Crisis at Saffron City

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
Face it all together

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
Face it all together
At Skyfall
Skyfall, Adele

Sabrina's father teleported the group at Saffron City, or more exactly its outskirts. Once here, the six looked around.

"What's happening?" Misty asked.

"What I said." The psychic growled. "Team Rocket has targeted the Headquarter of Silph Co. And to make sure no one disturbed them, after defeating Sabrina, they put a psychic barrier around the city."

Indeed, the city was covered by a crystalline dome. The man led them to a small tent where several persons were gathered. There was Sabrina and her Kadabra, now an Alakazam, Surge and his Raichu, Erika and her Gloom, Koga and Crobat and finally Giovanni and Persian, to everyone's surprise. Somehow, Sabrina seemed exhausted. She looked at her father.

"You managed to find them. Thank you, father."

"Why are you gathered here?" Brock asked.

Surge sighed.

"We came to find a way to break this barrier. But we're not complete yet. Blaine is missing."

Not three seconds later, the hot-headed scientist was here, riding Entei.

"Thank you, my friend. Without your incredible speed, I would have never made it this fast."

The Fire Legendary kindly growled. Erika raised a brow.

"So the rumors were true. The eruption of Cinnabar was powerful enough to give birth to an Entei."

Giovanni turned to Sabrina.

"Sabrina, please explain what happened before we arrived."

The Gym Leader sighed and looked away.

"They took me by surprise. I was teaching a group of very promising students when I felt a disturbance in town. It came from the Silph building so I came here with Haunter and Alakazam. Those Rocket Rebels you told us about, it was them. I quickly got rid of those who were in my path alongside some other Trainers, but they decided I was too troublesome to they took extreme measures."

"What extreme measures?" Blaine asked.

Sabrina shivered.

"They sent the Legendary Bird trio against me. I had only Haunter and Alakazam with me and they were already exhausted. I didn't last long. And as if it wasn't enough, the members of the Gym I defeated many years ago joined their side. Damn Wendigo and his brainless Fighting Pokémon ..."

Silver frowned.

"Sabrina, who are they?"

"They call themselves the Three Pillars of Team Rocket. They are incredibly strong. Their names are ..."

"Pyra Okamiko, Light Rayami and Frost Yukimaru. I know them well."

Everyone turned to Giovanni. Simon frowned.

"Father, why are you here?"

Giovanni looked at his son.

"Exactly for this: to provide the other Gym Leaders with information about the Rocket Rebels."

"What about us?" Ash asked. "Why did you take us here? And where are the Elite Four? Isn't it their job to protect Kanto from such a threat?"

Koga nodded in appreciation.

"The kid is sharp indeed." He turned to him. "The Elite Four are busy somewhere else. As for your presence, Sabrina wanted you around because you and your friends are skilled. And after Giovanni told us how you defeated him, you're the kind of support we'd gladly use to watch our back."

"Besides ..." Erika added. "Misty and Brock were Gym Leaders too. We will need them. And if Silver is at our side, it's all the better for us."

"Simon can also be useful." Ash said. "He is an Aura User. His powers aren't on the same rank as Silver's or mine, but they are good."

Sabrina frowned.

"I knew something was off when you entered."

"Indeed." Giovanni smiled. "Just like his brother, Ash can manipulate Aura quite proficiently. And under Silver's tutelage, you can be sure he will gain power and mastery in no time."

Sabrina sighed.

"An Aura Guardian ... and here I hoped he would be a psychic. Tough luck so far!"

Her father frowned.

"There's always been great enmity between Psychics and Aura Users, a fast that is reinforced by mental powers being Psychic type and Aura belonging to Fighting. As a matter of facts, we have always hated each other."

Silver smiled.

"You have no ideas. During his first fight against your daughter, if Butterfree and his mate didn't interfere, Sabrina would have taken a nice Aura Sphere in the head. Kid was at this to awaken his powers." He looked down. "But at times, you have to let go of the past to move forward, just like the Ancient did. Though they didn't forget the once glorious civilization they once belonged to, they moved from its destruction and mingled with the humans to give birth to a new world."

Ash looked at the psychic dome.

"The fight won't be easy. I need to go back home to get some Pokémon."

"I can teleport you here, if you want." Sabrina's father offered.

Ash smiled.

"Thank you, Mr. LeFay."

"Please, call me Abraham."

"I'll also need to retrieve my Pokémon at Cerulean." Misty said. "Bellossom, Starmie, maybe even Seel. My sisters told me he had recently evolved into Dewgong."

"And Forrest need to return to Pewter." Brock added. "I don't want something bad to happen to him."

Cerulean City being nearby, Blaine offered Misty a ride while Sabrina let Brock use Alakazam to go to Pewter City. Finally, Abraham LeFay teleported Ash to Pallet Town. As soon as she saw them appearing straight in the Corral, Delia came to them.

"Dear, what is wrong?"

Ash turned to her.

"The Rocket Rebels have attacked the Silph Building at Saffron City. The Gym Leaders have called for our help."

Delia frowned.

"Rocket Rebels, huh? Gimme a minute. I'm in too."

She ran home and returned with five poké-balls. At the same time, Ash had gone to the training field where his Pokémon were gathered.

"Let's see, which one could I use? Clefairy is a must. Charizard too. Pidgeot is already with me and he is a powerful fighter, but maybe I should try Aerodactyl. He has the Rock Head ability. Bulbasaur? Maybe. Against Zapdos. And Haunter to go against Psychic-type Pokémon. In other words, almost the same team I used against Giovanni. How fun ... but I won't take Aerodactyl. He and Charizard will try to kill each other."

He gathered his Pokémon and joined Abraham. Delia had also gathered her team made of Mimey, Lily, Theo and Vivi and had shifted her housewife clothes for black spandex, a fuschia sleeveless top, black leather boots and finger, arm and chest protections for her bow. Ash raised a brow.

"Wow ..."

Delia giggled.

"This is what I looked like when I was among Team Rocket. I was know nas the Poisonous Hunting Scientist because of my skills and my liking for Poison Pokemon. Actually, I took several lessons from Koga ..."

Ash gulped. His fight against her had taught him his mother could pack a punch. He didn't know she could be actually that dangerous. Abraham teleported mother and son to the besieged city. His friends were here too. Ash had taken Brock's Pokémon with him in case, something his friend thanked him for.

"Now, we have to find a way to get past this barrier." Erkia frowned.

Sabrina looked at it.

"It was created by a Mr. Mime. We need to find it and defeat. My Haunter could do that but he was injured by Moltres."

Ash felt a poké-ball shake. He opened it to reveal his own Haunter. The Ghost Pokémon was angry. Sabrina smiled.

"Right. My Haunter is Ash's Haunter's elder brother."

Ash had a grin.

"Haunter, do you remember at the Ghost Tower how you took me and Pikachu from our bodies and we traveled around as ghosts?"

Haunter nodded and smirked evilly. Ash looked at his hand.

"I wonder if I can use my Aura Powers in astral form ... My aim isn't that great with Aura Sphere, but I can already channel Aura in my feet and fists to hit harder."

He sat cross-legged in the tent and Haunter plunged a hand in his body. He took the boy's soul and both rose in the air. Ash focused a little and the people present turned to him.

"Looks like you can see me. Do you hear me too?"

"We hear you loud and clear, little brother." Simon grinned. "If I find a Ghost Pokémon, I should try that trick. It looks useful."

"Alright. I'll be back as soon as that barrier is down. Be ready to go."

He and Haunter flew away. Delia turned to Sabrina.

"So, where's your Haunter? Mimey can use some healing moves."

Sabrina took a poké-ball. At the same time, Ash and Haunter had turned invisible and were looking for the Mr. Mime at the origin of the shield. At the same time, they spied on the town. The people were hiding in their houses and the shops were closed. Rocket Rebels were paroling the streets. Fortunately, no one saw the two. They headed to the Silph Building to see what was in stores for the group and frowned at the sight. Employees were kept locked and watched in several rooms. Looking for the CEO, he found him at the fiftieth floor of the building, being threatened by a woman with fiery red hairs, crimson leggings and high heels and a black top with a red R on a flame. Two men were at her side. One had spiky blonde hairs, long yellow pants with belts over it and a black sleeveless top with a red R on two crossed lightning bolts. His hands had fingerless black gloves. The other had mid-back pale blue hairs, a long blue jacket on tight-fitting jeans with black moccasins and a black shirt with a red R on a crystal. Finally, while the woman looked rather well-shaped, the man in yellow was muscular and the blue-haired guy was rather androgynous. They were discussing about something.

"Oh, don't worry, Mr. Director. We will soon find out where you hid the Master Ball. And if we don't, you can say goodbye to your precious co-workers. I'm sure Moltres will be happy to turn them into ashes ..."

The man in yellow grinned.

"Maybe if we take some of them and I use Zapdos to zap them a bit, it will change his mind. Frost?"

The man in blue looked coldly at the poor director.

"We must do what must be done to retrieve the Master Ball. Archer won't be happy otherwise. Have it your ways, I'll continue searching. Come, Jynx."

A Jynx appeared from the shadows and followed her master outside. Ash nodded. He had seen enough. He returned in town and was quick to find the Mr. Mime using Aura Tracker. It helped that his mother had this Pokémon too. He knew what a Mr. Mime's Aura was like. Charging an Aura Fist, he dived at the creature and punched its head hard. The Psychic type was recovering when Haunter's Dark Pulse hit it dead-on. It crumbled, defeated. The barrier faded, causing the boy to grin. He returned to the camp and found the Gym Leaders, ready to attack. Once inside his body, he told them what he had seen. Blaine nodded.

"I see. Let's go straight for the building. We can easily handle whatever grunt comes in our way."

"They are looking for the Master Ball and are ready to torture the people inside the building to get it." Ash frowned. "I saw some who had Pokémon. They will help us if we free them."

Koga grinned.

"I wouldn't have done better myself. Your idea to use a Ghost Pokémon for spying is clever, kid."

"I could have taken care of it all myself." Silver shrugged.

Giovanni chuckled.

"As expected from the man who took down Team Dark Moon by himself. But the League doesn't call for hired guns. They do it with their own strength. You're only here as Ash's mentor."

"Thanks ..."

(Play Eye of the Tiger, by Survivor)

The group took their poké-balls and headed to the city. Warned by the fall of the barrier, the grunts had gathered to stand on the Leaders' path. They were totally crushed. No one, not even Brock showed mercy. They walked across the streets as the people watched them pass, cheering and encouraging them. Some of them even joined the group as they neared the building. A group of stronger-looking Trainers was waiting for them.

"We won't let you enter! By order of the Three Pillars of Team Rocket ..."

"... you will let us pass right here, right now." Silver finished.

Charizard, Lya and Entei cleanly baked the bunch. Ash laughed.

"If they're all that weak we'll be done before sunset!"

"Don't forget the Legendary Birds." Simon remarked. "Legendaries are one cut above the other."

Ash turned to him.

"Blaine has Entei and Silver has Odin. This makes two Legendaries on our side and I'm fairly sure that either Pikachu, Charizard or Clefable is able to take one of these three without much help."

Clefable punched her fists, happy of the trust her Trainer was putting into her. She couldn't wait to face one of the Kanto Legends. Simon frowned and shrugged. His brother's Pokémon were weird in more ways than one. Suddenly, a group of martial artists jumped before them. They were wearing red judojis with a black belt and were bare-fisted and footed. Their leader had a brown Mohawk on his head and was heavily muscular. Sabrina growled.

"Wendigo …"

The man grinned.

"It's been some time, Sabrina. Wanting to take the town back?"

"I want and I will. Get out of my way!"

The man chuckled loudly.

"You only went past me by miracle! What tells you you can do it again?"

The mentalist's eyes glowed.


She held her hand and pushed him away with a psychic wave. The evil Leader rose and growled.

"You damn b*tch! Machamp, take care of her!"

The blue four-armed Pokémon jumped from its poke-ball and launched a Dynamic Punch to Sabrina who stiffened. Ash gasped and instinctively jumped before her, his hands blue from Aura. He was about to launch an Aura Sphere when the woman's Haunter sprang into action. Clenching his fists, he threw a double Shadow Punch that hit the Fighting type in the head. Ash had quickly turned Aura Sphere into Aura Shield, managing to protect him and Sabrina from the attack. When it faded, they saw Haunter and Machamp circling each other as predators. Machamp used Close Combat. Haunter merely stood still. Sabrina grinned.

"Ghost types are immune to Fighting attacks. Wendigo is doomed."

Deciding he was getting bored, Haunter closed his eyes. His body glowed white and changed shape until he was bigger, larger and apparently more powerful. Blaine smiled.

"Congratulation, Sabrina. Your Haunter evolved into Gengar."

His colleague nodded.

"It's perfect. Gengar, Drain Punch."

Flying between the four muscular arms, Gengar's fist glowed green and hit Machamp in the chest, sucking its strength away. Finally, the Shadow Pokémon channeled his power and unleashed a powerful Hyper Beam that knocked his opponent away. Wendigo backed up in shock.

"What? Ma … champ … has been defeated?"

"Yes." Delia nodded. "And I suggest you don't stay here if you want to avoid the same fate."

"In your dreams! Warriors, attack!"

Mankey, Primeape, Hitmonlee and Hitmontop and the whole Machop evolutionary like appeared, as well as some Poliwrath. Sabrina shook her head.

"They never learn. Alakazam, Hypno, Espeon, Jynx, Starmie, Gengar! Wipe them off!"

The psychic Pokémon quickly got rid of the Fighting army, especially when other Psychic and Flying Pokémon joined the party. Sabrina stood before the scared martial artists.

"Leave this town. And if I ever see you in the area, you're dead."

The men were fast to leave the city. This obstacle removed, the group made its path through the building. No one knew what happened inside except it was a slaughter. Rocket Rebels would often run away screaming every now and then when they weren't making the big jump from the windows before crashing anime-style. It was also very noisy, the sound of intense fighting being heard at almost every level.

"Let's separate!" Giovanni suggested. "The kids will go with Delia and Abraham to free the hostages while we go to the upper levels and face the three Legendary Birds."

So while Ash and co. were fighting the various grunts keeping the prisoners, the other Gym Leaders were making their way through the floors. Silver was with them. His integrity was well-known and if there was one person who could have a chance against the Legendary Trio, it was him. After all, he defeated Koga! And not in a Pokémon battle … After two exhausting hours, all the employees were freed.

"Alright." Delia grinned. "Let's help the Leaders!"

(Play Clash of Swords, from Final Fantasy XII)

They took the elevator to the last floor and finally reached the place Ash had located the Rocket Trio. What they saw made them freeze. While the Silph President was hiding in a corner, the Gym Leaders were facing the three birds and their masters. And they were losing. Erika was lying on the ground, her team defeated by Articuno who had made short work of her. Despite his best efforts, Koga had lost and was against a wall, his clothes burned in several places. Half of Giovanni's team was out and only Sabrina's Alakazam was still standing. Blaine and Lt. Surge were doing slightly better until Surge's Pokémon were trapped in a furious Blizzard. Moltres's flames did the rest. The Electric specialist backed up, leaving Blaine and Silver to deal with the three birds.

Silver growled. He was fighting against Zapdos and only Blitz's Lightningrod and Gaya's supporting moves were keeping his group alive.

"If things keep going, I'll have to draw my blades!"

Light, the man who was controlling Zapdos, turned to Frost.

"Hey, lend me a hand! I need help here!"

Articuno instantly changed path. Lya saw it and growled.

"Not in your dreams ..."

The ice bird was heading to the group but the elder Ninetales jumped before him and hurled a powerful Inferno. Articuno backed up and retaliated with Blizzard. Not so far, Blaine was fighting Moltres and was holding his own, though Flareon, Rapidash and Ninetales were down. Another Sky Attack from the bird and Arcanine was out. Blaine frowned. He was about to order an attack when Entei jumped and dug his teeth in the Flame Pokémon. Moltres bucked and twisted, seeking to get the Legendary Beast off his back. Odin saw this and grinned. He shrieked something to Entei who growled and jumped off. By the time Moltres realized what happened, Silver's Legendary was on him, his body covered by ice. The attack brought his opponent down, much to Blaine's delight.

"Do we help them?" Ash asked.

"Yes." Delia nodded. "Moltres is out, but Articuno and Zapdos are still standing."

Brock frowned.

"I'll take care of Articuno. My Rock Pokémon are strong against him."

Misty nodded.

"Bellossom, go with Silver and help him! The others are with me to protect the Gym Leaders!"

Ash nodded.

"Then I'll go help Silver. Mom, Mr. LeFay, Simon, go with Misty!"

"I'll go support Brock." Simon replied. "My Pokémon have good moves against Flying types."

Misty spewed warm water over Erika's Pokémon, warming their frozen bodies. The Leader rose.

"Thank you, Misty. I feel better now."

"Not so fast!"

The girls turned to see Pyra.

"You think I'll let you stand up and fight? Don't be dreaming! Magmar, Flamethrower!"

Misty's eyes narrowed.

"Staryu, Water Gun!"

The two attacks collided in a burst of steam that warmed Erika's Pokémon a little more. Misty rose.

"I may not look like it, but I am also a Gym Leader! And I'm bringing you down! Dewgong, Aurora Beam! Staryu, Swift! Omanyte, Water Pulse!"

The barrage of Ice and Water attacks pushed Pyra back.

"Damn it! Magmar, Charizard, Inferno!"

The attacks met, covering the whole room in mist. Suddenly Omanyte started to glow. When it faded, the little Spiral Pokémon looked bigger and more feral with spikes on his shell, angry eyes and a sharp beak. Blaine grinned.

"An Omastar!"

Misty nodded. She just needed a little power boost ...

"Omastar, Waterfall!"

The Fossil Pokémon created a large wave of water that swallowed Magmar and Charizard.

"Dewgong, Sheer Cold!"

The cold wind froze the whirlpool and the two Pokémon within.

"Staryu, Rapid Spin!"

Finally, Staryu broke the ice, knocking definitively Magmar and Charizard off the picture. Pyra was wide-eyed.

"No ... ways ..."

Misty looked straight at her. An Icy Wind later, she had been turned in an ice cube. At the same time, Brock was facing Frost with Simon. He had borrowed Rhyperior to Forrest and used a Smack Down to bring Articuno to the ground. Zubat had been knocked out by Jynx, who was actually caught in a battle with Simon's Sneasel. Feraligatr was trying his jaws against a Cloyster while Onix had been thrown down by a Dewgong. But the main source of the group's problems, alongside the ice bird, was a tenacious Lapras. The creature had knocked Vulpix, Murkrow and Golem and was winning against Rhyperior. Kabuto growled. He wanted to do something more than head-charging in the lot or randomly launching rock splinters everywhere. His strong will took a more solid form as his body was covered in light. The small creature evolved and radically changed shape, turning from a little trilobite-like creature into a monster similar to a Scyther ... in more feral. Frost frowned.

"A Kabutops? Lapras, take him out!"

Lapras used Ice Beam against the creature but Kabutops nimbly dodged. He rushed to the dual-type Pokémon, his blade-like claws shining under the light and jumped to deliver a deadly Night Slash to the creature. Lapras crumbled, out of the fight for good. Brock cheered.

"Well done, Kabutops!"

Rhyperior roared at his savior … and got caught by Dewgong's Water Pulse. Kabutops turned to the dugong creature and his eyes narrowed. Before it could react, a strong Ancient Power struck it and eliminated it. A little away, Jynx had been defeated by a combination of Sneasel's Hone Claw and Metal Claw. Frost was now down to Articuno only, but Simon and Brock weren't any better: Brock had only Kabutops remaining and Simon only had Sneasel, Feraligatr having fallen victim to a double-KO with Cloyster. The two growled. This wouldn't be easy.

Silver and Ash were fighting against Light and Zapdos. Pikachu used his Lightningrod ability together with Blitz to protect the group, but there's a limit to everything. Clefable had Hyper Beamed a Magneton while Bulbasaur had defeated Elektrabuzz. Silver had gladly let his student take care of the lower-level Pokémon, saving his for the Legendary Bird. And Arceus knew he was having it hard.

"What in the Reverse World did he give to that beast? It's almost the level of an Alpha Rank Legendary!"

Espera had been KOed by a nasty Thunder attack and Riyo hadn't lasted long with his half-Steel type. Odin himself was fairly exhausted. Despite being a Legendary, he was nonetheless younger and less experienced than the three others. Zapdos suddenly used Magnet Rise on Gaya and struck with a powerful Discharge. The Meganium fell, her petals smelling of ashes.

"Now you can no more heal yourself!" Light boasted.

Silver growled.

"Looks like I'll have to draw my blades ..."

Ash was winning against the man's regular Pokémon. Seeing a Raichu, Pikachu had immediately gone after it and was busy beating the lights out of it. While Charizard had incinerated an Electrode, Haunter was facing a Jolteon. The beast was about to use Thunder Fangs when Clefable jumped before him and used a furious Blizzard to freeze it on its feet. A good Drain Punch later, the electric Eeveelution was done for. She then turned to Zapdos. The bird looked at her. He had just knocked Blitz with an Aerial Ace and was about to face Lya but the old Ninetales was less interesting than the pink ball that was glaring daggers at him. Charizard growled.

(Auto-translator: ON)

"Damn … this place is too narrow! We need to take him outside! Only then we'll be able to outmaneuver him!"

Clefable looked at the windows.

"I'll take care of that!"

She managed to smash the glass with Focus Blast. Pidgeot and Charizard nodded.

"Here we go …"

Charizard roared as Pikachu jumped on his back and charged Zapdos, pushing him in the empty space below. Clefable quickly jumped on Pidgeot's back while Bulbasaur was wrapping himself behind her with his vines. Haunter followed the group and the aerial battle started. Lya sighed in relief.

"Perfect! Now I can focus on that damn Winter Bringer …"

She turned in a swift move and unleashed a searing hot Inferno to Articuno … at the exact same moment Kabutops was unleashing a good Stone Edge and Sneasel used Dark Pulse full power. The Ice Bird didn't stand a chance. Silver went to Frost with a smile.

"You've lost."

(Play The Encounter, from Kingdom Hearts II)

And using his own Ice Aura, he flash-froze the man. Around the building, the fight between Zapdos and Ash's team was intense. Pikachu quickly discovered his electric attacks served nothing against the bird, as he too had Lightningrod. But the others were eagerly making up for him. Clefable landed a Blizzard that enraged the Legendary, which caused him to turn to her, Pidgeot and Bulbasaur. Sensing the threat, the Grass type hurled a powerful Leaf Storm, but it didn't do much … until Clefable set it on fire to turn it into a firestorm. Zapdos raged.

"How dare you! You will feel the wrath of the sky!"

He created a huge ball of electricity that made Pikachu gulp.

"Ouch … Doesn't sound like Electro Ball …"

Haunter saw the threat. He rushed as fast as he could and stood between Pidgeot and the attack, taking the blow for himself. Pikachu gasped.


The Ghost type crashed in a building. Yet, even though the attack had KOed him, he grinned.

"Take him down for me, guys … I did my part."

The five remaining Pokémon looked in horror. Pikachu then turned to the Legendary.

"You … I swear on Zekrom that I will take you down, even if it's the last thing I must do in my life!" He looked at the others. "No holding back, guys! Now it's all or nothing!"

The four Pokémon roared in agreement. Bulbasaur charged Power Whip while Clefable prepared Hyper Beam and Pidgeot was rushing with Giga Impact. The beam struck first, sending Zapdos off balance. Then the whips slashed his wings, causing him to shriek in pain. Finally, Pidgeot collided with him full force. Angry that they resisted him so much, Zapdos swiftly shifted and grabbed Pidgeot to send a strong Thunder in his body. Pidgeot jerked in pain, Bulbasaur doing the same as lightning also coursed through his body. Clefable had felt it coming and had jumped away in time. Charizard growled.

"We're reduced to three! That's bad …"

He flew to catch Clefable in time and see Pidgeot and Bulbasaur freefalling in the air. Pikachu's eyes narrowed.

"Alright …" Charizard growled. "Now it's personal."

"Pidgeot and Bulbasaur were nice people." Clefable snarled. "Pikachu, save me a bit of that thing!"

(Auto-translator: OFF)

She charged Fire Punch and Ice Punch and jumped to the beast, knocking him in the head, before leaping back. Charizard followed with a massive Blast Burn. Clefable charged yet another Hyper Beam and blasted the Legendary in the chest. As a finale, Charizard focused his powers and unleashed a furious Dragon Rush. Zapdos, sensing the threat coming, tried to retaliate with Thunder. In vain. Clefable had backed the attack with Fire Blast, creating a threatening dragon of blue flame. This time, Zapdos was the one who crashed. Ash's three Pokémon looked at it. They had won, but the victory was bittersweet to say the least.

(End music)

Ash looked at the fight. Tears came to his eyes as he saw how badly his friends had had it. Half of his team was down, having sustained serious to heavy damages. But Pikachu, Clefable and Charizard were still standing, having received few attacks. He turned to Light, who was looking in disbelief at the scene. Before he could react, the teen had Aura-Punched him. Pikachu and Clefable jumped from Charizard's back, who returned to get Haunter, Pidgeot and Bulbasaur. The group of Gym Leaders and Trainers looked at one another.

"We won." Giovanni simply said.

But at which price? All of the Gym Leaders bare Blaine had no more Pokémon standing, Simon and Brock were the same and even Silver only had Lya left. Misty and Delia were doing better, having managed to avoid direct confrontation with the Legendary Birds. Finally, Ash had three Pokémon still standing, which wasn't much. Surge growled.

"Talk about a pyrrhic victory ... We've won, but damn was it hard!"

The three Rocket Leaders were tied with solid rope and every Pokémon returned. Ash warmly congratulated his.

"Thank you a lot, everyone. Without you, we would have never won that fight." He turned to his brother. "I told you they were strong enough to beat a Legendary ..."

Simon chuckled.

"Damn right."

The president of the company rose from his hiding place. The group turned to him.

"Are you alright?" Misty asked.

"Yes, fortunately. Thank you for saving my company. I owe you a lot."

"We just did what was right." Erika answered. "Silph Company is the main supplier of Pokémon good, especially potions and poké-balls. The Pokémon Industry wouldn't be as flourishing as it is without your help."

"True this." He turned to Ash. "I saw your fight against Zapdos. It was very impressive. How old are you?"

"I recently turned eleven."

The man nodded. He had white hairs, a round face and a black tuxedo. Going to a panel hidden behind a printer, he took a key and revealed a secret door. The door revealed a small chest set in the wall, which contained the blueprints of several tools and a purple poké-ball with an M on it. Silver's eyes widened.

"The Master Ball!"

"Indeed it is. Take it, boy. You greatly deserve it."

To say Ash was shocked was an understatement. He backed up, stuttering.

"M-me? But ... I can't have the Master Ball! I'm not ..."

"Strong enough? Name just one Trainer as young as you are who managed to defeat a Legendary all by himself."

"But it wasn't by myself! Silver had weakened Zapdos beforehand and my Pokémon teamed against it!"

"Yet they managed to beat it, and this after it knocked three of your best teammates out. I don't know what the other Gym Leaders will think of it, but I esteem you earned the Master Ball fair and square."

Ash turned to his elders, totally distraught The Gym Leaders looked at one another and grinned. Koga took the purple sphere and placed it in his hand.

"Make good use of it."

Ash looked at the special item with surprise and respect.

"The Master Ball guarantees a one-hundred percent success of capturing a Pokémon. It is especially useful with Legendaries."

The boy swallowed, aware of the power the ball possessed. If he used it on a Pokémon, its capture wouldn't fail. He looked at the CEO.

"Alright, I'll take care of it."

Upon closer examination, it appeared that Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres were controlled by devices set on their heads. The items broken, the three Kanto Legends were free to leave to whatever place they came from. Silver couldn't help but notice the gratitude in the eyes of the birds. Giovanni took the three prisoners and left to his HQ at Viridian City. No one wanted to know what would become of Pyra, Light and Frost. However, Surge guaranteed them it wouldn't be pretty ... The Gym Leaders returned to their respective city, Sabrina staying in town to help restore the damages. Finally, Ash and his friends returned to Pallet Town. The Pokémon weren't the only ones exhausted. When he saw them, Oak was surprised.

"My God! What kind of war did you fight to put them in this state?"

"We faced the three Legendary Birds." Simon simply answered. "And tell Gary Ash beat Zapdos all by himself."

Needless to say Gary wasn't happy about it.

"What. The. Hell. I turn my back just one second and Ash takes this time to pull some kind of heroic stunt! What has gotten to his head? He's gonna get killed if he gets going! Not that I'll mind ..."

Ash, Misty, Brock and Simon turned to the boy when he said that. Clefable, visibly outright pissed by the statement, cracked her knuckles and turned to her Trainer with begging eyes. Pikachu and Charizard were just as eager. Ash nodded.

Gary spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a good hiding place. No one insults Ash in front of his Pokéfriends. Especially when they're back from flipping off and punching near god-like beings.

And here it is, the infamous "Battle at Silph Building" from the Pokémon manga. Alright, it didn't happen like that at all. More or less. But still. And as much as I'm not particularly proud of last chapter, despite the troubles I've had to find near-decent epic musics for the fights, I'm still fairly proud of me. BUT ... what about you? This story is for you, you know? It's because you like it that I keep writting it. Well, how did you like that chapter?

To answer last question, I indeed based the movie on Owls of Ga'Hoole, Legend of the Guardians. A great movie, if you ask me. And the song To the Sky is one of my favorites, to the point I made it Silver's theme song. Hey, he even sings it to a sleeping Ash at Viridian City ...

- TheAbsolutistsCreed: entering the Leagues? Three chapters. Meeting the Elite Four? Next one. As well as some fighting and character development. And challengers ... wait 'til you see his introduction during the Indigo League. He and several people have a certain ... 'reputation' due to their acomplishments.

- Rales Mckoy: Ash will release Lapras and get Snorlax, but he will also get another very special Pokémon. I can't remember the story, but I took the idea from there. I don't know if he will have others aside Snorlax and '?', though.

- Starlighz: no Collosseum. XD, but not Collosseum. I don't like the graphisms.

- Stallion6 of Deviantart: Silver has an Espeon. Michael too (XD protagonist. Gimme one of those pink cats anytime ... and add a Gardevoir.). But Ash doesn't have an Espeon. He will have an Eeveelution, but not an Espeon. It will be a Leafeon ... as fast as a magnet train ... Radar traps beware when he and Pikachu race. Even more when Dragonair enters the contest.

- Swagnilla-Ice-1985: Poochyena during Mewtwo Returns, Tyrogue during the first battles of the Indigo League. Which one, however ...

- Anime FanFic Fan: sorry, no Collosseum. My eyes are already sensitive, but this game really hurts them. I prefer XD's smoother and clearer lines. And believe me, I'm trying my best not to make Ash too strong. Compared to Trainers his age, he's outright awesome but faced with more experienced and older Trainers ... this is gonna hurt. He will learn it the hard way next chapter.

- Nianque: failed again for the Silver Soul. And EmanationShipping is Max and Gardevoir (the little Ralts he met in Hoenn).

- Pokemanchas: last chapter wasn't one of my favs either, except maybe for when Ash is training with his Pokémon. And bonus points ... Do you like chocolate cake? I don't cook a lot, but so far, no one complained when I did (In fact, it tends to be the other way around. Too bad I don't cook more often.). That apart, I hope the ass-kicking satisfied you.

Well, here it is. I have bad news for you, though. I have a series of exams starting this Monday so there won't be a Pokémon chapter next week. I will update another story (that I thought I never would), but not this one. Don't worry. In compensation, I'll make sure next chapter is up to your expectations.

See you soon!