For those that waited I'm sorry for this but the good news is that welcome to 2016! I hope that you all had a great Christmas and look forward to this New Year as well.
And bam! Here I am once again with another chapter of Aura less.
As a concept, this chapter is something that I feel as though can totally be done as a story focusing more on the AJD in this world or in the canon world of Pokémon, something that Officer Jenny and the rest of the law enforcement agencies around the world can deal with. Although we might see the darker side of the world in the games (death and wars and the like), I feel as though this area that this chapter will cover is an expansion of such as the anime seems to avoid that sort of thing.
I suppose that note might go at the end but I hope that you read this chapter with the idea in mind of "What happens if this idea was expanded?". It might be something interesting to consider how things might evolve as the idea that this is takes off.
But this is the start of another chapter and I hope that you enjoy it. Because of the Virizion arc that took place previously, I had the chance to skip a couple of episodes if we follow the anime timeline to avoid filler.
In a way I think that while I've cut it short, by no means are the adventures of Ash going to be shrunk to cover one chapter. After all, the time in the Pinwheel Forest covered 5 chapters so I hope that for the most part, I will have the chance to use this AU world to my advantage and takes things as they are.
Of course there is the feeling that I get that the story got better as time went on but in the end, there is the length that has to be considered. This story is so long in length and stuff only happens in the later half where we are that I think it's worth reading.
And a shoutout towards another author in this fanfiction site that decided to use this same idea and turn it into their own story! EeveeKitty has started their own story based around this idea so if you want a different twist to this, I suggest checking out own story.
But whatever. I think that before I begin though, I really have to thank you guys for reading this far and keeping up with my terrible speed. For those that waited, I thank you and for those that chose to pick this up despite the length, I also thank you as well.
However before we begin, perhaps it is time to address a question posed to me:
thor94: Right. I get the feeling that somehow wherever I take this story, I end up pissing you off. I'd sincerely like to apologise for that now. Don't worry, while Liberty might appear in future chapters, hopefully I'll give him a lesser role. He might flesh out the world a bit and concepts but I'll leave most of the hard work to Ash and his friends. This is definitely the plan and I hope to stick to it. (Hopefully…)
As for the Mega Shadow Pokémon, I can explain that. If we have a normal Pokémon, they obviously have a friendship 'value' that Mega Evolution can be based on. If it is too small, Mega Evolution won't work and if it is large enough it will work. However removing emotions and closing the heart to a Pokémon is a bypass to that and is the essence of a Shadow Pokémon. It's not that that this 'value' is too low, it just can't be determined as their heart and friendship has been closed off. So is this 'value' low is that Mega Evolution can't be used? Or high enough that it can? This ambiguity is utilised and manipulated in a way that suggests that even though their hearts are closed off, there IS a high enough value of 'friendship' for a Shadow Pokémon to allow for Mega Evolution. Again, I'll probably address this later in the story but this is just the smallish version.
And as for Ash losing the ability to negate aura, he hasn't lost it. I'll explain this more this chapter and sorry for the misunderstanding here.
And that concludes the end of question answering.
Yet I think that maybe both of these points will be addressed in the main story for those that don't end up reading this part.
But enough of this author note!
Let the games begin and thank you to all the readers that reached this far.
Mr Question Mark.
"And I now declare this PokéMart open!"
With the snipping of scissors, the ribbon that was in front of the new department store cut away. Clapping was heard amidst the crowd however that was soon gone as the mayor of the town that had said department store stepped out of the way.
The mad rush that followed made it seem reminiscent of sickly people rushing for an antidote as they madly made their way through the small space between the footpath and the automatic doors that stayed open for the mad rush of customers.
Children pushed, adults pushed, leaving the pedestrians that merely walked by as they looked at the mad rush thinking that the world had gone crazy. Even though it was a new department store, the residents of the town must have felt as though their lives were lacking excitement. Whether it warranted this massive rush though was unknown but the fact of the matter was, people clambered inside with a massive eagerness to understand the layout of the new store.
And not surprisingly, this is where we find a trio of people making their way into said store with that mad rush of people.
"Come on you guys! You have to go and see what they have! I haven't seen a PokéMart this big since Veilstone City! I can't wait to see what's inside!"
Two shouts, one from a boy and another from his trusty Pokémon shot through the air amidst the clambering people as Ash Ketchum pushed himself though the crowd, which had people using their Aura to make it through safely to avoid getting knocked over.
Despite being an Aura Zero though, it seemed as though Ash had more luck in the manoeuvre than his companions that struggled to keep moving as they were bumped from person to person as they continued their trek.
"Where does he get that energy!?" Iris shouted among the crowd as they was hit on the side as she was knocked to the side and losing sight of the person that she had reluctantly followed into the store.
"Ew!" Axew on her shoulder disappeared into her hair for protection as they found themselves almost isolated however the person that they had been talking to in the first place managed to grab her arm and pull her close.
"Hahaha. Well, that is the flavour of Ash after all. I doubt we would be travelling with him if it was anything different." Cilan spoke from her side as he led her towards the side of the PokéMart as to make sure that the massive crowd filled into the Mart before they made their way in.
They watched them do so and followed, scanning the area with their eyes in order to try and find the boy that had led them into the chaos once again. They were glad that this time it was of the more subtle sort that mothers complained out and merely sighed about at the end of the day but at the same time, knowing that the boy and his Pokémon were lost in the store was somewhat of a worry.
"Honestly, where did he go?" Iris stood at the entrance as the mayor passed her and entered the store as well. She forced a smile as the man passed as he disappeared among the crowd that was heading towards the second floor where the accessories were placed.
"I have no idea however I think that we should at least have the chance to look around. Finding Ash can be something that we – speak of Devil's Advocate. Look over there." Cilan pointed in a certain direction as Iris met where he was pointing however not seeing the boy that Cilan seemed to.
She focused her eyes using her Aura, increasing her sight as to allow her to see, managing to get a glimpse of the boy standing in the middle of what seemed to be a newsagent, putting on masks and looking towards Pikachu who was on the ground. Pikachu seemed to be having a good time as he fell onto the ground, laughing and clutching its stomach as Ash grinned. He put the mask back and placed another on his face as Iris merely sighed.
Why was she worried in the first place? She had no idea however she probably knew why it was that she felt she was being a bit over protective of the boy that she was travelling with.
Cilan probably knew as well however knew better than to merely raise the topic. After all, it wasn't like he hadn't been unaffected by what had happened in the Pinwheel Forest and the incident with Virizion.
They made their way over to the boy, doing so with a fast pace to make sure that he did not bail and leave their sight once again as they reached the newsagent. Ash looked up with his Ducklett mask, something that seemed rather intimidating for some reason as he lowered it, keeping that same grin on his face.
"Hey guys, check this out! They've got some masks here of Pokémon that I've never even seen! Cilan, what's this one of?" Ash put the mask back and held out one towards Cilan.
"That Ash would be a Scrafty. It's the evolved form of Scraggy so I guess it might be one of the Pokémon that you would be more interested in." Cilan explained without a fault as Ash looked at the mask in wonder.
"Ash, can we at least have some sort of plan about what we're going to do?" Iris asked her question as Ash ignored her and took another mask, looking at Cilan.
"What about this one!?"
"That is a Pawniard."
"Are you even listening to me Ash?!"
"What about this!?"
"Oooo, ooo, I know! It's a Deino! Wait, they have Dragon masks too?!"
It seemed as though the introduction to Dragon types dragged Iris's attention because of the Pokémon that poked its head out of her hair and looked in eagerness towards the masks that were lined in the stands on the newsagent. She bent down and inspected the Deino mask with some intensity, Ash and Cilan giving her a look that suggested that they had little idea about what it was that she was doing with sudden enthusiasm.
"Iris….?" Ash asked with some hint of amusement in his voice as Iris blinked, realising what she was doing and went a tiny bit red in the face. She coughed and rose, looking Ash in the face as she clearly wanted to speak her mind but her eyes were dragged to something else. Cilan seemed to notice it and looked as well; seeming surprised by what it was that he was seeing too.
"Guys?" Ash asked his question as he turned as well, blinking and stepping back in a small amount of shock at the headline that was on the top of the newspaper that was placed underneath a television.
From the background on the television though, it was clear where the reporter was reporting from; after all it was the Pokémon Centre where they had been only mere days ago. The Pokémon Centre where they had rested after the incident in the Pinwheel Forest.
"The aftermath of the arson that was experienced here only 5 days ago has roughly settled. However despite the speculation about what happened, especially rumours about the legendary Pokémon Virizion being involved, the sightings of a Blooming suggest that a large amount of aura is somehow involved in what happened there. While the AJD have confiscated the Time Flower for further investigation and analysis of what happened, the question remains on everyone's minds. What happened in the Pinwheel Forest?"
Underneath the TV, newspapers were filled with headlines that asked that same question. While the trio themselves had rested inside the Pokémon Centre beyond the Pinwheel Forest for a day to recover and get their heads back together, the numerous reporters that had asked them for an interview as they had 'exited' the Forest before the Blooming had thrown them all off course.
Naturally they had said nothing and as a result had evaded any TV presence, but at the same time it meant that there was large pressure on the three of them and their Pokémon to recover psychologically from the incident.
It was not easy. However they had each other and the rock that was the fact that neither of them broke despite what they had faced was something that had held them all together. After dinner after getting out of the Forest, they had all sat down in their room and merely spoke. Their Pokémon that had participated in the fight with them joined them, their voices and worries being echoed in the air as they reassured and most of all stayed strong.
It was Ash though that seemed to be most relaxed, making jokes and causing Iris to become frustrated at his childish nature while Cilan was made to stop the resulting argument that arose between the two of them.
However in retrospect, that in itself was perhaps something the both of them needed to get their minds back on track. While they had been distracted by the events of what had happened, regaining what sense of normalcy they could muster had a more soothing effect than the both of them thought.
Their talks had not stopped until the early morning that day and by the end of them, it was true that they all had felt a weight lifted off their shoulders. They were calm; everything was normal and while they were sure to think back on what a terrible thing had happened in the Pinwheel Forest, something good had come out of it.
Namely that they were all alive.
Iris and Cilan seemed to breathe a sigh of relief while looking at the TV while Ash kept his gaze there, slowly drifting off in his thoughts.
While they had all survived, one of them had truly died. Ash had felt himself drift into the gap between life and death, an in-between state of the two as his soul passed into the earth. A chill ran down his spine as he remembered it however he slowly formed a fist with his hand as he recalled what had happened.
He had died and in that instant, everything about him was lost. His status as an Aura Zero, his blood negation effects. However he had then been brought back through the use of Aura. Ash realised that if his blood hadn't lost its negation effects before he was brought back, he would have exploded then and there from the connection with aura and his aura-negating blood but even so, the thought still made him nervous.
He was brought back and it was as if nothing had changed now.
His entire body seemed to be 'rejuvenated' or 'reset' to its state before the Pinwheel Forest incident had happened.
He had tested his blood's effects using Pikachu's aura for only a moment a few days ago and heard the Sound coming out and felt the small explosion of air that ruffled their hair from the contact of his blood with Pikachu's aura.
It was truly as if nothing had happened; everything about him was the same.
He could still negate aura with his blood and he was still an Aura Zero.
However the major difference was that if there was any chance of Ash removing his status as an Aura Zero through some chance or possibility, that was now gone. Liberty had told him after when he had been caught up in the chaos at the Hale Mansion that there were two ways to lose one's aura; one, having it removed before it infused with the body.
Or two, through dying.
Option 1 left the option of 'recovery' from an Aura Zero possible by giving them the chance of recovering their lost aura but now that Option 2 was in place, it was no longer an option for Ash to have Aura powers.
It didn't bother Ash though. He had accepted what he was, faced it and truly taken that step forward to make sure that he did the most with what he had to achieve his dream.
But still, Ash narrowed his eyes. He felt as though something was off, a distinct feeling within his gut that something was definitely wrong with him. When he had first stared his journey, he had definitely felt nothing of the sort however now that he remembered, this feeling of strangeness was something that he had felt before.
It was at New Island. 
Although he had never visited it (from what he remembered) when he had looked at the Island for what he thought to be the first time, it was as if something had danced inside him. He had no idea what it was but that strangeness was there.
And he felt it once again, except now it was stronger. There was nothing decisively wrong about it; in fact the small buzzing that filled his chest had a sort of light feeling in him. But it was strange and he knew where it had come from.
Virizion, after she had revived him when he had died.
Had she done something to him? Although he knew that nothing was physically wrong, he could still negate Aura using his blood and was an Aura Zero as always, he still felt as though something was different.
He could only shrug it off, not knowing what in the world it was but simply knowing that everything was all over was enough of a relief for him.
He turned around and pointed towards the TV with a small grin in order to lighten the mood that had built up around the trio of humans and duo of Pokémon.
"Say, since we know what happened and we can't really tell anyone, doesn't this sort of make us secret agents?! We want to keep things a secret because Agent Jetstream has all the information she needs so do you think that maybe the information we have is confi….confident?"
"You mean confidential," groaned Iris as she realised the attempt of Ash to try and lighten the mood, grateful given the depressing topic of the aftermath of what had happened in the Pinwheel Forest. "And no, we aren't secret agents. I thought you wanted to be a Pokémon Master!"
"Then how can you be a secret agent too!?"
That statement seemed to through Ash off entirely as he looked blankly at her, face contorting as if trying to figure out a way to find out how it was possible. Iris face palmed and groaned once again at the fact that Ash was putting some serious thought into it as Cilan rose his hands.
"Come on now you guys. Let's focus and try and figure out what we're going to do today alright?" Cilan offered his suggestion as he walked out of the newsagent, the two other trainers following him as Ash thanked the shopkeeper. Cilan found a table that was empty and sat at it, the other two sitting around it.
While the crowd among them seemed a bit less frantic allowing movement, Cilan took the chance to reach with an Aura Hand and grab a pamphlet with a map that was sitting a ways away, bringing it over towards them and placing it on the table. Pikachu and Axew leaped off their trainers and onto the table as they looked at the map.
"Alright. So what do you guys want to check out first?"
Both Ash and Pikachu placed their respective finger and paw on one spot that was on the map. Iris and Cilan rose an eyebrow as they looked at where they were pointing, referring to the legend to find out what they were pointing to.
They deadpanned at what it was.
"Why do you want to eat already? You had breakfast only an hour ago!"
"That's a lot of seconds in an hour there Iris! Oh, seconds! I want seconds of breakfast!"
"Pika Pikachu chu!"
Both trainer and Pokémon said that in sync as Iris had a hard time trying to keep together but at the same time, felt the small smile on her face rise as she felt as though she had the opportunity to laugh and play around with the boy.
Something that she hadn't felt while in the Forest.
Cilan was more vocal in his amusement, chuckling as he merely waved a hand around. "Ash, we can eat anytime. Is there anything else that you want to check out? Personally, I would suggest this."
Cilan pointed towards a location on the floor that they were on, Ash and Pikachu looking at what Cilan had suggested with some interest. Iris was interested as well as she too had a look at what the boy was looking at, seeing the description of said place.
"Connoisseur Booths?" Ash asked out loud as Cilan nodded, both Ash and Iris along with their Pokémon looking at him.
"Indeed. While I am merely but one Connoisseur, I believe that maybe expanding your idea of what other people have to say about your Pokémon is something that you need to do. After all, if you listen and focus on what only I say, it's something that could possibly lead you down a bland path filled with opinions of only one. Do you understand?" Cilan asked as Ash frowned, crossing his arms.
"Sort of. So you want me to get a second opinion on the relationship with my Pokémon?"
Cilan clicked his fingers in affirmation with a smile. "Correct! I do not really mind what both you choose however I think that there are a number of goods ones here. They are probably at least A class to have such a booth."
"A class?" It was Iris that asked her question while Ash merely tried to figure out the location of the booths that Cilan had pointed out but listened at the same time.
"Oh, have I not explained the Connoisseur rankings to you?" Cilan asked his question as both Ash and Iris shook their heads as Cilan cleared his throat.
"It's very simple to be honest. Firstly, the Pokémon Connoisseur Association accredits and ranks Connoisseurs based on their experience and time in the field. The lowest class is C class, before going to B class, A class and finally the highest S class. Being an A class Connoisseur, my license states that I have the ability to perform evaluations professionally and on the spot, as is the same as an S class. Both C and B class though can usually only work as assistants to the higher two ranks but have to have a certain amount of experience with such a Connoisseur before they can move up the ranks."
"Seems fairly simple." remarked Iris as Ash nodded, having found out where exactly he needed to head to get where he had to upon Cilan's request.
"It is. But I think that maybe it would be best to illustrate the ingredients of Connoisseurs by having a look for yourselves. What do you say?" Cilan asked as he stood, the two trainers standing up as well as Cilan handed the map towards Ash.
"Sure! Come on Pikachu, let's go! We may as well see what this is all about right?" Ash snatched the map from Cilan's hands as Pikachu leaped up onto Ash's shoulder with a "Pikapikachu!"
"See you guys later! We'll meet up at- "
"The Food Court. We know." remarked Iris with a hand on her cheek while sitting at the table as Ash stared at her as if he was shocked that she had gotten the answer right.
"How did you-"
"It wasn't a hard guess!" Iris proclaimed into the air. Seeing Ash truly wonder how in the world she had figured it out made her rather annoyed that he was acting like this. Or maybe this naivety was part of his charm?
Ash merely nodded and waved, racing off into the crowd as the duo watched him leave and disappear as Iris turned and grabbed another map with her Aura Hand that she brought over towards herself.
She looked at it with curiosity as Cilan did the same.
"What about you then Iris? What are you going to do?" Cilan asked inquisitively.
"I'm not too sure. Do you think that Axew and I need a second opinion regarding our relationship?" Iris asked in response.
"It certainly couldn't hurt. What do you say? We may as well all head there together." Cilan pointed out as Iris looked towards the Pokémon on the table that was near her.
"What do you say Axew?" she turned to her Pokémon that looked at the map and nodded with a grin on its face.
"Axew, axew!" cried the Pokémon with joy as Iris smiled in response, taking the map and looking at the direction that they needed to head before she paled.
"What is it? Do we need to head over there?" asked Cilan as he looked where she was facing before paling as well.
The reason was obvious.
They were looking in the opposite direction of where Ash and Pikachu had headed off in.
Those two trainers said that in exasperation as they raced in the direction where Ash had headed off in, although the hint of a relaxed smile on their faces betrayed what they were saying.
After all, they had worked hard to relax like this.
So they may as well enjoy it for now.
Ash Ketchum was lost.
The boy though seemed to sweat nervously in worry though as he wondered what Misty would have said to him if he had casually said that to her. While he was used to getting lost, in larger places it was more an issue but in a shopping mall it was something that was rather embarrassing as a whole.
"What do we do buddy?" Ash asked as he held the map in front of him, scratching his head as Pikachu looked at the map with a frown.
"D-Do we ask someone here for help?" asked Ash, rather unsure as he looked around towards those that were surrounding him. As it was the first day of the PokéMart opening, it seemed as though people were more focused on their own tasks rather than Ash's plight.
There was nothing wrong with that right now, but for the boy he at least felt as though there were some kind of security guard that could help him in this situation.
He groaned and rubbed a hand through his hair as Pikachu on his shoulder shouted out suddenly.
"Pika! Pikachu pikapi!"
"Huh?" Ash asked his question as he rose his head and saw in the distance a small booth. It was a like a photo booth, clad and covered with a blue shower curtain that seemed to divide the people from the outside to the inside. It was rather plain however the sign that was above the curtain itself seemed to stick out towards the boy.
In red letters, Ash knew immediately why Pikachu had called out to him.
"Connaisseuse?" Ash asked aloud, thinking that perhaps it was at least some sort of female version of what Cilan was. It made sense given the wording as the boy walked up towards where he was supposed to be, looking to see if there was someone behind the curtain.
"Hello?" he asked however something blue, an Aura Hand, shot out and grabbed Ash by the front of the collar.
"Huh?" Both he and Pikachu looked at it as they both cried out and were pulled inside the booth, landing on their fronts as they groaned from the landing.
"Hey, what was that -?!"
Ash started to yelp out however a stomp of feet made the boy look and see the arrogantly standing person in front of him.
Her purple hair and uniform that seemed rather similar to a butler's would have made her stand out in a crowd no matter how you looked at it. From an external standpoint, her clothes were rather weird but upon seeing what Cilan wore, Ash somewhat felt as though wearing weird clothes was standard for Connoisseurs.
Her lilac eyes shone with intensity as she grabbed Ash by the collar again and lifted him up, practically yelling into his face that made him want to cover his ears.
"Bonjour! You came here for an evaluation non!?"
"E-Evaluation?" Ash could only ask in response as he tried to touch the ground with his feet however the girl in front of him was a bit more forceful than he would have liked. Why was it that she was doing this?
"Oui! Did you not want an evaluation on the relationship of your Pokémon?" The girl basically said this in a tone that suggested that she was desperate, leaving Pikachu to look at the girl upon close inspection. From what he could see, she seemed tired and enthusiastic, as if she had been waiting for someone to enter into her booth for some time.
"A-Ah well yes. Are you the Connaisseuse?" Ash asked with some nervousness to his voice as the girl grinned and set him down to the ground, turning around and seeming to sparkle with that same enthusiasm.
"Of course! Bow down in greatness for you are going to be evaluated by one of the best Connaisseuse the Pokémon Connoisseur Association has had the pleasure of creating! I am Burgundy and I plan to evaluate you and your Pokémon, understand?"
"R-Really?" Ash looked down towards Pikachu with a smile as the Pokémon jumped onto Ash's shoulder in order to show where it truly belonged to the trainer. "You don't mind do you?"
"Non, of course not young man! So, is it to be Pikachu that you wish to evaluate your relationship with? Of course, that is something that can happen easily." 'Burgundy' as she said her name was declared that loudly as Ash seemed to shake his head as he reached for his Pokéball on his belt.
"No, you see I have recently caught a Sewaddle and I really just wanted you to see the relationship that was between u-"
"Being a rare Pokémon to the Unova region, I would be more than happy to accept the challenge that is doing an evaluation of such a Pikachu." Burgundy didn't listen to a thing that Ash said as he merely sweatdropped.
"Um….excuse me? You see the thing is, I don't want-"
"Nonsense! Sit down and listen to me. As a Connaisseuse, my word is law so sit back and listen to what it is I tell you. Understand boy?" Burgundy made an arrogant expression that seemed to suggest that she liked bossing him around somewhat. Ash frowned though but complied with her words.
"My name is Ash by the way. And this is Pikachu." said Ash as he pointed towards his partner Pokémon as the Pokémon sat down on the lap of the boy on top of the chair that was in the middle of the booth.
"Yes, yes as interesting as that is, alors, it is evaluating time s'il vous plait!" Burgundy announced that with gusto as she instantly thrust her hands in front of Ash's face that almost struck him in the face.
"Wha-what are you!?" Ash though stopped speaking as he watched the concentration on Burgundy's face seem to reach its maximum as he focused his own eyes and watched what it was that Burgundy was doing with his Aura Perception.
There, he could definitely see it. The faint mist that was aura moving out of her hands that seemed to float in the air and direct itself over towards the boy as it circled around him. Ash knew what this was; after all he had seen Cilan use his Aura before in order to judge the relationship between him and Oshawott.
Still, he found himself oddly fascinated by the work of the girl that was completely focused.
However she did something that he hadn't expected in the slightest.
She leaned forward….and sniffed him.
He was left with an astounded look, his eyes turned to dots as Burgundy leaned back and bent down towards Pikachu, the aura that was surrounding Ash moving from around him to focus more on circling Pikachu as Burgundy did the same action again. Namely she took a whiff of the smell of Pikachu before she stood up with her palms still outstretched.
The aura mist that Burgundy was using to analyse the connection between the trainer and Pokémon hung in the air for more than a moment before receding and heading back towards her. She seemed to be sweating a little however with a wipe of her brow and a small pose, she grinned maliciously.
"Oui! I have it! I, Burgundy, have analysed the relationship between you and your Pikachu!" she cried.
Ash though merely waved a hand. "No, you didn't get it though. I mean, I can probably tell what the relationship is between me and Pikachu right buddy?" Ash asked the opinion of the small Pokémon in front of him as the Pokémon looked up at him with a smile.
"Pi! Pikachu~!" responded the Pokémon, causing Ash to look up as Burgundy watched the exchange.
"You see, I think that the relationship between me and Pikachu is-"
Burgundy took this chance to jump in and state her result that she had gained from her analysis.
Both of them stared back at each other with looks that suggested that they thought the other was crazy.
Both Ash and Pikachu let out voices of shock as Burgundy frowned, crossing her arms and shaking her head in clear disapproval of what it was that Ash had come to a conclusion to about his relationship with his partner.
"You dare to question the advice and analysis of a Connaisseuse that is accredited by the Pokémon Connoisseur Association? How rude! Listen to me Ash, my analysis states that you and Pikachu are the worst team for each other." Burgundy said her words as if they weren't related to her whatsoever as Ash stood his ground.
"And why is that?"
Both trainer and Pokémon demanded an explanation from the Ponyta's mouth as Burgundy gave a sigh and shook her head.
"Look Ash. Do you understand what a Connaisseuse such as myself measures?" Burgundy asked leaving Ash rather stupefied because of the fact she had not answered his question whatsoever.
"The relationship between people and their Pokémon right?!"
"And how do I do this?" she sighed as if she was tired from talking to a child that did not know how to respect their superiors, leaving Ash somewhat annoyed at the way that she was treating him.
"Through….aura right?" asked Ash.
"Exactly. Did you know, the best way to test the relationship between a trainer and their Pokémon is to analyse the relationship between their aura levels. The higher a trainer's aura, the same level needs to be reflected in their Pokémon. Logically boy, it makes sense. As a Connaisseuse, I can tell you that a trainer with a High level aura needs a Pokémon with a High level aura as well. As trainers grow mentally, their Pokémon do so with their aura levels but it is this base idea that is at the heart of a Connoisseur. Do you get it?" Burgundy stated obnoxiously.
Ash had no idea if she was trying to educate him with a lecture or merely to try and get to a point with her words. Personally, he didn't like where she was going with her thoughts however merely nodded in response.
"Precisely. So what can we say about you, who clearly has a Low level aura from what I can tell because I can barely sense your aura and your Pikachu who aura is the higher one? Usually, it is the opposite way around with the Pokémon having to catch up but in this case, I can clearly state that because of the discrepancy between you and your Pokémon, you and Pikachu are incompatible in the highest degree!"
Ash frowned at what it was that she was saying however Burgundy kept on talking.
"You understand oui? My Connoisseur skills of analysing the relationship and your connection between you and your Pokémon's aura analyses that. Therefore the more synced your aura waves, the better the relationship. Unfortunately though, you and your Pokémon there are so out of sync that I can clearly say that you need to remove Pikachu from your party and choose another Pokémon!" Burgundy stated that as if it was the most obvious point, leaving Ash to frown and stand up.
"I can't believe that!" Ash cried as Pikachu leaped onto the ground and shoved a pawed finger in her direction.
"Pika Pikachu chu chu chu!" Pikachu cried in exasperation but it was Ash that spoke for the two of them.
"A Connoisseur analyses the relationship between one's Pokémon and their trainer by looking at the compatibility of their aura waves? How well the aura that they emit matches the other?" Ash asked.
"I'm glad that you understand. Even the scent that you give off, matched with the one that Pikachu gives off are at odds! Such compelling evidence! In fact, I can say that without a shadow of a doubt that Pikachu is perhaps the worst choice as a Pokémon that you could have made!"
It seemed as though Burgundy had no intention of backing down as Ash shook his head.
Ash's comment threw Burgundy off guard as he stated it confidently, looking at the girl and it was clear that he was not backing down whatsoever in this thought processes.
"You think that people are connected merely by their aura? Sure, it makes sense that people should have Pokémon that have aura that matches their own, but that doesn't mean that they should be limited to that. That only looks at the outside, not at the inside of a Pokémon and their trainer. You can't just say that we are nothing but what our aura says that we are. I can't believe that and I won't listen to what you say. I know another Connoisseur, a proper Connoisseur that looks at the bond between us. You, who just looks at aura can never see that. If you think we are nothing but our aura, then there's no way that you can make a proper evaluation about Pikachu and I. Or that for the rest of my Pokémon."
Burgundy seemed taken aback by the words that Ash was giving her before she narrowed her eyes slightly, the faint mist of aura that was revolving around her seeming to only show her slight anger at his words.
"Are…you doubting my evaluation?" Her voice was low however she asked her question carefully.
"If you think that a person and their Pokémon is nothing but their aura, then yes. I'm sorry to say but I doubt I can really trust your thoughts on me and my Pokémon. There is something that connects us beyond that and I know a Connoisseur that can see that perfectly, the bond beyond aura." Ash said those words and realised how harsh he was being.
While he did not know the process to become a Connoisseur, he had been told something ridiculous by the person in front of him. Sure their intentions were probably sound in trying to give him the best advice but Ash had seen it for himself. After all, Cilan had given him some advice about his Pokémon that meant that he had formed a positive opinion of Connoisseurs. But with the remarks that Burgundy had given him, it was hard to say that that opinion was still held currently.
By no means did he want to upset Burgundy to a massive extent…however there was no way that he was going to take those remarks lying down.
He had been through a lot with his Pokémon and with Pikachu especially. Even though Burgundy might say differently, there was no doubt in his mind that he and Pikachu were the best match. They had their differences and were not the same exactly however their hearts and minds were linked in a way that many trainers only wished to achieve.
Ash patted Pikachu's head in order to try and comfort the Pokémon as he looked towards Burgundy.
"So I'm sorry but I can't trust you and your evaluation. I'll be leaving now."
Ash turned around and headed towards the curtain that separated him from the outside world however did not get another chance to take a step forward.
"Is that so!?"
Burgundy's sudden shout seemed to surprise Ash as he turned only to have a finger thrust into his face.
"What do you know of a Connaisseuse such as myself? The evaluations and advice that I give have been accepted and acknowledged by the Pokémon Connoisseur Association! Do you know what that means?!" Burgundy's question was upfront; leaving Ash somewhat flustered however Burgundy took that as the chance to continue.
"It means that you as a trainer are simply going to end up in the middle of a ditch, an obstacle towards improving yourself! If you think that you can avoid such an inevitable result by not listening to me that is fine by me! But hear this! I told you so! When it happens, I will be the one to tell you I told you so!"
Ash blinked and frowned once more trying to butt in however Burgundy turned around and showed her back to him.
"Alors, if you think that you are above a très magnifique Connaisseuse such as myself then go ahead! Do as you like!"
"I will!" retorted Ash with some malice in his voice. "And there is nothing that you can do to stop me! I'll become a Pokémon Master, just you wait and see!"
"A Pokémon Master?" The faint line around Burgundy vanished as she turned around and placed a hand over her mouth that was trying to suppress a laugh. "You? Truly, if you think that you can become one with such an incompatible partner by your side then that is laughable!"
Both trainer and Pokémon frowned and glared towards the girl however she merely laughed with an 'Oh ho ho'.
"Do not like what it is that I am saying? Well this is the evaluation from moi so you may as well accept it. In fact, nothing and I say nothing will stop me from changing my mind! The Pokémon Connaisseuse Burgundy is solid as a G-"
She never finished as the curtain separating the rest of the PokéMart and Burgundy's booth was suddenly drawn open, causing Ash to start to turn around in sudden surprise.
What happened next was sudden.
Without warning, he felt the sensation of Aura slam into his back, throwing him to the ground as Burgundy watched in shock as she too was hit with the same attack, being thrown to the ground face down. She struggled as did Ash, with Pikachu being pressed down as well as the Pokémon tried to break free but it was useless without the Pokémon using aura.
"H-Hey! What's going on here?!"
"Indeed! I demand to know what is going on!"
The two trainers and Pikachu let out a shout however footsteps made them stop talking as a figure bent down into their vision. The brown uniform and the teal coloured hair that entered their vision as well as the face that seemed to appear everywhere was recognisable in an instant.
But that in turn meant that Ash could only feel extremely nervous in response to the words that came out of the person's mouth.
"You are both under arrest. I assume that you know your rights however we are going to be having a long chat with the both of you."
Officer Jenny undid the Aura handcuffs that had been used by Agent Jetstream in the chaos of the Pinwheel Forest, standard issue for all members of law enforcement as she clasped them on the wrists of Ash and Burgundy.
The two of them looked at each and their facial expressions said it all.
What in the world was going on?
"What's going on here?"
Both Iris and Cilan gave a surprised shout towards the crowd that had been gathering around what seemed to be where Centre Management was. While they had searched high and low for Ash his ability to get lost was something amazing. If he had put that much natural talent into his battling then, there was no doubt Iris's mind that he would have beaten Lenora without losing hands down.
The crowd that had gathered in front of the closed doors that led towards Centre Management blocked off the vision and view of what was happening there however someone among the crowd turned around and looked at the duo.
"You don't know? I mean, I thought gossip would spread pretty fast as it's the first day." said the man.
"No, what is it?"
"Someone has been stealing money off some customers that were going to the Connoisseur booths from what I heard. They just caught the culprit doing it with an accomplice but it seems as though Officer Jenny is trying to solve things peacefully between them as they are minors."
Cilan seemed surprised as he looked towards Iris that looked back towards him. An anxious feeling had spread through their bellies and they had a strange feeling that they knew exactly what it was that was causing the feeling.
They had no evidence but it was clear to them that something was definitely wrong.
Officer Jenny had arrested someone.
Ash Ketchum had disappeared.
And something was happening within this shopping mall.
It didn't take them a long time to put two and two together as they looked forward with sweat on their foreheads, the faint line of aura that was trailing around them making it clear that the negative feelings of anxiety was something that was powerful enough to cause that reaction.
They pushed through the crowd, Iris having to push Axew into her hair a bit deeper to prevent the Pokémon from being subject to the crowd around her as they made their way to the front of the crowd. A small barrier prevented people from going inside the Centre Management block with police officers preventing those people from doing the same.
"E-excuse me!" Iris shouted out towards one of the officers that groaned. It was clear that he was fed up with having to explain things to another person again but as required he did so without voicing his complaints.
"Look miss, like everyone else I have to ask that you wait for things to settle down here. We're working as hard as we c-"
"U-Um, did you happen to take into custody a boy with a Pikachu? By the name of Ash?" Cilan immediately got to the point as the officer frowned towards him upon the detail that had been exposed that should not have been known in the first place.
"Why? What of it?" The officer reached subtly towards something that was behind his back however the two in front of the officer did not notice or did not care enough to say anything about it.
"Y-You see, we're his friends! And if there is anything that we can do to try and fix things up then we'll be glad to help!" Iris's voice seemed a bit too frantic as the officer narrowed his eyes; turning his head towards another officer and indicating that he come towards him.
The second officer complied as the first officer whispered something to her before disappearing into Centre Management. Both Cilan and Iris looked at each other with that same look of anxiousness but it was clear that they had no idea what in the world was going on around here.
The first officer came back quickly, lifting up the rope barrier that had been formed in front of them with an Aura Hand that indicated that they step forward. They wasted no time, heading underneath the barrier and moving as fast as they could towards the first officer.
"You're OK to go and see him. Perhaps you can shed some light on this where we can't," The officer said in a frank voice as he pointed down the hall and towards the only pair of doors that were there. "After you go through, it's the first door on the l-"
Iris though did not hear anything that he was saying as she raced through the corridor, bursting through the automatic doors and looking around frantically for what could be a sign of the boy.
She heard Cilan's shout from behind her guiding her way as she registered it quickly.
"First door on the left!"
Iris turned and saw the door, racing towards it and flinging it open in a hurried motion as she shouted towards the person that was surely inside.
Despite the worry that was filling Iris's very soul, the oblivious stare and voice of the boy that looked back at her with confusion made it seem as though all of her emotions were for nothing.
The room that they were in was small however large enough to serve as a meeting room or at least one for waiting for those that one wanted to see, like an appointment room. Indeed, the function that it served right now seemed to be achieved as Ash, with Pikachu on his shoulder stood and looked over towards the people that were in the centre of the room.
There were a number of them, Officer Jenny among them with an additional 6 with her however it was one of those people that stuck out, one that was sitting on a chair and was handcuffed however Iris paid no mind towards the girl with purple hair as she slammed into Ash without thinking.
He cried out and Pikachu and Axew leaped from their trainers as the two humans slammed onto the ground, Iris looking at the boy with severe worry on her face.
"A-Are you OK?! Are you hurt? What happened? A-"
Ash's calm voice goy through to her when she felt as though she would spend eternity worrying about him as she watched those brown eyes looking back at her with a look as though everything was alright. He grinned despite Iris's weight on top of him and chuckled a little bit despite that as well.
"I'm fine. Everything is alright; just a little misunderstanding is all. Can you get off me now?"
"Iris," Ash said her name in a calm tone and leaned in towards her, whispering something in her ear so that only she could hear what it was that he was saying. "This isn't the Pinwheel Forest. I'm not hurt, nothing is burning and everything is fine. So it's alright."
Ash's words seemed to calm her racing heart as she looked at the boy that said them, voice clear and confident in his own words that resounded loudly within the girl. She tried to open her mouth however she knew that nothing she said was going to convince him or her otherwise.
After all, they were safe and nothing was going to hurt them.
But that still didn't mean that Ash Ketchum did not have to be protected.
Without warning, Iris wrapped her arms around the boy and brought him closer towards her, Ash unsure of how to react however responded by wrapping his arms around her as he returned the embrace.
"Don't ever go off on your own again."
"Whatever you say Mom."
Iris grinned at the smart ass remark that Ash gave in response, something that she was sure was matched by the look on Ash's face as well.
"*Ahem*. Well, if you could please end this?" A nervous voice came from overhead as Iris immediately went red in the face, shoving Ash back onto the floor as she leaped back in shock and embarrassment as she looked at the people that were watching them with curious glances.
"D-Did I come at a bad time?" A voice from the doorway made Iris turn and go even redder as Cilan was peering from the edge of the doorframe, unsure about whether or not he should enter the room or not given what he had seen.
"N-No! I-I was just….Nothing! It was nothing!" blurted Iris suddenly however Ash groaned from the floor where Iris had shoved him, adjusting his cap as Pikachu came towards him and patted his shoulder.
"Pika pikapika pikapi."
Ash turned towards his Pokémon with a glace that suggested that he had little comprehension about what had gotten into Iris, something that was confirmed as he leaned in close and whispered towards his partner Pokémon.
"Say Pikachu? What's up with Iris now? Why is she so red in the face?"
Pikachu only gave the boy a look that suggested that he had expected this but still couldn't believe it as he lightly hit the boy on the head with the tip of its tail.
Axew though seemed more interested in its trainer's reaction more than Ash's where it seemed to grin slightly despite the situation and unknown incident that they were facing.
Cilan came out of the doorway fully as he was pretty sure that he was clear from putting Iris in a situation that she would surely hate him for as he made his way past her and looked towards the group of 7, the 6 strangers and Officer Jenny that were standing before him. He bent down, holding out a hand towards Ash that the boy took as he rose, before addressing the law enforcement officer.
"Officer? What is it that is the matter? It seems as though our Ash here has caused some bad taste in the mouth with his involuntary involvement." noted Cilan as Officer Jenny merely wove a hand towards the person in the handcuffs.
"Well, you see…"
The girl with the purple hair shouted out in alarm that made everyone jump as they looked at her with a look that suggested that they thought that she had effectively lost her mind as she looked at Cilan. She gritted her teeth however it was clear that it was more than just that as a faint line of aura appeared around her in response to some sort of negative emotion.
"B-Burgundy?" Ash stammered in surprise at the girl's (Burgundy's) actions as she rose despite being watched by a member of law enforcement and shoved her face into Cilan's.
"It's you! What are you doing here?!"
"M-Me?" Cilan asked rather flustered as he tried to get a good look at the girl however was unable to because of the faint line of aura blocking her face. "H-Have we met before miss?"
"Miss!? How dare you call me miss, you three bit excuse for a Connoisseur! I'll never forget what it was that you did to me so I think that you should have the courtesy to do the same!" Burgundy spat out her words with malice but it was clear that Cilan had no idea what it was that she was talking about.
"Cilan? Do you know this….energetic character?" Iris asked in nervousness as Cilan turned towards her, her question a valid one and clearly something that everyone that wanted to know the answer to.
Cilan suddenly felt a sudden pressure pressing down on him as he began to sweat slightly while looking at the girl and trying to look past the line of aura that was slightly blotting out her face like a mosaic.
No, he had to take things a different way. If he could not focus on her features, then there were other things that he could use to identify her. What was her voice like? Confident with a hint of anger that seemed to be rooted in him being a Connoisseur? What could that m-
"Ah! It's you!"
"Me?! I have a name you understand! I won't let you forget me; Burgundy! After all, the person that you are going to lose hands down to is me, got it!?" Burgundy shoved her face into Cilan's, being so close that it caused the faint line of aura that was circling her to slightly envelop Cilan as he backed away.
Both Ash and Pikachu asked their question as the boy responded, waving towards Burgundy to wave away the aura covering his face.
"A-Ah, well you see she challenged me at the Striaton Gym with her Oshawott for the Trio Badge. While she lost, I'm not really sure why exactly you are so hostile towards me." Cilan asked nervously but it seemed as though Burgundy had the answer as she continued to shove that face into Cilan's.
"It's because of what you said in your precious 'evaluation'."
"E-Evaluation?" Cilan truly seemed to not understand what it was that Burgundy was getting at while Iris frowned towards him.
"I can't believe it. What in the world did you say to her?" Iris questioned the Connoisseur that seemed to be flustered as to why Burgundy was so up in arms about his evaluation that he had given her while she had battled him.
"I'll never forget it! You said and I quote 'Unbelievable! The aura connection that you and your Pokémon have is something that reeks of a horrendous aroma. I'm ashamed to even have acknowledged you as a trainer given this putrid aura!'. I was crushed! Crushed I tell you!" Burgundy spat out those words as Cilan tried to back away in defence.
"I don't think that I said something along those lines." He replied.
"I remember it plain as day! But did you think that that would be the last you saw of me!? I think not! I'm going to prove you wrong and I started by completing the tasks set to me by the Pokémon Connoisseur Association to make sure that I would come to a better conclusion about me and my Pokémon than you did as well as that of other people and their aura connection! You hear me!?"
"Y-Yes I do."
"So, in order to do that, I wanted to challenge you to a Connoisseur battle with our evaluations and their credibility on the line! But lo and behold, you knew I was coming! I tried to challenge you at the Striaton Gym but your brothers told me that you had left on a journey! You knew that I was coming to defeat you and you left with your tail between your legs!"
"Now hold on there-"
"But this isn't over! If you think that you can push me away with a two bit evaluation then you are wrong hands down! Be prepared to face defeat at my hands! We'll see who is the better Connoisseur and this will be my revenge!"
Cilan seemed as though he had no idea how to respond whatsoever but it was Officer Jenny behind Burgundy that answered with a frown.
"Is that a confession then? That you lack the proper accreditation to do an evaluation?" she asked.
"Ah!" It seemed as though Burgundy realised a slip of her mouth due to her emotions as she clamped it shut in order to prevent herself from saying anything more that would end up with her being in trouble.
"Accreditation? Wait, if you just passed the Pokémon Connoisseur Association test, then that means you are at least a C class Connoisseur," remarked one of the people there, a male. "There's no way that you could actually be allowed to do an evaluation. Officer, this means that she's the most suspicious one here! I knew it!"
Ash cried out as he pointed towards her.
"If you're not allowed to do an evaluation, then everything you said about me and Pikachu was a lie! I knew it! I knew that you were wrong!"
"Impossible! There is no way that I am wrong! You and Pikachu are perhaps the worst match that is to exist between a trainer and their Pokémon!"
"Take that back!"
"Hang on now, Burgundy what exactly did you-"
Cilan tried to say something but it was clear that the commotion that Burgundy had caused was spreading, the other people in the room talking to each other with voices that reeked of suspicion when they looked at Burgundy. Cilan seemed to try to want to get an explanation from the Connaisseuse while Iris wanted one as well. Ash was shouting in defence to Burgundy's remark but it was clear from the rising voices that no one was actually getting any words inside the pseudo conversations that they were having.
"EVERYONE, BE QUIET!"
Officer Jenny projected her voice using her aura that made everyone cover their ears from the volume as the lady calmed down and reached over with her hand to grab Burgundy by the handcuffs.
"Now, you. You are lacking in the accreditation needed to make an accurate judgment on the nature of the connection between a Pokémon and their trainer. Furthermore, your booth was far away from the designated placing of the Connoisseur booths. Do you have a reason for this?" Officer Jenny asked her question with narrowed eyes as Burgundy began to sweat a little.
"W-Well of course! I wanted to make sure that I had the most amount of experience needed to take my revenge!" stated Burgundy with some hesitation in her voice.
"And one of your Pokémon is a Sawsbuck correct?" Officer Jenny asked.
Burgundy had no idea where this line of questioning was going however she confirmed with the affirmative.
Officer Jenny though brought Burgundy closer towards her in response to her answer.
"Ash here was merely a bystander, arresting you was a mistake there so I apologise as I thought you were an accomplice Ash. You though Burgundy are the most suspicious one in regards to what has happened. A Sawsbuck Element with perhaps an Aromatherapy Attribute perhaps? Regardless, I am going to have to take you into custody."
Ash seemed to jump at the terms 'Element' and 'Attribute' however the other people there merely frowned with a lack of comprehension at the terms that Officer Jenny was using.
"Why? What did I even do!?" blurted Burgundy as she protested.
"You were using your guise as a Connaisseuse to bring people towards your booth only to steal their money. You can deny it however the evidence is stacked against you due to your Pokémon and your lack of accreditation." replied Officer Jenny as Burgundy went white in the face.
"Wha…t?" her voice was low but it was clear that she had no idea what was going on. While that may have been the case though, as an officer of the law, Officer Jenny had to find out whether the lack of comprehension that Burgundy was giving was something genuine or merely faked.
"H-hang on there!" It was Ash that cried out in protest surprisingly as the others looked at him with shock. "Burgundy didn't ask for any money from me though!"
"No, that's not the point. From our witness statements, it seemed as though they can't remember whether any money was asked for or not. As the booths here are free, receiving and taking money is against the principle and can constitute as stealing in this case." replied Officer Jenny.
"But you said that there were witnesses. Didn't they see the face of the person that stole their money?"
"That is where the Element comes in. They used it to place the customer in a state of confusion, lack of coherency and 'relaxation' when they entered the booth and then proceeded to steal their money. Naturally, it was something that was subtle and not obvious so even if you state that you did not feel anything when you entered the booth, I would find it hard to believe that that in itself removes Burgundy from suspicion."
Officer Jenny's logic was smooth as Ash turned towards her with a surprised look on his face but the others were merely confused as they looked at the member of the law enforcement.
"Hang on there. What exactly is this Element?" One of the other people in the room asked their question, causing everyone to turn towards them as the lady understood that she had lacked to do something very important.
"Oh right. We're all Connoisseurs here, the ones that are in charge of the booths here. I forgot to so let me introduce myself. I'm an A class Connaisseuse, Estelle." The lady that spoke was young, wearing a similar uniform to both Cilan and Burgundy in that it was close to a suit, with a bowtie and buttoned up jacket, blue in colour. Her black pants matched the colour of her hair as she looked at everyone there with her curious pink eyes.
"Ah of course. How rude of us. My name in Marcus. I'm an S class Connoisseur and again, one of the people in charge of the booths here." reported a man that was standing next to Estelle. His blue hair was long and reached down to his shoulders, the same colour as his bowtie. His uniform was scarily similar to Cilan although it seemed as though it was just a coincidence. The clash of colours of his yellow pants also served to provide a shine of colour to his outfit that definitely made him stand out in the crowd. He turned his green eyes and faced the bearded face of another man next to him.
"Right. Simon," The brown haired man grunted briefly. "A class." His uniform was somewhat more casual in that his black jacket was not buttoned up and his tie was loose. Overall, the air that he gave off was more relaxed however like everyone there it seemed as though he was not amused by the situation at hand. He placed his hands into the pockets of his green pants and looked towards the pink haired girl to his left.
"Hi there! I'm July! I'm an A class as well but it seems as though it doesn't mean much to us now that we're all in this together right?" she asked. She wore glasses that matched the colour of her brown eyes, standing rather angularly in her dress that was paired with a blue jacket as well as Estelle. She turned and indicated towards a person behind her, a young man.
"And this is my assistant." The man bowed deeply. His age was young, perhaps about Cilan's age but his clothes were awfully professional. The cravat and fined tuned clothes looked as though he was going to start a formal ball after the PokéMart opened as he gave a smile.
"Harvey, B class," The man said roughly and curtly as he looked towards Officer Jenny. "But I do believe that this 'Element' and 'Attribute' terminology is somewhat confusing for those of us not versed in this. I assume that there is some kind of explanation that you can give?"
"My men will brief you later. All you need to know though is that the suspicion lies solely on Burgundy here. Regardless of what anyone else can think. The mayor wants things here solved smoothly. All we have to do is find the culprit and that is that. Although I think that some parties here want to make it more difficult."
"Excuse me." Everyone that was in the room, the 6 Connoisseurs, Officer Jenny and the others all turned towards the one that spoke as it was Cilan, holding out his hands in a stance that seemed to suggest that he was trying to solve things rather smoothly despite his lack of understanding what was happening.
"F-From what it seems you do suspect Burgundy for this incident. Although I do not understand fully what the terms you are using mean, can you really say that that is enough to question her? After all, Burgundy is a C class. If anything, her evaluations are something that not many people who understand the Connoisseur Association would take to heart let alone focus too much on her." replied Cilan.
However Officer Jenny shook her head.
"The Element bypasses all of that. While there is a lack of evidence and most of this is speculation, we can find out all we need when we reach the station." Officer Jenny indicated with her hands towards the doors that Cilan and the others had walked through.
"We're currently trying to find traces of the use of an Element but there is nothing right now. This lack of information though only means that there is that much importance placed on getting what we need."
"But since Burgundy was far removed from the other booths and the witnesses can't recall the face of the person that evaluated them, can we say that they actually entered? What about security cameras? Surely they captured people walking into the booths?" asked Cilan smoothly however it was Officer Jenny that made an annoyed face.
"You would think so. Unfortunately, the bugs inside the security system have yet to be finished fully as this is the grand opening. Apparently, there was a rush towards opening meaning that not all of the cameras are functioning. We have key areas monitored but it seems as though because the area where the Connoisseurs were to be evaluating was to be free, not much thought has been placed about fixing the problems there." she replied.
"And as for Burgundy's area? She was separate, correct? Then were there not cameras around the area where she was?"
This time Officer Jenny nodded. "There were. And each person affected by the theft definitely passed by her booth. However we do not know whether or not they entered. I realise that it might be premature but there is something here that Burgundy at least is not telling us meaning that it is important to extract the needed information."
"I'm telling you, I don't know anything about these Elements and Attributes! This is très unfair, non?!"
"Officer. Please. At least let us try and figure things out with your men. It is only in the early morning meaning that we have plenty of time. If you could at least allow us some time?" asked Cilan with a nervous tone. Officer Jenny though considered with his request with a raised eyebrow.
"Why are you so invested in defending this girl? After the hostility that she showed you, it seems most unusual." she remarked.
Cilan nodded in agreement. "That is true. But at the same time, I am somewhat partially responsible for this mess that Burgundy is in. It seems to me that she has gone down the flavoursome path of a Connoisseur which has led to this. Meaning that I have to take responsibility to make sure that she reaches the end of her goal without obstacles such as this in her way."
Officer Jenny crossed her arms and frowned.
"I'm not sure what I think about civilians investigating this crime here. It isn't like TV you realise? Besides, while we are shorthanded I do not think that I could enlist people that do not know much about Elements."
"A-And if we did know about them!?" Ash suddenly spoke up causing many people to look at him in surprise.
"W-Well, then I do believe that it should be alright given some supervision and requiring that you report back any findings. Why?" asked Officer Jenny.
"A-Actually, I've seen some Elements and Attributes before," said Ash sheepishly as he scratched the back of his head. "My journey has meant that I've run into some and stopped some as well. So I at least have a rough idea of what you're talking about."
The pure shock was clear on Officer Jenny's face, not to mention that Iris and Cilan looked at their boy companion with a surprise on their faces too. While they understood that Ash had been through a lot during his journey, they had never expected something like this. However at the same time, the question that filled their minds seemed to press down on what they thought of the trainer.
What exactly had he been through? Given how he was roughly calm in comparison to them, it seemed as though there had been some things that had been worse than what had happened in the Pinwheel Forest.
That was definitely true. So what exactly had he been through?
No one said anything though towards the boy as Officer Jenny found her words as she put a hand to her forehead. She deliberated her thoughts however it seemed as though the lack of information and the fact that there were very little options in front of her seemed to push her towards making a tough decision.
"This is most unorthodox. I'm pressed for resources at the moment but you are right. As long as you know what you're talking about then you do indeed have the ability to investigate this. Personally, I do not think much of what you can do however I hope that you can surprise me regarding that."
Officer Jenny reached over with her Aura Hand and grabbed something that was on the desk in the room and handed it over towards Iris who caught it, looking through the folder and its contents that she was handed.
"Those are witness reports. Everything you need to know about the case is in there. The Connoisseurs and Burgundy, I ask you to stay so that I can inform you of what is happening here and the terminology that I am using."
"I can't very well leave can I?!" Burgundy yelled out as she moved her hands that were handcuffed as she sat on the couch in clear displease as Officer Jenny looked towards the others, handing a walkie-talkie to Iris with an Aura Hand.
"Take this. Report in in two hours. Do not get in my men's way and I wish you the best of luck in your investigation." She said as Ash nodded, leaving the room as Iris followed, leaving Cilan behind as he looked at the Connaisseuse girl that had declared her revenge on him.
He nodded towards her.
"I'll definitely get you out of this Burgundy. I promise. So just sit tight and relish your future freedom."
Burgundy looked at the Connoisseur in shock as he left; leaving the words that he said resounding in the young girl's ears.
She turned and puffed her cheeks though away from where the boy had left, only leaving the small words of hope behind as he left.
"So, what exactly is an Element?"
Iris asked her question as she looked through the file that she had been given. Honestly, she felt like some kind of late TV cop with the walkie-talkie by her side and the manila envelope in her hands.
How in the world had things turned out like this?
"Well Iris, you know more about them than you think. You see, it's just that it's the name that the AJD and the police give them. It's like official names you know?" Ash said as he walked behind the group, causing Cilan who was leading the group to turn around.
"How so Ash?" he asked.
"You remember the Nacrene Museum?" he asked. Cilan shivered at the name of the place where he had been 'possessed' while Iris nodded, Axew looking down at the file with a lot of interest.
"Yeah. How it was a Yamask doing all of that stuff all the time?" she asked Ash to which the boy nodded and Pikachu matched it as well.
"Yeah! Well, since there was no crime I suppose it can't really be called an Element…..but if the Yamask was doing something that was a crime, then that would be an Element. It would be a Yamask Element doing the crime." reported Ash.
"So, the Element is the Pokémon that causes the crime?" asked Cilan in curiosity.
"Then what is the Attribute?"
"That is the part of the Pokémon that causes the crime. That is the hard part here. While the Element can usually be located to a Pokémon, the Attribute is how the crime is carried out. Does that make sense?" asked Ash.
Iris stopped walking and placed a hand under her chin. "So…..if I were to use Axew to cut open people's purses using Aura Slash and take their money, then what would that be? A-As an example of course!" said Iris in defence as Ash looked at her with a surprised look. He grinned though and waved his hand as it was clear that he was joking with the expression that he had given her.
"Well then that would be an Axew Element with a Slash Attribute. But sometimes the Attribute is something about the Pokémon that really isn't an attack. It can be something about the Pokémon as well like body structure or merely natural abilities." said Ash as he tried to find the words that best described how to ensure that it made sense.
Cilan had stopped walking as well, putting a hand on his chin and frowning as well, trying to think of something that matched what Ash was saying. It did not take long for it to come to him as he clicked his fingers and brought out a Pokéball, putting it in front of Ash's face.
"So are you saying something like how you use something about the Pokémon that isn't a move? For instance, me using Dwebble's rock to hide some money inside after I've stolen it?"
"Got it! Then that would be a Dwebble Element with a Rock Attribute. Or something like that!" said Ash rather excited as Pikachu on Ash's shoulder narrowed its eyes as it looked towards Cilan. The Connoisseur blushed at the look that the Pokémon was giving him before he shook his head immediately.
"J-Just as an example!" he defended himself. Ash tilted his head in confusion while Pikachu made a "Pikaaaaaa…." sound and nodded its head although it seemed as though Cilan was extremely flustered about the action in itself.
"So, Officer Jenny said that Burgundy had used a Sawsbuck Element with an Aromatherapy Attribute. What would that mean?" asked Iris as she turned to face Ash. Ash though merely shook his head while shrugging.
"I'm not really sure. Brock was the one that was better with these sort of things because he was focusing on being a Breeder and wanted to know more about a Pokémon beyond its aura in that sense." Ash referred to his previous travelling companion that he rarely talked about however it was no time to be focused on the past.
He surprised Cilan though by turning towards him. "So I thought that maybe you would be better at this Cilan. I mean, as a Connoisseur, you have to look at a Pokémon's normal attributes right? And you've also been looking at things beyond aura. I mean, Burgundy couldn't have done it right?"
Cilan seemed stunned somewhat that he was being relied on however the change that overcame him was quick and simple. With a laugh, he merely reached into his backpack, eyes glittering as if he were a kid in front of a new Pokémon.
"Well there's only one way to figure that out Ash!"
"Oh boy….I get the feeling as though something annoying is going to happen in the future now…" Iris grumbled underneath her breath while Axew in her hair looked between the Connoisseur and its trainer without understanding what the girl was complaining about. Yet with a swift motion, Cilan brought something out of his backpack.
It was a brown cap with a magnifying glass, the former Cilan put in his head while grinning with eagerness and holding the magnifying glass up to his eye to enlarge it in the eyes of the onlookers.
"And that means that it's detective time! Hah! Burgundy is as good as innocent with me and my abilities as a Pokémon Detective Connoisseur!" remarked Cilan with authority, practically glowing with pride and enthusiasm however it seemed as though perhaps his aura had some part to do with that.
Iris though merely groaned, her annoyance appearing around her as her aura reacted to her negative emotions.
"Just choose a profession already…" she said under her breath but it seemed as though Cilan was too caught up in being himself to care about her own personal feelings.
"Alright Ash, we have an idea of what Elements and Attributes are. However I have to ask, does aura have any part in this?" Cilan pondered.
"Naturally." replied Ash instantly. "Usually, the aura of the trainer or at least the Pokémon is fuelled into the Attribute, strengthening it and making it more powerful to enhance the effects, you know? It can also be used to lessen the effects! It basically distorts the aura to fuel the Attribute." said Ash.
"Alright then. We start this investigation by unravelling the hypothesis that Officer Jenny has formed around this case! Iris, if you could please grace us with the basic ingredients; the facts of the case?"
Iris sighed in response to the sudden increase in enthusiasm that Cilan had pumped into him as Iris gave a look at the folder in her hands. She had already managed to get the key points in her head so she simply relayed them back towards the 'detective'.
"OK. Well basically, some people entered a booth owned by what they remember to be a Connoisseur. They remember that they underwent an evaluation however the face and name of the Connoisseur seems to have escaped them. But because the service was free, it seems as though many trainers went to many Connoisseurs for a second opinion for their Pokémon."
Iris looked up towards Cilan as she recalled what the boy had told Ash at the beginning of the day before looking back down towards the folder in her hand.
"As a result, Officer Jenny has not been able to accurately tell who was where and who went to a certain Connoisseur. If they went to each and every one, then every one of the Connoisseurs that we saw inside the room with Officer Jenny; Estelle, Marcus, Simon, July and Harvey could be a suspect. Currently, it seems as though the victims were under the effect of the Element at the beginning, when they entered the booth only to have the Connoisseur take their money while the evaluation was in progress."
"And Burgundy is suspected because of her lack of Connoisseur license that allows her to do solo evaluations?" questioned Cilan while he tapped the magnifying glass against his chin.
"That's what it seems like. It says here that she has a Dewott and a Sawsbuck but it seems as though Officer Jenny suspects the use of a Sawsbuck Element with an Aromatherapy Attribute," Iris looked up towards Cilan with a frown on her face. "So what would that mean? How would that work?"
Ash frowned and crossed his arms. Pikachu on his shoulder did the same as it seemed as though they were having difficulty in getting their minds to work around the problem itself. "If I remember, the effects of Aromatherapy as a move are…."
"It cures Pokémon of status effects." replied Cilan quickly as Ash looked at him with an 'I knew that' face on. Iris merely sighed in response however struggled to hide her smile to which Axew gave an "Ew" as well while shaking its head.
"So how does that affect people?"
"I'd say simply through the way that it does so. Aromatherapy as a move unleashes a soothing scent that achieves this release of status effects. Maybe Officer Jenny thinks that? By using Aromatherapy and infusing aura into it, one could possibly induce one into a sort of 'semi-conscious' state or at least one of immense relaxation where one is not really aware of their actions. Of course it doesn't erase one's recollection entirely but enough to at least prevent people from remembering who served them." said Cilan with crossed arms as well.
"Is that how Officer Jenny thinks that Burgundy did it then? Using Sawsbuck and Aromatherapy to cause people to be somewhat disorientated before taking their money?" asked Iris.
"I would think so," nodded Cilan. "So what we need to prove becomes obvious."
"That something else was used. That a different Element or at least a different Attribute was used instead." noted Ash almost immediately as the other two companions looked at him in surprise that he had gotten on the train of thoughts so quickly.
He responded with a sheepish laugh and scratched the back of his head. "I've done a lot of these. Brock and I used to do them together although as time went on, the others that we were travelling with helped out as well. I do think though that you guys will be more useful because of your knowledge of Unova over mine though."
Ash gave a quick comment as the two Unova residents looked at each other in surprise. Once again, the question that had followed them around came up to their minds once more.
Just how much had Ash Ketchum been through on his journey?
They felt each other wonder the same thing however knew that they had to shake off the thought because of the fact that there was something else that they had to do that was more important to them right now than their own thoughts that could be fulfilled anytime.
"R-Right. Indeed!" remarked Cilan with a slight stutter. "That is the essence of the recipe we are to perform so get ready you two! We best start by having a look at the other suspects then and decide which one did it instead of Burgundy."
"Before we do that, can I ask you one thing Cilan?" Iris said as she put the manila folder underneath her shoulder, truly feeling as though the scene that they were taking part in was from some kind of detective drama.
He turned towards her with a tilt of his head. "Of course, what is it?"
"Why are so insistent on Burgundy's innocence? I mean, from what I could tell, she's not really the nicest person. At the very least I think that given what she seemed like to me, there is a chance that she could have done it."
Iris did not feel that she was wrong. In fact she felt as though Ash might have felt the same despite the fact that he was looking at her with surprise. While he had defended her, it had been Cilan that had done so rather successfully rather than Ash's questioning that he had given Officer Jenny.
Thus it was Cilan that was the one greatly invested in determining Burgundy's innocence rather than Ash who had also worked towards the same thing. As a result, the question that filled her head was that she simply decided that being blunt about would achieve the best answer available to them right now.
Cilan though seemed as though he had seen it coming as he merely used the end of his magnifying glass to scratch his head as he tried his best to smile however the darkness that was hidden within the depths of it seemed to give away what he really felt.
"Ash you said that Burgundy said that you and Pikachu were the worst match correct? And that was an evaluation that was based on aura only right?" Cilan asked his question and Ash nodded, wondering where the boy was taking what he was trying to get to.
"That in turn shows that she needs to grow. Becoming a Connoisseur is not something that one can just do without hard work. She's decided what she wants to do and that in turn has led her to this. While her method of evaluation and purpose for becoming one seems to be a bit irrelevant, the fact of the matter is that if I had decided to conduct my own evaluation of her a bit differently, then this could have been avoided. She is somewhat my responsibility. And besides, I do think that she is not the type to do something like this." Cilan laughed as if he was unsure of what he was saying as both Ash and Iris looked at each other as they considered what it was that he was saying.
However the boy was not finished as he added one last thing.
"I want to believe in her innocence. She might rub people the wrong way but at her heart, she is a Connoisseur that wants to give the best evaluation. That in itself is enough for me to trust her."
Cilan looked off into the distance as if he was considering the fact that even though he said that, a Connoisseur was the one who had conducted the crime. He was clearly divided about what he thought about his own role and that of Burgundy's meaning that if anything, the case that he had decided to become a part of definitely challenged him to his core.
And with those people that were standing beside him giving him nothing but doubts, was that something that they wanted to keep on doing when he was unsure about what to do himself?
"Well, that's fine."
Both Iris and Axew made their comments as she tried her best to cheer up her companion.
"If that's what you think Cilan, then the best we can do is help you no matter what."
"Yeah, Iris is right! If you think that Burgundy is innocent, then we're going to make sure that we help you figure this out Cilan!" Ash called towards the both of them with a smile as Pikachu nodded on his shoulder.
Cilan looked towards his friends in surprise at their willingness to help out in his own selfish dilemma. He hadn't thought that he would ever enter something like this on their journey however now that he found himself in the thick of things, he felt as though there was something that bound the three of them despite their status as 'travelling companions.'
The Wellspring Cave, the Hale Mansion, the Pinwheel Forest and now this.
It seemed as though trouble followed them everywhere however the only thing that allowed them the chance to move past whatever it was that they were facing was each other.
That in itself had more worth than people gave it credit for to which that in itself was enough to make Cilan truly realise what was in front of him now.
Dear friends that were always willing to help him.
And the same sentiment extended to them as well; Cilan would always be willing to help them if they ever asked for it.
But the time for thoughts and the gratitude that Cilan had for those bonds was not to be expressed now. There was something that they needed to do and it needed to be done ASAP.
"Thank you you two. I'll make sure to remember this when it comes down to it."
"Haha. No problem Cilan. Besides after everything I've put you guys through I kind of owe you one!" Ash grinned as he said that while Iris merely put a hand to her forehead and shook her head as she recalled the chaos that she had been through even since travelling with him.
"Don't remind me. But Cilan, you can count on us. We might not be Connoisseur Detectives, but we're going to do our best alright?"
Iris offered words of console that supported the image of them as Cilan nodded, leading the way as he led them towards their destination.
Everything started after all, at the scene of the crime.
As they formed the plan inside their heads, they reached their location and were sitting at a table that was across the booths in question. In front of them was their lunch however they knew that they had around 2 hours to at least come up with something that allowed them the chance to prove Burgundy's innocence.
"Right," said Cilan as he poked a fork into his salad, waving the lettuce leaf to those in front of him. "Our first port of call we need to do is make sure that we at least know how the crime could have been committed. At this stage, we know that Burgundy has a Sawsbuck that knows Aromatherapy or at least Officer Jenny suspects such. So we need to prove that someone else has such a Pokémon or at least used a different Element."
Iris swallowed a chip as she nodded, looking at the file in front of her and then at the booths that were across from where they were sitting.
Fortunately, they all lined up together meaning that looking for them was not hard, especially given how police tape had been set up and men were going from inside each of the booths one by one and coming out with Herdier, recording something on their notebooks before seeming just as stumped as the trio was as they yawned as they showed their lack of comprehension and fatigue.
"Well, Estelle's booth is the one with the pink banner. Marcus's is the biggest one with the black. Simon's one is the one with the blue. And July's one who was assisted by Harvey is the one with the brown banner." She called.
The booths themselves were pretty standard, being covered with a red curtain that separated the people inside from the people outside. The curtains were now parted because of the police officers passing through them giving the trio a perfect look inside the booths themselves. The only thing to distinct them though were the banners at the top, giving the name of the Connoisseur that was inside the booth.
"Indeed. So I guess the only thing we need to know is the Pokémon that each Connoisseur used as their partner." Cilan said.
"Fere's fe first." Ash mumbled something with his face full of burger as both of the Unova residents looked at the boy with a glance that suggested that they were thinking how in the world he could manage to eat so much when they all felt as though there was something important that they had to deal with here.
Ash passed something to Cilan as he nodded in thanks while looking at it, Pansage that had finished its Pokémon food hopping up onto the table as it looked at the file that reported the Connoisseurs and their Pokémon.
Dwebble by Cilan's side was still eating, as were Axew, Pikachu, Oshawott, Snivy, Tepig, Sewaddle and Scraggy (Iris's Excadrill refused to eat with the others) but they were still eagerly watching the trainers as they looked through the file on the Connoisseurs.
"Well, this seems rather simple to deal with. Each of the Connoisseurs only have 1 Pokémon today each meaning that we don't have to consider multiple Elements for each of them." said Cilan with a sigh of relief however it was Ash that shook his head. Both of the trainers looked at him as he swallowed the burger inside his mouth and took a sip of his drink.
"That's what makes this hard though Cilan. Since aura can be used to enhance aspects of a Pokémon that aren't always moves, we have to know a lot about the Pokémon in question before making a judgment about them you know. As there are more than just moves to think about in Attributes, that's what makes this hard." Ash explained as he took another bite of the burger, Cilan's face deepening in expression because of such a fact.
"If that's true then we might need some more information on each of these Pokémon. Do we have anything like that?" Cilan asked towards both of his companions as Ash nodded, something that made Iris look at him in surprise however the boy took another bite of his burger so he could not address what it was that he meant.
Pikachu though gave a sigh and hopped off the table, reaching into Ash's backpack as it brought out the tool that they needed, hopping back onto the table as it placed the item in the centre of the table.
Realisation came onto the faces of both Cilan and Iris as they looked at what had been provided to them.
"A Pokédex…." said Cilan as he lifted it up as Ash nodded, having swallowed and rubbing Pikachu's head with his hand as thanks for what the Pokémon had done.
Pikachu let out a "Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…" in gratitude as Ash nodded towards the small item.
"When I dealt with these before Brock would always use the Pokédex. While it seemed as though it can only speak some information, there are menus on the inside that can give extra information about the Pokémon that you want to look up." reported Ash as Cilan nodded, opening the file fully and looking at each of the Connoisseurs and the Pokémon that they had on them today.
"Well Burgundy has a Dewott and Sawsbuck today but as we want to try and prove her innocence, we have to remove those things as options from the get go." pointed out Iris as she ate her chip.
"That is correct. Meaning that we have to start with Estelle. It says that her partner Pokémon is a Timburr." Cilan opened up the Pokédex and typed in the necessary entry as he listened to the entry that was spoken towards those that were listening to it.
"Timburr, the Muscular Pokémon. Timburr constantly carries a wooden beam and the size and weight of it usually indicates Timburr's aura strength. When it becomes easier and easier to lift, it is said that Timburr is close to evolving."
"And now for Marcus. It says here that his partner Pokémon is a Patrat." Once again, Cilan entered in the information needed to allow the Pokédex to give the necessary entry and information.
"Patrat, the Scout Pokémon. They use their tails as receiving towers for the aura signals that they send each other across long distances when they are keeping watch for approaching enemies. Furthermore, their cheeks also serve as a way for them to store food and it is said the greater the amount of aura a Patrat can hold means that the more food that they can store."
"As for Simon, his partner Pokémon is a Gothita."
"Gothita, the Fixation Pokémon. The intense stare that it gives trainer and their Pokémon is said to be Gothita trying to see into a person's soul through the use of its aura. The bow-like feelers also amplify their Psychic powers but most Gothita are divided towards amplifying their Psychic or aura powers. Gothita that combine the two powers early on in its life are rare however as it grows, it moves past the barriers of choosing which one to prefer and eventually combines the two."
"July. Her Pokémon is a Blitzle."
"Blitzle, the Electrified Pokémon. Electricity is usually stored in its mane along with its aura that it slowly builds up. When it discharges the electricity, the shock that one can receive depends on the amount of aura infused in it. Usually these discharges will only result in a light shock but when threatened, they can become more powerful."
"And lastly, Harvey who has an Audino."
"Audino, the Hearing Pokémon. Audino usually uses its ears to pick up on things that are wrong with a person or Pokémon and usually the more mature the Pokémon grows the greater the refinement of this ability to do so."
Cilan put down the Pokédex and looked at his companions as he placed his brown hat on the table, while tapping the table with his magnifying glass and taking another bite of his salad.
"Well that's it. All of the Pokémon right there. What do you guys think?"
"I'd say it is Audino that is the most suspicious and therefore Harvey," noted Iris as she pointed towards Harvey's file. "Firstly, he is the lowest ranking Connoisseur there so that in itself is suspicious as he has nothing to do really. Not only that but it could know the move Heal Pulse. Right? Does it say something about it?" asked Iris as she leaned to look at the file however Cilan merely shook his head.
"I wouldn't place too much focus on the moves that it does know at the time of the investigation or arrest. I mean, with Technical Machines and Hidden Machines, it would be easy to remove the move or the Attribute that the Element is based around. So even if Heal Pulse is not something Audino knows now, it might not be the case at the time of the crime," Cilan pointed out as he looked towards Ash. "I imagine that you were going to say something of that flavour Ash?"
Ash nodded in response as he looked towards Iris that seemed to be the only one lost, something that did not agree with her as the faint line of aura that circled her revealed how she was somewhat upset at being left out of the chain of logic that was being followed by the two boys.
"You see Iris, with those TMs and HMs moves can be disposed of easily. That's what makes deciding these rather tricky. You have to make sure that you deal with Elements quickly otherwise you can't get the criminal. I remember that in Kanto, I was told that more than half of these crimes people get away with because of the time factor." replied Ash with a downcast look as he seemed to be rather concerned about the fact that some criminals out there were not getting punished for what they were doing.
Iris looked towards him with a surprised expression however any questions that she had, she knew she had to put off until later simply because of the lack of information that she had right at this current moment.
Axew came up to her side, having finished the Pokémon food that it had been consuming until then, looking at her as the girl ran hands through her hair as she placed her chin on the table.
"Axew?" it asked in concern.
"No Axew, it's just…I thought that it would be simple if we just knew the moves. But that's not the case! How are we supposed to do anything? To be honest, in the face of police officers and people that have done this sort of thing before how can we even stand up and solve this? We're not detectives!"
Iris shot Cilan a look as his face clearly contorted into something that wanted to object but it was clear that she was going to have none of it.
"Cilan, if you think that we can do anything then can you suggest where we start?" she asked in response however it was Cilan that found trouble responding as Ash swallowed the last bit of his burger and put up his hand.
"Actually there was something that I forgot to tell you guys."
"And you choose now to tell us!?" Iris, extremely frustrated at perhaps her inability to do anything now that they had hit a roadblock looked towards him, the same line of aura appearing over her frustrated form.
"Iris, please. It might be important and relate towards what we need to do now. Ash, is this somehow related towards how we can do our best to prove Burgundy's innocence?"
Cilan asked his question and Ash nodded in response.
"It's about my Aura Perception. Brock told me that it was because of it that it allowed him to do the best he could so I think that I can help with this."
"How so?" Cilan asked intrigued by the new facts that Ash had given him, Iris looking at the both of them with a look that suggested that she could not believe that the solution to their problem had been sitting in the form of the gluttonous travelling companion with them.
"Well, with some Elements you have to cover a larger area than usual in order to affect people right?" asked Ash to which the others frowned leaving Iris to poke her finger on the folder in front of her.
"You mean how someone used a Pokémon's ability or attack to affect people right? Instead of using it directly on them, they used it on the environment to cause the state of 'relaxation' that allowed them to take the money right?" asked Iris in response.
"Right, the attack has to cover a larger 'area' than just the person involved. Brock told me that by using my Aura Perception, I could at least determine what type of attack was used if an attack was used." replied Ash as he tried to think of best way to phrase what he was trying to get at.
"How so?" asked Cilan as he tapped his magnifying on the table.
"Well you know Aromatherapy right? It's going to cover a large area in and of itself right?"
"Of course. After all, it's a scent based attack. Scent drifts with the wind and it is hard to control a scent when you're in a booth that has to open its doors every now and then. The scent would drift out and…." Cilan trailed off as he looked towards Ash, his eyes wide as he seemed to have figured it out.
"Y-You mean to say that you can use your Aura Perception to see if the aura in the attacks is still lingering in the area?" asked Cilan with enthusiasm as Iris gained that same shocked expression on her face as Ash nodded and grinned.
"Yep!" said Ash cheerily. "By focusing my Aura Perception I can at the very least tell whether the attacks that were used were directed towards the trainer itself or had the ability to cover a larger area like Aromatherapy."
"Then why don't you try and use that directly on the booths?" noted Iris with a brief blink as if she had thought of the idea that could solve all their problems.
"Iris?" Cilan turned towards her for an explanation, as did Pansage and Dwebble as they truly wanted to know where Iris was going with her line of thinking.
"Well think about it. If the attack could cover a larger area, we know at least one place where the attack had to be centred around right? The booth where the trainers were placed in this state of 'relaxation'. If we find that booth where the attack was centred, then we know where the crimes took place." she reported. Ash suddenly made a surprised face as he hadn't thought of that however it was Cilan that shook his head and waved a finger.
"Unfortunately Iris, as much as that recipe wants to be baked, it can't happen. Simply because there is a chance that another innocent Connoisseur used their Pokémon's ability to help them come to a conclusion about the relationship between people and their Pokémon meaning that the aura lingering in their attacks would also be in their booth despite being innocent. We can't rule it out but if it did happen and we falsely accused someone then we would be at square one." replied Cilan.
Iris made a pouting face as she had her suggestion shot down as Cilan looked towards Ash and waved towards him.
"Well then Ash…do your thing." he said simply as Ash nodded, turning his chair and looking towards where the police were currently heading in and out of the booths with the Herdier.
The duo that were watching the boy suddenly felt as though the air that they were sitting in had become awfully cold as they saw the boy's eyes blink and a change come over them. They were more focused, alert and taking in everything.
Ash himself was focusing his eyes and watching the flow of aura around the booths themselves, noting how aura seemed to coagulate near the booths however not around it and the area surrounding it. The blue in his vision seemed to flow expertly like a river and with a soothing rhythm.
It was times like this that we truly felt as though he was one with the world around him. All sense of sound and sensation was lost and he felt as though he could watch the world around him and the flow of aura all day and notice how each person gave off a different light than another.
He had seen infrared and night vision on TV and he felt as though it was the same, each person giving off a different light but at the same time it was the same. But he knew that he would never have such a thing ever again. It didn't disappoint him but perhaps in his heart, he couldn't help but feel a bit jealous at what these people had yet did not appreciate within them.
There was a simple word for it.
They were teeming with life, with aura, truly bursting with it and they never even knew it or considered. Seeing the world through his eyes was something that Ash loved but somehow at the same time he felt melancholic as he got lost in it.
Pikachu's voice brought him back to reality as he blinked, his eyes losing that focused glare as he turned back towards the group, smiling a little.
However the group merely watched him with a surprised glance. It had seemed as though the expression that had been on his face was a mix of both happiness and a longing for something that seemed out of his reach. His Pokémon looked away at the face that he had been making simply because they knew of his 'condition', understanding the source of the longing that he must have had as an Aura Zero.
The others there could only look at each other with confused faces as they wondered what had caused Ash to make that very face.
Still there were matters to attend to.
"What did you see?" asked Iris.
"Nothing. It doesn't seem as though the Attribute that was used in the Element can be spread outwards to affect an area judging as there is no aura lingering around the booths. Meaning that it can't be Aromatherapy." noted Ash.
"B-But this is great news! This confirms Burgundy's innocence!" cried Cilan as he stood up, ready to move however stopped as he seemed to realise one important point.
"What is it?"
Both Iris and Pansage voiced their concerns for the trainer as the Connoisseur sat down, sighing heavily as he took his hat off his head and placed it on the table once more.
"Unfortunately that kind of result leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Ash I appreciate what you did for us, but I'm afraid that I can't leave things there. As a Connoisseur Detective, it's my role to get to the bottom of this and figure out who is responsible for taking people's money using the name of a Connoisseur." Cilan said, in a rather dejected tone.
"No, I get it. I didn't think that I did much though." noted Ash.
"B-But at least we know where to start!" said Iris with an elated tone as she spread out the files of the Pokémon in front of her so that she could see them perfectly.
"Well we know that the attack that was used is more focused on dealing with one Pokémon at a time instead of allowing something to spread. I guess that means that Audino's Heal Pulse is out. It's a pulse like attack so the effects could possibly spread to an area which we don't want." said Iris as she started to file away the Audino and Harvey file with her Aura Hands however Cilan stopped her.
"Iris. You're right of course however Audino does know the attack Refresh. Even though it is usually aimed towards self-infliction, through the use of aura, I'm sure that the effects could be transferred to another." noted Cilan to which Iris rose an eyebrow.
"You know how stupid that sounds right?" she asked in response, noting how bitter her own tone was sounding. It seemed though Cilan realised it as well but had to shake his head.
"We just don't know. Which means that we have to put that idea on the back burner for now." said Cilan with a grim expression as Iris groaned, leaving the files out as she pointed towards the others.
"Blitzle though can go right? From what I remember from its moveset, there are hardly any attacks that put someone in a state of 'relaxation' right?" She asked, trying hard to think. Cilan frowned, crossing his arms and nodded although slowly.
"I think…you are right."
Ash merely looked on as the two Unova residents, people who knew more about the region's Pokémon than him, filed away the Blitzle and July file.
"What about Timburr and Estelle?" asked Cilan towards Iris as she took the cue to put her own head to use before shaking it.
"Hardly. I mean the only thing that I know that could possibly cause someone to be in a state to take their money and make them forget as they are 'relaxed' would be Scary Face. But that lowers Speed and doesn't really put one in a state of 'relaxation' you know?" said Iris with a questioning look.
"We can cross it off the suspect list then." nodded Cilan as he nodded to Ash as he did as was asked, filing away the Timburr and Estelle file.
"Gothita and Simon?" asked Iris.
Cilan thought for a moment and shook his head.
"Keep as a suspect. Although I hate to say this about a fellow A class, with moves such as Flatter and Charm, it is entirely possible that Gothita could have been the Pokémon at the focus of the Element." reported Cilan as Pikachu moved forward the file this time.
"And finally, the last suspect. Marcus and Patrat." said Iris as Cilan merely shook his head.
"I hardly think so. Although Patrat can learn Hypnosis, we have to consider where Marcus would hide the stolen money. I hardly think that the ingredient of a body search was lacking by Officer Jenny and it makes more sense for a Pokémon that knows a Psychic move like Audino and Gothita to be able to hide the money. So on those grounds and rationale as Marcus could not hide the money with Patrat despite it having the possibility of learning Hypnosis; I think we can remove Patrat from the suspect list."
Pikachu placed the files with the other suspects that they had listed off leaving both Ash and Iris looking towards the two files that were in front of them.
"So, it seems as though we have two suspects, from five. That's….good right?" Iris asked her question although it seemed as though she had partly wanted everything to be solved instantly however the rational part of her knew that it was hardly going to be the case.
After all, this was a real issue that they were dealing with and it wasn't going to be solved as easily as plucking names out of a hat.
Still, Cilan who was perhaps the main person that was focusing upon what was going on narrowed his eyes and ran his hands through his hair as he looked at the two suspects.
"So what do we have here? Our two suspects are Harvey with his Audino and Simon with his Gothita. While we do not know the Attributes that could be used here, we have greatly moved in our investigation. That in itself is a start." said Cilan with a slight smile on his face however the anxiety in his eyes merely showed how that elimination had drained him entirely.
"Pan pansage pan?" Pansage towards his side asks its question as Dwebble rose its head as well.
"Dweb dwebble." it said in response, as if answering Pansage's question as the Pokémon looked in concern towards it and its trainer, seeming to be just as lost as its trainer was, perhaps even more so because Cilan did not know what to do.
"Ash," Cilan, stuck on what to do next looked up towards the younger trainer that seemed just as deep in thought. "What now? You've done things like this so I assume that you've never come across a case where the suspects were all eliminated in one go. So what now?" Cilan asked the boy as Ash blinked in surprise.
"W…what do you mean?" he asked in a hesitant voice.
"Well, where do we take things from here? We've followed the groundwork that you've set for us so what is the next step?" Cilan asked as Ash seemed to blush in embarrassment as he hung his head with a slight expression of regret.
"S-Sorry Cilan," he stammered. "It's just that Brock always took things in different directions. I paid attention but whenever we reached this step, it was always Brock that managed to take things his own way. I merely helped. Sorry."
Cilan though smiled slightly towards the boy as he waved a hand in front of him.
"Not at all Ash! I was just wondering how we approached the flavours that are to come, is all! By no means was I saying anything remotely like you had no use! After all, we're all just as stuck on this!" Cilan said however paused as he seemed to realise that what he said definitely rung true.
Right now, they were stuck.
There was nothing else that they could do now, meaning that when it came towards declaring Burgundy innocent, all the suspects that they had had only been narrowed down to two. It meant nothing if there was still a solid chance that whoever they thought had not done it was the criminal in this case. Picking one of the two suspects and calling them the criminal in this was nothing more than 50/50, an equal chance.
They had to take that chance and turn it to zero. That was their only option and to do so in a way that allowed Burgundy at least some chance to be declared free of suspicion.
Both of the boys looked at the files in front of them with keen gazes and Iris frowned, picking up both of the files that they had declared their suspects and held them out in front of her.
"Hey guys. I just had an idea." she said simply.
"What is it Iris?"
"To be honest, any new ingredients here would be much appreciated so please, tell us what is on your mind."
"Well, the thing is following what you guys said, there is something that I have to ask. Simply, what about the money?" she posed.
The two boys frowned as they looked at each other with confusion however it seemed as though Iris had to explain more fully. She scratched her head and tapped her fingers on both of the people they had narrowed down as the most likely suspects, using an Audino Element for Harvey or a Gothita Element for Simon although the Attribute that they were using was unknown.
"Well while we can have a good idea of the Elements that they are using, but not the Attributes, how about we take things differently? What about the money? Cilan, you said that Marcus had to be eliminated because there was no chance for him to hide it right? So I guess the best question is where is the money hidden?"
She gave her question simply as both of the boys went wide eyed as they looked towards Iris in inspiration.
"Iris, you're a genius!"
Cilan cried out as he stood up straight instantly, throwing the Pokémon that were on the table onto the ground however it seemed as though Cilan was too caught up in the moment to realise the own errors of his actions.
"Of course! How could I have been so blind?! The aura had been pulled over my eyes but now, thanks to your remark Iris, I can truly see! Hahaha! Indeed, the obvious question had eluded us from the start. Now that we know that the Pokémon involved have the ability to use Psychic type moves to manipulate matter, as long as we can determine where that money is hidden, that in turn is the perfect evidence against them!"
Cilan grinned massively as he took Iris's hands in his own as she stood rather stunned and flinched back at the contact that he was making.
"And I already know where the staff entrance is. As long as we can determine likely hiding places for where either Harvey or Simon hid the money, then the case is as good as solved!"
Cilan got out his Pokéball for Dwebble and returned the Pokémon, as he lifted up Pansage in his arms.
"Pansage we've almost got it! Just you wait and see! Pokémon Connoisseur Detective Cilan is on the case and the solution is in our sights! We won't let them get away from us!" Cilan cried out in joy as both Ash and Iris stood up as the former returned his Pokémon save for Pikachu as Cilan shot off into the distance, using his Aura to maximise his speed as he raced with the files that they had been looking at the entire time in hand.
"Wai-!" Iris shouted towards him however looked towards Ash that was clearing up as fast as he could after the group had just eaten. Iris picked up some of the rubbish as well, throwing it into the bin with Ash as she lifted Axew up onto her shoulder as she found Ash grinning at her in the corner of her eye.
"Wh-what?" she asked however Ash merely maintained that grin, placing his arm over her in a playful manner, the heat rising towards Iris's cheeks at the manner that he did so casually.
"Great job there Iris. Although you might not have liked Burgundy, I know that you did the right thing by asking that question. I'm proud of you and you did good." he said cheerfully as Iris glared towards him despite the rising heat on her cheeks.
"I-It was nothing. Besides, if you didn't think of that same point then I'm wondering how in the world you got this far." she said in a mocking tone however it seemed as though Ash did not care one bit.
"Hehehe. I suppose it would be because of people like you around Iris. Come on! It's always exciting when we reach this point! We're almost there Iris. Let's go and prove Burgundy innocent!"
Ash cried out in joy as Pikachu on his shoulder let out a "Pika pika!" in agreement as Iris felt herself sigh however was suddenly pulled forward as Ash dragged her in the direction where Cilan had just raced off in.
"H-Hey Ash! Let go of me!"
"No way Slowpoke! We're going to be there when Cilan reaches where he needs to! This is the best bit so we can't have you lagging behind!"
Ash let out a laugh as he continued to pull Iris, not even noticing the small blush that had appeared on her cheeks due to the warmth that was being sent to her body through the boy's hand.
Even though they were facing what could be seen as the coldness of the world, wrapping its icy grip around those that were drawn in the sudden and unknowing grasp that it held, there was still this very warmth that allowed her to smile and look forward to what came next.
Ash Ketchum had died.
However right here and now, he could not have been more truly alive.
And the warmth that spread itself to Iris, filling her body and fuelling her blush and the cheerful laugh that he gave as he raced through the PokéMart were perhaps a testament to that very fact.
Cilan panted heavily as he reached the staff entrance where Ash and Iris panted behind him although it was clear by the grin on Ash's face that he had complete faith in his green haired companion when it came towards what it was that they were looking for in this place.
Located at the back end of the PokéMart, one could see numerous boxes located around the place. It was open, enough space to allow for trucks and their merchandise to park and be collected before they raced off to catch another delivery that they were probably late for. In this sense it was more a loading bay than a staff entrance.
The sunlight streamed through the open shutters that were at the other end of the large open space. Overall it was silent, save for the one worker that stood with a rather annoyed expression his face as he looked at the trio that had entered during his lunch break.
"Hey kids. You can't be in here. It's off limits to civilians."
"I'm sorry sir!" Cilan though seemed to get onto the man's face as he stepped backwards in surprise. "However I have to ask you one thing. Do you recognise either of these men?" Cilan held out the files of both Simon and Harvey in front of the man as he gave it a look and nodded.
"Sure, those Connoisseurs right? All 5 of them came here a few hours ago before they were taken away by the police."
"Why is that?" It was Ash that asked his question towards the worker as he merely ran a hand underneath his cap as he scratched his head.
"Why? Well, the booths that they are running….you've seen them right?" he asked, eliciting nods from all of the trainers and their Pokémon. "Well, they're incomplete. While the Connoisseurs offer a free service to the public, they are paid by the mayor to stay in town and give their evaluations. And their booths are nothing more than an expense towards such although out of their own pocket. So, the flashier the better right? They were here to collect materials that they had ordered for their booths that arrived today. All of them came as a group but before they could get towards finding the right boxes they were called in by the police."
The worker held up a clipboard in front of them and gave it a wave.
"I've even had to organise the entire thing. I've got their booths, who ordered the spot and the name it's under right here, which matches the materials that were ordered for each booth. So yeah, I saw them. I wanted to deal with this before lunch but I can see that I won't get the chance."
"I'm sorry to say this sir however it seems as though the Connoisseurs have been caught up in some form of criminal activity. Officer Jenny has allowed us to investigate for her and her officers as well, so we were wondering if we could at the very least have a look around?" Cilan asked his question politely as the man seemed to frown.
The aura around him seemed to manifest itself in response to his anxiety, a faint line that was barely visible as he seemed rather conflicted in what to do.
"I'll have to ask the boss. I'm not sure if I have the authority…"
"Pleeeeeeeeeease?" This time, every turned towards the person that had spoken, seeing that it was Iris that had spoken up, doing something that neither of her companions had thought she would try and do.
She was….acting cute.
Both of the boys made faces as though they had been hit in the face with a wet Magikarp as Iris made a face that seemed as though she was on the verge of tears.
"Y-You see, our friend is currently suspected of doing some bad things and we're trying to prove that it wasn't her! But we need to have a look around to do that. Please kind sir; can you at least give us a chance to have a look around? Even if we don't find anything, we'll make sure to be extra, extra careful!" Iris practically begged as both Ash and Cilan looked towards the man that seemed rather taken aback by Iris's plea.
He looked back towards the boys and then towards Iris as he seemed to sigh in response, mumbling something to himself as the faint line around him disappeared into thin air.
"H-Honestly, I'm not paid enough for this. Fine you guys win. BUT! If anything and I mean anything here is broken by the time I get back I know EXACTLY who is at fault! Got it!?" He said towards them as they all immediately straightened up and saluted the man.
"Sir, yes sir!"
"Sir, yes sir!"
"Sir, yes sir!"
"That's what I want to hear! Over there," the man pointed towards some boxes that were stacked up on the side of the room. "Are where the boxes containing the materials are held so make sure that you treat them with care. They've got the same colour banner as the one that runs the booth so if you see a black box; it's for the person that has the black banner over their booth. And I want nothing; I repeat NOTHING, out of place when I get back."
"Sir, yes sir!"
"Sir, yes sir!"
"Sir, yes sir!"
The man made a face as if he didn't know whether he should be glad he was being shown respect by these people or if he should be angry that he was being subtly mocked. He passed it off though as he shook his head, leaving the clipboard on the side of the control panel he was standing in front of as he made his way out of the staff entrance bay, leaving the trio inside the room by themselves.
In the forefront of their minds was the need to get down to work and get towards proving Burgundy's innocence, using whatever method Cilan had come up with.
But right now, there was something more important to deal with.
"What in the world was that?!"
"What in the world was that?!"
"Sh-Shut up you guys!"
Iris went red in the face as she turned her face away from the two guys and the Pokémon that had shouted towards her in response to the act that had clearly embarrassed her beyond what she could probably handle. She had braved through it while doing it but now that she looked back on it, the fact that she had done something so out of place for her made her want to throw up given she had done something so embarrassing in front of Ash and Cilan.
A faint mist of aura covered her as it responded towards her own anger towards herself for doing the action as both of the boys backed away from her slightly because of the aura radiating from her.
It was like static electricity and they could tell immediately that the girl was ready to blow from one touch.
"W-Well it was a good thing that you did…that." said Cilan. "After all, it got us in here so we can at least have a look around."
"Yeah! G-Good job Iris! We both owe you one!" cried Ash with the same enthusiasm that he always held as Iris glared at the both of them, causing them to jump slightly however she merely sighed and (while still controlling her blushing face) gave a cough.
"W-Well, it needed to be done. For Burgundy's sake."
"Iris…." Cilan looked at her with an astonished look that had a hint of respect behind his eyes as he smiled towards her before lowering his gaze and fixing the cap that was on his head.
"Right, at any rate, we need to do here what we need to do!"
"And what is that Cilan?" asked Ash finally towards the boy. "What are we even looking for here?"
"Huh?" said Cilan as he tilted his head. "I thought that I had made that clear. It seems I didn't so let me explain."
Cilan strode over towards the boxes in the staff entrance/loading bay as he stood in front of them, crossing his arms.
"You see Ash and Iris, it was because of Iris's suggestion that I came up with this thought. Where did the culprit hide the money? It can't have been in their booth; after all, those were searched high and low by the police. So the options seem to range from there, places and opportunities to hide any money that was stolen." Cilan said as he kneeled down in front of one box.
"Then it occurred to me: where did the Connoisseurs enter from in the first place? Surely there must have been some sort of staff entrance or back door. Personally, I did not expect it to be in the same place as the loading bay however surprises are abound in this case. Now, where would be the safest place to hide something that you stole?" asked Cilan towards the others.
"H-Huh?" Ash said as he looked towards Pikachu. "Well it would be the place where you keep all your other stuff right? So that you can take it all in one go at the end of the day."
"Exactly! And that is probably what the culprit thought as well! So, as long as they hid their stolen money with all of their other belongings, then the chance that they would be able to escape easily comes up. However they never got the chance. Why?" asked Cilan.
Iris put a finger to her chin and snapped her fingers.
"Burgundy and Ash were arrested! Meaning that they never got the chance to leave with the money. And if what you're thinking is right and they put the stuff that they stole with things that they were going to leave with at the end of the day then…"
Iris and Ash's eyes went wide as they turned their heads towards the boxes that were in front of them.
"Then the stolen money would be in one of these boxes. Or maybe most of them." said Cilan as he grinned and touched one of the boxes, a blue one which corresponded with Simon's booth.
"And if we found it in these boxes, then the person whose box had the money in it…." said Ash as he went towards a brown box, the one that corresponded towards July and Harvey.
"Then we have our culprit and evidence! The worker before said that only the Connoisseurs came to their boxes so since they have no reason to mistake the boxes, then they were the only ones to touch their own box if it has the money in it! And if that is the case, then that is the perfect evidence!" Iris cried in enthusiasm as she turned towards the two boys. "W-Well, what are you guys waiting for?! Open the boxes! Open them!"
Iris practically yelled out with anticipation as both Ash and Cilan went to work as they flung open the boxes that belonged to Simon and Harvey, looking inside as they eagerly awaited their findings-
Ash was the one that spoke first however Cilan merely stared blankly at the interior.
Inside the boxes was what to be expected, materials that seemed as though they were nothing more than decorations for the booths that they had been running. There was nothing that even remotely suggested that there was money; no notes, coins let alone bank cards that could have their data stolen by taking the data from the magnetic strip.
"Th-this can't be it!" Cilan let out a voice of disbelief as he looked at what was in front of him, using his Aura Hands to lift the interior of the box and strewn it everywhere in a frantic motion. "It has to be here!"
Ash nodded, doing the same as he unloaded the contents that were inside the box onto the floor however at the end of their investigation, there was nothing inside that suggested that either Simon or Harvey, nor July had hidden any money inside the only likely location that they could have given the time.
"Check the other boxes!"
Iris's suggestion was met with immediate satisfaction as Ash and Cilan, as well as their Pokémon went towards the boxes of Marcus and Estelle, unloading those same contents onto the floor as they investigated them to the fullest extent that they could.
However the results that came up were hardly promising.
"There's….nothing." Cilan looked as though his dreams had been stepped on in the mud and thrown outside with the junk as Ash looked rather serious, cross legged as he looked at the materials that were going to be used for the booths and nothing more from the looks of it.
"Could it have been that you were wrong Cilan?" Iris asked her question in concern as she tried to wrap her head around their failure.
"How? This is the most likely location for both Simon and Harvey to hide the money! After stealing it, they came over here with the other Connoisseurs, using a Psychic type move to conceal the money before they hid it inside these boxes! It's the only thing that makes sense! Where else could they be hiding it?"
Cilan's voice was frantic as Ash rubbed his head in utter confusion before turning towards Cilan.
"Well, we can't do anything about that. Cilan, if we want to make sure that Burgundy isn't taken to the police station by Officer Jenny, we need to rethink things from the beginning." he said in a frank tone of voice as Cilan looked rather struck by the words being directed towards him.
However with a slow nod, he seemed to accept that very fact as Ash put a hand on his shoulder and tried to comfort his friend.
"So, we need to start from where we think we went wrong. Firstly, I want to try and ask about Harvey." said Ash in a soft tone of voice as he tread of careful ground with Cilan.
"What about him?" asked Iris as she looked towards Ash.
"W-Well, this is just what I think but how could he have done it?" the boy asked.
"Using the Audino Element that he had." responded Cilan calmly as he tried to rearrange his thoughts starting from the very beginning to see if there were any other options that he had not thought of about where to hide the money.
"Yeah I get that. But he is a B class Connoisseur right? Wouldn't he not be doing the evaluation and be in the same room as July, the A class Connoisseur that he was with the entire time and learning from?" asked Ash innocently however that in itself made Cilan open his eyes wide.
"As a B class Connoisseur, he would be observing July the entire time. He wouldn't have the chance to do the evaluation himself in July's presence….meaning that there was no opportunity for him to conduct the crime unless he affected July as well. But even then, she should be aware that she was in a state of 'relaxation' due to whatever Attribute Harvey should have used. She would have spoken out if that was the case, surely as an A class connoisseur." said Cilan in protest to support his own hypothesis.
"Yeah, that is the case. But not if July and Harvey were working together."
Iris gave her analysis of what Cilan had just said as he went wide eyed, running his eyes as Ash looked towards her with a look of surprise that seemed to be mirrored on Iris's face as well.
"So, that means what exactly?" asked Ash as he looked towards the oldest one there.
Cilan groaned though, the stress of the entire ordeal beginning to get to him as a fine line of aura started to whirl around him in response to the negative emotions that filled him.
"It means that since July has said nothing about Harvey's involvement that means one of two things. Either he isn't the culprit or at the very least, both he and July are working together to steal money from their customers. In the end, we have to treat both July and Harvey as different criminals, using the Audino Element together to steal money from others. And of course we can't eliminate Simon either because of the Gothita Element and Psychic Attributes that he could potentially use too." Cilan gave a solemn conclusion as he fell onto the floor as he faced the ceiling while Ash nodded in regards to agreeing on the point that Cilan had made.
"But as a whole, it means that the recipe has become a lot more complex. But we still haven't gotten anywhere. Where did the culprit bring the money? If it wasn't through the use of a Psychic type attack allowing one to levitate the money or something along those lines to this location, then where else could it have been taken?" asked Cilan.
"Did you ask Officer Jenny or the Connoisseurs if they ever left their booths? Or maybe they took it with them to the bathroom?" asked Iris as she sat down cross legged.
"I haven't asked Officer Jenny about where the Connoisseurs went no. I assumed that they had stayed here the entire time or in their booths and there is no reason for them to leave so early when they have customers. As for whether or not they put the stolen money in the bathroom, would you put your spoils of war in a public place?" asked Cilan as Iris fell silent towards the remarks that were directed towards her, realising that they were true.
"Well we may as well try and think outside the box for now." Ash gave that cheerful remark despite the dark atmosphere that surrounded the two Aura users as Pikachu hopped off his shoulder and pushed the files that they had gathered and had used in their investigation to reach this point.
"Pikapi, Pikachu pika." the Pokémon said with a kind smile as Ash returned it.
"Thanks buddy. Guys, we have to try and rethink for now. As long as we can do that and come to a different con-"
Ash immediately stopped, hearing footsteps enter the loading bay from the outside as everyone turned their heads towards where the footsteps were coming from, seeing two people enter their vision.
Both were men, tall and definitely had an energy that they omitted that suggested that they were serious no matter whether they were telling jokes or in a business-like arrangement. Their clothes were messy, the one of the left wearing an old trench coat over some dirty clothes underneath with an unkempt face while the one of the right looked a bit better, wearing casual clothes that revealed the same dirty state.
Their presence was unexpected and it seemed as though the presence of Ash and the others was also unexpected for the men as well.
Their surprised expressions gave way to confusion towards the children that were there as they turned towards each other.
It was Cilan that called out to them to try and determine who they were though as he wanted to keep the mysteries of today to an absolute minimum.
"Can we help you good people?" asked Cilan towards them as the men turned towards each other with their facial expression softening somewhat in an instant, almost completely different from the image that they had held as soon as they had walked into the loading bay/staff entrance.
"Hahaha, yes actually. We were going to be delivering some boxes containing materials for some Connoisseurs here. We were just wondering where they were to be unloaded before we actually brought in the truck." The man on the left, the one in the trench coat said in a gruff voice.
"Really? I thought that this was everything that had to be delivered." replied Iris as she pointed towards the open boxes that were in front of them with a frown on her face as she looked towards the two of them.
"Well, we thought so too. But it turns out there was some more stuff that had to be delivered and so here we are. Is that where we put the stuff?" asked the man in a cheerful tone as Ash turned his attention towards something else of interest.
"What did you guys bring anyway?" he asked as he took the clipboard that the worker had shown them before, something that disclosed who had ordered what, under what names the booths had been held under and what materials matched the booths in question.
"I-Is that the paperwork for the materials?" asked the man on the left as Ash brought it over towards his friends while looking at the file and nodding at the same time. It was clear that he had no idea what any of the paperwork meant though as Cilan took it and gave it a proper look over.
He frowned though and looked up towards the two men as he held up the clipboard in question.
"Yes, it is. But I think you men have some explaining to do." remarked Cilan with the frown on his face deepening as he slowly stood up, maintaining a posture that immediately put both Iris and Ash on guard.
While they had only known each other for a short time relative to other connections, there was something greater connecting the three of them because of the events that they had been through leading up to today.
And among those incidents and chaos that they held, there was something that each of them knew immediately from the other upon sight.
And that was a stance of tension, something that each one of them maintained when they were ready to take action in an instant and moment's notice.
Cilan right in this instant was maintaining such a posture, as he looked towards those men. And although the two younger trainers did not know what that meant in the larger picture that was hardly something that they could pass off as something irrelevant.
Their own bodies tensed as they looked towards the men with careful eyes as the man on the right, the one in the more casual clothes tilted his head.
"How so? Is there a problem?"
Cilan responded firstly by waving the clipboard that he held in his hands.
"Indeed. Because it says here that everything to be delivered to the Connoisseurs has been delivered. So I ask you men, what are you doing here?"
Cilan's voice had an edge to it that the other trainers had heard before as the men looked towards each other before giving a sigh and rubbing the backs of their heads.
"Well, what now?" asked the man on the left to the one on the right.
"I have no idea. Although when we saw those two we should have expected something like this." said the man on the right as he eyed both Iris and Ash with an intense glare, something that responded to his own negative emotions as the faint line of aura circulating around him became clear.
Ash and Iris looked towards each other as they did not understand what the man was talking about however before they could even get an explanation; there was something else that took their attention in the moment that they had been distracted.
And that was the sight of the two men bringing out their Pokéballs and throwing them into the air.
The three Pokéballs burst open with a light that revealed the Pokémon inside, the former two that had been called Ash having seen before however the same was not said for the last Pokémon, its body green like Axew's however having a more sinister air around it as it dug its long tusks into the ground of the loading bay/staff entrance. Ash felt as though he had seen it before, although not in full but he was not fully sure.
He never got another thought out though as the men called out towards their Pokémon that they had just released.
"Darmanitan! Aura Fire Punch!"
"Scolipede! Aura Sludge Bomb! Fraxure, Aura Dragon Pulse!"
It happened without warning, comprehension or even a hint of what was to come. It merely happened but that was enough to cause everyone there to stand stunned for only a second as they tried to process what it was that had occurred and the threat that was attempting to harm them severely, perhaps along the lines of claiming their lives.
The tension that had filled Cilan's body was all but confirmed as the threat slowly spread towards the bodies of the trainers there and their Pokémon.
They had just escaped from a situation that placed them in something of a similar ilk yet here they were again, facing the jaws of whatever was to come despite having good intentions and pure wishes.
But that only showed that there were people out there willing to step on those very things for their own personal gain.
However with their own goals in their own minds, there was only one thing that Ash Ketchum, Iris and Cilan, as well as their Pokémon understood.
And that was that they had to fight back to show just how strong those intentions and wishes to help those in need were.
 New Island. For those that can't remember this far, this was Ash's first 'death' in the First Pokémon movie. Ah, good times.
And there we have it!
I wanted this to be a one parter however I felt as though I ended up world building to a large degree. I wanted to avoid explaining things so if you got this far and understood the entire premise, thank you so much for keeping with me here!
Basically, Elements and Attributes are things that I felt were always there in Pokémon however here I wanted to give them at least a name. I've always felt as though there should be some kind of overarching terminology other than "Such-and-such a Pokémon committed the crime using such-and-such an attack or ability". Thus, the idea of Elements and Attributes were born. So basically, in other words an Audino Element with a Refresh Attribute is "Audino committed the crime using Refresh". I hope that that clears things up a lot.
People in the canon and even on this site here constantly use things like this in their fanfics so I felt as though giving it something 'official' made it seem as though what the police here were talking about was something that happen at such a common rate that it warrants having such terminology to explain it. Thus, it's sort of important for me to at least put it in here.
But at the same time, I wanted to show that there are some things that Ash has dealt with but not an expert in. He is sort of the be all and end all, having experienced this sort of thing before in the story so I at least wanted to show that with his experience and understanding of what is happening that he can help a lot in cases like these.
If I had started from the beginning though and introduced something like this, I get the feeling as though he would have passed off as an idiot. I hope though that I improved on this here and didn't do so.
However the question that should fill your minds at this stage are things like "Who did it? Where is the money? What Element and Attribute were used?"
I hope that I engaged you enough to stick with me this far though.
The ending for this has already been written but I have no idea when I update. Yet for those that know the project that I usually update and the author for that, this sort of felt like Packages from Zashiki Warashi didn't it? I guess that it really does show how I am influenced by Kamachi.
Still, regardless the truly hope that enjoyed and got stuck on this sort of 'crime drama' that I put into what should be a kid's show. I'm not sure if it's a good thing…..
And as always,
Review if you please
And I'll see you when I see you and I won't if I don't.
I thought to myself when I thought of this idea "What a great way to use aura and apply it to Pokémon." And when I was writing this, I could think of nothing but world building and how it applied. Aura can be used in so many ways so I hope that with all of the explanations that you tried to take it all in. But the next part will be the resolution! I hope you look forward to it.