Hello all, I'm willing to bet that most of you weren't planning on seeing that little notification in your inbox telling you about a new story from me, huh? Well I'm back. And while I am getting out of writing fanfiction and this is at least one of the last ones that I will make, I want at least one more that can possibly compete with "Reaching for the Stars". Many of the group of fellow Advanceshippers that I came into this fandom meeting have already moved on, and I'm one of the few still here.

First thing I should mention is that this fic completely disregards Unova. I don't really have much against the Black and White games, but besides the fact that I have literally no clue as to the who or where about that place to create a story including it. After I heard that they actually confirmed that Ash is still 10 at that time only confirms the already rather obvious nature that Pokémon's producers have taken towards the franchise. As such I think that it's just best to ignore it. A coming of age type of story, which is part of the way that I saw Pokémon, usually works best when the main character actually ages.

Second, considering that I've only seen about the first 40 or 50 episodes into Diamond and Pearl, my story may not entirely coincide with what is really canon, either intentionally or unintentionally. In fact I know that the results of the Lily of the Valley Conference and the Sinnoh Grand Festival aren't the same, but that was more to help with my story as a whole. After doing a little bit of research for this as to what I've missed, I am at least glad that the producers finally had him actually truly try to win a conference by using his best Pokémon, though it apparently took two legendaries to keep him from winning yet again.

Finally, because I know I always get a few PM's about this after every story, yes Glaceon is still an Eevee. Unless Pikachu is there evolving right next to her, which I've kinda come to like with my "Lucky" series, I still prefer my original Revivalshipping to any other form.

Okay so now that that's out of the way I can probably stop boring you and just get to the story. Welcome one and all to my twelfth story, "The Puppeteer's Wishes". After the ever-present disclaimer, I hope that you all enjoy it.

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Pokémon or any of the related material. All names, places, and characters are trademarked property of Satoshi Tajiri and Pokémon Co. All rights reserved.

Countless voices rang out across the bright cloudless day as the final round of the Lilly of the Valley Conference was coming to a close. The weather was perfect for the yearly event, and thousands of people from all corners of Sinnoh, as well visitors from beyond the region's boarders, gathered to watch the match that was rumored to be one of the best in recent times. And from the amount of noise coming out of the main stadium it seemed that those rumors weren't letting people down.

The match was still rather even, but even if both trainers were down to their last Pokémon, the red trainer's Electric-Type was still warming up into the battle while his opponent was barely on his feet after facing down two Pokémon before that. The small yellow mouse was on all fours trying to steady his breathing to ready himself for anything the other Pokémon would try to pull off, electricity still flaring from his red cheek pouches. The large purple scorpion who was across from him on the field was trying to put on a strong front. But after barely beating the Infernape before his current opponent, the claws on both his hands and his tail felt excessively heavy and he was having a hard time even keeping them up. Drapion knew that if he was able to just make it through this last Pokémon he and his trainer would be victorious.

Yet even still, after finally reaching the finals of a Regional Conference and with victory just moments away, the black haired Kanto native just couldn't bring himself to fully enjoy the fact that his long dream was finally about to come true. Sure, he still battled his hardest, and it was no easy fight to get to this point, but to Ash Ketchum there was something just a little more important than this victory going though his head. Nonetheless, while he may have wished for the circumstances to be different he still had a battle in front of him to win.

"Alright Pikachu," he told his long time friend and companion. "Time to finish this and get that trophy, Quick Attack!"

Launching himself from the ready position he was already in, Pikachu shot forward towards the Poison-Type as his image started blur from the speed.

"Drapion cover the area with a Toxic attack!" His trainer called out. "Give it no place to run!"


Just as the poisonous gas came out of Drapion's mouth and started to spread out in front of him, the yellow mouse disappeared from sight and only moments later reappeared behind the scorpion.

"Drapion grab it with your tail before it can attack and use Poison Fang!"

Just after making behind his opponent, Pikachu found a pair of claws clenched around his midsection as he was lifted into the air. Giving off a short cry of pain, the Mouse Pokémon could feel the poison start to course through his body and cause the pain to spread past just the initial injury. It didn't take long before every part of his body started to feel as though it was burning from the inside out.

"Concentrate Pikachu!" Ash yelled out. "I know it hurts but grab on and give him your best Thunderbolt!"

"Toss it into the Toxic cloud, now!"

Arching his tail over his head, Drapion tried to throw his unwilling passenger away. But when he released his grip, the mouse didn't go flying. As his trainer has ordered, Pikachu was holding on to the sharp claws that were once holding him.

Even under the intense pain from the poison injected into him Pikachu managed to hold on by biting the tail claw that once griped his body. Grinning at his opponent through the pain, the Electric-Type emptied what remained in his cheek pouches into Drapion, lighting him up like a light bulb.

As fast as it appeared, the light from the attack dimmed away. Finally letting go, Pikachu dropped down to the ground and slowly made his way over to his trainer. It wasn't until he was halfway back that the Poison-Type finally collapsed, completely out cold.

"And there you have it folks!" The announcer called out. "Drapion is down, and with that being his last Pokémon, David Summers cannot continue. That means that the winner of this round, and the newest champion of the Sinnoh League, is Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town!"

"Just hang tight Pikachu, you'll feel better in just a moment."

Spraying various medicines over his wounds, Pikachu could barely keep from squirming as the disinfectant stung his cuts and bruises.

"Pikaaa!" The Pokémon yelled out after the potion hit an especially raw spot.

"Sorry Buddy," Ash apologized after stopping the spray. "That last Poison Claw got you pretty good, and it's kinda deep here. You know that the pain is only temporary and that you need this done."

Gritting his teeth, Pikachu endured the last few spots as Ash finished off the first aid.

"One last piece, open wide."

Putting the antidote tablet in Pikachu's mouth, the Electric-Type chewed a couple times before swallowing the slightly disgusting medicine.

"There," Ash said with a sigh as he started to put everything away. "Although I'll still have to take you to the Pokémon Center, that should be about it." But once his attention was no longer focused on Pikachu, the trainer's mind returned to his last win and the frustration started to build up within him again. It wasn't the fact that he won which was frustrating him; in fact he was ecstatic beyond belief, but no matter what it just felt like a hollow victory.

"Congratulations Ash!"

"Piplup pip!"

"Buneary bun!"

"Congratulations on your first league victory Ash."

Bursting into the trainer's prep room, Ash's two traveling companions could barely contain their enthusiasm. Although the trainer let out a large sigh as his female companion came in dressed in her cheerleader outfit, even her ever present starter and Buneary were dressed in the same getup.

"Do you really need to dress like that for every battle?" He asked Dawn. "It's kinda embarrassing."

"Yep!" The peppy blunette responded giving a small twirl. "But still, congratulations!"

"Yeah thanks," the trainer told her with a small sigh.

"You're still not over it, are you Ash?" Brock finally asked.

"Oh come on, you won!" Dawn tried to reason with him. "Why are you still acting like this?"

"Because," Ash said with an annoyed look on his face. "It wasn't him that I beat."

"You can't always have it your way Ash," Ash's older companion explained. "Just because you didn't get to face Paul doesn't mean that you should act like this. Paul made it to the semi-finals; he was just not in the same half of the tournament as you were. But if you look at it another way, you beat him indirectly by beating the trainer that beat him."

"It's just still not the same," Ash countered before taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly. "I'm going out for a walk."

Grabbing Pikachu the trainer headed straight out the door, not even bothering to listen to what Dawn and Brock were trying to say.

"Twenty bucks says that he went looking for Paul."

"I'm not taking that bet Dawn, cause you know as well as I do that's exactly what he's doing."

It was nearly an hour since Ash walked out of the trainer's prep room. Even though his two friends followed him right out the door, in the sea of people exiting the stadium it didn't take long for them to lose sight of him.

"Can you see him Piplup?" Dawn asked her starter.

"Pip lup pip lup." Standing on her trainer's shoulders the Water-Type kept scanning the crowd, looking for either the trainer in question or Pikachu. "Piplup!"

"You found him?"

"Piplup," she nodded while pointing in the direction of what they all hoped was Ash.

Walking toward where the Penguin Pokémon indicated, it didn't take long until the crowd opened up revealing a defiant looking Ash in front of none other than Paul, who, despite having his primary rival only feet from him staring him down, looked as uncaring as ever. The two trainers were near one of the larger fountains located around the arena, and sitting on the edge of that fountain was Pikachu, idly watching the two boys. Still obviously tired from the earlier match.

"Come on Paul," Ash tried to reason with him. "You've got to be as annoyed as I am. Let's just have one battle, all out six on six. I'll even agree to give you the Lilly of the Valley Conference Trophy if you win."

"And why should I?" Paul simply asked, clearly unimpressed at his offer. "You won the tournament, so why should you care about beating someone who didn't get past the semi-finals?"

"It's the principle of the matter!" Ash nearly yelled. "What's the point of winning if I can't go up against you?"

"Sorry, not interested," the purple haired trainer responded. "Now if you excuse me, I have better things to do. Why don't you go find someone else to annoy?"

"Wait Paul!" Even as his rival continued to walk away from him, Ash couldn't move. Although he didn't like the idea of it, Ash knew that if Paul didn't want to battle there was no way that he would be able to convince him otherwise.

Finally looking up and seeing his friends, Ash virtually collapsed down onto the fountain resting his head in his hands.

"So what do you plan to do now?" Brock asked as he walked up to the black haired boy. "Paul obviously doesn't care about a match between you and him as much as you do. And you can't force him to do it."

"Yeah I know," Ash flatly stated. "It's just… it's just that after everything he's said as we've traveled through Sinnoh, I wanted to finally show him that my way of training isn't the wrong way. From the first time we met he looked down on me at every turn because we didn't train our Pokémon the same way, and I just felt like I had to show him that I was better than what he put me at."

"I think he's at least considering that Ash," Brock told the younger man. "You still won and it's not hard to see that he is envious of that. He's thinking quite a bit about this, whether he shows it or not."

"Really?" After hearing that, Ash couldn't help but perk up.

"How can he not?" Dawn added in. "I mean, even if he didn't think highly of you the fact remains that you won and he didn't."

Sighing deeply, Ash could feel those statements digging in. Even if he still wasn't satisfied with how things went he now had to think about what happens next.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"

Looking up the three travelers and their two Pokémon saw a tall lady with long blonde hair dressed in black walking towards them.

"Cynthia!" Ash said with a surprised look on his face as he got up to greet the newcomer. "What are you doing here?"

"I've come to personally congratulate you Ash," she told him. "Is something wrong? You don't look like someone who just finally won a regional tournament."

"No I'm fine; it's just… well let's just say there was one person I wanted to personally defeat in this year's tournament but didn't get the chance to."

"Ah, I see. Yeah that isn't the best feeling is it?" The blonde confided with a knowing smile. "But life goes on, and you'll always have another chance to challenge them in the future."


"But on to other business," Cynthia said in a more upbeat tone. "First of all I came to make sure that you haven't forgotten about the trophy ceremony that will be happening soon. Considering you are going to be the guest of honor we can't have you being late. And second I was wondering if you had an idea of when you wanted to schedule our battle."

"Our battle?" Ash was completely confused at the thought. All of his focus as of late was to win the tournament and to battle Paul.

"I can't believe that you seriously forgot," Brock said with a sigh. "There are two reasons that trainers enter the regional conferences. The first is of course claiming the title of Tournament Champion for the year. The second is the ability to challenge the regional Elite Four along with the current reigning regional champion to an official battle and claim that title for yourself."

"I did forget," the trainer said with a nervous chuckle. "I've been so focused on only winning that I forgot the other perks that come along with that win."

"So now that you've remembered, when do you think would be a good time for our match?" Cynthia restated. "Because even if it'll take a few days to prepare, there are many people who are already waiting to hear when the date for our match will be decided." Suddenly looking down at her watch, the blonde's eyes went wide. "But we'll probably have to leave that for later," she said while grabbing Ash's wrist. "In the meantime we need to get to the ceremony."

Barely resisting her, Ash followed the Sinnoh Champion back to the stadium with Pikachu and the rest of his friends close behind him.

"I hope you can deal with the life of a celebrity Ash," Cynthia said with a smile. "Because in a few hours your name will be at virtually every corner in Sinnoh, and you'll probably have a lot of fans popping up from now on."

"Fans?" Ash questioned with some uncertainty as they walked through the large double doors into the stadium.

Closing the door behind him, Ash walked into his private room in the Pokémon Center and immediately collapsed onto the bed after putting his new trophy down near his bag. Climbing up onto the bed next to him, Pikachu curled up next to his trainer to finally rest.

"Now I know what she meant by dealing with the life of a celebrity," Ash groaned. "I think that we need to get out of Sinnoh Buddy, I'm not sure I'll be able to handle this."

"Pika pika," the small Pokémon agreed.

"I never knew girls could get that crazy, or at least that type of crazy…"

Staring up at the ceiling, he was at least starting to get Paul out of his mind but the bittersweet feeling just didn't want to leave his system. Almost unconsciously he reached into the side pocket of his jeans and pulled out the item inside. Holding it up in front of him, the golden surface shined brightly in the evening light that was coming though his open window as a soft breeze ruffled the red and pink stripped ribbon attached to it. For the first time in several days he gave off a genuine smile as he looked into his reflection of the ribbon and memories flooded back into his head. Even Pikachu looked up at the ribbon as his own set of memories returned.

But Ash was only able to gaze at his precious possession for a few moments before a rapid set of knocks resonated from his door. Quickly retracting his hand back into his pocket he hid the item just as the door swung open revealing Dawn and her Piplup.

"Hey Ash, you have a phone call," she informed him.

"A phone call?" Ash asked as he pulled his hand back out of his pocket. "I thought I asked Nurse Joy not to accept any calls for me."

Giving off a mischievous smile, Dawn started to walk back to the door.

"Don't worry Ash," she said. "It's not some stranger. In fact you know them quite well."


"You'll see," the blunette told him in a sing song voice.

"Oh come on Dawn," Ash pleaded while grabbing Pikachu and following her out the door.

"I'm not saying; you'll just need to find out for yourself. But here's a bit of advice," Dawn continued while walking down the hallway to the center's main room. "If you want to try and keep your little treasure a secret you might want to try and lock the door next time."

In a burst of laughter Dawn took off down the hallway running leaving a flushed red Ash in her wake.

"Dawn!" He yelled out while running after her while cradling Pikachu in his arms. "Get back here! What else do you know about that?"

Chasing after the blunette the two eventually make it to the main room of the Pokémon Center, but a new voice made them both stop dead in their tracks.

"Hey you two, no running in the Pokémon Center!" Nurse Joy yelled at them from behind the front desk. "I don't care if you're the new champion or not, you'll still obey the rules here!"

Quickly apologizing, the two companions walked over to the video phones, where at the moment the only one in use was occupied by Brock. Although his head and body were blocking the screen so Ash couldn't see who he was talking to.

Before they got up behind him though, Dawn straightened up and with another mischievous smile whispered into his ear before heading back to her own room.

"You know, you won't be able to move forward if all you do is look at the ribbon."

Before Ash could even respond Dawn was virtually skipping across the room and down the hallway.

"Night Ash," she waved nonchalantly before disappearing. "Congratulations again on your win."

"It's times like this that I wonder how much that girl really knows," Ash thought as we watched the blunette. "And I still don't like that smile of hers."

Looking back at the monitor his eyes nearly lit up as he saw who Brock was talking to.

Turning around in his chair Brock gave a small smile as he got up and headed for his own room.

"I'll leave you two alone now," he said before leaving. "Just remember Ash, we have an early morning tomorrow."

"Yeah thanks," Ash responded almost unconsciously as he sat down.

Looking into the monitor, an old friend smiled right back at the trainer. While the young lady didn't look exactly like when he first met her, nearly every detail was just how Ash remembered her in his head. She was still wearing the green bandana and orange blouse that he last saw her in, but his eyes were fixed on his friend's exuberant face.

"Hi May," he finally said.

"Hey Ash," May said back, barely able to contain her apparent excitement. "Congratulations on your win! I wish I could have been there to see it."

"Thanks," just seeing her smiling face made Ash's mood rise instantly. "I wish you could have been here too, but how did you know about this? I mean it was only a few hours ago that the tournament ended."

"It's called the internet Ash," the brunette told him with a laugh. "You should try it out sometime, it can tell you quite a bit."

"Oh yeah, guess I forgot about that," Ash responded with a nervous laugh of his own. "Well you know I've never been good with computers and such."

"All too well Ash, all too well. Actually I was watching it live the whole time, it would have been nice if I could have watched it on TV but they didn't have it on any of the Johto stations. Besides, Dawn was keeping me up to date with all of the details every night."

"Wait you've been talking to her every night?" Although he tried to hide it, May could see that he was a little upset with this discovery.

"Yeah we've been talking on and off since the Wallace Cup," she explained with a knowing smile on her face. "And I asked her to call me every night to keep me informed about how you were doing. I wanted you to be able to focus solely on your battles, so sorry if you took that the wrong way."

"No that's okay May, but next time you can just call me and not just get everything from Dawn. Talking to old friends will never make me lose focus."

"Sure Ash, I'll make sure to remember that," May agreed. "So how is Pikachu doing? That last hit seemed pretty bad."

"He's fine," Ash told her while giving a light scratch to the Pokémon in his lap. "He won't be battling for a few days but it's nothing serious. Isn't that right Buddy?"

Looking down after no receiving an answer, the trainer found his Pokémon staring intently at the screen. His eyes seemingly searching for something.

"Well he seems a little preoccupied," the trainer concluded, though he had a good idea as to why. "So did you just get back from a round in the Grand Festival? Because usually you have at least Eevee next to you."

May's mood seemed to fall for a moment before looking back up at Ash with her normal smile.

"Yeah you could say that," she told him. "Although my Pokémon are just back in my room, not with Nurse Joy. So what are you planning to do now that you've finally won?"

"That's actually a good question, what am I going to do?" Ash asked nobody as he sat back in his chair, lightly chuckling to himself.


"Sorry, I just have a good amount on my mind at the moment."

"Care to share some of it?" The brunette asked. "It always helps me just saying it out loud to others."

"Sure, why not," he said after only slight hesitation. "You remember my stories about Paul right? In case not, he's the trainer that I kept on meeting up with around Sinnoh and the one who always seemed to talk down to me just because we both think differently on how to train Pokémon."

"Yeah, I think I do at least."

"Well, ever since I met him I've wanted to have a real battle with him. Of course I wanted to win to show that my way of thinking was in no way weak, but just an official battle between us would have been good enough. I always found that it was easier to understand people with a Pokémon battle for some reason, so I was hoping this could have just been like all the other times."

"And?" May asked as Ash seemed to pause in thought.

"And it never happened. While he made it to the semi-finals, he was in the other bracket, and he lost. So while I beat the guy that beat him, it still isn't the same."

"So just find and ask him for a battle," the coordinator suggested. Though when Ash didn't respond it didn't take long for her realize why. "But if it was that easy you wouldn't be as bothered as you are."

"You're right. After the finals I found him and challenged him to a battle, even putting my title as the new champion up for the prize. He outright denied me and just walked off."

"Sorry to hear that Ash, but until he changes his mind there isn't anything you can really do."

"Yeah I know, Brock said pretty much the same thing. But because of that my win today still seems bittersweet. And for some reason I just feel that I can't make my other decision before finishing things up with him."

"Other decision?"

"When I won the Lilly of the Valley Conference I got the chance to challenge the Sinnoh Elite Four and Cynthia, the current Sinnoh Champion, for her position," Ash explained, looking down at Pikachu while slowly petting him.

"Oh wow! I didn't realize that you get that too if you win, so why don't you… oh," May paused as she realized why he was worried about it. "So if you accept that challenge you feel that you're accepting that you beat Paul, even if part of you still wants to prove that by actually battling him. Am I right?"

Looking back up at May, Ash blinked a few times trying to first comprehend her comment, and second to figure out if she actually was correct.

"Yeah, now that you mention it, that might be right," Ash said after a while.

"Personally I think that you should take the chance and go for it."

"I want to agree with you May, but… I just don't know. I want to challenge Cynthia, that's one thing that I know for sure. I'm just not sure if I'm ready to do it now." Sighing, the trainer was starting to feel overwhelmed. "Sorry but I think I'm going to have to sleep on it."

"No that's okay Ash; you've probably had a busy day so that would be for the best."

"Thanks May," Ash finally said to her. "I always feel better after talking with you. Now that we both have a break maybe we can get together sometime soon, just to catch up in person. I'd love to hear about everything that happened in Johto."

"Yeah that would be great Ash," May told him, her smile falling just slightly. "I'll talk to you later then, goodnight Ash."

"Night May."

Disconnecting the call, Ash finally felt a large yawn come upon him.

"Well Buddy, time for us to go to sleep," he told the Pokémon in his lap. "I'm still kinda surprised that she and Dawn have been talking as much as they apparently have. But it would still be great if we could see her again."

After picking his partner up and noticing that Pikachu was barely paying attention to him, Ash chuckled a bit.

"You were looking pretty hard there for something while May and I were talking, weren't you Pikachu?"

"Pi?" Stiffening slightly, Pikachu looked up at his best friend and a few nervous laughs escaped his lips. Giving off a big yawn of his own, the Electric-Type nonchalantly snuggled into his trainer's arms.

"Uh-huh, trying to pretend you didn't hear that right? Don't worry Pikachu, I think I have a good idea as to what you were looking for and it's nothing to ashamed about." Reaching down into his pocket, Ash let his fingers curl around the item inside of it. "I'm not sure what's going to happen next but at least our friends will be right there with us. Some closer than others, and others we wish closer than they were, but our journeys continue and we'll cross paths again. Eventually."

Withdrawing his hand, Ash started walking back towards his room, finally ready for a nice long sleep.

This story has gone quite a bit longer than I originally thought so the pace might be a little slow at times. And as usual after a long time off I usually think that my skills have become rusty, but that idea is almost always shot down by reviewers so I leave that decision up to you. I welcome any and all reviews, both from new readers and old friends, and will gladly answer any questions that you may have.

As a reminder, I like to post my updates every other day and this is no exception. So expect chapter two up in a couple days.