

Seviper paused. "Oh, now you're talking for real, human," she commented, humming in thought. "Okay, I'll go with you," she answered. She glared at Meowth. "Translate that, kitty."

"She says that she'll come with us," Meowth translated, not entirely sure if he was supposed to be happy or terrified. James' jaw dropped in shock.

Jessie blinked. "Huh… That…was a bit too easy," she commented awkwardly. "I kinda expected to need more arguments to convince you."

"Nah. I've lived in this forest for a very long time and frankly, it has gotten boringly repetitive. I'm kinda curious to learn where I'll end up while traveling with you. Maybe I'll find an even better place. Plus, free food anytime I want? I love that deal," Seviper answered. She patiently waited for Meowth to translate that before continuing. "But, I have a couple conditions first."

After Meowth had translated her last add, Jessie blinked. "Conditions?" she asked, curiously.

"Yes. First, I do want my food when I want it, and fast. I might eat your coward Meowth if you fail at that," Seviper hissed, as a terrified Meowth translated that with heavy stuttering. Once the normal-type Pokémon had calmed, she continued. "Second, never refer to me as 'it' again. I'm proud to be a female, and third…" She growled. "You three will train hard and try to become stronger. You're all painfully pathetic! At least Treecko and the Pikachu proved to be of a high level and issued a nice challenge. In contrast, you are all so weak that it's almost pitiful. So, you are going to try and make efforts to become stronger. I don't want to be embarrassed to be in such a weak team. If you fail to improve, I'm abandoning you without haste. Oh, and I'll eat Meowth too," Seviper explained, laying down her conditions clearly. "Keep those three conditions in check, and I won't be too much of a bitch."

Meowth almost fainted, but he complied in translating all of Seviper's words to Jessie and James. Jessie winced. "We'll try, I promise!" She grabbed a Pokéball and held it in front of Seviper. The poison-type rolled her eyes and tapped it with her tail, allowing the ball to suck her inside in a bright white flash. Several instants later, the ball beeped, signaling Seviper had allowed herself to be captured.

"Are you crazy!?" James snapped, glaring at Jessie. "That Seviper is gonna kill us one day!"

"Relax, James. We're no longer Team Rocket. And we still don't know what we're gonna do. But one thing we can start with is trying to become better and stronger trainers. We need to raise powerful Pokémon for that, and Seviper is a very great Pokémon to start with," Jessie said back to him. "Granted, that we get on friendlier terms with her."

"How are we gonna feed her? She's a glutton! You saw how much she eats! We often don't have enough food to feed ourselves!" James pointed out.

"I'm not gonna be one of her meals!" Meowth wailed, terrified.

"Well, now that we don't waste all of our resources trying to capture Pikachu, we can actually focus more on ourselves from now on," Jessie answered. "That includes food. We just need to get used to it. And there's Pokémon Centers too."

James sighed, realizing there was no turning back now. "I hope you know what you're doing…" he mumbled as he turned to walk towards Cacnea, who was slowly recovering from her injuries. "Are you okay?" he asked, concerned.

Cacnea nodded slightly, rubbing her head from the splitting headache she felt. "Ugh…"

James smiled and picked her up. "Don't worry, you'll be fine." Cacnea smiled and hugged him. James winced at the immediate pain that brought. The Cactus Pokémon squeaked when she realized she had harmed him and jumped away. James winced for several long seconds as the pangs of soreness faded away. "Don't worry, I'll be fine too," he said to her. "May I ask, why did you come back for us? It was very dangerous."

"Well, because I wanna come with you!" Cacnea answered cheerfully. "You've been very nice, and you saved me from drowning and you're caring. I wanna find out new stuff, and traveling with you guys sounds fun."

James frowned and turned to looked at Meowth. "Translation, please?" he requested. Meowth translated her exact words. "Oh, that's nice!" James said cheerfully. "If you're okay with that, I'm too." He took one of his spare Pokéballs and crouched down. Cacnea happily tapped it and allowed herself to be captured. "Seems I got a new Pokémon friend myself," James commented, feeling happy.

"Not as amazing, powerful and cool as my capture, though," Jessie said teasingly. "Seviper is seriously powerful. She'll help us catch strong Pokémon, and might teach us stuff. Seviper is clearly better."

"At least my capture likes me and considers me a friend, and won't hold us hostage over food," James snapped back with a grin, making Jessie wince at the smart counter to her tease.

"So, what's next?" Meowth asked curiously.

"I think a change of clothes and figuring out what we're gonna do from now on," Jessie answered. "Let's head to Rustboro. We need new stuff." The other two nodded in agreement. And soon, just like Ash's group, the two humans and feline Pokémon were off to Rustboro City.


Author Notes: And with this the chapter comes to a close! How was it? Did you all like Treecko's introduction? What about Seviper and Cacnea?

On some side notes, I know Treecko's introduction and skills were different from the anime, but you've gotten used by now how I like to change stuff. xD Just what is Treecko's back story here? We'll figure it out as the story develops! Also, I know that's not exactly the exact specifications of how Mirror Coat is supposed to work in relation to Dark-types (talking purely of game terms), but I feel it's more logical and works better like this. Games don't always make much sense in anime terms.

After plotting the entire events with Treecko, I finally realized why the Pokémon animators have Ash start every region with just Pikachu. It's a serious pain trying to figure out how to free slots into his team every time he captures a new Pokémon. It took me a while to figure out how to fit Treecko into his team. Anyway, he'll be back very soon! That's once Ash frees one slot on his team, and that happens next Chapter anyway. So Yay! Hope you had fun reading the chapter!